Blue's UnBashful Blog

Blue's UnBashful Blog

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Tri-ing and Swimming, and Running and Living.....Ommmmmmmm MY!

I haven't done much blogging....but I HAVE BEEN BUSY!  Busy, enjoying summer, working towards the future and of course Tri-ing, Swimming, and Running....Ommmmmmm, I can't forget yoga, my practice is very important to my mind, body, and spirit and it has helped me in a million ways. .   Let's sum up these races, shall we?

 The Thirsty Dog 8k was wet, complete downpour but a strong race and finish. 

The following day, the Milton Man Sprint Triathlon was wet as well and chilly!  The water was not as cold as I thought but my feet got quite chilly on the bike and I was sore from the 8k the day before.  My running.....looked goofy, like I was the tin man. 

 The 1/2mile Open Water Swim Meet.  Oh Boy- I was late waking up,  got lost on the way there, literally parked the car, grabbed my goggles and ran to the pavilion to get numbered and capped.  I made it just in time and I placed 1st! 

The Greater Cleveland Triathlon is one of my faves, mostly because the swim is challenging.  However it was a safety concern, swim was canceled and this turned into a duathlon, 2 mile run, 14 bike, 2 mile run.  I placed in my age group, even after spending a bit of time in the restroom with tummy issues.  It happens!

The Perfect 10miler was pretty perfect.  We started at Beachwood place which was pretty fancy.  The route was great and it was organized really well, I enjoyed it though I had to pee so bad but didn't want to get behind.

The Akron Burn Rubber 10miler was pretty neat!  I barely made this race as well.  I parked, grabbed my stuff, raced to the corral and then started running.  The sun was a bit brutal.  We got to run around the rubber area thingy that the cars go on (I think?)  that was cool- though it was black-top rubber stuff with no shade but no complaints here! 

My favorite triathlon, Vermillion!  The race that popped my triathlon cherry many years ago.  I love the venue, the course, the fans, it's just great all the way around.  I missed 3rd place by a few minutes this year and came in 4th.   I was bummed because I felt that I could've placed 3rd had I not pushed it too hard the day before at Burning Rubber.  I'll share a funny story about my first tri at Vermillion in the future. 

My tri season usually ends after Vermillion and then I do a few runs but I just became obsessed with finishing these races.  I think I feel like I failed in some areas of my life and so pursuing the finish medals and shirts is making me feel like I am accomplishing something.  AND it's all up to me- no one can train me but  me.  But, I also LOVE the atmosphere and the people- each race brings so much positive energy I'm just happy to be able to participate.  I get to swim, bike, run.  It is a privilege! 

Leave no Trace Trail Half Marathon was a new one for me.  I felt like I've done the half distances a few times already so why not?  The course was beautiful and it was tough.  I was out there for at least 4 and half hours.  It was well worth the time and I will do it again!

This brings me to today's race.  Challenge Cedar Point, formerly known as Rev3 (Which I completed the half iron 70.3 distance at Rev 3 on Sept. 11, 2001, an AMAZING experience.)  The company is now Challenge family.  They have a sprint distance which I was to complete in addition to a kids triathlon on Saturday followed by the Full and Half Iron distances on Sunday.  Today's event did not go as planned, mother nature was cranky.  The swim got canceled and then the bike got canceled.  We ended up doing a 5k "fun" (not timed) run.  It was fun, we got to run along the beach and check out the wicked waves.  I will definitely do this race again.  Kuddos to the race organizers and volunteers,  ya'll were troopers!
I managed to organize and carry out a fundraiser for our fireworks, again raising over $15,000.  I didn't run this race but it certainly took a lot of time and great help from Peace Racing!  A busy couple of weeks, or months?  I don't know, is it labor day yet?  Time flew by but more adventurous stories to tell and more adventures to be had on the way.  My Type A and OCD personality really wanted to get current on my "race reports".  TA-DA!  AND I even missed 2 races due to a back injury :(  My friend's Rise and Shine 10k and then the Canton City 10k.... I'll get them next year!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

F.A.Q.'s / How do you do it?

Some frequently asked questions and statements:

1. Why are you still single? 
I have no idea?  How am I supposed to answer that?  Prince Charming's GPS isn't working?  I don't know.  I do know that I have never had a good/ healthy relationship.   In the past I was needy and as a result I ended up with narcissists, a sociopath, a psychopath, and a bunch of jerks.  I will never settle again and I have higher expectations.  I focused on furthering my education while most of my friends got married and started families.  I'd like to eventually start dating again and I thought I recently found a good match; however, it just doesn't fit for me right now.  I have a crazy schedule and I'm not willing to sacrifice a lot of things that I did in the past.  Bottom line, I don't freaking know.  Stop asking, it's an annoying question that I can't really answer. 

2. Statements that serve no purpose that are pet peeves
"You look tired" , "You look sick", "You look angry".  First, none of these statements serve a purpose, stop saying them.  My response is usually, "thank you, you too".  The statements should just not be said.  I have always received comments like, "you should smile more" or "why do you look so serious" (usually when I'm at work).  Most of the time I'm thinking and concentrating and working in my head, these actions result in a "focused/ concentrated face", don't take it personal...move along.   The best (most annoying) comment ever was from a coworker several years back who would ALWAYS pass my office as I was staring at my computer, either reading emails or figuring something out (you know, concentrating) and he would ALWAYS say, "smile".....No, I'm not always going to smile, especially when I'm working and/ or when I'm focused.   Who smiles at the computer during work?  No.  I'm a genuine person, I can't fake a smile it looks bad and obvious.  I will smile when I sincerely mean it.  Thank you for understanding. 

3. How do you do it all?
We ALL have the same amount of time.  We have the same amount of time as Bill Gates, Donald Trump, and our neighbor.  We have the same amount of time that Benjamin Franklin, Albert Einstein, and George Washington had.  We all have the same amount of time in a given day.  Understand that 1. I don't have kids, 2. I don't have a husband or boyfriend 3. I'm efficient and productive, I've never been a stand around the water cooler and gossip person.  4. I don't like to be bored or to waste time.  5. If I can't do it or if I can't dedicate myself 100% to something, I say "No".  It's good to say no, it's ok to say no. If you can't commit, just say no. 

