Runner Bucket List

I remember when I took up running–eeking out those first few steps on the Wii Fit.  They were hard.  And worth it.

It is still hard.  And still worth it.

When I ran those first steps, I never dreamed how important running would become to me.  I never dreamed how the Lord would use it to teach me about Himself.  How He would use it every day to remind me what a powerful, loving, constant God He is.

Last night, I put a few of my thoughts in a video.  It is not very flattering of me, but honestly, it is meant to be flattering toward God, not toward me.

 

Those thoughts, about the Lord and the gift He has given me goes through my mind at least once on every run.  Today,  I formed a few other thoughts that I would never have even thought to piece together when I was taking those first steps in running.  I started to think about Running Bucket Lists.

I started with a 5k.  Next, I did a 10k.  Followed by running across the Mackinac Bridge.  Next month I am going to do my first 10k in a long time to celebrate my Birthday, and then in June, I am so excited to be running a 10k on Mackinac Island.  I suspect the crowning jewel in my running adventures will be a half marathon in September.  Nestled in there is something I never considered doing, but now think every runner should do at least once–a marathon relay race.

Today I had the privilege to run the 4th leg out of 5 with a group of women.  It was extremely nerve-wracking leading up to the race to have other people depending on how well I did, but ultimately, it pushed me to train harder and then definitely run harder during my leg earlier this morning.

Turns out I ran so hard I popped a blood vessel in my eye, but it was worth it.

Raising Me

I hate the Bipolar.  I hate the anxiety.  I hate what it does to me.  I hate how it makes me feel and act.  I hate it.

I don’t want this for my girls.  I don’t want them to feel a single second of it.  And yet, sometimes anxiety does hit Caitlyn.

Monday was one of those nights.

We have been thinking for a long time that Patrice would be really good at gymnastics.  And Caitlyn has been dying to learn how to do a cartwheel.  The big day finally came Monday.  I made preparations last week and Monday we headed off to lessons.

And the anxiety hit.  Me–because I managed to forget the paperwork I had so carefully done, at home.  Caitlyn–because she didn’t know anyone there and didn’t know what to do when.

Patrice was excited from the get-go, but Caitlyn admitted later that she just wanted to go home.  I saw her anxiety.  I saw her fear.  What I tried not to see was me.  I did not want to see Caitlyn immobilized by her emotions.  I also saw her bravery.  She kept going.  She put one foot in front of the other.  She worked to find out what she was supposed to be doing and where she was supposed to be.  She didn’t give up.

As I saw her go from activity to activity, I saw her nail biting lessen.  I saw her paying more and more attention to what was going on around her and less and less attention to what was going on inside of her.  And my anxiety decreased.

Once again, I was able to tell myself I am not raising a daughter who will be immobilized by anxiety.  I am not raising me.

Every Step

Sunday I did a 5k.  It was special in several ways.

The biggest?  It was the first race my family was at since I ran the Mackinaw Bridge race about 5 years ago.  Patrice was a baby at the time and while she will always be the baby of the family, at 6 years old, she is definitely no longer a baby.  My girls even made me a post to cheer me on.  It is fantastic, but it shows their reals names, so it has been cropped out of this picture.

 

The next amazing thing was the opportunity to run across the 50-yard line at the University of Michigan when I reached the finish line.

I am also still giddy over setting a personal record for a 5k Sunday.  I ran my fastest mile ever at 11 minutes and 40 seconds and overall time of 39 minutes 5 seconds.  I still feel like a rockstar.

And it is all to the glory of God.  He brought be from a wheelchair to pushing my body to see how far and how fast it can go…just because I can.

I am so thankful for what He has done in my life.

Grief By Surprise

I was minding my own business today.  Really, I was.  And a simple status update brought me up short.

A friend posted a fun list of questions about how well does an adult daughter know her dad.  It would seem she knows hers well.  The first question asked, “if you dad is sitting in front of the tv, what is he watching?”  One of her answers was YouTube.

