Speedwork Under a Full Moon

                                   Image courtesy of:

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Rising in the early morning dark has its benefits. When I set out in the humid air this morning, I was blessed to see the full Sturgeon moon. Since moving here, I don’t think I have really see one in all its glory until today.  I was lucky enough to have a regular monthly siting when I lived up North. Less artificial light and a more rural setting really spoiled me in that regard. The whole house would light up and I often would go outside for a little while just to look. In fact, the boys and I even went “owling” in the deep woods on a frigid and snow-filled January night. We had no need for flashlights to guide us. Incredible memory!

Forgive me, I digress…. Recently, I have felt much like the sturgeon itself, at least when it comes to running. I feel ancient, that’s for sure, but certainly not threatened or endangered as these unique fish once were. Still, I was in need of a comeback, much like them. I needed to take action. Yet, somehow I lacked the motivation to do it all by myself. So, imagine my delight when just 3 weeks ago, I came upon a group of people doing speedwork just one mile from my house! I was even more excited when they invited me to join them the following week. It turns out that the guy who coaches the group lives in the apartment complex next to my house and works at the running store where I buy my shoes! I have 2 weeks under my belt, and while getting up @ 4:30 to be ready for a 5:30 run is not everyone’s idea of fun, I really look forward to it. Today I was asked if I have a next race. I don’t. My goal is to get out of my running rut and feel better about myself and my body. If the work reveals a race to me, I’ll go with it. Right now, I’m just happy to be in the peace of the morning with just the moon as my guide.

 

 

 

 

 

Keeping the Spark

Image courtesy of : www.pinterest.com

How do we make the most of the life we are presently given? How do we keep the wolves of work at bay when we enter the haven of home? Where do we find daily peace of mind?

For me, August is one long Sunday night. The anticipation of a new school year looms everywhere even if you’re neither a teacher nor a student. We are all gearing up for the busyness and the changes we know these next few weeks will bring. Our heads are full. We are standing on the cliff’s edge trying not to slip and fall because we are just shy of becoming overwhelmed.

In this mindset, it is easy to forget the gifts of the previous season. If you’re lucky enough, you may have spent some time away recharging your batteries and renewing relationships. You may even have gone on an adventure of a lifetime.

So why is this very quickly forgotten? Why are we allowing ourselves to get caught in the trap of not “getting enough things done” at home or at work?  Yes, yes, of course we all have to be grown-ups and be responsible for ourselves and others. Yet, what gets lost in the translation is Joy.We approach the sometimes drudgery-filled daily to-do list with dread instead. I say save your dread for those things that may require it! By this I mean things that are literally related to your health and well-being. And even then, do not let those destructive demons destroy the joy that lives in your heart.

Lately, I am hearing lots of news about loss. People I know and care about are living with heartache. It’s an awful place to be. Most of the time there are no words of comfort we can offer. We can listen. We can show up. But more importantly, we can remember what we have and appreciate it once again.

We are given a chance every day to embrace our time here on Mother Earth. We cannot take it for granted. Some of it will be a struggle. Some of it will be nothing more than the daily grind. But whatever it may be, we must always allow for even the tiniest pinprick of light to shine upon us.

I write this as a reminder to myself; I am simply human, a person like others who at one point was very broken and is now more whole. At the same time, I  know I still have work to do; there are relationships out there that are fractured. The roads to reconciliation have yet to reveal themselves. I remain-as always-hopeful that the fog will clear and the healing can begin.

Today and every day, go out and do at least  one thing that fills your spirit and lifts you up. It may change your life.

Image courtesy of: www.pinterest.com

Dew Point 76

 

Photo Courtesy of: dailyburn.com

Running is a road to self-awareness and reliance-you can push yourself to extremes and learn the harsh reality of your physical and mental limitations or coast quietly down a solitary path watching the earth spin beneath your feet

.Doris Brown Heritage

Early Saturday morning, my husband returned from a short run and said “Take it slow and walk before you have to.”  I packed my gummies in my back shorts pocket, took the icy water bottle from the freezer and made may way out for an 11 mile run. The air was thick and the trail was still.   The usual weekend warriors were out-none exhibiting their usual speed of feet nor swiftness of wheels. It was not hard to hold back. I let my mind wander as I dodged other walkers or runners. We  whispered “Good morning” to one another or simply smiled, nodding ‘hello’. This was work. At the 4 and 1/2 mile mark, I stopped, following my husband’s advice. My legs were just this side of tired. Heat has a way of making all parts of your body feel heavier. Even your breathing. Each intake feels as if I’m rowing, pulling through water. I resumed running, passing by a homeless man soundly sleeping on a park bench.  Rounding the bend, through the underpass, I noticed the newest street art- gorgeous murals covering the extra wide posts in brilliant reds and yellows. I was nearing the turn around point. A small part of me wanted to push myself further but I knew the long slog back would be a challenge to say the least.

