Archives for 2011

Victory in the tri-ing!

I am back..finally.   Turns out I am not good at keeping all my plates in the air and I let this one drop.  Now that I have a few less plates spinning and a little more time I can finally catch up on those items that I put on the back burner.

I did complete one triathlon this season.  Wanted to do more but it wasn’t meant to be.

It wasn’t my best triathlon but it was the one where I learned the most about myself.   So my favorite part worst sport of the three is swimming.  Its a wonder I don’t drown every time.  I even took a swim class this winter.  It helped…sort of.

Even though I was close to being the last one out of the water I am going to give myself credit for a couple of things:

  • I didn’t have to be  rescued by the kayakers
  • I kept my sense of humor
  • My slow swim made it easy to find my bike since almost everybody had already left!

Off on the bike. Surely I would make up time here.  It was not to be.  Here is the short version of what happened in the middle of the killer hill ( of course)!

  • my chain came off
  • get off bike fix chain
  • get back on bike and try to make it up this hill ( did I mention how insanely steep it is?)
  • chain comes off again
  • get off bike
  • swear
  • fix chain
  • cross fingers

Once I got back on the bike for try #2 I can’t get my momentum back to get the hill

  • Momentarily think about quitting
  • more swearing
  • walk bike up hill
  • get back on and pedal like mad.

The rest of the ride was fairly uneventful.  I found my sense of humor and even scolded the cop who was busy taking up the safety cones before I even passed his checkpoint.

By the time I started the run I knew I was dead last.  So I spent time making peace with that during the run only to discover at the turnaround there was someone behind me.

Seriously??   I just made peace with it and now ..mmm… no time to think just run.

One of the nice things of coming in at the tail end is that there are lots of people to cheer you in.  They are truly happy for you and you know the clapping and cheers are sincere.

After some water and a banana I got into the crowd to cheer the last person in.  While standing there I found out it was her first tri, she beat breast cancer and also lost over 100 lbs.

WOW!!

Suddenly my woes during the race seemed trivial compared to the real life challenges of this triumphant participant.

She may have been last in the race but she was first in facing real life challenges.

It’s people like her who inspire me to keep “triing” no matter what the outcome because there are victories to be had just in the triing!

Be inspired!

black-triathlon-swim-bike-run-repeat-underwear_design

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Gifts of the Heart

I had a gentle reminder last week about the importance of gifts from the heart.  First when I witnessed it and second when I saw the photo that captured the simple joy of giving.   My grandson, Cristiano, gave his mother some “flowers” for her birthday.

It was a sweet moment for both of them.

The immense joy on Cristiano’s face tells a story of  the joyful act of giving  .

After seeing this photo I started to think of gifts I have received that still stay in my heart and bring a smile to my face.

Some of those  gifts include:

  • time together
  • listening
  • someone’s undivided attention
  • prayer
  • a small act of kindness
  • a “real” piece of mail
  • a smile or helpful hand from a complete stranger while out and about
  • a random compliment
  • gratitude
  • a hug
  • a gentle reminder of all my blessings
  • laughter
  • being there
  • shared tears ..joyful and sad
  • support
  • inspiration

Cristiano gave me a gift as well.  I will never look at those “dandy” lion flowers again without smiling.

Forsythia is another flower that brings me joy.  Not only is it one of the first signs of spring but it reminds of the a piece of art work my daughter Julie brought me from pre-school.  Admiring the brown painted stems with globs of yellow paint at the end I asked Julie..”Wow Julie are these forsythia?”   She scrunched up her face and said “No!, they are for you Mommy!”

Yet another gift that brings me a smile…each and every spring.

What  do you receive and give on a daily basis, not just to others but to yourself as well?

We  know the importance of exercise and good food to nourish our bodies but don’t forget to nourish your spirit as well.

Go pick a few dandelions and put them where you can see them to remind you to give and receive gifts of the heart.

I am going to get mine now…it will do my heart good, yours too!


dandelion

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Glenda the Good Witch was right….

glenda the good witchWe all know Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz.  Glenda the Good Witch told her to “follow the yellow brick road” which Dorothy did for the most part with a few detours along the way.  After surviving the wicked witch , the flying monkeys and picking up a few hitchhikers along the way ( the know it all, the drama queen, and the emotional one) she finally made it to Oz.

And then, after all that, Glenda the Good Witch informed her she had the power all along to go home again.  I often wonder if they edited out the part where Dorothy says:

“That would have been good info to have BEFORE the flying monkeys!!”

Glenda the Good Witch was right of course.  We all have the power and wisdom within us to do what we know to be the “best” thing for us.

In the spirit of true confessions I will admit that I have often disregarded my inner wisdom because what it was telling me to do was not popular, in style or often done.   I will also confess that most of those decisions weren’t my best.

