Full Circle

It’s been just about 2 years since I blew out my knee during Open WOD 13.4 of the CrossFit Open. Two years … seems like just yesterday and yet, a LONG time ago, when I look back. Looking back in some sense is still painful, yet very liberating at the same time.

2013 was a year of such inner turmoil for me. It took me to a very, very dark and lonely place and brought out a side of me that was not pretty at all. So many things happened that year that caused me to really reflect on everything that was happening in my life, and brought out some emotions that only seemed to throw salt into my very physical, emotional, spiritual wounds. I literally hated life, and was pissed at God for “letting” these things happen to me when I was just minding my own business.

Sometimes things need to happen in order to bring you to a better place than where you are.
Sometimes things need to happen in order to bring you to a better place than where you are.

2014 was better. I was healing physically. Mentally was another story and I could hardly get it together. As a result, l let go of myself and kind of really DGAF. Mentally, I was somewhat depressed.  Spiritually, I was still slightly bitter at God. I very envious of those around me who were flourishing. I was flourishing and improving also, but not at the rate of speed as I would have liked. But a lot of good things happened in 2014 also that started to wake me up and took me on a spiritual journey that I wasn’t expecting, and brought me to a point where I could forgive myself and truly – TRULY – move forward and finally begin to heal myself physically, mentally, and spiritually.

Here’s what I can tell you … I know that everything that happened in 2013 (and A LOT happened) had to happen in order for me to get to where I am today. I can tell you that had blowing out my knee not happened, or my daughter’s illness, my own illness, my “forced” job change – had none of it not happened, I would NOT be the person that I am today.

In 2014, I was I was introduced to many key people who have brought me to where I am today. These people reminded me of WHO I am. They reminded me that “what” I do – nurse, athlete, mother, etc. – is only just that – what I do, not WHO I am. What happened in 2014 was that I began to awaken … I began to “see” and “understand.” I mean, I knew before, but I had buried myself pretty deep underneath the layers that I choose to show to people.

Macchu Picchu, Peru!
Macchu Picchu, Peru!
Maui, Hawaii!
Maui, Hawaii!

In 2014, I began the process of shedding these layers. How? I read a lot, and I only read positive books that uplifted me and really stimulated my brain to think. I wrote a lot. I’m pretty sure I filled three Moleskine Journals with my inner most thoughts and feelings, and laid a few demons to rest. I sought out spiritual guidance from one of my oldest friend’s and spiritual mentor, and from a newer spiritual guide which whom I was introduced to. I attended a couple seminars and classes that opened my eyes and reminded me of who I was, who I am becoming, and what I need to be doing. I wrote a lot of forgiveness letters to people who I didn’t realize were weighing me down and holding me back. I distanced myself from and stopped associating with those who have never or don’t resonate with me or add any value to my life.  My beloved mother-in-law, Kathy, passed away from an ugly illness, and it reminded me of my own mortality, and how life is too short to be wasting it worrying about inconsequential things. My family and I went to Maui, Hawaii – kind of “home” for me as I grew up on Oahu, but had not been back for an extended period of time. I got sent to Peru for an amazing adventure by my husband to check off one of my bucket list items! I decided to look for the good in EVERY situation because there IS good in every situation. And one of the best things ever, is that I had made a unsuspecting bond with a few new friends with whom I have formed a true spiritual connection with! Because of this meeting, I am now opened more spiritually than I have been in the past which I find resonates with me on a vibration that is truly AMAZING!

2532015 is now here and I am looking at it with totally different set of eyes. It is new beginning and it has already started off in a truly positive light. I booked a trip to New York, courtesy of my husband, to study a form of healing that I have had an interest in. I am in the process of deciding whether to return to school and obtain a Master’s degree or to study something totally different. The goals that I have set for myself as a CrossFitter appear too low as I have already began to accomplish some of them and it’s only the middle of January!!!

Before all this happened, I truly felt as if I were drowning ...
Before all this happened, I truly felt as if I were drowning …

037What do I know now that I didn’t know in 2013 or even part of 2014? Well, I’ve always been one who has tried hard to keep looking on the bright side, but when all these things were happening all at once and just bombarded me, it was hard to keep my head up and come out of the fetal position I had placed myself in as a form of protection. What I know, is that had not all these things happened, I would not have prayed as much as I have. What I know is that I would not be as motivated to heal myself and prove the naysayers wrong. What I know is that I may not have started to awaken my sleeping self and begin this process of transformation and healing. What I know is that where I was once truly ego centered, I know that I function more from a place within myself that is more spiritually connected and heart centered. What I know is that I awaken with more joy and less worry. What I know is that I am a better version of myself. What I know is that I am focused on different things. What I know is that I have restructured my thinking, reworded my goals and intentions, and have aligned myself to be open to ALL of the great things that Spirit has in store for me. What I know is that my present situation is never my final destination, I know that the best is yet to come. What I know now is that my life’s path is now more in tune to what I had once envisioned it would be. What I know is that I am deeply grateful for everything that has happened to get me to this place where I am today. What I know is that I am highly favored, greatly blessed, and deeply loved.

That is a little of what I know.

The answer to all pain and suffering lies in the pain and suffering itself.
The answer to all pain and suffering lies in the pain and suffering itself.

I have finally come around to full circle …

There is a difference between being buried and being planted ... Just ask a seed.
There is a difference between being buried and being planted … Just ask a seed.

Stay tuned for what’s coming. I’m about to blow my own mind! Happy 2015!!!

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Palpable Fear – Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway …

Leap And The Net WILL Appear ... Trust.
Leap And The Net WILL Appear … Trust.

It’s funny that I had posted this on Instagram, and then, shortly after, the Universe must have collaborated with my husband because “things” started to happen. Hahaha. I can laugh about it now, but I just think it’s amazing that once you put something out there, the stars begin to align and come together so that you can experience what you intend to, or desire to experience.

