Monthly Archives: September 2013

Oktoberfest 15k

For the first time in several months, I raced yesterday. I think I’ve only ever done one 15k race before and it was on a rain-filled trail in Iowa.

Yesterday’s race in Brunswick Forest was much easier. The weather was beautiful, although I’m beginning to realize that it will always be humid here. I was a little nervous because my 3 mile jog on Saturday was terrible due to my never-ending shin splints. I looked like Forrest Gump did when he was a kid and had leg braces on. I have been getting physical therapy for three weeks and finally zero’d in on the source of the problem last week, which is good, but it did not immediately solve said problem, and that frustrates me.  What, can’t I expect that two physical therapy sessions would make all my leg pain go “Poof” and disappear? After that terrible, gimpy run Saturday, I decided that I needed to take two full weeks off running after the 15k, which is like saying I won’t eat or drink for two weeks. That is not to say I will not be training, I just won’t be running. Breathe. Breathe.

Then I ran on Sunday.  It was clear and cool.  My coach told me to start off at a nice 8:30 pace and each three miles, move the pace up 15 seconds to end on an 8 minute mile pace. Because I’m a rebel fighter a bad student, I decided to start on a 7:50 pace, while forgetting that it was not 45 degrees nor a 5k.  I guess after you run in 80-degree temps for so many months, when it hits 60-something, we all go nuts.  I don’t know about you, but this is how I feel when we go run on that first cool morning in the fall. The picture is compliments of Hyperbole and a Half.

run all the miles

In my defense of my theory to RUNALLTHEMILESASFASTASICAN, it really was a test for me, mentally. I have a half marathon at the end of October that I planned on getting a PR in.  It’s not only for me, but I’ll be the runner leg of the Hells Belle’s relay team for the Beach 2 Battleship 1/2 iron distance.  I knew that if I could run an 8 minute mile pace for the 15k, there’d be hope for an 8 minute mile in the 1/2 marathon. Each pre-marathon race is also a learning experience for me, too. This time, it was a reminder to back off the gas pedal in the beginning, which I already knew, but had evidently forgotten.  It was also a reminder to fuel properly. I ran out of gas around 6 miles so the last three miles weren’t as fast as if I’d eaten more that morning.  Grrrr.  I hate that.  Isn’t it funny when you’re going fast and think “Hey, I’m a rock star!” and then when you THINK you’re going fast and look at your watch only to find you you’re not, then you automatically assume your Garmin isn’t working right?  That was me the last few miles.  And it’s not actually funny.

Anyway, it got pretty warm and a little breezy at the end, but I finished my 9.3 miles in 1:15, an 8:04 pace. I was happy. I was even more happy when, as I approached the finish line, I saw my husband and kids waiting for me. Ahhhh, so sweet.

IMG_1170

I collected my medal, got my two free beers, chatted with my family, and entertained myself while waiting for two friends to cross the finish line.

One of my favorite medals.

It was a little dry.

Finally, a dual purpose medal.

Finally, a dual purpose medal.

The race was well organized, great volunteers, a clear course, nice race shirt, and some beer/food at the end. I didn’t place in my age group, which sort of disappointed me considering I would have won or placed in many of the other age groups, but I told my husband before they started, that I got my prize on Wednesday in my email inbox. Now it’s on to elliptical training, swimming, and biking for a week. I’m ready for this, I have my eye on the prize and I’ll do what I need to do to make my dreams a reality.

Did any of you have races this weekend? Did you pace yourself right? Fuel properly?

Categories: Boston Marathon, marathon, training for marathon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

4 Seconds

I got the email from the Boston Athletic Association yesterday while I was stopped at a light on my way home from a doctor visit.  I’m not proud that I was so obsessive about checking my email that I would do it at a stop light, but it was after noon, and I knew I was going to get an email soon. BING. There it was. I actually said, “well, here we go” as I read it. I had prepared myself to get the bad email, the one that said, sorry, it was filled up with faster people. I would be ok. In the words of Eli Young, I would keep on dreaming even if it broke my heart.

