Monthly Archives: June 2014

15 Years

I married my best friend 15 years ago today. It was a pretty wedding that we planned on our own.  We would do a few key things differently now, but what’s done is done, and from what we heard, it was a fun wedding with good food.  We went to Jamaica for our honeymoon. My new husband tested out that “in sickness and in health” thing early, since as soon as we got off the plane from Jamaica, we went straight to the ER. He had a massive kidney infection. If I could find the picture of him after I got him all medicated and tucked into bed at home, I would totally share it. But I’ll share this one instead.

 

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Funny thing is that I’m wearing 4 inch platform shoes. Can’t tell.

 

Our moms and dads have been married to each other for over 40 years. That sets a pretty good example of sticking it through, don’t you think? I’ve only been married for 15 years and I know for certain, it hasn’t been easy the entire time.  My husband and I frustrate each other to no end sometimes, me with my ranting and repeating things over and over and him with his disaster of a garage and inability to open mail and throw the envelope away.  Seriously, why can’t you just throw the envelope away?

There’s a lot I don’t know about how we make it work and grow closer as the years go by.  But what I do know is that we have a mutual respect for each other. We communicate (mostly me), and when we have our arguments, we aren’t mean to each other. I may have thrown out “asshole” once or twice, but I always preface it by saying “I may be a bitch, but you’re being an ……”. We work together when we are facing difficulties. We’ve made three HUGE moves together and we always come out on the other side knowing how much we are ON each other’s side. We love each other and we show it. We say it. It grosses our kids out when we give each other kisses, but we do it anyway. Then laugh and do more to be funny. At least we think we’re funny.  We argue in front of our kids too. Not fight, argue. I don’t think we have had many actual fights in all our years together, but when we do, we work it out. I simply do not have the ability to give the silent treatment either. I think I would spontaneously combust from the pressure of having all those words inside.

I think about marriage as a long, never-ending marathon. You’re always in training, you are always improving, and there really is no finish line. Some days are PR days, and some days, you just want to quit. But you don’t. You keep going. We’ve faced a lot of events – job changes and layoffs, moving a hundred thousand times, having babies that wouldn’t sleep so we went slightly insane from sleep deprivation, a miscarriage, having extra money, not having any extra money, hating our jobs, loving our jobs, house selling, house hunting, having too many animals, addiction to running. Really, we take the good.  We take the bad.  We take ’em both….. (anyone see where I’m going here??) and there you have…..

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Oh, come on now, I HAD to do that. Anyway, I remember a few years ago, driving down the street and wondering when the drama would stop. Seriously, it was one thing or another. It was something with the job, or something with the kids, or the cat barfed on the floor and the kid stepped in it and threw up, or just something. It dawned on me that day that it would never end. Ever. All this stuff, the drama, the good and that bad, it’s just part of life. And I’m just happy that I have my partner to go through it with.

We had a few rough years in Texas, but I still couldn’t imagine getting some good news and calling anyone but him. I can’t imagine being as truly, deep-down happy as I am with him, even when we aren’t necessarily on the same page.  I can’t imagine being one of those couples in the restaurant who are there with just each other the entire meal and don’t say a word.  Every day is training. But the payoff in that marathon of marriage is well worth the effort.

I hope that we will be able to celebrate our golden years together. Nothing in life is guaranteed, so I treasure the moments we have.  Thanks, R. Andrew, for being a wonderful husband to me, my cheerleader, my Sherpa, my best friend, and more than that, an amazing dad to our boys.  I couldn’t ask for more than that.  And honey…. I have an idea.

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Categories: Boston Marathon, boston red sox, marathon, training for marathon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | 14 Comments

There’s Something To Be Said For Being Off the Grid

After my last post a few weeks ago, things got nutty. Like macadamia nut nutty. It was the last few weeks of school for my kids, we had our first of many huge parties (43 people strong) at my house, I volunteered to take on a few projects as room mom for my son, made candied pecans for a teacher and bus driver, and started a project for my cousin’s fundraiser (there WILL be more on that later). THEN it was Father’s Day and the day after that, I took my kids, hopped on a plane, and we have been soaking up Table Rock Lake for a week now. I’m so relaxed, people are going to think I’m on something when I get home.
My workouts have been fairly sporadic, but I’ve gotten in some major hill training and broke my swim record by swimming one full mile in open water that wasn’t salt and minus the wetsuit. It’s been awesome. I sit and drink coffee while listening to boats on the lake, birds chirping, and then nothing.
We go back home on Tuesday, so I’m sure I’ll get back to some sort of routine. But for now, I’m getting my suit on to go back put on the boat for the fifth day in a row. I couldn’t ask for a better start to summer vacation.
I have lots of pictures to share but I’m not sure how to add them on mobile wordpress. Oh well!! And I’ll catch up to everyone’s blogs when I get home.
Take care and hope you can enjoy some time off the grid as well.

