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Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Pain is a good thing..


Change can be hard. Change can be painful. For the longest time, I didn’t want to make any changes in my life. I knew what to expect every day and I was okay with that. The problem was, I wanted big things to happen but I wasn’t willing to put in any work. But, at certain points in my life I knew I had to suck it up. Nothing was going to happen without stepping outside of my comfort zone. I was always going to be a big girl if I didn’t change my eating and start exercising. I was always going to be miserable in my marriage if I didn’t leave. I was always going to wonder what might have been if I didn’t come out and tell her how I felt. None of these things were easy but they were necessary to get to where I wanted in life.
I went into every big life decision knowing pain and chaos was inevitable but it would be worth it.

That’s where a lot of people get stuck. We fear pain. We don’t know how to endure. As bizarre as it sounds, being numb and unhappy is easy. For me, I had created this little wall. I went through the motions and was just existing. I hated myself, I hated my life. I didn’t even know who I was as a person. I had to fight every single day and still do to be where I want to be. Nothing worth anything is ever easy.

Taking the first step to begin running was one of those painful decisions. It hurt. I won’t lie and say "oh it’s amazing" and "every day is a joy" and "I smile every single step". That couldn’t be further from the truth. Every run, even now, is painful. But, the pain always subsides. Mentally and physically it's hard and takes work. I still have to talk myself into getting out the door every single day. Once I am out the door I then tell myself to put one foot in front of the other. Literally, that is what I am thinking every single run. Just keep going. Eventually, the pain subsides, the cobwebs from the night before or that day wipe away and my legs remember what they are meant to do. That’s when the enjoyment comes, I start to feel every muscle in my body and my heart pumps and my senses kick in. That’s the awesome part, that’s the reason I am out there. To get there, you must suffer through the mental mess and the initial aches and pains of starting. After that, you hit the sweet spot.
That’s the reason some people stop running. You expect it to get easy. You expect it to be pleasant. But, it isn’t. That’s not why I do it. A runner runs to feel the pain, to feel the senses to feel the heart, I run to feel. I run to think. I run to do more than just exist.
Nothing good in life is ever easy. Everything takes work. Your missing out if you’re expecting things to come easy. You are going to quit every time you start if you are expecting it to get easy. But, if you stick with it, you will get stronger. Your mind will get stronger, you will develop an ability to endure. You will enjoy the pain because you will know you have made changes in your body. You will crave being sore because you know that’s when your muscles are getting stronger. You will become addicted to progress and change. But, you must put in the work and expect pain to get to where you want to be.
To begin exercise, no matter what you chose, it’s going to hurt at first. Running will hurt. Weight training will hurt. Joining a gym will hurt. Yoga will hurt. Rock climbing will hurt. You must step outside of your comfort zone. You will eventually want to live in that zone once you get there. You can absolutely do it. Don’t fear the pain. Embrace it!
 Beet red thighs from a cold run


Sunday, January 29, 2017

Upcoming adventure announcement

Oscar Wilde says, “To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all”.

I have spent a lot of time existing. Never really wanting to be where I was, never seeing anything. Never experiencing life.

Now, I have someone who has shown me what it’s like to live life. I have someone who wants me to be happy and to do the things that make me happy. It has took me to the middle of my life to figure it out but, happiness for me is having a completely adventurous, passionate and weird life.  Lucky for me, I met someone who knows my heart and is just as adventurous, passionate and dorky as I am. She pushes me towards my dreams and is happy getting lost in the world with me. Meeting her has been an adventure. She’s an adventure I want to continue to have for the rest of my life. Which is why I asked her to spend hers with me. Luckily, she said yes.




Being as adventurous as we are, we decided against a traditional wedding. Instead, we decided to make a plan to elope to another country. To go on our biggest adventure yet.  So, we have started planning our wedding trip to Iceland this summer.

The selection process for the country has been tough because the world is a beautiful place. So, how did we end up choosing Iceland? Because, Jackie is the most amazing woman and knows the deepest parts of my soul. She chose an ultra-marathon race for me to run in, and it happens to be in Iceland this summer. To have someone to push you to do things you have always wanted to do and support you in those endeavors is so indescribable and one of the 1,000,000,000 reasons why I love her.
So, here I am embarking on a huge adventure with the love of my life. We have the biggest trip of our lives right around the corner. I am marrying my best friend and the person who I am going to live my life with. I am going to complete an ultra-marathon (a race beyond the marathon distance of 26.2 miles) in another country with the most extraordinary scenery imaginable.  Excited doesn’t even begin to describe how I feel.

I will be blogging over the next few months about my training, the trip planning process and obviously the trip itself. This year is going to be an amazing year.

For the rest of my life there will be no existing, I will live every day and be grateful for each one. 


Thursday, January 26, 2017

Nourishing my body..


Food has been something I have battled for as long as I can remember. As a child, I was super picky and wouldn’t eat what I should. As an adult I think the opposite started happening. I stopped being picky and starting eating everything I could get my hands on. Food became my enemy.

