Saturday, January 28, 2017

St. Jude Marathon 2016 or "The Marathon Kicked My Butt"

8:36 a.m. 

I posted and talked a lot about the St. Jude Marathon before the race.
Not so much during or after the race.
There are a lot of reasons why.
To say that attempting to run my first marathon was an emotional experience would be an understatement.  
An understatement.
Talk about a game changer...for running, for wellness, for life.

I think I'm ready to talk about it some here we go:

1.  I didn't train as I should.  I about half-heartedly tried.  There were days when I was "all-in"...but many more days when I wasn't.  No excuses here.

Here's the thing about're either all in...or you're not.
There is no half-way.

2.  My oldest daughter Kendal and a friend Shannon were with me. 
I was at times more concerned about their experiences than I was my own.  
I don't have this analyzed completely in my head yet...and this was no fault of theirs.

3.  I didn't prepare myself emotionally.  I'm not sure I could have because I think St. Jude marathoners think they "know" what they've signed up for, but don't really know until they run it...or try to run it as was in my case.
I think this applies for seasoned marathoners as well as beginners.

4.  I didn't really have a purpose well defined.
Hear me out on this.
I had a jumble of purposes...all of them swirling around in my head...this, that, and the other thing. Influences from everywhere...trying to overlap anything and everything that I could in order to justify running.
That doesn't work for me.
My anxious brain does not need jumble.
My anxious brain needs a streamlined well-defined purpose to keep it busy.
So that it doesn't imagine all kinds of things along the way.

5.  I was injured.
I can tell you all day that I take care of myself physically...but I did not prioritize my physical needs before the marathon. 
I injured myself trying to do too much too soon (even though I know and have known for quite some time how stupid this is).  
After I injured myself, I was too stubborn or too "busy" to go to the doctor.
So the injury just festered instead of beginning to heal.
I was in pain by the end of mile 1 for a marathon I had waited 48 years to run.

6.  I didn't take the physical challenges of running a marathon seriously.
When Kendal and I stopped half way, we were taken to the medical tent to be checked out.  What we witnessed there shocked me.  
It was like watching MASH.
There is a fully functioning "hospital" at the St. Jude Marathon...medical personnel were attending to those who were on drips, wrapped up, heart monitors, and a few emergency situations...we watched the team work on a man who actually had a heart attack soon after he crossed the finish line. 
Others collapse as well.
I can't tell you what a humbling experience this was.

7.  I didn't enjoy it.
Kendal mentioned this after.
The last picture I took was at the starting line.  I was so consumed with worry about whether or not I would make it to the end, and whether or not I could keep up with my pace group, that I just stressed myself out even more than I was before the race.  I didn't take in my surroundings at all.  And there was so much to take in...the scenery, the families, the children, the signs...I missed a lot of it because I was freaking out.

8.  I was not dressed appropriately.
We stayed too far from the race site and had no clue...any of us...what exactly we were going to need nor the processes to follow before, during, and after the race.
I am already registered in a hotel right smack at the starting line for next year. 

9.  I didn't connect with my team.
I'm on a team.
I really am.
It's called Run4theKids.
I was so consumed with making the race a special one for Kendal and Shannon, something we could share together, that I did not experience it myself. 
I am 48 years old. 
It's time for me to live my life and let others live theirs.  
When will I learn this?
I hope now.

10.  I beat myself up when I didn't finish the race.
This is a normal thing for me.
When I fail, my brain just bottoms out.  I've spent a lot of time and money trying to fix this...and one of the things I know about anxiety is that I have to prepare for it...but I didn't.
By the time we got back to our hotel, I was not only physically exhausted, but mentally and emotionally exhausted as well.
I got a shower only bc I didn't want to get in the bed without one since I was sharing a bed with Kendal...see, even my shower was for someone else.
I slept for hours (Kendal and Shannon did as well, of course...1/2 marathons and marathons take everything out of you).

11.  I was ashamed.
But, it was pride more than anything else.
How would I tell everyone that I didn't finish the marathon.
Would I still get a medal even though I only finished half?
The answer to this is no.
When you make the cutoff to go half or full marathon, there is only one finish line, the finish line for the race you chose.  
Medals are only given out at the finish line, so if you don't make it to a finish line, you don't get a medal.
This hurt my feelings...but I do actually get it.
We emailed and asked if we could get 1/2 marathon medals since we technically finished the half, but we never received a response.
I'm not a fan of the trophy for everybody notion, so I'm ok with this.
It will make the medal I'm going to receive next year be that much more special. 

12.  I did not fundraise like I should.  
I committed to $500 and waited until the last month or so to find the money. 
My commitment was more of an emotional one rather than a realistic one. 
I'm pretty famous for that.

The one thing I did do right was sign up for the 2017 race at the Expo the night before the 2016 race. 
I'm locked in.
I have a plan.
I've learned a great many lessons.
And I'm taking steps already to make sure if at all possible, I won't have to learn those same lessons again.

9:16 a.m.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Yoga with Dogs

5:31 a.m.

Yesterday I took a huge leap.
I have no idea why it's so hard for me to "put myself out there."
I have no idea why I doubt myself so much.
But, I did it.

I posted on social media (only on my personal Instagram page, people...don't push me ;) about deciding to become a coach and introduced my first challenge group month! 

I know.
I was pretty stunned myself.

It felt good.
It really did.

