Friday, November 30, 2012

The world has lost 2 amazing souls

It really seems just like yesterday Grandma passed away, but it's already been 4 months.  Sadly and happily Grandma is reunited with Grandpa once again.  This morning (last night for Minnesotans) at 9:51am (8:21pm Minnesota time) my Grandpa joined my Grandma once again, as he passed away surrounded by family watching him go peacefully in his hospital bed.  And once again I was in India half way around the world, missing the final moments with my beloved Grandpa.  I was very thankful to have my dad pass on a final message from me via e-mail, but of course it's not the same as actually being at his side as he went.

My Grandpa and Grandma were the most caring, thoughtful, family oriented grandparents I have ever known.  Both Grandma and Grandpa went to EVERY single recital, game, concert, etc. that I played in.  Even if it was a minor role, if I was in it they were there.  And as family tradition, after it was done my Grandma always made chocolate covered rice krispie bars, cookies, or something sweet for me to have after it was finished.  My Grandma was the talker of the two.  She could entertain a crowd of 5 - 25+ people easily with her stories.  Grandma was never without a conversation lingering in her.  My Grandpa on the other hand did the listening.  He would always sit their quietly and listen to her stories and every once in a while chime in with a funny joke or missed detail (which was rare for Grandma to miss).  The thing about Grandpa though, yes he was a listener, but when he talked he was listened.  Everything coming from him was wise and genuine.  My Grandma was too, but mostly stories came from her.

Grandpa was completely opposite to Grandma when it came to me playing sports.  Grandpa would always encourage me, never to give up and if I fail to try even harder next time.  Grandma was the loving softy and was constantly worried I would get hurt and not to try too hard that I might hurt myself.  Football season was always the best time of year for them.  Grandma was constantly worrying and Grandpa (played in college) was prouder than ever.  When I first got into running marathons, Grandma would ALWAYS say, "Now Steven, there is no shame if you feel like you can't continue and have to give up during the marathon."  Grandpa (I could see in his head) would roll his eyes and counter what she said with a try your hardest and never give up attitude.  A real air force mentality was Grandpa (served WWII proudly).  Grandma also served proudly in WWII as a nurse, healing the wounded and cheering/lifting up spirits with her stories and distracting the men from their pain, Grandma's specialty.

Grandpa and I both shared a unique common bond no other member of the family shared, and that was the University of Minnesota Duluth.  However, when Grandpa attended it was called Duluth State Teachers College.  Showing how long ago that was!  Grandpa played collegiate baseball and football, while I played intramural inner tube water polo and dodgeball.  However, sports aside, we both went to college for the same reason/passion and that was teaching.  Granted our subjects might have been different (history to PE) but our passion lied within teaching and inspiring children.  Grandpa started off as a teacher, but then fast tracked his way to Superintendent.  I don't think I'll follow his footsteps anytime soon, as I love where I am and what I do.  I know what administration has to go through and no thank you, Grandpa you can keep that position.  But one thing I hope I can be half the man Grandpa was is having the respect from every single teacher that he worked with.  They looked up to Grandpa and Grandpa showed them the same amount of respect and care back at them.

My best memory I have of my grandparents would have to be in 6th grade.  Now back in my day at school, we celebrated Grandparents every year with "Grandparents Day."  Everyone who had Grandparents were invited to bring them along for the school day and have them see what mischief and trouble their grandchildren get into!  So on this one particular 6th grade Grandparents Day I maybe said a little too much, but in an innocent way.  The beginning of every Grandparents Day class would start with introductions of all the grandparents.  Well when it came to my turn, I remember I stood up and said, "These are my Grandparents, Grandma and Grandpa."  Now in addition to introducing them we had to say one interesting or unique thing about them.  Well I introduced them and then said, "Me and my Grandpa play blackjack and poker and he teaches me how to gamble with oreos/cookies.  I win most of the time, because I'm lucky."  The whole class burst out laughing, including my Grandparents.  Again, probably said a little too much, seeing at the time it was illegal!!:)  But the way my Grandparents reacted was who they were, caring, light hearted and amazing people.

I will and do miss them both dearly.  After Grandma died, I knew Grandpa was not going to last long, and even when I visited them this summer I knew Grandpa was not long.  Grandma was completely unexpected, but Grandpa's time was on the final turn in a marathon.  And sure enough today Grandpa crossed the finish line, leaving in the dust a wonderful, amazing life.  I am so blessed to have gone home this summer and spend the final months with both of them, before both passed on.  Grandma and Grandpa I will never forget you.  Your spirit will forever live on in me, especially the Swedish, Norwegian, and Finnish heritage.  The color red will forever symbolize you Grandma and Grandpa your amazing listening skills will forever be engraved in me.  Rest in peace both of you and I am so happy you are both reunited once again.

Happy smiling Grandma and Grandpa!!!!!:):):):):)

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Why running?

As I sit here on a Saturday night, alone (Shubhra's in Dehradun with friends), and having some time to think and reflect alone, I can't help but think why the heck is running so important to me?  Why is everything in my life revolved around running?  What is so great about running that 95% of my blog posts are about running?

Because to me running is life.  Running to me is how life should be.  A struggle.  A challenge.  A goal that constantly is changing.  A strive for personal best every single time I go out there.

Now you tell me how does that compare with your life?  Are there moments in your life when you are up against a wall and have no IDEA what to do?  When you think to yourself, do I have the guts, do I have the heart to continue and fight through the pain and struggle?

All of these thoughts today come from watching Sports Day at Wynberg-Allen and mostly from the other teams that show up.  Now I have no physical proof except my eyes and what I see, and I will not name names or point fingers, but what I saw today is the exact opposite of what sports and healthy competition is all about.  What LIFE is all about............finding ways to overcome adversity.  Finding ways to dig down deep and realize you have this gift that you never even knew existed until that person or thing made it come out of you.  However, how can this gift come to fruition if you cheat yourself.  I saw so called "athletes" on the field today competing for external glory and sadly NOT internal glory.  I saw athletes today care more about breaking records and standing on the top of the podium, then to take the risk and actually compete against worthy competition of their own age.  It saddens me, not that Woodstock athletes got slaughtered by these so called "athletes" but that these "athletes" are too scared to face real challenges.

Now if you're sitting here and agreeing with me, I want you to stop and really think about this last paragraph before judging, before saying "oh yeah, how can these students cheat like this."  Because I want you to think about the last time you truly challenged yourself with something, with anything.  If you can't think of anything in the past year or even 6 months, then how are you better than these boys?  If you're not finding ways to challenge yourself, to push yourself to be the best human being out there, then how can you judge these boys?  Yeah, wow you're not cheating, but you're not striving to be the best you can be either.  So I ask you what's better?  You don't cheat, but you don't push yourself either.

