Fighting for the Wins

2.5 Miles Craptastic Strides (Thursday)
4 Miles (Friday)
Chatty Strides

Yesterday I hardly had any time to carve out of my schedule to squeeze in a run.  Actually I had my day planned out almost to the minute, but a forgotten lunch derailed my afternoon schedule rendering my run the track at the University I work at to run on.

It was awful.

I made it 2.5 miles and every minute was painful and belabored.  Which, as you can imagine, basically left me with a sweet taste in my mouth about this Sunday’s race. Visions of crawling across the finish line past the 3 hour mark flooded my mind in dramatic fashion.

I think my nephew was onto something here – I might have thought of this exact picture while running through the melodrama of race day in my head while I ran Thursday.

Fast forward to this afternoon when I went out for a few miles.  My mom called just as I was taking off and I was able to chat with her on my phone while I ran and keep up 8ish minute miles.  I felt redeemed and not ready to give up on Sunday yet.

I reflected on what could have attributed to Thursday’s trainwreck of a run, and was hit with the answer this evening I happened to catch up on Parenthood (I just got hooked on this show recently) and was absolutely riveted by one scene in particular.

An adoptive father was playing catch with his son and I’ll spare you all of the details from the show, but a situation that many families take for granted – well this family had to fight for it – and they were relishing in their moment, their victory.

Even though Mother’s Day is nearly 6 months past, he still regularly checks to ensure this is on my desk stage left to my computer.

Thursday I was confronted by multiple realities and the magnitude of some issues my son is facing.  Any time you adopt an older child, every milestone is a long, hard fought win.  I remember the days when we made it through the day without him zoning out for 10 minute blocks of time disappearing to whatever safe mental place helped him cope.  The first “I love you’s”, real snuggles and genuine (not forced) laughs come with a greater reward because I fought that much harder for them.

If there’s anything being the parent of an adopted child (not baby) has taught me, it is that it’s way harder than you can ever prepare for, the stakes are higher with the toll practically taking all of who you are, but when you get the win….oh those wins are chocolate coated, red wine laced sweet and savory.   So tonight when all three boys were on the couch snuggling with me and he grabbed my hand to hold it, I remembered a time when that would not have happened.  The labor from the fight for the win manifests itself in gratitute.  There is simply nothing like it.

So as life is continuing on and we’re dealing with a new set of issues, I’m going to remember to fight for my son, fight for the win even when I’m tired, because it will taste that much sweeter.

And as far as Sunday goes, I feel the same way.  This time around, the victory will be finishing and NOT pushing too hard to keep my injury at bay – running for the sake of running, racing not for the challenge not a new personal record, but to just enjoy the race and I am so okay with that.  Okay, well most of the time I’m okay with that.  And may the victory be sweet and possibly a little savory because sweet beer just isn’t great.

Last year’s post Long Beach reward.

What wins are you fighting for these days?
What wins have you fought the hardest for?

Get Ready For The Bumps

True rest day….nothing…nada…zilch

I pause from this mostly running blog to delve into the mostly parenting world (with a little running) today.  This is a story I don’t always like to share, but I think it’s important for adoptive parents to share their stories -good, bad, and sometimes, even worse.  Not because everyone adopts, but likely each of you know someone who has been touched by the process.  And they often sit quietly wresting through issues most non-adoptive parents ever have to face.  And sometimes, it just helps to know what “trench” your friends are in….

I finished typing the race recap from the iTryathlon in the surprising stillness of a quiet morning in the house.  I was caught in the reflection and excitement of not only a fun race, but a great day which was much needed after an incredibly long week.

I quietly smiled, anxiously awaiting the fun Sunday I had planned.  A little church, a few errands and a lot of Olympics with the boys.  As soon as the “publish” button was hit and the laptop closed, I heard quiet whimpers coming from the boys’ room.

Get ready for the bumps.  The lyrics from a song from one of the boys’ favorite kids song echoed in the back of my mind.

A random pic from my VERY brief high school track career. Kids, please note you cannot make good decisions at 15. Period.

While I might have used questionable means to get through Physics in high school (so what if we all did ONE problem and met before first period to copy each other’s work on the remaining questions to save some time…sorry if this ever gets back to you Ms. Mytyc…but if you read this you’ll see I went from cross-country dropout to avid runner…forgiveness?), but I do understand one thing – what goes up, must come down.

