Thursday, August 30, 2012

I almost gave up running

I don't think it will come as a surprise when I say I love to run.  It brings me joy. It's an outlet for my emotions. It's a way for me to feel strong. 

I almost gave up running this summer.

Now that might come as a surprise.  I never thought I would utter those words. I never thought I would have those thoughts. However I spent several weeks wondering if I should continue with the sport or call it quits. Quit running. Quit triathlons.  Quit.

You might say that I was still suffering from post-pardum.  I would agree, yes, I am still adjusting. However there was more to it than that.  You might even say that I was just down on myself because of some health issues. Yes, those pissed me off but I knew they were temporary.

I almost gave up running because I felt I wasn't good enough

There. I said.  I felt like I wasn't good enough to continue with the sport.  Good enough for what?  Good enough for who? 

I spent a good part of last year training for my second half marathon. I did speed work. I started running with other people who were better than me. I saw myself improving. I got into running more. I found people who also loved it. People I could talk to, I could run with, I could share my highs and my lows. People who would encourage me and give me the support I so desperately needed.  I felt like I had finally found a place where I belonged. I found a community that I was welcomed to.

I lost all of that. ALL of that.  Yes, I was pregnant. Yes I continued to run.  Yes I had to watch my heart rate and I had to play it safe.  I was ok playing it safe and running slower. What I didn't expect was to lose the friendships I had cultivated.  I didn't expect to be told people wouldn't run with me because I was slow. I didn't expect to lose the support and encouragement that I needed to continue running through the pregnancy pain.

I felt that I lost all of that because I wasn't good enough to run with them.  I was too slow. I'm a horrible runner. I suck at the sport. My personality wasn't enough for them to want to slow down to spend time with me.  The person I was outside of running wasn't good enough for them to be my friend when I couldn't run with them anymore.

I've watched people get faster. I've watched them get better. I've watched them hit highs. I've watched from afar.  Because I'm not good enough for them to want to share this with me.

I spent a lot of time chasing this.  Trying to get back into shape right away.  Convincing myself if I could just prove that I was worth their time, they would want to spend time with me again and run with me and talk to me.

I hit several highs while I was pregnant. I wasn't supported by those I considered friends. I felt this was because they felt that even though it was a high for me, I still wasn't good enough for them.

I almost gave up running because I lost the joy of it. I was no longer doing it for myself. I was doing it so maybe others would like me and feel I was worthy. 

It has been hard for me to watch others running with each other. To watch others do races they've never done before. To watch others bond through this sport. To watch others train for things.  To watch them do all this while talking to one another and not me. Not sharing in the adventure with me.  Because I wasn't at the same level. Because I wasn't good enough.

Deep down I know that in most cases this wasn't true. It wasn't that I wasn't good enough, it's that we weren't training for the same thing.  It's that they did need to work on pace and therefore had to run faster. I also  think that they didn't realize how important the social runs were for me.  How were they to know that most of my friends live in other states.  They didn't know that social runs were how I hung out with people, something I crave.  Deep down I tell myself this.  Unfortunately because of my past I have a hard time believing this. I still feel like I'm not good enough. 

I almost gave up running because I lost the real reason I run.  For ME.  It's not about how fast I am compared to others. It's not about how soon I'll be able to do an outdoor triathlon.  It's not about whether or not I'm good enough. It's about how I feel when I'm out there running. It's about how I feel when I set a goal and I smash it.

I didn't give up because I can't quite. Running is part of who I am.  Is it still hard to see others get together and run without asking me?  Yes. It's gut wrenching.  Do I understand that it's not because they feel I suck as a runner? Sometimes.  I'm working on it.  Is it still hard to see people I considered friends hit highs and train for new adventures and not include me in the process? It's excruciating. Do I understand that I need to let this go? I do.  It's going to take time though.   In the meantime, I'll continue working on my goals. I'll continue working on my highs.  Is it sad when I hit a high and realize the people I would have shared it with no longer care?  It's devastating.  Do I realize I need to let it go and focus on the fact that I need to do this for myself and not their approval?  Some days.

