Monday, December 13, 2010

Charlotte Thunder Road Marathon 2010

After hours and hours and miles and miles on the road in preparation for what would be my first marathon, considering that the dang snow cancelled out the one that was supposed to be the premiere one back in February 2010,  I was having faith in my conditioning, believing in myself and I was readying to start. 

After multiple calls, texts and Facebooks of good luck  and encouragement from my friends, who wouldn't be amped to go.  The weather was a fantastic asset that day, crisp morning, overcast somewhat and after having run in snow last year Saturday's forecast was picture perfect. 

Staying at the Hilton was a huge asset.  It was in walking distance of the start and finish line, huge plus.  When we had checked in on Friday, I noticed immediately that there was only a coffee pot that which I would use to warm the water for my oatmeal. I joked about being able to survive in the wilderness at my craftiness to be able to utilize the coffee pot water to make my breakfast the next day.  Of course it was all a joke after having seen a blurb from, Sarah Palin's Alaska where Kate Gossling was whining about being in the wilderness and being hungry!  Any way all jokes aside, give me the Hilton any day,  I opt for comfort, no tents for this old girl. 

I always take our alarm clock from home because it is a huge fear that I will oversleep and miss the start of my race.  so I set the clock for 5 am and hit the sack around 9 on Friday night after having had wonderful pre-racemeal of shrimp tacos, yummo!  Lori, Cindy and I decided to meet at the Christmas tree in the lobby of the Hilton and walk to the start together, we had our plan.  Belly full, number attached to my nifty gel holder belt, gels attached, socks out, 2XUs out, protein shake chilling in the cooler, coffee ready, now time for bed.  I slept like a log, which was totally unexpected.

Alarm went off, no snoozing today, started coffee, removed bag of coffee, heated water for oatmeal,  everything was falling together nicely.  Hot epsoms salt bath, vaseline up and the dress. Now wait!  Then pee one last time, it's here.   It's time to head a place I've never been...the last 4.2 miles.  During my training I had run 22 miles alone, no music, just me on the road with my support crew, Nik following me in the car with gatorade and gels.  I am most thankful for him, my biggest fan and for having trekked that alone, it would prove most beneficial later on. 

The energy of the crowd is important.  We walked to get to the beginning looking at dogs that were dressed, people in costumes who were running the race, and just on lookers anxious to get this started.  I get a smack on the butt from Nik, and I told him that he had to say good game if he was going to do that well he did.   We lined up together but a conversation had been had that we would not run as a group, we would run individually, each our own race.  Adrenaline is pumping.  Time to start. 

Charlotte is a hilly challenging course.  I was heading into the unknown.  I had heard horror stories of hitting the wall at around 20 miles.  In fact I had run into that said wall during a training run back in the summer, not really a nice place, digging deep is necessary, hydration is imperative. 

I had my game plan - run the whole thing, all of it, all 26.2 miles.  I had mastered the smash and grab drinking at my last half, my gels secured so that i could just pull them out of my belt, rip the top off with my teeth and down it.  It was doable.  I had decided that I had to break this race down into segments.  Five miles every forty-five minutes for four sets and then a 10 k was all I would have left.  That would put me right at four hours for my first full marathon.

The crowd was dense for the first few miles, a little more spaced out as time went on.  I kept checking my garmin to make sure I was on target and I was.  I always imagine that I am alone out there when I run, so that I can focus.  Eyes focused five feet in front of me, the miles peel away, stomach is cooperating. Crowd's energy was just pulling me along.  Wow that was fast I'm already at the turn off point at the half- marathon finish where the blinking sign says "half-marathon turn right, full marathon straight ahead."  Well just let me say the crowd thinned by about 3000 people so that is where that 22 miler on my own helped, it was the mental aspect, not the physical at this point.  Miles 13 thru 16 were the hardest because in my mind all I was thinking was I could be finished, now I have this to do again, another 13.1 miles.

After 16miles, I settled back down into my run, I was pretending I was pedaling my bike, regained focus and here comes the entertainment, both from me and the crowd.  I had this mantra on repeat in my mind..."you are a marine, pain is weakness leaving the body."  I am no more a marine than a martian but Saturday I was, in my mind any way and the realization that I only had a 10.2 mile run left which was totally doable.  Miles 17passed, Mile 18 a drumline was playing which was awesome, 19 no wall, 20 no wall and right on target 3 hours flat, 20 and 1/2 a wall was constructed by some fraternity so that we could run through it while they all did the Cha Cha slide.  Mile 21 - Eye of the Tiger was blarring at which time I shadow boxed while running followed by a sign that read "you have now entered the belly of the beast.  Mile 22, Geisha on stilts, a beer table with cases of Budlight and drunk guys then a crew of guys with Bloody Mary's, Mile 23, a juggling Santa, a sign that said today you're my hero, a guy that said number 332, you're doing awesome, just keep running you're almost there.  Mile 24, a cop that said only 2.2 miles to go.  After that I don't remember much except hearing the crowd, wondering when I would hit the wall,  being ecstatic that my stomach had cooperated and finally I see it, FINISH.  I am deaf by now, focused, a little sad that it was over, and I still had some gas left,  and some how my legs were still working.  I went for it and finished at a good pace, focused and happy, in pain but not as bad as I had anticipated.  4:10:15 official chip time and my game plan had worked, I ran the whole thing.

Cindy had finished at 2:06:03, her first half.  Lori finished at 4:35.  We all had a great run.

I learned a lot about myself Saturday and I still smile while I daydream about it...Good Game.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Part 2 - Half #5 Read previous first...

See Michelle Chille was the girl who was talking to me.  She is an elite runner.  She told me that I could do anything I set me mind to.  She said as long as you are happy in your life, your running will go well.  Mental state plays a huge part of your running success.  Michelle told me that one of her worst runs was four months after her mom had died. She hung out with me until it was time to start, hugged me bye and told me good luck. She finished this half in 1:26.

Lesson number one, always wear the garmin and do NOT rely on the pacer!  Thankfully I had worn my garmin.  After about mile two the pacer took off and was running a 7 minute pace which grated on my nerves.  I just focused on every step in front of me and conquered it 5K at a time. 

I can only describe the state that I enter running in this way, call me weird or whatever but it happens.  The zone:  my sight becomes blurry as if I were watching a television channel that is static like. I am unaware of any one that is near me, I hear over and over in my mind, I can do this and I just run.  I know by feel when the time is right for a gel, water and gatorade.  Most importantly though I am determined to not walk even one step of this race, not one and I mean that.

