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

Back To Business

“Until your knees finally hit the floor you’re just playing at life, and on some level you’re scared because you know you’re just playing. The moment of surrender is NOT when your life is over. It’s when your life begins.” Marianne Williamson

112It’s the last day of July … What? 2014 is more than half over already! More importantly than that though, this last day of July marks an anniversary of sorts for me. You may recall that last July 2013, I was hospitalized for severe – read SEVERE – rhabdomyloysis right when I was just coming back and recovering from knee surgery. Other things had happened last July also that I don’t care to talk about on here, but, yeah, July 2013 was quite possibly one of the worst months of my life. Well, it was just a disheartening month. Alas … Fast FORWARD to today, July 31, 2014.  What can I say? I SURVIVED. I made it.  I picked myself up out of that dark, dark abyss, and crawled, clawed, cried, and fought my way out. I could’ve just laid there and let it overcome me, and I will admit that I thought about that for a minute, and off and on at various times, but only for a short time. Every time, I would just take that needed break, take that huge, deep breath, brush myself off, and start all over.

253Starting over is hard. It’s not fun. It’s hard to pretend you’re okay and go about your business. I seriously wanted to die. There have been many tears shed from my eyes this last year, but it’s okay. Alex Tan said that some times our eyes need to be washed out by our tears once in awhile, so that we can see life with a clearer view again. I believe this to be true as my thoughts and my visions would get cloudy at times and I would complain that I didn’t have a clue as to what to do, that I couldn’t “see” where I was going.

"I am building a fire, and everyday I train, I add more fuel. At just the right moment, I light the match." ~ Mia Hamm
“I am building a fire, and everyday I train, I add more fuel. At just the right moment, I light the match.” ~ Mia Hamm

The hardest part of this whole process for me was learning to let go.  Letting go of expectations. Letting go of who I was. Letting go of things that I let define who I was. Letting go of trying to do everything by myself. Asking for help. It was just something that I didn’t do, and that I still have trouble doing. Letting my ego take a back seat. Learning to trust.

I’ve had to close my eyes and just focus on me and not so much on every thing that was happening around me. I used to look around and compare myself to everyone. I believed that they had it better than I did – prettier, faster, stronger, richer, yada yada. Here’s the truth … There will ALWAYS be someone better, faster, stronger, prettier, richer, etc. than the person that we are. I understand that, but it still didn’t stop me from comparing myself. These days, like I said, I just close my eyes and will myself back into myself, and remind myself that I’m okay and to just be still. The other truth is is that my life is AMAZING. I have a great family, a good job, I’m healthy, I have money in my pockets, I am educated, I am a lot of things. I’m okay, and my life is a very blessed and amazing life.

069It’s been back to business for me. Baby steps. I’ve worked hard since that fateful month in 2013. I no longer reside in that abyss, nor do I let my thoughts dwell there. I’m back to training at CrossFit 209 Sport with my faithful, amazing trainer, Gabe Subry, and all of my friends who motivate and encourage me every day. I’m not quite back to where I was, but I’m close. My weights are close to where I was prior to my injury, and I am able to do unassisted pull-ups again. Remember when I got rhabdo, I really messed up my right bicep, but Gabe has been able to help me rehab that along with my knee. The only thing I have trouble with is box jumps because sometimes my left knee buckles when I land. My job is stable. My family is in good health and are all doing well.

My newest tattoo that I got while on vacation in Maui.
My newest tattoo that I got while on vacation in Maui.

I’ve learned a lot. I have learned so much in this past year. So … although it was a rough year, I’ve overcome it. I know that there will be other hard times to overcome, but I have learned that out of bad can come good … Ex Malo Bonum. I believe that life is good, that it’s about mindset and perspective. I believe that we can lay down and just let life pass us by and feel sorry for ourselves – I’ve been there and done that, trust me. Or we can choose to get up and keep moving regardless of how small the steps we take are. Choose the latter because no matter how small the baby steps are that you take to get you out of your abyss, you will be that much farther away from where you were, and, before you know it, you’ll take a glance back and realize that you can barely remember that you were once there.

