The Parenting Guilt Scale

Last night I had to do that thing that all parents have to do at some point (at least I hope all parents do, if you’ve never done this I don’t want to know) and I had to basically tell my kids they couldn’t do the thing they wanted to do because I had too much to do.

I’ve got a new volunteer position and it involves editing an outdated website. There’s a new one in trial mode, but until it’s launched I’m editing a web page originally created in Frontpage. I had forgotten how terrible Frontpage was with dumping so much crap in headers and what not. It’s taking me awhile to find where things are hidden both in the directories and in the HTML itself. One page I had to edit last night had nonbreaking space entities ( ) creating space for columns and y’all? I DIED. Seeing that literally killed me.

ANYWAY…I just started this new job like a week ago and I’m trying to play catch up which is going a little slower than it should as I learn directory structures and delete thousands of unnecessary nonbreaking spaces and I REALLY needed a couple hours to just clear the inbox for the job so I could have a better chance of staying caught up. BUT – there was a big Challenger Commemoration ceremony at the kid’s school. Their school is named after the mission, after all. And they were so excited and I tried to get Donnie to take them but he wasn’t going to be able to so I basically had to beg them to skip.

And they did and they weren’t even too terrible about it.

I did get caught up, the email for that job now has an empty inbox. But this morning I see all of the photos and videos from last night and I feel bad. Not terrible, because I was raised by a single Dad who worked on his Masters for awhile so we weren’t always able to do things we wanted to do, and I turned out fine. But I do feel a little guilty. I firmly believe it’s important to have a life outside parenting, I know my kids need to see me doing things for ME, or for other people, not just for THEM. This is one of those times, they know how much I wanted this job (I HAD TO BE ELECTED, GUYS. I HAD TO GIVE A SPEECH. IT WAS AWFUL.) so in the big picture I know that decision is not a huge deal and they weren’t even that upset about it, they really weren’t upset at all. They were disappointed for a few minutes and then I told them they could have cereal for dinner and they were fine.

On a guilt scale of 1-10 I’m only feeling about a 4 or 5, so not too terrible, but I do feel a little bad that everyone might be talking about that today and they won’t be.

Not as terrible as I felt on Sunday when I had to call my oldest child and say, “Hey! We can’t come see you for your birthday because my race got moved!” Now, on that day? I felt a giant 10. He doesn’t need me for much of anything and the ONE thing he wanted from me – a birthday visit – I had to move because of my race. We did see him on Wednesday but we had to miss school and work to do it and because of his crazy schedule we drove the 2 1/2 hours to see him, visited a while, ate lunch, and then had to basically come right back home since he had rehearsal that night. If we had come on Sunday we would have been able to spend more time with him. BUT NO! The snow had to reschedule my big race.

SO – yeah. It’s been a week of parenting guilt. I know it’s not a huge deal big picture, but my logical brain that “knows” that does not control my emotional brain that feels like a giant piece of poop about it all.

Things Keeping Me From Getting My House On The Market

Okay – full disclosure. I spend about an hour a day doing nothing but vegging out on something. At least an hour. So if you hear me bitch about not having enough time to get my house ready? Then blame any of the things I’m enjoying during that hour. THEY ARE ALL LISTED BELOW.

(But don’t bother because I’m not giving them up. I run to counter balance the natural couch potato tendencies, NOT TO ERASE THEM ALL TOGETHER.)

PODCASTS

  • TANIS – Fictional investigative drama surrounding the mystery of TANIS, is it a place? A mental state? An alternate dimension? I DO NOT KNOW.
  • Limetown – Fictional investigative drama surrounding the events years past at a research town called Limetown. Everyone disappeared without a trace. OR DID THEY?
  • Black Tapes Podcast – Fictional investigative drama surrounding a series of stories related to the supernatural. ARE THEY ALL CONNECTED?
  • Nerdist – Chris Hardwick is an amazing interviewer and him dropping his show to once a week broke my heart. I would say just look up people you find interesting because he’s done SO MANY INTERVIEWS but some of my favorite interviews were people I had never heard of.
  • Pete Holmes: You Made It Weird – He’s a good interviewer too and often discusses spirituality BUT – he also likes to talk about sex so it can get a little weird at times (hence the podcast) but still, he’s a great interviewer and gets people to open up in interesting ways.

TV SHOWS

  • Flash
  • Arrow
  • Legends of Tomorrow – So far, so good.
  • The 100: I am only 3/4 way through season 2 and OH MY GOD THIS SHOW IS SO GOOD. I see why everyone told me to stick with it. I guess 4 episodes into season 2 it started shifting and it’s AMAZING. It’s also a good testament to women being great leads/badasses and also ADULTS ARE OFTEN TERRIBLE LEADERS.
  • Brooklyn 99
  • Modern Family

Books

  • God is not Good – This book is abrasive and I would not recommend it to any of my believer friends. But, I get really sick of the constant notion that non-believers don’t have an ability to be spiritual or the motivation to be good so the book is enlightening by showing that believers aren’t always the best at being spiritual or good either.
  • All The Light We Cannot See – As good as everyone said it was, THANK GOD. It’s been recommended so many times I was worried. It was a little slower of a read for me than some because the Point of View changes chapter to chapter so I found it easier to put down, but it was still riveting and beautiful.
  • The Danish Girl – The book was such an easy read. I read it in like 2 days. I’m worried about seeing the movie now because I loved the book so much, when originally that was why I read the book – the movie looked so good!

What I’m Reading

I’m leaving town today to see my kid who I was supposed to visit on Sunday for his 21st birthday, but the snow and my race changed those plans and today is the first day I could try to reschedule. SO! I’m going to insist you go read some other write-ups from my running friends. These are two more REAL runners who weren’t born athletic and who aren’t fighting for first place when they set out to run. They’re people like you doing amazing things and their words inspired me and I WAS THERE WITH THEM DOING THE SAME THING.

First is from Chelsea who toed the line at her first Mountain Mist on Sunday and her write-up kept me on the edge of my seat AND I EVEN KNEW HOW IT ENDED.

Marty, my friend who was running this station, assured me that I was good but that I needed to HURRY UP. I would need to make up time in this section to make the last cut off. I turned back on to the trail with Amanda, walking with my Waffle in hand. In the distance I heard Marty yell “MOVE YOUR ASS!!” Ha! I smiled a little and took his words to heart. I was about to push myself the hardest I ever had in my life.

The second is from my friend Lindsey who actually opted to tell Part 1 of her story first, which was her DNF (Did Not Finish) from Mountain Mist last year. It’s such a good write-up about DNFs and how you can learn from them.

When I reached the finish line I went straight to the first person I saw with a clipboard to make sure they knew not to count me as a finisher. Then I watched as most of my fellow Grand Slammers crossed the finish line. My empty heart was filling back up as I tried to soak in as much of their happiness and sense of self-accomplishment that I could, knowing that I too would have a Mountain Mist finish one day.

Enjoy the reads and be inspired, I know I was!

Mountain Mist 2016 Race Report. The One With All Of The Falling.

Don’t Forget To Relax The Day Before The Big Race!

Mountain Mist 50K is a beast that eats up the best of trail runners. I had really hoped to spend the day before the race relaxing and picturing myself meeting my 7:30 goal. I had trained with that time limit in mind and knew it was well within my reach. But then the snow came and my meditating on time goals became stressing about an icy mountain and a canceled race.

And then a miracle happened. Something I don’t know if I’ve ever heard happening before – the race was simply moved to the next day. This may sound like an easy decision, but if you’ve ever been part of a race you know how many people and organizations and permits are involved and in order to build your volunteer crew and get all of those people aligned you would need much more than one day. But Suzanne and Dink Taylor performed miracles and built a NEW crew of volunteers (maybe half were still able to help on Sunday) and got all of the proper permissions in place and the race was on! All we had to do was get there safely and luckily we had friends who stepped up and made sure we all made it to the race in one piece and on time. Sunday.

Ice Ice Baby

This is what the road looked like at the start of the race. Normally the road is where everyone runs FAST and spreads OUT before we hit the single track trails. NORMALLY. I don’t know for sure, but I’m betting I ran that first mile on the road in 12-13 minutes. And then the trails weren’t a whole lot better. We turned into the woods and I thought YES. FINALLY. RUNNABLE! I WON’T DIE! But that particular trail had melted some and refroze and there was ice mixed with snow and let’s just say for the first 3 miles my body was completely clenched in a million different ways simply from the tension of slipping and sliding. I think I felt twice. Both times in snow, but still, I ran the whole course last year without one fall and Sunday I fell twice before I even hit the “hard” part.

Mud is Safe

We headed down off the plateau and I was in a group of runners who just embraced the butt slide down a treacherous part of the trail. None of us even cared to try to stay upright. Once we got running I realized that on this particular stretch of trails my choices were: Mud and Ice in a lot of cases. Obviously, I chose mud. Because ever step in the mud was ONE STEP I didn’t have to stress about losing. I finally was able to relax into a run a little and start to enjoy myself. FINALLY. FOUR MILES IN. I started really trying to take in the beauty of my snow-covered playground and really tried to savor the moment on an adventure that almost didn’t happen. I stopped and took this one picture.
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Throwback To My Cheerleader Days

I got to the first aid station and was gaining some of my confidence back. I wasn’t that far off my goal times if I wanted to it my 7:30. Maybe it’s not out of reach? I foolishly thought. I felt good. I was finally able to run. Maybe? I started flying down Warpath and it was finally one of the moments I had been hoping for – BETTER conditions because of the ice. Last year Warpath was sloppy and I couldn’t have run it but Sunday I flew down it and it felt GREAT because so much of the mud was still frozen. And then I had – maybe my 4th or 5th fall of the day? But this one wasn’t a plop in the snow like the others. This one had my right leg bend and go behind me while my left leg stayed ahead. I landed in the herkie position and felt my knee twinge but I jumped right up (which is usually the safest bet I have learned) and just kept running hoping there was nothing serious to worry about.

Frozen Mud is GREAT

I made it to powerline feeling GREAT (with some slight knee pain) and that was another trail that was MUCH more runnable with the frozen terrain and I was thinking, Maybe…JUST MAYBE…if everything is perfect and if other muddy parts of the trails are frozen I could make up time and still make my goal. I just did NOT want to give up on it when truthfully – I knew it probably wasn’t going to happen. But I continued to run strong even with the knee pain. My friend Colleen would sometimes be a little ahead and sometimes I would be a little ahead but we were there together to check in all day which was nice. We were both very focused on not dying, so it’s always good to have a partner in those moments.

The next stretch up to the Red Gate aid station was not worse or better than it normally has been. Muddy…but typical. Ice in patches out of the sun, but nothing for long stretches like early on. I made it to red gate 14 minutes behind my goal time. I knew the next aid stop was 4 miles away and I typically can do it in 50 minutes, sometimes faster. I finally accepted that my 7:30 was out of range but that maybe I could still PR. I headed out and while the next 4 miles were runnable, they weren’t as fast as they normally are. We still had spots of ice to contend with. And the parts that were melting were getting sloppy muddy. I typically fly down this one section of Bluffline and while I was able to take it fast, not as fast as I’m used to because of the ice and mud. Everything was just a LITTLE bit slower. And I was starting to get those quad pains I get when my quads are on the verge of cramping from too much downhill. I started eating salt like it was my salvation.

Goodbye Goals

I made it to the mile 21 aid station 7+ minutes slower than I’ve ever done it. So now I was 21 minutes behind my goal time and losing my chances to even have a PR. I was starting to stress because if that segment was that much slower, what if the others are that bad? I might actually need to worry about cutoff times. My friend Marty could see that I was frazzled and just asked me if I needed water. I remembered that YES! I NEED WATER! and he took my pack off, filled it up, and put it back on me. THAT is a great aid station worker. Someone who recognizes ULTRA BRAIN and just takes over for you. He reminded me I still had PLENTY of time to beat the cutoff and we headed off on the chunk of trails I know the best on the whole mountain.

This chunk was quite runnable, and I know it so well that it felt comfortable. I still wasn’t moving as fast as I wanted, but I was running and that’s all that mattered. It wasn’t terribly muddy, but muddy enough to slow things down. Some ice, but not tons. I knew where I needed to get at what time in order to relax about cutoffs and I was pretty sure I’d make it. My only problem was my quads twinging like the wanted to cramp. I was taking more walk breaks than usual because I knew if they full on cramped before the next big climb up Waterline I’d be screwed. I just wanted to try to get past the last cutoff before they cramped, if they were going to.

And then I fell for the millionth time (Seriously, I lost count) and landed like I was praying. On my knees, but with my butt on the backs of my feet. Quads in a FULL and unplanned stretch which made them both SCREAM in agony. I had to hobble a bit to try to get them out of that constricted state and then the cramp threat got much worse. Last year I topped Waterline and collapsed in a creek from a calf cramp, I DID NOT WANT A REPEAT OF THAT because my last 6 miles last year were terrible and I cried across the finish line. I didn’t want that type of finish this year. I wasn’t going to make my goal, I wasn’t going to PR, but I was going to finish and I wanted to do it happy. SO! I took my time from there on out. I ran a bit and then when the quads twinged, I walked. NO BIG DEAL. I started settling into the fact that I was almost to the last cutoff and almost home free.

(I say this 50K is more like a REALLY REALLY HARD trail marathon followed by a 10K cool down.)

