In the Eye of the Beholder

I’ve been hard on myself. I’ve been easy on myself. I’ve been in between the two.

I’ve been proud. I’ve been embarrassed. I’ve been in between the two.

I’ve pushed. I’ve pulled back. I’ve been in between the two.

I’ve been fearless. I’ve been full of fear. I’ve been everything in between.

Somewhere along the lines from not knowing anything when I started out to being at the top of my game in 2016 to where I am now; I forgot something. I forgot that it doesn’t matter what I am doing as long as I am doing something. I forgot that I can’t be more than I am at any given time. That trying to swim against the current is a sure fire way to allow the current to pull you under. That it’s ok to use a flotation device to stay afloat as long as you stay afloat. Most of all that in the whole scheme of things it is about enjoying what I’m doing.

Although I’ve never really stopped to some extent I have stopped giving it my all. I’ve stopped pushing. I started thinking that if I couldn’t hit previous expectations that I was somehow failing. That I needed to keep doing more than I could physically do and when my body couldn’t I wondered what was the point. What was the point of it if I couldn’t do everything the way I wanted.

That reality is what we make it. That pretending the world is not the way we want it to be doesn’t change the way it really is even if we don’t ever want to admit it. Acting like a toddler because things don’t go your way doesn’t suddenly make them go your way. So maybe it’s not toddler mentality so much as human nature. Unlike a toddler though, as an adult we are able to recognize the self sabotage and be willing to change.

The truth of the matter is….. I want to recognize that I am not where I used to be. I might (chances are pretty good) never be there again. I recognize that I need to train and run smarter. I need to give my mind and body what it needs which is to live in reality and not the past or a version of reality that is not based in reality but fantasy.

Reality isn’t bad. Reality is challenging and hard and a good place to be. Reality is every changing too. So who knows. We can be our biggest champions or we can be our biggest deterrent. How we view ourselves, our abilities and our future (even our past) determines how we live our lives. Determines the way we look at the world and what we can accomplish. It determines if we make it to the finish line or never even get to the start line.

People look at me at think I am an optimistic person. I am not sure about that. I like the epression….

It is the truth….. A truth for every aspect of our lives from where we live to the job we hold to our athletic abilities. When I go to a race, I know that I will never be the fastest. I am not usually the slowest. I used to be a middle of the pack runner. Now I might be a back of the pack runner, but at this point I wouldn’t know because there are no races.

I also realize that I am at the point where I want to push again. I don’t mean push to run a sub 2 half-marathon. I mean push to see what I can do. I mean pushing to where I am not where I want to be. I’ve realized that the only way that I will be able to do this is actually to do something. So it’s time to actually do something.

So in that spirit I signed up to run the virtual NYC Half Marathon in March. I have currently been working on my running. Learning to find out where I am and what I should be realistically be running for right now. The furthest I have run recently is 3 miles, so this should be interesting. It will be hard. It will be challenging. Most of all it will be educational as you only know what you can do if you try.

So with that….. I am ready to try. I am ready to push myself with no excuses but understanding that I dont need to be anymore than I am on any given day.

Under Pressure

There is usually a lot of pressure this time of year for people to be expected to make a resolution. To give something up. To start a new habit. To make a change in their life. It’s expected. It’s supposed to be normal. It’s a must. I am not sure if this pressure is only in the US or if this is a world phenomonom, but it definitely is one here.

The funny thing is that no one really expects you to keep your said resolutions. They just want you to make them. Like a way of pointing out something that is wrong in your life that needs to be better or changed. Truth is that we know that most people don’t even keep their resolutions. I read something that only 8% of people keep their resolutions and most don’t even make it till the end of the month. So basically we are setting ourselves up for failure. Why bother? When I started this fitness journey it wasn’t because of a New Year’s resolution. It was because I put my mind to accomplish something. It started in September the year my youngest started school and I started hitting the gym.

We have all seen it. The days when we were allowed to pack into the gym that come January the gym would be uncomfortably packed (even pre-covid), but by mid February things were somewhat back to “normal.” As a gym goer, we were happy to have the space back but think of how those on the other end felt. Not just them, but ourselves when we faltered on our own resolutions.

