Monday, May 28, 2012

Quote of the Week

"Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after another." Walter Elliott

I really like this premise. Surely, I can’t be the only one who sometimes gets overwhelmed with … well… life! Sometimes we have so many plans, and so many things we believe need to be completed in order to be successful. Often we feel bogged down when we stop to consider all the things that need to be done. Sure, that to do list may be a long one, but if we could do our best to work on one thing at a time, one step at a time, we could get there with far less difficulty and even, worry.  

Friday, May 25, 2012

Singing to Myself

Have you ever sung a love song to yourself? I’m sure this question may sound too ridiculous to even consider, but the question is valid I assure you.

I love listening to music while I’m in the car regardless of who’s driving. My favorites are instrumentals or songs that I already enjoy singing along too (sorry if you happen to be in the car with me you will probably get an earful). Anyway, the other day on the way to work, a song by Jennifer Hudson came on. A song that I absolutely love called “You Pulled MeThrough.” Listening to the song, most would probably assume this is a love song to for a significant other about how someone’s love has saved them.

But, as I sat there paying closer attention to the lyrics I stopped to ponder. We are often looking for others to help repair what we feel someone else has “broken” within us. And when we somehow manage to heal from whatever pain we’ve emerged from, we can be quick to give credit to others for our emotional successes or breakthroughs. I’m not necessarily saying that anything is wrong with this. I wonder though, how often do we give ourselves credit? Even with guidance from other sources (whoever/whatever those sources may be) WE are the ones that do the work. WE are the ones that have to make the conscious choices and efforts to make whatever changes we want in our lives. WE are the ones who have to learn to accept the experiences we’ve encountered throughout life and choose how we will allow them to affect outcomes in the future. Though we may receive help from others, WE are the ones that truly make the decision to pull ourselves through any and all obstacles we may be facing, specifically regarding matters of the heart.

Though I think it’s wonderful to show appreciation to others for the assistance they have provided us on our journeys, let’s not forget to show appreciation for ourselves. Let’s try a little harder to remember to be thankful and loving toward ourselves, inwardly and outwardly, because it is through our own efforts that we truly make a difference. We deserve just as much credit for our healed wounds as those who have helped us along the way. Next time you hear a love song imagine you are singing it to yourself. It may seem silly, but you deserve your own appreciation just as much as anyone else. 


Monday, May 21, 2012

Quote of the Week

“If you really want to do something, you'll find a way. If you don't, you'll find an excuse.”  E. James Rohn (Jim Rohn)

Sometimes short and sweet gets the job done. This one speaks for itself. Will you or won’t you? Even though it doesn’t seem like it, it really is as simple as that.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Again With the Marathon Talk…

…in more ways than one lol. Anyway, here’s my story. The Man and I had toyed with the idea of doing a half marathon for quite some time, but never committed. A good friend of ours (who I will refer to as Friend C) motivated us to stop talking and start taking action. So with my heart in my throat, “I said why not?” and proceeded to follow the training scheduled I was given.

So for maybe a month and a half I trained with The Man and a very close friend (who I will refer to as Friend P). I would’ve liked to have trained for a longer period of time, but it was a snap decision so, again, we just acted. We got our bodies out there on the lovely trail close to our neighborhood and tacked on mile after mile (over a course of time). In my mind I was concerned about going the distance. Are you aware that a half marathon is 13.1 miles? Yikes, I wasn’t until I said YES! Well anyway, every time we trained we pushed until the end. I surpassed limits I’d never thought I’d even attempt. I learned a lot about myself and what I could endure just during the training, so what type of experiences would the marathon hold?

Well the longest distance I managed to run straight through was 8 miles. We never got to practice going above that as we would have had to push ourselves too hard, too close to the time of the event. So we decided not to stress. To be honest I did still stress. At the end of that 8 mile run I had been ready to collapse. How would I be able to run continuously for 5.1 more miles? The Man’s goal was to run it all the way through without stopping, which sounded good, but I was more concerned with how I was going to even manage to get to the end, when it all came down to it. I was a nervous wreck up until about a day or two before the event. Then I just became filled with excitement. I felt I could do it and that participating would be a fantastic experience. Every other word out of my mouth to anyone I came in contact with was something to do with the marathon. I was like an addict… and I hadn’t even taken the “drug.”

So finally the day of the race arrived and it’s just me and him… in a crowd of THIRTY-THOUSAND OTHER PEOPLE! No, you didn’t read that wrong.  We were toward the back of the line so it took us about forty five minutes to reach the start line. Nervous excitement built within me the closer we edged up to the start. Finally after what seemed like endless waiting it was our turn. We started out STRONG. I tend to have issues remembering to pace myself and this time The Man didn’t remind me as he usually does.

