Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Low-lights

As I stood at the counter tonight, cleaning, drying, and divvying up our chicken eggs, I tried to reason with my 10-year-old hound dog.

"Roxxie...how many times must I tell you that barking to go outside so you can bark to come inside, is not an appropriate use of our time this evening?"

As I tried to negotiate with my dog, I finished drying the egg in my hand and opened the dishwasher. For a brief moment I thought about where the egg goes in the dishwasher. 

The egg doesn't go in the dishwasher, Katie...

I'm tired, after a restless night of sleep, a full day of work, and all my household chores and projects. Which begs the question, how in the heck do any of you have any time for anything? I'm looking at you, mom of two with another on the way. I'm looking at you, budding business-woman with meetings that run from 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM. I'm looking at you, full-time teacher, coach, and marathon runner. I'm looking at you, entrepreneur engaged in non-stop business planning. I'm looking at you, full-time farmer, with a family and community to feed. 

Someone please prove to me that you're not all robots with steel hearts, manipulating time in your favor. I know social media is often-times a series of highlights in peoples' lives. I know I'm guilty of this as well. In fact, this weekend I posted pictures of Eric and I fishing with our pup. It was a feel-good moment in my day. I was feeling grateful. I wanted to share. I even posted a new profile picture that probably gave people who don't know me the illusion that I can get my hair to stay curled for more than six minutes at a time AND that I always do my makeup before leaving the house.



 
These moments were real. These moments were beautiful. But I don't think it makes me any less grateful to say that most moments don't look like this.

I asked Eric today what makes him jealous. What makes me jealous is people who seem to have managed their time so efficiently that they are able to accomplish everything they want in each day. I DON'T UNDERSTAND.  Meanwhile, I'm over here wondering how long I can let this avocado clay mask sit on my face before it starts doing more harm than good. It's supposed to "purge your pores of all dirt and oil". Seems nice.  It said 10 minutes, and even though it's been about 30, I think I'm still okay.   

Anyway, I often feel guilty voicing frustration over my long days. I am living an overly-blessed life, as are most of the people I surround myself with, even if they can't admit it. What gets me...what really irks me...is that this life has me wanting so much out of every day, every second. I think that's when I end up overwhelmed, under-satisfied, and jealous. 

So in the real world, this is what my day and night looked like. 

I slept less than five hours because I woke up in the middle of the night thinking about an event at work over 4 weeks away. But that got me thinking about the next thing and the thing after that and before I knew it, it was time to feed the animals, eat leftover tuna casserole for breakfast, and drive to work. 

Work was fine today, and by fine I mean I didn't cry, yell, or lose my mind. But I didn't leave the office until after six, so I got home after 7 PM.  I also caved to tacos (for the second time this week) instead of a salad. Woe is me.

Eric was working his second job tonight, so when I got home I went through the normal routine of letting Roxxie inside so she could run upstairs to go outside. There she holds our younger pup hostage and both the kidnapper and the hostage become quite hostile if their hangry needs are not addressed ASAP. 

After feeding all the furry animals, I started what I like to call "pretending to do laundry". It's where I take the clothes from the dryer and throw them on the guest bed to be folded at a later date. Maybe tomorrow, maybe a week from now. Then I move the clothes from the washer to the dryer where they tumble and then I pretend for 45 minutes that I'm going to take them out and fold them when the buzzer alarms. I took things a step farther tonight and actually tended to the clothes on the bed. By the time I was done with that, it was time for the farm duties.

I spent approximately 7 minutes searching for one of the two ducks that we currently have roaming our land. I discovered that one chicken was also missing. It wasn't too long before I realized that Gerget (the duck) was downhill in the chicken run, trying to fornicate with Juniper (our mama hen) against her will. Or maybe it wasn't against her will, but either way, the scene was unpleasant and it's not quite safe for the hen. I cut that romp short and then went on my way. 

I cared for the baby chicks and ducks. And by cared for, I mean wiped poop off their waterer with my bare hands because we were out of paper towels in the barn. They're still cute though so it doesn't matter. Then it was time for the scariest part of the farm duties, when I take the bigger tub of chicken food out to feed the chickens.

If you know me, you know I've had to overcome a pretty serious fear of birds. And I wouldn't say I've overcome that fear completely. When you take the can of food out, all the chickens start chasing you. I have to get the food a football field away before I'm attacked and eaten by my own birds. Some days are really touch-and-go. Today, Gerget distracted them by heading back down to the coop for round two. I broke that up again, locked the chickens in their run and worked on the next task. 

