8 ( because it is my favorite number) things that I did not expect when I first started running with a group

1. I talk about everything and I mean everything with my running partners. Who knew you would be sharing deep dark dirt with gals that you merely have only met a year or two ago  (sometimes less than that). We have covered some pretty hefty topics in 5 , 10, or  14 miles that I have just grazed with dear hubby of almost 15 years.

2. You become obsessed with them reaching their goals almost more so than your own. Recently, I went away on a girls weekend with two of my non-running friends ( I am shocked they still wanna hang with me as running is my hot topic and all conversations lead back to me talking about running somehow…) and some of my dear running group friends were running a half marathon. I could not stop logging in to FB to see how they were doing. I also signed up to get text updates for a few of them.  Their victories are mine along with their losses. To be able to feel so ecstatic or so sad shows the depth of the relationship that has developed over the miles.

3. I am shocked at my ability to get up at 4:30am to meet these ladies for a run. If I try getting up at this time to go for a run by myself, it doesn’t happen. I have tried it. Even today. Set the alarm for 5am. Snoozed multiple times.  Because of this, I have already  lined up  3 “early bird” runs for this week with my alarm set for 4:15am. Not only do I get to catch up with some of my BRFs, I get my run in before the sun and kiddos are up.

4. You fall in to peer pressure… but the good kind. Plank challenge for 30 days straight. Sure! Can you run this half marathon with me? Ok! Lets do that 5k that is setting up after we just ran 8 miles and its hot has horse balls out. No problem! This actually just happened this past Saturday with my BRF Leslie. We were super tired and hot but we heard the 5k fee was for youth summer camp ( and we also paper, rocked, scissored- which in my opinion- is the best way to decide anything.).  They actually postponed the race for us so we could sign up and pay. SO much fun.  I even came in 3rd in my age division. Ok- so there were only like 15 people and I really wasn’t going that fast but I will take my 3rd place yellow ribbon proudly and mail it off to my whoirun4 buddy, Jacob. In fact, I thought the time said 24:38 and that we were going to break 25 minutes ( which is a summer goal I have for myself). Nope. The sweat got in my eyes and I could not see.  The time was actually 28: something. This just makes this spur of the moment 5k an even better memory.

5. You recruit other people to become a part of your running group because it is simply the best running group ever with the most supportive woman you will ever find.  I also belong to another running group and it is nationally known but to be honest, I am not a huge fan. They are very competitive (not my gig) and kinda bitches ( in my honest opinion). I am sure that they feel the same about their running group as I do mine.

6. You have this need to want to try to merge your running friends with your non running friends but you need them both for different reasons. Separate but equal. I love you both the same but in different ways.

7. The support goes beyond running. You are getting a divorce- how can I help? Need a new job- let me pass along your resume. Looking for a sitter- my teenage daughter is available. Where should we go on vacation? Belize for sure. I think my two year old is turning into a bully. Mine as well. Can I borrow your fancy black dress for this wedding I don’t want to go to? Of course!  The network is strong and build on a solid trusting foundation.

8. You can swear and bitch about your husband (not you of course sweetie), kids, jobs, in laws ( but not mine as they are truly the best), the rude stranger at the store, why in the hell is milk $5, lack of motivation, fell of the nutrition wagon ( again for the the third time this week), etc and after you are done, you feel better. Lighter. Less angry. More human.

Running is cheaper than therapy (except when you go to your favorite local running store to just buy new shoes and walk away with a new hat, socks, visor, nutrition, and whatever inspirational book they are promoting).

What do you love most about your running crew? group running

Finding the flowers amongst the weeds.

To say that the last two months the Universe has been testing me is an understatement. Now, I am aware that many other humans are suffering and going through shit storms that do not even compare to what I feel has been a trying time. Please note, that my perspective and disposition is typically Positive Polly although I do (sometimes) show my old  “waiting for the bottom to fall out” circa embryo to about 5 years ago.

I will not go through the entire list that keeps circulating in my head when I think back to the beginning of May to the present.  That will only make this time stay with me longer. Reliving and giving these events more energy is just like feeding a Gremlin after midnight.

Earlier this week, I met my yoga teacher/gal pal E for a short 3 mile run, dinner and drinks. E is my safe zone. I am my authentic self. Sometimes 100% crazy oversharing me. Sometimes the positive polly. Sometimes negative nancy. Sometimes quiet. One of the several traits that I admire about E is that she “gets on my level”. She listens with no judging when needed and sometimes judging when I ask her too. E and I were talking about how much we love “Hands Free Mama”. After we read this blog, while wiping the tears from our eyes and snot from our nose, this blogger gives us the motivation to become a little bit more. More patient. More loving. More real.  E sent me the link to one of her favorite “Hands Free Mama”posts.  It came at a perfect time. My new mantra after reading this is to find the flowers amongst the weeds.

