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. 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.



What The….???

If I tell you all how much I hate, will I get into trouble?  I’m just one voice out here among billions on this planet… but I’ve heard horror stories.  I’ve read about people getting into trouble because they mentioned something negative about some random company on their blog, and were forced to shut it down due to slander.  How can my teeny, tiny voice cause so much chaos, I mean really?

Because, in all seriousness, I HATE

You know what website I’m referring to… the one that has such spokeswomen like Danica Patrick, and I believe Jillian Michaels has signed on as well.  In order for me to get good service, I need to look like these women, or BE these women, apparently.

I log in to blog, and the site is down for repairs.  I log in to blog, and I can’t blog, because the page in front of me is screwed up, there’s no where to enter any information.  If I try to attach a picture, it won’t let me.  IT being the website.  I’ve had a lot of grief with them, and so here I am, on WordPress, which is much more manageable and user friendly.  And I think looks prettier.  Yes, I had to throw something girly in there.

So, usually on the 1st of every month, I put pictures of Kevin and I out there for everyone to see, along with our current weight, so you can see our progress.  I am going to come clean here.  We’ve been LAZY.  And not that we haven’t had a few things get in the way of our work out regimen, but we haven’t done as much as we planned.  I have no other way to say it, other than that.  He and I have signed up for a 5K, which will be on St. Patrick’s Day.  That gives us roughly 3 weeks to get ourselves back on course.

Crossing fingers…..

138 lbs

188 lbs

Thirty-Five Pounds Of Water Weight

Two disclaimers:

