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Monday, May 31, 2010

silent morning

Sometimes, silence truly is golden.  I do love the chaos and sounds that fill my house when everyone is awake and busy, but on the rare (and I mean RARE) occasions when I am up early for my morning run and the rest of my family is still slumbering it is just so very peaceful.

Like right now.  I woke early this morning and left Abby in my bed with Robert (she woke around 2AM and climbed in with us) and Will cuddled in his own bed.  Even the dog is still sacked out in her bed.  After washing my face, brushing my teeth and changing into my running clothes I came down stairs and have spent the last half hour reading and drinking a nice warm cup of joe (which I MUST have before my morning runs, an absolute necessity).

I hope it will last so I don't have to put my family through the difficult process of saying goodbye when I leave for my run.  In particular, my three year old little boy just has the hardest time letting me go for my runs.  He always wants to know if it will be a long run or a short run (it is never short enough for him).  He wants to come with me.  He needs to have hugs and tell me how much he is going to miss me and says goodbye over and over again until I just GO (after assuring him not to worry - Mommy always comes back!), leaving him crying, frustrated and sad with my poor husband holding him, making suggestion after suggestion of cool fun things they will do together while I'm gone (none of which Will is interested in).  At that moment I'm not sure who I feel worse for, Will or Robert.  Of course though within minutes after I leave, Will has moved on and is fine and they are all having a great time making chocolate chip pancakes and smoothies and doing all sorts of fun stuff because their dad is the best.  It used to be really hard for me to leave, even to go do something for myself like a run or a yoga class or time with friends.  Now though I think we are all much better at it, even Mr. Will.  I'm so grateful to Robert for holding down the fort and putting up with the kids complaining that they want Mommy, so that I can do something for myself.

Yesterday I went out for a 6 mile run with my sisters and the house was complete CHAOS, noise everywhere.  When I came home everyone was doing great - happy and playing peacefully.  Today Jodi and I plan to go out for a 10 miler on the W&OD trail.  I'm thankful for my peaceful quiet morning, but will look forward to returning from my run to a house full of laughter, play and general family busy-ness.  I'm sure I would not appreciate the silence so much if it wasn't countered by the chaos, or the chaos so much if I didn't have moments of silence.

Friday, May 28, 2010

welcoming summer

By the end of the week I will have logged 20 miles on the treadmill at the gym.  I ALWAYS prefer to run outside, but this week it has been tough for me to swing that.  My husband leaves for work early and comes home late.  My kids have been complaining of the heat and are refusing to hop in "Big Orange" (as we affectionately call our awesome running stroller) this week.  I guess I don't blame them, temps have been in or close to the 90s much of this week, but really how hard is it for them to sit in a stroller with nice cold drinks, snacks and a great view of nature all around?!?  I do NOT want to push them when they're cranky though.  That is a sure-fire way to ruin my run and maybe my whole day.  So on weeks like this I'm happy to be able to take my runs indoors instead.  That is what I've done most of this week and I imagine I will be doing that quite a lot this summer.

I'm so grateful for my gym membership.  Our gym has a fun place for the kids to play and let all their energy out while I'm doing the same on the 'mill.  It's guilt-free solo time for me and the childcare is included in my membership (which is soo reasonable at just $70/month for the whole family).  So even though I would rather be outside for my runs I don't complain about the treadmill because sometimes it rescues me from insanity.  Sometimes even when the weather is nice I choose to go to the gym for my run because I just need to be alone and to have a break from my kids...It's a trade-off and an option I'm grateful to have.

Preschool is just about over for my kids (Will has 2 days left, Abby one more week) and I'm really going to miss my free time 3 afternoons a week.  I'm trying to focus on the positive though and am starting to look forward to our summer routine.  To adjust.  I was daydreaming about it yesterday.  I imagine us waking up and easing into our days at home until it is time to head to the gym (or run outside if everyone is cool with that).  I'll pack lunches and swim stuff and after my run we'll head straight to the pool if it's not raining.  I am a believer in routines.  I operate better with them and I think my kids do too.  I also believe just as strongly in flexibility but if I don't set out a plan for myself, a basic idea of what I'm hoping to accomplish, things can really just fall apart.  So I'm telling my kids now that this summer we will start our days with Mommy's run, either outside or at the gym.  They seem ok with that, so far anyway.

I can't believe it is Memorial Day weekend already.  Where did the time go!?  It has been a wonderful school year for my family.  Will is finishing his first year as a "junior preschooler" and will head to 3-day preschool in the fall.  He is so excited.  Abby is finishing her second year at LANK and moves on to Kindergarten in the fall.  I have never seen a child with a heart so proud and filled with anticipation.  It is so amazing to see.  They both have grown so much this year...I can't believe it.  They are not the only ones who have grown, though...I have done my fair share of growing as well.  I ran two marathons and lots of other races this school year, became a Certified Running Coach, and (still unofficial at this point) Pilates teacher and also delved deeply into my creative side taking painting classes and starting my own business making my art (more on this later).  I have taken some giant leaps this year and while it was scary in so many ways, it was all worth it.

