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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Baby Vs Barbell

Life is really busy right now. All the moms in the room, I’m sure, are nodding knowingly. My little man will be 4 months old on Monday and I feel like I am just now getting back into the swing of things. This new found rhythm made me think that going back to the gym would be a snap.

Mr Ham and I located a gym very close to our home where there is daycare ($1/hr! Amazing!) and we signed up right away. I was pumped. I know that lifting again will get my head right and will help me feel more like myself. Unfortunately, there is one thing I didn’t take into account:  Mom guilt is real.

Monday afternoon I rushed home from work to get my workout clothes on. I was pumped. Then I realized that I could no longer just drop everything and lift. My body was different now and my baby was nursing. I would have to time things just right so that he had food and so that my body wouldn’t be uncomfortable. Timing this sort of thing out is hard, guys.

Not only that, I also had to take into account the effects that lifting would have on the quality of his…dinner. (There’s no way to phrase this that doesn’t come off slightly awkward!)

Thirdly, lifting always leaves me a little sore the next day (DOMs) but I never took into account that it would make me sore for 4 fulls days. It was such a chore to just walk up the stairs- it was hard to get down and play with my son when I was as sore as I was.

All of this made me feel guilty- was he going to suffer just so I could start to get my body back? I felt so guilty, like I was taking from him. See- mom guilt is real.

However, what I realized then and have to remind myself now, my body will serve both of us better if I am healthy and strong. There may be some stumbling blocks on the way there, but if I am careful and take care of my body well (hydrate, lift smart, keep walking) I think the both of us can benefit from this process!

I’m excited to get back under the barbell! Time to get to work!

 

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Mt Sherman (and “Gale” her BFF)

I remember the first time I went hiking in Colorado. It was a couple of years ago and a few of us ladies hiked out to Ouzel Falls; ever since then I have been enamored with not only the mountains, but also the gorgeous skies they reach up to. Those days I would send pictures of the sunrises back home almost daily, which I’m sure my friends and family just loved (especially at 5 in the morning…). So often, I would just pull over and stare.

Fast forward to this past weekend- a few of us decided, as the season is drawing to a close, we wanted to try to catch Mt. Sherman (a fourteener) at sunrise. Despite my best effort to dissuade everyone from a midnight meetup, at 12:02 am we arrived at our first friend’s house to begin the journey. Up until this point, most of our hikes started in the sunshine, with just a few that required a predawn meet up. Our goal with Sherman was to be standing at the trailhead ready to go by 2:30/3am. So, being that it was about a 2 hour drive we had no choice but to leave at midnight. Official sunrise was set for 6:28, but we would need to be up at the summit by 6am to catch it all.

We met up with our next companion at 12:30 and after a quick stop for coffee and nutrition (because it wasn’t dinner or breakfast- so what do you call it?) we got on our way. The nice thing about starting at that hour is that there isn’t anyone else around to fight with for parking etc. We found the trail head with little issue, and in the darkness we nearly drove up onto the mountain itself. We parked the car, got our headlamps and windbreakers on and began the ascent.

Hiking in the dark is strange– I had only done it once before, when we hiked Long’s Peak, and then too I found myself lost in my thoughts.

With your headlamp focused on the trail ahead it’s very easy to get tunnel vision. Step look, step look, on and on in the night. A few minutes into the hike the wind started and it did not relent then entire time we were on Sherman. I have never in my life experienced gales like that. Full power and force repeatedly knocked me off of my footing- a sight that I’m sure made those around me think I was drunk.

We worked our way through the dark following my friend’s GPS and at one point we realized that we had gotten off the trail, needing to work our way back. I’ve not been so grateful for a piece of technology as I was in that moment. My mind started to run away, as we made our way back to the course, and I imagined being lost in the darkness, alone for hours. I can’t imagine that my crew would do that to me, but in the dark on the side of a peak, it’s hard to not let the enemy get inside your head…

Once back on the trail we started to move confidently forward again. Onward and upward we pressed until we reached what I barely recall reading about on the trip reports- the sawtooth/saddle. I couldn’t tell at the time, because of the pitch black surroundings that engulfed me, but we were VERY high up and there wasn’t much to either side of us. The wind was brutal and I frequently found myself touching the rock face next to me for assurance. I needed the rock to *literally* be my rock.

As I came over one ridge I realized that I couldn’t see my party, and for a brief moment Bross came running back into my mind. No no no, this is not happening again.

Then I heard “Turn off your light and sit down.’ My friends were huddled inside a windbreak and when I killed my headlamp and joined them, my eyes caught sight of a million stars.

I lost my words. The sky was amazing, the wind was calm, and here in the middle of desolation and darkness, there was an overwhelming beauty that I cannot explain.

I could’ve sat in that windbreak all night.

But, the sky to the east was starting to get warm, and we had a sunrise to catch.

