Why can’t I be super?

Things haven’t calmed since our teenager has returned from the hospital. She’s divulging things that my husband and I were unaware of and I’m feeling a little like I’ve been taken advantage of by someone I trusted and loved. Her claims of drug and alcohol use go further than she originally reported. There’s also the psychiatrist who wants to send her to a rehabilitation facility, the therapist who wants to see her once a week, and the rehab place that also wants to see her once a week and ensure she’s seeing the other 2 regularly as well. There’s also a gastroenterologist that sees her monthly (for Crohn’s) and school for her to make up from missing a week and teachers who want her to stay after school to make up for things she’s missed.

There are only 2 parents who have 2 younger kids and other obligations  like work. We don’t have family here in town. They are 3 hours away. The younger kids have had more behavioral issues with acting out. The youngest one has reverted to poor sleep habits and often having bathroom accidents despite having been potty trained for awhile now.

I signed up for the Hot Chocolate 15k in St. Louis before any of this began and now I’ve seriously considered cancelling the first chance I’ve had in months to see my closest friend because my home life stinks. We have to lock our bedroom and all of the medicine and watch as the teen takes it each morning and night. We have to walk on eggshells to avoid her volatile mood. We have to field threats from her that she’ll get angry with us if we don’t let her do something she wants to. More than once, we’ve heard that she’ll get “mad at us” if we don’t let her invite a friend to the house. So we live in a mine field by simply parenting.

I haven’t run more than 4 miles in practice in the past month. I try to keep my mind off of the fact that I’m just 10 seconds from crying all of the time. I’ve signed up for an Ugliest Sweater Run in my town and I’m going all out for being festive on this. I’m proud at how tacky my outfit is and I’ll share it once I’ve done the race. I keep my schedule for Winter Warriors like they are appointments that I have to make. It helps burn off my crazy. I am in a depressive slump and I feel bad for my husband. He has to deal with me gently when he already has to put in extra time trying to ensure his paying job is taken care of, he isn’t stepping on one of the teen’s mines at home, and he’s picking up my slack with the smaller children when I’m away at my workouts.

I want my teen to feel better. I don’t want her to be depressed. I certainly don’t want her to use substances to try to be happy. I want the best for her like I do all of my kids. This is just mentally, physically, and financially exhausting for us and it hasn’t waned at all. If anything, things just keep accumulating on top of it and compounding.

I wish I could just make things right and be able to say and do the right thing so that the people I love wouldn’t need to suffer. I wish I didn’t feel like I was crumbling. I wish I was the good mom that people tell me I am.

 

 

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Wish I was a little more “super”

From the finish to another start and over

I finished the half marathon alive. I’ve started looking for training tips on running a full marathon. I’m thinking that is still going to be October of next year if I do it. I have things to work on.

I took a week off of running before setting out to keep up my training. I actually had to take the week off because my husband was travelling on business and I was caring for sick kids. Fitting time in to get out and run isn’t plausible in that type of situation. The following week, I did a pretty intense resistance session on Nike Training, an app I have on my phone. I went to the Monday night fun run and tried running as fast as I could go for 4 miles. Tuesday, I went out for a run I intended to go 8-10 miles on.  I ran 9, then walked the 10th mile. Thursday, I set out early for a 6 mile run that I wanted to give up on in the first mile. Somehow, I talked myself through it and realized exactly how much of getting myself to go requires mental strength and positivity. I did a lot of internal bargaining with myself just to get past the 3rd mile, but I didn’t regret the workout once done.

I relaxed the next 2 days for a 5k Oktoberfest run where I wanted to beat my personal best 5k race time of 30:12 from September 2014. I’ve beaten that time in practice, but not yet at a race. My goal is always to get below 30 minutes. In practice, I still haven’t gotten below 30 minutes, either. I pushed myself to stay with someone who I know is faster than me for a little past the first mile. About a quarter of a mile past that, I started losing pace with her and distancing myself. At one point, I stopped to walk and catch my breath next to a runner that was walking from an injury or strain. I took off too fast and I paid for it. The rest of the race was me slowing and sprinting. A friend caught up to me and told me to get going faster and I did. Then, from a couple of paces behind me she told me to “go, go, go!” I sprinted most of the last tenth of a mile and came in at 30:15. Son of a…. Oh well. I kind of knew I wasn’t going to make my time when I stopped to walk. Next time. I haven’t signed up for another 5k just yet, but I will and I’ll whip that time. The girl I started with finished in 26:02, so I was a little ambitious to try to stay with her. It doesn’t mean I won’t try to do that again. I just need to work on my speed and my breathing technique.

