Tuesday, May 29, 2012

What a Feelin'!

On Saturday May 26th at around 5:39 pm, I fulfilled a goal of completing my first 5K competitive race during Ottawa Race Weekend.  According to Sportstats.ca, there were approximately 7953 participants in the 5K event (3044 men & 4906 women).   It was warm outside (about 24 degrees Celsius) and I’m sure that the energy of the crowd bumped the temperature up by a few degrees. 

The start of the 5K run, for the 2012 Ottawa Race Weekend, held in downtown Ottawa, on May 26, 2012.
Photograph by: Jana Chytilova, Ottawa Citizen
Joining me at the event were two of my sisters (Joan and Natalie D.) as well as my new-found running partner, Natalie Y.  These ladies were nothing short of amazing, fun and motivating! I’m grateful to have shared the pavement and this memory with them.  

My sisters and I before the big race!
(Numbers, numbers, numbers…  The average time of runners for this race was 35:10.73 so the fact that I placed 4453 with a chip time of 34:24.2 didn’t bother me at all!)

One of the most rewarding parts of taking on this challenge wasn’t only running the race but completing what I started for the betterment of myself.   One of my dearest friends, Sara, recently shared a quote with me from Sophocles which reads, "Success is dependent on effort".   It was practice, support and dedication that brought me to the 5K starting line; it was excitement, strength and H2O that pushed me through to the finish.  All in all this was a fantastic experience and I've already started to focus my training efforts on breaking 30 minutes at the Army Run in September.

If you're in the mood for something a little fun, check out the track below.... Who Run the World?  GIRLS!

I hope you’ll join me on my next epic adventure....

Friday, May 18, 2012

Every Now and Then....

Every now and then, it’s important to focus on what you can do as opposed to what you can’t.

While ignorance may be bliss for some, I now understand and appreciate the value found in seeing people and situations for who and what they really are.  Shielding my eyes from pain, injustice or other hardships hasn’t eradicated them from existence.  I've learned that turning a blind eye is the worst kind of procrastination and it's the roadblock to revolution.  I believe that resistance truly breeds persistence and what we continue to ignore is going to eventually make itself known.  Knowledge is power so arm yourself with it.  Think about how many major events in history have transpired by the simple act or word of one person that cared enough to do something.  The people that have made a positive impact on the world have done so in the pursuit of change not glory, and we all have benefited (in some way) from their example.

Every now and then it’s important to sit back and breathe.

At times I don’t know when to stop thinking, moving, feeling and occasionally speaking.  I’m learning that taking a moment away from the hustle bustle of life is required.  There's so much noise and distraction going on around us that the chance to hear ourselves think can often feel elusive.  We have forgotten that we are often the source of our best insights.  So many of us have placed trust in the fact that someone else knows how to live our lives better than we do.  We read daily horoscopes for direction, we read self-help books for validation, and we pay homage to anyone with the name “Guru” in their title because they must know what’s best, right?  Everything is good in moderation but I think that it’s important to rekindle faith in ourselves.  Create your own “how-to” guidelines for the way you live your life.

Every now and then it’s important to re-assess where you want to go, how you want to get there and who you want along for the ride.

I’ve occasionally found myself a bit mystified with my current station in life.  If anyone had told me 16 years ago that I would one day be married with a toddler at the age of 36, I probably would have laughed out loud in disbelief.  Yet here I type.  There's been some internal conflict  at various times since I’ve settled down between the girl that I was and the woman that I want to be.  This mental and emotional combat placed a lot of stress on my marriage and my psyche. I t turns out that I was suffering from a bad case of "Who Am I"? After a turbulent couple of years, I’ve recently tapped into the soothing relief that can be found in letting go of “what was” in order to be present for “what is”.   I haven’t become complacent by any means but I’ve decided to look at things from a  different perspective that’s in line with what the life that I want to experience.  Where do you see yourself next week, next month or next year?  Do you want to take the scenic route or would you prefer to move onto the fast track?  Who could you not picture your life without and do they want to join you? Maybe the life you want is a solo adventure.  Whatever is “right” for you is right.

Every now and again you need to entertain possibilities.

Is it possible to start a new career path?
Is it possible to find happiness after heartbreak?
Is it possible to be exceptional instead of average?

I’m not sure but I’m willing to find out.  While so many things in our lives are blessings, the gift of free will tops the list for me. Deriving any value from possibility takes work and it also requires conscious progression from the starting line called “possible” to the finishing line of “reality”. You have to ask yourself if you’re willing to roll up your sleeves and dig in.  Are you willing to occasionally take some “bad” in order to get a taste of what’s good?
In other words, how badly do you want the shiny new toys, the new found love, the career explosion, the sense of accomplishment or perhaps just the peace of mind?

Dream, create, love, heal, laugh, cry and push past the safe boundaries of what you thought was possible for yourself.  Every now and then you may find more than what you hoped for.

