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Archive for the ‘Why’ Category

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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Well, one of my friends just lost her 100th pound on her 40th birthday.  (I would post her name here, but I don’t know if she’s willing to be a public figure, so you’ll have to die of curiosity.)  Another friend is in size 9/10 jeans as of this weekend, in spite of her PMS.  (I have absolutely NO qualms posting her vitals here, since she’s crazy bold enough to share them with the world herself!) 

I am SO happy for them.  Not a bit jealous.  Not. One. Little. Bit.  Okay, well maybe a little.  But sheesh, these ladies have quite literally worked their fannies off, so it’s not like I can begrudge them their awesome achievements.

This just ain't right.

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As for me, faithful readers of this blog know just exactly how much weight I’ve (not) lost.  Indeed, LOTS of you have weighed in (No pun intended…I leave the puns to Linda and Charlie, who are really, really good at puns.  My humor usually occurs by accident.) with really great recipes in my recipe contest, designed to give me ideas and inspiration to be able to cook/eat/feed my family in a more healthy manner.   (Do you notice how often I interrupt myself?  Imagine being my husband (known here on this blog as HH).  Constantly being interrupted by my bursts of inspiration.  He’s such a lucky guy.)  Thanks for your entries!  I will be using them!

Anyway, it is not that I haven’t worked hard enough.  As you (may) know, I’m training for a marathon, so I am getting bunches of exercise.  And as you (may) know, distance runners are particularly weight-loss-challenged because of the distinct nutritional requirements of their sport. 

However, it occurs to me that my sport does not require me to have a burger and fries twice in one day.  And it also occurs to me that I now do have LOTS of awesome recipes from my faithful friends who read this blog. 

Further,  it occurs to me that I have this most salient reminder of two friends that have had MEGA success in the fanny-shrinking department, that these women are really normal, nice, friendly gals, who weren’t doing anything faddish or into some wierd trend.  They were just doing the Hard Work of monitoring what they put into their pie-holes.  These women aren’t supermodels, but they’re superheroes–at least in the weight loss department (and my eyes).  Worse yet, they are totally likeable.  I really LIKE them.  You can’t hate someone who you like, so since I like them I am now left with:  No Excuses.

Since I found myself today at the crossroads of No-Excuses and Forever-Fat, and since I found myself at the end of My Own Strength and Will-Power to Do Anything About It (seriously–I’ve made this a pretty public journey–the public nature of any “failure” would have been enough to have caused me to change if I’d been willing/able/ready to do it), I did the only thing that there was left to do.  I prayed.

[Time out now, because this is something I’m actually serious about.  I take myself pretty lightly, but God?  Now, I take Him seriously.  Just because God has a sense of humor doesn’t mean He’s a joke and He is one of the few things you won’t find me kidding about.  Just wanted you to know.]

SO, I prayed that God would just help me care.  Seriously.  I obviously hadn’t cared enough to do something about it.  I’m not trying to be hard on myself and I’m not trying to make light of God Almighty here.  But I knew that He cared about me taking care of myself, and I obviously wasn’t caring enough to make the necessary changes in the Eat Less curriculum of the Eat Less/Move More game plan I’d taken on. 

If God cared and I didn’t, then I had a problem.  So I asked Him for help.  And of course, He gave it to me.   [Aside:  Even if you’re not a Christian, the exercise/weight loss/diet stuff you’re about to read will probably interest you.  It’s worth it to continue reading.  If you are a Christian, please do not believe for a minute that I “heard from God” just because I said so.  Test it.  If you don’t know how, then message me or ask your pastor.   I’ll be happy to share my testing-process with you personally, but that’s way beyond this post.  Listen, the important thing to know is God does care and He does talk to us, but our “feelings” are not the litmus test for the will of God.  Even if you love everything I say, I don’t speak for God.  God is perfectly capable of speaking for Himself.]

