Wednesday, October 5, 2011

A Rekindled Affair

I haven't been here in a while. Running and I have been on a 'break'. It wasn't because of a major fight, and yes we have had a few encounters in the past months. It was a clear case of 'it's not you, it's me'. And I have to admit, I have been seeing other people. New clients, a new fitness studio (with childcare, hello), the NFL, and yes, even my family. I came up with excuses for why I couldn't keep our dates. Running never pushed the issue, and I let the flame start to die out. I guess because it knew I would be back, no matter what we always come back to each other. Running will be waiting for me with open arms my entire life.

Yesterday I went running back, and was reminded of the strong bond we have, and the importance of having running in my life. It was a last minute unplanned decision, and that made it even better. As I was packing the kids up to head to the fitness studio, Mike came home from work a little early. Since I already had the kids fed, it occurred to me that instead of hitting the gym, I should just head out the door and hit the road...alone.

And that's what I did. No watch, no Garmin, just me and my long lost love. Reunited. The cool air of fall felt amazing, and there is something to be said about road running at dusk on a busy street that makes you feel powerful. The rush of the cars going by forces you to run strong. And we all know I do better with an audience so my pace was kickin'. Or at least that's what I am telling myself, glad I didn't have my Garmin to prove me otherwise.

There is something different that happens when I run, different from any other type of exercise. And I do a lot. I am not focused on following an instructor, or lost in my form. I am just putting one foot in front of the other, and my mind starts to race. Going through everything happening in my life, sorting it out, and moving on. I get a sense of clarity that I can't explain. A motivation and fire lit inside me that can't even happen with an entire pot of coffee.

Running didn't ask me where I had been, or who I was with. It treated me the same way it always had. I felt alive again. I finished strong, ready to tackle my life, knowing I had my buddy back.

I realized too, that in order to show my gratitude, I needed to recommit. I bought new shoes, new socks, some cold weather running clothes, and committed to another marathon. I need running to know I am serious about our relationship, and promise not to leave for that long again.

Monday, August 29, 2011

A Difficult Decision

If you have ever worked out with me, you know that I sweat. Actually, if you have ever hung out with me you know that I sweat. It is something I've always done, but it seems that it is starting to get waaay too out of control right now. And I'm not talking like a little bit of sweat if it's hot, I mean I can be standing just out of the shower, in a cool room, and beads of sweat will be pouring out of my armpits. Literally. TMI???

I have dealt with it in varying degrees for the past 15 years. And yes, I have tried a lot of different options. Mike recently asked me if I was using anti-perspirant, or just deoderant? Really, honey?! I have tried men's full strength, Certain Dri that you put on at night, and even did some research on botox that is supposed to stop the sweat. But, let's be honest...if I am putting out money for botox I'm not wasting it on my armpits!

I've decided to face the one issue that I know is contributing...caffeine. It's a harsh reality that I have been avoiding for fear of what life would be like without my caffeine fix. Is it possible to fold laundry in the afternoon without an iced tea? Will I be as crazy hyper at my 5:30am Body Back class without my coffee??? The more I started to panic about not drinking caffeine, that more it started to make sense that I needed a break.

So here I sit, on a Monday morning, facing what could possibly my toughest challenge yet. Caffeine free for sweats sake. I just wish I would've started this on a day where I wasn't hung over...

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Thankful for my big mouth

It is no secret that I have a big mouth. And not in the 'you can't tell her anything' kinda way (honestly I am a GREAT secret keeper). No, I have the same problem that a lot of us do- I say YES to waaaay too much, and no to hardly anything. Not a terrible problem to have, excet that I find my mouth writing checks that my schedule and body can in no way cash.

I did it twice this week, and am so glad I did!

First, on Thursday night, and probably after a glass of wine, I saw Kim post on Facebook that she was going for a beach run at 6am Friday morning. Before thinking, I immediately posted, YES!!!! I needed to get a good run in, and this was the last Friday morning that I would have free for a workout of my own.

Flash forward to the next morning, and all I want to do is stay in bed. My Friday morning suddenly changed from my last morning to get my own workout in, to this is the last Friday I could possibly sleep in for a while. As I texted Kim to tell her I was staying in bed, I did not get the: 'ok sweetie, enjoy your rest xoxo' text I was hoping for. Nope, I got the 'suck it up, I'm on vacation and I'm out of bed!'

So suck it up I did. I threw my clothes on and ran out the door. I didn't even have a rubberband for my hair. In my car I had my 'No Run = Cranky and Moody' shirt that I thought was perfectly appropriate for this morning. I pulled up and Amy and Kim started laughing. I got out of the car, and they said in unison: 'haha we knew you would come!' 'F you guys' is what I said back.

Obviously the run was amazing, and we finished with our legs in the water enjoying the peaceful rush of the waves cooling our burning claves. I knew what I was doing when I replied so quickly the night before. It was a check that I needed to cash, and I couldn't leave it up to just me.

The second offense had a little more serious repercussion. Here I was again, on facebook with a glass of wine (there shuld be a breathalizer attached to your computer to keep you from drunk facebooking!). A friend of mine posted that she needed a running partner for all or part of her 20 mile training run she had to do this weekend. She lives about 25 minutes away, so I funnily posted, 'too bad I don't live closer or run faster! I could definitely hang for 10 miles wih you!' Please keep in mind that since my marathon 3 MONTHS AGO, I have run 7 miles just once. But hey, I live too far away so no worries!

Until she quickly responded- 'Angela, I can come to you! Do you know a good route?'

Shit. Ah but wait: 'I do have a great route from HB to Newport, around the Back Bay and back to HB. Unfortunately it's hard to really jump in to run part of that one.'

Phew, saved. That was close.

'Angela, you have me thinking. I love running the Back Bay, how about we meet there, you can run 1 loop with me (just a skotch over 10 miles) and then I will do the second one by myslef.'

She's good, real good. My last attempt to get me out of this pickle, 'I can go no later that 6am.' But I already know the kind of runner Lisa is, and 6am is probably a little later thatn she usually starts.

Done and done. My mouth said I could run 10, and now my body was going to have to back it up!

Now, the good news is that I was so excited to run with a new running friend that I was hoping it would distract me enough to make it through the loop wothout dying!

Lisa has the perfect runners build, probably abour 5% body fat, all the right gear, and I am nervous about what type of pace I got myself into. Luckily she was looking to go at a 10 minute pace, and I assumed I could keep that up.

Well, the run was INCREDIBLE! We chatted for so long, that we didn't even realize until mile 3 or 4 that we were running a minute faster on our pace than we expected.

I finished feeling great, with the reminder that my body is capable of a lot more than I think at times. Once again my wine brain knew what it was doing. Putting it out there in hopes of being taken up on my offer, even if I didn't realize it at the time. I gave Lisa a hi-five and sent her on the loop again, oddly feeling a little sad that I wasn't continuing with her. I'm a bit crazy...but not that crazy.

The great thing is, I have been debating adding another race in November. Now I know I will for sure. It's nice how things can come together for a little push in the right direction when you need it the most.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Itch of Greener Grass

I love being a stay at home Mom. Really. I always knew I would be...even in my 20's when I thought maybe I would be a carrer woman, and never a mom. Deep down I knew I wanted to be there with my kids. And luckily, we were able to choose that option when I got pregnant with Meadow.

