Tuesday, May 26, 2009

In the Beginning...

In the beginning, I did not run. I did not feel good about myself, I did not know the power within me, and I certainly did not wake up in the wee hours of the morning, compare blisters or toenails, discuss chaffage and the prevention of such, or spend more on good socks than I might on a meal. I am not by nature a content person, which is probably a little bit good and a little bit more not so good, and I was discontent that day. I was not fulfilled by really anything- my marriage was not as awesome as I dreamed, my job wasn't quite doing it for me, I was at war with my insides about who I was and what the heck I wanted. My Dad would tell you that this has always been the way I am, never satisfied.

I have no idea what possessed me on that day. It was December and the air was a bit more crisp and the sun was pretty. My black lab, Sophie, was hyper-- again, nothing new there.... This is the dog who single handedly ate an entire dining room table and SIX chairs. I was home alone and it was a Saturday. I could have gone to the gym and sweated it out on the stairmaster or even taken a group fitness class, but I didn't want to. So, there I was putzing around the house and one of those brilliant little ideas I am so well known for popped into my head.

Stupid Self: "Hey! I could go for a run! That would calm the dog and get me some exercise and it's beautiful outside.... what a great idea!! I could run down to the lake and back. It would be great!"

Smart Self: *crickets chirping* nothing.... nada..... sleeping perhaps?

So, it began. I got dressed and laced up my shoes and leashed up the dog and I felt ready. I should definitely mention that I knew nothing of good fitting shoes, non-cotton socks, technical running clothes, fueling for a run, none of that. The dog had never run on the leash and, oh yeah, I did not know that it was 9 MILES round trip to the lake and back. Yes, 9 miles. Ah, the naivete of youth..... such a sweet, sweet, painful, loooooooong-suffering, lesson learning, self loathing, near death experience kind of thing.

Needless to say, I survived and it was not pretty. I think I learned every single lesson about running the first day. The dog survived too, and we both limped around for a week. But, I was hooked. Never in my life had I felt so accomplished. It hurt, it hurt bad but I kept moving one step in front of the other. No, I did not run the whole way that first day and I think I may have even cried at one point. Yes, I was delirious and in pain for days. But ,I set my mind to do something and I did it. Over the next year, my life changed a lot. I signed up for my first race (a 15K... God forbid I start small like most normal people), I got out of my relationship that was so toxic, I quit my job and headed in a new direction. It was a bumpy road and dark at times. But when I couldn't see where I was going, I just picked my feet up a little higher to keep from stumbling. I had never been of the fearless variety. I was always limited by fear-- fear of failure, fear of being judged, fear of the unknown, fear of disappointing my parents or boss or spouse or whoever, fear of not being on the right timetable, of being a step behind or a step ahead.

With each mile I ran, I left another fear behind.

People ask me why I put my life out there for others to read. Why would I share such things where just anyone can see? It's because I'm not afraid. I'm done with that. I don't give one iota of thought to what others might think. I have made a lot of mistakes and I have even hurt people along the way but I learned from those things. The only thing I fear now is that I will stop changing. That I will stop growing as a person and learning from each experience. I said it from the start, it's been a bumpy, winding path this life but it's also been a blessing. It's an amazingly liberating thing when you know you have screwed up so much that you really can't mess it up anymore. So, you get humble and you share what you've found along the way in hopes that others will start to see that life isn't about the falls, it's about the strength to stand again.

"Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will...."

Sunday, May 17, 2009

"Lift as you Climb...."

"LIFT as you CLIMB...."

I heard this today. I like it. That's a hella big challenge......

