Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Day 9: Coming Clean

We have traded running shoes & road for aprons & the kitchen floor.
I had good intentions to run today but the Thanksgiving day prep is in full effect around here. My “track” for running today is my kitchen floor. And to be clear,  I’m sure if I was wearing my pedometer, I could prove that I have tracked more miles racing around my house cleaning and prepping food than I would have on a run. Taking a page from yesterday’s blog, I’m letting my legs “rest” (if I can even call it that with all this prep work).

I fully believe that our biggest strength can also be our biggest weakness. For me, it’s racing. Yes, I enjoy a good road race. After all, isn’t that what this is all about lately. But it’s more than the road race. I realized something, I have been a “racer” all my life.

This idea rang very clear to me when my oldest daughter, Parker, brought home her report card this week. School has been something that for the most part has come pretty easy for her and good grades were just something that always happened. It wasn’t until our first 4th grade marking period that I realized, Houston, we have a problem. My primarily A and a few Bs student was now the same child that brought home two Cs. It seems that my very bright child came across some difficult 4th grade math and instead of asking for help or taking her time to work through it, she decided to race through every assignment and especially every test in order to show everyone just how good she was at this “new math”. Tests were coming home marked with poor grades and comments from the teacher urging her to slow down because she was done much earlier than the rest of the class. I get it, more than I would like to admit it.

Mr. Alexander’s Class in 8th grade was where I was bite by the same bug for speed. I would write out the test answers so fast that my pencils practically shot out sparks. There was no match to the pride I felt running up to the desk to be the first one there. I walked away a little taller and my smile was a little bigger.

Fast forward to present day and I am still racing….racing to get to a deadline I’ve known about for 2 weeks, racing my kids to their activities, racing to get dinner on the table, racing to get a shower before the baby wakes up, racing to get kids out of bed only to race them back into bed at the end of the day. Race, race, race. Today the race is to get my house clean before my parents arrive for Thanksgiving. I am wiping down surfaces that haven’t seen a rag and cleaner in months (or dare I say years). The only thing that’s stopping me from painting my baseboards so they look cleaner is the fact that they should be pulling in within the hour. I am under some strange idea that if my house is spotless then they will realize I’ve made it, I’ve turned out well, what a good mom I am, blah, blah, blah. This is by no pressure or stress that they have placed on me; this is just another mutation of my need to race. To be good. To get it all right. But for who?

It is very rare for me to participate in something that I don’t think I’ll do well in because accompanied with that need to “race” is also the need to be the best and avoid failure…especially public failure.

I am going to combat those feelings and step out and do quite the opposite. Every year in our area they do a 4 mile Thanksgiving Day run called Race for the Pies. It is something I have always wanted to participate in; however, we are normally in Tampa with my family for Thanksgiving. This year though, we are home. My chance to finally run the race is here …but wait…remember that detail about public failure. I sit, I ponder, I chew my nails, and my stomach churns.

I had to change the record in my head. I switched my record out for the one I played for my daughter when we looked over her report card together. Do you want to look like the best or do you want to do your best and BE your best you? We cannot and will not be the first or the best at everything. What we can do is give it our all.

It seems appropriate that this would be my first race because the first 900 people that cross the finish line are given a pie. That’s right, a pie and I’m pretty sure the only 2 ways I will be able to finish that 4 miles tomorrow is if someone is chasing me with a knife or there is a pie waiting for me at the finish line! Perhaps I should pass the motivation for the pie and just be motivated by the idea of crossing the finish line….not because I finished first and was the best, but rather just because I finished.






Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Day 8: Coming Clean

LOVE those little feet. Berkley's learning the routine.
I put the paper down and she ran over immediately and put her feet on the paper.

Here we are, eight days into this journey, combined with the holiday festivities already beginning and I am T-I-R-E-D!! Today I went for it….3 miles. It sounds so good doesn’t it. I could play the Facebook card and just let it rest at that. You know that card don’t you? Everything looks perfect and like you’ve got it all together when really what it took to get that family photo or that “moment” was more like nailing Jell-O to a wall.

I’m not gonna lie, it was not very pretty today.  In fact, it was just plain ugly. My guess is that the only thing that kept me in the upright position was the jogging stroller. I walked about 90% of it and then pulled into the driveway with a run at the end.

I’m having some issues with the Map My Run app. For some reason when my phone goes into sleep mode, so does the app. Is this normal? Would love to keep track of what I’m doing but maybe this is God’s way of saying, “One step at a time my child. No need for keeping records, this isn’t a race but more like a journey. Take your time and let me continue to chisel you through this process”. Between you and me though, I’m pretty competitive (mainly with just myself) and I like to see how I can out do myself each day. Yes, I know….clink, clink, clink. I hear him hard at work in me.

