Sunday, February 28, 2010

We Are Where We Are Supposed To Be

So I was taking a walk down Memory Lane a while back and I found this "masterpiece". I embroidered it on the pocket of my jeans when I was 15. Can you believe that?!

Honestly? I was blown away when I came across it because I had forgotten it ever existed. Could it possibly be that even back then, as a young teenager, I knew what I wanted to "be" when I grew up??? Funny how life works. Took over 30 years to actually act on what had been in my heart all along.

Being into fitness for a lifetime is one thing but actually turning it into a career? Who knew?! Surely no regrets. Things happen for a reason and I am sure the journey that took me from there to here was necessary. I am just grateful I am here!! I have the best job, the best clients (many who have become the greatest friends), and even waking at 4:30AM to train my extremely motivated 5:15AM class is a gift!

So thank you, universe, for always leading me to where I am and obviously to where I am supposed to be.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Running For Your Life

At the tender age of 17, I fell in love with running. I joined the cross country team at my high school in my senior year. It was the only team I was ever a part of, aside from 3 summers playing in a softball league, after college. I am highly competitive but only with myself. I choke at the thought of even trying to beat anyone at anything. (Hard to believe I pitched for 2 of those 3 summers. Talk about pressure...) I believe I was the slowest or maybe it was second slowest on that team. I hated it! But I loved running. With the exception of those periods of time when I was nursing an injury (mostly in the last few years!), I have run regularly for over 35 years. Being a runner was definitely the first step toward becoming a fitness coach, which is what I do for a living.

I dabbled in races at various times of my life but the only thing very serious about my running - is that I run. I don't run fast. I don't necessarily run long. But when I am propelling my body forward at my weenie pace of about 5-6 miles an hour (depending on the year!), I am most definitely the closest one can become to being mindful. Not every run, because often I am working out a problem or running from one! And lately I have taken to running with an ipod and THAT is a whole other experience. But I always come back from a run feeling like a million bucks. Feeling like - I ROCK!

I ran one marathon at the age of 39 and do not plan to do another one EVER. It was one of THE highlights of my life but once is enough for me. I will savor that stand alone accomplishment forever. I did several years of triathlon which is a swim, bike, run, timed event. My longest being one called an Olympic length which is a 1 mile swim, 26 mile bike and a 6.2 mile run (all in one morning mind you!!!!) My last triathlon was in 2006 when I was training 2 clients to complete a triathlon and somehow ended up doing it myself as well. (I still don't know how THAT happened!) I call that my retirement from triathlon. I have no plans to do triathlon again either!

Why am I boring you with all this? Well, I feel a bit unfocused in this 53rd year of my life (Oops -I mean 49th!!! Did I say 53rd??) and anytime I feel that way, I like to choose a goal to focus on. It distracts me from whatever it is I'm going through and I usually come out the other side, back in balance. So I decided it was time to look for a goal. What better than a running goal? That's how I chose to train for the Fairfield (Connecticut) half marathon, which takes place June 27th.

It's a pretty intense goal because this old body ain't what it used to be! I have intermittent knee, back and hip problems along with chronic shoulder issues. I'm pretty beat up. Let's face it, weight training and running for 35 years takes its toll, especially when you are the type of person who works through pain instead of respecting it. Let me re-phrase that - the type of person who USED TO work through pain instead of... Truth be told, because I refuse to become a slug, I have learned to respect pain. As a fitness trainer, my mantra is "go to the door of the house of pain. DO NOT go in." I still have to remind myself of that during every workout but my body stays in a mostly healed state these days so that's a good thing.

Which brings me to the question, "Why did I choose training for a half marathon as the new goal!!!!??" We're talking 10 weeks of dedicated training - running 4-5 times a week. (Check out the training schedule below.) And then you have to compete and complete 13 plus miles at the end of it all! Actually, I chose it because I wanted to get more dedicated to running again after 2 years of healing injuries and it seemed like a good way to do it. I convinced my friend Lynn to train with me. She is freaking already! But I assured her we would take it slow and listen to our bodies and we get to visit 4-5 times a week! She hasn't quite committed but I think I hooked her.

Heck - I have no idea if my body will hold up to 10 weeks of training. This may be over before it barely gets started. But this is what I do for a living. I TRAIN WOMEN. I should be able to safely train MYSELF for goodness sake! I know I need to continue strength training regularly. I've resumed my yoga practice 2-3 times a week and that has changed my body completely - I am stronger and I am more flexible. I'm running 30-40 minutes 2-3 times a week. I can totally do this!

