Sunday, May 15, 2016

The Marathon as a Metaphor for Life

This past week felt like the longest, hardest race I've ever run.

And I thought Big Sur was tough.

Complete with injury, uphills and downhills, pooping, and yes, even "the wall", not all of which involved me, taking an unscheduled week off work to care for my injured son was tougher running any race. In case you missed it, last weekend, my youngest son fractured his tibia while playing rugby. Even though I was well trained for this event (I am a nurse practitioner), I had no idea the extent of pain he would suffer nor the amount of care he would need while he recovered. This was a bad break both literally and figuratively. The orthopedic surgeon told him he was thisclose to needing surgery.

But he didn't need surgery. Silver lining, right? Things could always be worse.

And because timing is everything, we also welcomed a new puppy into our home, something that was planned well in advance. It wasn't like we could back out of that at this point. Ok then.

Why would I do it any differently?
"If the road is easy, you're likely going the wrong way." -Terry Goodkind

Exhausted from that first night spent in the hospital after Matthew broke his leg, it would be several nights before I got a decent night's sleep. We had Matthew on the family room couch and he called me throughout the first night for repositioning, medication, and trips to the bathroom. As the week went on, those calls became less frequent. Matthew and I mastered the art of bathing him from the sink and I got his hair squeaky clean. We went back to see the ortho on Wednesday and his leg was placed in a cast, which made him feel much more secure than he did with the splint they put on at the hospital. Until it didn't. Thursday night he fell trying to get up by himself to the bathroom.

Happy to be in the security of a cast
He didn't want to "bother me". Sigh. There was another trip to the ER to make sure he was ok. He was in so much pain. It's really hard to see that.
"It's a marathon, not a sprint." -Dr Phil
Good thing I took the week off work, although there was plenty of guilt to go along with that. It didn't help to get a text from my office manager asking if I could come in for a couple of hours to see patients. Sorry, I told her, but right now my only patient is my son. Of course, that doesn't alleviate the guilt I feel about missing work and saying no to her request.

However, receiving that text from my manager was when I first hit the proverbial wall. I wanted to DNF this race.
"Tough runs don't last. Tough runners do." -unknown
During the week, we spent a lot of time in front of the TV. I've got 99+ channels and a show ain't on one. I'm pretty sure that daytime TV is the worst. Where do they find the people that appear on Maury? For the few moments I saw before I could change the channel, I felt my IQ drop a few points. We did watch the Cubs play some pretty awesome baseball and the "W" just kept flying! Pretty sure this is "the year". You can tell who the station thinks is watching the games by the types of ads that come on. Lawyers advertising services for nursing home injuries? Life Alert aka "I've fallen and I can't get up"? Hoveround motorized scooters? Pharmaceuticals? By the way, have you noticed that drug companies are making up all these "new" diseases and giving them initials? Have you seen those commercials for OIC? Did you even know this was a thing? "OIC" is nothing new and to prevent OIC while my son takes his pain meds, I made all kinds of green smoothies in my new Ninja blender. On the other spectrum, I also spent plenty of time this week cleaning up puppy poop. Lots of puppy poop. Everywhere. For some reason, she'd rather poop in the house instead of the backyard. It has been cold and rainy this week but come on! It's as if she was the one drinking those green smoothies. Maybe I need to feed Matthew some puppy chow.

Little furball.
Watching all that TV was tough. But cleaning up all that poop was the second wall I hit this week. Can I DNF now?

It's a good thing she's so cute.
"It's hard to beat the person who never gives up." -Babe Ruth
Thankfully for me, my medicine was in the form of actual running. There were enough breaks in the rain that I got some quality time on the road. I ran 4 days this week, and even though I intended those runs to be 'easy' paced, my legs just wanted to go and I let them. I even got an 8 miler in on Sunday. My PF started to act up again but I'm pretty sure I put the fear of God into that foot because it let me pound the pavement.

