You can’t hold onto the moon…

I was driving home from training (which now refers to my time on the mats working on my BJJ!!) during the recent “Super Moon” phenomenon and the sight of the heavy orb sitting low in the night nearly took my breath away. My first instinct was not to smile in that moment and give thanks to the universe for showing me such beauty, but to reach for my cell phone in order to document and share the moment with everyone on my friends list (and if I’m being honest, maybe friends of friends of friends….). I stopped short due to a recent experience, but this near reflex struck me as so wrong.

I have my reasons…

This past month has been a bit of a doozy. I’ve been meaning to write about it, but time and time again I didn’t feel I had an adequate way of expressing what I was going through. How can I, a Bodhisattva-in-training, be taking the loss of my beloved Volvo “Black Betty” (see photo below) so hard?! I realize how silly it is to be so attached to a material thing… a car. A stupid hunk of metal on four wheels that hurtles me through space on my journey to get from place to place. A car isn’t meant to be revered as a spirit or soul, but merely a conduit for our ongoing quest to fill our lives doing (fill in the blank) day in and day out. What kind of person did it make me to be frequently in tears as I learned the fate of my CAR?!

I guess it’s important to tell the story of how Black Betty and I were brought together (yep, I’m running with the crazy idea that she was more than a machine. Forgive me). It was back in 2010, which some of you might remember was the starting point of the quest that was the basis for this blog; I was going to run everyday for 365 days in a row. It didn’t seem so crazy at the time, even when I started in January and looked ahead to my upcoming vet school graduation, a move back to the US from the UK, and the start of an internship that I knew could very well make my head explode…. as if it weren’t a big enough year, I threw a great challenge into the mix… as ya do. As the year progressed, so did my studies and my excitement to repatriate (word of the day!).

Part of the fun that spring was picking out a new car to buy, since I hadn’t really needed one for the past 5 years of living in London (still miss its public transportation)! I love me some car shopping! I’ve never known a ton about the inner workings of automobiles, but I sure love the curves of an Aston Martin Vanquish and speeding my mom’s old 3 series BMW across Lake Washington (the express lanes across I-90 rarely had police out for blood). I looked and looked and found a few things in my price range that I liked, but what I salivated for was the sporty little hatchback that Volvo had produced as an ode to a classic model of theirs. The C30 was everything I wanted, but required a little extra from the pocketbook BUT that’s where my loving parents decided to step in. My mom was with me on that fateful first test drive and saw the sheer joy cross my face as I shifted through the six speeds and zipped around Seattle’s suburbs (burning the clutch and scaring the dealer a little in the process). Apu (which is father in hungarian for you first timers) not only sat through hours of my budgeting, questioning, and fantasizing, but also cosigned when I finally locked down the price and took the plunge.

Sadly, Apu wasn’t on the earth long enough to hear about the deer that ran into my front fender as I drove home on country roads a few months into owning Black Betty, or the first scratch I caused from sheer stupidity, or about how sometimes the only thing keeping me sane was driving in convertible mode (all the windows AND the sunroof open) and throwing her into the curves with ZZ Top’s La Grange blaring. He didn’t have to be there for any of it because he was there the very first day and understood how a person can lose their sensibility and fall in love with a fun little sports car (he had a few stories of MGs that probably didn’t do much to provide a sound example for safe driving). So, Apu’s spirit was always my co-pilot!

All that love literally came crashing to an end the day I looked down at my phone the same split-second that the driver in front of me came to a screeching halt and I slammed into her Nissan’s rear end. Black Betty kept me safe. I am thankful for that, but honestly the appreciation was often forgotten as I simultaneously remembered images of my late father helping me sign the papers and the crumpled front end of my little favorite possession. We traveled over 45,000 miles of road together, crossed many statelines, survived relationships and near-misses (sometimes equally unsettling), accelerated through jobs and school, made friends and carried them to many adventures…

Black Betty in her prime

Black Betty in her prime

Not so prime...

Not so prime…

So, yea, I frickin’ miss my car. I can’t help myself. I really really do.

