In the Dark

My first alarm goes off at 4:06 am. So quiet and gentle, I doubt it wakes my husband, the lighter sleeper of the two of us. I am a heavy sleeper, yet I hear the faint chirp, so briefly, before turning it off and waiting for the second alarm at 4:12.

I’m reluctant to leave my warm, cozy bed. My new flannel sheets hug me, wrapping me in an embrace almost as comforting as Mom’s hug. Almost.

Despite my deep longing to stay in bed, I swing my legs over the side, the cool air stark against my bare legs, and make my way in the dark, using my phone as a flashlight to find the bathroom. My running clothes are already laid out on the counter. I double check the weather one more time before I completely commit to my running outfit. The weather is an unpredictable running buddy. And 30 degrees Fahrenheit is a difficult temperature to dress for.

I brush my teeth and get dressed, taking care to save my outer layers until I’m out the door. I don’t want to overheat in the house.

By 4:20 I’m sitting on the couch with my first cup of coffee. It’s strong, with a healthy dose of half and half. The first steaming sip warms my belly and sharpens my wits. I check emails, read articles, and plan my day while sipping my coffee. By the time my cup is empty, it’s time to go.

I go through my checklist: headlamp, reflective vest, phone, keys, spare jacket, gloves, headband. I tie my running shoes; I can already tell I’m going to need a new pair soon. I sigh as I think about squeezing that into the budget.

The garage is dark, and the sound of the garage door opening is a loud roar on a silent morning. On the drive over, I’m pumped, excited. The sky is black with a clear view of stars. I pick out Orion’s belt.

I’ve planned to meet the group on the front steps of the local YMCA. Sometimes there’s a lot of us; sometimes just two.

Blinking lights from vests and headlamps greet me. People stomp their feet, smacking against the pavement, warming them in the cold morning. Soft laughter, the beep of watches.

I’d like to think we’re an agile pack of ninjas, but in truth we’re a crazy motley of flashing lights,  bright colors, and steaming puffs of breath. Legs turn over in vary speed, some fast, some slow. It doesn’t matter. The first mile is always tough, a little tight, a little stiff, as if joints  screech for an oil can.

Running in the dark is a mysterious experience. Surreal even. Houses and neighborhoods pass without notice. Miles are covered without thought. The landscape changes from yard to park to cemetery to back street, yet none of us notice. In the dark, everything looks the same. Everything’s awash in shades of inky blue and black. Even the faces of my companions are a blur to me, hidden by layers of clothing and shades of shadow.

As we run through town – alive with activity in the hours to come, yet sleeping and waking still –  few cars pass us. Some don’t see us, and we have to rely on our ninja-like agility.

In the dark, wee hours of the morning, when the entire town remains fast asleep, we run. The day is barely new, and I have traveled farther on foot than some people will travel all day.

Later, I’ll look back on my run, whether fast or slow, fun or challenging, and it will seem like a memory from a dream. Almost as if it didn’t happen. Yet I know I will wake the next day and do it again. Later, over my second cup of coffee while I’m heading for the shower, I’ll think about how before I even thought about the day ahead, I managed to accomplish a goal. I’ll think how while others were sleeping and letting life happen to them, I chose to get up and decide how I wanted to live.

But for now, I’m running in the dark. That thrilling exhilaration of being awake when you’re not supposed to beating in my chest propels me forward. We laugh when we’re done. Make plans for future runs.

I get in my car, smelling of sweat and cold air. I pull off my gloves and headband, hot now. There’s no need to turn the heat on in the car. I drive home, my headlights piercing the country roads, as the sun starts to peak over the horizon and begin the day.

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Be Strong and Courageous

I have a medal board hanging right next to my treadmill. I use it for inspiration, especially when motivation wanes like the moon. On the medal board it says:

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

– Philippians 4:13

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I like that passage. I think most of us do. And while I take some liberties to apply it to my running (in truth it hasn’t nothing to do with human accomplishments), it does offer comfort and assurance to remember that our Savior is on our side, day in and day out. Through him we gain all things; we gain everything! Heaven. Forgiveness of sins. Freedom from death and the power of the devil. If Christ is for me, who can be against me?

