Seven? Eight? Twenty? What?

The Couple That Swims In Mud Together...

Donnie and I decided not to give gifts for our anniversary this year. He’s never been a big fan of shopping for me anyway, and this year we need a new dryer so we thought the budget, and our sanity, could use the break of the burden of gifts.

But I think it’s funny – because if there’s any year I want to celebrate our marriage? It’s this one.

As a family, we’ve come so far in the last year. We have both taken on loads more, as have our children, so the necessity of teamwork has grown and we’ve risen to the challenge. I’ve moved past a lot of my guilt issues and handed over the wheel to him as a parent several times a week. He’s let go of his need to win everything and takes it down a notch to attend a boot camp with me, or do a 10-mile run, or swim under mud with me after climbing walls together.

We’re just at a good place in life. Which is nice, since we’ve been together over ten years and married for…how long? Seven? Eight? Hell, I can’t be expected to remember that.

EIGHT. I think. Yes, we’ve been married EIGHT years.

Either way – long enough to be in a rut. But we’re not. We still enjoy each other’s company, even though it’s been very rare lately. We’re participating in runs together, which is such a fulfilling thing to do as a married couple. We’re volunteering together for E’s theater program and we take a break sometimes to enjoy ‘Parks and Recreation’ together. The funny thing is, the things that make up our lives now? Weren’t anywhere on the horizon when we got married. We knew nothing about drama or musicals. We weren’t runners. We didn’t watch a lot of TV. I didn’t cook. Or take pictures. We’re such different people in such different places than we were when we said, “I do.” Yet – we’re still happily married. We’ve changed and grown together, where so many grow apart.

I’m just happy. Still. Seven, EIGHT years after we were married, I’m happy. Happier than last year, even. Which makes me look forward to next year.

I love you, hon. Thanks for being such a big cheerleader for me on all of my journeys.

The Day After

Training Myself To Ignore The Scale

weightIt’s hard to ignore the scale. EVERYONE TELLS YOU TO IGNORE THE SCALE. Hell, just this weekend I was telling my family that the scale doesn’t tell me anything. But still. IT’S IMPOSSIBLE TO IGNORE IT.

I gave up on having a weight goal as soon as my boot camp instructor told me that, based on the change in measurements and percent fat, I had lost 5lbs of fat and replace it with muscle. It’s hard to use a goal weight when you have no idea how much your muscular body weighs.

HOWEVER, I do weigh myself. It allows me to at least monitor progress. Because my goal is to simply be able to wear my wedding band again. I took it off during the last half of my pregnancy with Nikki and haven’t worn it since. I’m close, I could get it on but I fear I wouldn’t be able to get it off again. It’s hard to tell how much weight on the scale I have to lose because you never know where your body will choose to burn fat. From your feet? From your ass? Or in my case: MAH BOOBZ. I still have a nice pocket of fat around my midsection that hasn’t shrunk at all, while my arms and legs look AWESOME.

My point of all of this? It’s easy to get discouraged each time I step on the scale and don’t see a drop. Especially when I ran 35 miles last week. So I tried to find some comparison pictures. Which is hard because I can’t wear most of the bottoms I used to wear anymore. Why this isn’t enough is BEYOND ME. I can’t wear the skirt in the first picture above anymore because it will fall off me. WHY ISN’T THIS ENOUGH?

Anyway. I can still wear some of my older shirts because I was probably wearing them when I shouldn’t be anyway. So I took this picture to compare my body in the two shirts. IT IS SO OBVIOUS I’VE LOST WEIGHT.

But that DAMN SCALE. And don’t tell me to get get rid of it, because I’m physically incapable of it. And don’t tell me not to step on it, because I have to. Just remind me that this picture and the fact that I ran THIRTY-FIVE MILES THIS WEEK, on top of 4 days of boot camp, THAT is what is important. So, I can step on it all I want, but I need to take that number and put it in the bag with the clothes I can’t wear anymore. Because it’s about as useful to me now.

This Day Was Insane. And Also INSANE SOME MORE.

Pre 13 milesDisclaimer – I’ve reread this entry and can’t quite get it to make sense with punctuation. Or words. Or spelling. Or grammar. Please know this is simply indicative of how tired I am. I promise I’m not either A) Drunk or B) Having a seizure.

It’s Saturday night at 7:46pm. I want to be in bed sleeping, but I feel lame and fear waking up tomorrow at 3am, so I’m sucking it up and trying to stay awake at least until 9pm. THAT IS SO LATE.

This day has been one of the most insane of my LIFE. Let me start by summarizing my week. Every day this week I woke up between 4am and 4:30am for boot camp. Every night but Monday I ran in the evening. One of those days was 6 miles worth of hill work, another was 4 miles worth of tempo runs. Basically, before today, I had 22 miles over four days. BEFORE TODAY. I just want you to know how chaotic my week had been before I even woke up this morning, so you can REALLY appreciate the level of exhaustion I’m at this moment.

