Adventures in MAJland+Gratitude

I figured I'd sit down and write because, from this week through December, I'm going to be slammed.  There are going to be events and birthdays and holidays and trips and races and weddings all over the world to attend. I'm excited and terrified at the same time - I love being on the go, but I never know how I am going to feel. 
So, first up . . . I tried something new this weekend. (As you know, I am a fan of adventures, so this probably isn't a surprise.)   
A few months ago, I started looking for a half marathon to help me train for Chicago. There was only one that was about the right number of weeks out.  At the time, I didn't think much of the fact that it was a "trail race."  (Remember this.) I continued to think that right up until the night before the race (this Friday night), when I saw the race organizer's photos of the course. It was VERY off-road - I realized I was in for something special!
We have been having torrential downpours and parts of the course were flooded. About a half mile in, I knew there was no chance to PR because not only did I feel stiff and hot, I kept having to stop and walk around or through water that was ankle to calf deep, and in some places impassable. Thanks to the Florida rain, there were not only roots, branches and rocks, but ankle-deep water in many places, calf-deep in others. Before I even hit a mile I'd been soaked from the calves up no less than four times. After stopping to walk across mini-lakes and re-tying my shoes (not to mention removing rocks) twice, I decided to run the 5 miler instead of the full 13.1 - and ended up 6th place out of 20 women in my age group.  Not the day I'd planned, but it was a great ride and I learned that mud runs are not my thing
I knew it would be harder than on-road running, but I grossly misjudged how much so. I didn't realize how much more stability trail running requires, for one thing. About 3/4 mile in, my muscles in my feet and ankles started getting really sore from the constant terrain changes. I've done PT to strengthen these muscles before because I know they're a weakness, but thought I'd gotten stronger. 
Look how many damns I gave about cutting this thing short!
Imagine my surprise when I looked at the results today and placed 6 out of 20 in my age group.

Verdict: trail running is not as much fun as relay running, but it didn't suck as bad as I thought. mud runs. Please.
Next month is my final month for fundraising, and it's also Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month.  I'm hosting a Virtual Gala to benefit AKBTCHere is how that works: everyone, from all over the world, is invited to join the Gala. Instead of actually purchasing a table and attending, they can just donate.  To make it more fun, I'm asking anyone participating to post a photo of themselves to the Facebook event page wearing something gold. I will be donating $5 of my own for anyone who posts a picture of themselves in gold to the page.
I figured I'd end today's entry with some perspective (which you know I luuurrrve) and some positivity (which, beeteedubs, is not really a wurrrd). This morning as I and several of the other members of the club went out for our 6am Sunday run, I was joking that I was a little behind because of a coffee emergency.  (Between my sleep problems and my coffee addiction, the coffee struggle is real in my house.) So this morning our fancy Keurig machine was arguing with me and I had to break out my French press, which I haven't used in ages, and I almost forgot how to use it.
When I mentioned this to the group, someone jokingly said, ooh, first world problems!  I couldn't make coffee with a Keurig and I had to use a French press.  Not running water or indoor plumbing...convenient coffee.
Even though it was a good laugh, it got me thinking for the rest of the day about how important it is to express gratitude in all that we do.  The last time I visited my blog, it was more like a blerghhhh, because I was all frustrated with my various health issues. But, at the basic level of privilege and safety, there is not much to complain about: I have access to health care and diagnostic testing to help me feel better.And no, I may not be able to afford $5,000 tri bikes and thousands in race fees, but look how much I CAN do.  

On the philosophical side, I can always reflect on the great days I have and how far I've come.
I try to never lose sight of how far I've come. I reflect on it a lot. Sometimes every day. I feel there is an important distinction between celebrating and appreciating progress and having regrets or looking back.  Having regrets means you haven't let go of something and it's still weighing you down. Appreciating progress means you embrace everything that has made you into who you are today.
That's what I try to do.  I may not be perfect, and I may need to re-examine things from time to time to get my head in the right place (and I may have thymentia and forget everything you tell me, and sometimes even important things like your birthday), but the one thing I can tell you with 100% certainty is that I try my best, every day, to never lose sight of how far I've come, and how great it is to be where I am.
And, on that note, I'll catch you next time.

0 tidbits of wizdom: