Archive | Character RSS feed for this section

The Next Time For Everything

17 Mar

What happens when you thought you gave it everything, but realized you had some left in the tank?

I don’t think this has happened to me in a race … like ever. I give it 100%. That’s a lesson I learned in sports, relationships, and life. No half measures, because then everything is off. And I thought that was embedded in my brain, my conscience.

I thought I had it.

I thought I was prepared … until it started raining.

 

 

 

 

The unexpected has always turned things upside down and tested whether I could adapt to the social conditions. And I’m not gonna lie … it sort of put a chink in my chain. For safety reasons, like creating an avalanche of cyclists tumbling onto the pavement and requiring ambulance transportation, I sided with caution. A slower pace so that I would not injure my already clumsy body.

However, I had reserved more in the tank than I really needed, and was unaware of how much until I crossed the finish line. I was all smiles and breathing normally. I wasn’t tired at all, but during the course of events I definitely felt the weight of my muscles and the rapid pace of my breath, especially during the swim. But once I crossed I wasn’t as tired as I thought I’d be, or as I’d seen other athletes become. I thought to myself, perhaps I was just really well-conditioned, but then I saw my time and realized I could’ve gone faster during the cycling portion. I mean with slick roads and rain, there’s still a safe way to go fast. Unfortunately I was unaware of it.

I was disappointed in that fact. But I was grateful and proud to have accomplished so much. I was happy that during the running portion I passed the elite-looking triathletes with their stretchy pants and six-pack abs. While they walked, I ran. I never walked, not even during the incline, and that’s something I took pride in, but for some reason the bike killed me.

Now granted, maybe I should have prepared a bit more, conditioned my quads for that cycling movement and prepared my butt muscles for the bike seat. But I should have stepped it up on race day, regardless of the rain.

Now normally finishing a sprint triathlon in a little over an hour and half seems pretty badass for me, but I couldn’t help be a little disappointed in my time. I didn’t think I was going slow, but then again I don’t remember hauling ass either.

A tough lesson for any athlete to learn. But I got it. Reminder … check! So for the next race I’ll be ready to end it like an Olympian.

I was still proud of my achievement, as were my kids, but I felt the pang in my stomach when it was over knowing full well that I had some juice left in the tank. It wasn’t a dump-gatorade-on-my-head worthy moment. But the universe was making sure I listened next time. And not just the “next time” of a race, but the next time I wake up in the morning and I say ‘I got this!”, the next time I write a story, the next time I’m in full fledged morning routine, the next time I’m a friend, the next time I’m in parenthood existence, the next time for everything.

So now I know … haul ass during the bike ride.

Buen Camino my friends.

 

Advertisements

Not A Lot of Luck, But Don’t Forget About The Heart

10 Dec

I thought I used to be somebody.

You’re nothing. Never gonna be nothing. Never gonna go anywhere.

When you’re at the bottom … that’s when big changes start.

For someone that didn’t have much luck he had a lot of heart, and that’s what made me root for him. He reminded me of me.

Heart can be the difference.

Recently I had forgotten how important that lesson was until I saw Invincible again. I forgot how important heart is,  not that I didn’t think it was an important value to have, I’ve always thought it was, I’ve always had it. But others hadn’t seen it in the same way.

There were people around me who felt that “resume” values had more weight in life than “eulogy” values. The corner office, the nice ride, the nice house, the big account … don’t get me wrong it would be nice to have that, and everyone strives for financial security and a stable life. Everyone is out there hustling for it, including me, but heart came in third or fourth for some of those people. Maybe because they valued it less.

I saw the movie at the right time and at the right moment. Just to set me straight. Just because others see nothing, doesn’t mean that there isn’t something there. Everyone has a comeback inside of them, behind the disappointment, bad luck, and heartache. Everyone has one.

One of my favorite moments of the movie was when Vince turned one of the most painful moments of his life into motivation. He turned it into something … into this force inside of him. He dug deep and found his heart.

His wife left him and in the empty apartment left a note … You’re nothing. Never gonna be nothing. Never gonna go anywhere.

He turns that into something.

He doesn’t throw the note out, or burn it. He brings it with him, and it stays with him when he tries out for the Philidelphia Eagles. He puts it in his locker. He looks at it everyday.  It drives him. When he’s at the very bottom he still has his heart.

Never really much luck, but a lot of heart.

I like that moment. I like that he turned something painful  into something good. He embraced that eulogy value when he had nothing, no resume values.

But in the end you remember what people were like, how they made you feel,  and how they treated you, not what kind of job they had, or how much money they made. You remember if they were gracious during good times, or spiteful and hurtful during bad ones.

Heart. And the power of the underdog. Those are some eulogy values I hope to pass onto my kids, the same values I hope not to forget again, the ones I hope will continue to drive me.

