Peroneal Tendon. Again.

I saw my podiatrist after experiencing what I thought was a stress fracture to my 5th metatarsal bone on my left foot. The injury that sidelined me from my first marathon (two days before the race), was to my right foot. I had a tear in the peroneus brevis, a sprain to my ATF ligament, and tendonitis in the tibial tendon from running on the other two for a few weeks. It has taken me months to get from walking a 20 minute mile to walking 16 minutes and faster. I have recently broken the 12 minute mark running a mile. Progress! Finally!

I was so happy with the progress. I pegged on a 12th mile during my 11 mile run. When confronted with pain, I was completely stressed out about it ending my training. I called the doctor anyway because searching the web turned up results that mostly said “you fractured your foot, dummy,” or something like that [which means I shouldn’t have put it in quotes, but I don’t want to edit them out]. I didn’t run any training runs until I saw him. It was so great that the pain was gone, I couldn’t really figure out what went wrong. I ran 12 training miles the following weekend and my foot hurt again. I scheduled another appointment and I didn’t take time from my training runs. My appointment was on a Monday following my planned 13.1 mile training run. I did the run. It was not pleasant after, but when I saw the doctor, he ordered x-ray images of my foot and did an extensive exam. I had brought him my running shoes to examine and he added padding to one side of my shoe insert and laced the shoes differently. He ordered physical therapy as well.

I got to see the physical therapist whom I’d spent a lot of time with after my right foot injury. Her parting words to me [the last time] were to not go all out too soon. I didn’t want to tell her that I was injured. I still went in and we talked a little. She studied my walking stride and then watched me run on a treadmill. Then, I sat down and discussed with her that my walking included a little flick of my left foot toward the outside. She said she hadn’t seen it on the treadmill, but believed that I was probably doing it after settling in on my run. She treated me with an an external anti inflammatory and sent me on my way to see me again in a couple of days and three times next week. Thursday, when I saw her, we discussed that my foot wasn’t hurting. She had me do some stretching, discuss what I need to do to correct my gait issue with strength, and gave me electrical stimulation and ultrasound therapy. She sent me on my way saying I was okay to work on endurance using an elliptical machine and that my outdoor mileage could go to 2 miles at the most because that was the threshold where I’d started to feel pain on my earlier in the week 3 mile run.

There are less than 60 days before the marathon. I am not calm about the situation. I’ve had a lot of other things in my life that are stressful. I’m a stay at home mom and it’s summer. My kids present me with challenges regularly. I am trying to focus on the positive. I am working on it. I’m going to finish this marathon. I am going to do what I can to ensure that I do. So, here goes something.

I’m still fundraising for Team Challenge for Crohn’s and Colitis. I have a fundraiser going on with Keep Collective if you like jewelry. I love making myself bracelets with them and I’m thinking I need a new necklace. Here’s the link:  https://www.keepcollective.com/soc/n39v7    

Please consider a donation as I’m a little over halfway to my goal and I am very close to my deadline date. My fundraising page is here

And here’s a pic of me after my run on Monday evening. The song came on in my 2nd mile and I ran relatively fast.

 

IMG_20170807_195833

A little longer

I saw the podiatrist today for my 3 week checkup since the cast and boot were put on. While most of the pain in the highest area of concern is gone, there is still a bit of pain with rotation and pressure on the tendons. So, he said he’ll look again in 2 weeks. At that time, I should be able to get fitted for an ankle brace I’ll have to wear all of the time. I’ll also need physical therapy and to be weaned off of using the boot to get around.

I made sure that my use of the machines at the gym wasn’t a problem. I told him that I get some looks when I do abduction exercises. He said that my upper body workouts and my hip workouts are fine as long as I’m not using my leg to operate the weights or doing standing exercises. These are the same as the last time I saw him, but I wanted to touch base and make sure I was on the right track. I also wasn’t sore after my upper body workout Monday. Yay!

