Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Run A Half Marathon? CHECK!

It all led up to the moment I've been training for, been talking about incessantly, been stressing over, been spending my Sundays working hard and then recovering afterwards for, yep, the half marathon!


But, I'm being a lot more enthusiastic than I was after the race, or even today. Sometimes, my competitive nature and perfectionism do NOT do me many favours.

To start at the beginning, however, we need to go back a few days.

My friend Tania flew in from Washington State to run my first half marathon with me. Seriously! Who does that, right? Yes, she did. She's run several, and marathons, and does Crossfit and Hot Yoga and all of that kinda stuff, so she was just coming to run with me for running with me's sake.

The days leading up to the half were kind of a hot mess. I was anxious and stressed and moody. I felt like I hadn't been resting enough or drinking enough. I had run a half distance previously during my training, with a finish time of 2:32 and change, so I knew I could get the distance. That part, ironically, didn't phase me. However, because I'm a crazy person who believes in putting undue pressure on myself, I'd decided in my warped mind that I wanted to finish under 2:30 "officially" but secretly, I was hoping for around 2:15. Yes, if you do the math, that meant I'd have to shave off like 45 seconds per km. Tania asked me for my REAL goal, and when I told her, she paused and said, "that's.....aggressive."  Yes, that about sums me up. Almost kill yourself or go home!

As we stood in the corral, taking a few pictures and shaking out some raw nerves, I felt pretty confident. Trust me, that confidence did not last very long.

The cannon sounded and we were off! My mouth, for some reason, was already dry. I had thought I'd hydrated enough the days before, so I'm not sure what that was about, but I was aware of it from the get go. As we began running, immediately there was a hill. I figured that would be the only one I'd see until we hit the residential Rockliffe Park area, but I was horribly, horribly wrong.

We passed the Parliament buildings, and headed down the Parkway. At this point, you travelled down to a turn around, and then back up towards the bridge to Hull. How did I not know that the Parkway is chock a block FULL of rolling hills? Holy moly. Did I mention previously that I did most of my hill training on the treadmill and CLEARLY not enough of it? I was totally staying on pace, however, and even going faster (I know, a big no no!) several times where Tania would tell me to slow it down. I was well ahead of the 2:20 pace bunny and feeling pretty good except for the stupid @#&*!!! hills! We got up near the bridge and it was already 7k and time for fuel. I always walk 30 seconds or so to have my GU and drink some water with Nuun. I did so, as I had in training, but then we noticed the 2:20 pace bunny was right on our heels and there was no way I wanted to get behind him! Tania said "Let's sprint!" so we did, hitting 5:40 on my Garmin. From there, I was back on pace and while not feeling awesome, I wasn't feeling horrific either. I was hoping the hills were DONE but nope, they continued for awhile longer-it felt like until we hit the final 5k up the Canal! As we passed the 10k mark on the bridge back to Ottawa, I saw that my time was 1:04 and change. DUDES! I'd done my fastest 10k time! That 10k was hard won, though. I'm "known" for my consistent pace. My friends joke that they could set their watches by my pace. This race did NOT look like that. I was pushing myself hard to go faster than I ever had in training, and I was speeding up and slowing down repeatedly. Ya, not my brightest moment.

I knew that one of my "tough" parts of the run was coming up as I neared that 11k mark. I figured I'd just push on and told myself in my head that 14k was soon and I could get my next GU, which would give me some energy! We were also nearing the Art Gallery, which was lined with people cheering and clapping. I can't remember now if I walked a bit here, but I was starting to feel all of that pushing and back and forth speed/slower hitting me. When I say hitting me, I don't really mean physically. I felt tired, for sure, but the real problem was my mental game.

I made it to 14k to have my GU and walk break, and my head was a jumble of negative self talk. I felt like I couldn't do it anymore, like I wouldn't make it, and I kept repeating "NEVER AGAIN!" in my head. That said, I finished fueling and started running again, albeit slower paced now. Tania asked me if I was okay and I said, "Not at all."  She said I looked okay, and was I just an Emmy award winning actress? My reply, "YES!"  Here's where it got really ugly, folks. I was super fried emotionally and mentally. My head was telling me just to walk the stupid thing into the finish, but my stubborn nature wouldn't let me give up that easily!