With the above being said, I value efficiency and productivity.  I'm not a clock watcher, I like to work and get things done.  I remember one job I had at American Standard, I worked maintenance, 3rd shift, in the hottest department (the kiln department) over the summer through college.  My supervisor would give me a list  and I would be done in an hour or two, search him down and tell him I was done and needed more work.  He always said, "take a break, you're working too hard" or "take a nap" (yes seriously).  I cannot do that, it's not in my nature, it's boring, it makes the time go very slow.   The below was given to me when I left the job (made during their work time), I've always found it humorous on many levels.

I recently finished reading Tim Ferris's book, 4-Hour Work Week, and he made great points that illustrate how inefficient we have become since technology.  He provides examples on how much time we waste by unnecessary meetings that take up time, delegating tasks, and dedicating times for certain tasks such as checking voicemails and responding to emails and so much more!  I read this I thought, "wow! this is exactly how I have been operating!". 

Most importantly, I learn to go with the flow.  I schedule my week on Sundays and almost always it changes...... several times, I adapt, and I change with it.  I'm very accommodating to others but I also make time for myself.  Keeping myself healthy mentally and physically result in me being most efficient and productive as well as happy and preventing burnout. I schedule in daily things such as mediation, reading, writing, etc. and I use a timer for those tasks and I make it happen...which brings me to #4

4.  How/ why do you workout so much? 
All of my physical activities and hobbies are crucial to completing "Me".  Each regular activity I do serves a purpose from physical health to mental health, stress relief and providing focus and creativity.  I come up with my best ideas, responses, and so forth during a workout.  Each activity helps me in one or more of these ways and by also giving me the tools to face challenges, obstacles, burn-out, and so forth.  Spinning, Yoga, Swimming, Biking, Running, Trail Running, Triathlon, Strength Training, Aikido/ Self Defense and recently added, Stand Up Paddle boarding.  I'll go into detail with each activity in future blog posts.  I make time for these things because they make me a better person and help me function.  I'm also very organized and structured.  I don't waste time trying to find paperwork or things I need for a task or activity...

Bottom line is, if you want to do something you will make time for it.  I'm not perfect.  I miss workouts sometimes.  Some weekends I don't leave my couch, and that's ok.  Sometimes you just need to nap and stare at the TV.  I go with the flow and I listen to my body.  If I can do it, anyone can do it .  We all have the same amount of time. 

Be organized, be like water, be ok with saying no, make time for yourself, and believe, love, understand, and empower <3

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Munroe Falls Sprint Triathlon 2015

Sunday June 21st I headed east for my 1st triathlon of this season, I was giddy to say the least!  I love the triathlon community and the sport.  I had originally signed up for Maumee Bay Tri but then learned that this one was the same day.  I switched to the Munroe Falls Tri because of the driving distance.  Both are great races but I had much to do that weekend and didn't want to waste too much time in the car. 

The swim went much better than expected.  I hadn't been swimming much and it was my first time in the open water since last season.  The water was a bit cooler than expected but no worries, I adjusted well.  The swim is an out and back.  I struggled to find my groove on the way out but once I turned the buoy I found my groove and kicked butt coming into the beach. 

The bike was challenging.  I assumed that all of my spinning sessions would help but this was also my first time on my road bike since last season.  There were lots of hills! I struggle on inclines.  I kept getting passed on the bike and was getting frustrated but I kept pushing through and forward. There was another female that I would pass on the downhill and she would pass me on the uphill, she kept me motivated. 

My run was great, I PR'd and felt fabulous.  My competition from the bike was gaining on me, passed me once, then I passed her and pushed myself to keep the lead.  I'm not usually competitive, I do these races for fun, the atmosphere, the accomplishment, and the great people.  I must say that I enjoyed the competition and she no doubt helped me PR'd.  She pulled back the last 1/2 mile as I sprinted through the finish line. 

I PR'd overall from the last couple of years.  My swim was stronger, the bike average was about the same, and my run was badass.  It was a really great race by Champ Racing.  I was elated to see so many familiar faces and new faces as well!

Friday, July 10, 2015

I AM....34

The words that you choose to say following  "I AM......"  are the most important words you will use.  What you say you are, you are, and you will be.  Negative self talk is one of the most self- sabotaging things you can do for yourself. 

As I turned "34" yesterday, I reflected on the last several years of my life.  Challenges, obstacles, accomplishments, and so forth.  Each birthday I always seem to say "This year is going to be the best yet" or "This is the year......"   I have no idea what this year will hold but I'm looking forward to it. 

I am resilient
I am perseverant
I am tenacious
I am kind
I am justice seeking
I am truth speaking
I am compassionate
I am always learning
I am thankful for all my life lessons
I am helpful
I am continuously improving
I am empowered
I am Me
I am "34" years young

Choose the words that follow "I am...." wisely, those are the words that choose to be now and tomorrow. 
Choose words that incorporate Believe Love Understand Empower and Be that! 

