Wednesday, August 23, 2017

On what I have learned from a one year old

I have a one year old.

This is not a shock to anyone reading this blog, I don't think...if it is, check the address you were searching for...there may be a typo.

Before we became parents, there were lots of visions of what parenting would look like.  We talked about things that were important to us (Summer Camp, duh!) and things we didn't really care about (what other people thought).  We talked about making baby food and not using store bought and having no need for a crazy amount of clothing, because as my hubby reminds me often, I said "babies don't need to wear anything other than white onesies..."

Then we had a child.

Well, here are the top 10 things I have learned since we brought our dude home...

*I share this all with the disclaimer that these are the thoughts that go through my head on the regular...and I am in no way intending to make anyone feel like the methods I am talking about are the only way to parent...It's all good what you will...this is what we have been up to.

10- Eating with one hand while feeding, holding, consoling a baby and/or cleaning up a bit around the house is a very real thing that it is impossible to learn how to do without said baby being in this world.  You can care for other children, practice with duct tape or by pulling your arm inside your shirt--short of not having a second arm (new appreciation for that reality!) it is just not a skill you can perfect prior to the arrival of a little one.  Also, doing anything with your non-dominant hand.  I have never been so thankful for muscle development on my left side.

9-- Breastfeeding involves literally palming your newborns head and shoving it to your body in hopes that you timed the shove at the same time the unassuming newborn opens their mouth wide enough to complete the connection.  The miracle of breastfeeding and the innate ability of a newborn to root and wiggle to find sustenance.  O. M. G.  I can't even pretend we experienced that reality. I had no idea what I was in for when I told my hubby that I wanted to do everything in our power to avoid supplementing.  Breastfeeding is hardest challenge I have ever faced in my life-ever! (see 8)  So, we (read "I") conceded and we started supplementing around a month later...everything seemed to fall into place.  Dad could help feed at times and nursing became a joy not a stress. Almost 14 months later our guy is stil a BF champ...and LOVES real food too!

8--Lip ties and tongue ties.  I had never heard of either of these things prior to birthing a baby.  They are the little pieces of skin in your upper lip and under your tongue that are connectors.  Actually it was 10 days after having a baby when we were not sure how much longer I could continue cluster feeding this little bottomless pit that we sought assistance in a Lactation Consultant.  While she taught us a lot and I can confidently say I don't know if we would still be nursing today had we not met her...I can't believe the natural occurance of skin on the tongue and lip impede feeding a baby to the point that we need to laser them cut at a month old. AND you have to go to one specific dentist to do it.  Seems a little scam-y to me. That didn't work for us...and when we went to the dentist for our dude's first visit around 10 months our AWESOME dentist said, yeah...he has seems like he learned to adapt. (see 9) That was our story...I recognize that doesn't work for everyone.

7--Baby food is a serious scam.  I am NOT saying babies need 100% organic made from scratch in your home baby purees.  Nope.  Not saying that.  Also not saying there is any right way to start a solid food feeding journey for your kiddo.  What I am saying is that EVERYTHING (okay 80%) of the things on the baby food aisle can be found on another aisle in the grocery store with a different label.  SIDENOTE- it is also 1/2 the price without the baby branding.  Just like the pinking of America, everything for babies is sold at a premium for "comfort" and "convenience."  (yes--"baby girl" pink sippy cups are also more expensive than the identical black version marketed to boys!) If you take a look at the ingredients of a XXbabybrandXX stage 2 "meal" and a hearty beef stew soup--yo, friends...SAME THING!  That ALL being said, we took the slightly more granola route here--when our guy decided to protest purees and being fed.  Baby Led Weaning for the win, in our time with cleanup!

6--Traveling with a kid can be terrifying, yet it can also bring out the good in humanity.  The first time I had NO IDEA what to expect.  I was flying alone and our guy was just shy of 3 months old.  On our very first leg a woman looked at me (she must have read the fear in my face as I was looking for my seat on the plane) and she said, "If you need anything, I am a mom too."  Holy humanity, there is good in the world.  Now, countless flights and tens of states later...happy to help any new parents out there on traveling adventures!