Throughout my adult life I have tried just about every diet advertised. Atkins left me starving, weight watchers was far too complicated. I would always lose weight, but that was always short lived. Eventually I would go into starvation mode or just miss food and then binge. Quitting the diet led to gaining my weight back plus more. That cycle continued for years. Then came pregnancy… oh man. Pregnancy led to gaining 60 pounds. After he was born; I lost some weight, not all. Then came kid number two. Still carrying excess weight from the first kidlet, I added an additional 40. Pregnancy left me extremely over weight. My little 5 foot 6 ½ frame ended up weighing in at a whopping 215 after all the baby producing was done. I was so miserable, unhealthy and sick.

              In past blogs I have talked about the big epiphany when I started my healthy lifestyle. At some point I picked up running. Running with all that weight was painful. I knew I had to do something else. I read somewhere that you can’t out run a bad diet, true.  My eating needed an overhaul. I started with watching Netflix documentaries. The most pivotal for me was Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead and Food, Inc. I started cutting out processed foods, anything that I had to take my time to pronounce on the nutrition label. Slowly, the changes started to happen. Just by cutting out processed foods I was noticing a difference and it was hard to deny. Clean eating seemed like the way to go. This new diet wasn’t a gimmick or quick fix but it involved giving up soda, fast food and processed foods.

At first, oh my goodness I struggled. I had been eating fast food and junk for so long I had a hard time giving it up. I had rarely ate fruits and veggies. But, I started small, I began incorporating smoothies into my daily eating. I hated all things green so I would hide them in smoothies that contained frozen fruit and orange juice to hide the taste. I don’t know if I just started to enjoy the smoothies or I was starting to no longer need all the processed junk… but whatever happened I started to crave healthy foods.

My plate started to look colorful.  Now, breakfast is some sort of fruit and oatmeal. Lunch consists of chopped salads, or chicken, rice and some veggies. Dinner is usually a food delivery service that delivers healthy ingredients to our door weekly.
 (My lunch)

Now, food is fuel. I want to veggies and fruits. I want to try new foods. Food is no longer my enemy. I do admit, I have days where I make bad food choices but one meal doesn’t make me fat. Indulging doesn’t undo all the work I have done. I think that’s what never worked for me before. I love food too much to restrict myself. I eat clean a majority of the time. I always crave veggies but I eat out sometimes too. All things in moderation. 
I don’t want to discourage anyone from trying diets, different things work for different people. I just wanted to share what worked for me. Small changes slowly led to a new way of eating.  I hope this helps anyone struggling to eat better. Experiment and have fun with food. But always, eat the rainbow and nourish your body!

Any questions you want to ask, leave a comment and I will do my best to answer!

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Happy Miles


When I started running, I had no idea what I was doing. Even though it’s a simple exercise, there are some secrets that will help make you successful.  I want to share tips I have found out on my own or read while I researched.  I know it’s scary to start something new, and there is so much information it’s overwhelming. So, I hope to share some good tips with you to help make those first miles turn into a whole heap of happy miles. 

First, before you even begin to head out on your first run or have been running; set a goal. It doesn’t have to be running a marathon, or some big enormous goal. I know there is quote that says your goals should scare you, and I agree but when your new; be realistic. Someone just starting should probably not want to sign up for an Ironman. Start small. Sign up for a 5k.  Goals keep you focused, gives you purpose and every single person needs a purpose in life. So, think about what you want to do. If it’s lose weight, that’s awesome. Know that it takes time and it won’t happen overnight. But, I promise you if you find something you enjoy you will forget about the weight loss and you will fall in love (maybe just like) with running.

Next, get fitted for the right shoe. If your serious about getting into running, buy the proper shoes. Start by going to your local running store and ask to be fitted for running or walking shoes. Those who don’t have running stores nearby Running Warehouse is a website where you can be fitted without ever going in a store. If your super uncomfortable with going in a store, then check out the link. The store (or Running Warehouse) will have you run on a treadmill and record your feet. The video is then slowed down and an analysis of how your feet move while you run takes place. This is important because, when we run, how our foot lands or ankle turns can impact our feet. Healthy feet are important because you want to stay injury and pain free. The cost is usually free and wherever you get it done will tell you the type of shoe you need and give you a list of shoes that would best suit your foot. There is no obligation to buy anything after your fitted, but it’s a useful tool if your serious about running. I didn’t do this and my first half marathon ended in the top of my foot being blue because I wore a shoe that was the wrong style and size; ouch.

(My Shoe -Brooks Ravenna)


Once you have the type of shoe that will be best for your foot. Buy the damn shoe. Investing your money into a good pair of running shoes will be like financially committing to running. I’m a frugal person and I hate when I spend $120 for a pair of running shoes, but it’s always worth it.

After you have the shoes, invest in some decent running apparel. Now, this is more up to the individual. There are tons of different brands and the prices vary depending on the brand. If you are just starting, go to Wal-mart; their running apparel is honestly decent quality. Under armor is my favorite running brand when I don’t want to spend a small fortune. But, if you have the funds, go big. Brands like Brooks and Saucony have running specific clothing that is amazing and lasts a long time. The brand depends on your budget. The key type of clothing should include some running capris or shorts that are adjustable. You don’t want to be pulling at your bottoms the entire run. Shirts need to be moisture wicking and can range from t-shirts to tanks, whatever you feel comfortable in. Try different types out to see what works best for you, everyone is different.