Monday, July 6, 2015

I will not drink and drive....because I said I would

I will not drink and drive....because I said I would 

In the early hours of September 28th, 2013 I received my first (and last) D.U.I.  I've had many people ask me, "why", "what was I thinking?", "what happened"?   There are no reasons or excuses  for the poor decision that I made that night.  I drank and I chose to drive home.  The morning and weeks following were incredibly embarrassing, disappointing, and filled with guilt.  I kept thinking, "Oh my god, what if I had hurt someone?"  I am incredibly thankful that no one was hurt as a result of my poor decision. 
I lost my license for 6 months and I refused any/all driving privileges, I took full blame and wanted the full punishment.  It was most embarrassing doing the walk of shame back and forth to work but I still had to work and it was all on me.  I was rarely able to go workout and participate in my usual stress relief activities.  I'm  so blessed that my yoga teacher was able to make the drive and work with me once a  week during this time.   I did a lot of reading and thinking during that time; I was very hard on myself as I felt I should have been.  I had tremendous guilt as I let my family and I let me constituents down, I let everyone down.    
I received my license back March 28th, 2014.  I promised myself that I would NEVER drink and drive again.  I will never take a sip of alcohol and get behind the wheel of a vehicle.  This was (and has been an easy promise to keep). 
If you know me you know that my word means everything to me.  My family says things like ," If Megan puts her mind to it, she will do it" , "Megan does what she says she is going to do", etc.  That is something that I have always been proud of because I feel that it is lacking in today's society.  People say they will do things all the time, when I hear those words from someone it goes in one ear out the other because it's a rare occasion that someone follows through.   If by chance they do come through, I'm surprised in a good way. 
In June of 2014 I attended a yoga event outside the Cleveland Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  The speaker of the event (before we were led through a yoga session) was Alex Sheen.  Alex is the founder of "Because I said I would...", he is also local.  Please check out his message and his meaningful organization   His message struck a chord with me and I knew immediately what I had to do. 
On my 33rd Birthday, July 8th 2014.  I filled out two of Alex's "Because I said I Would" cards, one for my Mom and one for my Dad. 
They read:
Dad, I will not drink and drive again.  I love you xo ....because I said I would

Mom, I will not drink and drive again.  I love you xo.....because I said I would
Though I made the promise to myself when I received my license back, I wanted to do something more official and really seal the deal..  My word is my word and I take it seriously, and putting it in writing makes it more profound. 

It has been almost a year since I gave my parents those cards and it has been over a year since I received my license back and I have not taken a sip of alcohol and sat in the driver's seat of any vehicle.  It's not bad at all and it's not difficult.  I'm a single, soon to be 34 woman. I still like to go out and socialize.  Most functions, especially political functions serve alcohol.  I have had no problem meeting friends at a bar and ordering my water with lemon, I end up super hydrated which is great for all of the physical activity I do.   I enjoy being a designated driver for my friends and family. 
 I do enjoy having an adult beverage but when I do I have a designated driver, end of story.  I drove myself to Richmond Virginia shortly after receiving my license back for a Rob Zombie concert.  I had to drive and I enjoyed visiting the city and I was completely sober for the concert.  It was the best experience ever!  I met the band, I was in front of the stage the entire time.  I didn't have to worry about losing my spot to purchase expensive beers or miss anything because I "broke the seal".  Most importantly, I experienced it all!  I remember it all and it was perfect! Recently I went to Nashville for a half marathon.  Everything in the downtown area is within walking distance and my hotel provided shuttle service and was also within walking distance.   I had a blast walking from one bar to the next and not  worrying about driving.  I'm not treated differently when I don't drink.  When I'm out people don't look at me like I'm an alien because I'm not drinking.  It's ok to socialize and drink. 

I love that I no longer drink and drive and I know 100% without a doubt I will never put myself in that situation again.  I feel safer, I know that I'm not going to kill anyone because of my actions, and I save money, calories, have less hangovers, and STILL HAVE FUN! 
As a result of my position my DUI also provided an opportunity for a group of nasty, vengeful, people, to act illegally and unethically.  Tuesday November 26, 2013 I was charged with drug possession charges over a  pill that was found in the back seat of the cruiser as a result of the incident on September 28th, 2013.  (this event I refer to as "pill gate").  This act and the actions that these people took to make this happen was a (poorly) thought out character defamation campaign.  I was quickly labeled as a drug addict, no questions asked.  There is an ongoing private investigation and I know without doubt that there will be a due time. 

I hope my story inspires you to not and drink and drive and I hope that you choose to make that promise.  Drinking and driving is not worth it and it's ok to socialize and drink water (or other non- alcoholic beverages) or get a designated driver! Also, think about keeping your word.  When you say you are going to do something, follow through and do it. 

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Cleveland Half Marathon and Candy Mountain Half Marathon

It was my intention that the Nashville Half Marathon would be my only long distance race for the season.  However, I love racing even though I'm not competitive and I enjoy the Half Marathon distance. 

May 17th I set out to run the Cleveland Rite Aid Half Marathon.  I've run this race a few times and so I was familiar with the location and course.  I wasn't as excited because I have done it before and I'm starting to enjoy races that are new to me.  The weather was overcast and humid, my kind of running weather!  I started our wearing my long sleeve shirt because I was terrified of chaffing again and felt that it helped to wear the long sleeves (for as long as I could).  The race was fun as always, unfortunately I had to stop and use the porto potty around mile 5ish.  While standing in line, I noticed that they were using water from the fire hydrants for the water stops.  Ugh, not something that is the best choice.  I carried my own water but because of the humidity I did have to refill my bottles a few times.  (Later made me feel a little sick). 

There is always something that stands out during races, the crowds, the signs, the runners.  I remember running and looking over to witness a fellow runner put in a dip (tobacco chew stuff), that's a first time seeing that, gross and odd.  At any rate, I headed into the last 3 or so miles which brought me to the shoreway which was a long stretch where there weren't many spectators and it seemed to never end.  I'm so glad the sun wasn't out otherwise it would have been much more uncomfortable with no shade.  I ended up taking my long sleeve shirt off around mile 11 and still ended up chaffing.  I was getting cranky because of the chaffing and because the road was uneven (I was probably cranky because I was also getting dehydrated and needed electrolytes)   Once we headed back "in town" it went by fast and I finished another Half Marathon!  I would have had a PR if I didn't waste 18 minutes in the restroom.  At any rate, I felt strong and enjoyed it!  Best race sign on the course, "You run better than your government"....awesome and yes! 

