So, when I was running on Saturday I met a woman who is also a mother (like me!). She has 2 little kiddos and knows what it is like to balance your time (and energy for that matter!). This tough lady will be running a half marathon with Team in Training this weekend and what I loved about her purple TNT shirt was the fact that she had the phrase”Run like a mother!” embossed on the front. I thought about that phrase today as I made the 45 minute journey to downtown Jacksonville in order to join the team for our Tuesday evening run. I thought to myself “Wow, I am really doing this. I am doing this even though I have a 3-month old, 2-year old and 6-year old at home.” I must give my husband due credit for the fact that he is very supportive of my efforts and never complains when he comes home from a long day of work just so I can pack up and head out the door right away (and it is often a whirlwind of chaos). Thanks honey 🙂
In all honesty, having 3 kids is A LOT of work. I often feel overworked, sleep deprived, unappreciated, stressed, shaky (when I forget to feed myself), sore (hey, you try lugging around a car seat with one arm) and just plain crabby (the result of all of the above occurring at one time). But, okay, it is a JOY to have kids… so they say. No, seriously, it is. Anyway, my point is that we all need balance in our lives. Imagine all of these things in a cask on one side of a long wooden pole. Just picture how water might be carried in China: one cask on each side hanging from a long wooden pole that is resting across your shoulders. Now, this weight is making me lopsided because the other cask is empty. I can’t walk around like that. No, I need to add something to the empty cask. I need to add things that say more about who I am as an individual. In other words, one cask is me as a mother and a wife, the other cask is me as me. It is all about the balance!
So, what I am trying to say? I really don’t know. I guess what I am trying to say is that we all have the ability to push ourselves to the limit, whatever that limit might be for each of us and we need to! I enjoy meeting moms like me who love to run and aren’t afraid to do it! Lets run like a mother!
By the way, tonight’s run wasn’t too bad but it did feel like it took a really long time to run 4 miles even though my running buddy was speed racer. Boy, I sure can’t wait to run a half-marathon on Saturday. Oh, did I forget to mention that? Yeah, I am skipping my training with the team so I can run the Marine Corps half-marathon with my husband (well, I won’t actually be running it WITH him… I can’t keep up). I must be crazy…
Last night I did what you are supposed to do before a long run: eat lots of pasta! Even better, whole wheat pasta! Yes, great idea Heidi! That part is fine. However, a problem arises when you add crushed red pepper to your pasta. Maybe you love your food a little spicy and you ate spicy food almost every day BEFORE you were pregnant. Then, all of a sudden you want to go back to your comfort food the day before a 7-mile run! Yes, bad idea Heidi.
Lets just say that it was a FUN run (note the hint of sarcasm). It was so much FUN when it felt like a knife was inside my stomach at around mile 5. People say it is okay to let loose your inhibitions when you are running (you know what I am talking about 🙂 but I could only WISH I was able to do that in order to feel some kind of relief. My stomach is still churning as I sit here writing this. Awesome.
Really, what am I complaining about? Dusty is a new mom who was just recently released from the hospital after being diagnosed with Leukemia. That is not the kicker, though. She was originally in the hospital because she gave birth to a brand new baby girl. Now, I have some experience giving birth (yes, I guess I do since I somehow managed to spit out 3), but I have no experience giving birth to a baby girl who I can’t hold. Dusty hasn’t been able to spend much time with her new baby because those cancer treatments aren’t very people friendly. I am lucky to be able to sit here and write this at the same time I am tickling my baby girl’s toes. What’s a sharp stab to the stomach every now and then?