It got me to thinking, what would my dad be watching…well, not much.  He wasn’t much to watch tv.  He was a workaholic so about all he did in front of the tv was either sleep or fall asleep just before the weather on the 11 o’clock news…and wake up as soon as the weather was done.

I think his favorite feature on a smartphone would have been looking up the weather or watching repair videos on YouTube.  But alas, his method for looking up repair procedures was the old Chilton Books (do they even still make those?).  I remember when it was time for me to learn how to fix my brakes on my 1982 Buick Skylark…I got my first foray into Chilton Books.

(It would appear the following video is as close as YouTube could get me–it seems most of the videos only get you back to about 1999–now I feel old)

 

Yes, I think he would have loved YouTube, but he died before it was created.  He died July 7, 2004 and YouTube was created February 14, 2005.  They would have been a match made in heaven.

He loved this song and would have loved looking it up to see who was getting the words right!

 

And suddenly, here I am sitting with grief.  Surprised to be wrapped up in thoughts of my dad.  Who he was, who I was, who I am now.  Who my husband is, who my children are.  Who he never met, what he is missing.

I am not overtaken by uncontrollable grief, but there is sadness and a heaviness.

 

Happiness Is

We just finished up Sue’s run of “You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown.”  The last song is “Happiness is” which fit perfectly with my friend’s post yesterday.

We’ve had lots of happiness lately.

Happiness is… watching your daughter blossom just a bit more in her second play this weekend.

 

Happiness is…Getting some one-on-one time with Sue to speak to her what is on my heart,

do you know when I see you the most alive, the most you? When you are at practice or on the stage doing a show. You are amazing. Don’t let anyone tell you any different. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something, God made you amazing, always be who He made you to be.” She came over to my side and as I hugged her, and blinked back tears, I said, “I know sometimes at home you feel overshadowed by an older sister who is very strong, and a Patrice who is, well, Patrice, but you are strong, smart capable, and amazing. I know there are things that don’t come easy, but there are other things that just make you shine. Walk in them all. Be you, be strong and amazing and beautiful. I had a lot of people tell me what I couldn’t do, what I wasn’t, that I wasn’t strong and here I am, kind of old…some of that I can fix, I can run my butt off, but some I can’t. Don’t let people whether they be family, friends, or random people tell you what you can and can’t do!

 

Happiness is…getting a kitchen full of flowers thanks your daughter’s “stardom”

Happiness is…getting out for a run amidst the business of life and pushing myself to improve bit by bit, bunch by bunch.

Happiness is…feeling pretty every once and a while.

Happiness is…remembering how to do a fun braid your daughter wants in her hair.

Happiness is…a pretty cute puppy and a lovely Easter flag.

Happiness is…finding more things that can be thrown away as part of #40 bags in #40 days.

And Happiness is…my girls looking sweet and sassy.

The days are crazy and full.  I am so thankful, I am here, by the grace of God, to enjoy them all.

*Thank you to my friend Kimberly over at All Work and No Play Makes Mommy Go Something Something for the inspiration for this post.

What Am I

I identify as, and am, a lot of things:  Christ follower, wife, mother, homeschooler, daughter, friend…but one thing has escaped me.  No matter how hard I tried, I could not bring myself to say I am a runner.

I get out there, I run, but I see other runners, moving so much more easily and quickly and I think, “now that’s a runner.”  I was even, after doing a 7-mile run, saw a picture of someone running, and thought, “I wish I could run like them.”

I ended up frustrated and looking for reassurance, so I took to one of my fitness groups on Facebook–“when do you feel like a real runner?”

Unanimously, they reassured me I was a runner…someone who runs is a runner was the message.   One lady even pointed out my pace is 2 minutes faster than what is required for most races (I had no idea–glad those races I did early in my running didn’t kick me out!)

I walked away feeling better, but still a little unconvinced.

Sigh.

I kept turning the thought over and over in my mind.

