Back in the Saddle

Note: It has taken me a couple of days to work up the courage to post this to my blog. Its a little scary to put yourself out there and declare a really big scary goal, let a lone two when my recent track record hasn’t been that stellar; but here goes nothing.

Oops, I did it again.  Off I went to yet another amazing weekend in Central Oregon for a Wilder Running and Writing Retreat, ready to go deep and come back charged up and ready to work on both my writing and running.  The running has actually been pretty solid, thanks to my coach, Gregg @ultraninjarunner and #teamninjacoaching. Granted I haven’t spent much time on the trails, but I’ve found joy and strength in running and the most impossible of all races that I’ve registered for in 2020 (The Transrockies Run 6 Day Stage Race) doesn’t seem that impossible anymore; mind you the training will be a challenge, but I can already see that it will be worth it and that I can do it.

But what happened to my writing?  It’s been months since I’ve committed any amount of time to actually writing and I haven’t posted anything since August when my Step-father passed away.  I have spent countless hours playing around with ideas in my head, I even put a few down on paper, but then I would talk myself out of delving deeper and actually exploring the theme; because who really cares what I have to say about weight loss, running, depression, losing a parent, work stress, and the current fight within the United Methodist Church over inclusion of LGBTQ People in the church?  Who am I to think that my voice matters? But who am I to think that my voice doesn’t matter? And most importantly who cares what other people think, “what other people think of you is not your business,” I think is how the quote goes. For some reason that I’ve never really been able to explain, I want to write, and I want to share what I write. I am not looking to become a professional writer – I am very happy in my chosen profession, but writing brings me joy and I need to put it out into the universe.  As Elizabeth Gilbert says in Big Magic, “Do you have the courage to bring forth the treasures that are hidden within you?”  I am going to step out on a limb and say yes, I do!

So I am throwing caution to the winds and putting just a few intentions in writing and sharing them publicly! I will post to this blog at least twice a month, I want to primairly focus on sharing my experience training for my upcoming races as I build up to by BIG SCARY AUDACIOUS GOAL of running the Transrockies 6 Day Stage Race in Colorado this August and as I work towards returning to my WW goal weight and becoming a Lifetime Member of WW (or Weight Watchers) once again. I go in to more specifics in subsequent posts about why Transrockies and my race schedule for 2020 and why I’ve decided to return to WW after a hiatus of many, many years.  But I also plan to write about other things that strike my fancy, to try to not censor myself and thoughts so much, to dive deeper into this practice of writing.

My hope is to bring a little bit of light and love and hope to anyone that reads what I write.  To hopefully reach someone else that might be feeling the same way I am and to know that you’re not alone.  That life and going after big dreams can be hard, but it can also be worth the effort. So I invite you all along for the ride, who knows where this will take us all. 

The elevation profile for the Transrockies Run, the race starts in Buena Vista, CO and ends in Beaver Creek.

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David Oliver Galloway

There’s a story I really need to tell, its pretty complicated and messy as most of our lives and stories are and I don’t really know how to tell it right now, but some day soon maybe. For right now I want to share a part of the story. My Step Father, David Galloway passed away early Monday morning. I was privileged to be there along with my Mother and his oldest daughter Shauna, when he passed away. Our family story is a complicated one, he wasn’t a perfect person, but neither am I. I loved him and I know he loved me as he loved all of his kids.

David Oliver Galloway was born in Wichita, KS on February 26, 1932 to Oliver G and Dorothy “Fern,” West Watson.  He passed on Monday, August 12, 2019 at home in Northwest Oklahoma City. 

Dave was a proud father, grandfather and great-grandfather.  He is survived by his wife of 27 years, Jean and her sister Betty Lou; his daughter Shauna Woloszyn, husband William and their children Stephanie Mora, spouse Aaron, and their children Grey and Emmie; and Heath Woloszyn;   daughter Tami Duncan and her spouse Peter, and their children Kimberlyn Dyer, spouse Josh, and their children Everly and Tatum; Trey Duncan, spouse Melanie, and their child John Hunter; his son Justin Galloway and Stephanie Pipins Galloway, and their child Elena, and step-daughters Cindy Overturf, spouse Chris, and their child Audrey; Jennifer Fox, and step-son Tim Fox, wife Misty and their children Parker and Addie.  