Disclaimer Over.

Mike came home from work 2 days ago, and I was having my usual afternoon meltdown which includes the phrase 'Mommy's DONE!' several times. Mike hates that phrase. Now, I totally get where he's coming from. I do. I don't want to yell. He always tells me, 'you can't be done, you are the Mom. And the minute you are reduced to yelling, they win." Ummm news flash Mike, I was defeated in the battle looooong ago!

I explained that I was just so over this stage of hitting, and whining, and back and forth with the 2 of them. It's exhausting. I try to keep them occupied, and we are out of the house for at least half of the day- EVERYDAY. But, I also have a business to run, and a house to keep together(well, attempt to keep together) so they are left to entertain themselves when I need to get busy. Not exactly how I pictured staying home with them, but it is reality.

Mike was shocked that I wasn't as in love with this stage of their lives as he is. 'Soon they will be 6 and 8 and not babies anymore!' THANK GOD! I said.

Apparantly not the right answer to give. He quickly resonded, 'you could have to go to work everyday and drop them off at day care and miss all of this!' I bet he thought I would immediately agree and see the error of my thougts and jump into craft time with the girls. Instead I started to day dream.

I pictured sitting in an airconditioned office, hair done and make up on, wearing REAL clothes, not workout pants. Getting work done in peace, knowing that my girls were being entertained by someone who would play with them non stop, and not ask them to watch My Little Pony for 30 minutes so Mommy could finish her newsletter. I pictured finishing up work, closing my computer, and LEAVING IT THERE. Then rushing to pick up my girls who were so happy to see me, jetting home to make dinner, and spend the rest of the evening playing until I tucked them into bed, in a clean room (since they weren't home all day to make it a mess). The I would sit down with a NICE glass of wine (not the Target box wine I am used to drinking) and do some shopping online without having to check my bank account.

Yup, that's what I pictured. It looked nice at that moment.

Alright working moms, stop laughing. I know just how ridiculous that sounds. But hey, it was a DREAM.

And SAHM's, stop drooling and get back to cleaning. Nap time is almost over.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Year 1 at year 5?

**WARNING- I get a little(and we all know by 'a little' I mean A LOT)personal here. And I guess we will find out once and for all if my husband ever reads my blog ;)**

My husband and I used to lie on the couch together and snicker at all of our friends. All of our friends that warned us about the first year of marriage. About how hard it was, and the adjustment, and to be careful with everything else we had going on. They told us we would question our decision, think it was wrong, and wonder how the hell we got here. Yes, we would snuggle up together and laugh. Hell, if the first year of marriage was as tough as it was going to be, we were on track for an AMAZING life!

And I have to say, I am still pretty impressed with how well it really went... considering. All within a year we: got married; had a baby; bought a house; and started a business. Any one of those alone is enough to ruin a marriage. But not us. We knocked it all out in 12 months, with smiles on our faces, and still calling each other honey and baby.

So we would talk and laugh about how we had it all figured out, about how our friends who struggled didn't understand how to communicate, didn't have the same respect we had for each other, didn't understand the true meaning of marriage, and the type of spouse they wanted to be. Yup, we should probably write a book about how good we were at being married.

Now, I guess it is fair to say that the reason we were so successful that first year is that we were still in our 'honeymoon' phase. Despite having known each other for almost 7 years, Mike and I dated for about 5 minutes before we got married. So it's safe to say we still were starry eyed looking at each other. Plus, having a baby so soon, and all we went through when finding that out, left us with no option but to be on each others side. We were up against a wall, and together we fought for the life we knew we wanted.

Flash forward almost 5 years later (holy crap), a down economy, another baby, and a new job for Mike, and all of a sudden what our friends were talking about is starting to make some sense. And, I think we were right in our assumption as to what had gone wrong with them. Poor communication, check. Respect issues, check. Remembering and holding true to they type of spouse you wanted to be, check check.

The going got tough for us about two years ago, and we both did the only thing we knew how to do when faced with a challenge. We put our heads down, and did what worked best for us(singular) at that time. We dug down, and trudged forward. A good fighting attitude I would say. Except with one problem. I'm not sure we were fighting the same fight.

What happened is that we looked up, only to glance at each other and notice we were in two completely different places. We were so focused on getting ourselves through the hard times, that we didn't think to check in with each other to make sure we were moving in the same direction. Communication.

So what we have realized now, is that not only have we started to create these two separate lives, we are resenting the other for doing the same thing. Which is completely unfair on both of our parts.

The great thing about us having a break-vacation, is that we both got a chance to do some thinking alone, and then together. To realize the mistakes that we were both making, and focus less on the blame we are putting on the other, but the responsibility and ownership we can take over the problems we are creating/contributing to.

You need a reminder that not only are you fighting on the same team, but that you are ultimately fighting for each other. For happiness together in a marriage. For a marriage that can last and grow strong enough to face the hard times that are bound to come.

So I guess we start here..with the acknowledgement of what is happening, and the commitment to start playing on the same team...together.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

I'm Back!

This morning I woke up. Just woke up. Not to my alarm clock; not to a crying baby, or a little girl wanting cartoons; not to my husband's phone ringing; not with a panicked feeling that I over slept. I simply woke up and looked over at the clock. 7:45am.

I walked out of my room (ok, so it's the guest bedroom at my parents house, but for the next week it's mine...all mine) and ran into my Mom who exclaimed, "she's alive!" geez Mom, it's 7:45am, not noon! She had already fed the girls breakfast, got them dressed, and they were both playing outside with my Dad. I was hoping to wake up at 7 to go for a run, but was thinking I would give it up since it was already too late. My Mom didn't even ask me when she said she wouldn't be running with me but I would have plenty of time to make it back for the farmers market, and if I needed her to she could make me some toast. Just like that, I went back in my room and put my running clothes on. The mere idea that I was going to skip my run was crazy to my Mom. I was here to relax and recharge, and a good run was what I needed. And no one knows that better than her.

I gave the girls a kiss good-bye, turned on my Garmin, and headed down their long driveway to start my 6 mile run. My parents live on the outskirts of a small town in Oregon, back in the hills. It is absolutely gorgeous, but the run I was heading on this morning was a bit hilly. And let's be honest...I am used to running at sea level so any bit of elevation is a shock to my system. My Mom walked down with me to get a picture, proof that I did actually go for at least one run while I was here! No matter how old I get, she is still photographing every triumph in my life. Nothing is too small for a Mommy.

Within 3 steps I am already climbing a huge hill, and as I crest the top, I seriously consider turning right around. It was a bit rough! But, luckily the long downhill gave me a break and I knew I could push through. As my run went on, I started paying attention to how often I was going downhill, anticipating what I would be up against on my way back. It seemed like a lot of downhill. So much so that I didn't enjoy any of the downhills on the way out. I found myself excited with every uphill, even though they were exhausting, because I knew it would give me a break on the way back.

As I dropped down the last big hill at the turnround point down by the Rogue River, I stopped my Garmin and took a minute to reflect by the water.