Funny thing is, I mentioned this to a few friends and suddenly, I'm in more company. My friend Nancy is considering it. My friend Chrissy has basically committed - AND SHE'S NOT EVEN A RUNNER - yet!! I'm a little excited. I'm starting to envision something a bit bigger than I originally intended and I'm liking it ALOT. I'm thinking, hmmmmm - this could turn out to be a totally different experience. Talk about a goal!

How many of my "girls" will read this blog and want in??? The word "team" is starting to sound pretty good. There's nothing I love better than making women feel good about themselves. Why not a half marathon? Think of the accomplishment. Think of the JOY!!!!!!!!! This could get interesting... I'll keep you posted. (I crack myself up! Get it? - "posted"?!)

10-Week Half Marathon Training Schedule

Week Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun Total
1 3 Rest 3 3 Rest 4 Rest 13
2 3 Rest 4 3 Rest 5 Rest 15
3 3 Rest 4 3 Rest 6 Rest 16
4 3 Rest 5 3 Rest 8 Rest 19
5 3 Rest 5 3 Rest 10 Rest 21
6 4 Rest 5 4 Rest 11 Rest 24
7 4 Rest 6 4 Rest 12 Rest 26
8 4 Rest 5 4 Rest 9 Rest 22
9 3 Rest 4 3 Rest 8 Rest 18
10 3 Rest 3 W2 Rest 13.1Rest 21.1

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Alternative is Unbearable

I got some bad news today. My close, close friend's beloved dog was diagnosed with a rare and large stomach tumor. I know that she is devastated. We had a text chat about it and she touched on how, basically, it must seem ridiculous to be so broken up over a dog when there is so much worse pain in the world. I didn't have to think but more than a second to respond. "Doesn't matter what it is that brings out your love. Just as long as your world has love." Her response was "I think sometimes that's a curse."

Perhaps that is true. But deep in my soul I know this and told her so, "The alternative is unbearable." I know people who don't have love in their lives. They don't have the joy of the human touch - for that matter they don't have joy, period, ever. I don't know how they get up everyday. I truly believe they walk around with an unbearable ache in their heart. They numb themselves with drugs and alcohol and most importantly, they do not love themselves.

The older I get, the clearer I see. (HA! If only my eyes saw clearer!) I honestly don't think we are here in this life to find happiness. We have all been taught that we will be happy when we: find our soul-mate, make money, work at something we love. Or, we will be happy and fulfilled when we have a house, have a child, do service. Yet I know people who have and do all of the above and are still not happy, and I know of people who have little or none of the above and are frequently joyful.

I honestly think that life never smooths out - ever! I don't know anyone - anyone - who is not struggling with some obstacle in their life that they cannot control. Most are dealing with multiple obstacles. Some are bigger than others. Battling cancer/sickness, losing a loved one, fighting an addiction, saving their child, losing a job, caring for a parent, struggling with depression...some are not so big, water in the basement, car breaking down, child has a stomach ache, not enough $$$ for bills this week, a fight with your spouse.

No - it's not about finding happiness. I am fully convinced this journey from birth to death is about finding those moments between all the obstacles. And every single moment of joy that you catch revolves around love - loving and being loved - most importantly, loving yourself. Joy is your birthright. It's what makes life worth living. Once you taste it, you will want more and more of it.

I believe this to be true:

Joy is not the result of what you do. Rather, you can find your soul-mate, make money, work at something you love, have a house, have a child, or do service with or without joy. Joy is a state of being that enters your heart when you are open to learning and taking loving care of yourself.
Joy, like love and truth, is a gift of Spirit. Joy, love and truth enter your being when your heart is open. Joy is the feeling of exuberance and oneness that envelopes you once you have opened to feeling your pain, learning from it, and moving through it.
Joy cannot enter your heart when you are protected against your pain. When you protect against your pain, you close your heart to avoid the pain, and joy cannot enter a closed heart. Thus, joy is the result of doing your inner work to learn to keep your heart open.

So I say this to my friend who's struggling with this awful news. I know you are hurting. I know you have experienced way worse and come through it. Most importantly, I know how much love you have - for your family and friends, for your beloved pets, for the tiny and the not so tiny moments in your life. You, my friend have an open heart. You will come out the other side with your heart still open. You will continue to catch joy because I know how much you love and are loved. And most importantly, what was it you just told me, not 2 days ago? This too shall pass? XXX

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Joy of Glasses

My 8 year old son Anthony (you remember? Dennis the Menace?) wears glasses. Well - not exactly. He's "supposed" to wear glasses. Anyone have a child who is "supposed" to wear glasses? If so, then you understand why I characterize it like that. For those not in the know, hmmmm - perhaps because we spend too large a part of our week - looking for glasses, fixing glasses, dropping glasses off at school, asking "why don't you have your glasses on?", digging through a backpack securing the location of glasses, calling the insurance company to order yet ANOTHER pair of glasses, cursing the glasses - get the picture? Last year he went through SEVEN pairs! And I ask myself why the insurance company has limited their benefit to 2 pairs a year in 2010...

But this year, I thought I had outsmarted my son. Now mind you, the insurance company pays for the glasses 100%. What I don't get is why the frame options are the cheesiest, flimsiest (is that a word?)and crappiest (I KNOW that's a word!) you can imagine. It's no wonder they break. So in September, we paid OUT-OF-POCKET, close to $400 for a pair of "child-proof" glasses. They came with a guarantee on breakage so I really felt I had made an intelligent decision. UNTIL HE LOST THEM! Can I just find the joy in this????

So after searching for 2 weeks for the missing glasses, we finally gave up and called the insurance company for our "first" pair this year. Two days later they arrived and 2 days after that, a little boy in my son's classroom found the missing glasses in a drawer filled with marbles, in the classroom. AGHHHHHHHHH.

Ok so Murphy's Law does rule our house and in fact, I predicted this. So I took great joy in my prophetic skills! I took great joy in the fact that we now could have his teacher take his glasses every afternoon and secure their location until the next morning - because we had a spare pair. Life is good!

So yesterday, Anthony had to spend about 7 hours in an intense testing session, which entails much work that requires him wearing his glasses. I can't tell you how much energy went into remembering to send him with his glasses. The test site was a good 45 minutes from home so there was no room for error here! I successfully sent him out the door with glasses on his face and breathed a big sigh of accomplishment (and JOY! I remembered something!!!)

Half way through the day, on the spur of the moment, I decided to be the good wife and drove to the testing office to relieve my husband of the drudgery of sitting in a waiting room (with NO wireless!!!!) for 7 hours. The 3 of us had a great lunch together and now it was my turn to sit in a waiting room for hours. Which really wasn't such a bad thing. 3 hours of uninterrupted reading? I'm feeling the joy!

I sent Anthony in with the test administrator and about 30 minutes later, the administrator comes out and asks me for his glasses. Oh please god, tell me he didn't just ask me that!! I desperately looked at Anthony and asked him where his glasses were. "I gave them to Dad." NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Yup - the glasses were safely enjoying a ride back to the Emerald City. Need I say more?

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Great Recipe Link

Many of you know I am into clean eating. This is one of my best recipe links.

Take a look. Totally worth it.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Best Mom in the World

It was winter vacation here in the emerald city and the usual playdates, movies, plays and "Mom, I'm bored"s were all going on non-stop, which happens when you have three kids, 10 and under, on a break from school. I weathered the storm pretty well, if I do say so myself. I'm not exactly at my best during school vacations and that includes SUMMER VACATION. But I'm working on it. (More like scheduling a mother's helper more often - works for me!!!)

Anyway - on Thursday, I had 2 kids out on playdates and my middle child Anthony was home and bored to DEATH begging for entertainment. Now, if you don't know Anthony, he is essentially a blend of Dennis the Menace and Godzilla. Very unfocused, argumentative, wildman, breaks everything, LOUD...but also very streetsmart, extremely adorable and can charm the pants off you.

So, I'm on my way out grocery shopping/running errands and Anthony is begging me to take him along. I'm rolling my eyes at my husband and silently begging him to step up and offer to distract Anthony, while I make a break for it. Long story short, as a lawyer-trained professional, I gave my best argument as to why he shouldn't come with me, emphasizing the "boredom factor"? Not buying it. Sigh - I finally say ok.

Shocked! We actually had a fun afternoon together. He was both helpful and entertaining in the grocery store - especially when he had to purchase a can of hairspray that his aunt let him use over the weekend. You know - so he could style his hair...(He's freaking EIGHT!)

So, we're back in the car and he pipes in from the backseat, "Mom, that was so fun. I wasn't bored at all!" I smile and agree. Then he says, "Mom - you know how you said we were going to have a mommy and me day?" Aghhhh - I said that???? Wasn't this a mommy and me day!? I reluctantly answer "uhuh".

