Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Grumpy Hours

I don't know what's wrong with me.  Maybe it's:

Seemingly never-ending winter

My inability to sleep

Training for a Marathon

Easter festivities and preparations

Or maybe I've just become a terrible grouch.  Lately I have two times during the day that I just can't seem to pull out of my funk.

Time #1 Wake-up until I drop the girls off at school.

Lately, I haven't slept well.  I started Melatonin and that helped for about 10 days.  So when I wake up in the morning, I'm not thrilled.  I take our Freshmen to school and come home to get the other kids ready for the day.  Our 3 year old has often woken with "shrillness" and our 5 and 11 year olds are nonplussed that school (and winter) is STILL going on.

I feel badly for not being that Sun-shiney Mommy in the mornings...but frankly, just knocking back the coffee and getting to the point where I can make complete sentences is a victory.

Time #2 4pm to 5:30pm

I am a horrible Mother.  When my school age kids walk in the door things get all grumpy-o-licious again.  I still have my daycare sweeties, am in the end parts of fixing dinner, and now need to crack the whip over home work and instrument practice.  It's like the life is being sucked out of me.  I just feel absolutely exhausted and want to be struck with a heavy object to be put out of my misery.

It's not the two little boys screaming through the closed up house (freaking WINTER) acting like Power Rangers.  It's not the Kindergartner resisting writing the numbers 1-50 for the 700th time.  It's not the teen relating stories of maxing out on bench or squat or whatever.  It's not the 11yo crying big fat crocodile tears over having to practice her flute.

IT'S EVER-FREAKING-THING AT THE SAME TIME

Okay.  I'm okay, now.

I feel badly that all I can do is order them around and grunt some semblance of approval in their general direction.  Once daycare is over and dinner is served, I'm okay again...sort of.  But man, am I ever grouchy right now.   I'm doing my best to unpack this attitude of mine.  It isn't helping anyone.  I know that I need to start sleeping better, but not sure HOW to do that.  I actually started taking 2 Melatonin...which is probably why I feel like I got scraped out of a barrel in the mornings...But I am an active gal - I NEED SLEEP.  And stressing over not sleeping = not sleeping.

*sigh*

It's now 10:45.  I better try to go to bed.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Dear New Mom

I just wanted to take the time to put something positive out there and say some encouraging words to fellow Mothers.  I take care of children whose Mothers are first-timers and there are lots and lots of young Mothers at our church.  I feel for them.  It's SO very hard.  When I had my first child in 1998, the internet was around, but I certainly didn't have a computer to access if from.  I had my Mom's advice over the phone, my physician and a book.

When I look around the internet of today, I see more division than unity over Mothering.  There are the Natural Mothers, the Working Moms, the SAHM's, the WAHM's, the Helicopter Moms, the Attachment Group, the Detachment Group, and every single sect in between.

Oh and the woman that wrote the "Dear Mom on the iPhone" thing.  Ugh.  She probably judges me when I stop at the store after a long run...next up "Dear Mom that Smells Bad."  Judgy-wudgy woman.

For all of the differences, these groups have one thing in common.

A child.

Children do not change.  Yes, I know you may argue with me on that, but hear me out.  Children in Biblical times have the same needs as the children of today.  They need to be hugged, and kissed and squeezed real tight.  They need to be told "no" and "yes" and "here's why."  Children need to be looked at and paid attention to and left alone to play.  Children need to know that when they wake up scared or wet or thirsty, that someone will be there...and if they do it 4 times in a two hour period that someone will be there to chastise them.

If you are paying attention to your child, you are doing it right.

If you refuse to capitulate to your toddler's terrorism, you are doing it right.

If you worry about things like vaccinations, plaque and clean underpants, you're doing it right.  If you haven't had a full nights sleep, been out with your husband, or had your hair cut in a year, you're doing it right.

Heck, if you HAVE had all those things in the last year, you're probably still doing it right!

The point is, that there is only one right way to raise a child.  One way and one way only.  With love.  Love doesn't always involve giving what they want, making them happy, or being there for every single fart and cough.  Love is...  Love, well, it's more like... Sort of...

