Enjoyment Leads To Progress.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:1-3

I was prompted the other day to make two lists. One listing all of the things I “should” do, today, this week, this month this year etc. The second list was a list of all the things I could do that would bring me great joy. I don’t particularly like these little exercises because I’m not a very deep thinker and I fret that my answers don’t sound very mature or educated. What’s funny is I am the only one reading them but I still feel like they should have a bit more depth and I struggle that I can’t seem to find any.

After I got over myself and began to make the lists I realized that my should do list and my could do list were almost identical. It was kind of nice to see that a lot of the things I should be doing, working, running, writing, working out, and cooking are all things that bring me great joy. What was also interesting was to look at the lists and realize how much effort I have to put in to get myself to do these things each day.

Why are things that bring great joy difficult to begin? Because every single one of those things is hard for me. I don’t excel at any of it. What I do at our office doesn’t come naturally to me, I have to focus and be detailed with paperwork and processes. My favorite part? Interacting with our clients and catching up on their lives, I love the people part, the detailed paperwork? Not so much.

Running and working out make me feel great when I look back at what I have accomplished for the day but I am a bit on the fluffy side right now and well, let’s be honest even when I am not fluffy I am not great at either one. Yes, I am putting in the work and yes it makes me feel good about myself. But, it’s a struggle to get out that door 5 days a week when I am also aware that in the gym classes I am consistently one or two moves behind everyone else and out on the road I can always be found at the back of the pack.

Ready to Run! / TiffanyAOlson.com

26.2 Baby! Spring, 2018

I didn’t learn how to cook until I got married. I didn’t get married until I was 30. I always joked that Mr. Wonderful, Rachel Ray and Pioneer Woman taught me everything I know. What I really loved to do was bake. When the kids were little and the days were rainy, we baked. I measured the ingredients and they dumped everything into the bowls and mixed it all together. I so enjoyed that time with them and what we were able to create together. What greater joy there then making something yummy from nothing with the people you love most?

Easter Cake 2014 / Tiffanyaolson.com

Easter! 2014

In my post breast cancer world, I have attempted to be much healthier. I still find joy in creating something amazing but changing how you do everything midstream is difficult and not nearly as fun or tasty as it once was. I have not mastered the art of making vegetables taste so good that my family is overwhelmed with joy at what is placed before them. There are many nights when my 13-year-old son doesn’t eat because lentils and kale make him want to gag.

And then there is the writing. Once I get going and get in the zone, time flies, the thoughts keep coming and the world around me fades away. The key phrase above is “once I get going,” I am getting better at sitting down and forcing my fingers to move until something begins to formulate but I have a ways to go. Writing is my therapy. When I was 15 we moved from Eugene, Oregon to Coronado, California. (Poor Me, Right?) My mom gave me a journal and told me to use it to process my thoughts and feelings regarding all of the changes we were experiencing. I have seasons where I didn’t journal but for the most part, I have been journaling for the last 34 years. The other day I pulled out those old journals to see if I could find a thread throughout that would give me insight and direction about who I am and how I am wired. The only thread I found is that I was never a deep thinker and I was boy crazy from the womb. At least I’m consistent.

Let it out / Tiffanyaolson.com

Filled Journals From The Last Few Years

When I look back at my list, however, I am wondering if maybe the struggle is part of what brings the joy. Each time I make the choice to get out the door for a run, come up with a new recipe to try, write down some thoughts or love on the people I encounter at work.  I am choosing to hunker down, give it my best shot and hope that I do it a little better today than I did it yesterday. I take pride in looking back at my day knowing that I have intentionally added in things that don’t come easily for me because it makes my little world a better place to live in.

 

Have A Beautiful Day My Friends!

If You Are Still Breathing… It’s Not Over.

One week from today I turn 49. Forty-Nine! I do not feel this old… okay maybe a little. I think the hardest part is how close it is to 50 and in my mind, I still think I am in my mid 30’s. Mind you, I don’t LOOK like I’m in my 30’s but who cares about those small little details?

