What Is Will Be

Hi guys, hope everyone is enjoying Summer time. It’s getting warm in AZ, but I don’t mind to much. It’s better than the bitter cold of WI winters.

Been thinking lately about acceptance again. We often try to plan ahead. We lay out a schedule, write it in our planners or set it into our calendars on our phones so that we know what to do each day. Whether it’s work, training, social, racing. We have a plan. Then life happens. Business plans fall through, vacation, we get hurt or sick, loved ones pass away, etc,.

We have to adjust. We have to accept. It forces us to think, reflect, ask questions. Sometimes hard ones and sometimes painful. But also it forces us to grow. We step up to the plate. We leave our comfort zone (we are often forced to whether we want to or not).

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In the last 6 months I have cried many times, been scared, been angry BUT I have also grown to be stronger. I have laughed often, I have had fun in exploring new journeys, and setting new challenging goals for myself. I have learned to sit back and ask questions, to live in the present more and the future less.

We all have adversity, it crops up and some days it feels like it might never go away but it will and your attitude towards it will determine how much you let it overcome you.

While watching Amy Van Dyken as she courageously tackles rehab for her spinal cord injury, her relentless energy and spirit inspires and reminds that we must adapt. We must find a way. There is always a way. Her bravery is incredible and I have no doubt she will do incredible things and accomplish way more than any of us think possible.

It might not be what you had scheduled in the beginning, there will be new chapters and new journeys, accept what it is and what it will be.

… What Is Will Be – Live Life To The Fullest, Have Fun and Have No Regrets

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Having Faith

Faith, having it during the brightest times and keeping it close during the times when you question your courage and strength.

It has been quite a year; bilateral pulmonary embolism and 2 neuro surgeries … but I choose to look forward and not in the rearview mirror.

I have been taught courage, more than I thought I could be taught and more than I thought anyone could have. I was forced to step out of my comfort zone. A comfort zone I was completely uncomfortable with and still am. I heard something on Rich Roll’s podcast yesterday that made so much sense to me. At times many endurance athletes find the physical discomfort of their sport much easier to quiet than the emotional discomfort they are facing. That can’t be more true. It is this noise in our heads that forces us to think deeper than we want at times, makes us look at our future and examine our past. It causes us to analyze our relationships and dig deep to discover the type of energy transmitting from those relationships. There is much dialogue but, it is often silent.

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I could never express how blessed I am for the people God has put into my life over the last year. So many friendships that I know will grow and the good times have only begun. Without Faith, I have no doubt I would not be where I am today. The last few weeks have been filled with many hours of soul-searching and decision making. One must ask of themselves what they want to accomplish and what it will take; it is then they must do whatever it takes. I know now, I have the courage and with Christ, all things are possible.

I hope I can help many of you to remember that despite any and all adversity; you must find that inner courage and strength. I know that it is often much more internal than external. Take a walk, get out of the house, read a book, call your best friend. It is NOT going to always be easy. Life is not easy. But don’t be like me and isolate yourself, I am working on not doing so much of that and pretending that I can do all things. Count on those that care for you.

It is how we see the picture and not how it is drawn. See it in a positive light! 

Successful Surgery and Getting Stronger

A little update 5 days after cervical disc replacement surgery by the outstanding neurosurgeon Dr. Randall Porter at Barrow Neuro Institute  . Surgery went great. I was able to have the disc replacement surgery at C6/C7 and there were no surgical complications. Unfortunately I had to stay in the hospital a couple extra days due to some rough complications from the anesthesia and pain meds. However, today 5 days after surgery I am doing ok. I am wearing the cervical neck brace/collar to protect the neck and ensure that I don’t make any wrong movements. Dr. Porter told Mom and Dad that the crucial healing time is the first 3-4 weeks. Probably still 10 weeks till back running. I am scared to death that the artificial disc might not fuse properly to the bone above and below so I am doing whatever it takes. The brace sucks!!! Super uncomfortable to eat in, sleep in, get comfortable in regardless of your position. But then again so is surgery and surgery is WAY WAY worse and I can’t bear another surgery.

Not in to much pain, just taking Tylenol and a muscle relaxant. My head gets heavy after being upright for awhile and the muscles in my neck, shoulders, and back are sore but that’s about it. So pretty impressed.

I am eternally grateful for so many calls, texts, messages, etc from friends that have kept my spirits up through this all. You guys are my rock. I honestly could not have continued to stay so positive without your constant reminders of what the future will hold for me and that this is only another small mountain to climb on the way to a greater destination. Love ALL you guys!