Failure never feels good even if expected. So why do year after year we fall into this trap? Part of it might be because of expectations. Part of it may be because we have eaten so poorly over the holiday’s that our spare tire looks like it belongs on a tractor. Part of it may be the shorter days of winter make us long for more movement because the couch is our best friend. This basically sums up not just the holiday’s for me, but probably most of 2020.

I am looking forward to 2021. I am looking forward to the way it ends because sadly it is going to follow 2020 when it starts which basically mean that the suck is going to continue for a bit………. But there is some hope. Vaccines are beginning to roll out. We are going to have a change of administration where science will be leading factor. We are learning more about the spread of the virus and how to treat it. We as a society, as a country, as a world want to just return to ” normal” and the only way to do that is just to keep doing what we are doing. But hopefully by spring……. by spring….. by spring…. after surviving this long winter of 2020 we can move forward.

As a recap of 2020, I give you the Match.com add which sums it up perfectly for the dumpster fire of a year.

So with that being said, I am making no resolutions. I have thought of some things I would like to do when the world opens again – Shhhh don’t tell anyone, but I think another Sprint Triathlon might be a way to start my racing career all over again. It worked the first time! Until then, I have started a virtual 2021 challenge with 3 friends. Collectively we will complete 2021 miles. I’ve done the math and it is only 505.25 miles per person a year. Broken down to 42 a month and break it even further only 10.5 a week. Not bad at all…..

At this time, I am not joining any other virtual races/events. I did several in 2020 and while they were motivating to get out for miles if I do any in 2021 I want to treat them more like events than just another run. Until then, I am just going to keep plugging away making no resolutions but still wanting to make a change.

Do you make resolutions? More importantly…. do you keep them?

Putting You in a Box

Some people look at you not as you are but their vision of you. They look at you as who you were when you knew them – High School, College, job, time in your life, weight, or what ever they think of. Their vision does not necessarily meet reality. It is just the reality that they see and often they are wrong.

Often in life the struggle is knowing who you are. Being confident in who you are. Most of all not letting outside sources define you, but walk your own path. Many people will think they know you based on your social media posts alone, but does that mean they really know you?

People will judge you without truly knowing you. People will judge you based on their perception of you. People will judge you and not have all the facts even if they think they do. It’s not our job to provide these people the facts. It’s not our place to fill in the blanks for them. We owe them no explanations. Often we still explain ourselves. We feel we need to justify our life choices. We don’t.

I think I have said this before, but sometimes we must also realize that in some peoples story we will be the bad guy. Sometimes that’s true. Sometimes it’s not. Sometimes we can repair the damage. Sometimes we can’t and must walk away. That is life.

Today I had a moment where I realized that someone put me in a box that I don’t fit in. (Ok at the moment, I fit in them) I was talking to someone close to me who has recently gotten into running. I was mentioning how I was planning to start heart rate training. I was saying how I really don’t know what pace that I should be training with and how I was basing perceived paces on past paces. I went on to say before my 2016 thyroid surgery I was much faster and ran a 26:26 5K. They literally thought I was mistaken because the pace was 8:30 and they thought that was too fast for me (then).

I showed them my stats from Atlinks and pointed out that I used to be much faster and was quit the bad-ass at the time. Again this was someone in my life close to me. Someone who knows how much I love(d) running and how often I’ve run. They realized how much I raced. How many events I completed and all of that……. but they put me in a box. They didn’t see me for who I was at that time and only their perception of me.

Even now I know people define me….. Let them because their vision is not mine. Their perceptions don’t define me. I know that some see me just as a mom. Some see me as a wise ass (ok that one might be true). Some see me as my size. Some see me with their vision…… They are missing who I am

I may be some of what they say, but I am so much more. I am determined. I am an athlete. I am social warrior. I am many things. What I am most is what I determined.

As a finally note, you will come across people in your life that will see all the pieces in your box. They will see you with clear eyes. They will see the good. They will see the bad. They will see it all. Those that see it all and accept it as it is and not as they want or imagine…. Those are your peeps. Those are the keepers. I am lucky to have a few of those and I’m holding onto them.