It felt so freeing to be able to head out of the house without a second thought to go for a run. To not have to worry about rushing home, to be able to enjoy every moment and relax. My life has been so exhausting lately, that being able to disconnect and be alone felt amazing. I wanted to stay at the river a bit longer, and think about my life, but Lady Gaga came blaring on my iPod and I knew I had a 1/2mile hill to run up...so I was ready to go!

As I headed back out, prepared for a ton of hills, I was surprisingly shocked at how much downhill I really had in front of me. I was so worried as I headed out of what I had to face on the way back that I threw it waaaaaay out of proportion. I was so busy worrying about how hard the uphill would be on the way back, I didn't enjoy the downhill when it was in front of me.

As I powered up the last hill, and coasted down to my parents gate, there were my girls, waiting with my Mom to welcome me home. It became very clear to me at that moment that my run, as per usual, directly reflected my life. That I am so busy looking 10 steps ahead that I forget to enjoy what is right in front of me.

I got big hugs, and flashed my Mom my Garmin so she could see my pace. She smiled at me and said, "oh, I know! I figured you were running that pace, and I figured you would stop at the river for a few, so I think I timed it pretty well." And that she did. She knew from the get go that I needed this run, that I needed some time to myself, and that I needed to run hard. A run to remind me to live in the moment a little more. How my Mom knows that...I don't know. But she does. And that is exactly why I am here, at my parents house, for my vacation.

It feels good to be back.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

De Funk-de-fied

Hi. My name is Angela Kraber, and am in a funk. Hi Angela.

First off, let me apologize to you, all 11 of you, my faithful followers. I know you have been waiting for the next installment of my marathon saga...and I promise it is coming. This post will explain it's delay...

For the past week and a half I have been blah. Not angry, not really upset about anything, not mad...just blah. For those of you that don't know me, blah really isn't my thing. It's normal for me to lose everything under the sun, but my mojo?? I usually have that pretty well intact. But nope, for this past week it has been completely gone. I sat down a dozen different times to get out the story of the marathon, that in my head just days before was so perfect, and I got nothin'. So I just decided to wait. The thoughts would come back, the inspiration would once again appear, and I would be brilliant. Well at least my mom would think it was brilliant.

Then last night, I got terrible news about a dear lifelong family friend that had died. I broke down, and then I shut down. I couldn't understand it, I couldn't explain it, and at one point I didn't even understand the words coming out of my mouth as I talked to Mike about it. I went for a walk around the block, and then spent the next few hours, well into the night, just staring at the TV.

Today,as I went through the motions of my day, I was shut off. I put the kids down for a nap and I just sat on the couch. I didn't know if I was hungry, or thirsty, or if I should do laundry, or work. I just spaced out, again, and stared. Now I know that I am still upset about the awful news, but this was a funk in the works already...this is just what pushed me over the edge.

After a text from skinny Sandra about her great run this morning, I got up, poured a glass of iced tea, and the little light bulb in my head went off. Now, I knew deep down what was going on, but I wanted to avoid it. I know how I act when I am not running...hence I run a lot! The light bulb came when I pictured what I would say to Sandra if she were sitting on the couch feeling unmotivated and blah. I would tell her to 'suck it up Bredek, put your big girl panties on, and do something!' Motivation and inspiration shouldn't have to always come to you and find you when you need them. Sometimes you need to take the first step, get things going, and make inspiration and motivation on your own.

It really was just that simple. I needed to get moving, to get my blood pumping, and get a good sweat on just for me! I need to run dammit!!! I just needed to do it! I don't accept excuses from any of my clients...so I am not about to be the exception to my own rule.

So tonight, I put the girls down early- they were honestly running around like crazy- and I got out my Mama Wants Her Body Back Advanced DVD, and knocked it out. It was hard, but it felt great.

Now I am sitting with my mojo, having a glass of wine, about to check out raceplace.com to find my next race. My calendar is out and I am planning MY workouts.

Good-bye to my blahs...oh, hi there motivation and inspiration. How nice of you to join us!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Marathon Part 1- The Teaser

It's hard to believe that the marathon was over 4 days ago. It's hard to believe that the goal I have had set for almost a year, was over and done with in the blink of an eye. I have been sorting through my feelings, emotions, thoughts, and remembrances of the race to set up for this post...and could honestly write an entire novel on this one event. So, I have broken it down...which means you know I think it's long because rambling on forever is kinda my thing.

I like to talk a big game. The more I psyche myself up about something, the more confident I become. If I say it out loud enough that I will kick ass during the marathon...pretty soon I would believe it too. But in all honesty, I was SCARED for this race. This race killed me last year...in more ways than one. Yes, I ended up in the hospital the next day having an emergency appendectomy, but that wasn't what I was worried about. I was worried because I remembered how terrible I felt by mile 19. I remember the feeling of defeat in my mind, body, and soul. I remember questioning if I could even finish. I remember the disappointment I felt as I watched my goal of a sub 4 hour marathon slip through my fingers. I remember how angry I was at myself for being upset at the end of the marathon for my poor showing, instead of rejoicing in the amazement of the accomplishment I had completed.

I had big plans for the week leading up to the marathon. Of resting and taking it easy, not drinking a drop of alcohol, and having a great easy 12 mile run to cap off my training and send me sailing into the marathon confident and prepared. Wow. I did none of that. And so began the week of mixed signals I got, causing me to doubt myself like you wouldn't believe.

I didn't get out for my 12 mile run on Sunday, because perfectly on cue, I got sick the week before the race. I was so stuffy, unable to breath, and feeling an immense amount of sinus pressure. I opted to wait a day on my run, as to avoid feeling like shit during the run, and hence giving me an icky feeling about race day. Well, I went out with Becky for our 12 miles on Monday morning, and I felt even worse. We only made 8, and I started to panic a bit.

Tuesday, the girls and I packed up and headed to the happiest place on earth to meet my brother and his family for a fun filled day. I didn't think much of it because we have a season pass and go often. What I forgot, is that his family was there just for the day, and of course had plans to be there as long as possible. Soooo, if you are wondering who the hell would walk around Disneyland, in flip flops, for 13 hours, half of it spent carrying a 2 year old, just days before running a marathon? The answer is: THIS GIRL! What an idiot. I woke up the next morning in knots. Now I was sweating.

Thursday night a dear girlfriend of mine had invited us on an all expenses paid dinner out in Hollywood. I couldn't resist for a million reasons, so on went my marathon prep week. We got dressed up...strappy heels of course, and headed up in a limo. Now I will say this...I told myself I wouldn't drink any hard alcohol...and I didn't! Which is crazy because for some reason my relationship with tequila is similar to that of an old boyfriend. you know the one who treats you like shit, but you forget about all the bad stuff the minute they smile at you? So I stayed away and stuck with champagne...and wine-several glasses. Ugh...maybe I should accidentally oversleep the morning of the race.

Friday actually starts off without a hitch...I'm not hung over, I see a client first thing, teach a stroller strides class, and head home to rest up and get all my clothes laid out for the weekend. I took the girls with me to my last client of the day so I could give Mike the afternoon to golf since he would be on single Dad duty all weekend. On the way home, I look back to see Emma throwing up all over herself in the car. Not exactly the most ideal way I would like to spend my last night before heading down to San Diego. Uh-Oh...do I feel sick?