Sometimes it feels good to just let go and run.
"Your legs are not giving out. Your head is giving up. Just go."- unknown
There was also some yoga this week but not nearly enough. I didn't feel comfortable going to the yoga studio and leaving Matthew home alone, so I did my yoga in the family room. While I was on the mat, Cocoa wouldn't leave my side, and it was funny to see her running underneath me when I was in plank.

 I'm the one planking, she's the one sleeping.
I'm participating in Marcia's plank challenge, and while most people are planking for time, I'm having fun with all the variations I could come up with. I'm pretty sure I can't hold a plank for more than 2 minutes. The variations are more fun anyways. Kim from Running on the Fly may have thrown down the gauntlet and we may be having a friendly competition.

Who me, competitive?

Bird dog plank
That's right. Game on, sistah.

Lotus side plank where I attempted a bind.
Tight hips don't lie.
Not happening.
Thursday I went back to see Becky for my first post-marathon training session. We dug right into the new goals with lots of upper body workouts. I hoisted a 50# medicine ball 15 times over my shoulders. I hung from the high bar for 30 seconds at a time (it's harder than it sounds!). Reclined pull ups? Push ups? Dumbbell snatches? Sled pulls? Bring it on because it always feels good to beat myself up when I'm having a tough week.
"Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional. "-Haruki Murakami
There was probably a lot more I could have gotten done around the house. My closet needs organizing and there are bills to be paid. I did finish up my big project for work and I finally finished that online driving class.

But most important is that I cross the finish line of this race that life laid out for me. This race isn't over yet. Recovery is going to be long and tough for him. Hopefully, Matthew goes back to school on Monday and I go back to work. There will be lots of catching up to do for both of us. But a runner does what a runner's got to do.

Just keep moving forward. There will be no DNF at this race. Marathoners don't quit. Neither do moms.
"Let us run with perseverence the race marked out for us."- Hebrews 12:1
How was your week? Have you ever compared life events to running a race? How does running help you cope with difficult situations? Any helpful hints for housebreaking a puppy? Planks: quality or quantity?

I'm linking up with Holly and Tricia for their Weekly Wrap! It's the place to be...



107 comments :

  1. I had a great week. I definitely use running as a coping mechanism. I don't usually run with music so it's my thinking time.

    No puppies or planks here, but I have dealt with an injured athlete and that's a lot of work. Hope your son continues to heal quickly.

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    1. I do run with music and I still think! But sometimes I zone out and that's ok too.

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  2. Oh wow, what a week you've had. I can definitely think of some periods of time that felt like a marathon of life. I like to think that persevering through real marathons makes us stronger and better prepared to handle what life throws at us. Or at least, we have running to help us get through it. I hope things improve for your son (and you!) this week!

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    1. I think it will be a better week. I'm thankful for all that mental toughness training I've done!

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  3. Wow, tough week. Can't help you with the puppy training...and I have no energy at the moment to do any kind of challenge, so I admire you for sticking with that with all you have going on. Hope your foot doesn't act up too much. Good luck for the upcoming week !

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  4. I decided I was going to start planking to help with upper body strength but that lasted all but 2 days. I really need an expert like you to show me if I'm even doing it correctly. -M

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    1. Haha! I'm not expert but I've been doing yoga for about 20 years, and it's fun to see all these poses come into their own. Pushups and planks are the best way to build upper body strength!

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  5. You know, I wondered, with that break, how much you'd be having to help you son; years ago our youngest had a horrible wrist fracture and I was the "hands" for weeks. It's just a hard situation on both the mom and the patient - I feel for you both. Hoping that things are looking up, and I just have to say that your little puppy is so freaking adorable - love that shot of her lying next to you while you're planking.

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    1. She is so cute and so funny that I can't help but let the little things she does (and the big things!) just roll of my back. We are so blessed to have her at this tough time--my son just adores her. It's been good medicine for him.

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  6. So tough to see your children suffer. Nothing worse. I hope that Matthew, and you, recover quickly from this set-back.
    I've let go of lots of strength and cross training; I am not willing to put that much time into it anymore. I admire beyond telling you and all those who have the tenacity you do. That said, I'm happy to read that push-ups and planks are good for building upper body strength. They are part of my six-days-a-week routine. This morning out of curiosity I counted the stretches/yoga poses/core strength moves I do; over thirty.

