The past twelve months…

Twelve months ago I started a new venture,  I hung my running shoes up on the door and started my first teaching job. This was not just any ordinary teaching position. This one was special.  At first glance most would probably have ran out the door as quickly as possible with the idea of teaching where I taught, while others would have felt like it was their chance to portray  Michelle Pfeiffer in Dangerous Minds or Hilary Swank in Freedom Writers. I wont lie part of me liked the idea of changing the lives of inner city kids.

Twelve months ago, I had become weak! Twelve months ago, I walked through the doors of this High School looking to be challenged. Twelve months ago, I wanted to enter into to unfamiliar ground. I needed to be shaken. I was desperate to find the strength I felt like I had lost.

On the second day of school a student stood up and closed his notebook. I told the student it was not time to put things up, and that I was still going over our syllabus, He picked up his notebook and preceded to  through it right towards my direction informing me that he was done.

On the last day of school I had a room full of students who would not leave my classroom.  Several of them followed me out to my car begging me not to leave. My time with them had come to an end.

Did I step into unfamiliar ground?…. Yes!

Was I shaken?… Umm. TOTALLY!

Did I find the strength I had lost?… Most Definitely!

This past year I was challenged in a whole new way. I was given the mental and emotional strength I needed to continue on with my own dreams.  As the new year approaches, Good Luck to all my old students! I sure will miss you and you all will hold a special place in my heart!!

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Twelve Months ago, I started running again, with the hopes of setting my Olympic Trials Qualifying Standard. I ran a few races and ran the fastest 5k  since college. This really boosted my confidence to train harder and really commit to the work that needed to be done. I was looking to run in the Eugene Marathon this past May, When I was sidelined by yet another 2 stress fractures.  I was able to work my way up to a few 15 mile runs before these injuries crept into my bones.

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Twelve months ago, was the start of James’s 4th year of medical school. YAY!! He was almost done. I can not express how proud I am of him for working so hard through school. When May came around, I could not wait for him to walk across that stage.

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Which brings me to present day….. James has started his residency and is in the full swing of things.  While I have started training once again. Hoping these past twelve months have taught me and strengthened me to continue onward through my journey.

Stay tuned for updates..

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He can’t be stopped

One of the most humbling experiences is to watch someone else accomplish success. Words can not describe how fortunate I have been over the past 3 years. When I moved to rural Missouri 3 years ago, I had no idea my world would change so much. Two years ago I was introduced to a young man. I was asked to help this young man with his running. He had recently finished his freshman year of high school and did some amazing things in cross country and track that year. However, he wanted more. He had more drive and ambition than most high school students.  With my experience and love for the sport I could not say no to this opportunity. When I started working with Seth I had no idea where this opportunity would take me. All I knew is that I wanted to help him reach his goals.

His first cross country season we definitely set our sights high! Why not reach has high as possible. Going into the state meet as a sophomore we had both hoped for a State Championship title. Even though Seth ran an amazing race it just was not good enough to earn him the state title. I refocused my coaching and his running. Track season came and BAM!!! He did it. He managed to pull off 2 state titles in Track. I remember watching those races, there was a point I had to turn around and close my eyes I was too nervous to watch.  But he did it!! He won!!

Then I moved to Arizona. I was freaking out a bit inside hoping I would still be able to help him. I knew this year was going to be difficulty. I would not be able to watch him run once!! I would not be at one practice, or race!! I had to trust myself and him to know that we could still get in great training. I knew he had a shot and winning all three state titles this year. But this year was about more than winning. We wanted to prove that he can compete on any level. If he was going to win again this year, He had to really win! He had to blow his competition away. Unfortunately I was not able to sit in the stands this year and watch Seth race, but I was able to watch online!! Thank you internet!!! This year his first race was the 3200. I sat in my house, my heart racing!! There was no doubt in my mind that he wouldn’t be able to win, I just wanted him to break the state record.  As he hit the last lap I knew it was going to be close. He crossed the line at 9:39, which was 2.5 seconds away from breaking the record! SO Close!!! Not being able to watch him once this year really got to me. So being able to watch him meant so much. Yes, it is kind of bummerish that he didn’t break the record, but he did win and I am super pleased!! I was finally able to see him put all his hard work out there for everyone to watch! It was amazing to see how much stronger he has become over the past year.

