From one mom to another..

I have been reflecting on my thoughts about parenting as of late as my daughter gets closer to the age 18 mark later this year and about to start senior year of high school.

From one mom to another you are going to make mistakes. Know it now and move on. Do not dwell on your assumed failures (which are really not, as long as you are trying you are ahead of the game)

Children do not come with instruction manuals on a USB drive in the delivery room (that would be so helpful)  and every one of them are different.

Face it now that you are going to barely survive their teenage years unscathed.  You will get a gray hair or two and possibly a worry line or ten.

Yes, you may need a counseling session or two. You may find yourself reading self- help books on “How To Raise Your Teenager” as well as following Circle of Mom blogs for advice such as curfews. You may question yourself as to “Am I becoming an alcoholic?”, after needing to unwind after this week’s crisis. (and no your not, Have one drink, breathe and move on to the next crisis) Reminder: Mood swings and hormones take on many forms and many neither of you may recognize until you are in the thick of it.

Teenagers are the porcupine with the sharp quills that you must be careful of. You must respect the quills, they have up to 30,000 and you never know when you may say the wrong thing for them to unleash. (Yes, I got that from a counseling session and it was the best advice EVER, Sometimes I see her as the porcupine when we are arguing and I scale it back)Porcupine

I have only one biological child which has made it even more pressure on myself to not screw her up. If you have two or three at least you have a good chance of at least one of them being sane and practical. My eggs were literally all in one basket.

Will she be smart, practical or rebellious? Will she like sports, music or art? Will she like my dance moves and my laugh or just make fun of me?  You have no say in the matter whatsoever and can change daily.

Will I ever know the “right” thing to say when she is sad or angry to make her feel better? The words always seem to escape me in the crucial moment as hard as I try. Did I miss that gene? Sometimes nothing needs to be said, Just Listen. (Can I rewind 2 years please?)

You are going to fight occasionally. You may drift apart but they will return to you as long as you have laid that foundation that you will always be there for them.

Keep that connection going, it can be something as small as driving them to the dentist or sharing a meal and asking “What’s new?”  Make them feel important and that you care about what is going on with them in their lives.

Sometimes the mother/child similarities sneak up on you. How a sappy commercial or life story comes on TV and you both get chills or come close to tears.  (cue Grandma Tala’s spirit as a stingray in the Disney movie Moana). How you see her mommy skills come out when she sees an adorable child and feel relieved that she will be a great mother one day. (Your heart swells with pride and you can say I had a role in that) Yes you did, Savor those moments.

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Part of your role as a parent is letting go. Letting them make their own mistakes. That right there is probably the hardest. They really do have so much more on their plates these days with society and social media. It truly is NOT like how we had it and sometimes it is hard to relate. It is hard for them too.

As my daughter grows up I hope I have done my job in teaching her humility, endearment and to be self-reliant.

Will she be an adult at 18?  (I had to look that up on Circle of Moms) Nope, the role of independence and responsibility is one that takes years to master. I am sure she will be testing her boundaries as well as my buttons but she knows I will always be there.

She has my heart. Always will..

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To one mom to another…. Just Breathe…

 

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Tips for getting your kids to the Finish Line

This past weekend was a unique race experience for me. After I was done volunteering I got to join my 8 year old niece and 6 year old nephew for the Girls on the Run 5k. As soon as we knew it the kids said “It’s starting, we have to go!” We lined up in the back since my sister in law said they would probably be walking most of it. Not a half a mile into it I started hearing the excuses from my niece:

“I have to pee”
“My side hurts”
“My feet hurt”
“Can I just sit?”
“How much further?”

Her younger brother was like Superman. You could have just put a cape on him and he would have been gone. He was enjoying himself and taking in the sights along the way. When we got close to the Finish line you couldn’t keep either child from make that quick sprint to claim their medal they earned for their 3.1 mile journey. My niece wouldn’t let the volunteer put the medal on her though she saved that honor for me her Aunt Nicole which made my day. I thought I would share some tips on how to make race day a bit easier on the kids so they can claim their own Finish Line experience.