Let’s get out there! Time to get back to business. Stay strong. Be as positive as you can. Smile.

5/13 Going in for knee surgery.
5/13 Going in for knee surgery.
Rhabdo Row in the ER getting liters and liters of Normal Saline boluses to help combat my SEVERE Rhabdo!
7/13 Rhabdo Row in the ER getting liters and liters of Normal Saline boluses to help combat my SEVERE Rhabdo!
7/14 Today! Livin' the life!
7/14 Today! Livin’ the life!
7/14 in Maui - Back to Business!
7/14 in Maui – Back to Business!

An Ostrich In Disguise

I can't see you ... You can't see me ...

I’m not great when it comes to confrontation.  Hell, I’m not even remotely good at it.  I am one of “those” individuals who, like and ostrich, prefers to bury my head in the sand all the while thinking that, “if I can’t see it, then it can’t see me.”

I know.  I know.  I can’t do this.  I can’t live like this.  Truth be told, I don’t … I eventually come around and confront what ever it is that I need to face and deal with, it just takes me a minute or two to gather my bearings and muster up the courage that I need.  I know that pretending that something isn’t really there doesn’t make it so … I know that it’s there and that if I don’t deal with whatever it is head on that it can, and will rear it’s ugly head and deal with me – forcing me into action.

You would think that I, ER Nurse Extrordinaire, mixed martial artist, black belt, and mother of four, could not possibly be one of “those” people.  Row.?  An ostrich?  A freakin’ scardey cat?  No freakin’ way!  Way … but like I said … only to an extent.

I’m human, okay?  I want to live in a “perfect” world.  I want things to go smoothly and don’t want anyone to suffer.  I don’t like being told bad news, or having to confront issues.   I don’t like the feeling that I get when my body is thrown into the “Fight or Flight” mode.   I function well once over the initial shock and trauma, it just takes me a second, or two.  That flood of adrenaline needs to cycle its way out of my system; my heart needs to stop racing so I can take a deep breath and I’m okay.  But sometimes … sometimes I’m not okay.  Sometimes … I don’t function well at all.

FEAR:  False Evidence Appearing Real.

I fear the unknown, even though I am intelligent enough to know that fear is nothing but a state of mind.  I have a tendency to make things out to be bigger than they really are.  I understand that fear can be paralyzing, causing one to stand still.  Although I do stand still for that split second, it’s, like I said, to gather my bearings and courage, and to take a much needed deep breath so that I can cautiously move forward to deal with the fear/issue/problem that I need to deal with.  Fear stands still, and can be paralyzing.  Caution moves forward, albeit slowly, but you move forward to deal with whatever it is that you, need face.  Fear keeps your head buried in the sand.  Caution allows you to face your fear and start taking action to fix whatever needs to be fixed, or to get over it.  Take action, yes, but this is not the same as reacting.  That knee jerk reaction is not the way to deal with all issues – that sometimes exacerbates the problem.  However, over-analyzing is not the answer either.  I’m an over-analyzer, and I am known to have paralysis from over-analysis.  My husband says that I think too much.  I know that I do, but I can’t help it, always expecting the worst, or making things out to be worse than what they are even before I know what I’m facing.  I let my thoughts get the best of me sometimes … what can I say.

I’m not always like this.  When I really need to take action immediately, I can do it.  It’s the other stuff … the crazy, mundane stuff that I let fester and grow in my head – only getting bigger by the thoughts that I feed it.  And I know that things could be much worse, that there are people out there dealing with bigger, far worse things.

So … I will feel the fear … I will feel it some more … then I will start to move … I will do what I need to do.  I promise to not stand still for too long.  I promise to look fear in the eye and take care of what needs to be done.  But you promise me … you promise me … that if you see me falter … that if you see me stand still for a little too long … that you will stand beside me, grab my hand and help me face that fear and not let me go it alone.  Promise me that you will grab me by the hair if you see me attempting to bury my head in the sand.  Just let me know that I am not alone; that I don’t have to do it by myself, and I, in turn, will do the same for you …

Kinda looks like me, right?