After you have the tops and bottoms, buy some moisture wicking socks. If you try to wear the socks you wear to work you will eventually regret it as blisters will be a common occurrence. Feetures are my favorite brand, but there are tons more. Again, preference. A good pair will last a long time so you don’t need very many. I think after all my years of running I have about 5 pair I rotate. I have suffered through blisters and I wouldn’t take anything for my running socks.

Ladies, BUY A GOOD RUNNING BRA. Nothing is more uncomfortable on a run than having the girls bounce up and down the entire time you run. Your boobs should not be more sore than your legs after a run. A regular bra you wear to work won’t cut it.  Most running bras are like any other bra, they aren’t cheap. But, your boobs giving you a black eye during a run is not cool. The bra should be tight and keep the girls in place. I prefer Nike Pro in high impact just because of the higher mileage I run. I have worn other brands and have no issue if the bra fits tight. Protect the goods, buy a good running bra.

Purchase an app or GPS watch. In the beginning, I took my phone on runs and would use the Runkeeper or Nike Running app to track my pace and how far I went. Eventually, I would stop taking my phone along and it then it became necessary to buy a GPS running watch. If you plan to always take your phone, save the money and download a free running app. The purpose is to track your progress so either one works.

Connect with other runners. If your running community is small in your area, look on Facebook, Instagram, or any social media platform to find people who share your goals. I know I have mentioned in past blogs, but I would never have kept going if not for Instagram and the running community on there. Also, search for runner blogs. I fell in love with Another Mother Runner tribe. The ladies who run it have written a couple of books and have created this amazing community for mom’s who run. They are only a few of the amazing people in this super inspirational community. Runners are my favorite kind of people.

One of my running buddies

These tips are just to get you started. I hope to eventually share everything I've learned. I hope you will use all of these tips to get out the door on the road or trail. Happy Miles!!

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Self-Image


I’m a bit of an odd ball. I’m a nerdy, tattooed mom who may be out running in single digit temps and come back home to play video games with my fiancé and kids. I’m somewhat atypical. I’m totally okay with that. I believe the older I get the less I give a damn about anyone’s view of me. I don’t think I can go an entire week without getting an odd look or stare or comment. That’s totally okay. I believe it was Edgar Allen Poe who said, “there is no beauty without strangeness”. How dull would life be if we were all the same? So, really, I am doing everyone I meet a favor by keeping things a little out of the ordinary.
 (Me)


On the job, I have been told I don’t look like a typical law enforcement officer. Not sure what I should look like, but apparently, I’m not it. I carry a gun, a badge and the whole nine. What about me says I should be at home knitting sweaters or maybe somewhere more girl friendly. Sorry bud, I’m not your typical girl. I shoot guns, I could kick someone ass if need be and at the same time counsel someone on the bad choices they are making. I think the fact that I’m not the typical officer dude plays to my advantage at times. I don’t need to try to bluff someone or be super authoritative. What I look like is not going to influence someone into committing a new crime or using drugs. They are going to do that no matter what I look like. Now, as a female officer knocking on their door I don’t deny I’m probably not seen as a threat. That’s fine, it just makes things a bit safer for me in the field. What they don’t know about my capabilities makes them underestimate me. Don’t doubt that I couldn’t get myself out of a bad situation even though I may be wearing mascara. I worked my booty off to do what I love and even though I don’t look how I’m expected to look, doesn’t mean I can’t do my job. I’m passionate about helping people and I don’t have to look a certain way to do that.

Now, at school functions, I am usually a bit of an outcast. I don’t look like the typical moms that are hanging around on the bleachers. That’s OK. The genuine moms will come talk to me and the rest probably wouldn’t be my cup of tea anyways. Sadly, your missing out on a pretty fun gal.. your loss. But, please know, I’m there just like you, pretty clueless in the whole mom department but pretending I know what I’m doing. I don’t get to go to school for every function, I work full time and it just isn’t possible. But, the times I am there I made it happen because I love my boys and no matter how you look at me that doesn’t change that fact. I may have tattoos, still in tactical pants from work and look like I’ve had a rough day but you know what, I am there; same as you. Instead of staring, you could smile back or say hey. I’m just trying to do my best. We don’t all look the same, we have different backgrounds and that’s OK. I lose my patience and yell at my kids. I may not have it all together all the time, but I am a good mom. I will say, I am thankful for those moms (and the dad) who have been so sweet and welcomed me when my boys started a new school. You gals (and dude) are the ones I look for at every school function. I would be super lonely if not for you all.
 (The little men)



When I am out doing what I love, I get looks there too sometimes. I don’t always look like the fast runners at local races. I often feel eyes on me assessing me before the race begins. No, I am not some long legged, stick then runner. Yes, I do have some curves and a little junk in my trunk. Yes, it is possible I will pass you and you may or may not be surprised. Don’t judge these thunder thighs until you see how far they can take me. Runners don’t have to look a certain way. I see skinny, thin, big, curvy, short, tall; all kinds of women out hitting the pavement. I think we are all on different journeys. There is no end destination. I couldn’t care less if I lose another pound. If I get to run, I’m happy. So, look at me and underestimate me, then watch me pass by you at a 5k.

