Saturday, June 12, 2010

Go for the gold!

I am not really a very competitive person. Ok - let me rephrase that - I don't like to compete in things that I don't think I will win. Whether it be scrapbooking related, sports, artistically in any-way - I don't participate in competition normally because I don't want to "lose". That is why in January when I started exercising and running I didn't think I'd ever get into running races. I mean seriously - I wasn't a natural born runner - what was the point if the idea of winning was totally impossible to me?

Now here we are - about 6 months since I started working out and I've been thinking a lot about running, races, winning and ultimately what the point was in all of it.

I went to support Cory in his 10K run yesterday and I just got more and more uptight about the 5K race I'd be running Saturday morning. I watched those awarded with medals, and listened carefully to the times the announcer called out. Wow - these people ran faster than I could ever imagine running! I started listening to that annoying and pesky little voice (a.k.a. the adversary/Satan) in my own head telling me, "You're never going to be as good as they are. Why bother - you're so much slower than they are." You know the whisperings we all hear @ some point or another - telling us we never quite measure up so we might as well not even try?

Then I got wishing that I could wear a t-shirt that said something to the effect of, "Yeah, I might not be that fast - but 6 months ago I couldn't even imagine running a mile - now I'm running in races!!!" I started trying to focus on the PROGRESS I had made and look backward. Not only was I running in a 5K race, I have run several over the last few months. Not only was I going to finish - but I had a goal to run without stopping to walk at all. That was an idea I would have scoffed @ even a month ago. I'm even registered for a Sprint Triathlon for next weekend. That is something that still seems quite nuts - but I'm doing it - and that is huge progress!

So as I drove to the starting place this morning I prayed and prayed that I could quite the negativity and focus on the running. I asked that I would feel light - like I was flying rather than heavy and cumbersome like I had bricks for shoes. I asked that I'd find beauty and goodness as I ran and that I would be able to focus on the progress I was making all over in my life right now. Lastly I asked that this run would be like my 10K in Dallas. In Dallas I felt awesome. At the end I felt like I could have done the 1/2 marathon and I had a total runners high. I wanted to feel light and free like that.

On arrival to the start spot I was frustrated because although I had remembered to charge my ipod, I had brought my Nike+ running tracker and my arm band to wear - I had forgotten my ear phones. Drat! I was looking forward to tracking my time on my ipod. I was really disappointed - I had hoped my music could pump me up when the run was getting harder...I had figured that if negative thoughts creeped into my mind I would shut them up with some Black Eyed Peas or Christina Aguilera cheering me on.

But once I got started I found a new soundtrack to run to - the sounds of others foot-steps. Not just the cadence of my feet, but others around me hitting the pavement was rhythmic and began to feel like music. Then came the harmony - the labored breathing of myself as well as my fellow runners. As we all focused on "good air in - bad air out" our bodies were getting stronger. I found their louder breathing inspiring - helped me breathe more clearly.

At mile marker #1 I realized that the fact my ear phones were @ home was a blessing in disguise - I was feeling very "at one" with my body and my own running rhythm. If I had been jamming to "Eye of the Tiger" or "Lose Yourself" I don't know that I would have connected quite in that same way. I certainly know I wouldn't have caught things like the sound of the rushing water or the cheerful whistling of passing birds. As the volunteer called out our times @ the 1 mile point I knew something was working - I was faster than I normally am! That put even a little more fire in my steps.

The rest of the run went well. The course was mostly downhill and that I'm sure helped my speed and energy. As we came around the corner and the finish was in view I thought for some reason that I had another block to go. When I realized how close I was and looked @ the clock (I was beating my goal by over THREE MINUTES!!!) I knew I had my prayer answered - I literally felt like I was FLYING.

So I didn't WIN the race, or even get a medal - but I felt like I had conquered something so much bigger. I did better than before - I shattered my own personal best. Bigger than that was that I had tried! I had signed up for something hard, I had set a goal and I was reaching it!!! My progress was evident and I felt like a million bucks doing it!

After it was over my friends little boy who also ran it (and won his age group) said, "I prayed last night that I would get a gold medal. My prayer was answered!" I felt like I had won a medal too - not a physical gold one to hang around my neck but an emotional/mental one that will hopefully remind me I did my best and I will continue to progress. That is worth much more than gold!

Monday, June 07, 2010

Just Keep Swimming, Just Keep Swimming

Last week we started swimming lessons!  Hunter's not old enough for lessons yet (except for the Mommy & Me class - and we might do those later in the summer...I'm not sure) - but Gabe has become quite the fish.  Last week when we stayed in SLC in a hotel he went nuts with swimming and had NO FEAR.  When we got home I figured it was the perfect time to get him in lessons because he was so excited about it. 

He has been so great at it!  He has no concerns about going under water - in fact, we don't see him most of the lesson because when it's not his turn he's on the little platform jumping under the water as many times as he can. He has really enjoyed his teacher "Mr. Tom" and I've been impressed with him too.  I like it because he can see that Gabe is excited and has actually pushed him harder than the other kids in the class.  When they jump to the teacher he steps back and lets Gabe jump in himself and then just helps him up if he needs (and encourages Gabe to touch the bottom - he loves it!).

What I have loved the most is seeing Gabe's confidence in it all.  Gabe tends to be more timid and shy about trying new things - especially physical types of things (I understand that all too well!).  Watching him start playing soccer last summer was torture for me because the look of fear and anxiety on his face was so familiar to me.  I hated making him do it because I knew those feelings, I've felt that sick pit in the bottom of my stomach - I could empathize with him 100%.  So seeing him light up more than ever before has been so exciting for me!  I love seeing him search the stands for us after he's gone under water for the millionth time to make sure we're watching and I love seeing the smiles as he interacts with his teacher and class. 

Way to go Gabers!


Hunter is my little buddy during lessons.  For the most part he just sits and colors while we're there. I've been surprised how good he's been for lessons.  I had been worried that he would be upset that Gabe gets to swim and he doesn't - but it hasn't seemed to phase him.

Layouts - June 7th

At risk of it looking like all I've done for days at a time is scrapbook - these layouts have built up and are from quite a bit of time :).