As a child David’s family moved several times, he lived in Ft. Worth, TX; Muskogee, OK, Ft. Smith, AR, Ponca City and McAlester, OK.  After attending 4 different grade schools, Dave would graduate from McAlester High School before attending Oklahoma Military School in Claremore, OK for 2 years.  Dave was a proud Sooner having transferred to the University of Oklahoma at Norman where he would eventually enter Medical School and spend his 3rd year training at Wesley Hospital in Oklahoma City.  David would also complete a Master’s Degree in Public Health at OU. 

David received a commission of Lieutenant Junior Grade in the US Public Health Services and spent 2 years working at the Marine Hospital in San Francisco focusing in bacteriology in the lab, before returning to Oklahoma where he would work at Muskogee General Hospital. He would then move to Baptist Hospital in Oklahoma City where he worked for 10 years as the Chief Medical Technologist and as an instructor.  Dave would eventually settle with his family in McAlester where he served as the Administrator of the Pittsburg County Health Department and then would be tapped to serve as Facility Director for the Choctaw Nation Health Clinic where David would also support the Choctaw Nation Healthcare Center in Talahina and clinics in Broken Bow and Hugo. David proudly served in the US Public Health Service for 25 years and retired with the rank of Commander. 

An active member of his community, David would serve as President of several community and civic organizations including the McAlester Recovery Center and the Kiwanis Club.   He was an active member of the United Methodist Church and served as a lay leader and Sunday school teacher in McAlester and Fairview. David had a strong Christitan faith and was active in the Gideons International leading local church presentations and serving as President of the McAlester Camp.  Following his retirement and relocation to Fairview, OK; David would be called to start a ministry at the Major County Jail. 

Flying was a big part of David’s formative years, but he would not obtain his personal pilots license until he turned 65 when he received flying lessons as a birthday gift from Jean.  David and Jean would spend their weekends flying across Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas visiting family and friends in their Cessna 150. David loved to share his passion for flying with others, he helped support the Fairview Free Fly-In and was always willing to take students up in his plane, inspiring several to learn how to fly.

David loved to share is love of the Lord, flying, running and his knowledge of laboratory sciences with others.   He loved his blended, extended family and most especially his beloved Beagle Buff, “the best dog he ever had.”

Services will be held at Quail Springs United Methodist Church at 14617 N. Pennsylvania, Oklahoma City, OK 73134 on Friday, August 16, 2019 at 1:30 p.m. In lieu of flowers the family requests donations be made to Gideons International or the Alzheimer’s Association.

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I was sitting in the back of the 4 seater ATV driving along the rough forest service roads that run through the mountains of the Rio Grande National Forest outside of South Fork, CO. As was the case last year I had ended up taking a week of vacation and traveling to my family’s beloved cabin which just my sweet puppy Eloise for company. As our group bumped along the road through forests of pine and aspen underneath a brilliant blue sky I inhaled the crisp air and thought why? Why am I not brave enough to do more things like this, to message a complete stranger and ended up seeing the mountains from a very different perspective as part of a guided tour. Why didn’t I spend more time outside camping, hiking, biking, kayaking when I was back home in Texas? Why did I still keep thinking in the back of my head that I needed the permission of my friends, family, peers to do the things I really want to do? Earlier in the week as Eloise and I were exploring some trails and alpine lakes we drove past a campground and there was a single woman, setting up her camp and I couldn’t help but feel a twinge of jealousy. How can she be so brave, what about the bears and mountain lions and the other things that go bump in the night? Did she have a chorus of well meaning people telling her its not safe to be out alone and to be careful? Maybe she did and maybe she didn’t care? I would guess by her outfit of a skirt and brightly colored knee socks that she didn’t really care what other people thought.

So how do I give myself permission to shape and reform myself into this wild woman that loves to be outdoors, that loves to be active and wants to explore these experiences that also quite frankly scare her too? How do I give myself permission to keep writing when the writing doesn’t flow and I am not experiencing the “Big Magic,” that Elizabeth Gilbert writes about in her guide to living a creative life? I am working to write my own permission slip; to write, to explore, to live a creative life and to become the wild woman I’ve always longed to be. To write and to share even when I’m certain the writing is not worth sharing. To live and to be and to stop waiting for someone to give me permission. I am learning to give myself permission.

Now I do realize that my solo endeavors concern some so to that end I am exploring and investing in ways to be safe, but still take chances. Before leaving for Colorado I did invest in a Garmin inReach Mini, a spot tracker that connects to the Iridium Satellite network and allows me to send out a link so people can track me and I can also reach the GEOS International Emergency Response Coordination Center if I should ever find myself needing help and not have cell phone service. I am also thinking about joining some groups for women that love to hike, camp and explore. I do take my personal safety seriously and try to reduce risks when possible.