The miles seem to peel away, one 5K at a time.  I am experiencing no pain, nothing, just bliss.  I am focused, just a few feet ahead of me and I'm doing the damn thing.  This race was probably the most boring race I have ever done in my life but whatever. It is what you make of it.  At about mile 9, there was a lady who had cancer. A lump as big as my fist welled up in my throat, I wanted to cry.  I turned around and looked at her and said just keep moving you're doing really good, you're almost there.  She smiled and said thank you.  I just kept running and knew I couldn't cry. 

At mile 12 I hear Go Pam Go! It was Nik, his mom and the kids.  I just kept running, turned, enter the boardwalk and saw the finish line (insert hallelujah course here).  I kicked it and ran the last half mile at a 6 minute pace.  I finished stronger than I ever have, and I was smiling. 1:48.13...I did it.

Last year, in November my first half time was 2:13, which I was gravely disappointed in.  Eleven months later and 25 minutes shaved off, 1:48:13.  Still smiling about that one....

Half-Marathon #5, Hot Temperatures, A PR and Self-Discovery through Game Plan...

On a whim, just to see what I could do by myself, I signed up for a half-marathon.  We all trekked down to the beach for a relaxing time.  The reality of having two days of lounging before a race has been unheard of because I usually work the day before.  I was never and excited all at the same time.  The one thing that I was mainly concerned with was running a flat course.  Living in Elgin, there is an abundance of hills in the area so the thought of running only a flat course actually made me nervous.  As I expressed my nervousness to man of my friends, the chuckles that followed were priceless.  I felt my trepidation was justified.  In my mind I had to run a sub two hour half again.  I had done it at Sandhills and I expected no less of myself this time either. 

With the pressure of a sub two half which I placed on myself, I knew I had to have a game plan, one that was made while in my rational mind, not in the throws of the race where all rational goes out the window.  I figured out through much reading that I could squish the water cups at the stops and  make a spout to be able to drink on the run.  I realized that I could bite the tops off my gels to keep my hands from being sticky and to be able to keep running at the same time I was downing it.  I figured out the splits I needed to be able to achieve my goal.  Those splits haunted me for nights on end before the race.  I was running numbers in my head all night long.  I would wake up staring at the ceiling while repeating I need to be at this time at the 10K mark.  I was not obsessed, well yes I was and am, I had and have a goal and I expect nothing less of myself, ridiculous as it may seem anything less is unacceptable to me.  The last and most important element of my game plan was not to walk at all.  The mind is a mighty powerful thing.  It can make or break the game plan. 

I discussed with my family if they would be upset if I just rode the shuttle to the start line.  I needed to focus, get in my zone (as cheesy as that sounds) but on race day there is no room for worrying about making it the start line on time, less stress is better.  They were pretty excited that they didn't have to wake up quite as early as I did, so there was no argument there. 

I brought my own alarm clock to the hotel, a fear of mine is that the hotel alarm clock won't work, so even the smallest of things help me sleep, a security blanket of sorts.  I slept pretty well the night before.

Beep. Beep. Beep. (alarm clock sound effects)  It's 4:00 am on race day.  Coffee pot started, check.  Oatmeal made, check.  Protein shake consumed, check.  Bath drawn, check.  Number on shirt, check.  Turn on the news to catch the weather, check and oh god, the temperature is 65 with 100% humidity, check.  Thankful to have run all summer in the heat and for hill work, check, check, check!  Well my shuttle left at 5:45 so at 5:30 Nik walked downstairs with me to see me off. 

I boarded the shuttle with a group of women who were running their first half-marathon.  I just listened.  The majority of them were nervous, excited and forty that day, celebrating their birthdays by running the race.  I wasn't sure how it would be to line up by myself.  This race was my first solo half.  I got off the shuttle and walked forward to the start line, it was dark of course.  I scouted out where I wanted to line up.  There were corrals, 6-7 minute pace, 7-8 minute pace, 8-9 minute pace and 10 minute and over were grouped together.  I decided to line up in 7-8 minute pace. 

As I was standing there anticipating my start, I was approached by a girl.  She was really tall and thin.  She was alone too.  Her name, Michelle.  She asked me what my goal was and she and I discussed a few things.  I asked her what her goal was and she told me sub 1:30. 

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

I Guess it was Zen...

Kuan Yin, Goddess of Mercy and Compassion

Zen defined - a total state of focus that incorporates a total togetherness of body and mind.

The moment occurred as I crossed over from mile fourteen to fifteen and then progressed until I was completed my allotted eighteen miles.  More than any runner's high that I had ever experienced, but crossing over to a new level of feeling as though I could have continued running for a long time after the eighteen miles.  The strangest occurrence was when I began to pray, just to a higher power I was just in a meditative state.  Praying is not something I do on a regular basis but that morning I did.  I remember distinctly what conversation was going on in my mind at the time. All I was thinking/saying/praying was help me get through these last miles in the manner that I hope to achieve at a later time, and thank you for helping me get so far.  I am a spiritual person but not religious.  My beginning to pray/meditate at that moment was certainly foreign to me. 

As I have discussed my experience with a few different people, some religious, a psychiatrist (don't get excited she's my client) and a fellow "run-aholic"  they all responded in the same way.  They described my experience as a "Zen" moment.  I never would have thought of it as a Zen moment however after further analyzing of the moment, I would have to agree fully.  Zen is the state of mind where the focus is so great the mind and body are in one accord.  It was completely empowering and the last miles seemed earsier than the previous.  The feeling was completely addictive and far more than the runner's high which had been gone for several miles.  I have to be careful though because the quest for Zen may take while to get to and I do have to engage in other activities besides running like life.

Nik and I were out with his mom on Saturday night.  Our waiter, who was fabulous, began talking to us about his little daughter , Nora who had been born about eleven weeks prior.  I watched his face beam as he told us about her.  I leaned over to Nik and whispered that the guy talked about his daughter the way I talk about running especially and now swimming and cycling.  It dawned on me that I love exercise as much as I love my children, very interesting observation. 

Last year as I was just beginning my running journey toward becoming an endurance runner, the eight mile mark nearly killed me.  I fondly remember running my first six on the road.  That afternoon I slept for I think about five hours.  I laugh at myself a lot now in hindsight of last years disastrous training season.  I have learned so much, and how to and how not to do train.  The main thing I have learned is nutrition and how my body responds to training much better with proper sustaining.  I remember hitting the fifteen mile mark last winter and being disoriented all day after, hurting intensely and sleeping and propping my legs up because they ached so badly.  Well I survived, making me stronger,  smarter and even more determined to complete my journey. 

