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Running Changed My Life

6 Jun

Today is national running day so I thought it was a good time to write about running. You know…I get asked alot if I really, truly like running. I think so many people associate running with a form of punishment to whip our bodies into shape. A chore that some of us add to our exercise routine to burn fat, to look good, to be healthy.

At the prodding of my best friend, I signed up for my first 5k in 2008. I smoked a pack of cigarettes a day at the time. I had been a smoker for half my life and had tried to quit more times than I could count and failed. Every. Single. Time. The problem was I really, truly liked smoking. I ran that 5k, still a smoker, and it sucked. I hated it. At the end of the race she looked at me expectantly, wanting me to love running. I looked at her like she was crazy and vowed to never sign up for another race ever again.

I honestly have no idea how she talked me into running a 10k next. “6.2 stupid, stupid miles” was all I kept repeating in my head. Why did I sign up for this? I had to actually train for this race. I couldn’t just wing it. So I trained. I kept smoking. But something changed when I finished that race…6.2 miles, to me at the time, was a REALLY long way…and I did it. There came a sense of accomplishment. A sense of pride. But inside I felt like a fraud…who can call themselves a runner and still be a smoker?

So I did something really crazy and decided to sign up for a half marathon. I quit smoking. I vowed that as long as I was going to spend the money and do a half marathon, I had to take it seriously. Something happened during training for that first half marathon. I went out diligently for my training runs. Mike joined me with Ava in a jogging stroller. He carried water and paced me. He kept me honest. He decided to sign up for that same half marathon. Our lives began to change…we talked about pacing, injuries, injury prevention and we ran many, many miles together. We did our long runs separately each week. Before I knew it, I started looking forward to the long runs.

My long runs were the only time I had that belonged to just me. No phone. No conversation. No bills. No Facebook. No email. No child. No husband. No friends. No chores. Just me and my thoughts. I wasn’t a wife. I wasn’t a mom. I was just a runner. And I knew as long as I kept running I would not smoke. I started to appreciate my body. The legs I once hated became the legs I adored. Not because they looked awesome but because they were strong and powerful and carried me along the way. My thoughts changed…I learned tenacity, commitment and sacrifice. I fell in love with running. The further I ran, the more I loved it. When everything in my body screamed for me to stop, I kept pushing on. I refused to give up. I counted light poles, trash cans, beach cruisers. I raced people on the bike path. I raced against myself. I raced for imaginary finish lines.

I get asked often, “What do you think about all that time while you run?” You have a of time to think when you spend that much time running…that’s for sure. Mostly I think about nothing and everything. I think about finish lines and seeing the people I love at the end of them. I think about the anticipation as I’m standing in the chute waiting for the race to start. But mostly when I run I just have this immense sense of gratitude for life and everything in it. Running is my meditation. It’s when I let go of everything and just run.

Running changed my life in a lot of ways. It brought me closer to my husband. I finally found something that made me want to quit smoking. I started living healthier. It changed the way I thought about my body. It made me realize that I was a hell of a lot stronger than I ever thought I was, mentally and physically. It taught me about commitment, tenacity and sacrifice. And I really hope that me running, sets a positive example for my little girl. I don’t know what her passions will be, but I hope that seeing her mama run lets her know that she is absolutely capable of anything she sets her mind to as long as she’s willing to put in the work.

Running is my therapy. I live for the long runs, the lost toenails, the sore muscles, the feeling that comes only when I know I’ve left it all out there on the path and given it every single ounce I had. I’m so glad I gave it a chance.


If You Want More, Give More

30 Sep

I’ve been thinking alot lately about life, about people, about love, about relationships and about money. I’m feeling very fortunate and blessed. I have a good life. I am happy. That statement is worth millions to me…to be able to take stock of my life, look at it and say, “I am happy!” Truly, to my core happy.

I don’t have a magic solution to happiness…nobody does. But I believe if you want more, you have to give more. I cannot stand greed…not with money, with time or with relationships. I believe if you want a better partner, be a better partner. It’s the law of attaction…like behavior attracts like behavior. I find that when I’m a better partner, when I’m kinder, when I do his chore just because I want to be nice it benefits me in some way. Whether it’s feeling like I did a good deed or if he does something nice back. But the key is not to do anything with an expectation of return. Just like I notice when I’m having a bad day, if I take it out on the husband, he gets grumpy back. It’s no bueno. I guess my point is we (especially us women) spend alot of time complaining about our spouses and the areas they fall short. And so I stopped and wondered, “Where do I fall short?” or I think, “I’m always wishing he would buy me flowers or be thoughtful but what have I done to show my thoughtfulness?” It works both ways and I’m always trying to remember that…that if I want something I have to give something too. I can’t just hold my hands out and expect them to be filled.