The first sentence read: “This is to notify you that your entry into the 118th Boston Marathon on Monday, April 21, 2014 has been accepted, provided that the information you submitted is accurate.”  WHAT? HAS BEEN ACCEPTED???  Not, has NOT been accepted?? I got in? I made it? I slipped through? Holy shit!!!! I re-read that part a million times looking for the word “not” in the middle of the sentence.  I immediately said, “OH MY GOD….. OHMYGODOHMYGODOHMYGODOHMYGOD!!!!”  And I don’t normally say that. I started crying. Not a little drippy boo hoo; no, this was the UGLY cry. I covered my mouth and rocked back and forth. I couldn’t stop saying “OHMYGOD OHMY GOD”. The light turned green and I stayed in my lane like a good driver should. I admit, I freaked out. I was a hot mess. I get to run the Boston Marathon! Oh, MY GOD!  I made it safely to my neighborhood and called my husband. He was thrilled. I went to my sister’s house and she was on a call for work. I was this pathetic, crying hot mess on her doorstep but I looked at her and smiled, so she knew that I got in. I texted people, I posted on Facebook. I re-read my email. I talked to my mom and heard my dad yelling in the background.  “Who wants to go to Boston????”  I re-read my email again. I wept. Then I went home and listened to the song Tessie, the song that I have on my marathon playlist to remind me what my goal is. I told my kids. We danced, we cried, we laughed, we forgot about homework. One of the most memorable days of my life was yesterday.

Because the remaining registrations were going to be given to people who ran the fastest for their qualifying time and I qualified by only 1 minute 42 seconds, I knew I was really close to the cutoff between those who made it and those who did not. I read the press release from the BAA that stated the cutoff time was 1:38.  Wow. 4 seconds. I made it by four seconds. While four seconds is a very long time in some events, you look at a marathon and it’s usually not about seconds (unless you’re one of the top finishers), it’s about minutes.

Kickin' It!

Kickin’ It!

I thought about the day I ran the Houston Marathon. I remember standing there in the downpour worrying that my shoes would get wet. I remember letting myself go at the pace I felt comfortable with, not the pace I had intended to go. I remember not stopping to change my shoes because no more rain was falling and I could deal with damp shoes and my hands were frozen. I remember nearing the end and hearing my grandmother’s voice to “KICK IT”. I remember hauling ass at the finish like I always do because that’s what she taught me to do. I remember thinking that I ran my best race. I remember finding out that I qualified for Boston well after the race was over and that I thought I missed it by 3:18, not made it by 1:42. I remember crying when I found out I had actually qualified for Boston that cold, rainy, and windy day.

I have terrible critical thinking and math skills when I’m running, so I thought that when we crossed the 26 mile mark, I only had .1 miles to go. I remember thinking the marathon people measured wrong and it’s way further than .1 miles. How could a huge marathon in Houston actually measure wrong?? I assume I felt that way because it actually was .2 miles, not .1 because that’s the actual distance of a marathon – duh.  My terrible counting skills and my grandmother’s voice in my head telling me to kick it at the end of a race combined to make the perfect storm of a Boston qualification and acceptance. I would have loved to call my grandma and tell her the good news, but I look up to Heaven and I know that she already knows.

Thanks Grandma.  Four seconds made all the difference.  I’m goin’ to Boston!!!!

Grandma

Grandma

 

I have to mention that I feel terrible for those who qualified for Boston and who were not accepted. It’s torture, really. To spend so much time training for and running and then waiting for all this. To all of you, I’m sorry.  I feel terrible that you reached the door of a dream but couldn’t actually open the door. I know I would have been devastated. My heart would have been broken. But again, like the song says, keep on dreamin’ even if it breaks your heart.

