November 5

Today I want to try something different, today I am going to do a timed writing session using a prompt that I chose from my magical bag of writing prompts that Lauren Fleshman gave each participant during the Wilder Alumni Lab she hosted last year.   The purpose of this challenge is to resurrect my writing practice so tonight I am going to do just that, practice.  Honestly, left to my own devices I never seem to find time to write.  I’ve tried a few guided on-line writing programs, but I eventually lose my way.   The idea of this challenge is somewhat overwhelming tonight, but I am committed to seeing this through.  And even though my inner critic is cringing inside I present to you a 10 minute free write based on the prompt, Instead of Giving Up:  

Instead of giving up: 

Instead of giving up, I choose to get out of bed and to keep moving forward.  One step, one minute, one hour, one day at a time.  The feeling of fear, the anxious thoughts were truly overwhelming; but my job was to figure out the next steps to understand a quickly changing environment and do what needed to be done to protect my residents and my staff from this unknown and unseeable threat known as Covid-19.  

Instead of giving up I learned to shut down and turn the world off when I needed too, to find refuge and solace in tales of other people’s travels and adventures.  To join their pateron groups, follow their YouTube channels and start to dream of a day when I too could camp out underneath the stars, through-hike the Colorado Trail or the PCT or any of the long trails really, to pack up my life in a tiny RV and hit the road.  

Instead of giving up, I pushed forward and figured out if others could so could I.  That I didn’t need to wait for a race or a group trip to plan my own adventure.  That all I really needed was a tent, the ability to start a fire and my own desire to set off into the world. To see life differently, to change my perspective on how I saw things and to not wait for the time and the circumstance to be just right, they will never be just right.  We only grow older, accumulate more things, more debt, more sitting around, more wondering what if.  If this Covid experience has taught me anything, it’s to never give up.  To challenge conventional thinking, to stop saying one day and to start saying today. Today I will go for a hike, today I’ll choose to buy less stuff, watch less TV, spend less time on Social Media and go out and make the life I want to live instead of saying some day…some day might never come. 

Instead of giving up I choose to embrace new challenges, to be open to possibilities and to never assume that I can’t do anything that I set my mind too.

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November 4

So how are you all doing friends?  I think now it is appropriate to say it’s okay to not be okay.  2020 is a year that just continues to hand out the hits.    Here we are in the middle of the mess that could only be a Presidential Election in 2020.  I keep wondering what lessons are we supposed to be learning from this collective experience of living through a global pandemic and the toll that 2020 seems to be taking on all of us.  I can’t begin to express or understand all that many are feeling tonight as we wait to see how this latest chapter will end.  I won’t even begin to try. 

Instead I am going to stick to my nightly gratitude list, while I continue to sketch a more detailed post on where I am in life.  I hope that this evening you are still able to find something good in the day.  Today I am grateful for: 

  1. I am grateful for renewed connections with old friends 
  2. That social media can bring people together when used properly 
  3. The brilliance of Schitt’s Creek, yes I am taking a break from my Hallmark Christmas Movies tonight 
  4. That even though I made mistakes today, I get to try again tomorrow 
  5. A good yoga practice 
  6. Colleagues that continue to inspire and amaze me 
  7. A good salad for dinner
  8. The miracle of making beans in the insta pot 
  9. I have a good job, and while it can be stressful I love my work 
  10. Christmas lights on my patio 
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November 3

Today I feel the need to keep things simple. I know there’s a lot that has already been said about the current political environment and most of us are waiting on tenterhooks for the results of tonight’s election; I am not certain what more needs to be said so I am offering up my one and only pray for tonight – “Let there be peace on Earth and let it begin with me.” Regardless of the results or lack there of, I am committed to learning more about the world that people of color experience, to be a better leader, to look for opportunities to be kinder, to make life better for those around me, and to leave the world in a little better shape than how I found it.