115It’s not a secret that I am a creature of habit.  I like things the same for the most part, but when change comes or is inevitable, I’m usually good about adjusting and dealing with it. My husband knows this, and for the most part he’s good about letting me be as I figure it out for myself, or he gently coaxes me along and steers me in the right direction. I know, it’s strange because I don’t really give off the aura that I would be one to be afraid to do things. I’m NOT. Let me rephrase this so it makes sense. When it comes to me trying new things, I’ll usually ask him his opinion and just talk to him about it before I go, or if I’m that uncomfortable I’ll just ask him to accompany me for moral support. Some times though, because he knows me soooooo well, he’ll just schedule things for me, or sign me up for things and say, “It’s too late now, it’s booked/bought/planned/etc. You have to do it/take it/go.” leaving me at a place where I really have no choice but to do it. Well, I could back out and just not do it, but for the most part he KNOWS that I CAN do it, but knows that I would never sign up or plan things out for a multitude of reasons. He also knows that I’m not one to “waste” money spent, so after some deliberation, I’ll just do it, or take it, or go.

Whew! I’m getting long winded and I’m about to lose you as a reader, I know. Sorry. Okay. Okay. What am I getting at? Well, in the last few weeks, my husband has done a couple things that have begun to edge me towards, then push me outside of my comfort zone.  Nothing that would really push me over the edge or harm me, but rather things that I would not have really planned, or thought that I would ever do in my lifetime.

For the first “surprise,” I was kind of blindsided. It was executed and planned out well by my loving husband. He had thought this out and while I was out at work, hit up my friend Shiloh, then planned out this elaborate trip without my knowledge. Serious. No joke. How they told me, rather how I  found out was also executed well. I got this text from my friend Shiloh saying that she would be in town and would love to get together for lunch. I hemmed and hawed for a bit, looking for excuses to not go, but ultimately, I could find none and told her I would meet her. I brought Grace, and my husband came along also, but I thought nothing of it because we’re all friends and she loves him just as much as she loves me. We meet at Panera Bakery and talk about everything – catching up on life, etc. She told me that she was planning to hike Half Dome and I was a little envious. Half Dome in Yosemite is beautiful, and it’s a challenge to be able to hike up it, but it’s something that I would eventually like to do. I think that this is how we got on the subject of Peru and Machu Picchu. It’s something that I have talked about for years, desiring to hike it and to see this world wonder. My husband has known that it’s been on my bucket list. Through the years, I’ve been perfectly happy to talk about it and just look at pictures and dream about it, never thinking that I’d actually go. Hahahahah! Jokes on me!

"Peru Oct 14" WHHHAATTTTT?
“Peru Oct 14” WHHHAATTTTT?

Shiloh had baked some Paleo/Gluten free brownies for Grace, but it was covered. I thought we’d take it home and eat it later, but Shiloh made Grace get a knife, and she was explaining the ingredients of the brownies, then the ingredients of the frosting. I’m half listening because I just wanted to eat it, but then she opens it up and I can see that there’s a message on it. Initially I couldn’t read it because it was upside down, but when I could I could see that it read, “Peru Oct 14.” I’m thinking, “Why the hell do Grace’s brownies read Peru Oct 14???” I didn’t get it, until she, in marriage proposal style, asks me to go to Peru with her in October. I still didn’t get it. I was like, whatever, but she said, “I’m dead serious. Me. You. Peru. In October. Are you game?” What? Um. Um. Um. Yeah, okay … I’ll go. There was NO backing out, and my husband was sweating, praying that I would say yes because the tickets and hotel were non-refundable. Now that it’s settled in a little and that it’s become a reality, I’m totally FREAKING OUT! I’m seriously worried about the flight, being away from my family for that long, and I’m most worried about altitude sickness! Oh. My. God. What has he gotten me into??? But there’s not much that I can do now except go. So … I’m going to Peru in October, Yo!!!

Second “surprise,” only two weeks later. We’re in Maui, chillin’ and enjoying beach life. We take a hike up to Twin Falls in Pa’ia, when Chris sees a sign for “Twin Falls Jungle Zip Line.” Knowing the the boys wanted to experience this, we make our way up the road. Not thinking that I would be doing it, I happily went along and waited in the car as Chris and the boys went to check out if they were open and to pay, etc. When Chris came back to get me, he told me that I was doing it also. Hahahaha. NO. FREAKIN’. WAY. Nope. No was was Row. going to do any kind of zip lining. But it was paid for. I argued that I had no closed toed shoes, but to my surprise, this company had shoes for me to borrow! Whaaaaa. Whaaaa. Whaaaaa. No more excuses. No matter how much I argued, there was no getting out of it. So I got out of the car, made my way to the jungle still in disbelief, and trying desperately to still get out of it but at the same time talking myself into it. It was hard, let me tell you. But the guides were cool, explaining everything and assuring me that I would NOT die. They said we could take selfies while on the line. I was like, “Hahahah, yeah, right. No way, I’m hanging on.” Here’s a video that I took, because I was seriously going to record a selfie video of myself zip lining. You won’t see anything really, but what you will hear and, more importantly, what you will FEEL is my fear. It’s *that* palpable. You will feel just how deathly afraid I am right before I take that leap into the unknown and let go … 

Here is the video that my husband was able to capture.  

What I found out during this zip lining experience was that once I let go and trusted my guides and my equipment was that I was okay, and that the feeling was exhilarating!

024For so long I’ve lived my life somewhat anxious, and I hang on sooooo tightly, white knuckled, with a vise like grip. It’s time that I start to release that grip and start to let go, believe, trust, and to start being a little braver. What I have learned is that sometimes … SOME TIMES those close to you know you better than you know yourself.  Sometimes they love you enough to help you get out of your comfort zone in a loving and SAFE manner. What I know about me is that I know that I’m strong, and I know that I CAN do things, but if left up to me, I would rarely leave my safe zone. I would happily stay and continue dreaming and wishing, looking at pictures and living vicariously through others. I just think that sometimes my goals and dreams are so BIG that they overwhelm me, so I just let them sit at the wayside thinking that I’ll come back to it later, or just let it go never believing that it can or will happen.  I am thankful that my husband knows me well enough to talk me into trying BIG things, to remind me that he can handle the home front if I go away for a week, to hold my hand when I’m afraid, and to talk me down when I’m in a state of complete panic.

God's got this handled ...
God’s got this handled …
Be AMAZING!
Be AMAZING!

