Friday, March 24, 2017

Getting Unstuck - Advice and Stories from Me and 17 Others

I'm deviating a bit from running today to bring you some personal history of my early mom days - some of my hardest and most precious times. I'm doing this because I was interviewed as part of a summit called Moms Living a Life They Love and you can view interviews starting on April 3 (mine is on April 13). I think it's important to share struggles, triumphs and creative ways that moms balance kids, jobs, fitness and personal relationships. We're not alone and we can learn from each other.


Rewind to over 19 years ago. I had a five month old son (Sam) and a two year old marriage (Ken).

Right before Sam was born, Ken and I moved to a smallish town north east of Denver, Longmont, where we bought our first house and where we knew no one.

Having recently gotten my Masters of Social Work, I had been working as a caseworker for a social services agency and hated it. Staying home with Sam was not only something I wanted to do, but an escape from a job that was making me miserable.

Getting married and having a family was never a question. It was a given. I assumed all the other pieces would fall into place around my perfect family. Haha!! What the hell even is "perfect?"

Being a new mom was lonely. Not just because I felt isolated, but because the whole self identity I had previously in terms of being a student then a professional no longer existed. I was confused. I so wanted to be a mom and to be at home, yet I constantly felt the pull of needing something outside the four walls of my home. Play groups, baby swim lessons and Gymboree just weren't doing it for me.

I dabbled in doing some contract work that I could do from home. Then baby #2, Emma, came so my workload lessened. It's hard to have a baby sucking on your boob and a preschooler demanding a Skittle reward for the crap he'd just taken in his plastic potty whilst writing a professional document.

It wasn't until the kids were in full day school that I finally got my bearings, my groove. What I mean by that is that I started to have more balance with work, family and my interests. It's no coincidence that this is when running and writing this blog entered the picture. Running gave me something of my own, and this blog gave me adult interaction and an outlet. It still does.

Why am I telling you all this? I remember being up against fear, guilt, insecurity and parenting challenges. Some days I still am. And, maybe you are up against all of these things today.

That's why I was excited when Brooke Jean, coach and therapist, shared that she was hosting an interview series addressing these very topics, all of which she has faced in trying to balance life with kids. And...she wanted to interview me for the series. My interview will air on April 13 HERE.

The interview series is called: Moms Living a Life they LOVE: How to have a Flourishing Family, a Fulfilling Career and Fun in the process. It starts on April 3. Every day for 18 days, Brooke interviews an inspiring woman who has managed to find some sort of balance in all of these areas. You can hear from doctors, entrepreneurs, you name it. I have a free access pass for you to join and hear these experts' amazing stories which share their unique challenges and how they overcame these obstacles.

You can register HERE. I was not sponsored or paid for  this. I just love getting inspiration from others who are relatable and this is a great resource.

This is for moms who have a dream, idea or a skill they want to share but are wondering how to do it. It's also for women who are working, but want to grow their families and are up against some internal/external blocks preventing them from moving forward. I promise you'll gain insight and motivation.

Again, you can register for the Moms Living a Life they LOVE Summit HERE. Join us!

How were the early days of motherhood for you? Joyful, confusing, lonely, lovely.

Are you a working mom? Why or why not? Yes, I am but I've always found away to work from home, even now (teenagers - ugh, they need supervision more than 2 year olds sometimes).

What's one tip you have for balancing work, kids, etc? Being patient and gentle with yourself. Knowing you can have "it all" but not at the same time.


Sunday, March 19, 2017

5 Things to Remember When Running No Longer Excites You

Can you recall the good old days when you were a wide eyed runner with hopes and dreams? When you couldn't wait to hop out of bed and pound the pavement? When you felt you had no limitations to what you could do? Yeah, I can remember feeling that way too.

I am Beth and I am just so damn happy to be running I could crap myself.

Not to say that you've lost your boner for running, but maybe it is a bit fleeting (or flacid). Maybe you just need a reminder of why you fell in love with this sport in the first place. Personally, I need these reminders every time I am lacking in motivation or I have a sucky run/race or I simply am feeling a tad burned out.

So, here goes.

1. You started running for a reason. Think back. What was it that got your out there initially? Over time, our reasons for running can change. But in all likelihood, the intention you started back then is still relevant. For me, running represented freedom, accomplishment and something of my own. I started running when my kids were 7 and 10 (they are now 16 and 19!). Running was a way to literally run out the door, not kill anyone and get back a sense of self. Sure, there were health benefits, shots of adrenaline and cute clothes, but my reasons were more mental/emotional.

2. Your options aren't limited. Maybe you and running fell out of love because you got bored with it. Maybe you need to spice things up. If you run the same route all the time, try running in the opposite direction. Get really crazy and leave the roads and bike paths altogether and find some trails. Sick and tired of running long? Train for shorter distances and get faster. Or, do the opposite and take on a running distance that's new to you.

3. Everyone gets slower with age. Yeah, so there are those that actually improve with age like full bodied red wines and fruit cake, but the majority of us are going to slow down. Why? Because we're old motherf&ckers. And, our VO2 max and strength decline while our body fat may increase (you know - muffin top, beer belly, etc). In truth, we likely slow 7% per decade in our 40s, 50s and 60s (source). Yikes. I write this not to depress you, but to tell you that if part of why running no longer excites you is that you are frustrated by becoming slower: GET OVER IT. That's life. Do what you can to take care of yourself and keep plugging along. And, always consider the alternative (that means you could be dead).

4. Taking a break is allowed. Maybe you'd like running a hell of a lot more if you simply took a break from it for awhile. It's not a divorce, just a temporary separation so you can let your heart grow fonder again.