Trick the ducks into their pen is a fun game, that has many-times, brought me to tears. No joke. Sometimes those damn ducks are so naughty that they make me cry.  When you desperately want to sit down after a long day, chasing the ducks for 5-30 minutes can seem almost too much to handle. I owned them tonight though and the waddled in, even before dark.

When I came inside at 8:00 PM, I started to clean the eggs that we are going to take to work tomorrow to sell. This is when the negotiations started with Roxxie and our young pup, Walt spent some time going through the "clothes to be donated" bags that I put together last night. He has excellent taste.

I made sure to spend some time thinking about that salad I didn't eat for dinner during this time and contemplating whether or not I should just eat ice-cream since I already had the tacos anyway. These are tough life decisions.

Roxxie stole an egg for dessert while I ripped the Nashville souvenir from Walt's mouth for the third time tonight. Sidenote...I just had to google how to spell souvenir which makes me think that my student loan payment that is equivalent to a mortgage payment, really wasn't worth it. 

I spent so much time during that egg-cleaning session thinking about how I'm going to accomplish everything this week that I want to and also have time to sleep and eat, that I decided I should come write about it. I want to see if being a robot is an option or if everyone else really struggles with adulting. Google is now telling me that "adulting" isn't a word. I've had almost as much as I can handle in one day.

I had to take a break from this blog to go see why Walt was silent. Turns out he ripped up one of our expensive throw pillows that Eric got me for my birthday last year. Then I had to call and tell Eric before he got home so I didn't have to see the disappointment in his face. Bad dog-mom.This is why we can't have nice things. 

Meanwhile, it's now an hour later and I still have this mask on. I'm guessing it's not going to turn back time and make me look 20 instead of 42 like I looked in my most recent photos, but a girl can hope. Eric just texted me and asked me if I wanted anything from Quiktrip. When I told him tea, he replied, "Caffeine? Will that keep you up tonight?" 

I'LL TELL YOU WHAT'S KEEPING ME UP!
ROBOTS AND TIME AND MONEY AND NOT ENOUGH OF ANY OF THOSE THINGS. 

Now I need to go e-mail this birthday card to my friend Sara's baby girl. She'll be two in June and I want to make sure she gets this Happy 1st Birthday card before then.




Monday, December 26, 2016

I said, "Yes!"

It was August of 2005. I was sitting in a classroom at Wells Hall on the campus of Northwest Missouri State University. I was so nervous. It was my first Bearcat Update meeting. I was going to get my first assignment for the campus television station.

Steve Serrano came in and went to the front of the classroom to introduce his two producers. This felt big time to me. First guy was pee-wee (Bobby Taylor), who ended up being my roommate at college several years later. After his introduction, Steve introduced "Poop".

I had been immediately drawn to "Poop" when he walked in. He had on athletic shorts, a Northwest t-shirt, and ball cap that barely covered his head of hair. His chin-strap facial hair was so 2000 and so manly. He had piercing blue eyes. When Steve introduced him he cracked a smile that seriously melted me.

So, this is college.

I got to see Eric once a week for our weekly Bearcat Update taping. I could not get over how incredibly handsome he was, but I soon learned that he was also funny and kind, and super talented. Later that year we became friends. He would come over to my dad's house over the summer and we would "driveway sit". We talked about everything. School, work, future plans, religion, the girls he was dating. We actually called each other and instant messaged (because I didn't have texting on my phone). He became my best friend.

Then all of a sudden, every single Taylor Swift song seemed to be about my life. The unrequited love, the friend zone, dashed hopes and dreams. It took me a year, but I came to the realization that "Poop" was probably never going to love me the way that I loved him.  I professed my love through an instant message conversation sophomore year. "You know I love you, but I guess somewhere along the lines...I fell in love with you."

"That makes sense," he said.

That's all we ever said about it. Fast forward to Fall 2011. We spent a year making a documentary together and all the feels came rushing back. I wondered if I could ever find someone who could make me smile or make me laugh like he did. I wondered if I'd ever find someone else who could make me feel so safe and so whole. Like what if I just had to settle for less than whole and maybe I'd have to. Maybe God had other plans for me, and I'd have to be okay with that.

