True Confession Thursday: The Void

The last time I ran was like 4 days ago or something like that.  So I could write something trite about it all, instead I’ll go all Virgina Woolf stream of consciousness on you and let you into the brief world that is Striding Mom today….

As I type this I’m trying to let my coffee kick in and the sun rise enough for me to safely sneak in a few miles.

I had great plans for this week to get my butt back on track with running.

But instead, I’m going to….

Thank Pinterest for increasing mom-guilt everywhere and make 95% of feel like crap on the last day of school before the holidays when we bring in “our things”.

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Be a “bad runner” because I let the chaos of the last few weeks not let me run.

I love my kids.

Secretly shame myself for letting social media tell me I should be running at least 30 miles a week.

Why do kids whine/fight so much?

Ground myself and remember that I have an awfully big plate compared to many and it’s awfully full at the moment with 3 immediate family birthdays in this house, Christmas and end of the year chaos.

Why run when there are Cowboys cakes to be made, and eaten?

Why run when there are Cowboys cakes to be made, and eaten?  Yes I bought it, but then I decorated it…this mom has half the time to do all of the work.

Drink another cup of coffee.

Add “take time to reflect and move forward as a family” to the to-do list this weekend (yes I realize the irony of this).

Oh yeah, I should go run now….

What do you need to get off your chest now about fitting it all in?

True Confession Thursday: Decisions, Decisions

A while back, I saw a note that the Boston Marathon was opening up some limited entries to those who had some sort of impact from the bombing last April.  I skinnied down my experience and submitted an application.

To my surprise I got this in my inbox on Wednesday morning:

Screen Shot 2013-12-04 at 5.31.16 PM.pngOh my word yes, yes, yes a million times yes I want to go.  But then I came back down to reality and remembered life and responsibilities, yada yada yada.  So after some reflection and a pretend glass of red wine I got to thinking….

Thinking about the time it takes to train, the fact that the boys were pretty traumatized by my last trip and concern about how they will handle/worry about my being in Boston again especially with what is bound to be high media coverage.  Let’s face it, we talked about bombs for months after the event, nightmares were had, pictures were drawn and tears shed about the event and the worry they experienced.

Photo Courtesy of the OC Register when Strawberry first saw me after the race....

Photo Courtesy of the OC Register when Strawberry first saw me after the race..

I desperately want to be there to do my thing, but I’ve got to think of the impact of my attendance on the boys.  A little mommy resolution is not worth a weekend of anxious, worried kiddos.

Our happy reunion!

Our happy reunion!

So instead, I pinky swore Strawberry that I would run the Boston Marathon with him when he was old enough and qualified enough to do so.  That little nugget puts his mind to things and they happen.  And with that, I can likely say see ya in Beantown 2024!

And so my confession is the struggle of any mom, no less working mom.  There’s the struggle between what you yourself want to do:  train hard, be fast(er), and run all the things.  And what you need to do:  pack lunches, work the job, drive to practices, dig erasers out of noses, schedule doctor’s appointments, etc.

I have my resolve, but in this phase of my life…the hearts and minds of those little boys get to trump that.  So Boston, I will see you soon.  I don’t know when…but know that I’m coming for you in the future!

September Slump

11 Miles Running
3 Miles Walking
Smazy Sunday Strides

Ahhh September…for many in the country it’s when things get back into “normal” – weather takes a turn for the better, the kids are settled back into the school routine and most of the country waits with baited breath for the first leaves of fall to start turning.

As Tom Hanks (Joe Fox) once said in “You’ve Got Mail

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Freshly sharpened pencils my arse…in SoCal, September is when the sun decides to kick it up and 70 degrees is only something you see between 2-4am (if you’re lucky).   In fact, at my sister’s wedding a few weeks ago, one of her best friends walked up to us in all of the humid glory and announced, “My business is hot”(my new favorite line).  So thanks to September in SoCal – everyone’s business is hot and it can make people a wee bit crabby.

