Monday, December 14, 2009

Smiling the whole way, Charlotte

Three days have passed since Lori and I finished the Charlotte Half-marathon. I still catch myself, a grin showing on my face, daydreaming about when we crossed that finish line in Charlotte. Lori grabbed me and hugged me. I didn't know if I should cry or laugh, the emotion of finishing such a hard course I had been told, I just smiled. One distinct memory is fresh in my mind, I smiled from the time my feet hit the starting pad until I crossed the finish line. This run was so much different than the previous Governor's Cup. The energy was incredible which helped take my mind off running the distance. We had knocked 10 full minutes off our previous half-marathon time of 2:13, in just 5 weeks, 2:03 was our finish time. As I am typing this the same proud smile is spread across my mouth.

After hearing all the horror stories about the course for the half-marathon being just awful, girls saying they hated every step of the 13 miles, Lori and I changed the training course of action. What was so terrible from what I had heard was the continuous hills, so Lori and I started running the hills in Haigs Creek three and sometimes four times a week.

Haigs Creek hills are nothing at all like Lake Carolina hills, Haigs Creek hills go for a half mile straight up, then here is the clincher, they plain out, meaning, no downhill recovery time. Honestly those five or six miles on hills in Haigs Creek wear me out more than running 15 miles.
Well our mission worked as we would find out on that faithful Saturday, December 12 at about ten o'clock. The temperature in Charlotte was 25 degrees there was call for freezing rain. The directions that were given to us to follow via the website for the race were wrong, so we were panicked about finding our way to the center to pick up our numbers and to be able to get to the start line for the race on time. The morning had not gotten off onto a great of a start, especially having to get up four in the morning to get there on time.

We got everything taken care of and started on time. The temperature was the coldest I'd ever run in. There were 7000 half-marathoners and I was one of then. We started to run. I kept waiting on those horrible hills that I had heard about. Mile one passed and I was still waiting, mile two, mile three and nothing substantial as far as hills. I looked at Lori and said I think that was supposed to be the hardest one. We shrugged at each other and just kept going. The course was so well balanced, where there was an uphill, there was a balance of a downhill to recover. I had never felt so good before on any run much less at such a long run. I remember smiling from ear to ear because I didn't need to take a walk break which is what I am used to even if for a few seconds.

The dynamic between the two races was incredible. The Governor's Cup there was no support, no cheering from other around us. The Charlotte Race was full of energy. Santa Claus was running, some elves and one of the Incredibles were also in tow. The homes that we passed along the way were unbelievable. People, total strangers cheering us on even stopping their cars, turning up their radios and high fiving us as we went by.

The miles seem to fly by and when we approached the 9th mile marker which this time I did not want to kick I might add our time was so much better than before that Lori asked me if that was a mirage. I looked at her and said no it's not a mirage it's real, it's real. We were timing better than before. I had the urge to just keep going, just run is all I kept saying to myself in my mind and I kept smiling. I was in no pain, my legs weren't fatigued. I felt like a million bucks.

Then I saw the finish line, I picked up my pace and so did Lori, I looked at her and said we're almost there. We crossed at 2:03. I was so proud I felt like I had beat the course, the hard course that I had been warned about. In my mind I had played out the run more than once, the one that was supposed to be worse than the Governor's Cup, but it wasn't, not at all.

I only have one regret from that day, that I hadn't signed up for the full marathon, but there's always next year.

Afterward I had no crapping, never felt sick during the race, and the soreness was minimal, like I had done a hundred squats and lunges but not at all what I had expected, way less.

Here's to a great race, improved time and one more half under my belt. None of which I could have done without my supportive family, Nik and the kids, my great running partner and her husband, (Nik and Greg have now lovingly been named our personal cheering section) advice and encouragement from a friend, Mr. McSwain and the many people who believe in me. Last but not least a determination that won't quit.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Same time next year?

Following is a Facebook comment I had left to one of my friends who knew I was stressed out about Thanksgiving: "I laughed last night after we were talking about the events of the day. I jokingly said to Nik that it will make for a boring blog. I was not being serious at all but the day went so well. It was almost surreal. Of course a blog will be posted very soon highlighting the special moments. :)"

Thanksgiving 2009 was memorable for more than one reason. To begin with I have a client, friend and fellow runner who always runs in the Windermere Gobble and Go. This run benefits the Harvest Hope Food Bank. The entry fee is two canned goods per person. Being that I have friends who are clients and runners I decided that I would post an Invitation on Facebook about the run. It was close enough to everyone I knew and it was not a race, just friends getting together for a run prior to indulging in calorie-laden foods. Many people responded but those who don't run and were not interested in getting up to run at 8 on Thanksgiving morning I offered the option of dropping off canned goods by HALO salon. The response was great.

When I showed up to the Windermere on Thursday morning, fog was thick and the temperature was 38 degrees. Upon arrival I start to spot those client friends who had shown up. The coordinator of the run, was anxiously waiting to meet me as she and I had never met. The friend who had come had told her that Pam had sent them and her response was who is Pam. She told me upon our meeting that this was the best turn out they had had in six years and the most food collected. Her car was loaded down. Many of my clients had dropped off food, not to mention all the ones who even brought their children out to the run as well. The day started off on a very positive note. The run was awesome, a new course which is always challenging, new friends, donating to a worthy cause and doing what I love, running.

We got home and started getting everything ready for the day. I almost lost it when mother called Brittany to say that she was leaving her house to go to my Aunt Gail's. It was 10:30 in the dang morning, she was not to be here until 2:30. Then my Aunt Gail called, she was in a way warning me about the early arrival. I told her that mother is hard headed and is not supposed to be here until 2:30. The time had to be stressed because my mother is known to show up hours early and follow me around and just literally piss me off for a lack of a better term.

In the mean time, I receive an email from Nik's mom, Irma about how she wanted to wish me a happy Thanksgiving. She also went on tell me how glad she was that my children and I were a part of her and Nik's lives. I believe that her email was the sweetest on I have ever gotten.

After three, yes three trips to the IGA in Elgin we finally had everything we needed, poor Nik he was so frustrated with having to make multiple trips there. Everything was prepared set out and now we just had to wait for the arrival of the families. I knew they would be early, at 2:10 I get the call and Chelsea our rottie/lab mix let us know that they were at the gate. Thank god it was only twenty minutes early. Nik's mom, Irma would be arriving a little later as she had gone to lunch at her friend's house for lunch and was coming to spend the afternoon with us. I was really nervous about mother meeting Irma, not because of anything except that I am really close to Irma and not my mother. I knew that my mother would pick up on that fact. I had decided that I was not going to act any differently toward Irma just because my mother was there. I didn't either.

My Aunt Gail, Uncle Wayne and my mother were who had shown up to our late Thanksgiving lunch. I had a pot of coffee waiting so that we could get everything else ready and reheated. My Aunt Gail joked that she had spent all day slaving over her rolls, they were the store bought kind. It was nice to show them around our house. The commented about how nice it was.

We all sat down to eat and every one loved the food. It was so good, because we are always paranoid of not having enough food, there was also a whole lot of food. It was quite funny that my family had been discussing how they hoped I had made crock pot macaroni which used to be their favorite. I had, they loved it. My Uncle Wayne's favorite is pecan pie. When I found out that he was definitely coming I had made two, one for lunch and one for him to take home. He smiled and took his pie directly to his truck. Age has mellowed him so much, my Uncle Wayne, I used to hate him. He was such a jerk, now not so much. He finally realized like someone else I know that he can let people see his softer side and even smile sometimes. The change in him is a nice one. My Aunt Gail is the same as always, very pleasant.

