I won

Yesterday was a day I had been preparing for, for a number of months.

For fun, on random Saturdays and Sundays during the year, I get up out of my nice, warm, comfy bed before the crack of dawn to run 13.1 miles with a bunch of other weirdos.  Why do we do this you ask?  Do we all think we are going to win?  Hell no!  We do this to prove to ourselves we can push our bodies to the brink and our minds just a bit further….oh, and of coarse the added benefit of the hardware, bananas, and chocolate milk at the finish line!

I originally had all these grand plans for my 9th half marathon.  I have had a stressful spring and summer, haven’t felt much like running or training for anything.  When I committed to running this race, I felt like I was re-committing to myself and my health.  I set up a training plan with the best of intentions.  Then life continued to happen.

The stress from the spring and summer carried over into the beginning of the school year, never slowing down.  I think it actually started doubling its efforts to crush me in September.  My drive fizzled and my training runs tanked.  Oh, I still completed them, if you can really call it that, they were just terrible runs.

As the date on the calendar kept getting closer and closer, my expectations for success got lower and lower.

Then Friday hit.

It has been a particular bad stretch of days at the Ye Ol’ behavior school.  At the end of each day, we look at our imaginary score card for the day to see who won.  The students have been being extra behaviorally disordered this week, pushing us to our brink and challenging our last nerves.

Well, my one last nerve broke on Friday.  They won….Big Time.  While trying to talk to a student about one of his behaviors, he unleashed on me, a whole different set of aggressive behaviors leading to me filing an assault charge, leaving work early, going to the doctor, and being an emotional wreck.

Their win defeated me.  It broke me.  Not only was I physically hurt, but I was emotionally devastated.  And now I was supposed to take my already sore body and push it 13 miles?  At one point on Friday night, I nearly called my bestie who was driving me to the race to cancel.  But I just couldn’t.

Mind over matter.  You hear that expression all the time, but it wasn’t until I started running long distances, that I truly experienced it in action.  A distance race is so much more mental that physical.  My physical body might be damaged, but my spirit wasn’t broken, yet, and I wasn’t ready to throw in the towel.

The race we registered for was a trail run on the Wabash Trace in Iowa.  Many races are of the out and back variety, but this race was not.  For our race, we were shuttled out the start line and left, literally, in the corn fields of Iowa with nothing to get ourselves back to our vehicle with but our over-priced running shoes and our hearts.  It was truly an ingenious plan.  Once you start, there’s no quitting!

Despite his best efforts to injury or maim us with his poor driving skills on gravel roads, our shuttle driver delivered us safely to the start line.

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Hey, at least it wasn’t a short bus……

It was nice to see they support crew gearing up for the event.

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I do believe it’s extremely rude for them to be eating donuts, smoking, and drinking coffee in front of all of us.  F*#$ers!

And could someone please fix the bathrooms?

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This one wouldn’t flush!

At least they were kind enough to leave me something to play with before the race started.

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Corn!  Yippee!

All jokes aside, when you get down to it.  It’s just you, mind and body, pushing yourself to the finish line.

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Let’s do this.

The race started out pretty decent.  The weather was perfect; in the 60s, overcast.

I cruised through miles 1, 2, 3, and 4.

There weren’t that many runners signed up for the race, so by this point, the trail had really thinned out.  It felt like you were all on your own.

This can be good and bad.

Although the scenery was beautiful, a wandering mind is not always your friend.

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With my legs burning in mile 5, my mind replayed my week.  Have you ever seen someone cry and run at the same time?  It’s not pretty and doesn’t do wonders to help you keep up your pace.  I was starting to feel crushed and wondering how I was going to make it to the end.  My physical body was teetering on the edge as it was, now the last of my mentality looked like it was throwing in the towel.

Down, but not out.  Not yet.

Mile 6 called for a change and a mental refocus.  Yes, I had shed tears, but they were out and it was time to keep pushing forward.  My first step was to change up the music.  See you later Luke Bryan and Jason Aldean.  Hello Snoop and Dre.

Nothing kicks your pace back into gear like a sippin’ on Gin and Juice followed by Salt N Pepe’s Expression.  It was just the pick me up I needed.

I was cruising into mile 8 when I got leid.

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Hey, freak-o.  Get you mind out of the gutter.

I hit my wall around mile 10 1/2.  To put it mildly, it sucked.  Luckily, about this time, we emerged from the trail into the town where the race would end.  Now, if you’ve ever participated in or been a spectator at a race, you know how uplifting a crowd can be.  The cheers…. the encouraging words…. the signs.

Oh, the signs.

Unfortunately, I don’t have pictures of my two favorites, (I feared, if I stopped to snap pics this late in the race, I might not start again) but here’s what they said.

“Go Total Stranger Go!”

and

“Worst Parade EVER!”

Ha!

As I trudged up and down the hills of the town towards the finish, (Seriously, who puts hills at the END of a half marathon???) I got my Tootsie Roll groove on, had OPP thoroughly explained to me frame-by-frame, and learned who the Real Slim Shady is.

