Sunday, May 31, 2009

Why a Marathon?

So I have been thinking a lot about this whole marathon thing lately. As in, I have been thinking about how to do it and why to do it. Some people are excited for me but think we're crazy, others comment that they wish they could do something like that, while a few others wonder what in the world could have possessed us to do such a thing. Depending on the time of day or way I'm feeling, I can have any of those same feelings.

I began to wonder why this is important to me, why completing a marathon is a goal that I have (and have had as long as I can remember, post-college, anyway). And it came to me, I want to run a marathon because it really doesn't matter how good I am at it. A long time ago (or at least it feels that way) I was in a place in life where I felt that I had to be athletic to be accepted. Two of the men in my life were and are serious athletes. I still can't believe what my Dad's 62 year old body can do. Mine can't do some of the things he can. Sadly, I was not blessed with a particularly athletic gene pool. At least not for the sports that I was trying. But I never gave up, I kept trying.

And then I discovered that when you grow up and become an adult, you compete against yourself, for yourself, to see what you are capable of. It doesn't matter now if I can make the most free throws (which I never could) or if I can serve the ball overhand (which I never have been able to master). I just have to try. I just have to not quit.

Which sounds so easy.

We all live in a time where we are not always encouraged to do the hard thing, to take it easy, that life doesn't have to be a struggle. I know that in my life, I don't grow when I take the easy way out.

All of these things come together to form my basis for why. People who run marathons aren't all perfect runners or even perfect athletes. Some take a long time to complete the distance. For some it is hard. For all it requires perseverance. But it is not a race of me against all those others.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Marathon Momma

Do I dare even type this post? Do I put into words the goals I have made for myself? Do I tell you what I want to do? Yes, even though you're going to think I am crazy, I'll tell you!

Starting on Monday (June 1) I begin training for my first marathon--The Grand Rapids Marathon on Sunday, October 18. I have found a beginner's 20 week training schedule and while I know that this is going to take commitment and at times, it will suck, I think I can do it! How? Well, my running partner for two runs a week will be my best friend--Eric and I are going to run together with a goal of training and then completing this together. It doesn't matter how fast we do it or even if we have to stop and take breaks, but just that we did it. I am super excited. The other way that I know this can be done is because we are putting our money where our mouth is--to train together we are committing babysitting money towards our weekly long runs and I even have a tentative yes from our babysitter. The other run we do together will be only Yoli's day so she will watch the kids while we do a few miles. The other two days Eric and I are on our own (and I already have a 2x/week trip to the gym). I feel as though I have planned this well.

BUT (notice it's a big but) I doubt my ability to do this. I'm a great starter and planner, lousy follow-througher.  I'm great with goals, but also a little hard on myself if I fall through. I ask myself all sorts of random questions. Like, I know I'm strong (I've delivered three kids and completed most of a triathlon), but am I strong enough for this? Can my body do this? Will I have enough energy to run and then also complete the normal tasks of my everyday life? Can I get past this "high" of planning it and on to the reality of doing it? Do I really want to work this hard? It's not an easy task, but is it worth it? Really, I am a quitter, but can I not quit on this one? Do I really want to run for 4 hours (at my running pace today, I could complete a full marathon in 4:20)? Am I nuts? 

I'm not asking these questions to get a giant pat on the back (although that would be nice) but because I want people to know, to ask how its going, to encourage me, to hold me accountable,  to maybe even volunteer for some childcare duty so it doesn't cost so much. 

As part of my training, I think I am going to post recaps of weeks of training. It will give me something to look at encourage me, but also a record of what I've done and a reminder of where I am going. Starting Monday, I'm running 4 days a week (next week 11 miles--not much for some, but it seems a lot for me!) 

Hey anyone want to join me? 

Thursday, May 14, 2009

On Carts and Falling

Today was a difficult day for me, mostly in that it was a reminder how of precious my kids are to me. I am emotionally drained and exhausted, but felt that I should write this down before I forget the urgency of how I feel.