June 13th I decided to run the Candy Mountain Trail Half Marathon.  The race directors are super awesome (  The race benefited the Edna House for Women.  This was my first trail half marathon and it was for a great cause.   The weather was again perfect, humid and overcast with some rain. Again, I started out with my long sleeve shirt to prevent chaffing.  I really need to buy some new tops but until then.... The first 8.5 miles were awesome, I met some knew runners and chatted a bit.  I also loved the trails because they were new to me.  I headed out for the last 5miles which was part of the BBA50k loop- a race I DNF'd last November, but really enjoyed the infamous loop.  I struggled a bit on the last 5 miles and everyone that was behind me passed me. 
The water crossings felt amazing on my sore feet and I enjoyed the scenery.  I eventually finished (much longer than a road Half Marathon because trails are different).  I finished dead last, which I am ok, I was still under the cut off time and I had fun.  Upon finishing I was awarded with an awesome hydration pack...because " for enduring the race the longest" awesome and it really made my day!  I'm looking forward to running the Candy Mountain Half Marathon next year! 

I was supposed to race the LULA 5miler the next day (one of my faves for www.girlswithsole)  Alas, I hit the snooze button that Sunday morning and then woke up at 10am, I must have been tired! 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Nashville Part TWO!

  The drive south was pleasant, little traffic and no tolls!  Upon reaching my hotel, I was informed that a shuttle service is provided for free (tips).  This was so great to hear as I hate driving in city traffic and I also wanted to enjoy some adult beverages and when I do, I don't drive.  I unpacked, freshened up, and jumped in the taxi first stop, Johnny Cash Museum!  On the way to my destination I was informed and then noticed that basically everything was within walking distance, my hotel was about a mile from downtown and I was advised not to walk to and from, a decision I challenged on the first night, Thursday. 

I was elated that I could be dropped off and let free to wander.  Thursday and Thursday night I basically walked around from destination to destination, soaking up the scenery and people watching while relaxing and not looking over my shoulder.  I felt free and safe!  I danced the night away. 

Friday was packet pick up and it was a day of rest and hydration.  I was really excited for the half marathon run, I felt prepared in an under-trained sort of way.  I'm not a cold weather runner so my running was slim but my cross training and strength training was plenty.  Saturday I woke up bright and early, though not too early because I paid for the $20 shuttle specifically for runners.  Totally worth it because there were so many people!

It took a while for my corral to get going because they staggered the start (by predicted finishing time) to help ease the congestion.  I was surprised and a bit irritated that our National Anthem was played while the 5k run took off and was happening.  I'm pretty sure all of the races I attended up to that point was very respectful of the National Anthem.  What seemed like a long time, (long enough time to build up a full bladder), we were off!  I had to pee so bad and used a porto potty within the first 2 miles but it was quick, no lines, and I didn't have to worry about that again! The weather was HOT and kind of running weather.  I had on my long sleeve shirt to start, knowing that I've had some chaffing issues under my arms with longer distance runs. 

I enjoyed the scenery, the cheering, and the music.  Around mile 8 I took my long sleeve shirt off as the sun started to beat down.  At mile 10 I stopped for Vaseline because the chaffing was so unbearable I couldn't move my arms.  Moving forward, I finally reached the finish line, grabbed my medal, some water, and headed to the shuttle area to get back to the hotel and showered.  There was a free (with race bib)  Martina McBride concert that night.

I knew the chaffing was bad but when I stepped in the shower I realized it was very, very bad.  It took my breath away.  I headed out for some food and fun before the concert, it ended up being a great sunny day! The concert was fun, afterwards I walked around looking for food but every single place had a long line for entrance.  I was really happy that I had my fun Thursday night because I don't like lines.  I called the shuttle to take me back to the hotel where I would grab a bite to eat and get to bed! 

I was really excited for Sunday, Yoga with Rachel Brathen!  What an amazing experience.  She is just how I imagined.  It was a challenging yoga practice, I was pleasantly surprised that I wasn't so sore.  Afterwards, we got autographs and a hug! I hope I can attend one of her retreats one day.  Afterwards, I was ready to head home.  I grabbed  a quick bite to eat and headed back to my room, ready to wake up at 4 and head out by 5am.  I was anxious to see Bruiser! 

I highly recommend the Nashville Country Music Marathon/ Half, it is a fun race and it is well organized! Nashville is a great place to visit, I will be going back.

Peace <3

Monday, June 8, 2015

One month "Til 34

One month and I will be 34...34 years of age.  34.  Wow, 34.  I remember thinking that 34years old was old, and here I am ......about to turn 34. People have said, "The 30's are the best years of your life!", "Welcome to the thirties! It's a blast", blah blah blah.  Courtesy of facebook, I imagined myself un- alone at 34.  Most of my friends are married with lots of kids.  Some people have gone through 3 serious relationships since I've been in my 30's and I have had none. 

I think my expectations for 30 was too high.  I thought for sure I would be in a serious relationship by now, if not married or at least have experiences in a good relationship.  I'm a professional bad -relationship seeker.  Too gullible....the guy who thought he was G.I. Joe and then told me he was dying, later I found out he was a bonafide, holy shit,  sociopath.  Oh gawd, and the dude with the broken femur and unforgiving hatred....oye! There are so many mistakes to name I can't keep track.  All driven from that, "Oh, here's my prince charming, he's the guy this time I can feel it.  He'll protect me. He's going to make everything ok". ..."He's going to save me".....  See what I did there?   Come on Megs, really?  And people wonder why I'm so elated to see my dog, Bruiser at the end of the day!

Here I sit, 3 college degrees deep.  My work experience is unparalleled and I have been fortunate to have received further training in various fields, certifications from six sigma to social work to my tow motor license.  Yet I feel like I have accomplished nothing.  I'm going to be 34!  I'm going to be 34 and I have nothing to show for it.  Shout out to all of the narcissists, sociopaths, assholes, and mismatched adventures, right?

I don't even know how to date these days.  Hi, my name is Megan will you fill out this psychological assessment for me?  How is your relationship with your mother?  Do you wet the bed, start fires, torture animals? 

