When Running Isn’t Going to Fix It

I am completely wrecked. It’s been a hell of a week for a mom. I skipped my run Thursday so I could hold tight to my little girl since I couldn’t hold on to my son. But we are lucky, because we can hold him tight in just a few short weeks. Today, there is a mother that can’t.

This emotional roller coaster I’m on began Saturday night when we got “the phone call” at 12:30 at night. An ambulance had been called. Alex was heading to the emergency room.

More specifically, my college-aged son was heading to the emergency room after passing out after the LSU football game. But before assumptions are made, I will skip to the end of this part of the story, he had picked up a stomach virus and had been in the heat all day, in a band uniform, performing until midnight and he had thrown up all night in the stands and gotten so dehydrated that he passed out at the end of the game.

It’s easy to jump to conclusions because we have all heard the stories and many of us went to college and “might” remember what it was like.

Being far away from him and having so little information on how he was doing was the worst feeling ever. We are forever grateful for the band friends that stayed in the hospital with him ALL NIGHT and then took him back to their apartment when he was released just to keep an eye on him so he wouldn’t be alone. It was hell to race Sunday morning when sick with worry. I remember yelling out to Sean when I went out for the run, asking if he had gotten a phone call from Alex. He hadn’t. I spent three very long miles dreaming up every manner of scenario, none of them good. By the time I finished the race, however, Alex had called and actually talked to Sean and said he was ok, just very sick.

So I hid all the crazy, because nobody needs to see that.

But I worry all of the time. I worry when he is out on his long bike rides if he will get hit by someone who doesn’t care about his life and how amazing it is and will be. I worry about whether I did all that I could to help him make good choices and have a solid moral compass. I worry about whether I raised him to have enough confidence in himself to be able to say “no” when he isn’t comfortable with something.

And then Thursday happened.

It began so harmlessly as a message posted on the parent’s facebook group page – “Has anyone heard what is going on with the Phi Delta house? There are police everywhere.” Well, you’re dog gone right that very first thing I did was call my son. He texted back – “how did you know about that?”

It was like the stories you read from “other schools.” An 18-year-old fraternity boy dies Wednesday night in an alleged hazing incident. I’ll be honest, it rocked me hard. I can’t even imagine receiving that phone call. And I can’t imagine being a parent that receives the phone call that her son’s actions caused the death of someone else. But there I was, in the middle of a conference, and I was numb. It wouldn’t be ok until I heard my son’s voice and reinforced the same statement, ‘I hope I raised you to have the self-confidence to say no or walk away from a situation you’re not comfortable with.’ So, I couldn’t help but put myself in that poor mother’s shoes. The last post she made personally in the parent’s page was a photo of her hugging her son so tight a month ago, right after she moved him in. It’s the same smile that I had a month ago, that smile of “I’m so proud of you and can’t wait to see all the great things you do.” But there is always that air of sadness in mom’s eyes of allowing them to leave the nest. The worry that we didn’t do enough. I’m sad and I’m angry. I’m so stunned. There is a mother that didn’t imagine yesterday when she woke up that she would be driving to Louisiana one final time. The plans they made are forever changed. And I just can’t seem to reconcile it in my head.

So, I skipped my run, because no amount of running would take my mind off the fact that I have five more weeks before I can go hug my Tiger again. And poor Emma got the brunt of it. I held her so tight I’m sure she thought I was smothering her. I couldn’t hug Alex, so I hugged her enough for both of them. And we sat in bed and watched cartoons, without a shred of guilt for missing that run.

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Friday Favorites: Lip Color

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OK, this is totally girly and high maintenance, but there is something about having lip color on. I don’t wear makeup pretty much ever (unless it’s a special occasion or some big business meeting that I need to attend). I’m really just a brush my hair and go kind of girl, because I like sleep and training too much to care.

img_1366But yeah, the lip color. I’ve always had to have some sort of color on my lips, even when I’m out there running. I used the Cover Girl lip stain for years because it generally would hold up for most of the workout. But as I was standing in line waiting to swim at my first triathlon this year, a girl standing next to me noticed my lip stain and asked if it was LipSense and what color it was.

