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Finding More Hours In My Day.

I’ve often p’shawed people (Totally made up that word…it’s when you “P’shaw!” at someone. Am I the only one that every says, “P’shaw!”? Well, then I guess I’m the only one who will ever “p’shaw someone” then.) who say things like, “I don’t see how you do it all!” Because I felt like I always spent PLENTY of time goofing off online or vegging out in front of the television to really feel like I was doing any more in one day than the average person.

But then I found myself up at 2:00am, hanging cabinet doors back up in E’s bathroom and I said to myself, I don’t see how you do it all!

As I slowly-but-surely work my way through my List Of Things To Do Before We Put The House On The Market, I realize that right now? I’m having trouble doing it all. Right now…there’s too much going on. Wes woke up with foot aches (calling them “leg cramps” anymore is false, for the last 6 months or so they’re isolated entirely in the foot) at 1am so I got up, gave him some ibuprofen, put him in the tub, and tried to go back to sleep. But I couldn’t because all my brain could do was think about all of the extra hours I had in my day if I got up RIGHT THAT SECOND and started working. I’ve been using my mornings and evenings to squeeze in chores and there was a part of my brain that thought YOU CAN DO SO MUCH MORE IF YOU GET UP NOW!. So, at 2am I was hanging cabinet doors.

This week hasn’t been great. I’ve been stress eating too much (After a whole FIVE DAYS of not stress eating! That was a record as of recent developments.) the last 4 days and I haven’t found any time to run that fits in with the daylight hours or the weather. I was going to try to run yesterday morning but the fog was so heavy and once the sun comes up, lights are useless so fog is actually more dangerous in the daylight than in the nighttime. So! No run. Also? I’m behind on my favorite TV shows. And I know that sounds silly but my TV is my escape and I don’t watch much anymore so I really want to find time to watch the shows I love.

(Oh, and then I broke my pinky toe. I mean, I don’t have an X-ray to tell me that the bone broke, but the purple, swelling, and pain are plenty. Especially since there’s NOTHING they can do about it but tape it to my other toe and send me on my way.)

(Don’t ask me how I did it.)

(Fine. I’ll tell you. I went to stand on a step ladder and put it on my toe. AND THEN STOOD ON THE LADDER. I know. It’s hard to imaging how one can do that. But that’s what I did. It hurt like hell. As my friend on FB said, now you all can learn from my mistake and always check under a ladder for your other foot before stepping onto said ladder. You’re welcome.)

ANYWAY!

Too much to do, and I’m sacrificing things I don’t want to sacrifice. Like my runs.

SO! I’m making an executive decision and I’m not going to open any sort of social media on my computer. Now, I don’t play on the internet a lot. But, It is my “break” when I need it. See? If I only have like – 15 minutes of a break, maybe while I eat lunch, or when I’ve got some time before leaving to pickup the kids but not enough time to start another work task – I’ll open Facebook. The problem is, I have that 15 minute break SEVERAL times a day. So, at the end of the day, I’v wasted at least an hour on Facebook – IF NOT MORE. It occurred to me last night that if I hadn’t messed around on Facebook yesterday evening before bed, I could have EASILY caught up on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. I couldn’t have run because…TOE…but still! Facebook did not actually help me cross anything off my list.

I love Facebook. I love staying updated on my friends and it’s how I communicate with a lot of my local groups. HOWEVER, saving it for the car-line on my phone, or for the bathroom when Wes is soaking in the tub, or just on my phone while I’m waiting for dinner to cook – all of those moments are PLENTY to stay caught up with my friends and my groups. I don’t need to sit down after the kids go to bed, Just for a minute and then – 5 Buzzfeed quizzes later – realize I’ve just spent an hour playing online instead of hanging up cabinet doors.

So. Social media is for the PHONE ONLY. That still gives me plenty of time but 99 times out of 100 when I’m using social media on my phone, I’m multi-tasking or waiting on something. So that time is not wasted. Whereas 99 times out of 100 when I’m using it on my computer, I could be painting or sweeping or cleaning windows.

At least until we get the For Sale sign in the yard. Or until my 9 pages of “To Do” in my bullet journal drops down a bit.

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dogwood

I became a better person when I let go of God.

I had a weird thought recently.

I realized that I’ve become a more moral person in the last decade. The same decade in which I gave up on my pursuit of religion and came to terms and embraced the life of a non-believer.