Oh the stares, oh the comments. Yes, I am gay. No, I am not the “girl” in my relationship. No, I am not the “dude” in my relationship. No, I won’t “decide” to go back to dudes. Yes, girls can look girly and be gay. Yes, I do have kids. Yes, I did have them myself. No, they aren’t scarred and miserable. Yes, I know you are praying for me. No, I don’t think the devil has a hold of me.  I could write a blog just on questions I have been asked since I came out. I am who I am. I would rather wear yoga pants than anything but I have no problem throwing on a dress and heels. Mascara is a necessity and I carry a wallet. I don’t have to look a certain way. I don’t have to act a certain way. I might not fit a certain label but I don’t think I should have to.   I have come to the realization that when I am out with Jackie I am going to get stares. I would like to think it’s because we are an adorable couple (yes, we have been told that numerous times), but I know it’s because we are girls and usually there is PDA. Everyone knows lesbians exist, this is not some new discovery. I was always told it’s not nice to stare. Maybe their momma’s didn’t teach them those manners. I may or may not look like you think I should, I may not fit into a certain gay girl category, but I am madly in love with a gorgeous woman and we probably will be holding hands while we walk through a store. Stare if you want. Your gawking is second nature now.
(us)


I’m not saying all these things as some big long rant. I’m saying all this because I think self-image, in a world full of social media and television, is evolving. I think more and more people are being happy with where they are in life and breaking down labels that have previously existed.

I want my boys to grow up and know they were raised by an awesome mom who, even though she may not have been like the other moms, did her best. She played video games and had tattoos but she was there and they were loved.

I want little girls growing up knowing it is totally okay to be a gun packing lady. Girls can shoot and kick ass just like the boys can.

I want girls who fear coming out to be okay with who they are and know they don’t have to look a certain way. If you are girly, be girly. If you don’t want to be girly, don’t be girly. Be comfortable with who you are.

I want people who are contemplating running, joining the gym or going to a yoga class to not be afraid to go because of how they look. Everyone must start somewhere. You may not look like the rest of the girls running, you may be the curviest girl in yoga class and you may be the only one looking perplexed at the equipment in the gym. But, no matter how you look you deserve to be there just as much as anyone else. It’s okay if you don’t fit a certain mold, everyone is made and shaped differently.

So, being strange and a little out of the ordinary is a good thing. If anything, I give people something to talk about and I’m okay with that.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Putting in work.



Being a working mom is probably one of the busiest, hardest and most awesome jobs I have ever had. But, fitting everything into a single day takes effort and a million post it notes. I to-do list like nobody's business. Even though every day is packed full of things to do, I always make time to take care of myself.

When I started running, I struggled to fit it in. Being a working mom has made me become a professional at scheduling and prioritizing. Every day takes a lot of planning, but if it’s important, you make the time. Here are ways I fit in running despite being a busy working mom:

Make exercise a priority. Running or working out isn’t an option. Running is right there with brushing my teeth. I don’t consider it something to squeeze in, it’s a part of my day.
Plan for the week. I start planning on Sunday, before the work week gets going. I sit down with my schedule, or training plan if I’m in training for a race, and I plan each day. Planning prepares me for the week ahead. Planning includes everything from packing the clothes I need if I’m running at work, to making sure the boys will be picked up after school or enlisting the help of a babysitter if need be. If I know what I need to get my workout in ahead of time, my days run much smoother.
Meal prep is a time saver. Planning and preparing meals ahead makes life easier. Usually for me, I prep for lunch. If I’m taking salads for the week I make them Sunday and put them in the fridge so I can grab and go. Dinner is a little more flexible. Lately, Jackie and I have been experimenting with food delivery. The first dinner delivery service we tried was Hello Fresh. The experience has been a positive one. Each week we are sent a box with the recipes and the fresh ingredients for the week. No trying to figure out what to make or last minute pizza orders. The delivery service has been a time saver and the meals are super healthy.
Doing what I can. Not every day am I going to have time for a two-hour run. I know my limitations and I try to manage frustration when all I can manage is 2 miles on the treadmill after the boys go to bed. Any type of exercise is better than nothing, some days I just  settle for what I can and make effort to plan better.
Set big goals. I don’t mean New Year’s Resolutions or a short-term diet. I mean big goals. Long term goals. I keep a marathon race in my horizon. Training for a marathon takes commitment. Marathons require training. Having a race as a goal gives me something to train for. For me, it's easier to stick with the day’s work out when I have a race or finish line in the horizon. This is how I have been able to stay on track. Having a big goal keeps me focused.
Accountability shouldn’t be underrated. It may sound silly and make no sense to some but, posting my workouts on Instagram was a big part of what kept me going. If you follow my Instagram (@marathon_mom304), you will see some of my workouts and motivational posts. When I was first running, posting the picture of my run and getting positive feedback from people in the running community helped push me to keep going.  The running community is so inspirational and positive, it's been one of the reasons I am still running today. Now, it isn’t an essential part of my daily running but I try to post often. I post for the beginning runner who may be where I was years ago, struggling to keep going. I post to keep track of where I have been. I post to keep myself motivated on days when I feel like being on the couch instead. Taking selfies or posting running pictures may seem silly, but it has been important in my journey. Maybe it can help you.