Here We Go Again … Marathon Training Starts NOW …

This Is MY Strong from Saucony by Row. I LOVE THIS!!!

It’s hard to believe – kind of – that marathon training started again for me today.  I still can’t believe that I was dumb enough to sign up to run another marathon, especially when openly stated at the last one I ran that, “I am NEVER running one of these effing things ever again!!!”  Okay, never mind that I said that 2 times before also.  But seriously, what the heck was I thinking?  I wasn’t thinking.  When I signed up for CIM (the California International Marathon), I remember that I got kind of to the end of the registration and I thought it would ask me, “Are you sure?  Are you really sure?”  It didn’t.  The next page just said, “Congratulations, you are registered!”  Wait!  Whaaaaat?  Dang.  I’m not one of those girls who’ll let their hard earned dollars go down the drain so … There’s NO backing out now.

This is a *small* pile of my running reading ...

Five months.  I’m giving myself FIVE  L O N G months to get my legs, my body, my mind into top condition to get this done.  I’m taking my time.  It’s going to be a little bit different this year.  This year I’m training without a coach.  Last year was the only year that I trained with a coach.  My training in previous years were haphazard as I had absolutely NO clue what I was doing, and I thought that just running would be enough.  This year, I know a little bit.  I read a few books, looked up a few plans, then grabbed my calendars and I put together a crazy little plan of attack for me.  Then I set some goals, and decided I’m going for it.  I’m going to do the best that I can, and along the way I am going to illicit the help of several people – although they don’t quite know it yet.

My feet getting H-Wave Therapy! Can you hear them sighing relief?

This year I’m gonna make sure my body is taken care of.  That means seeing my favorite Chiropractor, Dr. Brian Crawford, every month or more if needed.  I’ve also lined up a masseuse – kind of.  I bought a whole bunch of  Groupons to various massage therapists, and I have a few thatMy Sauconys!  My feet LOVE these shoes! were given to me as gifts.  I’m going to make sure that my feet are WELL taken care of – that means H-Wave therapy, foot massages, A.R.T., orthotics, ice, training in the “right” shoes which for me are Saucony Triumphs and Saucony Kinvaras, and getting physical therapy.  I’m going to eat right 75 – 80% of the time.  I know that I can’t be 100% and I’m not going to lie.  I love my occasional pastry – this is part of taking care of my body, right?  NOT everyday, just enough to satisfy the cravings when I have them.  I’m going to cross train – with my favorite Krav Maga, spinning with Rodger,  resistance train – with P90X, or at the gym.  I’m gonna work my core until it’s just about shredded!!!  I got my Twitter posse – so many to name, and my Local Girls – Mac, Mel, Cory, and Judy – who are all running CIM with me – to hold me accountable.  And I’m going to read, write, talk running to whoever will listen …

Am I ready?  I’m ready to start training.  As far as the marathon goes … I’ve got time.  But we all know that time just flies when we’re having so much FUN!!!  I’m going to do this.  You know me … Once decided, I will find a way, any way, to get it DONE!

Cory and I - Day 1. 5 miles. DONE!

Anyone care to join me on this crazy adventure?  I can assure you that it will be a wild and fun-filled ride … Com’mon … Who wants to put in some serious mileage?  Let’s goooooo … !!!

Together, Let’s Kick Some A$$!!!

I Believe That We All CAN!!!

I heard her talking about me.  She was telling Jeanne, one of the owners of AMAA/Stockton Karate, “I didn’t know who she was, but she was right next to me and she was so encouraging.”  She was a new student at AMAA and Jeanne told her that my name was Row.  Hearing that made my spirits soar high.  She was working out right beside me, and I saw the look of, “Are you freakin’ kidding me?!” written all over her face more than once during our 45 minute workout.  All I told her was that she was doing a great job, to just keep moving, and that she could do it.  Easy.  Nothing to it, just a few words of encouragement.  She had heard me, so my words were not of wasted breath.  Whew!

You CAN, and You WILL ...

