The dictionary would define Legacy as a gift or a bequest, that is handed down, endowed or conveyed from one person to another. It is something descendible one comes into possession of that is transmitted, inherited or received from a predecessor.

I’ve been thinking a lot about legacies recently. We called in hospice for my father today. He could have months or years – no one knows. We can’t control God or time – only how we react to both. I’m on a personal journey to get to know God better and to use my time and talents in ways that develops me and adds value to others.

As my friend Kevin said in Little Rock, “Use your powers for good…”

I’m on a cross country legacy tour – attending five West Point Founders Day dinners from California to DC over the next few weeks. I’m doing it for 3 reasons:

  1. I spent my first 18 years at the Academy and I love the chance to connect with grads and their families. For them, I represent an innocent time in their lives – before divorce and success and failure and age chipped away at the tarnish on their shiny brass rings. Maybe I can encourage them – just once – and remind them that God is still good, that the ideals of their youth are still worthy, that all things dull can be made new again.
  2. “Old Home Week” nourishes my spirit.
  3. My father’s legacy is West Point Fellowship of Christian Athletes and his foundation, C4 (Chaplain Camp Christian Charities). Our mission is to “build spiritual muscle in cadet athletes at West Point.”  How do we do that? By resourcing and advising WP FCA.

My mission is to reach grads and remind them – to remind YOU – of what you know is true: Trust+God=Hope

hope.png

Founders Day #1 – Little Rock, Arkansas. My host, the Society President, is a grad I’ve gotten to know well over the years. Kevin Kullander, USMA 82, West Point FCA alumn – grandson of one of the most influential people in Little Rock – maybe all of Arkansas – and the most fantastic tour guide. I was treated to his home turf through his eyes and it was a joy to know him in such a personal way.

Legacy Trip Tip #1:

View things through another person’s lens. 

Matthew Kelly in “The Seven Levels of Intimacy” says,

“Intimacy is not always about seeing new things. Sometimes it is about seeing what has always been before you, but in a different light or from a new perspective.”

Take time to know people from a new perspective.

At the dinner, I met so many delightful grads and their spouses – lovely people who I hope to know for years to come.

Traveling with the host meant I was able to peak at the guest list and immediately had a star struck moment. General George Crocker. 

Let’s back up. I’ve worked in politics for years. I’ve known famous men and women from West Hollywood to the White House. I can handle the brush with fame. There are a class of people that leave me breathless – the men of ’66 from The Long Grey Line. General Crocker has an impressive resume: two tours in Vietnam, Silver Star, Commander of the 82nd Airborne Division, retired General.

I didn’t ask for his autograph. Instead, I moved around the table cards so I could sit next to him.

I regret nothing. 

AirBrush_20190313082624

I had a marvelous evening, led the guests in the Cadet Prayer and even led the singing of the Alma Mater with my new friend Devin Shirley ’96. I was humbled and grateful for the experience.

devin shirley

Legacy Trip Tip #2:

Find the heroes among us. Celebrate them. Learn from them. Be like them.

My next trip was to Orange County, California where the weather and the people are ridiculously beautiful. I was met by one of my best friends Lindsay. Spouse of a Navy Submarine Commander, cancer survivor, runner, encourager. We ran together in DC with Camille Grammer a few years ago. Go big.

Founders Day OC was a unique experience. It was the first time I’ve ever seen flip flops with a bow tie. With the ocean breeze in my hair, my sister-in-law and date Barbara on my arm, we mixed and mingled with the eclectic crowd that makes So Cal so great.

20190316_182751

Our hosts were General and Mrs. Knapp ’87 who I had known in the latter years at West Point. They were gracious hosts and kindred spirits.

Last February, my dear friend and LA native James Chun (’95) passed away. He was 45 years old. Last summer I was privileged to speak at his memorial service at the Academy. My fellow participant, Josh Hatfield, was a classmate of James. We had lunch together with his beautiful wife – a special opportunity to build upon a relationship built on shared experience (even if it was a tragedy). At that same memorial service I met James’s sister in law who tackled brutal LA traffic to spend a few hours with us. We have an unusual connection – Pastors’ kids, mothers, caretakers, warriors of Hope. James left us these relationships to nurture. What a legacy!

Legacy Trip Tip #3:

Invest in people. Don’t hold back. You never know when the investment will pay dividends of hope in your life and in theirs. 

