Mind Over Matter

“We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think.  When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.” ~Buddha
I’m constantly psyching myself out and I don’t know why.  I sure a lot of it has to do with not having high expectations.  If I don’t think I can accomplish something and I DON’T accomplish it, I’m no worse off than I was before.  On the other hand, if I was sure I could do it, and it turns out I can’t, I’m in for a world of disappointment.
I did and I didn’t want to go running today.  It was freezing.  As in, literally freezing.  I haven’t run in the cold yet and all I wanted to do was sit in my house, snuggled up on my couch with the little ones watching a movie.  Plus, according to my couch to 5K app, I am officially done with interval running as of today.  No more breaks, no more walking.  I know the other reason I didn’t want to run was because I assumed that I would not make it the whole 22 minutes.  Sure, I had done 20 minutes once before, but that could have been a fluke.  It was nicer weather, I ran on flat ground (no hills), etc.  The list goes on and on.  I just knew that I didn’t want to fail at this.
But I did want to run too.  I love the feeling of accomplishment I get after I run and actually complete something.  I love being able to really see how far I’d come beyond pants sizes and numbers on a scale.  I love thinking back to when I first started couch to 5K months ago and quit so many times.  Back to when I couldn’t even imagine running for 5 minutes at a time.  Back to when thinking I could run a mile without stopping was a joke.
So, I made myself go out anyway.  And you know what?  I did it.  I ran my 22 minutes.  Sure, I was cold and uncomfortable.  Sure I was painfully slow, but who the hell cares.  I did it.  And I know that I could do it again.
Sometimes, you just have to tell your self to shut up.  Even if you are continually telling yourself you can’t do something, go out and do it anyway.

Miles accomplished in the 100 Mile Challenge: 71.25

Miles to go in the 100 Mile Challenge: 28.75

Weeks Left: 5


My Latent Love (an old post about Oliver)

Here is a post a wrote about Ollie in January 2012 on an older blog.  I loved it so much I felt like I needed to share it again…

My little O is about to turn one in just twelve short days.  I have really been reflecting on this lately because, as I look back, I can’t believe how far we’ve come and what we’ve overcome together.

M has always been considered and probably always will be considered my little miracle baby.  Born after 2 losses, arriving almost six weeks early, it was hard not to love him at first sight.  This was something I had worked so hard to obtain, not just for for nine months, but for the three years before he was born as well.  He looked exactly like me and we were inseparable since our first day together.   And, in all honesty, we still are.  We are two peas in a pod, cut from the same cloth.  Our personalities are so in sync that at times it is hard to figure out where I end and he begins.  There is, of course, a bond between father and son, but not quite like the one we share.

In opposition, being pregnant with O felt like a chore.  I know it had  a lot to do with having a toddler already, having to keep it a secret because we lived with my in laws at the time, and spending all my time worrying about where we were going to live, how we were going to pay for things, etc, but still I wanted it to be over.  I was ready for him to be born and ready to get the “parenting two under two” show going.

When he was born, he was absolutely perfect in every way a baby could be, but I was still worried.  Not about him because he was everyone’s favorite, but about M and how we would take it.  I know I should have been more worried about O, trying to spend more time with him, but I felt like, for some reason, he didn’t need me as much.  He had daddy, and the grandparents, everyone fawning all over him and all I could think about was how to make sure M was included in all of the newness and excitement.

I know moms that will sugar coat things and say that bringing a new baby into the fold was easy and natural, but I’m not going to lie.  From the minute we walked in that door and we were all left alone it was hard.  Taking care of two in a tiny house was insane.  Having no income at all while on maternity leave was a nightmare.  O was sick a lot and in turn we were all sick.  My sleep suffered.  My marriage suffered, everything seemed to be changing and I really wasn’t ready for it to.

My siblings and I are completely different, so I don’t know why I thought that O would be easy just like his brother.  There were/are so many differences, even from the beginning.  O wanted a lot of attention.  He loved to be held and be around people, especially his brother.  He was noisy and cried a lot and ate a lot, and was a terrible sleeper (still is!)