I’m one of “those” people … you know one of those obnoxious people who yell in a group exercise class.  It’s even worse if I know your name because I will call you out!  Why?  Because I know how it feels to need encouragement.  I know how it feels to be dead tired, but then to hear someone tell you that you can do it, it allows you to put forth that much more effort to get the work done.  So, yes … If I see you “struggling” in class, I will let you know that you CAN do it, that you only have so many more minutes left.  If I see you in a race, regardless if I know you or not, I will tell you that you’re doing a great job, because you ARE.

Seriously … just by you being in class or running in a race, you ARE doing a fabulous job because you could very well be doing absolutely nothing.  You have won half the battle by choosing to get out and move, and I will commend you for it and help you any way that I can.

Honestly though, I encourage others because it helps me.  I hear myself tell others that they can do it … If I’m telling you

Hear me?

that you can, and I don’t, then it makes me look like an ass  a hypocrite, right?   I can’t look like that.  I refuse to look like that.  When I hear myself give others encouragement and motivation, then I believe it myself and it allows my mind to cancel out what my body is telling it to do which most times is, “Shut the eff up and stop already!”  You see, I believe that your body will do whatever your mind tells it to do even if it’s tired.  I know because I have tricked my body countless times.  I have learned that I can do so much more than what I believe that I can.  It seriously is all in your head …

Others have done it for me … given me encouragement and motivation when I have needed it most.  Some have never met me, others have been spectators with great signs on a marathon course, and some have been my friends training with me … it has helped me every time, and gotten me through to the end.  Because of this, I pay it forward by encouraging others.  Yes, true motivation has to come from your heart, you have to want it, but it never hurts to have a little help from your friends.  So I don’t care if I am the loudest, or the most obnoxious in class … I get heard, people hear me, and they get’er done!  Helping others helps me.  Helping you helps me.  Watching you succeed helps me, it motivates me, it encourages ME …  We have to help each others get thru and push thru … Let’s do it!

Three Races One Week

Seriously?  Is this post for real, you’re wondering.  THREE races in one week?  Um, yeah, I’m totally serious, and I totally did it.  A 10K, and two half-marathons back to back … I know, who does that?  Not “normal” people … I’m not a “normal” person, so, I did it.

Let’s start from the beginning, or the first race …

Monday, May 30, 2011 … The Inaugural Stockton Rotary Run.  I picked up the pamphlet on this run while at Fleet Feet Stockton, picking up something.  I’m always at Fleet Feet, so it’s not a surprise that I can’t remember what I was there for.  I think it was for Chris’ packet pickup for The Avenue Of The Vines Half.  I remember perusing the pamphlet, and thinking that I worked the Sunday before the race on Monday Morning so I wasn’t initially going to run it.  I ended up signing up probably while half asleep because I still wasn’t thinking that I would run a race after working all night.  It wouldn’t be the first time though.  With that I tried to recruit as many people as possible to run with me … It was for a good cause – Run to Eradicate Polio.  I know … Polio?  Yes.  Polio.  Not all third world countries have eradicated this disease, and it still afflicts many children rendering them with paralysis.  Read about polio here.

The race was to be held Memorial Day Monday morning.  This normally would not be an issue, except for the fact that I will have worked all weekend long … and this included the Sunday night before the race.  12 hours, on my feet.  Hmmmm.  I’ve done it before, just not to where I’m cutting it so close.  Start time was 0800, and I get off work at 0730 and I work about 20 minutes away … Yeah.  Lucky for me, although the night was busy,  I was able to  leave work a few minutes early and hightail it over to the race start.  The running/race Gods were with me … because there was no traffic, and parking was not an issue!

Linda and I ... =)
Panda Girl Erika, Linda, and I ... Pre race.

I met my running buddy, Linda V., at Starbucks by the movie theater.  She had a last minute race cancellation on Saturday, so she decided to run with me that morning.  My friend, Erica decided at the last minute to run also, so she met us close to the start because she needed to finish registering.

