Friday, August 12, 2011

Hobby Jogger

In my prime, I really felt sorry for "runners" like me.

"Hobby Joggers" is what we called them. Definition: People who wanted to be runners, but lacked the motivation and commitment to run every day. Hobby joggers run sporadically, a few miles at a time, with days, weeks, and even months between runs.

Hobby Joggers often find it necessary to carry a towel and bring a snack on a 3 mile run. You will occasionally spot intense hobby joggers with fanny packs and/or CamelBaks.

Hobby Joggers often run in the same crowd as what we called "Night Warriors." Night Warriors, obviously, typically ran at night and started often sprinting a for a half mile and dying off and going back home. Both breeds were not true runners at all and therefore deemed lame by myself and my elitist teammates.

Typical "Night Warrior" form

The thing about Hobby Joggers is that you can spot one by the unbearable look of despair and pain on their face, while trotting by at an agonizingly slow pace. I would take one look at a hobby jogger and feel bad for them. "Well, sure, I thought, I would hate it too if I had to start over every run and feel like crap."I would internally scold the hobby jogger for not being dedicated enough to the sport. You never get used to running and experience it at it's full potential if you can't run several miles and hold a conversation at the same time. At this time in my life I was running between 50-70 miles per week and rarely took a day off. I took one week off between each track and cross country season and like most of the other runners I knew, that time drove me completely nuts. I spent the entire week planning the next season's running goals, formulating workouts and mileage plans. Those were the days.

This is no Hobby Jogger.

(P.S. That's me, in 2006. )

You can guess where I am right now. I've joined the ranks of the hobby joggers, temporarily. I hope. I have plenty of valid excuses. It's been so hot out this summer I've avoided running. I am a terrible, terrible indoor exerciser. It holds no value for me. I have an impressive collection of workout videos, all which have been done a few times each at best. I did P90X for four days. I have a treadmill AND an elliptical machine. They remain buried in the mess of the garage Reed and I try to keep friends and neighbors seeing out of embarrassment. I ate nachos twice at week (at least) for an after dinner snack and gained four pounds.

If only it was 50-75 degrees all year! I would always be in shape. Running outdoors is the only thing that really holds any appeal for me. Ok, I do enjoy cycling and yoga. But you have to cycle for twice the amount of time it takes to get an equivalent run in. I don't know about you, but I don't have that kind of time. Plus it takes 20 minutes to put on all that gear and I'm not that patient. And I don't care what you Yogi's say, Yoga is not a cardiovascular workout. It may feel nice and be good for the mind, but it's not the heart pumping, clothes drenching, intense cardio my body craves. Not even hot yoga or whatever you call it.

Enjoyable, but NOT cardio, and by the way, in now way prepares one for the rigors of running.

I took the day off Wednesday and at about 3:30, it was only 83 out and I decided it would be the perfect day to start running again. It was a sad sad experience. I won't even go into the horrific details on this post, because any serious or once serious runner would cry. I tried again this morning and the results weren't much more promising. If I could manage to run a few times a week for a few more weeks, then it will feel great, and I know that. Hopefully my muscles will remember all the trauma and training I put them through over the years and rise to the challenge.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

I've been thinking this week and feel like I need to write about my previous post.

Looking back over it, it looked like I was putting down the church and that wasn't really my intention at all. I more meant to voice my frustrations about how it seems like some people in the church act like it's the only channel to access God, that its absolutely mandatory to {go to church} to have a relationship with Jesus, and that if you don't go every week then you are destined to weeping and gnashing of teeth. Because I don 't believe that.

I believe each person is responsible for discovering, carefully and deliberately, how to develop their relationship with their God. That's all. And I really feel that shows more through how you treat people and your own behavior more than your diligent attendance in the pew.

Disclaimer: I'm not saying I've perfected or even come close to these realizations!

I think the Church, in many, many ways, is great! It provides a wonderful atmosphere of fellowship, support and people searching for the same thing. Sure, it can often be a source of gossip and "status" but overall I think that Church is a very positive environment.

