Running Mind Games

When you run, you focus on your feet and legs, right?

Let’s turn our focus to your state of mind before and during a run. Have you ever heard the phrase that running is all in your head? Sure, there is a physical aspect that you need to take into consideration when you first start or if you have to train hard for a race or other competition. However, in my fitness journey, I have found many times that my biggest limitations are the ones that I have mentally placed on myself. I am not the only one that thinks this way.

Check out this article in Women’s Running about the mind games runners face:

The Hardest Parts Of Running Are All In Your Head

Do you want an example? Okay, so you are going out on a run and you have your tunes, your ear buds, your shades, everything is all set. Then your kids throw a fit when you drop them off at your mom’s house. Then you drop your full icy cold water bottle and have to clean it up and then refill it. You say a prayer, calm yourself, and set out to conquer this run! Then you run into construction, or potholes, or negative frustrating signs that make you doubt yourself. Part of you may want to turn back. The other part of you (the stubborn side) will say “Hey, I’m not gonna stand for this! I will not conform to your limitations of my skills!”

( I know, a little dramatic, so I’ve heard)

The second I saw this regular road sign, I thought “Don’t tell me what to do, road sign! You don’t know me! You don’t know if I am able to pass another runner or if they are able to pass me! I will pass that imaginary runner that I am racing against and you can’t stop me!” Whew, what a mental battle with a road sign that never did anything to me, right? I do that when I’m running in the gym on a treadmill next to an innocent bystander as well. I don’t know them, we don’t talk. I just immediately regard them as my competition in my head. If they go faster, I go faster, if they run longer, I run longer. I have certain songs on my running playlist that if I hear them, I have an agreement with myself that I will either pick up the pace or run longer than I had intended. Like I said, it’s a mind game…

So every time I go out to run, I can choose to let those negative thoughts scare me and slow me down. Or, I can choose to make them motivators to get better. I can think of myself as punching the potholes and construction cones and carry on with strength and courage.

In spite of all of this struggle back and forth, I have never regretted a workout. I may not be running a race each time and have actual competitors. But, I find ways to challenge myself and keep on running as if I have competitors and as if there is a prize to be won. I always feel better about myself knowing that at least I went out and broke a sweat and did my best. I have always regretted skipping a workout! How about you?

Blessings! Keep on running the race!


1 Corinthians 9:23-25New International Version (NIV)

23 I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.

24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.

As a Parent, I Never Thought I’d Say…

As a Parent, I Never thought I’d Say…
1) I don’t have time to laugh right now.
2) Why can’t you just stop crying?
3) (Yelling at the top of my lungs) Everybody stop yelling – no yelling allowed!
4) Stop touching each other! No touching!
5) New Rule: When you go potty, you pee inside of the toilet only!
6) No, you can not leave the house without your pants on!
7) Let’s make a deal……..put your pants on and be nice to mommy and I will give you fruit snacks.
8) Do not jump on your brother!
9) No, I will not hug you until you wash your hands!
10) You are not allowed to eat until you blow your nose.
11) Yes, we can have a dance party if you finish your homework!
12) Yes, let’s move the laundry and make a fort!
13) Yes, you can have a band-aid (even though there is no blood or scratch).
14) Yes, we can have chicken nuggets for dinner again.
15) I understand that your grandma let’s you do that. Grandma is not the boss when Mommy is around. Mommy is the boss!

1) I don’t have time to laugh right now
My oldest, Ethan, takes after his daddy. One of his main goals in life is to make everyone smile and laugh, especially daddy and mommy. We were trying to leave and were already late when I responded to his 3rd knock knock joke this way. This is not my normal view on life. I am such an easy laugher. My husband appreciates this quality as well as my boys. The stress of the morning rush took me over and I heard the words coming out and almost laughed afterwards at how boring and adult like I sounded. But, we were all late, and my angry mombie came out before I knew it.

2) Why can’t you just stop crying?

