Finished

Finished – that word applies to so many things today. It’s been the word on my mind most the last few days. Finished. We are finished, we have finished, we will finish, we have yet to finish. Sigh….I’m in a funky place.

Big Man and P finished their school year Friday. P said she actually didn’t want the year to end. Wait, what? From my point of view, it’s been an exhausting, mentally and emotionally draining, dragged out, up-and-down/high-and-low year. I was not sad to see the door close on this one for them.

I am proud of Big Man – he pulled it together enough to have an almost-respectable GPA for the semester. It was a near-miracle, considering how deep a hole he’d dug himself. But he did it. We did have to push, and check in almost hourly to make sure he was doing what needed to be done, but he did it. Oh trust me, his final report card for the year wasn’t amazing, but it was nearly as ugly as it had been. For that, we say “Thank you Jesus!”, and heave a sigh of relief. Pray God he’s figured it out and we won’t have to face these same issues next  year.

After a long season of training (for me anyways  – Big Man didn’t really train at all), we ran the Rock-n-Roll Half Marathon yesterday morning. I was really worried about this one, as my training was cut short due to various injuries. My last 11-mile run was five weeks ago. My last run of any significant distance was three weeks ago. My last run was a week and a half before race day, and that just 4 miles. I spent 10 days gently stretching, icing, heating, and praying it would come together and I’d be able to push through. I had a 2-hour massage. I went to the chiropractor. I faithfully used my foam roller.

Race morning arrived. There was a LOT of frustration early – parking was an unmitigated disaster. It took us nearly an hour to get into the lot from the time we arrived downtown, then we had a mile walk to the shuttle busses. We got on our bus at the time we should have been arriving at our corral. We were in the bathroom line when our corral started, and ended up crossing the start with a corral 9 behind our assigned corral. I’d decided with my training partner to just push for the goal we’d trained for – a 2-hour finish. I knew 2 miles in I wasn’t going to be able to maintain that pace – the three weeks without any significant running had killed me. I slowed to my old half marathon pace and regrouped. Three miles later, my IT bands started tightening and my knees started to hurt. I pushed on, with short stretches of walking, until I hit mile 7 when I knew I’d have to just let go of this race. It became a matter of finishing, and nothing else. I walked when I needed to – which was quite a bit – and ran when I could. There was a downhill at 9.7 that almost did me in. But I pressed on. My training partner finished (I was getting texts for her and for Big Man) – I was at mile 10 I think. Then  Big Man finished. I was closing in on mile 11. I was frustrated, in pain, tired, and so disappointed. At mile 12, I started running again, determined to finish the race running. I knew there was nothing structurally wrong with my body – just IT bands that like to knot up and make it feel like there are knives going into the side of each knee – and so I pushed, and crossed the finish at 2:41 – my worst half marathon time ever, by 16 minutes. I headed to the medical tent and had my knees wrapped in ice.

My training partner had a PR, under 2 hours. Big Man didn’t meet his time from last year of 1:58, but he really didn’t train at all (oh to be 16!). He finished at 2:09. But we finished. The race is more about the culmination of training – a cap to a season. I’m trying to let it go, the disappointment of a bad race. Training had been going so well. I’m trying hard to focus on the fact I ran my 8th half marathon and not everyone gets to say that. I am so proud of Big Man – there were 114 boys on the course in his division. He finished 51st of those 114. That’s pretty awesome, isn’t it? Out of 30,000+ people running (between the full, half, and half-relay), only 114 15-17 year old boys were running, and one of them was my son. I love that I got to share yesterday with him. What’s really fun  is being able to talk about it with him, remembering miles and sections like a football player will remember a play, a golfer will remember each hole on a course, a pitcher what pitch got launched out of the ballpark by which hitter. I love that shared experience. I’m proud of the fact he fought when things started to hurt; he didn’t give in when the course got rough, when he knew he wasn’t going to match his time from last year, when he got tired and wanted to quit. He finished. We finished.

Eleven more school days for Little Man. Then we will be finished completely with this school year. He’s hanging in there. He has had some increased anxiety – it’s so typical of this time of year for him. We will fight through, and then breathe another sigh of relief. It is so weird to manage two out of school and one still in, especially for the significant amount of time 2.5 weeks is. We’re almost finished.

Itis

I have itis…….No specific itis, just itis. There’s physical itis – I am on week 17 of a 19 week half marathon training plan. My right hip has so much itis. My left IT band decided it needed itis for the first time in my life. (Totally used to managing my right IT band). I’m also tired of training. I want the race to be here. So I have training-itis. Mentally getting myself out the door every running day is challenging.