With it all said and done, I was ready to leave Saturday morning. My backpack was packed and I had everything I could imagine. iPod, chargers, Gu, extra socks, Garmin and charger, motrin, etc. I kissed the family good-bye, and of course got a little teary eyed since I knew they wouldn't be there to see me at the end. I swung by Amy's and we darted over to Kim's to hitch a ride to the train station. We hopped in Jack's wagon, and for some reason I decided to hold onto my backpack instead of putting it in the back. And for another odd reason(maybe the reason that I know myself too well) I opened my backpack for one last check. Ooops...I didn't have my race day shirt. God help me.

We sped to my house, I sprinted in and grabbed it, and we made it to the train station with a few minutes to spare. As we boarded the train, I was already pitted out (that means sweating like crazy). Oh wait...I forgot to eat breakfast....awesome. The lump in my throat has now grown to the size of a softball.

To be continued...

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Power of Running

I just got off the phone with one of my clients/friend/neighbor and had to share the news she shared with me.

Meg has been doing some personal training with me for only 3 weeks in an attempt to add to the running ability she has created out of thin air in just over a year. You see, Meg was never a 'runner' and in fact I think she used to look at me weird when I would take off for a run, saying- oh I could never run that far... I would NEVER run a half marathon. But then, something inside her started to change, and she began to run. All it took was one 5K and she was hooked. I remember her walking across the street with a huge grin on her face, excited to give me the play by play of her run. she shared her story, and said to me, 'I get it now.'

Fast forward to a year later, a couple half marathons under her belt, with her time increasing with each one I might add, and she knocks on my door. She loves running, but had just decided running alone wasn't enough. She wanted to kick ass and take names! Now we're talking!!! I got her on a great strength program to build her core and speed work mixed with tempo runs to build her speed.

I texted her today to check in on her at home workout, and she called me back immediately with exciting news to share.

She had gone to the Dr. today for her annual exam, and after the exam was over, sat chatting with her Dr. about how she compared to one year ago today.

One year ago, she was suffering from heart palpitations...today, no episodes, and no medication. One year ago she was suffering from anxiety...today, no anxiety, and no medication taken. One year ago today, her resting heart rate was 90 (it has been high her whole life)...today, 76. The Dr. seemed confused that all of her problems from last year had disappeared without any magic pill. Heavy periods...gone. Bad cramps...gone. Break outs...gone.

Meg didn't think much of it, but a light bulb went off when she got home. One year ago is when she started to run. One year ago is when she got the fire in her belly, to get out and push herself, to achieve goals she once thought impossible. One year ago is when she changed her old habits of heading to Target for a Starbucks to de-stress, and instead headed out for a kick ass run.

Now you might think this isn't all from running. And you're probably right. But running is what started it all. The transformation to a healthier life, making better choices to fuel your body, and dealing with stress in a productive, rather than a destructive way. Sometimes it's hard to see changes happening, mainly because focus is only there when you feel bad. You don't notice how great you feel because you have nothing bad to base it against. It's not until you sit down and really think back to how you felt before, that you realize all the good you have done for your body.

Meg took to running so naturally, and now I know why. Her body, mind, and spirit needed running. And it welcomed the new sport with open arms.

Now, how quickly can you lace up your shoes and get out the door for a run? Mine are going on as we speak.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Let me be Brief...

I am going to fucking KILL IT at the marathon in 2 weeks. (yes, there it is, the whole word. I am too serious to put dashes or asterisks.)

Let me explain why, but the above statement is not what I am talking about when I say brief.

Becky and I had our last long run yesterday morning, we went 24 milesssssss. Some people might think that is overkill for a marathon, but it is what my confidence needed after my showing last year. At this same marathon last year, by mile 21- which I know is where everyone usually hits their wall, I was dead. My pace was that of a snail, I could barely run for more than a few steps at a time, and the road seemed endless. So this time around, I wanted to taste the fear before the race, so I knew exactly how to dig down and get through it.

I felt amazing during the run, and ran it similar to how I want to run the race. I ran negative splits for the second half. Advice I had been given before, but some lessons you have to learn on your own. Instead of charging out and sticking to goal pace from the beginning, I am going to settle into it, get comfortable, and get stronger as the race goes on. And during this run, that is exactly what I did.

One of the greatest things about running a race with my girls is that we get to pick out a new outfit for each race. We are HUGE fans of Running Skirts, they are comfortable, have a lot of pocket room, and we look adorable in them! Right?

So Kim, Becky and I (missing our Amy) headed down for a trip to the Running Skirt Store, to pick out our new digs and have a yummy pasta dinner. We were hoping to find something on sale, that they had in all of our sizes, and preferably one that would match the black tank tops we already have. As the manager brought out the sale skirts, the other girls got so excited that they found the perfect skirt, in all 3 of their sizes. Well, low and behold the same skirt was in a pile I had with me in the dressing room. I normally wear a size 1 (these are their sizes, not true to a real size 1 of course) in the athletic skirt-that has shorts built in underneath. But this skirt was the real running skirt...briefs underneath. I went to pull it on...and man I had to PULL! It was waaaaaay too snug. No problem, just get me a size 2. Oh wait, you don't have another size 2? Super. They did have a size 2 in the athletic skirt, but it was too big. And that is one problem you don't want to have with a running skirt when you have 26.2 miles ahead of you.

So, being the AMAZING friend that I am, I took the size 1, itsy bitsy, teeny weeny, running skirt with brief bikini. Now we all match, and I look mildly inappropriate.

Well, I have to tell you, after running in our game-day-uni yesterday...I am now a believer in the brief! I was so comfortable, and it was nice to have the skirt fit snug. I didn't have to mess with it for the first 6 miles before it would stay tight on my hips. And, Becky assured me you couldn't see my thighs rubbing together from behind. Bless her heart I think she's lying but I am going to turn the other cheek and go with it! Haha get it...cheek.

I really hit my stride at mile 20 and was off for the final stretch of our run. I heard some cheering and looked up to notice 2 girls with skirts on cheering and jumping at the light. How funny, who on earth was running this way? As I got closer I noticed on the other side of the street there were more screaming people. And as my haze broke, there they were, some of our Moms on the Run running club members there to give us an extra boost! Now you all know what happens next, I of course start to cry. So sweet of them to coordinate to meet us...but then again, this is just who they are!

To our surprise they weren't only there to cheer us on. They parked at my house, ran the 3 miles to meet us, and were running the 3 miles back with us! Already pumped, I grabbed Karla and Vanessa and we started to book it. A few lights down, I looked at Vanessa, and told her she was responsible to bring me home. I was ready to push it and I needed her by my side.

I felt stronger with every stride, and it felt great to peek at my Garmin and see the pace number getting smaller and smaller. We rounded the corner to my neighborhood and I was determined. I dug deep, and Vanessa followed. We had to run past my house and loop back around to get the 24, but we did it...and it felt amazing.

Right as we stopped, there was the rest of the group charging down the street. We started yelling and screaming for Becky and her entourage as they raced home. She finished strong and fast, and the smile on her face told me everything. She was proud of herself, and thankful this run was OVER!!

Our friends waited on us hand and foot for the rest of the morning. Fetching us beer, watching my kids, filling up our ice bath, and feeding our egos. As always, it was wonderful to share in this moment with them.

