Two Stories Only Related By Their Effect On My Sanity

It’s Been Three Weeks Since I Had My Last Diet Coke. And These Are My Sins.

So…I’m still without Diet Coke! Almost three weeks, cold turkey! And man do I miss it. I’ve gone out to eat twice since I gave it up and that’s the worst. Fountain Diet Cokes are the best. But I’m recognizing my addictive personality and I’m not going to give in – even to the periodic reward – for a very long time. Right now the urge to buy a 20oz when I’m at Target or to hit the drive-thru on my way home from work is still too strong.

No one has to know.

As long as those voices are loud in my head? I’m not letting myself even one. Now – I’d love to be able to do that some day. Order a Diet Coke at a restaurant once in awhile…but I’m no where near there yet.

Because I love Diet Coke, I haven’t really found a replacement that I love with caffeine in it. This is a good thing because it means I’m just drinking the periodic tea (sidenote: First draft of this entry said “period tea” and I am so disgusted by that visual I had to make sure to share it with you. EW.) to keep the headaches away. Well…yesterday? I kinda forgot. Then I started getting a headache at about 7pm and I realized: I haven’t had caffeine since 7am! I drink half-caf coffee in the mornings and then sip on a tea on the way to work…AND THAT WAS IT. Can you believe? I’m going to try to do that intentionally today. I’d love to be able to have coffee/tea when I want it and not just when my addicted body demands it to keep the headaches away.

But, Man. I Could Have Used That Caffeine Boost Yesterday.

Wes and his leg cramps. ::sigh:: He’s had some bad nights lately. Yes, we try to get potassium in him. Yes, we’ve tried this remedy and that remedy. And I think they work most of the time. But then – some weeks – they don’t. Wednesday night was bad because I was stressed, knowing I had to get up even earlier Thursday than usual. (I had to leave my house at 4:30, I usually leave at 5:10.) So my tension was surely impairing his ability to get back to sleep, which was making me more tense and he kept wanting me to rub his leg (I was trying to just use the heating pad so I could sleep) so you know what I did? I yelled at him. I yelled at him for getting leg cramps which he can’t control.

#MotherOfTheYear

The next day I made sure to apologize and explain to him that I was just tired and stressed and I’m sorry I yelled at him. He looked at me with those big blue eyes and made me promise I wouldn’t ever do that again. It’s like he became the physical manifestation of Mommy Guilt. I felt like Ally McBeal.

He slept fine last night, though. Even after soccer practice. Some nights are just bad. I don’t think any remedy will keep growing pains away all the time…it didn’t for me. I just wish I had the patience my Dad had with me when I had them growing up. Of course, he lost his cool when I didn’t get an “A” in a subject…so I guess we all have our weak spots. His was academics. Mine is sleep. DON’T MESS WITH MAMA BEAR’S SLEEP. Or things will get ugly.

Let Me Tell You Why You’re Awesome.

The last 2+ years that I’ve actually had friends that I get to see and visit with on a regular basis – I’ve learned something about women. It seems that most (if not all) of us put others on pedestals for one reason or another. In the last few weeks I’ve had several repeats of the same conversation where a friend of mine mentions admiration of someone else and I’m forced to come clean with my own admiration of them. It occurred to me as it happened again yesterday…that none of my friends realize how awesome they are.

And therefore – I can only assume – that I probably don’t realize how awesome I am either.

But I’ll be honest…I am not as hard on myself as I used to be. Getting to know women who are amazing but full of self-doubt has shifted my perception and helped me get a realistic view on my life. Sometimes I look back at my messy hair and filthy house and still think, “DAMN. I’m awesome.”

BUT YOU DON’T DO THAT ENOUGH. So lets discuss YOU.

I get praise a lot for exercising, or volunteering, or whatever crazyness I’m doing in that moment that someone else isn’t doing. But the funny thing is, I think most of that is inconsequential compared to what I see my other friends doing in their lives. So…I thought I’d take a moment to list out the things that I legitimately find admirable that you are probably doing and don’t even realize it’s causing some women to put you on a pedestal.

Basically…I’m telling you how awesome you are. Have a seat.

You Consistently Get Less Than 7 Hours Of Sleep A Night
I don’t know anyone else who needs/values sleep as much as I do. I can NOT function after a few days of getting less than 7 hours of sleep in a night. My goal is always sleep by 8, up by 4 – to give me EIGHT hours. But most of the time I’m up later than 8 and wake up before 4. But still – I TRY. All of my friends and all of you people out there who get closer to 6 hours a night? I feel like we are made from different materials and I wish I could be more like you. If I could get an extra hour or two in a day and not be a crazy person after three days? I would. But I can’t because I’m not as awesome as you are. If you are still full functional on six hours (OR – GOD FORBID – LESS!) then you are my hero.

