Week 9 was alright

I have nothing clever to title my post this week. I barely have the words in my head to form anything worth reading this week. I’m not going to make an “at least I’m not,” statement because that would totally damn me for that thing to happen because that’s my luck lately. I had fun that didn’t involve running. I totally mommed like a pro (I know “mommed” isn’t a word, spell check). I accomplished running things I didn’t think I was going to. Overall…

Week 9 was alright. Tuesday was a hill workout. I was on time for the warm up, did my hill repeats, and ran the additional mileage to equal 5 miles total. I didn’t want to finish after the hill repeats, but it wasn’t physical pain, so I moved along. I was pleased with myself for actually pushing through the barrier and going for it. I was dealing with finding long term solution for my oldest child after her voluntary treatment stay.

Wednesday was actually pretty awesome because I went on a first grade field trip to the pumpkin patch with my youngest child. She learned, played, and picked out her very own pumpkin to take home. We played in a silo full of corn. Yes, WE. I climbed in and sunk down to my thighs in dry corn. No, I haven’t seen the movie “A Quiet Place,” yet. I am aware there is corn.

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Pumpkin Picking

I don’t even remember Thursday clearly. There were 6 miles on the plan. I’d announced to a friend that I was going to do 3 and call it a day, but I went out and ran 6 miles. It wasn’t pleasant, but I recalled that I didn’t want to do 5 miles on Tuesday and was still able to. I was fortunate enough to bump into a runner friend at one of the parks where I’d stopped for water. We chatted for a few minutes; Me declining her offers of NUUN electrolytes and an ice pop. I picked up the energy needed to take the 1.5 miles back home for 6 miles. Another run that was better after it was over.

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Friday, I had a conversation with my teen that did not go well. She was not wanting to be in treatment due to other clients there. It was unpleasant and generally stressful to discuss. We hadn’t settled on a place for ongoing help and I was working on budget forms to determine the cost of one option. My husband and I agreed he would drive the couple of hours to pick her up on Saturday morning after my long run of 11 miles. I’d need to be finished by 10 am for him to leave on time, which shouldn’t have been a problem. It totally was Setback Saturday, I tell ya.

Saturday at 5 am, I began to consider just getting my run over with since I was already awake. I still considered a solo run when I arrived for the group before meeting time. Running felt crappy inside of the 2nd mile, but I was with the group that keeps me accountable. I stopped for a bathroom break at mile 6 and my wheels fell off. I found company in another miserable runner who needed to be finished at the same time. We ran, walked, and talked our way to finish 9.5 miles of our run. I said I’d make it up later, but I didn’t. I was frustrated with that.

Sunday, we went to church in the morning instead of our usual 5pm service. Our pastor talked about Joshua 24:15-16 and contemporary idols we enslave ourselves to. I actually thought of the Nine Inch Nails song where he refers to “God Money,” as the pastor spoke. This didn’t take away from the message, though. After, I was a volunteer at a benefit concert for a local animal rescue called My Loveable Angels. (I know about the spelling, guys). It was nice to be busy and have the distraction. Then, my phone started buzzing with messages from my husband. I decided to forgo fast food on the way so I could get home. I realized a contemporary idol of mine was food. Now that I’m aware of it, I have to make the right choice to lower food on my list of where I turn when I’m sad, lonely, happy, or confused. I’ve known for a long time it was a problem, but I hadn’t seen it as turning to something instead of prayer.

We have had so much support from family and friends through all of this stress. We have a more positive outlook for how things will be moving forward despite not being sure how we’re moving forward at times. I appreciate it, though and I want everyone who has reached out to know that I am so grateful and blessed to have this much support. Thank you!

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Seriously….this corn. Every time I take the kids here, I’m in awe.

We, Kate….no, Week 8

My brand of humor could only be labeled generic if you meant that it’s weird and is not exactly everyone’s taste. Other than being a bit of a strange bird, I’m average. I’m mostly accepting of average unless I’m reading something where the hero emerges from ordinary life and does something extraordinary. Then, I dream a little bigger momentarily. I try to consistently set high goals.

This year, I set my eyes on beating my half marathon best time. I scheduled two half marathon races a month apart and signed up for training sessions that matched those goals. I completed week 8 of the first 12 week program. I’ve missed a lot of training runs over the past couple of weeks.

