I do it, and I do it big. Here's to not forgetting about it.

Archive for the ‘Epiphany’ Category

Slight Misunderestimation (sic. And sick!): Race Report

Evidently, training for a marathon has made me a stronger runner – who could have anticipated that, right? According to the same plan I used to train, I am now within striking distance of setting a half marathon PR. Obviously, that means I have to put in the time to make that happen. The training gods have set out a 9 mile long run for me on my 15 week path to glory. Me: “Let’s find a 15K! Free PR!” 
Having run a quarter marathon 3 weeks earlier and a full marathon 2 months ago, I thought to myself, ‘9 miles isn’t really that much! I’ll have a big bowl of oatmeal and I’ll hydrate along the course. I don’t need to take any gel with me!’ Sigh. I know you’re already shaking your head at me if you are an endurance athlete of any kind. Don’t get ahead of me, although I’ll be the first to admit that with insufficient fuel before and during the race that not getting ahead of me is no small feat. See what I did there? 

I showed up at the starting line feeling confident, nonetheless. The plan: an 11 minute mile pace. Approximately an hour and forty minutes of my life. No big deal. Within the first two miles of the race, I heard someone call my name. “Joanie?” I turned to see Sweetness, this cool chick who also comes to boot camp. I smiled as we caught and kept up with another (I did it again, see?). I told her I was trying to do an 11 minute mile, and she said that was cool. I groaned inwardly, not because running with Sweetness was lame but because I saw the 2 mile marker and was thinking, “Damn. It’s only been 2 miles?” Not a good sign. Hah! I wish I were as good at racing as I am at making witty puns. I digress. 

After about mile 4, I was tasting Sweetness’s candied dust. If only it had been caloric, because that was sure what I needed! As the race continued, my pace continued to slow. I had to switch to run/walk intervals, which I personally don’t frown upon as a matter of course, but I sure don’t like it when it’s a matter of poor planning! I am quite sure I looked like death because a man along the course saw me and said, “Keep going! You look great!” I needed it, though. I wasn’t actually dying, and let’s be real – I wasn’t getting back to my car unless I finished the race. 

I looked to my right and saw Tampa General Hospital. ‘I should check myself into the psych ward.’ I may be out of glycogen but dammit the wit is still here. I pressed on until I crossed the finish line, where Sweetness had been for God only knows how long. She thanked me for pacing her and I had to laugh. 

Finishing is always sweet.

Today’s lesson? 9.3 miles is not short, and it sure isn’t long enough to shed any weight. Eat up. 

Still booty-ful.

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Bad Mother On The (Long) Run

“Giving birth would be AWESOME.” 

How did I get there, you ask? It only took me 8 miles. 

You see, I woke up feeling quite nervous about today’s long run, the first of my 16 weeks of marathon training. Generally speaking, I tend to get worked up about my workouts, because I want them to go well, but especially about my long runs. Am I ready for today’s journey? Indeed, each time I feel I am embarking to an unknown destination, despite the fact that I have run this particular distance -and longer – several times in the past. And you know what? Let’s be real. Every long run is different because I am different. How was my sleep? Nutrition? Stress level? Fitness? Hah, we’re about to find out if whoever I am this week is sufficient. 

Hurricane Hermine not only extended my weekend but also provided some lovely weather for today’s journey. If I could write a weather system a thank you note, I would. I was surprised that I had to actually slow down to run the pace in my plan. “Maybe I don’t suck!” Said I, after mile 1. “Too early to tell,” I retorted. “We are tight,” my legs squealed. “Shut up, we’ll be done eventually,” I said with a grimace. “You need to lose weight,” squeaked my running skort. “Tomorrow,” I said, crossing my fingers. 

I am pleased to report that on this day, I was able to outrun my negative thoughts and complete my long run, feeling strong. As I approached my car, I looked at my reflection in the window. I was drenched in sweat. I giggled and took the obligatory selfie. It dawned on me that I never view myself as more beautiful than when I finish a long run. My accomplishment makes me both glisten and glow. No makeup, no jewelry – just one foot in front of the other until it’s done. Naturally, the longer the run, the more beautiful I’ll be, I figure. So how could I NOT think to myself –

“I bet I would look GORGEOUS after giving birth!” 

