Monday, February 17, 2014

Many the Miles

I'm in the thick of it.

Tomorrow starts week 8 of marathon training.

In the short time that I've been at it, I've run 121 miles and still have 277 more to go before race day.

Last week, I was forced to do a 12-mile long run on the treadmill because the streets/sidewalks were still coated in snow and ice and I thought I was going to lose my shit, literally...what a miserable, God awful experience.  So, this week, I was elated when my feet hit the pavement for a 14-miler.

The sunshine, fresh air, trees, and wind made me feel alive and hopeful. 

I've never run farther than 14 miles, so everything from here on out is uncharted territory.  I'm staring down mid-week mileage of 15-20 miles followed by a 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, or 20 mile long run on the weekend.

I'm not going to lie.  I'm having a crisis of faith.  It's not easy to put one foot in front of the other over and over again and to tell yourself that you've got this.  The demons are powerful.

And so, because I run solo, I rely heavily on my playlist to lift me up and pull me through.  I usually like fast paced, explicit lyrical tunes that make me feel like a bad ass...but now that I find myself running for hours at a time, I've turned to different music...numbers that incorporate lyrics that I can call my own.

I've loved Sara Bareilles for a long time.  She has a song that is clearly a love letter to another called, "I Choose You."  I listened to it and thought it had a sweet melody...and then, I really listened to it and thought...what if it means me choosing me. 

Dedicating the amount of time and energy it takes to train for a marathon (particularly in the winter months) with three kiddos is not an easy deal.  Choosing not to hit the snooze button, paying attention to my nutrition, icing my body, and in general, getting out the door takes well, a level of commitment that is more than I think I bargained for. 

And so, it has to be a choice.

A conscious decision to choose me.  To stand firm in the decision that I've made to work toward this dream.  I can care take for all of the remaining hours of the day...but for the few that are required to lace up my shoes and go, I have to, have to choose me.

And in doing so, I ultimately choose my family and friends.  I am available to give the best of me, even if I'm dead ass tired in a pair of yoga pants with my hair pulled confidence is restored, my ya yas are out, my mojo is back and I'm me.

And so, I leave you with a little Sara Bareilles and the idea that in life, before all else, you've got to choose you. 

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Ode to Sam on Your Ninth Birthday

You woke up this morning and belted out, "I'm Nine!"

And in one breath, my heart soared and sank.

So happy that your special day had arrived and so sad that this will be your final year before you turn double digits.

And so, I say's to you...

Here's to the most voracious reader on the planet, the boy who always has a text in his backpack, a bedside table overflowing with the latest series on Greek mythology, dragons, kings, heroes, or dinosaurs.

Here's to the kindest and most empathetic heart, the child who knows who's sitting alone or who didn't seem quite right at school and offers a smile or a seat at the lunch table.

Here's to the big brother of two very girly girl little sisters who willingly watches Mickey Mouse Club and entertains conversations about princesses and rainbow loom bracelets and the most popular song on the "Frozen" soundtrack.

Here's to the son who sells popcorn, makes pinewood derby cars, and takes seriously the words of his Cubscout promise.

Here's to the child who believes in God...the one who prays in gratitude for his family, his blessings and who prays for the health and safety of others...and who reminds us unfailingly that everything, in all times will be okay because God is at the helm.

Here's to the boy who sings in the living room, who helps to cook in the kitchen, who throws snowballs at his sisters and footballs in the backyard with his dad and gives the best bear hugs in the world.

As you grow, which undoubtedly you will just keep doing, please know that the world, in so many ways is a better place because you are here.  Everyday, you teach us how to love, how to trust and how to believe in that which is good and pure.

We are grateful to celebrate and to honor you and can't wait to see the many blessings that God has in store for your new year.

Here's to you, the moon and back.

Thursday, February 6, 2014 the great adventure

It started with essay read by one of my favorite authors, Kelly Corrigan to a group of women on her up and coming book, "Glitter and Glue." And I began to emotionally crumble...

And then, I read an email from our school principal asking for an urgent prayer request.  The small son of one of our parish families was diagnosed with a brain tumor and scheduled for brain surgery.  The procedure would take 10-12 hours.  He is five years old.  More and more tears.

And then at 10am this morning, my step father called and we had a wonderful conversation, all the while, he was apologizing as he heard me multi-tasking with our three-year old trying to keep her pacified while trekking with the dialogue.  And just as I was hanging up, he said, "Oh and remember, try to enjoy this just goes so much faster than you think it will."

And finally, I went into the bathroom and sobbed.  I tried at first to chalk it up to being on my period or being sore from shoveling the day before or running six miles this morning.  Or from being cooped up indoors with bitterly cold temperatures and members of my family who keep falling down with the stomach flu and upper respiratory junk.  Or, the fact that I'm just perpetually tired and feeling less than.

But once I let all of the excuses go, I realized...THIS...what I'm doing right now is the great adventure.  It won't happen when I make it to Tuscany or find myself drinking espresso in an outdoor cafe in Paris.  It's not when I finally have the time to seriously write or to actually clean the house instead of just hiding the shit in closets and corners.  It won't come when I'm 10 pounds lighter or able to fit into that dress in the back of the closet or those jeans crumpled on the shelf.  It won't come when my children can drive themselves to their activities or when we have enough disposable income that we can go on lover's getaways or have nice things.  No, all of that will be beautiful, I'm sure.  But it's not when life or the good stuff comes.

The good stuff is here, now...whether, according to Kelly Corrigan, we attend to it or not.  We can either soak in our little ones or let them be periphery to our lives.  We can choose to love and to give ourselves grace or we can compare and be bitter when it just never seems to work out in our favor.

We can give up the ideal image of our bodies, our marriages, our families, our jobs and embrace that which we have been given...which is often, much...when we really stop to reflect.

When I'm feeling like I've put my life on hold for whatever condition is most appealing at the time, I force myself to remember that tomorrow is guaranteed to no one.

The adventure is today.  The moments are now.  The people are here.  The ride is in motion.  Are you enjoying it or simply letting it pass you by?