Current state

I don’t know about all of you but this Covid19 situation has me feeling all the emotions. It’s not the virus itself, it is the amount of unknown.

When I was younger, my dad and I would watch The Wonder Years. At the end of almost every episode I would have tears in my eyes as I recognized we were watching our lives. The end of every school year, moving, transition of all kinds hits me right in the feels. As I went to Brayden’s school yesterday to pick up a Chromebook for him to finish the school year on I walked back to my car crying. I was crying for the loss of time my children have to live their lives as they had been, the loss of work for the teachers, and the end of things we knew as everyday life.

I tend to be an emotional person as it is (believe it or not) and this world change has taken it to a whole new level. I want to run with my friends, but I want to abide bay the rules I should be following. I want to go to Home Depot and buy all the things, so I don’t go crazy during this quarantine period, but don’t want to risk exposure. All the feelings at once.

I am going to choose to use this time to connect with my children and learn to be with myself. This will be a testimony to what we are capable of overcoming.

I know we are all aware of the struggles we are facing, but make sure you understand how much harder some people have it right now than others. If I am struggling through this, I am painfully aware of how much those with mental health concerns, domestic violence situations, and all around struggles ae suffering to a whole new level. Please pray, or if that is not your thing, focus your positive thoughts towards these people.

SELF-CONFIDENCE

self-con·fi·dence | \ ˌself-ˈkän-fə-dən(t)s , -ˌden(t)s \ Definition of self-confidence : confidence in oneself and in one’s powers and abilities

No one who has met me would ever say, “Wow, that girl is really lacking some self-confidence.” Jokes on them 🤪

I have recently decided to start doing some self-reflection. Really, this stems from my relationships with others. I want the best for those I care about and my behavior and approach to them is included in that. I noticed or acknowledged that I have a tendency to want to prove myself. To who? Good question. I have made a mass of fictional people whom I feel I need to prove my worth. As my dad pointed out, no one doubts my worth but me.

I mention in conversations often having, what I refer to as “mom guilt.” I am in a constant state of feeling as if I am not doing enough, providing enough or just being enough. It is such a toxic feeling. I chalked it up to being a busy single mom, whose schedule and resources are often stretched too thin. As a teen mom, I pushed myself to prove that I was not a total screw up. I wanted to show that I made a poor decision, that I was not my poor decision. This drove me to continue my education through my GED, Bachelor’s degree and shortly, my Master’s degree. Now this seems all beneficial (which it is), but I was always pursing more to prove myself to others (which again my dad pointed out was no one). In my running, I compare my speed to others, my fear in the distance and my validity for being there. Recently I also noticed I do this in my professional life. I often have feelings of doubt in my role. Did I get this position by accident? Do I know what I am doing? Am I an asset to the team? These are not beneficial thoughts to carry. Finally, this has trickled over into my relationships. I doubt my contribution to relationships. I doubt my deservingness of a great relationship. I doubt my ability to mentally and physically be what my partner needs.

All of this being said, I feel like a weight has recently been lifted off my shoulders by just realizing and acknowledging this. By doing this, I am able to spend some much-needed time working on my doubts and myself. I write this in the hopes that it makes someone else not feel alone in this struggle. It is ok to not feel ok, but it is our responsibility to address it, for both ourselves and those we love. We all walk through life with some sort of baggage, but it is our responsibility to be self-aware and take the time to unpack the luggage.

“You wouldn’t worry so much about what others think of you if you realized how seldom they do.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

Grateful

Grateful.

Just take a minute to look at that word, to feel that word. It is so easy to get caught in focusing on what is lacking in our lives, or at least what the internet says is lacking in our lives, but really focus on the word GRATEFUL. Are you really lacking? Around Thanksgiving every year, there are millions of posts and challenges about gratitude and making lists of what we are grateful for leading up to Thanksgiving. I challenge us to take it out of November.

