Tag Archives: relaxation

Make Time for Yourself by Trusting in God

21 Jun

IMG_20160621_105344An idea that seems rather ubiquitous right now in the online and book world for women, moms in particular, is “Prioritize yourself.” What they mean by that is to intentionally carve out time for yourself to pursue your own interests, to do things because you want to and not because you have to, and to get sufficient rest instead of running yourself ragged.

That this common theme is being touted by many sources in a variety of contexts shows that this is a message moms need to hear. If my experience proves anything, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking you always need to “be on”—that if you don’t do something, it won’t get done; and if it doesn’t get done, all hell will break loose.

Just the other weekend, Travis and I took the girls to a nearby waterpark. Usually I’m the one who packs the suits, towels, change of clothes, sunscreen, etc. But that day, Travis remarked that he was packing a bag with our clothes. So despite the weird feeling of not being in control, I let go and let Travis pack. When we arrived at the waterpark, however, I discovered that he had meant he was packing our changes of clothes, and we had brought nothing for the girls—no clothes, no regular or swim diapers, and no swimsuit bottom for Annabelle (we had put sunscreen on before leaving the house). My initial reaction was anger and “See! If I don’t do things, they don’t get done!” After 5 minutes and with diapers loaned from our friends, I settled down and could admit that it really was just a breakdown in communication—Travis had thought I was packing the stuff for the girls.

It’s incidences like that that make us moms feel justified in our “Woe is me, I never get a break” attitude. I often feel bitter at Travis for his asking to do stuff on his own or for himself (like running errands alone, going fishing alone, etc.) but the truth is, I could ask to do things for myself too, but I don’t. Why is that? It’s because of this idea that I need to continually manage things, or they won’t get done.

The bigger and more truthful truth is that they most likely will get done… they just won’t get done the way I do them, or when I would do them. There are those times they really don’t get done, but you know what? The world keeps spinning. All hell doesn’t break loose. And I hate to admit it, but there are even times when I realize that… certain things aren’t even necessary. (Shocker, right?)

That means it’s ok for me to use a naptime for writing, even if it means the dirty dishes and Mount Laundry remain untouched. It’s ok for me to leave the girls with daddy on a Saturday to go on a run instead of run to the store, even if it means we scrounge through the fridge for a hodge podge dinner that night. It’s ok for me to head to Bible study even if Annabelle isn’t down for the night, and it means Travis will have to handle putting both girls to bed on his own (like I have done many times).

The more I’ve analyzed my reluctance to take a break from being the mom and adult, the more I realize that that reluctance comes from pride. It comes from me thinking that I’m indispensable. That no one can do what I do, or more accurately, no one can do what I do exactly the way I do it. And My Way is the Right Way.

Last week, Travis and I had a dinner date to talk through some challenges and communication issues in our marriage, and we realized that all this time, we’ve been thinking that to be on the same team as parents, we needed to handle situations exactly the same way. What a ludicrous thought! We don’t need to be the same parent to be on the same team—we just need to agree on overarching principles and have one another’s back on in-the-moment decisions.

This is why it’s good to remind moms—especially Type A, OCD, control freaks like me—that it’s ok to take a break, and that the world won’t fall apart in their absence.

BUT…

We are humans, which means we are sinners. And there is an aspect to this idea of “Prioritize yourself” that could prove to be unhelpful. Satan knows that we are, by nature, selfish. In his sermon “Splitness” using Romans 7:1-9 and 18-25, and the classic book “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” by Robert Louis Stevenson, Pastor Tim Keller agrees with Stevenson that all the evil in the world is caused by self-centeredness: “Every thought centering on the self.”

What I’m trying to say is: our sinful, selfish selves could take this bait of prioritizing ourselves and use it to our detriment. We can fall into the mindset that we “deserve” to have time to ourselves, that we “need” to pursue hobbies for our own mental sanity, and that we’re “losing our true identities” in the throes of motherhood. Some of the most dangerous, discontentment-breeding words for a mother are “All I want is…” “All I want is some peace and quiet.” “All I want is to drink my cup of coffee before it gets cold.” “All I want is to read a single paragraph without being interrupted.” “All I want is for the kids to go the eff to sleep already!” Let’s be honest, we really don’t need anything tempting us to be more selfish. Because we do a fine job on our own, thankyouverymuch.

But, you might say, moms are being reminded to rest and pursue their own hobbies because they are pouring out every single drop of energy and focus on their families! That’s not selfish.

Or is it?

As I’ve already pointed out, my own reluctance to taking a break comes from pride, from a self-concerned need to control everything. In those instances, I’m refusing to do what I really need to do for my own mental health and energy levels because I’m more concerned about the laundry getting done, or Travis not feeling abandoned, or the girls not being a handful. I have a puffed-up estimation of my own importance.

Those are the two extremes. On one hand, there is the extreme of playing the martyr and running on fumes to serve your family. On the other hand, there is the extreme of thinking that we are entitled to our own time and need it at all costs.

But there is a third way. It is a delicate balance between the two, and only possible by depending on God’s guidance through the Holy Spirit.

We humbly come before God and relinquish our indispensable mother role. We admit that He’s got our family in His hands, and we can rest and sleep because He never does. We can see the reality that we have been doing too much, and trying too hard, because we were depending on ourselves to get it all done. We receive the gift of rest, and of pursuing hobbies, and of doing things that simply delight us, and we appreciate the people who enable it to happen.