I sold a race entry to a friend and transferred it officially through the race director. Now my next race is in June. I still intend to be in shape for a marathon by October.

I’ve been a little better with my depression issues I was having. I spoke with  the doctor [nurse practitioner] and we’ve adjusted my medicine in hopes that things will look up. I had a rough couple of days this week, but I’m handling it. Being a mom is hard work and often emotionally draining. I’m still here, though. Like the workouts I have in the gym [and again out on the running course soon], I’m stronger from what I endure. Things might push me to be upset and to quietly contemplate how I got here and how I plan to continue, but I can’t be kept down for long. I refuse to let myself do that.

I know it all sounds so much more positive than the last time I wrote. That’s a good thing. Something to remember is that we can’t all be positive all of the time, but when I try to be positive, I hope to influence others who aren’t quite feeling themselves and need a little light. I want to offer what I can and I lose nothing by using my flame to light another candle. I’m not all the way back from the dark, but that’s ok. I still have some light to share.

Please consider giving to my fundraising page for Crohn’s and Colitis. I’m at $441 of my $2k goal. I’m still very excited to be part of a fundraising team running in the Chicago Marathon this October. The Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation is doing great things to help people with IBD. If you have a chance, check out their website, too. Here is my fundraising page link: http://online.ccfa.org/goto/MomJennGoal262 Any donations are greatly appreciated.

If you just want to read about IBD, this is their page: http://www.crohnscolitisfoundation.org/?referrer=https://www.google.com/

 

What defines you

What defines you? Are you someone people know for aesthetic features? For impeccable taste in clothes, scotch, or architecture?  How would you want to be defined?

I was a young, single mom at one point in my life. I’d dropped out of college because daycare and tuition are quite challenging for a 19-year-old with jobs that were just above minimum wage. I lived with my parents and shared a bedroom with my young daughter. I worked in a grocery store video department and started picking up hours in the floral department and general merchandise to make more money. I loved my coworkers and the job was sometimes fun to do. I learned how to arrange and care for flowers and houseplants. I learned some tricks of the trade like spraying shiny stuff on the leaves of peace lilies before sending them to the funeral home (the most common place for those to be sent).

By 22, I was the proud owner of a 3 bedroom condo in a neighborhood that had other kids my daughter’s age. I loved my neighbors. I ran for and was awarded a place on the homeowner’s board. I was responsible for a credit union branch location inside of the executive building of a multinational conglomerate’s world headquarters. Sounds pretty cool, doesn’t it? I was really just a lone teller/personal banker for the people in that building. My neighbors voted me onto the board to block someone else from getting voted in. The retirees in the neighborhood would go out and campaign for me while I was at work.

I had an off and on boyfriend at that time in my life. I was naive and believed that he’d help me with the bills and we’d live there together happily. He was never around. He was too busy going out and partying all night and sleeping wherever he landed. He’d be gone for weeks sometime. He didn’t have a steady job or contribute to expenses. I actually turned off the cable tv at one point because I didn’t even use it and he was the one on the bill. One of my neighbors was an employee where I worked and we’d talk about my boyfriend. She convinced me to stand up for myself and I’d seen a therapist who echoed these sentiments. Unfortunately, I’d already co-signed on a car loan for him from one of those double digit percentage rate lenders. The collection calls were overwhelming after I’d taken all of his things and placed them in a cardboard box in the driveway of his sister’s home.

At 24, I’d had a mole removed that turned out to be malignant melanoma. I had an excision of the surrounding skin and it was over. No more cancer. The car went back into collections even though we weren’t together anymore. I got a new job that paid more and was closer to home. I had to take steps to get a key and repossess the car myself. The lender wouldn’t take it back no matter how hard I tried to surrender. In order to save my home and my car that I needed for my daughter and myself, I filed bankruptcy.

At 25, I’d been dating the man who would become my husband. We moved in together in a house we looked for together. Within a year, we broke up and I moved back to the neighborhood with the condos as a renter. I barely qualified for section 8 housing. After six months, we’d reconciled and my daughter and I moved back to the house we’d lived in together.

