18
Jun

Ode to

To the water, the one that wanted to swallow me whole.
The one that was so cold it felt like knives
the one that had me feeling like I could not move
the one that made me think I was standing still and not getting closer to the end
the one that thought it was going to win,
I beat you and I got to the end.

To the hill
the one that's right at the beginning of the bike route
the one that hurts
the one that I haven't been able to get up without walking
the one that is really long and doesn't seem to end
the one that on the way down frightens me because it is so steep
I got up.
I made it to the top
I kept going
and I beat you to the end.

To the man that ran most of the 5K with me
the one who was in Iron Man clothing
the one who was also at a loss for why that water course hit us hard
the one that said "I only did half an Iron Man, not the whole thing"...
I say "I only" too
"I ran a marathon but I only ran it in my neighborhood, not a real race"
"I do triathlons but I only seem to do worse and can't find my grove"
I only I only.
Why do we do that?
And so, with real intensity I turned to you and said, you should be amazed with yourself,
and I meant it sir.
We beat the course, all the way to the end.
We made it to the 2 mile marker and we said, we've got this
and we did.

To the woman I passed and told her great job, almost there
the one that quietly and sadly said, "I feel like I am in last"
you and your voice made me stop and turn around to say "you're not in last but even if you were, we're here to finish"
the one who smiled back and said "I've been in last before" and the one that made me laugh and say
"me too, someone has to be, why not us?"
We made it. I saw you finish too.
You made it to the end, you beat the course.

To my husband
the one who came up with this idea.
The one that asked me to do it
the one that helps me with my swimming
the one that is so concerned for me in the water
the one that shouts to me to make sure I am ok
the one that feels like he disappointed because the course got the best of us
we made it.
It didn't win, it's didn't get the best of us because it didn't beat us all because we made it.
We finished another triathlon.
We finished our third one in three years.
We swam and biked and ran.
We finished
even though we were tired
even though we were out of it
even though our bodies didn't want us to
even though we panicked in the water
even though the exhaustion asked us to stop
we made it to the end.

To my body
the one that tells me it can't but shows me it can
the one that thought it was going to drown
the one that was so exhausted after the swim it didn't know how it would bike
the one that got off the bike and legs hurt so much for the run
the one that wanted to give up, at every turn wanted to just stop.
You didn't.
You kept going
you beat the course
you made it to the end.

To my MS
the one that made me stop moving
the one that told me I needed a nap, now.
The one that made me curl up, shut down
the one that made me feel out of it for a few days
the one that made me scared
I am beating you too.
I am doing this all to prove to you that I still can and I always will.
I am fine, better than fine.
I am beating you all the way to the end.

To my mind
the only one that doubts me
you didn't disappoint.
You were always there second guessing me, us.
You were always reminding me, look someone else passed you
you were always aware of what leg was flying by you
I didn't let you win.
Because I am more stubborn than you.
And every time you tried to tell me I don't have enough grit for this,
I told you to f off and I kept going.
I beat your doubts
just like I beat the course.
And even though I did worse and my times were worse
I made it to the end.
I didn't give up
I kept going

and I owe it to all of you.

#StrongIsTheNewPretty
#TheCoupleThatRacesTogether

9
Jan

More!

You hit me hard.
You wanted me to crumble, and I did.
You wanted me to break and walk away from all that I knew,
and I almost did that too.

You started with so much sickness
so much scary and unknown
so much stress and worry
so much testing and anger
so much sadness and confusion.

See, 2016 was the year that I swore up and down I would stop wishing time away.
That was my resolution, I would stop wishing my life away.
Because for as long as I can remember me, I was always the person that would say, I just need to get through...fill in the blank.
And then one day I woke up and said enough, I have wished it all away and no more.
This is my life, I can either change it or live it and I am choosing both.
But 2016 was a tough one, all around.
And so, I say a very welcomed good-bye to you and I am dusting myself off and trying...
all over again.

Each year, I feel like my theme with resolutions circles around the word less...
less worry, less stress, less stuff.
So this year, I am going the opposite direction.
New year, new me. And this year, the word is more.
MORE!
More laughter
more fun
more me
more us
more them
more who I really am, not this angry person I have become
more time
more opportunities
more adventures
more trying
more new
more for my business
more of what I love
more love.

So, first things first.
I am going to start finding things funny again.
Really funny.
Us, I will find the humor in us and our situation and our kids.
God, I am going to laugh hard with my kids.
More laugh lines, not worry lines.
More silly.
So, I am going to lighten the hell up...way more!

I am going to kick my own ass, way more!
Yep, I am always afraid.
Yep, my first response is always "I can't do that".
Yep, I have to walk through my fear and I always do.
So, more me.
More time spent working to get out of my head.
More time spent on putting my own mask on first.
More time spent doing yoga
and running
and racing
and watching movies
and reading
and building my business
and building me.
More me.

More talking.
More spending time listening to your day.
More walking away from my work to show you that you matter.
More turning everything else off to be with you.
More hands free mom.
More curling up with you and just letting you go.
More time in the car together where you really open up.
More listening.
More of me with you.