I gave her this really puzzled look because I had never heard of that stuff before, but like most things I don’t know about, I just smiled and made a note to look it up later. Flash forward to the end of the race and of course I couldn’t remember a stinking thing. Whatever…

But at a road race a few months later, there was a lady at a tent selling this stuff! It was like it was karma telling me I needed this lipstick. I blindly handed over my credit card after being told it wouldn’t ever come off until I wanted it to come off. Well, we’ll see.

img_6245She was right! I am completely hooked on this stuff and have eight different colors for all of my moods. AND THE GLOSS! I have PINK.GLITTER.GLOSS. The key is to use it exactly as the directions state. One coat, wait til it dries, another coat, wait til it dries, then a third coat and wait til it dries. Then go crazy with the gloss from the same company because it locks it in.

I have worn it for open water swims of an hour and it still looks like I just put it on. I have worn it for three hour long runs and all the water stops and eating that goes along with it, and it still looks like I just put it on. I have women make comments at the end of triathlons at the finish line about how I MUST have put lipstick on before I crossed the finish line and where the heck did I carry it.

I don’t sell this stuff, and you could likely find someone local for you, but if you want a really sweet gal who is a public school teacher looking to make a little extra cash, send me a message and I’ll introduce her to you!

What’s Cooking: Cookie Balls

It’s no surprise that I love food, specially snacks and sweets, I mean, even the ol’ Instagram name is “erinrunsforcake.” LOL

So I have spent the last year or so testing out all sorts of recipes that would be nutritious and help me fuel for long training sessions, but also satisfy the sweet tooth and watch my calories. This has been my go-to snack.img_6237

Cookie Balls

  • 1 c. raw oats
  • 1/2 c. oat flour (I use raw oats and grind them up)
  • 1/2 c. ground flaxseed
  • 1/4 c. honey
  • 1/2 c. natural peanut butter
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 c. mini chocolate chips

I seriously just dump all of the ingredients in a big mixing bowl, and with clean hands, mix it up and then make little 1″ balls. No baking, no cooking, nothing for me to screw up. Easy-peasy! They sit in an airtight container for several days, although truth be told, they don’t last that long because everyone in the house will walk by and grab one to snack on.

I usually pack two of them in a small container for my after lunch snack and that keeps me away from the candy machine at 3pm. They will seriously fill you up!

If you give this recipe a try, let me know how you like them!

Favorites Friday: Running Skirts!

Whoooshhhhh…

Man, this poor little blog is a little dusty.

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Since the height of fall marathon season has kicked in here in Texas, I thought I’d start off my renewed commitment to the written word with (cue the music…) “a few of my favorite things.”

I will begin this particular post with the disclaimer that I am an Ambassador for Skirt Sports. I don’t get paid and I don’t get any sort of commission, but I get a little discount on the items I can’t live without as well as a discount for all of you in exchange for spreading the skirt love in my little world. Now that we have that out of the way…

When I first started on my journey to lose weight, oh sometime about six or seven years ago now, I began to walk. Walking turned to runs. It was pretty awesome. But I was genetically gifted with, dun dun dun…. CHUB RUB. Come on ladies, most of you don’t have that thigh gap, and YOU NOW WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT. First it begins with the thighs that kind of catch when you’re mid-run. But then the sweat starts to give it a little lubrication, and you think you’re out of the woods. But no. About a mile later, you’ve got a little heat that has built up and (sorry men, it’s not THAT kind of heat). Before you know it, there is a little stinging involved.

imageMy options included giving up the idea of wearing shorts and just resigning myself to those running capris. But I’ve got to tell you, it’s darn hot here in Texas and humid to boot. If I could run nekkid and get away with it, I would! So I began my quest for something better. A random post all those years ago on a weight loss message board was ultimately what introduced me to the running skirt, specifically, Skirt Sports. I was promised that those skirts would change my life.

I was all about changing my life at that point, so I took a look. Back then, the selection was just a couple of styles, so it was easy for me to grab a gym girl ultra skirt and be done with it. The company promised that the little compression shorts would hold all of me in there (yeah, that was a concern at the time) and were long enough to cover all the way down to that little piece of meat on the thigh that was causing all my angst. Verdict? Well, there is a reason I ONLY run in Skirt Sports running skirts.