Irma and Ily came over for a little bit, then Uncle Ray. Their visits were brief but nice.

My family got to meet Nik's mom and sister. Mother behaved, I was surprised. Everyone just sat around the fire in the living room of our house and talked. The most normalcy I had seen from my family in my whole life I believe and how welcome it was.

Though the day seemed long I am crossing my fingers that this was the beginning of something new, a fresh start for my family. Hopefully eventually I'll be able to relax and completely enjoy the family time that we will have in the future. As everyone left they told us what a good time they had had. I was elated. It had been a success.

My Aunt Gail asked, "Same time next year?"






Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A Time to be Truly Thankful


As I have mentioned before, I get a lot of messages, cards, emails and phone calls to say that I inspire other people. Well I just do what I do, not to impress anyone, but to complete the goals that I have on the blasted goals list I make for myself. I am touched tremendously when I get those messages and most of the time I bat back tears or grit my teeth so as not to become a heap of sobs on the floor. I am thankful that though I see things that I do just as mere tasks at hand, that someone benefits from my actions. Most importantly the individuals let me know that I helped them and that is an incredible, indescribable feeling and completely unexpected.

Of the many things in my life that I am most thankful, one stands out and that is the outpouring of love and support that I have received from family and friends. My friends have become part of my family or I guess I could better say that they have welcomed me into their families. I am fortunate to have the strong support team in place that back me every step of the way. One of my most favorite memories is the Monday after the Governor's Cup, Mr. Bill who lives up the street from HALO, walked in and sat down in a chair and told me to tell him all about it. He really was interested in listening and hung on every word I said. Another one is of a group of my clients who came in beginning the Wednesday before the Governor's Cup dropping off cards of encouragement and gifts of power gels. Temple even dropped something off by our house for me the night before the half. When I was running the half, I was getting phone calls, there were ten or more on my phone when I finished. They were checking on me and telling me they were proud of me. Many of them are seasoned runners, others because they are so inspired signed up to their own marathons. I have warned them that they are going to hate me when they finish that marathon.

I am so thankful that Nik and my kids support me in whatever I decide to do. I get notes of encouragement and congratulations from them as well. Nik gives up so many of his Saturday mornings to transport me and sometimes Lori too, to our appointed locations. He never complains, and waits patiently. I will never forget the first race I ran, he was at the finish line beaming with pride. I felt I had done really poorly at the race but he reacted as if I had just won first place. I truly thankful that he is a part of my life and my children's lives.

Then there's Irma, Nik's mom. I have had the pleasure of spending time with her on numerous occasions. One of the best times was when I just popped in by her house when I was on my way home from work. She made us a pot of coffee as always. I had the privilege of telling her that she had done a great job bringing up her son. She raised him and his sister alone. She is a very important part of our lives. Irma is always there to listen and never judge. Though I was concerned when I first met her that she would think that I was beneath her son due to my having been divorced and a single mom of three teenagers. She never has and she loves my children too.

Last night while I was working, I had sent her an email saying that I was really glad that she was coming to our house for Thanksgiving. Her response made me choke back those tears that have remained lodged in a lump in my throat for a while. Her reply was that she was honored to be asked to come to Thanksgiving.

I am thankful for second, third and fourth chances. Though I am giving it one last try, tomorrow my family will be coming to Thanksgiving too. Oddly enough they are excited, but my family can tend to be pitbullish, calm but can be set off without a seconds notice. So we shall see what tomorrow brings. The last time we were all together for Thanksgiving was about nine years ago. I would be fine if tomorrow is completely uneventful, however I doubt that will be the case at all.

I am thankful for new beginnings, new opportunities and new friends. Having been hurt by so many people who I thought were friends I am most guarded where relationships are concerned. The longing to be part of a circle of friends was completely stripped from me so I do not go out of my way to make friends. I was hurt in the worst way over the last year. Unrepairable hurt, I cried more than once over the loss and over the betrayal that I have felt. I am finished with that chapter and am trying to get to know people a little better before I consider them friends. Friends are few, acquaintances plenty. I have met a few people in Lake Carolina that have adopted me into their group. They are genuinely sweet to me. I am trying to let the guard down, it's slow going but I guess I'll just wait and see.

For a life that I love and in an ultimate search for happiness, I realized that I have to look within myself to find it. No one can make me happy, I have to love myself then all other things fall into place. Daily I am working on this too, but most days I am doing well. I truly love my life.

Having a job that I also love and on most days it is like playing dolls when I was a little girl. Being a hair stylist was a dream of mine ever since I was five years old. Twenty-three years after the dream began it became a reality. I am thankful to just have a job right now and I consider myself extremely lucky to enjoy what I do.

I am thankful that I have a determination that won't quit, the health to pursue my dreams and the ability.

In this season of giving thanks, I am grateful that I had the opportunity to spend many years with my granny. She molded me into the person that I am. She was the constant that remained in my life for years until she passed away. During the holidays I miss her even more than I do other times because many Christmases were spent with her due to my parents separating. She always made many things, the one I remember most was her gumdrop tree. She and I would make that every year. She would also have that ribbon candy on her table every year.

As we sit down to dinner tomorrow, I hope that everything goes well. The food will be good I have no doubt. I am running in the morning to benefit Harvest Hope Food Bank. We'll see how it goes, I am keeping my fingers crossed and trying not to stress too much.

Happy Thanksgiving in a time to truly be thankful.




Friday, November 20, 2009

Ah Hell, Here Goes Nothing or Everything!

I did it, I'm probably going to kick myself in the ass for it or maybe even in the face but I did it.

I'll back up and explain, minute details are necessary. The whole running adventure that I am on while trying to transform myself into Forrest Gainey (just kidding) my family that lives outside the gates of the cabin had no clue until the magic of Facebook.

My aunt is a Facebook-aholic and so are my cousins. Well I posted about the races that I have been doing and my cousin told her mom, my aunt Wanda who then told her husband, my uncle Ray, the whole domino effect.

I was unaware until I received a call from him saying he was PROUD OF ME! Not normal, I should say and completely unexpected, but most welcome.

Ok, well call me a little overzealous but I immediately had the uncontrollable urge to invite my entire family over for a Thanksgiving Day drop by. What the hell had possessed me but the invitation flew out of my mouth as if I were projectile vomiting, not a good analogy but it is what it is.

To my surprise and I will update later, it might be much to my chagrin in the near future, my family was elated. I called and many of the calls were directed to voice mails but the response was incredible. Come to find out my family that lives outside the "100 acre wood" had been planning to eat out at Shoney's for Thanksgiving for whatever ungodly and unknown reason other than their desire to not cook.

I will tell you what movie and scene entered my mind when I found out about their plans, "The Santa Clause" when Scott and his son were eating Christmas Dinner at Denny's. An utter disgrace I thought personally so what do I do, put on my superhero cape and voila, Pam to the rescue. When am I ever going to learn, probably never but at least I have my own personal bouncer at my side, Nik.

So fully dressed in my cape, Superhero Pam opens her damn mouth and decides to not only invite them to come down to the house for a visit but ah hell why not come for the full-fledged dinner. GOD! Seriously, I think I may need a mental evaluation. I came home and explained what I had done to Nik and he assured me that it would be okay, and he'd be there.

So this morning I get up, put on my big girl panties and called the mother. I talked to her like I would have talked to a five year old, reiterating that I would like to invite them all to come to dinner at 3 and that no one was allowed to come until 2:30. I told her that she had to call everybody since she wasn't working today, and I stressed that she had better not leave anybody out. I repeated that many times and stressed don't come until 2:30. I must clarify that my family is known to show up hours early and hang out for hours before which would be to my demise. They enjoy plundering which is totally off limits and invading my territory.