Tania was chatting off and on throughout the race, and I'd told her before hand that my style is usually to be very chatty, light, laughing and joking the whole time. That was not at ALL the case the entire half. At one point I told her I was just trying to focus, which was true, but it was also because I was trying to just hold myself together.

I hate, hate, hate walking during a run. I'm not sure what my big "deal" is about it, but I find it.....weak. Not for others or anything-I'm not a total jackass, but like I said....I put a lot of pressure on myself. Pressure I wouldn't ever expect to put on anyone else. Sigh. So when I hit 16k and I felt like I just could NOT go on another step, I told Tania I had to walk. She tried to encourage and reassure me, "There's just 5k left! You got this! What's 30 minutes??" At that point though, 2 minutes felt too long! I wasn't sure how I was going to hold it together to even make it. I lost my mind, people. I truly started spinning out of control in my head and I yelled at Tania that I was DONE, okay??? DONE!!!!!!

Somehow, I managed to smack myself across the face, internally, and started running again. Ya, I was not a happy camper. My thought was that I'd just get to 18k and have another GU. That would help me get to 19k where my friend Jay would be waiting at a cheer station. I knew from there, I'd see my family shortly after, and then I'd be at the finish. I literally counted down for these moments in my head and just tried to push to get to them.

I fueled and walked at 18k, the 2:20 pace bunny having passed me. Let me tell you, folks, at this point I didn't give a rat's ass when I finished, in terms of time. All of that flew out the window and my only thought was finishing this stupid, worst idea ever, event.

I started running again, and once I rounded the corner and saw Jay, it was like all of this pent up frustration and emotion and crazy came pouring out of me in a swift flood. I literally ran into her arms like someone being chased by Zombies, threw myself on her shoulder and sobbed!!! The ugly cry sob!!! Oh. My. Jay told me to "Go, go!" and I said I couldn't. I just really didn't even care.

But, go I did. I ran on, scanning the crowd for my family, frantic to hit that next mark and see them. For some reason, 20k seemed to take forever to reach, and still I didn't see my kids or husband. I started to think maybe they were just at the finish, so I kept putting one foot in front of the other. I could see the finish banner ahead, probably 500 meters or so out, and there they were! If you thought it was bad when I saw Jay, that was NOTHING compared to what happened when I saw them. I literally spent a minute sobbing over them, with my girls telling me they were so proud, and my husband and Tania telling me to "GO! The FINISH IS RIGHT THERE!" Again, I didn't really care.

I started to run, sort of in a daze, and the best part was....my girls ran right alongside of me, crossing the finish with me at 2:21:59.

I burst into a hideous amount of tears and threw myself into my husbands arms, where I kept repeating "I choked, I choked!" I KNEW that up until that final 5k, I had 2:15 firmly in my grasp. I was mad at myself for walking, I was mad at myself for "giving up." I knew if I hadn't stopped so long hugging and crying, I would have shaved off some time as well. I'd just run my first half marathon, a year to the day of running my first 5k ever, and I felt like a huge disappointment.

It was not a great feeling, to say the least.

After much sobbing, and then seeing my friends and heading to lunch, and discussing and replaying, I felt....not better, only because I was still upset with myself, but at least more composed, and happy (always happy) to be in the company of fantastic women that always manage to lift my spirits.

Tania and I went to LeNordik the following day, which was the perfect antidote to sore legs. We spent 5 hours in hot tubs and sauna's and pools. We drank B-52's and ate yummy food. My legs are still a bit stiff, and I always bloat during a race, and for a few days afterwards, but generally, I don't feel too badly.

She headed home today, and I've had some time to digest the race and be alone with my thoughts.

Being me, this means, I've been scouring the internets for "average first half race times for women" and "post race depression."  I've been devouring accounts of bloggers half marathons, and I've seen some 20 somethings that have been ECSTATIC over their 2:44 or even 3:00 finish times! Did you know the average pace for a 40 year old woman running a half is 11:15? I'm horrible with conversion from km to miles, but I was running more like 10:30. On top of which, my "finish" during my training half was 2:32, and I finished a full 10 minutes faster than that. What can I say? That can't be THAT horrible, right?

