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Posts Tagged ‘children’

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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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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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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Me:  (Happily discovering that another food I like is cheap-o WW points)  Yes!

Princess: (Spying on me instead of picking up her room)  Mom, what are all the points for?

Me:  (Ignoring the question)  Is your room done?

Princess:  (Ignoring the question)  Are those points anything like Webkinz Kinzcash?

Me:  (I’m hooked.  She got me.)  No these are points that add up to a certain total I get for the day and then for the week…(long explanation trails off when her eyes glaze over)

Princess:  (Waking up from the glaze when she realizes I’ve stopped talking)  But what do you GET for the points?

Me:  I get to lose weight.

Princess:  Sounds like a rip off.  You should be able to use those points to buy something, like in Webkinz World.

Me:  I get to lose weight.

Princess:  How much weight have you lost?

Me:  I’ve only been doing this since 8 o’clock this morning.

Princess:  (with complete sincerity)  Yeah.  How much weight have you lost?

Me:  (after staring at her in disbelief during a long pause)  Is your room done?

[Princess exits with lightning speed.]

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Okay, so ya’ll were pretty much on to me in the poll about my Top Secret Cross Training Exercise.  (I’d surely like to know which one of you voted for “Other” and typed in “12 oz. curls after a run!”  Confessions, anyone?)

So you guessed it.  My cross-training exercise of choice is:  Tap Dancing.  This is only mildly remarkable because I hadn’t danced in a group/team/class since high school.  And I’d only even put on tap shoes a couple times in my adult life.  I would have had better chances at success being a hockey player or a nuclear scientist.

But I thought I’d give it a whirl since my little princess is The Dancing Queen and my darling ninja has decided to take dancing lessons to make her a Better Hockey Player.

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So I see this sign:  Beginning Adult Tap Lessons–Try It!  And I think:  how hard can it be?  After all, I’m an athlete, a runner.  I signed up for the class, thinking it would be fun, but wouldn’t really qualify for anything mildly aerobic. 

Imagine my surprise when I learned that there were very few times that tap dancers actually ever stopped moving.  Think of it as the equivalent of jumping rope for 45 minutes while trying to learn new ways to move your feet, remember these ways in varying patterns, have each move of your toe or heel make a particular noise at a particular moment,  figure out how not to run into the other dancers in the room (all 15 years younger than you, of course) and, if possible, to do all this while not falling down on your larger-and-older-than-the-rest-of-the-group’s fanny. 

So maybe this actually was exercise.  Yes, definitely. 

Way different than running.  Which is, for me, essentially a solo endeavor and in which the tricky footwork consists of exactly two moves:  thump, thump.  And the biggest challenge consists of willing yourself to go farther or faster. 

So the tap dancing thing has been a welcome way for me to get that aerobic exercise without pounding on my old joints once a week.  It’s given me a chance to focus my mind a different way than I’m used to, which is a welcome brain-stretch.  It’s given me a chance to educate some whipper-snappers in the reality that indeed, Thriller and Bust-A-Move were, not that long ago, songs that real people danced to, not just some funky retro music.  And it’s given me yet another opportunity to laugh at myself, because truly–I’m quite a sight to behold, let me tell you. 

And just today, another thought occurred to me.  Happy Feet.  Oh, yes.  It makes total sense that I would love tap dancing, since I am a penguin. 

One of my running heroes, John Bingham, refers to himself as “The Penguin.”  He refers to a time in his early running career where he envisioned himself as a swift and beautiful, muscular animal, running mightily, at which time he passed by a storefront and saw his reflection in the plate glass, where he saw something closer to:  a penguin.  Are you a Penguin?  Click this link to find out:  You Might Be a Penguin If…

How does this penguin business relate to tap dancing? 

Of course, this runner would love tap dancing.  This runner is a penguin.  And in both persuits, my feet are truly happy.

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As I relayed to you yesterday, I’ve reached the point where I am finally ready to do what’s necessary (within reason) to shed the extra weight I’ve been dragging along with me on all these running adventures.  Yesterday’s post gives you all the background on this epiphany, and you really should read it before you enter this Very Cool Contest.  Here’s the link:  LINK

THE CONTEST

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The aim of this contest is to provide my family and me with a collection of recipes that meet our family’s unique standards for health, taste, ease of preparation, and overall appeal.  Each contestant can submit as many recipes as they wish to share.   (Share early, share often.)  Recipes must meet our family’s bizarre requirements in order to qualify for entry into the drawing.  (For example:  Recipes that evoke my kids’ gag reflex will automatically disqualified.  It is strongly recommended that you review the Requirements section before submitting your entry.)  Recipes should be submitted in the comment section on this blog to be considered.  Each qualifying recipe will be entered into a drawing for The Prize.  Winner will be drawn at random from qualified entries.