5--Partner's don't get enough credit.  See above and below.  In reality, it doesn't matter the manner in which a child comes into a family.  In many there is a dominant parent and a secondary parent.  In a hetero-normative world it is the birthing mother that is primary and a dad takes a secondary role.  HOLD UP HERE...I would not be standing today without the strength of my partner.  I don't thank him enough.  I got (get) short with him way too quickly.  We ebb and flow.  We are still learning systems together.  Single parents--shout out to are my new heroes!

4-- The clothes, gracious...the clothes.  How can his drawers be full, with a full laundry basket and a load still to be folded?!?  They are the?  And FOLDING them...they are all odd shapes and arms and legs...I finally gave up on folding PJs...they just go in the top right drawer.  We missed tons of outfits there in the middle.  He seemed to skip 9 month clothes...and now we are going back to them as he gets taller and leaner.  I said "white onesies for the win" before he was born...I don't know if he has ever worn one without something over it.  Hubby, I was wrong.  Yes, hubby...I WAS WRONG.  He looks so much cuter in outfits.  As we look ahead though...I think we would do just fine with like 14 outfits that mix and match...gotta clean out those drawers!  (getting all gendered up in here again--girl mom's...I don't envy you...I'd be broke if I didn't have a many cuter girl clothes...good thing we like nautical, oh look-a sailboat <or anchor or whale or pirate or insert cute item here> outfit...we gotta have it.  Damn-I just said we don't need more than 14 outfits!)

3-- Babywearing is a strong and unspoken "you got this mom" when you are around town.  I don't wear him as much as I used to...and I miss it sometimes...but you better believe, when I see a mom out there wearing their little one and not lugging around a carrier...I think "YOU GO MOM!"  Way to be productive!  Then I see a toddler in tow and I flash to our hopeful future and I wonder...choice or necessity...hmmm...either way...

2--  The ability to sit and be pushed in a shopping cart is a SERIOUS gamechanger!  Sure there are times I have been tired enough to want to be pushed...that's not what I mean--being able to push the BABY in a shopping cart sitting upright completely changed errands.  We can run into a store real quick and grab something without making sure we have a carrier with us...amen!  We also hit the jackpot, our kid sleeps EVERYWHERE our kid has even fallen asleep in a Publix shopping cart with his head on the handlebar.  It is times like these, and when he is teething on the metal, that I think...didn't we register for one of those cover things...then I think about whether it would be in my hubby's car or mine...and, immunity building.  Either way, I have also learned about how importnat buckling the strap is (on restuarant high chairs too!) and Publix (where shopping is a pleasure) has introduced a double lock clip...that I, for the life of me, forget how to unclip EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.  Thanks for the safety and security.

1--  I need some KonMari up in my life.  I look at his playroom, er, um, our LIVING ROOM, and I think...SO. MANY. TOYS.  The cabinets, the clothes, the lovies, the stuffed can I streamline his stuff (Lord knows I am not wearing pre-baby clothes...ugh!) our stuff...and then I think... "What brings me JOY?"  True, unfliterd joy...and right now, it is watching him play with his "Dah!" (duck) or his "DAH!" (truck) and putting him in the mismatched "aaahhhAH" (shoes) he carried over.  It is watching his head spin around when we say his name.  It is toys being put back in buckets when we say it is time to clean up.  It's the Friday night Frat Boy walk that asserts independance yet is still slightly unsteady (like a coed after a night out) especially when he is wearing seersucker shorts and a polo onesie...That's my current favorite outfit, I know...not a white onesie.  It's the way he runs to us when he sees us after a long day at work or school.  Right now, I will take the chaos and countless loads of laundry in exchange for this different type of joy.

I have learned so much more this year than I ever could have imagined.  I am still learning.  I want to reflect more about this journey.  I will say it again, nothing in this list is intended to offend anyone...just the way my brain processes all of these silly little parenting things.  I hope you all read them as such--Parent friends I SUPPORT YOU ON YOUR PARENTING JOURNEY AS WELL...I hope this might make you laugh a bit...if you are anything like me, you could be reading this while nursing a baby to nap or to bed...that's when I get my best catch-up reading done.