Put one in the ‘pro’ column for (biological) motherhood, y’all. 

Only 1:39 of labor.

Unclenched: A Marriage Lesson

I don’t like to brag, but I’m pretty sure I learned everything I need to know about marriage on the flight home from our honeymoon. 
It’s not exactly news that flying is not my favorite. Early in our relationship, I shared with Adonis that I looked forward to flying with him because I would be able to hold his hand when I got scared. Would you believe that he didn’t commit that to memory for use a year and a half later? Ugh, maybe I made a mistake…

I kid. I know it’s unreasonable to expect someone to remember everything that I find to be important, even as attentive as he is. And thus we come to –

Lesson One:  You will have to repeat yourself. 

Before I become frustrated, I need to remember the “plank in my own eye.” How often must I be reminded of things by colleagues, friends, and parents? And I GUESS I don’t have a 💯 track record of remembering everything Adonis tells me. I guess. 

Would you believe that all it took for Adonis to be supportive was saying “Hey, I don’t like this!” Just like that, he was working to distract me on our journey to our new life together. 

Our pilot had warned us from the beginning of the flight that the weather as we approached our destination would worsen. Read: that means I won’t have to say anything to Adonis and he will just know that I am frightened when I give the look. Right? 

Lesson Two: Don’t expect him to read your mind. 

Evidently, my looking at him and holding his hand doesn’t mean “I’m freaking out!” in every context. Who. Knew. The first time I felt any turbulence, I reached for his hand and looked at him. He smiled and looked out of the window.  “Babe. It’s bumpy,” I said. “If I take your hand in flight it’s not about love, but fear.” He laughed and reassured me that we were fine. 

There were few moments where our flight was perfectly smooth. It made it difficult for me to – well, unclench. You know what I mean. Each time I would take a full breath, I realized exactly how tense I was. We never experienced the scary drop or anything, but there were too many bumps for me to relax. I looked over at my husband, who was perfectly chill, watching Creed. How could he not feel what I’m feeling?  I thought.

Lesson Three: You did not marry your carbon copy. He’s not going to see things the way you do. 

I tried to be brave; to not reach for his hand as often as I felt compelled to do so. 

Lesson Four: You’re married now. You can’t pretend that you don’t need anyone anymore – the jig is up. Really. Up.

As the plane was landing, I saw that it was quite cloudy. I grimaced. “Okay. This is going to be bad,” said Adonis. He grabbed my hand. 

Lesson Five: You are likely to see eye to eye where it really counts.

We were finally below the clouds. I kissed my husband and looked down, where I saw the city of Orlando below. I finally felt comfortable enough to smile – the last 5 minutes of the flight. I spent an hour and 45 minutes fairly miserable because I dislike the bumps. 

Lesson Six: If you unclench just long enough, perhaps you will find the beauty – maybe even humor – in life’s turbulent moments. 

Here’s to a long life of enjoying the ride, no matter what it brings. 

  
 

Okay – The Honeymoon’s Over. 

The good old days.
2014, y’all.  PRs just seemed to drop from the freaking sky. I was cut and loving life, doing things I never had thought were possible. Maintaining weight loss. Running. Triathlon. Not dying doing any of those things. And then it happened. 
I grew.

Apparently, if you keep doing something, you don’t stay a beginner. This is where it gets tricky. I had anticipated my “fall from grace” in the year of my great accomplishment and wondered if I would enjoy racing anymore once it stopped being “easy.” I am thrilled – and relieved – to report that running and racing still make me very happy. Red Rocket and I are taking a break so I do not anticipate returning to triathlon in the near future, but it is NOT because I am scared of not accomplishing what I once did. I just don’t get enough pleasure for me to go through all the business at this present time. 

In 2015, the only races in which I achieved PRs were freebies – you know, a distance or event you’ve yet to do. Remember that time Adonis made me run a trail? Or that other time he made me climb over and crawl under stuff? That MUST mean the party is over, right? 

