Category Archives: Running

“I Feel Great, and I am Doing Great”

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Some days, I feel like The Little Engine That Could… Except that I can’t. I really don’t think I can get up that hill without some serious intervention (double mocha caffeine, martini, 100 hugs, a crying meltdown, a prayer meeting, etc.).  But I am in the middle of it all- the boy lost his coat, the girl forgot her shoes, the water bill is due, the boss has asked me to do something I don’t want to do, the dog just started having seizures, and I am in my car, trying to get to work on time.

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My friend Sheri has a mantra “I can do more, I want to do more”.  I laughed in her face (more with shock than rudeness, I hope) when I first heard her say that- she was already way over a sane person’s limit (she wanted to run MORE miles of an extra leg on a relay race, having already run her 15 required miles and had not slept in 48 hours).  But lately I have stated saying just that out loud to myself when I get overwhelmed.

My usual go-to statement when I got overwhelmed was one word “Oh-God, I-can’t-do-this, please-help-me- I-cannot-do-this.” Compared to Sheri’s mantra, mine seems self-defeating, doesn’t it?  What if I switch it to “I can do this. I can do more.  Thanks for your help, God”.

I was running a puny 3 miles at lunch today, in the wind, on 4 hours of sleep, cranky as all get-out. I decided to put my racing mantra in gear.  About mile 9, I usually start feeling the knees tweak, the ankle ache, and I am not having as much fun as I did when I signed up for the marathon.  I start saying out loud “I feel great, and I am doing great”, over and over and over and over.  It gets me to the finish line.  And today, I was able to finish my little windy, grumpy, tired 3 miles with a half smile even.  Try it.

Of course we need to process the stressful stuff and cannot just push it down with a blanket Pollyanna phrase. These are for the middle of your day emergencies when your panties are in a huge wad.  I also have been known to sing “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming” in an ode to Finding Nemo.  That makes me laugh because I liked that movie, and I like Ellen Degeneres.  And I (usually) haven’t lost my son.

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Try these tomorrow when the milk boils over, the creamer is all gone, the teenager uses up most of the gas in the car, and you get bad news on the phone. Last Tidbit: teach it to your kids.  They have terrible days too, when they forgot their pencil, the teacher marked them late, they lost their lunch money, Mom harped on him for using all the hot water, and it seems like a dream to us, but they are still learning to handle it all. Our little fishies need us to model to them how to keep on swimming.

 

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… Next Week

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I had lots of arguments with myself over those proclamations I made last week. Mostly they occurred at 5 am when I didn’t want to get out of bed. It ended up great though. I ran 7 out of 9 days, which is lots better than half-sleeping, stewing, and procrastinating for 7 of 9 mornings during my run time, which just makes me feel anxious and pissy by 11 am. I finished laundry early enough in the week that I only had one load left by Saturday, so I actually got to play a little this weekend with my kids and with friends! And, I wrote almost as much as I ran, which is a 10 fold improvement. I was LOTS happier too. When we make time for the things in our lives that give us joy, and pay attention to priorities, the work we have to do feels much less like drudgery.

I am not hitting all of my goals, but the point is I’m much closer to being in mental shape for the challenges of single parenting. We are not on a cake-walk; this takes stamina and fortitude, among a zillion other things. I’m much closer to paying off all of my debt, hugging my kids daily, blogging good stuff, having clean socks and underwear, and reaching out to others than before I made those big goals.

Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.
-Harriet Tubman

Hmmm, that quote is humbling… I’m not freeing slaves on the underground railroad. I’m not making big social statements that will impact entire generations to come. I’m not going to be remembered in 100 years. But I am doing really important work- raising kids is the most important work I will do with my life. I am changing the world, starting with 2 teenagers. I broke the abuse cycle by raising them without their dad. I am changing the world, actually. Think about it– you are too!! You may have saved your kids from something or someone. You are teaching them to live differently than you grew up. You are changing your family tree too… We need to make lofty goals, dream big, and do our best job possible.

