Tag Archives: doubt

Inquiring Minds Want to Know

Since announcing Sprout’s existence, we’ve received such an amazing outpouring of support and prayers. People have reached out to us from around the world congratulating us, wishing us the best and telling us they’re keeping us all in their prayers. That’s the wonderful thing about social media — thousands of people got to know Penelope Joy and, by default, us. So we have a truly international support system. All thanks to one very special little girl.

I promised that I’d be an open book with Penelope Joy — sharing both the good times and the bad. Holding nothing back. Being real. And I was. It helped me cope — having a place to go to share all of my overjoyed moments of mommy pride as well as the moments of sincere despair.

With Sprout, though, I’m tempted to hold a little bit back. To keep a little bit of this baby just for us. Because, as I’ve said before, Penelope Joy didn’t just belong to us — she belonged to everyone. Her story was everyone’s story. And I want to selfishly keep Sprout’s story — at least some parts — just for Mr. B and me. And probably just for a while.

But, before I decide what I want to share — and what I don’t — I feel the need to publicly answer some of the questions I’ve been asked since announcing this pregnancy:

  • Was this baby planned? Yes. Sprout was planned. We were trying to get pregnant. Not exactly tracking everything to the minute. But we purposely discontinued birth control and made an effort to make an effort. Sprout was planned. Sprout is planned. And soverymuch wanted.
  • But, isn’t it too soon? For us? No. For you? Maybe it would have been. But it is the right time for our family. Penelope Joy expanded our capacity for love — and she grew our world 1,000,000-fold. Having a second baby can only make our world a better place. And that is really as much as I should need to say on that.
  • Well, you must be so scared. Obviously, Mr. B and I are scared. We’re nervous. We were scared and nervous when I was pregnant with Penelope Joy — and we had no idea how bad it could be. This time around, we know exactly how bad it could be. But, because we’ve experienced the worst, our fear feels different. Because, what’s the worst that could happen? We’ve been there. We’ve lived it. Could it happen again? Yes. Of course. But we also know that we cannot live in that fear. Because living in it would change nothing. The only thing that could change anything is loving each other hard — and loving Sprout harder.
  • Have you been tested to make sure it won’t happen again? This question … this question. As I’m writing this, I’m shaking my head. But, I will answer it. No. We were not tested to make sure “it” won’t happen again. But Penelope Joy was tested before she died. And, you know what? According to the geneticist, Penelope Joy tested negative for any genetic abnormalities. Her condition? A complete and total fluke. A chance mutation that could just have easily happened to any other kiddo. But, for some reason it happened to her. Does this make me feel any better? Absolutely not. When I first got the news, it made me angrier, sadder. When I asked the geneticist if Mr. B and I should be tested before having other children, she said it would be a waste of our money. Penelope Joy was negative, as we would be.
  • Is everything OK with the baby? I’m happy to report that, as of right now, everything is OK with Sprout. We heard Sprout’s heartbeat last Monday. It was a very reassuring visit to the doctor’s office. Because of what happened to Penelope Joy, we will be having extra tests, ultrasounds and consultations with Sprout. Thursday is the first of many such appointments. We’re both anxious and eager.

I look forward to writing about Sprout as this pregnancy continues. There are still some things I’ll share. Some things I’ll write about right away, and some things will wait. And, yes, some things will be just for Mr. B and me.

In the meantime, thank you for following along. And thank you for your continued support and prayers. We appreciate them. We feel them. And we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for loving us through everything.

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Processing the Unimaginable

It’s been too long since I’ve updated. I have five posts in my queue. Some about running, some about racing, some about life.

But right now, I have something else I just have to share. Because, well, that’s how I process.

There are some things in life that are easy to understand. Like ice cream. And then there are those things that are so incomprehensible that, no matter what you do, they just don’t make sense. Like sick babies.

Mr. B and I found out that our darling, growing, precious Pickle has a rare (and major) heart defect that he/she/we will be fighting for a lifetime — beginning at birth with the first of many surgeries.

