Power of Prayer

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I planned to run the Seaside 10 (a ten mile race in Ocean City). I had done it twice before, however my training fell short. I ran the Ocean City half marathon in April and then took the summer off (partly because I wanted to surf more, and partly because it was so hot and I wanted a break). So I began training in late August for the Seaside 10 Oct. 27th. September was great. I would integrate my runs into errands. 3-5 miles on Tuesday and Thursday with the jogging

stroller after I dropped Jonas off at school. 5-7 miles runs on the weekends. One week I peaked at 18 miles total. A great accomplishment from my longest run of 3 miles (total per week!) in the summer. Great, I’m on a roll, I thought; I can do this! Then October came. I digressed first from travel. A nine hour weekend drive to Cape Cod for a wedding (one full day there with the wedding included) halted my progress. On top of the time restraints, we had a set breakfast time at the B&B, and I had acquired a sinus infection which craves sleep. OK, so we arrived Saturday around 5p.m. The only breakfast slot left open was for Sunday morning at 9.a.m. That left a few hours for shopping before the wedding at 3p.m. Saturday night. We went out to dinner and had a few drinks at the Chatham Squire (a fun and much needed date night sans children). So, Sunday morning I slept until 8a.m. What a treat!!!! Luka is usually up by 6a.m. daily. Okay I had to pump, and then I had 30 minutes for a run: 3 miles instead of my planned 8-10, but what a great run! Jason and I got to run together and see the lighthouse and various sights on the Cape. I always love to explore a new place by running. It’s quieter in the morning, and I can take in so many details that I may miss by driving.

The next weekend I planned a long run again, but the night before made dinner for a friend who was in town. I hadn’t seen her in a while, we’re chatting, and before I knew it I drank a few glasses of wine. Oops. The next day I set out on my run and returned limping home at mile two from cramps. Dehydration had taken over my goal. Okay, two weeks off, no biggie, I will make up for it next week. Right? Wrong. The jogging stroller gets a flat tire during a run with baby in it. I have a few days setback from that. Then I decide the universe is telling me not to run the race. Too many signs?

I decided to go the race. I have never missed a deadline, and I have to follow through as planned, or I will feel like a slug I decided. So I was driving there not sure if I would run the 10 mile race as planned, since I only peaked at 7 miles. I thought I could just run the 5k-short and sweet, also considering that it was freezing, windy, and gray. Therefore, I did what I always did when I couldn’t make a decision or felt mentally foggy, I prayed. Ask, be still, and listen. I parked the car, got out, and saw my friend’s Mom, Lisa, who I had run the race with before. She asked which race I am running. I told her I didn’t know. She said to run the 10 mile race with her. Okay, I decided. There was my sign. I went and registered and ran. I felt great the first half. My friend’s Mom was pacing us to come in around 1 hour 30 minutes, or 9 minute miles. Then, the turn around came, we picked up the pace and my knees began to hurt. The under-trained over-used pain. I kept pushing on until we got to mile 8. My knees hurt, and I didn’t want to hold Lisa back. I told her to go ahead. I told myself, just keep moving. Just finish strong. Finish strong. Ouch, finish strong, etc. Then I put my music on, and flew to the finish. I came in under 1:30. I PR’ed. God guided me through. I felt the same way when I gave birth-a strong spiritual connection to a higher power that gave me strength.

A few days later I couldn’t find something. I prayed to Saint Anthony, the patron saint of lost things, according to my Catholic upbringing. I went outside and noticed that I had a hole in my glove. So I went inside to sew it, and lo and behold the thing I was looking for was next to my thread. Thank you, God! I exclaimed. I could have looked at the hole in my glove as a setback or an inconvenience, but instead I saw it as an answered prayer.

My faith guided me. No matter what people believe in it’s nice to know that we are not alone. That something is with us, helping us, guiding us. Living in faith and not fear is a way I want to live.

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How do you find energy?

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The past few weeks have been a whirlwind. Jonas has school everyday and I am back to teaching at Wor-Wic. We had a great summer, frolicking and fancy free. Now we have to be somewhere at a certain time every day. It has put a damper on our summer freedom and fun, not to mention added stress to our daily routine. I took a year off from teaching after having Luka and remember thinking during that year, how did I work? Just keeping up with the kids and the house was a full time job. If I did have a little “down time” I was resting-exhausted from all the chores. If someone asked you if you wanted a job where you weren’t paid, thanked, never received a day, night, weekend, or holiday off, had to clean excrement daily, had someone bother you when you wanted to use the bathroom, shower, cook, clean, or do anything, would you take it? That is what a stay at home parent does. I think I could have an au pair and still never get everything done. So do we need help, or need to do less? I want to teach, and I think when could I squeeze the classes in? Between naps and to and from school, etc. It’s a tricky balance between work, parenting, cooking, cleaning, planning and making meals, etc.

