Out with the old…

I’m still here, I swear. I’ve just been running. And mothering, partnering and friending.

Though I never said anything, my plan for 2013 was to make it EPIC. I think I did. Scratch that; I know I did.

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a 5k, 12k, and a 15K

4 half marathons (all under 2h)

Ragnar Ultra

Portland Full Marathon

Body Back

Became a Stroller Barre instructor

And the coolest part of all? I ran a grand total of 1313.13 miles this year. Yes, it’s an amazing amount of miles, but in the end, it was all in the course of training. Which is kind of even more amazing.

What might be even crazier is that all of THAT was just fit in among my life, among parenting my sweet three girls, among the time spent with Michael, among my friendships, which continue to remain so very important in my life.

I’d be remiss to have a post without photos, especially after so long.

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Twenty Fourteen – the word of the year is adapt (oneword365.com). I have goals, but they’re quieter. I have plans, but they’re more flexible. As Michael and I head into our 10th year of marriage, and our kids get older, our lives are shifting, in all good ways, and flexibility is key. I’m grateful that this wild, crazy, legendary has allowed me the insight necessary to be this flexible. I’m grateful for so many things this last year.

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And, so, so excited about the what’s next.

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I can. I will.

I don’t even know where to start. I’ve been struggling for days to find words to describe my workout Thursday morning, to describe the feeling I had as I finished my first round of Body Back (yes, first; yes, I’m going back for more).

squat jumps.

pushups.

reverse crunches.

bicycle crunches.

burpees.

mountain climbers.

Sure, those words work. And this week, yoga, barre, Body Back, Stroller Strides, Fit4Baby also work.

strong.

brave.

feisty.

understanding.

forgiving.

humble.

grateful.

love.

Those words work too. In yoga the other day, we were asked to set an intention for our practice. Mine was understanding. To be understanding of myself, and my limits; and of others and their limits.

As I began my workout, that I knew would be grueling, that morning, humble popped into my head. I’m humbled and grateful for what my body does for me each and everyday, for responding when I ask it to. I’m humbled that my brain listens when I tell it to STOP saying “I can’t” and start saying “Of course you can”.

I finished off Body Back 17 pounds lighter, 4″ smaller almost everywhere, standing taller, running faster, doing more pushups, situps, squats and holding a longer plank. I finished it knowing that when I want to have a class do a spiderman pushup, or a pushup to side plank, I can do that, and look damn good doing it. I can be an inspiration to others…that’s a heady feeling.

But I’m not done.

Now that I see what I’m capable of, what my body can do for me (you’d think after birthing three children, I’d have some sense of it, but it took a lot more), I want to continue to be faster and stronger. And then, I want to turn it around. I want to pay it forward, give it back. Because this feeling? It’s not mine. It has to be given…has to be shared. I’m so proud of myself and the hard work put in to get where I am. I can’t wait to take other mamas there, too.

I can. I will.

Watch me.

Exceeding expectations

I’ve been thinking a lot about that phrase lately. Well, the last few days anyway. You see, in my blogging absence, I’ve been through just a few things. Namely, a major injury. A major injury that precluded me from running the Rock n Roll Half marathon. I pinched a nerve in my shoulder, resulting in a completely numb arm, for the better part of a month. Then a partially numb arm for a while, and so on. I’ve been through 4 months of physical therapy, and 4 months of not running much, and 4 months of wondering if I’d ever get back to “normal” and be able to do things that make me really happy.

And then I realized that I could. Suddenly, my arm was feeling better. Well, not suddenly, but still it felt like that. And I graduated physical therapy (got to ring a bell and everything). And I’m starting to train for a half in August. And I began Body Back. And it dawned on me that, at age 32, I’ve exceeded all expectations I ever had for myself. Now, I know that sounds kind of sad, but I think I had rather low expectations, and I had zero confidence in what I was capable of. Those who know me well might wonder at this, as I seem to be a pretty confident person, and I am, but I have always had a lot of self doubt.

