Thursday, January 31, 2013

People Who Need People

It's Thursday evening, and I've enjoyed a super busy week. It occurred to me today that due to the hectic schedule, I've spent quite a bit of time on my own the last several days. This is helpful when you're a writer. But how good is it for a self-proclaimed people person to spend the bulk of her week in solitude? I enjoy alone time as much as the next girl, but I just wondered if it was a little too much of a good thing?

With my profession and my sport of choice being largely solo endeavors, I spend a lot of time by myself. It has it's benefits. I work at home so I have the freedom to create my own schedule. I have deadlines that I have to stick to, but for the most part I run my own show. My kids leave for school at 7am and don't return home until 3:30pm. Lots of time for writing, which is awesome.

I am also a triathlete. Triathlon is my main avocation, and I love it. It's a sport that challenges me, drives me and yet gives me serenity. Sounds crazy, I know but it's true. When I am in training mode, typical workouts of swimming, biking and running are done mainly on my own. It's really quite peaceful.

Long laps in the pool are meditation time for me. I've been learning to relax and literally go with the flow when I swim (with speed work thrown in here and there).  It's just me and the water.

On my hour+ long bike rides I usually just settle in and pedal.  As I've mentioned, I do a lot of brain blogging on my bike. I talk to myself a lot. Out loud. Same story when I'm running.  The only difference with the run is, being a music fanatic (I'm addicted to Spotify) during the run I often just lose myself in music. In short, in all three elements I have a lot of time for quiet reflection.

See a pattern here?

When I spend too much time alone, I find myself getting a little itchy. Perhaps a tiny bit bitchy. I thought about it this afternoon, and other than book club Monday evening, my Cycle Studio ladies group workout/beat down Tuesday, grocery shopping at Target today, and evenings with the family (some of which I was working), I've spent the bulk of my time with me, myself and I this week. That's a long stretch of time. I feel a smidgen out of whack.

So I'm reining it in. Tomorrow is Friday, and I'm going to load up the day with people time. Starting with breakfast with the kids, the morning at the gym, lunch with friends, the evening chauffeuring the kids to their social engagements then find some time with my peeps. Re-acquaint myself with civilization.

I'm a city girl at heart. I love crowds, hustle and bustle. Being around people just makes me feel alive. Family and friends are the pulse of my life.

I also love the quiet serenity of an open lane in the pool, a long winding country road to ride and a peaceful trail on which to run. I am grateful that I am able to have solitude and to be able to do the work that I love. Be free to write when I want. In my last post, I talked about balance. Today I'm grateful for the blessing of having quiet Michelle time and a wonderful network of friends to join me in people time.  That is balance I can most definitely appreciate.

Peace out,

Monday, January 28, 2013


Balance.  Everyone wants it, few achieve it.  It is what I am working on today.

Balance.  Maybe if I say it enough, it will magically happen?  Ha!  No, that would be much too easy.  Nothing that matters comes easily.  In order to obtain and appreciate what is truly valuable I have to work hard and then wait patiently.  Positive things come to those who wait.  As you know, patience has always been difficult for me, however the more I work at it the easier it's becoming.  Awareness that I can't always get what I want when I want it is key.  It really comes hand in hand with letting go of fear.

As you know, I'm a writer, triathlete, parent, mentor (believe it or not, ha ha), wife and all that goes with it.  There are numerous sub-activities/duties that go with each of my titles.  To sum it up, there is rarely enough time in a day to accomplish everything.  This is where balance will come in.

I've written about balance in previous posts, but have not given it my full attention.  Literally everything in my life has either changed recently, is in the process of changing or will be changing in the near future (operative word here....change).  Everything.  It's a very good thing that I've let go of my fear in that regard.  Or I should say I'm making progress.

Here are some examples:  a year ago I was a stay-at-home mom.  I am now working, and am hoping to add to my resume' soon with additional opportunities.  I am officially a paid writer!  George Eliot "It is never too late to be what you might have been".  Absolutely.  My kids are growing up (sniff).  My daughter recently acquired her learner's permit and will have her driver's license before her seventeenth birthday in June.  She is thinking about college and is taking the SAT next month.  My son's voice is deepening and he is now much taller than I am.  As this triathlete season draws near, I am determined to excel in my races (last year I was kind of content with the mediocre).   There's more (some larger than I've got my head around at this point) but these examples give you an idea.  Remember my photo essay about the new year?  "2013.  Shit is about to Change." we go!  Progress.  It's the new change.