But we also hold those gifts with open hands, so that on the days that naptimes don’t overlap, or daddy feels sick when he’s supposed to watch the kids, or kids don’t sleep well so our morning routines aren’t possible, we have grace. We don’t mumble or grow frustrated that we were robbed of the time that we needed for ourselves. We believe that God will provide for us exactly what we need. Some days His grace comes in the form of time to rest or pursue hobbies. Some days it comes in the form of sustained energy and patience in the face of kids throwing tantrums and babies who won’t sleep.

Yes, it is good for moms to rest. Yes, it is good for moms to pursue their hobbies, or simply get time away. But let us pursue these things in faith, trusting in the God who “richly provides us with everything to enjoy” (1 Timothy 6:17) and who “[supplies] every need of [ours] according to his riches in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).


“Then Jesus told his disciples, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.’” (Matthew 16:24)

“‘Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.’” (Matthew 6:34)

“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:3-11)

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:4-7)

Training Recap: 4/2 – 4/8 & Unofficial Half PR!

9 Apr

This morning, I was so exhausted from the weekend and the past 5 days that I didn’t get up until 7:15. Picture me lying in bed with my battery-powered alarm clock resting on my chest under the comforter, my hand sitting on the snooze button, ready for the alarm that goes off every 3 minutes. Now picture that scene from 5:30 to 6:45, at which time I finally wised up and reset my alarm clock for 7:15. Apparently, even in a half comatose state, I’m stubborn and refuse to give up trying to get up early.

I was so tired because last week, I went straight from work to church functions Wednesday, Thursday and Friday (and rearranged my schedule to fit in runs). Saturday, I ran 13.1 miles with Heidi (more on that later), then proceeded to:

  • buy a salad spinner and steamer basket from Bed, Bath and Beyond
  • buy this skirt and these pants from Old Navy
  • go to Sports Authority (I had a 20% off coupon and found nothing to buy, what’s up with that? Travis is going to use it for new shorts)
  • go to the post office and grocery store
  • do laundry
  • make watergate salad for Easter lunch
  • walk the pooches

Yesterday, I walked the dogs before church, went to church, came home and got lunch stuff, went to Easter lunch, read Vogue for 2 hours (my sliver of relaxation), walked the dogs again, cleaned the house, made banana bread, and then relaxed with Travis and 2 glasses of Cab Sav. While I was walking the dogs, I realized that I still have a productivity complex – I cannot relax. Some people play now and work later. Others (like me) work now and play later. Only I never actually get to the later because the work is never done. There is always something more to do, something that catches my eye, “Oh I’ll just do this and then I’ll go relax.” Or if I go relax, I sit there bothered either mentally or visually by something that “needs to be done.”

So I’m pondering the idea of truly observing the Sabbath. Taking a day off. I’ll save the details for another post, but I’m thinking that I might need to “force” myself to relax a bit (which honestly, I never thought I would say).

Anyway, here’s what last week’s training looked like:

Monday: Rest (traveling back from Evansville)

Tuesday: 3.04 mile tempo run (30:52; 10:09/mile) + 20 min strength/physical therapy exercises

I ran the first mile in 9:42!

Wednesday: 6.09 mile hilly run (1:08:40, 11:16/mile)

Thursday: 20 min Pilates video + 3.04 mile easy-ish run (35:15; 11:35/mile)

Friday: Rest

Saturday: 13.1 mile long run in 2:24:59 – an Unofficial Half Marathon PR! (personal record, for those of you who don’t speak Runner)

Sunday: Total of 4 miles walked with pooches (@ approx. 20:00/mile)

Total Miles Ran = 25.27

…………………..

So about that Unofficial Half Marathon PR… it was awesome.

The wonderful Miss Heidi joined me at Cherry Creek State Park for what was planned to be 12 miles (mapped out as 12.4). But then the run went so well (and quick with someone to talk to!) that she talked me into running a full 13.1. Not going to lie, the last 4 miles or so – and especially the last 2 – were challenging. I was very much over the rolling hills and my big toes were crying out for mercy. But as always, pushing myself past those mental hurdles is in the end totally worth it. Because I ended up dominating my official half marathon PR of 2:30:52 by almost 6 minutes! Might I also mention that that PR was set on the Colorado Half Marathon course, which kindly features an elevation loss of 1353 feet. This run was most definitely not that kind:

It’s actually only a difference of 100 feet elevation either way, but it looks impressive, no?

Heidi and I met up at 8:30 and probably got running around 9:00. No clouds in the sky, the sun was shining, and there was a nice little breeze that kept things from getting too hot out there (as there was no shade where we were running).

{Thanks for the pics Heidi!}

We met this big guy around mile 4.5:

And decided it was a good time to take pics, in case we forgot like we did last time:

A little after that, I took a Triberry Gu and decided that I definitely like the consistency of Clif Shots better. The Gu is too thick (even though it was tasty!).

Since we were running on new-to-us trails, we got a little lost and ended up turning around on our dog leg a little early (sorry about that Heidi!). We had to be a little creative at the end but it worked out okay. And because Heidi brought a real Garmin, I didn’t have to use my Poor Man’s GPS (which is good because I would’ve been really off!)

Here are our splits:

1 – 10:34
2 – 10:56
3 – 11:00
4 – 11:01
5 – 11:25 (hill!)
6 – 11:09
7 – 10:55
8 – 10:51
9 – 11:08
10 – 11:37 (hill!)
11 – 11:28 (dying!)
12 – 11:01
13 – 10:44
.1 – 1:05

13.1 miles in 2:24:59, average pace of 11:04

I am completely ecstatic about this pace and it gives me hope of running an Official Half Marathon PR in the Platte River Half this coming Sunday!

Anywho, I am convinced that the best way to recover from a long run is to keep moving. I kept myself busy after this run and have had very minimal soreness and stiffness. Being productive on Saturdays, even after long runs, will also hopefully help me reserve Sundays for rest and relaxation.

