In the winter of 2011 when I put my oldest in swim lessons for the first time, I realized I desperately wanted to do a triathlon. I had run two marathons at that point and several shorter races.
I wanted to try something different.
There were several problems. Number one I could hardly swim. If you threw me in the deep end of the pool, I could tread water or float on my back and do a sloppy freestyle. I did not know the breathing patters or proper form.
Number two I only owned the mountain bike I received for my thirteenth birthday–and it was in very bad shape.
I thought I would tackle the bike problem first. I felt like the little child who prays to God to give her a brand new bike. I shopped for bikes on Craig’s List and put money aside, but I had no idea what I was looking for. Then I discovered my friend Jim was starting a biking business. He knew way more about road bikes. I asked him to shop around for me and gave him a price range.
In the winter of 2012 he found my bike! He did extensive work and rebuilt parts of it. I have always loved the color orange and was thrilled my bike was orange!
The previous owner also turned in her biking shoes and helmet so I was able to acquire those too. I had no idea biking shoes existed and that you could actually clip into the pedals. This is something I am currently practicing…and not quite ready to tackle the road in clips.
I knew nothing about bike maintenance at that point. I did not even know how to pump up my tires. I did not even own a pump. Which became a problem. I got my first pinched flat this fall because I was riding on tires that were too low. After some instruction from Jim, buying a pump from him, and watching a bunch of You Tube videos, I am learning to fix flats, put chains back on, and pump up my tires with hopes to learn even more.
This previous fall I took swim lessons. I was in good shape and had endurance from running and biking. Once I got the form down, I could swim! I am still a slower swimmer and it is probably my weakest of the swim, bike and run combination. Recently I decided to swim with triathletes one morning a week and this has helped.
So this past Saturday morning I accomplished my goal and did my first ever sprint triathlon! My final time: 1:39.50.
Checking into a triathlon is quite different than a running race. There is gear to set up, numbers for the bike helmet and bike, body markings and figuring out your swim lane. I felt a bit disorganized, but was grateful for the gracious volunteers at the registration booth.
There was sprinkly rain when I checked in but was assured it was not going to rain hard during the race. The volunteers were right. I felt a slight sprinkle of rain during the biking portion, but nothing major.
The people in my swim lane were awesome. We all went about the same pace. If you want to pass someone you tap their foot. I was passed by both of my lane buddies the first lap, but then I passed one of them later on. The buoyancy made me dizzy at points. I am not used to swimming with so many people in the pool. However, I felt better and increased my speed halfway through.
I kept my spandex pants and shoes in the locker room. I changed into them right after the swim. I didn’t realize that counted towards my swim time. If I had to do it all over again, I would have left them by my bike outside. There were many people wearing flip flops or sandals into the pool. It did not cross my mind at all to bring those. A friend once told me to practice the transitions. It is a big part of the race. Good advice! Next time…
The husband did not get any pictures of the bike portion because he was enjoying a nice breakfast with the kids at Mc Donalds…which was along the bike course. I did not see him when I biked past.
The run portion was my best. It is completely different running after you have swam and biked. My abs and chest was sore. I had side stitch at the beginning, but not bad enough that I had to stop.
I was thrilled that my run time was only about 1 minute and a half more than my regular 5K time.
I was thrilled to have all three of my kids there. They all high fived me when I cross the finish line
They are my own little “triathlon” kids as my oldest loves to swim! She has loved the water since she was a baby. The second child spends hours on his bike. I am not sure about third but she was running laps around the park last week yelling, “Mommy, look at me run!”
I always say my medals partially belong to my husband. Running, swimming, biking–exercise in general is not possible without cooperation and teamwork with him. Tri training and running is important to me so it’s important to him. Just like his karate (he earned his brown belt in March) is something I have tried to always encourage him in.
What is next? Open water tri? Maybe. I did just buy a wet suit!
It has been almost two years since I started Everyday Mom. At the time I was bursting with “mom ideas” and had post after post written long before I launched the blog. Now the time I spend blogging and reading blogs is significantly less.
I can’t even come up with a good picture for this post.
Why is that? I have seen the trend in other moms too. The kids grow older and go off to school. Our “me time” should increase, right? It does not seem to work that way. Here’s a few theories…
My younger kids do not always nap. I take advantage of that and do afternoon outings to the park, running errands, the indoor playground etc. so I can spend the morning cleaning, answering e-mails, working on church related things. I like the freedom of not having to rush home for naps. I am more relaxed.
