I ran today for the first time in a long time without my girls. Actually, it's only been a few weeks, but it FELT like a longtime. And it was the first long run alone in Richmond. Usually when I'm doing "long run" alone it's because I'm in MA, NC or BerMUDA. (sorry, had to throw that one in). I'm not a fan of the long run to begin with, and then you add in that I'm running in my own city but w/o my own fan club. Instead, I tried to "merge" with another club. OK, that was a BIG mistake. HUGE. Really big. Giant.
This "running group" of my neighborhood meets every Saturday at 7am. So, for one thing, that's a little late. Seriously, if you're running 10 miles and you don't start till 7, it's friggin hot by the time you're done. OK, next point of contention is that they made this big to do about how they never leave anyone behind and that there are plenty of novice runners who run slow... Slow is NOT a 9:20 pace. The definition of slow is probably relative though.... anyway, within 20 feet of the beginning of the run I realized that it was going to be ugly. I slowed way down and let them all go. By 1 mile I was running pretty much alone but they were still within earshot, and by 3 miles into the run I couldn't even make out the people I was running "with". So, at that point I realized that I was actually running alone.
How sad. Woe is me. How... peaceful. Yes, I missed my girls. I wished for some conversation about... NC, meeting husbands, Europe, Baltimore, Economic Crisis... but in the end I just sort of ran in my mind and let my mind wander. I contemplated many things... ranging from Economic Crisis to SDD to the TV show to which I'm now addicted... to running "alone" with 20,000 people on race day.
Either way, next week if my peeps are off doing "Stuff" and I can't run with them, I will just choose to run alone rather than try to do the neighborhood runner thing.
Well Carp. I went the entire summer w/o TV. That's right, I did. I pretty much weaned myself off of House, Bones, Grey's, and ANTM, as well as BRAVO (yes, the entire channel)... and today I'm sad to report, I've fallen off the wagon. Last night on what was supposed to be a 15 minute break from Sir Gawain and the Green Knight I turned on the TV. It was set on HBO, and the opening credits for True Blood's first episode were playing... so THREE HOURS later, I'm completely hooked, I've now watched 3 episodes in a row, I'm sitting on the edge of my bed... Sir Gawain is lying abandoned on the floor, completely forgotten in my trance. That show is Sexy, Brilliant, Thought Provoking and did I mention SEXY??? Holy CARP. I'm totally hooked.
I'm sorry, but no one prepared me for the stickiness of motherhood. Seriously, we have sticky fruit juice from a pear for breakfast resulting in sticky fingers, a sticky high chair, sticky baby hair and even sticky baby shampoo. Not to mention sticky diaper goo that goes on after the bath on the clean baby. Add that to the sticky neon blue sparkly toothpaste that's cementing in my bathroom sink as I type this, the sticky bubble goo that clings to your fingers after digging the little bubble wand out of the Bubble bottle... And don't forget the way play-do molds to the grooves in a pair of tennis shoes, or the slime that lingers on the bottom of the liquid soap dispenser. Yes, motherhood is definitely sticky.
I've decided I need to become a stripper. Really. It's either that or buy all new clothes & I can't afford it. I am beginning to think exercise is too expensive of a hobby for me. It's crazy. It's never been a problem before because I've worked out with no success before.... Wait a minute. This is R's fault. R needs to have some kind of warning on her Stroller Strides liability form... "SS will not be held responsible for your credit card debt due to weight loss and the resulting wardrobe updates required".
Happy 6th Birthday G. Holy smokes, I'm as exhausted as I was the day I gave birth! Why? Was it staying up past midnight last night frosting TIE fighter cupcakes & cleaning up from that adventure? Was it the getting home from my run so I could immediately start running around to the grocery store & the party store? Was it the dressing in the boobalicious costume? (which wasn't as bad as I feared) Was it the 12 balloons, 10 boys, 2 girls for 1.5 hours? Could be all of the above...