Just please don't think I've fallen off the wagon and am living in despair if you don't see me there. Don't ask what I've been doing with my Sunday mornings because a. it's not really any of your business and b. I'll probably just tell you one of my kids was sick (which may be true).

I also kind of put down Harding in my previous post. Which I regret because Harding provided me with a great education and some very positive experiences. However, I feel that the university shelters it's students (especially those who grew up sheltered) and does not prepare them for the "real world", and all the things they will face outside the curfews of Harding. I also felt like I was required to subscribe to a certain theology, and if I felt differently, then I should probably keep it to myself. I'm not sure if students were really allowed to discover themselves and what they believed, and isn't that what 18-22 year old's really need??

I'm very sorry if this offends anyone, again, not my intention. While I respect the church and it's leaders, I also have the right to write how I feel in a public forum. Same way anyone who reads this has the right not to. :)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

OK, so I've been doing a lot of thinking today. I am currently watching that move Julia and Julie or whatever, and it gave me the urge to blog ( see movie for reference).

So I decided to cook. Reed has been working on zucchini/squash garden and we have been eating the fruits of his labor, mostly zucchini. So watching this movie, I dug into our plethora of zucchini and started cooking.

Butter, onions, garlic, zucchini, oregano, Italian spices, flour and whatever I felt like adding. Swiss cheese...

It was good to me but Reed said it was too salty. Maybe I got carried away...

Thoughts for the day:

I love cooking.
I drink more than recommended.
Organized religion is getting in the way of my spiritual path. I found a greater connection to God driving home while looking at the sunset and listening to Kris Allen than I have in a long time at a sermon. What about dressing up and trying to keep my 3 year old in line during the sermon gives me an instant pipeline to Jesus? Your guess is as good as mine?

I was driving home from class, belting out my favorite Kris Allen tune (made even better by an impromptu meeting with him at DFW) and thinking the sunset, followed by the rainbow I was privileged to witness was a more spiritual experience than I have had in months, maybe years. Maybe you (if you are reading this) think it's lame, but I don't care. Kris' music has always resonated with me, some kind of deep meaning to most of his songs really makes me think about life. That's what I should have told him at C17. Maybe I will get another chance! It was so cool to randomly meet my favorite (and I really mean FAVORITE) musician by pure chance, bored out of my mind with no wi-fi connection in Dallas.

Who says what is the right path to God? It can be church, friends, nature, yoga, "quiet time" or a million other things! No one has the trademark on access to the Creator? But somehow I feel like this is what I was taught at college.

Guess what Harding, I've grown UP. UP towards a true spirituality and relationship with my Higher Power and less towards the rules and regulations the Church requires. God doesn't care where you meet him. He is just happy to see you.

Yes, You.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Meanderings of a Has Been: Once A Runner

There are a lot of things on my mind I could blog about today. But I will take a little break here to pause and write about just one.

The small (but mighty) staff in my office know I frequently like to forgo a lengthy lunch hour, lace up my trusty Asics and hit the roads of Midtown Little Rock. It's my escape from the computer, the deadlines, e-mails, conference calls and data. A quiet reprieve from that nagging to-do list, always by my side at the edge of my desk, action items staring me down, begging to be crossed off. (Disclaimer: Regardless of how it sounds, I do enjoy my work, but everyone needs a well deserved break!)

Today, for some reason, I felt possessed to meander on down to the track at the middle school across the street. You see, I didn't really plan to go there. Perhaps the runner buried in me has an internal compass that took over. I'm not quite sure why, but my legs happened to guide me there and in a short six minutes I found myself standing on a track.

I walked up to the "start line" as it had been to me for so many years and immediately started to feel sick to my stomach. Images of races gone wrong and springtime college track workouts that seemed to never end but were capped with an endorphin rush flooded my mind. Memories of teammates and the camarederie, competition and bonds we created sliced through me like deja vu. Long Sunday morning runs and frequent hysterics on the run made me feel warm and fuzzy inside. It was a the good life!

I saw a young girl, high school or college age, warming up for workout with her coach by her side. I looked at her in envy and secretly wished I was getting ready for one of those epic workouts my memory is so fond of.

