A sweet Mother’s Day video from a child’s perspective.
A sweet Mother’s Day video from a child’s perspective.
This picture can serve as a good representation of my life as a mother. Chaos!
I’m not even sure who took the picture. Maybe the store manager to warn his employees not to let us back into the store.
My oldest child, Tommy, is obviously mad at something. Rachael is out of control flying her cart into who knows what and in the process taking out whatever is in her path. Leah looks like she’s trying to be on her best behavior, and then Steven is MIA. Chaos. Not at all what I pictured our quick stop at the grocery store to look like!
When we walked into the store the girls asked if they could have a cart. In my head I had the image of a nice, calm, shopping adventure in which they wanted to help out. How cute! In the end I’m very surprised we didn’t hear an announcement on the loud speaker asking us to leave the store.
This photograph can also help to sum up my days of Motherhood.
My kids and I were sitting down enjoying a wonderful breakfast together, when all of a sudden, out of the blue, the table collapsed, fell apart, and that was the end of breakfast.
I’ve made plans. I’ve had dreams. I’ve had visions of how my life as a mother would play out. Only to realize that sometimes, no matter how hard I try, life can get very chaotic, and the best of schedules can give way, crumble, and leave me wondering if I’m really doing things right!
I’ve missed appointments, even though I have them written down on the calendar AND in my phone. I’ve forgotten about early dismissal days at school. I’ve locked my keys in the car way too many times to count. In fact, the last time I did that, the guy arrived to help me out and I realized it was the same guy from the time before. After a few minutes he did a double take and said, “Hey! Didn’t I help you out about two weeks ago on the opposite side of the street?” I was hoping he wouldn’t remember me!
I’ve closed the door to the house only to realize I just locked everybody out. I’ve sent my oldest to school with a brown paper bag full of onions instead of a brown paper bag full of lunch (I’ll explain that in another post!) I’ve run over bicycles left in the driveway. I’ve gotten lost on my way to gymnastic meets and basketball games more times then I’d like to admit. The list could go on and on. But, needless to say, I don’t have it all together! I’m always rushing from one place to the next wondering how I’m going to get it all done. I’m constantly trying to make sure Tommy, Steven, Leah, and Rachael have what they need and get to where they need to go. My house is always loud with children talking, yelling, laughing, fighting. And if that isn’t enough there’s always friends, nieces, nephews, and babies that need care.
Chaos! But, I’m learning to love it. Because one day I know the Chaos will turn to quiet . There won’t be clothes on the floor, hand prints on the walls, dishes piled in the sink, homework to finish, and lunches to be made. The house will be too quiet and too clean and I’ll be left wondering, “how did they grow up so fast?”
So in the time being, in the chaos, I smile, I embrace it, I thank God for it. I look for the magnificent in the mess and the splendor in the silliness.
And it’s in the morning, when I walk into my child’s room to wake her up, that I find her artwork,
And for the moment, the mistakes I’ve made and will make as a mother vanish, and I get that small glimmer of hope that I just might be doing things right. And I thank Christ for the privilege of being a mother and I realize that He truly can “make the chaos a chorus.”
Hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis, bombings, bomb threats, school shootings, shootings at work, shooting at the theater, shootings anywhere, anyplace, cancer, disease, suicide, death, the unknown…
It would be easy to retreat and live in fear, overwhelming, paralyzing, immobilizing fear.
But I am reminded that there are over 300 scripture verses that have to do with fear. I think of the words in;
Psalm 90 – “He will cover you with feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection. DO NOT BE AFRAID of the terrors of the night, nor the arrow that flies in the day. Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness, nor the disaster that strikes at midday.”
Isaiah 41:10 – “DO NOT FEAR, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God.
John 14:27 – “I am leaving you with a gift – peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give, SO DO NOT BE TROUBLED OR AFRAID.”
2 Timothy 1:7 – “I HAVE NOT GIVEN YOU A SPIRIT OF FEAR or timidity but of power, love and self-discipline.”
Joshua 1:9 – “This is my command – be strong and courageous! DO NOT BE AFRAID or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.
