Sunday, December 29, 2013

Live a Little!!!

I totally forgot to blog last week! I also forgot to exercise, or something like that.

I spent a week in Chicago playing with the kiddos, baking, finishing gifts, going to party after party; in general having a fantastic time with my family. I woke up several mornings with my pup convinced I was going to run and the minute I would step on the back porch, to the tune of -10 degree windchill and a very slippery ground, I would rush inside and wrap up under a blanket!

Well, because I'm running the Niagara Falls Women's half marathon in June with my best buddy and company, I need to buck up and go out when it is cold! I love running in the cold, so what possibly is the problem?

Well, here is the problem. I took the last six months off from intense training. You see, this year has been challenging yet FANTASTIC, both physically and mentally. I also gained six pounds since Thanksgiving. YIKES!!!

So now is the time to get back into it! I will set my goals and probably blog about them on New Year's or next week, but you can count on a continuation of the blog. Instead I just want to highlight the adventures of Sarah and Company in this blog; kind of an end of year tribute?

The year started out with plans of doing several races, none more significant than the other, rather just different. But there was so much more than just races, and that is what has rounded my life out the most and made this year so fantastic. You already know about the two five milers, one four miler, one half marathon, 10 miler and half iron man. All very cool accomplishments that I am extremely proud of. What you probably didn't hear as much about, because this blog is focused on my athleticism, are all the other activities that allowed me to live like we all should live on a daily basis.

You see, I was at Church with my family on Christmas and the priest asked the congregation whether they would be interested in receiving 86,400 on a daily basis. I read between the lines because he only mentioned money briefly, I had a feeling the 86,400 was something more significant that a dollar. In fact it was, he was talking about the amount of seconds in a day. He used the common phrase that is out there about the present being our present and we should always take advantage. You know what? He is right... That saying is right...

Here's my story:

This past year, I spent many seconds crying. Hell, I cried yesterday for who knows why... I cried my eyes out after watching Hachi: a dog's tale, a few days ago, I have cried for sadness and joy. I cried when my dog swallowed corn cobs and we talked about comfort care because he was never going to pass them. I cried for joy when the vet told me he successfully passed everything (with her help) and he was going to be OK. I cried when I went to the hospital because I felt so sick, but I also laughed...

There was a dinner with my friends after a run, in which I was told to remember that I am a lady, I don't remember what was so funny about that night but I remember the hearty laughter that left us all with sore cheeks and crampy sides. I laugh every time I am with my friends, even if I had cried several minutes before. I have laughed about my own infliction and those of my friends. I have shared the joy of crossing finish lines, I about busted a gut when one of my friends told me to shut the 'eff' up while running a race. Those have been the special moments.

I have made mistakes and failed, but also have been met with equal amounts of success. For instance I decided to fix a broken sink myself. BIG failure, but I learned how to do it myself next time. I successfully put on a conference at work, by myself that was a huge success. Of course I had help from others, but the primary work was done by me. I helped my friend with the painting of her living room and am looking forward to more weekends on the other rooms of her house.

I have gone camping, taken afternoon naps with my pup, shared campfire stories, made snow globes with my friends, decorated cookies with my nieces and nephews, went to state parks with my mom, talked TV with my dad, made apple sauce, spent days at the zoo with friends and their kids, held babies, celebrated the lives of friends, shared in my friends joys and successes, and moments of sadness.

I have talked to much and listened intently (can't say more because I don't think that is possible). I have learned from every person that has crossed paths with me in a meaningful way.

My point is this, I have lived!!! And although many of my life lessons have come from training for races, just as many of those lessons and life victories have come from the people I have chosen to share my life with.

Thank you for taking part in this journey of mine this past year. I know there will be as many peaks and valleys next year, and I invite you to continue reading (if you can handle the horrific grammar).

Your friend,


PS, I know these pictures are repeats, but they are some of my favorite memories from this year!!!

Camping with my friends and my pup!

Volunteering with my Mom and Sister!

Riding 60 plus miles with a wonderful friend!

Finishing a half Iron Man!!!!!

Running a 10 miler.

Surfing with my cousin, nephew and sisters. 

Hiking the Napali Coast with my nephew.
Painting my friend's house.

Being goof with the kiddos!

Making cookies with the kiddos. 

Enjoying the smile of my smarty, witty, cutie niece.

Having another Thanksgiving with my parents!

Learning how to sew. 

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Where did all the Water Go?

I was sick recently. Sick enough to think I needed to go to the hospital. Was the trip to the ER necessary? Well, that is debatable depending on who you talk to, but I stand by that trip (my pocketbook might not, but I still haven't gotten that bill). I walked into the hospital crying and miserable. After a 5 hour stay and a bag of fluids, I left laughing; well not heartily, but still chuckling about things. 

Recently I have been running no more than 3 miles at a time, and then yesterday that changed. I went out for an unintended 4 miler. The schedule said 2 miles, my friend and I decided to go for 3 and then somewhere during the run we decided to do 4. I am so grateful we did the 4 but I realized during that run that water is necessary. I was parched while trying to make it up the effing hill!

This morning I was cleaning up from a small dinner party I hosted yesterday that involved prime rib, cookie decorating and snow globes. While in the middle of loading my dishwasher with the second round of dishes, my water quit working. Seriously, I can't even get a drip to come out of any faucet it my house. I texted my neighbor and she doesn't have water either. I can't shower, wash dishes or wash any clothes. I'm most bothered by the shower part.

All of this to say water is necessary! Drink some!!!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Why Not?

If you ask my friends what I have been talking about this week, they will tell you I have been obsessing about this message I saw on the Angry Jogger's blog. He posted a video, featuring Kevin Smith about life. I am not going to embed the video on my blog because the language in the video is potentially offensive, but if you want to watch it, you can find it here.

I got a sewing machine last week, and since I have gotten that machine I have received a million questions as to why I got a sewing machine. I really don't have an answer except it was there with this glow around it, screaming, I know you want me!!! Well, I got it and I made a night gown. There are several more projects to come!

Last winter, around this time I decided to do the half ironman. I blogged about people's reaction to my announcement of doing that race, and I was frequently met with the big question, WHY? I never really had a good answer except for, why not?

Well after watching this video this week, that talks about the reaction of critics to artists' goals, I of course related it to my ironman and then life in general. I never looked at the response of 'why not' as a good answer, but now that I have talked about it more, I can tell you that the why not world is where I want to live...