One:  I am severely sleep deprived.  If you see misspelled words or sentences that don’t make sense, give me a break.  I just had a baby.
Two:  If you are male, I am going to give you the option to move your mouse cursor up to that bright red “X’ box in the right hand corner, and close the hell out of my blog!  This blog can be placed in the “TMI” category, and might make you a little squeamish.  If you are brave, you can continue on.  But don’t say I didn’t warn you!
A little back story, first… I was induced a week early with my first born.  My doctor was going out of the country for a three week stint to visit family, and I wanted to make sure he’d be the one to deliver my child.  So, I had gone in on a Wednesday night, had Cervidil (a prostaglandin vaginal insert that aides in ripening the cervix) applied, and waited.  Thursday morning, around 5am, I was checked to see if any progress had been made, and guess what?  Nothing.  Nadda.  I was depressed, and decided to relax in the jacuzzi tub in my room for about 30 minutes, stepped out, and BOOM.  My water breaks.  At 6am, I am hooked up to pitocin.  At 10:50am, my son is born.
No epidural.  Yes, I am that crazy.
Two weeks ago, I went in for my 37 week check up.  No progress.  Nothing had started, nothing had “opened up”.  I didn’t expect some sort of crazy breakthrough at 37 weeks along, but I wanted something.  Even a centimeter dialated would have been good, because most of my pregnancy, I was convinced I was going to go into labor early.  Well, hoped and prayed.  When you get to that last month in your pregnancy, you don’t think to yourself, “Gee, I’d love to go OVER my due date.”
My doctor could tell I was disappointed, and he said, “If you want, I can induce you a week before your due date.”  I gave him my famous “narrowing of the eyes until they are slits” look.  Something was up.  “What’s going on?”  I asked.  He looked guilty.  “I am going out of town around the time your baby is to be born.”  Of course.  “You did this to me last time!”  I made sure he was aware of this fact, which he looked even more guilty.
“I know, and I’m sorry.”
I relayed the information to my husband Kevin, who groaned and became very perturbed.  He immediately got onto the internet (he’s a computer geek, so he will spend countless hours scouring for information) and found information about pitocin.  It scared the crap out of him.  Side effects for the woman: Anaphylactic reaction, postpartum hemorrhage, cardiac arrhythmia, rupture of the uterus… side effects for the baby: Brain damage, fetal death, neonatal seizures, neonatal jaundice, neonatal retinal hemorrhage… is it any wonder he was freaked?  It didn’t make him feel any better that my first born came out of induction in one piece, and healthy.  He pointed out that Ben might have “gotten lucky”, and there was no 100% guarantee for our child.
Even with the possible side effects, I was on the fence.  I didn’t want to do anything harmful to my baby, but I also know countless women who have had pitocin, and their babies turned out fine.  So many of my friends have had epidurals, which it seems epidurals and pitocin go hand in hand, and all turned out fine.  And there was a selfish aspect to all of this.  If I were able to have my doctor deliver my baby instead of someone I didn’t know, and I could do it earlier than my due date… like I said, it’s selfish, but I am only being honest here.
October 18th, I went in for my 38th week check up.  Again, no change, no progress.  After my doctor left the room, I looked down at my large belly.  Nolan was kicking around in there like crazy.  I gently poked at my belly, and I said to it (to him): “You need to come on your own buddy.  We need to make this happen.  Your daddy and I are going nuts wondering what to do about you.  Let’s get it done!”  I know, it sounded like I was giving a pep talk to my unborn child.  I think I was, a little.
Tuesday night (the next night), Kevin and I were getting ready for bed.  I had to go pee.  This is not unusual for a pregnant woman.  And, right there on the toilet, I hear and feel this “pop”.  It was actually four little pops, and then a gush of water.  “OH MY GOD!”  I said this very loud, shocked.  Kevin quickly opened the bathroom door.  “Are you ok?!?”  I looked down at the toilet bowl, and back up at him.  “I think my water just broke.”  He was very calm.  Inside, I am sure he was FREAKING OUT, but he calmly said, “That’s ok.”  We started to get things together, the overnight bag, Nolan’s diaper bag, my son and his overnight bag.  Through all of this, my water kept leaking.  And leaking.  I had some maxi pads that were instantly soaked within minutes.  I looked like I peed my pants, so I changed my pants, only to wet in the clean pants as well.  I ended up grabbing a large bath towel and placing it around me, and that’s how we left our house.  My son went to a friend’s house (his father was out of the country at the time), and Duke the dog went to another friend’s house.  We were on our way.  No contractions yet, but lots of water.
By the time I got to the hospital, and stepped out of the car, water was leaking down my legs.  Miraculously, none got on the seats in the car.  I was admitted, and we went to our birthing room.  We were pretty much the last room on the ward, which looking back was a blessing, because I would soon be making all sorts of noise on that maternity floor.  No contractions yet, just pressure in my lower back.  I told the nurse that I did not want an epidural.  I have to say, every single nurse we had during our hospital stay was phenomenal.  Not once did anyone offer me drugs (although I did take one shot to see if it would help take the edge off, which it didn’t) or try to get me to sign the consent form for an epidural.  They were all so supportive.
When I was first checked, I was three centimeters dialated.  As I labored, and was checked again, I was a 3 heading to 4 centimeters.  Checked again, I was a 4 heading to 5.  It was after the 5 centimeters mark that things started to get more intense.  Contractions were coming every 2-3 minutes, most were long and strong, although some were smaller, which allowed me to take mini breaks.  Kevin brought along a massager, this vibrating tool that enabled him to help massage my lower back through my contractions, but saved his wrists and hands in the process:
I was checked again, and had progressed from 5 centimeters, to 8.  The nurse was getting nervous.  My doctor wasn’t at the hospital yet.  My contractions were much more intense.  With each contraction, I was moaning and wailing very loudly, something I had learned from a prior natural birthing class I had taken, to relax your muscles and just let the contraction go through your body.  I learned later that I could be heard clear over at the nurses’s station, and some of the men wondered if I was being tortured in my room.  I could feel a lot of pressure in my rectum and I knew the baby was going to come out.  I was instructed to lay in the bed, and I told the nurse, “This baby is coming, I can’t wait for my doctor!”  She told me to hold on.  He was almost there, and Kevin tried to tell me to hold on, but with each contraction I could tell the baby wasn’t going to hold on much longer.
At the last second, my doctor walked in, and I could start pushing.  Now, my water broke around 10:50pm.  My doctor walked in around 6:30am.  I pushed a few times, screaming as I did so, and at 6:59am, Nolan Robert was born.  Immediate relief flooded me after he was out.
Did I mention I did this with no epidural?
Nolan is a very healthy boy, weighing in at 6lbs, 10 ounces, and 20 inches long.  No jaundice (his big brother had that for about a week after we left the hospital), no internal heart beat monitor placed into his scalp (another thing his big brother had to endure due to dips in his heart beat)… so maybe there is something to this “no pitocin” thing.  I can’t say for sure.  All I know is that I am glad Nolan is here, and he decided to come out when he was good and ready to come out.
Now, if he would only sleep through the night…..

