UGH!! Politics! Who needs it? Every time I scroll through my Social Media page there it is- someone ranting or arguing about social justice political idealism. So much to say, so little time.
The truth is I don’t care about your politics! To think a politician, a system or a belief is going to “fix” what is so inherently broken is foolish. I want to tell everyone to STOP!! Just stop with all the back and forth on who and what is going to give us the best economic growth, why pro-life is even a political issue, and the propaganda that puts fear in the lives of voters.
EVERY TIME. Every. Single. Time….I read a commentary on issues like gun control and abortion I wonder where their ideas come from in the first place. One side says, “Don’t take away my rights to bear arms, but let me take away your rights to your uterus.” One side says let’s have some sort of gun control as if that would “fix” the mass shootings happening way too often, while the other side blames mental health.
What is wrong with the world is not of a political issue. The problems we face are not going to be fixed by our current corrupted Government. The reason is that the problems we face are ones of moral values that are way more complicated than how we vote or who we vote for. Therefore,the world doesn’t need YOUR opinion on YOUR political stance to make this world a better place!!SO STOP trying to convince me about your party, your president, and your belief system.
As a mom and educator I have faced these issues and wondered how best to approach them. How do I raise my own children and my students to the morals and values of equality and justice. Yes, I teach them that voting is a right and necessary. Yes, we discuss issues like racism, classism, sexism and all the other isms. We quote the Declaration of Independence and every morning we stand and pledge our allegiance to the United States of America! What I find more and more terrifying is the apathy I see when we discuss about the injustices. Doesn’t it make sense though? I mean if we are teaching our kids to leave the “issues and problems” to the politicians so we can eat, drink and be merry, why should we care?
Until we can all face our own corruption and encourage the world to a “spiritual and moral awakening,” rather than a political one, will change start to happen. The Government is not going to take care of us. The Government DOES NOT EVEN CARE ABOUT YOUR CHILDREN! Just take a good look at our public school systems! I am not preaching anarchy, I’m simply stating that if we want our lives and the lives of those around us to be better than it was yesterday, we need to be the ones to roll up our sleeves and get involved. Politics will not be enough!
We all want to be successful. Whether that be in our careers, relationships, or in our recreation and hobbies. We are taught from a young age that in order to be successful you must work hard, and if you want to be more successful than your peer, then you must work harder than your peer. If you want to be the most successful then anyone else, then you must sacrifice and/or find “ways” to succeed, even it that means compromising honesty, integrity and whole hearted values.
It isn’t unusual to hear about people who work too hard that they end up with headaches, stomach problems and sleepless nights. Some people work so hard they get heart attacks and strokes. We all know someone who just works until they are ragged, and think thats a good measurement of success.
With running there is no difference. You hear about runners who train so hard and so much they end up injured or dying.
With all the technology we have today to improve our athletic abilities- hydration drinks, nutrition and protein shakes, pre-workout supplements, recovery drinks and so forth, there is one piece of the equation I believe that doesn’t get as much attention as it should, and not just in the case of running. That is the importance of recovery while resting.
As human animals, because we really are just animals, we need rest in order to live well. Most animals use winter time to recover, rest and recharge for the spring and summer days.
God even took one day of rest after he created the entire Universe, which tells us that if even an all powerful being, who doesn’t even sleep, needs rest, how important is it for us?
We do not value the concept of rest. We get up early and work until it’s way past dark and applaud those who do. We use our weekends to get ahead, to play hard, to catch up on the chores and get away to “do” something.
We just simply do not have the time rest. So our bodies AND our minds pay for it.
Science and research are starting to discover, or at least beginning to realize an old truth, that rest is part of the wholeness of health. Rest is in fact just as important as exercise and diet.
One of the reasons some people give up on running so quick is because they don’t give themselves permission to rest, recover and recharge. They want to run faster and longer as soon as possible. They don’t want to wait for months or years to be where they want to be with their goals. So they turn to gimmicks like recovery drinks or something like steroids.