"This is so silly, I thought, because I'm not running a race here." The idea of running a race in my current form is enough to elicit inner laughter, not to mention my gag reflux. I found myself thinking "I'll just run a mile." Of course I had to time myself, because what runner, former or current, can run on a track without a watch? And sure, why not, let's time my splits, just for old times sake.

I won't post my time. It's not that bad and most anyone who might read this (lest my teammates and competitors of old) would say I should be proud of myself. I'll keep it between me and my trusty Ironman since we've been through so much together. The sad part is how painstakingly long the run back to the office suddenly became. The carefree jog to the track became an embarassing slog with a couple shame-ridden walking breaks.

This is my quest not only to get back in shape. Running isn't what it used to be for me anymore. It's not about PR's, mileage, race pace or goals. I don't do tempo runs, ladders, strides or plyometrics. I simply enjoy the feel of the road under my feet, the sun on my skin and getting lost in my own thoughts and memories. That's enough for me.

For now.

You can take the runner out of the "runner's world" environment. You can give her a job, pregnancies, children and a home to care for. But you can't take the runner out of her. I passed the young girl in the midst of her workout. It felt good.

Race schedule?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

I Surrender

I started thinking about this at church today but I'm not sure why. The message was not really about surrendering, I'm not sure, maybe God put it on my mind for a reason. This is it:

I surrender.

Not in your all or nothing, I'm going to let myself go, I'm going to let the dishes pile up in the sink, I'm going to plant my kid in front of the TV and curl up the the fetal position all evening kind of surrender.

More like:

I surrender the the fact that it's not going to get done all the time. That I can't have it all, all the time. But maybe I can have some of it, some of the time.

I surrender the fact that the laundry will never be done.
I surrender to the fact that I won't succeed at every business venture. Failure is a learning tool.
I surrender to the toys. Oh toys, I surrender to knowing that you do own my house and you have taken over. So be it.
I surrender to rushing. Being five minutes late isn't the end of the world if it gives me peace of mind.
I surrender to thinking that I don't deserve any time for myself unless everything else is done. Because it never will be.
I surrender to my ANGER. No one said that life was fair and that everyone gets what they deserve. So what?!
I surrender to my endless to- do lists.
I surrender to my negative thinking and multiple scenario building agenda that drives me and everyone around me crazy. I vow to be more flexible and expect a little bit less of others- any myself!
I surrender to the evil game of comparison I play with everyone in my life. Nothing good has come from it. Just because someone else does it differently or spends more time on something, or is smarter, taller (and maybe wiser) doesn't make them better than me.
I surrender to my own guilt. Only I can give someone or thing permission to make me feel inferior.

Finally, I surrender to being my own worst enemy. I can't do it all and I won't try anymore. I won't make everyone around me miserable watching me try and sucking them in with me.

So there, holy grail of perfect balance, there it is. My hands are raised in mock surrender. I will not fight this fight with you any longer. I will embrace the messy but beautiful chaos my life has become. I'm picking my battles- and this one is over.

The end.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

ONE bag

Yesterday I brought one bag to work, a purse.

That's it. No pump bag (halleujah!), no lunch bag, no workout clothes bag. I swear I got out of my car to walk into the office and I felt like I'd lost something.

As I stop pumping, it's kind of bittersweet for me. No more time suck (pun intended) of sitting around, trying to multi-task with a machine attached to my body. But this somehow also ends the beginning of the end....of Savannah's baby-hood. No more new infant, we're past the multiple night feedings, reflux, nasty baby food, rocking to sleep and first smiles. On to cruising, walking, talking, and a little bit of attitude in my spunky little girl.

It was strange. Savannah had a (double) ear infection and was crying sometime around 4am. After I got her back to sleep, I had the weirdest thought.

"This is it?" This IS the last baby. A little pang of sadness came over me and I fell back into my never-long-enough slumber. For some reason this thought has stuck with me throughout the week. Do I want more kids? Not consciously! But I think I am mouring "the beginning of the end."