But something changed for him over the next few years. Like a movie, our love story unfolded into something I never quite imagined. Not all moments in time were out of a  fairytale, but they were always for better. I remember sitting up all night after a day hanging out with him, doing not much of anything, thinking...this was the best day of my life.

Then when we moved into our new house, I thought the same thing. I thought it again we adopted our puppy. I thought it again every time we shared Christmas with his family. I thought, "this is the best day of my life", day after day that we shared with each other.

I thought it again on Saturday when Eric asked me to marry him.

I can't really describe what went through my head as Eric got down on one knee, out here on our land, and asked me to be his wife. I also can't tell you what I saw because I was bawling uncontrolably.

What I can tell you is that it's never been easier for me to nod yes while crying every tear my body could hold and snotting all over the place. Eric is all the great things I wrote on a list of things I wanted in a husband when I was younger. He's a Christian, strong, funny, hard-working, and intelligent. But he's also a lifetime learner,  rugged country-man, uniquely talented, kind and giving. He  is so good to his family and it's been amazing to watch him with his nephew. He is constantly working to make himself better and he challenges me to do the same.

Eric is my best friend. I don't worry about living with him, I fear living without him. God has done some incredible things in our relationship over the last two years. I can't wait to see what new adventures await us and what challenges we will overcome together as husband and wife.

It was over a decade ago when I first saw him. Same head of hair, same captivating smile. If you would have asked me then if I'd be sitting here with a ring on my finger, typing this blog, I would have told you that you were crazy. But after 15 chickens, two ducks, two bunnies, two dogs, and a cat...maybe we



are the crazy ones.

That's okay. We'll be crazy together. <3

Saturday, May 7, 2016

A mother's legacy

My mom would be so mad if she saw how many times I'm going to refer to her as mother in this post.

My mother once told me that a sign of a great leader is that the leader's work continues and people continue to succeed, even when the leader is gone. My dad reiterated that to me years later, as I was leaving college. I think about that bit of advice almost daily, especially in my job.

I'm not a mother. I'm not sure if I will ever get that opportunity. Only time and God will tell. But I've been thinking about motherhood a lot lately. My best friend had her first child this year. She lost her own mom, like I did, years ago. I was invited to the hospital to wait for her little one's arrival. I can't tell you the feelings that took over me as I stood in the hospital room, holding my friend's little girl for the first time. I was in complete awe. I was so proud of my friend and her husband, calm and collected, smiling and laughing as they introduced the baby to all the people that loved her even before she was born. It was such a happy moment.

I started thinking about my nieces and nephew, how much they had grown, how quickly time had passed. And as I drove home, I thought about my brother and my sister. How did they do it? How did they handle careers, kids, relationships....anything, without our mom? 

I wondered how long my friend's family would stay in that room with her. I wondered how long the baby would sleep that first night. I wondered what it felt like to be a mother. And in an instant, I was overcome with grief. My heart ached, knowing that my friend's mom couldn't be there. I wondered how she'd do it.

She just... did. I've watched her become an incredible mom over the past months. I've listened to the stories, seen the pictures, and actually cried real tears when they sent me the video of their baby eating solid food for the first time. Who doesn't cry at that?  I finally got to see them a few weeks ago. My friend wore that baby like a champ as we shopped, talked, and caught up. I thought many times, I'll never be able to be a mom like her.

I wonder if our moms thought about us becoming mothers? We were both young, but I assume it had crossed their minds. I wonder if they were nervous or scared for us? What I do know is they probably both expected to be here for these moments. That may be what hurts the most, still, after all these years.

But my best friend, she's incredibly strong, and despite the sad moments, she really has owned motherhood. And she's simultaneously helped me stay sane as I've battled a difficult year without my own mom. So.much.life.

My friend is lucky. She had a great mom, just like I did. I'm not a mother, but I wonder if being a great mom is similar to what my mom told me about great leaders. Like somehow my friend, my brother, my sister, and even myself have managed to continue to grow after my mother died. We haven't been perfect. We haven't always made the right choices. But somehow, after 13 years being gone, I still feel her love and still hear her voice when I'm making decisions. And that's the part of her that I know I'll share with my kids if I ever become a mom. Not the times that she fed me ice-cream for dinner, yelled at me for no reason, or picked me up from school an hour late. Because let's be honest, she had her moments. But does any of that matter if I'm able to grow, succeed, treat people with decency and just live...even after she's gone?

