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!!!

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!

I Ran Today

1530“I ran today.”  It seems like such a little thing to say, so simple, and seemingly so insignificant until you can’t do it.

I’ve been running my whole life.  It’s been a long standing joke that I’ve been running once I exited the birth canal 40 something years ago and haven’t stopped since.  Mind you, I am FAR from elite status, but regardless, I consider myself a runner.  I have always loved it – the feeling of freedom that it gives me, the feeling of strength and power that my body feels, the feeling of sheer determination when I want so much to just be done with the run, especially when its a difficult run.

I won’t lie … I took my ability to run for granted.  All my life, I just ran. I’ve had a few minor injuries here and there, but for the most part they were easy to recover from and then I went about my business and started up again once I was healed.  But seven months ago, I blew out my knee in a freak accident during the CrossFit Open WOD 13.4.  5 months ago, I had surgery to repair my injured knee.  When I was finally cleared to start exercising again, I thought for sure I’d just be able to just jump back into where I left off … WRONG!!!  Oh so WRONG!!!  I tweaked my knee more than once thinking that I could just pick up where I left off.   It has been a difficult recovery, more mentally than physically.  I have had to check my ego more than once, and I’ve learned to accept the fact that my knee would not heal completely if I didn’t just SLOW down and take the time to let it heal.

For the last 2 months I have been working once again with my trainer, Gabe Subry at CrossFit 209 Sport, and my Physical Therapist, Todd.  These two have been relentless in my training.  They both understand my need to get back in the box and into running.  They have both been patient with me and have been working with me to get me back to the level of functioning that I once was at.  At CrossFit, Gabe has me doing MECHANICS ONLY, meaning that I am only to practice and perform the movements with light to no weight at all, adding weight on slowly.  During my Physical Therapy sessions with Todd, he has been working on resetting me neurologically. I have had some really BAD Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) since my injury.  I have been afraid to jump, run, and do a lot of movements out of fear that my knee will buckle. A lot of the exercises that Todd has me doing have been helping to reset my thinking and get me back into  training mode. He has a lot of tricks up his sleeve that have been helping me overcome my fears.  I am thankful for these two – more than I can ever express in words.

I’ve been itching to run for soooooo long.  I had pre-registered for several races prior to my injury, but  I was most disappointed that I had to cancel and bow out of my beloved race at the Half Moon Bay International Marathon in September.  I’ve run that race since its inauguration! It’s my favorite run of all time, so you can imagine my disappointment to have to drop out!   I was not even disappointed when I did not get chosen to run the Nike Women’s Marathon this year and I love that race because I’ve always run it for my dad.  So when the opportunity arose to sign up for another half-marathon, I was slightly hesitant, but I felt compelled to do so.  Enter the St.  Joesph’s Stockton Half Marathon – I could run that, I thought. So I signed up.

My running partner, Anitra, & I.
My running partner, Anitra, & I.
With my friend, Matt, who has been a long time supporter of mine!
With my friend, Matt, who has been a long time supporter of mine!

The venue this year started and finished at the University of the Pacific (UOP).  The course differed slightly in that rather than running down March Lane, it was more on the levee all the way down to Ladd’s Marina and into the residential area of Brookside, back up to the levee and into UOP.  I loved it – it was scenic for the most part – lots of pretty houses and boats – perfect for dream building. I am truly thankful to have run with my friend, Anitra, she was an amazing source of strength for me during the run!  I love the free photographs that comes with the race! I love the after party – beer (not that I drink) and burritos!!! Starbucks had a barrista bar providing coffee to the runners and spectators.  The medal was amazing!  It’s just a fun little race that packed a lot of punch. Bonus, it was a BEAUTIFUL day for a run and it was less than 10 minutes away from my house!

So, yes, for me to say, “I ran today,” is a HUGE accomplishment. For me to have run my first half-marathon 5 months post-surgery without (yes, WITHOUT) any sort of training is … INSANE! But … I did it!!! To think that there was a time when I literally felt cut off at the knees, to have finished a half-marathon … well, yeah, I have sooooo much to be thankful for.  I am so very thankful and feel so very blessed to have the ability to run once again and to be back out on the road – running!!!

I. Ran. Today!

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?

It’s All On YOU!

What's It Gonna Be?

We all want it to some degree … some MORE than others. Some just dream about it, while others are out there working hard to get it. Some try and take shortcuts believing that this gadget, or this new diet fad is gonna work for them this time. Let me tell you though, that it’s NOT. The only thing that’s gonna get you that body that you desire is pure HARD WORK. Eighty percent is eating “right,” and the other twenty percent is working out hard. I don’t just mean a leisurely stroll, nor do I mean working out until you puke your guts out. I just mean, getting a good sweat on. Cardio and resistance training. Find something that you love, that you enjoy, that makes YOU happy! Hate running? What about riding a bike or dancing? Don’t like lifting weights? Try resistance bands or TRX! Just move!