I've been kind of moping around today, my legs are still sore from pushing and I just feel generally emotionally and physically tired. I'm starting to come around, though, and I'm starting to let it sink in that I RAN A HALF MARATHON!!

I learned a lot from this run. I learned some things I shouldn't do, and I have a better understanding of what works for me. I don't know what's next for me, running wise, or even other activity wise.

Right now, I'm just glad that I did it, that I can check off the 'ol bucket list, and that, for a 40 year old lady running her first half, I didn't do "half" bad. I pushed, I persevered, I rallied when I didn't want to....and I finished.

In future, for any goal, I need to learn not to put more pressure on myself than I'd ever put on someone else. Life.....always more to learn....just like running. Let's hope it doesn't take me another 40 years to finally get this into my brain! You know, it's hard to "unlearn" stubborn.

Tania and I, above, before and after the race!

                                      My Girls. They pushed, cheered, talked down from ledges!
                                                                Finishers, ALL!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

It's My......Party?

I have a "big" birthday coming up very, very soon and the question always arises about how I plan on celebrating.  If you'd have asked me several years back what I wanted to do for my 40th, I can guarantee I would have said a huge bash with all of my friends.

Yet, the closer I got to the actual date, the more that idea didn't seem to really be "me."

Some of my friends did the whole big, surprise party thing-and it seems it never *quite* turns out how they'd hoped. There are either people left OFF of the list that they wanted there, or others ON the list they didn't really expect. There's also the other issue that a party that size, with that many friends from all walks of life, ends up feeling like a wedding where you don't really get to delve deeply into any one conversation, as you're trying to be polite and get to small talk with everyone.

I quickly vetoed that idea. I want to be able to truly connect with the people that matter the most to me, on that day. I see my birthday as setting the tone for the year ahead, and I like to share it with individuals that I know are going to reflect and support where I see myself going.

I know other friends that did wild and crazy trips, like Vegas. Again, to each his or her own, but that's really, really, not me. I'm a Mom, too, and my birthday wouldn't feel right if I didn't celebrate with my kids as well as my friends.

Honestly, last year I felt like I had the most incredible birthday I'd had in as long as I could remember. I celebrated with different groups of friends on different days and it made it seem like my birthday was a week long. Claire surprised me with front and center Celtic Thunder tickets, and then we hilariously waited in the shadows of a back entrance and met them and got autographs! How can you top that, really?

Here's the real crux of it for me, on my birthday, I just like to be remembered, and it's nice to have people in my life that want to do things that they've put some thought into and that they think are "me" or that they know I'd love, but would never do for myself. It doesn't have to be anything "big deal" and in fact, I specifically told my husband that I don't want anything expensive or extravagant. For me, really and truly and not just to be a cliche cheese ball, it comes down to the thought that went into something-even the smallest gesture can touch me if its meaningful.

That said-a weekend away with my husband is at the top of my list sooner than later!

I was talking to Claire about my birthday and about not wanting anything over the top, but still wanting to celebrate in a way that will stay with me. I was saying it didn't have to be anything grand, but I just want to mark the occasion, because this last year for me has been literally, life changing.

She made a great point. She said that I definitely SHOULD mark this birthday, not just for the sake of my turning 40, but for the fact that for the last year, I've set a bunch of goals for myself, monthly scary challenges, and big obstacles (emotionally and physically)-all things I've wanted to accomplish "before 40"-and I DID every single one of them. I met every goal and created new ones along the way. So, in more ways than just my date of birth, this turning 40 thing is kind of a big deal.

I've really been at a launching point of a whole new me, and 40 symbolizes how far I've come and the wide, open future where I'm going.

What does that celebration look like, then?

Well, last year made my heart burst with happiness....So I'm looking at more of the same. I have plans with my different groups of friends, my Mom, and my family. One of my girlfriends in the US just had a "big birthday" and decided to make it a month long party. I like that idea! I think my September is going to be a great, big, "intro to 40!"  I think it's going to be great to set the tone for the blazing journey ahead!