I believe that you make a lot of choices in life that lead you different directions. Some are good and some are bad. My mother is not the  person responsible for my success or failure. But she did equip me to be able to make decisions on my own (good or bad) and held the promise of unconditional love, even when she couldn't show it. I feel like that is what counts, so I can forgive her in the long run for forcing me to eat meatloaf that caused me to throw up at the dinner table.

I've been wanting to hear from my mom the past six months, even knowing it's not possible. I miss her. Thankfully, I have my family and my friends that are like family to get me through the hard times. I bet she wondered how I would turn out, if she had messed me up royally. I hope she can see where I've been and where I'm going. I hope she can see how totally incredible my brother and sister are. I am just part of my mother's legacy.When I get really sad, or think about the bad times with her, instead of the good, I pull out the letters she sent me at camp in 2002 that remind me what a good mom she was and how much I was unconditionally loved.

An excerpt:

Carmen actually rode the horse today. I didn't stay for the lesson, but I guess everything went okay. She's not dead of anything. LOL. She said the horse was slobbery. 

We got Grandpa a pair of shorts today to mow his lawn and your dad is going to give him enough money to pay for his upper dentures.

Larry and Julia are going to St. Luis this weekend. The Royals play in St. Louis. I hope they beat St. Louis in their own stadium--that would be so awesome. 

Aunt Vickie went crazy when I told her you aren't allowed to call. The more I think about it, the sillier it seems t not let you call home. They could have designated times for doing that. If you decide to go next year, then we'll have to talk to someone about that. 

Time to turn in. Wish I had something interesting to tell you. You take care and don't drown yourself. Hurry up and come home. Okay?

Love,
Mom. 


Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there. You're doing a good job.


Saturday, November 21, 2015

365 days

I met Eric when he was 19 years old. That's an alarming thought to me, since my favorite guy will be turning 30 this year. When we met, we were just kids.

Katie (19), Eric (20)
Eric @ 19 years old.



This was before we made a documentary. It was before we ran a half-marathon. It was before we started working together.  It was before we traveled together to chase our dreams.

It was before Eric was a landowner.


It was before Eric became an amazing Uncle.

It was before Eric produced his first game.

It was before the Royals won the World Series.

It was before we became best friends.



It was before we fell in love.


We've shared over a decade of friendship. We've shared over a decade of fun, laughter, challenges and heartache. But of all the years and all the memories, these last 365 days have been the best. We've had a great time taking on life as a team and embarking on several new adventures. I've learned so much about myself and so much about the love of my life. Perhaps most importantly, I've watched Eric become the man I always knew he would be.

God willing, we will share many more incredible years. Since we are adults now, it won't always be the easy days of Well's Hall or sitting in my dad's driveway talking about our hopes and dreams for the future. But that's really where it all started over 10 years ago.  And I'll always be grateful for every little moment that got us here and I look forward to all the little unknown moments that we'll have in the future.

Happy one-year of official coupledom, Eric! Let's celebrate by running a couple miles. 


Sunday, September 13, 2015

Finding peace

Eric and I have been best friends for nearly a decade, and over the course of those ten years I've learned a lot about him. He's learned a lot about me as well. We've discovered  many things we have in common and several items that we just agree to disagree on. For instance, we can both listen to Willie Nelson all day, spend a day fishing, and eat chili every other day of the week. But he'll never convince me to drink coffee & beer and I'll never be able to get him to fully commit his heart to Garth Brooks.

I've discovered over the past year that Eric is a lot more laid back than I am. He's organized and diligent, but during crisis he remains mostly calm. I'm a bit more severe in my reactions to things (thanks mom and dad), but I'm also more process-oriented and efficient. Different things drive us crazy. I can't stand being late or understand how people can be so snide or disrespectful to each other in the work place. Eric isn't upset like I am if there is a change-of-plans or bump in the road, but he's easily frazzled by messes and broken things he can't fix immediately. He doesn't want to write all day and I don't want to spend time fixing the lawn mower, but we respect each other's talents and value our differences.

We love a lot of the same things and we love each other. We find peace in the same things, like a good book, good music, wine on the patio, a day at the lake, a hike in the woods, or a perfectly grilled steak after the longest day of work. We love our families, the peace of the outdoors, and time away from work and technology. We both have a desire to constantly learn new things and grow individually and as a couple. We both know the value of not trying to serve as our own Gods.

