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Frost on the ground. Frost on my skin. Warmth in my blood. I plug in my tunes and tune out the world. It’s the closest I can get to being off the grid, at least for a few hours. No matter the past week, long hours, or sleepless nights that lead up to Saturday morning, nothing can take away my love of my weekend long runs. 

I hit the road early before the sun opens up and shines her brilliance on the eastern plains of Colorado. Partly, because I want to hide in the darkness; to be alone and unnoticed. And partly, to enjoy the delicate silence that only darkness can bring. 

The bitter crispness fills my lungs as October turns into November. My heartbeat races, and my mind mellows. Sometimes it only takes a few miles to detach from the “everything’s” of this world. Sometimes my heart is heavy and my prayers are constant. These are the days when the pavement touches my feet the longest. 

Everything all the time. No. This is how we wind ourselves into the ground. Everything has a time, and He has made everything beautiful in  its time (Ecclesiastes 3). Not in my time, and not everything all the time. 

No shortage of roads. No shortage of thoughts.

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Wanderlust

Wanderlust.

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Few things make me as happy as getting lost in the great outdoors. This is quite possibly the reason I absolutely love getting up before the sun…and most normal people. I can escape into my dreamland with my eyes wide open. 

With a schedule that should be shared by three of me, once I’ve dropped the kids off and headed into work I am rarely able to sit and breathe until I’ve wrapped up and headed home. Truth be told, by the time dinner, baths, and homework is done it’s well after eight o’clock before I all but manage to get the 4-year-old in bed before collapsing in mine. 

But, I. LOVE. MY. LIFE. (I’m sure someone will correct my grammatical errors in that last sentence.) It doesn’t matter if I’m Paleo this week, low carb next, running a 16 mile long run, or feeling like my joints are going to explode from RA.  Sometimes I need a nap. Sometimes I need to climb another 14-er. Sometimes I need NPR radio. Sometimes I need Def Leppard. 

I take it one day at a time and surround myself with only those who give me love, comfort, and happiness. 

Yeah. I might live in my own little world, but I love it here. 

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I didn’t know what day of the week today was, but I’m okay with that because I’m on vacation. The only thing on my agenda was a beach run, followed by a beach sit. Maybe some fresh local fish and goat cheese sprinkled throughout to keep me upright. 

Since I’m still on Denver time, 4:30AM in Maui really is like sleeping in. Fortunately, my husband is also adjusting to the four hour time difference, so getting out just before sunrise to stay as cool as possible on my run is still very doable. I might have beat the sun, but I cannot outrun the humidity. I was wise enough to pack my fuel belt so I could carry water on my runs (I’ve done this before). 

Good run with more hills than I had planned, but those miles are done and I am now parked on the beach with my Lover and Bad Ass iced coffee (Don’t judge. That’s really the name of the coffee joint…and what I call my husband.)
Next up? Don’t know. Don’t care. I’m sitting on a beach in Maui. 

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It’s 4:00AM and the alarm goes off. I hit the snooze button for the second (or third) time before rolling over and crawling out of bed. I think for a brief moment what it would be like to sleep in past five, but my mind is already awake and active. 

My workout is not the only thing on my mind. There’s a world of activities that must take place over the next 16 hours. And, this is where my day begins. 

The morning starts slow with a ramp up of pace and intensity. With each step, each movement, the blood begins to flow, the heart begins to pound, and the mind begins to sharpen with keeneness and foresight. The mind tries to weaken as the body begins to tire. “Not today”, I tell myself again and again.

The peak. The heartbeat. The intensity. The sweat. I choose my destiny. 

The day is mine.

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Running in Austin

A great break from our hectic world took us to Austin for a nice, long weekend. We were so fortunate to meet up with some old friends for dinner and dessert, have a great evening of laughs, drinks, and THE best doughnuts created by mankind. My husband and I were able to spend several days in a tucked away space, backed up to a hummingbird garden. We took hikes, explored restaurants, and had our second honeymoon. After three kids, you don’t realize how nice it is to relax & enjoy doing nothing…like read a book.

The first day my run ended up being in the gym because we completely slept in. And in Texas humidity, I wasn’t sure I wanted to run in 80 degree weather. This morning however, I was able to run on some of the trails and routes that surrounded the property. After swallowing more gnats than I needed to for my daily protein intake (thanks for telling me they’re full of protein, Dad) I decided to run around the golf course. I came across only one other runner, but we said to each other, “Kind of a short path, huh?”. It was about a 3 mile loop. You know you’re a runner, when…?

A great dinner by the fire. A nice bottle of Riesling. Back at the hotel room to chillax with my Lover, and we turn on the tube and see an interview with Gene Simmons. (Note to the reading crowd: I know near nothing about good ol’ Rock ‘n’ Roll, but I do know who Gene Simmons is.) The interview was insanely real. He talked about his life growing up during the war in Germany, and the trials his mother and family went through. He is ridiculously intelligent (hard to believe, I know), but something he said struck me more than anything else. He was talking about his mother and the first time he showed her his first $1m check. Her response, “Wonderful! Wonderful! Now, what are your going to do?”