On his 29th birthday (I was 27), he asked me to marry him standing in our bedroom telling me that if I said yes, it would make his birthday perfect. We went to a hockey game that weekend and won their weekly mortgage relief contest, which got us a few months of our house payment paid in full. We married when I was 28 on Easter weekend. It was the most beautiful day in April and the very next morning, there was snow on the ground.

We went to Ireland on our honeymoon and explored castles and towns. We went to a farm where we saw sheep herded and I got to pet one of the border collies and feed one of the sheep. We hiked the national forest and stood upon the Cliffs of Moher. It was awesome. I hope to return one day and see more.

The following year, my daughter was almost 10 when my chubby little boy was born. He was an almost 10 pound baby. I began my life as a stay at home mom. I’d been working full-time for so long, I wasn’t sure what I was expected to do. I just knew that I loved having the time to see my daughter after school for longer and that I got to spend the day seeing my son and having this experience of being with him instead of thinking about it all day at work.

When he was 7 months old, despite me nursing him and being on a low dose birth control, I was pregnant again. Just as soon as I’d found out, something went wrong. That Easter weekend, I started bleeding and despite my efforts to be calm, I was incredibly sad that I’d lost it.

Imagine my surprise when he was 9 months old and I was pregnant again. This time, the dr put me on a gel medication delivered directly into my cervix and I was paranoid the entire pregnancy that it wouldn’t work out. I had a tiny baby girl who was only in the 7 pound range. She was my smallest baby and she seemed fragile to me.

During that pregnancy, we moved 200 miles from our home for my husband’s job. I was 36 weeks pregnant when we made the big move. I had one day where I went to the dr thinking I was going into early labor. That’s how I ended up meeting my new OB in my new town. Me being a frightened mommy.

Now I’ve lived here (a week short of) 5 years. My youngest is in pre-k and will be starting school in the fall. My oldest is a sophomore in high school. My son is in kindergarten. I’m a stay at home mom still. I have run 5 half marathons and will be training for my first marathon. I’ve taken up swimming laps to cross train on my non running days.

I’ve redefined myself many times. Most people do. What part do I think is important? I’ve had so many different experiences and I’ve been afraid and I’ve been vulnerable. I’ve been naive. From those, I’ve learned new things. I’ve experienced. Not everything has been pleasant, but it forms an aggregate of the person that I am today and the person I will be tomorrow. I often tell people that they see strength in me where I see a person who just doesn’t know how to give up. I really don’t know how to just cash in my chips and call it a day. I know when I have to put off my own goals until the time arrives to try again.

So, while someone might try to discount my success as a person to my level of education or my career, I have accomplished the things that I set out to do as they were important. I have stood up for myself when it counted and I’ve taken the falls when I needed to. I’ve asked for help when I needed it. I’ve given help when I’ve seen myself needed. I haven’t stood by and watched life while too afraid to live it. I intend to continue that. That is what drives me and what will continue to. I define who I am at any given time. I make the best of what I have and if I can’t, I admit it.

I’ve been running a few days a week on the treadmill and one outside. I’ve been swimming on my non-running days. I lift weights in the gym. I’m trying to get back to eating less junk food. My meals are healthy and my snacks usually aren’t. I’m not perfect. I’d never claim to be. I just am willing to accept that this is who I am right now and what I need to do to become who I want to be. It requires strength of body and resolve. I’ll still do it. I might not always be happy about the things going on in my life, but I’m not ashamed of where I am or where I’ve been.

wp-1485446053997.jpg

This glass is actually half empty because I drank the other half, but….its refillable and I have more wine. That’s the point.

Blog 19 January 2017

I sat here in front of my laptop for awhile trying to come up with a title and I just can’t. My mind is mush. I am trying to just make heads or tails of what exactly I’m supposed to do to make things less difficult. I’m exhausted. I need to get in my workouts. I can’t get much out of them when I’m exhausted. So goes the cycle.

I went for a run over the weekend and I went back home after getting to the top of my street because I needed something to cover my face from the air. I got that and I left the house again. I ran a different direction and started mentally planning my route. I saw a thick patch of ice coming from a yard onto the sidewalk, so I ran a little into the grass. My shoe was sucked off of my foot into the muddy grass. I tried to hop back, but I can’t actually hop on my ‘bad ankle’ on an uneven surface without some pain. So I walked to my shoe and slid it back on. I saw that two kids on bikes were watching me, so I mumbled “what a day,” and continued my run. Needing to pause to walk a few times and feeling like I wasn’t quite loosening up to run made me decide to take the turn toward home instead of the trail. I was mad that I didn’t finish the run. I’d gone a little over 1.25 mile. I was thinking about just quitting running altogether. I even tried to think of ways I could get out of the marathon I’d signed up for in October.

The kids were home Monday, so I didn’t get to the gym until Tuesday. I walked in and started up the treadmill. I had a wrap on my ankle and the part around my foot was slightly uncomfortable, so I paused the machine and I went to take my shoe off. I pulled the emergency thing that made the program completely stop. Ugh. I got back on and reset the program, but my hips, knees, and ankles were all hurting with each stride even when I slowed to a jog. I changed the program again. I tried to go on a low setting for difficulty and I walked the first minute before picking up to a jog. I just couldn’t get my cadence down and I felt like I was just stomping on the belt. I reset the machine and walked to a stationary bike and rode for 20 minutes of the 30 minute session I programmed. I just wasn’t feeling it, so I walked around the weight area looking around at the machines and trying to decide on what to do. I did a weighted crunch machine and decided my body wasn’t into it. I changed and went home slightly bummed out that I had 2 bad workouts in a row.

Home life last night was extremely difficult to deal with. I have a teenager with bipolar disorder and she was in a volatile mood. We have a brand new hole kicked into one of our walls courtesy of that rage. I wish I could go into it more because I’m sure there are people out there who have been through or are going through this, but I just can’t. We’ll be visiting a mental health professional today. I’ve discussed appropriate behavior with my younger children (4 and 6 years old) who were here to witness it all. My husband missed his group training run for his first half marathon, which I felt bad for him. He was able to wake early today and run, which I’m glad he was able to do.

I feel like I should have some positive note to go on with this. I didn’t quit running. I plan to try to run sometime today if I get time. I’m going to try to slowly increase my outdoor runs distances for now so I can at least run a 10k by April for a challenge I’m signed up for to run a 5k one day and a 10k the next as part of a challenge. I want to run a marathon this October and I want it to be Chicago like I’d planned. I started making handmade crafts and plans for some fundraiser events. I’m nervous that I won’t raise enough money, but I am going to keep pushing forward.

I’m going to try to make things happen so that I have more positive news for you next time I write. I hope the January freeze doesn’t have you too affected in your mood or your workouts. If you want to donate to my fundraising page for running the Chicago Marathon to support Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America, my link is:  http://online.ccfa.org/goto/MomJennGoal262

Thanks for reading!!!

wp-1484757051631.jpg

I made these wine bottle decorations just slip onto the bottle neck to give it personality and style!

Buh bye, 2016

This has been quite the year. It wasn’t terrible. There are still a few days left, so I won’t tempt fate by saying anything too final about it. I am at least a little distressed by many of the celebrities that we lost. I found a few disappointments through the end of the year that  left me with a less than favorable review of the year.