Ironing
This is one I actually laughed about with a friend yesterday. She mentioned ironing her clothes and in my head I thought she irons TOO? I don’t even remember the last time I ironed. When we sold our last house we left the ironing board attached to the laundry room door because we forgot about it. The only time I’ve ironed since then is for craft projects. I actually donated my clothes to goodwill that required ironing because I realized I never wore them because I don’t iron. I have convinced myself that only rich wives with no kids and no jobs iron. I don’t know why but I like to think it’s one of those things that NONE of us normal people do because it makes me feel better for not doing it. So, if you do it? I’m torn between admiring you and hating you.

Sewing
If you have ever sewn anything in your life – I put you on a pedestal because I’ve tried and I just can’t do it. Sewing machines confound me. If you’re a quilter you’re even more idolized because I love quilts. If you have ever mentioned a sewing project to me then I put you in this category of Women Who Are More Awesome Than I Could Ever Dream Of Being. And you probably didn’t even know that?! Same goes for knitting and crocheting. Really anything related to fabric or yarn or thread or however you group all of that stuff. I AM IN AWE OF YOU.

Cooking
Now – I cook all but one dinner for my family every week. I cook a lot. But it’s never anything complicated. Sometimes I’ll get fancy for family dinner on Sundays – but most of the time it’s simple prep and simple cook times. Those of you who do things with your blenders or food processors, even if you’re just making yourself smoothies – I’m in awe of you. Half of my boot camp makes smoothies in the mornings for breakfast and I wish I could do that! But I’m just too lazy to dirty up an appliance. I have a friend that has to bake a lot and cook a lot due to dietary needs of her family, and I just think there is no way I could do all that. I mean – I guess I would – but I don’t think I could. If you do more than the 3-step meals I do on a regular basis, and especially if you make smoothies? I hate you a little.

Playing
I love Moms who play with their kids. If I’ve seen you at the playground going down the slide with your toddler, or kicking ball at the soccer field, or playing barbies with your girls – then I am in awe. I try to play with my kids some, but I’m not as good about it as I should be and when I see Moms who are, or read about Moms who do, I’m just inspired to be better to my kids. If you play with your kids you make me want to be a better Mom to my own, and there’s no greater compliment than that.

Professional Careers
I’ve got so many friends with professional careers that they really nurture. Teachers who do projects before and after hours. Business women who travel constantly or teach training classes. Friends who manage or market with the community. I try to nurture my professional career but I don’t know how. I’m super-shy at work because I’m intimidated by every one I work with. I’ve never been really confident in any area of my life, but definitely not professionally. I just admire people who are and aren’t constantly plagued with self-doubt. Women who KNOW they’re good at their job. I love that.

Volunteering
Even though I do a lot of volunteering for E’s theatre program – I sometimes put it in a different class as those of you who are room Moms or do stuff for your kid’s sports teams. I do things with E’s program because he’s 17 and it’s the only time I get to see him. I’m not sure if I’d do it for the little kids because I SEE THEM PLENTY. I’m just not motivated and I sometimes feel like Moms who do that stuff obviously have more patience than I do. Room Moms, Team Moms, Library Moms, Cafeteria Moms…I find myself hiding from all of you because I’m so intimidated because I feel like you’re so much better at being Moms than I am.

Cleaning
My sister-in-law mentioned cleaning her baseboards recently and I thought, “MAN. SHE CLEANS BASEBOARDS TOO?” Because she’s kinda the complete package of awesomeness. It’s hard for me to see people like her and not feel intimidated so I like to think that deep down their slovenly creatures to make up for everything else that they do that’s perfect. She’s about to put their house on the market so I told myself maybe she’s doing it to sell the house! But then I remembered I didn’t do it to sell my house – so that still puts her ahead of me. I’m very open about not cleaning, but I wish I did it more and cared more. When I see or hear about other women cleaning I wonder how much more my family would appreciate if I cleaned once in awhile instead of vegging out in front of Doctor Who marathons.

Beauty
None of my friends know how beautiful they are and it makes me so sad. I feel like such a troll all the time because I rarely fix my hair, I never wear makeup other than the periodic bit of mascara on special occasions. I only wear wash/wear clothes and if you look in my closet you’ll find duplicates of several shoes in different colors because I don’t branch out from what I know works. If you ever fix your hair or wear makeup and I’ve seen you like that – even if it’s only once – I put you 10 miles above me on the beauty scale. If you have an actual hair style (I haven’t had one of those in years) I’m very jealous of you. If you know how to wear eye shadow? I’m probably stare at your eyelids more than you realize. I sometimes hate myself for surrounding myself with such beautiful women because I often walk away feeling like total crap.