Wonderful! Wonderful! You’ve just finished a great workout…gotten your dream job…created something new…

Now, what are you going to do?

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IMG_6028

One of the things I love best about my small town is that there are dirt roads in every direction. I don’t typically run on them during the week simply because I’m out and back before the sun even thinks about rising. The only caveat to this is if there’s a full moon. It’s simply amazing how bright it can be at 4 o’clock in the morning with a full moon bouncing off of the snow. I love the absolute peace of hearing my own breath, and the sounds the snow makes when it crunches under my shoes. Sometimes I have a song or tune rattling around in my head, but most of the time I’m thinking about a whole lot of nothing. It’s amazing how much I can think about nothing.

There are those days where I have more on my mind that I have time to run miles. I have (too many times) let my thoughts rob me of my peace. I found this happening on my run the other day. I was so consumed with a variety of things trying to figure them all out on my run, when I decided that enough was enough. This was my time to clear my head. This was my time to push myself as much as I could. This was my time…for me. I only needed that one hour, but I needed it for me.

Then, I noticed the sign “Pavement Ends”. I know I’ve seen that sign a million times on my runs, but it wasn’t until yesterday that I realized it meant something more to me. Pavement ends. Life begins. Leave it at the door. Lay it before God. Whatever you want to call it, it is what it is when it is most to you.

Pavement ends where life begins. It’s time to live.

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Seuss

I know. It never happens to me either. I am never wrong. Sometimes mistaken, but never wrong. Or, possibly just not right? Whatever it is we call it, there are times when all of us have not been “accurate”. Fortunately for us, most of the times when we are wrong we are not putting ourselves or others in danger, have not lost life or limb, and have woken to see another day. Which brings me to the next best thing, which is our inability to let ourselves fail.

There it is…the big “F” word. Ugh. I’ll be wrong any day, but fail at something? No way. We beat ourselves up one side and down the other when we feel we have failed. We dig ourselves into a deep trench of muck and mire, and feel that the weight of our own failure impairs our ability to make any movement forward. We freeze. We shut down. We forget that we…are…human.

Fear of failure is what makes us motionless most of the days and weeks we exist. All we do too often is just…exist; too immobilized by the fear of possible failure. Whether it’s trying to eat healthier, start a new exercise regimen, or start a new career, we halt our own progress by giving in at the first sign of failure. Sometimes, we don’t even make the first move because of the thought that we might fail. But failure is what allows us the opportunity to grow. When we can learn from our mistakes, do better the next time, or take a small step forward in the muck and the mire, we are proving to ourselves that we are worth the effort of trying…and failing.

It’s okay to fail. We all do it. Consider this your safety zone.

“If you never did you should. These things are fun and fun is good.”
― Dr. Seuss

 

 

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Sparkle

When it comes to happiness, we all have the same basic requirements: food, water, air, love (Yes…LOVE). You can pretend you don’t need love, but I call bullshit. Maybe you don’t need someone to love, or maybe you don’t need someone to love you back, but everyone needs a little love. We never have to find the time to make sure we have enough air to breathe, but for some reason we don’t approach our other needs with the same intent and expectations. Why not? Have we succumbed to the thought that reality cannot co-exist with fantasy?

Once again I find myself trapped in the vortex of daily routines and requirements. I have been swallowed by the small hassles and blood-pressure-raising moments that are only 10% of my time, but consume 90% of my energy. Ever been there? Why do we let the smallest frustrations take up the greatest amount of our radiance? Why not do what we really love? Why not dedicate time to something that makes us feel better? Why not? Why not? Why not?!? Hence, the reconstitution of my blog. I didn’t name it “Mindfirerunner” for nothing. I’m taking back the things that I love.

I LOVE running. I LOVE red wine. I LOVE feeding my toddler dark chocolate chips after dinner because it makes him giggle and smile from ear to ear as if he’s gotten away with robbing the Federal Reserve of Never Ending Dark Chocolate (Why isn’t there such a thing? No, seriously.). I LOVE writing about anything that comes to mind, even if no one is reading. I LOVE spending quiet time alone. I LOVE getting lost in nature and feeling like no one can find me. I LOVE knowing that no matter what the outcome, I will always be ME.

I love…

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Mountain

(Best read if listening to Pickwick…or Wheeler Brothers.)

A whirlwind week. An overwhelming amount of work. An 18 hour Friday. But, today is Saturday. And I’m sitting here reveling in the aftermath of an incredible morning.

It all started with the sunrise. Why? Because I’m never in bed still when the sun rises. Not this morning. This morning, I was in bed. Awake. Taking my time watching the sun come through the curtains. And things just got better from there.

Shoes laced. Sunglasses poised to greet the morning in all of its brilliance. A gentle breeze. Warm air. The sound of silence. I was in no hurry. I knew I wanted to take a road less traveled. Limited human interaction. Nothing but nature.

My thoughts wandered. My soul connected with the earth; my spirit. The simple was exquisite. The warm dirt smelled of freedom. The mountains glittered with warmth as sunbeams bounced off of snow capped peaks.

Maybe it’s because Pickwick had my beat. Maybe it’s because I finally gave in to the world that awaited me to visit. Maybe, it’s just…because.

So, I ran.

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