Saturday I ran 16 miles. 16 MILES. SIXTEEN MILES. Now, I have ran a marathon before (26.2 miles), but 16 miles is the farthest I have ran outside of that marathon. My training for that race stopped at 14 miles and then I suffered through the race. 16 miles ran with my tribe. Even the sweet, injured Amber showed up at 5:30am with her beach cruiser to pit crew us for this run. How, in these moments, can we forget to be grateful? The run was hard, my legs were stiff, the ground was muddy, but I was running. I have the ability to put one foot in front of the other every day. I am grateful. I have friends that would show up on a beach cruiser to support my spirit. I am grateful. I have a significant other in my life that, for the first time in any of my previous relationships, is 100% team Molly. Supportive and present. I am grateful.

I have started making it a routine to go on my long runs on Saturdays and make sure to make it to Yoga with Rooted Yoga Community Project on Sundays. Stretching and meditating is the perfect way to round out the weekend. This past Sunday, during class, the teacher asked us to choose our mantra. It is always suggested to find one that starts with I AM. I am strong, I am present, I am enough…you get the picture. I AM GRATEFUL. It is amazing the power that statement can have. During plank poses, goddess poses and balancing, I am grateful was repeating like a broken record in my head. Were the poses hard? Yes. Was I able to hold them? Yes. We so quickly forget about those who cannot do things. Especially with my MS, I try to remember that there are many people who no longer have the ability to use their legs, who have constant pain, who are suffering. I am grateful that I am able to hold hard poses (even in the moments that it’s hard to remember), that I can run and that I can be fully present with those I love around me. Gratefulness can literally change the chemical make-up of your brain. So what are you grateful for?

Grateful.

Gilbert Half Marathon

Yesterday was the Gilbert Half Marathon/10k. Amber and I used the half marathon as our long run for the week because if you have to run 14 miles why not get a metal. Not everyone can be so fortunate as to run a race down the street from their house. This was a beautifully organized race. The race started at Higley High School. Parking was easy, bathrooms were plentiful and the start time of 7:30 allowed me to sleep in (5am)!!!! The race headed North on Recker Rd, caught the power line trail, ran through the Riparian and ended on Gilbert Rd running down the parade route. This race is nothing extravagant, but nothing and I mean NOTHING boost your moral at the end of a race when you need it most than high fiving 100s of kids on a parade route. The start of the race was chilly, but warmed off enough to ditch the gloves and long sleeve. Probably the most perfect race weather ever in the history of all time! Amber and I ran, we walked; we danced to the finish and all in all felt pretty good about the whole thing. I would like to point out (sorry Amber) that after the race as we were crossing the street to get our victory mimosas the announcer of the parade said “injured runner.” We both looked around and realized she was talking about Amber who was fighting a calf cramp (insert hysterical laughing crying emoji).

Now lets talk recovery. I highly, highly recommend an hour-long hot Epson salt filled bath and some foam roller. I can’t believe what that can do for a sore body. I woke up this morning feeling a lot less wrecked than I thought I would. That being said, I headed to a yoga class in Agritopia with Rooted Community Yoga Project. It was a whole practice on gratitude, filled with hip opening goodness. It’s almost like the university knew what I needed. Than what do you do when you finish the perfect yoga class? You get a Cashew snicker doodle cookie from the Uprooted Kitchen (be still my heart).

P.S. I ditched my gloves at around mile 6 because I didn’t want them in my pocket ($2.50 at Walmart). I decided if I still saw them there today I would stop and gran them. Guess what?!

Albert retrieving the gloves

Back at it

Alrighty then, let’s get to the running. My calendar for this winter training season consists of the Gilbert Half Marathon November 23rd, The Scottsdale Half Marathon December 15th and the Sprouts Mesa Full Marathon February 8th. I’m sure there will be a few smaller races sprinkled in somewhere, but those are the biggies.

The summers in Arizona usually cause me to take a relatively lengthy break in my running. With MS it is advised to avoid overheating and if you’ve ever been to Arizona you get the reason for the break. It amazes me how quickly you can restart from square one with running. So easily I can go from running 6-7 miles to taking a week vacation and coming back to struggle running 3. Oh running…you fickle bitch.

