Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Thanksgiving

My favorite holiday is right around the corner. There is nothing better to me than enjoying my family without any expectations other than just hanging out. Next week, I will get to see all SIX of my nieces and nephews, my parents and all of my siblings in one place. The together time will be short lived, and that is why it is even more important that I enjoy every moment I have with them over the weekend. The next time we are all in one place at once might not have for a year or more.

Anyway, I know many people who feel as though being outwardly thankful in November is silly because you should technically be thankful all year round. I would agree with the spirit of that statement, and although I am thankful all year round, I don't necessarily shout from the rooftops because being thankful doesn't have to be public. Just because people choose to be thankful individually, doesn't mean they aren't thankful, they simply are choosing to do it behind the scenes. I like to take November as my opportunity to be very intentional and let people know how truly thankful I am, and so that is what this post is all about. Check out who I am thankful for:


My Parents: Mom and Dad are the most compassionate and caring individuals I have ever known. I have had tough moments this year, tougher than I have experienced in a long time, and rather than judge, they immediately go into support mode. The gift of unconditional love is one that is not offered frequently, but my parents demonstrate this gift every time they pick up the phone to their crying children on the other end, who just made the mistake of a lifetime. How fortunate am I to have such loving parents.





My Siblings: They are so uniquely perfect... My brother is ridiculously sarcastic, but in a pinch the most concerned and compassionate person I know. One sister challenges me to never give up, while my other sister encourages every challenge I take on with unwavering support. They all love me and care for me with an intensity that can not be duplicated.



My Kiddos: OK, so you might be asking, what kiddos? Well, I have six of them... Six of the most impressive nieces and nephews keep me on my toes. Between their love of pickled okra, to their artistic tendencies, their phenomenal swimming and running feats, their musicality, their kindness and sassiness, their love for nature, selflessness and kindness are all gifts that they give to the world and also share with me when I get to spend time with them. I'm very thankful for what I learn from these kiddos, because every time I see them I walk away with more wisdom.


Chris and Jorge: I've never really had friends who texted and/or called because they ran into a homeless dude in a parking lot, and do not want to abandon him with no resources. Chris and Jorge are perfect examples of what it means to take care of their community, and I'm blessed to know them.





My Colleagues: I believe and stand by the fact that money can not replace happiness at work. I am fortunate to be part of the greatest team. We perfectly compliment and challenge each other; we work hard and play hard. I am so very thankful to have colleagues that don't only make work tolerable, but exciting.

Sue: How many people can you talk with about your cat's litter box habits, and quickly shift into world affairs? How many people will come over and caulk your bathtub? How many people will let you be a jerk and then willing to be your best friend the next day? Well, those are very small examples of the kind of friendship that has been extended over the years by this amazing woman. How lucky am I?

All of these people deserve shout outs for everything they have given me this past year through kindness and support. I could NEVER properly thank these people for their friendship and support... But I will always try!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Stuck in the Future

What? Stuck in the future? Is this even possible?

Well, let's take a step back here... 

Last week, I was cleaning out another section of my house. While cleaning out, and purging, it is not uncommon to run across old memories. To that point, I happened to run across a CD that was made for me by an ex several years ago. The funny thing is I have never listened to this CD until this past week, in fact I didn't even know it existed until last week. It was a fun find that I have listened to several times at this point. What made me even more curious was that several people asked me if I was going to contact my ex to say thanks for the CD. Why the heck would I do that? It was the past, and it was a wonderful and no so wonderful time all at once. I'm thankful for the time, but reaching out is only something I would do if I were still hanging on to that relationship. At some point you just have to let it go, and let it go I did, several years ago!!! I can certainly be thankful and nostalgic, I can enjoy the memories, but I don't need to drag my past into my present, or even my future.

In speaking to the past, what I've also learned is that being stuck in the future can be just as detrimental to being stuck in the past. But what exactly do I really mean by being stuck in the future? Well, I'm speaking about all the times I have thought about the possibility of not being able to be physically active in the future. Today tells e a different story, and why not appreciate today's story?

