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The past few days have been a real challenge to get my mile-a-day minimum run in.

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On Saturday, I took my turn as SuperMom and helped chaperone a bus full of middle school girls at a show choir competition.  For about 16 hours.  With freezing rain scheduled for the day.  I was faced with the devil-and-the-deep-blue-sea decision of whether I wanted to run at 4:00AM or whether to run outside in a strange community, during unpredictable weather, without fully knowing the schedule in advance.  Full disclosure:  I am NOT a morning person.  At all.

At 4:10AM, I was pounding out my mile on the treadmill dreadmill.  I was grateful for that decision by the end of the day, because we were later getting home than expected.  One of our students had won a solo competition and the team stayed later to support her performing.  (Did I mention that student was MY kiddo, Princess?!  Yay!  Shameless proud mama moment, pardon the digression!)

The next day was f-u-l-l of activity and recovery.  I got to drive four hours to pick up Ninja from her ice hockey weekend, where another family had taken her on the adventure two states away.  It was one of those torn motherhood weekends where both children have Big Deals happening and you can’t be both places at once.  In any case, Ninja had a stellar goaltending weekend (Her coach said it was the best 4 games he’s ever seen her play!  Oops, did it again.  More mama pride.  Sorry!)

The amount of windshield time spent with a daughter in travel hockey is great for one-on-one conversations with your teenager, even if it is hard on your running schedule and the size of your behind.  So of course, this chauffeuring caused a dilemma with my running schedule.  No problem, I thought.  I’ll just hit the dreadmill before midnight.

Please understand.  I despise the dreadmill.  I am an outdoor runner through-and-through.  But this night, when I got home at 10:45PM and it was 18 degrees and ice-covered outside, I was grateful for it.  I pulled on my running shorts and sped down to the dreadmill, only to discover–shock and horror–that the stupid thing had bitten the dust.

Flashing an error message and stubbornly refusing to be reset, the dreadmill had been turned overnight into the oversized clothes-hanger that is its sole remaining function.  Which meant, either I was going to break my resolution, my streak, my commitment to myself, OR I was going to go out into the icy, black, now 15 degree night and get that mile done.

Racing now, to beat the clock and make it out and back before midnight, I donned my eskimo-running gear, my reflective vest, and pulled out the leash for Hyper Puppy, who was thrilled by the chance to accompany me on my unfortunate run.

In the end, I managed to make it back without freezing or falling (no thanks to Hyper Puppy, who surely kept me from being mugged, but whose excruciating enthusiasm about knocked me over many times).  And I made it back on time.

I went to bed that night after the very long and un-restful weekend, with that highly satisfying feeling that comes from stretching out beyond what’s comfortable for me and doing what’s hard, just because I’d committed to it.

I know the earth would not have stopped spinning on its axis if I’d just blown off my mile.  I know that with all the Really Important things that are going on in the world right now, my little mile is very, VERY low on the list of importance.  But I also know that in spite of the fact that it was a Small Thing, it was a thing I’d promised myself I was going to do.  And as a mama, those promises-to-self have always been the easiest to break, especially when I was taking care of everybody else.

But this weekend, I managed to take care of everyone else AND I also kept my commitment to myself.  Which is a soul-strengthener every time.  And as I keep this up, day by day, 2013 looks like it might be a pretty darn good year.  Because this year, while doing everything that needs to be done, I’m  remembering that my things are part of that “everything.”  I’m remembering (at last), that I matter too.

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This post is really a post for Saturday.  But seeing how on Saturday I am going to be on a school bus before 6:00AM, chaperoning middle school show choir students at a competition (No drama there at all!) and getting back somewhere around midnight, I thought I might just squeak one out a little early.  This would be part of the “motherhood” role of Go Mommy!  It will be quite enough to figure out how I am going to run my mile tomorrow…

So (a little early), happy weekend!

rundisney 2013 WDW Marathon Medals  MARATHON-HALF-AND-GOOFY-MEDALS-PIC

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So WOW!  This weekend is the Walt Disney World Marathon weekend.  Which means lots of people from up here in the chilly (well, not today) Midwest have been training in the cold and challenging weather to go and kick asphalt in the Florida sun.   Having trained during the winter for a Florida winter marathon a couple years ago, I know that temperature/humidity adjustment is not going to be a cakewalk for our friends running in the Happiest Place on Earth.

