Friday, December 30, 2011

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.”

I was recently looking for equipment for training my clients; one of them suggested I try to search Craig’s list. I was shocked to find tons of stuff. Most of the headlines read “hardly used” so as the New Year approaches a lot of you will be making their resolutions I been thinking a lot about what makes someone quit. I don’t make New Year resolutions; I am of the mentality that as soon as I realize I need to work on something or change something right then is the right time. How many times have I heard the “ I will quit smoking after New Years/my vacation/ my birthday” I just think to myself, why? Is that going to be your last Vacation/New year/? You eventually have to manage being around other people who smoke so do it now!

But if you are considering making some health changes you all have my support. Here are some common mistakes.

Start small.
As an endurance junkie this might sound hypocritical but my ‘small’ might not be ‘your’ small. All journeys start with a single step. I often see beginners take on to much and that adds to disappointment and quitting because you are setting yourself to fail. If you are a beginner establishing a routine is the most important, be realistic about how much time and effort you can commit and go for it. I have a daunting goal ahead of me but I broke it into smaller tasks and then applied it. I started with establishing running without a day off first, then increased my distance then added the heavy pack. If you are thinking of bettering your time start by adding speed training to your routine on what you think your body can handle safely, once or twice and don't worry if you don't hit your target every time, you will hit your desired pace once, then twice and so forth. The most important here is that you are trying to change your behavior and mentality, non runner to runner, slow runner to faster runner, couch potato to gym goer.

Stop making excuses.

It hard for everybody and sure there are times that is harder for us than for anybody else but is that the real reason why you are not doing it? My past success on overcoming challenges is that I take ownership always, I spend more time trying to figure out what I contribute to the problem than what other did. I can’t control others but I have control on my actions. Sure I been victim of unfair circumstances that I had little control of it but I took ownership 100% on how I reacted to it and how much I let it affected me. Sometimes it will be hard or impossible because of injuries or commitments but that is never the reason to quit. When it becomes hard for me to train because of circumstances I focus on the other things that I need like planning the logistics of my quest or getting ahead on my responsibilities. So when the window of opportunities opens again I am ready! Stop looking around to find excuses of why you can't do it and start spending time focusing on how you can make it happen. Remember that you become better at what ever you spend most energy on, an if the energy is spent on making up excuses you will just become better at finding more excuses and is that really what you want? I remember the first time I was criticized for running ultras way back when I started, somebody was telling me about a conversation of somebody who was trash talking about me " who do she think she is?" she has only been running for a few months. My friend was upset until she noticed I was smiling, she was puzzled " is fabulous" I said "A few months ago everybody pity me, no body wanted my life, all people where talking about about me was did you hear? now somebody wants my life!i had just gone for something that person had made excuses for to not do and that's why he was upset because I was about to show him that it could be done of you only had the guts to do. Stop making excuses and go for the life you want. When you find yourself at rock bottom learn to rock climb.


This is a big one. I see lots of new runners or people at the gym at the beginning of the year and just fade away the next few months. Why? Anything that is worth having takes effort. Like a marriage, at the beginning is all butterflies and excitement then it turns into responsibility and doing someone’s laundry, but is all on what you focus on. When I decide I want something I embrace all aspects of it since they are all integral part of the whole project.
The moment you decided to take charge on your health you didn’t say “ I will get healthy until it gets too hard or boring” Is exciting to start something because everybody is supportive and excited for you too. “ Go for it” “100% behind you” In no time things change when it starts affecting your old life, all of a sudden you are not cooking all 3 meals from scratch or changing the sheets every two days or meeting your friends for a drink every Thursday. I took a long break last year, I was getting pressure from everywhere and continuing at the pace I had been going was not possible. Both of my kids needed me home, Karl because of his condition, teachers struggled to find the right plan for him and needed my full attention as he adapted to his new school, Hans' grades started to plummet so I needed to take charge, while I knew that his lower grades where more about the social distractions in particular video games, I swear you can see a pattern of lower grades every time Call Of Duty releases a new edition I was being blamed for it. "You focus on saving the world more than me” First of all I don’t give up much to conversations like that, I want my kids to be givers not takers. Like I told Hans, instead of thinking that I am favoring sons you should be on your knees thanking God every night it wasn’t you the son who was going blind because the odds where just as high. What bother me is not that it was true, but what if he though so? I spend a year and a half watching SNL with both of my boys and making 100’s of Waffles for sleepovers until Hans had no excuse for bringing C's home then he had no choice but to admit what i knew. “ You are right mom,I haven’t had the best attitude towards learning lately and blaming you was the easiest way of justifying it”

Through it all I never lost my commitment towards my goals, I simply had to exercise patience, deal with setbacks as they came and maybe had to modify my plans a bit.

I wish you much success in the next year and all others to come; there is nothing more rewarding than taking control of one’s life. I am know as an incredibly stubborn person and that has cost me some friends or relationships but if somebody doesn’t respect your decisions they shouldn’t be in your life anyway. The way I see it, this is my life and I am in the driver seat. I am often surrounded but the most talented people in the world and I am blessed for that but not even then do I sit back. I surrounded myself with people better than me not because I want them to take care of me but to learn and grow. Is irrelevant of who they are, the way I see it, in my life, I am the president and CEO of my destiny.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Running Home- The book preview

I haven't post in such a long time. Somewhere down the line things became so complicated. I like the way my life is right now but I also miss the simplicity of what running used to be for me so I am going back to the basics again.
I created Running Home A Journey To End Violence, a project that will take me from my house in Delta, BC where I live to Mazatlan Mexico where I was born. I decided it was time to write the book i been meaning to write. I wanted to go to Everest before I did that, I was so focus on making it happen. A lot of people that knew about my desire to climb have always been worry about the dangers, I have never been afraid, i know that if somebody tells me it cant be done is only because they can't picture it themselves. We all fear something, and my fears aren't mountains, I respect them, but I don't fear them. Then I realized what my fear was, standing up to my past so I couldn't delay writing anymore.