Tonight I have to burn through the rest of The Tipping Point because it’s due at the library tomorrow and I can’t renew it (for a second time) because someone else has it on hold. I just might be incurring a few more library fines so that I can finish it…

So much to do and so little time. The story of my life.

Are you more prone to relaxation or productivity?

Training Recap: 1/2 – 1/8

9 Jan

My weekend was very relaxing – Friday night, Travis played broomball with some friends and I just stayed home. I made a frozen pizza for dinner, went to Target and bought some binders/scrapbooks to create a new picture album, a memory book for races, as well as a memory book for holidays, vacations, etc. Then I organized my scrapbooking tote and watched The Wedding Planner.

Saturday, I got up at 6:15 to eat breakfast and feed the pooches before heading out on a run at 6:50, right when it started getting light outside. I ended up doing 8.27 miles at a 11:12 pace, which I’m pretty excited about (that pace would give me a 4 minute PR in the half). After my run, I did 2 things I hadn’t done in a year: used Photoshop (tried to teach my friend how to use it for basic things) and got my hair cut. No, I hadn’t gotten my hair cut in over a year. Whoops.

But really, it’s because my hair only grew this much:

Maybe 6 inches?

Anyway, after my haircut, I took a nap while Travis hung this up in our guest bedroom:

This makes you want to come visit, doesn’t it?

Now you can understand my hesitation to let him put it up anywhere in our house – it’s HUGE. But supposedly this is just “temporary” until we can take it back to Minnesota to his parents’ house. I actually don’t hate it. I just think it looks awkward because of how big it is, and how small our house is.

Here’s a victory pic:

After I was done lamenting about what he had done to our lovely guest room, I worked on my race memory book, and then we went out to dinner at Namiko’s, a sushi bar near our house. We tried a couple of new kinds and found one that we loved – it was called Gemini and was a tempura roll with tuna, crab, and salmon inside. Delicious.

After that, we read and went to bed around 9:30. We lead such exciting lives, don’t we?

The next morning, we both slept in until 8:30! I can’t believe we got 11 hours of sleep. I got up at 6 to let the dogs out and feed them. But then I put Charlie back in her kennel and Katy crawled in between us on the bed for another 2 1/2 hours.

When we finally did get up, we went to church, grocery shopping, and then over to some friends’ house to watch the Broncos game. What a great game! We were all totally pumped that they won, and in the way that they did. Amazing. Go Tebow!

After the game, we went home, worked out, finished doing laundry and dishes, read for a while, and went to bed.

And now it’s Monday again! That means it’s time for a training recap.

Monday: 3.5 mile run (40:04, 11:29/mile)

Tuesday: Half mile repeats (total of 3.3 miles, all 4 around 4:30); 20 minutes strength training

For my strength training, I did the exercises I learned in physical therapy. The hardest one to do is backward lunges off a high step or box (this time I used a step with 4 risers, but I’ve also used a box jump before). Stand on your right foot with your left foot off the step. Slowly bend your right leg until your thigh is parallel to the ground and then step down on to your left foot, concentrating on keeping your right knee straight forward. Start with 1 set of 12-15 times and switch sides. Work up to 3 sets. Major butt soreness.

Wednesday: Rest

Thursday: 3.04 mile tempo run (31:15, 10:17/mile); 35 minutes of easy yoga

I did my usual tempo formula: 0.5 mile warmup, 2 miles tempo, 0.5 mile cool down. The tempo miles were 9:55 and 10:20. I think the second one was slower mostly because I had to pick up and throw away two poop bags and I didn’t stop my watch. My total time was still 7 seconds faster than the same run last week. Improvement!

Friday: Rest

Saturday: 8.27 mile run (1:32:40, 11:12/mile)

I’ll give details about this run in another post, since I wore my new Under Armour tights. But for now, I’ll say that it was a tough run, but I’m very pleased with my pace.

Sunday: 45 minutes of Denise Austin’s Ultimate Fat Burner

An oldie but goodie. I’m not sure how smart it was to do this video – it involves a lot of lateral movements and plyometrics and now my right knee hurts a bit. But I sweated a lot and got my heart rate up to 173 so it was at least partly a success. I think I’m going to forego the run today though and do some cross training.

When was your last haircut?

What do you think about head mounts of animals? {I won’t be offended if you say you hate them… although Travis might be.}

Five Randos

21 Dec

1. We went to Zoolights last night.

It was way cooler than these pictures show – it’s just that our camera doesn’t take pictures of lights very well. We didn’t see very many animals – a snake, a hippo and a rhino was pretty much all but it was still fun!

2. I’ve felt on the verge of getting sick since Sunday but have so far successfully staved it off with eating more veggies and getting more sleep.

3. For the past month, I’ve been buying spinach with good intentions of eating salads every day at work. But every day I looked in the fridge and spinach didn’t sound even remotely appealing. This happens to me a lot – I go through phases of what I like to eat. For a while, I was eating spinach with everything – seriously. I served leftovers on spinach. I put spinach in sandwiches, pizza, smoothies. Now? Eck.

Luckily, I bought some romaine lettuce last week and am back to enjoying salads! Today’s has sliced deli ham, grape tomatoes, sliced carrots, cottage cheese, a tiny bit of feta and sautéed zucchini and yellow squash. I’m sad that I forgot croutons. But I did bring a hunk of French bread filled with refined white flour – redeemed!

4. This week has been the week of the slide. I’m not even trying to pretend to be motivated. I did get laundry done between Monday night and last night. And I made or helped make dinner (as easy as possible). But other than that, I’ve laid on the couch watching TV each night, slept in each morning (and sometimes gotten up to just take a nap on the couch), and eaten my weight in chocolate and cookies, in addition to not working out. And it’s been glorious.