The past three Saturday runs have been filled with anticipation, preparation and even a little trepidation.  The reason was ampted up miles.  The mileage was fourteen, sixteen and eighteen.  Each run began with a conversation between, me, the road, my body and ultimately my mind.  I told the road that today your ass is mine.  I will conquer you.  My body knows that it is strong, fueled and can handle the mileage, I just reaffirm that with that realization I always exhale heavily.  My mind, I think, it has to be in accord with my body and even stronger to push through because the mind always wants to quit first, probably due mostly to boredom.  Which leads to the next cataloging of thoughts that occur, accomplishments, how far I have come in the past year.  Personal records I have set, and people I have inspired always make me smile.  Those positive thoughts though run out at about mile fourteen for me then I am left to do what occurred on Saturday, meditate and just keep running.   If I keep running I don't really know what is hurting, it's really  hard to start back running after walking.  As I have mentioned before, the fastest way home is to keep running, that comment from the Ironman athlete is going to be the death of me, but it is on automatic repeat in my mind. 

Another thing that I have been trying to incorporate in my runs is finishing up fast, not coasting in but just all out at the end.  Saturday I was able to do just that, I threw up after, but I did it. 

There's a point after I've had a good run where I sit and stare as I replay the run over in my mind.  I analyze and reanalyze how it felt, what I was thinking, if I need more water stops, gu's, did my shorts aggravate me, did I get any new blisters on my body from ill fitting clothes, how many hills did I do.  A whole check list is in there, ingrained in my mind. 

The ultimate though is getting Nik to drive me through the course after so I can show him what it was like that morning.  Most of the time I don't realize the amount of hills, it's all road to me.  As long as I focus on just what's ahead of me the hills seem to disappear becoming in my mind flat or at least less intimidating.  A conversation between us usually follows with his saying that I am crazy for running such a long, open hilly course.  I always say I know I'm nuts, but I did it and I did it well.  that sense of accomplishment is worth it's weight in gold.

I'll share a secret.  Nine years ago on October 1, I was told I wouldn't be able to run again.  For a moment I had accepted that statement,  but not any more.  I should have made a wager with him.  Guess he didn't know who he was talking to.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Running...inspiration and determination

Nothing can quite compare to watching the sun come up over the horizon while having a run early in the morning as I push myself hard stride after stride.  Physically understanding that I just need to keep moving while telling my weak mind to shut up. The mind always wants to quit first, not the body. This morning the body won, and the mind was silent! I just smiled and kept going.

Runs where I leave my house thinking that I'll just go as far as I can due to sore legs or just fatigue in general on most cases turn in to the best times out on the road.  

Samantha McGlone said a variation of this while I was watching Ironman Kona, she said the fastest way home is to run home.  That's how she keeps herself moving once the voices in her head start telling her to walk.  Hearing her statement was both a blessing and a curse.  I replay her statement over and over as I run and believe it or not it works.  I just keep going mile after mile, my legs aren't tired, I'm not hurting, ok well sometimes I am but I tell myself otherwise.  

When I see the likes of Rudy Garcia-Tolsen who happens to be a double amputee competing in full Ironman competitions, I realize that there is not a damn thing wrong with me and it pushes me a little harder.  He inspires me to keep going just the thought of him and his story.   He is definitely worth googling to view his story.  Be forewarned, he may inspire you to sign up for something totally insane.  

Yesterday as I stepped out on to the road, the temperature was 63 so of course the road was calling my name.  The time 6:45 a.m.  The air was crisp, humidity down and I was on a mission. Having completed sixteen miles on Saturday in 2:26:33 I did not know if I was going to feel like much out on the road, however on Monday I was about to pound out eleven miles in a little over an hour and a half.  Tuesday I just decided I would go out for a while even if the run ended up being a short five miles.  I attached my Garmin 305 to my wrist and I was off.  I was in awe that I had no pain.  So two miles turned into four until it became a game of beating the clock because unfortunately I do have to work and could not stay out all day running.  Work is probably my saving grace because if I didn't have to go in I more than likely would have stayed out there on the road all day yesterday.  When I finished I had run  a little over ten  miles in an 1:20.  

I love sharing my stories of accomplishment with people.  No bragging is intended because it is all about hard work and dedication, there is no quick way to improvement.  I am reminded of the Lance Armstrong quote about his cycling, it follows:  

"This is my body, and I can do whatever I want to it. I can push it; Study it; Tweak it; Listen to it. Everybody wants to know what I am on. What am I on? I am on my bike busting my ass six hours a day; What are YOU on?" 

I sat down the other day a figured up the amount of hours a week I dedicate to training.  My average weekly training time is twenty to twenty-four hours a week.  I am not complaining in  the least bit about the time required in order to reach my goals.  I was aware when I signed up for events that I would have to be completely determined, disciplined and dedicated.  

Most importantly that my family is completely understanding an supportive of my decision to tap into my athletic side, well insanity. They support me, and cheer me on.  Of course Nik tries to balance out my workouts by what I call guarding me to  make sure I don't over do it and putting me on exercise restriction.  I would not be able to commit to these events without them.  

My ultimate goal is to show my children and those around me that they can achieve anything they set their minds to as long as they work hard to attain the goal, because there are no shortcuts.  

Monday, August 30, 2010

A comparison of the end there is not one at all!

As I woke up this morning, I am in a nostalgic mood but not of many years ago, just over the past few years I was having memories flood my mind and a smile appeared on my lips.   I was reminiscing about things that have happened

I was thinking about how I have changed as a person, inside and out. How things that bother me, bother me in a complete different way. For example, instead of being just hurt most of the times, I'm more pissed that whoever hurt me had the nerve to do so.

I am working on my self daily but my most stagnant holding back element in my life is my mother. She knows how to push my buttons in a way that no one else can. Our roles have reversed in a manner that my sister and I are her parents, literally. I will refrain at the moment from going off on the "mother tangent" but I'll just say this, among my friends with whom I share some more intimate aspects of my life, my mother won, hands down, the "Dysfunctional Mother of the Year Award." I have distanced myself from her as she has become the most toxic person in my life and has been for a long time. Yes, sometimes guilt or duty does take over and I feel obligated to call. But when I do and she answers the phone and though my number is stored in her phone, she pretends not to recognize my voice the guilt quickly dissipates and anger floods my whole being. What mother does not know her child's voice? In a room of two thousand people, a mom knows when her child says, "momma." That ranks right up there with her comment to me that she forgot I had dimples, what the hell? So her award, is very much earned.  She makes my blood boil.

