Bonjour Wholeness junkies!

Happy Monday morning peeps! Hope your weekend was filled with lots of sweating, good food, time with friends and family and just chillin out. Mine was filled with authentic Haitian cuisine, lots of creole and lots of dancing! I must admit, I am pretty beat. Although, I did not drive all throughout the night like my sister, Freeing Sisyphus did, I am wiped! We hosted some Haitian guests this weekend who were performing a concert and touring Indy in order to hopefully raise the last of the funds to finish the school we have been working with. The school was almost completed in 2010 when the earthquake hit, all of it crumbling to the ground. By the grace of God, all 900 students were outside at the time as school was out and only a few lives were lost.

It is nothing short of  a miracle of God that this school has been rebuilt in such a short amount of time. It has been through blood, sweat, tears and very giving Americans that this school will open its doors in 2 weeks. In Haiti, nothing is ever finished to completion, so the fact that this school is completed truly is amazing. The only thing left is the cafeteria.

After my visit to Haiti, I wrote an article that you can find here describing my time and what I witnessed post earthquake. At the time I traveled, I had a hip stress fracture and it was at the height of the Cholera outbreak. I will admit I was scared, but it was definitely the experience of a lifetime. We ended up having to leave in the middle of the night a day early to avoid protests, riots and the airport shutting down (due to election results) It was definitely eventful!

This country has a lot of problems but the people of Haiti are a beautiful people that are worthy of our time and dedication. They are resilient and full of joy and faith. One thing that really struck me as a runner/athlete was that in Haiti, it seems the only extracurricular activity is SURVIVAL. Thinking about that, really helped put my marathon training in perspective.

So with the weekend full of Haitian cuisine, friends and great fellowship as well as my sister stopping through, I am completely exhausted…but in a good way. So, what did you do this weekend?

Note-If you are interested in giving to this great cause, email me and I can give you the information for a tax deductible donation.

The Daily Sweat meets Sowing my Wild Oats and other categories not assigned

Happy Weekend everyone! Sorry for the delay in posting but it is one crazy weekend around here! I got up this morning to get my sweat on with my friend Stacia. I am helping her and another friend, Val train the “couch potato to 5k” program. I definitely did not feel like getting out of bed, but 7 miles later I am very glad I did it! Hardest part is rolling out of bed! Okay and maybe taking that first step out of the door too.

We are also hosting some Haitian guests this weekend. As some of you may know, the hubs and I have a real passion for Haiti and both traveled to the epicenter of the earthquake to help rebuild a school and get to know the people. We fell in love right away and even considered moving there. However, since the teen only has 2 years left of school, we decided it probably wasn’t the best time to yank him up and plop in down in a country in ruins.

Maybe after college.

We are having an authentic Haitian feast tonight (don’t worry, there will be pics!) and a concert tomorrow night to raise the remaining funds to rebuild the school. As some of you may remember, I put on a 5k (my town’ s FIRST ever) back in April to raise money for this same school. It was a total success and my friends and I hope to make it an annual event.

After killing a goat and breaking bread this morning, our guests were off to practice. I dropped the tot off to play and headed to Georgetown Market to meet up with a friend for lunch. I am seriously still stuffed! I had Vegan soup, salad and a almond butter/banana/rice milk smoothie.

Hope I can find room for goat meat later. (are you sensing my sarcasm? if not, you must be new to this blog)

And last but most definitely NOT least, Freeing Sisyphus herself is gracing us with her presence as she is making the big move from Minnesota to Philly. She is stopping here for a night or two on her way. Our house will be full..

full of fun:)

So, what are you big slackers planning for the weekend? Just chillin out? Participating in a race? Making some killer recipes? I am sure they will all pale in comparison to mine but do feel free to share.

Freeing Sisyphus: The Payday Rollercoaster – Mania and Depression

How many of you expectantly count down the days until your next paycheck, like the 13 days of Christmas (yes, I know it’s 12 days of Christmas, but we get paid bi-weekly, and I’m usually starting to count the days until the next paycheck the day after I receive one)? I do.

