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Posts Tagged ‘half marathon’

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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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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I’m 64 days away from the 26.2 with Donna starting line and I’m possibly starting to freak out, just a teensy little bit…

I’m just wondering, if you have ever run a marathon, if you had similar experience to me while training for my first one… 

See, for the first time, yesterday, my training run was over half the distance of my final race.  And I happened to notice when I finished it, that the training run had SO kicked my fanny.  Seriously.  I had the fleeting thought that if this run was so exhausting, how on earth was I going to run 26.2 miles and finish it EVER and in ANY condition, let alone in the time limit and without medical attention.

I’ve heard that there’s a portion of the training where your mind sometimes plays tricks on you, but if you stick with the program and get those long runs in on the weekends, that you absolutely CAN and WILL finish the race.  Frankly, I’m counting on that.  Kinda like I imagine a pilot relies on his instruments to fly when it’s dark.  ‘Cause I don’t even know what I don’t know.  I’m just trusting that the plan will work if I work the plan. 

I’ve also heard that the training comes together in the end.  That the race, while grueling, if you’ve trained well, can be conquered.  Relying on that too.

Would love to hear some wisdom from marathoners (or 1/2 marathoners, or ultra runners, or triathletes…) who can still remember their First Big Race and possibly had thoughts during the training as to whether they’d be able to get to that finish line.   And maybe there are some other novice runners out there that are having their own little freak-out sessions.  Your pearls of wisdom will help them out too! 

Thanks in advance for your wisdom and encouragement!  🙂

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I started running in the very warm weather.  At the time, the key training issues for me were strategic hydration and forcing myself to haul my body out of bed to run at the crack of dawn to beat the morning heat.  I remember wondering vaguely about how I was going to handle running in the elements, but secretly considering the thought that icky weather would be my excuse to avoid running. 

Then I met Dotty.  Yes, the same Dotty that filled my mind with visions of the Virginia Beach Half Marathon and enticed me to register for the 26.2 with Donna Marathon to Finish Breast Cancer.  That one.  When I found out she had been a distance runner for many years, I asked her about how she handled rain, wind and snow.  She shocked me with her response.  As I recall, it went something like this:

I run every day it’s on my training schedule and I always run outside.  The only reason I would not run outside would be if there was lightning. 

Two or three seasons full of running excuses, blown to smithereens in about 20 seconds of conversation!  And yet how awesome was that?  With snow on the ground even?  Yep.  Even when it’s really, really cold?  Yes.  Pouring rain?  As long as there’s no lightning.  How on earth do you do that?  Just have the right gear and go. 

Wow.

So, I figured this was probably a gold standard for outdoor runners and, since I hate the treadmill, I immediately adopted this as my standard too. 

Now, you may recall that in our neck of the woods we have had a really, really rainy Fall.  In fact, as of today, there are still crops in fields locally that have not been able to be harvested because the ground is too wet.  It has been one rainy season!  Interestingly, I have not had one run cancelled due to lightning.  I’ve watched for it, but all this rain has produced almost zero lightning.  So on I ran. 

Then in the late Fall, the weather began to do something famous for our area of the Midwest.   It started to get COLD.  The shorts and cropped running pants had done just fine so far, but what now?  I’d already learned that the wicking material did wonders to stop the chub rub.  What to do about those frozen legs? 

Enter Coach Shelly:

Me:  What kind of gear am I going to need for the winter?  I don’t plan on dealing with that stinking treadmill unless I absolutely have to and I’m afraid I’ll lose my mind cooped up inside the gym all winter.

Shelly:  There are some things you’ll want, for sure. 

Friend [Anonymous friend, we’ll just call her Chris for this post, offering her thoughts]:  Hey, I like the treadmill and the gym.  Could do without that creepy gym guy, however.

Me:  I think all gyms must have a creepy gym guy.

[Random conversation about gyms, creeps, and other Very Important Girl Talk that ensues when girlfriends are having important conversation about things like Gear.]