The following day Seth was racing in the 1600 and 800 meter races. His PR is just shy of the state record in the 1600. If all of his workouts paid off he should be able to do something amazing. The weather was not ideal. It rained all day and all of the races got pushed back an hour. However, nothing could stop this kid. He approached the starting line ready to take on the record. The gun goes off and he is off. Lap by lap I knew it was going to be close. With one lap to go I knew he had a shot, but that would mean he would have to run just under 60 seconds for the last lap. I know he has that kind of speed. I sat patiently watching every step of his last lap. He crossed the finish line so fast I could not make out the clock. I immediately text messaged his mom asking if he got the record. She responded saying he was 1.02 seconds away from the record.  I felt so bad. I knew breaking both records were super important to Seth and he did not get either record.

Yes, I could be disappointed, but I am not.  He races well and gave it his best effort. In a way I am excited that he did not break the records. He has one year left, so he can get it next year. And he will not just be breaking the records by a second or two. He will slaughter the records. My wish for him is to run so fast next year that his records will stick for decades!

What can I say this kid can not be stopped!

Sour Lemonade

When life throws you lemons, what do you do???…. You make lemonade!! However, that lemonade is sometimes a bit on the sour side. But hey, at least you did the best you could right??!!!

Right now I have a whole pitcher full of sour lemonade and it is definitely not what I expected. I will take what I get and work with it.

To make the lemonade better, the best option is to add in a dash or two of sugar. Then the once bitter taste which causes our taste buds to clench becomes a nice sweet refreshing beverage.

I know in life you can not really just throw in a spoonful of sugar and then everything becomes perfect. However, we can encompass ourselves with people, places, and situations which make the gloomy days brighter.

I have had an opportunity to let my life and situation take me in two different directions. I have in the past taken the road which only leads to feeling sorry for oneself and being miserable. Let me tell you, it is not worth it. Never waste your time thinking about what could have been or what you should have done differently. When you find yourself in less than perfect situations find the good in it.  There will always be someone or something to help you when you are in need of a little sunshine.

To my surprise I have enjoyed the past 9 weeks more than I thought was possible. I have no idea how long I will be out for, but to be completely honest, it doesn’t look like it will be anytime soon.  The diagnosis is still kind of unknown for sure. When I know more I will update. For now, I just want to talk about the greatness of the past several weeks.

First off, Seth, has been running amazing, I truly wish I could be there to watch his races. With about a month left till State, I know he will surprise everyone with some epic times. Then there is Camrie, who is dedicating herself to this sport. She has dropped her times drastically since the start of track season. It is super exciting to hear about their races and workouts every week. Their positive attitudes are enough to make anyone smile. Then there is GCU. I was so glad I was able to travel to California with the team a few weeks ago.  Watching these kids race is so refreshing.

I have definitely found my happy place.  I truly love every aspect of this sport. Even when it hands me lemons. I may not be able to run, which I would love to do, but at least I get to be apart of so many other people’s journey.

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A General’s Daughter

 I cannot believe I was blessed with such amazing and successful parents.  My mom is one of the best educators probably in the entire world, and my father is one of only a handful of people who reach the title of General for the United States Military. One reason I have never given up on my dreams is because my parents never let anything get into their way of their full potential. I am pretty sure this trait was instilled in me at birth. If you want something bad enough then you go after it. Too many of us find excuses when life becomes difficult. I know for a fact that both of my parents have been through more than one should have to handle in a lifetime.  No matter what cards were dealt, both of them took what they were handed and made the best out of every situation. This kind of mindset is exactly what is needed to become great!

I am overly thrilled at my father’s current success. I can proudly say that I am the daughter of a United State General. I am a General’s daughter!! So what does this mean to me? This past week I learned the definition.

