Friday, December 11, 2015

More than anything else- you will need other people

The Lord God said, " It is not good for the man to be alone.  I will make a helper suitable for him."
Genesis 2:18

More than anything else, you will need other people.
You will need a teacher who is patient and giving.
And that co-worker who is always encouraging.
You will need a coach that believes you are invincible.
And the friend who loves you unconditionally.

You will need the doctor that heals your wounds 
and the counselor who mends your heart.  
You will need that assistant who always seems to pick up your slack, 
and the boss leading you to success.

You need a stylist to wash and cut your hair
and a barista to make your favorite latte.
A mechanic to fix your transmission, 
and that guy who knows how to dry clean your clothes.

You need someone to grab you and kiss you.
Someone who always shows up.
Someone who rocks your world.
Someone you can trust.  

You need other people.
And guess what?  
They need you.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

A love letter to me

"Love yourself first and everything else falls into place.  
You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world."
Lucille Ball

Dear Jennifer-

I know I haven't told you this in a very long time, but I adore you.
You've been through a lot, yet you still try your best every damn day.
Your smile is contagious, and sometimes I can't stop giggling because you are so silly.

I love that you work hard to make your body strong to support your passionate personality.  You make (mostly) healthy choices to support the vessel  that you live in.  You are so fucking tough mentally, and you are brave enough to call people out on their bullshit.

Because you love simple things like flowers and candles, warm blankets and showers,  coffee and wine. Because you'd rather spend a day in the woods than in the mall.  Because you feel most alive in cold air and warm water.  Because your weakness is exquisite food and romance.  Because you love to play!

Because your loved ones mean the world to you and you truly care about your friends and clients.  Because you continue to try to better yourself.
Because "good enough" never is.
Because you answer that text at 5 in the morning, and that email at 10:00  at night (even though you are already half asleep).
You pay your own bills, and have learned to make sacrifices.
Because you are beautiful.  Your brown eyes sparkle with happiness,  your body reflects your hard work, and your soul dances with life.

Because you appreciate today.  You believe that love truly is the answer and that peace is possible.
You know you've made mistakes, but that there are lessons to be learned in this life.  You are real.  You are love.  You are fearless.  You are infinite.

Girl- I am so lucky to have you, and I am so in love with you.
Keep being amazing.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

" Drink from the well of yourself and begin again" - Charles Bukowski

"Reach out your hand if your cup be empty
If your cup is full may it be again
Let it be known there is a fountain 
That was not made by the hands of men"
Grateful Dead

Our thirst for energy is a mirage.
We think we will be able to drink  from  things, or events. or others
But she flows only when we are able to cup our hands into the river that is us.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Falling in love with life (again)

"Stay with your breath this weekend. Follow it like it is your lover. When you are doing something keep
half your attention on your breath. I promise your weekend will be one to remember if you make it your anchor."
Aaron Conner- my brilliant friend

The Fairhaven Guest house is owned by Raven and Flame.  From the outside, there is nothing special about this house, but the inside holds a calming energy.  As I am checking in, Raven explains to me that they compost, recycle and use cloth napkins instead of paper.  The dishwasher has a sign on it that says "clean dishes only in this house"- (meaning wash your damn dishes.)  Breakfast is available, but you have to make it yourself.  Coffee,  locally made sunflower bread, organic butter and homemade blackberry jam are on the menu.  I have two of everything- so amazingly delicious in it's simplicity.  With each bite I imagine the hands that made the bread, the cows that sweet butter was coming from, and the farmer who picked the berries to make that jam.   I am on sensory overload and it's only 7 am.

The wind is howling when I meet Bill in Afton.  I mean a seriously crazy- blow you off the road kind of wind like I've never experienced before. Bill flashes his trademark smile as we  hug and bundle up nervously, then make our way to the trailhead.  It is instantly warm and calm.  I shed everything within the first 1/2 mile- and we're off. Concentrating on my breath I drink in the glow as we scamper through ankle deep leaves over rocks. Lighthearted conversation and the sheer beauty and novelty of the trail  make the three hours fly by.  I'm on the AT for God's sake!
Pizza and beer in Crozet at the finish with talk of running and writing makes it the perfect day.  And it's only 3:30 pm.

Nothing is better than a warm shower after a trail run, and I start to prepare for my evening at Charlottesville's Historic Outdoor Mall.  I put on make up and fix my hair for myself.  I will go there by myself.  I will eat dinner by myself.  I will drive over there and figure out where to go and where to park because it's not worth staying in my room all fucking night for fear of sitting alone.
So I walk and admire the shops with beautiful clothes, and shoes  and housewares and people. I marvel at the genuineness of the Blue Whale Book shop.    I stop in for a wine and truffle tasting where an exotic Indian girl pairs a Riesling with a Lemon cello, a SMG with a Rosemary caramel chocolate, and a port with a Tahitian vanilla.  Do you know how long it's been since I've had port?  I swear I was reliving a scene from  the movie "Chocolate."
Dinner at the bar at  Bizou is a baby kale Cesar salad with rich shrimp and creamy cheese grits, and a very light Pinot Noir recommended by the cute bartender. She explains everything to me proudly, as if she herself were the owner of the restaurant.  My belly is full and happy.  I breathe in gratefulness, and it's only 7:30 pm.

