Monday Motivation

Monday thoughts:

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world”

Anne Frank                                                                                                                                                              (1929 – 1945)

Happy Miles to You!!

Mileage Recap ~ 4 – 10 June…Steady As She Goes

Happy Sunday Everyone!!

It’s been fairly uneventful this past week.  Always a bit of a drag coming off a holiday and a four-day work week to a full work week!  Not complaining too much – lol, but you get my drift.  It’s been so rainy here in the DC area.  It seems every time I want to get out it’s raining or the threat of raining.  It’s been slowing my outdoor game just a bit.  This week was good for miles.  I’ve been hitting the indoor bike on the rainy days and got in a small run.  I’m up to 11.5 miles on the indoor bike on the longer ride days.  I’ve been trying to do a little something every day in the mileage category.  On strength training days I try to get at least two miles in on the bike.  I can really see a difference and uptick in my running and cycling performance.  In the past I didn’t pay a lot of attention to strength training, just didn’t make the time.  I’m definitely making time for strength training now, even if it means fewer miles for the week.  The outcome is better.

This weeks miles came to 29.70.  I am 190 miles away from the halfway mark, with 5848 miles gratefully remaining.  How do you think I should celebrate my halfway mark?  I hope this finds you enjoying your June Sunday, rain or shine…steady as she goes!  Happy Miles to You!!

I googled steady as she goes…and this one came up!  It’s kind of catchy….

 

 

 

 

 

Mileage Recap ~ 21 May – 3 June…Don’t Waste A Moment On This Earth

Don’t waste a moment on this earth….

I started out with the best intention to get a recap post in on Memorial Day, but as the weekend wore on I found my chance slipping away until it was too late and I was too tired.  Part of the reason, I happened to hear a thought-provoking podcast from former SEAL, Jocko Willink.  One of the lines that jumped out at me was he said “don’t waste a minute on this earth“, and that just got me thinking about all the things we get wrapped up in that have no meaning and no purpose in our grand plan.  Mr. Willink’s sentiment is focused on the men and women who have bravely fought for us and are no longer here to waste their time.  It’s an intense podcast which most people will not listen to completion.  It’s hard to hear about death and sorrow if you don’t understand about the people who serve. You can listen to the podcast here.

Memorial Day 2018: Remember Me

Don’t wast a moment on this earth…..

Most people celebrate the Memorial Day weekend as a good time to get things done around the house, cookout, plant gardens and just relax from the work week.  But as most people are aware Memorial Day is also a day to reflect on those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for our country and will not be participating in any of the events we hold dear in modern American life.  No matter what you think about the present day political situations or wars of the past, one thing is for sure, those that were called up or voluntarily went to fight wars on behest of the leaders of our government did so without question and did what they were told.  I often think of my Grandfather who served in WWII.  He voluntarily signed up without even knowing what really was going on overseas.  Unlike today where we have news that informs us, back then it was just bits and pieces and nothing was real-time.  It’s a kind of bravery I hope we never lose.  War is a terrible thing and even more terrible is losing loved ones who go and fight, therefore, in my humble opinion we can never forget those that do for us, willingly and without question.

Don’t waste a moment on this earth….

Work hard to find your purpose and embrace it, fine tune it, and live it to the best of your ability.  Leave the noise in the background because in the end it’s only noise not your truth.  Don’t hold back compassion for those around you because they may not be here tomorrow.  Smile and hug often.  Know what is important and leave folly at the wayside.  Don’t be afraid to move on and find what works for you.  Be present for yourself and those around you; a monumental task in itself these days.  If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my life, nothing is certain, you have to take chances, and you have to work hard at all things.  Most dreams don’t play out  the way we run them through our minds.  We get frustrated and sometimes give up and lose our purpose.  Always stand fast and learn to bend, because those dreams might not be exactly how you planned them to work out, but if you believe and work hard enough they will work out the way they should in the end – and sometimes better than you ever imagined.

