Breathe, Stretch, Shake- Let it Go!!

I had to give myself a couple of days to be able to sit down and write my wrap up without just spewing off how disappointed I am in myself.

runamarathong

That isn’t how I want to end this.  I can’t change what happened, but I can change the way I think about it.  So I am.  Slowly.

grandma
Running for the strongest woman I know- my Grandma<3

I’ll start with the race itself.  To be honest, besides the perfect weather, it didn’t even begin good.  I had a searing cramp that lingered in my upper stomach from the start for the first three miles that made it hard to breathe in all the way.  I was furious and tried channel it until it finally disappeared.  I got into a little bit of a groove until mile 13 when we split from the half marathoners.  Boy that finish line looked so good.  Uh oh, don’t think that, I thought.  I could tell at that point my legs weren’t where they were supposed to be.  I smiled at Emily (who is a freaking amazing runner herself) as I went by and then really tried to focus.  I caught up to the 3:35 pacer around mile 16 and worked hard to stay there, but around mile 18 my legs would not do it anymore.  I literally watched Boston run away from me as I ran slower and slower.  Then I watched the 3:45 go by…then 3:55.  I ran/walked the entire last 8 miles, defeated.

Philly15Mile 13- telling Emily I’m dying already!

Those last eight miles were awful.  I felt like I could barely even walk.  I became so thirsty I couldn’t stop drinking which in turn caused my stomach to slosh around.  I wanted to see Brian so bad- to just fall into his arms crying.  I literally pictured that. Then I thought of Grandma and how she’s told me she wants to give up on her chemo because she’s tired and we won’t let her.  I thought how my “fight” for finishing a race is absolutely nothing in comparison to what her body is fighting.  I ran for her. And in the last few miles I just wanted my babies.  I ran as fast as I could at the moment for the entire last mile- I needed them that bad.  It was so emotional for me.

When I crossed the finish line I could not even walk- my leg cramps were ridiculous.  I sat on the curb and took in my time of 4:06:03 and cried.  Not one other part of me hurt- just my legs and my ego.

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Actually smiling- packet pick up!

Now I realize that if my biggest problem is not qualifying for Boston, things are pretty good.  In fact, 4:06 isn’t even a terrible time- if I had run that in Syracuse, I would have been happy with the PR.  Boston seemed like a crazy dream then.  But when I almost achieved it there, I guess I didn’t even consider not doing better next time.  I am always in competition with myself.

The worse part is that I know exactly what I did wrong.  I over-trained.  I kicked my ass in a half marathon race the week after a 20 mile run and my legs never recovered.  I should have never run that half because when I run a race, I put my heart into it.  I try to cross every finish line feeling absolutely spent and deliriously happy. If I am going to pay for a run, I’m going to give it my all.  That is how I finished Syracuse.  I did that in Corning- too close to race day. That is not how I finished in Philadelphia.  In the weeks of tapering, I swear I could feel my muscle tears repairing themselves little by little, but it just wasn’t enough time.

My legs were too exhausted to do what my mind and heart wanted because I didn’t train smart.

I do not take many risks- probably because I’m scared of setting myself up for disappointment.  I clearly don’t handle it well.  But how would we ever grow without facing challenges and setbacks?  I think I needed a little blow to the head (or more accurately, legs) to bring me back down to reality.  Things don’t always turn out like we want and that’s ok.

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Pretending to smile- finished!

I am going to look positively at this and learn from it.  It obviously has taught me a huge lesson in training.  It has taught me a lot about myself as a runner.  It almost seemed like for a little while I was thinking “well I didn’t qualify so I might as well discount the entire thing.”  Like running 26.2 miles is just all in a day’s work- giving myself no credit for the time and effort I did put in.  I was being way too hard on myself and I had to let it go. I will have many more opportunities to make it happen- and it will someday.

dust off

The day itself was perfect marathon conditions- cool but not cold, sunny, and dry.  In fact, the entire weekend was amazing.  We had a fantastic time in Philadelphia- it is a beautifully historic city and I am so happy I chose there to run.

The crowd was AWESOME, the course wonderful, and the fellow runners inspiring.  I was called many variations on my name (Jerma, Janice, and Joanna my favorites) which gave me some needed smiles.  And I keep laughing at the music a girl was blaring as I ran by her. I can only describe it as fairies playing the chimes.  I guess whatever pumps her up.

Anyways.  When I got home and could reflect through the pictures, I felt so much better.  I had let that one moment of sadness consume me for too long because there in the memories were happy smiles of myself and my family- the people who love me regardless of marathon times.  They just think it’s pretty cool I run and they get to reap the travel benefits.  Thank you to Brian, my babies, Hannah, and Emily/Nick for being there and just being wonderful.  And everyone who well-wished from afar.  I am so so so so so so so lucky to have the family and friends I have<3

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So here ends another chapter of my marathon adventures.  Not the way I’d hoped, but still with a smile.  I finished my third marathon on Sunday and that is an accomplishment.  Congratulations to all the 8k, half marathon, and marathon finishers in Philadelphia this year- I’m grateful to have been among such great company.

Thanks to anyone who encouraged, supported, read, and ran with me along this journey- you keep me going!

Now I can finally relax.  Rest these weary legs.  Eat until my heart’s content.  Watch a little…

Oh wait.  B & C don’t rest just because their mom ran a marathon.  They steal the medal and run away from me.

Better go chase those babies…

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philly boys

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Love

Until next time…

Stressing the Blessings

A friend and I were out the other day and she told me of her new task.  Every time she felt angry towards something, she was going to try to overlook it and instead find something she is thankful for.  (It is important to note that she had just had a crack in her windshield fixed.)

As we drove, she became angry with the driver in front of us.  “What are you thankful for?!”  I quickly asked.

She paused and replied, “Well.  I am thankful for this new windshield SO I CAN CLEARLY SEE HOW TERRIBLE THIS PERSON IS DRIVING!”

joan

It’s working well.  Honestly though, she is the best.  Another blessing in my life, actually, and an inspiration.

When I first began writing this last post before the big race, it was all about how I am so stressed out with everything coming together all at once.  But as I wrote, I realized how silly it all sounded.  Everything I was stressing about were things I brought on myself- and all of them incredibly lucky things to be stressing about.  I should be doing it all the time, but November is especially the season to count my blessings.

stressed

1. I stressed about work.  I won’t pretend the four days I work are stressful.  I get to play with elderly people all day long.  But I also make the calendar and if any month is busy, it is December.  I’m off a lot the end of this month, so making December quickly with quality activities made me a little hyper.

Why I’m thankful for it: Not only do I have a job (and a kickass side of bacon), I have a rewarding job that I love coming to every day.  Sure there are days when I think staying home with my kids would be awesome- but if there is any job to compliment a working Mom (or any boss who works with one like mine), I have it.  I shouldn’t take that for granted.

2. I stressed about this race. The time training, planning and packing for Philadelphia, and the money spent.  It all dawned on me on Monday that I had to get my ass ready to actually GO to Philadelphia- not just run the race.  I have to pack myself and two kids- and remind my husband to try to pack more than ten minutes before we leave.

Why I’m thankful for it: I am healthy and I am able to run.  My family and I get to go on a little end of year getaway and see a new city.  Packing a bag and choosing a marathon outfit are small dice.

3. I stressed about Charlotte’s birthday.  In the midst of all of this is my December baby.  I had to take her pictures, find a pavilion, and send invitations.  I’m planning a little Charlotte’s Web party for her- 4 days before Christmas.

Why I’m thankful for it: I am celebrating one year of life of a person I created.  Seriously, how can I find something negative in that?  I don’t have to plan this party- I want to.  She deserves it.  And it’s a bonus day to see family and friends.

4. I stressed about The Holidays.  Ahh, the holidays are stressful for everyone.  We have to buy presents, go to tons of parties, find time for everyone, cook food, etc.  A weekend in Philly takes time and money away from these plans.

Why I’m thankful for them: Because I get to celebrate holidays with my huge, beautiful family.  I get to spend another Thanksgiving with my Grandma, another Christmas with my kids- my mom, sister, aunts, uncles, cousins.  I had to ground myself and remember that is what this is all about.

kid at Christmas

When Braxton was a baby (because there are also so many others buying him gifts), I had decided to subscribe to a 4 gift rule.  Something he wants, something he needs, something educational, and something special from us (usually an event or show).  And it has worked.  But now that he is older, I see how hard this is going to be to stick to.  As a parent, I’ve learned, it isn’t that we want to over-indulge our kids with gifts.  At this young age, there is literally nothing better than watching that little face light up with pure joy on Christmas morning.  They are still so innocent.  You could give me anything in the world and it would not compare to being able to give my kids that feeling.  I think I’ll always stick to this four gift rule, but maybe add in a couple of extras from Santa.  And as they grow, I will hope I will be able to instill in them being grateful for their own blessings.

something good

Every time you find yourself angry/stressed/unhappy about something, think about it.  Is it something you can change?  If not, can you change the way you think about it?  Negative thoughts give us nothing but headaches.  This season especially, stop stressing!  Be thankful for everything, take nothing for granted, and remember the best things in life are not things

Tomorrow morning I’m off to Philadelphia to see the sights and Sunday I will run this marathon.  I’ll see you on the other side!  If I forget to say it, I wish everyone the best holidays with your own beautiful families!!

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My two little blessings<3

Brussels Sprouts and Cold!!

WOW it is cold outside this morning!  This winter is just all of a sudden like, “Yup, I’m here and there is nothing you can do about it.”

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I’m actually glad to be tapering in such conditions, but it leaves me with very little to write about.  It can be argued that I never really have anything interesting to write about, but now even more so.  This weekend ended with 8 miles from my Mom’s house in Clifton. Then (depending on your definition of remarkable), something remarkable happened!  As I came to the end of the run I couldn’t believe my little eyes- there in the stream I run by was…a heron!  I think he was there to send me off with some good luck.

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Hi, Lovely!

The weather in Philly is looking to be pretty good.  At least slightly warmer than it is here.  But not to worry- our hotel room has one King bed which I’m sure all four of us will end up in, so there will be plenty of staying warm/not sleeping at all.  I better stock up on all the sleep I can get right now!  3 more dayssss!!

And speaking of cold- what reminds you of cold more than Brussels sprouts?  They’re probably the first thing you think of, actually. Well, you may have picked up some of these little guys at the market or maybe you should go right now and get some.  I’ll wait for you while you do…

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…ok great!  Now make this wonderful meal!  It is so simple and quick.  Brian had TWO helpings, Charlotte ate everything on her tray, and Braxton ate it fairly well.  He actually liked the sprouts more than the gnocchi, but hey, I’ll take that.  So yummy- happy eating:)

Gnocchi with Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Lemon & Pine Nuts
gnocci

Ingredients

  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and quartered
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 pound gnocchi, cooked according to package instructions and drained
  • Zest from 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400ºF.
  2. Toss the Brussels sprouts with 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large bowl. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet and roast in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until tender and beginning to brown, stirring occasionally.
  3. Transfer the gnocchi and Brussels sprouts to the large bowl. Toss with the lemon zest, pine nuts, and cheese, then season with salt and pepper to taste.