This was an inaugural race.  Usually, that word “inaugural” is synonymous with “lots of issues.”  That day, I found none.  It was cool, but not freezing cold.  We were greeted warmly by Fleet Feet owner, Tony Vice, and by the director of On Your Mark Events.  The opening speech by Kerry Kreuger was inspiring, as was the countdown to the start by a woman stricken with polio as a child.  It was nice to know that the race was put on to raise funds for a good cause.  This race had a 5 and a 10K … I had signed up to run the 10K.  Eek!

The race for me, was actually not a bad race.  The course is FLAT as can be, and it’s part of other courses of races that I had run in downtown Stockton before, so it was slightly familiar.  It started at DeCarli Square, right in front of the movie theater between El Dorado and Center Streets.  Surprisingly, I was “awake” and ready to run.  Running a 10K is different from running a 5K or a half marathon.  It’s not quite all out balls to the walls, and it still must be run somewhat conservatively.  Per Squatch’s advice, I was to warm-up with the first mile, then progressively get faster.  I was not to look at mileage, but at time.  (i.e., I can run this in an hour. Only 1o minutes left.  Etc.)

It was a double loop run … but I didn’t feel too bad.  Erika and I ran together for the first three miles.  She’s faster than I am so I was pacing with her, trying to keep up with her, but something happened after we laughed and waved at the Good Day Sacramento Camera man … She started to fall behind.  Not far behind, but she was no longer beside me, and I was still running thinking the whole time that she would eventually blow by me.  At mile 3.5 my goal was to start targeting people and catch up to them and/or eventually pass them.  I waved to Erika to get her to get her back up beside me.  She was close, but I was alone in my game of cat and mouse.  I felt good, and I felt strong, so I just kept going.  At mile 5 I  knew that I had to gun it … so with each person that I caught up to, I encouraged them to come with me.  Only one did, and he raced me to the finish where I encouraged him to GO!  Literally as soon as crossed the finish line, I had an overwhelming sensation of needing to hurl!  That’s my indicator that I know I pushed hard.  My friend Linda caught my finish on video … super cool.  I need to figure out how to upload it …

Best part of the entire race … placing third in my age group.  I got BLING, baby!  In this race, bling only goes to the top 3 finishers in each age group.  It was a nice surprise!  10K, 55 minutes!

Race number 2.  Half marathon.  Saturday 04 June, 2011.  Brazen Racing’s Nitro Trail Half Marathon.  Mac and I registered for this race in February after the New Year’s Half marathon that we ran.  We enjoyed that one so we thought we’d run another.  Little did we know that June’s weather would be similar to that of our New Year’s Half.   Wow.

Too bad this wasn't on the registration ...
Running BFFs!

Pinole, California is located close to Richmond, in the Bay Area.  It’s a beautiful area.  I was thankful that my friend, Erika Rae offered to drive as I felt bad asking Chris to take the day off for me.  So off we went in Erika’s van  – Erika, her friends that she was able to convince to run, Cindy, and Christina, and my friend Judy.  We made it to Pinole with about 30 minutes to spare … enough time to use the portapotties and to grab our race bibs.  Whew!  I caught up with my running BFF, Mac, and our friend Mel just in time.  Thank God!  It was cold, and drizzly at the start, but it was all good.

We all started together.  It was funny how we all laughed at the lady who suggested that we take a course map along with “a plastic baggie to keep it warm.”  Huh?  The map?  What about us?!  Really?  The course was literally loops – one little, two med, or two of each … Ah, I can’t remember!  We lost Judy and Mel, then Erika by mile 3.  It was

"Look! Camera! Let's start running!"

Mac and I together for the remainder of the run which was fine by us.  We were just running to run and to be together.  Plus, that course wasn’t easy with the weather conditions, multiple loops causing dizziness, and some hills.  Seriously … mile 3 was uphill into a headwind. Mile 5 was severe wind blowing from the left side.  There were multiple muddy parts that we were lucky not to slide into or slip.  The best part?  Having to do it again …

Mac and I spend a lot of time catching up.  I love my Mac, she’s an awesome running BFF.  I don’t get to see her nearly enough, but I hear from her at least once a day!