Hold onto yours too.

Living in Reality

There is a song I remember singing in church as a kid.

“It only takes a spark to get a fire going. And soon all those around can warm up in it’s glowing.”

I’m not sure why out of all the songs we sang this one stuck with me, but it did.

Anyhoo…..

I’ve been humming it recently because I have been feeling a spark again. A spark of fire. A spark of motivation. A spark to do more. I am not sure where it is coming from, but I like it. I am feeding the low flame to keep it from burning out. I think it is easier to snuff out the flame of motivation then to get the flame burning brightly. I miss the fire. I miss the motivation.

This 30 day challenge has been very helpful. Some days I will take forever to get motivated to get into the garage aka home gym, but once I’m there I never regret it. I also realize that one thing that I often do is going in flaming hot and then burn out. Push too hard. Do too much. Don’t pace myself and make it unsustainable.

There is no reason to do any of that. The goal is to keep moving. I am not training for anything.

The summer before my surgery left me Hypopara I ran the NYC Half in the Spring 1:58:59 for a pace of 9:04. I ran a local 5K in the summer in 26:26 with a pace of 8:30. Then just weeks before my surgery I ran the NYC Marathon in 4:56 with pace of 11:18 and while that may not seem stellar that was due to not running a smart race. I literally, figuralively, and realistically was at my physical peak in 2016. I was ready to chase that 4;15 marathon. I had unlimited energy. There was no stopping me………. or so I thought.

We all know the expression, Nothing is impossible. One it’s face everyone wants to cheer it but really it’s not true. Some things are impossible. Some goals will never be reached not for lack of will but due to reality. We have to create goals that are within reach. If I were to set a goal to PR a race right now, I realistically would not be able to reach it. But if I were to set a goal to finish a race (if there were such a thing as live events), then that would be in reach. So in life it isn’t so much as failing at our goals, but setting goals that our realistically attainable. Just because goals are attainable does not mean that that you don’t need to work and work hard to reach them.

In thinking of where I want to go with my fitness goals, I think I need to readjust how I am setting them. I’ve been focusing on pace with my running but I think at this time I need to think about training by heart rate for a while. From there I will then be able to determine what realistic goals I can set with my running. Until then I will just learn more about heart rate training. In working with weights if I tried to lift weights like I did in my Crossfit days, I would injure myself. Why would I think it would be any different with running.

So here is to living in reality and working with what you’ve got. I’ve got a lot to work with mostly my ability to keep plugging along and not give up. So I will just keep plugging along.

Putting myself out there

Failure to launch….. Fear of failure……

There are so many reasons not to start. There are so many reasons to start. It is like having the angel or devil on your shoulder and deciding who to listen to. Sadly, the devil seems to speak louder and knows just how to spread doubt.

Like the bully on the playground who pushes people away before they can reject him or self sabataging a relationship/job/goal because somewhere deep down you think that you don’t deserve it or it won’t last, we all have done it. Ok, most of us have done it. I have never claimed to have it all together, so I know for a fact that I have done it. I’ve done it in the past.

It is easy not to fail if you never put yourself out there. Like the heroine in those Hallmark movies that we wish would just take the leap of fail, sometimes we need to take a leap of faith on ourselves. Every leap won’t land perfectly. Some won’t go the distance. Some will land with a thud, but if you never take off you stay in the same place. I’ve been staying in the same place. I’ve planted my feet and refused to move. I’ve put cement shoes on and have wondered why I am standing still. I’ve had valid reasons. I’ve had some major BS reasons. No matter what the reasons though, the truth is that I’ve been shortchanging myself.

I can do hard things.

I have done hard things.

I forgot how to do hard things……

Now don’t get me wrong, I have pushed myself to go outside my comfort zone. But…… but…… I pushed right up till the point where I should have taken that leap of faith and instead planted my feet.

As the saying goes….. Some are

Chasing Badass

Some are…….

Chasing Dreams

Some are…….

Chasing the past

I have chased all of these before. I realized that right now I am chasing something a little simpler and yet more complex.

I am chasing…….

Chasing myself.