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
--1 Corinthians 13:4-7

So, if you love your kids, you're doing it right.  Even if love includes letting them play on the swings while you email your Mom or read the news on your iPhone.  :D

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Sweet Sixteen


Since this is my first time training for a Marathon, I am achieving new personal best distances nearly each time that I run long.  I can't believe I made it, but I ran SIXTEEN MILES!!

It was really the hardest thing that I have ever done.  And, strangely enough, it wasn't miles 15 and 16 that were the hardest.  That's what I would have anticipated...but it was the miles in between that almost had me in tears.

I had beautiful weather on Friday.  I headed out about 10am with sunshine, 47 degrees and about a 5mph wind with a few gusts.  Shorts and a t-shirt were no problem.

I try to plot my courses with a pit stop about every 5 miles or so.  This allows me to fill my water bottle or use the restroom should the need arise (and it always arises).  I kind of overestimated my first stop and didn't  hit the bend in the trail til about 7 miles.  I ran from 27th and Vine to 14th and Old Cheney (through the trail system) to stop at a gas station there.

Oh, the dreaded first stop.  As soon as I began again, I had a tightness in my left knee.  NO!!!  It wasn't bad, just annoying, so I decided to run through it.  I headed out on Old Cheney Road towards 56th Street, knowing that rolling hills were in my future.  It always makes me feel like a Bad Mammy-Jammy when I'm running up a big hill wearing my Oakley's and my hat, dripping sweat...
My Hero - Mirinda "Rinny" Carfrae
I probably really look more like this:
Cute little runner!
At 56th and Old Cheney, I stopped in at Amigos (wow, did those tacos smell good!) and filled my water.  I turned north to catch the trail that follows Hwy 2 all the way to 27th Street.  My knee was doing okay and I was gearing down a bit every mile to power walk and even give my IT Band a stretch.  My system was working and I was ticking off the miles.

Turning north on 27th and Hwy 2, I made it all the way up to the Zoo before I even looked at my gps feedback.  I was at 14.67 miles and about one mile from home.  Drat!  I stopped at the U-Stop north of the zoo and then proceeded to run uphill for the next half mile or so.  I actually had to run PAST my house and run a little farther to make 16.  Oh man, that was hard!

By the time the ticker read sweet 16, I was done.  I was done with my slippy-slidey fuel belt, done with my running shoes, done with sweating, done with sugary sweet gels, done with my music, done with running. Done, done, done, done, DONE.

So that's my epic Sweet Sixteen Mile run story.  Frankly, I can't see how I'm going to EVER run 10.2 miles longer than that...at the pace I run, that's almost 2 more hours of running.  *urp*  I think I just barfed a little.

The recovery has been good, though my husband is probably getting tired of my Leg Updates.  I spontaneously turn to him and say things like "the knee feels better" or "wow, my quads took the hills well" or "today is better than last night" or "HAIL KALE!"  Nobody really knows what the heck I'm talking about.

Onward, I suppose.  Next week is a "down" week, where my long run is just 8 miles.  Then two weeks from now I need to complete 18 miles.  Am I ready?  Nope.  Will I be by then?

Yes?

YES.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Not So Very Long Ago

I'm a fan of persistence.  Forward motion.  Not stopping, even when you stumble, fall down, get run over by the bus/wagon, and have to stand up again.

Being successful doesn't involve being charmed, or having natural ability.  Success isn't given.  Victory cannot be purchased.  No, most times its the quantitative effort of many years or even a life time of effort.

I, recently, ran across this post entitled A Long Way Back.  This was the first time I had run again after a very long, very *heavy* pregnancy with our 4th child.  It was my first continuous run, again, after many months of run/walking and losing about 30lbs.

Reading this post, I could remember this day as clearly as if it were yesterday!  Here's what struck me most:

- I weighed 190lbs at the time.  I am 5'4" and that's a lot for me.

- That weight was back to where I started when I had gotten pregnant.

- This was the first I had run a full mile.  I had done a progressive run/walk program all winter on the treadmill.

