Saturday, February 28, 2015

What I Learned In February

Why is it that the shortest month of the year seems like the longest??? It could be because of the ridiculous record breaking low temperatures we have endured, or the few snow storms that have blown through our town.
  But in light of this month which has lasted forever, I have been looking forward to writing this particular blog. February has brought me many teaching lessons. Some are quite silly, and others have been so deep for me, I will not be able to put them into proper wording, but I will try.
 So, my friends, here is a little bit about February lessons learned:

1. I like to paint.  We got to go to one of those wine and canvass nights, and honestly, I had a lot of fun painting. I'm really not much of an artist, but I enjoyed being creative. I outlined my daisy (one of them) in brown, and at first I said to myself, " Flower petals are not outlined in brown..." but then I decided, who cares? That's what painting is about... being creative.  I had a blast. I would like to go back sometime to a studio and just paint.

2. Tea is not so bad.  The Doctor ordered me to lessen my coffee intake. Sometimes I can blow off what a dr. says, but this time, I needed to listen, at least for a while. And so far, I think her reasonings were valid. So I will continue to obey with my one cup a day. That being said, I  never liked tea. But, I love a hot drink, so I have been experimenting with different kinds, and I am discovering tea is not so bad after all. It'll never be the same as a cup of coffee, but I give it some credit.

3. I like my hair growing out.  For years, I have had short hair. I kind of did because of being in food service and it needing to be off my shoulders, but in all honesty, I did it more because I said long hair did not look good on me or work for me. But, I have a job now where I can wear my hair however I want, so I am giving it a shot. And honestly, I like it. Also, I have come a very long way in not letting the opinions of others rule me. I am not a stylist, so it's not fancy (and when I try, I remember why I need a stylist) but I love being able to wear it down, feel the wind blow through it, or pull it back in a ponytail. Who knew??

4. I struggle with self control.  So, I never would have thought this or admitted it before. However, I like to be real, so let me be real for a moment. Self control can apply to many areas of life, and I have discovered in this very long month, that I wrestle with it. (In reflection I kind of say, "duh, Rachael!") I actually struggle with it in  many areas. The cool thing, though, about recognizing this, is that I can now work on fixing it. I am actively aware when I reach for some comfort food that that is a lack of self control. up all my many cups of coffee a day (though a struggle) boils down to self control. And so the list goes on. What I say, where I go, who I spend time with, what I eat, how I spend my money....I can be full of self control at times, but the reality is, this is a daily struggle for me. But, with God by my side, I am steadily working on this.

5. Having Winter days Makes me Appreciate the Approaching Spring ones.  This isn't really a new lesson, but it's been a refreshed lesson. I have strived to be thankful for the forced rest and the bitter cold days, but my heart is longing for warm days, short sleeves, flip flops and outdoor runs without a million (ok that's exaggerating, but you get my point) layers. But in so longing for those days to arrive, I have learned the parallel of needing bad days to appreciate good, winter to appreciate spring and so on.

6. I have comedy movies I go to to watch on dreary/boring/sad kind of days.  This is a new discovery for me that I do this. But I found myself, more than once, requesting to watch a certain flick. I love to laugh. and I have discovered a couple movies which bring this about every time. I laugh in all the same places, even when I know they are coming. But it feels so good! Those 2 movies currently are Blended with Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore and The Proposal  with Sandra Bullock and ?? (i've really never been great with knowing who is in what).

 This month has taught me much. Many lessons which are hard to put into words. If you are in my every day life, you've likely watched me be a little more quiet. Just like the trees roots which go deep and soak in the snow for growing the trunks and new buds to come forth, I believe February has been doing the same for me. I am excited to see what March will bring, for my life, for growth, and Lord knows I am excited to see colors and warmth again.

  What did you learn this month???

Friday, February 27, 2015

The Little Moments

TGIF, my friends!
  The last days of February are here, and I must say I am grateful for that. Tomorrow I will bring you my "What I learned this month" blog. For today, I want to share my little moments from the week.
 In the midst of wintery days, it becomes easy to complain about the cold and yuck outside. I have to make a conscious effort some days to not fall into this trap myself.  This was a really good week for me, though, and I am thankful for the many blessings in my life.

