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Tuesday, May 31, 2011


Today, I will take time to be still, to go inside of myself and to nurture my spirit.

Today, I will take none of my loved ones for granted.

Today, I will spend time in nature, appreciating the beauty and wonder that is our planet.

Today, I will spend time exercising my body and my heart.

Today, I will take proper care of myself.

Today, I will only be a giver and receiver of positive energy. 

Today, I will only focus on the things that are truly important.  I will take a pass on "majoring in the minors". 

Today, I will let go of the past and direct my attention to the glorious present.  I will celebrate "my now".

Today, I will see past the actions of others.  I will not take offense.  I will love the person behind them.

Today, I will smile more, laugh louder and hug longer.

Today, I will forgive others but, more importantly, I will forgive myself.

Today, I will release the need to be right; to prove a point; to one up others. 

Today, I will embrace happiness over pride.

Today, I will tell the story the way I want it to be.  I will be the architect of my experience. 

Today, I will take back my power.

Today, I will celebrate LIFE.

I will revel in the magic of this moment.

The magic of today.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

May 25th

On this day in history, quite a few things happened.

In 1935, Babe Ruth hit his last home run.
In 1977, Star Wars opened in theaters.
And, in 2001, I got married. 

I clean up pretty good, don't I?

One of my closest and dearest friends, Michelle, stood up with us (we're in her living room):

And her two kids (Tanya on my left, wearing a pair of my shoes, and Jackie on my right) are just too cute not to be photographed:

Of course now, Tanya is a senior in high school and Jackie just finished her freshman year in college.  They both tower over me now.  And I'm pretty sure Tanya wouldn't fit into my shoes anymore.

It was a good day.

I met my husband in 1995.  We had a very long courtship, dating three years before becoming engaged and then living as fiance and fiancee for another three.  Witnessing the divorce of my parents, I was never quite sure how I felt about marriage.  I didn't know if it would be something I'd ever do.  But, after putting my husband-to-be off for months and months, I knew I had to either put up or shut up.

I think I'm a pretty good catch, but he's not going to wait around forever, nor should he.

So, we decided to have a simple ceremony on a Friday evening at the Pondview in Kingston with only three couples and the justice of the peace.  It was very informal.  Basically, we eloped.  Two days later, we hosted a Memorial Day weekend party at our place with friends and family.  At this time, we "broke the news" that we had tied the knot.  Our guests were completely shocked, but in a good way.  It was a fun way to begin life as a married couple.

So, what's marriage like?  Well, I can tell you first hand that the whole is only as good as the sum of its parts.  Both my husband and I have done lots of maturing, learning and growing, together and separately.  We're definitely not the same people that we were when we met over 16 years ago.

And for that, I'm so thankful.

I was only 23 years old when I was introduced to him.  I was still "under construction" and had lots of things yet to learn about life and my place in it.  And yes, I dragged my feet, finally consenting to exchanging vows over six years later, but I'm so happy we waited.  Lots of people marry young and then end up going their separate ways.  My husband was an usher in two weddings back in 1996.  Both marriages have since ended.

Hey, it happens.

Looking back over the past 10 years, I can honestly say that it keeps getting better and better.  We communicate much better than we ever have before.  As we grow and change (I picked up marathoning and he picked up golf), we support each other in our respective endeavors and interests, even if they are not shared.  We have learned the importance of being whole and healthy individuals, knowing that it only makes our union stronger.  The longer we have to love each other, the more we are able to understand and accept one another.  That doesn't mean we won't disagree, but we can deal with that.  We know it'll all work out.  And we trust that the other person won't give up, even when it's not all hearts and flowers.

Happy Anniversary to my husband, Michael.  Thank you for being such a great partner, person and friend.  Here's to another ten years.


Tuesday, May 24, 2011


It's the most irrelevant day of the week.


Aside from a few musical ditties paying homage, such as "Ruby Tuesday" by the Rolling Stones, "Tuesday Afternoon" by the Moody Blues and "Tuesday's Gone" by Lynyrd Skynyrd, there just isn't much there. 

Here, I'll show you what I mean:

Ever hear the expression, "negative attention is better than no attention at all"?  Well, that's Monday.  People "don't like" Mondays (The Boomtown Rats) and it's a "manic" kind of day (Thank you, Bangles).  The Mamas and Papas tell us you can't trust that day.  But, it's got a purpose (i.e. dragging your a$$ back to work, most likely).  And it gets lots of press.

Hello, Hump Day?  By now, you've worked two days and you have two days left to work.  It's the middle of the week and you can see the light at the end of the tunnel.  Wednesday's got some major street cred.  Plus "Criminal Minds" is on.  There you go. 