Although the four of us (me, Becky, Amy, and Kim) will be alone on race day, away from our group, we know we have all their strength, love, and support. And that can get us through any wall we might encounter. So cheers to our Moms on the Run, words cannot describe how my cup runneth over.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Thank God they're cute

My girls are adorable. No, seriously. and I don't say that just because I am their mom. I have proof. Old ladies walk up to me all the time and tell me how cute they are. It's practically written in stone.

I always thought it had to do with the great genes handed down by moi, and I guess you have to give a little bit of credit to my husband...they have his eyes, and our youngest could be his stunt double. Or maybe that their cute sweet exterior was a nod to my brilliant parenting efforts. But, who am I fooling...I have yet to have a day where the 'Mommy of the Year' award people are knocking at my door. I am holding out hope though...

No, it really has nothing to do with any of that. The truth is, they have to be cute, so I can keep from strangling them when they act the way they did yesterday! Their sweet smiles, and gorgeous faces make their ridiculous behavior almost tolerable. I have to assume that when these incidents happen, I will always look back and laugh. What a funny anecdote to share when they start making friends in school, or start dating...at 35. Perhaps their future in-laws will get a kick out of the crazy behavior they had as a child. To think the mild mannered, sweet, polite girl they know could ever be capable of these things would be beyond them.

Just like how every time I blame their crazy behavior on my husband (who was a wild child and crazy teen- compared of course to my pristine record in my adolescence) my Mother-in-Law reminds me of the ONE piece of incriminating evidence she has on me that she learned from my parents- I used to run out the front door and down the street every time my mom answered the phone. Seems super adorable to me...and if that's the worst they have on me, so be it!

Let me back up to yesterday to explain:

I am usually pretty impressed with how well I manage my life and drag 2 kids around with me. They go with me almost everywhere. Any errand I have to run, business meetings, classes, and occasionally Disneyland, the park, beach, play date, even Costco. I pride myself of instilling the wrath of me in my children so I can give them a look and they know to 'knock it off'. Now before I start sounding like Supernanny, let me just say that the look only works about 26% of the time.

I took yesterday morning off of teaching class to get some looong overdue work done. The girls played and, GASP, watched TV. I figured I needed to get them out to do something fun, and hey, run a few errands while we were at it. I took them to the library, and mistakenly tried to get a few books for myself too. Insert the very spirited Emma at 2 years old. She doesn't quite get the whole library voice concept, and my shushing was probably just as, if not more, annoying than her screeching.

I made it out with a few books on my list and we spent the rest of the time in the children's section. They both had their own bags, picked out a ton of books, played with toys, climbed on the furniture, and we even rented a movie. Feeling like a supermom, we headed out.

I only needed to run 2 errands. A quick few minutes, that I clearly pre-paid for with the fun trip to the library. I pulled into OfficeMax to return something...and it all began to unwind.

The store was closing so it was practically empty. Now, maybe it was the vast openness and lack of items on the shelf that gave my kids the idea it was a playground. From the minute we walked in the door they were all over the place. Don't ask me how, but no matter where we are my kids can spot Elmo, Dora, or the Backyardigans paraphernalia and instantly begin begging for it. I am trying to calm them down and tell them we are leaving as the clerk kindly lets me know that I waited too long for the return so now I could only use store credit. Awesome. I am pretty sure in that amount of time my kids have ruined $23.48 worth of items in the store.

I grab them making a beeline for the pen isle when, staring right at me, with a lovely 50% off tag, is a new corner desk that would fit perfectly in my 'office'. (I use quotations because it is more of an 'oh shit' room than an office) Suddenly this desk is the answer to all of my disorganizational problems, and I have to have it.

Insert problem here: They won't let me put it on hold, they won't let me pay for it and have my husband pick it up after work, and there is no way in you know what it is fitting in my car.

Meanwhile, Emma has kicked off her shoes, they have both found a pack of post-its, and I am sweating like I am doing speed work in 100% humidity. I am on the phone trying to track down someone to pick up the desk. My future organized and efficient self is so close I can taste it...I just need this desk!!!

I have my phone up to my ear, reaching down to grab Emma's shoes, yelling at Meadow to set the example...and off runs Emma, in her Minnie Mouse dress to boot, straight towards the fake wall in the front of the store. It is a metal frame with a canvas drape hanging down to serve as a partition of sorts, and there are about 8 linked together. She runs right through the first one, and in slow mo, as I run shouting Nooooooooooo, the rest crumble in a domino effect. The entire store stops on a dime to stare at the crazy kids and unfit mother standing front and center.

8 shades of red, with sweat now dripping from every pore of my body, I drop my phone, grab Emma, and stare at the mess. their staff, bless their hearts, told me no problem a million times and said they would fix it. They also asked me not to get mad at her. I guess they could see the fury unleashing in my eyes. And the manager kindly handed me back the label tape I needed to return with my receipt.

As I rushed to my car, I was yelling at them, actually myself, that I couldn't do anything anymore. I couldn't run one simple errand without the world crashing down on me. I put them in the car, turned on the AC and shut the doors...with me still outside. I needed a time out. I was so rushed and focused on the desk, and so uptight that I was responsible for their craziness.

Meadow rolled down her window(I didn't even know she could do that--it's all in the wrist, as she would say), and there Emma was, all smiles in her Minnie dress. I had to laugh. She's a wild one that girl...and lucky for her she will probably get away with it for years to come. She has no boundaries, no fears, no limitations, and she goes 100% all the time. I am figuring she will be the root of my first gray hair (who knows if it is already there or not, I refuse to look). But, I also know deep down that that will power, that strength, will teach me a few lessons down the road. I am going to focus on embracing their craziness and trying to roll with it. Soon they will be uptight adults like the rest of us. Don't we all wish we could be a kid again? Just for an afternoon? So I will let them enjoy it, and worry about the mess another time.

Oh, and btw, I got the desk. :)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

It really is just a choice

First, can I start by saying the the San Diego Rock N Roll Marathon is just about 3 weeks away. I am officially starting to freak out.

Sunday morning I hit my snooze button at 5:30am, opting against my 12 mile run alone. It was cold, I was grumpy, and I just didn't feel like it. I decided to meet up with the other girls at 8 to get in a good 4-6 miles with some chatting and good gossip. My weekend was loooong, and interesting to say the least, so I think I wanted to chat about it, instead of let it stew in my own head alone on a long run...which I knew wouldn't end in a happy place.

I forced myself out of bed, got dressed quickly, and fumbled to find my phone that was ringing. As I answered it, I looked outside to see it was soaking wet. How did I not notice it rained?(I probably would have been off the hook at 5:30 anyway.) Shelly was clearly in her car on the way to the beach asking, or maybe hinting that we might not be running due to the weather. I assured her I was on my way, despite my awesome early morning voice that made it sound like I was still sleeping.

