advice

A Lesson from Claire Wineland: Love Your Life Your Way

Last month my sister and I went to see the movie Five Feet Apart in theaters. It follows two people with cystic fibrosis, who fall in love but are forced to keep their distance from one another.

The director of the film, Justin Baldoni, recently posted a video on his Instagram (that you can find here) where he introduced his main inspiration for the film: Claire Wineland. She lived her entire life with cystic fibrosis before passing away at the age of 21. In the video (taken in 2015), Claire gives a short speech, and it’s immediately clear why she changed so many peoples’ lives, and why her legacy is sure to live on.

She said:

I’m 18 years old and I have something called cystic fibrosis. I do only have a few years left to live. I mean, that’s how the doctors see it. Let’s get the whole like death thing out on the table, right?

Like all of us could get hit by a meteorite, so let’s stop thinking about the death part of it because that doesn’t matter to me. We have no control over it. But we do have control over whether or not we are proud of our lives. I mean, that’s something we have complete say over.

I am genuinely proud of my life. I am so proud to be alive. I’m not saying I don’t feel pain. I’m not saying I don’t feel sadness and suffering, and loneliness, because that’s what it means to be a human being. But I’m saying that that pain and that loneliness and that sadness is beautiful.

We live in a society that benefits off of us continuously looking for happiness and dreams and goals out here. Right? If we say, “No. We are not going to go looking out there for a happiness. We are alive and that is all we need.” We are beating the system. Right? And we’re living lives that we’re proud of. We’re living lives that make us happy!

You have to look at all of it. All of the pain, all of the loneliness, all of the beauty, all of the friendship and the family, and the sickness and the health. You have to lay it all in front of you and you have to say, “Okay. That is what I have and it is all wonderful. What can I make with it?”

Woah, right?

It really made me stop and think.

So often I am someone that puts an immense amount of pressure on myself to live a life that other people can be proud of. Sure, I take pride in what I do, but when I’m lying awake at night stressing, it is because I’m worried I’m not doing enough, not being enough. I’m worried people are judging me or pitying me or just wondering what the hell is she doing?

When we focus on the eyes of others, it’s hard to accept “all of it”. It’s hard to see all of the pain and sadness and beauty and family and friendship and sickness and health, and consider it “wonderful”. We can see the wonder in some of it, sure, namely the parts that might impress or connect us to others, but it’s hard to see all of it as the wonderful combination that makes us, us. It’s hard to realize that our unique combination of all of those elements is what makes our lives beautiful and special and important.

So today, I am going to take a look around, and I encourage you to do the same. Look at all of it. Everything you’ve been given, and find the meaning in it. Find the wonder. Stop living your life by other peoples’ standards and start living a life that you are proud of.

Give Thursday a Chance

So it’s Thursday.

Which means it’s almost Friday.

Which means it’s practically the end of the entire week.

Which means there’s no point in starting anything now.

Right?

All those goals you’ve been meaning to start pursuing.

That something new you’ve been wanting to try.

Those chores you’ve been needing to get done.

There’s no reason to do them today.

It’s Thursday.

You might as well call this week a wash and just start again on Monday.

Right?

As much as I want to say yes, and as much as I want to put everything I want to do aside and just worry about it tomorrow or, you know, next week, that really wouldn’t do me or you or any of us any good.

Mondays are great for motivational purposes. They are great for easy calendar tracking purposes. They are great in theory. But really think about a Monday. Think about how when you actually get to a Monday, it’s hard and awful and has too many responsibilities to begin with.

Monday’s can suck.

So…why not Thursday?

Why not Friday?

Why not Tuesday evening at 6:00 p.m.?

There’s no reason to wait to start doing the things that will make you happy or organized or less stressed or successful. Every day holds the possibilities we give to Monday and every day can be as looked forward to as Friday.

So why can’t Thursday be your day?

Give Thursday a chance.

Start today.

There is More than Red

I recently listened to the audiobook of “You’re A Badass” by Jen Sincero and immediately after finishing it, I went out and bought a hard copy because I wanted to be able to highlight it and make notes and read it over and over and until the binding is good and tired. It is packed with good reminders designed to get you up and out of whatever funk you might find yourself in, so you can get out there and kick some (mostly your own) ass.

One of my favorite chapters started with the author asking you to look around whatever space you are currently in and pick out everything that is red.

Give it a try.

Focus on those things, memorize them, repeat them over and over again in your mind.

Now close your eyes.