All joking aside, I'm going to be 34! thirty freaking four!  Almost 40!  I got nothing.  There's gotta be more than 34.  Yea....that's it!  There WILL be more than just 34.  I feel like I should give some advice or something but I got nothing.  Time goes by so fast and before you know it 34 sounds like a fabulous age.  Things may night bot be all sunshine and rainbows but I have a vision.  And 34 will be hardcore!  (eh, I can still rhyme! "Lol")

Thursday, June 4, 2015

A thoughtful excerpt from "After the Ecstasy, The Laundry. How the Heart Grows Wise on the Spiritual Path" by Jack Kornfield

I'm reading After the Ecstasy, The Laundry: How the Heart Grows Wise on the Spiritual Path by Jack Kornfield.  Basically the book illustrates the lives of people from spiritual leaders to those who obtained a certain enlightenment.   They come back to their daily lives and find that applying principles that they learned through retreats or long periods of meditations, mindfulness, etc. is rather difficult and after reaching such stages there is much upkeep and continuous upkeep that is required.  It's easy to be mindful in the mountains studying among monks, but navigating through traffic, work, and family can be challenging. 

At any rate, I'm reading this book I came across a particular excerpt that really struck a chord with me and stood out for many reasons.  I felt that it resonated with today's society, especially with social media, internet tough guys, and how fast judgments are made, even by our own news media(something that I will eventually address as well).  Without further explanation I want to share this excerpt with you.  It can be found on page 244-246 of this book, which I highly recommend as it is a great read! 

...One man, a military officer who was studying meditation in a class for stress reduction, recently found this out at the supermarket.  It was a crowded evening, the lines were long, and the woman carrying a child in front of him had just one item but would not get into the express line.  The officer, whose habit was impatience, began to get annoyed with her.  it got worse when she got to the checkout stand and she and the clerk started cooing over the baby.  The woman even handed the child to the clerk. 

   He began to tense up, his anger building at the thought of how selfish she was.  But because he had just come from his class, he noticed what he was doing to himself and began to breathe more softly and relax. He even noticed that it was a cute baby.  By the time he got to the clerk he had let go enough to say, "That was a cute boy". "Oh, thank you.  That was my baby," she replied.  "You see, my husband was in the air force but he died last year in a plane crash.  Now my mother takes care of my boy and brings him in once a day so I can see him." 

   We judge each other so quickly, yet know so little about what another carries in his or her heart...

A close friend, the psychiatrist and consciousness researcher Stan Grof, tells a story of one such teaching that took place soon after he arrived in the United States.  Through his work at Johns Hopkins Medical School, Stan met with a psychiatrist of Native American origin, who offered to arrange a visit for Stan and several other staff members to his traditional peyote circle in Kansas. 

   When they arrive they were drive far out onto the plains to meet the Road Chief, the elder who runs the ceremonies for the Native American Church.  Although the chief had previously agreed to include the visitors, the other Indians who saw these white men balked, and it took a good deal of persuasion to allow this unusual participation.  The history of anti-Indian prejudice, the monumental losses of Indian culture, the genocide at the hands of white people were still painful, but because the Johns Hopkins doctors had come a long distance, they were finally permitted to join the circle.  Still, one man clung stubbornly to his anger at the white men who had come to "steal" this last Indian treasure, their spiritual gold.  All through the nightlong ceremony, his mood only amplified by the peyote and drumming, this angry man sat silently, glaring at Stan, who sat opposite him in the circle.  By morning he had not softened, even after a whole night of prayers.  It seemed as if this was how it would end- in an angry standoff. 

   Finally, on the last round of blessings, the host psychiatrist thanked the tribe for being willing to include these white healers in their midst, especially Stan, who was living in exile because the Communists were preventing his return to his native Czechoslovakia.  All at once the angry man's face changed.  He leapt to his feet, crossed the fire, and fell into Stan's lap sobbing.  For many minutes he hugged Stand and the others nearby, apologizing for his misguided hatred. 

   As he wept, his story poured out.  He had flown a bomber in the air force during World War II.  In the last weeks of the war, as the Nazis withdrew, his plane had bombed and unnecessarily destroyed Pilsen, one of Czechoslovakia's most beautiful cities, even though Czechoslovakia had been anti- Nazi and forcibly occupied by Germany.

   Now the tables had turned.  Not only did Stan and the Czechs never steal Indian land, but he, a Patowatame Indian, had helped destroy Stan's homeland.  He was the perpetrator and Stan's people were the victims.  This realization was more than he could bear.  He kept embracing Stan, begging forgiveness, apologizing for his behavior during the sacred ceremony.  Then he paused to say what he had learned: "I see now that there can be no hope for the world if we carry hatred for deeds committed by our ancestors.  I know now you are not my enemies but my brothers.  All that happened long ago was in the time of our ancestors.  Who knows- at that time I might have been on the other side.  We are all children of the Great Spirit.  Our Mother Earth is in trouble, and if we do not work together we will die".   (Kornfield, Jack. After the Ecstasy, the Laundry.  How the Heart Grows Wise on the Spiritual Path pg245-246.  Bantam Books 2000.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Slip slidin' ok

Sunday morning I energetically woke up ready to enjoy the day.  First on my list was early morning yoga.  I sweat a lot.  People say that they sweat a lot, they lie.  I really for really real sweat a lot.  It pours from my head so much that I wonder if some contraption could be designed to catch that sweat and recycle it for water, it seems like such a waste.  I have yet to find a really good non slip yoga mat. I've tried them all, I've tried with towels, with yogi towels, etc.  It just doesn't work, I sweat. 

I had the opportunity to try a new non slip yoga mat Sunday morning.  It was a disaster.  I was slipping everywhere, it was quite frustrating.  The yoga teacher guided us into Warrior 2 pose, then reverse....

my front leg then slipped forward so much that I almost did the splits....I yelled out, "shit!" in class.  Everyone got a chuckle of course.  I was hesitant to continue class afraid that I would slip into a position that I would not be able to recover from, like the splits. 