Categories: Boston Marathon, marathon, training for marathon | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

10 Things to do While Waiting to See if I Get Into Boston

This week is the longest week EVER and it feels like Friday (and beyond) will NEVER EVER EVER get here.  YES, it’s anoooother post about Boston and I swear it will be one of the last (for a while).  I registered for Boston on Monday and people can register until Friday.  We still won’t find out until they verify everyone’s race, which will be sometime next week.  Hopefully.  There’s many more registrants than spaces available so it makes the entire thing really difficult.  More waiting. Sheesh, so what’s a person to do while waiting for news? I just want to know. Now. I read Mark Remy’s article in Runner’s World titled “6 Ways to Pass the Time While Waiting for Boston Confirmation” and I decided to steal his idea.  Here’s my list of “10 Things to Do While Waiting to See if I Get Into Boston”. Thanks Mark!  At least it gave me something else to do!

1) Math – I have dusted off my calculator and freshened up my math skills this week.  I’ve twisted all the Boston numbers around so many times, it’s kind of crazy/bordering OCD. There’s 5,000 spaces available. Based on equal spacing in finish times with the people who have registered (I was using a lower number at first which made me happy but it’s now at 7,900 which makes me unhappy) I have a faster time than 34% of the finishers who, theoretically speaking, finished less than five minutes of their qualification time. Blah blah blah blah, at this particular time, I would miss making the cutoff registration by 214 runners. Of 22,000 runners. Now that’s a punch in the gut!!! Then, I had to figure out that I would miss it by less than 1%. So it’s kind of a big reminder next time to be sure to kick that last few miles in the ass and just haul it til you cross the finish line. Or throw up.

2) Learn to Knit.  Read a good book. It’s fascinating how blankets and clothes are made by some yarn/spun stuff but I really have no interest. I wanted to, but I just don’t. So reading a good book is a great way to pass the time.

3) De-clutter a room.  I moved 1,200 miles in July/August. I’m tired. But I have one “catch-all” room that is desperately needing a de-clutter.  It’s called a bonus room because once you clean the entire regular house, you get to clean another room – A BONUS!!! Yeah! So it took me a few days, but I cleaned out my room. See?

before-after

Ok, this is totally not my room and I found this picture on the Internets, but that’s how I feel.

4) Practice spelling and vocabulary. My son’s school in Texas stopped spelling tests just into his 3rd grade year and never had vocabulary. And from what his papers show, it’s quit quite obvious. Since we moved to NC, he now has spelling and vocabulary (thank you, NC!!!) so might as well brush up on that stuff yourself, so when you’re kid asks you what “exquisite” means, you know the real answer without distracting him while checking Google.  Mmmhmmm, I’ve never done that.

5) DVR and watch the new fall TV shows. I watched the new Brooklyn Nine-Nine with Andy Samberg. It’s hilarious. Dr. Phil’s new episodes. Am I the only one who feels really good about themselves and their parenting skills after watching his show?  Duck Dynasty.  Makes me want to drink tea.  Food network.  How do they make such good meals in 20 minutes using Spam, vegetables I’ve never heard of, and a can of icing?  House Hunters.  Ahhhh, to be able to just pick up and move to the islands.  Many more shows are starting next week, so if I feel the need to distract myself further, there will be plenty to see.  Sleepy Hollow. It’s fantastically evil but I have a little crush on Ichabod Crane. I like the other characters too.  Well, not the headless guy trying to kill everyone in order to find his head and start the end of the world. And that leads me to….

6) Watch Hollywood.  They shoot a lot of movies and TV shows here in little ole’ Wilmington.  Sleepy Hollow is shooting downtown today, so guess what I am going to do? Try and see Ichabod Crane, played by Tom Mison.  I watched the show and realized that I need to only watch it during daylight hours and when I know I won’t be home alone at night.  For me, the creep factor is pretty high up there, but it’s really good and I’m still going to watch it.  Especially if I can see them filming it.

crane

Tom Mison plays Ichabod Crane

7)  Be depressed and plan pity party.  I tried depression on for size and it really doesn’t fit. I know I’ll be upset if I don’t make it in, especially since I found out (using my wonderfully toned math skills) that the timed entries were only increased by 400, not the thousands that the BAA had announced.  THOSE spaces were for the people who were not able to cross the finish line last year due to the bombing (kudos to the BAA on that one) and for charity runners (totally missed the boat on this one BAA, totally missed it). It’s not fair, but really, there’s just things in life that aren’t fair, so get over it and move on.  I’ve sort of moved on in my head already since once I realized that my chances of getting in are basically impossible, I have already done a lot of grieving this week.  And if I had a pity party, we would have chips. Lots of chips AND dip. And beer.