I may never reach some goals. I know I will never run as fast again. If I will ever do this or do that. I think about If I will ever loose any weight. (Mind you I’m not doing anything actively for that to happen, but even when I did nothing changed.) I wonder how far I can run. I wonder. I wonder……. I wonder…..

All I know is that it might be time to start chiseling away at those cement boots so that I can start to take a leap of faith again. Maybe a small leap. Maybe a baby step forward. Maybe something that won’t even be visible to anyone else, but a step that I will know has made a difference.

Say what??????

I realized recently that I forgot what I can do. I forgot that it is ok to push myself and that it actually feels good to do so. That I was not while not taking the easy way out, that I was giving up before even starting. I’ve struggled before. I’ve realized that I’ve forgotten that I like to actually try.

So with that being said and with motivation and inspiration from a friend, I am doing 30 days of strength minimum of 10 min a day. Few days in and while I am not strong like I was in my Crossfit days, I forgot how much I enjoyed working with weights.

It’s go time.

No excuses

Defining Moment in Time

Life is filled with defining moments. Moments that change us…. for good and bad. Moments that stay with us forever. Some of these moments we go through alone and some we go through collectively. As anyone of adult age at the time, where there were on 9/11 and I would bet everyone has a story. For Many including myself December 14, 2012 is another defining moment.

Those of you that have been here awhile know that Sandy Hook Promise is close to my heart and that I have run 2 NYC Marathons as a charity runner for them. Recently, I was approached to write a blog post for them.

I was honored to be given the opportunity to share my story, but this is the story of many “soccer moms” who woke up demanding change. Change is hard. Change is slow. Change is happening…..

I still remember a year after the unthinkable tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary being in the parking lot of a Toys-R-Us store. I was on the phone with a friend who has very different ideas and we were debating gun control issues. She said to me that I needed to do something because I couldn’t seem to let go of what had happened. I told her that I was doing something…… Something to bring change….. Something to help protect children in the future….. Something….. Anything…….

I also told her that I had joined a few new organizations that formed. One being Sandy Hook Promise that just formed. This has brought me to where I am today.

Here is the link to the blog post…… https://www.sandyhookpromise.org/volunteer-resources/holiday-reflections-from-a-promise-leader/?fbclid=IwAR13M69lqzVdm5lPr1dzyxrE852lkI5stURRoEG9ljEvsuoTZZhmUzEPf7M

We all have a story to tell. We all have these defining moments. We all need to seize these moments and let them stay with us. Let them guide us. Let them change us for the better and work for the change we want to see in the world.

What is your defining moment and what have you done with it?

It’s a Wonderful Life

Often in life we wonder…. Did I make a difference? Was I effective in what I wanted to accomplish? Would Anything be different if I hadn’t been there?

Then again…. Maybe that is just me and George Bailey. If you are unfamiliar with George, you need to acquaint yourself with the classic Christmas film It’s a Wonderful Life. It is one of my favorites. A classic tale of a man who is granted a wish from an angel to see what the world would be like without him. Now my hubby thinks that it is not the stellar movie that I do, so I guess it is a subjective thing. For me, it is a heartwarming story of a man who doesn’t recognize how important he is to those around him and the impact he has had on others.

I think most of us in life do not realize the impact we have on others. We go about doing our things living our lives and often we don’t know how our actions have influenced, helped, or impacted someone else. A kind word here. A deed that maybe we thought went unnoticed noticed there. Sometimes because we don’t see it, we begin to think that maybe we aren’t making a difference or no one is paying attention.

Similar but different to when people post those “I know no one reads my posts” on their social media to see who is paying attention. Not the copy and paste ones, but the real ones. Sometimes in a world filled with noise it is easy to get lost or feel invisible. So when a friend posts something like that don’t just roll your eyes, they may truly feel invisible and just need to feel seen. To feel validated. To not feel alone. Sometimes a simple Hello is all it takes to make someone feel seen.

Then there are the times we wonder if we are being seen. If the things that we do have made a change. We may never know the full impact of our words, deeds and life. There aren’t too many Clarences (angel in above movie) to show us our impact but that does not lesson it. Each and ever person’s life has an impact on another’s life. Good or bad. This is why the expression of being kind is so important. One life really does touch another. Sadly in our society, we often wait till someone is gone to express how impactful they were in life. It really is sad.