Pickle at 21 weeks

Pickle at 21 weeks

As you can imagine, it’s been a very difficult 24 hours for everyone. There are a lot of emotions — ALL the emotions. And, of course, there have been countless tears. But Pickle reminds us constantly that he/she is still in there, growing stronger and kicking.

If you’re the praying type, please send us all you can. If you’re not the praying type, please send us as much love and sunshine as you can spare. Because we’re going to need it all — and then some.

And, in the meantime, we also ask that you respect our privacy and allow us to work through this shocking and terrifying news in our own way — and in our own time. As soon as we have any information, we will share it. For now, we’re dealing with the news in the best way we can as we set up numerous doctor/specialist appointments and take care of our growing baby.

So, if you’re looking to my blog for posts about running and healthy living and recipes, it’s probably going to be a while. For now, I’m not running. I’m staying active, but as this newly labeled “high-risk” pregnancy goes on, I’m on a break from running. I’ll be continuing to live my life as normally as I possibly can — eating healthful foods and nurturing my body and, most importantly, Pickle’s growing body. Because our baby needs all the strength and nutrition I can give him/her.

But, there’s going to be a lot I need to process in the coming months years lifetime. And I process through writing. So some of that may come through on this blog. Because that’s life. That’s my life. And this blog is part of that.

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Better Than I Used to Be

As I was running (a very tough, dragging-on-too-long-for-as-short-as-it-was run) along the path that runs along the freeway the other day, I looked up to see the following on a billboard:

“You’re in front of the person behind you. Stay there.”

It’s for a nearby university. But it’s fitting for fitness, too. Particularly for those who may be just starting out on the path to reaching their fitness goals. (Whispery aside: Or those who need a reminder of how far they’ve come — no matter what their disordered thinking has them believing. I’m looking at you, Mrs. B.)

You see, contrary to what the sign is saying, it’s not always about where you are in relation to the other people around you. It’s about where you are in relation to yourself.

Then and now

Who I am is who I was, but that’s only part of the story. Cuz I’m more than that, too. And my story is far from over.

Every step you take is one in the right direction. Whether it’s a fast step or a slow step, you’re still in front of the version of yourself who would otherwise still be sitting on the couch.

“I ain’t as good as I’m gonna get, but I’m better than I used to be.” ~Tim McGraw, “Better Than I Used to Be”

I think people — myself sometimes included — believe they have to be perfect to be fit. They have to be a fast runner to be a runner. Or a long-distance cyclist to be a cyclist. Or a race winner to be a race runner. Or a … well, you get the picture.

It doesn’t help that there are judgy people out there that look at you and say (all rude-like with a case of the side-eye), “Um, there’s no way you’re a runner.” (Yes, this happened.)

You’re not going to get it perfect right out the door. You’re probably going to be slower than some people (you’ll be faster than some, too). You’re probably going to have more soreness in the beginning than you anticipated. But look at what you’re doing! You’re walking a mile when normally you would have driven; you’re running for 5 minutes straight when that used to be a thing of dreams; you’re swimming two laps when you used to just dangle your feet; you lost “only” 1 pound when before you just maintained.

And don’t get me wrong, there will be setbacks. Everything in life has setbacks. Even the biggest steps forward. And there will be days you’re slower than you “should” be or can’t run as far as you “should.”

Case in point: When I stepped back into intensive training in December, I was regularly hitting sub 8:30 miles for runs up to five miles. Today? I’m lucky if I can squeak out an 11-minute mile for a two-mile run. Thank the bronchitis and a lot of travel in the month of January and a couple of other health issues that popped up. A month of off-and-on running due to situations out of my control has taken its toll. And, quite frankly, it’s pissing me off. I want to be back where I was in December. But, I have to listen to my body and take care of it when it needs rest — because I need it to go the distance (figuratively and literally). I’m fighting my way back slowly. It’s frustrating that it can’t happen overnight. It can’t, right?

