Life

To Run or Not to Run the Marine Corps Marathon

It’s been a month of uncertainty and heartbreak for me, professionally.

My husband and I had just recovered (barely) from him being laid off from his job in May when I received the news three weeks ago that our entire workforce was laid off.

It came as a shock and I scrambled to apply all over the place, reconnect with friends and former colleagues and figure out what to do next.

The first 10 days following the lay off, I was on my own while my husband (with my blessing!) hunted six hours away. So what did that mean? Well, it didn’t mean a whole lot of running since I needed to watch the kids full-time and pick them up and drop them off at school. The handful of times I managed a run, it turned to doing a whole lot of walking…and processing.

No one anticipates a lay-off and our circumstances were pretty extreme in this case.

During the day, it’s all applying for jobs, taking care of kids and finding some personal time for myself. My only rule? Don’t look too far ahead; focus on just what I can do TODAY.

…Oh ya, and then there was that time a week ago when I was rear-ended sitting at a light…

So now, I sit here nearly a month in, picking up the pieces and clutching a $214 weekly unemployment check staring a month ahead for the first time.

Ahead to the Marine Corps Marathon on October 25 in Washington D.C.; the event I’ve SO looked forward to for the past six months. Training has been BRUTAL through these intense summer months and I’ve battled to get my time and/or miles in to stay on track.

Ahead, wondering what my job situation will look like in the weeks and months to come.

I’ve always said “running is 90% mental” and this is where it truly hits. Every mile, my mind is spinning and processing. I’m unable to focus as I prep for my training run. My body craves sleep to stave off the intensity of the day.

And, I think about what is truly “wise” in this situation:

  • If we’re struggling to make sure our bills are all paid on time (they have been), then is it wise to spend such a large chunk of money and still go?
  • If I’m still not sure what my job future looks like, is it wise to plan to be gone for a week? Or, do we NEED to do it, having gone through one of the most stressful summers of our lives?

I’m not sure what the answer is at this point. Flights are booked, but can be banked for future use. My race fee is already paid and I can’t defer or transfer at this point. Half of our time in DC will be spent at a friend’s home (thank goodness! Always my preference to stay with friends anyway). I can cancel our hotel at no cost.

Not running the marathon certainly seems like the easier choice.

But, is it the right one?

marine corps marathon
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The Every-Kid-Gets-a-Trophy Mentality

There are a few things you probably wouldn’t want someone to call you behind your back.

I never thought “competitive” was one of them until I played in a scrimmage match of soccer tonight.

It was the last night of soccer practice and the coach thought it would be fun for the parents to play against the kids in a game of soccer. As usual, I was the only girl on the field…well, the only mom in this case.

lonely

I raced up and down the field, teased my son, and helped boys up when they took a tumble. And, I definitely did my best to score as many goals as possible.

The boys were speedy, tenacious and giggling the whole time. They loved playing against the parents and probably played the strongest I had ever seen them play.

I left the field all smiles and enjoyed froyo with my family before going home to settle in for the night.

After getting home and starting in our routine, my husband laughed and told me “you were awfully competitive with those boys out there tonight.”

I brushed him off and then he added “all the dads were laughing every time you would sprint down the field with the ball. We were going easy on them; they’re 5.”

I felt humiliated.

tangled

I mean, believe me, I was not bowling kids over or determined to win the game. I just thought we were playing a real game with the kids. Why wouldn’t we run as hard as we could after them? Why wouldn’t we carefully try to block the ball or even steal it from them? Are those not the skills they need to learn in soccer to be competitors in the game?

right

Honestly, the idea of being mocked for being “competitive” initially hurt, but then the words I tell my son before every game came to mind: give it your all today.

In a society where everyone gets a trophy (the boys all get theirs at their final game this Saturday), I wonder why were constantly trying to spare feelings and not push our kiddos. There’s always a balance and the important part is to always keep the game fun, but what happened to teaching them self-discipline? To work harder and focus more after they lose a game?

Maybe I’m “competitive,” but I know my son will always remember me as the only mom on the field who was running right next to him, challenging him and picking him up at the end of the scrimmage to celebrate when his team earned their victory.

And that’s how it should be.

bambi

That Moment You Feel Too Needed

One-Word-NeedI’ve had one of those days. One of those days where, quite frankly, I feel completely spent with nothing left to give when the clock strikes bedtime.

There was just so much need.

My daughter needed me to take her potty when she woke up this morning.

I needed to take a shower.

My son needed me to help him gather his things for school.

I needed to gather my thoughts, my coffee and my purse.

My daughter needed to get to her grandma’s house.

I needed to get to work.

My team member needed me to look over some numbers.

I needed to prepare for a meeting.

My boss needed me to take notes and come up with solutions.

I needed to complete the usual tasks of the week.

My daughter needed to be picked up.

My daughter needed dinner; she needed a bath.

The dog needed to be fed.

The dishes needed to be done.

My son needed to be picked up.

The dog needed to be let out.

The living room needed to be picked up.

The laundry needed to be folded and put away.

The Pampered Chef party needed to be closed.

My kids needed water, and teeth brushed, and tucking into bed.

The dog needed to be let out (again).

My days are so full of needs that sometimes (well, maybe most of the time) my “needs” are overshadowed, engulfed by the sea of others’ “needs.”

I bet you can relate to this.

It’s in this moment, on the brink of tears; of feeling overwhelmed and just needing a moment for my introverted-self to scrape together a moment of peace, that I find it. A moment to just “be” instead of answering a “need.”

So, tonight, while so many of those “needs” continue to clamor for my attention, I’m instead choosing a different direction. One I haven’t chosen in quite a while.

