BFFs, have you ever raced? In high school, college, or as an adult? Have you ever pinned that bib on and stepped up to the line? If you haven’t, I can’t even describe to you how it feels. You’ve done the workouts, followed your plan (hopefully), made sacrifices, and on race day…you get to reap the benefits from it all.
I’m lucky enough that I get to put on my tutu, strap a helmut on, and race tomorrow. But it wasn’t an easy decision to make. I had to weigh the risks vs reward and that’s so hard to do when you know you’re fighting for not-last-place. There isn’t a podium spot for someone like me. Mountain bike racing doesn’t hand out medals for finishing, so I know in advance that there will be no hardware to take home. As I timed my practice laps and compared those times to the racers from the year before, it became pretty obvious that I will most likely get last place. As in the very last person who finishes the race kind of last place.
After giving into my doubts and fears and declaring on Facebook that I “needed more trail time” and I wouldn’t be racing, I decided that I’m going to race anyway.
“Last place is so much better than no place. You see, at “no place” you’re still on the couch and only dreaming of the things you *might* be able to do. Don’t be afraid of last place because in every race there is a last place, but not everyone is brave enough to race. Not everyone is brave enough to dust themselves off after an injury or two, a broken heart, or what ever life has to offer them. But you, my very best friend…you are exactly brave enough to get back out there. You are brave enough to fight for what makes you happy. You are brave enough to work hard, even when you don’t want to. You are the mother freakin’ definition of brave. Get out there. Be brave.”
And so I will. I’m getting up tomorrow morning and heading to my first mountain bike race in FIVE years.
I’m so thankful to be feeling good over the past month. Even though ankle fusion number two went perfectly, I’ve had some other health issues: I threw out my lower back, ended up with some weird rash on my face from my sweat and the sun, my limbs kept falling asleep on me, and then I got a crazy respiratory virus – twice. How about if we all :::knock on wood::: so that I stay healthy for awhile, okay?
Anyhow, I’ve been doing some pretty kick ass things lately like long walks with friends, Couch to 10K training, and mountain biking¹. Last night Nathan and I went out to a trail I hadn’t ridden before: the St. Croix Woolly Trail. It’s the trail where the next Minnesota Mountain Bike Series race will be and I’m kinda itching to race it, but there’s no way I can race a trail I’ve never ridden – hence the road trip out to St. Croix Falls.
Even though it’s been awhile since I’ve mountain biked regularly, I was feeling pretty confident. I’d been out on the trails a couple times this year and things have gone great. Nathan even got me some new cleats for my bike shoes to make clipping in and out easier for my left foot. (Having a fused ankle makes it pretty much impossible to clip out like normal.) I had studied the map of the trail on the way out and took a picture of it with my phone so I could take it with me. I was ready!
Nathan offered to ride the first lap with me, but I told him I felt strong enough to do it on my own. As he finished getting ready for his own ride, I took off for mine. WOOHOO!
I followed the map and rode behind the high school. Then I got lost. I pulled out the map and tried to find my way. After about five minutes, I had to text Nathan and let him know that I was lost. I couldn’t figure out where the trail was. I felt stupid and ashamed. All I did was ride behind the school and then I got freakin’ lost! He texted me back telling me to meet him back at the high school. He’d show me where to go to find the trail.
And my self-talk kicked in:
“Oh my god. You are such a freakin’ idiot.”
“Why do you even come out here? All you do is mess up Nathan’s training.”
“You’re so shitty with maps.”
“How typical. You can’t EVER find your way around.”
“What the fuck is wrong with you?”
And for what ever reason, several of my friend’s faces started flashing through my mind. I started to think about their struggles: The death of family members and friends, loss of relationships, a painful pregnancy, several with illnesses, moving more often then they ever hoped to, pet illnesses, in-law and family issues…
The images of my friends with their struggles (some large, some small) stopped me in my tracks.
While not being able to find where the mountain bike trail goes is a VERY SMALL thing in comparison to other things we’ve all been through – I was literally beating myself up over it.
I would NEVER talk to any of my friends like I was just talking to myself². I took a deep breath and started my head conversation again, except this time I envisioned myself talking to my very best friend. And this is what I said:
“Hey, this sucks, but it’s your first time out at this course.”
“The course is obviously not marked well. You’re not an idiot.”
“You know Nathan would do anything to help you mountain bike again. That guy is insane about mountain biking and CRAZY for you.”
“It’s okay Just breathe.”
“In the big scheme of life, this is dumb – it’s not a crisis.”
And you know what? I felt better.
Then I thought about my friends. When I see them or think of them, I smile. When I hear of their troubles, I listen without being *super* judgy. I let them cry, but at the same time I try to comfort them. I brag about them and let them know what I like about them. I look forward to seeing them and doing things with them. I *want* to know how and what they’re doing. I try to support them in what ever it is they’re doing.