Last year, Eric and I started talking about what we wanted our lives to look like five or ten years from that day, and I wasn't surprised that our hopes for the future were eerily similar. It has always been a dream of mine to live away from the city with some land and space to create or learn new things. I've always felt a bit displaced in suburbia and at the end of hard days, I find no peace in busy roads, crowded bars, or long (very long in some cases) Netflix binges. Same goes for Eric.

However, I'm the first to admit that I've always readily taken advantage of every convenience offered to me. And I'm not upset about that. Eric has lived in downtown Kansas City for five years. Being his girlfriend, I spent a lot of time there and have no shame in the fact that I took advantage of every single thing that city life had to offer. I could walk to the grocery store, movie theatre, bar, the gym. I could order carry-out from pretty much any restaurant I wanted. I could either walk to get it or have them deliver it. Eric had google fiber which I imagine is how people felt when the microwave was invented. I had Netflix, Hulu, AND Amazon Prime. It.was.awesome. But there is no peace in it for me.

Unfortunately, instant gratification  can be pretty debilitating - at least for me. I would consider my self a very self-sufficient human being. I've been taking care of myself for a long time, but I feel like there are life skills I lack that my grandpa would be ashamed of. People used to have to grow food to survive. This year I killed four of five potted plants that Eric bought for his back patio (the tomatoes survived) No one and nothing has ever depended on me for survival, unless you count Garth - but let's be honest, he pretty much takes care of me. I just learned what the "broil" button controls in the oven, this year. For the first time in over 28 years, I have fully grasped North, South, East and West without looking at MapQuest, Google Maps, or asking my dad. This past year I had to start calling many people every day for work. I was ill-prepared to speak as a grown human being (business woman), because I've spent the past ten years firing off instant messages, texts, and quick, incoherent e-mails. I don't know what I was more mortified by, my ineptitude or the fact that everyone I encountered was just as bad off as I was. I'm considering having Garth take over my business dealings.

About three months ago, Eric found a beautiful house out in the country with 40 acres- some cropland, some pasture, a large barn, and a beautiful stable. We fell in love. I love nothing more than the idea of being connected to all the luxuries of modern living, but also having space to explore and tranquility to enjoy without the constant hustle of every day life. I watched Eric fight for the property on different levels. Last week, after a lot of waiting, turmoil, and moving woes, we got everything moved to the new place. I am a firm believer that you can make any house a home, but it feels like such a blessing to find the exact type of place we pictured our futures.

Lots of people asked Eric, "What are you going to do with that land?" or "Why would you want to live all the way out there?" There are plans for the future (nothing immediate), for a lot of things on this land, but for now I think Eric is just enjoying the serenity of "country living". I know I am. Not everyone can find their dream home before 30 and make it a reality. Eric was able to do that and I am so excited to continue our journey together. I'm excited for all the learning that will have to happen to maintain this beautiful property and all the ways we can utilize it in coming years. I believe that you can make any house a home, but I'm excited that Eric found a place to call home that can bring so much peace for both of us and hopefully any family, friends, critters, or future kids (goats and humans) that want to spend time out here.

Garth was really enthused about going to a new house. Eric said he could come, but Garth has the same feelings on moving as I do.

"I'll go, but I'm not packing anything."


Saying goodbye to Eric's house in the city was more difficult than I thought. It was there that Eric and I watched our dream of making a documentary come to fruition. We had fun painting the whole house and installing hardwood floors in the basement. 
 
It was at his house that he and Garth became best friends.
It was there that Eric and I decided we wanted to commit to each other. It's where we started our next documentary, started our new jobs together, and shared our first kiss. I don't want to say I cried when I said goodbye to it, but I did. It's just a house, just like the new one is. But those memories are important to me and I'll always remember them there - the way it looked, the way it smelled. But there is a new place to make new memories, and it was one of the happiest days of my life when I went with Eric to the house for the first time after he got the keys.
 
You can dream about something your whole life, knowing that it may very well never happen. That's how I felt about falling in love with Eric and that's how I feel about his new house. I dreamed of ending up with someone like Eric, but didn't know it would ever happen and that it could be everything and more than I ever wanted and needed. I hoped that one day we would find this house, but I didn't know it could actually be a reality.
 




 
Cheers to life's next adventure!