Even if they have “quiet time” in their rooms, it is an hour at the most. Even though I can get work done while they play, ride bikes outside, or watch TV–they are kids. They need me to switch the channel on the TV, fasten a bike helmet, and sometimes break up a conflict. It is very difficult to focus on a task like writing with multiple interruptions. As I am blogging this right now, my kids are all out with my husband and the house is totally quiet. This is a rare occurrence. I probably would not be writing this blog post if they were home.
My other theory is I wake up insane hours in the morning so I can get my exercise in. I love the morning workouts. I am not a natural morning person and more of a night owl. I truly believe you can train yourself to be one or the other with time and patience. So when 10 PM rolls around (and sometimes even earlier!) I am done. Anything I write is not going to make any sense.
My last theory is I read more. I have read almost as many books this year as my husband so far in 2013. I also try to read at least half of the newspaper each day. I also read Runners World cover to cover.
I see frantic parents running around, checking their cell phones in a frenzy and over planning and over committing. I have been in that trap before. I think I have done a pretty good job in the last year of staying out of it.
So while I was considering the future of Everyday Mom, I was questioning where I want this blog to go. My zeal for constantly sharing “mom ideas” and reading 10-15 blog posts a day is not what it was. I still need an outlet to share, to post some “mom ideas,” and connect with some of you. So you will still see me here. My time blogging and even being sucked into the Internet is significantly less…and that’s a good thing..
Starting a kid’s running club was not something I came up with spur of the moment. It actually was an idea long before I had kids when I was a newbie runner. Before we had children I worked part time at a Christian school in an after school care program. In the spring I would watch the Girls On The Run club practice in the soccer field. I desperately wanted to be an assistant coach, but I had to work during the hours they practiced.
Maybe one day I can coach Girls On the Run (I was thrilled to find out some of the schools in our area started clubs) but right now my children are all too young to participate.
I read articles on kids and running and talked to a friend whose kids began competing at young ages. I have access to a large parking lot and a nearby park. My kids like to be outside. Why not start my own?
I grew up in a neighborhood where we naturally ran around the playground and one another’s yards. We put together our own spur of the moment track meets. There are not many children in our neighborhood and very few parents let their children run loose anymore like we did.
I envisioned starting some type of community center (another one of my big ideas…I know) as we have a couple empty houses and businesses within a stone’s throw of our church (which is next door to our house). I do not have the resources, time, and expertise to start something like this at this point in my life. Maybe one day. For now I want my own home to be a place where community can be established such as kids running together. A small pocket sized community center.
Other than running a 5K with my oldest last December, I have little experience teaching kids about running. Even though I have been running off and on since 2000, I only recently started running with people who have a greater understanding of form, pacing, training plans, etc. I tell people I am more youth leader than teacher. I do not see myself ever teaching PE. Granted, I did not really like PE as a kid. My running club has been much trial and error…and learning as I go.
The fact my kids are enjoying it (as well as some of the other kids who have attended) makes me smile. Because honestly I am really enjoying it too. I do not know if it will grow into something bigger in the future or remain like this. Perhaps I could start a Girls on the Run club at my kid’s school. Or be an assistant coach for junior high track when my kids reach that age. Whatever the case, I have a passion for running. What a joy and honor it is to share it with my own kids and my friend’s kids.
I came from a generation (like many of you) where sex was not discussed. It was too personal to talk about. Unfortunately many of us got an education from the neighbor kids or MTV. I am grateful that my school had a Biblically based sex education program taught by a woman I liked and respected, but much of it was the biology, the mechanics, and what happens to our bodies during puberty. Many of us were handed a booklet, encouraged to read it, and come back with questions. I honestly felt like everyone (my friends, cousins, the neighborhood kids) knew much more than I did. I often did not ask questions because I felt inferior and embarrassed.
In high school sexual discussions were about abstinence and “saving yourself” for marriage. We were encouraged to wear purity rings or fill out certificates. Our youth leaders put a tremendous amount of pressure on us girls to “keep the men in line” and “just say ‘no.’” Men were referred to as “light switches” and women “as curling irons.” I like the second episode of the first season of Glee when Rachel says, “You want to know a dirty little secret they don’t want you to know. Girls want sex just as much as boys do.”
I appreciated our teachers and youth leaders’ intentions.
But I went into marriage as so many Christian women do–ignorant.
The first thing us women need to know about sex is simply is: It’s for you too.
It’s for your pleasure and your enjoyment. It helps you be closer to your man in a way no other person on this earth can. It’s a way to connect on an physical, emotional, spiritual level beyond what you will share with anyone else.
