Just do it

Today was my first run in 2 weeks.  It felt amazing…well at the beginning and at the very end.

I hadn’t run in ages.  Too many things kept getting in the way.  At first it was my hips.  They’re still making their way back to their pre-pregnancy state and running simply aggravates this process.  Then there was our biggest family decision to date.  We bought a house.  It was a very quick decision.  We were not planning on purchasing any property but knew we wanted to move.  Our 2 bedroom condo was getting cluttered and the kitchen was way too small to cook in.  I wanted to give our children their own home, with their own yard and eventually their own bedrooms.  In the midst of training an opportunity arose and there we were looking at our first home and signing papers to reserve it.  They gave us 2 weeks to arrange a mortage and all the finances.  Mortgage?  I only figured out what a mortgage was just 2 years ago and now I had to shop for a mortgage broker, learn all about fixed and variable rates and work the budget to death.  All day long for 2 weeks I was making phone calls, doing research and getting a little stressed.  I didn’t have the time to run!  At first, I cut myself some slack for not running.  I was sore and I was tired.  Edmund had a cold and then Amelie got sick so there really was no sleep.  No big deal.  I will run when I can.  But then I couldn’t find the time and then I lost any desire to run at all.  I was too tired, I was unmotivated and I couldn’t get my head around it.

I started hearing about all the success of other women who are also in training.  They were reaching 7km, 10km, 16km.  I was stuck at my 5km mark!!  How on earth will I do this?  I reached out to ask for prayer from the girls to help me get motivated and they were really encouraging.  But one voice of wisdom stuck out:  “don’t think about it, just put your runners on and run.”  I love it when you don’t get the superspiritual answer.  There is a time to pray but at the end of the day, God gave us legs to use.  Too often I can remember at bible college going to a friend and saying “I’m having a really hard time with…..” and their answer was “I’ll pray for you” or “talk to God” and they’d walk off.  What a copout! Like I said before, there is a time for talking to God and a time to ask for prayer but God gave us other people to talk to and often uses them to help us through our challenges.  All I needed was a good friend to talk to or maybe a pep talk to ‘snap out of it.’  The other She Loves girls could have said “we’ll pray for you that God will give you motivation” but at the end of the day I just need to stop thinking about it and put my runners on and run.  We should apply this principle to so many other things in life.

The homeless need feeding but we say ‘I need to pray about it’ or women are being ostrasized from society because their faces have been mutilated and need someone to stand up for their cause and we say…. “I need to pray about it”.  Well guess what?  There are many things we actually don’t need to pray about.  The bible says

Deuteronomy 15:7, 11
If there is a poor man among your brothers in any of the towns of the land that the LORD your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward your poor brother. There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land.

Proverbs 31:8-9                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.

So why ask God?  He already told you.  Most of the time when I hear this answer its because people are looking for an excuse to not do it.  I was saying ‘I can’t run because I’m not motivated’ when in reality I just didn’t feel like it.  Nike was on to something when they said Just Do It! I should know better.  I signed up for this.  I wanted to run for a cause.  I want to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves.

So today I didn’t think about it. I just got my runners on and ran.

Todays upbeat running song:

The challenge is in the rest

Week 1-2 of running seems a bit of a blur as I write this now.  My first two days were monumental to say the least.  It felt incredible to get started and my emotions were certainly all over the place but there comes a time then when you have to just get in the zone, get a routine and make it a lifestyle.  I had decided that the first week would be just running, no training yet, just get out there and move those legs.  And so I did.  I believe I took a 2 day rest after my second day.  It was hard to get the motivation to get out and run again but at the same time I was completely deprived of sleep.  My son was waking up a lot in the night and then he got his first cold.  I couldn’t sleep when I knew he couldn’t breathe.  How can you run when you’ve had no sleep?  Well you don’t, so I didn’t.