I'm so tired I can't even think of anything clever to say. Wow. So here's a few photos instead. If anyone wants the Tie fighter cup cake "run down", I have a few suggestions for how NOT to do it, but just post a comment and I'll get them to you.
I'm baking this morning. I'm making the Death Star cake and the "base", which is just an 11X14 sheet. The 11X14 sheet is cooling on the table while the bowl is finishing up and suddenly I hear B say... "uuuummmmmmmm". I turn around and she has eaten a HUGE bite out of the cake with her play spoon. This is no good. No good at all.
Oh yea, I remember now. I had forgotten why I was so keen on running. Seriously (to quote my favorite T). Seriously, I had not had a really decent workout since finishing the 1/2. For a minute I even considered quitting running (but I'm not really a quitter). I was honestly starting to question why this was my "new sport". I mean, it's not like the gods haven't been trying to show me that this ISN'T my sport... Need proof?
1) Broken FOOT
2) Stomach flu the week before the Half.
3) More humid than Africa on the day of the Rock N Roll Half
4) Not to MENTION the TROPICAL STORM for the AA5K.
Yes, those do look like acts of God (or Goddess) to me. Oh, and don't forget that I'm slower than, well, pretty much everyone else in the free world.
So, I was starting to question my dedication to this sport, until TODAY. I had one of those runs, where you start out at the 10:20 pace (fast for me) and run for a while... and never stop for the whole 4 miles!!! I never stopped running except to sip for about 10 steps. I averaged a 10:40 pace. Whew- I feel validated!
Now that the whole nipisode is behind me, and we've established that the baby is bipolar, I thought I should offer you all further proof of my neurosis in the form of planning a child's birthday party. The first one is that I'm venturing into a new world of birthday parties by planning a COSTUME party for G. We're all dressing as characters from Star Wars.
I would like to make an aside here to prove that my son is probably straight... He picked a costume for me that looks like, well, let's just say G's going to a boob guy. So, Asajj Ventress costume here I come... combat boots and a red light saber... and low cut form fitting velvet dress... Boyo I hope it's not hot on Party Day! I could melt.
OK, so Costume party for boys. When you do a costume party for girls, they all come dressed as princesses, and you paint their nails, faces and have tea parties and such. No danger of things getting too messy and ruining any costumes, unless you consider apple juice "tea" a real danger. So, back to the boy thing.... crafts all sound messy and I'd be sad if anyone's costume got ruined. Games all sound wild and I don't want anyone to get hurt. I am not working with kids who are at an age of Star Wars Trivia (6 & 7 year olds). Currently the only thing I have going is a pinata. But, the real proof of my neurosis is in the cake...
I am angst ridden over making a cake versus buying a cake. For one thing, home made cakes by G are SO much cheaper than store bought cakes. And cooler, if you're into the 3-D Thomas the Train thing, or hand carved Blues Clues cakes, or a Sorting Hat cake... to bad we're not working with Harry Potter, Thomas or Blue... we're looking at R2D2 or TIE fighters or something. Something that's going to take all week. Something I don't have time for.... something, that I will end up staying up until 2am the night before working on.... why? So small children can eat the frosting so fast that no one notices that they're eating a piece of art. It's not like 6 year old boys appreciate that sort of thing! But I have to make the cake so I can one-up every other mother coming...
Trust me. We're having a lame at home party with no moon bounce. The cake is all I have going... well, that and the boobs stuffed into the costume, and we already know that that's a REAL danger w/ b around.
I would like to share with you all that this morning, at 5:25 when B woke up and started yelling, "I awake! MomEeeeeeeee, I awake", I had a revelation on my life. It could really be summed up into an excerpt from one of my favorite books. It's a book I re-read with frequency, and each time I find it speaks to me on a different level. By now, when I read it I look deeply at the words, savor each truth, and realize that my entire life is dependent on the same variables in this book as it applies to myself and children... So, here is the excerpt, I'll have a few discussion questions at the end to further enhance your understanding of this book.
