Confessions: On Running (Or Not Running)

Can we talk about how 2014 was not anything I imagined it would be? To say the year did not go as planned would be a giant understatement.

Yesterday, we talked about how Farmer Ben and I had a lot of change…and a lot of stress…and then even more change. Some of this was for the good, and some was not. My faith, among other things, was definitely tested this year, but as a result, it is stronger than ever.

A quick recap:
Ben left a secure job and went in as a partner to open a restaurant. And then, we left it. At the time, it was a really tough decision, but it turns out that it was for the best.

Today, let’s talk about fitness in 2014. Or…how there was a lack of it.
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On the Fitness Side of Things:

· I was excited to run marathon number 2. But, with restaurant responsibilities (on top of my regular job), I was working too much. As a result, I could not make time for training. I had to prioritize-running or relationships—and sleep.
· I was planning to hit some elusive health and fitness goals this year, including14 races and losing those last 10-15 pounds… Instead, I ended up working a ridiculous amount of hours, being overly stressed and only doing 9 races (which I am still pretty happy with)…and I gained 10 pounds (that literally hurt to type).
· I finally ran a half marathon-in a pink tutu (Thanks to my dear friend Kristy for running with me!).

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Plattsburgh Half with Kristy

· I wanted to run faster. This didn’t happen.
· I ran 2 more half marathons this year, both of which I did not train for (I don’t recommend this).

In all honestly, I can’t say that I really trained for any of my races this year, at least not with any sort of consistency. Yes, I was still running but without intention. As a result, I wound up with a pain in my foot that caused me to run even less (it’s mostly healed now).

Instead of hitting these fitness goals, I was barely able to get out and run a couple of days of week… or do anything else outside of work! On top of that, I was constantly feeling guilty for not “doing it all.” Social media did not help my guilt.

But, in the grand scheme of things, it wasn’t the end of the world. 

I guess my point is this: Even though it kind of feels like 2014 was a major bust, I was able to re-evaluate, find rest, and regroup. Like I said yesterday, Farmer Ben and I tried something and it didn’t work. But we learned from it.

The same thing goes for my running goals; I had to decide if my fitness goals were more important than my relationships. And in the end, they are not.

NOTE: I’m NOT saying that fitness is not important, because it is. However, when it stresses you out and consumes you, then it is a problem

This year, I could NOT find a balance between the two. In all honesty, work took over my life for much of the year. As a result, I had to let some things go. For a time, it was my running goals, and in the end, I let working (more than one job) go.

I really, truly love to run. That hasn’t changed. But this year, it stressed me out more than it helped me…there were days when I was close to tears because I had to choose between going out for a run or spending a few precious moments with my husband (I realize this seems dramatic, but totally true). My insane schedule—that I had created—would not allow for both. If (and when) I missed a run, I would panic…and then, I would over-do it on the next run.

So I stepped away from it…The biggest (and most difficult) choice I made was switching from the full to the half marathon at Wineglass. This sucked… Still, it was the best decision for my sanity well-being. When I took the pressure off, I was able to go out and enjoy the run and it went back to being a stress reliever, instead of a stress inducer.

Yes, I continued running but I wasn’t attempting and failing at training. Yes, I still ran that third half marathon–but I didn’t put any pressure on myself to race it. To my surprise, I actually had a respectable time (for me) and I enjoyed this race the most out of the nine I completed this year…probably because my family was waiting for me on the course and at the finish line. Balance.

In the end, by letting my running goals go (for a short time), I was able to rediscover my love of the run and find peace balance.

Now, it’s time for a new year and new goals!

Let’s chat, what surprises did 2014 hold for you? 

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Happy Birthday, Meghan!

Today, my middle sister turns 31.

Happy birthday to (one of) my favorite sister(s)!!!!!

I’m so blessed to have you as family…and a friend!

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Totally normally

Cheers to you, Meghan!


Why Can’t You Just Be Happy?

Hi Friends!

