The long run

I have been thinking about next year’s racing season.

This past week I decided that I wanted to do the Tough Mudder and a trail marathon next summer. The trail marathon is on my birthday. What could be better than getting up at the crack of dawn and spending your birthday in complete and total agony?? Not to mention feeling sore, sick, and exhausted after the fact.

Do I really want to run another marathon?? Do I really want to torment myself on my birthday?? I could be out spending the day having fun…getting a massage…drinking champagne…sailing…

But I love the challenge..the satisfaction of completing a goal…

Successfully overcoming obstacles is more pleasurable to me than unearned self-indulgence.

So I decided to go for it.

I almost signed up..

Then I went to the gym for a run.

My ankle started to hurt. It felt like my foot bones were twisted and grinding together. It wasn’t very painful, but the pounding on my foot mile after mile…

I ran while in pain like this several times now. It wasn’t bad enough to stop. It is like running with a small pebble in your shoe versus a sharp rock.

Friday morning I ran 10 painful miles. After I got off of the treadmill, I sat in the sauna a few minutes. While I was in the sauna, a stranger sat down next to me. She said that she saw me out on the treadmill and wanted to know if I was okay.

Are you feeling okay??

A stranger coming up to me and asking if I am okay??

Could this be a problem?

What am I doing to myself?

The pain made me more determined to fight the pain. I was, in essence, fighting with myself and someone was going to lose. I berated myself for the mile I had to walk. The physical pain seemed to even trigger emotions of other painful times in my life.

I am never a gentle taskmaster to myself. I crack the whip and get it done regardless of whether I want to or not…whether I am in pain or not.

My greatest strength is my greatest weakness. Self-discipline is a great super power to have, but…and you know that a but is coming, sometimes I need to take a chill pill and relax a little.

I am not good at relaxing. I want to push it to the limit which conflicts with my desire to do this for the long run.

If I push myself too hard, end up getting seriously injured, and have to quit running…What good is my determination??

Sometimes it is easier to show you my medals than to tell you about my struggles and weaknesses. I want to make running a marathon look easy.

I took today off, but tomorrow I am thinking about running. My ankle/foot only hurts for the most part when I am running. I have been trying to solve the problem with my foot. I think the pain is coming from bad sitting habits. I like to curl my leg under my body and sit on my foot. I want to see if it helps if I stop doing this.

So far I am still planning on signing up for the races. In the meantime, I have to be smart. I have to learn to take better care of myself. I have to recognize when exercising and being too healthy is unhealthy without a few words from a stranger in the gym. Somehow I need to develop that inner voice of reason.

I want to be in this for the long run…

 

 

14. Five strengths

Day 14: Describe 5 strengths you have.

1. I am extremely self-disciplined.

I used to get frustrated when others around me would exhibit a total lack of self-control by eating or drinking too much, spending money that they don’t have, or by saying things that they shouldn’t have said. I have little compassion for messes people get themselves into. I used to be judgmental, but found that these people are only hurting themselves.

Through this, I found that I have a rare gift. I have the ability to control myself and have strong self -discipline. That topped with an innate inability to relax, I have been able to push myself to do things I never could’ve imagined were possible. I’ve learned that I have inspired more people through my example instead of through my judgment of them. In essence, I think I have managed to turn a weakness into a strength.

2. I have a strong work ethic.

I will work hard until the job is done, without break if necessary. I am efficient with excellent time management skills. I can’t sit still and have learned to use this energy to be very industrious.  I will focus on the details of the task and break it down to manageable parts. I will give it everything and be very thorough. I won’t stop until the job is done up to my standards. I love the challenge.

3. I am very organized.

I live my life by rules, structure, and organization. I have the ability to analyze details, mull over things, and come up with some pretty good plans. I am great at problem solving scheduling conflicts. I have no time for spontaneity. My schedule is very routine and I like it that way. If something works, I stick with it. I am also very good at planning non-routine events, such as vacations. I am a walking calendar. If I plan something, I will take every detail into consideration and cater it specifically towards what others would enjoy. That makes me happy.

