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Holiday Blues

I ran a marathon at the end of September. I am almost 15 years into my military career. I’m in my senior year, finishing my Bachelors degree and thinking about a Masters. I started a small business. I found like minded people to work on a community project that benefits the local homeless population. I should be able to focus on a few of those things to refresh my motivation or remind me to keep going…right?

Oh, how I wish it was that easy.

I lost my grandmother in May. She was literally the strongest woman I ever knew. She taught my daughters and I more than I could ever try to put into words. As the holidays quickly approach I cannot begin to get excited because nothing will be the same. I will not be buying and making Brussels sprouts and turnips for her. We will not be laughing about our tradition of burned biscuits that started with her or that time she had a glass or two too many of wine and never cooked the vegetables she put on the stove. She won’t be guilt tripping us about not buying her cigarettes. My husband won’t be making her laugh with his jokes about her “boyfriends” at her senior living apparent building. She won’t be picking out movies to fall asleep to on the couch. We’ve loved 6 months without her but I still can’t seem to accept it. There will be no way to deny it on Thursday and I’m just not ready to face that or to see my children face that either.

I have a teenaged daughter. I swear I could give her the last breath in my body or my last drop of blood and it will never be enough. What I say and what she hears are never the same thing. I love her so much but I swear there is a barrier that I can’t get through and it breaks my heart.

Marriage is a blessing but it is WORK! He is more often than not the better half of this relationship and I am trying to work through my issues but once again, there’s a barrier.

I have said yes to many things I should have said an immediate no to. I say no to myself even when I know it is something I want and need.

I am tired. I am exhausted. I am anxious. And I just need a break. Time to cry. Time for quiet.

Back to the Basics

I read (well…actually listened to) two books from Scott Jurek (North and Eat & Run) that inspired me to improve my diet…again. I made it a week or so as a vegetarian before my husband making bacon was too much to resist 😐

Sad excuse, I know. I created several other excuses that are all ridiculous now that I think about it. Learning that Scott Jurek is able to power-through ultra marathons on a vegan diet really amazes me and was just the kick in the ass I needed to make a change.

I’ve read so many books, watched so many movies and documentaries and listened to podcasts and personal stories on the positive outcomes of cutting back or completely eliminating meat. Let me also admit that some of those stories are extreme (and make me think of the fine print “individual results may vary”)and that I never plan on doing a 30 day juice fast like Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead.

It doesn’t have to be extreme. The food doesn’t have to be raw or juice. There are so many delicious vegetarian options out there to try! I had a chipotle black bean burger and quinoa with jalapeños and roasted red peppers for dinner and it was delicious. Full of nutrients and flavor. Which reminds me of my time working at McDonald’s. One day I tried a burger patty by itself to see if it was as wonderful without all the toppings. It was flavorless! I didn’t smother tonight’s dinner in cheese, or ketchup and certainly didn’t have to add a spice rack full of seasoning to it to make it palatable.

I know that all of the fruits and veggies I’ve added to my diet for this marathon training seem to taste better than ever before. I swapped out bags of chips for raw veggie slices or pretzel sticks with hummus. I made zucchini bread and suddenly love tomatoes. Nourish bowls are my favorite lunches lately. I am drinking my coffee with a little sugar but no cream and I drink more water than I thought possible. Now that I think about it, other than occasionally having scrambled eggs for breakfast and meat in dinners when my husband cooks, I’m not really making a huge adjustment. Part of me wants to say pescatarian is a good route but then I remember What the Health and and let go of that temptation.

I spent an hour or so at Wegman’s tonight picking out vegetarian options and am looking forward to figuring out what my new favorite foods will be. I’m excited and a little nervous to try tofu for the first time.

I guess I better go look up some tofu recipes🤔

(I also made some skin care products tonight…but I’ll see how my skin takes it before writing more about it)

Learning to Breathe

During basic training I was chastised a time or two about having the anatomy to run faster. I never said this out loud but I thought “Do you know what my lungs feel like right now!?!?”

I would run as hard as I possibly could to keep up with my battle buddies and just made the cutoff for C group. My chest always had a cold burn and the renewable river of saliva that pooled under my tongue felt like lava behind my teeth.

