Friday, November 30, 2012

Tough Mudder, Final Countdown Pt 4

TM Minus 4
I had a great run this morning, despite a case of head games. I debated between a new five-mile course that I just figured out and my usual route. I picked the usual route because it was a school morning and I didn’t have time, but I felt like I was wimping out with just three miles. Then I reminded myself (several times!) that 3.8 rounds up to four, not down to three. Not bad for a school day!

I also keep thinking about how this whole thing started almost a year ago. One friend mentioned Tough Mudder while we were cardio kickboxing away. I, standing too near the stereo, thought she said “Tough Mother” and spent the rest of the set envisioning laundry-lifting events and toddler-chasing dashes. Then we took a break and she described the course. We all agreed it was way too masochistic. Electric shocks? Barbed wire? Fire? Ice water?

Then we looked into it and discovered that a simple description misses the point of the Mudder. We were all up for conquering some inner challenges, so a few months later, we were in. And now we’re here. Deeeeeeeep breath.

TM Minus 3
After a great aerobic-focused class today, I heard the bad news.

WHAT???!!! I have to REST for the next two days? Are you crazy? Every time I see someone out running, I start planning my next workout.

“If they’re out, I could be out, too. When can I run?”

In other news, our team is down to the three of us ladies. We’ve been working out together for over a year, so I’m pretty darn okay with that. Proud to mud with them, actually!

Funny how all the men dropped out of our team….

We had fun today putting together strategies for the obstacles and planning our wardrobes. Oh, yeah. Fashionable, functional Mudder wear! Still, I’m trying not to think about it all too much. Especially since I have to rest.

TM Minus 2
Well, the nerves are setting in! No matter when I go to bed, I wake up five or six hours later. That’s always a sure sign that I’m nervous.

This morning, we woke up to the sound S. with a barking cough. She stayed home from school today, so there’s a fair amount of fetch-and-carry going on here. Other than that, my goals for today are to super-hydrate and rest. Umm….

So I’m constantly drinking water, peeing, doing obsessive cleaning projects, drinking, peeing, getting annoyed at being interrupted in my cleaning, drinking, and peeing, then cleaning, drinking, and peeing some more.

Can you guess how I handle nerves? Yeah. I clean. My friend cooks to calm herself—I think Big A. wants to trade me in sometimes. He’d rather have elaborate meals in a messy house!

I have to say, I’m bummed that I’m a little tired and possibly catching a cold…but I don’t care, really. I’m going to leave it all out on the course, whatever I’ve got.

Omigawd! Help! Does one of you want to do this FOR me???<---- Random panic attack. Right there.

TM Minus 1
Well, folks, here we are!

The last twenty-four hours have included all the normal mom stuff, a sick (and bored!) kid with a barking cough, and FOUR poop accidents (3 preschooler, 1 dog. I figure the dog was just trying to fit in.), and a series of tantrums, meltdowns, and scheduling/cleaning crises.

So I figure that if no one yells, “Mommmm-mieee!” tomorrow, the Tough Mudder will be a morning at the spa.

Actually, I have pretty much entered the zone—what will be, will be, and the only way out is through.

My eyes are on the prize(s): a great morning with awesome friends, feeling like a kid again, beating the h*ll out of that course, a Dos Equis and warm, dry clothes at the end, then a weekend laughing and hanging out with my family and friends.

Best of all, I got to read this article to start my day. It reminded me that, while this is a relatively low cost challenge I’ve undertaken, thousands of others have risked life and limb in our country’s service. Thousands still do, every day.

And some of them make the Tough Mudder their goal as they learn to live without things we take for granted—like arms and legs. If they can do it, so can we. And I will do it gratefully, with profound respect in my heart for our service members and their families.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Tough Mudder, Final Countdown Pt 3

TM Minus 8
Hard to drag myself out of bed today—the run looked awfully boring from the start. So, in true TM fashion, I turned it into warm up, sprint/walks, and cool down. Not so dull! Plus, I LOVE my Nike DriFit pants. 

