Self Vacation

Wait, what?! I already try to plan a vacation each year, usually every other year, what is a “self” vacation? To me, it’s learning to say no. I do so much already both personally and professionally that I often over-extend myself. I feel guilty if I don’t volunteer for an upcoming event, make a donation, attend a group run, etc. But why? Because I care.

We often have such a busy schedule we don’t take time sit back and relax, have a cup of tea, read a book. How many tasks do you have in mind that you never get to because other obligations get in the way? Is the only time you take a break, when you are so stressed out you just can’t get out of the house or want to talk to anyone, in person or on the phone? Breathe.

You are no good to yourself, your family, your friends, your business, etc if you are burnt out. Although it can be difficult in the beginning, it will get easier to tell yourself, I need time, I need a break, I need to take time to get this-that or the other thing done you’ve been wanting to. If there are some in your life that get offended if you say no to an invitation to go out, to go to an event, to make a donation or to participate in an activity, you need to shift your inner circle. You are allowed to say no. You are allowed to say that you have other obligations. Most importantly, you don’t owe anyone an explanation.

So how did I take my “self vacation”? I blocked out one week per month where I am taking an evening vacation. No group runs, no large social events, no meetings, and no work. Unless of course there is a personal or business emergency. Don’t worry, I will still be working during the day, duh! I reviewed my calendar, picked a week each month with no obligations already and I blocked it out-in bright bold colors. I love having a calendar in my hand that I can write in each day, and it’s color-coded. My electronic calendar is as well, both personally and professionally. I will use this time to read, take the dog for a walk, have dinner with a friend I haven’t seen in awhile, clean out clothes to donate, take a yoga class ~ whatever I want to do!

Do it…try it…it just may be the most freeing feeling in the world. I challenge you and let me know how it works out for you!

And remember ~ just keep moving!

Life doesn’t have to be perfect to be wonderful!
Carol

80 % of Success Is Showing Up

Trail Running

I don’t even know where to begin! What’s more fun then taking on a new challenge or adventure?!

I will begin with an expression of gratitude for the opportunity to take on a new challenge being healthier through diet and exercise.

Then there’s always the challenge of my health and the risk of flare ups if I’m not mindful of the challenges I take on. Always, be mindful of how you feel and be smart and know when to stop. It is not weakness, it is necessity.

In the past few years I began trail running and find it extremely peaceful. But, don’t let that fool you, you have to be on your game watching your footing while absorbing the beauty that surrounds you.

One of my goals for 2018, in addition to enjoying running more trails, was to run a trail race. I decided go big or go home apparently! I understood taking on this goal it would be a challenging course – that was an understatement for me!

I didn’t take pictures while on the course because I wanted to enjoy the beauty that surrounded me. The terrain, between the mud and hills, was very challenging. Most of the elevation was extremely difficult, for me , but would not be for more experienced trail and ultra runners.

Uberendurance Sports hosts a 20 & 40 mile trail race called the Naked Bavarian at Blue Marsh Lake in Leesport, PA. They are a well run race organization keeping costs low while providing challenging, yet fun races, little swag complimented by great volunteers and food.

By the end of the race, I truly exceeded my own personal physical limits, but the high of completing my challenge, while being mindful of my health, was exhilarating!

I finished!

Fast forward to 2019, I decided I needed to do it again! Why you ask? Because I can! As long as I can keep moving forward, I will keep going. This year proved to be the biggest challenge yet, as it had snowed prior to race day. I wasn’t sure what to expect, I certainly wasn’t going to try to beat my time from the previous year. Snow, mud…and ice! Whoa, what did I get myself into? I did great just moving forward at my own pace (and had not yet fallen thankfully but I did slip a lot!). Stopped at the aid station at mile 10 (the volunteers are amazing!) and was met with – be careful, it’s really messy up there. Did I not mention after the mile 10 aid station, there is quite the climb and descent. Oh, and I’m afraid of heights! Climbing in 2018 was a feat in itself for me, but now to do it in snow, mud and ice. Ugh, do I drop out now?? Nope, just keep moving. Safely of course.

I think my face says it all!