Well. Okay. So this exercise might work better if you were listening to it. Otherwise you’ll just be sitting there with your eyes closed, repeating “ketchup bottle” over and over, with no idea what to do next. Since I was listening to the audiobook, I did not come across this logistical issue.

I APOLOGIZE.

The point of the exercise is to close your eyes, and after spending all that time focusing and memorizing the red, she then asks you to point out everything in your space that is yellow.

Huh? I thought.

Was this a trick?

I just wrote an entire rhyming poem called “Red in my Head” and now you’re going to pull something like THIS, Sincero? I do not approve.

But then she pulls a fast one on you.

She points out that if we are singularly focused in our lives, constantly looking only for the red, than we’re not going to notice the yellow, or the blue or the green. And Lord knows there is some green to be seen after all of this rain.

I listened to this chapter of the book about the same time I wrote this blog, and while they touch on the same thing, they stuck out in different ways. While my reminder to “look up” was a reminder that there are always good things amongst the bad, this “find the yellow” exercise was a good reminder that there is just more.

The world is full of so much more than what we might be struggling with in a particularly difficult moment or season. This doesn’t and shouldn’t belittle what we’re going through now, but it can act as a reminder that there are so many more moments out there for us if we have the courage, patience and perseverance to work through this one. There is so much yellow, y’all! So much blue! So many stars and stripes and polka dots. There is more. So take a deep breath, blink a few times, and let all those other colors come into focus.

Tips for Training for a Marathon

This past Sunday I ran the LA Marathon, a feat I never thought possible for myself, and one I will forever be PSYCHED about.

I wrote a blog about the experience, but I wanted to write another one for anyone who might be considering running a marathon, be it this year, next year or whenever. These are the things I learned both going into the race and on the day itself and I hope they can help you!

.

1) Follow a training plan or join a group

Before I started training, the only thing I really knew about marathons was that I eventually had to run 26.2 miles. But as far as breaking it down to manageable increments, I had no idea. I didn’t want to undershoot it and leave me unprepared, or overshoot it and leave me exhausted. So, I enlisted the help of the internet and found this training plan that I followed (as well as I could) and I arrived on race day feeling very prepared.

If you are someone who has trouble getting motivated to follow a plan like this on your own, there are a ton of organizations out there that will give you a community to both encourage you and hold you accountable. If you are in the LA area, check out the LA Leggers, Students Run LA, Movement and LA Road Runners.

.

2) Train hills

The LA Marathon is known for its hilly course and let me tell you: the rumors are true!  I was very grateful to have paid extra care in training with hills because I didn’t have any issue with them, but I could tell there were a bunch of runners who weren’t prepared for that element of the course and it zapped their energy.

.

3) Mix up your routes

Training for a marathon is a long process. I probably did about 60 training runs, which is actually less than my training plan suggested, but was the best I could do in accordance with my schedule. After the first month or so, I had a list of routes I was familiar with and I would rotate them around. For the most part this was totally fine, but when I started having trouble with my IT Band, I read that one common cause of the tightness is running on the same side of the road too often. Since sidewalks are slanted (even if we don’t notice) we will unknowingly distribute our weight to keep ourselves balanced, which in turn can put extra strain on certain muscles. To prevent this, try to run a variety of routes and sometimes run those routes backwards, or on the opposite side of the street.

.

4) Figure out your perfect training diet

There are a lot of articles out there that will tell you the “perfect” thing to eat before and after runs, and many of them contradict themselves. The reason is all of our bodies are different, and as such require different things to perform at the best of their ability. For me, I liked to eat pasta the night before a big run, a protein bar or some toast the morning of, and then a fruit smoothie with some protein powder after. I stayed away from dairy and sugar and I drank lots of water for days leading up to the run and afterward.

.

5) Don’t skimp on post run care

Trust me when I say that I know the first thing you want to do after a long run is just sit on the couch. I also think it’s important to note that for the first two months of my training I did. It wasn’t until I started getting to the longer training runs that I realized that just wasn’t going to cut it. I was getting really sore and feeling worn down and frustrated. So, I did research on good post-run routines and then I stuck to them. After every run I made sure to stretch. And then I made myself a protein smoothie, drank water, took a cold shower (it’s as awful as it sounds but it seriously helps with sore muscles, I promise!) and then I relaxed on the couch. If my muscles were still sore, I iced them and took Advil.

.