And finally, Happy 11 Months to my little girl today.  I can’t believe we will be celebrating one year in just a month!  She’s doing major squats, but no steps yet. She is working on the word “doggy” (or really just a two-syllable sound that I know means doggy). She is fiercely independent at times (forget about purees, this girl feeds herself), but extremely cuddly when she is in the mood. She is very nosy about everything going on around her, loves to play with anything that isn’t her toys, she blows kisses, and has a boyfriend named William at daycare. She makes every day more beautiful just by being there and is growing into quite the amazing little girl♥  I am so proud to be her Mommy.

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I love you little lady<3

http://ohmyveggies.com/recipe-gnocchi-roasted-brussels-sprouts-lemon-pine-nuts/

Baby, Marathon, Baby, Marathon…Cookies!

Haaappy Thursday!  Training this week has been reflective of tapering.  Typically taper weeks are hard for me because I can’t run long distances even when I want to.  This time around, it works out great with all things going on in life.  Monday I did Jillian’s yoga (tripping over babies), Tuesday I ran 4 miles at night with the pooch (60 degrees), and last night was 5 miles (30 degrees).  What the hell, weather?

I am ready for the marathon to get here, but I’m also sad in a way.  The training has gone so fast.  This time next week, I will be getting ready to leave for Philadelphia.  In a blink, it will be over.  I may be the only sad one, though….

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Me and Everyone

In conversation with my co-worker the other day, I said, “What am I going to do when this is over?  For four years, I have carried a baby, trained for a marathon, carried a baby, trained for a marathon.  What am I going to do when this is over?!”  She looked at me blankly and said, “Who says that?!”  Crazy people, that’s who.

We knew we wanted another babe after I ran the Syracuse marathon. But there are definitely no more children in our near future.  Neither do I plan on another marathon anytime that soon.  Maybe for once I can sit still….

I also do not keep up with this blog when I’m done training. I certainly know I hold no candles in the blog world- I’m not in this for a ton of readers. It is just a good way to hold me accountable to actually going through with the run. And it’s a window into my life for a few months that my kids can read as adults and see for themselves why Mom is…the way Mom is.  I’ll put my writing energy into little poems and songs for them that they can roll their eyes at.  I like to sometimes freestyle Braxton stories at night.  Oh the gems I come up with…

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So what do I do when it’s over? You know, besides chase two kids around relentlessly…

Well obviously I never stop running- there will always be that.  But I think the answer came as unexpected a couple of months ago.  I will be there even more for my Grams.  Now she needs her family more than ever (thank God for the angel that is Aunt Sandy).

She shaved her head now, but she looks beautiful. The fancy hats she’s rocking are pretty fashionable, too. She is trying to keep in good spirits and we will get her through this. It’s all one day at a time.  Soon, hopefully, I will have far more time to be there with her through her treatments, to bring her cookies to decorate, and kids to snuggle with.

Grandma

Speaking of cookies!!  I’ll have more time for cookies!!  Wait- that is backwards.  I should eat the cookies when I’m running more.  Oh well.  Check out these pearls of deliciousness I made the other day!  They certainly do not fit into the healthy category, but sometimes we just need cookies in our life.  Actually, all the time.  I’m pretty sure the saying is…”A cookie a day keeps the doctor away.”  RIght?  Something like that.  Enjoy!!🙂

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip Banana Cream Pudding Cookies
cookies

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup butter Softened
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 (3.4 oz) box instant banana cream pudding dry, do not prepare
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tsp. baking soda 
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter chips more if desired
  • 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips more if desired

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Stir together flour and baking soda and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars together.
  4. Add in pudding package and beat until well blended.
  5. Add eggs and vanilla.
  6. Add flour mixture slowly until well incorporated.
  7. Add peanut butter chips and chocolate chips.
  8. Roll into 1″ balls and place on greased baking sheet.
  9. Bake at 350 F for 8-12 minutes.

http://www.chef-in-training.com/2012/09/peanut-butter-and-chocolate-chip-banana-cream-pudding-cookies/

Weekend Taper Instead of 20. Ohhh Boy.