Progress is good.  So I am embracing it.

There is no magic wand when it comes to achieving balance.  It's about setting boundaries, knowing what my limitations are and not biting off more than I can chew. Life doesn't have to be a juggling act.  I don't have to live in fear. I don't have to do it all or have it all.  I just have to do is keep it simple.  Stick to the basics.  Putting it on virtual paper is a start.

To sit back, look at it logically and take action really doesn't have to be complicated.  And over complicating my life is in my past. Today it is about simplification.  Thus, achieving the perfect balance.  Wait...not perfect, but just...balance.  As always, writing about it to you has helped. Thank you.

Balance.  That, my friends equates peace.


Thursday, January 24, 2013

Training Day Thursday

Training.  What can I say?  I love it.  I am by no means a world class athlete, nor do I think of myself as such, but triathlon is the sport I love.  Training keeps me out of trouble, and gives me something fun to focus on.  The healthy lifestyle suits me and am passionate about training for a race.  Race day is an adrenaline rush beyond compare!

I will say, however it has been a bit of a drag to train this week and last.  It has been extremely cold in Carmel, IN.  The fun is somewhat stifled when there is no alternative but to train inside.  8 miles on the treadmill or a 2 to 3 hour ride on my bike atop the trainer is not very exciting. It feels good when I'm finished.  I do love to swim in the winter, and I find the long laps in the pool soothing.  Of course I adore my trips to the Cycle Studio with my gal pals or to the gym with my other peeps.  It takes a village.

The first event of the spring is The Bourbon Cycling Tour in April.  It's a 150 mile overnight ride along the Bourbon Trail in Kentucky.  It is rumored to be a blast!  100 miles on Saturday and 50 miles on Sunday.  It even involves camping, which is something I haven't done in years.  Side note: you might be surprised to learn that I actually love camping, and everything that goes along with it.  I'm talking tent pitching, sleeping on the ground, no civilization or other campers around, fishing for dinner kind of camping.   I seem to have developed the reputation of being a "girly girl" in recent years.  On the contrary, I'm not afraid to get dirty.  In fact, one of my favorite memories is spending time in Sun Valley, Idaho one summer with a good friend (a boy of course).  1990 maybe?  We spent a weekend hiking into the mountains, making our own campsite in the middle of grizzly country.  Of course he was armed, and fortunately we never encountered a bear.  The excitement of a possible grizzly run-in was enough to make the trip worthwhile, however.  True story.

The second event is in May, and is a one day 100 mile ride across 3 states and 3 mountains starting in Tennessee.  Not hills...mountains.  To say we will be climbing is a bit of an understatement.  Bring it on.

The third event of the spring, and the first triathlon of the year is Ironman Kansas 70.3 triathlon. It is rumored to be a difficult race, but also a favorite among the athletes I know who have raced it.  I love a good challenge!

It will be a fun spring season!  And then, training continues for the summertime races.  There is always something on the horizon to anticipate.

Today's training was pretty awesome, despite the fact that I was indoors. 17 degree temps made the warmth of the gym feel quite welcoming.  I made it fun.  4000 meters in the pool followed by 2 hours on the bike.  It's amazing what great music can do, and it's always a great time to think.  I workout in the morning if I can swing it, and it always sets my mood to happy.  It's a great way to start the day.  Tomorrow....more training.  Of course work takes up the bulk of my day, but I'm pretty sure that doesn't make worthy blogging material (blogging about my blogging... ha ha ha).  Yawn.

So that's where I am today.  Happy and focused.  It's about 6:00pm and time for me to move on to my second job; being a Mommy and cooking dinner for the kiddos.  Y'all take it easy now, see you soon!

Peace out,
M    xoxo

Sunday, January 20, 2013

All You Have to Do is Ask

I don't often recognize them as such, but there are angels in my life. They seem to appear right when I need them. Typically when I don't know I need them.

They are always there. I just have to know where to look.