One of my favorite quotes reads: “When God leads you to the edge of the cliff, trust him fully and let go … Only one of two things will happen: He will either catch you when you fall, or He will teach you how to fly.” I wish I knew who said that so I could give them the proper credit.  Trusting, fully trusting, has always been a big issue for me. For so long, until I met my husband, I had a hard time believing that I would be okay. My husband has shown me MORE love than anyone has ever shown me in my life. He is my protector, my confidant, my best friend, my best ally. He walks beside me, not in front or behind me.  He reminds me always that I am stronger than I believe. For that I am thankful.

So … I will trust. I will believe that I WILL be okay regardless of what happens. I will be more open, say “YES” more, wake up, live less afraid. I will feel the fear and do it anyway. I will trust and have unwavering faith in the unseen. I lead such a blessed and happy life … WHY would I not? Neale Donald Walsch says it best when he said that,  “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone. So if you’re feeling uncomfortable right now, know that the change taking place in your life is a beginning, not an ending.”

Ready to follow my crazy adventures? Ready or not … I’m going to Peru, Yo!!! Here I goooooo … Stay tuned for more insanity.736

Marathon Training – Week 1 – Done!!!

It’s been a rough week for me, add on the start of my marathon training and it kind of compounded it … but … but … but … I was able to chuck most of the excuses and get the required work DONE!!!

I like the schedule that I devised because it offers me a lot of leeway. I’m basically following Hal Higdon’s Novice 2 Training Plan, but I added my own Row. Flair into it. You know what that means … It means prepare to suffer, Sucka!

So … Week One went down like this …

Cory & Row. Day 1. DONE!

Sunday – My buddy, Cory, wanted to start our training off right. So … she suggested that we run early in the morning … at 0630 on Sunday. What?!? She wants to kill me even before we “really” get started. Seriously? 0630? She had things to do earlier that day, and here in Stockton it gets HOT earlier and earlier. So … okay. I get up and meet her at 0630. As much as I wanted to sleep in, as much as I am so NOT a morning person … I wake up and meet Cory at 0630 and off we go. 5 nice, easy miles … DONE! We did a nice out and back in her neighborhood of Spanos Park – down Whistler, up on the levee, and back up Whistler … Perfect.

Monday– The schedule calls for 3 miles. I’ve got the FireCracker 4 Miler planned that Fleet Feet puts on every year.

Mama & Grace! Fireworks! Boom!

Perfect. So I drag my family out to Grupe Park and I get my daughter, Grace, to run the kids run. She has a blast! Me, I take off for the 4 miler shortly after. Whoa, it was HOT and it was only 0800! It slowed my time down, but it was about time on my feet, so I took it for what it was, and was happy with my performance.

Tuesday – Was supposed to run 3 to get the beginning of the week done, instead I did core and skipped the run. I know, I sound as if I’m making excuses, but I was tired.

Wednesday – I have a lot of cross training mixed in my plan. Today would be no exception. I went to Krav Maga. I love Krav Maga. I’ve been doing it since 2001 … I’ve been a member of Chris Ost American Martial Arts/Central Valley Krav Maga since then. I’ve taught Cardio Kickboxing, and I have a Black Belt in Krav Maga. This workout is like no other. Seriously, it’s the BEST cross-training workout EVER and I love it there!

60 up ... 60 down!

Thursday – Joe Rodhe and Becky plan to run the Stadium Stairs. But then they don’t, then they do … so we plan on 0630. Another early day, but I’ll do it because Joe and Becky have graciously agreed to help me, to push me, to encourage me. Ugh, but 0630? Really?! Really! I find an opening in the fence and crawl through, and it’s on … 60 up, 60 down. 60 up, 60 down! Joe started earlier than me, so while he waited for me, he does lunges as I die at the top. I refuse to give up, I finish all of them! 1.9 miles of stairs, and a little bit of a slow run to cool down to make it a little over 2 miles. I get home in time to plan and make dinner, have breakfast, then head off to Spinning with Rodger at InShape. 21 miles on the spin bike! Yee Haw!! Check! Check! Check! =)

Friday – Rest Day. Should’ve ran my long run here, but my partner bailed (it’s okay, Cor), so I opted to rest and run in the morning …

Saturday – Long run … 8 miles on the schedule. I worked a long 12 hour night shift, and I was tired, but I got it done with a one mile walking cool down to my car. I busted it out and did what I needed to do. DONE!

There you have it. My week in a nutshell! Big thanks go out to my running partner, Cory, and to my two a$$ kickers err … motivators, Joe and Becky. They are kind enough to keep me on track and kick my butt when need be!

This week, my good friend, Rosa, lost her young son, Jesse, in a tragic motor vehicle accident. If I thought that my week was rough, my Rosie has had a much rougher week. I could not imagine her pain and suffering, I can only believe it to be an unbearable kind of pain. Rosa has been my friend for a long time. She has been my Muddy Buddy partner for 2 years now, has done Krav Maga with me, and she has trained with me on numerous occasions. I love my Rosie, and I pray for her and her family that God will be with her and ease her pain. My “rough” week pales in comparison, I will not complain. I will run without complaint, and hug my children a little tighter than usual. Thank you, God, for blessing me with Rosie’s friendship. I pray for the health and safety for my children, for all children, please watch over them as I know that I know that I cannot bubble wrap them, just please keep them safe as I love them so. Thank you, Lord. And, Rosie, if you’re reading this, know that I love you dearly … always have … always will.

Today starts another week, but we’ll start tomorrow. I’ve got another wild week planned out. I’m ready for Week 2 … are you?

So Spoiled That I Stink

I’m not going to lie. I’m spoiled. Very spoiled. Some say so spoiled that I stink.

I wasn’t always this way, seriously. I was and still am a very independent woman. I work hard. I am smart. I do a lot of things for myself. I just happen to be fortunate enough to have a husband who loves and cherishes me . . . A LOT.

Let’s define spolied. Checking www.dictionary.com it says that spoiled is a verb. In one definition, it says that to spoil is “to become bad, or unfit for use, as food or other perishable substances; become tainted or putrid: Milk spoils if not refrigerated.” Um … yeah … that’s not the right kind of spoiled. In another definition, to spoil is “to damage severely or to harm (something), especially with reference to its excellence, value, usefulness, etc.: The water stain spoiled the painiting. Drought spoiled the corn crop.” Or better yet … definition number three … “to impair, damage, or harm the character or nature of (someone) by unwise treatment, excessive indulgence, etc.: to spoil a child by pampering him.” Hmmmm … definition number three would be the most likely be the one to define the type of spoiled that I am, except, really, “to impair, damage, or harm the character or nature of someone?” Hahaha! I’m by far NOT impaired, damaged, nor is my character or nature harmed because of the treatment that I receive. Or am I?