 - Stepping out and doing a different activity. Last weekend, I got to do a "sip and paint" night. A night where we went out, had wine and painted. I laughed and just had a lot of fun stepping outside of my normal activities, expressing the creative side of me.
   - Scarves, hats and gloves. Seems like a silly thing for which to be thankful, but I know many out there do not have those, so I am grateful for those items that keep me warm.
     - Old photos. This probably isn't the first (or last) time I will smile over looking through old photos. I am grateful for those moments captured in time. As I looked through some old photos with my dad, I enjoyed listening to his stories and learning new things about him.
         - Birds chirping. Yesterday, I dressed myself warmly and stepped out the door for a run. (I could no longer do the treadmill) Yes, it was cold, but I went without music, and as I finished my last quarter mile, I heard a beautiful sound: birds chirping. That made me smile pretty big. Regardless of it being true or not, I choose to believe this means spring is on the way.
   - A friend who knows how to bring the best out of me, included, but not limited to, listening to my woes and helping me see how that weakness can become a strength. Or rather, how it can become an opportunity for God to shine through me
   - The smell of coffee and the enjoyment that first long sip in the morning brings me. I have been directed to only have one cup a day, which is a huge adjustment for me,but I have learned how much I took these things for granted. I now savor every single drop of my one cup.
      - Crockpot meals.
         - An unexpected card dropped on my desk this week. I love those moments. Those are the kind that last in my mind and heart for many days.
    - Laughter. The sound of it is like music. The feel of it is pure joy. And the lasting effects of it bring memories lifting a smile to my face any time I recall the moment. I love to laugh. And to see others laugh.

      I am glad it is Friday, as I am sure all of you are as well.... Tell me about your little moments this week. I would love to hear!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Don't Quit

When you feel like quitting, think about why you started... this applies to all areas of life.
    Today, it applies to running.

Let's get real here on this blog post. For a few moments, if you will allow me, I am not going to sugar coat, pretend or fluff up the words. I'm going to be raw and real. (I'd like to say I am that way all the time, but probably I fluff up the words at times to try to encourage myself as much as my readers).

 I feel like quitting. The weather is bad, I've battled some health issues, and I have lost a lot of ground, which leaves me feeling really discouraged lately at the end of my runs. I am far from making the mark of what I wanted to accomplish in my spring races and to be quite honest, I have felt like quitting the last few days.  Today, my treadmill (or "dread"mill, as I prefer to call it) run was absolutely horrible. I felt like a turtle, and when I hit a couple of miles into it and needed to slow down because I knew my heart rate was too high, I thought "Man, this is trouble." Not trouble because of my heart rate, but trouble because I really didn't want to keep going.  For pity sake, I wasn't even going that fast. How did I get to a place of feeling out of shape, when I have never really stopped running?
 Winter training is hard, make no mistake. But I have done it before, and I knew this.  I love to run, and I haven't lost the enjoyment of running, but today (ok, the last few days) was one of those days I really felt like quitting. I wanted to cry at the end of the run- and not the "I feel so good about this run" kind of cry.  I felt discouraged, defeated, and a far cry from the way I felt in my runs a few months ago.
  So I had to remember why I started, Why I love running and wanted to start it in the first place.

I started with a dream, which became a goal.
   The dream of reaching a time goal, if you want to say it that way, But really the dream has more to do with becoming a better me.
 I started not because I wanted to lose weight, but simply because I feel better physically, emotionally, and spiritually when I run.
   I started because I am a goal setter, and running has helped me reach many of those goals.
 I started because when I began running several years ago, for the first time in my life, I realized I could do things I'd previously said "I'll never be able to....."  And running lent me a whole new perspective.

 So, today, when I felt like quitting and throwing in the towel, I had to think and remember why I began.
   I am not a quitter. 

So, tough runs and all, I will keep going. I'll be up again early tomorrow, probably on the "dread"mill. I may or may not make the time goal I want. But honestly, it's not all about that. I have heard some say that if they can't do it all the way, 100%, it's not worth doing at all. I say, it's not worth giving up. I set the goal. I started the dream. I am going to finish it out, even if it looks different now than when I started. The outcome may be totally different than what I set out for it to be, but that doesn't mean I'm giving it less. In fact, in the midst of the winter, health problems, lost momentum and all, those pathetic treadmill runs may just be 100% of me at that time. So, I am not quitting. I am remembering why I started.
   Before you quit, think about why you started.
 Smile. ( Or cry if you need to) And keep going with it. It's worth it.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Hands and Feet

