Do What You Fear!

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Now that I have returned to work, many of my blog posts begin on the football field sidelines.

I am sitting on the sidelines at my son’s football practice.  At 6:15 p.m., the current temp is 82 degrees.  I can still feel the sun on my back, but there’s a nice breeze. My tank is dry.  Unlike this afternoon…  After a brisk walk on the Atlantic City Boardwalk, I returned to the jury room with horizontal water stains lining the front and back of my tank top.

I am trying to constructively work through frustration this afternoon.   Jury Duty caused me to miss CrossFit today.  Once I realized I was going to miss the class, I hurried to Sports Authority to buy a new pair of Asics Gel Nimbus.   I really need a new pair.

My running sneaks were worn down more than I realized. The hint? An aching hip. After closely examining them, I realized they are badly worn on the outer heals of both sneaks. Running in worn sneakers is the worst thing you can do, at least if you’re over 40.

I found my sneaks, but they didn’t have my size. I was disappointed.  However, a friendly sales clerk saved me a few dollars and ordered them online for me.   I pray they are delivered to my home by Saturday morning.  I desperately NEED a long run.

Last Saturday, with two beautiful women supporting me, I conquered the bridge!!!!  And you know what? I stressed for nothing!!

The night before my walk, I tossed and turned a bit before falling to sleep. The morning before the walk, my nerves ran me to the bathroom several times.  I probably lost a pound or two before walking. LOL!

My fears were counterproductive.  In my mind, I knew that my fear of heights would paralyze me.  I was confident that my fear would overwhelm my spirit and possess me to grip the railings while sobbing all the way across the bridge.  I even thought I might even end up crawling to the other side.

Well…

I was incredibly wrong about crossing the OC bridge.  No crying.  No gripping the rails.  No heart palpitations.  Nothing whatsoever!!

My walk across the bridge was peaceful, pleasant, and breathtaking!  I am sorry that I haven’t walk the bridge sooner.  It was built with pedestrians in mind.

The bridge’s walkway is wide enough for at least four people to hold hands and stroll across.  At 8:00 a.m., the bridge had a steady flow of friendly walkers, runners, and bicyclist.

After the first quarter mile, I was relaxed and began to really enjoy the morning sun, the calm bay, and the great conversation.  I began to appreciate the beauty and the blessing of being on the bridge.

A visitor’s center and fishing pier is located half-way across the bridge. This is also where the urge to RUN set in.  I was dumbfounded that I was afraid of this beautiful and serene like place.

The state estimates that “during peak season, over 40,000 cars pass through each day,”  but somehow the sound of the roaring engines, and perhaps the elevation of the bridge faded deeply into the background.

I am grateful to my friends Nicole and Tara for making Saturday happen.  We walked across and back; five (5) miles total!  Thank you!!

I will be running this bridge in the very near future.

Do what you fear and fear disappears.

David Joseph Schwartz

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This picture was taken as we approached the bridge. Yes, I was still nervous!

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This picture was taken about a quarter-mile into our walk. This is not the highest point of the bridge.

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I was encouraged by my friend Nicole to take this picture as proof that I crossed the bridge. LOL!

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Running through the clouds and the rain

I run more than I write.  A balance between the two is better.  After each run, I update my Facebook, twitter (lexa82), and sometimes Instagram.  Rarely does my WOD (workout of the day) appear on Lexa’s Journal.

Starting today that will change.  The plan is to post my daily workouts or how I feel when I don’t get a workout in.  Perhaps doing this will motivate me to write more.

Today’s WOD that inspired this post:

Distance:               10.22 Miles

Time:                      1:41:26

Pace (Average):    9:57 mi/mi (minute miles)

Calories:                1097

Stepping out the house this morning, my sole thought was, I know that it is going to rain while I run, but please let the thunder and lighting hold off.

Dark gray clouds filled the sky, but I headed out anyway. I always run with my phone sealed in a Ziploc snack bag.  If it rains or I run through a sprinkler, the phone is protected.