Tonight I am tucked into worn, but oh so soft bedding as I write.  New guests arrive at Fairhaven guesthouse and I hear Raven explaining  that the fruit is organic, and that everyone should compost and recycle. A child with the most splendid giggle melts my heart.
I breathe in the peace  of the this space and fall in love with life all over again.  
But now it's time to sleep-.  Tomorrow is race day!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Divine space

"Sometimes you just need a break, in a beautiful place alone to figure everything out."
David Wolfe

I knew what this trip was all about from the moment I was packed in like a sardine on the airplane.

Nervous tears welled in my eyes as I sat sandwiched between the agitated  couple who made the flight just in time to my left, and the woman fidgeting in a menopausal swelter to the right.  Claustrophobic panic grabbed my throat as it became all to clear that I need distance.  Room to think for myself.  To step literally and figuratively out of the box.  To free myself from electronic slavery and dust the cobwebs off of my creativity.
To move, to play, to breathe.

I cannot afford this trip.....yet I cannot afford not to take it either.
Despite my wanderlust I have not traveled out of Texas in over a year, so in what Elizabeth Gilbert describes as a "crushing sense of self protection," I booked this weekend in an effort to "negotiate my own life."
The on and off again relationship's light switch had been flipped down once again and the mountains were calling.  Airline miles, a $50 a night guesthouse and a little bit of well-timed of extra income would soon land me in Charlottesville, VA a place that felt instantly like home on my one and only previous visit.

The woman next to me snores thunderously. I close my eyes in frustration, pondering why in this world that craves constant interaction, I have the merciless need to run away.  I meditate in my seat- the space that I am in- and send gratitude to the universe that at least I am on this plane, in this humble spot.
And that's the moment  that I realize that I AM space.
My spirit seeps out in infinite space.  My big, fat soul has so much more to offer than what I have been giving lately.  I am not destined to be confined by another or trampled by the mindless herds.
I am energetic.  I am strong.  I am free.
I'm in love with this journey already.
Perhaps tomorrow God will show me a bit more of my divinity on this earth.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Wanted: Genuine People

"You, " he said, "are a terribly real thing in a terribly false world,
and that, I believe is why you are in so much pain."
Emilie Autumn, The Asylum for Wayward

Now Hiring- Genuine People

Job Requirements include:   Being real, sincere and honest.  You must do what you say, and say what you mean.  You must have self confidence and the willingness to be vulnerable.  You must be able to listen with your whole body, and use your soul as your inner voice.  You must be consistent and predictable in a good way.  You practice what you preach, and are able to share your truth with the world.
This job is not for the thin skinned, and minimalists are preferred.

Work experience:  You have been to hell and back- maybe more than once.  You continuously persevere, even when you don't want to.  You never give up, and are grateful for what life has to offer.
You have loved- lost- loved again- lost again, yet you ultimately know that love prevails.  You've been there to help others, and you've dared to be brave.  Your inner life guarantees your truth.

Education requirements:  You read.  You study.  You are continuously working on bettering yourself. You have goals, dreams and aspirations.  You pray and meditate.  You exercise.  You recite affirmations.  You not only believe in magic, but you count on it.

Authentic applicants only.  Narcissists, attention seekers,  those who are insecure, fake, or who have a need to manipulate others' emotions need not apply.  No bullshit accepted.

Send applications to Jennifer Kimble, an equal opportunity employer.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Dear Heart.......

Dear Heart,

Just for tonight, I would like to take you out of my body, and put you on a shelf
so as not to feel, one way or another.
But your weight is so heavy that I cannot lift you
And so you remain- like a boulder crushing my chest.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Perfect love always casts out fear

"I just want to be ok today."
Ingrid Michaelson

Because its neither night nor day, or clear or cloudy......its partly dusk.
Because we're neither cheerful nor sad, young or old......we're comfortable in our middle age.
Because life is neither bad nor good, always or sometimes just is.
Because you and I are neither apart nor together, yes or no......we're maybe disconnected.
Because love is neither hot nor cold, or all or's something warm.

Where is the passion?  Where is the fire?
Are we to be content in mediocrity?
Maybe for today,  "just ok" is enough.
Because perfect love always casts out fear, and I am very much alive.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

And then I realized, I'm a fucking co-dependent

"I'll give you all of me."
John Legend

Want a friend who will continuously give and sacrifice?   Someone who will make you feel powerful, competent and appreciated?  Someone who's sense of purpose is based on extreme sacrifices to satisfy your wants?
Then I'm your girl.

It's funny how I've stoically prided myself in my ability to put everyone else's needs in front of my own, leaving me feeling resentful if my needs were not met in return.  Tonight, after a month of wondering if I was experiencing full blown depression, I had an Oprah "aha moment" as the idea of co-dependency popped into my head like a quote bubble light bulb.

So, like any self diagnosing patient I googled it.
CODEPENDENCY- a disease of "lost self,"
Someone who cannot function from their innate self- who's thinking or behavior is organized around another person.
Characteristics include:
* Intense and unstable relationships
* Inability to tolerate being alone.
* Overwhelming desire for acceptance and affection.
* Discomfort receiving attention or help from others.
* Self worth based on care-taking.

