Who am I?

IMG_1133Your parent’s influence you by the way they raise you. Your friends impact your world and your self-esteem by the way they treat you. Your teachers and bosses create a lasting mark on your work ethic and how you see yourself as a student and employee.  You pick up a book and you identify with the character or you go to church and you feel it stir your soul. You feel connection and awareness on a walk through the woods and you find security and love in a laughing fest with a friend. There are so many moments that shape us throughout our lives, right down to the day we take our last breath. So, through all of these feelings, connections, influences and moments when our soul feels free, how do we know who we really are?
Our friend Kelly at Elements Studio Photography recently did an art photo shoot where everyone picked a word that they identified with. It was incredibly moving to see the way that we humans categorize ourselves based on past experience, interaction or relationship with other humans and many other circumstances that were often beyond our control.  Some people claim their word and allow it to give them strength and give them wings. Others of us are more prone to being caged by this reality and allowing those defining walls to hold us back within the boundaries of our insecurities. With so many emotions and so many roller coaster rides through fear and love and indecision, how do we settle on the core of who we are? How do we set a foundation for being unapologetically, confidently, fearlessly our true authentic self?
In my experience, being able to tap into awareness is at the heart of finding a grounded sense of where our core being begins.  That moment while reading a book and your heart felt lighter, that first step into nature where your feet were on clouds, that conversation with your best friend with the most amazing cup of coffee that just felt right… Those are the moments where we find ourselves. The moments when you catch yourself in such a connected moment that even your physical body can’t help but respond, pay attention. Be Aware. If it makes you feel lighter or makes your heart feel full, then it’s feeding your soul which means that’s a glimpse of your true self. Grab on to these moments and let them soak in! We push ourselves through pain and stress and endless emotions on a daily basis and we lose sight of the fact that emotions are important. Those emotional, mental and spiritual connections to our bodies are a gift that we would benefit from paying attention to.
I think a lot of times we get caught up thinking that these self discovery moments need to be a big grandiose slap in the face that pushes us into a higher version of ourselves. I don’t know how many of you have actually experienced that flamboyant of a moment, but I bet the majority of you have at least had a tiny moment of feeling “right” in your body. We don’t have to discount the smaller things in life, not ever. In fact, I believe that the more we learn to be grateful for the little things like a new running PR or a delicious home cooked meal, the more we ground ourselves into this amazing being we were created to be. Pay attention to what makes you feel. What stops you in your tracks with a GOOD emotion? Be aware of what touches your soul and feels great all the way down to your toes! And then, do more of THAT! Don’t be afraid to embrace pleasure and joy along with the stress and frustration that can sometimes haunt our everyday lives. You deserve to feel alive! It is your right as a human to feel pleasure along with pain, to feel strong and confident in your skin and to know that no matter what is going on with you, you have stability and a deep-seated knowing that who you really are will never be rocked by outside circumstances. I know, I know.. These are just a bunch of fluffy words that aren’t super specific but why do we feel like we need three steps and a mantra to put us on the right path? Mantras are fantastic! Having a 10 step program to better our personal life? Awesome! But you don’t NEED that! You just need you, and an intention to be aware of and notice yourself. You are important. You are significant. You are beautiful just the way you are. You are enough. You are always, undeniably, courageously, passionately, beautifully enough.
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Why the F*** do we run?

RAINEY:

Imagine, me, very pregnant with baby number 2 and staring down my 30th birthday. I am not sure why being a mommy to 2 and turning 30 felt like such a big deal but it did. I wanted to do something crazy and wild. What kind of crazy wild idea does a mommy to two small kiddos do though? I don’t know if I read a blog about running, or saw a documentary or what but I decided what could be more wild and crazy than running a marathon for a non runner? I have never liked to run. I only ran if we were required to for PE or occasionally in college to be supportive of friends. A mile would be hard for me, hell, a quarter of a mile! After much research into training on google I told everyone “as soon as this baby arrives I am going to train for a marathon” and I signed up for our local marathon. Baby girl #2 arrived mid February. As soon as my midwife cleared me to run I was ready and set out armed with the training plan I downloaded off the internet.

Let’s be clear here, I knew nothing about running. Some days I still feel like I don’t know much about it. I am not the person super into the technical side of things. I am still not sure what a fartlek is. I didn’t know you needed to be fitted for shoes (you don’t have to but man does it make a difference!) or need to eat before, during and after runs (this is called fueling!) and I certainly didn’t know what I needed to do to get across the finish line. I had six months to get myself there and a checklist of runs to do.

My first day I was supposed to run intervals of 2 and walk 2 for like 10 minutes or something really easy sounding. I think I ran 30 seconds, walked a few minutes and went home. I walked in flushed, sweaty and almost sick. What in the hell did I get myself in to? I find it hard to give myself grace and not be a total perfectionist and at that time I really didn’t let myself off the hook. Eventually I started to get the hang of it and started building up mileage. I pushed through so many runs and built my mileage too fast, which is an honest mistake but a mistake nonetheless. I will never forget my 15 mile run. I walked a good portion of the second half and I had to call my husband for a ride 1 mile from my house. I just couldn’t go any more. That week I decided to drop down and do the half marathon instead. My back was killing me and I just didn’t believe I could ever go the distance for a full.