The dishes will need to wait.

The living room will need to wait.

The lunches will need to wait.

The dog will need to wait.

The email will need to wait.

The extra projects will need to wait.

Doing anything else besides spending a moment with my thoughts and with my God will need to wait.

Some “needs” will just need to wait.

I need me.

Let’s Keep It Real

mirror

There I was, standing at the mirror applying my makeup in the gym locker room when the pair walked in.

You know the type.

One had chiseled abs and a completely lean body that carried nothing but confidence. (Oh, and did I mention that teeny gym towel was wrapped completely effortlessly around her flawless waist? I mean, there were INCHES left over, people!)

Her friend, a beautiful blonde with curves in all the right places, stood next to her at a mirror behind me wearing a fancy (and flattering) bra with an equally small towel around her waist.

As my mascara wand moved the black inky stuff onto my lashes, I began innocently eavesdropping in on their conversation (What? There’s really nothing else to listen to in a gym locker room anyway!).

Chiseled Chick: I finally have my Botox appointment this afternoon.

(Me inside: GASP! People really DO that!)

Blonde Bombshell: Oh, you ought to get your spray tan going at the same time.

Chiseled Chick: Ya, (laugh) it’s one more thing that’s ‘fake’ about me. Fake hair color, fake tan…

Blonde Bombshell: Well, at least it makes us feel good about ourselves, right?

Chiseled Chick: (Audible snicker) Uh ya, sure.

The two proceeded to trade stories about their recent, “wild weekend” at a local night club, a place that didn’t have “fake girls with their butts hanging out of their shorts.”

Blonde Bombshell: The women that go there are more real…like us.

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Look, I don’t care if you get your boobs done. I don’t even care if you decide to tattoo a picture of Justin Timberlake on your freakin’ forehead (I’d actually probably look at your face more than my phone if you did quite honestly), but if you’re going to make choices, don’t put other women down for theirs.

It’s like that super popular Megan Trainor song “All About That Bass.” At first, I was like “cool, they’re embracing a ‘real woman’s’ physique,” but then I also realized the lyrics put down women who were thin (“no treble”). Even Trainor recognizes the song is perceived as controversial, admitting she knew she’d receive flak on it for a long time.

That’s a problem.

In fact, I’m pretty sure we just ruined that whole “empowerment” point, ladies.

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How can we believe that we are ever improving stigmas, the perceptions of women, or impacting how women are treated if we put each other down? (Throw the flag on the field; I realize I’ve edged into the cliché end zone here, but stay with me.)

There are some good things going on in cyberspace on this topic, however.

I loved reading an article a few months back by Celebrity TV Transformation Specialist Heidi Powell who let the curtain fall away when she revealed her insecurities, imperfections and even her (ahem) enhancements in a post entitled “I am perfect.” And, apparently, her words struck a chord with a whole lot of women across the country, drawing hundreds of thousands of hits on her website and getting picked up by the Huffington Post.

So why is it so surprising when we hear another woman honestly share the extremes she goes to in order to achieve “perfection?”

I don’t have all the answers, but I know based on my own life experiences that the following are true:

1. We are trying to find acceptance when it begins and ends only with ourselves. It’s like running out of your house thinking you’ll find the keys to your house outside somewhere. It’s your house. You live there. Your habits are throughout that house. Why are you relying on your environment outside of your home to try to find keys that are likely hanging out inside?

2. We believe in “IF” more than ourselves. We believe that IF we hit that certain size, that number on the scale, buy that car, that outfit or that whatever, we’ll “arrive.” There will always be dissatisfaction and “not enough” as long as we rely on superficial circumstances and objects for our contentment. That’s just not where ultimate contentment comes from.

3. We’re desperately focusing our attention on something that seems easier to control than our lives. Look, life happens. Stupid, unpredictable, hard stuff happens. It’s not fair, it’s not right and it’s down right defeating much of the time. And, yes, just in the same way we can decide to destroy our health by indulging in foods that make us “feel good,” we can do the same by whittling ourselves down to that up-on-a-pedestal size. But what’s left at the end of the day? Our problems. They don’t go away.

I’m not going to blame TV or models or marketing or anything else out there. Agree or disagree with me on this point, but do we not have control over what we allow to cross our path and influence us? You can turn the channel. You can stop reading the fashion magazines. You can boycott stores. Sure, it’s more passive and perhaps if you really feel passionately about the subject, you’ll go after Victoria’s Secret when they post a huge centerfold on the pillar of your neighborhood outdoor mall.

But the point is, wherever you land on this subject, it all comes back to this:

Let’s be real, ladies.

Let’s be honest with each other. Tell a friend when you’re struggling with your job, your relationship or your health. Talk to a trusted counselor when you feel like your sanity is hanging by a thread.

At the end of the day, you can choose to make your body as “fake” as you want, but do it for YOU and not to mask your feelings or achieve an end goal that really isn’t going to result in true, lasting satisfaction.

Just keep it real.

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Cute Video of My Daughter and Her Siberian Husky Singing

Watch my daughter and her Siberian Husky sing (so cute!)

Okay, so some of you probably already saw this, but I just had to share the cute video of my daughter and her Siberian Husky singing together.

I was minding my own business, just changing the bed sheets before we were going to leave for church when my daughter started “wooing” for our husky, Tala. Tala used to howl when the kids were babies and would cry. Sometimes she’ll “woo” if we prompt her, but I’d never seen my daughter get her going. So funny!

Feel free to share—this has brightened my day and made so many people laugh.

Happy Monday!