(Doesn’t this sound official?  Woo hoo.  Actually, it’s just me, spouting something that sounds really contest-ese.  Anyway…)

TIMEFRAME

Entries will be accepted between the moment you read this and midnight CST on November 26th.  Why so long?  Because I’m thinking that someone may just have some scrumptious, yet healthy, dish that they had not considered as an entry brought by an unsuspecting aunt or grandmother to their Thanksgiving table.  Get that recipe from Grandma and get it to me!  This convenient timeframe gives you the chance to post those recipes as well. 

SPECIAL TIMEFRAME

Because I am quite desperate to start getting and using these yummy-but-healthy recipes NOW, each qualifying entry that is submitted between now and midnight CST on November 8th, will receive TWO chances to win the prize.  (These recipes will be put into the drawing twice.)  Please don’t complain to me about recipe discrimination.  The early recipes get the bonus entry because it’s my contest.  So there.

THE REQUIREMENTS

1.  Entries must be for a lunch or dinner main dish.  Actually, a really awesome side dish or soup would be considered too.  We’re hungry, people.

2.  Recipes must be super-easy to make.  I do mean it when I say SUPER easy.  They must be clear and contain no margin for any kitchen-moron to err.  (My friend Helaine once sent me a recipe that included the instruction to take the wrapper off the cheese and throw the wrapper away.  True story.  I’ve come a bit further since those rookie days, but not by most people’s standards!) 

3.  Recipes must be no-hassle and speedy to prepare/cook.  Alternatively, they may be super-fun to make with youngish children who want to be involved with Everything Mom Is Doing In That Kitchen.  If your recipe could turn me into Culinary-Wonder-Mom with my children, creativity points and kiddie relationship points would outweigh this fast and hassle-free requirement. 

4.  Carbs are important because we are athletes.  Be low-cal without compromising reasonable carbs.  (Plus carbs are yummy.  I’m a serious grouch without them.)

5.  The dish must not be fancy in appearance, ingredients or cooking technique.  If I have to shop someplace special for some wierd spice, I won’t do it, no matter how yummy it is.  We are plain-jane meat and potatoes people here, so getting too creative really doesn’t work for us. 

6.  No mustard, mayo, fish, brussel sprouts, tofu or vinegar.  (I’m sure I’ll add to this Ick-List before the contest is completed.  Sorry this is all I can remember now, but they are actually deal-breakers, guaranteed to tweak the gag-reflex, so I’ve included them here.)  Cheese is okay, BBQ is okay, picante and salsa are okay. 

 7.  Veggies are okay, but it’s best to go kinda easy on them.  Daughter N could eat them all the time, but the rest of us choke them down because we know they’re good for us.  Keep them palatable, because we’re already making a sacrifice by consuming them in the first place.

8.  The dish must be delish to an 8 year-old.  Or at least not start the gagging sounds.  If you don’t think a kid would like it, chances are it wouldn’t fly at our house, even with the grown-ups.

9.  The dish must be economical.  No rare and expensive ingredients.  That’s not in the budget, plus we really wouldn’t appreciate it, most likely. 

10.  Any other Requirements as needed to be added. 

THE PRIZE

You will have your Choice of one of two cool prizes. 

 

dri fit sock

 

Prize Number One is a pair of high quality technical socks–NEW, not from my drawer (Nike Dri Fit or Under Armour or something else equally as awesome). 

mix-n-chop

 

 

Prize Number Two is a (NEW) Pampered Chef Mix-N-Chop (one of the coolest kitchen doodads I’ve ever encountered). 

 

Yes, I know it’s not the lottery, but these are very cool prizes for athletes or culinary geniuses like yourselves.  Everyone could use one of these things.  Even if you think the prize choices are bogus, I sure hope you’ll still send your recipe in anyway.  The winner of the drawing will be announced on Monday, November 30th and you’ll get to pick which prize you want. 

OTHER STUFF

I’m sure I’ve forgotten something.  I’m not a contest-person.  I’m a runner-desperate-to-feed-her-family-in-a-way-that-actually-helps-me-lose-some-weight-person!  So this is where I tell you that if I’ve forgotten anything, I reserve the right to come back and add to the contest information or change the rules as I see fit. 

JUST SO YOU KNOW

My girls are already bouncing around excited about taste testing all your yummy recipes.  Don’t let me down!   Can’t wait to read and try everybody’s yummy favorites! 

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I know I’ve been trying to post these little pieces in some kind of chronological order, in an effort to give you the overall flavor of my running journey.  However, I’ve gotta break into the present here and share something that’s going on Right Now.  And ask for some help.  Now.  Please.

As of today, I have officially run(mostly)/walked 418.2 miles.  And as of today, from the start of my running journey I have lost a total of (drumroll…) ONE pound.  No kidding.  This swings from zero to five pounds depending on red meat, salt and PMS, but basically, all this effort has amounted to NOTHING in the scale department.  One of my Facebook posts was actually:  Does throwing your scale out the window qualify as exercise?  Grrr.