Can we have a real, honest-to-goodness conversation? I need to unload a bit…there are a lot of thoughts roaming around in my brain!

I am a big ball of nerves and randomness lately…not sure if you’ve picked up on this or not. But, as strange as it sounds, I feel more focused and clear-headed than I have in months. It’s strange; I’m all over the place, yet… I have it together (in my head anyway). Does that make any sense? Have you ever felt like that? I just feel like something big is coming… what it is, I couldn’t tell you, but it’s something important!

I’m looking forward, hopeful…but I’m also enjoying the present (mostly). This is something that I’ve always struggled with and this feeling of hope and moving forward is relatively new—and exciting! I’m ready to challenge myself and to do bigger things than I think are possible…it’s scary territory but I am finding it’s exciting and helps me push past those feelings of uncertainty.

I try to keep this relatively light-hearted on the blog… I also don’t hide my faith, but I don’t discuss it very often in this space. However, I feel like we know each other well enough that I can be truthful and open. I’ve wanted to tell this story for some time but I wasn’t sure if the time was right… today feels like the right day to take a chance and to make a confession.

The winter months are typically very difficult for me. I struggle.

I have a hard time being my best self in the winter. I don’t know how else to explain it and I never understood it in my younger years, it was just something I dealt with…I still don’t completely understand it and I still “just deal” with it.

When I was a kid,  I’d push my feelings down and focus on something else… then I would eventually have a melt-down and repeat. Not the best way to deal with things, but it got me through.

As I got older, I had a harder time dealing and pushing my feelings away. I would go to work every day, but on weekends I would hide away, not changing out of my pajamas and just trying to block the world out. Or I would cling to other people, other things, put all of my hope on them for my happiness and self-worth, which automatically set them (and me) up for failure. I never talked about my struggle.

I vividly remember a conversation with someone close to me during a particularly bad year. I was having more frequent meltdowns because I couldn’t find a good distraction and things were falling apart before my eyes, I couldn’t deny it much longer. We were having an argument and he looked at me and said “Why can’t you just be happy?”

I was stunned. And I couldn’t answer, so I did what I always did; ended the conversation and cried myself to sleep that night.

I had asked myself the same question several times but I had never uttered it out loud… I would make up excuses and just tell myself that I wasn’t happy…yet. That it wasn’t my fault. But even though the same question had always tugged at my heart, no one had ever asked me that out loud… and it hurt. It made me feel like a freak…a failure.

Even though I never answered him and that person is no longer in my life, that question has haunted me. (Looking back, I realize how completely insensitive that question was…but he had every right to ask it, even if I couldn’t answer it.)

I blamed my failure at happiness for making my life fall apart (this happened a few months after that conversation).  I took all of the blame; it was all my fault because I wasn’t good enough, I wasn’t attractive enough, my job wasn’t good enough,  I wasn’t HAPPY enough. I was messed up. Looking back, I realize that this is all bull shit (pardon my French). Yes, I did some stupid, terrible things, but sometimes things happen that are out of our control. And it’s never entirely one person’s fault.

It was a God thing… I needed to be broken so I could be made stronger. And I’ve never been more grateful for a series of events.

In a recent conversation with a good friend, this time in my life came up and she asked if I was truly “over it.” Answering as honestly as I could, I said, “Yes. I’d be lying if I said I still didn’t get upset thinking about certain things, but I have no ill will. I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t still painful to think about at times, but it’s because I didn’t like the person I was then. And thinking about that former self is difficult.”

A lot has changed in the years that have passed since that question was spoken into existence.

I’ve regained my faith as a direct result of things falling apart.  It’s incredibly freeing to know that no matter how much I mess up, God is there. That He will take care of anything I give to him, even if it doesn’t always feel like it.  Yes, I still have responsibility, but He’s behind me.

I still struggle with “just being happy,” especially in the winter months, but I’ve been blessed with an incredible support system that gets it and the ability to find joy in the small things. This doesn’t mean that I don’t get down and I don’t get depressed…however, I don’t pin all my hopes and future happiness on other people and events…that’s just not realistic. But I do things that make me happy and I try not to over-obsess about the negative. And I try to be a better person and to help others.