Today I am Grateful For:

  1. A space to share my thoughts and friends that have reached out to support my challenge.
  2. Friends that served as poll workers during early voting and today to ensure that all who wanted the opportunity were able to vote.
  3. A community that makes work feel like home, even on the hardest day.
  4. The right to vote. The 19th Amendment giving Women the right to vote was ratified in 1920.
  5. My zippy Red Volvo (yes friends I traded Oliver in for Roxanne) a Red Volvo XC40, I refer to her as my Covid car and I do enjoy driving her. Tomorrow she’s getting a tow bar installed so we can officially start shopping for teardrop campers.
  6. Heated steering wheels, yes you need one.
  7. Another week of negative Covid tests for me and my staff.
  8. Shooting stars, and making wishes – I saw one tonight as I was leaving work, which I think must be a good sign.
  9. Hallmark movies – inspiration for what might be my best idea for an employee engagement/appreciation event EVER! The Winter Festival.
  10. Flannel sheets on my bed even though its currently 74 degrees in my apartment with the windows open and the ceiling fan on. I’ll probably turn the AC on when its bed time.

Prayers for peace, love and that calmer heads will prevail.

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November 2 – Birthday Wishes

November 2. 

Today I would like to use this space to honor two amazing women that celebrate their birthdays on this 2nd day of November: my Mother, Jean Galloway; and my Ironman Life Partner, Scarlett May (although I suspect we are both not anywhere close to being ready to compete in an Ironman.) 

There was a time in my life when I fully believed that my Mom’s soul purpose in life was to ruin mine.  I did my best to make her life the true nightmare that raising any self respecting, rebellious teenage daughter should be.  I am grateful that she never gave up on me and that when it was painfully obvious I couldn’t attend the super cool state school that I had my heart set on without accumulating a mountain of student loan debt; she stepped in and got me lined up to attend a small, private liberal arts college that at the time was willing to give a Methodist Minister’s daughter an almost full ride for 4 ½ years.   When I landed a prestigious internship at the John F. Kennedy Center in Washington, DC my junior year of college; my Mother not only helped me find a place to live, but forced me to reach out to organizations to help fund my trip to make this dream possible.  She willingly boarded an airplane just weeks after 9/11 to travel to Pittsburg, PA to help me move to Kansas City. She’s spent countless hours at the finish lines of many marathons patiently waiting for me to finish.  She supports me, helps me to dream big and encourages me to go after those dreams.  I know that I would not be the woman I am today without her never ending love and support. Happy Birthday Mom, I Love You! 

Scarlett May is a true force of nature and the fiercest of women!  She loves passionately and will move heaven and earth for those who are fortunate enough to call her a friend.  Scarlett  works tirelessly to make the world a better place.  She’s raised two human beings that will most definitely make the world a better place.  Scarlett has encouraged me, supported me and taught me to embrace life with abandon.  To run with your eyes shut and an open heart, the importance of jumping in lakes at a moment’s notice, and that it’s okay to be a stressed out mess when raising a new puppy.  Scarlett’s ability to face a challenge with a certain joie de vivre inspires me to chase after my own dreams.  Thank you for being my fierce friend Scarlett May, Happy Birthday! 

I wish I had more elegant words to honor these two women. I am so grateful to have them both in my life; I know for certain that I am a better person thanks to them both. I can’t think of anything more to be grateful for today – My Mom and a dear friend.

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November 1

Well we made it to November…I’m not sure if that’s something to be proud of or if we should just all be relieved that there are only 2 months left in the nightmare that has been 2020. Over that past few months I’ve had many inclinations to sit and to write, but I’ve struggled to put paper to pen and have never really felt like what I had written was worth sharing. But recently I’ve started to think and imagine new things and I want to share the story and I realize I need to practice, practice, practice.

To that end I am challenging myself to post once a day, everyday for the month of November. It might be that I only post the things I am grateful for, like today. There might be more to share about my new found interests in camping, traveling solo and possible adding a small teardrop trailer to my family. Who knows what will come out, but I am just going to put it out there and not worry about whether or not its good, or if anyone reads it or cares. I want to find my voice, share my story and hopefully but a little something positive out into the world that might shine some light into the darkness.