Don’t be silly. I am incredibly thankful that I have gotten some important lessons from racing that I have been able to apply to both my musical life (you don’t have to be the best to have a damned good time) and will apply to my married life (it’s not always going to be easy but that doesn’t mean it can’t be fun). 

Thank God the honeymoon is over. I now have the privilege of discovering how to be at peace, regardless of my circumstances. I STILL get to run and learn what my best is, now without the fear of what happens when I “fail.” Been there, run that! 

  

The New Testament Diet

This summer, I grappled with the ethics of so-called ‘cheating‘ on a diet. Since then, I’ve gotten to a healthier weight but still struggle to eat in a way that doesn’t constantly make me feel guilty. I don’t believe that it is good for me to think about food in the way that I do. I’m looking for some freedom. I was reminded that there was this guy who wrote a lot about the freedom that I have in Christ about 2000 years ago:  

 One can hardly surmise how the Apostle Paul wrote 1/3 of the New Testament without even a snack on his desk. Wonder-working power, indeed. 

“All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful, but not all things edify.”

‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭10:23‬ ‭NASB‬

This. I believe that much of the time, we balk at the idea of limits. I must come to terms with the fact that any restrictions I may follow are self-imposed. I am free to eat as I please, but is it really best for me? I wrote before that I know I cannot be perfect, but I should eat in a way that is profitable for that which I am trying to achieve. I want to keep my colon shiny, right? I want to be able to race, free of inflammation and injuries. How does one measure how little unprofitable food she should eat and stay in the black? Blonde Oprah says two or three times a week, and I GUESS I should trust her, eh? 

Eating is a spiritual matter. Think of the words we often use to describe it. ‘Sinful.’ ‘Decadent.’ ‘Guilt-free.’ Quite frankly, few decisions that we make are NOT spiritual, whether we choose them as such. I feel comfortable when I say that abusing my body with unhealthy food is sin. The question becomes, what constitutes abuse? I don’t think it is imperfection. I suppose I just have to A) find out what my boundaries are and B) get accustomed to changing them as my body changes. 

“For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace. What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be!”

‭‭Romans‬ ‭6:14-15‬ ‭NASB‬‬

It’s almost as though Paul felt the need to say the same thing over and over because people need to hear the same lessons in a million different ways. Hmm. 

I am free to eat as I please. At 30, it is easy to pretend that sinful eating does not have consequences. I consider my past obesity to be a blessing, because I have been able to learn some valuable lessons while being blessed with a body young enough to bounce back from my sins. I know firsthand how sin brings forth death in this instance. 

I must die to myself daily. I must admit, it feels weird to say grace before I eat and thank God for a meal that I KNOW is crap. I am thankful for the means to get the food, regardless of its quality. “Allow me to use the energy to glorify you.” Oh, dear. Let’s not eat things that aren’t aimed toward this end. 

Ignorance Was Bliss

“Agree to one husband, get two children to mentor without your getting (additional) stretch marks FREE!” 

How could I not take the deal. 

19 and 10. Girls. Both smart and beautiful enough for me to claim them. In public. It may shock you to know that it took me several months after becoming engaged to have my first panic attack about being a stepmother. What brought it on, you ask?

Lil One’s dance recital. 

It was the second dance recital I’d ever been to – the first was my own in 1990. A lot changes in 25 years, the most obvious being showing up to the recital hall and suddenly realizing you play for Team Mom now. Holy crap. I sat in my chair and had to partake of my purse booze that I keep for bumpy flights to help keep it together. One, I immediately had empathy for all my music parents who ask me, “How long will your program be?” because we were there for over three hours. No more self-righteous thoughts – not that I’ve ever been stupid enough to program anything that long! Okay, for real now – no more self-righteous thoughts. Lil One danced twice in three hours. I’m all about supporting kids I don’t know on stage, even when they are literally picking their noses, but combined with the realization that I have signed up for the nightshift of child rearing was too much for me at the time. 