I pulled into the parking lot, and quickly behind me came Chelyse. We gave each other the 'eye'; you know, the one where you silently let the other person know all they have to do is say the word and the run is off. Except that nobody ever says it. Getting out of the car, we quickly realize that the wind is crazy, and it is freeeeeeezing. We hop in her car to wait for anyone else, knowing of course Shelly was on her way. I was relieved to get a few more sips of my coffee in, and start the rant about my weekend. Shelly walked up and got in the car, and we were playing a fun game with a car next to us, who was also tiptoeing around the idea of actually going out in this weather. The members of the other car got out, lasted 1 minute, got back in and left. We took that as permission to continue my therapy session for a few more minutes...hey, we would get out once it cleared up. Then the rain started pouring down. Phew....we were not in the mood to run in the rain.

It was nice to still get my chatting time in with the girls, even without our run. I needed a little vent, a little perspective, and a few girls on my side to say they completely understand.

The conversation moved on and Chelyse said something that struck a cord with me and how I live my life, and of course it reminded me of some advice from my mom a few years back.

Being happy, enjoying life, and living it to the fullest really is just a choice. A concious decision you make and remake everyday. The happy people you see in life aren't the ones where everything is amazing...you just don't notice any of the bad stuff in their life because they are too busy smiling.

I think about people that have the worst cases handed to them in life. People who are paralyzed, lose their vision, or limbs, who lose a child, or battle a terrible ilness such as cancer. You see them out there training for triathalons, climbing mountains, advocating for safer laws, and fighting for those around them. They made the choice, not to bury their head in the sand and feel sorry for themselves, but to rise above, and enjoy their life to the fullest. It makes you wonder if you would be that strong. And then it really makes you think, what the hell am I whining about??

Maybe it's having running in my life that has given me the mental toughness and strength to know that I really can will myself to do anything. I know that mind over matter works, because I know how it feels at mile 22 in a marathon.

So choosing to be happy, to enjoy my life, and what I do, seems like a no brainer. You may say easier said than done...but I think that means you just haven't tried it.

Monday, May 9, 2011

If a tree falls in the forest...

My Sunday run was nothing less than spectacular. The best way to start my Mother's Day. Everything about it spoke to me, encouraged me, made me proud, energized me, pushed me, and gave me peace. Since my last long run, I had a lot go on, and it felt good to get back out there and prove that it wasn't all lost. To find the piece of me that stayed out there on the road, just waiting for me to come back and pick it up.

To sum up my last week for you, I had what I would now call an 'episode' where I felt light headed and dizzy, almost like I was floating out of my body, for 4 days straight. I couldn't get grounded, I couldn't find my balance, and I was completely exhausted. Now I can be extremely lazy when I want to...but normally I am bouncing off the walls doing a million things at once. For these 4 days it was all I could do to keep from falling asleep mid sentence. It scared me, I was worried something could really be wrong. I even went to the Dr., which I never do. Everything came back fine, and after a few days I am back to normal. I am just reminding myself every now and again to breath and that seems to be working.

So, the point of adding that in, was the Dr. told me not to run for a week. So I was a little nervous getting back out there for a long one, and in new shoes too. Yes, I know all of my hard core running friends are gasping at what a huge mistake that is...but they are the same shoes and there was NO WAY my old ones could make it another 2 miles, let alone 22!

I was actually really prepared for this run, everything set out, snacks planned, new play list made, etc. And I even got in bed at 7:30 when my kids went to bed. Becky would be at my door at 4:15am, and the night before I didn't get as much sleep as I would've liked so I was serious about getting some zzzz's.

Becky and I ran from my house, which we wondered why we didn't do this every run. So easy, no stress about leaving anything, and I can't be late if I am already here!! We were excited to have a new segment added to our route to break it up even more.

We headed out in the silence and the dark and started chatting away. We had a lot to say, maybe because it had been 2 weeks since our last run, and when I am sick she teaches for me so we don't get to catch up during the week as usual. We got to the beach and headed north, noticing that the runners we usually see were absent. Maybe because it was still early, or maybe because the men were fulfilling there wife's one Mother's Day wish...to get to sleep in!!! We started going over everything happening in the life of Becky's newly teenage daughter (which scares me to death to think of my girls hitting that age), I am glad I have her experience to help me out when we get there. Add in a few stories about our husbands, and I look at my watch only to realize we are at mile 10. Wait, what? 10 miles flew by without us even noticing??? Seriously, we are for sure real runners!

We flip at mile 11, and on the way back even tackle the hill we don't have to. Becky was clearly on fire and I was following her lead. With every run her confidence grows and it is so nice to feed off of it and coast along.

At mile 15 is where my runner's high kicks in, and I feel like there should be a mandatory dance break at every race at mile 15. My arms start flailing, my hips start moving, and I break out into whatever song is on my iPod. Becky loves this part of the run...probably because I have the sweetest voice ever.

We run on, having fun, being serious at times, and cheering each other on, and then we get a real treat. Along came some other Moms on the Run Running Club members heading past us, and cheering like crazy! We got hi-fives and whistles, and maybe a few butt smacks. It was great to see them and we got an extra little push! Amy even ran with us for a mile or two before heading back to meet up with the pack again.

As we kept going I was overwhelmed with inspiration. Becky has the amazing ability to look flawless when she runs. Her skin glows, she is calm and in rhythm, and she makes sweating look good. I started to think about the moment in the marathon when we will split apart, how we will say good-bye, and I start to get choked up. Yes, it's sappy...get over it!!! Then I start to picture the emotion she will have crossing the finish line, and the emotion I will have when I see her...and tears start to form. Just then she shares that she is remembering when we first started to train for a 5K, and she was tired after running for only 5 minutes. Oh how far we have come...how far she has come.

Also, I am inspired by our awesome friends that competed in the Gladiator Run the day before. I got caught up in the amazing circle of friends I have and how nice it is to be surrounded by all the positive energy! Not to mention the fact that they know how to have a good time!!!

Heading home down Magnolia is a bit of a pain, since you have to stop at the lights. But it didn't hurt as bad as I was figuring. As we inched closer to my neighborhood, I looked down at my Garmin as we were about to reach the light and noticed I forgot to start it again after the last light. I curse myself, and apologize to Becky. She says we are fine, we know where to stop to hit 22. But somehow, that wasn't good enough for me.

See, Becky and I have had a few runs that fell short. A few runs that were just under the mark, and I couldn't let that happen again. I knew it was about a half mile that we were missing, so I dropped Becky off in my neighborhood when the Garmin said 21.5, and I continued to run around the block to get us to 22. For some reason I needed that validation for us, to have proof that we actually did it. Even though we would both know it...I needed more.

It wasn't until a few hours after the run, and a chat with my mom where she called me 'a bit obsessive' (in a very sweet way) that I began to question myself. Why did I need that number on the watch? Why wasn't it enough to just know how far I went without the additional proof? It was impossible not to take this realization into my entire life and analyze it.

Why is it that I need validation for something that simple? For everything really. I feel confident in my abilities, I feel strong as a woman, yet I need to share with every one my accomplishments. Even my short comings for that matter. Do we all do that? When do we get to the point in our lives where what we think is the only opinion that matters? Does that ever even happen? Even now I am waiting to read this post to my husband before I put it out there.

We all need an extra push, we can never really do it all on our own. So, if it means that I have to throw it out there, to let people know that a tree fell, every now and again for an added boost to validate how I feel...so be it. I do know deep down what I am worth, it just feels good to hear someone else agree with me every now and again. :)

Sunday, May 1, 2011

I get by with a little help from my friends...