• Research the pre & post-race day activities and food options that your kids would like ahead of time.
• Choose light breakfast options for your kids to not weight them down but provide enough energy to carry them through.
• Lay everything out the night before so you’re not scrambling to get out of the house.
• Try not to over dress your kids. Check the race temps and dress for 10 degrees warmer. You will warm up within the first mile of starting your activity.
• Check your kid’s shoes before race morning to make sure there is enough wiggle room and the soles look good. Check their shoe laces before the race starts.
• Take them to the restroom 15-20 minutes before the race start.
• Allow them to drink at the water stops but not chug! A few sips will suffice.
• Watch your kids breathing. Quick, shallow breathing will bring on side stiches. Slow your pace. The faster the pace, the shorter the sequence (fast pace = one or two strides per breath, slower = three or four strides per breath).
• Encourage them to keep moving when they want to slow down or stop. Tell your kids you are proud of them and focus on the shorter targets rather than the finish line. Let’s get to that stop sign or next water station.
• If your child has any medical or physical impairments write it on the back of their race bib along with their full name, allergies as well as your name and phone number in case you get separated.
• Don’t forget sunscreen and enjoy this experience with your kids. It may be something they pass on to their own kids one day. 🙂

gab

gotr both

A fun morning at the zoo, with a 5k thrown in!

If you caught my last post you know Saturday morning BREC’s Baton Rouge Zoo held their annual ZooZoom 5K and ½ Mile Fun Run. This was a fun (& again very warm) race like last year. Over 800 runners came out to run with the lions, tigers, and bears. There biggest year yet! My finish time was 28:28. (4 seconds slower than my time last year and missed out on Top 3 this time). Alaina finished in 37:55 but she did have almost 10 yards of tulle around her lol! She hasn’t been training (due to her Scoliosis back brace) but she will soon when the temps cool down a bit. We missed the Asian elephant “Bozie” that we saw last year. Turns out the Asian Elephant exhibit is now closed. Bozie got moved to the Smithsonian National Zoo in DC. Due to zoo accredited changes over the years it will take a major capital campaign to fund a larger elephant exhibit to hold more elephants of an African descent and to the requirements that are now needed for the elephant’s safety.
Doing local races like this are important as a way to give back to the community. As we walked around the zoo after the race there were still some lovely animals around but definitely time for some improvements.

Here are some pictures from the race:

We went to go check out a couple of the exhibits before the race started (& while we were still fresh)

We went to go check out a couple of the exhibits before the race started (& while we were still fresh)


Quick picture before the race. Yep, she has much better posture than me.  At age 13 she is already my height (when I am not slouching)

Quick picture before the race. Yep, she has much better posture than me. At age 13 she is already my height (when I am not slouching)


Race started in the parking lot and entered inside the zoo

Race started in the parking lot and entered inside the zoo


Look at my peacock go!

Look at my peacock go!


She's headed for the finish line! So proud of her

She’s headed to the finish line! So proud of her


Sightseeing around the zoo after the race

Sightseeing around the zoo after the race

Next up is the NFL Saints 5k next Saturday in New Orleans. I am quite excited to run it this year with my daughter. What’s more exciting than to start in Champions Square and Finish on the 50-yard line of the Superdome?

It’s a bird.. It’s a plane.. It’s SuperGirl!!!

Saturday morning we woke up to thunderstorms at 5:30am for the second morning in a row. Will it clear up in time for this morning’s race at 8am? We had plans to go to Zachary (about an hour away) for the “3rd Annual SuperHero 5k/1mile Fun Run” benefiting American Cancer Society. I checked the FB page and Adonica the event director posted that there should be a break in the weather at the time of the race start so we were a GO! Sure enough on the way there blue skies broke and as my daughter put it “Cotton Candy Clouds”. The sun was shining with a light breeze of 65 degrees approx. Perfection!

us

We signed up for the race onsite unsure if Alaina would be running the 1 mile fun run or go for the full 5k. This would be her 10th 5k but her 1st in her Scoliosis back brace she just started wearing. I told her since the weather cleared it was a sign she could do this and lets go for the 5k. She agreed and we were off! This was a small, community race so the kids were up front doing the Fun Run and everyone else filed in behind them. The kids were so cute giving all their effort. Alaina did great. She jogged and walked when she needed too. She practically “flew” to the Finish Line!!

i can fly

Awards were given to the top finishers of the race and afterwards was the costume contest. SURPRISE!!! Alaina got 1st place! (Proud MOM!) This was her first costumed race and she really enjoyed being SuperGirl. In fact she didn’t want to take off the costume when we got home.