This passage has served me well as a kind of mantra; something to repeat in my head when times get tough, whether during a run, or when life seems unbearable. It’s easy to get lost and want to quit when you hurting through a 15 mile long run. It’s easy to want to give up when kids get sick, or debt seems insurmountable. The temptation to throw in the towel and scream, “That’s it! I’m done!” is unbelievable strong. This passage from Philippians offers comfort, guidance, assurance and faith-strengthening power.

That passage has served me well, but I found a another that seems to fit where I am in life; the things I’m going through, and the struggles I have with my running:

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified, do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you where ever you go.”

– Joshua 1:9

To be completely honest, I’m terrified of a lot. Some of my fears are completely irrational, like a clown hiding in my closet or a killer in my backseat. (Go ahead and laugh; I have an active imagination.) Some of my fears are completely rational and common. Things most people fear: something happening to my children or spouse, whether or not our nation can heal itself from all the violence and hatred that seems to perpetuate everything, natural disasters, illness, etc. I think we all have a very real awareness that bad things can and do happen, and we are powerless to stop it.

I also have a lot of fear in running. I’m afraid of the pain. I’m afraid of failing. I’m afraid my best will never be good enough. Strange, isn’t it? Something I love causes me to be afraid. It doesn’t make much sense, but that’s part of the reason I do it.

Because I don’t want to be afraid anymore.

I don’t want to constantly live in fear that my child will get cancer or my husband will die. I don’t want to be afraid to run a marathon because it’s so long, and it will hurt. I don’t want to be afraid to try a new career, open a business, or dream big because I’m terrified of failure. I don’t want to lock my kids inside and helicopter them because I’m afraid the second I turn my back someone will snatch them away, or they’ll fall and break a leg.

Because I’m doubting. I’m doubting the love and promises of my Savior. Every time I let fear told a hold of my heart, I’m doubting.

The passage first enter my head on a run. I was struggling and in a lot of pain and trying to pull it together. I spend a lot of my runs praying or just talking to God in random thoughts. I also like to focus on a particular question I have from God’s Word or worries that bother me. When I’m struggling during a run, I pray, and almost as if in response, the passage popped into my head.

That passage from Joshua gives me so much comfort. I can dream big and pursue even terrifying dreams, like qualifying for Boston or getting my masters, because no matter the outcome, the Lord is with me.

When life’s trials blast me, I can rest on the promise in that passage. I don’t have to be discouraged, my Heavenly Father is with me. I have no reason to fear, in fact, God tells me to be courageous. There is nothing I can do, no place I can go, that will separate me from the love of God or the assurance of his presence.

Christ gives me courage.  Every time I want to start doubting, I can repeat that passage from Joshua.

When I sit at the bedside of a sick loved one.

When I wait for my husband to drive through a blizzard to come home.

When I’m afraid of a miscarriage or loss of an unborn.

When I’m forced to move and start over.

When I’m on a twenty mile long run.

When I have to confront someone I love about a sin.

When someone points out my sin.

Be strong and courageous. The Lord is with me. No matter where I go or what I do, he is with me. There is no greater comfort, and nothing I can do for myself that will ever replace a promise of God.

I may have a new running mantra, but I also have a promise to carry through life.

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On Life, Lemons, and Lemonade

I’m always sad to say goodbye to summer. It’s my absolutely favorite season. I know everyone is in love with fall and that’s fine; I like fall too, but I love the heat and the long days and the cookouts and lemonade and shorts and bare feet.

I like tan legs and warm evenings.

I like no school and fireflies.

I like taking 30 seconds to dress for a run, instead of the 10 minutes is takes in the winter.

But, as always, summer’s over too soon, and as I sit well-entrenched in another autumn, it feels as though I blinked and missed summer. This summer my small but meaningful life was turned on it’s little head.