During my first class back at school, the overhead projector wasn’t working properly and the computer froze. I asked the head of the department for advice since my classroom was right across the hall. As we are attempting to reboot the computer in the middle of class in front of 22 students she says, “this is the worst thing that can happen”. I think, really? I just had the dog eat a poopy diaper this morning and clean pee off the floor daily (between my dog with incontinence and my baby who I am unsuccessfully potty training). I didn’t think a technical glich was so bad. I had prepared (over prepared) for class that morning so could just as easily lecture from memory than use the Power Point. Sure, it would be nice if everything went smoothly but often it doesn’t.

I often feel overwhelmed by everything and everyone that needs attention daily. I admire my friends who work, have kids, write novels, change the world, etc. I think, how do they do it all? How do you find energy to wear various hats in life?

Momisms

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You don’t appreciate “momisms” until you are one. Momisms are statements that my mother said while I was growing up.

“We all live here.”

Every time I leave the house it is found in disarray upon re-arrival. God forbid anyone but me picks up a mess, broom, mop, or vacuum. “We all live here” my mother would say alluding to no one helping her clean. We all brushed it off until I became the mother and started saying it to my kids and husband too.

“Best not to watch”

I thought of this as I was watching my son slurp up his milk in his cereal this morning. Cringing that at any moment it may catapult onto his new shirt. “Best not to watch” is what my mother always said to us and what instantly came to mind. Whatever, Mom is the thought I would have. Now the full reality of the expression sinks in. Again, as related to the previous sentiment, I’m now the one to clean the mess or deal with the consequences. It could be cleaning a physical mess or an emotional one.

This mom stuff is hard!!! No matter how my mother may have prepared me, it takes being in the driver seat to appreciate the challenges.

Recently we had a week of viruses, sleepiness, crankiness, malaise, and such. I asked her, “how did you get through?” She laughed and answered, “Half the time we didn’t know what we were doing. Brace yourself; it’s only the beginning. Just keep busy.” This response solicited dread.  What’s to come? Keep busy so you don’t lose it? Ignorance is bliss? Oh no.

Yesterday on the beach was a large group of kids, particularly boys. I watched the boys wrestle and fight FOR HOURS. A thought was, oh no, I have TWO. It’s going to be an interesting ride.

13.1 and then some

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Saturday I ran my 5th half marathon. My 3rd time running the Ocean City half marathon. It was a roller coaster of emotions from training to finish. I ran a half marathon when Jonas was seven months old, so I felt that I should do it again when Luka was seven months old. Training began in October after taking a year off (running pregnant does not mesh well with me). The first time I ran four miles again was a huge accomplishment for me. Getting back into running is really difficult. It takes little time to lose endurance and speed. The miles added on from 4-5-6-8 etc. As I explained to one of my running group members it is unplanned but interesting how the miles coincide with the baby’s age. When Jonas and Luka were four months, I was running a four mile long run. When they were five months, five, etc. Of course, the miles soon lapped the baby’s age since I was up to 13 by the time they are seven months. But in the beginning it makes it fun to match the miles and age.

Sometime around February I decided that I had to decide if I was going to commit to the race. It was loosely in the back of my mind as I met with a running group twice a week and logged miles, but something was holding me back. Perhaps it was the fact that I hadn’t run a half marathon since Nov. 21, 2009. The date is so succinct since it was the day that we moved into our house. I went home looking for my bed to nap in and it was gone. So I was forced to move boxes and such limping with every stair climb albeit grateful that we had stairs since our previous house was so small. The pain that you endure at the end of a race and after lose steam after a few years. Just like having a baby. The last few hours of labor you swear you will never put yourself through such pain again only to find yourself considering it a few years later. Then you remember why you didn’t do it again when you are in that moment of pain. A few years later selective amnesia sets in again. And on and on. Perhaps that memory was holding me back. Or the end of my last training was tainted by a near dog attack hampering my drive to go on long runs again on our rural country roads. Alas, our town instituted a running club making me feel brave enough to go on a long run again two years later.

On that long run, however, I ended up running alone as someone was injured, someone was at a different pace, and someone else decided to do another loop. I ran the 10 miles, the longest since pre-baby #2, alone. Looking back to see if a dog was abound, or a rabid raccoon (one attacked my dog in our yard around the same time as the near dog attack). I kept asking myself, what is holding me back. Inevitably the answer was fear. The only thing standing in my way was me. So I finally decided to register for the half marathon. The morning came. I awoke with joy. Happy that I committed to something long after the feeling may have left. I started out feeling great thinking I may beat my usual time of two hours. Around mile 4, running with a friend, I decided time was not as important as feeling good. It was a good run, talking with a friend the entire time. Miles 10 and 11 were rough. Knowing we were close, but my legs were tired. My knees achy off and on. Then I saw mile 12. I gave it all I had left. I felt good, I passed people. I finished. It was not my best time. But I had a good time.