I admit, I'm not super motivated every day. Even when everything is planned and I have the best intentions, some days I fail. Some days I go to bed frustrated because something came up and I couldn’t get my workout in. As hard as try, I get down on myself when I fail. But, one day doesn’t undermine my years of hard work. Just like one dessert doesn’t outweigh all the days of healthy eating. It’s okay.  At the end of the day, I am stronger and healthier than I was when I started. Every day is work but totally worth it.
  


Friday, January 13, 2017

Love Defined

"You completely redefine my idea of what love is and should be. That it needn't be possessive, volatile or detrimental to your well-being, but can be selfless, gentle and consistent- and should empower you to pursue your passions. That it should balance and enrich a life, not tear it to pieces." - Beau Taplin.

Love is amazing. It has been written about, sung about, researched and defined countless times.

The dictionary defines love as an intense feeling of deep affection. A very bland way to describe an emotion that has started wars and burned cities to the ground. Love is a feeling that transcends words.

Each person expresses and feels love many ways. We love people in our lives with different kinds of love. The love for a child, a parent, friends, and lovers. Each love defined and felt in personal ways depending on who receives it. I have loved many people in many ways in my lifetime.

I love my parents, unconditionally.

I love my children with a deep, unshakeable kind of love.

I love my friends with a love that no matter how many years we go without seeing each other, every time we talk we pick up where we left off.

I love Jackie in a way that has left an imprint on my soul and a place in my heart that no one could ever have.

Each person in my life has taught me what it means to love.  Good and bad.

I have been through hell and told it was love, I even thought it was love. But, love shouldn’t be possessive and volatile. It shouldn’t hurt or make you cry.  Love should empower you to be a better person, not tear you down and make you feel like you’re not enough. It shouldn’t destroy you. Love should celebrate the pieces of you, not be threatened by your strength. It’s not loves job to punish you. Real love should make you a better person.  

Loving someone is a selfless endeavor. To love someone is to bare your soul. To trust that person with the deepest parts of you. Love is gentle and selfless and kind.

For a long time, I saw what I wanted to see and not what was in front of me.  It was hard for me to see the bad side of things. I always look for the best because I’m an eternal optimist. But, at some point you can’t keep repeating the same situation and hoping it will be different. I had to let go. After being sad for so long, I have found happiness. I am not bitter, what I have been through put me exactly where I needed to be when I needed to be there. The hurt, the anger and hate made me find my strength. Now, I have found love. Now, I finally know what love should feel like. I am loved for the madness I possess. I am loved for all my strength and my vulnerability. I am loved for who I am and not who someone wants me to be. I have fell in love with how she treats me and I will never again be loved like I’m ordinary.



Thursday, January 12, 2017

Rainbows


Coming out this past year has been one of the most life changing experiences.

I didn't get to come out in some brilliant and elaborate way; I wasn't even able to come out myself. I was tattled on; it wasn't the best way for my folks to find out. But, those were the cards I was dealt. So, I handled my business. Sadly, I have lost friends and family. I knew; being from the Bible belt it would be a tough pill to swallow. There aren't a whole lot of rainbow flags flying where I come from. But, it's a part of who I am. I respect their views and beliefs. Judgment is cruel and ugly. The key is how you deal with that judgment.

But, the experience has turned out to be a positive one. I have grown because of it. I have finally stopped worrying about what people think. Because of all I have been through the people pleaser part of me has fallen away. FINALLY. I have learned to embrace who I am. Why judge my happiness? My life doesn't have to look like yours. Nothing about my life has to fit a mold of any kind.



The most often asked question has been how the boys feel about me being out. My response is always the same, they are little boys. They have yet to develop biases and prejudices, children learn from what they see. They develop their perspective from what they hear and see at home and school. We teach our kids our biases.

 For my boys, I have tried to raise them to be compassionate and open. They have seen unhappiness and anger and a lot of things I hope they forget. I hope seeing mom happy and being treated with love and respect will replace the past. I hope the bad parts of an unhealthy marriage are forgotten. But, I know Lincoln will probably always hold with him all the times I would cry and he would come to hug and comfort me. Not something a little boy should feel like he needs to do. I am working hard to replace those memories with happy ones.

I am showing them that women are strong.

I am showing them what happiness looks like.

I am showing them what love looks like.

I am showing them what respect and partnership is.

Now, they see love every day. To me, that's more important than staying in a broken home that’s together for the sake of obligation.

This was my choice. No matter what comments or judgments I get, I am doing the best job I can. My little boys are loved. And, I know I will make mistakes as a parent.  I'm not perfect. But, those mistakes won't be from lack of trying.


But, despite the negativity there has been so much compassion and acceptance. My parents have both been absolutely amazing. We have gotten closer through the whole experience. Their love for me is an amazing example of unconditional love.


It has been an interesting life experience, and one I will never forget. My life is better than it's ever been. Judge me all you want, it won't take away any of my happiness. It won't make me love any less. I am exactly where I want to be and doing what I want to do. 

My life is amazing... and so are the rainbows sprinkled in it...

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Every runner has a reason..