My husband, a pastor, took a call (in plain language, it’s a job transfer, if you’d like to learn more about the divine call, look here) to a completely different part of the state. A fairly familiar part, but it stills means a new church family, a new church, a new house, a new school and saying goodbye to our life, church and friends for the past six years. And we had six weeks to fix and sell our house (we had a MAJOR basement remodel), sort and pack, all while balancing life, kids, work and running.

Now before you think I’m a total wuss, I realize that people move everyday. Some families move every couple of years. I have moved about six or seven time in my life so this is not a completely new thing for me. But these life transitions are like lemons that need a little love to turn into some delicious, lip-smacking lemonade.

However, these life lemons are hard for everyone involved. I’m not complaining. In fact, the place to which we moved is wonderful. Beautiful area, beautiful house. Kind and caring people. But the life I knew and was comfortable with is gone, and the familiar has been replaced with unfamiliar. My kids, although troopers, still act out their stresses. My husband and I feel out of sorts and ungrounded, but thankfully it pulls us closer together rather than apart.

Nowhere is this unsettled feeling more present than in my runs.

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Running out in the country creates a new set of challenges that I’m trying to adjust too. A complete darkness from lack of streetlights, animals that may or may not be friendly, and lots of hills that drivers fly over. To be fair, I’m sure they don’t expect a runner out at 5 am in the middle of nowhere. Who would be that crazy? But I’m terrified I’m going to get hit by a car.

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My goals for the year are also out the window. Who cares about training for a marathon when I can barely keep up with everything happening around  me? I tried to do everything: move,  run, plan for a new school year, balance life at home and work, and keep everything clean and organized.

Turns out, that’s the perfect recipe for a meltdown.

Because every time we try to do everything and be perfect at everything, we will fail. Every. Single. Time. Yet time and time again we demand perfection of ourselves that we simply cannot meet.  Why can’t we stop?

Vanity.

We care how people view us, and what they think of us. We want to present our very best self to our imaginary critics. We want to look like the people who do it all, have it all, and make it look so easy. We terrified someone might get mad at us, or think we’re stupid or weak or careless.  And the funny thing is, no one actually cares. They’re all preoccupied with their own insecurities and vanities to worry about what we’re doing.

I finally had to give myself some grace and remind myself that no one cares if I run a marathon this fall or wait until spring. No one cares if I can shave another 30 seconds off of my mile time. No one cares if my house is messy or the dishes are done. No one really cares if I’m 2 minutes late for church.

We are all cracked and broken clay pots, aren’t we? Imperfect little lemons that God still manages to use to make lemonade and accomplish his will. So let go and place your trust in his promise that all things will work out for the good of those who love him.

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Sometimes those promises are the only thing that we can grasp onto as our lives seem to spin out of control, when it seems all we have are the lemons and no lemonade. When trial upon trial bears down on us making us feel lost, inadequate, scared, or alone. Our Heavenly Father reminds us:

“Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you.”

“Be strong and courageous… for the LORD your God will be with you where ever you go.”

“So do not fear for I am with you; do not be dismayed for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

” ‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’ ”

“And surely I will be with you always, do the very end of the age.”

I may be struggling right now, but I can kiss vanity goodbye. I can hand God all of my little life “lemons,” and trust that he will do what’s best not only for me, but my family as well. I can hug my kids, love my students, smile at my husband, and chill out about my running. I can adjust my goals and be patient as God sandpapers me into the beautiful shape he wants.

This year might be an adjustment, but I can adjust. And I will be better for it.

 

 

 

 

What I Needed to Hear

“I think that we should make it our goal that you qualify for Boston in three years.”

I almost cried.

We were out for a walk with the kids. It was a gorgeous day: warm breeze, sun shining, and the delighted shouts of the kids in the background. The boys were riding their bikes, and doing “tricks” in the church parking lot while we watching.  We were chatting about nothing in particular. We weren’t discussing running, or dreams, or goals, or anything.

He spoke off the cuff, like it was no big deal. Just another remark he made to his wife about something he had been thinking about.

What he didn’t realize was that his words were probably the sweetest, most romantic thing he ever could have said to me. Those seventeen words meant more to me than if he told me I was beautiful, or if he said I was the most incredible women he’d ever met.