Would I want my girls to ever doubt their efforts?  Sue is doing her second play this weekend…do I want her to doubt the hard work she has put in?  Does her lack of a union card make her less of an actress, singer, or dancer?  No!  Caitlyn runs on her own and with me.  Am I going to tell her she is not a real runner?  Never!!  Patrice loves to create.  Am I going to tell her she’s not a real artist?  Not in a million years!!

As P!nk says “You’re so mean when you talk about yourself, you are wrong.  Change the voices in your head, make them like you instead…”  And she’s right, I am.  I am very mean when I talk to myself, I internalize the bad and the ugly, and that is what I hear, what I listen to.

But yesterday, I decided to change at least one part of that broken record.

I am a runner.  I ran 11 1/2 miles+ last week.  I am at 10 so far this week.  I am training for two different races (a relay in April and a half marathon in September), I am working on improving distance and pace, my mind is either thinking about my last run or planning when to fit in the next one, I consider my running jacket and pants one of the best purchases I ever made…AND…I ran two miles back to back under 13 minutes (12:27 and 12:32 if you are wanting to know as badly as I am wanting to tell you!).*

If all of that doesn’t convince me I am a runner, nothing ever will.

*Just a few notes concerning that pace to put it into perspective for you:  I am only 4 ft 9 inches tall, my pace in August when I started running again was a 19-minute mile, and I am carrying about 35 extra pounds.  No excuses, just perspective on how far I have come.

Pi and Pie

Yesterday, 3/14, was Pi, 3.14, day.  Most years I remember too late that it WAS Pie/Pi day.

Not this year.

A wonderful friend put together a Pi day curriculum for me.  We practiced finding the circumference of circles using pieces of yarn and Pi.  We watched a couple YouTube videos, made Pi cootie catchers,  and a paper chain showing how there is not a number pattern in Pi.

To round out the day, the girls made an apple pie from scratch.

I did not have any of the finished product as it was full of gluten and apples, both a no-no when it comes to eating low FODMAP. So, I didn’t have any of the finished product.  Problem is, I had little nibbles of crust and apples as I helped the girls make the pie.  It’s not because I don’t know gluten and apples are a no-no according to low FODMAP eating.  I know they are, but sometimes, okay, often, I think, “all of this special eating is silly.  I don’t have food allergies so I am probably making a big deal out of nothing.”    I begin to feel ridiculous for the demands I make when it comes to food.  I tell myself I am just doing it to be a pain in the butt or feel “special,” so I stop.  I eat pie crust.  I eat sliced apples.

And then, within an hour or so, I find out eating low FODMAP is important, it does improve my life, it is worth the extra effort.  I was so sick last night I could hardly sit up during dinner.  My stomach hurt, my body was overcome with weakness.  I even had hubby take Sue to her play practice and I sat down on the couch and watched an entire movie…I have no idea when the last time was I watched a whole tv program at home, let alone a movie.  I just don’t sit that long.

Ignoring the rules of eating low FODMAP literally knocked me on my butt.  Lesson learned, for a while…

That was our day.  The Pie and the Pi of it.

How Do We Love

A number of years ago I thought I had figured out the solution to the race issue for myself.  I would go along with the mantra, “I don’t see color.”  I thought that would take care of it…but it doesn’t, it is at best a cop-out.  It was my way of saying, your life must be just like mine simply because I say it is.

Turns out, it is not that simple.  Life rarely is.

Recently, we have seen a lot of division in America.  A lot of hate.  A lot of anger.  A lot of destruction.  It is hard to see.  It is hard to acknowledge.  It is hard to understand.  It is even harder to fix.

In response, I have heard a lot of people say, “this isn’t the America I love.”  Thing is, that’s kind of like my thought above–I just won’t see color–it doesn’t work that way.  Loving America is like being a parent.

