Balance

balanceBalance is a strange word.  It has been going through my head a lot lately.  With my new job, my desire/thoughts of running a marathon in 2013, my family, and my extra-curricular activities (I love to write that, it brings me back to high school), I have been trying to find this balance.  As an example, I have “sucked” at keeping up with my blog this week.  I want to write things but I’m not running as much which is where most of my ideas come from because it is my only moments to process daily events.  So I guess the big question is… How do I get that balance back?  I would tell my clients to really think about what is important to them and schedule the time to do it.  Guess what?  We are now back to that part where I am my own worst client.

How do you find balance? (Any ideas would be greatly appreciated!)   I am hoping to relax and possibly find a way to get that balance.balance1

“I can do anything?!”

“I can do anything I want, but I can’t do everything I want.”  First I want to thank Gretchen Rubin for putting it so frankly.  This quote came from the first book of hers I read, “The Happiness Project”.  If you haven’t read it, give it a try.  I say, a try mainly because it is a challenge.  By that I mean a challenge to think about where you are in your life and where you want to be and begin to plan for it.

Here are some of things I learned from just thinking about this quote (and this is only one of many quotable quotes in this book):

I know I am not where I want to be right now in my career field but I am learning that you can’t just fast forward to the future you have to live in the present and learn from it to be more confident about your future.  Right now, my confidence waivers almost daily and I think that comes from working in the human services field.  It is very easy to get overwhelmed by your clients.  In fact, it happened today.  I know that I am doing what I have been called to do but the courage to face others stories every day and act as an expert who can help guide them out of their darkest hour is overwhelming.  I say their darkest hour because just like me, I don’t ask for help until I finally realize that I can’t do it alone anymore and this is where most of my clients are.  Very few are proactive.  Have you ever met someone who said, “I think I need to go to counseling before I can’t figure out how to do this myself?”  (If you have send them my way, it will be refreshing.)  Instead I get individuals, families, and couples who have tried all they can and I am the last resort.  Kind of a desperation move!  And guess what, I get to fix things!  Not really, but they think I will.  So no pressure there!!

This is one place the above quote comes into play: I can do anything I want, but I can’t do everything I want.  I want to help them but I can’t take their problems away.  I want to be there for them but I need to draw some professional boundaries where I don’t take on their problems as my own.  I can provide information for them, but I can’t make them take it to heart or really try it.  I can only be a resource!  So I have to come to that peace.  Believe me this is hard!

Another area I struggle as a human/mom with this quote is my family.  I want to be there for them all the time.  I want to be the one who can “bring home the bacon and fry it up in the pan” but that is hard!  So I try to find balance.  What a crazy word balance is.  To me I visualize myself on a balance beam and always struggling to stay on that small beam and sometimes I am just screaming “Woooooo” and my arms are flailing.  And at other times I’m like look at me, “I can do a somersault on this tiny beam”.  So this is where I get to choose to do “anything I want, but not everything I want”.  I am finding balance. 

I am sure there are others of us that struggle with this!

Today I used running to get my balance back!  (This is a common theme for me!)  I am so glad I have it!  Today I came home after seeing my three clients who agreed to meet with me the day after thanksgiving and I felt wiped!  I didn’t want to do much, was feeling like I had worked a full day instead of just three hours.  The problem, I was identifying too much with a client.  I started to think about her problems and remember my own issues.  So I went for a run.  I was just gonna go for a short distance because I didn’t feel up to it but 10.4 miles later, I felt reborn.  (Okay that may sound a little hokey, but it’s true.)  I felt glad that I had the ability to run and knew that I had gotten out of my issues, let my client take her problems back and knew that in the end I could help her but it was gonna be her working on these issues harder than me because I had already done my work!

Now back to the quote:  “I can do anything I want, but I can’t do everything I want.”  I find this an effective reminder of my boundaries.  What does it mean to you?  How can you use this quote to grow?  Me, I’m still challenged by it.  I hear it on repeat in my head right now as a reminder, “You are only one person!”

Thanksgiving

Today is Thanksgiving.  Many of you already know this but for those who are from another country, we celebrate originally because we were thankful for a large harvest back in the days of settling this great country. (If you want to read more try this site)  Today it has turned in to a day of celebrating with a large feast, including a turkey and lots of pies, and being surrounded family and friends.  So in my eyes it hasn’t changed too much, well except for the after Thanksgiving sales and the craziness they call Black Friday!  But I digress….