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Not that I’ve stayed the same, mind you.  My lovely daughters have been so kind as to report to me, “Mom your butt used to be THIS BIG (arm gestures–use your imagination) and now it’s only This Big (smaller arm gestures).”  Nice.

I’m in a smaller size and I definitely am cardiovascularly more healthy.  These are great things and I’m delighted about that.  I’m “compacting” as Shelly likes to call it.  Muscle weighs more than fat, I’ve heard; that’s why you can shrink your body somewhat and still weigh the same.  Yadda yadda yadda.

A few days ago, I finally just got sick of it.  I told myself (and my friend Jackie just before she ran quickly ahead of me with a burst of energy that I think came from a secret about her I’ll tell you a little later) that I knew this would be easier and so much more enjoyable minus the 40 pounds I still wanted to shed.  (Truth be told, shedding 40 pounds certainly would not have me runway-model-pageant-ready, but who cares!  I’m concerned with being able to run faster and longer.  This is not a beauty contest, people!)

I thought back to some of the advice that I’d received regarding diet when I started this running journey: 

1.  People warned me when I decided to train for a half-marathon that endurance running was not the way to lose weight.  Yeah, sure, I thought.  What do they know.  Turns out, they were telling the truth.   Endurance athletes need the C-word (That’s carbohydrates.  Or calories.  Actually, I don’t remember which, but both qualify.)  So traditional “diets” don’t work for someone who’s increasing their mileage by 10% every week for 20 weeks. 

This is especially true  for women.  Why?  I don’t know, I just made that up, but I’m pretty sure it’s true and it definitely seems that way, so I threw it in there.  I’m not a researcher, I’m a runner.  Google it! 

2.  Other people said to me, “If you keep running like that, you’ll be able to eat anything you want.”  Sweet.  This sounded like advice I wanted to hear!  Turns out these people were liars.  Oh, I tried it.  Didn’t work.  Liars.

3.  My friend Jackie has done an amazing thing, however.  In a year (maybe it was 18 months, I don’t know~Jackie help!), she lost 98 pounds while running!  The first time I saw her in quite a few years was at a running event in June and I barely recognized her.  She was, quite literally, a shadow of her former self.  I was so excited for her and of course I asked her for her secrets.  She shrugged modestly and replied, “Eat less, move more.”  GREAT!  Like I hadn’t heard that before.  But she was telling the truth.   (This would be the secret to her increased energy, don’tcha think?)

I spent several months after Jackie’s revelation trying to shortcut the “Eat Less” portion of her master plan.  Of course, this didn’t work and I had dozens of reasons, excuses, rationalizations and justifications for my shortcuts, which I certainly won’t bore you with here.  Suffice it to say that the  reasons, excuses, rationalizations and justifications didn’t do anything to lower those numbers on the scale, so they were simply a waste of time.

So now I’ve finally gotten tired of carrying around this extra weight.  Actually, I’ve been tired of it for a long time; I’ve only just now finally gotten tired enough to actually do something about it. 

If I’m going to follow the “Eat Less” rule, I know I’m going to have to keep better tabs on what’s actually going into this body, in addition to how many miles I put in.  I’ve got a LOT of challenges for making these changes.  At last I’ve got the Will, but for all practical purposes, I really need help with the Way.

Here are some of my challenges, including but certainly not limited to: 

1.  I am not exactly what you would call a culinary whiz.  For decades, I avoided the kitchen at all costs.  I can cook, under duress, but I still consider it a hassle.  The changes will need to be easy and convenient.   Imagine your easiest.  Now, easier than that.

2.  I have the palate of a 10 year-old.  I simply don’t like most things that grown-ups like.  I won’t eat them, though I’ve spent years trying and testing and forcing them down.  I could eat pizza and burgers/fries several times a week without getting tired of them.  I don’t like slime (most condiments) or anything with fancy names or anything that looks wierd or still has a face staring at me.  *shudder* 

3.  I have a family that likes to eat.  My kids are athletes and growing children that need to eat sufficient amounts of food in order to have fuel in their bodies and in order for them to develop properly.  They are very fit and lean because they still have a metabolism.  I am 43.  I no longer have a metabolism.  Ah, but that is the subject of another post, and I digress.  Fact:  I either have to make something that we all can consume, or I have to make two meals (not a Real Option, see Challenge Number 1.) 

4.  I must eat carbohydrates.  Not just because I’m a carbophile (I am), but because I’m training for endurance events and I really do need to fuel myself with these things.  Drastically cutting carbs or Atkins options are not viable choices for me. 