I am allowing them into my world which hasn't been permitted in years. Truthfully, it is frightening to me as I am skiddish about letting them in, literally and figuratively, but here goes nothing.

My family has in their minds not that moving away or changing careers or anything of the sort is not bettering yourself but instead it is abandonment of them. I have been moved away for about nine years or so. I should have been a statistic, but I was hell bent on not being what anybody expected. Honestly I think that they don't understand how to be proud of anybody as they seem bitter. So I guess we will see what next Thanksgiving brings. Hopefully the day ends by my saying that I am thankful for their visiting with us and not just being thankful when they leave.

Another occurrence happened today involving another family member, the daughter of my uncle, Mary. She had messaged me on Facebook. The message began by asking if I had remembered picking her up from daycare when she was little. I did but I was uncertain what the purpose of that question was but she continued on. She said that at the time I was a cheerleader and she had wanted to be just like me when she was little. She said that was almost 20 years ago she said that we don't get to see each other much any more, busy with everyday life. Here's the clincher, she said that I still inspired her. I had to choke back tears.

I swear I think I'm going to need a box of kleenex, I'm getting soft, too many damn emotions!


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

We Didn't Even Have A Clue!


Only six days after the Governor's Cup half-marathon, call us crazy but Lori and I decided to run the Camden Colonial Cup Road Race 10K. It is a pretty fast paced race that winds through the beautiful historic part of Camden. The benefiting charity is the Board of Disabilities.

It was cold that morning and my attitude was better as I actually enjoyed the scenery this time and was not looking to a shrub to puke in. Nik and Greg came along to support us. It is funny that at every race I have completed the participants are the same, familiar faces almost predictable.

We started the race that was 6.2 miles and probably started a little too fast but we planed out and just went for it. This time I did remember to talk as for some reason I seem to run better if I am distracted and carry on a conversation with Lori. There was also a 5k going on at the same time so there was no way to judge progress as the numbers on the shirts were identical. We were in the mile 3 range when there was no one anywhere around us and until we finished the race that remained the same. We just ran, even running on wet sand didn't slow us down, Lori said it was like running on the beach. I wouldn't know, I've never run on sand.

We saw the finish line in view and opened up. We crossed the finish line at 53 minutes. Our best time yet. Still there was no one anywhere around so, she and I just had some water and then we headed out. Awards take a while so we just headed home, we stunk and were hungry by this point.

All day I waited on the for the results to post and my patience were wearing thin. I decided that I would email the lady who had headed up the run and see if there was a different site to go to in order to view the results. In a few minutes she sent me the link. At this point Nik and I are heading out to the Lake to visit with my aunts, uncles and cousins. I clicked on the link, opened the results and started scrolling down. I couldn't find our names, so I scrolled up. Then I screamed and I thought my eyes were going to pop out of my head. Lori and I had taken 3rd place in both our age groups, mine 34-39 and hers 40-44! We had placed. I called Lori she screamed. Though we knew our times were good we didn't realize that they were really good. I think that was the best feeling ever, the funny thing is we didn't even have a clue. The best part, Nik had videoed the finish and he was so proud of me.

On the the next race, the Half-Marathon in Charlotte, December 12!



We Didn't Even Have A Clue!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

And she wins the Oscar for the biggest liar ever...

We were all sitting on the couch Sunday at around 7:30 when my phone rang, it was my mother.

She told me to hold on that there was somebody she wanted me to talk to. My mother is also overly dramatic so the person to whom she was giving the phone could have been any number off a list of people. Pleasantly is was my cousin, Dwayne who I had not seen in a very long time until this past March. He is currently on a deployment to Afghanistan and was here for his two week break before returning to finish serving his time there.

Immediately when she handed him the phone, I could tell she had it on speaker so that she could hear what I was going to be saying to him. I asked what he was doing back because I was unaware of his leave time as usual. I am never kept in the know about anything that involves the family that lives outside the fence of the farm. There was a lot of commotion going on in the back as I could barely understand what he was saying. I soon learned what all the noise was in the background, the family had gotten together to see Dwayne but to also send his daughter, Deanna off, she had joined the Army and was heading to boot camp. For any one who has a smidgen of brain between his or her ears, we all know that neither of the events occur in a few days notice.

As I talked to him, I apologized for not being there but informed him that no one had let me know that anything was going on. I expressed that we would have made a point to be there had we known. He said he understood, but my mother is in the background saying she didn't know anything about it until the last minute. As I explained earlier, neither of these events happen quickly.

I am taken aback on a regular basis by her behavior and lack there of any concern for my feelings. I am coming to realize in a very direct way that I think she does not even like me much less love me. And yeah, yeah, yeah I know that everybody loves everyone differently but come on, I love all of my children and am proud of their achievements and I'm there help them up when they fall. I would like one explanation of how you dislike your child to the point that the progress of the child whether good or bad is never relayed to anyone especially relatives.

I'll elaborate. Nik, the kids and I went to the family get together back in March of this year, my cousin Donna invited us. In eight years since I left Winnsboro, got divorced and had been on my on with the children, this was the first invitation that my family had received. Against my better judgement we went. For two weeks and I am not being facetious, I had worried myself sick literally. It went better that I had expected. My family, not my mother, looked like they had seen a ghost as we came in. See my cousin Donna didn't tell anybody that we were coming in the event that I changed my mind. An awkward hush and thirty people froze when we came in. for my aunts that is a major feat, they also have something to say. In all honesty I just wanted to run, but I dug deep and found strength and stayed and it helped a great deal that Nik was there otherwise I wouldn't have gone.

As I talked to my Aunts and Uncles I realized that mother had not even told anyone how we were. None of them had any contact information for me, none of them knew where we lived, where I worked. It was as if I had fallen off the face of the earth and had reappeared.
Unintentionally, I stole my mother's spotlight that day. It is evident in every picture that my daughter took that my mother was visibly upset that we came to the get together. My mother had had back surgery a few days prior so she was supposed to be in the spotlight, she was sporting her walker, that the doctor said she didn't need.

I didn't go to steal her thunder, but because I wanted to see my cousins, their children, my aunts and uncles.

As with any get together everybody is asked to bring something to either eat or drink or paper goods. I volunteered to bring all the ingredients for homemade ice cream. I asked my Uncle Ray if he still had his hand cranked churn. He didn't, much to my disappointment. When my Uncle Ray found out that I was brining the ingredients, he called me to ask if I could afford to purchase all the items. I thought he was so sweet in doing that, he told me he'd help me buy it if I needed him to. I thanked him and declined with much pride.

Growing up every Sunday was spent at my granny's houses, complete with dinner, baseball outside and homemade ice cream in hand cranked churns. There were three of those churns, one with strawberry, one with banana and the other with peach flavored ice cream. Churning the ice cream had become a game. Daddy was on one, Uncle Ray and the Uncle Wayne on the last. That was the afternoon entertainment, seeing who could churn the fastest. Week after week they churned away as we children watching in amazement while we drooled on ourselves waiting on the best ice cream. Brewster's and Marble slab had nothing on that ice cream.

My family knows that we are all doing well now and hopefully I will have a direct line to the family functions but I don't know.


Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Governor's Cup - A Play by Play


Yesterday, I ran my first half-marathon. Today I feel like I have been hit by a truck, not a little one but an eighteen wheeler.

Through the weeks of training prior to the half, I had run almost daily, dealt with minimal pains the worst being a swollen foot but all in all nothing too bad. Of course nothing bad enough to want to make me not pursue my goal and truthfully I am unsure what those conditions would be.