Now some women might find that ridiculous, even insulting. For me, it was the exactly what I needed.

If you know my husband even a little, you may know he is not really forthcoming in his communication. (Which is funny, because he speaks for a living. How does that work?) I think many women could say the same thing about their husband. Most men aren’t particularly known for being chatty. And that’s ok. If your husband is very talkative, great. I’m not here to debate the communication levels of men and women.

My husband probably didn’t even realize how his words impacted me. And I know he would be embarrassed if he knew I was sharing this, but that one little sentence is worth more than twelve dozen roses, a pair of diamond earrings, and a trip to the Bahamas. Combined.

And I’m not exaggerating.

Within that one little sentence, he managed to convey so much.

He supported me.

For anyone, achieving a dream or a goal is never possible without some kind of support. Whether it’s going back to school, starting a family, or starting your own business, we need support. We need people to be on our side and encourage us. Alone, we’re scared, doubtful, and unmotivated. Dreams don’t come true when we’re afraid or when we doubt ourselves.

My husband’s words offered so much support. He called it our goal. Not mine, ours. Now, some women may bristle at the idea that someone else would take ownership of their dream and also credit of working toward it. Yeah, I  don’t give a rip about that. My husband and I are one. My success is his success, and vice versa. I wouldn’t be able to achieve this goal without him. It’s a pure fact. I shouldn’t have to point out that training for things like marathons take plenty of time, and he watches the children during those long training runs, or tune-up races.

He motivated me.

Not only did he voice a time limit, but he gave me a reason to work. I run for me, but I also run for my family and my Lord. His statement really sparked a desire in me to run for my husband. He laid it out and said he’d willingly do what it takes for me to BQ, how could I let him down? How can I skip runs or sit on my duff when my husband is willing to offer, money, time, support, and encouragement for me to do this?

I don’t care if it’s “un-feminist” of me to want to please my husband and want him to be proud of me. As I explain to my children, he’s the leader of our family. When our leader is on board, we can do anything!

He believed in me.

I’ve said before that I truly believe I can qualify for Boston in five years. I didn’t need my husband to verbally affirm it, but he did it anyway. How incredible is that? To have the one person I love and trust the most in the world, say to me, “Hey, you can do this.” was so touching, and moved me so deeply.

He’s offered encouragement to me plenty of times before, and it’s always wonderful. But this was such a huge, personal goal of mine which I really hadn’t discussed with him at length. I had mentioned it; he knew about it, but we never had in-depth conversations about this particular dream.

So when he said that, it was like the clouds parted and I felt the sun for the first time. Not only does he believe in me, but he is going to work to help me get there. How can I fail?

Nearly eight years being married to this man has taught me a lot. We still have our moments of being stinker butts with each other, but I’m so grateful and humbled by my husband’s words. Sharing our goals and dreams together bring us closer, but they also make us unstoppable.

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Something’s Gotta Give

It’s the age-old mom question: Can we have it all? This dream of having the family, the dream job, the great house, the relaxing vacations, the life-enriching hobbies and extra-curriculars, and intimate and meaningful relationships with our spouse and kids seems doable, doesn’t it? Not to mention a clean house, home-cooked meals, and a super fit body are all ours if we just take the time, get organized, and work a little harder.

I’m exhausted just reading that list. Aren’t you?

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Who has time to have it all, when you feel like your barely surviving? Yet, we are surrounded by an unending parade of of examples of moms who seem to have it all (thank you, social media): the great bod, the awesome vacation, the dream kitchen, well-behaved children, exciting hobbies and adventures, throwing their children creative and inspiring birthday parties. And we feel we need to keep up. All. The. Time.

And we fall short. Every time.

It’s quite the hit to the “momming” self-esteem, isn’t it? We feel like there must be something wrong with us that we can’t keep up with what everyone else seems to be doing.