Check, check, check, check and check.

I'm the girl who keeps trying, over and over.
I'm the girl who keeps herself busy, with work, training, texting, Facebook.....
I'm the girl who does Ironmans and runs 100 miles.
Asking for help, I feel defeated.
I've taught in the poorest schools, volunteered in homeless shelters and coach others.
I give.  And give.  And give. Until there is nothing left and I explode like tired two year old into a full blown temper tantrum.
It's awesome for everyone around me.

I've been doing what Ross Roseburg describes so perfectly as "The Dance of Codependency"
(You can read that article here: )
Damn it. There you go. My deal.  My issue.  I accept.
I'm so fucking tired of dancing myself in circles of exhaustion.

Ha- So what web page better to turn to then Codependency for Dummies?
They suggest:
1.  Focus on yourself
2.  Relax, don't obsess or worry.  Put it in God's hands and send love.
3.  Don't judge others.  You are not responsible for their behavior.  You're only responsible for your own behavior
4.  Write and meditate
5.  Remember you can't change or fix someone
6.  Take time out.  Step away
7.  Stand up for yourself
8.   Get counseling

It feels good to better understand that the patterns and characteristics ingrained since childhood could be the cause of so much confusion and uncertainly in all of my relationships.
This blog was hard to write, and I've questioned whether or not I should post it- but as Brene Brown says "Once you we fall into the service of being brave- you can never go back."

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Unless life also hands you sugar and water, your lemonade is going to suck

"I'm just so broke you won't believe
Can't get a dollar out of me And as far as I can see I'm losing control like a bad disease No I just can't get relief I've been shot down by the life police And everyday I try to rise But I can't succeed Can anybody find a cure for me? You can be bitter, bitter, bitter Or you can be better, better, better"
Alex Boye- Lemonade

We've all heard the quote "When life hands you lemons, make lemonade."
Well, unless life hands you sugar and water too, your lemonade is going to suck.

Wouldn't that be awesome?  If you could just take your rotten and sour life and turn it into something sweet and delicious?  After that you can do your needlepoint, cake decorating and tea- rose arranging in June Cleaver fashion and just completely ignore the fact that you've been poisoned!

Lemons suck.  They are sour and acidic.  They leave a lingering, acrid aftertaste that doesn't just go away.
Lemons just piss you off, leaving you feeling angry and uninterested.

But if you have sugar and water too- Ah, that's a different story.  Sugar is pleasurable and passionate.  Sugar is delicious. Sugar dances lustfully on your tongue.
And water.  Water is life. Water is sustenance.  Water washes the sadness away.
Sugar and water together?  They complement the tart lemon, leaving you surprisingly refreshed.

When life gives you lemons- it's time find someone who can loan you a bit of water and sugar.
They are the ones that will always make your life sweeter.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Cant go over it. Can't go under it. You have to go through it.

Can't go over it.
Can't go under it.
You have to go through it.  

I tried to run away- but the tacky mud weighed me down.
I tried to flee- but my heavy legs slowed the pace.
I tried to escape- but my distracted brain wouldn't settle.
I tried avoidance, but my broken heart just lay wearily in my chest.

 I sat on a crumbling log -letting sweat and tears rain on me
 until I heard the warning of a chattering squirrel:
"Keep it moving sister- you have to go through it."

So I picked myself up, wiped away the tears, and began moving forward
Into acceptance.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

A promise to myself: I never "have" to run again.

You don't have to try so hard
You don't have to, give it all away
You just have to get up, get up, get up
You don't have to change a single thing.
You don't have to try.
Colbie Caillet

The 5:00 alarm sounds and I hit the snooze three times.  I want nothing more than to sleep in, but I get up because I "have" to run ten miles today, and I promised my daughter I would be home before she woke up.  
There is no questioning whether or not I will go,  I've "had" to run at least 10 miles every Sunday for the past 12 years. 

Having a hard time getting going, I have my little toast and some cinnamon coffee and sit down with a magazine. 

The first article I start to read is about balance.  Looks like it might be a good one, but I'll catch it later, because I "have" to go run.  

Stepping outside the humidity hits me like a wave of nausea and I decide to walk for a bit.  My body, from my neck to my hamstrings is sore from yesterdays workout.  I'm grouchy because all I want to do is have a second cup of coffee, chill on the couch and write.  And then it hit me- so why the hell am I not doing that?  A slow morning is what I've been craving for weeks!  And I turned around and walked home.  

Training is such a tricky balance.  

When we work hard and see success, we think that more is always better. We fight ourselves to the point of exhaustion. We become moody, irritable and tired, as we catalyze deconstructive effects on our body. Why do we do this to ourselves?  Any kind of stress, be it physical, mental or emotional produces hormones and neurochemicals that create inflammation and supress our immune system.  
We are not helping ourselves here people!

So, I vow that I never "have" to workout again. 

 I will train because I want to be successful for an upcoming event, but I will not stress on the off season.  
(And I will have an off season).
I will workout with you because it is fun to get stronger together. 
I will run trails because that is where I feel most free.
I will swim because it creates balance in my life.  
I'll bike with the group that helps build camaraderie and friendship.
I will walk when I need to. 