January saw the struggle to get my teenager’s mental health care in order. We weren’t done with hospital bills or doctor visits by a long shot. We managed to find a useful combination of prescription drugs and deal with some other aspects of the illness. She’s been exposed to an opinion that one medication is harmful  due to people like comedians saying bad things about it. Which makes it easy for her to believe that the medication is not responsible for the positive change. The thought process isn’t unusual in someone with bipolar disorder, but I wish people wouldn’t try to demonize certain medications for mental illness.  Additionally, her cognitive dysfunction makes communication challenging at times. There are many times where the message gets lost simply because there is too much trying to read between the lines or translate a hidden meaning where one doesn’t exist. Add to it just parenting a teenager, and it is constantly challenging. We’ve managed to get better control of her Crohn’s disease through some medication changes as well. That still hasn’t fully been adjusted to the perfect level, but she isn’t suffering as much as when it first surfaced. She has started to be able to gain weight, so there’s the positive in that. I’m really hoping that my efforts in raising money for Crohn’s will also increase awareness. She definitely has encountered some people who think the disease means she simply uses the bathroom more often and that’s a very minimal and ignorant way to view something much more serious. It wouldn’t be so disheartening if people wouldn’t make comments on her social media accounts that refer to Crohn’s as something that isn’t a real illness.

I spent a lot of time running this year. It may have helped keep my head above water in some pretty tough times. I was part of a training program during almost every month of the year. The start of the year, I tried to run at least 1 mile per day. I adjusted the goal to run or walk. Then, I got physically ill and unable to leave my bed for a few days. I didn’t immediately accept that it was over and intended to restart the running streak. I didn’t go back to trying to run or walk a mile per day. I mentored a winter/spring group for a 10k race while training for a half marathon. The 10k was a great experience. The people I got to know and the race itself were memorable. The half marathon was unforgettable because it was not pleasant and I may have actually had real tears in my eyes near the end of the race. I know that running is supposed to be fun and that if I’m not having fun, I need to pause. That was my second half marathon and now I’ve run 5 half marathons because the other 3 that I ran this year. I had no intention of any long breaks from running, but there’s that saying about man making plans and God laughing at them. My injured ankle is no longer swollen. It hurts from time to time. I often feel like I need to loosen it up and rotate my foot around a bit. The pleurisy I had finally abated enough for me to move normally and experience minimal pain. The relief was of course after 2 days of the pain being intense and unrelenting. I typically won’t complain if I’m hurting, but I considered crying a couple of times from the sharp pain and inability to move or even sit still without feeling it. It was a dash of holiday spirit and a bunch of stubbornness that pulled me through.

This Monday evening, I finally hopped on the elliptical and went for a 25 minute workout. I up the estimate of how long I’m going to work out by 5 minutes to leave a ‘warm up’ time, so I said I was going to do 20, but set the machine for 25. The first few minutes, I almost got teary eyed thinking about how it was such a big deal that I was doing cardio and I wasn’t swimming. After a few minutes, I got itchy from sweating and remembered how the itching used to be so much more frequent when I started working out regularly. I pushed myself to finish the entire 25 minutes, then I did my hip workout and stretches. I was energized by it and I was so happy to finally get a workout in after the back to back [to back] misfortunes and illnesses. I was actually able to move furniture around and clean under it for the first time since I’d hurt my ankle. It might not seem like a big deal, but I was ecstatic to actually sweep and mop the most used parts of the house.

wp-1482959145920.jpg

My first workout since early November. Elliptical for 25 min and some Eminem to keep me going. (And my cleavage because I said so)

I plan to run tonight. I’m nervous. I wish I could go during the day while there’s still light out, but all three kids are on break and my husband works, so I’ll have to settle for trying out a reflective jacket I still haven’t gotten to wear that I bought in October. Ok, I’m kind of excited to try it out. I might even run further than just around the block if I’m not hurting.

Am I saying 2016 was a bad year? Not really bad. I was sick more times than I have been in quite a few years. I had 2 really long bouts with mystery illnesses that seemed to last longer for me than anyone else who was sick around the same time. I actually drank enough to get a hangover, which at my age is far fewer drinks than ‘back in the day.’  I had an injury that sidelined me from my first marathon. Of course the injury didn’t happen until I’d trained 16 weeks and ran all but one of my training runs. I had a very sick oldest child and my two younger children to care for. My husband was needed on business trips to Atlanta and Tempe a few times, so I was left to my own devices at home with all of the offspring and my fat little puggle dog.