Today the angel was in the form of a seventeen year old girl, the same age as my daughter. She gave a brief presentation during church and spoke about the need to ask for help in times of trouble and how doing so plays a part in her life. As a teenager, she talked about the prospect of being on her own and finding her independence.  I was mesmerized.  It was wonderful that such a young girl could be so insightful. I thought it was amazing she had the courage to speak in front of a large crowd of people.  And I marveled at how lucky she was.  She has discovered at seventeen that she does not know it all, cannot do it all, and asking for help is a better choice than struggling through on her own.  She knows this at seventeen, when it took me much longer.  Out of the mouths of babes...

I did not understand the gravity of, or the strength behind, asking for help until about four years ago. Until that point I had been plugging along, muscling through tough times, keeping everything to myself, putting up a front while suffering on the inside. My priority was to make everything look pretty on the outside.  I didn't let anyone know how unhappy I was. With every passing day I withdrew from friends and family. My way of handling my life was to numb, tuck and hide.  I thought I was showing the world how perfect everything was. 

Everything was not perfect.  I continued the charade for years until one day I realized how exhausting pretending had become. I finally woke up to the thought that I was done being miserable.  I was finished wrapping everything up in a beautiful package hidden by lovely wrapping paper and a bow.  I found the courage to ask for help.

Thanks to the help of many angels, I am a completely new person today. I frequently feel as if I'm the  girl I was in college. Starting anew, with a bright future ahead of me.  It doesn't matter how long it took me.  Sometimes it just takes what it takes.

I do not regret my past.  It is what it is, and I've grown from every life experience.  All of my mistakes and weaknesses have molded me into the woman I am today.   I have morphed into a woman who is not afraid of confrontation.  I am not afraid of change or progress.  I welcome new opportunities.  I am remarkably happy and confident.

I have developed new and improved ways to face tribulations today.  It is a daily routine of meditation, thought, discussion and action.   I absolutely do not "stuff" my feelings anymore.  I approach difficulties with strength head on.  Writing or training being my favorite outlets of course.

One form of therapy I partake in when I am feeling weighted down by life events, is to blare music.  Typically loud tunes belted out by strong women.  Pink, Katy Perry, Gwen Stefani, even Kelly Clarkson.  "What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stronger" is often the power song by a lot of female triathletes I know.  Strong women letting their feelings out through music.  It is so empowering.

There are times, especially recently, when my gut tells me to play the tough girl. Muscle through. I can ride 100 miles then run 13 or more in a training session, surely I'm resilient enough to face an emotional endurance event with equal mental toughness. I don't need anyone's help!! Bullshit.  It is a sign of strength when an individual recognizes when it's time to ask for help.  To take on the world solo is dangerous territory.

It is comforting to no longer feel lost and lonely.  There are people who come along and walk my path with me that have a profound impact on my life.  Long term friends, friends I've reconnected with from the past, new friends, family and people I meet briefly all have an important role.  They all touch me, metaphorically of course :)  Some of these angels are with me long term, some come into my life and walk with me a bit then move on.  That's ok.  Every person whom I come into contact with gives me a little piece of themselves and makes a difference.

That is my serenity today.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Boys and Girls

I've been pondering the whole man vs. woman thing today, mulling over how vastly different we are.  I feel compelled to write about it.  I am approaching this in a round about, humorous manner.   I'm not afraid to laugh at myself, especially on this particular subject.  I'm thinking that a few ladies who read this just might get where I'm coming from.

I have been fascinated with men for most of my life. They are an intriguing bunch.  Attempting to demystify the male species has been a fun challenge. It began when I was a young girl piecing together my relationship with my parents, specifically my Dad.  My mother and I seemed to be on the same wave length (until I became a teenager) but I just couldn't always jive with Dad.   My quest later continued with boyfriends, male friends, boyfriends that my friends needed help with, more boyfriends, the man I married and so on.

Today I can honestly tell you that I know absolutely nothing.

I do know men are cute, funny, masculine, necessary for life, fun, wonderful, etc. and we girls would be lost without them.   I know the basics, if ya catch my drift.  All the research and all the years I've been practicing one might think I would be an expert.   It would seem I would have developed some perceptivity with men.   Sadly, they continue to be an enigma.   So that leaves me....where?  Twisting in the wind?  Pretty much.

My approach to almost everything....first dates, breakups, friendships, dating, re-connections, arguments, marriage and even simple conversations with men....has historically been completely different than the man's approach to the same subject.   I am sure you can imagine the frustration.