 

Weed: My Uncle Gary took his final breath May 9th. He was 59 years old.

Flower: Besides no more suffering ( severe depression, CHF, COPD, diabetes), my cousin has returned to our hometown to live  in order to handle the path of destruction that my Uncle left behind. J, cousin that returned, was not doing so hot. Drinking to numbness became a daily (not nightly) occurrence.  J recognized this and took himself to AA. The strength to do this is admirable. I am not sure J would have came home without his passing. J would have stayed in his current situation and the spiral would have continued.

Weed: My Grandmother took her final breath June 4th. She was 89 years old.

Flower: Again, beside no more suffering ( Alzheimers, renal failure) and living in a nursing home that she despised, this side of my family has re-united after not much contact for the past 5-30 years ( depending on which family members/ different relationships). We all look older but the same personalities still shine through. Personalities and dispositions are timeless. Sharing what life has been like ( marriage, kids, divorce, marriage again, more kids, troubles with the law, getting clean from meth, retiring, moving, grandchildren) were just some of the lives that we have lived that none of us knew about. My hope is that this death has now brought life to our family again.

Weed: Earlier mornings. Later nights. Less “fun” ( I am being very picky with who I spend my time with and the events I attend).

Flower: I am training for my first marathon.( Eek. Gulp.OMG.) 4:30am is my alarm for tomorrow. Yes it is a Saturday and the Cavs are playing. I am finishing this post ( and my beer) and hitting the hay. Training for this marathon will keep me disciplined and I am only choose events that I truly want to go too. My BRFs are telling me that this training will be life altering. I can see this already. If it was not for running right now, I think I would be a hotter mess. Thank you to my body for holding me up when all I want to do is lay down.

Some more weeds have occurred in my flower bed but from now on, I am only admiring the growing, prospering and beautiful blooms.

 

 

1:56:49

It has been well over a month since my first half marathon of the season.  Glass City (Toledo, OH) was the half that I selected to conquer my goal of a sub2. The running group that I am so happy to be a part of (FTR… which means finish the race OR depending on how awful in is, F*ck this Race!) sets goals every January for the upcoming year.  For me the goals were 1) sub2 2) run a half for fun without considering goal time or pace 3) run a half at a steady pace the entire time  and 4) run a marathon .  It brings me joy to report goals 1 and 2 are complete!  Glass City was amazing.  1:56:49 was my time.  A friend from FTR, I call her Boston Nancy, paced me.  Nancy is a rockstar.  She knew just what to say and when to say it.  She talked me off the ledge miles 9.5-11. I am not sure what happens, but every single time I near 10 miles, even on a training run, my mind starts wigging out and then my body follows. Once I get past 11, I am gravy for the next 2. In fact, I have a tendency to speed up the last 2 miles.

Goal #2 was the Cleveland half.  I signed up for this with my gal pal/yoga teacher Erica 1 week before the race.  We wanted to do the CLE half  because we both love the little neighborhoods that CLE tucks away.  CLE half was my very first half marathon May 2012. It has a super cozy spot on my heart. Also, it is usually down right HOTTTTTT to the point that many people have passed out or have ended up in the medic tent due to dehydration. Not this year.  This year it was 30 degrees and  I am not kidding when I tell you, we witnessed all possible weather conditions in 13 miles.  On the way to downtown, we saw 8 cars in the ditch due to freezing rain/hail/ice.  Did I mention, that I also had strep throat?  Did I also mention that my uncle had died 4 days prior?!?!?!?  I was a hot cold mess.  Despite all of the above, we just took our sweet ole time.  We stopped at every water stop. We assisted a fellow runner who was pushing a girl with Rhetts syndrome.  We were literally removing hail and snow from this poor girls face while trying to wrap her up in dry trash bags.  E is in the type of person who just radiates calmness and good vibes.  If I do not see my friend weekly, I feel off. She balances me and makes me,me ( if that makes sense.). Our finish time was somewhere in 2:32ishhh range.  By far the slowest BUT the most rememberable race to date.

Goal #3- I have a half marathon in mind for this in the Fall.