TM Minus 7
I love a good distance run the day after sprints! I think I made 4.9 miles, but it’s hard to say because I’m out of town. Thoughts from my run:

  • People should not smoke, cook breakfast, or use smelly yard tools until I’m finished running. Really.
  • People should listen to their dogs. The dogs know I’m coming a block and a half away. The people at the other end of the leash still jump when I say, “Behind you.”
  • Say, “Hi!” for Pete’s sake! If I have breath to do it, so do you.

Yep, this time next week I will be waiting at the starting line. One thing I know for sure: I could not have made it without my team. Proof of that—when I was running today, I thought of the start and the mud and the obstacles and I felt myself slow down. I shook my head, thought of my rockin’ ladies, and suddenly I felt light, strong, fast.

Then I got the best reward ever. When we got home, Little A. vanished into his room and started his usual building spree. Instead of a construction site, museum, or racetrack, he built a Tough Mudder course for his cars. He even made a fire obstacle out of four wooden slices of birthday cake with wooden candles velcroed on top.

With one friend’s little girl toddling around our Moms Get Fit class, imitating our exercises like all our kids have done, I often hope we’re setting a good example for our daughters. But I’m realizing that we’re making an impression on our sons, too.

TM Minus 6
Did my first ever Insanity workout today—Max Interval. And I burned six hundred calories, but feel fine. We’ve got that sh*t!

I’ve about decided allergies are causing my sleeping issues, muscle fatigue, and low-grade fever—it all got better in Naples. (Yes, even 100 miles away, Naples has entirely different plants.) Not much to do about that, but at least I’ve been training with it all fall!

TM Minus 5
Wow! Got a little nervous about the cold this morning. I went NUMB out there! Then checked the temperature—40 degrees! Forecast low for Friday/Saturday is 57. Huge difference. Huge.

Here’s another thing I’m grateful for—today was our last day of painful, muscle-building workouts. We’re doing maintenance and aerobic stuff from here on out. Of course, that’s only four days….yipes.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Tough Mudder, The Final Countdown Pt 2

TM Minus 12
Good work out today, then watched clips of the World’s Toughest Mudder. Holy moly! I am thankful for my blessings: I only have to do one lap; it only has 25 obstacles; no one’s timing me; it’s not below freezing here…. 

Hats off to all the folks who faced that challenge, especially that top three finishers (1 man, 2 women). They all did NINE laps in less than 24 hours. Wow.

TM Minus 11
One of those days when the event just blends in with all the other things on my to-do list. Does numbness equal denial???? 

TM Minus 10
As I was reviewing my schedule to answer a client about something, I actually thought, “Well, Thanksgiving is this weekend and the Tough Mudder is next weekend…” I freaked a little, but overall today was an excited day. Especially since I got my official start time email!

I guess this means tomorrow will be a nervous day, lol!

TM Minus 9
Happy Thanksgiving! As I mentioned earlier, I’m seriously thankful that my body has not given out yet. Hit the roads for a 3.8 mile run before the festivities. Then I discovered the best part of the TM (so far!)—telling people that, yes, I am really doing that.

I am really doing that, right?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Tough Mudder: The Final Countdown Pt 1

As the big event approaches, I thought it might be fun to chronicle my thoughts in these last few days. Since I don’t have many thoughts worth reading, I’m giving you the “Is too much—let me sum up” version. Over the next four days, I will post my notes from the final sixteen days before the Tough Mudder. Got that?

Yeah. Me neither.

TM minus 16
As my little app so cheerfully reminds me, I’m sixteen days away from the Tough Mudder. I bought my gear yesterday, including my very first Under Armour item. I felt like a bad*ss, yes, I did.