With that...


Wednesday, August 16, 2017

on parenting and positivity

2016 was a monumental year for me.

In January, after first sharing our news with family and close friends over the holiday celebrations, Chris and I announced that in July our family was growing.  While we thought we were going to bring a puppy into the family—a human expansion was in order.  In July, Lawton joined the party. 

Parenthood has been a rock pushed off the top of a very steep hill.  The days and tasks are often overwhelming and taxing, but the months have flown by.  We have a beautiful and curious, inquisitive and kind Little Bug filling our lives with more joy than I ever thought possible. Cliché, right?

This first year of his life has been a monumental year for me.

When we first announced he was on the way, amid facebook likes and comments, Instagram hearts and text messages, I actually had more than one person private message me things like “I can’t believe you would bring a child into the chaos of our current world,” and “It’s a tough time to raise a child.”  People I don’t speak to often, people whose echo in my chamber I often find to be too loud, too harsh and quite a bit one-sided, but nonetheless they stung at the time and these comments have stuck with me.

There have been so many times this past year I should have stopped and marked our lives with reflection.  It’s all a bit cloudy now.  I’m not really sure when Lawton started rolling over or when he first scooted his way around the living room. (Mainly his life is marked in what he has done at NFTY regional and North American events…he cut his first two teeth at Winter and by NFTY Convention in February he was rolling and army crawling EVERYWHERE; Camp Jenny marked cross-dining hall walking with a walker and by Kutz in June he was getting around on his own two feet…)

As I sat safely in our home this weekend watching our world unfold he was all I could think about.  I thought about these comments I received when we first announced he was on the way and the more I have thought about them, the more I find the anger bubbling inside me.  Not because of the media or the memes, the press conferences or public figures.  I AM SO ANGRY THAT EVERYONE THINKS EVERYONE ELSE HAS TO DO MORE, EVERYONE ELSE HAS TO BE BETTER, EVERYONE ELSE HAS DONE MORE WRONG…

Why do we continue to live in a world where personal accountability and doing what is right has been cast aside and making the largest sign, yelling the loudest and commenting from behind a screen how wrong someone else is…is the way to FEEL most right...

You see, I have noticed it every day since Lawton was born, in parenting forums, message boards and “helpful” sites about child rearing.  The general sentiment is “this is how I do it, and that’s the best way.”  It is often shrouded in “I read in a book” or “our pediatrician said.”  Often I truly believe it is not intended to be hurtful, harmful or judgmental.  I am sure I have unintentionally made others feel like I am saying my way is the “best” and I have not meant that. 

Yet, I sit here reflecting on our unfolding world and I hear people saying “I can’t believe you would bring a child into the chaos of our current world,” and I think about how unbelievably important it is to have a child, to raise this child, to be a presence in their life and introduce people, places and things to him that will fortify his character, teach him to love and learn, respect and stand up for what he believes.


Thursday, March 12, 2015

on what I have learned from those whom I claim to teach

There is this crazy mixed-up double standard in education, be it informal education, formal education, in life.  You see, there are people out there who presume to be "teachers" and others out on a journey to learn and I think our biggest challenge in this world is that we forget that it is incumbent upon us all to do our very best every day not only to learn something new, but to teach something to as many people as we can.

This is one of my greatest life struggles.

I live in a world that begs the question "What do you want to be when you grow up?"  It is often asked less directly, but that is the message at the core.  There is a common misconception that Informal Educators, Youth Directors, Youth Educators, Youth Professionals, whatever you want to call us--fall into this work and use it as a stepping stone to get somewhere else.  Many follow a path to the Rabbinate, others to Social Work, Program positions or Formal Education...and maybe, we all do--it just takes us longer to figure out what path to follow (hello 15 years in the field) and maybe, we don't...

Maybe this is the path I am destined to follow--and the key to success is to change my frame of reference, to stop looking at what I want to teach and to start looking more at what I have learned.

If you have read my writings in the past, it seems rote to say it again--I feel cliche even typing it here in this space, but I have always said, I will continue to do this work as long as I feel like I can continue to learn...

So, what am I learning?