I don’t believe that I’m so spoiled that my functioning is hampered. I do believe and will admit that I am spoiled to an extent. But … BUT … I blame my husband for that. Seriously, if you ask him, he will tell you that he does it out of love. All I have to do is ask or mention it and I will find it done or given to me. I’m serious when I say that on the days that I have to work, all I have to do is wake up. My kids are cared for, dinner is made, whatever I need is done.  He knows what I need, can complete my thoughts and sentences.  Some say that he’s whipped … whatever. If I had to do something, I could. My husband will tell you that he enjoys doing things for me, and I believe him.

Many people ask me how I am able to do the things that I do … workout excessively, work the hours that I do, run different races, etc., etc. Well, for one, my husband is my biggest supporter. You can find him at all of my events and doing whatever it takes to help me succeed. Secondly, my kids are not “little,” they may be young, but not little. Even if they were, even when they were, it really made no difference they came to the events or we found someone to watch them while we were away. Let it be known that my husband was the one who tricked talked me into running my very first full marathon. He is not only my biggest supporter, he is my biggest fan, loudest cheerleader, the best S.A.G. person. He will ride his bike beside me as I run for miles and miles. All this WITHOUT whining complaints. Oh … and if you’re sarcastic enough, you will find a car in your driveway for your birthday, complete with a BIG red bow!  Well, maybe you won’t, but I did … =)

He never gets enough credit. He deserves much more props than he gets. So … to my husband, Chris, THANK YOU! Thank you for allowing me to do what I need to do. Thank you for letting me go to the gym – for knowing that I need to get there or I’d go nuts.  Thank you for taking such great care of all of us, especially the kiddos. You are a great father and husband. Thank you for driving the “Party Bus” in which you graciously pick up my friends and take us to our various runs. Thank you for running when I sign you up for crazy races. Thank you for always looking out for us – finding events, taking the kids to their various practices and games.  Thank you for being our biggest fan, our greatest source of support.  Thank you for taking time off of work. I could never thank you enough for all that you do for us.  For your unselfishness, your undying devotion, your true love for us … There are not enough words, not enough thank yous, to express how grateful I am to have you in my life. You all have to know how much this man does not just for me, but for all of us – Me, Sam, Nate, Noah, Grace, his mom, and even his friends (the ones that he cares about anyway).

Call me spoiled. I really don’t care. It’s something that I am proud to be. I am very blessed to be in the position that I am. My life is better because of Chris.

Chris ... The Culprit. Ultimate Husband & Father. Spoiler.

Run With Me, Not Away From Me …

I know and understand that we are not all meant to be the same. I get that we were born to be original versions of ourselves, that we all have our own paths in life, that we all have our own destinies to find, and our own plan that is already predetermined and laid out for us by our Creator. I believe that wholeheartedly. However, I when it comes to those that are closest to you, you would think that we would be somewhat closer or more similar, especially when it comes to your own children.

I have four children. Yep, that’s not a typo, I did say FOUR. 4! Three boys, and one girl, the youngest. All four similar to me, yet all different in their own right.

I would be lying if I didn’t say that I wished that they were MORE like me in some respects, yet I appreciate their individuality and their uniqueness. I can’t turn them into Mini Me’s, nor do I believe that I want them to be “just like me.” As they get older, it’s difficult to try and keep them on the the same path that I am on. Try as I might, I can only do and say so much to try and persuade them to stay on course with me.

I watch and listen to them formulate their own decisions. Some I let them make on their own, others I believe they are not quite old enough to decide for themselves yet. I can put my two cents in and gently guide them back on track, or if need be, I can assert my authority as their mother and let my upper hand rule for the time being. Sometimes they look at me as if I were crazy and didn’t know what I was talking about, but for the most part, for now, they don’t resist, they just roll their eyes or cop an attitude but do as told.

I can’t control what happens when they are not in my line of vision. I can’t control their thoughts or make them do anything. I understand peer pressure and the influences that their friends may have on them. I can, however, let them know about my experiences and my thoughts on the matter and hope and pray that they make wise choices and decisions.

I worry about their futures. I stress about the things that they are or may be exposed to. I worry about the kinds of friends they may have chosen for themselves. I harp on and constantly nag them about doing their homework and doing well in school, and about doing certain chores around the house. I wonder what kind of people they will grow up to be.

The truth is … I have no control over this. I can’t determine or see the future. I can’t wrap them up in bubble wrap to shield them from life’s unfairness and harsh realities. I can’t hold on to them so tightly that they would only recoil and land farther away from me when let go.

It makes me sad to know that time is flying past me so quickly. I find myself wondering when did it happen that had to start looking up so look into their eyes? So many times I find myself wishing that I could do more, would have done more, had been more patient, took more time off. Believe me … it breaks my heart to know that my time with them is so limited. On the outside I may appear so strong, yet on the inside it takes all that I have to hold myself together when it comes to them.

This is not exactly where I was going with this blog post. I was writing this because I was thinking, and I wanted to write that sometimes I wish that my children (or at least one) enjoyed running. Mind you, I am thankful for the times that my boys have ridden their bicycles or skateboards beside me as I ran. I just feel that I spend so much of my time on foot that if they were to actually run beside me, we could spend a few more precious moments together. Alas, NONE of my children find pleasure in running … only in running away from me as I heard my Nathan jokingly tell someone recently when asked if he ran. My children enjoy swimming, baseball, football, and jump roping. I have one that loves poker, another that enjoys skateboarding, and one that I have have dubbed my “GQ” boy. But … I am NOT complaining. I would not have them any other way. I enjoy them as they are – they are their own people. A different, better, more improved version of me and their father … I love them all dearly.