I don’t recall how many more times I stopped to walk. I remember developing a strategy, however. Run up all overpasses and run all away across the long bayou. I made the overpasses but stopped short on the bayou, in need of gummies and the last of my water. The campground on the east side of the trail allowed me to replenish my water bottle before heading further north.  I made myself move-not propel-just lift my legs through Blossom Lake Park and towards another overpass.

The shade provided zero relief.  The breeze was non-existent. At this point, all I could do was talk myself into running from one point to another. The split in the trail. The telephone pole. The couple walking side by side.

I noticed my shoes were soaked and my shorts and shirt clung to me like a wet bathing suit. Everything was dripping from my body. Beads of sweat were flying into the air. I was out of water again. The last leg of this soggy session was upon me, though.  A walk through the park behind my house and then a short jaunt down my street brought me to my doorstep.

My body has had a tough time adjusting to this climate. So training for our upcoming half-marathon in July has been awful. Actually, I told my husband on Thursday night (after completely our weekly bridge repeats and, again needing to walk), that this will go down as the suckiest preparation of my running life.

Lucky for me, my husband is quite positive and consistently encouraging despite my complaining and near apathy about this whole process. He reminds me that I’m still out there doing it. And my father says all this heat will only help when we get up to the mountains of Vermont. I hope so!

It’s easy to make excuses NOT to do something or even to set goals. But I know the reward is coming. The journey continues.

 

 

 

Once and Now

Credit: acelebrationofwomen.org

Once cowering, a wallflower at a junior high dance

Now prancing, a thoroughbred fresh from a sweet victory lap

Once previewed and reviewed through the warped lens of  snide criticism

Now judged in the reflection of the mirror born of her own making

Once held back by the selfish needs of another

Now setting her own pace, advancing audaciously to meet her own desires

Out of the shadows

Into the light…

 

Day 18. Started the first two line this morning and got a bit stuck. Then I read Mark’s post over at Maleko’s Art.  His piece was all I needed to help me finish.

This is once again dedicated to all of you experiencing any form of abuse or working your way out of the situation. Man, woman, child. It doesn’t matter. You deserve your own life.

 

Self-Savior

Credit: www.bwss.org

In this season of renewal and reawakening can you transform yourself?

Can you peel back those layers that cover and cloak you?

Can you abandon your hibernation

and rouse yourself from winter’s slumber?

Can you escape from your own darkness

and fill the hole in your soul? 

Or will you let those layers weigh you down?

Will you face the ground carrying burdens

or cast off your afflictions and face the sun?

Will you be clearminded and level-headed? 

Or will practice continued insanity?

Repeating and Repeating and Repeating

and expecting a different result?

Or will YOU be the creator of your own deliverance?

 

Day 15.  This came from a place I haven’t tapped into in a while. A good sign. This is for Suzy Q and others who may need encouragement.

Small Matters

Hi Folks! This is a post that I wrote when my blog was in its infancy stage- 4 months in. Per request, my soul sister, Emily asked that I re-post it. That’s the necklace she made in the photo! She is a talented metal worker and silver smith AND she is making the bands for my wedding in June! So fabulous to see how life has changed for the better. Enjoy the story!

Building A Life Of Hope

Remember there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end. ~ Scott Adams

Last week’s severe storm in my region had me thinking about the importance of small things in our daily lives. I was lucky to have been spared the worst of the disaster having lost power for just three days and not sustaining any property damage short of fallen branches.  I missed my morning coffee that I brew in the pre-dawn hours and sip while getting ready for my day. Luckily, I live close enough to a Starbucks which opens at 5 am. What a treat! I drove there in the early morning darkness in my jammies and hoodie and savored each sip. I missed drying my hair but I was getting my haircut on day two anyway. My hairdresser does such a great job that my hair…

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Writing Up a Storm!

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(part of my backyard-a blanket of deep white)

The blizzard has passed although the day is far from ordinary. School cancellations forced me to stay home. Others are digging out, taking another day to reorder their life. We feel lucky not to have lost power even if we got 2 feet or so of snow. It is under 20 degrees and all I can think about is those others in the very eastern part of the state and the islands who are off the grid and cold. We live just far enough from the coast where it could have gone either way.