For anyone who is not a hard-core runner, this may surprise you:  There are some running (super)freaks who are planning on running both the half marathon AND the full marathon during this same weekend, which will qualify them for the (appropriately named) Goofy medal.

I do love races.  Not because I am fast.  (I’m not.)  Not merely because of the training challenge.  (Somewhat, but not entirely.)  Not even because it’s kind of fun to have a reason for people to think you’re a little nutty.  (Though true.)  I mostly love races because of the MEDALS.

The bling.  Shiny, shiny, shiny.

I know.  It’s such a shallow thing.

But you DO have to earn these things to be legit.  You have to show up and you have to finish.  And for a painfully slow, late-bloomer of a runner like me, earning a race medal is quite simply, awesome.  (I wore the medal from my first half marathon for an entire week.  No joke.  And I would encourage you to do the same for your first long race if you haven’t run one yet!)

And nobody does race bling like Disney does race bling.  Just look at those guys!

I. Want. Those. Medals.

Sadly, I have never run Disney.  Not any part of it.  But based on the legends shared by some of my running friends, I can promise you that I want to!  Maybe THAT would be an amazing thing to train for during the fall of this year…

For now, remember to cheer on your friends who are soaking up the Florida sun this weekend, running their buns off for some duck/mouse/dog bling.

And if you’re run it, or have a loved one who’s running it, pretty please tell us all about it here so we can be jealous of encouraging to you!

Good luck and we’ll see you at the finish!

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So today, my choice is this:  

My awesome running shoes that I L-O-V-E

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Or this: 

Hockey skates. Not mine. For sure.

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Option A: 

Today I have hockey (Ninja’s practice–leave at 6 a.m.) and hockey (amazing high school game–spectator–leave at 3 p.m.)  and hockey (awesome, but brutal, college game–spectator–no departure time, we actually will never have left the rink). 

See, Ninja (11 year-old–for one more day–ice hockey goalie on a boys’ team) has a Hockey Day ahead of her and I am Transport.  Helpful Husband is working All Day tomorrow, so really, he’s not helping so much in the Transport department.  

Option B  is:  

Run.  

And herein lies the problem.  For mamas.  Maybe for dadas too, but I really have yet to figure these guys out, so I just can’t speak for them.  The problem: 

I have a commitment to myself.  Ninja has a commitment to herself, her team, her development, her future, her possibilities, her…  You get the picture.  

Listen, if you’re a mama (parent), you probably recognize the agonizing decisions that have to be made when faced with your exercise routine versus your kids’ activities/involvement/commitments.  

And you, no doubt, surely are expecting to find some sort of get-tough motivation from this marathoning mama.  You might be predicting I’ll tell my kid to find herself a ride to her 14,952 activities she has scheduled for the day.  

Yeah!  Gotta love myself before I can love anybody else!  Gotta refill the emotional and physical tank first! Gotta take care of myself so there’s someone there to take care of those kiddos!  Of course, that’s what you’d expect from me. 

So who will be taking Ninja to her multitude of hockey commitments tomorrow?  If you’re a mama, you’ve probably already guessed it: 

Me.  

Yep.  Totally sold out on my workout for this Saturday.  Putting my Svelte-Self in the back seat and my Real-Self in the front seat as my kid sleeps while I drive an hour to get her to practice at the crack of dawn.  

Does this make me a Work-Out-Sell-Out?  Maybe.  But I hope not.  

Because years from now, my daughter might just remember the opportunities I’ve given her.  An even slimmer chance:  she might actually appreciate the opportunities I’ve given her.  But no matter what, I know for sure:  

I’ll remember the look on her sleeping face as her goalie stick rests on the pillow above her head while we drive to her early morning practice.  I’ll appreciate the chance to watch her sleep peacefully, not a single worry in the world, even though she’s navigating the turbulent ocean that is pre-teen life.  

And I’ll know I’ve contributed to something, someone, important.  Bigger than the workout, the run, the exercise schedule.  Bigger than me.  