As September begins, the kids are in the last two weeks of summer vacation (you know the ones where they are practically begging for structure and you wonder how much duct tape it would take to stick them to the walls in their bedrooms for a few hours) and then beginning the agonizing 2 week adjustment to actually being back in school.

No, we're totally normal here.  When I say take a picture I get this.  Two words to their teachers - good luck.

No, we’re totally normal here. When I say take a picture I get this. Two words to their teachers – good luck.

All of those crazy kids and the hot business sure do make it easy to lose perspective.  So I know that I was grateful for a message on Saturday night at church about purpose vs. perfection.  It got me thinking – where’s my focus?  Striving for perfection and wallowing when I fail (news flash: this is very often) or focusing on making intentional choices to make my life purposeful?

What?! This is a running blog?!?  Fear not….there’s a point here….

Since my ideal “running” has been derailed by my intense hatred and continued no-treadmill streak matched with 80-95 degree temps, I’m having to remember why the heck I’m doing it.  For the last year the script in my mind giving me purpose was, “Boston..Boston…Boston“.  It kept me motivated and my passion, purpose and drive tractor beam focused.  I can’t tell you how many times I chanted this through my mind or imagined running through the finish line to get myself motivated before and/or during a run.workout.

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How many months, moments, and minutes did I dream about crossing that very line and thought of that moment to get through step after step? I didn’t plan on the huge popsicle stain, ehhh you win some, you lose some…

But these days – it’s a lot more of, “Uh it’s 97.3 degrees outside and I’m running 5 miles because I used to like this?”

Do I love running any less?  Nope.

Is it really hard to have an AMAZING run when it’s a bazillion degrees outside?  Yeppers.

Dear Pumpkin Spice Latte, sitting on ice, you make September better in so many ways.

Dear Pumpkin Spice Latte, sitting on ice, you make September better in oh so many ways.

So what have I been using running for lately?  Smaller, shorter distanced quasi-goals (i.e. don’t hit your next race more than 5 minutes longer than your PR type stuff), thinking, praying, relaxing (okay as much as you can relax during a cardio workout).

Thinking…yes this is probably the scariest of them all.  This morning I spent a lot of time thinking about my parenting and the whole perfection vs. purpose thing.  I’ve made a lot of intentional efforts to get the boys’ school year off on the right foot – homework routines, incentives, schedules, pretty little signs and checklists around the house I’m practically living in an elementary school….and the response – whines, cries, tears, fits, tantrums, and general crabbiness…and that’s not to even speak of the kid’s behavior.

Yes there’s definitely benefit to the things I’ve been doing, but I’ve been so focused on just getting the “right things” done to get ready that I feel like I might have momentarily lost sight of the purpose – getting everyone off on the right foot this year.

So my challenge this sweltering September – spend more time dwelling on my purpose instead of the actions or reactions that mark the [lack of] perfection….ensure that I spend the time thinking about what and why I am doing the things I’m doing (running, working, mom-ing, wife-ing and the like) instead of how I did or didn’t do them.

What’s your fall like?

Are you a purpose or perfection person?

Reset Button

Post Race Rest Day

When your life is filled with conversations like this:

IMG_2576-001Me to Kid:  Blow your nose
Kid: Why?
Mom:  Because snot’s running down your face?
Kid:  Can’t I just lick it instead?

And then there’s a lot of

Where are my socks?”

That deadline’s coming up quick!”

and “Professor, my Grandma died…again

…sometimes I just need to push the reset button to get my head on straight.

So last week I realized I needed to do just that.  Last Wednesday after work, I randomly shoved the food I had set out to cook dinner back into the fridge and on a whim, we hit the quasi-open (come on it’s California, there’s never an open road) road and set out to push the reset button.

