Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Running Mama

When I was pregnant with my first, I swore I'd be one of those women who wouldn't let her running fall by the wayside.  Sure, I'd take 6 weeks off, but then I'd throw those running shoes back on.  I’d read about women like that.  It was just a matter of determination...

…then the baby arrived...

I'd been put into a shoebox, flipped over and spun around.  Every single thing I had done previously seemed impossible now.  It took me 45 minutes to prepare to meet a friend 3 blocks away…I couldn’t figure out how to make food and actually eat it...I braced myself for toe curling pain every time my tiny insatiable being dared need nourishment.

***To continue reading this post, check out the full version over at Mile High Mamas***

Thursday, January 16, 2014


Warning:  I'm seriously getting some stuff off my chest here, all in an attempt to head down a more positive road.  I'm letting it fly in the hopes freeing myself of it will help me feel a little lighter.  I know about "thinking positively" and "making the most of things" and I'm trying, believe me.  I'm not going to counter each of my thoughts in this post with the positive outlook but I do know it and believe in it's power.  Sometimes you have to just let it all out though.  In other words, if after reading this you feel compelled to show me a little love and support, just know I don't need reminders.  I'm reminding myself every time these stressful thoughts take over my day.  All I need right now are virtual hugs (not in person ones--those might make me cry ;-)) and/or recommendations for reading material about coping with this kind of thing, especially as a parent.  Anyway... 

This probably isn't news to many of you, but I realized last night I am completely freaking out.  I'm stressed.  I'm scared.  The worst part for me?  I don't know how to fix it.  I can feel the tension collecting and taking over my body and mind and I'm starting to worry I can't stop the ball rolling.  I know the stuff that works for me usually, but this situation we're in right now is a hard one to calm down about.  In just a few short months, we will be packing up our apartment and moving somewhere and we have no idea where the fuck that is.  It could be someplace we are really excited about and it could very well be someplace we are not excited about.  At all.  Like, the complete opposite of excited.  One option is just as possible as the other as is everything in between.  To top it off, no matter where we are going we will have to be saying goodbye to a place we've come to love and call home.  We've grown tiny roots and nurtured the soil around them because our kids are living their lives and making memories here.  We have to commit to living fully so they can look upon this time with warmth and fondness.  When I commit to living fully in a community, I really commit so I personally have a lot of things in my life here I can't believe I'm going to have to say goodbye to.  If we are going someplace we are excited about, it will take the sting out big time but if we are not...well, how would you handle that?

There is definitely a little flame of excitement somewhere in me, which gives me hope.  I'm tending to that flame so it'll catch, burn and stay steady without me having to work at it as much as I need to right now.  I'm not sure that's going to be possible until we know where we are going though, and that is wearing me out I think.  It's hard work, caring for that little, precarious flame and I worry if I stop to catch my breath, it might go out.  So, I keep at it even when I start to feel dizzy.  True, I could ask Nathan to work at it for a while but the thing is, he's got his own little fire he's trying to sustain.  We help each other as much as possible but are both working hard and feeling a little woozy.

So, counterintuitive as it may seem, I'm keeping myself really, really busy.  I embrace the bit of running around I do to get both kids to and from school and welcome the confusion that adding a couple after/before school classes brings to the mix.  I invite the kids' friends over so the house can be chaotic (something that brings me comfort, being 1 of 7 children), I take care of work obligations and sign up and train for races.  These are things I can wrap my brain around.  Fitting it all in and figuring it out is a challenge that is in front of me, and overwhelming as it is at times, at least the pieces are all there.  It takes energy, but I can put it together every day and start over again the next.

Is my temper quicker than I would like it to be?  It is (just ask my friends and coworkers, right guys?  Guys?....You still there, guys?....).  Do I post too much on Facebook, looking to distract my wandering mind as much as possible?  Yep (so sue me).  Am I tending to have an extra glass of wine more nights than I mean to?  Uh-huh (but I'm keeping tabs on that, no worries).  It could be worse, and I just keep reminding myself that anyone in this position would be freaking out so it's okay.  It's to be expected, so.....deep breath....

