When Things Are Going Good

This week I had a 24 hour period that made even the wildest roller coaster look like the calmest carousel at a theme park.  My children behaved like bipolar maniacs flying from the highest highs to the lowest lows.

The landscape of my evening and night were painted by a series of fights, bickers, arguments, slaps, kicks, eye rolls, “whatever Mom’s”, and door slams.  I contemplated how 13 year-old girls had possibly possessed my beloved babes.

After a few drinks anyone will dance on a table. This should be titled, “Day camp let me have 3 slurpees then sent me home to you for the aftermath!”

I deliriously poured myself a glass of wine, skipped the yoga and decided to exercise my mind by hiding behind the pages of a good book before I fell asleep.  I’m certain my teeth were still gritted as I headed to la la land, but I likely dreamed of screaming at people and throwing timeouts like candy out the door on Halloween.  I went to bed defeated, my parenting abilities deflated.

The next morning (after a solid 11.5 hours of sleep for the babes – might I add!) my saccharine sweeties snuggled and smiled as they meandered through their morning reminding me of a poem I wrote for a book about that first “morning moment” when they were babies.

Door open, greeted by
smell, sticky, sweaty, sweet

Sleepy eyes, meet my face
dreamy, drowsy, dapper, delighted

Untamed hair stands high
tousled, tangled, tender and telling

Morning greets anthems sweet
natural, nimble, novel new

I floated through my morning mentally patting my own back at my stellar parenting abilities.  “I have this mothering thing down,” I self-mused.

Those feelings came to a screeching halt when I remembered the night before.  You see,

I need to get off my own highs and lows and remember I’m just as good (or not so good) of a mom even when my kids aren’t behaving.

This was the one time I had a bicep (and it’s still tiny) from carrying my babies around. Too bad it was only on one arm. And pirate hates…uh yeah, so the rage in 2007.

And that’s the irony about fitness as well.  When things are going great, I’m sticking to my training, clipping off goals left and right, I feel like Super Woman who can do anything.  But once the crazy train gets derailed, it’s really easy to let it all go.

Some people wonder how to get past the slump?  I’m still working on making that list…but I do have some tips for preventative slumping.

Goals.  Goals.  Goals.  I swear, having goals or something to look forward to keeps me motivated.  If I get sidetracked, it’s easy to look at the goals I’ve documented and focus on those, instead of thinking about how much slacking I’ve been doing.

Tell Someone. If you build it, they will come.  If you tell people, they will come ask.  Say it out loud, tell your friends, tell your family.  One of the scariest parts of my marathon training was not the 20-miler training runs, but when I realized I was on my way to BQ and actually telling a few people.  Their pretty little faces ran through my mind as I raced and kept me motivated through that dreaded last 10k.

Remember Your Why.  I use this with my clients in the business world, but it’s so true in running.  WHY do we do what we do?  What’s your motivation.  You probably know my mantra here – myself, my health and my kids.  But what’s your motivation?  Identify it, write it down.  Know it, think it, believe it.

Make a Plan:  Some people say to plan your workouts.  And while that is helpful for some, for me it serves as a source of frustration because naturally my work schedule, kid schedule or weather jacks it up, and I just get aggravated.  But I do loosely have a plan to achieve my goals – I know each week what I want to do, I just can’t tell you what day it’s going to get done.  And yes, that does mean exercising (bah dum pah…pun intended) great creativity.

Be Realistic:  The fact is that life is messy and sometimes it messes with your goals and plans.  And sometimes that means revisiting them and readjusting to keep your health and your sanity in check.  This isn’t a failure – it’s being smart.

How do you stay on track?  Any other tips to add?

Do you ever fake going to the bathroom to get a few minutes of quiet from crazy kids?

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Caterpillars & Butterflies

Miles:    3.4
Minutes:  24
Pace:  7:30
Staccato Strides w/ the babes – 1.5 miles of jogging and almost 2 of speedwork

How could you not love this face?

The last few weeks have been butterfly weeks for me.  I’ve peaked in my first marathon training, work has been going great, and while there’s always some stress, things have been going along pretty much according to plan (you know the usual drama and suspects behaving accordingly).

