Getting Back Into Running…Getting Back to Life…

Many people showed for the Blarney run, sponsored by Peak Performance.  Kevin and I jogged our way to the starting point, and already a large crowd had formed, waiting, getting ansy.  There were four girls getting their picture taken, posing in green hair, and little tutu’s frothed in green and black lace.  We were all asked to dress up as crazy as you wanted for St. Patrick’s, and it looked as though the girls had their eye on the prize- the winner who dressed the craziest would get a $100 gift certificate.

Kevin and I both wore green shirts, and I had my hair in pig tails.  It’s not that we didn’t want to get into the spirit of things, but I think we both knew that contending with a large wig and some outlandish get up might be harder for us to run in.  Not that $100 wouldn’t have been nice….

we went to stand in the back of the line, with a few moms who had come out with their jogging strollers and babies.  I always think it’s fantastic to see women out with their kids.   One mom even had a big kid with her, who had to be around six and seemed amped and ready to take on the 5K.

We stretched and waited.  And then we heard some muffled voice from ahead, and the crowd started to move.  Slowly. Kevin nudged me a bit, and he pointed to the left of us.  The race had begun, and people were already running, and all of the sudden I looked down at my feet, and I was crossing the two metal plates on the ground.

THE RACE WAS ON!

The last run I’d participated in was the Komen run, back in October 2009.  This was different.  You could tell that so many had trained hard for this event, and here I was ambling along as best I could.  Kevin and I have had maybe two solid runs outside.  Most of our training has been done on the treadmill, which propels you forward.  There is a huge difference between propelling forward, and having to do the work yourself.  It wasn’t long before Kevin and I were broken up, each doing our own thing, each running our own race.  I tried to pace myself, and be consistent but it was obvious that there was a lack of training on my part.  Talk about eating humble pie.  At one point, while jogging back up a hill, an old man passed me.  He was most likely in his 70’s.  He was smiling the whole time, too.

Usually with 5K’s, you run roughly 1.5 miles one way, and simply turn around to complete your distance.  That’s exactly what we did, and I started to see the fast runners coming back to head for home.  I recently had bragged on Facebook about shaving 4 minutes off my run time.  This was accomplished on the treadmill.  The roads don’t care about treadmills.  Put up or shut up, you know?

I felt so good out there!  I missed it so much, the feel of the wind running all around me, my feet hitting pavement, no matter how tired or sore I am afterwards, it’s this passion I have for running that is my own propeller. It’s the choice you have to race against yourself, to score your own PR (personal record), or to find someone to race against.  It’s the freedom, it’s knowing that you have this power inside yourself to keep going as far as your body will allow it, and sometimes it’s really how far your mind will allow you to go.

As I came up on the finish line, a large crowd was already awaiting my arrival, and they cheer you on.  It doesn’t matter if you run the race in 20 minutes or 50, they support you as you cross on over.  I ran my race in 33:19, 10:44 pace. Kevin ran his in 35:27, 11: 25 pace.  There will always be room for improvement, but I am proud of what we did. You need to start somewhere, and this is the starting point for us.

Did I Miss The Starting Gun?

I’m reading this book:

The Ten Year Nap, by Meg Wolitzer.  In it, you read about different women and their experiences of going from careers to being full time mommies.  They feel as though they’ve lived in some sort of cocoon, like they’ve been shunned from the outside world.  They wonder what it would have been like had they not stopped the clock on their own lives, and focused on the lives of their children.

It’s an OK book.  A good read, but a little on the wordy side.  Doesn’t flow as well as I’d like.  However, whenever I’m able to read a chapter or two (while waiting in line to get Ben from school, or during one of Nolan’s naps) I always feel incredibly reflective on my own life.

It was roughly 10 years ago that I would give my older friends with children a hard time.  We’d make plans to go see a movie, or go have a drink at some hole in the wall bar, and there were almost always cancellations.  A very good friend of mine would have to bail out due to one of her kids getting sick, or having some school concert to go to, or just because her child wanted to spend time with mommy, and I would get incredibly pissed off.  She never reciprocated.  She’d look at me with this “oh little girl, you have SO much to learn in this life” look in her eyes, and simply say, “You’ll see one day.”  And that would piss me off even more, because I’d always prided myself on being able to put myself into someone else’s shoes.  Why wouldn’t she want to spend time with me, to get out of the house?  Why wouldn’t she want to have time for herself, when she was “stuck” with her kids every day?