Now to be fair, I'm sure we women are probably a mystery to men as well.  I'm just making an educated guess.     I may have frustrated a man on a couple of occasions.   I can't be sure, of course (said tongue in cheek).

Wouldn't it be interesting to gain some insight into the thinking of the opposite sex?  It would make life so much easier.  I've spent a great deal of precious time trying to figure things out on my own because there often was no explanation given.  There has been much heartbreak.  I have been left to wonder what happened...really happened...on more than one occasion.  I've had no choice but to make assumptions.  And we all know what happens when we assume.  Right?

So for thought.  The women in your life are probably working just as hard at the attempt to figure you out.  Give them a little break.  Talk to us!  A little communication goes a very long way and eliminates the need to make assumptions. Ladies?  Let's return the favor.

Things in life are not always black and white.  I very frequently see gray.

In a nutshell....since I know very little even in finishing this post, I suppose I'm going to have to keep on working at it.    If you have any light to shed on the subject, hit me up.

I can use all the help I can get.

Peace out!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Groovy Cycling Haven

What a fabulous day I've had!  Just wanted to share a little light-hearted post with you on this Tuesday.

For the better part of today, there was a spring in my step and a smile on my face.  It started off with a little yoga and meditation, during which I set my intention for the day.  I decided I was going to make it a good one.  It was still dark, but the sight of stars in the sky gave the promise of sunshine later.

After seeing the kids off to school, I loaded my bike and headed to The Cycle Studio.

I want to give a little shout out to my friends Shea and David, who are the owners of The Cycle Studio in Carmel, IN.  It's a sanctuary of sorts for triathletes and cyclists.  (Technically it's a place we go for a beat down, but as I've previously mentioned we enjoy that sort of thing.)  It's how we roll.   Tuesdays are my favorite workout days, because I get to share two hours with some pretty amazing women.

At the beginning of December,  Shea invited eight female triathletes to participate in a winter session at the studio, the Womens Development Group.  I was honored as the women with whom I'm blessed to spend the time are amazing athletes, including Shea, our mentor.  We have all completed numerous triathlons, some of us are half Ironman finishers and most are full Ironman finishers.    Pretty impressive training partners.

We bring our own bikes to class, and place them on CompuTrainers.  CompuTrainer is a state of the art system that collects and shows data such as power watts, mph, cadence, average watts/kilogram and heart rate.   There is capability to ride/race any course programmed into the system.   The Cycle Studio has over 500 courses on file.  It can be brutal.   It's kind of like a spin class with bionic power.   Hills, valleys, drafting can all be programmed into the rides making it very similar to being outside.

There were a lot of laughs and conversation in the beginning of the workout.  Then alternating grunts and periods of quiet when the hard work set in.  We finished the session with a 5 mile two team race.  It was a grueling workout (a.k.a. awesome).  We dismounted and held a 3 minute plank, and were given our challenge for the week.  No sugar is this week's beauty.   What?!  We will  see how it goes.  We weigh in every week, and everyone was down at least 2 pounds.

It was 30 degrees outside, but inside the studio it was steamy.  No helmet required.  Good stuff.

It will be a fun couple of months together, as we train for our 2013 races.  Getting stronger and faster while having a blast.  Doesn't get any better than that!

If you're local, and looking for some great training...check out The Cycle Studio.  Here's the link:

Following the class my coach scheduled a run.   5k run on a sunny, cold day.  Perfect.  Then off to work.  Still smiling.

The day ended with some quality time with my daughter.   Shopping, nail salon and just plain old girl time.  We are very close, and I'm so blessed.

I've already set the same intention for tomorrow.  And it's going to be good :)

Peace out.

Monday, January 14, 2013

What Lies Within

I hesitated only briefly when naming this post.  Others have uttered these words in the past.  However, it is a proper title for my current blog entry.  To quote Ralph Waldo Emerson, "What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us".  And this befits my life at this moment in time.

Believe it or not, I've often thought of myself as fragile.  As a follower.  Someone who just blends into the crowd.  In fact, this was how I've been most of my life.   I was a shy child, and was quiet most of my young adult hood.  I most definitely lacked confidence.  Until I emerged in college.  It could have been Speech class my sophomore year, or the people I grew close to.  Maybe it was the fun of partying or the change of scenery, but it seemed my quiet side vanished.  I discovered boys and fun.  However, my insecurities remained.  I never really thought I had any great value.  After the college years, these insecurities would rear themselves at various points during my adult years.  Not going to lie, it was a struggle.   There were choices I made that at times I wish I could reverse.  I know, I regrets.  And truly, I can only look forward.

