GORUCK Tough – Boulder October 2019

I have a synchronization problem. Kind of like a computer that is severed from its internet source and can no longer communicate with the hub; my “YES” goes before my brain and heart can catch up.

Sometimes, my YES gets me to do cool things that are just outside my norm, but overall are no big deal.

But sometimes my YES is crazy and not very well thought out, logistically. Often, my Enneagram 6 brain (the one that tells me the worst-case scenarios and how everything could really go wrong) jumps in and saves me from myself. I cancel, drop, bow out, un-commit, back down. I quit.

I tell myself that it’s self-preservation, and sometimes I’m right.

In 2017 my YES said I wanted to do a GORUCK Tough for my 35th birthday. I had done a Light before I had my son and as I battled through the post-partum, the agony of uncertainty and inadequacy, and the anxiety that came with being a mother, my YES thought it would be a great idea- a fantastic comeback.

Then, I backed out. A few weeks before the event, I sent an email to GORUCK HQ to cancel and was told that I had a credit for another Tough.

I was embarrassed, but I rationalized my decision and it was something I could live with. No one would know that I had let myself down and that I had failed myself. The fire inside my heart died a little that day; it grew a little dimmer in ways that only I could see.

When I received an email mid 2019 letting me know that my credit had to be used by the end of the year, my YES jumped back into gear.

I won’t bore you with the details, but as my out of sync mind and body moved forward, I actually trained. And I trained hard. I think in the back of my mind I thought “You can always quit, and it will be fine. No one is making you do this.”

Training compact

As I fretted over the pack list, and my mind started to come up with reasons to bow out. I stuffed them aside. I carried the weight, I got the miles, I did the work outs. And Friday night October 25th at 9pm, I toed the line with 15 other people, to do the thing.

The weight was heavy (I had to carry a 30# plate as I am not a small lady) and the miles were long. The wind blew and it was cold. I wanted to quit. I had the money for a cab. I could just leave.

But I knew, if I quit this, I would never try again. This would be it for me. And that little dim flame, just might go out.

I thought about my son. I thought about the rough days and nights, where I felt so ill equipped to do anything but show up for him. The burden of being a parent is immense- many days I felt crushed. As we rucked on, I tried to remind myself “You are strong, you are fire. You are pressed but not crushed. Just keep taking steps.” All of the same things I told myself during those first really hard months, when I wanted to disappear, I told myself Friday night.

The dark was so dark, and it started to consume me.

We all took turns carrying the heavy weight (1,000 lbs total). It weighed me down so much I could hardly walk.

One step. Two steps.

Then, at some point, the darkness relented.

When the sun came up early Saturday morning the Cadre looked square at me and said “I need a mama for this next movement” I almost cried. So many mornings during my post-partum, nursing my son I would sit and cry and think that the sun would never come. Then I would hear God say “Well done mama.”, and the sun would rise.

It was overwhelming.

As we marched on, with new fire in my heart, I said to the Cadre “who knew my Girl Scout Camp voice would be so useful?” and he replied to me “That’s your mama voice, it’s what you needed.”

He was right.

There, as the fire inside my heart burned bright, my voice grew strong. We rucked up the last hill for the final push. And I finished. I did the thing. I punched the demon, who tells me that I don’t matter and that I should just disappear, in the face.

I can do hard things and I am a warrior.

The Cadre patched us and at that time I finally let myself cry. It was a release of emotion that I had been holding in for the past 13 hours. And now that I was done, it was safe to let it go.

Patched compact

As I was leaving the parking lot, my husband pulled up with my son in the back seat. Even though I knew he couldn’t fully grasp what I just went through, both physically and mentally, I could see pride on his beautiful face. My joy boy. My heart.

The spark inside my heart, seeing his mama finish strong.

Gabey compact

Seeing Myself

Our treadmills at Orangetheory face a giant mirror, so basically, we spend the whole treadmill block staring at ourselves.