Four miles into my run, the rain started.  A light drizzly rain, not the heavy rain that I ran in last month.  The rain was refreshing and kept me cool in the humid thick morning air. Throughout my run, it rained off and on, but not nearly enough to discourage or turn me around.

By the way, I especially enjoyed my run this morning.  Why?  No time restrictions, which means that I can run for as long as I want to.  It’s more fun this way.

Near the end of my run, I realized that I ran through clouds and the rain.  I stayed with the run. Ultimately I was rewarded by the blazing sunshine, which I can’t get enough of.

Today’s run is a good paradigm for the daily grind in our lives.

Some mornings, you get out of bed not feeling mentally and or physically right. Or maybe the day just starts out wrong: over-sleeping, car trouble, an argument, a sick child, etc…

From the onset, you can choose to ignore the feeling and hope that the negative energy vanishes.  You may play the victim for the day.  You know… “Why does everything always happen to me?”

You could also chose to acknowledge the feeling and make a willful decision to—mentally or physically—work through your challenge.

The “work through” could be prayer, meditation, yoga, and reading, focusing your thoughts on the positive aspects of your life, or another use of positive energy.

However it is that you mange to get through your funk, working through it is more rewarding.  Eventually the sun reappears.  Your situation, issue, or challenge may not seem as bleak or as dark as you initially thought.

I know!  I know!  I am old enough to know that my explanation may be oversimplified, but the notion is true. Our response to any situation will affect the outcome.

This isn’t my analogy.  Through readings, conversations with others, and life experiences, I learned this along the way. The energy that we put out is the same energy that we get back.

“… See the positive possibilities.  Redirect the substantial energy of your frustration and turn it into positive, effective, unstoppable determination.”

Ralph Marston


8.5 in the rain

My favorite kicks (Gel Asics)

There is something uniquely special about running in the summer rain.  I left the house early Sunday afternoon with the intent of taking a short run.   I’m chuckling just thinking about it.  Why?  Because my short run turned into 8.51 miles.

As I readied for my run, the sun shined.  Two steps out the front door and the rain was underway.  By the time I walked to the end of the drive way, the sky opened with tiny and fine rain drops.

Since I’m thinking that my run will be short, under 5 miles, I’m not bothered by the rain and I am satisfied just being outside and running.

The rain stopped about two miles into the run and I had mixed feelings about it.  The humidity returned and I could feel my body warming.  I passed a neighbor walking her dog.  “Awe, you got caught in the rain?!”

“Actually, I kind of hope that the rain returns, it keeps me cool.”  She blankly stares at me like she misunderstood my comment.  Shortly afterwards, the sky opened up!  This time, big hard rain drops.  I was nowhere near home and I didn’t care.  I picked up my pace and happily sailed into my zone.

My sweat is replaced by nature’s H2O and the feeling is exhilarating. I’m happy.  I’m laughing, and I’m going to run until I feel like stopping.  I hadn’t run in a week and I was starting to get fidgety.  This run would fix that.

Cars pass me.  I know that they think that  I’m nuts, but I don’t give a hoot. My favorite play list is blaring and I am in a jovial place. Occasionally snapping my fingers and singing along… yup!  All while I’m jogging roadside.

By the time I return home and schlep into the garage, every piece of me is soaking wet! My twisted hair is drenched.  My sneaks squeak.  Water is dripping from my shirts and shorts.  My daughter asks, “How was your run?”  “I had a blast!”   She laughs and so do I.

Everyone should have a happy place; a metaphoric or physical space that brings a sense of peace– A place where exterior forces cannot penetrate the calm  internal state of being.   Worry free.  Care free. Simply free to be. Running is that place for me.