I’m tired of watching people around me slack. They talk about “wanting to lose weight and getting into shape.” They talk A LOT. But talk is cheap. Talking only works your jaw and tongue muscles. All I can do is encourage, and try to guide in the right direction … but they have to want it more than to just talk about it. They have to put forth the effort or else I’m just wasting my breath. They have to want it for themselves.

I’m not “perfect,” but I work hard at maintaining and improving what I have. I’m in that gym or hittin’ that pavement 5-6 days of the week. Some call me OCD, but I know that if I didn’t … I’d be “soft” and my heart and entire body would suffer. I’m over 40 and I function and look so much BETTER than some, okay, most who are younger than I am.

There is no magic get skinny pill. There is no magic diet. There is no magic exercise gadget. Sorry, but there’s not. There is only YOU. You and your decision to make your life better. It’s not going to be easy. There will be days of frustration. You will hurt in places you didn’t think you had muscles. But think of that end result … A better, healthier, stronger, fitter YOU.

I know and understand that I am supposed to be encouraging and motivating.  Do it, or don’t. That decision is all YOURS. I’m not going to force you. I’ll ask you to come run with me. I’ll invite you to come to the gym with me. But if I keep hearing your excuses, trust me … I won’t ask or invite anymore. I’ll just wait until you’re my patient … no, I’m kidding, I won’t. I’ll keep encouraging (I may roll my eyes a little), I’ll just know to not waste too much of my breath and to save it for someone who actually cares. I know, I’m hardcore. I know, I can be “mean” and sound somewhat “demeaning,” but trust me … I don’t mean to sound like that, it’s said with love and respect. It just comes out sounding more like a Drill Sargent, than all “lovey dovey.” That’s just how I roll.

So … What’s it gonna be? You in? Or do you keep doing what you’re doing which isn’t exactly working for you? The choice is YOURS and yours alone. But whatever you decide, be happy with what you choose. If you keep doing what you’ve always been doing, you will ALWAYS get what you’ve always gotten. In order for changes to happen, you have to step out of your comfort zone and be willing to do the work. It WON’T be easy, but trust me … it WILL be worth it. The only thing standing in your way is YOU.

With that … I’m done and I’ll get off my soapbox now. I’ll leave you with one of my FAVORITE videos inspiring motivation … Enjoy. Make good choices, and have a great day!!!

Update:  I realize that this blog may seem a little harsh.  I should be kinder to those individuals that want to do better, but yet do nothing, right?  My husband says that I’m somewhat demeaning.  Well, all I can say is that I know that I’m not exactly the nicest person.  I know that I can be brash, harsh, hard … BUT … I am also hardest on myself when it comes to stuff like this.  I am the best person at kickin’ my own ass and beating myself up.  Being nice only gets you so far.  I’m an ER Nurse, for gosh sake.  I am one of the FIRST persons that sees first hand what all this nonsense does to people who make excuses.  Obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, strokes … I’ve seen my share of “stuff,” and believe me, it is NOT pretty and I will admit that I don’t like to touch fat!!!  Our society is a society of wanting quick fixes and easy way outs.  There aren’t any!  NONE!  So … what you do with your body is your choice.  I’m just saying that it’s easier to put in the 30 mins to an hour 5 times a week, than it is to have a hospital stay that may render you bed bound for a LONG period of time.  Okay … I’ll get off my soap box again.

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!

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.

Layin’ Low

It’s 7 days until D-Day … just seven.  It’s hard to believe that it’s all come down to this.  It seems as if April was just yesterday.  I feel as if I need more time.  I need more training.  I need to shed a few more pounds.  But … I only have seven days.  I would say “one week,” but that makes it seem that much closer.

All I want to do is hide.  I don’t care to interact much with anyone, and I’m happy to have the rest of this time off of work.  I don’t care to talk to anyone about how I think I’ll do, or what my goals are.  Really, all I want to do is hide out.

Truth is, I’m sacred.  I don’t feel ready.  Yes … I have been training.  Yes, I have put in the miles.  Yes, I have worked hard.  Yes, I could have done better, trained harder, ate better, taken better care of myself,  whatever … it’s too late now.  I’m done.  This is what it has come down to, and I’m scared out of my mind.

People say, “You got this, Row.  You know what to do.  You know what to expect.”  Yes, I have run a marathon before, however, this is the first marathon that I will be running with ACTUAL training, and I really don’t know what to expect.

I’ve been asking other endurance athletes and runners for words of wisdom and advice to keep the motivation up when your body is just screaming at you to, “STOP!”  And I am thankful to everyone who answered me.  I’m not trying to flood my head with everything, just taking bits and pieces of some great advice and filing it away.  But I’m still scared.