The trail run was nice.  It started POURING buckets by mile 11 until the finish!  We walked a little here and there, enjoyed the scenery, and the company.  We love Brazen Racing.  They have the best aid stations – always smiling volunteers, lots of water, Gu, gummy bears, cookies, chips … seriously, at every aid station.  Mac and I finished at about the 2:30 mark.  This was an improvement from our New Year’s half which was almost 3 hours!  Lol!

And lastly … Race #3 … See Jane Run, Alameda, CA.  Sunday 05 June 2011.

This race was a crazy idea that I had while on the spin bike next to Erika Rae.  What was I thinking?  I don’t believe that I was thinking.  I believe that I was oxygen deprived.  She was telling me how she was not going to be able to run for the next 3 months and how she was gonna miss running, etc.  So I blurted out, “Well, let’s finish it off with a BANG and run a back to back!”  I was kidding, but again, I wasn’t.  Usually my mouth thinks faster than my mind does and it usually speak the truth.  So I’m sure that this was not an error on the part of my brain that controls the part of my tongue that gets bitten when it wants to say something stupid!  I already decided I was “IN” and registered that day after talking it over with my hubby who thought it was a good idea.  What?  Erika was not in … she had another obligation that she had already comitted to do.  However at the last minute … something happened and she was able to go.  So she registered at the last minute, and we headed off to packet pick up Saturday after our trail half.

Since Pinole, CA and Alameda, CA are close together, I thought for sure we’d have more of the same weather that we had on Saturday … I was prepared with a rain jacket, hat, etc.  Thankfully though, it was gorgeous, beautiful weather.  In fact, it was even a little hot in the mid 60s!  We both took separate cars since our hubbys and youngest children came along, and we were both LATE for different reasons.  (Note:  Erika and I both run on the same schedule, and we are chronically late individuals.  Together we make a great team, but, geez, we have to get our Filipino and Mexican timing down in the future!)

We arrived at the venue with a few minutes to spare.  I had enough time to run to the bathroom, then find Erika.  Once we found each other, we had enough time to sprint to the start.  Starting at the back of the pack is not normally our deal, because we despise weaving in and out of walkers, etc., but at this point we really had no choice.  We were both slightly tired from our run the previous day, so we were happy to mill along at a somewhat slower pace.  (Her “slow” is my gasping, just so you know.)

For the entire run we were basically side by side which was nice.  We did minimal talking because, well, for me, I was trying to “conserve” my energy.  The course was basically flat, and the scenery wasn’t dismal, but it wasn’t all that exciting except when we got out by the water.  A lot of people complained about running thru the industrial part of town, but it was such a small part of the course.  I grew up in Alameda.  I love that town, and I wish that I could spend some time there just getting reacquainted and visiting old stomping grounds.  Getting back to the run itself though, I felt as if I was holding Erika back.  I felt as if she could have gone much faster, and she should have.  She should not have “waited” for me, but for some reason, I don’t believe that she was.  Her goal is never to “just finish.”  Erika Rae is super uber competitive … she kicks ass all the time.  But she stuck by me for the entire time.  We finished within seconds of each other which was awesome.  She had a mean kick, and my strides are so much shorter … lol!

Haulin' a$$ to the finish ...

I have to say that the weather was perfect.  Had we not been so tired, I am sure that we both could’ve PR’d with this race!  We had fun though.  We spent some time milling around the post-race expo collecting freebies and our champange glasses filled with chocolate.

One complaint that I have was that there was no accessible water at the finish … we had to stand in line.  Seriously?  Water should have been handed out at the finish along with our medals!!!  The line for water and food post-race was LONG and moving slowly!  Geez!  Also, some of the medals that people received were not the correct medals for the race that they had run.  Meaning that some individuals who ran the half got a 5K medal, and vice versa!

I have to give Erika Rae props!  She ran the exact three races that I ran and did a rockin’ kick ass job

RowCoon and The Panda Girl

gettin’ it done.  She is one of the very few individuals who will help me execute some crazy ideas!!!  Let me tell you, I have some really off the wall ideas and she never (well, hardly ever) tells me that I’m insane, she usually eggs me on to get me to think of more.  Oh, but don’t let think that I’m alone in this, she has some crazy ideas herself, and she is just as OCD about working out as I am!  She’s an awesome workout partner … so THANK YOU, E-Rae! (I’m throwin’ gangsta signs at this point.)