In 2016, I also managed to mentor 3 running groups (5k, 10k, half marathon), participate in a training program for a full marathon, run a bunch of races where I had a great time, and spend time with friends and family. My husband and I grew closer and we stood together through the toughest times and supported one another through it all. My kids really are all wild, but loveable. They know right from wrong and I try to set a good example. I’m human and I make mistakes just like anyone else. That isn’t unique to this year or any other. I’m still alive and kicking. I managed to keep my kids and dog alive. I managed to keep myself alive.

2017 will see me running my first marathon, I hope. I’ll be running in Chicago in October and I’ll be fundraising throughout the year for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA). I’m missing out on the first training session of the year to make a full recovery, but I’ll be back at it soon enough. I run because I can, and never because I have to. I get to run tonight. I get to run a marathon this coming year. I get to run again and that is why I’m looking forward to the coming year. Not because I’m ready to escape the present year. I feel like I’ve really changed a lot in this past 12 months and I like me a little more than I did before.

Fundraising link here: Mom Jenn Goal of 26.2

Do you have goals for 2017? Was 2016 memorable for you?

I love feedback, everyone! Please reach out to me if you have any questions or comments. Or use this as a way to have a conversation with your friends! Happy and Prosperous New Year!!!!

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.

wp-1470766513185.jpg

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.

 

 

Two sides of one year

Summer break has returned and the dread started to fill me in the weeks leading up to it. I love hanging with the kids and doing fun things. It’s just that this past year has been extremely difficult and everything started right as summer break began last year. It was so bad, my mom had to take an emergency leave from work and come to my house to help out.

At the time, I was already signed on to train for a half marathon for 12 weeks. I wanted to run it and I wanted to train for it in the best way possible. Training was to start in about 6 weeks. I suddenly had no time to run and was booking appointments for my teen to seek intense mental health care in addition to care for her Crohn’s that had been diagnosed in the previous months. We were looking at a very unhappy person and we were doing our best to help her despite the things she said to us that were unkind and did to us that were vengeful. We had a few good days and bad ones, too. We were interviewed and investigated regarding accusations made. I started hiding and smoking cigarettes after years of not being a smoker. My husband suspected it and asked that I stop wasting money on it and that I remember I had signed up to run 13 miles. I couldn’t exactly argue with it because he wasn’t asking for something unreasonable and it was from a place of concern.

Those first couple of weeks running were rough. I felt like I was slow and never quite catching my breath. I was stressed out and didn’t want to actually talk about things going on in my life. I spent a lot of time listening and asking questions that were about running. I was making friends and I was spending time away from the troubles at home. I finally stopped feeling anxious before every group run and I started wanting to go so I could clear my head and talk to my new found friends.

By the time we’d run the half, I finally knew people in my town. I’d lived here 3 and a half years and it was the first time I felt like I belonged and I wasn’t all alone in a strange place. I even ran into people I knew while I was out and about. I knew people on the trip to Hawaii because they were my running buddies.

Oh, the trip to Hawaii. The last time I remember things being a little normal and more pleasant. That was, until we returned home and things started to heat up with the teen. By November, I was on the phone with my bestie driving to the emergency room because I was working out when the ambulance arrived at my house and my husband had tried to call me with no luck.

Things started to look normal with a few medication changes for her. I stayed involved in running by mentoring groups. The past couple of weeks, I couldn’t quite put my finger on why I was just anticipating doom. Despite running, my anxiety had been lurking.

The first night after school was over for the teen was hell. The first day was no better. She thinks that being a stay at home mom has no merit and often likes to bring that up when she’s feeling bad. I don’t put much weight on it considering the source, but I am curious as to why this seems to be a topic that she comes back to often. I choose to stay at home and my husband and I are good with it. She also says that she would like to be an emancipated minor. She said that I’m the reason she hurts herself. Despite the hatred from her, I can offer my tough love. These are empty attempts at manipulation. I could be upset or disappointed, and I am. I can only repeat to her that personal choices are not made outside of oneself and that accountability must be taken for one’s own actions eventually. She is sick and I can empathize, but I can also draw a line as to how I will allow myself to be treated and stand my ground when I must. While some people would be quick to judgement, they haven’t been where I have or lived what I have and I don’t welcome it. Parenting is a challenge and the decisions parents make are deeply personal.