It has been a topsy-turvy, downright crazy, unbelievably busy 12 weeks.  Like, busier than usually busy in this world I truly love.  Maybe I am getting old, and I can't adapt to it as well as I used to, or maybe--just maybe I sit here on the other side of the most chaotic weeks I can remember as a Youth Professional (insert Educator or other word we find trendy or appropriate this week) and I have failed myself.  I have failed to stop and take stake of where I am, what I have learned and where I want to go next--and I mean that in the most abstract sense of the statement.

I have been a part of a process for the first time this year, looking at creating a team that will best suit our structure and help create a successful outcome for our program.  As I sit here I reflect on the power of my actions and the opportunity I have to help someone else find the passion I find in this work, to help another individual learn from teenagers, from ten year olds, to create the rare life-long connection with someone that seems so innocuous at the time...and 10 years later you find indescribable joy in their successes...

Sitting outside a bowling alley today waiting for a late parent, I shot a text to one of the few people that consistently ground me... "Just wanted to let you know I am thinking about you as you guys head out on the road and overseas!" Simple enough.  Not seeking, not hoping for soul searching...just a quick thinkin' about you .  An hour of back and forth later (with lag time here and there) and I look at the end of the conversation--he texts, "who knows" I reply "your gut will...when it is time to decide"

I believe that--I really do.  I believe it when I talk to friends from high school about job interviews and where their career will take them next.  I believe it when I talk to teens about running for positions of leadership.  I believe it when trusted confidants tell me to look at the bigger picture and consider the whole situation--to give a really great person an opportunity to shine where they first might seek the shadows...

Why is it then that I so rarely allow myself the freedom to trust my own gut?

I am a truly valuable part of a team, with a LOT to teach and even more still to learn, so today I ask myself the same question I challenged a team of people to examine just a few weeks ago--

"What have you learned and taught?  How do you plan to carry these lessons into the future?"

In its simplest form-- I have learned that as the teacher, the greatest lessons are taught from the students.  I will continue to seek relationships based on trust and accountability where both parties approach the learning opportunities with open eyes and open hearts to seek first to understand in an environment where being right is less important than being together.  I will continue to foster relationships built upon these ideals and not let obstacles that arise become barriers in which I fail to realign the course.

There will be challenges, there will be struggles, there will be failures that turn into successes--and some will not, but I know what I want to be when I grow up.  I am what I want to be when I grow up, and if I keep doing it the way I do it--and believe in the way I continue to teach and learn--maybe in my tenure what I am will become an acceptable answer for a grown up...

Thanks for reminding me...

Friday, July 19, 2013

on running through the year...

I have often set seemingly ridiculous goals for myself.  What 300 pound young adult WOULDN’T want to train for a half marathon, or a sprint triathlon, or even a 5k?

While I no longer look at fitness goals through the eyes of a super-obese human, I do still remember what it felt like and each time I find myself at a race I struggle with finding the line of encouraging those that remind me of myself (just a year ago) and focusing on my own race, my own goals, setting my own challenges.

 When I began the year I was 6 months in to my OTF journey and I was wondering what kind of New Years goal I could set for myself.  See, I find no good in “new years resolutions” given that I have never seen the need to wait until January 1 to make a change, but…I do like to put a framework on the year to come.  This year I decided I was going to do a race every month.  I did not define it too much…no need to set too many stipulations…and half way through the year…I am incredibly proud of what I have done so far.  So, here is my mid year recap!

January 12, 2013- Glow in the Dark 5k
This is the most fun 5k I had done in a really long time.  A small group was supposed to do this race together, but given traffic getting to St. Pete I arrived much ahead of the others and ended up doing this 5k solo.  In my “you glow girl” t-shirt and neon orange shorts, I took to the streets of St. Pete at night (another first—a night 5k) and traveled through countless GLOW STATIONS and neon parties.  A great energy, a SUPER-POSITIVE atmosphere and a killer medal to start the year off!