I already live in a declarative world. I announce I am going to do something and then I do it. I might fail hard, as a matter of fact, I have been failing at one goal pretty hard core for several weeks now (that changes today), but I always get up and dust myself off. If I am encountered with something new or a challenge, I want to be known as the person who will jump on the bandwagon (as long as it isn't detrimental to my health or well-being), and embark on the journey. You ask why? Well, my response - Why Not???

If I continue to ask myself why before I sign up for every race, or go out for every workout, my guess is I wouldn't make it out the front door, but every time I find myself saying why not, I end up having an experience that I am excited to live again or NEVER do again.

Take running a half marathon, I honestly didn't know why I signed up for my first, but I did. When I crossed that first finish line I thought I could accomplish anything!!!

On the other hand, there have been plenty of activities that I have done and have walked away scratching my head. A for instance? Going to an art museum... Why not go? Well because as much as I try to understand how splatters on a canvas can be considered art, I still do not have an answer. But why is it important that art exists? Two reasons, one is for my little niece who I think is meant to be an artist, and that is cool. The second is because my best friend might believe those splatters are inspiring, and for that the art might be a gift.

So what I am trying to say here, is before you respond to someone who challenges you with a new opportunity or idea, think about Kevin Smith's message (if you watched the video)... After all, if I spent to much time thinking about that first half marathon, first Olympic distance triathlon, first iron man, I may have never seen the start line, or understood what I was capable of after crossing the finish line.

Try out the 'why not' world. You might just like what you find within yourself!

And here are some pictures from this year, because I said WHY NOT!!!
After 8 hours and some change I finished my first half ironman.

The medal from the above race. 

Standing for the first time on a surfboard while in Hawaii.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Random Thoughts

I don't have much to say today, so here are some random thoughts:

I'm Full

I haven't worked out in a week and I'm feeling it, after all this week included some pretty awesome meals and delicious treats. Think big chocolate cake, pumpkin pie, cheesecake, brussel sprouts, turkey, stuffing, corn casserole, etc.

I'm feeling sluggish and tired today and I'm hoping this isn't an indication of how the entire holiday season will feel. 

I'm very thankful I have a little 10k on my schedule in the next week. I haven't run 6 miles in a single run for quite some time. As a matter of fact, I think the last time I hit six miles was when Sue and I had a fluke of a run and ended up with 9 miles because we both felt good. Those are the runs the fill me up!

The Goals

I refuse to let my athleticism rule my life again. It is just a hobby that I enjoy and want to continue to enjoy. However, I have decided that my schedule needs a triathlon in 2014. I am going to have to figure out which one. Here's the criteria the race must meet:
  1. Cheap
  2. Flat
  3. Cheap
  4. Olympic Distance
  5. Cheap
  6. Close to home (or close to my parents)
  7. Cheap
If you know of anything that would qualify, let me know.


I need to quit swearing! Or at least simmer it down a bit. I speak in expletives all the time. Really, I just speak in exclamation points!!! Read a text message from me, and you might find yourself wishing I would quit yelling at you. I found the "f" word roll off my tongue WAY to easily while I was driving with my mom the other day. Now, she hears this word from me all the time, but it wasn't necessary in this context. 

A context it was totally appropriate? When I said the following earlier this year: "I did an effing half ironman!!!!!!!!!!"

To Do Lists

I have a number of to do lists written for this week. Basically, my life is scripted through Wednesday of this week (and yes, writing this blog will be checked off the list the minute I hit publish). I don't like lists because I think the cause you to keep your head down and not focus on the things that matter, those little interactions with friends and neighbors that really mold your life. I will use my lists through Christmas because I have so much to get done, but I won't be too excited about it. What I am excited about are all those moments with friends and family that have been sketched into my to do list, oh and the exercise that is also 'scheduled'. 

Next Week

I'm sure I'll be back with something a little more exciting next week, for now I am going to ride out my Thanksgiving coma and go to work...

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thankful Thursday: Thanksgiving Day

I have a bit of insomnia AND my buddy has no concept of time. When Dukie has to go out, he has to go out!!! So, this morning, I crawled out of bed and danced outside in my PJs begging Dukie to hurry up so we could get back into the warmth.

We got inside and then it occurred to me; it is Thanksgiving morning!!! YIPPEE!!! Turkey and Brussel Sprouts and Stuffing, OH MY!!!!!!! I get way more excited on Thanksgiving than I do on any other holiday.
You see, this is my favorite holiday, and here is why...

It isn't about gifts and galore, but instead about sharing a ridiculously large and DELIGHTFULLY DELICIOUS meal with your family and friends.

So, what am I thankful for you may ask? I think I have been pretty clear on my blog over the past several months, but here is a quick run down:

My Family - Always appropriately entertaining and overly involved at all the right times.

My Friends - This year hasn't been easy but man do I have some solid people in my life. Special shout out to those who have put up with both my endless tears and my bad jokes.

My Dog - Yeah, OK so he woke me up at like 4:00 on Thanksgiving morning to go out, but he also puts joy into every day.

My House - I love the endless project that is my house. It makes me comfortable and warm.

Couches - The only place I have found solid sleep over the last month and a half. Friend's couches, mom's couch, my couch... LOVE THEM!!!!!

My Job - If you can believe it, there is a person on this planet who loves their job... This girl. Sure, I complain about stuff, rightfully so, but to make a difference in another person's life on a daily basis (even if indirect) is a gift.

My Athleticism - So I may have struggled this year, but it has been through those struggles that I have learned a ton about myself, oh and I built some relationships with some pretty awesome people too.

This list could continue, and maybe it will tomorrow, but the fact of the matter is that my life is blessed. It doesn't matter how tough things get, approaching each day with a smile and gratitude opens my eyes to the beauty of all things life has to offer.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Where's the Balance?

Whoa, I swear I only had one glass of wine. Have you ever had to say that because suddenly you were off balance and couldn't seem to stand up straight? I know I have, on several occasions actually.

In life, there are moments where things may seem off balance. There are some theories that include a triangle, each point, or side, of the triangle represents something in life. I honestly don't recall, at all, what those points include but some theorists (if I'm remembering correctly) say that we are all striving for balance but one of the sides of the triangle will always be a little shorter than the other.

I'm always seeking balance, even in my athleticism, which is likely why I gravitated to triathlons in the very beginning. It gave me something different to work on every day and taught me that by working on every sport, your race would be better.