So I decided that this week I would be my own best friend. Anytime I see myself in the mirror, I’m going to smile and think about how happy I am to see myself. I’m going to be kind and loving. Turn my cheek to my short-comings.
After all, it’s only a week. I can certainly be my own best friend for a week, right? (And if you want to join me by being your own best friend, go ahead. I like you, so you would probably like yourself too.)
¹I even signed up for a mountain bike race! It’s DirtWirx’s 1st Annual 25 Hour event. I’m on a four person, co-ed, team. Our team name? Filthy Fiasco
²Fine. There are a few time when I’ve said to a friend, “Are you fucking kidding me?” But trust me, no one should mix mandarin orange vodka with blueberry flavored sparkling water – FOR THE SECOND TIME!!! (I mean, she kinda deserved it, right?!?!?!)
I don’t know if you’ve ever blogged before, but if you have, you’ve probably taken a break for some reason or another. Maybe you were doing something cool like writing a book, having a baby, or being a contestant on the show Survivor and you didn’t have internet access. But sometimes bloggers take breaks for no apparent reason. Or maybe it’s a reason they don’t want to talk about.
Or maybe…just maybe…they take a break because their blog no longer seems to fit them.
This morning, I re-read my very first blog post. It was all “I AM PRINCESS! HERE ME ROAR!” and I can’t help but feel a bit….sad? This whole blogging, Facebook, Internet Personality, Bigger Than Me “thing” used to be so awesome.
I remember when I hit 100 fans on Facebook, then 1000, and eventually over 8,000¹! It was cool to reach out to so many other people and brighten their day, give them hope, make them smile, or have them laughing out loud at me with me. I smile when I think of the very first MFP BFF, Katie. And I feel like I did some pretty cool shit: Not Top Chef challenges, Mountain Bike Racing, Ragnar, Rock Band Parties, dyed my hair pink, made it to the top 8 on Blogger Idol, shared my love for Curlformers, and had a kick ass birthday give-away bash, just to name a few.
Then life slowed or stopped while I went through some heartbreaking family and friend stuff. Then had ankle surgery…twice.
So here I am. My ankle’s fused. My hair is brown. I’ve gained forty pounds. I’m out of shape. I wear nothing but pajama shorts and sports bras. I’ve disconnected from my blog, Facebook page, and even “real-life”.
Things will come along, like training for a 5k or 10k and I’ll feel a bit of excitement, but then I’ll get sick or whatever. Training will be put on hold and I go back to sitting on the couch. I’ve even gotten on the bike once or twice and tried practicing my skills:
I’ll get excited over new companies I’ve found, but then drop the ball when other people fall in love with the company too. Friends will ask me to go hang out or go dancing, usually I cancel at the last minute, simply because I don’t really think I’m that much fun to be around.
I might even put on make-up and wear real clothes for a week or two, but most of my clothes are too small for me and I don’t want to spend money on clothes that never seem to fit right. I’m too small for Lane Bryant and Catherine’s but to big for Target and Kohl’s. Plus, I’m not really going anywhere, so what’s the point?
Here I am, staring at the computer screen and my blog.
Wondering if I’m even a freakin’ princess anymore?
¹At some point in time I decided I was no longer The MFP. I was going to be a “real” writer and I convinced Facebook to let me change my page name to Kimberly M. Olson. That was a mistake. Far too many people started to “dislike” me as my real name. So…..a new MFP page and back down to 1000 fans that I’m sure have forgotten me and I continue to ignore. Plus, I’m not a “real” write so there is that.
I’ve been considering getting a part-time job, but with all my recent health issues it’s probably not a practical thing to do.
Oh, I haven’t mentioned my *new* health concerns? That’s probably because I don’t have any great answers yet. Both my family doctor and my orthopedist told me to see a neurologist. The neurologist said that he thinks my back is causing multiple sclerosis type symptoms, but he’s not convinced that I have MS. So we’re hitting my back with a variety of treatments with the hope of getting me some much needed relief. (I’m typing this post right now with mostly numb fingers – yeah, I’m freakin’ awesome like that.)
Anyhoo…Let’s get back to that job thing.
Earlier this week, I got an email from Noah at okdork.com. He also runs Sumome.com which offers FREE tools for you to help you grow your website traffic. Sure, it was a “form email” that he probably sent to everyone on his massive email list, but it intrigued me. Basically he’s looking for rock stars to add to his already amazing team. You don’t have to have a college degree, but you do need to like tacos, drink AT WORK, and be able to use the word fuck in casual conversation¹.
OMG…It’s like I was born for this job.