I've felt so alone most of my life. I felt I had finally found a place I belong.  I felt I was finally making friends with similar goals and hobbies. Then the walls came crashing down on me.  I've been trying to pick myself up, but it's taking time. More time than I would like.  But I have hope that I'll get there.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

CCTW - Chemical-free and loving it

This week refuse to put chemicals on your body. Read the labels on everything which comes in contact with your skin and only use it if it's chemical free.

Or ...

If your skin is already glowing with chemical-free happiness, please share tips and ideas. Feel free to suggest products or share recipes for homemade items ... tell us about how you transitioned from toxic ingredients to healthy ones ... or share the differences you've experienced since switching over. We'd like to know about anything which will help us eliminate chemicals from our body care products.


Jennifer is raising the bar on this challenge and asks us to research at least one ingredient in our cosmetics. By research she means read at least two scientific studies and/or talk to several chemists/endocrinologists.

I'm a little late, but getting this in just in the nick of time.  I like this challenge at Reduce Footprints because even though I just read it today, I kinda did something for it already. 

Most of the time I have very aware and picky about what chemicals I put on my skin.  So my makeup is already 100%  toxic chemical-free, as is my face wash, etc.

What I wanted to touch on was what to do with a sunburn.  Sure, we all run to aloe vera and I'm sure that's good. Nothing wrong it with.  I have another option for you.  Coconut Oil.  I started to use coconut oil as a face moisturizer a couple of years ago.  You hardly need any and it works so freaking well.   The last time I had a sunburn I put this on because I was too lazy to get the aloe out of the hall closet.  The sunburn never hurt and cleared up super fast.

This past Thursday I went to a baseball game and was outside for several hours.  Silly me forgot sunscreen.  So I came home with a sunburn on my face, arms, legs, and chest.  The chest was the worst.  I immediatly put coconut oil on it.  I did it several times that day. I did it the next day after my shower. I did take aloe to work and after I would pump I would put it on (since I was in a private room anyway).  But at home I would put on the coconut oil.  By Sunday my legs, arms, and face were fine.  My chest was the worst but it didn't hurt at all, just super red.  Today I did notice my chest start to peel, but not bad.

I'm officially sold on coconut oil. I've had to great experiences with it in treating sunburns now.  Plus it's rather inexpensive and lasts an incredibly long time since you don't need much of it.  On a side note, when I make smoothies I also put some in there. 

Friday, August 24, 2012

I forgot

Not too long ago Husband and I were driving home from a date night.  We had a good evening, it was great to spend time with him without the baby.  We talked, we laughed, we bonded again as a couple.  As we got closer to home we also got closer to a local park where I have a planned trail race in November.   Husband looked over and noticed I had tears streaming down my cheeks.  

I had not signed up for the race yet because registration hadn't opened.  However I had been in contact with some local runners who are also planning to run this same race.  The race has three distances: 10k, 20k, and 30k.  The race consists of a 10k course that you just repeat as many times as needed to do your distance. I wanted to do this race last year but couldn't because I was pregnant (I was still running but not trail running as it's too dangerious because I fall a lot).  I had planned the 30k last year.  A couple of the runners I knew did the 20k and had mentioned that they had no desire to do the 30k.   

So this year when the email about the upcoming race came out I said I was in for the 30k, so run the loop 3 times.  They both decided they would do the 30k as well.  Immediatly upon finding out the only thought I had was "Shit! They are so much better and so much faster than me, they are going to lap me. I'll feel like a loser. I am such a loser."

This happened a couple days before this date night with Husband.  As we got close to the park this thought popped into my head, about them laping me and me being a loser. This caused me to become super negative about myself and myself as a runner, which caused the tears.

