Race Schedule

2014 Races…Still TBDStill :)
Bike MS 100M ride (UT - June) 8:h:40m
Speedgoat 50k (UT - July 19) 9h:34m:26s

Sunday, November 23, 2014

News Bulletin: Serious Case of the Runs Expanding

*Screeeeech* *Taptaptap*

Is this thing on?  Oh, good :)

It's the end of November and I have SO MUCH TO TELL YOU!  In less than two weeks' time I will graduate from my program and begin preparing to sit for my boards to become a licensed Physical Therapist Assistant in January.  This has been a really long journey.  Mostly fun and amazing, also quite frustrating and difficult at times, but alwaysalwaysalways worth it.  This all began back in 2009 when I first began taking prerequisite courses in anticipation of going to PT or PTA school.  And now it's finally all coming to a delightful close, the next door waiting to be opened.

On that note, we've expanded our family!  We got a puppy!  A vizsla to be exact!  Back in August we took the plunge and boy what a ride it has been!  

Introducing Cadence June Dunmore...

A mere 7 weeks old in this photo, and less than 9 pounds...

And, really, she looks a lot more like this now...

Now five months old and just under 30 pounds of raw energy and puppy love! And not so easy to curl up in our laps these days!

Cadence is going to be an amazing running dog when the time comes (around 1.5-2 years of age), but in the meantime it's a lot of walking, pooping, loving on her parents, and playing puppy pinball in circles around the house :)

Speaking of expanding our family...we're doing it again!  Go figure, we get a puppy and two months later we find out I'm almost two months pregnant!  What an absolutely thrilling surprise!!

Introducing "Blueberry" Dunmore...

Those are arms and legs!  How freaking cool is that?!  This is a 13 week shot of both of us :)

So, needless to say, things have changed a bit here at Serious Case of the Runs headquarters.  Lots less running (mostly because my midwife had charged me with gaining 10lbs back in July, but also because I have been so tired), so much napping, and so many cheeseburger cravings.  Once school shuts down in a couple of weeks, I'll ramp the running back up.  We are now in the second trimester and energy levels are supposed to peak, so I plan to take advantage of this little window of opportunity and get in some delicious pregnancy miles :)

I cannot begin to express how EXCITED we are about all of this.  And deliriously happy.  And terrified all at the same time!

We just got our first snow here in the valley.  So I think we need to get in our first snow run of the year.  Just wanted to pop in and share all the big news!

Paige, out.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

2014 Speedgoat 50k…Sweet Lemonade

Knock, knock.  Who's there?  It's me! :)

I feel like I have partially emerged from a long hibernation, observing the world through a clouded mind and creaky body.  Smells are all new, flavors unfamiliar, light…so bright.  But, alas, I've simply emerged from the most intense 4 weeks of my entire education.  My head is filled with so much information and knowledge I surely thought it would spill out as soon as exams were done.  But it's still in there, thankfully :)

And so, it was time to celebrate!

With the Drs. Lewis and my G…pre-race smiles!

The 2014 Speedgoat 50k was my celebratory dance for surviving the juggernaut of my summer semester.  And celebrate I did.  If by 'celebration' you mean eat a lot of popsicles, drink a lot of warm Coke, and consume enough Gu to make me gaggy :)

This year's race took it up a notch.  Some course changes were in order and Karl certainly didn't hold back when re-routing the final few miles.  He originally stated it would be about 250-300 feet of additional vert added at the end, but my Garmin would say otherwise…  I think he had his fingers crossed behind his back when he said that ;)  The day would prove to be exceptionally warm with full sun all day long (quite the contrast to last year's race!), and an absolutely brutal final few miles.  But, of course, it was astonishingly beautiful.  The wildflowers were out en masse and I couldn't help but smile just about every step of the way.  I kept thinking,"I am so freaking lucky to live here.  I get to do this!"