Does it matter what the clock says at the finish line? Or is it more important that I did it. I committed. I didn’t use all the excuses I thought of. I am thinking of running the half in the fall that I did twice before. I’m thinking of training. Of doing. Of overcoming fear. There must be something better. Goals, hope, endurance beyond pain. Knowing nothing is impossible. As Audrey Hepburn said, “I’m possible.”

Namaste

Reboot

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I recently returned from a 48 hour trip to PA to visit my parents for my Dad’s 76th birthday. A house void of the internet. No email, no Facebook, no web browsing (growing up no cable or MTV-gasp!). And I survived. There were a few moments of withdrawl with thoughts like I wish I could check the weather before heading out for a run, or I could look up a yoga class to plan my AM. Solutions abound such as turning on a radio (like going back a century). OK. 45 degrees rain mostly gone;maybe a light shower;high of 65 degrees. Head out to run. When I get home, I look up the gym’s phone number and call about the yoga class schedule. I will survive without the internet. I had time to read a magazine, Whole Living. I read an article about time management-simplifying to be more relaxed and less stressed. So instead of hopping on the computer I spent time with family. Talked, laughed, ate. Went to see a movie with my son, sister, and brother-in-law. Visited a friend and her daughter. In short, had face to face quality conversations and experiences instead of perusing their Facebook or communicating via quick texts and instant messages.

A recent trip to Hawaii yielded me as the only one without an iPhone. Sometimes I feel technically archaic. But the same conveniences (yes it was nice to get directions instantly to the Thai restaurant) also evoke pet peeves and hindrances (my husband reaching for his keypad to text message when I’m trying to talk to him). Wondering how much more time we would spend talking instead of texting or Facebooking other people.

Which is exactly why my parents don’t have the internet. “I don’t want to get sucked into the computer and waste time,” my Dad states. He has a good point; that’s exactly what I do most days. He chooses to garden (I watch him propagate fig trees, transport conglomerate rocks from his cabin to build a garden wall, baby seedlings to plant in his garden), prune trees, work with wood (did I mention he is 76!).

Sure technology is convenient & necessary for work, but sometimes it’s nice to reboot. Get away, disconnect for a weekend or a week and see how else your time is spent. Watching your baby smile, seeing a friend, doing something you love, nurture yourself. 76 years of wisdom well spent.

The Power of Intuition

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The Power of Intuition

I wake up every day and think, “is this real”?

I have a five-week-old beautiful son, a non-stop ball of energy three-year -old and a non-stop ball of energy, amazing, hard working, motivated and handsome husband.

How did I get here? I feel so blessed and grateful every single day. Thank you God for your great gifts that you bestow to us on Earth. Life is such a beautiful journey.

I am in a profoundly grateful and awestruck mood because of my family, but also because I surfed this morning. There was no temperature. The water and the air were so perfect no heat nor cold were felt. The waves were two feet (small and mellow). In a word: fun. I came out of the ocean radiating happiness partly because the weather was so nice (a seventy degree sunny day in October), and every weekend prior was cold, rainy, or cloudy, but also because I was back out surfing after giving birth. My official first day back out was last week, Oct. 1st, but it was cold-really cold. Hands and feet numb shaking cold. I went out four days prior to today. Today was the first warm day. The water was clear. Gliding over the sandbar I could see the sand-shallow and clear. I went back out four weeks after giving birth. I couldn’t wait any longer. My six-week postpartum visit is Wednesday. I couldn’t wait. I felt ready-mentally, physically, and emotionally. I thought I didn’t need the Dr. telling me when I was ready. I know how I feel in my body. I know what it feels like to surf. A month out of the ocean felt like a long cold winter that never ends. It was grueling. Not really long in real time.  However, in sleep deprived on the edge of crying every day hormonal roller coaster self-pitying time it’s a long time.

Birth is a physical war. My body felt like a battle-field: sore, tired, pain in unusual places. I also felt like a liquid zombie breastfeeding and lacking sleep. I knew when I was ready to go back out. I trusted my body, and my intuition.

I also trusted my intuition to have a VBAC. My Drs. told me I wasn’t a good candidate. People were questioning, “Why do you think it would work”? I didn’t know just like I don’t know why surfing is so euphoric. I just know it is and that’s enough. Thankfully, it did work. I was so happy that I trusted my intuition. It reminds me of a creed I like, a favorite poem by Mary Oliver “The Journey.” Don’t listen to anyone else. Be still and listen. The answer is always inside.

Namaste.