Today is payday (and casual Friday), and I woke up (as usual) excited and manic like a child on Christmas, hyper and eager to get to work -unlike the other 9 days between paychecks – to open up my simple excel file that lists what I’m going to pay and to whom. Yes, I’m in Finance, but when it comes to my own finances, I’m pretty simple. No fancy programs, just an Excel list. I enthusiastically go to each bill site, opening those webpages like Christmas presents, feeling an inordinate amount of satisfaction and security as I type in each amount, confirm payment and submit. I walk to the office kitchen to fill my water bottle like I’m on cloud nine smiling like a Dr. Seuss character, saying hello and Happy Friday to every co-worker I see. I remember when I first started working I used to get so annoyed with people that said “Thank God It’s Friday or TGIF” every week. What a mundane existence they must live I said in my know-it-all 20s. Now, I say it and mean it. Oh, how we learn and are humbled.

Many people that I work with don’t even know its payday, and when I exclaim, “It’s payday” they look at me a little confused and say “really?”. Unlike me, they grew up in Finance and had parents that taught them to manage money, so they of course have automatic bill pay set up. I’m not quite there yet, untrusting I will be able to pay on the same day every month. The money management style I learned was a little different from the save x, put y in 401K, net present value bladeblah of my Finance counterparts. My mother taught me at an early age that back in the day if you wrote a check in red ink it took them longer to process it. Under her tutelage I learned to be a master of sending a bill right in the time frame where it was late, but not too late, the art of post-dating or which bills to pay late without getting into trouble. To be fair I knew what the word principal meant at the age of 12….but that was only because I knew we were hardly paying on it.

So for the first few hours of payday I bounce around the office, pogo style, smiling like a fool (kinda like my sister in those Percocet pictures). And, then, inevitably, the crash. The paycheck has been distributed, my account balance has dwindled back to its regular size. What’s amazing is how fast it takes over, the realization that there are many, many, many more Fridays (until I’m about 60) before I can give Sallie Mae the big kiss-off. At this point, I tend to dive into a black, masochistic depression where I go back into those same webpages, torturing myself by looking at the end dates far into the future of when I will be done with certain payments, feeling hopeless. I then start to play with my Excel file with an obsessional fervor– can I pay a little more here, a little less there, and thinking I HAVE to cancel cable (but I LOVE the weather channel – yes, I’m a freak), fantasizing about some miracle that will make those bills go away.

And, that pretty much continues until the next payday…although I tend to get over the major depression by desperately seeking exercise endorphins, enjoying the simple pleasures of life and thanking God each day that I have a job in this economy (while constantly contemplating how I would handle a lay-off – PTO saved up, severance, cash out the 401K I finally started, credit card capacity, etc., etc.).

Yesterday, though, I stopped by a homeless shelter to drop off some unused personal items as I prepare for my big move (more later on that), and I was humbled and ashamed. Most of those folks don’t know where their next meal is coming from. Did that experience stop the rollercoaster – ummm, no. But, maybe I saw/felt something there that can help me slowly but surely change the rollercoaster to that ride at the Fair that goes round and round up and down small inclines and plays 80s tunes. Who knows?

So, Sisyphers, are there any nuts like me out there who anticipate payday like a kid waiting for Christmas, only to crash minutes after those bills are paid? How do you manage? As always, please comment or email at freeingsisyphus@allpointswhole.com.

TGIF ;).

Dealing with Infertility-My side of the Story

As some of you may have read the other day, after placing my son for adoption and marrying my husband, we struggled with infertility for 7 years before becoming pregnant with our miracle son, Chase. To read this story, please visit  freedom unearthed

*Please pass this on to anyone you know that is struggling with infertility

Dealing With Infertility-My Story (Karin)

To read the story please visit: http://wp.me/p1ACIt-4g (www.freedomunearthed.com)

Confessions and Chronicles of an Injured, Narcissistic Self Loather (or just someone who likes really long titles)

Okay, so as most of you know by now, I am a little nutty. However, this is NOT because I found myself with chills and crying during an Enrique Iglesias special nor that I actually enjoyed an entire episode of Phineas and Ferb. And much to your dismay, it is also NOT because I had a fabulous, three hour dream about Willie Nelson last night.