That said, it was hard!  I finished just over an hour slower than last year, and that seemed to be the case for most everyone else, across the board.  I recorded over 11,500 feet of vertical climbing (and an equal amount of descent) in just over 33 miles.  The new ending boasted 4 new smaller climbs and barely even the suggestion of a trail…just little blue flags to follow.  At the end of a long and tough day, it was a little demoralizing, but at the same time it made me hungry.  In the same thought I said to myself, 'eff you, Karl, eff you…' and then, 'bring it on!'  Then I laughed at the crazy.  Then I laughed because I realized that I think of the weirdest things during races.

Easily, the hardest race I have ever done, even The Bear.  I love races like this because they put everything into perspective.  If I can do that, I can do anything.  Speedgoat makes me feel like a real mountain runner, and watching Speedgoaters finish is very close to watching Hardrockers finish.  I can't get enough of it.

So the day started out as any other race day, and continued on that way for me.  Geof and I ran our own races this time, just as we did last year.  I think overall I felt really good all day long.  There were never really any high highs and certainly not any lows.  Just a lot of evenness.  Which was weird, and cool.  I listened to music on the climbs; it helped me get and maintain a good cadence so that I could just power up rather than dilly dally.  The climbs were the only points at which I actually passed people.  I yucked it up on the downhills as they just aren't my strong suit to begin with, and then add in unstable footing, super steep terrain, and lots of rocks, and I'm pussyfooting it all the way down.  Better safe than sorry!  So I resolved to kick it into gear on the climbs to make up for what I lost on the downs.

Once I realized I wasn't even going to match my time from last year, I cut myself some slack.  I took quick breaks in the shade when it was convenient, I eased up on my pace, put ice in my bra, and I gave myself permission to just enjoy the day.  I never realized I needed permission to do that, but yesterday I did, and it was fabulous once I granted it.

You know what else was fabulous?  The salted watermelon flavored Gu that I ate.  It was like eating a watermelon Jolly Rancher, and I love those!

It's funny how when you have a really even keel kind of day there isn't really much to report on.  I feel about as beat up as I have after any 100 miler, which is so weird.  My mind was all sorts of fuzzy today, and my appetite didn't return until about 6:30 this evening.  Um, hello, it was a dang 50k!  And I kind of love it.  I live in the sort of place where 33 miles can knock you flat, and then have you asking for more before you know it :)

As I very rhythmically made my way straight up the face of 11,067 ft. Mt. Baldy yesterday, my carotid arteries pulsating in my neck, my heart pounding in my ears, Coldplay's "Paradise" blasting through my ear buds, I couldn't think of anywhere else I'd rather be.  I felt like somehow I had arrived.  Often during hard times, especially races, I find myself wishing I were somewhere else, and then I miss out on all the awesome that surrounds me.  I let myself become consumed by the difficulty of the challenge.  Yesterday I embraced it and loved it for what it was.  Something that would make me tougher, make me more appreciative.  The face of Baldy is so steep that your heels don't touch the ground, it's a calf-burner.  As I neared the summit, I wobbled a little when I set my foot slightly askew of a rock and I reached out my right hand, setting it into a mound of dusty dirt and debris.  It was warm and stuck to my sweaty hand, and it was real.  I connected with what I was navigating.  And I smiled.

I guess that's what heat, a belly full of Gu, and sleep deprivation will do to you ;)

I rounded a switchback in the final descent down to the finish after a gal that I'd been running behind for quite some time cried uncle and asked me to pass her (she said I was making her work too hard and that she just wanted to walk :)), and came upon another gal picking her way down.  The trail opened up to a jeep road and I pulled up beside her and said hello.  She said 'good job', and I replied, 'don't just let me pass you, c'mon!'  She switched it into high gear and we battled it out, smiling, side by side down to the final straightaway.  My legs felt like rockets and I pulled ahead of her in the end.  I found her afterward and apologized (I felt a little bad), but she just smiled and said, "Thank you!  You made me work harder than I had all day; I needed that!"  What a good sport :)

After some thought, and a little bit of food, I'm pretty sure I'll be back again next year to test my mettle in the Wasatch once again.  For us mortals, it is not a race; it is a test of one's ability to just deal…taking those lemons and making some killer lemonade.  Speaking of which, I had the most amazing lemonade flavor popsicle at Larry's Hole AS2.  I made that sucker last all the way to the base of Baldy.  It was AMAZING.