Now…on to TODAY.

4:30am – Wake up. Head to Fleet Feet by 6am with Donnie to run 13 miles with my half-marathon training group. We hired one of E’s friends to spend the night at our house so the kids wouldn’t be alone. (E is at his Dad’s.) While we were gone, one friend was going to pick Wes up at 8:30 to take him to breakfast, another friend was going to take Nikki to her soccer game.

6:40am – 9am – Run 13+ miles.

9am – Donnie goes home to shower and then immediately heads to E’s high school to help build/paint sets.

9am – Kim goes straight to Nikki’s soccer game after her run. Then after the game goes straight to friend’s house to pick up Wes.

11am – Go home, bathe.

12noon – Head to E’s high school to give the kids to Donnie so he can take them home for naps and I can have a meeting with a teacher about a meeting Monday.

1pm – 3:30pm – Start working with costumes for ‘Alice in Wonderland’ with the cast.

4pm – Pick up Donnie, Nikki and Wes and run to an early dinner before the football game.

5:30pm – Take Wes and go get groceries and birthday presents for Nikki as her birthday is Wednesday.

7pm – Come home, unload groceries and put kids to bed.

7:30pm – Sit on couch and decide the only way I’ll be able to stay awake until 9pm is if I write a blog entry.

Basically, I didn’t sit down for more than 10 minutes at my house until 7:30pm. And I’ve got about 5 days worth of exhaustion built up behind my eyelids which are TRYING TO CLOSE. The house is a DISASTER. Sink is full of dishes. Dirty clothes everywhere. Carpets need vacuuming, floors need cleaning, and I’ve got about 10 emails I need to send before bed but my brain isn’t functioning enough to send them. Hell, the grammar and spelling atrocities in this entry alone should show you I do NOT NEED TO BE SENDING PROFESSIONAL EMAILS.

Nikki’s birthday dinner with the family is tomorrow and she wants pumpkin bread instead of cake. I haven’t made it. My kids haven’t had baths today and I really need to shave my legs.

And this week? Big Huge Meeting Monday night. Group run Tuesday night. Nikkis’ Birthday Wednesday night. Book club and group run Thursday night. Boot camp every morning.

In other words…tonight is my night to catch up on sleep or miss my chance again until next weekend.

But, as exhausted as I am. And a little bit of a basket case because I’m so tired. I also had a really easy run this morning. And to run 14 miles and be able to say it was “easy” is a huge step. AND Wes was uber-sweet and loving today. AND we had some yummy hot wings for dinner. AND I’m drinking a beer right now. So life is good. I’m just tired and having one of those moments where I find myself thinking, Maybe…just maybe…I bit off more than I could chew this year.

But, since I’m too tired to do anything about it, I’m just going to go to bed.

Mind Over Matter

Not that I really need that light on these shoes... So, I’m training for a half-marathon. Did you know that? My local friends and family on Facebook don’t. Because I never talk about it on Facebook at all. NEVER.

So…a half-marathon. That’s 13.1 miles. I’ve trained on my own in years past using online programs, and never stuck with it very well, hence poor performance come race day. Therefore, when we had to fill out our “goal” in this running group, mine was just, “Run the entire race without walking.” No need for a lofty goal or anything, I had done THREE of these before and never once run then entire 13 miles. I figured that alone would be sufficient.

Well, we’ve hit the 13.1 distance TWICE so far in our training and I ran it all the way both times. So, um, GOAL REACHED! Ta da! I can go home now!

Now, I find myself doing something I’ve never done before: THINKING ABOUT MY SPEED. Last night, one of the girls in our group summed it up in a nutshell in a passing comment, “It’s all mental now.”

That is a sentiment several people have mentioned in this training program. How much of this training stuff is a MENTAL challenge compared to a PHYSICAL challenge. I’m amazed every time it hits me how VERY MUCH the balance is mostly mental for me. Like, now that I’m near the end? I’d even say 80% mental.

My body is ready. It wasn’t even that difficult to get my body ready. I followed the program given to me. That easy. The hard part was each step along the way, feeling like there is no way in hell I can do this. Several times along the way I’ve almost skipped a long run just to avoid proving I was incapable of it. I got myself out the door with varying degrees of success along the way. EVERY TIME I thought about not doing it because of self-doubt and EVERY TIME I did it.

So now we’re getting down to speed. I’ve never thought about speed before because I just wanted to SURVIVE. Now? I’ve proven I can survive.

2 weeks ago, Donnie ran my 10 miles with me. I had already done 14, so I was relaxed about the 10. Donnie ended up pushing me faster than I would have run alone and we did 10 miles in 93 minutes. That’s a 9.3 minute per mile pace. That is FASTER than the pace I ran my 5K pace last year. A WHOLE LOT FASTER.

