26 May 2010

Psyching myself up and psyching myself out

I went running again today, still not having fully committed to the idea of a full marathon, not out loud anyway. I ran about 3.5 miles, which is not a "long" run for me. It's a good distance, enough to be challenging but not enough to be a long run. But I had a hard time today. It was hot at noon, I hadn't really fueled up very well before I went out and I was a little dehydrated.

All valid reasons why one might struggle a little bit during a run, and all excuses that are covering up the real reasons I'm having a hard time running lately.

I have run half marathons and 10ks before, and I've trained both well and poorly for them. I know how hard it is to keep picking 'em up and putting 'em down after 13 miles. I've finished 13.1 miles feeling great and I've also crawled across the finish line gasping and wheezing, praying for, well, not death, but at least unconsciousness.

But I haven't done it for 26.2 miles. I'm not sure if it's the actual number that is freaking me out, or if it is the knowledge of how tough running half that distance is to start with. But I am a little freaked out, in any case.

There is a race in October in a nearby city, that coincides with a milestone birthday for me (40th!)that I've been contemplating running. I've even said it out loud once or twice in a very tentative hesitant voice, that I might do it, that I'm sitting on the fence about it. How cool would it be to run my first full marathon 4 days before I turn 40? That would totally underscore the fact that I am in much better shape than I was when I was 20, I am way happier than I was when I was 20, I'm wiser, better educated, more comfortable in my own skin, have more money and I look better too. That 40 isn't the beginning of the end, it's just a beginning.

There is a big part of me that knows I can do it. I can train and I can fuel my body properly, I have an iPod with 4 days worth of music and I have a loud cheering section, and I can totally do it.

But I'm scared. I'm scared of 26.2.

So as I was mentally working through some aches and pains today on my measly 3.5 run, I was also thinking in the back of my head, if it's this hard to get through 3.5 today, how in the name of Zeus am I going to be able to talk myself through 26.2? I wasn't sure if I should listen to my body (which was a little achy and stiff today) or power through the pain (a la Jillian Michaels screaming and cursing at myself). Was my achiness and the accompanying desire to stop running an indication of hesitation and lack of commitment (mental psych-out) or was it real physical discomfort that I should back away from before I push myself to a real injury?

This is why I listen to an iPod when I run....it's scary and far too unnecessarily complicated in my head.

13 May 2010

Didn't I Feed You Yesterday?

is absolutely hilarious.

It's a new book by a mom named Laura Bennett, who lives in NYC and has six children. She was on America's Next Top Designer, a reality show that is a competition revolving around designing clothes. I'm slightly lacking in the fashion sense department (ok, more than slightly, Mrs always-wearing-a-tshirt-jeans-or-capris-and-flipflops) and I've never seen the show, but now I want to, just to listen to Laura's life wisdom. I got to borrow the book from my cool blogger-mom friend Marianne.

The book tells it like it is, honest and real and hysterically funny. Those moms who go on Oprah to proclaim how glorious every moment of every day is with three kids under the age of six would probably not find much in it to relate to, but the rest of us do. Moms who need a glass of wine with dinner everynight, moms whose kids learn how to operate the remote and the DVD player well before the age of 5, moms who are lucky to find clean socks for the little people by Friday morning. Notice I didn't say clean matchingsocks. Just clean. Mostly.

I adore my children, I truly do. I love them more than my next breath, and more than my new Barnes & Noble nook (totally awesome, I have to say). But there are some days I would gladly sell them to the first band of traveling gypsies I meet. They challenge me every day and they test my patience (God did not bless me abundantly with the stuff) and they make me grow. Growing hurts sometimes.

But anyway, back to the book. It made me laugh so hard I cried, and it made me nod my head in sympathy. While Laura and her family live a life I can't really comprehend from Smalltown, USA, I can totally understand the balancing act she has to perform. I don't have such gorgeous shoes or an aptly named weekend getaway home ("Dairy Air"...still makes me laugh!), but I do have kids as well as my own life. Moms do not cease to be independent people with interests and desires of their own, once they birth another human being. I may not have a thriving high powered career, but I am a college student, a sometime writer (mostly a blog, papers for school and the occasional freelance article) who wishes she was an actual author of actual books, and a military reservist. I have lots of interests that have little or nothing to do with my kids, or the care and feeding of said kids. And, I'm still a good mom.