"Some days are yellow, some are blue, on different days I'm different too. You'd be surprised how many ways I change on different colored days. On bright red days, how good it feels, to be a horse and KICK my heels! On other days, I'm other things. On Bright Blue days I flap my wings. Some days of course feel sort of brown, then I feel slow and low, low down. Then comes a yellow day and wheeeeeeeee, I'm a busy buzzy bee... Then all of a sudden, I'm a Circus Seal! On my orange days, that's how I feel. Green days. Deep deep in the sea. Cool and quiet fish. That's me.... ... Then come my black days. Mad and Loud, I howl. I growl at every cloud...." My Many Colored Days, by Dr. Seuss
So... here's the thing. What is the difference between a red day and an orange day? Or, an orange day and a yellow day? And, why is it that my B seems to constantly ride a fine line between Yellow and Black? She has yellow/black swings every 12 minutes. I'm really NOT exaggerating. I mean, seriously, why can't I have a Green Child? A quiet green day child who sleeps PAST 5:45 AM???
Oh yes. We've all had those moments where our children embarrass us. Sure, there's nothing quite like a temper tantrum, in a grocery store, in front of... your priest... or in front of Alpha Mom... But, my uber-embarrassing moment wasn't that benign. No. I'm sitting here right now wishing for a temper tantrum actually. In Ukrops. Because what happened was the most embarrasing moment of my entire life... to the power of 8... multiplied by 230952... So- let this be a warning to you ALL!!!
First off, let me set the mood... I went bowling with friends to celebrate with C, G and B, in sort of a "we survived the second week of school" way. H has been working 4 week nights every week and it's exhausting for me and the kids, so even though I begged him to call in sick, that stupid "work ethic" thing over ruled and he went to work after we left for Bowl America. My neighbor Earth Mom (EM) came, and we also invited SDD and A (his 6 year old daughter whom G loves & C thinks is great, and honestly, she is so cute she makes me giggle). So, it's family fun.
At some point, I looked around at all the rednecks, cigarettes hanging between sticky painted lips, and thought, "Oh wow. This is blog worthy." And, I might have said as much to EM and SDD. I thought, "title of the blog post... something redneck... you might be a red neck..." I was definitely working it all out in my mind. In the meantime...
We're bowling. We ordered pizza. Things are going great... and then, b starts to melt down. Now, for those of you who don't know, b is only about 22 months old, so by 6:30 pm, she should be melting down. At this point, the bowling alley is pretty busy. I am entertaining her, while EM bowls. And it's almost my turn.... and suddenly, holy snap, B pulls on my top. No big deal right? It's not like a baby has ever exposed her moms bra before... but, crap, she got ahold of bra... and completely exposed my ~nip~ to Bowl America. My life flashed before my eyes. I'm not ready to be a mom... I'm not mature enough for this... my nip was exposed for probably 1/2 a second. OK, so that doesn't sound like a long time- IT IS AN ETERNITY. I could die. I am dying. I.... "Well, that's blog worthy" says SDD who was reaching for b at the moment that the entire thing happened, and now we're both laughing so hard neither of us can breathe. Or, at least I think he's laughing. I know I'm ready to climb under a table... chair... rock... bowling ball... SOMETHING because at that moment I have perma grin, my eyes are tearing up... I can't see.....
It's just a Mom moment. It could happen to any of us, any where, at any time. Still, I'm on alert now, b's not going to get a chance to do that twice. I think I'm going to need to get some turtlenecks!
so tired today i can't stand it. i hate morte d'arthur. sorry, it's true. i'm not an english major. obviously. anyway, it's not my favorite. maybe if i had more time to read it, to savor the language, to do anything academic... but no, i'm drawn in 200 directions today. yesterday. the day before. and tomorrow- more of the same. i need a break. i need a day off from mommyhood. alas. i can't have one. none of us can. its the one thing no one tells you when you're pregnant. i'm sure they omit this from every baby book because they don't want to discourage people.
i'm going to bed as soon as my kids are in bed, the lunches are made, the laundry is done, the kitchen is clean, the pets are fed, & my paper is done... i'm never going to bed, am i?