But today, I will eat banana pancakes with my daughter. 


Friday, August 7, 2015

Nothing to prove

"I'm good enough.
I'm smart enough.
And doggone it, people like me!" 
Daily Affirmations with Stuart Smalley

I'm going into this post knowing that my writing may be a bit controversial.....but I'm willing to go there, based on the fact that I can't get this off of my mind for the past few days.

After a few grouchy 15 milers in the heat, I decided last week that running the 100 miler at Big Cedar (and training for it right now in 107 degree temps) was not going to make me happy.
I was not upset about it at all.  As a matter of fact I knew that dropping to the 50K was going to be smarter right now on the path building to my big goal of Leadville next summer.  The only reason I signed up in the first place was because I had a moment of insanity when the Ironman was over.
I simply didn't know what to do with myself, so I decided "Hey- what the heck?  I'll just go run 100 miles."

The first rule of ultra running is to respect the distance.  I knew that I wasn't doing that, trying to run this race with such a short amount of training; so I hired a coach who will help push me out of my leisurely zone 1 runs and I hope to really kick ass at the 50K distance on this trail that I love.  

When I posted this "announcement" on Facebook- a good friend commented that "The only person runners have to prove anything to is themselves."
Whoa.  That got me thinking.
Have I been trying to prove something to myself or others over the past few years?  Proving that I'm good enough?  Proving that I am worthy?
The truth is- maybe in the beginning, yes.  I used to be horrible at comparing myself to others, especially in the years that I was trying to qualify for Boston.  I had the nerve to think that "everyone was watching me."
Ha!  How egotistical is that?  The truth is, everyone is concentrated on their own shit.  Their own goals. Their own lives.
Whether or not I qualified for Boston, or bonked at mile 18, running was a gift.  A blessing.

When I started running ultras, I began to realize this even more.  With every trip that I took, breath of fresh air, mountaintop vista, flora and fauna, canyon echo and river crossing I learned to love running for the places it took me.  I learned how special each moment I spent there was.
The reason why I can run 100 miles is because there is simply no place I would rather be.

Maybe I am lying to myself, but I'd like to think I have nothing left to prove.
To myself.  To others.
It's all an illusion anyway, this skin that embodies us.

I just want to seize the day, and enjoy the gift.

Friday, July 31, 2015

"This is just another AFOG. Another F'ing Opportunity to Grow"

"So I just let go, of what I know I don't know
And I know I'll do this by living in the moment
Living our life 
Easy and breezy 
With peace in my mind 
With peace in my heart 
With peace in my soul
Wherever I'm going, I'm already home 
Living in the moment."
Jason Mraz

I had a taste of the secret to a free and joyous life this week.  It's so sweet and delicious that I have to share, and so simple it's shocking.  It's so straightforward that my mind doesn't want to believe it....yet in the past week I have softened ten fold, and I realize that deep within my soul, I  have known this forever.

So.... on this Friday evening I heat up a bowl of frozen mac and cheese, pour a glass from an $11.99 bottle of wine, and meditate that my words will speak to you, just as Anam Thubten's words have spoken to me.
One thing I do know as I get started- this shit is going to be real.

I have spent so much of my life believing that things just weren't the way they should be, and that somehow I would be happier if my circumstances were changed.  As many years as I can remember I have been living a fantasy story told to me by my own crazy thoughts.
As a child I thought: "I would be happier if I didn't have so much work.  Jody doesn't have to do chores...."
As a teenager I complained: "I never get to go out.  I would be happier if my parents weren't so strict."
As an adult my gripes were:
"Teaching would be easier if worked in a more affluent neighborhood."
 "If I didn't live in this city, I would have so many more adventures"
"If I just had a house in this school district...."
"Life would be so much easier if I had more money"
"If he hadn't gotten so sick...."
"If we could have worked it out..."
"If life wasn't so unfair......"
"If I was in charge...."

Thubten explains that this problem begins with our EGO.
 "Like a spoiled child throwing a temper tantrum- Ego doesn't except who we are or the way things are, and when we are under the jurisdiction of ego we don't accept anything.  We don't even like the fact that we are on this planet.......but there is nothing we can do."

So how do we placate this brat trying to get everything that he wants?  How are we supposed to deal with the everyday aspects that materialize in this life we live?

The answer is acceptance.  Easy as pie.

My best friend and I used to always quote: "It is what it is."
How is it that over the years I have forgotten that?

Buddha told us that "everything is emptiness."
All we have to do is accept everything the way it is, without attaching positive or negative thoughts.
There is no good or bad.  There just is.
We accept people the way they are without attaching a label to them, and we are able to love everyone and everybody.
We accept our circumstances as "another fucking opportunity to grow"- without attaching the demons of anger, doubt, loneliness or fear; and life becomes less scary.
We accept that where we are right now is where we are supposed to be without bonds to our job, or to a relationship, or to any moment.......   and all problems dissolve.
Lack of conflict = lack of pain;  and in turn we are free.