6) Find somewhere to put your phone

I personally do not like wearing any accessories when I run. Not even a fanny pack or those bands that strap on your arm to hold your phone. I am just so particular about the way things feel and I have never been able to find a happy medium for how tight or loose those are. SO, I wore a pair of leggings with pockets down the sides. This allowed me to keep energy gels, snacks, my phone, anything I might need during my run without having to hold them, because as I learned the hard way, anything gets heavy in your hand after an hour or so of running.

.

7) Keep yourself hydrated

This was another one I learned the hard way. On my first 15-mile training run, I thought I could just go for it like I’d done on all the runs in the past, assuming that having water waiting for me at the end would be enough. It was not enough. I got so dehydrated and  I was all but convinced I was going to pass out on my walk back to my house. After that, I started planning out my runs in loops. I left a water bottle outside my front door that I would loop back to every five miles or so, and I kept energy gels in my pockets that I would take every hour and a half or so. (If you are a runner that is comfortable running with a water backpack or a water bottle this probably won’t apply to you, but it worked for me and might be something to consider.)

.

8) Bring chapstick

When you are out there running for long periods of time, your lips get very dry. I constantly forgot to put on chapstick and I paid for it, both with cracked, dry lips, and sunburned lips. So, if you can, apply a bunch before your run. Also, I’d recommend bringing some with you on race day since you’re going to be out in the sun for so long. There are people who stand on the sidelines with poster boards covered in Vaseline, but I thought that was…kind of gross? It’s really a personal opinion here, if you have no qualms about germs/sweaty hands/melty Vaseline, then go ham on those poster boards. I kept some Chapstick in my pocket and took each poster I saw as a reminder to apply.

.

9) Be patient

Training is a long journey. Give yourself time to improve and don’t get down on yourself if that process is slow. Just keep getting out there and keep moving forward.

.

10) Listen to your body

There is a fine line between pushing yourself and hurting yourself. Aches and pains are a part of the process, but they shouldn’t all be brushed off as collateral. You know your body, so when it tells you something is wrong, pay attention.

.

11) Go for it

Get pumped. Go all in. Believe you can do it and listen to the people around you who believe it too. Let that positivity fuel you. YOU CAN DO THIS!

.

12) Push through the wall

In the blog I wrote about my own marathon experience, I talked about hitting the infamous “wall”. It was around mile 21 and I wholeheartedly considered quitting. My self-esteem had plummeted and my body was so tired I wanted to cry, so the thought of having to go five more miles seemed impossible. Prepare yourself for the possibility of this feeling. It is hell, but it is what makes a marathon a marathon. Take a break, breathe in and out, picture yourself at the finish line, and put encouraging words on repeat. I probably muttered, “I can do this” one hundred times after I passed the mile 21 marker, trying to muster up some inspiration from deep inside myself. And though it hurt like hell and seemed like an absolutely ridiculous idea, I started running again, and with each step I let those words sing louder than the doubt. I can do this I can do this I can do this I can do this.

.

13) Be proud of yourself

Two days after I ran the marathon, I ordered myself a cake and had the bakery attach at note on top that said: “Never stop believing in yourself.”

There is no shame in being proud of yourself. There is no reason not to celebrate your own accomplishments. You are a badass and it’s most important that you know that. Once you do, you’ll be unstoppable!

.

YOU. CAN. DO. THIS.

You can do anything.

.

If you’d like some information on marathons happening this year, check out this article.

January/February Favorites

Have we finally made it to March?!

Didn’t it seem like February lasted forever?

Or is it just me?

Either way, I’m excited we’re finally here. It means we’re one step closer to spring, baseball season, a general thawing of my limbs. Let’s just say, I’ve been looking forward to March and it has taken its sweet time to get here. However, there have been a handful of things that made the wait a little more bearable:

.

Podcasts

Y’ALL. Whether you are a regular podcast listener or have never listened to a single minute of one, I promise you will get sucked into the chaos of Dr. Death. While I’ve recommended it to pretty much everyone, I consistently have a hard time truly explaining it. To give you the bullet points: it follows the story of a man who may or may not be IS DEFINITELY a sociopath, and also happens to be the worst neurosurgeon ever. The. Things. That. He. Did. Oh. My. Gosh. Listen. (find it here)

On completely different level, Beach Too Sandy, Water Too Wet just makes me laugh. In each episode the brother and sister duo pick a theme such as “libraries in Los Angeles” and then do dramatic readings of the most ridiculous one-star reviews they can find. I laugh every episode. (find it here)

.