I explained this to Husband and he said "Why can't you just run the race for fun, who cares if they run faster, aren't you doing it for fun anyway?".  I processed this and replied: "I forgot how to enjoy running."

I forgot how to enjoy running.  Running.  Something I am dearly passionate about. It was no longer fun for me. It was no longer something I did for enjoyment.  I was struggling through health issues and struggling through post-baby body to become a stronger runner than I was pre-pregnancy.  For what? Not for fun. I felt I had to PROVE I was good enough.  But prove to who?  The person I felt I needed to prove myself to doesn't care.  In fact, the only person I need to prove myself to is ME.  I might not be happy with where I am but I also know I'm doing as best I can right now and that should be good enough.  So why isn't it?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

CTWW - looking at our young ones

I skipped this post last week but I'm happy to be on my toes and able to join Reduce Footprints and others for this weeks challenge.  Plus, imagine my surprise when I go to google reader to check out the challenge for this week and find it was one that I suggested!  

Here it is:
This week, if you have kids, think of something which involves your children, which also creates waste or is environmentally unfriendly, and commit to changing it. For example, consider how your baby is diapered and whether or not there is a more Eco-friendly method. What types of materials does your youngster use when creating those artistic masterpieces? Does your teenager drive or walk to school ... and what about school supplies? This week is all about greening our kids.

Or ...

If you don't have children, your challenge is to be an observer and then offer recommendations. Take a look at the families around you and talk about what you see working ... and what doesn't. Offer recommendations and helpful tips to assist parents in greening their children.

These are the diaper covers we use
 As you are aware I recently expanded my family of two to a family of 3.  R is 14 weeks now and doing great!  However with a baby comes more waste.   So far we have that to a minimum and the things we are planning to do as she gets older should keep waste to a minimum.

The biggest one, and the one that gets the most obnoxious comments, was our decision to use cloth diapers.  I wanted to use cloth mainly because I feel it's the healthiest alternative for our child.  The fact that it keeps tons of diapers out of the landfill is just a benefit. haha!   If you look into this these days there are a lot of different options.  We went with an option that is more work on us but was a lot less costly.  The diapers and covers will also last us until she is potty trained and beyond.  Think 2nd child. Although that's wishful thinking on my part as Husband only wants one kid.    We used prefolds, which means those will end up as rags once they aren't diapers anymore. (On a side note - our dog has had a lot of urinary track infections lately and therefore sometimes has accidents in the house.  We have started using the prefolds to clean it up and OMG they work awesome. Best idea ever.) So it's not even that they will go to waste after the fact.  Right now the main cost to the environment is the water usage.  I have enough that I can wash them every 3rd day. That just means I'm doing a lot of laundry. You have to soak them and then wash them with extra rinse.  The diapers don't dry 100% in the dryer. However instead of running the dryer twice I just hang them up.   Oh..and no point in buying wipes when I'm going to be washing diapers.  We use cloth wipes as well. On a side note..these wipes are so freaking soft. I started keeping several with my running clothes and now I use them to wipe sweat off of my face when I run.    The wipes can later be used as rages, as dish clothes, etc. There are a lot of uses.  Oh, and we did look into use a cloth diapering service.  This would minimize waste in regards to water and power used to wash/dry the diapers.  However, we made our decision on cost. It's actually a lot less expensive for us to do it ourselves.

These are the prefolds we use
On a side the diapers really isn't bad. I'm planning to do a post on that in the near future.

I am also nursing as best I can.  I'm not sure how much longer I'll be able to do it but I'm making the effort. I do believe this is environmentally friendly because I'm not buying a lot of formula (we do have to substitute).  My body is making the milk and the only waste involved are the bags to freeze it.  At this point I'm making so little of it that I don't freeze it anymore, I just put it in bottles and take it to daycare for the next day.  So even that waste isn't a concern anymore.