All I can say is thank goodness for Irma.  I'm certain she was sent to me as much as her son was.  I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason and on the same token people enter our lives at exactly the appropriate time.  She has been god sent.  I feel so fortunate to have in as a huge part of my life and my children's lives.   She has helped me realize that a mother figure can be something positive.  I could go on for days about Irma, but I won't.  She has by far to date been one of the most influential people in my life, just by being herself not for any other great reason other than she loves me for who I am without question.  In all honesty, the preceding reason is the only one I need.

Last Saturday I get a phone call from Irma.  I answered she asked me what I was doing in forty minutes.  When Irma is concerned any time frame like that involves food or coffee.  Well I had mentioned that I had loved bacalaitos that she had made before, well Nik told her so guess what, she was making them for me and didn't want them to sit and get cold.  So we showered and Nik and I went over to her house to eat lunch.  I love those things and could probably eat my weight in those and her pigeon peas and rice too.  While Nik and I were eating we told her that we would love it if she came over to the house and used the exercise equipment if she'd like.  She has taken us up on the offer and has lost three pounds in her first week.  She has been consistent and I am so proud of her.  I told her I need her to be around for a long time, so her journey to a healthier lifestyle has begun. 

I am aware that Irma is not my mother, but she is there for me as if she were.  There is no comparison between the birth mother and Irma.  I am so thankful that she is such a huge part of my lives and that she loves me no matter what. 

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

the longest thirty minutes of my life...

The occurrence of a call that can stop my heart, cause a lapse in breathing and literally make me count the seconds until thirty minutes is over, that was eight o'clock today.

As I have mentioned in earlier posts, Nik's mom, Irma is the closest person I have ever had to be mother figure with whom I can share whatever without repercussion.  To me she's like no one I've ever had in my life, if there is a such thing as a perfect mother-in-law, her picture would appear beside the definition.  In the few years that I have known her, our relationship has grown and we are truly friends and she is my confidant.  She as talks to me about anything and I mean anything which is just fine with me.  On more than one occasion I have conveyed what a great job she did raising her son.  I cherish every moment I get to spend with her.

Yesterday she even began her journey to getting her life back full.  She and I discussed how she had always been a caregiver to everyone else.  I told her it was time to take care of herself.  I told her that I could not imagine my life without her in it and that we needed her to be around for a long time.  So she began her journey of working out yesterday at our house.  She did the elliptical, and did it well for her first time.  Nik and I were and are so proud.  She will be back tonight.

Well back to the phone call that stopped the world from revolving. Irma had not been feeling well last week, running a temperature and a few other symptoms but she ended up going to get blood work.  Anyway the doctor had left a message last saying that she needed to call the office concerning her blood work.  In a panic she called us this morning thinking that the office opened at eight o'clock. Of course, my first thoughts are the worst because last year was rough, to say the least on both sides of our family. As we all know doctors offices are not opened all night so this made the waiting even worse for her, I cannot even fathom what she was going through. She called at eight and the doctors office did not open until eight thirty.  So we had to wait to find out.  I felt like I was holding my breath and my heart was faintly beating for the thirty minutes that felt like an eternity.

Finally at eight thirty my phone rang, it was her. She was not crying, so I'm figuring either she is in shock or everything is just fine. I think I might be able to breath now, then she says the doctor says "it's all good." I started laughing because I was overjoyed that she was ok. She said," Jes, Pam I am just fine." She finished it off with an "ah, ah, ah and I'll see you tonight.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Facts: Little known facts and just general pearls of wisdom I have come to hold as true in my 30s

Sometimes I read on Facebook where people including myself, post notes of list of facts that maybe known or not. I have learned interesting things about such folks and decided to include one in my blog.

  1. My first and middle names have every other letter as "a" - Pamala Rana
  2. I have been and currently am a collector of books and still have most of my childhood books and treasure them.
  3. I am torn on whether or not to get a Kindle as I feel it is kind of blasphemous. :)
  4. Books have been a constant my whole life.  Whenever I have moved, many times as it has been, I always unpack my books first.
  5. My most fond memory of starting school was the smell of the books.
  6. I am very independent.
  7. My drive is undying.
  8. Determination is my motto!
  9. My best friends throughout life other than Lori, have been guys, they tend to stab you in the back less.  They also will be totally honest with you, which I cherish.
  10. When I was a teenager, I was part of a Mime Ministry and Puppet Minis as well as a Clown Ministry.
  11. One of my best Thanksgiving Days was distributing leftovers to homeless people in Five Points.
  12. My children and I volunteered at a shelter to pass out Christmas gifts one year.
  13. My favorite sweatshirt, I bought at Goodwill for a dollar, it's over twenty years old and is still in perfect condition.
  14. Most of my favorite pieces of clothes actually come from consignment stores - my ripped A&F jeans, a limited tee that I like to wear with them, entire outfit - $6!
  15. I just adore my black Chuck Taylors and no I don't think I'll ever stop wearing them.
  16. My favorite, favorite boots - Flame Biker Boots - consignment 5 bucks
  17. I have wanted to be a hairdresser since the age five.
  18. I love my job to say the least and do not see myself not doing hair.  The impact that I have on people's lives is more rewarding than any other job I think I could have and out weighs the hours of standing on my feet in heels.
  19. I took piano lessons for about eight years.  I have a passion for Classical music especially Beethoven and Chopin.  I still have all my music.  I'll have a piano again someday.
  20. I live in the most precious log cabin home on over an acre of land with a huge electric gate.  I call it my doll house and knew that it was meant for me to be here the first time I sat on the porch swing.  It is the most cozy home, anyone who comes in also comments that as well.  
  21. Some of the most important people in my life, who have no clue of the impact they have had on me.  I am trying to let them know.  I know when someone tells me that I inspire them, it is an incredible feeling.  I want to be able to share that with others.
  22. Most of my clients have become my extended family and for that I am most thankful.
  23. Life is way too short for it too be filled with "toxic people" even if they are blood relatives, a choice has to be made. Live life to it's fullest or full of negative people that drag you down and suck the very life's blood from you. I choose the first option.  In other words if people are dead weight in your life and they  do not compliment (not complete) your life in any way, time to cut your losses and move on.  Life is far too short for drama and unhappy people to clutter it all up.
  24. I do not have the ability to change people, only their hair, so there's no need to try.
  25. Acceptance is a huge deal to all people, just be genuine about it.  No time for fake people any more.
  26. I have realized that I have the ability to choose and choose wisely who I share what with and have learned to keep it to a select few.  By a select few, I can count them on just a few fingers.
  27. Trust has to be earned and once broken is very hard to re-establish.
  28. In the words of Forrest Gump, "Life is like a box of chocolates the words of me, It is all about what you make of it, situations mold us into who we are.  You learn from your dealing with different obstacles and surmounting them which is quite rewarding, maybe not at the time but eventually it will be.
  29. Intertwine your life with people who have a positive impact and those are willing to meet you right where you are with no exceptions.  
  30. I have learned that people come into my life at exactly the right time and they also exit in the same manner.
  31. Anything is possible as long as you believe in yourself and are willing to work hard at it.
  32. I know some sign language.
  33. I can speak some French.