They told me to try breathing in through my nose and out through my mouth. However, this tactic made me hyperventilate as I never felt like I got enough air in while somehow forcing every bit out.

But when we did group runs and called cadence I noticed I had no problem breathing. I didn’t obsess over getting enough air or trying to breath in one airway and out another.

But after training ended, group runs were few and far in between and I went right back to the struggle of cold fire in my chest and hot lava in my mouth until I was crazy enough to sign up for a race. I have had an on-again off-again struggle with breathing and steady pace since 2011…

I didn’t have this aha moment until today while working on my pacing strategy for my first marathon. I’ve struggled to start out slow enough to hit my goal pace for my training runs so far. But one of the audiobooks I’ve listened to while running suggested a 9 minute run, 1 minute walk strategy. I did that today and actually sped up a little from 10:39/mile down to 10:12 for the last mile of my recovery run. I also noticed it helped me keep a steady breathing rhythm. I took 3 even breaths in and three out with my inhales lining up with my right foot hitting the ground and the exhales lined up with the left. There was no cold burn or mouthful of lava. There were no thoughts of needing an early walk break or extending the minute when it came around.

It only took me 14 years to figure this out🤔😩😂

10 Miles…On a Treadmill

It was 90 degrees.

I have a busy weekend ahead.

My morning didn’t go as planned.

I ran all 10 miles on the treadmill after work. I changed the speed and/or elevation every half mile to keep it interesting. I think if I attempted a steady pace and elevation for 10 straight miles I would have lost my front teeth on the belt after landing face first when I passed out from boredom.

I came home and stretched, foam rolled and soaked in the tub with lavender, baking soda and epsom salt. I feel refreshed right now. Let’s hope this feeling is still here for my 5 am wake up 👀

Perfectly Timed Book Find

To summarize the past few months: I’m having a tough time.

I am usually motivated by getting things done. “Yes, I can do that. I can do this better this time. Of course I can help you with that.”

But the past few months have revealed to me that I powered through almost 3 decades of people pleasing. This “motivation” was really approval addiction that started in my childhood but went unrecognized until the anxiety and/or depression I was too ashamed to address refused to hide anymore.

I did all the right things and all the extra stuff too. I maintained a 4.0, did well at work, balanced all the duties of being a wife and mother and got us all involved in volunteering in the community. But suddenly, it didn’t matter. No one cared anymore, not even me.

I could hear people talking to me but nothing registered. Reading articles, emails, and homework became increasingly difficult. I went from perfect attendance at work with so much motivation and drive that the thought of wasting time on a nap made me angry, to using all of my vacation days to sleep through the weekdays where I couldn’t find the energy to get out of bed. I could not come up with a single answer for “What’s the point?”

3 years ago my life was turned upside down and a panic attack at work was the alarm that forced me to admit my constant nervousness was anxiety and that I needed help managing it. So I went to my doctor and explained my problem. She wrote me a prescription for Effexor and suggested therapy.

I had to go back every 6 months to renew my prescription. When I told her about the issues I was having she said that couldn’t have been from the Effexor. So I felt like maybe I was overreacting. I felt sad for no reason for days at a time and then I’d go 2 days or so with no sleep because there was so much that had to be done and it all seemed like an emergency. But the doctor said I was ok…so she must be right…right? Wrong! Hindsight is 20/20 and I’m looking back at that obvious red flag wondering how a medical professional missed it.

Fast forward to 2018. After 3 years on that medication I no longer feel like it evens me out. My anxiety is still here and I have a new friend too. Depression. I quit Effexor cold turkey and let me tell you you…that is not an experience I’d wish on my worst enemy! I think I’m through the worst days of that. The brain zaps have died down. The dizziness isn’t constant and I can peel myself out of bed in the morning.

I’m training for a marathon. I’m talking through my problems. I have an appointment on Monday with a different doctor. I’m going to get through this.

Running is my therapy. It gives me something to work on. It gives me something to measure. It gives me some of the best views of the great outdoors. It gives me like-minded people to talk to. It also gives me the ability to think through problems that I can’t figure out while standing still.