So, I am trying to start a running group. Tonight was the third week and so far, I have run all but one run alone (Jackie was with me for the one). I am starting to get a little bummed by the lack of attendance. I started this (with the push from my one and only) knowing not everyone enjoys running. There are not a lot of people who go out in every kind of weather to suffer through a run only to start somewhere and end up right back where you began. I knew that going in, but I can't help but be a little discouraged.

I think I have read the statistic is something like 1% of the population finishes a marathon. Why is this amount so low? I think everyone has their reason for starting to run, but what are the reasons for not starting?

Every marathon I have ran  I leave in awe. The people who participate in them are an amazing breed of people. The camaraderie that exists is like nothing else I have seen. The races always begin early in the morning and even if you line up not knowing a soul at that race, you will finish having talked to someone before, during or after and it's like you know them. People who suffer together have this sort of kinship, it's so awesome to be apart of.  That's what I am trying to create here, a community of people who run. Doesn't matter the reason why you start. The idea is suffering with others is always better than suffering alone. Running with a bunch of people who are going through it with you helps make it possible. Every race start line is filled with this unbelievable energy. If you have never seen a marathon, it's something you should witness. To witness the perseverance of the human spirit is completely inspiring. 

Start of the 2016 Columbus Marathon


When I signed up for my first 5k, I was a wreck. I woke up that morning not knowing what to expect or what I was getting myself into. I had went the 3.1 miles, but there was something different about running with other people. Going that distance with a group of people seemed so intimidating. I spent the time before the race looking around. I found it impossible not to compare myself to the other runners; body type, warm ups, and even the gear they had. I was so intimidated. I remember seeing this girl who looked like she had it all together, her little ear buds on, doing high knees and I thought... I look nothing like her. That doesn't matter. Those thoughts are still the same thoughts I have every race. I think its hard not to compare yourself to others. It's not necessarily a bad thing though, it pushes you. People need motivation and inspiration and maybe even a little bit of envy to push  ourselves be our best.

That first race I think I finished in the 45ish range. I felt like a turtle. I hadn't really understood the concept of racing. I thought it was like grade-school, you go out and you try to beat every kid on the playground. Now I know, unless I am a normal non-Greek God adult, it doesn't work that way.

After that race, I realized everyone isn't out there to win. Each person is out there for their personal reasons. Every race, every run, every work out; I know I am out there for me. I am out there because a few years ago I was a big girl who got winded walking out the front door. I am out there because I have been in a relationship where I was told not to run. I am out there because I want my little boys to see what a strong mom they have and that if they set goals they can accomplish them. I am out there because I love the place my mind takes me when I hear feet hitting pavement. I am out there because I love myself and what running does for me. I am out there for so many reasons and as nervous as I get each and every race; I still line up at the starting line.

I know not everyone will run and love it, but what if you do? Let me be honest and say, it sucks in the beginning. Not in the, "oh haha that was terrible". NO. It sucks in the, "oh my god I want to die" kind of way. Don't quit. Keep going. You get better. Each run gets easier. Your body gets stronger. Your mind gets tougher. You won't believe it now, but if you keep going, eventually you will want to run.  Don't laugh, I'm serious. You will crave the run. You will start planning when you can run. Days you don't run you will be sad and feel like you weigh 1,000 pounds, that's normal. When you can't run you will feel like you haven't earned your shower. Your mentality will shift. That shift is the fire in you that keeps you running. If you keep at it a habit will form, I promise.

The beginning of anything is scary. Running is no different. Don't be afraid. Your body is capable of amazing things, you just have to push yourself. Push yourself to start. Start by walking, each walk add in a little run for a couple minutes. The next run add more. It's going to hurt, that's OK. Pain is apart of life. When you finish your first race, you will feel like the biggest bad ass to have ever lived. I have never went out on a single run and came back home regretting that I went. So start. Make a plan. Go to the gym; run on the treadmill. Go outside; bundle up and see what you can do. Don't be too scared to try. You never know, you might like it.







Sunday, January 8, 2017

Intentions

This morning, during yoga, everyone in  class was asked to set an intention. By definition, an intention is "what one intends to do or bring about". For my intention, I chose compassion. Compassion for myself and compassion for others.

Pema Chodron (she is an American Tibertan Buddhist Monk) says "The Buddha taught that we are not actually in control, which is a pretty scary idea. But when you let things be as they are, you will be a much happier more balanced, compassionate person".

Think about that statement. How many things in life do we have control over? Very little, if any.  Stress comes from those things we try to control. But, letting go of them seems to go against human nature. This is why I chose this word. I struggle with letting go. Deep down I want to control how others see me or how others treat me. I let toxic people get the best of me.  But, if I let things go I stop worrying about what someone is going to say or what is going to happen, I can live in the moment and move forward. Knowing that eventually, I will end up where I need to be and doing what I need to be doing. I can't control things, people, or time. 


