“Oh Buhay”: Life is So Hard

Oh buhay, Tagalog for “Life is so hard.”

In contrast, my sweet friend, Maribel, made me a frame that says, ” Life… it’s so easy.” It’s a little inside joke my friends and I have with her.

We can either go through life thinking one of the two.

How do you see it? I’m blinking at you like Dora the Explorer.

I need to brag about Maribel for a hot minute. She knows how to do things…from cooking to styling hair, to instructing Zumba, to being a phlebotomist. This lady can do HARD things. She is a devoted wife, mother, friend and foremost a Christian. She doesn’t need to advertise her beliefs because she embodies it in her daily actions. She’s the real deal. I love you, Maribel! I haven’t even covered half of what makes Maribel the awesome person she is.

*Disclaimer: If you are my friend, you may be subject to appearing in a post. I am a bragger, so if you are a friend of mine it is because you are a strong individual and I am inspired by the person you are. You continue to motivate me to be the best version of myself.

Life in the Ultrarunning Community

I have once again immersed myself into the ultrarunning community. I am currently living the cheer mat life sidelines. I am the person who will be one of your biggest supporters as you run and train for those ultra running races. My husband and I might just be at the aid station, making that crowd favorite of peanut butter and jelly wrapped in a tortilla.

I’ve missed it. If you’re one of my running friends reading this, I’ve missed you.

I know I’ve been a crappy friend, but can you blame me? Depression kicked my @$$ BIG TIME. I retreat inwards. It’s not good. I do not recommend it. I’m learning to reach out to others. Like I’ve said before, people can’t read your mind, because if they could your people would be right there to lift you up.

When you are in that big pit of despair, who do you turn to when you no longer have your friends to turn to. I found out who I really needed to turn to.

There’s only so much you can do when you turn away from God.

I can tell you one thing, your problems will not end. You may get tried, but He can make your burdens lighter. When you feel the weight of the world on your shoulders, only He can make it lighter and send people to you to help alleviate those burdens. If you are still on the fence about the God thing, think of it as the Universe. I’ve said this before. We are interconnected. You know why? Because we need each other. There is no “lone wolfing” this life.

I mean, you can if you want, but you are essentially making life a lot harder for yourself than it needs to be.

Back to talking about running…

I’ve missed the people who became my life’s greatest cheerleaders.

When you stop running, are you still a runner?

When I wasn’t running…no, I didn’t think of myself as a runner. I walked the trail for 3 years and could not imagine myself ever running ANY foot race again. I asked and wondered, mostly in my head, why ANYONE would subject themselves to a 100 mile race, especially a race in the Florida Keys during the month of May?

I forgot the joy that running brought me. The onset was sudden. It started when my husband, Anthony, our daughter, Lexi, and our other daughter, Brooklyn came down to Ancient Oaks 100 in Titusville, Florida to volunteer at the start/finish aid station this past December. This past year it has become an infamous race for other reasons, but I’ll let you do the research on your own.

I planted the seed when I said I lost my passion for running.

I used reverse psychology on me and now I have some races lined up leading up to the Keys 100.

Do you see how our lives are created by our own making?

I had a reawakening in my soul. Please refer to my last few blog posts to understand what I’m talking about.

In two weeks, my daughter, Alexis, aka Lexi will be jumping out of a perfectly good plane and upon landing, she will then run 13.1 miles. Why? Free will. Also, one of the greatest gifts God has given each one of us on this planet.

The race is called Sky Dive Ultra, created by Eric Friedman. He’s also the guy who created FUR Florida Ultra Runners group on FB.

I’ve wanted to attend Sky Dive Ultra (not jumping out of the plane) get together/reunion of sorts since 2014. The date has not worked out in my life’s schedule.

I’m not saying live a YOLO life. I’m saying we need to live among the living. The world is so much better with YOU in it. Be with the people who make it worth living.

You will be happier for it. I’m living proof that it’s better to live life among the living. I changed how I saw things and once I did that, everything else just clicked. I mean EVERYTHING. Thoughts, ideas, and actions. Most importantly, people have been placed in my path to facilitate the actions. More on that in another post.

Well, now that we have a family member running the race, the race will be more meaningful to say the least. Not only that, but now I created an opportunity to catch up with my running friends and introduce them to my husband, who has unwittingly caught the running bug, before I knew I wanted and needed running back in my life. I am grateful he planted the seed in his own way, unbeknownst to him.

