If you follow me on Instagram, you already know that I completed my half marathon on Sunday. I wrote a post not too long ago about my workout essentials, and how I felt I was unprepared for my half marathon.
And I wasn't prepared, not as much as I should have been. The furthest I had ever run before then was 5.5 miles. Nothing even close to 13.1. As a matter of fact, I almost didn't show up that morning. I was in the process of psyching myself out, I was crying, I didn't want to do it alone. And my husband looked at me and said, "You've got to be kidding, you can't be scared of this. You've birthed a human! You can do this."
I started off the morning with my brother-in-law and sister-in-law, who signed up for the run because Eddie and I said we were going to do it. Disney and anything princess related is a major motivator. While we were standing in the corral, we were talking about our expectations for it, and my sister-in-law mentioned she had a time in which she wanted to finish. She then added, "My goal is to cross the finish line." I looked at them and said, "Honestly, you guys have trained hard for this. I haven't been nearly as good. My goal is six miles. If I make it through six miles, I'll have run farther than I have ever run before, and I'll make it all the way through Magic Kingdom." I ended up running the first mile or so with them, and then I fell behind. It gave me a lot of time to think.
I cannot even begin to tell you how many times I got emotional during this run. Within the first two miles I thought about my grandmother, who passed away in November, and how she would have been freaking out if she knew I was doing this, which then made me crack up. I thought about Caleb and Eddie, and how utterly blessed I am to have them in my life. I thought about my parents, and my in-laws, who gave up their anniversary weekend to watch us all run this thing (Fun fact: my parents anniversary is the 25th, my in-laws the 26th, and ours the 27th!). Before I knew it, I was crossing the Magic Kingdom parking lot and mile 3.
By the time I crossed mile 5, we were entering Magic Kingdom. Eddie was waiting for me in the spectator area on Main Street (Caleb stayed with my parents the night before so I could sleep). I had already been crying after passing a few super motivating signs, but once I saw Eddie, all bets were off. I was a blubbering mess. And I think I was so emotional because I had doubted myself so hard. Maybe also because I was PMSing, but whatever. He grabbed my face and said, "You're doing amazing. Keep going. You've got this." Then we took a picture together with the castle in the background, and you can clearly see tears in my eyes. It also might be my favorite picture of us with the castle, ever.
So I made myself a new goal - I would get to Mile 10. Miles 6 - 9 I slowed down some, but I was still trucking. Mile 10 was where it started to get HARD. My quads were burning, and I could feel blisters on the bottom of my feet. I didn't have any pain, but my body was definitely feeling every step. But right before I reached Mile 10, I started to get all kinds of texts from my family and friends, who were following along with my bib tracking.
When my parents texted that they were at the finish line with Eddie and Caleb, I knew that I would have to finish this race. Miles 11-13 were so damn long. And so hard. I was slow. I walked a lot. But I kept telling myself, just finish.
When I finally reached the finish line, I smiled, and then I broke down. I lost it. Ugly cried. Trust me, Disney PhotoPass Photographers caught it, and yes, I'm sharing with you.
I kept crying, and when I got my medal, I'm pretty sure I couldn't see straight. When I finally caught up with Eddie and Caleb and my parents, I was a mess.
But I learned so much doing this.
I learned that completing something like this is 25% training for it and 75% mental. If you have people pushing you and cheering for you, you can do it.
I learned that I can crush my goals, and then continue to surpass them.
I learned that I am stronger than I ever believed.
It reaffirmed that my body is incredible.
I learned that half marathoners come in all shapes, sizes, and athletic abilities.
I learned that if you want to do something, just do it. Don't set mental barriers for yourself. Don't tell yourself anything else except, you CAN.
One note: don't do this without training some. I knew I could do 5 miles, and with the motivation and the energy levels around me, I was able to complete it, but I would definitely recommend a lot more training than what I did. But if this is something that you want to do, then train for it, and do it. I promise, you can. Even in the best shape of my life, and when I was the most active, running a mile was something I was never able to do. If you had told me 5 years ago I would be able to complete 13.1 miles, I would have laughed in your face. But here I am. And yes, I'm totally getting that magnet for my car, because why the heck not?!
Crush it, momma.
If you have toddlers, or young children, or children period, odds are you find yourself saying "NO" pretty often. Some days I feel like I haven't said "yes" to anything, and I guess it's part of the territory. But it also makes me feel pretty crappy. As a kid, I didn't like hearing "no" all the time, so I can only imagine what it must make my son feel like.
However, it is important to me that I raise a good, decent human being, who doesn't just act on impulse all the time. This means that somehow I have to teach him boundaries and limits and proper behavior, especially in social settings (I guess in private ones, too - I don't want his future spouse to be like, "Damn your mother let you do some weird stuff.").
And I know that toddlers and testing limits go together like peanut butter and jelly. But I feel like there has to be a better way than constantly yelling "No!" I also feel like I say "no" a lot preemptively, because we learn to anticipate what our kids are going to do - it used to happen to me with teaching. When explaining instructions I would rattle off a list of dos and don'ts. Students would raise their hands to ask a question, and I would say, "Hang on, that's next." They would always ask me how I knew what they were going to ask. I would tell them I could read their minds, but the truth is that you learn to anticipate behaviors, and the same goes for your kids. I spy him eyeing the dog's food, and I know he's going to make a beeline for it next. So I automatically shout, "NO! Leave Bella's food alone!"
But I don't want to be grouchy mom anymore. I don't want "no" to be the primary word that comes out of my mouth. I know it has to be in my vocabulary and I'm not saying it's a bad thing to say no, but there has to be a better way of getting my point across than barking NO twentyfourseventhreesixtyfive. I also don't want him to be afraid of trying new things because Mom is always yelling at him to stop.
So I'm working on this this year. I've come up with four things I can do to help myself and sound less like the Grinch and more like the sweet, loving mom that I am (most of the time).
Reason with him. I know, I know - who am I kidding, trying to reason with a toddler? But you'd be surprised at how often they just get what you're saying. Instead of "NO! Don't eat Bella's food!" I'll try saying something like, "You don't like when Bella takes your food, so let's leave Bella's food alone," or "Bella's food is for doggies, not for people." (Side note: this is really a thing in my house. He eats Bella's food like once a day.)
Encourage the good behaviors. Positive reinforcement always works. We all want to be told we are doing a great job. I've been working on this little by little and I praise him for helping me throw something away, or for not crying hysterically for me when he wakes up in the morning. It's not an instant fix but it is one that will work over time if you do it consistently.
Determine why you are saying no. Are you saying no because something is dangerous? Or just because you don't want them to do something? Or because it's a behavior that isn't socially acceptable? A lot of times I find myself saying no because he could hurt himself. But I also never want to be the reason my son is scared to try new things. So I'm replacing some of my nos with "Be careful," or "Let's try it this way," or "That could be too hot."
Keep them busy. When we let our kids get too bored is when they get into trouble. I'm not saying they should never be bored - that's how imaginations grow - but they need to have something that they can use while they are bored that will not push them to do things they aren't supposed to do. Caleb has a room full of toys - so when I have to get something done, into the playroom he goes. As long as he doesn't get into the closet, nothing in there is off limits to him. Blocks, magnets, crayons, and stickers also work really well for keeping them busy. ;)
I have no idea if it will work or if I can carry it through, but I'm sure as hell going to try. And I have zero answers to these big questions. I'm on this trial and error journey just like you are!
If you have any tips to contribute, let me know in the comments below - I'd LOVE to hear your take on this!
About this Mom
A Miami wife and mom documenting her days with her toddler and all that comes along with it.