On Goal-Setting and A New Sense of Purpose

Last week, I was chatting with a friend. Our quick chats are usually pretty random, but that’s what makes them fun. Sometimes they take a serious turn and wisdom explodes from one of our brains. He was talking about doing something that would leave him, hopefully, refreshed and renewed and with a new sense of purpose. He called it a challenge and said that to him it was going to be like his version of running a half marathon and he wanted to see if he could actually do it.

It really made me think about how running a half marathon effects me.

I’ve always been a list-maker instead of a goal-maker. Being in the moment and doing “today” seems easier to me than looking towards the future with a big giant goal. Having small items to check off and not have lingering over me have truly been the backbone of my existence. Some may even say I fear failure because of not wanting to set long-term goals. Valid thought.

When I set the (seemingly) lofty goal to run a 5k, I thought surely I would never make it. Why? Because it wasn’t something I could put on a list and mark off after a single day or a single chore.

And then I signed up for a half. I swore it was my only one, but everybody else swore it was my “first.” After I finished, I realized what I loved about the goal-setting and goal-completing.

It wasn’t before or during. It wasn’t even the crossing of the finish line.

It was the BIG, GIANT, SWOOPING, CEREMONIAL marking off of the goal on the proverbial to-do list.

The feelings afterwards, after marking the goal off the list are strange. The feelings of elation and accomplishment are quickly followed by a sadness of sorts. Maybe it’s a desperation to quickly fill that marked-out space on the list with something else.

The empty hole that’s left is from my own doing. Running a long race causes your body to push further than it normally should. Even being a “slow runner” I leave it all on the table. Ten steps across the finish and I realize that I’ve left every emotion, every ounce of energy, every bit of mental distress, and every bit of me on the course. Physically, mentally, emotionally, I’m done. Spent. Empty.

After a few days, that emptiness fills again with new hope and new goals and new dreams for “what’s next.” I’m a new person – refreshed, renewed, and with a new sense of purpose.

Here’s to leaving it all on the two race courses next weekend and coming back ready to take on the world and set a new goal for myself.

Iced Snoffee

Iced Snoffee

Monday night, thanks to a conversation with Mir, I decided to pre-brew coffee. Well, I may or may not have gone overboard and made 90 ounces of pre-sweetened coffee, stored it in jars, and refrigerated it for the impending doom of #snOMGpartdeux.

Georgia Power had warned of “widespread power outages” that were not an “if” but “when.”

After the last debacle of a storm, I was ready to do whatever I could to have mySELF and my FAMILY prepared. My motto for partdeux has been “Every man for himself.”

So anyway, Monday evening, I took to the Keurig. I made cup after cup after cup of coffee, poured in sugar, and filled 3 large Mason jars with coffee.

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I’ve been eyeballing the coffee, opting for a hot and fresh cup for two days now, wondering when the power would go out and I could finally drink it.

This morning, after a full day of ice falling yesterday, we woke to a fluffy, bright, winter wonderland. There was a fresh inch or more of snow to gather for snow creams. So of course, I gathered.

But then there was the coffee… taunting me.

So I made iced snoffee!!

A little creamer, a lot of iced coffee, and SNOW!

IMG_8653And it was all I hoped it would be.

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Letting My Competitive Side Show

Letting My Competitive Side Show

I don’t feel like I’m very competitive. I mean, I’m sure I am in many ways, but I don’t think of myself as going around being all “I have to be THE BEST or I have to WIN or I have to run as FAST as I possibly can.” Maybe I do and just don’t know it.

But at any rate, I don’t feel competitive for the most part. Until it comes to fundraising.

When it comes to fundraising, I long to be the best. Did you hear me? THE BEST!

In less than two weeks, as you may know (unless you’ve been living under a rock or are new here) I am running the Glass Slipper Challenge at Walt Disney World. I’m doing this as part of Team RMHC, with funds raised going to The Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Georgia.

The RMH of Central GA holds a very dear place in my heart for several reasons.

The first reason is simple. They do amazing things for families. Families can stay in a comfortable room and have meals provided for only a few dollars a night in a facility right near local hospitals where their children are being treated for medical conditions. These families are dealing with everything from 1 lb babies to flu or broken bones to cancer treatments to brain injuries and they’re blessed to be able to stay close to their children and have time to refresh their minds and bodies so they can be prepared to care for their child when they go home.

The next reason is that I feel some sort of attachment to this House in particular. I signed up as a volunteer before the House was even nearing completion. For 5 years, I volunteered in the office, served meals on a monthly basis, and even served on the Board of Directors.

The last reason is that my Charlie has a permanent room there. When Charlie died in 2003, donations poured in to the tune of several thousand dollars. We were asked if we wanted to sponsor a room in memory of Charlie. We pledged a larger amount and over the years, paid our pledge off. The playroom at the RMH in Macon is sponsored by ALL OF YOU (and all of us) in memory of Charlie. It holds a special place in our heart and will forever.

My family has never actually stayed in a Ronald McDonald House. We’ve been blessed to never have a long-term medical situation that would warrant it. When Charlie was sick, we only lived a mile away, so we could go home if needed. But because of my relationship with the RMH and my commitment to volunteer and serve there, I have made some friends that I can’t imagine my life without. Some worked there, some were families there.

Last year, I ran the Princess Half Marathon at Disney with Team RMHC. To be on the team, you had to pledge to raise $600. I set my goal at $2500. I went a little over, with help from all of you.

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This year, I set my goal a little lower, even though I’m running 19.3 miles instead of 13.1.

I’ll be running the Glass Slipper Challenge on Feb. 22 and 23. On the 22nd, I’ll run a 10k and on the 23rd, I’ll run a half marathon. Three medals will hang around my neck after Sunday morning.

