Change Is Hard…Doing Nothing is Harder – My Ode to 2018…May She Rest in Peace.

What would you do to be happier?  That my friends is a very loaded question.

I wish I could say 2018 was a banner year.  Let’s just say I am looking forward to 2019.  I just got around to “updating” my working status on Facebook (not that it’s necessary) to living in the DC area and working at the National Archives and Records Administration.  Those in my inner circle laughed a bit and yelled “old news”!  I kept it on the low burner because it was a major change and upheaval. This isn’t a negative post but a post about growth, change, uplifting myself and somewhere down the line winning.

After serving in the Army as a logistician, Army wife, mother and eventually a civilian which totaled about 20 years I decided that I needed a “change”.  From there I moved to Phoenix, AZ and went to esthetician school to, how can I say this, entertain my more artistic side.  I have always played a balancing act with my technical side and my artistic side.  I decorated cakes for many years and found being an esthetician to be artistic but on another level.  Unfortunately, there were many things about it that just didn’t fit and so I moved on to work for a private business.

I have never publicly written about my time at this place of business.  It was the first time out of college that I had worked for a private company and not the government.  I worked directly for the CEO/owner and all I can tell you it was 9 months of pure hell.  I have no sympathy for the devil of which he must have been related.  Sitting on the couch with him during my third interview I knew taking this job was a mistake.  There is something in trusting your gut.  But me, being who I am, I was willing to give it a go.  Worst.Decision.Ever.  He ran me ragged and was prone to changing his mind constantly, not in a good way, and wanted to be treated like a king.  The only task I will bring up just to give you insight was stocking the personal fridge with Perrier™.  He drank massive amounts of Perrier™ and required his personal refrigerator to be stocked daily.  He drank the lemon and lime flavor and I would place the bottles lined up with labels facing the front.  They had to be perfectly in order by flavor…. yeah think about that for a moment.  I mean I can be type A, but damn.

I decided that I needed another change, but most of all I needed to make myself happy and take control of my happiness.  Believe me, this is a hard tasks for Catholics.  Guilt anyone?  I felt for the three years I was in Arizona I was just floating through a fog. Arizona was pretty…in parts, but it just wasn’t for me.  That’s right class, at 50 you can decide to change – and change I did.  Daunting.Scary.Unpredicable.  Yes, all of those words and a whole lot more.

I started feverishly applying to other jobs ~ everywhere.  I prayed.  I cried.  From time to time I felt sorry for myself.  Oh, and I flew to Dublin, Ireland and ran a marathon in between this mayhem.  I would wake up early in the morning and apply for jobs all day long.  Sometimes even on weekends.  I was relentless.  I can remember starting my day with this saying:

“Help me find the right job, the right place, I’m ready for the good stuff”.

Everyday.  Day after day, for nine months (no symbolism here – lol) until I finally got a call from the National Archives and Records Administration.  I had been wanting to get out of the logistics field and I applied for an Executive Assistant job to the Archivist of the United States of America in DC.  After three interviews, I got the job.  It was one of the happiest and scariest days of my life.  I had no apartment and only one friend in the area.  I packed up my Subaru and drove across country to my new life in DC.

I was extremely lucky for my friend Rajni who lived and worked in the area.  It was like she was there at the right place and time.  I owe her a debt of gratitude I will never be able to repay.  I stayed with her for a few weeks and eventually found my own apartment.  The transition was mentally hard.  I hadn’t lived in an apartment since my 20s.  Making that move from a big house to a small apartment wasn’t easy.  All the things I had I left behind ~ I only took the necessities.  Again mental, but necessary for change.  Sometimes you throw things out to the Universe.  You taunt it by saying – “only if”.  Then the Universe throws it back and says “put up or shut up”.  So then you have a choice to take the “red or blue” pill.

“You take the blue pill—the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill—you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes. Remember: all I’m offering is the truth.” ~ The Matrix

I took the red pill.  I wanted to find my truth – and so I did.  I left with what I could fit in my car and drove across country, by myself, in search of better.  Change is so hard.

There were times I would walk through my apartment looking at all the nothing.  I would sit in the silence on some days and just think about what was next.  I would get up each day and push a little further, grow a little larger, and eventually smile a little wider.  When I think back at the first time I stepped into this apartment there was a sense of despair and laughter.  There were days I would cry and days I would walk through laughing that this was mine.  I did it.

The job, what can I say.  I work for the Archivist of the United States in downtown DC.  He is amazing and the people I work with equally amazing and talented.  An academic atmosphere.  Even better, I like everything about the place and what we do for the country.  I can say I’m very happy.  I’m happy living in DC and with my job.  It has been a little over 10 months and I love my truth, my little red pill.