But with all of that came his smile, his huge blue eyes, and his ability to find joy and laugh at everything.  My day doesn’t feel complete if O isn’t up to say goodbye to me in the morning.  No matter what kind of day I am having, seeing him run to greet me when I come home with that huge smile on his face is all I need to change my day around completely.  He is definitely daddy’s boy, through and through, but I know we have something too, a connection that only a mom and son could have.  It may have taken a little while, but now I realize that I would not be able to function if he were not here with us.  He is the puzzle piece in the middle…the one without which you have no idea what the picture actually is, the one that keeps everyone together.

At first I felt guilty about these feelings I had, like I wasn’t a good enough mother for some reason because my heart did not burst full of love the minute I conceived, but I know that I shouldn’t.  My love for O grew a little bit each day and I know that even now it is not done growing.  Today I can say I love him to the moon and back, but that’s just because we don’t know what they will discover past the moon in the future.

What the F**k?

“You’ve done it before and you can do it now.  See the positive possibilities.  Redirect the substantial energy of your frustration and turn it into positive, effective, and unstoppable determination.” ~Ralph Marston

Most of the time I try to stay positive.  Most of the time I try to simply find some sort of bright side or silver lining.  And usually I can.

I’ve worked out every day this week.  Gym 6 times, running 3 times.  Eaten pretty healthy (or at least I thought so, definitely healthier than I had been).  I could feel the changes (my muscles weren’t as tight, my knees didn’t hurt quite as much).  I knew I was doing it right.

But today, seriously, what the fuck?  I mean, really?!?!  I decided I should go ahead and get on the scale since it had been a week.  I wasn’t expecting much change.  Just a little, maybe, to let me know I was moving in the right direction.  I know I am moving in the right direction.  But do you know what ISN’T moving in the right direction?  The damn scale.  Because somehow, after all my hard work, I am UP two pounds.  So, I ask you again, WHAT THE FUCK?

I try not to let the numbers on the scale define me.  I try to tell myself to look at the overall picture.  Clothes are getting loser, energy level is going up, runs have become a lot easier (still hard, but easier than when I first started).  I *know* I am moving forward.  I know I am moving in a positive direction.  I know the numbers on the scale don’t paint the whole picture.  But come on.  Help me out a little.  Give me something tangible, something in “writing” to show me I am doing a good job.

I’m not going to let this moment define my day like I would have a long time ago.  I’m not going to give up and think “why bother now” like I would have a long time ago.  And that’s progress.  I know that’s progress.

But really, come on!

End rant.

Celebration Tuesday

“Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you’ll start having positive results. ~Willie Nelson

Today started well, but towards the end of the day, I started to get a little down.  I don’t know if it was the wine with dinner or the fact that I’m pretty tired from gyming every morning and getting myself back on track.  Really it could be a number of things…it happens.  So I decided, maybe I should focus on some good things that have happened lately.

1. I put on capri workout pants today.  They used to be tight around my calves.  Today I realized they are super baggy.  This made me happy.

2. I have worked out 4 days in a row.  It’s been a while since I could say that.  I’m not sure if I’ll run or gym tomorrow morning, but I know that I’ll do one of them.

3. My calf muscles are killing me after my run…but that means I have calf muscles and I am using them to push myself farther and make myself better.

4. I’m in the low 30’s of how many more miles I need to go in my 100 mile challenge.  I really can’t believe that I am actually going to accomplish this.

5. I still have no idea what I am doing…with my running, my job, my life…but I am OK with that.  I’ll get it eventually.

I think that’s it.  A short post, but it’s nice to see that I’m getting somewhere.

Progress is progress, no matter how small.

“We all have dreams, in order to make dreams come into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline and effort.”~Jesse Owens

Today was Color Run day.  My original goal was to be able to run the whole thing.  Guess what?  I didn’t.  Not even close.  I did manage to run more than half of it, but once I started, I knew I wasn’t going to be able to do the whole thing.  Months ago, this would have made me feel like a failure and give up before I even started.  But not today.