It is my desire that they find wisdom eventually in my nagging – do your homework, study hard, do your chores, be nice to people, save some money, etc. I hope that they eventually learn that what I do, what I have done, I do/have done for them. And I find comfort in knowing that if I *really* wanted them to … Really, really wanted them to … I could just ask them and they would run with me … and that one run would be enough to last me a long time.

– Posted using BlogPress from my RowPhone =]

How Exactly Did I End Up Here Again?

It happens to me more often than not … I wake up and I ask myself, “Now, how exactly did I end up here again?”

It’s not a bad thing.  I just believe that time flies by me so quickly most days that I don’t have much time to recover from one day to the next.  I see the days turn into weeks, which turn into months, then into years.  I look into the eyes of my children and wonder since when did I start having to look up to see them, when did they get old enough to be teenagers in high school or college?  I look in the mirror and realize with horror that I’ve aged – a new wrinkle here, a few more grey hairs there … Wow!

Other times, wonder how I got here because I know that although I am healthy and strong in body and know that I could probably live forever, my mind has not always been as strong and has wavered in the past.  There was a time when I didn’t care and just wanted to die.  If you don’t know my story, and you’ve just come on board on the Row. Boat, you wouldn’t know that part of my life, and you don’t really need to know that part of me.  I’m pretty open about it if you ask me though, and I’ll tell you that my first suicidal attempt was at the age of 8, believe it or not.  Yes, you read that correctly, it’s not a typo … I did type in the number 8 … EIGHT.  I know, it’s selfish of me to have even entertained the thought when so many people want nothing more than to live, or to even have just a little piece of what I have been so lucky to have been blessed with.

Looking at me now, you can’t tell; you would never know.  My life is perfectly normal, and I am happy.  Truly happy.  I’m married to a really great guy who knows all of my little quirks and idiosyncrasies and still loves me unconditionally.  He is the love of my life.   I can honestly say that he has been my lifesaver, my bouy. Together we have weathered some crazy storms, and in no way is our relationship “perfect.”  We understand that no relationship is ever perfect, and we have worked hard to keep our relationship intact.  We understand no relationship is 50/50 … sometimes is 60/40, 80/20, or even 90/10 …  We have four kiddos that we’ve raised together.  Trust me, they’re not perfect, easy children, but they are respectful, good, beautiful human beings.  They’re all good kids, and we wouldn’t trade them for the world.

Outside of my little family, I have a great career as a Registered Nurse in an ER.  I have not one, but two Bachelor of Science Degrees – one in Business, the other in Nursing.  I am an athlete:  I have a Black Belt in Krav Maga; I’ve run marathons, and half marathons; I’ve taught Kickboxing.  I’m an avid reader (I have my own library that my husband jokes is a bonfire waiting to happen).  I am so much more than what I let others “see.”

It was a conversation with my middle son today, that sparked me to seek the answer to the question.  It was he that reminded me that it would be difficulty for me to fail.  When questioned further as to why he thought that, he told me that, “It’s not in you, Mom.  You’re not one of those people who would want that for yourself.  You would make sure that that never happened to you – and it has never happened to you, and I know that it will never happen to you because you wouldn’t let it.  It would be really hard for you to fail because you would find a way to make it work, or make it happen.”  For my child to see that about me, makes my heart soar to know that I have had that kind of an impression on him.  It’s funny how I can’t see it myself – so many people have pointed it out to me – my tenacity, my perserverance, my resilience.  I am amazed that my child could spot it and call me on it at his age of barely 15.

So … I ask again … How exactly did I end up here again?  Am I deserving of all the blessings that have been bestowed upon me?  My answer is a resounding, “YES!”   I can tell you exactly how I ended up where I am, and let me tell you that luck has had absolutely nothing to do with where or who I am today.  It’s been a struggle for me to believe that I am a “deserving” individual.   As I was reminded by my son, I am here because I made a decision at some point in my life to make it work, make it happen, to have a great life.  I believe that wholeheartedly.   Therefore … I am here.  I am alive.  I am happy.  My life is good.  My life is truly better than most and I have absolutely NO reason to complain.  I know that my life could be worse and for that I am thankful that it is not.

2010 Goal Attained and Expectations Exceeded

1/1/10 Our first run of 2010 - Resolutions Run, Auburn, CA

In all honesty, for Mac and I, it started as a goal to join Half Fanatics.  We had run a half together last August 2009, and we were virtually training together, keeping each other in check, sharing our training schedules, websites, what worked for us, etc.  We were sitting and chatting via FaceBook one night bouncing ideas off each other when I casually blurted out that we needed to join Half Fanatics, and I asked if she thought that we could do it?  Three halfs in three months … was this something possible for us?  Oh yeah, we decided that it was, and began planning and came up with our the three half marathons that we would run.  In the midst of all this planning, I’m not sure exactly who’s idea it was (I believe that it was Mac’s), we decided why just three, why not make it a half EVERY month?  And so there you have it … the seed was planted, and we went to work plotting out the logistics and calculating costs.  Here is the list of what we came up with and ran for 2010:

For January we decided to run the Auburn Resolutions Run on January 1st – to start our year off right!  It was not a half because we only ran 10 miles, but it was a great start our year.

Feb 2010 - Kaiser Half Marathon, San Francisco, CA.

February – The Kaiser Permanente Half Marathon in San Francisco, CA.

March - Shamrock n' Half, Sacramento, CA.

March – Shamrock N’ Half Marathon, Sacramento, CA.

Artichoke Half, Pescadero, CA. April 2010.

April – The Tsunami Half Artichoke Half Marathon, Pescadero, CA.

American River Parkway Half, Sacramento, CA. May 2010.

May – American River Parkway Half Marathon, Sacramento, CA.

See Jane Run, Alameda, CA. June 2010,

June – See Jane Run, Alameda, CA.

Our first tutu run - Hernia Hills, July 2010.

July – The Half From Hell Hernia Hills Half Marathon, Vallecito, CA.

Modesto Midnight, August 2010.

August – Modesto Midnight Half Marathon, Modesto, CA.

Fall Showdown, Sept. 2010.

September – Wolf Pack Events, Fall Showdown, SanPablo, CA.  This was our very first trail run and we absolutely LOVED it!!!

October – Nike Womens Marathon, San Francisco, CA.  We actually wanted this to be our FULL marathon, but for Mac, injury took it down to a half for her, while I ran the full.