So this year as many of you already know, I have kept a gratitude journal and spend time each day writing down things I am thankful for.  I have done this for several reasons: One to remind me how blessed I am, Two to help me when I am struggling to remind me how blessed I am, and Three as a reminder to myself about how blessed I am.  I know, I know those all sound the same!  But think about it, if you are reading this right now you are blessed with a computer, eyes to see, understanding to read and the ability to pick a great blog to read.  🙂  

As I was thinking about writing this blog (which has really been on my mind since Monday) I was wondering how I would express my gratitude and how overwhelmed I am when I think about my blessings.  (Let’s just say tears come to my eyes and I get that lump in my throat.  They are happy tears though.)  Many of my friends did the days of thankfulness leading up to thanksgiving and listed them all on facebook daily.  I didn’t participate but was thankful for reading others.  It made me really think about what means the most in my life so here goes in somewhat poetry form:

Living these 40 years,

Shedding many, many tears.

 

Warm hugs and beautiful smiles,

Ability to run miles and miles.

 

Strength that astounds me,

Weakness that helps me grow.

 

Using my God-given talents to help others who are struggling,

And realizing it is not just a job but a calling.

 

Writing and reading blog after blog,

Having followers great and small.

 

Wonderful friends old and new,

Memories that last forever.

 

Family members both near and far,

Who love me no matter how crazy I r!

 

My girls who make me so proud,

And Dave who I love to be around.

 

I am thankful for every breathe and every second,

Take some time to count your blessings.

Hug a Runner Day!!

So according to a facebook page and blog I follow, it is National Hug a runner day!  Here is a hug because who doesn’t need a hug everyday!

I hope you enjoy it and remember you are not alone.  Just because running can seem to be an isolating activity it can also be a great release and way to process things.  I like to know that others are reaching to better themselves just like me and that reminds me that we are a strong community, us crazy runners.  So rock on!!!

Go Hug another runner and pass it on!!!

PS – Here are my final results from Sunday’s 5 miler.  I am giving myself a big HUG and pat on the back for doing my best and it being rewarded with a great time:

Official time: 40:54

8:11 per mile

289 out 753

14 out of 89 in age group!

 

Motivational Monday

I have this belief that helps me get through most difficult situations.  It looks exactly like this:

This motto alone has helped me put things into perspective so many times.  When I look back and think about where I thought I would be at this point in my life, it never looks like where I am.  But you know what?!  That is okay with me.  I could have never imagined the wonderfulness of my life myself.  So in this week of thankfulness, I just have to give a big shout out to my Higher Power who I know is in charge of all things in my life.

5 miler finished!!!

It was cold!

Today I completed my first ever 5 miler and Turkey Trot.  They were one in the same so it was not only my first 5 miler but also my first ever Turkey Trot.  Bad news is, I didn’t come home with a turkey!  Good news is, I didn’t come home with a turkey!  Don’t get me wrong, I love turkey and you can find me eating it for most of the month of November.  We are just a small family and having a turkey in the house would only create issues like me wanting to cook it and eat it all which could never happen before it went bad. (I’m not cooking for Turkey day instead we are hanging out with some friends and family at another location.)

Goofing around with Mackenzie before the race.

Getting my tunes all ready!

So now for the race, well I learned something today.  If the top prize at your race is $800, you get some elite runners and the race is fast!!!!  Which is good if you are in great shape and have been able to run a lot or if you know how to pace yourself so you don’t start out to fast, both of which were not the case for this.  But I did keep telling myself that this is a “trot”.  “This is your long run Sunday with about 1,000 of your friends who decided to do the same thing on a 45 degree day.”  I am not making excuses or starting this out negative, I am just making a statement.

I did enjoy the race but like I stated a little earlier, I need to work on a few things.  One is get some more runs in so I feel more in shape which just means a little better management of schedule.  That is a work in progress but I am working towards it.  Second, learning how to pace myself!  Not sure how to do this because my first mile was 7:12 and I was excited that I did that but also knew I had to slow down fast so I would have something at the end.  So I did.  But I would like to figure out how to do the pacing the right way where your first mile is your slowest and you speed up as you keep going.  I think this also comes with more races.  I am already looking for my next race but with the cold weather in New England (and me being a wimp) I will have to figure out how to build up my courage to run in the COLD!

I will do the race again and the best news is, now I have a time to beat: 40:54  I think I can do that! (Stay tuned for the official results in a future blog)

Special thanks to my wonderful family who came out to cheer me on and snap photos (Dave).  Here are two more pics from today’s race, beginning and end.  Not pictured is my awesome partner in crime Dave.  Love you!!!

Beginning of the race and the mass of runners!

Official time is 40:54 but this shows 41:00. I’ll take the 40:54!