Following is a play by play of the events that began yesterday morning, one of my proudest moments, the day that I do not think I'd trade for the world and the icing on the cake, my children were there.

I had set the alarm for five a.m. We had to leave by 6:45 so had all my rituals to do before we left. They include an Epsom salt bath, coffee, drinking a lot of water, eating rice and two protein bars and just getting my body moving. I made one error that morning I forgot to eat the second protein bar, a 300 calorie deficit was against me already and would reflect in miles six and the rest of the race. I remembered after the race what I had forgotten.

Lori met us at the house at 6:30ish so that we could leave, I was really surprised that my children were in tow.

The temperature was about 35 but there was frost in some areas. It was cold but once the race begins, the body warms up drastically and even in that cold temperature, sweating begins. I was dressed in shorts and a short sleeve shirt with just a thin zippered jacket on, which came off after mile one.

First off let me clarify that mile markers make me crazy. I like the timers that register what the pace was thus far but the mile markers. (Make a growly face because that is what I was doing at them.) Don't get me wrong I enjoy knowing how much longer I have as far as distance but when I thought I was going to just sit down and wait on someone, anyone to come and get me at around mile seven I was hating those things. My perspective of mile markers changed though once I saw the 10th one. However when the motivational people who were all perky at mile 6.5 or so kept saying that the race was half done, I wanted to take them out.

Lori is the best running partner I could ask for. She tried her best to distract me throughout the whole race. We had done really well at mile 1 we were at a flat nine minute pace which we maintained for the first seven miles believe it or not, then I had to pee. Believe you me I though seriously about peeing in my shorts just because it was cold and I knew that my legs were going to hurt to start back running, they feel like lead and I started asking myself what the hell was I thinking. We started back though and let me just make a point known I hate Lake Cathryn. Lori tried to get me to look at all the pretty houses, but I was looking at the EMS motorcycle passing by to see if I could fit on the back which was a big old negative. We kept running around Lake Cathryn and now I am in search of a shrub, I needed to puke, I was green Lori said. Once we entered Five Points down the hill by Bank of America we met up with another time register, we were 12 miles and 2 hours and 1 minute. Just then this old man who had to have been running since Jesus was a little boy passed us and kindly said we should enjoy this downhill because it is the last one. The last mile of the race is UPHILL back the Horseshoe at USC. It took me 12 minutes to get to the finish line. During those twelve minutes, Lori starts quoting Lance Armstrong's motivational sayings to me which now is comical but when I was trying to get up that damn hill. Had I seen Lance Armstrong I probably would have punched him in the face. She also kept telling me you can do anything for this last mile, she said she knew I could do it. Lori tried enticing me with bananas at the finish line, saying in five minutes we will be done and eating bananas, I just looked at her blankly. Then this was the kicker, she played on my pride which was all it took. She said that Nik and the children were at the Finish Line and she knew that I didn't want them to see me walking. That did it because after we topped the hill I spotted them, my family, yelling my name and cheering for me and something came from within and I finished in 2 hours and 13 minutes. Lori and I finished as they called our names when we were crossing the finish line she grabbed my hand. Then the race officials took our chips and replaced them with our medals for completing the half-marathon.

Writing this I am filled with pride and a huge sense of accomplishment as I am reliving every little thing that happened even the most horrible calf cramps I had on the way home which required a stop so I could stand up. Overall the pain was minimal, I expected much more but nothing that ibuprofen, rest (yes, I said it) and a massage will not help. I am also the proud recipient of two black toes nails.

And just in case you were wondering I will be doing it again next year, I have to beat my own time you know. My family is going to meet me at the last mile next year to get me up that blasted hill.

I remember distinctly smiling when I saw them on Saturday. I was happy that they were there to see me finish, I want them to know they can do whatever they want in life despite what they may have been told. It was worth it all of it.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

ISO of a Christmas Gift

Yesterday, just out of the blue, I receive a text from my mother. Random I thought but then I remembered that it is almost time for the holidays. The realization that the only that I am contacted is her search for a Christmas gift which is truly sad and pisses me off to no end.

Since I have been an adult who was not struggling and doing okay for myself, she has expected some grandiose Christmas gift or gift for any occasion. Don't get me wrong I am probably the most giving person, I will give until there is nothing left to give but in her case I have stopped. I do not appreciate that being the only contact with me is to acquire a gift then the rest of the 363 days a year I am again invisible, non-existent, and unimportant to her. I say 363 days because, that includes her birthday, Christmas and Mothers Day which is the biggest joke of all.

Repetitively, I have tried to reconcile my relationship with her to no avail. Any time I have tried anything that I ever had done to not please her is and has been thrown into my face like pies. I cannot do it, she is toxic. Many times whether with her hand or her words that are like double edged swords she has hurt me. I must add that on numerous other occasions I have tried talking things out with her but again I received the response that she didn't know what I thought she had done to me but she had done nothing. I guess it is sad that I have to write it off as her loss. Though many times in my life the Blame Game as reared it's ugly headed and I take all the blame for our failed relationship as it must be all my fault.

I have been blamed for so much by her. It was my fault that my dad left her. It was my fault because he couldn't handle that I had my daughter when I was 17. It was my fault that my marriage failed. My fault that she took my ex-husband's side over mine. My fault that I suffered from an eating disorder so mush so that I had to be hospitalized more than one which stemmed back to her telling me I was fat at age 10. By that spring I was in the hospital for the first time with pneumonia due to not eating, I weighed 68 pounds. It has always been my fault that she was non-supportive at any aspect of my life. Instead of saying that I could do anything that I wanted in my life I have been told on more than one occasion that I am an embarrassment and that I would in fact never amount to anything. Never once, not once in my life has she said that she was proud of me. NEVER. Not even when I made straight A's, succeeded in anything I attempted, and made it on my own without help from anyone. NEVER.

It makes things bitter sweet as I am so happy that she cannot take credit for a damn thing I have done, succeeded at or am currently working toward. Nothing - she cannot say she supported me in any way and if she does say it, she is lying.

I have to move on as I get really agitated at the situation and the lack of change within it. I guess I have to accept it and move on.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Call it Ingorance...I call it determination.

Maybe it's the age, the track record, call it ignorance. There seems to be a common factor between women my age, the ambition and drive to do whatever it is we decide to set our sights on.

This past weekend I have a friend who completed the Marines Marathon is DC. She completed the entire 26.2 miles but not before blowing her IT band. She did it. I am so proud of her. The enormous amount of pain endured I cannot even fathom. Her name is Rachel. Throughout her journey to complete her first marathon, she battled knee problems, bursitis, strained IT band, and terrible blisters on her feet. She completed her marathon for her children, so they would be proud of her. Her determination and guts pushed her through to the finish line. Her recovery will be lengthy but I am sure it was worth every pain she had to just finish. Pure Determination!

Recently I hurt my ankle while running. I talked to Lori about it and her answer was what anyone who has a terrific running buddy like I do would expect. She told me she would do her best to carry me across the finish line.

This weekend as she and I were doing our distance run on Saturday, Lori started to feel sick, she told me to leave her and finish. I refused. We stayed together. There was no way I was leaving her not feeling well on the road. She had battled a stitch for about six miles, I've been there, it is not fun. She didn't leave me, the thought would not have crossed her mind.

We have less than two weeks before we have our first half-marathon. Anticipation, but no nervousness is present. I am so thankful she decided to run it with me and that she is my friend.




Really I don't expect much...

I hate feeling used. I am guilty of trying to please everyone no matter the cost to me. I understand that giving is better than receiving but not when giving until being used up. Sometimes the reciprocation would be appreciated but I refuse to get excited or expect one thing as I am certain that disappointment is right around the corner.

I would assume that many of the actions stem from growing up with a distinct fear of abandonment and that pleasing my parents or whomever is around me will keep them close by and happy. I unknowingly, until I take a step back to reevaluate, realize that the vicious cycle repeats. The inevitable need to satisfy really is weighing on me especially emotionally for what reason I am not sure other than the continuous giving and feeling taken for granted.

Thinking about not allowing these actions to repeat, I feel as though I cannot prevent them. I am forever conscious of what others want and I do my best to make their dreams become realities without the same happening to me.

Frustration fills me. Really I do not expect much.


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Remembrance

The vivid remembrance of these things at times seem to haunt me as episodes of her life play out in my mind like a well written script of which she would be so proud.

  • The sound of her sucking on that dreadful pacifier.
  • The look of determination on her face when she was going to do whatever it was, regardless of the consequences.
  • How her little hand felt in mine as we would walk around during this time of year gathering the fall leaves to make our wax paper place mats for Thanksgiving
  • She thought she was beautiful when she had applied her play makeup and looked like a clown, but wore it all day at preschool any way
  • She wanted a party dress but was satisfied by just trying them on for hours and having a fashion show in the dressing room because there were huge mirrors
  • the way she engaged an audience outside Kaybee Toys on a keyboard with a microphone attached as she sang operatically the happy birthday song. All she needed was a hat for tips.
  • The way she and I would read in bed, she'd read a chapter until she saw that I was going to sleep. She would then ask me what she had just read. When I couldn't answer she'd make me read until the same thing happened to her.
  • The way she would perch herself in the middle of the kitchen island stirring cookies to bake
  • How once she had read a book about growing balloons and being such a literal child she wanted to plant them to see if they would grow. Of course she and I did plant balloons. While she was gone for the weekend, I blew up all the balloons and made sure they were where she had planted them. The look on her face when she got home was priceless.
  • She and I used to build fairy houses in the woods. Sometimes I still catch her looking under toadstools to see if the fairies are out.
  • How only she would put frogs and lizards in the bathtub with her, wash them with soap and let them swim.
  • That in fact her name should have been Ellie May Clampett because of her love of animals.
  • How her determination is so strong that whatever she sets her mind to she tackles and she does it with such grace that a struggle would never be seen.
  • The way she comes up with her own words, she could make a small dictionary of her creations.
  • Just the way she used to be before she grew up so much

Some days the sadness for me is so overwhelming, I do a good job hiding it, I guess. It's just under the surface, a superficial scratch away. The lump in my throat and the pain in my heart is a constant, but life goes on.

Monday, October 19, 2009

12 miles and 19 days left...next Saturday 13!

I am uncertain what made this run so great but the twelve miles I ran on Saturday was the best and by far the easiest run I have had thus far. Elements played a huge part, the air was crisp lacking in humidity, the temperature in the high 30s, low 40s, and the sun had not risen yet. The view was amazing watching the sun come up over the horizon as we ran.

Throughout the trekking of twelve miles, we stopped three times total, two times was for just a mere thirty seconds face paced walk and once for a bathroom, water, and GU break. Believe it or not we completed those twelve miles in two hours, including the breaks. I had reached my goal. I was elated and endorphin-filled, the runner's high was in full affect. I felt like I could have run for days.

I waited on the soreness to come, it was minimal. A little ankle soreness, thutt (that is the area between my thigh and butt cheek) my swollen toe, and sore elbows. Of all the aches I have had the sore elbows have been the weirdest for me. Keeping them in one position for so long, makes the tendons tender, but its not unbearable, just strange. My body is adapting well to running distance.

I have increased my Muay Thai training and Nik kicks my ass every day. I use it as cross-training, and the non-stop intervals that Muay Thai is comprised of build up "my lungs."

Countdown has begun for my first half-marathon on November 7th - nineteen days left.

Sometimes I post times on Facebook especially if it is a milestone that I have conquered. This past Saturday was one of those days. The response was overwhelming. However one stood out more than the others.

I few years back I was in CVS on Two Notch Road, when I heard a voice that I recognized from high school. I followed the voice and it was one of my teachers who was an avid runner back in the day. He had not aged and recognized me just as I had he. We chatted for a bit and went on our way. Through the magic of Facebook, he and I connected again just a few months ago. I realized that he had switched to biking ungodly amounts of miles which is awesome but not for me.

I said all to say this, he liked my status on Saturday and sent me a message. He was proud of me. Never underestimate the power of words.

Life is good. My support team continues to grow even Irma's "got my back." Little things make a strong impact on people, I never realized how much.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Busy...but no complaints!

Lately life in general has been busy. Business at HALO salon is fantastic. Home and love life, both wonderful. Marathon training on track, back to training Muay Thai, seems as though things are coming together.

My children are growing up before my eyes. It is bitter sweet, I think about old memories that we have and new one yet to be made. Each of them is so different. My son has qualified for the Merit Scholarship and will be tested this month. My oldest daughter graduates this year and Hannah well she's just Hannah in all her glory and what I like to refer to as her Hannahisms.

Nik continues to do well with training Muay Thai out of our home gym. With MMA having just gotten sanctioned in South Carolina, I expect an influx of business for him. As hair is my passion, Muay Thai is his.

Irma, Nik's mom, remains to be the strongest woman I will ever know I am almost certain. I have only one regret with getting busier, I do not have much time to spend with her at all. I cherish the time I do have with her. I love her and best of all she loves me.

As the holidays approach I know that I will continue to get busier as I am looking forward to all the referrals that old and new clients are sending my way. For them I am ever so grateful, however I dare not forget the clients who have followed me every where I have been.

I am making new friends that live near me. New people that accept me at face value, no perceived notions. People that I have actually gone to lunch with and that a "girl's night out" is in the making too. For me both scenarios are quite different than what I am accustomed to. A most welcomed change. They just stop by the salon to being in their fathers, grandfathers, any one of importance to them to meet me. I was recently out to dinner and ran in to a group of my clients and they introduced me to everyone at the table, it means a lot to me.

Running is going fantastically. I surprise myself daily. A client posted this on my facebook wall:

Running is the classical road to self-consciousness, self-awareness and self-reliance. Independence is the outstanding characteristic of a runner. He learns the harsh reality of his physical and spiritual limitations when he runs. He learns that personal commitment, sacrifice and determination are his only means to betterment. Runners get promoted only through self-conquest. (thanks, Jen!)


Want to know what else he learns? There is only one way back to where he started and that is his own two legs. :)


Over the last few weeks as the runs get longer this realization has become a harsh one to me as well. The vast open road that seems endless and praying that the stop sign is soon in sight haven't killed me and seem to get easier to reach and overcome, believe it or not.

I have come to know that running 99.99% mental. When the "runner's high" kicks in, I feel like I could run for days.

All of that, leads to this, I have a client with an idea. Temple has the idea that I should start a running group for the girls in Lake Carolina, all different levels to get a group fitness started. She had this brilliant idea after I told her that I had a few clients that had just begun to run. I think it's a great idea as well and I will definitely put out "feelers" to see if anyone is interested.

Nik always says that I could sell salt to a slug, I am beginning to believe him. Sometimes I wish I believed in myself as much as other folks do.

For now all is well...


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Memories...

Recently I changed salons, not an easy decision for me but I feel as though I have made the right one. Upon my departure from the old salon, I was embraced by an outpouring of care and true friendship.