I have the greatest circle of friends on the face of the planet. Period. Hands down. Don't even try to challenge me on this one, I will take you to the mat! The women that I 'run' with are nothing short of amazing. Who knew that a large group of women could actually support and encourage each other to achieve success; instead of tear each other down and criticize and back stab. The quality of life that you can live, despite whatever else that may be going on in your life, with true friends by your side is astounding.

My mother's best friend, Lu,(who what a surprise, is her best running partner)gave a speech at my wedding that I didn't really get until about a year ago. She got up, and was very cutely pulling at her sweater to show some more shoulder, and talked about the amazing friendship she and my mom have had over the years. We all got teary-eyed, because we knew how true it was. They had been through a lot together, shared moments out on the trail that they will remember forever. And had some really good times involving tequila that have been sworn to secrecy! Oh boy I could go on and on...and on! After she tugged at her sweater until it couldn't go any lower, and still be appropriate, she said that while you are married to your husband don't forget about your girlfriends, for they are the ones that help you stay married!

Lu is hilarious, so I thought it was her being funny and left it at that. But after I started to 'run' in my current circle of friends it all clicked. Yes, you can vent to your friends about what irritates you about your husband, what you wished he did more of, or less of, but really your friends serve a much deeper role in your life. They fill the gaps, provide the comfort and support, when you need it most, or where it may be lacking.

Today I got a chance to do my second favorite thing with running- I got to cheer friends on during their race while I was on the sidelines. I love cheering for everyone, and believe me, Barb and I deserved an award for all the cheering we did today! It's just so inspiring to watch people run we couldn't help ourselves. It's seeing the look in their eyes, of fierce determination, or fear, or struggle, and watching them dig deep, find their inner strength, and power through that moves me.

I had a few of my very best friends running in the race today. You see, I already know how amazing they are...hence they are in my wonderful circle of friends! But out there on the course, on race day, I know that they to get to see the girl that I already know exists. The strong competitor, the mother, the friend, the girl that is going to give everything she has, and come up victorious. I know that they are going to be proud of themselves, and I know they are going to fight, and come out the other end stronger and happier.

So one by one, or in some cases, two by two, our Moms on the Run (oh and also some good friends from the AZ Run Like a Mother group) crested the looooong hill to Barb and I screaming like lunatics. We got smiles, and waves, hi-fives and tears, and also some flailing arms and screaming lunatics! These women have played such an important part in my life, that finally I got to be there for them too, filling in that tiny gap between exhaustion and the next water station. It felt good.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter Sunday Service at MY Church

I am unbelievably passionate about running. I don't know why, and trust me, I question it A LOT! But I am. You can show me a commercial about running and I cry. When I see a friend of mine on the course running their first or 15th race, I get the chills...and I cry. Don't even get me started on the emotions that I feel when I see my girls cheering me on from the sidelines...I am crying now just thinking of it. Yes, I am a mom, so naturally I am an emotional nightmare. I cry a lot, I am a big sap, and everything seems so monumental and special that I am in happy tears constantly. But is that really all it is? Mommy hormones that cause me to be so emotionally ridiculous?

I am just not convinced that's all it is. To be honest, I have never been this passionate about anything in my life. Ever. OK, so I am in love with my husband and kids, and obsessed with being an amazing mother and wife, but this is different, so let's not pull the family card here, OK! On another note, running is automatically linked in with fitness, and I am so passionate about Stroller Strides and Body Back...so this is on the same level. But running is something that I do just for me.

Early Easter Sunday morning, I hopped(let's be honest, dragged myself) out of bed, laced up my shoes, and headed out for my 20 mile run. For those of you that don't run, because I love running so much does not mean that I am always super excited to get out the door and go. I have the same feelings about early morning workouts as the rest of the world...sometimes it sucks! And by sometimes, I mean most of the time. But, I also know that it only sucks for the first few minutes. I can suck it up for that long.

I was lucky, because somehow the night before I was able to convince my friend Lisa to ride her bike along side me for my run. Lisa is a sweet and concerned friend so I am sure she was more worried about me getting murdered and/or raped along the street that early in the morning which is why she volunteered to get up before dawn and ride the slowest bike ride of her life! I was excited because I looked super important with her riding beside me as my personal security guard, and I was running much faster than normal to keep it at a comfortable pace for her. Honestly, I think she only had to pedal every other minute! I didn't feel bad though, Lisa is the kind of girl that can be at peace with the wind blowing in her hair, and having the moments to herself while riding down the beach. It was very calming to watch her enjoy the ride and take it all in. It was cute that she was freezing in pants and a hoodie while I was sweating bullets in a running skirt and shirt!

Now, usually on a long run I have some type of epiphany. Some huge breakthrough, some big light bulb that goes off in my head that serves as a life lesson. Much like I assume church to be. I am not exactly religious, meaning I am not religious at all. So this is as close as I get to experiencing a 'higher power'. I kept explaining to Lisa that eventually I would be on my runners high and she would laugh at me, or I would hit my wall and she shouldn't freak out. But none of that ever happened. Nothing happened. I ran. And I ran at a great pace. Oh wait...I did have an uncomfortable amout of chafing...but that doesn't exactly count.

The only thing that happened during my run, was that I ran. I'm not sure if it was the comfort of having Lisa on her bike that gave me the extra push I needed. She was floating along, unlike having someone running beside you that can commiserate with how you feel. Maybe I sucked it up and forgot because she was there so carefree. Or maybe, not every run is monumental. Maybe there are runs you make it through without the weight of the world on your shoulders. Without some big lesson to learn, or issue to overcome. Maybe just being at peace in the moment, putting one foot in front of the other, is monumental enough.

So on my Easter Sunday morning, before the Easter Bunny came, before the eggs were baked, and before most people were up, I ran. And sometimes, life is just that simple. So I guess my big lesson comes at the end. That not everything has to be something amazingly profound, that sometimes the amazing things in life are found in the simple things. Enjoying my run along side a great friend, and finding peace in the calm of a morning shared before the craziness of the rest of our day ensued.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Full Circle

As moms who run, I think we are constantly battling not feeling selfish. Especially when you are training for a race, the time it takes to log the miles you need, the hours you need to be out of the house, the dinners you need your husband to prep so you can get in a few miles before dark. We can easily justify running as our therapy, knowing it makes us a better mother, wife, and friend; that we are setting a positive example for our children showing them fitness is important; that we work hard to maintain a healthy lifestyle and keep a resemblance of our figure from before we had kids. Still, you can't help but think about the time you are spending on something you enjoy and feel a teeny tiny bit selfish.

I had a much different feeling after my run today.

I grew up with a running Mother. She ran marathons, 5K's 10K's, half marathons, ultra races, the grand canyon, the list goes on and on. She even trained competitively at one point when I was very young. She belonged to a running club that she met on a regular basis too. I have always told everyone that my favorite memory as a child was running out to meet my mom as she finished a long run, and how her legs felt, cold and damp, and the sweet smell of her sweat. I don't remember time missed with her because she was training. I remember how fun it was to watch her run by in a marathon; I remember how fun all of her running friends were(most are still in her and my life), and that sometimes we got to meet them all for pizza after their week night run. I remember how exciting it was to pack my lunch and put it in the basket on my bike as we rode all the way down to the beach with my mom for her long run. I remember being old enough to finally run with her, and how great it felt to make her try to keep up with me in high school. And I remember the first half marathon I ran, with her by my side every step of the way(even if she was wearing a giant GOT BEER mug on her head).

