Just Believe

I figured now would be the best time to write a post, as I am sick of studying, it is raining, and everyone around seems to be napping. So, why not write? I have been meaning to write a post since, forever, but June has been one of the craziest months to date. Between training for an IM, doing a one month intensive summer course required before starting grad school in the fall, and beginning a new job, my “free time” has been next to nothing. I would exclaim, “man, I am so sad that June went so quickly” but in fact, I am super glad the month is over (because of everything that was happening). I can say that I survived juggling so many things at once, but, I really detested doing so. Due to everything occurring at once, I had to put training on the back burner, which stinks, but I had no choice. There were a couple emotional breakdowns spread out, but June: You are almost through! And, July, I welcome you with open arms.

Just a little heads up, this post is a mash-up of life and Ironman training. For one, Ironman Lake Placid is less than a month away. Heck, where did time go? I feel like it was yesterday when I decided to sign up for the race. (I remember when I decided to race like it was yesterday!) With a race of such calibur, I know it is normal to doubt the training you have done thus far, and question whether or not you are prepared to race. You dwell over the workouts that you missed–those hours you were supposed to be training when in reality, you didn’t. I’ve caught myself more than once thinking about everything I have not done, which quickly leads to self doubt and negative thinking regarding the race. If I missed those OWSs, I’ll never finish the swim in time. I haven’t finished all the long runs scheduled…I’ll never finish this race….You get my drift. Training has brought on some full-blown “negative thinking” fests, which I’ve realized, from which nothing positive comes. And, I guess this is where my “training life” and “day-to-day” life overlap. I’m pretty good at the whole negative thinking/self-talk thing. Infact, years of my life were devoted to thinking I was not “good enough”: not thin enough, not pretty enough; I was unlovable and a horrible human being for things I’ve done to those around me. This lead to living an obsessed life: obsessed about food and weight loss. Obsessed about finding the time to exercise. Obsessed about acheiving what I thought was “the perfect girl that any guy could fall in love with.” (I now know all of this was just internal lies). Over time, this negative thinking lead to substance abuse. I was in search for a place where I would not think; a place where I did not care, or worry, or fret, about what I ate that day, how much sleep I got; whether or not I was in a relationship, or the size of my clothes. I know negative thinking leads me down a very dark and scary path.

Despite how i’ve caught myself doubting my abilities to complete this race, I’ve learned the power of positive thinking can uplift, give strength, and ultimately bring a happier me. And, in a way,training for this Ironman has taught me more about myself that I may not have realized otherwise. Last week, when I was on my third 100+ mile road ride, I found myself wet, cold, tired, and ready to be off the bike. Six plus hour training rides solo really gives you plenty of opportunty to think about everything in your life. At the end of this ride, I found myself doubting my ability to be able to complete the full 112 mile bike course that I’ll be doing on July 26th. I was trying to add some extra miles in at the end of the ride, and ended up turning down a county road. About a mile or so down the road, I noticed the words “Believe in yourself” spray painted across the road. I did not realize how much of an impact those three words would have on me. After a couple minutes, I turned around and when I saw the words, I stopped, and smiled.

I’ve gotten my nutrition strategies pretty down pat. I’ve run marathons in the past and know even if I have not run the whole distance in this training, that I can do it. I know I can swim with other people and not “freak out” (as evidenced by my last half IM). But the one thing I’ve lacked is the self confidence and the belief in myself that I can  finish what I’ve set out to do. I remembered how I was able to finish Quassy after missing training from surgery. At the beginning of the race I thought, “You’ve got this; you can do this.” And, I did it. Truth be told, finishing a race may seem important and an accomplishment. In some ways, it is; and I want to finish this Ironman so badly. But, whether or not I finish it, I’ve accomplished much more within the past year as a person.

Last Fourth of July, and the months that came after it, were a couple of the darkest months I’ve been through, and believe me when I say I’ve been through some pretty crappy times. I was physically there on the 4th, celebrating with family and friends. But psychologically and emotionally, I was far from being “present.” I had lied. Again. Despite promising to “never do it again,” to the ones I loved, I did. I went kicking and screaming back to get help for something I felt I could control. Yet in reality, it had control over me. Fast forward a year, and here I am. On that ride when I saw those words on the ground last week, it dawned on me that it’s been almost one year since I’ve polluted my body with something it does not need. To put some perspective on it, this is the first year in the past eight years that I’ve gone more than six months without quote-in-quote relapsing.