So why do I run?  I run, because every single day I lace up my shoes and want to see how far I can push myself, how fast I can go day in and day out without tiring.  I run, because unlike some people in this world who go for that easy external glory, I want to be the best that I can be and not care about anything else.  Does this mean I'll win every race? No.  Does this mean I set records every race I compete in? No.  But this does mean that every freakin time my feet touch that asphalt I will be giving it my 100% and I WILL.......NOT.........QUIT!  Just like in life.  Yeah, I will make mistakes.  I will screw up.  But I WILL learn from those mistakes and I will try, try, try until my heart stops beating I've tried so hard.

I teach my students to always try and never settle for average.  I show my students I try and never settle for average.  I live my life to always try and never, ever settle for average.  Now I ask you, what do you want to do?

Happy smiling!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Mistakes are a part of life!!!!

It's funny being a teacher how much we expect our students to be "perfect" and not make mistakes!!!! Sometimes you just have to think back to your days as a student and remember how hard it was to NOT make a mistake and remember making mistakes are a part of life!!!!!  Mistakes, in my mind, actually make a person that much stronger!!!!  When you make a mistake you have two options to choose from:

1. Learn from it, grow from it, and hopefully never make that mistake again because you've learned from it!! (Granted history repeats itself, but you can learn for most mistakes)!!!


2. Brush it off, blame it on external factors and not learn anything from it!!!!!

One thing being a teacher, it is SO hard to not get involved when a student makes a mistake (not in class, but more in life) because it is our job to guide the student and not tell them what to do!!! They need to see what that mistake was and learn from it on their own!!  And I think that is one thing all adults need to remember, mistakes are okay!!  They CAN help make everyone grow stronger in the end!!!! Now I stress can, because like I said there is no guarantee a person learns from their mistakes!!!  We all hope an individual learns from their mistakes and never makes it again, but who knows what will happen!!!

So go out there, take life to it's most and if you make a mistake LEARN FROM IT!!!!!!!! If you have control over it NEVER REPEAT IT AGAIN!!!!!!!!!!

"We make a million mistakes in life, the only real mistake is not learning from our past mistakes!!!"

Monday, September 24, 2012

THE ROUTE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:):):):)

Well after about 2 hours of mapping and figuring out the route, I THINK I GOT IT!!!!!!!!!!! It's a little bit longer than the expected 500 miles (583miles total) BUT that's only an extra 5 miles a day!!!!!!!!!:):):):)


I don't think I've ever been this excited for a run yet!!!!!!!!!! Well maybe my first marathon!!!!!!!!!!:):):):):)  HAPPY SMILING AND ACHIEVING YOUR GOALS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:):):):)

Sunday, September 9, 2012

A NEW LIFE GOAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Not to shock anyone, but this new life goal is about............... RUNNING!!!!!!!!!!!:):):):):) Of course, what else did you expect!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:):):):) Not to babble and get straight to it:

Life Goal:
To run 500 miles in 2 weeks for a charity before the end of the year 2013!!!!!!!

Now here's what I need from blogger world for once!!! I need ideas what charity to run for, how this charity will work, and if there are any charities out there that could help sponsor this run!!!!  Being Minnesota home grown, I roughly calculated the distance from Northern border to Southern border of Minnesota and its around 411 miles, WHICH MEANS THIS GOAL COULD BE TO RUN FROM NORTHERN MINNESOTA BOARDER TO SOUTHERN MINNESOTA BOARDER IN 2 WEEKS!!! And make the route 500 miles!!!!!!!!!!:):):):):):):)

So here is the plan for Minnesota when I come back in the winter of 2013!!!  Rest up a couple of days, and then hit the road to International Falls and from there let the journey of a lifetime begin!!!! Oh and what makes this even more fun and extreme, IT WILL BE IN THE MIDDLE OF WINTER!!!!! None of this find the warmest and best time to do it, you freakin do it when conditions are harsh and will literally rip your skin from your face with frostbite!!! THAT'S HOW MINNESOTANS DO IT!!!!!!!!!:):):):)  AND SHUBHRA'S ON BOARD, LOVE HER!!!!!!!!!!!:):):):):):):):) Hey what is life when you don't have extreme awesome goals to look forward to!!!! I've always wanted to see Minnesota from Northern to Southern most parts, what better way than by RUNNING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:):):):):):):) HAPPY SMILING AND RUNNING PLANET EARTH!!!!!!!!!!!!:):):):):):):):)

Friday, August 31, 2012

Athletes as role models???? Sadly not anymore!!!!!!!!

Today 89 years ago the TRUE Rocky died!! Rocky Marciano!!! Which got me thinking, what was back then an honor to be a "professional" in a sport and actually meant training countless hours with blood, sweat, heart, and determination now seems in this day and age is not needed anymore!! As long as there is an easier "pointier" way which will inject heart into you, athletes take it!!  Now there were no PHD tests back in the days of Rocky or any of these "legendary" athletes, so I don't know if they were injecting or not, BUT what I do know is athletes back then actually had a work ethic for the love of the game!!  Not worried about publicity, commercials, PR chances, etc. they worked hard because they knew that was the only way to be the best!!! There was no "easy" way out back then, only determination and heart!!!  And after their professional life was over with, they kept on working hard, not worrying about the next spot on the new upcoming reality show or some crap that is on tv or sports anchor!!  As a teacher I hear this all the time from my students: I want to be real big, I want it now, what is the easiest/quickest way to do this!!! REALLY?!?!  Is this what the generation is becoming!!  Has hard work, heart, and determination to NOT give up through adversity completely gone extinct with the new athletes??!?!  I remember my 3rd year of college UMD got a "new and improved" weight room, which yes was bigger, had more windows and wasn't in the basement of UMD anymore, but honestly I LOVED the old fitness room!!! It had the personality of what hard work should be, dirty and smelly!!!

Now the mindset has gone from hard work and determination to what supplements/powder can I take to become bigger or what weight loss product can I eat to make me skinny!?!?  The scary thing is, all of these supplements and pills are SOOOOOOOOO new to the market, that who knows what the side effects will be in the next 30 years of their life!!!  For me personally, nothing is more satisfying then working my butt off for a goal (usually a marathon or personal best) and accomplishing it knowing my hard work and healthy eating was the driving force!! ALL ME!!!!!!!! NOTHING ELSE!!!!!!!!!  No shortcuts, no extra protein whey supplements or whatever!!!!!  All sweat, heart, and the love of working hard!!!!!:):):)  What are these professional athletes who get caught using PHD's showing our youth!??!  Especially the ones that are past their prime and using just to keep the game going for them just a little bit longer?!?  Oh, it's okay to use as long as you don't get caught!! It's okay to forget what is good and valuable about a hard work ethic as long as you are a "professional" a little bit longer or at all!!!!

