Easy vs. Right.

March 25, 2014

There comes a time when you have to decide if you are going to do what is easy or what is right.  Rarely the right thing is the easy thing.  For my life as of late, they are nowhere near each other.

***

Did I  want to move from my centrally located suburb to a small, conservative, rural community 50 minutes northeast? Not really.  Did I do it anyway?  Yes.  Is it what is best for my little family right now?  We think so.  It was the only thing my husband and I thought that we could do to make a hard time for his daughter just a bit easier.  Has it done that?  Hard to tell.  My eternal optimist wants to believe it has and will continue to make things better, but the other half of me, the realist, isn’t so sure.  Adolescence is so hard for a young lady, even with two well adjusted adults parenting her.  That’s not exactly the case for my darling bonus child, but at least we are spatially closer to her now.  I hope she knows how much we just want her to be happy and healthy and well taken care of.  And our door always open.  She has that luxury now that we live in the same town as her.  Minutes from her mother’s house.   She says the word and she can come live with us immediately.

***

It would be so easy to give up on my fitness plans.  It would be so easy to slip into self-deprecating, woe is me behavior.  Everything is so unsure.  Everything feels so in between things here, like I keep waiting to wake up from a very vivid and strange dream.  Change is hard.  I try to not think too long term, just think about each day as it comes and that seems to help. Figuring out a new daily routine in a new house and town can make it so easy to let habits slip, but the right thing for me now is is keep my activity level up, even if it is the hardest thing I have done in a long time.

 

Why(not).

March 20, 2014

I have been trying to post this for a few weeks.  It is totally disjointed and weird.  You have been warned.

Someone once said, “Know what? Bitches get stuff done”  (that would be the fabulous Tina Fey). This has become my mantra lately.  When it all boils down, being “nice” and “not stepping on anyone’s toes” hasn’t gotten me anywhere in life.  And really, this is my one life, and I’m tired of letting my lack of action due to “not wanting to bother anyone” stand in the way of things.  I can still be polite and a good person while expecting the same from others.  When that doesn’t happen, I’ll say something or do something to merit results.  And, most of the time, it works.  And if it doesn’t, at least I can move on knowing I said something or did something to try and accomplish what I know is right and just.  This is not a new concept, but something has clicked (or snapped is probably a better way to describe it) inside me and it is time for a change.

The world is full of assholes.  This is a fact.  Things are not always sunshine and rainbows.  Another fact.  But I am striving to live my life in a way that those negative people and rough times don’t matter nearly as much as they have in the past.  Because really, what’s the point of letting them when you are not even going to try and change things?

***

We packed up the place we have called home for almost 3 years over the past month.  I think I was a bit in denial about the move, because when the final day with the U-Haul in the driveway arrived, it was rough.  REALLY rough.

I found my groove with running while living there; the neighborhood is one of Dayton’s best suburbs for runners.  I changed jobs, hair styles, multiple pant and dress sizes and my stance on major life decisions all while living within its walls.  I became a better human.  I changed the way I live my life while there, and for that I am so thankful.

As I try to nestle into life within four new walls, I am reminded that it doesn’t matter where I live, as long as it is with my husband I am at home.   It also doesn’t matter where I am, I can run.  Our new place is less than a mile from a bike path that I have already up and down on four occasions.  I am a very adaptable person, I tend to dislike change when it isn’t exactly on my terms, but once I get over that fact and can see the positives, I’m back to normal.

I am trying to get back into a new running routine before the serious training begins in June….I am registered for the 2014 Air Force Half Marathon.  It just so happens to be on my 30th Birthday.  So that’s happening.  I know I can do it, and I know I will.  I also know the only thing that will make it the hardest thing I have ever done is myself….so I’m prepared for that as well.

I’m taking things a day at a time right now.  It’s strange being in a new town PLUS working from home in this new house PLUS a lot of family stuff…it is all a lot when you try and process it at once.  So I try and not do that.  Even though it is sort of my calling card to analyze and think about everything, at all times, from all angles.  That is where the running comes in.  It really does keep me centered and sane, in the mist of huge life changes.  That’s because no matter where I am or what I do, or what life throws at me, I can at least know I have made myself into a runner, and that no one can ever take that away from me.  It is something that is solely mine.