Buen Camino my friends!

 

 

The Dream Keeps Living …

16 Jan

martin-luther-king-jr-mlk-day-quotes-sayings-pictures-2

A historic day to reflect upon what matters …

When I ask my son and daughter if they knew why they had the day off, both of them told me it was because of Martin Luther King Jr. … “we’re remembering his life”.

I’m glad they were able to hear his words and understand the meaning behind his voice. When you’re that young sometimes the message gets lost in translation, but they seemed to have understood exactly what Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. meant. I’m glad it was easy for them and for a lot of kids in their class actually. Acceptance, equality, and empathy.

A day I wish we didn’t have off, because our country would have been so much better had be been alive.

But his words and his life continue to have meaning years after his death. They continue to touch the hearts of little kids like my own. I’m glad that historical figures like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. can keep affecting this nation long after he is gone. They keep inspiring so that the dream lives on during dark times, so that people can remember that character is what matters most in a person. What they say, what they do, and how they treat people in public and in private matter. I’m glad to continue teaching these lessons to my kids. I’m glad his words … his dream continues to inspire how people of different backgrounds live and act today.

 

dr-martin-luther-king-quotes

 

 

 

It Was Time To Find The Story …

22 Dec

I had to get a jump on it, between folding laundry and ironing clothes for tomorrow, I had to get on it. I had to muster up enough 5-hour energy on my own, the natural kind, the one that comes from heart and will power, not so much the one that came in the bottle. Otherwise I’d have no story this week, and with no story there is no record  …

You gotta have a record. I almost didn’t have one this week … the cool side of the pillow seemed to win most of the battles this week as I fell off the WordPress Wagon. Didn’t mean to of course. I’d like to say it was because of the holiday and all the Christmas spirit that was hanging around here, but no … no spirit. Just exhaustion.

But before the week ended I was able to summon the creative juices of finding the funny … I had to … otherwise the bitterness of the situation would fester into my Festivus celebration and I’d just turn into another angry chick.

But you know what?

Nothing is wrong with being an angry chick.

Absolutely nothing.

You just have to accept that, but I’m not always that angry chick. Most of the time I’m Zen, but anger strikes hard when people cross the line. So you have to hold tight to the things that matter to you … like dignity and self-respect and being able to tell a story before the powers of exhaustion kick in and you fall asleep at the computer.

Take for instance the chick that was suing me … she turned out to be a very angry individual who embellished the story quite a bit as she spoke in front of the judge. However the law happened to be on my side and I didn’t have to go into too much detail when it was my turn. So Judge Wapner dismissed it But I’ve learned that just because it was dismissed, doesn’t mean it’s over. She looks like the kind of person that might appeal … we’ll see. I didn’t get a good vibe from her as she walked out of the courtroom.

Or take for instance when someone flat out accused me of taking something we both knew I’d never touched, however blame was being throw around with profanity and bad attitude because they had an audience. Why not throw me under the bus while they had an audience? Drives things more in your favor. Luckily said object was found. I got no “I’m sorry,” or “thanks for finding it”. Just plain attitude that it was missing because they happen to forget where they put it …

Don’t you hate it when that happens?

People … I get that losing something sucks, but don’t go off blaming people who are standing within a 10-foot radius of you just because you’re frustrated.

So during this edition of Guatemalan Peoples Court, writer-director battles that cancelled my project, and being thrown under the bus for a family member’s lost item, I took it upon myself to remember … to remember that this stuff isn’t really important.. It sucks. Yes. No doubt. It’s not cool what they’re doing. It isn’t … but their opinion of me and what they say isn’t important. It doesn’t matter.

What matters is how you act when the shit hits the fan. And I’m happy to say that my integrity stayed in tact, my ability to do the right thing, to go high when they went low, was in full effect. So when I lay my head on the pillow I have no regrets.

I know what was said about me was exaggerated. I know it wasn’t true and my kids knew it wasn’t and that’s what mattered most. I continually focused on people and things I loved … like my kids, chocolate, friends, Netflix … plus it didn’t hurt that I was able to beat the crap out of pads during a Muay Thai boxing workout.  Beating the crap out of things helps to get it all out, because I realized that sometimes mind over matter doesn’t work out … so you have to use body over mind to get you out of the funk. Working out, getting you body active, tends to help align things mentally for me again.

And for that I was grateful.

I’d put that bitterness in the rear view mirror and was looking ahead. Festivus was around the corner, time to celebrate, time to wake up the next morning and be like … I got this! It was time to find the funny in the the not-so-funny … it was time to find the the story

fd5f14319ac6868fa2aa78e3c23d650d

 

 

My Vocabulary Isn’t Big Enough …

17 Oct

You just don’t have a big enough vocabulary to express what you want to say … let’s see if we can fix that.

