Tuesday, August 26, 2008

One day at a time....and lets really enjoy today.

Trevor and Kevin

Megan and Emily


Lexi and Sara

"If I'm not not happy in this time and place, I must not be paying attention" Jodi Hills

This is a magnet that I have had on my fridge for the past couple years and I must look at it everyday. Everyday.

Now, if you have been keeping up on my blog........you know about my recent "lemons" and on any given day I can start to feel like these migraines, injuries, and past relationships have really taken a toll on "who I am" and that happy person I strive to be.

Well, everyonce in a while, LIFE throws in a lesson that wakes you up and forces you to really look at things in a new light. Life says PAY ATTENTION.

In the last couple weeks, I have had good friends lose a young family member with no warning.
I have a family starting school who just recieved a diagnoses for their 5 year old, cancerous brain tumor.
A brother battling a chronic illness.
A little girl traumatically orphaned at school.
I hear myself saying, "things in my life could be way worse......yes"

Life is fragile. LIfe is unpredictable. What can we do??
We CAN love the family and friends that are with us day to day.
We CAN smile for the things that make us happy day to day.
We CAN help, give, share and strive to be the best we can everyday.
We CAN enjoy life to the fullest, doing the things that matter today, taking life DAY BY DAY.
We CAN pray to God and ask for guidance and comfort during the hard times.

I am writing this from Green Bay. Ten of my Twelve siblings are home (17 people are sleeping at my mom's house) to celebrate the wedding of my niece Sarah.
My kids are in heaven playing with their many cousins.
LIfe is good and will be enjoyed.

Today, I am happy. I am paying attention.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

When life gives you Lemons.......

Yes, you know it.......make lemonade.  My friend Darcy commented not to long ago about how things happen for a reason in life and when given lemons, make lemonade.  I have always tried to embrace that philosophy of life but its always helpful when friends give us that supportive reminder.

So, these past two weeks,  numerous lemons have been thrown my way..... 
A major lemon that I have been dealing with have been chronic migraines.  Now, taking my own advice.......I know that these are things I can not control so "dealing" with them is what I must do.  My neurologist often says, "julie, you  have a migrainese brain and you will have migraines that are out of your control".  The bummer came when I was all packed up and ready to go to Pigman(see last post) with my girlfriends when a MAJOR migraine attacked saturday morning.
I was not able to function as a human being and therefore had to wave good bye as Jen and Cathy pulled away from my driveway without me.  We all knew it was the best decision but hard to take as I was ready to see what I had in me at the Half Ironman. 
After taking the max amount of abortive relief  drugs(for migraines) allowed for this 24 hour period and accepting that I was NOT going to Pigman, I cancelled our overnight babysitter and figured out a new weekend plan.  

The Lemonade was made when I was able to attend Trevor's Football Jamboree.  I had earlier dropped him off and he was expecting Megan(niece and babysitter) to pick him up.  I showed up, found a spot to sit down and just watch.  I enjoyed taking photos of Trev and watching him hang with his team. Trevor absolutely loves this sport, it was so exciting to be a part of that for him. 

Trevor's team is the Cowboys.  He is #82.  Trev's last name is LaPoint(on his jersey).
Trevor played offensive linesman and some at defensive tackle.  He told me his favorite part of the day is when he was able to tackle the quarterback.  

Staying home allowed me some extra time with my kids for sure.  After football and after sleeping for the rest of the afternoon, I was feeling about 60% by 6:00pm.  Just feeling good enough to spend some alone time with Lexi, took her to her favorite store at MOA, "Justice, for girls" for some back to school shopping.

Other than shopping, Lexi's new favorite thing has become our neighbor's dog, "marley". She loves this dog and sometimes I think she believes it is hers. She took Marley to Trev's football game and was upset with me that I was telling people it wasn't our dog. "mom, they just don't need to know that!" 

So, as my head is clearing and this migraine is going away......i am thankful for the extra time i spent with my kids this weekend.  For my friends that went down to Pigman, I hope you had a wonderful time and a great race.  I look forward to the next race we can do together.....

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;  courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference. 

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

"so far"

"Today I stop, I breathe deep and rest.  With grateful tears I weep because I have come so far."
Kristen Jongen

I found this on a print while out shopping the other day and it was one those prints I just kept reading over and over.   I decided to buy it so I could look at it everyday to remind myself that yes......in life there are good times and hard times and in those times, you are  always making   choices and sacrifices to get to that place that you want to be......
There are times when I really need to stop and reflect on how far I really have come and how it is that I have gotten to this place.  When  I find myself saying, "oh, why is this happening?"  it is then that I must think hard and I soon come to the realization  that it is each of these life lessons that shape me into the person I am, the athlete that I am, the friend I am , the mother I am.   And I know it is the wisdom that I gain from these life experiences that will help guide me through life and be the best person  I can be.  

A few recent life experiences:

Have you ever built a house-
I recently  had the opportunity to be part of  Habitat for Humanity.   I went up north to the beautiful area of Ely, MN and joined a volunteer crew to build a house for a family in one day.
It was a long one day but an incredible experience.  To be part of a giving project to help a family in need,  to be involved in the manual labor it takes in working with others to complete a project, to connect and meet others........reaching out of one's own comfort zone.......all valuable experiences.