Next time you want to do something, but aren’t sure you can, or even if you should, maybe instead of asking yourself why, try asking yourself why not.

Cheers.

Step.

January 19, 2014

I have historically used this space to focus on my struggles and successes with the healthier lifestyle I have been living for the past 2 years.  It might be a stretch to some, but mental health is just as important as physical health, and I have a lot weighing on my mind when it comes to recent family events.

***

It was a very snowy Saturday in March when I was asked to go where no early twenties college gal dare go: Chuck E. Cheese.  My then boyfriend (now husband) of a little over a year finally felt okay introducing me to his oldest daughter (his youngest was born 7 months into our relationship; that is a whole other story for another time.  All you need to know is I am an intelligent woman who fell in a love with a very wonderful man; who happened to have two kids from two past relationships).  She was one month shy of 5 years old and totally adorable.  She brought me stickers of puppies and kitties and was pretty quiet.  I didn’t know that day how much this little girl would shape me as a person in the following years, inside and out. 

The reason he waited over a year to introduce us is important: his ex has never made life easy when it came to seeing his child since their relationship ended, in fact, we have recently learned she hasn’t even been acting with the best interests of their child in mind all these years.  My husband waited this long time before I got to meet his daughter, and even had asked his ex’s permission, scheduled a different day, to only have her “change her mind” at the last minute before the first meeting ever happened.

But this isn’t about the ex, this is about the daughter.

Over the following years, I found my place as that loaded word: Step-Mom. After we were married in 2009, my now husband and I struck a balance with things, There were a few road bumps, but we found our groove.  For me, step-parenting is always such a fine line.  A slippery slope that always feels seconds away from the words I’m sure I’ll someday hear: “You’re not my REAL mom!”  My eldest daughter (I hate the step part, I feel like it is unnecessary, I think of both girls as my own, but I never want to offend anyone; be it their mothers or any of the maternal family…it is all very complicated.  Let’s call her bonus kid?) has grown into this absolutely fantastic person.  I feel so lucky to have somehow ended up as a part of her life.  She makes me so proud for so many different reasons; she is an honor roll student who is in band, choir and has a passion for art and drawing.  She does baton twirling and volleyball.  She is funny and fun to be with and just such a joy to assist in parenting alongside my husband.  She has made me want to be a better role model.  I try to live my life as a good example of a good person and a good woman all for her.  To show her how an active lifestyle is good for you and fun, and how eating a balanced diet still allows for treats, just in moderation.  Being a part of her life has made me a better person.  Hands down. 

My husband had to request a court ordered visitation schedule in July of 2012.  After several years of the ex sometimes following their verbal agreement, but mostly dictating when he would get to see his daughter, enough was enough.  At a pre-trial hearing they signed to an order to which afterwards she says things like, “we’ll see if this works” and “I’ll just keep saying no to you until I get my way”.  The following year she broke the order once, and my husband agreed to the slight change so no action was taken.  They swapped weekends and moved on.  Then, summer of 2013 arrives and his ex scheduled all their family vacations during time that was supposed to be my husband’s, forcing him to file contempt of court charges against her.  The order they agreed upon was written to say specifically, she cannot schedule vacations over his time in the summer.  She immediately lawyered up, and filed a motion to revise parenting time, requesting a reduction in summer visits for my husband.  She has been granted multiple continuances, dragging out the process.  She is on her second lawyer, her first withdrew as counsel on the grounds of “not being able to zealously advocate for Ms. XXXXXXX position on the matter.” She is making our lives a living hell. 

She has put their daughter, my bonus kid, smack in the middle of all of this.  The ex has convinced her this is all her dad’s fault and the only way to get him to agree to this lessened time and to drop the contempt charges is to refuse to see him.  The ex is portraying Hostile-Aggressive Parenting techniques and my bonus kid is showing clear signs she is suffering from Parental Alienation Syndrome.  To see this child turned away from her dad (and as a result me as well) over the past few months, is absolutely heartbreaking.  I am so worried what all of this is doing to her mentally and psychologically.  

So I guess this was a little bit about the ex.  How can it not be?  She’s my bonus kid’s mother.  We never wanted things this way.  We have said over and over again to each other how we know there are some situations when parents split up and can actually set aside their personal feelings for each other and act in the best interests of the child.  We have that with my youngest bonus kid; her mom is great.  Her mom can admit my husband is a great father and know it is a good thing to have him in her daughter’s life.

