Category Archives: Speaking to The Ladies

Stars In The Night

I think that I am going to let this song, STARS IN THE NIGHT by Tenth Avenue North be the narrative for the past 6 months. It will put ‘grand/lofty/high’ words behind this chapter for the past 6. months. It is so hard to communicate the lows without the lows sounding too desperate. It was, at times, heart breaking and hopeless but I refused to give up, I reached out, I spoke out and God refused to let me give in.

No matter where you lead
We wanna follow you
The trouble is we forget who we belong to
We chase the wind and tides
We chase the reasons why
Chase the spark inside each other’s eyes
Desires are at war
We want that final shore
Sailing on until we find what we’ve been looking for

December and January were a blur. On many nights, I found myself driving around downtown sitting in my car, in the absence of sound. Looking at the stillness of the lights. The cold nights brought fewer people than most months. Gosh, like in search of stillness. In search of numbness.

We fix our eyes on what we know is true
Even in our shame grace makes a way through
We are obsession, a constellation
You are light in and out of every season
So we keep pressing on
With our redemption song
No one can undo what you’ve done

February and March: What I learned to be true was that I am not hopeless. I went to the doctor to see if I could change my antidepressant. I cannot say enough of the steadfastness of my friends. There were some days I did not know what I wanted or needed. To have the freedom to be vulnerable and the freedom to be me. . . that is what they gave me.

Hallelujah
We’re running to you
On fire from the mercy in your eyes
And through the dark
Singing we are yours
Your love will lead us through the fight
Like stars in the night

April and May: It was like I was moving out of the “fog”. I had more clarity. I felt like I had more choices (even though I had these choices all along.) I decided to stop attending my “broken and beloved” study. I went back to my doctor to alter my prescription again. I made an appointment with my therapist to catch up and get some clarity. I am for sure feeling more like myself. More enthusiasm, more energy, less sadness, less crying.

More living. . . less wilting It is strange to not feel like yourself. Stress is a powerful thing. From December to early April I was in constant “fight or flight” mode. What is a healthy response to fear/danger became stuck in the “on” position. Instead of saving our lives, it can contribute to insomnia, depression, panic attacks, and a host of other health concerns. Instead of being a life-preserver, it can wreak havoc on our health, performance, and quality of life (Dr. Patricia Fitzgerald, “Is Your Stress Response Stuck in the ‘On’ position?”).

I believe that it took my husband, my friends, my doctor, my therapist, my God and my self to REFUSE to give up or give in. To anyone reading, who is in a desperate place, a dangerous place, a dark place. . . there is absolutely hope, and it is not just one thing. It is a combination of support that can bring a powerful change. It is not easy to reach out or to be vulnerable, but I have no regrets. Life is tough sometimes. We are all wired differently. I just refuse to stop fighting!!

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God is Near. I AM enough. God is good.

Biggest role I will play to date? Mom of a child with a distorted view of eating/image/self. If you have followed my blog for the past few years, then, you know my story. I have an ED.

I’ve always been brave. Not always protected or championed.

I ask to “walk on water”, but I think that I have been walking on water. His arms stretched out. He knows that I am brave. His arms stay out. He is SO strong and SO patient. I get out there . . . in the waves. . . in the wind. . . in the path of the squall line. . . He gives me a choice (and He loves me no matter): stay in the boat, get out of the boat, walk, retreat back to the boat. . . He waits. He could make me, walk. But, He made me brave. He knows that I can, and He reminds me that I have nothing to be afraid of (even the bravest need to be reminded).

Maybe? It’s not so much about protecting __________________ from it. Instead, helping them to be safe. Helping them to establish boundaries. Helping them to know right/wrong. So, when, NOT IF, they are disappointed, when, NOT IF, they feel out of control, they will know they have a choice, too,  and I will love ______________ no matter what!

People in our lives are NEVER there by chance. It’s our journey <just that>. . . ours: our sorrow, our grief, our joy, our race. . . But, OH! the people he brings to walk with us. The creator of all things. The God of purpose. The God of intention, He KNOWS. He knows the ones we need. He knows the ones who will be with us in the deep, dark. He’s sent the ones to sit in the still and stagnant. He’s appointed the ones to take our joy to another level.