The me from last week (or maybe even the me of yesterday or the me of an hour ago) would have considered today an epic failure of sorts with the run. When I separated the emotion from today’s run and looked at it from a different perspective, I realized I was my biggest enemy in this one! I was no where near equipped or prepared for my run today.

1.     I had not eaten lunch and for those that know me well, I am not a pleasant person to be around when I am HANGRY!

2.     I was running mid-day during one of the windiest days we have had compiled with a jogging stroller that acted more like a sail. I was convinced we were going to float backwards home.

3.     All 3 wheels of the jogging stroller are almost completely out of air.

4.     My feet ache with every step because the last time I bought new shoes was November 2011, just before my 1/2 marathon.


5.     In an effort to combat the fact there are not enough hours in the day, I have been staying up crazy long hours in order to take a chunk out of my to-do list. Sleep is so yesterday!

I have no doubt that part of God’s work in me is to learn how to rest. I logged on to one of my favorite secret obsessions, Pinterest, and low and behold, this pin came up:


Talk about meeting me right where I am!

“So let me get this straight my child, you can’t come to me because you are too tired? You say if you read that devotional you will fall asleep? Then try this one on for size. Dive into my word. Allow me to equip you better than you have equipped yourself – not only for your run, but for life. You think that run was difficult without being equipped? Now just imagine jumping into your day without equipping yourself with me first. Wanna try it and let me know how it works for you…oh wait, isn’t that what got you here in the first place."
Here is one of my favs I found on the list:

Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. 
He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”
Isaiah 40:28-31


To read the rest of the Bible verses listed on the pin, Click Here.






Monday, November 25, 2013

Day 7: Coming Clean

“As you come to him, the living Stone – rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him – you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ…you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”
1 Peter 2:4-5, 9

I have been thinking through yesterday’s post about labels. As much as I would love to say that I woke up renewed, refreshed and label free, I know better. I know that it is a process with no set timeline. It is something that I recognize I will have to make an intentional effort with in all areas of my life. It will affect the way I make decisions, how I speak to my kids, my relationship with my husband and even my relationships with others.

I have been reading Unglued: Making Wise Choices in the Midst of Raw Emotions, by Lysa TerKeurst. I have been reminded of 2 men who were labeled by themselves and others and yet God chose to use them and pull them out of the darkness and into the light.

Saul who once persecuted Christians was renamed Paul and wrote much of the New Testament. Darkness to light. Peter denied Jesus 3 different times and later led 3000 people to dedicate their lives to Jesus and be baptized in one day. Darkness to light.

Just like a masterpiece sculpture takes time…days…weeks…years to complete as the artist slowly chisels away at the rock, we too need time to be chiseled, perfected, and refined.

“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works,
which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
Ephesians 2:10

In an excerpt from Unglued, the author says, “Paul was God’s workmanship. Peter was God’s workmanship. We are God’s workmanship! God is chiseling us, making us new, releasing us from our hard places – those places that make us feel so stinkin’ defeated – so we can do good works. Works God has prepared for us, which means He knows best how to prepare in us the character we need to fulfill our calling. Oh that we might hear the purposeful clink of the Master’s chisel and call it grace.”

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith –
and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.”
Ephesians 2:8


Day 7 Distance: 2 Miles

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Day 5 & 6: Coming Clean

Check out those reflectors at night!

Day 5 Distance: 0.0

 If you logged on yesterday, all you would've heard were crickets.

 I just couldn’t get the “get up and go”.  I was overwhelmed with “all the life” that was happening around me and melted down. Not to worry though, I self-medicated with the kids Halloween candy and anything else I thought might do the trick for that moment and I could find in my pantry. I finally sat down around 10:30pm and just couldn’t bring myself to do it.

After the self-medicating, the wave of guilt washed over me and the instant feeling of, “I should’ve known better, I knew I couldn’t do this. What was I thinking? You knew you wouldn’t be able to actually be successful at this, did you? Haven’t you tried and failed before? After all, look how quickly you returned to comforting yourself through food”.

I felt defeated and yet comfortable all at the same time. This feeling of letdown has become a more comfortable normal and one I am more familiar with these days.

Today was more of yesterday. The idea of trying to fit in a run just didn’t seem like an option and I had every excuse in the book. Or so I thought. We were headed to a family birthday party, which really just kicked off not only the Thanksgiving week but also the whole holiday season. I told myself, “I already gave in last night so do I really have to run? Would it really be worth the effort? Maybe I should wave the white flag and try again after the holidays….you know, like a new year’s resolution.”

After feeling so deflated from the night before from what I had defined as “messing up”, it was easy to quickly label myself with the old familiar labels. I have said them for so long that they have become my comfort zone and my shield of protection.