I spent the past several days in Washington DC with my Dad to celebrate his recent promotion.  Unfortunately the middle of winter is not the best time for celebrations. His promotion ceremony was canceled due to a snow storm. However, weather was not going to stop us from celebrating my Dad’s achievement. Instead of having a formal ceremony we winged it with our own intimate “mock” ceremony.

My Dad let me pin his Star onto his jacket, and he read through the speech he would have read if the ceremony was not canceled. Based on this inspirational speech I learned more than I ever knew about my Father. As he spoke chills ran through me, because I knew I was his daughter. The words of wisdom he spoke resonated with me. It is amazing how we can be so far apart our entire lives yet have such a similar mindset.

I believe a General’s daughter is just like her father. A general’s daughter is determined and passionate just like her father. Both my sister and I have very different passion, but we both have never let difficulty interfere with our destination. As my Dad read through his speech he mentioned how he kept a journal of quotes. These quotes were there to help him get through the times when motivation was difficult to come by. I loved hearing him say this; because I have my own little “book” of quotes I turn to whenever life throws me lemons. It was such a great speech and I saw so much of myself in him.

I believe if he can become great and accomplish the so called impossible, then I can too. How many people earn the title of General? Not many! I am fortunate to have his blood running through my veins. If I work as hard as him, I know I can reach my dreams too!

Congratulations Dad!

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My Dad, Nanette,and Me!

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The United State Capitol

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The White house, (from the front)

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The white house (from the back)

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Washington Monument

Ups and downs are part of this little thing called LIFE!

I might as well jump into the truth head first…Let’s just say it as it is… the past 3 weeks have been a bit of a rough patch in my life, training, etc. As I mentioned in the previous post wrapping up my performance at the local Turkey Day 5k, I have been suffering a minor injury leading up to the race. Once the race was completed, my coach and I decided with the big goals lying far ahead, it is best to take some time off. Trying to stay positive, I realize if I ever want to reach my full potential I have to be smarter than my old self. The truth is a little time off is not going to inhibit my future performances, pressing onward without a doubt would affect my future training. TEN steps forward TWO steps back. But hey, at least I have EIGHT steps head of where I was six months ago.

Moving forward, I visited my doctor. My typical visits are usually painless. Well not completely painless, Active Release Therapy is pretty painful, but the outcome is significant. So let me back up. I guess the usual visit is fun and beneficial. This time was different, as I was describing my pain in more detail to my doctor and he immediately ran out of the room and brought back a walking boot.” SERIOUSLY!!! Is this really happening” is all that went through my mind. A few tears fell from my face. I was frustrated. Another stress fracture was the last thing I wanted to deal with. Luckily I have some great people in my life that help me see the light at the end of this tunnel I am racing through. My doctor looked at me and told me that I was not doing a favor for my sport by tearing up ;). He mentioned how the only people who cry in his office are elite FEMALE distance runners. The tears of frustration immediately turned to tears of laughter.   He started naming off the 5 other women who cried in his office, then he said, “you make number 6.” I could not help but to smile a little. That comment was enough for me to turn the negative thoughts into a positive perspective. The women he mentioned are all some of Americas top distance runners. They all fought through the tragedies of this sport and made it to the top. Therefore, I can do it again. I can beat this injury. In the past I took a 7ish year hiatus from running when I became beaten down with injury after injury.  This time I am staying positive. I will only see one out come to this bump in the road. SUCCESS!!

Back to the story, I was ordered an MRI of my foot/ankle. One week later I was so glad to hear that there was no stress fracture, but instead something called anterior ankle impingement. Basically what this means is the bone on top of my foot, (talus) has a bony growth on it which is inhibiting my full range of motion. SO… what is the treatment for this…. well, luckily the bony growth is not too big so rest, ice, and rehabilitation exercises to decrease inflammation as well as strengthen my foot/ankle. 