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Ok, I can add pictures. Just a little tidbit of what I’ve been doing.

Categories: Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Something’s “Weighing” On My Mind

I’ve been thinking of writing about this subject for nearly a year, but finding the perfect words to express everything without writing a novel became overwhelming. So I decided to just write and not worry about the length.

I felt embarrassed to some extent, to delve into details of my past and the inner workings of the deep parts of my mind, but I also felt that it was important to bring up my past so you could see where I am coming from.  I also felt it was an important topic of discussion, one that maybe, just maybe, could help someone or cause someone to think about something differently. I’m hoping so.

Marathon running has given me something that I really don’t believe anything else could.  It has given me the ability to view my body and eating in a completely different and positive way.  I’ve learned a lot about myself because of it. And finally, FINALLY, I’ve been able to develop a good and healthy relationship with food and eating.

Back in high school, for some moronic reason, I remember looking in the mirror and telling myself, “Wow, I’m so fat. I need to lose weight”.  I could totally thump myself now, as I was a very active and healthy young lady of a healthy weight.  I honestly don’t know why I decided to do this.  Many people start controlling their eating when everything else in their lives seems out of control, but I honestly think that for me, it was that I simply wanted to be thinner, and that’s all.  I’d never liked my muscular, pear shaped build, and I always wanted to be one of those thin models from George Michael’s videos (I’m guessing you can tell about what era that was).  The crazy cycle of self-loathing and torture began when I was a junior in high school.  I’m not going to get into the gritty details because I don’t think it’s relevant, but I lost over 30 pounds in a few months. I purged in various ways, I restricted, I exercised to excess, I did it all.  I was miserable.  Absolutely miserable.  And all the weight I lost was never enough. Now, I can clearly see the addiction that comes with something like that.  You don’t see yourself in any way, shape, or form the way others see you and the way you see others. You see yourself in a carnival mirror, and it’s never accurate, no matter how much you twist and turn it.  You may be shrinking, but you feel yourself expanding.  It’s a scary and lonely place to be.

Finally, several months later, I got tired of it. I tired of starving myself, of being hungry, of being sick to my stomach, of being miserable, green, and a formerly happy and active high school girl. I lied to my parents, but most importantly, I lied to myself. I thought I was fat. I was ugly. I wasn’t worth anything.

When I confessed to my parents that I needed help after they begged to tell me what was wrong, they were scared and yet, relieved. They knew something was wrong, but they, like so many parents, didn’t know what it was and didn’t know how to find out.  I immediately went into after-school counseling for eating disorders, and I became the master of liars there as well. I did start eating again and not feeling so terrible about it, but there was no way I was going to just gain weight for the sake of gaining weight. I kept exercising and when I was honest about it, they told me not to exercise.  Well, I just quit telling them that I was.  Of course they didn’t understand that when I was running, I was just me, without thinking, without worrying.  I needed that run as much as my body needed food.

It took several years for me to get over the majority of the self-loathing what I saw in the mirror. Then I was always just “ok” with what I looked like, how I was shaped, and I had a love/hate relationship with food. I fed myself, but it wasn’t a healthy relationship with food, per se.  I did what I needed to do to give myself the energy to do what needed to be done. It’s crazy I went through so many marathons, half-marathons, races, and having two healthy children, that I really, honestly, hated what food stood for and what it “did” to me.  The verbal abuse towards myself continued as well, although the more years that went by, the more it eased.

Can’t you relate?  We can be so mean, so evil and nasty as we tell ourselves we are fat, ugly, terrible when we would NEVER, EVER see that in, let alone SAY it to other people. Sometimes and some days, we are just never good enough.