To kick off this month long journey I am going to keep it simple and share 10 things I am grateful for. I know this might seem simplistic, but I have found that during some particularly low moments in 2020 the act of writing down a few things I am grateful for at the end of the day has helped me. It helps me to not feel so lost, hopeless, and defeated. I challenge anyone that reads this to give it a try. Join me in cultivating your own practice of gratitude.

10 Things I Am Grateful For Today:

  1. Time with family. One of the reasons I moved to Dallas was to be closer to my family, and now that my mother has moved to the area its nice that we can meet up for a walk, have Sunday dinners together, play games and just be together without a 3 hour drive.
  2. Friends that understand your new favorite game – Allergies, Flu or Covid? Can laugh with you at the most absurd things even though you all live in different states and have only seen each other in person once this year.
  3. Cooler Weather – I prefer living in sweatshirts and leggings and I love my stocking hats so bring on the cooler temperatures!
  4. Christmas Music, sorry not sorry it makes me happy and I listen to it first thing in the morning.
  5. Hallmark Christmas Movies. There are no political ads on Sling TV for which I am grateful and these movies make me happy.
  6. Colleagues that don’t ever give up and work together to do amazing things for each other and our residents all while practicing social distancing and wearing appropriate PPE.
  7. Eloise and Gracie, fur children are the best children.
  8. New ideas and dreams.
  9. People willing to share their stories and experiences that inspire others.
  10. Virtual Church, sorry but I love being able to connect with my church home while still wearing my stinky running clothes with a warm cup of coffee.

What are you thankful for?

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New Normal?

Happy Easter Friends!  I think we are probably all hanging on to our sanity by a thread, at least that’s how I feel.  Everytime I sit down to write I just don’t know where to start or how much can really be shared.  Sometime this past week, I can’t tell you what day, I heard Cheryl Strayed interview one of her former writing teachers on a new podcast called Sugar Calling.  He was extolling his students to write, to keep notes, to memorialize our COVID-19 world and to write about it later to help us all process what happened and hopefully help future generations learn from this experience.  So to that end I’ve decided that I want to try to post at least once a week. I want to share things through my point of view, what I and my family and my community are experiencing. I might write about nothing or everything, I am just going to write. So here goes, here’s my first of what will hopefully only be a few check-ins. 

I had started off with the intent of writing about Easter and the new world order we live in and how we all experienced this holiday differently, but honestly I am going to be self indulgent and talk about running.  Running has been an escape for me for years so it was devastating when early on into this crisis my body and mind conspired against my heart and running just wasn’t happening. I can only describe what I experience, but I know from posts in several of my running related Facebook groups that I was not the only one faced with this challenge.  Work very quickly became all consuming, and it seemed like the rules were changing by the minute. I was the focal point for upset and stressed employees and upset and stressed family members. When I wasn’t at work, the waves of exhaustion were just too much. I am certain that it was the sum total of exhaustion, stress, anxiety, depression, fear and well ALL OF THE THINGS.  There was a solid 2 week period where my body just couldn’t run despite my best efforts. I saw a post making the rounds of how what we were experiencing was trauma, and I believe 100% that this is true, I was experiencing trauma and my body and mind were doing their best to keep me focused on the task at hand. 

It’s hard to lose a thing that has been such a vital part of your life for so long.  While I was watching my fitness slip away, I was also watching every race I was signed up for being canceled or delayed.  Granted canceled or postponed races don’t compare to the many layers of heartache and loss this pandemic has created for many around the world, but still it was one of many tiny losses that was chipping away at my spirit.  Fortunately, I had decided to work with a coach last year who has been nothing but supportive and understanding. A coach that now sees a week with 3 runs, albeit short and slow runs, as a success. Who continues to check in and hasn’t told me that my A race in August is probably out of reach at this point.  I can’t tell you what it means to have someone like that in your corner, thanks @ultraninjarunnr. 

So, I am working on creating space in my life for running again.  While the situation at work is anything but normal, I think my body has come to accept that this is the new normal.  I can see the spikes in my heart rate that are related to some event at work and know to back off on those days, I am following the MAF method running slow, sometimes even walking to keep my heart rate low.  I’m not running far, and I am not running fast; but I am running and every run feels like a small victory in my own personal battle with COVID-19. I am adjusting to my new normal, a new work schedule, new responsibilities and coping with the constant low level hum of anxiety that just seems to be.  I am learning to “Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror. Just keep going, No feeling is final.” – Ranier Maria Rilke.  