BUT…

It’s like the Super Moon. How? Well, you can’t very well grasp the moon in your hands, can you?! I know. I wish I could, too. You can’t even take a good photo of it on an iPhone (which has a pretty good camera, considering).

I used to think that the moon followed me… lil’ ol’ me! I figured I must be pretty special because she (the moon is so obviously female) would race along the night sky after me as my family drove about and I peered out the rear seat windows. Once that bubble was burst, I still felt connected to the energy of the moon, but I never again fooled myself that I had any power over her. Who are we to believe we can capture something and control how it exists in the universe?!

BUT…

We do. Everyday.

By grasping onto the moon through endeavoring to capture her image instead of basking in her reflective light and appreciating the moment, we miss the point of life…

By loving a car and putting so much weight from my heart onto the surface of an object, I resuffered many ounces of the million pound grief of losing my father. I was missing the point of life that I know my father understood.

As the Greek philosopher Heraclitus put it, “Everything flows and nothing abides, everything gives way and nothing stays fixed.” We cannot grasp the moon or secure our love on objects. We shouldn’t hold emotion so closely to our chests because we will smother them instead of letting them float and breathe on the breeze. We are not meant to have anything in this life forever. We should not grasp, but should offer our open palm full of love for all we get to experience.

A central buddhist teaching is impermanence. It is very simple. Nothing lasts. Nothing. Death is the only certainty and when you let these two truths soak into your pores, you can really start to live.

You can truly appreciate the beauty of the moon without the interference of how capturing and sharing the experience will alter it. It is the pure moment that matters.

You can remember the love and lessons of a beloved one without clutching the suffering of their loss over and over again by replacing it elsewhere. You can remember with a warm smile of acknowledgement. That is enough.

I guess, what it all comes down to is keeping your eyes up a bit more and your phone out of the way of you and your world. Live in the moment as much as you can and smile as life happens. When you start to feel your little sweaty paws grasping, take a deep breath and smile at letting the moment go…

It is the only way to make room so you don’t miss the next one!

it-is-not-impermanence-that-makes-us-thich-nhat-hanh

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Rules? Ummm… no thank you.

While we were on the mat yesterday, our coach talked about how there is an answer to every “what if”… BUT you might not like it. In Jiu Jitsu, one move or technique is not enough. You must, like in the game of chess, not only strategize but also know how to react. Such is life… no?!

In my life, I have had a lot of experiences that have later deserved THE question.
What if…?

I almost just listed some of the biggies… but stopped myself. What’s the point? Why even give the question and the search behind it any energy by writing it down? Why do we lose so much hope and feed our doubts by asking a question like, “WHAT IF?????”

Let me expand on the Jiu Jitsu analogy. Our coach did not mean to dissuade us from asking what to do next or how to question what has already occurred, but to prepare ourselves that not every question has a positive and productive answer! You might just land yourself in situation you can only tap out of…

Now, apply to life: When you ask the universe, “WHAT IF…?” you must prepare that the response will not help. It may not promote positivity and it may just make you wish you had never asked in the first place! What’s the saying about how anxiety and fear are about living in the past and future? So, why do we still ask?

I think we are just testing the RULES and are afraid of WHAT IF’s mean older cousin… WHY. If you thought “what if” was a downer, just ask “why” enough times without getting an answer. Buzz. Kill.

Maybe we should stop asking so many damn questions and concentrate on what we CAN control. Right. Now.

Let us start with one last question:
What the hell are the rules, anyway?!

Without laying out the definition of RULE, some of the synonyms provided by our dear Google were: Regulations, Statute, and Order…

Laaaaame. I mean, I work with federal regulations every day and am happy for them! They keep people safe and healthy! BUT those words really only portray the heavy handed rules of organizations in place to keep us worker bees all in order, right? OK OK… before you start to think this is the start of my Anarchist’s Manifesto, think again! That doesn’t hit bookshelves for at least another 8-12 months!