The month of May was a banner month for miles.  I was able to complete 118.69.  I was hoping for more but the weather!  Rain, rain and more rain.  I accomplished these miles by running and cycling (indoors and out).  I had a really good ride on the Mt. Vernon trail again and even pushed a little further than before finishing 16.90.  The best part is I was able to get up the last hill without getting off the bike!  Sweet!  The total for this recap is 46.80 miles.  I am 220 miles to my halfway point.  Keep on going.  I have 5877.70 miles remaining in my journey.  I thought I would end with a song from Crosby Stills and Nash.  I always found it a somber tune and straight to the point.  I hope this Sunday finds you well…don’t waste a moment on this earth…Happy Miles to You!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mileage Recap ~ 14 – 20 May….Finish Your Blanket

The interesting thing about having a blog is being able to think about topics or ideas to write about.  A lot of times when I think of something to write about I try to tie it in to an action from my past, my mileage count and what is going on in the present.  It’s a tall order.  Sometimes I get great inspiration and other times not so much.  I guess what makes writing this blog interesting is there is more than just a purpose of counting the miles ~ there are life lessons, growth and adventure to be had!  There are a lot of great blogs out there to read.  But blogging is hard and can be time-consuming.  Many blogs start but they don’t last long.  I have had a few people tell me they would like to blog.  Some start and it doesn’t last too long and others just never start.  Just like running long distances blogging takes a lot of willpower and persistance.

One of the most prominent features I remember about my Nana was her hands.  She suffered from really bad arthritis that left her fingers swollen and bent.  There have been many times I have looked at my own hands and have seen her hands.  Or maybe what my future hands may look like.  Let’s hope not, but you never know with genetics.  She used to crochet all the time and created some wonderful blankets.  I have many that I don’t even use because they were so beautiful.  I remember finding the art of crochet fascinating and wouldn’t mind learning myself.  Nana told me that she started crocheting because a doctor recommend it for exercising her hands.  She never crocheted until recommended by the doctor.  That recommendation has brought forth some wonderful heirlooms I and others still have today.

Funny it wasn’t my Nana who taught me how to crochet but a childhood friend when I was living in Texas.  I remember seeing her work on a blanket and I just had to learn.  So there in Victoria, Tx, my friend Stacey taught me how to crochet before I was a teenager.  I dabbled in it from time to time but never really produced something viable.  Bottom line, I would start, but I never finished.  If you think about it ~ what a colossal waste of time; picking out the yarn, the stitch, the size hook and starting the project only to put it away and never touch it again.  I started a Halloween blanket one time and I carried that thing around to about three different places we moved to while in the military.  I just couldn’t get rid of it because I knew one day…..

I’m very lucky to have a wonderful friend here in Alexandria.  She really took me under her wing and has made my move an easier one.  She has done so much for me that I wanted to do something for her to show my appreciation.  So….I’m going to crochet her a blanket.  Nothing fancy ~ just a nice double crochet blanket….and I’m going to finish it…no doubt.  Surely you jest,  you say!  Since I’ve been on this journey of completing 11315 miles I’m not the same person who was toting that orange and black half crocheted blanket around.  Waiting for the right Halloween to come around to finish.  I have become someone who can go the distance and finish.  Whether it be a crocheted blanket, a marathon,century or whatever life throws my way.  It might not be perfectly straight on the edges, but it was made with love, joy and a whole lot of heart and persistance.

This weeks mileage was pretty good.  I have already greatly surpassed last month and there is still more time!  The weather this week was a little rainy so some indoor riding and running were required.  I did two smaller runs and two rides on the indoor cycle.  It was supposed to rain today but we had hot, sunny and very humid weather and I went out for a small run.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I got out a little late and I sure did pay for that humidity.  The total for the week came to 27.68 miles with 5924.50 gratefully remaining.  Almost halfway there.

Whatever you do finish your blanket.  It may take awhile, but the path of persistence and will always does and the end result will be worth the effort.  This song comes to mind.  Happy Miles to You!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mileage Recap ~ 7 – 13 May… Mother’s Day 2018

Happy Mother’s Day!

Even though I feel the greeting card companies have created this day to sell stuff, and it worked, I still like to reflect on this day.  If you read the blog regularly, 11315 miles was created and dedicated for the purpose of honoring my mother Karen Ellen Dennis Mastromonico by celebrating one mile for every year of life.  I have been walking, hiking, running and cycling for a while now in honor of her memory.  It has been an adventure participating in different events, celebrating the joy of life in the memory of someone who died so young.