This was a VERY weird thing for me to realize.

But it’s true. Now, a lot of that is just life. I was immature and made a lot of mistakes as a really young adult. Back when I forgot I wasn’t invincible and forgot that I do have to pay for the mistakes I make. So maybe a lot of what changed was just growing up. Becoming more aware of the ripple effects of my actions.

But a lot of it I can see as a relation to my outlook on the world around me and my understanding of how my actions affect that world. And that understanding is something I achieved as I embraced my life without religion.

As I let go of the idea of a higher power watching over me, I embraced the idea that all of my actions – even those that no one sees – have consequences. Somehow, in letting go of one being that might judge me, I opened up to the universe being my judge. It’s not something I consciously did, it’s not like I felt I needed some sort of arbitrator for my behavior. But as I embraced my humanism, I became very aware of how connected we all are, and therefore I became more aware of the effects of even the tiniest of actions on my part.

I used to be a HUGE gossiper. (Gossiper? Person who gossips? Gossiper is a weird word.) I used to love sharing the lovely bits of drama I had heard that belonged in the lives of others. I used to love hearing those juicy bits of news. I would be the first to spread any secret that someone made me promise not to spread. I even thrived on the ridicule of those “lesser” in the social strata or even inhaled trashy tabloids and junky reality television.

But somewhere in the last decade of letting go of religion, my interest in all of that faded.

I somehow became unable to hear gossip without thinking about the person on the other side and how their lives would be effected by the spreading of these stories. I couldn’t watch junky reality television without thinking of the lives of the contestants and how they would continue after this phase in their lives. I couldn’t enjoy the trash without worrying about the people on the other side. I remember being kept up at night once after a particular meltdown of a contestant on Survivor. I kept thinking about her kids at their school and how would their friends treat them and their Mom after this. I just decided I couldn’t be part of the audience that kept those shows on television.

It’s been a very weird transformation for the girl who was addicted to Temptation Island.

This may be very unique to me. Or maybe it just comes to everyone, even those with religion in their lives, with age. Maybe I needed to lose my religion to really understand the world around me because I used religion as a crutch. I didn’t think watching Temptation Island was a sin, so why would I stop doing it? But when I became more concerned with my actions and the world around me, instead of just “sins”, I found myself curbing my behavior more.

I am still not morally “perfect” by any means, but it’s been an interesting realization to see that I’m – essentially – less of a sinner now than I was when I had religion. I still “sin” daily but my general attitude to the world is one of a good person, and I don’t think I could say that before. Maybe I needed to lose my religion to be a good person. Part of that makes me sad, because some of the best people I know are Christians and it’s unfortunate it couldn’t do for me what it did for them. But the other part of me is grateful for the crisis of Faith because it force me to look through a wider scope. It was no longer important JUST the specific actions I was committing and where they fell on the “sin” spectrum, but it was important how my actions affected those around me. When I do anything now, I try to pay more attention to the ripples in the pond than worrying about whether it fell in the “sin” or the “not sin” pond to begin with.

Of course, most of the Christians I know are the type who would probably be very glad of this transformation. They’re glad I’m a better person with a more Christ-like heart, even if I became that person by letting go of God.

My kids have been learning the phrase “Spreading Joy” lately. I’ve been teaching them the idea of actively adding joy to the world. Did they do anything to spread joy today? Somedays we’re doing our best just not to spread evil, but other days we’re trying to spread joy. I’m proud of this addition to my parenting arsenal. I’m not sure it’s something I would have stumbled upon when I was on the religious path I was on before. Other paths lead to teachings like that, but I was no where near those paths.

I guess my long-winded point is that I discovered lately that – for me – losing God made me a better person. And this is more proof that I like to embrace every time I see someone online or in the media claim that all of the problems in this world relate to forsaking God and religion. I am making the world better as a non-believer than I ever did as someone with Faith.

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Play Room

Reduce. Reduce. Reduce.

The house I grew up in was 1000 square feet, approximately. I remember that Donnie is the one that told me my house was small, sometime before we got married. And even though I had grown up in the house, I didn’t realize it was that small. He tried to convince me it was smaller than the apartment we were living in to which I argued incessantly until Dad confirmed, “Yep. Around 1000 square feet. Not counting the basement or garage.”

For the record? No one counts the basement. It was scary as hell down there. And the garage had a dirt floor and no one parked there, so I’m fairly sure no one was counting that either.