5. We’re supposed to get more snow tonight – 4 to 8 inches.

While I love the snow, I wish I didn’t have to drive in it. It snowed Monday night and I seriously was so scared driving home in my little Ford Focus that I about cried, pulled over and asked Travis to come get me. Instead, I muscled through and once home, drowned my fears in Godiva chocolates. I swear, it seems like every year I get more and more paranoid about driving. If it gets to the point where I can’t handle driving anywhere in snow or rain, I’m seeking professional help.

Rest, finally.

22 Nov

Well friends, I finally got my restful weekend. Even though elk hunting back in October was supposed to be the end of the busyness, it wasn’t really. We still had a bunch of crap great stuff to keep us busy on the weekends, like butchering and vacuum-sealing animals, running errands, and fun stuff like dinner with friends and volunteering.

So when I had a whole Saturday with nothing planned and a Sunday with only church and dinner with friends (that ended up being postponed because one of them got sick), I saw my chance. A weekend of rest. 

I had to act fast. I made sure to ask Travis what he had planned, just in case he was staging Antelope Butchering Part 22 and expecting my willing participation. (Yes, we still.have.meat.to.cut.up. Will it ever end?!?!)

Once I was relieved to know that my vacuum-sealing skillz would not be needed, I then decided to figure out the bare minimum of things I had to accomplish on the weekend, in order to maximum the amount of time my butt could be glued to the couch.

I figured I needed to clean our house, go grocery shopping and get my two workouts in (5 mile run one day, 60 min cross-training + strength another). I probably would have just ditched the house cleaning, except I thought we were having dinner guests Sunday night, and my parents are coming into town today! I also only buy enough produce to last us a week and I can’t not have apples and bananas to eat for snacks, so grocery shopping is also necessary.

I decided to grocery shop on Saturday (because everyone and their Grandma goes to the grocery store on Sunday) and clean on Sunday (because dog hair mysteriously appears 30 seconds after I clean anything so it’s best to leave as little time as possible between when you clean and when guests arrive).

Anyway, my plan worked perfectly. Friday after work, I did a quick 3 mile tempo run and then promptly did nothing else for the rest of the evening besides drink wine and watch TV.

Saturday, I didn’t get to sleep in (because Katy got up at 6:45 and groaned at me to feed her) but I didn’t expect to (because Katy does that every morning) and actually read for a couple hours. I was able to finish The Me I Want to Be by John Ortberg before it was due at the library. I really enjoyed it. But around 8:30, I fell asleep on the couch and at 9:30, I went back to bed. 🙂 Travis and I finally got up at 10:30.

Then I had breakfast, read some more, called my mom and friend Amy who’s living in California right now, tided up the office, typed up my notes from another library book (Having a Mary Spirit by Joanna Weaver – also good), went on a run with Travis and the pooches, and then Travis and I went out to eat at Pho Fusion, where I tried Pho for the first time. It was good but meh in my book. I’m not that much of a soup person and I don’t really like cabbage or celery so it’s probably just my weird quirks.

After dinner, Travis and I went to the grocery store and bought food for the week and Thanksgiving. It’s so much more fun going to the store when Travis comes with! We bought some gummy bears (for me) and ice cream (for him) to enjoy while watching Yogi Bear. I love, love, love animated movies so whenever I have the chance to rent a movie without Travis’ input, that’s what I usually choose. It was a cute movie – not my favorite, but I laughed a lot.

Sunday, we went to church, ate lunch and then I laid on the couch watching football for a little while. When Travis got up to go do stuff, I decided I should probably get started on laundry  and cleaning. Around 5, I went swimming and did yoga. After that, I finished cleaning, finished almost all of the laundry, and went to bed around 10.

Overall, it was a very nice weekend. I don’t think I could handle an entire weekend of doing absolutely nothing – I like having a balance between rest and productivity.

I am really looking forward to the holiday weekend – great food, great time with my parents, and lots of relaxing!

In a nutshell… Boots!

24 Oct

This is a strange feeling – being rested on a Monday.

How did that happen? By following my plan of relaxing Friday night, doing (7 loads of) laundry Saturday and cleaning Sunday. It worked beautifully.

The weekend in a nutshell:

Friday

“Cooked” a frozen pizza for dinner.

Researched boots online for 2 hours.

Gave up finding cute, warm boots.

Watched Parenthood.

 

Saturday

Had coffee with Cathy.

Scored cute winter boots (detailed below).

Started laundry (insert between each of the following).

Returned overdue books.

Bought groceries.

Read.

Napped.

Read.

Walked the dogs.

Enjoyed girls’ night (we watched a Bollywood movie – love it!).

 

Sunday

Went to church.

Cleaned and tidied house.

Vacuum-sealed the last of the elk meat.

Read.

Napped.

Spend time with God in prayer.

Went to the church potluck and meeting.

Watched Desperate Housewives.

 

There were other things I was tempted to do – clean this, put away that, weed out this drawer, organize that closet. But I didn’t. Instead, I intentionally stuck to my plan and while laundry was being laundered, I laid on the couch and read my book (right now, it’s We Were the Mulvaneys by Joyce Carol Oates). And I am so glad that I gave myself that permission. I feel refreshed and rejuvenated today – but probably also because of my great time with God yesterday and today. I’ll blog about that later this week.

First things first – I am way more exciting about my new winter boots than I am about the details of elk hunting so I’m pushing hunting pics out until tomorrow.