February 9, 2013- Dirty Girl Mud Run 5k
I think this was my first mud run…I can’t remember a time when I didn’t THINK I could do a mud run, but didn’t feel shear TERROR in the back of my head…that I really COULDN’T do it.  So, I decided a girly mud run might be a good way to start.  Inflatables over electric wire and sturdy structures over wobbly wood!  I had a BLAST doing this race!

Februarry 23, 2013- Gasparilla Distance Classic 15k
GDC 15k 2012 was my first 15k race.  When I look at pictures of 2012 and 2013 15k side by side, it is a truly remarkable benchmark!  My goal going in to 2013’s 15k was to break 2 hours.  I had previously completed the 9.6 mile course in more than 2 and a half hours.  I did a full write up on this race…you can look back on the blog if you want more details…needless to say, I cut more than 45 minutes off my time.  SUCCESS!

March 2, 2013- Zoo Zoom 5k
Going in to March, I had not found a race I really wanted to do, so I did a little crowdsourcing on the good ‘ole book.  OTF St. Pete had a group doing Zoo Zoom, so I asked if I could join them…and join them I did.  IT. WAS. FREEZING.  Most of my training to this point had been done in the gym as Florida had let to reach the 60s (yeah—warm winter) and I woke up for this race and started shivering immediately.  SO thankful I owned an OTF long sleeve…I also PR’d on this weird and windy course that spun through the zoo!

March 23, 2013- Race For Research Half Marathon
The way my mind works is not always so logical.  When I decided to head to Jupiter for Passover, of course I looked to see if there was a race in the area.  Just 25 minutes from Arielle’s house, the Race for Research was a good fit…but 5k or half marathon?  I did 9.6 a few weeks ago, so why not go for 13.1.  I added an 11 mile training run…and off I went.  The last time I did a half marathon I was between 280 and 300 lbs…let’s just say, even with some pretty bad war wounds from OTF going into this race…I realized how much FASTER you can finish 13.1 with nearly 100 fewer pounds on your frame…here we go!  This is the race that made me really SERIOUSLY think about committing to 26.2 soon!

March 30, 2013- Easter Mud Hunt 5k
I really want to do a Tough Mudder…so I signed up for Savage Race.  Dirty Girl didn’t really test me…so I thought I should get a slightly more RUGGED mud run under my belt before possibly embarrassing myself with the OTF team for Savage Race.  The aim for this race was to run 5k and collect Easter Eggs on the course with prizes in them.  I skipped the eggs and hit the trai.  One big difference…little to no grass or mud running (plenty of mud obstacles) just lots of Florida SUGAR SAND!

April 11, 2013- Corporate 5k (more like 3.8 miles)
I love a little spontaneity in my life…I signed up for this race on Tuesday for Thursday.  OTF had a nice little team and we hung for a while at Curtis Hixon.  I can’t say anything special about this race…it was long and HOT…and I did not have any major success…other than convincing Lat to come renegade Savage Race with us.

April 13, 2013- Savage Race
I am not sure I would have been NEARLY as successful in this race without Justin, Susie, Latimer, Jennifer, Michael, JoJo and the rest of the OTF gang to rely on for this race.  I mentioned earlier the slight fear I felt going in to this race.  THIS…was an intense mudder.  At the start line Justin, Jennifer and Lat were still questionable…and once I saw Justin run up next to me before we hit ‘Shriveled Richard,’ the first obstacle, a BRUTAL ice bath, I knew I would be okay.  We ran, we climbed, we walked, we swam, we carried, we got shocked…but we finished…TOGETHER.  (and it was NOT 5-6 miles…it was closer to 7.5 with 25 obstacles!)

May 4, 2013- Girls on the Run 5k
I did not RUN this 5k…and it was the best feeling ever.  Girls on the Run is an organization I became familiar with through Camp and I love the idea that the fun activities and self-esteem building for girls also happen to prepare these girls to complete a 5k, for many of them, their first!  I was paired with a little girl from Sulpher Springs Elementary school, a not-so-great area of town and kids that need a lot of attention and positive reinforcement.  This little girl had NO desire to complete a 5k and about half way through the race I realized her shoes were horribly fitting.  Either way, she and I skipped (just to the next stop sign) and we walked while holding hands…we even ran a little—but she finished!