Shit. Eight years of my life, wasted.

This is the first time I’ve been myself in years. Molly; unfiltered. It has definetly not been easy; I’ve had the stressors of more frequent seizures and medical diagnoses that are not easy to deal with (you  might remember the post “Elephant in the Room.” But, it has been such an amazing and fun year. I’ve challenged myself; I’ve challenged those fears of seizures, and swimming. The fears of the inability to finish Quassy. The self-doubt that I would ever be able to finish a 100 mile bike ride. I’ve started a new job, and in the fall will be going back to start a Nurse Practitioner program (which challenges the inner thoughts I have that I am not smart enough to become a NP). I’ve felt true and unconditional love from the most amazing man I have ever met; the man who decided last July not to give up on me.

Finishing races are an amazing feat. But learning to believe in yourself, loving the person you are, and living is even better. 

So, if you ever have any self doubts, challenge them. Believe in yourself. Because no matter what you are going through, you can do amazing things if you simply believe.

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One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

I guess you are never really prepared for when the unexpected occur during your life. They seem to happen during the most inconvenient times too, huh? Last year when I was preparing for the Patriot Half, I stopped mountain biking. I could never forgive myself if I had an accident while mtn biking and could not train or complete the Patriot Half. I was somewhat a nervous nelly about doing anything that might cause harm to my body whilst training. Heaven forbid anything come between me, my training, and completing that race. Last week started off great. I got workouts in before heading to work. My t-runs after my rides have gotten faster, and I was feeling stronger all around. I’ve noticed significant improvement in my strength– thank you, strength training! All the extra core work and leg work has definitely been to my advantage. I’ve also found myself finding what nutrition plans tend to help, and those that negatively affect my training. I’ve seen a huge improvement in my swimming. I finished my first 3500 yard swim ever! Only 500 more yards, and I will be at the IM swim distance. Nothing beats feeling physically strong and good about how far you have come in training.

Training is really coming along.

Training is really coming along.

Not even 16 hrs after my strong swim, I found myself in the ER.  I woke up one night with horrible abdominal pain. The combination of pain and nausea was so intense all I could do was rock back and forth in a ball on the floor. After a couple hours, I told Kevin he had to bring me to the hospital. Never have I been in so much pain. Heck I do triathlons– triathletes are kings and queens at tolerating pain, right?!? CT scan after CT scan, with no conclusive answers as to what was causing the pain, I was admitted due to my high WBC count, to be seen by a surgeon. As time passed, my heart rate and temperature increased, and on-off sweating sessions began. Even with the IV pain meds, anti-nausea meds, and IV fluids, all I could do is hold Kevin’s hand and cry. We joked it was hard to keep me hydrated when all the fluids they pumped me with would come out of my body as tears.

Waiting in the ER...

Waiting in the ER…

The surgeon saw me early in the afternoon. At first, he said I might need surgery . If it was the appendix, it could not waitI. If it was something else, the gall bladder, etc, then surgery probably would not be needed. So, onto more tests. Through all of this all I could do was think about my training. Seriously, surgery? NOW? What sh*tty timing. Right after I was starting to feel really strong and good about how far I have come. At one point I wondered if the surgery–if I needed it–could be scheduled for August–after IMLP. Yes, incase you are wondering, IMLP means a lot to me right now. I even asked how long it would be before I could resume my normal activities if I was to have surgery. The answer: everyone is different, but it can be anywhere from three to six weeks.( Insert wide eyed emoticon here. ) Around 4:30pm, the surgical PA came in to tell me I was going to need surgery. It wasn’t the gallbladder. Even though they could not clearly see the appendix, they wanted to make sure everything was okay. Now, working as a nurse, I have seen my share of people going into surgery. Heck, I’ve even seen a lap-appe back when I was in nursing school (so neat!). But, the surgeries have never been on me. I have never been intubated, nor have a foley. I’ve never had anesthesia. You could say I was in a fever induced state of delirious shock.