Kindness
Have you ever been kind to anyone? Then you are admired. It amazes me how much a simple, sincere comment to me can cause me to put women in my life in a position of idolatry. That’s something I really strive to do – be kind and sincere and considerate – so when I feel like other women have already mastered those skills? I sincerely look to them as Who I Want To Be When I Grow Up. The funny thing is – they probably don’t even realize that. I’m sure all of you who cook/clean/sew/volunteer can look at those things and see other women who don’t do them and know that – on some level – we admire you for that. But did you ever realize how much you’re admired for your kindness? For your sincerity? For the moments you take in your day to do something for someone else…even if it’s just a text message saying, “How are you?”

Do any of these things describe you at all? Then know that I admire you. You are on some sort of pedestal in my life and you didn’t even know it. And if I put you up there, then other women did/do too. And I want you to know that. I want you to realize that for every woman you see and wish you could be more like her — there are women who look at you the same way. And if you don’t have any friends then you need to trust what I say and get out and make some because there are women who are waiting out there to be inspired by your sewing, cooking, volunteering….and especially…your ironing.

What Will You Be Watching This Fall?

First and foremost: Doctor Who is back on Saturday! WOO WOO! I don’t know if I’ve been this excited about the return of a show since Lost.

Oh…WAIT. There’s also Vampire Diaries. I’m SOOOO looking forward to the return of that too – almost as much as Doctor Who. This season is going to be so cool and I can not WAIT. (BTW – I’m still Team Delena all the way – for all of you TVD freaks out there.)

I’m looking forward to the return of a lot of my other favorite shows – Glee, The Good Wife, Fringe, and Parks and Recreation and some of my newer discoveries that I’ll be able to enjoy with the rest of the world like Downton Abbey and Homeland.

HOWEVER…I’m worried about a lot of these shows. Will Glee be the same without my favorites in the school? Can we ditch Rachel and focus entirely on Kurt in NYC? How will Leslie and Ben handle the Washington split in Parks and Recreation? And in Homeland, is it going to turn into a “No One Believes Her Because She’s Crazy BUT SHE’S RIGHT” type of season? Because that is my least favorite story arc EVER.

But still…I’m excited for all of these shows!

The weird thing is – I have NO idea of anything new coming on. I did want to try Cooper which just started on BBC America…but I forgot. Beyond that? I can not think of any new shows that have intrigued me. Or even NOT intrigued me – I can’t think of any new shows at all! I don’t know if it’s because I haven’t kept up with the “COMING SOON!” type of write-ups, or if it’s because I don’t watch commercials. Either way – WHAT SHOULD I BE WATCHING? Are there any shows you’re looking forward too?

I’ve Never Hated People From A Book So Much In My Entire Life

(This entry is spoiler-free, but the comment section will not be. Don’t read the comments on this entry if you want to remain unspoiled.) I really REALLY REALLY disliked Gone Girl because I absolutely DESPISED the main characters.

Now…this is one of those books the “people are talking about”. I love getting on a bandwagon before it’s full! I was very excited to read it before everyone I knew did…which is usually what happens. And the premise? So intriguing! I was prepared for a Win/Win.

But here’s the thing…I slogged through the first 1/3 to 1/2 of the book just hating different characters to different degrees. When I finally got to the middle of the book (Everyone who has read it knows what this point is) it got suspenseful. But I do not intend that to be a compliment – just an explanation as to why I kept going. I just was suddenly truly desperate to see what happened to these people that I was hating more and more. There was only one character in the entire book that I liked but I won’t tell you who that is (If it comes up I will in the comments). Just know that my affection for this character was still minimal compared to my hatred for the others.

I stuck with it and couldn’t put it down until the last page when I decided I hated it SO MUCH because I didn’t feel like the resolution gave me any satisfaction whatsoever for spending so much time with these despicable people.

I can see why people like it – it’s definitely a page-turner and has a lot of great “WHAT IN THE HELL?” moments to throw you for a loop. But I’m driven to books by characters and if I hate the characters and have no one I feel like pulling for? I’m going to hate the book. No matter how suspenseful the story is.

Did you read it? Did you want to punch everyone in the face too? We can discuss freely in the comments.

Getting The Miles In + Nikki’s First 5K Race Report

Running Is Just Like Smoking

One of the phrases I first heard from people training for marathons and ultra-marathons was “getting the miles in.” I remember some of my coaches last year talking about meeting up before or after our runs because they were training for bigger events and they, “needed to get their miles in.” I remember – in particular – one coach leaving our training run and heading up to the mountain to get some “miles on the trails in.”