How Sweet Is That?!?

Kids can be a huge pain in the ass.

Oh what, that’s not sweet?  Well, I have to start somewhere, and I am starting with the truth.  They can be.  There are days that Ben reduces me to a child of his age (that would be five), but since I’m female, let’s say seven or eight, because we all know girls mature faster than boys.  So there I am, seven or eight years old, wanting to stick both index fingers into my ears and scream, “YADAYADAYADAYADAYADA” over and over again while he has some sort of ridiculous temper tantrum.  Or, when he loses privileges when he’s misbehaved, and he tells me that he doesn’t care because he’s going to sneak into ____________ (my bedroom, the hallway closet, the high shelves in the kitchen) to get the item that I’ve confiscated, so I can think I’ve got one up on him, but I’d better think again.  And, if he can’t get to the item, he’s just going to play with something else anyway, SO THERE.
Like I said, a huge pain in the ass.
But God devised a plan for us.  He made our children cute.  Our kids can push us to the outer brinks of our limits and what we thought were our limits (wasn’t the line BACK THERE?), and then they go and redeem themselves in such a way that you want to clutch at your chest, blinking away tears because it made your heart feel THAT GOOD.
The other day, I was done.  Like, stick a fork in me done.  I had worked 6 hours and then gone to get Ben from school, which Ben is my main job, the one that takes more work and effort than my office job does.  We had worked on his homework, and it took a long time.  His teacher had photocopied a page out of Highlights magazine, and it was one of those “can you find these pictures in this picture” sort of deal, and I don’t care if Highlights is geared towards kids, finding those images was hard work!  Try finding a sickle (do you even know what a sickle is?) amongst pumpkins, and children dressed in Halloween costumes.   We did some reading after that, picked up the house, and then it was time for me to make dinner.  I know, sounds like very easy tasks, doesn’t it?  But when you are on 38 weeks pregnant, you are performing these tasks with what feels like 20 lb. weights on each ankle.  Well, for me, it would be more like 16.5 weights on each ankle.
I was DONE.  I called my husband Kevin up to relay the message to him that I would not be eating dinner tonight, because chewing took effort, and I didn’t have enough in me to chew.  He made dinner for himself and for Ben, while I lay about on the couch, looking like a very tired beached whale.  Then, the beached whale decided to waddle her way to the bedroom, where she could retire in peace.  And that’s where she stayed until the next morning.
And the next morning, I was told how Ben really wanted to pray with me the night before.  See, that’s part of our bedtime routine.  We say our prayers before he gets tucked in for the night.  Ben asked Kevin, “Can I say prayers with Mommy?”  Kevin told him that I was most likely sleeping, and to let me rest.  So, Ben knelt down before my bedroom door, which was closed, and put his palms together, closing his eyes, and he said a silent prayer for me.  Kevin didn’t hear what it was, but it was said for me.  When Kevin told me that, my heart ached with a feeling of such strong love for that little boy!
And that’s how it happens.  You can be having the hardest day, and a simple “I love you” will make it all worth it.  Or, you can be feeling like a beached whale, and you find out that even when you are at a low point, your children still love you, enough that they will say a prayer for you even when you can’t be there for them 100%.
How sweet is that?

A Mom On The Run

GCC Creative Writing

Creative Writing at Glendale AZ Community College

Africanist, artist & woman

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