Womens Running #4 Cheer Station 051313
She was beaming with pride which made my heart soar!

Alaina is even featured as #4 on this weeks Women’s Running “Cheer Station: Race Celebration 5/13/13!” http://womensrunning.competitor.com/2013/05/just-for-fun/cheer-station-race-celebration-51313_12807

Challenges ahead….

So as you may know my daughter has joined me in my running quest during the past two years. It has become some really great mother-daughter time. In fact she just did her 1st 10k and loved it. On the way home that day she asks ”When is the next one?” Boy, we had no idea of what was ahead….
About a week later I took her to get X-rays for her Idiopathic Scoliosis update. Last year she was at 10-14% on her S curve but unfortunately 12 months later she is up to 23%. This means back brace time. If it gets to 40% she will need surgery which must be avoided if at all possible. Since she is 13 years old she still has some growing to do so she must get into a brace (that she has to wear 23 hours a day) as soon as possible. Last Friday afternoon I took her to the Orthopedic clinic to get measured and we had a huge scare when we were told she would not be able to run, do P.E, Yoga or dance for the 2 years minimum she would be in the brace. WHAAAAT??!!! That whole weekend when I was around my daughter I tried to be positive. I told her that this is just a temporary setback but inside I was a wreck. You take an active, young girl with great self-esteem and tell her she has to dress differently due to the brace she will be wearing under her clothes (no skinny jeans, no thin tops) and most of her physical activities including simple things like Xbox Kinect she can’t do until she is 16-17!! What is she to think?! First thing Monday I called the Specialist to see what the deal was and found out he intends to “modify” the custom brace after it is made so she can continue to be active. Thank goodness!! I let out a huge sigh of relief. We still don’t know the full impact or restrictions the brace will entail but there is hope that she can continue to be active. Our next race together is the “Run Forrest Run 5k Run/Walk” in New Orleans 4/28/13. This may be her last race before she gets her back brace.
RunForrestRun2013_2
Her first race ‘with’ the brace will be the “Superhero 5k Run/Walk” in Zachary on 5/11/13. I told her just walk or jog anything you can do as long as your out there its all good! A friend and I are going to make her a SuperGirl costume! But of course, who else would she be?

Supergirl_large

To go the distance or not?

I started running a little over 2 years ago and this past weekend I completed my 8th Half. Someone mentioned I can stop calling myself a “newbie”, that I am an experienced Half Marathoner. How crazy is that?? Inside I still feel like a newbie. I still don’t know how to eat before a race or have my breathing quite right. I still twist my hips too much when I run but I’m no longer a “newbie” whaaaaaat??.
Sad-Face
That word gave me a sense of security. That I am still learning and it’s ok to have a bad run once in a while. However I have learned that every runner is still learning and striving to improve which leads me to my next question.
To go the distance or not? People ask when am I going to sign up for a Full. Running can be very competitive. You push yourself to PR at every race even though that’s not really possible and can lead to burnout. During my recent Half I once again had that feeling during the race that this is the max distance for me and I must be totally nuts to even consider to start training for my first & only Full. I do say 1 & only because between my weak hip flexors and nuisance of an IT band I think I only have one in me.
half crazy
I so desperately want that Full race bling. I want to be among my friends that can proudly claim that 26.2 distance. I am in awe of them. Another thought comes to my mind, what would be my next goal after a Full? Ragnar Relay? Rouge Orleans? There are so many fantastic races out there that I would desperately like to be a part of but being that I work full time, I am a wife and mom means I have commitments, plus I am not a spring chicken. I started this quest at age 38 not 25 so once again the voice of reason comes into play. Enjoy the Journey. Own the Half Marathon distance. I have yet to make my sub 2 hour goal for that distance so I would like to continue with that quest for this coming fall season. I would like to pick out 1 or 2 reasonable racecations a year to partake in such as the Space Coast Half Marathon in Cocoa Beach, Florida or the Nike Women’s Marathon & Half Marathon in San Francisco, California. Yes, I still want that Mickey medal for Walt Disney World marathon weekend but if I do get to do that race one day the goal would be just to finish and Enjoy!
a mile is a mile

Opening this up for your thoughts?