Don't feel bad for me, as I no longer am that girl.   Both the shy girl, and the party girl are a part of my past.  I would describe myself today as confident.  Sure of myself.  Comfortable in my own skin.  It took me a while, but here I am.   And the great thing about where I am in life now is I am not afraid.   I firmly believe it is the community of friends I've cultivated, especially in the last four years.  I have become much more spiritual.  I began to put myself "out there" and tried new things.  Gained some independence.  Three years ago I started triathlon and have since fallen in love with the sport.  Through racing, I have become part of a whole different community of wonderful people.  The support has made all the difference.

In addition to this, as you know, I've been indulging in some soul searching.   I've discovered that in recent years I've transformed.  Yet, I'm still Michelle.   Have I finally grown up?  I would say yes!  Because, while I'm having more fun than ever, my feet are firmly grounded.  In short, I am right where I'm supposed to be.

I was reminded of this today, while talking to a friend.  She was listening as I was discussing some recent events in my life, that are altering the course of my immediate future.  I adamantly told her that I would not be a victim.  She stopped me and said, "You?!"  I asked her what she meant and she replied "you are so strong I would never think of you as a victim!"  Well.  I've been feeling strength coming from within, but it was nice to have the confirmation from someone outside of my own mind.

I got home this afternoon and registered for all of the races that I had only planned.  My 2013 race season is solidified, and I'm thrilled.  Now I just have to train and put in a little (a lot) of blood, sweat and tears.  And later, sheer joy when I accomplish my goals.  Of course, I will keep you in the loop of my progress.

Our immediate world is ever evolving.  It's how we choose to approach the evolution that shows our strength of character.  What I've gathered from Emerson's famous quote today is this:  My past, both good and bad, has created who I am today.  My future, whatever it may be, will be what it will be.  I have control only of myself and not of others.  There is great peace in my heart to be in acceptance of that.  Strength.   It is what lies within.

See you soon!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Listening to the Rain

I'm reflecting on my day....and listening to the rain.

Today I am grateful...

...for the warm sunny day that just ended
...for the gentle rain dancing on the rooftop as the night takes over
...for the long bike ride this afternoon with a group of pretty awesome people
...for the quiet little run after the ride
...for my family
...for my many friends
...for my strength, the strength that sometimes surprises me
...and for so much more

As I look back on today, I realize how truly blessed I am.  Not with things I have, but with whom I will  become.  So full of hope.

What a wonderful surprise it was to be given such a beautiful, warm, sunny day in January and the chance to see a brief glimpse of Spring.

Today I was reminded what true beauty is, and today I feel beautiful.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Switching Gears

I was overjoyed this afternoon when the thermometer went all the way up 45 degrees.  It's a heatwave everybody!  The sun sparkled in a bright blue sky, and my mood was much lighter than it has been recently.  So naturally, I went for a ride.    My coach had put a 2 hour outdoor ride, followed by an hour cool down on the trainer, into Training Peaks.   She had consulted the weather forecast (to which I'm putting more stock in these days) earlier in the week, and said "I made sure the weather was going to be awesome and gave you an outdoor ride 'cause I know you love it!!"   She rocks.  The weather was indeed awesome (and I'm just nuts enough about my training to think that way about a temperature of 45 degrees).

I put on about 5 layers, and headed out.  I must have looked like anything but an athlete in all that bulk, but I was warm.  The streets were still lined with snow from the blizzard of exactly two weeks ago, and it was a beautiful ride.

This picture resembles the picture I took on my beach ride last week, doesn't it?  But instead of sand, this time we have snow.  My bike gets around.

The return of blogging while cycling (a.k.a. brain blogging).   I've missed it!   Last week while on vacation, I had peaceful outdoor rides but there was no blogging or getting lost in thought.  My attention was focused on making a valiant effort to stay on course.  Lost and alone in rural Alabama would not have been good.  Looking back, I probably didn't have cell service in some of the areas I found myself.  Kids, don't try this at home.