With a baby comes stuff. Lots of toys and STUFF.  I'm happy to report about 90% of what we have was given to us used.  The majority of what was bought for us were the diapers and accessories for the cloth diapering and clothes.  R is the only girl on both sides of the family so everyone was very excited and we have a lot of clothes.

These are other inserts we use. I actually like them better
but they were more expensive so we don't have
as many.
 As R gets older I know there will be more waste involved.  We are going to try and minimize this as best we can.  We are both in agreement that we will start out making her food.  We agree that we don't want a ton of toys.  My sisters might have had all boys but there will still be a ton of toys we can take from them, especially right now (we actually already have).  We are also in agreement that we love the wooden toys and not the plastic crap from China.  So we'll try to make our preferences known for when it's birthday and Christmas time. 

I'm sure as she gets older different things will come up, this is just all I can think of for right now. 

Monday, August 6, 2012

CTWW - Looking around outside

This is the challenge that was given to us by Reduce Footprints last Wednesday:
This week take a look at your yard for toxic and/or non-environmentally-friendly materials. For example, does your garden hose contain lead? Is the pool, yard toys (slides, swings, doll houses, etc.) made of plastic? How about buckets, tools, garden pots .... or window netting for insects ... are they made of harmful plastic? Identify the materials used for the things you have in your yard and then, make plans to replace those items with Eco-friendly, safe versions. NOTE: we're not asking you to run out and replace everything in your yard ... but simply to evaluate items and replace as you can or deem fitting.

Or ...

Don't have a yard, patio, etc.? Then your challenge is to look indoors. Focus on one room and do the same ... identify any harmful, non-Eco-friendly materials and make plans to replace them. This might include paint with harmful ingredients or a plastic shower curtain. Other ideas include plastic decor, light bulbs, etc.

I thought about this one yesterday as I was outside doing some things around the yard.  I think Husband and I do pretty good.  It's not the best but it's ok.  Most of what we bought and have we did before I started to really focus on my impact on the environment.    We do have a couple things we've done since though.

We do have an inground pool.  Talk about NOT being very environmentally friendlly.  However a couple years ago we converted it to a salt water pool.  Yes you still put chemicals in it.  However of us that is just when we open the pool.  We have found with the salt water we are able to keep the water clean and clear without doing too much.  We don't have to add chlorine to it after the initial dump of chemicals in the beginning of the season.   The salt water is definitly healthier for us.   Pool chemicals are either going to be in a plastic container or a plastic bag.  Since we rarely buy these chemicals we are also able to reduce the amount of waste in that regard.  Sure we could recycle the containers (throw away the bag) but even that has to go through a process.  Now we can reduce the amount we throw away and recycle.

For some reason I don't have a pic of
them outside but this gives you an idea
 We also wanted new furniture for outside by the pool.  The table and chairs were left by the previous owner and we don't like it.  However we are too cheap to buy new stuff.  Last summer Husband actually made some lounge chairs for us.  Instead of having plastic chairs he made some out of wood.  It looks nice and it had a much lower impact on the environment.  Well, at least I believe it did.  I guess the wood could have gone through some kind of process before it got to us.

One thing that I have made an effort to change, however, involves cleaning up after the dog (and deer).  It's not exactly something that we use outside but since she goes outside and I had to clean it up I did think about it.  Instead of putting her waste in a plastic bag I actually put it in paper bags.  I know this will break down easier in the landfill and over time it's a better option than using a plastic bag.  Plus it's pretty cheap to buy the paper bags, I just use paper lunch bags. 

Blackberries from this year.
 Now the last thing I wanted to mention kinda goes with this and kinda doesn't.  I had wanted some kind of privacy cover/fence for around the pool.  I also wanted blackberry bushes.  We decided to put the blackberry bush on the pool fence.  This not only provides us with some cover for when we are in the pool but it also kept us from having to buy/build something for the blackberry bush to climb on.  Instead of just having some grasses or some other plants around the pool, we have a plant that provides us with fruit.  Win-win if you ask me.