Call me old school, traditional, whatever, but what is life if all you're doing is finding the easy way to get through!!  What is life all about if you never are challenged and never have to fight through an adverse situation??  Where is your personal gain and feeling of accomplishment??!  Not there!!  And honestly this is not even a feeling that has to be associated with physical, it can be anything or any type of situation where you put yourself into an unknown outcome, work hard, and try to be successful!!! And if you're not, you damn well try and try again until you are!!!!!!! It's as simple as that!!!! There is no shortcut to life, you live by pain!!  The pain of failure, makes you want to try again!! The pain of losing someone, makes you want to live life to its fullest because you realize how short life can be!!!  The pain of heart break, makes you sad but teaches you there is still an entirely open and wonderful world out there!!!  Pain is essential to a happy and fulfilling life!!!  Which is why you don't get pain when you try and cheat your way through, because you really never put your full heart into it!!!  Yeah you feel bad when you get caught, but I guarantee you don't feel as bad if you were to really try, put effort into it, and fail!!!

So who can we "look" up to anymore, if everyone that we think is honest and good in life fails with allegations and cheating!?!?  Well I would suggest the people that are closest around you!!!  The people in your life that are with you every single day!!! The people in your life that go through the same pain  you do, the same hardship you do!!! Not some figure on a tv or internet who you don't even know on a personal level!!!  Yeah you get those "emotional" stories every once in a while, but honestly how long does that last?? A week, month, year at most?!?  You want someone to inspire you, try someone who you actually have made an emotional bond with!!!  That will be way more inspiring then any celebrity or athlete on tv could ever be!!!!!  And the great thing is, that person who inspires you will be in your life forever!!!  Even when they pass on!!!:):):)

HAPPY SMILING AND INSPIRING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:):):):):):):):)

Friday, July 20, 2012

3 YEARS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! TOO LONG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

First, play this song while reading the blog post!!!! The perfect music, coming off the plane in Minnesota 5 weeks ago!!! It's from the "Da Vince Code," beautifully written by Hans Zimmer!!!!!!:)

July 15th, 2009, boarded the plane from Minneapolis Airport and wouldn't come back to a Minnesota summer for 3 years!!!!!!!! Granted, there was a visit after 1 1/2 years, but those who live in Minnesota know there isn't anything like a Minnesota summer!!!!!! So after 3 long years of being away from green grass, lakes at the perfect temperature, and EVERYONE outside on bike paths, running, or just walking around the neighborhood, it was time to REVISIT MINNESOTA IN THE SUMMER TIME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And that meant SHAKOPEE SUMMER TENNIS!!!!!!!!!:):):):):):) I had mixed emotions about what that was going to be like, after being involved with Shakopee Tennis for 17 years of my life, it was a nervous type of feeling!! But nonetheless boarded the plane in New Delhi, with Shubhra, and in a short 32 hours we would be stepping off the plane, together, in Minnesota during the summer!!!!  We arrived and was met by my mom, dad, sister, Cindy, and my sister's boyfriend Dusty, who I physically met for the first time!!!  The very first time Dusty and I met, it took maybe 5 seconds to figure out we had the EXACT same sense of humor!!! Because at the moment I went to shake his hand, we BOTH were thinking of the scene in Tommy Boy "brother's don't shake hands, brothers gotta hug!!!"  Needless to say he was good to go in my book in record time!!!:):):)

Now the reason for an early appearance in Minnesota was for Grandma's Marathon Weekend, something again I haven't done for 3 years!!!  Not only was I planning on just running, but running for ACS's Charity Runner and raised over $1,000 for their charity!!!! So that felt awesome!!! We arrived in Minnesota on a Wednesday afternoon, so that gave me a couple days to quickly get over jet lag and get into a normal Minnesotan routine again!!  That Thursday morning we started off to the cabin and Duluth (this was before the floods, luckily) and took the whole day to drive around Duluth, visit UMD AND THE RED COUCH (PE majors know what I'm talking about), and of course around Canal Park!! Whole thing gave me shivers and a couple tears!!:):)  We finally arrived at the cabin, again not being at the cabin since the July 4th weekend a week and a half before heading off to India, so that also was pretty emotional and special!!:):) We spent all day Friday relaxing and that night getting into "marathon mode"!!!!!! That of course meant dad shaving my head!!!!!!!!!!! Hey it's a tradition!!!!!!!!!

Saturday morning it was Grandma's Marathon time!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Now of course the weather reports from the night before predicted cloudy skies, some chance of sprinkles, and NO sun what-so-ever!!! We get to the bus that will take us to the starting line and of course no clouds in the sky, a beautiful sunrise, and could feel the humidity rising as we waited around!!!  Arrived at Grandma's starting line at 6:30am, and waited around until 7:45am, STARTING TIME!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Again, it was a pretty emotional 3 minutes with the Blue Angels fly by and the American National Anthem!!!!!! THEN COUNTDOWN 3.....2......1....BAM, gun goes off and 36th Grandma's Marathon is off and running!!! Not knowing where my pace would be at since I've been training at about 7,000ft higher than sea level, and Grandma's is basically sea level, maybe 100ft. higher, my goal was 3:05 and the first couple of miles felt really good and pushed it a little and set my new goal at a sub 3-hours!!! A mistake I would later regret!!  By the half way point I was right on pace for a sub par 3 hour marathon, which I was a little nervous if I could hold that pace!!! All the way until mile 20 I was feeling on pace and strong, but then my body felt a little over exerted and that's where the pace began to fall, rapidly!! I was running at a 6:50 pace for the first 20 miles, but then out of no where ran a 7:32, so I pushed the next mile back to a 7:00 mile!! But that was apparently my last stitch effort, because then it was a 7:35, 8:14, 8:46, and my final push for the finish line it was a huge struggle but at no point at all did I walk and finished Grandma's Marathon at 3 hours 12 minutes and 2 seconds!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Granted not my goal time of 3:05, BUT took 18 minutes off my personal best, and now I know exactly where I'm at!!!!! Seeing this was my first actual focused attempt at a marathon since 2008 Grandma's (my personal best)!!!!  No more will I let that much time between focused marathons!!!!!!:):):) SO THAT FELT GREAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! AND AFTER I CROSSED THE FINISH LINE, TEARS BE A FLOWIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:):):):):):):):):) After 6 months of training, and all the built up emotion of Grandma's and being back in Minnesota and Duluth, they just came FLOWING out after the finish!!!!!!!!!:):):)