Tuesday was speed work. It was a one mile run followed by 6 repeats of 200 meters picking up speed and 200 meters fast running followed by 400 meters of recovery. Then, there was the mile back for cool down. I went all out until my nagging foot pain returned and I decided to cut one repeat from the program and just wait and run the mile back. I realized on my drive home that while I didn’t do the full workout, I’d spent all of my energy out on the trail. I’d worked harder than I had and I was proud of my hard work instead of disappointed in my early stopping. My best pace was actually really impressive and I only shorted myself 3/4 of a mile in the end.

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I missed cross training on Wednesday and my Thursday run. I’ve been physically exhausted from emotional hardship. Friday, my oldest child turned 18. I make birthdays special by cooking or buying a favorite meal, making a cake of choice, and gift giving. None of that happened Friday. I tried to find comfort in knowing that at least she was still alive and that addiction and/or mental illness hadn’t taken her life. I quietly mourned, praised God, and asked Him that she one day understands the things she resented the most were the things we did from love. A friend took my two younger kids out with her kids in the evening for some bounce house activities, so my husband and I had dinner and drinks out together. That was good for both of us on a rough day.

Saturday morning was chilly and there was a steady light rain falling. I had an 8 mile group run planned. I showed up hoping I’d be able to run unlike the previous week where I’d stopped short of 8 miles on a 10 mile run. The cooler weather worked wonders for the way I felt on the run. I not only ran 8 miles, but I held a pace close to my race goal pace for the majority of my run. It was so exciting! I got into my head and thought I couldn’t finish my run or that I should give up and stop trying to get a personal best time. What I realized is the goal and it isn’t over if I don’t reach it this year. I’m doing the best I can with what I have right now and that’s impressive. I’m really kicking my butt out there and I’m grateful.

Sunday, I went to church. The praise and worship, the message, and the time of reflection at communion seemed to fill the void I’d felt when struggling with the sadness surrounding the situation with my daughter. Some days, I get more out than I put in and I find that encouraging and comforting.

Are you chasing a goal? Can you accept that sometimes, all of your hard work will require more hard work before you can meet it? Do you stop to appreciate the progress along the way?

September 10th is World Suicide Prevention Day. Please check in on your friends and loved ones and let them know that they matter and that you want them to see tomorrow and the next day and so on. Heck, tell a stranger something positive you see in them. You never know when your kindness could save a life.

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Wonderfully Misunderstood [and week 7]

This week sucked. I thought last week did, but this week was the ‘challenge accepted’ week for “could shit get worse”. Much of the story belongs to my teen and I can’t go too far into it because it’s really for her to face and come to terms with. My teen daughter relapsed in her addiction and ran away when we confronted the issue and offered to get professional help.

Tuesday morning, she had been missing since the evening before. I was pouring through comments, messages, and information to attempt to locate. I messaged my friend, Jess and said that I didn’t know how I was going to fit 5 miles into the day with everything going on. She lives over 20 minutes away, but told me she hadn’t completed her own run for the day and that we’d meet me so we could go together. We knocked out 5 miles in the humidity and heat. I felt better after taking some time away and I was happy to have someone care enough to take time out to help me.

My teen turned up less than 36 hours later in an emergency room unwilling to talk to her father or me. She’s now in competent care that meets her needs. She will be 18 this week and this is an attempt to help while we still can in this capacity. Finding her in the state she was in brought a level of stress and lack of sleep that carried over into the rest of my life. Mental exhaustion carried into my physical being with brute force. I found myself tired from taking the stairs instead of the elevator and forgetting the day of the week. I was neglecting to eat meals because I was tired and trying to catch naps when I had time where I was without kids. Friday, I had no appetite and I forced myself to eat an apple and cheese stick for dinner despite knowing I had a training run the next morning.

Saturday morning sucked. I had a 10 mile run in store. It was humid outside and I wasn’t paying enough attention to drinking water. I took my electrolyte pills at 4 miles and my drink had a mix in it for electrolyte replacement, but I was hit with muscle soreness and exhaustion of not being properly hydrated. I stopped my run before hitting 8 miles. I wanted to cry, but I had a lot of reassurance that people understood I was exhausted. From what I’ve learned about hydration, my pee was indicative that I should have had more to drink on my run and that I actually knew better than to ignore when I’m sweating heavily. I attribute it to the other things on my mind keeping me from operating normally.