8) Cook.  And eat.  I am almost two months into my training and the longest run I’ve been on is 9 miles and the most mileage I’ve done in one week is just about 30.  That isn’t very much YET, but when you add the cross training I’ve done with swimming and biking, plus the strength training, I’m burnin’ up some serious calories. I. Love. This.  On Monday, I was so hungry all I wanted to do was eat. I knew I had to be careful so I didn’t get that “oh sh*t, I just ate an entire chicken and now I feel like one of those big huge Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade balloons” feeling, but I ate as much or more than a huge man would eat. My husband runs and my kids are in football, so this family goes through some serious food. What better to do than to cook something good and then get the pleasure of eating it? A lot of it, too. I love the way my body changes to be stronger, leaner, and faster all while I’m shoveling down hundreds of calories. Snacking? It’s a must.  And I get bored with the same old things, so finding healthy and hearty recipes is always something to do while distracting oneself. Chicken Ole anyone?

9)  Write or call someone.  Write a letter to your grandma. Write your long-lost friend where the only communication you’ve had is “Liking”  their pictures on Facebook. Talk to people.  Call someone. It doesn’t always take much for me to be able to hit the RESET button on my day and one nice person in Harris Teeter startled me into realizing that I probably looked like the Wicked Witch of the West when I was standing there getting my fresh fruit and veggies scanned with a frowny wistful look on my face.  Oh poor me, I can’t get into a race that I spent three years training for and attempting.  Well, that’s a first world problem if I’ve ever heard of one, so get the hell over it. (You know as much as I do that I won’t totally get over it, but just get over it at that moment.)  Then I felt guilty for being all grinchy and always resort to gratefulness, because I really am lucky to be standing there buying fresh fruits and veggies. Then I smiled and decided to get the hell over it (at that moment).  The moral of this thing-to-do is to reach out to someone because maybe that contact can be what they need to hit their RESET button.  Hmmmm, I wonder if I could install a RESET button on my grumpy cat. He’s always going around biting people and whining about how he doesn’t want the food in the dish, he wants CANNED food and that the water in the bowl is stale, he wants it as soon as it comes out of the faucet and will stand there looking at me until I turn the faucet on and then he takes two licks and is done. Hmph.

This cat does not want to have a RESET button.

This cat does not want to have a RESET button.

I got him a really nice RESET button and installed it but he immediately de-installed it. We went round and round until he ate the RESET button, which I had to remove from his mouth because everyone should know that you just don’t eat RESET buttons. The good thing is that there were about 300 seconds that I didn’t even think of “that” marathon. Success.

10)  This is kind of obvious, but necessary: Go out and run!  I’m not one of those people who hates to run but does it for the exercise or to be a triathlete. I really truly love to run and it’s a part of who I am. It also allows me to drink more beer without gaining weight, but that’s not the point.  I think I’ve only had about five times EVER when I went out for a run and then regretted it. One time, it was because my leg was really hurting so I shouldn’t have done it. Another time I got over heated and yacked. I kind of laugh about that one because it was when I was living in Iowa and I wouldn’t run if the temps were over 70 because it was “too hot”.  How ironic that a year later, I would live in southern Texas and it wouldn’t get BELOW 70 for five months in a row.   Then two years after that, I would move to the jungle where the humidity is always 1,000,000% (and some days it feels like more).  I digress.  I know I can improve on my marathon time, so besides continuing my training, I’m reading about nutrition and how I can fuel better for those longer training runs and races.  It’s time to put my game face on and get this thing done.  Again.

So anyway, it’s never fun to be stuck in what seems like the time stopping abyss of ???????  but there could be worse things to deal with. Just look at it all with a sense of humor, distract yourself, and the time will come when all the questions are answered. Is it freaking Friday yet?