Have you ever been thirstier than on a Thursday???  This is the day that lots of folks get paid.  So, they go to their local watering hole and blow it all on copious amounts of booze.  Makes sense.  What else are you doing to do with your money?  Put it in your 401K???  Please.

Friday, I'm in love, Thank God it's Friday, Friday Night Lights and Black Friday.  Friday's got it going on.  It's my personal favorite day of the week.  I love the deliciousness of ANTICIPATION.  Waiting for the weekend has a certain excitement to it.  All the traffic in the world can't detract from the fun, frivolous nature of Friday.

Save hairdressers and retail employees, this is the first day you get to "sleep in".  You don't hear the repetitive boom of the alarm clock rousing you from your peaceful slumber.  You can stay in your pajamas as long as you want and watch cartoons all morning.  Or you can mow the lawn.  Personally, I'll take cartoons for $100, Alex.

Even God knows that Sunday is a big deal.  He RESTED.  Unless you are Catholic or Jewish (or agnostic), this might also be your church day.  Even retail stores open later than usual (at least they used to).  Some places won't even sell beer or wine.  Everything is different on Sunday.  Most runners do their long run on Sunday morning.  It's a pretty big deal.

What is the purpose of Tuesday?  Is it so we could have a seventh day of the week?  Aside from Election Day, do we really need it?

Well, whether we need it or not, it's here to stay.  So, we might as well enjoy it. 

How will YOU make Tuesday memorable?

Friday, May 20, 2011

It's the End Of the World as We Know It

"World serves its own needs, listen to your heart bleed, dummy with the rapture and the revered and the right, right. You vitriolic, patriotic, slam, fight, bright light, feeling pretty psyched." -- REM

Since I no longer watch the news, I'm not privy to current events.  However, I do have a facebook page with 397 friends.  Some of them still tune in, so I hear stuff.  The latest headline is that the world is supposed to end.

Like, tomorrow.  Have you heard this?

Harold Camping, Christian radio broadcaster and president of Family Radio, says that the rapture will be on May 21, 2011 and that God will completely destroy the universe five months after that.  He had previously predicted that this was going to happen in September 1994.

Well, we're still here.  And, chances are, we'll still be here on May 22 too.

I don't know about you, but I'm fairly certain that our planet is not in peril.  However, what if?

Can we play what if?  What if the world really was going to end tomorrow and all you had was today?

What would you do?
Where would you go?
What would you say?

Are there letters unwritten?  Words unspoken?  Hugs and kisses withheld?  Risks not taken?

I'm sure we all have some loose ends that could use our attention.  There is some internal housekeeping that we can take care of.  I know I could definitely use some quiet time alone to meditate...contemplate...refresh and regroup.

There's no time like the present.  Especially since that's the only guarantee we have. 

Maybe Harold Camping is a raving lunatic and none of this end days talk is coming to pass.  And, maybe there is a slight chance he has the inside track.  Who knows? 

Let's just play along.  If you knew you were going to die tomorrow, what would you do today?

Think about it. 
Come up with something.  Even if it's just ONE thing.
Be bold. 
Take a big step of faith and do that thing you need to do. 

"Life is a great and wondrous mystery, and the only thing we know that we have for sure is what is right here right now. Don't miss it." -- Leo Buscaglia

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Angry (not) Birds

"I hurt myself today.  To see if I still feel." -- Nine Inch Nails

I got angry this morning.

Wait, that's probably not accurate.

I EXPLODED this morning. 

I have been feeling neglected and left out by an old friend of mine.  I feel as though I have been doing more to maintain the relationship than he has.  The more I noticed it, the more I stuffed my disappointment, rationalizing my perception of his behavior as "me simply overreacting".  I made excuses such as "well, he's really busy".  But, I would notice him making time for and reaching out to other people. 

I felt completely excluded and cast aside.

After seeing yet another indicator of this, I completely blew up, which is not my nature.  I shot off an angry message to him letting him know that I was on to him.  He laughed it off, thinking I was kidding.  Even after I told him I was serious, he still laughed it off.

Again, I don't do angry well.  It's not my nature.  I'm pretty sure he knows that about me too because I really do think he believes I'm just f**king with him.

Well, let me just tell you, I now know why I don't.  It feels AWFUL!  After the back and forth exchange with my friend, I just felt hot and flushed.  My heart was pounding and my breath quickened.  I literally had to steady myself with both hands on the chair and put my head down in an effort to calm myself. 

This went on for a good 10-15 minutes.  And then, it began to lift.  I felt freer, calmer and more rational.