Movies

If you watched the Oscars, you might have seen Free Solo win Best Documentary which, after seeing it, I can officially say it 1000% deserved. It follows professional climber Alex Honnold as he sets out to free solo (a.k.a climb with no ropes) El Capitan. You know, the casual 3,000 foot rock in the heart of Yosemite Valley. The cinematography is just out of this world, as is the stress you feel while watching. (find it here)

Since my brother is a rock climber, both Free Solo and The Dawn Wall are high on his recommended list, so the other night he came over and we watched both. I’d like to say this one is less stressful, but it’s not. You are immediately captivated by the spirit of climber Tommy Caldwell as he sets out to climb “The Dawn Wall” a section of El Capitan that has never been climbed before. I tell ya, these guys will inspire the heck out of you, but they also might very well give you an ulcer. (find it on here)

.

GU Energy Gels

91AGfonTVIL._SY355_

For the past few months I’ve been training for the LA Marathon and I have absolutely no idea what I would do without these on my longer runs. They are super lightweight so I can keep them in my pockets, and they give me just the energy boost I need to keep running. Not to mention, every flavor I’ve tried is delicious! Highly recommend! (find them here)

.

Books

Little Fires Everywhere follows a mother, Mia, and her daughter, Pearl, in their move to Shaker Heights, Ohio, and their introduction to the Richardson family, which has a whole series of repercussions. It’s the kind of story that moves slow but has you hooked the whole time. I loved it! (find it here)

The Tattooist of Auschwitz gives such a unique perspective of real life Holocaust survivor Lale Sokolov, who spent most of his time in the concentration camps working as a tattooist, giving other prisoners their identification numbers upon entering. Lale falls in love with a fellow prisoner and the book follows their journey throughout their imprisonment and afterward. (find it here)

.

Music

In the music world, it has been a series of badass ladies that have stolen my heart over the last couple of months. These are a few of my favorites, with the ever colorful adjectives iTunes uses to describe them

thank u, next by Ariana Grande: “This album doesn’t arrive a minute too soon. As Grande wrestles with what she wants—distance and affection, anonymity and star power, and sex without strings attached—we learn more and more about the woman she’s becoming: complex, independent, tenacious, flawed.”

Heard it in a Past Life by Maggie Rogers: “A thoughtfully sewn patchwork of anthemic synth-pop, brooding acoustic folk, and soft-lit electronica.

Inner Monologue Pt. 1 – EP by Julia Michaels: “In her second solo EP, Julia Michaels dives further into the messy space between logic and love. By tangling clashing emotions together, she captures the profound thing that’s so perplexing about being in love: it’s complicated.”

.

Have anything you’ve been loving over these last couple months? Let me know! My Amazon cart is always open…

See my previous favorites post here.

A Reminder from Awards Season: Try

Fun fact about me: I LOVE awards season.

The Emmys. The Grammys. The Oscars.

I’m here for it all.

I love seeing deserving people get recognized and dreams coming true. And I love listening to the speeches of ordinary people, just like you and me, proving that big dreams are not crazy and pursued passions do not go unrewarded.

Last night was no exception.

As I sat there watching the Oscars, listening to so many winners—especially first time winners—remind the dreamers at home who might be thinking I could never, that you can, I felt that familiar tinge of inspiration.

It’s not crazy to try.

It is never ever crazy to dream.

Because it can be you.

Whatever the equivalent of that Oscar stage is in your dream, it can be you standing up there. It can be you accepting that award and paying it forward to everyone at home thinking they never could.

So don’t be afraid to soak up the inspiration. And don’t count yourself out of conversations about someday. There is no dream you don’t deserve.

Try.

Strain then Stir (Episode 6): Chrissy Teigen’s, Cravings: Hungry for More

One of my goals for 2019 is to cook my way through a cookbook. The whole thing. No recipes left behind.

My choice for this feat? Chrissy Teigen’s, Cravings: Hungry for More. And let me tell you, I made the right choice. Not only have the recipes been the good kind of challenging. But they’ve been absolutely delicious!

Here are some of my favorites so far:

(Note: all credit and rights to the photos belong to the team behind the cookbook.)

Salted Maple Granola

img375

This was the very first recipe I tried, so naturally I assumed I was ruining it the entire time it was cooking. To add to that, I’ve never been a big granola person because I’m not a big yogurt person and for whatever reason I thought they were the PB&J of breakfast foods—can’t have one without the other—so I just avoided both all together. Turns out, you can totally eat granola like trail mix. And since the recipe made a big batch (I had about three medium sized mason jars full) I was able to munch on it for almost two weeks. It made for the perfect mid-morning snack!