Erma Bombeck, my favorite comedic author, likens friendships to gardening. She says,

“Friends are “annuals” that need seasonal nurturing to bear blossoms. Family is a “perennial” that comes up year after year, enduring the droughts of absence and neglect. There’s a place in the garden for both.”

I’m on a mission to plant seeds of spiritual muscle in grads, family and friends around the world. What is spiritual muscle?

They are the muscles you need when times get tough – when you have to make hard decisions from the football field to the battlefield.

They are the muscles that get honed and cut through moral, ethical and spiritual development.

They are formed through fellowship, conversation, prayer, reflection and wrestling with the deep questions of life – who is God and what does He want from me? What does a relationship with the Creator look like? Where does my Hope come from? My Hope comes from the Lord, maker of Heaven and Earth. 

Two down, three more to go. I’m humbled to be able to connect and encourage so many graduates through these experiences. I’m thankful to have the shared history that brings us to the table together.

I’ll be honest – there are days when I’m a HOT MESS.

hot mess.jpg

Why me? Send someone else! My Visa is sweating bullets and my fake eyelashes expired a week ago. I’ve got one travel perfume left that TSA hasn’t discovered and they’ll have to pry that Tom Ford sample from my cold, dead hands. I’ve learned how to pack spanx, heels and a strapless bra into a suitcase fit for a Muppet. I’ve run through rain and puddles chugging sugar free red bull shouting vulgarity not fit for a pastors kid as I chase down a hotel shuttle driver at 11pm on a Thursday. I’ve had to make the horrific decision between lunch and the zipper on my cocktail dress.

These trips both excite and drain me. I wonder if I’m really the best messenger or if I just have the most dress options. But I’m convicted. I’m called to share my story, my journey, my struggles – even though I’m still trying to figure it all out myself. God isn’t finished with me yet – and He’s not finished with you. We’re in this together. The race has started. Step up to the line with me. Let’s run together. You can learn more about our foundation’s work building spiritual muscle in cadet athletes here. You can support West Point FCA directly by donating to Chaplain Camp Christian Charities here. We are a 12 man board led by 11 West Point graduates and me – your person, in-house rabble rouser. Beat Navy!

“You’ve all been to the stadium to see the athletes race. Everyone runs; one wins. Run to win. They’re after a gold medal that tarnishes and fades. You’re after a prize that’s eternal.” 1 Corinthians 9:24

www.ChaplainCamp.org. 

run ox

AirBrush_20190317203317

Run to win!

Advertisements

Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. … To love is to be vulnerable.” CS Lewis from The Four Loves

In the month of January, the number one questions is “what is your resolution?” or “what are you goals for the New Year?”

I’m a huge fan of resolutions. I make my weekly fitness goals every Monday. (Is this a hot yoga week? A crossfit week? A Fitness Blender on Youtube week? A plank challenge week? Beer pong? I like routine but I don’t like to be bored.)

This year is bringing a lot of changes but some things remain the same. I’m back in the USA! GOD BLESS TARGET! My first day home I just sat in the middle of aisle 5 taking in the best of American disposable goods and our desire to over consume. Next up – Costco. (I’m going to buy 4,000 rolls of toilet paper and 12 gallons of boxed wine JUST BECAUSE I CAN.)

In keeping with resolutions, I’m also resuming my running the USA. I had a mission a few years back to run every state but I was sidetracked in Europe – an experience with extreme highs and lows. God definitely was pruning me and I’ve learned that God is there in the wilderness even when you don’t feel Him. (If YOU are in the wilderness right now, you’re not alone.) I’ve run about half the states so I’ve got a lot yet to do. Stay tuned Texas, Oklahoma and Tennessee – you’re in the queue!

Saturday I ran my first race in the warm Florida sun. It was my first time running in sand in a year and by mile 2 my calves were burning.

airbrush_20190112085751

My goal for this year, besides running races in as many states as possible, is to over-love. In the “wilderness” this past year, I’ve realized how much fear I have developed around really loving whole-heartedly. I put these walls up to protect my heart. I have some good friends but I don’t have many intimate, kindred spirits because that requires loving without fear – loving without holding back. I’ve loved and lost some real loves and that’s also because of fear – fear of being hurt. All that fear – it just gets in the way. We’re made to love, even when it hurts. That’s scary!