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IMG_2915It’s seriously hard living in SoCal.   A 10 minute drive and a quick hour on the beach and we found starfish, dolphins, got sand stuck in uncomfortable places and watched the sun set over Catalina Island and connected with each other again.  1 hour & 20 minute investment that paid off in dividends.

In the same way, Sunday’s race was just a way to reset my running batteries.  Lately I seem to have lost my running mojo – and the bum foot wasn’t exactly helping either.  With Boston under 3 months away, it was time to get my mojo back.

Instead of the sometimes *almost* fun stress of a race day, pressures and expectations, it was nice to just set out with friends both before and after and just run for the heck of it.  As I watched runners anxiously line up, I was thinking of ways to entertain myself along the course…like doing fad dance moves near the photographers, counting the compression socks, etc.

Photo Courtesy of Sarah Chan

Sarah Margot and myself:  Photo Courtesy of Sarah Chan

Don’t believe me on the fun factor?  Trust me when I say CLICK HERE – laughs will abound and you will see just how serious we were :)

Post-race, I’d say the reset button worked!

What’s your reset button?

Where’s your favorite place to go near your house for fun?

True Confession Thursday: Slacking Galore

???  When did I run last ???
Shutout Strides

Shhh….don’t tell anyone.  I can’t remember the last time I ran.  I think it’s been almost a week.  No bikes, no strides, no swims, no cardio…nothing, nada, zilch.

Seriously, it’s been about 2 years since I couldn’t recall the last time I ran….and I can blame it all on the flu….and Chicago weather, but that just makes me look like a weenie so let’s stick with blaming it on the flu.

We got hit hard this year.  And since everyone’s still on the mend, and my running’s lacking…so since I have nothing running to discuss, let me just give you the flu in pictures.

NYE Masquerade Ball – jealous?

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We like to couch it….3 naps a day.

IMG_2763Why Mommy’s not running…anything but her nose at least. Why run when you have fun mirror mustaches?

IMG_2756Fever-shmever…it’s Justin Bieber!  Getting our Dance Party on….

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One of the worst parts of parenting is knowing there’s not much you can do to help your kids when they’re sick and/or in pain…so there was a lot of growth over the holiday as we spent about 10 days fighting fevers, flus, bugs and the winter blues in Chi-town.

What’s your best cold/flu fighting secret?
I don’t have a secret to fight it, but I find whine and wine work well to cope with it.

What’s your hidden talent?
I dare anyone to challenge me to Just Dance 3 – C&C Music Factory’s “Gonna Make You Sweat”.  Game – freaking – on.

The Mom Game

Rest Day Monday
4 Miles Tuesday
Screaming Strides

On Sunday evening I noticed my IT band was tweaky.  And I mean really tweaky.  It didn’t hurt during my run.  It didn’t hurt right after.  But instead, at some point a few hours later it got really, really really angry.

My ITB was probably taking a cue from it’s rightful owner….me.  So I rested Monday and took it easy Tuesday (no pain then yay!)

And this is where Striding Mom gets a little more Mom, than Striding and a little more real than status quo.

Insert gratuitous post of children I love...

Insert gratuitous post of children I love…

So basically people – let me just cut to the chase - WHAT’S WITH THE JUDGMENT?

Over the past 4 or so days I’ve heard people say some of the harshest things about being a parent, a person, and a general human being.  The ones that irk me the most are the parenting ones though.

It’s funny because my kids talk about how “unfair” I am all of the time.

“What?  You won’t let me play Halo?  That’s harsh Mom, ____[insert name of friend] can!”

“Huh?  I can’t eat 3 desserts today?  That’s ridiculous!”

“Mom, you’re so lame.  You won’t let me play darts over my brothers head with steak knives.  I bet ____’s Mom would let them.”

You know what I tell them?  Different families, different rules.  And we carry on.  Why can’t we parents apply this rule to one another?

Oh, but on some level I get it.  I’ve raised my eyebrow at other parents and scorned their choices at times.  I’ve wondered why they weren’t using the Striding Mom Guide to Parenting that so clearly works…well, at least 50% of the time.  I mean, I was guilty just the other night.  But the fact of the matter is.