That’s something I used to constantly share with kids whenever I heard them use profanity to describe someone or something.

It’s no surprise that in middle school I said this at least once a day. You see, back in the day when I was going to grad school and working, one of my jobs was substitute teaching. Middle school.

Sixth. Seventh. And eighth grades

I know. I know.

Best job for writing material ever.

Anyhow, I recently thought about this quote when I encountered a problem with someone. I could feel the anger rising to the surface and the need to just release all kinds of profanity. The anger about the incident, about their massive inconsiderate behavior, about the level of hypocrisy just enraged me. I was ready to let loose the large range of inappropriate vocabulary I had stored in my vault. Both in English and Spanish.

However … the decent person inside me took a moment.

The need not to escalate the situation appeared to surface somewhere in my brain. I thought about being the “bigger person” … again. I feel like my whole life I’ve always had to be the “bigger person” just to have some sense of peace in my existence. So I refrained from letting loose.

But there are times, and I strongly feel like this was one of them, that letting the explicit language rain d0wn was a necessity. Not only for the informative purposes of the jackass who caused these feelings, but just for the mental sanity of the injured — myself.

I look at this situation and all the anger and frustration that I have, builds up, ready to explode, and I just think …

MAN! My vocabulary is just not big enough to handle this person or situation right now.

I mean I try not to have too many moments like that … little things like traffic, bad drivers, bad service at a restaurant, someone cutting in line, people at the DMV, or someone taking my parking space,  get me all crazy. Stuff that isn’t going to matter five days, five months, or five years from now doesn’t seem like it’s worth all that heat.

But if it does meet that five day, five month, five year requirement … I believe profanity should rain down freely. I mean I should be all right, but usually a thing like respect and being a decent person make me change my mind. And the whole conversation just drains me. I feel emotionally exhausted and defeated because apparently sometimes they don’t share the same ideals on decency as me. They begin with low blows, at which point I just have to walk away because at that point I know … I know that my vocabulary just isn’t big enough to deal with certain people.

But once I hang up the phone, or walk away from the encounter, and I’m alone with the punching bag and gloves, the conversations I have with myself  are not PG-13. And I forget that I have a limited vocabulary when it comes to certain people or certain situations.

And I’m O.K. with that. I mean for my own sanity I’m O.K. with that.

 

.

 

 

 

Just-Do-It Character Even With Saucony Shoes

29 Jun

Even though the miles were the same and the landscape didn’t change, running through it, biking through it, and swimming through it made me different every time.

I don’t do it to lose weight, to work on my non-existent six-pack, or to post pictures with you-should-be-doing-this type of headlines in order shame or guilt moms with kids who are barely trying to survive ’till 7 p.m. I do it because it makes me feel good. It’s become part of my lifestyle, part of the routine that makes me feel like me, like that 2.0 version of yourself that’s always been there, the kind that comes out in a Just Do It commercial, the one that you produced.

Although I wish I didn’t have to recover with Alleve and BenGay the next day. But that’s what happens. You can’t fool your bones. They know you’re 39. They know it and they’re passing the message along to your muscles.

But regardless of how much menthol-smelling cream I need for my aches and pains the awesomeness I feel when I cross the finish line at the TinMan Triathlon keeps me going for at least a week or two. Even though I didn’t finish first, second, third, or even in the top 10, I still felt like a champion.

The hills were tough, but I kept going. Biking Devil’s Canyon was brutal, but I kept climbing. It kicked my ass, most definitely but I kept pedaling. And the swimming … well the swimming was so much better this time. Can’t say anything about the swimming, I felt like Michael Phelps. But no matter how challenging the other parts of the race were I kept going. I got the Just Do It vibe in me, even though I was sporting my Saucony running shoes.

And the thing I realized is that I passed that on to my son.

I was super proud of that fact. Proud of the fact that my son kept going after the lady handing out water during the running leg tripped him. Proud of the fact that after he fell hard, really hard on gravely road, he still got up. He scraped up his knee and the elbow was in need of some Neosporin and Band-Aids, but he didn’t give up. He needed a minute, but then he kept going, on to the biking phase, the swimming leg, and finally sprinting, not jogging or walking, but pumping his little arms and sprinting the last 20 yards to the finish line.

And I was there to watch him do it.

He raised his hands up in victory as they gave him his TinMan medal.

I was proud of his athletic accomplishment, but even prouder of his character, because he had Just Do It Character. Gatorade-commercial worthy character.

Yeah, this year the miles and scenery were the same, just like last year, and the year before that. But when we finished the race, we both had something different. I’m holding onto that for a while. I’m hoping he does too.

.

.

.