I can relate to Laura in another way, being the only woman in a house full of men. I'm not uncomfortable with it, but I do feel sort of outnumbered and outgunned. It's only me and the dog.

I'm digressing again. Marianne, thanks a million for lending me your copy!

Go get your own copy. Seriously. Laughter is the best medicine and we all take ourselves a little too seriously sometimes. If you don't love it, I'll buy your copy.

07 May 2010

Judgment, I mean, Mother's Day

I had this whole long post written out and it was all about politics. Then I decided to deep-six it, because it raised my blood pressure. And I don't want to raise my blood pressure, on Friday, especially the Friday before Mother's Day.

Ahh, Mother's Day.

This day, all by itself, manages to stir some debate, by its very existence.

The first thing I want to say is, I'm giving a big shout-out to all my favorite moms. Grandmas, aunts who act like moms, adoptive moms, sisters who act like moms, stepmoms, mothers-in-law, grandmas raising their grandchildren, step-mothers-in-law...all of us who love and care for the children in our lives, big or small, deserve a great big high five. You also deserve a weekend trip to Vegas but I'm working with what I've got here.

I've read some blog postings and online debates this week about Mother's Day, and it surprises me the things people will argue over and judge others on. One blog posed the seemingly harmless question, "What is the worst Mother's Day gift you ever got?," which led to moms judging each other for "making it all about the gifts." And the implicit judgment in "the only thing that is important to me on Mother's Day is spending time with my family," as if someone who admitted having gotten a gift they didn't like was a bad person. And my personal favorite, "Moms, don't be sucked into the commercial consumerism! Mother's Day isn't about the presents!" All these moms wanted to do was gripe and kvetch a little bit, and they got verbally smacked. If we can't gripe to our people, ie, other moms who've been there, I ask you, who can we gripe to?

Of course Mother's Day isn't about the gifts. No one ever said it was.

But come on. Moms work hard, all the time. Day and night. Whether your work takes you outside of your home or not, whether you have one child or ten, we all work hard to take care of our families. It's nice when someone says, "Thanks Mom," or "Thanks for all you do, honey." And because husbands, ie, men, are not generally known (sorry guys! I know some of you are good at this!) for their ability to articulate their appreciation with pretty words, they do it in the form of gifts, or flowers, or chocolate.

My husband is good at gifts; I'll give credit where it's due. He's also teaching the dudes about the value of a thoughtful gift. Not a crazy expensive gift, not a shiny, wrapped-up-in-a-blue-Tiffany-box kind of gift, not even something that necessarily comes from a store or a salon, but something that the recipient would truly like. For example, Larry, my middle-born man-cub, is not overly affectionate or given to vocal expressions of love. He'd rather just give me a noogie and call it a day. So it really means something when he says "I love you Mom," without me saying it first. It means something that he takes time out of his busy day of Pokemon cards and football to make a card. My oldest (who is not technically mine since I didn't give birth to him but I claim him just the same) is an adult, a married man and an Army officer stationed half the world away. But he still sends a card and calls to say "I love you." And that means the world to me too. Captain America has taught them that.

Sometimes, dads don't choose so wisely. Or they buy something they themselves would like to have, but then pass it off as a gift for their wives. (and you know who you are!) And heaven forbid that a mom actually looks forward to a little appreciation or acknowledgment! Don't we all want to be appreciated? Is that so awful? Can we not see past the actual object to see the gesture, and the feeling behind it?

You don't see dads picking on each other because they look forward to getting some new grill tools, or a new lens for their camera, or some shiny new chrome for their motorcycles when Father's Day rolls around. Let's go easy on each other, moms, aren't we supposed to be on the same side? Aren't we supposed to have each others' backs? I don't know about you, but I depend on my girlfriends, who are moms and sometimes the moms of my kids' friends. I NEED them! All of their views and opinions and feelings and choices are not the same as mine. That's WHY I love them and need them!

And one more thing....a divine shout-out to my own mom, who is no longer with us, but who I love and miss every day. You may not have been here in my life for very long physically, but who you are is who I am. And they say I look like you too. Love you Mama.