I am learning to embrace my future.  I continue to expand and grow.  In order to move forward you can’t dwell on the past.  Study it.  Accept it. Challenge it.  If a little 50 year old female can do it, so can you.  Change is so damn hard, mentally, physically and spiritually.  If you find yourself contemplating about 2018 and where your going, might I suggest taking that red pill?  Open wide and wash it down with your favorite beverage.

I hope this post finds you with a hot crazy determination for life.  The kind that burns the soul, makes you cry and shake and demand you do whatever it takes, however hard it may seem, to stay the course and find your truth.  Yeah, there’s going to be plenty of dead bodies along the way ~ so bring the body bags and a big ass shovel to bury that shit.  Six feet down – three feet wide –  cover it all nice and pretty, dust off those hands and make a sign of the Cross if you have too.  It’s over.  Happy Miles to You!

 

 

 

 

Mileage Recap ~ 26 Nov – 2 Dec…Where Did 2018 Go?

Happy Sunday Everyone!  Where has 2018 gone!!!!

I can’t believe the year is almost over.  I think the virtual snow will start to fall on my blog now.  Hmmm, I’ll have to check that out.  Just a short update this week.  Nothing of substance to report.  I have been focusing on my cycling a bit more until the year’s end.  The weather here in DC has been cold then warm then cold again.  I am getting over my cold I literally got on Thanksgiving Day.  It has been a good 8 days and I have just the remnants of a small cough remaining.   I’m still acclimating and getting over the asthma I developed while living in Arizona.  It’s been hard, but I’m beating it or maybe it’s becoming more tolerable.

This weeks training focused on indoor cycling.  I was hoping to get out on Saturday to do some cycling but it was a little too wet and I decided to do a little run instead.  I was opting for 3 since I was just getting over my cold, but ended up doing a cool 4 at a 11:00 pace.  Slowly chipping away at that pace time.  And yes I paid for it with about 5 minutes of hacking afterwards.  I felt like I coughed up a lung.  Awe well, that’s why I have two.

I ended the week with 45.62 miles with 5496.56 miles gratefully remaining.  I hope this post finds you with joy and peace in your heart.  Happy Miles to you!!

This song is most appropriate for my trials and tribulations as it pertains to my asthma….

Breathe me…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 10 of Gratitude…I Am A Woman Veteran

I can remember the first taste I had of the Army.  My roommates Laura and Carol had invited me on a weekend survival trip with the USCA Army ROTC at Fort Gordon, GA.  It was a good diversion from the weekend studying I had planned.

The weekend was full of road marches, survival tips and my favorite land navigation (not!).  The rest as they say, is history.  I was hooked.  So much so, the following week I enrolled in Army ROTC and two years later I was commissioned as an Officer in the US Army.  I served in Somalia, Panama and South Korea.  I have seen the best and the worst humanity has to offer, but I wouldn’t change that experience one bit.  I have extreme gratitude to have served our great country as a female solider.  It is so great to see how far women have come in all of the forces.  We make the circle whole.

Tom morrow I will be participating in my first run in the DC area ~ the Veteran’s Day 10k & 2 mile walk.  The proceeds will go to the local chapter of Team Red, White and Blue.  I picked up my packet today:

The shirt is super sweet because it has long sleeves.  I’m almost tempted to wear it tomorrow, but alas that is a running faux pas.  It’s going to be cold tomorrow, so I purchased some Brooks™ running gloves.  We’ll see how warm they keep me.     Happy Miles to You!!

Day 6 of Gratitude ~ Heroines

Happy Tuesday my friends!  I hope the start of your week is a good one.  I am getting excited about this weeks race and it looks to be a clear but cold day.  Better than rainy and cold.  Planning for two miles today and some strength exercises.

Something to think about….

“Above all be the heroine of your life, not the victim”.

~ Nora Ephron

Happy Miles to You!!!

Fly to Pie Half Marathon Race Recap…Halfway Mark Reached….Vermont Style

Happy Sunday Everyone!!  Nothing like a three-day weekend, right?  If you are enjoying one, then good for you.  I’m back and rested from my fourth half marathon ~ Fly to Pie in Newport, Vermont.  This is a great milestone for me because I am now halfway there!  I only have 5651.43 miles left to go.  When I say I’m halfway there I laugh and think of the movie Dumb and Dumber.  Do you remember the scene where Jim Carrey is trying to win the affection of Mary.  She tells the character there’s a one and a million chance that they will be together and he replies “So you’re telling me there’s a chance”!

Ha!  Meaning there’s such a long way to go ~ but my determination and positivity is on point!