The Keys 100

In the same vein of ultrarunning thought, I’m in the beginning stages of training for The Keys 100. This race is a special one for me.

Here’s the short short story…

2014

I attempted this race as a solo runner…meaning no running crew. I depended on the aid stations. The problem? They can’t anticipate your needs, because they don’t know you. I did experience what it means to help a sister out. Christian Stewart and Susan Anger who are well known to those of us who are Florida Ultra Runners. They helped me after the 7-Mile Bridge. I made it as far as 96 miles, but knowing that I wouldn’t buckle, I threw in the towel.

2015

I towed the line once again…and finished.

Why?

I had a crew. Three other ultra runners (Lani, Bernadette, and Kevin volunteered their time and energy just to get me thru to the finish. They were there to anticipate what I needed, before I even knew I needed it.

I’ll never forget the moment when my friend, Lani, said sometime during the last six miles. I was severely chaffed in my nether regions. It hurt with every step I took.

Lani said, “If you want me to put Butt Paste there, I’ll do it.”

Her look of compassion for a situation I put upon myself in made my heart fill with more gratitude than I can express here in words.

I could not have done it without them. This year I’ll have a different crew. Two of them will be my family members. I’m sure you can guess who that will be.

2022

I have been looking for my buckle from 2015…it’s vanished from my possession. I can’t remember the last time I physically touched it.

Lexi said, “Well, I guess you’ll have to run another one.”

So, I guess it’s time for me to get a new one. I look forward to the coming months and years with my new found love to live life. I’m continually learning to love every aspect of it..meaning the good, the bad, and the ugly.

I ask that we all adopt Maribel’s saying, “Life…it’s so easy,” and add “when you allow others into it.”

Let us help each other in this crazy journey we call life!

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Thank you for visiting and I hope to “see” you again soon.

A Letter to Mia

Memoir writing is filled with the past and the many people I have shared some time with. Every year in October, I silently think about an old childhood friend. Mia Jones became one of my best friends when I lived in West Valley, New York. This month does not only share her birthday but also the month she left us. We only kept in contact through email in our 20’s, so the voice in my memory still reflects that of her 11-year-old self. There are things I wished I would have told her but didn’t. They are nothing earth-changing but have impacted my life nonetheless. This year I felt compelled to write her the following letter.

Dear Mia,

If I could speak to you again, I’d ask you if you were doing okay. We would reminisce about when your brother, Frank, made us watch A Nightmare on Elm Street in the dark. I never told you how that fear stayed with me for months afterward. I took showers facing the showerhead with my eyes wide open. The water and soap would burn my eyes, but at least I was prepared to escape from Freddy Kreuger’s steely grasp. 

You, Laurie, Erin, and Amanda held a going away party for me the day before I moved. We had a water fight in Laurie’s backyard. There’s a picture of us taken that day, drenched from the water balloons. The five of us holding you up like you were in a Broadway show. Your mouth was open mid-laugh. I never told you I thought you would be a comedian. I can still hear your laugh echo in my memory, even after all this time. The four of you signed the back of a shirt with dairy cows on the front and our town name written underneath. I never told you I wore that shirt practically every day my first summer away from all of you. It was washed so many times that the back of the shirt no longer carried all of your names.

I spoke to you through email when we were in our early 20’s. We exchanged short pleasantries, and you told me you were majoring in business. We hadn’t spoken to each other since we were 11. Through a few emails, the gap of time was bridged, and it was as if we had never been apart. 

Not long afterward, I got an email from Laurie, telling me you passed away. I didn’t know you were sick at all. The words became blurred by my tears. My three and four-year-old daughters couldn’t understand why I was so sad. I told them I had lost a special friend, who had gotten very sick.

If you were still here… I should have… would have… could have… asked you more often to tell you how much I missed seeing your face. I would have asked you more questions and checked in with you more often. I never got to tell you how I wished I was a part of your family. Your parents were so good to me. My parents and I never laughed together the way your family did. Even now, I remember how much love I felt within the walls of your home. 

You live on in my memories. Until we meet again, my friend.

Love,

Desiree

Write a Letter

Remember to stay in touch with the people you cherish, especially the once-in-a-lifetime kind of friends. They are the type of friends you haven’t spoken to in years, but you can always pick up where you left off.

The greatest gifts to me have come in the form of a handwritten card or letter. I miss those days. My hope is that you will take a moment and send a letter, e-mail, or text to that person you wished you had kept in touch with. From what I have learned, they will be glad to hear from you.