Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Sanity in an Insane World

My parents, who live in the metro Atlanta area, are paying over $4.25/gallon for gas. What's worse-- they can't find any. Apparently AT-Aliens have been seized with gas panic, causing the city and surrounding areas to come to a virtual standstill. People are driving over 100 miles to find a gas station that actually has gas, and then waiting in lines 80 cars deep to fill up. To this, I say, WTF?? I guess it's a case of an overcrowded city with too many SUVs filled with too many people who commute way too long of distances to work. Craziness.

With the economy being so glum, gas so high, and politicians so crooked, it's hard to find any optimism. I risk being uneducated to what's going on in the world because it's just too dang depressing to turn on the news. I know all of this economic turmoil is having a big affect on my ability to gain and retain new clients too, and I wish I had started this business two years ago rather than now!

But, what can we do but just surge forward. Try to take delight in the good things in our life, like adorable 18-month-olds who just see the world as one big, exciting place where they can soak up lots of new knowledge. To be able to just see the world through his eyes for one day-- where running is novel, the alphabet letters are the coolest thing going, and a rumbly tummy is your biggest problem. Aaaahhhh.

For me, like Forrest Gump, I just keep running. When I feel like my mind is about to explode, I lace up my shoes and run it off. Nothing seems quite so scary, quite so impossible, or quite so bad once you get that adrenaline surge. I logged my first 9 mile run since February this past weekend, and marveled at the fact 9 miles seemed so daunting last year at this time as I trained for the half marathon. Now, I eagerly anticipate my next surge ahead.

Until then...

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A Runner's Dedication

I decided to challenge my Baby Boot Camp students to commit to running a 5K race this December. I wasn't sure if anyone would respond or not, and surprisingly, I've had three say they want to do it, and another decided to take the plunge after one of the initial three talked her into it. I'm surprised and excited, knowing that one or more of them might get bit by the same running bug that's had such a profound influence on my life. As I went out running with Anthony in my sweet new Kelty Baby Boot Camp stroller tonight (p.s.-- that's one sweet ride. I feel about that stroller like some people feel about their cars!), I thought about what running has meant to me and my life's direction, and I can honestly say I never would've ended up here doing what I'm doing had I never decided to run a step.

I wrote this dedication to running awhile ago, and tonight as I feel such accomplishment of getting others excited about the race and in the midst of training for my marathon, it seems ever the more true. This is dedicated to runners out there who love it as I do, and can't imagine their lives without it.

A Runner's Dedication

I love to sweat.

I love to feel the pavement pound beneath my feet.

I love the early morning sun peeking over the horizon.

I love knowing I'm half way there.

I love thinking, God how I hate this!

It's a strange relationship we have, me and running. I've heard before there's a thin line that separates love and hate. That describes our partnership to a T.

The first mile sucks. Even when I'm in the best condition of my life, I struggle to find my rhythm, get control of my breath, and not curse out every step. Mile 2- everything settles in. The burning thighs quiet down. The stitch in my side knows now is the time to stop. My heart begins to find its groove. The endorphins start to do their job. Aw yeah, I'm liking this now.

Mile 3- We're fully committed now. If it's Monday, I'm happily headed back home. If it's Saturday, we've got a ways to go. That's ok though, because my old pal running and I, we're in it for the long haul now. We're working together, sweating together, and remembering why we found each other in the first place. My ever-present hard rock music pulsates through my headphones; inspiring me to go a bit faster, push myself a little harder. I pass landmarks I never thought I'd see when I first started out. I leave them in the dust like they were never there. See ya on the trip back home, yield sign. I continue to tick off the miles, my mind free and clear, thinking about nothing but the lyrics to the song that's playing. I mouth the words; maybe even sing a word or two aloud. Who cares, there's no one else around.

The sun climbs higher in the sky, and my clothes are officially soaked now. It's all good, it's all good. I'm on the road towards home. I can keep pushing a little more, a little faster, a little harder. Soon I'll be downing a cool powerade. Oh, that sounds SO good. Sweat drips into my eyes, I brush it away and focus on what I'm after. I turn onto my street, crank up the volume on my iPod, find my favorite motivational song, and give it all I've got.

This is why we stay together. We wouldn't know how to make it apart.