I'm doing 40 MY way!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Vacay And Lazy Days

I've been given the nudge that my blog was delinquent and I better get on task regarding a new post. You ask and you shall receive, my fine readers. :)

I've had an INCREDIBLE month of August, so you'll have to forgive my lapse on the blogging front.

We took off on vacation after the second week into the month, and it's been an amazing few weeks. Our goal for vacation this year was to go somewhere new, and to have an active time while there.

I chose New Hampshire and Vermont, 2 days in each place. I'd been to both before, but the rest of my family hadn't, and I knew we'd find the perfect mix of a little bit of shopping, and a lot of activity.

In New Hampshire, we stayed at the North Conway Grand Hotel. It had two pools, one indoor and one outdoor. The outdoor area also had a fire pit for S'mores and a kids fountain wading pool, as well as a playground and larger than life chess board. It also had a small gym, where I still managed to do my hill run workout early one morning. Every evening was a kids' social, with free sundae making bar! In the lobby, there was also free cookies and lemonade at all times from afternoon on! I actually managed to only partake in one cookie. We did some outlet shopping in anticipation of back to school, including new kicks for the whole gang, and "little black dress" for me. Mostly though, we had an amazing time exploring the great outdoors.

We first visited "Diana's Baths." You hike in a mile to these rocks that you can climb to the top, with little waterfalls and shallow pools. We spent several hours, just making our way gingerly across slippery stones and daring to climb higher. It was a great time, active, outdoors and FREE.

We spent the evenings with swimming in the pools and wandering some of the outlet shops.

We also did this: http://www.sacorivertubing.com/ which frankly was hilarious. You rent individual tubes, then get shuttled down to the beginning of the river. You can hook your tubes together with your family members, or just let the gentle current start to push you down the river. In entirety, it takes about 2 hours to float the whole thing. You can even rent a "cooler" tube, attached to your own, and pack a lunch or drinks. There is a beach about half way or more down the river, with rope swing, where you could get out and take a little break.

Well, let me tell you, this was not as "relaxing" as we'd imagined. The current kept pushing us from one side to the other of the river, into rocks or logs. You'd then have to kick and paddle with your arms to get back to center. After about 30 mins of just trying to lazily float, my eldest and I gave up and basically sat on the edge of our tubes and kicked and paddled for the entire time. The water was nice, and only about 3 feet deep. By the time we finished, we stood to climb up the stairs back to the tube drop off, and our legs were jelly. It was a great time, I'd totally do it again.

Next, our trip took us to Vermont. We stayed at the Green Mountain Suites, and WOAH, it was impressive. The price for one night was slightly higher than I'd normally want to pay, but breakfast buffet is provided, as is a "Manager's Reception" each night of a "light meal." Well, the first night was barbecued steak tips, full salad bar, and garlic mashed potatoes, with watermelon for dessert. Oh, and free beer and wine!!! WHAAT? Definitely worth it, for us. Our suite was gorgeous, immaculate and had full kitchen. Again we had indoor pool. full gym, fire pit.  I HIGHLY recommend. It's also a short distance to a big mall with all of the stores you could possibly want.

In Vermont, we decided to rent bikes and bike the Burlington Bike Trail, along Lake Champlain.http://www.enjoyburlington.com/parks/bikepath1.cfm We rented the bikes from a great shop, North Star Sports (http://www.northstarsportsvt.com/) and headed out to the path. It's 7.5 miles long, along the waterfront, and is just for bikes. You bike past several beaches and we stopped a few times to enjoy the view, have lunch, and refill water bottles. The kids did amazing on this 15 mile biking excursion, and even I (who hadn't been on a bike in probably almost 20 years) had a great time. Our stops were fairly short, and we weren't peddling leisurely! I was actually pretty amazed at the speed the kids wanted to keep up and we got back to the bike shop tired, sweaty and also exhilarated.

It was an amazing trip, I'd even go as far as to say one of the best family trips we've taken. I'm pretty confident that we'll return, but also that we'll continue to seek out more family vacations that encompass the same qualities we loved in this one.