After hearing I needed surgery. Who knew I was being photographed?

After hearing I needed surgery. Yes, I stayed in that position since I entered the hospital.

An hour later, I signed consents and the surgeon came to bring me to surgery. I met the anesthesologist and signed more consents. He explained what was going to happen. I know most of what happens during surgery, but hearing everything as a patient and not a nurse was worrisome.  In my profession, I have learned to keep tears at bay. You learn how to control your emotions. But in that bed, I wasn’t a nurse. I was a patient. I was in pain. And I was scared.  Despite the circumstances, before giving me an IV cocktail to help me relax, as the surgical team hovered around me, they helped me actually laugh about some things. Then, like clockwork and exactly how the anesthesiologist said it would happen, I transferred over to the surgical table in the sterile, bright lights of the OR, laid down, and as someone applied corticoid pressure, I swiftly fell asleep. I was warned that coming out of anesthesia can make you feel nauseas. Sometimes you feel happy. All I remember is opening my eyes and crying. I know, I know. I sound like a blubbering emotional mess. Well, I guess you could say that I was. I spent some time in the PACU and received some IV pain meds. They ended up taking out my appendix, and when I asked how it looked, the anesthesologist said, “Well, this is not in medical terms, but it looked nasty.” (I would later learn that had they waited to do surgery until the next morning, it would have been too late and my appendix would have ruptured, causing more serious complications.) I was then sent back to the floor to “get some rest.” (We all know that it is nearly impossible to get rest when you are in a hospital).

Post-op photo op

Post-op photo op

So, that is my story, of how despite the caution and care you take of yourself, things happen that are out of your control. And you just have to let them be. We cannot control everything in our lives. And if I had waited to go to the ER, things would have ended up being a lot worse than they are.

Gotta keep those lungs healthy.

Gotta keep those lungs healthy.

I am still in pain, but am home now. I can finally use a computer without feeling the urge to vomit. Each day it gets a little better. I’ve come to accept that it is okay to be in pain– it is not a sign of weakness as I (for some reason) thought it was. It never really dawned on me how having the abdominal muscles “messed with”  affects, basically, everything you do–from walking to bending to reaching to coughing and sneezing (ugh that is the worst!). Not to mention, the amount of gas you have. Note: I found that a warm compress to your shoulders really helps with all the gas you get. 

Lucky resting with me.

Lucky resting with me.

I’ve been able to sit up and walk around more with each passing day. We made a joke that I should make a Strava segment of the walk I do around my house. I would definitely be QOM of that segment after my walk today :-p My goal is to walk halfway down my driveway today, and tomorrow, walk all the way to the postbox. (We have a long driveway). Yeah, it stinks that I wanted to run a 5 mile race yesterday and couldn’t.It is hard seeing pictures of everyone enjoying the weather outside running and doing activities that I can’t do, and will not be able to do for awhile. Sitting outside in the sun, thinking about the biking I could be doing, or long runs I could be doing causes tears to well in my eyes. Through this harsh winter I pushed myself to do all those negative-degree runs, and hours on the trainer; to keep myself in shape with the dream of completing Ironman Lake Placid. It makes me sad to think of all the progress and steps forward in training I have done thus far, only to be forced to take steps backwards.

But I need to give it time–give my body time to heal properly, so as to not cause any further damage. My coach tells me I’ll get back to where I was in my training and to have heart; I still have time before IMLP.

I saw the below picture the other day and thought, you know what? I’m not going to give up. I’m not a quitter. IMLP means too much for me to simply give in. Life happens, whether we want it to or not, and I’m not going to let a small setback stop me from completing–or at least trying– to finished a full distance triathlon.

tumblr_mle4lt1siv1qm99efo1_500 This post is dedicated to my man, for being right by my side for those two long days…and apparently documenting the whole thing on his phone. 😉 And a huge thank you to my sister for driving up to see me. What would we do without family and friends? And, to everyone at NDH. What amazing care I received. 

C’est la Vie, C’est la Chance, C’est L’amour

A couple years ago I took a chance.

On a guy.