I think about money. Who doesn’t want more of it? Most people do. Money is great…it gives you peace of mind and flexibility. But what it does not give me and will never give me is happiness. If you’ve ever said, “It will all be worth it if I get $XXX,” you’re fooling yourself. The feeling that money brings is temporary…if you’re unhappy and you hate your job, you’ll be still be unhappy and hate your job once the euphoria wears off, even if the money is still there. I know. I’ve been there. I’ve said it. I’ve lived it. Don’t believe me, try it. Go ahead. I’ll wait. So a long time ago I said, “Take money out of the equation…what will make me happy?” My answer was simple, “My family, my friends and time with them.” So I took the steps to make sure I was going on that path. And I’m happy I did. I have a job I love and I’m getting what I wanted…time with my family and time with my friends.

I can’t get yesterday back…or the day before…or the day before that. I don’t want to look back at my life and think, “God, I missed it.” I have a little girl who is growing faster than I can fathom. Who’s small pudgy hand is getting leaner and more graceful by the day. I walk into her room every morning and see a mess of long legs, skinny arms and knotted hair asleep and I think, “When did that happen?”

And yes, I’m a working mom. I like being a working mom. But right now, I’m a working mom…not a career woman. And that’s okay. It’s okay if I make less money. It’s okay if my title is smaller. It’s okay because I have a little girl who’s growing fast and I wouldn’t give up my evenings with her…I wouldn’t give up the laughs as she eats a handful of raw onions while we’re cooking dinner because she was experimenting. Those are moments I can’t get back. So right now…I’m giving it all to her and to Mike and getting more back than I could ever have hoped for.

Found my husband thanks to a newspaper ad…

25 Jun

I was 21 years old and needed a job. I was doing the online search thing, but having no luck. So I turned to the classifieds. I saw a job posted for an adminstrative assistant at a footwear company and thought, “This sounds awesome.” I interviewed and landed the job in April of 2001.

This is how I met Casie. Casie worked two cubicles away from me and I would visit her every single morning. I don’t think she knew what to think of me, but I didn’t care. I wanted to be friends with her. She was nice and funny and had no interest in being my friend. But I’m a persistant bitch and wouldn’t go away. After about 3 months of working there she said, “I have someone I want you to meet.” I said, “No. Not interested. I just got out of a serious relationship. I’m not ready.” Apparently she’s a persistant bitch too, because she wouldn’t let it go. A few times a week, she’d bring it up and I would always say no. Until one day, I asked for more details on this guy named Mike. Here’s how that went:

Casie: Well, he’s 30.
Janice: Oh. Yeah…that’s no good.
Casie: And he has an 11 year old son.
Janice: Ummm. Yeah…not sure I’m ready for that.
Casie: Here’s a picture of him
Janice: Ummm…he looks nice????

You see, Casie showed me the WORST picture of Mike EVER taken. I’m not joking. It was horrible. He looked bloated and drunk. So basically, Casie did the worst marketing for Mike ever! Apparently she was also working on him and this his how that went:

Casie: I have a girl I want you to meet.
Mike: Ok.
Casie: She’s 21.
Mike: Ummm. Yeah…don’t want a girl who wants to go to the club every night. She’s too young.
Casie: Just meet her.

So finally after about a month of her nagging both of us, I agreed as long as she and her husband came along. We would just meet for drinks. I had already decided I wasn’t interested. So the evening of introduction comes and I’m not joking when I say I didn’t even change my clothes. I didn’t put on more makeup. I really didn’t put any effort into myself at all because I had already made up my mind that I wasn’t interested.

So Casie and I arrived before Mike and Tuti (Casie’s husband) did. And we’re sitting on the top of this rooftop bar in Hermosa and I see this gorgeous guy walking up the stairs and then I see Tuti behind said gorgeous guy and I flip out. Oh shit…he’s hot!!! Wait…he’s hot????? So they sit down and I’m not joking it was instant for me. As soon as he said he liked Matchbox 20, Casie and Tuti might as well have not existed. I came home from that first night and told Sara (my best friend) I thought I had met someone really special.

He promised to call on Saturday and he did. He called before noon, which I thought was so awesome. He was the first man to ever officially ask me out on a date. He took me to dinner at Jackson’s Bistro and from that moment on, we were inseparable. Except for the one time a week in when he got freaked out about my age and tried to walk. Thank God for his Grandma who said, “Do you like her?” To which he said, “Yes.” And grandma said, “Well, then who cares how old she is.” Four years later he proposed at that same restuarant and five years ago today, we stood up and said our vows in front of friends and family who promised to help us and support our marriage. And they have….more than I can ever say.

Happy Anniversary Husband! I just want to say:

5 years

Many ups

A few downs

2 job changes for me

Starting a company for you

A drive halfway across the US in the worst moving van EVER

Your mom passed

My grandmas passed

A baby girl was born

A son graduated

Ava started preschool

Drew started college

A move from a 1 bedroom apartment, to a 2 bedroom apartment, to a townhome

Countless miles ran

A half marathon completed

Desert trips

Guys trips

Girls trips

The Big Easy

Mexico x 3



Countless trips to the desert

And a HUGE pile of great memories!!!!

We live a good life babe and I couldn’t have asked for a better partner on this journey. I love you simply doesn’t seem like enough. You are an amazing man and I’m looking forward to adding to the list of memories. I love you more than I say and more than you know.