In Honour of ‘Love’ Month…

…I thought it would be a good idea to reflect on some of the things that fill my life with love and gratitude. Below is a mix of things that are a part my foundation, and some recent training & racing experiences, but the goal of this collection is to help you remind yourself of the love and gratitude you have in your life, and if you struggle with this how you might be able to find it in your own life.

Teammate Love
On February 8th I flew from training camp in SoCal over to Boston to compete in the BU David Hemery Valentine Invite. On the night of February 10th I was entered in 1000m with the intention of trying to run faster than my current PB. My preparation had been pretty good; it had some ups and downs. While I had been running really well, I had battled a migraine leading up to the race, so while not ideal it was not terrible.

 

I felt like this was going to be the race, this was going to be the race where I could really show the world how fast I was. And then we went out in 33 seconds for the first 200 (which does not set up well for a fast 1000m race!). I was devastated when I finished; I was about a second off my PB and just overall not happy with how it played out. Then my teammate, Andrea, sent me a text message reminding me just how good it was.

“Way to show the world you have the craziest range!” Thanks Andrea I needed that. With a little reflection (no, a lot!) I realize what a great race it was. I think every lap we ran faster and faster. Working with Lauren Johnson we ran a great race, and I think our last 100m was the fastest. In the end Lauren just nipped me at the line (Lauren used this as a qualifier for USATF indoors,  where she finished 2nd! Congrats Lauren).

Tommy – Autism Means Friendship
I met Tommy, and his dad Peter, at the Athletics Canada West Hub training camp. Tommy was born with a form of an autism spectrum disorder, and while he cognitively may not be engaged with athletics the way you or I might be, he has a beautiful stride, a beautiful smile, and a zest for life like no other.

With the migraine I suffered in California I was off the training schedule of my usual suspects. Tommy and Peter were kind enough to adapt there training to join me. Even better, Peter video records a lot of Tommy’s sessions and I was able to see what my stride really looks like.

Tommy reminds me to be thankful for what I have, to love life, to love running, to chase after my dreams and never be ashamed of what they might be. Oh, and to laugh! Tommy was a ‘chirper,’ he had all kinds of things to say to us while we were out training that left us laughing so hard we were doubled over.

My Immediate Family
I feel like I drop in and out of my family’s life, and they are so good at accepting that this is what I do. It felt like no time after the holiday break that I was on a plane again chasing the sunshine. And while it seems like a dream life, and it is sometimes, you do get lonely. Those family creature comforts – coffee at the kitchen island in the morning with Rol, Sunday night dinner with the FamJam – I am so thankful that those moments are there when I get home.

Technology has changed how we interact with the world and our surroundings. In my optimistic view of life I think it has made things better. Without it I wouldn’t have FaceTime with my niece, group chats with my family, hilarious posts and messages from friends. This way when I’m travelling I can feel like even though I’m not there, I’m not really missing out.

The list of things I’m thankful for, that I love, is quite extensive, but these are at the top of my list as I pursue this mixed professional athlete-professional student life. It’s not always easy to see the good in life, we all have faced, and will face, adversity, but for the most part we all have it pretty good.

Choose Positivity: The negative bias dominates our life. Think of it this way, the last time you said you had a bad day was it because of one small thing? It usually is, and we generally let that negative moment dominate our day. Let go. Press pause and think of all the good in your life. Even when a streak of bad things happen in one day, that’s one day in your overall life.

Reflect: This goes hand-in-hand with the above. When you take those moments to step back. Not only does it let you get perspective, but sometimes, actually often, it lets you learn something. Good or bad there is always an opportunity to learn. I truly believe that learning helps us flourish throughout life.

Surround Yourself with Love: There is nothing better in life than sharing it with the people you truly want to spend time with. Activities. Drinks. Good meals. These small moments in life add up to a lot. And those people that bring you down or put you down, that needs to stop. Tell them how they make you feel and if they do not want to change, then there is no place for them in your life.

Get Active: My ability to move freely everyday brings me great joy. Yes, I train and work really hard at what I do, and by no means is this type of regimen for everyone. Being active, whatever that means to you, does improve your life. There is so much research on all the good things it does for your body and your brain. Walk. Run. Cycle. Alone. With friends. Whatever you do I promise you’ll feel better.

Choose to Sleep: There is nothing better than waking up refreshed and ready to attack your day. Bright eyed and bushy tailed also helps you to see the positive, the things that love you in life and the things that bring you gratitude. You are your own worst enemy if you are grouchy and tired, and you will miss out on some amazing things when you cannot get perspective because of fatigue.

There is so much in this world to love and to be grateful for. And don’t worry on those days when you really struggle to find it, reach out to someone who really loves you, who really knows you and they’ll help you see all the good that there is.