A few of my favorite things follow:
  • Gerber daisies
  • coffee, well motor oil :)
  • birthday cake
  • tattoos
  • reality tv
  • reading
  • learning
  • swimming
  • biking
  • running
  • Martial Arts
  • watching fights 
  • anything challenging
  • thrift stores
  • boots
  • running in the rain
  • music, all types, well except country
  • making someone's day
  • sunrises
  • sunsets
  • thunderstorms
  • traveling
  • quaint little restaurants
  • Thai food
  • Mexican Food from Hola
  • Puerto Rican food
  • Indian Food
  • cooking
  • naps
  • Hannah-isms
  • my kiddos
  • best friends

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


I think I have the most rewarding job ever, hands down.  To begin with, being a stylist is what I have wanted to do since I was five years old.  It took twenty eight years to get there but I am doing it, following  my dream.  Everyday I get to "play hair" so really I do not consider what I do a job so much but a pleasure.

I get to share in people's most exciting moments, their saddest and most of the time I know things about each person that they would never share with anyone else, kind of like a bartender.  These people understand that what they share with me will not leave the chair, it is completely confidential.

The most rewarding part of my job is seeing the smiles on the faces of those people that I have helped achieve the look that they desire and to do a complete transformation on someone.  Most of the time I only wish that I had taken before and after pictures.  Which brings me to an event that occurred yesterday.

While swimming at the Y, I met a lady, Patty who swims as well.  She asked me in a brief conversation that we had what I did for a living, I told her I was a hairstylist.  She started to ask me questions and told me that her son had really curly hair and was having problems with getting it cut the way that he wanted it and was wondering if I could possibly straighten it.  I agreed and she called to make an appointment for him, Zane.  My initial observation of him was that he was very self-conscious.  His head hung low, should slouched down, and no smile was any where near being formed on his mouth. I am thinking to myself that I hope that I have not bitten of more than I can chew.

I first just started to cutting and thinning.  The conversation between his mother and I was going back and forth about chemical straightening.   In speaking with Zane his anxiety was high because Wednesday was his first day of high school.  I told his mom that I had time to straighten it if she wanted me to and he pleaded please, mom let her straighten it.  Well I did, and it turned out fabulous.

Zane went from hanging his head to his shoulders back and a broad smile across his mouth.  He was truly happy and the anxiety of the first day of high school had been alleviated somewhat.  He was actually looking me in the eye by this point.  The transformation was remarkable.

What made it even better was the email I received from his mom to say that I was Zane's hero.  She appreciated so much that I had stayed late to straighten his hair and that I had boosted his confidence by volumes.  I responded that I was glad that I could help.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Think I may take some time off and other fleeting thoughts!

As I lay in bed on this past Sunday morning, I was staring at the ceiling thinking to myself that after March I may take a whole month or two off from training.  Then the realization hit, no way in hell would I take off that amount of time ever.  My nuclear family would be miserable not to mention I would be permanently banished to the "Dog House" for unruly behavior.  So I began laughing hysterically out loud and Nik asked me what I was laughing about.  I shared my brief and surely fleeting thought with him and his only comment was yeah right.

Sunday is the only day we sleep in.  He is so sweet he gets up with me on Saturday at 5:30 a.m. when I do my distance runs.  I run between ten and twenty miles depending on the schedule before 10 a.m. every Saturday.  So Sundays around our house is like gold.  Usually we still wake up at 5:30 any way but go back to sleep as that is the time we wake up all other six days of the week.

Training has become my second job, too bad I can't get paid for doing it. My schedule follows:

  • Monday:
    • Swim in the a.m. 
    • Run in the p.m.
  • Tuesday
    • Masters swim a.m.
    • Cycle p.m.
  • Wednesday
    • Swim a.m.
    • Run p.m.
  • Thursday
    • Masters Swim a.m.
    • Run p.m.
  • Friday
    • Cycle a.m.
    • p.m. off
  • Saturday
    • distance run a.m.
I'm tired just looking at it.  Hard work pays off, right?  I keep reminding myself of the previous statement every time I move and my body aches, each time I am so wiped out I do not feel like going to work much less swimming, biking or running, each time I put my shoes on and go for broke I remind myself.  When I am finished, I smile, feel accomplished, knowing I am beating the odds.

When I smile I think to myself about how far I have come in a short year, how much farther I will have come in a year from now and I will just keep trudging on making head way and winning small personal victories.  This journey is one of my own, not to prove one thing to anybody else but myself.  Those are the thoughts that flood my mind as I run, ipod-less for miles and miles or swim in silence lap after lap and cycle for hours.

Another downfall I should say is being so ambitious and my drive I am certain drives my nuclear family nuts even though they remain supportive, the sometimes call me crazy.  This type drive is what it takes is what I explain, an undying one.

I was reading a magazine one Sunday afternoon when a question caught my attention.  The question was something to the effect of asking when was the time you feel most beautiful.  It got me thinking. Now I know the answer to that question, I would have to say that moment is when I am the sweatiest I can be from whatever sport I am doing. I have the sense of accomplishment that spills over onto my face and breaks open into a toothy grin with dimples and freckles scattered across my cheeks.

Well, the training continues with the ultimate goal in mind.  The smiles will manifest as the sweat continues to pour, and the sense of accomplishment grows stronger as I push through pain, exhaustion and the overwhelming desire to continue on to that start line that I am so excitedly and inevitably approaching.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Training has expanded my life and knowledge in the following ways....and I have been forever changed

Well I feel as though I am about to stage an intervention on myself, I probably need one but don't judge me.   I am so addicted to exercise, the adrenaline rush from it is a huge perk but needless to say training has forever changed me.  Allow me to explain.

First and foremost, running has taught me especially over the last year that my body is capable of more than I had ever imagined.  It just takes a little time and patience (which I lack greatly in that department) to achieve the goal but it is in fact doable.  This first year of deciding that I would become a distance runner has been one of buckets of sweat, tears galore, sore legs, numerous blisters, economy sized packets of GU, gels and whatever ever else I have to gag down to just have the energy to proceed, ice baths and lets not forget the lovely black toenails.

