Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Please Believe....

that just because most of my posts involve running and me skipping through a meadow of flowers together, rolling around all lovey dovey, and truly understanding and respecting each other, doesn't mean that I don't have days/runs that suck. It happens. Often. Today fucking sucked.

I woke up grumpy, and I'm pretty sure that it had NOTHING to do with the glass(es) of wine that I drank staying up late watching the Biggest Loser. And then Hoarders.

After I taught Body Back this morning I stumbled around the house irritated that it was messy, irritated that my kids were whining for things like food and water, confused that my husband was asking me how his outfit looked for work, and feeling like the coffee I made was weak.

I knew what needed to happen. I needed to run. All signs were pointing to the pavement and I have an afternoon session of love. Yup. I secured a sitter for the girls, and my day was already feeling a little brighter knowing I had a plan. See, I haven't run in over a week, nursing my injury and this adorable smoker’s cough that has settled in my lungs and chest and has shown no sign of leaving. Ever. (note: I don't really smoke. I made this joke the other day and someone thought I was serious ;)

I dropped the girls off and headed to my friend’s house to start my run. No, she wasn't running with me, but from her house to the pier and back is exactly 6 miles...plus she has a fridge full of beer that I knew I could raid when I was done.

I sat in her kitchen lacing up my shoes and bitching up a storm about how grumpy I was...and that really, I didn't want to run. She smiled- nice, thanks friend, and said HA! now you know how the rest of us feel! Ummmm, hello?! I feel like this all the time too. I just know better, that's all.

I headed out, and immediately felt like shit. My legs were heavy and tired, and it was windy. God this is going to be the longest 6 miles of my life.

As I hit the beach path, I got more negative. I couldn't get a good breath, my music on Pandora sucked, and there were too many people out for a leisurely walk on the path. And wait a minute...what's that feeling? Are my legs really chaffing in this skirt? FML

I saw my friend Gunnar running past the other direction and took the opportunity to stop and talk. Luckily he was sucking wind as bad as I was so no need for him to talk some smack about how bad I looked, and how slow I was going. I begged for him to tell me it felt better with the wind at his back. He shrugged and said, nope. Awesome.

Even more awesome: I forgot to stop my Garmin for our chat. So now it looked like I was running a 14 minute mile. If you don't know this by now, I am a slave to that Garmin, and what it says holds the entire value of my life. So of course I had to start hauling ass so it could get back down and reflect the pace I was really keeping. Love that about me.

I turned around at 3 miles, expecting to feel the wind push me back to my friend’s house like I was flying effortlessly. Clearly that's not what happened. Instead, my knee started to hurt. Bad. I needed something to change; to regroup, if for anything to at least be able to make it back and finish this god awful run. I stopped to get some water, try out a few of my fancy chiropractor ordered stretches to help my knee, and change the shitty song on my phone.

And just then, the next song that played, was a new theme song of mine: Fly, by Nicki Minaj and Rhianna. Oh hells to the yeah. I got a little strut in my step and took off. My knee hurt, everything hurt, but I was on a mission to finish.

"but when you go hard your nay's become yea's"

I pushed it back, and it still sucked. My nay never really became a yea...but they can’t all be gems. Some of the stuff we do has to suck, so that when something good and magical happens we can truly appreciate it.

Even a shitty, crappy, terrible run feels a million times better than not going at all. And so that is what I will take from it.

Silver lining bitches!!!!!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

My new love was tested yesterday

New love is always so fun and exciting. Your heart skips a beat, you are constantly smiling, and in your eyes, your love can do no wrong. This is a different kind of new love for me. It is a love for myself. A new affair that began recently and the only thing about it that makes me sad is that it took me almost 32 years to get here and I had no idea. For years, my love, my best friend was right here, and I treated her terribly, thought mean thoughts about her, and constantly compared her to everyone else and never embraced the beauty that she had all along.

I am so fortunate to have a phenomenal photographer as one of my best friends. Candace Rock Photography(can't miss the chance to plug her work!) This means I get dibs on some pretty amazing photo shoots before they sell out to the public. She has been training and dabbling in Boudoir photos for a while, and finally put together a mini marathon to capture the sexiness of some awesome women. I was immediately all over it, because as I mentioned above, my body and I are newly in love and I wanted to celebrate that with some sexy shots. Ok, yes, ideally they were going to be for my husband...but I knew they would be for me too.

It wasn't until Candace sent me the prep guide and questionnaire that I realized how 'for me' this shoot was going to be. She asked questions about what kind of style I liked, and what my dream shoot would be, and what my partner loved about me and my body. But when I got to the question: 'what do you love about your body?' I started to cry. And those tears made me cry even more. I wasn't crying because I didn't have an answer. I was crying because for once in my life, finally, I had a lot of answers. I didn't need to ask someone else, or make up something that I thought should say. Nope. I had a whole paragraph of what I love about myself. And it felt amazing.

'I love that it is strong. I love that you can see my muscles. That you can tell I can probably kick a little ass. I love that I can smile when I look in the mirror at myself naked (most of the time). I love that I work hard for it. I love that it allows me to do what I love- run and teach. I love that I look like a real woman and mother, with curves and hips and a booty. I love that I am finally at a point in my life where I truly do love my body.'

It felt liberating. And not only did it feel great to love myself, it felt great to be able to say it...without feeling like I was bragging, or that I should keep it to myself.

Heading into the shoot I was excited to see how my pictures would turn out. I was excited to feel confident in front of the camera, and let go of any bad thoughts that might linger in the back of my mind. And I was excited for a glass of champagne. I had been holding off all week to look good for the pictures ;)

I walked into the room, and saw my friend Melissa prepping for her shoot. Insert teeny tiny perfectly tan, adorably cute, not a wrinkle, line or mark on her body Melissa. And yes, she is a mother of 2. I got a little lump in my throat. I felt a voice starting to creep in my head. A voice of doubt. Finally, finally, my love was real with myself, and in creeps some jealousy and doubt. I could never look like Melissa. I am so embarrassed that the photographer (hello, my friend) and the make up artist were going to see my body right after hers. Maybe I need 2 glasses of champagne.

It took me so long to get to this point, was it really all going back down the drain in self-doubt?

I put on my first outfit, and felt just as bad. And then worse for thinking that way. I became nervous, and worried I would look stupid. That this inner sexiness I was feeling wasn't going to come across in the pictures. And that I would forever look like the insecure girl it took me 32 years to get away from.

But then something happened. As I sat in front of the camera, I remembered why it was I fell in love with my body. It wasn't because I looked like a swimsuit model, or that I weighed 110 pounds(so far from that!). It was because I worked hard, I looked strong, I was happy. I began to relax a bit, and get into my shoot. Not worrying about the other girls around me. To be honest, they were saying nice things, and complimenting me. Not staring and pointing.

By the end of the shoot I had let loose, was excited to see the pictures of my body, and felt amazing letting myself be so free, and roll around in the sheets with my new love. And it shows in the pictures. And that is exactly the story I was hoping to tell.

At the end of the day it didn't matter what my body looked like in the photos, but just an fyi- it looked really good! What mattered is that you could tell I was owning and loving every inch of my body.

The last question Candace asked on the questionnaire was 'What story do you want to tell with your images?' And here was my answer:

'That I am a confident and strong woman, but also one that is very fragile and sweet. I'm not a skinny model like girl, and I like that about me. I want to own my body, right here and right now, embrace every curve and muscle that I have worked for. And I want that love to show. So that I can always remember that I love myself. I might need to draw back on that over the years.'

Mission Accomplished. My new love has passed the test. I am hoping this is one that lasts forever.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Kids Say the Darndest Things

Or maybe I just read way too into it. I can do that from time to time. Or all the time.

Every now and then I am blown away with the things that come out of my kids' mouths. And no, it isn't always them repeating the bad stuff we say...just sometimes ;).

I really feel at times that my kids know something I don't when they speak about certain things. Like their innocence has them connected to the universe in a way that I can't even begin to understand.

Case and point: Meadow has a friend that is quiet around adults. I think she is a genius- very cautious of the world around her. The other day Meadow was talking about how much she loves Hello Kitty, and that Hello Kitty was her favoritest ever. I asked her why she liked Hello Kitty so much. And she simply answered: because sometimes she doesn't talk, and sometimes my friend Sophia doesn't talk. I don't know why, but this spoke volumes to me. While the rest of the adult world might be trying to understand why her friend chooses not to talk to certain adults, I feel that Meadow understands her in a way we never could.

Tonight I had a late conference call, and when it was finished I went into my room to see both girls snuggled up in my bed. I hopped in between them to snuggle up. It was a fun warm moment, the kind I forget about when I am caught up in the craziness of everyday life. I told them that I would love them forever and ever. I asked if they would love me forever and ever too. Emma screamed YESSSSSS!!!! And Meadow replied, yes mommy, even when you are gone.


Oh my gosh. What did that mean, even when I am gone? Are we going to have to talk about how Jackie Boy and Great Grandma are in heaven? And what it means to have mommy go there too? Why is she already picturing me gone? What a sad thought for a 4 year old. I immediately felt sad and overwhelmed, and worried about how I was going to explain this one without causing permanent damage. (And let's be honest, I am going to cause enough damage on my own without adding in these serious conversations.)

