Reflections

With it being exactly two weeks since I completed my first 5K, and exactly one week since I last went running, I am struck this week with a feeling of frustration. My stomach has not felt well in days and I’m nearly certain it’s because of my unintentional break from healthy eating. There are more excuses circulating in my mind than there ever have been. Motivation is at an all time low. I’m sure it is because I have reached my short-term goal, of finishing a race, and now I need to remind myself of my long-term goal, becoming a mother.

Last Sunday, my husband and I were out and about in the afternoon and visiting various libraries in our city looking for assorted books. While waiting for him to make his selections at our last destination, I found myself in the parenting aisle. I was curious to see what kind of books they had that may relate to pregnancy and diabetes, or pregnancy and mental health, both of which are the road blocks on my journey. As I suspected, there wasn’t any particular book that really came close to what I hoped to read. However, as I skimmed the pages of one parenting book, I came across the library receipt pictured above and I began to think about the person who had checked out these two books. I immediately felt fortunate. The lady who needed to read these books must have been dealing with an issue that I’m sure is frustrating. And while I’m concerned about becoming pregnant, it is for completely different reasons. It is not known to me whether or not I can get pregnant. To put it simply, we have never tried. Infertility may or may not be an issue for us. My physical and mental health, is what stands in our way.

Recently, a ray of hope made it’s way into the situation when I received my latest blood work results. Due to my diet and exercise routine, my numbers were all in the normal range, a much different story than the above normal numbers that I’m used to. I don’t have to go back to the doctor until August, but in the meantime, I am determined to get out of this health rut. I have to remember that the whole reason I started to run, was not just to enter the 5K, but the ultimate goal is to get healthy enough that I could have a somewhat normal pregnancy. We know that if it is God’s will that it happens now, rather than when we’re  ready, we will be happy and will do what we have to do to make sure everything turns out well. But in the meantime, after Easter tomorrow, after the ham and potato salad and deviled eggs, those hot pink running shoes will be on my feet again on Monday. I bought a planner a while ago for planning out meals and exercise, it’s time I make some plans and stick to them. And to the lady who left her receipt in the book I picked up, I hope that she has found a happy solution to whatever fertility issue she was facing, and I pray that our time comes. Our time to create new life with just as much health and happiness.

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I finished.

Better than I could have imagined. I think that adequately sums up my experience running a 5K for the first time last Saturday.

The weather that morning was very mild, unlike previous years that caused me to bundle up tightly when volunteering early on race day. With my husband and his mother accompanying me, I was a bundle of nerves prior to the race starting. But there were plenty of friendly, familiar faces surrounding me as well. Parents of students I have taught, the students themselves, co-workers, and friends from church all showed their support when I walked by with that number pinned to my shirt. I don’t know how it would feel in any other race where I don’t know as many people. I felt like I had the homecourt advantage.

The race itself was a bit more grueling than my training had prepared me. Whereas I was able to run a full 3 miles without stopping to walk earlier that week, the course of this race featured three very prominent hills that made it difficult to not stop and walk for a bit. With that said, I was just glad I didn’t get lost. Seeing a course outlined on a map didn’t give me much confidence that I would remember where to turn. There were plenty of signs and volunteers along the way that pointed me in the right direction though.

At the beginning, I had to talk myself down from throwing up, my excitement and bowl of cereal were that high in my system. Though it didn’t take me too long to find my rhythm and settle into my usual pace. My excitement rose again as I crested the final hill and saw the long, straight road to the finish line. That was the best part of all. A moment I will truly cherish. Kids I knew from school lined the street and held out their hands for me to slap as I ran by. Voices cheered and hands clapped as my strides got longer and faster toward the final turn towards the end of the line. A broad smile across my face can be seen in every picture that was snapped of me coming through the inflated arch that marked the end of the race. The older couple that I know from church that took pictures and cheered my name e-mailed those pictures to both my pastor and principal later that day! There was so much pride felt as I finished the race. I know my small family in attendance were proud. And so were the members of my extended family who were with me that day, albeit from a long distance away, keeping in touch with texted updates.

My performance that morning ended up taking me 45 minutes exactly, which put me 4th out of the 8 women in my age group. Much to my surprise, I was only 38 seconds behind the 3rd place finisher. Being pleased with myself for just finishing the race (and not coming in last–though that would have been ok too) is accomplishment enough for me. I set a goal, and I achieved it. I worked hard to train and have come a long way physically since I began. That same evening, I downloaded the 5K to 10K app. I’ll complete day 2 of that training tomorrow.

My family is crazy, and other facts about my life this month…

 

 

I don’t mean crazy in the fun, free-spirited way, I mean that they have lost their minds. Or have they? The short hand version of this foray into the psyche of the minds of my family is that my father, who walked out on my mother and I 16 years ago and who I haven’t spoken to since before I got married 3 years ago, called me out of the blue one night a couple of weeks ago. He wanted to apologize for everything he had put me through since his sudden and very unexpected departure from the lives of my mother and I. I don’t want to diminish the sincerity of this surprise apology, but the series of events that have followed this phone call is on the verge of tearing what remains of my family apart, to the point that I almost wish I could go back to having an absent father.

What has ensued since that phone call can only be described as weird. With both of my parents being married to my step-parents, they are now in the middle of planning their respective separations from said spouses and their reunion. How many kids go through their lives and wish that their parents were back together? At the age of 33, this is about to happen with my parents, and I think it sucks. There are so many thoughts swirling around my brain about this, that I have sort of gone numb to it all. I don’t feel anything but exhaustion when I think about it. My sisters, who share a mother, but not this man who has swept in from out of left field, are on the eve of shutting out our mom if she goes through with this relationship with my father. This post could get very lengthy if I tried to explain the history of my family and what has led to this impending divide. Suffice it to say, I am glad that I live a great physical distance away from it. I can choose to answer the phone and be a part of it, which I’m not so sure I want to do right now. This has all happened at an incredible speed and I am desperately trying to stop the swirling and figure out how I truly feel about it all.

All of this during the weeks leading up to my first 5K, which I am finding it incredibly difficult to focus on right now. I tried to go running yesterday, after back to back phone calls with my mother and one of my sisters and I just could not focus. I had to turn around after running only four tenths of a mile. My personal best is 2.46 miles in 31 minutes. I have a route that I have mapped out in the neighborhood that I run in, and I am determined to make it that last half of a mile to equal three total miles. I haven’t done it yet, and the race is this Saturday. I have faith that I can push this out of my mind long enough to get ready for the big day. At least I think I do.

In addition to the turmoil in my family and the race preparations, I have been debating a significant change in my career as an educator. I have taught elementary grades for the past 10 years. My principal would really like for me to move up and teach middle school English/language arts. I have resisted and debated and contemplated, and finally, last Friday, I turned in my letter of intent stating that I would move up. I’m incredibly nervous by this new challenge and have had that mixed in with the other thoughts demanding my attention.

I am beginning to feel a constant state of anxiety, which is absolutely maddening. But, I’m a stronger person than I was 16 years ago when my dad left, and now that he has re-entered my life, I’m going to prove to myself that I can handle anything that comes my way. I will not let this drag me down to where I was. I will push forward and I will survive the craziness. I’ve got this!