I took the “rest” period to get myself a good ipod application to help me train.  I have no clue about how one trains for a half marathon.  Where do I start?  How long do I run for?  How do I get to the place where I can actually breathe normally?  I couldn’t get the apps to download, which delayed me again.  I didn’t want to run until I had the app.  Silly, I know.  In the meantime I went shopping.  I need the right clothes (or so I told myself).  I bought some breathable socks, a new breathable and slightly cute pink adidas running top.  I’m really hoping that in 9 weeks it will look much cuter on me.  I tried on various pants and shorts.  No way!  Not getting my legs out until there is a considerable difference in them. Okay, now that I’ve seen myself in the mirror of the changing rooms, trying on running gear that’s clearly designed for the expert runner, the super toned and tanned leggy exercise freak is no longer enjoyable.  I thought about the underwear affair…people were running 5K, 10K, 21K in their underwear?  U-n-d-e-r-w-e-a-r.   Yep, that’s Vancouver for you. There I was looking for a supportive sports bra for my…hmm what’s a good word for them…nope…there isn’t one…they’re just huge and annoying.  Thinking about running publicly in my underwear was just scary.  Isn’t that everyone’s nightmare?  Not when you exercise a lot. Hmm…Now I have a new motivation…I will look good in these clothes and my underwear!!  Why was I getting so hung up on the way I look, having the right clothes and the right training application? Can we say distraction?!  I’ve got to shift my focus and get running again.
Once I finally managed to get a bit more sleep I headed to my parents place.  They have a gym, a jacuzzi and a swimming pool.  I took my sister down with me and we both started running on the treadmills.  This was actually fun.  We put on the tv, listening to our own music and got in the zone.  Occasionally we talked and laughed.  This was much more interesting than the strenuous stretch of my first few days of running.  As I ran beside her I saw the distance counter reach its first kilometer.  Yes!  I just ran my first K.  I kept running and covered some good ground.  I finished at 3.55km in 35minutes.  I was going to run a little bit further when I saw my daughter bite my sons finger and tears ensued.  Okay time to stop and get back to life.

I took the next day 2 days off (I left my workout gear and runners at my mum’s…doh!).  I need to run I need to run I need to run.  Okay back to the treadmill.  Babysitter available and here we go!  This run was my most exciting.  I headed down to the gym by myself and there were two young, attractive men working out on the weights.  Here comes me, with my jiggly bottom about to jog very slowly and pant very heavily.  Intimidating.  I got on the treadmill and started fiddling around with my ipod. Selecting the songs for my workout playlist proved to be a good diversion from thinking about these 2 men seeing all my wobbly bits as I ran.  I started walking and got in the zone.  After I moment, I realized that they were just boys and I was a Woman. W-O-M-A-N  (yes I just sang that).  A woman with a cause.  I didn’t care what they thought about me.  I’ve recently had a baby.  I’m getting my body into shape and I’m running for Living Hope.  Who cares what anyone thinks about my jiggly bits!!  “I’m going out tonight.  I’m feeling alright.  I’m gonna let it all hang ouuut” (see song below)  Yay.  I don’t have to care about that.  How freeing.  I turned on the tv and put it to silent.  “My sister’s keeper” was on.  I listened to my music and ran.  It was definitely a lot easier pushing on when I had something interesting to watch.  I kept going and it began to feel a lot easier and very enjoyable.  I watched as the kilometers were counted and I reached my 5k mark!  Huge achievement for me.  I actually wanted to keep going and so I did.

Time: 42 minutes.  Distance: 5.45Km. Calories: 330. I felt like I was floating in the clouds.  I had the biggest smile on my face and I felt like I could do anything!  These endorphins are wonderful! (Side note:  If you suffer from depression just start running every day)

I had a day come up after that which I was planning on not running for.  It was a busy day.  I had been running around with the children, getting groceries, preparing a long awaited healthy meal and we had laundry going at the same time.  There was no way I could squeeze in a jog…or could I?  It was 20 minutes till the laundry was dry, 7 minutes till the oven needed to be turned off.. Honey.  Turn the oven off when it beeps.  I’m just stepping out for a quick 15 minute jog. And so I did.  That felt good.  So this is how I juggle motherhood and training for a half marathon.  Excellent.  You just run when you can.  That took the pressure off.

The challenges in the rest no longer lay in getting motivated but in allowing my body to take a break before I pushed myself harder.  I found myself waking up and thinking about jogging.  When can I get out there?  I have to run today.  Today is rest day?  But I want to run!  It’s becoming addictive.  The endorphins are addictive but even more so is running with purpose.

Goal by the end of the week is to run 7K.  Maybe I’ll run it today.

Day 2 Running – Smile

I woke up tired this morning.  Most mornings I do.  My 3 month old isn’t sleeping through the night and as of late he’s been teething so he’s been up more.  My daughter gets up at 6:30am no matter what time she goes to bed.  So here we are again.  Breakfast.  Breastfeed. Cup of Tea (a MUST in my house).  After the kids were settled and my son was back asleep I got on the computer to continue with a number of errands.  My husbands wallet was recently stolen and someone hacked into our credit and bank accounts.  So now we’re having to change and update everything as a result.  It came at a difficult time.  We were already stretched financially but had begun making some incredible choices to get out of debt and give it all to God.  But as my 4yr old says “No Matter.”  I still know that God is in control and I am enjoying life right now…there are so many possibilities ahead.

Right.  What to do today?  Played games with daughter, got snack ready, got myself ready, taught my daughter some words.   We planned a trip to the park, packed lunches and off we went.  Edmund was crying a lot. His poor gums hurt.  By the time we got back, I needed a LARGE cup of tea. I was so tired and my body was starting to ache.  Perhaps today will be a rest day and tomorrow I will jog…No. If I do that I may lose momentum.  Okay think about this.  I’ll take each hour as it comes and decide later.