We left Duluth that Monday, NOT AFTER A VISIT TO JAY IN GRAND MARAIS!!!!!!!!!!:):):) That was an awesome visit to see Jay, former Woodstock staff, and see what his new digs were like!!! Not gonna lie, they were awesome!!!:):):)  There place is like a 5 minute walk to Lake Superior, and the nature trails they have around there were beautiful as ever!!! Previous to visiting, I've been to Grand Marais twice, so that was fun to see that town again!!!!! Jay seemed to be liking the place and that was the main thing!!!:):) I wish I could have stayed longer to see him in action on fixing up old bikes, something deep down I've always had a passion for but know NOTHING except for riding them!!!!! LAME!!!!!!!!!! Maybe, in time, there will be a place for repairing bikes!!!!:):):):)

After a SUCCESSFUL visit to Duluth and Grandma's Marathon our next stop was back to the cities and SHAKOPEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:):):):):) Time had passed enough, and enough was enough it was now time to visit my home, the Shakopee Tennis Courts!!!:):) Buuuuuuuuuuuut my body wasn't having it, because the next morning I woke up and pretty much almost vomited 4 times and was pale as the killer monk from Da Vinci Code (yes, I loved that movie and the blog post kinda revolves around it)!!!!!!!!! Soooooooo my visitation to Shakopee Tennis would have to take a day layover in my mom's bathroom!!!!!!!:):):) BUT Wednesday morning came, went for a run and then to the Shakopee Tennis Courts, where I saw my tennis crew at it again!!!!!!!!!:):):):):):) Hugs all around, none from the students because after 3 years who knew all the ones I taught would go on to bigger and better things, so knew none of them, but DEFINITELY KNEW THE COACHES!!!!!!!!!!!:):):):):) Just kinda walked around, not really knowing what the heck to do, for the first time EVER, soooooooooooooooo that felt out of place!!!!! But after that lesson was over talked with my old friends and began the joking around and bruising once again!!!!!!:):):):)

Throughout the next couple of weeks being back, spent time seeing old friends and doing various awesome things...............LIKE GETTING MARRIED FOR A 3RD TIME, SEEING THE NEW TWINS BALLPARK (TARGET FIELD), AND SPENDING A DAY AT VALLEYFAIR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:):):):) So not knowing how Shubhra would hold up spending time with the entire Luukkonen clan and some of the Olson clan, but she held her own!!!!!!!! Now, usually a couple gets married and that's that!!!  Well we had our official wedding July 9th 2011, right after I returned from Bandaarpunch!!! Then we had the official government court marriage down in Dehradun, and then this one was a kinda renewing vows ceremony so my side of the family could witness us all dressed up!!!!!:):)  We had a beautiful ceremony at the University of Minnesota arboretum, with my family and friends!!!!!!  My mom was the head pastor, so that was really special, especially when I tried to make her cry throughout the ceremony, but I think in the end, looking back at that I made her laugh more than cry!! So plan failed!!!!!! I don't know how, saying stuff like "ooooooh here come the tears........... uh oh someone's about to wet her face.......with tears!!!!!!!!" Either way, she emotionally leaked a little close to the end, which put a big smile on my face, and all throughout that Shubhra was giving me the smile of death!!!!!!!!!:):):):):)  Then we had a wonderful dinner after the vowing ceremony and showed a little slide show of India and got to answer question!!!! OF COURSE PLAYED THE HINDI VERSION OF FINAL COUNTDOWN IN THE SLIDE SHOW!!!!!!!:):):):)

Hey the quest for The Final Countdown in all nations will never end!!!! So far I'm up to 3!!!!!!!!!!! Britain, USA, and INDIA!!!!!!!!!!!!!:):):):) Anyway slide show was a big hit, everyone was in AWE of Woodstock and where we lived and worked!!!!!!:):):) Then we all said our goodbye's and our final wedding ceremony was over with!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So mark up ANOTHER day of emotions, seeing Target Field for the first time and passing the Metrodome along the way!!!!! From past to present!!!!!  However, can't lie but got most emotional passing the Metrodome!!! I'm sorry but no matter how great Target Field is, all of my memories and Minnesotans memories will be forever with the Dome, just like the older generation will have the old Met Stadium!!!! 2 World Series Championships, Homer Hankies flying non-stop during the playoffs, and the LOUDEST stadium ever created!!!!! I remember the '91 World Series and they were measuring the decibel level during Kirby Puckett's Game 6 home run and it reached around 115, they were comparing that with a jet engine!!! IT WAS AWESOME!!:):):):) Anyway hopefully Target Field will have similar memories down the road, ESPECIALLY A FREAKIN WORLD SERIES VICTORY!!!!!!!!!!! That would be nice!!!!!!!!!!:):) But the game was AWESOME!!!! We won 4-1 and got to experience a great night OUTSIDE watching my favorite baseball team with my favorite people under the stars!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:):):):):):) Of course after the victory fireworks went off, which was equally as awesome!!!!!:):):)

Next big adventure would have had to been the morning of July 4th!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It was the Red, White and BOOM Half Marathon!!!!!!!! Except, the day before the administration of the race decided "for the best interest of the runners" it would be in best interest that the half marathon would be changed from a half marathon (13.1 miles) to a 5 miler!!!! OUTRAGED, a number of us runners e-mailed that decision and asked if they could allow the runners who wanted to run the half marathon to run the half marathon!! Of course they responded with a general e-mail to all of us, giving us some bullcrap about heat and making the best decision for the health of the runners!!!!!!! Either way, I was running the half!!! Morning of the race, ran the first mile on the 5 miler/half marathon route, but then when the turn left to continue on with the 5 miler route came, I went straight instead!!!!! Which is the half marathon route!!! I look behind me, and of course no one else decided to do this, sooooooooo I was the only runner that day competing in the half marathon division!!!!!!!! Granted it was hot, about a 95 heat index by 9am!!!!!:):):) But finished the half with a 1:45 time, not my personal best, but in that heat I was pleased!!! AND showed it to the race officials, that on this day of Independence you cannot tell us what to run and not run!!!!!!!!!! BAM!!!!!!!!!!!! YOU GOT AMERICANIZED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:):):):):):):):)

Later that week SAW DAVE WIEBE AND THE FARLEY'S!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! With Greg, Devan, Kate, and LAURA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:):):):):):):):) All former and current Woodstock staff!!!!!!!!!!!!! IT WAS AWESOME!!!!!!!!:):):):):) Now at first I saw Laura, Kate, and Greg at some Guiequilla Mexican restaraunt, because Laura couldn't make the next meeting on Saturday!!!! So that was SO awesome to see Laura and everyone else at a non Woodstock location!!! Oh and by the way, huge difference seeing these guys driving!!!!!!! At Woodstock it's walking everywhere, NO ONE owns their own car, unless they're over 40!!!!!:):) And then the next Saturday saw the Farley's (all 3 of them) and Dave Wiebe and Kate and Devan and Greg at one of the many beautiful lakes in Minnesota, Lake Calhoun!!!!!!:):):):):) Greg of course, with his GPS, got freakin lost for an hour and was yelling on the phone (which yes was very hilarious) and of course when I saw Greg he swore off driving forever in Minneapolis!!!!!!!:):):):) Then after hanging out at the lake for a bit, we went off to get some dinner at some fancy Gastro-pub!!!!!!! It was an AMAZING evening with friends who I wish were all still at Woodstock!!!! But, life is life!!!! It's all about getting back together every once in a while!!!!!:):):)