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I am walking outside now daily. Well yesterday was the first day, since it was also the first day home from the hospital. Dad and I took a 40 minute walk around noon and then a 20 min walk around 4:00. My goal is 50+ minutes of walking each day until I can do more than walk. For now, trust me, it’s hard enough 😉

Miss you guys and can’t wait till I can drive in a couple weeks. They said 2+ weeks from surgery. I see Dr. Porter again on the 10th. So more news then!!!!

Remember, staying positive regardless of what you face as negative energy only causes you and others pain and misery. 

Can’t wait to be back out there with you all again doing what we love!!!!

We Are Humans and We Have Feelings

Hey guys. Realized today that yes I am human, have human feelings, do things that humans do, and can easily get overwhelmed when life feels turned upside down.

In a lot of ways I feel I am watching a movie where I am watching my life, goals, and dreams, slipping away and yet I am powerless in many ways and have zero control.

I am sleeping throughout the day, have taken off from work per Dr. requirement, am not even close to training at the level I once was, and feel pretty shitty and tired more days than not. Yet I try my hardest each day to be optimistic.

Today I just broke down. On top of an already starting migraine, I realized just how much pain was in the heart. I after many years of fighting back pain and the results of the cycling accident I felt life was turning and goals were within reach. I after many tough years found happiness when I moved to AZ in July. I found happiness in my new job, a beautiful place to live, amazing friendships, family close by, a great church with amazing pastors, and more.

The last 6 mos. starting in Oct. with 20 days in the hospitals, then batteries of tests and Dr.’s, then a fractured ankle, followed by meningitis as a reaction to medicine I supposedly needed, and this Feb/March another 13 days in the hospital. I won’t lie, it’s been tough and at times more than I can handle. Where I always put up a smile, it’s a facade at times as I hide the pain.

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What I am searching for is me. My life as a runner. When you run as a pastime or feel forced to for better health, “you run”. When you run because it is your passion, fills your heart, and helps you see your true self, “you are a runner”. Some may disagree. But I stand strong on my opinion. I AM A RUNNER. It is who I am along with other things. I live to run, to feel the challenge, take on the goals, and find myself accomplishing much more than one thought possible. Shit, at one point I was told I might not walk again. So YES I am a runner, it is what I do, and I will return to it with great passion and determination. 

I am also a goal orientated individual. It is how I was brought up. You make goals and you accomplish them not matter what it takes.

So I move forward each day. Staying below the threshold of set-back yet pushing my body to become stronger and fitter. While some see my actions as frustrating, little do they know or understand the journey it has been to get to where I am today. It’s beyond words, it at time causes tears, but without my amazing support team and Faith it would have been impossible. Thanks to all that stand behind me. You mean the world to me.

With strength, courage, patience (I lack this), and determination…. great things are going to occur.

Hugs.

Life Doesn’t Happen, It Responds

I am re-posting this blog that I wrote in August of 2010. It was very meaningful and brought back a very important lesson tonight as I am editing journals from the past to be inserted into my book. It it sometimes your response that characterizes your take on life and it’s challenges.

8/27/2010 – Life Doesn’t Happen, It Responds


Life isn’t happening to you; life is responding to you. It is your call. Every area of your life and every part of your day is really up to you. You are the creator of your life. You are the writer of your life story. We can be given obstacles but it is how we view them that ultimately affects our success. You are the director of your life movie. You decide what your life will be, by what you give to life.

This all dawned on me today. as some of you know I have been faced with a few obstacles, a couple times a week (including today) I have to go get IV fluids and iron for a pancreas condition. Not a huge deal, not life threatening, but certainly not fun. The nurses love to chat with me and frequently they say “you poor kid, you have gone through so much.” Today that really hit a nerve. What I have gone through is nothing compared to so many others. Where I go to get these injections and treatment they are given in the oncology department. I witness those battling cancer, many too sick to walk without help. A lot of the time they strike up a conversation with me and we chat. Not about disease, not about medicine, but about what life has to offer. Some ask my story, why am I there, and what do I do. I just simply say, well, I help people. I help people to become healthier by incorporating fitness in there lives, I help people deal with setbacks and help people overcome obstacles. The nurses just smile, knowing that I have a long run the next day or a race. I rarely talk about that to these amazing people. Really what I have overcome is nothing compared to what these and others face. Some of these amazing people will battle to the end and then will head up heaven to a wonderful life without any pain. Others will battle and beat the demons affecting them and live on to inspire those around them.

But life is really how you feel and how you react to what you are dealt. Sure I am human, I despise needles and hate having iron and fluids pumped into me each week, I wish I could eat normal foods and meals without taking digestive enzymes, wish I had never broken my back BUT I really have been blessed with the ability to help inspire others and the strength from God to help me through some pretty tough times. So when the nurse said to me, “you poor kid”. I thought no I am pretty blessed.

