Running The Race Against Myself

On Thanksgiving morning I silenced my biggest critic by doing something I was told that I could/would never do; and who doesn’t love a good ‘I TOLD YOU SO!’ moment?!? Unfortunately this accomplishment was bittersweet. The accomplishment: running in cold weather and running long distances straight. Why was this a bittersweet moment? The critic…… was me. For years I have held myself back by saying that I’m not a runner, that I could never run in cold weather, that I could never run long distances, etc. I came up with all kinds of reasons why I wasn’t a runner.

In May 2010 I signed up for a beginners running program and as a result, ran my first 5K that October. I ran the entire 3.2 miles thanks to the help and support of my running partner Allyson. Allyson was the person that motivated me to join the same program that she had previously completed. It was Allyson that offered to run with me during the race and it was Allyson that ran by my side the entire time making sure I was ok, pushing me when I wanted to stop. I have a picture of the two of us crossing the finish line with her hand on my shoulder, it was definitely a picture perfect finish.

After that race I ran one, maybe two more times but stopped because the weather was considerably colder and I had always had difficulty breathing in ‘cold’ weather (the coldest I had run in was 70 degrees *_*). I ran during lunch for a few weeks in January 2011 while I had a free pass to a YMCA. After that, I didn’t run again until March. That was short lived and I didn’t run again until October when I joined the local chapter of Black Girls Run (www.BlackGirlsRun.com). Since then I have pushed myself (with the strong encouragement and support of the ladies in my group and one of my best friends, Rhadi) to do things I have previously said I could/would never do when it comes to running.

After a 3 week hiatus (and being called out for my absence by one of my BGR sisters, Tonya), I ran with the group and later that night I put a post on Facebook asking my friends who wanted to join me for a run Thanksgiving morning. One of my BGR sisters, Ericka suggested I join the ladies that were planning to run one of the Turkey Trots. So at 10pm that Wednesday night I decided to run my first 8K.

Thanksgiving morning I woke up excited about the challenge of completing an 8K and with the intention of running the entire 5 miles. I got dressed in layers, grabbed my MP3 player, cell phone, chap stick and headed to meet the rest of the crew. When I got out the car it was 40 degrees…. and the self doubt automatically began. In my head I was telling myself that I wasn’t going to be able to run the entire race because my lungs weren’t conditioned to run in that weather.

I met up with the BGR crew that was there for the race, including Marleenee who came just to cheer us on and take pictures, and as a group we made our way to the starting line. As I looked amongst our group and the crowd of people in their coordinated attire with ‘runner’s bodies’, I again began to doubt myself. Clearly I was making assumptions based on appearance but I reminded myself that I’m an inconsistent runner that hadn’t trained for this event, so running the entire race wasn’t physically possible.

The gun sounded, I crossed the starting line, started my stopwatch and began the race against my biggest competition, my mind. My only game plan was to run my race and not worry about the pace of the other thousands of runners around me. I didn’t know the route of the race but had overheard that there were a few hills. ūüė¶ There were a few moments that were tough but I pushed through and quickly overcame the slightly difficult moments, especially those damn hills. At one point I could hear my friend Rhadi’s voice in my head saying “I shouldn’t want this for you more than you want this for yourself.” (Mind you he has never said those words to me, but that is definitely something he would say!!) Go figure the race ended on a hill, but as soon as I saw the word FINISH, tears began to gather in my eyes. They weren’t tears of joy or excitement but tears of saddness and disappointment. Sad because I have been my own bully; disappointed that it took 1:03:24 to discover that I don’t give myself enough credit for my own strength and abilities.

The last 3 words of my Facebook status before heading to the race says it all and will be my reminder:

In 2009 I remember thinking people were crazy for running races Thanksgiving morning. May 2010 I started running. Thanksgiving 2011 I’m crashing a Turkey Trot. Simply put, I AM EVOLUTION!!!!
My next milestone…running a half marathon in March. SEE YOU AT THE FINISH LINE!!!!
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‘Twas The Night Before 1st Grade

‘Twas the night before first grade and all through the house,

The school boy was sleeping and quieter than a mouse.