    I am stealing one of your quotations. Too good to pass up.
    Wishing you a more Peaceful week.

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    1. Things are settling down--Matthew is feeling better and Cocoa is behaving herself for the most part. We'll see how Matthew does when he goes back to school.

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  7. What a crazy week! I hope things calm down for you, so you can just focus on how cute that puppy is! :) When we finish remodeling the house we are getting a puppy - I can't wait!

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    1. Oh, the puppy was such a blessing! In spite of all the puppy stuff, she's so cute and funny!

      What kind of puppy are you going to get?

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  8. Gosh when it rains it pours, eh? Hope this week is better for your family. I am doing a plank challenge over on my page too, but its just for consistency purposes. A little, or a a lot each day. :-)

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    1. Oh, it was quite a week! I was on such a high from Big Sur and our trip. I guess the universe needed to set it all to right...

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  9. I am so sorry this week was tough and sorry your son was in pain. That must be hard to see. :( I am glad you took the time off work and said NO, even if there was guilt. I think people understand- any decent human being would understand- that family comes FIRST.

    Wow your puppy is sooooo cute and the puppy/plank picture really puts into perspective how small she is!!!!

    OMG Bird Dog plank is beautiful, pretty sure I would throw my back out trying to do that!!!

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    1. I'm sure you wouldn't throw your back out! It was hard but I was happy to do it!

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  10. Oh no! So sorry to hear about your son's injury! Sounds very painful, but he's lucky to have you there for him. The plank poses look amazing!

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    1. The plank challenge has been fun! I like finding all these variations. But hey, that's the yogi in me...

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  11. I hope Matthew is mending nicely and is more comfy now. Our oldest broke his ankle twice playing baseball. It's hard to watch kids in pain. I train my pups by saying "You wanna go outside" (think sing-songy high pitched southern drawl) every time I take it outside. Soon, it will run to the back door when you say that. One of my dog rattles the doorknob with her paw (#smart). I probably compare more than I should to running a race. It's all about endurance, eh? OK, now I've got to up my planing game. Thanks for linking with us Wendy.

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    1. This pup is pretty smart. She already knows her name, and has figured out quickly who is the alpha dog at our house (me)!

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  12. That's quite a week! I hope your son is feeling better. I know mine always felt better after he got his cast on, but then you have to keep them from doing too much too soon. I like the red color! That puppy is way too cute!

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    1. He goes back to school today, so we'll see how that works out...

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  13. What a bonding experience for you and your son. He will think about it years from and now and appreciate you!
    I know it is awful to watch someone you love so much in pain, hang in there! I hope he has a better week.
    The pup is so sweet :) Gotta love a baby!

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    1. I like to think he'll appreciate me! But he is 16...

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  14. An injured child and a new puppy. What a week! Thank goodness for at least a little bit of yoga and some good running, right? Hope your son is feeling better!

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    1. I'm grateful I managed to squeeze in my workouts. That makes everything better!

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  15. I've never broken a bone, but I have had surgery. No matter that I was in college, I still wanted my mom to take care of me. Even now when I'm sick, I want my mom.

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    1. My mom took care of me after my surgery too! She was the best nurse ever.

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  16. The puppy is adorable! Cleaning up puppy poop is exactly why we don't have one, though the kids are begging... I hope your son feels better soon!

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    1. The puppy training is tough but definitely worth it! I love her so much already!

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  17. Your poor son....and you...the ER trips....every time I'm tempted to get a pet for the family, I'm reminded that I do not want to ever worry about anyone or any animal going to the bathroom other than me

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    1. Haha! Yes, there has been a lot of poop this week.