I have my own training approaching soon. I have mentoring. I have two other kids that I need to care for and show how to conduct themselves while trying to help the teen through this. This is a tough place to be in at home and I thank God that I have a husband who supports me and encourages me to take some time for myself to refocus. I am also grateful for the mental strength I have gained through disciplining myself for the long runs. Without it, I don’t know how I would have made it through the last year or how I could conquer the years to come.

I am strong. I am loved. I am capable of so much I have yet to discover. *

*This goes for you too! Say it. Aloud.

The Bull

There’s a song by [a band named] Atreyu called “Becoming the Bull,” where the lyrics say, “Grab the bull by the horns the old adage goes. Nobody tells you where to go from here.” While one could argue that its simply a line in a song and nothing more, it speaks to me as the whole song kind of does.

Atreyu “Becoming the Bull”

wp-1456255128006.jpg

Right. My drawing is still bad. Here’s “The Bull”

Recently, there was a medication adjustment for the teen. She was more angsty than ever and often verbally cruel. During one outburst, her phone was taken away. I decided to try to see if there was another problem that had bubbled up that she was not sharing with her father and I, so I started sifting through the many apps on the phone. That’s when I found the pics she had been struggling with since October. The ones I thought were taken candidly and without her knowledge that I’d mentioned in a previous post. I saw that they weren’t candid at all and I was disappointed that I’d been lied to so many times about the same thing by the same person. It doesn’t change the way I feel about the people who repost them and say despicable things to and about her in regards to the attempt at her life in November. A misstep is something everyone experiences in life. You try to move forward and past things and sometimes, people pick your rubbish from behind you on the path and bring it up to you waving it in your face to remind you of it. It doesn’t mean it isn’t rubbish and that it shouldn’t have been left behind. It means that someone wants people to lose focus of their own trash and they’ve picked up yours to distract from his/her own. It’s cruel and it isn’t right for people to do to one another. It just seems to be a way some people live.

I realized last weekend that I was signing up for a half marathon and was not taking the extra miles in to accomplish running 13.1 miles. I planned to run a few miles after our Saturday training run, but my husband mentioned feeling unwell, so I went home and planned to go later on. Instead, I headed out Sunday afternoon and ran 8 miles on the trail. My hands were freezing, but running seemed effortless once I got out and started. I really needed that time with my headphones on and my running shoes on to be outside and to have no other purpose than complete 8 miles. At first, my mind was consumed with all of the lists of things to do, bills to pay, accounts to reconcile, appointments to make, and other things that fall into the category of “very important for continuity of modern life,but not to enjoying this moment.” I started to think about more abstract subjects and realized that I was taking the hills without slowing and without panting once I reached the top. I was doing it with ease. I needed that long run and I needed to solitude. While I’ve been reluctant to train for anything while I’m mentoring people to run the 10k, I’m going to remember to keep up with the longer runs so it can be done with ease when the time comes. There’s always some push an pull involved in running. If you don’t keep up with distance, it becomes more difficult. If you don’t switch things up once in awhile, you don’t reap any benefits. Running can be a great example in other parts of life. The things that you nurture will become the things that do well. The things that you neglect are the things that are tougher to improve and take a little extra care when the time comes to put it into practice.