Running-- you rock.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Gotta Do More, Gotta Be More!

Then I saw the congo creeping through the black...

Anyone who gets that reference get an A in my book.

Well starting week 3 of Baby Boot Camp, I realized I gotta do more, gotta be more. After the initial surge of the Grand Openings, new student interest has leveled off. I've gotta get some more people in the door. I love the students I have now; I just need to find about 10-15 more just like them! I've asked one of my most motivated students to become my "marketing mom"-- she has a sales background, and obviously loves the classes, so in exchange for a discount and some commissions she's going to blanket the town with my flyers and brochures, and talk it up to everyone she meets. I think she'll do well with it and I'm excited to have the extra help. I've also ordered 50 more yard signs from dirtcheapsigns.com, and those will be hitting the utility poles as soon as I get them!

Gotta be more... I'm working on new exercises for class and keeping things lively and interesting. I don't want anyone getting bored or feeling the class is repetitive. I'm also working on different types of activities, like a group 5K. All of this stemmed from me falling in love with running, and setting goals for myself. Now I have other moms that want to try to run the Brandon 5K in December and do better for themselves. It makes me happy that I am instrumental in that happening.

Tomorrow I have an interview for a part-time job with Inlingua Language Centers. I don't know if it'll pan out or not, but I figure some additional part time income couldn't hurt while I get this up and running. I did enjoy teaching ESL so maybe there's something good there, we shall see.

10 miles on the week already... 7 on Saturday and 3 yesterday. Booyah! Running Tuesday and Thursday this week, should be at 17 miles for the week by time Friday rolls around. This weekend I've got a 9 miler scheduled... my first since Gasparilla in February!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Week 2 Highlights

Anthony modeling Baby Boot Camp's performance baseball cap

I've successfully bulldozed through Week 2 of both my marathon training and Baby Boot Camp classes! The second Grand Opening went well... we had 10 come out with 4 new mommies deciding to join up. Our Riverview location is actually very nice, I was a little weary of how bad the heat would be and whether or not we'd be able to navigate Rivercrest without issues. So far, very good! I'm still waiting to hear whether we'll be able to move to Panther Trace and if so, will hopefully have a better location and drum up some new interest as well. So after two weeks, I have 14 paying clients, and my goal was to have 20 once I launch the YMCA location. Right on track. The girls I have now are fantastic-- highly motivated and determined, so now I just have to drum up about 10 more just like them!

Marathon wise, I'm having trouble finding time to get the 4th run in. I'm getting my long run without a problem, plus one 3 mile day and one 4 mile day, but with teaching classes five days a week and teaching yoga on Wednesday evenings, getting that last one is proving difficult. Since the long runs are still under 10 miles at this point I think I'll be find on 3 days, but later on this fall I've got to make sure I'm hitting every day that's on the schedule.

Anthony's doing VERY well sitting in his stroller for classes so far. He seems to have readjusted to our new routine and actually likes watching mommy and her students squatting, lunging, and bicep curling our way to fabulousness. I love spending all this time with him, and I hate to think all I would've missed out on if I had stayed in that dead end, loser job. For the first time in my life I'm really enjoying what I'm doing, and I feel like I'm actually making a difference in people's lives. That's far more rewarding that I ever would've imagined!

I'm going to try to drum up some interest with my students to run a 5K race this December. I'm sure many of them have never ran a day in their lives, and I think it'd be awesome to have Team Baby Boot Camp out there showing other moms that it can be done!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

A Spy Among Us!

Well, well... turns out I had a spy visiting my Grand Opening! I'm really not surprised my competitor would do something like that since she was bold enough to email me directly and ask what my class schedule would be before I even started! When I didn't fall for her "oh I just sympathize with how hard it is to start a new business" line and tell her what she wanted to know, she decided to send in one of her assistant organizers to pose as a potential student instead. I wouldn't have even known except this girl joined my meetup group, so I emailed her to say hello, and then not even half an hour later I got a message that she had left my meetup group. I thought that seemed strange, and for some reason my competitor's name popped in my head. I went to their meetup group and sure enough, there's the spy listed as an Assistant Organizer of the Group! GGGGGGRRRRRRR!!!! I feel pretty ticked off about this naturally, because here I am just trying to do my thing and here's the snake breathing down my neck. It's one thing to look up my website, peek in on my meetup group, whatever.... but to send in a spy is pretty darn low. Of course I was nice to this girl and followed up with her, having no idea she was duping me the whole time.

