One of them married the love of her life - her high school crush - even though many of us warned her about the improbability or impossibility of the union (even good ol' cynical me). She's been with him for years, now has beautiful children, and is getting ready to write her first book - something she's always wanted to do. One of them survived a battle with cancer at an early age and continues to live her life witout regard for convention, developing her unique style while she searches for the right time, place and way to make her dream of being an artist come true - and she does it as a single mother, facing obstacles you and I can't dream of. One of them refuses to buy into society's notion that she has to marry and have kids to be successful, fulfilled and happy. While working to put herself through grad school and raise my nephew, she taught me the value of standing up for yourself - even when it means others may not like you for doing it - and to never forget that you're fabulous . . . dammit. And the last made it through a rough divorce, at about the same age I'm going through mine, and lived to tell the tale: not only is she the epitome of kindness, grace and beauty, she never once succmbed to cynicism or bitterness. In fact, she found love again and she will marry her true soulmate in just a few weeks.
Fina, Shay, Karime and Ashley - I hope you all recognize these tiny bits of each of your stories as seen through my eyes. I wouldn't be me without what you've contributed to my life, and I love you all for your inspirational existence and never failing support. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for all the laughter and beauty you've brought into my life. I hope to be thanking you for many years to come.
IronDawn always says: "Some people spend all their life chasing their dreams . . . the rest of us run them down and beat them into submission." Yep, that's pretty much me. These are elevation maps of my 11-mile route. (I thought it was 12, but my Nike+ kit is so off, I can't trust it, and I thought I was faster than I was.) Suffice it to say, I track my splits - you know, my per-mile times - for every single mile I do. If that's not beating your dreams into submission, I don't know what is. (And I am actually one of the LEAST anal-retentive runners I know.)
I was smiling, bopping to my music, loving the breeze on my face. A dude ran by me, smelling of sunscreen, which reminded me that I forgot to put mine on . . . by the way, what was up with frowny chick? Doesn't she know there's a runner's code? You see a fellow runner, you at least grunt or snort in their direction . . . no matter how bad you're hurting. I mean, flip me the bird, hoc a loogie on me, or grimace in something that looks like it's trying to be a smile . . . if you can't even manage one of those, then you don't deserve to call yourself a runner!
This week's goal: 29 miles. I'll probably hit 23 after a ten-miler tomorrow.
Anyway, we've come to the conclusion, and in some ways the topic, of today's mindless chattering . . . my dreams. Yeah, we all know I want to be Dr. Ironman, but let's get real. I've always sought fitness goals for either asthetic purposes or measurable gains: never both. And I've decided that I'm done with that. I'm the fittest I've ever been - and I realized after a conversation this week that I don't even look like it. When I was only 15.96% body fat, by contrast, I wasn't all that fit. Well, I'm done. It's time to unite those goals. I'm going for beauty AND brawn. So, take a good look at this picture, because it's the last time you'll see me this size.