Thursday, July 21, 2011
Consider this blogging therapy. I need to get this out of my head because itís been banging around & driving me crazy since Monday.
Thatís the day that I found out my biological father had died.
I grew up in a typical, slightly dysfunctional (right, Lydia?) family with my mom, dad (Dennis) and sister. I never thought much of it when people said that I looked like my mom & my sister took after my dad. In high school, we did a blood type testing lab. My parents both had O+; mine test result was B+. If you remember correctly from biology class, thatís not possible. My teacher (perhaps politely,) Mom & I all shrugged it off as a cheap, insensitive, perhaps faulty test.
Fast forward about four years, when I did a similar lab in a college biology class. More sophisticated test, same results. This time I couldnít ignore the results. When I confronted Mom with the news, she reluctantly admitted that she had an affair with a married coworker when she & my dad Dennis were on a break. Dennis found out that Mom was pregnant with me and, being the good man that he is, wanted to marry her. My biological father never knew about me.
Mom gave me my biological fatherís name & a way to reach one of his family members, and after several months I decided to contact him. John, my biological father, was surprised but very receptive. I met him, his current wife, his ex-wife (the one he cheated on) and over half of my 8 ďnewĒ brothers & sisters a few weeks later. Some things made much more sense after I met him; I shared some of the same facial features, personality traits & mannerisms with them.
We developed a tenuous but decent relationship. John told me he loved me from the very beginning and included me in a few family functions. I became pretty close with two of my brothers & sisters, Bill & Nikki. But things were awkward. Some of the siblings were less accepting of me than others. My dad Dennis was hurt that I had contacted John and felt that I was trying to replace him. After a while, my biological father & I seemed to let the years, miles and difficulties separate us and we lost contact.
Over the weekend, as I was sorting & decluttering the house for sale, I found a graduation card from John and decided to search for him on the internet. I had often thought of doing this, but he had health issues and I was a little apprehensive about what I would find. My worst fears were confirmed when I found his obituary. He passed away a while ago (Iím not going to say how long ago because it upsets me.) I was not listed as one of his children.
I have such mixed feelings. I am sad that my biological father is dead, but not nearly as sad as I will be when my dad Dennis or my stepdad Jerry pass away. I feel guilty that we didnít keep in touch, despite what others thought. Iím upset that none of my siblings contacted me when he passed away. Iím hurt that I, the bastard child of an affair or not, was not included as one of his children. I feel like Iím grieving the loss of not only the loss of my biological father but eight brothers & sisters as well. I havenít told many people, but most werenít sure how to respond. I canít blame them; itís such an odd situation that Iím not sure how to deal with it either. Iím hoping blogging & a little more time will help.
Sunday, July 03, 2011
Tuesday, July 5th was to be the day that I registered for the 2012 Disney Princess HM. Ever since the day I found out about this race it has been my dream to run it. Iím a huge Disney fan, and the idea of running through WDW (especially Cinderellaís castle) while being entertained by characters and thousands of other Disney fans really excited me. I had made plans to run it with a few close SparkFriends of mine next year, all decked out in our pretty pink finery. 2012 was going to be the Year of the Princess.
And then reality came and bit me on the butt.
My air conditioner/heat pump died. It was 22+ years old, so it lived a long, valiant life. Unfortunately it had the worst freaking time to go out. You see, not only was I planning to run Princess next year, I was also considering moving. The idea was to possibly move sometime next year & sell the house with a home warranty, knowing that the furnace would need to be replaced soon. Why couldnít it hold on a little longer?
The dead air conditioner has forced me to make decisions faster than I had anticipated. I could replace only the heat pump motor for about $700, use the rest of the Disney money to get the house ready for market before anything else goes wrong & start looking for a new job. Or I can replace the heat pump/AC unit for $3000-4000 and not be able to afford to move for a couple years.
My daughter & I moved to the Cincinnati area 15 years ago for a good-paying job that I no longer have and to give her the best education possible. We donít have family in the area, so I had always assumed I would move out of the area once Laura graduated & found a place of her own.