Its just that I have been thinking about life’s rules lately and my coach’s pep talk put a new spin on the jumble in my head. These “rules” to which I refer govern every aspect of our lives outside of speed limits, food safety, and terms of office (I’ve been watching House of Cards lately). These are the rules that are passed between us old school style… through social promotion or seclusion, by pleasantries or a cold-shoulder, or in ways kinder than charity or those more painful than water-boarding (I can only assume… seems that the last one might really suck).

What I mean is this: we live our lives by a code that has been rolling around like water in the oceans for centuries, ebbing and flowing but always rolling, always washing over us and either refreshing our souls or stinging our wounds with salt. The rules have always been there and we either learn them and prosper or challenge them and feel the wrath of the multitudes. But haven’t you ever wondered what the rules actually were? Because, for the life of me, I keep coming up with or being told or hearing others spout some RULE that either doesn’t make sense or I can find 50 examples to prove the contrary! WHAT?!

Mind. Blown.

I know I’m digging pretty deep today and that you might be a bit disappointed that this rant isn’t full of inspiration to go out and run an extra five miles or push your body a bit harder. YET I challenge you to use it as such. How?

Do this: Next time you hear, feel, see, smell a “rule” coming your way that doesn’t sit right within your own gut DO NOT WAIT until it’s down the road and now you are having to ask

WHAT IF?!
or worse yet
WHY?????

Challenge the “rules”. Challenge someone who says you are too old or too young, not the right body type, or not the right “material” to do something that in your GUT you know you are meant to do. Challenge the mass view of a type of person or a way of life which you know in your GUT is so good it should be supported and not brought down by fear. Challenge the idea of “waiting for it” by ASKING for what you WANT from the UNIVERSE! And most importantly, challenge the rules of love because the beauty of love is that is has no limits, no roadmap, no ultimate destination. Love is what we make it and we are made by love.

We should live by a very simple book of rules and sadly it has yet to be written. The only way for this book to exist is for us to open our hearts and get our egos out of the way. I won’t pretend that I have all of the answers because this blog has done nothing but give me a good place to prove how many questions I still have to ask… least of which are a few more “what ifs” and a handful of “whys.”

A few of my suggestions:
Love yourself.
Love each other.
Wish for the freedom from suffering of all.
Eat real food. Not too much. Mostly Plants.
Be bold.
Ask the universe for what you want, with a pure heart, and gracefully accept its answer.
Live your life. Let others live theirs.

AND if you MUST ask, ask “WHAT IF we could change the world so that the only answer to WHY is LOVE?”

OK. Crazy ramble over. Good luck and may the force be with you.
Anya out.

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Working it out

The last few weeks have been pretty full of fun and excitement, new loves and old habits, major realizations and simple life changes… where do I begin?!

I mentioned BJJ in my last post, but I’m not sure I conveyed the depth of my obsession accurately… I am training at least 4 nights a week now, have just signed up for my first competition, and am starting to take back to back classes this week. I watch the videos, I listen to the podcasts, I stay late to pick up techniques by watching or working with higher belts…. yea, I’m THAT girl. I have to say, I don’t care if it makes me even MORE crazy than I already am because it is changing my life.

I mean, there are some less than ideal side effects of training in BJJ… when I show my mom videos or teach her some self defense, she just focuses on how I will be able to “tap out” or submit when my arms are pinned. I have to wash my gi (AKA kimono or uniform) pretty much everyday or I can smell myself (which you know is a bad sign) and am pretty sure thats still not enough. I drive about 30 mins (just one way) to train, so gas and mileage are adding up. I am covered in bruises, which has prompted at least one or two enquiries from people I’d rather not discuss my personal life with… hearing “Wow. Jiu Jitsu? Well, don’t piss her off!” from the establishment you regulate is less than ideal, professionally speaking.

And yet, I’m making new friends, setting new goals, and seeing amazing changes in myself. The good outweighs the bad, like Orlando Sanchez outweighs McKenzie Dern…. for those of you less inclined to click, that’s over 250 vs less than 130!

Jiu Jitsu has awakened this crazy, competitive, fierce female who has been locked in a body that hasn’t been challenged… like find your limits challenged for YEARS.

Seriously, it has been SO LONG since I have been this EXCITED about something! For that reason it is worth doing… not JUST doing, but worth throwing my back into and my heart into and every ounce of my spirit into…. right?!