So, I’m having to take another look at my training schedule and my plan. I probably won’t be hitting that half-marathon PR I was hoping for in April. And the half marathon immediately followed by the 25k in May? We’ll have to see how training goes.

But the setbacks won’t make me quit. In fact, they’ll make me push myself harder — within reason. Because I am a stronger version of myself than I was before. In that time when a setback would send me back to the sidelines.

Because I want to stay in front of that person behind me,
that version of me in my past.

So, if you’re like me and you need to hear it (over and over and over again), I’ll share the pep talk I’ve been having to give myself lately:

Breathe. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Do the best you can in the situation you’re in now. And remember — you are far ahead of that version of yourself sitting on the sidelines. Lace up your shoes, and get out there. One step is better than no step. And if you can get two in, do it.

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(Ir)rational Fears of an (Eventual) Mother

Warning: This post contains talk of tears and periods — or lack thereof, birth control and babies. And hope. It also talks about hope. If you don’t want the details, mouse on by.

Sometimes the scary reality of not taking care of myself for the majority of my life creeps up and smacks me in the face. Like, when Mr. B and I talk about one day starting a family.

For the most part, I just act like everything will work out and be normal and — voìla! — “and then comes the baby in the baby carriage.”

And, for the most part, I believe it will happen that way — when the time is right.

But, in truth, deep down in those secret places no one dares go, I’m scared. And a few recent tearful conversations with Mr. B (and with myself) have revealed that. To both of us, I think. I wasn’t sure where it was coming from. But upon further reflection, this is what I think it is:

I’m scared that 27 years of neglect and abuse have scarred my body in irreversible ways.

And I don’t think this is another one of my irrational worries (trust me, I have many — just ask my husband*).

I mean, for years and years, I had irregular periods that my doctor was certain were due to my obesity. It was so bad that it required me to take birth control to regulate my cycle. Because, one year I’d have one period. The next? I’d have one that lasted for a whole month. It was miserable. And awkward. And uncomfortable. And, thank goodness!, birth control helped me lead a normal life where I didn’t have to worry about spontaneous bleeding and embarrassing situations.

Ecard

But it never felt 100 percent right. My body, my mind never felt right about relying on some kind of chemical to take the place of a healthy, active life. (Though I am so, so thankful that I had that option, that all women have that option.)

I’ve been on birth control for many, many years. So, much like a “normal weight,” I don’t know what a “normal period” is for me. Ask me how long my cycle is, and all I can tell you is where I’m at in the pill pack. I still am grossly uninformed on the “natural” things my body is supposed to do. As women, we’re told to “know our bodies” and understand our cycles. But, for me, at this point, I just … don’t.

My doctor was certain the irregular — or missing — periods were a symptom of my obesity. But, what if it was more than that? What if the birth control was simply putting a bandage on a symptom of a (much?) bigger issue? What if being obese for so long ruined my chances at a normal, healthy pregnancy? What if my uterus is “broken?” What if I’m … broken?

Of course, these are all just thoughts and fears that fill my mind while we’re playing the waiting game. I have no medical advice or expertise to back up any of my fears (irrational or not). But, I have a doctor’s appointment in January: my “open house.” Where normal talks of annual exams will be replaced by questions about future plans and “have I?” and “can I?” and “should we?” and “when do I?” and “what if?” These visits aren’t ever fun. But, these new questions I have to have answered (for my peace of mind) add another level of anxiety for me.

Mr. B and I have so much love in our lives — so much overflowing-growing-light-up-our-lives love — and we’re so looking forward to sharing that with a kiddo(s) — when the time comes. Until then, we wait. And look forward with hope for the day we’re blessed with a kid or two to love.

The good news is, though, part of the fun in having kids is in that whole “trying to make them” bit. And, as long as we’re waiting … might as well take a roll in the make hay while the sun shines.

On a lighter note, there is one other thing that “worries” me about trying to start a family: I come from a family of breeders. I mean, really, my whole family is very good at breeding.