We can’t relent now, because then what’s the point of all this strife?  We have to stay the course, but this is by far, the hardest thing I have ever dealt with in life.  Watching my husband be told he deserves less time with his child simply because the ex thinks it is just is maddening.  He is the best father a child could ever want.  He would do absolutely anything for his children.  All we can do is everything we are doing, but it just doesn’t feel like enough.  

So this is the New Year.

January 1, 2014

Oh hai.  Remember me?  You can stop assuming that Thanksgiving Day 10k was the end of me….although it definitely slowed me down for a while for about a week afterwards.  I am really glad I ran it, but, it was probably the stupidest race I could have done for my first one.  Over 17,000 people and freezing cold…I am still not sure why I thought that was a good idea.  I finished with a semi decent time (not nearly as fast as my usual distance pace but whatever) and that is all that matters. 

I somehow survived the holiday season this year.  It felt as if I was being pulled in all these directions when I really just wanted to watch NetFlix in my pajamas.  Sometimes I did, but eventually I would have the guilt and feel the need to be around actual people for a change.   For the first time in pretty much my entire life I am glad to see the end of the holiday season.  I am usually one to leave the Christmas tree up until the weekend after New Year’s but that sucker came down on the 31st with little melancholy on my part…and that was after a solid 5 days of pure procrastinating avoidance like “I should really take the tree down…or I could re-watch another episode of Season 1 of Dexter!” (My husband and I finally finished out that series early December and I think it added to my “meh” holiday spirit.  Yes, I just admitted a crappy ending to one of my favorite cable series gave me mild holiday depression.  Way to let me down, Showtime, I’ll send you my counseling bills.)

I am lucky enough to have a job where they send us home the Friday before Christmas and we don’t go back until after New Year’s so I have been working out pretty much as much as I want.  I would really love for this final 15 pounds to get the f out.  I’m attempting to “take it up a notch” with my workouts and actually hold myself accountable for everything I eat.  So far I have really awesome days, and then there’s a holiday.  Like New Year’s where I pretty much drank more calories than I typically eat in a day.  So.  Yeah.  My emotional well being needed a good old fashioned New Year’s, and now I can safely say I’m ready to do this thing. 

Bring it, 2014.

Oh, and I also deactivated my Facebook, because really, it just makes me mildly to moderately annoyed these days. We’ll see how long I last, since it had basically became a small addiction. Maybe it will make me spend more time here?  Let’s hope.

 

Race.

November 26, 2013

Two days from right now, I will have completed my first race…which happens to be a 10k.  One of the largest and oldest in the country to be exact.  I am slightly excited, but mostly, I am super nervous.  Mostly because I have never done this before, and a little because large crowds of people are not my favorite thing but I know I can and will do it, and that’s all that matters.

***

What do you do when you can not run out the anxiety?  In the past years, running has become my therapy.  When I am running I can turn my head off and just focus on me.  Lately that has become harder and harder to do.  I have a lot of things going on in my family life, in relation to my eldest step-daughter.  Things have never been great with her mother, but in the past year they have become increasingly bad, to the point where we are about to retain a lawyer because there is a full hearing after the first of the year to rule on my husband’s parenting time.  The whole situation is very stressful for my husband, and in turn, it has pervaded pretty much the entirety of our daily life.  Right before the holidays, no less.  I have spurts of time while running where my mind clears and those fleeting moments are what keeps me coming back, even in the rain or snow, for another run.

***

I run because I can.  I run because the feeling of accomplishment I get afterwards is pretty much unlike anything I have ever experienced.  There may be a day when I can no longer run, but that day isn’t today, so until that day comes, I will run.  I am a runner.

Commitment.

October 27, 2013

Since I began running in 2010 it was mostly to see if I could.  I chose to do something I had never enjoyed nor was good at, because I like a challenge I suppose?  Maybe it was because I lived in an adorable, progressive town with lovely trails within walking distance?  Whatever the reason, I needed to make some drastic changes in my life. I didn’t have a gym membership at the time, so it was a free way to get out and move that required nothing more than some running shoes and work out clothes.  I took a try at it; it was hard.  I got discouraged and fell back into bad habits. Then in January 2011 I decided to start my weight loss efforts for the very last time.  43 pounds and two years later, I run 4 miles in 40 minutes as I am training for my first 10k…which is also my first race.