So the story behind these boots is that the only pair of real winter boots I own are too small for me (and I won’t wear them in public). I got them a LONG time ago (high school?). The boots I have been wearing for the past 7 years are a pair of fashion boots that I bought while working at a department store in college. They don’t have any insulation and they are only kinda-sorta waterproof. So while I have worn them for snowshoeing, tromping around in the snow, and they have been very loyal to me, I’m not going to lie – my feet get pretty cold wearing them. As in, very cold. No insulation = no warmth.

Travis’ cousin emailed us to say that he could get a great discount on new Columbia gear through the store he works at, but only through the end of the month. So I started looking at Columbia boots, and quickly discovered all of the cute ones only had 200 g of Thinsulate! (Travis said that 400 g would be a bare minimum.) Don’t these people know that a lot of women want to be warm and cute? (And actually, Columbia only carries one boot with more than 200 g of Thinsulate that I could see). As I looked at other brands, those too were only 200 g. The only warm boots I could find looked so… booty. Do cute, warm boots exist anywhere? 

I didn’t want to spend $150, or even $100, or heck even $50 on boots I wouldn’t want to wear in public. I mean, how often do I go elk hunting or snowshoeing – twice a year, combined? I needed boots I could wear casually around town and not look like a goober. Anyway, after 2 hours of unfruitful searching (although I did really love these, but they didn’t have my size – single tear), I decided to just go to Dick’s Sporting Goods to try on boots in person.

And wouldn’t you know, on the 75% off clearance table, like a beacon of light, I saw these gems:

So comfy. So cute. So warm. So CHEAP.

Originally $149. I got them for $40.76. 

Since they were on clearance, I couldn’t find out how much insulation they had. I tried to look it up on Travis’ phone while we were in the store but to no avail, since they are no longer being made by Sorel (why, I don’t know because I have read nothing but rave reviews of them online). I tried on a bunch of other boots and felt “eh” about them. Plus, these were so cheap. And Sorel has a reputation for making a very high-quality, long-lasting boot. (In fact, that’s what brand my old-boots-that-I-won’t-wear are.)

We decided it was too sweet of a deal to pass up. Plus, their clearance items are returnable so I figured I could do a little more research on them and if I found a bunch of bad reviews, I could just return them. But the reviews are all good so I think they’re keepers.

I heart finding clearance deals, especially for things I would have paid full price for.

So if you have any questions about winter boots, I am now your expert.

What do you wear on your feet during the winter?

Survival of the Busiest

21 Oct

Well, I survived. Not only elk hunting, but also the season of busyness that I thought would never end. But it has ended. Well, sort of. I just realized this morning that I have coffee with Cathy tomorrow morning and then a girls’ night tomorrow morning (let the eating commence!), and then Sunday morning, I’m doing lights, plus we have a church meeting at night. Then there’s the giant pile of dirty, stinky clothes that Katy burrowed into last night instead of sleeping on her dog bed. And the rest of the house is a mess.

Ah, open weekend – you still elude me.

Seriously, every time over the past couple of months when I thought I had an open weekend and was poised to bask in its gloriousness under a blanket on the couch, something happened to make it not-so-restful. The weekend I was swore I was going to do nothing was eaten up by antelope butchering. Then my darn obsession with productivity robbed me of another weekend. And here I am, after 5 months of frazzled activity and constant plans, completely burnt out.

Last night was the tipping point. I came home from work, already in a bad mood and completely exhausted. Last week had been a frenetic blur of cooking, baking, church meetings, and packing. Then elk hunting was surprisingly exhausting. I was ready to collapse onto the couch in a coma and not move for the next 4 hours.

Instead, I came home to cook dinner and vacuum seal elk meat all night. {Side note: I realize this is a part of hunting and because I enjoy elk meat so much, I try to remind myself that this is worth it. And my in-laws were very considerate of my anal-retentiveness. But alas, tired people [moi] are not rational people.} The combination of Chardonnay, raw meat everywhere, piles of laundry, unpacked bags, more piles of laundry, blood on the kitchen floor and carpet, every dish I own being used for butchering, and knowing I had to go back to work in the morning culminated with me pretty much having a meltdown. No more Mr. Nice Guy. When I ran out of vacuum seal bags 15 minutes before Target closed, I did a little happy dance inside, snippily refused to go buy more and instead, cleaned up my sealing mess and went to bed. If they needed my help, too damn bad.

I was hoping that I’d wake up this morning in a better mood. Nope, still bitchy. I am just done. Don’t ask me for anything because all you’ll get is a black eye. You want coffee? Get it yourself. You need clean clothes? Wash them yourself. You need a lunch? Go buy one yourself. I don’t care anymore. Leave me alone or I will rage on you.

I think it’s safe to say that I need a break.

But I’m torn. Part of the reason for my mental breakdown is that my house is in complete disarray. I do not function well when things are messy. But do I compromise the time I could have on the couch for cleaning? Or do I blow off the cleaning for the sake of relaxation, only to be bothered by the mess all weekend?

My thought is to relax tonight, do laundry tomorrow, and clean on Sunday. I would say that I should do everything tonight so that I’ll have the weekend open but I’ve discovered that my Work Now, Play Later philosophy is the reason why I usually end up with no time to relax. What’s better than sitting down with some hot tea and a good book in a clean room?, I reason.  The problem is, I usually end up finding just one more thing to do here, one more thing there, and before I know it, the day is over and all I’ve done is work.

Up next: Elk Hunting Extravaganza

Do you like to Work Now, Play Later or Play Now, Work Later?

How do you keep from being a bitch when you’re stressed out?

Life on repeat

7 Oct

Does anyone else feel like they learn the same lessons over and over and over again? But at the same time, they never actually learn them?