Goal #4- Chicago marathon training started this morning.  7 miles at 8am.  Holy Shitballs batman.  It was ROUGH. Like- consider “why in the hell am I even a runner ” rough. I am so very thankful I had my sole sister Leslie with me. We were both on the struggle bus today.  Legs felt sloppy. Humidity was insane. Stomach was uneasy. Yesterday, M (6) and I did a lady tutu 5k but we did a run/walk combo so I don’t think that was it.  We did also take a bike ride and I mowed the lawn as well as helped lay some mulch. I didn’t feel sore. I felt outside of  myself. Like my body was foreign to me. So weird. Hoping to never experience this again.

The last few months I have been sick. I have had allergies, strep throat, and bronchitis with croup ( all diagnosed by the doc and treated with different meds). Because of this, my running, eating, sleeping, and hydration has been off. Todays run proved to me just how serious I need to get.  A marathon is a major event and proper training needs to take a priority in my life. Giving 100% is all I can do. I want to stand at the starting line knowing I gave it my all. Speaking of.. I better get off here and go drink some water.

Running on Empty

Yesterday afternoon, I busted out 10 miles. Truth be told, I had anxiety the entire week about this run.  While laying in bed yesterday morning, I had come up with at least 14 excuses to not run the 10 miles.  “Oh. Its SO cold out ( it was 30 degrees). My throat hurts.  I have enough time in my training so I can skip 1 long run. I can do my run Monday morning at 5am before anyone gets up”. Husband just let me say my excuses and he listened to me play this out loud.  Finally, I told him the truth.  I was scared of 10 miles.  Something about 10.  Being out of the single digits. More time on my feet.  “What if I forget how to run?  What I get cold, hungry, thirsty or tired?  What if I get kidnapped? What if I get hit by a falling tree?  The “What Ifs” in my mind were none stop.

Husband headed downstairs to fix fancy breakfast potatoes ( so very good!) and I had more time to really face my anxiety head on. Anxiety was fear. Fear of failing.  Not being good enough. The self imposed expectations that I had placed on myself were showing their ugly faces (again.) I started to do some soul searching about my relationship with running.  Is this healthy if it is causing me such a level of anxiety?  Running is such a part of who I am ( soul level speak here) that just like I can not imagine my life without husband, I can’t imagine my life without running.

Yesterday , I committed to myself to not live in fear of the “what if”.  Sure, some things are scary because they are new or uncharted territories but you don’t know, until you know.  Not to mention, I did sign myself up for the Chicago Marathon lottery. 10 miles has nothing on 26.2 miles! My current training is to hit sub2 at the half marathon I am running on April 24th.

A gal from my running group agreed to meet me for the run yesterday.  She was only supposed to run 6 but after I told her I had 10 to tackle, she said ” Ah. Whats 4 more!” The run was awesome. Amazing. Goal pace was 9:30. We crushed it.

This weeks intention before running… empty my negative thoughts, fears and doubts.  Right foot.Left foot. Repeat. 10miler

 

Attacking the Attachment

Allow myself some grace for the less than stellar moments. I am ( and will remain) perfectly imperfect.

For lent, I declared with my dearest friend, C, to give up booze and sugar.  I added mediation and gratitude. We are 14 days in. Let me be honest from the get go.  I have consumed booze and I have had sugar.  I have also meditated and made my grateful list.  3 times I have had some sort of alcohol and I think it is about 4 times that I have had some sort of sugar treat.  Prior to lent, I was partaking in sugar daily and booze at least 4 times a week.

Some may look at this and declare a fail. Some may also look at this and think perhaps I have a problem with booze.  Some may understand 100%.

I am not Catholic but I wanted to support my friend.  The times that I have “given in” the guilt is present and very real. Setting goals and meeting them are motivation for me.  I think that is why running is always my “go to”.  Training schedule indicates to run 3 miles.  Check. Done. Next.

Lent has taught me that I have attachments to above mentioned items as well as others. I am a complete asshole if I do not get to run and do yoga.  My body NEEDS these things for me to feel complete.  Coffee also makes the list.  Mediation is now on the list too.  Every morning, I make myself take 5 minutes to sit with my thoughts.

Are these attachments such bad thing?  If push comes to shove, could I give up living with no attachments?  If they are ok then why the guilt?

Let us also not forget my old blue Nike sweatshirt ( its has multiple stains- including bleach).  For whatever reason, I remember THE exact day I bought this sweatshirt in college.  It provides security for me.  I can not get rid of it and I do not want too.