If you are not enjoying it, please do not think there is something mechanically or mentally wrong with you. The vulnerability of sex might be difficult for you and it might be necessary to talk to your spouse or a counselor about this. You might not even know what you like and what triggers your ultimate pleasure. It may take time (and some creativity and spontaneity) to discover that. If you are too tired or exhausted, you might need to communicate to your spouse you need more help around the house, time away from the kids, or intimacy at a different time of day (there is no rule you have to be intimate right before bed–sometimes for young parents this is the worst time of day).
The truth is if you are holding back, your spouse is missing out. Not only that, but you are too. I believe that is not God’s intention for sexual pleasure. He created sex between a husband and wife NOT just for reproduction, but to create a closeness that cannot be mimicked in any other relationship. My prayers are we wives, can be the best we can be–outside the bedroom and in it.
I want to eat more fruits and vegetables as a snack. This is why I forced myself NOT to make peanut butter and chocolate chip cookies last week even though I was craving it.
I have friends who swear by smoothies…including green smoothies. I love mango smoothies and peanut butter, banana, and oatmeal smoothies. But I found the calorie content is much higher than I would normally eat for a snack. I am also keeping a food diary on My Fitness Pal again.
So I tried to make a carrot/apple/banana green smoothie and I even followed a recipe.
And it was nasty. I tried to give it a fair shot and drink the whole thing to which my husband replied: ”How are you enjoying your seaweed?”
My kids tried it and said it was gross. I cannot say I really blame them.
What I learned from this whole experiment is I like fruits and vegetables. I just do not prefer them all blended together. I have had a couple salads this week. I also have had banana halves, fruit and lowfat yogurt, and raisins. I will continue to eat more fruits and veggies with my meals and as a snack. I am a little afraid to venture into the green smoothie territory again.
A couple years ago I was sitting around a table with fellow young moms at our MOPS group. We had listened to a speaker share about prayer, reading the Bible, and other spiritual issues and we were beginning to discuss some of the things she shared. What I kept hearing over and over from my friends was: ”I should pray more…but I just don’t.” ”I should read the Bible…but I forget.” ”I don’t attend church because it’s just too hard with babies and toddlers. I kind of gave up.”
I was discouraged. Not because my friends were neglecting their prayer life and Bible reading (to be honest I was at about the same place they were), but because these tasks were becoming something to cross off “a to do list.” Of course they were important, but they felt like they were a few steps higher than doing a load of laundry. I wanted to yearn for praying to God and desire reading my Bible. Yet I simply felt….tired.
One mom shared how we are giving so much attention to our little ones and our house. We should simply say small quick prayers to God throughout the day. Then I thought–”Is that the kind of relationship I really want with God?” What if I had that kind of relationship with my husband. We would not spend any quality time together. What if I only talked to him a minute here or a minute there. What if those minutes only consisted of asking for things?
I recently had the honor of talking to a pastor from Washington and writing this article about his church’s focus on corporate prayer. Many Christians struggle with prayer. They know how to ask God for things…but to really seek the Lord and hear his guiding voice…that is harder. After talking to him, I realized that my time spent with the Lord is not simply read a Bible passage (check) and pray for the prayer requests I can think of at the time (check).
Time spent with the Lord is simply that…quality time. I read through Scripture and try to understand what the Bible is saying. Sometimes I pray through Scripture because the words of a Psalm or a passage in Romans speak to something I am going through. I keep a prayer journal and write out requests. Sometimes I do not write anything at all. Sometimes I simply sit quietly and listen. Sometimes I go through the names of God and acknowledge who God is. Sometimes I simply pray for one person–my husband, one of my kids, an extended family member, a friend. Sometimes I simply ask, “God what do you want me to do? This is what I want to do, but is it really what you want?”
On a practical note: When do I do this? I am not as a scheduled of a person as I would like to be. I try to get away for 15-20 minutes in a quiet room while my kids are either watching TV, napping, in bed for the night, or playing outside. There have been times I have a child on my lap as I read my Bible.
Most people I know I am a runner. I hit points where I lose motivation to run. Honestly I do get bored with it. Which is why I have switched to triathlon. Each day is a different workout (swimming, biking, running, or weight training). I asked myself if I could find some type of “triathlon style” Bible reading where each day is different..
I found this great Bible in one year website that is divided into reading a different part of the Bible each day. Day 1 is the Epistles. Day 2 is the Law. Day 3 is History. Day 4 is Psalms. Day 5 is Poetry. Day 6 is the Prophecy. Day 7 is the Gospels. Many people who try to read the Bible in one year lose motivation when they hit books like Leviticus which is a long list of sacrifices and laws. This is what happened to me. It is important to read it of course. I think it helps to balance some of the difficult books with the easier ones.
We NEED that quiet time with the Lord if we are to have any kind of solid relationship with Him. Understanding the point of it is the first step towards making it a part of your daily life.