Happy UnBirthday

Another year, another birthday has passed. My birthday has never been a favorite day for me. I feel a sense of urgency to hurry up and make my life better. Lose the weight, be more present, get more sleep, declutter the house, etc. and do it all right now. Time is passing by and what in the hell do I have to show for it? What would my children and friends say about me and my life if I died today?

My grandpa also died on my birthday when I was 20 years old. We didn’t have a close relationship but my grandma (GG) and I are extremely close. She was so sad that he had died and at the same time pissed at him for dying on my birthday. GG didn’t want me to always have that memory.

Growing up, my birthday felt more like a burden than a blessing. Almost like some unexpected home repair that my parents had no interest in repairing or no means to do so. Actually, there were 2 birthdays that I truly believe my parents forget. I was turning 9 and then when I turned 14. No acknowledgment that I was born what so ever. I did, however, have one birthday party that I remember. I was turning 5 yrs old and it was a Burger King birthday party. This is the first time ( and only time) I remember waking up and being so excited that it was my birthday! I invited my entire kindergarten class and was so happy that kids showed up.

We had just moved back from North Carolina. My mom decided to move back and leave my dad in the middle of the night. My dad came looking for us and they worked things out. They have now been severely unhappily married for almost 39 years. This was the first ” I am leaving your Dad” memory that I can recall of several talks of separation, divorce and moving. Sorry, I digress…

Anyways, I am guessing ( now that I am a parent) that the famous Burger King birthday party was a way to distract me from the shit show that was/is my parents marriage. A nice distraction for the short blonde girl who had a southern twain that knew no one and was obsessed with Rainbow Bright.

Birthdays feel like New Years Ever to me. So much pressure to have a good time. Somehow a life changing event that occurs within 24 hrs. Usually it just feels like a shitty Monday to me but with extra pressure to fill the birthday void of the previous 30 some years. Questions of ” What did you do? What did you get?” give me anxiety. Its just another day to me but sometimes someone gets me a cake.

And I guess a shitty Monday is better with cake anyways.

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To the lady sitting on the rocks at the lake today…

Thank you. There is no doubt in my mind that you were not placed there by God.

” How old is he?”

He turned 3 at the end of June.

“He reminds me so much of my son who is 32 now”

Soft smile appears on my face.

G: ” Can I take off my shoes and socks momma?”

Sure, sweetie.

“Being a mom is probably the toughest job I have ever had. It is still hard and my son now has a 4 month old daughter. I still worry about him all the time. Being a mom is also the best job I have ever had too”

Still a soft smile.

G. ” Mom- LOOK at dat big rock! Can I throw’d it in the water?”

Of course.

“He is just so adorable. I bet he has a lot of energy!”

Giggles. YEP! He is literally running from the time he gets up until the time he goes to sleep.

G. ” Mom- Can we go over here and look for bigger rocks to throw?”

Yes.

” Enjoy this age. I know you have probably heard that before but truly, it goes by so fast. I worked so much while my son was young. He also had asthma so many of the times I had with him was giving him breathing treatments and making sure he was ok but you know what? He still remembers me sitting or laying with him during those treatments. He thanks me for all that I did for him when I really didn’t think he would even remember. I know so much feels up in the air and out of control but you are giving him everything that he needs. ”

That right there. THAT is what I needed to hear from this very kind perfect stranger today…” You are giving him everything that he needs”.

G has been in a sleep cycle from hell the past few months but especially the past 4 weeks. The nap is no longer. The bedtime is a fight. We are up with him multiple times a night and then he awakes at 6am ready to tackle the day. He is all go until about 4:30pm when as I like to say ” The Wheels on the Bus are falling off”. This is also the time that M usually starts her homework. The time between 4pm-7pm is intense. G is just delirious and M is wanting /deserves some attention as she has been at school all day long. Getting dinner made and on the table feels like the biggest accomplishment. And by dinner, as of late, I am talking cereal, toast, oatmeal, fruit, yogurt, and nuts. Nothing that requires more than 3 minutes of a prep time because my attention is solely on G making sure he is keeping his hands to himself and redirecting is overtired little body.

This lack of sleep and crankiness (from all of us) feels like we have a newborn again. After 4pm, I feel trapped in the house. Not wanting to leave because the glazed look on his face and the knowledge that he can snap at anytime. It’s hard enough dealing with this, let alone having an audience.  Often, I feel like I am a in a big dark hole trying to dig my way out. Running has not happened as much as I would like it too because I am not able to wake up at 4am once I have already been woken up at 12am, 1:30am, 3am and then 6am.   The days are so very long.