The tea perked me up and so did a nice quiet time watching a movie with Amelie.  I would run tonight.

My husband got home late from work and by that time we had dinner but I still had to bathe my son and my husband had to have dinner and my daughter had to play outside.  I couldn’t go out yet.  The clouds were starting to darken.  Both kids were finally in bed and I made a dash for it.

Muse again.  I started with a 5 minute brisk walk that turned into a jog.  10 minutes in…arrrrhh  I want to take a break.  I touched my nose quickly.  Touched it again.  Pressed harder… touched my lips.  They’re all there.  Keep going.  It got easier.  I then got into a fairly comfortable jog.  I reached the end of that street and started to walk again.  It’s okay if I jog then walk, jog then walk.  My friend called me before I headed out.  She is a personal trainer and suggested both yoga and jogging.. (well not at the same time.  Both complement each other.  That’s a good idea.  She also recommended that I jog and walk, taking it in turns. That made me feel better as I struggled to keep running.

I was doing this.  I pressed on and saw a Stop sign that was my goal point to run towards… argh..keep going…arghh..almost there…argggghhhh…blah…I did it!  I felt such a surge of joy and achievement.  Yes!  I reached my arm up towards the sky.  The rain falling on my fingertips as it reached higher towards God.  I was praising him…on a main road…people at the bus stop watching.  I didn’t care.  I smiled.  Freedom.

I turned around and walked. It then turned into a jog again.  This is day two..yeah.

At thiat point my mood suddenly shifted.  I started to feel sad.  A little emotional.  I know that when you exercise often emotions can be released and as a mother there just isn’t time to release those emotions.  So here it was.  Running in the rain.  I thought about the African Women.  I was feeling pain from the jog but then I thought about the pain they were feeling as their faces were being mutilated.  No anesthetic.  What must they have been thinking?  And here I am trying to simply jog.  I think the emotions and the sheer difficulty of stretching my capacity to exercise was encompassing my whole being.    I kept going.

As a few minutes passed I started burping.  Yes I just said that.  Burping!  A lot.  Oh there comes my dinner.  And a stitch (cramp for the Canadians) in my side shortly followed.  I could barely walk let alone run. (Note to self:  Run before dinner not after).  I walked very slowly and changed my soundtrack.  I put on some easy jazz.  This was good.  Reflective.  It made me think about my personal dreams and how doing this meant so much also to me and my career.  If I could complete this, I could do anything.  I could build my career, my company, my…shoot!  What’s going on with my ipod?  It’s crackling up.  Did water get in it?  Oh no!  I feel like crying.  I changed the album.  Madeleine Peyroux.  Same thing.  Adjusted the headphones.  That worked.  Continued listening to Madeleine and continued walking.  My uplifted mood was gone again.  Boy these workout emotions are all over the place.  I continued walking home, half a block away and I was feeling defeated when I began to hear.. “Smile..though your heart is aching..”  a new song.  This was what I needed.

 

“Smile even though its breaking

When there are clouds in the sky

You’ll get by

If you smile through your fear and sorrow

Smile and maybe tomorrow

You’ll see the sun come shining though

For You

 

Light up your face with Gladness

Hide every trace of sadness

Although a tear

Maybe ever so near (and it was)

 

That’s the time you must keep on trying

Smile, what’s the use in cryin’

You’ll find that life is still worthwhile

When you just smile”

 

I got home.  Closed the door behind me and smiled.  Tomorrow is day 3!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They make me smile

Can I run a Half-Marathon??!!!!

3 months ago I ran my second marathon…giving birth!  They say it is the equivalent.  My first child was delivered at hospital where things       didn’t quite go to plan.  It started with an induction, a “suggested” epidural that went in the wrong direction and after 36 hours of labor my beautiful Amelie was born.  I hardly remembered any of it because it was intense and my mind simply checked out.

With my son, I wanted the experience to be different.  I had wanted a natural home birth with Amelie but it just didn’t work out.  This time I knew better and everything looked as though that would happen. At 1:30am on March 20th 2007, I began to feel consistent contractions and realized that this could be it.  It was perfect.  My sister just happened to be staying the night so she stayed in bed with my daughter.  I called my mum who came over to help out and warned my husband that this was it.  My wonderful midwife came over and soon enough there I was experiencing my home birth.  It was quiet at home. Amelie and Auntie Caz asleep, dimmed lights and me working through my contractions.  I was tired and it was hard but I was coping.  Then the real pain kicked in..BACK LABOR.  Oh my goodness!