My oldest son Ben was born May 12th, 2005.  “WELCOME TO THE MOM CLUB!”  My friends with kids exclaimed.  My plan was to stay home with Ben for six weeks ONLY.  None of this staying at home crap.  I had somewhat of a career under my belt, no way would I lose that.  Only,  Ben looked up at me with these big eyes right after he was born, slowly blinking, and then looking around the room, quiet, and something happened in that moment.  I couldn’t go back to work.  I had to be with him.  And as he got older, I had to be there to see the new things he could do, or be the one to show him the new things he was capable of.  Now, I’m not saying that it’s not OK to work while raising a family.  Many women do it.   I myself work part time on the weekends, because I understand the need for a break, to have something that’s all your own, that isn’t interrupted by screaming, or spit up, dirty diapers or fighting.  My point is, something changed within me, that only would come from being inducted into the Mom Club.

Some days I swim adrift on a sea of what feels like monotonous daily routine “kid stuff”.  There’s no way I could re-enter the world of real estate and manage a property, because I’ve lost the want and need for that.  I’m strictly a “weekend girl” leasing apartments at this point in my life.  I’ve had to give up so much in terms of time.  I barely know what’s going on with my friends anymore.  My husband and I are in a race to the finish when it comes to dinner, getting the boys bathed and off to bed, so that we’re able to have a few hours to ourselves before the race begins all over again the next day.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been puked on, peed on, and pooped on (projectile poop, no less), how there have been times my boys have brought me to tears of frustration, where I want to run screaming out the front door and see if someone else wants my life for a few hours, so I can reclaim some sense of sanity.  Even just a little bit.

Yet,  Ben prays for me, the days I’ve been too tired to tuck him at night.  Nolan has this incredible smile when I go in to get him after he’s napped.  And seeing Nolan’s face light up at the sight of Ben, creates this feeling inside of me that is nothing short of pure love.  I understand the reason behind my friend letting go of her own free time to be with her children.  And, I’m now the one who has to let a friend down gently when I can’t do something, because I am running on a different time zone completely.

We have our whole lifetime ahead of us, and such a short amount of that is spent taking care of our children.  It’s a small price to pay.

Running… With Baby…

I woke up this morning around 5:30am. I look outside. DAMN. It was incredibly dark. Like, so dark, you can’t see anything dark. I had been anticipating running today, because the weather has decided to grace us with a somewhat decent temperature, but running in blackness isn’t my idea of a fun or safe run.

Now, I could have waited a little longer, even just half an hour. But by this time, my four month old is awake and ready to start his day. Followed a half an hour later by his older brother. So, I either suck it up and run on the treadmill (again, ::sigh::) or I REALLY suck it up, and take the baby with me. Well, based on the title of this post, you can imagine what I chose to do. Here are some guidelines I discovered during this morning’s run:

1. PICK A GOOD TIME OF THE DAY
When do you like to run? Are you an early riser, or a mid-morning runner? Do you prefer the afternoon, or the evening? You need to choose a time that you enjoy running, but make sure it compliments your baby. You might like to run at 5am, but will it be too cold? Or too dark? Also, would you like baby awake or asleep? I choose to run during a nap time, but it’s your preference.

2. DRESS YOURSELF AND BABY APPROPRIATELY
Babies aren’t fragile things; however, they are hostages, so to speak. They have to do your bidding, so make sure you have them dressed for the occasion. It was in the 50’s for us this morning, and I had Nolan bundled up in fleece pants, onesie, and a fleece hoodie, warm socks, and a very warm blanket. He was nice and toasy in his seat. I also dressed appropriately, wearing sweats, a t-shirt, pullover hoodie, and gloves. You may need more or less than that, go by your comfort level.

3. BE SAFE
Nolan rides in his car seat, which snaps into his stroller. I don’t own a jogging stroller, so I know I can’t run fast and hard with his travel system. However, I can still jog with it, and be mindful that it won’t take corners as well as a jogging stroller would. I still benefit from a fantastic work out (push yourself, a 13 lb. baby and his 5 lb. stroller up hills, see how much you sweat) but I don’t overdo it. You might find jogging with a baby in a standard stroller difficult. You may want to invest in a jogging stroller at that point.