When I started out on this trip I wasn’t really sure I why I was going and I was more than a bit hesitant when I pulled Oliver, my trusty Subaru out of my Mother’s driveway and pointed her West. I wasn’t certain why I felt the pull of the mountains this year and I was very unclear about what I hope to learn and discover on the extended break from work and real life in Dallas, TX. It’s almost sad to be here in South Fork in the empty cabin that was always filled with life when my Grandparents lived here during the summers. But I’m glad I’m here, I hope that someday I can make more than just a yearly weeklong visit, that I can share this special place with my nieces and nephew and maybe one day their children and I am holding out serious hope for a collective family vacation. The Mountains are calling and I must go and I am learning to give myself permission to go, to live, to explore to create.

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Going Back, but Moving Forward.

Its hard to believe, but it has been a year since I traveled to Oregon to participate in a bucket list event, the Wilder Running and Writing Retreat organized by Lauren Fleshman. I’ve never really written about the experience, there were lots of demons that surfaced that I’ve been slowly working through. The experience is also slightly tainted by the prolonged illness that my poor Eddie Fox suffered and to be honest I still have some guilt for leaving him as often as I did last summer. But the experience was one of transformation and growth and I wouldn’t change it for the world. I am grateful for my time in the Oregon wilderness.

This weekend some of my fellow Wilder Women have gathered at the Caldera Arts Center to reunite and light the Wilder fire again. In their honor I thought I’d share some thoughts on the experience and a new opportunity that has come to me. Sending love and peace to the women doing the work this weekend. Know that I am with you in spirit.

Want to go deeper? That was the question on the website in front of me. Did I want to go deeper? When the first email came out from the woman I basically idolize (Lauren Fleshman) asking if there was interest in a Wilder Alum Workshop, I thought to myself No!  I wasn’t ready to go deeper, I wasn’t ready to be just one of a very small group of women coming back to dive in deeper with the Wilder Writing and Running experience. I didn’t think I had fully processed my first Wilder experience from last year. So why had I clicked on the link for the application?  Why was I filling out the application and hitting send? I didn’t feel like I had progressed in my writing or running. If anything I felt like I had gone backwards in the months since journeying to Sisters, Oregon. I wasn’t certain I had worked through the self doubt and the feelings of being inadequate that I honestly battled during my first Wilder experience.  Last May I felt like a total dork trying to be cool around a pretty impressive group of women. I wasn’t certain I was worthy of a spot in a group of 10 women who were Wilder Alumni, what had I done with myself since leaving the Caldera Retreat Center in Oregon?

But here I was feeling the pull, wanting to go deeper, completing the application and hitting send hoping for another opportunity to really dive deeper.  A chance to grow and sit, with confidence at the knee of a teacher I truly admire. I think a part of me secretly hoped that I wouldn’t get selected, that the demand would be too great for the September session so it wouldn’t even matter; but here I am, the dates are booked on my work calendar, I’ve paid my registration fee and I’m already looking at flights.  I’ve also dusted off my copy of Writing Down the Bones and I am practicing, practicing both writing and running. Practicing some self love and self acceptance and working on owning my place in the circle of women that have shared this truly incredible experience. So in early September I’ll be headed back to Oregon, headed back to see what else I can unearth and to continue to develop 2 things that I love to do; run and write and to do both in a wild way.  

To my fellow Wilder women I thank you for sharing your time, your stories and love.  I thank you for continuing to inspire me and for giving me the strength to go back and to dive deeper. PC:@jesssbarnard

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APRIL 19th, 2019

Today is THE day… Today is the day I’ve been pondering in my head for weeks. What would I write today, what did I have to say that was different from what has already been said. I’ve written several posts both on paper and in my head and now that the day is here nothing seems right. I researched all the things that have happened on April 19th – like the first running of the Boston Marathon, Sally Ride being named the first female astronaut, the start of the American Revolution, the FBI raid on the Branch Davidian Compound outside of Waco, Texas and of course the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal building in Oklahoma City, OK on April 19th, 1995.

Next weekend I will stand on the start line of the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon for the 7th time to run the half marathon (and no I have not trained for a half marathon), but I don’t care. It’s important to me to be there to honor the 168 people that lost their lives while I sat in my 9:00 am Biblical Literature Class at Oklahoma City University, 2 miles from downtown Oklahoma City. I will show up because I don’t want anyone to forget what happened that day, I want to honor those that died and I want to honor those that I shared the experience with; my friends whose lives were changed forever on that day because we all lost something that day.