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  18. OK, Sista! I also mentioned this little friendly plank thing we have going on LOL, and Game On! I totally get your comparison of life to that of a marathon (something we've both experienced). Now about that medal... ;-)

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  19. Interesting metaphor! Looks like you and your son had lots of bonding time so maybe some positives come out of your rough week. He is so lucky that you are a nurse. I bet it was really hard to watch him in so much pain. That was so hard for me when they were little with ear infections. Hope your week gets better!

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  20. Wow! You had a tough week! I'm so sorry your son got hurt, but good thing he didn't have to have surgery. I hope it all slows down this coming week and you can go back to work! Your puppy is really cute! The only advice I have is that when we house trained our dog, we made sure to take him out every 30 minutes and wait until he had gone before we brought him back in. Good luck and I hope this week is much better! I really liked how you tied all of this to running a marathon!

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    1. We had a poop free night, so I'm hoping that we are moving in the right direction!

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  21. Tough week! I loved your post with all the great marathon quotes. Hope your son's leg heals quickly and he is in less pain. Your puppy is precious! I don't have any tips for housetraining. I know it takes a lot of time and commitment. Your plank variations are incredible! I need to get back in a routine of doing planks.

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    1. The plank challenge has been a lot of fun!

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  22. Wow, I'm so sorry about Matthew's injury and the painful recovery. Adding a new puppy to the mix sure kept your life interesting last week. I have no advice on how to train a puppy to poop outside. Is it possible the grass is bothering her in some way? She does look tiny and maybe does not like that feeling on her underside.

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    1. My husband mowed the lawn yesterday and that seemed to help a lot.

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  23. What. A. Week. For. You!!!!!
    I'd like to say I would rock housebreaking puppies – – but part of me believes I was just really really fortunate with the three I've had :-)
    BUT feel free to email me if you think I can help. xo

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    1. Last night was poop free--I'm hoping we are making progress. She's a pretty smart little pup so hopefully she is getting it.

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  24. And this is why marathoners make better humans. (well, for the most part). At the very least, we have the stamina to endure. I think I was prepared to be a marathoner by having Crohn's, honestly.

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    1. I'll tell you one thing...I don't know that I could have handled everything life threw at me this week if it weren't for all the marathon mental toughness training.

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  25. Oprah had it right when she said a marathon was a perfect metaphor for life. I think running definitely helps us cope with the rest of the shizz life dishes out. Love that Matt went with team colors!

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    1. I used to turn my nose up at Oprah's quote. But after this week, I get it.

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  26. Oh nooooo!!! What a week. I hope it heals as expected. That really stinks!!!
    Can we talk about you puppy now? Do you need someone to just "watch" the little cutie. I'll give it back.... really :-)))

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    1. She's laying on my lap as I type this. Such a little bundle of love and she brought a lot of joy (and poop) into our home this week!

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  27. I'm very sorry to hear your son was in such terrible pain! I hope he is feeling better!

    I agree with you, "Marathoners don't quit, and neither do moms" Moms totally rock!

    That puppy is super cute!

    Do you keep the puppy in a crate? Back in the day when we had a puppy, we trained her in a crate. She could come out and play, but only after going outside and pooping. She would get a reward after pooping outside too, We saved her favorite treats for going outside to poo. Once she learned to walk to the door to "go outside", she was allowed to walk free around the house. I would also recommend some sort of trainer.

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    1. We have a crate--we're using it sort of. I know we need to do a better job.

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  28. What an awesome post!! I'm sorry to hear about your son, though. Hope is is feeling better very soon.

    It's truly amazing what exercise can do for us...it's so much more than just physical. I wish I'd figured that out years ago so I could have been benefitting from it throughout my life, but, better late than never! I'm into it now.

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    1. You and me both! It took me a long time to realize what working out could do for me. I'm so glad to have it!

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  29. Yes a broken ankle is painful. But those meds are worse than the pain. Luckily your son is young and will heal quickly, I bet.

    I can't plank for more than a minute. I like thidea of different positions.

    Your puppy is so adorable!!!!!!!!

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    1. Lots of ups and downs with this injury. It's actually a tibia fracture but I think they all hurt.