When I got ready for my 5K this weekend, I thought I’d set my pace for 9.3 minutes per mile, but Donnie convinced to aim for 9-minute miles. I ended up doing it in 8.5-minute miles. And then, last night? I had to do a 4-mile tempo run with my group. Because I don’t have a watch that tells me my pace, I had to do find someone to run with. After the first half-mile I realized I needed to catch up with the group in front of me because I was too far from the group behind me. I let the FAST GROUP pace me last night. They are the FASTEST in the group. The ones the first few weeks that just bolted ahead of me. This time? I ran with them. We ran four miles in THIRTY-THREE MINUTES. And that’s when one of the girls said to me, “It’s all mental for you now.”

Now…those four miles nearly killed me. It took everything I had to stick with them, but I did it. I DID IT.

So now we come to the point: I have NO IDEA how to pace myself for the actual race. Pace calculators tell me I should be able to do it in under 2 hours. THAT SEEMS IMPOSSIBLE. The four miles last night near killed me, but that was at about an 8.25 pace. My half would be at a 9.3 pace or so. That’s a chunk slower, but is it slow enough that I could hold it for 2 hours? I HAVE NO IDEA. It’s all mental, how do you push yourself mentally? How do you find you’re limits?

No clue. I have a few long runs to figure it out. I also have the luxury of already reaching my goal so everything from here is cake. One things if for certain: I am blown away by how easy it was to do the physical part of the training, after pushing past the the mental barriers at least. Getting myself out the door was the hardest part of each of those milestones. Now, I just have to stop slowing myself down and we’ll be golden.

Tackling Mommy Guilt

There used to be a time when I felt REALLY guilty leaving my kids with my husband. Guilty as a wife for burdening my husband who worked hard, and guilty as a Mom who abandoned her children. I knew there was not real LOGIC to it, but it often kept me from socializing or exercising. I wrote recently about how that small part of the guilt issues I’ve had for years is gone – and I have no idea how/why I was able to tackle it.

I’ve spent some time thinking about it, because I do still have Mommy Guilt when I don’t get to put the kids to bed, or when I miss a soccer game. But it’s not severe enough to keep me from doing whatever is on tap for that particular night. I think I’ve figured out some of it.

It’s a little bit like when I used to smoke when E was little. I would say to myself, “I’m doing all of these things that inconvenience me – FOR MY KID – but I can’t quit the one thing I NEED to do.” Somehow, no matter how powerful the Mommy Guilt was in other areas, it wasn’t enough to keep me from smoking. I did quit – eventually – but it wasn’t the Mommy Guilt that did it.

I think that somewhere along the way, I have found myself in a situation where things like Book Club, and Running, and Theatre – they are things I like too much to quit. Like smoking. Or maybe, in another Mom’s case, drinking. Or eating donuts. There are things we know we shouldn’t do as Moms but we like it SO MUCH it has no power over the Mommy Guilt that should make us quit.

In this particular situation – however – the stuff isn’t bad for me. So I’ve found a good balance that lets me enjoy those things I really love, but I don’t feel guilty about it.

Now, how I got here? I have no idea. I wish I could give you a quick fix that would allow you to get over your guilt and sometimes do stuff for YOU. But I think it started, for me, with E’s theatre program. I didn’t feel a lot of guilt ditching the family to do stuff for his program because I was still doing Mom Stuff. And I was doing it for the kid who often gets neglected. Once I got out of the house repeatedly, leaving the kids with D, I realized it’s not all bad. Sometimes you get to hang out with adults and not worry about dirty diapers or bedtimes.

I was able to get a taste of the OTHER SIDE without feeling the guilt because the OTHER SIDE was still a parental function. SCORE ONE FOR KIDS ELEVEN to THIRTEEN YEARS APART!

I think tackling the guilt to do those type of things for E, is what opened me up more to things like book club and running classes. Also – with the running classes? Donnie is TOTALLY supportive. He did a couple of tri classes and loved them so he loves me coming home and talking about hill runs, or repeats and things. Because he obviously enjoys me doing the class, it removes almost all of the Wife Guilt from making him a single parent periodically.

None of this will probably help you because so many things are unique about my situation. BUT – maybe it will give you a glimpse so you can find the same release in your life. Because – I remember the guilt keeping me away from things. And let me tell you – I really think life is better on this side of it. Not only because I get to be something other than a Mom or a Wife sometimes, but because my parental obligations feel less of a burden as they’re more shared. I don’t get as bitter with Donnie when he does stuff away from the house like I used to. It just feels easier when I can depend on my husband without the voices in my head saying, “You’re an awful Mom! You’re an awful Wife!”

I wish I could give you an easy fix to shut your voices up, but just know it’s possible. And you deserve life without those voices. You’re super awesome. You know that, right?