Now let's take racing out the the equation. Yes, I love the start line of a race, and even more I love the finish line, but what about the fun of it all? Here is where the balance comes into play... I am planning on this very fun half marathon in the spring, but the reason I am looking forward to it has little to do with the start and finish line. I'm excited about the journey to get to the start, that will also hopefully carry me through the finish. But more importantly, I am excited for the adventure surrounding that race. Think waterfalls, wine, greenery, parks, a little history... Oh yeah, and training of course! This race is about finding the balance and the fun in racing again.

Now, let's take it a little further re: balance. I used to want to be a faster runner. I would have loved to be able to say I was a 10 minute miler, but every time I have gotten faster I have crashed into a wall of injury. Perhaps that was always my body telling me to find the balance, continue loving what you are doing and enjoy the activity for what it is.

Recently, I was feeling slightly down about what I have NOT accomplished this year. Only one half marathon, one 10 miler, one half ironman, two 5 milers, one 4 miler and a 5k soonish. To some people, that may look like a pretty hefty race calendar, but when you are surrounded by the super athlete, that short list can make any person feel unaccomplished. To remember what I have accomplished, I took a moment to look back and regain my footing. This summer alone there were hundreds of miles of cycling (upwards of 600 miles), and hundreds of miles of running. Why am I feeling off balance? Because I am basing my perspective on others...

So here is what I challenge you to do, next time you find yourself feeling off balance from a small shift in behavior, a drink, a run, I'd encourage you to take a look around and evaluate what is important and WHY it is important. It could be that you need to stretch out of your comfort zone to find a new balance, or readjust and find the correct footing for you again. Or it could be that you are basing your balance on some one else's definition of success.

For now, I'm going to enjoy my unsteady feet and keep blaming it on that glass of wine, because it is stretching me to remember what running is for me... A little exercise, relationships, the beauty of the trail and the fun with my friends.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Thankful Thursday: Dukie

Dukie, not to be confused with dookie, is my dog. He isn't just a dog, but rather the best dog!

When Dukie took over my world we ended up being fast friends. He was here for less than two weeks when a terrible storm rolled through town and Dukie was in my bed, laying right on top of me in seconds flat after the clap of the loudest thunder. I laid there and pet him as he was shivering in fear and I knew he found the right home. After that night Dukie got comfortable taking over my bed and life and, now, literally follows me around the house from the moment I wake up, until I go to bed. He is a tripping hazard, but one I would NEVER trade. He makes me happy and loves me in a way that no human could ever love another person.

I should mention how Dukie came to be with me. Dukie was my nephews' dog and when my sister's family moved to the United Arab Emirates, Dukie needed a new home. I could not have this guy go to a stranger and so he moved 1,300 miles to his retirement home. He has been my buddy for six years at this point, although I have known him for thirteen.

A few years ago, Dukie and I were at my parent's house (also known as Dukie's grandparents house) to visit my nephews' and niece, who were in town for the summer from the UAE, I was walking around talking about my dog and I noticed one of my nephews crying on the back porch. I went and sat down next to him and asked him what was wrong. My nephew told me that "Dukie is NOT your dog, he is my dog, and he is going to live with me when I come home from the UAE." I instantly looked around for parent backup because at that point, Dukie and I had a bond that was/is undeniable and there was NO way I would ever let him leave my side. No parents were in sight so I had to tell my nephew that Dukie was absolutely his dog and will forever be his dog, but is now happily in his retirement home and was going to stay with me. I should mention that this was a selfish statement at the time, but I honestly don't think Dukie could have handled another big move, but selfishly, I couldn't bear the thought of my life without Dukie.

Dukie and I have been on road trips together, we have cried together, we have been mad at each other, but at the end of the day we really LOVE each other. My human friends are amazing, and I have never felt as much love from my friends as I have this summer. The thing is, like some friend become your family, Dukie also is my family!!!

He is my contstant, my peace, my companion and my best friend. Thank you Dukie for putting your head on my shoulder every time I cry, giving me a laugh and teaching me the finer points of unconditional love. It is because of this little man/pup that I have been able to build and maintain some of the best friendships of my life. All because of a dog!!!

Here is a picture diary of some of my favorite moments with Dukie. I have been blessed to have him in my life for six years, and I truly hope there are more years to come!!!
Like a kid, always needs to be in the picture. 

Dukie at the beach.
Dukie relieving himself on federal property. 
Dukie at the Trail of Tears.
Dukie at the Indian Mounds.
The Hawaiian Dog!!!
Pure Love!
Dukie frolicking. 
The exhausted dog!
Dukie with his REAL pals.
Cold Dukie!

Snow Storm
Big Road Trip, Missouri
Dukie at my Marathon
Dukie after the terrible attack
The distinguished dog in Oklahoma
Getting ready to road trip. 
Helping with the poster party!
The best travel companion!

Me and Dukie.

Camping 2013

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Thankful Thursday: My Dad

I am kind of a needy person. Ask the people I am closest with and you will hear that I text incessantly, call a lot and have lots of opinions. I hope that they would also say that I listen well, treat them with respect and love them unconditionally. I think I do, and I had to have learned that from someone. Right?

Yep, my dad...

Growing up, my dad was always around. He is the guy who always told me the truth, even when it hurt. Case in point... When I was young, maybe five or six, I walked down to the basement of the house, where my dad was slaving away making me my Christmas present. I had heard rumors that Santa Clause didn't exist but I didn't want to believe it. Being the youngest child has its disadvantages. Anyway, he was building a doll house for me... I asked him if Santa Clause was real, to which he replied with a very careful no. I cried...

Fast forward twenty some odd years, I called my dad just to chit chat, and the call swiftly turned into finances, he is an accountant you see AND a very smart one. People go to him for advice because he is careful with his words and honest with his intentions. We started to talk about health coverage, cafeteria plans, health savings accounts, saving for the future, and on and on and on... The conversation had a spin that would be hard to explain right now, but the fact is that we talked about some hard stuff. At this point in my life my dad strives to be supportive of my decisions without telling me what to do, I just wanted him to tell me I was making the right decisions. I asked him pointedly and he told me the honest truth. This time it didn't hurt because I felt as though I was mostly right and he validated that.

Anyway, back to Santa Clause... Later in life I asked my dad why he told me the truth about Santa Clause (obviously I still remember it) and he told me it was because he wanted me to always trust him. He could have fed into the fantasy that seemingly EVERY parent wants to protect for their child, but instead considered his long term relationship with me when he broke my heart at the time.

The way my dad loves me and treats me is a testament to the kind of man he is and the kind of people I choose to engage with on this journey called life. He taught me about character and how to love unconditionally (I should tell you about some of my screw ups in life to illustrate this point, but this post can only go on so long), he taught me that everyone has a purpose and that everyone deserves kindness, even if they don't show you the same. He taught me that relationships are about more than no liking someone because they have a different opinion that yourself.

