The Reward of it All

What a week!  This has been one of those weeks that I want to hold onto but also let go of.  Like a tide sweeping the shore; giving and taking.

imagesOur son left and made his big move to Los Angeles, CA, which left me breathless and feeling like there was a hole in my chest.  I hold on to his excitement for this new adventure, his determination, the look in his eye knowing that something new is coming, and the elation of uncharted waters.  We are so proud and excited for him, but as parents, it’s so bittersweet.  A friend of mine shared a story of when her kids starting leaving home; a dear friend of hers asked, “in raising your kids, what was your goal?”  All of us would respond, I’m sure.. that we want to raise, independent, well-adjusted, self-sufficient, kids, with goals, and dreams and extraordinary intensions.  That is how she answered.  That’s exactly how I would answer….her friend then said, “that’s exactly what you have done.”  Such wise words, and something I have thought about for the past week.  My job <our job> is done….and this man is on his way to perusing life to the fullest.  This I’m holding on to.  And the letting go, well that’s just what this week has been in it’s entirety.  Letting go of a child, letting go of tears, letting go of feeling melancholy, letting go of some heartache…and letting God meet me right there.  I know as time passes that all of these feeling will be let go of…but maybe not.  I am quite sure as a parent, that there will always be that ache for your kids.  The hardest best thing I’ve ever done:  Parenting.

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John 15:13

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John 15:13

On an up-note…can I just raise a glass to my friends?  Texts, notes, messages, prayers, fun little “comfort packages” full of all things comfort (Meltz Extreme Grilled Cheese gift card,  dark chocolate covered fortune cookies <seriously these things ROCK> even a little hooch in the form of hot, cinnamon-y liquor) <LOL> cards, calls, emails, even a pj’s and wine slumber party/sleepover.  I have been blessed beyond measure with such incredible friends.  They are so giving and thoughtful.  Just the essence of true, unadulterated friendship.  ~Greater love has no one than this…

Unknown-1I have also started “officially” into Ironman Boulder training.  It has been nice to have a plan and a focus, especially this week.  My body has felt great, but I have been tired.  I’m sure the upswing in training matched with my emotions has gotten the better of me.  I am excited about training, and even about being back in the pool! <surprise> It’s been fun to feel my gills responding to the water and meeting friends for training again.  I know how this works and that I will be tired. I know that my body will most certainly rebel.  I know my mind will wash in all sorts of reasons why I shouldn’t do this.  I will be cranky, and starving and exhausted.  But my heart just gushes a big, YES!  Yes, you can!  And that’s exactly what keeps me going.

Seeing our son leave, with such great anticipation, reminded me of this: that although parenting, and moving, and Ironman, and <fill in the blank> are hard at times….the end result and the reward of it all is so much better.

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Starting to Goal-Dream

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I do not do New Years resolutions.  I just don’t and never have.  I guess maybe I have always missed the point, or have felt like I do not want to set myself up to fail.  Statistics are staggering on how many make resolutions and do not follow through.  The optimist in me, of course, is overjoyed at the ones that do their best at carrying them out and succeed.  I guess it seems silly to me to make these grand decisions instead of micro-decisions throughout the year.  I mean, we all change, everyday….so why not make mini decisions throughout your changing, daily life?  Why not adapt and learn as life carries you?

I do, however, set goals.  This happens year round, so I don’t necessarily feel that it is a “resolution” and being that it is now January 13th, I’ve kind of missed the window of opportunity in making them resolutions.  My goals change.  They change often and they make up a myriad of different situations.  As I sit and assess this coming year race wise, I have no choice but to make goals.  Which races to enter, how to train, do I change running shoes (again) how do I become faster, eat cleaner, and manage my time well during the training season?  Do I get a new bike, or is the one I have going to carry me through this race season (she’s a great bike)Unknown-2

Unknown-1Speaking of training….I am one week out from “officially” starting the training for my third Ironman.  Wow!  It’s exciting!  It makes me get these butterflies in my stomach like I am about to jump off of a cliff.  That feeling of exhilaration and nausea.  The sweaty palms, the tingly fingers.  I will be doing a 27-week training plan for this race.  I am hopeful that the cross-training that a triathlon provides through varying swim, bike and run days, will keep me injury free and not have the situation I was in this summer that took me out of my Fall marathon.  I am happy that I have learned over the years, that less is really more as far as training goes for me.  I mean, I trained for my last Ironman in 9 weeks (not advised) but it worked out, and I have the PR to prove it.  I started a sort of “weening into” training last week.  My coach gave me a 2-week warm up….”OH hello triathlon body…time to wake up!!”  I have to say, it has been nice to be back on a plan.  Not that I have been sitting on the couch for months, but I have definitely been more, shall we say, lenient, in my training.