I feel like the summer is a time of celebration for all of us and will enjoy seeing my children continue to grow and learn more about themselves and the world around them.  I will also continue to open my heart to the possibilities of what my role in this world can be.  When I'm running I'm able to go to this place inside of myself where I can let go of the clutter inside my brain and see straight to my heart...really FEEL what is going on inside.  This time of reflection and replenishment is something I cannot imagine living my life without.  Running is an essential part of who I am.  It's part of what makes me, me. Whether I am running on my favorite trails outside or at the gym on the treadmill, I AM RUNNING and that is what is important.

Happy Friday and Happy Summer!!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Happiness is Contagious

If you always compare your children's abilities
to those of great athletes, entertainers, and celebrities,
they will lose their own power.
If you urge them to acquire and achieve,
they will learn to cheat and steal
to meet your expectations.

Encourage your children's deepest joys,
not their superficial desires.
Praise their patience,
not their ambition.
Do not value the distractions and diversions
that masquerade as success.
They will learn to hear their own voice
instead of the noise of the crowd.

If you teach them to achieve
they will never be content.
If you teach them contentment,
they will naturally achieve everything.

We all want our children to be happy.
Somehow, some way today
show them something that makes you happy,
something you truly enjoy.
Your own happiness is contagious.
They learn the art from you.

Isn't that awesome and so true?  It is from my new favorite book, The Parent's Tao Te Ching by William Martin.  Running makes me happy and I know my kids take great joy in witnessing this.  They see how excited I am to lace my shoes up and get ready for a run or a race.  They mimic me by playing a game they call "Mom n' Honey" and run races around the house (one is the runner, the other the "cheerleader") and in the driveway.  One day last summer Abby was "racing" to me at the finish line of our garage and when she finished I said "Great job Abby!  Did you run your best?!" and she said "Yes I am soo happy!  I won!  I came in first and was the fastest!  Just like you!"  I explained that the important thing is that she did her best and that she had fun doing it, and then I told her that I actually have never come in first place or won any of my races.  She was SHOCKED.  It was a great moment for us to talk about why Mommy runs and how happy it makes me and I loved teaching her this lesson.

Today I will remember this and show my children my happiness.  Time to lace up my shoes and take them out for a run!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Here goes...

Ta da!  Well, here I am posting my first ever blog post.  This is honestly something I never pegged myself as doing, but that seems to be happening to me a lot these days.  Finding myself doing things that a year or two ago if you told me I would be doing them I would have said no way...but wow, how cool!  I am enjoying putting myself out there on so many levels these days and this is just one of many examples of that happening with me lately. And the reasons are a-plenty but most boil down to the fact that I am so completely INSPIRED by so many amazing people in my life and they are all just helping me crawl out of my shell and live life a little more fully and deeply to see what I am made of.  For that I am so thankful.

It's been on my mind for a while to start a blog and I got so hung up on what to call it for, like, ever.  I thought how am I going to write a blog when I can't even think of a title that is not already taken?!  Lordy, lordy. Well goodness gracious something simple came to me today on my run and it actually wasn't taken by anyone else out there already!  Yay!  Let me say first that I think of this blog as a place for me to spill and my hope is that my spilling will help me make sense of things on my mind and in my heart as I walk (and run!) through life.  I guess though that I would not be putting it out there quite so much (I could just keep a journal privately, as I have done fairly regularly since the 8th grade) if I was not also hoping that my words, perspectives and experiences will inspire anyone who wants to read it.  So that is out there too.

Today I had a moment and I went with it.  I'm excited.  And scared.  This past weekend I spent 16 hours in a Power Pilates Beginner Mat Certification class.  It was intense for me.  And amazing.  I want to write in more detail about it later (my next post, perhaps!), but for now let's just say I grew a lot in those three days and I learned a great deal about myself and about my belief in myself.  I still do not know if I am officially certified yet because my teacher has to send my written and practical exam results up to the company HQ and then they will send me a letter and certificate so it will take a week or two.  However, what I realized today in my "moment" is that I AM READY TO TEACH.  I can't wait, actually.  I am ready to put myself out there and give this thing a go.  I did a 5 mile run today and while I was sweating it out I was imagining what it would feel like to inspire other women to care for and strengthen their bodies from the inside out, especially women who are mothers.  Our bodies are amazing.  Even (and maybe especially) the parts that we criticize in our internal dialogues so frequently.  How amazing is it that these bodies of ours nourished and sheltered our babies for 9 (ok, we all know really it's 10) long months!?  And then with all our strength and love we brought them into this world, putting aside our fears of what labor and delivery would be like...and ever since then day after day with unquestionable devotion and love we have cared for our children while sacrificing our own bodies and oftentimes our peace of mind.  When I think of my body and all I do with it to care for my children I am so amazed and grateful...and I am inspired to take good care of myself, inside and out.  So I am starting to teach a Beginner Mat Pilates class next week and my purpose will be to inspire anyone who walks in that door to move and care for their bodies and to connect with that strength that is within.

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