Know why?  Because I finally LET IT OUT.

You see, anger in and of itself isn't such a bad thing.  It's how we manage it that matters.  I was feeling hurt and left out by my friend and, instead of acknowledging my feelings, I minimized them.  I folded them up into teeny, tiny, little pieces and shoved them as far down as I could.  Essentially, I put a band-aid on a broken arm.  Judging by my reaction this morning, I have been doing this for quite some time; probably for at least the past couple of years.  My anger was an indicator that something was off with me.  It started off as a whisper, then a low voice, followed by a firm tone which crescendoed into a vicious scream. 

I finally got my own attention.  Thank goodness.

As a general rule, people don't like to feel pain.  Have you noticed this?  Why do you think headaches last longer than orgasms?  We prolong our own misery in the hopes that it'll just forget about us and move on to something or somebody else.  However, it's like deferring a student loan.  We get a momentary reprieve but one of these days, it'll be time to pay the piper and, believe me, it's much more expensive than if we had just settled up in the first place.

Get what I mean?

I'm breathing easier and deeper now and I feel much more clarity than I did before.  I have been feeling left out and cast aside from my friend.  On the one hand, friends shouldn't keep score.  However, if there is a pattern of one person doing all the rowing while the other person is just sitting in the boat, then there is a definite inequity going on.  I can either accept him for who he is at this moment and be honest with my feelings, giving him a chance to explain, or I can continue to reach out the way I have been and set myself up for more potential hurt and disappointment.  I think I can forgive him, love him and leave him be, while focusing on all the other good relationships I have in my life.  Sometimes, people change and the path of friendship divides.  It may rejoin at some point or it may not.  Regardless of what happens with us, I will instead remember all the good times I shared with him and appreciate what he brought to me.

The moral of the story, courtesy of Colin Powell? Get mad, then get over it.

On a lighter note, I've been wondering what the !@#*&^ I could write about this week. 

Problem solved.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Wrapping Up the Week

Making Conversation

One of our members (who might find me, um..."interesting") walked by the front desk on Monday, saying hello. I returned his greeting. He then asked, "did you have a nice Mother's Day?" Without thinking, I said, "I'm not a mother." I kinda think he was trying to just make conversation with me and I may have inadvertently embarrassed him. I just don't know how else I could have answered the question.

Taking Chances
I try to be a responsible runner whenever possible.  For example, I use crosswalks if I need to get to the other side of the street.  I used to stand there nervously until cars in both directions came to a complete stop and waved me on.  Now I just get in them and go.  I've had a couple of close calls.  However, I think the driver was more freaked out about it than I was.  Who says that running isn't a contact sport?

Sure I watch what I eat.  I watch it go from the plate to my mouth.  However, I stopped "watching my weight".  Cable TV is much more entertaining.

Another one of our members asked me what a particular ache & pain in her hand might be.  After I answered her question and suggested she do nothing to aggravate it, she countered, insisting that it didn't hurt "during lifting", only "after lifting".  It's always interesting to me when people want your advice/opinion and then, upon receiving it, want to debate with you.  I'm a personal trainer, not a politician.

Being Human
Anyone that's anyone knows that I view the glass as half-full, maintain a positive/optimistic outlook on life and strive to love all creatures.  However, even I know how liberating it can be to give someone "the finger".  We all have a 12 year old deep down inside that sneaks out every once in a while.  Kind of like when your toddler learns a curse word (from you, most likely) and you know you shouldn't laugh when they say it, but sometimes you just don't want to help yourself.

I brought the red car into Sullivan Tire yesterday morning to have my passenger rear tire repaired.  The technician told me that yes, it was fixable, but I would need new tires soon.  I asked him how soon.  He asked me how often I replaced my tires.  I told him I wasn't sure, but I could tell him the last time I bought running shoes.  He chuckled.  Hey, I know what's important.

Time Out
I can use one.  I haven't stuck to my daily fifteen meditation period very consistently this week.  I realize that I don't feel badly about it because I shirked my duty/obligation.  I genuinely miss the quiet time.  Plus, I can feel my sarcastic inner child beginning to bubble up.  For that reason, I'm glad I missed a day or two.  Now I can begin anew, realizing just how important it really is.

Happy Weekend.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


"I just want, I just want love.  I just want something.  Something for nothing.  I'm a beggar and I'm a chooser.  I'm accused, I'm an accuser.  But nothing's unconditional." -- The Bravery

Unconditional love. 
Unconditional acceptance.

We all think about, talk about, and wish for it.  After all, it certainly is a nice idea, don't you think?  Imagine being loved and accepted by all people without conditions or limitations.