Quick thought provoking reads – http://zentips.org


Random act of kindness

Nearly two weeks ago a Derecho storm wreaked havoc on South Jersey. While derecho uprooted trees, blew down poles and power lines, and left thousands of residents without electricity for a week or longer, me, my husband, and our nine year-old son were pool side in Cancun, Mexico.

Pool side – Cancun, Mexico

We learned of the devastating storm a few hours later from an unnerving text message from our daughter and phone calls from family members. Thankfully, my mom and our daughter were fine and the structure of our home remained intact.

Unfortunately, many other residents’ homes and cars were damaged by falling trees and flying debris.

From what I hear and read, the storm was not forecasted and took everyone by surprise.  So residents were ill prepared, helpless, and had to ride out the storm, cautiously listening to the destruction occur around their homes.

My daughter sent us a video and a few pictures of the aftermath. The visuals were jaw-dropping. Clearly our yard was impacted by the storm.

Damaged gazebo

Although the gazebos, yard furniture and other items such as firewood, and light fixtures were tossed around the back yard, both hubby and I were more saddened by one of two cherry trees in the front yard that was uprooted.

Up-rooted cherry tree

It would be at least four (4) days before we returned home. The storm occurred during a hot and humid heat wave and since the power was out, the tree would die due to lack of water and root exposure.

Sadly, we were resolved to the fact that our six-year old cherry tree would be dead when we arrive home. The tree would have to be replaced.

Four days later we returned home.

The ride home from the airport is quite eerie. Metal street signs bent in half electrical wires dangling from trees—ancient oversized oak and pine trees halved by lightning and completely uprooted—enormous size patches of grass uprooted by trees with the roots attached!

I’m seeing the destruction in real-time yet I feel like I am in some sort of dream where I’m watching a breaking story on the morning news. Oh wow! We missed a big one!

As we turn on our street and slowly approach our home, the rhythm of my heart increases; the pounding in my chest grows louder. I know that our house is structurally okay, but I’m concerned about possible landscape damage.

When we built our home, the builder removed every tree in the front yard! Grr… We love trees in our yard so we had to start from scratch and plant new ones. Six years later, the landscape is complete and the trees are doing well.

I glance up only to see the cherry tree looking upright exactly as it did before we left for our vacation. Its only addition is the two to three-foot wooden stake in the ground with the yellow string tied to a branch to stabilize and balance the tree.

My face hurt from smiling so hard! OMG!! Who fixed the tree?!?!  Neither our immediate neighbors on each side of our house, my mom or daughter knew who fixed the tree. One day the tree was lying on the ground; the next day is standing straight up.

Standing tall and all better!

Finally after a week or so, the mystery was solved. A wonderful random act of kindness was bestowed upon us by our friend and neighbor BD!!

During a conversation with BD, I mentioned the mystery. He casually and nonchalantly confessed to fixing the tree.

He said that he’d looked at the twin trees; one upright, one uprooted and didn’t think that the downed tree would survive until we returned. Although he was sitting in his vehicle when he confessed, the feelings of gratitude and jubilation made me want to reach in his car and kiss him! Lol! I resisted the urge, but graciously thank him.  I cannot thank him enough for such a wonderful act of kindness. He saved our tree!! Yippeeee!!

For  a few years now, I’ve gleefuly participated in random acts of kindness. You know, randomly surprising someone, especially a person you don’t know, by doing something kind for them.

I enjoy doing goofy and random acts such as paying the toll for a few cars in line behind me,  anonymously paying for coffee for a stranger in line at Wawa, or doing some other small deed that will bring a smile to someone’s face.  It feels unusually strange to be on the receiving side of a RAOK.

Fixing the tree was probably no big deal to him, but it made my day and then some! When was the last time you did a random act of kindness? The best part of it is that you are giving to the un-expectant person. You will catch people off guard and genuinely surprise them.

If you are having a bad day, the act will boost your spirit and theirs.

Go ahead and try it; it’s so much fun!

To my tree saving neighbor, YOU’RE THE BEST!  Thanks again!!