Monday, April 4, 2011

Motivation Monday! - Lindsay

Morning all!  We made it to Monday already? So quickly-  blah.  Well at least a spot of sunshine in our Monday morning....   another installment of Motivation Monday!  Today's guest blogger is my friend Lindsay.  She is a thirty-something mother of three  who recently completed the Dallas Rock and Roll Half Marathon.   In her own words,  here is her inspiring story:

I just wanted to start off this blog post by thanking Millie for this opportunity to write about this really amazing experience in my life.

My name is Lindsay and I live in Texas with my husband James, and I am a stay at home mom to three children. Jared is my oldest, he is almost 9 years old. He was diagnosed with Autism when he was three. Lauren is 6 years old and practically a mini version of me with blond hair and blue eyes. Our third child is Brandon and he is just the sweetest, most laidback little guy.

Long before starting my family, I struggled with my weight. One of my brother's favorite nicknames for me was Big Butt Jabba the Hut. It was horrifying when our entire high school caught on. It has been almost 15 years since I graduated high school, and to this day I feel the agony I felt in the hallway when I heard someone say it. During my junior year of high school, I started to cut back on what I was eating and as a joke, I tried out for my high school cheerleading squad. As my luck would have it, they picked me to be on the team. Due to all the practices, I got down to my lowest weight ever and my self esteem skyrocketed. Then I went to college, and didn't just gain the Freshman 15. I was so embarrassed and disgusted about the way I looked, that I actually covered all my mirrors in my dorm room with newspaper. And when that didn't help (along with some family issues), I transferred colleges. I arrived at Texas A&M University my Junior year. On the plane ride down, I decided that I was going to create a new life for myself. And I did. By the time I graduated, I was in better shape than I was in high school. I was lean and strong and was proud to be myself.
Pretty soon after college, James and I started our family. I didn't really struggle much with the pregnancy weight loss with the first two, but after Brandon was a nightmare. I was eating the same foods and working out like I always had been, but nothing really was changing. (Okay, maybe I ate a few more Hershey Kisses or pints of ice cream than before!) So I joined Weight Watchers and hired a personal trainer. When I thought that the starvation from Weight Watchers was going to do me in, Sheila would wear me down in the gym. But it paid off, and I have been holding pretty steady at my goal weight since then.

People will tell me, "Wow! You look so great after having three kids!" and let me tell you, that makes me feel good! Especially if it's from someone that knew me when I was Big Butt Jabba the Hut!!! So I'm pretty sure you were wondering why I mentioned Jared having Autism earlier. Life with a husband and three kids is really hectic. Add Autism in the mix and some days I find myself counting down the hours until bedtime. As blessed as I am to be able to stay at home with our three kids, sometimes I feel like I just don't have anything to offer this world. No goals, no promotions...just potty training, refereeing, cleaning scraped knees, and repeating the same requests over and over!

At the end of January, my brother-in-law's partner flew to Houston to do the Houston Marathon. I had told Norm that I had thought about running the Houston Half, but I was afraid I wouldn't be able to finish. He said I was already halfway there in training since I normally run 6 miles a day, at least 4, but usually 5 days a week. I looked up some training schedules and half marathons in the state. I found out that the Dallas Rock N Roll Marathon was two months out and I knew I'd have plenty of time to train. I was even more excited when I found out that it benefitted the Susan G. Komen For The Cure Foundation. My grandmother, mother-in-law, and two good friends are breast cancer survivors, and I knew that if they could fight that battle, I could surely do this! And selfishly, I knew that I was going to have time outside of the house (especially on long run days) and away from the kids. Time that I didn't have to think about Jared's disability or doing mundane chores.