SO…very surprisingly, the help that I received was in the form of several distinct and unassociated people who’ve had great success in this weight loss program called Weight Watchers.  Perhaps you’ve heard of it. 

Now, I’ve done WW before and was quite successful with it.  I have clothes that used to fit me in my closet to prove it.  The problem was that I “did” WW before and I’m now really, really looking for a permanent lifestyle change.  One that can accomodate my new lifestyle as Mom-Who-Runs.  One that I can do as a Normal Person (which I desperately would love to be) instead of either a Dieter OR as a Rebelling-From-Being-A-Dieter-And-Doing-Whatever-I-Please-Person. 

My big objection to WW was that I would have to go to those meetings.  Now, when my world operated on a different schedule, the meetings were not a problem.  At this point in my life, though, the meetings are Out Of The Question. And so, WW was out of the question.  Until now. 

I know this is old news to some people, but it’s new to me, and I’m kinda excited to hear it.  Weight Watchers now has an ONLINE program.  Which means no more (stupid) meetings!  No more needing to get a babysitter so I can step on a scale!  No more lecturettes!  

And *ahem* no more excuses.  

Undaunted, I had one last remaining excuse.  This bit of being an endurance athlete.  Seriously, people.  We need CALORIES to run 26.2 miles.  Or 13.1.  Or 10.  Or 6.  Reasonable people understand that there’s no way to safely crash diet and safely train for a marathon.  But THEN, while poking around on the WW site, I discovered something I’d forgotten entirely.  ACTIVITY POINTS.   

Hallelujah, activity points!  I don’t remember the way they are calculated.  (It’s been a long time since I achieved lifetime WW member status.)  But essentially, activity points help to account for the activity you do by giving you more points that you can/must consume for that day.  So there was actually a chance that I might be able to lose weight, train for my marathon, and not starve/injure myself in the process. 

There was a light at the end of the tunnel.  I just needed to reassess my WHY.

My motivation to lose weight is no longer what it used to be.  I’m not even willing to tell you what it used to be.  Seriously, I don’t even know if I can get my brain to go there.  NOW, however, my desire to lose weight has to do with not having to caring this extra 40 (to 45) pounds with me as a passenger on my marathon on February 21st.  My motivation is to lose some of that weight so that it doesn’t have to come along for the ride on my first marathon, or even most of the training for it.  Losing the weight will help me avoid injury, improve my time, and enjoy the experience (not to mention take a cuter picture) during that race.  So THAT’S the motivation.  And I can’t wait until January 31st to start thinking about it.

So here’s my question:  Who among you has tried (or knows someone who’s tried) this Weight Watchers Online thing?  Would you recommend it for someone as random as me?  Would it yield itself to the odd requirements of an adult-onset-endurance-athlete with a sweet-tooth husband and two athletic daughters to feed?  Would I injure myself trying it while training for this marathon?  Would you recommend it?  In essence:  HELP! 

Please, please, please give me your comments about this if you’ve got an opinion.  Even I’m not such a lover-of-contradiction that I’d start WW three days before Thanksgiving, but I’ll be making a decision about What To Do very soon.  It would be great to have input from people who’ve been there.

As it stands now, the extra weight I’d be carrying would be like carrying a preschooler in my arms for the entire 26.2 miles during my race in February.   Um, pass.  Clearly, it’s time for drastic measures. 

Can’t wait to hear your words of wisdom.  I thank you from the bottom of my…well, never mind. 

P.S.  Another benefit:  HH doesn’t know that there is a WW for Men Online available.  I feel a master plan cooking up.  This could be good!

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As promised from yesterday, Part Two.  If you didn’t read about all the challenges our Happy Family had in adjusting to having Mom Who Runs in the mix, click back to yesterday and get back on the same page with the rest of us before reading on.  No, really.  Click back.  Sigh.  I’ll make it easy for you.  Click here!  We’ll wait for you.