So, BJJ… it’s pretty awesome. BUT the beauty of life is that it is just the beginning! I took this BADASS spin class this past Saturday with my uber fit sister and got my butt KICKED… in a good way. If you are into spinning, find one of these near you  ASAP!!! The instructor was pretty incredible and had this to share:

“If you don’t test your limits…. who will?!
It is never too late to dream. It is never too late to start a new goal.” – Gina

I mean, how simple and how true?! BUT how often do you make excuses for pushing ourselves, taking on new challenges, or changing our lives for the better? ALL OF THE FREAKIN’ TIME! I mean, I do it, too! I can talk myself INTO or OUT OF almost anything. It’s pretty impressive considering how terrible of a liar I am that I can get myself to believe I can eat “food-like” products, sit on my butt instead of getting up and exercising, not put in the work and still get the reward. IT. IS. SIMPLY. NOT. TRUE.

If I want to be a better person, improve my health, advance my career, become a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, stay positive and motivated and happy I HAVE TO PUT IN THE WORK.

Take a look at this woman:

She is my new hero (among others because I’m really starting to rack ’em up). Her name is Ashley Conrad and you can read more about her here. I know… lots of links today, but I am PUMPED and eager to SHARE!

My point, and as usual it takes me a very long while to get there, is that you don’t just wake up as what Ashley Conrad is today. You don’t just decide, “I’m going to be champion of the world” or “eat consciously instead of impulsively” or  “I’m going to run the USDA” and POOF! Dream came true. End of story. Done.

Nope.
Notta.
Try again later!

Pick something you love OR find something new to be passionate about. Now…. go after it. Challenge yourself. Stop making excuses. Improve your life because you deserve it. Eat better. Exercise. And… be happy.

At the end of the day, it is that simple. It just takes some work. I’m gettin’ to work! Are you?!

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My RoadID made a friend!

First of all, if you are a runner or triathlete or cyclist or smarty pants and haven’t already heard of RoadID, go HERE. Do yourself a favor by ordering one! (No I am not being paid for this) It could save your life! I wear mine while running since my family has a bit of a history with accidents…

Since I have been wearing a Road ID for the last few years of my running “career”, it’s about time that it made a friend. New friends, whether human or animal or adventure, can add SO much to our lives; it’s a fact we often can forget! It’s all well and good to stick to your plan, keep the boat from rockin’, and stay on the straight and narrow BUT sometimes its WAY more fun to give it a go, shake things up, and LEAP into the unknown!

Lately my feet hurt. It’s not too bad when I am mid run, but after or the next day they KILL. When your brother is a paratriathlon badass WITHOUT legs, you feel pretty lame complaining about aching feet. Seriously. How fortunate I am to HAVE feet! Alas, it’s time to realize that my body is telling me something… it’s a message I am not so keen to hear.

As many of you endurance runners may know, our bodies can become very accustomed to chugging along and getting those miles done. Fitness no longer comes without pushing farther and faster! These tired tootsies of mine are asking for less of the farther part and by golly, I am starting to listen. Well, to be honest, I got told. Thanks to my sister, I am going to start to get my miles in short and increasingly faster spurts! The GOOD news is that using shorter runs to refocus on my foundation will better prepare for my push to qualify for Boston in the next few years! YAY!! Good plan, yes?!

OK OK, enough suspense…. I was telling you about Road IDs new buddy…. here he is!!

RoadID

Remember when I was saying it’s fun to LEAP into the unknown?! Ok, I’ll give you a minute to reread my rambling so you’re caught up…

ready?

Get this: I didn’t LEAP… I ROLLED! Ages ago, my brother-in-law, Michael told me about his love of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) and how I might enjoy it, too. Not sure what the final push was, but I tried it at the beginning of April and… well, let’s just say I’m up to training about 3 times a week and I’d go everyday if I could! I LOVE IT!

BJJ is more than just a way to sweat a lot, it’s a way of life. It’s this amazing culture that promotes respect, discipline, personal responsibility, and “keeping it playful!” I love that I am learning self-defense (especially important as a woman), while building new friendships of my own! It has even given Michael and me something to share!