And His tears–Oh, don’t miss His tears. They came from a heart as broken as yours or mine.

-Max Lucado, THE MANGER

As women a disordered view of food/image/self can become a fight for life, a fight for freedom. Never would I have imagined my beautiful child. . . my precious, beloved child. . . taking up this fight too.

“God is near. I AM enough. God is good” has been my prayer, my truth, my desperate plea. And, it is true. It has been true in the middle of the night when I wake up in fear. It has been true in the counselor’s office when the tears will not stop. It has been true on my long runs, when I am not sure I can do this. . . 

Treading Water

MAY 2017

last month of school for 3 children

email from my parents, “we are moving to Michigan on July 24th”

my brother having open heart surgery

my 14 year old headed to High School

my 14 year old having new friends

In the summer of 1993, I completed lifeguard training.

  • swim 200-400 yards without rest
  • tread water for 2 minutes
  • grab 10 pound brick from 8-12′ of water and swim back with it
  • CPR/AED

Fast forward to May 2017, twenty-four years later. I have been treading water, this time,  for 30 days. I swim, then tread. I swim, then, tread. Then, tread/swim some more,  all the while, holding on to a 10 pound brick for the duration.

It’s been physically tiring, mentally tiring, and spiritually tiring.

At times, going under. . . at times, heaving for breath. . . at times, crying so hard that I could not breathe. . . at times, my heart, beating so fast. . .

Swimming, treading water, holding on is a lot harder than running.

So f a i n t, I just wanted to collapse. So w i r e d that nothing in my mind could settle down. So c o n s u m e d, I did not want to eat. So e m p t y, I lost a bit of me.  Truly, the only thing that I had to offer my friends and Jesus was my need, my demand, my urgency, my longing.

Promise me you will not spend so much time treading water and trying to keep your head above the waves that you forget,

TRULY FORGET,

how much you have always loved to swim. . .

-Tyler Knott Gregson

Broken

I brought a gift to a friend of mine. It was a small, turquoise, ceramic ring dish. It was charming. I would sit it in the most beautiful way next to my sink to hold my precious things. I was going to drop it in her mailbox, but she was outside, holding her little girl.

I was having a bad morning with my teenage daughter. I was mad. I was sad. I was frustrated. I had been crying.

My friend opened the box and thanked me for this little treasure. Then, in a moment, before she was able to use it for its purpose. . . i t  s l i p p e d. . . i t  f e l l . . . i t   s h a t t e r e d. She apologized. She felt bad.  I picked up the pieces. I wanted to keep them. It was worth something, to me, broken. The sound of it smashing onto the sidewalk, fractured my thoughts. It changed the course of my day. I still have the pieces.

At first, I thought that I was going to take the pieces and use them to imagine a mosaic. Imagine this small dish as part of something new, different. An entirely altered purpose. I placed them on top of my dryer. I looked at them each time I walked out the door, for a week. I would be the one to fashion them in a new form. I would create.

But then. . . I learned about Kintsugi

Kintsugi (“golden joinery”) or kintsukuroi (“golden repair”) is the centuries-old Japanese art of fixing broken pottery with a special lacquer dusted with powdered gold, silver, or platinum. Beautiful seams of gold glint in the cracks of ceramic ware, giving a unique appearance to the piece. This repair method celebrates the artifact’s unique history by emphasizing the fractures and breaks instead of hiding or disguising them. Kintsugi often makes the repaired piece even more beautiful than the original, revitalizing the artifact with new life.

It is related to the Japanese philosophy of wabi-sabi, which calls for finding beauty in the flawed or imperfect. Making it a part of the object’s history.

The beauty and importance of the one looking at the dish, not the dish itself. Handing the (pieces of the) dish to the craftsman means that you are going to give the dish a total new life. . . a beautiful art piece.

Muneaki Shimode, Kintsugi craftsman

We humans break easily. We don’t hurt the same way. We don’t break the same way.

Dear Lord, 

Bestow on the broken. . . beauty instead of ashes,

Use gold to adhere the pieces left after the shattering, 

We desire to hand you the broken pieces,

Fashion them into new life, on display for your splendor.

In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

My Mountain Life

Have you ever had one of those weeks? days? You know what mean. Life, circumstance, people take you by surprise and not in a good way. Things compound and they well up and drip out. The heartache, the brokenness the sadness drips out, like a leaky facet from my eyes.

I do go to the mountains that I have close. I go there and dream of the mountains that I want in my future. Dream of what it is going to take to get there. I remember where I have been. . . the mountains. . . I long, hunger to go back. The places that I know I am capable of going. The places that I know I get to work hard to go.

It is a longing that alludes to hope. A pure place. A wild place. An untouched place. A dark place. A quiet place. A lonely place. A drastic place. A high place. A heavenly place. . . to me. I got a taste of the depth, the struggle, the beauty and I want to go back.

It was in a (mountain) place where the beauty of friendship, fellowship, community played out. . . for me. It was a piece of heaven on earth. I am looking ahead to 2017. . . I am anxiously looking for struggle, courage, pain, depth and fire, commitment and community.

2017 targets:

  1. Cascade Crest or Kodiak 100
  2. “Running to the Roar” more, in fear and with faith
  3. Coaching women to achieve their dreams and goals, no matter how impossibly big or simply small.

“Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are.”
 Jim Afremow,  The Champion’s Mind: How Great Athletes Think, Train, and Thrive

“The very traits that step us toward certain life situations are the very same traits that those situations encourage, reinforce, and amplify”

-Angela Duckworth, Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance

“Being willing to be uncomfortable is essential for building toughness; it’s a characteristic that will pay dividends when honed to its fullest potential.”

-Jason Koop with Jim Rutberg, Training Essentials for Ultra Running: How to Train Smarter, Race Faster, and Maximize Your Ultra Marathon Performance.

 

 

 

Race Recap: Monumental Marathon, BQ Quest

Boston Bound!

When Liz asked me to write this I was really excited to share my experience (I mean, what runner DOESN’T love to talk about running lol).   But sitting here now all I can think is crap – where do I start? So I guess I’ll give you a little background.  I’m a 40 year old, divorced, remarried, no human kids but one awesome dog child mom, equine surgeon, nonrunner until 5 years ago woman.  That about sums it up haha.  I come from a long line of “real “ runners, but I never ran more than a mile or 2 on the treadmill (begrudgingly) until I went through my divorce.  I started running then, & a bunch of ½ marathons & 5 marathons later here we are.

The plot is probably familiar-ish to many of you: “I’m just going to do one ½ then I’ll go back to 5/10ks” followed by “I’m going to do one more ½ because I think I can go a little faster”; “I’ll NEVER run a marathon, the ½ is plenty for me”; “I’m going to do one full, just as a bucket list thing, but ONLY one”; “that was terrible, I am never doing that again” (fast forward 3 more marathons…) “I think I want to TRY to qualify for Boston?”. Turns out running is fairly addictive haha.  But I love that it is also a sport that you can improve in and make gains if you put in the work.

As for qualifying for Boston, a few things to note: 1-I am not particularly fast.  I’m also not particularly slow, but I do not consider myself a naturally gifted runner.  In fact, I’m pretty darn average as far as my “speed” goes. So I knew IF I wanted to BQ I’d have to work pretty hard; 2-I absolutely needed the experience of my 1st 4 marathons to hit my standard of 3:45; 3-It takes a village, literally.  I cannot name everyone who helped me, but here are a few: Ryan, my husband, who put up with all of the early mornings, the Saturday nights I didn’t want to do something so I could run long on Sunday, & (probably the worst) the constant talking about the running; Liz, my AWESOME track coach & friend who gave me such solid running advice & inspiration on a weekly basis and while training for & finishing her own 100 mile (ONE HUNDRED FREAKING MILES!) race; Kara & Christine for being great cheerleaders/running buddies/therapists; Travis my brother for always pushing me to be a better version of myself in a mostly good natured way; Nashville on the Run for being such a welcoming & supportive running group; and last but definitely not least my co-coach & constant running companion Nike (my blue heeler), who made sure at least 1 of us was excited for EVERY training run.  See-an actual village!  That would be a cool village to live in. But I digress…