I’ve got a roast in the oven and potatoes ready to be cooked for my famous mashers. It feels like a Sunday. We went out today, heading to the gym for exercise and the local organic grocery store for dinner ingredients. Laundry is getting done and we are in denial about the workday for tomorrow even as I prepared the smoothies for the next couple of days.

Winter storms shift the beat of daily life. Some panic- rushing to the stores for an overwhelming amount of food, as if Armageddon is approaching. Such a weird response in my mind. We don’t live miles or hours away from the nearest anything. I often wonder how much of the supplies end up in the trash after all is said and done.

So we chill in the chill. We had a great meal together last night-created by what we had in stock. So yummy! And my youngest and two friends took a 2 hour hike into the woods late yesterday afternoon. Refreshed and rejuvenated and ready, they experienced a rare excursion into the quiet. Late last night, the neighbors took their sleds to the street, whipping down the hill in the middle of the road. The travel ban had its benefits!

 

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(another part of the back with the footprints that lead to the woods)

I’ll be up before dawn tomorrow. Hopefully catch a run before the rush. Thanks to all of you for sharing in the tidbits of these last 48 hours. And remember to capture ALL the moments everyday if you can!

Holding On and Letting Go

Credit: background-pictures.picphotos.net

I washed my hair in the kitchen sink as soon as I got home from work.  I had nowhere to be so it wasn’t for appearances sake; I simply couldn’t stand the look of myself. Taking a shower was too much work, what with taking my clothes off and all. I simply wanted to feel refreshed and cleansed without the effort.

Afterwards, I immediately felt more beautiful. There’s been no one home to affirm this, but that is not the point. I just needed to be more comfortable for myself.

I think the weight of my bad hair day was a metaphor for my state of being this week. The roller coaster of inner emotions, simmering thoughts and reminders of past hurts and anger showed up in my tresses!

I have been told that this is all part of the grieving process and of letting go- especially the part about being angry. So what to do, what to do.  Not much action is necessary, I think. I’ll sit with it for a while, but not wallow in it. I’ll stay quiet. Offer it up to the universe. And breath in. Breathe out.

Cranking It Up a Notch

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Credit: www.its-not-about-the-hike.com

“Because in the end, you won’t remember the time you spent working in the office or mowing your lawn. Climb that goddamn mountain.”

                                                       ~Jack Kerouac

Is there such a thing as a hiker’s hangover? Possible proof of this phenomenon revealed itself this morning-the day after a grueling, not quite miserable climb on Sunday morning. Physical exhaustion and its accompanying aches tempered my usual enthusiasm for greeting a brand new day this work day Monday!

The window for hiking before the snow flies in the mountains is closing fast. Having reached our goal of  climbing Mt. Lafayette, the plan for the remainder of the season was to enjoy smaller elevations that afforded good views and the fundamental satisfaction of playing in the great outdoors.

Welch and Dickey Mountains (elevations ~2600′ and 2700′ respectively) in the Waterville Valley is a loop hike that seemed to meet the criteria for my son and I. We headed up for a half-day adventure with his closest friend, Wilson (not his real name), my pal Emily and her beautiful lab, Blaze. The forecast was for cool temps (50 degrees F) and a possible shower around noon.

As much as I was anticipating the day ahead, I was also functioning on very little sleep. I had gone to bed well after midnight and woke up at 5 am to get ready. (The night before was another adventure story which I will share in my next post!).  I was not going to let a little sleep deprivation get in the way of an “easy” family hike. But my hubris would definitely be a factor in the little known challenges this hike would bring to bear.

The drive off the highway brings us to remote country roads fairly quickly.  This hike is off the beaten path with houses separated by vast acres of green. The smell of heat burning in wood stoves is in the air- a bit damp after some days of rain the previous week. The sky is clouded over, lending itself to a day of low energy. Not many hikers are seen in the lot as we approach the trailhead.  Evidence of late autumn and windy storms is present on the path. Leaves cover the trail’s tree roots and rocks. The pungent odor of their last breaths fills our noses. We arrive at the first of Welch’s ledges quickly.

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Views here were pretty decent despite the partial cloudiness.  The mass of rock was well worn but served as a foreshadowing of what lay ahead.  This mountain and its sibling would prove to be a test for all of us.