- I remember my son being with me, on his bike, and a man in the park asking me if we were going to run today! :)  I remember telling him that we were going to *try* to do 2 miles.  I felt sheepish for the small amount, but this nice, older man was very impressed.

It was wonderful to be transported back in time by my previous posting.  I can remember the day, the weather, my oldest son being with me, how I felt, the victory dance afterward... Furthermore, it was amazing to see my progress.  I tend to get tired and stuck and think "why the heck am I doing this, again!?"

But here I am, training for my first Marathon.  I am now, a triathlete and have completed both Sprint and Olympic distances.  I am not fast.  I sometimes cry after speedwork.  I take odd days off here and there because I "just can't do it today."

Through persistence, I have become a woman that the one in April of 2010 didn't know about quite yet.  No natural talent, I promise you that!  Blessings, yes.  But talent?  No.

So keep going.  Keep planning your work and working your plan.  Keep cutting away at that big stone in front of you.  Persistence trumps strength every time.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Finding My Strong

I'm so happy to write this today!  Last Monday, I had to give a positive spin on another disappointing situation with my training.  Since I signed up to run my very first Marathon, things have not gone off without a hitch.  However, this Monday, I get to report something that went very well!

I knew that I was ready to run a brand new longest distance, but this is my first marathon so I've had some new muscle twinges and pangs that have made me cautious - and quite friendly with my foam roller.  I wasn't entirely sure about the weather - the forecast showed low 40's and a 70% chance of rain most of the day.  This didn't seem like the kind of run you can just lace up and hit the road for.  Things need to be right.

So...I weighed all of my options and ran fourteen miles on the treadmill.  Murphy's Laws are for real, folks, because it didn't rain at all on Saturday. To those, like my hubby, who rode and ran outdoors that day - you're welcome.

Speaking of my Knight in Shining Marathon Sherpa Armour - David kept things running smooth while I plodded along for hours.  He took the kids to gymnastics, met my Mom there and brought everybody home afterward.  I assume he fed them all breakfast and got their teeth brushed...right honey?

Running long on the 'mill takes preparation.  I rented two movies and had two full bottles of water and a few gels handy.  I tacked the foot pod to my shoe and launched my Garmin application to *somewhat* keep track of distance - but more importantly heart rate.  And then I just ran.   And I ran.  And I just kept running.  I started at 6am, so I didn't even have any company until I was 10 miles in.  I did stop every mile or so to stretch out my IT band a little...and of course I took my one minute speed-walking breaks at each mile.  The debilitating knee pain from last week never showed up.  I was slower than usual, but I really don't care.

Afterward, I had the 'pleasure' of taking my 2nd ever ice-bath.  Yes, it is what it sounds like.  I filled the tub with cold water, added ice, and sat in it for 10 minutes.  I wore a sweater and a hat and drank hot coffee while experiencing this inflammation reducing post-long run joy.  My feet were probably the happiest about the whole thing.  Imagine the sound of putting a hot match in water.  KSSHHH!

As far as recover went, there was very little soreness.  My calves were tight the rest of the day, and I did use some bio-freeze and rubbed them out that evening.  Yesterday I gingerly climbed hopped on my road bike for a hour on the trainer before church and did some yoga last night.  No joint pain or soreness at all and my feet feel fine.  I'm still a little stiff and sore in the calves, but I plan to swim today and that helps so much.

At this point, I'm cautiously optimistic about running my first Marathon on May 5th.  After spending the month of January with two bouts of cellulits, I wasn't sure that I would have enough time to train.  I think that starting out with a base of regular long runs of 8 miles or more on the weekends was my saving grace.  Yikes, I might just be able to do it!

I will leave you with the song that I bought for myself after completing my run.  I felt like I earned a whole XL cup 'o street cred by running this far.  Or at least a song from iTunes for $1.29.  Gotta toot my own horn a bit.  Toot-toot, peanut butter.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Success Failure and Happiness

Oh boy, I sure wish that I had a wonderful report for you on my very first 14 mile run.  The truth is, that I only made it 7 miles. :(

On Friday night we all went out to eat.  My husband got a bonus at work, so the six of us lived it UP at The Golden Corral.  With four children, a buffet contains the single best odds for percentage of satisfaction.