This is the first *real* 5K where I felt like I actually showed some progress. It was hard.  And my feet and legs hurt.  But it didn’t feel like it took forever.  It felt so much easier (not easy, just easier) than the other ones I have done.  And I didn’t immediately want to die afterwards.  Sit down, yes.  Die, no.  And my, oh, my, the amount of pride I felt in myself when I finished it was absolutely priceless.  Just when I think I can’t accomplish something, I surprise myself.

Just to show you what I mean by progress, here are my 5K times from the last four 5Ks including the one from today.

September 5K: 59 Minutes
October 5K: 66 Minutes (don’t even ask)
November 5K (1): 51 Minutes (around my block for World Run Day, but still a *paid for* 5K)
November 5K (2): 41 Minutes

In a month, I have improved 25 minutes!  I mean, that is amazing for me.  Today, even with run/walking, I averaged a 13:33 minute mile.  I know to some, that’s not much, but to me, that is everything.  I am constantly feeling like I am getting no where with this running thing.  I don’t feel faster when I run at home, my weight is pretty stagnant, every muscle in my body still hurts every time I run.  But today, the numbers didn’t lie.  And while I may not be a *real runner*, while the idea of running anything other than a 5K makes me shudder in fear (10K gasp!, half marathon eek!), I am getting better.  I am moving forward.  I am doing this.

And the best part is I am doing it myself.  I do have an amazing support system, don’t get me wrong.  I have friends who cheer me on at the finish line (Hi Doe!), friends who sign up for every race with me so I don’t have to do it alone (Hi Sara!), friends who run marathons, but still know how much it takes for me to complete a 5K and cheer for me harder than anyone else (Hi Jean!) and a husband who kicks me out of bed when the alarm goes off because he knows I’ll be crabbier if I don’t get up to go run (Hi Mike!). But for the most part, it’s just me, out there at 5 am running alone, lost with my music, with no one to push me to make me keep going.  And I do keep going.  Because this is something I need.  This is something that is saving me.  With every step I take forward I gain a renewed confidence in my self, a new reason to keep living.  And even when I have to take some time off, there is no one step forward, two steps back, because no matter what, I will continue to go forward.

I realize when I first started running I was running away from something.  Running away from bad decisions that I had recently made.  Running away from a life I didn’t want anymore.  Running away from myself.

Today was a turning point.  I no longer feel like I am running away from something.  I know that I am running toward something, and I’m not slowing down or giving up any time soon.

Miles accomplished in the 100 Mile Challenge: 66.75

Miles to go in the 100 Mile Challenge: 33.25

Weeks Left: 6

What the hell am I doing?

“Bottom line is, even if you see ’em coming, you’re not ready for the big moments. No one asks for their life to change, not really. But it does. So what are we, helpless? Puppets? No. The big moments are gonna come. You can’t help that. It’s what you do afterwards that counts. That’s when you find out who you are.” ~Joss Whedon

I had my formal observation at school today.  Normally I am nervous and fret about it for days on end.  I can’t sleep the night before, I stay late in my classroom every night cleaning and getting ready, I spend hours writing my lesson plan.  Not this time.  I spent maybe 20 minutes on my lesson plan, stayed maybe an hour later the night before cleaning up and slept like drunk (though I was not) last night.

You might think it was because in the four years I have been working in public schools I have learned a lot, gained more confidence, and understand the value of growing as a teacher.  You might think it is because I have a complete understanding of my students and their needs, and what I, as their teacher, need to do to meet those needs.  You might even think that I’m simply amazing at my job so there was never a need to worry in the first place.

None of this is true.  Not one bit of it.

The fact of the matter is I simply don’t care.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I am pretty good at my job.  My children learn.  Everyone is alive at the end of the day.  I still continue to go above and beyond what is expected of me.  But really, I think it’s because those things are ingrained in me.  I have a strong work ethic.  I will never just quit and walk away when other people are counting on me, nor will I simply not do what I am getting paid to do.  But I just don’t care anymore.  I don’t really like teaching.

