16
Sep

It's personal

I get asked why a lot.
Why do I run, why do I race, why the triathlon?
Why if you're so scared of swimming do you throw yourself into a body of water and swim across a canal?
Why if it causes this much anxiety do you keep doing it?
Why?
What is the rush for you?
Is it the training?
Is it the exercise?
Is it the body issues you still carry?
Why do you do this?
When it hurts, why do you keep going?
When do you think enough is enough?
When will you finally stop?
Why is it so important right before you turn 40, why in your 40s, why?

These aren't the only times people sit me down and ask why?
Because when you live like "this", people look at you and wonder why a lot.
Why do you do it that way?
Why do you add so much?
Why would that bring you, hell anyone, pleasure?
Why did you start doing that?
Why are you participating in that?
Why are you so type A?
Yeah, I get asked why a lot.

And all I have to offer is, it's personal.
There's only one person I am trying to prove it to.
And that's me.
I am sure it stems from them and wanting some sort of acknowledgment.
I am sure it is because they told me all I couldn't do it.
I am sure it is because they wanted to be needed and so they wanted to raise weak.
But I will be 40 and soon.
The only person this falls on now is me.

What I am about to write,
what I am about to share, is going to sound self-loathing.
It's going to sound as though there is too much self-hate.
But, I promise, it is the opposite.
This is the most loving part of me because it is all about self-care.
It's personal.

Races and running and triathlons and half marathons and marathons and hearing my feet on the road and freezing in water and swimming even though I just learned and biking 20 miles on a Wednesday and being bone tired and killing myself isn't just gratifying, it's healing.
It's healing because I live in doubt.
All year, all month, all hour, minute by minute, I live in doubt.
Of me.
And I have strong roots in fear.
Of all that I do and try to do.
Everything that I say yes to, I walk through fear to get there.
My jobs, my careers, my business.
My family, marriage, parenthood.
Owning a home living a life or just plain living.
I doubt myself and am scared of everything.
So, if that was my litmus test, if being too scared or thinking - I can't - was the reason I didn't do something,
I wouldn't do anything.
And f that.
That's not a life, certainly not one I want to live.
So instead, I do.
I run.
I try.
I swim.
I do yoga and get stronger.
I weight train and step out of my comfort zone.
I push.
I make sure I'm tired.
I keep going.
I work long hours.
I train for long periods of time.
I work on being a mom.
I work hard at my marriage.
I take the promotion, I plan for my future and next steps.
I write a blog to protect their childhood.
I work hard period and end of story.
I do.

And I tell myself enough.
Enough of the BS talk and whining and the scared nonsense.
Do.
Your body hurts? Too bad.
You're too tired? Everyone is tired, get out there.
It's cold and the water scares you to the point of shaking? Stop it, they won't let you drown, get in now.
You trained for four months and he is beating you barely hitting the road? Yeah, that happens, he's stronger and more athletic but who cares.
Oh you think you'll be a shitty mom and fail them? Well everyone thinks that so you're not special.
You're worried your marriage will ruin what you guys have? Stop being so negative.
You think you can't run a company, specifically this company? Too bad because you are so keep going.
You're worried everything will fail? Yeah, it might, it could all crumble, but you still have them.
You're busy? Show me someone who isn't.
You want your MS to be the reason you can't? Someday it might be, but not today.
Today you will shut up and show your body you can run 13 miles.
Show it that a triathlon is in reach, who cares how long it takes.
Shut the hell up and lace those shoes.
Get up early and get started.
Hand out your business cards and talk to people about what you do, sell your brand.
Work your mission and remind people why it's important.
Work for what you ultimately want.
Do.

Show yourself that you can handle this.
Remind yourself of what you are trying to get to, what is waiting for you within reach now.
Do.
That might mean more grit than most.
That might mean more exhaustion.
That might mean more from you more expected out of you.
Because in order to quiet the doubt and the fear,
I have to do.

And from the outside it looks crazy because it is crazy.
From the outside I know people judge.
From the outside I hear the whispers of that is one tightly wound ball because I am and I won't let myself down.
And those that don't have to be this way, I envy you. I wish I could live just like you but I can't.
I know I make my life harder and I am working on that but I won't give up on me either.
So instead, I do.

It's personal.

14
Sep

Five Minute Friday - crowd

Every Friday we unite for five minutes. Only five minutes, that's all we get, that's all we have. And then, right where we are, no edits or second-thoughts, we publish those words. This week, we write on crowd.

Go.

It's not my favorite, being surrounded by a crowd.
I instantly think of strangers and small talk and the awful feeling of awkward.
I think of how awkward I am, how quiet I get.
I get lost.
But then I think of him.
How much he loves a crowd.
How much he comes to life.
How much he seeks it.
How much energy he gets from it.
And I realize he is my balance.
He has taught me to find the energy from it, to take their excitement and turn it into my own.
He has taught me to love races, not just solo races, but official races with crowds of people.
He has taught me to sit back and watch, take in the crowd, watch how excited they get.
He has taught me to look at my resort town with enthusiasm when the crowds pour in.
He has taught me that it means life and joy and people are out and happy.
He has taught me to get caught up in it, use it to my advantage.
And so I have.

Each summer, our amazing little town comes to life in this amazing way and crowds and crowds of people come.
Everything is busy and loud and warm and summer nights walking around have become my favorite.
We are teaching our kids how special it is, how lucky we are.
We remind them that having to find parking means people are here.
We tell them that we are privileged, we get to live here, where others want to be.

Each year, I do two races and both are now in official race settings, not just on my own.
I have learned that my time does improve.
I have learned that it does warm my heart to hear people cheer their family members on.
I have learned that there is something about that "great job" from a stranger who is smiling that makes me feel okay.
I have learned that reading the signs always makes me laugh when I need it most.
I have learned to relish in their screams and cheers and go get its.

You taught me this and now I know it too.
I get it.
I don't need it like you do, I never will but I understand now.
Crowds do mean life and joy and spirit and energy.

Stop.

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

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

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