By the way, is he still alive because apparently he is my step dad?

Moving on, today marks three weeks post surgery and I wanted to share a little journal, a diary of sorts of a narcissistic injured self loather who I may or may not just slightly resemble.

Enjoy!

The Daily Sweat: The Vindication of the Rights of the Baby Elephant

I’ve been fascinated lately as I have been doing more “connecting” into the running community as I feel that there seems to be a lack of talk about just running to stay healthy as opposed to obsessional confessions of personal records and all sorts of acronyms that I don’t even know.  I’m not slamming these folks (in fact I’m pretty awe-struck and inspired by many of the blogs), but this baby elephant is just a little confused.  Maybe it’s that ordinary runners don’t really feel the need to speak out, but if I were a new runner, I think I would be somewhat overwhelmed.  But, there are probably blogs out there for new runners that I haven’t found yet (I’m new to this whole blogging thing).

I think my biggest question comes from my study to become a personal trainer where I learned how important it was to focus on balance and overall body health.  In my personal experience and in conversations with others I have found that when you are training for a big event, you often lose perspective and simply run instead of doing core and cross-training.  This of course leads to injuries, aches and pains, and overall instability.  I know how addictive those endorphins are, but they can mask a lot until there it is  – you are nearing victory and then bam, your body rebels with a stress fracture or some other injury. 

I’ve heard myself and others say things like:  but I don’t have time to cross-train –  I HAVE to run today because I need to get faster, I want to beat my PR (personal record), keep up with my running partner, etc. etc.   In the end we often end up beating ourselves up for either not breaking that personal record,  not making the distance, not keeping up with our friends instead of just feeling good about ourselves for getting out there to pound the pavement, or for cross training for overall body health.  I think there are folks out there that are just naturally built for running and don’t have to worry about “balance” as much, but us normal folk do.

Many of the people I work with, who like me sit in a chair in front of a computer for at least 9 hours a day, can’t even imagine walking three miles, much less running a marathon.  Their perspective of the running community is that they are somehow a special breed (like Kentucky derby winners) who are a little insane.  For me these chair-sitters, chained to their desks, are the people I want to talk to about running and exercise in general – how strong it can make you feel, how it lifts your mood, your self image.  I want to let them know that running is for the average Joe or Josephine, no matter your size or level of physical fitness.

As many of Americans sit in front of those computers, emotionally eating due to the stress in our lives, seeing exercise as unattainable or only reserved for that special group, the obesity rates in America climb and climb.  One of the biggest reasons we are in the financial trouble we are in as a country is because of the rising costs of health care.  Although the issue is complicated, one of the things causing that cost increase is how unhealthy we’ve become.  I want to let my co-workers and friends, the people I meet randomly, the people that read this blog know it is ok to run like a baby elephant, but if I don’t really believe that or walk the talk, then they won’t believe me. 

Don’t get me wrong, I would like to get faster.  In my dreams I run like a gazelle as opposed to a baby elephant.

But, I’m ok getting there slowly (or even always being there only in my dreams).  I am truly proud to be a baby elephant because my biggest concern is that I’m treating this body well, keeping it tuned for the long haul.

Do you guys know of any great blogs for new runners or exercisers?  If so, please leave a comment to direct those out there that are on the brink of making a big change and taking that first step to overall better health.  I think one of the best resources I’ve seen is the couch to 5K program (http://www.coolrunning.com/engine/2/2_3/181.shtml) as it talks about how often people try to do too much too fast and get overwhelmed by running and write it off for good.  The couch to 5K model takes you there slowly, but effectively (I’ve known several people who started with it – people who NEVR thought they would run – and have finished their first 5Ks, 10Ks and half marathons).  But I would LOVE to hear about anything else out there that will inspire people intimidated by running, or exercising in general.  And for you guys out there that are thinking about taking those first few steps, you can do it.  If you have any questions please email at freeingsisyphus@allpointswhole.com.