Categories: Boston Marathon, marathon, training for marathon, triathlon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Something New

This morning, I got to do something that I never thought possible until just a few years ago – I applied for the 2014 Boston Marathon.  While this evokes a HUGE amount of emotion for me that can only be described as bittersweet, I’m really thankful I was able to achieve my goal. Yes, it’s just the gateway to the true and ultimate goal of running the Boston Marathon, but really, it’s something that I never thought possible and I know that many people have never been able to reach that goal.  I’m very proud of my 3:43:18 in the rainy, windy, and cold Houston Marathon in January. That’s the sweet part.

I'm very proud to be able to even fill this entry out.

I’m very proud to be able to even fill this entry out.

 

I won’t find out until Friday at the absolute earliest if I’m accepted. There’s approximately 5,000 spaces open and well more than 5,000 runners who will be applying. The fastest runners will be accepted until it is full.  All the times of registrants must be verified before registration can be completed, so that’s a lot of applications to verify!  In the meantime, I’ll fill my time with training, cleaning my house, and all those other things that I do to distract myself. So what if I don’t get in because it filled up? That’s the bitter part.  I’ll probably be really upset, cry, and may even throw myself a little pity party. Heck, it might even be a huge weekend pity party. Once the party winds down, I’ll put my running shoes on and get back to work. I’ve come to terms with not getting in and the probability of it has been the same since the day I qualified: either I will get in or I won’t. It’s very simple. There’s no amount of fussing or worrying or obsessing that will change the outcome, so I might as well fill my time with other things.

The entire process has taught me a lot of patience, perseverance, and well, just doing what you can and leaving the rest to God. I’m better for it. And I want to do it all over again.  I have 18 weeks until the next Houston Marathon and I’m a month and a half into training already. I am dreaming big and already have goals well past this Boston thing. While I’m dreaming, I’m just doing what I can to make my dreams a reality.

 

Categories: Boston Marathon, marathon, open water swimming, training for marathon, triathlon | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

How to Sweat in Under One Millisecond

I’ve been reluctantly dealing with a sore leg the past two weeks. It came on suddenly after a great tempo workout and the next day, I was in pain. Luckily, I’m surrounded by tons of runner people and have a great coach, so when I mentioned hurting during a run, I heard what I needed to hear. “Listen to your body.” “Take care of it now before it turns into something worse.” “Don’t run.” This wasn’t what I WANTED to hear, mind you, because the mind has a really good way of burying the reality of a bad situation and puts shiny glittery things in front of the facts you should really acknowledge.

I took a hill workout off, a long run off, and another in between, and my calf/shin was still in pain and getting worse. Because I’m very early into training for what I consider to be an extremely important race (even more now that I see how many people have registered for Boston so far), I decided it was best to bite the bullet and go see a physical therapist.  I crawled out of the Denial Closet and made the call.  I’ve done this before for Achilles tendonitis and another condition that affected my knee, so I was familiar with myofascial release, which is what many physical therapists use to help heal athletes.  When I went in for my appointment, I told the entire story of my one leg that has had a laundry list of problems over the years, did some calf raises and other strength work so the doc could see my leg in movement, and then he got to work.  Because the pain was in the center of my calf and shin, I thought he would work on that area. Oh, no, the source of the problem is often not where it hurts now, but in another place that is not working right and victimizes a different muscle.  So the perp in this instance was the nerve/muscle just below my knee on the inside. As soon as he felt that the area was tight, he took out a vice grip and razor blade and cut my leg off. Oh wait, that’s just how it felt. Now I’ve had few therapy sessions that made me hold my breath and grit my teeth, but this was a new level that I wasn’t familiar with. My second visit was even more surprising.  I have NEVER started to sweat faster when that searing pain started, except for maybe when I got the tattoo on my foot. I couldn’t even think swear words either.  Sweat was rolling down my back, sweat was on my arms, legs, feet, neck.  Wow. My poor leg was telling my brain to get the hell out of there and to not let that monster touch it again. My brain kept telling my leg to shut up and deal because it’s either this or pain with every step while running and there’s about a trillion steps to go. My brain won this time.