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Resolution to Resolve, Evolve, Revolve

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Bit by bit, getting better.
Slowly evolving a new habit.
My resolutions have to be an every day thing.  Otherwise, I debate myself. “Is this the day I run? I think Tuesday is better. Not today.” Then Tuesday I wake up and think “Tuesday is a terrible day to run. I like Wednesday”. I spendt my entire running window debating if 3 or 5 days is better. So, I resolve now to pick quick easy daily resolutions to help me be happier:
1. I run every day
2. I do laundry every day
3. I spend 15 minutes every day writing

Revolve: each trip around the sun, I seem to come back to the same issues, balance and self-discipline.

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If I resolve to these daily, then my energy is spent DOING them, and getting on with my life, rather than brain calisthenics trying to get out of my chores…

Chicken Dance for Your Soul

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I had so much fun this past weekend, I have to write about it. You know how valuable girlfriend time is, you know how much I love running, and you know how much fun a physically challenging adventure is. So, when asked, I said “Yes, I will jump in a van with 5 women I don’t know very well, and share 34 hours and 100+ miles run between the 6 of us.” It was a blast!

We chicken-danced along the highway, made a video for the “Call me Maybe” song using the porta-potties along the way as props (somehow, I will figure out how to post a video to prove our artistic talent to you), ate bags of potatoes chips, Swedish fish, and cinnamon bears, slept outside in a Church yard in broad daylight with 500 of our closest running competition, and generally laughed until we peed our pants. How old am I again?

I highly recommend finding a way to follow your hearts’ play requirement soon. It is true, I came home to an empty refrigerator, sleepy teens who had taken advantage of my absence, fur balls rolling their way around my kitchen on the un-swept floor, piles of laundry, and I was a teensy bit tired and sore still when I reported to work on Monday. But it was worth it! I have my kids 24/7. So once a year I do this race (and I did provide care for my kids- they just know how to work the system now to use my absence in their favor).

Not everyone needs to do what I did to nurture their inner spirit. You may not need to run 20 miles to get the office crap, the teenager angst, the financial stress, and the new wrinkle on your forehead out of your mind. But it worked for me.

Maybe you can:
Roadtrip to Las Vegas, Baby
Take a sick day and read a book in a coffee shop all day long while kids are at daycare/school
Go to Utah to see the colors change and the rivers flow
Sign up for an all-day pottery class at the Rec Center
Go to a yoga conference

Think of what you can do to feed that part of you, the overworked parent who is working her tail off trying to make ends meet and children behave. I am here to tell you that you can find it. Set the intention today, find a girlfriend or 5 to go on the lam with you, get it on the calendar, and do it.

Running, Music, and Teamwork

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I ran last weekend, in a race that was possibly the most fun I have had running, ever in my life. I absolutely loved all the competition, the demanding nature of it, the forced commradery, and the mountainous scenery. On all 4 of those levels, I was challenged and the trip came out all 5 stars, on all fronts.

Here is what we did:
1. Got 12 people together* for our team, of all abilities and enthusiasm for running (some were bikers, I gather).

2. Got 2 vans, and we lived as 2 6-somes for 36 straight hours (I was in an all-woman van, and yes, we got along fabulously- can you believe it?)

3. Ran 200 miles (over 2 mountain passes!) between the 12 of us. Very hard, tough runs. We each had 3 legs. They all varied. Mine were 4.3, 8.5, and 6.5 miles long.

4. Laughed, encouraged, ate crazy food, and napped (very little) and shared all of our gory digestive issues, together. Made memories.

It was amazing, I was part of a “gang”. We painted our van, heckled and cheered on other teams, took photos of each other, sang old Rod Stewart songs, shared long-distance running food techniques, and stomach aches. I made new friends whom I hope to do this again with.

I am hoping to turn this incredible experience into more good times, to be motivated to do more team-oriented/new friend making ordeals. It was really good! Life is good. No matter what we are doing, we can find the lighter side, the beautiful scenery, the long haul uphill, and most importantly, company we crave.

*I should mention that I joined this event in an effort to meet cute guys. God had a different plan… I ended up on a team with 2 maried men and 9 other women, all of whom seemed to be either amazon-tall cross-country runners, or seasoned marathoners. I didn’t meet any cute guys, but I shared an awesome time with really fun people. Sometimes we get what we need rather than what we want!