As I continued practicing, I was extra cautious.  But then I remembered something.  I have slipped in life many times, I've lost grip, I've made mistakes.  Bouncing back was always the most difficult part. 

It's ok to slip, it's part of the process of life.  We slip, we fall, sometimes we fall flat on our face.  But we get up, we wipe it off and we continue.  This can be scary, being afraid to try again or to keep going but we do, that's how we continue to improve.  Future falls and slips become easier, we get up faster, we shake it off faster. 

It's ok to slip, just get back up and keep trying.  Try a different approach, try a different mat, just keep trying. 


Monday, May 11, 2015

Nashville......PART ONE

I ran a half in Nashville, just to see how it felt.  I hope you get that sentence.   If not, it's ok.  To my recollection, I was on Pintrest (looking at things non related to food and crafts) and found the Nashville Country Music Marathon and Half Marathon on a top 10 list of races to do.  I felt that it was close enough for me to why not?  I signed up! 

A few weeks, or months, I don't remember.... Yoga Girl, Rachel Brathen, announced that she was going on a U.S. tour in honor of her debut book, Yoga Girl.  I was so excited that she was going on tour, I immediately checked the places and dates.  Holy shit, she will be in Nashville the same weekend as my half marathon?!?!?  Wowsa.  It was meant to be.  I have been following Yoga Girl for quite some time.  Her eloquent, raw, honest writing drew me in immediately, her amazing and beautiful yoga poses struck me as fascinating.  I had to meet this amazing yogi. 

After following her facebook page for weeks, registration for her tour was finally open.  I remember going into a yoga class on that day and at that time that registration opened, thinking that I would sign up after my yoga class.  I blissfully walked out of yoga, stepped into my car and proceeded to do the usual checking of the phone and email.  I checked out yoga girls page and clicked on the links to sign up.  Holy shit, SOLD OUT!!  Awe man, what a bummer.  I really thought it was meant to be. 

Life proceeds, as it always does.  Ready or not, here is life....moving on, moving on......

So a couple of weeks later or months?  I don't remember.  Yoga Girl sent out a notification.....she was adding classes to some locations.  HOLY SHIT!  I immediately dropped everything to check out her page and see what locations.........HOLY FRIGGIN' SHIT.....she added a 2nd class for Nashville....the DAY AFTER MY HALF MARATHON!  Holy alignment of the stars batman!  THIS was meant to be!  Hell yes, I signed up immediately and secured a spot!


Friday, April 3, 2015

St. Malachi Church Run 5miler

Saturday March 14th I completed my 4th 5mile race for the St. Malachi Church.  This race is a local favorite, the first race of the season, a sure sign of spring and of course St. Patrick's Day.  This year I asked my friend Janet to join me and run her first 5miler.  It was a brisk morning, I misread the start times and therefore us two "Graftonites" made our way downtown earlier than.....everyone else.  We got a great parking spot and were able to hang out at a local pub and chat with other early birds and spectators. 

I was super excited for this race this year.  It had been a long, depressing winter and I was ready to see how my winter training worked. After several trips to the bathroom, a brew for my friend and a coca cola for me we both ventured toward the start line.  And then.....we were off! 

I felt strong and giddy, race season began! I was overdressed as usual and about half way through I discretely removed my middle layer of clothing, while running.  This is a technique I have perfected over the years from swim team and soccer practices.  I hauled ass back in, finished strong, gave it my all and ended up with a finish time of 56:24 (11:17/mile).  Just a little bit slower than last year's time (this year I was carrying a few more pounds).  I was pleased with my time and spent the rest of the day rocking my medal. 

Friday, February 6, 2015

The Wanderlust

The wanderlust

All that remained was a feather left in the dust of her captive cage

Misery loves company but her loneliness was like a gnawing hunger pain

No good deed goes unbeaten, unscathed, unharmed

A longing for a rapture long overdue consumed her mind, body and heart for she knew

That it was out there waiting… somewhere patiently as her impatience grows steadily

Like a tiger gracefully and peacefully preying on dinner

She only needed to move on from her past, her pains, and the weight pushing down on her like water rolling over her, trapped by a shoelace caught in debris

Damn shoelace, should be easy to free

Censored, caged, taking a stand, ageism, sexism, blonde-ism

A utopia it’s not; but the negativity consumes, distracts, and derails

Or does it?

Stronger, faster, patience grows, character built, endurance lasts longer

All that remained was a feather left in the dust of her once captive cage

Dreams, wishes, and hopes come true

No longer caged, balance, faith, and love renew

The wanderlust is the rebirth of something new

Wednesday, December 31, 2014


Dear 2014, thank you. 

Thank you for the pain, thank you for the suffering.  Thank you for giving me the strength to preserve, forgive, and overcome.  From feeling great pain, anger, hurt, vengeance to feeling joyous and certain, 2014 provided many lessons and opportunities.  2014 brought many great memories from my solo trip to see Rob Zombie in Richmond, Virginia to my solo trips to the woods.  Summer birthday celebrations, my brother’s wedding, meeting someone amazing, and growing friendships.  November and December are the most memorable of the year and they were  filled with peace, forgiveness, strength, laughter, and happiness.  Thank you 2014. 

To anyone going through something that feels impossible to get through, please keep going.  It may not get better tomorrow, next month, on within a year but it will get better.  To go through difficulty opportunities will arise.  Dig deep within yourself and keep moving forward. 