Anyway, you got the personal stories as a way to parallel the athletic perspective. Athletically, I've been living in my past AND living the many ways my brain envisions the trajectory of my life.

Let's start with the athletic piece... Athlinks is a cool tool for any individual who does a lot of races. Imagine ALL of your race results in one place? Super cool, but also super sobering. Looking at my past race results I can tell you I have gotten super slow at this whole athletic thing.

Now, what does my future hold? Well one story tells me that I won't be able to walk in 15 years, let alone run... Well, if I keep thinking that, guess what? It will come true.

One story tells me that I am going to hike Mount Everest. If I keep thinking this, guess what? It will come true (although it won't because that isn't even a dream of mine).

Another story tells me that I'm going to continue to almost fall over after every run, every race, every athletic pursuit. If I keep thinking that, guess what? It will come true.

And yet another story tells me that I am going to be able to finish every race in an upright position, without having to hold on to the ground, just to keep myself, oh wait, on the ground equals horizontal, not vertical... You get my point...

Here's the thing, on any given day, any of those future stories can dictate what today might look like, just like any of those past race times might dictate how I feel about today's performance, and neither of those stories/reflections even come close to what is going on today. Remember folks, the only thing that is predictable about tomorrow, is that what happens tomorrow is mostly unpredictable. So, the true danger is figuring out what tomorrow is going to look like, basically means that the reality of tomorrow can be hugely disappointing. So let's focus on what we can do today, or reflect on what has happened in our very recent past, as those are the only true predictors of our tomorrow.

With that being said, my running buddy and I had some super speedy miles on Sunday, and although it would be nice to have a repeat performance tomorrow, I know I will appreciate every step for what they are, in that moment. 

Sunday, November 1, 2015

How to Finish Upright...

We all have had those moments when we literally feel like our legs have been knocked out from under us. I'll never forget the time I had to do a reading at church, during the most revered priest's funeral mass, with a full house. I felt honored to be chosen to do a reading, but something about that moment gave me weak legs; I literally thought I was going to fall over while walking back to my pew.

And then there was that other time when I did my grandma's eulogy... Quivering voice, short of breath, shaky legs, thinking I was going to tip over at any given moment. Maybe it is just funerals that make me feel that way, some could argue, however there have been other random moments of shaky legs...

A surprise breakup several years ago, a car crash a couple of weeks ago, a MS diagnosis a couple of years ago, being selected to serve on a jury for a murder trial, forgetting to do that important task at work, having to tell my dad I screwed up (and this has happened countless times through life), and the list could go on forever!!! I think most people can relate...




Because I struggle with walking after running, and because I've been having more problems getting up and down stairs once I get extremely tired, I have decided that I am going to make a new goal for myself...

What does this mean?

Well, with every race, I make a goal for myself. Typically this goal is to finish the race. Every once in awhile I decide that I am going to try and go a little faster, but most of the time the finish line is enough. If you have been following along, you know that I am familiar with last place, and when the goal is to finish, placement shouldn't matter, and so I am certainly not going to make a goal to win a race!

I feel like it is appropriate to make some goals for the Half Ironman I am going to do in June. With that said, I found myself messaging my friend who is going to do this race the following three goals:

1) Finish
2) Finish one minute faster than my last half Ironman
3) Be able to walk, after I cross the finish line...

So, with that being said, I'm trying a new tactic at this point! I have decided that after every run I do, I have to figure out a way to not collapse.

Have you ever heard the term, he/she/it can cut you off at the knee? I know this is probably an offensive statement, and so I do apologize because I don't mean to offend. I'm trying to illustrate my point. It basically means that whatever 'it' is, can potentially be crippling; but whatever it is can be fought off, as long as you have the will. And so, I have decided that I have the will, and from now on I am going to learn to finish upright!