Today, in my reflection I noticed that I could see the tv in the lobby that was scrolling through promo videos, a calendar, and finally our studio’s social media posts. Earlier this week I hit a PR on the rower and I was pretty proud of it. For some reason, my picture didn’t make it onto the screen in the lobby and I found myself getting bummed out.

But why?

Why was I upset? I didn’t row my heart out to get noticed. I didn’t push myself so someone would give me an atta girl.

I did it because I am on a path. One where I push myself and don’t give up because it gets hard. I am trying to find myself, again.

And then I did. Right there in the reflection- I was the dude with the mustache.

Not really, but in my push effort and blurry distance vision I had mistakenly thought that my picture was actually a picture of a man with a mustache that could’ve rivaled that of my dad. It wasn’t until I slowed back down to my Base Pace that I could really focus and see it was me.

Hilarious.

I think about weird stuff while I workout. I even have epiphanies; my life is just a strange series of parables.

I’m learning other things in my mornings at the gym (which I actually put on my calendar now, at the suggestion of Rachel Hollis – your calendar needs to reflect your goals. So, mine is now full of fitness.)

I think there are some applicable lessons to life that I learn during our cardio blocks.

Here are just a few.

Your push should feel uncomfortable- when you are stepping out and trying to accomplish big things, you probably need to do them outside of your comfort zone. That’s where the all of the good stuff happens- it’s where growth occurs!

You should not jump the rails– working towards your goals requires push and determination. If you are going so fast you can’t hang on, then you need to slow down a little, just to a manageable pace. If you tap out completely, chances are you’ll fall or potentially decide not to get back in the game. Stay focused at a speed you can maintain.

Lean in and move forward– your dreams are uniquely yours, right? If anyone is all in, it needs to be you. Deeply leaning into your own life tells your subconscious “Hey! This time I mean it! Let’s do this!”

And my last little nugget from today…

During your recovery, between the hard pushes you need to relax- roll out your shoulders, take a breath, reassess where you are, where you’ve just been, and where you’re going. If you’re on a trip and you point your car in the right direction and are off by a tiny bit, without reassessing frequently, you’ll end up hundreds of miles from where you originally planned to go. Listen to yourself and be honest. Then, get back on the road and keep going.

So there you have it- the glorious and weird things that run through my brain while I’m trying not to die at 5 am. I know some of these are a stretch and I’m sure more will come to mind, but for now I just really need a shower and to start my day. And probably some coffee, too.

We Go Back

Have you ever heard the phrase “glory days”? Do you have any of them?

I have had when I like to call Glory Kicks throughout my adulthood. I identify these as times when I made choices and did things that moved the ball of my life forward. In all of them- I learned lessons about myself, but as their title would indicate, the lessons were sometimes short lived- a kick I was on.

For a period of time in college I was on the Atkins diet. This served me well- I was a carb addict and by tracking and limiting the carbs I lost good weight. Unfortunately I also began an unhealthy obsession tracking my ketosis. Like constantly.

What I learned: Carbs make me gain weight and cutting them out helped me lose. Meat and cheese is took expensive for a poor college kid. Tracking sometimes makes me a little nuts.

Also while I was in college, I enrolled in a tae kwon do class to get an extra few credit hours. I learned a ton and I had so much fun in the process. I earned a medal in a form competition and I got a green stripe when I tested at the end of the semester. Unfortunately, when the class ended I couldn’t afford individual lessons so I stopped.

What I learned: I love the discipline and fitness required for martial arts. Martial arts have a significant cost associated for lessons.

After college and after the job that helped me gain 100 pounds I stumbled on Nerd Fitness. I jumped into the community and challenges. I started running and tracking my food. Eventually I realized I had an issue with gluten. I lost 100 pounds and was so happy. Then things went sideways and I had conflicting goals. After I ran my marathon I was stuck with- Do I run? Do I lift? Do I eat to train? Do I go back to calorie watching? How do I keep doing what I was doing when I just got married and our eating and fitness habits re so different? Slowly I started putting weight back on… then I had a baby.