So if you are new to running- give yourself time to rest, recover and recharge. That means taking a day off completely. And when I say take a day off- I mean a day off from everything. No running, no working, no catching up on chores. If you are like me, and need a somewhat clean house to be restful, do it the day before. Taking a day off means reading a book, watching movies, listening to music while writing in a journal. Taking a warm bath. It means taking the time to also reconnect with yourself. Resting is not just for the body, but it is especially for the mind. As a coach I try to teach my athletes the value of meditation or visualization while resting after a workout.
I know it sounds unrealistic, especially if you have a family, with soccer, swimming, dance and baseball games, and endless hours of homework, so it’s going to be very difficult to find the time to rest. SO maybe instead of a whole day, it could be one or two hours of just resting the body, soul and mind.
I cannot stress enough on how important this one missed piece of the puzzle this truly is. I am a believer that this little treasure does not only work with athletes, but with every single person. Imagine if we all came from a place of ease, rest and peace, instead of a place of dis-ease, restlessness, and stress?
That’s right! Running sucks– because it is hard. So why on earth would anyone want to do it? For starters runners have cute butts. Who doesn’t want an ass you can bounce a quarter off? 🙂
In all seriousness, building endurance and stamina takes time. Not every run is going to go smooth, in fact most runs are challenging and incorporate some kind of pain. This is what separates the tough from the lazy. If you ask any great athlete, it takes months and years to master a skill. To get better at running, therefore, is to go out and run. Before running my marathons, I was running half marathons, and before running half marathons I was running 10Ks, and before running 10Ks I was running 5Ks… you get the point. So technically it has taken me five years to build up my endurance for the 26.2 miles.
You see, after making the decision to start running or to improve your running performance, it’s going to suck. This is because you will experience some kind of pain, some kind of set back, and it probably won’t feel good the first few times you go out. But when your body finally starts to transform and you are taken away by the euphoria of what is known as the runner’s high- all the pain is soon worth it. And let me tell you, it is definitely worth it.
Now, if the pain scares you, be encouraged, you are stronger than you think you are, and sometimes you will have to FORCE yourself to keep going. This is why running is so dependent on mentality.
Running is 90% mental- 10% perseverance. The physical part follows the path of your mentality and your perseverance. Most people have the opposite in mind. They follow the physical and let that lead their mentality which shortens or kills any potential of gaining the price.
There is something about pain during exercise/running that tells people to STOP; however, when we listen to that voice, we prevent ourselves from true transformation. It is IN the pain that trains your body to run further, faster and to transform your body.
So today’s tip– ALWAYS work through the pain. Go that extra second, minute, rep, whatever it is. Push yourself beyond your limits and you will succeed.
Of course don’t be stupid and work yourself to an injury- that is why recovery is so important. So stay tuned for the next post about the importance of rest.
I have ran and finished two marathons. My first marathon I finished with a time of 5 hours 10 minutes. My second marathon I finished with a time of 4 hours and 29 minutes. It’s not that impressive when compared to elite runners who can run it in 2 -3 hours, however, the fact that I can run for 26.2 miles is impressive and so I’d like to share to those of you who are entertaining the thought about running.
I remember a few years ago when I thought I would never be one of “those” people– the 26.2 sticker on the back window of their car. The people who get up at o’dark o’clock to squeeze in some miles. The people who seem to check the weather constantly in hopes that by some miracle the weather will change to ideal conditions to help with a PR (Personal Record). Yup, even running has its own acronyms and language. Soon, you will be talking about pacing, sub (place number of miles here), splits, hitting the wall and so forth. The running community is definitely a different kinda world, but don’t let it intimidate you and don’t write it off just yet.
What I love about running is that there are no concrete rules to follow. You pretty much make it what you want. You want to run 1 mile, great! Want to walk/run for twenty minutes, awesome! The best part about this sport, is that you compete with yourself, not necessarily other runners. It doesn’t matter at all what place you get in a race. IT DOESN’T MATTER! What does matter? Finishing the race. Beating your time from the last one, if that is your goal. You never see a Facebook post saying, “I came in 3,921st!”