More calm presence.
More loving words
more open arms
more smiles
more warmth
more letting you know I have your back
more being on your side
more snuggles
more laying with you at night
more caressing your face
more running my fingers through your hair.
More love towards those I love.

More smiling.
More finding other people as good.
More smiles with strangers.
More complimenting people just because it's true.
More giving of myself to those I don't even know in the most simple and humane way.

More happy.
More finding fun new things to do.
More snowshoeing.
More ice skating.
More playing hoops together.
More board games
more card games
more puzzles
more legos
more family adventure
more hikes
more trips.
More joy in our lives.

I am ready for the challenges that will come.
I am ready for a new puppy to show us that life always moves and goes on.
I am ready for this family, the one we created, the one we wanted, the one we have, the one we need to feel lucky to have.
I am ready for us, all of us.
I am ready to fall back in love.
I am ready to be comfortable.
I am ready to be full on me, us.
Just more of it.

27
Sep

We tri'd!

All week long, summer lingered.
The weather was perfect.
It was in the 90s, the sun was strong, warm.
And even though school had started, everything about it felt like summer.
Our last week of training, it was so hot, but it felt just perfect.

And the day we went to pick up our packets, the weather turned,
ugly.
It was cold and all of a sudden, it hit 50 degrees.
In three days, it went from 90 to 80 to 50.
And with the cold, came a cold November rain (even though it was early September).
But that's not where this story starts.

This story starts four months before our race,
when he came to me and asked if I was willing to run my bucket list race this year,
this fall,
four months from now.
After another spring/summer of not feeling well and not being able to run as much as I usually do
and trying to figure out what is wrong with me and why I had to stop every difficult physical thing that I do,
I said yes.
The doctor told me there was nothing structurally wrong with me and so I slowly started yoga again.
The cross training would be better, easier and more gentle on my body.
And so, I needed to learn how to swim, and fast.
I started with calling places to find out if they offer swim lessons
"no, not for my kids, for me. Yes, for adults."

In class, I did not flourish.
It was rough.
Learning to put my face in the water
learning a stroke (just one, just one little stroke)
learning how to breathe
realizing no part of me floats
learning how to kick
learning how to turn my body but keep my head down.
And, I wasn't good.
My instructors knew it
the other people in my class knew it
the two kids who were 10 knew it.
I wasn't good.
But, I kept going.
And even though at the end of the 6 week session, my instructor thought I couldn't swim 200 yards let alone 1/2 a mile, I still went and practiced and worked.

For four months,
we ran and biked and swam.
We tried to do as much as we could together as a family,
there were nights we took it on just one at at time.
Towards the end of the training, we were hitting the road 5 times a week and 4 out of 5 of those times, it was for 1-2 hours.
He worked so hard.
I worked so hard.
It was the first time we did anything like this, together.
It was the first time he did anything like this, period.
And the kids really tried.
Anna kind of understood how crazy important this was and would ride her bike while I ran, would stay in the hitched trailer while we biked and biked for hours on Sunday.
Cole would be my buddy, on the bike, in the stroller.
It was just time consuming.

And the day of the race hung over my head like a ticking time bomb.
Every time someone mentioned it, the swim, tears would stream down my face.
Every time someone mentioned the lake, how was my swimming coming along, I would panic.

But finally, September hit and we headed out to Rochester.
The day before the race, of course the weather changed.
Of course the rain poured down.
Of course the lake looked like it was going to eat me alive.
As we rounded the lake to go pick up our packets, I pulled Cory aside.
"Look at that water.
Look how angry it is right now?
Do you think it's freezing?
It looks so so cold.
I really don't think I am going to make it."

The morning of, we got there so early, it was still very dark, carrying our bikes and helmets and stuff, just stuff.
And as soon as we arrived, they asked us to strip down so they could mark our body with our bib number.
As I was standing there, freezing cold, I started to get it.
They are marking me.
If something happens, this number leads them to my name,
my family.
And so, I asked.
Is this to identify me?
Since she could clearly see the fear, the absolute fear in my eyes and the shake of my voice,
all she could do was nod yes.

I put on my wet suit and I was shaking.
Shaking from the cold
the nerves
the fear
the terror.
And as they called my leg to go into the pen
I turned to him and honestly said goodbye.
Just in case, I needed him to know, I don't regret our life and I love you all.

Getting out of the water, and feeling so accomplished and alive,
heading over to the bikes,
the challenge of all the hills and that damn wind that wouldn't even let you enjoy the downhill
getting a flat for the first time ever in my life
walking miles and miles and miles carrying a bike and watching my time crumble
hugging the mechanic who helped me get back on the road
the smile on Cory's face, you could hear his smile when he talked
knowing he was crossing the finish
seeing my little faces as I was half way through the run
seeing all of them as I crossed
hugging him close and so so proud
he made it
he did it
I made it
we made it.
I thought of you Anna,
I thought of how much fun you have in the water
I thought of how brave you are for always jumping into any class
willing to learn
willing to try
and always having fun.
I thought of your summer swim lessons and the absolute joy you got.
I thought of your six year old strength.
It wasn't the time I wanted.
It wasn't the race I had thought of.
I didn't fail where I thought I would,
but still stumbled and had to shake it off and keep going.
We tri'd
we finished
and we will be tri'ng again!