Interestingly enough, I find myself doing what I did when our daughter turned 15 last year. I remembered what it was like to be 15 and it was strange to think I had a person in my care who was the same age as a year that I remembered so well. This time, however, I am reflecting on when my mom turned 50. How many of your parents birthdays do you truly remember? This one stands out because our family was going through a hard time. My parents were in the middle of a divorce and my mom who was mostly a stay home mom up until I was 15 had to learn how to support herself and start over.

As one of her birthday gifts, my sister wrapped up a picture of an ultrasound of the 1st grandbaby to be welcomed into our family. What a huge gift Taylor Kate was, is, and always will be. Her little life brought hope and joy to a family who desperately needed something positive to focus on.

When I look at my mom’s life over the last 23 years it is amazing to see all that she accomplished after 50. When I was 15 she purchased a fur store she was working in at the Hotel Del Coronado. Overnight she went from housewife to business owner. After the divorce, she had to figure out how to make something that was supplementing income into something that was her sole source of income. Over the years she changed it over to a women’s clothing store and eventually ended up in a nice space on Orange Ave in Coronado, right next to the Brigantine. She loved that store. It was hard work and she was exhausted a lot of the time but owning a store in one of the most sought out vacation towns in the country had its perks. She met a few famous people, made a few good friends and made enough money to live on and help out her kids every now and again.

I sometimes fear that life has passed me by. That somehow I missed out on doing something I really loved doing or I didn’t try hard enough to chase my dreams. But when I stop and reflect on the life my mother has lived I realize that my life is only just beginning. There are more races to be run and more words to be written. There is a lot of life to be lived and I am ready to live it.

Here’s To Living…

Have A Beautiful Day My Friends!

Tiffany

I See You.

26.2 .1 /TiffanyAOlson.com

This Was A Great Day! 26.2 April 28, 2018

 

I See You.

Someone said this to me the other day. Someone I don’t know very well. I am attempting something new and it’s hard. In three little words, she let me know that she’s aware I am struggling and uncomfortable but she’s looking past all of it to what she’s sure I can become if I don’t give up.

I have done very little in the way of upper body strength since having breast cancer. Sure I’ve run but never anything that directly affected my chest. I haven’t spent a lot of time thinking about the why because life is busy and I was doing other things. But when it comes right down to it strengthening my upper body means that I HAVE to focus on it. I have to acknowledge my lack of full range of motion, the pain at the top of my rib cage that feels permanently bruised and the random Charley Horses that come on when I move in a certain way. Then you add in the emotional component of not being as strong as I used to be and that my chest and a large portion of my upper back on my left side are completely numb. I certainly have never been the best in the room in a gym class but I have always been able to hold my own.

I have known for a while now that I need to get over myself and begin to make my whole body strong and not just the lower half.  So, the last week in December I joined a gym that has early morning classes, took a deep breath and showed up. In November I went back to wearing wigs full time because my hair is horrifyingly thin and in my quest to be cute I could no longer deal with my scalp showing. Very few people see me without one these days and if they do I am wearing a baseball cap. The cap got too hot for gym class so now I am going without it which is fine but it adds another layer to the emotional component because although there are a few familiar faces no one knows me enough to know what I’ve been through or what I am capable of.

What happens when all of these things are swirling in the air? I boldly wave my insecurity flag for all to see. I start nervously chatting about a marathon, cancer and being someone that normally gets up early. No one needs this information, they have their own stories of triumph and tragedy and the last thing they need at 5:30 am is a fluffy girl in hot pink tights and very thin hair blabbing about herself so no one thinks she’s a loser.

So, to have someone look past all that I am putting out there and take the time to tell me that they “see” me, well, it meant a lot. Since that day I have quieted down a bit and found a spot where I can’t see myself in the mirror and I am doing what I set out to do on the 1st day I walked in there. I am focusing on getting stronger. I originally thought it was just going to be my body but it looks like my heart and my mind are going to get a bit of a workout as well.

Have A Beautiful Day My Friends!