The best decisions came from my Gut, that all knowing place that told me it was what was best for me.

One of those was marrying my husband despite the fact that during our dating  relationship we had not spent more than 4 consecutive days together in our less than 2 years of dating.   Three children, 5 grandchildren and 32 years later I am so glad I trusted my Gut !

If you have read this far you are probably wondering what this has to do with triathlons, marathons or life in general.

By the way..notice this falling on Monday so it IS a Monday Marathon post.

The good news is I am officially registered for the Marine Corps Marathon!  Registration opened at noon on Feb 23rd and I was registered by 12:05.  Good thing too because the race filled in record time.

The trusting my Gut part comes as I train for my first marathon.  I have done 5ks, 8ks, 10ks and 2 half marathons so training for a race is not unfamiliar territory.  Yet this one is different.  My Gut tells me there is no wiggle room in the training, no cliffs notes, no all nighters, no cramming the training in a ridiculous short amount of time.

And my Gut is right.  My inner procrastinator must take a permanent hike, never to be seen again ( at least in regards to my running)

My Gut is also telling me to train smart and run smart.  Enter a gem of a book I found called ” Marathoning for Mortals”.  Unlike most running books it is written with humor, honesty and real life examples of  what not to do.

I have been run/walking in my training so far.  Running 3 minutes, walking 1 minute, repeat.  A good way to get back into it after several setbacks this fall and winter.   My original plan was to progress towards all running.  Maybe not.

The “MM” book has 4 training plans and one is the run/walk for marathons.  Really???  I mean really??

Can I get past the “shoulds” or what people will think if I run/walk this marathon?   No decisions yet..possibilities , options but no final decisions.  Still having conversations with my Gut and my body, which sometimes says “enough already”!

Where is Glenda when you need her?  Oh and does anyone know where I can get a pair of ruby running shoes??   Stay tuned!

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Time to put on my “big girl” panties and hit the reset button on my running!

Well faithful readers I am getting closer to posting on a Monday ( today is Tuesday for the calendar impaired)   perhaps I will hit it next week but I am offering no guarantees.

January is almost over and I spent most of it hitting the reset button, slowing down and reading directions (what a concept)!

I wonder if this will be a recurring theme over the entire year?

Just this morning I spent about an hour running up and down the stairs convinced if I unplugged the phones and repeatedly turned them on and off I would get them to work.  My husband insisted that I should try resetting the modem ( everything is tied into that blasted thing and I am convinced it is run by little gremlins who like to make it malfunction  when I need it the most)  I resisted and kept trying to make it work by turning it on and off and perhaps a bit of the “think” method ( remember that from “The Music Man”)

Maybe I just didn’t want Paul to be right AGAIN. It was the modem.  On the positive side I got lots of exercise running up and down stairs.

Other things I have had to slow down and read the directions for include my Ipod, my new digital recorder, my jupiter jack and my bed.

Yes my bed. Is that indicative of how we as humans have evolved?   I now need to read directions on how to operate my mattress.

More than several years ago we bought a sleep number mattress.  In the beginning it was great but lately not so much.  We even added a memory foam pillow top and yet I was waking up like I had an elephant sitting on my back all night.

So the thrifty cheap part of me DID NOT not want to replace this mattress.   Finally the  light bulb went off and I  pumped up the number on my side  and BINGO no more back pain.  Yet another semi blonde  moment ( semi because my blonde comes from my hairdresser)

As for my running not only am I setting the reset button but eating a bit of running humble pie.

My run outside last week on our one glorious day of sun and 50 degree weather was horrible.  It was just not one of those occasional bad runs. It was time to listen to my body AND redo my training plan and hit the reset button and start back at the beginning.

  • Yes I took time off when I had a severe cough, and then got busy with the holidays.
  • Yes I did the elliptical and the treadmill..inconsistently.
  • Yes I thought I could pick up where I left off since I am a runner, triathlete , cyclist.
  • NOT

Not only did my body hurt last week from running but my ego was a little bruised as well.

Time to put on my big girl panties and go back to the beginning.  So I actually read several training plans, my Chi running book and several articles on ( gulp) beginning running.

AND I put each training step  in my calendar. It has actually been fun and refreshing to begin again.  Humble running pie  turned out to be quite tasty.

And those big girl panties fit just fine thank-you very much!   Anybody else ready to hit the reset button,  and join me?

I believe in do overs and new beginnings in EVERYTHING…jump in the water is fine!  OMG now I have to think about swimming…gulp!

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Multi task and you may end up taking a public bath!! or worse

No-Texting-and-Walking-Sign-The-Skiffler

Mulit tasking seems to have become an art form despite all the studies that say our brains really can’t perform several functions at the same time.   Let me rephrase that.  Our brains can’t handle doing several tasks at the same time and do them well.

