Monday, June 30, 2014

Why I jogged every day in June

Why not?  As the days dragged on, the question was why?  And why don’t I just quit.  I felt like I needed to finish this and I did!
But why did I start doing this anyway?  Well, it is a really long story but I will try to hit the high points.  Go back in time with me about 10 years.  June 2004, my mother dies of cancer.  Awful.  No other way to describe it.  One week later, I suffered a miscarriage at 11 weeks.  Awful.  Again.  Seriously.  Ugh. I have a 14 month old beautiful baby boy so life must go on, right? Nine months later, I give birth to my daughter, named after my mom.  During all this time, my motherly instinct kicks into high gear.  I must mother my own children and because my own mother is gone, I have the strong desire to mother my siblings.  I can’t help myself.  I just can’t stop. I must mother everyone around me.  So sorry to all my co-workers who really don’t need or want me to mother them.  I. Can’t. Help. Myself.

Life continues at a crazy busy pace.  My youngest sister finds herself living in paradise  AKA Hawaii.  And, she is pregnant with her first baby.  I was lucky enough to be able to go to Hawaii to be with her and be the first member of the family to meet thebeautiful baby boy.  What an emotional experience that was.  While I was not in the delivery room for the birth, I spent the days leading up to the birth helping my sister and her husband get the house ready for the impending arrival.  When she went into labor, I was at her side helping her through the pain. I was so glad I could be there.  It felt like I was in exactly the right place at the right time.  Leaving a few days later was one of the hardest things I have ever done.  But, I came back to KY and continued my crazy life.  Two years later, I am standing in a mammogram room getting ready to get my first mammogram.  My phone dings with a text message.  The x-ray tech tells me to go ahead and check.  My sister is being admitted to the hospital to give birth to baby #2.  This time they are living in KY and they live just a few miles from me.  The x-ray tech was just as excited as I was and we hurried the mammogram along so I could get to the hospital once again. I was exactly where I needed to be.  Beautiful baby girl is born and she is perfect.
One week later, I am sitting in the ob/gyn office waiting for my yearly exam.  I am sitting and waiting for the nurse practitioner to come in and see me.  She walks in and sits down, puts her hand on mine and says “how are you?”  And she meant it.  I burst into tears.  And I could not stop.  I could not even explain why I was crying.  The nurse practitioner just sat that with her hand on mine.  Waiting.  I cried.  When I stopped, she said, “what can I do?” and I burst into tears again.  More waiting, more crying.  After I calmed down, she took my blood pressure and explained that I was not allowed to go home and that I needed to go directly to the emergency room across the street.  My blood pressure was so high that she was afraid I was going to have a stroke.  After I begged her she agreed to let me go see my primary care physician, immediately and she sat there while I made an appointment for that day.  

By the time I got time I got to my primary care physician I had calmed down but my blood pressure had not.  After talking with my doctor, he said I had to go on blood pressure medication immediately.  He made me make an appointment with a therapist.  I went the next day.  After talking through the events of the week with the therapist, I came to the conclusion that the nurse practitioner asking me how I was doing was the first time anyone had asked me that question in a very long time.  I had been so busy being strong for everyone, taking care of everyone, mothering everyone that I had not taken a moment for myself.  And, I had gotten extremely out of shape and weighed about 50 pounds more than I should.  I had been so busy taking care of everyone else that I had not taken care of myself.  

After taking a few days off of work, taking my medication as directed, I returned to the primary care physician, my blood pressure had returned to normal levels.  And the doctor encouraged me to take it easy and focus on myself.  Ha, that was not going to happen.  It was mid-October.  The holidays were approaching.  Gifts had to be purchased, parties planned, food cooked and I had to do it all.  

After the holidays died down, I had time to think about the last few months and reflect (with the encouragement of my family) and I realized I needed to focus on my health.  I have never been good at keeping New Year’s resolutions.  I was great at making them, bad at keeping them.  But this time, I was going to do it.  I renewed my membership to the gym, got out my workout clothes and started walking on the treadmill.  I took it slow. I monitored my heart rate and just walked.  I paid attention to what I was putting in my body.  I made a goal that I would exercise and eat a healthy diet and in six months I would go back to the doctor and determine if my weight and unhealthy eating were causing my high blood pressure or was I a victim of my family history of hypertension.  It was slow going.  I even gave up for a while.  But slowly, I made progress.  I felt better.  I looked better.  I was getting better.  Then, the end of the school year push began.  The kids had projects at school, work was crazy, I was involved in the hiring process for a new principal at my children’s school and working out fell away.  I was still eating a healthy diet but the exercise just did not happen.  Great.  I was slipping back down the slope.  I had to stop the slide.