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  30. You are right, moms never quit! The puppy and your son are lucky to have had you for the week! Speedy recovery to your son and puppy poop is just poop! :) I am working on plank too and I am sure my form is fabulous ( LOL ) so I am working on quantity of time! Plank on!

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    1. The pup has been playing along with the planks! She's up for anything.

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  31. After my race, I was really grateful my pup didn't feel like pooping on my walk with me but pooped with my boyfriend instead haha. I don't think I could have bent.

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    1. Oh, my husband would have made me clean up after her no matter what....

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  32. What a great post. I never gave it much thought, but sometimes when we're going through some tough things, it is like running a long race! I hope your son starts to feel better and that things get a little bit easier. I've never housetrained a puppy...sorry for all the poop! Glad your training is going well!

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    1. Today was pretty good with the housebreaking. Only one poop incident..

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  33. Talk about a tough week! You're right though, I feel like my experiences running (especially marathons) have helped me deal with other unexpected life challenges. Just keep moving.

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  34. What a struggle, you're amazing for getting as much done as you did. Wishing Matthew a speedy recovery.

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  35. Yikes - tough week! BUT your son seems to be doing better and dang, that puppy is cute. Love the picture of her sleeping while you're planking. So precious!

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  36. So sorry to hear about all the ups and downs your son has had, but glad that he seems to be trending in the right direction. Good for you for sticking to your guns when you were asked to come in and see a few patients. You have to take care of yourself and your family first. I ADORE the picture of you doing yoga at home with the puppy curled up by your side. She is so cute! And I totally relate to the horrible commercials you see sometimes due to "market segmentation." You know it's bad when you start seeing all the incontinence commercials, sigh. Hang in there!!!

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  37. Have you considered crate training? At least that way the poop is contained. Sometimes. All I can tell you (and it's been 9 years) is that it does work, whatever method you choose, it just takes time. And generally longer with smaller dogs.

    Oh, and another thing I never tried was tying the puppy to you when you're at home.

    Anyhoo, we just got home today and our pet sitter called (talked to my husband) and said they might actually have a foster for us. She knows we're going away soon, I hope, as she's the one taking care of Lola, so I'm not quite sure how that'll work. I have no details yet.

    I'm so sorry Matthew was in so much pain. Somehow I had a feeling you weren't telling us everything. Watching that, feeling so helpless to help, is the worst. But the young do heal quickly.

    I spent every single day of my "vacation" (except race day) out at 5 or 5:30 walking Lola -- not exactly relaxing. She doesn't normally go out that early, but then normally I just open the door and let her out.

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    1. We are trying crate training, but with Matthew on the couch and everything, we need sleep. I know I"m making excuses. We're just so pooped (pun intended).

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  38. Oh man! What a week! I hope your son is feeling better and I hope the puppy gets house broken soon and you can just enjoy her cuteness! I hope this week is better for you!

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    1. Every day gets better! She's so fun, that it's hard to get mad at her accidents...

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  39. Hope your son is recovering well! Sounds like a busy week with your puppy too. Hope she starts pooping outside soon! Great job with your planks!

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    1. Thank you! Yep, it was busy and exhausting.. but overall, we are doing good!

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  40. PUPPY!!!!! Cocoa is the cutest. So potty training is all about consistency and frequency. Put her out every hour, and reward the heck out of her when she does her business outside. Not unlike potty training a child, just without the diaper and the toilet LOL.

    Your poor son. That cast is serious business. I hope he heals quickly and is feeling better soon. It must break your heart to see him hurting and struggling.

    Love those planks! You always inspire me to try new things with yoga and balance, and I love what you are doing here!

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    1. When I am home, I take her out A LOT. But someone, ahem, my husband, isn't as patient and that is when the accidents occur....

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  41. Love seeing your plank variations on IG! What a tough week for you! I hope your son heals quickly and feels better. Looks like you've got some great strength goals. Whenever I read about your workouts with Becky, they amaze me. So hard core! I have no doubt you will reach them.

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    1. I hope so! Becky has bigger goals for me than I do. But she's made me achieve more than I could have imagined, so hey, the sky's the limit!