As the weather started to get to a tolerable temperature (at 5am), I started meeting up with the amazing Annie for our Monday runs. Around this time, a training program through a group called East Valley Runners was recommended. Annie and I agreed to go together and after the first meeting decided to sign up for a fall half marathon training program. Another friend, who I will not be referring to quite often, Amber, signed up as well but she was training for her first full!!!! See where this is going?

This has been the most consistent I have ever trained for a race. My previous approach was show up and don’t die. Which up to now has worked just fine. We have consistently run together 5 days a week and are putting in close to if not over 100 miles a month! This morning, we put in 10 miles at the good ol’ Queen Creek Wash. Legs felt heavy but the company is hard to beat. Having the support of such an amazing group of women really makes the training process exciting. I look forward each 4am morning to the time spent chatting and sweating. Together, we make each other better.

Sarah, Amber, myself and Annie. My tribe

Welcome to my journey

Good evening everyone!

My three boys!

Let me introduce myself. My name is Molly. I am the mother of three boys, born again runner, Multiple Sclerosis warrior, brain aneurysm survivor, teen mom, college graduate, positivity craver and a forever dreamer.

The title of this blog, Motivating Molly, has two meanings. One, I hope my story and love for many things can motivate at least one person to conquer something they thought they were not capable of and two, to pay homage to the people in my life who have inspired, encouraged and loved me through all the chapters of my life. I will use this blog to talk about the ups and downs of my running journey, the true life of living with Multiple Sclerosis and whatever else happens to inspire me that day. 

A little history; I started my running journey in 2013 with the infamous Couch to 5k program. I was determined to finally tackle my fear of running. I hit the gym every day to get my intervals in on the treadmill (because who knew you could run outside). Being the eternal optimist, after running a 5k and my fastest half marathon to date in May 2013, I decided to sign up for a marathon. I had the honor of running the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington DC October 2013. I can’t even begin to describe the emotional experience that is the MCM! After a few life-changing events (divorce and cross country move) I ended up in Arizona. Determined to continue running I did what any other 30 something year old would do, went to Facebook to find my new running family. I was blessed to meet a group called Moms Run This Town (run squad goals).

The infamous Laurel

Fast forward, through MRTT I met the lovely Laurel who quickly became my running wife. She lived a mile away and was up for some early morning, Pokémon Go finding runs. I can remember on those early morning runs commenting on how my feet sometimes felt numb and some other odd physical things. Of course we both chalked it up to nothing. In October 2017, I lost the feeling and most of the use in my left arm. After numerous doctors appointments and an MRI I found out that I had MS. At this point in my life I didn’t even know what that was. After some research I realized my life would forever be changed with this diagnosis. Looking back, Laurel and I definitely laugh over her joking around that I was a hypochondriac during those previous early morning runs. “Look at that. It was something,” says Laurel.

I was determined to live my life and not let this affect my daily activities. Then came MRI #2. This was a routine MRI to follow up on the progress of my MS. The same day I went in for the MRI I received a call from my neurologist informing me that I had an 8MM aneurysm on my right optical nerve and I would need to see a specialist. Once again, not knowing what an aneurysm was I did what any other person with internet would do, went to Google (palm to forehead).  After freaking out thoroughly, I met with an amazing doctor at Barrows Hospital who suggested a craniotomy to clip the aneurysm. I confirmed they would not have to shave my head (vain I know) and agreed to the surgery. May 24, 2018 I underwent a 7-hour surgery to take care of the aneurysm.  The recovery was brutal, but better than the alternative. During all of this my running obviously fell to the wayside.

After fully recovering I started to run again on and off, but it really felt like a struggle due to the inconsistent days I was putting into it. September 2019 I decided to go full force again. I joined East Valley Runners for some serious coaching. I connected with some women who have really held me accountable and motivate me daily (5 days a week to be specific). I have officially been bullied into running my 2nd full marathon in February 2020 after saying I would never run another full again. I feel strong and determined and want to use this blog to share my experiences with running, health and life. I hope I can motivate others because I sure am grateful for the motivation I have received.

#squadgoals

Welcome to my journey.