Business is ugly stuff! I'm taking the high road here but I did want the spy to know I was onto her, so I just sent her a nice, quick little message stating: "Hello, thanks for attending my Grand Opening. Tell Ginger I said hello! All the best to you!" And of course, immediately removed her from my contact list.

When Ginger had emailed me initially I had stated very politely my desire to coexist peacefully. I guess being deceitful is her idea of coexisting peacefully! I suspected she might do this but I guess I'm just surprised she actually did, especially since she knows me personally and I am a former student of her classes. It's low. No way around it.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Baby Boot Camp Grand Opening!

Baby Boot Camp Grand Opening
September 8, 2008

We have hit the ground strolling! After months of anticipation, Baby Boot Camp has started! I'm so relieved and happy to report that the Grand Opening was fantastic. We had 20 people turn out, and many enjoyed the class so much that they bought class packages on the spot. I too enjoyed myself a lot-- after many years of searching, I have found my calling. The ladies that have already joined up are so motivated to succeed, and I am excited to be helping them with their goals. Now that we have a solid foundation to start, I'm looking forward to launching classes in Riverview next week, and at the YMCA at the beginning of next month.

Anthony's been wonderful so far at class! He seems to get a kick out of it. He's my little helper, when I tell the ladies it's time to start moving again with the strollers he'll echo me in saying, "let's go!" Or if I let out a whoop of excitement, he'll follow suit. My little parrot is mommy's little helper!

With the good comes the bad, of course. My little escape artist decided it would be a worthwhile endeavor to crawl out of his crib the other night! I heard a thump and loud screaming around 7:00am, ran in there to find him on the floor beside his crib, his foot still hooked in one of the rails. He wasn't hurt but was obviously very scared. My heart just went out to him, I can only imagine how scary that must've been for him! So Adam and I immediately started looking for transitional toddler beds as the pediatrician said it was time if he was trying to crawl out. We've found one, and MiMi and Granddude have kindly decided to buy it for him. It will take a week to get here, so we decided to use the pack and play as a makeshift bed if Criss Angel decides another escape routine is in order!

On the running front, Adam and I took Anthony on a family run last night. We went 3.5 miles with me pushing the jogging stroller, which is quite a bit of resistance if you consider the 26 pound passenger! I'll do another 3 tomorrow, 4 Saturday, and 6 on Sunday.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

First Training Run

The marathon training has officially begun! This morning Erin and I met at 7:00am and completed 8.5 miles. We were only scheduled to do 6, but I figured if we were feeling good it couldn't hurt to build an extra shorter week into the training later on if we needed it.

It was a fantastic run! As far as I can remember it was the longest run I've done since the Gasparilla 15K last February. Weather wasn't too bad, and I just fell into an easy rhythm and pace. Yesterday I did 3 miles of hill intervals on the treadmill, and I've definitely found that my regular runs improve drastically after a hill training workout.

Days like today make one feel like 26.2 miles is nuttin'! I'm sure I'll be changing my mind about that...

In other news, Anthony's still not himself. He's been very fussy, and is still not eating much. It's a mommy's job to worry, and I am. I know when my baby isn't right. He doesn't want to do any of the things he normally enjoys, and now he's constipated because he hasn't been eating enough to produce a decent poop! He'll be going to the doctor soon if we don't start seeing some serious improvements in his eating and attitude!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Fabulous Run!

I was so involved in talking about the terrible, awful, dreadful thing that I forgot to mention the FABULOUS run I had Thursday night! I headed out around 6:30pm, and it felt more like early October out. The humidity was very low for central Florida standards, and my body responded by plowing through a fun and fast 4 mile run. For the first time in awhile I actually enjoyed the run, and I completed in in just over 37 minutes. The last mile back home, which is usually my most sluggish, was under a 9 min/mi pace. It felt like my legs were on autopilot, moving ahead so quickly that my upper body felt like it was being left behind. What an awesome feeling!! The treadmill hill drills are definitely helping my speed. I'm going to head out to the gym here in a minute to do some more hill training!

Thursday night reminded me of why I love running in the first place. It's so good to have those runs, especially since I tend to get so unmotivated during the hot, sticky Florida summers.

The Terrible, Awful, Dreadful Thing...

When I was growing up, I loved Beverly Cleary's Ramona book series. Ramona was my favorite child heroine, and I would read those books over and over until I had sections committed to memory. In fact, I still do. I can remember one particular book titled "Ramona Quimby, Age 8" in which Ramona suffers the humiliation of throwing up in school. If I recall correctly, it went like this: "The terrible, awful, dreadful thing happened. Ramona threw up. She threw up right there in front of everyone." I could totally relate to this being the end-all-be-all of horrible situations. I was always terrified of throwing up (still am, actually). When I found out I was pregnant, I dreaded the morning sickness (which never turned out to be anything more than nausea, thank goodness!) When it came time for labor, the pain didn't scare me nearly as much as knowing that many women puke during the transition phase (it ended up I did!) My sister has a 13 year no-puking streak going, if that gives any indication of my family's relationship to stomach purging.

I must admit, for the past year and a half I've worried about the first time Anthony gets sick. When he had the flu earlier this year, I was eternally grateful it never involved puking. I always figured we'd know when it was coming based on his behavior and eating patterns. Though he's been eating like a little chickadee the past 3 days, he chowed down at dinner last night and was his usual bouncy, happy self when he went to bed.

Imagine my surprise at 3:30am this morning when Adam got up to check on him after we heard cries over the monitor and delivered this news: the terrible, awful, dreadful thing had happened. Anthony threw up.

I think Adam and I both handled it quite well, and Anthony seemed pretty unbothered by it actually. We stripped the bed, changed his clothes, and after a few minutes put him back to bed. An hour later, we heard him gagging again, but that time very little seemed to be expelled, and he went back to sleep for a couple of hours. He got up at his usual 7:00am and downed a cup of milk, 2 cups of pedalyte, and a bowl of oatmeal with no adverse affects. He's taking a nap now, being obviously exhausted from being up in the middle of the night, but I haven't heard any unpleasant sounds rising from the monitor, so I'll assume he's ok and the dreadful, horrible, terrible thing won't happen again...!

In other news, a truly terrible, awful, dreadful thing that's not just my melodramatics... Hurricane Ike is plowing through the lower Caribbean with hints that it might come to visit us later in the week! I'm not too worried because Tampa does seem to have an uncanny ability to repel these storms... but we'll stay tuned.

Grand Opening Monday!! 25 people RSVPed! Excited and anxious and hoping no sickness or storms affect this event that I've worked all summer to make fabulous!!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

... and then moments like those

Easy come, easy go. It took exactly 4 hours for the warm fuzzies I experienced earlier to vanish into thin air, replaced by all the annoyance and frustration that comes along with parenting an obstinate toddler. People (including the pediatrician) have been warning me for months that toddlers hit a point where they don't want to eat anymore because their bodies don't need the same amount of calories to grow as they formally did. This seemed to happen to Anthony overnight-- one day he was chowing down, the next two bites sustained him the whole day. Today, he ate his oatmeal and banana fine, and had a nutrigrain bar at 11:00am. After a very long nap, I couldn't get him to eat a thing at 2:30pm. I figured he'd be starving by dinner, and I wanted him to eat before my yoga class tonight and before he had to go to **Du-duh-DA-DAAAAHHH** the dreaded GYM CHILDCARE CENTER!

So at 6:00pm I fixed up a yummy dinner of fish fillets and veggies from the beef stew Adam was making in the crockpot. Mr. Obstinate turned up his nose promptly at the veggies. Ok, fine, says I, let's try the fish. No go. Now I'm getting annoyed, but trying not to let him see that as to not fuel the fire. Since he's acting like a baby, I grab a jar of pureed sweet potatoes (aka baby food), which is normally a crowd pleaser. Nah-ah, he ain't having it! I must admit, now I am P-Oed! Our battle becomes a power struggle, in which I lose all sense of reason (how do you reason with a toddler, anyway?) and vow to get some food in that gullet if I have to hold him upside down and pour it in the old fashioned way! Ok, I never intended to do that, but believe me, the thought crossed my mind.

