Dreams Come True

Today I wrote the final sentence on one of the ugliest chapters of my life. I put a period at the end of that sentence, and turned the page. Nothing but blank space, endless pages yet to be written. 

Today is the first day of the rest of my life. Today, I celebrated being me. A survivor. Resilient. Successful. Optimisitic. Happy. Free. 

After a day of shopping for a new wardrobe, I added one more important piece to the mix: the Believe journal, written by professional runner (and fellow Bendite) Lauren Fleshman. I’ve wanted this journal since I saw it, but I didn’t believe in myself enough to think I’d use it, or that I deserved it. But today, as I embark on this new chapter of my life, I believe

  
There is no looking back. I only want to move forward, toward the life I’ve imagined for as long as I can remember. I’m finally in a position to move forward with a smile on my face, peace in my heart. I’m free to be me, to dream, to set goals and to chase them down with the fervor that makes me, me

Never, ever, ever, ever give up on your dreams. You just don’t know what’s around the corner! 

Always believe in the person who got you here: that person is you.

Calf Strains — Found the Source

I’ve been plagued by calf strains for much of the past few months. I wasn’t able to train as hard as I wanted to because I was in damage control, trying to protect and preserve my calf strength. I couldn’t figure out why suddenly, after being a runner for 19+ years, I would be experiencing a chronic injury whose cause was biomechanical. I have good running form! 

I read some articles about calf injuries being related to the position of the hips during the strike of the foot. And I was frustrated because my form has always been decent and I have never had an issue. 

Then today as I was being dragged down the mountain by the hips, as Andi pulled me with my hands-free Ruffwear Roamer leash, it dawned on me. This winter I have run more miles with Andi on the hands free leash than I ever have in my 19 years as a runner. The leash pulls from my hips, pulling my pelvis forward, ever so slightly changing my form and causing calf strains!! Not to mention low back pain. 

So.. No more roamer leash for a while. The only way to be 100% certain about this theory is to test it.. It really makes sense to me. Andi and I don’t need to run together all the time anyway. 

I’m excited to get my body healthy again and hopefully feel certain about my injury so I can finally get past it! 

How exciting to *hopefully* have it figured out! 

It Could Be Worse

The societal norm for coping with someone’s bad news is by offering the stark realization that “it could be worse”. 

I hate it when people say, “it could be worse.” Especially when whatever it is I am feeling down about already feels as low as it could go. 

What kind of pessimistic response, disguised as optimism, is that?!

It could be better! 

That’s where I’m going to place my focus. I don’t want to be looking at the bottom of the bar, and constantly saying, “see? I’m not at rock bottom, so technically it could be worse. Therefore, I’m okay.” No, I want to be looking up, ahead, toward the bigger and the better. Because while it’s true that it could be worse, that’s not the direction of my travel, so I’m choosing to focus on it could be better

This is the way I have always lived my life. It’s why, when I was going through dark times, unable to see past today, I never felt better by hearing other people’s tales of “they have it worse.” It’s why, especially in those darkest hours, I found hope in the success stories. I’d rather focus on the people who made it through, and what they made it through to, than those who are stuck at a juncture and focusing on those who have it worse than them. 

I want more. It’s the way I have lived my life since I was a kid. And if you have to question, even for a second, that by “more” I mean materialistic possessions, money, fame, fortune, you don’t know me at all. There are 3 years worth of posts in here, take a few weeks and sit back and get to know me. 

Or, understand now that the “more” I’ve always been after has nothing to do with material possessions but experiences, opportunities, education, freedom from debt (debt, again, that did not buy possessions, but my education), intellect, athletic accomplishment, friendships, relationships, love, family, views, memories, etc, etc, etc. 

I am not ever going to use the coping “mechanism” — it could be worse. At best, that sentiment is implying that I am ungrateful for or unable to see all the good that is in my life. But that’s never the case. I am humble and always grateful, but I never ever ever give up on my dreams. The day you ever hear me refer to my life and claim, “it could be worse,” is the day I’ve given up on improving. 

The “it could be worse” attitude is one I’ve had to adopt as a coping mechanism to get through 2 years and 8 months at a job I absolutely hated. At least I had a job. I was grateful for the steady paycheck, and the health benefits. But I never once allowed that coping mechanism change me. I just swallowed it, and reminded myself daily that “it could be so much better.” And I never stopped trying to make it better. And now look where I am! 