And one of my favorites,
2 Kings 6 – “DO NOT BE AFRAID”, the prophet answered, “those who are with us are more than who are with them”…In the next instant the servant saw that the hills surrounding the city were full of horses – and these weren’t the enemy’s horses. They were surrounded by chariots of fire. God’s army of angels was all around, protecting Elisha and the servant.”
Chris Tomlin writes,
“You hear me when I call , You are my morning song
Though darkness fills the night, It cannot hide the light.
WHOM SHALL I FEAR?
You crush the enemy, Underneath my feet
You are my Sword and Shield, though troubles linger still.
WHOM SHALL I FEAR?
I know Who goes before me, I know Who stands behind
The God of angel armies, is always by my side
The One who reigns forever, He is a friend of mine.”
What more could I need? The God of angel armies is always by my side!
There’s a peace, the world cannot give, but Christ, and this peace comes when I stop focusing on my circumstances and look up at the Controller of all things. And then, I can honestly say, “The Lord is my light and my salvation; WHOM SHALL I FEAR? (Psalm 27)
Travis Cottrell sings,
“In Christ alone my hope is found, He is my life, my strength, my song.
This cornerstone, this solid rock, firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace, when FEARS ARE STILLED and striving’s cease!
My comforter, my all in all, here in the love of Christ I stand.
No guilt in life, NOR FEAR IN DEATH, this is the power of Christ in me.
From life’s first cry, to my final breath, Jesus commands my destiny.
No power of hell, no scheme of man, can ever pluck me from His hand.
Till He returns or calls me home, here in the power of Christ I’ll stand…
On Christ the solid rock I stand all other ground is sinking sand,
ALL other ground is sinking sand…”
I’ve had my share of struggles, some were brought upon me and others I brought upon myself. Too many times, I’ve tried to work through the valleys, focusing on my circumstances and my fear. But, I am learning to release, let go, all that concerns me and place it at the feet of Christ. What a waste it would be for me to live in fear and anxiety when God promises me peace and courage. I do not know what the next day, the next hour, or even the next minutes will bring, but I FEAR NOT, knowing that God holds all of my tomorrows in His gracious, loving hand. “From life’s first cry, to my final breath, Jesus commands my destiny.”
January 1st 2013
I turn to the first page of my new journal…
A clean sheet of paper
A blank canvas
So pristine, unblemished, and expectant.
I hesitate to write the first word.
Intimidation stares back at me in fear that making the first mark will ruin it’s purity.
It reminds me of the New Year.
Even with the best of intentions, it doesn’t take me long to take something completely flawless and stain it with mistakes and failures.
I’m thankful that the Creator of the Universe gives me more than just a New Year to start over. He surely knows that I need more than that!
With a New Year I’m given twelve new months to start over,
and with each month I have four new weeks to start fresh,
and with each week I have seven new days to make better choices,
and with each day I have twenty-four hours to wipe the slate clean,
and with each hour I have sixty minutes to start again.
A New Year
A New Month
A New Week
A New Day
A New Hour
A New Minute
This year leaves me with many, many new beginnings and choices to start over. This isn’t an excuse to rationalize sin. It is Christ’s mercy, grace, and forgiveness. I have a choice that comes year to year, month to month, hour to hour, minute to minute to live for myself and temporal gain or to pick up my cross daily and live for Christ and the eternal.
I leave 2012 in the past, with my mistakes and my regrets and start 2013 with these words…
“O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.”
Working and working and working some more,
Going on business trips and to meetings galore.
Coaching my boys in my free time,
Paying for gymnastics with my very last dime.
Loving a home where children’s laughter rings,
These are a few of Chris’ favorite things.
Wondering how many miles to run in a day,
Driving the family taxi without any pay.
Spending the day with four kids and their friends,
Enjoying this time for soon it will end.
Never knowing what the new day brings
These are a few of Suzanne’s favorite things.