I will continue to do my very best with lent.  I do feel much better and have more energy for my runs. I have also been straight vegan for 24 days. All I can do ( or all that we can do) is show up and do the best that we can given what the day brings .

Lent is also teaching me to be gentle with myself.  Allow myself some grace for the less than stellar moments.  I am ( and will remain) perfectly imperfect.

Written in Ink

I am not running away from you, I am running towards the next page.

The picture posted is my daughter, M (6), running last week at a local reservation we love to go too.  It was 60 degrees in Ohio in February. The day sounded and felt like Spring. This reservation has something called Storybook Trail.  Our library puts a children’s book one page at a time along a path on a wooden covered post to encourage reading while being active.  The book is usually 15 pages long.  M and I look forward to this very much. The books are changed out the first of the month.  (Have I mentioned how grateful I am for our community and library?  They are always coming up with new ideas to keep the kiddos engaged in reading.)

M was running ahead and I said to her ” Hey you!!!  Why are you running away from me!??!” M’s response ” I am not running away from you, I am running towards the next page”.  Wow.  That simple phrase made me stop, take out my phone to capture this moment.  That’s it.  Right there.  What M said.  Running towards the next page.

Being a runner, I love to run TO something. I often run to the lake. The treadmill feels like someone is locking me up in a small room with no windows.  To be running and going nowhere is an awful feeling for me.  I will brave almost all elements just to avoid the dreadmill.  I know this about myself so why do I continue to ” lock myself in a small room with no windows” about things in my past that I need to move on from?  Why can’t I just run towards the next page? I have already read that page ( time and time and time again).  The words never change.  The image is imprinted. Its part of my story.

I am living “running and going nowhere” when I obsessively dwell on events that occurred years ago. No matter how many times I hash it out- think it through- make up different or happier endings, the page will not change. It is set in ink.

And it’s just as it should be.  My story is being written with times of sorrow, depression, anger, hate, and innocence.  Just as well, my story includes joy, humor, love, happiness and hope.

I will run to the next page with the same excitement, adventure and enthusiasm as M did last Wednesday. Now… if I could just find a pair on pink glittery cowgirl boots in my size….

mads

Ok Universe. I will listen.

That silent voice that keeps getting louder… maybe it is time to listen.

This week has been filled with a repetitive message that the universe is trying to teach me (as well as some of my dearest friends and family)… When to let go.  Often, we hold on to expectations, beliefs, situations and even people, when deep down the voice inside of us is screaming “NO. GO”. Is it fear of giving up on someone or something?  Is it that this person or expectation defines who we are?  Is it that we feel obligated? Are we “what if’ing” ourselves into the possibility of a better future?

I have not ran since last Friday  This left leg thing is really stubborn and hurts like a mother.  I am supposed to be training for a half marathon in April.  Sunday, husband and I attempted to run a few miles ( and for the record, husband only runs with me maybe 1-2 a year with much, much persistence).  The pain was intense.  I had to stop. I had to let go of the fact that running was not going to happen. I was in pain and upset because all I wanted to do is enjoy a nice sunny Sunday run with my soul man. In fact, I was having such a hard time letting go, I attempted to run 2 more times even when the tears were washing my cheeks.  It was time to face reality. My body was screaming NOOO and I was responding back GOOOO. I know that I will heal and will be hitting the streets very soon. I had to let go of that run and my expectations.

The Uncle situation is a hot mess. After multiple phone calls and attempts to try to help him to help himself, I finally needed to let go of this.  I can not want to live his life more than he does.  The love and support is here but Uncle doesn’t want it.

Morning routines need to be followed in order for M to successfully get out the door fed, read, brushed and trussed in time for the bus.  Letting this idea go has made me a less insane mommy in the mornings.  Worse case scenario…if we are running behind… I take her to school( a mere 7 minute car ride). Best case scenario… no tears or screaming from anyone in the wee hours of the morning.

A hard area for me, that I am always trying to let go or balance ( damn Libra’s), is cleaning the house.  It needs to be done but I don’t want it to take away time from the kiddos or from my “me” time.  I am working on the fact that the house does not need to be this or that. Growing up, cleaning or having a clean room, was the only way that I was shown love.  To me, clean = worthy of love or that I was not a good child because of this “mess”.  Saturday mornings were spent trying to make the house spotless while at the same time praying that this would be the day that I did enough or that the house was clean enough, so I would be loved by my parents.  This day never came. And I know it never will.

let go

 

 

 

Lets talk about Gin

How Gin made me realize the changes that are occurring.