I think I need to go and fix this whole sleep deprivation thing I've got going on ;)

Paige, out.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Running Around

'Tis the season to run!  Wait, 'tisnt it always the season to run?  Of course it is!

We have slowly been creeping up the mileage ladder over the last month or so and it feels good.  Our long runs are still, um, short, relatively speaking, but they are still just as rewarding.  A few weeks ago, we headed out from downtown, through Memory Grove, to the City Creek trailhead and shortly thereafter began to yo-yo with an older fellow running with his dog.  When we came to a T at the stop of the long climb, we stopped and the gentleman, Jim, asked us which way we were going.  We didn't really have a plan, other than a number goal, so he offered up a route that would bring us back to the TH.  He said he was enjoying our pace, that we were keeping him moving.  He seemed nice enough (and he was wearing a San Juan Solstice tee so he was obviously awesome :)) so we headed along he proposed route.  It was fun to just go with the flow, meet someone new, run with an awesome dog (a labradoodle named Molsen), and learn a new running route.  Jim and Geof got a little ahead of me on a downhill portion, and Molsen hung back with me, running just behind me.  A few times the trail widened out and I moved to one side to let the dog pass, but he stuck behind me, waiting for me when I  stopped to adjust something, or take in the views.  I love running with dogs.  Eventually, once the guys were back in view, Molsen ran ahead to greet them, then stopped and waited for me to catch up to him.

That was a good run.

We've started meeting once a week with a small group of super fasties and it has been going really well.      A few weeks ago, we did a hill repeat workout, in which I didn't get totally smoked, woot!  The following week we did bonafide speed work on the track: 16x200 meter sprints, with 200 meter recoveries.  It was FANTASTIC!  I can handle short sprints, and I think I managed quite well.  I didn't know I had that kind of movement in my legs…I felt a little bit fast :)  This week, we met back on the trail and did a progression run up Dry Creek Canyon.  I think that may be my new favorite workout.  Even though I didn't really follow the progression 'rules', I did do what I could and I maintained a solid pace all the way up, breaking into a walk only once for a short, steep stretch.  Geof was leading our pack and basing the progressions off of HR, increasing "pace" by 5 bpm every 5 minutes.  He did awesome.  Once we turned around, it was all glorious downhill running from there.  I really pushed it here, running on the razor thin edge between control and total absence of control.  It was an instant reminder that running downhill can actually be really taxing; you can push beyond just merely allowing gravity to do it's thing and really get a workout from it.  I felt free, and untethered.  A cramp started to form in my abdomen but I just ignored it and kept pushing.  It felt good.  Reaching the TH we all regrouped and closed it out with a nice and easy cool down back to our cars.

That was also a good run.

It's starting to get hot, and the sun is hanging out more these days.  It feels great to get a little more natural vitamin D, to hit the trails with some regularity, and to have two weeks off before my first clinical internship begins!

And, oh, the wildflowers!!

Paige, out.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Dunmores Are At It Again!

Yep, we're biking for MS again this year!  One ride wasn't enough, so Geof and I are headed back up to Northern Utah on June 28-29 for another little 100-mile ride around the stunningly beautiful Cache Valley, doing our part to raise money for multiple sclerosis research.

This all means I have a goal!  I'm upping the ante to $600.  Fundraising has always made me squeamish (asking for money, yikes!), but I figure I may as well raise the bar for myself this year :)

So, if you feel so inclined, I would be awesomely thankful for any and all donations.  No donation is too small, and everything is appreciated.  A link to my fundraising page is below, and I've even added pictures this year, woohoo!

Sponsor me HERE

Donating to Bike MS is the equivalent of telling MS to "kiss it"!

Thankyouthankyouthankyou, and for all those who can't say it themselves, THANK YOU!

Paige, out.

