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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It sucks

I own a Dyson vacuum and it sucks, literally, in a good way.  I used to watch the Dyson commercials year after year and hear friends and family sing its praises, but, for the longest time, I held off buying one.  In my pig-headed stubbornness, I assumed I could find just as incredible of a vacuum without having to shell out Dyson level moolah.  I was wrong.  I spent three times as much on other inferior vacuums before I finally broke.  Well, actually, before IP broke.

With two cats, a dog, two kids, two asthmatics, and three allergic to everything, no vacuum could ever keep up with the work load we were giving it.  Those vacuums sucked, in a bad way, as in they didn’t.  Nothing sucks more than an item which is manufactured to suck, yet doesn’t suck, so it sucks.

After another less than stellar performance from our last non-Dyson, IP stormed out of the house, mumbling under his breath and returned, lighter in the wallet, but with that beautiful Dyson in hand.

Vacuuming has been a dream since.  I actually smile widely when I hear it sucking up all that hidden garbage from my plush, deep pile.  And oddly, I find great joy watching the tank swirl with all the dust, dander, and yuck it is collecting.  I have a problem.

Saturday is cleaning day in our household.  It’s taken a number of years and a whole lot of complaining, but I finally have the children fully programmed as to their Saturday morning chore routine.  They know there is no use fighting it, just to get it done, so they can get on with their weekend.

Yesterday, IP and Paige were out on a shoot, so young Trystan I and were working our way through the chores.  He had just finished the upstairs vacuuming, so I grabbed the Dyson from him and headed downstairs.  I plugged it in and switched it on.  Something was wrong.  My incredible sucking machine didn’t sound so sucky.  It actually sounded…sucky.  I took a look at the tank.

I have solved another mystery of life.  I now know how to break a Dyson and make it suck….you give it to your 10-year-old who just wants to be done with his chores already!

“Um bud, did you suck up a Kleenex with the vacuum?”

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“Yes.”

“And play money?”

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“Yes.”

Why?

“You said it could suck up anything.  You were right!  Can I go out and play now?”

Since I’m definitely keeping the Dyson around, anyone want a slightly used 10-year-old who play baseball, the trumpet, and is a little too smart for his own good sometimes?

 

 

 

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?

How do you spell fun….

C-A-M-P-I-N-G!!!

I love camping.  I always have.  I come from a camping family.  Between vacations, quick weekend get-aways to a local park, or boy scout and girl scout adventures, we used to haul out the tent numerous times a year.  I love everything about camping…sleeping bags, flashlights, bug spray, tangled fishing poles, playing card games on a picnic table, messy smores, the smell of campfires, endless stories, laughing til your side hurts and the peace of an early morning campground.  What I might like better than all of that, is the lack of schedule.  There are no ‘to-do’ lists, no places you have to be when you are camping.

Lucky for me, I married a man who likes camping too.  Since we’ve been married, we have taken our vacations on the open road to campgrounds far and wide.  When the kids came along, we just got a bigger tent and brought more food.  Our favorite place to camp is in the mountains, in particular, Grand Teton National Park.  It’s beautiful, it’s God’s country.

Now this weekend, unfortunately, we could not get away to the mountains, but we did manage to escape to a local state park for fun time with some friends.  It also happened to be my baby boy’s 10th birthday on Saturday.  (Double digits already!!!  That went too fast!)  He’s such a camping fool, he jumped at the chance to go camping with friends for his birthday.

Here’s some snippets of our weekend….

We have recently decided that we are too old to sleep on the ground, so I give my parents my puppy dog eyes (Yes, they still work on my daddy) and he will haul out their camper to save my back and give us running water.  Unfortunately, this only works locally.  I haven’t yet figured out how to get him to take it to Wyoming for us!

The birthday boy tried his hand at the grill for the first time.  He was a natural.  A future grill master is born!

The Birthday Boy got a Pogo Stick for his birthday.  Before you ask…Yes we are crazy.  We figured, what the hell, our deductible is already met for the year, why not!

Beach time.  Not a ‘real’ beach, a sandy beach on a lake, but the kids could care less.  They ran, jumped, made sand castled, and buried each other up to the neck.  I read a great book!

We go fishing a lot in this family.  The one thing we never do it actually catch fish.  My son took a different approach this time.  After using minnow after minnow to no avail, he decided to keep one as a pet.  Meet bubbles!  That’s one way to catch a fish!

True peace and quiet.  When you can walk silently to a lake, hearing only the sounds of crickets chirping and campfires popping and then witness this…. well, it’s just the reason you go camping.

What I think I like even better than the peace and quiet, and even the lack of schedule, is the chance to be flat out silly with my kiddos.  I hope these are the memories and times they will look back on and treasure forever.  I know I do!

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!