Running back to back half marathons seems like cake now that I have done it, but in the past I never would have even imagined that running 13.1 miles would be a piece of cake, let alone on two days in a row.  What I have learned is that my body is pretty amazing.  I’ve learned that I am stronger than I believe that I am.  Running 13.1 miles …. pssssh!  I can do that in my sleep!  I know that it seems ridiculous to some, and unfathomable to others, but seriously, if I can do it, anyone can.  It’s a mind game.  You body, and those that you tell that you’re going to do it, will tell you that you’re insane … but if you believe that you can, then you WILL.  My mind told my body that it really didn’t have a choice, that it was going to do this, and then it told my body that it could, that it was an amazing machine … and my body followed the instructions of my mind, believed it, then performed!  Your mind is a powerful thing … and where your mind goes, where your thoughts go, your body will follow.  Don’t ever believe that you can’t because you CAN … you just don’t want to!

Bling Bling, Baby ...

Three races … one week … DONE!

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.

The Power of a GREAT Workout

I’ve always known it.  As a child, I loved running, riding my bicycle, climbing, jumping, playing sports, and doing just about anything physical.  It is inbred, ingrained, so natural and deep within me.  My “need” for physical exertion has always … ALWAYS been a huge part of who I am, and of who I have always been. Without that physical exertion, I am not me.  I am lethargic, become depressed, cranky, moody … that person that NO ONE cares to be around.  It is the reason my family lets me do what I need to do … because they know that, “If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.”

There IS power in a great workout.  I have always known this.  It is as if I am able to purge all of my pain, frustrations, and what-nots out through my pores via my sweat, and through all the grunts and groans of my physical exertion … leaving it all on the floor, so to speak. I am able to transcend while working out. I know … I can see you rolling your eyes now, but it’s true. I’ve done it on more than one occasion … I am able to get myself into such a state, into that zone, where I am there, yet I’m not. I love that. Absolutely LOVE that feeling!

Exercise is my drug of choice.  It is my religion, my sanctuary.  It is my outlet and it fuels me.  I am happiest and most relaxed after a great workout. They say that exercise is for those that cannot handle drugs or alcohol. I believe that wholeheartedly.  I crave the endorphin rush – that is the BEST high, and I wish that everyone loved that kind of healthy high versus highs or the blunting of their emotions and pain obtained via illegal substances or by alcohol.  I believe that the world would be a much better, and a much happier place.

It’s so disheartening to me that so many individuals don’t take the time to get a good workout in.  Thirty minutes is all that it would take.  It saddens me, no, let me be honest, it infuriates me when I hear excuse after excuse as to why one can’t or doesn’t workout.  I don’t understand our society – when did we stop being active?  When did people become so sedentary? Getting older doesn’t mean that you can’t be fit. Having children doesn’t mean that you have stop being active and become a fat mom or dad. It’s the time to be the example for your child!  People are so quick to blame MacDonald’s … Ummm … Hello?  I don’t believe MacDonald’s was physically force feeding anyone! Take responsibility for your own health, people! Face it and get real!  It’s never too late! Never. Small changes made consistently can make BIG differences.

While at my Physical Therapy appointment today, something my therapist had posted on his bulletin board, caught my eye.  I was so inspired by what I read, that I took a photograph of it so that I could remember what it said. In it’s entirety, I have it here for you to peruse.

Written by former NFL Washington Redskins Coach, George Allen, may it motivate and inspire you as it has me.

What Is A Workout?

A workout is 25 percent PERSPIRATION and 75 percent DETERMINATION.  Stated another way, it is one part physical exertion and three parts self-discipline.  Doing it is easy once you get started.

A workout makes you better today than you were yesterday.  It strengthens the body, relaxes the mind, and toughens the spirit.  When you workout regularly, your problems diminish and your confidence grows.

A workout is a personal triumph over laziness and procrastination.  It is the badge of a WINNER — the mark of an organized, goal oriented person who has taken charge of his or her destiny.