May 11, 2013- Miles for Moffitt 5 miler
MfM was another benchmark race for me.  MfM 2012 was my first 5 miler…and once again, I KILLED my time from last year.  I just hope as I start looking to 2014, I can continue to do the same!  I cut more than 25 minutes…that’s over 5 minutes PER MILE.  I love the spirit of this race as well…not nearly as large as the GDC in February, but another HUGE community event for the Tampa Bay Area.

June 29, 3013- Bayshore Community Hospital 5k (Holmdel, NJ)
I did try to do a 5k pre-surgery (June 1 in Tarpon Springs) and for the first time ever I just no-showed.  I was SO beat…so I put a lot of faith in myself to be good ENOUGH to complete a 5k just shy of 4 weeks post-op.  My cousin got married the night before and I had invited all of my aunts, uncles, cousins, parents and siblings to join me for this 5k.  They all declined and tried to convince me not to do it as well…I told my family I would walk.  I didn’t plan to jog.  I also didn’t know there was something called the “Holdel Hill” we would be traversing.  Either way, almost 4 weeks post op I did an 11:30 first mile, an 11 minute second mile and just over a 12 minute third mile (slowing down with quite a bit of walking) and that my friends, meant I was ready to get back in the gym!

I probably forgot a race or two…but that’s okay…here are the standouts and I am not slowing down…looking ahead, here is what I have planned…let me know if you would like to join me!

July 19, 2013- Sunsets at Pier 60 5k
August 24, 2013- Wig Out Against Brain Tumors Water Obstacle 5k (currently a LivingSocial deal)
September 7, 2013- Hog Wild Mud Run (only if I find a discount code...not paying $100 bucks)
September 28, 2013- Blueberry Stomp 
October 19, 2013- Savage Race 
October 26, 2013- Bride of Frankenfooter 5k (?)
November 2, 2013- Tough Mudder (EEEEK…ONLY IF A TEAM DOES THIS TOGETHER!)
November 9, 2013- Zombie Run
December 1, 2013- SAL ½ Marathon
January 18, 2014- CHARLESTON MARATHON (hopefully RAKTC!)

For now,

Friday, June 14, 2013

on my favorite day of the year

I can share, with reasonable certainty, that every school planner and calendar I owned between ages 10 and 22 had tiny numbers marked in the corner of every monthly page.  These seemingly insignificant numbers meant nothing to my teachers and seem archaic now with the numerous countdown apps for smartphones and computers.  Those tiny numbers connected me, in St. Louis, Missouri with my friends in North Carolina, Maryland, Florida and beyond.  Those numbers represented the days left until we would rise way too early in New Bern, leave way too early down 70 E, turn way too on 55 and veer onto 306 with plenty of time to spare before all of the other eager camper cars backed the road up almost all the way to Seafarer Rd.  (I had a brother to drop off at Sea Gull first of course.  The boys in those days got to pick their beds and us girls had our bed  assigned!)

Opening Day at camp has always and will always be my favorite day of the year.  As a camper, as a cabin counselor, as an admin staff member, as a volunteer, as an alumna, it is a day filled with incredible emotion.
As a camper I remember there being incredibly high highs, pure joy of running across a field and reuniting with friends after 11 months apart.  There was trepidation as well, hopes of being assigned to a cabin with friends, or wondering whether I would FINALLY make it to the “far side.”  Everything being unpacked still smelled like home, your bed was made perfectly, the summer ahead was full of promise and if you are like me—you might even have had a plan in mind for a summer goal, be it rank or self oriented.  On Opening Day everyone is reminded--Camp is MAGIC!  Everything is possible on Opening Day.

As a counselor all of the same remained true.  Watching campers reunite, receiving hugs from returning campers when they arrive wide-eyed for another amazing summer remained the highs.  As a counselor in lower camp one, I often remember a timid camper or two checking in and more than that—a nervous mom or dad or ten!   Year after year, it remained—thrill in the eyes of first-time parents who try to multi-task unpacking and taking in the beauty all around, all the while the reality setting in that they are leaving their child in our care for several weeks.  It became our job as cabin counselors to assure them, Camp is MAGIC!  Even parents can take a sailboat ride on Opening Day!