Training:

  • I used the Hal Higdon “Personal Best” plan & tweaked it a bit based on my last few marathons. I did an 18, 20, & 22 mile run for my last 3 “long” runs with a 12-13 mile run in the weeks between them.
  • I typically ran 4 days per week (track, medium run, short run, & long run). 5 days on a few of my peak weeks.
  • Yoga 1x per week (day after my long run)
  • Weight training 1x per week (usually the day before my long run)

The Race:

  • Indianapolis Monumental Marathon – I picked this race because it’s relatively flat, the weather is typically ideal, it was drivable for me, & historically it has a high number of people that BQ (yes, I’m a huge dork & research the crap out of everything. Because – science.)
  • What I wore:
    • Race start was 39 degrees, predicted to be 55 by race end. So I wore Nike spandex shorts, “Embrace the Suck” tank top (this was an important mantra for me-I said it repeatedly during the race) with a tech T shirt from a previous race over it, arm warmers made out of lucky 4 – leaf clover long socks (did I mention I’m superstitious?), a buff (from a past Ragnar trail team = more superstition) & compression socks.
    • I ditched the buff around mile 5, the tech T around 10, & the arm warmers around 15. I felt perfect (temperature wise) the entire time – I love running a little cold!
  • What I ate:
    • Week of: I tried to just add more carbs to my typically carb – low diet; so lots of sweet potatoes, white rice, & spaghetti a few nights out thanks to my cousin Marissa (2 time BQer) who was in town. I felt her making me a pre race dinners was a good omen (…superstitioius…)
    • I drank so much water the week before. So.   Water…
    • Night before: Ryan & I ate an early (6pm) dinner in our hotel. I had roasted chicken & mashed potatoes.  I’ve learned that for me, I need to eat early the night before & not too much.  I figure most of my “carb loading” has/should have occurred in the 5-6 days leading up to this, and a very big meal the night before just gives me GI issues on race day.
    • Moring of: ALWAYS = whole wheat bagel thin, almond butter, small redbull ~ 2 hours out.
    • During: Gu every 5 miles; by the 4th one I did NOT want it, but I know from past experience I NEED to eat them or it does not end well.
    • I drank a little water every mile; not sure how much total – 16oz through 13 miles, then used water from water stops after that.
  • The race!
    • My plan – my qualifying standard is 3:45 (~8:35 pace), but the last 2 years you’ve had to do at least 2 minutes faster than this to actually get into the race. So I was aiming for 3:42. No biggie right? WRONG! Turns out there’s a big (mental) difference in doing 8:35 for 26.2 vs. 8:25. That freaked me out, and honestly I was scared I couldn’t do it.
    • Decided to start w the 3:40 pacer & stay with him for as long as I could; if I could stay w him through 13 but not let the 3:45 pacer catch me after that I thought I’d be ok.
    • The 1st 5 miles were rough – I tend to start slow & get progressively faster, so this was REALLY fast for me to start. I started to get a little worried I couldn’t keep this pace up, but I quickly made myself stop thinking that.  NO NEGATIVE THOUGHTS!
    • From 5-10 the pacer was a bit erratic. Not his fault; we got behind a bit in the 1st 7 because it was crowded, turns, etc. & he slowed down at the water stops.  So he was trying to make up time (~8:00ish pace – eek!) but would continue to slow through the water stops.  I wasn’t digging this fast/slow/fast thing, so I went out a bit in front of him.  Girl who came with me: “we are going too fast”.  She was probably right, but I felt good!  So my new plan was to do my own thing/hold this pace for as long as I could.  “Just get to 10”…”Just get to 13”…”Just get to 15”…
    • Before I knew it I was 18 & still in front of him – REALLY??? Ok, this is good, but just keep this pace, you know you hit the wall between 18-22…
    • Mile 19: I felt so good (relative term for sure – every cell in my body hurt but not like a dying hurt haha? [yet] – not like the “hurt” that I knew was to come at some point) that I texted Ryan a pic of the 19 mile marker & time. Then I thought about the time – Holy crap I think I’m gonna do this!
    • Mile 20: Eminem’s “Phenomenal” came on. HOLY. CRAP. YES! It was like he was literally giving me a pep talk. & I was starting to need it.  It worked. Embrace the suck…
    • Mile 21: This isn’t great. It isn’t terrible, but it really isn’t great.  Wait – 5 miles left – Liz ran 100 FREAKING MILES! I’ll bet when she was at 95 she was so stoked! 95-man – get it together Liberty you can do 5 freakin miles. Embrace the suck…
    • Mile 22: Ah-there it is-the dying hurt. But still not as bad as I remembered?  “You ARE doing this! You CAN do this! Remember how disappointed you are in yourself when you stop…”
    • Mile 23: Ok yah this is actually pretty bad. But…you are on pace to kill this race! Think of all of the 4am days – you DID NOT do those to give up on this pace! You ARE NOT dialing this in!
    • Mile 24: Oh so there’s a hurt worst than the dying hurt? Awesome. Needed more motivation – put on “Beast” off of the Southpaw soundtrack –it’s my go-to when I’m struggling.  (I also have a playlist called “struggle bus” of songs that always get me pumped – I’d had it on since about 22).
    • Mile 25: This hurts SO BAD. BUT I AM DOING THIS! Just keep running.  Just keep running.  Keep. Running.
    • 2: You guys, I CANNOT even describe how I felt. I was stumbling towards the finish, legs weak, afraid I’d trip over the timing mat.  Couldn’t really see straight/a little blurry? I was looking for Ryan but couldn’t see much outside of what was directly in front of me.  I heard them call my name.  I managed to give a thumbs up going across the finish line, and then I literally collapsed in a heap against the fence separating the competitors from spectators.  It is honestly the weirdest combination of sheer exhaustion + complete happiness that I have ever felt (also probably a bit of the hypoxia – after I collapsed I immediately had an asthma attack – I have cold induced asthma but I’ve never had it be an issue at the end of a long run before, and this one was pretty bad but went away quickly).   The medics rushed over & tried to take me to the medic tent, but I waved them off & insisted Ryan was coming to get me & I was fine.  And then once I caught my breath I started crying….it was good crying though.  The poor people hovering over my head from the other side of the barricade must have though I was dying or insane.  Ryan found me & we hugged over the fence & we both started crying…an even better cry
    • I finished in 3:39:35. I never saw the 3:40 pacer again after mile 10 until after the race.  This is 6 minutes faster than my Boston qualifying standard, and an11 minute PR for me.