5.  The biggest deal for me is that I need to make changes that I can incorporate for the long haul.  I’m hard-headed and strong-willed enough that I can do almost anything for the short run.  I can Atkins and South Beach and Weight Watchers and cleanse and fast and point count and calorie count with the best of them.  I’ve done it (well, some of it) and it’s worked.  In the short run.  The problem is that for me, none of these have been changes that I could make permanently. 

I’ve finally gotten to the point where I can see myself as a physically active person permanently.  I could (and actually want to) run/workout consistently and regularly.  I’m excited about this “Move More” portion of the health formula.  I can do this for life!  But I’ve yet to determine things that I can do for the “Eat Less” portion of my world that I can honestly say I would do over the long run. 

And that’s where I need the help of my friends who read this blog.  (And your friends, and their friends.  This is serious, people!) 

I am looking for 15-30 recipes that are yummy and healthy and easy and would be enjoyed by my family with our highly immature palates.  My thought is that if there are low-cal, healthy foods that we actually would enjoy and would be easy to make, then I could make them, we could eat them and then I would rotate them around and my family would eventually all be healthier for it.  (For you domestic goddesses and Proverbs 31 divas out there, I’m sure this sounds like complete Common Sense, but this kitchen-business is not my strong suit, so bear with me! 🙂 )

Here’s what I’m going to do:  I’m going to hold a contest for these recipes.  I’m going to pick out the ones that I could make without going into kitchen-stress and that my family would eat without my having to listen to any impolite gagging sounds.  From those, I’ll draw a name and that lucky person will win The Prize. 

Start digging through your recipes, the contest will start tomorrow, when I post The Guidelines and tell you more about The Prize.  You’ll get a chance to post your recipes in the comment sections and then lots of people will be able to see them and try them.  Isn’t that a great idea?! 

I may even post my progress here (no, not actual numbers, silly, no one’s getting that SCALE number), so you can see how much you’ve helped me out.  Tell your friends and link away at will, you healthy people, to the posts about our contest.  I desperately need your help.  “Eat Less” won’t work if I can’t stand what I’m eating. 

I’m confident you all have the keys to my success in your recipe boxes, just waiting to be shared!

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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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It was after I’d committed to running the VA Beach Half Marathon with my brother that my training started in earnest.  The thought had occurred to me that there was no way I could fudge my way through this event without preparing for it.  My standard strategy for handling things for “me” (I’m-so-busy-doing-everything-for-everybody-so-I’ll-have-to-cram-my-stuff-into-the-last-few-days) was not going to work in this case, so we were going to need a New Way of Doing Things Around Here.

The challenge, of course, was (is) that I am Mom.  Which means, that like most moms, I am the default button in our family’s world (maid, memory, calendar-keeper, party-planner, temperature-taker, tucker-inner, light-turner-offer…you get the drift).   I know that this is where lots of mamas back-burner their exercise routines (It had been for me!).  How in the world can you get it all done?  In my case, I was committed to VA Beach, so we needed to find a way.

Plus which, when you take on training to run an endurance event, you are no longer just Mom.  You are now Mom Who Runs.  This means if you don’t want to collapse during your race, at least once a week while you are training, you must go on and recover from a long run.  These get longer as the training goes continues, so when Mom is out running (and recovering from running) 11 miles, Happy Family will need another default button.  Getting to that New Structure, requires some adjustments from every member of Happy Family.

And since I’m also a Homeschool Mom, I could not enjoy the freedom to run that some moms have while their kids are in traditional classrooms.  As if just being Mom Who Runs didn’t make the situation complex enough already!

This called for some serious creativity.  And cooperation.  And patience.  And teamwork.  And flexibility.

Now, many families with Moms Who Run or Dads Who Run or Kids Who Run are, I’m sure, laid-back and easy-going by nature.  This is great for those families, because it’s a wonderful environment to support Your Runner. 

Then there are families like mine.  At our best, we are intense, passionate, high-maintenance, dramatic, emotional, hard-headed, soft-hearted, strong-willed, fiercly-loving, God-fearing, driven, Type-A, fighter-warrior-performer-ninja-princess kind of people.  At our worst…well, never mind about that. 

While these can be great characteristics for an Individual Runner to possess, the combination of attributes can pose particular challenges when possessed by an entire Family Of A Runner.  Oy Vey~this running adventure I’d embarked on was going to make a LOT of waves. 

[Continued tomorrow!  🙂 ]

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Webkinz gray arabian

Answer:  If that mother is a runner, the stupid song is the Webkinz Gray Arabian song. 

I’ve included the link to the song for the very curious, but I’m warning you, DON’T CLICK THE LINK.  Here it is:  Link.  Don’t click it.  If you do, you’ll be singing the song for the next four or five months, too.  Don’t do it.  Seriously. 

On the other hand, at least the beat helps me keep a good pace.  Sigh.  Motherhood.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

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