2014: The Year of No Excuses

Where did 2013 go?  It seems like just yesterday we were welcoming in the New Year and now it’s just a few days from being over.

With a new year typically come those pesky resolutions.  Many people will make the resolution and within a month will have forgotten about it.  That’s why I challenge you to make a goal, not a resolution, for the entire year and make 2014 the year of “No Excuses”.

I can’t claim that this idea is mine; it actually came from the company I work for.  They challenged us to not make excuses for things we “couldn’t” do and make them happen.  They weren’t just talking professionally; they were talking mostly about personal goals and this all stemmed from Team Hoyt.

If you’ve never heard of Team Hoyt, Google them, it’s an inspirational story for all.  The story goes like this:  Rick Hoyt was born with his umbilical cord around his neck which resulted in him having cerebral palsy and being a quadriplegic.  When Rick was younger, his friend, who was recently wheelchair bound was having a fundraiser race and Rick told his Dad, Dick, that he wanted to race.  Dick agreed to push Rick in his wheelchair through the race but Dick had never run more than just a few blocks.  They did the race, and another, and another and to this day they have finished Iron Man Competitions (a triathlon where you swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles and run 26.2 miles) as well as marathons and many other races.  Dick does all of this WITH his son: pushing him in the wheelchair, pulling him in a raft and biking with him.  Oh, and by the way, they have come in ½ an hour short of a marathon record.

No excuses.  Dick just gets out there and does it because his son loves it.  Dick didn’t know how to swim and learned to swim.  He hadn’t rode a bike in years and got back on a bike.  He couldn’t run any distance and got out there and DID it.

I had a “no excuse” moment about three years ago.  I was having a rough time that fall and decided that I wasn’t getting any younger: it was time to run a 5k.  My friend, Cheryl, had been telling me for years that I should run a 5k.  I kept making excuses:  I couldn’t run far, my knees are bad, etc., etc.  But that fall something changed and I knew that it was now or never.  I asked her when the next 5k was and there was one in eight weeks, the Turkey Trot.  Upon the advice of my friend Gabe, I followed the training program of Hal Higdon, which was a good, slow start training program.  I trained.  I followed the program and even on days when running was the last thing I wanted to do, I ran.  Cheryl took me under her wing and took me running hills with her running friends.  She called and texted asking how training was going.  And when money ran short and I couldn’t afford to pay for the race, my parents stepped in and paid for the race.  They even bought me running pants so I would actually look like a runner!

So, when it came to the day of the race, I had no excuses.  I was trained, looked like a runner and Cheryl even came and picked me up.  My parents were there to cheer me on.  Now, all I had to do was run.  Was I fast?  Not really.  Did I finish?  Yes.  Was I proud, excited and sore the next day?  Yes.  I put all of the excuses behind me, had friends and family to push me and take away anything that could be an excuse and just did it.  The best part is that running is addictive and I have brought another friend (Shawna) in to run with me too and I keep running races.  My most recent Turkey Trot was my fastest time ever for a race and I plan on keeping on.  No excuses.

So, make this your year of no excuses.  What is something you’ve always wanted to do but “couldn’t”?  What is something that you “didn’t have time for”?  What is something you’ve been scared to do because it was new?  Take the words “can’t”, “couldn’t”, “don’t have time” and other negatives out of your vocabulary.  Make 2014 a year where you can say “I did all of these new things and I’m a better person for it.”  Happy New Year!

Warrior Dash 2012

Warrior Dash 2012

Children With Hope Race 2011

Children With Hope Race 2011

Sweetheart Race 2011

Sweetheart Race 2011

Warrior Dash 2013

Warrior Dash 2013

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Christmas-time is here

Yes, it’s here, folks.  Tomorrow is Christmas.  As we move from the hustle and bustle of Christmas gift shopping and preparing for guests, don’t forget to be thankful for the simple things because when it all comes down to it, it doesn’t matter if dinner is perfect or if that gift isn’t the right size.  What matters is time with family and friends.

My brother recently lost a friend of his, he took his own life.  And yes, right before Christmas.  While this seems significant to many, in my mind it doesn’t matter.  Losing someone, no matter how, is hard at any time of the year.  I’ve watched my brother upload picture after picture of his friend, grieving via social media.  The really good thing about social media is that it brings people together at times like this and he is able to talk with others that knew this gentleman, sharing memories of him.

So, this Christmas, put away the one upping of “my gift cost more” or “my house is decorated better”.  Treasure time with those you love, tell them “I love you” many times because it can never be enough.  Most of all, have a very Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year!

It’s the Holiday Season

I had a great Thanksgiving:  spending time with my parents, ran a race, and just vegged.  Saturday I came home, got the decorations and tree out and started decorating the house.  I love this time of year, the festive decorations, the Christmas carols, parties…it all makes it so special.

Every year I set up my Christmas tree (all pre lit lights since I HATE putting lights on the tree) and then line out all of the decorations.  I know some people have a certain “look” to their tree but me, well, I like to keep it nostalgic.  I have ornaments from so many people, so many parts of my life, that I like to remember as I put them up.  There is the wooden teddy bear that my Grandpa made me.  Every year I look at it, remember how he loved his wood working, how he let me paint the details and how he made so many things in his shop in the basement.  He took such pride in those items and I hang it with pride year after year.

There are my Coke ornaments: one from a former roommate, one from an ex-boyfriend.  The two ceramic ornaments that I got from a secret Santa in high school, the one I bought because it looks like my Punky cat, the Chicago Bears ornament because I’m a die hard fan and the nursing ornaments.  Those are crazy because for a good majority of my growing up, and into my first years of college, I wanted to be a nurse.  So, I got a few ornaments of that nature.

There are the ones from when I was born, some my mom made for me and many more that have so much meaning to them.  So not only has this become a Christmas tree, it’s a memory tree.  As I hang each one, as I look them over throughout the season, I smile at the good times I had with the people that gave me the ornaments and I cry for those that have left this world because I miss them.

This Christmas season, I suggest that you take time to remember past holidays, people that may not be in your life anymore.  Laugh, smile, cry…remember.