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! 

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Step Out.

Ever wonder what it would feel like to step out of your comfort zone? Not to just slightly challenge yourself but to really step way out of the circle. To really change things up. Would it be scary? Would it come with some doubt? Would you question yourself? Yes. Yes. and Yes.

Would it also provide excitement? Would you wake up each day with those good butterflies curious of what the day would hold? With energy to begin the adventure. Yes. Yes. and Yes.

I have recently had some extra time to think. Time to think of how I plan to Step Out. To challenge myself and take myself to a whole different level. It will require sacrifice, courage, dedication, determination, and my never wavering faith.

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We are all different in what we choose in life to do with our days. Thankfully not many have seen or felt what I have and so moving forward I choose a path of passion, to live each day using my gifts of helping others in sport as my profession. I also use those gifts and passions to step out to find new places further outside of myself, a place I dream of and will someday be.

I hear so many talk about the “I wish I had” late in their lives. I have heard those that have had their lives cut short say to me “if only I had”. I ask you my friends to not wait because I am not going to. I have seen life and just how fragile it can be personally. I have felt the fear, the deep down fear that makes you shake and pray for another day.

So I will step out and go further, live life with positive energy flowing through me, surround myself with those that support my passion for living the “I did’s” and not the “I wish I had’s”, and “Know I can do all things through Christ who strengths me” Philippians 4:13

I have some huge goals, they will require a lot of myself. All I can give is all of myself and a lot of prayer. I am excited for what the future will hold and know that without big goals and dreams, we will never grow. I want to grow, to continue to learn; I will forever be a student. When you stop learning, you stop living. One step at a time but I will be stepping out in some big ways and that will be fun! I hope to always inspire others to do the same.

My Heavenly Father, friends and family, coach Frank, and all those who support me are my rock. It’s journey and with faith it will be a success.

Relentless Forward Progress

Wow, where does the time go? It’s been a couple weeks since I have written a blog, life as been crazy. A lot of exciting things in the makings and sometimes I wonder if my head is screwed on straight half the time. Just the other day I searched for my sunglasses for 30 minutes only to finally look in the mirror and realize they were on top of my head. At that point all I could do was laugh. …. (2 shoes mis-matched, variety is good) LOL, j/k

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Tonight I taught a stretching clinic to a great group at Sole Sports in Glendale. What troopers as they went through the exercises despite 100+ degree temps. I think they were surprised that flexibility work can really blend in strength and balance as well. More bonus for the buck 😉

I had a great talk with the Barrow Foundation this week. A couple new events in the making for the non profit. Exciting. So a special cause close to my heart. If interested in donating to spinal cord and neurological research and treatment at Barrows (click here). Whether a dollar or more, every penny helps and can change lives! Please help if you can.

I am also on board with the best all natural non-toxic nutritional company in the world. Their products are helping me realize my full potential without putting anything toxic in my body. Their plant based gluten free lactose free meal replacement shake is a lifesaver, among so many of their other products. I couldn’t be happier and so look forward to getting all my friends and family introduced to these products as well. WITHOUT YOUR HEALTH YOU HAVE NOTHING! For more info on Isagenix check out my site here  or the Isagenix website. Any questions shoot me an email at ultimatestamina@gmail.com

I am also so excited for what the future holds in many different areas; professionally and in sport. With FAITH, COURAGE, PERSEVERANCE, AND DETERMINATION… ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE!

Life is Complicated

Life is complicated but I am tough and I will not let that said life get in my way of accomplishing my goals and dreams of being the best me I can be and inspiring others.

But we can say the last few days have been emotional and challenging. Sometimes life throws you challenges that cause you to really dig deep and search for what really is important, what your true calling is, what you were meant to do here on earth, and listening for what will challenge you and fullfil you. We are also continually faced with discovering whom we can trust and whom we are used by. Whom we are appreciated by and whom we are betrayed by.

I have always said it is animals that we can always trust. For they have a special unconditional love. For the first time in my life, I don’t have a pet. I know that sounds crazy coming from someone that at one time had horses, cats, dogs, etc. It is a time like this that a pet would be appreciated. But it is also a time like this that without a pet, I turn to family and friends. I am grateful that I have had good conversation with my parents over the last few days and I am headed to Wisconsin next week to spend 6 days with my best friend. This vacation could not come at a better time.

The last 6 months have been a challenge. I have been faced with the reality of medical uncertainty and the fear of pulmonary embolisms. Thankfully they are breaking up and I am recovering, however we still don’t have many answers. In addition, a lesson I have learned to keenly in the last 48 hours is not to be to quick to trust someone whom you think is a friend. I will leave you with a vague but important lesson that I hope you can learn and remember; it’s ok to put up a protective barrier of sorts when it protects your heart from being hurt.

