Mommy in Pieces

Just a mom that wears a cape under her street clothes.

Archive for the category “winning”

Demons Be Gone

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I was the girl that ALWAYS looked for the excuse.  Tried to find a way to explain away my unhealthy life.  Felt a calling and a magnetic pull to the couch and the TV.  I could come up with a million reasons at the drop of the hat as to why I was overweight; genetics, my knee, I tried hard…..

 

1381960_10151945025045871_200699152_n(1)I cant tell you the exact moment that I decided that enough was enough, it was a gradual awakening.  I laced up my shoes, chose healthy over what I “thought” I wanted.  I walked, then I jogged, then I ran!  I have completed races that my own community said that I would fail at.

Last night.. the old demons surfaced.  I was tired, I wanted sweets, I was stressed out by life and my kids.  It was late, there was a wild storm raging, the treadmill had stuff on it, there was TV to watch…  But, I put on my shoes, I put on my workout clothes.  Stepped on to the treadmill that I hadn’t used since I had gotten it for free a few months ago.   The sound of the motor so loud in my second floor apartment, I wanted to turn it off.  The pounding of my steps echoing…  I thought for sure the folks downstairs would call animal control to report a heard of elephants had taken up residence on the second floor.  Then the coup de grâce, I discovered the belt on the treadmill itself was slippery.. I kept sliding.  My face felt a magnetic pull to the display console.  Every time I tried to pic up the pace to get into a run, gravity tried to have its way with me.  I REALLY wanted to quit.  Instead, I increased the incline, kicked up the speed to a fast walk and climbed and held on for dear life!!  I think that I even got a decent arm workout!

2miles of up hill climb, sweating buckets, I had fought back the weight of excuses drawing me back to a sedentary existence. Never give up.  No Excuses.  Making the hard choices for an even better future.

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Every Day I’m Hustlin’

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We have made it through the first 10 days of the year! How ya’ll feeling? It feels like it flew.. Next thing you know we will be rolling up our sleeves to dig into February. Heck, the stores already have the pink and white going for Valentine’s Day! My Christmas decorations just barely got to storage!

We are about 1/36th the way through the year. Now it doesn’t feel like so much! There is still a lot of year to be had!

January has brought a lot of new things to my calendar in the form of challenges. I am involved with 3 and I love that they are all tied together with a wonderful thread of continuity.

The first challenge is hosted by one of my favorite authors and social media gurus, Jon Acuff. I am participating in his 30 Days of Hustle project. Combine the power of social media, good will, and proper goal setting, and you get 30 days of amazing stories, new personal connections from around the world, and amazing goal completion. People’s goals are varied; some related to their avocations and some to their vocations, health, running, family togetherness. But the common core of all of them is improvement. It is an amazing community to check in with each day and got my spiritual tank topped off, while restoring my faith in the humanity that swells around us.

My goal for these 30 days is very simple: run 30 miles. Sounds simple enough! I am coming off of post race blues and some difficulty with my IT Band. I had not run since Thanksgiving Day when I ran my worst race ever. It was time to pick myself up, dust off the kicks, and get the rubber to the road. If I ran 3 times a week and averaged 2.27 miles per run, I would meet my goal……

Introducing Challenge #2: Another Mother Runner‘s Mother’s Day Challenge!  This challenge begins on Monday the 13th!  A group of really amazing women have all come together virtually to train for a 10k or a 1/2 Marathon.  I have chosen to tackle my 2nd Half Marathon.  I will be taking part in the Long Island Half Marathon on May 4, 2014.  The course for this race will be very similar to the course that I ran for my first Half Marathon.  I will be attempting to improve my time from the first race.  It is going to be a long, uphill battle to get back up to running that distance again and I will need to be working on improving the rest of me along the way and to help me meet that goal…..

Introducing Challenge #3: The Perfect Pair Kettlebell Challenge  Thanks to the evil genius at Kettlebellworkouts.com , I will be spending some major quality time with my 10lb.s kettlebell and my yoga mat.  With consecutive ladders or kettlebell swings and push ups, my arms and core will be getting the same torturous treatment that my leg are getting!