Today started great. After a disaster at the fabric store yesterday where J & K pulled the shopping cart over onto themselves as I was choosing patterns, I went back with just the girls. It was great, they were respectful and obedient and patient. 

Until, as we were leaving the store they both flipped out of the shopping cart and fell onto the backs of their heads (yeah, I know, I should be nominated for mother of the year!) After getting them calmed down, which took about 10 minutes, I thought things were going to be fine, but then OG starting to be really sleepy, wouldn't talk or make eye contact, wouldn't eat any lunch or notice the hub-bub around her, and kept complaining about her head hurting. When Eric put her in the car, within seconds, she was asleep. 

We decided to take her to the ER, becuase we are all too aware of how simple bumps can be much more life-threatening than first glance and becuase her behavior was very worrying. Even Eric was a bit scared. 

To make a long story short, she slept in the car all the way to the ER and perked up by the time she left triage. By the time that I got there after dropping K off at school, she was just peachy. (little turkey)

Honestly, I cried from the time I dropped K off at school until I reached OG's room. Its a horrible feeling, without control, full of fear, to think that great harm could have happened to your child. And to think that I was the responsible one, I still grimace at the thought. And I have complete trust in the plan God has for her and all my kids, I just don't know how I could continue to live a life if God felt it was time for one of the to go Home to him. And while these are uncomfortable and saddening things to think--they are real and honest and there are many parents who live in that reality. 

Now, I am grateful and thankful that it is just a minor head injury (but even that sounds horrible) and all we have to do is to try to keep her from hitting her head again for the next week or so (but even the doctor acknowledges that she is 2 and some doctor's orders are just hard to follow and we can't have her live in a bubble with a helmet). But I was reminded in a way that I never wanted about the fragility of my kids lives and how wonderful every single day that I get with each one of them is. 

I am thankful that God is both Jehovah Rapha (the God who heals) and Jehovah Jirah (The God who provides). He is the Great physician who kept my baby's head okay and will watch over her every moment. And he is the God who loves me in spite of my failings, too. 

Monday, May 11, 2009

About Mother's Day

So I was having some thoughts about Mother's Day and wanted to share them. 

First, it is an awesome privilege to be a mom. No matter how it is that a woman came to be a mom, it is a journey--it is filled with lots of emotion and growth, but I know I am a better person because of my kids. 

Second, it is an awesome responsibility to be a mom. Sometimes I get overwhelmed with how responsible I am for my three little people. I know that how I love and what I teach will shape the way that they see the world, the way they function within it, how they see God and his love, what they look for in friends and in spouses, how they will themselves eventually parent someday. And its not that I am being too hard  on myself, I am just merely counting what is at stake. And I am overwhelmed by it, but at the same time I have great peace because I know that God holds me and mine in His hand and that regardless of how I parent or what happens to our family, God can and will use my kids for His will and Kingdom. 

And now, some of my favorite moments from yesterday, Mother's Day (which I am petitioning to become a quarterly holiday instead of just annual).
  • I was woken up by three sweet voices giving me kisses on the cheeks wishing me Happy Mother's day (and a cup of perfectly done coffee!)
  • Eric made me a fantastic breakfast, which I think he should do more often! 
  • I was presented with a hand painted outing bag--it's super cute and will be very useful.
  • I think that the stated goal at church yesterday was to see if they could get me to cry. It worked. 
  • I got to take a 9 mile bike ride that was great--with the exception of the wind always in my face and the fresh smells from the few cow farms. 
  • J got his first fish, the pride on his face was worth a thousand pictures. 
  • OG took a nap on "my belly button"
  • After some caffeine and motrin for my nasty headache, I had a nice time hanging with the in-laws. 
  • This morning, K and I laid in bed together and then she let me put her hair into a practice bun for her dance recital. 
  • Beyond the shadow of any doubt, I know that I am loved. Deeply.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Just Coincidence?

I don't think so!

Today I was at Schuler's browsing the discount section and what should I come across but this:
for the bargain basement price of $4.99. A quick glance inside found that she is an Amazon goddess and seeks to overcome war with love. Lots of Greek mythology.
Was it simply a coincidence or a slightly deeper message?