Whenever I can, I lose myself in my kids.  I take my own advice as I hear myself tell them to remember "Wherever we go, we go together.  Always.  That's the most important thing."

I soak in the preciousness that is Owen running outside on a windy day, holding firmly to the top of his head sincerely asking me every 2 minutes, "Is my new haircut still there?"

I ask for hugs from the kids because they not only squeeze just tightly enough but they laugh hysterically while doing so.  Music to any parent's ears.

I let myself find pleasure in contemplating how interesting it is that when I am asked to draw "mountains" I draw the same thing I have all my life since being a kid in Vermont:

But, when my Colorado kiddo is faced with the same request, she draws this:

2 mountain states, 2 happy childhoods.  We're makin' it happen no matter what, 1 day at a time.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

More Jolly, Less Jiggle Holiday Challenge

Just before Thanksgiving this year, a friend posted a link to a holiday running challenge on Facebook.  I checked it out right away because I've been worried about staying on track now that my marathon has come and gone and I have no desire whatsoever to ever ever run that far again.  I'm so glad I did it once but once is plenty for me.  The problem is, since I've never been fast I've learned to embrace not caring a lick about pace so the way I've pushed myself has been to go farther...and farther...so.....what now?

Anyway, the idea of a challenge during the holiday season was perfect for me but once again this pesky grad school budget we're on kept me from signing up because there was a fee attached.  I don't pay for anything if I can help it so didn't sign up even though I really wanted to.  Then I realized I could just create my own challenge and invite a few friends to join me to keep me honest.  So, I posted the idea on the Facebook page of a running group I joined while training for my fall marathon, Boulder, CO Moms Run This Town and within a half hour had an overwhelming amount of fellow challengers, committing to run either 30+ (aka "Determined Mamas") or 60+ (aka "Hard Core Mamas") miles between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

I can't tell you how grateful I felt for this group of women.  There were at least a few days, including one -15 degree morning, when I would have surely stayed in bed if I had been attempting this on my own.  The idea of logging my miles after my run was enough to peel me out of bed and bundle up and I was not sorry once...well, maybe that -15 degree day I was a little sorry, but I learned from the experience and was eventually able to see why even that day hadn't been a mistake.

I also had a great time thinking up ideas during my runs about how to celebrate our accomplishment.  We set a date for a get together and I decided to make it a mini closing ceremony complete with a trophy for the person who ran the most miles and t-shirts for the top three mileage loggers.  Everyone who completed the challenge also got a certificate and a couple of members even donated prizes for a raffle. We had our celebration today and a lot of people thanked me for all the hard work I put into it, but I have to say it didn't feel like work at all.  The prizes and certificates were super easy and cheap to make (the trophy was only $8 or so, ordered online) so it was nothin' but fun.

So, thanks to all of my fellow challengers for participating.  I'd better be reading about the repeat challenge next holiday season from wherever the hell we are living at that point.  Maybe I'll even start one in that new mystery place and we can cheer each other on again.

On treadmills, trails, sidewalks and roads in temperatures as low as -15 degrees...from Boulder to Erie to Westminster...from Broomfield to Thornton, Lafayette, Englewood, Arvada, Superior, Colorado Springs and Tarrytown, NY..together we ran 1,734.4 miles between Thanksgiving and Christmas 2013

Love to you all--keep on truckin'! 

Party goers

Now these are some badass mothers here.  If you ask me, the kids are pretty cute too.

Handing out certificates

Top 3!

Amazing ladies!!

Backs of the top 3 shirts..I  made these with iron-on transfer  paper.  Really easy and you can find the paper and shirts at a craft store like Jo-Ann's

Front of shirts

Front of the certificates.  I told the group I loved them without having met most of them because they don't think it's totally weird I presented a certificate to myself for a challenge I totally made up!

Back of the certificates.  On the spreadsheet where we logged our mileage, I asked everyone to say in 1-3 words why they were doing the challenge.  I made the responses into a word cloud at ABCya!  Yay us!