I finished the MS150 today and it was pretty amazing. Actually, it was really freaking awesome! The thing that amazes me about an event like this is the sense of camaraderie that envelopes the participants. You arrive at the ride/race as an individual or maybe with a team and by the end everyone is on the same team encouraging those who are struggling and motivating one another to strive for greatness. What a concept....... I can't help to wonder why it takes biking 150 miles to sort out that really, that's the way it should be.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

150 miles….. One HUNDRED and fifty miles……. ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY MILES!!!!!
What was I thinking? I am convinced that my mother must have dropped me on my head as a baby. Or maybe it was the constant beatings from my big brother that annihilated all my good, useful brain cells. I don’t even know how I get talked into this stuff! The others always claim it’s me that does the “talking into,” but surely someone else planted the idea in my head first. Either that or I am certifiable…… hmmm, let’s not ponder that one too long!


So, our team is doing the MS 150 bike ride on Saturday and Sunday. We start early Saturday morning at Bok Tower in Lake Wales and we meander our way to Orlando (100 miles). After a massive feast and some sleep, we will head back on Sunday for another 50 miles. Our team has worked hard to raise over $6000 so far to support the MS Society! We smashed our goal several times and had to keep upping the ante--- Great work guys!!

Now, it’s “GO” Time! We ride for people who can’t, we endure for two days a fraction of the suffering that others deal with daily. Pretty cool stuff. I can’t imagine the frustrations and challenges that those with handicaps or limitations must face and I pray I never find out. I’m so very grateful to have full ability and control of my body and if I have to ride 150 miles to understand just how lucky I am, I’m up for the challenge!

Bring on the PAIN!!!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Mission Possible!

One of the best parts of my job is that every day I get to talk to people about their lives. I have the amazing privilege to climb inside the heads of the people I work with and tinker with the workings of their minds. I get to hear the joys and triumphs and I get to hear the sorrows and the tribulations. It is amazing to share experiences with my clients and appreciate how differently individual people deal with what life throws at them.

Today I met with a woman that fascinates me on many levels: Strong, capable, sincere, loyal, crazy intelligent, and yet absolutely at odds with herself as to her direction and worth in life. The first thing I do with clients is to try to help them set goals. Goal-setting is not a natural progression to a lot of people but I see it as absolutely essential. Goals allow you to have a fixed point on which to focus and an end point by which to determine when and if you are slipping off course. Without focus, there is no way to know the direction and no way to re-align yourself. The more we talked,though, the more apparent it became that this amazing woman, like many of us, couldn't even be sure what goals to set because the reality was she didn't even know who she was as an individual.

In life, it is really easy to get bogged down in the day-to-day and sort of lose sight of yourself and your self-worth. It is easy to fall into a role and commit yourself to that path (usually the easiest path) and like a chameleon, blend into the surroundings. The problem with this though is that one day, you look down and realize you don't like what you see or even know why you are headed in the direction you are going. I see this a lot with moms. They commit their very being, their every ounce to being a perfect mom and along the way they lose sight of what they like and what they stand for as a person. They lose sight of how to be a wife, a woman and how to even exist without the crutch of their kids. Men fall into their career and define their worth by a dollar sign or a certain level of importance within an establishment. I try to get my clients to, for one second, seperate themselves from those roles and determine who they are as a person. What would the "Mission Statement" of their life look like? What do they stand for and if they lost their job or (gasp!) if their kids grow up and leave home and make lives of their own (I know, I know, but it happens....), who would they be? That's a tough question! It is really hard to look into your own life and recognize your own passions and decide what you would stand for if you had to stand alone! But, it' essential.

So, I challenged my client today. I told her to write her own Mission Statement in life. For me, it's not too hard. I have a very strong passion and it has always been my passion. I like to empower people, to build the steps that take them to heights they have never imagined. I like to create change and challenge people to be better. I hold myself and my fellow world-mates to a high standard of morale and compassion, and I never aim for less than the best. I push my friends and family hard and I push myself harder because I believe in the satisfaction of hard work, but I also value failure. I try hard to recognize shortcomings in myself and accept the amazing variety in an everchanging world.

I'm lucky, though. That's easy for me because God has been gracious enough to give me the gift of a mission.