Who knew two years later we’d be in love?

To the best, most patient, loving, funny, and strongest man I know.

xoxox

M

P.S. You already know I’m a dork when it comes to music 🙂

From fall ramblings

From fall ramblings

To pumpkin patch photo shoots

To pumpkin patch photo shoots

To christmas bloopers

To christmas bloopers

And spring skillz clinics

From spring skillz clinics

To your addiction to bicycles

To your addiction to bicycles

You put up with my failed attempts at selfies

You put up with my failed attempts at selfies with uncooperative cats

Never trusting my navigation skills, when I know I right

And never trust my navigation skills, when I know I right

...Okay sometimes I am wrong

Okay, sometimes I am wrong and get us lost…

Je t’aime.

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Looking Back on Three Years…

If you are unfamiliar with blogs, wordpress to be specific, you may be surprised to know that the blogger receives certain notifications for things: when someone likes a post, when someone subscribes to the posts, how many posts have written, etc etc.  I just received a notification congratulating me on three years of blogging.

Has it been three years since I began this?

This lead to me looking at the first post I ever wrote:

Bonjour!

Upon reading it I could not help but chuckle to myself. It is incredible how much ones life can change in as little as three years. Relationships with people evolve and fade away….Skills are developed; interests are gained. Outward appearances may change; a new haircut, new clothes…New home.

But despite all of the “new” things that have happened in the past three years, my core has remained constant. I’ve embraced everything life has brought my way–including trials of sorts that I managed to work through– and have not only grown as an individual, but as an athlete and nurse.

In the first post, I wrote that I wanted to try a triathlon, and that I actually did, even if I did not finish it, I try-d (like that play on words?)

This blog, which began as a way to track training and recount nursing stories, ended up being a diary of my life, and that of the lives of those I love.

And for that, I’m grateful.

Cheers to three years!

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Third Year’s a Charm

It’s hard to believe I’ve been in the Hudson Valley for three years already. Where did the time go? And what has happened?

I’ve gone through a variety of different sneakers…Some getting wet, others getting dirty.

I’ve endured scrapes, bruises, and tick bites.

Major ouch.

I survived my first road trip adventure, including sharp descents, rocks and roots.

I’ve made life long friends.

The Valley Girls

Best. Cousin. Ever.

I learnt how to make lemonade when life gave me lemons…Or juice out of berries.

I’ve taken lots of photos.

I watched things grow from seeds in my (first) garden.

I’ve gone for many rides.

Yes, all my bikes get used.

I’ve baked lots of cakes, both big and small, round and square.

I built my first bike, from scratch.

I expanded my family.

I met the love of my life…

Obsessed much?

Oh wait, I mean this love of my life.

I learnt it takes a strong person to compete in a race, and sometimes stronger one to know when to stop.

I was reminded how fun it is to dress up, and that every person is beautiful.

I learnt not to take myself too seriously.

I learnt how to ski, face my fear of open water swims, and mountain bike.

Most importantly I learnt that life goes on.

Thank you, to all of those whom I have met on this fabulous journey.

One Year and 112 Posts Later….

My original plan was to write on the same exact day when I had started this blog in the first place, but life and work got into the way (like always) and tonight i decided to sit down and reflect on the “blogging” world, since I’ve had mine for over a year now. Insane how fast time goes by!

I started this blog originally about my biking, running, and nursing. Over time, I started writing on different topics- most related to those three topics, and then some random topics about nursing, relationships, food and little insignificant things that popped into my head which I felt a need to relay to other people. On that note, I just made the most amazing Vegan Banana Bread with Carob powder swirled through, and carob nibs throughout the bread. Mmm. No, I’m no longer vegan, but when you run out of eggs and milk, and have vegan margarine and soymilk in your refrigerator, then you can create any type of vegan baked goods possible. And, they are actually pretty healthy for you! Thank you, Post Punk Kitchen (great website for vegan baking, FYI).