So I went to the dinner and indulged like I expected myself to do…”after all, that’s who I am ”. At least, that’s what I told myself but that’s not who I want to be.

Kids tucked in and the clock is saying 9:15pm…do I really even try this? Isn’t there always tomorrow? I begrudgingly strapped on my tennis shoes and hit the treadmill.

How do we limit ourselves by the labels and titles we give ourselves? What is the record player that plays over and over again saying in your head? Does it hold you back?

And how do we stop the record long enough to realize that we don’t need to live in this limited prison we have created for ourselves. I don’t have 5 easy steps to follow, but I do know that I am armed with a Bible and ready for spiritual battle for this one. I am a child of God…You are a child of God. We have been created with a purpose and not to be limited by the labels that hold us captive every day.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come. The old has gone, the new is here.”
2 Corinthians 5:17

I have a feeling that this running experience has a lot more to it than first meets the eye.



Friday, November 22, 2013

Day 4: Coming Clean

We're going to need to get bigger paper if this keeps up.

I’ve never been real good with math, but I’m pretty sure those feet are multiplying! Who wants to run by themselves when you can run with your dearest friend and 5 kids? Yes, you read that last line right. We ran with 5 kids! Oy vey! Suddenly today’s sign makes more sense, doesn’t it? When you have to go out with this kind of crew, you know you are truly committed to what you have set forth in front of you….or what I typically feel most days….I really should be committed!

It was “one of those mornings”, which helped to make it “one of those days”, which apparently was contagious and made its way to “one of those nights”. You know how they go: baby up at ungodly hours ready to start their day, kids stomping off because you don’t give the approval for the tight jean shorts they want to wear to school, grabbing last minute canned food for the food drive, field trip forms to sign, oh yeah don’t forget to add money to my lunch account Daddy, why are you still standing there doing nothing? Go get dressed, not enough money to cover all the bills, don’t forget we’re responsible for soccer snack this weekend, can you swing by and pay the mortgage payment, put your sister down…..spinning plates, spinning plates, spinning plates.

By the time everyone blew through and out the door for school, it was if you could see the wind die down and the papers on the kitchen bulletin board settle back down into place. I slumped into the living room arm chair with a deep sigh and an empty coffee cup wondering how is it even going to happen today? Deep sigh.

There are lots of days (probably more than I would care to admit) that I feel like I should be committed. Today was no different. But it is my nearest and dearest that laced up with me and hit the pavement. It was because she was committed to me, that I could stay committed to the process and committed to my children.

It wasn’t necessarily pretty today and there were certainly spinning plates that came toppling down. But, it’s done….another 2 miles in the book.



Thursday, November 21, 2013

Day 3: Coming Clean


So here we are, morning of Day 3 and the rain was coming down and I was wondering if the run was even going to happen. I finally decided that the rain was light enough that it had to be now or never and Berk and I would just have to enjoy the cool rain. As the garage door went up, I jumped. Standing on the other side was a pair of running shoes and a welcomed familiar face. I know running is not top on her list…nor do I think it’s even ever come anywhere near her list…but after reading Day 1, she decided that if I could do it, she could do it. I was so excited to have the company. Berk is great to have along, but it is also nice to have someone with a little more experience with the distracting girl talk. I am happy to say, that after we hit the 1 mile mark, we weren’t quite done, so we did it again...2 MILES!! I couldn't believe it.
It’s the decisions I stress over for days and/or weeks that make me crazy and tend to never really come to fruition. Then there are those ideas and choices that seem second nature. There’s typically not much thought, it’s a knee jerk reaction. In hindsight though, I realize that those “easy decisions” are the ones straight from the Holy Spirit.
I believe this is one of those moments. There was not too much thought or prep that went into the decision of blogging this experience and “coming clean”. When the idea originally came to me, I knew for certain that this time HAD to be different. This time I needed accountability, eyes and ears, cheerleaders and drill sergeants. I needed friends to stop me at school pick up or in the grocery aisle and ask me how it was going. I needed help. I needed support… physically, mentally, and emotionally. I needed this time to be different.
I did not take time to process how others might respond or not respond. This decision was purely selfish….this time, it was going to be about me. It wasn’t until the morning of Day 2 when my Facebook page was lit up like a Christmas tree that I realized just how much accountability and support there would be. I have received so many messages of encouragement, as well as others sharing their own “come back” stories. Who knew that so many others walked in the same shoes and that feeling of isolation or shame I had was no longer an issue.
I even connected with a high school friend from 20 years ago (yikes, that makes me sound older than I’d like) that is walking in similar shoes. We may be separated by over 200 miles, but we have agreed to run and hold each other accountable. For the grand finale, we have decided to meet in Tampa to run the Gasparilla 15K in February 2014 (Julie, this is just another way to hold us to this challenge now that I’ve put it in writing J). I am so excited to rekindle an old friendship and I’m sure we will not run out of things to talk about during the race. We just may need to do a full marathon though in order to catch up on the last 20 years.
It truly is the support from my community of friends and family both near and far that has encouraged me beyond my wildest imagination. And just think, this is only day 3!From the bottom of my heart…thank you!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Day 2: Coming Clean

Seriously, how sweet are those little pink shoes?

I was once told that it takes 14 days to turn something into a habit. So here we are…again. I tried multiple times to get out today; however, there was always “something” that kept coming up. It wasn’t until 4pm when I was sitting in the chair with a headache, nursing Berkley and dosing in and out of sleep that I knew it was going to be now or never.

Probably not the best scenario, but we all pulled on our shoes for the run….or bike ride in the big kid’s case. After rallying the troops and giving them the appropriate “pep talk” (i.e. smiling through gritted teeth explaining that we stop for no reason and everyone stays together), we gathered around for the pre-run picture.   I had lots of different directions I was going to go today, but once plans changed and it turned into a “group effort”, I knew oxygen mask was the best word for today.

We all know the very familiar instructions:

"Should the cabin loose pressure, oxygen masks will drop from the overhead area. Please place the mask over your own mouth and nose before assisting others.”

It was a fun God moment in our driveway explaining the sign to the kids and why I had to put on my oxygen mask first. I thought yesterday’s post was accountability for me, but wow….I was not prepared for today’s accountability with my children.

Have we lost pressure? Most definitely! I thought it would be interesting to look up symptoms that occur from loss of cabin pressure. Call me crazy, but I am pretty sure that they are the very same feelings every mom feels around 4pm every afternoon.

fatigue, sluggish thinking, loss of consciousness,
dimmed vision, forgetfulness and ultimately death.

I am hoping to combat those symptoms with my own oxygen mask. My children deserve better and I am tired of being tired and watching them from the sidelines. I want to be the mom that participates, that plays, and that takes time to soak up more of the moments.

Doesn’t mean I’ll get it right every time, but I know it’s at least a start with being more intentional about putting my oxygen mask on first.





Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Day 1: Coming Clean

pretty sure these shoes have seen better days!

That’s it, I’m coming clean.
I need the push…I need to hit rock bottom and bounce back from it. I need words of encouragement… tough love…or a kick in the tail. I need love…grace…and a chance to be myself. I need help and I am terrified!
I vaguely remember the runner I once was. If you had asked me 3 years ago to describe myself as a runner, I would have been severely winded but not from running, only laughing at the mere thought of me as a runner.
And although it may make my P.E. teacher husband cringe, scheduled running days in my high school P.E. class were the guaranteed days of arriving late, forgetting my clothes to dress out or bringing in a sick note. It was time to face facts, running was just not my thing.
It wasn’t until I became obsessed with cross fit that the idea of running even crossed my mind as a possibility. It was a lifesaver that I had an amazing running partner and special friend that was the perfect mix of accountability and great girl talk while we ran together. One race lead to another and then another until we found ourselves signing up for any race within a certain mile radius. I had the bug and I had it bad.
Reader’s Digest version to present day…
December 1, 2011
Surprise! My running time was getting worse rather than getting better because low and behold…I WAS PREGNANT! Never saw that one coming.

December 3, 2011
2 days after the biggest surprise of our lives, I completed my first ½ marathon and I was on top of the world!
December 2011 – March 2012
I ran until I was 5 months pregnant. After tripping over my new awkward shape, I knew it was time to hang up the running shoes.
November 2013
Time to start again!
So why post it here? I am in desperate need for accountability. I strapped on my shoes today for the first time. My goal was to make it 1 mile without stopping. I made it, but Lord knows that it definitely wasn’t pretty and it was a far cry from the past. The loud voices in my head of “why and what were you thinking” were louder than any pain I was experiencing in my legs and burning lungs.
It’s not just about the running, there are so many more layers and I hope to peel them back together to share with you what lead me to this point. I am going to be documenting the days with all the good, bad, and ugly in an attempt to keep it as real as possible. I hope it will be a reminder to me of why I do not want to return to this kind of lifestyle again.
 My Disclaimer: Please don’t get me wrong, I would do this all over again and wouldn’t change a thing since my ½ marathon. Yes, I stopped running, but what I got in return was a wonderful, unexpected blessing of a third child and a gift to all of us. xoxo
So for now….day 1….terrified is the best way I can describe my feelings. But I hope as the days pass, terrified can be scratched out and changed to something lighter, grace filled, forgiven, and new. Anyone else up for the challenge? I am always in need of a great running partner and good girl talk!