I am blessed every time he answers the phone, or sits on the couch talking to me, or sits across the dinner table for hours telling me the same story he told me 100 times already; and you know what? I still sit and listen to all those stories, even on the 100th version, because I know my dad has a purpose for sharing (even if is only for a laugh).

Anyway, similar to the post I wrote for my mom on Mother's Day, I will say this, I have the best dad in the world, the best parents really... My dad truly is the best for me because he knows how to be gentle with my heart yet very honest even when it is hard to hear.

So, thank you dad for teaching me how to live with integrity and an abundance of love. It is because of you (and mom) that I know how to be kind (most of the time) and pick people to share my life with who are almost as wonderful as you...

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Consistency = Friend

The past couple of weekends, I have had the honor/pleasure of helping a friend with a pretty big house project... I'm not going to go into details but like any house project,  the endless trips to Home Depot, the staring at the project, the researching and the labor are tiring, but 100% pleasurable when you can laugh along the way!!! So, who cares, right? Well, I have officially decided that housework is a workout. I used to think it was lame when people would use cleaning their house for weight watchers exercise points. Here is the thing, if it is out of your normal routine, those simple tasks really can be a workout.

So, here I am, week 2 of this awesome project... And knowing there will be more in the future, I am ecstatic about the benefits I have reaped as a result of this project.

Here are the details of my life... Over the past several weeks, I quickly gained 17 pounds because I was sick and had to take some medicine that contributed to that weight gain.

You know what has contributed to shedding it just as quickly? Drinking a TON of water, running very consistently AND house projects...

In regards to the consistency, the more you do these projects, the easier they get. It is like endurance with running. I sure am tired, but I could keep going because I have consistently been increasing my effort. Do I want a break? Absolutely, why do you think I am blogging right now... So I can sit down for a few minutes...

But this project has really made me reflect on my running. You all know that I have been struggling this summer. I can honestly say the struggle is subsiding. I have been VERY consistent with my running and pushing myself through those hard times. Because I have been consistent, I have had significant progress in my running and am beginning to love the workout again. What I am here to tell you (which you probably already know) is that consistency really is your friend. If you nurture your running, like nurturing a friendship, you will have enormous gains and those gains are always worth it...

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Thankful Thursday: Modern Medicine

Welcome to the first edition of Thankful Thursday.

I would like to first address all of you folks who think I am being thankful ONLY because it is November, and well, what do you do in November? Be thankful. Well I can tell you that is not the case. I am thankful every day I wake up, every day I take my first step in the morning because it means I am alive!!! I am thankful every day, the thing is, I don't tell people every day. I do believe I am fairly good at letting people know that I am thankful for them. If you haven't felt the love from me recently, well tell me. Furthermore, after discussing this with friends the other night, I can tell you that I love that people are blowing up facebook and other social media sources with their thankful posts daily, simply because I know people are thankful but don't always take the time to express their thanks. What I would say is this... I challenge you to continue your thankful posts and continue to tell people you are thankful throughout the year...

Anyway, on to the real point of today's thankful post...

I watch this TV show called Blacklist. It is a fascinating show, and more appealing to me now because my dad watches it too. It gives us something to text about and chat about while playing Words With Friends. Honestly, I could probably write a thankful post about Blacklist or Words With Friends, but I'll save that for another day.

In the most recent episode of Blacklist, there was a man who was infecting random populations with a very rare disease to raise awareness about the disease and to help him find a cure for the disease. Now this may seem silly, but the reality is, this crazy guy had a VERY good point... Rare diseases are less likely to have cures because the profitability of finding a cure is minimal.

This is where I have to remind myself that it is JUST a TV show, but sometimes my friends and I talk about TV show characters as if they are our best friends... But I digress, the true point is this... Diseases like cancer, especially breast cancer, are more curable today because of research that has been done and modern medicine. I know so many people who have survived breast cancer because of modern medicine.

Now do I wish we could cure everything naturally? Do I wish we could eat healthfully and cure ourselves? Of course; and we can participate in preventative measures to decrease the risk of various diseases, and perhaps even cure some diseases with all natural methods, but let's face it. I know people who have died from diseases because they chose to only use the natural cures. I am not criticizing that method, especially because it is the right course of action for some, but am instead celebrating a method that has saved so many lives.

So if you have a family member who has survived cancer, can still walk even though they have MS, have the chance of living a full life despite having HIV, can ride a bike now because they have new knees, feels better because their depression is at bay... You also have something to be thankful for, and my guess is it is Modern Medicine. I sure am thankful that so many people are blessed with a better quality of life because people are passionate enough and doing the research, while other people are funding said research to save a life!!!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Thankful Thursday

For the month of November I am going to do, what I am calling, a 'Thankful Thursday' post. That means you can watch for two posts a week from me, for this month only. After all, I'm so tired right now, that I literally have no energy to do anything but tell you I am creating more work for myself for the remainder of the month? Okay, that doesn't make much sense, but it is the least I can do to express my gratitude for everything that swirls around me on a daily basis.

To kick this off for the month, I'll start with a thankful post about my weekend...

Yep, you heard me right, I am thankful for my weekend that included painting, raking, sanding, shopping, running, laundry, sandwiches, diet coke and rededicating myself to begin the process of giving up one of my vices.

And now I'm tired and am for once going to keep this short.

Here is a song that I found myself singing while thinking about 'Thankful Thursday'. My favorite lyrics: How about me enjoying the moment for once. I can tell you, the reason I have loved this summer so much is that I have taken the time to enjoy EVERY moment, as evidence my me enjoying this busy weekend so much.


Monday, October 28, 2013

Eyes or Ears

Have you ever had eye problems? My dad is blind without his glasses. With his glasses he can see well enough to have a 'normal' sighted life. I'd say he is pretty lucky. I used to have debates with people about which sense I would be most willing to give up. I feel like I have mostly swayed on the side of willing to give up my eye sight prior to my hearing. Not sure how I feel about this today.

This weekend, while having lunch with my mom, I noticed a table of individuals sitting across the restaurant who all appeared to be deaf. I was then intrigued with the idea that perhaps not being able to hear would be better. I mean, with the loss of hearing, you can still carry on conversations with your friends who know sign language.

All of this has made me think more in depth about Helen Keller. What an experience she must have had; no sight or hearing. She never had the option of the hypothetical/philosophical debate that I have so often dragged people through. 