Over the weekend I made a judgement call with work and it turned out….well, I chose wrong.   *le sigh*  The caterpillars started creeping in.

In full disclosure, my relationship with guilt trips is like Joan Rivers and plastic surgery – I know it’s not doing me any good, but I just can’t stop.  So little mistakes I make (and the big ones too, let’s not discriminate here) hit me hard and I feel bad awful over the most ridiculously small things.

After work, I grabbed the bambinos from school and hit the park determined to do 2 miles of jogging and 3 miles of speed work.  I was going to beat the little creepy caterpillars making their way into my life.

There will be blood...

Shockingly, my usually cranky about running Vanilla was excited to ride his Razor while I ran.  See…the butterflies were returning.  I had this thing nailed and was going to turn this frown upside down.

Until Strawberry & Vanilla collided on the trail which resulted in blood, scrapes, and tears, and may or may not have resulted in a spunky seven year old chucking his razor five feet into the air while griping he was a failure as an older brother (where in the world does he get this excessive sense of responsibility? *giggle*).

The littles collected themselves and hung out on the grass in the middle of the park trail loop while I finished up 1.5 miles of speedwork.  Strawberry decided to voice his disdain for the world by standing over his razor and having a conversation with it (from the looks of it, the razor won the argument) and then hiding behind a garbage can.  Frustrated, I called it a run after 3.4.   Grrr caterpillars.

Caterpillar hunting

As I was stretching we discovered the entire park was actually full of caterpillars and the boys quite literally had a field day finding them everywhere.

I stretched and laid in the itchy grass breaking into hives (super awesome) staring at the cloudless sky trying to piece it all together.  The day had been hard.  The kids were having a typical Monday -dreading going back to school especially after break.   We were all pretty cranktastic.  And I was feeling very caterpillar-ish in work, in parenting, and now it seeped into my running. 

Blech.

Then, doing what boys do, we had the following conversation:

Vanilla:  Mom, can we catch all the caterpillars and make a collection?

Me:  Sure, but they have to stay at the park.  I still haven’t found the damage from the cup of rolly pollies you brought in the car a few days ago.

Chocolate:  Great.  We’ll collect them all and then kill them, right boys?

Strawberry:  Awesome idea dude! 

Truth be told, the only part of the conversation that was in English was the part where I talked.  The rest took place through a series of grunts and head nods that I have learned to interpret over the last seven years.

Me:   Boys, you can’t take all the caterpillars and kill them or there’d be no butterflies.

Ugly caterpillars

I wish I could say they learned a lesson and had a poignant moment of enlightenment, but I’m pretty sure that they all grunted and groaned out something resembling, “SO?“.

But at least I had that moment…I remembered – without the caterpillars, there’d be no butterflies.  Without the lame-o days of mistakes and setbacks, I can’t make better choices as a mom, an employee, an athlete, a friend, or whatever other hat I’m wearing that day. Instead of taking the day so seriously and focusing on the ugly little crawly critters littering the park, I need to remember they have a purpose.

Very adult & responsible.

With this revelation it was time to get down to some monkey business.  Nothing says responsible mother of three like running shorts, pig tails and razoring through the park….

And so tonight as Chocolate sat at the bottom of the stairs crying about losing at monkey in the middle (the horror!), I sympathetically mentioned it was hard to be a kid, and his response:

Mommy, it is so hard to be a kid.  So, so hard.  Being 5 is so hard!,” he lamented.  I snuggled him next to me and listened some more.  “And it’s hard to be a person too.  Yeah, being a person is very hard,” he eeked out through sobs.  I wiped the tears from his face and sent him upstairs with a little smile on my face.

ugly butt run of the mill moth

Becoming a butterfly’s tough, sweet pea,” I thought.

I felt all super philosophical and awesome until my fabulous sister identified the caterpillars for me.  Turns out they’re some seriously ugly butt moths.  Awesome.  There went my fab analogy.  Hey, at least they can fly, right?

How about you?  Any caterpillar/butterfly moments lately?  Feel free to post below and share!