If I’m having an off day, I admit it. Embrace it. And I talk about it… then I try to find the good and move on. Some days, this a lot harder than others.

In recent years, people ask me a completely new question and it always catches me off guard: Why/how am I “always so happy?” Quite a change, right? The answer is simple; I’m not. But, I don’t let my off days consume me as they once did.

In my slightly older/not-that-much-wiser years, I’ve discovered there are things that help me.

The number one thing is my faith, the second thing is my incredibly understanding and hilarious husband, Farmer Ben.

Running helps. A lot of people assume that I run because I want to get/stay in shape. That’s not the reason (most of the time). I run because it reminds me that I can survive and that I can persevere. It makes me feel strong and brings me a joy that I can’t completely explain. It’s also my time to talk to God. Running helps me get out of my head, get out my frustrations and my fears and just helps me … to be.

Speaking of talking to God, prayer. I’ve been a “re-Christian” for almost five years and sometimes I still have a hard time with prayer, especially praying in front of other people…but I’m finding that practice makes perfect and HE can do amazing things.

Another thing I’ve found is reading my Bible helps. I’ve always been bad about reading, but this year I am making a concentrated effort at making this a daily habit. It’s amazing what you find reading through this book. David, for example, was a man after God’s own heart. Yet, he STRUGGLED. He faced so many challenges; including someone trying to kill him… and he also struggled with “just being happy.” The first time I really read Psalms and paid attention, I was overwhelmed….speechless.

I had a lot of hard lessons to learn before I could “just be happy” and I probably still do. I suffered a lot of heartache and setbacks, but it forced me to take responsibility, to take a long look at myself and it made me move forward. Again, I’m far from perfect, but I’ve I feel like I am finally there–or at least a lot closer–even with my off days and my struggles…I’m in a good place and I’ve been incredibly blessed. Great things are happening, and there’s a plan for me (and you!) in spite of those times when I don’t feel like my best self.

Why can’t YOU just be happy?


Six Things, A List for #elf4health

Today’s #elf4health challenge is to list six things I love about myself.

I always have a hard time complimenting myself, even though I’m a relatively confident person and have been for most of my life. I don’t what it is, but whenever someone compliments me on something—whether it be an ability or physical attribute–I’ve always brushed it off, while simultaneously putting myself down. How silly is that?

Recently I’ve made a conscious effort to simply say, “thank you.” And that’s it.

Needless to say, this list (even though there was a similar challenge last year), has taken a bit of thought, but, here we go!

Six Things I Genuinely Love About Myself:

The crazy lady wearing red lipstick.

The crazy lady wearing red lipstick.

  1. The ability to rock red lipstick. I’m not one of those women who wears a lot of makeup…in fact, most days I barely brush my hair. It’s not that I don’t like taking care of myself, it’s just that I don’t focus on my looks very often. But, when I do take the time to get dressed up and put some makeup on, I love to make a statement. Red is one of my favorite colors and I love wearing red lipstick because it makes me feel confident, bold and classy at the same time.
  2. My legs. They’ve carried me through a marathon. They keep going when my brain is ready to give up. My legs aren’t perfect, but they’re strong and they’re perfect for me.
  3. My (obnoxious) laugh. One of my best friends always teases me about my laugh. Mostly because when we get together, we spend about 95% of the time laughing out loud—cackling! Cackling that probably causes dogs around the neighborhood to go into a barking frenzy…but I wouldn’t trade it. It not only announces my presence, but it also shows that I’m happy and that I have a sense of humor (and don’t take myself too seriously).
  4. My voice. I don’t share this with many people, but when I was a little kid, I had to take speech classes. I could understand what people were saying to me perfectly, but I was unable to articulate my thoughts. I knew what I wanted to say, but I’d trip over my words and just couldn’t get it out. I only went to speech therapy for a few short years (up until and for part of Kindergarten), but I’ll never forget that time. Because of my early struggles with communication, I’ve learned to use my words well. It’s one of the reasons that I love writing–and started blogging. It’s also one of the reasons that I don’t really get nervous in front of large groups-I’m just happy that people can understand me! I guess you could say that once I learned how to speak well, I never stopped!
  5. My Singing Voices one thing that I am sure I do well is sing. I work hard to learn new songs, harmonies and techniques. Some of my fondest memories are associated with choir/a cappella practices or just singing with my sister.  I’m part of the praise and worship team at my church (if you’d asked me 4 or 5 years ago if I would be doing this, I probably would have burst out laughing)… it overwhelms me when people come up and tell me that something I sang really spoke to them or touched them. I’m not a perfect Christian, but one of my favorite ways to connect with Him is through song…and having that come across to others is a wonderful thing.
  6. My Faith. I’ve always believed in God. However, having that personal relationship with Him is still relatively new… but it’s gotten me through a lot…and it’s changed me for the better.