I’ll admit it. It sounded SO COOL. It was like seeing that girl in my class smoking in high school and me thinking, “Dude…she looks so cool doing that. I want to do that too.”

Except…you know…running doesn’t cause cancer. But other than that? TOTALLY THE SAME.

This is all key because it seemed none of theses people training for ultra-marathons just set out for their X amount of miles for the day in one trip. All of them pieced it together in a day however they could.

Just like when I was a smoker…I didn’t smoke a pack in one sitting. I spread it out over a day!

(I should probably stop with the Running Is Like Smoking analogies, shouldn’t I?)

I’m very glad I understood this concept early on because – with the insanity of my life? Just waking up and running for 4+ hours disregarding the plans or commitments of anyone else in the family? Is impossible.

I am Pacing a 13.1 training group now and we run every Saturday. They were running a local 5K this weekend that Nikki was running too, and I needed to do at least 20 miles (honestly, I needed 24, but for lack of training lately I decided I’d be happy with 20) so I knew I’d have to puzzle-piece it together. I went to where the 5K started at 4:45am. I ran a few miles in some neighborhoods before running in to another coach I knew was trying to get miles in. With her I ended up getting in about 11 miles before I had to meet my 13.1 group for a 2-mile warmup. Then I did the 2-miles with them and met Nikki for our 5K. I did the 3.1 with her and hung out for a bit with the family afterwards before heading out for my final 4 miles. I had a cooler of cold water and Gatorade in the car along with some peanut butter bagel thins to fuel me at every intermission. So, I pieced together a 20-mile run from 4:45am to about 10am. And that’s exactly okay.

Some people even split up their runs over a day if they can’t squeeze the miles in consecutively. I haven’t done that yet, but I probably should because there have been days I needed more but couldn’t fit it all in before needing to change out of my running gear for other activities. I should have just put running clothes back on later to run more, but I have a hard time with that. I like to be DONE with my run. I don’t want to looming over me.

All that’s important is getting those daily miles in. That’s it. It doesn’t matter how or when or where. Just that you get the miles you need at some point during the day.

At least if you’re like me and you just want to finish your ultra under the time limit. If you actually have speed goals you want to meet? It’s probably important you run like you would on race day…but if you just want to finish? Your legs just need to learn to tolerate the miles. However you can deliver them.

Learning The High Of Pride And The Low Of Disappointment In One Day

And now for Nikki’s race report! I’d have her type this herself but she really sucks at spelling and would probably drop too many f-bombs.

I was going to run intervals with Nikki to keep her calm an steady and having fun during her first 5K. However, I was able to keep her kind of slow out of the start (about a 13:00 pace, which is slow for her) so when the first timer buzzed for a walk break she didn’t want to stop. That’s pretty much how it went the entire time. We gradually sped up, doing mile two about 12:30 and mile three under 12 and we finished in about 36 minutes. It was great. I just kept reminding her the entire time that if she started breathing too hard, to SLOW DOWN and she did and she was FINE. She didn’t talk much and just listened to me. I had to make her slow down a few times when she sped up to get around people because she would try to hold that pace even after she’d pass them. I’d have to remind her to slow back down if she couldn’t control her breathing. But other than that? She probably could have run the thing without me. She did phenomenal.

She didn’t place in her age group though, because her age group is 0-10 and there were several 8-10 year-olds running. The sucky part was that the posted results said she was in THIRD place. So, the whole family waited for awards but they announced someone else at third that wasn’t on the sheet. Donnie felt awful because he told her she was going to win something. And then she didn’t. (In his defense – because he feels awful – the official race results still show Nikki in third so he didn’t do anything wrong getting her hopes up.) She handled it well but it was like salt on the wound because she had JUST SEEN the 1-mile fun run kids all get medals for running a fun run when she ran 3 miles and didn’t get anything. It was hard to explain to her that by moving to the adult race, she didn’t get the chance to win the kid stuff. But again – she handled it all gracefully. I mean, she told everyone that weekend about how much that sucked, but she didn’t cry about it which is what she would have done last year.

The whole point though? She wants to run more. And that’s what we wanted. For her to run happy. And it also showed us she’s learned a lot about sportsmanship with the losing gracefully part. But the crowds were very supportive of her and cheered her on the whole way. Even when she was passing them, the other runners were praising her. It was a good feeling for her to help cushion the blow of the post-race events.

I’m so proud of her I could cry. Which I did. Several times.