I’m nowhere near where I wanted to be. I’m carrying an extra ten pounds, my thighs are more “developed” and my arms less developed than I’d hoped, I haven’t run the distances I hoped for, and—worse—I feel old.

But ten years ago, I tested for my black belt one week after I’d been flat on my back in bed with the flu and a double ear infection. So, yeah.

Bring it, Tough Mudder.

TM Minus 15
Well, I watched a couple of TM videos today and remembered that it’s not all monkey bars. For the most part, TM is just like playing soldiers with my brother and his friends when we were kids. I can do that!

Plus, I survived my workout, so that’s always good for morale!

TM Minus 14
Well…. It’s overcast and sixty degrees. First time I’ve actually worried about the weather. On the other hand, canoeing for two hours with Girl Scouts—great upper body workout.

TM Minus 13
So, 4.8-mile run this morning, then—with kids in tow—two hours of yard work, groceries, laundry, lunch. And I feel good, so at least I qualify as a tough mother!

 Trust me, this emotional roller coaster starts off slow, but gets more exciting as it goes.  Besides, you have to hang in there until Saturday to see if I survive, despite signing the Death Waiver. Feel the suspense?  

And if I do live, I have promised to post "dirty" pictures of myself online. Woohoo!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Adopted Grandparents

When I moved to southwest Florida, I had no idea what it would be like to live here, let alone raise children here. Sure, one hears stories about the majority-retiree lifestyle, but what is it really like?

Well, since we had a daughter pretty soon after we moved, I learned fast. And it turned out to be awesome.

At first I felt intimidated. Big A. and I often described taking a baby into a restaurant full of grandparents as comparable to that scene in bad crime movies where the hot lady detective walks through a cell block. You know, the scene with all eyes on her, prisoners banging on the bars, and salivating? Like that, only more polite, with less drooling.

We experienced that on the way into the restaurant. During the meal, I would often literally flinch from all the looks shooting our way from around the restaurant. So many people glared fixedly at us that I never knew where to look. We struggled to keep the gurgles, coos, and cries to a minimum—not to mention the throwing and kicking—but to no avail.

Then, on the way out, nearly every table would stop us to tell us how beautiful/cute/well-behaved our baby was. (Even when they weren’t!) And I realized the glares weren’t really glares after all—just grandparents watching baby fun.

Huh. How ’bout that!

At church, we discovered another phenomenon. Folks who sat with us regularly saw us all through the pregnancy and practically adopted S. before she was born. But our church is large enough that we’d often run into people who didn’t know us. The conversation would go like this:
  Grandparent: “Your daughter is so sweet! How old is she?”
  Me: “Thank you. She’s six months old.”
  Grandparent: “Oh, she’s practically the same age as my grandson—he’s twelve years old.”

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out I’m talking to someone who just loves kids and wants to talk about his or her grandchild.

But that’s not the best thing. This is.

For some reason, the Catholic church doesn’t have nursery or any alternative for kids under five. The kids just have to sit through the whole hour of Mass. To say the least, it gets challenging. Often we leave church feeling like we’ve run a marathon and fought ten rounds with a heavyweight while negotiating world peace. After one particularly painful performance (S. cried all through the consecration of the host), I apologized to the priest. He said the best thing ever: “I don’t mind. I’d far rather hear a baby than a cell phone.”

And he’s not alone. I’ve lost count of the kind retirees who have laid a hand on my arm after service and said, “You have a beautiful family.” Or “You’re doing a fantastic job.” Or “It’s great to see your whole family here.” And they respond to my apologies for the kicking, throwing, and general noisemaking with, “Don’t worry—I raised five boys.” (Talk about street cred!) Or “They’re sweet at the age.” Or “They’re doing fine.”

I’d really love to tell them all how incredibly much that means to us, but I have to settle for saying my thanks and hoping they remember how powerful kind words can be when you’re in the trenches of parenthood. They must, because they take the time to share them.

So, is southwest Florida is a good place to raise kids? I sure think so.