I admit, I love trashy smut novels as much as the next SAHM. I do... it's just, I'm now reading what I've come to realize is the mother of all smut. Morte D'Arthur. Holy crap. In the 1st forty pages, we've got an affair, a child "gotten" out of wedlock, a proposition, a war over a lady, a declaration of true and faithful love, followed immediately by another extramarital affair with a SIBLING! Anyway, it's quite a book. A bit cluttered wyth the grete language of the 14th century, but still, far more smutty than I expected.
So, it's off to write a paper on the lust and violence of Arthur's conception. What better topic for a rejected smut novelist to choose? I'll be honest, I look forward to the response on the discussion board of class by the 10 or so 19 year olds in the class.... God, I'm old.
Sometimes 1 is not enough of anything. In my case, 1 kid was not enough. 1 college, 1 job (I often have 3 or 4 small gigs at once), etc... so, because one is not enough, I ran in my SECOND race in 7 days. Yea, so OK, I took up running 5 months ago and up till that day had never run a single race, and now I'm up to two a week. Ofcourse, I sort of sucked at this race. Too bad. T rocked though, double stroller and all, and Cookie totally kicked my a** big time.
Since I'm now a veteran runner with a whopping 3 races under my belt, I thought a challenge was in order. First order of business, I chose to completely exhaust myself before this 5K race by running 13.1m on Sunday, walking on Tuesday, walking on Wednesday am followed by Marshal Arts on Wednesday night, Stroller Strides on Thursday w/ T, and a 32 minute run on Friday followed by a mere 2+ m walk later that morning. Sure sure, many people might have rested on Friday before the race. Heck-fire-and-shoot... lots of people might have taken the week off after a Half Marathon on Sunday... but not me. I like a challenge. But all that wasn't going to be a challenge enough. Nope, I still needed something more.
Instead of running a 5K on a nice breezy sunny day with 60% humidity (like my first 5K), I thought- 3.1 miles is too easy for me. I need some kind of obstacle... oh, I know, I'll choose to run a race that's taking place in the middle of a Tropical Storm! Brilliant! Tropical Storm Hanna dumped about 6 gallons of water into my clothing as I was running today. I felt 5 pounds heavier when I finished the race than when I started!!!
I keep saying race. I mean run. It was not really a race for me because my legs felt like lead. My shoes felt so heavy I could barely stretch out to take a good stride. I never felt good the entire race. The only reason I sprinted the finish was because R came out to sprint with me, and I still have some small amount of pride left to show off for her (sad, but true), and because I wanted to be done with the rain. And, it was a great sprint, but, it wasn't a great time. 31:40 I think, I really need to look at my watch again. My last 5K was faster. But then, I hadn't run 19 miles that week, and I did this week. I'll be honest. At the end of todays run, I felt beaten. I need a break or something.... or... maybe just need to sit and watch football for an afternoon.
As I typed out my schedule, I chuckled at the stupidity of myself. Yes. I'm STUPID. (not as stupid as smoking college students, but not much smarter). "Oh woe is me, I feel sick and weak." Gee g., I wonder the F%&*#(@ why??? You've not taken any time off to rest for the last F'n week. Stupid, and I'll tell you why: When asked on Thursday morning of this week how my week was going, I replied, "I'm taking the week off, I haven't worked out at all." Yes. That's what I said. SO. Tomorrow I'm TAKING THE DAY OFF FROM WORKING OUT. (it's in all caps incase I am inclined to forget that I'm taking the day off but check my blog before I head out with running shoes on).
Devil Possession is not something that people should take lightly, but should be handled within your family's comfort zone. For example, the way I deal with possession is somewhat radical, slightly untraditional, and probably NOT a "sanctioned" procedure.... but, it seems to work for me so...
During the usual possession, there are several stages. The first stage is recognizing the possession for what it is, and not mistaking it for "hunger" or "thirst" or even, "need of a nap". In the second stage we try to treat the symptoms of the possession, and in the third stage we call for professional help if the possession has not been exorcized.