I began to reflect on all the sacrifices that have been made for me. Hell, that are STILL being made for me. How many evenings did my parents give up so that I could remind other parents to support other people’s children? How many weekend mornings do they still give up to watch me cross a finish line? I felt incredibly guilty for being such a leech. I resolved then not to tell them about any other races I’m doing because I didn’t want to take their time. Pretty selfish of me, huh? 

In the past, I’ve told my parents that I wouldn’t blame them if they didn’t have me because I’m a lot of work. They usually would first stare at me like I have two heads and then tell me how they couldn’t imagine life without me. Then Daddy would get on his soapbox about how wrongheaded people are who don’t want to have children because it’s hard. Lather, rinse, repeat, boom, I’m 30 and at a dance recital, not able to imagine life without girls I didn’t know a year ago. 

Being sarcastic and scared about child-rearing was fun, I admit. It was ignorance, and the worst kind. The type that is self-absorbed and seeking its own ends. I no longer have that privilege. Instead, I am becoming part of an insta-family who will consistently and lovingly challenge me to be a better, stronger wife, daughter, stepmother, and hopefully mother of Jamerigreeks someday. That growth will not be easy, but truth, especially with love, beats ignorance every time.  

 

How to Shed That Stubborn Weight for Good

I don’t want particularly want to go wedding dress shopping. 

If someone else had told me she felt similarly just a year ago, I probably would have thought she had cold feet or was choosing to marry the wrong person. Now that my warm feet are in the shoes, I understand that it is not necessarily the case. What kind of woman doesn’t like shopping? For clothes? For “her big day?”

The kind for whom this experience is less a chance to be a princess for a day than a massive reality check. 

I won’t dwell on how I feel about my body at the moment, but I will say that I wish there were a wedding pantsuit place. Just for an additional option. Shopping for a wedding dress, for me, is about two fundamental truths with which I must come to terms:

1. I’m going to die.

Hopefully, not before I marry the man that my imagination couldn’t have dreamed up. I’m not making it out of this relationship alive. While that thought may seem morbid, it’s dawned on me that this is probably the only thing in my life that I will ever do once. I buy a wedding dress and this phase of my life is done. I get married and I’m never doing it again. Married or single, each breath brings us closer to our last, but I’m not fooled by overpriced fabric. I know what this means. I’m thankful that I will have Adonis by my side, who, incidentally, takes my breath away. How are we going to live to make it count? How will our lives together impact the world around us for the greater good? Which brings me to – 

2. Being excited about my doing something everyone else is doing is bizarre. 

Every time I hear someone say “your big day” I throw up in my mouth a little. I hope our wedding day is incredibly special, and yes, certainly more fun than some of the weddings I’ve attended. No offense, married friends, but while this single girl was praying for your success as a couple she was also taking notes if she got bored! 😜 But I digress. How could I possibly feel special when there are entire industries dedicated to all the superficial crap of a wedding? Y’all ain’t been waiting on me. I am happy to do my part to contribute to our capitalist economy, but calm the hell down. 95% of women experience this before age 55. I’m just not gonna get TURNTUP over something anybody can do – and usually does. It’s a dress.

Being engaged has been interesting. Suddenly, people who seemed distant appear closer. I thought that this was simply another case of like attracting like, but I wonder if we all are just seeking human connections. How can you get married and not think about how inextricably interconnected we all are? I only crave authentic connections. “Lady J. Don’t even bother with a mermaid dress. You won’t be able to dance.” is valuable information. But I also want, “Lady J, don’t go to bed angry. As long as it is in your power, be at peace with those around you. Especially with that good-looking hubs.” And I NEED “Lady J, we might not be Adonis but we still need you” from my friends. Maybe some of the women whom I thought were just using me a placeholder until they found a man were just overwhelmed introverts, like me. We need each other. 

Before I become a wife, I must embrace my need for others, which is antithetical to a society that seems to make getting married “all about you.” Not only to love them, but to be loved by them. Fighting the power makes losing that last 10 pounds seem easy. Hopefully that burns calories, too. 

  

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