The truth of the matter we may never know how we have touched someone’s life. If you think about the people who touched your life, the people who effected your life with a word or deed (good or bad), how many of these people actually know. I thought about a 4th grade teacher who showed me kindness. I thought about people that I worked with that inspired me. I thought about words that I’ve read that have stayed with me. I’ve thought about words that were spoken to me that stayed with me. We all have moments that for one reason or another stay with us while. They stay with us because they impacted us and the other person might not even have a clue. They don’t even need to be big moments……. many of these moments are not the BIG moments in life because every moment is life is a big moment we just don’t realize it. Each day is a gift. It’s not hokey to say. It is true.

As you can tell from this post, I’ve been doing some reflections recently. I believe part of it comes from taking part in Remembering Sandy Hook with 14 Days of Actions. These actions have been showing gratitude, being kind, and self-care. Some days it was as simple as taking a moment to actually talk to a friend…. not text…. not facebook….. have a real conversation which many of us miss as we stay home due to Covid. Some days were as simple as Saying Hello to brighten someones day. Then there were the days of action taking a moment to not only think about what we are grateful for but actually write it out. These things got me thinking about the impact we all have on each other. It is much greater than we realize.

Each life has an impact on another life in ways we might never know. I think having so much time at home has mad me a little more reflective Normally, I send a million and one Christmas Cards. Maybe a slight exaggeration, but my list is long! This year, there was no great family photos to use. I joked that maybe I could take a picture of my couch as that is really where my year unfolded “Merry Christmas from my couch to yours.” Without this photo card, I was didn’t want to send cards. Then a friend said something that got me thinking how in this year of crap how something as simple as a card could make someone’s day brighter. So I changed it up. This year there is no photo card, my list is MUCH shorter, but I am going old school. Sending cards with actual handwritten messages telling those who receive something that I might not let them know enough….. How much I appreciate them. (PS – If you were previously on my list and don’t get a card, please know that I do love and appreciate you too, but time is limited!)

If you don’t already know, I want you to know………

You are important.

You make a difference.

I encourage you, let those in your life know this too.

Is this the Year for Goals?

It is a weird world right now. It is a strange and hard time right now. Even those of us getting by and staying healthy are adjusting to all the changes in our day to day lives right now. We are trying to keep it as normal as we can when there is no normal. There is just getting by.

This is the time of year many of us would start thinking about goals for the New Year. Things we hope to accomplish. Races we want to race. Distances we want to conquer. PR we want to set. As with everything in 2020, goals will be harder to set. More challenging and sadly in some cases unattainable for now.

We do not know what 2021 will bring, but we do know that all the bad juju of 2020 will not be wiped away at the stroke of midnight New Year’s Eve. I really feel that it will end much better, but it will have a bumpy beginning.

Normally I set goals. Never resolutions because I just don’t like them. I set goals. Some easily attainable. Some that need a lot of work but are still attainable. Then there are the goals that are a stretch. Goals that I have to work my ass off to reach and push myself to get there.

A few years ago, I set a goal to run a sub 2 Half Marathon. I worked with a coach. I ran often. I ran fast. I trained hard. Then the day came and I ran the NYC half in 1:59. NYRR just announced that this race will not take place next year as it is in early March and the way things are going they know that there 2021 is going to start off much like 2020 has ben all year.

2021 will be different. Simpilier…

I am setting a goal of being more connected. Now those who know me personally might be rolling their eyes and wonder how someone like me could be more connected I could be. My goal to be more connected is not about upping my online connections, but my personal connections. To be more connected to my day to day life. to disconnect a little more often from online world. To focus on the people in my life.

As I work on setting my personal goals, I saw this……

I have been participating in the Sandy Hook Promise 14 Days of Action. This is part of not just remember Sandy Hook but by honoring them by taking part in actual action. So while I think of my personal goals, I will think about some short term goals to help others. This is what I’ve come up with:

  1. Support local small businesses this Holiday season.
  2. Donate regularly to locate food bank
  3. Still working on
  4. Still working on

No matter what we do or don’t do with our goals, we must know that next year might not be the year to make big goals. Then again maybe we need big goals. Right now, I just need to keep trucking on my C25K program and see what happens.