Thank you so much 2014, you were just what I needed.  I Believe, I Love, I Understand, and I Empower <3




The warmth of the sun beats down on my face where so many tears were born

The fresh air fills my lungs where it once felt like I was suffocating or trying to breathe underwater

Chirping birds drown out hurtful voices

The crisp leaves leftover from a brief fall barely make any noise as I lightly skip around

My heart, body, and soul melt into your arms in a way that I didn’t know existed

Saturday, December 27, 2014

What makes us want them to stay

all along it was abusive

you can't do this, you can't do that

you are nothing, and you know nothing

but it feels so great to be held

so you cope and you manage

but real love is not weak,

real love doesn't hurt, it makes you float

you're not good enough, too many curves, too many questions, and too much opposition

so on the floor you're thrown

all the decorations are broke

so what makes us want them to stay

change is inevitable, one can become whole

those are lies we tell ourselves

and we continue the cycle

is it low self esteem or do we wish change those which cause us pain

is it motherly love or sadistic torture

you are good enough, keep your head up, and move on

that which does not kill us makes us stronger

but if we do not change and strive for more we become more weak

so go ahead and let it peak

for seeing first hand makes us see

sometimes all you want is arms around you, holding you tight

but in reality you realize that all the answers lay within you and alone you should be

Sunday, December 21, 2014

BBA 50k, not so much

Saturday November 15th my sister picked me up bright and early to drive me down to the Bill's Bad Ass 50k trail run course. A 50k is over 30 miles.  The course is a 5mile loop to be completed 6 times and then the final mile being mostly stairs.  It was my intention to stick to short distances this year as I was struggling with staying "in the game" mentally.  I decided to run this race before I sprained my ankle and I decided to raise funds for one of my favorite organizations, Girls With Sole. 

The weather was brisk this Saturday morning.  I was among the early starters and in great company.  The first 2 loops felt great albeit slow.  Looking back on this day, I believe I may have mentally talked myself out of a finish, knowing that I was undertrained and one of the slowest runners out there.  On the 3rd loop my knees began aching, especially on the uphill and downhill.  Most of the course was a hill, thus the awesome challenge and finisher's receiving the title "Bad Ass".  I finished the 3rd loop mostly hiking.  I consulted with fellow runners about my knee pains, some said "push forward" while others said, "don't injure yourself more".  After finishing 15 miles I decided on the latter. 

I raised nearly $1,000 for Girls With Sole and I ran 15 miles, a distance I didn't plan on running in 2014.  It was my first DNF (did not finish) ever but I feel it was the right decision.  I have been resting my knees as both were diagnosed with "runner's knee".  Luckily I'm a multi-sport athlete and have swimming, biking, strength training, and yoga to lean on during the winter months.   I finished my racing year on a good note, with great people.  Life doesn't go as planned, we must learn to "Be Like Water" and go with the flow. 

Monday, December 8, 2014

Pumpkin Fest 5k

This year I wanted to compete in a "destination race".  I was thinking somewhere warm and was thinking of a triathlon.  Alas, my sprained ankle had other plans.  During my weeklong adventure in Ohiopyle, I saw a brochure for "Pumpkin Fest" including a 5k run.  Perfect!

Thursday October 2nd I headed for the mountains once again.  The colors of fall painted the peaceful scenery the entire drive up.  Friday and Saturday I explored various trails, absorbing all of nature's fall beauty.  It was peaceful, pleasant, and productive.  Nature soothes my soul and calms my anxious mind. 

Sunday I headed to Confluence Pennsylvania.  The weather was a bit chilly but the sun was out and so were the people.  This hometown race took place during a fall festival and included a great turnout.   I spoke to some of the runners surprising them with the 3 hour drive to run this race.  The course was beautiful, flat, and well attended.  I ran with some Steeler's fans... good looking, rugged, friendly Steeler's fans. 

I crossed the finish line and headed to the festival.  I tried deep fried oreos for the first time.  The chocolate, frosting, deep fried deliciousness was to die for.  I bought a tie dye sweatshirt and then headed back to my cabin to head home.

This race is a must do for the pleasant, friendly atmosphere, great course, and fall beauty!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Live Your Playlist: How to Get Your &#!t Together One Song at a Time

Andrea Vecchio's book, Live Your Playlist: How to Get Your &#!t Together One Song at a Time, is a humbling, sincere, roller coaster ride filled with laughs, heartache, and growth.  From Chasing A Hollywood Dream to The Power of Your Army, each chapter illustrates the 30-something television host's ups and downs.  Andrea's honesty provides the reader with insight into her life. 

Everyone goes through hard times, heartache, health scares, and so forth, even local celebrities.  Andrea's writing style is easy to follow and the creativity of utilizing a favorite song to each chapter will be music to your eyes. 

Follow Andrea Vecchio on her facebook page: Andrea Vecchio Fan Page

Buy this book!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Akron Half Marathon

Saturday September 27th I ran the Akron Half Marathon.  This was a very emotional day for me.  In 2013 I was to run this race.  A dear friend of mine lost his young daughter on September 27th, 2013.  I spent that day consoling him and his wife.  It was very upsetting, it is terribly sad to lose a loved one especially so very young.  After making a terrible decision later that night I missed this race. 

This year I was prepared and ready to run!  I woke up extra early to miss the traffic.  It appeared I was the first one there.  I spent the time in my car reading and reflecting. 
The course was challenging with lots of hills.  The crowd was amazing, cheering the runners on.  The weather was perfect, I saw many friends, and the first part of the race was amazing.  The second half was a bit more challenging due to starting out too fast. 
Even though it was a tough course, I am tougher ♡ I dropped last year's race shirt at the half way point. I am so blessed and thankful for what it represented; but, I don't need that baggage and negative energy anymore Life would be boring without hills and bland without lemons.  

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

A year ago

I can remember Tuesday November 26th, 2013 from start to finish.  After posting on facebook that I had a great day I went to pick up a turkey with my sister.  At 11pm I received a text message from a friend letting my know the news to which I was completely blind sighted, the wind was knocked out of me.  I was violated in a way I didn't know possible; I was violated and villified wrongfully, illegally, very publicly and in cowardice.  I have spent the year trying to understand the behavior of the people behind "pill-gate".   I have spent a year hurting and in anger. A year later,  I now know every single person behind this violation..  I have been through horrific traumas and  I survived, this one felt different.  Everyone goes through tough times, I'm no exception.  This day has had and continues to have a significant impact on my life.... but not all negative. 

