Reverb 10 – December 4th

December 4. Wonder.
How did you cultivate a sense of wonder in your life this year?
(Author: Jeffrey Davis)

copyright Derek Olson
(photo copyright Derek Olson)

The first thing I did when I read this prompt was look up the definition of ‘wonder’ in the dictionary. Not because I didn’t know what it was, but I was immediately prompted to want to read the different meanings of this word.

For me, I was most at wonder with the world in 2010 when I went back to visit my favorite place in the world, Asheville, North Carolina. The Blue Ridge Mountains and the awesomeness of Asheville still thrill me to this day. I honestly believe that I will never not feel in awe of not only the mountains, but of the Paris of the South (one of Asheville’s well known descriptors).

There is just an amazing beauty and greatness within the Blue Ridge Mountains. I finally had a chance to explore them a bit during my trip and I was in love with every moment of the experience. I felt so alive and memorized by the views and sights that I was able to witness on my venture. My breath was taken away more times than I could count. I look forward to having many more wondrous experiences in Asheville and in the mountains when I move back to my favorite place in 2011.

“Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away”

Reverb 10 – December 3rd

December 3. Moment.
Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail (texture, smells, voices, noises, colors).
(Author: Ali Edwards)

The moment that comes to mind to me was during my C25k training back in March. For the first time, I ran twenty-five minutes straight without stopping for a walk break.

The feeling I got during that time was like nothing else I had ever experienced before. I felt invigorated, as if I were truly alive. Running that long really made me believe that I could do anything I wanted to. Nothing was going to stop me from conquering whatever I wanted to do.

Of course I felt more alive when I changed my life and lost the weight, but there is just something about running, getting out there with the wind in your face that makes you feel more alive than before. As I was running, I knew that if I could finish that run, that nothing else seemed that difficult. I recall telling myself over and over again during the run, “you can do it, you are strong and capable of so much.” Those words, and words like it continue to aid me in pushing myself each day.

Reverb 10 – December 2nd

December 2. Writing.
What do you do each day that doesn’t contribute to your writing — and can you eliminate it?
(Author: Leo Babauta)

Procrastination and allowing the monkey mind to take over and run the show. Those would be the two main things that don’t contribute to my writing, nor do they aid in my writing, they do just the opposite. They distract from my writing big time.

What can I do to eliminate these things from my writing life? Well, I think the latter of the two will always hang around in one way or another, but I can work to silence the money mind more than I do now. More regular freewriting and journaling should help that become a reality.

As far as the procrastination portion goes, I don’t have a lot of time to procrastinate, but I do have times in my day where I could be writing. I don’t use my lunch hour well enough sometimes for example. I could be writing for at least half of my lunch hour, whereas I usually read a book or just chat with co-workers.

Otherwise, my weekends could definitely be better utilized for writing. My ADHD can get in the way of the free time I do have on weekends as I usually end up window shopping or just wandering around places, not really getting anything done during that time.

So, my plan for the new year (and starting this month), is to better utilize the free time that I do have and to journal and/or free write more often so that I can better write my fiction when I sit down to work on it.

Reverb 10 – December 1st

December 1. One Word.
Encapsulate the year 2010 in one word. Explain why you’re choosing that word. Now, imagine it’s one year from today, what would you like the word to be that captures 2011 for you?
(Author: Gwen Bell)

Discovery. I would have to say that the year has been one of lots of discovery for me in so many ways. In 2009, I may have completed my weight loss/health journey, but I would later learn that my journey had only just gotten going.

2010 began for me as a year that I could do anything I put my mind to doing. Not only did my health journey really get more revved up with my decision to go completely vegan at the end of November 2009, but this year has had me discovering how strong and how determined of a person I truly am.

When I injured my back at the end of March, I wasn’t willing to give up my running or fitness life. Since then, I’ve discovered that while you may have to give up something for the ultimate good, I also discovered that power walking comes close to satisfying my thirst for outdoor fitness.

In 2010, I also continued to discover that my dreams can and will come true. I trust in God to make things happen in His time. I wanted to move back to Asheville in 2010. It seems that He did not have that plan for me. There is a reason for that and while I may have had times where I felt discouraged, my journey to get back to the mountains is still very much a work in progress. Sometimes, we need to be patient and know that there is a reason for everything. There is a reason why you may not have what you want when you want it. Good things comes to those who wait.

As far as the word for 2011 goes, I am choosing believe. The reason I am choosing that word is because I believe in my dreams for the new year and the future. I believe that God is going to aid me in achieving my dreams and getting me where I want and need to be in my life.

Note: If you would like to join in on the Reverb10 event, check out the website for more info

NaNoWriMo Ends & Reverb 10

As of last night, I completed the 2010 NaNoWriMo challenge and became a winner. It is so great to know that I took on the challenge and made it all the way to the end. I also “won” last year, so this was my second year hitting that glorious 50k mark.