Tiffany

And She Ran…

26.2 .1 /TiffanyAOlson.com

It is finished!!! Saturday, April 28, 2018, I ran the Revel MT Charleston Marathon (26.2 Miles) and added the title finisher to my growing repertoire of accomplishments. It wasn’t pretty or easy but I set out to cross that finish line and cross it I did. How I thought it would go and how it actually went were two very different things. This is how life goes though, there’s the expectation and then there’s the reality. The test comes not in whether or not you are going to run the race but how you are going to deal with the curveballs thrown in along the way.

Over the weekend I finished reading Chrystal Evans Hurst’s book She’s Still There. While there are many things to love about this book, it was great to read about her marathon experience right before I ran my race. One of the things she mentions in the book is that her headphones quit working at mile 10. When I read this I was thinking to myself, “oh no, not me I have a plan for those babies all the way through! There are podcasts to listen to, books to be read to me and when I get super tired, the music will start and it will propel me to that finish line!” Broken headphones? Um no… Well, my friends guess who’s headphones decided to short out at the starting line? I couldn’t figure out why they were cutting out so I took a deep breath and told myself, “It’s okay, just enjoy the scenery, when you get further down the mountain I am sure they will work better. It took me until mile 17 to realize that I was going to run this entire race with only the voices inside my head to keep me company.

Debbie, my fearless friend, ran Boston a week and a half before the Revel. The coldest and wettest weather for a Boston run in 30 years. 30 degrees at the starting line 48 MPH wind gusts … 38 degrees at the finish line… and then there was the rain. A torrential downpour the whole way through. But because she’s Debbie and she’s awesome, she finished her race and made her mark in yet another memorable year in Boston.

Charleston was a week and a half after Boston. The end result of accomplishing something so amazing was a horrendous chest cold for my friend and yet she found the strength to saddle up fly to Vegas and line up on that starting line.

I caught up with her around mile 10 and we both realized that due to all she had been through in the last several weeks that this race was not going to be her race. I, however, get the privilege of saying that I ran part of a race with Debbie Stemmerman and there are not many in our small town who can lay claim to such an honor. ♥ Her.

Amy, my other fearless comrade in arms battled through injury, travel with her job and not as many miles on the road as she would have liked. But in true athletic fashion, she found the strength, energy and sheer willpower to pull off 13.1 miles in the desert heat.

At mile 13 I tried to make up for some lost time and at mile 17 realized that I was going to need a miracle to make it to the end. When you do something for the first time you have no idea what to expect so you create something in your mind to help you get through. All of the lead-up material to the race kept saying that at mile 21 there would be spectators lining the streets all the way to the end. So in my mind, I’m thinking of all those marathons I have seen on tv where there are people watching for miles. I kept telling myself just make it to mile 21 and the crowds will carry you home. Ummm … no. Mile 21 went by not one single soul, mile 22, nada, mile 23 I began walk-jogging. By mile 25 I knew I needed to buck up and just finish er out. And finish I did.

Finish line 2018 / TiffanyAOlson.com

I Am A Finisher!!!

 

I told myself going in that I was going to enjoy every single moment of that weekend and that’s exactly what I did…

 

18 hours till start time / TiffanyAOlson.com

Ready To Run! 18 hours till it all begins…

 

Ceasar's Palace / TiffanyAOlson.com

It has been a week since the race. It took about four days but I finally stopped being sore.  It took 20 years but I finally did it. I finished a marathon and my biggest feeling? Gratitude. I am thankful that God allowed my body to take on something this difficult and succeed. I am thankful that with each change in circumstance that day he kept reminding me that HE was in control and that I just need to trust him to carry me through. I am thankful to all my friends and family for the texts, cards, gifts, and flowers that have poured in reminding me how much I am loved and supported by so many.

I am ready for a new goal. Not quite sure what it will be, I know I would like to get stronger and a bit faster. I ran this morning for the 1st time since the race. My mind is ready but my legs are still a bit sluggish. I’ll take er easy for a bit and then move on to the next adventure.

Get out there my friends, do something big. Dream a dream and then make it happen. It won’t be easy or pretty or perfect but neither is life. Get off the sidelines and run your race, there is nothing like crossing that finish line receiving your bling and knowing that you have accomplished something that can never be taken away…

My Bling / TiffanyAOlson.com

Have a beautiful day my friends!