So there you have it…there’s my list…. What are some of your favorite things about yourself?


Scenes from a Long Weekend-Part III

So, I’ve already told you about the Farm 2 Fork Festival and dinner with the family, but I haven’t yet filled you in on the rest of the weekend.

Ben’s sister and niece were also in the area this weekend. So, on Sunday, after church and a quick lunch, we met them just outside of Lake Placid bearing some of the best local cuisine…Clare and Carl’s Michigans (just google it).

After leaving my car parked on the side of the road, we headed up Whiteface Mountain…although I’ve lived in the North Country for quite some time, I’d never actually made this trip before, so I was pretty excited… unfortunately, I didn’t really think too far ahead and was not wearing the best outfit for being on top of a mountain ( a cotton dress and a pair of slip-ons)…luckily, I had a zip-up in my car.

Anyway, we drove up the mountain slowly, stopping to take a few pictures along the way…

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When we reached the top and found a parking spot, we took the elevator to the top of the mountain (!!!!) and looked around…then we walked/hiked down to the castle and enjoyed our Michigans before hitting the road again.

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Although it was a quick trip, it was really great to catch up and enjoy the view from the top.

After we got back to the car, Ben and I decided to head into Lake Placid to wander around, with a pit-stop for root beer floats.

Overall, it was a pretty awesome weekend and we are both thankful for the quality time spent with family.

How was your labor day? What’s your favorite local food? Ever taken an elevator to the top of a mountain?


Scenes from a Long Weekend-Part I

Coming off a long weekend is really hard. It’s Wednesday, but my body thinks that it’s Tuesday…and my brain just really wants it to be Friday again! Combine that with the food hangover from eating…everything… yikes! See the dilemma?

Anyway, Ben and I were super blessed this weekend as we had family visiting. My dad and his wife and their good friend Gary rolled into town on Friday night. I picked them up on Saturday morning and we took a leisurely drive to Saranac Lake, NY…about an hour away.

You see, there was this amazing local food festival going on in conjunction with the Saranac Lake Farmers’ Market. It was the Farm 2 Fork Festival. Click here for more info. Basically, it’s a celebration of local growers and producers…and lots of delicious food, demonstrations and workshops.

It was $10 for a ticket and you got to try a lot of good food, made by locals–right up my alley! Unfortunately it as a bit of a dreary day, but that didn’t stop us from getting our localvore on…

Anyway, here are some photos….

The menu

The menu

 

Dad and me.... in the drizzle...

Dad and me…. in the drizzle…

 

Plate 1...the first trip around... loved the quinoa!

Plate 1…the first trip around… loved the quinoa!

 

Dad, totally thrilled that I'm taking his picture....

Dad, totally thrilled that I’m taking his picture….

 

Plate 2: not as much as plate 1, but holy moly that ice cream was delicious!

Plate 2: not as much as plate 1, but holy moly that ice cream was delicious!

 

Speaking of ice cream....

Speaking of ice cream….

 

I loved this station...