Socks? Who needs socks?!

Not a picture of me in my socks, but I have these and love them!

Well apparently I do!!!  Have you ever seen that commercial on TV about, well I don’t remember what it is advertising, but they are talking about going to the gym and reasons why they didn’t go today.  One of the excuses is “Well I was on the phone with my mom so I didn’t go” (sorry mom, never happens) and then the other one says, “That’s a day in itself”.  And then another one is “To tired”.  I know there are a lot more excuses in the commercial but like what it is advertising for, I can’t remember all of the excuses.  But I think about this every time I am doing my mental checklist before I go into the gym.  One day I didn’t go because I forgot a ponytail holder (or elastic or whatever you want to call the thing that holds your hair back).  So I promptly went to the store and bought a brush and ponytail holders to go permanently in my bag so I would not have that problem again.

Then today (because I am trying to get back into the gym/working out) I got to the gym and thought I had everything.  But I was wrong.  I forgot my socks.  I thought “who needs socks?”  I have everything else, ipod, clothes, shoes, brush and ponytail holder.  Surely I can do without the socks, barefoot runners do without shoes!  Guess what?  I was wrong.  After 3.5 miles, I got off the treadmill, whipped off my shoes (sorry fellow gym goers) to several raw and kind of bleeding spots on my feet.  Yeah, I know for you seasoned runners, what was I thinking?  For the rest of us, don’t run without socks, unless you are running barefoot!

So now I turn this into a therapeutic moment…. I learned!  I like the quote: “When you know better, you do better.”  Do I know better now?  Well yes!  Will I run without my socks again?  Hopefully NO!

And now I can relate it to my everyday life and moving past moments when we do something we regret and instead of beating ourselves up, we have to learn to move on.  I like to think of the good that came out of it… I was successful in working out, I burned a lot of calories, I had a pretty good run, I got rid of some stress and felt better after (well except for my bloody arches), I now know that running without socks is not a good idea and I won’t make that mistake in the future.  And above all else, I can laugh at myself for doing something crazy like this.  Overall I learned, I’m moving past and I am hoping they will heal and I will get to run a few more times before my Turkey trot on Sunday!

Is there any item you have forgotten to bring with you to work out and you regretted it after?  Or more general, what are some things you learned today that you did not know yesterday that will make you a better person?

Date Day and “Triathlon Weekend”

Dave and I in a previous date night picture but thought it was cute.

This weekend was a packed weekend but in many ways relaxing.  I know sounds crazy doesn’t it!  Packed full of things but relaxing because I got to spend it with Dave and do things I/We wanted to do.

First things first: I completed what I am calling my first ever “triathlon weekend”.  Now before you get all excited because you want to jump up and down that I completed a triathlon, let me explain.  It is pretty exciting that I can still walk but it wasn’t really a triathlon.  On Saturday I went for the run in the beautiful 40ish degree weather and it was so nice I just kept going.  It felt so good.  I think I went a little over 10 miles but in my haste to get outside, I forgot to fully charge my ipod all the way and so at mile 8.5 it died and along with it my music, nike plus app telling me how far I had gone, and my timer.  But I did not lose my stride and knew about how much farther I had to go (Yeah for running some of the same paths).   I think I finished with a steady pace of about 8:26 per mile.  And it felt good.  So long run – check!

Then I decided for date day (something we try to do at least once a month) we should do something cheap (hey it is almost Christmas time and we need to save).  So we headed out to the local rail trail (if you don’t have one of these around, find one!  They are so nice).  Anyway we decided to do the whole thing, 24.6 miles.  The first half was great and then coming back was okay until we got to the last 6 miles and hit the strong headwinds and I swear it was all uphill!!  But we made it, the whole thing in a little under 2 hours at a 10-12 mph pace.  Not bad.

My ride!

Finally I finished my “triathlon” by swimming/soaking in a COLD bath for about 20 mins in hopes that I will be able to walk again tomorrow.  So see, my first ever Triathlon completed!  🙂

I also think date day was a success too!  We had a great time chatting along the rail trail and finished by going to one of our favorite restaurants for appetizers (yummy nachos) and libations.  Not normally recommended after a long bike ride but remember it was date day!

I love to spend time with my other half and do my form of “relaxing” over the weekend.  It gives me new energy to make it through the week and plan what wonderful things we can do next weekend and as a bonus it clears my head!  I am really starting to see the importance of taking some quality time for myself in such a stressful and taxing job, which by the way, I really do love!

Hope you had a wonderful weekend too!  Did you do anything exciting/relaxing?