Do you set goals for the year?

Are you setting goals for 2021?

A State of Mind

I can be both a seasoned marathon runner and a runner just beginning. Who knew that being a runner was also a state of mind? Pretty much every runner will tell you that it is both physical and mental. Even as someone who couldn’t run a 5K right now, I still consider myself a runner. My car carries magnets proudly displaying 26.2, 50K, and Moms Run this town. To anyone who sees these, they might think that I run miles every day. There was a time that was true. I earned them and so they remain.

For now though, I am not running any marathons but I am still a marathon runner. No matter if I were to never complete another marathon, nothing can take away the finish lines that I have crossed. So yes, yes, I am a marathon runner who happens to not be training for a marathon.

I don’t want to say that I am starting over again. I think I need to start looking at my running as the ups and downs that we all have in life. There are times when we are up and there are times when we are down. It is the ying and yang of life. So as a runner, there are times when I run and there are times when I will not be running. The not running chapter is coming to an end.

I have been running with the C25K program now for going on 3 weeks. This is where I need to be just like I needed to give myself a break from running. Now my body and my mind have reset and am once again looking forward to running again. If you don’t look forward to doing something, you shouldn’t do it. Now I don’t mean work or all the responsible things that we as adults must do, but running had been my release. When it started to be another chore it was time for a reset.

I enjoyed spending my spring and summer walking. I enjoyed not feeling like I should be doing something else. I had no desire to do more.

I do now. How much more is up for debate and will change over time.

So with that, I am lacing up again. There are no races on the horizon to train for and who knows what 2021 will bring race wise either but that isn’t what I am even thinking of right now. What I do know is that it is not about feeling like I need to run, but a feeling of I want to run. Rebuilding is allowing me to do exactly that…. Rebuild. I must be serious about it as I bought new sneakers and new Oofas too.

So with that, I will continue on this running journey that I have been all these years. You know it is time when you actually look forward to the thought of running. Not for racing. Not for pace. Not for distance. Just to run again.

Life is about listening to your inner voice. To respecting what you need and when you need it. And as will all things, what we need will change. What we want will also change. That doesn’t make us a failure. that makes us human.

Hold On

So tired of 2020, but who says 2021 is going to be any better. Although I do have hight hopes for after January 20th, but even then it will be a process to turn things around. Not the flick a switch, say Happy New year at midnight and everything rights itself.

The problem is now we have all gotten comfortable being uncomfortable. It is the norm. We stopped wiping down our groceries. We started going out more (not really in this house). We started expanding our bubbles. We took our lives off the holding pattern that the initial surge created.

This is good…..

This is also bad…..

It is good because for the here and now, we do need to learn to live with Covid. We need to work. We need socialization. We need do what we can in the safest manner we can. Although there is good news on the horizon, it is on the horizon and we need to do what we can to get through the here and now.

The time will come when this will pass. When the lockdowns, the masks, the intimate gatherings become social events again. When this will all be a not say very pleasant memory that we will pass stories on to our potential grandchildren about…… We won’t even need to exaggerate because the truth is bad enough. The stories will begin with….. The year was 2020 and there was no toilet paper to be found.

But for now.

We wait.

We still show caution.

We remain patient.

We wear our masks.

Most of all we….

Tomorrow will be a better day even if tomorrow is a short distance away. We don’t know what tomorrow yet, but it is coming. Life will go back to normal. We will carry the lessons that we learned We will hold onto those that carried us through 2020 in what ever way necessary. We will throw mask burning parties. We will do all of these things if we just have patience to get there.

As a runner, what I miss most about 2020 is races. Not even crossing the finish line, but racing with friends. Training for events. Planning events. Waiting at start line of events. I miss it terribly, but I have no desire to do any in person events right now. Everyone has their level of comfort and this is past mine. To be honest, I don’t much enjoy running in the park filled with other runners and walkers. There will be a day where that won’t even be a thought and I can’t wait.

So we wait.

We practice all the things we know we need to do….

We hold onto hope