I have experienced doing many jobs over the years. Growing up as a farm girl, I learned how to work hard and do all kinds of get-your-hands-dirty jobs. I learned how to use tools and do (some) do-it-yourself projects. I've experienced challenging tasks, physical tasks, and mental tasks. Hard work and hands -on does not scare me. But yesterday, I tackled a first-time-ever project.
  The temperatures have been below zero, and snow has been falling, and we had some pipes freeze. We were fortunate that nothing burst, but the discovery led to the necessity of fixing the problem before it becomes a larger problem.  In further investigating, we discovered that these pipes were not properly insulated in the attic. They were exposed to the elements, and the rare, sub- zero temps brought it to our attention. Anyway, we decided to fix this on our own, as opposed to spending a fortune to take care of it. The problem: my husband is severely allergic to insulation and really not (let's say) limber enough to fit in the rafters.
 Initially, my 10 year old son eagerly volunteered, thinking it would be "cool". However, as soon as he got up to the attic, he became very concerned there might be creatures up there, so he couldn't bring himself to do it. So, I said I would do it. Oh, boy, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. (I can't say I blame him for his fear of the possible creatures, either. )
 I climbed the ladder and crawled up into the attic. With one piece of plywood underneath me to keep me from falling through, this project took on a whole new meaning to being in a tight space. The plywood could only be shifted so many times until I had to rely on climbing around rafter to rafter, like spiderman. At one point, there was this very small hole I had to crawl through in order to get to the other side of a rafter to continue to put insulation over these pipes. I have never maneuvered my body so awkwardly, nor do I ever want to do that again. I had to be quite careful where I put my feet as I moved, so I wouldn't fall through.
 But as I did this project, with a small flashlight and a pocket knife, and my watching every little step I took,  I had a song come back to me from years ago.
 (Side note, if you know me well, you know I absolutely love music. My mom used to have a song for everything, and it would seem perhaps I am finding that same sliver of life. )
 When I started singing, I was asked "Is everything ok?" Apparently, the ones on the ground found my singing odd. Anyway, This song came back to me, as I gingerly moved my feet and kind of groaned about doing this task...
   Audio Adrenaline sang a song in my high school days called Hands and Feet
 The point of the song was that we are God's hands and feet and will go where He sends us, to accomplish His tasks for His good.
    I know, kind of an odd moment to remember the song, but nonetheless, this insulation job became a parallel for a moment, along with the reminder of the song.
   You see, we all have meaning. We all have jobs. I used to find myself frequently saying I'm just... just a barista... just a mom.... just a secretary....  as if those roles were not important. Sometimes, I have to still correct this phrase in my vocabulary, but this is a lesson I have come very far in my journey.
 I am not just  anything. Nor are you.
   Whether I am a mom, a barista, a secretary, an event planner , or wherever life might carry me...
 Whether you are a CEO, a company director, a dad, a farmer, (an insulation installer), work manual labor or desk job, touch hundreds of people a day or five....
 You can make a difference.
    I can make a difference.
I may never see it. I may never know. But I am here to be His hands and His feet to those around me.
 To love the unlovable.
    To lend smiles to the hurting.
       To listen to the frustrated.
           To laugh instead of cry, or maybe cry alongside someone.
 To hug others.
    To work my hardest so that He may be glorified, not me.

  I am created uniquely so that I can be different and make a difference.
      It's never just anything. Every little act matters.

 It's incredible the powerful life lessons I can remember in the midst of everyday activities. To finish off the story, the pipes are now insulated, albeit very amateurly. And hopefully I never have to do that job again :) Although, if necessary, I would.
  If you want to hear all the lyrics to the song, click on the video below.
 Remember.... one day at a time... you can make a difference. You never know what a simple act, simple word, or simple smile can do for another person.

Monday, February 16, 2015


My muscles had to work harder.
  My lungs had to fight for breath.
      And my skin screamed for more layers.
But I did it.
 I stepped out into the 7 degrees and furious snow flurries today. 
  My thoughts circled me as I ran, much like the snowflakes did. 
Want a motivator not to walk in the middle of your run? Step out into this frigid air. You won't want to stop moving. 