I intend to work on being compassionate. Toxic people always bring out the worst in me. I can't control their actions, or how they speak to me. But, I am working very hard to control how it effects me. I know I am a very internal person when it comes to feelings and conflict. I bring the bad feelings inside of myself and try to deal with it internally instead of talking about it or letting it go. This never works. Internalizing negative feelings only leaves me feeling worse and leaves the ones around me feeling bad. That only allows the toxic person to succeed in spreading their anger and hate and then their mission is accomplished. Why not just let it go? I can't control what someone says or feels or how they view me. I can only control how I feel and how I deal with the negativity. I am trying to find a balance between taking up for myself and letting things go and so far I'm losing on both sides. So, this morning, I practiced with the intention of showing compassion. Compassion for myself which will lead to compassion for others. I will let things go of things that don't serve me. I will deal with those toxic people only as needed and move forward without internalizing or trying to control the situation.

I will work on compassion for myself inside myself. I will stop comparing myself to others I see and just be happy with where I am. When I think about how far I have come I should be proud of that, not thinking I am not there yet or not as fast or as flexible as others are. This is my life and my journey. I should focus on the now. I am beyond blessed. This week I have been able to run outside with the cold air filling my lungs and my strong legs carrying me forward; that's a blessing. I have rock climbed and shown my two little boys how strong two women can be and how amazing it feels to push yourself physically; that's a blessing. I was able to spend an hour and a half on my yoga mat this morning with a room full of people who were filled the room with the most amazing and non-judgmental energy; that was a blessing. I wake up each day feeling so loved and so appreciated for who I am, not what someone wants me to try to be, that's a blessing. These things I take for granted sometimes. I feel myself being negative about what I was or was not able to accomplish in a certain period of time. Chores I didn't get done, a pace I didn't hit on my run or work that went unfinished at the office. I cannot control everything and all of these are things I need to let go. I need to be happy with what I have done this week and move forward to start a new week with the knowledge I will just let it be.

As the last week ends and we begin a new week with new tasks ahead and new challenges to face, take this phrase with you; let it be. Be compassionate with yourself and others this week, and you will be happier.






Saturday, January 7, 2017

Discovering myself

I have never been a writer. When I was younger, I had dreams to write novels and great works of fiction. Those dreams were a result of my love for reading and not my desire to write. I say this because I have always struggled putting feelings into words so, this process is becoming such a therapeutic experience. I am really digging it. So let's continue...

My plan is for my first few posts to be more of an introduction to my world. I warn you, my world is rather interesting and can be a bit controversial depending on who you ask. I have had some very interesting life experiences and I am anything but typical. I am a badge wearing mom who attends a PTA meeting, after just having run ten miles all in the same day. At the end of the day, I go home to my beautiful fiancé who I can't wait to make my wife. My life, in my opinion, is pretty extraordinary.  I am genuinely happy. But, that's not always been the case.  Up until this past year I had been pretty miserable.

Let me first say, it would be very tasteless and not my style to use this as a platform to bash an ex, so I won't. This blog is about me and my life and meant to inspire, motivate or even reach people in some kind of way.

For my entire adult life I have done what a good southern girl was supposed to do. I met a boy, I got married, and had kids. To answer any questions and to be clear to anyone who has thought it or asked it or will ask it; I have always been attracted to women. During my marriage (with a guy) it was a running joke that I had lesbian tendencies. We checked out women together and had numerous conversations about my attraction to females. I was married, so there was never any thought about exploring it further.

I had been completely fine with my misery and meeting my obligations. I was in a very bad marriage and although I had gotten out once I ended up going right back. I had felt like a failure and the mental struggle from just quitting was too hard to bare. I'm not the quitting kind. So, I had just decided I was going to do what I needed to do until my kids were adults and then worry about my happiness later. Just typing that out is so depressing to read. But, then she entered the picture. 



Meeting her turned my life upside down in the most amazing way because until that point I was pretty clueless. Not to say I thought being attracted or turned on by women was normal, but I had not really put a lot of thought into. I was very naïve in what attraction meant.  I just thought I enjoyed admiring women. I was a 30 year old married woman who had always been with guys. I had married a guy when I was a kid.  Until her, I had never had such an intense connection with anyone. Now I realize, my entire life I have been trying to make pieces of completely different puzzles fit together. I often remember back to the night I met her and how I felt. That night there was a random moment where she had her hand on my shoulder and I swear I felt like my skin could have caught fire. The connection was palpable. I knew she was going to be important that day. Later on, when I came out to her and we had our first kiss, I'm pretty sure my toes curled. I knew that night she was who I had been looking for and I would do anything to make her smile.

I have never been so happy with my life. I feel like I am finally living.


<--- Me, being happy

Now, I read or hear stories about how someone came out when they were  teenagers, or how someone has known since they were young and those stories makes me envious. I feel like the biggest late bloomer, ever. But, being the eternal optimist I am, I say better late than never.  Sexuality doesn't define someone, but I think it is a big piece of the puzzle that makes up who we are. I have grown so much these past few years and now I know who I am and what I want and that's such an empowering feeling. I am in love and so very loved. I have passion in every aspect of my life. I wake up each day happy to be alive, I don't try to sleep my life away or just endure anymore. Meeting her was life altering. She has been life altering. I have never known anything like this and I wish for everyone reading this, if you don't have what I have; don't stop looking until you find it.

Life is an amazing journey. It's full of bumps in the road but it's all about how you make the best of them. Things in my life up to this point hasn't been easy but;  I wouldn't change a thing. The tough times have given me perspective to appreciate what I have now. The bad times have made me grateful to have met her. Whether she knew it at the time or not, she was the reason I found myself. She is my happily ever after and I am beyond lucky to get to go through life with her.