Loving America is like being a parent.  You have this child you love.  Your child is cute and sweet and has so many positive attributes, but there are behaviors and attitudes that are not so lovely.  As a good parent, you can’t just ignore the negative things your child does; you can’t just turn a blind eye and say, “well, that’s not the child I love.”  No.  As a loving parent, you will see the challenges, you will see the issues and work to help your child change, grow, and improve.  You will help them become more than they are now.  That is love.

It is the same with America.

I can’t see things in America I don’t like and ignore them.  If I truly love my country and its people, I have to choose to face the struggles, face the darkness and work.  I must work to make it better.  I must work on the spiritual level.  I must work on the cultural level.  I must work on the societal level.  If I am not willing to work on those levels, if I just want to turn my head away from what I don’t like, that is not love I am showing, it is laziness.

Is what you feel for America love or laziness?  Do you love America, and the people around you enough to be part of the change, or do you only want to wish America were different?  Will you work or wish?

 

The Eyes of Homeschool

Last week we started a study on eyes.  The lesson we were using wanted us to make a paper eye.  “I” decided that was not good enough for Cole Academy…I found a place that sells dissecting materials and order three cow eyeballs and a dissecting kit.

The brown box of awesomeness arrived Friday Night…the dissection was scheduled for Monday night.

And hubby was brought into the action.  He led the dissection.  I took pictures.  A perfect duo.  Frazier oversaw the whole operation.

Hubby talked them through the parts of the eyeball and taught them dissection safety.

Sue was particularly excited.

And the dissection began.

And then time for the review.

Filling in each and every part they had seen for themselves on the worksheet.

There was even a lesson on how the Iris opens and closes in response to light (but it was too dark for pictures).

Hubby has been hired as our dissection teacher.  He has already asked for a raise.  I promised to give him triple the nothing I get paid…Seems fair.

It was a great time of letting the girls “see” hands-on how they “see.”

 

Just a Loss

A half-marathon.  13.1 miles.  I want to run that.  All of that.  I am afraid that might be a pie in the sky goal.  I have been running consistently and often.  I push and push but it takes all I have to eke out 3.1 miles on the treadmill.  That is a far cry from the 13.1 I need to make running a half-marathon a reality.

I almost gave up yesterday.  I literally sat and cried after not being able to push myself past the 3.1.  I came darn close to writing off the money I paid for the half and just realized I am not that strong, that I am the weak person I was always told I was.  The ladies in my fitness group rallied around me and gave me a lot to think about–running every step, walking and running, being a little easier on myself.

Got a smile after a run no matter how good or bad it is.

This morning I talked to my hubby and talked about how much I really want to run it.  We decided we need to get me off the treadmill and outside running more (as much as winter will cooperate), so today, right after church, I layered up and set out.  I did 4 miles running with an average pace of 13 minutes, 47 seconds per mile.  That’s slow compared to some, but a pretty awesome run for me.  My legs are short, I have just started pushing my pace in the last two weeks.

Running today felt a lot better than yesterday.

The Bipolar has been a jerk the last few weeks…and then this week there seemed to be hope.  I was talking to people, I was going places without feeling panicky.  I thought church today would be easy.  Last week I couldn’t bear to go into our Sunday School.  Today, I waltzed right in, I talked too much, it seemed to go well.

So on to church.

The panic hit as we got into the main part of the church.  We were having to go so far forward.  The row we ended up in had people at both ends.  I wouldn’t be able to get out.  I grabbed my hubby’s hand as we sang, but all the sudden it was too much.  I grabbed my purse and ran out of there.  My wonderful hubby followed me.  We sat out in the foyer area and listened from there (the church projects the sermon out there).  But the panic kept building and building, so I took a Xanax for the anxiety.  We were sitting in an open area so I thought I would be safe to not fall asleep.  To my great embarrassment, I was wrong.  I fell asleep.  I tried so hard and it was just a loss.

Bipolar is such a jerk.  I hate it so much.  Why won’t it just leave me alone?  I just want to breathe, I just want to go about my life.  And I am stuck, being a big loser.