 

I have a feeling that my body, mind, and soul are going to get a major workout!!!

Lacing Up

I laced up today. Generally, this isn’t anything remarkable.. People do it every day all around the world…
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But this was the first time the rubber met the road since an abysmal race with injury on Thanksgiving. I gave up. I put my shoes in the closet. I was afraid of my already fragile knee that was hurting with every step. It was easier to give up “the run” willingly, than to be told “never again” by a doctor.

After a month and a half, I was ready to try again. To feel like a virgin runner taking those first steps.

I have gone back to the basics. Back to week1 day1 of C25k, easing back into it, testing my knee, willing it to be ok.

I completed 2.27 miles today… They weren’t fast. I followed the program. But it felt so wonderful to feel the wind on my cheeks, the crunch of sand and gravel used my feet.

They were both the hardest and the most wonderful miles.  Now.. to do it again!  Back onto the horse I climb.

The Running of the Divas

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I can’t believe that I have let so much time pass since crossing the finish line.  It still seems like a dream to me.

The whole experience of preparing and completing the race was really amazing!  However, I am pretty sure the part that made it the best was the bonus of a reunion 19 years in the making.  I was blessed with being joined my one of my running heroes!!  Shauna and I went to elementary and middle school together.  We were on the same school bus, but we were in different social groups.  Even at that early age, she was already a force to be reckoned with!  Shauna was on cross country and already a very active kid.  I on the other hand was I was the total opposite.

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Fast forward 19 years to the age of technology where friendships are built from curious searches on Facebook.  Shauna was still an avid runner and adventure seeker and I was just discovering the world.  She had faith in me that I could accomplish my goal and she promised to help!  Thus was born the idea of completed the Diva’s Half Marathon together!

I in fact completed my first half marathon!  I wouldn’t say that I “ran” it, but I participated and crossed the finish line before the course was closed.  And the big bonus of the day, I WASN’T LAST!  There were actually 114 people behind me!!

  The whole day couldn’t not have gone more smoothly!!!  We both got up on time and went through our pre-race routines.  We geared up and enjoyed breakfast in the car on the way.  Thankfully we were less than 10 mins from the start line, so leaving early to get good parking was no issue.  We had no problem getting a spot very close to the finish line.  It was cool but humid with a heavy mist in the air that we hoped would burn off as the sun awoke.  There was such energy in the air, a buzz and a shimmer to every little thing.

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The morning’s schedule had three waves of 5K runners taking off first, so we wandered down to the start line to watch and get caught up in the excitement.  There were tutus and costumes EVERYWHERE and the people that were not dolled up looked a bit out of place.  It was so exciting to be in a place that didn’t take itself too seriously.

Lining up, getting ready, it was all an out of body experience.  There were hundreds of people between us and the start line, but it didn’t take us very long to get there, and we were on our way!  The first couple of miles seemed to melt away as I shook out the stiffness and my muscles remembered what we were here to do.  There was one spot that we would pass 3 times and my boys had come to cheer us on!  It seemed like every time I started to wane, there would be a water stop with a DJ and cheerleaders that would bring the energy back up.  Watching for where my personal cheerleaders would be hiding helped to make the time pass also.  Each time we passed the boys they would yell out for mommy and wave and the love I felt from them pushed me on and on.

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There was a surprise around mile 8, when my coworker Diane rode by on her bike!!!  She had been riding the course looking for us!  She stayed with us for about a half mile and then went off to meet us at the finish!

It was such a strange sensation to be running on the roads that I drove to work every day.  Usually congested with commuters rushing, it was peaceful and quiet with only the sound of rubber hitting the pavement and our constant chatter!

In to mile 10 we got a great surprise!!  An unofficial aid station!  There was music; there were men in drag and crazy costumes.  And better yet, there were snacks!!!  A giant bowl of M&Ms and orange slices.  This was such a treat and brought laughter that carried us for another mile.