My current focus is the 15k I’ve signed up for in December. It is becoming a tradition for my friend and I to run a Superhero Dash 5k in June together and the Hot Chocolate race in December together. I’ll be holding on to the habit of the long run for a long time to come, but I don’t plan to give up on 5k racing. I still haven’t run a 10k, so I should probably do one of those so I have a time to beat with those races also.

I had been pretty steadily losing weight and getting noticed for looking healthier by people. The scale and I are now a little too close and I’m slightly obsessed with weighing more than once a day. I’ve been hard on myself about it, but I’m trying not to let it push me into poor nutrition choices either way. I’m not going to binge and say it doesn’t matter because my mean old body will get heavier anyway. I’m not going to skip meals as a way of ‘punishing’ myself for not losing as fast as I want to. I just have to keep making healthy choices. I’m trying to carry over into making healthy choices the mental strength that I’ve gained from pushing myself to run. It is exhausting and frustrating. It can also be rewarding to know that I’ve conquered something that I felt powerless to before.

I am pretty far from my desired size. I still set smaller goals that aren’t tied to the scale or the measuring tape so I can try to see the weight loss as a bonus to the other things I’m doing. I can run a half marathon. I can do one-legged squats with weights. I can resist eating fast food. I’ve made new friends to talk to and run with. I also happen to weigh 30 pounds less than I did at the start of the year and I fit into my smaller pants.

There is probably something you’re missing that you should be proud of yourself for. Perhaps you are faster or stronger than you were. Maybe you make better choices for your health. You could also be setting a healthy example for someone else in your life. Have you really thought about the positive impact of your own health and fitness journey?

July 2015

July 2015

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September 2015

I’m a half marathon runner…now

It’s Saturday morning and my alarm is set for 5:15am. One of my kids wakes earlier and comes to my room, climbs in bed, and starts coughing. My husband takes the kid out of our room and lays in her bed with her so I can get enough sleep for the race. It’s 4:30am. I toss and I turn and I keep seeing the time. At 5am, I decide that I can’t hold in having to pee anymore and I might as well get up and start preparing to run a half marathon race. I clumsily put on my new running compression shorts I picked up during the week and apply balm to the places I’ve been chaffed during training. I nibble on a Clif bar while drinking from a 1 liter bottle of electrolyte water attempting to get all of my food and water in 90 minutes before race time. I start getting nervous while preparing to leave for the starting line. My husband insists he drive me so I don’t have to drive home later and so he can see me off from the starting point, go home to get the kids, and come back with them to see me finish. We leave the house with the teenager in charge of the 2 younger kids.

We pull into the church parking lot where the event is hosted. I see no tent, I see no start or finish line. I see cars everywhere and people walking in and out of the large church building. I see people jogging around to prepare for the race. Everyone around me has numbers on their shirts, they’re in their race clothes, and they are ready. I have on my race clothes with warm up pants, sandals, and two shirts on over my tank top. One shirt for a group photo with the training group and another that has sleeves because it was a brisk morning and the sun hasn’t made an appearance to warm the day and burn off the light fog that had settled over the fields of corn, soybeans, and hay bales surrounding the venue.

I go inside the building and decide to use the restroom one last time before the race  because no matter what, I’ll feel like I have to pee when I start to run. I might as well know that my body is just toying with my emotions if I’ve already gone. There is a line and it isn’t moving very quickly. I turn on my watch when we’re leaving the building and it says 6:41am. Shit. My group photo is at 6:45 and I still haven’t found the starting point. I feel tears start. I suddenly have a mini sobbing session and pull my sunglasses over my face so nobody can see that I’m crying. My husband calmly points to the starting line ahead and the people from my group not far away. I get there and attempt to strip down, get my number on my tank top while lifting my group photo shirt and trying to pull my running shoes on and get them tied. The group photo turns out like this:

The group photo from race day 2015.

The group photo from race day 2015.

Can you guess which person is me? Yep. Down front with the mouth wide open and eyes wide. Was I crying 5 minutes ago? Yes. Am I somehow in a photo looking like I am happy to be there? Yep. Ok, then.

When we finish doing our pre-race warm ups, a mentor named Jane stops me and asks if I want her to meet me somewhere near the end of the course so she could pull me in at the end. I tell her that I would really appreciate that. She’s running the 10k race that starts 30 minutes after the half marathon. The night before, Jane topped her age group in a 5k. She still plans to take her time and energy to help me finish.