Thank god this has all been primarily hypothetical for me...

Now, the interesting thing is that several years ago I had no idea what it really meant to be an athlete, except for the fact that I wanted to be one. I have had several conversations with folks debating the definition of 'athlete', and I can tell you, we all have very different ideas of what it truly embodies to be an athlete. I am not proud of the fact that I have ridden the sidelines for the last several months of my athleticism, but sometimes it is necessary to simply take a rest. Your body needs to recover and the only way to allow for such recovery is to relax a little bit.

By no means does my sideline riding this season mean that I will not be found on the course again in the future. It simply means that I had to give that 'sense' a break, and you know what? Other senses had the opportunity to develop. 

Now to relate this back to hearing and vision I have to say that, I have seen the finer (or not so) points of being physically active and not. When I am physically active, I am happier and more content. That is not to diminish the time I spend with people when I'm not physically active because that time is extremely valuable to me too, I actually think it is even better though because I am more physically able to walk around Amish country for hours, or go shopping, or zipline, or go to a play (although theater is NOT my thing).

Anyway, this whole discussion is meant to promote athleticism. Luckily I do not have to choose between my eyes or my ears, and I truly hope that I never do. I will say that when faced with a choice between athlete and non-athlete, I will always choose athlete and the beauty is I have the choice. Other people do not have the choice!!! I am meeting more and more people daily who don't get to decide whether they want to run that half marathon or not, or that marathon or not. It is time for me to take advantage of every opportunity because some day we may not have that choice...

On top of all of this? I have said so many times on this blog, my athleticism has given me my best friend, my confidence, my ability to deal with adverse situations. Fear not, I will again be on the marathon course and the half iron man course, but for this very moment in time, I am going to enjoy cheering along every one of the folks I know as their journeys are teaching me so much about how I will approach my future goals. I'm also going to cheer along all of the people I have met recently who can not do what I do, and I'm going to do it for them.

And if your lucky to have the ability to see and hear, I am going to ask you to do one thing today... Turn up your radio so the car next to you can hear you at the stop light. Let them see you singing along (they might laugh)... Laugh, enjoy the person who is calling/texting/emailing/facebooking you today.  Also, look at the stars, enjoy the sunrise/set, look at the leaves on your trees. Even better yet, look someone in the eyes and say hello. 

Finally, join me in the gift many of us have, move your legs, charge on, walk a 5k. If you need a good cause to move for? Let me know, I'm sure I can scrounge something up fairly quickly for you.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Best and The Worst

Is it possible to have the best and worst time all at the same time? I am here to tell you it is...

This summer has been a challenge. I received information that has changed how I think about things and has explained why my athletic goals have been more challenging to achieve. I allowed it to get me down for a short period of time but during that time I also learned a heck of a lot about myself and my relationships. I can often be heard talking about the fact that I am a relationship person, after all I have also been heard stating that I should change the name of my blog to the social athlete. But what I have realized in all of this is that relationships are a priority it my life, and those relationships are what have made this shitty summer the BEST summer of my life.

As I was learning how to deal with this new information, I have been blessed with the growth and development of some new and existing friendships. I have literally had the best time of my life this summer and know that there is so much more to come!!! I have also re-prioritized how my athleticism fits in with my overarching life goal of achieving happiness which is evident by my contentedness with sitting on the sidelines cheering for my running buddies while  they run their marathons.

I keep this 'journal' that highlights a notable moment of each day. It is not a journal in the typical sense because until recently it was simply a quick statement on a printed out outlook calendar, of that moment I really wanted to remember every. It has gotten a little more formal because I now have a book, that is part of the happiness project. The book allows me to keep track of, and go back to reflect of the best moments. Some of the notable moments I see when I look back on this summer include crossing the finish line of a half marathon with my 'bestie' (I hate that term but thought it would be fun to use it), a random 60 mile bike ride, apples and more apples with my mom, shopping with my sister (and I hate shopping), a 10 miler with my sister in law and sister, a failed triathlon (yes that was still a good day), the half iron man with my brother in law and sister, flat tires on bike rides, hermit crabs, camping, concerts (Michael Franti never disappoints), and the list could go on!!! None of these things would have been as fun, had awesome people not been by my side...

So, here is the deal. I have some goals for the next calendar year which include some fairly significant events. For example, I will run another half marathon and participate in Pedal to the Point. The half marathon is going to be awesome because one of my friend's will be running her first and I anticipate crossing the finish line with my good friend again and the other goal is Pedal to the Point which will allow me to raise money for a cause that is near and dear to my heart. Also both of these events will stretch me and my athleticism in a new way. The fact of the matter is that the friends are one of the biggest reasons I charge on!!! They are also the reason this summer has been so great and I see no reason why things won't continue and get even better as I strive to cross the start line, and hopefully the finish line of the various goals with my greatest friends right next to me while inserting other fun adventures along the way that have absolutely NOTHING to do with athleticism.

Although I know there are more 'worsts' to come in my life, my friends have made me realize if I just look around, the best can be happening in that same moment.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

The Furlough Five

It is no secret, for those who know me, that I have been furloughed for the last few of weeks. There was nothing I could do about the situation other than watch the news so rather than sit around contemplating the furlough I turned it into a time to get stuff done.

The list of activities includes:
  • 5 Doctor appointments
  • Several runs
  • 2 Illinois State Parks
  • 2 Bushels of apples = 12 jars blueberry applesauce, 5 quarts apple pie filling, a few dozen jars applesauce
  • 14 hours of volunteering for the Chicago Marathon
  • 2 Shopping trips for work clothes (anticipating a return to that place)
  • Washed floors
  • New vent covers
  • 9 Hats made
  • The start of an afghan
  • A 7 year old's swim meet
  • Visit to a store that has a tag line: It's not just a store, it's an adventure
  • Hanging out with my buddy from DC
  • A ton of TV (next time this happens, I really hope it isn't premier week again...)
  • Two bike rides
  • A trip to the dump
  • Two days of being sick
  • Won 160 dollars
  • Some quality time with my friends here and my family in Chicago
To say I was busy is an understatement. I am now back to work feeling somewhat refreshed and trying to get back into the swing of a routine and thought it was appropriate to reflect. So what is the culmination of all that activity? Several pounds gained which I am going to affectionately call the FURLOUGH FIVE!!! Perhaps it was all the applesauce. 

Sunday, October 13, 2013

I Feel Like I Ran a Marathon!!!

But I didn't...

