Goals: Failures and Successes

What better time to talk about goals than on the Chinese New Year.

Goals

Does the word goal make you cringe inwardly a little? Sometimes I feel like it attaches meaning to something that I don’t really want to do, but must get done, like my statistics homework that I’m pushing out to do tomorrow instead of right now.

Why? Because I attach a higher priority to my writing. Although learning and understanding how it applies to psychology is an important skill and a required course to complete my long-haul hopes and dreams, I L-O-V-E to write. Writing hits that feel-good receptor.

I bet you know what this segue is leaning towards.

If you guessed running, you get a virtual fist bump. 

Let’s just say that goals aren’t for dreamers. Don’t get me wrong, this is a great stepping stone towards the “G” word, and do I ever like to dream with the best of them.

Unfortunately, for the dreamer, like myself, I have to jump off the cloud and take my Care Bear tushy down to my reality like (quick side note: I imagine the Care Bears every time I think about what it would be like to live in the clouds if  they weren’t really made out of water droplets like the scientists say), “Why do I smell ____?” or the Majority question in the Haros house, “What are we having for dinner?” As if I know the answer, SMH. I wouldn’t use that shortened form unless I actually did that, which I often do. I think it’s equivalent to the eye roll for teenagers. We parents have our own language. We shake our heads for a myriad of reasons, but I won’t discuss that today.

Goals require action…

Whatever your stance is on goals, there is no side stepping option available here. Goals are for those who are all about action. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like talking about something unless I’m actually going to do something about it.

As of late running has once again grabbed at my soul.

Running is the adrenaline rush, the breathing in and out, the one step after the other, the feeling of the sun on my skin…the untapped potential just beneath the surface of my very being.

This is the place where I feel like anything and everything can happen…when I truly believe that ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE.

Let me rephrase that. ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE THROUGH GOD. I know that without Him in my corner, I wouldn’t be able to do the things I have been fortunate enough to do.

In regards to that rush, this is how I feel when I run. If that rush could be bottled up and stored, no one would ever have to experience those lows, but then again how could we ever enjoy those highs? One is not possible without the other.

With all that said, it’s time to prove to myself that I can run a 100-mile race.

I know it can be done and I also know from prior experience that it can’t always be done.

Did you see what I said there? Let me say it one more time. Just because you want something bad enough, even if God has you, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get it.

It took many failures to get me there. My ego was knocked to the curb and my vulnerabilities exposed. Humbled much? Too many times to count.

Greenlights weren’t happening when I attempted the 100 mile race at Zion 100, Keys 100, Wild Sebastian, Daytona 100, and Atacama Extreme 100.

I don’t have a great track record of 100- mile distance finishes, but it shows that I tried. In my life time, I have completed the distance twice. Those finishes meant a whole lot more.

The same goes for my writing. There were several rejections, before my essays were accepted. Once again, those failures made my successes that much sweeter.

How did I get from point A to point B?

I didn’t give up. I kept pushing because I knew I could get it done.

At this point, I feel like I’m giving myself a pep talk. Hope this speaks to you in some way.

I will continue to chip away at my running milestones just as I did before I completed my first 100. How? One step at a time.

If you are a writer, how do you get there? One word at a time.

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Just like any goal, you have to visualize the outcome.

Close your eyes.

Now bask in the feeling of your accomplishment.

Can you see yourself there? Holding that buckle? Or that diploma or that finished book in print?

Whatever goal you have. It’s in you. This is what I have to remind myself on the daily. I am my own roadblock at times. Those negative thoughts are like land mines.

In my own experience, I notice that every time I take my eyes off a goal, I step on a mental land mine and that outcome is never pretty. The moment I do, everything seems to go wrong. One catastrophe to the next.

I’m now ever slowly learning that I need to say a prayer to God asking Him for help and guidance. I also ask my friends to lift me up with their positive vibes. Both of these options are provided to all of us. You just have to ask.

Interested in goal achieving?

Here are some easy steps to follow. If you’re already in the middle of these steps. Let me know how it’s going.

1. Create a goal. Write down your why. Make sure it’s big enough to get you out of bed every day.

2. Write down the steps it will take to get you there. Work backwards from the finish to the beginning. This will put in a different head space.

3.  Ask others who may have accomplished your goal. Just ask and I guarantee they will help you out.

4. Get to it and accomplish your goal. I’ll be cheering you on.

“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.

Change Your Mindset and Have a Day to Remember

April and I used to have this inside joke where we would tell each other to “Have a day!”

You know, because having a good day would be expecting too much.

Well, I’m learning to expect more. It’s about making your day and not your day making you.

Do you know what I’m talking about? We had a situation the other day that could have ruined our day, but my husband and I proceeded with our day and took that pivot. Do you remember that episode of Friends where Ross and Rachel are moving that sofa? P-I-V-O-T was the main message.

How do you change your mindset?

You make it a daily practice. Like anything, i.e., writing, creating (whatever that avenue is for you, running..all of it requires a daily practice).

Have you prayed for patience or love?

You will be tried.

Why?

God is turning your weaknesses into strengths.

So you prayed and you’re asking why the world is working against you. Keep in mind that you are slowly being molded into the strong individual that people see today.

I need to constantly press the restart button. I’ll be the first person to tell you I’m far from perfect. When it comes down to it, I’m just trying to be the best possible version of myself to my family, friends and strangers alike.

Learn to see things from a different perspective. It just might change how you see an individual.

Scenario

Brooklyn takes her diaper off and uses her poop as finger paint all over the living room.

My husband said, “Why didn’t you ask me for help?”

“Because I thought you would have figured it out!” I replied.

I expected my husband to help me out. You know, anticipating what my needs were.

Verbalize exactly what you need from your spouse.

He’s not a mind reader. Yes, you may be required to spell it out for him.

We are all on this learning curve called life…together.

*Disclaimer: Even when you don’t pray for something, you will still be tried. Most likely because you didn’t learn the lesson the first 100 times.

It’s 2022: How’s Your Mindset?

There was so much I wanted to accomplish in 2021.

I fell short, but I did do some things like sticking with this here blog (country talk is rampant in these parts).

I started this post back in November, but other topics felt more important until now. During the beginning of November it finally started cooling down here in Florida.

The leaves changed from green to a light diarrhea brown. Not quite as eventful as it is in places like West Valley, New York.

Simple Mindset Change

Missing the change of seasons is a small price to pay, because Florida does have its perks. Two words: sandals and tank tops. Not having to scrape ice off my windshield to run a quick errand. I could go on, but enough about why it’s so great to live in Florida, I ‘ll leave that for another post.

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Today I wanted to provide you a list of my favorite books that changed my view on life. Perspective is EVERYTHING.

Here’s a short list that I’ll continue to add on to, so keep checking back.

Self-Improvement

The Holy Bible

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Thank You for Arguing- Jay Heinrichs

Literary Works

Fountainhead- Ayn Rand

Anna Karenina- Leo Tolstoy

100 Years of Solitude-Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Running

Born to Run- Christopher McDougall

The Ultra Mindset- Travis Macy

The Ultramarathon Man- Dean Karnazes

This one made marathons seem like a 10k. After my first marathon, I crossed the finish line and knew that it was only the beginning. I would run my first ultramarathon two months later…Chuckanut 50k and then came Rainier to Ruston 50 mile. Both in 2008.

I wouldn’t run my first 100 miles until 2015.

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What ever you do today, make it a fabulous one. I pray that you will be able to find humor in the things your mindset would normally take you. It can change your day and affect those around you for the better. I dare you to give it a try.

Thank you for taking the time to stop by. Please comment below and let me know what you think about the list. I would love to hear what book helped change your perspective. I’ll add it to my own list.

But Are You Happy?

Photo Credits: Dawn Sullivan (follow her @dawnruns100k)

April 5, 2008

The weather was perfect. No stomach issues. No cramping. There was nothing but blue skies and a tail wind. Could it get any better than this? The adrenaline that coursed through my veins was unlike anything I had yet experienced.

Me and the Universe were vibin’ on all the cylinders.