Friday, April 11, 2014


Cobwebs.  They are everywhere.  Quiet corners, between the rafters in the basement, the spokes of my bike, my legs, this blog, my brain :)

It's time for some spring cleaning, and the cobwebs are the first to go.

To start, I reintroduced 'speed' into my running diet this past Wednesday.  Bethany invited me to join her and some ladies for a first installment of group trail speed work.  My heart responded before my brain could catch up, and I said yes :)  I'm really glad I did.  While I was operating far beyond my current scope of practice, it felt good to get my tush handed to me, repeatedly, and fantastically.

We were meeting up east of the U, on the Bonneville Shoreline Trail early evening, and in a moment of pure thoughtlessness I decided I would run the two miles there as a warm-up.

I forgot to factor in the fact that it's two miles of all uphill.  Every step, uphill.  And it was at the end of a long day.  'Oh well, it will be a nice downhill cool down on the way back home.'  At least the weather was perfect (in the 70s) and the sun was casting a nice glow over the mountains.

My legs weren't as lead-y as I feared they might feel, but they definitely had zero spunk in them.  I knew what I was getting into running with B, but I didn't realize I was actually going to be the only slow person in the group.  That was silly of me ;)  I must have forgotten where I was!

I arrived right on time, and last, which would be the theme of the evening.  And I was totally okay with that.  We did an easy 15 minute warm-up north, and then began the butt-kicking.  A progression run was on tap (something I had never even heard of before this) of 3, 5, 7, 5, 3 minutes, with half-time recovery between each set.  It was to be entirely self-paced, and we would regroup on the recoveries.  We were to aim for 1/2 marathon race pace.

Inside I died a little, but in a good way.  I had bitten off far more than I could chew, but I was absolutely tickled to be participating.  It was exactly what I needed.

I was immediately dropped like a bad habit, and at first I felt awkward, but then I thought, 'Whatever, who cares.  This is all I have today.'  I just hoped the others wouldn't be annoyed by my lackluster performance.  We kept to the lower trails and ran loops, easing our way south before heading north again.  Hills, rocks, amazing views.  I can honestly say I have never done speed work on a trail before. And, I can honestly say I haven't done speed work since October, 2013.  AND, I can honestly count on my two hands the number of times I have done speed work in my entire life.  Out of my element?  You could say that.

But you can't grow as a runner if you don't step outside of your comfort zone and get a little uncomfortable every now and again.  I could have received Olympic gold for the record-breaking long jump I did outside of my comfort zone.

This was also only the second time I've been on the trail since our race at Rio Del Lago 100 back in early November.  I know, it's terrible.  My name is Paige, and I have been a road runner all winter long (*Hi Paige*).  Then I had a respiratory ailment earlier this year, then I have school that takes up all my time, blah, blah, blah.

So I had a lot going against me.  A lot of excuses I fought to not share, to at least relieve myself of some of the guilt I had over my performance.

Everyone was awesome.  On the recoveries, they would turn back to meet with me, and then we would stick together until the next push.  That made me feel good, and they were all great sports.  So, thank you for that :)  I started to feel the push by the seven minute interval and I got all goose-bumpy and flushed feeling (which has always been the cue for me to ease back), so I did and that worked marvelously.  It just meant I was even slower now.  But, nothing like a fainting runner to really bring the mood down, and there was no way I was going to do that to myself.  I had to keep reminding myself that I was just getting back into it.  To not get down on myself.

We wrapped it up after a nice and easy cool down back to where we started and we headed in different directions.  I took it really easy getting back home, and by the time I got to the front door, I felt amazing.  My legs were completely spent, I had almost 10 miles under my belt (which, by the way, is a "long run" right now!), and I was ravenous.  That's a good feeling.  I missed that feeling :)

Hopefully, this will be a weekly thing.  It is exactly what I need.  Feels good to punish the legs again, and to do something that completely overrides anything school-related.  I was working hard enough that there wasn't a single thought of school in that hour.  It was almost a little meditative.

Cobwebs are feisty, but if you keep at it you can keep them away.  Lots more work to do, and I like it.