I rounded the last corner, saw the finish line, took a deep breath, and finished hard.

What do you do after you cross the finish line?

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This Is How We Do It…..  (Sorry, I couldn’t resist one last one!)

The ups and downs of the week.  The physical pains and the emotional drains.  The falls, the walls, the failures…  Followed by getting back up, trying again, pushing through, and finding success.

My final score card from the week???

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I won!

 

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Play that funky music

I’ve been sitting here, staring at a blank screen, trying to find the best way to phrase that I’ve been in a funk lately.  Here’s what I’ve come up with.

I’ve been in a funk lately.

Over the past few weeks, I think I have started four different blogs that are sitting hopelessly unfinished in draft hell.  This post itself sat with simply a title for three days.

I love writing.  I love bringing you my random thoughts, pointless rants, and hilarious stories.  Luckily, the chaos of my life provides many opportunities for me to find interesting tidbits and head-shaking occurrences to report to you in my oh-so witty ways.

In these last few funky weeks, I’ve still had enough material drop into my lap to write a handful of blog.  I just haven’t had the umph to follow through.

I blame the horribly late arrival.  (Sidebar ~ That MFing Groundhog better never scurry out of his damn Gobbler’s Knob again and have the nerve to say we will have an early spring.  Early spring my a$$.  We had snow in May….SNOW.  I sat at baseball games in my winter coat, seeing my breath!)

I blame the end of the school year.  Traditionally my students do not do well with a change in their schedule.  Despite how much they complain about school, most of them are happy to have a stable place to come everyday and a predicable routine.  They get particularly owly as the calendar comes to a close.  They have been off the wall nuts during these last few weeks of school, draining me of any reserve energy I might have otherwise had.

I blame my crazy home life.  Before you worry, IP, lil’ IP (Paige) and T-Dog (Trystan) are all perfectly fine.  It just seems the family candle has been burning at both ends.  Between school, work, voice lessons, baseball practice, baseball games, pool board, school board, IP’s work schedule, IP’s travel schedule, household errands, household chores, and homework, I’ve lost track of more than a few days.

Just last night, after getting through the four subjects of homework T-Dog brought home and getting him ready to drop off at baseball practice, I realized that school ended in two days and I had yet to buy the end-of-the-year teacher’s gifts and make cupcakes for T-Dog’s classroom to celebrate his summer birthday.  As we jumped in the car to run to the store for the gifts and the vanilla I was out of, it dawned on me that I forgot to make dinner.  Why does my family insist on eating everyday?  And three times a day at that?  Geez!

By the time I get through the list of to-do tasks for the day, it’s all I can do to make it to my bed before I crash.  (Trust me.  You DO NOT want me to crash out on the couch.  Ask IP.  Waking me up after I’ve fallen asleep on the couch is taking your life into your own hands.  I’m cranky to say the least.)

The good news is I clock out of work for the summer on Friday and joyfully take my place in my poolside lounger until August.  The even better news is I will be back at your full disposal, spewing my opinions and observations, while hopefully not boring you with my amusing antics and brilliant adventures.

You’re welcome!

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Fun with Friday

I have what one would call an eclectic wardrobe.  Searching through my racks, you will find everything from formal dresses from my prom and bridesmaids days to professional attire to casual kicking back clothes to sports fanatic gear.

Since on Fridays I am allowed the pleasure of leaving the business duds in the closet and sporting the jeans at work, I set out this AM to find the perfect T shirt to go with my favorite demin.

I took a quick look and laid eyes on a shirt I hadn’t worn in a while.  Yep, that was it.  The winner for the day.  I quickly grabbed it and threw it on.  Then I looked in the mirror.

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Although I still think the shirt is adorable, seeing myself in it make it painfully obvious that the shirt had officially crossed over into being too young for me. (Insert silent weeping on the passing of my youth.)

I trudged back to my closet to find a more appropriate replacement.

Yes!  This one is perfect!!

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Hey, I said the other shirt was too young, but I didn’t say I was going to grow up!

 

 

So when does the relaxing happen?

Ahhhh the weekend.  We all look forward to it, but I am seriously beginning to question why.  Since Friday afternoon, I have been on a non-stop run-fest.

It started with a phone conversation in which I heard my husband (who was packing his gear to leave for a video shoot) tell a different client, “Yup, I’ll get that right out to you.”  Which is code for; ‘my wife will get in her car and drive all the way across town to put it in your hands.’  He left for his shoot in one direction and I left in the other, while leaving the boy home with instructions to dress himself for his baseball game.  (I am ever so thankful that the children are old enough to stay at home!)  When I returned, we were off to the game.  As soon as the game ended, the boy and I rushed home to change out of our dirty baseball clothes into wedding appropriate attire to meet the hubby and daughter at a wedding half of us were late for.  Small talk, food, cake, smile, drive home eyes half closed and fall into bed.