I know the world moves on and that for many they don’t even realize the importance of the day. There was nothing mentioned about the anniversary in my news feed this morning. But I remember. I will always remember, and next weekend I will #Run2Remember and I will run next year and the year after that and the year after that. I will run until I can’t run anymore and I will run for those 168 people that can’t. I remember.

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Today I choose to say yes!

Yes to being positive.

Yes to being grateful.

Yes to living life in ALL CAPS (Roche, D.The Happy Runner;

Yes to doing my best.

Yes to love.

Yes to making progress towards my goals.

Yes to early morning runs.

Yes to eating my veggies.

Yes to drinking water.

Yes to saving money.

Yes to saying Thank You.

Yes to saying, How can I help you today and really meaning it.

Yes to calling my Mom.

Yes to being present.

Yes to putting down my phone.

Yes to being brave.

Yes to breathing deeply.

Yes to being patient.

Yes to prayer and meditation.

Yes to appreciating the gifts of others.

Today I say yes to moving more and eating less.

Yes to writing.

Yes to ALL the things.

Yes to sipping coffee on my balcony as the construction site below slowly comes to life.

Yes to new possibilities.

Yes to changing my perspective.

Yes to showing up for myself.

Today I choose to say yes, what will you say yes too?

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My Monkey Brain

I actually had a completely different post planned for tonight. One about how I didn’t use to enjoy writing, how I struggled to complete my Junior High School writing assignments and how my time at Oklahoma City University with their Writing Across the Curriculum program and the inspiring direction of Professor Marsha Keller that I finally understood the mechanics of writing and it became a tool that would serve me for years to come. That post is for another day. Because today I had yet another freak out over Eloise my 5 month old Welsh Corgi Puppy.

If you follow me on Facebook or instagram you know that over the course of the past 3 months I’ve been a very anxious mother. The first week I was so worried I would “ruin,” Eloise. She proved to be a very picky eater and then she had an episode of diarrhea, then it was a hurt back leg and now I took her for her latest round of puppy shots and then let her play with her cousin, Millie the chiaweenie mix and at the end of the afternoon she’s whimpering and refusing to move. OMG, I broke the puppy by letting her play too hard after her shots. At least that’s where my monkey brain went. How would I get her to go potty, what about our next round of puppy class that starts tomorrow night, what do I tell the dog walker, what about her scheduled day of puppy day care. SO MUCH DRAMA and all in my head. As I write this the little angel is up and walking, has gone potty, eaten dinner and tried to play with two of her friends that we met while out on our walk. Eloise is fine. However, I wonder about her mother.

In my work life I’m in control, I’m professional, I can handle a crisis, an upset family member, a surprise visit from our regulators; I can tackle the most challenging of obstacles and I do it well with out a lot of emotional drama. So why can’t I handle a 5 month old puppy? Why do I continue to let my monkey brain run out of control when it comes to Eloise?

Is it that I have learned to listen to the voices in my head, that I don’t just quiet them with booze or food or excessive spending or hours in front of the TV? Am I learning to hear the fears, the doubts, the not nice things I think about myself and deal with them? Its not easy to learn to live with yourself, but I feel like I am. Slowly but surely I feel like I am learning to face the really messy parts of my life, the parts that I have chosen to ignore for years. I finally feel like the pieces of the puzzle of my life are starting to fit together and that Eloise is here for a reason, not just because I said yes to a Facebook Mess anger notice about an impossibly, cute Pembroke Welsh Corgi Puppy. For the first time in 6 years I actually have thoughts, very serious thoughts about putting down roots in the DFW area, not an easy thing for a gypsy like me to admit too. Thanks to Eloise I find myself connecting more with my family, spending less time at work and thinking more about how I take better care of myself.

I’d love to say I have some deeper more profound thought to share with you but I don’t. I think Eloise and I found each other for a reason. I think she’s helping me learn more about myself and that at the ripe old age of 45, I know who I want to be when I grow up. I’ll say I don’t really know what the future holds for this adorable puppy and I; but for the first time in a long time I’m excited and optimistic about where I’m headed and honestly I think where I’m headed is right where I am. “The world is round, and the place which may seem like the end may also be the beginning.” Ivy Baker Priest.

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