Sunday, July 26, 2015

Or die tri-ing

Last year my friend Dena competed in a triathlon and she convinced me to sign up for it this year. For the low-low price of $115 , you too can become a triathlete. All joking aside, the event is really worth it. It offers just the type of encouragement that first time participants need and a lot of extra love that you don't see in other races. The Win For KC Triathlon is an all-women, sprint tri that requires a 500 meter swim, 10 mile bike, and 5k run. I can confidently tell you that I can complete each leg of this tri as a stand-alone event. That thought is so incredible to me. Three years ago, I was winded walking around Target or chasing my nephew around. But now,  even out-of-shape, I can muddle through  each of the legs individually. However, I was very surprised to discover how incredibly challenging it was to put them all together. 

I'm still struggling to find my groove in the exercise and diet routine. I have the same typical life excuses that everyone else does, and even though I've tried to keep a fairly consistent exercise routine, I didn't "train" to the extent I needed to. I didn't lose any weight to make strenuous exercise easier on my knees or re-train my lungs  to function for me during an endurance event. A week before the event I successfully completed the 10 mile bike portion of the triathlon and two miles of the run. It was difficult, but very doable. It gave me the little bit of confidence I needed to recommit to completing this triathlon, which is a huge point on my bucket list! Unfortunately, I still had that pesky swim portion to think about. 

Last Tuesday, I participated in my first "open water" swim. So basically I got in the lake, started swimming, and hoped I didn't drown before the teenage lifeguards  could get to me on my kayaks. Someone who is participating in an outdoor triathlon should probably do a lot of these swims before race day, but sickness, flooded lakes, and a busy work schedule left me ill-prepared and scared. The whole open water thing was a lot different than swimming laps at the YMCA. I couldn't see ANYthing. I can't walk a straight line sober, and I quickly learned that this same level of direction and grace applies to my swimming practices. But overall, I felt pretty decent about surviving the swim part of my first triathlon, only a few days away. 

On Wednesday I picked up my race packet. It included the timing chip that velcroed around my ankle. Oh, this is gonna weigh me down. I'll just subtract two minutes off my total time to account for this monstrosity. (Actual size...miniscule). It also included the complimentary t-shirt. Why is this so small? Did I order this size? Yep, I did. Oh, I thought I would lose weight...training. There was also the race bib and bike tab. 868? I can dig it. And let's not forget the swim cap.

The swim cap had been giving me nightmares for a few days. I've never worn a swim cap and I was convinced I couldn't fit one on my giant noggin. And just like I expected, I put it on to discover that my humongous head was just popping it off like it does  headbands. I considered my options. I could back out of the race to avoid embarrassment, or I could use just my legs for the swim portion, while I held down my swim cap. Challenge accepted! Then I realized that my cap came with instructions and my mini-panic was all for naught. I had it on incorrectly. The swim cap fit just fine. I'm an idiot.

Before I knew it, race day was here. It was an early morning with a lot of waiting around before getting in the water. I had a few jitters, but mostly specifically to transitioning from one event to another. I've now participated in enough organized events like this that I don't fear them anymore. I was mostly ready for the challenge. 

I hit the water and I.FELT.AWESOME. I've always confidently owned my slowness. I mean for pete's sake, at least I'm out there giving it all I've got. I'm a slow biker, an even slower runner. I mean, I run slower than some people walk. And I know it's not important, but I wasn't the slowest person in the water. I found it strangely invigorating to be passing people. I felt powerful and it pushed me to swim even harder. I am not fast by any means, but it was nice to feel okay at something for a change.

I'm looking forward to seeing the pictures as we exited the water (and then immediately deleting them), because I know exactly what I looked like as I came out on the boat ramp. 
I felt awesome and accomplished. So, I booked it! I ran past people walking to the transition area.I made it to my bike, dried my feet, put on my helmet and headed up the hill for the bike portion. One pedal, two pedal, three pedal, uh-oh....

I made it only a quarter of a mile before I felt really sick. I got off my bike on the side of the road. My heart was pumping, I could barely breathe, I felt light-headed. I had never felt like this before, but I dropped my head between my legs and drank water for five minutes straight. I was 15 seconds away from walking my bike back to the start and not completing the race. But I suddenly felt much better. I paid over $200 to compete in this. Screw you, body. I was going to complete this race or die tri-ing! (See what I did there?) I still felt winded, but I got on my bike and slowly started pedaling. It was an uphill battle (literally) and I took it as slow as possible so I could monitor my heart rate and avoid over-exerting my lungs again. The bike portion took me 30 minutes longer than it did only one week earlier. 