So what do we do?
"Surprisingly we don't do anything," says Thubten.  "Just by watching and being in the present moment, we find ourselves in a calm and peaceful space where nothing has ever happened."
How simple it is.  It does not require any special learning or religious rituals , this secret to happy life.
We just be.

Can you do it?  Can you stop fighting and just accept the way things are right now?
Can you trust that your life is unfolding just as it should be, grateful for every opportunity and experience?
Can you just let go?

Don't confuse the story for what your heart knows is really true.
You are enough.   Your life is unfolding just as it should be.
Sometimes we are just presented with another fucking opportunity to grow....and that in itself allows us to evolve.
In this moment, it's all good. Listen to your heart, and believe.

* Special thanks to Aaron Conner for sending me the book: No Self, No Problem by Anam Thubten
and for reminding me to always stay mindful and grateful for the present moment :) 

Friday, July 10, 2015

You get me high........

"I remember feeling this way
You can lose it without knowing
You wake up and you don't know which way
The wind is blowing

Ohhh ohhh, you get me high
You get me high
You give me something so deep
You get me high" 

Tom Petty

Today I felt like I was fucking losing my mind.  I'm not really sure how it happened.
Yesterday was all sunshine and pansies, but today I wanted to crawl out of my existence.
Over nothing.  (Well, a few bills and some tough love- but basically nothing).
Anxiety is a son of a bitch.

And then I went running.  Just 30 min at Arbor Hills trail while my girls played on the playground- and it all melted away.   Nature prevailed, freedom reigned and the answers came.  Endorphins are magical.

Thank you God that I found this drug called running first.

Friday, June 26, 2015

One year after Western States....what I know.

"Life is a mystery, 
Everyone must stand alone
I hear you call my name
And it feels like home"


I love running in the mountains so much.  There is no place I would rather be and when I am there I literally never want to leave; so when the opportunity to run Western States came to me last year through a sponsorship through Libby Jones and The Active Joe- it was indeed a dream come true.   You can read about that experience here:

Last year at this time, my life was a whirlwind of chaos and change.  Jorge and I had separated, and the crazy emotions that came with that rocked my world.  I quit my very unsatisfying job teaching (sorry- that was just me- I am in awe of teachers and all they do!) and started my own coaching business while also working for Run On!  My financial status was shaky at best, and I was so unsure of myself that I jumped out of an airplane just to prove to myself that I still had some guts.

Now as Forrest Gump would say, "Ultras are like a box of chocolates- so delicious....but you never know what you're going to get."  ( or something like that).
At Western States I was fighting a battle that has never been presented to me before-  THE CUTOFF  (cue daunting music).

That whole damn race I did everything "right".  My nutrition was spot on.  I didn't go out too fast.
I stopped to take care of my feet when I needed to. I smiled at the aid station workers and was mostly cordial to my amazing pacers.  I was one of 10 racers who ran a negative split, but the whole time I was fighting the damn cutoff.  I even heard the warning horns at one point for God's sake!

Doesn't it seem that in endurance racing there is always something?
It could be the heat, humidity, a side stitch, your stomach, stupid mistakes, going out too fast, falling off a cliff.......  That's just ultra racing.  Deal with it sister.

Doesn't it seem like in life there is always something?  An unexpected bill.  An injury.  You're too busy at work.  You gain weight.  Your kids get sick.  Your best friend dies.
Yep- you know what to do......

During Western States I kept hearing over and over in my head by my late friend and coach Mike (of that I'm positive) that if I just keep doing what I'm doing, I would be ok.  I would finish.
Yesterday, I was all knotted up  about building my personal training business, and what did I hear once again in my head?  Just keep doing what you're doing.  Stay patient.  You'll be a success.

In the past year I've started a new job where happiness greats me every single day.    Through love and forgiveness on both ends our broken relationship has been mended. I've stepped out of my comfort zone and completed an Ironman. I am working on book ideas,  dreaming of making enough money to travel the world,  doing my best to help others find their true potential, and am allowing more time to spend with my family and friends for fun and play.

What I know is that there will always be something.  Just keep doing what you do.  You are already a badass, and at the finish line it's completely worth it.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Because someday I will no longer run.

"No day but today" 
Jonathan Larson- Rent

The humidity covered me in a wet blanket as I headed out to run, but today, instead of pushing it away in anger and disgust, I embraced its warm moisture.  A sweaty slow run seems a small price to pay for the nourishment of this Earth that we depend on for life.  I slowed my pace, noticing vibrant green plants, blooming wildflowers and smiling faces; for someday I will no longer see.

I ran as hard as I could up the hill that I always dread, stopping at the top to appreciate the strong pounding muscle that is my heart; because some day it will no longer beat.

I allowed my lungs to burn for a second, feeling their almighty, life giving power; because some day I will no longer breathe.

I turned off my watch, allowing my legs to run the playful pace they wanted to; because someday I won't be able to run.

And as I settled in to a perfect rhythmic breath, becoming one with the Universe, she whispered to me-
"All of that is true..........but you will never die."

Friday, June 19, 2015

Life's Paradox

You know those circumstances?
The ones that you think will never happen to you
And when they do, they rock your world like a fucking earthquake?
The nights where you find yourself curled up in a ball on the floor, gasping for air in wailing denial.
The days that you take one hour at a time.
The months where you wish, hope and pray.
Seasons that stay frigid
Years of nightmares?