I’m going through my own personal struggle right now. Between teaching, running, and trying to keep on top of all the little things in the house (especially the floor around the toilet. Any other boy moms? Seriously, how hard is it to aim?!?), I feel like I’m failing at everything at the same time. Runs are cut short or skipped. Laundry piles up (and with 3 kids, a husband and and endless stink of running clothes it piles up about every thirty minutes or so). Dishes are left in the sink. Kids outgrow their jeans. Grades need to be tallied. The list goes on and on.

I’ve been struggling these past weeks to find the balance between running, teaching, and house and family. It seems like in order to accomplish one thing, something else has to go. In order to run, I have to sacrifice house cleaning. In order to get schoolwork done, I have to sacrifice time with the kids. In order to just read a book, I have to sacrifice time with my husband. Does any of this sound familiar?

We are mothers. We multitask and divide and conquer. We try and balance twenty-seven spinning plates at one time, and refusing to let one of the plates drop.

Until suddenly it does.

Because when we cut to the deep, we are nothing but imperfect messes striving for the impossible perfection.

And so it’s tempting to compare ourselves to the moms who seem to have it so much easier than we do. It’s also tempting to rely on ourselves for everything.

When that happens, time and time again we are brought to our knees in weakness, shame, despair, or frustration. And  that’s a perfect position to pray from. Because ultimately, we will find the only source of strength in trying to balance the chaos of our lives is in Christ. That’s it. He doesn’t care if you clothes are dirty or you haven’t showered in three days. He doesn’t care that you royally screwed up at work. He doesn’t care if you had to hide the dirty dishes under the sink before company came over. (True story.) He doesn’t care that you’re still carrying baby weight or have stretch marks.

He’s crazy about you.

And he’s standing beside you, just waiting for you to stop trusting in yourself and  hand everything over to him.

So let him take it! Give up those pesky things that don’t matter. Turn again and again to the Word for those comforting promises that echo throughout every page.

“Do not worry about what you will eat or what you will wear.”

Don’t worry about the mess. Clean it up if you need to, but don’t let it become a source of distraction.

Don’t worry about dinner. Kids can eat grilled cheese and carrots sticks.

Don’t worry about work. Give your best, but remember that God has promised to provide.

Don’t worry about the run. Run if you can, but it doesn’t define you. Rather “run as if to get the prize,” that is, heaven.

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We might not be able to have it all, or do it all, or be the perfect mom/wife/runner/party planner/teacher/cook/housekeeper, but we have something far greater.The comfort of Christ’s grace and love, the assurance that heaven is ours, and the knowledge that no matter our struggles, Christ is by our side, helping us through.

Sounds like we already have it all, doesn’t it?

 

Paleo Almond Pancakes

I don’t like pancakes.

Gasp, the horror! I know. I’m a little wacky. Occasionally (and by occasionally I mean maybe once five years ago when I was pregnant with my first baby), I’ll have a hankering for pancakes, but they’re really not my first choice. I’ll eat them; they’re fine. I’m just not a big fan. (I’m also not a huge fan of donuts either. Or pie. Or frosting. Please don’t hate me.) I can actually hear Jim Gaffigan yelling at me.

BUT

I love these pancakes. Maybe because I inherited my mother’s love of almonds and their delightful flavor. Who knows.

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But these are amazing.

I have searched and attempted to make many versions of a paleo pancake. Some with coconut flour and eggs, some with just banana and egg, some with protein power. I had yet to find a decent texture and firm enough pancake that tasted good and wouldn’t fall apart when I flipped it. Because that happens to me a lot.

Then I came up with these. Oh, happiness.

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Currently, my husband and I are completing our second round of Whole30 and I was trying to incorporate more healthy, Whole30 eating for my kids as well. Hence the search for the perfect pancake. After several attempts, I landed on this little gem and it was amazing! Technically, pancakes aren’t Whole30 approve, even when making them with entirely compliant ingredients. But since pancakes are a trigger food for me (see above), and I’d already completed one round, I figured I’d be safe.

My life will forever be changed.