Mommy was exhausted from a long day’s work,

Still annoyed¬†by the rude students at tonight’s presentation¬†that were being¬†jerks.

The bookbag is packed with most of the requested supplies,

By the door awaiting for the morning and its owner to rise.

Ok, if I wasn’t so tired from a long day of work, going to 4 stores¬†in an unsuccessful attempt to find¬†a specific notebook, an event for work this evening, our nightly bedtime ritual, labeling supplies and packing the backpack, pre-loading the lunch box (which included writing my note to him that goes in the lunch box) and laying out the uniform, I would have written the entire post in the above format.¬† But my brain just won’t allow me to do that right now.

Superceding my exhaustion is my disbelief that summer vacation is over and it is the Eve of The First Day of School!!  I do vividly remember this night last year as I was very emotional about his first day of kindergarten (See: Milestones and Memories- http://tinyurl.com/3m3am43).  I am just as excited and emotional about this milestone in his life.  The journey in watching him grow and continue to develop his very unique and special personality continues to be an indescribable joy!  I am looking forward to hearing all about his big day tomorrow and really excited about his surprise tomorrow evening! 

If you read the post mentioned above and are wondering how I did when it came to singing our song….of course I cried. :’I

“I love you to infinity and beyond…

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† and then some……..

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† and then a lotta some”

                                                                                    ~Mommy & Son

The Bittersweet Side of Friendship

Hearing the words, “it looks like we’re moving to New York” were some of the most stinging words I’ve heard in my life. I felt a pain in my gut and my eyes instantly filled with tears (as they are as I’m typing this and just as they do just about every time I think about this). These were the words my best friend shared as she told a few of us the news about a great career opportunity. It truly is a wonderful job and I am sincerely happy for her and feel that she, her family and New York are a good fit. But of course there is the selfish, emotional side that thinks of……me.

We have both endured very personal highs and lows over the past few years, and although one of us was directly impacted, the other emotionally absorbed a little of each experience. With this situation it is twofold, I can’t deny the tremendous and well deserved opportunity this is for her and her family, but I can’t ignore the pain this is causing me.
I know she will be a phone call, text message, email and short plane ride away, but there is something about being able to ‘lay eyes and hands on (not in the Biblical sense)’ someone; that is a luxury I won’t have with ease anymore. I know that giving into my feelings of grief only cheats me of the few days I have before she moves so I will try to focus on being in the moment for any time we have in each others presence before she leaves.

If there is one thing I’ve learned over the past few years it is the priceless value of true friendship and a conversation over drinks with her was the catalyst for me realizing this. It was a very candid conversation about friendships and the lack of support at times when friends were needed more during a particular time than ever and I was one of those people. It was definitely a talk that can only be had by true friends where one says to the other, you weren’t there like I needed and that message is received with the same genuine love in which it was delivered. I can say this conversation made me question the ‘friendships’ in my life and more importantly made me evaluate the friend that I was to people. My self evaluation was embarrassing to say the least. I wasn’t proud of the friend I had been to people I claimed to care about. During a recent conversation over dinner with my friend that is moving and another dear friend, I had a minor emotional meltdown while talking about a friend that I miss terribly. He was someone that was always there when I needed him but it was me that placed a wedge between us in attempt to distance myself from him. One of the biggest mistakes of my life. Óźď

The expression says “you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone”, well I know what I have in her as a friend, which is why this is so emotionally difficult. My plan of action is simple:
– Enjoy every second we have together before she leaves.
– Take plenty of pictures.
– Let the tears flow as needed (I need to try to remember not to wear mascara the day before she leaves). Tears Dry On Their Own (RIP Amy Winehouse)
– Plan trips to New York (awww how miserable for me)
– Appreciate having friendships so lovingly precious that life experiences like these are this painful.