Tomorrow is December 1st, the start of a new month and of course the final month of 2010. It is also the beginning of a month long project called #reverb10. It allows reflections on the year that is ending as well as thoughts into the future year that will be here very soon. I will be participating in this event and am looking forward to what the prompts and creativity will bring.

November is almost here!

Looking a few days ahead to the coming month, I see that November will be quite a busy one. Not only do I have NaNoWriMo (which I hope I am ready for since I haven’t been doing as much prep as I should have), but I have at least two 5k races, a family member coming for a visit, biking and walking goals, and a number of local events I plan on attending. It’s going to be both an exciting and a busy month!

Now that I’ve got my bike up and going, I have goals for cycling. This includes riding on a regular basis, increasing mileage and trying to bike outside of the neighborhood when possible. Of course, the just getting out there on my bike and riding 2-3 days a week to start is the initial hurdle to cross. I know that the more I ride, the better cyclist I’ll be. It’s just like any skill, the more you do it, the better you’ll be. I’ve already discovered that I can easily do 4 miles in less than 30 minutes time, so I know that I can easily build up from there. Finally, I want to take my bike outside of my local neighborhood to other areas of Orlando to experience riding in other parts of the city. This of course requires a car bike rack, so I’m hoping to get a hold of one soon. Also, there’s a group of cyclists who do rides once or more a month that I’d like to join in on when I can.

My speed walking has been going well. I seem to be increasing my speed just a bit each time as well as my heart rate which are two of my goals. So, I’ll be continuing with both of those goals in mind for the immediate future. As far as races go, my next race will be the Florida Hospital Founder’s Day 5k on November 14th in Celebration. I’m looking forward to an event in Celebration, as I really like that area a lot. I’ve walked there a few times when I was able to get up that way. Also, a few co-workers are planning on doing the race with me, so that will be nice. After the Founder’s Day 5k, next up is the Turkey Trot 5k on Thanksgiving. That race takes place in downtown Orlando at Lake Eola. After that, I probably won’t be doing another race until December.

I’ll do my best to blog a few times between this post and the end of November updating on how things are going with NaNoWriMo and my fitness goals and races. I’m also still working on my comic book series, for those curious. More soon!

One-Year Anniversary of Being Vegetarian!

Today marks a special date for me. One year ago today, I gave up a meat diet and became a vegetarian. I remember that time pretty vividly, two of my friends from Asheville were down visiting for a few days and something at that time had made me consider trying a vegetarian diet. These two friends are vegans, so their eating habits did have an affect on my decision to go veg.

Originally, I had wanted to try the vegetarian diet to take my healthy living to the “next level.” Having lost most of my weight that I wanted to drop, I had hoped changing to a vegetarian way of eating might aid in getting the last five or so pounds I wanted to lose off. I read a few articles online about omnivores going vegetarian and losing weight, so hey, why not, right?

At first, I recall going veg being a bit difficult. My first day at work as a veg, I remember that I was very hungry all day. No matter what I had eaten, nothing seemed to calm down the growling in my stomach. Don’t get me wrong, I was eating the same amount of calories that I had been eating, but it was all non-meat. So, I suppose that baffled my system a bit at first. Once I made it through a week or so, things did seem to even out in that regard and I was doing well.

At the end of October of last year, I attended the Central Florida Veg Fest. This was where I began to question my reasoning for being a vegetarian. Not in the way that I was questioning my choice, rather my reasons for choosing to be a vegetarian. At the event, I spoke to a few people who explained that it wasn’t enough to just be a vegetarian, that drinking cow’s milk and eating eggs weren’t necessarily any better than eating meat. This made me think more about my choices. I took home literature and spoke with a vegan friend about being a vegetarian versus being a vegan. She told me that while she was happy that I had taken the leap to go vegetarian, I needed to further educate myself. So, after a couple of days of wondering about the animals and my choices, I made the decision to not be in the dark anymore. I did my own research online and watched videos that clearly showed the brutal honesty of the life of farm animals. What I witnessed sickened me greatly. I had considered myself an animal lover all of my life, but how could I proclaim such a thing when I still consumed cow’s milk or eggs? I couldn’t. Within about a month of choosing to go vegetarian, I became a vegan. Thanksgiving 2009 became my first Tofurkey day.

A year later, I feel nothing but happiness with my decisions. In my mind, there is no other way to live. After all the things I’ve seen and learned, I could never eat an animal again. I am now a compassionate vegan who believes the animals deserves as good a treatment as human beings. I also feel healthier and better than ever inside and out being a vegan. I attribute my new found peacefulness to my healthy vegan lifestyle.

If you’d like more information on the vegetarian and/or vegan way of living and eating, please check out these links:

NaNoWriMo 2010!

It’s about that time of the year again…the time of year when thousands of writers spend countless hours day and night tapping away at their keyboards and downing cup after cup of coffee or tea. That’s right, NaNoWriMo 2010 is just around the corner. As I write this, the event kicks off in 28 days.