I’m not a runner.

I’m not strong.

3 kids? Are you crazy? (well, yes, yes, I am.)

I’ll never be thin.

If you’d asked me 6 years ago if I’d ever thought of running a half marathon, I’d have laughed in your face. If you’d asked if I ever thought I’d have 6 pack abs, I’d have guffawed. If you’d suggested I should have three kids, I might have hit you. And thin? Well, nah. It’s just “not my body”.

But am all those things. I am a runner. I am now one of those people who can just hop on a trail or treadmill and run three miles. Like it’s no big thing. And the whole time I choke back tears because 2 years ago, this seemed impossible. I look at my stomach, after giving birth to three kids, and smile at the muscles that I can see developing. I look at my arms and shoulders and love seeing the strength I’m working so hard to build. I’m smaller than I’ve been since high school, and well, that’s fun too. I have three beautiful children who drive me entirely crazy, but I can’t imagine a life without.

At 32, I have already exceeded all expectations of myself.

What’s next? For me, the sky’s the limit. I don’t know what’s next. I want to be stronger, faster, healthier. I want to motivate more mamas to believe that they CAN be amazing, awesome, strong, and to not feel limited by genetics or your body, or your kids.

And so, in some ways, this is a bit of a love letter. To myself, to my husband (for giving me the time and encouragement to keep going), to my friends for cheering me on, and to Hilary and the Stroller Strides crew. There is seriously NO WAY I’d be here now if I’d not met you.

SNOW DAY!!

Ryan woke up this morning, came to our room, and announced that it had snowed “all night and the whole world was white!”. Awesome. I’m going back to sleep (no one else was up yet). But, sure enough, we woke to a winter wonderland. Coffee first, then out to play. Sorry kids, y’all have to wait.

We don’t get a ton of snow here in Seattle-ish, so when we do, it’s kind of epic. Even our medium one, who HATED the snow last year, freaked out, trying to climb out of the window in her jammies to get into it. She kept eating it…saying “eat snow, eat snow” over and over. Ryan just loves snow, too. She was practically swimming in it, and catching flakes on her tongue, and building a snowman (I even helped).

We had hot cocoa after playing outside (well, mama and daddy had coffee), and then made cookies in the afternoon. I found these awesome “message in a cookie” cutters from Pinterest (Are you on there? If not, you must be; I’ll invite you. All the cool kids are there.) and had to have them. I love them already. They come with phrases, but also just letters so you can make your own message, like our “happy snow day” ones!

I’ll admit, I don’t love snow. I don’t like driving in it, it’s cold, it’s wet. But, I LOVE the first snow. And I actually quite like running in the snow (not running WHILE it’s snowing – that sucks). But today seemed more a snuggle at home sort of day, so I did. And a good day it was.

What’s your resolution?

So, last year I resolved to be more present. For lack of a better phrase, I failed. Badly. But in my defense, I got pregnant at the end of January, went through a challenging pregnancy, packed, moved, gave birth, and just tried to keep my head above water for the better part (ok, all) of 2011. The year was a total blur.

Not 2012. I’m determined to not let that happen. This year, I will not only find ways to be more present in my friendships, my parenting, and with myself, but I will also add to it intention. I need to stop letting life smack me upside the head, and start taking it by the hand. I don’t believe I can necessarily accomplish one without the other.

And, to top it all off, I want to be braver. I already think I’m a pretty ballsy person, but I’m not sure that balls=bravery. I find that I often play it safe, choosing the less controversial, the less adventurous, the safer options. Not this year. I’m 32, and I’m ready to push the envelope even more than I already do. I’m not sure what challenges this will involve, but I’m excited to find out.

I’m not crazy enough to try to commit to another 365 photo project, but I will be reviving my 52 project. You can look forward to seeing those pictures highlighted here on the blog.

I’d also like to begin to accept submissions for uplifting birth stories. They don’t have to be homebirths, but they do need to be positive. I know SO many women who’ve had such varying experiences, all beautiful, that I want to share those in one place. Bonus points if you have photos, since y’all know how much I love pictures.