I will probably have to go a few times a week for the next two weeks, which isn’t pleasant for my leg nor my pocketbook, but I’m committed to doing what I need to heal the injury and learn how to prevent it from coming back.  In the meantime, I’ll be doing my stretches, which is way more than my normal stretching, which is way more than I ever did for the first 38 years of my life. I guess that’s what it takes to make a dream come true.

 

Categories: Boston Marathon, marathon, open water swimming, training for marathon, triathlon | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Art of Distraction

As much as I don’t want to admit it, I am TOTALLY FREAKING out about the Boston Marathon registration that starts on Monday. I will try not to check the site daily to see if the race has filled up until I can register on September 16th. I qualified by less than five minutes, so my registration day is after all the other qualification pools (people who run five or more minutes faster than their specific gender/age group qualification time) get their chance. People, I’m freaking out on the inside. Some are saying that it will be full for sure before I get a chance to register, and some are saying that I should be able to get in since the number of registrants was increased an equivalent of around 3,000 runners. I don’t allow myself to believe it will happen and get all excited, and I do this by convincing myself that it will be full and there’s no chance of me getting in. I worry about my wireless internet not working that morning. I worry that it will be full one registration before I get to it. I worry about working so hard to fulfill a crazy dream, but because of some terrorists, not being able to see that dream come to full fruition. I worry about qualifying again. So in between the small moments that I allow myself to worry, dream, imagine, I block it all out. I think about other things. So I’m not really talking about Boston registration right now. Oh, everyone will know one way or the other if I get in. The people in about a one mile radius will probably HEAR me if I do, which I won’t, so I’ll stop talking about it. Why not just believe in it? Well, the way I operate is that I tell myself that it won’t happen, so if it actually did, then the thrill is so much more rewarding. If you look at it the other way around and I tell myself that I WILL get in and get all excited then am not able to get in, then the disappointment will chew at me for months, probably years. It’s the easiest way I deal with things like this. It’s probably not the best way, but it’s how I do it.

How do I keep my mind occupied since the registration issue lurks right under the surface? Ahhh, the art of distraction. So I’m obsessing about swimming, about biking, about my achy leg that I’m still not talking about, of course about my own marathon training, about new eating strategies, about getting moved into my house, about new episodes of House Hunters and American Ninja Warrior and Property Brothers. I’m even sort of obsessing about this blog too.

Today, the day of all days, the distraction was swimming.  I was meeting my sister at Wrightsville to have a nice leisurely swim.

swim2

Same place we went last week.

My sister started swimming when she injured her calf muscle during a training run. Since I now live right by her, we’ve spent a lot of time together talking about our training and such. She’s a very good swimmer and will be swimming the first leg of the Beach 2 Battleship 1/2 Iron Distance Triathlon at the end of October, a friend doing the bike part, and I’ll be doing the running part. Because I’ve wanted to learn how to swim for so long and let water-in-my-ear canal thing bother me so much, I never bit the bullet and swam. Until today. My sis has been a very good teacher, has let me do my own thing while providing advice, and I wouldn’t have been able to swim there had it not been for her.  So thanks, Sis!  I went out last week and paddled around a little, and I realized that I liked it. It was open water and I got the gist of the salt, the safe swim course, and the slight current. I also stopped at one tip of the head and didn’t let myself get into it. That’s ok, I got out there, so I was good with just a tiny bit of progress.

swim

I’m quite the goober.