In the silence of the night, I pray ,mediate and breath. I ask God to place it on my heart what G needs from me. What can I do differently? What am I forgetting?

Just hearing ” You are giving him everything that he needs” gave me the refocus that I needed to have a little more patience with him ( and myself) today .

I am sure this is just a phase and will be a blip on the radar for I, one day soon, will be the lady sitting on the rocks at the lake, marveling at a 3 year old boy and his overtired mom.

Running with a purpose

I am no longer running the Chicago Marathon. This decision was not an easy one to make. I have hemmed and hauled for the past few months. The runs have not been easy. All of the long runs felt like I was getting a root canal.  Physically, I am exhausted. Averaging 4 hours of severely broken sleep is probably the reason. It feels almost like those newborn days again where I was only sleeping in 30-45 minute increments. Mentally, as of now, I can’t even see getting through a 5 mile run let alone 26.2 miles. Every week I would stare at my Hal Hidden schedule and feel angry that I would need to somehow get in 17 mile run. This is not the type of runner that I am. Not one that forces myself to run no matter what. Running was a stress relief for me not a stress inducer. being undertrained and overemotional is not how I want to be at the start line.

My dear friends daughter passed away on August 13 from a year long battle with Ewing’s Sarcoma. P was on hospice for 4 weeks prior to her death. My heart is broken. I am angry, sad, depressed and kind of still in shock.

Giving myself grace, patience and letting go of anything that is causing me more stress is severely needed at this time. There is no doubt in mind that I will run another marathon- someday- just not one in 45 days…. and I am ok with that.  Now it is time to run for my broken heart, soul and spirit.

Until we meet again, Chicago.

 

The shittest 13.1 miles

It is my belief that every single run teaches you something if you are present and pay attention. Don’t let that smile fool you ( I am guessing  it is because I have a beer) Last Sunday, I ran the Cleveland 40th Anniversary half marathon. Let’s not mince words here… it was awful.  Every single mile was a struggle. I kept waiting and telling myself that the next mile will be better. Easier. Familiar.

The entire week was calling for thunderstorms. The morning as we were walking towards the start line was perfect. Blue clear skies and breezy. My attitude was upbeat and positive. A. goal was to come in somewhere between 2:00-2:10 B. goal was to just have fun C. goal was to cross the finish line. C was accomplished- barely.

My friend and neighbor, Jackie was running her first half. Jackie didn’t have a time goal in mind at all but wanted to run with friends to make it fun. Our neighbor and recent cancer survivor, Angie, was also running this half. One of my favorite human beings/yoga teacher/ best grown up girl friends, Erica was also running the half. We all lined up together with the idea that if you are feeling it and want to leave the squad, do so. Angie was having some breathing/allergy issues. Erica and I were very much undertrained. Jackie is a natural runner and was ready to tackle the day.

At mile 3, Erica needed to hit up the restroom and told us to go on without her. Mile 4 was a killer hill that I was not mentally prepared for. Cleveland Rite Aid marathon was stating over and over again about how the course would be flat this year. Um. What?!!??!?!?!  I will say, it was flat at the end but we endured a few killer hills until mile 8.

Angie fell back after the hill at mile 4. Jackie and I were holding a steady 9:00-9:30 minute mile pace until around mile 8. I was super excited when I looked at my Garmin and saw that at 6 miles we were about little under 1 hr. Mile 8 is when the wheels on the bus started falling off. It got humid. My mind was not focused. I felt nauseous. My legs felt like pudding. I saw my husband and kiddos at mile 9 and asked him to sent me all the energy he could. If my children were not present, I may have had my first DNF. I didn’t want them to see me give up.

At mile 9, I turned to Jackie and told her ” Batter up”. I asked her to please talk to me for the next mile. I would listen and interject if I could, but I needed to be distracted. Jackie did just that. At mile 10, I stopped to fuel. Around mile 11, Jackie needed to go to the restroom. I attempted to go too and had nothing but while we were in the bathroom, I said to Jackie ” I would be so happy if we saw Erica”. I came out of the bathroom and guess what?!?!?!?!?  Erica was right in front of me!  I almost started to cry. Instead I hugged and kissed her cheek and said ” Lets finish this and get a beer!” We all three ran together until mile 12. I could tell Jackie had more in the tank and begged her to go, promising her that I would find her at the finish line. Erica and I ran together stride by stride, blazing down the shoot and cross that line.