  This winter has been brutal on my goal of trying to nail down a better time with my half marathon. And while there are still several weeks to go, the last few weeks have taught me much. Running, much like life, does not always follow the training plan.  And because of that, I am embracing valuable lessons across the board.  
 I once again faced some issues the past 2 weeks which forced me to slow down  in my training. It wasn't even the bitter cold temperatures that kept me from logging miles and speed runs. My health, for a bit, put me back to a place of forced rest. I hate forced rest, and yet it is generally in those moments I am able more adequately evaluate the lessons I am learning. So, I have learned to embrace the time. I was able to spend more time journaling and reading and writing in the last 10 days or so with the extra hour I would typically be out running.
   I even was beginning to enjoy the rest time so much, I hesitated to step back into it today. But who am I kidding? I love running.  I never want to quit.  Today's run was tough to start out for sure because of the temperatures, and my lungs had to fight for breath. And due to the fact that I'd been off for a little over a week, my muscles had to work a bit harder. But I smiled
 Because, although my run was brief, I was free.
   Free to feel the cold on my skin.
     Free to watch the snowflakes fall furiously around me. 
  Free to appreciate the different seasons. 
   Free to dream. 
     Free to think.
   Free from anxiety.
    Free from fear.
      Free from expectations. 
      Free from house duties.
   Free from all the many emotions I absorb all around me every day. 
      Free from all the different "hats" I wear. 
For 30 minutes, I was free to be me. 
 And that, my friends, is why I love running. 
 I may set the goals, which are good, but it's about the journey along the way. That journey ends up teaching me far more than I ever knew about myself from the start of the goal. 
Health might slow me down. 
    Weather might prevent long runs some days.
   But I will never quit. Because when I run, I am free to be me. (And me is good. )


Saturday, February 14, 2015

The Little Moments

On this frigid Saturday here in Ohio, I have spent some time reflecting on my week. I am walking through a great learning process the last few weeks, about myself, my value, God's ways v. mine, and many other life lessons. It's a rather beautiful journey.  Blessings to be found in the middle of blustery winter days....
  - Baking with my kids, eating raw cookie dough, and making memories
- A fun new recipe app (Yummly-Check it out) Cooking has never been my strength, but this app is full of recipes and ideas and is a great aid in transforming my lack of cooking abilities into some delicious meals
    - This week, I am grateful for my health. I may have 
 issues at times medically, but this week I've become extremely grateful for 1- antibiotics and 2- my health. I take it for granted. I realized that this week, which lent me a new perspective of gratitude for my health.
       - Wind. It's cold and knocks my breath away often times in these frigid temps, but I am thankful for it. I can't see it, but I can feel it. It's a reminder of God all around me, even when I cannot see Him. 
     - Thought provoking books. I'm in the middle of a couple right now, and am enjoying what they are teaching me. 
  - Quiet mornings. I love getting up at 4:30/5 and having the house all quiet and a few moments of peace and prayer before starting my day. 
         - Lazy Saturdays. 
  -Sunshine. Although I am already wishing for days to roll my window down and feel the sun on my face and wind in my hair, I am grateful that in the midst of these very cold days, the sun still peeks through the clouds. At least it isn't grey and dreary all the time! 
    - Cards. I love to give them, I love to get them. Cards make me smile :) 

 Happy Valentines Day, My friends. May you find the little things in your week and days as well! 

