Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 - A YEAR OF HOLDING HANDS

2011 has been an amazing year for and me and my family. Here is a brief recap;
March : Mike and I ran our first half marathon together. We have ran half marathon's before, just never together. So we decided to stick with each other no matter what and we crossed the Sarasota Half Marathon finish line holding hands.
April: I crossed the finish line of the Iron Girl Half Marathon in St. Petersburg Florida holding hands with my best friend Denise Williams.

This is also the month that we acquired a new family member...SURF!











August : Our 1st year anniversary at Siesta Key/Sarasota and I revel everyday in the beauty that surrounds me here and the wonderful people that God has brought into our lives.  This month my family and I had the most surreal experience. After a Siesta Key beach 5K, Me, Noah, Hayden and Mike swam in the azure waters of the Gulf and two manatee's joined us. They let us pet and swim with them for about a half hour during the beautiful sunset. I am now a bonafide Manatee lover.  Save the Manatees!!


September : Mike and I celebrated 9 married years together. It seems that we have had all the odds stacked against us and I have to say that this 9th year has been the best and favor is now on our side.  I can truly feel the blessings coming our way.




October : This was the month to make a decision to not conform and compromise my beliefs and morals.   I took  a drastic shift to realign my career with my priorities and step totally out in faith.  Mike and I also completed Siesta Key Sharks Triathlon. A freak cold spell had us shivering at the swim start.  Mike caught up with me on the run and smacked me on the rear. I finished just behind him and we both had the time of our lives.



November : Me and the boys traveled back to Missouri to visit my dad and while there I ran the Bass Pro 5K with my sister, brother-in-law and beautiful niece Roxy.  Great time with my family. On Thanksgiving weekend Mike and I ran the PAL Half Marathon in Sarasota. We decided since we had ran the Sarasota Half together that we would run this race on our own and simply try and do our best.  Half way through the race Mike and I managed to meet up and ended up running the race together and crossed the finish line holding hands. We both had a personal best time of 2:13:10.


November also held a special time for us. We got to meet our beautiful new soon to be daughter -in-law Annie and our beautiful soon to be granddaughter Ava. Me, Mike, Hayden, Noah, Jonathon, Annie, Ava, Chelsea and Jordan all went to Disney World together.
December : I finish this year sitting on the #1 beach in America (Siesta Key) writing this blog and reflecting on how blessed I've been.  My boys are healthy and happy.  Noah is doing great in school. He told me today that his New Year's Resolution was to make running a more regular part of his life.  This makes mom really happy. Hayden works at Chili's and is starting school in January.  I know that this is the beginning of great things in store for Hayden and pray that he will follow his heart and find fulfillment in his career choice.
2012 holds much promise for Mike to fulfill his calling as well. God has lined up connections which propelled him back into his calling, Pastoring.  He is starting a church on Siesta Key. I haven't seen him this passionate about his life in a long time.  God will bless him for heeding His call.
Mike is also starting sailing lessons.  We have always dreamed of owning a sail boat and experiencing the freedom that the open sea beckons to us.  Someday, he will sail me away!
As for me, I have decided to complete two of the things on my bucket list this new year.  I have signed up for Yoga Teacher Training Certification.  I start my classes in January.  I also want to complete a 70.3 Half Iron Man triathlon.  Rumor has it that Sarasota will be holding one in the fall this new year by a company called Rev3! Mike and I will be the first to sign up!
I am also trying to listen to God's calling in holistic medicine and letting Him open the doors for me.
I don't know all that God has in store for me and my family this coming year, but I do know this... as I look around me I am so very grateful for the blessings that have been bestowed upon me and my family.  I will continue forward with a grateful heart and remember to always hold hands with those that I love with each finish line that I cross.
Thank you God.
May you and your family have a blessed and happy New Year!
Namaste'