You know those moments?
The kiss that you never want to end.
Chocolate so sweet that you close your eyes to savor it.
Snow capped mountains and whitecaps on water.
Fingers entwined.
Seeing your breath.
Sunshine on your shoulders.
Loving so much your heart could truly burst?

The sun and the moon
Yin and Yang.
Man and Woman
Life and Death
You can't have one without the other.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

The Poor Girls guide to training for an Ironman

"Welcome to the jungle we take it day by day
If you want it you're gonna bleed but it's the price to pay
And you're a very sexy girl that's very hard to please
You can taste the bright lights but you won't get there for free
In the jungle welcome to the jungle
Feel my, my, my serpentine
Ooh, I want to hear you scream"

Guns and Roses

If you signed up for an Ironman- you're already in the hole.  Big time.
Here are five tips for training for an Ironman on a poor girls budget:

1.  Work where you train.  The membership is included, and since you are going to practically live there, you can nap on the leg press machine.

2.  Make this THE RACE for the year, and don't travel.  You've spent over $800 on one entry.  That means 8 less smaller races you do this year, and less miles on American Airlines.

2.  Eat beans and rice.  The combo makes an inexpensive super food.  Be sure to drink up on the water too- its FREE!

3.  Train more- party less.  That just goes without saying right?  4 am comes really quickly, and margaritas = $$ AND a really crappy run the next day.

4. Be so good that your equipment doesn't matter.   You can't afford the Roka Pro Swim Skin or the Cannondale SuperSix Evo Ultimate, so you're going to have to make up for it by being strong, stubborn, and tenacious.

Will it be worth it?  Well, that's for you to find out.
You've got this girl.  No excuses.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

You're not stuck

"And when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it."
Paulo Coelho

If there is one thing that I have learned in this life- it is that you are never stuck.

It will be scary.  It will challenge your beliefs.  It will bring up emotions you have long tucked away.
But you are not stuck.

It might require continuing education, writing a resume, several interviews and learning to balance your checking account-
But you are not stuck.

You might need to talk to a counselor, depend on others for help, pray and meditate for sanity-
But you are not stuck.

You might have to get used to living paycheck to paycheck.  You may lose friends.  People may think you are crazy-
But you are not stuck.

Your life unfolds in proportion to your courage- be brave, courageous and free.
You are not stuck.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

You're An Ironman! So what?

"I am Ironman.
Has he lost his mind?
Can he see or is he blind?
Can he walk at all
or if he moves will he fall?
Is he alive or dead?
Has he thoughts within his head?
We'll just pass him there 
Why should we ever care?"
Black Sabbath

I trained so hard for this race.  3-8 hours a day actually.
Between my new job and this training cycle, I might as well have set up a tent at Life Time Fitness.
Ridiculous really.....
But I am an Ironman.

My apartment- a mess.
My relationships- void.
I have not been present as a coach, mom or girlfriend.....
But I am an Ironman.

I shook for two hours after every cold, open water swim,
Ran on the most hot and humid days.
I talked to myself for hours on lonely bike rides-
and have paid for my chiropractor's Mercedes Benz.....
But I am an Ironman.

I have been unsure
and unhappy at times.....
But I'm an Ironman.

But  you see- I have overcome my FEAR of the open water
and am in the best shape of my life.
I am strong and persistent.
I'm stubborn, resilient and confident.
I have self discipline, laser focus and a competitive nature.

I expect the best from myself,
and I love my sport ( all three of them).

I am an Ironman-
and I am proud.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

The Beauty of the Female Athlete

It's noon and she still has raccoon eyes....not the typical "day after" makeup, but residual rings from her sunrise swim.
Her hair is always pulled up in a messy bun because she would rather run an extra 30 min then spend the time with a straightening iron.
Her curves are in her biceps and calves instead of her chest.
You know her sport from her tan lines, and all you have to do is mention strength training for the veins to pop in her forearms.
She is perpetually cold, and hungry.
Getting fake eyelashes would be like throwing $200 into the swampy lake, and her nails are kept short out of necessity.  
She has muscles down to her feet, and wears black nail polish to cover bruised toenails.
She looks ridiculous in frilly dresses- she will never be considered "petite".  
Wrinkles surround her sun kissed lips.

But she has a sparkle in her eyes
And desire in her heart.
Passion permeates her being
and she is confident and secure.  

She is strong
And she is beautiful.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Never worry again

"Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?"
Matthew 6:27

I've decided to stop worrying.  Period.  
Why?  Because I'm fucking exhausted.  

I've always been a worrier by nature.  I remember as a teenager keeping an eye on the speedometer when my parents were driving, worrying that they were going over the speed limit and that "we" might get a ticket.  I worried that people wouldn't like me because I didn't have the right jeans or haircut.  
I worried that I might not get into college, even though I was talented and made good grades.  

As a school teacher, I worried that I might have a challenging day.  That I wouldn't be able to handle situations that were thrown at me.  That my day might be "ruined" by a certain class or child.  I made up all kinds of stories in my head about what the day could hold for me, way before the actual start at 8 am.