Before going any further, I just wanted to say that this post is written from and for the perspective of The Mom.  This doesn’t mean it’s useless for The Dad, The Kid, or The Candlestick-Maker.  It just happens to be written from the perspective of Mom, since that’s, well, my perspective.  Dads, kids, candlestick-makers, please feel included and loved.

Okay, now that you’re up to speed:  I think there are a lot of Very Busy Moms (who may just be accustomed to putting themselves last–it’s a mom thing) who, like me have struggled to keep fit, because the wants, needs and demands of Happy Family, came first.  In defense of Happy Family, it was usually our decision to put them first, but our last-placeness still is a major hurdle to our ability to keep up with an exercise program of any kind. 

In fact, I’m sure of it, because that’s one of the major things I hear from my mom-buds out there.  It’s also true of my workaholic-buds out there.  I can’t even get into the ever-stressed, mega-multitasking-workaholic-mom-buds.  Even when these gals have the time, they’re so exhausted at the end of the day that the last thing they can think of is running.   And the thought of doing something consistently?  Ha!  I don’t think so.

Enter, the “Why.”  You may have heard it before, but it bears repeating:  If you don’t have a good enough “why,” then “when” or “how” or “with whom” really won’t matter anyway.  There needs to be a reason that you’re doing what you’re doing that draws you forward even when things are difficult or awkward or frustrating (because you can be assured they will be).  

What’s your “Why” for running?  You might have more than one “Why.”  That’s great.  But it will have to be something that’s important enough to YOU (not your husband or your mother or your pastor or your best friend) to make yourself get your tired fanny out of your warm bed at 6:00 a.m. to brave the 45 degree weather, pounding the pavement with nothing but your Under Armour, your shoes, and your pepper spray for an hour. 

I’m one of those over-achievers who has several “Why’s.”  Yes, I’ll share them all with you at some point, but the one you already know about (remember that link you just clicked) had to do with being able to race in VA Beach with my baby brother. 

If this had just been about the race, it never would have been a big enough reason for me.  But this was about seeing my brother.  It was about spending time with him when I hadn’t seen him in many years.  It was about being so honored and humbled that he asked me to come visit and was willing, given his abilities as a serious endurance athlete, to extend his patience and stick with me at my pace and have his first half-marathon be so much slower than he was capable of running.  It was about wanting to be able to finish so that we could finish together more than finishing the race at all.  It was about growing-up:  realizing that he was no longer the ornery 10 year-old kid who would run backwards (yes, backwards) in front of me, teasing me as I moved with great effort at (my) top speed, spurred forward mostly by the thought of throttling him if I ever caught him (I didn’t).   In a big way, it was also about healing:  we’re really different people and have had our issues with each other, some big, and the fact that he asked me to come and spend time with him was a tremendously Big Deal to me.   I simply HAD to do this.

That, my friends, was a “Why” worth dedicating weeks of my life to a training program for. 

And I promise you, without that “Why” (and the others to be shared later!), Happy Family NEVER would have been willing to consider A New Way of Doing Things Around Here. 

Here’s how it went down:  I was able to share with my Happy Family how important this adventure was to me and how much I wanted to be able to do it.  Different women will find success in different means of communicating their “Why.”  Some may employ the “It would greatly support me in being more of a Proverbs 31 wife and mother around here.”  Others may find the June Cleaver approach useful:  “Surely you would want to support me in something so wonderful.  In the meantime, would you like a cookie?”  And still others will find success with the tried and true:  “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” 

In truth, I used a combination of these communication styles, but to my Happy Family’s credit it really was not a difficult “sell” and they were and are very supportive of this (and my other) running adventure(s). 

Once Happy Family has enthusiastically pledged their support of you in your Great Adventure, this is the time to mention that if you are going to be able to do this (and remain healthy, for heaven sakes) then there will need to be A New Way of Doing Things Around Here.  As for me, I let me family know that I would be following a training program and scheduling my runs/workouts in the way that (hopefully) would least upset their world, but that at least one day per week, I would need extra support while they were On Their Own during my long runs and recoveries. 

