where courage lives

It has been said that we learn from our experiences in life, but I think it is more accurate to say that we learn from the experiences we choose to learn from.

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Our mistakes, our regrets and our injuries, are our greatest teachers — if we let them be.

If we are open to seeing what they have to show us, to owning our part in where our journey has taken us, to allowing the failures and the pain to help us grow.

A lot of us avoid it, because it hurts to open ourselves up to that.

But I think the same lessons keep showing up in our lives, in one way or another, until we finally surrender to them. They crack us open a little, maybe eventually they even break us.

I have felt that way. Broken. Shattered and unsure how to put myself back together.

For a long time, I thought the years that I chased my running dreams to qualify for Boston and beyond were the years that revealed to me my toughest, strongest and bravest self. That those years and accomplishments would be the things I would be most proud of as an athlete and really even as a person. It was hard work. I had to be disciplined with my workouts and with my diet. After having my third baby, I pushed myself to my limits and well passed them with my running. I wanted to know how far I could go, how strong I could be, how fast I could run. I wanted to show myself, and everyone else, that a mom of three in her late 30s who ran her first marathon in almost 6 hours could qualify for Boston, could win races, could become a competitive endurance athlete. And I did.

And maybe all of that was brave.

But it wasn’t the bravest thing.

It wasn’t the strongest thing.

And it sure isn’t what I am most proud of as a runner.

In some ways, I see it now as a pretty weak and cowardly time in my life. I had tunnel vision and I went to extremes to accomplish those goals because I really didn’t know of another way, and because it seemed to be working.

I no longer think of extremes as where courage lives. I think it takes a whole lot more bravery and self discipline for me, and probably for many of us in this sport, to choose moderation. That is what inspires me.

I’m discovering that my best self, my bravest and my strongest self, doesn’t involve being “all in” or “all out.” I have found that I can do those extremes very well, but so much is lost when I go there. I am not being completely true to who I am and to all that matters to me when I go there. I miss out on the real depth of my life when I stay on the edges.

Just like the deepest parts of the ocean aren’t on the shores, I think that the same is true for our hearts.

So that is where I am choosing to go now. Into the middle. No more extremes. No more staying on the edges of my shores.

Because that is where I am my most brave. Where I feel my strongest.

And that is where I am most proud.

Training Reflections: April 24-30

Last week was a big week – in my running and in my life. It started off on a very sad note, with the passing of our dog Riley. She was 15 1/2 years old, and our first baby. I miss her so much. It has been lonesome without her in the house. Even though I know she lived a long life, and that we were so blessed to have her with us as long as we did, it still just isn’t the same around here without her. There has been an undertone of melancholy with everything we have done since she passed a week ago, and I imagine there will be for a while until the fog lifts and the heaviness lightens. We will eventually be left with just happy wonderful memories of our time with her and a feeling of warmth in our hearts when we think of her, but right now it just makes us sad. I know that only time will heal that.

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our “little big dog” Riley

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February Reflections + March Goals

Last night as my family and I sat down at the dinner table for “Taco Tuesday” the topic of conversation was all about February. We listed off all of the exciting things that happened and accomplishments that were realized over the last 28 days, and it filled my heart with such joy! We had a good month in our household ❤:

  • Gus turned 6! We celebrated with me having lunch with him and his buddies at school and also had a family party at home with a cake made by Abby. Then about 10 days later we took him and some of his friends to see the Lego Batman movie!
  • Will scored his first goal on his travel soccer team! We were all SO excited about this.
  • My sister and her family came to visit us for the first time in our new home, all the way from upstate NY! Having them here was for sure a highlight of our month.
  • Abby had her final middle school dance of the year.
  • Robert was promoted!
  • I started a new job and will be teaching Pilates at Lifetime Fitness.
  • I found a good doctor for my foot, had another MRI and now have a diagnosis and treatment plan. I made lots of healing progress this month, and am heading towards March with a clearer path. My foot has a partial tear and a mass of scar tissue in the plantar fascia. Dr. Boggess will do a procedure called “Tenex” and use guided ultrasound to clean out the damaged tissue.
  • We chose a paint color for our powder room!
  • I decided to sign up for an open water swim race this summer. I’m going to go with the 1 mile distance. Race is July 22.
  • Our dog Riley had eye surgery, and is recovering from it well! Thank goodness.
  • Abby and I went on a great “girls date” to get our nails done together.
  • Robert and I had a “day date” – a day when all the kids were in school but neither of us had to work! We went for a long walk together on the American Tobacco Trail and also went to this cool place in Durham called the ReUse Warehouse and looked for reclaimed house stuff for our bathroom. Didn’t find anything but it was fun to poke around!
  • Will and I completed our read-aloud book together. I loved reading with him like that so, so much. It was an awesome mystery by Carl Hiassen, called SCAT.
  • The boys had a camp out in our backyard one night! They slept in a tent, read together and just made a fantastic memory.
  • Robert hung the hammock that I bought him for Christmas 🙂
  • Garmin published an article about the workouts that Robert and I have been doing together! You can read it here: http://bit.ly/2kSPGvt

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taking the plunge

This injury has had me going outside the lines I had so carefully drawn for myself. And this is a good thing. I needed to expand, to spread my wings! All this time I thought running was freeing me, and in some ways it was, but the truth is this injury has revealed to me that I used it to hide and to make myself smaller in a lot of ways. It has taught me to no longer confine myself.

Literally and figuratively.

This has happened in many ways for me. I’m not going to go into all of that now, but I will share that soon. Today I want to talk about how it’s taken me into the water, and has inspired me to start swimming. To explore myself and my abilities there. I’ve put on my water wings, so to speak!

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February – Week 1 in Review

As I mentioned in my last post, I am using a new system to stay on top of and track my progress towards my goals and vision for my life in 2017 and beyond. I broke my goals down so that I have concrete things to shoot for this month, and then each week I think about the small steps I will take to make my way there.

So far, so good.

This was a really good week for me, a great start to the month of February. I set out the week with the following goals. This is what they were and how I did with them. Continue reading

setting intentions – february goals

This morning as I journaled, I came up with intentions for the month ahead that support me in my goals for the year and really for living the life I want to live! I am setting my goals in a different way this year, and so far I think it’s really helping me. These intentions are in different areas of my life – nutrition and body, mental/emotional health, my home, my relationships and my work.

I’ve decided to share this here in hopes that 1) maybe it will inspire you to set intentions of your own and 2) it will help me hold myself a bit more accountable seeing as how I am declaring it “publicly!” for all on the interwebs to see 🙂

So here goes. This month I will . . . Continue reading

a discovery

 

I had a thought this morning that made me think twice.

One of those eyebrow lifting moments. I realized I had been talking to myself in a twisted and warped way for quite a while, and it was time to untangle the story that was living in my head.

Dust off the cobwebs and rearrange the furniture up in the attic, so to speak.

For years, I was operating on the premise that running made me a strong person.

It was a fundamental belief that I held for who knows how long.

Too long.

Somewhere along my path, I had come to believe that I was a strong, good, passionate, dedicated, persevering, faithful, hardworking and brave person – because I was a runner.

If that is true though, during this time of injury (5 months and counting, with very little and sometimes no running at all) would stand to reason that I am therefor less of all these things.

FALSE.

You can go ahead and laugh out loud. I did.

I had it all wrong.

All of these things about me ARE TRUE. And always have been. Even before I ever ran my first step.

And they will hold true – no matter how little or long, how fast or slow, how easy or hard I run.

I am a strong person who happens to love to run.

Not a strong runner who happens to be a person.

I bet you are the same.