Saturday, since I knew what the day had in store for me, I set my alarm for 6 am.  (Yes, that’s right, 6 am on a Saturday!)  I got in my workout and tried, as quietly as possible, to get as much of the house cleaning done before the rest of the house woke up.  When they finally opened their eyes, I squeezed out my traditional Saturday morning pancakes before enlisting the troops to finish up the Saturday scrub down.  We eked out the house cleaning with only 15 minutes to spare before we had to be out the door for another baseball game.  After three hours in 92 degree heat, full sun, and endless dirt to the face later, we left the fields with another win under our belts, but already late for the next event.

Home for a quick change, then off to cross the city to attend my grandfather’s 80th birthday party/family reunion.   Knowing that I’m already late and that I have to leave early for another appointment, I spent the time I was there walking around to visit with all the necessary family members, attempting to avoid being the subject of evil gossip for not mingling enough.  Tick tock, tick tock, time to rush to the opposite side of town (again) for my niece’s 10th birthday party.  (If only my grandpa and my niece from my husband’s side would have coordinated and planned their parties together…some people!)  This party we actually make on time.  Yeah me!  Visit, talk, eat, present, sing, cake.  (Side bar… cake was really ice cream cake.  I LOVE ice cream cake.  I skipped cake at the first party, banking on the ice cream cake being served.  Point for Kerry!)

As I finish my last bite of ice cream cake (mmmmm!), I look at my watch and realize that I have exactly 20 minutes before the pharmacy closes and I have a prescription to pick up.  After quick hugs and fast good-byes, we rush out the door.  I think I may have set land speed records on I-80…. I know I broke numerous traffic laws, but I ran to the pharmacy window literally 2 minutes before they closed.  I win!  (I win a pharmacy bill, but, hey, I won something, right?)

Home, sweet home with just enough time to make a cake (home-made, from scratch, chocolate cake…the absolute best cake ever) for my son’s birthday party tomorrow.  That means that tomorrow is party mode all day… prep, set up, party, tear down, clean up, fall over.

Who are these people who have these relaxing, unscheduled weekends?

Let them eat cake?

My daughter turned 12 on April 18th.  We, of course, had cake and parties and festivities.  It was all lovely.  As with most birthdays, there was cake left over.  There was a small wedge piece left over from one of her birthday cakes.  (Yes, I said one of her cakes.  She ended up with two this year.  One on her actually birthday, because it’s not really your birthday if you don’t have cake.  And one on the day of her party the following weekend.  I love baking and who doesn’t love cake!)  Anyhoo…. I shoved the leftover wedge piece of cake and the box into the garage fridge.  We had the party, life got crazy busy, and the cake was forgotten.

Three days ago, I was cleaning up in the garage and opened that fridge to see what could be pitched.  Hello old cake!  Goodbye old cake!  In it went, box and all, into the trash can for curbside pick up later this week.

Cut to last night.  After doing a little weeding and watering the flowers and garden, I pulled out the trash cans to haul to the curb in the morning.  I went around to the back of house to grab something, and, as I come around the corner, I found my darling son with lips and fingers smeared with frosting.

“Trystan!  That cake is a month old AND I pulled it out of the fridge three days ago!” 

“I was just trying it.”

Sure, just trying it.  Just trying month old, rotten cake to see what food poisoning is like.  My guess… it will be like a belated birthday present you don’t want and can’t return!

Thanks for the material, Mom!

I didn’t know if I’d have any material for a blog today.  I don’t really plan my blogs, I just go through my day and if something happens or strikes me as hilarious, I roll with it.  Since its Saturday morning, I was guessing that my inspiration would come from something ridiculous from my children or one of their activities, when out of left field (pun intended) my mom scores a home run.

I play on a co-rec-softball league with my husband.  Now when I say play, I use that term loosely.  It truly is a rec team.  Everyone on our team is there to have fun every Friday night, no pressure, no ‘super-intense-we-have-to-win’ attitudes.  That’s good, because me, softball, and winning are not going to happen.

Every game I play right field.  I love right field, nothing happens there.  I have had exactly one ball skip to me in three games and luckily I caught it.  Now my throw back in to the infield was pathetic, but, again, I CAUGHT IT!  In every at bat, I have either struck out or hit a wimpy little roller right at the short stop and have been easily thrown out at first.  I have never got on base.  My dream at bat would be to be walked so I don’t have to look bad while getting on base for my team.  Hey, don’t laugh, it’s good to have goals.

Last night we won 9 – 4, our first win of the season.  Everyone else on the team played great.  Great, monster hits.  Scoring runs.  Amazing diving catches.  Me….  I struck out twice and was thrown out at first once.  Nothing was hit to me, so I didn’t drop or mess anything up.

When I got home, I put up the following post on Facebook

It’ official….. I suck at softball.  Fortunately, the rest of the team rocks!

To which, the unintentional joke of the day and the credit for the material for this blog goes to my mother, who responded…

You know your mother does not like people sending balls at your face!!!

Yes, mom, I know that, known since high school.

Thank you mom for the huge belly laugh, my sick sense of humor, and this morning’s inspiration!