5. You've gotten spoiled. When we first take up running, we love everything about it. We are grateful for each milestone. The first mile we go without stopping. The first double digit run, The first time we cross a finish line. All of the firsts that come with being a running virgin. But, over time, we take it for granted. We forget to relish the fact that we CAN run, we don't HAVE to run. We begin to see it as a chore, rather than a gift. Change your perspective and make a shift towards gratitude. See what happens.

Are you cured? Are you falling in love again? Well, I did my best.

Why did you start running in the first place?

Are you getting slower with age? Yes. Dammit.


Sunday, March 12, 2017

Random Sh*t You Don't Know About Me

I love to hear random things about people that you really wouldn't know unless they told you. I am not famous, I am not super interesting, but I do have some arbitrary things to share:

1. When the going gets tough in running, I talk a lot to myself. Out loud. If you were there to listen, you'd hear me say, "Get your shit together" or "C'mon you can do this" or just plain "f&ck!"

2. I have an extreme fear of vomit. This fear has a name: emetophobia. I can't even watch when people throw up in movies. Personally, I never throw up, so my phobia is more about the fear that someone will do it around me. Did you know that there is actually a website that tells you at what point in a movie someone will throw up? Just for people like me. Give me blood, piss, mucous, poop and I'm good. Just no vomit.

3. I used to hate to run. Like, a lot.

4. I've worked pretty much everywhere (well, not on the street corner, but I'm still young). 7-11, Subway, school dining hall, black jack dealer, American Cafe, Chesapeake Bay Seafood House, Brickskeller (if you live near or in DC you know this place), Bonfire Restaurant (Ocean City), as a French interpreter, office manager for an environmental firm, fabric store, Roy Rogers....I know I'm forgetting some.

5.When I was in the seventh grade I was part of a hula club (yeah, like where you learn to hula dance) and I got kicked out for having a dirty mouth (<not so surprising, I guess).

6. My first pet as an adult was a one eyed, three legged Cocker Spaniel named Lucky. He's dead now. You can read about his last day HERE (sniff).

You can's see that he only has three legs here, but trust me.
7. I went to high school in Athens, Greece.

This picture was taken in Greece. I swear.
8. I ran a marathon before I ran a half marathon.

9. My great uncle, Deke Slayton,  was selected as one of the original NASA Mercury Seven astronauts. He couldn't do the mission because they found he had an irregular heart rhythm. So, basically I'm an astronaut.

Can't you see the resemblance?
10. I almost drowned in the Atlantic Ocean when I was 23 years old.

11. In the 8th grade I got so mad at a kid named Jerry that I peed in a cup, hid behind a bush (at school!) and threw the pee on him. You do not want to make me mad. Urine is my weapon.

12. In the second grade I had a club. I would make (well, encouage) my three friends meet under a bridge and do an oath. I'm not sure what the meaning of the club was, but the oath had tons of bad language in it and if I posted it you would be appalled.  But, I still know it by heart.

13. My favorite movie is Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. My least favorite movie is The Sound of Music.

14. I HATE it when people recite lines from Monty Python movies. "It's just a flesh wound!" SHUT UP.

15. I don't really like fruit. Or ice cream.

16.Every day I ask myself, "What would you do if you could't fail?" and I don't know the answer.

17. I've had two miscarriages. 

18. I'm named after Beth from Little Women. Better than Viola from Big Mama.

Tell me one random thing about you. Seriously. Please.

Where did you go to high school?

Ever almost died?

Who were you named after?

Do you have a phobia?


Friday, March 3, 2017

If We Were Having a Cocktail Together....

It's Friday, friends. You know what that means! Happy hour.

In the spirit of it's 5 o'clock somewhere, I've got my glass of wine. Have you got your mug of beer, shot of tequila or pour of wine?

I'll wait.

If we were having a cocktail together, I'd tell you that I've spent the last ten days doing training to become a hospice volunteer. Heidi (Golden Retriever) and will do this as a pet companion team. I cannot tell you how much I've learned, how much I've been touched and how much this has broadened my world.

I came to this wanting to share the sweet, calming and joyous gift that is Heidi with someone who needs comfort. But through it, I learned that deep down I want to know more about death. I also want the honor of sitting with someone who is actively dying and to do what I can to provide something, anything that could be of help to the patient or the family. I just do.

Wow. That was deep. Refill my glass, would ya? Thanks.

If we were having a couple of drinks, I'd tell you that my 50th birthday was the bomb. My dear friend Clair surprised me by flying in from Richmond, VA. My son, Sam, surprised me by flying in from Phoenix. I surprised myself by getting on stage with an Eagle's tribute band and embarrassing everyone.

Kung Fu

I know the singer loves this. I'm very serious. And barefoot.

If we were a bottle of wine into the conversation I'd tell you that training for the Paris Marathon is going...BLAH. All of my runs have felt stupidly hard. You should have seen me after my 18 mile run the other day. You would have thought I just emerged from the trenches of a war zone. I am re-adjusting my goals a bit. Not counting on a PR (3:42 or under) and am gunning for a BQ (under 4 hours). C'est la vie.

Exactly NOT how I've been feeling lately

More like this

If we were now tipsy, I'd tell you I'm going to see Chris Rock tonight in Denver for his Total Blackout Tour. Hope I don't black out after all of this wine. Also, hope I don't feel compelled to get on the stage because Mr. Rock is probably not as laid back as imitation Glen Frey from the Eagles (pictured above).

Have a splendid weekend. Pray for me on my long run.

What's one thing you'd tell me if we were having a cocktail?

What are you training for? Does it suck or is it amazing?


PS: No, I did not really start drinking this early. 

PPS: Have you signed up for the Utah Valley Marathon or Half Marathon yet? Use code suar15 at checkout for 15% off. See you there, it's going to be a blast. Go HERE.