Then there’s self-love. Every single person reading this needs to work on self love – loving yourself as you are right now, not 20 lbs ago or 20 years ago but right now with all the wrinkles and dimples and heart scars. Imagine what life would look like if we loved ourselves without fear? If we accepted ourselves just as we are? Can you look in the mirror right now and say, “YOU ARE A BEAUTIFUL BEAST! You are my best friend, my perfect partner, the love of my life. You are perfect right now in this moment. I see your flaws and I love you because of them!”  Can you say that right now and mean it?

screenshot_2018-12-31-22-53-49-1

For those who follow my antics on social media, you know I am a model. (KathyCamp1)

There are few people in this world more insecure than models.

850_3604

I’ve been stuck in this loop of reinforcing negative thoughts about my body while trying to put forth perfection in photos.  It makes me feel like a fraud. Sound familiar? What negative loops are you stuck in? How can you get out of the loop and get back on the path in front of you?

Here are three things I have done to get out of the loop:

  1. Seek wise council. Maybe that’s a licensed therapist. Perhaps a pastor or a respected confidant. Whoever it is, know you don’t know it all. Find people who do.
  2. Give it up to God. I don’t know where you are in your faith journey but here’s what I know to be true: We were fearfully and wonderfully made by a Creator who wants a relationship with us every single day. Give it to God and let it go. 
  3. Make friends with fear.  You know that cranky old neighbor that no one likes? Sometimes when you acknowledge them, you realize they’re not that bad – you can handle them. Make friends with your fear. Acknowledge it. Talk to it. Name it. Whatever you need to do. Don’t ignore it or that ugly neighbor becomes a monster that keeps you from taking out the garbage in the daylight for fear of confrontation. Step up to your fears and watch them back down.

Examples:

You say, I have a modeling/PR/job interview tomorrow.

Fear says, “You can’t do it. You’re not thin enough/young enough/smart enough. You’re not qualified for that job. They’ll see right through you.

You say, “Oh Hey There Fear! – I see you Fear Fred you big fat shit head. I’m actually all over this thing and I don’t need you to join me tomorrow. I’ve got this.”

Or

You say, I love this person.

Fear says, “Yeah, he’s going to break you heart. He’s going to leave you – everyone leaves. Guard yourself. Put up walls – bigger walls – BIGGER WALLS – now RUN”

You say, “Isn’t there a fat cherub with a bow and arrow somewhere that you can mess with? I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I am worthy of loving and of being loved. I have been given a heart with an extraordinarily large capacity to love, forgive, accept and nurture. See yourself out.”

Make friends with Fear. Then get on with your life.

Go big. Lukewarm is no good.

screenshot_2018-11-29-00-17-07-1

This year, I’m going to love myself without fear.

This year I’m going to love others without fear.

This year I’m going to love hard, completely, relentlessly, fearlessly!

“If you want to tap into what life has to offer, let love be your primary mode of being, not fear. Fear closes us down and makes us retreat. It locks doors and limits opportunities. Love is about opening to possibilities. Seeing the world with new eyes. It widens our heart and mind. Fear incarcerates but love liberates.”  ~ John Mark Green

austria

My favorite bible verse is 1 Corinthians 9:24. The next verse, 26-27 says this:

I don’t know about you, but I’m running hard for the finish line. I’m giving it everything I’ve got. No sloppy living for me! I’m staying alert and in top condition. I’m not going to get caught napping, telling everyone else all about it and then missing out myself.”

And Run to Win.

 

 

.

At least once per day I receive a note or text that says,

“Your life is SO Glamorous!”

I just landed in Paris. It is the most glamorous city.

km paris home

I signed a new modeling contract – I can leave at any time and they can kick me to the curb if I decide to eat all the hazelnut chocolate filled croissants in Paris. And I might.

(insert desperate plea for you to hire me for your next marketing or ad campaign here. I’m not getting any younger…)

So today we’re going to discuss my Oh So Glamorous Life.

My flight to France was 7 hours so the first thing I did was take a hefty dose of melatonin so I could sleep. (It might have been NyQuil but whatever.) Then I saw they had some really good movies that I haven’t seen and 6.5 hours later I was exhausted and drugged  but my adrenaline was pumping faster than a turbine because I had just watched every single new release in the “action/adventure” section. My legs were stiff from inactivity, I didn’t have a drop of makeup/moisturizer/illuminating glow on my face, my hair was in a bun (or was before the seat compressed it into a rat’s nest) and my deodorant expired an hour ago.