A visit to Green Bay
I had the chance to go home to where I grew up and where my mom, 3 sisters and 1 brother live.  I love going home and I love taking Trev and Lexi there and showing them the house I grew up in, the neighborhoods  I hung out in and where I went to school.  
We went home because my niece Sarah is getting married over Labor Day Weekend and was having a Wedding Shower over the weekend.  It was so nice to be able to share that special time with my sister Cathy( Sarah's Mom) and the rest of my family.  
My niece Sarah and her Mom Cathy (my sister).

We all had the chance to take a day trip to the "Dunes" in Door County.  This was a hang out spot for me as a high schooler so I was excited to make the trip back to the beach with the kids and my family.  It was a beautiful day in the sun, lots of swimming, castle making, and beach games.  Louise even made a great picnic lunch.  While home in DePere, Lexi and Trev got very attached to Allissa's new Dog, Bailey.  A beautiful  Labradoodle.

Having my sister and her family back in town from Belgium
My sister Amy(2 years younger), her husband Ted and three kids moved to Belgium 2 years ago.  They make it back to the states two times a year, summer and christmas.  We had the opportunity to spend lots of time together while they were here for their summer visit and it was great.  There is nothing better than watching 8 plus cousins playing together, swimming, laughing and just being kids.  It was also a nice chance to hang out with my sisters and catch up.  There is just nothing more special than spending time with family.  We look forward to the Browne Family returning to the States for good.  Lexi asked today.  "Mom, how many days is 4 months (until their christmas visit), I wish it was 2 months."

Healing from an injury and preparing for Pigman

I have stopped counting how many days it has been since I have last run......I don't even remember?? I have been doing lots of swimming and have had bike trainer sessions without pain.  So, I am healing.  I have added many strength exercises 2 x day per Physical Therapist at Tria.  I feel good about my progress and my plan for Pigman.  

Here it is:  Swim as hard as I can, bike as hard as i can (given that i haven't bike hard or done hills in about 3 weeks)  and then cross my fingers as I head out onto the run course.  Hope that I have given my leg enough time to heal.  This is where it gets a little tricky.  I am saying this openly.......I will be smart.  IF I feel any sort of pain, I  will stop running.  I will walk, try again one time.  If the pain continues and persists, I am done.  I will pull myself out of the race.  My SMARTER plan is to allow the leg to heal so I can STILL train for Ironman Florida.  IT is the only A race I have left!!  
BUT, there is always the very very good chance that I may step onto that run course and have the best Half IM, maybe not the fastest but a solid pain free run, that would be the BEST.

Lesson learned-  I am reminded daily about the things that we DO have control with in our lives(which for me now is staying positive, eating healthy, doing the healing exercises i can, staying positive) and the things that we just don't have control over........and that is just life.  And really, it comes down to how you deal and the choices you make.
I love the line in Freaky Friday when the Mom yells to her teenage daughter, 
"make good choices".  I am always going to yell that out to my kids!!  I love it.
Peace and Happiness to all.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

I CAN do this

I haven't run in ELEVEN days. Life changes every day and one must go with the flow. I remind myself, I can do this.
I haven't raced since Timberman and as I reported earlier it was a great race for me. So, I thought......ok......if this is a season ending injury, at least I went out on a good race.

To recap, after Timberman, I decided not to do Racine for logistical reasons and who knows maybe that was the best plan. Perhaps I would have injured myself worse by racing that Half IM. The kids and I still went to the Dells and had an awesome time. We stayed at a fabulous water park that had both outdoor and indoor slides. We also had to do at least one touristy dells visit and we chose the Reptile House and OH was it a True Dells experience. No where else would you pay to watch a HUGE Boa eat a very cute and large white easter bunny. I am not kidding you. Luckily this boa was not hungry so we did not have to witness the feeding. A good time in the dells.

So, after coming back from the dells, I was ready to hit the training hard.  Excited to start training long for IM and have an A race at Pigman.  Ready to get going.  Merilee and I set out on Saturday and joined the MN Tri Club for the Century ride.  It was a beautiful day and the ride felt great.  We both felt strong.  We did a short transition run after and I kept saying, "my calf is really tight".  Didn't think much of it.  Well to make a long story short, I went for an hour trail run the next day(ran for about 4 miles in pain) and walked home in severe pain.  And that is the last day I have run.  Coach John said, "uhh, I think that sounds more than a tight calf, you better stay off that.....maybe a strained muscle??"

 I visited TRIA today and the word is my leg(lower left leg) needs to heal and recover some more but there should be time to heal and strengthen and still time to train for IM Florida.
 I CAN do this.
I will stay positive, I will continue to train by swimming and light biking. I will follow the strengthening exercises. I will stay healthy and strong, eating right.

Every now and then I get pulled into the dark side.......I start to go down the woe is me and what if's.  I notice when I am going into the dark side, every thing looks bleak and I start losing motivation and hope.  That is not right and not where I want to be.

I want to be in a place where I can control staying fit, following my rehab exercises, following my coaches plan, eating right, staying positive.  I believe these things will get me to the start line of IM Florida.  Whatever happens from there on race day........that will be ok.  Because I will know that I  did all I could to get me there.  I can do this.  I will do this.  I will not let this injury take me down.  I will not go to the dark side.

I will be at Turtleman taking pictures with Paul and Competitive Image so SMILE and I will cheer as loud as I can.
And I will definitely be GOING to Pigman(cuz its a girls road trip).......doing the best that I can(run or no run).

Life is good.  I think I'll enjoy it!

Picture taken in Ely, MN
More to come on that in a later post.