I started writing it a few months ago and I became almost paralyzed, is hard reading my journals again, I keep them because I will not deny who I am.
I am so much different than the woman of those pages, but to write the book I had to take myself back to those times, it's not easy, the only thing that helps me get through it is to know that I am not there anymore.

Here is the preview of the first pages, is a rough draft, many more corrections will be done before it will be published.
But I wanted to share it with you, the people that through this blog has held my hand when it got really hard for me. Thank you :)

I open my eyes but I can’t see. Everything is blurry. I blink several times to see if that helps and try to move. I am facedown, I can feel and taste the blood pooled beneath me. Just then all the senses come at once, the sharp pain on my head, on my face, I hear the TV on the background and I am surprise that is in English, I have been living in Japan for about 4 years now, I moved to Tokyo at age 19 on an entertainer visa and most of my circle speaks Japanese. My eyes adjust to the intense light, I recognize the place, I been here before many times. Is the apartment of a guy I just dated, an American model that went back home a few weeks prior.

I try to get up but when I move I get nauseous and dizzy so I just roll to my side and lay on a fetal position. Then I hear him and I remember, his roommate! I ran into him last night. “ Well, sleeping beauty, you are finally up” He sounds upbeat and not very concerned that I am laying on his floor bloody “ What happened? ‘ I ask. “You had a bit too much to drink and you fell and hurt yourself” Sorry I said, deeply embarrassed but also confused.

When I saw him at the club I was on my way to meet some of my girlfriends before heading home after working late. Jason, a tall, all American boy was standing by the entrance and introduced me to his new roommate. “ Watch her” he told him“ Norma the fiery Mexican likes dating my roommates” Then he handed me a drink, I didn’t want to drink last night but I didn’t want to be rude either. Just one I thought.
Sure I have blacked out before, but this time was different, all I had was one drink, and then I don’t remember anything else.

Jason strokes my head as I lay there, I close my eyes again overwhelmed by the pain now being insufferable. Then I hear the sound of a zipper being undone.

I am a liar and a coward. Sure I didn’t intended to lie but by not speaking up I might as well be lying. All I ever wanted was to not hurt anymore

I successfully created a new identity for myself and almost got away with it too, married, had kids and formed a family. Nobody that meets me have an idea of what really went on my head for many years, the shame, the fear, the rage, all they see is a good mom. But I couldn’t build a house out of sand, all of a sudden I am watching it all being washed away, the divorce and later my oldest son diagnoses left me raw.

I been so busy fighting a dragon, one mean beast call blindness that is threatening my son that I didn’t notice it at the beginning. All of a sudden people around me are calling me brave,or amazing. All I am doing for my son is what I should have done for myself a long time ago. My kids are too important to not have the amazing life that they deserve. I feel uncomfortable with being praised, maybe because most of my life I have been accustomed to being told what I had done wrong.

I am an ultra distance runner. Since 2007 I have run long distance races all over the world, even a record on all 7 continents. I started running when my oldest son Karl was diagnosed with Cone Rod Dystrophy. I don’t remember much about that day, Doctors were struggling to figure out what was happening to him. I remember the words progressive, incurable, might lead to blindness. Karl was relieved, he had been telling us that he really had trouble seeing, Doctors didn’t believe him, they didn’t see anything wrong until one fine Doctor knew what to look for.

I was devastated; I though that life was being cruel in the most despicable way. I have never doubted that there is a God; many times I have trouble accepting that terrible things happen, even under his watch.

Running became my escape. I wouldn’t say that running saved my life, only I could do that. Over the years I have understood that nobody or nothing except for my attitude can save me or complete me. I have no control on things or people. The only thing I can control is my attitude and the choices I make.I decided long ago that I didn’t want to live my life in pain or suffer anymore,I have chosen to be positive no matter what, to have faith that this is where I am suppose to be.

Running is what I did to take the edge off when I felt the pain was becoming unbearable. It wasn't always that way, the unhealthy me used to burn herself with cigarettes when pain became too much. But not anymore. I have work so hard to build my new life and be the healthiest mother my children could have. The day after my son was diagnosed I went for a long run, I wanted to run until my skin came off but it didn’t instead I felt better when I returned home. During those long runs at 4am in the darkness I felt stronger finally. All the memories that I had worked so hard to erase came slowly at first, but once I allowed one memory to appear I couldn't stop them all from coming. I had wrongly assumed that if because I had never allowed myself to think about it they would eventually fade.I was standing at the eye of the storm.

Since the day I sat at the Doctors office with my oldest son Karl, I have fought a lot more than a terrible diagnose. Shortcuts lead to dead ends and I had encounter mine, the only way out of it was through it.

When I started running ultra races, some people asked me what I was running away from, what they didn’t know was that I was running towards something. It was time to look at evil in the eye; I was ready to confront my past.

Here is my story