Total.  Absolute.  No matter what you say, what you do, or how you look. 

That's pretty awesome. 

I think the best example of unconditional love is the relationship between a parent and a child.  I know of one father/son duo in particular that exemplifies this principle.  Son keeps making self-destructive choices and father keeps picking up the pieces.  That doesn't mean that father doesn't dislike the behavior (I'm sure he wants better things for his child), but he loves his son.  He seems able to separate the act from the perpetrator of it.  Speaking from a "childless by choice" perspective, I wonder how he hasn't disowned him by now.  I think I would have changed my phone number.

I guess that's why I'm not a parent. 

But, I digress.

The question here really is:  are we willing to love and accept others unconditionally first?  Is that where it starts?  With us?

It's so much easier to point the finger at others who criticize or disagree with us, as if to say, "if only you would think, talk and act differently, this world would be a much better place."  Come on now, we've all done it.  I know I have. 

For example, I was reading some facebook postings the other day about running with iPods.  Half of the people who commented were supporting the idea of running with music.  The other half condemned it, citing it unsafe and an unfair advantage to use in racing.  Depending on what side of the fence you sit on, I'm sure you have an opinion.  Personally, I run with music 80% of the time.  I wear it on most, if not all, of my solo runs.  I have worn it at races ranging from 5K to marathon distance.   I know lots of runners who don't agree with me for doing it.  At first, I used to feel defensive if people made fun of/criticized me for running with headphones, saying things like, "that makes you a jogger, not a runner." 

But, then I realized I was defensive and argumentative because I felt insecure that they didn't accept me.  It wasn't their words; it was how I responded to them.  Perhaps THEY feel that THEY wouldn't be a real runner if THEY wore headphones.  So, what they say is much less about me and my iPod and more about themselves.

Either I change my behavior (i.e. don't run with headphones) to please them, or I accept them for who they are, opinions and all.  Neither one of us have to be right or wrong, necessarily.  We just get to choose for ourselves.  Their choice doesn't have to affect me one way or the other, nor mine them.

It's okay to be okay with someone who may not be okay with you, but if you're not okay with you to begin with, then it's damn near impossible.  (You know, that whole, "I'm OK, you're OK" thing).  I obviously didn't unconditionally love and accept myself for running with music. If I did, I wouldn't have been offended.

In my quest to be a positive and optimistic person, I've also become more aware of how I talk.  It's a work in progress, but I'm doing pretty well with it.  Basically, I'm focusing on speaking only of the things that I want more of in my life.  You know, the good stuff.  In the process, I've also become more aware of how other people talk.  Here is a conversation I had with one of our members this morning.  I'll call him "SA":

SA:  (standing by the front desk, looking out of the window) It's so rainy and dreary out.
ME:  Well, it depends on your perspective.
SA:  (laughs) Well, it's not in here.  (points) I mean out there.
ME:  Still depends on your perspective.
SA:  (looks at me quizzically)
ME:  Rain is just that, rain.  It doesn't have to be good or bad.  It just is.
SA:  (laughs again, shakes head, and walks to locker room)

Lots of people don't like cloudy, rainy days.  It takes a lot more focus to find good in them than it does the sunny, warm ones.  So, I certainly understand his reaction to the weather.  And sure, it would be nice if everyone around you opted to have a sunny dispostion regardless of what was going on outside.  However, you can't control your environment.  That goes for the people in your life as well as the weather.  Focusing on what you can control is the only option, and the only thing you can control is you.

Making peace with things as they are and appreciating the people and things in your life for the good they bring you is the path to unconditional love and acceptance.  After all, like attracts like.  If you want to be loved, be loving.  Gandhi said you must be the change you wish to see in the world.  When you realize that other people don't have to change in order to please you, that world becomes a pretty cool place to hang out in.

"The ultimate lesson all of us have to learn is unconditional love, which includes not only others but ourselves as well." -- Elisabeth Kubler-Ross


Friday, May 6, 2011

And the Winner is...


Since the summer of 2009, I've had a running coach.  It's been great for me, because all I have to do is look at my email.  Voila.  There's my workout.  Plus, having an objective person calling the shots is always a good idea.  They're more removed from the process than you are, therefore, they can make more pragmatic, logical decisions.  I always felt better "taking time off" in the interest of my health when it was coach's idea instead of my own. 

I've had two coaches with slightly differing plans and philosophies and I believe I'm truly richer and better prepared for having worked with both of them.

In the midst of my recovery from Boston, I pondered my next adventure, which is the 2011 Chicago Marathon.  How will I prepare?  Will I use the tried and true methods of Bachelor #1 or Bachelor #2?  Or will I go trolling for a new guru?