And did I mention that I signed up to run the Seattle Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon in June? You know, just a half. Just 13.1 miles. And I hope to journal my training here, and share more about my running journey.

So, you know, not much. Just a few little things. How ’bout you? What are your resolutions this year?

Editing to add: I’ve challenged my whole family to a 365 project of sorts: 365 miles in 365 days. A fun, sort of competitive way to get healthy as a family (my brother, sis-in-law, and parents are in on it). I have a feeling a few of us might go double or nothing…

I heart running.

I never thought I’d utter those words. Never. There are a lot of things in life, and a lot of things I’m capable of, but I never believed that running was one of them. I’ve always liked the idea of it, but didn’t think I could.

About 8 weeks ago, I signed up for a Running Club through my local Stroller Strides group. I thought that, since we’d start out slow, and I’d be with friends, that this would finally be my ticket to running. I won’t say it’s been easy. The day before running club started we found out we were expecting our third baby (now affectionately referred to as “tres”), and of course I worried about it being a good idea. A quick pep talk from my coach, Hilary, confirmed that I would be fine, I’d been running at Stroller Strides for months and we start so slow it’s not a big deal.

That first day, when we were running 60 seconds at a shot, and I was dying. I didn’t believe that I’d make it to that 10k in May. I didn’t even sign up for it. I really wasn’t sure I could do it. Running is 90% mental, and only 10% physical. Your body will do what your mind tells it to. And that first day, I was scared. I didn’t think my body would ever cooperate with my mind.

Fast forward to tonight. Running 2.5 miles straight. We did it on Saturday, but I bonked hard. I walked more than I wanted to, and I let my mind lead the way. No good. Tonight I went into this run believing I could. At the first sign my brain started to take control and tell me I couldn’t do it, that I should stop and walk for a minute, that that was OK, I turned up the music and ignored myself. I CAN do this. I WANT to do this. I WILL do this. I WILL run 2.5 miles tonight. And my feet hit that pavement, and found a stride I could keep up with, over and over again. I found songs that worked, that motivated me to keep going, and I kept that volume high, so I couldn’t hear myself say it was OK to stop. It’s NOT ok to stop.

Today was the day I was going to run 2.5 miles.

And I did.

And I did it 11 weeks pregnant.

I think I can now officially describe myself as a runner, and I couldn’t be more proud.

embracing the changes

Our world is changing at such a rapid pace. Michael and I realized how much has happened for our family in the last year. We had a baby (no big, right?), have been dealing with Michael’s mom’s poor health, have been back and forth to California more times than we’d like to admit, we found a great house for us and are waiting to hear back, I started a new job and left it due to morality issues, I started a new hobby in earnest (my sewing machine is jealous of my camera), Michael got very into biking, I started Stroller Strides…whew, I’m exhausted just looking at that. And that’s just us grown ups.

Finleigh isn’t so much of a baby anymore…our sweet girl started walking on Ryan’s birthday. At ten months. Yes, 10. Not even one year. And about 5 minutes after she started walking, she started climbing. And getting into everything. And just being sort of hilarious. We’re about to start planning her first birthday shindig, which is a little bittersweet. I love hitting milestones with my kiddos, but hate how quickly they grow up.

…our house is on the market, and we are hoping beyond hope that our “maybe house” becomes our “real house”. We’d like to be moved by summer. It’ll be too late for much gardening (tomatoes and strawberries maybe), but plenty of time for playing outside in what would be our very own backyard. We’ve been pining for a yard for years now and would be so excited to have a place for the kids/dog to play safely.

Though it drives me batty, I’m trying hard to embrace the changes, as it seems that they’re neverending. I can either run with it, or run against it. And I’d rather run with it. In fact, I’m joining a running club and setting my goal at 10k. Yes, 10k. I’m going to run a 10k in May. I said it. I have to sign up for it still. But I’m going to do it. And I’m really excited about it.