The amazing part is that a year later I am so much stronger.  I have also been given an amazing opportunity from this event and I cannot wait to share it with you down the road.  I don't have time for hatred, anger, pain, negativity.  I'm letting go.  I know that these negative feelings will still creep up from time to time but that is ok, it's a great reminder of how much I learned, how much I grew, and much stronger I am.  There will be a reckoning; but, until then I forgive.  I forgive myself and I forgive the group of humans responsible for "pill-gate".  <3  You have forgiveness <3  And I am so thankful for the opportunity, thank you <3

Monday, November 24, 2014

Take back the Run 5k

Two girls were sexually assaulted in the Lakewood area while out running.  For runners, running is a way to get away from stress and pain.  The running community came together on Friday September 19th to "Take back the Run".  As a 2 time rape survivor, domestic violence survivor, runner, triathlete, and yogi I fully understand the violation and how physical fitness can help overcome traumas.  I was there to help the girls take back their run and show support.  It was a very emotional run but the turnout was amazing.  Survivors are not alone.  The color for rape is teal, so I rocked my "Superman" teal and teal nails. 

Friday, November 21, 2014

Soul Candy

Soul Candy produces beautiful stones crafted to radiate positive affirmations.  I ordered several stones and the service was impeccable.  It was speedy.  When the order was fulfilled and delivered to my door, I opened the box and immediately felt and saw the love that was poured into these beautiful stones.

These are great for enhancing positive affirmations.  I use them while meditating and practicing yoga.  I also enjoy carrying them in my pocket or purse as reminders throughout the day.  They are short, simple, and brilliant.  I'm looking forward to ordering more for friends and family to spread positive words.  Check out Soul Candy at : Soul Candy website  and order your positive affirmations today!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

It Happens

Saturday August 9th I woke up a bit late.  My plan was to head down to the trails to run in the woods.  I took Bruiser for his morning walk and on the way back, my neighbor's dog slipped through its leash making a mad dash.  I immediately took over running in my flip flops to help catch the little guy with no success.  As I returned home I wrote down my cell phone number to take to my neighbor to help spread the word of her missing pet.  Upon doing so I tripped in the concrete edge between sidewalk and driveway.  Ouch!

I scraped and bruised my knee badly but I sprained my ankle.  Devastation rushed to my face as tears poured out, no one was in sight to help.  I crawled back inside and called my mom for help.  I don't buy plastic bags that were now needed for ice and I was not sure if I should go to the emergency room or not.  Alas, I immediately started R.I.C.E.  My mom talked me into taking ibuprofen for the swelling (something that took a lot of convincing since I don't take any type of pills for anything- I practice natural and organic remedies).  I took the ibuprofen on the clock for fear that my ankle would not heal as quickly as I needed.  August!  I had an open water swim meet scheduled for the next day and two triathlons (my 2 favorite) on schedule. 

After exhausting every swear word and pent up anger that had nothing to do with my ankle, I finally accepted the fact that I needed to rest and August would be a recovery month.  Indeed it was.  I hobbled around and continuously repeated R.I.C.E. day in and day out.  I finally learned that things happen beyond my control and I have to deal with these things as they happen.  I got knocked down again....but I got up again. 

Be like water, go with the worries , it happens <3

Believe Love Understand Empower

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Our Lady Queen of Peace Church 5k

August 2nd started out hot, humid, and sunny.  The Our Lady Queen of Peace Church 5k is another great family oriented race during the weekend of the church's annual festival.  The run takes you through one of Lorain County Metro Parks in Grafton, Ohio. The scenery is beautiful and the course has a little bit of everything from road to trail and hill to flat.  I did well considering I just came back from a week long adventure vacation. This 5k is a most pleasant race and the festival is great for the whole family.  I look forward in running the OLQP 5k each year.  My time was 33:58

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Disconnected in July

I decided to leave Monday rather than Tuesday for my week long disconnected adventures in the mountains.    To say that I over packed would be an understatement.  My first must do item was to disconnect from Facebook and emails.  I felt immediate relief knowing that I didn’t have to worry about hateful messages, slanderous gossip, and the cesspool of attention seeking, nosey, connected yet disconnected social media environment. I will have to deactivate more often, boundaries are wonderful.  It is amazing how social media affects us.  Car loaded and Bruiser in bucket, I headed to the mountains.  Once in Pennsylvania gallons of water dumped on the turnpike.  Semi-trucks and narrow lanes due to construction wrecked more havoc on my nerves.  The rain was so bad in some cases that I could barely see.  One must be able to see in order to not miss one’s exit.  Sigh, I took the next exit which was the same location I entered the turnpike months ago for my Richmond, Virginia getaway.  No problem, except for my full bladder.  Alas, I stopped at a quaint Amish store for some goodies, unloaded my bladder, and talked Siri into backtracking as efficiently as possible. 
After unpacking.  I drove around looking for a fresh food stand, craving fruits and vegetables with no luck as all were closed for the day.  I did however find several trails.  The Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail was very close to where I was staying and the anticipation of hiking and running in unfamiliar woods made me feel like a kid, curiously exploring something new.   The rain continued into the night, offering a relaxing sound to accompany my reading, writing, and reflecting.  A few times I found myself looking at my phone as if I were to get sucked into the Facebook world but immediately relieved upon remembering that it was deactivated.  Just Bruiser and Me, mountains and the pitter patter of rain drops. Day 1 was a success. 
The rest of the week I was immersed in nature, facing fears as I pushed myself out of my comfort zone, and relaxing.  I tried zip-lining for the first time.  I am terrified of heights, I physically become shaky, legs trembling, sweating, and have to force myself to move.  It was a small course with the options of high and highest.  We were allowed to use the time to go around as often as we wanted.  I told the guy, “My only objective is to do it once and not die”.   Mission accomplished!
I continued the days with hiking near the Youghioghney River, tried some chocolate covered potato chips, hiking and trail running, white water rafting, and kayaking.  My evenings were spent reading while Bruiser snuggled.  It was a chilly week in July but regardless of weather, disconnecting while spending time in nature is rejuvenating, relaxing, and refreshing.