I recently watched a British tv show called “Being Human” which features a Vampire, a Werewolf and a Ghost trying to be human.  In one scene they showed George transition from human to werewolf.  As his bones cracked, snapped and shifted, the screams of pain rippled through his body as he shatteringly transformed into an animal.  I turned to my husband and said..”Hmm..that pretty much explains the pain of back labor”. And so after 7 hours of no medication, plenty of pain but amazing support in a nurturing environment I ran my second marathon and my amazing boy Edmund was born.

Now I do not write this note to tell you about my labors and how I compare them to a marathon but to tell you that I am actually going to run a Half Marathon in September 2011.  I’m crazy, I know I am but I also know I have to do it.  Just a few days ago I was eating cakes and chocolate and realized that I’ve had enough of a break enjoying my junk food and that its time to shift this baby weight.  Then on Sunday at church a good friend of mine told me she was running in a half marathon along with many other women from church.  I asked her what for and she warned me that I may not want to know.  Women were running in efforts to raise money for reconstructive surgeries for the women in Africa whose faces had been mutilated by child soldiers.

On Watoto’s Living Hope Website it reads:

“Some of these women have been brutally tortured – both mentally and physically. Lips, ears, noses and even genital parts severed from their bodies. The wounds and scars are a constant reminder of their past and they’re also part of the reason for the harsh rejection they receive from their community and family.”

I already knew about this cause and my heart was already in.  Immediately I knew why my friend had warned me.  How could I say no to a cause like that.  My heart would instantly overrule my head.

I told my husband about it and with his full support decided to start training.  Train for a half marathon.  How on earth do you do that?  Before I move on with this story you have to know that I do not exercise..like at all!  I think the last time I went to a gym was back in University and even then it wasn’t much of a workout.  I hate running.  I did run the other day, playing with my 4yr old daughter and her friends.  I said I’d tag them but when I ran as fast as I could I couldn’t catch the little monkeys.  “You’re too slow” they said….. I know.   I’m not a fan of walking and I definitely didn’t do much exercise during pregnancy.  But then again, if I can go through childbirth I should be able to do this.

Tonight began my first jog..my first real physical movement in some time.  I bought an armband for my ipod this afternoon and selected the running app.  With my app and my music ready I put on MUSE and started with a walk before turning it into a jog.  I can do this.  2 minutes later… arrrrghhhhhhh.  I was smiling radiantly from excitement of being able to help out with such an amazing cause but boy was this foreign.  I turned down one street and began to notice all the cute houses and the beautiful view dreaming of living in such a luxurious home with my family.  Shift your focus.  I pressed on as my heart rate increased and so did my breathing.  Well spluttering and panting would probably be more accurate.  Thank goodness I couldn’t hear myself over the music or I would have been really embarrassed when I passed the many people I did.

It hurt but thinking about those women pushed me forward.  My heart was pounding out of my chest, I struggled to breathe.  Everything was stopping me from catching my breath and relaxing.  I was pretty sure “the ladies” were crushing me at this point – (note to self, need a better support system). I reached the end of the quiet rode and sat on the ledge of a small pebble wall.  I leaned my arms over my legs, tried to remember to breathe slowly and deeply; leaned my head into my hand and felt the beads of sweat dripping.  I looked at my iphone and saw that I had been running for 17 minutes.  Yes only 17 minutes!  Deep breath. A slower song, “Unintended” played.   I began to wipe the sweat away from my face brushing my hands over my nose and across my upper lip.  I felt my nose again and thought about how easy it was for me to breathe.  I licked me lips.  I have lips that I can kiss my husband and children with.  I have a nose to breathe well with.  It dawned on me that many women who we are all raising money for don’t have that.  How we can take so much of what we have, complain about it and take it for granted?  I have to do this for these strong women who have endured so much. I have to do this to draw closer to God because it WILL require Faith. I have to do this for my family; to push myself beyond the comfortable and be a role model to my daughter. On a side note, when I told Amelie what I was doing and why I was doing it her way of understanding this was to say “You’re going to be a superhero and help people.  That’s what I want to do when I grown up.  I want to be a superhero and help make people better.”  Heart melt.

As the song ended and my heart rate slowed, a still calm washed over me.  Through the headphones I heard Muse shout “COME ON!” as they began their next song. I said “Okay” and I got up and Ran.

Day 1.   May 28, 2011 ~ Jun 27, 2011

Running Report  Generated by Run Training

Time: 00:24:16

Distance: 0.80 km

Calories:  50.7 cal

It was a good start…for me.

Hello world!

A couple of weeks ago I decided to run a half marathon for Living Hope.  I don’t like to exercise and certainly haven’t in a long time so I began to blog my experience.  Here you’ll find updated posts on this journey but also on being a mother, an educator, a business woman and simply an English woman in Canada.