2017…Bring it on!

2017 is upon us, and as is typical, I like to take time to reflect upon the previous year, and make plans for the upcoming year. I don’t make resolutions; they are usually broken. I do try to set some goals for myself, but I make them something I can manage. I set goals throughout the year, so it’s nothing out of the ordinary. Even on days I am off work, I set little goals like finishing laundry, getting photos in albums, or taking some time to read.

2016 was a decent year for us. Morgan and her family moved back home after living in four states in as many years. I ran three half marathons, one of which was with my daughter Bethany. My husband began a new job and is now teaching in the same school as I. Nothing extraordinary happened, but nothing devastating happened either (except Trump getting elected, but I won’t go there).

As I was driving to visit my mother today, with my five year old grandson in the back seat, I thought about my goals for 2017. I turn 50 in 24 days. I was not bothered when I turned 30 or 40, but 50 is a little tough. I find myself questioning my clothing choices…You’re almost 50; should you really wear those leggings? You’re almost 50; you should consider more practical shoes…You’re almost 50; maybe you should cut your hair shorter. So, my first goal is to accept 50 as just another number, to wear what I want, and to get in shape. My next goal is to run stronger, to prove that just because I’m 50 doesn’t mean I can’t improve; 50 doesn’t mean I have to change who I am. I’ve gotten slower the last two years, especially after knee surgery, but is that just an excuse? I intend to find out. My friend Mary Jane and I plan to train harder for our half marathons that will take place in the spring. I want to be in the best shape I can and not let 50 be an excuse to let up on exercise.

rhett

With Layne chatting away in the backseat, I thought about a more important goal: making great memories for my grandkids. I thought about the precious memories I have of my grandmothers, especially my Grandma Allen. What I realized was that those memories have nothing to do with things or money. Grandma Allen was poor by today’s standards, but I never knew that. She never owned her own home; she made her own clothes; and she lived a very conservative life. Until I was 16, Grandma lived in a garage that had been converted to an apartment. I loved that little place. It had a little bedroom, bathroom, small living room, and a kitchen, and it was perfect.

The only trips Grandma took were to visit my uncle in Texas, and he paid for those trips. She had a handful of toys for us grandkids to play with, and she saved her thread spools and greeting cards for our entertainment. My cousins and I would build great towers with those spools, and would attempt to stack greeting cards creating card houses. I don’t remember my grandma ever buying me anything or taking me anywhere, except one summer when she took my cousin, Marcia, and me to visit family in Kentucky.

Marcia and I were city girls, so this trip with Grandma was  quite the adventure. We spent a week on Christine’s farm, and a few days at our Great Aunt Lillian’s farm. We explored their homes, built a tree house out of odds and ends, and easily entertained ourselves. We had no electronics, but we had the best time. Grandma didn’t need Disney World to make great memories for us.

The memories I have with my grandma are of her  spending time with me. She would make me grilled cheese for dinner and popcorn for a snack. I slept with her in her bed, and she always complained about my kicking her all night. I went with her to the laundromat and the grocery store. She didn’t buy lavish gifts or take me to museums. She didn’t buy me a treat every time we went to the store. She didn’t have to. Her time and her love were all I needed to create those beautiful memories that I hope to create with my grandkids.

We feel very blessed that Morgan and her family are here so that we have the opportunity to spend time with her kids. Gary’s daughter and her family live in Virginia, so we are lucky to see them once a year. We both really miss just getting to know her children, and being able to spend time with them. I hate that they won’t have memories of us being in their lives as they’ve grown up.

Layne is five, so he is at that oh-so-inquisitive age. I bet he has said, “Hey, Nana…” 100 times this week. “Hey, Nana, why are there trees?” “Hey, Nana, how did they make that gym floor?” “Hey, Nana, what was your dad’s name?” And as a Nana, I cherish every single Hey, Nana. I hope he and Rhett always want to spend time with us. I hope they remember the little moments, like our walks to see the horses or going to basketball games together. I hope they grow up to be better men having spent time with us. I hope they will always say, “Hey, Nana?”

Bring on 2017. I am ready to be an fun-loving 50 year old nana! Bring on those hot flashes, wrinkles, and age spots. I won’t let them hold me back from being the best senior citizen I can be. Happy New Year!

Schweizer Fest Road Run…Day 5 Post Op

No, I didn’t run.  However, I have been asked about my knee so much, that I made up a great story to try out tonight!

Person:  UGH!  What happened to your knee?

Me:  Well, you won’t believe it, but I was running the 6 miler this morning, and I was in front.  I was so excited to run up Mozart in the 100% humidity, and I was just flying!  Suddenly, when I got right in front of the Nobles’ house, a gigantic buck ran out in front of me!  I know!  It was crazy!  So, since I am an athlete, I did what any respectable athlete would do, and I hurdled the deer.  Just as I was crossing over, he turned his head, and his enormous antler caught my foot.  I landed right on my knee!  That was it for me.  I had to drop out, and now I have several stitches, and I have to wear this wrap for a week!  How embarrassing!

What do you think?  It sounds a helluva lot better than having an arthroscope for arthritis and IT band surgery.