I was a little nervous today about what I was going to attempt. I didn’t know how it was going to feel, and I was anxious.  I also knew that if I didn’t do what I came to do, I would be really disappointed in myself as well as a missed opportunity.  So, I started swimming freestyle, took a breath and then kept swimming. Water made that horrid sound as it went far into my ear as I turned my head. Then it went away. I kept going, and the sound that I hate, the feeling that I hate, went away. I stopped, started again, heard that sound and felt that feeling, and kept going. Small victory?  Actually, for me, it was a huge victory. I can swim now. I can go beyond keeping myself alive in the water and playing with my kids. I can swim. I can go all the way across a pool without stopping or practically dying from holding my breath the whole way. I. Can. Swim. Had I just kept at it the last several times I tried, I would have learned that the thing that I hate only lasts a moment.  Hmmmm, I wondered. Why in the world did I let a few uncomfortable seconds prevent me from participating in a sport that provides a lot of exercise, relief for my tired joints, and well, just fun?  I passed through the gateway for triathlons today. Yeah for me!  Yup, I definitely gagged several times and several hours later, can still taste salt. I certainly did not look like a real swimmer and most real swimmers would be mortified if they saw me and my “form”. But Rome wasn’t built in a day.   With things like this, forward motion, progress, is really all that matters. It does to me, anyway.  That’s probably why I say that I can swim. I did not say that I could swim well. And I don’t care.

As I was doing this new swimming thing, I realize that it’s imperative that you must have a good pair of goggles, and I did not. I was upset about the goggle situation before I even left the house because my stupid cat, Goldie, ate the headband of my new pair that I used last week. This is nothing new in our house, but I was pretty pissed about it. I grabbed another pair and set off to the waterway. I had no idea the lens was totally scratched up, so once I started swimming (I like saying that so I will probably say it a few more times), I couldn’t see. My sister had some anti-fog stuff and that worked to help the fogging as it should, but I just couldn’t see well.

IMG_0737

This is basically all I could see.

Lesson number two for the day, have good goggles because SEEING in the open water is pretty important.  Oh, so what’s lesson one? Just TRY it! Try something completely before you say that you can’t do it. Sheesh, the years I wasted not fully trying and hiding behind that water in the ear canal thing? Soooo silly. I learned a lesson today and it will probably seep into other areas of my life. I don’t like heights so am I going to hang the Christmas lights on the roof two stories up? Hell no, but I won’t refuse to go zip lining because it’s too scary. How do I KNOW that it’s too scary? I don’t and in fact, I may LIKE it! Opening your mind to new and different things can be pretty scary and nerve wracking.  But it can also reward you with experiences that you never would have dreamed before. I’m the perfect case in point. Would I ever think I could or would swim in open water? No. But I did.  I wonder what will distract me next week? I can only imagine. Or can I?

(By the way, I can swim!!!!!! Yeah!!!!!)

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30 Days

I looked at the calendar today and realized that I have one more month of being in my 30’s.  It made me think of what I’ve accomplished, what I want to accomplish, and really, what my life has stood for the last 40 years.  What have a really done? What do I want to do?  I am a thinky person sometimes and then when I think about the meaning of life and the meaning of this and the meaning of that, I can get overthinky. I don’t have a career anymore. I have been a stay-at-home mom since my oldest was five months old and I continue to be one, even as my youngest started 2nd grade last week.  I don’t have my own business that I started in the craft room. I don’t “make my own hours” and sell things to the ladies of the town where I live. While I get down on myself for what I haven’t done, I realize that there’s a lot that I HAVE done.  I realized that I honestly do not care about the things I haven’t done, because if I had cared, I WOULD have done them. Maybe I was lucky enough to gain that 40-year-old wisdom a month before I actually turn 40 and realize that it doesn’t matter as long as I’m happy and that my family is happy. Do I make every moment count like Oprah continuously says? Oh goodness no.  Some days are just perfect for curling up on the couch with a cup of coffee and watching Hallmark Christmas movies. Some days are for going for a non-training jog followed by tailgaiting and drinking beer at a college football game. I sure am not slaying dragons that day, but really, why do we always have to be doing something and accomplishing things when it’s equally good to just be?  Living your life the way you want to and being happy is just as good of accomplishment as getting promoted, getting that big house and having a bank balance that Suze Orman would approve of. So in honor of my impending entrance into my 40’s, I decided to make a list of 40 things that I have done in my life. As little as they may seem, they all add up to where I am today.