Learning To Run…

Last Chemo Roadtrip! / TiffanyAOlson.com

Last Chemo Roadtrip! June 2015

June 6, 2015 was my last chemo treatment. It has been almost 3 years. Three years ago Mr. Wonderful and I went for a walk. We lived in an area surrounded by hills. I was thrilled to be done and out in the fresh air with the person I love most in this world. As we walked we marveled at all we had been through so far that year and all that was yet to come, (I still had 6.5 weeks of radiation to go). I remember getting to a certain part on the hill, the steep part. Mr. Wonderful started pulling ahead because I was weak and tired. He reached back for my hand and began to pull me along. He reminded me that all I needed to do was put one foot in front of the other and to keep moving. We were not in a hurry but each step I took would help me to grow stronger.

This morning as we got ready for the day, Mr. Wonderful leaned in, gave me a kiss and told me how proud he was of me. Why? Because in 3 weeks I will run my 1st Marathon. He’s still encouraging me, cheering me on and providing a shoulder to cry on when the days get rough. And friends? I’m not going to lie. Some days have been rough.

Like I said we (my friend Debbie and I) are three weeks out. Okay, I’m 3 weeks out. Debbie is flying out next week to run The Boston Marathon (for the 5th time) and then she will come home and fly with me a week and a half later to run the Mt. Charleston Marathon. Leading up to all of this we have run 20 miles twice and 22 miles once. 4 days a week I arise at 3:15 am and hit the road by 4:00. We’ve run through freezing temperatures, dumping rain and howling wind. A few occasions its been all three at the same time! My 5th run of the week is usually on a Saturday when I allow myself the luxury of sleeping in until 7:00.

Tiff n Deb 1st 20 miler

1st 20 miler… I was a hurtin unit…

I have paid close attention to my body, my gear and my coach. A few weeks back I discovered there was one area I had completely overlooked… fuel. The world of pre-workout drinks and midrun pick-me-ups was completely foreign to me. 14 miles into our 1st 20 miler, I was exhausted. My legs were sore and hard to pick up. By mile 17.5 I was in tears and when we finally hit mile 20 I was relieved and discouraged at the same time. It’s hard to be proud of yourself when you can barely move. Each step was a monumental effort. All I kept thinking was … “I have no idea how I am going to add 6.2 miles to this in a few weeks.”

I couldn’t figure it out, all this training, all this time. I expected it to be hard, but not like this. My legs fully recovered within 48 hours so I knew there must be something else going on. After lots of questions and a little research, I armed myself with gu, water, sports drinks and tabs that taste like Sweettarts. We ran another 20 the following week and I ate before the run as well as used all of my new found treasures. What a world of difference it made! It was a completely different run. I didn’t cry, I just ran. I smiled while I ran and marveled at the grace of God for allowing my body to do this.

Fuel. Nothing runs without it. Not you, your car, your favorite motorized vehicle or your life. All of this fueling reminds me to take stock of what I am filling my life with. What am I eating, reading, watching and listening to? Are these things propelling me forward or holding me back? I am learning that running is a lot more than just getting out the door.

I have come a long way in 3 years. I still have a long way to go but I am open and willing to learn the lessons as they come. As I write this we are in the final two weeks of tax season. I don’t prepare the taxes but I fill in all the gaps at home so Mr. Wonderful can do all that needs to be done for our staff and our clients. Because of this my posts have been a bit thin as of late so I can be where I need to be for my family.

I have much to fill you in on… next up… the other people I could not run this race without.

Have a beautiful day my friends!

Do You Have A Plan?

Rod n me 2014 / TiffanyAOlson.com

I ♥ Him!

I  just finished up a book by author, Kat Lee, called hello mornings I was intrigued by the title because I am a morning person. I love mornings but I do go through seasons when I wonder why if I am getting up so early is more not getting accomplished? It can be frustrating if find at the end of the day the extra hours you were up before anyone else didn’t make any difference at all.

Sometimes its perspective and reminding myself what is and what is not important and sometimes I need a little kick in the hiney to best use the time I have carved out.  The book is mainly for those who do not get up early and the author has come up with 3 simple things one can do every day to begin to make early a habit and something to build upon.