As an alumna, each year staff training, then Starter Camp and then First Session Opening Day roll around and through the blessing of social media we are able to celebrate from afar that excitement and joy felt by the next generation of Seafarer and Sea Gull families, campers and staff alike.  This time of the year I find myself reconnecting with camp friends, talking to old campers and joyfully fostering relationships with many of these campers’ parents with whom I have been blessed to maintain relationships YEARS after their time in lower camp one.

I connected with one parent in particular this week and it made me really start thinking about the juxtaposition of Opening Day, the spark that made me recall many of these feelings—and I think this camp mom summed it up perfectly.  I had noted to her how wonderful it was seeing [on facebook] all of the exciting adventures her two daughters were experiencing via college and post-college study programs.  She replied stating that Camp Seafarer and starting as a lower camp one camper played a big role in her daughters’ journey towards independence.

On this Opening Day, when parents of  campers and campers alike may be filled with trepidation, some girls change right into bathing suits and head out for adventures and others climb up on their bunk to quietly settle in—I know that the palpable energy and joy felt all the way from The Crystal Coast to those in parts near and far, will reach every camp family, camper, counselor and alum sitting on Opening Day, smiling about all the promise this summer will bring…why, because Camp is MAGIC!

for now


Monday, February 25, 2013

on being a (runner?!?)

If I may be so blunt.

I can’t believe I am a girl sitting at my computer writing about a race I ran this past weekend.

I always thought of this blog as a place to share the inner thoughts of my mind, the things nobody really cared about other than me, and a select few others…the more I travel this crazy journey, the more I realize I have a lot more to say with the intention for other people to hear.

When I crossed the finish line on Saturday morning, before 9am and Annesley looked at me and said “you BETTER blog about this race.” I didn’t suspect the thought would sit on my heart for the next 36 hours.  I worked out with Annesley this morning and now that I have reached a little lull in my day, I think she is right.
I have to blog about this.

14 months ago I decided I was going to do the Gasparilla Distance Classic 15k race.  I had previously completed two half marathons, but had done nothing near the 9+ miles of a 15k in the recent past.  I started training.  I actually trained really well in 2012.  I followed a schedule of 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 mile training runs and I enjoyed the process.  I was really happy for myself when I crossed the finish line in 2012 in 2 hours 39 minutes and 08 seconds.  This is a great race that runs right in front of my apartment.  I pass my apartment twice, at miles 3 and 6.  I knew I would do the Gasparilla 15k again!

You guys reading this have probably been following my progress either vocally or covertly, so you know a lot has changed this year.  This year I signed up for the Gasparilla 15k without thinking about it.  No second guessing.  I’d get some long runs in, in addition to OTF—I knew I would finish the race!  That was 6 weeks ago.  Well, over the last 6 weeks I kinda forgot to get those long runs in.  I didn’t train well at ALL for this event.  I stayed true to my OTF routine, but I certainly did not get any mileage over 3.5miles in before Saturday morning February 23, 2013.

Friday night I picked up my race number.  I knew I would finish, but I had not thought at all about my timing of the race.  (remember-I hadn’t done a race longer than 3.1 miles since LAST Gasparilla)   I knew I could rock a 34-36 minute 5k…but could I sustain that pace for more than 9 miles?  So, what did I do…I PUBLICLY ANNOUNCED I wanted to finish the race in 1 hour 59 minutes 59 seconds.  Under 2 hours?  WHAT?  I have not trained…could I really sustain 12 minute 50 second miles for the whole race?

I sure as HECK was going to try.

Saturday morning I woke up at 5am to meet the OTF team.  Race number, new shorts (another size smaller!  Woo!) OTF tank, sunglasses, I was ready to run.  As we made our way to the race start much of our team lined up around the 8min mile pace…not my pace.  So the next part of my race day story flashes back to GDC 2012 briefly.