Vegan Banana Bread with Carob chips

A lot has happened within my year of blogging–it’s interesting to start a blog, and even more interesting when some people subscribe to it, which, no doubt about it, makes you feel good about yourself because they obviously think your blog is awesome. One of my first blogs was about my new Scott road bike (ahh, I love that bike) which is still one of the main focuses of my life. Last August, it had been years since I had entered a pool.A year later, I have no problem swimming in open water. Infact, this morning, there was no better place to be than Lake Onteora while it was raining, and have the whole lake to yourself. Just the pitter-patter of the raindrops on the lakes top  while you swam in complete silence. A year ago that thought would have freakend me out. Heck, in May swimming in open water freaked me out. Now, it’s incredibly scenerene and peaceful. Just you, the drops of rain, and the water. No better feeling. (Okay, well, maybe there is a better feeling).

Favorite time to swim at Lake Onteora: daybreak, and when it is raining

I don’t want to write the same things as I wrote in my Reflections of Two Years  post. But, even more has happened since I wrote that post. I managed to survive two of the worst storms New York has seen in years (the one in January when I had a little accident shoveling) and then this past tropical storm which lead to the destruction and devistation of communities I’ve come to know quite a bit within the past few months, esp, in the catskills. Unless you live in the area, or know the area, you would never know how much damage was done by Irene. Not only down south, but  all the way up through Vermont. If you feel the desire to help those communities out, including Windham mountain, you can check out a website http://www.catskillmtn.org/initiatives/windham-chapter/donate.html to help them repair and rebuild the area.

Flooding in driveway after Irene

Within this year of posting, I had started working night shifts at the Kingston City Hospital. I love my coworkers to death ( if this is redundant from prior posts, I apologize). I was able to absorb an enormous amout of knowledge working there, especially working night shifts.  I must admit at this time, I might be going through a quarter year crises as in what I want to do with my life. Do I stay in the area, or relocate somewhere different. It would be the perfect time to go someplace different, or make a change in my  career ( no offense to Kingston City Hospital, but I don’t think I’ll be abe to work there forever).  Working in an intensive care unit has it’s stresses (major stresses), but after being there  a year an a half, I’m thinking there might be something else out there for me to do. I’m not sure what, or where whatever it is I want to do may be, but I’m looking. I used to hate change. But now I’m ready for it.

I developped a stronger bond with any Scott Bikes. I have two– the scott contessa spark (so pretty!) and my CR1 Team. Although, I think i might need to branch out to other brands of bicycles (gasp!) when it comes to my cyclocross bike, which I plan on purchasing at some point, and a TT bike, since, there are other brands out there with pretty decent products for those people like me who may have a (small, but healthy) addiction to anything bicycle related. Within this year of blogging, I developped a love for mountain biking with my mountain biking baby (contessa spark) whichI had always wanted to do in the back of my mind, but never really did it until April of this year. It is completely different than road biking, and actually helps training/cross training for triathlons. And ofcourse, I have already written about that subject.

I love my Scotts!!!

I must admit, with work being insane, and working night shifts, and the crazy rain we have had as of late, I have not been able to be out training as much as I would have liked. But, the Vassar brothers du/tri is next week (which, I am not at all prepared for but, whatever) and I need to get back into the biking-running-swimming mode .  Deep down inside I still want to compete a full ironman race. And, for a while, I thought I had to do everything right now. I had to complete a HIM, I had to do this and I had to do that. But, I have my whole life ahead of me to do things– I am only 25. One day it will happen. One day. I’m not that easy of a person to give up on something I’ve wanted to do for years. And if it doesn’t happen, well, no big deal. There are bigger, more important issues in life I’ve needed to deal with, and am sure, will come my way.

Within this year of blogging, I’ve been blessed to meet amazing friends, some who are incredbily patient with my poor mountain biking skills, others who are incredibly patient and I never leave their company without knowing more about the hunting world. I’ve had friends come and help  fix the flooding in my garage…Tell me how to start the John Deere lawn mower when I was pretty sure I had broke it (oops). And then come and kill spiders for me (I can deal with snakes in my house, but have an incredible fear of spiders.) And I can’t forget about some others who would never tell me to shut up and give great advice on relationships, and life (who is a fabulous baker and if you need someone to bake you a fantabulous, delicious cake, let me know, cause I can hook you up with this incredible woman), when I’d go to them in tears not knowing what to do. Or spend their two personal days driving up to New Hampshire with me to cheer me on for my first attempt at a triathlon. Everyone knows who they are. Thank you. Each one of you has a very special place in my heart.I know, I know, I’m corny.

