Hugs Not Drugs… Maybe a Few Drugs

In South America women greet women with a kiss on the right cheek. Men greet men with a firm hand shake or a quick embrace. Men greet women with a kiss on the cheek and maybe an embrace.

In Thailand people greet each other with a wai. [a prayer motion, hands to the heart, the nose or the fore head; depending on the level of respect that needs to be given.]

In my family we tend to give a quick hug or Hello while we try to figure out if a hug is appropriate. Or more likely than not we just say “Hi” and begin talking about what’s happening in our lives.

In Oregon, where I lived for a year, where I just visited for a week after being gone for a year and half, I embraced every person I greeted. I saw my old roommates, my roommates boyfriend, the peoples who’s couch I have crashed on numerous times, old running buddies, my old boss, my brother’s ex girlfriend, some dude I hooked up with years ago, some dude my roommates friend hooked up with years ago, former co-workers, actors and their girlfriends, the girl who’s dating the guy I dated once, that person who gave me acupuncture that one time… we all hugged. Every time I saw each person–whether it had been a year and half or I saw them at the coffee shop the morning before–we embraced, smiled and enjoyed each others body warmth.

I could write about the trails I hiked and ran on, the people I caught up with, the drama I’m glad to not be a part of in such a small town, the babies my friends have had, the engagement rings and the emotions I felt when I was able to spend time with people who are very important to me.

But I’m writing about hugs. When was the last time you got a really good embrace? Like, full body contact, arms wrapped around each other and you didn’t let go until you felt like you were ready to let go. Do it. Go give someone a hug, (maybe I’ll be lucky and I’ll see you right after you read this and I will get that hug!) But do it, find someone you care about and give a good hug. You know you’ll both enjoy it.

Facebook-20141108-081242

The Gifts We Give and Get Back

Holy time machine! Between Thanksgiving, Christmas and now it’s past New Years I feel like I’ve been in a time warp for the past month and a half! I started two new jobs, doubled my concept of what a “long run” is, got back in the pool and am gearing up for the next big celebration following New Years.

WHAT?! You ask?! Martin Luther King Jr Day isn’t really a big celebration day, rather a day of remembrance… RIGHT, I know! A few days after we remember Dr. King we celebrate the day of my birth. January 18th, mark your calendars folks, with a big star, heart or whatever symbol reminds you of me the best… just don’t forget it!

But before we talk about my birthday, we have to talk about Christmas. I know, I know, that was sooooooo 2011, but I want to share what I gave my family. Being the poor, no-longer-a-college-student-but-still-cheap-like-one kind of lifestyle I am currently living I sent my mother and my father and gave my brother a homemade card, it was made with a lot of love and a lot of Modge Podge.

The card wasn’t really the present, the present was what was written on the back and on each card I wrote: I’m giving the gift of inspiration and support. And promised to find a race and train (from afar) with each family member. A half-marathon with my Dad, raising money and going on an epic adventure with Team Athena and my Mother, my brother and I still haven’t figured out what race, but something awesome to come I’m sure.

Right now, for me, life is about the connections, the commitments we make to ourselves and to the people we love. I want to embrace what I love to do and spread the knowledge I have, I want to inspire and continue to be inspired by the awesome people I surround myself with. Since moving west I’ve been in awe at the athletes I see everyday, inspired by their love of sport, the outdoors and healthy lives. The fresh air, the sunshine and the sacred conversations we have on the trail are enough to keep me running every day.

If you do nothing else today, tomorrow, the rest of the week take a step outside (even if there’s a foot of snow) and breathe in the air, remember your lungs, fill them, feel your body and what it is capable of. Our bodies are incredible machines and I think we sometimes forget that, so take a moment every day to collect your thoughts, slow down and breathe deeply.