So what changed?  Maybe it was maturity, maybe it was luck, maybe it was some sort of divine intervention. Maybe one day I just got it. I remember saying some pretty terrible things about myself, that I needed to drop a few lb’s, and how ridiculous it was that achieving only THAT was difficult. Then I saw my arm.  I don’t know what it was, the little arm hairs I saw? The few freckles, probably made while having fun in the sun? I don’t know, but something changed in me that day. I saw myself as a person. I saw myself as a little girl, one who was constantly berated by her own self, and I didn’t like it. I grew up in a family of love and my family now is full of hugs and kisses and laughter.  So felt like I was treating my own self like the black sheep, like she didn’t belong and didn’t deserve to be there.  I actually tear up as I think back to that moment, maybe an “AHA” moment, where I started, just slowly, but I started to feel differently.

Fast forward a few years.  I’m not perfect, and there’s days when I just can’t stand to think about bathing suit season.  But then I realize that I am not perfect.  And that’s ok, because no one really is. Finally, I can give my body the credit it deserves.  How many miles have I made it run? Thousands. How many marathons have I run? Yeah, I’ve run seven.  It has given me two very healthy children.  I’m healthy and able to run my ass off when I want to.  I can work, paint, throw my kids on the couch and watch them laugh and say “do it again”.  I’m very lucky to have that, and I don’t take it for granted.  Marathons were the mediator between a healthy vision of food and me. That’s what brought us together in a good relationship.

I view eating very differently now.  And I’m so thankful for the new perspective.  Food is fuel.  It’s a source of energy, nourishment, and pleasure.  When you put junk in, you get junk out. When you don’t put anything in, you get nothing out. You learn so much about your body and fueling when you don’t do it right, that’s for sure.  And another thing. I stopped comparing myself to others (for the most part).  I will never be anyone but myself, so might as well just realize it now and quit trying to make myself into someone else.  It’s pointless.  I think of all the time I wasted thinking about, planning, and worrying about what I looked like and dieting and food and just stupid stuff.

It’s a long process, the self-awareness that comes with marathon running. You push yourself, but you literally CANNOT do it when you don’t fuel your body. Instead of a downward spiral that comes with having a bad relationship with food, the downward slowly disappears and then turns into an upward spiral of appreciation, of need, of understanding the true and “normal” relationship you should have with food. The yin yang of eating and running. I can’t have one without the other. No, I may never truly LOVE what my body looks like, BUT I truly appreciate what it does for me, and really, I’m happy with that. I would have never known marathon running could do that for me, but it’s given me a relative freedom from the demons that will probably always reside in a cavern in my head, whispering their little lies to me.  I do not believe them anymore.   I’d much rather be strong than skinny.

Yin Yang

Yin Yang

 

It is now several weeks after the Boston Marathon. I think about all the hard work it took to get me there.  All the years I spent training to try and qualify, only to come up short.  The races between the marathons. The marathon when I did qualify. All the training since then. Hundreds and hundreds of miles, biking, swimming, yoga, strength. I think about how the relationship I have with food has actually turned into a good one. I appreciate the fuel I give myself as much as I appreciate my muscles as I see them work hard, see them growing and changing as I get faster and have more endurance. Food = muscle power.

I do have to say that there is a difference between having a good relationship with food and a good relationship with body image.  This has come to light recently, when I got a few pictures back from various races. I don’t mind most pictures of me, but when I get race pictures back, good Lord I just want to shred most of them.  My husband pointed out that I don’t see me the same way anyone else does and I have to admit that he’s right. I recently told coach that I wore shorts over my tights so others couldn’t see my fat butt jiggle.  Why I had to say that out loud, I don’t know. But at that moment, I realized how stupid I sounded. That day, I decided that I wasn’t going to SAY those things.  Because when you SAY them, you THINK them. Well, maybe, just maybe, if I stop saying bad remarks about my body (the same one that ran over 17 miles just because), then I will eventually stop thinking them. Truly, I do love my body and what it’s given me. So it’s time to start treating it like I do.

So here.  Here’s a picture that I never shared because I hate the way my thighs bulge out. Saddle bags. I had gained 5-10 pounds right before the race so I was heavier than normal and now. But I had just ran over 26.2 miles and the first thing I worry about is how my stupid thighs look, so I didn’t share the picture with anyone. Kinda silly, right?