The answer is none of the above. 

Instead, I will coach myself.  I mean, after all, I'm a RRCA Certified Running Coach, as well as an ACE Certified Personal Trainer.  It's not like I'm unqualified or anything.

Now, I know what you're thinking:  those who can DO; those who can't COACH.  It's a humorous quote, albeit not 100% true.  I know lots of coaches who still compete and put up pretty respectable race results.  It's possible to be an athlete AND a teacher at the same time.    

I was having dinner with my friend, Leigh, last night and shared some of this with her.  She agreed with me that it's hardest to coach yourself, probably for the reasons I outlined above.  But, how better to make my bones as a running coach than to take on the toughest client first, right?  I mean, if I can handle working with myself, then the sky's the limit with other people.  I have always had an easy time guiding others, monitoring their progress and adjusting their program if and when it was necessary.  I would pay attention to their performance and could tell if they needed more or less.

Now all I need to do is apply that to me.  In the words of Patti & Warren Finke, co-authors of "Marathoning Start to Finish", workout schedules are guidelines not requirements.  Your body is different every single day.  Life stress is total, which means you can't isolate your training threshold from the rest of your life.  Some days you are strong and powerful with seemingly limitless energy.  Other days, it's all you can do to just reach for the remote control.

Pencils have erasers for a reason, you know.
So it's settled.  I'm going to hire myself.

And, when I PR in Chicago on October 9th, you can hire me too.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


This morning, I was at the front desk, designing my lunchtime muscle class format.  One of our members came out from the weight room to grab a towel.  She asked, "got any more marathons coming up?" 

I replied, without looking up, "Yes."

"Where?" she asked.

I returned her gaze, smiled and said, "somewhere."  She kind of smiled back.  And then, I just heard myself say, "I prefer to keep my running exploits private." 

It was like diarrhea of the mouth (please pardon the vivid imagery).  My words just...came out without much warning or control on my part.

She said, "oh, sorry..." and began walking away. 

"That's okay!" I called after her. 

I sorta felt bad.

And then, I decided it might be good to talk about it.

I mentioned in a previous post that I was learning the fine art of setting boundaries, thinking that perhaps it was a byproduct of aging.  In the past, I didn't really mind having my whole life out there for all the world to see.  I didn't mind who knew what about my personal life and interests.  Somewhere along my physical trail, that kind of shifted and I'm not quite sure when, how or why it did.

It's been well over two weeks since Boston.  I assumed people would have stopped asking me about it by now, but I'm still getting questions (four this morning, as a matter of fact).  On the one hand, I feel like I should be flattered that people find me and my life interesting enough to ask.  However, I'm kinda tired of talking about it.  And I suppose I'm not 100% comfortable with saying that out loud.

My business is all about customer service, whether it be selling/renewing memberships, teaching group fitness classes or training clients one on one.  I'm constantly interacting with people and have all kinds of professional relationships to maintain.  I suppose in those instances, there is some give and take in terms of sharing experiences but I'm getting to the point where I'd rather keep things in the general sense. 

The best way I've found to say it is:  It's one thing to talk about "running".  It's another thing to talk about "MY running". 

Perhaps that's why I like the blogging so much.  It gives me an opportunity to share the things I want to share about myself with the people that care to read them.  It's also super duper therapeutic for me to have an outlet to make sense of all the thoughts and emotions I have.  I do enjoy it, obviously, or else I wouldn't do it.  I mean, I share the link to my blog on FACEBOOK, for crying out loud.  I'm not THAT private.  But, it's different to tell a story in a blog format once, not to mention easier.

It's important to add that I genuinely like the vast majority of the people I work for and with.  Our members are great people and they all treat me well, including the person who asked me the question this morning.  I enjoy conversing with all of them, particularly the ones who take my classes or share my love for running.  Sometimes, you become friends with people you meet in a professional setting. I can think of several folks who I've run races and socialized with.  However, it's a little different when you connect with someone on a personal level.

I'm guessing this has been building for some time now and I just didn't realize it.  Or, more accurately, perhaps I did and I felt guilty for wanting to keep my private life, well, private.  Almost like I should have to apologize for not wanting to be an open book. 

I'm still sorting it out, but I'm aware of it now and, as we all know, awareness is the first step to finding balance.  I recognize the urge to retreat inside myself every now and then.  I feel a little tension when I get asked a lot of questions from people that I don't have a personal relationship with. 
There, I said it.
"Never apologize for showing feeling. When you do so, you apologize for the truth."
~Benjamin Disraeli