As a new coach I worked to build trust, and worried that people wouldn't understand why I planned the way I did.  I worried that I "didn't know enough", even though I ate, slept and breathed running.

I worry about relationships.  Abandonment.  Being good enough.  Trust.

Even today I worry if the risks I'm taking are worth it, although my heart is happier than it's been in a very long time.  

Dan Zadra said "Worrying is a misuse of imagination."  
We are really good at making up "worry stories" in our head, but the reality is they are simply that- stories.  
They are not real. 
Our hope is that if we continue to hash out the situation we will be able to figure it out and find a solution, but the reality is that worry robs us of our present moment- time that we will never get back.  

I believe the way to end worrying is to replace that story with one of gratitude.  
I have everything I need.
For 43 years I have been fed, clothed, nurtured and loved.  I am strong and capable.
If we are here on this earth for a purpose, which I believe we are....then surely our creator will take care of us.  If I am here to help others, then won't I also be helped?  

I've wasted too much time and energy worrying.  Instead of allowing myself to be hooked by the trap of hope and fear, I will do my best to relax into the magic of this unfolding life.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Open your eyes

"Why are you looking for the living among the dead?"
Luke 24:5

You fucked up.
You lied, cheated, said unkind things, were jealous, lustful, angry, greedy.....the list goes on. 
I know you did, because I did too.  We all fuck up every single day.
But you know what?  The Easter story reminds us that it doesn't matter.
That tomb is empty.  Your past is gone.  

So often people remind us of all the ways we could have been better, looked better, lived better.  We've been feed the stories for so long that we either drown in guilt or suffocate ourselves with the gnarled hands of regret.
It's easy to lose faith (in life) if we continue to sleep with the past. 

Buddha tells us "do not dwell on the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment."

Wake up and open your eyes!
To the crimson sun that peeks through mountaintops.
To sisters that steal covers from each other at night.
To the boy who caresses her cheek as she sleeps.
To puppies and pigtails.
To jellybeans and peeps. 
To dancing in the rain.
To hope and promise. 

In awakening, we are risen indeed.


Friday, March 13, 2015

Living in the present moment- Just fold the damn clothes!

"Do not dwell in the past, Do not dream of the future.  Concentrate the mind on the present moment."  Buddha

When it comes to folding clothes or putting the dishes away, I am the champion procrastinator.  That pile of clean clothes has been fructifying in a hidden corner of my bedroom all week.  I have an extra 20 minutes to spare this morning, so I set to begin the folding.  
But wait, my coffee cup is empty.  I can't fold clothes with an empty cup of coffee!  Coffee first.
And...I need music.  Pandora first.  
A text beckons on the phone- a client with a question.  Client first.  
Oooh look, someone has sent a friend request on Facebook.  Facebook first.  

As I finally begin folding, my monkey mind begins to race.  
Did I answer that email my boss sent yesterday?  
I wonder what my swim workout is for today.....I should look......
Did I write that appointment in my calendar?  
What should we eat for dinner tonight?  
The thoughts scrambled in my brain were so overwhelming that I had an Oprah "aha" moment. 
I realized the reason why I hated folding clothes.  The simplicity of it all forced me to slow down. 
"All you have to do right now Jennifer is fold these damn clothes.  It's simple.  Make them into a square. Put them in piles.  Walk them to the closet, or put them in a drawer.  Concentrate woman.  Clothes."
So I did.  I concentrated on the clothes.  The socks that my daughter pulls on to play soccer.  The bike shorts that protect my ass on long rides.  My work clothes, black and simple.  The warm towels that I wrap up in after a shower.  The lingerie.....well, we won't go there ;)
And in that moment, I realized these clothes were a blessing, not a chore.  

And- there was a blog to write!  But clothes first...........

Friday, February 6, 2015

Ask. You Shall Receive

"What do I do when my love is away
Does it worry you to be alone?
How do I feel by the end of the day
Are you sad because you're on your own?
No, I get by with a little help from my friends"
The Beatles

I've never been one to ask for help.  I guess I viewed having to do so as a sign of weakness; so I always got up earlier, worked longer hours, studied more, and stayed up late figuring out how to do everything by myself.  
Funny how things happen, but a recent life change has left me yelling  "uncle" and I've been forced to humble myself.  I've had to ask for help.  Tears well up as I write this because the support I have received from my friends makes me realized how blessed I truly am.  

I don't have to worry about moving anymore, a 2 bedroom apartment is waiting for me in March and my kids will have their own furnished bedroom.  It's in the perfect place for work and family balance. 
My new job stimulates and excites me.  I  have ownership over a new project, something I really have been longing for.  My brilliant co-workers are helping to grow my business and we work together as a team.  
My coach continues to push me, and it seems that almost every week I am introduced to someone who will teach me on my Ironman journey.  

It's been a bit of an emotional roller coaster, but I am so fortunate to have crazy friends who not only come along for the ride, but also let me bury my head in their shoulder when I'm too afraid to look.  Friends who remind me everyday that not only am I taken care of, but that life is amazing!

