Running with the Bride, Adirondack-Style!

A quick selfie with the glowing bride before pounding the pavement.
A quick selfie with the glowing bride before pounding the pavement.

Last week I took a break from my regular California routine to attend a wedding and visit family on the east coast. This wasn’t your typical white-gown-boozy-toasts-rubbery-chicken affair (although, there was quite a bit of booze!). From the pre-ceremony shots of rum and the steel drum player during cocktail hour, to the backyard-style barbecue reception with lawn games (ladder ball, anyone?), my Aunt Kathi and her new husband Will put on the most relaxed shindig Upstate New York has ever seen—and I loved every minute of it!

I’ve been proud of my Aunt Kathi for a long time now, but running with her on Saturday morning before the major festivities got under way filled me with a new appreciation for her tenacious spirit.

After a sad divorce several years ago, Aunt Kathi was faced with a broken heart and an unhealthy lifestyle. But she relied on one of our family mottos to help her pick up the pieces: “Every day is a good day.” With that positive attitude she hit the dating scene and joined a gym. Since then, she’s lost over 180 pounds thanks to healthier eating and fitness habits (she wakes up at 5:00 am most days to sweat it out with her friends at Core in Glens Falls, NY!) and she met the new love of her life, Will. (Aunt Kathi enacted another family motto when she took up residence with him: “Daly’s don’t dust; we move.”)

Who says life doesn't give second chances?
Aunt Kathi and Uncle Will share a moment overlooking Lake George. Who says life doesn’t give second chances?

Aunt Kathi and I tackled three miles on a rolling street in the Adirondacks and chatted the entire time about love, life, and making healthy choices. She apologized for her slow speed, but running faster would have meant missing out on a chance to connect and reflect. (Huffing and puffing at a tougher pace has its place, but this wasn’t it.)

There’s a popular saying, “Life doesn’t give you second chances,” and I think it’s a misleading mantra. We are surrounded by shining examples of people who, like my Aunt Kathi, render the statement untrue every single day.

Every day is a good day. Every day you get to wake up and decide how you are going to live your life. Will you choose a loving, supportive relationship? Will you opt for a plate full of veggies? Will you lace up your sneakers and go for that run? Every day is your second chance. Take it!

Where did you run last weekend? Who inspired you to have a good day?

Everest Base Camp, Baby!

Giving out hugs at Everest Base Camp.

Standing at the bottom of the world’s highest peak, 5364 meters above sea level, makes you feel pretty small. But it also makes you realize how significant you are in this world.

Last Sunday I made it to Everest Base Camp in one piece with a big smile, and not even a blister to complain about! (Photo to come ASAP.) It’s taken me a while to process the experience and internet connections in Nepal’s Khumbu region are spotty and expensive—which explains why this post is a week late.

Climbing up hills that on any other part of the globe would be considered mountains was physically tough (duh), but it was mentally challenging too—something I really wasn’t expecting. I found myself relying on running mantras to get me through hours of grueling ascents. I repeated the simple-yet-effective, “I feel good,” when I thought I couldn’t go any further.  (Thanks, Tim Catalano!) And at one point the words “I run marathons. I don’t quit!” floated through my head. That’s when I remembered how truly loved I am.

In all three of the 26.2’s I’ve completed, I’ve had the endless support of my family and friends. I couldn’t have crossed those finish lines without them. So up there, just a few meters away from the base of a mountain half a world away from the people who mean the most to me, I tapped into those connections and felt a sense of warmth and love. It was exactly what I needed to pull me out of the oxygen-deprived stupor and convince me to keep moving my feet.

Today, I’m heading to the Annapurna Circuit where I will encounter 18 more days of hiking at elevations up to 5400 meters. And you can bet I’ll be soaking in all of the good vibes you send my way. Love and Namaste to all!

Running Is Love, Pass It On

Yesterday’s events left me feeling a little empty. I’m proud to be an American, and I’m proud of our Armed Services. (I grew up on Army bases, and I get misty eyed when the national anthem plays at the start of races.) But I still can’t help feeling sad for those who are fighting, for those who are put in the position to kill or be killed, and for those who believe there is no alternative to hate. It can’t feel good for them.

When these emotions become overwhelming the only things that help me are hugs and runs. Running clears the mind, connects you with your world, and helps you get in touch with a higher purpose—at least that’s what it does for me. Call it praying, meditating, whatever, but when I run I‘m able to give up all of my anxieties and tap into a positive energy that makes me feel warm and fuzzy, love.

Love is amazing. Pass it on with a hug or, better yet, go for a run with someone you love today.

How does running make you feel? Can you feel the love when you’re pounding the pavement too?

Originally posted in Running With It on Shape.com.