Once we returned and did laundry and slept soundly in our own beds, we took another few days to enjoy nature and activity at my friend Karen's parents cottage. We rented stand up paddle boards for the weekend and had SUCH a blast. It may actually have even been my favourite part of this summer. My friends are all just very natural, not pretentious, and just chill. Their kids are great, the adults are like minded, and we had so many laughs, drinks, great food and time on the water in paddle boats, in the speed boat, kayaking, stand up paddling and swimming. It was the most relaxed that I've felt in a long, long time. My kids hopped on the paddle boards and took off! It was awesome to see and I know we'll be doing much more paddling as a family to come!

Once home, it was back to routine and reality. That always comes crashing in with a swift and thudding entrance, doesn't it?  It hasn't been that bad, really. We've continued to explore, and have enjoyed festivals and bike rides, swims and walks, as well as my youngest's birthday.

As I'm still training, I've also been continuing to run, upping my distance week to week. Tomorrow I'm up to 18k, then 20 and then tapering. Yikes. It's becoming super real, and I'm trying to go against my very nature and just "go with it" and "let things happen" instead of stressing how well I will or won't do. The only person, at the end of the day, that cares what time I got, is me. Unfortunately, as a competitive perfectionist, I care A LOT and I have to let that go a bit so I can enjoy the experience, and be proud of the fact, whatever happens, that a year to the date of my first 5k, I'm running a 1/2 marathon.  Maybe I'll never run one again, maybe I'll be on to the next thing, maybe I'll be taking up biking, who knows. Live in the moment. That's a hard lesson for me, but one I continue to try to embrace.

I've had some injury during this training, so the ideal is to work that out and feel pain free on race day. Plus, I have to be feeling good for my girl, Tania! She's coming all the way from Washington State to support me in this, as she's a seasoned pro. Ya, I'm going to be a hot mess and will probably spend the race crying like I did at the Manotick Road Race.

In cross training news, I also bought a TRX suspension system. Other than the fact that my husband broke part of it the second day we had it (greeeeat! It's still usable though!) I LOVE this thing. I've been doing park workouts with my buds at zero dark thirty am, and we alternate between TRX moves and plyometrics or core work. "Just for fun" (my friends Jay and Katie have very different ideas of fun than Sue-Anne and I do) we run the track with tires. Sometimes, we even throw them. I know, right? WHEEEEE! I wake up sore and know I've done a kick butt workout, but the TRX makes it so that you don't feel like you're dying! WIN!

As a follow up to the license thing-I've also been doing some regular driving! Took the kids and my Mom to the movie theatre and back, and whenever we go anywhere such as errands, my husband forces me to drive now. I'm not gonna lie, that's some nerve wracking stuff right there. The more I do it, the less it will be scary though, right?Hmmm.

I have one more week of summer left with a big event coming up, and then we're into September and all of the crazy that's going to bring! September is chock a block full of the scary, so stay tuned!

Hope you're all enjoying your summers as much as we have been loving ours!!!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Sweaty, Sweltering, Summer Surprises

It's been a month since I last wrote a post. Seriously? This month has seemingly just flown by and I can't even believe that July is already almost ending.

I had my niece and nephew full days for the first few weeks, so our days were spent playing, going to wave pools, swimming, playing Dominoes, going to Goodlife, having theme days, doing crafts and playing board games. Add in some park visits and some fighting and that was my first few weeks of July.

I've been putting in my training time for my 1/2 as well. Or, at least, trying to get the distances. I've thrown the idea of tempo runs out the window. It's just been way too stinkin' hot and after one tear laden run after another, I threw in the towel on that concept. I've been keeping up with my hill work but I'm not worrying about speed work. It's frankly a miracle to get the distance on my plan when it's that steamy out. Running in 45C humidex is NOT a pleasant experience, I tell ya.

The good news is that, once again, I've been shown what INCREDIBLE people I now surround myself with in life. What a huge blessing to be in the presence of supportive, encouraging and hand holding folks that TRULY want me to succeed.  I put the word out that I was taking a running break, and immediately had offers for park workouts, TRX workouts, hand holding for my long procrastinated Spin classes and Yoga on the beach under a full moon with hundreds of other folks.