                                                            
 






Thursday, January 5, 2017

Physical Changes

The new year is here, with the new year is typically a lot of commitment. Promises to be happier, resolutions to be healthier and goals to work harder. No matter what commitment you made for 2017, the key is your desire to improve. Seeking improvement is a good thing. I have met a lot of people, in my work and in my personal life, who never really seek improvement. Years go by and they are still doing the same things, stuck in the same rut and really not even considering change. For a long time I was one of those people. I have been consistently working on improving my life each year. I haven't necessarily made resolutions each January BUT, I have been working on myself; starting with the outside.

A few years ago,  I decided I was the most miserable person physically. I would always want to stay home and I was about as much fun as a sack of potatoes. Actually, I looked pretty similar to an extra large sack of potatoes. I don't even specifically remember a moment where my thinking changed; it may have not been one exact moment, but smaller moments clumped together. Whatever took place I made a promise to myself to improve my physical appearance.

I started this journey by dragging one of my co-workers along for the most miserable lunch I had ever had, walking a half hour in the humid summer of Kentucky.  We survived that first lunch walk, then other lunches started being spent outside. With each lunch I could feel myself hating the half hour less and less. Walking slowly turned into a minute of running, then five minutes until I was running the entire half hour. From there, I took a big step and signed up for my first 5k race. In my mind, it was one thing to run on lunch when people are busy going about their day, it was entirely different running with people watching. But,  I sucked it up and made the best $20 investment of my life. That race was the slowest and most miserable race I have had to date, BUT I finished feeling like I had just took first place in the Olympics.

That 5k turned into a 10k then half marathons and eventually several full marathons. Years have passed along with numerous races. No matter how many races I finish, I still get emotional when I cross the finish line. The accomplishment I feel and the pride I have for myself is hard to put into words, even now. Running has been transformative and it's something I plan to do the rest of my life.

The next change I made was my eating. I started by reading and watching documentaries about food and healthy lifestyle changes (Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead; Food Inc.; etc.). These documentaries altered how I thought of food and nutrition. I discovered food should be nourishment; that was a concept I had never considered. But, I knew I needed that nourishment to fuel my runs.. that was the light bulb moment for me. After that,  I made slow changes to my diet.

Running and a new way of looking at food resulted in the loss of 70+ pounds.  I have days I don't eat healthy, but I don't hate myself for it. I have days where I can't run, I cut myself some slack and I plan better the next day. I'm not striving to be a size 2, I am a healthy size 8. I stopped worrying about weight loss after that first race. My focus now is my next goal and how I can challenge myself physically.  I avoid weighing myself. I know the numbers are always up and down depending on training or the time of year so avoiding obsessing  helps me maintain a positive self image.

The physical changes are noticeable but, nothing compared to the personal growth I have experienced. 




The picture on the left was at my heaviest in 2012, the right was last month after rock climbing with my honey.

Check out my Instagram feed (marathon_mom304) to see the struggle in photos over the years.


Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Connections

My life, so far, has been an interesting journey. I have contemplated blogging for a few years now, never really committing to the idea. The last year and specifically one person in my life has motivated me to put myself out there. So here I am.

To begin...let me label myself a bit.

First off, I am a mom. I have two little boys who are 7 and 10, who have taught me more than I would have ever imagined about life and love.

I am a working mom. If you're a working mom and you're reading this kudos to you, every day is a struggle.

I am a runner. I get out every day and lace up my running shoes for sheer fun. I don't do it to lose weight, for world peace, or to prove anything. I run for pure enjoyment. I enjoy running races, everything from 5k up to marathon distance.

I am a yogi.  I enjoy getting on my mat and just pushing out the day to listen to my body and challenge myself.

I am a woman in love. I have spent my entire adulthood, and even before that, with men. This past year, I came out.. yes that kind of out. I am hopelessly and completely in love with a woman. This statement alone made 2016 a very interesting year for me.

I can label myself many things, but until recently, I had never been a fan of labels. Why? I never realized how meaningful labels can be. Labels are how we connect with others. Connection is what people crave, it's what motivates our actions and essentially our behaviors. Whether that connection is at work, at home, or with a significant other; people genuinely want to connect with one other.

Throughout this last year, I have struggled to find a connection to my personal and romantic life. I have searched to find people going through similar journeys. I have been disappointed to come up empty handed. I follow blogs from amazing women who inspire and motivate me in my running life and yoga life. Those blogs are fantastic, not what I needed this past year. What about a mom who has been through a divorce, never really took time to find herself and just happens to be gay? I couldn't find any of those blogs. Shocking.

So, for me, this blog is about connecting. A connection to the single moms of the world who struggle just to get to work daily. A connection to anyone who obsesses about running and is often told how crazy they are for hitting the pavement in single digit temperature; simply because the training plan calls for 8. A connection to the gay girl who may be terrified to tell her southern folks she's been hiding apart of herself from them. These, plus oodles of other connections I hope to make through this process.

 I hope I can inspire, encourage or just reach someone going through similar experiences. I am not a writer, just a woman who has had a very interesting life that I want to share with you. Thanks for reading.