Saturday, December 20, 2014

NEW YEAR. NEW RULES.

"My greatest accomplishment is my next one."
~ Dave McGillavry


Friday morning I was working on my final post of 2014.  I was planning to highlight a few of the bigger events that have taken place throughout year along with the music that has inspired me along the way.  About halfway through writing it, I took a break so I could head over to my girls' school.  The great Dave McGillavry, most known for his role as race director for the Boston Marathon, was talking to the students and I didn't want to miss it.  When I arrived, Dave was in the process of telling them about his start in sports as a kid.  "When I was young, I loved sports of all kinds and I really 
wanted to be a professional athlete" he told them "but I learned pretty early on that this wasn't going to happen.  At least, not in the way I thought it would."  He went on to explain that, compared to most of his classmates, he was pretty small and relatively short and that because of this, he was always picked last for the team.  Not that this stopped him from trying.  As he grew up, he went out for everything .... basketball, baseball, you name it, but he rarely made the team.  So, instead of giving up, he found another outlet.  No coach, he decided, was going to tell him what he couldn’t do.  It was his game.  And he was making his own rules.  In high school, he became a runner.  And from there, he never looked back.  He ran the Boston Marathon for the first time at age 17.  He didn't make it to the finish line that year because his body didn't hold out.  He called his grandfather later in the evening to tell him what happened.  In so many words he let him know that, sadly, he had failed.  His grandfather's response?  "You didn’t fail, Dave.  You learned.  Next time you’ll be more prepared.  You only fail if you don’t try."  Wow, I thought.  This is some powerful stuff.  I might need to sit down.  He then went on to tell the kids about some of his greatest accomplishments.  He has run across the country four times to raise money for the Jimmy Fund, he ran the Boston marathon blindfolded to raise awareness and funds for Carroll Center for the Blind, he ran from Florida to Boston with his good friend who cruised alongside him in his wheelchair, again, to raise funds for the Jimmy Fund.  On his 13th birthday, he ran his age in miles.  He has done it every year since, running 60 miles last month to celebrate his 60th birthday.  Bottom line, if there is something he wants to do, Dave's going to find a way to make it happen.  After competing in the Boston Marathon many times, he eventually took on the job of directing it.
Dave’s goal in life, he told us, is to help other people feel good about themselves, to achieve their best and be proud of what they’ve done.  Seriously??  Who is this guy?  But that’s the cool thing.  Way back when, Dave was just a kid from Medford with big dreams, just like the kids sitting there listening to him.  Look what happens, I thought, when you set goals and then dedicate yourself to achieving them.  I was so thrilled that my own girls were in the audience soaking this up.  But wait, here's the best part.  At the end of the talk, Dave said he would take a few questions.  So, this kid raises his hand wildly and Dave nods to him.  He’s a 4th grader, in my daughter’s class.  “I’d like to make a statement,” he said.  “Um, ok."  Dave chuckled.  "I’ve never gotten that before.  Go for it.”  So he started in, “In the summer, I go to sports camp.  I am the last one picked for the team every time.  But, I still try and still do my best because that’s all I can do."  You could've heard a pin drop.  “Good for you!  Let’s give this kid a hand.”  We all clapped (some of us might have cried).  Dave pointed at him and smiled, "You and me are gonna go for a run together one day.  You're great!"  The kid beamed.  It was a pretty incredible moment for all of us.


After the talk I headed over to introduce myself.  I told him I'd run the marathon four times and that last year I'd shaken his hand when I crossed the line.  I asked if he remembered me.  Just kidding.  I didn't do that.  But, I did thank him for all the incredible work he's done and that he continues to do.  I wanted to give him a hug.  But, I didn't do that either.  I just felt so damn good, so inspired, so ready to go be the best I could be.  After a couple minutes, I snapped back into reality and decided on a asking for a picture instead of the hug.  Seriously, though, what a gift this was.  Such perfect timing as I reflect on this past year and prepare to embark on a new one.  I may still throw up that final post I was working on before I met Dave.  But, then again, maybe I'll just wrap things up by sharing a few of his key messages:
~ We are all good enough.  And we all belong.  
~ There are no mistakes only learning experiences. You only fail if you don't try.
~ Never settle.  If you accomplish your goal, set a new one.
Here's to a new year, some new goals, and, perhaps even a new way of approaching life.  See you on the flip side!