Until next time, friends!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Thrill of the Run....

"There's no such thing as bad weather just soft people".
- Bill Bowerman

I had a challenging couple of weeks and I decided to take it out on the pavement.

I'm so glad that I did because there is now T-minus 16 days before the Ottawa Race Weekend 5K event. With each day that passes, I'm feeling more prepared and last night was a true testament to reaping what is sown.  As many of you know, I run with a fabulous group of dedicated people that I've met through the Running Room's Learn to Run Clinic.  Yesterday evening marked our eighth week participating in the program and a solid number of runners showed up (despite the forecast for inclement weather).

Please note that in this particular scenario inclement weather translated to 15 degrees Celsius, HEAVY RAIN, occasional lightning and HEAVY RAIN.

Yet still, we ran.

Our clothes were soaked and visibility was tricky.

Yet still, we ran.

We were given the option to turn around and go home to shelter and dry clothes.

We said, "No thank you!" and then we ran.

Does this sound dramatic?  Maybe a bit, but nonetheless, my account of the events seems accurate to what actually transpired.  While running in less than ideal conditions may seem like a no brainer to veteran runners, for us "newbies" it was an adversity that was to be overcome.  Eight weeks ago many of us would have scoffed at (and declined) the invitation to participate in outdoor cardio activity in the midst of a storm but now we found it to be thrilling, rewarding and validating.  Each of us has pushed past some self-doubt, fatigue, hectic schedules and excuses in order to get to where we are now.  In our minds, we earned a couple of stripes and an ample amount of self-respect.

There have been a few group members that have stopped running (for various reasons) since the clinic started.  I wish them all well and hope to run with them again sometime.  The ones that remain are a big part of what has made running fun for me.  They've given me the motivation to push myself and the awareness to pace myself.  They are people that I may have never met any other way and they remind me of the commonality that lies between individuals of different backgrounds.

Running has become our common denominator.   

I look forward to more adventures in the upcoming days.  I also welcome any tips or friendly words of encouragement that you may have to offer as my race draws near.  I will continue to enjoy the thrill of the run and the many snippets of happiness that it has brought into my life with heartfelt gratitude.

Until next time, friends!

P.S.: Take a moment to check out the video below.  Danielle Laporte is a no-nonsense expert on getting things done and making things happen. I LOVE HER!  I’ve been a fan for almost two years and her  "Credo For Making It Happen" has been on replay in my house since it was released.  I’ve also read (and loved) her new book The Fire Starter Sessions.  Enjoy (and you’re welcome!)

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Wanted: Positive Energy (Energy Sucking Vampires Need Not Apply)

Have you ever spent time with someone and left the conversation feeling more drained than before you started?


Under the clever guise of someone you think you know lurks an Energy Sucking Vampire (ESV). 

How do I know?
I used to be one.

The aforementioned Energy Sucker can come in two distinct varieties; those that act with intent and those that do not.  Falling into the latter category doesn’t absolve me of my actions, it simply means that I didn’t consciously make it my mission to wake up every morning and suck joy from the unsuspecting people around me.  I can honestly say that I was completely unaware of my affliction.
There was a period in my life filled with insecurity and self-doubt when I desperately needed to hear from someone (ANYONE) I was “alright”.   The clouds of negativity started to consume me made it nearly impossible to see things clearly and “borrowing” some positivity from friends and family seemed harmless enough.  Their cup seemed to runneth over…. surely they wouldn’t mind if I sneaked a sip every now and again, right?


Some of the people closest to me quickly learned that obligatory ego stroking and regularly validating my existence was emotionally taxing, energy draining and tedious.  In a nutshell, I was rapidly evolving into the worst kind of ESV. I was on the cusp of becoming the reason why Caller ID was invented!
When you’re in the presence of an ESV, action is required!  Positive energy is contagious.  It can be transferred quickly through a touch, a word or even a look.  The bad news is that the same rules apply to negative energy, so it’s of the utmost importance to protect yourself!

One of my favorite blogs (zenhabits.net) had a post titled 7 Simple Tips to Deal with Negative People which I highly recommend reading if you’re seeking refuge from a vampire in your life (or know someone who is).   The proverbial “light bulb” went off in my mind as I read that, “While people can try to get you down, you’ve a choice in how you react to them.”  How quickly we sometimes forget this!

I had the good fortune of having solid people in my life that were able to break free to my energy draining ways and look at it for what it really was. They recognized that my misery was seeking some company and refused to show up at my pity party.

I thank them for seeing what I didn’t and for sticking around while I worked to get it right.  Like I’ve said many times before, I am a work in progress.

Each day gets me closer to becoming a masterpiece.

Are you looking for ways to bring more positivity into your life?  Click here to check out some tips offered from the folks at LifeHackers

Regards from a former vampire…. until next time, friends!