My friend had his GPS out again and we realized we had less that a tenth of a mile to go for the summit. We climbed out of our little camp and pushed onward, towards the finish line. We made it to the summit a little before 6am and found a windbreak to hunker down in. After a little building, which I cannot take credit for, our hut was complete. We sat there on our throne atop Mount Sherman and watched as the sun stretched out and caught the sky. The colors that we saw that morning were incomparable to anything you can visualize and paint with, and in that moment everything was right with the world.

Looking at the Layers of Pikes

After a few minutes of enjoying the view, I started to realize that I could not feel my fingers. The wind was so bad that I was also starting to lose feeling in my face. We posed for a couple more photos and then decided we better start to head down the mountain.

Our Crew

The sun was coming up, but the brutal wind was relentless and it made the descent more difficult for me than it probably should’ve been. I had on enough layers, but the whipping wind continued to throw me off of my balance. We slowly made our way down, through the terrain that was now well illuminated and so very foreign to me.

We came over the sawtooth and around cliffs that screamed “Nope” but knowing that we had already conquered them made the process easier to handle.

The Pathway Down

The sun was well out by now and I finally had feeling back in my face and fingers. I was shocked at the number of people who were still making the pilgrimage to the top and one of our seasoned teammates was advising them of the weather. Off in the distance we could see the clouds rolling in- bad weather was coming, and these folks and their kiddos were ill prepared for what we had just encountered (and was about to get worse).

Clouds coming at Sherman

It was kind of fun seeing all the things we had missed in the darkness as we finished our descent. There was a few old mining structures that we falling apart, but somehow still there. There were many off shoots to the trail that we were on- it was crazy to think that we only got slightly off track once!

We finished our hike totally thawed out (I was relieved to have all of my digits in tact) and got in the car to head home. So many people were still coming to conquer this animal, and I don’t know if I would’ve gone with had I known all the wind we encountered.

Sherman's Epic Crew

Who am I kidding. I totally would’ve still gone.

 

Hey guys! All the photos in today’s blog are property of my friend over at images by mikel. You should probably check out his website and pictures- there are some incredible shots of things that you and I never even think to look at twice! Cheers 🙂

Post Marathon Absence

I am now two weeks out from having run my very first marathon and I’ll be honest, I’m in a lull.

Something I realized towards the end of training for the race was that I was no longer running for fun- it all felt like work. The miles had to get done. The nutrition had to be dialed in. The plans had to be followed.

Or else.

The burning question should’ve been “Or else what, Robin?”

I’m smarter now…

I started running 3 years ago (ok walking, but it slowly and safely morphed itself into a bit of a jog…) and when I started it was fun. I loved getting out there and letting my mind go. My safe place was outside on the trail- I could check out, muse on the day, think about whatever I wanted, and I would finish relaxed and refreshed. This  was why I was out here.

People would always say to me  “I wouldn’t run unless I was being chased.” Well, I was, figuratively. I was being chased by the fear that life was going to suck and that I would always be the sad excuse for a human that I had convinced myself I was. I was being chased by the overwhelming possibility that I would fail to find happiness and a reason to keep going.

So yeah. I ran like I was being chased. Over time that turned into running because I was chasing. Chasing the dream that I could feel alive, free, and happy.

I don’t want to say that marathon training changed that, but it sorta did.

I was starting to approach my training calendar begrudgingly. I was losing my joy. I was losing the whole reason that I started running to begin with and I was not happy about that. I was angry and resentful, mostly of myself, for committing to something that was making me feel unworthy and like a failure.

It was all lies- but I couldn’t see that.

I have a new resolve (like I said, I’m smarter now). You may notice that I referred to my marathon as my first- I plan on doing another, maybe quite a few. From now on, however, I will train better. I will take care of my emotions as much as I am taking care of my body. My training will be fun and work. Profit and reward. Now that I know these things about myself, I can be my own best friend, instead of my own worst enemy.

I’ve taken that last two weeks to reflect, recharge, and refocus. I am spending my time doing yoga, and strength training, and I am only running when I want to and only for fun. This month is my month of Me. At the end of the month I am running the Bolder Boulder with my hubby, like we do every year. I will take the kick-ass time that I earned in a previous 10k to get a nice early starting wave, and that race will be my fresh start to the season.

With love and happiness- I hope you come to the same conclusions,

Robin 🙂

Slow down, sister!

I’m sick. Yes, I knew it was going around- I tried to avoid it, really! I Cloroxed everything! But, alas it found me.

I should have known something was not normal when I got dizzy and about threw up running 5k on the treadmill.

(Side note- since when is 5k a nothing maintenance run? Super awesome!)

As I got off the treadmill I knew something was wrong.

DUN DUN DUUUUUUN

I’m sick. Sigh- I don’t have time for this. (Does anyone, really?)

After much hemming and hawing I decided to take Monday off from any kind of activity, and yesterday, instead of running with the Lifetime Run Club, I walked. (2.5 miles is still 2.5 miles…)

While I missed getting my run in, it was actually kind of nice to be all bundled up and check out the beautiful displays on our Christmas light Run.