Being a single mom for 19 years & not fathoming the thought of living too far from my daughter, I had planned on settling back down somewhere a couple hours away from her. But life has changed dramatically for me over the past year and with it my plans have too. I think itís healthier to allow Laura to move wherever her dreams carry her, without her mom hovering close by to watch over & protect her. Iíve also met someone, and this move would bring us a little closer together. Even if things donít work out with this person, Iíll still be living much closer to my sister, parents & several other relatives.
Iíve decided to replace the motor only & move to the Columbus area. Almost everything in my Virgo, OCD, ultra-planning body is fighting against this choice. I feel stupid trying to sell my house & find a job in this market, opening myself up to a relationship after being alone & independent for so many years, and letting my daughter possibly move hundreds of miles away (sheís considering Virginia Beach) without me. But my heart is telling me that itís time to take the plunge. After sleepwalking for so long, Iíve been making conscious efforts over the past year to live a more vibrant, courageous life. This just feels like the next step I need to take. Iím scared half to death, but Iím moving forward and taking that leap of faith anyway.
So, even though Iíll be sad on July 5th as my friends are registering for Disney Princess, itíll be okay. Itís worth postponing one dream to pursue so many others.
Friday, May 06, 2011
SorryÖitís a long one! Last weekend, I was blessed to run my first half marathon with my sister, Lydia (BRIDGE1028) & one of best SparkBuddies, Mel (MGJARVI). It was their first half marathon too! Running a half marathon had been a dream of mine since late 2009. I had always heard such great things about the Flying Pig, so I knew that my first one would have to be my hometown race.
We started the weekend by meeting in the lobby of our hotel, The Millennium. Even though Mel & I have been SparkFriends for what seems like ages, we had never met until now. It was such a thrill to see her in person & finally give her a big hug! After the quick round of introductions, we headed over to the expo. Let me tell you, these people know how to put on an expo! You get your race packet, wind your way through countless vendors (grabbing lots of freebies along the way), pick up your T-shirt, backpack & poster, then activate your timing chip on the way out. Hereís some photos of some of the goodies that we picked up along the way:
My daughter Laura joined us at the hotel right after the expo & pasta dinner. The rest of the group went out to explore Cincinnati. I was tired, so I decided to stay in, put my feet up & relax.
Unfortunately, being alone gave me a chance to miss a few people, including my parents, who couldnít come to the race, and to worry about all the things that could go wrong the next day. Lucky for me I have a couple wonderful friends that dried my tears & lifted my spirits. Before I knew it, it was time for bed.
The next morning I got up, took a quick shower & ate my normal pre-race breakfast. My daughter did a wonderful job keeping me focused & making sure I had everything before we met the group downstairs. After a couple quick photos (thanks to Melís DH Mark for being our photographer this weekend!), we set off.
It was about a half mile walk to the staging area line from the hotel. As we got closer, what struck us was the massive number of people everywhere: huddling in the stadium for protection from the rain, in line for the Port-a-Potties, runners trying to get to their starting corrals and spectators trying to find a good spot to watch the start of the race (we found out later that there were over 20,000 people running that day!) As much as we tried to get to Corral E before the race started, we finally gave up & snuck into the Corral D gate once they were gone. It took about 15 minutes to walk back to the starting line, and then we were off & running!
The course wound past Paul Brown Stadium and Great American Ballpark, then over the Ohio River and through Newport & Covington, Kentucky. The first couple miles involved a lot of bobbing & weaving between slower runners & walkers, but once we crossed the bridge back into Cincinnati the crowd finally opened up. I was amazed how quickly the first six miles flew by.
And then started The Hill. I had been warned about the 3-mile incline by prior Pig racers, but that beast is just something you need to experience yourself to truly appreciate. My outer knee starting hurting from almost the beginning of the hill and didnít stop until I started the descent at mile 10. I just knew then that I wouldnít be meeting my goal time of 3:00.
The spectators got me through the most difficult points of the race. There were people all along the route, holding signs & cheering everyone along. I canít tell you how many high fives I got along the way, including ones from Elvis, someone dressed as a beast holding a sign saying ďrun human run,Ē and from literally half of a local football team. They spoke wonderful words of encouragement when I briefly broke down from pain & frustration. Those amazing fans really helped me and other racers keep going.