Admittedly, when I was a child, I was the one that made every little look, every little word, every little image into something bigger and deeper than it was. As a result, I was frequently offended, hurt, and crying. Ofcourse,now, I understand that not everything was aimed at me or meant to hurt me. My mother frequently laughs when I tell her stories about my children’s emotional rants and tantrums because they are just mini versions of myself in this area and to her it seems a lot like paybacks:).
As an example:
My 7-year-old either whines or breaks down into tears every time his brother gets a turn with a toy or wins an argument or (dare I say it?) gets to go somewhere or do something without his older brother. After a few of these instances I started to realize that Ethan was our more emotional child. I realized this awhile ago, but my husband still has not accepted it. He sometimes asks me “Why is he so emotional today? I have to remind him that Ethan has always been and probably always will be emotional because he is like me. I remember my tears being for different reasons when I was younger. I also remember vowing that I wouldn’t be unfair to my children. Then I found myself saying “Why can’t you just stop crying?” a few times and I learned pretty quickly that it is almost like a parental rule that I’m supposed to make life seem unfair for my children (in their eyes). Ethan’s favorite phrases when he is emotional are: “But you said..” “That’s no fair…” and “Why do I always have to…?” Some of it is inevitable, but we are working on it.

3) (Yelling at the top of my lungs) Everybody stop yelling – no yelling allowed!
If you’ve ever experienced two screaming boys for more than a minute, you understand that getting a headache is just one of the many side effects that occur afterwards. The other side effects include evil looks, throwing toys, and sarcastic comments. These occur one by one in no specific order until everyone is mad at everyone and everything. Yelling to stop yelling is the only thing a mostly sane mama can come up with in this atmosphere.


4) Stop touching each other! No touching!
I have one very touchy-feely son who loves to hug and kiss and cuddle. The other has to be in the right mood for it, much like his mommy. When Ethan is hugging and kissing on Shawn and Shawn begins to push away slightly, I have to call a no touching rule temporarily because if I don’t, Shawn is going to punch Ethan in a sensitive area to get away from him.

5) New Rule: When you go potty, you pee inside of the toilet only!
Some would think this is learned immediately upon potty training. No, it is a daily reminder for my boys, especially when they go together and have “sword fights” with their streams of pee – eewwwww! I usually have a no group peeing policy. This is one of the rules that my husband and I unfortunately disagree on, so it still occurs from time to time…eeeewwwwww!

6) No, you can not leave the house without your pants on!
There’s always one child that would prefer to be naked or half-naked and is willing to fight about it for a good 20 minutes even if it means losing privileges. My 4-year-old was probably 2.5 when his huge crying tantrums started. They were usually instigated by requests to do something to get ready to leave the house or to get ready to go to bed. Sometimes a request to wear pants or to eat his breakfast or to pick a book for bedtime sent him into tantrums and he would not stop crying for probably an hour or more. To his credit, he was on very strong steroids for Asthma and his emotions were messed up significantly (messed up even for a toddler). The roller coaster of emotions that he went through caused me to have a similar roller coaster ride of emotions. One time he had a medicine that gave him night terrors which woke him up and caused him to scream for an hour or two until he just fell over in exhaustion. I learned early on that this was not his fault, but when you have to console a screaming and crying toddler at 3am – 5am and then get up at 5:30am to get yourself ready for work, you start to fight back against a child’s persistent fight to go pantsless 24/7. For this reason, we now have regularly scheduled times when he is allowed to hang out all day at home in his underwear. We just have to remind him to get dressed before we go anywhere.

7) Let’s make a deal … put your pants on and be nice to mommy and I will give you fruit snacks.
There comes a point when the determined super mommy wears down and the deal maker survival mode mommy comes out – let’s just be honest.  I sometimes grab another coffee and let the kid win. I sometimes hammer down and at the same time make deals to protect my sanity. It’s either make a deal or let the kid win and I have had a lot more practice at this game of being stubborn and determined than my 4 and 7 year olds!

8) Do not sit on your brother!
I’ve said this more than once, if you can believe it. Probably more than ten times. Sometimes it changes to “We do not sit on faces in this house!” What is it about brothers that screams “Wrestle me down and sit on me!”?

9) No, I will not hug you until you wash your hands!
Do you ever wonder why daycare and schools are a breeding ground for colds and flu bugs? Sure, the kids eventually wash their hands after being reminded several times. The question is, how many items or people did they contaminate before they started washing their hands? Your phone, their back pack, their toy that they smuggled in unnoticed, the friend next to them, your hands or face when they caught you off guard? These are the things I think about laying in bed when everyone else has gone to sleep….