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Sadly, this was also where I started having trouble.  My knee had decided that it really didn’t want to participate in the completion of this race anymore.  It was really uncomfortable and the walking breaks started to out distance the running sections.  Count my spirit officially broken!  I wanted to finish strong, I wanted to feel like I had “run” the race and it was slipping away from me.  Shauna was so supportive and encouraging.  Each time I despaired, she was right there with a tip or a suggestion.  We hobbled through the tiara station.  I hoped that picking up the bling would give me that extra power.

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It wasn’t until I saw the finish that I was able to reach down and find the oomph to get it down.  Something took over me, and I couldn’t stop.  I am sure that I looked pretty silly barreling towards the end.  But for that short time, I felt graceful, I felt fast, I felt like a runner.

After it was over, there were medals and roses, champagne, and bagels and bananas and cookies!  My official finish time was 3:18:15.  I finished in 1,782nd place out of 1898 participants.  But here is the thing that I know.  I won!  I won MY race.  It didn’t matter what others did out there.  It doesn’t matter that others crossed the finish before me.  They were not running MY race.  I did the best I could for me.  This gives me a benchmark, a place to improve from.  There will be more half marathons in my future, but none will ever compare to my first!946376_10151945233800871_1507853951_n

A huge thanks to me rock and my coach!  Shauna, without you… I wouldn’t have been able to do this.  It was a joy to run your slowest half marathon with you!!!

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The Time Has Come

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     I am just days away from my race, but I am many dollars away from my goal!  Please, please, help me to reach the $1300 goal for the students of Variety Child Learning Center.  This school has truly changed the course of my sons life!

How You Can Help!

It is very easy to help me reach this goal!  There are three ways to donate:

     1.   Donate online In section 4 write in “Variety of Miles”
     2.   Please make Checks out to Variety Child Learning Center and write “Variety of Miles” in the memo field.  Checks can be mailed to:

Variety Child Learning Center
Attn: Development
47 Humphrey Drive
Syosset, NY  11791
 
     3.    Give checks made out to Variety Child Learning Center to me when you see me. ( But please let me know you have one for me!!)
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9 + 1 =


10!!  That’s right… 10!  That’s how many miles were on the training schedule… TEN!!  I know that I am planning in just 3 short weeks to complete 13 miles, but the concept of 10 miles just feels monumental. 
I am blessed to have access to a beautiful bike path.  There are points along the way where I feel transported out of Long Island and to a world with no traffic!  There are wild flowers and swamps, thickets of trees and lakes.  There is one spot along the path that someone has turned a little bluff into a beautiful garden sanctuary.  Running this path has changed my run. I actually enjoy it more. 
Last week I deviated from my running schedule.  On Saturday I conquered the 9 miles, but there was a lot of walking and a lot of wishing the miles away. I was happy when I was done and I was happy with my overall time.  Then on Sunday was the Zombie Race. During the zombie experience I had an epic gravity failure that had me imitating superman down the side of a muddy hill. Thankfully I wasn’t seriously injured besides the bruised ego. At the end of the day I was proudly sporting scrapes and scratches and the promise of some grotesque bruises, but I felt good.  A little ice on my bum knee, a cold beer and I’ll be on my way… Or so I thought. 
By Tuesday morning I could put no weight on my right foot. My middle toe was very red and angry and swollen. My toe nail was black and crack 3/4ths of the way down. I couldn’t help but gaze upon the toe with pride while I painfully attempted a shoe and sock.  The voice of reason stopped me and when office hours rolled around I was on the phone with the podiatrist. 
With most of the nail removed and a promise of quick pain relief to come I hobbled home.  Instead on Wednesday I was greater by continued pain an it was too late to cancel my appointment with Frank the trainer.. Bring on a boxing session with no shoes on!!!
Friday was the first day I could get a sock and shoe on my foot. This made me terrified of Saturday’s run.  I had to just have faith that my 5 days off would be to a benefit. 
I was blessed to have incredible weather on Saturday, 68 and partly sunny. This weather makes it easy to settle into a run.  My three favorite boys dropped me at the trail head and I started off strong with an easy pace.  The boys meet between the 1 and 2 mile mark to wave an watch mommy go by.  I know that between mile 2 and 3 are two of the 5 uphill climbs on the route and they flew by with little notice. Continuing strong past the three mile mark I pushed off fueling as I was still in good shape. Miles 4, 5, and 6 passed almost as easily and when I hit the biggest hill of the whole route, I pushed to the top and kept going.  This was the first time that I hadn’t needed a walk at the top of this very steep overpass.  I was beginning to start to struggle and keep myself from walking and between miles 7 and 8 my hip started to complain.  I was able to pull back the pace a little until and get comfortable again.  I knew as I got towards the end that I would have to do some doubling back to get the 10th mile in.  At 9.1 I was surprised by my boys running towards me!  I love when they find me on the trail because it gives me such a boost!  Ben was so excited to run with me that he made it half a mile!  