P.S. Never stop dreaming!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

MY DRUG OF CHOICE

Mike and I had planned our 13 mile run for this past Saturday morning. We have not had a healthy last 3 weeks, so we have to build our stamina and our mileage up slowly. We started our run out a little later than we should have.  Translation: we didn't get our lazy butts out of bed early enough. We started around 7:30 am knowing that it was already 75 degrees outside and a hot and humid day was in the forecast.  Fortunately, we had a nice sea breeze. We jogged around Siesta Key village and proceeded onto the other side of the island. Along the way we saw a fellow artist and we stopped and admired his work. It was at that point that we had plotted out a plan to make it through the rest of our grueling run. There is a pavilion with a rest area at our usual turn around (mile 10). There, we could fill up our water bottles with cool water and sit in the nice shade of the pavilion, fuel up with GU and stretch before running the last 3 miles back home. It was just the motivation we needed to get us to mile 10. So off we headed towards our destination. We arrived at the rest stop first and filled up our bottles, then turned and headed towards the pavilion for our break. To my dismay it was filled with people. "Crap!" I said to Mike, "What the heck are all these people doing at 'our' pavilion"? He informed me that it looked like a family reunion or a church meeting. I didn't care. I had made a plan and I was sticking to it. Those people were going to have to move over cause we were coming in! As we got closer to the area I thought to myself, 'It can't be a church meeting it has to be a family reunion because everyone was smoking and there was an ashtray on every table. Strange though, that everyone in that family smoked.  We found us a table on the outer edge and faced outward so as not to intrude upon what was going on. It was then that I realized that not only did they smoke a lot, but they sure cussed a lot too. This definitely ruled out the church meeting. As we sat there drinking and getting out our GU, I couldn't help notice that the guy who was speaking was talking about God and how he is still learning to hand it all over and how hard it was not to try and take control. He was fighting the old ego constantly. He wanted to give up at times and just do things the way he wanted to, but then he thought back on his life and realized that doing things his way has gotten him where he is at today, which is no where. 
This peaked my attention. Hmmm, what kind of meeting are we at?  I turned around to face the people who were gathered there. They certainly weren't related. Black, white, Hispanic. All walks of economic status. One could have been a dentist, another a lawyer and yet another a homeless person. All ages too; ranging from their early 20's to their late 60's. Some were tatoo'd from head to toe, some dressed neatly, others not so.
When the person speaking finished talking everyone applauded. Then the next guy spoke. He said 'Hi, my name is  (blank) and I am an addict'. To which everyone else said 'Hi (blank)'.  He then went on to tell his story.  By then, Mike had turned around and we were both immensely absorbed in what was being said and the insight being shared. It was like church, but with a lot of 'F' bombs. The personal demons that each of them were fighting was real. But the thing that was so inspirational about it was the fact that they had the courage to want to face their demon.  By facing their demon, I really mean facing the darkness in their own soul.  These people were not afraid to expose their weakness with this group of people who share their addiction, or with two strange sweaty people who happened to crash their party. 
I couldn't help but admire their courage and strength. We ended up staying for the whole meeting. We watched one participant get his key chain for his first narcotic free week. We witnessed another get his key chain for being narcotic free for 5 years. Bravo! Wohoo! Everyone clapped and congratulated. We slipped away quietly after they formed their circle to pray. Mike and I jogged in silence for about a mile, then we walked and chatted the rest of the way back about our new experience. We left with a different mindset than the one we had arrived with.
Interesting, we all have our demons (our weakness's). Some have the courage to admit it, to face it, and take the next step, which is to try and change. We all fall down, the strength comes in getting back up and trying again. We all have something that is like a drug to us. Something that makes us feel better.  Something that allows us to cope with stress and temporarily escape this thing we call life. There are the most commonly recognized such as alcohol and drugs. Yet, there are so many more things we use that are legal and unrecognized as an addiction like video games, music, food, sex, shopping and even spiritual seekers constantly looking for that certain word to make them feel better and goose bumpy all over.  Please keep in mind that I am talking about an unhealthy balance in these areas. Other coping mechanisms seem healthy but can still end up being abused and becoming an addiction. This can be exercise like running or any sport that becomes an obsession to an extent that you have to have it at all costs and it interrupts your life and affects those around you in an unhealthy way.  It is also easy to exchange one addiction for another; like trading the addiction to drugs for the addiction to gambling etc. 
My point is this. I know that my addiction is endorphins. If I don't have it, I get a bit grouchy. If I go too long without running, I have withdrawals and might even drop a few "F" bombs myself.  I always need to keep in mind that balance is the key. Running is good for me. I don't think I have to worry about it getting out of control for I am too lazy for that. But I must always keep in mind that things can get out of control and that being 'aware' is key to balance.  We all need the courage to face ourself and our own weaknesses. Any decision to change is like the beginning of a marathon.   When I started running, I joined a group of like minded people.  We had a common goal; to finish a marathon.  In all areas of life, being part of a group gives us a source of encouragement when we feel like quiting.  It helps us maintain accountability with someone who is headed for the same destination, and gives us a source for strength. Achieving that long sought after goal, aka, Crossing the finish line, (as long as you don't snort it), is like no high that a drug could ever give you!!
                                                                   Never give up!!
Namaste'