I am not certain where things stand for me and my A race, The Transrockies 6 Day stage race.  I’ve dreamed of running this race for years, but I am not certain how I can train for a 120 mile race at altitude right now.  I know my primary focus needs to be on keeping myself healthy so I can continue to show up and be present at work, that for now work really does need to be the priority.  So I am just leaving it out there to see what happens. The race director has already offered to allow people to automatically defer into 2021 and I am keeping that option in my back pocket, I might also consider dropping down to one of the 3 day options and then volunteer for the other 3 days.   I don’t know what the answer is right now, I just know that I need to be kind to myself, be okay with where I am right now and let the future take care of itself. So I will continue on, taking each day and each mile as it comes.  

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Star Date 3.24.2020

So I’ve been stuck on the movie Star Trek  Beyond with my boyfriend Chris Pine, after seeing part of the movie at my Sister’s house a few weekends ago.  It is very possible it was last weekend, but I honestly can’t say for certain; the days seem to run together just like they did for the crew of the Starship Enterprise as they explore the outer regions of space.  How long have we been at battle with this unknown invader we call COVID-19? I am finding it hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel and to imagine what life will be like when we’ve returned to normal. 

So anyway, back to Star Trek, it’s become my touchstone, my call to action and courage as I and my team deal with the challenges that present themselves in the current world.  I’ve taken to listening to the Beastie Boys’ Sabotage on my way to work as it’s the song the crew uses in the highpoint of the movie to fight off the swarm of invading aliens.  I choose to think of our team as the crew of the Enterprise coming up with creative and clever solutions to ward off the current plague of invading aliens; as we find ways to ensure our residents stay connected to their family and to each other when we have to close our doors to visitors and can’t allow groups of resident’s to congregate together.   

But I confess that unlike Captain Kirk, I find myself having moments where I question my ability to lead, my decision making processes and my ability to control and manage my emotions.  Yesterday was a good day, I felt great and was very positive about all that we were doing and how I was managing life. Today, I woke up feeling tired and overwhelmed and unable to clear the fog that flooded my brain with the first COVID-19 related call of the day.  Sadly my relationship with running has not been going well and I’ve been turning to sleep and in action when I am not at work. But when I am not at work I am still checking email, responding to text messages and spending an inordinate amount of time on conference calls. It’s hard to turn off the worry that we are missing something, that if I go to the store or pickup take out that I might come in contact with someone that is an unknown carrier and that I will then bring it back to work. It’s just hard.  

At the same time I recognize that I am blessed in so many ways.  I work in healthcare and am definitely essential, I also am fortunate to work for a great company with smart, courageous, and compassionate leaders and I couldn’t ask for a better team to have standing beside me through this whole ordeal.  I am also grateful that I have a great support system in my sister. She is willing to do the grocery shopping, errand running and is letting Eloise hangout at her house while I am at work. I am extremely grateful that I have her and my brother in-law and that my mother made the decision to call Highland Springs home about 2 weeks before this whole mess began.  I can still travel freely, get outside in the sunshine and I am allowing myself to share in the messages of support being given to healthcare workers. 

So I am still here, I have no idea how many new COVID-19 cases there are in the world or the DFW Metroplex, I recognized enough to understand that I did not need to listen to the news today and that I needed to settled for a great episode of On Being featuring Glennon Doyle and Abby Wambach (episode #696).  No I don’t want to be ignorant of what is happening in the world, but I also can’t live it 24/7, I need to escape. I need to sit on my couch, drink a glass of wine and travel to a different world where Captain James T Kirk and his loyal crew always defeat the enemy. And I choose to believe that I and my crew will defeat this enemy.

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Now What.