And boy reality slapped me in the face.  Chocolate had a dream about his birth parents (whom he doesn’t remember, nor do we know much) which led us right to a street that any adoptive parent knows:  grief.

I spent an exhausting morning asking and answering questions.  We talked, we asked questions of one another, we cried, we grieved, we prayed, we lamented, and we even laughed at tiny parts throughout.

But boy, oh boy, it was exhausting.  We don’t get to this place often, but I know the importance of just staying there with him when we are there and engaging in the process together.

So typical of Chocolate: sweet, sassy and exudes personality.

Get ready for the bumps.

I think one of the things I like about training is to a certain degree I can control it:  plans, schedules, goals, focus, keep me pointed like a laser to something I can actually manage.  But once in awhile, my body has it’s own plans.

I’ve spent the last few months battling an adductor insertion issue.  In April, I didn’t even know what an adductor was or if it needed to insert somewhere other than a light socket.

So I lost control.

And the high of reaching some goals brought me back down to reality.

Hands down one of my fave pics of Chocolate ever. Could it be any more real?  Even at 3 he could stage a humorous photo without even thinking…We titled this “Too much Easter”

There’s plenty of road ahead, I just gotta be ready for the bumps.

Do you have a plan when you hit the “bumps”?
Who gets in the trenches with you?
Any bumps in your life lately?

Adopting a New Attitude

Have you seen my mojo?

Yesterday’s run was so hard.  I wasn’t surprised.  After a big race I always seem to lose my mojo.

I didn’t want to go.  It was about 83 degrees.  There was a big headwind.  I was tired.

I made it 1.5 miles of a moderate run and did about 1.5 mile of 400 meter sprints with 400 meter jogs.  I meant to go up to 5 miles with the sprints, but suddenly my body started screaming at me and I was mentally halted by the word “RECOVERY” running through my mind.

Precious card from Chocolate!

I’m pretty Type A…and learning to let go and slow down is hard difficult near impossible for me.  As I finished my run I was thinking of the other times  when I’ve had to learn to let go.  My mind wandered to a card Chocolate gave me for my birthday.

Inside it read:
Before I knew anything else, I knew how it felt to be loved.  Thanks, Mom

It reminded me of arguably one of the other hard times when I lost my mojo.  You see, I had brought two new babies home from the hospital before him.  I remembered the sleepless nights, the cracked (not chaffed!) nipples, the c-section recovery, stitches, pain, etc.  New parenthood is not for the weak of heart.

But let me tell you…bringing home an adopted child is like nothing else.  That innate need to be needed that my previous two children had wasn’t there.  I stared into the beautiful, broken eyes of a 2-year old boy who didn’t know how to need yet.  He didn’t know how to trust yet.

Whereas the card he gave me said the first thing he knew was to be loved, he doesn’t remember that the first things he knew were pain, brokenness, hunger, abandonment and a host of other really awful things.  And it was my job to introduce him to this big scary world and show it him that I was safe.

He would do this thing where he would zone out.  He’d get lost.  I’m sure it was his brain being overwhelmed.  At first, it happened every 20-30 minutes, then slowly morphed to once an hour, then once a day, then every few days.  Hugs went from zombi-esque to soft and natural.  I could tickle my little boy.  Forced giggles turned to lit up eyes.

One of our first pictures together

Getting from point A to point B took everything out of me.  I always had high standards for my first two boys, but this was different.  Patience, grace, and unrelenting abundant love had to flow out of me even when I was rejected, hurt and my tank was totally empty.

Sure, I might have been sleeping more per night than with my other two, but the constant need for me to change my standards, clear my expectations grated at me most minutes of most days.  Sometimes I had to learn to dig down deep to persevere and other days, realize my mojo was on vacation.

What does this have to do with running you ask?

This.

Sticking since February.

You see in February I wrote these two goals down.  Finish the Illinois Marathon (I amended it to BQ, but it wasn’t a hard set goal, just a pipe dream) and then to place in the Laguna Hills Half.

This was ambitious.  I was going to likely have to shave about 3 minutes off my half PR (doable I figured from my marathon training) and was pushing the recovery boundaries with the races just 4 weeks apart.

So here I am…trying to figure out how I find my recovery, assessing when to dig down deep and when to just adjust my expectations.   The former of which I typically do and the latter, notsowell.  All the while, my mojo seems to be a month ahead of schedule on the vacation I have planned for June.

What do you do when you lose your mojo?