“I have 27 first cousins. Just 27 first cousins alone! And my whole family is big and loud. And everybody is in each other’s lives and business. All the time! Like, you never just have a minute alone, just to think, ‘Cause we’re always together, just eating, eating, eating! The only other people we know are Greeks, ’cause Greeks marry Greeks to breed more Greeks, to be loud breeding Greek eaters.” ~”My Big Fat Greek Wedding” (While we’re not Greek, this is my family — in a nutshell.)

While I say this with a light heart, in all seriousness, it’s true. I come from a big family. There are always (adorable) kiddos running around, and at most family functions we have to eat in shifts — or standing or walking around. So, maybe our family’s luck has run out — maybe we’ve been blessed with as many kids as we’re allowed to have. Maybe, like in so many other familial areas, I’ll be the black sheep. (OK, this one might be a little irrational. I need another hobby.)

*It’s still ohmigosh-I-can’t-believe-it weird to call him that!

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Don’t Get Off at Funky Town

Sometimes we all get in a funk. In our fitness. In our careers. In our relationships. And we want to throw in the towel. Because, well, it’s not fun anymore. It’s not interesting.

My opinion is that a temporary funk is an OK thing because it gives us the opportunity to re-evaluate and adjust. Sometimes funks come into your life and then they see themselves out once they’ve had a few days of fun. Other times, though, you may need to do one — or all — of these things to kindly send it on its way:

  • Change your attitude. Sometimes all that takes is a change of attitude or perspective to brighten your mood. Realize that everyone has funks — it’s not about you or how successful you are or how successful you aren’t. It’s simply a part of life that gives you a chance to see things in a different light. Feeling tired of “having” to go for a run? Start saying that you “get” to go for a run instead of “have” to go for a run. This simple reframing can make it seem like less of a chore and more of a gift. Feeling like you just can’t face going into the office for another day? Focus on the things about our job that do make you happy, even if it’s as simple as how good you feel when you turn in a project you’ve worked really hard on. Stop focusing on those few really — really — annoying things your partner does and focus, instead, on the ways he makes your life better.
  • Change your routine. So you’ve tried reframing. And you still feel … meh … about things? Maybe you need to change your routine. Instead of going to Zumba every Thursday, take in a spin class a few times. Instead of making a spinach salad with chicken breast for dinner a few nights a week, spice things up and toss in some kale, goat cheese and cranberries. Instead of driving the same route to work every day, take the back roads. Instead of your normal dinner and a movie date night, pack a picnic and head out to the hiking trails. Simple changes can sometimes be enough to make things new again. And when things become new again, they become fun again.
  • Change your environment. OK. So that didn’t work either. Maybe it’s time for more drastic measures. Drastic, I suppose, is a relative term depending on how clingy your funk is. Changing your environment can refresh your spirit and a fresh spirit can smother a funk. Sometimes it’s as simple as rearranging your (figurative) furniture. Other times, it’s time to start looking for a new place to live. Hate long, steady runs? Maybe try throwing in some hills or HIITs or run/walks. Really miserable in your career? Stop complaining about it and do something: Go back to school or start looking for a new job.

How you handle a funk is completely up to you. What you get out of the funk is, too. It can be a learning and growing experience. Or it can be something that turns you into a … well … funkified person — and not in the good way.

funk

James Brown, “inventor of funk”

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One Girl’s Advice to Herself: Acknowledge. Own. Get Over It.

Surprised to see me?

You’re probably noticed that I’ve not been writing a lot about health and fitness in depth lately. Or, maybe you haven’t because you’ve stopped reading what I write because it’s not health and fitness related. Regardless, it’s true.

I’ve been in a bit of a slump lately. Don’t get me wrong: I’ve been living and loving life. I’ve been running and lifting weights and eating good foods. I’ve been meeting with T2.5 and giving it all I’ve got. I’ve been spending time with Mr. B and going on new adventures with him. I’ve been — mostly — happy with the way my life is turning out.