The last half mile was the hardest steps of the entire route.  My tank was empty and my motivation was sapped…  but… I finished it!  All 10 miles!  And my reward….. and ice bath!
     I think more important that the running this week was the decision that I have made to turn this run into a fundraiser.  I will be running to benefit the children of Variety Child Learning Center.  Please check out the info!

Small Victories

     Ben doesn’t love food.  He could go long stretches without eating.  He just doesn’t think about eating as an important part of life.  When he does eat, it is in very limited quantities and from a very small group of foods.  He was a sweet tooth and is a crab monster.  We have spent a lot of energy and therapy time working on requesting food, staying at the table, eating foods that he doesn’t love.  But still eating is a challenge.
     Ben as eats in cycles.  He will eat pudding every day for three weeks.  Then it becomes equivalent to liver and haggis.  Another food takes its place.  But Ben will never give us a clue what the next food of choice is!  Eating is just a frustrating topic in this household!  But maybe the path is changing…..

     This morning, while I was making my breakfast (a toasted peanut butter banana sandwich – ritual the morning of a long run), Ben was watching me intently…  “Can I have?”  I don’t think I registered what he was saying at first..  “Mommy, can I have?”  He was clearly pointing at the bread in my hand.  Ben wanted bread??  “NO! Sandwich!”  I can with almost 100% certainty credit this word and this desire to a game he plays on the iPad.  He has to feed the animal the foods that appear over their heads.  If you give them the wrong foods, they make silly faces and sounds.  He LOVES this game.  When he plays it, I get to hear my favorite belly laughs.
    Grabbing the jelly from the fridge, I have a shadow as I go to the counter..  Time to break out a kitchen gadget!  I have been waiting for the moment, when I get to make my little boy a sandwich.  (I know if seems silly, but when your child doesn’t eat like a typical child, these moments become huge in your mind.)  I grabbed my Pampered Chef Cut and Seal and got to the important task of fulfilling this request.  Trying not to get my hopes up that it wasn’t a fluke request, I of course put too much jelly in the center.
    
     Sandwich finished, on the plate it goes and I turn to see Ben still standing next to me with the biggest Cheshire Cat grin.  His little hand reaches up – presumably to take the plate to the table… and the sandwich is GONE!  Before I can blink, he is curled into the corner of the  couch nibbling away like a squirrel!  Normally he would be told to sit at his table, but I was too excited that he was actually eating what he asked for!  He was eating a sandwich, just like any other 3 year old boy on a Saturday morning.. sitting on the couch in his under-roos, watching cartoons… Life felt normal!


No Crying in Baseball

     Thankfully Ben doesn’t play baseball.  He does however, play t-ball and as far as I know, there are no rules against crying in t-ball!

     Over the last 6 weeks Ben has been participating in a local t-ball program for children with Autism.  Team Heroes has been such a blessing to our family and we are so lucky to have been directed to them.