 

Strong.Beautiful.Deserving.In.

 

An effective mantra should focus on what you want to feel, not on what you’re trying to overcome…

It should also be short, positive, instructive, and full of action words.

-Ashley Jones, “The Power of a Great Running Mantra”

I just finished my last long run before my race. It is time to taper. It is time to work on visualization. It is time to practice mantras. It is time to be grateful for how many miles I have ran, and to look ahead with joy and anticipation for the miles yet to come!

You can search the Internet for running mantas. There are many. I was running last week and thinking ahead to my race. I was thinking back to the process of my training. You can choose a mantra from the list of those you read. But. . . sometimes. . . your mantra finds you.

I am strong

I am beautiful

I am deserving

I am in (the finisher’s shoot)

I shortened it to, Strong. Beautiful. Deserving. In. Here is why each word is significant to me.

Strong. Muscles, endurance. sweat. focus. consistent. Hard work. Athletic. Competitive. Tenacious. Capable.

Beautiful. To me there is something beautiful about a woman giving all she has. . . her heart, being vulnerable to the outcome, not being afraid to believe it’s possible. Sweat. tears. hard work. no guarantees. Athlete.

Deserving. Worthy. valuable. allow yourself to reach for it. Letting go of what you think you need. No fear of being happy, really happy. Letting go. Pressing in.

In. Done. finished. it’s over. It will stop. Letting go. Accomplishment. Completion.

In all these things, I am the daughter of the king. That is enough. 

I am a daughter of a King

who is not moved by the world.

For my God is with me

And goes before me.

I do not fear because I am his.