I used the time to mull over my thoughts.   The last two days had been pretty awful.  I mean how much can a girl's heart take?  Sheesh.  Enough already.   I started several posts during that time, then decided against actually posting them.   I paused.   I got out the old pen and paper and wrote the old fashioned way.  Just the act of writing helped a great deal.   Which is also awesome.   I was writing for me, to me.  I wasn't writing to publish.  I vented on paper, talked about it, then shredded it.   While being true to myself in this blog, outright venting doesn't really have a place.   But after all is said and done, I'm good.  I got this.

I've been pulled in so many directions recently I was beginning to feel like my pal, Gumby.    I think the main thing is I've been pretty hard on myself.   I have to remember to be gentle, especially with me.

I hope you can hear the lightness in this post.  I'm feeling lighter, and it's because I've finally dropped the rock I've been lugging around.  I'd put it down now and again, but I would pick it right up again.  As if it I couldn't live without it.  Which is absolutely nuts.    I don't have to do things perfectly, I just have to keep moving.  And today.....I'm moving.  And smiling.

I am focusing on today, but am also thinking ahead a bit.  I am so psyched to be ensconced in training.  Getting stronger.  Getting faster.  Getting smarter.  About how I train and how I live.

So in a nutshell, I'm happy.  Good ride, good share.  The only downside of the ride today is for some reason, my bike computer wouldn't register faster than 19mph?  A glitch maybe?  Or maybe it was just me.  I'm sure it'll go higher soon, once I work out all the kinks. :)

Peace, for reals,

Sunday, January 6, 2013

I Can Only Do What I Can Do

I have started this post about a hundred times.  It has been in several draft forms for almost two months.  I can hazard a guess as to what has been holding me back....fear.    Dreaded keeps popping up.  If I start to write about what's hurting me and then put it out there....well then I'm not holding onto it and it's no longer mine.  It's out, and I've turned it over.   Yet, isn't that a good thing?   Yes (I love answering my own questions!)  Holding on to detrimental things is dangerous, as they fester and grow.  Their power over me gets to be too much to handle.  I have not been following my own advice, have I?  Time does not heal all wounds unless I release the power of the wound itself.

I can only do what I can do.

There have been some losses in recent months.  Friendship.  It hurts.   A few dear relationships have either changed or have been lost during the past year.  There is resentment, sadness, frustration and a feeling of utter loss.  I refuse to play the victim, but the feeling of helplessness has been paramount.  I felt I had no control of the outcome.  The one I'm focusing this post on occurred just before the holidays.  I kept telling myself "it will be all right.  Just give it time.  Now should be a joyful time.  I'll deal with it eventually..."  But the truth of the matter was I was letting my hurt maturate rather than dealing with it.   The hurt was actually increasing.  Today I am not willing to give the pain any more free space in my head or my heart.  I need to give it up.  The only way to do that is to face it.

I don't want to go into too much detail, because the people are still in my life.  So I will speak generally.    Right now I'll talk about one loss in particular.  The rest I'll address in a later post (promise), when the time is appropriate.   Writing about the changes will come later, but I will be facing the feelings now.

In September a close friend and I ended our relationship.  We had been friends for several years, and truth be told shared everything with each other.  She was my best friend from the instant we met each other until the end.  We had bonded immediately, shared similar values, interests, hobbies and our lives seemed to have followed the same path.  We talked all day every day.  I loved her very much.  In recent months, our relationship had taken a turn.  I can only ascertain that the relationship had run it's course.  I can't put my finger on the exact time my eyes opened to that fact, but one day I just realized that we were no longer good for each other.  It was a very painful decision.  I think we both realized it at the same time.  When the friendship ended there was a huge hole in my heart.  I still miss her very much.

In writing about it, it is apparent that I truly haven't been ready to talk about it until now.  I have to do some further reflection as to why that is.  It goes beyond fear, and goes to my character flaws.  Pride.  I haven't really talked about this loss because it would mean I would have to look at my part in the failed friendship.  It's not in our human nature to look inward to see what we might have done wrong.  But I am doing so now.  I know I am not perfect.

Upon reflection, I realize that I was not being 100% honest in the relationship.  I was always just going along, smoothing things over and not really being true to myself.  Often times during the relationship, if something uncomfortable would arise I would find myself just wanting to make everything ok.  And really, is that realistic?  Is that genuine?  Honest?  Hell no it isn't.  And that's not the way I want to be today.   How can a friendship flourish if it is based on anything other than brutal honesty?  Without two people being real with each other, it simply can't.