So, off I go, but after I hear from another runner, “hold up, I’ll head out with you”. Thank goodness because at this point I had been running completely alone. I still kept my pace, as did he, but I felt much better knowing there was someone else out there in case I had any issues, like falling off the side of the mountain (well it was a mountain to me, a “hill” to most ultra runners). And although it was not easy by any means and I did slip backwards a few times, I finally decided to take in the view at the top (last year I did not…did I mention FEAR of heights? Wow, what a view! (Nope, I did not get close to the edge)

View from the top of the “hill” after climbing

Trudging along just moving forward and hoping to finish. I was exhausted from the efforts it took to stay on my feet, especially the descent down the other side of the “hill”. After awhile I, along with the other runner close by, decided to walk a bit. Our conversation got personal about tragedies, challenges and struggles. Depression, drugs, ptsd, you name it, the conversation flowed and the time passed. Next thing you know, we were nearing the end. Phew! The kind gentleman I shared the last 10 miles with proved to me, once again, that there are many people out there with similar, or more, struggles than I. He’s an ultra runner who’s goal was to finish today. He ever so kindly dropped back behind me to let me finish the race ahead of him, even after I insisted we finish together. We did finish together, and I am forever grateful for sharing the miles.

“Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt.”

John Muir

What are some of your challenges for yourself?


Life doesn’t have to be perfect to be wonderful!
Carol

Why not make a difference?

The best way to find yourself, is to lose yourself in the service of others

Bonds

For 10 years, I volunteered and sponsored an annual fundraiser event for childhood cancer research on behalf of the St. Baldrick’s Foundation. I found the St. Baldrick’s Foundation through a volunteer site and wanted something I could do together with my daughter (against her will at first!) that involved children. I’m so very proud of my daughter, although she was not interested at first, it was an opportunity for her to learn about some of the struggles that children face, and how we could make even a small difference, and year after year, she was by my side helping. I can’t even begin to describe what this experience has done for me. I met some of the most amazing people that became lifelong friends, just simply sharing my time. Although during this time I was very sick, I just kept going. I pushed through tasks that come easy to others, but were difficult for me. I needed to keeping moving forward, to help others who couldn’t help themselves, who had more difficult challenges to face then I did. The friendships that were created through the years will be bonded forever. Check out this link to see how you can be involved and make a difference for a child. https://www.stbaldricks.org

Rialee, Child Honoree

Giving Back

Giving of my time as a runner assisting at water stations, cheering and/or handing medals to finishers is very rewarding, especially seeing the smiling faces of those crossing the finish line for the first time, whether it is their first race, returning after an injury or illness, or maybe running their best race. The look of these brave and inspiring runners is the epitome of not giving up, the desire to just keep moving and just do and be the best they can. As a business owner, and runner, giving of my time attending and/or sponsoring local events allows me to give back to my communities. This year I had the opportunity to sponsor several local race events, as well as volunteer with a team fundraising for fallen heroes, which provides holiday gifts to children of soldiers who have passed in the war, or suffered from PTSD. A kind word, a hug, an acknowledgment and understanding means more than you know to someone. Be kind, always, you never know what someone is going through.

Volunteering at the finish line of the Philadelphia Marathon

How about you? Do you volunteer locally, throughout the US or Internationally? Did you know that you can find out if a destination you are traveling to is sponsoring a local school or event? Some resort destinations, through the assistance of volunteers, provide school supplies to help a local school. When we travel, we can indeed help others and help to keep them moving forward.

Support while traveling

There are many reasons to volunteer while you’re traveling and there are literally thousands of charities and organizations that look for help from passing travelers. For example, the Maui Humane Society has the “Helping Paws” program where visitors can come spend time with the animals. Some, who are staying on Maui for a longer time, can actually “temporarily adopt” a dog or cat for their whole stay. Most end up taking them home with them at the end. Churches also offer mission trips and encourage members to participate as a group, usually in some specific area such as building a school.

We may not have a lot of time to give, but maybe if we each look for some small opportunity, we can all make a difference. The next time you take a vacation, consider asking what you can do to help. We are happy to assist you in learning about these opportunities as you plan your vacations. Have you ever participated in a program that you would like to share? Let us know and we will put it “out there” for all to see! 

Let’s make a difference together and help others to just keep moving! 
Carol