Dirty Girls ...

October – Merrill Down and Dirty Mud Run, Folsom, CA.  This was not a half, rather a 10K trail run with obstacles.  It was something that we did together!

Mile 9 of Stockton's Inaugural Half.

November – Inaugural Stockton Half Marathon, Stockton, CA.

December – C.I.M. Relay Challenge, Sacramento, CA.  We were Team MiniRow and The MACHine.  Mac ran legs 1 and 2, while I ran legs 3 and 4!

We could not believe that we were actually crazy enough to set this goal, let alone achieve it.  Yet here we are … still standing … and smiling.  We both had our share of injuries, and frustrations, yet we both gutted it all out, ran thru whatever aches and pains we were experiencing, and did it.  We know that others run full marathons or half marathons EVERY week.  Our goal pales in comparison, yet it’s large for us because here we are:  Full-time Health Care workers, wives, and mothers.  We have actual lives.  Running is not our lives, it is a big part of our lives, but we don’t let it run our lives.  Taking the time out to train, then to actually run the races was big for us.

Training was done mostly on our own as we both live about a good 1.5 hours away from each other.  Although we both had people we could run with, we learned quickly that these individuals were not always reliable, so most of our running was alone.   Keeping track of each other was done by mostly by text and Facebook.  This was a must to keep each other motivated.  We could tell when one was waning and needed a fire lit underneath (mostly me, I am not ashamed to admit, as Mac is very self-motivated).  We were very good about holding each other accountable.  We shared tips.  We shared websites.  Recommended nutrition – Gu vs. Gels, etc.  We included our husbands in races when possible.  When one of us was down, the other would motivate and prod gently.  But we ALWAYS had fun.  ALWAYS!  We knew that if the time came that it was no longer fun, then we would reconsider.  We NEVER reconsidered.  We took breaks when we needed them, but jumped back on the band wagon quickly as the “need” to run was never that far away.

All in all, I have to say that it has been a very good year for MiniRow and The MACHine!  2010 was a great year for running for both of us as we hit some pretty high mileage months during training.  We learned much about resting when we need to because injuries suck.  We have both spent time in Physical Therapy.  We have spent countless dollars on race fees, race gear, shoes, outfits, food, hotels, insurance co-pays, etc.,   However, we would not trade it in for anything.  Through it all we have bonded and developed a great friendship.  Our ending to our 2010 season could not have ended any better than by the two of us being chosen and receiving Inaugural Endorphin Dudette Status!!!  (Read about that here.)

To our families – thank you for allowing us the time to train; for putting up with our antsy-ness when we really needed to get out there and run it out; for allowing us to use our hard earned money to pay for race fees, buy expensive shoes, outfits, gadgets, gear, and what-nots.  Thank you for allowing us to take the time (away from you) to run races all over Northern California.  Thank you for watching the kiddos.

To our friends:  Thank you for putting up with us.  For listening to our stories and shop talk of running.  For encouraging us, and for reminding us that there is life outside of our insane madness to run.  Thank you for running with us when possible.

If only others could be so lucky as to find their ideal running mate.  I know that I could not have asked or have been blessed with a better one!  I look forward to an even better 2011 Running Season.

Mac, thank you from the bottom of my heart for being not only my running partner, but my friend, my confidant, my cheerleader, my pace-setter, my Co-Endorphin Dudette!  I love you, Mac!  See you in 2011!

Our last run of 2010 - CIM Relay Challenge, Sacramento, CA. Also sportin' our Endorphin Dudette status headbands!!!

6th Annual Stockton’s Run Against Hunger

PreRace - Channeling my inner Punk Rock Runner!

I love this little race.  It’s a 5 or 10K run, or walk held in downtown Stockton.  The first time I ran this race was last year, so I thought I’d run it again since 1) It’s a good training run; 2) I’d run off any excess Thanksgiving meal that I happen to eat; 3) It’s for a great cause … I, myself, don’t like being hungry, so I cannot leave others to be hungry.

Today’s race was to be treated as a training run, but, of course, you know that a PR is always at the back of my mind.  I was just going to run … throw some intervals in there as I had done in a few past running drills.  However, I had spoken to my Coach, @speedysasquatch, earlier in the week and he put me back on a plan and gave me some guidelines.  One mile warm up, pick it up progressively, then run it in.  Okay.  I could do that.

PreRace Cheezin' with my good friend, Cory!

I was thankful that I was able to convince my husband to tag along with me.  He is my biggest supporter, and I love having him there.  I felt kind of bad for him though because he had worked a half of a shift that night, and because it was 37 degrees that morning!

Ryan & Cory - PreRace

I met my friend Cory and her son, Ryan, that morning.  Mac lives in Sac, and as this was just a little race, she would not be ruuning this one with me.  Cory and I had fun cheezin’ for pre-race pictures.  I was able to meet Cory’s friend, Leah, who is actually Cory’s neighbor and running buddy.  We looked for other friends, but it was just to be us.  It was really cold, so we tried to stand in the sun and just keep movin’.

Promptly at 0830, the gun goes off and we all take off in a mass of people.  I was thankful that even though the crowd was large, I was never stuck in a pack of people.  I lost Cory and Ryan in the first mile though.  =(  I was on my own, but that was okay.

I had made a new playlist for my run the night before so I was good to go …. Appropriately named “Row’s 10K PR Playlist,” it had 17 songs, and would play for no longer than 58 minutes.

  1. Just a Dream by Nelly
  2. G.R.I.N.D. (Get Ready It’s a New Day) by Asher Roth
  3. Just The Way You Are by Bruno Mars
  4. Firework by Katy Perry
  5. The Time (Dirty Bit) by The Black Eyed Peas
  6. Raise Your Glass by Pink
  7. We R Who We R by Kesha
  8. Magic by B.o.B. (feat. Rivers Cuomo)
  9. Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na) by My Chemical Romance
  10. Please Don’t Go by Mike Posner
  11. We No Speak Americano by Yolanda Be Cool & DCup
  12. Forget You (Glee Cast Version) (feat. Gwennyth Paltrow)
  13. The Rockfeller Skank by Fatboy Slim
  14. The Middle by Jimmy Eat World
  15. (If You’re Wondering If I Want You) I Do by Wheezer
  16. Like a G6 by Far East Movement

I knew what I needed to do.  I knew that once I heardRockafeller Skank that that was my cue …

I cruised the run, and was doing well hitting sub 10 min miles … 9:30, 9:15 … whatever.  I had my Roxanne (Garmin) on, but I forgot to hit “start” right at the beginning so it was a tad off, and I wasn’t really paying any attention to it.  I was just cruisin’ along.