I think since I have started running, I have ran 13 miles or more, 15-16 times. Never have I ever felt that awful. Defeated. Tired. I don’t want to make excuses. A shitty run is a shitty run but I do think that if you have a shitty run and don’t learn anything from it, then the shitty run was pointless. This training cycle was a tough one for me. I missed 40 miles. Eating and hydrating was not on point at all. Sleeping was an issue as well. Mentally, I was not a runner. My mind was distracted with other things.

Chicago Marathon is 20 weeks away. Time to put in the effort. I don’t want to stand on another starting line not feeling like  gave it my all.

Moving Onward——->

 

 

What being off of Facebook for 54 days taught me.

I am not catholic but I have a lot of friends and family who are. This year for Lent, I decided to give up Facebook and Instagram. Here is what I have learned:

 

1- The first few days are really hard. Its weird how just like a smoker that has certain times in a day that they light up ( after breakfast, 2pm, etc), I realized that I had developed a habit of when I would log in. I would grab for my phone and only then to be reminded ” No Facebook”. I deleted the apps from my phone and the iPad which helped out.  The first 72 hours made me realize just how much of a habit social media was for me.

2- I actually looked forward to seeing my friends and family to hear what was going on with them and to share my world as well. Meeting up for runs, yoga, drinks, or a family dinner was exciting again.

3- Less anxiety, anger and stress. Facebook was getting to feel like watching the news for me. After watching the news, I often feel sad, discontent and lost. Difference of opinions is fine but shoving these opinions down someones throat is not. The only negativity I was experiencing was my own and even so, I was able to nip this in the bud because I didn’t have an audience to feel my woes with ( misery loves company). Also, I was not feeling anxious to “do this, buy that, run this fast, eat this food, be this mom”…. The daily voices that I allowed in my head to make me question my “enoughness” (I don’t think this is a word but oh well!) was silenced.  This was a huge realization for me. I didn’t realize how much I was allowing other peoples messages to dictate my day, intentions, goals, ands feelings.

4- My love for reading came back.  Instead of scrolling, liking, making comments, etc, my “free time” was spent with actual books. Over the Facebook break, I managed to read 3 nonfiction books and 2 fiction books.

5- I got a feel for who I truly wanted to communicate/spend time with and vice versa. Out of my 200 and some friends, I was communicating with maybe 10 of these folks.

6- Being more present with my kids, husband, friends and family. When I was making breakfast, I was not doing so while also checking my feed. When out to dinner, my phone was tucked away in my purse. Being present during a playground trip or even brunch with friends, was a wonderful experience. I was able to “be here now” without feeling like I was missing out on something that was not even involving me.

7- My life is not for everyone. Broadcasting pictures, things my kiddos said, new adventures I am taking on , etc. Why did I feel the need to share with “friends”?   What was I trying to gain from this? Attention, love, being liked more? Was I lonely? It made me realize that I was seeking something and made me contemplate why.

 

My no Facebook and Instagram streak ended on Monday. We had just returned from Florida that day and I was getting messages that I was being tagged in posts. Insomnia drove my interest to see what was going on. Since Monday, I have logged on to Facebook a few times but only allowing myself 5-10 minutes. I don’t think this will be a daily thing or a habit for me any longer. I may even give it up again.

For now, I will take the lessons that I learned and make them a daily practice. Something I recently read said  ” If something or someone is no longer working for you, give it up”. This just may be my new mantra.

 

I hate the age 2-4 years old.

I am writing this during my almost 3 yr old darling boys “nap”. It’s 2:19pm and I am just praying that he will sleep for like 43 minutes so he is not a total______ by 5:03pm.  We are also in the mist of potty training. ” MOMMMMMMMAAAAAAA. MOMMMMAAAAAAAAAA. I got to poop again (his little head up close screaming in the camera) !!!!!” This is the 3rd “poop” cry for help. I have no clue if he is actually pooping because he closes the door for “pri-a-ceeee ( privacy) and flushes the toilet before I can see what is going on. Which is hysterical since I have not went to the bathroom by myself in like 22 months ( Ok- I take that back… I did pee very very quickly during the Chicago marathon at mile 17 in a porta potty. Oh heaven!) I have also been in his room to fill the request of water, one more hug and room being too hot. This guy is a master manipulator with his blonde hair, blue eyes and eyelash for days.