NEWS for the week:
  • Reese moved up into the "Pre-K 3" room at school. Does this mean I officially have a preschooler? He continues to say weird and random things such as "I don't have a girlfriend, I have a boyfriend." Strange. He also tries to touch Mommy in inappropriate places that I am sure he can't understand while I try to explain why we don't touch anyone like that. Sigh. I was sure I had years before I had to cross that bridge.

  • Per the advice of my mother after my mini meltdown (see previous post), I decided to see a therapist. Even though I am managing much better, I went today anyways. He says I don't give myself permission to just be myself, that I always have to be busy. We talked about career choices and he went into this whole, "If you could do anything" bit. I told him I'm a realist and that I've got a good job. I'm still stewing on the session and trying to decide if it's worth going again.

  • Reed suprised me with an early birthday present of a NookCOLOR. I love it. And him. Highly recommend.

The whole blog thing isn't going too well today, but here it is. I'd like to promise a better post to come, but I don't make promises I can't keep. Stay tuned.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Confessions of an Unbalanced Mother

I've signed in several times in the past few months and started a post, however, you'll note that one hasn't appeared since...March?

Where does the time go? I think my problem was I felt I had to write about everything that has happened and I just don't have the time, energy or will. So I will write about what's been on my mind lately.

I had a crisis of sorts a couple of weeks ago. It was Christmas break, and I had about week and a half off work. Savannah had just gotten past a dreadful, week long bout of pneumonia that had us worried sick and awake every 3 hours trying to keep her fever below 103. It got up to 105 and was a rough time.
I felt as though with my new job, 2 kids, trying to keep a semblance of order in our lives was becoming impossible. The house always seemed to be a mess, the kids never ate a meal that didn't come out of the microwave, and Reed and I had no time for each other. My head was constantly spinning, I couldn't eat much, lost weight and was an emotional mess. Call it growing pains or a threshold, whatever, I felt I was losing it.

We visited my parents the week after Christmas. The pace was slowed down, home cooked meals, family time, no work. I felt like myself again. Everyone was healthy, and happy. We returned home and I started gearing up mentally for the work week ahead.

As I drove to work that Monday, I got on the highway and burst into tears. Long story short, I felt I wanted to be a stay at home mom. Reed and I talked and came to the conclusion it would not be possible for us to live on his salary unless we sold our house and moved into a cheap apartment. This isn't a move either of us were ready to make, so we decided to give it some time and see how I felt. Reed was supportive and validating of my feelings which I continue to be appreciative of. I think it is hard for him to not be able to make a higher salary that would enable me to be at home.

2 weeks and a few snow days later....Do I still want to be a stay at home mom? Some days. Other days I REALLY thrive on having a career and a family. I have deduced my little meltdown to be a combination of the stress of a new (albeit, great) job, PMS (really), fatigue and maybe a little neurosis. When it comes down to it, we've got it pretty good. Happy, healthy, busy, full lives. Some days parting with my little ones in the morning leaves me with a pang of guilt and indecision, other days it is a breath of fresh air to be able to be my own person and contribute financially to my family! No matter what, my favorite part of my day is when I pull into the childcare center, and if it's warm enough outside, Reese sees my car from the playground. I can hear him yell, "MOOOMMMMMYY in his happy 3 year old voice as I watch him try to tear down the fence. He attacks me with a running hug and starts to tell me about all the fun things he did while we walk hand in hand inside to get his baby sister. As soon as I walk into her room at the center, an ear to ear grin becomes plastered across her face while she crawls to me and up into my arms. They are happy and well adjusted and I cherish the time I spend with them. I asked Reese if he knows what Mommy does at work and he said, "Make money so you can buy me toys."

"Sure, dear..and food, a house, and your college education." But mostly he just cares about the toys.

I may not always have the perfect balance in life (ok, rarely!), but this I know- my family comes first and they know it. Negotiating our schedules, pick up times and trips and meetings is certainly a balancing act. I often have to take a step back and take a deep breath and simply live day to day and focus on one task at a time. Reed has come up with our family motto, "We'll make it work", and we always do. I am so grateful for him as a partner in this crazy ride we call LIFE, which should be navigated with care, commitment and a healthy dose of humor.

Till next time,