The last 5K was fast & fun. My knee pain all but disappeared as I started back down the hill. At mile 12, I glanced down at my Garmin & realized I wasnít going to finish the 15-30 minutes behind as I originally thought! I decided to push the pace & try to reach my goal. Before I knew it, I rounded the last corner and saw that finish line! I focused all my attention on that beautiful ďFinish SwineĒ sign until I hit the mats (with an official time of 3:00:53!) I think I had a huge grin on my face as I crossed the finish line; I KNOW I had one as a volunteer placed my first medal around my neck. I shed a few more tears as the realization struck: I had just completed my first half marathon!
A few well-deserved words of appreciation:
Coach Nancy, you were the first one that made me believe I could run a half marathon. I was so touched and inspired by your story at the 2009 Cincinnati Convention. At that point, I could only run for about 30 seconds at a time. I just remember thinking that if you could work that hard and come so far, so could I. Thanks for helping me realize I can achieve ANYTHING I set my mind to.
Lydia, thanks for pulling the trigger and registering for the race first. You forced me to face my fear of failure and take the plunge. Once you made the commitment, I knew there was no backing out. You donít realize how much I love running these races with you. I promise the next one I choose wonít be so hilly!
Mel, thanks for letting me talk you into running our first half marathon together! Being able to finally meet you was one of the ultimate highlights of this weekend. I promise to use my powers of persuasion only for goodÖno more talk of tattoos (for you anyway.) Let me know when youíre ready to sign up for Air Force!
Laurie and WB, thank you for helping me through my many meltdowns over the past couple weeks. You do not realize how much I appreciated your tolerance & words of wisdom. You guys were my rock, and I love you both.
Thank you to my SparkFriends for your support & encouragement during this journey. Youíre all simply amazing!
And thanks to SparkPeople for helping me lose 70 lbs and allowing me to go from this
Friday, April 15, 2011
I am so bored with my running playlist. This is not good, considering I'm running 14 miles this Sunday and getting ready for the Flying Pig half marathon on May 1st.
So, I thought I'd reach out to my friends. Can you suggest some songs to add to my playlist? I don't care about the genre - I enjoy almost every type of music. The songs can be fun, inspirational or just have a great beat. What's really going to motivate me is thinking of the person who chose the song for me as it's playing. It will be like a big musical hug!
You'll help me through two huge milestones - my longest run ever this weekend, then my first half marathon! Thank you so much!!
Monday, March 28, 2011
This weekend I traveled to Pittsburgh to meet a bunch of SparkersÖoh, and to run 8.1 miles in Just a Short Run! I apologize that thereís no pictures; I brought my camera but forgot to use it!
The race itself was difficult for me. I was feeling the effects of being sick earlier that week & almost no sleep the night before. The temperature fluctuated around the lake, ranging from bitter, I-think-my-fingers-are-frostbitten cold to chilly but sunny, and I wasnít able to regulate my temperature well (note to selfóforego the cute, pullover windbreaker for the ugly zip-up next time.) And I ended up with a nasty blister on my right foot that made the last few miles really painful. I was just happy to finish that hilly course.
What was more special about this weekend was EVERYTHING else. I am normally a painfully shy, reserved person, so making the decision to go to this gathering was a big deal for me. From literally the moment I got out of my car, I was made to feel welcome and included. I finally got to meet Laurie, one of my longest & dearest SparkFriends, and others that Iíve only chatted with online. I got to personally thank the person who inspired me to run my first half this May. And I met amazing new friends that I canít wait to get to know better. Heck, just seeing Bobby in a pink tutu & finally hearing the ghost costume story alone was worth the trip!
I cannot thank you guys enough for this weekend. You reminded me why Iím on this journey: to be a happier, healthier, radiant person. Iím not the same awkward kid I used to be. Iím not the meek, beaten-down person I was 20 years ago. Iím not even the same woman I was when I started this weight loss journey 5 years ago. I am someone who is worthy of joining in, letting loose & having fun with such an incredible group of people. You all have absolutely reignited my Spark! Iíll see some of you in May, and the rest of you next year!
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