Much of the climb involved wide open expanses of granite that sloped to varying degrees depending on the path’s direction. This was fine for a little while and would have been a blast on a sunny day. The previous week’s rain left much of the slab slick and slippery. It didn’t take me too long to start losing my confidence as I attempted to scale the moss covered sections.  I went from 0-8 on the panic scale at one point and just sat down and cried. I was genuinely afraid of falling back and then down the mountain! Blaze came over and licked my face and Emily and Wilson gently talked me out of my anxious state. My son took my hand and walked me further along to a safer point on the trail. He said to me: “This climb is going to be a test of your Strong Woman Syndrome!”  Exactly what I needed to hear!

Credit: nhdfl.org

When we reached what we thought was the summit, it started to rain (no showers as the forecast had stated). We donned our rain gear and plodded further along. My boy said he was glad for the conditions as they served as a test. He was right. We had been spoiled by near perfect weather conditions on all our earlier excursions; I was glad to be prepared but dreading the rest of the hike.  We encountered more moss and lichen covered stones before the final ascent of mountain #1.

I have to say that this became a climb of pure strategy. One or two of the boys would go ahead to check out the best possible way on the route and there were times that bushwacking was the best option.  Other times, I just held my son’s hand as I repeated: “Just keep walking”. Or as Wilson sang: “Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming…” He provided the comic relief for our troupe and gave himself a chance to celebrate the boy that still lives inside him. He was a joy to hike with as we watched him traipse and tramp his way up and down and over and even under obstacles.

Credit: alltrails.com (picture this rain-soaked!)

Now and then we would get a break as the trail traveled through groves of trees.  Rocks still ruled but I was never more grateful for the sight of mud!  I cannot recall reaching the top of Dickey. By then the weather was so poor it was hard to enjoy any sort of celebration. Emily did snap a photo of us somewhere. Our faces a witness of wetness and weariness.

It is important when facing a challenge not to lose one’s sense of humor or inner mental toughness. You’re doomed if you don’t. Plus, you wish away time well spent with others who have your back.

One big surprise came upon us as we were making our way:

Credit:www.flickr.com

This is the saddle between Welch and Dickey on a good day (the dog’s name is Salty). Climbing through this was a load of fun!

We just kept coming upon one big slab surprise after another with each step needing to be purposeful and planned. As one hiker said to me as we were making our way down, “There are no heroes on mountains.”  He is right. Better to be cautious and careful and keep the risks to a minimum!

I guess the hardest part for me was the final set of ledges. Straight on traverse with a clear drop-off.

Credit: Google.com ( I think this is the right one!)

Lots of talking through this one. Emily was right with me; she is an assuring presence on the mountain and in my life.

I have no regrets about the choice of climb this round. Hiking experiences are inherently unpredictable; one has to prepare for the worst and always hope for the best.  And be ready for a challenge regardless of the elevation! For me it is always about the company you keep and the memories you make. That’s what makes the mountains matter.

 

Special thanks to Emily for inspiring the title for this post!

Being in the Goodness

Credit: www.bestquotes4you.com

I am at a peak of delight. Unusual for a Monday, but perhaps it came from a rising awareness of being in transition. As a culture, we don’t embrace realignments to our mojo. Instead, we  grit our teeth and bear it, or hang on holding our breath until it’s over, or worse, crawl our way to the other side exhausted and falsely relieved. I refuse to live my life waiting for my new life to begin. I will happily admit that  I am more than ready to start a new chapter in a new zip code with my beloved fiance’. But like any compelling saga, one must begin the story with a strong prologue.

So  much has shifted in one week’s time here; it is challenging to put into words. But it is proof to me that wishes sent out to the Great Beyond can happen if you let your worries go first. As you ride the universe’s flow, amazing things are manifested. I am giving the house one or two last renovations, necessary in order for four young people to live in a healthier space in a year’s time. One that is nearly free of my obvious imprint but still stamped with my positive energy and vibrations. (I tell you it is exciting to keep purging this place of things we no longer need!)

My boys and I have been delivered from the trauma and pain of their father. We came together so that we could grow stronger. Along the way, we were honing our skills as independent individuals in pursuit of our own passions. I don’t know what I would have done with myself if we did not journey to this new space together, helping each other through fits and starts.

In a few week’s time, I will share this house with two others. Two people, peers of my sons who love and respect them. They will be helping me get a better leg up financially so I am better prepared for my new life. In return, I can provide a safe haven. A garden where they can grow new roots in a healthy soil. I have no doubt that we all will bloom and fill this earth renewed beauty.

Today Iam grateful for the wonders and love of others.  So with my thumb knuckles to my third eye, I bid you all: Namaste’.