Paige, out.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Looking Back, But Mostly Looking Ahead

This time last year, I was closing things out with 2,140.6 running miles and 403 hours.  This year, I didn't have a particular goal in mind, other than shooting for averaging 200 miles per month for as long as I could.  I somehow managed to do that for 9 months this year.  Booya.

Soooooo, the final numbers are…2,227.8 running miles and 403 hours, highest yearly mileage to date.  Same amount of time, but 82.5 miles more?  Hmmmm, definitely did not think I ran faster this year, but I suppose I did after all :)

I like to keep track of these numbers here so that I can look back and remember that I wasn't as lazy as I managed to feel.  We barely raced this year (relatively speaking), but I stayed very focused on maintaining fitness and getting out to run most days, especially once school started up.  I'll pat myself on the back for that.

Looking ahead to this coming year…I can't believe tomorrow is a new year…I am changing my running focus.

I'm laying down the gauntlet.

Rather than focusing on distance I am going to focus on speed.  With school taking up as much time as it does, and then clinical rotations beginning late spring, I'm not going to dedicate the kind of time I'd like to dedicate to training for long distance.  BUT, I can certainly handle short distance and speed work.  I'm setting my sights on the half marathon distance.  The prospect of training for a short race has me positively giddy!  I've only ever run one half marathon race, back in 2008 (right before running my first 50k), arriving at the finish line in around 2:01.  Then I PR'd the distance in 1:46 while running my PR marathon (3:39) back in 2011.

I can do better than that.  And I will.

I'm setting my sights on a 1:35 half marathon.  I have written down a list of possible races, and once I decide on one I will post it here for accountability.  That's the only way my goals become reality.  Accountability.

While discussing it with Geof during dinner last night, he threw down.  "You can run faster than that; shoot for 1:30!"  I think I originally proposed 1:40, which would, in retrospect, be a garbage and easily attainable goal (too easy).  I bargained, and we agreed on 1:35.  It's just enough outside of my comfort zone without being anxiety-inducing :)  It'll hurt just enough to let me know I'm doing something, but not so much that I hate it.

Always set goals just a teensy bit outside your capabilities; those are the goals that make you work and push you to new limits.

I love this!!  I've been feeling pretty meh about running lately and I came up with this idea during yesterday's run.  I'm a person who needs a focus, a goal.  I know this about myself.  If I let myself go too long without a focus I begin to drift and then it's really hard to get back on track.  So the powers that be threw me a lifeline and offered up this idea.  I began doing fartleks halfway through my short run yesterday, feeling the drive and excitement creeping in as my idea grew upon itself.

I love goals!

In an effort not to overwhelm myself, that is the only solid racing goal I will be setting at this point.  I figure it's good enough for now.  We have other plans that will hopefully fill the year up... :)

Ahhhhh, that feels good to write (i.e. type) down.  Now I just need to formulate a training plan…

I hope you all have a fabulous last day of 2013, and all the best to you in 2014!

Happy New Year!

Paige, out.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The Genius Of It All

I actually hesitated before posting this for the first time in my five years of blogging.  That's how I know I needed to post this.

Years are funny things.  They happen no matter what you do (e.g. I've been blogging for five years??  When did that happen?!).  Time moves by you sometimes in an instant, and other times it crawls at a crippling pace.  Sometimes we can move in stride with our time and other times we feel as though we have stumbled, tumbled, fumbled and fought to just brush our fingertips against it.

This last year has been about a lot of things, but the first half was mostly about getting into my program.  And the second half was mostly about staying afloat.  When this first semester ended I could literally and figuratively take a step back and examine the new ground gained in the battle, in addition to the wreckage left behind.  Sorry, that was a little dramatic :)  In the last year I have transformed into a new version of myself.  The vigor and hard work that I put into my running the last few years has been transplanted into my education.  My running is but a whisper of its former self, but I feel that I am better for it.  This blog is but a whisper of its former self as well :)  And for that, I apologize.  It weighs on me, but I know that this is a temporary lifestyle.  One year left and then I will begin the transformation into the next phase…re-entering the working world, and being the person I've wanted so badly to be.  It's going to fly by.  