  1. God
  2. Plan
  3. Move

That’s it. Those three things. The best part it only takes 3 minutes.

  1. Read/Memorize/Write out and or Pray Psalm 143:8
  2. Look at your calendar for today – 1 minute
  3. Drink a glass of water – 1 minute

The author lays out these three things in the 1st chapter of the book so she can then elaborate on how each item works and how to take these small steps and add on to them later. Her main idea is to start somewhere and to not beat yourself up when life gets in the way. What I liked about it is that it removes the guilt for those days when kids are sick or something else important that needs my immediate attention. If I can only get those three things in, well… its something.

I upped my running game last September. I began getting up even earlier than normal and running with friends who have some of the same goals as I do. It has been a game changer for me and I am loving it. I am running faster and farther than I ever thought possible.

On The Run 2017 / TiffanyAOlson.com

 

While the running is going great it has left little time for time in The Word and writing because by the time I get home there are but a few minutes before the kids are up and the day has begun. After reading this book I think where I am falling short is in the planning part. If I know there is a very short window to get stuff done before the kids get up then I need to set that time aside and get it done. No Instagram, no chatting with Mr. Wonderful nothing but the task at hand. Because once that time is gone it’s gone.

I would love to say that I will read and write in the evenings but that is a no can do. I have very few mental faculties left in the late afternoons and evenings. A 3:15 am wake up time means there is also a 3:15 pm shut down time. Obviously, I still function after 3:00 pm but ask me to do much more than make dinner, fold a bit of laundry or curl up with a good book and we will have some serious issues.

A plan. I need a better plan. There needs to be a bit more structure to my days so that I can know what to expect and how to adjust when it gets off kilter. My life makes more sense to me when I can see (on a schedule) what the end goal is for the day. What did I find so important that I took the time to write it down? If its important to me then why haven’t I carved out time to do it? Why did I schedule something over the top of it and not find space elsewhere?

Side note: I began writing this yesterday, this morning was one of those mornings where you have to tell yourself over and over again… “if you do not get out of bed right now you will hate yourself forever.” I got up, checked the weather app on my phone to determine if I needed a raincoat. It said clouds but I did note the big red bar at the top of the screen that said, TSUNAMI ALERT. (I live on the Oregon Coast) I didn’t take my raincoat and noted halfway down the block as I was driving to our running spot that it was indeed raining. I went back for the coat.

1.76 miles into our run, the goal for the day was 4/5 miles, we stopped at the top of a large hill to catch our breath. For 4:15 am there seemed to be an awful lot of traffic bombing down the hill. A guy pulled up in his pickup truck and told us he had been given credible information from his firefighter buddy that indeed the Oregon Coast was on high alert for a potential tsunami because of an 8.2 earthquake that happened off the coast of Alaska. To make a long story short we  hightailed it back to our cars and headed home (we all live up high on a hill and well out of tsunami danger.)

I get home and while I’m debating whether or not it’s a good idea to wake up Mr. Wonderful at 4:30 am because there may or may not be a tsunami headed our way in a half hour, I get an alert on my phone that all is well. Our town has thankfully been spared. Well as happy as I am about this news, I still have some running to do and because of my schedule 4:00 am is my only time to do it. The whole rest of the day seemed as if it was spent putting out one fire after another, aside from my two-hour reprieve where I was able to meet with some ladies from church to plan an upcoming event. I didn’t have a plan and I never quite got my feet back underneath me.

So all this to say, I NEED A PLAN. Any suggestions? How do you organize your days? Do you have a fail-proof system you want to share? I’m in.

Have a Beautiful Day My Friends!

Christmas Run / TiffanyAOlson.com

A Run On “The Rock” – Always A Favorite Morning

Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love,
    for I have put my trust in you.
Show me the way I should go,
    for to you I entrust my life. Psalm:143:8

 

Write The Word

Upside down / TiffanyAOlson.com

I don’t get the whole upside down tree thing…

Write The Word? What does this mean? What word? The Word. Think about it, what is your go to action when you know you have to rememember something? You write it down.