Sunday, I set out to run after feeling irritable. I got out on the trail and I was running at a good pace. I enjoyed the run until my stomach gurgled and I felt the unmistakable need for a bathroom. I wasn’t on a part of the trial where bathrooms are near. I stopped running and sat along the side of the road. I messaged a friend who lived nearby, but she was not home. I assured her it was fine to laugh at my problem because I would’ve found it humorous, too. My husband picked me up with a plastic bag on his passenger seat as if it was already too late for a bathroom. Fortunately, I made it home and to the bathroom without any messes or need for plastic seat covers. My stomach was not having any more running for the day, though. I ate pretzels and napped. Then, I grumbled about how my runs were stupid this weekend.  This week, I didn’t run much and I seriously considered dropping the earlier of my two half marathons down to a 10k to lighten my load. I really want to PR my half marathon time, though.

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This could make me negative and want to sulk on the week past. I tend to go silent when I’m not feeling mentally healthy. I made a post to my Facebook on Saturday evening that said: “COMPLIMENT CHALLENGE Comment 👇👇 and I’m gonna tell you something positive that I like about you! Best challenge yet! We need positive energy in our lives.” Everyone started answering it with positive things ABOUT ME. It was heartening. I made sure to consider each person and highlight positive things I’d noticed about them. It was unexpected, but the timing was perfect. I still don’t feel well and things aren’t suddenly fixed. I had a shift in focus from the things influencing my feelings to view the way I influence others.  It is really something to have people say so many nice things.

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How is training going? Thank you for reading. Please feel free to comment and share. If you’re one of the people who gave me one of those positive remarks, THANK YOU! It touched my heart.

I hope you can find in yourself or have people who will point out the positive when you’re not seeing that light. I also hope you know that you’re here for a reason and that Tomorrow Needs You (please see: To Write Love on Her Arms Melbourne, Fl, USA).

 

 

Good stuff

The Good Stuff

by: Jenn M

My husband and I have been through some shit together. The past few years have proven to be challenging and we go about it the best we can. Rarely, we’ll argue and we go to bed completely pissed at one another. This doesn’t mean we don’t have spats of disagreement. Just that we don’t spend much time in conflict.

This year has been a nightmare compared to past years. We’ve encountered challenges with our teenager where most parents never imagine themselves. We have felt shame and guilt. There have been times where we feel divided. Our marriage has been hard work lately, but our love is so simple.

This past weekend, we traveled to St. Louis to go to a hockey game and visit with his family and some of our friends from back home (near St. Louis). We went to the fan store at the hockey game and got separated. He was in line to buy a shirt, so I just kept shopping around and looking at things. I saw the perfect headband for working out with a Blues’ team logo on it. I picked it up and fought the crowd to finally get to him. The people directly behind him smiled HUGE when they saw what was in my hand. Matt turned around and had the SAME thing in his hand. He said he saw it by the register and just knew I would want it. He was there to find himself some new gear and thought of me enough to pick up something I would have gotten for myself.

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Love is in the moments

So, love comes in the moments. The small, seemingly insignificant moments where you realize that you’re in sync with another person and you acknowledge their desires. Even the “just because” gestures are meaningful.

We encourage each other. We support each other. We will not run races together because that man is much faster than me, but I’m okay with that.

I have a new headband to run with, so now if it would just get a little warmer or less windy on this first day of Spring….I’d like that.

Thanks for reading! Please feel free to share, comment, follow, or whatever you’d like. I love feedback!

Because I can

I’m still fighting with a bout of depression that seems to nag and pull at me daily and whisper to me that I just don’t measure up. Despite its best attempts at making me feel inadequate, I continue to challenge and push myself.

Today I find myself exhausted, but accomplished. I covered more miles than my training plan prescribed because I ran to and from a meeting place one day and I put in extra miles on another so I could run with a friend. I’m at the halfway point of mentoring for the half marathon and I’m on week 4 of training for a full marathon.

This weekend, I ran a 5k race at Lake Evergreen that I ran last year as well. It was apparently the same week in my own half training because I had 4 miles to run after and so did the group training this summer. I was aware that the race had some challenges going into it and I wasn’t confident that I’d be able to reach for beating my best time of 29 minutes. Each race after the one I made that time, I’ve set out just to beat that time even if it is by a second. Saturday morning was sunny, but not too hot. The gnats were swarming around the race venue and we swatted them away as we made way to the start line. At first, nobody was lining up in front of me at the start line and I attempted to move back. A few people finally went to the front of the start and the race began with everyone taking off down the road. I tried to just remember that I could hold as close to a 9 minute pace as possible to get my best time. I spent a little time praying. There was a person that was near me in the race that seemed stressed, so I prayed for that person. I prayed for myself to have the resolve to finish and I was thankful that I was able to run and able to train for a full marathon. I started telling myself that I’m “scrappy” because I always overcome challenges. I pushed myself hard. Toward the end, I kept trying really hard to pick up my pace and it seemed like every time I looked at my watch, I wasn’t getting any faster or I wasn’t picking up as much as I needed to get the time I wanted. Toward the final stretch, my husband and my friend were shouting at me and I actually mustered up a little kick of energy to push through to the end a little faster. Some guy passed me right in the last 50 feet, but I was going my fastest. Imagine my surprise when I pulled through the finish line and saw 28:49 on the digital clock and on my watch! I didn’t place, but last year, I finished the race in 30:57. I beat my best time and I killed my time from last year by over 2 minutes. Scrappy…lol. I ran 4 more miles right after the race and was back in time to see the tail end of the awards where 2 of my friends and my husband had placed in their age groups.