Monday, May 30, 2011

MEMORIAL DAY-WE ARE FREE TO RUN!!

I chose this song in honor of all the men and women who bravely lost their lives so that we may experience freedom. Before you play this video, please be sure to turn off the music player on the right hand side. Enjoy!

Memorial Day is celebrated today. A remembrance of all the people who have lost their lives for our freedom. It also is a time for pause and contemplation about ones own mortality. I believe that there is no better way to pay respect to those who have lost their lives for us than by living our own life to it's fullest.  
So, my husband and I sat down and looked at the rest of the year and things we would like to accomplish.  We have decided upon his first triathlon and his first marathon. Originally, we had wanted his first marathon to be the ING Miami Marathon in January 2012.  ING Miami was my first marathon in 2007. We have registered for it and are training. But after contemplation we decided that life was too short to wait. Why not run one in the fall.  So we have decided upon Space Coast Marathon Thanksgiving weekend. On Mike's 50th birthday on July 23 we are registered for the Siesta Key Beach Triathlon. It will be Mike's first triathlon. I am registering as a relay team with my two sons. I am so excited! So here is what the rest of our year's racing schedule looks like:
1.  Siesta Key Beach Sprint Triathlon - July 23
2.  Siesta Key Sharks Sprint Triathlon - October 2
3.  Bills 5 mile Beer Run - October 30
3.  Space Coast Marathon - November 27
4.  Ringling 4 Mile Bridge Run - Jan
5.  ING Miami Marathon - January 29
For 2012 we have set our goals on more marathons and triathlons and a 50 mile ultra and the Half Iron Man (one of my bucket list goals)!!
Thank you to all the men and women who have sacrificed their lives so that we may live our dreams. We are so deeply grateful! Because of you we are free to run!!
Namaste'