Throughout the weeks after that it was full of Valleyfair, Arby's, movies at home, tennis lessons, and just hanging out with friends and family!!!!!!!!!!!!:):):):):):):):) It was amazing how FAST this break went!!!!! There were some days I wished time would slow down so I could really soak in all of Minnesota, and then there were some days where I wanted that Woodstock routine again and couldn't wait to be back!!!! Either way though, I look back now at break and there is nothing I would have changed!!!!!!! I think I did everything I wanted to do, granted didn't get to see everyone that I wanted to, but in that short of time I had to have some down time and actually enjoy a vacation!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Minnesota will always be "home" in my heart no matter where I am in the world, and yes you can say home is where you make it, but you know, sometimes there's that one place in the world, that no matter what, whenever you go back you think......... I'm home!!!!:) 24 wonderful years of my life were spent there, shaping who I am, spending time with the people I love most, and doing things only true Minnesotans would understand and creating some of the most special memories ever!!!!!!!

It's funny to hear and read what people say about not being home in so long and oooooooooh man I miss home so much, and they live like a 3 hour plane ride away!!!!!!!  I just want to smack people like that!!!!  And then it amazes me whenever I go back and hang out with friends who, themselves, haven't seen each other since the last time I was home!! It just baffles me that they are about 4 hour drive apart, and it takes me coming back from India for them to see each other!!!!!!!  Living in India has definitely given me an entire new perspective on truly appreciating the time spent with people!!!  Do NOT take that for granted at all!!! And honestly, if you live within 4-5 hours of someone and you haven't seem them in 1-2 years because life is "too hectic," well that's crap!!!!! Take a weekend, schedule it in your planner and go visit each other!!!!  It should NOT take someone coming home from India to finally make time!!!!! Good gracious!!!!!!!

I cannot wait for the next 1 1/2 years to fly by, and once again be in the nice COLD, -40 degree below weather of Minnesnoooooooooooowta!!!!!!!!!:):):):):):):):) Until then, HAPPY SMILING AND SUMMERING MINNESOTA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:):):):):):):):):):):):)

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Win Mumby 2012: The real meaning of it??

47-42 Woodstock boys won ANOTHER Win Mumby tournament title!!!!!!!!!!!!!! BACK-TO-BACK baby!!!!!!!!!!:):):)  Girls made it to the semi-finals but Modern girls proved to be too much this year, but they gave it one heck of a fight!!!!!:)  The atmosphere was ELECTRIC once again!!! Almost every Woodstock game fans filled every seat in the gym, plus standing room only!!!  All in all both Woodstock teams played awesome and it was a very fun and exhausting 4 days!!!!!!!!

Those were the positives...........and what I'm about to write, please do not let it take away, at all, the effort and success of the teams that were playing.

But what is Win Mumby and all of these sporting tournaments purpose?? Is it only about the material outcome of winning it all and leaving with a trophy??


Is it about the spirit of competition, bonding with teams from other schools, and having fun in still a competitive nature??

Either way you view tournaments, that is up to you!!  All I know is these past 4 days, there is one pending issue that upsets and disappoints me and some of the other students from Woodstock/other schools!!  That is the behavior of some of the fans from Woodstock, mostly from today's Championship games!!  Booing, swearing, making loud noises during free-throws, clapping for injuries, etc.!!  What are we, the host school, showing other schools who come to compete when we behave like this??  We show them that all we care about is winning at all costs, and if we have to be rude and unsportsmanlike we will so we can "win it all!!"

I was told today by one of the lead referee's that this is one of the most "prestigious" tournaments in all of India.  If this is true, then luckily they don't take in account for the behavior of our fans.  Now yes, for the most part, cheering was positive, energetic and fun!! But sadly what you take from most things are the negative, and even if a couple of negative incidents happen then that will stick in your mind the most.  And what is even more sad is those who do have pride in Woodstock and behaved themselves during the games, what should have been a proud day for Woodstock, with winning the tournament, now turned negative because of the rude and nasty behavior of some of the fans.

Now yes, in high school I booed as well (which I now know is wrong), but thinking back at those times I remember what that booing turned in to after most games and that was fist fights between rival students, vandalism on schools, arrests made by police, etc.  I never did any of that, but I know that definitely went on, and it's sad!! All of those came from the nasty comments and negativity that came from the game.  Which is why I ask the question again, what is the real purpose of sports and tournaments?

It should be for the healthy competition between 2 schools and enjoying socializing with friends and other students from different schools!!  I've noticed that a person's true character really comes out during a game!! Are they a respective fan, which more than likely they are respective to people everyday in life, or do they swear and boo, which probably they are disrespectful in life as well!!  One may think, oh it's just a basketball game, who cares if I act completely disrespectful, it doesn't mean anything??  Does it mean nothing? Showing disrespect to another human being means nothing?  People must think just because they're on a court, field, etc. that they are impervious to hateful comments and actions!  Wrong.  I guarantee a hurtful comment during a game, will hurt just as much as it would if that person wasn't playing a game!  We have to remember that these are regular students playing a game, which is supposed to be fun and competitive at the same time!! Somewhere along the line that was lost, with behavior similar to monkeys throwing poo!!  They don't care what comments are yelled, just as long as their team wins!!

These are not professional athletes who get paid millions, they are regular students in high school trying to have some fun with a sport they are passionate about!!  Who are we, as fans, to take away from that and RUIN their experience!!  All I can say is in the future I hope Woodstock, as a whole, shows a lot more respect and sportsmanship behavior!!  As teachers we need to be the positive role models these students can look up to for guidance!!

Congratulations again for both Woodstock teams on a fantastic effort and the Boys winning Win Mumby!!! I do hope next year, our fans will be under control and a lot more positive than negative!!!! Happy smiling and cheering!!!!!!!!!!:):):)

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Failure or Growing in Corbett?!?!?

