The third time’s the charm? Right??

The terror is starting to set in. This weekend I will be running my third marathon. Seriously, at this point, I want to run away. I feel discouraged. I’m having some doubt.

There will be no excuses this time. I am healthy. The weather conditions look absolutely ideal for running. It should be cloudy, dry, and cool.

Last month was the first race of the season. I did an 18 mile trail run with my cousin out of state. I was satisfied with how it went. My cousin was going to join me for this marathon, but due to injury he had to cancel out. I feel disappointment. I had a lot of fun things planned for the weekend besides the marathon.

Now I will be running with Lisa. This is her second marathon. She finished her first in just over 4 hours along with our other friend Cori. I had the expectation on myself that I would complete my first marathon with a similar time. I finished my first half in a little over 2 hours. A marathon should just be double the time, right?? Nope, not for me.

I was injured on my first marathon. I rolled my ankle a couple weeks before the event and still had a little pain. After 26.2 miles of pounding, I was in rough shape and ended in 6 hours. My 2nd marathon, I was afraid. Afraid of getting hurt, afraid of pushing it. It was hot that day, very hot. I ended in 6 hours.

This time the weather conditions are ideal, I am injury free, and there are no excuses.

But I am afraid, very afraid. I am afraid that I am going to fail.

You might be asking yourself…how can any marathon runner be a failure?

I want more for myself…I have goals..I want to compete in a full Ironman by the time I am 45. If I don’t do well this time, there is no way that I will be able to make the time limit for the Ironman. This race is going to make it or break it for me. It will be the deciding factor for future races.

I won’t be making up time lost on running in the swimming or biking department. Running is my strong suit. I can finish a shorter race in a pretty impressive time.

I am a beginning swimmer. I am just learning how to do the breast stroke. Sometimes after finishing my swimming class I am full of confidence, but most of the time I am not.

Can I really do this?? How am I going to feel if I fail in my own eyes?

Everyone around me has been very encouraging. Most people think that I am crazy. This is just the crazy that I allow people to see on the outside of me. But you, my followers and friends, really get to see the full picture. Lol.

As you look in as a spectator of the event, you will see an outward struggle for endurance. But inwardly, I want to outrun my demons. I want to conquer the feeling of not being good enough. I want to be a stronger person. I want to succeed. It’s the inward fight that requires so much more stamina.

The third time is the charm. Right??IMG_0579

Acting like everything is alright 

I am sorry things did not go according to your plan. When you asked me why God did this to you, I didn’t know what to say. I wanted to fix things for you. I wanted to make you happy again. Instead I just listened. I asked when you would rather know, now or later. Maybe God has a better plan that we just can’t see right now.

You said that you were a great actress. You went to play practice with a smile on your face. Then you came home and cried. The odds weren’t in your favor this time. Out of the hundreds of talented kids that auditioned, you weren’t in the handful of those selected for the musical theater program at the college you will be attending. You cried even more when your brother told you that they didn’t know what they were missing. 

The truth is that your musical theater talents are lopsided. You are a phenomenal singer, great actress, and below average dancer. Even though you have the shape of a dancer, your body fails you. I am so sorry that you seem to have my lack of gracefulness. 

I was the little girl that they laughed at during the dance recital because I danced to a different beat then everyone else. I was the scrawny little kid that was always picked last on the team. I was the little girl that had to do extra credit to pass gym class. I had to write about sports because I couldn’t do them. While other kids could do flips and splits, I remained rigid, tight, and inflexible. Why do you think I am a runner? It requires grit, the only thing I have.

There is one gift that I am happy to have passed on to you, your voice. When you sing, people feel the emotions you are singing about. A happy song puts everyone in a good mood. A sad song can change the audiences laughter to tears in a few sweeping moments. When you auditioned for the vocal performance program, they complimented you on your voice and told you that they wanted you. I know that you will find a home there. 

I know it is hard right now. You have been eating, drinking, and sleeping musicals for so long. I am impressed with your optimism despite a few minor road blocks. 

It does not mean that you can never audition for musicals in the big cities. This is your journey now and I am excited to see where it takes you.

Puzzling failure

I should’ve known when I opened the box and saw the glue that it wasn’t going to be easy.

I have one of those high strung intense type A personalities. So, yes, I find that I have a hard time taking it easy or relaxing. There is always something to clean or laundry to do. I have to actively seek out ways in which I can try to relax. Over the winter months, I try to relax by doing puzzles. It was something that I would do with my grandma years ago. 