We’re reaching the end of the school year – although, as I mentioned, while Big Man and P have just 7 school days left, Little Man has 19 school days left. It sucks. I have school-mom-itis. I’m over checking grades, checking homework, asking if they have homework, getting kids out the door in the morning, making sure they go to bed at night. Done. Finis. Toast. Exhausted. Drained. ITIS!!!!!

I also have some domestic-itis. I have no motivation for laundry, grocery shopping, Costco trips, dishes, sweeping, vacuuming, making the bed. I make myself do it, because I am a responsible adult, but geeez…..I know now why my mom used to go off the deep end and totally lose her ish whenever we’d roll our eyes and/or groan over what she’d decided to make for dinner. I think one of the most over-rated things of being an adult is choosing what to make for dinner. Don’t even get me started on making sure you actually have what you need to make what you’ve decided you want to eat, nor on actually cooking it, and even less cleaning it up. My bed hasn’t been made in weeks, unless you count yesterday when clean sheets were put on all the beds.

I have a little work-itis too. I do love my job, but I’m struggling with a very-low patience level due to all the other itis’s I’m currently managing, so tedious tasks are, well, tedious, and annoying. I wanted to poke my own eyeballs out while spending two hours on a PowerPoint, only to discover it didn’t save half of what I’d done. Then another spreadsheet just flat out disappeared off my external hard drive. Can’t find it on my computer anywhere. And darn it, I really hate when I forget something or make a mistake. The event I worked today was on the Bay. I sat there and watched boats for half an hour after everyone was checked in and the program was underway. That half hour of quiet and calm is the only thing keeping me sane at the moment.

My mind and body want to float in my pool with a book and a beverage all day, every day. I don’t know what you’d call that particular itis, but I have it. It’s probably the worst itis I have at the moment. I’m sure it’s making all my other itis’s worse, don’t you think? I can hear the water flowing over the edge of the hot tub into the pool. It’s warm outside, and the water looks so inviting. And my float is just floating around the pool, looking lonely. Sigh….

What’s your current itis situation?

Limping toward the finish line

We are, literally and figuratively, limping toward the finish line of this school year. God, it’s been a rough one. I thought last year was bad. Apparently this year saw last year and said, “Here, hold my beer.” This Herd is DONE. Toast. Finis. Exhausted. Drained. And oh yeah, I am limping.

You see, two days after the Bigs finish school, Big Man and I will run the Rock n Roll Half in San Diego again. My training was a bit derailed last week. I headed out for a four-mile easy run Thursday. I immediately felt pain in the left side of my left knee, and my left Achilles tightened up too. I tried to work through it, slowed down, and then stopped to stretch, but it just hurt. I made it all of .88 miles before I caved. At just over four weeks til race day, I wasn’t going to risk injury. And it really freaking hurt.

I hate when I have to stop a run because of pain. My whole day goes downhill. I was able to get out and finish four miles on Friday morning, but it wasn’t easy. There wasn’t any pain, but there was discomfort. I had to mentally fight to the end. Same happened on this morning’s 5-mile easy run. I was super slow, my muscles didn’t loosen up until mile 3. I will admit, I was tense, afraid the pain from last Thursday would return. I’m so not where I want to be mentally and emotionally with running right now. I’m afraid for this race, afraid I’ve put too much pressure on myself. I’m a little scared.

As for school…we’re usually beat up by this point. That’s nothing new. What is new is the level of being drained we are all at. It’s bad. The Bigs have four more weeks of school – 18 more school days. Big Man just finished the second of two AP exams this morning. The Princess has hers this Friday. In a few weeks, they face final exams. Blessedly they don’t seem to have the level of end-of-school-year projects they’ve had in recent years, thank the  Good Lord. It’s been a brutal year for both of them – academically for Big Man, socially and emotionally for P. We’re all ready to be done, to put this year behind us, chalk it up to life lessons and growing pains, and kiss it goodbye. Don’t let the door hit ya on the way out, 16/17 school year.

Little Man has 6.5 weeks of school. Yep, you read that right. He isn’t out until June 20th. I can’t remember when my kids were in school that late – past my birthday this year. Insanity. That’s 18 days AFTER the older two finish. Utterly ridiculous. I’ve been whining about it since the calendar was released last year. Then, get this, because they are aligning the middle and elementary school calendar with the  high school calendar, he will have just eight weeks of summer, as opposed to ten or eleven. Again, absolutely ridiculous.

He’s struggling right now, again. His SAI sent me an email the other day he’s back to leaving the classroom quite a bit again, spending a significant amount of time in the great room rather than in his class, doing what he’s supposed to be doing. She said he seems more stressed but he can’t express why. We have seen an increase in his anxiety level at home. I have no idea what the source is for his stress. He does tend to go a little sideways the closer we get to the end of the school year, but who knows.