Wearing shorts all year without feeling a draft,
Filming Lego movies and living on Minecraft.
Playing football my opponents beware,
Getting ready for school with little time to spare.
Reminding Mom “don’t clip my wings”
These are a few of Tommy’s favorite things.
Playing basketball and baseball and football non-stop,
Hanging with Tommy, my sisters, and Pop.
Talking and talking no detail left out,
Reading and writing, subjects I could do without.
Trading my lunch for snacks my friends bring,
These are a few of Steven’s favorite things.
Loving the summer and days at the pool,
Being the fastest kid at the school.
Getting challenged to races during recess,
Wearing cute clothes but never a dress.
Being able to flip like my legs contain springs,
These are a few of Leah’s favorite things.
Being a gymnast, an actress, and dancer,
Ask me a question, I’ll give the right answer.
Bendalina’s my name I can stretch in weird ways,
Wearing Dad out, I can truly amaze.
Living like a princess for the King of all kings,
These are a few of Rachael’s favorite things.
Mary and Joseph and the Christ Child,
A Savior awaited for quite a long while.
How divine, a beautiful night,
the darkness now filled with a Holy Light.
A gift of Salvation only Jesus brings,
These are a few of our family’s favorite things.
I am sad that a man would plot evil against the innocent. I am sad that such a hideous act of violence would take the lives of the young. I am sad that life is that easy to take away. I am angry that we live in a world that seems to glorify evil and yet when something terrible happens we are so quick to say, “Where was our good and loving God?” I am troubled that I feel sick in the pit of my stomach when I drive my kids to school. I’m troubled that my heart hurts when I pick up my children from school. I am heart-broken that I will never look at another child in the same way again. I am troubled that my emotions are so raw when I think about these things. I am heart-broken when I think of the little ones who were taken away so quickly. I am sickened when I think of the fear they must have felt. I am speechless when I think of the mom’s and dad’s who are feeling a heart-break and sadness that words cannot express. I am angry that we live in a cruel world. I am angry that there is so much darkness.
And yet God reminds me that he is the Great I Am.
I AM righteous anger. I AM peace. I AM joy. I AM healing. I AM good. I AM eternal-life. I AM faithful. I AM comfort. I AM forgiveness. I AM hope. I AM love. I AM light. I AM here. I WAS there. And I WILL still BE here. I AM anything and everything that you need me to be because I AM the Great I AM.
We must remember that “Heaven is not here, it’s There. If we were given all we wanted here our hearts would settle for this world rather than the next. God is forever luring us up and away from this one, wooing us to Himself and His still invisible Kingdom, where we will certainly find what we so keenly long for.” (Elizabeth Elliott)
“Where boys become Kings and girls become Queens, wrapped in your majesty.
And there “they will be brave and free and shout Your name in victory!” (Audio Adrenaline)
This was written by Cameo Smith, Mt. Smith, PA…
Twas’ 11 days before Christmas, around 9:38 When 20 beautiful children stormed through heaven’s gate.
Their smiles were contagious, their laughter filled the air they could hardly believe all the beauty they saw there.
They were filled with such joy, they didn’t know what to say.They remembered nothing of what had happened earlier that day.
“Where are we?” asked a little girl, as quiet as a mouse. “This is heaven.” declared a small boy. “we’re spending Christmas at God’s house.”
When what to their wondering eyes did appear, But Jesus, their Savior, the children gathered near.
He looked at them and smiled, and they smiled just the same. Then He opened His arms and He called them by name.
And in that moment was joy, that only heaven can bring Those children all flew into the arms of their King
And as they lingered in the warmth of His embrace, One small girl turned and looked at Jesus’ face.
And as if He could read all the questions she had He gently whispered to her, “I’ll take care of mom and dad.”
Then He looked down on earth, the world far below He saw all of the hurt, the sorrow, and woe
Then He closed His eyes and He outstretched His hand, “Let My power and presence re-enter this land!”
“May this country be delivered from the hands of fools” “I’m taking back my nation. I’m taking back my schools!”
Then He and the children stood up without a sound. “Come now my children, let me show you around.”
Excitement filled the space, some skipped and some ran. All displaying enthusiasm that only a small child can.
And I heard Him proclaim as He walked out of sight, “In the midst of this darkness, I AM STILL THE LIGHT.”
This year has gone by way too fast. When Thanksgiving rolled around, I was still trying to get used to the fact that we weren’t spending our days at the pool anymore. And now, Christmas is right around the corner. Wouldn’t it be nice to stop the clock and the deadlines in the business of this season and think about all the events that were taking place so many years ago…
Crimson shades of tattered white, a moonless night yet all is bright.
An ordinary man who had a dream, of impossible things, or so it seemed.
A child bride, a mere servant girl, carrying a baby that would change the world.
Two relatives startling an unborn Son, only to prove what had actually begun.
A cousin, set apart to lead the King’s way, to turn back hearts that have gone astray.
An order to travel to one’s own town, a difficult journey with a belly so round.
They could stay in the stable or so they were told, each innkeeper said all the rooms had been sold.
Shepherds and wise man each brought a gift, to lay at His feet our sins He would lift.
The King of all kings was born in a manger, humbled and quiet did his parents realize the danger?
A king afraid of losing reign, a baby born to carry the pain.
A spirit of death upon the earth, what Man has come with second birth?
A Godly man holds The Christ, warning Mary that there will be a price.
A prophetess sees God’s Salvation, and spreads the hope to a desperate nation.
A mother pondering all things in her heart, God’s Son would bring joy, but first torn apart.
His life lived for only one reason, He’s why we celebrate this Christmas season.
A baby born, to live to die, it’s tempting to ask the question why?
His story doesn’t stop at His birth, He died on the cross to give our lives worth.
But our story doesn’t end at His grave, He’s risen again our souls He can save.
So let us bow down our lives to give, we need to die to fully live.
Ruth Bell Graham says it well, “This is Christmas – the real meaning of it. God loving, searching; giving Himself – to us. Man needing; receiving, giving himself – to God. Redemption’s glorious exchange of gifts! Without which we cannot live; Without which we cannot give to those we love anything of lasting value. This is the meaning of Christmas – the wonder and the glory of it.”
“After things pondered…
the dreams of a child,
the realities of an adult,
one thing remains…
I’ve grown old enough to know that fairies don’t have tails
that good men often suffer while evil men prevail.
I’ve tried to find that white frame house with matching picket fences
but found instead black picket signs and hatred’s thorny fences.
I’ve lived enough of life to see the innocent maligned
and I’ve concluded fairness is a rarity to find.
I’ve seen the noble dreams of man be in an instant shattered
I sigh to see another woman used and bruised and battered.
I’ve seen shots of tiny orphans as rulers rise and fall
I’ve stood by stricken parents and caskets way too small.
I’ve abandoned childish notions that life is like pretend
I’ve tossed paper to the ground and sobbed, “When will this madness end?”
But I’ve never grown up quite enough to leave my hope behind
I’ll think I’ve turned my back on hope then bump into the kind
Of Gentle Traveler sent to bind my wounded faith with love
Who sets my feet upon a Rock and mind on things above.
Then I find myself still hoping old folks won’t be left alone
And can’t seem to quit believing Daddies still might move back home.
And that an orphan might just find a reason to survive
And parents of the missing might just find their son alive.
No, “I’ve never grown up quite enough to scorn sweet signs of Spring
Nor can I help but think a tree is happy with a swing.
And you must pardon if I hope The Pearl of Heaven’s Gate
Is the treasure I’ve adored and longed to celebrate.
I hope to hug the ones I’ve Loved and jump on cotton clouds
Where angels sing His holiness and saints can laugh out loud.
Some bedtime tales are worth the tell – May one be quickly due
Let Gabriel groom that great white horse and board Faithful and True.
So let this world’s prince mock and scorn My hope is NOT ashamed
For in the King of Kingdom’s grand My hope has found a Name.”
Faith – Knowing He can whether or not He does.
Hope – Knowing He will whether or not He has.
Love – Knowing He died whether or now we live.
(Beth Moore – Things Pondered)
This was the first thing I read this morning. My thoughts and prayers are with the families in Connecticut. There are NO words that can express the heartbreak.
I have a love/hate relationship with the Chicago marathon. Once my favorite marathon and now my Nemesis.
My history with Chicago (and other marathons) goes something like this…
1997 – signed up to run Chicago, my first marathon. At that point, I thought anyone who would spend over 2 hours running on a perfectly gorgeous Saturday morning was insane and taking time out of the weekend to run a 20 miler was the stupidest thing I had ever heard of.
However, I’m a little competitive, so when somebody told me that they doubted I would ever run a marathon, I took that as a challenge. So, averaging 25-30 miles a week and one 20 mile run, I thought I was ready. Honestly, I really didn’t have any desire to run a marathon (I just wanted to prove this guy wrong) and physically I really wasn’t feeling 100%. I was so fatigued, hungry, light-headed, and nauseous. I chalked all these symptoms up to training. However, the night before the marathon my sister- in-law convinced me to do a pregnancy test. Whatever!? I don’t think so. But, just to appease her we drove to the store and bought a test. I took it, and let me tell you, it didn’t even take a second for that thing to register a positive sign. So obviously, I must have done it wrong. There was no way I was pregnant. So, we drove to the store again, this time I bought 3 more tests. After the 4th test and the fourth positive sign I started to believe that I just might be pregnant. Since, this was all new to me, the marathon, the pregnancy, etc. etc. I decided I wasn’t going to “chance” anything and I just wouldn’t run the Chicago.
2001 – I now had 2 boys. A 3 year old and 1 year old. I had been running off and on. I actually started to race some 5ks and was doing pretty well. One of my friends told me he was thinking about doing the 1/2 marathon in Chicago and that I should consider it. Well, of course, if he could do it, I definitely could do it. So, I ran my first 1/2 marathon. My friend also told me he was going to run Chicago. I figured since I had run the 1/2, how bad could the marathon be. I had 3 weeks. When most people are starting to taper I was starting to train. Pushing my boys in a double jogging stroller, I ran one 20 miler, and one 15 mile run.
I actually made it to the starting line this time and I was completely oblivious when it came to running the marathon. I specifically remember having some guy pass me and say, “We’re almost done! Only a 5k left!” My thought, “A 5k! That’s all I usually run! That’s still a long way to go!” But, 3 hours and 22 minutes later I finished. I finished and I wanted to cry. I’m not sure if I wanted to cry because I was excited or because I was in so much pain. I sat down against a wall and it occurred to me that that was a very bad idea! It took all I had to pick myself back up again. On the way home, I checked the marathon off my list, and swore I’d never do another one!!
2003 – rolled around and I had a group of runners who were training for the marathon. Why not run it again? I had just had my 3rd baby and running (once again) would help me get back into shape. I was doing a little more racing and my goal for the marathon was to finish under 3 hours. Still not having any idea in regards to pacing a marathon I finished in 3:16. Sub-3 not so much! On the way back to the car I swore I was done with the marathon! No more! I hate the marathon!
(2005 – I had just had my fourth (and last) child when we moved to Memphis. Wanting to get back into shape again, it was easy for the guys I was running with to convince me to run the Memphis marathon. Again, my goal was sub-3. I trained for 6 weeks. My weekly mileage increased from 35-40 miles a week to 50-60 miles. Whoo hoo!
The day of the marathon I knew it was going to be my day…until about mile 18-20 – when I realized I probably shouldn’t have started out so fast and it was coming back to bite me. The last 10k was a death march. 3:06. Finishing 4th overall and 1st Memphis resident and winning cash took some of the pain away.) And this time I swore I WAS going to run another marathon and run under 3 hours.)