Looming in the horizon was a 5k race hosted by my church. I had run it a few times. That was going to be my new beginning.  So, on May 31st, I ran a 5k.  It was not pretty.  But, I ran it.  I finished it.  And, I felt great.  The next morning I woke up super sore.  But, I thought, hey, maybe I will run again today.  That was June 1st.  I ran/walked about 4 miles and felt happy.  It was after that run on June 1st that I came up with the idea of running every day in June-Jogging June.  I was inspired by my older sister who ran every day in November.  I could do this.  So, I did.  Every day.  I ran.  I refused to make excuses.  I ran early in the morning.  I ran later in the evening.  I ran after work.  I ran in the rain.  I ran in the blazing sun.  I ran.  Some days I only ran a mile.  Some days more.  I chose different places to run so I would not get bored.  And I decided to share on Facebook.  Why?  Well, I needed to be accountable to someone.  So, I chose to be accountable to everyone.  And it worked.  The motivation I received from the facebook community was amazing.  It was exactly what I needed.  I felt like I could not let anyone down.  And, as I ran and got stronger, I began to set some goals.  The Bluegrass 10,000 was on July 4th.  6.2 miles.  I could totally do it.  Maybe.  Yikes.  But, with the help of my sister, I trained and made a good plan and stuck to it.  Everyday.  Now, running every day is not advisable by any trainer or health professional but I needed to do this.  I could do this.  I did it.  I ran each and every day for the entire month of June (plus that last day in May).  31 days in a row.  I ran.  

89 miles.  Over 16 hours of running.  I did it.  

I go back to the doctor in 6 weeks.  I think he will be proud.  Will I be able to stop taking my blood pressure medication?  Maybe.  But, if I can’t, it is not because I have not made a change.  I have taken time out for myself.  Am I still mothering people?  Absolutely. Do I still do too much for people.  Absolutely.  Do I get that sometimes I need to do for myself.  Absolutely.  

I ran every day in June.  Will I stop running?  Maybe I won’t run tomorrow but I will run. What if I can’t run the whole 10K on Friday?  What If I have to walk?  I don’t care.  Because July 4, 2014 will be my own Independence Day.  

Monday, March 14, 2011


I just turned 38 years old on March 10th and I will be celebrating my daughter turning 6 on March 15th. In just a few short weeks, my son will turn 8 on April 13th and then my husband will turn 40 on May 1st. A lot of birthdays packed into just a few months (not to mention all the other birthdays in the family).

Birthdays-It really got me thinking. I have never really liked my own birthday. I have never enjoyed the spotlight being on me (unless I am teaching and then, bring on the spotlight-I love to teach), but really, I hate being the center of attention. Growing up, the thought of a room full of people looking at me and singing was pretty terrifying. I really did not want a lot of people looking at me. When I turned 16, my parents threw me a surprise party. They got together with my siblings and all my church youth group/school friends and surprised me. I was mortified. Every picture of me at that event shows my entire face and neck a beautiful blotchy red. STOP LOOKING AT ME! I did get a pretty string of fresh water pearls. I still have them.

When I was in college, I got all my clothes stolen from my locker while I was at swim practice. I had to run back to my dorm from they gym with one of those little, tiny gym-issue towels wrapped (not really) around me in my suit. And, that day in March the weather was more like a lion than a lamb (cold!). I was mad that my clothes got stolen-yes. But, I was more mad that they stole my favorite rugby shirt (It was the 90's we were all wearing rugby shirts) and the t-shirt I bought after hiking from the bottom of the Grand Canyon to the top-all by myself-in one day!

The following year, I had to have my tonsils removed just 2 days before my 21st birthday. No partying took place on my 21st that year.

I never really liked my birthday.

When my son was born in 2003 the entire concept of the birthday changed. BIRTHDAY-it all made sense. What an amazing thing a birthday is. It is the day when you and your mother meet for the first time. It is the day that you receive the most amazing gift you could ever receive from your mother-LIFE. It is the day that your mother probably worked the hardest and will NEVER forget. I got it. The day my son was born (well, the two day period it became) was one of the most amazing days of my entire life. I remember being so amazed that not only had I survived the prior 9 months (If you knew me while I was pregnant, you were probably amazed I survived). But, it was the day I felt the most powerful. I am woman-HEAR ME ROAR. I grew a being inside of me and on that day, I pushed him out and listened to him take his first breath, make his first sound and was the only thing that could sooth him from his crying. I knew immediately upon giving birth that I wanted to do that again. Yeah, the 9 months were crappy. I puked EVERY SINGLE DAY. I had stretch marks, I had hemorrhoids, I had tears in places I won't mention, I had burst blood vessels in my face, my bladder was a wreck. But, holy crap. I had a baby. It was then that I realized that birthdays are the most amazing day-not in the life of the baby, child, kid... They are the most amazing day in the life of the mother.

When my daughter was born 6 years ago, it was a very different kind of experience. First, I knew exactly what I was in for, and I was really not looking forward to the pain. But, I was ready to meet my child-especially since the gender was a surprise to everyone. But, just 9 short months before I gave birth to my second child, I lost my own mother. I won't lie. It was a bittersweet day. It was the day that BIRTHDAY really became unbelievably burned in my head as an amazing day. The day that I was born was the day my mother got to meet me for the first time. It was the day that the two of us shared what was unlike any other day. My birthday, March 10th, 1973, was the day that my mother's life changed. It was the day she felt powerful. It was the day she first heard me cry. It was the day she had imagined for nine months. It was the day that she and I became mother and daughter.