I nervously walk to the starting point and found Angie, a mentor that agreed to start out with me the previous weekend. We listen to the national anthem and suddenly, it is time to start. Angie, another mentor named Jason, and I were sticking together and chatting. It seemed surreal to me that we were talking to each other and other runners so casually. Everyone is so calm and kind. It isn’t like running a 5k race where you start to catch running buddies somewhere in the middle if you didn’t start with one. Here we are just smiling away on our run:

Angie, Jason, and I running happily

Angie, Jason, and I running happily

I do a lot of listening because I honestly am trying not to hear myself panting. The conversation was light and funny and every once in a while, I have something to add. My first mile is a little faster than I intend and I joke that I will slow down at the end and just keep the pace I was going for as long as I can. Only, it turns out to not be a joke. Taking off a little fast takes its toll on my body. At the water stops, I drink from my own bottles and I refill when I need. I mindlessly take the packets of GU from the volunteers and stuff them in a little side pocket because the nutrition gel I brought with me is HUMA and that was what I’d been training with. Near the last 5 miles, I tell the people I’m with that I’m getting irritable. I really am. The sound of my race bib crumpling is getting on my nerves. The snot in my nose is annoying me. The random people entering the trail in large groups (that weren’t part of the race) are making me angry. The mentors tell me that it is normal for me to be annoyed. They try to keep me out of my head. When we reach the point where only 3 miles is left, I start feeling my body revolt. My hips and back are hurting and I don’t think I have the energy to change my gait. I change it  by lifting my knees further forward and the pain subsides, but I don’t feel like I can keep up my speed. Jason asks if I want him to get my mind off of the run. I say that would be good. He proceeds to untie his pants and show me his tri shorts covered butt. It’s amusing, and lightens the mood. We get a good laugh and Jason gets a crowd at the park we are running past to see him trying to re-tie his running shorts. Angie wants me to go just a little faster and she pushes me to just take it up a bit and tells me she knows that I can and that now is the time to do it. Jason threatens to turn into a ‘raging a**hole’ at the end. I tell him that I’ll ignore him because Jane is waiting for me near the end. He and Angie try to convince me that she either won’t make it to meet me or is going to be really tough on me to get me to finish. Jane is waiting for me right as I take my last gel pack and water stop. Angie and Jason run ahead because Angie is really close to a personal best and I want her to get it.  Of course Jane came back to meet me. I even have a photo of us running together.

Jane met up with me.

Jane met up with me.

Jane continues on with me and tells me not to look at my watch anymore for pace and to let her pull me. She says that’s what I asked her to do and that is what she is there for. She is totally right. We run together and I ask once if I can stop and march my feet. She declines and says, “not this close. We’re too close to the end.” So I speed back up to get behind her and she keeps telling me about the end being downhill and that I just need to get to the hill and let it take me in. She keeps telling me that I’m kicking ass and my time will be great. I look ahead and it really isn’t so far away. We are greeted by one of the runners who are volunteers that run people in at the end. She joins us to the top of the hill and turns back to find other people who need help. Jane and I are chatting when I see 3 people ahead with signs. I tell Jane, “I think those are my kids.” It is my kids. They are all holding homemade signs for me!

My 3 kids cheering me on.

My 3 kids cheering me on.

Jane breaks away from me just past this turn to stand aside. She already ran a 10k and is running with me to be a great mentor. I run as fast as I can manage for the finish line. There are two men in front of me there and I’d normally slow down, but I just can’t bear to not keep going this speed. I pull around them on their left and run into the finish line area when the clock says 2 hours and 19 minutes (and seconds I don’t remember).

I just ran 13.1 miles. I walked only a few times and it was for hydration or nutrition. I got into my head and I got back out before it ruined my run. I am sweaty. I look to my right to see Julie from Fleet Feet with my medal ready to put over my head. She puts it on me and we hug and it is awesome.

Hugging Julie

Hugging Julie

Yes, I had to keep moving for a while after. I didn’t enjoy eating my favorite sandwich, a gondola, after the race. It tasted a little like sand from the dryness in my mouth. I shared in some laughs with some fellow runners that I know. I saw many familiar faces in the crowd. We exchanged congratulations. I felt really good about what I’d done. I felt good about the race.

At home, my family had gotten me flowers and a sweet card.

My daisies

My daisies

Later in the day, I was tired and sore. My stomach revolted because I didn’t have my usual post run granola bar. It was grumbly and crampy the rest of the day. I ordered in pizza for dinner and the pizza was delicious!

I had the arrow drawn on my left thumb knuckle. I had people tell me they’d read my blog. I had people congratulate me for my running and for my weight loss. It was a great day! Today, I woke up and told my husband I’m running 14 miles next weekend. I was kidding, of course. I am excited to continue running and do another 13.1 race someday. Yep, I’d totally do it again.

Me and my (first) 13.1 medal.

Me and my (first) 13.1 medal.

*Special thanks to the people who took the photos including Kristin Techmanski, Samantha Quigle, and my husband Matt.

**Thanks Fleet Feet Sports – Bloomington for the training program, the purple shirt, the race day tent, and the experience. 

***Thanks to all of the mentors who spent time helping people run these races. Especially the mentors that I got to run with and talk to.