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I will do this in honor and memory of all those who have had their families sheltered at the Ronald McDonald House over the years. I will do this in honor of YOU, lovely people who donate to my fundraising efforts. I will run this race in honor of my running buddies and cheerleaders. I will do this in honor of my family – Jason and Henry – who support me every step I take. Above all, I will run this in memory of my son, Charlie, whose beautiful spirit protects that playroom every day of the year.

Here’s where I ask for your help. I want to reach my goal and I can’t do it alone. If I could, I’d write a check!

Right now, I’m sitting at $1115.

To reach my goal, I need to hit $2000 by Feb. 17. 

That $2000 will support The House for two days. If we break it down by nights, it will pay for 133 nights for families who may not be able to pay the $15 fee. It will change the lives of those who are touched by the Ronald McDonald House of Central Georgia.

And it will push me across the finish line.

Thank you for your love and support.

To Donate, Click HERE!

When The Glass Is Half Empty

Being an optimist stinks sometimes.

No, really, it does.

You see? When you’re happy and positive and the one people look for to feel better all the time (read: Me), it gets to be a heavy burden to bear, especially when you really just want to have a bad day.

Right now, I just want to be grumpy.

My glass is half empty.

I want to stay in bed and watch trashy TV. I want there to be a pizza delivered to my house every night for a week so I don’t have to think about cooking or eating or cleaning up. Do you ever get sick of eating or thinking about eating? I do. Sometimes it just seems like such an exhausting thing to do. Like showering. And doing laundry. And doing all the mundane, but necessary, daily tasks.

Sometimes, even the most optimistic of us need to give in to the dark side of our brains. Because even though there is always light on the other side of darkness, there’s always darkness behind some of the light. Sometimes, even the happiest and chipper of us need to wallow in our sadness and exhaustion before we can break through to the other side.

Luckily for me, it’s often short-lived that I feel like this. I’m sure right now it’s a combination of a lot of things.

I want to be a stay at home mom again. I feel like I’m missing so much of my son’s growing up. I want the meds we started HL on to work just right every single day. I need to vacuum and mop and scrub toilets until my fingers bleed because the house is disgusting. The house is a disaster and in spite of doing 5 loads of laundry, there seems to be more that I keep finding. It’s either raining or snowing or too cold/cloudy to dry out the back yard so the dog can’t play outside as much as she needs to. She begs and barks and is generally a pain in the ass. I’ve got writer’s block. The husband is traveling almost this entire month and quite frankly, I miss him.

Depression? Maybe. Anxiety? Most definitely. The stage of life I’m in? Yes.

So what do I do?

Well, I do what I normally do. I go to the gym and run 10 miles, I order a pizza tonight, spray some lysol around, and go to bed at 8:00.

Then I will wake up tomorrow, brush the cobwebs off, and keep my glass half or more full as usual.

Two Firsts: A DNF and Cop Car Selfies

Two Firsts: A DNF and Cop Car Selfies

I sat in the Blue Bird bus, made in my hometown, with my legs hitting the seat in front of me. I wondered how I’m THIS much bigger than I was when I rode nearly the same bus to and from school. I was on the “hump seat.” You know the one. The one that sits over the rear wheel and you have a built in footrest. I always loved that seat and tried to get it every day.

The bus took us to the church for the start of the Tartan Trot 5k/10k. I was signed up for the 10k — ready to take on the 6.2 miles that I had run last year as my first 10k ever. It’s a rough course, but this time? I was prepared.

I met up with Faith and Sharon and saw Lindsey and Stephen. I checked out guys in kilts with fabulous legs, because YES, you wear kilts to run this race if you have one. Sharon and I made our way to the start, snapped our official pre-race selfie and hit the pavement.

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Things were going great. I was having my best race ever. Was running a pace a good minute faster than normal. Passed my house and my boys were sitting out with water and a smile.

Strangely, in spite of running the fastest time ever, I was running in the last 3 or 4 people the whole time. That’s ok. Small race and all.

About the 5k mark, I noticed my breathing was very labored, however, I had just posted my best 5k time at 39:00. I trudged on. But by the time I got to the top of a horrible hill, I couldn’t breathe.

Not a dramatic “I can’t breathe” but a full on “I think I may black out, I can’t breathe” kind. Like the scary kind.

Of course, my inhaler was in my bathroom drawer.

The good news is, I was almost last, which means there was a police escort right behind me. I kindly asked him if he had an inhaler. He didn’t (why would he?) so I trudged on for about 20 more steps.

Then I gave up.

I quit.

At 3.91 miles and 49:59, I quit my first race ever. I got my first DNF.

I hopped in the back of the car with the officer, which was another first.

And I snapped a quick selfie, another first, because isn’t that what you’re supposed to do?

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The officer was nice. He asked me over and over if I needed to go on to the finish, but I was ok once I was able to get a really deep breath and had coughed for about 10 minutes straight. We followed the end of the pack and I was deposited safely at the church where the officer kindly opened the door for me. I mean, he kinda had to because I was locked in like a convict, but I’m going to just go on thinking he did it because I was special.

Sharon walked around with me as I bypassed the finish line and got my t-shirt and banana.

People said “congratulations” and I just said “thanks.” It’s a strange feeling to not finish. The logical part of me says it could be worse, that I’m healthy and it’s good I DID stop when I did. But my heart is mad at myself.

We didn’t take the Blue Bird bus back to the parking lot. We moseyed the .83 miles back to our cars. It was nice.

There’s a first time for everything. And I’m blessed that my first time to not finish a race was close to my house and close to someone who could help. And I’m even MORE blessed that my first time in the back seat of a cop car was for an asthma attack and not something else.

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