I’ve learned how to use a bow and arrow, and, might I add, am quite good at it.

First attempt at archery

I went on my first ever road trip/vacation by myself in the United States, and being lost outside of Albany during rush hour was more stressful than getting lost in Slovakia on their public transportation system, where I could not communicate with anyone or read their written language since their alphabet is so different than ours.

But, anyway, we shall see. I tend to take one day at a time and  blog when I feel like it (yes, I know, it’s been awhile since I have blogged) to share useless information that is on my mind…And do want to take advantage of every possible opportunity that comes my way.

I cannot believe it is a year since I started this.

And, to finish this, I leave some songs for you.

Thank you S.F. for putting the above song in my head

And one that played on my Pandora station which I hadn’t heard in awhile.

And, some White Stripes, because I just learnt to play it on my guitar.

And lastly, yes I have a very ecclectic sense of music, just….because.

I hope this post finds you safe, happy, and after reading any of my posts in the past, might have sparked some inspiration for you to try new things which you never thought you’d do. This past year I realized nothing is impossible. It may be strange, and difficult at first, but if you try, and continue to work hard, the task you have at hand is possible.

Laugh at yourself, but don’t ever aim your doubt at yourself. Be bold. When you embark for strange places, don’t leave any of yourself safely on shore. Have the nerve to go into unexplored territory….You have to leave your city of comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover is yourself. – Alan Alda

Reflections of Two Years in the Hudson Valley

Yes, it is hard to believe I have been living up in the hudson valley for two years. Wow. It seems like forever ago, and so much changed during that time– hospitalizations, learning how to live with certain illnesses, being unemployed, a horrible break up with the man I was going to marry, living (for a short period) which my grandmother–God rest her soul– switching jobs, stress with job hunting. Then, there was returning to my amphibian roots and actually loving when I can get into the water and swim…I could go on and on

Two years ago today, or to be more precise, two years ago minus a day, I got my first drivers license in VA. Wow, and I remember my first car trip alone to Boston on the Mass pike not even a month after I got my license and how t-e-r-r-i-f-i-e-d I was.They don’t call Massachusetts drivers Massholes for nothing. Yes, boston is only about 3 hrs away. But I am planning my first vacation where I will be driving longer distances in my car for my vacation next week (which will be a post in itself!)

It’s amazing how much can change in two years. Job wise, the amount of knowledge that I know is insane. There are still times when I freak out (internally) and when horrible things happen, but that is the nature of the job. It is not a place I see myself for very much longer, but we’ll see.

Personally wise, I’ve developed amazing friendships with amazing people, and have had the ability to get to know my cousins and aunt and uncle more than I ever did growing up. (My dear friend who also moved here about the same time as me has a blog–City Mouse in the Country— about her two years. You should check her blog out- it’s awesome, and I love her dearly).

I love the fall in the Hudson Valley, esp in the Catskills. Gorgeous.No, it’s stunning. The hiking and mountaineering possibilities are endless. I love being able to be so close to places where I can pick my own fruit. I love that mini pumpkins are beginning to grow in the garden behind the house.

I started biking again which I had not done since high school (except spin classes) and can’t remember why I ever stopped, because it is a passion of mine. Not only that, but starting to pursue different types of biking–like mountain biking, and I hope soon cx biking, which will be easier in the winters.

I’ve developped a passion for racing. I always did small 5k or 10k races, and then the NYC half and three marathons, but those are different from triathlons. In the midst of my vacation, I’ll be doing my first sprint triathlon. I decided to be easy on my body and move my way up in terms of training for larger event races since I was unable to finish the other race (I am no quitter). And, this fall, inbetween the triathlons, will do my first mountain bike race ever. Who knows, maybe even start cross racing.