4. I am loyal.

If you are able to earn my trust, I will be your most loyal companion. If I tell you that I am going to do something, nothing will stop me from doing it. I would be willing to move mountains for you. I may not be your shoulder to cry on, but I will listen to you and keep your secrets. I will nudge you to get back on your feet again. I will protect you. I will fight for you. Even though you may not want this, I will try to fix your problems. I stay calm and collected in stressful situations. I am able to put my feelings on the shelf and make good decisions. I will tell you the blatant truth if you ask. Forget the small talk, let’s get into a deep conversation. I am eccentric. I love adventures. If you come up with an idea, I will be up for anything if my schedule allows. I have a great sense of humor and love to make people laugh.

5. I am independent.

I am not afraid to do things by myself. I would be willing to run a marathon with no one that I know beside me and no one to cheer me on. I don’t care what others think of me. I have no desire to be popular. I wear the kind of clothes that I like. I am not susceptible to peer pressure. I have no desire to be like everyone else. I refuse to be bossed around or controlled. Don’t tell me what to do. I will stand up for myself, those I love, and the principles that I think are right if I am forced to. I am not afraid to say ‘no’. I am not afraid of facing my fears. There is a lot of freedom in living this way.

12. A typical day

Day 12: Describe a typical day in your current life.

ATTENTION ALL INSOMNIACS!! This one is for you!

Today is a typical Monday.

I awoke a few minutes before the alarm went off after getting exactly 8 hours of sleep. I need no more or no less..

The first thing I do after visiting the bathroom is check my phone. I may have missed something important that happened in the world in the exactly 8 hours I was sleeping.

I take my Prilosec and start a load of laundry. I do exactly 2 loads of laundry every day unless I am gone or I am doing a load of towels. Towels can be a one load day.

Then I try to coax my kids out of bed for school. My alarms get louder if I think they will be late or will miss the bus.

Then I sit on the couch and drink exactly one and a half cups of coffee while trying to  have a conversation with my husband who is playing chess online. I scrounge up something to eat, then take my daily vitamins. On Monday, I floss my teeth.

I chase the kids off to school and start another load of laundry.

Then I go for a 6 mile run on the exact same route I always take. I listen to music and sometimes sing along loudly. I get mad at the idiots who almost hit me. I wave at my fans or people that follow my road rules exactly (the ones that slow down and move over). Afterwards, I take a shower. If it is nice out, I will hang my 2 loads of laundry on the line. Then I go to work.

Around lunchtime, I put the Monday chemicals in my hot tub then write a rough draft for my blog.

Then I go back to work until the work is done or I need to take my kids to after school activities. Somewhere in there, I edit my blog post and publish it.

Then I take another Prilosec exactly one half hour before eating supper. Sometimes I make supper. We always eat supper together as a family and talk about each others day. I always clean the kitchen afterwards. Then I fold my 2 loads of laundry and put them into piles for each family member. If I have some free time in the evening, I will sit in the hot tub. If my kids aren’t home, I stalk them on my phone to find out when they will be home. If they are home, I try to talk to them. Or maybe I’ll watch some favorite shows on Netflix with Paul.

Then I say my prayers and go to bed…and start things all over again the next day..

I am all for structure, schedules, and routine…but this will be the last time I bore you with all the details of a typical day…

Are you sleeping yet??

The big skinny on weight loss

My 13 year old daughter is on a diet.

I never thought that I would be buying weight loss products. What a racket!!

Now before I get a lot of nasty comments, let me explain. I am not the stereotypical mom depicted on TV. Although I am lean and athletic, I don’t harp on a middle school daughter that has a barely bulge. I don’t replace her chocolates with laxatives. I don’t tell her that she won’t be loved unless she is thin like me.

If I am guilty of anything, it is ignoring that there is a problem. I honestly don’t know what to do. Would you? I have never had issues with my weight before. Sure, there are times that I feel fat. What women doesn’t?

The only time that I struggled with my weight was during pregnancy and right after. Most women do, except for an enviable few. I distinctly remember looking in the mirror after my first baby was born. I felt like I got hit by a truck. I probably looked like it too. But I took a strange pride in my body that was able to produce life. I felt a  connection to my ancestral bearers of life before me.

The most I ever weighed was 186 lbs. That was right before giving birth to my almost 9 lb baby. This is how much my 13 year old daughter weighs right now. She is a few inches shorter than me. Her BMI is borderline obese. Arabella gained 20 lbs since her last physical.