I was at an Arts Everyday meeting with a friend the other day (on my own time, not getting paid) and we were listening to this person behind us who was obviously new, or at least relatively new, to teaching.  He was going on and on about all these programs he wanted to start, how he’s in it for the kids, basically that this job and the children in his class are his reason for getting up every morning; his reason for living.  All I could think was that this is a clear sign that I shouldn’t be doing this job anymore.  None of these things applied to me.  Yes, I used to be that idealistic and love my job and love my kids.  Pretty much as recently as last year I knew (thought) that this is what I was meant to be doing and I couldn’t see myself doing anything else ever.

But things have changed.  Something in me has changed.

I don’t like waking up every morning spending my day with this eager little people.  In fact, most days I loathe it.  I hate the fact that I spend more time with (and on) these children than I do my own.  I hate the fact that my children get the brunt of my bad days because I’ve listened to whining and tattling all day so when I get home I literally explode when my own children do it.  I’m upset over the fact that I used to have so much idealism, used to believe I could “be the change you wish to see in the world” and now I’m just happy if I make it through the day without having to call a parent and pray none of them text me for some insane reason.

But mostly, I simply hate the fact that I don’t care.  I wish I liked my job.  But not liking it has lead to not caring and really, it’s not fair.  It’s not fair to me because I am miserable.  It’s not fair to the people around me who I make miserable because they have to deal with me being miserable.  It’s not fair to the kids who really, for the most part, didn’t do anything wrong.  It’s not fair to the teachers who don’t have a job, because I’m selfishly taking this one and I don’t even want it.

So, really, what does all this mean?  I means I need to look for a new job.  I mean really and truly look for a new job.  No more thinking I’m going to and then getting lazy because I make pretty good money and have great benefits.  Frankly, it’s not worth it anymore.  I have to stop sacrificing my happiness.  Ever since the end of last year, ever since the summer, I feel like I have been simply going through the motions, not being completely here or there.  It’s like I’ve been holding on to something I shouldn’t have, been waiting for someone or something else to come along and make this decision or change for me. And I have to stop.  I have to let go.  I have to move on from whatever it is.

I have to grow up, put on my big girl panties, and make some real choices.

But, what if I fail?

“I honestly think it is better to be a failure at something you love than to be a success at something you hate.” ~George Burns

So, yesterday my Couch 2 5K program changed from running 5 minutes to running 8 minutes.  When I saw that I got scared.  I felt like there was no way in the world I was going to be able to run for 8 minutes…twice!  But, in the end I did it.  I couldn’t believe it.  I am very rarely impressed with myself, but I was pretty impressed when I could.  It was even better when I realized that the longer I ran, the easier it got, even the up hill parts.  I started to think that maybe I would be able to go for more that 8 minutes.  Hey!  Maybe I could even go for 10 minutes!  I was on top of the world!  I’ve got this!

For the first time ever, I actually felt like maybe I was really doing this; really becoming a runner.  For the first time ever I didn’t feel like I wanted to die afterwards.  For the first time ever I felt like maybe this was really the sport for me.  Maybe this was my saving grace.

Then I opened my Couch 2 5K app to see what my run is supposed to be like tomorrow.  Run 20 minutes.  Run 20 minutes?  Run 20 freaking minutes! Are you kidding me? Seriously?  How the hell do you go from “run 8 minutes” to “run 20 minutes”?!?!?!  Didn’t we leave out a few steps in this process?  How about run 10 minutes?  How about run 15 minutes?  How am I supposed to do this?

What I realized, though, is that I am not actually afraid of doing the activity.  I’m afraid of how I’ll feel when if I fail.  Will this make me lose focus?  Will this make me depressed?  Will this make me give up?

I don’t want these things to happen, and I know, deep down, that I will keep going, but I don’t want to get derailed again.  I’m so tired of feeling like I can’t accomplish things in my life.  I am so tired of getting knocked off my path only to have to restart and repeat things over and over again.

I get it.  It’s mind over matter and I have to stop psyching myself out.  I have to think positively.

Maybe, just maybe, I’ll be able to run the whole 20 minutes.

Maybe I’ll make it after all.