Last year when I ran with Deb and Steph (well, Deb ran well ahead of us) we initially found our place near the 11 min mile pace group.  Jim from said, “are you going to run with me.”  I smiled politely and laughed with him when I said, no sir…but have a great race.  As I was moving (slowly-not a jog, certainly not a run) down Bayshore around mile 4 last year, I saw Jim and his pace group running the other way down Bayshore around mile 6…I cheered for them and he in turn cheered back at me…but I was nowhere near his 11 min pace group…thankyou16minutemiles!

This Saturday morning I squarely stood between the 11:30 and 12:00 pace groups and looked up to see Pacer Jim holding the 12 minute sign.  I smiled brightly at him and said, “Jim, you may not remember this…but last year I did NOT run with you…this year, I would like to try.”  I was not sure whether I was going to be able to sustain a 12 min mile pace for 9+ miles…but I surely was going to try.

We sang, the wheelchairs started, the yellow group started, then we were off.  I started just a bit ahead of the 12 min guys…keeping just behind the 11:30 group for the first 2-3 miles.  I felt good, but as I hit 5k I also hit the place where I had exhausted my training. Thankfully I knew there would be (albeit small) a group of OTF supporters just about .5 miles ahead.  Fueled by a brief kiss from Chris at the corner by our apartment I plugged on.  After I passed Annesley’s husband I was not sure where my next support was going to come from…I was in a zone, had great music...but in my head I just thought, I just need to get to the turnaround—mentally then, all you have to do is get back to the beginning.   Just a few minutes later I heard him behind me “we are the 12 minute pace group.”  I smiled and kept running along.

For the next 2-3 miles I led the group, the group passed me, I pulled ahead of the group, the group passed me.  Some time around mile 6 I reached for the pace group sign and carried it for a little less than the mile.  Jim reminded me to slow down.  He told me at 2 miles to go he would unleash me and let me go at my own pace to finish my race hard.

Miles 7-9 I did not fuel well, I did not time a good gu/sport bean shot…and I needed one.  But, as I saw the 7 mile mark I looked at my watch I had over 45 minutes to complete my last 2.5 miles.  I KNEW I was going to reach my goal…now it was a competition with myself…by how much…?!?!

Mile 8-9 I walked for the first time.  Just for water and it was a mistake…I should have just kept jogging…it was harder to get going back into a rhythm.  Pictures between 8 and 9 also made me appreciate how excited I was to finish the race strong.  Then I saw the balloons.  Less than .5 miles to go.  TURN. IT. ON.

Lindsey, I thought, this is just one of Nabilah’s freakish 2-3 minute pushes…er, um…all outs…
I pushed to the end, ran under that clock and looked at my watch.  1 hour 54 minutes and change.  W.T.F!  I DID IT!  And there all of a sudden, Annesley was standing there hugging me.  Where she came from…I am not so sure.  But she witnessed my first exhilaration realizing I not only reached, but surpassed my goal.  I wish we had a picture of the moment.  But I certainly remember how I felt in that moment—and I don’t want to forget that feeling any time soon.

We took some pictures and walked on to the expo for a bit and after a few minutes I received my official Sprint tracking time.  1:52:59!  Not only 7 minutes faster than I had hoped for, 47 minutes faster than my 2012 time!

This morning I looked at the race pictures posted from last year and compared them to the pictures I saw from this year.  I think you will all agree when I say, it is INCREDIBLE the difference this year has made.

I am starting to be able to say “I am really proud of myself.”  I am also starting to decide on some more non-scale related goals.  Let’s work on time for standard 5k’s.  Let’s work on strength for some obstacle races.  Let’s consider looking at some LONGER??!!?? Races.

As always, I must thank Vinny (speed demon!), Nabilah (yes, maybe I should have trained), Jessica (always SO nice to just chat with you) and Annesley (such a constant source of celebration!) for being there to celebrate with me right after the race.

Who knows what will come next!

Well—this Saturday ZOO ZOOM—March 2 7am
March 9 I am pretty sure I want to go play and practice the obstacles at the Tampa Bay Mud Race course (any takers??!??)
April 6 is the Tampa Bay Mud Race
April 13 is Savage Race
May 11 is Miles for Moffitt 5 miler (before Breaker kickball playoffs...I know 99...don't worry!)

Who wants to join me?

for now,