Truth is, there are days and times when my life IS quite amazing. I’m in Europe for crap sake. That’s pretty glamorous. I get fawned over for hours with hair and makeup. I get to wear beautiful clothes and carry Gucci and Prada accessories that I DIDN’T HAVE TO PAY FOR. I get to meet incredibly talented photographers from all over the world that inspire me with their art and talent. I have worked with some magnificently beautiful human beings. I’ve met up-and-coming designers who design clothes that, one day,  you might wear. I have a portfolio of lovely photos that I’ll have forever. (You can follow my musings on Instagram @KathyCamp1.)

HOWEVER, IN BETWEEN, my life can SUCK ASS. Let me break it down for you.

1. I still have to interview for jobs. Yes, everyone knows what I look like. But you still have to go on “calls” and see if the designer or rep likes the way you look for their clothes or their campaign. It’s a competition against incredibly beautiful people. I face rejection daily. Yes, daily.

2. I am 5’10”. I have to maintain a size 0-2 with measurements of 34-24-34. At 40 years old, that’s defying most laws of gravity.  I work out a LOT. (This is an exercise and edification blog after all.) I spend a solid hour every morning thinking about what I need to do – cardio, lifting, yoga, Pilates or a combo of them – and then where in my day it’s going to fit in. Currently I’m in a dress with a sports bra on because I know the second I get home from a meeting, I need to do a 40 minute HIIT workout (Fitness Blender on YouTube is my go-to) and then get a quick jog in before the rain comes. Because oh yeah I’m in Europe and today it’s sunny but tomorrow it may snow because God is punishing me for something I did in the 8th grade.

km work out

3. When I’m not working out or thinking about working out or planning to work out or stressing about working out, I’m thinking about eating. I think about food 400x a day. I practice intermittent fasting which is not for the weak. I don’t eat between 8pm and 2pm the following day. Why? Because I’m a masochist and I like pain. No, because there are health benefits to fasting and it means I have a smaller window to eat which naturally limits my calories. I follow the KETO diet. But I don’t really like meat, I’m super sensitive to dairy and I have to watch my nut/seed caloric load so I’m kind of Vegan-esque Keto which is really hard and not really a thing. I eat a lot of cauliflower, spinach, eggs, avocado, coconut oil, olives, nuts and seeds. (Last week I was so stressed out I ate half a jar of sunflower seed butter with a spoon.) Winning.

So when I’m not thinking about exercising, I’m thinking about food. I don’t have it all figured out. And what works for me may not work for you – you have to find what balances out your particular issues and hormones. And we all have issues.

images

I use an app called Cronometer where I track every single thing I eat and drink. You will see supermodels in magazines tell you they eat whatever they want. They preach moderation. It’s just not true. Or it is and by “moderation” they mean they weighed their one sugar-free breath mint for the day.

me celery

Last week I flew to New York. Since you now know I obsess about food, I can’t possibly eat airplane food.

HOW WOULD I TRACK MY MACROS? HOW DO I ENTER “MYSTERY MEAT” IN MY APP? IS THAT SAUCE? IS IT OIL? COCONUT? GRASS FED GHEE? RAPESEED OIL FROM RAPE FIELDS OF EUROPE? WHATS A RAPE FIELD AND WHY CAN’T THEY RENAME THAT BY NOW?

I had two planes and a total 18 hour trip in front of me so the evening before I prepared my food for the day. Since I was going across multiple time zones, I didn’t worry about an eating window and just portioned out enough to eat every few hours. I knew I’d sleep a little but mostly I’d be watching an endless loop of movies since I’m too cheap to have cable. And as you know, screen time leads to snack time so I needed to be prepared.

I measured and prepackaged in clear zip lock baggies 8 individual servings of: cucumber and celery sliced and portioned, pumpkin seeds, pecans and turkey pepperoni. (I know it’s processed but dude – airplane.)

Upon entering the mighty United States Of America, my country of birth, the Stars and Stripes that raised me under the banner of freedom, I passed through security…

and was immediately detained by a United States Department of Agriculture Customs Officer. 

images-1

“Brunhilda”, as we will lovingly refer to her, was not a chipper woman. Standing roughly 5 feet tall in both directions, she had seen better days. Her hair was in a bun so tight her eyelids struggled to blink. She smelled of day old cigarettes and pork rinds. For the record, I love pork rinds. This was more “ode to swine anus” and she lacked a basic understanding of personal boundaries.