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I am once again, looking forward to sweaty feet, tired muscles, stinky running shoes, helmet head, a chaffed bottom side (for a while…ok always)  visor hair, living in tri-gear, catching up on every movie on Netflix during trainer rides, napping, falling into bed completely used up physically from a hard training day, blisters, the squeeze of compression socks, a car that looks like I am living out of it, snaps on the head from my swim cap, goggle eyes, the foam roller (ok, that’s a lie) the Stick (ok, that’s an even bigger lie) and the fabulous perfume of chlorine!Unknown

 

Happy New Year 2014

Wow!  I am in shock at how fast this past year has gone.  Twenty-Thirteen for us was an incredible journey of life, love and adventure!  Life moves fast, and we can oftentimes forget over the year what we have accomplished.  I made a little video on my Instagram of this past year with my family and it really brought it into perspective.

photo copyThe wanderlust in us was definitely fed as we traveled to Hawaii, Costa Rica, Seattle (a few times) Canada 2 times, Honduras, Oklahoma, drove the California, Oregon and Washington coasts and ended the year with a family Christmas ski trip to Big Sky, Montana.  What a year!  We feel blessed beyond measure!photo

As I sit here, I am in awe of how God designs us.  As a small child I always had the desire to travel, even though I came from a family that didn’t do a whole lot of traveling.  We camped often and made the trip home to Pittsburgh, PA every few years, but my parents never had the desire for “exotic” travel.  It was never their thing.  Wasn’t their dream.  Interestingly enough, it was always mine.  Same with my hubs.  His family was similar; not a lot of big trips, but they had their fare share of adventures.  He also from a young age had the hearts desire for travel.  God bringing the two of us together was no accident.  He created in both of us a heart for travel and adventure.  Had either of us been different, it might have not worked out for us.  Serendipity.  His providence.  God definitely knows what He’s doing.

tumblr_m27ph7F7bL1r6479vo1_1280We dream.  And we dream BIG!  I recently read something about dreaming that said 80 percent of Americans say they do not have dreams.  I’m not talking about night-time, as you slumber, dreams; I am talking about the type that you fantasize about, that you get excited and giddy and enthusiastic and passionate about.  The type that you sit and day dream about, or sit for hours on end with a cup of tea and talk to your hubs about.  Those kind of dreams!  This post that I read also stated “awakening and owning the dreams that God has placed in our hearts isn’t about getting stuff or attaining something.  It’s about embracing who we are and who He has created us to be.” (from the book Becoming Myself by Stasi Eldredge)  He has created in my hubs and I the dream of travel and adventure (among other things) He has placed in our hearts that desire and through our faith in those dreams, He has opened up ALL sorts of experiences.images

We have already been dreaming for this year.  We are already elated for what will be awakened in us.  We are moving into this year with renewed passion, courage, brave-determination and a confidence in He who planted our dreams.

I love the new year.  Think of those words: NEW YEAR.  You have the ability to start over.  Wipe the slate clean.  Let go of the past.  Forgive.  Imagine.  Move forward into your dreams.  What are they?  Have you sat down to consider them?  Have you made new goals?  Have you day-dreamed?  Sometimes our dreams can seem unattainable.  Sometimes, we hear a whisper of a dream in our hearts but are too afraid to go for it.  To have the unbridled courage to reach out and grasp it.  To allow ourselves to be unchecked, uncontrolled and unconstrained in our ambitions, desires and passions.

Do you have the dream of travel?  How about running your first marathon or half-marathon, 5K or your first mile?  How about learning something new?  Learning to swim or a new language or to play a new instrument?  How about learning to surf?  Jumping out of an airplane?  How about a Triathlon?  Maybe…even a chance to write for Runner’s World Magazine as I did this year (link here) Dream BIG!!

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What are your dreams for the New Year?