But enough time in the old way-back machine… let’s talk about the here and now.

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My friends are as diverse as their favorite skirts!

The skirts have come a long way and there are so so many to choose from, it’s almost dizzying. So, the big question is… what features are important to you? Coverage of the leg? Length of the shorts underneath? Adjustability of the waistband with a drawcord? Pockets to fit your iPhone or run nutrition?

When my friends ask me which skirt to buy for their first, I almost always tell them “gym girl ultra” because it’s a tried and true classic. But I scoured through the website this morning and put together this little handy-dandy table of all the features of the various skirts being currently sold in the hopes that it helps all of you decide which skirt is your soulmate…

skirts

Oh, and as I talked about earlier, my friends get a discount on their Skirt Sports order! This code (FWS20) is good only once per customer and expires 9/30/2017 and can be used at www.skirtsports.com. We get new codes every quarter, so you can place an order every quarter with discount codes!

So, do you have a favorite style? I’ve been challenged to break out of the old comfort zone (I mean, really, I have more than 30 gym girl ultra skirts alone!) and try a different style I didn’t think I would like. I’ve bought a Happy Girl, a Jette, a Peek-A-Boo and a Mod Quad. Which one should I try next?

Limiting Language: Or How I Learned to Fly…

“I am ONLY running a half marathon this week.”

“I am JUST a beginner.”

“It’s JUST a LITTLE sprint triathlon.”

“I would love to join, BUT I probably couldn’t keep up with you guys.”

“I don’t have one of those fancy bikes.”

“Thanks, but I have so much more to lose.”

“Have I reminded you lately that I’m not fast?”

 

I have heard it a million times from my husband, gently correcting me and telling me how proud he is of me; that I am “doing fantastic.” I hear it from my guy friends that I always worry only run with me to humor me; “you’re doing great.” But something about being called out by a coach you really respect hit me like a lightning bolt. He did it so perfectly, so respectfully, but in a way that told me that he was serious and not just humoring my lack of self-confidence.

“Let’s remove that limiting language. You’re going with the flow, so just enjoy the journey and see where it takes you.”

“Limiting language.” Wow, I hadn’t heard it that way before. It’s always been “don’t be so hard on yourself.” Which, let’s be real, is code for “stop it, you’re fine, insert gratuitous comment and eye roll here.”

I’m a slow learner and it’s take a few weeks for this to sink in, but I see it everywhere now. I have observed it in almost every interaction I have had. I am constantly limiting myself by subconsciously telling myself that I’m not enough. I see it in all of my friends, too. We are always putting ourselves down in that stealthy way and we shouldn’t be. We like to think that we are telling ourselves that we are enough, but then that little demon that sits on the left shoulder whispers in our ear the complete opposite. It whispers those stupid words: ONLY, JUST, BUT.

When we limit our language, we limit what we are capable of.

Enough! I am making the commitment to stop my limiting language NOW. I am proud of what I can accomplish. I am not in competition with anyone, not even myself. I am not who I was yesterday, three months ago, or three years ago. I am choosing to live in the present and find the joy and satisfaction in doing exactly what my body, and my mind, allows today. It doesn’t mean I don’t have goals. On the contrary! But by releasing myself from the chains of “not enough,” I will build a far better foundation with which to reach those goals because I will have the confidence that I CAN.

*****

So my challenge to all of my girlfriends – remove your limiting language and let your truths shine on their own merit. Own it all and be joyous in what your body can accomplish today, because seriously, we are all doing truly epic stuff.

“I am running 13.1 miles this week!”

“I am so excited to learn something new!”

“I am training to swim, bike and run – all in the same race!”

“Thanks for the run, guys!”

“I am squeezing every ounce of awesomeness out of this bike!”

“Thanks for the compliment, I’m working hard!”

