The power of words……

        This isn’t your usual blog about how someone hurt my feelings or that of someone else, with the poison that often spews from the mouth of folks who seem to have no care about how their words play in the hearts and minds of others. This blog post offers a different spin on that very same topic. The POWER of words to move us. It is said that it is the uncomfortable that makes us move. When we are content with where we are we tend to sit still and for some that is exactly where they want us – still. Movement means change and there are those in this life who resist change at all costs. I digress….

    There is a word in the English vocabulary that has the power to make us be still……..or the power to make us move out of our comfort zone and do that which is uncomfortable. The word I am speaking of is CAN’T. As in, you cannot do one thing or another. You cannot cross some arbitrary line in the sand. You cannot possibly graduate. You cannot be successful…..can’t. I think you get the idea!! For some, that one little word has the power to make them be still. To stop whatever it is they were doing or planning on doing, sit back and be still.

    For others, that ugly little word – can’t – is a tool, a motivator, a seed in their belly that drives them to move forward and refuse to back down, refuse to stop until they reach a particular goal or ten. That’s the other thing about that word can’t – it often results in a cascade of progress. Rather than give that word the power to make us stop……use it to make you MOVE. Refuse to sit, refuse to become complacent……make it happen!

Stay tuned!



The joy of making progress

     I have been out of the pool for about 8 months up until 2 weeks ago. As soon as my head went below the top of that crystalline surface I was immediately reminded exactly why I had stopped swimming! God gave us as humans these wondrous organs called lungs and they are meant to breathe oxygen delivered via air, not water. For the first 15 of the 30 minutes I spent on that first night I battled my inner demons called panic attack and freak out. This is my typical m.o when I get back in the water from any type of absence. I have to reacquaint my body with the process of moving through the water. I blow bubbles in an attempt to ease my panic. 

     Fast forward 2 weeks to my swim last night. My friend had been telling me, “push your head down into the water” it will help you float rather than sink. (I’m a natural born SINKER) So, I ‘d been trying to push my head down like she said. Looking through the water in an attempt to see my toes. That is looking down right? Um, nope – it’s not! Finally, I figured it out! I have to push my head DOWN into the water like a turtle, like trying to bury my head completely in the water. Guess what……I sort of got a floating sensation from my backside and almost, almost felt like I was actually gliding through the water! Oh my goodness! Why did I not learn this like 5 years ago? 

      Making progress is a joy! Not only in the world of fitness but in my professional life as well. I have been pretty stressed about my job situation due to the physicality that I am subjected to on a daily basis from the kiddos in our classroom. Today I received a call from the local college telling me that I finally made it through the selection process and have an interview scheduled for next week! This is the reason I went to school to obtain my Master’s……to teach adults! I will move forward….

Relentless forward progress and the joy of the same!

Full Circle……and Balance

I find myself feeling a bit ambivalent at the moment as my children all reach milestones of their own and I am left staring in the mirror wondering where in the world the time went…….and at the same time feeling a sense of release. The youngest of the 4 boys will turn 18 on Friday and the girls will all be another year older within the next 5 months. Puberty for the girls is right around the corner and life will change again in order to accommodate their changing personalities. 

At the same time as the two youngest of my clan reach another birthday, so too will I have another birthday and although I am not as ambivalent about this passing of time it still has a way of making me question all that is going on in my life and all that I desire to happen. So much of life has changed since the girls came along and even more since the first of the boys were born 24 years ago. Sometimes it boggles the mind to think about all that life has brought. The one thing that I have learned without a doubt is the importance of BALANCE.

Balance….life has a way of throwing a whole lot of stuff in our direction, typically all at one time or seemingly so. There are so many things I’d like to do, goals to accomplish and experiences to witness. Sometimes it is all too easy to succumb to the craziness of this life and forget about the goals. Other times, the only thing that seems to really keep me moving in a forward direction is the thought of the next goal; the next race or the next event of some type or another.

I have joked for years about my ability to function under conditions that most would find disconcerting. I thrive under a particular kind of pressure and fondly call this organized chaos. When life is going along too slowly and there are not enough deadlines within my sight, I grow bored and irritable. I use a calendar……several of them usually….and I prefer to have things to do on any given day. These can be mundane and boring things like the shopping I need to do in order to have the foods I prefer to eat in the fridge or the more exciting (to me) things like the next race coming up or an awards ceremony for one of the girls. I like to see what’s going on. 

It helps me balance the various responsibilities and keep a peace of mind at the same time. Balance…..and peace of mind 🙂

     The last day of Christmas break and I am quite honestly dreading going back to work tomorrow. Not that my job is all that strenuous or difficult necessarily, only that it tires me in a way that running a marathon, biking 60 miles or even swimming 800 meters do not. Sounds crazy I know! To be on your so called ‘p’s and q’s’ for 8 hours a day dealing with the problems of 4 children who happen to be Autistic is absolutely exhausting. Perhaps this does not sound like much – 4 children with 3 adult teacher types to dictate their movements all day long. 