I did finish my first half marathon one month before I turned 30 and the day after my baby turned 9 months. I was incredibly proud of myself and can only compare finishing a big race to the feeling of accomplishment after giving birth. I felt like such a bad ass!

That is all it took for me to be hooked. The next few years I would train all summer and run a fall race. Honestly I still had very little idea what I was doing but I kept getting out there and running. Eventually I signed up for a Spring race and started winter running. Then in 2014 I decided to bite the bullet and sign up for another full marathon.

Today I have run 3 full marathons, more half marathon’s than I can remember off the top of my head and I am attempting my first 50k this year!

BETH:

Why the eff do I run? To eat all the food? Possibly. To have strong legs? I mean that’s always a bonus. To clear my head? Often. Because I like the idea of setting goals, kicking ass and taking names? Probably. Because I can do the impossible? To push myself every step of every mile to be the best I can be and never give up? I think we might be on to something. This my friends, Is my year to do the things I thought I’d never do.

If you read our earlier blogs you know that I’m going through a divorce this year. That is obviously something I never set out to accomplish In life but nonetheless it is happening. So why the hell shouldn’t I run a marathon this year too? Good question. I’m sure I could give you a lot of reasons why not to run but you really only need one to get started. I’ve been a runner for many years now but I recently took a year and a half off to heal a foot injury. If you ever taken time off of anything, you know it can be difficult to get started again and this time was no exception. I started off slow and I’m working my way up to running a marathon in October.

In the past, the longest distance I’ve run is a half marathon so this is a big step for me. Running can be difficult physically, mentally and emotionally but I know I have the strength in all of those areas to endure and cross that finish line. So why run a marathon or in this case a 40k? Well, you get awesome swag that usually involves a t-shirt and a medal but that’s just stuff. I’ve chosen a destination marathon so I get to travel. I’ve also chosen a trail run so I’ll be surrounded by the beauty and healing energy of nature. I also have the amazing opportunity of getting to run beside my best friend and business partner. ❤ All of those things are great reasons to push toward that finish line but the only reason I really need is that I’m doing it for me. I’m doing it for the discipline of pounding out training runs in the ungodly early morning hours. I’m doing it to find strength in my body in ways I never have before. I’m doing it to prove to myself that impossible is possible and I quite literally only have to put one foot in front of the other to make it happen.

So, my encouragement to you right now is that whatever you want this year, go for it. Let nothing hold you back, even if it seems impossible.

Boundaries

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I am always dehydrated. Always. And do you know why? Because every time I reach for my water bottle it is empty. Every. Damn. Time. I carry a water bottle everywhere I go. I always fill it up before we leave the house. I always shout a reminder to the rest of the household to do the same, but do they? Nope. Then they grab mine when I am not looking and drink it all. This situation frustrates me to no end. I gripe and complain and they continue to drink my water.

A few months ago, it occurred to me that I can put a stop to this frustration. I put my foot down and declared my water bottle off limits. If we break down in the desert and there is a chance they could die of dehydration, I will share but until then they are out of luck. I diligently watched my bottle of water every minute. At the gym, at the zoo, at the grocery store. It took a while but they figured out I meant business and after a few times of them asking for a drink of my water and me saying go find a water fountain they stopped. This is a simple rule but for some reason it took me way too long to figure it out.

I am the type of momma that wore my babies and slept with them when they were little but my kids are not little anymore. It never occurred to me to set a few boundaries for my own sanity. Boundaries are one of those buzz words that are floating around a lot of different issues, work, PTA, family and friends that take advantage. I don’t often hear it mentioned when it comes to your kiddos.

What are some other areas that I set new rules to keep me sane recently you ask. Sleeping with mom. When they are little, sick or have a nightmare I have no problem sharing my bed with my kiddos. However, they are all getting bigger and there just isn’t room in there for three people. They also want to take turns with me when Daddy travels. I enjoy the snuggle time and that they want to be near me still but I wasn’t sleeping well. Time to set another boundary. No more sleeping with mom. I need my space and it is healthy and acceptable for me to ask for that space.

Making breakfast and lunches. This one is harder because I stay home to be a mom. Part of being a mom though is teaching them to be self-sufficient. I have made every breakfast before school and packed all the lunches for the last 8 years. This year I declared the two oldest, they are 9 and 12, old enough to pack their own lunches. Gasp! Guess what, they mostly make good choices and they manage just fine. There is also at least one morning a week that I say, breakfast is what you find in there or grab a frozen waffle, good luck.

Other things I stopped doing, getting up mid-meal to do things for them, letting them interrupt conversations I am having with adults and always sitting by daddy. Sometimes I want to sit next to my husband at dinner.

Some parenting frustrations are unavoidable. Some are completely avoidable. These solutions seem glaringly obvious now that I have implemented them but it took me 12 years to figure them out. I am not going to waste time beating myself up because I didn’t think of it sooner or because I no longer share my drinks with them. I am a mom but I am still my own person and I can have my own space. Without guilt.

I am the momma to three amazing little girls and I wouldn’t trade them for anything. Like every other parent out there I want to give them everything and make their lives nothing but sunshine and roses. That isn’t reality no matter what I do, so I hope by setting a few boundaries it better prepares them for life.