The Gift of the Cut

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I recently started coaching a high school sports team. One of the most awful things the coaching staff has to do is pick a team and make cuts. While we love telling kids they made the team we also have the unpleasant task of telling some kids that this was not their year.

 

It hurts being cut from a team. I’ve made a lot of teams but I’ve also not been selected for teams. So I understand what it is like to get the news from the coach who tells you thank you for coming out but you aren’t on the team.

 

What was interesting in all this was the response from the parents.

 

As a mom I understand the desire to protect our kids, the need to keep them safe, and make sure they don’t get hurt. However I think we do our kids a disservice when we try so hard to protect our kids by coming to their rescue and making things alright.

 

Hurt is part of life. Disappointments happen. We don’t always get what we want. We have to learn to cope.

 

In the moments where we don’t get what we want, we find out who we are and we find out what we are made of. We also find out if the thing we didn’t get was worth fighting for.

 

It is a painful lesson but it is an important lesson.

 

When we take this away from our kids by trying to protect them, what are we really teaching them?

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Funnest Race

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2013 is almost over and the last few months have been tough on me because of my injury. As I reflect back on my year I realize I did quite a few races. Not as many as I have in years past but I ran the Disney Princess Marathon to maintain my status as a perfect princess. I also did the Newport 10 miler and a few other races.

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Of all the races I did there was one that really stood out. It wasn’t a big race or a long one. But it was probably the funnest race I have ever done. I ran start to finish with Kia. It wasn’t just running, we paddled, rode a tricycle, climbed a rock wall, ran in heels, hula hooped, and slid down on oversized inflatable slide.

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It was the inaugural run hosted by Women Run called the sanity chase. The race was hosted at Fort Adams in Newport, RI.

 

 

 

This was the first race I did where there was no clock. So it was less of a race and more of a run. And it was women only.                               

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Women were encouraged to run together. It was a time for bonding and playing. Kia and I got to be silly together (though I think I acted more silly than she did, she is a teen and has to maintain her coolness.) 

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As I continue my recovery I am hopeful for next year. While my goals include a sub 27-minute 5k, half marathon, and an adventure race, I think I need to remember to have fun and be silly too. Racing and accomplishing goals sometimes zaps the fun out of running, especially when you are recovering from an injury. I need to keep perspective and be appreciative of the fact that my legs and in particular me knee is still working. If I do, 2014 will be a great year of fun runs and achieving some goals.

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What are your running goals for 2014?

What was the best race you did this year?

How Surfing Made Me a Better Mom

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Surfing and being a mom are two unrelated activities. While they aren’t really related, I realize I have learned a lot about being a mom from surfing.

Surfing is very much dependent upon Mother Nature. Her mood sets the tone for the waves. They range from calm and peaceful to turbulent and violent. My daughter Dominique has moods that can swing in much the same way. Some days she is sweet and charming other days, she is not. But the beauty with Mother Nature and with teens, there is a time and place for all moods. The violent waves will eventually subside in the same way the “I hate you moments” do. Eventually things will be calm and peaceful, even if it is just for a moment.

In the lineup you have to sit and wait for the next set of waves. In the moments you wait, you have to be patient. If you rush and paddle for something that isn’t a wave it can put you in the wrong spot when the real waves to come. As a mom I need patience too. Dominique acts like she isn’t interested in anything, she ignores pleas to do her homework, she forgets to do her chores, she has a messy room, she doesn’t always listen, she thinks she knows everything, she gets frustrated when we talk, she gets a D in chemistry………….the list could go on. In these moments I have to remain calm and have patience. If I overreact, she might shut down and not want to communicate with me at all. Instead I have to be present, be patient, and wait so when the really big issues come, she will come to me.

There are days when the waves are small and gentle and there are also days when the waves are much bigger. On the days that the waves are bigger, it is hard to paddle out. And when you do paddle out and hit the lineup the waves appear to tower over you like a skyscraper. It takes a lot of courage to go out when the waves are big. Parenting also takes a lot of courage, especially when you are raising a teenager. Over the past few years Dominique has put Jim and I through the ringer. We have faced her exploring her sexuality, being afraid to drive, watching her play sports where she can get hurt, watching her get hurt, flirting with boys, learning about Facebook, going to movies and dances by herself…………again the list could go on. But through it all you have to be courageous because she is learning to become and adult, she has to learn to explore the world without your guidance. It is terrifying, but it is part of being a parent.

When you surf you will wipe out. But when you wipe out, you have to get back up on the board and go out again. In order to surf you need to be resilient. In parenting you will sometimes fail. But you have to get back up and keep being a mom.

The most important thing, surfing is fun. Riding a wave is exhilarating. It makes me smile and fills me with joy. As a mom, I have to remember to have fun and enjoy it. It can be challenging and tough, but most days being a mom makes me smile and fills me with joy. There are few things as exhilarating as watching your baby girl grow up to a beautiful woman.

Thank you for being such a great kid Dominique.

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Happy Mother’s Day.

Thigh Gap and Body Image

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The thigh gap; I had never heard of it until the other day. It is the gap between your legs when you stand with your knees together. Apparently it is a must have for young girls today.

Girls share photos of their thigh gap. There are also blog posts providing instruction on what to and what not to work out in order to get a thigh gap.

It makes me sad that some girls are so obsessed with this part of their body. Boys probably don’t care if a girl has a thigh gap or not. The only usefulness in a thigh gap is avoiding chafing during a run, but lets face it body glide does a pretty good job of preventing chafing.

It doesn’t seem worth it to try and shape one part of the body.