This is what I did instead!!!
Our stack of cups!
This post is not to diminish what marathoners do... If anyone knows what it takes to run a marathon, I can
tell you I am an expert. Well sort of. Being a slow marathoner, I can tell you the six plus hours I spent on my feet running my first marathon (I'm still saying first, meaning there must be another in me) was no easy feat. Two years ago I ran Columbus and I still felt the need to be part of another race even though I am in no shape to run one these days, nor do I want to. What I did instead is got suckered into about 14 hours of volunteering at the Chicago Marathon Expo and at a water station during the race.

My good friend Ericc (who volunteered over 30 hours this weekend in support of the Chicago Marathon) called me up and asked me if I was going to be in town this weekend. I didn't have plans of it but when he told me he was volunteering and told me I should too, I quickly signed up. Janell and my mom jumped on the band wagon as well and next thing I knew I was signed up to hand out t-shirts and work at the water station.

I was impressed by the operation of putting on such an event. There were over 40,000 runners and about 14,000 volunteers, not to mention all the staff and police, US marshals, security and spectators flooding the streets of Chicago this weekend. I got to be one of the over 1,500,000 people hanging out in Chicago for this amazing event.

Me and Janell in front of our cup art.
I do have to give a huge shout out to all the volunteers. Wow, they put all of their energy into trying to create the most positive experience for every runner on the course...

Anyway, Ericc and I got back to my parents' house after volunteering today and promptly sat down in the family room to visit with my dad. Both of us had been up for several hours, likely earlier than many marathoners, and volunteered for endless hours to ensure the runners had the event of their lives. We were on our feet for over 8 hours each. When my mom came to the family room to tell us dinner was ready, we both got out of our chairs and started hobbling up the stairs and I promptly turned to Ericc and said, I feel like I ran a marathon today. He agreed.

The effort every person put into today's event, including the endless hours of training the marathoners did to complete 26.2 miles in one day, is to be celebrated. What better way to celebrate than to congratulate each and every person who took part in this event.

I knew I was an expert slow runner and an expert spectator... Now I can add expert water station volunteer to the resume.

And at the end of the day, regardless of what I did, I will probably always be able to say: I feel like I ran a Marathon!!!

Congratulations to all of you who ran your hearts out today! You got me excited to try a marathon again, but not for a couple of years...

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Where's the Nutmeg?

When at a loss for what to blog about, a story presents itself...

I am going to start taking pictures of the ice cream treats I indulge in on Sundays. I mean I chronicle the rest of my athletic life so why not also chronicle the treats I get to eat because of the exercise I do?

No seriously, one of my favorite days of the week is Sunday. I wake up, lay in bed until 8:00 (of course after Dukie goes out), I go for a bike ride, eat some weird lunch and then get ice cream. That basically sums up most of my Sundays. 

Today was no different, I headed over to my friend's house to pick her up for our weekly bike ride and noticed I had a flat tire on my bike. We drove to the trail head, changed my tube and off we went for one of the most beautiful rides we have gone on (in my opinion). When we got to the turn around point, I noticed I had a flat again. I think these tires have a conspiracy against me!!!!!! Anyway, changed the tube again and quickly realized that the rest of this bike ride was NOT going to happen.

We had a few choices at this point:

1) One of us rides back to the car and pick up the other.
2) Try and buy another tube off of a cyclist in the parking lot.
3) Walk back to the car? (This one was NOT my idea...)

Well, option one ended up being the ONLY option as far as I was concerned, so...

I hopped on my friend's bike, with my clip in shoes for my bike and began riding the 14 miles back to the car. I rode uphill, straight into the wind, with my feet slipping off the pedals the entire way. To say I was a spectacle is an understatement, but it didn't end there.

Some nice ladies in the parking lot gave me directions to get to the parking lot where Sue was patiently waiting for me to pick her up...

Here is where the spectacle continues? We saw a gas station that had gas for $3.07 and I HAD to stop even though I just filled up a few days ago. I promptly got out of my car and threw my wallet into the garbage can at the gas station. I was trying to throw away my paper towel... There were bees, lots of bees and I had to dig into the garbage can dodging the bees so as not to get stung to death. Again, spectacle!!!

We then went to lunch at this little Mexican joint in Granville and ordered up some Gringo Tacos. And again, we were attacked by the killer bees. I was told that the image of my attempt to dodge the bees was hilarious. I'm so glad there are not pictures. Have I mentioned I am terrified of bees and they were EVERYWHERE today!!! We switched tables and ate in peace from the bees, until one decided to get a taste of my lunch. Seriously, I must be that sweet. 

Anyway, I decided because of the stress caused by looking foolish all day, I was especially deserving of my pumpkin pie blizzard from Dairy Queen that was sadly missing the nutmeg!!! 

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Life is Better with You

If we are always striving for a finish line do we take the time to enjoy today for what it is worth? Think about it!
Life is better with Dukie!

This week I did not exercise at all, and to be honest I really don't care and here is why...

On Tuesday I saw my favorite musician play here in Columbus. My friends and I headed to Michael Franti on Tuesday and of course he did not disappoint. He engaged the audience in his typical fashion by performing out in the crowd so as to involve us in the joy he has for the music and the fans. He told stories of love and friendship, kindness and caring. He sang about sunshine and roses, love and loss, war and peace. One of my friends put it best when she said "Michael Franti blew my head off with love."

You see, I can often be heard saying that life is not about money or cars, belongings or hate but instead about love and relationships. Regardless of whether you are single or attached, with child or not, every person who you allow to enter your life is a gift. This is one of the reasons I have loved the journey of my athleticism. I have friends who have come and gone, but those friends that stick around for the long haul are the people who enrich my life on a monthly, weekly and some even daily basis. Michael Franti sang a song about relationships that has been resonating with me since Tuesday. I've heard it on the radio but until I heard why he wrote the song, I really didn't allow it to sink in.

So then this weekend I went camping and I lost my footing for a little while and needed to ask for help. My friends helped me come back to center and while they helped me out this song started ringing in my ears. Take a listen, you will understand!

You see, this summer has been interesting because my mindset has shifted and I have discovered the struggles that I have been experiencing to get to the start line of races are part of the journey... Basically the athletic goals I make are merely a means to guide my journey. I now understand why people say that the journey is the destination. Every day is the destination in this thing called life.

My athleticism and abilities change daily and because I continue to look inside myself, I know that the struggles remind me that I am alive. Similarly, Michael Franti sang another song that invigorates me every time I think about it. When we wake up in the morning, and choose to get out of bed and tackle the day, we get another gift and that is making the choice to be alive:

While camping, not only was I surrounded by some awesome friends, every breath I took in those woods (even those filled with campfire smoke) were reminders that I should have fun and enjoy every opportunity that is presented to me.