These little cakes are delightful. Filled with nutty almond flavor, and a pleasing texture, they were a hit even with my children. (Including the 9 month old)

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The almond flour is a new ingredient for me and I bought it on a whim. Be sure to get almond flour instead of almond meal. You could certainly try almond meal, but I prefer the texture of flour (the skins of the almonds have been removed making it a finer texture).  I also used a little coconut flour to  help with texture, flavor, and to stabilize it a bit.

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To really beef up the almond flavor, I used unsweetened almond milk (vanilla or regular work just fine) and almond extract. The extract is the key. My mom always used almond extract in her  Christmas cookies instead of vanilla, so these pancakes have a treat-like feel for me. (If your mom didn’t make Christmas cookies that way, add the almond extract anyway. It’s yummy.)

Mix everything together. Note: the batter will be thicker than a traditional pancake batter and this is perfectly fine. You may have to spread batter out in little circles with the back of a spoon.

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For my kids I served with real maple syrup. I ate them plain (Whole30, you know). Enjoy!

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Paleo Almond Pancakes

Dry Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 cup almond flour
  • 1 tbs coconut flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Wet Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • tiny splash vanilla

Mix wet and dry ingredients separately. Add wet ingredients to dry and mix well. Batter will be slightly thicker than regular pancake batter.

Heat a nonstick skillet on medium heat. Melt a little ghee or butter onto the skillet. Drop about 1/4 cup of batter in skillet and spread out with back of a spoon in a medium-sized pancake. Cook several minutes per side until each side is golden.

Top with maple syrup or a date-almond butter syrup. (See below.)

Dig in!

 

Date-Almond Butter Syrup

Ok, this isn’t really a recipe. But it’s super yummy. Again, probably not Whole30 approved since its a recreation of a sweet syrupy sauce, but it would work very well with the pancakes.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pitted dates
  • 1/2 boiling water
  • 1/2 cup almond butter

Soak date in water until plump and softened. Throw in a food processor or blender with almond butter and blend until smooth and a syrup-like consistency. Serve with pancakes, or just eat with a spoon. It’s that good.

 

Goals for 2017

Happy New Year!

I have a confession. I hate making New Year’s resolutions. I think they’re kind of stupid. Most of the time when someone asks what my resolution is, I say, “To floss.” (That’s the truth, I do want to floss more.) But overall, I don’t hold my weight or faith in resolutions.

Now, I don’t care if you do and I don’t judge anyone who does. Seriously, have fun, make a resolution or don’t. It doesn’t matter to me.

I don’t like them because I’m of a mind that if you want to make a change, you shouldn’t have to wait for a new year to do that. Just change. Make up your mind and do it now.

That being said, I’m a huge fan of making goals. I like having something to work towards and measure progress against. Whether it’s financial goals, spiritual goals, or health-related goals, I respond well to a “carrot on a stick.” Some of my goals are long term like pay the house off in ten years, or get published and qualify for Boston in five years.

I don’t want to be a “someday when the kids are gone” person. I want something to work for and strive for now. That’s just me. But I do think we all can benefit from taking a moment and measuring how far we’ve come – whether that’s fitness, finances, or family – and planning for where we’d like to be.

Like I said, I have long term goals that I don’t think I need to lay out for you. I also have many non-running related goals. But since this blog focused on my journey running through pregnancy, postpartum, and motherhood, I’m going to share my running and mothering goals with you.