Looking back on the last year, it has been rather exciting and profoundly satisfying in an extremely appropriate way.  Appropriate because it is exactly what I was hoping for and working towards.  While we didn't get out and race as much as we would have liked, the races we did run went very well and we enjoyed each experience.  Speedgoat 50k was hands down my most favorite of the lot because I was able to parlay hard work into a satisfying outcome, and I hope to head back there again in 2014.  Antelope Island will hopefully be in the cards again, as well as BoSho trail marathon and perhaps a few other shorter races.  I'll be scaling back considerably on the expectations for racing in 2014.  Once clinical rotations begin, I will be at the whim of that schedule and won't be able to manage much outside of that.  And that is okay with me.  It's just another 12 months.  I can do anything for 12 months :)  Plus, the end-goal achievement far outweighs the small sacrifices along the way (i.e. racing, bits of sanity, a proper diet, sleeping in, a restrictive budget) and I look forward to that day next December.  However, there is a whole lot of living to be had before then.

This post is going to take a slightly different route than initially intended.  I thought it was going to be about the last year and hopes for next year.  Sometimes free-form writing just does that…has a life of its own.  It has to do with disappointment, success, and perceived failure.

I think that I probably am viewed in a slightly inaccurate light by those that don't know me well.  I have a pretty good idea how others see me and I just want to take this opportunity to let you in on a secret: I have had many a failure and many a disappointment in my life, in addition to the successes.  

I was rejected by not one but two PTA programs before landing a spot in the program of my dreams.  Those were blessings in disguise.  Good luck telling me that back then, though.  I felt crushed and like a total schmuck.  I was downright embarrassed.  Am I not good enough? what did I do wrong? what could I have done differently? whywhywhy??  If I had gotten into either of those programs I would have been just fine, life would have worked out fine.  But then I wouldn't be where I am and who I am today.  It took another year and a half before I would finally land squarely on my feet (or my bum, as it were), sitting at our desk in the second bedroom of our new home in our new city, clicking on an e-mail typed in the most beautiful font I'd ever seen: the font of acceptance.  I felt redeemed, astonishingly grateful, emotional, and completely at a loss of words.  I squealed like a child, in an unearthly pitch that I didn't know I was capable of.  I did it!  It was a difficult process, but my hard work paid off, finally.  Five years of hard work to get to that moment, opening that type-written letter.  I'm seriously considering framing the official hard-copy letter I received a day later.  It was such a hard battle, and so seriously rewarding.

I was told by my 9th grade honors English teacher, in front of the entire class, that I was a 'bad writer' (her words, not mine), that my only saving grace was that I could come up with "really killer titles", and that was it.  I was a painfully shy kid.  That could have crushed me.  And it sort of did.  That comment followed me all the way into college when I finally had an instructor who convinced me I had a knack for the written word.  It was my middle eastern politics professor…she wanted to frame a paper I had written on Bosnia.  I took that as a compliment.  But that 9th grade teacher let something out of me that I didn't know was in me.  I was on a mission to prove her wrong, and while she will never know she was wrong, I know she was wrong and I'm better for it.  If only math instructors could have done the same thing for my lacking in the numbers world ;)  

I was once a radio DJ.  Did you know that?  I was, for five years.  Two and a half in Central Illinois, and another two and a half in Eastern North Carolina.  I was navigating the choppy and unsure waters of media fairly well and had my own midday show on a hard rock station, in addition to a gazillion other job titles within the radio group of six stations.  

I had never actually hyperventilated before.