Over the next few years I plan to participate in an MS bike ride in Ohio called Pedal to the Point. I will also be hiking Pikes Peak in 2015 with my best buddy and a bunch of other folks who want to conquer some of their physical obstacles, and striving for these activities/events are what allow me to feel alive.

Basically, what I am getting at here is this: I would say to all the people who remain close to me, and my athleticism that even in the hard times or on the rough days 'Life is Better with You.' And for that, I am thankful!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Not Like Riding a Bike

I love having a riding buddy who can spend long Sundays exploring the state with me. Since we started riding together Sue and I have covered over 290 miles on the following trails:

Not only have we logged all of these miles, we have seen deer and trains, cool bridges and art, we have fallen and gotten lost, ridden further than we planned and shorter distances just to try a new trail, there have been dead animals and side trips for lunches and most importantly hearty laughter and even some tears. Cycling has basically allowed me to get exercise, see new parts of the state and spend some quality/peaceful time with my friend. And there are a hundreds of more miles in our future...

All of that is a great reminder that I have an awesome friend who I get to share awesome experiences with, but that isn't what I really wanted to process today...

I have been trying to figure out why it is so important for me to not quit running even though I have often been found saying that I hate it. I have also continued to declare that I am not going to quit while also actively despising it! I keep doing it because I refuse to lose my base so that when I decide my body is ready for another half marathon or full marathon, I don't have to start all over. 

In life, when we want to explain the simplicity of starting something new, or restarting something we have done in the past, we often compare that experience to riding a bike. Here's the thing, there are plenty of things that really aren't like riding a bike. Take running for example, if ever you have been injured or quit running, you know that the return to running, if done properly, is fairly arduous. You have to slowly eek back into it by increasing your miles slowly to ensure you don't compound an injury or create a new one.

So why do I continue to show up for Tuesday/Thursday night and Saturday morning runs? Because I get to spend some time with my best friend AND because not everything is like riding a bike... 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

The Pimple

Everyone has secrets, some more than others. Last week I was writing and I found myself referring to various human ailments as pimples. So... now I like to refer to my big life secret(s) as a pimple. Not just any pimple, but the pimple that is under the surface of the skin that no one would even notice if I didn't point it out. Well, last week I had the whole introvert/extrovert conversation and knowing that I am an extrovert, people know I have few secrets and with a select couple no secrets.

I fail when I try to keep secrets from my closest friends. Here's the thing... As an athlete people don't know what your journey entails unless you tell them. Some people have had weight loss struggles or work out to escape. Other people (me) workout as a social event, or as a hobby. Other people run to fight cancer or because the disease they have might make it impossible several years down the road. Basically, we all have pimples that are under the surface just waiting to appear when you least expect it, or are least prepared for it. Wouldn't it be interesting to know about the journey of the person running next to you? Ask, you might learn something profound or amazing!!!

About a year and a half ago, I was an 11:30 min/mi runner for short runs and a 12 min/mi runner for long runs, and then I hurt myself. I have slowly come back to running and have had some of my favorite memories since then doing various races/rides/swims with people. The thing is, I am back to being a 13 minute miler (or slower) now as a runner and I may never get back to 11:30. The reason? A hidden pimple...

And you know what? I couldn't be happier. This journey is still the most amazing journey I have chosen!!!


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Extrovert (or something like that)

Ever have a moment when your over-sharing gets you into an extremely uncomfortable situation? I bet you introverts out there can't say you have had too many of those moments. Well, then there is me, the eternal extrovert. I get myself into pickles frequently. Often times I find myself apologizing for things that come out of my mouth because I strike this fine balance of appropriate/inappropriate. When I don't share though, I find myself over thinking everything!!! So the most recent time I got myself into a bind with my over sharing (oh did I mention this moment was extremely uncomfortable), I got in my car to hear some lyrics from my new favorite Macklemore.

"Underneath this fragile frame, Lives a battle between pride and shame."

I couldn't help but reflect back upon that uncomfortable, extroverted fed conversation, or over share when I heard those lyrics.

Let me put this all into context (it will get back to the couch or athlete at the end, I promise)...

Over this summer I have been having discussion after discussion about introverts vs. extroverts... Here's the thing, as this discussion has heated up with people, I have seen more and more research, cartoons and articles about the topic. This is the cartoon that put me over the edge and has made me say to myself (or I should say EVERYONE), what about what the extroverts need??? What has been frustrating to me is that everything I have read focuses on the introvert. I have read about how to treat the introvert, how to interact with the introvert, how to carry on conversations with the introvert, how to love the introvert, etc.. On top of it, someone actually told me that they are an introvert and I need to figure out how to deal with them. What the heck... Life is about compromise and bending. I'll bend half way for people but I'm not going to bend all the way all the time.

So, here is the question I pose to you... What about the extrovert??? I think there are very few articles about us because we are too busy having human interactions with our friends to sit behind a computer and write about our feelings on the topic. Well, since I like to blog, I figured I would write down my plight with being an extrovert...

If you know me, you know that I will tell you anything, just ask. I feel proud of the fact that I am an open book but when those uncomfortable conversations come to light I walk a balance between pride and shame (similar to those lyrics I mentioned above, although I have no clue what that song is really about). I am proud of the fact that I can share myself with people, but I have shame because some of those things I share might be unpopular or uncomfortable.

My extroverted nature makes me more vulnerable and more likely to be judged. Everything that is spoken aloud can be judged. Other lyrics from this Macklemore song:

"Open to interpretation, if your judgin' I don't want it."

Now, there are a lucky few of us in the world who have friends who will listen to everything you say and not judge you. I'm one of the lucky few, but it doesn't make things easier. Sometimes I want to tell my friends how to treat an extrovert. We want you to be excited with us, we want you to know we process information in a different way and gain energy from just being with you and because of that we want you to show up and give us a hug and tell us about your day, we want to be acknowledged, we want you to come out of your introverted bubble and interact and most importantly we don't want to be judged because our processing might be considered over sharing. I'll meet you introverts half way, but trust me when I tell you something because I trust you!!!

This is where I bring it back to the athlete on the couch and over share. None of you probably care, but I do... This blog is one big experiment in my extroverted nature. I don't know the difference as to why introverts and extroverts blog, but I can tell you that I blog because it gives me a way to write down what I have already processed to its' death with friends so that there is finality to it.