Kids pick on her and call her names like Arafatta and Fattie. It never seemed to bother her before. She even nicknamed her stomach Jab. She was always hungry. She made comments about having to feed Jab. She would eat seconds, snack, and stockpile candy. For her birthday, all of her friends bought her candy. A lot of her weight gain was behavioral and some of it was genetic.

After the kids had their physicals last week, Angel talked Arabella and I into getting measured for body fat, muscle, and metabolic age. I won’t bore you with the details. At 42, I got the body age of 28. At 13, Arabella got the body age of 47 (her dad’s age). She has 10 more inches around her waist then I do. She is over 50 lbs heavier than me.

Arabella wanted to try their weight loss products. Over the weekend, she spent a lot of time exercising and eating healthy. She lost a total of 4 lbs. She said that she feels healthier eating healthy foods.

So here I am supporting my middle school daughter’s weight loss. I don’t want her to have a complex. I don’t want her to tip the scale in the other direction. But I don’t want her to be obese, have health problems, or be ridiculed. The body image of a teenage girl is delicate enough as it is.

I have found with children that I can try to force them to change, but until they really want to change there is not much I can do.

I am happy that Arabella is starting to break bad habits and has decided to make healthier eating choices. The best thing I can do is support healthy decision making. Hopefully, this has more to do with starting healthier habits versus trying to be skinny.

Hard to tame

Once, a very long time ago, I lived in wild and rugged terrain. I had an important job. I kept vigilance. I watched all day and sometimes at night too. Every little sound would wake me and cause me to take guard. I noticed every little detail in my environment for any change that could signify a problem. I noticed patterns.

I was a protector. My vigilance never stopped bad things from happening, but it may have forewarned others of danger or prevented them from being hurt. I wasn’t allowed the distraction of feelings, sensitivity, caring, or warmth to distract me from my post. A lot of other people had that job, but not me.

Then for a short period of time, I was removed from my post. I found myself alone. I thought that maybe I could finally be like everyone else. I wanted to be trusting like everyone else. But I couldn’t.

Then I found myself in an entirely different terrain. I was like a wild prairie dog trapped within the safe confinement of a zoo. I resumed my old post although I was no longer needed. No hawks circled. Few dangers threatened nearby day or night. But I found myself vigilant at my post. I was told that I wasn’t needed anymore, that I should take it easy or relax.

But any attempt to relax my guard caused me more anxiety. So I ran marathons around the inside edges of the wall. I paced back and forth so often that my path was beaten down. Even though I was no longer standing guard, I still felt like I was watching.

Then something else happened. I no longer wanted to be like everyone else. I found that being vigilant had purpose and meaning. My distrust protected me and those I care about.

Even in times of peace, a few people are needed to keep guard. Someone still needs to have a discerning eye to protect others from danger. I am that person.

Some animals are hard to tame.

Grace uncommon, part 16

Sometimes I think that Aunt Grace wanted me to like the things she liked. She wanted me to embrace her hobbies, instead I embraced her habits.

When Aunt Grace was sitting, she was knitting or crocheting. She always had a little piece of paper beside her counting her rows. She could look at someone and knit them a sweater in their size. She tried to teach me to knit, but I somehow always ended up with tight little knots.

In reality, I learned things that she tried not to teach me. Grace followed a very structured schedule. She woke up every morning at 6 AM. On Mondays and Wednesdays, she did book work. On Thursday mornings, she cleaned her house. On Fridays, she got her hair done. On Sundays, she went to church. Every week had the same structure. She was not a cleaning freak, she was a structure freak. I love structure.

She always spoke her mind. She wore a black onyx ring on her ring finger, a ring that is now in my possession that I sometimes wear. After eating, she always pulled out a tiny mirror and put dark red lipstick on her thin lips. Who doesn’t like dark lipstick and interesting rings?? Seems like I took on most of her habits and few of her hobbies. If we didn’t get along sometimes it was because we were too much alike.

Grace has been gone for eight years now. A few years after Grace passed away, my brother Luke had a baby girl. They named her Grace. Little Gracie always speaks her mind. She has an uncanny resemblance to Aunt Grace. She always begs me to put my darkest shades of lipstick on her. Sometimes I feel like Aunt Grace is still with us.