One early spring day, when I was told that I was losing my time slot to an unsavory duo threatening to leave if they didn't get what they wanted, and that I would be pushed to nights, I accepted the news as diplomatically as I could muster.  I'm talking the whole nine yards: smiling, good posture, head-nodding, lots of "I understand"s and "thank you"s, blah blah blah.  I'm talking Oscar-worthy performance.  I then walked calmly outside and around to the back of the building which butted up against a grove of tall evergreens and a busy road.  I steadied myself with both hands against the concrete wall, and then I unraveled.  I was hyperventilating.  I didn't know that that was what was happening at first; it was slightly terrifying.  I crouched down, hands on knees, and I sobbed between gasps of air.  Holy s***, what just happened?  I felt like a complete failure, and a complete idiot.  Thankfully, I was alone out there and was able to feel the full force of the emotions rolling in like waves rather than trying to muffle them.  Maybe 10 minutes passed and then I gathered myself, went back inside and finished recording the commercials I was voicing for production.  Two weeks later I received a phone call in the on-air booth that completely changed the course of my life, and I suddenly knew the reason for things.  Everything happens for a reason, it just takes some time for the reasons to shake out and present themselves to you. But always trust that things happen for a reason and that everything will work out.

Four weeks later, I was packing up a moving truck with my mom, preparing to make the 21-hour drive to Chicago to begin my new job at a radio station I had interned at during college.  While creating a new position in the station, the General Manager remembered me and my work during my intern days and somehow managed to find me way out in NC.  I was offered the job and the rest is history.  

Obviously, I am not in radio anymore, and that's a whole 'nother story of disappointment followed by another phoenix-rising-out-of-ashes type thing.  Like I said, things always manage to work out.  Life is definitely like a choose-your-own-adventure book.  When you get to the bottom of a page, or end of a section, you are directed to choose between two options, each sending you off in different, unexpected directions.  If you were to trace the course of my life, for example, it would in no way represent a straight line.  It would look more like a tree, with a definitive beginning (the trunk) topped by layer upon layer of branches branching into new branches into new branches into new branches, going in all directions.

There are plenty of examples I could continue on with here, but I think you get the point.  I think I put off the vibe of being charmed or 'lucky', when in reality we are all one in the same.  I've worked my butt off to get to where I'm at; few things have ever just landed in my lap.  I've put in the time and the sweat and some things have paid off.  Sometimes things didn't pay off as I had hoped, but ultimately even those 'failures' have helped to pave the way.  I am who I am because of where I have been.  I regret not a single experience I have had because every experience I have had has gotten me to where I am now.

"Sometimes good things fall apart so that better things can fall together." ~Marilyn Monroe

The PTA program I am in is the hardest thing I have ever done.  A lot of the last four months is  a blur as a result of the tunnel vision I had to have in order to do well.  I've honestly never worked so hard in my life.  I'm guessing I made it look easy judging by comments from peers, but trust me, it has been anything but.  Not everyone fared so well and as a result we will be short a few of my classmates next semester.  I do not know if they read this, but I want them to know that while it feels like crap and really, really sucks, everything happens for a reason.  Just give it a little time and the reason will become apparent.  Then pick yourself up and do the thing you know that needs to be done, whatever that may be.  

"Sometimes life is going to hit you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith." ~Steve Jobs

I know that if you truly feel you are on the path you want to be on then you will find a way to make it work.  And one day you'll look up and realize that it's been working all along.

Disappointment comes in all forms and creeps in at generally unexpected times.  The key is to not lose faith that things will work out.  Allow yourself to feel the weight of it, but then refocus and decide what needs to happen next.  It's the sucky times that allow us to fully appreciate the unbelievably awesome times.  Generally, we get out of life exactly what we put in.  Do good, do right, pick your path and eventually it will come to fruition.

Not everything works out exactly as you hoped it would, but that is the genius of it all.

We can't know exactly what to expect every time.  What fun is that?  So be open to the possibilities and be ready to run with it.  We can't possibly plan for everything, nor can we expect that everything will fall into place just as we had imagined it.  Not every trail is marked perfectly, in fact many are not marked at all.  It is in these times that you must trust your gut and take the path that feels most right.  Even if it means going off trail a bit, you will eventually find your way.

"You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life." ~Steve Jobs

So I think that that is enough reflection for a Christmas Eve day.  We had a really good run this morning and I'm hungry.  I made some wicked delish peppermint bark and I think I need to go make some of it disappear! :)

Paige, out.

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