I could go on and on why running is the best sport/ exercise there is, but what I really want is for you to realize that it doesn’t matter how athletic you are, what your fitness level is, or if you are an athlete, running makes your life better!
I was first introduced to running by my uncle. There was something fascinating about racing. I joined the track team in middle school and then high school. I mostly ran sprints, specifically the hurdles in track and field. I joined Cross Country my freshman year. It wasn’t my favorite sport, but I ran to help with my track career. Distance was something I didn’t think I could do very well.
I wanted to run track in college but instead I got married, then divorced, re-married had two kids, divorced again, re-married had another baby. Needless to say running was put on the back burner for the next few years.
Running was something I did when I had a chance, in order to get a work out in, or to help me shed a few extra pounds gained from all the IPAs I loved. I would sign up for races like the Chips and Salsa, Duke City, but I would only run the 5Ks (3.1 miles), because anything longer than that seemed impossible.
I remember being in awe when I would hear of others finishing their marathons. My very dear and best friend completed 9 marathons, along with half marathons, batton marches and bike races! This is where the proximity principle comes in handy. When you start to hang out with people accomplishing big goals, you start to get influenced. This is why joining running groups is so important. I prefer running alone, but that doesn’t mean I can’t be a part of groups for accountability and once in a while I will run with a friend. So if you are thinking about embarking on your own journey, find someone who inspires you with their own track record and ask them questions, join a running group, or log on to google and start searching. There are tons of resources out there, but the best ones, in my opinion, are the people around you.
It wasn’t until after the birth of my third child that I started thinking seriously about running. I signed up for 10Ks (6.2 miles) instead of 5ks. One year at the Chips and Salsa race, I placed 1st in my age group for the 10K and something inside me whispered that maybe I could run a half marathon (13.2 miles).
When talking with other runners, they would tell me, “If you can run 6 miles you can run 13.” They added, “What you run in your training, you can double during a race.” I wasn’t too sure about that advice, since there is a huge difference from 3 miles to 6 miles to the scary 13 miles, in my opinion.
So I signed up for my first half marathon at the Duke City Marathon back in 2017. I had no idea what to expect, how to train and what I needed to do with my nutrition to support my training. So I asked my runner friends about training, read articles from Runner’s World, joined Facebook running groups. My goal was anything faster than 2 hours. Sure enough I ran a 1:58 for my first half marathon. After that, I have not been able to PR the next few half marathons I ran. I am not sure why, the only thing that changed was my diet. Back then I was eating Isagenix and using their supplements and stopped for a bit, so needless to say, I started on their program again, and I don’t regret the extra few dollars I spend for it.
So here I am two marathons later, and have several people asking me what the secret is. So I have decided to write a series of posts to share some of the experiences if you are at all interested in joining the dark side.
The first step- BELIEVE.
Before you buy those cute running shoes, and turn on your play list for that first run, you need to check your attitude. Just like you need fuel before you start your vehicle and head down the road, you need to fill your mind with positive beliefs. If you HATE running then you are probably not going to go very far. If you had bad experiences with running, then you are probably going to avoid it. If you think you just don’t have the stamina or endurance, then you are right.
You have to change your mindset about running.
You have to believe that you can run. Believe that you can run fast. Believe that you can run far. Believe that you can cross that finish line! Once you make that decision to believe in yourself and run, you will begin a love/ hate relationship that will benefit you in ways you can’t even imagine. Not to mention that you will surround yourself with a community that kicks ass.
I spent the last day of winter break at the Urgent Care. Four hours of waiting for the Doctor to give me some Ibuprofen.
Twenty years ago (still amazes me that I can actually say– twenty years ago– only to emphasize that I am getting older), but twenty years ago I had a pneumothorax, that is a fancy medical term for a collapsed lung. I remember it like it was, hmmm, twenty years ago… a sudden feeling on my left chest that something big sunk down. In other words, it felt like when you swallow something big, with out chewing it, and you can feel it go down your throat. Well, it was something like that. It didn’t hurt. The pain came after.