The weather is starting to get warmer. We have the threat of one more wintery storm in the coming day or so. Then, the winter will probably start to ease away into the spring. Running season is starting to peek through with races to sign up and train for. I’m excited for the races I’ve signed up for so far. I’m excited that I actually ran through the winter months and won’t have to feel like I’m starting over when the weather is finally warming up. I still have run each day this year at least 1 mile per day and every one of those miles has been outdoors. Mentoring has been great. We’re so close to the goal distance and I’m excited for the day we do a trial run of the course ahead of the race day. I can’t wait to see the people I’ve been running with realize their abilities! I plan to keep up the streak for the foreseeable future and hope to make it all 366 days of the year.

Do you take time where you’re alone with your thoughts and clear your mind? Do you have any races coming up? Any new goals yet?

Thanks for reading! Please feel free to drop me a comment or message. I love to hear from people reading my blog!

Still going strong

I ran outside every single day this year for at least 1 mile. Even when I wasn’t feeling well and even when the windchill was negative degrees Fahrenheit, I pulled on my shoes and did it.  I’m working on perseverance, I suppose. I thought after forcing myself to get out and run when I wasn’t feeling well, I’d give up the streak after a month of doing it. I was wrong. February 1st rolled around and I dutifully went out and ran my mile to ensure I didn’t break the streak.  I can’t just drop it after this long. That was the reason when I was sick at the end of January and that is the reason now. I’ve done it this long, so I might as well keep doing it until I literally cannot go on.

I’m in week 4 of my first experience in mentoring. I am in a group training to run a 10k. That’s a little more than 6 miles. Many of the participants have run a 5k before and are going to double their race distance now. I find that impressive and challenging. We have an evening group workout and a morning group workout each week in addition to individual training on other days/nights. This week, our evening workout was hills. We ran a course that involved 2 loops with hills on them and we ran the loop twice. I was worried that it would be rainy that night, but it turned out to be a dense fog where the night seemed eerie. It was warm, too. I’m pretty sure most of us out there broke a sweat. Only once did I feel like I screwed up and it was because I did. I told the people I was running with that we were turning left ahead, then wondered why they turned the opposite way from me when I went right. The correct direction was right. I tried to laugh it off, but I felt like a huge ditz mixing up my directions out loud. The people I ran with kept a really good pace despite having to climb the hills and I was impressed at how they kept it up and didn’t really complain. I probably complained quite a bit on my first hill workout in training. I know I did, actually. This weekend will be a progressive run where we warm up, get faster each mile, then cool down. I have been working on negative splits for months, so I’m ready to challenge other people to do it with  me.

 

I love running, so I thought mentoring was an obvious choice for running in a group while I’m not personally training for anything. So far, I’ve discovered that I’m always worried about whether I’m doing it right and I often ask other mentors who have experience if I’m doing things right. I am really enjoying doing it, though. I also enjoy pestering the people who organize our program because I’m a worrier. It is only week 4 and we have some time ahead. I keep reminding myself that this is my first time and I just have to be open to learning how to teach and remembering what I liked best about my training mentors.

Running totally burns off the crazy. Our problems with the teen are ongoing. Some have to do with people who want to insert themselves into the situation so others notice them. Some have to do with my daughter not being completely honest and being more of a ‘forgiveness instead of permission’ type of person. Then, more has to do with the fact that while everyone blames parents for everything their kids do, we don’t have the ability to be there 24/7 to monitor their behavior and they are individuals with their own minds and thoughts. We can teach, but we can’t decide what lesson the student ultimately gets from it.

So, I’ll keep on streaking with at least a mile a day. I’ll keep on training through the goal race at the end of week 11. I’ll keep on trying to become the best mentor that ever existed and being critical of myself about what I do during training. I’ll keep on parenting my teen and trying to instill good values and morals and hope she clings to them one day. I’ll continue to be a good example of it just in case that’s a better teacher, which I think it is.

Are you still working at your goals for this year? Are you aware that this is typically the week of the year when resolutions taper off? What are you going to do to not be in that statistic? I’d say not make a resolution, but it’s a little late if you already did. Are you your biggest critic? Do you try to be a fan of yourself once in awhile?

wp-1454615438938.jpg

Obviously, that’s me in the lead….misdirecting.