Consequently, my routine has now changed up a little. The weather has cooled slightly, so I'm back to running and not hating it so much. I've changed it to 3 runs a week: a shorter distance, hill repeats and a long, slow Sunday run. I've also added in a strength day (which I've been lucky enough to do with friends at the park. I've even run with tire sleds, yo! I know, right?) and a Spin day, and I try to add in some Yoga.

It's not all just working out, though!

I got to see my favourite band, Great Big Sea in concert, with my husband. I spent the entire time jumping up and down and dancing and screaming. The 20 year old girl beside me was doing the same, and about 1/2 way through the concert turned to me and said, "You're awesome! I thought I was the biggest fan here! It's like it's just you and I rockin' out!" My husband just shakes his head at my screaming, sweaty, bouncy self but I know he secretly loves it. :)

I'm currently on vacation for the next few weeks and have taken this first week to check some things off the "To Do" list such as the eye doctors and such. But, I also did my "scary thing" for this month!!! It's a big one!

I FINALLY got my G1!!!! I've procrastinated this since I was, literally, 20 years old. I've been putting it off and putting it off, and the more I did so, the bigger and scarier it became to me. I decided that getting it was my goal for July and buckled down to read the book and go to write the test. I was literally shaking. I could barely sign my name! When they said I passed and I came out of the room, I saw my husband sitting in the waiting area and I held my Temporary Permit up in the air like a crazy person! It was an INSANE feeling. I know it's only Step 1.....but that's where it all starts, right? I'm more determined than ever to see this through!

My kids were hugging me and saying how proud they were of me, and my friends were hugging me and jumping up and down with me like I'd won the lottery. It was an amazing feeling and again....awesome, incredible people in my life. Yep.

We went out for my friend Karen's 40th birthday last night, in a limo no less, and out to one of the best meals I've ever had. We had a hilarious time, the limo ride home was EPIC and may have involved some pant less people. Whoo. I love my friends because the older we get, the less we change. :)  It's always a riot, and they are truly people I can just be myself around and they love me for it. In fact, my friend Kerry's husband surprised me at dinner by toasting ME and saying how, even though he doesn't comment, he follows my Facebook posts and sees what I'm doing and he thinks it's crazy inspiring and it's planting seeds of belief in others. WHAAAAT? I thought he was being facetious because, I know Facebook "workout" posts can get super annoying. (not that it stops me) But, no, the whole table toasted me and said how proud of me they are. I literally started crying and I went to bed thinking about it.

I didn't grow up with a ton of praise, and my family can often be cutting versus encouraging. In fact, I've always felt like "odd man out" in my family, the joke being that I was adopted. Most times, I honestly felt that maybe I was because I'm very different than the rest of my family, and it seemed they never really "got me." It's not that they don't care, it's just that my family isn't effusive with praise, for one, nor are they big on shows of affection. I get that, but as a super sensitive person, it always bothered me. I learned to not really seek their validation, but I THRIVE on praise, I've learned, so to hear how what I'm doing....little 'ol me.....is affecting others, especially coming from a big, strong dude.....it really touched me. Even if I annoy them sometimes with my posts. Again, they love me for the annoying and the inspiring. Ha!

So, that big, long update was July. It's been kind of a huge month!

We're doing some vacation trips coming up, to some truly beautiful areas, and I'm SO looking forward to it. In a sign of how times have changed, once again, we decided we wanted these trips to be less about spending, and more about experience. Our accommodations, food, gas and a little bit of outlet shopping are, of course, expenses. The majority of the trip however will be spent outside being active-hiking, biking, maybe stand up paddling. Anything that gets us moving and seeing and truly making memories.

Bring on August and the next challenge! I've got some "scary" happening in there as well!!!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Where The Heck Has June Gone And Future Plans

The month of June, in my world, is a super busy, crazy one. It's no wonder why the month has flown by, and my blog writing has taken a back seat! My calendar looked nuts, with many weekdays pencilled in, as well as weekends booked solid. Who can complain about FUN though, right? June is a social month!