4. DON’T WORRY
People are going to look at you. “Look at that crazy woman, jogging with her baby early in the morning!” So what. Don’t pay them any mind. As long as your baby is fine, and you feel fine, it doesn’t matter.

Competition

When it comes to competing, running can go two ways: competing against others, or competing against yourself.  That’s what I love about running.  I’m not a very competitive person.  I’m the type to play a game, and if I’m doing well at it, I still compliment the other person for a job well done.  If I am totally bombing, I chalk it up to being “just a game”, and leave it at that.

In 2009 when I ran the Omaha half, I was in total competition with myself.  I saw other runners, and they were all a blur to me.  The only person I focused on was myself, and keeping a steady pace, a steady beat.  Keeping myself between 9-10 minute miles at each mile marker.

When I got pregnant, I became dormant.  I was on modified bed rest for the first trimester of my pregnancy, and when I was able to excersize again, I took extreme care as to not to do too much.  I was roughly 7 months pregnant when I saw this gorgeous woman running past my husband and I, as we were strolling through the Old Market in downtown Omaha.  Now you need to understand something; every woman to me running is gorgeous.  Especially when I am big and pregnant, and envying the way she looks with her long brown ponytail streaming behind her, her darkly tanned skin gleaming and straining against her taut sports bra and running shorts.  I used to be her.  And this surge of jealousy rippled through me.  As she passed us, I lifted my right hand into the air and formed it into a fist, shaking it.  “I’ll be back!”  I yelled to her, but she had no clue I said anything.  She was listening to her IPOD.  Of course, I wasn’t yelling at her, per say.  I was yelling at every runner who was given the priviledge to run.

I’m now getting back into the swing of things.  My baby is 4 months old.  While he naps, I run.  The weather here is shitty.  The only thing I can do is wait for it to warm up, and run my miles on the trusty treadmill a friend gave me a few years back.  I have no one to run with.  No one to compete against, other than me, but for some reason, it’s not good enough anymore.  I’m not as fit as I was in 2009.  I’m still climbing my way back, and it seems what works best for me now is to believe I am running against someone.  It could be that gorgeous girl in the Old Market.  She had to have been at least 10 years younger than me.  No kids.  Maybe I’m trying to prove something to myself, and to her, and to anyone else who will listen.  I’m not sure, I only know that in my mind, I am running against her.  Or someone else.

Hell, it could even be you.

The 2009 Omaha Marathon

Walmart, We Must Part Ways….

I’m a bargain shopper.  I pride myself on it.  I’m one of the crazies who spends time on the internet to price check other stores;  I write the item, the price, and the store…. only to turn around Sunday morning, and buy those items from Walmart, who has always been wonderful when it comes to price checking items.  You don’t even need the ads, which works great for me, since I don’t get the ads delivered to my house.  I just tell the clerk the store, the price… and that clerk rings up the price.

“You don’t need the ads.  We want your business.  As long as the price isn’t something nutty, we’ll do it.”  I’ve been told this repeatedly by many different clerks at Walmart.

Until this morning.  Now, I want you to understand something:  Walmart is where I shop, because of convenience.  And I like to save a buck.  I’ve noticed the produce has been lackluster.  The meat leaves little to be desired.  And still I go, because in this economy, it pays to.

The clerk this morning, after telling her my usual mundane “I have price check items”, asks me: “WHERE ARE YOUR ADS?” I’ve never dealt with this particular clerk.  Maybe she’s new.  “I don’t have the ads.  I’ve written down the store, and the price.”  She looks at me as though I am new to the game of Walmart.  “Ma’am, we need ads.”  I look at her as though she isn’t speaking my language.  “I’ve been doing this for months, and every other clerk here has allowed it.  I’ve been told that as long as I can provide the store name, and the price, there’s no problem.”