Instead of feeling like I’m cheating on my running life, I’ve decided to embrace my new adventure into the world of BJJ and allow it to reteach my body a few things it’d forgotten while I focused on racking up mileage. I’m going to regain strength, rediscover the joy of learning something almost entirely new, and let the miles take a backseat… for now.

What would you do, if you could try something NEW today? Try it! You might be happy that you did 😉

I’ll leave you with the words of cyclist Kristin Armstrong:
“Do the things you used to talk about doing but never did.
Know when to let go and when to hold on tight.
Stop rushing. 
Don’t be intimidated to say it like it is.
Stop apologizing all of the time.
Learn to say no, so your yes has some oomph!
Spend time with the friends who lift you up, and cut loose the ones who bring you down.
Stop giving your power away.
Be more concerned with being interested than being interesting.
Be old enough to appreciate your freedom, and young enough to enjoy it.
Finally know who you are.”

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Sadness fills my heart tonight…

I cannot lay my head down tonight without expressing my love and prayers to our brothers and sisters in Boston. Since I started my running journey and became a marathoner (albeit a slow one), my great dream has been to qualify and run the Boston Marathon. It is beyond a tragedy that a person(s) has decided to target the greatest marathon in the world, where people come together to celebrate their lives in such an incredible way, it is cowardice.

As soon as we stop using our words and intelligence to share our points of view, we lose our humanness. Those responsible for today’s attack are not human, not even animals, but are parasites of all that is good in the hearts of the innocents that had come together for personal glory, the cheers of the supporters for the brave taking on the great marathon,  and the joy of the spectators experiencing the power of the human spirit.

Let us not allow anger to change what the Boston Marathon stands for, but come together in support of the victims and their families in order to give it even more depth. We will not be turned hateful and cold because of the evil deeds of others.

For as long as you need me, I will run for you, Boston. Each footstep will be a tribute and a prayer. May you remember that there is more decency than adversity in the world. May you believe that the whole of our country is behind you in support of your recovery. May you know our love and forget the hate of others.

I will meet you someday; soon I hope. We will go for a run together, my feet pounding your streets, as I still hold close to my heart my dream of running your Boston Marathon.

My love and deep sympathy.

❤ Anya

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I am an average runner…

Now, before you get all aggressive in your supportive dispute of the title know this:

I REALLY AM AN AVERAGE RUNNER…

…BUT WITH AN ABOVE AVERAGE ATTITUDE!!

What the hell does that mean? Why does it matter? Wouldn’t it be better to be above average in skill rather than in optimism?! What does attitude have to do with running… or happiness?!

Oh, young grasshopper…

ATTITUDE IS EVERYTHING!

One day, far back in my distant past, my mother didn’t wash my favorite school uniform sweater and I was NOT happy about it. Something I have struggled with my whole life has been letting unexpected last minute obstacles get to me. I really dislike it when some unpleasant change requires a modification to how I see things going. Finding out that my planned outfit was not available right before leaving for school that day was just about the WORST unforeseeable disaster to my baby self. I was as bent out of shape as a little Catholic school youngster can get and my poor mother didn’t get one word from her usual “happy-go-lucky” little Anya the whole drive to school. I was pissed.

That morning I was taught one of the most important lessons of my life… I choose it to be a good day. My wise mama told me, before I could direct all of my frustration into slamming the car door behind me, “Anya, you can let this ruin your day or you can choose to let it go and have a good day!” I don’t remember how long into class it took before I readjusted my attitude (although I suspect it took until at least first recess), but when I hopped back into the car that afternoon, I was able to proclaim, “I choosed it to be a good day!”

Yay, little Anya!

That sentence, with its incorrect grammar, was written onto my bedroom mirror after some episode that required my mother to quote me to myself (likely in my teenage years); reminding me of my own ability to readjust my attitude at will. That little white-blonde child figured out the secret of a happy life… but practicing it everyday is not as easy as we’d like.