In this moment similar to the lyrics above, I am vacillating between pride and shame. I have broadcast to all of you that I was going to do this half marathon in November regardless, but I'm not. Like the introvert vs. extrovert, there is a moment when you have to accept that they aren't the same, they process differently and that is OK. There is no shame to being an introvert/extrovert/5k runner/half marathon runner/ultra marathon runner. The only time you can really feel shame is by doing what is not right for you and after a long discussion with my closest friend/running buddy I discovered that this half marathon is simply not in the cards for me. I'm going to hold my head up tall and be proud of knowing my limits. My friend and I are going to keep running and enjoy every run because we can...

So next time you are worried about how people will perceive you and your decision to run/not run a race, or because you share or don't share, remember that proud is what you should feel every time you are faced with a difficult situation. After all, introverts and extroverts all have the same feelings flowing through them, they just process the information differently.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

The Test

I am the most forgetful person on the planet. I had this amazing blog post crafted in my head on Friday but I have no recollection of the intended content. And then today as I lazed around for most of the day I totally forgot it was Sunday and I needed to write said blog post.

The one thing that I recall from working out this week, of which there are very few workouts to choose from, is that the heat is not my friend, nor is the solo workout... but we all knew that! So forget blogging about working out, instead I'm going to blog about life in general.

As you all know, I do love my friends, kind of like my family. There is an unconditional nature to some of my friendships that I do not deny. This summer I have tested the limits on some of those friendships simply because of circumstances outside of my control. I refuse to test people purposefully because that isn't right. I remember dating someone who asked me a question. When I responded I remember the response was something like, whew, you passed that test. I was so ticked off because that is not how you treat someone you love, right? Needless to say, that relationship didn't last because of some other test I apparently failed.

So back to working out... I am training for a half marathon in November. Just one year ago I thought I was going to primarily participate in full marathons, and then my circumstances changed. These circumstances have tested my mind, body and spirit. I don't like to do events anymore unless I am totally prepared. I learned that lesson long ago and I honestly have no interest in testing it again. While training for this half marathon I keep reminding myself that the only thing I desire is the finish line. I know this will not be a PR, well it might be a PR for the slowest half marathon of my life, but I'm OK with that.

The struggle with choosing to focus on the finish line rather than performance is that my motivation has waned. But, I also have those circumstances I mentioned before that have dramatically impacted EVERYTHING about my training this summer. What I am realizing is that my circumstanced did not have to take over, but they did. I allowed them to. Basically, new information tested my mind this summer, which in turn tested my body which quickly began to fail that test. I am fortunate to have the best friend a person could ask for, who continues to show up with me and listen to me while I process through new information and what are seemingly impossible workouts.

My body still struggles, my mind still struggles but my life has been enriched by the unconditional nature at which I approach goals. You see, I have not given up on training for this half marathon. In fact, this test sucks but I refuse to let it beat me. I do think some tests are designed to make you fail, remember the infamous bell curve in college? Well, this time will not be the average, I will be the one who passes with flying colors, afterall the only  requirement to pass this test in the finish line.

This quote has kept me going: "A body in motion stays in motion. A body at rest stays at rest." Stay in motion people! Let's destroy that bell curve together!!!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Solo Workout

I had a fairly mild week, between a fast walk on Monday, a decent run on Wednesday and a tough run on Saturday, I haven't done much. My bike ride was called off today and my friend who I also work out with is going to be unavailable for a week (blech), so workouts will be much more challenging and a lot less fun... Remember, I am a social athlete! Right about now, I wish I knew where I lost my iPod even though I do not like working out with music.

I am a believer in mind over matter and this past week I let matter take over and so now I have a choice to make... let things continue to be complicated or be intentional with everything I do.

Quotes move me, motivate me and build me up. There are a number of quotes that I draw from and I plan to use this week to move me along:
"I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul." 
It is probably no secret that this quote from Invictus has empowered me to take control when faced with difficult situations. It was shared with me at the perfect time in my life, and for that I am thankful. This is one of the quotes that is going to help push me through my solo workout week. If I can draw on my ability to master my workouts that will be a gift.
"Life happens outside of your comfort zone."
One of the best gifts I was given in the summer of 2012, was learning how to do things that scare me. I went zip lining, learned to shoot guns, and in general did things that were totally uncomfortable. I challenged everything in my being intentionally. This summer things have been challenged less intentionally but I have the best people to face those challenges with!!! I said to a friend, just today, that when thing become stagnant I get bored and walk away. My friend and I try to mix up our workouts for that reason exactly. As a matter of fact, since I began riding with Sue, we have ridden a new route every single week. I suppose working out alone is going to take me back to being outside of my comfort zone. I'll simply view it as a new challenge every time I workout.

On a very different note, I am fairly lucky to be a person who over shares. And by doing so, I take myself out of my comfort zone all the time. The people who embrace that and go on that journey with me, are the people who, after years of knowing each other, our relationships are still growing. Those friends truly give me the most amazing gift. Again, very thankful...
"Live on and be yourself."
"Strip away the fear, underneath it's all the same love." 
I'm officially in love with Macklemore, with that being said, these two quotes are from his very powerful song 'Same Love'! Now, I can pull quotes out of a larger context and make those quotes meaningful to serve a different purpose. First, I have an affinity for the song because of its' true meaning but I also extract those two quotes because it is so important to be yourself. For me, being myself is acknowledging that the solo workout is going to be hard. Here's the thing... I used to love running so much that a solo run was actually fun, however my motivations have shifted (thankfully) and now I have a fear of the solo workout... I am literally going to have to rip the band aid off and do it! The fear of going alone is rooted in so much more than I can talk about here...
"A friend is someone who gives you total freedom to be yourself."
Jim Morrison said that... And the fact of the matter is we very rarely find people in our lives who allow us to be 100% ourselves. I'm lucky, I have that kind of friend. I have a couple actually but one of them was presented to me through my athleticism and another one of them has been there every step of the way through my journey to becoming an athlete. I can't deny that, and I won't let that be taken away from me. I remember when I ran my first ever 11 miler up in Bowling Green... Having Chris along for that ride was an amazing gift and she is one of those people who I would say has nurtured my whole person, while supporting my athleticism.

Anyway, all of this to say I don't want to do solo workouts, but I will. I'm thankful for the gift of friends that my athleticism has given me, especially those who do give me total freedom to be myself, and allow me to face my fears and embrace every tear I shed while stepping outside of my comfort zone.

So here is to being intentional and enjoying the solo workout.

Although, I will be even more thankful when my workout buddy is available again!!!