We are Linked in friendship, motherhood and down right fabulousness!!!

The highs and lows of friendship.

I wouldn’t trade it for anything, I’m honored for my many blessings of friendship. Take a few seconds today to reflect on the wonderful friends in your life.

My Birthday Trip To ‘Never Land’

Yesterday was¬†the last day of March, which marks the end of my month long 35th Fabulous Birthday Celebration.¬† Yes, I celebrated my birthday for the entire month and of course loved every minute of it!¬† What a celebration it was! On the day of my birthday, some of my best friends came in town from DC and Atlanta to help me celebrate; and we did just that, beginning at 9:00 am at my parent‚Äôs home!¬† We spent the day hanging out and later that night, more friends joined in helping me celebrate at a birthday party one of my friends threw in my honor.¬† We had a weekend of nothing but good times.¬† Bigger than it being a milestone birthday was the fact that my entire day was spent with people and receiving birthday love from people that love and deeply care for me.¬† In the past year I have often reflected and shared with others about how wonderfully blessed I am to have the best family and friends anyone in the world could ever want.¬† And nothing could be closer to the truth than that!¬† The month long celebration also included celebrating with other fellow Pisces at a fundraiser out of town, a delicious and very hilarious brunch with girlfriends, cupcakes at work, a night of his Purple Majesty (Prince) and the release of the iPad 2(Yeah, that had to be mentioned.¬† I‚Äôm loving mine!!). Although March is gone, there¬†is something that¬†I’ve carried into April that wasn‚Äôt even around¬†on the first of March.¬† What I thought¬†was a gift that I was giving myself¬† turned out to be a completely different gift all on it’s own.

We all know the saying, ‚ÄúNever say never.‚ÄĚ and understand its meaning.¬† Even though that is a very well known phrase and one that makes complete sense, some of us have things that we without a doubt feel are definite nevers; present company included.¬† Well in the midst of celebrating I decided to throw caution to the wind and contradict myself.¬† My gift to myself was the permission to do something I never thought I would and be ok with it.¬†

With my permission slip signed, I went on my field trip to ‚ÄėNever Land‚Äô.¬† Once I arrived onto park grounds, I went to the ticket window where instead of getting a basic general admission ticket, I was handed a VIP pass and told the park was all mine to enjoy.¬†¬†Having VIP access to just about anything is pretty exciting, but this pass didn‚Äôt evoke those feelings of excitement because I had no idea of what to expect with that access.¬† As a matter of fact, the only thing I walked into the park expecting, was knowing I was going to be walking out of the park with an experience I previously said I would never have.¬†

So what was said experience like?¬† Let me put it like this, the ride I actually ended up on, was no where close to the one I thought I stood in line for.¬†¬†Since I hadn’t been to this amusement park before I tried to keep my expectations low¬†to avoid¬†being disappointed.¬† Since this was something I said I would never do, eventhough I didn’t know exactly what it would be like, I did assume/expect it to be¬†something¬†that wasn’t¬†toward the top of my list of enjoyable things.¬† Let alone did I think it would have been something I would possibly do again, which is a big extreme from something I¬†said I would never do.¬†

Lots of people that visit amusement parks¬†are happy to¬†leave with a ridiculously oversized stuffed animal.¬† Me, I’m happy with the daily smile and inner glow that came from not only trying something new¬†that was for myself, but¬†also as the result of an outcome that was quite the opposite of my assumptions.¬†

It was a Facebook status on a friend’s page that made me realize just how special my birthdate is.¬† My birthdate, March 4th, is the only date in the year that¬†gives us¬†a command/directive….March forth (4th).¬† So with that, take at least one trip and¬†March 4th¬†into ‘Never Land’; who knows, it might be there that you find your ‘Happily Ever After’.¬†

*FYI-Mom, Dad and anyone else wondering, no my ‘experience’ wasn’t anything illegal.