I received a letter from someone who has been with me since beauty school, Holley. In the letter she expressed to me how much she would miss me and that it felt as though I were moving out of the state not just six miles down the road. In the letter she listed her favorite memories that we have shared over the years they follow:

-The "Jigsaw Incident" right before our first trip to LA. (I had black hair and decided I wanted to be platinum blond so I bleached my hair oh about 8 times in the course of a day. I received some chemical burns and an allergic reaction to the bleach. Steroids were prescribed, I looked like Jigsaw from the "Saw" movies. Not real attractive.)

-The fear that we wouldn't be cool enough for LA, but we dominated. (yes we did)

-The Institute of Courage - all that we learned, the haircutting in the hotel room with Rafe and Sarah, the plane ride with Quiet Riot, our date at PF Chang's, and our desperate need for crunch.

-The countless shared lunches at Cracker Barrel

-The emergency meetings at Starbucks

-Finding every MAC counter from Orlando to California ( she forgot that we know where every Sephora is as well)

-The long drive from Orlando.

-Our Sexy Hair auditions - the nervousness, J. Stacey, Jimmy, Rona, the panic, and we finished at the top of the class.

-Our first tribes of style and the woman from LA showing up.

-Halloween - all the many costumes, and parties, vampires, Little red Riding Hood, movie characters, and more

-Most of all, I'll remember the laughing, all the laughing - with reckless abandon.

-And perhaps COURAGE - we learned to find it, to use it and to keep it.

Those were her memories but the memory that stands out the most for me that she and I shared is one that I know she has forgotten. When my granny passed away as I have mentioned in a previous post I wanted to and did do her hair. Holley called me the morning that I was going to the funeral home, she said that she was trying to be a good friend and that if I needed her to she would go with me to the funeral home for the preparation for support. I told her that I would be fine and that I greatly appreciated her offer but it wasn't necessary.

On the first day this week at HALO Salon, I received a text from Holley. It read, "I am on vacation but remembered that your first day was today. I hope that it went well."

I hope that she realizes how much her friendship means to me...Holley.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

On your mark...get set...GO!

Let each finish line be a fresh start. Let there always be one more race to be run...one more rung to reach...the novel waiting to be written...a career change to be dared...a higher mountain to climb...unexpected love waiting to walk into your life...dance steps to be learned...the most daring adventure still to plan...another painting waiting on the palette. Let every safe harbor be a safe place to rest up, not rest on your laurels, before you set off again for unknown jeopardy and joy.

Ready, Set, Go!

I am approaching another milestone in my life, another chapter completed while another one begins. I am changing salons, Friday is my last day at the salon where I am currently employed. The new journey starts Tuesday when I begin working at Halo in Lake Carolina.

Leaving the old salon is bittersweet. I have known these girls for a lot of my adult life. Some of us went through the tumultuous stint in beauty school together. We have been through marriages, divorces, deaths, new loves, name it and we have been there for each other through it all. Some of the best friends I have ever had remain behind. I hope that we will keep in touch but I am aware that under normal circumstances that will not be the case. I will miss some of them more than others, they are like sisters to me.

New beginnings and fresh starts are accompanied by stepping out into the unknown. I know in my gut that this move is going to be positive for me. The salon is precious not to mention the financial bonus and the mere fact that Halo is closer to home. I am so fortunate to have some one come and ask me to work for them, how flattering.

Tomorrow closes one chapter, Tuesday opens one. I am excited, nervous but most of all I am looking forward to the new adventure that will be lying ahead as I step out of my comfort zone and one more time, rock the boat.

Courage is required and I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that my Granny is watching out over me. I have sensed her around me a lot lately. (Who knows maybe she can read my blog and knows just how much I need her.) In my mind she was running beside me on Monday and she will definitely escort me on Tuesday.

As Louis L'Amour so eloquently said, "There will come a time when you believe everything is finished. That will be the beginning."

I am anxiously approaching my beginning...watch out world here I come!

On your mark, get set, GO!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Go, Go Go!

Approaching the venue, I was not nervous, a weird calm was over me as I just came to do what I had to do - run. "Chariots of Fire" and "Eye of the Tiger" were playing in the background. The air was chilly, well cold for September. And thank god for port-a-johns, the line for the bathroom was thirty deep inside the gymnasium. Then "The National Anthem" played, it always makes me get a lump in my throat, I knew it was almost time to start.

The start was very frustrating as I had to walk for about two minutes because the congestion of the start was incredible. I had to start passing on the grass, after a while though the runners and walkers began to spread out, so the crowding lessened and I could actually catch my rhythm. Mile one, mile two, mile three and the last stretch I hear go, go, go, it was my biggest fan, Nik waving me to the home stretch. I could hear him but I could not look at him because I just wanted to stop running. I had just finished the woods and dirt part of the course on my tip toes, so there was no "go, go, go" left.

As I crossed the line I saw 36 and some odd minutes on a timer and to me I was perfectly fine with that time. The Fitness Challenge Course was hard, I was thankful for those blasted Haig's Creek hills. However I was looking at the wrong timer, there was a 15K going on simultaneously and that was the clock for those runners. I had finished in under 30 minutes.

Yesterday was my second race. As I have mentioned in a recent post, when I race it is against me, my time, my own mentality. I am so hard on myself it is hard to explain and even harder to comprehend. I push myself until I cannot push anymore.

In my first race, which was a month ago, after only being back to running for a week, I finished it in 32 minutes and some seconds. The course was mostly flat at the first race. My second race, I finished 31 out of 116 in females and completed the course in 29 minutes. I placed 6th in my division!! I need to explain the course - all hills and part was through the freaking woods on sand, not smoothed out. I am so glad that it was not my first race because honestly I would not have done any more, seriously.

Next race, Saturday, September 26...

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Superhuman Powers, yeah not so much!

This week has been so busy at work, with training, the kids, just life in general. I'm finally getting to sit down and breathe.

Work has picked up due to the holidays being right around the corner and everyone getting back to school. Training has intensified with miles being added daily which has been pretty exhausting however I am doing them. My children being back in school with their schedules, not to mention their social agendas.

So to say the least I am pretty tired. I am realizing that I do not possess superhuman powers though I can still argue that, and that I had to succumb to that realization on Thursday. I had an incredibly crazy day at work with only one break of about fifteen minutes. I left work at almost 8pm that night. By Friday morning I just wanted to become a crying piled up heap in the floor. I fought back tears all day long. It was frustrating to me because I see myself as needing to show no signs of weakness. Needless to say I took a much needed day off from running on Friday.

Saturday rolled around and it was time for the run with Lori, hills (dread, dread in Haigs Creek) for six miles. Though I hate running those blasted hills, there is always a sense of accomplishment completing those damn hills. These hills are a continuous grade straight up and then plain out not very many coasting downhills, which makes for a hard run. We did it though as we always do.

Due to the weather being absolutely beautiful this weekend, 68 degrees and overcast, we had one of our best runs. There were a bunch of other runners out yesterday. They knew Lori so I was introduced to them too. One guy we passed was comical, I'll expound. He was wearing all Livestrong gear from head to toe, he was completely coordinated.

Another runner was an older gentleman named Ron. He stopped us to talk for a minute. Lori introduced me to him and explained that we were training for the Governor's Cup Half-Marathon in November. She asked Ron is he was going to run it. He told us that these days he only gets to walk a few 5ks. Ron had a heart attack a few months back. In his hay day Ron has run many marathons, his eyes saddened as he told us about not being able to run any more. I felt sorry for him.

This week Lori had gotten bad news about her dog Gizmo. Gizmo has cancer. He will be having surgery on Thursday. Before me, Gizmo was her running partner. He was her excuse to run through sprinklers. Now she does it any way, we pray for sprinklers to be on for us to be able to run through them to get cooled off. Hopefully everything goes well for Gizmo on Thursday.