It took yet another up-and-down week to remind me of those words once again. It has been some time since I have been in shape for more than a short period. It seems like I am always able to bust my butt into gear when a race is looming or some new motivating factor has sent me into near-obsessive get-healthy mode. It is much more difficult to stay in shape than get fit it seems! Pile on stress at work, a new living situation, illness of a (four-legged) loved one, and just the general white-girl problems of every day life and BAM! I’m all over the place. I’m not eating well, not practicing my meditation or yoga, not exercising my body OR my brain… I’m in survival mode before I know it! What the hell? I’ve got it SO good and then all of a sudden it seems like I’m grasping. I wake up one day feeling pretty low and restless… it’s so crazy how it often happens after an especially good day, like a Happiness Hangover. Boo. Hiss.

I’ve had the great fortune of having incredible people in my life, but it seems like so many amazing people these days are struggling at keeping it all together. I have never before considered myself an anxious person, but am realizing that anxiety is waiting around many of the corners my life pushes me towards. And I seem to have it easy! A few very close friends have been brave enough to talk to me about their daily battles, which seem to be terrible and brutal wars with themselves. Why can’t we help making life so much harder than it has to be?! Why can’t we pick ourselves up and KEEP ourselves going?

One might say that the beauty is that we are none of us alone in this, yet could it be that our fight cannot be won by a force outside ourselves… beyond our own will, strength, and most importantly self-love? Is this the kind of challenge that we must go at alone? I don’t know the answers and I wish so badly that I did.

Yet I think I’m making progress! This weekend I met up with my new running group, was promptly left in their dust and ran about half as long as they did that day… that being said, I had an amazing run. While bringing up the rear, I realized that I AM AN AVERAGE RUNNER WITH AN ABOVE AVERAGE ATTITUDE. What if we, each of us, took it upon ourselves to realize how amazing we are AS WE ARE? It’s ok to LOVE YOURSELF FOR BEING YOU and to find your unique (yet innate) ability to choose it to be a good day… no matter what. Some call if “finding the silver lining,” but I think it’s much more important than just the decor.

Notice how I didn’t say that we should all aim for mediocrity? Nope. Never said it. Never will. But how freeing it is to realize your strengths and let go of the grasping, self-depricating focus on your weaknesses. We all have them. So the F what?! On my run I decided to let go of feeling slow and out of shape. I took deep breaths, put one foot in front of the other, and I kept going. I smiled at the beauty of the day and the sounds of nature around me.. well, except for that one moment I thought I was maybe being chased by a bear…

We all struggle and it is OUR OWN responsibility to choose it to be a good day. We have to dig deep into ourselves to push down our self-doubt and personal demons in order to smile at our impressive ability to just keep stumbling down the road… one foot in front of the other.

Ooooo look how pretty!!

Ooooo look how pretty!!

 I choosed it to be a good day! Isn’t it amazing what a little run can do?!

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The road to Brazil 2013 BEGINS!!! And a little mountain called Half Dome…

Along my journey…

It has been over six months since my last posting here… Oops! Life so quickly passes me by, but I am constantly trying to center and calm myself so that I might slow down enough to realize where I stand! I think I might have succeeded in this last Sunday…

At 5:45 am on Sunday, July 15 (a day after what would have been my parents’ 39th wedding anniversary), five friends and I commenced what would take almost 12 hours, cover over 16 miles, ascend more than 4000 vertical feet, and give me a whole new perspective.

I climbed a mountain! I did! It was mostly just a very difficult hike… we’re talking the most difficult I may have ever done, BUT it peaked (pun intended) in a 400 foot climb up STEEEEEEEP and SLIPPERY rock with the aid of cables, upper body strength, and sheer determination! I started on the floor of the Yosemite Valley and made it all the way to the TOP of Half Dome! Google it… it’s pretty beautiful, scary, and awesome.

As you may be able to infer, I see this wee hike and simple little day in nature as quite the achievement. It was so rewarding to stuff the huge ball of fear in my throat down far enough to keep away the panic, breath in the pine-scented mountain air, and take in the once-in-a-lifetime view from the top. It got me thinking, “What’s next?!”