     However, I am here to tell you that those 4 kiddos are the very definition of high maintenance. We spend the entire day in ONE classroom from the moment all of them arrive at approximately 7:45 until we put the last one on the bus at 3:45. Imagine, if you will, spending 38 hours a week with children who react to the slightest changes in their environment by throwing a horrible fit for 30 minutes or possibly shutting down completely for the entire day. On the other side of this coin, they can be the sweetest children at times. Requesting attention in their own way; demonstrating their peculiar brand of affection and even providing moments of a teasing kind of behavior to make you laugh. 

     I find myself thinking of these youngsters at the strangest times! I’m out on the trail, halfway through a 15 mile run that’s been rough because I’ve tripped numerous times, fallen a few and generally feel like hot garbage. A picture of one of them will run through my head. The life they have had to lead since coming into this world has not been easy by any sense of the word. Yet, here they are still fighting, struggling and moving forward in their own unique ways. 

    These kids have touched my life in a way that cannot be measured in a traditional sense. A woman who has brought several of her own babies into this crazy world and is someone of a self professed, little bit of patience….works through her days in that classroom, one hour at a time and sometimes even 10 minutes at a time, with due diligence and just the right amount of patience. 

    My time spent on the trails and the road allow me the presence of mind to keep on keeping on, with my own kids as well as those that I care for as part of my “job”. The trails offer me the clarity I need to see the forest through the trees – to live for this moment right here and still plan for the future and what will be. 

Until next time…….

Forward Motion

        I suppose it is customary to not only look backwards at the accomplishments we have made over the previous year, but to also determine if there is a new course of action we would like to take for the next. Hopefully, part of our decision making process for what we would like to accomplish in the new year is based somewhat on lessons we learned previously. Were there lessons learned in 2013? Were there ideas or experiences that we learned from, or in some cases – learned from only in hindsight? How would we like to proceed in the new year?

     As an avid reader there are a couple of books or articles or parts of books that stick in my head because of the way the authors words resonated with me as a woman, athlete, mother etc, etc.The first book I read about running marathons was Marathon man by Dean Karnazes. I was stunned and awed that someone could do what he does! It lit a match in me that to this day I cannot really explain. How do you explain to someone who despises running the exhilaration you feel from pushing your body to what feels like the very end of your limits and the desire to continue to push those limits even further? 

     Later in the year I read Got to Live by Jay Danek. A man who worked through the deepest levels of depression and obesity and became a well known name in the ultra-running community due to his fortitude. I had the privilege of meeting this humble man at the same time as I met a woman by the name of Nikki Kimball! Nikki Kimball!! Okay, okay I understand! You are probably asking yourself, who in the world is Nikki Kimball right? Well, when I first started doing research on the ultra running community, I really did not necessarily want to read about men in their 20’s and 30’s. I wanted to read about other women, doing what many thought was absolutely IMPOSSIBLE until 1967 when Kathrine Switzer completed the Boston Marathon. Not only did I want to read about women distance runners, I wanted to read about those with some life under their belts rather than someone fresh out of college. 

    No offense to those women of course, but as a woman in her early 40’s I wanted to read and learn from other women with some maturity. Hence, Nikki Kimball came into my field of recognition and I began to read about her life. She too fought with horrible, life altering periods of depression and running has helped her pull through it. Then, the craziest thing happened! I was afforded the opportunity to MEET Nikki Kimball! It was all thanks to my crazy trail running friend who put in a good word for me and got me a sponsored 4 day running camp with some of the top elite running athletes in the country!! (Thanks to Team RWB for this!!) There was no way I would have been able to attend if not for that sponsorship!

    I was able to shake hands with people like Darcy Africa, Max King, Sage Canaday, Jay Danek and last but certainly not least, Nikki Kimball. I even have a picture with her! I thought my heart was going to beat straight out of my chest that night! Take a look at the trailer for her video Finding Traction and tell me that you are NOT moved!! But, I digress!! What they all have in common is that they all push on and push through with perpetual forward motion. Every step forward brings you closer to your goals. Despite it all, we all have to keep keeping on and putting one foot in front of the other. 

    These people motivate me to keep trying. Their stories speak to me in a small little place somewhere in the depths of my person and tell me that with faith, hard work and lots and lots of perseverance we make steady progress forward towards our goals.The alternative…… unacceptable.

   As I look forward I see myself finishing a 50 miler, helping others in whatever way God allows, spreading the word about The Ragnar Relay in the Hill Country of Texas, Team RWB Ft. Hood, promoting healthy living & paying attention to what we put into our bodies, the good work being done at The Gallant Few and Run Ranger Run……plus The Army Marathon and their mission to give back to our community. Of course, there is always the work to be done of a mother with 3 smart little girls, a husband with untold potential and the youngest of my boys who will be 18 soon! So many stories to tell…….stay tuned!