Several lady friends of mine responded positively and indicated that they wanted to know more...and of course, that validation felt good.  
I have long suspected there are other women out there in the world who feel like I do.
We're overwhelmed.
We're frustrated.
We're sad.
We suffer from anxiety and/or depression, either seasonally or constant.
We are addicted.
To something.
Or someone.
We may not even admit it to ourselves because we're scared to death of the word addicted.


But, we shouldn't be afraid.
Through recovery, we can connect with some of the most amazing women we'll ever meet.
Some of them we've followed before and wished we had a life like hers.
She's got it all together.
Her husband is perfect.
Her kids are perfect.
Her job is perfect.
She is happy.


Many times, she wants to recover as well.
In fact, the truth is, we all are recovering from something.
Maybe things aren't as perfect as it seems.
And, even if it is, nobody's life is perfect all the time.
I have a hard time believing that anybody's life is ever perfect, but I can't speak for everybody else.

I was given a blessing 8 months ago.
A blessing that I am going to return 10 fold.

As I start my new fitness (body, mind, and soul) ministry, I will honor God in everything I do.  
That's a promise I made the first time I had a conversation with my support person.
And, it's a promise I intend to keep.

My faith is central to everything I do.
It has to be.
That's how I survive.

Running and yoga are my therapy.
And dogs.

Yoga in my p.j.s last night. 

 Layla hasn't noticed yet
Please don't judge the mismatched p.j./yoga attire.
That's just how I roll.

 Layla:  MOM!!! (notice the ears)

 Layla: "I'm here, Mom...I'm here...don't worry...I'll save you from this yogi!"
(at our house, each animal has a voice...Layla calls "yoga" "yogi").
Is that a problem?

 Layla: "Is your leg hurt, Mom...what can I do??"

 Layla: "Mom, it will help if I lick you...I just know that it will. Licking helps everything."
Zeke: "Here we go again."


 Zeke: "Layla, leave Grandma alone...she's just doing her yogi.  My mom does her yogi too. Can't you feel the vibes?? (smh)"

Layla: "Where's the vibe??"

 Zeke: (whispering under his breath) "German Shepherds are so weird." 

 Layla: "What did you just call me?"

"Ima get in Grandma's chair now."

6:11 a.m.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Trying to Mind My Own Business

6:11 a.m. 

On Sunday night, while minding my own business on Facebook... know where this is going right?

I came across this:

I was born in Mississippi.
Hated Mississippi, was ashamed of my state and "couldn't wait to get out."
I didn't like telling people I met that I was from Mississippi because of the stereotypes and preconceived notions I felt people had about my home state.

When I got married at the naive young age of 20, I moved out of the town I grew up in and 3 years later moved to Tennessee...actually a town on the Tennessee/Kentucky line.  
Out of Mississippi.  
I raised two babies and started my fledgling teaching career outside of Mississippi and for 6 years worked for the Department of Defense Schools where I experienced diversity and progressive attitudes in bulk.  
I developed a very healthy appreciation for military families during this time.


My babies were young, and my husband was a football coach. 
Our 7th year of marriage was one of the toughest, and he was never around.
I wanted to go home.
So we did. (We actually went home because he got another coaching job...but that's another story for another day).

The move home was rough.
Much of what I had experienced professionally and personally in an area of diversity was squashed pretty quickly when I came home. 
This was probably my first bout with pretty serious depression.
I would go through the motions each day, trying to be happy, but would sit at night, just waiting for the next day to begin.  
I broke down in the kitchen of our new church one night, and my church family rescued me...literally and figuratively.

Fast forward a few years and I had the opportunity to do some serious traveling: Chicago, Boston, Oakland, CA, San Francisco, Washington D.C. ...
I spent 3 years traveling to Oakland every other month, working with other education professionals from all across the U.S. about diversity.
No place is perfect, however, and even though I enjoyed these travels, while appreciating other points of view and experiencing different cultures and lifestyles up front, I still developed an appreciation of home. 
When the plane would touch down and I would look out of the windows to see the familiar landscape, my heart would always feel warm.
There's no place like home.

I would return to my home state invigorated.
Invigorated and encouraged to make change.
To work within the system to offer our students a voice and the very best education available.

Fast forward again to ending projects, admin changes, and choices made on our campus that I didn't agree with...I pulled myself out of the professional ring.

I slipped back into somewhat of a depression here.
Why the heck was it so damn hard to get my state on board.

I know the answer now.
I suspected it before.
But, I know it without a shadow of a doubt now.

As long as we allow individuals who thrive on drama, outdated notions of equality, questionable ethics, and blind conformity, we will always be last.
I don't have the fight in me right now.
But my kid does.

I support her and all the other young women of my state who do indeed give a damn about progress.
They stand up and fight the old crotchity ways and are clawing at any way possible to find their voices.
I won't stop supporting them while trying to love everybody.
Even the fool in this FB post.

I unfollowed him by the way.
The Hide button wasn't enough for me.  

I probably shouldn't have because obviously he needs those of us who disagree with him to keep an eye on him.
I suspect he feels like he can use the drama to help get him elected to Washington since that strategy appears to be pretty successful in these here parts.

He blocked my kid though.
Good for her.
95% of his commenters are from outside the state...because he (or probably a staffer) deleted all the comments from outside the state and blocked those whose opinions he refuses to hear.

Mississippi is my state.
This man may technically be my state senator.
But he is not MY state senator.

6:46 a.m.