Thank you This Mama Runs for inspiring us to take on this challenge and try our first triathlon. You are an inspiration to your children and the families out there that are all trying to make it work. #StrongIsTheNewPretty

19
Apr

Running toward or away?

In a couple of weeks, I lace up again.
I hit the road and do another solo half marathon.
I have been training for a few weeks now and I can feel the tired, in my legs, at night in my entire body.
I feel the heavy.
And I keep reminding myself how much I love the hateful long runs.
I hate how much I love it and love how much I hate it.
How I hate how much time is spent out there, counting down the miles,
but how much I love the feeling of getting it done.
It's hard, difficult to climb, it's tiring, and it's all self inflicted.

All my life, I have run.
As long as I can remember.
And as young as 8 years old, I knew I was running to be thinner, to look different.
All my life, I spent my time running away...from myself, the situations I was in, from my figure.
All of my life I have been asked to slow down, asked to stop running so hard.
But those that knew me, knew the reason I had to run.

And then I met you, my person.
And I continued to run.
At every turn, I tried to run away from the family you were creating.
But, you wouldn't let me.
You forced me to plant my feet.

And I did, we did.
We settled into couple-hood,
into parenthood,
into us.

And I still run,
I still race,
I still go too hard.
But now I feel like I am trying to run toward something, not away.

I am running toward health, physical and mental health.
I am running toward proving to my body that we still can do this.
I am running to give MS the middle finger, high and proud.
I am running to prove to our kids that health, and your body, they matter.
I am running toward my own strength, my own determination.
I am running for Anna, to show her that #StrongIsTheNewPretty.
I am running toward our family, the one we waited and wished for.
The one we fight for.

And in less than two weeks, the race, the solo race, it starts early.
It's just me and the road, in our neighborhood.
No music, no chatter, no one to chase, just me.
Finally not running away, but toward our home.

4
May

#RunMomRun

I'm training for a race.
A half marathon that I am running on my own.
All by myself, in my neighborhood.
No actual race.
No bib number.
No gorgeous trail.
No spectators cheering me on.
No one to catch up to.
No one chasing after me that I'm trying to keep in front of.
No music.
No company.
Just me.

And that's why I do it.
It's just me against myself.
Me against my own demons.
Me against my own negative voice.
Me against my MS.
Me against my tired.
Me against my negative self talk.
Me against my body image.
Me against my weight.
Me against my career.
Me against my mothering.
Me against my marriage.
Me against my tired.

It starts with the just the sound of my feet.
Hitting hard against the pavement.
My clumsy body looking ridiculous as I move forward.
My mind telling me how much it doesn't want to be doing this.

The miles count down.
And I fight forward.

I get to think about all the things that trouble me.
I get to clear a bit of my crazy and take this moment to breathe and work it out.
I think about my career, my choices, my agency and what I can be doing differently.
I think about my marriage and my person and what I could be doing to make him feel more supported.
Am I loving you enough?
Do you realize how much you have done for me, how much you have given me, how much I want to start and end my days with you, and just you?
Do I let you in enough?
I think about my kids and if I am doing right by them?
Am I showing you what mother looks like?
Am I showing you what you can accomplish?
Am I showing you that nothing will be handed to you?
Am I showing you love?
Am I showing you compassion and honest?
Am I showing you my heart?
Am I showing you strong?
Am I showing you that bad days will come, but we will fight on?
I think about me.
I think about how much I dislike meek in me.
I think about how much I want changed in me.
I think about all the decisions I have made that led me here.
I think about how in the end, it meant I got to have all of you.

And the miles count down.

I think about me.
I think about my insecurities.
I think about the voice that keeps reminding me that I'm weak, I'm too much of a yes person, I never take the lead.
I think about the competition against myself.
How much I do compete with just me.
And I guess that means I get to win, but I get to lose too.
I think about how it's just me vs. me out here and how if I wanted to, I could stop.
I could give up.
But I won't give up on me and all the work I still need to do on myself.

I keep hearing the pounding of my awkward feet.
And the miles count down.

I hear my daughter ask if I'm going for a run today.
I hear her ask me "why" and me tell her that it's so healthy to keep your body moving.
If I say it enough, that means that I'm not worried about the scale.
I'm not worried about how kids have made me look so different.
I'm not worried about the pouch that won't go away.
I'm not worried about you touching me and it feeling different.

I hear her ask if she can come with me.
I can't wait to run along side you sweet girl.
I imagine we will talk about our days.
I imagine you telling me all that is bothering you, all that you are excited about, all that is happening.
I imagine it being our time.
But for now, I watch your faces pressed up against the window as I head down the driveway.

And the miles count down.

And next Saturday, I will head out.
I will tackle every single mile in the 13.1 I will run.
It is me against myself.
And that is why I run.

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