He promptly burst into tears, shaking his head vigorously. I give up on the table, let him out of his high chair, and then try to feed him again in the living room, where he usually has breakfast. All toddler hell is broken loose at this point, and he's wailing as I get more and more frustrated. I give up entirely on the food, just trying to get him to calm down enough that we can go to the gym. He's shifted to high gear now, and there's no turning back. He calms down while we're on the short ride to the gym, but once we get there and enter the childcare center, he lets out full-on hysterics as I pass him to the care attendant. I felt so bad for her, passing on this screaming pile of toddler theatrics while I ran off to teach the class, but I had no other options. Needless to say, I was beyond embarrassed.

The hour apart was good for both of us, as we had both calmed down by time I picked him up. He ate some oatmeal and banana before bed, so hopefully he won't be up at 3:00am tonight wanting to eat. That was the main thing for me-- I knew if he went all day without eating, he'd be wanting mealtime in the middle of the night, and that is not happening!

The emotional roller coaster of parenting a toddler makes me dizzy sometimes. We're up, we're down, we're upside down, we're blasting off at 60 mph and coming to a screeching halt. I know I have to learn to not try to out-stubborn him, but it's so hard to let him get the best of a situation, knowing it could lead to more exaggerated problems in the future. I know that toddlers eat less than babies and I shouldn't have gotten so determined in making him eat, but I also know he can, and probably would, wake up hungry in the night as he's done it before. I also know he butts head with me more than anyone else because I his mother, and he's intent on pushing his limits.

Today was a day of rest from running, but I intend to keep this situation fresh in my mind as I head out tomorrow night. Frustration fuels my running, so I should be on par with the Olympians tomorrow!

My Frustrated Marathon Mommy

Moments Like These

Today I realized why I did the right thing in leaving my loser job and taking on this Baby Boot Camp endeavor. The time I have, and am going to have, with Anthony is priceless. This morning I took him to the Family Resource Center for open play time. Basically, it's a giant room with lots of books and toys. They had those foam "carpet" pieces that link together to form a big disco-looking floor. We put some of those together, and Anthony had a blast going to town on them! He ran around, stopping to pump his knees up and down in an awkward dance of sorts, grinning from ear to ear the entire time, and chanting "jump, jump!" It was just such a joy watching him have fun like that, and I realized how many of those moments I might have missed out on if I had stayed in that job and continued to surf the internet all day.

Yesterday I ran 3 fast miles on the treadmill-- just over 27 minutes. My time has improved tremendously, probably from the hill intervals I've done on the treadmill this summer.

I was telling a friend this morning about my marathon hopes and what propelled me to do it. I can imagine myself crossing the finish line after 26.2 long miles and months of training behind me, feeling elated at the accomplishment I'd made, especially when not-so-long ago I did not believe I was capable of it. Pushing my limits, challenging myself, going outside the box and doing things I didn't believe I could do-- that's motivation!


Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Let the training begin!

First, let me say how happy I am hurricane Gustav did not turn out to be the monstrous disaster that the media predicted (and seemed to be hoping for!) It was definitely a significant storm but will not go down into infamy with Katrina. For the most part, New Orleans was spared as the levees held.

Now two days in September, I really have my mind on two things-- the Baby Boot Camp Grand Opening next Monday and beginning MY MARATHON MOMMY training! I'm excited for the Grand Opening... I have 25 people on the RSVP list. I think we'll have a good showing and a great first class! I've been anticipating this for so long, I'm ready to get it going already.

Also something I've been highly anticipating... the start of marathon training. Staring this Sunday, we are a mere 18 weeks until show time! This year went by so fast! This past week I ran 6 on Saturday (though not a good run-- I was very sluggish). I also ran 3 with the stroller last night, and 3 today at the gym (27:28 time on that one!) I tell ya, running with that stroller is getting harder and harder with the 27 lb weight in the front!

Our training schedule has us getting progressively longer on our weekly "long run". We start out at 6 miles (both already at 8, so we're a couple of weeks ahead!), go up 1 mile each week for two weeks, and then step back one week. So the long run looks like this: 6, 7, 5, 8, 9, 7, 10, 11, 8, and so on until the long run is 20 miles. 20 miles!!

I must've lost my head for doing this in the first place, but it's going to be a great feat and I am PUMPED!