I fear we are in the almost phase of no more naps. I can’t imagine how I will function with out this 1-3hr respite that I so very desperately need. DD napped until kindergarten and even then, she would sometimes come home and take a little 45 minute siesta ( she was half day kindergarten). I will be super excited for no nap in the summer when we are at the beach, park or waterpark. Its still March in Cleveland. Its 28 degrees today with rain expected for the next 13 days. Momma needs her time. Bad. My brain can’t play anymore trains, hockey or hoops.

2 weeks ago we got rid of the crib. He is now in half of my husbands bunk bed with is new Rogue One Star War sheets. I cried a little at the sight of him in his “Big Boy Bed”. G will be 3 in June. Preschool papers are in. He is registered to start the Tuesday after Labor Day. G will be going to the same place that M went. As I met the director to give my enrollment form and the downpayment, she was shocked that he was already preschool age. I also cried then. I will probably also cry when I no longer need to buy diapers ( maybe not now that I am thinking about that).

Why did I cry?  Is it because G is our last? Is it because I think I should have been more active with him- taking G to the zoo, park, beach more. Could I have been more patient- read one more book, given that 60th hug?  Maybe its because the ages of baby to preschool scare me. I feel like I have no control somedays ( most all days). Is it because this is solid factual truth that I am getting older? Am I where I should be at age 29 ( ok 37.)?  37 doesn’t seem too old but geez…I guess 40 is knocking on the door.

Every day I wish I could be more. More patient. More healthy. More of a fun mom. More of a better runner. More of a better friend, wife, daughter  ( insert the list that could keep going here_______).  I was just mediating before I started writing to attempt to distract me from G not napping. As I was setting up to type, something happened to let me know that I am enough.  ( This is my favorite saying from one of my favorite humans Glennon Melton Doyle). My daughters teacher ( whom I am OBSESSED with!) sent me an email today to let me know that they were talking about the meaning of the word brave. Each student had to give an example of this word. M said ” My Mom”. She went on to explain that I was brave because sometimes her brother ( G$) was mean but I still gave him hugs and played trains with him even after a timeout. She also mentioned that I was brave because I ran marathons.

Wow. I needed to read those words at that time. Thank you M, the universe and God. I needed the reminder that God ( or whomever you believe in) made me a mother to M and G for a reason.

Age  “almost 3 ” is not my favorite age but neither was mile 21 at the Chicago Marathon.  I finished that damn thing with a huge smile on my face and no doubt being transformed into a stronger person. This stage for me will be tackled how I plan to tackle the next marathon. Stay in the mile (minute) that I am in, rely on support to get me through  ( husband, family and friends) and lots of beer at the end ( same.)!

 

Just me and Hal for the next 12 weeks

Oh wow. It has been a long time since I wrote a post. I had a few saved but I just did not get excited about finishing either one of them. This post will be about running because if you know me… talking running always gets me excited!

Yesterday was the beginning of the first training cycle for me. Cleveland Half Marathon is #1 on the list which takes place in May. I am not sure yet what my goal will be. Maybe I will have a better idea once the miles start to pick up. Breaking 1:55 would be amazing but I also need to be honest with myself. I have truly rested the last 4 months with a few runs a week here and there. Sickness has plagued me and my family. Glad that we are all on the other side of it.

I do have  few goals for the next 12 weeks. Writing them here to keep myself accountable.

  1. Cross train. For real. Not just one time. Every week. I am following Hal Higdon’s Intermediate 1 training plan which has cross training for Mondays. I can do this.
  2. Strength training. I want to do this Thursday’s.  Run in the morning and then strength train in the evenings.
  3. Stretch. Especially after anything over 5 miles.
  4. Hydrate like a mofo before and after  long runs.
  5. Cut down on the booze. Once a week should be enough.
  6. Run in new places even if this means traveling 45 minutes- 1 hour away.
  7. Read 2 books that are running related.
  8. Yoga. Once a week.
  9. Treat myself to a massage. I still have not gotten one for the marathon back in October.
  10. Hit up the trails a few times. Maybe even do a trail 5-10k. Just for fun. No time expectations at all.

I have got my training plan hanging on the fridge and I know my darling daughter will check it every day to see what I need to accomplish!

Whatever you are training for, may this training cycle be filled with fun, love for the sport and NO INJURIES!

Happy running, friends!