Take today for example. I've not been feeling that great since last week when I caught that little bug, and I know I compounded that feeling by RUNNING A HALF MARATHON! (sorry, had to plug that one in). I've been eating odd little meals, usually just whatever sounds good, and even then I don't really eat that much. So, today I stepped away from my vegan diet and made myself a little yogurt and fruit for lunch. I sprinkled about 1 TBL of Granola cereal on there too for a little crunch. Total, maybe there was a cup of food in the bowl.
So, I sat down to eat my lunch. Don't worry about B, she'd already been offered about 10,037 foods, none of which sounded appealing to her. Well, B arrived as soon as my spoon hit yogurt. "Would you like a bite?" "Us!" (means yes in B) I gave her a bite. And then, I took a bite of my OWN lunch. You would have thought a bee flew up out of the floor and stung her on the nose because at that moment B completely freaked out. She fell to the floor, screaming and convulsing. There were tears streaming down her face, from her nose sprung forth a river of snot that could not be quelled by a kleenex, and the words that came out of her mouth... well, they were obviously the product of the Devil.
My method of exorcising the Devil follows below. First, immediately STOP EATING your own lunch and offer it to the possessed individual. If that does not work, ignore the outburst. The victim has no control over her body at this point, so don't waste any air in an attempt to communicate. If you're lucky and the possessed person snaps back, offer the victim a bite of lunch, a graham cracker or sippy cup. Hopefully, at this point, the possessing Devil will realize that you are hard core serious and not going to be impressed by violent theatrics. The last step, and I caution you to use this one sparingly, is to call your mother. Yes, she will know what to do, but sadly the conversation will probably start out like this, "Well, you used to do that all the time when you were this age..."
I'll be honest. It's been a long day and getting longer by the second. B is pushing me to the breaking point. Calgon, take me away, but only if I get to go without any small people yelling at me for "gum", "oogurt", or something that will remain nameless... not because I don't want to share, but because I have NO idea what she is saying when she's asking for it.
So, physical and mental exhaustion may have taken a slight toll on my parenting today....
For lunch B ate (in this order), a sample of banana smoothie from Starbucks, an oatmeal raisin cookie, and two slices of processed American cheese. And that was it. Now, if that's not enough to make you feel good about your parenting, I don't know what will.
Before I start on my whole saga of "how it went", I think there are a few things I need to mention.
The first is that running a 1/2 marathon is a little like winning an academy award. Sure, you do all the acting on your own, but there is a support team of directors, agents, and probably an acting coach thrown in for good measure that help you win. So, the Oscar goes to....
I would like to say a quick thank you to Rachel of Stroller Strides Richmond. She has been a wonderful role model and source of encouragement. After my first 5K she was the first to congratulate me and say, "See g., you can do anything!" So, thanks, Rachel for helping me believe. I also need to thank my "co-actresses" - EG, CM, NL, FC, and Cookie. Thank you ladies so much for your words of wisdom and humor over the past 4 months. You are amazing women. And lastly, I want to say thank you to T, also of SS, who has helped me to reach higher than I ever would have imagined. Words cannot express how much your support has meant to me. I doubt I ever would have even tried for this if we hadn't met.
Now, I will start the 72 page saga of running my first half...
We left Richmond in the afternoon for a quick drive to P-town to drop off our stuff at my Dad's house before heading to the Race Expo. This was my first race larger than a few hundred runners and longer than a 5K, so I was unprepared for the scope of the entire event. The expo was cool, but I kept looking around in awe and fear. Every so many minutes I would tremble inside and think, "g. You have a broken down foot. WTF are you thinking?" We met the rest of Team "Run Like a Mother" at the expo, took an amazing photo and headed to dinner.
Let me make a side trip here- we are all gorgeous women. Look at the photo and you'll agree.