You. Never. Know.

IMG_2012Until you’ve walked [or run] a few miles in someone else’s shoes you just don’t know what their reality is like.

Truth be told, we’re dealing with some “stuff” with one of my boys.  It’s behavioral stuff, it involves diagnosing things and it’s so very hard.  Let me tell you, my son’s behavior is not because I’m not giving him enough attention, boundaries, praise, discipline, etc.  It’s because there is something different about him.  I’m not sure what yet, but we’re slowly finding out.

And yes, I’m embarrassed sometimes by the choices he makes, but I can’t show you that, because it will hurt his heart like you wouldn’t believe.  So I push that aside and support him.

And I have bad days too.  And I get frustrated with him too – more than I should.  And that breaks my heart as well.  He’s learning.  I’m learning.  We’re all learning.

So next time, before you offer your unsolicited advice about anything to anyone (because trust you me, this goes so far beyond parenting), let’s be sure to remember some wise words from Dr. Seuss…

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Have you had your mellow harshed this week?

Any wise lessons you’ve learned from walking in someone else’s shoes?

True Confession Thursday: Did I Say That?

30 minutes on the bike
30 minutes coaching soccer practice
Slightly Swollen Strides

It’s Thursday kids!  You know what time it is?

Nope, not Tool Time.  It’s time for me to get real.  Usually these are outrageously real and light hearted.  So if that’s what you’re looking for – here:

We’ve had quite a few noticeable earthquakes lately.  The kids have probably felt 3-4 in the last week so I was explaining what causes earthquakes:  plates, building pressure, the Earth’s need to release, yada yada yada.  The first analogy that popped into my head was farting.  Fabulous.  So now my kids think earthquakes are the planet’s way of letting a gassy lunch go.

Now for the real stuff.  And by real…I mean REAL.

I was cruising on Facebook and learning about really important things like Rebecca Black’s new song is releasing and stumbled across this gem of a quote.

Don’t worry, I’m just pretend yelling in the picture. When I really yell my veins stick out just a little more.

Mother trucker.

I’m not going to lie, it stopped me dead in my tracks.  Sadly this was the second time I had seen it.  The first time I read it, I went to a super fabulous place called de-nial.  But this time there was no ignoring it.

I felt sucker punched.

I have spent a significant amount of time lately reacting to my kids instead of responding.  The do, I react.  They don’t do, I react.  Sometimes I find myself saying things and wondering when I’ve turned into my mother (love you Mom! you’re the best) who I’ve become.

Some kids get foot and mouth disease, I’m feeling a major case of foot in mouth disease.

My goal lately has been to just take a deep breath before I say anything.

This is so much harder than a 5am 20-miler.  I’m not even kidding.

My voice, my winces, my reactions are creating my children’s inner voices.  Oh sure, sometimes it’s funny.   Strawberry literally had the entire neighborhood pool in hysterics when he kept dropping the toys he was carrying and declared, “Oh my gosh, I’m a total hot mess”.  But watching his teeth clench when he’s upset and I know he’s being too hard on himself is like looking in a flipping mirror.

I’m thinking a lot about the voices in my kid’s head (and I’m hoping there’s only one in each respective little cabeza of theirs) and what they hear now and will hear in the future.  I hope it’s forgiving, gracious, loving, and kind – not only to others, but to themselves as well.  I want their inner voices to be confident, merciful and joyful.

The challenge is that I have to get my “voice” there first.  I need to stop reacting, start responding and make sure the voices in my head are giving a true read on what’s actually going on.  It’s time to stop playing the worry, people pleasing, and internal berating on repeat.

All of this begs the question:  Why don’t kids come with a manual?  It’d be so much easier eh?

Do you need to change your inner voice?
If you have kids, what do you want their inner voices to be like?