Which is the difference between being a standard, regular Runner and being Mom-Who-Runs.  

If I’m a sell-out, then I’m a sell-out-for-my-kids.  Not every time.  But when it matters.  

The run, the sit-ups, the treadmill, will all be there later in the day.  Or even *gasp* tomorrow. 

And the wait is worth it.  

And I will be gentle with myself and stop judging myself about it. 

And for today, it is really, REALLY okay.

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So when you saw the title of this post, did you really think I was going to post my “Before” photos here in all of my XL glory?  Seriously?  HA HA HA HA  No.

But here’s the idea: 

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Now please, before you go reading anything into this cartoon, please know I just snagged it from google images (credit given) because the lady still looked cute, even for a big girl.  Kinda like me.  So I appreciate her struggles, even though she is, well, a cartoon.

The thing is, I DID just take some super-duper-top-secret “BEFORE” photos.  I’m getting ready to start something new this Monday and I’m certain that the last quarter of 2010 is going to yield awesome results for me physically!  The Before Photos will be my evidence of how far I’ve come. 

But I am most certainly NOT going to be sharing those “Before” Pics here unless I’ve got some hottie “After” Pics of myself to post along side them.  This will take time, effort, and cooperation from my metabolism.

If you want to know why most people don’t embark on these weight-loss odysseys that require photographic evidence, I have a theory. 

I do NOT think the problem is not wanting to face one’s blubbery image on the screen.  I do NOT think the problem is embarrassment of the throngs of curiousity-seekers who might ogle at your photo like some sort of freak in a carnival tent. 

No, I’m pretty confident that the Real Issue is that Before Photos are NOT a one-person job.  There is another person clicking away at the camera to capture all that voluptuousness.  In theory, this photographer is an encourager, someone who you trust.  But the Before Photo is where theory meets reality. 

It’s ugly, people.  In so many ways.

I shall illustrate.

My photographic helpers were daughters Ninja (11 year-old tomboy) and Princess (10 year-old girlie girl). 

Princess:  Mom, you don’t look that fat.  You look cute.

Ninja:  You don’t look fat at all Mom.  (pause)  *giggle*

Me:  What?

Ninja:  (collecting herself)  No.  You look great Mom. 

Princess:  It’s just that we’re not used to seeing you with, you know, THAT (points to my XL belly sticking out between the bottom of my bright yellow running bra and the waist of my black compression shorts.)

Me:  Yes, I usually try to be more modest.  It’s not like I’m going to be wearing this get-up out at…

Princess:  (interrupting)  No, really Mom.  It’s not that you look like a hootchie or anything.  It’s just that I had no idea your belly was so…

Ninja:  (cutting her off)  Let’s take the pictures, now.  (clicks away at camera)  Okay, turn to the side now.

Me:  (turning) Like this?

Ninja:  Sure.  Yeah, Yes…Yes…  ACK!  WOW!  Oh Mom, I had no idea. 

(Princess flees from hallway photography studio, possibly in fear, possibly to avoid being caught laughing at mama.)

Me:  Nice.  Did you get the stinking picture?

Ninja:  Yeah, Mom.  Here’s your camera. 

Me:  (looking at the photos)  Ugh.  I have my work cut out for me.  Thanks for your help, girls.

Princess:  (peeking back around the corner)  You really do look cute, Mom.

Ninja:  In a silly kind of way.

Princess:  Yes, “silly.”  That’s it exactly.

Me:  (muttering to myself as I head away from the camera crew, who I imagine is now dissolving into a fit of giggles) I guess the whole experience could have been worse.

Helpful Husband:  (from the next room) What experience?

Exactly.

So this is exactly why most people do NOT put themselves through the ordeal of those Before Photos. 

Marathon training?  No problem. 

Intense cardio?  Awesome.

Strength training from hell?  Bring it. 

They are small potatoes compared to the ordeal of the Before Photos. 

But I figure if you can make it through the Before Photo ordeal, then everything else is downhill from there! 

Check back with me on December 31, and I’ll tell you whether it was worth it!  🙂

 [UPDATE:] 

Helpful Husband has now been exposed to this blog post.  After laughing hysterically–a little too loud and long, I might add–he asks, “When did this happen?  Was it here?  Was I here?  Really?” 

