Balance can apply to all areas of our life. Our diets can be balanced, our exercise plan, workload, etc. Last spring after dealing with my injury and frustration for months I felt like running was out of balance with the rest of my life. I was living in the space between doctor appointments, hoping and praying to be better ASAP. Trying to determine if I was losing my identity as a runner. It got me thinking about the next chapter, when I still run but the lofty goal of qualifying for the Olympic Marathon Trials is behind me. What will I do with all the extra time? What passions will I be driven by? What will ignite my fire? I spent my extra time exploring and made the choice to apply to graduate school and pursue a degree in Exercise and Wellness emphasis on Healthy Aging. There are many steps to take, the biggest one is passing the GRE exam. I was scheduled to take it Nov 24 but busy school schedule and sick kids proved too demanding. I am rescheduled for the GRE mid-January. This will give me extra time to prepare and achieve my goal of obtaining the needed score for grad school. 

I feel so blessed to be pursuing my goal of qualifying for the Olympic Marathon Trials with an awesome group of women and returning to school. The challenges feel large and overwhelming at times but I try to focus on the daily steps needed to achieve these goals.

Life at home has been extremely busy this fall. I hope my kids truly comprehend what mom is trying to accomplish. This year I have really seen the lessons I have taught them come out in their actions. 

My daughter Katherine has found her own way to balance her sports and academic life. Katherine made the tough decision earlier this year to retire her gymnastics career and pursue some new interests; pole vaulting and running also increasing her involvement in school as she entered high school. It was a bittersweet choice and I am so proud of her. During her thought process I made sure she knew I needed a daughter that was happy not a daughter that was a gymnast. She went out on top winning the State Championship All-Around title and vault title in her division. She is off to a good start with pole vault and already has a spreadsheet drafted with colleges she wants to attend. 

My son Josh has taken some of my lessons and put them in place also. Last spring his baseball team was in the final game for the championship title. The team was out of their regular pitchers and Josh accepted the challenge to pitch, despite not pitching in 2 years. I was nervous but he handled the pressure just fine and pitched the entire game helping his team win the championship title. Leading up to the game we read from “Mind Gym” and practiced some mental training in the event he would pitch. I was happy to share this mental training I learned with my son.  The power of the mind is amazing. Josh loves to run and is very competitive. I look forward to watching him blossom as a runner. He recently qualified for USATF Youth Xcountry Nationals. I am going to jump through a few hoops to get him to the race in South Carolina the weekend before finals. I know it is a choice I will not regret. I told Josh today, extraordinary accomplishments don’t come from ordinary actions. 

I loved Lauren Fleshman’s article in Runner’s World this month “The Awesome Project”. I feel like that is exactly what I am doing!  Although I am not at her level I feel like I can draw many parallels. Last year I started experiencing pain in my right glute and left hamstring. After many months of rehab, pt, doctor visits, chiropractor visits, yoga, 1 MRI I realized I need to make some major changes with my body. I have always had some form issues and they reared their ugly head demanding to be fixed properly and permanently this time. I started working with a new physical therapist this Summer and we have come a long way!!! I am back to training, building mileage, increasing speed and starting to feel like I am back in the game. 

There are many demons that attempt to invade my thoughts hollering out why I can’t achieve my goals: too old, 3 years since my last marathon, one injury after another and the list goes on. Anytime these demons pop up I quickly shut them down with “Yes I can”. My mind does not comprehend the word “no or not possible”. In quoting Lauren in regards to her continual pursuit of her athletic goals “we might flip over and burst into flames for all I know. But I earned the chance to find out, and I am going to take it.”  I am going to keep pursuing my big dreams! Regardless of the outcome it will be an amazing journey. 

Time to ask yourself: What are your dreams? What are your goals? Are you taking steps necessary to achieve them?