It is a good thing I made the kindof-educated decision Saturday night to skip the 20 Sunday and begin my taper instead.  The way my legs felt, that wouldn’t have happened anyways.  If I feel like that marathon day, forget even finishing.

With me being sick and then wanting to fit in a half marathon, I had tweaked my training schedule so I had a 20 mile run one month before my marathon rather than the recommended three weeks.  I had originally thought I should get one more in before that.

I took the kids to the library Saturday morning after struggling through a marathon pace 5 miles.  As we were checking out, a book caught my eye called “The New Rules of Running.”  I grabbed it and off we went to the playground and a Mommy/kids date at Panera:)

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Cold but great day with my baby babies.  Then while they napped, I savored the quiet and dove into my new book.  I am not really one who follows many “rules” to running- I think running, like learning, is individual.  We all have our ways that it works best for us. But I do believe there are guidelines when training for a specific race.

The book really ground it in me that running 20 miles two weeks before my marathon was not a good idea if I wanted fresh legs for it.  After a fast 20 miles two weeks ago and a half marathon at a 7:39 pace last week, my legs desperately need some time to recover.  A long run would have killed them- the 12 slower miles I ended up doing instead nearly did.  I was struggling at a 9:20 pace by the end!  I have no idea if I made a terrible choice or not.  Only race day will tell.  Now I let the sweet taper and mending of those tired muscles begin.  I want to feel as good race day as I did my last 20 mile run.

As for the book?  I thought I’d share a few things I’ve read just by skimming:

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1. There’s no one way to run.  The highlight of this is that they can see a pattern in a child as early as two years old!  The type of runner we are is largely based on nature over nurture and every runner is different.  Hey Mom, how did I run when I was two??

2. Speed is strength in disguise.  This one I have a hard time with- it talks about running your long runs slower to get you a faster time.  I obviously ran my 20 mile close to how fast I want to run the marathon, but I wasn’t pushing myself and I felt comfortable the entire run.  It is just one rule I can’t wrap my head around, even if I should.  I run slower recovery runs during the week.

3. You must learn to endure.  Simple- you need endurance to run.  One example of this for me is in high school.  I remember running an 8 minute mile in gym class (I was not a runner at all, but I wanted to get it over with).  I’d finish so hard I’d taste blood in my throat- I remember that vividly.  So when Bri and I began running together Junior year, I thought I had to go that fast.  As a result, we’d only get a mile before we were done.  I had to learn to slow down if I wanted more miles- to increase time on my feet.  That is how we begin to run longer distances.  But you can over-endure, too.  Sometimes we become so obsessed with the amount of miles we’re running rather than the quality runs themselves.  Especially with trying to hit a faster goal, the type of runs I do are more important.  My training plan rarely had me go over 40 miles a week!  And I’m great with that.

4. Hydrating and eating properly to stimulate recovery.  Pretty self-explanatory.  Hydrate big time, especially as a runner.  Replace electrolytes.  And eat real food.

5. Rest is essential for recovery and performance.  You need rest to heal and repair your body.  Over-training leads to injuries, which is why I decided to eliminate another long run and let my body recover.

The book then goes into detail on injuries, hydration, training plans, and strategies.  It even has training plans based on 10 day weeks rather than seven.  Very interesting read for the runner.  I tried to read it to the kids, but they didn’t care.

One rule I follow myself is not wearing a watch in races.  I have decided again against wearing my Garmin for my marathon.  I wear it only for tempo runs and for my long runs at home because I need to know when I’ve hit my mileage.  But at the race, they’ve done that for me.  I want to run how I feel.  Wearing a watch may help some, but for me it is a pain.  If I’m not feeling an 8:12 pace in Philly, I don’t want to know it while I run.  A great article from Runner’s World about the Timeless Challenge:

http://www.runnersworld.com/race-training/run-your-fastest-race-with-the-timeless-challenge

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I read Kara Goucher’s (I just love her) blog after her NYC marathon.  She wrote about the super windy conditions and how she really struggled to finish.  The first five miles she didn’t even know her pace because the mile markers had been blown away.  Even she doesn’t wear a watch.  And she runs a 5 minute pace.  Infreakingcredible.

kara goucher

Anyways- there are my ramblings about these rules of running amidst my own personal style of running.  There is no one perfect formula and I changed mine.  I’m hoping that won’t come back to bite me on race day, but what’s done is done.  Running a distance race is about having the fitness level to finish it. I have worked hard and my body is there.  Now it’s all up to my mind. 