I am hands down a vodka girl.  Love it many of ways but prefer vodka “chilled. up. little bit dirty with 3 blue cheese stuffed olives, please”.  Any of my friends that have been with me when I order this lovely “just a little but dirty” martini looks at me quizzical. I know what I like when it comes to drinks, chocolate, and friendships.  My standards are high and if the night is a good one, all the above happen together.

Last night, I was honored to host book club.  We read “Girl on the Train” and one of my best gal pals (K) recommended having Gin and Tonics as the main character drinks a shit ton of these on a train, out of a can ( god love the British). With this being my first time hosting book club, I wanted to make a good first impression.  I went to my local grocery store at 10am and hit up the liquor store.  Along with the gin and tonic, I also purchased 3 bottles of wine, milk and goldfish crackers. The mid-sixities check out lady was a little taken aback but I think the goldfish crackers made her feel a bit at ease.

This is the first time I have ever had gin.  I like it.  I like it a lot.  The lime+gin combo is pretty impressive.  In fact, I am sipping on one at this very moment.  Gin for me is another drink option but it also made me realize that other tastes in my life have changed as well.  This coming from the girl who never had salsa until college ( I know, right!?!!).  Sushi scared the crap out of me until I tried it in Mexico on our honeymoon ( Again. I know, right!  Sushi and Mexico?  Wat. )  Now I crave it.  My husband is obsessed with hot sauce, hot peppers and anything spicy. After being with him for almost 15 years, I now have developed a taste for the hot sauce.  Franks used to be too hot for me.  Sriracha now keeps appearing on more and more of my foods

Now that I am mid-thirties, my tastes have changed when it comes to what I need from my relationships as well as what I need from myself. I have been beyond blessed with a handful or less amazing friends. Before, I wanted numbers.  I wanted to feel popular and well liked. Pretty. And smart.  I needed a lot of people around me to fill in the holes of my insecurities.  A few of these gals (K and S) have been only in my life for the past 3-4 years but honestly, it feels like we have been friends beyond this lifetime.  These gals are my mommy friends. I met them through a random picked playgroup when M was 2.5.  Thank god for that playgroup.  They have seen me at the highest and the very lowest points of my life, to date.  My other BFF (C) was given to me in college.  We met through a mutual friend of ours, a total hussy, leaving us at the bar to go home with randoms.  C wasn’t going to leave me by myself.  We bonded over said hussies never ending crisis filled life. C lives on the East Side and I only get to see her every other month or so but we connect every. single. day.  In fact, C just got back from a family trip and I about lost my mind.  Not to have communication with her was tough.  C is rock solid.  And bluntly honest. I love both and need both of these qualities in my ROD (ride or die) chicks. C,K,and S can look at me or hear the tone of my voice (or text) and call bullshit if I am pulling ” I am fine” while the tears are pouring down my cheeks or the rage is exploding out of my ears.  They get ME.  Let me be ME.  They call me out of my hippy side but love it at the same time.  They know when I am uncomfortable at another mommy event and stick by my side.  They text me to remind me to get my run in, eat healthy or take sometime for myself.  They listened to me complain for 9 lonnnnggggg months straight as this last pregnancy was my nemesis.   We text/ email with good news, bad news, shitty news, happy news or even no news.  We send each other funny articles off of scary mommy or huff post.  They are sometimes the silver lining on what seems like the rain cloud that will not go the eff away.  Without them, I would be lost.  I would feel empty.  I would be incomplete.

What I now need from myself is ever changing but this is also new for me.  I used to be very uncomfortable to the limbo position. Being a Libra, my daily goal is to feel balanced.  I am a very black/white girl.  I am either 100% into being healthy ( running, yoga, vegan, water, mediate, sleep, read, sex) or- not. What I need from myself ( at this moment) is embracing the imbalance. Being in the moment with G as he wants me to play choo-choo instead of putting him off for one last flip of the laundry or loading the dishwasher.  Its reading that one more story to M at night.  What I need now from myself is playing scrabble with GG or listening to her favorite teenage story just one more time.  Its staying awake to see my husband after work just to check in with him and see in his eyes if he is really doing “Ok”. What I need is to say yes to the things that make me feel excited and no to the events that I am just ehh about.  What I need is to give myself grace.  patience.  kindness-if the day spirals out of control.   What I need is to love myself.  Fully.  Deeply and unquestionable.

And if this doesn’t pan out, I still have gin and C, K and S.