Below is the house we chose as “most awesome”- incidentally, the owner came outside and he was recognized as a member of the Lifetime Cycle Club. His name was Joe. Joe knows how to do lights right. 🙂

Holly and I pose in front of Cycle Joe’s house

So anyway, I won’t run tonight either, and with the help of Zicam, I’m hoping to right this ship and be back in training Thursday.

Where do you draw the line when you’re sick?

What’s your “threshold” for staying in and getting better versus pushing through?

Losing 100+ Pounds and Finding Myself

In 2008 (when I was 26 years old) I got the worst call of my life. My dad, who I loved more than anyone, had a stroke at work and had been taken to the ER. I flew home as fast as I could, but I never saw him awake again. A week later he passed away.

That day I thought my life fell apart. But, I was kidding myself- my life had started to fall apart way before that. When I got home from Chicago I was in a daze. About 3 weeks later, I started “living” again- going through the motions. You see, my dad was overweight, diabetic, and had really high blood pressure. As they were trying to stabilize him, it became apparent that he hadn’t been taking the meds he was prescribed, like he was supposed to. All of this culminated in an aneurysm in his brain that the neurosurgeon couldn’t correct.  Over the next year, I began to evaluate my own life. My dad was a week in to 51 years old when he passed- way too young. He and I had a lot in common from our love of the outdoors to our love of food. Also, over the next year, my marriage fell apart. I was a mess.

At the end of 2009 I made a clear, conscious decision (a stake in the ground sort of moment) to stop “going through the motions” and OWN my life and my choices. January 2010 I was 267 pounds, an emotional time bomb, and just plain miserable. Nothing I was doing gave me joy anymore. And that wasn’t going to work for me.

I spent the next two and a half years watching what I put in my mouth, and moving my body more. Diet-wise, I watched calories, tracking everything, and then eventually switched to a mostly Paleo lifestyle in the spring of 2012. I don’t do it perfectly, but right now I am in the middle of a Whole30 (from www.whole9life.com), trying to figure my body out. I’m not going for a quick fix- I’ve been at this for a long time and plan to be healthy for the rest of my life.  Exercise wise, I started with walking. I could hardly walk a block before getting winded and the little voice inside my head would tell me “you can’t do this; you may as well go home now.” Somehow, I learned to silence that voice. I started running with my friend La Nae, first with Couch to 5k, then with Lifetime’s Run Club and their trainer David Clark’s organization http://thesupermanproject.org/ . I have since run a ton of 5 and 10k’s as well as 2 half marathons.

In the process of finding a better (best) version of me I stumbled upon www.nerdfitness.com . This changed my life. I had all the individual components, but I couldn’t seem to juggle them all at once. Reading the articles and talking with others who have had success helped propel me into a position to really level up my life. I learned to do some strength training in conjunction with my cardio. I learned a lot about food and have made an informed decision to cut certain foods out of my life. I have made amazing friends, like Amanda(Wicked Pixie) who all support me and encourage me to keep going. The challenges help me take my long term goals and make them bite size and baby-stepped. I have learned to put into action all the small pieces of my life simultaneously. THAT’s where life change happens.

I have now been at this for two and a half years. I have lost 102 pounds (and am still losing) and in the process I have found a reason to keep going- I’m worth it. I’m worth the hard work, the sweat, the pain, and the tough choices. All of it. I am stronger, smarter, and more joyful. I haven’t arrived- I still have a lot of really hard work to do. The difference is that now I know I can.

Before and Now (ironically wearing the number 102 and the day I lost 102 pounds!)

Who’s the driver?

Someone recommended to me today that I may benefit from doing a financial inventory. They weren’t referring to a sit down with an accountant or a write up of where my money, or lack there of, is. No. They were referring to something people in recovery do to get through some past hurts that still weigh them down today. And I agreed.

There’s so much fear that comes with money. Having it. Not having it. Needing more. So much security gets wound up in something so neutral. When I think back to my earliest memories, a lot of them have to do with finances in some way. So yeah- I have issues with money. At first glance I would tell you that my security is totally bound up in my financial well being.

But then I remember a turning point. I remember a specific time when money and the security it promised to provide became number two and something else moved into the driver seat.

My divorce wasn’t messy or angry. Once I agreed to sign the papers, things were rather ambivalent. We didn’t use lawyers or court appointed mediators. I didn’t request alimony or spousal support. The thing that was driving my decision making now was joy. The fearful version of me should have thrown up a red warning light telling me to get some compensation or support or something, but with that fear in the backseat I drove forward into my new life, not sure where I was headed but positive it was better than where I was.

Along with joy I need to remember to take trust- I need to remember that it’s going to be ok. I have exactly what I need for right now. Sometimes fear and lack of security grab the wheel and try to dictate the path, but it’s never too late to course correct, slam on the brakes and throw that puppy back on track. Besides, I haven’t arrived yet, now have I?