.

Veggie Couscous

img377

It took me three trips around the grocery store to figure out where to find the couscous—which ended up being on the bottom shelf in the rice aisle, by the way—but it was worth it. Couscous ended up being the fluffy love child of rice and quinoa I never knew I needed in my life. Did you know it cooks in, like, THREE MINUTES?! Talk about instant gratification. And then this recipe called for both sweet potatoes and zucchini to be simmered on the stove in broth with cinnamon, cumin and cayenne pepper and ahhhh my mouth is watering just thinking about it. Is it possible to miss couscous? To long for it? Because that’s what’s happening.

.

Roasted Carrot & Avocado Salad

img376-e1550733713454.jpg

Since I could probably count the number of times “a salad” was my answer to the question, “what are you making for lunch?” on one hand, it was understandable why my sister stopped in her tracks when those words came out of my mouth on a Saturday afternoon. “You’re what?” she said, and I shrugged, pulling the carrots out of the oven, trying my best not to talk myself out of the whole thing. If you happen to be a fellow salad shunner, allow me to introduce you to our new friend. This salad is DELICIOUS. The carrots. The dressing. The avocado. The crunch of the sunflower seeds. I was genuinely sad when I finished this salad and I can’t wait until I make it again.

.

Thai Seared Tuna Salad

img378

While this goal is supposed to broaden my horizons in the kitchen, it has also opened my eyes to new corners of the grocery store. I mean, would you know where to find a tuna steak off the top of your head? Because I sure didn’t. But you better believe that when I found it—at the fresh fish counter—I ordered it like I’d done it all my life. “Yes, one pound of the tuna steak please.” This is another untraditional salad recipe, and my sister and I were pleasantly surprised by how filling it was. I did forego the Thai bird chiles (because I’m a baby that can’t handle spicy foods) and the cilantro (just because I hate it) but it was still delicious and made me feel like an accomplished adult capable of cooking something both healthy and yummy. Hummy? Yealthy? You get it.

.

Thus far, I’d 100% recommend this cookbook for anyone looking to spice up their life. The recipes are different than anything I’ve ever made before, but they are not impossibly difficult, which is encouraging and fun. I look forward to many more mornings, afternoons and evenings spent in the kitchen half stressing out, half excitedly stirring, all while consistently and pridefully stuffing my face. Thanks, Chrissy!

5 Skills You Didn’t Realize Were Skills

Have you ever had a day where you feel like you aren’t good at anything? Like you have no skills worthy of ribbons or awards or even a gasp of awed recognition? Like maybe you can’t even open a door correctly?

I have those days. I think we all do. And why wouldn’t we when there are singers and actors and athletes and those balloon animal artists that walk around restaurants doing their thing, making you think man, I wish I could do that.

The good news is, we can do things, my friends. In fact, we do amazing things all the time without even noticing them.

For example:

1) Carrying Laundry

Do you remember when you were little and your mom would ask you to get the laundry out of the dryer, and how when you pulled it out a towel wrapped around your legs and tripped you and then you dropped a sock and bent down to pick it up, only to drop another one and then another one, until eventually there was more laundry on the floor than in your hands and so you threw it all down in frustration? Just look at how far we’ve come. Now we know exactly how to angle our body; curving our arms and arching our back to ensure that no piece of clothing is left behind.

.

2) Driving

For this one, I know we obviously spent time intentionally learning this skill. But I just felt it was necessary to mention it because it is kind of crazy that we casually operate two ton vehicles on a daily basis. Most of the time while listening to music, eating, and trying to do our eye makeup in the mirror on the way to work.

.

3) Technology

When I was in 5th grade, my family had a white landline telephone that had huge blue buttons and a speakerphone, which I thought was THE COOLEST. Then when I was in 7th grade, my mom got the first cellphone in our house, which had an antenna that you pulled out of the top, which I also thought was THE COOLEST. And now I have an iPhone a.k.a a tiny, portable computer, that I get angry at when the AirDrop feature can’t receive pictures from other iPhones in the blink of an eye, or when the Bluetooth doesn’t sync to a portable speaker or when the Wifi I’m connected to won’t stream movies and television shows. WHAT EVEN IS THE WORLD WE LIVE IN?! When did we learn what all of this was—let alone how to work it all?! Our fifth grade selves would be freaking out.

.

