Monday, December 31, 2012

Forty One and 2012

I started this post right around my 41st birthday. You know the ole look back on the year, what was my 41st year like, what do I want my 42nd year to be like. But I never finished it. I was not in a particularly good place around my birthday- I had just come off a crazy couple of months of working, I was getting sick and completely overwhelmed by all things holiday/birthday/school break coming up and frankly just trying to keep my head above water.

So as a huge non-sequitor:

Winter seemed long and icy to me. Not a lot of snow, never got to use the Cross Country skis I bought. Spring was busy. That's what I remember, being constantly on the go from place to event to place.

I remember a couple of times this summer thinking, what an amazing summer we had. I don't remember thinking that in the past few years. I felt like for the most part it was great. We did some fun things- went rope climbing visited friends at their camps, jumped off of rocks. I think also because the weather was so good, that I got out a lot to exercise- running and swimming and biking. Sunshine started to really enjoy biking along side me while I ran, and I completed 3 triathlons this year. I am realizing as I get older that my mental state is so much better when I exercise regularly.

I love fall. Perhaps it is the New Englander in me? Or the girl who got to grow up in the Adirondacks and appreciate the amazing colors Mother Nature provides. I dislike raking leaves. Really, and truly dislike it. But I've reach the point where I actually pay some teenagers to rake the yard for me. Ahh the joys of being gainfully employed!

2012 wasn't a bad year for me, felt like a year with some really great moments coupled with some really low moments. I guess that is what life is about- the good and the bad.

And, all and all my 41st year was pretty good. I'll give you the run down of the numbers at the end, but I earned my red belt, met the 2 goals I set for myself: 500 running miles and completing an Olympic Distance Triathlon. I met 2 Olympic Gold Medalists- Seth Westcott and got to run with Joan Benoit Samuelson.

But you know, as I composed this in my head, that's how I do much of my writing compose it in my head while I run or do dishes or shovel (like this morning)- I thought, with all that, why don't I feel like a million bucks? When was it that I stopped being happy with my achievements. Don't get me wrong, I'm happy in the moment- but then it is gone- like it is never enough. I wonder if I will ever truly get to that Stuart Smalley place of 'I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it people like me'? Do any of us ever truly get there? Or is that just the facade we put on for the world? Is there ever a time when hurtful words from people don't sting? Or when rejection (a job, a friend, a loved one, a love interest, a suggestion at work) doesn't nick your heart just a little bit?

Seriously, think about that. I ran over 500 miles this year, and did an Olympic Distance Marathon, earned my red belt, successfully managed several projects at work, continued to raise Sunshine to be amazing, watched her do awesome things and take chances and yet I find it so difficult to just say to myself- Wow, do you know how awesome you truly are?

Instead I so easily let the voices in my head say: you could have handled that interaction at work better. Why did Sunshine do that? Where did she learn that? Have I given her all the tools she needs to survive what can be the horrors of middle school? Sure you ran 500 miles- but your pace slowed in the fall, and your swim times in all three Tri were really slow. Oh- you made mac and cheese again tonight for dinner, from a box? Aren't you a great Mom. And the dishes in the sink- that's classy, and using your laundry baskets to store your clean clothes is all the rage these days.

Truly amazing how difficult we can be on ourselves. I'll own that, amazing how difficult I can be on myself.

So, although I'm not big on resolutions- I'm going to say that my 2013 resolution is to be kinder and gentler with myself, and to only surround myself with people who are kind and gentle with me.

Also going to work on 'changing the voices in my head' to quote from a song that I love running to-- when I run with music.

As for physical goals- run a 100 mile month and complete a marathon.

2012 by the numbers:
21 Races Completed including 3 triathlons
10 Karate Tournaments Competed in
13.1 miles swimming
202.2 miles biking

526 miles running
241 1/2 hours moving my body (running, swimming, biking, Tae Kwon Do, or kicking my butt)

Monday, September 17, 2012


Yes, you read that right. Eleven. You turn eleven. Are you kidding me? When did that happen? It is so cliche, and you will hear it when and if you are a parent, but don't blink, it really does go by so quickly, quicker than you can even imagine.

So eleven, huh? Big things this year, you started Middle School. That was pretty stressful for me, and frankly I thought it would be more difficult for you than it was. You are still adjusting to the schedule a bit, but you, for the most part, just went with the flow. New school, new routine, new adventures. I'll be honest, it was stressful for me because I have such horrible memories of my middle and high school years. There are many times that I try to turn those negative thoughts into positive ones, I just find few memories that stuck with me from that time that are positive. You and I have talked about this, I was a fat kid, and fat is SUCH an easy target for bullies, or mean teenage girls, it is like wearing a sign that says pick on me. It is why I work so hard to make sure that never happens to you, that you are active and make healthy eating choices.