Listen to this:
Glow - IYES  

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

2014 HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE & GIVEAWAY


I love giving gifts.  I have a very hard time keeping them a secret, particularly if I'm excited about them, which is almost always.  When I was a kid, my dad used to take advantage of this weakness, easily dragging out Christmas and birthday surprises that were coming his way weeks before they were to be given.  The way I see it, by finding the perfect gift, you're re-establishing the bond that you feel with the recipient just in thinking about them and how much you know they'll like it.  I love that.  Needless to say, I get almost giddy at Christmas time.  Sure, the hustle and bustle can get a bit overwhelming.  This year, for some reason, my own kids are having a hard time figuring out what to ask for.  A spy kit?  Really, Grace??  But, the way I see it, the hunt is half the fun.  If you have finished all of your shopping, you're good.  Really good.  But if not, perhaps I can help.  I may not be able to remember to move the 'Elf on the Shelf' every night, but I do know a good gift when I see one.  Check out the fantastic products listed below; all of them tried and true.  You'll note that there is running and music theme.  What can I say?  My guess is, if you're reading this blog, then, like me, you're into one or both of them.  And if not, you probably know someone who is.  So take a look.  And then pass it on.  And, most importantly, scroll down to enter the RWM holiday giveaway.  Maybe you'll get to cross a gift off your list or, better yet, to treat yourself.  Merry everything!

RWM 2014 GIFT GUIDE


RUNNERBOX - By far the best gift for the runner in your life, particularly if you have no idea what to get them.  The folks at RUNNERBOX handpick a bunch of new and cool running related products, pack them all up in a shoebox and send them off for you to try at your leisure.  You can get/give it as a one time treat or, even better, as a subscription for the duration of your choice.  Total awesomeness.  Prices range from $24.95 for a single box to $19.95 for a bi-monthly subscription.  Use code RWMRB13 at checkout for 10% off all web store items including subscriptions.
 *note: make sure to scroll down to enter the giveaway and snag one for yourself!


FEETURES! - Hands down the best running socks on the market.  Tons of styles (no show, ultra-light, heavy cushion, compression), fun colors, and beyond comfortable.  These babies have cradled my feet through 5 marathons, blister free.  I can't recommend them highly enough.  A perfect stocking stuffer or gift for your Secret Santa!  Prices range from $10.99 to about $20, depending on size and type.


YURBUDS - Whether you run with music or just listen on the fly, Yurbuds headphones will rock your world.  The sound is brilliant and sharp, the fit is snug but comfortable and the quality is impeccable.  They offer a ton of different styles and sizes, which I love because I have child-sized ears and I hate when my earbuds fall out.  Today I'm highlighting these LEAP WIRELESS for women first, because they are amazing and second because Yurbuds have sent me a pair to giveaway.  Run and rock fast and chord-free with these gems, the best of their kind.  Retail value for Leap Wireless headphones is $99.99.  
** Enter to win a pair for yourself or your music obssessed friend below.  



OISELLE - I can honestly say that I love pretty much everything Oiselle makes.  But, I am loving this Livin' It jacket the most right now.  When you put it on you feel like you're wrapped in a blanket.  So, it's like you're walking around in a blanket, and yet you look totally normal.  Booyah! Dress it up or dress it down, anything goes.  Perfect for winter as you can wear it solo or throw a jacket on top.  Fleece rules.  Retail value for this bad boy is $96 and worth every penny!


NUUN - Another perfect Stocking stuffer.  Throw a tube of NUUN in for every member of the family....er...I mean, let Santa know to do it.  Tasty, healthy, natural and portable.  Done and done.  Retail value for this hydration miracle is somewhere in the $20 range depending on the flavors you choose and the amount you purchase (more for less).  There are 12 drink tabs per tube.  Shop now and get free shipping on your order over $50.


BOSE - The BOSE SoundLink Bluetooth speaker has got to be the coolest little music delivery vehicle out there right now.  Portable and wireless with BOSE quality sound and up to 8 hours of rechargeable battery life.  Just...wow.  I've purchased 2 for friends and have it on my own list as well. Retail value for this small but mighty beast is $129.95.  Bose is currently offering free shipping on their site.



STARBUCKS - COFFEE.  Enough said.

RWM HOLIDAY GIVEAWAY

RUNNERBOX & YURBUDS are helping me spread the holiday cheer this week.  ENTER BELOW through Rafflecopter.  Huge thanks to RUNNERBOX and YURBUDS for sharing the love.  GOOD LUCK!!





PRIZE 1: RUNNERBOX Fitbook Box - a box full of running related treats including a RUNNERBOX Fitbook, a journal for tracking all of your 2015 goals.  Retail value for this box of joy is $34.99

PRIZE 2: YURBUDS LEAP Wireless headphones for women - Set your workout free with these chord-free music enhancers.  6+ hours of music or call time, visual and audio battery alerts and easy audio control all in a neat little portable package.  Rock on.  Retail value for the LEAP wireless system is $99.99.

a Rafflecopter giveaway Listen to this:
No One Is Lost - Stars  

Friday, December 12, 2014

ANY DECEMBER MORNING


A typical December morning in the Trachsel household:

5:53AM
Grace - Mom, how many more days until Christmas?
Me - One less than yesterday, Grace.
Grace - How many was that?
Me - You tell me.  It was the 9th yesterday.  Today's the 10th.  Christmas in on the 25th.
Grace - Okay, so 15 days, right?
Me - Right Grace.

