When Life Throws You Lemons Put Sugar on It


“Dream in light years, challenge miles, walk step by step.”
~William Shakespeare

 To say that this past summer has been a walk on the beach is a joke! When we think of summer, vacations, beach time, movie time, theme parks, and pool parties come to mind, but these thoughts were far away from my mind.

This summer was so challenging, but extremely challenging to my husband who had to endure back surgery. It broke my heart to see him going through such an ordeal and so much pain. We basically took one day at time. It was the only thing we could do besides keeping a positive spirit.

But to make matters worse, he aggravated the injury on the day of the surgery. That meant that his post-surgery symptoms were much worse than it should have been and recovery time was much longer – ughh!

I was grateful to be there for him when he needed me the most. I know he would have done the same for me. But in order to be there for someone we love and care very much, we need to make sure that we take care of our own health. Weeks of going to doctor’s appointment, calling for follow ups, dealing with insurance’s bureaucracy, going to surgery, getting prescriptions, taking the time to cook something healthy, managing in-home care, and the list goes on and on; it takes a lot of energy both mentally and physically.

Thank goodness I have a fairly fit and healthy life style; otherwise, it would have been a lot more challenging for both of us. It was very difficult to balance work, take care of him and take care of me, our pet-children and trying to squeeze in a few workouts or runs here and there. In some occasions, I felt I was being selfish in trying to make some time for exercising while he was recovering from surgery. Where do we find the balance? When is it okay to give each other space under these circumstances?

Well, first of all, safety is above everything else – period. My husband’s well-being was rule # 1. After that, I think it really comes down to communication. Everyone will take actions differently according to his/her situation and only you know what is best for you. During his nap time, I took the opportunity to do some of my strength training, yoga, and stretching at home. Taking 30 minutes for a quick run didn’t happen until weeks after the surgery when his progress was much more stable.

As weeks passed, he made great progress and continues to get better every day.  We both learned a great deal from this experience and we certainly do not miss those days, but those days have made us stronger today. This experience has taught me how important it is to have an active life style. It has given me strength to get things done, no matter how difficult the situation looked and the mind-set to stay strong no matter what. It’s a balance of mental and physical toughness that had I not had experienced in marathon training or running a marathon, my perspective of how to handle tough situations would have been a little more “dramatic”. I am grateful for the experiences in my life and even more thankful for my husband’s well-being. Health is everything, whether be our health or our loved one’s health.

“The struggle you’re in today is developing the strength you need for tomorrow. Don’t give up”
~Robert Tew

Running Through Obstacles: Stay Focus Stay Positive

“No matter what life throws at you, keep smiling no matter what!”
~Celia Westbrook

Declaring that “I will run the Boston Marathon” was not an easy declaration to make, just like it is not easy to register for a marathon if you have never ran a marathon before. The uneasy part of such declaration is due to the amount of time, energy and effort required. It’s also challenging because now I owe to myself the respect of being true to such declaration and to keep its integrity. If you say you will do something then do it; if you can’t then you must have a very good excuse for lacking such integrity. I learned this perspective on Integrity in one of the many three-day inspirational/self-help course called Landmark Education. You won’t see much advertisement about it because Landmark Education believes in sharing, that is, a participant will share about his/her life transformation to a friend or a stranger in such a way that the person will feel empowered and inspired to find out what’s possible to them by taking action. However, such transformation has to be visible and experienced otherwise that person doesn’t became enrolled or inspired. I mean, if one is going to brag such, the least he/she can do is to walk-the-talk and live by example!

It’s a big declaration to make and I’m excited about all the opportunities it will bring (it has already brought me many) in order to make it a reality. Number one on the list was seeking the professional help of a running coach. I found that in Coach Kristen with Strong Finish Running Coach & Sports Nutrition. She is a rock-solid foundation to my running journey. Of course, my husband, family and friends also keep me motivated in this journey. But the challenges that come along are not easy!


Ending Week 2 and half way through Week 3 of my training (going onto week 9 as of this writing) with Coach Kristen, my husband started to feel back pain and the discomfort started to increase as the day went by. Turns out that he needs intense medical help, and on top of that, life keeps throwing some fun challenges all at once! So maneuvering through these challenges on a normal situation can be like a “piece-of-cake”, but not so much when your loved one is less than 100% healthy, ugh! And as the weeks go by, training has not become easy either. My body is taking some time to adjust to the new regime and intensity of tough workouts that includes strength training (three times a week), runs (short and long) with speed training (three times a week), and cross training once a week. I get one rest day, but sometimes two which I still use as yoga day or as an extra session of active isolate stretching and/or foam rolling.

I’ll tell you this: running is constantly teaching me to be a tougher person both physically and mentally. Without running, I probably would have approached these challenges with a less positive mindset and less focus. Just like running, the focus is one mile at time until the set mileage is done. It’s not different when facing our personal challenges and obstacles. The important concept is staying focused and positive. It’s impossible to get everything done – it just won’t happen. However, we are in control of the amount of effort and quality we invest in getting done what can be done, whether it’s mileage, accomplishments or other unexpected things that show up. We’re also in charge and responsible for keeping a positive mindset, focus and humor in the midst of “organized chaos”. And, don’t dwell on the bad runs or bad days!


This weeks’ life challenge has put me on a tough test, and unfortunately, I had to miss my Saturday’s run due to lack of rest, preparation and because my husband’s well-being was depending on me. Priorities are priorities and there’s a time for everything. Hopefully, things will start to get back on track soon, my husband’s health will be 100% and my training will have the attention it requires. In the meantime, I will keep doing what I can, displaying my best effort and practicing a positive mindset. The best path to practice a positive mindset is through the practice of gratitude. No matter what you’re going through, someone is going through worst and whatever the situation is, always remember that it could be much worse. Be grateful and give thanks for the small and big miracles in life. Being able to get up from our bed and lace up our running shoes is enough to be grateful for. Logging in some mileage…gee it’s a true miracle.

So, let’s not forget to keep smiling no matter what! (and be grateful too!)


“The struggle you’re in today is developing the strength you need for tomorrow.        Don’t give up” 

~Robert Tew