My passport was confiscated and put into a clear pouch with a green border.  This is apparently important because the color of your pouch will dictate what level of threat you are or how far up the body cavity they will search. I was assigned multiple tax-paid handlers. One was for my luggage that was pulled off my connecting plane for inspection and another to stay beside me at all times as apparently I looked like some sort of soccer mom flight risk in my yoga pants and knock off pashmina.

I was taken to a secured room where my belongings and my body were carefully inspected as if I might be hiding Russian spy codes between my fallopian tubes. While touching places that haven’t been touched since the doctor pulled me from the womb, “Brunhilda” informed me that I was a new breed of terrorist – the kind that brings foreign agriculture into our beloved homeland. The kind that can spread disease and introduce pests and germs to the New World.

Apparently, I hadn’t finished off the last bag of pre measured and sliced cucumbers. And now said cucumbers and I were the suspects of potential mass agricultural and human genocide.

In the holding cell next to me (ok it was a room but stay with me) was a tiny, elderly hispanic woman who had a half eaten apple from Spain. She was crying and shaking in fear. I gave her a raised hand in compassionate understanding.

Solidarity, Eve. Solidarity.

Two hours and a missed connection to New York, my half eaten zip lock bag of sliced cucumbers were ceremoniously dropped into a garbage can of other food soccer moms and yogis have tried to sneak into the country in the relentless pursuit of health.

Eventually, I made it to New York.

me wp

I haven’t eaten a cucumber since.

Body searches aside, my day-to-day life is not all that glamorous. It’s full of stress and emails and meetings and kettle bells and rejection and fake eye lashes.

How we carry ourselves through the stress, the bouts of self-doubt, fear, anxiety, failure, success, and half-glued eyelashes is what people see.

I had someone call me narcissistic recently. And not in love. (Is that ever said in love?) Here’s the truth – we all need a streak of self love. I get told on a daily basis that I’m too fat, my feet are too big, I’m too old, that I need botox or a thread lift, definitely a breast lift, or this and that. Every Single Day. It can be exhausting but the way I look doesn’t define me. And it shouldn’t define you. We are all fearfully and wonderfully made. No matter where you are in your personal journey – and we’re all on a journey – you have to first know and believe that you were made perfect for a purpose. Perfect just as you are right now – not when you were in college or where you want to be next year – right now in this moment as you read these words you are beautifully made in the image of God. May that be a freedom for you, as it is for me. 

Glamour is appearance, not lifestyle. And inner joy – the kind that radiates from your soul – is more beautiful than any physical thing could ever be.

Hold your head up high. Pull your shoulders back. Let your light shine.

Live your most glamorous life.

Cucumbers optional.

29.06.18_Kathy_Berlin-8.jpg

and Run to Win.

 

.

 

 

paid advertisements below

Today is Global Running Day. I don’t know what that means. Is this another Hallmark card day? Is there an appropriate flower or edible that is assigned to this? Does Nike give out free shoe laces?

For me, every day is Global Running Day. If you’re just tuning in, I’m a New Yorker living part time in Europe running for Parkinson’s Disease which has sidelined my awesome, athletic father. I started running later in life and haven’t stopped. There are three reasons I’ve continued to make running a part of my (almost) daily life.

  1. It keeps me fit. I’m a professional model and that means having to stay slim enough that someone wants to photograph me in their clothes. A good playlist, a pair of sneakers and a supportive sports bra is all the equipment I need. I can run in any city, any country, and part of the world I happen to be in.AirBrush_20180606134946
  2. I run to raise awareness for Parkinson’s disease. My father taught me to run competitively at a young age, although I resisted for 2 decades. He would have me run a lamp post, walk a lamp post or run a mailbox, walk a mailbox. When I’m recovering from an injury or getting back after a break, I still do this to get my stride back. Before Parkinson’s took away his balance, he taught my daughter.img_5008.jpg
  3. Running has balanced my hormones, forced me to eat cleaner for energy, helped my emotional and mental health. It clears my mind. I can forget whatever problems I have. For 20 or 30 minutes nothing else matters. It keeps the dark clouds from taking over.

Someone close to me asked me how I maintain this transatlantic lifestyle without losing myself. It takes a lot of work to stay connected to myself when my personality is to be all things to all people. I feel darkness. No matter where I am, the person I love – the people I love – are somewhere else. Have you felt that intense darkness? Fear and doubt and heartache? Do question if you’re doing enough – if you’re good enough – if it’s all enough? It’s a dark, lonely place to be and I’ve been there. I suspect you’ve been there too.