I asked what she meant. And if she meant when she was older? Or if it was like how Mena (my mom) lives far away? She said no. And then silence.

Oh man I am really in trouble. How do I explain this?

I asked if she meant when she was older and had her own babies. And she said, "well yes that too mommy. But I meant, like, in the morning when you leave for Body Back, and to go to work sometimes, I still love you then."

And there it was. As simple as can be. It wasn't complicated; it didn't mean anything so serious. It was how it felt, in the mind of a 4 year old. It reminded me that things don't really have to be all that complicated. Maybe if we stop overthinking every little issue, the world would become so much clearer right in front of our faces.

Thanks Meadow. With every little statement, your mommy becomes that much wiser. But just so you know, I'm going to stop telling you that in about 10 years. I can't let you know you have that kind of power when you are a teenager. ;)

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Sweat, Tears, and Salt Water...goodbye 2011

My last run in 2011. And it was glorious.
**photo is missing a few girls**

First, our Moms on the Run running group was rolling deep...15+ mammas for this run and I was pumped. Mainly because it meant everyone would bring beer so we would have more than enough to tie on our early morning buzz. Second, which is really related to #1, I hired a babysitter to watch the kids. So no guilt about needing to rush home after leaving my poor husband with our kids all morning. Third, and to your disbelief I know, was the most important. I have had a lot on my mind lately, and I needed a good, hard, long run to work it out. (yes, that was supposed to sound dirty....if you have ever taken one of my classes you know that's how I roll)

I think it is pretty common amongst women, especially moms, to always have on the strong brave face. Holding it all together, because, to be honest, we don't have time to lose it. We have jobs, families, houses to run, and children to raise. F, we are the glue that holds it all together. So getting sucked into stuff that might be eating at us just isn't an option. Until, or course, it eats away too much.

I had reached my 'wall' and I needed to break through it. Only, I don't know how to break down on my own. For some reason, I need to feel it on the road, before I can feel it in my head. Running is very symbiotic to my life, and I knew what I had to do.

If you have seen the Biggest Loser, it's amazing what the trainers can get out of their clients during an extremely difficult workout. They spill the beans about everything going on in their life, how they got to where they are, etc. It's not because of the questions the trainers ask, but simply because the contestants are exhausted. They can no longer hold up the wall that they have been keeping up around them.

In the same sense, when kids are exhausted, they are an emotional nightmare. And that is exactly what I needed to be.

To push past a wall in my running breaks me down, and in doing so, gives me the strength and confidence needed to break down walls in my regular life. If I can achieve something once thought impossible in racing....then I know I can do it in real life. Like muscles, you have to break them down, in order for them to grow stronger.

I started off my 10 miles running with the wifey, and our crew of 15+. Feels good to be such a bad influence on these girls ;). The wifey and I haven't run together in what seems like forever, so it was a nice treat to have her by my side. She let me know early on she didn't want to keep my pace for too long. And that was ok with me, I needed to run alone today. To have no distractions, to let my emotion flow through my head, and hopefully soon, out of my body.

She backed off at about mile 3, I put my other ear bud in, and cranked up Pandora. The path was full, so it was easy to keep my strong pace (yes, we all know how I do with an audience). Checking my pace, 8:30, then 8:05, then I settled 'comfortably' at a 7:45 pace.

I flipped at 5, and got to see all the hot mamas run past me. I lifted my shirt for the sports bra flash, and gotta love that I got it back from a few of the girls! God I love my running club!

I took my Gu at mile 6, and sped up to a 7:05 mile. And then I quickly backed back down to 7:40. At about mile 7 I started to feel spent. With the training I do I really have no business running this pace. But, I was on a mission.

I promised myself I just needed to hold on til mile 9....and the last mile would be smooth sailing. And that it was...sortof.

As I crested the last hill, and began my downhill coast to the end, I sped back up. I fought to finish strong, and I got faster with every step. I could feel my wall breaking down, as tears started to roll down my cheeks. I was broken. I pushed down the wall I had been trying so desperately to hold up. And it felt good.

As I sprinted to my finish and stopped my Garmin right at 10 miles, the tears rolled out like a flood gate. I turned around to walk, and got hi-fives from the runners I had passed just a few steps back.

I walked down to the water, sat with my head in my hands for a bit, balling my eyes out, and then- took my shoes off and walked into the water. Now I know they say that salt water is the best therapy you can get. And on this day, I got it in all 3 forms. Sweat, Tears, and the Ocean.

So here's to you 2011. I left a portion of you that needs to stay behind out there on the beach. The rest of you is coming with me to 2012: The. Best.Year.Yet.

And how can it not be with friends like this?