Of course, I’m excited. I love Nano each year since I started doing the event back in 2007. I can even recall the excitement that came over me in 2009 when I hit that 50,000 word mark and claimed victory. It made the insanity of that month all worthwhile. Definitely a high point in not only last year for me, but in my writing “life.”

This year, as of yet, I have not a clue what I’m going to be writing. Okay, so I know my story is going to be a quest plot, but what that plot is going to be is anyone’s guess. The idea for the plot type itself came to me this past weekend. Something about the idea of a quest, a journey really hit home with me.

I’m not worrying about the actual story idea. Not yet, anyway. I feel that it will come to me very soon. Then, I can have at least two or three weeks to pre-plan and get my mind into things. Sure, it would be great to have more time for the planning phase, but I also think there’s such a thing as too much. As writers we can spend too much time and effort on planning and research. Doing so can potentially take away from actual writing intervals. I don’t know about my fellow scribes, but I can use all writing time allotted and still yearn for more.

Celebration of Running 5k Race Report

This past Saturday was Florida Hospital’s Celebration of Running 5k event in downtown Orlando. This race signifies the first of Track Shack’s Grand Prix Racing Series each year. Since injuring my back at the end of March, I can no longer run the races, but I was looking forward to walking the event. I made a goal going in to try to walk the 3.1 miles in 50 minutes or less.

I woke up at 5am to have breakfast and to get myself ready to go for the event. I’m definitely not a great morning person, but I can get myself moving at such an early hour if need be. Once I was dressed and ready to go, I headed out the door. It was 6:30am at that time (I need time to really wake up, thus the setting the alarm that early) and I knew that I could get to the Florida Hospital parking garage by 7am.

Once I arrived at the parking garage and parked, I quickly gathered my iPod and bib and went down to the race check-in and starting area. There were lots of people everywhere. Track Shack’s races always seem to be well participated in which is great. I secured my bib onto my shirt and got in line for the restroom. This is the only really bad thing about the races. The facilities that are available are port-a-potties. Not my idea of a fun experience in the slightest. I know from speaking to others at the events that I am definitely not alone in that line of thinking.

Spotting the race walkers table, I went over and spoke with the guy manning the table about competing as a race walker. The only rule that got me for this race is that you cannot have headphones on. This would have meant that I couldn’t utilize my iPod during the 5k. I’m used to always walking with music, so I told him that I’d have to practice sans the music and see about competing maybe at the next 5k.

A voice announced that the race was set to begin in about three minutes, so I immediately headed over to the starting line. I found the “Walkers” sign and got behind it with others who were going to be walking the event. From what I could see, there were quite a number of participants who were going to walk at least part of the race. In previous races, I would start before the walkers, but enough behind a lot of the runners that I wouldn’t get run over or in their way. I tended to do the run-walk-run thing, so the just walking the entire three miles is still a challenge for me even after the I-Drive 5k back in May.

The race started like a bottle rocket shooting off. Everyone got moving. I knew being a bit back in the pack would have me starting about a minute or so difference from the official clock, so I kept that in mind as I got going. I always get a rush of adrenaline during each race, and this time was no different in that regard. I had a smile on my face as I went over the starting line.

By the time I hit the first water stop, I was feeling pretty good. It was hot and humid out, but I was okay. I even opted to pass the water by this time and wait for the next one. Hitting the first mile marker, the clock time was 17:29. This brought a smile to my face. I was making great time!

With a PodRunner mix on my iPod and pride in my step, I kept moving as fast as I could walk. The terrain varied a lot throughout the course. We went over road, brick and gravel. Quite a difference from the conditions I normally encountered during my walks. I’m used to roads and sidewalks, but not brick roads. The varying terrain is a nice up to the challenge of the race.

The water stop for mile two was where I took up the offer of water from the volunteers. The heat and humidity was brutal by this time and even just a bit of hydration was a help. I hit mile marker two about 32 minutes and change into the official time clock. I knew that I was doing well and that if I kept that pace, I could easily finish the race in my goal time of 50 minutes. Keep going! I told myself, you can do it!

Hitting the mile marker sign for mile three about 16 minutes later, I pushed myself harder. You’re almost there! Sweat was dripping down my back, arms and legs, but I kept moving. That beautiful Finish line was in my sights! I crossed the line with a big smile on my face and raised both of my arms in the air. I had done it! Official clock time was 50:36. My D-Chip time was 49:01. Not only had I met my goal of 50 minutes, but I had exceeded it. Finishing a race is a feeling like no other. No matter whether you are a runner or a walker. Already, I can’t wait to get back out there for my next 5k.

Final shot day

Today was the day of my third and final lumbar steroid shot. I couldn’t have been happier to be finally done with it all. Of course, I was nervous just like the past two shot days, but the doctor did the procedure fairly quickly and it was over almost before I knew it.

The staff at the surgery center have been very awesome during these three weeks. They have been very sweet and doing their best to keep me at ease. They really made the experience a lot easier for me. That is appreciated when you have to go through something so stressful and painful as a herniated disk injury. I just hope the results of the shots is great and that it lasts for a good long time.