I need this time to lay low and hide out just to tune out what everyone else is doing and focusing on.  I need this time to just find me, and figure out what I need to do to get through this.  I believe that I CAN do this.  I have put in the time, the training, and the miles.  I have mental toughness, and perseverance.   I have finished a marathon before.  I am strong.  I am able.   I can do this.  I CAN do this.  I will do this.  I’m okay.

Deep breath, Row.  Deep, deep breath.  Breathe.  Believe.

I got this … just let me hide out for a couple more days.  I’ll be okay.  Whatever happens, I know that I WILL BE AMAZING!


The worst had already happened to me.  I know what it feels like to have come in dead last.  After that, I told myself that that would never … NEVER … happen to me again.  I seriously believed that I did not ever want to run again.  I was done.  My pride took a big hit, and I couldn’t see myself swallowing it so soon.  So I had myself a little pity party, and I took a short break.  I needed to reevaluate and regroup.  I needed to see if my goals were realistic, and I wanted to know if I still had it in me to run because honestly, I didn’t think that it was in me.

The week that I took off proved to be very effective in helping me to figure me out.  I was finally able to let it go and swallow my pride, and take that first step and move on.  Trust me, it was only a week, but it was difficult.  I felt ridiculous wallowing in self-pity over something that wasn’t even bad.  I finished, damnit!!!  I know that.  I get that.  But it was still hard.

I am my own worst critic.  I expect so much out of myself, and I expect to perform well.  I am definitely my own worst enemy.  I am harder on myself than I am on anyone else.  So, yeah, it was hard for me to come in last place.  And it was hard to just let it go.

So I  knew that I had to step up my game.  I knew that I had to work hard.  I knew that I had to keep my body healthy.  And I was ready.  I had to change my mindset and completely forget what happened and just move on already.

I worked hard.  I got my plans weekly and I worked dilligently.  I got my mileage in.  Speed work, long runs, core, legs.  I did it all.  I know that it was helping.

August … Modesto Midnight Half Marathon … PR @ 2:12.  Yes!!!  I had such a good run that night.  I had run 3 before, then 3 afterwards.  I felt good, and I was happy.

I don’t slack.  I continue to work hard.  I work at getting my head screwed on straight.  I work on positive thinking.  I work on remembering that I am not racing against others, but rather I am racing against my own self.

September … Wolf Pack Events Fall Showdown Half Marathon.  I don’t sleep well the night before.  I think, “Well, I’ll just run.  No big deal.”  I normally would have run with Mac, but she was injured, so I run with Ron (@punkrockrunner) in the beginning.  I feel tired, but I don’t let on.   I just continue to think that I’ll keep on going.  I lose Ron somewhere around mile 5.5, and I end up missing a turn on the trail.  Once I realize that I’m off track, I realize that the trail took me up about a half mile further off the trail.  Gah!  I catch up to Ron at the turn around and we run together.  I’m tired, but I’m still going.  I’m kind of upset that I’m way off, but what could I do?  Nothing except just move forward, and that’s what I did.  I know that I’m still on track.  I know that I’m doing well.  I know Ron’s not behind me anymore, but I don’t look because I never look back.  I just run.  Mile 10, then 11, then 12 … I keep telling myself that I’m okay, that I’m gonna be okay.  Then just like that … I could see the finish.  That finish line was *this* close … And I hit the finish mat … 2:15 for almost 14 miles!!!  Another PR.

I have no clue.  I’m just so happy that I finished so strong.  I knew nothing about my ranking, or where I finished.  I just knew that I felt good and that I finished strong.  Then my husband says, “I think you won your age group!”  WHAT???  The updated stats aren’t up yet.  So I wait patiently … And as I wait, I cheer all of the other incoming runners in.  I’m just happy.

Then the new stat sheets are posted, and the announcer calls everyone’s attention  … and he’s just called out my name.  Winner of my age group!!!  I go up and collect my awards – a first place medal, and a plaque.  Oh. My. God!!!  I did it.  Redemption!!!  Redemption!  YES!!!

But I remember what it feels like to be last … so I contain my happiness, and I continue to congratulate everyone, every runner.  I am truly happy for everyone … every runner.  I would never discount anyone.

The truth is … I am just your average runner.  What I have learned is that that we all run our own race, and that we don’t compete against each other, rather we compete against ourselves.  I  know that there will always someone out there that will be faster, work harder, do better.  But I have learned to run MY race and to be happy and relish in my own little victories, and at the same time be happy for others also!  I can do that.

Me with my 1st place Age Group Medal, and awesome plaque!!!
The feeling of VICTORY as I was comin' up to the finish line!