“Ma’am, for future reference, you will always need to provide the ads.”  And she proceeds to allow me the grace to price check my lousy Braeburn apples, the strawberries which I know will go bad within 24 hours unless I eat them, and a few other misc. items.  I didn’t even get my nectarines at $1.77 per pound (according to her, Walmart only sells nectarines by each nectarine, she didn’t care that I price checked them at another store, case closed).  Now, you might be thinking, “What’s the big deal?  Bring in the damn ads.”  But here’s what happens: one husband, one baby in a stroller, one large cart filled with a multitude of items.  One of us puts items on the conveyor belt, the other takes the bagged items and puts them into the cart, also tending to the baby, who by this time is fussy, because it’s close to snack time.  I’ve been behind someone price checking items, who brought in a plethora of ads from other stores.  I often price check online ads at 8+ different stores.  A 5 minute process will turn into 15+ minutes, and I won’t have it, I JUST WON’T.  My convenience factor has now gone out the window- and for what?  To save a few lousy pennies?

The drive home, we took a good, hard look at ourselves.  What had we become?  We don’t like the Walmart we shop at. But we do it, to save money.  Maybe this was the catalyst for something better.  Maybe it was time we ventured out into the big world and look into other stores, see what they have to offer us, even if the outcome might cost us a few dollars more.

I still want my nectarines…..

 

 

It Begins With A Single Step…

My father is going to kill me.

My husband asked me the other day if I could recall an embarrassing moment- and I did.  I was about to turn 16, and my boyfriend (my first ever REAL LIFE BOYFRIEND) wanted to meet my dad for the first time.  I was like any normal teenager; apprehensive.  I have to admit, I had a pretty cool dad growing up, but you still get those jitters.  Would dad like boyfriend?  Or would dad want to grab a shotgun and destroy boyfriend?  My boyfriend and I showed up at my house after school.  Dad worked an early shift, which meant he was home earlier.  Which meant we got to walk in on him in only his underwear, doing stomach crunches.  On the television, was Richard Simmons.

I was MORTIFIED.  Dad was at a loss for words.  I don’t think he expected me home so soon, and thought he had the privacy of the house for a while longer.

That moment got me thinking.  I did the math in my head.  If I were 16, Dad was 37.  At that age, so many people throw in the towel.  They poke a finger at the gelatinous goo they called their tummies, and just accept and move on.  Not to say you can’t accept.  Maybe you appreciate your body for what it is, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.  But what if you know deep inside, that your health is on the line?  What if your goal is to get healthy, not to be the next Victoria Secret model?

I know, I’ve blogged about Dad before.  http://blog.mommarock.com/2011/01/03/ode-to-my-father.aspx But he decided in his late 30’s that he wanted to change his life.  Instead of driving to work, he grabbed his bike and hopped on.  He risked embarrassment by doing stomach crunches to Richard Simmons.  It’s these small, tiny steps that started him on the path to a healthier lifestyle.

What are we all waiting for?  We say we’ll do it tomorrow, but we don’t.  We come up with a zillion excuses (sometimes valid, other times not) just to save ourselves from having to sweat.  Some of you out there have issues that may physically be holding you back from working out, and I get that.  But what if it’s mental?  What if it’s all in our heads?  It could be you yourself are embarrassed to be seen exerting energy.  Maybe you don’t want to be looked at while walking, running, using weight machines, etc.  You are afraid of what people will think.  I can honestly tell you that I silently commend anyone I see walking or running while I’m driving… no matter who they are, or what they look like. I bet most of us out there do the same.

So, what’s stopping you?

Circuit Training

In life, if you do just one thing… all the time…. you get bored.  Not to say I don’t enjoy running.  I’m passionate about it!  But, you have to take a break from your passions every once in a while, or you get stagnant.

And in comes circuit training.  Circuit training is mixing high intensity workouts with resistance training, and you complete different “circuits”, or rotations.  So, you start out with a minute of jumping jacks, let’s say.  Followed by a minute of leg lunges, then a minute of push ups, completing the circuit with a minute of sit ups.  You’ve completed your first circuit.  And then you move onto the next one.  Whatever that may be.  What’s nice is that you can invent your own circuits, so the work out is far from boring, and you can create it to be as challenging as you want it to be.  You don’t even need machines or a treadmill.

This morning, Kevin and I completed Cathe’s Boot Camp work out:

I noticed there were longer videos posted on Youtube of not only Cathe, but many others that have circuit training work outs.  Just a nice little way to save some money.

 

 

GCC Creative Writing

Creative Writing at Glendale AZ Community College

Africanist, artist & woman

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