I’m sorry my blog has been silent for so long. I wish I could say it’s because I’ve been off on some far-flung adventure, but the truth is I’ve been in a funk. I don’t want to get political, but the madness that has enveloped our country has left me frustrated beyond belief and struggling to weave together sentences I’ve felt worthy of sharing, knowing what readers want most is to be inspired.
While my head and heart still continue to wrestle with a tangle of emotions, the one thing that consistently unravels all the BS and brings me back to my usual happy center is my fitness.
I’m sure you know what I mean when I say pure joy washes over me in the simple act of moving my body, breathing hard and sweating it out. It’s the perfect reminder that no matter what’s going on in the world, there will always be remarkable moments of aaaaaaaah that fill me with gratitude and remind me that life is freaking great.
Here’s what else is keeping me happy and sane….
1) Breathing in crisp, fresh air and reveling in the beauty around me, and exhaling all traces of the day’s latest toxic news. Being a speck in the universe always has a way of keeping things in perspective.
2) Setting goals–especially ones that make me stretch beyond my perceived boundaries. One in particular has me fired up right now–trying to qualify for Boston, and I’m happy to report I’ve got Matthew Tague in my corner again coaching me for a late spring marathon. My gut tells me this is the year to finally make this Boston thing happen, and I’m happily working my butt off to get my feet moving faster again after a year of Ironman endurance training. I think I can. I think I can. Bring. It. On.
3) Celebrating tiny victories like choosing a healthy kale, raspberry smoothie with protein over a vanilla latte, or a platter full of veggies during the Super Bowl instead of a pizza; or dumping Facebook off my phone to distance yourself from the craziness; or getting in bed early to immerse myself in a phenomenal book instead of watching mind-numbing television, knowing I’ll be far more inspired and also sleep better.
4) Coaching young runners and being surrounded by unrelenting joy and pint-size goodness. Kids always have a way of showing you how to be in the moment and enjoy what you’re doing while you’re doing it. There’s no overthink anything. There’s just unbridled energy and enthusiasm as they take on new challenges, and a huge sense of accomplishment afterward when they realize they can do hard things.
5) Acting like my shoe size, having a blast running in the pouring rain and reconnecting with my Oregon roots.
My poor dog wasn’t born with webbed feet like me, so although he’s a good sport, he still usually gives me “the look” on days like this.
6) Racing! While I always know it’s going to be a sufferfest, racing gives me a chance to push it hard, see where I’m at with my fitness and also celebrate our running community. There’s no happier place to be than the end of a race when everyone is flooded with endorphins and reveling in camaraderie while celebrating a sense of accomplishment, knowing they’ve started the day off in all the best ways.
7) Surrounding myself with a multitude of badass athletes in our local running community and being inspired by their energy and unstoppable attitudes. There’s no better way to keep you focused on being the best version of yourself than to surround yourself with people who live it daily and exude positive vibes wherever they go, especially while they’re putting in the work to make “it” happen.
Lynelle Paulick is the perfect example of this. Lynelle is a couple age groups above me, but she could kick most 20 year old’s butt. One morning last week she was out doing intervals, sporting her cleats, in preparation for the USATF National Cross-Country Championships, which took place in Bend, OR last Saturday. I’d just finished a spin class and a weight session, which left my legs feeling a little cement-like during my run, but chatting with Lynelle for a moment, and watching the effort she was putting in made my feet instantly feel lighter and quicker. It’s as if her energy suddenly wrapped itself around me as she blazed past with a huge smile on her face. Thank you Lynelle!
A couple days later I ran into my friend, Nash Jimenez, who was training for the same race, and in fact ended up being crowned the National Champ in his age group, running a blistering pace at age 67! Such a stud! Clearly, age is just a number. What I love about Nash is that he’s totally understated about his accomplishments, is fiercely competitive, and is always there to pump you and everyone else up, even if he doesn’t know he’s doing it.
And yep, he’s still jumping for joy over the sport we all love so much.
8) Spending time in nature, running on trails, hiking and enjoying a little dose of thunderous silence.
9) Feeling the buzz of adrenaline pushing it around the red oval again. I have a love/hate relationship with the track, but after being away from it for a year, it makes me happy to be back feeling my burning lungs and legs, and knowing it’s helping me get one step closer to qualifying for Boston.
10) Working out at the crack of dawn. I don’t do it every day, by any means, but when I do, I never regret the effort or the lost sleep. It’s impossible not to feel optimistic about the day ahead when you see the sun rise.
11) Music! It always lifts my spirits and transports me to my happy place. Combine it with a good run, ride or swim and batta boom…cue my friend Pharrell…”Clap along if you feel like a room without a roof…because I’m happy…clap along if you feel like happiness is your truth…because I’m happy…..”
12) Knowing that whenever caustic BS starts clouding my mind, the simple act of running will always bring me clarity and a sense of inner peace.
Happy trails to you all. I hope you are finding your happy place, despite all the nuttiness.
I’d love to hear from you! Leave me a comment. What is bringing you joy these days and helping you stay sane?