Today’s run was done after work through a shady trail. I didn’t think about anything really. I listened to a Rolling Stones playlist and enjoyed my four miles. I’m looking forward to my long run tomorrow. It sounds slightly crazy that I’m looking forward to 10 miles but in taking my hint of excitement about it as a good sign.

If you can relate to anything I’ve said, please check out Scott Douglas’ book. Running may be your therapy too.

(I am in no way saying running is a substitute for medication or therapy. It may work for some but not all. It may work at one stage of your life but not another. Hell, I’m still figuring this out. Running can be therapy by itself or in addition to medication and/or counseling/talk therapy.)

Marathon Training 🏃🏾‍♀️

16 week training plan.

Running 5 days a week.

All to make sure I finish 26.2 miles strong.

I’m still surprised that I completed the registration. Every time someone asked me if I’d ever run a full, I would always say “NEVER!” But I really did register. And for the past 6 weeks I’ve been checking off each workout to prepare for this challenge. I’ve also checked out a few books from the library on nutrition and training, found some great running podcasts and continue to read Runner’s World and Women’s Running and talk to running friends.

This morning I ran 2.5 miles and my shins and right knee made it clear this 5 days of running isn’t gonna work out. So I’ve switched it up to hopefully prevent anything more serious than these shin splints and semi achy knee. Turns out, I should only be running 3 days, cross training two and not worrying about the workouts missed when life sneaks up and cancels out a run.

I’ll be continuing my yoga sessions, getting good use out of my foam roller and spending most of my cross training days on my new bike. I look forward to joining a new group for my long runs.

I don’t plan on blowing anyone away with my time. I just want to train smart and finish strong. I know some of these miles are really going to suck but right now I’m looking forward to the journey!

Craft Fair Blues

I crocheted coffee and beer cozies, baby hats, messy bun beanies, scarves, Easter bunnies, dolls… I then went through a practice layout in my kitchen, arranging the items by season, then by price, then by age of intended audience and then went through the same damn process when I got to the fair because…anxiety.

I had a basket of M&Ms and a coffee mug filled with tootsie roll pops. I had stacks of business cards strategically placed and a clipboard for potential customers to put their info down for custom orders. I’m socially awkward but I was smiling, talking and even joking around with as many people as I could.

In 6 hours, I sold 3 things.

3 things.


I followed all the tips from YouTube videos, podcasts and the advice of other crafters. But I only sold 3 things. The profits didn’t cover the vendor fee. As I packed my stuff up at the end of the fair I felt a little heartbroken. I know I should be happy I sold anything at all. I know it was my first fair and will admit I learned a lot and have a long list of ways to improve for next time. But, it still a hurts a little.

Ok. Moving on!

For anyone that crochets, knits or just sells their crafts in general and preparing for a Spring craft fair, don’t forget to at least consider the tips below.

1. Items in all price ranges. I did make bunnies, perfect for an Easter basket or any child that likes stuffed animals, but there was a vendor couple tables down selling adorable animals made from yarn Pom-poms and pipe cleaners in the price range of child with spending money. Needless to say…not a single bunny was sold by yours truly.

2. Cleaning stuff. I make dish/wash cloths and scrubbies but until I customer came looking for a swiffer cover, I didn’t consider making these things to sell. There are lots of free patterns out there and a lot of things can be made free hand.

3. Hobby specific creations. I made myself a crochet hook holder/organizer. I made myself a yarn holder for cotton yarn and premium yarn that came in hanks and is easier to work from the outside instead of the middle or in a ball. I used a plastic hanger and some rubber erasers to keep 3 skeins/rolls of yarn on. I’ll be selling these next time.

4. Don’t forget to make change and pack your Square. Luckily the vendor next to me gave me change. I’m going to assume that it doesn’t always work out so smoothly.

5. Pack the night before! I left my smaller items at home on accident. These were my bookmarks, headbands and bracelets. They would have been perfect for those kids with spending money or the grown woman that was disappointed I didn’t have the bunny hats in adult sizes.

I’m going to get over this. Let me lick my wounds for a little and prepare a broader stash for fall/winter.

If you have any tips to add to this list, feel free to share in the comments.