Friday, April 1, 2016

New adventures

This is not a running post. I know this isn't exactly a running blog, but I feel compelled to say that because it's been all running for a while.

I'm doing new things. 

About a month and a half ago, my wonderful friend Felice (The happy Runner and Essentially Happy Living) messaged me to let me know one of her friends was looking for people to sell Usborne children's books. I immediately said no. In my defense, it was right after my surgery and I was tired. Tired from surgery but also tired of people assuming that I'm just waiting for LightRunner to get to school so I can go back to work. Tired of the jokes that I need to get back to work (because I've been vacationing for the last 7 years). Tired of people (and society) trying to make me feel "less than" because I am not earning an income. 

So, I said no thanks. But, it got me thinking. I looked into it a bit and I realized this could be perfect for me. I don't want a 9-5 job. I need summers off and flexibility during the day. I need to go to afternoon music performances and be a guest reader and be home when they get off the bus. I need homework done after school and not at 7 pm. Full-time employment is not an option for the kind of life we want to have. But neither is traditional part-time. Part-time in libraries means nights and weekends. I have 2 girls in Girl Scouts with monthly meetings, sports practices during the week and games on the weekend. Nights and weekends are not an option either. 

I need to work at home.

And here was an opportunity to do just that. I wasn't looking for anything yet, but what does that matter? The beauty of these work at home direct selling jobs is that they are completely flexible. I fit it into my existing schedule and when my schedule opens up more, I fit in more. So I reached out and decided to ease into it--I'd do some home parties here and there and some Facebook parties and then when LightRunner starts kindergarten I'd expand into schools and libraries. But then I got my "kit" of sample books and I was added to the Facebook groups of other Independent Consultants and something happened. I found myself excited. I started to see how I can really make this work for me. I'm doing reader's advisory and research and helping people again. I'm connecting readers and children's books-- high quality children's books! I'm doing most of it from my couch or my bed. I think this job was made for me.

I thought I'd wait to do schools and libraries but I wound up adding on the Educational Consultant kit. I had to take an online quiz before I could be certified to sell to libraries! I got one wrong because I misread the question. It's slightly odd to be on the other side of the library-book rep relationship... Particularly since I was often the one answering the phone and saying "No, we buy from reviews not reps." But these books speak for themselves and I already have one library account! 

This isn't the first time I've said no to Felice and then changed my mind. Things tend to work out pretty well when I step out of my comfort zone and I have every reason to believe that this will too. 

I'd link to all my stuff but I try really hard not to keep my name off of this blog... So if you're interested in buying some books or joining my team, send me a message. When I confirm you're not a secret psycho killer, we'll talk.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Surgery is still sucky, but the Princess is not

I mentioned in my last post that I would be having some minor surgery. I've apparently had an umbilical hernia for the last 3 1/2 years. Oopsies. Because small hernias can lead to big problems in grown ups, they tend to operate rather than wait and see, so I agreed to have it taken care of now rather than later.

Last week, Thursday, was the day of the surgery. It has kicked my ass. I thought out-patient meant "easy". It was anything but for me (and now that I've done my research, a lot of other people too). The CO2 gas from the laparoscopy was excruciating. I got sick from the codeine. Nausea, vomiting, constipation plus pain was super fun. It's been a week and I think I am at the regular soreness that the doctors speak of. If I move the wrong way I can feel the mesh poking me. I have to be super careful and slow and deliberate with all my movements. Sleeping is difficult. What's interesting is that my incisions are fine--very little pain in that area. Most of the soreness is on the opposite side of my abdomen, not even where the mesh is. I'm kind of wondering if the camera bumped into an organ! I am using my oils and they are helping, but it's still pretty hard.

Anyway, this past week has been much tougher than I expected. I'm not anticipating even trying to run for a couple more weeks. I might start biking first. I made my bed today and wiped down the kitchen table and I think I'll be on the couch for the rest of the day, if that's any indication of my energy levels. 

I keep thinking about The Princess and her surgeries and how young she was and whether or not it hurt as bad. She seemed to bounce back pretty quickly. I am so glad that part of our lives is over. I've been thinking about her a lot lately. And how pleasant the last year has been. There was a time when we just bugged each other, pushed each other's buttons, brought out the worst in each other. I say "a time" but it was more like 5 years or so. She was so quick to anger and tantrums and we spent a lot of time yelling. 