A workout is a wise use of time and an INVESTMENT in excellence.  It is a way of preparing for life’s challenges and proving to yourself that you have what it takes to do what is necessary.

A workout is a key that helps unlock the door to OPPORTUNITY and SUCCESS.  Hidden inside each of us is an extraordinary force.  Physical and mental fitness are the triggers that can release it.

A workout is a form of REBIRTH.  When you finish a workout, you don’t simply feel better, YOU FEEL BETTER ABOUT YOURSELF!

So … Who’s ready to come workout with Row.??? NO EXCUSES!!! Let’s goooooo …

While I Am Running …

 

26.2 miles long, that dead ends into a wall!!!

 

When I’m out there getting my runs in, most times I can be found running alone.  When the mileage is high, I am one of those runners that needs to talk herself through the miles … and it better be positive talk also, otherwise I’m doomed!  Lucky for me, I’m a fairly positive person who can see more good rather than impending doom.

I am a lover of quotes and great sayings.  What follows is a compilation of some of my favorite quotations and sayings that have gotten me through many miles.  Feel free to comment and add your own …

I know I am only competing with myself.
I set goals and work hard to accomplish them.
I understand the power of the human will.
I know I can face whatever road lies ahead.
I am not satisfied with the status quo.
My true self shines through.
I AM A MARATHONER.

In accordance with the prophecy, I will go the distance. XXVI.II

26.2 – I am not afraid.

Ask your Doctor if getting off your ass is right for you.

The triumph of will over reason.

There will be days when I don’t know if I can run a marathon.
There will be a lifetime of knowing that I have.

Curso, ergo sum … I run, therefore, I am.

The pain is temporary.  The pride is forever.

In my mind, I am a Kenyan.

Surgeon General Warning:  Lack of physical activity is hazzardous to your health.

The miracle is not that I finished.
The miracle is that I had the courage to start.
– John Bingham

Make friends with pain and you will never be alone.

Time is not on your side: Out run it as long as you can.

Time is always running.  Are you?

Run like hell and get the agony over with.

The greatest pleasure in life is doing the things that people say we cannot do.

Training: It’s not a matter of life or death.  It’s more important than that.

Always focus on what you CAN do, not what you can’t.

Define what victory means to you as individual, then proceed to measure your success by how close you come to it.

What’s lost by not trying and what’s lost by not succeeding are two VERY different things!

Trust the power within you and use it.  When you don’t, that’s when fear sets in …

When your legs are tired, run with your heart.

Dead Last Finish is greater than Did Not Finish, which trumps Did Not Start.

Good things come slow – especially in distance running. – Bill Dellinger

Human beings are made up of flesh and blood, and a miracle fiber called courage. – George S. Patton

I have met my hero, and (s)he is me. – George Sheehan

Running is a big question mark that’s there each and every day. It asks you, “Are you going to be a whimp or are you going to be strong today?” – Peter Maher

Runners just do it – they run for the finish line even if someone else has reached it first.

If you are going through hell … keep going … – Winston Chruchill.

All it takes is all you’ve got.

The real purpose of running isn’t to win a race, it’s to test the limits of the human heart. – Bill Bowerman

Games require skill. Running requires endurance, character, pride, physical strength, and mental toughness.   Running is a test, not a game.  A test of faith, belief, will, and trust in one’s self. So hardccore that it needs a category all to itself to define the pain.   When game players criticize, it’s because they aren’t willing to understand, not because they’re stronger.  Running is more than a sport, it’s a lifestyle. If you have to ask us why we run, you’ll never understand, so just accept.  – Jessica Propst

Brick walls are there for a reason.  They let us prove how badly we want things. – Randy Pausch

Now, if you are going to win any battle you have to do one thing.
You have to make the mind run the body.
Never let the body tell the mind what to do.
The body will always give up.
It is always tired in the morning, noon, and night.
When you were younger the mind could make you dance all night, and the body was never tired …
You’ve always got to make the mind take over and keep going.
– George S. Patton

And, last, but not least … “You Got This!”