Fly to Pie Race Recap

~ The registration

This was positively the most frustrating and strange race I have competed.  As you remember from previous posts, this race was advertised on Active.com.  I have always wanted to see New England and I was excited to give Vermont a try.  From the beginning everything was difficult.  The website, the registration, trying to get information on packet pick up,  and where exactly was the race starting etc.  I was constantly calling and emailing the closer I got to the race date.  The person who was in charge was waaaayyyy too laid back for this girl.  Called a couple of times for him only to tell me he was busy with the swim event at the moment and would get back to me as soon as he could.  Well, that never happened and I found myself packing and setting out for Vermont with a mere start line address and nothing else.  But as you know, that’s how I roll.

~ The drive up   

I love dragging my friends with me to these events.  The way I look at it, hey I’m going to run this thing…then we can have fun!  I took my friend Rajni Anderson and it was truly a girls trip!  We got a late start on Friday night and ended up staying in Delaware the first night.  Sign in  (uh huh) was to take place on Saturday 9 – 5 at the Newport airport.  I knew I was not going to make the time.  Normally, I would have been really stressed about this, but for some strange reason I wasn’t.  I think everything was already crazy enough that I decided if I didn’t find the start line ~ I would make my own start line ~ somewhere somehow.  The drive up was great once we got past NYC.  The leaves slowly started to change into the brilliant Autumn colors.  When we finally got to the state of Vermont that’s when we really started to see the Fall foliage.  The countryside of Vermont is absolutely beautiful.  Rolling hills, streams, rocky edges and farms dotted the countryside.  I even saw a black bear!  It was on the side of the road (not dead) but just mulling around.  At first I didn’t know what I was seeing!  You get used to the usually stuff like deer etc., but a bear!  It was very, very cool.

We rolled into Newport around 5:30.  I decided to make reservations at a Bed and Breakfast suggested on the race site called the Little Gnesta.  Little Gnesta  It was a cute B&B run by a super lady named Ruth.  I really liked Ruth.  She was a transplant from Ohio and about 67 years old.  We had conversations about politics and every day things.  She knew the person who was in charge of the race and actually called him to let him know I was here and to expect me tomorrow morning.  Ruth ows two houses that are B&Bs.  When I asked her how she liked running them she said she liked it but she didn’t want to do it for this rest of her life.  She said she wanted to sell one and then go traveling.  She had a lot of stuff to still to do ~ I love it.  There is no better thing to hear a 67-year-old say, yeah this is great but there’s still more to do!  Newport is a small town.  It’s funny because I always thought of Vermont being populated by  wealthy people, ski lodges and cute second homes dotting the countryside.  Although there is some of that, the realism is Vermont only has about 650,000 people in the whole state and there is a lot of poverty and mostly dairy-farming.  It’s funny how we think certain places are by things we hear or what we may see on the Hallmark channel.

Here are some pics of Newport I took:

Our room in the Little Gnesta

 

Flowers at the dock.

Boats on the Lake

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

~  The Race

The race started at 9:00 am.  That alone should tell you all you need to know.  I will say, it was nice to have a race start at a decent time.  Here was my race kit:

Bought a whole new much-needed kit.

The new outfit I bought was great, but it was a little chilly for me and I had to opt for a long sleeve shirt instead of the cute sleeveless one.

The race was to begin at the Newport International Airport.  For the life of me I can’t imagine what plane internationally would be landing there.  It was a normal community sized airport.  But hey, what do I know.  I showed up at about 8:15, signed in, got my number (407) and my t-shirt.  I was really hoping I would have the number 409 ~ get it?  So, you are probably wondering, what is Fly to Pie.  What that means is we were running to a restaurant called Parker Pie. At the end was beer and pizza.  The perfect ending for any race.

There were three races.  A half marathon at 13.5.  Yes, I know:/….but that’s what it was.  I’m ending a sentence in a preposition ~ I totally hate that:)  There was a 17 mile and a full marathon.  No more than 50 people participating and 20% proceeds going to Halo Foundation ~ Cancer help and research.  Hmmm, but if you think of it ~ whose saying yeah I’m going to Vermont to run a marathon.  Well there is a big one in Burlington ~ but unfortunately I missed that date.  Since this race was like literally on the down low ~  I wondered how well it was supported.  I soon got my answer.  From the race head ~ “Hey everybody, we had tables of water and snacks every two miles but some of the tables got stolen last night”.  Ooookaaay.  The I turned and there was this bright cheery youngster and I asked the most important question of all.  Are there portos on the route.  She looked at me and said “hmmm, I think there’s one at Irasburg at the halfway mark, but I’m not sure.  But don’t worry, there’s plenty of woods around – just go in the woods – that’s what we all do”.  Hey, thanks for that…really.  Then she proceeds to tell me that the course may not be marked properly and that I’m probably not running as fast as I think I am.