Sunday is long run day for full marathon training. While I normally complete my long runs on Saturday instead because of my half marathon mentoring, I did my goal pace run Saturday and planned ahead to do 12 miles on Sunday. Jane, who mentored me during my first half last year, is my primary running partner for the full marathon. We match pace and we amuse one another. So, we ran 12 miles with a couple of breaks to adjust, refill, and loosen up. Only towards the end did I feel anxiety and have to zone myself out and Jane was there to pull me out of my head. We even got to go to a brunch afterward just for women to shop for bras and have mimosas and pancakes. It was fun and a nice incentive during our run was that there was a mimosa in it for us. After that, I went to a nature center and hiked around a little with my family. I needed a nap after.

Monday, I woke up with ear congestion and a sore throat presumably from being in the great outdoors so much over the weekend. I spent most of the day feeling a little ‘blah’ from the decongestant. My husband worked late and was preparing for a business trip through the middle days of the week. After dinner, we had problems discussing then arguing with my oldest child. She nitpicked at me and tried to break me down seeking out insecurities about my parenting. She walked out of the house and after a little while, I had to call the local police to help me find her. They opened a case with a national database. She returned home around 10 pm and I called off the search. The police came by for a welfare check and then we went to bed.

I didn’t get to run last night. I won’t be running tonight with my group. I’m sad and I’m disappointed. I’m still a little angry and hurt. When I get to run, I will do it. Because I can do it. Not because I have to. I want to run 26.2 miles because I know that I can, so why not do it? I train for it because I want to do it right. Sometimes, I carry on because I don’t know what the other options are. I don’t know how much of my strength was a choice on my part, but I’m here and I’m pushing forward. I know that I’m not always confident and I worry how people see me and how my children see me. I also know that I’m human and I make mistakes just like anyone else and nobody is perfect no matter how much they appear to be. I have depression and life doesn’t slow down or ease up on me when I’m down. It doesn’t matter how far down I am, it’ll still kick me. So, I just have to get back up more times than it knocks me down. That doesn’t mean I’ll just spring up and be ready for more each time, though. I’m tired. I get worn down.

So, I’ll get back to running once I can later this week. I’ll do my long runs and I’ll put in the time to train for my 26.2 mile race. Not because I have to, but because I can and I will do this.

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Hubby and I after the race. He got 2nd in his age group and I PR’d!

 

 

Ready for structure

Under the surface

“This stay at home mom gig is sometimes more rough than others. I mean, as a mom, I already always feel like people feel they’re open to judge me as a woman and a parent. I feel pressured to go out of my way to constantly do fun or educational things even when I’m physically or mentally exhausted. I fear posting to Facebook for people will judge me for spending time online. I feel bad when my kids are watching TV, or playing on their tablets….I just…I’m tired!”

This was a message I sent one of my friends during the day. I meant it. I know that being a parent is a tough job and there will always be some ongoing resentment war between the stay at home vs the working away from home parents. This situation was specifically about my sudden abundance of time to spend with my children during summer break.  I have been a single working mom, a married working mom, and a stay at home mom all over the last 16 years of my life, so I’m not minimizing the responsibilities of which mom/parent someone is.

Why do I feel like I have to justify everything I say or do or quantify it to “as a mom” or some other way? Sometimes, I just want to let some steam off and say that I’m spread out really thin or I’m exhausted without having to qualify the statement with a reason or reasons to make it acceptable for me to feel that way. I feel that way and I don’t need an explanation to excuse it. I want to say something out loud so it isn’t bubbling under the surface.

If you’re someone who knows me, you probably know that I truly care about everyone I meet and I pray for them and will listen and do what I can to help. Heck, there are some people I’ve never met that I truly care about and pray for. I don’t expect anything in return for it and I don’t feel one must explain him/herself for feeling a certain way about something. I’m sure a lot of my feeling constantly scrutinized is in my head as part of my anxiety, but that doesn’t mean that I write it off as anxiety. I get anxious about my anxiety.

