Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Victory! Mission Accomplished!

You know you are a runner when with five miles left in a half-marathon you think, 'I am never doing this again' and then five minutes after you finish you ask yourself, 'When can I run my next one?'

I saw this quote on an e-card on Facebook last night.  It describes me exactly!  I spent months training for Pittsburgh's Half-Marathon in celebration of my 40th Birthday.  On the morning of the event I was SO excited to get started.  I made a mental note that I wanted to be sure to pay attention to the crowds and the entertainment and the funny signs and the Pittsburgh scenery.  While I did soak everything in (What an AMAZING experience!), I think that I paid a little too much attention to everything around me and not enough attention to following the running routine I had focused on during my training.  By the time I hit mile ten I was way off on my projected times and hit a wall (By the way - my favorite sign along the route said - 'Humpty Dumpty had wall issues, too!).  I was tired, sore and couldn't imagine why I thought completing a half-marathon was a good idea.  After seeing my family at mile eleven, I rebounded and finished strong.  Well - I thought I finished strong . . .

I had given much thought to how I wanted to cross the finish line because I knew they would be taking pictures and I thought it would be cool to have that memory captured on film.  I decided to raise both arms over my head pumping my fists in celebration.  As I crossed the finish line I did just that - huge smile on my face, arms lifted high, VICTORY!  When the professionals pictures showed up in my e-mail and I opened them up I cracked up.  My arms are barely lifted above my waist and my face has a look of pure agony!  How hysterical is that?!?  My mental picture of myself was obviously much better than reality! 

The afternoon after the Half-Marathon I was more sore and tired than I think I ever have been in my life.  During the weeks that followed I felt a bit of a let-down.  I compare it to how you feel after the holidays or after a great vacation.  You spend months planning and preparing and dreaming . . . and then the moment is over.  I was happy to catch an article online (I'm disappointed that I didn't write down the source!) that talked about the post-race blues.  I definitely experienced those! 

But here I am today - three weeks post-race - feeling excited again.  I am SO proud of myself for setting that goal and accomplishing it.  I am extremely excited about the 5k's I have lined up for this summer.  Last night I finally went to my first Zumba class since before the Half-Marathon and it felt SO good!  My kids are getting more and more excited about being physically active and have some fun things planned for this summer.  And I am looking forward to the fall and asking myself, "When are you going to run your next Half-Marathon, Lisa?"

The Marathon Expo
Finding my name on the wall of runners

Pre-Race Pasta!
I read several articles about what and when to eat the days before
the event.  Nutrition is an area of health that I'm eager to learn more about.

We made it!  I'm so happy that I had my sister to encourage me
along this journey.

I love the 13.1 mile charm I wear on my Runner Girl necklace.
It reminds me of this great goal I accomplished and that I can reach for more.

Remember my Goal Bracelet?  It helped me many times in the months leading up to
the main event to stay focused.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

It's Working! It's Working!

"Ellie, I still only count eleven pictures," I told a frustrated Ellie.

Heavy sigh.  "Mo-om, I'm telling you, there are twelve pictures of me in the yearbook."

My daughter had brought her yearbook home from school and was excited to show me all of the pictures of her in the book.  No matter how many times I looked through it, I only found her pretty smiling face eleven times. 

"Why don't you come look at it with me.  I'm obviously missing one."

Heavier sigh.  "Fine," she huffed as she ripped the book from my hands.  "My class picture - one.  Chorus shots - two, three.  Crazy Sock Day - Four . . ."

"Wait.  Stop on that page," I said reaching for the book. 

Ellie's picture wasn't on the Crazy Sock Day page.  I bent forward and peered closer at the picture she had pointed to.  Was that Ellie?  I looked over at my daughter who was looking at me with her best "Are-You-Really-This-Stupid-Mom?" face and then back at the girl with the round cheeks smiling up at me from the yearbook page.  I squinted a bit and held the book closer to my eyes.  WAS that Ellie?  That's not Ellie.  Wait, is it her?  Is that what she looked like several month ago?  That WAS Ellie!

"Woo-Hoo!" I exclaimed throwing my arms around her.  "Look at YOU!  GO Ellie!"   

Ellie tried to pull away from me.  Her eyebrows arched high as her facial expression turned to one of "Why-Is-My-Mother-SO-Incredibly-Strange?" 

This was the first time that I realized all of the hard work was paying off!  All of the begging and pleading and arguments and frustration was worth it!  The girl glaring at me in my family room had cheeks that weren't as round as the girl in the picture.  The girl glaring at me in my family room was a little slimmer around the waist than the girl in the picture.  I truly hadn't recognized the girl in the yearbook picture.  Amazing!

As I continued to do my Happy Dance, Ellie grabbed her water bottle and gave me one more horrified glance before heading out the door saying, "I'm going out to ride my bike."

Yeah Baby!  We're on a roll now!  That's something that girl on the Crazy Sock Day page would have never done without some major prodding.  GO Ellie!  My Happy Dance got a little crazier as I continued my celebration.

A year ago I began to seriously focus on changing my family's sedentary, frozen-food focused, electronic device driven lifestyle.  I chose FOUR areas of our everyday lives to make simple yet specific changes and dove in.  Things did not always go well, especially at first.  While I made it a point to purposefully celebrate every victory, it felt as if the challenges and bad moments far out numbered the good times. 

I'm eager to share the four changes that I made, but first get up and join me in celebrating this moment.  My fellow Moms know that it is important to cherish these moments of celebration even when you are dancing around by yourself while your daughter gives you one of her "looks" through the front window.

Check back tomorrow to hear the rest of the story!