This past quarter break was my big checkpoint marathon in Corbett National Park!! My first marathon in 2 years, Turku, Finland in the summer of 2010!!!  I went into the race feeling confident, knowing that if I can run 21-22 miles up at altitude of 7,000ft. and with giant hills, 26.2 miles down at normal, flat altitude should be nothing!!  Of course the factor I NEVER EVER considered was heat!!!  It was beginning of April and I thought that the heat may be warmer than Mussoorie, but nothing than what actually happened!!!:)

The night before is where the troubles started!!  Since Minnesota, I have not had a "regular" marathon pre-race dinner and that for me is huge psychology!!  Every little aspect of a marathon has to be perfect, including pre-race meals!!  The more confident you are going into a marathon the more at peace your body is and less tense your muscles are!!  Pre-race dinner was Maggie pasta, which is nothing really to salt in a bag with some sauce and noodles!!  Not what I was hoping to find or eat the night before my first marathon in 2 years!! Soooooo feeling nervous at this point!!  Getting sleep was not a factor because pre-race sleeps average maybe 5-6 hours, so no big deal there if I went to bed at 11pm and woke up at 4:30am!!

Morning of the race, woke up to a warm morning in the tent and had my usual granola bar, 2 bananas and lots of water and gatorade, so that felt normal and fine!!  Had butterflies in the stomach which is regular, because as one knows who is about to run a marathon, ANYTHING can happen at any race!! You're never guaranteed to finish a marathon, which is the excitement and thrill that makes up the marathon!!!:)  I leave camp at 5am, with my Shuby, and get to the starting line at 5:30 ready to run this race!! It was warm but nothing like dying heat!!

6am and BAM starting pistol shoots and the race has begun!!  There are, in total, 50 marathon runners and I jump out to the lead for the first couple of miles!! I hear footsteps behind me but nothing in front yet!! Around mile 3.5 finally the man behind me passes me and gets about a 2 minute lead on me!! At this point it was 7am and the heat and sun start to warm the Earth!! Not significantly but surely warmer than I've ran in to this point in Mussoorie!!  At the checkpoint I was exactly where I wanted to be at pace, 1:28:43 (my goal was between 1:27-1:29)!!  Back out again for the 2nd 21km everything was still fine!! I was in 2nd and now about 1 minute behind the leader and about 2 minutes on the 3rd place runner!! Feeling confident and normal!! All of a sudden I see the first place runner stop and start walking a bit and then started to run again!! Which for any runner keeping a solid pace you know is a good sign!! So even though he was still in the lead and running, I knew if he's starting to walk he's in trouble!! I kept pace and sure enough 3-4 more times he would walk and run until finally he walked for the 5th time and I passed him at my solid pace!!:)  I only had about a 20 second lead on him coming up to the last 12km stretch!!  My mind was on the lead now and possibly winning a marathon, not even noticing the growing heat around me!!  One red flag that should have popped up immediately was the fact I would pour water on my body at a water station and within 2 minutes I would be completely dry again!!  My body was begging for water and salt!!  And with a water station only every 5km (3.1 miles) that wasn't helping!!  Even in the final 7 mile stretch, which usually has a water station every mile, there was only 1!!

At the 35km marker I noticed my pace dwindling and felt fatigue all of a sudden!! My breathing was harder, there was slight tingling in my arms and hammies were starting to cramp up!!  I pushed forward another 2km, thinking I'm so freakin close I can't quit now!! However, at kilometer 36 my body said enough and my mind said push through it and keep going, so I slowed down pace immensely and was about a 10 minute mile pace at this point!!  Almost walking, but still lightly running!! Then my mind was working in every kilometer, just make it to the next kilometer point, and the next, and the next!! At the 37km marker my body said enough!! I stopped running, started walking, and within a minute was down on the ground sitting!  Arms tingling and complete exhaustion has taken over!!  Mentally my mind was gone, but still trying to say get-up and go!!  The hardest decision was yet to come!!

I was sitting there at the 37th kilometer when another runner came up and said just around the bend there's an aid and water station!! I immediately got up and walked to the aid station and again sat down, eating oranges, drank some salt water, and poured liter after liter of water on me!!  If felt like heaven!! However, after all of this the decision came to me of shall I push myself and walk the rest of the marathon or throw in the towel!! I got up and started walking contemplating the decision!!  Wishing while contemplating the kilometers would fly by and I would finish!! Sure enough I was slow and it was taking forever!! Which at this point I thought, okay I could risk dehydration and more severe injury by pushing it through the heat to finish or sit down and wait for a vehicle to drive by and catch a ride back!!  I was torn on what to do!! On one hand I've NEVER quit anything I've started but on the other my ultimate goal is Grandma's Marathon and I want to be 150% for that race and this is a marathon yes, but it's not the end of the world!!  Plus, during this decision I was later told it was 37 degrees celcius, which is 99 DEGREES FAHRENHEIT, at 9am!!! Plus humidity!!  What to do.....

Well luckily I met up with my wife and Lindsay and even they told me I look like crap!!  I tried walking with them about 100 steps, but I just couldn't go on!!  So I sat back down, told them to continue and I'll catch a ride!! At that moment a vehicle was coming so Shubhra stopped them and asked if I could catch a ride! I got in, put my head down in shame and rode all the way back to the beginning where I got dropped off and Bendix was right there waiting with his camera, expecting me to finish running, not riding.  I felt ashamed and a huge amount of failure was on my shoulders.  Bendix asked what happened and I told him, the heat.  I just couldn't handle the heat and didn't want to risk injury.  I was about 500 meters from the finish line so no one saw me get dropped off, so when I walked to the finish line with Bendix, I kept my head down turned down any medals or congratulations and went to a secluded space and cried for a couple of minutes.

With the feeling of failure all over I couldn't bare looking anyone in the eyes, but I started talking to the others on their races and hearing what they said made me feel a little better!! Jay WON HIS RACE which was awesome, but he also said it was so freakin hot!!  All the 10km runners in the group also agreed it was so damn hot!!  That's when Mark told me, Rahul (race director) told him the temp was at 37 degrees (which wasn't until I got home figured out that was 99 degrees Fahrenheit) , which I knew was up there but not 99!! Then I really started to think about this race!!  Any race back in the states with temps like this would have been red flagged, meaning stop running immediately, and possibly cancelled!!  My pre-race meal the night before was crap and I was lucky to get as far on that as I did!!  I made it 23 miles until my body finally shut down because of heat and dehydration!!  No matter how badly I wanted to finish this race, I kept the future in mind and Grandma's as my ultimate goal and not do anything stupid at this one that could possibly damage my chances at Grandma's!!  At mid-afternoon my muscles were a tiny bit sore which is a HUGE positive for just running 23 miles at pace and feeling fine, which means I can push this tempo at Grandma's since I still have 2 more months of training!!:)