Fantastic day for a race… Crescent City Classic 10k Recap

Walking up to the start line was a bit different for me this race morning. You line up by your corral color which was dictated by your estimated time to finish. I was in the Green corral which was four corrals from the start and my daughter Alaina was in the Purple corral which was just one corral before the walkers in Yellow since I expected her to just walk/jog it. This would be her farthest and largest race to date at 17,546 runners. I gave her some last minute tips (watch your step, drink water when you need too, text me at mile 5, have fun, enjoy the scenery!!) She saw her purple corral and all I heard was “Bye, Mom” and with that she disappeared into the crowd. Nerves sat in for me as I walked to my corral with Stephen and Francine. We started to warm up for the race and in no time we were off.

Picture courtesy of Times-Picayune

Picture courtesy of Times-Picayune


The first mile was a bit slow due to the large amount of runners and narrow start plus I admit my mind was still on my daughter at the start line. ‘Would she trip & fall? “ .. “Oh no, I forgot to tell her to ONLY drink out of the Kentwood water cups as I see beer stands and Jell-O shots on the race course”.. (it is New Orleans!). In no time I am running past Jackson square, French market, up to mile 3. The temperature is getting warm quick. I slowed down my pace a bit as I look for a runner nearby who has a steady pace to time with, since I do have a Half Marathon the very next weekend. Up ahead were the mossy, covered oak trees of City Park for miles 5 and 6. I looked at my time on my Garmin and I see a small PR in sight and think to myself “I got this”. Finally up ahead I see the Finish line, I turned down my music and do my best for a final push which seemed to take forever as I made my unexpected PR of 57:58!!

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I got my water and medal then quickly checked my phone. No text from Alaina until a short while later I get “Be at the finish, I’m going past the volleyball nets”. I quickly went back to the Finish hoping to spot her in time and get a quick picture. SUCCESS!!!!!!
Alaina heading to the finish!

Alaina heading to the finish!


Beaming with pride we hug each other as she looks to collect her medal. She finds it and says “That was fun!!” I asked how she feels and she says “accomplished” with a big smile!!

Alaina's 1st 10k!

Alaina’s 1st 10k!



Time to go celebrate with friends at the race festival while we wait for her race time.

Good Times!

Good Times!


Unfortunately they were having Wi-Fi issues so it took longer than expected to get the final race times. Later that evening I got word she finished in 1hr: 21min: 28seconds which I sent to her via text and I got this reply back.
alaina reaction to her time
#ProudMom
By the way my plan to stalk Bart Yasso at the Expo was a complete success!! I got my picture with him and he was so nice!! A very entertaining, informative speaker whom I sincerely hope comes back in the fall for our Louisiana Marathon kickoff this Fall. I can’t wait to read his book “My Life On The Run”. If it is half as entertaining as his session at the expo I am in for a real treat!
Bart Yasso

Last thoughts:
The Hyatt Regency was a great choice for the venue for the Expo, good variety in booths, easy packet pickup, soft- true to size race shirts, parking for the race was no problem at the Superdome however getting back was a chore (long lines at the finish to catch a bus back so we walked back until we could get a taxi which was 2.7 miles later), A thought for future races would be to send out a quick email blurb on runner etiquette for the newbies but this is a race for anyone to participate in so you have to keep that in mind and last but not least an entertaining Finish Festival that only New Orleans could pull off.

My next adventure is Gulf Coast Pensacola Half Marathon next Sunday.
Time to go foam roll my legs!!!