As each hour passed it became harder to breathe. Every breath I took there was a sharp pain. Of course I didn’t rush to the hospital at this time because it didn’t occur to me that my lung collapsed. I mean, all I was doing was fixing my hair when I felt something weird and then slowly, and very slowly did I finally realize that something was seriously wrong.
THREE DAYS! That’s how long it took me to get into the ER, and even then it took an ENTIRE day to finally get a chest tube in there to inflate my lung. I was living in Las Vegas, New Mexico at the time, and my daughter had just turned one year old.
To make a long story short, I was first diagnosed with walking pneumonia and was given a decongestion and codeine for the pain. I requested a chest x-ray and was told that they were booked and to come in the next day. I refused, walked into an empty waiting room and had my chest x-rayed.
Turns out my left lung had collapsed and it was soooo painful, every little move I made was torture. I stayed in the hospital for five days to get that lung inflated and back to normal.
Five days with a chest tube in your body gives you a lot of time to think. I kept thinking how lucky I was that I didn’t go into cardiac arrest. I also thought how lucky I was that I lived in an era where technology can help diagnose and treat symptoms like pneumothorax. In a lot of ways, I felt like I was given a second chance to live. So I became a religious zealot for the next five years (that’s another post for another time).
Needless to say, after my run yesterday I started to have some chest pain in the same area as my pneumothorax twenty years ago (it’s actually a fun word to say out loud and it makes you look smart) and when I woke up this morning with the pain still there, I decided I better make sure nothing serious was going on, because if it was another pneumothorax, I wanted to take care of it right away.
Due to walking in to Urgent Care with “chest pain” you get seen right away. Within minutes I was poked, hooked up, and x-rayed. I’m happy to report that I do not in fact have another collapsed lung (wanted to spare you the fancy word usage). Instead I have inflammation on my lung lining. The fancy medical term is pleurisy.
Once we realized I was out of danger, I had to wait four hours to get Ibuprofen and the IV taken out.
All this to say, please don’t take your health for granted. I know what it is like to not breathe, and I will never understand why people smoke and put all kinds of shit in their bodies on a regular basis, that will harm them. Although, let’s be clear, having wine does not harm you if you don’t abuse it, if you know what I mean.
Our bodies are amazing! Unfortunately we live in a society that body image matters more than healthy bodies. In some cases, it is frowned upon if you want to eat healthy and live an active life style. What we do to ourselves to try and fit into this image is terrifying and ludicrous!
We can make fun or snub our noses to the experts about what we need to do to live a healthy life style all we want, but when we are faced with an illness of some sort, we may regret not taking better care of ourselves.
At the same time, there are illnesses that can’t be prevented, and when that is the case, we should be extra diligent with our health.
For now, I have to figure out the cause of the inflammation and seek treatment to reduce/eliminate it. That will probably take longer than a four hour Urgent Care visit.
As each year passes more quickly than the last one, I have come to appreciate what it means to grow in maturity. So instead of having unrealistic goals and resolutions to transform myself over night, I have decided to make this year a year of Acceptance.
Accept that I am getting older and my life is made up of more than fighting wrinkles, body image and grey hair. My beauty grows from the inside not the outside.
Accept that certain relationships will never reconcile. I will remind myself, when I am feeling grieved about it, that often gentle good-byes are the acts of great courage and kindness. It is kinder to let go so you can love them, rather than hold them close and hate them. It is true that you will only be able to love some people from a safe distance.
Accept forgiveness for myself and to forgive others. Forgiveness is a reminder that I am not perfect. I will always be a work in progress. When I withhold forgiveness to others who may have offended me, I am acting self-righteously. I have no right to judge, punish, or absolve anyone. When I withhold forgiveness to myself or others I am the who will suffer, since I separate myself from fellow human beings. I do NOT know the motives or circumstances that cause another’s behavior.
Accept that I can have an opinion without insisting that others share it.
Accept that life is a blessing.
Accept that life is only lived one day at a time.