10) You are not allowed to eat until you blow your nose.

You would think that getting rid of the snot dripping down your nose would be a welcome experience. Not for 3 year olds, and sometimes not for 7 year olds, either. It makes me wonder if they don’t feel it, don’t care about it, or just don’t want Mommy telling them what to do about anything anywhere anytime. Hmmm…it’s a toss up…let’s move on.

11) Yes, we can have a dance party if you finish your homework!

My new favorite outlet for my kids’ energy is called “dance party”. This means that we forget about our worries, our cares, any arguments we had before, and we turn up the music nice and loud and dance off our energy, dance of the sugar, dance off the frustrations, etc. For me, this is a stress relief some nights when I have had way to many arguments with the boys, way too many stresses at work, or way too many dishes to clean or stains to get out of the laundry. Either way – this is a win-win solution when we can’t agree on a game or a cartoon to watch or whatever activity we thought we might do for the night.

12) Yes, let’s move the laundry and make a fort!

Yes, I have been guilty many times of ignoring the growing piles of clean laundry that call to me at all hours after work.  But some days, I need to just play with the kids and get some stress relief! Making a fort is the perfect solution to ward off pillow fights, get the kids to work together on a project with a common goal, and sometimes even read books together and make it fun! I never thought that I would want to do all of the building and constructive play as a mom because part of me thought that was the daddy’s job. Now, I love it when the kids want to build forts because it breaks up the battles that they would normally have with favorite shared toys and allows them to get creative without destroying anything! Win – win!

13) Yes, you can have a band-aid (even though there is no blood or scratch):

Okay, okay, maybe if we were running low on band-aids I wouldn’t give in to this, but I have many times pulled out the box of Minion or Avengers band-aids as a comfort tool without the tiniest visible drop of blood for evidence of the pain in my children’s eyes. It may be an owie that is inside and they don’t know how to explain their feelings yet, so a band-aid represents how they are going to try to get through the pain and move on. If that is what is necessary to stop the tears and reconcile two fighting boys, I am ready to use up the band-aids!

14) Yes, we can have chicken nuggets for dinner again:

Okay, I understand that children need to have veggies, need to have fruits, and sometimes need to try the pot roast or the latest leftover casserole that we, as mommies, surprise everyone with. However, I am a firm believer in choosing my battles! Organic foods are great, vitamins and minerals are great, and I give my kids a healthy of each whenever possible. But, there comes a time when it was a crazy day filled with work, school, daycare, errands, and now it’s 6:30, everyone is starving, and I have no clue what is for dinner because we just walked in the door and didn’t plan ahead due to the above mentioned craziness. In these cases, chicken nuggets, hot dogs, whatever is quick and will fill the bellies works for us! Granted, for my youngest and I, we have special chicken nuggets and hot dogs that are allergen free and pricey, but the extra money is well worth it if it saves me the headache of planning dinner 2 nights a week!

15) I understand that your grandma let’s you do that. Grandma is not the boss when Mommy is around. Mommy is the boss! 

Okay, so my mother and my mother-in-law and I don’t always have the same rules. I have come to terms with that. If they are giving me free babysitting, they can have their own rules as long as it is not a safety issue or inappropriate for the age issue. What we have settled on is that when Grandma is around, grandma has her rules. When mommy is around, mommy makes the rules. Daddy has some rules, but they are usually more flexible than mommy’s rules. That’s a whole other story! I have come to understand the whole argument of the phrase “Because I said so!” traditional parenting line. I have used that many times because there’s just so many times that you can argue with a pint size version of yourself that you are in charge without resorting to “Because I said so!” My tolerance for questions and rebuttals before this phrase is somewhere between 10 and I stopped counting.

I hope that these comments and stories help you to feel better about your own parenting skills! If nothing else, I’m sure that you can relate to my weaknesses and remember that we are all kind of guessing and figuring this out as we go!



Proverbs 3:12

For the LORD reproves him whom he loves,
As a father the son in whom he delights.

Matthew 6:34

So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.