     At the beginning of the program, every aspect of the program was a challenge; warm up exercises, throwing, catching.  The only thing Ben really seemed to enjoy was the running!  (And usually he was running away from me!)  Most days left me feeling frustrated and exhausted as I just wanted Ben to learn something to show some sort of improvement.  Week after week the green fields and t-ball bats became synonymous with crying and meltdowns. I became very good at unfolding Ben’s clenched fists and hand over hand throwing wiffle balls and tennis balls.  The biggest challenge was the bases.  Beautiful white bases in a luscious field of green!  What child wouldn’t want to run right up to them and jump on them?  My child!  There was something about the base being different than the grass that unsettled Ben.  He would not step on the bases.  Even if he saw all of the other children, coaches, and parents standing on them, he just couldn’t break the spell that the grass had over him.  Ben would begrudgingly (slowly) go from base to base with much coaxing from me.  (Please read that as: Mom dragging child from base to base.)  Ben would stand next to the base.  He would stand on either side of the base.  He would walk around the base.  He would not step ON the base! 

     Fast forward through multiple weeks of the same frustrating experiences, wondering if I would ever see him pick up these skills.  (Warning: here come the tears)

     This past weekend when we got to the field, he was so excited to run down the hill and not miss his warm ups.  And then he surprised us all!  Ben picked up the ball and threw it, multiple times, without assistance! He got it!  His aim wasn’t great, but he was trying.  I was so surprised!  After a water break it was time to go to hitting and running the bases.  Ben wouldn’t let me help him bat, so I stepped away, preparing myself to watch him take multiple wild swings. 

I couldn’t believe my eyes when the bat and the ball connected!  To my amazing disbelief, he dropped the bat and took off… towards first base!!!  I thought that I was going to need the smelling salts when he stopped at first base without prompting and I noticed that he not only stopped AT first base but.. ON first base!

     Base after base, he ran and stopped.  He watched the other children at bat, waiting for when it was time to move.  He didn’t need for me to drag him along, in fact he didn’t even want me standing near him.
 
     My Ben had figured it out, after 6 weeks of struggle.  He knew what he was supposed to do and did it perfectly.  He had learned and didn’t need me anymore and in that moment I was so thankful for my sunglasses, but I think the tear spatters on my shirt gave me away!

Living In Lycra

Week 1

     It feels like every aspect of my life has become surrounded by lycra; pants, socks, sports bras, shirts, shoes and shoelaces..  Its ridiculous..  I could almost say that they are a sponsor or mine!!  This past week was my first “Official” training week.  This means running 4 days a week and a day of cross training.  Never before have I so looked forward to Friday and Sunday (rest days).

     I think more important that the running this week was the decision that I have made to turn this run into a fundraiser.  I will be running to benefit the children of Variety Child Learning Center.  Please check out the info!
Monday (really Sunday didn’t know I was really starting) 7/7/13
3.19 miles     50:00 mins     15:40 average pace
     Sadly this run was on the “Dreadmill”.  With weather on the iffy side I hit the gym and worked on consistent pacing.  While the overall average pace was nothing to sing about, I am happy that I was able to stay at a level pace for the majority of the time.

Tuesday 7/9/13
3.00 miles     44:14 mins     14:44 average pace
     Second official 1/2 marathon training run! Was sluggish because of the humidity. But something wonderful happened… I was really fading and a car pulled up along side me, all the windows down. I steeled myself for a mocking. Instead there were a bunch of young kids yelling and clapping and a mom giving the thumbs up and yelling, “keep it up!! You will have the best experiences running! Your doing great just keep going!!” As she pulled away, the back of her minivan was plastered with stickers, “Tri”, “Ultra”, “I’m a Diva”, “I’m only 1/2 crazy!” Just the push I needed, the burst of energy and encouragement…. Thank you! I don’t know you… But you are a friend. 
Wednesday  7/10/13
30 mins Cross Training
     I LOVE my Wednesday’s.  Every Wednesday for a year I have met with Frank.  Frank kicks my butt, religiously, every Wednesday morning before the birds are up.  This butt-kicking took the form of boxing.  I love going rounds with the heavy bag, but also sparring with Frank.  Wednesday’s are not just the physical workout but, the conversation has become a great sounding board not only for health and nutrition, but life in general. 

