2014 Wrap-up and Racing Resolutions

I know, I know.  It’s almost February 2015 and I am just getting around to posting my 2014 wrap-up.  If you go by the lunar calendar, then this post is just-in-time.  The tardiness of this post pretty much sums up the year — 2014 was insanely busy.

On the home front, my poor boys were constantly sick.  I think my 18-month-old had a fever every other week!  My 4-year-old started pre-school and brought home all kinds of germs.  Also, I think I can sum up pre-school with two words: Birthday Parties.  Holy cow.  For a period there, we had a birthday party EVERY weekend.  I should stock up on pre-schooler birthday gifts just to have it handy!

On the work front, it was a great year.  It took me a couple of years but I stood up an awesome team at work and things were just starting to come together and getting some serious recognition.  Just in time for managers to move me to lead another project!  Now, the move did come with a nice promotion to a senior position and a nice raise, so no complaints.

Running, Racing, Resolutions

On the running front – this has been an epic year for me as a runner.  Starting in March 2014 with meeting my goal of running a Marathon within a year of having my second baby.  Not only did I complete the Marathon (prior to the course time limit), I achieved a personal record by shaving off 36 minutes from my previous personal best.  Then again in November 2014, I was able to slim down my marathon time by 12 more minutes when I completed the Richmond Marathon (new PR: 5:26).

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What I Have Learned In 2014

I don’t know if it is easy for anyone to run a marathon.  It is a mental and physical challenge, one that I have fallen in love with.  What I want to celebrate as a result of my running in 2014 isn’t the PRs but what I have learned from racing:

1. Do Not Let Others Define Your Limits.  People don’t say negative things out of meanness.  In fact, the most discouraging comments about my running have been uttered by close family and friends with the best of intentions. You know yourself best.  Don’t give away the power to define your own limits.

2. If Your Goals Don’t Scare You Just A Little, Then It Is Not Set High Enough. Do what scares you. Just a little.    It is a wonderful feeling to know you conquered your fears.

3. Celebrate Your Achievements. It’s OK.  It’s not self indulgent to do it. Now, I’m not talking here just buying new gear (though I am known to do that…).  I found myself minimizing my achievements.  “You ran a marathon?!  That is amazing” “oh, yeah, I did.  But I’m so slow…”  Can you imagine if your best friend or family just ran a marathon after training for it all winter long and you say to them “yeah, I guess you finished, but man were you slow!”   I would never say that or feel that way so why should I tell myself that?

Looking To 2015

I don’t usually set “new year’s” resolutions.  I guess I usually set goals all throughout the year. But this year, I decided to do things a little differently.  In fact, I am not setting any racing goals… I am setting anti-racing goals.

1. No Marathons for 12 months.  I want to focus on getting faster.  Focus on shorter races, nothing longer than 13.1 miles. Do more speed workouts.  Incorporating strength training and swimming.

2. Incorporate My Family Into More Runs.  The shorter runs will allow me to achieve this goal.  In the fall, my son started riding his bike.  We went on many family runs and it was so much fun, and challenging keeping up with him on his bike, that I resolve to do more of it this year!

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I hope this belated post finds everyone happy and healthy.  I wish all of you an awesome New Year 🙂

Be fearless and run on.

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Raising Little Men

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I have no idea how to be a good mom.  There. I said it.  I let my kids watch television. My 14 months old just had his first popsicle. And when the boys are bad, I raise my voice at them.  I probably over use time-outs…It’s true.  When it comes to being a parent, I never know the right thing to say.

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I recently signed up to be a volunteer with a local charity organization to work with under privileged children in my community.  With all the violence and unrest in the world, I hoped that whatever good deeds I can do will feed some positive energy into the universe. (Yes. I am crazy…a hopeless optimist).

Last night was my first time volunteering and I had a great time.  I had decided to bring my four-year-old with me.  I don’t think he fully understood why we were there but it didn’t matter.  He had a wonderful time.  He played with the kids.  Made new friends.  He didn’t care that they were “under privileged” or poor or orphaned — didn’t even understand what that meant.

At the end of the night, my son turned to me with the biggest smile on his face and said “Mommy, can we come back please?”

I’m never going to be the perfect mom. I don’t even know what that means. What I do know is that if I can have more nights like the one I had with my son – bringing joy to others and having a wonderful time doing it – then I have succeeded.  My kids drive me to be a better human being so that I can lead by example for them as they grow up.