I had been running alongside a pair of brothers since the race began. They became my unofficial pacers telling me when I was going too fast and reminding me to take small steps on the ascents using the balls of my feet.

“Time?” I asked

“3 hours and 35 minutes,”You got this. We’ll see you at the finish,” one of them replied.

I had 1/2 mile to the finish. My goal time? 3 hours and 40 minutes. The Yakima River Marathon was a Boston Qualifier.

I didn’t have a fancy Garmin like the other runners. I relied on the steady beat of my heart to guide me.When my heart felt like it was ready to burst, I knew I was running 7:30 minute mile pace. I let my legs loose and ran hard to the finish.

3 hours and 37 minutes and 40 seconds. Pace. 8:18 minutes per mile. I was going to freaking Boston!!!! I lived in that happy place during the entire marathon and then some.

My thought process when I began running went as follows.

If I can run a 10k, I can run a marathon.

If I run a marathon, I can run a 50k.

If I can run a 50k, I can run a 50 mile race.

If I can run a 100k, I can run a 100 mile.

Did it make me happy?

Hell ya it did. I was very happy come into a race…

until I crossed the finish line.

I used to think of happiness as a destination. I was searching for the elusive “happy” like it was an island where I could set up my treehouse and never leave.

Happy Is…

What is your happy?

Ready? Set? Go.

I’ll give you 30 seconds.

What did you write down? Here’s my 30 second list: sunrises, sunsets, walking on the beach, a cup of coffee in the am, making a recipe because I have all the ingredients, comfy shoes (like Sanuks or Bob’s), listening to Imagine Dragons, not smelling a stinky diaper in the air or reading a book. I know I could have written more, but my mind loves to wander and wonder.

What else makes you happy?

I’ll give you a minute.

On this second round of my happy list, it turns towards moments with my husband and children. Number one is talking at my husband. You read that right. I talk at him and he indulges me by listening to me yammer about everything and nothing.

The deeper I look at what it means to be happy, I realize there is no pattern. Happy is a montage of insignificant and significant events and moments that have occurred, is occurring or will occur. You just have to be more aware of them or you’ll miss out.

The definition of happy is showing pleasure or contentment.

It seems like happy times are intermingled with the sad, the ho-hum, and the no good rotten ones. Think of happy like rainbow sprinkles. They are the highlights of our day-to-day grind.

It is woven into the past, present and gently tied into my hopes for the future. When I see my one year old smothering her daddy with wet open mouth slobbery kisses, my happy meter lights up. My second daughter, Lexi loves to sing, when I hear her singing in the morning. Her happy makes my happy meter light up.

Follow her YouTube channel @ Alexis Sant

Happy is found in the momentary blips that occur everyday. I see it on my Instagram feed. Friends who I met along the way through running have shown me when their happy meter lights up. Some of us have branched off into other passions and interests. Although I no longer take part in races, I’m grateful for the moments I shared with them.

In 2014, I met Sue at a 50 mile race out at Ft. Clinch State Park, Florida. She exuded a certain joie de vivre that was full of fire and spunk. She went on to complete her first 50 mile race and would later complete her first 100 mile race on the same course.

She is full of light from within. Enter Sue’s happy…

Photo Credits: Sue Edwards (follow her @suebehonee)
From left to right: Sue’s fur babies- Juliet and Romeo
Vegan Cake made by the talented Sue
Photo Credits: Sue Edwards (follow her on Instagram @suebeehonee)

While I was putting this post together, it gave me an excuse to catch up with her. I learned that she has Stage 3 Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. There is no cure for this type of cancer. She has left an indelible impression on me and all the other people she has met throughout her life. I pray that her health will allow her to continue to share her light with others.

Sue is a true example of living life well. Her beautiful smile says it all. Life is too short to get stuck on the petty and insignificant. Find your happy everyday.

The Secret to Happy

What is the secret to happy?

There is no secret.

Happy exists all around us and when we aren’t feeling it, like I used to tell my kids, “Sometimes you need to make your own sunshine.”

You are happiness.

Take a look at the list you made. Your happy has always existed. Sometimes you just need a little nudge to remind you where to look.