Like most women (moms) I decided to treat myself to a little Barnes and Noble from time to time.  I surely don’t need Mother’s Day to buy books and it only becomes better when I have my monthly free café drink.  There I was walking the tables stacked high with books, with many of the tables touting various slogans ~ Mom will love this for Mother’s Day, Books only a Mom could love, or Books of Inspiration.  I rounded this one table and there were all sorts of girl power books.  For some reason I was feeling the girl power and came across books with quotes from famous women and then there in the middle of the table was the book, Mother Teresa, Her Essential Wisdom.  I am fascinated by nuns and who better to read about than Mother Teresa.  I was particularly interested because I had read a story a while back that for the last 50 years of Mother Teresa’s life, she struggled with a dark presence in her faith.  It really is an amazing story.  She mentioned that she had a calling within a calling, to serve the poor and the unloved.  It is hard to imagine that she dealt with a dark side of faith with such a strong calling to serve the poor.  I find it fascinating that some women have this calling and give up so much to serve others.

Mother Teresa was the founder of the Order of the Missionaries of Charity.  She was born in what is known as modern day Macedonia but spent most of her life as Mother Teresa of Calcutta.  A funny story about the Missionaries of Charity.  While Pope Saint John Paul II was alive I was fortunate enough to get tickets to the Pope’s Easter mass at St. Peter’s Basilica.  Pope John Paul II was in failing health and was relegated to a wheelchair.  When we showed our tickets to the usher, who looked like CIA, we were led down the main aisle towards our seats.  I was a little embarrassed as we kept moving forward.  I thought surely at any moment we would tuck into a pew.  Nope, kept going forward passing people who were now staring.  The closer we got to the altar I was really embarrassed.  Why are we so close?  The next thing I know the nice gentleman sat us down in the seats that surrounded the altar.  In other words it was like stage seating at a concert.  I couldn’t believe it.  Finally, the church began to fill and there were priests and nuns all around us.  The priests looked the same but the nuns all had on different garments of their order.  Well lo and behold a group of nuns sat behind us that were talking and laughing like teen-aged girls.  I turned around and it looked like there were 12 Mother Teresa’s behind me.  It was quite a sight.  They were pumped and when they wheeled Pope in, the house came down.  It was their rock concert.

The mass began and if you ever have been to a Catholic Mass you know we get our exercise.  Up, down and kneel.  We weren’t in a pew but folding chairs and I was constantly getting bumped or pushed by the people behind me.  It was starting to get a little annoying until I realized that one of the nuns behind me was so short she couldn’t see.  She was jumping and tucking her head in between to see past me.  She couldn’t have been more than 4 feet and some change.  When I turned to look at who was making all that commotion she just gave me this electric smile filled with so much joy and a mouth full of some other language of which some words that spilled out in broken English ~ I’m sorry.  I realized that this was her event.  I spoke and gestured to her and her friend “let’s change seats” and I thought they were going to explode as they muscled me and my daughter out of the way.  They wasted no time switching and there I was in the middle of the Order of the Missionaries of Charity.  It was quite the experience.  Women are tough…even if they’re small.

I was able to get in a sampler of miles this week.  I ran, cycled and walked.  The weather was rainy and cycling had to be indoors.  On Saturday I went for a nice hike on the Mt. Vernon trial.  It was hot an muggy but all the trees are flowering and the wild flowers are gorgeous.  I finished 29.08 for the week leaving me with 5,952.18 gratefully remaining.   If you are celebrating Mother’s Day and your mother is living, never miss a moment to let her know how much you love her.  Even if it is just a simple text.  Life has a way of changing quickly.  I leave you with this:

The woman is the heart of the home.  Let us pray that we women realize the reason of our existence:  to love and be loved and through this love become instruments of peace in the world.

~ Saint Teresa of Calcutta

 

Happy Miles to You!!  This song seemed appropriate for those who have lost their Moms, written by John Lennon, Julia, who passed away in 1958..

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mileage Recap ~ 23 Apr – 6 May…May I Play Through?

When I lived in Japan, one of the first things that was asked, “do you play golf?”.  I remember the first time someone asked me that question I nearly laughed.  Uh no, how boring is golf?  Almost like watching paint dry.  Then the next statement was, “well, you should learn how to play, it’s a great way to bond with the Japanese.”  I avoided golf for as long as I could, bonding be damned, until one day there was a mandatory Army fun function at the driving range that was unavoidable.  I got out and hit a few balls.  Found out it was kind of interesting.  Then I tried the 9 hole course the Base had and found out, hmmm I kind of like this game. The next thing I know I was buying “women’s” clubs, shoes and that oh so cute golf skirt.  There I was lugging my clubs to and fro.  I did like the game.  It was more than just hitting the ball.  There was a science to the game and that’s what I liked.  A challenge.  If you’ve played golf before you know that sometimes there are those faster than you and by common courtesy to allow those people to “play through“.  There could be many reasons; just trying to get a quick game in, faster or just plain better.  Allowing someone to play through is just the nice thing to do.  That was years ago, sold are the clubs and the shoes and skirt are at Goodwill.