I’ve been itching to write all week, but honestly I’ve been on complete overdrive trying to process all that is happening in my world of work as the Director of a Long Term Care Facility that is based inside a Continuing Care Retirement Community.  We started preparations and precautions last week; daily calls, enforcement of an already tight response process to any type of flu, upper respiratory, or GI Virus that while inconvenient for you and I, can prove deadly for the residents that call our community home and once a bug gets in the door it can spread quickly and wreak havoc.  I thought we were okay, yes the daily calls were an annoyance and sometimes redundant, but I also counted myself lucky to have the benefit of a larger company backing and coordinating our efforts. I was mildly concerned about reports of people hoarding isolation masks, gloves, toilet paper and antibacterial wipes and sanitizer, but really we were okay.  I had an underlying sense of concern, anxiety, but when I left work last Saturday I felt confident that we were well positioned to act quickly and all would be well with just a few minor tweaks to our normal day to our normal routine. 

And then our world turned upside down. Honestly it feels like there is no normal right now, as soon as I think I have an handle on the guidance passed down by our regulatory agencies it changes again.  I feel like I am constantly on alert, trying not to focus on the news and the sense of anxiety the mass media is so cleverly crafting; but I also have to be mindful that any inadvertent contact puts my community at risk; residents, staff, and my own Mother.  Do I go to the store? Do I dare go out with friends? Is it possible to wipe down all of the elevator buttons and door handles in my apartment building? My mind is on constant “go,” thinking through all of the options, trying to figure out how to respond to all of the questions from friends and family that just want to see their mother, father, sister, brother, grandparents and I am now the primary gatekeeper and decision maker as to who gets in and who doesn’t.  What if I let the wrong person in? It’s a lot to process and a lot to carry. I realize that I in no way carry this burden alone, I have a great team; but it’s a lot. 

I’ve managed the full scale evacuation of a mid-sized CCRC, I experienced the Oklahoma City Federal Building Bombing, and lived through 911; but there is no comparison to this COVID-19 World that we are currently all in habiting.  I want to turn it off, I want my brain to just let it all go. I’ve tried running – but my body just can’t right now, I’ve been attempting a daily meditation practice and while that does help some it is still a challenge to calm my thoughts and just rest.  To trust that I am a strong, resilient woman that has been placed here for a reason. I can and will rise to the occasion and do my best to ensure my residents and community are safe. But I think it’s okay to feel and live the anxiety, fear, and worry. I am working hard to recognize and allow the feelings to just be – naming them, accepting them and then moving on.  It’s okay, to feel all of the things. It’s okay to not know what to do so you go buy all the bananas at the Kroger, just please be sure to bring me some banana bread!

So what now?  Churches are closed, stores are reducing their hours, races are cancelled, and at work we will be quickly dealing with another set of regulations that will make life 10x harder for our nurses,  care associates, residents and family members. But what now? How do we move forward? Is this a new world order or will we find our way back to life before COVID-19? I wish I knew the answers to those questions.  Family members that I talk to want to know how long, how long will these restrictions last, how long until I get to see my mom? What happens when the next super virus spreads through the community? Will we be forced back into a world of separation and disconnection?   I think right now I have more questions than answers. I wish I had some prophetic words of wisdom, but I don’t. But in this new world of social distancing I want to reach out in one of the ways that I know how, to say to any one that reads these words that we are still a community, we are still friends, family, colleagues and most importantly loved.  We are. We are human and now more than ever it’s important to be kind to ourselves and to each other. To not brush off the feelings, but to not let the fear take control. Whatever you are experiencing right now, please know that you are not alone. We are in this together. I leave you with the only words of consolation that make sense to me right now, “Don’t fear, because I am with you; don’t be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will surely help you; I will hold you with my righteous strong hand.” Isaiah 41:10 CEB

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Cross Timbers Race Report

I’ve never been good at writing race reports.  I will start them and then I get mired down in minutiae and never get them finished or posted, a great example is my Ouachita Switchbacks 10 miler race report.   I started it, I wrote it out perfectly in my head; but getting it down on paper has been a real struggle. So on this dreary Sunday morning I am sitting myself down and I am writing out a race report for the Cross Timbers Trail ½ Marathon that I completed yesterday; Saturday, February 22, 2020 and I am going to post it with an effort to avoid over editing and over thinking; so here goes nothing. 