Lori also told me that she and Greg, are planning to move to Florida in a few years. I am really sad about that.

Last night we went to watch roller derby at Jamil Temple. Well low and behold, believe it or not, that is the distance the marathon is, from our house in Elgin to the Jamil Temple. Holy crap!















Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Commandments of Running

The 20 Running Commandments.

  1. Don't be a whiner. Nobody likes a whiner, not even other whiners.
  2. Don't make running your life, make it part of your life.
  3. When doing group runs, start on time no matter who is missing.
  4. Don't compare yourself to other runners.
  5. When standing in starting lines, remind yourself how fortunate you are to be there.
  6. The faster you are the less you should talk about your times.
  7. Don't always run alone.
  8. Don't always run with people.
  9. The best runs sometimes come on the days you didn't feel like running.
  10. Be modest after a race, especially if you have reason to brag.
  11. All runners are equal; some are just faster than others.
  12. There are no short cuts to run excellence.
  13. There is nothing boring about running, there are, however, boring people who run.
  14. Look at hills as opportunities to pass people.
  15. Don't try to out run dogs.
  16. With out goals, training has no purpose.
  17. Go for broke, but prepare to be broken.
  18. Unless you make your living as a runner, don't take running too seriously.
  19. Runners who never fail are runners who never tried anything great.
  20. Running is simple. Don't make it complicated.

A Proud Mom...

For a few years now I have been training Muay Thai with my boyfriend. I have done so in order to hopefully one day be able to get in the ring and fight. Recently my training has slowed down some because of all the running. My daughters and son have watched us train many times and have all expressed interest on training as well.

There had never been a follow through on their wanting to start to train until this past week. My oldest daughter decided that she wanted to train, so Nik told her what time to be ready. Believe it or not she tried her hand at Muay Thai and she really likes it a lot. She told me when she came in the first time that she was tired. The next morning she said she didn't realize she had ab muscles under there. Yesterday,m she was dressed in Muay Thai trunks as she did her homework. Last night she was asleep at nine o'clock. This morning she is wiped out and said she needed a day off but that she wants to do it again tomorrow.

I'm proud of her and I hope that she sticks with it.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Realization

As the days tick away to the Marathon at Myrtle Beach, 171days remain to be exact, the realization of the distance that these two legs of mine will be covering is quite overwhelming but not unthinkable.

The training miles increase, as does the ibuprofen, soaking in the bath tub and Thai oil rub downs. Mostly after the weekend long runs I just want to sleep and eat. In reading I have learned that on marathon day upon the completion of my glorious 26.2 miles I will have burned approximately 8000 calories, no kidding. I believe that number shocks me more than 26.2 miles. I have a hard time fathoming either of these two numbers honestly. I am almost certain that I will not fully understand them until crossing that finish line. I will be the one sobbing or as I prefer to call it "doing the ugly Oprah cry" as I finish. I will be overwhelmed for sure and starving.

Back to those 26.2 miles, Nik and I drove to have lunch today, the restaurant was not even 26.2miles from our house. I am trying to wrap my head around the distance not to mention that it will be run on my two feet consistently for hours. Of course I calculated the distance that we drove to lunch I still had about 9 more miles past where we had lunch. My goodness, I need a nap just thinking about that. (Visual: My hand is on my forehead as I am thinking what have I decided to do to myself. Then a small grin appears because I know beyond the shadow of a doubt I can do it, all 26.2 miles.) I am the only person who can give up on me, I am the only person who can make me quit.



Saturday, August 22, 2009

A milestone and a Cat

Today again was a milestone for me in training. Lori and I met to run six miles, the requirement for this week. It was not raining, shocker, and no sunshine and only 95% humidity. At 8:30 we made out trek through my neighborhood, which is in the country I might add, as we are approaching a curve a deer runs across the road! It was a pretty awesome experience, I wish I had like the deers, bounce and run, that's be so nice. We proceeded on our run through the back roads of the little town of Elgin, where horses galloped alongside us. As we entered another part of the course, no kidding a little kitten followed us for two and a half miles and then let me pet it. Weird I thought.

We pushed ourselves to finish and actually added half mile to the run. We completed six and a half miles in a little bit over an hour. I felt another sense of accomplishment.

Today I motivated Lori which is usually the other way around. She told me she wasn't feeling well, her cousin had passed away, her mother was mad at her and she was tired. (The latter is plenty enough to make me tired, dealing with mother issues is exhausting. I have given people around me permission to put me out of my misery if I start becoming my mother, dear god help us all.)

I enjoy our runs more and more as she talks more. I think we are really becoming friends. We discuss our children, books we read, things that annoy us, you name it we talk about it. I am fully aware that what we discuss is between her, me, the fence post, and maybe a horse, cat or pig, literally.

After these longer runs, which will soon be accompanied by "only five miles" which is so wrong for only to proceed five miles, are tougher on my hamstrings of all things. I am thankful for eucalyptus Epsom's salts that my friend Rebecca introduced me to, and I am ever so grateful. They compliment our garden tub perfectly. I believe she must have bought stock in the company as now I need an intervention to stopping using those salts.

All in all, I remain on track, progress continues. Tomorrow is my day off and for that I am thankful.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Hell in a DVD Collection

We have a love hate relationship, Tony Horton and I. I'm not sure but I think that he has been sent to this earth to be my demise or certainly make me feel this way.

A little history on Tony Horton and how our relationship began. First off I was flipping through the television and happened upon an infomercial, which under normal circumstances I would have avoided like the plague, not on that day though, Tony Horton was selling his workout plan. (I ask myself daily what was I thinking and believe it or not I have watched this infomercial repetitively since!) At first glance all that I saw was ripped bodies on fit people that were not eighteen years old. They were people around my age. The exercises they were doing was challenging and intrigued me a little more. I decided I must order this workout program. I did every little bit of it and waited ever so anxiously to get it in the mail.

Finally P90X arrived in the mail. I was elated and ready to inflict whatever on myself in order to challenge my workout and switch things up a bit. ( I saved the box because if I didn't feel challenged I was sending it back immediately. Can we say ego which was by the way crushed like an egg on day one!) Needless to say the box was thrown away after round one of pure hell. I have never in my life done as many pull ups or push ups as I did that day. My whole self hurt which to me is a good thing, it was what I wanted, right?

After completing the first weeks of this hell in a box that I paid for, I became to know these people who were inflicting such intense workouts on me by name. I learned in the beginning if Dreya is on the dvd, watch out I was in for a extra dose of pain. If Tony and Dreya could only hear what I say to them, they would do more damage to me. I have cursed them out, flipped them off and told them how much I hate them out loud, as I masochistically finish those workout everyday. Will I ever learn? Probably not.

When I started training for this marathon, I decided I needed to let my body adjust to all the running and take a break from P90X for a little bit. During this time, the marketing geniuses at Beachbody (P90X distributors) sent me a message to say they had an additionalfive workouts to challenge me even more. What a sucker I am, I ordered them. These dvds encase the very bowels of hell. They make the first fifteen, yes fifteen dvds look like a cake walk.

After my two week break I restarted P90X. I must say that I will not make that mistake again. Once I was in the routine of doing the program I was pretty anesthetized to the pain, my body had adjusted to. Day one back on P90X, I went running with Lori, my hip flexers locked up, not a pleasant experience. Note to self, P90X never gets easier and the additional pack not necessary.

I did complete the upper body "hell in a dvd" workout this morning. It was the longest thirty-five minutes of my life, yes I said thirty-five minutes. I almost threw up, when doing an upper body routine that is not the norm at all, legs possibly but not upper body!