I have overcome much adversity, and like the comebacks of the past; this comeback will be great with success and advancement!

God's Blessings

Baby Steps

Like watching a movie of your own life, like watching a nightmare but not knowing how to make it stop, like being in the “pain cave” and not knowing how to get out. Baby steps.

Since October 2012 I have spent approx. 45 days inpatient in the hospital with migraine headaches and neurological symptoms (leg and arm weakness and temporary semi paralysis). It has been frightening. Ok, that’s an understatement. I have tried to stay strong and around most of you I have succeeded…. some of you have seen me break down, even cry.

My faith and Higher Power has taught me many lessons through these difficult times. One being that it’s ok to be scared, it’s ok to cry, it’s ok to break down, and it’s ok to reach out for help. Sometimes we think we are being the strongest when we hold it in, when we try to protect everyone else, even when we try to please and be everything to everyone. In reality it is the opposite.

The strongest are those that reach out. Those that have the courage to not be everything to everyone. The strongest are the ones that are ok taking a day off of training, are ok with saying that they can’t play all the roles, and they can’t be brave when they are scared beyond fear itself.

Because it is Faith, Courage, Perseverance, Determination, and a Positive Attitude that gets you through those times when you wonder WHY?

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We have some answers; a week ago tonight I was taken by ambulance to Mayo Clinic, spent 5 days there and was discharged this Monday. I have what is called chronic migraine disorder brought on by an auto immune deficiency. There will be follows ups with the neurologists and immunologists. It is a process and it is about taking baby steps. Baby steps that I am not use to taking.

Through the most frightening times in ones’s life, it seems God puts people, places, and things in place and he has done just that; the beauty of the AZ surroundings, living close to my parents, the medical teams and their close proximity, the most amazing church and Pastors, awesome friends, sun, and a beautiful place to live and train.

Am I scared, frightened, empty, and fearful?…..YES.

BUT

Am I grateful, faith-filled, positive, willing, and excited to inspire others YES!!!!!!!!

This journey continues. BABY STEPS!!! Ready Set Go 🙂

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

Taking Little Things For Granted

Last Wednesday a miss step on the trails ended in a fractured ankle and grade 3 sprain to the ligaments. Finishing up on a run I was cooling down and stepped wrong on my right foot, resulting in the ankle rolling and going down with it completely inverted and the outside ankle bone making contact with the ground, leg buckled and I knew it was not good. To put it into context, it felt like a bomb went off in it.

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I tried to remain optimistic thinking it was just mildly sprained and would get better as the day went on. Not so. Within 2 hours, it was swollen, throbbing, piercing and I could barely put weight on it. I showered and headed to work with ice wrapped around it but once I got to work, was sent straight to Endurance Rehab. for therapy and to get it evaluated. Dave at Endurance worked me in (so grateful). We got it in the compression therapy boot w/e-stim and then flushed out and taped up to immobilize it until morning. It was a long night with little sleep and intense pain.

The next AM, I headed back in for therapy, saw Dr. Stanley Graves (one of the best foot and ankle specialists) and was sent for an MRI. Results showed avulsion fracture and grade 3 sprain to the ligaments. I am now boot bound for the time being, getting therapy 3 days a week at Endurance Rehab, and doing all the little things I can to allow this to heal as quickly and effectively as possibly.

What I learned is that we can take things for granted so easily. We can feel invincible and sometimes maybe don’t make the most logical decisions. Where I know I am safe running on the roads, I know the trails are a challenge due to some ankle instability issues I’ve had as a result of the spinal injuries I sustained in the cycling accident. I have never turned an ankle on the roads and need to realize my limitations. Unfortunately sometimes it takes a scare and slap in the face to see the “picture of logic and reality”.

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Moving forward when given Dr. approval, I will be staying on level terrain and concentrating on getting faster and running on the road scene.

In the meantime I will focus on what I can do, other things that make me happy and motivate me to be my best, and giving back to others. I am continuing to work on my book and some exciting new avenues with Ultimate Stamina Consulting. I am eternally grateful for my Sole Sports family and working for the greatest running store in the country, and continuing to work on my non-profit raising $ for the Barrow Foundation supporting neuro research and spinal cord injury treatment.

With PF Changs Marathon and Half coming up this weekend, I will be at the Expo on Fri and Sat. and excited to see many friends racing on Sunday. Lots of hard work will pay off for them and I hope all have a great day out there, enjoying every step of the journey.

I’m hoping to get in the pool and on the bike in the next couple weeks and in the AlterG anti-gravity treadmill soon.

I have an IVIG antibody infusion tomorrow (I get one every 3 weeks) and I do feel I am getting stronger and healthier each week, so very grateful. 🙂

With courage, strength, faith, perseverance and determination… you can accomplish anything you put your mind to!!!!

Hugs,

Cristin