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As I have mentioned 100+ times, this is a bump in my road. The important part of getting through this is patience and positiveness.  In my past I let running control me. One injury would cause me to spiral down as far as I could possibly fall. I no longer let whether or not I am running dictate my happiness. Yes, I am frustrated, but I am allowed to be frustrated. This frustration is more motivation to give myself a reality check. 30 years from now, who will I be?? Will I be that person holding on to a dream beaten down with regret, or the person who may or may not have reached their dream but moved forward and made a difference. I want more than anything to reach ever single one of my goals, but by thinking about them, I will go nowhere. I have to be proactive in my life. I have to realize at the end of each day as long as I do what I am suppose to do, I am on the right path.  I will deal with this injury gracefully and enjoy some down time. I have years ahead of me to run. 2 more weeks of no running is my saving grace getting me to my finish line! Looking forward to training again just after the New year!! The coach and I have some great goals and races brewing in the back of our minds.

photo 1 (3)Like always, I will finish with little ole Sasmon. Lately he has had an obsession with the kitchen. Recently he was able to reach on top of the counter and pull down a block of cheese. I have no idea how he did this. He is just a little pug!

 

Turkey Day 5k

Since September 9, I have been what I call really and truly running again. I tore my calf this summer in the beginning of July. That was really the last time I ran. I had been cross training and seeing Dr. Ball for about 8 weeks. The calf tear took much longer than I anticipated.

When I first moved to Phoenix at the end of June I was amazed by this place I now call home. It was my paradise. Yes, it was a bit warm from what I have been used to for the past few years but I knew this was the place I could really see myself taking off and going after my dreams. After I tore my calf I decided that if I really want to take my running seriously then I need to make the RIGHT decisions. So I hired a coach, Brett Schumacher. He has been very patient with me and has given me hope in my ability. The road ahead is not going to be easy. He keeps informing me we may take 10 steps forward only to take 2 steps back, but at the end of the day I will be 8 steps ahead of where I started.

Since I have not trained with intensity in nearly 10 years this transition will be brutal. My first run back on September 9th, I ran 5 miles averaging 7:23 pace. I was more than ecstatic. I was off to an amazing start. two days later I had another 5 miles averaging 8:17 pace. Once again a run most should be proud of, however, my mindset has always been that my runs can not get slower. I always thought I had to run faster than I did the day before. This was the wrong way of thinking. A mind set like this would only result in failures. For 10 weeks I built my base and continued to grow and develop as a runner. Then “injury” set in,  November 17th was my last day to run a significant amount. As Brett keeps reminding me, this is going to be a long slow battle for several months till I become strong again. My right calf the one I tore this summer started flaring up a bit. The pain became very uncomfortable. I guess this was my 2 steps back. I was very ups set during the 2 weeks prior to my Turkey Trot race.Thanks to Tendinitis I have had to take it easy, however, I managed to get one more progression run in 5 days before the race. I think this was to give me a bit of confidence to prove to myself that I can not be defeated by TENDINITIS!! I tried to look at these 2 weeks prior to the race  as a chance for my body to heal up a bit so I would not be super tired and beat up for the race. I am working very hard at turning all the negatives that will be popping up in stride and finding the positive in every situation. If I want to succeed I can not let the hiccups along the way defeat me. Sure tendinitis is quite a burden and quite painful, but it is something I can train through.

Turkey day came here quickly and although I could feel the tendinitis, I knew once the race started I could tuck the pain away for 17 minutes. I am pretty sure a gobble sound started all of the runners, and before you knew it we were off. I can’t tell you how great it felt to be in a crowd again racing. I have done little 5ks here and there for fun just to prove that I could still do it, but now I am actually going to be chasing a dream. I crossed the finish line of the 3.2 mile course in 17:56. My GPS tracked me at 17:19 for the actual 3.1 miles. It is crazy to think that I set a personal record at the (5k)3.1 mile mark. This only makes me excited for this spring when I get to run some track races. Even with the hiccups along the way anything is possible. A positive mindset and trump most things in life!

