Day 4

I started my morning off right with an almost 7 mile trail run! 
I've recently fallen in love with trail running. I always thought it was for "serious" athletes. And then I asked myself, "Am I not serious about my athletic abilities? What sets professional athletes apart from me?" The answer is nothing. Absolutely nothing. Except our self-perceptions. I'm just as capable of doing/achieving anything as anyone else. I've been trying to increase my running strength, speed, and endurance lately, and what better way than through trail running? I could totally do it! 

So, I went for a trail run last week. 

It only took about 20 seconds to see why it's such a beloved pastime. After I got home I immediately found a killer deal on some trail-running shoes and planned to run my next one today. 

I ran the Mueller Park Trail, which was a great choice. The trail I did last week was deserted and I was so scared of getting kidnapped and going missing. But this one was nice and busy, but not too busy. I did have to keep on high alert for bikers, but it wasn't a big deal. 

One such biker took this picture for me at the top and said, "ok, crouch down a little" and failed to tell me I look like I'm in position for a blue dart. But it's all I got, so we're rolling with it. 

I had a nice scare on the run down. I was cruising along and heard a twig snapping sound. I glanced over my shoulder thinking it was a biker coming up behind me. As soon as I turned, I felt a rush of air and not even a foot in front of me, a huge deer came bounding out of the bushes, across the path, and down into the trees. It scared the living poop out of me and I would give anything to see what my face looked like! Literally another foot in distance and I would have been broadsided by a deer. A living, "intelligent" animal. 

But wait, there's more...

After going another 50 yards or so with my heart pumping at dangerous speeds, the SAME DANG DEER came at me  again! This encounter wasn't quite as close and I was kind of prepared for it, but it did cause me to pick up my pace and wonder the rest of the way back if I would be the first human to be hunted by a deer. 

The rest of our day was pretty lame. We had lunch at Costa Vida with about 100 Jr. High kids who had walked down for lunch after yearbook signing. There was lots of screaming, giggling, and cracking puberty voices. Oh, and unmentionable amounts of acne. 

Then we went to DI to find crappy clothes to wear to the Dirty Dash on Saturday. We were not successful. I'm sure I can scrounge up something, though. I did find practically new shoes for Brynlie and a toy ride-on four-wheeler for Kennedy, though! Best $7 I've spent in a while! 

Just kidding, the $7 Costa Vida salad was way better. Gosh I love food!! 

Oh and I got cuddle time with both my girls today, but only Kennedy was awake enough for a photo op. I love cuddling those kiddies! 

I want to set a more serious mood for a second and talk more about the way we view ourselves and ultimately, our self-confidence. 

This is an area where many people struggle; mostly women. We may think we have it all together and that we are pretty content with who we are until we come across something that aggitates the waters of jealousy, self-doubt, and competitiveness. 

Learning to truly love who I am, regardless, has been my #1 goal the past year or so. I have a lot of outside forces in my life that are beyond my control that cause me to feel pretty inadequate.

 I can't control what people post on social media-- but all the trips, money, purchases, and talk about perfect families and children always makes me feel like we aren't doing something right. 

The fitness industry seems to encourage women with the, "if you got it, flaunt it" mentality and modesty has gone down the drain, and I've caught myself thinking, "Should I wear a bikini this summer? It's probably ok if my workout top shows a little bit of cleavage, right?" What kind of example does that set for my girls? 

I've attended gyms with people so competitive it made me feel like I'll never be good at anything, and their constant need to be better took all the fun out of it. 

I know so many runners who are so fast and inspiring, and I used to let their strengths make me feel small. 

There's so many things out there that, if we aren't deeply rooted in the love of who we are, can knock us off balance and throw off our groove. I decided right before Brynlie was born that I was sick of it! I was sick of my insecurities and of letting others diminish what I'm capable of. My insecurities held me back from so many things that I've always had the ability to do, I just didn't know I could yet. And letting go of those things has changed my mentally to, "I probably can't do that," to, "Why can't I? Bring it on!" 

When I look back over the past year I have made great strides. It's obviously been a work in progress, but progress has been made in leaps and bounds. I used to stand in front of the mirror every day and notice the things I didn't like about myself. Now I stand there and notice the things I love. I've stopped putting myself down (most importantly in front of the kids) and have soaked up the feeling of pride I deserve to feel when I have accomplished something hard or have actually kept the house clean for the day. 

I've opened up to people more and have made incredible friendships! Instead of being scared people won't like me, I've decided I don't care haha. They will either like me or they won't, so why not at least talk to them instead of staying silent and looking like a jerk. 

I feel like I'm rambling... My point is, self-confidence isn't in the size of our house, how many possessions we have, the trips we take, the brand of clothes we wear, the number on the scale, the number of friends we have, keeping a perfect "Stepford Wives" kind of life, always having dinner made, the weight we can bench press, or how many talents we have. NONE OF THAT MATTERS! You can have all those things; be rich and famous, have the perfect body, and have it all together, but if you don't love who you are on the inside, it will never be good enough. None of it will ever make you happy. I read a quote the other day that said 

"There is no path to happiness. Happiness is the path." 

Be happy with who YOU are. We were all made uniquely perfect. Trying to be a carbon copy of someone else, in any way, extinguishes your unique flame. And as cheesy as this sounds, we need all our lights shining bright, because we can't help others if we can't even help ourselves. But that's a topic for another day. 

So stop being so hard on yourselves. Stop picking out your imperfections and embrace them. Don't let what others have make you feel like you aren't blessed with anything at all. It's something I remind myself of daily, and although there are still hard moments, my quality of life has greatly improved. 

So go kick some individuality ass! 

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