2006 – Back to Chicago. I realized after running 3 marathons I needed some sort of training plan to follow. If I was going to run under 3 I needed to train right. So, I got Pete Pftzinger’s book, Advanced Marathoning and followed his 18 week plan of 80 miles a week. I wanted that 2:59:59 and I was going to get it this time! The night before the marathon I talked to a friend who told convinced me to aim for a 2:48, the Olympic trials qualifying mark. The races I had run throughout training indicated that I could probably pull it off. His advice was even if I “blew-up” and didn’t hit 2:48, I’d still run under 3. So I went for it. The first 20-22 miles I zoned out and just ran. I was on pace for a 2:46-2:48. And then w/less than 4 miles to go my body gave out. It just wouldn’t go anymore. My mind was telling my body to keep pushing, but my body just wouldn’t respond. However, I finished in 2:50:51! Sub-3 for sure! I didn’t care about missing the Olympic qualifying mark. I didn’t even really know what that entailed, I was just excited that I ran a 2:50!! Chicago was my best and favorite marathon. (Also in 2006 I won CARA runner of the year – a great end to a great training program!)
2007 – I started working with a coach. I had one year to hit the OT time. I was so close in 2006 it would be ridiculous not to go for it in 2007. So I signed up for Chicago again. And I trained hard, harder than ever. I wanted that 2:47.
After hearing the weather forecasted for race day I wasn’t so sure. (It ended up being a record high and the marathon was eventually stopped because of the heat.) My coach and I decided that I would start the race, but if I ever came to a point where I fell off qualifying pace I’d drop out and I’d save it for another marathon. By mile 6 I knew it was going to be tough. And by mile 11, I knew it wasn’t happening. I walked off the course. That was the first time I quit during a race and settled with a DNF. It was a terrible feeling but I was told it was the right one. I wasn’t running to finish the marathon I was running for a specific time, and because of weather conditions that time wasn’t in my reach. But still, what an awful feeling. After this experience Chicago didn’t seem so great anymore.
(2007 – resumed training after Chicago and went out to CIM. I was probably in the best physical shape of my life but mentally I was burned out. From start to finish the marathon was a struggle – I finished in 2:54. Again, I won CARA runner of the year – but it still didn’t erase the two “bad” marathons I had that year.)
(2008 – 2010 I became a little more clumsy than usually. Suffered 3 different injuries – none of them really running related – but all of them stupidity related. I’ve mentioned before I have a talent of slipping and falling and within these two years some of the falls resulted in broken bones. Not good.)
2010 – Injury free and ready to go, I signed up for Chicago. I still had a bad taste in regards to Chicago after 2007 but that didn’t matter. The Olympic Qualifying window was re-opened and I was ready to go for it. Again, as early as mile 11 I was struggling and by mile 15 I knew there was no way I could hold a 6:20 pace for the rest of the race. At mile 16 I saw my family and walked off the course. Leah, my 9 year old was there, yelling at me, “That’s it!!?? You’re done!? You can’t stop? You have to do this!?” I cried. Feeling that I not only had let myself down, but also my daughter, my 3 other kids, and family, and friends who were following this journey along side me. I couldn’t believe I had just walked off Chicago for a 2nd time. I hate the Chicago Marathon! I will never sign up to run it again!
Whose dream of qualifying for the trials was this anyway. I had so many people telling me I could do it. But, did I really believe that I could do it, did I even want to do it? Was I just attempting this feat because other people told me I should go for it? And why was running becoming somewhat of a chore? Why was I feeling so much pressure from something that used to be a fun re-creational activity and stress-reliever for me?
2011 – I took some time off and really started to think if I wanted to go after the OT time. I decided when registration opened for Chicago I wasn’t going to sign up. It wasn’t until the end of May 2011 that I realized I needed to do this and I wanted to do this. Registration was closed for Chicago and I figured if I called the race director and he let me in I’d train for a 2:46. Sure enough, he let me in. And I decided from that point forward that as long as the door was open I was going for it. This was my year! I PR’d in almost every race distance. I ran my best 1/2 marathon (on tired legs) and my time indicated that I would be able to run a 2:46 w/the proper taper and fresh legs. And then, 2 weeks before Chicago I TORE my calf muscle. Chicago wasn’t going to happen. In fact, even trying to run an OT time at a different marathon was probably not going to happen. 16 weeks of hard training and all I could show for it was a ripped calf muscle. Whatever it is, bad weather, an injury, etc., etc., Chicago’s proven to be bad luck for me!