 As for now I have a week of cross training with light running just so my legs don’t forget what running feels like. This way my tendinitis settles down some so I can get back to training as soon as possible. I have big goals in sight. I just have to stay positive and not give up. Not one successful runner goes out and trains everyday pain free. It is part of the job. I can not let myself get beat down when things get tough. This is the attitude adjustment I am making this time around. I only have one more shot at this whole running thing and I am going to go about it the right way. I will make mistakes, but the difference in this time around is that I will learn from them!

Here are some photos from this holiday weekend. It was a GREAT one!

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This was my new running outfit for the race. I had to look stylish!! I think it is a runners MUST!

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At the finish line!!

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I was the first female finisher and won an apple pie which I could not eat, but no worries James had a slice. Maybe next year they will have gluten free alternatives for the runners ;)!!

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James and I had a nice relaxing Thanksgiving dinner. We did things a bit differently with Turkey legs instead of the whole turkey. I did not want to be in the kitchen all day cooking for just the 2 of us. Our small little dinner was perfect! I could not have asked for a more peaceful dinner!

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Then we started off the First of December with some Christmas Tree decorating!

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Another State Title

Just want to say Congratulations to SETH BROWN on his 3rd State Championship Title.  Feeling grateful to have the privileged to be apart of his journey towards success!!!

Check out his article on mo.milespit.com

So Proud of your Accomplishments. We are all looking forward to the Footlocker Midwest Regional Championships on November 30th. Hoping for more great things to come your way!

 

Surround yourself around happiness, it is contagious!

{ Be Happy Now }

The truth is I love running and everything that is encompassed.

Nine times out of ten, the life of a runner is not glorious. Most nights I have ice on some part of my leg, just taking precaution to ensure a long career full of miles. My feet hurt 99% of the time. I am tired 99% of the time. I am terrified of where my running is ultimately going to take me and if it is all going to be worth it. At the end of the day, as I lay in bed with ice on both Achilles, I can’t help but to smile.

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I smile because I love what I do.

I love coming back after an injury knowing that I am stronger than I was before. Physically I am out of running shape but mentally I am tougher. I have trained my mind to work through difficult times. There will be races in the future which will mentally be more brutal than physiologically. Every down fall I have encountered is only fueling me towards success.

I love attending races not only to race myself, but to watch others compete in what they love to do. I love watching their faces as they cross the finish line. 99% of the times I guarantee the tears are due to defeat or some negative aspect of the sport. But then you see it, the smiles and tears of joy. Complete satisfaction. Parents and loved ones are racing to the finish line to great their athlete. You can’t help but to smile yourself as you watch the reactions of those around you.

That one smile sends you over the edge. It is so contagious and give you enough positive energy to boost you onward to you own undertakings. Call it endorphin’s if you must, but the power of true happiness is remarkable. You are the creator of your own happiness. By surrounding yourself around what you love, you will control your own happiness. We all deserve to be happy. Just remember sometimes happiness includes 2 ice packs on each leg.

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And sometimes happiness is merely playing PUG-OF-WAR!!!

GCU Update…

 The Lady’s team won their home meet!! On the Men’s side, we had a 3rd place overall finisher.  EXCITING!!!!

Those were the smiles I am talking about!! It was a successful day! I am super proud of all the runners and am so thankful to be apart of this amazing group of people!

Choices

Every morning when we wake up we have a choice. Do we continue our journey on our current path, or do we take the road less traveled. The one where we have no certainty of what lies ahead. I am confident to assume a majority of the population is content with the path they are currently trekking.

Changing the direction may be what you want.

However, if you change your direction, you will change and everything in your life will change.

Will it all change for the better? or the worse?

Maybe most of us are afraid of the worse case scenario. So we convince ourselves that we are satisfied with where we are headed.

But then our minds become consumed by the haunting question, “WHAT IF”….

What if I actually worked harder in practice or put myself out there? What if told the truth or voiced my opinion. What if I fail, or nothing works out as planned?