I put the Cross Timbers ½ Marathon on my 2020 Race Calendar as part of the build up to my Big Scary A race of 2020 – the Transrockies 6 Day Stage Race in August.  I haven’t been running big milage and I hadn’t been spending much time out on trails so given that this race is on a challenging trail that is within easy driving distance of home it seemed like a no brainer to sign up for.  A few years ago I had run the 5 mile option, but it rained up until the start of the race and the trail was a slip in slide of mud so not something I could really use for comparison with the half marathon. I knew the trail was a lot of up and down and that it had a reputation for being challenging; but after the 10 miler at Ouachita Switchbacks I was feeling pretty confident and wasn’t overly concerned.  I knew that I had a lot more in the tank at Ouachita Switchbacks and that I could have pushed myself a little harder so was looking forward to the challenge of Cross Timbers. 

The week leading up to the race was less than ideal.  I was late getting home from a trip up to my Mom’s on Sunday night and I have found that the older I get the harder it is to bounce back from a few nights of not enough sleep. Once I get out of my normal cycle I struggle to get back on track and find myself in a self destructive loop of plopping down in front of the TV after work and not getting myself into bed early like I needed too so I was short on sleep all week long.  Thursday and Friday brought surprise visits from our friends at the Texas Health and Human Services Commissions at work which always creates a big spike in adrenaline and cortisol; you can look at my heartrate on my watch and see the corresponding spikes, definitely not an ideal setup for a successful race on Saturday and of course I have to top it all off with way too much wine and high fat, salty foods at a work dinner on Friday night.  When the alarm clock went off on Saturday morning I was tired, probably a little hungover, a lot bloated, and definitely not feeling my best. A small voice in my head said don’t go, just tell people (my coach @ultraninjarunnr) that you’re sick and go back to bed. But I got up, made my coffee and toast and loaded up the car and headed out. 

Saturday couldn’t have been a more perfect morning; almost no wind, a beautiful sunrise and perfect temperatures.  I made the drive up to the trailhead on the shores of Lake Texhoma, picked up my race bib, hit the porta potty and made my final selection for a top – long sleeve Flyout with a tank top, my hydration vest and my long pocket jogger tights.  I really wanted to wear shorts and compression socks but I’m not feeling super great about my legs right now so the tights, which are pretty light weight and have great pockets were the next best choice.  

 

I made it back up to the start line with enough time to adjust my bib, hear the race briefing and line up with all of the other ½ Marathoners.  We started off by running a short loop around the parking lot with the idea that people would spread out before hitting the single track trail, but I ended up in a pretty large group of people as we hit the trail.  After the first uphill we started to spread out and I hopscotched back and forth with a guy that was speedwalking about as fast as I was running. He finally left me in the dust and I began the litany of beating myself up for all of the poor choices I had made leading up to this race – not enough long runs on trails, skipping out on one too many strength workouts, not getting enough sleep and most importantly drinking way too much the night before. I was feeling really rough and my legs felt super heavy and didn’t want to move.  I started to think about dropping at the first aide station, where the 5 milers turnaround, but decided that I needed to own my shit and just keep moving forward. My goal became to just make it to the next aide station which was the ½ Marathon turnaround, I would just “keep swimming.” 

Somewhere close to the second aide station I missed a turn and ended up on one of the alternate bike loops which gave me a few extra steps.  Several other runners seemed to make the same mistakes as I meet people coming and going on this little loop. As I made the climb up the infamous, “Stairway to Heaven,” which leads to the aide station I had no idea how I would turn around and make the return trip.  My Garmin had already clocked 7 miles at right about 2ish hrs into the race and I had not been staying on top of my nutrition and was probably over hydrated as my fingers and hands were swelling up. I hit the aide station and grabbed a peep, had a quarter of a pb&j sandwich and a little Coke and immediately felt better.  I stuffed some peanut butter crackers in my pocket for later and headed back out ready to finish what I started.  

Surprisingly I was feeling better and despite a cranky IT band and a sore foot I was still able to run.  I managed to pass a group that had been well ahead of me early on in the race and pretty much kept them behind me through the end.  I really worked hard on changing the script in my head. I knew what I needed to do to be more successful and to feel stronger. I knew the mistakes I had made, but I also knew that I could pretty much handle anything.  My A race won’t be easy, it’s 120 miles over the course of 6 days at altitude and you sleep in a tent. I need to be comfortable with discomfort; to not dwell in the noise in my head, the doubts and the self judgement. I need to Welcome myself where I am, embrace the moment and enjoy the experience.  

Once I got my head screwed on straight it felt like the section between aide stations flew by.  The 50k runners started to catch us as they were finishing their first loop and it was inspiring to see fellow Team Ninja athlete Jen Kirkpatrick pass me on a climb, making it look easy.  I hit the last aid station with a 50k Runner and took another swig of coke and headed out to finish the last 2 ½ miles. I started out with a fellow ½ Marathoner that I had seen at the start, as we started the climb out of the aid station he scooted over so I could pass him and I made it my goal to keep him behind me.  I managed to pass another ½ Marathoner and again made it my goal to keep them both behind me to the end. It was fun to cheer on the 50k runners as they headed back out and I made a point to say Good Morning and thank the Boy Scouts who were kind enough to step off the trail so the runners could pass. I made the last climb up Monkey Butt and I’ll confess that I took just a moment to raise my hands in the air and give a big whoop! I managed a run back down into the finish line and was grateful to get my medal and a bottle of water. 

My Garmin time was 4:39:47 and a distance of 14.16 miles.  Not exactly the race I wanted to have, but I am very happy that I pushed myself to keep going when all I wanted to do was quit.  I was grateful that I have been doing my core work and had a strong core to call on when I need an extra boost. I am also extremely grateful that I can have these experiences and that I have the support of friends, family, a great coach that is still positive when you have a bad day, and you just can’t beat the spirit of camaraderie in the trail running community.  I am actually looking forward to my next training block which will lead up to the OKC Memorial Marathon in April and the 56k at Possums Revenge in May. 

Onward and upward to the next challenge. I can tell you that I’ll be focusing more on my overall nutrition, strength training, and committing to executing on my long trail runs.  I’ll also be working on my mental game and making certain I am able to welcome myself where I am and not get mired down in regret and negative thinking.

 

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Permission Slips

I’ve been listening to Brené Brown’s Braving the Wilderness on Audible recently.  I know I need to shake things up a bit and thought her wisdom and insights on life might be a good place to start and I’ve had this book sitting in my library for awhile so why not started it on my commutes between work and doggie daycare?  One of the concepts she talks about early on is the idea of Permission slips, she talks about the first time Oprah tapped her to be on Super Soul Conversations and how she, Brene, physically wrote herself a permission slip to enjoy the moment, to be goofy and to have fun.  What a brilliant idea! My guess is that there are many areas, spaces in life where we need to give ourselves permission to be who we really are and to be true to ourselves. So I have decided to embrace this idea of permission slips and will be writing them to myself on a regular basis.  Here are some of the things I’m giving myself permission to do: 

I give myself Permission to… 

  • Not like JLo’s part of the Super Bowl HalfTime Show, I’ve never been a fan. 
  • Push my team at work to Raise the Bar.
  • Buy a new car
  • Stop indulging in self sabotaging behavior 

I give myself Permission to…

  • Write
  • Run Trails
  • To commit to my training plan, even my strength workouts 
  • To Be Successful 
  • To Be A Hot Mess 
  • To Lose the Weight
  • To Let my Gray Hair Grow Out – Maybe, I’m still not sure I’m ready
  • To No Really Care What Other People Think 
  • To Drink Less
  •  Eat More Vegetables 
  • Sleep More
  • Not Always Have My Sh&t togegther
  • To Have Fun
  • To Go Camping
  • To Have a Messy, Cluttered House 
  • To Be Grateful 

And most importantly I give myself Permission to Be Happy. 

What areas of life do you need to write to write yourself a permission slip?  

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