Sunday, April 24, 2011

Is it Time to Start Listening to Music Again?

I love the fact that running allows me to ponder life's daily challenges and identify solutions to reflect on the past day, week, month, etc. 

However, lately I realize my thoughts have not been productive while running.  Lately I've been thinking a bit too much about human nature......most specifically, trust.....and doubting my own trust in myself.  Silly I know....if  we can't trust ourselves, who can we trust?

Somehow, I have gotten sidetracked.  I have forgotten to use my runs as time of reflection on the positives in life.  Somehow, the few negative aspects of life have crept in.  "Hey negativity.....go bother someone else.  My runs are supposed to be positive and uplifting!"

It has been awhile since I have run outdoors with music.  I defintinely run with my IPod securily clipped on my waist when running the "dreadmill" although I have accomplished a few runs indoors without it.  Just cuts down on the dreaded boredom.  But outdoors.....those are my mind-clearing, thought provoking runs. 

But lately, those runs have become TOO thought provoking (is that possible?).  A recent thought process went like this.... 

"I am a pretty trusting person.....but trust is a two way street, isn't it?  And often times, disappointment follows - whether it be family, friend, co-worker, children, spouse/significant other, or even a stranger.  What happens if you can't trust yourself.....I mean really, how do you trust yourself if you aren't good at picking the right people to trust?  Another one of those vicious yourself so you can trust others, but if you pick the wrong person to trust, can you really trust yourself?......."

This is an exact internal conversation I had during one morning long run.....and it actually got me a bit depressed (huh?  how is that possible.....what about the endorphins?) and stopped running....just complete and suddenly stopped.  I was done.  I turned to the rest of the group and told them I was done for the day.  I headed back to the shelter to wait for them to finish the day's mileage so we could grab our morning coffee and have some adult conversation.

Heavy stuff huh?  I have suddenly found myself unable to go for a long run without having such deep conversations with myself.....which tend to be mildly depressing when you get right down to it.  Oh no!  I have become too drepressing of company for myself!

Guess it is time to pull out the IPod again for my long runs.....too much time on my hands to think is becoming counterproductive at the moment.  I think I need a little Fergie, Cake, U2, Black Eyed Peas, Eminem, and Coldplay to fill up my runs temporarily.

What about all of you?  Have you ever found yourself in a deep thought that has actually hindered your ability to run?

What artists/songs help clear your head while running?

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Motivation....What to Do When It's Lost?


It's a tricky thing.

When you don't have it, it is tough to get yourself in the mindset to be motivated.

That is the state I'm in right now.  Unmotivated.

For a variety of reasons I won't bore you with but the most difficult part is this is causing me to skip my runs......which means I am not getting those endorphins we runners love.....which makes me more unmotivated.....

A very vicious cycle.

I'm tired - emotionally tired and that lends to being physically tired.

Obviously training for a marathon lends itself to needing recovery afterward....and I always tread that part - more so than the 26.2 mile run.  The recovery means taking some time off....I didn't this time....and I think that has added to my physical exhaustion.....and some tough runs....which adds to the lack of motivation.

As I reflect over the past few years, I notice that this feeling tends to follow a marathon....but not my half marathons.

Running and training for the 26 million that are fighting cancer each and every day is obviously VERY motivating.....but getting past the emotional and physical exhaustion is tough. do you all get yourself moving when your motivation is drained?

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Thoughts Bouncing Around in My Head

I don't like to post so frequently but I need to get this one written while the emotions and feelings are still fresh.  I had two events occur this week that have lead to me writing tonight.  
  • First, I attended the viewing of MY RUN.....a fantastic documentary about Terry Hitchcock and his marathon journey through life.  Terry is a single parent who ran 75 marathon length runs over a 75 day period to bring awareness to the struggles of single parents and the millions of children being raised in those households.  It obviously hit close to home - like Terry, my own father was placed in a similar situation in the late 1960's when most women were the homemakers.  And obviously, my own children are also part of that unfortunate statistic due to their father and the love of my life's passing to cancer.
  • Secondly, a major light bulb went off in my head this weekend regarding a personal relationship that made me realize that companionship will always be missing from my life.  Many of you may consider me a catch - thank you - however my limited time and raising three children 365 days a year does not make for an ideal relationship.  I will slowly but surely accept this fate but it does suck....there is no other way to state that....just another crappy side affect from cancer.
These two events have had my mind racing the past two days.....and sharing my thoughts, feelings on this blog has become a very therapeutic process for I apologize for using this space in lieu of an expensive session with a counselor.

Being a widow certainly has it's challenges.  I am pretty certain you all recognize that.  Being a single parent is tough - regardless of the path you took to become a single parent.  But being a widow really places your children into a situation of being raised by one parent.  Don't get me wrong, I know there are struggles financially and emotionally when a divorce is involved.  I happen to have grown up in a single parent household - 2 times.....first when my mother passed away when I was two and secondly after my father remarried then divorced.  So, I have sympathy for both camps.....and understand the complexities of both situations.

I also understand that often times in a divorce, one of the parents is VERY absent - which was the case with my dad and step-mother's divorce.  Once they divorced, I never saw her again until my sister's funeral when I was 34 years old and again at my father's funeral when I was 36 years old.

Raising kids in a single parent family is difficult.....and is something that continues to hold a "stigma" in society.  Being a single parent because of a death is even more of a "stigma."  People feel sorry for you.  People that don't know the circumstances assume you are from a failed relationship instead of a very loving one.  People think your kids father is a "deadbeat" or that you had your children without a father involved.
Then there is the constant decision one to toss those ideas around with....every decision is your responsibility.  Talk about stressful!

And those you are making decisions for are not always happy campers.  I am sure many of you have a good cop/bad cop routine going on in your household with your children.....and you probably rotate those roles from time to time.  Not in a single parent household.  The parent is ALWAYS the bad cop.  It is a very rare occurrence I get to be the "fun" parent.

By far, the most difficult part for me is the emotional piece.  I can handle juggling a million things at a time....or asking for help to carpool, etc.....I may not do it well but I can do it.  But the emotional piece....the intense loneliness that creeps up on you, the self-doubt of every decision, the lack of someone to give you that hug you need, and the feeling of being "trapped" in a life you didn't plan....a life overwhelming at times.

Please take time to acknowledge your spouse, to thank them for all they do each and every day, to hug and kiss one another, to say "I love you", to appreciate one another, to take time for one another, to celebrate every birthday and anniversary.  Life is short and once you get to the end, you do not want to regret missing out taking advantage of each day.

A big thank you to Terry Hitchcock for running further than I could ever go, for providing the issue of single parents and our children a voice, and to Tim VandeSteeg for seeing how important this issue is and bringing Terry's story to a national spotlight.

If  you would like to support my efforts and my marathons for LIVESTRONG and helping to keep others from being thrust into my situation, please donate using the link below:


Friday, April 1, 2011

Make Me an April Fool!

That got your attention, now didn't it.  "Make a fool of Barb?  How do I sign up for that?"  Sounds pretty enticing, huh?  Read on....

As you are all aware if you have been following this blog, I am running a half marathon or full marathon each month this year to raise funds and awareness for LIVESTRONG.  My goal is a minimum of $10,000 and my stretch goal is $15,000.

To date, together we have raised just over $5,000 (although my fundraising site only shows $4,700 at this time, there are funds en-route that I am aware of).  At my halfway point already....woo whoo!!

So, on to more important do we go about making a fool of Barb?

My next race is on April 30th....the Illinois Half.  Which will be attended by A LOT of local runners.....a lot of people that know what a better time and place to make a fool of myself?

Here's the deal:
  • If I raise $6,000 by race day, I will wear a race outfit chosen by one of my donors
  • Which donor?
    • Those that donate $50 between now and April 20th will be entered into a drawing.  The donor selected from that drawing will have the honors of selecting my outfit.
    • If you make a $100 donation, you receive two entries, $150 = 3 entries, etc.
  • How do you participate?
    • Make an online donation using the link below.  I'll receive an e-mail notifying me of your donation.  Please be sure to include your e-mail when you make the donation so I can notify you when you win!  Oh, and let me know if you want me to dedicate my run to anyone you've lost to cancer, a survivor or someone currently battling this awful disease.
  • Are there any stipulations to the outfit?
    • Why of course.  Remember I am representing LIVESTRONG and my RunningStrong for Hope so please chose an outfit that is not inappropriate.  But, those that know me well, know I'm pretty game for almost anything.  
OH, and the first $50 donation that is made today (April 1st) will be matched by me....and that donor will get two entries to the if you REALLY want to make a fool of me, be quick!

If we surpass $6,000, I'll be sweetening the pot.....but more to come on that! 

Please share this with anyone you know that hates cancer and wants to kick it's ass!

Any suggestions on what I should wear?  Please post a comment if you have one!