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Winter Days

We are in the heart of winter, here in Ohio.  February has a record for being the coldest month.  However, we were blessed to have a few days last weekend in the 50s, which still was chilly, but a nice break from the grey skies and freezing temperatures. This weekend will be a different story, with freezing temps and snow showers.
 Winter is my least favorite season. When I lived in Florida, I never minded the sun year round or the lack of seasons. I love my flip flops and summer dresses. However, upon living in Ohio again, I have over time come to appreciate and enjoy the different seasons. The seasons have become an analogy more often than not for me. And every winter, I believe God allows for fresh perspective on the winter season. This winter is no different. I read something this morning which resonated with my soul.
 *Chris McAlister wrote, in Sight Shift, " The winter is permission to stop. It is a desolate period, a period where we feel isolation. A period where we learn we don't force our way through change....In the coldness of winter, the trunk of the tree is growing stronger."
  He goes on to say much more, but I want to take those words and piggy back off them for a moment.
  Winter is permission to stop. 
If you know me, you know I don't slow down very well at all. This winter, God is teaching me to stop a bit more often. Sometimes, the stopping is one which I don't really want or ask for, but nonetheless, I am asked to do. Stopping allows for rest. Stopping allows for reflecting and taking in. Stopping allows for stillness (again, not something I do well) but stillness allows me to hear His voice more clearly, to take in what He is saying to me. I am no master at this, in fact, I'm pretty awful at it. It usually takes illness (and this winter has provided that in some ways) to force me to slow down. But in so doing, in those moments, when I finally do slow down and stop for a moment, I find the most rest. The most peace. I often have to wrestle my way to the stopping point, but once I arrive, beauty is found. It is ok to stop. Winter - both literally speaking and in the sense of a winter season of life where we can be found desperately wanting answers- begs us to take the opportunity to stop.
  It is a period where we learn we don't force our way through change.
Most of us are opposed to change. Oh, we pretend we are fine with it, that it's a part of life, but in reality, We don't like it. We feel, often times, forced to accept it for what it is, never really allowing ourselves to see it for what God wants to teach us through it. We begrudgingly accept it and push through it, rather than processing and praying through it. I am often that way. This winter has been teaching me about change. Yes, changes around me which are obvious to anyone in my world, but I really mean heart changes, in this sense. I cannot force my way through those changes. I have to sit still and learn through them and what God wants me to do with them. When I do this, instead of just begrudgingly accepting and pushing through it, the difference in my perspective is phenomenal. This is part of my word for this year, even. Different.  I want to be different. I don't want to continue in the same ways or be the same person . I want to be different so I can make a difference in the every day. In order to do/be this, I must not force my way through the changes. I must process them and learn from them. Every experience, especially changes, are opportunities for learning and growing. I heard a quote that said "Change is just another word for opportunity"  Whatever that change/opportunity is is different every time, but nonetheless, when I give myself permission to stop, I can better navigate the change instead of forcing my way through it.
    The trunk of the tree is growing stronger.
Without winter here in Ohio, our trees would suffer. That's why what plant life you see here is different from what you see in Florida. Our trees here need winter to grow. We cannot see what is happening in winter. The trees are barren, skies are grey, and it often seems as though it's unending and nothing is happening. However, the roots are soaking in all the moisture from snow and rain, growing the tree to be stronger. We cannot see it, but it is happening. This is true in the winter seasons of our lives as well. We cannot always see what God is doing. But He is working to "grow our trunks/roots" stronger.  He is working in our hearts. Winter is necessary in order to get to spring. Winter snows are necessary for spring skies and blooming growth. In life, we must go through periods of change and grey skies and wondering if the season will ever end, but once we come out of it, we smile brighter, have a lighter step and thank God for what He did during the dreary winter days. The trunk of the tree is growing stronger in the winter season. The trunk for me is my heart. What God wants to do so that I can be stronger, be more of who He has created me to be, to accomplish what He wants me to do. To Be Different. 

   So perhaps this weekend, when snow decides to fall again, you'll remember  you have permission to stop, and to somehow find appreciation for the beauty in the winter and what it has potential to do.

 *Chris McAlister is author of Sight Shift and leads conferences on Sight Shift and Marriage Shift in Columbus, Ohio.

Monday, February 9, 2015

No Excuses

Once I sat through a speaking event, in which it was stated that we make time for the things that matter, bottom line.
 We often can be found saying "I don't have time..." And to be honest, often days, we don't. We live busy lives, with packed schedules, and time runs short for much of what we want to do. However, the point of what the speaker was saying was that while we live such busy lives, when something is important enough to us, we make the time for it.
  For example, I used to say I loved to read, but was just too busy. Balogna! I just had to make the time. I do love to read, and I do have the time. It's a matter of shifting something else out of the box to accomplish the reading. Solution? Take out social media time. I don't miss Facebook. I prefer my books any day!
  The same is quite true for exercise and running. How many times do you talk to someone who says they want to exercise but don't have the time?
 Do you know my response?
   I say, "why do you think I get up at 4:30 every day?"
I don't mean it pridefully, I just mean that If I did not get up at that time to get my runs in, I would not do it. Trust me, I have tried. I am not a lunch time runner, and when I get home after work, there are motherly and wifely duties for  me to do, so running is not really in the cards, not to mention, I am tired and my body has no desire to pound out the miles.
 Some days I struggle to get up so early. Especially in the winter. But, again, a person ultimately makes time for what matters. And running matters to me.
 It matters because I have these time and race goals I pursue. But really, I've learned that it matters because it clears my head. I feel better about myself when I run, both physically and mentally.
   In my training for my April races, I can easily find excuses.
  I'm tired. It's icy out. It's cold. My ITB hurts. I have important things to do.....
  But guess what? If it's important enough, I'll make the time.
 If you really want to lose weight, you'll make the change necessary. (For me: that would be eating habits)
    If you really want to hit a time goal, you'll do the speed runs. (I broke down and began these dreaded drills last week. We totally have a love/hate relationship.)
        If you really want  something, you make the time for it, not an excuse.
 I am preaching to the choir here. Because today I need to do my strength training (not my strong suit either) instead of sitting comfortably with my coffee.
   You can do it! Try it. Just kick one excuse. Just one. And replace it with what you truly are wanting to do. You'll see, just as I have, that it's true that you make time for what you really want to do/accomplish. One day at a time....