At dinner I could hardly focus on the conversation. I swear, I was so nervous that I was practically sitting in T's lap- tough considering she's already sharing that space with one other person. I wasn't so distracted to not notice the fly in FC's drink though- that was pleasant. From dinner we made it back to P-town- with the help of Nancy Navigator, and after the usual pre-sleep rituals of going through our goodie bags, discussing body glide and body glide, we "went to bed". I would love to say at this point that I fell into a deep satisfying sleep from which I awoke refreshed and recharged. I would love to- but I can't. I can tell you that at four o'clock in the morning I was laying in the deafening silence of the house listening to the clock tick and thinking, "just go to sleep, you'll be exhausted tomorrow if you don't. Just don't think about your foot. Just pace yourself. Just stick to the plan. Just don't let yourself get sucked out too fast. Just... go to sleep." So, 7 hours, 2 beds, 1 deflated air mattress and a TICKING CLOCK later, we "woke up" to get ready to race.
Upon arrival at the Race, I went to UPS and checked my Boot. That way it would be waiting for me at the finish. I think that was the smartest thing I did all day. Then I separated from the fast girls and went to carrol #19. Yea, so, me and 800 other slow people hung out for a few minutes until it was time to move up. And move up. And move up. And before I knew it was time to go. As the sun really started to come up over the haze, I thought of something that I had somehow discounted during our training runs. Its not the heat, it's the humidity! I was pouring buckets of sweat, and I immediately thought of T's advice, "They'll throw energy gels at you, Don't take anything you haven't tried before!"
My plan was simple. Run for 5 minutes, walk for 1. Rotate through 5 and 7 minute running intervals in an attempt to rest the foot. It worked pretty well for the first several miles. I was running 11:12 minute miles for the first 3... then around 6 miles I was at 11:53... not bad really. But around mile 10 my foot just sort of gave up. It wasn't a hammer explosion of pain or anything (like when I actually tore the ligament), but it was pain. So I'm running and it's a little like this- pain, step, pain, step- and I thought, I ought to walk for a while, because if I don't I might not be running for 4-6 weeks. I walked. Right past the 10 and 11 mile marker. Occasionally I might jog a few hundred feet to test out the foot, and then I would walk again. I made tons of friends, partly because I am friendly looking, but honestly, I think its because the back of my shirt read, "Because a broken foot is NOT an excuse to quit."
As I was walking along, my first thoughts were about how I was not succeeding in my goal, and then I remembered that 5 months and 10 pounds ago I had never really run anything more than 2 miles. I could hear Rachel's voice in my head as I replayed a conversation about how much of this is mental. "See g. You can do anything." By the time mile 12 was in view, I was determined to run. I was also thinking I could still make it in under 3. So, I booked it the last mile. In fact, I ran a little too hard and had to walk for a few seconds to recover from the slightly light headed going to vomit sensation I got with about a half a mile left. And then I figured, well heck, if I pass out after I finish, it won't affect my time- and I went for it and hammered down the boardwalk. I made it in 2:55:21. 15:21 slower than I wanted to run BEFORE I broke my foot. I hardly registered my time, because I was feeling a little sick at that point. Maybe that's even a little inaccurate. I felt terrible. For hours. I just couldn't eat. I'm still not really eating. I nibble, but- ah well. I'm sure I'll make up for it later this week!
After the race I met up with the girls, collected my boot, walked the mile back to the car, and we hopped in to head back to our families. I would love to tell you about how when I got home I stepped into a cool shower which was followed by nap- but it would be a lie. Instead I had the girls drop me at Busch Gardens to meet my family for a day at the Theme Park. I know it was crazy and irresponsible. Lecture me later.
Basically I've been asked 100 times today, "how was it?" Well, it was the hardest thing I have ever done*. It was a challenging distance, and I have no need to attempt a full marathon until I can get my half time down to near 2 hours. I'm planning another Half in November, because the truth is, I'm not satisfied with my time. Sure, I'm proud I finished on a damaged foot, but enough of that excuse. It's old. I believe I can do better than 2:55:21. This time, I ran 13.1 miles. Next time, I need to conquer it.
*childbirth is always excluded from that statement