I've worked super hard over the last year on myself. On not blaming other people for things that I'm feeling, on taking responsibility for myself and my happiness, on not worrying so damn much, on being positive and grateful. I'll be honest, I think the oils have helped a lot in this. As I've centered myself, I think it has spilled over to her. In the last year she has been calmer, saner, and all together happier. I call her my bright-sider because she is always looking for the bright side of whatever has happened. She is super helpful and loving with her sister. She will still get angry from time to time, which is natural and normal--but she's not throwing huge tantrums. Of all of them she has the most empathy. A little while ago I started doing compliments at dinner time. I compliment the kids and they compliment each other (and sometimes us). She has completely taken to it and puts thought into it and is the first to remind us if we haven't done it. She also listens to everything I say--all the inspirational motivational things I have said over the last year--she takes them to heart. When I think back to how unbalanced she was--how unbalanced I must have been--it is amazing how she has transformed. I'm not sure if it's a temporary reprieve until she's a tween/teen... But so far 8 has been pretty awesome. 

Monday, January 4, 2016

Looking back and forward... and up

I haven't been blogging much. I also haven't been running all that much. I took a nice long break after the last half-marathon. I continued to run, but felt no guilt at skipping runs to meet a friend for a hot beverage or to do my Christmas shopping or to simply avoid the cold. As such my stats fell WAY down (this is the first year I didn't go up in my yearly stats too).

2015 Running stats

But I can't say I regret it. I feel balanced and in control. I'm not running to lose weight or to make it to the Olympics. I'm running to feel better and to be happier. So if I skip a run here or there and spend that time doing something else that makes me happy? No guilt.

That's not to say that I'm done running or that I don't have future goals or dreams. But I was beginning to feel bogged down by them and I'm glad I took a step back and remembered why I am doing this in the first place.

I'm going to try to stay on a nice routine this winter for as long as I can. At the end of the month I'll be having a little surgery that will put me on the bench for a short time. I'll have to start slow and short and build back up from that.

At the beginning of 2015, I wrote:

I'm keeping my goals for 2015 simple:
1. Run 3 times a week2. Bike 2 times a week3. Cross train (strength, core, etc.) whenever I can4. Run with friends whenever I get the opportunity! 5. Be the best runner I can be
I'm not giving myself any time goals. I would like to PR at both the 5K and half marathon this year. I'll work damn hard to do it. But I'm not going to define myself by that. I'm not going to judge my success on numbers. I'm not an elite, not a pro, I'm just another Strong Running Mama trying to stay sane and be a good example to my kids. If I do the majority of my runs with a smile on my face (or at least in my heart) and run with friends and laugh, I'm doing pretty good. I am a million light years ahead of where I was 5, 10, 15 years ago. 
For most of the year I did run 3 times a week. I fell off the biking over the summer. It's hard to use an indoor stationary bike when your kids are outside playing. Someday I'll be able to add outside biking to the mix, but not quite yet. I did cross train whenever I could. And I ran with friends whenever I could too. 5:15 am runs are just not for me. I need sleep and if I don't have to get up that early to run (because I can run after preschool drop off), well, I'm not going to. But I have tried to run with Jen on the weekends as often as I can.

Running and biking combined. 

I did PR at both the 5K (and broke that a few months after) and the half marathon this year. I actually had a really good racing year and I think keeping everything in perspective helped.

Back in July (after that big birthday of mine) I bought myself a Garmin Vivofit 2. It's an activity/sleep tracker that works well with the Garmin running watch I have. Someday I'll write up a proper review but today is not that day. From July-December I racked up 2,452,591 steps. That's over 2 million steps in 6 months. Since I wear it 24/7 that number naturally includes all my running miles as well. But an awful lot of those steps are just me getting chores done in the house. I shoot for 10,000 steps a day and most days I do more. All the running in the world doesn't mean anything if you go back home and sit on the couch for the next 8 hours. I am a lot more conscious of any inactivity thanks to the Vivofit (it has a red line that gets longer and longer if you don't get up and walk. Long car rides kill me). This is actually one of the reasons I don't blog as much anymore. I hate to sit for extended periods of time now.

In light of the unknowns about the upcoming surgery (it's possible it will take me longer to bounce back) I am hesitant to have concrete measurable goals. It would be great if I could get my mileage back up but if I wind up needing more than a month off, it may not happen. I'm not signing up for any long-distance races (Ragnar not included). So this year, 2016, I'm going to challenge myself in different ways. I'm going to go outside my comfort zone. I'm going to run toward what I always run away from. This year, I'm going to embrace the hill. I'm not concerning myself with speed (yes, I know hills are speedwork in disguise) or overall distance or anything truly measurable. I am simply going to tackle the hill (really, all hills) and go forward and overcome it. By the end of the year I hope to conquer it and be able to say "yeah, I can run anywhere, any race" without stressing over elevation maps.