I knew it would be difficult and I am no stranger to hard work, nor am I afraid of it.  I have learned over the past year that my mind starts to go before my body or legs.  My mind gets so tired that I literally scream at myself to keep going (not out loud), I tell myself repeatedly that I am being weak, that nothing is wrong with my legs to just keep going.  It works for me so that's how I keep going.  Another motivating factor is that running clears my mind, I run without music.  I get to take in all the views of my surroundings.  I have literally watched a  neighborhood being built.  Not only that but I also know every one's schedule for the sprinkler systems in the yards and yes I run through all of them, sometimes even through the yards.

I laugh as I have gotten new referrals at work and when the client comes in for the first time, they say that they have seen me running through their neighborhood.   It's always amazing to me that they all think I'm crazy for running so much but I just say I have a goal and hard work is the only way I'm going to get there.  A common response to that is that they have no doubt that I will.

A few other things that running has taught me is how to run off stress. It has saved my teenagers from being killed, not literally, on numerous occasions.  Listen I just say what I feel and what I know anyone who has teenagers have thought.  If the kids who think they are adults upset me, I tell them we cannot discuss this right now, I have to run.  I will be back in thirty minutes to two hours or when I calm down.  It works like a charm.  That way I can have a reasonable discussion without going off the deep end.  I'd much rather run than to say something I might regret.  Words can be more damaging than a full on punch in the face.  Trust me I know.

  I have learned that I have serious idiosyncrasies.  I run without music, music gets on my nerves when I run. It oddly enough crowds my thoughts and the head phones, although I know they really don't, constrict my neck and prevent me from moving my neck.  One day I almost threw it in the woods.   I do not like anything touching me when I run.  For a while I wasn't sure if I'd be able to wear my Garmin, but I have gotten used to it.   Clothes fitting properly is a must, nothing moving, nothing too lose or too tight.  I'm the Baby Bear, it has to be just right.

Running has also taught me that what is said on the road, stays on the road.  I started running with Lori almost a year ago.  In that year, she has become one of the best friends I have ever had.  She has crossed over into being considered part of our family.   This year has been filled with ups and downs in both our lives and I am truly grateful that she has been here to share them with me.

I have become a mathematician.  I can do fractions in my head now so fast to figure distance, splits, lengths of a pool, calculations of a mile. Funny how it starts to become second nature to figure distance of everything, really everything.  Sometimes Nik and I will be driving, we'll pass a mile marker and say that I ran that far today because it doesn't feel like it's that far.  I mean come on when you've run upwards twenty miles, ten miles becomes just ten miles.  Sometimes, Lori and I joke that the same roads we run seem longer when we drive them.  I know every road, the exact distance of each of them within a thirteen mile radius of our house.

I have learned that finishing the race as long as I have done my best is the most important thing.  I'm lying, I'm working on that but I always have a goal that I am trying to reach. I'm not real good about settling for anything.  I reach my goal and then I'm on to the next one, speedy quick.  Crossing the finish line though is one of the best feelings ever, true adrenaline rush and most addictive.

Nutrition wise, I have had to reprogram my thinking on food altogether.  Being a bodybuilder in the past, I didn't eat many carbohydrates, so many times I would bonk, or run out of energy, because of my lack of stored energy.  Sweet potatoes, honey, and peanut butter have become my staples of my diet.

I have a learned a new respect for the road too.  The last time I checked pedestrians have the right of way.  I have been swerved at, run off the road, name it, it has happened and those driving having been lovingly flipped off.  Now when I am driving my car, I slow down just in case there is a runner or cyclist on the road.

Swimming, I took up that a few months ago.  Call me crazy but oh well.  I am able bodied, nothing physically wrong with me, so why not.  I will start with the "why nots. "  Following is a mini list that was present in my mind oh for about a hot minute when I first started swimming.

  1.  I have not swam for twenty plus years and when I did it was nothing fancy. Just underwater, holding my breath the whole way, which by the way will not work when I am an endurance swimmer.  
  2. I have to get my face wet and my hair wet.
  3. I never, ever go without makeup, and this will be a problem when I have to get my face wet.
  4. I have to wear a swimsuit, horrifying, in front of a lot of people. I'm a very modest person.  
  5. I know precisely where I cannot touch the bottom of the pool so I'm not real encouraged by this fact either.
  6. I also have no clue at all what freestyle is, butterfly is and breast stroke. 
  7. I don' know how to put on a swim cap.
  8. Refer back to number two as the clincher.
So I march my little butt into the YMCA, sign up because there is a pool there and ask for someone to refer a swim coach to me.  That's how I met Joyce.

Our first phone conversation was interesting. I told her that I was interested in learning to swim because I was toying with the idea of doing, you guessed it, a triathlon and I needed her help to be able to do it.  I explained my goals and her response to me went a little something like this, well you know that is going to take a lot of work.  Well, all the eight things on my list were erased quickly and I responded quite snippy back and said, "You don't know who you are talking to, see you Monday!"

Well that conversation occurred a mere twelve weeks ago. I now have the ability to swim more than two miles efficiently and my longest swim has been three miles one day when I had some extra time to spend at the pool.  The first time I got into the water I could even make it twenty five meters without thinking I was going to die. Now I just shut my eyes, imagine that I am flying and swim while telling  myself I have all the time in the world.

Swimming has taught me that I have to pace myself, slowing down swimming has been the hardest thing to date other than the tediousness of the repetition of swimming laps.  I enjoy the time to myself.  I think a lot while I swim, just like running.

Enter cycling.  Well I have begun cycling, on a donated bike, a Trek 1000.  I have altered the bike to fit me and found some of the greatest bike gurus around, Tim and Henry at Summit Cycles.  The day I got the bike, I had to put down the top on my BMW and put it in the backseat.  I pull up into the cycle shop with my daughter Hannah.  I carried the bike inside and handed it over while saying do whatever needs to be done to fix this to fit me.  I knew enough that I wouldn't be able to ride it as is because the person who gave me the bike is 4'11" tall and I'm 5'6".  Never once did they talk down to me as I explained I had no clue about cycling, what I needed to do or even how to shift gears.

During all this time, Hannah is walking around the store, of course picking out things for me to get, cycling shorts and water bottles when Henry asked her if she did all the stuff her mom does.  She replied, "No sir, my mom is crazy."

Henry was kind enough to give me a three hour tutorial on changing my tire, shifting gears and all the other bits of information that he had to give.  He taught me how to break down my bike, what to expect while riding and  he was very encouraging.