Tony Horton is genius for having developed this plan, it is not to be entered into lightly as it will kick your ass in high fashion. The results are phenomenal when you follow the program, strength improves and body changes happen rapidly. His workouts are comprised of all the elements that we forget to use, being wrapped up in machines at gyms. Endless amounts of pull ups and push ups, lunges...he takes it back to basics and some days I could just ring his neck for it. Some mornings I could punch Dreya and him in the face, but the end results are all worth it, vomit and all.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Pieces of a puzzle

"Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together." Vincent van Gogh

My running has been consistent now with times and distance. I have been shocked, elated and pretty damn proud. I am doing it, I am really doing it!

In the 103 degree weather this afternoon, we ran five miles in 40 minutes. The progress is happening, as long as I continue to push myself I will remain on track.

Lori and I are now running three days a week. We run rain or shine and even when the heat is unbearable. It is something I look forward to though sometimes I think I might not be able to finish the whole course but somehow I do.

Each small run is a means to a greater end like putting together the pieces of a puzzle...26.2 miles.

I didn't think it mattered.

I have a challenging relationship with my mother, I think I have missed out on many things that other daughters were able to do with their mothers. Honestly I get sad when I think about it but I am coming to realize as I get older that my mother is the one who has missed out.

I am fortunate to have someone in my life that I am able to share some of these things with her name is Irma, Nik's mom. The anticipation of meeting her the first time was so intense. It didn't help one thing that Nik had given my about two weeks notice so I had way to much time to analyze the initial meeting. My worst fear was that she would not like me because I was divorced, a single mother and that I am heavily tattooed. I must convey the amount of anxiety I was experiencing, I had gotten some Xanax from a friend to get me through the meeting.

When I met her that night, she hugged my with the biggest and most welcoming hug I'd ever had. Instantly I felt completely comfortable around her (no Xanax required), she was one of the nicest people I had ever met. She never judged me at all, not for the tattoos, the divorce or the children. I came to find out that she and I had a lot in common.

When Nik and I got home that night, I told him that I hoped he knew how lucky he is to have a mother like her. I know he does.

I have spent a lot of time with her, even without Nik. She and I enjoy sitting on her deck, drinking coffee and talking. She really listens and is genuinely interested. We have gone to the movies together. She frequently comes to our house for dinner, which I thoroughly enjoy.

Lately, we have been so busy that I had not called her. I also must admit that when I feel like I'm getting too close to someone I will hit the brakes and throw it in reverse quickly, I am terrified of getting hurt. I am the "wall up queen." Nik would tell me she said hello when she would talk to him. She called me the other day. Immediately I thought that something was wrong, she called to tell me I had not called her in a while. Truthfully, I didn't think it mattered to her if I called or not. It did though, even better than that I mattered.

I made a surprise stop by her house on my way home a day or two after the phone call. She and I just visited. I enjoy those times so much.

Times like these I have never shared with my own mother. I can not even fathom stopping by just to visit, we don't even talk on the phone. These moments are what she is missing out on, not me.

Monday, August 17, 2009

In search of a family

Throughout most of my life I have often wondered how I would have turned out having been raised by different parents. I have been curious to know what it is like to be hugged by parents who mean it, to be encouraged by parents who want success for me and are genuinely interested in just my life in general.

I have come to the conclusion that the people that share my DNA are uninterested, not encouraging and are not loving. I think that sometimes they forget I exist, literally. A difficult conclusion, I might add and certainly not one that I wanted to accept. I quickly come to mind when they have need for something.

I was born to my parents in 1973 after they had lost a child due to a miscarriage which I have been reminded of repetitively during my life. After the miscarriage the conception of me took eight years. Living in that shadow, I was expected to be the perfect child, sad but true which was the catalyst for a plethora of problems that would overflow into my adult life. More than once I have been told that I was not worth the wait or she (my mother) wished I had not been born at all. She said that she had waited so long for what, me? How's that for loving?

Our existence was filled with falseness that spilled over to the outside world. I was hugged when in public to maintain the facade that my family was "the perfect family." Inside those walls of the house there was a completely different atmosphere sometimes smothering. The portrayal of perfection was so stressful and expectations so high, I literally collapsed at six years old from exhaustion.

As I grew up and went school, the classroom became my escape. I attached myself to my teachers and the search for a family had begun. The older I got the harder I tried to seek acceptance from my own family. I would strive to make the best grades, get the lead in the play, or whatever it took to get their attention, because in order to do that I had to be perfect.

As a teenager I was in advanced classes as I had been my entire school life, I brought home my first "B" (not a typo, yes a B). I trembled as I handed it to my mother, a beating ensued as I had embarrassed her by not making an "A". The next time I made a "B" I forged my mother's name. My teacher called me out of class to ask me why I had signed her name to the interim report, I explained what had happened before, she never sent another report home.

At sixteen, I got pregnant with my oldest daughter Brittany. I attended a private school, I had to hide it. I decided I would graduate in summer school a year early. I did, then I told my mother I was pregnant. By this time I was seven months. I kept it hidden because I knew she would make me have an abortion or give her up for adoption. I was right. Of course, all of it ended up being about her as I again had embarrassed her, how could I have done this to her. She made me stand up in front of the church and announce that I was having a "bastard child." What more support could I ask for?

Everyone knows that my mother is a saint, after all. She fails to remember that I was alive and old even not to forget the affairs she had. Not to mention the times she decided she wanted my dad and us to move out, it never failed that it was near the holidays. Still to this day I hate the holidays, all thanks to her. This will put the icing on the cake, for Christmas the first time she had us move out, Santa brought my sister and I a luggage set. I would never forget that Christmas, not because of my mother but rather my Daddy. He built me a doll house from the ground up. I even got to pick put the wallpaper, he and I made curtain rods out of q-tips. For about six months I lived in a camper outside my granny's trailer. That was when I really started to get close to my granny. She liked for me to read to her, she couldn't read.

I made a profound decision after having had Brittany. I decided and was determined not to become a statistic. It has not been easy, especially with two other children, a failed marriage and until now being completely alone in the world, literally. I have succeeded and continue to be successful everyday despite the lack of concern, encouragement and support from my immediate family. Never once have they said,I am proud of you or anything else positive but I have accepted the reality it won't ever happen, not from them at least.

Therefore, I search out and surround myself with people who will support me, who will be there even when I fail and love me just the same, and encourage me to go after my goals no matter how big or small and by no means expect me to be perfect. Some of them are clients, some are old family friends, some new people that trickle into my life and they all play very specific parts in my life.

For me letting people be a part of my life, to truly let them into who I am and break down the exterior that most people see is in all cases frightening. I am probably the most unsure person. I am afraid of rejection, of not meeting expectations and of just not being good enough. All of these come from a life lived in the shadow of the one they lost and my mother's inability to become less self-absorbed and love me.

My mother's words were far worse than her hands, the abuse happened both verbally and physically. I lived with fear stuck in my throat for most of my childhood and through my teenage years. A few years back I confronted her about a few things from the past, I laid it on the line and asked her reasoning for many things she had done. Her response to me was that she didn't know what I thought she had done to me but that I was crazy. I should have realized then that this relationship was not worth my time, she is toxic and that unless she changes it will remain unreconciled. A harsh conclusion to come to I know but I don't know what else to do.

Since then I have been in search of a family, not blood kin. I have acquired many sets of people that I consider parents. I have Mia and Bob, Toni and Randy, Kathleen and Lewis, Irma, Donna and JM, Brownie and Bill. Each of these people play a huge part in my life. They have cried with me, celebrated with me and watched me evolve into the person that I am today. I am fortunate to have them be a part of my life.