Hey this one has a peace sign.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

~ And we’re off!

So we begin…just the 50 of us…running down a gravel path…off into well, somewhere in Vermont.  My iPod Nano broke just before my race.  I was bummed when I found out they didn’t make the Nano anymore and I would have to use my iPhone.  I have an older version so it’s not that big.  I can’t imagine running with an iPhone 10!  It’s like a brick.  I started off fine.  Two miles in was this:

Again, this pretty much tells you all you need to know about the course.  Gravel roads and lots of hills.  The person in the photo was Gwen.  Gwen was celebrating her 50th birthday, so you know I couldn’t let her beat me…and I didn’t.  Yeah, I know…I’m a bit competitive at times.  I’m telling you, if a bear would have come out of the woods and chewed my arms off…by cracky I was going to beat Gwen:

About at mile four is when I realized two things…I was alone and I was running past the biggest pile of cow manure I’ve ever seen.  I mean it was about three stories high with what seemed like tires on top to keep it from disintegrating.  And the smell.  I’ll share a little secret, I love the country smell, i.e. cow patties.  There is something wholesome about that smell.  But this, was a pungent acrid smell.  As I was running past Mount Shitmore, it didn’t help that trucks were speeding by, kicking up dust and well…cow poop and I was getting dusted with a nice sheen of stank!

Around mile 5 I had to go to the bathroom.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a tree that spoke to me so I kept on running.  Finally at mile marker six I made it to Irasburg, the halfway mark, and I saw the lone porto potty in the distance.  Yay, I don’t have to go in the woods!  As I arrived there were three race support ladies standing by the porto potty.  They ominously looked like the three Fates from Greek mythology:

One was telling me to use the bathroom, the other asking if I wanted a Nutrigrain™ bar and the other wishing me good luck.  Hmmm….thanks ladies but I’ll use the porto and be on my way.

Ahhh…nothing like being halfway through….Doh!  Mile 9, I have to p….use the bathroom.  Dang you 50s!  Luckily I was able to make it to Parker Pie with no wood adventures.  I arrived at the restaurant and didn’t see my friend there…no worries I’ll just call her on this handy cellphone.  Hmmm…for some reason it wouldn’t go through.  I go into the restaurant that had wifi and asked about the cellphone.  The waitress says – Oh we don’t have no cellphone connection up here”.  Drop.the.mic.babe.   There I was with no way to contact my friend, no pizza (because everyone ate it) and no money for beer.  Literally the trifecta of hell.    No cellphone, pizza or beer?  Oh heck no!  So, I resorted to what any red-blooded American would do ~ I got on Facebook and posted to Rajni’s page that – Momma was ready.  Apparently, there were awards afterwords, of which I didn’t stay for….I smoked the newly minted 50-year-old and that’s all the award I needed.  I found my friend and back to the B&B.

Finished! No bling:( Picture by my Subie…so Vermont.

~ After the Race

We went and had some lunch at a little cafe in town:

Yes, that’s a Vermont beer. Don’t judge!

I love the race part but exploring my surroundings is just as exciting.  I went back to the B&B to clean up and we were off to explore the area.  Newport is very close to Magog, Canada.  Magog, is a quaint town in Quebec with a lovely main street about 30 miles from Newport.  It was interesting to hear everyone speaking French.  We did some shopping and ate at the restaurant called La Table.

My bun was a little burnt, but it was sooooo good.

Beet salad.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The next day we were off to Burlington.  Some sites along the way:

Covered bridge still in use.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My favorite shot.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

~ Burlington

Burlington is a great city to visit.  The University of Vermont is there and the city is vibrant with places to shop and eat.  A few pics:

Ruin stacking

The main street

Lake Champlain

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Poutine – Canadian dish of fries, gravy, and cheese curds!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Overall, a great experience.  I have completed 5663.57 miles in my journey.  I believe that every day we have on this earth is a gift, a chance to experience God’s greatness, peace, love, and joy.  It’s not always roses and butterflies, but we have the ability to make it fulfilling and good while we are here.  I am reminded of the reason I am compiling these miles, for my sweet mother Karen Ellen Dennis Mastromonico who died at age 31.  I can only hope that she is with me on this journey, experiencing these places she never had a chance to visit.  Maybe somehow through her spirit, she is with me in some capacity.  At least I hope.  I am halfway through.  I look forward to the next half.  I hope this post finds you with the excitement of living a new day as we approach a new season.   Life is short ~ be fearless ~ be strong ~ be present.  Happy Miles to You!!

I think this song sums up my Vermont run!  Only way to listen….Turn.It.Up.:)