As I ran up the driveway this afternoon, to my 4 year old daughter waiting for me with her arms held out, I smiled. At first, because it was an awesome run- faster than I have gone in a while, and then because it was so sweet to see her excited. I told her to hop on her bike to do my cool down lap with me. We headed down the street, her curly blonde hair flowing behind her, and she looked back and smiled at me. I instantly started to cry. Not only because I knew it was a magical mommy moment, but because I knew how she felt looking at me, and then even more because I knew how my mom felt.

We finished the cool down lap, she got off her bike and gave me a big hug and said, "Mommy, you feel really wet."

Monday, March 21, 2011

18 and life has started...

18 and 8 to goooooo...

I was unusually excited to wake up for our Sunday long run a few weeks ago for several different reasons:

1. Becky and I were set to run 18 miles, and I feel like once you accomplish that, it is all down hill to the marathon(weird how at this time in my life 8 miles seems 'downhill')

2. This is the first marathon that Becky is training for, so the last 2 miles of every long run are the furthest she has ever run. Every step is a new victory, and I love that I get to share that with her. I stare at my Garmin so I know the exact second she takes that step so I can throw a mini party as she glares at me. Lucky for me she is wiped by then and can't punch me in the face like I know she wants to.

3. I had a pain in my foot for the 2 weeks prior, so this would be my first long run back. I really had every intention of getting my foot looked at, but instead treated like my daughters tantrums in Target-- I ignored it and eventually the pain went away.

3. It was supposed to be pouring rain, so a tiny part of me thought that if I woke up to the wind and pounding rain, we would cancel our run and I would actually be able to sleep in...til at least 6:30. But a bigger part of me thought how badass we would be to do the run in the rain.

4. I borrowed a pair of skinny Sandra's pants for the run, and they actually fit! Now I don't say this in an 'I'm fat' kindof way...Sandra really is just tiny. So I walked a little thinner in her pants...not to mention how my rear-end looked in them...pretty nice!

When I woke up at 4:15, my excitement changed a bit. There was no rain...the ground wasn't wet, and I didn't see any big ominous clouds. Ok, this run was on! Then I realized I didn't plug my Garmin in. Normally this wouldn't be a huge deal to run without it, but we were trying a new route and heaven forbid we don't hit our mileage, or even worse...run too far! Since I know Becky was skipping church, I texted that we should get an extra hour of sleep and head out at 6. After all, maybe the rain would be there by then!

Up again at 5:30, and still no rain. I scrambled to get everything together(we were out a little late at a friend's house-Skinny Sandra- the night before so let's just say I was less than prepared). I searched my bag for my fancy skinny Sandra pants and her husbands Underarmor top(that I can't believe ever fit him because it was tighter on me than her pants)...no luck. Was I really on it last night, and in my wine haze set them out in my room? Nope. Ugh.

I grabbed my iPod, less than a full charge. Which means Lady Gaga will not be pushing me on my last mile. Ugh. Ugh.

I arrive late to the beach to meet Becky, but seeing as she has known me for 3 years this comes as no surprise. Still cramming my peanut butter sandwich in my mouth, rubbing Vaseline under my sports bra, and trying to squeeze in a few more sips of coffee.

I grab my water bottle, shot blocks, an extra Gu Becky brought for me, a mini Luna Bar for the road, and my ear buds. All I need is my arm band for my iPod, a quick potty break and I am ready to go!

To say my car is messy in the understatement of the year. A family of 4 could survive for 2 weeks. I'm not kidding. So I guess I shouldn't be shocked when I can't find my arm band. Knowing that I have held Becky up long enough, and hearing that her iPod is dead too, we decided to head on with no music.

The wind was ridiculous, and we looked at each other like, 'are we really going to do this?' We decided to scratch our original plan (running to Newport Beach, around the Back Bay, and back up) just in case it did start pouring, thunder, and lightning so we wouldn't get stranded miles and miles away. Instead we headed south into the wind, towards Balboa, and were going to turn around and head North to Goldenwest and back to the cars.

We forged on chatting, proud in the fact that it was hard to run, and even more proud that we seemed to be the only ones out there. Was this a sign? A sign that we had crossed over into REAL runners?

We turned around in Balboa 5.5 miles in, had a Gu, and felt amazing! Goldenwest seemed so doable from here. WooHoo! We headed back with the wind at our backs, and even did a few flying leaps because it felt so easy compared to the battle we were just fighting.

We passed a few other girls from our running club as they were headed into the wind, and assured them it was worth it for the float back. We did a quick stop at the cars for Becky to toss her jacket and gloves, and headed up the coast.

We were at mile 11, and I don't know if it was because I was getting tired, or heading out from the cars felt like we were starting all over again, but I was sucking wind. I always try to stay strong on these long runs for Becky, since I have been here before, I want her to feel safe tackling this high mileage. But I couldn't help it. Becky is like a wife to me, so all I needed to do was start breathing a little heavier, add some weighted sighs, and boom, she catches on and tells me, "You've got this. One foot in front of the other and soon you will be past this feeling."

I am someone who needs a challenge, a struggle to be able to find success. I love hills in a race because I like mini accomplishments along the way to push me, to make me dig deeper. At this point in our run, I started hoping it would rain. I wanted to feel the rain, to have it blow hard in our faces on the way back. Today was a day that just finishing wasn't going to be enough. If I was sucking wind I needed to earn it.

As we passed the pier, the sky opened up and it began to rain. It was just what I needed. A chance to feel a little tougher, a chance to click my badass meter up a notch- CLICK!

It only rained for a few minutes, but we were pumped. As we passed runners heading into the wind(which was much stronger now) we noticed they looked ok. If they can do it, we can do it.

We stopped at Goldenwest for our last Gu, and to prep to turn back around and run our final 3.5 miles head on in the wind. I also needed to do a lot of work on my foot, which started to kill me right before we turned around.

Facing into the wind, Becky and I started laughing uncontrollably. This was going to be a fight, but we're tough!

We tossed our Gu packets, gave each other a hi-five and said, "Let's make this run our bitch!"

And that is exactly what we did.

We dug our heads down and ran. We ran hard, and it felt great. We stayed up on the streets to avoid the sand lashing in our faces, and got to feel the stares of people driving by, warm in their cars. Looking at us like we are nuts... or maybe just noticing what hot tough chicks we were. (too bad I wasn't in skinny Sandra's pants!)

As the rain quit, we headed back to the beach path since the sand was damp and wouldn't blow in our faces. we must have looked like the birds flapping their wings into the wind but staying in the same spot because it seemed as though we were barely moving. Laughing again at each other, probably because it was easier than crying, we sprinted to the cars (which my Gamrin said was a strong 11 minute mile) and declared victory.

We sat in her car, heater blasting, with our celebratory Coors Light, and giggled like teenagers. It was a roller coaster of a run but it was everything we needed it to be. We made it over the hump, and are coasting downhill on the other side.

Until our next long run...