Oh, did I forget to mention Lesson #1 in my previous posts? It was the first lesson I learned this season. Don’t do 100 squats (with weights no less) 2 days before a long run, especially if you haven’t done any squats in over a year…
Today I cried. I cried when I received the e-mail from our team coach that stated the bad news. I cried for the 12-year old boy, Jonathan, and the 4-month old baby, Mason, who just recently lost the battle to cancer. You see, when you bring kids into this unsightly scene, it breaks my heart. Twelve years ago I cried when I received the call from my step-father. It was the call that brought instant tears. It was the call that informed me of my mother’s sudden passing. Four years ago I cried when I received another call. It was the call that told me that my father had cancer. I could only think “Why is this happening to me?” Yet, it is almost expected that one day we will have to face the loss of our parents as the natural cycle of life dictates. Never in a million years would we imagine outliving our children. I have 3 beautiful children and I wish nothing more than to have all 3 of them attend my funeral. I can’t imagine the pain that is resonating through Jonathan and Mason’s parents. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers. What we can do now is do everything we can to help others who are fighting the battle in hopes that they can overcome it or at least hold on for a few more days.
And today I ran. I ran those hills and I ran them again just to prove to myself that I could because I don’t know what real pain is. I kept a light mood in spite of it all and chatted with my teammates and encouraged others to keep on running. These people are the saving grace whether or not they think so. They don’t know how important their actions are.
Why does it always seem like I have just stepped out of a shower in my workout clothes after finishing a run outside? I remember starting the run this morning saying to myself “Wow! It is rather pleasant out here today. The temperature is just right.” Only to figure out at mile 0.5 that a lower temperature only means a higher humidity. Then it was just not so pleasant anymore. Seriously, when does summer END in Florida?!
Well, Grace and Alvin had it worse off then I did this morning. They are both fighting for their lives because cancer has taken over and will not relent. The pain in my legs is no match to their daily physical and emotional suffering. The granddaugther/daughter is doing what she can to help by running in their honor. I embrace her courage and strength to keep one foot in front of the other. It is not easy being the loved one who has to watch the pain and feel helpless about it.
Even though I wasn’t a fan of the moist air, I continued forward at a decent pace. The run was rather scenic in spite of it all. It was on the campus of the University of North Florida. It kind of reminded me of my college days (but I won’t mention any of those memories here… that would be an entire book… and I guarantee it would be quite interesting). We ran past forested areas (and I wondered what was lurking) and past those man-made ponds that are quite abundant here in Florida… not sure of their exact purpose. I did see a rabbit sitting completely still in the grass. He sat frozen as we ran past and I kept wondering about whether or not he would become a snake’s meal (no, I’m not morbid! Just been having some crazy dreams about snakes lately). When the run ended it had seemed shorter than I thought (a very good thing), but it was the 6 miles we needed to run.
Whew! I didn’t post my blog after last night’s run because I was just too exhausted (if that tells you anything). So my plan was to push it and push it hard I did. Okay, so these hills are nothing compared to the “hills” of my friend, Alaska, but remember that I just pushed out a baby 2 months ago! Go me! I won’t mention that my running buddy was not there… no, I better not say a word because I found out recently that she reads my blog. And I know that she will continue to read it to see if she is mentioned again so I won’t mention that she wasn’t at last night’s hill workout.
Since I didn’t have a pacer, I tried to keep up with the FAST (zoom zoom) crowd. I nearly killed myself doing so. Now people are going to have high expectations of me and think that I can run FAST. Forget it people. I’m too old for that fast stuff. On the last hill it was all I could muster to keep one foot in front of the other without bringing myself to a walk (well, since it was in such slow motion, it was probably considered a walk to the cars driving by). As I ran up that last hill, I kept staring at a boat off in the distance. “I wish I were in that boat right now.” “I wish I were in that boat right now.” I just kept repeating those words to myself till I FINALLY reached the summit. Why does it always seem like the peak is closer than it actually is? I always had that problem when climbing those “hills” in Alaska (mind you, I walked or slowly trudged up those).
The possibilities are endless on a straight line of pavement, but bring on those hills and you have some serious decisions to make (like “should I go up that or would it be easier to swim across the river while holding onto the fin of a dolphin?). And yes, we did see dolphins 🙂