Friday, February 6, 2015

The Little Moments

This week, I was not very diligent or intentional about writing down all the little thing from the week that captured a nice moment in time. So, I had to sit and think about it a little, about what brought smiles and joys and a thankful heart along the way through my week.  As always, there are plenty of those- one just has to be intentional at times about noticing them. Here are some of my little moments from the week:
 - My cup of coffee was ready upon getting to the counter to order it in the coffee shop. I used to be that barista that would have the coffee ready for the customers. Now, I am the customer, and I enjoy that. I know what it's like to be on the other side of the counter, and I appreciate so much what they do. I didn't expect to become "the regular" but I am, and I enjoy it. My change jar from collected change around the house is my coffee money. I am thankful I drink regular coffee so my change carries me a long way :)
  - I work in a building that also holds the chaplains offices. While I don't have regular interaction with any of them, the other day, I had 2 encounters that really were encouraging. One, a jolly old chaplain, full of gratitude towards God in all he said. Just back from deployment, he was cheerful and   I couldn't help but smile upon listening to him. The other, more quiet, but smiles go a very long way, with a simple conversation over a book we'd both have read.  2 unexpected encounters in my day that just were plain encouraging.
    - The laughter of my daughter.
      - Hugs.  I love hugs. No words are necessary at times; a simple hug goes a long way.
   - The clearance rack. I don't always go out in search of bargains, but I did go looking for a specific clothing item this week, and found it on clearance!
      - A friend who knows what I will say before I even say it, who doesn't care how very wordy I am, and allows all the words to flow, and yet sitting quietly without words is ok, too. The type of friend rarely found, but so appreciated.
        - Good books! I am thoroughly enjoying reading a lot again. I've started keeping a list of books I want to read, and am simply enjoying making the time to do it.
    -  My mom was a writer and lately I've discovered some of her old writings. I have enjoyed reading ones I had never found and learning new stories about my mom.
        -Sunshine. I really do not like winter at all. i am ready for flip flops and shorts now! However, I am learning to appreciate all the seasons, as they each hold their own beauty. The sun this week shined and the icicles and snow glowed in it (and then melted! Yay for that!) But it was beautiful.
         - I have positive things happening for the 5K that I put on every year in memory of my mom. Lots of changes, but good things are transpiring out of those. I am grateful and excited to see what is going to unfold!
 I am finding that even when I don't write down all my "little moments" they are all still there. I have also found this week that the quiet things in life- smiles, hugs, and just a few very simple words- go a very long way.  God is good. All the time.

Monday, February 2, 2015

The best running partner ever

Sometimes, life leaves a loss for words. Mondays bring about my running stories, and tales of my journey with all that I am learning through exercise/training/running/pursuing goals.
 But, today is one of those days that leave a loss for words, and yes, the event that brings this about has played a part in my running journey.
 Today, I had to say goodbye to the best running partner I ever had.
 He never told me to go faster.
  He never had anything negative to offer.
   He didn't talk, but if I had something to say , he listened with intent eyes fixed on me.
    He was completely content to be by my side and be my companion.
He let me run my pace, and he was content with that, but when I wanted to push to new levels, he certainly kept up with me. He was WAY faster than me, but never made me go the pace he wanted.
  He was loyal and would get up with me on ridiculously cold mornings, The only one I could coax out the door with me at 4:30 in the morning.
    He loved running....and taught me much about the pure enjoyment of it.
 He was an unexpected gift, and a running partner I never thought I would have.
  "He" was my dog. I know that many would find this post silly, but call it my way of giving him a goodbye. My way of processing the small hole he leaves.
     Dexter had to be put down today because he had cancer. There's that ugly word....cancer. Way different than saying goodbye to a person, and I know that , unfortunately from experience. But cancer took Dexter at only 3 years old.
  I never thought I would be a runner who would enjoy having a dog by my side, but Dexter changed that and, quite honestly, was the best training partner  I ever had.
 There really aren't words that are sufficient. Yes, he was a dog, which is far different from saying goodbye to a person. But Dexter saw me through some tough days- both in hard runs and in life itself.  And I will miss his excited greeting when I said "You wanna go for a run with me?"
   Training will go on. Life will carry on.  And good memories remain. There just won't be a quiet companion to join me in the early hours of the morning.  
  Goodbye to my favorite running buddy.