Still we try.  All of our electronic gear makes us think we can do it all without cloning ourselves.

We can walk and text…NOT as evidenced by the video below.
Woman falls in fountain while texting

I’m glad she wasn’t outside where she could have fallen into a  ditch, walked into oncoming traffic or gotten hit by a car.

Her cell phone took a bath ( not good)  and she was embarrassed ( survivable) and this video has pretty much gone viral so she will never live it down.  On the plus side she gave us all a good laugh.

Speaker phone is another mulit tasker tool..useful when on perpetual hold..not so useful by lazy people who refuse to hold the phone to their ear and then FORGET to tell you that you are on speaker phone and then EVERYONE hears things they are not suppose to hear.  Not to mention you can hear the person you are talking to doing everything BUT listening to the conversation.

So how does this relate to Marathon Monday ( once again falling on a Wed)??

Quite frequently I take my dog to the very end of a street near our home.  There are several vacant lots so its a good place to play.  Since its the very end of the street no one comes down there unless they live there or are lost so there is very little traffic.

So Max and I are playing and I see a woman out for a run heading towards us.  We are blatantly visible.  By the way, Max is a pretty good size golden retriever..a little hard to miss.  She had her headphones on and was NOT paying attention.  Max , of course, as all goldens do was absolutely certain that this person would be more than happy to pet him, pay attention to him etc.

Goldens operate on the toddler rule  “Its all about me, no matter what, if you came to see Jenn, you really online pharmacy came to see me”.

I was about a  second too late from grabbing his collar to keep him from running up to this gal.

He conveniently became deaf to the “come” command.

She screamed..turns out she is afraid of dogs. She yelled this to me as  I grabbed Max..  she continued to the end of the street (not too far) back up the road and on her merry way.   I felt horrible the rest of the day.  I should have had him on his leash, how stupid of me and a few other choice phrases, until I had a realization.

She wasn’t paying attention.  She KNEW she was afraid of dogs.  We were visible and yet she kept running towards us because she was not paying attention, had her music up so loud I could hear it clearly and she was totally zoned out much like the woman texting .

Yes I am partly to blame  HOWEVER as a female runner I have a few  AWARENESS rules ( awareness=common sense)

  • When running alone, no matter what time of day…BE AWARE OF YOUR SURRONDINGS.…duh!
  • Sometimes I run with my Ipod but I am still AWARE OF MY SURROUNDINGS ( volume down low or only one ear bud in)
  • If you are afraid of dogs, cats, deer, construction workers, snakes, clowns..whatever…be AWARE and don’t keep running towards them if you see them ahead.  Duh again!
  • Know your route.  I don’t care if its the safest neighborhood around, don’t run in isolated areas.

Next time you are trying to do several things at once step back and check in with yourself

  • Are you being fully present with what’s important?
  • Are you aware of your surroundings and the people around you?
  • Are you doing any of  these tasks well?

If the answer is no to any of these then slow down and do 1 thing at a time ( what a concept)

Or keep multi tasking and watch yourself fall into a hole while running or into a fountain while texting..I’ll be the one LMAO nearby.

By the way.. I am allowed 1 or 2 cranky blogs a year..  Guess this counts for one!

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Marathon Wed???If only my training could be like studying for a final exam…

So its Marathon Monday on a Tuesday , Wednesday.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you that some of these would be late.  Hey life happens and around here it seems to be happening in many dimensions.

Perhaps that’s why today is one of those days  when I wish training for an athletic event WAS like studying for a final exam.

Let’s be clear here , I am NOT talking about the way “normal” people study for a final exam.

I am talking about the good intentions of keeping up with the reading, doing everything on time, having that date in your calendar three months ahead of time and then procrastinating until you pull an all nighter  studying, and can barely keep you eyes open for the actual  exam.

Obviously I grasped the concept of a run on sentence from English 101.

Oh and I forgot to add you get a semi decent grade out of it after all. ( Most of the time)

Somehow that doesn’t cut it when training for a race.  You can procrastinate all you want but pulling an all nighter won’t help a bit.   And you won’t get a decent or even a semi decent race time.  What you will get ( if you decide to participate) is sore muscles, a possible injury and lots of self loathing.  I mean a LOT of self loathing.

So to borrow from Oprah this is what I know for sure:

  • The weather is unpredictable and I had better work around it since I don’t live where its 65-70 degrees everyday, sunny with no humidity.
  • *&#$@ happens.   I mean life happens…and it happens around here alot so get used to it and work around it
  • Treadmills are boring but better than nothing
  • Training plans should be simple and straight forward..the  rest go in the circular file
  • Everyone has the “best” training plan    NOT
  • cute workout clothes motivate me

Okay even I will admit that last one sounded a bit shallow and non athletic antibiotics sounding.   I am not a fashionista.  As a matter of fact a quick look at my closet will tell you I have more work out clothes than anything else.  And most of them are cute.  Actually I am just happy if I color coordinate..hey whatever works to get me out the door.