Hello Joy

I started climbing Waterline and while I was still in a lot of pain from my quads and my knee, I had entered that joyful part of running where I could let go of the stress of goals or cutoffs and just push it to the finish line. The fire department had put a rope at a tricky part we’re used to climbing. It was fun to use, although I’m not sure it made it any easier. I happily thanked all of the volunteers out there and proceeded to the final aid station where I happily greeted more friends and volunteers. This was the last cutoff and the family’s of two of my friends (Chelsea and Chuck) were both there and optimistic my friends were going to clear the cutoff. This was SUCH GREAT NEWS. I had seen their families along the way at every stop and by the time it was over they were like my family.

I Take Back Everything Good I Said About Mud

The next 4 miles was just solid mud. The only time we got a break was if there was puddles instead and I actually much prefer the cold snow-melt puddles to the mud because the water doesn’t fight you like the mud does. The mud holds your foot and makes you WORK for it. The puddles are cold and refreshing but the mud at the bottom is not thick enough to suck your shoe off…MOST OF THE TIME. So I’d run through puddles when I could. If you have good socks and trail shoes the water wicks out and drains out of your shoe so having wet feet all day wasn’t as terrible as it sounds. The mud on the other hand was TERRIBLE. I lost traction so many time sliding down Natural Well I started worrying maybe I’d end up falling off the mountain.

I can taste the finish line.

Then we finally made it to the Rest Shelter climb…1000 feet up before our last 1.6 miles to the finish line. I ran into more friends on Rest Shelter and I was so happy to be out of the mud that I greeted them with joy and smiles. I loved seeing their beautiful faces as they passed me. I was still having to take random walk breaks to keep the cramps at bay, but I made it up Rest Shelter and carried a permanent smile for the last 1.6 miles. Every hiker or volunteer out there was greeted by a smiley dorky delirious runner saying, “GOOD AFTERNOON!” because I had made it. I had an easy trek to the finish line. I was basically done. I started being able to hear the cheering and my smile just got bigger. I WAS ON MY WAY.

Thanks to my friend Colleen who kept me company all day and took this picture at the end!

Thanks to my friend Colleen who kept me company all day and took this picture at the end!

Final Thoughts

This was an amazing experience. I can’t believe all of the efforts it took to make sure the race happened and I’ll be forever grateful for everyone who played a part in giving me that experience. From my friend Colleen who let me crash at her house to Alvin and Libby who made sure I got on and off the mountain safely. To Cam for helping me with my jacket and to Marty for filling my pack. To all of my friends at the aid stations and all of their families spectating along the way. I constantly feel blessed to be part of such an amazing community and this event really highlighted those blessings 10-fold. I’m proud of my friends who toed the line, even if they didn’t finish. I’m hoping they all still carry a special place in their heart because we all were part of something INSANE on Sunday and we should cherish that forever.

Kim Is A Badass

There were moments Sunday where I started to feel down and gray. Mostly because of all of the falling or slowing down or just general misery and I honestly – every single time – started repeating to myself: KIM IS A BADASS. Because you know what? Who cares if I finished 5 minutes slower instead of 30 minutes faster than last year, I did something amazing on Sunday. Every step was a step of a badass and I didn’t know want to forget that. I just said that to myself over and over until the funk faded. I AM A BADASS. I’ll not let mother nature take that away from me.

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If you get 10 finishes at Mountain Mist you get a 10-year jacket. I’m now 2 finishes in, 8 more to go. I figure as long as I cross the finish line looking forward to the next one then it’s a good day. And I definitely am looking forward to Mountain Mist 2017.

I survived. BARELY.

Be proud and thankful of your Mountain Mist Trail Run finish today. That was the worst course conditions I have seen in all 22 years of the Mist. I know, I have been at every one

Posted by Mountain Mist 50km on Sunday, January 24, 2016

I have no time to expound on my race because my schedule has changed today and now I don’t have as much time this morning as I had hoped. Just read that status above and know I survived and that the 2016 Mountain Mist 50K will go down in the record books. I missed my goal by 36 minutes but I know if I hadn’t been in as good of shape as I’m in, I wouldn’t have even made the cutoffs. It beat me up but I also smiled a lot more than last year because the whole time I was experiencing that maniac-euphoria where you’re just laughing like, “This is some crazy shit, y’all.” Ice, mud, rope climbs, and nine million falls. Tune in tomorrow for the gory details.

Thanks to my friend Colleen who kept me company all day and took this picture at the end!

Thanks to my friend Colleen who kept me company all day and took this picture at the end!