Accept that my needs are my responsibility.
Accept that I have both shortcomings and strengths.
Accept that I need to ask for help when I need it and acting on my own when I don’t.
Accepting love from others, even if I’m having a tough time loving myself.
Accept that I can care FOR people without having to take care OF them.
I have a primary responsibility to myself and the world: to make myself into the best person I can possibly be. Then and only then, will I have something worthwhile to share.
May 2020 bring you healing, peace, love, abundance, forgiveness, and acceptance.
2010- Divorced. It was not easy for anyone. Restraining orders, court hearings, custody issues etc...
2011- Accepted in the CDP (Career Development Program) at UNM to become teacher. Only 17 were accepted. I was torn with the decision to attend the CDP program or find an accounting job. I have a degree in Accounting. I knew that the accounting job would give me a salary quickly, and since becoming a single mom I needed the money. I also knew that I was being called to teach. It was a risk in a lot of ways, but I had to answer the call. So we lived off of student loans while I finished school. Finding a teaching job was difficult after graduation. Even though my first gig was a 5th grade class, it was definitely my worst year. Since I was considered a short hire, I was not re-hired for the job. I was relieved and scared at the same time, since I desperately needed a job. So when I dropped off my 6th grader at her new middle school- I thought what the heck- I applied, got an interview and wasn’t hired until two days before school started, and not for the position I applied for. Instead I found myself teaching 6th Grade Gifted Language Arts.
2012- First year as a middle school teacher. I found my place! Got my endorsement in Gifted Education and Language Arts so I could stay. And right before the year ends, I meet Dan through his brother who I worked with at that middle school.
2013- Engaged at Disney World. Dan turns 40. I move in with Dan, and once again at the end of the year- pregnant!
2014- Transfer to Desert Ridge Middle School, the best middle school in the state! Got married. A short and sweet ceremony at Dan’s parents back yard. Avery is born.
2015- Postpartum Depression hits me hard. Lots of fighting, crying and isolation. I really don’t remember anything else that year. Dan gets a new job at Albuquerque Public Schools Education Foundation.
2016- Medication and therapy help me and I see the light. Slowly reconnect with people. Dan gets a new job at Big Brothers Big Sisters in Santa Fe.
2017- My oldest graduates high school. Mother daughter trip to Belize. Then she goes away to college, lots of tears. Dan gets a new job with Casa Esperanza.
2018- Loving life and making new friends. Dan loses his job at Casa. I turn 40. I start taking my running to new distances.
2019- Ran my first marathon. Go me! Dan starts delivering pizzas for Dominoes. Go Dan! I start a running camp. Dan starts a new gig at Walmart, and then finally settles into ADC.
What a decade it has been!
2020- What I know for sure in 2020 is that Kevin will graduate from High School, and then he will be off on his own adventure. I also know that the predictable life I have created, and proudly so, will continue to be predictable in my everyday ordinary life.
I know it’s tempting to expect and hope for all the best in 2020, but if I learned anything these ten years, is that life will always throw surprises. Good and bad. It’s tempting to chant, “2020 is gonna be our year!” And though my heart believes it, I have to say that last few years have made us who we are. Dan and I have been there for each other in our worst and our best. 2020 is not going to be any different than all the years past. It’s another trip around the sun and transmissions will break, water heaters will leak, heaters will stop throwing heat, cancer will continue to threaten and steal our loved ones, relationships will grow, or grow a part, new jobs and opportunities will arise and sometimes they demise. Much like the magic of Christmas, New Years brings on a euphoric sense of newness and second chances. We all want a smooth ride. Truth be told, it’s too boring when there are no challenges to overcome. Challenges shapes our character and delivers compassion to our hearts.
2019 taught me that while you are waiting for your life to get better, it’s time for YOU to get better.
Challenges are not meant to break you, they are meant for you to find and have a purpose in your life. 2019 taught me that I can’t expect life to be perfect- because it never will be. So instead of expecting 2020 to be a perfect year, I expect it to be a year of purpose.