The two years weren’t all peaches and cream. Work has been stressful. My grandmother who I had lived with passed away. A dear friend of mine passed away in November of 2009. For the past couple months, I had family living with me, which can be hard when you work a night schedule, and all the construction/lawn mowing is done in the morning right when you want to go to sleep. I’ve spent so much time on my bike that running, actually, has been more difficult for me due to some weird knee problem that has resurfaced.Living alone in a house during the last winter of 2010/2011 was horrible–old houses plus lousy/long/cold/ bilzzards is no fun. I think I worked every holiday. It was the first Christmas I spent alone while the rest of my family was back in Luxembourg. Talk about depressing.Esp. when you worked the 23/24/25th of December. But, I did have someone come over to say Merry Christmas to, which, if you read this and know who you are, I thank you dearly, because it meant a lot to me.

I’ve matured in so many ways, not only into a young adult, but in what I do, too. I used a John Deere mower for the first time (by my self!) today. It was a bit dicey–there were definitely lots of “eeks” when riding down the hills around the house (if you have seen the house, you know what I am talking about). But, I did it! I’m learning how to garden, and seeing the produce spring up is awesome.

I don’t know what is going to happen in the future, or happen tomorrow even (although I have a pretty good idea about what will happen). But, despite all the ups and downs of the past two years, they have been good ones, and I’ve made great memories that will be with me for the rest of my life.

The best thing about the future is that it comes only one day at a time.

~ Abe Lincoln


All About Attitude

We’re approaching July 2011. Can you believe it? Can you remember what you were doing, or where you were a year ago? Take a minute and think….And then take a minute to breathe. Deep inhale in…and out. I have a feeling most people, myself including, forget to take that time out to stop doing, doing, doing, and just be. Now if you’re at your kitchen table, desk, sitting on the couch, or wherever you might be reading this, how does it feel to just be?

View of the Catskills from Snyderville

At first when I did that, I was sitting outside on the deck, drenched with sweat after my 37mile bike ride ( Milan Hill-> Snyderville->Elizaville->Red Hook route) . Having swam earlier in the afternoon, the bike ride zapped me of the remaining energy I had, but it did not matter. Evening was turning into the night. Fireflies were out. I just sat, and was. I did not think about how crazy my next couple of weeks at work are going to be, nor lament the fact I do not have a normal job thus making tri training more difficult. I didn’t think about recent events, or future events. I simply closed my eyes and listened to the breeze and frogs and nocturnal bugs.

You should do that. It takes two minutes. And it feels fantastic to for those few moments not to be worrying about jobs, families, races, relationships, training…Etc.

I’m looking at life differently now, perhaps it was an eppiphany I had. Who knows. But I realized (again), how you live your life, and the value you bestow upon it, are all about your attitude and perspective on it.

My first attempt at Mooseman was a disaster. Yes, I got 2/3 of it done. But mentally I went into it fearing I would be unable to complete it (and, yes, there was that fear of my first open water swim in a competition setting). I learned a lot from that race–and now I know more and how better to train for my next one.

Yes, my job isn’t ideal for training for these types of events, especially when working overtime or picking up extra shifts in the week. And, i’m jealous of those who have normal 9-5 jobs and weekends off, which can make training easier. By no means am I saying those types of jobs don’t have their stress! My job itself can leave me physically and sometimes emotionally drained. And mustering up energy to go for training rides/runs is difficult. But, it’s possible, as seen by yours truly.

But I’m looking at the next race, Timberman, with a different light. I’m actually looking at life with a different perspective. I’ve come a far way from my fear of swimming in open water (now, open water in large lakes is another thing, and swimming with lots of other people, is also different). As in my last post, yy time in the lake is time for me. Where I don’t need to think about everything else that is going on in my life. I can just concentrate on swimming.

Sun setting behind the Catskills, taken somewhere along route 19

For Mooseman, I did a couple brick workouts, but not alot. Now, I’ll do them more. On my long rides and runs, I never thought to bring fuel with me, or adequately nourish my body with the important nutrients needed for both significant training, and for work. Scratch that thought, I just ate poorly. I lived off of peanut butter and graham crackers at work. Now, I’m trying to look at food as a way of nourishing my body so that I do have the strength to train with my hectic schedule, and not it being simply food. You can eat anything, but it’s amazing the affect it can have on your system. More protein, more whole fruits and veggies, gluten-free foods, less sugar, more water.I’m pretty sure I’ll feel some improvement in how my body feels with these modifications, which might even help sleep and I know help with energy levels and performance.