Sunday, March 6, 2011

RESISTANCE VS SURRENDER

I spent this last week in Los Angeles CA. It was a business trip that consisted of nonstop meetings. My week started at 4:30am Monday and lasted until 6:00 PM on Friday. I am not a traveler. As a matter of fact, I could be classified as a bone-fide homebody. Don't get me wrong, I love vacations, but when it comes to business travel with no time for sight seeing or family involvement, I'm a down right stick in the mud. 
From the moment I found out about this trip I've dreaded it. I resisted it by procrastinating buying my airline tickets (even though this came out of my companies expense account). I procrastinated packing. I resented the fact that this trip was going to interrupt my precious time with my family, my running schedule and let alone the fine groove we have gotten into of watching Season 3 of Dexter (an event that I have come to cherish with my boys, aka. Mike, Hayden and Noah).  We settle in and eat popcorn and contemplate how Dexter is going to solve his latest dilemma. 
So I embarked on my trip with much resistance. It was during my second day of my busy schedule that I realized that I was resisting. I was resisting the ebb and flow and thus missing the lessons, opportunities, new relationships and experiences that this new adventure held for me. So I decided to surrender. The resistance vs surrender lesson is just one of the many lessons that running has taught me.  When I find myself struggling during a run I realize that it is usually because I am resisting the process. When doing anything worthwhile, pain is inevitable. But each time, I have a choice. Can I endure this pain? How much more pain am I willing to take? Is this much pain normal for doing what I am doing? And most importantly, is this pain good for me? Will it make me stronger and a better person for enduring? In most cases, yes.  If you chose to run, pain is inevitable; expected. It all boils down to this : Am I going to let this pain cause me suffering or am I going to surrender to it? Embrace it? Know that this pain, if I can quit resisting it and let it unfold, it will reveal to me what it holds and will make me stronger, healthier and a better person.
So I surrendered to my trip, the long hours, the tedious flights, the time changes and embraced the fact that I now know more about the wonderfully unique company that I work for, my peers and how they solve management dilemmas.  I savored the fine dining and drinks that they bought me and the posh Hilton Hotel.  I discovered that  the chauffeur that picked me up at the airport had just spent the night chauffeuring the producer of 'Black Swan' who was out celebrating the oscar that he had won the night before my arrival. I learned to relax on the long flights and absorb the rare opportunity of forced stillness, read a book or in this case, write a blog.  I people watched and  imagined the stories of each persons life and wondered what hurts and triumphs that they have endured.  
Pain in childbirth brings forth the ultimate gift, new life. Symbolic, I believe, for if we endure and surrender to the pain or discomfort in every day things it will bring us new life in one form or another.
When I resist, I miss life. So from now on, when I find myself procrastinating, resenting, resisting a work schedule, project, a particularly difficult run, I will make a conscious effort to surrender to it and let the lesson reveal itself in whatever form it choses. 
Namaste'

Friday, February 18, 2011

WHY I RUN

I was recently asked by my company's fitness trainer to write a paragraph on what motivates me to run. This paragraph was to be published in the company fitness newsletter. This was supposed to be a simple task, but alas, it is not that simple. When people used to ask me why I run, my usual response was, 'If I have to explain it to you, then you wouldn't understand it anyway.'  But it is now a new year. Time to re-think and evaluate life and why I do the things I do. Time to face my doubts of 'am I really a runner?' 
This year marks my fith year as a 'runner'. I can't believe that I have been running for five years. I realized that now, I truly feel like a runner. It is in my blood. It is what I have to do. When I first started running five years ago and I told people that I was a 'runner', I felt like a fraud. A 'runner' was tall, lean and most importantly, fast. They ran effortlesslly with the wind in their hair and a smile on their face. Their sweat glistening in the sun off their tanned, sinewy muscles. I could not possibly be a 'runner'. A runner did not struggle at a turtle's pace gasping for air like a guppy out of water. Runner's did not have short legs and cellulite and an extra 10 pounds that refuses to come off. Runner's did not lose all their toenails and have mother nature visit with a monthly gift that depleted them to nothing.  With all these issues, how could I possibly be a runner? Then, I showed up at my first 5K. I looked around me as  people of all shapes and sizes, and as young as 9 to as old as Methuselah, toed the start line with me. Everyone of them ran in their own style and pace. I experienced the same startling revelation at my first marathon. It  amazes and most importantly inspires me, when someone flys past me carrying an extra 100 pounds or hunched over from kyphosis and old enough to be my grandma or great grandpa! These people are awesome! They do not let these thoughts or physical limitations slow them down or hold them back from doing the things that they love. So I have come to realize these past five years that a runner is a runner. It does not matter how fast they run, what they look like or how old they are. It is as simple as that.
Now, back to my project of writting a paragraph on what motivates me to run. I had to think hard on this because running to me is a much deeper experience than just running. There are so many reasons why I run that to narrow this down to a paragraph was very difficult. So I decided upon three reasons; here they are :
1. I am not a good runner. But because I run, I am a better person. Starting my day with a morning run clears my head, makes me feel that I have already accomplished something, and because of the endorphins, I feel good and I am happier. This has a two fold effect as this makes the people who have to work with me and live with me, happier.
2. When I run, it gives me a chance to problem solve. I’ve had some of my best idea’s and solutions occur when I run.
3. But the main reason I run is this : sometimes, when I run by myself, I have one of these amazing moments when I focus only on my breathe and the rhythmic beat of my footsteps. It takes me to that still quiet place – it is there, that I can truly feel God’s presence. It is pure bliss.

Namaste'