What is your list? Besides those things that you can write on a resume, what are the little big things in your life that you have done? What do you WANT to do? Try and see what you come up with as I have, and you could see yourself differently than you did before. Maybe you’ll see a different kind of joy and happiness.  I’m a happy person with a very good life, but I can get discouraged as much as anyone else can.  I let the “haven’t” get in front of the “have” and in doing so, I lose track of what’s REALLY important.  It isn’t my title, my pay check, my number of Facebook friends (or lack thereof), it’s about how I can make the world better, how I can make other people happy, and what I do WITH my life.  In looking back at the things I wrote down, I know I’m on the right track and doing the right thing.

1) Climbed a mountain – this is the view from around the top

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2) Watched a meteor shower in the middle of the night

3) Saw a shooting star at the top of a mountain while camping in Yellowstone with my husband and kids

4) Moved several hundred miles away from home without ever being in the town or knowing anyone

5) Married the love of my life

6) Ran a marathon or six

7) Saved an animal’s life – the little sickly guy below is still living with us but four years later, is healthy and quite robust now

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8) Searched, found, combined, then executed the perfect recipe for sea bass.  Mmmmmm, so good.

9) Made someone’s day

10) Written some really good blog posts

11) Been to over 20 Dave Matthews Band concerts

12) Watched the Christmas Shamu show at Sea World and pretended that I didn’t cry

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13) Read an entire book in one day and got so invested in the characters that I wonder what they’re up to now

14) Decided one day that I wanted a tattoo and went and got one; then got two more as the time was right

15) Showed my horse at the Iowa State Fair

16) Swam across the Cape Fear River – stupid, stupid, stupid, but I won’t ever forget it (nor do it again)

17) Cheered my sons on as they walked their first steps

18) Met the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus

19) Pulled off many surprise visits for my family without letting the surprise slip

20) Decorated a cake and thought it was beautiful

21) Trained to and qualified for the Boston Marathon

22) Rode the ferry from Jersey to NYC and ate NY pizza while looking at the Statue of Liberty

23) Raised funds at different times for different things that I am passionate about (this one also covers #18)

24) Painted so many rooms that I no longer use painters tape

25) Been the first female to cross the finish line at a 5k. Twice.

26) Screamed at the tv during a football game (thanks Clemson and BoSox)

27) Left a $5 bill at the drive through window at McDonald’s for the next driver

28) Learned how to do The Wobble in my kitchen in Texas

29) Rode horses into the wilderness of Montana and camped for a week

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30) Literally waltzed into a room

31) Gone thrift shopping with $20

32) Graduated from college with honors while having a lot of fun along the way

33)  Did the Nes-tea plunge into a pool

34) Did the Superman jump into a big huge mud puddle at the end of a mud race

35) Made friends that mean so much to me that it hurts to not be able to talk to them in person

36) Danced in a club in New Orleans – I don’t actually have a picture of me dancing so this will have to do

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37) Kissed boo boos, wiped noses, applied Neosporin, checked for monsters under beds, explained the simple version of the birds and the bees, secretly put veggie puree into food (sometimes successful, sometimes not so much), thrown up while cleaning up throw up,  and have put the kids on the bus and been there when they’ve gotten off the bus almost every one of their school days

38) Stayed with my silly dog while the vet administered life-ending medicine and realized it was the most difficult thing I’ve had to do at that point in my life; cried while running past the vet for a year after that

39) While walking under the faces at Mt. Rushmore, asked my kids how big their Kleenexes must be

40) Blare loud, inappropriate music in the house while home alone

So there. That’s just a sample of things that I can come up with that I’ve done. It’s pretty random, isn’t it? I guess that’s life.  And the closer I get to being 40, the more I appreciate my life and the people in it. Maybe I’m not as thin as I want to be and don’t have the career I thought I would. But I have all the things in my life that aren’t things at all, and it’s perfect. They’re people I love, experiences, and memories. I’ll take that over any “thing” and grasp hold of age 40 with a zest for life.  “Over The Hill” can suck it. I’m just getting started.

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