Me:  What were we talking about?  Oh yeah, what gear do I need to avoid the gym this winter and still keep training?

Shelly:  You’ll need a long sleeve wicking shirt made for cold weather, something for your head, gloves, and you’ll want some compression pants.

Me:  Compression pants?  Are ya kidding?  Like those skin-tight things that real runners wear?

Image Credit  (and before you ask, NO these are NOT my legs…Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha.  No.)

Shelly:  [cheerily] Yes, those are the ones.

Me:  Um…No Way.  There is No Way I am putting this behind into something like that and running around my hometown terrifying innocent bystanders.  There could be an accident or something.  I would have to slither through the streets under cover of darkness.  I simply Couldn’t Do It. 

Shelly:  I know, they look terrible, but they work wonderfully and they are absolutely worth it.  They will allow you to run in very cold temperatures and there is zero chub rub with these things.

Me:  That is because they are SKIN TIGHT!

Shelly:  If you really had to, you would wear a pair of shorts over them.  Either way, it is something you really should consider. 

Me:  No.

Chris:  No.

Shelly:  Well, it’s up to you.  Maybe you’ll change your mind later.

I can tell you that I struggled against the compression pants for weeks and weeks.   Finally, I took the plunge and bought a pair of the hideous things.  I put off wearing them for a long, long time.  Always able to find a way to run when it was a little warmer. 

Then I found myself in 30 degree weather the morning of the Indianapolis 5K (yet another race that Chris had talked me into!) and there was no getting around the compression pants.  I pulled the suckers on and, grateful that I’d remembered to bring the little black shorts to yank on over the top, to protect the unsuspecting public, I ran my first race in the compression pants. 

And to my complete surprise, I had my Very Best Time Ever for a 5K.  The pants kept me warm without overheating.  And they didn’t rub or twist or bunch around.  These things were great! 

They still looked hideous, mind you.  But they were great! 

Since then, the hideous compression pants have become like an old friend.  They accompany me on most of my runs, especially when the temperature is under 40 degrees.  They’ve been on long runs and short runs, uphill and downhill, on the street and on the trail. 

If I get the nerve, I’ll find and post a picture of the Indy 5K compression pants maiden voyage here.   But it ain’t pretty.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you. 

And I find myself, again surprised and saying:  Shelly, you were right!

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Hurray! 

As of Monday, I’ve officially traversed over 500 miles while training for various races!  I’ve gone from being a complete couch-potato to a Mom-Who-Runs.  And I’m so grateful to the people who have encouraged, guided, coached, prodded, and tricked me into and along this journey! 

NEVER would I have imagined at the beginning of this year that I would have participated in a half marathon, an ultra, several 5Ks, and logged 500 miles while training for them all.  NEVER would I have imagined it on May 1st!  Indeed, I logged my first mile on May 19, 2009. 

I am amazed at how much this adventure has changed me.  I know beyond a doubt that I am one blessed lady and the first 500 have made me even more determined about the next 500! 

2010 has BIG things in store for me, running-wise, assuming all continues to go well.  Thanks for joining me on this adventure and helping me celebrate the 500 milestone!  If I can do it, anybody can do it.  Here’s to all of our success!

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Well, here it is.  Some of you have figured this out.  Although you probably didn’t realize you’d figured it out.  Unless you did.  Anyway, here is The Big Announcement:

Late last week, I actually registered, registered, for my Very First Marathon. 

YIKES!  I, quite frankly, am freaking out.  Which explains why this is such a Big Announcement.

Yes, I know I’ve said I was training for a marathon here before.  But training for something doesn’t actually mean that you’re going to do it. 

But now, thanks to that Dotty, I’m registered.  I’m definitely going.  The only thing is…I’m definitely NOT ready for this.  Yikes again. 

Truthfully, I doubt many people are fully ready for their first marathon fourteen weeks before the race.  WHAT?!  Only 14 weeks?  I just looked that up in order to type it here and a new wave of panic has set in.  Fourteen weeks?! 

Okay, now this is all going to be Just Fine.  I am following a Very Good Training Program designed for adult-onset runners like myself to be able to complete 26.2 miles (*gulp*) on their feet and hopefully without need for medical attention.

Since I’ve been in my late teens and 20’s running a marathon has been a dream of mine.  Thinking of it now, if I’d spent less time in the recreational activities I selected at the U of I and more time actually pursuing this 26.2 ambition then, it would have been just a TAD bit easier. 

But why look back?  I am certainly wiser now.  And if you look at the fields of marathon/half-marathon/10k/ultra races, you’ll find that the 40-45 female age range (lovingly refered to as Master Female in lots of races; translation: old lady) usually is MORE full than the teens, 20’s and 30’s groups. 

Personally, I think this phenomenon occurs because this is the time of life when many women’s bodies rebel and start doing things that any normal woman wouldn’t imagine.  I mean, we’d heard about all this stuff, but who paid attention?  We were far too busy with the events of the day to worry about that time far, far, far off in the future when we would become a virtual hormonal time bomb.  I’ve got another post planned for the lovely perimenopausal/menopausal bliss that many of us have had the privilege of encountering, so stay tuned for that sometime soon.  For now, though, just know I’ve thought This Matter through carefully and determined that This Matter is exactly why the women in this age range turn to running. 

That being said, I’m sure that there will be many women my age and maybe even in a similar state of health (or lack thereof) who are running this marathon.   That gives me some encouragement.  Not enough, but some.

The race is the 26.2 with Donna The National Marathon to Finish Breast Cancer, on February 21st.  It’s a race with a great and important cause.  I’m planning on getting some pink ribbon and running with the names of survivors and in memoria of those that died of breast cancer.  I’m hoping to get lots of names and have lots of ribbons!  Please send me names of anyone who you would like me to run for.  I’m a rookie, but then, I’d still like to honor you or your loved one. 

I’m not raising money for this cause, although I might do that at some point in the future.  I’m feeling enough pressure just thinking about finishing the race!  Right now, I just really want to honor people who’ve gone through this disease. 

I’m planning on posting my progress here, for all who are interested.  Thanks in advance for your encouragement.  I’m really going to need it, since I’m still convincing myself that I’m an athlete. 

Here’s a picture of last year’s medal.  Isn’t it awesome?  I’m planning on wearing mine at least through my birthday.  (April 4th)   It’s a really Big Deal to me.  Thanks for sharing the journey. 

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Yay Ami! 

My friend Ami got a PR in the Monumental Half Marathon this weekend!  What makes this special (besides the fact that it’s not really normal for human beings to force their bodies to run for 13.1 miles unless something is chasing them)? 

It’s special because AMI is special.  She’s special (in addition to many other reasons) because she’s an ordinary mama like me and like lots of you.  She’s special because every time she trains for and enters and runs and finishes a race, she reminds us all that we can do it too, if we want to!   The fact that she rocked the course with a PR (personal record~don’t I just sound like a Real Runner who knows all the lingo?) is over-the-top Awesome! 

So today I’m celebrating Ami’s success.  And the efforts of all the mamas out there who lace up their shoes and hit the pavement, the trail, or the track, day after day, for their own reasons.   Including you.

[Note:  If Ami gives me permission/information, I’ll post her time and pics here.  Otherwise, give the girl some privacy and save your requests for autographs for when she’s recovered!]

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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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This quote is on my bathroom mirror.  I heard it playing over and over again at mile 12 in Virginia Beach when my legs screamed at me to walk and I willed them to run.  I hear it when I want to quit, when I refuse to quit, when I WILL NOT QUIT.

Nobody is hurt.  Hurt is in the mind.  If you can walk, you can run.”

Thank you Coach Lombardi.

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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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