I hit the CLICK TO APPLY HERE button and started typing up a summary of my awesomeness. (By the way, go ahead and apply if you think you like tacos, drinking, and swearing more than I do.) Then I got to thinking and I realized that with my current medical shit it would be unwise to get Noah’s hopes up that I could actually work for him. I just couldn’t hit the send button, but I think it’s a pretty good summary about how cool I am, so I’ll share it with you:
“Hey Noah! I just wanted to send you a quick note letting you know that I love tacos, as long as they’re not too spicy, and there are days when I say “fuck” more often than a homeschooling mom should. I also love to write and find traffic growing very seductive. (Don’t judge – we all have weird fetishes, right?) While I have no formal education, I tend to lose myself in books like: “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook” “You Everywhere Now” “The Slight Edge” “Content Rules”
Here’s where I’d like to tell you that you’ll find me brilliantly incredible and you should take a HUGE chance on an unproven blogger and Facebook addict, and that you’d never regret rescuing my family and I from the cold tundra of Minnesota to the beautiful (and fucking amazing) Texas, but…I hate bugs and other creepy crawly things. I’ve heard stories of ginormous spiders and scorpions the size of small cars attacking innocent people who live in Texas. I just can’t do bugs or the thought of bugs. If you need proof, you can read an entry in my blog: http://themfp.com/insectaphobia-i-have-it/
And yes, I know my blog is a fucking mess, but you have a some what broken page on your site. I figured this made us even. What page you ask? It’s your FAQ. There’s no way to get back to your home page from there: http://help.sumome.com/
If you’re interested in a telecommute option, I promise to spend all the money you would’ve invested in relocating us to keeping my liquor cabniet stocked and I’m not afraid to do shots during office hours via Skype.”
I’m fairly certain he would’ve hired me within minutes after reading that and he might’ve even been able to convince me to move to Texas, but the timing just isn’t right. *le sigh*
I guess I’ll just have to stay here and continue being the mother freakin’ princess that I am.
¹Okay, so there’s way more to this job search than being a kick ass, taco eating, booze drinking, foul-mouthed, internet super star. Noah’s looking for people in the following positions and if you think you’d be a good fit, you should apply:
1- Web Designer: HTML5, CSS3, responsive / mobile design
One of my favorite things about Christmas is… the presents.
It’s wrong, right?
But just hear me out.
I think our gift wrapping shenanigans started with stories Nathan would tell me about his mom’s Christmas present wrapping. There were tales about presents with no names, just numbers, so the kids had no idea who’s present was who’s, and then there were the ol’ double wrapped presents too.
As parents, we learned quickly that this whole trickster wrapping thing not only made the gift unwrapping experience last longer (Seriously, I spent *at least* 5 minutes wrapping the freakin’ present, can it take a little longer than 10 seconds to unwrap it?!?!?¹), but there’s also just something spectacular about watching a thirteen-year-old being tortured on Christmas morning.
I thought a few of you might like to join us in our gift wrapping naughtiness and I’d share a few of our ideas with you:
1. First of all, don’t put all your gifts under the tree at once. Try one a day and if you have more than one kid at home – you don’t have to put one for each kid out. It’s okay for them to watch their siblings get a gift under the tree and wait a day or two for their’s to show up.
2. Double wrapping gifts is so 1982. Try wrapping the gift, then putting it in a new box and re-wrapping it, but put someone else’s name on it.
3. Wait! Don’t stop there! Can you get that gift to go all the way around the room and end back up at the original gift opener?!?!
4. Another take on double wrapping: Wrap the gift, then look for something laying around your house – preferably something heavy. Wrap that too and place both gifts inside a larger box to be wrapped. (Make sure they open the fake gift first.)
5. I still love my mother in-law’s idea of only using numbers to label the gifts. This works great if you have more than one kid at home still.
6. Take #3 to a whole new level and SWITCH the numbers on the presents! Just make sure you’re keeping track of the real numbers/names.
7. Speaking of switching present labels, maybe the number thing is just too much for you or you’re like us and only have one kid at home. This year I’m picking out a present and switching the name tag out every day until Christmas. We’re talking TWO FULL WEEKS of fun for us parents!
8. Kids love to shake their presents and a lot of the time it’s something that’s fragile. Make sure to pick up a set of pajamas or other clothing for your kiddo. Wrap it in a nice looking box and throw a little change in there, with TONS of paper to fill the box out. When the kid asks if it’s fragile you can say, “I don’t think so.” Then chuck that present down the stairs¹! *priceless*
9. Present Treasure Hunt: Finding their presents under the tree is for two-year-olds. Leave clues to the whereabouts of a couple presents on the tree and make sure those presents are hidden extra hard. It’s like Christmas and Easter all in one!
How about you? Do you have any gift wrapping tricks up your sleeve?
¹Now I probably spend more like 20 minutes or more wrapping those presents, but it’s totally worth it!