I realize there is a fine line between having common courtesy and being a push-over when in comes to play through.  You know that gray area that determines whether you are a saint or an asshole. There is a lot of teeth sucking that goes on during that decision-making process.  Especially when you are hiking or at the gym.

Last weekend I wanted to go hiking and I chose a park that was close by called Great Falls National Park.  What a great choice, but it was really crowded.  I got to the park around 11am and there was a car line.  Not bad, but I was in traffic about 15 mins.  Once in, I got lucky with the parking.  One of those just happened to be in the right place at the right time. The closer I got to the path I noticed a running race in progress!  It was really neat and at first I didn’t really know the flow of the runners or where they were coming from because they seemed to be everywhere.  I picked up my map and I decided to take the right path.

The part of the path that is closest to welcome center is the most crowded.  There were lots of path’s that went down to the river to overlook sites.  I continued to go down the path and it became more rugged, thinner, and fewer people.  There were some parts of the path I found myself alone and then a runner would come around the bend.  The farther I went down the trail it became only enough for one person to pass.  I used the “play through” method if there was a runner or someone faster behind me.  See, nice gal.  Unfortunately, the favor was not returned. Quite a few times I was behind individuals looking at real estate or trying to recite the chlorophyll process for the surrounding fauna.  But, I was patient until I could find a spot and hop around.  Further down the path it got to the point of climbing.  Anytime there were people coming down the hill…please, play through.  Until there was a group of about 50.  After about the 20th person playing through, I decided that I would take advantage of a slower gal and trudge up the hill.  I got a “well okay” from the bewildered female as if to imply really of which I said, yeah I’m playing through, you don’t mind do you?  Further down the path I saw more runners.  I began to wonder what type of race they were running.  Finally, I blurted out (not wanting to be that guy) what are you running to a passer-by.   It’s an Ultra, he said.  What!!!  Awesome.  Bucket list.

There are two parks, one on the Virginia side and one on the Maryland side.  I hear the Maryland side isn’t as busy.  Maybe I’ll try that one next time.  If you’re ever in the DC area, this is a great park and an awesome green space.  A couple of shots:

My favorite

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have joined Planet Fitness for a little over a year now and I have transferred my membership from Phoenix to Alexandria.  The gym here is good but I seem to have a problem with the 30 minute work out center.  In the middle of all the machines there is a “30” minute workout center.  It shines like a bright shiny penny in the sun for those of us that don’t have time to stare at ourselves in the mirror for an hour to get in a quick workout.  The concept is simple.  There are 20 stations.  You are on each station for about 60 seconds and 30 seconds to get to the next station.  Now, call me crazy, but you would think this is an easy concept.  Mind you, the same machines that are in this center are out on the floor, but for some reason the machines in the 30 minute workout zone attract individuals that are making important business calls or contemplating the price of rice in China.  They plant themselves on a machine and proceed to check email, texts, upload their workout to Instagram My Story or just take a nap.  I also feel there are a couple of individuals that when I enter the “zone” they come in too, because they know if pisses me off if I can’t play through.  They’re just waiting for me to step my Nike’s in… then there they come.  My all time favorite is this one gentleman. He’s there every night I’m in the gym.  He seems to migrate over to the workout center like a fly to honey.  Now, he’s a little different.  He goes and works out.  No phone.  But he is what I like to call a bogarter. What is a bogarter you ask?  Well, simple enough it’s a person who stays on one machine for about 30 mins.  Kinda like a gym squatter.  There is this one machine, an ab machine, that everyone seems to like.  I’m not really sure why.  It’s okay, but I doubt anybody’s walking out of that place with a six-pack even if they use it for six hours.  So, there I was starting my 30 minute workout the other day and in walks the guy.  He sees me looking at him.  He knows.  He knows I’m already getting pissed and I’m only on station 1.  He saunters over to station five.  Sits for a few rounds until I’m on station 4, I look at him.  He knows.  He moves.  I continue.  He’s now at station 17.  I get to station 16.  I give him my “get moving look”.  He knows.  He moves.  Finally, he walks over to the last station.  The ab machine.  I’m continuing on with my workout.  I’m at station 19.  The whole time I’m doing my machine I’m wondering…is he going to move.  And sure enough….he becomes….the bogart.  He knows.