This winter I did two puzzles. Well, that is not completely true. The first puzzle was moderately difficult just because 75% of the puzzle was green in some shade or another. I just wanted my second puzzle to be easier and more relaxing. When I opened the second puzzle, I found glue and instructions to hang the puzzle on the wall like a picture. That was puzzling to me. It looked easy. I dismissed it as tacky and started working on the outside edge. After having difficulty with the outside edge, I searched the box two more times without finding any extra pieces. It was a brand new puzzle, so there weren’t any missing. I finally had to rework the edge. 

After getting 75% done with the puzzle and wasting countless hours that I could have spent cleaning, I found out that the edge was still put together wrong. There were many pieces that matched in shape and design but weren’t right. I still was not finding a perfect fit in many edge and inside pieces throughout the puzzle. I came to the realization that I would have to take apart what I had already done and completely rework the puzzle.

In an impulsive fit of rage, I took my arm and swept the puzzle onto the floor. A jumble of obscenities and puzzle pieces flew across the room in an angry roar. Then I started throwing puzzle pieces into the box, which I threw into the garbage, which I threw into the dumpster that I took to the curb before I changed my mind. I felt like a complete and total failure.

I tried to commiserate with other puzzle friends. One friend is working on a puzzle that he separated into different containers based on puzzle piece shape. He works for a half an hour every night to find one piece. 

Oh, what a failure I am!

Then today I realized that I am not a failure. The puzzle failed me! It was supposed to bring me relaxation but failed to deliver. 

I did learn a few valuable lessons. First, never judge a puzzle by its box. Second, if you find glue inside the puzzle box it means that the puzzle is so difficult that you might want to hang it next to your diploma on the wall.

I am done doing puzzles for this winter. But I did find a few puzzle pieces while doing my spring cleaning today. 

Encouraging “notes”

Yesterday my daughter and I received a hand written thank you note in the mail from someone that we know, however not someone that we know well.

I wanted to let you know how much we enjoyed hearing you sing on Christmas Eve. You have such beautiful voices, and we are so blessed that you are willing to share them with our congregation. God has truly blessed you both with an amazing gift. We hope you continue to bless us by sharing it with us-OFTEN!

Where were you 25 years ago??? I really could have used your words of encouragement then. For some reason my choir teacher hated me. I am not even sure why. My opinion was that once again it had everything to do with having an autistic brother. There were some teachers that looked down upon my family as if my brother’s autism was caused by poor parenting. This teacher always had a smile on her face. Maybe she hated me because I was always down. Maybe it was because I had a hard time smiling back because my home life turned my smile into a frown.

There was that time that I tried out for cheerleading when this choir teacher was the judge of who made the team and who didn’t. On the day of tryouts, I was at home sick with the flu. The teacher said that being sick was no exception. So my mom took me to school with a fever so I could try out. I was the only one that didn’t make the team. Then I lost some friends because the cheerleaders became the popular girls. I was so sad when I saw everyone’s name posted on the wall except for mine.

Then I was homeschooled between 8th and 10th grade. It was during that time that I sang a song for my mom and convinced her to sign me up for singing lessons. I had singing lessons for a couple of months. I didn’t really like the songs that I sang because I thought that they were babyish. After a couple of months of practice, we had a recital. I got up on the stage by myself in front of a lot of people and froze. Barely a whisper came out. My mom didn’t sign me up for singing lessons after that. I thought to myself that I was a failure.

When I went back to school as a junior, I was behind in so many things. I was far behind in sports. I didn’t join band because taking three years off from playing the flute put me way behind the other kids. I did join the choir. I tried to perform a solo and ensemble piece, however after singing through it twice the choir teacher said that it wasn’t good enough. I wasn’t good enough. What I really wanted more than anything was to join jazz choir but I didn’t even bother trying out because I knew from experience that I wouldn’t make it if that teacher was the deciding factor. Once I got to college I wanted to join the choir but didn’t because I thought that I wasn’t good enough despite being able to sight read music and having a 3 octave range.

A few years back at my high school class reunion, we had karaoke. After I sang several songs, I was approached by the spouse of a classmate who said, “I bet that you were the star choir student in high school.” I hated my choir teacher at that very moment. I allowed her to steal my gift.

Even though I felt hatred for that teacher, I have to look at myself. Am I any different?? Do I give words of praise and encouragement? Or do I condemn and criticize? I can tell you that I am not where I need to be either.

This year I want to be more encouraging. I am going to look for someone to thank with a hand written note for doing something that everyone else overlooks.