I have been running around 3 miles consistently for the better part of this year, so I decided to go a bit bigger for my first race.  I’m so excited about it, I am already considering signing up for the  2014 Air Force Half Marathon.  I have a few months to decide, since registration doesn’t open until January 1st, but I’m already about 90% sure.  The 2014 Air Force Marathon falls on my 30th birthday.  It feels like I HAVE to do it because really, how many people get to say I ran a half marathon on my 30th Birthday?!

***

I was visiting with my 86 year old Grandma a few days ago, lamenting about how I’m going to navigate potty breaks, if I’ll even need one, in the middle of the 10k.  She told me,

“Sara Beth (that’s what she calls me) stop and go to the bathroom, they will have porta Johns!”

to which I replied,

“But then I’ll have to to stop!  If I am RUNNING a 10k, Grandma, I have to RUN the entire time!  If I am going to do something, I have to DO it right.”  Which in my mind is as close to perfect as possible.

She then told me that sounded pretty familiar and she wonders where I get that from with a definite twinkle in her eye.

***

When I do something in life, especially something I am passionate about and voluntarily doing, I’m going all in.  Running has given me so much in the past few years.  It is my time alone.  It is something I can control at least a little bit, when things feel so completely out of hand with everything else in life.  It has shown me it’s okay to change your mind about things.  People change and grow and that is a good thing.  It has given me confidence and shown me I can live a balanced healthy life, which in turn, has completely squashed my biggest fears of becoming a mother…..Okay, wait, now how did we get here?  Let me digress…

Being an overweight child was extremely hard for me.  I remember being 13 or 14 (or whatever age girls start talking about marriage and babies?  I truly don’t remember.) and swearing to myself to never bring a child into this world, for fear that they would suffer the same cruel combination of genetics, slow metabolism and sedentary lifestyle that I did.  I didn’t want another child to feel like I did all those years.  I may have been extra sensitive, but years of bullying, name calling and self loathing sort of sticks with a person, no matter how “thick” your skin is.  Mine was paper thin, so I promised myself this “no babies” rule all those years ago, and if I am anything, I am stubborn.

Looking back, it was so naive, but so “me” to make such a gigantic life decision as a teenager and stick to it for more than 10 years.

Now that I am 29 years old, with two amazing step-daughters in my life, (who have shown me I can definitely navigate parenting reasonably well? Step-parenting is a whole other story for another time.) I truly think I can make the informed, grown up, decision that I have changed my mind on babies.  I want to have one.

Hmmm, look at that, people can change, it just takes some of us more miles to get there.  For me, it’s been about 260 over the past 2 years.

Headgames.

October 12, 2013

I have began training for my first real race, the Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot in Cincinnati, and because I am crazy like that, my first race is not a 5k, but a 10k.  I have been running 5k’s like it’s nothing for quite some time, but was having a hard time pressing farther than about 3 and a half miles, so I took a break and then decided to begin training for this upcoming 10k.

Today was my first 3 mile run and I took a route I have run more times than I can count but after I hit mile 2, it was a struggle.  I was totally in my head and already thinking about how in the world I am going to be able to press on thru 6.2 miles in a little over a month.

You see, I have been saying it since I began running, it is SO much mental, almost more so for me at this point, than physical.  I get in my head and start saying things like “this is the worst thing and there’s no way I’m going to continue running the entire time and I’ll never be ready in time and ugh I can’t breathe right anymore” then I hit 3 miles and I’m done.  Just like that.  Today after what felt like the slowest and longest 3 miles I have ever ran I averaged out at 9:56 min/mi.  It was one of my best 3 mile times in quite a while.

I blame a lack of new music…because when I keep the playlists fresh, I trot along and get lost in the music and then I’m done and I feel like a million bucks.  So.  Long story short, I need to invest in some iTunes cards to combat the headgames I’m playing with myself because I know I can do this, and the fact that I ran so quickly this morning shows this training program I’m following (its a mix of comfortable running, cross training days and a once a week tempo run with mileage increasing each week) is definitely working.

Happy weekend, and happy running.

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