You know what's next - he wants to know when we're doing it. I'm back pedaling. You have to understand - I'm the new 49! I'm tired. I'm not your 36 year old, let's play with the kids all day, kind of Mom! I just can't bear Coco Key or Lasertag or I don't know - Six Flags!!!!! But I get it over with. "Well, what did you have in mind to do?" I ask. (As I cringe and hold my breath.) He says - "Oh, you'll just say no". Ahhhhh - PROBABLY!!!!!! But I dip my toe in the water and encouraged him to tell me.

"Can we go have lunch sometime, inside McDonalds?"

HAAAAA!!!! You can NOT be serious!!

So the best Mom in the world turned the car around and swung into McDonalds. Woohoo! Dodged another one!!!!!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Triple Dog DARE me???

So, I have a confession to make. I'm having a love affair. Shocked??? Yup, I am totally in love - with cookies, cake, chocolate, ice cream, sugar buns, apple turnovers, wicked whoopees and just about any other treat that I can shove in my face. Essentially? I'm a sugar addict! How can that be? I'm a fitness trainer! How does a fitness trainer coach people to get fit and eat well when harboring this addiction? Actually, everyone who knows me is well aware of it, because I talk about it incessantly! And you know what? My clients love it because it makes me more human, more understanding of their food issues. More on that in a future post.

Anyway, on Fat Tuesday, someone I totally love (maybe not so much after this challenge) had the audacity to - get this - TRIPLE DOG DARE me to give up all sweets and treats for Lent. Are you KIDDING me?? You do NOT triple dog dare Joey Morman! (Aghhhhh - but did it have to be THAT??!!!)

So, here I am, on day 3 of the 40 long days of Lent, sugar-free. 40 days! That's over a month and a half! Are there any Catholics out there that know the rules? Isn't there a cheat day once a week or something??? PLEASE let me now!!

So I ask you, where's the joy in this??? I am having a hard time "catching" it right now! Do you know what it's like to be a sugar addict and go grocery shopping? Or watch your kids indulging in Hershey milk chocolate bars? Can I get my fix eating fruited yogurt? Is that cheating? Do I have to pass that by my "triple dog darer"? Is a granola bar a sugar treat? (As if I don't know the answer to that question!) Where do you draw the line?

BTW - it's not like I have not done this before. I've quit sugar (several times) for many weeks - cold turkey. Why do you think this is so disturbing to me?! I know exactly what I'm in for!! But truth be told - once I get through the first week or so, it won't be so bad (I hope). It truly is an addiction. I go through withdrawal on a nightly basis for at least 5 days and up to 2 weeks. Then the cravings go away and it becomes easier. The trick is to remain humble and not cave and get that taste on your tongue. Because you literally start all over again!

And there is joy. I will definitely shed a few pounds. I know I will feel better. I won't have such big energy shifts and I will probably sleep better. So there is light at the end of the tunnel. It's the journey through the tunnel that will be so painful!

But I will definitely do this. You know why? Because you do NOT Triple Dog Dare Joey Morman.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Savor the Moment

One day, wayyyy back in 1984, when I was 27 and recently divorced, my friend Tracy gave me a bumper sticker. It read "Catch joy as it flies by". I am now 52 (You know - the new 49?) and I can honestly say my bumper sticker has hung on a wall of every place I have ever lived since. That means it has been with me for 25 years.

Years later, I hit one of life's low points and was whining to my friend Pam about my dis-content. My wise friend shared something her wise friend once told her - that life is filled only with moments, and that you could have 1 moment in a day or 1 moment in a week but you needed to savor that moment because that was all you were getting until the next one came along. I only half listened that day, determined that I would NOT live my life savoring only "moments". I would find a way to have days, weeks, months of extended "moments".

Uhuh - you guessed it - like THAT was happening. What IS it with life? Why was it constantly getting in the way of my plan? What the heck? Was this IT?? The pursuit of "happiness" was a pain in the ASS! When was it all coming together? Why couldn't I hold on to those - gulp - moments?

I look back now and just shake my head and laugh. The answer has been hanging in my face for 25 years - Catch joy as it flies by, Joey. That's all we have - flying moments of joy. If you miss them, you lose.

So now - I seek those moments. Sometimes I miss them completely and sometimes they stay in my heart and I can close my eyes and visit them over and over. Hoping to catch some joy here in this cyber forum. I don't guarantee it in every post, but perhaps we can all catch a little here and there. And maybe, just maybe, hold onto them, even if just for a little while...