Ironman 70.3 Lake Stevens

Dare to dream. Do not fear failure. Set yourself up for success. Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you’ve imagined. Go. Do. Be. 

 

I’m in the mood to challenge myself. It’s been a long three years and I’m ready to go have an adventure. I’m ready to check an item off my goal list! I am ready to live the life I’ve been imagining! 

Nothing changes dramatically overnight, but things are changing and I want to grab hold of the reigns and enjoy the ride for a change! 

You know what would make me feel better about the $260 registration fee? 

If you took a few minutes to donate to my National Kidney Foundation fundraiser. Even seeing $1 come through today would give me that nudge to invest in my triathlete self. What do you say? 

https://www.crowdrise.com/TeamKidneyinOregon2015/fundraiser/trikatykid

Cheers! Happy Memorial Day weekend, friends! 

As Seen on my Ride

I don’t have photos to share with you. I was too busy riding. I don’t understand cyclists, runners & triathletes who come back to Instagram with amazing shots of them doing their thing. Who takes these photos, anyway? 

I set out to ride 50 miles today but for many reasons cut it short, finishing 26.7 miles by the end. I’m glad I cut it short because I underestimated how painful it would be to ride on chipped pavement. I forgot how long it had been since I’ve been on my bike. The pavement turned to serious chip seal pavement and the highway was a free for all passing zone. It no longer felt safe and it was certainly not comfortable. Did I have 5 miles on that? Or 25? I wasn’t willing to find out and since I was headed east away from Bend, it was a safe bet that it would continue for many, many more miles. I turned around. I explored a side road that appeared to be a test road where ODOT (perhaps?) practiced with different paving techniques and striping paints, combinations of rumble strips. It was eerie to say the least so I headed back. 

I rode past two mares with their newborn ponies (SO CUTE). I found where you can buy beetle-cleaned skulls (is this what it sounds like?). If I’m ever in the position to buy a yak, I know just where to go. I saw swans, a cute little spotted lamb, cows, horses, chickens. I passed an old Toyota Land Rover towing another worse-for-the-wear Rover behind it. Of course I got to see absolutely beautiful rows of trees with fresh leaves, flowers, and all the glorious scents that go with it. I passed three people on horseback (on the highway) and I soaked up the sights of snow capped mountains, contrasted by rolling hills of juniper and farm land. 

Sorry I don’t have photos to share but I was busy biking. It was an awesome ride! Tough in spots as the vibrations rocked my body. 26.7 miles on the bike followed by a 1.2 mile run/walk with my little girl. So technically, it was a brick workout! 

   
 

Know Success

Growing up, I didn’t have parents who were active in the encouragement of my success. What do I mean by that? I mean, no one ever discussed grades with me. No one pushed me to become a better student or athlete. We never discussed possible careers, professions or paths in life. 

I was a smart kid. A naturally driven student and a competitive athlete. I always wanted to improve. Yet I never received feedback that what I was doing was good, or successful. No wonder I still feel like I’m not good enough as an adult. I don’t know who I’m waiting for to tell me that I have had success in life. 

When I was a kid, I was carrying the results of my SAT scores. I don’t know why I had them with me or the circumstances of why my neighbor, a woman I did not know well and do not remember today, asked to look at them. I had gotten an A- (90%). It was okay, but not really all that great. I already knew that. 

Her response to my mediocre score was like no response I had ever been given, by anyone. She looked at my paper, and then at me, with so much pride and a major sense of being impressed. I didn’t understand. Thankfully, she understood that I didn’t understand, and she explained to me that my score meant that I scored in the 90th percentile, meaning that amongst every other 5th grade student in the entire country, I was in the top 10%. 

I believe that was the only time someone has ever explained to me the results of anything I had ever done, academically or athletically. I always just relied on my own subjectivity to decide if I would be proud of my results or not. More often than not, I am not pleased. I know I could do better. It’s hard to improve when you’re constantly feeling like you’ve fallen short. By whose standards? My own. 

Parents, it’s really important for you to take an active interest in your child’s life. Maybe you do not have the same level of ambition. Maybe you’re not as talented or skilled or naturally intelligent. Maybe you’re not musical. Maybe you’re just not that into science. Or art. Or sports. But as a parent, it is your most important role to raise your children to believe in themselves. The best way to do that is to get involved. Figure it out. Be supportive. 