Halfway point - lookin' strong, feelin' strong!

I wasn’t really waiting for anything.  I just knew my cue.  So when Fatboy Slim started blarring out of my earbuds, right before mile 5, I was gone.  It was fitting that the first words are, “Right about now … ” It was also fitting that I was following someone at a “safe” distance that I did not want to beat me.  I took off and passed this individual right then and right there.  I did not worry that they would catch me because I would not allow it.  I am thankful that Rockafeller Skank is a song  just about 7 minutes long.  I promised myself that I would run hard while it played … It worked.  I ran my fastest mile at sub 9!  =)

I finished that 10K in 55 minutes!  =)  Yeeeee Haaaawww!  I was happy that I did so well.  The number in my head was 54, but I was very happy with my 6 minute PR.

Me, Ryan, Cory, and Mel. Me with the BEAUTIFUL People!
Ryan, Cory, & I - PostRace! We look awesome, 'cause we ARE awesome!

Ryan and Cory finished in respectable times as well, at about 60 minutes!  We met up at the end for more postrace cheezin’.  We were able to find our beautiful friend, Mel.  I looked for my friend, Christina, who Chris says finished in 48 minutes.  We had fun.

All in all, it was a great way to start Thanksgiving.  I am proud of myself, finishing in a very respectable time, improving!  I felt a little bad that I picked the person off at mile 5 and didn’t say a word.  Why?  Because I always encourage people.  I don’t care if I know you, or whatever, I will encourage you to come with me so that I can tag along with them.  But there was something, I don’t know what to call it, in me, that got a little peeved at this individual and I was done.  I felt no remorse about taking off.  To be honest, it felt really good.  I know that sounds callous and catty, but … I don’t care.  I did it.  In my head it was a challenge to this person to come with me … Eh, I was right, they didn’t.  And knowing the little bit that I know about this individual, I know it made them mad that I zoomed passed without warning!

Awesome.  I am thankful to have such great running friends in real life, and in my virtual circle.  I am thankful to have a supportive family, especially my husband who is my greatest supporter.  I am thankful for my Coach, Josh, who has more confidence in my potential, and helps me to expose it!

Foot Motivation written by Chris. It reads, "It's all about the mind. Run Row Run. 2010"

On a side note, I was reading a blog written by my Twitter friend, @RTDanielle09, and she had on there a small piece on how she and some friends, have others write words of inspiration on the soles of their feet. (Read that blog here.)  The words are not read until after the race is run.  I thought that that was such a great idea, so prior to putting on my shoes and socks this morning, I had asked my hubby to write something on the sole of my foot.  I actually forgot all about it until just about stepping in the shower.  I had him snap a photo of it for posterity.  I believe that this is a new tradition that I will continue.

PostRace - Happy, Thankful, Blessed to be able to run, and for so, so much MORE!!!

Happy Thanksgiving 2010, everyone.  Hope you are all as thankful and as blessed as I am …

2010 – Giving Thanks

As Thanksgiving comes around again, I am reminded that I am blessed with so much more than the average person.  Many “forget” the little things that they are blessed with, and take for granted the “little” things.  I do not.  I do my best to say a prayer of thanks everyday.  This is my list of blessings that I am thankful for.  (Be forewarned, it may be *a little* lengthy, but better lengthy, than to have only a few.)

  • My Husband. He puts up with my insane requests, and labile moods.  He is the rock in our family.  He’s a great husband, and father.  He’s our protector.  He *always* puts us and thinks of us FIRST.
  • My Children. I’ll name them individually, but seriously, I could not have been blessed with a better bunch.  My children are all well behaved, respectful, loving children.  They are a great bunch and I love them dearly!
  • My Samuel. He is becomming a very self-sufficient young man, and it has been a pleasure watching him come into his own.  He’s a good student, and a loving son.
  • My Nathan. He’s quickly growing into his own self.  He started high school this year and he’s becomming quite a young man that his parents can be proud of.
  • My Noah. He’s my twin.  He’s still very much “young” in age and in mind-set, but he’s an all around good boy that helps me all the time.
  • My Grace. As much as she is a handful, she is very humorous, very loving, very giving, and can be the sweetest thing (when she wants to be).
  • My Health. At my age, I am proud to say that I am healthier than most of those that are my age, and even many who are younger than I am.  I am thankful to have been blessed with good genes, and a great immune system.
  • The Health of My Family. We have had our share of illnesses and issues, which have all been thankfully minor in comparison to the rest of the world.  Besides the occasional cold, seasonal allergies, and maybe a bump or a bruise here or there, I am thankful to have a healthy family.
  • My Job. In this day and age, where so many are jobless and facing hardship, I am thankful to have a career in a profession that will be around for a long time.  I am blessed to have 2 jobs that provide an income that can support my family in a manner that is comfortable.
  • Health, Dental, Auto, Homeowners, Etc. Insurance. In an age where so many are uninsured, I am thankful to have full health, dental, and vision insurance thru my employers that covers not only myself, but my family also.  As for the other insurance that I carry, I am thankful that I can afford to carry them to protect my assets!
  • My Body. This really belongs in the “My Health” category, but seriously, I am thankful to have the body that I have been blessed with.  My body is STRONG, and hardy.  I am able to push my body to the limits and then some.  I am thankful that I am able to workout as hard and as long as I can and have been.  I love can outperform many of those that are younger than I am.
  • My Running Buddy, Mac “The MACHine.” Mac has been a big part of my running over the last year.  She has inspired and encouraged me.  We have run a race together every month in 2010, and plan to run more in the years (yes I just typed YEARS) to come.  She picks me up when I am down.  She runs beside me.  She cheers me on.  She is the best running partner ever.  I could not ask for better.
  • My Friends. I am not one of those individuals who is very close to a lot of people.  I hold myself at an arm’s distance, and build a wall around myself.  I don’t get too close to people, and I deem myself “antisocial” because I prefer the comfort and safety of my own home and family.  But there are a select few that I am happy to call my friends, that I hold close to my heart and love dearly.  And when I love, I love wholeheartedly.  I love my real friends.  You know who you are.
  • My Social Network Friends on Facebook & Twitter. I have developed some very nice friendships and have met some very nice people in the short amount of time that I have been using Facebook and Twitter.   I have been fortunate to meet some of these individuals IRL (in real life).   These relationships work for me, as I am able to get to know people at a distance, and not so up-close and in your face.  I can take my time and interact with them as much as I prefer.  These individuals have offered me support and advice that I have found to be heartwarming, helpful, and special.  They are my biggest cheerleaders and are usually the first to pick me up when I am down.
  • My Mother-In-Law, Kathy. My mother-in-law is the best.  She has the best interest of her grandchildren, and her family at heart.  She has been helpful in watching them for us, taking them when we/I need a break, or just doing whatever we need help with.  She works hard, and she does the best that she can to help us whenever we need it.  For that I cannot complain, and I am very thankful.
  • Modern Conveniences. I remember the days of not having cable TV, mobile telephones, computers, microwaves, etc.  I remember having to use an actual telephone directory, encyclopedias, going to the library, or waiting until someone actually got home to talk to them.  I am thankful for these modern conveniences that have made life somewhat easier.
  • My House. I may not live in the greatest neighborhood, but I have a decent house that provides my family with shelter.
  • Money In The Bank. I am thankful to have a savings account.  Not many people can say that they have one.  I am richer than most by just having a couple dollars in my pocket everyday.  I am thankful to make a very modest salary which allows me to provide my family with food, shelter, clothing, and many “extras.”
  • Food To Eat. While there are so many who can barely afford to feed their families, I am thankful that I am able to provide mine with plenty.  Home cooked meals are the best.  Being able to shop at a grocery store and not have to count my pennies is a good feeling.  Being able to take my family out for breakfast/lunch/dinner/snack is something that I am very thankful for.
  • My Fully Functioning, Working Brain. The ability to think, and process.  To make sound and somewhat wise decisions.  To have the reflexes of a cat!  Some may beg to differ on the function of my brain, but that’s their opinion!
  • The Ability To Read. I love reading as evidenced by my very large library (which I am thankful for).   If I could not read, I don’t believe that I would have travelled as much as I have (in my head, of course), experienced as much (as I live vicariously through the characters), or learned as much (I am a self-help book fiend).
  • The Ability To Write. I love paper and pen.  I love stationery.  I love my journals.  Moleskine’s are the best.  I process my thoughts by actually writing.  I love it.  I love my own handwriting – seeing it on paper.
  • DVR. I am not much of an avid television watcher, but there are a few shows that I follow but cannot watch on the nights or days that they come on.  For this fact, I am thankful for DVR and the ability to watch the shows when I am able.  Most days I can be found spinning away on the spin bike (that I’m also thankful for) as I catch up on my shows.
  • My Various Fitness Obsessions. I have a free gym membership to the local gyms from work.  I have a membership that I use for martial arts.  I own *several* pieces of equipment, bicycles, and DVDs that I use at home.  I have a vast collection of running shoes, running clothing,  running gear such as Roxanne my GPS tracker, iPods … and …
  • My Running Coach.  Josh @speedysasquatch!  He is awesome!  He has improved my running much more than I ever believed I could improve.  He never makes me feel inferior, always talks me up, and makes me feel good about my performance.  If you are a runner, he is the coach for you!

I know that my list is long, but there are just so many things that I am thankful for.  I am happy to have as many things on my list that I have.  I could seriously go on and on and on …  There are so many more.  I hope that others can find the little blessings in their everyday lives and be thankful for that.  I am a true believer that the more you are thankful for, the more you will be blessed with.  Remember, the Universe is always willing to provide you with everything you desire.  There should be no feeling of lack, because the Universe is limitless.

We should all take a few minutes to offer thanks for every little thing.  I wish you and your family a very Happy Thanksgiving.  May you all be blessed with all that your heart desires!  Thank you for taking the time to  read my blog and for being my friend.

Forty-Two

Birthday Girl at El Torrito

I can only laugh when I think about how “old” I *really* am … 42 … seriously?  42?  When did this happen?  How did this happen?  Wow!!!

I don’t feel “old.”  I certainly don’t believe that I look “‘old.”  So I wanna know how this happened without me knowing it?!?

I can still remember being a kid and thinking that 30 was “old.”  I remember talking about the year 2000 in 5th grade and the teacher telling us that we would be 32 years old, and I immediately thought, “No way!”  Wow!   This is amazing!!!

What do I know about me now that I’m at this point in my life?  I know that I am still the same person, just a little more refined, a little smarter, a lot stronger and more resilient than I ever believed that I could be.  And I’m happy.

My childhood best friend, Joan, is STILL my Soul’s Twin, and I STILL love her dearly and keep in touch with her.

I’m still athletic.  I’m still in great shape for my age and I’m proud to say that I can out do many who are younger than I am.  I’ve become a better runner than I ever was as a child, maybe not faster runner (yet), but a better, smarter runner.

I love my life.  I love my husband, Chris, and I love being married to him.  I have four children that I am so very proud of and that I adore with all of my heart.  I couldn’t ask for a better family.  They’re awesome!

I have a career that I actually enjoy and that suits my personality, as well as provides me with a great salary.

I have far exceeded any expectations that I had for myself as a child … and I continue to amaze and outdo myself everyday!  More importantly, I have exceeded and excelled in life when some believed that I would NOT!!!  To those individuals who did not believe in me … Kiss my a$$!

I don’t believe that I have changed much.  I’m really still the same ole Row.  Still funny, and sarcastic, short.  Still crazy.

I know that I am blessed.  I am thankful to have been blessed with as many years as I have been blessed with.  I am thankful for my health, strength, positive outlook, boundless energy, many wonderful, happy memories, wealth.  I am thankful for my family and friends.  Oh so many things to be thankful and feel blessed for!

42 … wow!  I still can’t fathom that I have been on this Earth for *that* long!  Wow!  Just, “Wow!”  Happy Birthday to me!