In the end of it all, I truly thought about Saturday on the train and today as well and realized what is failure in life??  My mom wrote me an e-mail saying everyone needs failure in life to learn and grow from it!!  Here's what I learned from this!! I know I am now OFFICIALLY retired from any jungle, tropical heat marathons!! I am a Minnesota true and true and frankly I was born a cold weather runner!! My prime runs are either extreme cold or nice 70-80 degree weather!! NOT 90+ degrees!! I think I'll stick with half's in India if it's in the plains and leave the marathons to Minnesota or other cold places!!!:) Also, no matter WHAT I will always be eating my spaghetti and french bread before any marathon!! If I have to pack it then I will pack it!!:)  Finally, here's how I see failure in life!! Quitting sucks, BIG TIME!! You don't feel good, you feel you've let yourself and everyone else around you down!! If you're a teacher or coach and you feel you feel you've failed your athletes who look up to you!! But here's where someone's true character comes into play!! You have two choices: you can sulk give up entirely OR learn from what you've quit, try harder and next time SHOW NO MERCY!!!!!:):) I choose OPTION B!!!!! TRAIN THE CRAP OUT OF EACH DAY FOR THE NEXT 2 MONTHS AND DOMINATE GRANDMA'S LIKE NO OTHER!!!!!!

So here you go blog readers, who are you?!? Are you a true quitter?? When you find your marathon in life, do you give up overall or fail, but get back onto the road and continue to improve!!! Yeah I failed Corbett, but in life, nah I got fight in me still!!!!!!:):):) NO PAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!! HAPPY SMILING AND HAPPY LIVING!!!!!!:):):):)


Sunday, February 12, 2012

New Running Club out East!!!!!!!!!:):):)

I think I've found my most FAVORITE running spot ever!!!!!!!! Granted it may take 1hr. 15 minutes to get there, but once there it is awesome!!!!:):) So gearing up for Grandma's Marathon in June, there needs to be some long runs involved!! Every Saturday starting last week I have been running out East towards Dhanaulti (Mussoorites will know what that means) and the same thing happened last week as well!!! I wake up around 7:30am and try to leave the house by 8am so I'm back around 11am!! Both last and this Saturday I have left the house around this time, which puts me in the same place at the same time!!:)  Last Saturday, after an hour into the run out East (about mile 7) I notice village kids walking to school (yes Indian public schools have half day sessions on Saturdays)!!! As I pass them I start hearing footsteps running behind me!! Sure enough with no time at all I have 4 young village boys running, 2 on each side, laughing and giggling!!  Impressively they were running in their nice black school shoes and backpacks saddled over one shoulder for at least 2-3 minutes!! At this point of the run it's a constant uphill run, so even more impressive these boys were staying at pace for so long!! But after those minutes past they were winded and couldn't keep up!! On my way back I passed by them and told them good job in Hindi!!!:):)

Sooooooo today left at 8am once again and started my long, long journey out East!!! At the SAME point as last Saturday I saw similar village school kids walking to school!! And almost on cue, as soon as I passed them I heard footsteps once again pick up pace!!!:)  This time the boys were older, but still stayed in the same formation, 2 on right and 2 on left!!  And being older they definitely stayed pace a lot longer!! It was VERY impressive!! They stayed on pace all the way to the ramp going down to their school, about 7-8 minutes!! Granted not all of them made it, only 2 of the 4 escorted me to their school ramp!!!:)  Now today I added 10 minutes to my out and back checkpoint (+20 minutes over all time), and this time when I turned around at the checkpoint and started my downhill descent I passed some village kids walking to school from the other direction!! Sure enough, right after I passed them, AGAIN I heard footsteps pick up pace and again I had a mini-running club running and escorting me along my journey home!!!!:)  This time there were only 2, but since we were going downhill they definitely kept pace easily, and even pushed me a little by staying 3-4 strides in front!!  It was AWESOME!!!!:):)  When we got to the school ramp again, from the other direction, they stopped and again I told these boys good job in Hindi!!!

I'm really tempted to make this a scheduled routine every Saturday and want to bring Bata running shoes on my run next time, give them to the boys, and see if the next time after that they'll be wearing them and ready to run!!!:):) That would be super cool!!! I really wish this wasn't such a far distance away so other Woodstockians could experience the awesomeness of this!!!  And it's so cool that a simple thing like running can bring together two different speaking persons but both are on the same page of loving life and having fun!!!:):) WHICH is what life is all about!!! Finding the simple joys of it!!! I canNOT wait until next Saturday and spend some time with my other running club!!!!:):):):)


Friday, January 27, 2012


Okay, little more recent posts now!!!!!!!!!!!! So this winter break was AMAZING!!!:):) The biggest and most important part of break was Somya and finally getting to spend some time with Shubhra's parents!!!  Nervous............. ummmmmmmmmmm YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Seeing their is no communication between her mom and I, since my Hindi is so AWESOME, and she only speaks Hindi!!!! Her dad and I could talk since he knows English so that wasn't as bad!!! But within the first day of being there I could feel the love from momma Chundawat!!! Which made the rest of the stay that more at ease!!!!  What I was most worried about was at rest and beginning to enjoy was the next goal!!!! WHICH HAPPENED!!!!!!!:):):) 45kg's of oranges!!! That was the amount of oranges that were bought and carried over to the house the second day I was there!! There were 4 or 5 oranges and I had orange juice the first morning we arrived, that did it!!! Shubhra's mom saw that I loved orange juice and made sure there were enough oranges for the entire week!!!:):) Objective -- COMPLETE!!! Had maybe 3-4 glasses of orange juice every single day, which has carried over to arriving back in Mussoorie!!! Except we have eased off with the 45kg's and instead buy 3kg's, which lasts us 4-5 days!!!!!

Everyday in Somya though, there was a new person to meet!!! This one's brother's sister's cousin's son!! If you want confusing titles of relatives, I'm sorry come to India!! But all I was supposed to do is put on my jeans, a nice shirt, and smile!!! OBJECTIVE COMPLETE!!!!!!:):):)  Shubhra's dad was also recovering from a surgery so the villagers were there as well to see how he was doing!! Needless to say it was a very busy time!!!:)  Every morning I would go for a run while everyone was waking up!!!  Cannot remember the last time I ran on so much flat ground before!!! It was a nice change!!! AND with a sunrise warming up the horizon and plains through the entire run!!!!:):):) After breakfast we would usually lounge around and relax, read a book, or go travel to one of the nearby larger towns!!!  All the meals were always outside which was AWESOME, since it was the perfect temperature!!! Think of a Minnesota summer night, WITHOUT the millions of mosquitoes!!! Only a couple thousand we had to worry about!!!:)  THEN the best part about Somya was the power going out at 9pm!! You basically had to go to sleep, no tv to keep you up or that book you have to read!!! Just plain, old simple BED TIME!!!!!!! That was awesome, and trying to get that going here in Mussoorie as well!!! Hasn't worked out yet, but come school time I think it should!!!