We are consumed and overwhelmed by the WHAT IF’S… Therefore when confronted with a choice, we take the easy way out. In racing terms. When the gun goes off you have a choice,You can go out with the pack and hang on for dear life, or do you hold back because you are afraid of what may happen if you actually put yourself out there. You are afraid of loosing. But guess what… you just lost, because you did not even try to be a contender.  Sometimes the best part about making the more difficult choice is that you learn from it. You learn about your strengths and weakness.

Choices and decisions are surrounding us everyday. If you are not happy with the path you are on, then it is time to change something. If you want to win. Then start putting in the effort required to win. If you want to reach your goal, make the changes that need to be done. You are in charge of your journey. None of us know where we are headed, but we have our eyes set high hoping to make it to our destination.

Do not be afraid to choose the path that requires a bit more effort.

Do not be afraid of the pain.

Do not be afraid of the failure.

It is better to fail 10,000 times and succeed only once than to never succeed.

Put yourself out there. DO NOT BE AFRAID TO CHASE AFTER WHAT YOU WANT AND ARE CAPABLE OF ACCOMPLISHING.

Make the choices that will lead you to where you have always wanted to be. If you want a different result, make a different choice~

Yesterday, the Grand Canyon University athletes had a choice.  Starting a race at 5:00 pm in the Arizona Sun could be a disaster if you let the negative thoughts creep into your mind and destroy any chance you have running a smart race. All of the runners out there yesterday were tough. Some had better races than others, but that is always expected. These runners are making choices and learning from the choices they make. Whether these choices deal with racing strategy or lifestyle habits, they are making choices which will only reflect upon the lives they want to live.

I had a great time watching all of the runners race. It is a huge learning experience for me as well as them I am sure. Every race gets us all closer to where we want to be.

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WAY TO GO GCU!!!!

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GO LOPES!!!

2 weeks

These past 2 weeks have flown by. I am thrilled to be able to run again. I feel like I am back in my element. Spending hours upon hours in the gym on the elliptical was starting to become a little frustrating. When you have goals and are limited in your ability to achieve them, your motivation runs a little dry at times. I stuck with it. However, I managed to wake up every morning and fight through the frustration. Some days I was in the gym multiple times cross training to stay as fit as possible so when it came time to run again I would not be as sore. Now 2 weeks have passed. These 2 weeks include weekly mileage of 30 total miles each week. Honestly, I still struggle with only being able to run 30 miles per week. I wish I could just jump back into running 70+ miles per week.  I love loosing myself on the roads that lie before me. I am not really sure where my mind goes when I run. I just run! Every step feels better than the last. I am still not sure where my running is going to take me or how far I will go, but sticking with it through all the ups and downs will sire lead me somewhere worthwhile.

 On my run today I was enjoying the path before me. I was reminded of home and the good ole days running around Town Lake. I feel as if I have found my perfect home here is Arizona. It reminds me of home but is also a new beginning for me to start my running ventures all over again.  These Sunrises will never get old in my book!

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Aside from running these past 2 weeks have been great. Seth and Maria are in full force racing just about every weekend. I look forward to hearing about how they preform each week. They are both definitely making progress.  It is still early in the competitive racing season, so I am expecting some pretty impressive feats in the near future.

On another note, at Grand Canyon University, the coaches had a bonding breakfast this past weekend. We discussed goals for the teams and enjoyed some gluten free pancakes, courtesy of yours truly! photo (48)

I can not get over how great these past 2 weeks have been. While I was picking up some last minute groceries for dinner at Trader Joe’s, the Cashier ran off to grab me some flowers in honor of my birthday this up coming Wednesday!photo (47)

I was also surprised with the best birthday card ever. My great friend created a card full of memories. I was so touched by the card. I looked over the photos several times and I am still not sure when some of the photos where taken.  All that matters is that my friends and I have shared many memories which will never be forgotten. We have had some of the very best of times.

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Today is my MOM and NANNY’s Birthday. I am so blessed to have such wonderful people in my life!

Happy Birthday MOM and NANNY!