As painful as this has been, it has also been eye-opening.  Once more I am learning the hard way how important it is to be true, genuine and honest ALL of the time.  Once more a painful occurrence in life can be opportunity for growth.

Hard knocks will come.  At any given moment our lives could change.  Further reminder for me to live each day as if it's my last.  If I am truly going to do that, it would be nonsensical to hold on to the bad stuff.  As today comes to a close, I am going to examine my day.  Was I kind?  Was I honest?  Did I live today to it's fullest?   If I came up short in any of these areas I must promptly rectify.  This is how I want to live every day.

I could go into much more detail, but I think you get the gist of it.   I feel better.  Thank you for listening!

In closing, I am just going to say that I am blessed with many wonderful friends.  Sometimes when a door is closed, numerous windows open.  I am open to let in new experiences and opportunities.  I am also in gratitude for the time I spent with a wonderful friend, and I hope she is well.

Now off to sleep.....see you soon.


Thursday, January 3, 2013

A Little Photo Essay About the New Year

In my last post I didn't want to label my intentions for 2013 as "resolutions", because that just didn't give my plans justice.  Instead I would call them realistic goals.  I have a few more thoughts for the year.  I thought a little photo commentary would do the trick:

Ride more....

Spend more time with the kids....

Run more...

Eat better!

Swim more...

Wear fashionable clothes (not workout clothes) when in public more...

Laugh more!

Write more...
Don't I look serious about this?

Love more!

Because.....that's what it's all about....


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Upon Reflection's the first day of 2013.   I love the feeling of a blank page.   A chance to feel like I am starting over with freshly charged batteries.  I don't necessarily have resolutions in mind, but rather hopes, dreams and goals.  Back to the basics.

The year of 2012 was filled with ups and downs.   The ups were wonderful, and the downs were...well not so wonderful.  For now I am going to keep this post happy and hopeful.   That is not to say I won't write about the blues of 2012....just in due time.  My thoughts on the downs will simmer on a back burner for now.

There were so many fantastic things that happened in 2012!  It is easy for me to be positive about the things I have accomplished this past year.

One of the biggest happy points of 2012 was my completion of two half distance Ironman triathlons.  The endurance bug definitely bit me last year!  I love the feel of losing myself in a long swim, bike or run.  The training involved in preparation for the longer distance races is challenging yet therapeutic to me.  Especially the bike.   I learned a lot about myself during the training and in racing in 2012.  I learned that I don't back down from a challenge today as I have in the past.  I've gotten stronger.  I learn from my mistakes.  I will get even mentally and physically stronger this year.  It will probably mean more mistakes to come, but I'm not afraid of that.  I embrace it.

Life goals:  train hard, work hard, love hard, write more, read more, learn, grow, expand my horizons and use my abilities and talents to further myself.  I suppose I have a lot of work to do, eh?  Well, bring it on.  I'm ready!

Race goals:  Ironman 70.3 Kansas (June 9), Ironman 70.3 Steelhead (August 4), Nations Triathlon in DC (Sept 8), and the Monumental Marathon, full 26.2 in Indianapolis (Nov 13).  Those are my big race plans, for now.  (I reserve the right to add more.)   I also plan to do the 150 mile Bourbon Cycling Tour (April 20-22) and the Ride Across Indiana (RAIN) on July 13th, which is a 160 mile road bike trek across Indiana.   I also plan to volunteer at Ironman events my friends and my coach are participating in.  Give back to the sport I love.  And finally, this year I am going to be part of a triathlon team that will raise money for cancer research.  Racing with a purpose.  I am excited to get started!

As I said, training is therapeutic for me.  I find peace and serenity when I'm immersed in it.  So it's fair to say that as such, it is a large part of my life.    It makes me happy and it keeps me sane.  Unless you think that riding a bike for 160 miles isn't sane?!

So in a nutshell, that is what I'm hoping for in 2013.   I'm looking forward to sharing this years ups and downs with you.  Hopefully more ups than downs.  However, as you know we learn a great deal from the downs.  There is no avoiding them.  Life wouldn't be interesting without them.

Walk this year with me and see how I do, won't you?

Stay tuned, it's going to get real in here.  Cheers to an eventful 2013!

Michelle xoxo