The next trip to Summit Cycles was for cycling shoes and aero bars.  While Tim was installing pedals and aero bars, Nik who had come along with me this time was talking to Henry.  I was breaking in my cleats when I heard Henry tell Nik that I would fall trying to engage and dis engage my shoes from the pedals. (I am honestly one with my bike when I ride now, bahahaha, as Brittany would say.)  Nik just shrugged his shoulders at Henry.  We got into the truck and Nik says that Henry told me you would fall.  I said yeah probably so.  He said I'm not worried about you falling, I punch you in the face.  (Now nobody go and call the authorities, Nik is my sparring partner for Muay Thai so he's not abusive. He meant that I can take a punch, I can handle my knee or hand scraped.)

The most important way training has changed me is that it has taught me that I can fully depend on myself.  Mentally I am tougher than ever and I will push through whatever.  Long runs have become just another part of training and now I am actually doing a lot of them on my own, just me, the road and some Gatorade and a determination that will not quit.  Swimming has taught me that I can overcome any fear.  I remember the first time I swam a mile, Joyce didn't tell me what I had done until I finished.  I had only been swimming for five weeks.  That day I shared with her how scared I was of the water the first time I got in.  I have learned a respect for the water that I never had before.  I love to swim and it complements running so well.  It has transformed my body from being stiff as a board to having muscles that actually move.  Cycling is teaching to just keep pushing, it burns but to just go and keep going.

Yesterday I signed up for another full marathon, hopefully this one will not get snowed out.  I have signed up for a triathlon in the future, but that will not be disclosed until a later date...when I did finish filling out my registration form, I texted Nik and Lori and said that I had registered, now I am going to vomit.

The journey is long, it begins and ends with one stroke in the water, one stride and one revolution of the tire. It is rewarding to say the least for my own personal self. I compete against me, my times, my own personal goals.  It is exhilarating to see just how far I can push myself, the mind definitely quits before the body and overcoming it can be the most challenging part.

Triathlon updates to follow, I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Yes, Yes, A Graduate, Two Avid Fishermen, BMX Bandit and The Pretty Lady Discount and Yes the Authorities Know!

Our adventure began with the ending of a period in my oldest daughter's life, she graduated high school. Unlike most parents, I was not sad for me but happy for her as she begins the journey into adulthood. The irony in her graduating is that as I posted on Facebook that she was graduating high school, most people I know were posting that their children were graduating kindergarten.

After the graduation ceremony, we were beach bound. A much needed vacation was in the near future. The cars were loaded we began, nothing to eventful occurred on the trip down, except of course I had to pee more than everyone wanted to stop, consequence of drinking a ton of water, but hey nature calls!

We finally arrived at the realty office to get our key for the house that I had rented to find out the location, just around the corner. We pulled into the driveway of the house, opened the door and let me just say that the pictures on the internet had done the house no justice. There were five bedrooms, with six bathrooms. Each bedroom had its own private balcony. A private pool in the back and the house being seated on an inlet and a block from the beach, let me just say perfect. Everyone settled into his or her rooms and we were officially on vacation. It's Saturday and I have a week of nothing scheduled, oh my goodness...panic. PRESS PAUSE.

I'll rewind just a little bit. When I announced to my clients that I was going on vacation for an entire week, they were in disbelief. I have never taken a full week off work. What followed was a flurry of books for my reading pleasure on the trip. Honestly, I couldn't believe that I was taking a week off either, my life is so scheduled I was a little, I'm lying, a lot panicked. An example of how scheduled I am, and I am not just talking about work, I bought an agenda book and wasn't paying attention that it's scheduling was for every thirty minutes. It was unusable because I need fifteen minute increments even in just regular every day life. Understand that I packed P90X, weights, a stationary swim trainer, running shoes, Garmin and along with Nik all our Muay Thai gear. I realize fully how ridiculous all that sounds, but it is what it is.

Now back to the story. The weather was beautiful. Not too hot, not much rain, perfect for lounging around the pool, fishing and running. :) On Sunday morning, Nik and I got up and went out for a quick run. As we are running, we notice this kid riding a bike coming our direction on the sidewalk. He get closer and stand up and pops a wheelie in front of me and almost wipes out. Nik is getting a big laugh, he said that if the kid falls I going to laugh in his face. He said he's showing off for you. We run on and as we circle back to return from our run the kid does it again, he was lovingly named the BMX Bandit.

As time went on that day, Nik asked Devyn to go fishing with him. They went and didn't catch a thing. Devyn had hooked something but couldn't reel it in. Nik said he was saying, "I can't reel it!" Later on when they got home with this story, I asked Nik if he had almost lost his reel in the struggle to reel in "Nessy" and his reply was that no had almost lost Devyn. That one fishing excursion turned into many hours on the pier. They would go alone and would not catch a single fish, I would supervise and they would catch many shark! Devyn is definitely hooked, no pun intended! These times are when all those books came in handy, I would read while they fished.

The conversations and the activities on the pier were most entertaining. People watching is always the best. One night, and the pier is moist with sea spray, two girls who were trying real hard to be hot, switching those little butts too hard, and let me tell you what it got them - a case of sliding all over the pier looking dumber than dumb as everyone laughing in their faces. They never fell but it was as if they had stepped on banana peels. It was fantastic and I am sure embarrassing for them. Another night we were sitting on the pier and a little boy was walking by in this manner, he would take two steps and the hop all the while saying, "YES, YES!" He was excited about something, he was awesome and probably all of two years old. A little girl around six or so was behind a couple people probably sixty or holding hands when she blurted out that old people are so cute.

As for the pretty lady discount, there was a man who looked like Robin Williams working the counter at the Garden City Pier store where you get the bands to fish, and just random stuff that is needed during fishing trips. This night, Brittany and Nik were fishing. They bought their bands and headed out the door to the pier. This old man starts telling me that I am stunning. I said thank you and head out to the pier. Well a few hours later, I needed coffee and asked Brittany to walk with me to the store. I approach the coffee pot and this "Robin Williams" says that's on me. I cannot believe this old guy is hitting on me. So I continue to gather the other items that I had to get and place them on the counter, Brittany comes around the corner from getting ice cream. I had him money to pay for all the other things I wanted to purchase, he hands me back my change as he tells me I get the "pretty lady discount!" Dear Lord! He ended up charging me a dollar for everything I had gotten.

