Small Success Thursday: Research, Drama, and (Yes) Running

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Welcome to Small Success Thursday, hosted by CatholicMom.com! Let’s all take a step back and see where we’ve done well this week and give ourselves a pat on the back! Check in with all the other people posting their links at the main page this week, and join in on your blog (or in the comments below).

Now let’s get started!

This Summer, we’re still doing school, and there’s no end in sight. (That’s part of the problem of taking so many fun vacations during the traditional school year: you wind up making up for it during the Summer months.) In spite of that, I took a day off last week to go to the local science museum and see the King Tut exhibit. It wasn’t Tut’s actual stuff, but there were carefully crafted replicas of all sorts of things. Part of me was freaking out a little about taking time off when we still had things to do, but I knew I needed to relax and just be fun for once. (No, I didn’t mean “have fun,” I meant be fun.)

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We did a lot of other stuff, but I was happy to finally have seen the Tut Treasures, which I missed when they were in New York City when I was a little girl. The closest I got back then was when a group of sixth graders lip-synced to this:

In spite of taking a day off, I was determined that my older daughter would finish researching for her term paper last week. I pushed her to get about 20 notecards for her thesis:

Despite the media’s claim of fair reporting, there is a prevalent bias against Catholics in today’s news organizations, that can easily be seen in such topics as abortion, same-sex marriage, and the women’s ordination.

With some prodding from me, as well as a lot of hard work and focus on her part, I’m happy to say she finished her research. That is truly the hardest part, and all that’s left for her to do is write the paper, which I’m hopeful she can do next week. After that, I think all of the remaining schoolwork will be relatively easy to finish.

In addition to all that research, she also finished two tests, an essay, and read a chapter of her religion book, Understanding the Scriptures.

The reason I wanted her to finish researching last week is because this week is her turn at theater camp. She isn’t able to do much of anything aside from work on her lines, so it was important to have little to nothing left to “tidy up” this week. She performed a monologue for the camp counselors on Monday morning and got two different parts in the play, which is a series of skits and monologues about “The Big Day” in each character’s life. She’ll be opening the play with a monologue in which she plays a nine year-old girl who is reading an essay to her class. I’m excited about the performance on Friday, and I’m really proud of her work this week.

She actually wants to go into acting and stage production, so we’re going to be focusing on getting her to auditions this year, and maybe working on finding an internship with a video production company in town. It’s hard to believe that she’s at a stage in life where she’s exploring her options for adulthood. It certainly has changed the way I pray for her.

Finally, I have to brag a bit about my running. I promise this isn’t turning into a running blog, but it’s really hard for me to talk about my successes this week without talking about some of my biggest personal accomplishments.

I’ve blogged before about starting the Couch to 5K program at the beginning of June. I had decided to start running because Nathan runs, I thought it was something we could do together, and I remembered how wonderful it felt to run when I was a kid. I thought about how I would play outside and just run through the yard, and how it felt wonderful, and how I felt free. I wanted to feel that again. And I really needed to get into shape again. I hated going for walks because I’d get so tired so quickly. I felt awful.

Even though my idea of what my body should look like has changed in the last few weeks, I still wanted to be healthier. My blood pressure isn’t high, my cholesterol isn’t high, and I’m in generally good health. But I’ve been, oh, so out of shape.

Couch to 5K starts off really slowly. There’s always a 5-minute warm-up and a 5-minute cool-down, but the workout in between changes as you go through the 9-week program. The first week, I had 1:00 of running, followed by 1:30 of walking for a total of 20 minutes. I barely made it — the first day, I couldn’t even run the entire 1:00 towards the end of the workout. The next week, I was shocked to see that the runs were 1:30, with 2:00 walking intervals. I could barely make that 1:30, and when I saw that the next week I’d have 3:00 running intervals, I wanted to cry. I had to make myself go out each time, and rarely ran on my “off days” from Couch to 5K.

Fast forward to this morning. Thanks to the arctic cold front that moved in, when I left to run at 10 AM, it wasn’t even 70ºF. I was excited to get out and run.

Let me say that again, in case you missed it:

I was excited to run. I wanted to go out again, especially since I missed running yesterday.

Couch to 5K, Week 6, Day 3: Five minute warmup, 22 minute run, 5 minute cool-down. Check me out!

And you know what my workout was? Warm-up walk for 5:00, run for 22:00, cool-down walk for 5:00. I ran the whole thing. I didn’t get a stitch in my side. I didn’t get super-tired. I sped up for the last 40 seconds of the run!!!

It was my best run yet. My distance was up, my pace was better, and I felt better than I ever had running that long.

Me, who couldn’t walk for 10 minutes 7 weeks ago without being out of breath.

Me, who couldn’t run 1:30 without panting and wanting to cry.

Me, who was afraid to run for 3:00 on week 3.

Guess what, guys? I’m a runner now. And it’s kind of a big deal.

Can I leave you with one thought? If you’re afraid to start exercising — whether it’s running or aerobics or Zumba or biking or swimming — just start. Find someone to encourage you, even if he (or she)can’t go with you all the time. Start little. Go for a walk after dinner. Park a little farther away in the WalMart parking lot. But try. Do a little. Then, next week, do a little more. Go for a longer walk. Take the stairs sometimes. Swim a couple of laps.

Push yourself, even if you’re feeling awful while you’re doing it. (Obviously, not dangerously awful. Just, you know, uncomfortable.) When you’re done, it feels good, even if your muscles ache and you’re tired and stinky and dripping with sweat. Pat yourself on the back, then do it again the next day.

Look where I’ve gone in a month and a half! If I can do this, you can too.

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3 thoughts on “Small Success Thursday: Research, Drama, and (Yes) Running

  1. I wish you guys lived closer! Friends of mine from church own a video production company…they would love to have her as an intern.
    And now you’ve got “King Tut” stuck in my head. Thanks for that 😉

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  2. I am so impressed and inspired by your running. I just can’t seem to stay on track. Like you, I’m pretty healthy, but I know I should exercise to stay that way. Perhaps I shall take a walk today….I think I can, I think I can, I think I can….

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    • Jaime–you can! Get a walk today! I did (I am such a fitness failure.) But someone asked me to be an Adoration substitute, and the church is just under a mile away, and it’s such a nice day…so I walked!

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