Five days before my own daughter was born, I spent my very first birthday without my mother. It was the saddest day of my life. The day she died, very sad. The funeral day, very sad. What would have been my parent's 38th wedding anniversary, very sad. Thanksgiving, Christmas... all very sad. But, I never felt more alone than the first time I celebrated my own birthday without my mother. What did it feel like? It felt like I could not breathe, I could not see. It felt like something had been torn from me. I felt that something was absolutely, positively wrong. Of course, on the outside, all you could see was a woman who was 9 months pregnant. I was a woman with a loving husband, family and a 23 month old, amazing boy. But, I was a woman-totally and completely lost.

My own birthday was missing the star performer. The person who made it all happen-was gone-Forever. It was the day that I realized that birthdays are the most amazing days of any person's life-it is the day that you and your mother become, well, you and your mother. It is a day that your mother will never forget.

Five days later, I met my baby girl and named her after my own mother. I cried. I was happy-absolutely. But, of course, something was missing.

I get birthdays. I really do. It ain't about the kid. I will tell you that. Have a party but remember the woman who made it all possible.

I think that each year, birthdays should celebrate the mother. Give that woman a party-For God's sake-she deserves it.

April 13, 2003.

March 15, 2005

me and my mom. Not on my birthday. 1995 Columbia SC.

Friday, April 16, 2010


Originally uploaded by ekulibraries

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Monday, October 26, 2009

Sent from my iPhone

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Mini Vacation Day 2-Cincy

We continued our mini vacation in Cincinnati by heading to the zoo. We got out of our hotel room early, and headed into the rush hour traffic so we could be at the zoo gates when they open at 9am. We really wanted to beat the crowds and see the animals when they would be eating and most active. We pulled into the parking lot and were ready to go when a zoo employee told us the bad news-there had been an electrical fire the night before and the zoo was without power and would probably be offline for a few days. Ok, fine. We really wanted to go to the zoo but we knew we could also go to the Museum Center and headed in that direction. The Museum Center did not open until 10am and we got there about 9:05. There is one perk to getting there almost an hour early-you don't have to pay the $6.50 parking fee because there is no one in the parking booth yet. Yeah for us.
We went into the Museum Center which has 3 museums in it and an Omnimax theater. We decided to buy the tickets that let us go into all 3 museums and the movie. TPG enjoyed the movie about dinosaurs, DCG put up with the movie about dinosaurs.
This picture is a view of the ceiling in the Museum Center located in the Union Terminal-pretty cool.
While in the natural history musuem, TTG got to meet his hero-Sherlock Holmes. Holmes was helping us solve the mystery of glaciers and ice ages.
TPG spotted a wild animal while DCG was scaring it with her claws.
We then went into the children's museum which caused both parents to break into sweat and have heart palpitations. Way too many kids running around like idiots. The kids enjoyed themselves until TPG got a huge bucket of water dumped on his head by a random child. I saw the whole thing and can attest to all of you that he did absolutely nothing to provoke this. The kid came from across the room and just dumped it on him. Oh well. As you can see, DCG is now interested in a job in road construction. I think she is smart cause she chose the sitting down job and driving the truck.
Even thought TTG was on vacation, he could not help but face up the shelves in the pretend grocery store. The kids did not mind helping.
We then traveled back to the great Commonwealth to visit the newest member of the family. Aunt A, Uncle C and cousin A welcomed a new baby girl last week and we were all very excited to visit. TPG sat and held her for at least 30 minutes and did not want to put her down.
DCG was mad because she realized that her cousin A is a big sister and DCG is only a little sister. Nonetheless, she LOVED holding the baby.
Uncle T enjoyed his time with the newest member of the family as well.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Mini Vacation-Cincy

We decided again to stay close to home for a little vacation. While I really, really, need to get to a beach, and quick, it just did not play into the cards for this summer. If anyone finds themselves at a beach in the next few weeks, please stand at the water's edge, take a really deep breath as the water hits your feet and send me some of that smell, feel, and calm. I need it!
Ok, so we went to Cincinnati and decided to go to King's Island and then either to the zoo or the Children's Museum (the decision is being made by T and the kids as I type this). The first night involved eating at Big Boy and some time in the hotel pool.

After the hotel pool the kids were happy as clams in front of the TV until bedtime. Doesn't take much to make my kids happy. Not sure why I try so hard. We got up early and headed over to King's Island.

While there we road the rides, ate yummy LaRosa's Pizza in the Festhause and got our faces painted.
On a final note, TPG has had a huge last few days. In just a few short days, he has figured out how to ride his bicycle with no training wheels, figured out how to swim the length of a pool without drowning and today he rode on a ton of the real roller coasters with NO fear. His favorite was the Beast. I am in complete shock that he has gotten so big. I am a little afraid of what comes next-armpit hair??? But, you know, he still loves his mom and did not mind holding my hand as we went down the really big hills of the coasters. I think he may just turn out ok after all.