Filling my buckets

Kerri Walsh Jennings was on NBC’s Today for an interview and she mentioned her buckets in her life and how if she starts to feel grumpy, she goes back and looks at which bucket isn’t being serviced.

While my interpretation isn’t parallel to the way she discusses it in her interview, I do see that there is probably a reason behind my frustration. I have been running, but I am not currently involved in any specific training. I haven’t had anything holding me accountable and I don’t have as much time to go for a run as I did when the kids were in school. My fitness is still being taken care of, but as more of an afterthought than a priority. Then, I need to worry about people claiming that kids are the only priority when you have them and anything less is sub-par parenting. I can understand devoting time to kids and not being able to be self centered as a parent, I cannot see a person being expected to completely focus all of their energy and time into parenting. In my opinion, that would deter growth for the parent as an individual and affect interpersonal relationships.

Tie it together already

I am excited to start half marathon training next week and training for my first full marathon in a few weeks. I’ll start out with mentoring the half marathon group 2 days a week and add 2 more days with the full training. I know a lot of time goes into training and I also know that mommy is gentler, less anxious, and more energized when she’s doing something she enjoys and getting out of the house. So, I refuse to feel guilty for looking forward to my time away and enjoying it when I get it. I look forward to interacting with people and even seeing people reach their goals this fall. I also am excited that my kids can see me set and reach goals for myself because they will ultimately follow my example, not my advice. While some people might tell their kids to reach for the stars, I’m going to do my thing and let them see me reach for them, too!

So?

I know I’m not the only parent who feels like the judgement is constant and unrelenting. So maybe you could be gentler on others and on yourself? Maybe if you think something someone else is doing is wrong, you could take a look in the mirror and do an inventory of yourself.

 

 

Group victim blaming…

The internet is full of memes meant to shame all different types of people, especially parents.  I think that if you have time to judge other people for who they are and what they choose to do, you probably could use that time to work on yourself and whatever insecurities you have that make you feel the need to pass judgement on to others. That’s just my opinion.

I have a teen daughter. We’ve had a rocky past few months and have gone through a lot. For whatever reason, without her consent, a friend recorded video of her in the bathroom and shared the images with a large group of people. My daughter is 15, so this is essentially, pornography depicting a minor. Not soon after, she tried to commit suicide by overdose and things have been a bit difficult from then on.

She has been in counseling and doing very well lately on her medication. She has been earning things back like usage of her technology. We have had a few bumps, but nothing as severe as the episodes that landed her in inpatient care at a facility. Then comes this weekend, where someone starts sending her ominous messages about how she will ‘ruin her’ and ‘share her nudes’. Suddenly, a boy posts the photos to social media and a group conversation turns to calls of “kill yourself” to my teen daughter and “you should’ve taken more [pills used redacted].”

So, this week, I did the right thing. I consented to press charges against the person who posted the images. This has not turned out well for my daughter, who is being called names at school and told that she is ruining the boy’s life by having him arrested. Other kids have told her that her mother (that’s me) is suing all of these people and posting things with a “#free[the perpetrator]”. This behavior is dangerous. This behavior among a group is ridiculous.

Not only are they literally blaming the victim, they are siding with the person who committed the crime here. They’re also confusing criminal with civil legal proceedings. I haven’t sued anyone. The perpetrator committed a crime and now he may face criminal charges. In a court of law. This isn’t a modern idea where people blame the victims of crimes for somehow causing the crime itself. What is more modern is that people use the internet to say and do horrible things and don’t anticipate consequences.

This is about parents looking at their own kids’ social media accounts and making sure they aren’t using them to hurt someone else. This is about asking other people in your friends or family group to follow them and pay attention to help you catch on. Raising a kid actually does take a village and if you’re so busy judging watching other people raise their kids, why can’t you use that time to offer a helping hand or at least a head’s up?

You can assume what you will about what transpired. You can even assume that I’m in the wrong, but when will we stop saying that someone was asking to be hurt by being present? When can we honestly stop saying that criminals act because their victims somehow lured them into a crime? Do you honestly think that the person who set out to hurt my daughter is sorry or feels any remorse? What if this had been someone in a much worse place and someone lost his/her life over this? Would people still be blaming my daughter if his post caused her suicide? Pressing charges may make someone else think twice before doing something so careless and wrong and I will not stop pursuing what will protect my family and potentially prevent other families from having this experience.