4) Cracking our bones

This one goes out to all of our younger selves who only woke up sore when we accidentally fell asleep with our head propped up against a wall with one leg tucked under us and the other one stretched out in mid side-split. Now we wake up, lean forward, twist our legs to the side, point an arm at a specific part of the ceiling and roll our head back along our shoulders, knowing that afterwards, our bodies will be ready (ish) for the day.

.

5) People

It’s a part of growing up to learn the way other people work and to be able to identify whether they are worth our time or not. And while there are always going to be times when we are blindsided by an undercover a-hole, it’s still worth mentioning how far we’ve come in the people department. All that advice we can give our friends? It comes from years of learning, sometimes—at least I like to believe—for the very serendipitous reason to tell that friend exactly what they need to hear in that moment.

.

These are only five things, y’all.

FIVE.

I know—or at least I assume—that you thought of more while you were reading this. Like hey, you’re right, Kim, I hadn’t even realized how fast I can put my hair in a ponytail. Or that I know the exact amount of meats, cheeses and veggies are required to make the perfect sandwich. Or that I know how to twist, lift and shove that closet door open, even when I’m in a time crunch and don’t have a second to spare.

Sure, it’s silly stuff. But the point of all of this is to remember that we’re all learning, every day, and we’re all growing. Even though it might not feel like it, we are figuring this life thing out piece by piece, in our own way.

Plus, we can’t all be out there making scarily accurate balloon versions of Disney princesses. That would be chaos.

Just a Little Valentine’s Day Reminder

Today is just a day.

And no matter if you love it, hate it, celebrate it, skip it, or just now remembered it’s anything more than a Thursday, I hope you know that you are loved.

You are loved.

You are important.

You are worth appreciating.

So no matter how you spend today, tomorrow, and every day after, if it makes you feel like the diamond crusted, chocolate covered, rose petaled, champagne fountained person you deserve to be, you’re doing it right.

Look Up and Look Around

I am currently training for the LA marathon. This means that three times a week I’m outside running, telling my body that all the pain and exhaustion will be worth it when we get that medal at the finish line—and the free banana shortly afterward.

This past Saturday I ran 17.5 miles, the second longest run in my entire training plan. (The longest being 20) For the first 13 miles or so, I was doing pretty well. My legs, while tired, still had some juice in them and I was determined to check this milestone off my list. But as I started those last four miles, it seemed like each step got harder and harder. My knees began to ache and my ankles threatened to quit on me. This was the longest I had ever run in my entire life, and to know that even when (or if) I finished, come marathon day I’d have to come up with the strength to run nine more miles—a marathon is 26.2 miles—my body was just about ready to call it.

Around mile 16 or so, my mind was really starting to get shaky and my legs were even worse. Continuing to run almost felt like punishment, but I knew quitting would feel far worse. That’s when I hit a red light and had to pace around the sidewalk—legs wobbly as ever—while I waited for my signal to continue. I put my hands on my head and took some deep breaths, hoping to relieve some of the stiffness in my back, and then I looked up. The sky was a piercing blue with big, beautiful, puffy clouds. I watched them swirl around above me, and it gave me a warm feeling in my stomach.

When the light turned green and I started running again, I focused on the clouds, and for a little while my knees didn’t ache as much and my feet didn’t sting; my back felt looser and my legs felt a tiny bit stronger.

By the time I made it back to my house however, I was sure my legs were going to fall right out from under me. I walked through the door like a baby giraffe and stumbled my way through a shower and the making of my usual after-run protein shake.

My body was spent.

But even as I limped around for the rest of that day and the next, I still thought about that patch of sky. While it hadn’t taken away the pain I was feeling, it reminded me that it wasn’t the only thing that day—that moment—had to offer.

There are many instances in which I’ve let a dark time or a difficult situation block out all the light around me. Sometimes it’s hard to remember there’s a blue sky up there. Especially when so many other days are grey, cloudy and rainy.

But alas, there are always good things. There is always something just out of your line of sight that is there to give you hope and inspiration. There is always something to push you that last mile.

In the next month, I’m sure I’ll spend more than a few days wondering, what the hell am I doing? Namely when I pass the 20-mile mark at the marathon and have to run SIX. MORE. MILES. But I’m going to take that patch of blue sky with me through the whole race and the days, months and years that follow. I’m going to look up, even when my head wants to hang down, and I’m going to look around, even when it seems safer to keep my eyes forward. Because as sure as there will be dark, there will also be light, and I’m going to try harder to find it. Even when it feels like my knees might spontaneously combust—or you know, the day to day life equivalent to that feeling.