I have been reading a book called, Deeper Waters by Denise J. Hughes. To be honest it was a book club book for the month of September and I am still not quite finished. Maybe having 4 books going at one time is not the best idea but it is what it is. Anyway, there is a section of the book where the author is talking about the methods she uses to connect with and get to know God better. One thing she does is to write out scripture. I’m not talking about the fancy lettering of the Instagram variety but rather while she is reading and notices a verse or a passage that stands out, she writes it down.

I spend a lot of time putting information on paper. I am famous for letting others know that if the event is not on the calendar then it is not going to happen. I … most of the time… check my calendar at the beginning of the month, the beginning of the week and the beginning of each day to remind myself of what is coming up and to get prepared for what I need to do in advance of each event. If I am this meticioulous about my schedule then why did it feel like such a revelation to have someone tell me to write out scripture so I will remember it better?

Del Tree 2017 / TiffanyAOlson.com

Hotel Del… Please never do this again… 2017

This isn’t the 1st time I have heard about writing the word but it is the 1st time it has truly sunk in and made an impact on me. There are Write The Word Journals out there like the ones sold over at Cultivate What Matters. Or the bible studies in the Write The Word series offered by the author. I prefer my spiral notebook and the inspiration that comes from my daily reading but whatever you decide to do, give it a shot.

The new year is upon us and it is time to finish up with planning for what is coming and reminiscing what has passed. Along with my running goals and better scheduling of my time I am going to spend more time Writing The Word. Not only am I going to write it but I am going to go back and read what I have written. I want to remind myself of what I felt when it 1st inspired me to write it. Did I breathe a sigh of relief? Did I feel convicted of something I needed to change? Did I understand what I was reading?

The goal in all of this for me is at the end of 2018 I want to know God better. I want the words in the bible to translate from being great stories to pieces of history written down to help me understand where I have come from and where I am going. I want to be different and to live out what I am reading rather than just get up from my chair each morning and forget what I have just spent the last hour injesting into my heart.

I had an amazing Christmas holiday. I got to spend it with the people I love most in the world. But, as ususal I look back on a few choice words or decisions I made and wish I had spent less time trying to fit in by making people laugh and a bit more time focusing on why we celebrate Christmas in the 1st place.

In Phoenix, we got the opportunity to go to Hobby Lobby. The closest one to me at home is 2.5 hours away. On one of the signs I read, it said, “It’s a new year, you have 365 opportunities to wake up to new mercies.” I desperately need those mercies and am excited about 365 days of writing down some of the greatest words ever written.

Christmas Run / TiffanyAOlson.com

A Run on “The Rock” –

Happy New Year My Friends!

On The Run…

On The Run 2017 / TiffanyAOlson.com

 

It’s a new season both literally and figuratively. Fall is upon us and the mornings are crisp and clear, the afternoons are sunny and filled with the sights of red, yellow and orange leaves as they are beginning to show us their glory. I love color and the slow switch from Summer to Fall couldn’t make me happier.

Along with the leaves changing my running routine has had a few adjustments this season as well. At the beginning of the year, I set my sights on racing my 1st Marathon in October. I  started the running process over again due to surgery in December. I set a big goal for myself so that I would be forced to get out the door and finally make this marathon dream a reality. So, I trained and in June I ran a half marathon to test the waters for my ability to continue to pack on the miles until I reached October.

Running this year has been harder for me not only physically but mentally. I finished the 1/2 marathon … barely and was discouraged at how much more difficult it was compared to last year. I trudged through the Summer months and came to the conclusion that my body just wasn’t ready for the push it was going to take to finish a marathon this year.

Several years ago I ran with a group of ladies that hit the pavement at 4:00 am Monday through Friday. When I began running again after treatment for my breast cancer they graciously offered for me to rejoin the group once again. Last year’s 1/2 marathon was something I needed to do on my own. I needed the time and space and the long country roads to process what I had been through and to relish in what my body was still able to do no matter what had happened.