That was pretty devastating to me. But I should have listened to my sister, "Don't go out like an asshole". Doing well in something felt so good that I applied way too much effort in my first leg of the race. Adrenaline, sprinting between transitions, and not hydrating for the weather is probably what got me. It almost ended my race before it really started and it scared the living bejesus out of me. That 10-mile bike ride was the hardest thing I've ever done in my life physically because I used all my physical strength to build up my body just to get back on my bike. When it ended, the finish line seemed so near. But I still had the run.
Probably not ideal to take your pre-race photo in front of an ambulance. It's like I was asking to need a medic on the course!

I got off my bike and took it slow, drinking plenty of water before I headed over to the run trail. I started jogging and immediately experienced excruciating cramps in my side and legs. I walked the first mile of the 5k slanted to the side, trying to stretch the cramp out. Gatorade saved my life at the first hydration station. I was able to jog a bit for the remaining part of the 5k, but mostly I just walked-taking it easy to avoid any other medical issues. The running trail was lined with inspirational words from spectators. "You can do this! You are beautiful! Sweat now, wine later!" Every woman I passed had something sweet to say or a quick word of encouragement. That was unlike anything else I've ever been a part of.

Eventually, I crossed the finish line. I was last in my age group and only 20 people finished behind me. It didn't end like I thought it would when I started. I was pretty disappointed, but of course happy I survived. For not training like I should have and not taking care of my body, I should have been thrilled. I learned a valuable lesson about protecting my body during this race. I'm not invincible, but I am strong. I told my friend Dena that I loved her and hated her in the same breath. It was the most difficult thing I've ever done.


I took a few moments to reflect on the past few years after the race. Since 2012, I've completed two 5ks, one 10k, a half marathon, and now a triathlon. And I can't help but think that if I can do these things, anyone can. Not only that, but if I can do these things, what CAN'T I do? Pushing myself to do these things and setting goals has helped me form the confidence I need to take on my career and and other life challenges.

Sometimes you have to walk. Sometimes you finish last. And sometimes you put your swim cap on wrong. But being slow and looking stupid has failed to keep me from accomplishing my goals these days. I wonder what's next?
Realized I was going to see the finish line.

Look...a "gold"medal!

Post-race meal from my sweetie.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Tri Tri Tri

A little over a year ago, I ran a half marathon. Now it is close to impossible for me to put two miles in without having to stop to walk. My heart rate shoots up. I get winded before I reach the quarter mile mark. I'm out of shape. It has been depressing.

I've grown to dislike running as a sport. I've always loved what it does for my body, and how I feel when I finish a run.  But the physical act of running took a huge toll on my body the past couple years. It's mostly because I didn't make keeping my body healthy a priority. When you're training for a long run, you have to be constantly running. I had only a couple "off days" a week, and it never seemed like quite enough time to recover.

I started training for a triathlon recently. On July 25th I will swim 500 meters, bike 10 miles, and run a 5k. The biggest victory I've had so far is discovering that swimming is naturally protecting my body. I've incorporated swimming into my workouts at least three days a week. I.Love.it. Quite honestly, nothing feels better than swimming after my harder bike rides and longer runs. Given, my longer runs are closer to two miles now than eight or nine, but I've still seen a major difference in how quickly my body bounces back after a workout.

I've discovered something else. I may always suck at running. I think I'll always run on some level because it provides me the greatest bang for my buck. But it is definitely still the most difficult for me out of the three. I'm pretty much at ground zero, struggling to find motivation on my running days to fit in a mile. I can do this though!

Biking is way harder than I anticipated. Slowly but surely I am making strides in that department. I guess I never learned anything about changing gears on my bike growing up. It took several grueling Smithville Lake bike rides for Eric to teach me the ins and outs of shifting gears. I think I've finally grasped that though. All I have to do is survive the hard rides.

The good news? Swimming hasn't sucked. I've found something that I want to become better at. I think if I continue working on my swimming after this triathlon is over, I might even become good at it. That's a really motivating feeling and it has inspired me when I've felt like throwing in the towel on this whole triathlon thing.

A couple weeks ago, we biked seven miles and then I told Eric I was going to go for a quick run. I lasted .10 miles. Why? Do you remember  moon shoes?
It felt like I was running in those. I almost fell on my face. A week later I did a four mile bike ride and then jogged a half mile. We will call that progress...I guess.

It has felt good to have a goal again. The weight is finally starting to come off again, but this time it's very slowly. I'm focusing on my training and looking forward to more mini-successes on my journey to my first tri!