That’s the way I’m feeling. Amazingly, instead of being discouraged, I’m actually encouraged that God is still around, still being patient and reteaching me something I thought I had mastered six months or a year ago.

The last couple of years have revealed two important things about me:

1) I am a perfectionist to the core.

2) I am a pessimist.

It’s not really that surprising that those two things go hand in hand, since things have to be perfect for a perfectionist to be happy. And how often are things perfect?

My point exactly.

I completed Morning #2 of writing (2 for 2!) today and have already encountered a challenge: how to make my “life on repeat” or cyclical problems interesting to readers and not bore them into screaming, “She’s still struggling with that?!?!? I can’t take this anymore!” while they throw my book across the room (or delete it off their Kindle, which would be very less dramatic).

So it is with some risk that I repeat these words from previous blog posts, but it’s a risk I’m willing to take because I seriously am struggling with the same thing again: expecting to be perfect and despairing when I’m not. The reminder is beneficial to me, and I hope, to you.

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From No such thing as perfect 8/24/09

My life will never be perfect. I will never feel like I’m on top of the world and am doing good at this whole Christian thing–at least, I shouldn’t feel that way and I definitely shouldn’t make it my aim to stay there.

Instead of letting my failures and insufficiency cripple me, I should let them humble me and lead me to the cross. Lead me to the One who is sufficient, so I don’t have to be. Lead me to the One who is perfect in my place. Lead me to the place where I can lay my burdens down and remember that “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Feeling like a failure doesn’t have to be a bad thing!! In fact, it can be one of the greatest blessings…because it reminds me that I am nothing without Christ.

Like Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 12:8-10, “Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

I can be content with a messy house, piles of laundry and dirty dishes, a long and old TO-DO list, nails that need repainting, eyebrows that need plucking, plants that need watering, cars that need cleaning, books that haven’t been read, lessons that haven’t been learned, and pounds that haven’t been lost. I can be content with everything that makes my life a mess. I can be content with “my” schedule being “derailed” and God’s schedule being followed. I can be content with not being able to see how God is using me, knowing that surely He is doing whatever He pleases with my chaotic, unpredictable, so-not-a-routine kind of life.

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From Imperfect is good enough 12/9/10

{Holiday season is just around the corner!}

I need to let go of this idea that everything has to be perfect. My Christmas decorations can have a quirky doesn’t-quite-go-together kind of feel. I can do the exercises at the gym that I know how to do instead of following the newest “Bikini Body in 28 Days!” routine that involves twisting, pulling, jumping, and screaming (that might just be my version). I can read a few pages of a book before falling asleep at night. I can let the dishes pile up in the sink and do them tomorrow.

At the core of all of this is a belief that God is the one who has everything under control. He is the one who makes it all happen, not me. It is also believing that these things I have decided that I “have to do” don’t add or subtract anything to His love for me. He loves me the most He ever will right now, because He loves me with the same love with which He loves His Son, Jesus. Did you know that it actually says that in the Bible? John 17:23 says …”that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.” That’s amazing.

It is Christ’s perfection that frees us to be imperfect, to be human, to not have it all together. That doesn’t mean we don’t try to do our best. It means we don’t get discouraged by failure or depressed by overwhelming odds. But we should walk through this victorious, knowing that “steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts in the Lord.” How I need so desperately to believe that truth in this season of my life! It is so easy to let these slight and momentary afflictions take my eyes off God and His sovereign goodness. But I mustn’t. I must keep looking to Him, trusting in Him, resting in Him. “I lift my eyes to the hills; where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.”

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My last (planned) race of the season is this Sunday! I am excited to not have any more races (which means more free weekends) and I’m also excited to start another training plan (which is good because I’m in for the long haul now). And then, drumroll please… only one more weekend with something planned (elk hunting) and it’s free weekends from then on! Woohoo!

Better yet, we might get out of going back to Minnesota for Thanksgiving and Christmas (although we might go early December instead for Matthew’s Eagle scout ceremony). I mean, love going back to see family but it is exhausting. It takes me weeks to recover from those trips. So I will only be slightly sad if we don’t go back. Plus, I really enjoyed celebrating Christmas just me and Travis last year. Right now, anything relaxing sounds like heaven.

It’s amazing what you can accomplish…

26 Sep

…when you don’t workout!

My weekend was lovely and productive. But I didn’t do a single workout – unless you count walking my pooches and watching them smear their poop all over Wheat Ridge sidewalks.

Friday night, I finally repainted my toenails while watching Parenthood – love that show! I went to bed around 9:30 (I don’t even feel the need to justify that) and read for a while while Travis played hockey.

Saturday, we got up bright and early for coffee with Cathy (me) and The Forge at church (Travis). Then we went home and while Travis watched football, I made my grocery list and went grocery shopping.

On the menu for this week:

The Zesty Chili is cooking in my crock pot right now.
With my refrigerator and shelves fully stocked, I set to making zucchini bread and muffins with one of our last zucchinis (single tear! not really – we’re kind of burned out on zucchini) and this gooey deliciousness for our care group BBQ on Sunday.

While my bread and muffins baked, I did the massive quantity of dishes that baking always produces, walked the pooches, and got ready for our date night: Yogurtland + Cheap Seats. Woohoo! The date literally cost us $13.

I got Mango Pineapple + Coconut + Peach and topped with a little bit of: kiwi, raspberries, pineapple, gummy bears, and cheesecake squares. Mmmmm… Travis had never been to Yogurtland before. As he was eating his delicious concoction, he said, “I understand what all the rage is about now.”