Now I understand how people become adrenaline junkies! Don’t worry Mom, I’m not planning on sky-diving or bungee-jumping anytime soon! As a finisher of 3 marathons and owner of several tattoos, I know first hand how the completion of one life-changing moment can spark the desire to make a goal out of the next big challenge, if for no other reason than to revisit the feeling of accomplishment, of mind over fear, and of being able to say, “TAKE THAT NAY-SAYERS, PESSIMISTS, and POO-POO HEADS!”

Although no running occurred along last  Sunday’s epic trail (my ankles probably would have snapped somewhere between the rock steps and steep inclines), my fitness foundation definitely allowed for me to enjoy the day instead of curse my throbbing quads and the thinner than sea level air.

The impetus for hiking Half Dome came from one of my favorite woman’s 30 before 30 list. Amy is an overachiever by nature and the Yosemite Valley’s most recognizable rock face was high on the list. She also had some running adventures we have been able to tick off this year as the LA Marathon was defeated and enjoyed as a team effort this past March. Another woman I admire, Miss Kate of 365 before 30 has conquerred her list AND celebrated the ripe old age of 3-0 just recently…

Wait aaaa second… Did I miss the memo that we’re meant to make a “before I turn 30” list of crazy adventures, random feats, and ways to carpe diem?! HOW DID I REACH 30 (last summer) WITHOUT A LIST?!?!?! Sometimes I find myself trolling Facebook, seeing all of my friends’ accomplishments, marriages, and babies and feel a twinge of “when is my life going to start, too?” “Will I ever be out of school?”  “The grass is greener, the parties look like more fun, and life seems sweeter for so and so….”

Then I slap myself across the face as I realize that I have accomplished and experienced a heck of a lot for being a little girl just shy of 31! I have already:

  • Completed veterinary school (a goal since I was probably 5 years old) and embarked on a career I know I can be proud of
  • Lived in a foreign country (for 5 whole years) and opened my eyes to the beauty of a diverse society
  • Traveled to many places, making many friends and experiencing how the rest of the world lives
  • Completed 2 marathons (#3 was while 30) in two incredible cities (Edinburgh & London), but probably more importantly I have learned great marathoning lessons and secrets from my failure to finish in Lisboa 2006!
  • Cultivated and maintained many incredible relationships that teach me new lessons about love and friendship on a daily basis
  • Been guided on a great spiritual adventure (that is definitely still in the works) by a woman no words could do justice, my dear sister Bianca. We have grown closer with each discovery about our universe, our inner beings, and the great connection of our hearts that only sisters can share
  • Been priveledged to sit in the front row of the rocket launch that has become my brother, Andre’s life. As he defeats course and competitor in his quest for new challenges and Paraolympic Triathlon Gold (in Rio 2016, yea!), I get to talk strategy, training, guts and glory with a true phenom.
  • Had the most amazing parents that have taught me to grab each day by the horns, be open to adventure, and believe that I can do anything I put my mind and heart into. Even though my father is no longer a skype call away, I know I can still call out for his help, as his spirit still visits me when I am most in need of his guidance (it also pushes me up tough hills)!

So, I’m pretty lucky and have had an incredibly rich life up until 30+. I know GREAT adventure, an unmatched love story, new places and faces, and a job that allows me to make a real difference in the lives of animals still await… maybe just around the next bend in the trail!

That being said, I’ve started a bit of a “bucket list” that maybe I’ll share with you another time. First and foremost is to help my brother accomplish what has never been attempted, to complete the Brazil 135 Ultramarathon in 48 hours next January in a  racing wheelchair. SERIOUSLY Tough WITH Legs. Andre, in true Andre fashion, is going to TAKE IT DOWN in his wheelchair and probably inspire about a million people along the way. I’ll have many more posts to share as we start our training, fundraising, and strategizing for this great challenge. Not only will I be helping Andre prepare, but am in the midst of planning and starting my own training so that I may be one of his teammates and pacers! GO TEAM WILL.GO.DO!!!

…. watch this space!

The day of the Los Angeles Marathon (which we both completed)… bring on the Brazil 135!!!

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