One more thing I know for sure.  Guys do NOT care in the least what they wear to workout in. AND they don’t care how it smells.  They might care about the right kind of shoes but that’s about it.  I speak from experience on this one.

My husband must own 1000 t-shirts.  He will wear ONE until it falls apart.  At this rate he will have to live a long time to wear out all his t-shirts .  He shocked me the other day by wearing what appeared to be a new one.  It was new in the sense that it had never been worn but its logo gave it away.  Army 10-miler  1995.  Yes a 15 year old “NEW”  t-shirt.

A couple of days ago he called all stressed out.  Someone had stolen his running clothes.  His dirty, smelly already worn a couple of times running clothes.  I asked him if he had seen anyone in a hazmat suit carrying a package at arms length? Find that person and he will have found his clothes.  Either someone at his office gym had no sense of smell or some woman walked by, got a whiff and in an act of bravery threw them out.   Darn the bad luck!

So since the fine art of putting it off will NOT work  I got on the treadmill today and will again tomorrow and the next until the weather allows me outside.

If you see me at the gym stop and say something motivating…oh and notice my cute workout clothes!

The ancestor of Red Bull...I remember it well!

The ancestor of Red Bull...I remember it well!

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Marathon Monday : If life is a marathon I desperately need a rest stop.

Welcome to my Marathon Monday Posts.  Happy Monday.   While I am not officially registered for the Marine Corps Marathon I am already committed to it so starting today and every Monday until the marathon and possibly beyond that you will be seeing my “Monday Marathon ” posts.

These won’t always be about the actual marathon.   And they might not always make it here on a Monday.  Every Monday’s post will be a surprise, even to me!  Whatever pops up about the marathon or life in general is fair game.

If life is a marathon I  AM in desperate need of a rest  stop.  The vision of  that is so appealing.  I am working, working , working, cleaning up, cleaning out, cooking, running errands, my mind is going in a thousand different directions, phone calls, e-mails, paying bills, crossing off my things on my to-do list, adding things on my to-do list, adding things I have already done just so I can cross them off and then as I round the corner in my house…a rest stop.  Everything fades away and someone offers me a drink of water, an energy bar,  there is a place to sit and put my feet up, it is quiet, my breathing slows, my mind empties…a candle is lit.

Sounds great .  I was all ready to write about how this rest stop bit could be one of my New Years Resolutions but since its Jan 3rd that might be a problem.  I am already 3 days behind.  MMMM…not really, at least not for me.  My New Year always starts on the 4th of Jan.  Really..it truly is the start of a new year for me because ITS MY BIRTHDAY!!!

Feel free to send birthday wishes tomorrow…I will not grow old before my time so wait until tomorrow.

Today,however is my grandaughter, Summer’s  5th birthday.  She was my gift, a day early in 2006.  Best gift I ever got!!

I realized as I prepared for the holidays that I really do need to find a rest stop somewhere in my busy days.  I did take a day off after Christmas, stayed in my pajamas, read, lounged around, watched a movie.  You know what?  I discovered doing nothing is exhausting!  I enjoyed it however I have decided that if I kept that up I would be the living example of Newtons first law

“an object at rest stays at rest” ( thank-you Google!)

“Yup..there’s Mom.  She sat down one day and never got up.  Lately we’re having a hard time figuring out where she ends and the chair begins”

3787_picture_of_an_exhausted_woman_in_an_easychair
Okay..not that much rest.  Balance would be a better word.  With a sprinkle of “simplify”, “fun”, and “serenity”

Sounds great.  My resolution for 2011 is balance.  Where do I start?  mmmm  my mind is wandering already.   Balance is a great word for 2011 but it is  not quite doing it for me.

If you know me then you know I am not a one word kinda gal.  That would be my dear hubby who is quiet anyway and with me around, well, he is down to one word here and there.

A phrase for 2011 would suit me better.  So here it is!

“Anticipation of quiet creativity”

This is my rest stop.  This is what is getting me out of bed in the morning.   Huh?  Let me explain.

  • Anticipation…looking forward to.
  • Quiet….slowing down, centering,balance
  • Creativity…anything that gets my juices going..writing, reading, baking, scrap-booking….music, walks with my dog.  even running. Running doesn’t “slow” me down but it does pace me with a comforting rhythm.

The anticipation of being creative enough to fit this into each day is incredibly energizing.

So there you have it.  I found my rest stop.  Its up to me to keep it fully stocked and always available.  It is my respite.

You can do it too.  Its free, its fun, its essential.  Take one right now and promise to take one, two or three everyday.

You are so worth it!

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