Running Goals 2017

  1. Break 24 minutes in the 5k  I think this one is doable. That means taking my 5k pace down to about a 7:45 and I think  I can do that within the year. I’m not planning on running any 5ks until the spring/summer, so we’ll see.
  2. Break 2 hours in the half marathon This may be a stretch, but I think I can pull this one off too. I may have to wait until a fall race to reach the goal, but a 9 minute pace is about what I’m running now for mid distances (5-8 miles). I think I can do it. I know I can.
  3. Compete in my first triathlon  This is also a tricky one. I’ve wanted to do a triathlon for a while, but training requires a bit more flexibility and time. And I need a bike. I’m thinking of one in June right now, but as always, it’s subject to change. The needs of 3 small children take priority over training for something like that.
  4. Run a 4:30 marathon in April (date subject to change) I have my eye on a marathon nearby in April, but I’m not sure if I’m giving myself plenty of time to train for it. The past two marathons I’ve done, I’ve injured myself. I really want to avoid injury again, so this may get pushed back to the summer or fall. We’ll see what happens.
  5. Run my first ultra???? I may have totally gone off my rocker. An ultra is on my bucket list, and if my plan for the year goes perfectly (no injury or unexpected surprises), I may attempt a 50k in September. But this is only if everything is perfect and I’m able to build mileage without injury.
  6. Average  40-50 miles a week Typically my mileage falls around 20-30 as the average. I want to up that and sustain that level of fitness. We’ll see.
  7. BE CONSISTENT IN WEIGHT TRAINING Ugh. I KNOW I need to incorporate weight training in my routine. I know this. It helps build strength, prevents injury, and contributes  to overall health. But I’m so bad at it! I’ll have a couple of weeks where I’ll be all in, and then I’ll fall off the wagon again. Grr. I really want to make more of an effort this year. At least twice a week. At least!
  8. Practice more yoga This is similar to the weight training. I know the benefits: flexibility, balance, muscle tone, pain management. All great! So why do I keep slacking? Again, twice a week. That’s totally manageable.

Motherhood Goals 2017

  1. Be Patient This is a constant struggle for me. I am not a patient person; I never have been. But one of my biggest goals is to practice patience. Often and deliberately. Everyone benefits from this.
  2. Stop yelling Hand in hand with practicing more patience is learning to control myself, i.e. stop yelling. It’s way more effective to lower you voice when disciplining your child. I know this. Yet, sometimes my sinful nature gets the best of me and I lose it. Not only is it poor parenting, but it’s completely ineffective.
  3. Watch less TV My hope is my entire household will learn to watch less TV. I’m not against TV, in fact I enjoy it at the end of the day as a way to unwind. But I’ve noticed for me personally, that there’s nothing really all the interesting on. For the children, they maybe watch anywhere from an hour to two a day. I have no problem with children watching TV, but I think we can cut that back.
  4. Spend less time on devices  Everywhere we look our phones are glue to our faces. Seriously! I like my phone and it serves me well, but both my husband and I can benefit from spending less time on it. I mean, really, what does it do for us? Nothing but suck our time away. Nobody has ever spent an hour doinking around on a phone and come away thinking, “I just did something productive.”
  5. Drink more water I’m shooting for about a gallon a day. We all know the benefits of drinking water so I don’t need to explain why.
  6. Eat well consistently We do it fairly well. It’s one thing my husband and I belive in and agree upon heavily. The month of January we’re doing a round of Whole 30 to reset out patterns. (Let’s just say Christmas was indulgent. Someone in this house ate an entire package of Oreos in a matter of days; he’s tall, handsome and redheaded.)
  7. Compliment my children daily  I think my children hear enough about the things they’re doing wrong. I’m going to make an effort to meaningfully compliment them daily.
  8. Spend more time outside I love being outside. Who doesn’t! But it’s hard with a small baby. Last summer, I don’t think I got out that often at all! I’m going to try and get out every day  during the spring and summer, and try to let the boys out few a minutes every day during the winter.
  9. Slow down and enjoy the moments I know these days are going to scream by and my children will be grown and gone. I know this. But, man, is it hard to appreciate the days when you’re trying to just survive. I really want to try and appreciate these moments when my children a small, and relish the time I have with them.

The thing about goals that is completely different than resolutions, is that there’s room to adapt, grow, change, and adjust the goal. And nobody laughs at you if by January 30 you’ve already slouched in your goals a bit. (Unlike the cliched resolution, am I right?)

So maybe take a moment this year, and think about where you’d like to be one year from now. Better shape? Debt free? Have less stress? Have your first baby? Think about the steps you need to take to get there and work toward that. Give yourself some grace if you fail to reach a goal, but keep working toward it. Resolutions are stupid, goals are awesome.

And I do still want to floss more.