In the early 1980’s my parents brought home a tall, thin, awkward high school kid from the midwest. He was going to be my family – he didn’t have parents and Aunt Rosa, who raised him, was too old to be involved in his life anymore. So he joined our family.

AirBrush_20180606091719-2

 

He entered the Academy and graduated four years later. He went into the “real” Army and the darkness set in. The clouds were too much for him to take and on the 9th of July 1990 he took his life. He didn’t leave a note. He left a voicemail message. I can still hear it in my head. I was 12 years old.

He left me all his music – he was a prolific composer. I still can’t bring myself to open the box.

AirBrush_20180606140601

There are three things I want you to know:

  1. Some of us are more prone to the “darkness” than others. I don’t know why and it really doesn’t matter. I’ve heard artistic types like actors and designers are the most prone. Maybe. Maybe their deaths just make the evening news. The soldiers death, the one who just couldn’t get the wounds of war out of his head, certainly doesn’t trend on twitter. Be aware of those around you. Maybe your greatest contribution is to come alongside someone else.
  2. We need to identify the darkness when it comes and engage our spiritual muscle. Your prayer life needs to hit an all time high – the kind that brings you to your emotional knees. God made you to be in a relationship with Him and He doesn’t make mistakes.
  3. You need to call on your tribe – the people in your life that regardless of location or time or circumstance will step up every single time. Maybe its a family member or an old roommate or teammate. Maybe it’s someone you served with once or met on an airplane over Topeka, Kansas. Whatever, whoever, find your people. 

Or call me. Message me.

I’ll be your tribe.

IMG_20170123_163527_278

Whatever you do, don’t stop. Brush off the clouds and keep going.

Screenshot_2018-05-09-07-51-06

There doesn’t need to be a special day to exercise. We need to move our bodies every day. There doesn’t need to be a special day to be a friend. We need to connect with people every day. There doesn’t need to be a special day for mental health awareness. We need to keep the dark clouds away every single day. There doesn’t need to be a special day for presenting our best selves before God – we should be bringing our best every day. Our families deserve our best. Our friends and coworkers and children and parents and partners deserve our best. WE deserve our best. So lace up and get out there.

In the meantime, I’m going to keep running.

Around the lamp post, from mail box to mail box, around the block or around the world, wherever you are,

Run to Win.

 

AirBrush_20180606123146

“You’ve all been to the stadium and seen the athletes race. Everyone runs; one wins. Run to win. All good athletes train hard. They do it for a gold medal that tarnishes and fades. You’re after one that’s gold eternally.” 1 Corinthians 9:24-25

 

 

--paid advertisements below--

Having been raised in a military environment, I’ve learned the importance of punctuality. Five minutes early is on time, on time is late, late is unacceptable. With very few exceptions (motherhood being one of them) I’ve kept to that rule. Having modeled for years I understand the complexity of a good winged eyeliner but it’s never worth being late. 

I ran a road race Saturday. It’s been a while – and I needed to get back out there. I run for Parkinson’s Disease – which has sidelined my awesome, athletic father and several other people I know. I run so they know – at least for a moment – they’re not alone. And usually around the half way point of long runs, we’re suffering together.

The race began at 7:30am and it was 3 miles away from my house. I woke up at 6:30 am, made a cup of coffee, got dressed and prepared to head out when my tiny tot woke up super early and despite a house full of visitors to watch her, she needed me. So I snuggled with her until the very last moment. I arrived at the parking lot at 7:20am and It Was PACKED. I had to park in the overflow lot and jog to the start line. I turned the corner and saw maybe a dozen people and another dozen children playing around.

Where was everyone? I went to the packet pick up table to grab my prepaid bib. “I’m here for my race packet for the 5k.”

“Ok! But the 5k started at 7am……”

I was late to the party.

“Good news”, said the peppy volunteer. “We have a 2k fun run at 7:30.”

Deal.

To the dozen or so parents I passed who were trotting along with their kids teaching them about pacing and breathing,

download

Suckers.

The lesson was I was given a second chance to run, despite my being late to the main event.

20180414_081240

This weekend was significant for me for another reason – I was Baptized.