What I learned: I don’t need the quantity of food I had been consuming. Some running was great for me. Gluten is bad. I like being strong. Too many goals makes me stop achieving any of them.

Most recently I completed a DietBet challenge. Normally I don’t just shoot to have a weight loss goal, because there are so many other and better markers of health, but I needed to do something to motivate me out of my slump. This plan worked- I woke up early and went to the gym 3 days a week, tracked what I ate, and lost 9.4 pound in 4 weeks.

What I learned: Money can be very motivating. Working out early helps me start my day. I still don’t need to eat like I’m nursing.

So here’s what I’m getting at- our lives are races that we run and we have these power bursts (or kicks) that propel us forward. We just need to be able to look back at what we learned and put those ideas into practice when we need a jolt.

For me this looks like: Eat only what you need; not too many carbs and avoid gluten. Choose a sport or activity that allows you to be disciplined; don’t just go willy nilly and play it by ear (have a plan). Get up early and either workout or at a minimum get your head right. Have a financial stake in your success.

These rules are specific to me, not a blueprint for everyone. They can get me where I want to go because they are time tested.

I think that anyone who is willing to look back with a discerning eye on their life, like I did, will see patterns of what worked and what didn’t that they can lay over their current circumstances to help define a beat path.

Also, I think I’m going to go back and try tae kwon do again.

Do One Thing

Some days I feel like I can take on the world… superwoman style.

I get so much done on those days that I start imagining what the next few days, weeks, months will look like since I am accomplishing so much.

And some days I can just do one thing.

Do you ever feel this way? Do you feel like the ebb and flow of life pull you in such drastic directions that you’re a partitioned person? Some days I’m the person who checks off every box in my planner and does all the things that I set out to do while most other days I’m the person who forgets to even look at the planner.

But all of this has me wondering- is it really so bad to just do one thing? I feel like even if you never take the car out of first gear, it has to be better than stopping, right?

I’m in the stage of life right now where I am most frequently the second person in my dichotomy- I’m doing just one thing each day, with the hope that I don’t stop pushing the boulder up the hill. Because if that happens not only do I go back to the start, but I stand to get flattened in the process.

If I am totally honest with myself, some days my “one thing” (drink more water, walk on my lunch, track all my food, whatever) it truly just the one thing that *I* wanted to do to keep moving in the right direction. The things that I did that day under the labels of Mom, Wife, Employee, and Volunteer are seemingly endless but, equally as important as my personal “one thing”.

So maybe that’s the point, right? Do important things every day, sometimes just a few, and at least one that truly matters to you.

Move the big rock that signifies your life up the hill. Push it with your back, crouched down digging deep, with the sweat dripping off your brow if you have to, but just keep pushing. Even if it’s one tiny step.

PushingRock

Then, at the end of the day, remember that of all the steps you took today, one mattered to you and you made a choice to keep going.

That’s my plan at least. Just keep going.

 

It’s ok to call it a comeback. 

…come back to center…

…back to reality…

…back to action. 

Yeah, I think it’s ok to call it a comeback. 

I bought myself a new journal (I got into bullet-journaling or “bujo-ing” a few months ago) and just couldn’t wait until 2017 to start using it. 


I think there might be something inside of each of us that gently nudges and says that it’s time to move on from where we are. 

I’m a new mom technically, but tinybaby is a toddler. Still tiny, but growing some freedom. And in the same turn telling me to do the same.

No more reminiscing about what was. 

I’m ready for the new normal. 

I understand there will be less sleep and more flexibility required of me. I’m ok with that- finally. 

Some things I’m about to focus on:

  1. Walking like a vagabond 
  2. Preparing for Whole30 followed by AltShift– reading, planning, clearing out the kitchen
  3. Lifting
  4. Simplifying our house- small space means we get creative, right?
  5. Focusing on identifying my own needs and finding balance

I’m ready to go, I think. I feel like I’ve said this before, but I think now I can really mean it. 