After Somya Shubhra and I traveled to Udaipur and Jodhpur!!!  I call Udaipur a really hilly Minnesota!!! THEY HAVE LAKES THERE!!!!!!!!!!:):):) Granted only 2, BUT lakes none the less!!! The two days we were there, both mornings I ran around the lake, which was about a 5 mile distance!!! It was BEAUTIFUL!!! Especially to see the sun reflect off the water!! Something I am so ever looking forward to back in MINNE-FREAKIN-SOTA this summer!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:):):):):):):):) After Jodhpur we continued our travels via bus (which sleeper buses are AWESOME by the way) and made it to Delhi safe and sound, which then we hopped on our final bus home and made it to Mussoorie just in time for SNOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:):):):) On our taxi drive up from Dehradun it started to snow, and about 3km away  from home the roads were too slippery and of course our taxi driver not being the Minnesotan snow driver, took one of the uphill curves to tight and slid right into the wall curve!!!  I tried to guide him, just like Dave did with our taxi drive back 3 years ago on our way to Lake Dodital, and told him to accelerate slowly!!!  Panic crept in every time which led to GUNNING it, which every time got him nowhere!!  Finally I made the decision, before we all ended up over the cud, to get out, pack up, and walk the rest of the way!!!!!:):):)

We made it home safe and sound and my goodness it was GREAT to be home and have a very SUCCESSFUL trip overall!!!!!!!!!!!!!:):):):)  HAPPY SMILING AND TOO ALL THOSE MEETING IN-LAWS FOR THE FIRST TIME GOOD LUCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:):):):):)

What runs (drives) us in life!!!!

I guess it's been a while since I've written!!! Seems like that has been my starting sentence to the last 4 or 5 blog posts!!!! Again, don't even know if anyone even reads this blog anymore, since settling in India doesn't bring too many NEW and EXCITING posts like the first year always does!!!!! But then it's always nice to have a place to go and write your feelings, thoughts, ideas, whatever it is whenever you want!!! Thinking that someone out there is reading it and may actually think about your thoughts and change their life for the better!!!

For the first time in 4 years, I finished a run with the utmost excitement and pumpitude!!!!  The reason being, for the first time in 4 years I ran a training run I had to fight through to finish!!!!! The previous day I ran a 2 hour 15 miler over the extreme hills of Mussoorie out East, and then today ran another 2 hour/15 mile run through the rolling hills of Mussoorie out West!!! When I came to the finish of the run, I stopped, bent over, took a breath of exhaustion and FREAKIN FIST PUMPED THE HECK OUT OF THE AIR!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I thought for a second, and really thought, when the last time I ran back-to-back15 milers................NEVER!!!! Even when training for my PB marathon back in 2008 I would run a 10-miler on Saturday and a longer run on Sunday, but never during the week would I run such extreme amounts, especially not back-to-back!!!!!!!!:)

Then I thought about what I just did and how this relates to the experience of life!!!! Sure I could stick to my old training ways, running maximum 10 miles through the week, ranging from 6-10 miles on those days, then a nice tempo run of 10 miles on Saturday, and long run on Sunday!! But that would be the easy and comfortable way out!!  And what I want/are determined to do this Grandma's Marathon will be something I cannot prepare for with the "easy" and comfortable way!! No, this time I need to get back that "Eye of the Tiger" and train like I've never trained before......... with my heart and mind completely set on the hell I'm going to put my body through for the next 4 months, with that 1 shot I will have to qualify for a dream I've had since 10th grade: RUN BOSTON'S MARATHON!!!!!! The 1 true goal every marathon runner dreams of accomplishing before they retire the shoes!!!!

With that being said, I compare my new training schedule to my life now and realize they are one in the same!!! Being Head of Physical Education now, there is no way I can take the "easy" path and coast through this year after year!!! First, the students will gain NOTHING from that, and me being so passionate about living a healthy life, will completely demolish their desire to be active and fit!! Secondly, lead by example!! If I expect my students to bust their butt in class, then I better be busting my butt behind the desk in prep for the next day's teachings!!!

Now going back to my marathon training, if I want to truly accomplish this goal of qualifying for the Boston Marathon, then I need to intensify and increase what I love to do 10 fold!!!!  You get in life EXACTLY what you put in to it!!! If I want to qualify for Boston, will that be accomplished by running 40-50 miles a week and not putting some 2-a days in there.........NO!!!!!!!!!! I'm not what you call a naturally "fast" runner, I've had to work at running my entire life, which has been a blessing!!!!! Because I know what hard work is and aren't scared to do it!!!!!!  This relates exactly to people who complain and whine about their life because things aren't going their way and when will something good happen to them!!!!  Well guess what, CUT THE WHINING OUT AND DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!!!!!!!!!!!!  I'm so sick of talk, talk, talk, talk, talk and instead of wasting your breathe and taking up my oxygen I need to run, TAKE SOME DAMN ACTION!!!!!!

This world would be such an easier place to live in if people just shut-up and let their actions speak for themselves!!!!!!!!  The people I respect the most are the quiet ones (a.k.a. non-whiners) who quite frankly focus all their energy and attention on their work!!!!!!  People are so worried about what other people are thinking, or who's hanging out with who, that if they would just not care about that and focus on bettering themselves, they would find themselves SO much more happier in life!!!! And guess what, if EVERYONE did that then you would have no "gossip" and would have a pretty wonderful place to work at every single day!!!

All this being said, life comes down to one thing: hard work!!! Work hard for what you want and you will see results!!! Shubhra found a stat that states you need 10 years to become "good" at something!! Well that pretty much sums up that theory right there!!! You think for those 10 years, the "good at something people" sat around and just one day became good at it?!?! NO!!!!!!!!!! For 10 years they worked their butt off to finally have all that hard work pay off!!!  Practice makes perfect indeed!!!!!;)

On an entirely separate note, CHARITY RUNNER IS A GO BABY!!!!!!!!!!!:):):) With Grandma's Marathon coming up in June, a tradition I've longed to do for so long is back!!! And that's run Grandma's Marathon as an ACS (American Cancer Society) Charity Runner!!!!!!! It's been 3 years now since I've run Grandma's and 3 years since I've ran for charity!! WELL now I can do both in the same race!!!! My goal, similar to the past goals, is $1,000!!!!!!! With an overall life goal of $50,000 for charity raised in my lifetime!!!! If you would like to help out and donate to this wonderful cause PLEASE click on the link below and help out!!!!!  I and ACS would greatly appreciate it!!!!!!!

Thanks for reading and HAPPY SMILING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:):):):):):):):):):):):)

Goal time for Grandma's Marathon: 2 hours 50 minutes!!!!!!