You came home from school the other day in tears because of something another little girl had done to you, I'm not really sure if you heard it, but my heart cracked. For all the planning and preparation we did to get you ready for the challenges middle school throws at you, there still are those kids that will try to break down those around them. But after some tears and some talk of let's not hang around with her anymore, you were back to your old self. That amazingly self confident and brave girl you have become and continue to be.

Some other major events on your journey from 10 to 11. You went to your first sleep away camp. You loved it! We hadn't left the parking lot after picking you up and you asked if you could go back. You earned your red belt in Tae Kwon Do. You continue to compete in tournaments on a regular basis. You even taught a Tae Kwon Do lesson to some of your classmates in elementary school.

You took sailing lesson and impressed all of the counselors- they said you were a natural. You and I ran our first race together. You played basketball again, and continue to improve your skills. You played Sydney the sidekick to The Fox in Pinocchio and did a mean Michael Jackson moonwalk.

You got your ears pierced. It was a little traumatic beforehand but now you love them, and can't wait to wear all the earring you have been given. You saw your second rock concert- Big Time Rush and you met two gold medal Olympians. I would say overall it has been a pretty amazing year for you.

For all those big girl moments- those tween moments, you still have those moments where you want a hug. Or to sit and read together. We read the Hunger Games out loud to each other. What fun that was! And sometimes you'll go and pick up your Polly Pockets or your Littlest Pet Shop toys and sit and play like you did 2 or 3 years ago. You may have Taylor Swift or Big Time Rush playing in the background, it is this amazing dichotomy for me to to watch.

You continue your fashionista-ness. And you care more about how you look- not that you didn't care before, but now I don't have to remind you to brush your hair or your teeth (I am very happy we have reached this stage!!).

Your heart is as big as it ever was, and I think continues to grow. You are kind to everyone you meet, and I tell you as your Mom that both makes me happy and scares me. Happy because you see no difference in people, only good, and scared simply because I see so many opportunities for your heart to be broken when people you are generous with are not the same with you. It takes physical restraint sometimes for me not to intervene, I tell myself that broken hearts of all types happen no matter what and that your amazing self-confidence will carry you through them all.

You continue to be such a blessing, the Sunshine in my life. I love you more than you can imagine, more than I could ever imagine and I can't wait to see what year 12 brings!! 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

No Finish Line

"My journey began in July of 2007 when I volunteered at a water stop for the Beach to Beacon. I would not call myself a couch potato, although I am sure others would, but I have been overweight my whole life, as long as I can remember. As I stood and watched the people running and walking the Beach to Beacon, I thought- you know what? I can do this, and I set my sights on running it the next year. I ran my first 5k race that December running in the Jingle Bell Run. At that time I weighed over 250 lbs, since then I have lost more than 60 lbs. I did run the Beach to Beacon in July of 2008, and have run it one other time. 

 Since that day in July 2007, I have now completed 4 half marathons and countless other races including just completing my 4th LL Bean July 4th 10k- with my best time ever, and not only that I actually fit into women's fitted XL running shirt- something I could barely believe! In May I completed my first Sprint Triathlon and have 2 more planned for this year, including an Olympic Distance Triathlon in September.


My journey has had its ups and downs. After my first half marathon, I didn't run for almost 2 months, I wanted nothing to do with running- I had driven so hard for the goal of running those 13.1 miles, that putting on my sneakers after was just an awful thought for me. So I started to change up my routine, I started swimming, and started taking Tae Kwon Do, where I've earned my red belt and am now working toward my black belt. 

And I eventually got back to running and set different goals- increasing speed and doing different events. And with each of the events, with each of the races I finished, I gained confidence. I started doing things I had never imagined doing.. like taking Tae Kwon Do, and competing in fighting competitions. I also started running with other people- for the longest time I would only train by myself because I didn't want to run with anyone else for fear I would slow them down or they would think my breathing was funny, or some other crazy excuse- now I run with people of all different speeds for training- some who run my speed, some I need to run slower so they can run at their pace, and even some that run much faster than me and push me to the point of almost throwing up.. And then there is that whole wearing a wet suit in front of other people- what fat person does that!?!? And that's just it- I'm not that fat person anymore.. I'm a better version of me.


I think the thing that surprises me most, is when I run into people in town and they say things like- you're that woman I see running all the time, or when stopping in the local market in town someone says- you inspire me- how did you do it, how did you lose the weight? And I say- I started running. And when they say to me, which they often say, I can't run, I have bad knees- I say that's okay- just start moving- find the thing you love to do, and just do that- and the rest will come. After those moments I think to myself- wow- that's not what this was all about- never has been.. it was about me- setting a goal, about getting healthier, about changing my life and making sure I was around for my daughter, I never meant to inspire anyone,

So what's next? Well this year is the year of the triathlon.. but next year.. next year I've committed to running the Marine Corp Marathon.. 2013 with be the year of the Marathon... "