And they have a chocolate fountain.  Boom.

We all got what we wanted to eat and I even got some guacamole! Yay!  As we were coming out of the restaurant, I stepped down and a white hot pain shot through my calf muscle.  Hmm...that was weird.  I stretched it a little and my muscle just tightened into a ball.  Hmm...

We went to another store and walked around (Friday night as a family of 6 - rock on!) and I had a tough time not limping.  By the time we got home, I was rubbing down with BioFreeze and stressing over my long run the next day.

Things seemed a little better on Saturday.  I took Susan to gymnastics, and came home to more BioFreeze.  When I headed out to meet my friend, Amanda, the calf felt okay so I figured I would just take it easy.  We ran and chatted and she turned around after a few miles.  I went on and about mile 6 things took a turn for the worse.  The calf pain was gone, but my knee was really tight.  I tried to run/walk for a while but in the end called for a pick-up.  I walked an additional mile - mostly to get to someplace warm to wait - but it didn't hurt when I walked, so may as well.

On Sunday morning, the pain had migrated up to manifest as a strained hip flexor.  Yeah, I know, weird.  My calf no longer hurts, my knee no longer hurts, but if I try to lift my leg - it gets REAL.  So...I spent today with Vitamin I every 4 hours and ice every 3-4 hours.  I swam tonight and kick sets were out of the question.  Boo.  I did, however, swim the furthest that I ever have.  I was solo and had time. Yay!

At this point - I have to find happiness in what IS.  Not what SHOULD BE.

So what did I learn?

1.  Strange things happen.  When you ask your body to go above and beyond, it might pull some strange stuff on you.  I keep trying to analyze the "fateful step" that I took on Friday night, but I can't pinpoint anything strange except for the result.

2.  It's okay to quit.  Yep.  When I called my husband to pick me up, I wasn't in much pain.  Yet.  I could still walk and might have been able to run through the pain in my knee.  Should I?  Probably not.  As a runner for 8 years, I know when it's okay (for my body) to quit.  The last time I ran through knee pain like that, I was out for the rest of the season with an IT Band injury.

3.  This isn't "it."  Do I want to run the full Marathon in May?  Sure!!  Will it be okay if I don't?  Yep.  If a Marathon just isn't in the Master's plan, then so be it.  Will I be a little disappointed?  You bet.  But this isn't the *only* Marathon this year...and this isn't the only year for me...I hope.

I feel successful just for the training.  Being in good enough shape that 10 mile runs don't seem like a huge deal any more is success.  Simply signing up and beginning training for 26.2 is success.  Being well enough emotionally to not freak out over a busted long run is success.

I tend to plot a course, and deem any deviation something less than success.  It's not true!  Don't believe it!!  Forward motion is success.  So, despite not being able to put the check mark in the box next to the 14 mile run - I am a shining success. :)

Friday, March 1, 2013

Tell Me What I Am To You

Housekeeper.
Cook.
Creative Financier.
Care provider.
These are labels I use to describe myself.


Ashamed.
Not good with feelings.
Angry.
These are labels I would use to describe myself sometimes.  On "those" days.  When the past just won't stay in the past.

Runner.
Friend.
Wife.
Momma.
Daycare Lady.
Sci-Fi Enthusiast.
Reader.
These are labels others might use on me.

One thing is for sure - these things will all pass away one day.  When I am dead and gone it won't matter what others think of me or even what I ever thought of me.  There's only one label I need to remember.

Beloved.  

No matter what I ever wear on that terrible chain around my neck.  No matter what awful word I use to identify with on any given day.  Independent of my thoughts or anyone else's.  God loves me.  He wrote a book that spans eternity to tell me just that.

That I belong to Him.

It doesn't matter what I've done.  It only matters what I will do with this information. Enjoy the song - and mull it over.  If I can be this big of a screw up and get the benefits of God's grace, what about you?

"When I can't receive your love, afraid I'll never be enough - remind me who I am."