Bring on the taper!! 

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Rainy Rainy Rainy Days

A rainy dark night sure puts a damper on my motivation to get out there and run.  I don’t mind running in the colder weather, but the cold rain really brings it down a notch. It is so much more enticing to stay home and snuggle with the babes under a blanket, eat popcorn, watch Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, and do the hot dog dance.

rain drops

I skipped my run last night in hopes today would be a better day.  I thought, I’ll just get up Friday morning and get it over with early.  Right.  Didn’t happen.  So far it isn’t looking any better today (I saw snow), but I’ll have to get out there for a quick 4 miles after work either way- no excuses!  Tomorrow I’ll run 5 in anticipation of my final twenty miler on Sunday.

Everyone keeps asking me if I’ve looked at potential weather in Philly the weekend I’m there. I can tell you with certainty that I have not.  I do not want to know right now, it’ll psyche me out.  With all these talks of “polar vortex” and “colder than usual” flying around, Al Roker is not my best friend right now.  Because who else’s fault is it, really?

rainy run

Last night we bid farewell to our farm share for the season.  It was a dreary drab day which made it even sadder to say goodbye.  Saturday we said goodbye to the village farm market, too.  Stop leaving me farmers!!  I think this year I need to go check out the indoor farm market we have in Fairport instead of just saying it.  Maybe it will fill my market void.

farm market

After that, I stopped at Wegmans (because Wegmans fixes everything) and I saw with excitement that they have their pomegranates out and picked up a few!  Those beauties are another one of Braxton’s top 100,000 favorite fruits.

Pomegranates are a super fruit- low in calories and dense in nutrients like Vitamin C and dietary fiber.  Their seeds are the only edible part, and getting the seeds out does take some work.  It’s worth it though!  You can also buy pomegranate juice- I’ve actually never tried it.  I like to pry the seeds out of the actual fruit with them winging all over the kitchen.  B loves to eat them as a snack while making his little hands and mouth a red tint.  A win-win all around.

pomegrante

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, I’ve been looking for something I can make and bring to my Aunt’s house along with the tons of other food that will be there.  I came across this recipe and plan on giving it a try.  It’s a nice spin on a classic using these fabulous little power seeds.  Put it on your table, too:)

Pomegranate Cranberry Sauce
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Ingredients:

  • 2 cups fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup pomegrante seeds
  • 1 large apple (1 cup), diced
  • ½ cup raw orange, cubed
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds, ground
  • 1 teaspoon fresh orange zest
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • small pinch of sea salt to taste

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients (except orange juice and pomegranate seeds) into a sauce pan and heat on medium-high.
  2. Bring this mixture to a boil and cook for 5 minutes, reduce to simmer for 15 minutes on low heat until the cranberries have broken apart, all the fruit has been softened.
  3. Take of the heat after everything is soft and thickened.
  4. Stir in the pomegranate seeds and orange juice last.
  5. Serve warm or chilled.  Keeps in fridge for 5-7 days.
  6. ENJOY!
 Sweeten if this is too tangy for your tastes, simply add more maple syrup or stevia.

 

Sacrifice and Guilt of a Running Mom

I sit here, finally relaxing and writing this after quite the evening.  Braxton had a crazy meltdown at bedtime tonight, his first major one in quite some time, actually.  We were building a garage for his cars out of a box, having a great time, until he became way too tired and decided to break the crayons we were decorating it with.  When I took them away, all hell ensued.  I mean a full on out of control temper tantrum.  I could not wait to get that kid into bed tonight.