I’ve been getting by. But, truth be told, I’m feeling a bit “meh” in the health and fitness department. I’m not getting lazy — I run, lift and do fun, active things with Mr. B. And I enjoy it when I’m doing it.

Me and Mr. B at the farmers' market

A quick stop at the farmers’ market after a sweaty morning run with Mr. B.

Rather, I’m getting … what’s the right word? … stale, maybe?

For the most part, I believe we are fully responsible for our situation. At least, I know with 100 percent certainty that I am responsible for the person I’m letting myself become.

In the grand scheme of life, all of the things you’re about to read are miniscule. But here’s what it all comes down to: I’m struggling. (Holy crap is that hard for me to write!)

But I don’t have to sit here, resting on my laurels, waiting for things to miraculously get better.

I believe that the only way to take care of problems is to first acknowledge their existence. Then, take ownership of them. And, finally, move past them.

Disclaimer 1: I am overall a happy, healthy person. I love my life and recognize every single blessing I have been given. I wouldn’t change one second of my life for anyone else’s life. Ever.

Disclaimer 2: I take full ownership of these issues. They are mine and mine alone — no one is responsible for them, and I don’t blame any person (or situation) for them. But I can’t move past them if I don’t acknowledge them and own them. And the only way that works for me is to write them down.

As life has continued in a new direction on a new path, there are some things I’m not making time for or making an effort at like I used to, things I’m starting to miss:

  • Monday morning runs — My favorite run of the week, they get things started on the right foot. But they haven’t happened for several reasons for quite some time.
  • Weekly farmers’ market trips — I love stocking up on my favorite local produce and discovering new things I’ve never tried before.
  • Grocery shopping — Mainly, I like coming home and opening up my fridge knowing that I’ll find in it all of the ingredients I need to create a healthful, tasty dinner without having to go back to the store.
  • Cooking — Nothing says “I love you” — to someone else or to yourself — like starting with a pile of healthful ingredients and creating something new, delicious and colorful with them.
  • Confidence — Confidence is more than feeling good. It’s knowing that you really are good. And while I know that deep down (I promise I do), lately it’s hard to let it show on the surface.
  • Getting better — I’m a goal-oriented girl. I like working toward something and seeing myself get better. Lately, everything’s at a standstill: I’m maintaining my weight, my strength, my speed.
  • Feeling strong — One of my favorite things about taking care of myself and treating myself right? That strength I feel when I’m doing it all right. It’s not about how much weight I can lift or how far I can run, though. It’s about so much more than that.
  • Writing — It’s as much a part of me as my nose. Or my fingers. Or my beating heart. And I don’t do it nearly enough.
  • Being in control of my own situation — I like to be in control; I like to have control. I admit it. I own it. Now, though? There are a lot of things happening that are out of my own control.
  • Sleep — I’m a firm believer in sleep as one of the most important aspects of leading a healthy, fit and happy life. But I can’t remember the last time I had a full, restful seven or eight hours of sleep.
  • Optimism — While I’m not an optimistic person by birth, I’ve slowly learned how to be that person over the last couple of years. It truly is a better way to live.
  • Me — I have grown so fond of the confident, happy and healthy person I’ve become. She’s beautiful. And she makes other people smile. But it’s been a few weeks since I’ve seen her in the mirror.

So, now that those things are out there, what I can do about them? Because, really, they are all within my power. Here’s how I can get over the hump and back to the person I miss so much:

  • Monday morning runs — Get up. Get out there. And run. It starts next Monday — regardless of where I am or what I’m doing. Monday morning runs will return to my life. (Even if they’re only a mile or two.) And I bet my Monday morning smile returns with them.
  • Weekly farmers’ market trips — Make time for it. It takes all of an hour to go to the farmers’ market and buy delicious goodness. And Mr. B and I can do it together; we did it once, and it was quite lovely. Plus, it’s a grand experience, trying new things together — and there are lots of new things to discover together at the farmers’ market.
  • Grocery shopping — I don’t remember the last time I went to the grocery store with a full list to stock up for the week. I just need to make a date of it. Just as I block off time for the gym and work and Mr. B and friends, I’m going to need to block off an hour of time to go grocery shopping.
  • Cooking — Just do it. Cooking is fun! I deserve to have healthful, filling meals when it’s just me — or when I’m joined by Mr. B. Plus, it’s a great way to spend time trying new things with Mr. B. Just because we’re busy doesn’t mean we can’t cook for ourselves — or for each other.
  • Confidence — This one’s hard. How does one go about letting her confidence show? It starts in the mind with positive thoughts. And, yeah, morning mirror affirmations may start up again — don’t judge until you try it for yourselves.
  • Getting better — The only way to get better is to put in the work. I need to get out of my comfort zone.
  • Feeling strong — Part of this will come with “confidence” and “getting better.” But part of it will come with me getting out of my head. I am stronger than I give myself credit for. It’s time to just accept that fact and get over myself.
  • Writing — I will write. Thirty minutes every weekday (concurrently or not). And at least an hour on the weekend — concurrently. I miss it far too much. I need it far too much.
  • Being in control of my own situation — Get over it. Control what I can. Let go of what I can’t. That’s where trust and faith come in. It’s called life.
  • Sleep — Get to bed. Turn out the lights. Sleep. While sometimes my inability to sleep is out of my control, most of the time it isn’t. I just have to get to bed and let myself sleep. What’s left to be done at the end of the night can be done in the morning.
  • Optimism — I have it pretty good; my life is good. And everything always works out exactly as it should. Sometimes I just need to remind myself of this fact. So remind myself I will.
  • Me — She will return. In all of her freckle-faced glory. She just needs to find her way. All of the things above? They’ll lead her home. Because, you see, I’m stronger than the bullets on this list.

Sometimes life isn’t easy, sometimes it takes work. Sometimes life isn’t what you had worked out in your trusty little planner. Sometimes life doesn’t head the direction you wish it would; that’s what makes it interesting. Sometimes we have to move and change and bend; that’s what makes us interesting.

“Life is a gift that I never want to take for granted.” ~Me

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Knowing Love When I See It

I had a very different post planned than this one. It goes something like this:

There’s something happening in my life right now. And it’s pretty big. I’m at the point where I am living and loving life. And my pure joy and happiness is shining through. Lately, it is in my most candid photos, my silliest moment, where I am seeing what “healthy” truly looks like, what “happy” really is.

Me laughing

Enjoying the company of family. And a margarita.

me and a fish

Checking out one of the fish of our labor.

Some people may not think these are the best photos of me, but in them I see a happy, healthy woman who wasn’t concerned about sucking in her gut or posing with her “good side” forward. She simply lives.

But then something happened that had me feeling a lot of feelings. Feelings I’m not exactly proud of. And feelings that are so very not me. And I’m a little mad at myself for something I did last night — something that even made Mr. B give me a few moments of (well-deserved) silent treatment.

me and Mr. B by the bay

A moment in time, captured by a dear friend.

 

My friend — a friend I’m lucky to have gotten to know through Mr. B — posted the above photo after our weekend together up north. It’s a really lovely picture that captures a really lovely moment between Mr. B and me.

But instead of seeing the picture for what it is, I only saw this:

calling out my own weaknesses

Instead of seeing the love, I saw the loose skin and back fat.

When I looked at it again this morning, I’m reminded that in the morning light, with a different attitude, everything looks different. And I recalled the very post I had already started to write, the post I shared above.

This experience was just another reminder that I am a work in progress — physically, mentally, spiritually — and need to continually work at being nicer to myself. And I need to listen to my own advice; I would never let a friend say the things about herself or himself that I was thinking about myself last night.

I am happy. I am healthy. And a little saggy skin and back fat takes nothing away from that.

This morning, after a reflective hour-long drive from Mr. B’s house, I am able to look at that picture and see this — and mean it:

me and mr b with a heart around our cute heads

It’s love. It’s really, really love.

I am a work in progress, but I’m getting there.

 

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