Fall rolled around and it became overly apparent that I no longer needed so many hours on the road alone. I needed friendship, encouragement and accountability. For those of you who don’t know me, I love to run, but I am by no means quick. These girls are all faster than me and have been running consistently together for several years so it took some courage for me to ask if I could rejoin. The response was simple… we run at 4:00 am, if you are willing to show up, we will be there. I am willing.

What a difference it has made! I am always a proponent of doing things with others but sometimes I let insecurity or fear get in the way of stepping out or stepping into other people’s lives. I am running farther and faster than I was before and I have people who like to talk about running and who can celebrate the accomplishment of a 10 mile run on a Wednesday morning before 6:30 am.

There are four total runners in the group. 3 of us have our sights set on a full marathon at the end of April. I have already purchased the plane ticket… Our 4th runner in the group is actually the 1st. She has run The Boston Marathon 4 times and she said the other morning, “I really enjoy running. I sometimes find myself actually smiling while I am running down the road.” I am breathing too hard to smile but I know it will come in time.

With so many hard things going on around us in our daily lives or in our country as a whole, it’s good to seek out the small things that bring us joy. When our cup is full it is much easier to reach into the lives of others and lend a helping hand.

I am thankful for this new season, cool mornings, good friends and long runs.

Have A Fabulous Day My Friends!

The Run

 

13.1-  2017 / TiffanyAOlson.com

Just before the race… Yes, I showered beforehand… thin haired bedhead is not cute…

So I mentioned last week at the end of my post about finishing a 1/2 marathon here in town. It was a spectacularly beautiful morning and I was anxious but comfortable at the same time because of my familiarity with the course.

I knew this was going to be a small race but wasn’t prepared for exactly how small. Of the 20 people that were there only 10 lined up to run the 1/2 marathon distance. To add a little more perspective there were 8 elite runners (well, they looked elite to me), a mom with her tween-age son and me. (the son ran a shorter race) As I sized up my competition I thought to myself that maybe I could at least hang with the other mom. That fantasy ended as soon as the race director said, “Go!”

All along I had planned on treating this race like a Saturday morning run and not a race at all. I am so glad I had this mindset when I began because any other notion would have had me in a state of despair within the 1st quarter mile. Instead I took a deep breath, turned up the volume of the podcast I was listening to (thank you Shauna Niequist and Jamie Ivey) and let everything else go.

Some good friends of ours happen to live 4.7 miles up the road I was running on so Mr. Wonderful and Natalie graciously came out to watch me run by… my own personal cheering section, for the girl in last place. I teared up a bit when I saw them as I was glad they were there but also a bit embarrassed by my inability to run any faster. Mr. Wonderful gave me some water and I kept going.

The course was an out and back, so right after this point the faster runners began passing me going back the other direction. They were, of course, gracious and one by one kept telling me, “good job” as they headed back towards the finish line. I’m not sure if the look I saw in their eyes was pity, concern or bewilderment as to why I was out there in the 1st place. Nevertheless I trudged on and finally made it to the turn around spot.

I was 6.5 miles in at the turnaround and already tired. I decided it was time to turn the podcasts off and to turn the music on. Music makes me run a bit faster so I did begin to gain on the other mom running the race. When I reached the spot where Mr. Wonderful was waiting, our friends the Plummer’s were out there as well cheering me on. I didn’t have enough strength to more than give a brief wave and move along.

In mile 10 I caught up to the other mom. I told her, “good job,” she said the same to me and then she found another gear and took off. In mile 11, I was toast and began wondering how I was going to finish this race. Fortunately and unfortunately I knew exactly how far I needed to go to be done. I seriously began to question my sanity at being out there at all. This is a flat course. I know the road like the back of my hand and I began praying in earnest that this race would just end. Wisely, I kept running because if I had stopped, I never would have started again.

I finally finished. I was so tired I forgot to press the stop button on my watch so I am not sure what my time was other than it was way worse than last year’s time on a much harder course. I didn’t have the strength to care that I had come in last. I was done. I set a goal and I accomplished it. It wasn’t pretty or mind blowing but it was finished.

Finished! / TiffanyAOlson.com

Finished 13.1!