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So I’m still a work-in-progress.  The key is that I’m making progress. I’m realizing what’s really important, which is to be thankful for what I do have and take care of it.  I know I can’t have a scale in the house. I literally cannot play that game.  I have no idea what I weigh, but I don’t care and it doesn’t matter. I base my eating on what I’m training for, how I feel, and how my clothes fit. I’m sure I’ll always be a work-in-progress, and that’s ok. It’s kind of fun to drop some of the dumb stuff and think back to how stupid I was “back then”, and I’m sure in another ten years I’ll look back and think that something I’m doing NOW is stupid! So be proud of yourself. Be proud of what you can do.  Keep working, keep appreciating. For every negative you find, find two positives. Don’t SAY negative things. Be YOU.

If I could say “Thank you” to marathoning, I certainly would. Marathons have given me so much more than I could imagine. Happiness. Freedom. Thank you, Marathon, from the bottom of my heart, for giving me what nothing else could have. Peace.

Categories: Boston Marathon, half iron distance, marathon, running, swimming, training for marathon, triathlon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

The Power of the People

I find it interesting that I used to dislike running with other people, especially since I never really did run with other people. How would I know that I don’t like it based on assumptions that are basically just guessing? I guess that’s what assumptions are anyway.

This weekend, I ran 17.55 miles with my coach who is training for Grandma’s Marathon in three weeks. We run pretty close to the same pace and since I didn’t want to lose all the speed and endurance I built up for Boston, I let her know that I’d run with her.  Yesterday was the 3rd weekend I did just that. I was only expecting to do 10ish miles until she posted the map. It wasn’t a few loops, it was a course that took out all the way out and led you all the way back. There was no point of return, no double loop, no stopping, unless I wanted to leave her for over half, which isn’t something I wanted to do. Of course, she would’ve been fine since she has run by herself a lot and had three friends on bikes along the way (which is totally awesome and I want my friends to do that when I do my long runs this fall), but when you say you’re going to run with someone, I’d like to think that finishing that run is probably an important part of it.

When I learned that I’d probably be doing the entire thing on Saturday, I had to mentally prepare and get myself fed the proper way. I cut out a few beers that I probably would have had (although the ones I did have were fabulous, even more so after doing a lot of yard work again on Saturday), and I ate A LOT just before getting to bed at a decent hour. I have to admit I was a little nervous about being able to finish that long of run, but I was also excited since as you may know, I’m still in love with running. I figured I would just go with the flow, and if I needed to stop or cut it short, I would do just that.

Sunday morning was beautiful. The temps were in the upper 50’s and the humidity dropped significantly. There was a group of four initially, plus the three riding bikes, and we started off just after 7 am.  Long runs aren’t always fun, but their difficulty levels can be reduced when you’re sharing the pain with other people. You can chat, stay silent, whatever you want, but sometimes, it’s just nice having someone else there with you. I’ve mostly run my long runs by myself, but when I run with others, they seem to just go by faster and be less…. well, annoying. Those pickup miles may have been made slightly less painful with others along for the ride too.

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When I think back to all those years of running by myself “because I don’t like running with other people”, I think of the friendships that I may have made, the things I could have learned, and the fun I could have had. I wonder who could have pushed my pace, who could have told funny stories to make the rest of us laugh, and what I could have done to help someone else.

I look forward to getting out there with other people now. Today I’m swimming with others and hopefully, in a few weeks I’ll be biking with a few friends too. In fact, had I not already planned to run long on Sunday, I would have had the chance to bike ride with someone on a new route. How cool is that?

So really, as much as I do enjoy running to the beat of my own iPod, I’ve learned to enjoy the company of others as we pound the pavement. And yesterday, I didn’t even turn my iPod on the entire 17.55 miles. I would have never believed it had you told me five years ago that I’d be running in a group with no music and really enjoying it.

So to anyone who doesn’t run with a group, just give it a whirl. You just never know what may happen.

On Deck:

Monday – open water swim

Tuesday – easy run

Wednesday – bike ride

Thursday – easy run

Friday – possibly some speed work at the track

Weekend – we’re having a par-tay so I will not be doing anything!

 

 

Categories: beach 2 battleship triathlon, half iron distance, marathon, open water swimming, running, swimming, training for half iron distance, training for marathon, training for triathlon, triathlon | 2 Comments

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