And now I miss him.

I just spent 10 minutes staring at him sleeping, brushing his hair away from his face, and listening to his little breaths before I came into my room to write this.

When I was in the middle of this marathon training, I seriously thought about giving up.  I had a talk with my Aunt Sandy about it, and she told me, “When you put time into something, there are always going to be sacrifices somewhere else.”  It has stuck with me. I’ve been trying to find the right sacrifices to make to take the time to train, but am always questioning if they’re the right ones.

With the dark mornings, 5am runs are not happening for me.  So I go at 6:45pm when Brian gets home from work.  That is a sacrifice in time spent with my family as a whole.  By the time I get home, we are reading the kids books and putting them to bed.  Sometimes it seems like my nights after work are making dinner, eating dinner, cleaning dinner, running, then bed.

I have said that running makes me a better person, less crazy, and a better mom.  I have said we as moms need to do something just for us that we love to do.  That is all absolutely true.

But I still feel guilty.

Monday when I picked up Braxton from daycare, I noticed they had all done an exercise with the letter H.  The other children had neatly colored their H’s- even used different colors like a rainbow!  Braxton’s, however, was a mess of green dots scattered in the H and all around it.  He’s only 3- he’s so small yet, but it’s a knee-jerk reaction as a Mom when you see that.  I am not looking to have the smartest kid in the world, but I know my son, and I know that was a product of his inability to focus sometimes.  I know he’s capable, but his mind is just racing.  That kid could run around for hours outside and still be the biggest ball of energy the rest of the day.

I immediately felt guilty when I saw that H.  He is a product of me.  I never sit still.  I may accomplish a lot in my days, but in my mind, it is never enough.  I question my sacrifices with guilt.  Should I not run and spend more time coloring with my kids?  Am I doing enough?  Why can’t I slow down?  Tuesday, I was so scattered with things I forgot my bottles to pump in at work and ended up using cardboard coffee cups in a pinch.  I was so frustrated with myself for not putting them in my bag.  Was I in that much of a hurry?!

I think being a Mom just comes with all kinds of guilt.  Of wondering what we can do better for our kids because we want to make the best life possible for them.

In the end I am the only one who can give my children a happy mother who loves life

The key is finding a balance, but that isn’t easy to do in a world where new obstacles are always springing up in life.  We as parents have to stop beating ourselves up or feeling inadequate.  The thing is, Braxton not coloring an H the way others did isn’t a big deal, but I blew it up to be.  I somehow managed to make myself feel like the worse Mom ever.

That very night, I didn’t color with Braxton.  Instead, I went out for a run when Brian got home to clear my head.  And you know what, it worked.  When I got home, the kids were laughing and enjoying their time with Daddy, something they need just as much as me. Brax giggled that I was all sweaty and asked about my run.  I remembered that I’m setting a healthy example for those babies.  I dove into bed with them and into his Curious George book acting out each character- quite miraculously if I do say so myself.

The run breathed life and energy into me I didn’t have before it.  If I didn’t go running, I honestly wouldn’t’ be able to focus on my children the way I do.

I am always going to have to make some small sacrifices as a runner and as a mom.  But the benefits my kids reap from it are huge.  They get a happy Mommy.

So tonight, I sat with Braxton and we made the car garage.  Nothing was going to be more important in that moment than Braxton and that box.  And despite that, it still didn’t end like I hoped.  That is being a parent.  It’s doing everything you think is right and realizing it will never be perfect.  It is making sacrifices and feeling guilty for things, but knowing you’re doing the best you can.  It is questioning your kid’s H’s.

It’s watching your children grow into exactly the people they are supposed to be because you love them more than anything else in the world. 

That’s nothing to be guilty about.

braxton Robers