“Hey Coach, watch me fly…”

 

When the run just finally feels right…

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My unassuming running trail…

Of course it would finally happen while I was out of town. I run with my peeps because I need the accountability. When I lost my long-time running partner a year ago, I was left like a boat adrift on the high seas. My running suffered because I just couldn’t bring myself to get out there. But new running partners came into my life and kept me out there for those group runs, thank goodness. I can’t say I have ever actually felt good on a solo run. My demons would always come along for the ride, reminding me that my shoelaces were a little too snug or that sports bra was chafing my shoulder. They would imagegive me an out, telling me it’s ok to turn back early and only get a few miles in, despite my training schedule requesting a 90 minute run.

But last night I was out of town and couldn’t find a group that I felt comfortable joining. What I did find was a popular running trail about six miles from my hotel. I’m not ashamed to say I totally ubered to the trail. The sun beat down and the humidity was a real treat. I saw a couple coming off the trail and asked them about the trail – very few water fountains, but it goes 14 miles, they said. Sounded perfect – so I set off with the intention of just getting maybe three miles in.

imageHalf a mile into the run, the sounds of the city were completely gone and all I heard were the squirrels rustling in the woods and a babbling brook. Who knew that little streams of water actually made the babbling sound?? By a mile, I saw two beautiful deer off to my left enjoying some foraging. I kid you not, they were no more than five feet from me. I just kept going, hoping to see something new and wonderful. No demons came to join me. I didn’t ever look at my watch to check my pace. I would occasionally come across a cyclist or another runner, but it was truly a peaceful run. I finally decided to turn around after just under three miles, mostly because I still wanted to get a swim in and knew that the sun would be setting soon enough, but I felt like I could have gone far longer.

I found myself sweaty and spent and so full of energy after my run. Exactly as it was meant to be. I may even try another solo run back home soon. Maybe – I like my running tribe…

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My year of doing epic shit: Giving it a TRI

I swear I had no desire to do a triathlon. NONE! As a dear friend once said, she has a bucket list and a “nother” list that rhymes with bucket and starts with an F. This was firmly on that other list for me.

I was not one of those crazy girls. I didn’t want to “do all the things.”

Or did I?

I’ve been watching Scarlett, Rocky, Jen, Shea, Michelle and Angelia all do crazy epic triathlons and open water swims and bike rides that are so freaking long it makes “the queen” hurt just watching them. I envied them because it looked like nothing scared them. They just did it.

imageAnd my friend, Coach Keisha, is so inspirational with all her tri posts. She and some of the women tri coaches in town put on a big weekend-long event called Time2Tri. It was designed to be a group of women new to the sport giving a triathlon a try. Get it? Giving it a tri? Bwahahahaha Anyway, the Friday night reception was going to include lots of inspiring stories, food, mocktails and a fashion show. Lots of friends were going and it was a good excuse to have a girls night. But Keisha, that sneaky queen bee, asked me a few days earlier to PLEASE model one of the outfits that night. I agreed because it sounded like she needed the help, and I know what it’s like to need help from friends to pull off epic stuff. So I couldn’t back out of going at the last minute and frankly, this was the only way I would be pulled out of my adorable running skirts.

Wait a minute. Was that on purpose?

Did she know that I wasn’t convinced I could do this?

Well, I have been eyeing some of that cute Betty Designs gear.

And cycling has been really good cross-training this spring…

And I probably should finally give this swimming this a go.

Did John just say I could have cupcakes if I do all three sports?

Could I really do it? Could I really finish a triathlon???

I want to be a part of the crazy, fierce girls.

Oh no. Did I just decide to do a tri????

imageYep, I signed up. I actually signed up for a race a month after the race that the group will be doing because I knew I wasn’t where the rest of the girls were with their swimming and, well,

#EpicShitDoesn’tIncludeDeath

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Celebrating learning how to ride a two-wheeler by riding 5 miles!

I figure I’ve been scared of the water for 43 years, a few extra weeks weren’t going to kill me. So with no real goal in mind, I set out to look for someone that could “for real” teach me to swim. What I learned is that my almost-8 year old, who is absolutely petrified of the water, now wants to “for real” learn to swim because mommy is learning to swim. Even crazier? She hasn’t taken off her training wheels ever, and in one weekend she decided she was done with them and started riding her “big girl bike.” My focus shifted from racing for me to showing a little set of eyes that she can accomplish anything if she sets aside the fear.This might be the most #epic thing of all…