Home Sweet Home
Home Sweet Home

But I was SHOCKED To find out my house was smaller than my apartment at the time. It just felt bigger.

For a lot of my adult life, I loved the idea of having a big house. Our first house was 2000 square feet (or so) and I called it a “starter home” to which my Dad guffawed. “A starter home? Why does this have to be a starter home? It’s huge!” But it only had 3 bedrooms and we had 3 kids, so we knew we needed bigger. When we found this huge house for a great price-per-square foot since it needed updating, it was a NO BRAINER. It gave us room to have one or two more kids and it was GIANT. 4100 square feet! HUGE! IT IS A DREAM!

And the size has been great for two things
1) Gatherings
2) Hiding children

We’ve had up to 30 people in our house at one time, no problem. We’ve had adult gatherings where kids stay out of the way in another room no problem. We’ve relegated kids to certain parts of the house and enjoyed peace and quiet no problem.

But the rest of it? SUCKS GIANT DONKEY BALLS.

We had to buy a bunch of furniture when we first moved in because we didn’t have enough to come even CLOSE to filling it. We also claimed furniture other family members were holding on to because we had the space. But now? Our goal is to downsize substantially. We have decided we don’t want to ever again be in a position were our free time and money is put towards our home. We’re just not those people anymore and we don’t want to go back to being those people. We want to put our time and money on things OUTSIDE the home, races and adventures and such. And the houses with the floor plans we need (still need a 4th “bedroom”) are about 1500 square feet OR MORE smaller than this one.

SO! While we’re prepping the house to sell, we’re clearing it out. We’ve pointing out to the kids that all of the things in the playroom will need to fit in their bedrooms in the next house so we’ve cleaned out all of those areas substantially. We’re not going to have a “craft closet” anymore or a “holiday closet” so I’ve had to go through my craft supplies and my holiday decorations. I’ve basically been working on the upstairs for a solid week and am ALMOST DONE.

Play Room
Play Room

Wesley's Room
Wesley’s Room

Nikki's Room
Nikki’s Room

And y’all? It feels GREAT. (I wish I had “before” pictures. They do exist on my instagram somewhere I’m sure, but just trust me: It was chaos. Here’s an entry with a photo that gives you a VERY tiny glimpse.)

It’s like with every item I put in the Yard Sale pile or every bag for Goodwill or every item in the garbage, a huge weight is lifted off my shoulder. ONE LESS THING TO CARE ABOUT IN MY LIFE. We’ve spent the last year changing modes in anticipation of this, I’ve done one initial “clearing” of the house before to get rid of the easy stuff to trash/goodwill – but this time it’s a deep purge. I’m going through every drawer and every box and every shelf and truly evaluating: DO WE NEED TO KEEP THIS. It’s liberating. I’m so looking forward to this new life. I guess I’ve probably sorted through 1/3rd of the house, but that 1/3rd was the most densely packed part. The rest I could almost do in on solid day. The garage will be Donnie’s turf as most of the stuff there is his, but for the most part, I’ve made it through the hardest part and I’m just SO READY to live on the other side of this adventure where we reduce our lives and our possessions so we can spend our time and our money on adventures and not things that keep us at home.

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A 7 Bridges Race Report – A Lesson About Race Pacers

I had been telling myself for weeks that I was just going to do the 7 Bridges Marathon with the 5-mile pacer so I could be sure to take it “easy” and not race it. Since my training hasn’t been perfect for a few weeks and my 50K is next month, I didn’t want to hurt myself, so “easy” was my goal.

But, the thing is – I still have not really come to terms with what some of my paces are. I PR’d a 5K in the Spring at a hair under 25 minutes and I PR’d a 13.1 at a hair under 2:02. Those are both REALLY fast for me. And my marathon PR is 4:38, which is a bit slower than the other two numbers indicate. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that maybe 5 hours was too slow. Maybe that would hurt me more than help me if I’m trying to keep my steady pace a little higher than last year. So, I decided to start with the 4:45 group.

In retrospect what I should have done was stuck with my mind and my watch and tried to just keep an 11-minute pace the entire distance.

The pacers, it turns out, spent the first several miles trying to catch up with the clock so that their clock time and NOT their chip time (you have chips on your race bibs so your race time actually starts and ends when YOU cross the start/finish lines) would say 4:45. This makes sense, now that I think about it, but we started about 4-5 minutes after the start of the race so they spent the first 10 miles or so catching up with the clock. And while 10:30 does not seem that much slower than a 11:00, it REALLY is over the course of 10 miles or more. And all I know is that we did a few stretches of sub-10 minute pacing and one was going up a hill to a bridge and THAT is where I felt my first twinge of a quad cramp.