I celebrated my friend Claire's birthday, TWICE, which I think should become the standard! I got to celebrate my niece's 12th birthday, enjoyed Father's Day activities that my husband chose, and still paused to remember my own Dad. In there, I also bought teacher gifts and wrapped up the final week of school and my eldest daughter's Grade 8 graduation and the many parties surrounding that event!

I also got many runs in on my new training program, and added in some new circuit training. I got to partake in a very STEAMY "Yoga on the Hill" with my pals Jay and Caroline, and hundreds of others, in 40 degree heat. It was a blast though and I'd totally do it again!

Last night, my daughter had her 14th birthday party with 14 kids-a mix of boys and girls-and the girls slept over. It went well and she was happy with both her party and her gifts. I'm a bit exhausted today after breakfast and clean up, but to see her so excited and happy has been all worth it!

The fact that she's now entering high school has had me a bit nostalgic. I've been looking at some pictures and counting my blessings. My kids are AMAZING people, so confident and strong. I'm honoured to be their Mum, every day. It's not for everyone, but I've been REALLY lucky to have been able to have the best of all worlds. I knew when I became a Mother I wouldn't want to settle for anything but being home and available to my kids 24/7. Not everyone has that luxury, nor do they want it, but after working in daycare, I knew "I" wanted to be the face they saw all day, the one that hugged booboo's away, the one that rocked to sleep and the one that saw their "firsts."  My husband has always not only supported that choice, but demanded it, and it worked perfectly in that I maintained my career, contributed to our family income, and stayed home by having a home daycare. I LOVE that I've been able to not miss a moment. Honestly, I feel like that has made a huge difference in my children. My ambition has never been career driven, it's always been family based. Even my high school yearbook has my ambition being "to realize the white picket dream." It's what I've always wanted and I don't regret not having some "big job" for a second.

That said, as my kids get older, I've started thinking about what I'd like to do "now."  The more I've thought about it, the more I've come to terms with the fact that I'm never going to be that "career driven" individual. I have never wanted to be the "boss" in any job I've ever had. I'm always happier in the background, part of the team. I took on leadership roles most of my younger life, and I have no desire for that anymore. I think when much of your childhood is spent trying to survive and excel and "get ahead"-you burn out. I just want peace, tranquility and a quiet existence now. No bells and whistles needed. Where I'm truly happiest is with my family and my friends that have become more like my family. Anything separate to that would just be "punching a time card."

The other night, I was leaving for dinner out with friends and had prepped a meal for my husband to make. He decided he'd take the kids out instead. I joked that without me there they can't function or even get a meal on the table! My husband looked at me, hugged me and said, "That's exactly it, Trace. We CAN'T function without you and all that you do for our family,"  Hmm, he may have won some points there(or eased my frustration about his going out to dinner when a meal was almost ready on the counter!)  When I'm serious and focused about something, as a perfectionist who is critical, I make sure I give 100 percent of myself to the task. My family has been that focus for me, and will continue to be, for as long as I live. I say that without shame or remorse or guilt, and I don't care what anyone else thinks of that choice. Some think I'm a bit "Martha Stewart" about being a Mum. Great! I wear it with pride.

That doesn't mean I can't pursue other things that will get my laser focus, though.  I just don't know that slaving away at a 9-5 like everyone else is that thing. :)

This year has been full of transition, and continues to not disappoint. I'm planning on an EPIC summer and then a world of change for September forward. Keep an eye on this blog. You never know WHAT I might do next.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Happy Write-Off

This whole week has been a glorious blur. I've literally had a crazy fun time, which also means I have kind of thrown my whole "plan" out the window. That stresses me out, on the one hand, and on the other? I could give a flying rat's patootie.

I managed to follow my training plan on Monday and got my run in. I also completed my 30 Day Ab Challenge and took my final measurements. (1 inch down on the waist, another inch on the hips! Ya baby!) That's where it all kinda goes to pot.

I woke up Tuesday morning with my back feeling...weird. Sort of locked and stiff. I decided to make an Executive Call and skip my run and take a Rest Day. I took care of my friend's 4 month old instead and OH MY. The cutes. I loved every minute of it. He's super adorable.