“A couple weeks ago.  Yes.  Yes.  And yes.”  Hard stare at HH.

Long pause while HH ponders whether he would have been in more trouble if he’d been involved during the infamous photo shoot than he is for being so very unaware. 

Again, I say, it could have been worse!

 

 

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I hate thinking about how long it’s been since I’ve sat down to write here.  Even now, I feel like I’m sitting down with a long, lost friend.  It’s great to be back.  Thanks for missing me.  I’ve missed you, too.

You know this.  Moms-Who-Run wear many hats.  You can wear lots of them at once.  But not all of them.  Still, it’s easy to forget that your head is only so big and only so many hats will fit up there.

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Then, when Life lifes you, as mine has this past year, you realize what’s most important.  And those are the hats you wear.  And those are the things you do. 

So it was that as a Mother-Runner-Daughter-Wife-Writer-Teacher-Reader-Student-Knitter-Saleswoman-Public Speaker-Trainer-Cheerleader-Chauffer-Cleaning Committee Member-Moving Crew Member-Chief Laundress-Referee-Wound Treater-Hug Giver-God Lover-and Glue that Holds It All Together for My Family, with the application of enough pressure, heartache and disaster, some of these hats had to be taken off and thrown onto the pile with the dirty laundry for awhile.   

If you asked my daughters, they’d tell you exactly what I need:  “You need to run.  And you need coffee.  After God and us, of course.  And your running is good for all of us, Mom.  Seriously.  Same with the coffee.”

So what does Mom-Who-Runs do?

When Mom-Who-Runs is faced with financial disaster, she runs. 

When Mom-Who-Runs is faced with heartbreak, she runs.

When Mom-Who-Runs is faced with the loss of a home, a friend, a dream, she runs.

When Mom-Who-Runs realizes she can no longer write, knit, dance, play, because there truly is no longer time for these luxuries, she runs.

When Mom-Who-Runs is faced with ending her kids’ homeschool experience and putting her kids back in traditional school in order to get a job and help her family survive, she runs. 

When Mom-Who-Runs has a husband in intensive care, she runs.

When Mom-Who-Runs hears her own mother and number one support system has been diagnosed with stage three cancer, she runs.

When Mom-Who-Runs switches roles and cares for the mother who’s sacrificed so much caring for her all these years, she runs.

When Mom-Who-Runs gets to pack and move an entire household with her own hands and the help of her two cherubs and a few very loving friends who come through when it counts, she runs.

When Mom-Who-Runs gets to choke back her own sorrow while she wipes the tears from her daughters’ eyes as they say goodbye to the only home they’ve ever known, she runs.

When Mom-Who-Runs turns into a puddle (finally breaking down under the pressure) just because someone has been nice to her, she runs.

When Mom-Who-Runs is surprised by her own medical diagnosis, shares it with her boss, and is fired coincidentally the next day, she runs. 

And she runs.  And she runs.  And she runs.

And she loves her children and her God with a love that is fierce.

And she runs.

And if she doesn’t run, then you know that something is wrong.  And if you love her, you move heaven and earth to get her back on the road or the trail or the treadmill again.

Because the running will bring her back.

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During the time I’ve been away, I’ve run a full marathon, two half-marathons, an ultra and several 5Ks and trail races.  I’ve logged hundreds of miles.  I really haven’t gotten any faster or skinnier. 

But thanks to the running and my kids and the prayers of my family and friends, I am BACK.  Along with my Writer Hat.  And I think we might just stay awhile. 

 

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Yes, that was the highlight of my workout routine. 

Came home after the Ninja’s very early hockey game with Great Intentions of getting So Much done.  Going on a run and decorating and cleaning and laundry and zzzzzzzz…….

Well, at least I’m refreshed for Monday!  😀

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Just a reminder, Sunday is the last day submit your recipes for our Contest. 

The How (guidelines) of the Contest can be found and entries can be submitted HERE.

The Why (desperate plea for help) for the Contest can be found HERE

The drawing for The Prize will be held on and the winner will be announced on Monday. 

 

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