I realize now that I've been the guy in the old joke standing on the top of the house with God sending me signals for months: 

There was a big flood, and the water around a man's house was rising steadily.
The man was standing on the porch, watching water rise, when a man in a boat came along and called to him, "Get in the boat and I'll get you out of here." The man replied, "No thanks, God will save me."
The man went into the house, and the water starting pouring in. So, he went up to the second floor.
As he looked out, another man in a boat came along, and he called to him, "Get in the boat and I'll get you out of here."
Again, the man replied, "No thanks. God will save me."
The water kept rising. So, the man got out onto the roof.
A helicopter flew over, and the pilot called down to the man, "I'll drop you a rope, grab it, and I'll get you out of here."
Again the man replied, "No thanks. God will save me."
The water continued to rise, and soon covered the whole house. The man fell in, and drowned.
When he arrived in Heaven, he saw God, and asked Him, "Why didn't you save me from that terrible flood?"
God replied, "I sent people in two boats and a helicopter. Were you expecting angels?"

 Thank you God for the boat, the helicopter AND the angels.  

Sunday, January 11, 2015

This Shit's Getting Real- Why I'm Taking a Week off from Facebook.

"We need to see our situation for what it is.  We're not really crazy or stupid.  
We just don't see- that is, we don't pay attention to what we see." 
Steve Hagen 

Hi, my name is Jennifer, and I am what my friend would call "a Facebook whore".
When I pick up my phone, my thumb automatically hits the blue app with the lowercase "f" on it.  I have 8 notifications that are calling my name.  Yay!  Someone has acknowledged me!  Someone "likes" what I said, or what I look like, or what I've done.  Yay me!  So of course now I have to scroll through and read everyone's posts. Damn, I've lost another 30 minutes of my life looking into everyone else's, and the reality is that for every motivational and encouraging post I see, I also view one that fills me with automatic anxiety.

I've spent some time this week really looking inward; and through reading, listening and real down- home discussion I've found that right now, being in this moment as it presents its self is exactly where I need to be.

And, as hard as this is going to be for me, I think that means taking a break from Facebook.
(There. I said it out loud.)

Because I don't need to compare my life to yours-  hope is not a coping strategy.
I don't need to be distracted from the things that are really important and happening to me right now.
I don't need to look to you for approval or happiness.
I don't need to know where you are going, or where you have been, or who you are talking to.

What I do need is real conversation- look me in the eyes or let me hear your sweet voice.
I need focus and concentration on the present situation as it unfolds, especially with my new job.
I need to take care of my clients.
I need to be ok with who I am, where I am and who I spend my time with.
I need to train hard so I can accomplish the goals I have set for myself.
I need to be present for those I am blessed to be around in this moment.

Facebook has many positives. I have met so many fun and inspirational people-some of my best friends and workout partners. I've been able to re-connect with friends from my past.   I've been invited to cool events and celebrations.  I have used it as a forum to try to motivate and help others, and have learned from those more experienced then me.
I am not anti-Facebook and I'm sure I'll be back; but starting Monday I'm going to see what it is like to take one week away from my preoccupation with Facebook.
It's going to be hard!  But instead of picking up my phone in the morning, I choose to spend that time reading or meditating.   I will only post if I have something to promote my business or something to celebrate others success.  My mind is telling me that this is bullshit, but my heart is telling me that this is one small step forward towards really SEEING.  One step I can take in order to be present in the goodness of what IS!

Good luck to you on your upcoming races.  Find a new business contact.   Be well in your journey.  Stop comparing yourself to others.  Be grateful.   Love each other.  Celebrate life.
Meanwhile, if you would like to talk to me- message me or text, or hey- pick up the phone and call.  Would love to hear the timbre of your voice or see your shining eyes.
Have an amazing week.  I'll let you know how it goes next week,  on Facebook of course ;)

Thursday, January 8, 2015

"Oh but my darling, what if you fly?"

“There is freedom waiting for you,
On the breezes of the sky,
And you ask "What if I fall?"
Oh but my darling,
What if you fly?” 
― Erin Hanson

It's 4:30 am. I'm wading my feet in the water at the edge of the pool, glazed eyes staring at the glassy water.
My legs are heavy from yesterday's workout and I shiver at the thought of getting in the stinging water, so I sit.

It's 4:40 am.  I should get going.  I lower myself warily into the water.  It's not so bad, so I take a deep breath and dive in.  My breathing soon becomes rhythmic and predictable- strong even, and I am swimming.

Making that first move is always the hardest, and recently I have found myself just sitting there on the edge of unpredictability.  This swim, run, new job, relationship, (insert any part of your human being here) could after all be a complete failure.  I'll be working on commission, what if I'm not as good as I think I am?  It requires a move. What if I'm making a mistake?  What if I find myself alone again?

Paul Boynton, author of Begin With Yes, posted on Facebook this morning that "taking an action, no matter how small, sets things in motion.  Motion, no matter how small, means you are engaged with your life and making things happen.  Don't wait.  You will never have all the answers because each answer creates a new question.  There is a sweet rhythm here when you remember that one question, one answer, that is how life unfolds."

So, even though the water is cold, I choose to dive in with gratitude for new opportunity.  I choose to set things in motion. Another leap of faith that by engaging in life, I will be swimming steadily soon enough.