(2011 – Chicago came and went. I rested my calf. And then attempted to run an OT time at the Monumental Marathon in Nov 2011. My calf became an issue at mile 22 and I dropped. Now 3 DNF’s for the marathon. The marathon in general was becoming my nemesis. I had one more chance to run an OT time at CIM in Dec of 2011. I knew that my calf was going to be an issue – but I decided to lay it all on the line and see what would happen. By mile 3 I began to feel calf pain and by mile 21 I felt as if my calf was going to explode. At mile 22 I fell behind the pack of 20-25 girls (most of them finished with a qualifying time) and I had to stop to stretch out my calf before I did irreparable damage. At that point I knew I wasn’t going to qualify but I knew I was going to finish. Even if it meant crawling to the finish line, I wasn’t going to walk away with another DNF. I was ready to close the book on the marathon!
2:50:03. Not an OQT, but a new PR. Disappointing, yes. Devastating, not really. Why? Because through this experience I remembered that I am more than a runner. Running does NOT define me and the Olympic Trials doesn’t define my running. I’ve accomplished a lot in regards to running. It’s not my full time job , and I’m happy with what I’ve been able to do with it as a “hobby.” The Olympic Trials would have just been icing on the cake!
So that brings me to 2012 – When registration opened up for Chicago I registered. WHY? WHY? I don’t understand, why did I register! Because, I thought that I would face my nemesis once and for all. Sign up and actually run the stupid thing.
However, I had a rough start to the year. It was hard having had such a big goal for the trials, it was something that I had dedicated myself to for almost 2 years and then it was over. Running local races, just didn’t seem as exciting. A little anti-climatic if you ask me. Once again, I found myself wondering if training so hard was worth it and if it was something I wanted to continue to do. And my training didn’t seem to be going right, I was still struggling with my calf muscle and my easy runs were hard, my hard runs were impossible, my long runs seemed to last forever. And then, sure enough, by September things started to fall back into place, my running started to “click” and I started to feel good. However, a little late given the marathon is 10/7. I decided I’d skip Chicago and start a 12 week training program for CIM.
I want to run another good marathon, and I know I’m not ready to do that this Sunday. But, then I got to thinking, maybe I should just run Chicago. Run Chicago… to break my record of Chicago DNF’s. Run Chicago…so I don’t have to say I signed up for it but didn’t run it, AGAIN. It’s not my goal marathon by any means, but I’ve decided to swallow my pride and run it as a long training run in preparation for CIM. I want to run it and finish it. This time around I don’t have a specific time to hit, my goal is to run smart, train smart and finish my long run. I’m not looking to race against the competition or looking to set a new PR. I’m just going to have a good time, to enjoy my scheduled long run with 45,000 other runners. I’m doing no more than running the marathon on Sunday strictly for fun! And, then when I get to CIM in December, that’s when I’ll be focused, put on my game face and be ready to race!
The alarm goes off at 5:30 and I don’t even give it a second thought. There’s NO way I’m getting up and going for a run that early. I’ll wait, set the alarm for 6am and get up then. 6am comes too soon. I’m too tired. I’ll try 6:15. Nope, that’s not going to work either. Now, after hitting the snooze button for the third time, I’m awake enough to think about my day. I decide I’d rather sleep! After all, I am pretty tired, and I only have 8 miles on my training schedule. I’ll certainly be able to carve out an hour later in the day to get it done.
However, also at this point, I’m tossing and turning, feeling kind of guilty for not getting up early and realizing how busy NOT running, (before the kids wake up) is going to make my day. Well, now it’s 7:02, I might as well get up, make coffee, and get the day started. And, then I realize I just don’t have an hour of running today, I also have an hour of strength training. Hmmm…great, this is now going to be more of a challenge than I thought.