We were supposed to go to the New Kids concert that night, but it got postponed, which I wasn't that upset about since my back was still feeling all sorts of wrong.

I thought I'd head out Wednesday morning for a run, but I woke up with my back still feeling stiff. It wasn't as bad as the day before, but definitely not what I'd call 100%.

The concert that night was EPIC. Whooo. We had a nice dinner out at Aperitivo (tapas, all Gluten free!) and it was delish. We *may* have felt like we were teenagers again and consumed several ROUNDS of Lemon Drop shots. We then *may* have had several more rounds at the concert. On top of the other drinks. I was Hangin' Tough for sure! What a hilarious night though. That's definitely one for the memory banks. I've had some crazy times with those girls, we've been friends for 26 years, and I imagine there are many more to come. We did a lot of dancing and a lot of screaming, so I woke up Thursday with a killer sore throat and even more monumental hangover.

So, yeah. Thursday, the only exercise I was doing was raising Advil and water to my parched lips and sore throat.

Friday, I had volunteering for 3 hours, followed by the kids all home for a PD day, followed by a big pasta dinner out with my Mom, niece, daughter and her friend. It was very yummy and we had a nice time, so again, no complaints.

That brings us to yesterday. I had to get groceries, run to the mall with my daughter for several birthday gifts, get home and get ready to surprise my friend Claire at a restaurant for HER birthday! It was a super night, her husband had arranged the whole thing and made it possible for she and I just to have dinner together and chat. There's never enough time when I'm with her. We could talk forever and a day it seems. (according to her husband we DO talk forever but....) I even managed some wine and some Caesars.

It's now Sunday and long run day. I've been puttering and hanging out after a horrific nights sleep, filled with tons and tons of very real nightmares. I hate when that happens. I've got the third load of laundry going and stuff prepped for dinner. My youngest had a friend over for a playdate and my husband took them to a movie now. He did some of my planned yardwork as well, which is really awesome.

So, long run. I'm thinking this evening when it gets a tad cooler outside.

I get stressed that I'm "off plan" because I'm a big "plan/organization" freak, but I'm actually not feeling too badly for some reason. I think it's because I know that when I go hard, I really push it, and when I need rest, I really listen. I had a week full of some of my favourite people and activities, and I'm not going to let that joy be stolen from those moments with fretting.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Things That Seem Like A Good Idea At The Time....

There are times, even at my advanced age, that I give myself a huge facepalm for deluding myself into thinking something is a good idea, when I KNOW, clearly, that it is NOT. Here are some of those examples:

-when both hubby and I are in a rush to go somewhere/have plans/not together and need to get ready in a jiffy. It seems logical that jumping in the shower at the same time would speed up the process of readiness, killing two birds with one stone etc. Ya, no. That never quite happens that way.

-when I start watching "Girls" because I've heard it's great and lots of my friends are into it and I spend the whole time both disgusted and feeling like I need to turn it off/change the channel but somehow manage to watch both seasons anyways.  There goes time I can't ever get back. BAD NAKED. Just...wrong.

-when I buy into my kids Oscar worthy dramatics that they are SO not feeling well and can barely raise their heavy heads from their pillows. One hour later, they're chatting me up non-stop and doing a craft and wondering when lunch is, and if they can hang with friends later and....

-when I think that somehow I've "outgrown" my propensity towards heatstroke and I can miraculously go out and run at 11am in peak heat without a care. I guess you don't outgrow that kind of thing.

-when I think I'm still 18, or 30 even, and can drink several Caesar's and bottles of wine and just sleep it off.  Now, 3 drinks in I'm thinking....this is not going to be good, time to stop. I don't always listen to myself.

-when I think that because I've lost weight I can now wear whatever outfits I want, forgetting the small detail that my actual body shape of a short, high waisted torso and ample bosom have not miraculously disappeared and that hey-those same clothes that looked like crap on me at 21 STILL don't look great. (Rompers? I'm looking at YOU)

-when I feel nausea coming on and my response is my usual, "oh, that means eat MORE stuff and it'll go away."  Huh. You can't say I'm not persistent.

-when I think that writing this stuff down, here in this space, will prevent me from falling into these traps again and again.