Thursday  7/11/13
3.01 miles     46:27 mins     15:27 average pace
     This morning I had a serious case of “I don’t wanna!” But I did… And Mother Nature taught me a lesson…. She rained on me for a mile +. Pace was slow, but under the pace I need to maintain for the race. 
Saturday 7/13/13
4.01 miles     58:19 mins     14:34 average pace 
     Today’s theme… RAIN! I really didn’t want to run in the rain, especially not 4 miles.  After some input from other runners.  I donned a hat, wrapped my phone with plastic wrap and hit the pavement.  I was surprised that I saw 3 other runners (all women) out there being badass with me in the rain.  I felt good the whole way and bested my previous 4m time by 3 mins!!! 

Bucket List Realized

A few months ago I was approached by a coworker to join her in running the Spartan Race.  Little did she know that this was a bucket list item.  I was honored but that she wanted to run with me. I didn’t want to admit that I was terrified!!!!

I am no small girl. I have run a few 5k races in the past year, so I really wasn’t worried about the distance.  But…..  There would be WALLS… 5, 6, 7, and 8 foot tall walls…  This girl, would have to find her way over many, many walls…. This would be a feat of epic proportions!

I did the best training that I could (taking into consideration my limited time). I worked on strengthening my upper body. I worked with my trainer using a TRX system.  I worked on body weight exercises. I didn’t train as much as I wanted to, but I did as much as I could.

When it came down to the day of the race, I was very very anxious.  It was one of those do or die moments.  I knew that I was going to have to pull on strength from a very deep place and I was unsure if that place even existed within me.   I knew that I was going to have to rely on the team that I was running with!  There would be obstacles that I would fail if there wasn’t a hand up or a cheering section standing with me!
Upon meeting this great group of people, I knew that I would make it through!  We were all there, joined by a common goal.  This team had come together to fight hunger on Long Island.  There are still so many people in the region feeling the impact of Hurricane Sandy.  We were there to become “Champions Against Hunger”.
Very quickly it was time to line up in the corral… We got closer and closer to the start.  Every minute or so a group of  20 would line up and get released onto the course..soon there were no more people in front of me… I found myself standing at the start line..My inner monologue was waging its very own civil war.  In one moment I was building myself up…  I can do this.. I will succeed.. and in the next…  Are you crazy?.. Do you know where the closest hospital is?….
Once we crossed that start line, it became very surreal… the details jumble together and it felt like a total out of body experience…  There were walls…. Lots of walls…  But there were also feats of strength, lifting, carrying, moving… There were calisthenics… a weighted jump rope, a rowing machine…  Then there were the things that were just crazy!!!  I never thought that I would have to train for hopping up 4 flights of stairs with a rubber band holding my ankles together!!!
But sure enough… each obstacle was conquered… each mile was ticked away.. yes I needed the support of my team… I needed a scoot over a wall… I needed to be pushed to finish the box jumps at the end…  But…. 
I FINISHED….. I conquered the Spartan Race!  I finished in one hour and 48 minutes…  This was not a record setting time.. but there were over 300 people after me!!! 

 I am so thankful to everyone on the Fishbattlers Vs. Sandy team that stuck with me, that served as my strength when I had none, and cheered me on when I felt defeated.  I would not have this medal, and the bruises and body aches too, if it were not for all of you!!!

Below is a video that chronicles the event that was made by the marketing company Fishbat.  They were responsible for putting together the Spartan Race team and have become a driving force against hunger on Long Island.  Please take a couple of minutes to watch!!

See the rest of my Bucket List!!!

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