The difference from training with two other people on a nature trail VS THIRTY THOUSAND OTHER PEOPLE were glaringly obvious from the start. Basically everyone is working at doing their own thing and often you have to work around that. This was a total distraction that I was severely unprepared for. So on top of going faster than usual the distractions caused me to forget some of my very important breathing patterns. Around mile 4.5 we’d exerted more energy than expected and worked at slowing it down to our typical pace. The cool temperatures weren’t so cool anymore and the consistent uphill/downhill intervals were getting to me. In my mind I was getting concerned but still trying to push through.

I took an Energy GU and it gave me a little more go. Around every mile marker I took part in Gatorade and water as needed and still kept trying to push through. In my head I kept thinking I couldn’t stop, I had to make it. Well around mile 8.5 my body told me in no uncertain terms that if I didn’t take it down to a walk I would be damned sorry. As disappointing as it was, I knew I had to listen to what my body was telling me, as my mind had lost the battle. With great frustration I told him to go on without me as I didn’t want to hold him back from making his goal. Though we were surrounded by droves of people I knew I would be able to find him at the finish… even though we’d decided to leave our phones in the car. Oops!

Sooooooo… there I was, watching as The Man pushed on and I stayed walking behind. Dismal is the word I would use to describe the feeling at the pit of my stomach. He’d wanted to run it all the way to the end and we’d both thought we’d cross the finish line together. Not so much. Lower even still my heart sank as I watched others I had passed earlier now pass me by. What a disappointment for sure… or was it? I looked up to the sky which was still big, bright and blue and felt a smirk pull at the corners of my mouth. Maybe this experience wasn’t the failure my conscious mind was trying to make it out to be.

I continued to walk my way down the designated path, because regardless of the disappointment I’d felt just a few minutes prior there was no way out of the game but to cross the finish line. In my mind I began to encourage myself. Remembering that just because The Man had a goal, didn’t mean his goal had to be mine. All I had wanted to do was finish and that was damn well what I intended to do. I shook of the unnecessary self-loathing (which REALLY didn’t belong to me anyway) and took a deep breath, then let it out. I did this multiple times, reminding myself that I came for the experience and not just the end result.

My attention gravitated toward the crowd around me all moving forward whether walking at a slow pace or springing past. We all had the same goal, to finish, and it didn’t matter how we got there. In each ear I could hear participants motivating other participants. We were all in this thing together! And one of the most wonderful sounds I will ever remember was the sounds of the supporters who came to cheer all of us on. At that moment the world became the most beautiful place to me. So many talk about how cruel, evil and selfish the world is, but I saw none of that out there at the race.

People had shown up just to support US! How magnificent was that?!(The experience touched me so deeply I am even tearing up now in the MIDDLE OF WORK as I write this lol!) Anywho, I felt the love from each and every supporter as I worked myself to the marker for mile 9. And by then I felt so much better (physically and mentally) that I took another Energy GU and decided I was going to give it my all and still make some good time. Yes, all of that emotional craziness happened just within ½ of a mile. Time means nothing when you’re on an emotional journey and though that hadn’t been my expectation for the marathon, that’s what it was turning out to be!

So with all of this energy flowing through me I picked up my pace to a speed walk. And then you know what, some guidance I had been given just days before came back to me. A very nice woman at our local YMCA (which we attend ALL THE TIME) told us that if you’ve ever started to walk but wanted to get back to a run, walk uphill and run downhill. I’d seen many people already doing it and it seemed to working well for them. So I took a few deep breaths and at the next downhill moment I let the momentum carry me into a run. Over the course of the next 4 miles I changed between speed walking and jogging, following exactly what my body told me it needed me to do. Though my body ached in placed I was SURE didn’t have muscles I pressed on… at times even with a smile.

Finally I reached the 12 mile marker and I knew I was almost home (figuratively and literally). I ramped up the speed walking and when I reached the last stretch of the race I kicked it up to a jog, chugged uphill for the LAST time and let my body and the love from all those motivational onlookers carry me to the finish. I was so emotionally touched by the encouragement being so lovingly given by the crowd of (in the physical realm) virtual strangers that I almost cried as I finished out my last strides and crossed the finish line. And BEAT MY GOAL by almost 17 minutes!

When I stopped (FINALLY) I received my medal (which I didn’t take off for the rest of the day, don’t judge me) and felt a HUGE grin spread across my face. And even though it felt like I’d been to hell and back I’d finished! I FINISHED A HALF MARATHON. Something I’d always told myself I couldn’t do. Showed what I thought I knew… right? At the end of the line, I found The Man waiting for me, just like I knew I would and then we enjoyed a nice, cold, refreshing, free beer. Job well done. Take from it what you will. I just felt the desire to share… so I have.


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Quote of the Week

“What is the difference between an obstacle and an opportunity? Our attitude toward it. Every opportunity has a difficulty, and every difficulty has an opportunity.” J. Sidlow Baxter

This quote is all about attitude (something I have always been accused of having too much of). Your attitude is the disposition you have regarding your approach to life. Do you tend to look for things to feel good about or spend time dwelling on the negative? Attitude and/or perspective will severely alter how you view life and how you experience life. Let’s make the decision today to have the most positive attitude we can in order to enjoy life at our highest possible potential.