I have no energy. I’m tired. I’m over the morning routine and homework battles. I’m tired of thinking about carpools, 6am cheer, and test scores. The kids are tired too.

You know, some years we come sliding across that finish line with a bang. We’re beat up, but we fight to the end. We might make it by the skin of our teeth, phoning it in on whatever we can. But this year, we’re limping. It’ll be a close thing. I know we’ll get there, but it ain’t gonna be pretty.

Commit

Since our kids were little, we’ve spoken consistently on commitment – if you say you’re going to do something, you do it; you finish what you start, and you don’t half-ass it. If you can’t or won’t abide those rules, you don’t even start. You can’t tell your kids one thing and do something else, so we do our very best to live this out. This means that even when we’re tired, or overwhelmed, we have to suck it up.

I’m training for two races right now, with the goal of finishing the half marathon in June at or just under two hours. That means work, because I have to take over 8 minutes off my best time. I have a training plan I’m doing my best to stick with. Travel and illness have derailed it a bit, but I’m back in the saddle this week, getting miles in. I’m even doing speed work, which I completely detest. More shocking, I’ve run in the rain. I’ve always been a fair-weather runner. I hate being out in the rain. But I have to put the miles in, so I shove a hat on my head, put on sunglasses to keep the rain out of my eyes, and get out there. I’ve also never run back-to-back days, much less three days in a row, but I’m doing it. I actually feel stronger, and have fewer issues with my hip and IT band than when  I was just running three days a week. It helps to have a friend holding me accountable, but I’ve committed to a goal, and it’s on me to finish it. That means there are nights I don’t go out because I have a long run early the next morning. That means getting up on a Saturday morning when I’d much rather sleep in. That means squeezing in runs even when I have a billion other things to get done. That means taking care of my body so it can carry me through 13.1 miles/

Big Man had some struggles with fully committing earlier this school year. He was out there at practice, but man, talk about phoning it in. Granted, he was struggling with growing pains, but he just would not push through. It came back to haunt him, and he learned a valuable lesson, one that didn’t come from us.

The Princess has been about commitment for years. When she chose dance over competitive soccer, she was mid-way through a soccer season. She knew she had to carry it out, finish the season with her team. Her soccer family was relying on her. They needed her to remain fully engaged until the end. It was rough….she was exhausted, but she fought until the very end of the very last game of her very last tournament. She decided to cheer in high school, so for nearly a year, she’s been at school almost every weekday morning at 6am to practice. That doesn’t begin to cover all the extra hours at camp, cheering at games, making posters and putting together gifts for athletes, working hard on pep rally routines. In the midst of all this, she’s done her best to maintain  her dance schedule.

Here’s the deal – your kids are going to learn to be committed to things if you aren’t showing them how. You can’t tell them to commit if you aren’t committed to whatever you’re doing. Some days it’s much harder than others, but you do it, even when it’s difficult, and you’re tired, and you’d much rather sit on the couch watching baseball movies all day.

It Isn’t About the Race

My Dear Son –

In nine days, we will run the Rock-N-Roll Half Marathon. It’s been a rough training season, much like your first year of high school has been an ongoing battle. I want you to understand, this isn’t about the race. I want you to understand why we’ve been pushing you so hard this year.

Think of this race, and training for this race, as a metaphor of a life lesson we want you to learn sooner than later. When you’re training for a race, you  need to get up and get your runs in, even when it’s dripping rain, warm, or you’re tired. And you can’t ditch your run the minute you feel uncomfortable. You have to fight the mental battle, and push through. If you don’t train, race day will be much more difficult than it needs to be. Put the time in, do the work, prepare your mind and body.

I can’t run this race for you. I’ll be there by your side, but you have to do it. You have to run. I’ll support you as much as I can, but this is your gig. You’ll reach a point you’ll need to fight yourself, the desire to stop, to give in, to give up. We all get to that place at some point in every race. It’s then you need to draw out your own inner strength, pull from the people running alongside you, gather energy from the spectators along the race route cheering you on. Keep fighting. Keep running. The finish line isn’t that far away. The reward is in sight, but you have to keep fighting. You’ll get there; I know you will, and I can’t wait to see your face when that medal is placed around your neck, a sign of accomplishment.

Now take all that, and apply it to life. This is what we want you to learn….We can’t do life for you, but we’re here, supporting you and cheering you on, every step of the way. But you have to fight through. You have to reach down inside yourself, and learn to push even when you want to stop. Minimal effort does not equal maximum outcome. You can skate through, but you don’t win that way. Successful people are not those who’ve given the least of themselves. This is why we’ve been pushing you so much this year – pushing you to be accountable, to do the work, to live up to the potential you’ve shown, do what we know you’re capable of. This is why we aren’t letting you slide on minimal effort, excuses, or quitting.