To My Son, on Your First Day of “School”

Sweet Bug,

It seems like it was yesterday that we were celebrating your birth-day. I knew you were coming that day from the moment I woke at midnight, just like I knew your name from the day we found out you even existed. Your entrance into the world was so smooth and easy, but I’ll be honest Sweet G, those first two weeks were rough. We both cried a lot- me way more than you.

I didn’t know what I was doing. YOU didn’t know what I was doing. We were so out of sync. I sat there in the dark (after figuring out you hated when I turned all the lights on at 2am) so many nights just nursing you while I cried, feeling like I was so ill equipped for the role of being your mommy. I thought a lot that maybe there would be someone better for you, someone who didn’t make you cry so much. Someone who wasn’t so anxious or sad. Surely I wasn’t what God had in mind for you.

Then one night, about two weeks in, as I sat there in my sadness, a song came on the radio that said “and I’ve heard the tender whisper of love in the dead of night, and You tell me that You’re pleased and that I’m never alone.” I needed to hear that so badly. I needed to hear that I was chosen to be your mommy and that I was good enough. Being your mommy reminded me how much I needed Jesus.

Hearing that encouraged me to accept my role instead of fighting it. You and I fell into sync that night- it was magical. I always knew that you were a huge blessing to me and that you would change me for the better, but the ways God uses you, my sweet one, are profound.

I’m so excited to start a new adventure with you, as you start to go off into the world, little by little without me. You need to know that I am now and will always be your number one fan, even when I can’t be standing right beside you. I know that the goal of being your mommy is that I train you up to be loving and kind and independent, but if we could take that independent piece gently…..

My Sweet G- I love you so much.

Forevever, For Always, No Matter What.

I Lava You.

Mommy

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Momlife and Feelings. 

My son is 7 months old. I look at how much he has changed over the course of the past few months and I am just blown away at all the progress he has made. 

Unfortunately, when I look at my own journey, I don’t feel the same amount of pride. In fact, I feel a bit of the opposite. 

It’s really tough to admit that this is really hard. 

I truly thought that by now I would be back in action, making things happen, getting my poop in a group (all the other moms reading this are either nodding or laughing. I was so naïve). It’s so hard to contain my own disappointment. 

A friend told me this week, as I was shrugging off those feelings that everyone has, that just because everyone has them doesn’t make them any less valid. 

So in an effort to be transparent, and maybe help other moms struggling with the guilt I have, I feel:

Tired. Like all the time. I’m pretty sure someone took our clocks and just removed a couple of the hours. 

Hungry. Like all the time. Being responsible for another humans sustenance is no easy task. And I graze constantly. Which brings me to my next one…

Frumpy. I feel blah and squishy- like I’m wearing someone else’s skin. 

Guilty. I find myself wishing that things were different. That I could have someone else’s life. Well, that’s not entirely accurate. I wish some of my certain circumstances and challenges would magically disappear. I wish that things could be as easy for me as they appear (key word) for other mamas. And that makes me feel guilty- because I wouldn’t change  anything that would change my son. Nothing. No questions asked. But, I still feel guilty thinking that. 

Disappointed. In myself for not being the Pinterest mom I thought I woulda coulda shoulda been. 

Sad– that time is going by so fast and I can’t catch a breath. 

Angry. This one surprises me but if I am totally honest I’m angry that other moms are so judgy with each other. There, I said it. Be kind to each other. Seriously. 

Lonely. Being up in the middle of the night or the times when I’m home alone is incredibly isolating. It doesn’t have to be, but sometimes it’s just not worth it to engage. 

Most of all happy. There’s something to be said for having your prayers be answered and your dreams come true. That sounds cheesy but I don’t care. Having joy with my son doesn’t negate all the other emotions. Rather, I think it validates them.