6:47AM 
Grace - Mom, the 'Elf on the shelf' didn't move.
Me -  (dammit, forgot to move the Elf) Maybe he's tricking you, Grace.
Grace - Why would he do that?
Me - I don't know.  Maybe he's stuck.
Rosie - Elves fly, mom.
Me - Well, then, maybe he's just tired.
---> Who invited this Elf thing again???!!!  Clearly NOT a parent.
Grace - Mom, is the Elf real?
Me - What do you believe, Grace?
Grace - Well, if he's real he would have moved.
Me - (no response)
Rosie - Is Santa real or do you just wrap the presents and put them under the tree.
Me - Come on, Rosie.  What would be the fun in that?
Grace - Does the Elf know Santa?
Me - Probably Grace.  Now, go get ready for school

7:22AM
Grace - (after having opened the advent calendar) Mom, Can I eat my Hershey's Kiss?
Me - No, Grace, it's 7:30 in the morning.
Grace - Can I eat it after breakfast?
Me - No Grace.
Grace - After school then?
Me - Maybe

7:48 AM
Me - (yelling up the stairs) Girls, let's hustle.  We have to leave in 10 minutes.
----> 8 minutes later
Me - GIRLS???!!!  What are you doing up there?
Rosie - We're working on the costumes for our skit.
Me - What skit?
Rosie - Our Christmas skit.  The one we're doing with Katharine, Elizabeth & Will (their cousins).
Me - You have plenty of time for that.  They're not coming for another week and half.
Grace - Mom, can you help me make reindeer antlers?
Me - Yes.  No.  Girls, we have to do this later.  We've got to get to school.
Grace - We have school today?
Me - Of course you do.
Grace - But it's Christmas.
Me - IN 10 DAYS!!!!!

EVERY.  SINGLE.  DAY.  In our house, December is by far the longest and craziest month of the year.  Thank goodness for running.  And coffee.  Ho Ho Ho!


Listen to this:
That Did It - Sleigh Bells (feat. Tink)  
'

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

A COMPLETE STOP


On Thanksgiving, I ran the Subaru distance classic down in FL.  I wasn't feeling great, but I did it anyway because the pros outweighed the cons, at least in my book.  After a couple days off, I picked back up with my regular training.  For a week, I did my standard workouts....6 miles on Monday, 9 on Tuesday, yoga on Wednesday, 7 miles of intervals on Thursday and 6 again on Friday to close out the cycle.  All of them went fine.  Not great.  But not terrible.  In the winter, I work up at Cannon Mountain in NH.  On Saturday, a little over week since the Thanksgiving race, I was riding up on a chairlift by myself feeling like I was floating in no-man's land.  It was time for a little reality check.  That next day I was supposed to be getting up at 5:30am to drive down to Boston so I could get back in time to race in the Winter Classic 5K and then have brunch with my Oiselle teammates.  Oh man.  Just thinking about doing this made me tired.  There was just no way.  I felt like I was running on fumes.  My breathing was labored and I wasn't even moving my body.  How the hell was I going to race the next day?  It was at this moment I realized I'd been idling for too long.  I wasn't falling behind and I wasn't getting better.  I was just sitting in neutral.  And, I also realized, I could keep idling for days and days or I could snap to and turn off my engine.  No one likes an idler.  I pulled out my phone and texted my running bud, Jess C., to let her know that I couldn't make it to the race.  In so many words, I let her know that my battery was low and that I need to recharge, which she totally understood.  I hate missing races, especially ones that I've already registered for and that I really enjoy doing each year.  I hate missing an opportunity to catch up with my teammates and celebrate post race.  But, I also hate doing all those things and feeling 'so-so'.  What's the point in that?  For several days, a lot of important and fun things have been happening and I've been half in and half out.  Not good for me.  Not good for anyone else.  I'm going on 3 days now in total shut down mode.  No running.  No physical activity of any kind.  Beyond my regular 'to-do's, I've done a lot of other things.  I've finished a book.  I've done some laundry.  I've helped my kids make a fort using all the sheets in our linen closet and a full roll of duct tape.  I've listened to a ton of new music on Spotify.  I've done a fair amount of online Christmas shopping.  Turns out you can get a lot of other stuff done when you're not sitting in physical limbo.  Go figure.  Sometimes you have to stop if you want to go.  I kind of knew this.  But, it's always good to good to get the reminder.  Onward.


Listen to this:
Under Stars - AURORA