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  42. Oh wow, what a week :( I hope things start to go more smoothly for ya. So true about the marathons being a lot like life- gotta ride the ups and the downs and when it gets tough you just gotta push on through!

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  43. Holy crap. Here's to a speedy recovery for your son, and a better week for you!!

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  44. First of all I hope your son will have a speedy recovery. I'm so sorry this happened to him! I think it was the right decision to stay home with him - even though you felt guilt. I think a week like this makes a marathon seem like a piece of cake. The planking pic with the new puppy is just hilarious! Hang in there! Everything will be all right!

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    1. The pup is hilarious! She's making us smile a lot!

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  45. Love all of the quotes Wendy. My husband and I have had a long time joke comparing running to life. Yes it's a little nerdy but it's fun. I love love yoga binds!

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    1. Not nerdy at all--I think running has made me be able to handle all that life throws at me!

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  46. I know what you mean about feeling guilty about needing to take off from work. As a society, we've become so accustomed to putting the needs of our jobs above the needs of ourselves and our families, that when we need to shift the focus it becomes difficult to do so guilt free. Hopefully things with your son are getting easier each day.

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    1. It's better but it's going to be a long road for him! It's tough being a working mom.

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  47. What an exhausting and challenging week you had with your son and your puppy!
    I think running is constantly preparing us for the challenges life throws our way.

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  48. Oh man you've had quite the week. I really hope your son starts to have a fast recovery. He's lucky to have such an awesome mom!
    Like really can be compared to a marathon at times.
    I love your plank challenge. Fyi I couldn't hold a plank for two minutes unless my life depended on it lol lol I need to work on that!

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    1. Oh, I bet you could hold a plank for 2 minutes! You'd be surprised!

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  49. You are such a great Mom. I can feel your love for Matthew and just think - he will always remember these moments with you. Yes, they are tough - but also a hidden blessing that the two of you get some bonding time. I hope he heals quickly and can get back to school soon. Your new puppy is SOO cute. This makes me really want to get a puppy for my kids, but I just can't take on a 4th child right now :) Love all the quotes - such truth for all of us!!!

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    1. The pup is so cute but man, she's a lot of work! Still, it's worth it. I do love her so much already!

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  50. Our job as mothers is a challenging one and even becomes tougher when our kids are going through a difficult time. I love the marathon metaphor for life itself. Positive vibes to your son that his recovery goes well. Your new pup is so cute - what's his/her name?

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  51. I hope Matt recovers quickly and that you're both back at school and work this week!

    Last year I wrote "Why Racing Is Like Childbirth." I crowd sourced my MRTT mamas and had a lot of fun writing it!

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    1. There are so many metaphors for running and life, aren't there?

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  52. I am loving the competition on the planks between you and Kim and you seriously have some great variations. I can't hold more than 2 minutes either nor can I pull off the ones you have but I'm still plugging along. I hope this week is better for you, and for Matthew. I had a great time on vaca but I'm really glad to be back too. All that heavy food, drinking and no running did me in. I could not wait to run so I got in 2 miles yesterday morning and 3 miles yesterday afternoon! And it felt ahhhhmazing!

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    1. Sounds like you had so much fun on your "adult adventure!"

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  53. Oh my goodness! I am behind in my blog reading (what's new?) and I had not heard that your son broke his leg. So sorry to hear that, and I'm sorry to hear about how much pain he is in. Poor guy. I hope it's starting to get a bit better by now. I know it's got to be so hard for you because of everything you wrote about - seeing him in pain, taking care of him, and then guilt about missing work. And throw a new puppy into the mix. Wow! I'll tell you what, it's a good thing you're a long distance runner. I firmly believe that running and marathons prepare us for things like this. It teaches us to keep going and find a way through. Hang in there!

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    1. Isn't it the truth? I don't know how well I'd be holding up if it weren't for all my running. And yep, I'm still getting those runs in. I might let other things go, but that is the one constant. It is my therapy!

      And yes, he's doing better.

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