The Addiction: Part 1

The Addiction: I'm not addicted to running. I'm addicted to the way it makes me feel.

For those of you who knew me as Desiree “The Runner,” I started in 2006. I became addicted to running in a short span of time. It began with an easy 3 miles, but of course, like any good addiction, it spiraled out of control into 6 miles and then 9 miles within a month of starting. Not long after, I started running run twice a day, 6 miles in the am and 6 miles in the pm, for months on end. I pushed my limits until those limits broke me physically and mentally.

Yes, it is mind over matter, but only to a certain degree. I have run through the pain, but the numbing effect of the mind cannot fully anesthetize the physical pain I still experienced.

I have been plagued by foot pain on the bridge of my right foot ever since I ran my first marathon, and I have the occasional throbbing pain in my right knee from my first 50-mile race. Those injuries occurred over 10 years ago!

Leaving My Faith

This may come across as trite to my more devout Mormon friends, but I left the church because of my addiction. There are other reasons I left the Mormon church, but I’ll explain that in another post.

In late January 2014, I met with my bishop who told me I was running too much. He told me that my time was better with my children. Innocent statement, right? I didn’t feel that way at the time. I left his office with a deep anger I couldn’t shake and decided I wasn’t coming back.

I should have told him that I felt like running was the only thing holding me together. I was grappling from the fall out of my first husband going to Federal prison for the next six years. I was so angry at him and angry at God for allowing it to happen. My faith was rocked, and with it, I decided to end our 14-year marriage as soon as possible. If I didn’t run, I felt like I would cease to exist altogether.

I left the Mormon Faith in September of 2014. And my 14-year marriage was dissolved a couple of months afterward. After 22 years of living and breathing Mormonism, I was going through something called a faith crisis. I lost some of my Mormon “friends” along the way. It crushed my soul in a way I never could imagine.

A New Tribe

But I found another community that accepted me for who I was. My ultra-running tribe became my crazy running family. Thank you to those with who I remained friends and those I shared time on the trails. You may not have known it, but you helped me through one of the darkest hours of my life. But like any tribe, they can turn on you. They didn’t judge me, but that would come later.

I ran further. Add hip pain after The Keys 100 in 2015. I could run for 6 months solid, but then the depression would set in. I couldn’t understand why? I couldn’t accept that the addiction was diminishing my mental capacity to handle my emotional turmoil. The stuff I didn’t deal with in 2014.

But I kept running in a blind fury. I ran long and blasted the pain away with my favorite 90’s hits. Guess what? It doesn’t work long-term. Well, “Duh,” Desiree, of course, it doesn’t work long term. I was putting a band-aid on my problems. Little did I know, but that band-aid was going to be ripped off.

The End and a New Beginning

In 2018, the Universe hurled someone into my life. I was working at a dead-end job for a title company. I was married for the second time in my life, but the only thing in common between us was ultra running. Our love was centered around the sport of running and weightlifting, not on each other. You can’t build much off of that type of foundation. On top of that, when I wasn’t working, I was running, which meant I hardly saw my children. My husband and I were living a superficial marriage. Our photos gave the impression on FB and Instagram that we were doing effing awesome.

At the end of July of 2018 I ended things with my husband. I started a new life with the man I would eventually marry in January 2019. Yes, for someone like me 3x is a charm and  we would go on to have two babies within 11 mths of each other. I was met with some serious judgements from my FB friends. Sadly, I lost many of my running “friends” because of it. The backlash devastated me. I felt completely abandoned by my so called friends.

The Unrunning

What did I do with my tribe issues? I stopped running races and then I stopped running.

But then came the question, “Who was Desiree if she was no longer a runner? Runner Des was my identity. I deleted FB, I needed a hard reset. I needed to reassess who I would allow my FB friends to be.

I needed to readjust my priorities. Even though I’m no longer Mormon, I learned a lot from that religion, mainly the importance of family.

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This concludes The Addiction: Part 1. Tune in next week, I’ll be sharing Part 2. How my life after ultra running has changed and the lessons I learned along the way. I hope to see you back here soon!