There will be a day, all too soon, we aren’t able to be there constantly watching, prodding, managing. You need to do this. You need to be that fighter we know you have within. You have to motivate yourself. You  have to push yourself, even when you want to stop, give in, give up. The sooner you learn this and live it, the easier your life will be, and success will come, in whatever form is meant for your life. The time for coasting is over. Reach deep inside yourself, and learn again to battle. Run the race. Fight through. We’ll be there, watching, cheering, encouraging, and, yes, pushing.

I’m proud to be your mom. I can’t wait to cross that finish line with you.

This grand vision

Big Man and I are training for a half marathon, which we will run on June 5th. I have this grand vision of us crossing the finish line, hand-in-hand, arms raised in a big, “Take that, prematurity!” kind of gesture. In all likelihood, he will hit that finish line at least ten minutes ahead of me, if not more. I won’t even be able to witness him finishing his first half marathon. For some odd reason, that makes me as emotional as it makes me proud.

We spend most of our training runs with him way out in front of me. It’s definitely pushed my pace, trying to at least keep him in my sights. But let’s face it, he’s 31 years younger, and a good deal lighter. He’s just going to be faster. He does walk more than I, but he doesn’t have the advantage of having trained for six half marathons under his belt as I do. He’s learning, but that means he takes off at his cross country training pace, and then has to walk a bit. I’m worried about him pushing it race day. The adrenaline flows so easily then. He will be running with his cousin, B, who is 9 months older than he, and who’s run a half before. I’m thinking B will help keep him reined in enough to get him to the finish.

Part of me wants to tell him to wait for me so we can finish together, but I won’t do that. I want him to run this race on his terms. He deserves that chance. He deserves to run it his way, finish it his way. I won’t hold him back, no matter how much I long for that memorable moment. There will be plenty of photo ops after the race is done.

Friday Favorites 4.1.16

Hey! Bet you thought (had hoped?) you’d never see another Friday Favorites from me, right? It seems strange to me that this time last week, I was sitting on our lanai in Kauai, celebrating Little Man’s 12th birthday (let that post slip by, didn’t I?). Did that trip really happen? But for the slightly tanned skin, a heap of laundry still sitting in my suitcase on my bedroom floor, and some sand in my flip flops, I could almost be convinced it didn’t happen. Oh yeah, the the 3.5 solid days of work I’ve had to do in order to catch up. To top all that off, it’s been kind of a weird week with Big Man back in school, but the younger two still out. I’m all out of whack, waiting for Monday to get back to our real routine. The next couple of months are going to be a whirl.

For your Friday enjoyment, here are my favs of the day:

  • I’m in the midst of training for a half marathon. That meant my running gear went with me to Hawaii. And yes, I actually did break from zip lining, beach time, and coastal hikes to get a few runs in, two of them long. The last one was SWAMPY! Warm, sunny, and super humid. I felt like I was running underwater, and I struggled. But I made a commitment to training this time, so I fought through. The first long run there, I’d gotten rained on towards the end. But I carried on. So when I ran across Running on Healthy’s (see what I did there?) post today, it definitely clicked. Are  you a runner? Do you run in weather? I used to be a fair-weather runner. I still don’t particularly like to run in the rain, but I’ll do it. I just keep thinking about race day, on which you never know what you’re going to get.
  • I know I link to Jason’s posts a lot, but in this time of election frenzy, this post of his today really struck me. I’m soooooo tired of this whole election already. I was tired of it six months ago, and we have six more months to go. It’s disgusting to me all the rhetoric that goes on while we need things to get done. Sigh. Opinionated Man states it way better than I ever could. Check it out.
  • I know Big Man’s story is not the only story of prematurity, nor of pregnancy gone wrong, yet somehow I’m surprised when someone I’ve known or followed for awhile shares their journey. Just goes to show, you never know, so ask, and listen. Linda G Hill began the story of her son’s journey today. I think she’s kind of amazing, and so is her Alex.
  • Yeah, it’s April Fool’s Day. I woke up with fear in my heart, although it seriously helps the level of shenanigans that two of the three aren’t in school today. Whew. Laura of Riddle in the Middle writes about the day, and her feelings on it. I love her post, because I feel exactly the same way.
  • This one made me smile. It was the first post I read today.  Hope it makes you smile too. Please come back and share your ATM.
  • I have yet to find a replacement for Cute Overload, but I do follow more than a few blogs involving pets, and cute pictures of pets. So here’s your weekly animal share, courtesy of So Many Books.

Happy Friday!