A healthy dinner of a Molly's twist on a two bean salad,fresh lettuce from the garden, and herbed couscous

Also, to stop comparing myself to others who do have more time to train, and to get rid of any  (silly) feelings of jealousy

Men. Ahh, that’s a topic I’m not too fond of. Especially with the complications of my last “friendship.” But, you need to be completely at peace with yourself, be able to take care of you, and actually love yourself before you can love another person. And even though I might look like I have my shit together, I really don’t. And as somewhat heartbroken as I am about what happened, I’m not going to go crawl into a ball and weep to sleep (cause, I’ve already done that haha). Whoever coined the term “heartbreak” was dead on–I did feel like my heart was actually cracking in my chest.  But, I’m not going to dwell on the fact it did not work out, even though I was hoping it would. This opens up opportunities that I have for my future. Like travel nursing. I’m young, single, have great work experience under my belt, have no family or mortgage to worry about. It’s the perfect time to go out and try new things while I still can. Travel, and see different places. And, if the travel positions do not work out, well, I go somewhere else. I don’t want to look back at my life and think, “Man, why didn’t I do that?”

That’s one good thing I’ve learned about life: it goes on.

Don’t give up.

I just received a photocopy of a letter I wrote to a friend a couple months ago, by a complete stranger (how they got my address I will never know), but with two words “Thank you” written on the back of the letter. As honest as it is about who I am, I thought, if you are going through a rough period in your life, please, know this: it gets better.

Dearest X,

It’s taken me awhile to figure out what to say, and I’ve finally found the right words to scribble with this mere pen and blank piece of paper staring in front of me. I could not not write to you, knowing you are going through a tough time. I do pray with these simple words you may find comfort, peace, and hope.

I’ve experienced first hand how cruel people can be–how hateful they are, corrupt, evil, and mean, and wondered how it’s possible to be so thoughtless, uncaring, and brutal to another individual. I’d never wish for what has happened in my past to occur to my worst enemy, and it’s hard for me to comprehend the thought processes of mankind sometimes, or why they do what they do. I’ve felt hate, been afraid, endured heartbreak, battled feelings of self doubt, overcome addiction, and have questioned if my life is really worth living. There is nothing scarier than when you question your own life. Nothing.

But, I’ve also felt compassion, witnessed the tears of joy streaming from the eyes of parents after their first child was delivered; experienced the heartfelt, unfailing love of friends and family; held the hand of a complete stranger in need; laughed over mindless matters; and was blessed with the ability to sense the rays of sun on my skin, and hear the beauty of an amazing song. I’ve felt victory. I’ve rocked an orphaned infant who lost his parents from AIDS to sleep, and hugged a wife the moment after her husband passed away. I’ve sat down and cried with parents of a daughter who was my patient, and hearing the mother tell me I was a light in her present darkness, and gave her hope that things would be okay, far surpasses all the negatives I have experienced.

How you decide to live your life is your choice.  You can choose to give up, or you can choose to fight. You asked how I do it. It’s all about your perspective. I’ve decided to focus on the positives. There is pain in my past, but hope in my future, as there is in yours, even though you may not see it now.

You were given the chance to live. Do it. Live life to its fullest, everyday, each day. Yes, tomorrow matters, and no doubt about it: your past is important–what you’ve experienced, endured, the challenges you’ve faced, the happiness you have felt in your heart, are all factors in the person you have become. There’s no other way to put it: life is fucking hard. And I’m not going to lie, times will continue to be tough. I’m convinced whoever says life is easy has not experienced what it is all about. I could not agree more with the lyrics to a certain band: the grass is greener on the other side, but just as hard to mow. I admit it, I need to remind myself of that sometimes.

But today is now. You were blessed with an amazing gift, as corny as it sounds: the gift of life.

My friend, you are cherished by more people than you may ever realize. You have touched the lives of troubled individuals, and are truly, deeply, loved by so, so many. Never forget that.

Don’t give up on today.

Please, don’t ever, ever give up.

My love always.

Mol

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