I have to be honest, though.  Many people have said they were sorry I couldn’t run the race this year.  I just nodded and smiled, and acted like I certainly would have been running had it not been for having surgery this week.  Confession:  I would probably not have been running.  Really.  I haven’t run the Fest run in three years.  Last year I worked the finish line, and if I would have been confident that my knee would hold up, I probably would have worked it again this year.  As it was, I dubbed myself official race photographer, and worked to get pictures of as many of my friends as possible.

So, why wouldn’t I have run?  The reason is that I have crazy anxiety.  It makes me so stinkin’ nervous to run a race in Tell City because I know most everyone there.  I literally get heart palpitations and belly upset just thinking about running in front of my home town.  In my head, I know it is ridiculous, but the last time I ran it, I was so nervous that I couldn’t even enjoy the race.  I have run half marathons with thousands of people, and I don’t get that anxious, but stick me in front of people who know and love me (and some who don’t like me one bit), and I totally freak out.  Don’t judge me.  We all have oddities – I just admit mine online!  Today, I thought maybe I should try it again next year, assuming my body will be healed and I am running in a year.  Next summer, I’ll get all nervous just reading about the race in the News.  And I am such a great photographer that I should probably stick to that.

As for this morning,  I had an absolute blast!  I completely enjoyed watching everyone finish!  I got some pretty great pictures, and was so glad to capture those moments for my friends.  I wasn’t stressed at all!  I am so proud of so many people, but I am going to mention just a few.

Melinda Jacob….She is incredible!  She has lost 117 pounds by eating right and working her butt off.  I have literally watched her shrink over the last year.  I remember last fall when I asked her to come to Zumba.  She told me she would when she lost some more weight.  Of course, I told her that made no sense because doing Zumba would help her lose that weight.  She caved, and she loved it!  She came to lots of Zumba classes, and many times did three workouts a day.  She is a shining example of perseverance to her children.  She ran the six-mile race this morning, and I was so very proud of her!

Ginger Alvey….In January, when we began the third season of the Biggest Loser at Everbody’s, Ginger joined.  I will never forget her first night on the elliptical.  She could hardly eek out 4 minutes.  Ginger never gave up, and she kept coming back.  She now rocks that stupid elliptical, goes to Zumba, and has begun to run.  Today Ginger ran the two mile race!   How far she has come in such a short time!

Caroline Johnson….sometimes hates working out.  I have seen her laugh during workouts, but I’ve also heard her cuss, and seen her leave because she’s ticked she can’t do something.  But, she always came back.  She has pushed herself beyond what she thought she was capable of, and continues to push (even when it sometimes takes a kick in the butt).  Caroline and her husband Scott have completely changed their lives in the past seven months, and are living a healthier lifestyle with their daughter.  When Caroline and I have been out walking/running, we get honked at constantly.  While I would like to think some of those honks are for me, they are all for Caroline.  Don’t think that girl isn’t inspiring others to get out there and move.  Caroline walked/ran the two mile this morning, as did her daughter, Bailee.  Her husband Scott ran the six-mile.  This family rocks!

My husband…Gary has been running for over four years now.  Because he has an artificial knee, it takes more effort for him to run than most anyone else.  He ran the six mile today, and I have never seen him run stronger!  He inspires me every single day by his dedication.  I kinda like him!

Debbie Elder…I know I’ll get this number wrong, but Debbie has lost 50+ pounds.  She is at the gym working hard all the time.  She is also a runner now!  She has the best attitude, and makes me happy when I am in a class with her.  She ran the two mile today, and I suspect she’ll run the six mile next year.  How ’bout it, Debbie?

Emily Miller….I can’t possibly write this and not include Emily.  She has also lost 50+ pounds, and has shared her journey with anyone who would read (she’s a lot like me!).  This year, she set a goal to run the six mile, stuck to a plan, and she ran it in under an hour!  But is she stopping there?  Heck no!  In October, Emily will run her first half marathon!  I am so hoping to be there to witness this great feat, and if band allows, I’ll be screaming ’til my lungs blow as she crosses the finish line.  She has inspired so many people in our community to get healthy.  She is a ball of energy and positive vibes.

TCJSHS and PCHS Cross Country Teams….You make all of us proud!  Two TC junior high students won the two mile race today – Katie Goffinet and Nate Kaiser!  How incredible is that?  All of the kids are so dedicated and so supportive of one another.  They are terrific representatives of Perry County.

The Biggest Loser and Corporate Challenge Participants…All of you!  It is so great to see how our community has become so focused on getting in shape.  Seeing you all out there, either walking or running, made me so proud!  You all are doing a great service to yourselves and your families.  You deserve to be very proud, and you are worth the effort you’re putting in!  Keep it up!  I want to see all of you – and more – out there next year!

To all of the 694 people who joined the action today, thank you!  It was a memorable morning, and I was so happy to be there, basking in your glory!  I had so many friends who ran that I would not dare try to name them for fear of forgetting someone.   Just know that you all are the reason I was willing to go through surgery.  I want to be like you!  I want to run…………..just not in Tell City :-/.  You made my morning:  I envied your smiles, your pride, and your sweat (yea, really – I wanted to be sweating from a hard run).  I envy the sore muscles you’ll have tomorrow, too.  Afterall, it’s a good sore!