Now, I’m waiting.  I’ll wait one workout revolution.  He still is on the machine.  Now I start the gym stare down.  He refuses to look my way.  He knows…I’m looking at him.  I continue to look until he turns my way.  I mouth the words, “are you done?”  Then, he acts like he doesn’t understand me.  He starts to speak Spanish.  Oh yeah, two can play at that game.  I start pointing to the clock.  The universal sign that means, time to move.  Then I say do you mind if I play through?  Again, acts like he doesn’t hear me.  Again I use sign language, get up off the seat.  Finally he moves.  Checkmate, 40 minute workout done.

This weekend I finally got my bike into the shop and took it out for a spin.  I went out to the Mount Vernon trail that I have been on a few times now hiking.  There is a nice improved path for bikes, walkers and runners.  I thought that the trial went 8 miles one way but it seemed to go on forever.  I cut it off at the 8 mile mark one way and was able to get in a great 16.76 mile ride.  A few pics from my ride:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My miles for the last two weeks came to 49.45 taking me to 5981.26 miles gratefully remaining. I hope this post finds you well.  Happy Miles to You!!

I think this is the perfect video for that guy.

 

Mileage Recap ~ 16 – 22 April…Happy Earth Day

Happy Earth Day everyone!  I didn’t even know it was earth day until I saw it on Google.  They have a great video on Dr. Jane Goodall.  I can’t think of a better representative for Earth Day then Jane Goodall.  I love all the work she’s done with primates and her overall sentiment that the earth is something to love, cherish and pass on to our youth.  If you would like to know more about Jane go to this link: http://www.janegoodall.org/

There are a lot of “days” out there to be celebrated and I imagine for most people some of this stuff is just a waste of time and money.  Maybe so in some cases, but I think earth day is a great day to reflect on how we live in our environment now and what can we do to improve and consume less.  At least I do. This weekend’s weather was true spring weather in Alexandria.  Blue skies, a little nip in the morning with it heating up later.

As I ran my longer run this weekend I took in the beauty of the trees, river, blue bonnets, and even the dandelions. Birds are singing and squirrels are running about the woods.  People moving freely and enjoying the warmer weather, just being. I know what you’re thinking…oh brother, so it was a nice day, so what?  Well, I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’ve been in places, countries if you will where it wasn’t such a nice day.  Actually, it was quite the opposite.  Despair, anger, death and hopelessness.  I think often about my time in Somalia and it’s sad to know that there are places and people in this world who can’t go out and let the beauty of the world wash over them, even if it’s just for an hour.  These are the things I sometimes think about trying to log these miles. Thoughts that I will always carry with me until the end I guess.   If I were Queen for a day I would change these things if I could.   So, out of all the days Earth Day is a bit of an enigma.   It’s fun to talk about, but harder to walk the walk.  As I age I always think, hmmm, do I really need that or turn off the lights, recycle, conserve water.  I ask myself how much is enough.  It’s hard because no one wants to be uncomfortable, including me.  I do try though in mind, spirit and action.

This week I picked up more mileage than the prior week.  The plan was to cycle today but “bad kitty” (aka my bike) wasn’t having any part.  Cleaned her off and started to air up the tires only to find a valve issue…again.  I guess the trek across country was a little more damaging than I previously thought.  This weeks business will be to find a cycle shop and take her in for some my need professional maintenance.  I ran instead.  Started the week off with a longer run, indoor cycling on Thursday and a longer run today of 3.5 miles.  Slowly bringing the distance back up.  I felt good today ~ pain is low and I ended up running 10:39.  Not too shabby but the annoyance level was a little high because of the bike.

Total mileage came out to 17.63 this week.  I’ve already passed March numbers and I’m not even in the hotter weather and have a week to go!  I have 6030.71 miles graciously awaiting me.  I hope this post finds you well enough to go outside, close your eyes and let the beauty of this earth wash over you.  Happy Earth Day.  Happy Miles to You!!

If I could change the world…I surly would.