MORAL OF THE STORY: Sometimes it’s OKAY to listen to the voices in your head telling you to slow down. Unfortunately, I have no idea how to tell you WHEN to listen to those voices because many times I ignore those voices and am happier for it. But this time I ignored them and I think it damaged me.

Anyway – quad cramps are something I periodically get threats of. They’ve never completely cramped during a race but I’ve had a few races where a push to the finish line caused them to cramp up afterwards. And I’ve fought off the twinges before, often having more problems on flat that on uphill or downhill.

My point? This was not foreign to me, but also not something I still knew exactly how to deal with. I knew NOT to stop. I know the SECOND I stopped they would cramp up completely, but I didn’t know the best way to keep them from getting worse.

Basically, I slowed down a chunk and added in a few uphill walk breaks from about mile 15 to mile 20. Not too much walking and still kept close to the 4:45 pacers, but at mile 20 I sent my friend on her way and I came to terms with letting go of that 4:45 finish time. I texted Donnie to let him know I was struggling and not going to hit the 4:45 finish time and I posted a smiling selfie to try to keep my spirits up.

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I ended up holding about a 13-14 minute pace for the next 6ish miles. It was ROUGH. I didn’t take too many walk breaks because walking didn’t really help a lot. My run, however, was stupidly slow because I was resisting bending my leg because my quads were hurting. E called me around mile 24 and I thanked him profusely for giving me a mundane distraction while I took a walk break. While we were on the phone I snapped this picture.

Kim Is Killing It

It was signed by a Chattanooga running group but I took it to heart and after I got off the phone with E I decided to push my run as hard as I could to the finish.

By the time I got to the last mile I was fighting back tears, often unsuccessfully, my quads hurt so bad. I just wanted to be done. When I got to the finish line, the kids joined me and I was so happy I was crying out of joy and pain all at the same time.IMG_0377

It was ROUGH. I still finished around 4:53 which is faster than last year’s 7 Bridges time, so I’ll take it. But man the finish was UGLY. I just completely fell apart the last 8’ish miles and that will stay with me for awhile. I HATE finishing a race that poorly. I like feeling proud of my finish and not that disappointed. I know I should just be happy I finished but I’ve gotten so much faster and stronger in the last year, I really wanted to feel strong about this race, not discouraged and now stressing about my 50K. I’ve never been greeted by my family after a race and just sobbed, but Sunday I did. I just said, “They hurt so bad!” and was simply crying. It was definitely a first for me.

I might not have handled the “heat” well either, which can also lead to cramps. That’s a whole other issue in itself though, so I’m not going to get into that now.

I finished. I’m proud to add another marathon to my completed races lists. I’m proud that I still beat last year’s time which was actually my main goal. I’m proud I didn’t walk the entire last 8 miles. I’m proud I’m still looking forward to the other races in my future.

I just wish I had not tried to run with the pacer. Now that I realize how that works (I’ve never try to finish with the pacer I start with) and that in SOME cases (I’m not sure if it’s ALL cases or not) they’re trying to finish with the clock, and you need to know that when you START with them so that they don’t overpace you. If I had finished with them, my chip time would have been 4:40 and that would have been okay if that speed had been spread out over 26 miles, but they tried (for reasons I do understand now, just didn’t realize it then) to make up that time as fast as possible. So, next time if I want to start/finish with the pacer I’ll make sure they’re pacing CHIP time and not CLOCK time. If they’re pacing CLOCK time I’ll either start up front and let them catch up with me, or I’ll pace myself.

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Kim Is Killing It

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I actually slept until 5:30am this morning after a 20+ hour day yesterday that included a marathon wrapped with 5 hours of travel. I’ll deliver a longer race report tomorrow, but know I survived. I finished 8’ish minutes slower than my A goal, but 7 minutes faster than my B goal. And since it was just a “training” run – I wasn’t racing – then in reality a finish was all I needed so I’m kinda happy. But also kinda discouraged for reasons I’ll get into tomorrow. Thanks for tolerating this placeholder, I still always feel like my days go better when I put SOMETHING on the blog, so this is all you get today.

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a little bit of everything.