By 8:15 I have my two girls up, showered, dressed and ready to go. My 3 year old niece slept-over so she is also up and ready to go home. My boys, moving a bit slower, are at least up and fed. I really need to leave the house at 8:30 so I can be at my first store visit (for Saucony) by 9:00…
So here’s how the rest of the day goes…
8:37 – Left the house
9:02 – Dropped Emma off at my Brother’s house in Wheaton.
9:20 – Arrive at Dick’s Sporting Goods Store in Lombard – store visit complete. Drive to DSG store in Oswego – complete. Drive to DSG store in Yorkville – complete. Drive to DSG store in Geneva – complete.
12:12 – Racing home in order to get Tommy to an orthodontist appointment in Wheaton at 12:30. Never going to make it on time! Why did I think a 12:30 appointment would fit into our schedule today?
12:35 – Arrive at the orthodontist, ONLY 5 minutes late. Man, I’m good! (I’ve always prided myself on being an “on-time” person. Even with three kids I never arrived late to anything! However, after having my 4th child, my thoughts of “on-time” meant that I had a buffer of 5-10 minutes.) It’s so hard to get anywhere “on-time” anymore.
12:36 – Walking to the door of the office, wondering why all the lights are off!? Hmmm….odd. Turning the door handle to the office and finding it LOCKED!? Are you kidding me!? I know his appointment was today.
12:37 – Oh well, I’ll get in the car, call the office, re-schedule the appointment. Now, time has just opened up for me to get my run in when I get home! Sweet! ( :
12:39 – In the car, cell phone rings, it’s the orthodontist asking if I’m bringing Tommy in for his appointment today? What!? I was just at your office and YOU’RE not there. Oh, that’s because the Dr. is working out of the Woodridge office today!? I didn’t realize there were two offices. How far is it from the Wheaton office? “15 minutes.” Ok, I can probably do that, but I have to get my daughter to gymnastics by 2:30. “That’s no problem, once you get here it will only take a few minutes.” Ok, we’ll be there by 1!
1:05 – Arrive at orthodontist…
1:25 – Still at orthodontist
1:44 – Waiting…..at orthodontist
1:57 – STILL waiting at orthodontist…I guess I have a different concept of exactly what a FEW minutes means. UGH!
2:00 – REALLY TRYING HARD TO FOCUS ON THE POSITIVE! Finally, I have to give in and call Chris and ask him if he can get Leah to gymnastics.
2:03 – Receive phone call from Leah. She is crying. Why? Well of course, her gymnastics’ bag and grips are in the trunk of my car. “I promise you, honey, I will have it to practice before you are done warming-up!”
2:18 – FINALLY, leave the orthodontist office. Next appointment is scheduled for this Thursday at 2pm – I was told it will take an hour. Hmmmm…..
2:44 – Arrive home, Chris kindly offers to drive Leah’s bag to gymnastics for me. Thank you!! Feed the kids a quick lunch! Yes, I know it’s a little past the traditional lunch hour…my bad!
2:49 – I have 61 minutes to complete a 60 minute strength workout. No problem.
3:45 – Drive Rachael to gymnastics – arrive ON-TIME! (Although, I’m still wearing workout clothes and sweating from the strength workout…haha)
4:15 – Again 65 minutes to squeeze in a 60 minute run – Yep, No problem!
5:20 – Get boys ready for football practice, arrive at practice ON-TIME! Amazing!
6:00 – Pick up Leah from gymnastics…wait until 6:15 when Rachael’s finished with practice.
6:30 – Back to football practice – to actually watch the boys on their first night to see how it goes.
8:00 – Home, dinner, get kids ready for bed.
8:55 – Thinking tomorrow will be more of the same. However, this time when the alarm goes off, there is No question that I’m swinging my tired legs out of bed and getting my workout done early!
People always wonder how I run when I have four kids. Well, I guess this is how a mother of four, trying to train and race at her best gets it done.