I took some time for self-reflection, I wondered if I was a teen now if I would want a thigh gap. I admit when I was younger my workout inspiration was vanity not health. I did crunches to get a flat stomach. I did booty shaping exercises. But I don’t think I was obsessed. For me working out was sporadic. I worked out if I felt fat or thought I ate too much.

A healthy lifestyle didn’t mean much to me. I ate too much fast food, drank too many sodas, and consumed more calories than I needed. My fitness gauge was how well my jeans fit. Sports were my saving grace. I played all through school and beyond (still do). That was the constant in my life that kept me moving.

Over time I did learn the right things. And as a result, my lifestyle is much healthier. Now, my goal is to teach my daughter how to lead a healthy lifestyle and teach her to look at food as fuel. I don’t want her to view food as the enemy.

It concerns me that her peers may have a distorted image of what a healthy body looks like. Today it’s the thigh gap. Unless there is a cultural shift regarding beauty and health, girls will find another part of their body to obsess about and hate.

Courage

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Over the past few years I have done quite a few distance races. At each race at a minimum I get a new race shirt. I browse the expanse of vendor booths set up at the expo and might pick up a few more things. From when I started running to now, I’ve had to develop a new strategy for shopping at the expo. When first started running, I wanted everything and my shopping reflected that. I would pick up far more than what I needed. The result, my dresser drawers are bursting with shirts, shorts, and other running gear. Now I go into an expo knowing what I need to pick up and quickly breeze by the other booths on my way to the necessary stops like packet pick up. It’s been a pretty successful strategy.

 

This year at the Disney Princess Marathon expo, I knew the places I wanted to hit, Official Merchandise, Sweaty Bands, Packet Pick Up and we were going to done. As I was cruising past the vendor booths I spotted a shirt that jumped out at me. Jim had decided to check out sunglasses so I double backed to really check it out.

 

It was a Kelly green shirt with the word courage printed on the front. The back of the shirt was a definition of courage that really resonated with me because it read, “to persevere with humility” and “falling in love with the person you were meant to be”.

 

Courage was word in my vocabulary but it wasn’t that important to me until I started working with the Navy. I am Coast Guard, and about a year and a half ago I started working with the Navy at their Senior Enlisted Academy. The core values for the Navy are Honor, Courage, and Commitment. During each class we discuss what the core values mean to the students. Listening to the students definitions made me really explore what courage means to me.

 

In the military, the word courage is often synonymous with courage in battle. Showing bravery when the enemy is near. While that is an important facet of the word, for me courage is much more than physical courage.

 

My definition of courage is still evolving, but here is what I believe courage is. Courage is when you are not afraid to be vulnerable, totally exposed to criticism. Courage is putting it on the line, risking it all (especially when the outcome is uncertain). Courage is trying something new. Courage is doing something that others tell you it is stupid. Courage is staying true to you. Courage is looking for the truth, even when the truth isn’t pretty. Courage is doing what you believe is right and not about always being right. Courage is treating everyone with respect, even the people many others don’t want to see. Courage is standing up to bullies.

 

Fellow Flowers (http://fellowflowers.com) makes this shirt. Their story is just as inspiring as the t-shirts. In 2011 a group of women started training for a half marathon together. Over the course of their training, they discovered that running is much more than just running; it is a journey of mental and physical struggles. It is a journey where you face your own fears and adversity and hopefully in the end, when you cross the finish line you will have learned something that you can apply in other areas of your life.

 

My courage shirt is now one of my favorite shirts because it reminds me what courage means to me. But more importantly it reminds me to live my life in a courageous way. Now if Fellow Flowers would only make a shirt defining honor and commitment, then I would have a complete set of Navy core value shirts.

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Sleep, Sleep, Sleep

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The popular advice people get regarding weight loss, is eat less and exercise more. Add to that the variations on what to eat and how to exercise. While I think that is excellent advice for people trying to lose weight, I think we forget something that is just as important, SLEEP.

I know, sleep, right. Sleeping actually seems like the opposite of what you are trying to do. It involves lying very still and doing almost nothing.

Sleep actually does a lot for the body. It is also a major player when it comes to weight loss. Sleep loss can reduce the bodies metabolic functions, increase levels of cortisol, and alter blood glucose levels. I won’t get into the nitty gritty on these, but each of these impacts the way the body stores fat and processes food.

Getting plenty of sleep helps your body regulate all of these important functions. So while you are cutting back on French fries and hitting the gym, don’t forget to hit your pillow. And remember while you’re sleeping it’s really hard to be tempted to eat the left over piece of cake!

Running is my stable life

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Running is my Stable life- Kelly Johnston

Running. It does a lot for me. It doesnt just go as far as keeping me happy. It reaches way beyond that. It keeps me from feeling fat. It makes me feel more loving towards everything in my life. It keeps me stable at work when everything is going wrong. It keeps me balanced when I have five billion things coming at me all at once. It makes me feel sexy. Which in turn makes my husband happy. It keeps me from losing my marbles when my daughter poops her pants when I need to get to the airport yesterday. It makes those once size four jeans but now size six jeans feel like I am wearing a size two because of how good my ass looks and feels. It makes me feel like I can take on the world by myself when my husband deploys most of the year. It allows me to drink excessive amounts of wine without guilt. It keeps me from strangling coworkers who just get under my skin. It’s my link to my beautiful mother in law. My therapy beyond the couch. It’s my girls morning out instead of a night. It’s my husbands savor and my daughters joy ride in a stroller. It’s my way of life. The one thing that is always the to give me grace and sanity.