Nik's mom, Irma had come down to vacation with us for a few days. She hung out with the kids, made coffee drinks, cooked and tanned. Her only complaint was there was no Starbucks to be found. Some days when the boys would go fishing, she and I would have long conversations over coffee. We would watch crazy things on television. During our conversations she and I got to know each other better. She asked me questions she wanted to ask me, personal ones but I answered them honestly. Oddly these were questions, that had my mother asked I would have not answered, ever. We talked about acceptance, her loneliness, about not caring what people think and other things. I thoroughly enjoyed the time we shared that week. Sometimes I do not think she realizes how special she is to me. Over the past two years, she has been there for me more that anybody in my life besides her son. When my granny passed away, she came to our house that night and hugged me while I cried. She is a mother to me and expects nothing in return as it should be. She loves me no matter what and most importantly she is proud of me and supports me unlike anyone else, except her son. She left on Tuesday morning. I missed her terribly and kept her updated on the fishing situation via texts and Facebook. One night, the boys were catching shark left and right, more than fifteen. I was texting her the numbers of shark they were catching. The next morning I got a phone call from Irma. She called to ask me if the authorities knew that those shark were so close to the shore! We had a big laugh. She will definitely be invited on vacation again. I wish I had more time to spend with her, our lives have been similar. I am saddened that time doesn't permit with her work schedule and mine. However, the gems of conversation that she and I have will be cherished and kept close to my heart.

During the trip, Nik was scheduled to train and few of his fighters at Fitness Edge, let me add there is a ring there. He had cleared for me to come in and train, in the ring! YAY! The first day we trained, he trained Charlye and guess what I held pads for T-BO, a fighter twice my size. Nik got a huge laugh about that but whatever, I did it. I also received huge props that day as well as Nik, I was told I had better stand up than most guys at the gym. YIPPEE!! So I have the itch again, to fight for real. We trained at that gym twice while we were there. Nothing less was expected right?

Anyone who knows Nik and me, is fully aware that in any story there is a boxing gym, a fight and a Thai Restaurant those three things are all required elements for any vacation we have taken or will take. So here goes the Thai restaurant, Bangkok House. I must say that this one was not found by either of us but by Brittany. She has acquired my eye for spotting them, I can spot them a mile away. As with most of these Thai restaurants they are a whole in the wall dive but man is the food divine. Of course we ate far too much, with full fire filled bellies and smiles on our faces we were nearing the end of our trip.

Well the only downer that happened occurred the night before we left, some asshole stole Nik's fishing equipment. He went to the pier with a game plan, to sucker punch whoever had it and them throw them over the pier and reclaim his fishing gear. He had no such luck.

All in all the trip was restful and fun for everyone involved. Same time next year and more than likely same house.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

To My Granny

Dear Granny,

In a few weeks your birthday and mine will be here, another year gone. You would have been 83 this year and I will be 37. Hard to believe that you are no longer here but I am fully aware that you are in a better place free from any pain you suffered from.

There are a few things that I wanted to let you know, I wish I had done it sooner before you passed away but you wouldn't have known any way.

I just wanted to thank you for all the times that you had Sunday dinners at your house, I remember those fondly and speak about them often. Those Sundays were some of the best memories that I had and continue to have. I remember how you would cook fried chicken (fresh, nothing from the store) and your homemade rice and gravy with biscuits and corn and stewed tomatoes, my mouth waters at the thought. Oh and I almost forgot the banana pudding and last but not least the homemade ice cream. I remember how you invited everyone over, my other granny too. We had such a good time.

I remember you had the best lap. I used to love to sit on your lap even when I was far too big and just hold you hands and look at your red polish on your nails. I remember the blue polyester dress that you loved wearing and your cat eye glasses. I remember the jewelry you used to wear. I used to love to sit and look at your jewelry in the Avon box that was filled with costume pieces that I admired for years.

I remember thinking it was special to use tv trays and eat dinner with Papa Hare and Pa Baker in the living room at your house. I loved picking flowers with you and working in the garden with you. Feeding the chickens was great too and gathering eggs.

I remember when I had Brittany you helped me with nursing her because you had nursed all your babies.

I remember you coming to the salon where I worked and you swept hair off the floor while sitting in your wheel chair. You told me that day that you had always wanted to work in a salon.

I remember coming to visit you at the nursing home and you would be so busy that you would have to go play BINGO with all your friends.

One thing I know I never said to you was that when I was having a rough time I know that you prayed for me, hard and on your knees. I know you did and I sincerely thank you for that. In most cases, somebody needed to be and you always did. You prayed for everybody.

I don't know if you heard me on the day that I was getting you ready for your last showing, your funeral visitation, because I am unsure how that works. I was fortunate enough to get to visit with you as I did Granny Craft. I was able to spend the last hour with you alone and just talk to you like I used to, to get closure and visit with you just one last time. When I was putting on your makeup, the way I remember your wearing it, I realized that your lips were so thin. I painted them on for you, pink the way you liked them. I polished your nails, pink of course, you know you always said that an old barn looks better with a coat of paint. I gave you yours. You were so pretty. What amazed me the most on that day was that I actually look like you. I always knew you much rounder that you were that day. You had thinned so much, I could see your facial structure and it looked very much like what I see in my mirror.

I feel pretty special, not only did I get to share your birthday for 36 years, I got to look like you too.

I miss you and love you very much. I am the lucky one to have gotten to spend the time with you. I was fortunate to have you as my granny.

I will always love you.
Your Granddaughter,

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Here I Go again...

I was unaware how long it had been since my last blog post. Many things have happened, three funerals, another event causing a further rift between my sister and me, two more half-marathons, the cancellation of the full marathon in Myrtle Beach due to a snow storm, another salon location change, Nik's business booming, his fighter winning, a life changing event for a dear friend, my daughter's high school graduation...the list could go on.

Life has been a whirl wind for the past few months, almost a blur. During times whether positive or negative the realization of who my family and friends are is as evident as the nose on my face. Nik and I had such an outpouring of support in all these areas, it has been quite a rude awakening of just the transparency of the people who we thought were our friends and those I no longer consider family. The last statement is mainly from me, but I am brilliantly aware, so clearly aware that I have made the right decision is choosing my family from a broad range of friends that have supported me, no matter what the circumstance.

I digress. As is apparent through previous posts there is a plethora of underlying issues surrounding, overshadowing and frankly squeezing the freaking last blood from the relationship between my mother and me. I am at my wits end and do not understand why the hell I continue to torture myself with such repetitive choices that are, I have to remind myself, self chosen and the consequences are so often self inflicted and much to my dismay , the damage tends to be irreversible. I constantly try to make amends with my mother, and I ask myself for what, just to be smacked in the face because I will never, never be good enough in her eyes.