I loved this station…

 

Fridge Pickle Bar

Fridge Pickle Bar

 

Kale and Carrots...

Kale and Carrots…

 

I love purple.

I love purple.

 

One farmer had such gorgeous flowers...I took 2341354132 photos.

One farmer had such gorgeous flowers…I took 2341354132 photos. And I loved this kohlrabi!

 

Sprouts and spuds!

Sprouts and spuds!

 

Radishes...be still my beating heart!

Radishes…be still my beating heart!

 

I love all the color!

I love all the color!

 

a closer look....

a closer look….

 

More flowers...

More flowers…

 

 

 

Anyway, as you can see…I had a really good time strolling around the market, eating and hanging out with the family…but that’s not all that we did this weekend!  Stay tuned for more scenes….

 

How was your long weekend? Any big plans for September? What did you eat this weekend?!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


All Dolled Up

As you know, yesterday the hubby and I celebrated two years of marriage. Here’s a little recap.

For breakfast, Farmer Ben made cinnamon swirl French Toast with mascarpone and his homemade strawberry topping…along with some super strong French Roast. Divine.

Delicious-ness.

Delicious-ness.

I had planned on making a special anniversary dinner, but between working like a mad-woman, wedding things and an unexpected trip to my mother’s house after work, I had neither the time nor the ambition to cook anything last night.

Luckily, we had a gift certificate to use at a local fancy-schmancy restaurant.

I hurried home after visiting with my mother and hurried to get all dolled up.  I also need to mention that I love having short hair because it literally cuts getting ready time in half. The perks of having an awesome hair stylist.

Ben came home and saw that I was dressed up and asked where we were going.

He later admitted that he wanted to jump up and down and yell, “Yes! We’re going out!!!”

I’ll let you imagine that for a moment.

Anyway, after making a quick reservation and giving Ben some time to get ready, we headed out the door.

This was our first time at this restaurant and it did not disappoint. Unfortunately Ben wouldn’t let me take any photos of our food, but I will tell you that it was delicious and we will be going back. We started our with a bottle of Spanish red…obviously, my pick.

I forced Ben to take pictures before our wine came out.

Pre-dinner photos:

So handsome.

So handsome.

Please notice my gorgeous tan-lines.

Please notice my gorgeous tan-lines.

After I forced politely asked our server to take a picture of us on our anniversary, we each received a complimentary glass of champagne. Winning!

We really do like each other!

We really do like each other!

Anyway, I’m sure you’re interested in what we had for dinner. I know that’s all I would want to know….

Appetizer:

The house smoked salmon. And complimentary olives, baguette and butter…all were devoured.

Entrees:

Ben ordered an elk steak special and oh my goodness it was good.

I ordered twin filets with tawny port and a gorgonzola demi…totally worth it. I have a weakness for gorgonzola, so–completely unlike my normal dining experience–I knew exactly what I was going to have within two minutes of looking over the menu.

Both of our entrees came with smashed potatoes (not the bagged kind that most restaurants get!), carrots and green beans topped with REAL Hollandaise. Yum!

For dessert, we split the crème brulee. Again, fantastic.

Although the prices were higher than most places in the area, it was totally worth it…even if we hadn’t had a gift certificate that covered most of our bill. Maybe it’s because I work in a restaurant, but I didn’t find anything over-priced, especially for the quality of the food.

The food was good and hand-crafted, the service was excellent and the atmosphere was perfect for a quiet dinner for two–not too casual and not overly pretentious, either.  We left with full bellies and happy mouths.

Overall it was a perfect evening.

If you’re in the area and looking for a great restaurant, check out Anthony’s Restaurant and Bistro.

What about you? Where do you go to celebrate? What is your go-to meal when you order? Do you take forever or do you know right away? Are you an obnoxious photo-taker like me? Wine: Red or White? Domestic or imported?

Anyway, that’s all I’ve got for today… I won’t be posting too much over the next few days at it is wedding weekend for our dear friends! I can’t wait for the celebrations. So, happy early weekend!