The older I get the more I see the need to set goals and to see them through. Dreams and goals keep you going, they help you get out of bed each day in hopes of doing one little thing to get one step closer to seeing those dreams come true. Whatever you are dreaming about at this season of your life, sit down and make a plan as to how you can see that dream get accomplished. Set some goals and take the steps to make it happen. It isn’t always going to be pretty or easy but the achievement of finishing what you have started is so worth all the effort put in.

Have a Fabulous Day My Friends!

PS… My daughter took the running photos. She made sure I knew how she captured me and the view at the same time so I could post them to my blog. I am one blessed mama!

One Foot In Front Of The Other

Mr. Wonderful n Me / TiffanyAOlson.com

 

Well, here we are! Summer has arrived, Wahoo!! I for one am thrilled about this because I am soooo ready to be warm! Of course, I will have to leave town in order to get warm as unfortunately, the Oregon Coast is not known for balmy weather. There are not too many days here where you can go without a sweatshirt. And shorts? Forgetaboutit!! But Summer does mean it is warm somewhere and I am planning on finding all the warm spots I can over the next several months.

The other great thing about Summer is hopefully the rain will dissipate a bit. It feels like it has rained nonstop since October. Last year, when I trained for a half marathon I had the pleasure of doing a ton of walking in preparation for running because the weather was so nice. This year? Not so much. I haven’t bounced back from my two surgeries like I thought I would and because of all the rain, I did not spend as much time walking and probably began running before I was ready. But begin, I did and well, it has been an interesting ride.

I began this year’s running adventure just after Christmas. It snowed here, which NEVER happens and I wanted to get out and enjoy it a bit. I couldn’t really play as I was still recovering from surgery so I did the next best thing and went for a walk.

It wasn’t much, but it was a beginning

By the end of January, I was running, mostly because I could no longer spend that much time walking in the rain. Running gets me done quicker… okay, not much quicker but I like to tell myself it’s quicker because it makes me feel better.

I keep thinking each run is going to get easier. So far this has not happened and I am also not getting any faster. Last year I was running 9:30 per mile and I felt great. This year 11:30 per mile and I feel like I’m dying. The slow miles, coupled with the never ending rain made it extremely hard to be motivated to get out the door. There were some weeks I only ran once. I knew this was folly because there wasn’t much time to prepare for the Eugene 1/2 marathon in May to begin with. The more time I took off meant the less time I had to be ready. At the beginning of April I made the decision to not sign up for the 1/2 in May and set my sights on a  13.1 run here in Coos Bay in June.

I like the idea of this run because the course is the road I do all my long runs on. I’ve been running this road for two years and I know where every 1/2 mile marker is. Marker, is a generous term because my “markers” are large bushes, houses, fences etc. They are points I have memorized along the route so I know when to turn around and go back. I don’t go out and run 10 miles, I run 20, half miles. I have to trick myself mentally or I would never finish. Speaking of 10 miles, I ran my 1st 10 miler of the year last week.

This coming Saturday is the run…. 13.1. It will certainly not be a big race with fanfare and t-shirts and all that other hoopla. I am kind of glad for this because right now I just want to get out there and get r done. I’m feeling a bit anxious because I still don’t feel super ready, but, I am going to get out there and run anyway.

I have had a dream since my early 20’s to run a full Marathon. I have set my sights on October 2017. This marathon dream of mine has sat on the shelf for an awfully long time. My thought process is this, if I can complete a half marathon in June then surely I can complete a full marathon in October. Hey, if I survived breast cancer, surely I can survive a marathon right? I don’t know what will happen between now and October but I am going to run. I am going to put the time in, one foot in front of the other and I am going to keep pushing until I cross the finish line of a 26.2-mile race.

Have a Fabulous Day My Friends!

PS… Update:

I finished! 13.1 miles!

It was not pretty, it was my slowest 1/2 marathon to date, I did not feel well when I finished so no triumphant video to post AND I was DEAD LAST!! To be fair to myself there were only about 10 runners. but still … LAST. I will post more on this later. For today, I am glad it’s over and I can focus on gearing up for future runs.

Have a Fabulous Day My Friends!