That was all I needed.

Celebrating Our First Volunteer Night

Fro Yo to Celebrate Our First Volunteer Night!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Run To Me (Not A Post About Running)

I saw this post on Instagram today (Text with the photo by @yoga_girl: My mothers hand. My grandmothers hands. The foundation of us all. The reason that I am. Mormor. Mom of moms. Today is her birthday and today she took her last breath. I am so sad. So sad. The last thing I told her was I love you. Don’t worry. Everything is ok. We are all so happy and so safe. The last thing she told me was I love you. We are going to Aruba. Where is your mother. I love Dennis. I am wearing an orange dress to your wedding but I can’t find it. Promise you will come back. And I did. I came back. But all the times I saw her after that she didn’t speak. I sat there listening to the space between her breaths. Now there is just space. Jag älskar dig Morris.)

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It made me cry.  I don’t know yoga girl (Rachel Brathen).  I started following her on Instagram because I loved her photos; I think she is vibrant and beautiful.  I admire her for her spirit – I see a girl who is not afraid to live, knows what she wants and goes after it. But mostly I saw a girl who knows how to love.  I felt her pain through her post.  It made me cry.  It made me think.

I used to be that girl.  Full of love and life.  Fearless.  But somehow after 7 years of marriage and 2 kids, I lost that girl…  I lost me.

I had always been fearless.  Even as a little girl, I was the leader of my group of friends – much to the dismay of my friends’ parents.  Growing up in Taiwan, I went to an elementary school in the mountains.  We didn’t have school buses.  To get to school, we had to either walk up a long, paved road or (literally) climb the side of the mountain. I rarely took the paved road.  Everyday I made my friends take a different way to and from school… even got lost a few times.  But I always managed to find the way home.

There’s not a time that I can remember where I took the easy way.  I liked adventures. Moving to a new country and not speaking a word of English. No problem.  After graduating college, I wanted to move to Washington, DC.  I did it.  Got a job, packed up my car, and moved into an apartment by myself. I wanted to audition for American Idol.  I drove up and slept in the streets of New York City.  I sang my heart out (even made it to the second round – story for another time).  I wanted to buy a condo by myself, for my birthday.  I did it.  I worked hard, saved money for a year and signed the contract on my 24th birthday.  I did these things even when I was told constantly, “you can’t do it.”

Not anymore.  Now I live in fear and constant self-doubt.

I don’t know when exactly it happened.  Maybe after hearing “you can’t do it” so many times from people who are supposed to believe in me… it sticks with you.  Or maybe I forgot how to be brave.  Now I just follow other women on Instagram and live vicariously.  There are no risks when you live vicariously… except the biggest risk of all – not taking any risks.

My grandmother is getting older.  My grandma raised me since I was a baby. She is still living in Taiwan, by herself, in the apartment that I grew up in.  We talk on the phone occasionally, mostly small talk about the weather and what’s on TV.  When we have the chance to video chat, she doesn’t say much, just stares lovingly at me through the screen of my computer.

I haven’t visited her in almost 10 years.  Every year, I so want to see her.  I think about going back to Taiwan to see her.  And every year I talk myself out of it because i’m afraid. Traveling with a baby, for THAT far, it’s just too much… I don’t know if I can do it.  It’s such a long flight.  And now, five years later, with two kids…traveling with a preschooler and a baby… the broken record of fear plays over and over in my head.  I have dug myself a little hole where I am comfortable and buried my head in it.  I’m a coward.

This post by @yoga_girl made me cry.  It made me think.  The spirited, fearless girl that I admire from Instagram lost her grandmother.  Yet I am too afraid to travel the distance to see mine.  Is there irony in that?  I don’t know.

People always ask me “why do you run?”  My go-to answer: I run for my health and quality alone time.  Truth is, I love running because it is the only time that I catch glimpses of my old fearless self.  If that voice in my head says to me “you can’t run another mile,” I prove it wrong by running another mile, faster.

If life is a marathon, I have hit the mental wall at mile 20.  It is time for me to refuel and push through.  Today, I run to the fearless me.  Today, I started planning my trip to Taiwan.   I am going to say “I love you” to my grandmother in person, because I can.