{Apologies for the bad pic.}

After Yogurtland, we saw Captain America for $7 total. It blows my mind that two people can see a movie at the discount theater for less than the price of one ticket at the main theater. Yay for discount theaters! (If this one ever goes out of business, I will be seriously sad.) The movie was great. As much as my sophisticated taste thought I would hate all of the Marvel Comic movies, I have to admit that I have loved each of them (I have seen Thor, both Iron Man 1 and 2 and now Captain America). The only one I haven’t seen is The Hulk – which I guess I’ll have to remedy before The Avengers comes out next May.

Sunday, we went to church and then bought a baby gift for my nephew, due in January! I bought 3 items from their registry, plus one fun thing (that I will mention later in case my sister-in-law happens to read this). Still very hard to believe that I am going to be an aunt. (I guess technically, I already am an aunt since Travis has a nephew but it feels weird to call myself his aunt…)

Then I finally tackled our messy office. It went from this:

To this:

Organization – welcome back.

I also downloaded all of our pictures from our camera onto our computer and deleted them off our camera, printed out our confirmation emails for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon Relay, and sent pictures of Charlie to the vet who rescued her.

By 3:30, it was time to leave for our care group BBQ. I didn’t take any pics (stupid!) but a fun time (and LOTS of good food!) was had by all. I ended up feeling a little sick to my stomach by the end of the party so when I got home, I changed clothes and spent the rest of the evening on the couch (instead of cleaning and baking like I had hoped). Oh well. I watched the season finale of Drop Dead Diva (my #2 favorite show ever, after Bones) and the season premiere of Desperate Housewives – which was “eh.”

Things I wanted to get done that I didn’t (and need to before leaving for MN on Thursday night!!):

1. Vacuum. Dog hair is everywhere!

2. Laundry. Overflowing.

3. More baking. Specifically chocolate chip banana bread and pumpkin bread. Mmmm…

I also need to work out every day this week (since I will probably be taking off 4 days back in MN). I’m thinking a couple of runs, some yoga, and some time on the bike. We’ll see…

Race Recap: Crescent Moon Sprint Tri

18 Sep

Well, I ended up doing the triathlon. Travis convinced me that it would be more fun if I did it with him than if I just watched. And I went on a short run Friday after work and felt almost normal, although a little bit more tired. So I went for it.

We got up around 5 and left the house by 5:30. We arrived at the race site a little after 6 and rode our bikes from the parking area down to the transition area, where packet pickup was. After we racked our bikes and put our stuff down, we picked up our packets and got body-marked.

The morning started off very pretty.

But by the time the swim started, it clouded over. It was upper 50s and cloudy/rainy all day.

Travis and I had plenty of time before the race to get our stuff set up, go to the bathroom several times, survey the swim course, note all of the transition exits (there was a different chute for each entrance/exit!), and run a decent warmup (me feeling very tired and sluggish!). I loved the feeling of not being rushed. I also had purposefully drank hardly anything that morning so that I would not have a repeat of Steamboat (in having to pee a lot). I had hydrated well the week before the race and figured the distance was short enough that I’d be fine.

Right after we got back from our last bathroom break, we took off our sweatshirts and sweatpants and headed down to the swim. Travis was in the first wave so he got in the water to warm up and pretty soon, he was off. I tried to keep track of him but lost him pretty quickly in the sea of yellow caps. I prayed for him to have a good swim, since I knew how nervous/unsure he had been about it.

After two more waves took off, I got in the water to warm up. I didn’t wear my wetsuit again but wished I had. Man, the water was cold! They said it was 69 degrees, 1 degree warmer than Steamboat. Well, someone measured wrong either at Cherry Creek or Steamboat because there is no way that Steamboat was colder than Cherry Creek. It probably didn’t help that it was only in the mid-5os outside. But I forced myself to put my head in and swim around a bit. It wasn’t enjoyable but I’d live.

As soon as the wave before mine left, I got out of the water and stood in line. Brrrr! I tried to control my flailing limbs while counting the seconds down until I could get back into the water and get moving.

Finally, it was time to go. It was a beach start and they had positioned a small buoy about 40 feet from shore that you had to keep on your right, to prevent people from running down the beach instead of actually swimming. The gung-ho swimmers in the front did the whole Baywatch thing into the water. I ran a bit, then walked to give the women ahead of me a chance to move out a bit before I started swimming. I’ was in no rush.

I made sure to settle into my swim pace right off the bat and breathe calmly – and it worked. The 750 meter swim was very uneventful. But I was glad to see the finish flags and finally be out of the water.

My feet were like ice cubes as I ran the long stretch up to transition. But I was pleasantly surprised that I had energy. When Travis and I had walked that section earlier in the morning, it had felt very hard to breathe. I had decided that I didn’t have to run up to transition. But after the swim, running up that part didn’t feel too hard.

Official Swim Time (including run to TA): 24:59

Unofficial Swim Time (not including run): 22:30 

Once in transition, I noticed Travis’ bike was gone. He had survived the swim! I rinsed off my feet, got my socks and shoes on and then took a little extra time to dry off and put on a long sleeve shirt. With the clouds, cool weather and being wet, I didn’t want to be cold on the bike. I grabbed my helmet, sunglasses and bike and off I went.

Official T1 Time: 2:56

I had been expecting my legs to feel weird like they had at Steamboat but they didn’t. I started off the bike feeling good. Around mile 1.5, I took a drink of my water and missed the bottle cage as I was attempting to replace it. So I had to get off my bike and go back to get my water bottle. There were no aid stations on the bike and I wanted my water bottle. Bah.

Back on the bike, I passed some people, a lot of people passed me. I pushed it up the biggest hill and decided that from there on out, I would take it easy. I didn’t want to ruin my legs for the run, like I have a habit of doing. So I took it easy. And it definitely showed in my time!