After this, it was VERY important for me to put each of my runs on our family calendar.  Don’t have a family calendar, Busy Mom?  Get one.  If you are going to train for an endurance race (my highly recommended manner of helping Happy Family adjust to the transition of having Mom Who Runs as their new mama), then you’ll need to start placing your workouts on the schedule right next to the piano lessons, soccer practice, kindermusik, and hubby’s bowling night.  Every bit of it’s important, Mama, including YOUR bit.  Putting on a calendar and putting it somewhere for everyone to see not only helps you stay organized, but also helps your Happy Family adjust to the fact that your bits are every bit as important as their bits.  Plus which, they get to see, literally, exactly how they are supporting you. 

Don’t overlook this step–if you’ve got Happy Family’s buy-in, it’s a home run.  For me it’s been a wonderful way of expressing expectations and sharing celebrations.  It’s helped me express to my family that I need their support as much as they need mine, and it also reminds me to express my appreciation for the sacrifices they make for me to have these running adventures. 

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The scheduling is important.  Critical even.  Because nobody has “spare time.”  LOL for real.  What is that, even?  For me, the key to having a consistent exercise program was to schedule my runs in first–before everything else.  How come?  Because it was the thing my family and I were least used to doing.  So I knew it would be the hardest thing to do and the easiest thing to blow off. 

An Example Problem:  In my case, I was unwilling to miss my daughters’ softball games in order to go on a run.  It was summer and we spent a lot of time on those stinking bleachers watching two different diamonds worth of softball.  Solution:  I figured out the distance from my front door to the bleachers and the amount of time it would take me to run/walk/crawl that distance.  Then I would leave my house 15-20 minutes before Happy Family on foot and they would at some point pass me in the car on the way to the game.  I timed it so I arrived about 10 minutes before the games.  I still owe a debt of gratitude to the other parents who endured me on the bleachers during those games while I was so stinky and sweaty.   The key for me, was I didn’t miss my runs and I didn’t miss my kids’ games.

You’ll have to be creative and you’ll have to schedule your runs.  For me, each and every time my kids are in a supervised activity that doesn’t require my participation or observation (P.E., art class, dance), I’m running on a planned run.  When they’re at the ice rink, I’m often running the stairs at the arena.  It may sound wacky, but if the alternative is not running on a scheduled day, then I’m potentially setting myself up for injury or failure at my next event. 

As a homeschool mom, this kind of creativity has been critical, because my kids don’t attend a traditional classroom, where I have the benefit of the free time when they’re not with me.  Mom’s who work outside the home, as I did for many years, would have a similar challenge:  not wanting to miss your kids’ events and at the same time, not short-changing our training.   Single moms, this is the time to call in your favors and ask for scheduled, consistent support from friends, family, neighbors and sitters.  Some moms may need to work with their bosses to have a day shortened in order to get those long runs in.

(Listen, this really is not extreme.  It does happen.  It can happen.  And it must happen, especially for you to get the long runs in.  You know what else–you’re worth it.  Your “Why” is worth it.  And when you cross that finish line, everyone who sacrificed a minute for your success will have earned the right to celebrate the success.  Moms Who Run love to share their success.  Another great thing about us!)

 Here’s what it took for my Happy Family to celebrate these victories and embark on this New Way of Doing Things Around Here:

  • Discovering my “Why’s”
  • Communicating those “Why’s”
  • Assuring my Family’s Support for My Training for an Endurance Event
  • Scheduling my Workouts (weeks and sometimes months in advance), According to the Training Program for the Race
  • Trusting my Family to Handle Everything Just Fine While I’m Running (sometimes the hardest part for control-freaks like me)
  • Appreciating my Family for Their Sacrifice and Support
  • And Doing the Doing:  Getting Out There, Regardless of Whether It Was Easy or Convenient or Felt Good That Day, and Running!

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