Tuesday, October 25, 2011

How Broccoli Slaw Changed My Life!

If you were to ask me two years ago if I'd be working from home, doing what I love and feeling complete happiness today, I would have probably rolled my eyes and made some kind of cynical remark.  I didn't dream big and I didn't know how to create my future.

Then unexpectedly, the most unimaginable thing stepped in and changed my life.  It made me smile more, laugh more, live life more to its fullest.  Thanks broccoli slaw for changing my life.

How can a little sliver of green goodness cause such a stir you ask?  It forced me to do the things I always wanted to do.  You see, I am a huge teeth person.  If I meet you, I notice your teeth.  That's just how I am.  I love a pearly white set of teeth. I love to see a beaming smile.  It's really not about your teeth at all, it's about what I wanted for myself.

When I looked in the mirror, I didn't like what I saw.  I wanted to have a beaming white 'grill'.  There were ways to get it, but I could never invest in myself in that way.  I couldn't justify it.  Then, one night, broccoli slaw intervened.  A single bite and I heard something pop.  Reluctant and hesitant, I made my way to the mirror to experience the horror I had felt.  I chipped my front tooth and I had a wide gap in the middle of my front teeth!

I had no choice other than to get it fixed.  A visit to the dentist over the course of the next two months and I had a beautiful set of pearly whites that I had always dreamed to have.  Instead of compromising my smile the way I had learned to in the past several years, I took advantage of every situation to grin and beam.

I became more confident and I wanted to smile all the time.  I invested in myself more so I could smile more.  I looked for opportunities to smile for the camera, rather than just show a toothless grin. 

I began to take chances, pursue my passion, serve others, make a difference.  I took every opportunity to get out of my comfort zone and smile while I did just that.

When life intervenes, you can either view it as a setback or as a temporary hiatus to greater things.  There is a ALWAYS a message to learn in life every life situation.  The beauty is looking back at your journey and being able to pay that message forward.

My message?  No, it's not 'eat more broccoli'.  Although I think that's important too.  Don't put off things that you have always wanted to do.  Don't wait for someday.  Someday does not exist.  Do today what is going to make tomorrow great.  Smile more.  Live more.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

I Did It!

Time to check off another mark on my bucket list.  Chicago Marathon  - Check!

The greatest thing about running a marathon is that no matter how well trained you think you may be, you just never what will happen on race day.  Anything and everything can happen.  So when you have a good day, you just have sit back and give thanks to the marathon gods, the support of family and friends and for the ability to put one foot in front of the other.  It truly is a gift!

Running a marathon in a different city always has its challenges. But, at the same time, it's exciting to travel to places, explore new cities and run in places I'd never get the opportunity to otherwise. 

Thanks to my wonderful friend Jill and her awesome pre-planning, we stayed at hotel so close the start line, we could actually see the port-a-potties from our room.  (A HUGE bonus for a runner!)

After a long day of Planes, Trains and Automobiles...and Shuttle Buses, I called it a VERY early night.  Unlike any other marathon I've ever run, I slept like a baby the night before the race!

Up and at 'em by 4:00 a.m.!  I was excited! I could feel the energy in the air and once my race gear was on, I knew the day was going to be great!!

Jill and I working out our pre-race jitters in the hotel lobby!  A highly coordinated race outfit is essential!!

Ready!  Set!  Race!!  At 15 feet into the race, I realized I had committed the ultimate race mistake.  I messed up my Garmin and accidentally removed PACE.  I contemplated trying to reset it while I ran, but I knew it would cause me to lose valuable time and mental energy.  I decided to let it go and just run.  This probably was the best mistake I made all day.  I didn't focus on my watch.  I just ran how I felt.  The air was warm, but I was feeling good, so I decided to just go for it.

 I don't remember much about the course at all. I remember seeing Elvis, China town, some random poop, a lot of fans, some really funny and motivational signs and a lot of different shoe styles. I focused on the race. I'd save the sightseeing for the next day.

My goal was 3:40.  With the heat, I made the decision to get water AND Gatorade at each stop, which slowed my pace slightly the second half.  Overall, I lost five minutes, but keeping well hydrated was more important to me.  Finish time - 3:45!  I'll take it!

This is what a rockstar feels like! All the spectators barricaded behind a fence!

I took a LONG time to get from the finish line to the post-race party.  I iced, napped, changed, had a less than awesome massage and read all my text messages of congratulations.  Having beer after a race has never been appealing to me.  I just enjoyed the energy of the masses at Millennium Park.

I met these fantastic friends on the plane from Dallas!  We got together that night for dinner and to share our warrior stories and bottle of wine!

What is a marathon without a little swag?  I was knocking at the doors of Niketown on Michigan Ave. at 8:00 a.m.!

And of course, a visit to the Bean!

Chicago did not disappoint! I love the city for its clean streets, unique restaurants, beautiful architecture and it's extremely organized marathon! From the moment I arrived, I knew the weekend would be special!

Marathon number five is in the books!  Next - Boston!

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