All my life I have believed I wasn’t good enough. I compared myself to the best of the best. Anything below that, was not worth writing home about. It’s an exhausting way to live. 

When I received a call to discuss “follow up” on the interview last week, the interview that could not have gone better, I was hoping for and expecting an offer. 

But his tone did not sound like he was going to make an offer. He sounded hesitant, apologetic. He thanked me for taking the time to come in for the interview. His thank you sounded more like an apology. And he said it was nice to meet me. Again, like our meeting was a one-time thing. 

By the time he said he would like to offer me the position, I almost missed it. The voices of self-doubt and not being good enough are really loud, even though I am working hard to silence them. I almost didn’t hear his offer over those voices, which fed off his apologetic tone. 

I sat there numb, as he laughed at my expression and continued on to explain why he was offering me the position. My education, my work experiences, my passion, everyone in the interview really liked me. In fact, my credentials put me in the 3rd tier of pay. I would have made the 4th, but I had a 3 year gap in relevant work experience. There’s nothing I can do about that but move forward. 

I need to take a moment and think about the things he said to me. The fact that I fell into the 3rd tier of pay. That I am valuable to OHSU because of years of hard work, dedication to the health & wellness of others. I was liked by the panel of interviewers because for the first time in 6 years, I was able to go on an interview and 100% be myself. I was allowed to let my light shine as bright as possible. I was in my element, I was standing at the trailhead of my own life’s path. I didn’t have to use optimism to make my answers fit the question. I could just be myself. 

It is a major honor to be hired by OHSU, and a major honor to be received with enthusiasm by ODOT. I need to take a moment to celebrate this accomplishment in life. I need to let it sink in. Because as I move forward in life, I want a more realistic standard for success. I want to know what success feels like so I don’t miss it the next time it happens. 

Define success so that when it happens, you can recognize it. When you recognize it, you will truly know success. 

What Would You Attempt to Do? 

  

At one point in my life, this question embodied me. I have lived my life almost fearlessly, setting and chasing down goals, never giving up, never letting life get in my own way. 

Three years ago I moved to Bend in hopes of finding a rewarding career, ready to spread some roots, and finally make my mark on this earth. But sometimes life finds a way to interfere despite your unwillingness to allow it to do so. It happens anyway. 

What are your choices, when you have none? You just keep moving forward, sometimes with your head down, but always with your heart in check. Never ever ever ever give up. Never give up. 

NEVER give up!! 

  
When I finally got my plates switched over, it became a joke amongst my friends.. what’s the code here? What do the digits 323 have to do with a mysterious “gift”? I may never know, but it’s always been on the forefront of my mind. 

I got the flu, and the flu was bad. I may sound overly dramatic to some, but the truth is the truth and I’m not bending it or exaggerating it when I say that during my week with severe flu symptoms, I thought I might die. Maybe not right then, maybe not from influenza, but I could see my life ending. Alone. Without ever having the opportunity to strike success. Without ever having the opportunity to make my mark on this world. I would die alone, unfulfilled. Never experiencing love and marriage, children and family. 

What would I attempt to do if I knew I could not fail? 

I would land a rewarding career, and I would work daily with people to improve quality of life. I would encourage, coach, educate and support people through positive changes in their life. I would ask that question of so many others, and I would watch as that question changed their lives. 

I write this with tears in my eyes, and cartwheels in my heart, a sense of disbelief because it almost feels too good. After 3 years of struggle, self doubt, frustration, and unrelenting persistance, I can finally say, 

I GOT THE JOB!! 

I can also say that I know the significance of the 323 GFT. I applied for this job on March 23rd, the day I returned to work after having the flu. Although I had been on hundreds of job searches, submitted as many applications in the past 3 years, this particular job search produced exactly what I have been looking for since I graduated from grad school in 2009. 

I am still in disbelief, and I have an irrational fear that writing this blog post is in some way jinxing me, but the reality is, I’ve already accepted the offer. I’ve submitted my background check and taken a drug screening test. I’ve given my notice at work. I am on my way. And there is no jinxing.. I am just humbled beyond belief by this opportunity and am not used to feeling so excited about work. I hope the feeling sinks in soon, and the fears and anxieties I’m having fade away to allow room for the pure elatedness that is buried deep inside. 

  
It is seriously a lifelong dream. 

Come true.