I followed Hal Higdon's (free) half marathon training schedule and every week I posted on Facebook how my long runs went. I felt some sort of accountability posting, and I knew that people would rally behind me on them. I really didn't struggle until the 11 and 12 mile runs, but I just kept remembering why I was doing this in the first place and then all the doubt and pain would go away. I tell people that I became spiritually stronger during these long runs because I would literally pray out for strength when I'd run. I'd work out whatever issues I was struggling with and you would think that I would be exhausted after these runs, but I wasn't. Well, my legs were, but my heart and mind felt strong and I was a much better mom and wife. It also didn't hurt that I had Eminem, Rihanna, Beyonce, Ke$ha and a few other artists to jam to!

Bright and early on March 27, my husband, the kids, and my in-laws went with me to Dallas to watch me run my first half marathon. Gotta love my mother-in-law for making signs for me with the kids!

It was the most surreal experience. As far as you could see there were runners.

As I'm standing there these other runners, I started to panic. OMG. We are about to run 13.1 miles. I have never run 13.1 miles before. What was I thinking signing up for this? Is it too late to get out of this corral? Why can't I just be happy that I'm a stay at home mom of three kids? Why do I have to be more than that? What on Earth am I trying to prove??? And then before I know it, I'm at the start line. The Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders are to my left.

I can see my family up ahead waiting for me to cross the start line. And we're off!

I passed my family and blew kisses, and then I got focused on what I had done during my training. I quickly found my pace and settled into it. The citizens of Dallas lined the ENTIRE course with hysterical signs, and they had bands and water stations strategically placed the entire course.

This is me at mile 3 or 4. I probably could be running faster since I'm goofing off!

I remembered what Millie's dad told me before the run my OWN race. And I did. Just like in training, I got to Mile 11 and 12 and while my lungs felt fine, my legs began to burn. I noticed that I was falling behind on my pace and just at the right time I was passed by a woman with a shirt honoring someone that she had lost to breast cancer. And underneath it said, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." I dug my heels into the pavement and before I knew it, I was rounding the corner of the Cotton Bowl Stadium. I knew I was close when I heard the University of Texas Longhorn Band. I don't even have words to describe the feelings rushing through my body when I saw the finish line.

I was super excited that one of the event photographers captured this picture of me trying to capture a picture of one of the most proud moments of my life (besides getting married and giving birth)!

Crossing the finish line was one of the most amazing, overwhelming, and exciting feelings I've ever had. Even typing this a week later brings tears to my eyes. I am so incredibly proud of myself and the 14,000 other runners who faced their fears and finished the race too!

During my training I paced at 10 minute miles. My ultimate goal was to finish, but I had hoped that I would finish with a 2:10 time. Out of those 14,000 runners, I finished in 4,013 place with a time of 2:06:42!  Not only did I meet both my goals, I finished faster than I thought I would! AND I beat Miss Texas 2011 by four minutes!

I am so glad that I didn't give up on myself throughout my training. That on the days when I wanted to quit or had major negative self talk, I used it to empower me. How I fought for myself on those really tough days proved to me that I am not just some lame stay at home mom. I am an amazing, strong, resilient woman who can conquer anything I put my head and heart into. One final thought...I had no idea of the impact this was making on my kids. I ran into the kid's Physical Education teacher at Target midweek. She congratulated me on my run. Jared and Lauren were so proud of me that they told her when they saw her on Monday. Totally melted my heart.

Thanks again Millie for letting me be a part of your Motivation Monday. I hope that my story inspires someone to try something they've always wanted to do, but been hesitant to do until this point. And if anyone wants to join me in September, I'll be running the Rock N Roll Half Marathon in Philadelphia!!!

Are you training for a race or did you recently complete one?  I'd love to have you share your inspiring story as a guest blogger on See Millie Tri.  Email me at Millie [at] See Millie Tri [dot] com and let me know when your race is.  I would love to share your success with everyone else!   


Fred said...

Excellent blog Linds! Brought tears to my eyes!

The Hoffer Family said...

TEARS! Love you, Lindsay! You are *MY* inspiration for wanting to run a 5K. Never ran a race in my life, but I WILL. So glad you're in my life!