You can take any situation in your life, and every possible outcome can occur. Any outcome can happen based on the feelings you have about the situation. So next time you are faced with a tough situation, think about the outcome you want to occur and most likely that will drive your actions to accomplishing your goal.

“It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.” – unknown
Make each day GREAT!

New Design, New Times

Well, after many hours scrutinizing over the blog and the design (I am not the most decisive individual) I have come up with what I think is a simple yet concise and clean look to the blog. There will be additions and more graphics which will make it more intuitive and fun, but the ground plans have been laid.

In addition I am nearing the end of developing training plans from 5K to marathon for different levels of athletes that will be available on the web site in the future, a small price to pay for a semi-customized and personalized training plan that comes with a functional and core strength plan and a pre/post run drills, to enhance your running mechanics and lower injury risk. All this has taken much more time than anticipated but I refuse to put out anything but my very best to offer athletes of all levels striving to accomplish their goals.

My ankle injury continues to get better daily. MANY thanks to Dave and the crew at Endurance Rehab.,  . I continue to get therapy several days a week and have downsized out of the boot to an ASO brace. I am able to use the elliptical (my most HATED piece of equipment “pure torture”), the bike, the pool, and have been in the AlterG anti-gravity treadmill a few times this week.

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I have learned more so lately the preciousness of being able to run and just how hard it is when it is taken. That lesson in turn has taught me to re-evaluate my future plans and journeys with the sport of running. I need not to take risks and need to stay focused on my goals and dreams. That means it’s the roads and staying off the technical trails, it means cross-training a bit more to decrease impact, it means listening more and giving up some control and allowing others to educate and direct me. Success takes teamwork and I have the best team anyone can ask for!

It’s about having the Faith to trust the Higher Powers. Lately I have called upon Jeff, Grandpa Don, Grandma, and others who now guide, direct, and give me courage from above. I couldn’t feel more loved by so many even at times when I am feeling both frustrated and overwhelmed.

We are not given more than we can handle, we paddle out to the surf, and face adversity head on…. and then rise up and let the surf bring us back to the shore with grace and dignity.

I move forward in life, work, running, and sport knowing that I have both the strength and courage to face what lies ahead and the same strength and courage to leave the past behind.

Much love and hugs. Never give up on your dreams, for they will provide you with confidence and strength!

Cristin

Horse of a lifetime, missing you Rowdy

On this Kentucky Derby Day, I think back to the hundreds of hours I have spent on the back of a horse. I think of all the great horses I have had the ability to ride over my junior years and beyond. But there has never been a horse more special than Rowdy. Rowdy, sold to me by Anne Jennings at Pigeon Creek Farm, changed my life. During a time I was searching to find myself in a competitive environment at school, home, and in the times of becoming a teenager… it was this one horse that helped me define myself and focus. Rowdy was everything to me. He was a friend, someone that could be trusted, an outlet when I felt overwhelmed, and was always there to greet me whether I was walking into his stall or out to visit him in the paddock.

Rowdy and I would frequently share dried fruit loops cereal for breakfast, carrots for lunch, followed by Lifesaver peppermints as dessert. Rowdy even liked Cool Blue Gatorade and after hard workouts, we would share that too.

Rowdy was certainly not the fanciest of horses, nor was he always taking the win. But he would try his hardest at challenges presented to him. He was honest, fair, and persevered through all adversity. Some ask where I learned some of these traits. Little known fact that a 4 legged 1500 lb horse taught me most of them. We were always going up against the fanciest and most expensive horses in the sport. Many trainers remarked, “you deserve something to ride that is more competitive, you deserve a better horse”. I NEVER wanted one. I was perfectly happy with my best buddy, Rowdy.

I will never forget after a long day of showing at Trader Point Horse Show, I decided I needed to just chill out. I put on Rowdy’s bridle and decided to hop on bareback (without a saddle) and just go out and take a walk around the fox hunting grounds. Many stopped me in shock that I could just ride him bareback, many said, “you are crazy, what it he spooks and you fall off”. I kinda laughed and said, “he’s not like that, he wouldn’t do that”. It was true, he was as happy chilling out as I was. He was special. He was like an overgrown pony that just wanted to be appreciated for who he was. Looking back now, I get it.

As years went by, things changed. It became more important to others for me to take home blue ribbons. I was now in tougher competition and more was expected. Rowdy left and was replaced. My heart shattered and is still not repaired. Winning isn’t everything, it is NOT the only thing. Rowdy now lines the walls of my apartment, the memories I shared with this amazing thoroughbred will never ever be forgotten, and the lessons Rowdy taught me still guide my everyday decisions.

So ask me how I have overcome the adversity? It goes back to the lessons I was taught by a wonderful Thoroughbred named Rowdy and the times we shared showing throughout the US but more important were the times we would simply just head out for a ride and the moments we shared with each other.