Right at the turnaround, I decided to eat my Shotbloks. I had eaten 2 and was going for my third when I dropped them on the ground. What was wrong with me? I was dropping things like it was my job! I looked around for a USAT official who would ping me for abandoned equipment. All I saw was a dude on a motorcycle and he was not USAT so I left my Shotbloks, feeling stupid and bummed.

The road through Cherry Creek that we biked on is so ridiculously bumpy that I will never do a triathlon there again (unless they repave it). It was just not fun to be on it so by the time I got back to the transition area, I was so ready to be done.

I glanced at my bike computer as I was re-racking my bike and it read 12.2 miles, instead 11.5 miles, like the race officials said.

Official Bike Time: 46:12 (14.9 mph) 

By this time, the sun had started peeking out of the clouds and warming things up nicely so I ditched my long sleeve shirt, grabbed my hat and sunglasses, and left.

Official T2 Time: 1:06

Since the first triathlon I ever did was at this same venue, I was familiar with the run course – it was almost exactly the same one. The first .5 mile is all uphill, then it flattens out for .5 mile, then the last 2 miles are rolling hills. My legs actually felt great for the first mile. I pushed up the hill and when I reached the first mile marker, I calculated a 10:00/mile pace. Sweet!

The 2nd mile was at a 11:00/mile pace but then the bottom fell out in the 3rd mile. I like to think it’s because I was sick and wasn’t at 100% capacity but I stopped and walked a few times because my legs just felt tired. Finally, I was almost to the finish line. I saw Travis watching for me and encouraged him to run with me a little, which he did.

Official Run Time: 34:18 (11:04/mile) 

Official Overall Time: 1:49:30

My goal going in to the race was to hit 1:45, but really I would have been satisfied with anything under 2 hours. So I made it. Woohoo! Since the bike was longer and made this race closer to being the same distance as the Oktoberfest tri I back in 2009, I was interested to compare my 2 times. My times from before were:

Swim: 19:57

T1: 2:14

Bike: 46:34

T2: 1:09

Run: 34:07

I finished that race in 1:43:59. Ah well. I don’t really care all that much.

Travis, of course, beat me (I knew he would). It’s funny though – I did the swim and transitions faster, he did the bike (on a mountain bike!) and run faster. He creamed me on the run. Here are his splits:

Swim: 26:28 

T1: 3:08

Bike: 44:09 (15.6 mph)

T2: 1:23

Run: 24:58 (8:03/mile)

Total: 1:40:05

So he did great! I think he had a very positive experience and even talked about doing another triathlon next year. I am very proud of him and had a lot fun doing a race with him. It’s kind of funny – we both placed 180th in our sex! (There were a total of 470 finishers – 233 male and 242 females).

And with that, Triathlon Season 2011 is in the books. I did 3 Sprints and 1 Oly this year. I am satisfied and ready to not ride my bike again until I get it professionally fitted. Our half marathon relay is in 3 weeks and then Race Season 2011 is over. Have I mentioned how ready I am? 

As far as the race itself went, this event was put on by Racing Underground – a pretty well-known group in Denver. I’ve done several races that they’ve timed but this was the first I had done that they’ve put on. I think they did a lot of things well – their website is informative with course maps, they sent out a pre-race email, their packet pickup was very organized and the goodie bags were stuffed. They also had plenty of porta-potties and their music/microphones were loud enough to hear.

Some things they can improve on: when I heard that we would get sweatshirts instead of t-shirts, I was excited. But while I will wear the navy blue sweatshirt sans hood and enjoy it, I can’t see Travis – or really any other guy – wearing it. I mean, guys don’t really wear sweatshirts without hoods, unless they’re playing basketball or over 40. So that’s a bummer.

Plus, it looked like they spent more money on the sweatshirts and got rid of the finishers medals. I know there’s some debate about whether finishers medals are cool or just unnecessary. Those who do oodles of races (and win!) don’t really care. Well, I care. And my husband who just did his first race cares. I want a medal because I will never win an award!

The last thing I was bummed about was that they didn’t have any finish line food like bagels, bananas, etc. The only food they offered was the post-race meal – BBQ – and while I was pumped that it was something that sounded good and that I could probably eat without getting sick after the race (my stomach won’t tolerate anything too sweet), the line was 200 people long. It stretched across the parking lot. Granted, it was a pleasant day and the food looked good but we just didn’t feel like waiting in line. I wished I could have just grabbed a bagel and been done with it.

So Travis and I went home, showered and went to BWW instead. Mmmm… I tried the new Soft Pretzels. AMAZING! I will definitely get those again. They just hit the spot. I also got 8 Honey BBQ boneless wings but only ate 4 because I ate too much of the pretzels. Then we rented Thor (great movie – looking forward to the sequel!) and Your Highness (would NOT recommend because of all the dirty, disgusting humor) and laid on the couch for the rest of the day. Glorious.

I’m glad that I did the race but my body is not. I felt increasingly sick yesterday and today, my whole head is congested, I have a runny nose and am coughing/sneezing a lot. So I’m forced again today to take things easy and relax. I guess this is good – I always like the idea of resting in theory but when it comes down to actually doing it, being productive always sounds more appealing. So I am going to take the dogs on a walk, go buy some tomato soup to go with grilled cheese for dinner, and then I’m going to plop my rump on the sofa for the rest of the evening.

The only bummer about being sick while relaxing is that I feel too tired/groggy to read so I end up watching copious amounts of TV. (There’s me trying to sneak in productivity again!) Oh well – I’ll enjoy being a bum!

How was your weekend?

Have you ever done a race while sick/not feeling your best?