Let me back up. My father is a minister. However, he believed that we should make the choice as adults when we’re able to internalize what it means to make the commitment to follow Jesus. I decided, despite his struggles with mobility, my dad had one last baptism in him and I was going to be it! Even though I was late to the party at 40, now was as good a time as any.

First, I needed to build a village to make it happen. I was inspired by a photo of Marc Kapsalis, (West Point class of ’85). He was a big, strong, tough hockey player from Chicago who was baptized by dad as a cadet and he was coming to visit for the weekend. My daughter is about the same age I was when I first met Cadet Kapsalis and how amazing for her to see it all come full circle.

IMG-20180415-WA0002-1

Next, I asked Chaplain Funk if he and his wife Kathy Ann, (both WP ’80), would make the long drive from the east coast of Florida to help with the ceremony. Rick and Marc are on an advisory board with me and we’ve grown quite close over the past years. (Hence the shirts. Product placement at it’s best.)

We all gathered, with other close friends, around my parents pool and I was fully submerged into the Kingdom of God.

IMG-20180413-WA0006

IMG-20180413-WA0005

 

There are so many times we’ve been late to things. Late to learning life lessons. Late to forgiving people. Late to dealing with the chip on our shoulders. Late to making peace with things. Late to healing past pain. Late to telling people how we feel about them. Late to love. Late to making our health a priority. Late to saying yes to God.

It’s not too late. It’s not too late to start working out. It’s not too late to make good food choices. It’s not too late to find your faith. It’s not too late to forgive, love, learn, grow, change. It’s not! Isn’t that the best thing you’ve heard all day??? IT’S NOT TOO LATE TO BE WHO YOU WERE MEANT TO BE. 

Surround yourself with your people – people who make you better. Find your support system. Plug in to your community. Join a church. A running club. A health club. A spa. Say yes to dinner invitations, to reunions, to old friends, to new possibilities.

and Run to Win.

20180414_105441

 

 

 

 

 

 


Paid advertisements below.

 

I’ve spent a significant amount of time in airports lately.

AirBrush_20170911102040.jpg

I’m now in Europe but I imagine I’ll have to freak out my credit card and head home to check on my Irma-beaten home. For now, I’m refreshing a web cam hourly and drowning my anxieties in wine. In the midst of it all, I ran a race.

Stuttgart, Germany.

3pm on a Saturday.

The main event (I think. I don’t read, speak or understand German) was a 10k that started and ended on a stadium track. There was a 5k for losers-that-couldn’t-do-the-10k that started about ten minutes before. I was in that group.

AirBrush_20170909165329

There were only a few dozen runners, mostly high school aged kids and some very fast adults. My favorite travel companion ran with me. She was yelling err motivating me like a tiny angry drill sergeant but it didn’t matter. I was pacing myself.

Was I? Or was I just being lazy?

anigif_enhanced-25219-1437740609-2

We ran at the back of the pack. I jogged a comfortable pace that allowed me a consistent jog without the need to walk or rest or breathe too hard. I had plenty in the tank and could even sprint around the track at the end. Pacing is important. Knowing your limits, knowing whats ahead of you, saving for the future. Economists will tell you pacing yourself financially is how you prepare for the un for seen future and keep yourself financially fit. But when is pacing detrimental?

At my home church in Sarasota, Florida (whats left of it after Irma) our pastor has been doing a sermon series on prayer. He talked about exercising your prayer life by extending the time you spend in prayer, increase the velocity and intention of the prayer. In other words,

don’t pace your spiritual life.

Amp it up. Don’t say, “God bless them”. Say, “God fill them with your Joy!” Don’t say, “God do something about my shitty co worker.” Instead, say, “God turn my heart to show them your Grace!” If you’re conservative, pray for Democrats. If you’re liberal, pray for the Congress. We all should be praying for our President – there’s a lot at stake. It’s not easy. It’s time consuming. It’s humbling to pray for people we don’t like. It’s uncomfortable to work those seldom used muscles. It’s exercising spiritual muscle.

Jillian Michaels, in a yoga dvd I do when i’m being lazy err pacing myself, she says, “Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.” You win, big J. You win.

At this week’s race, we jogged the first mile with a nice German lady who was keeping our pace. Then, around the half way mark, she excelled. She picked up the pace and continued accelerating with each kilometer and finished quite near the front. I don’t know if she was able to sprint around the track but I know she ran to win.

My friend Amy was so frustrated with my “pacing” she almost left me for the biergarten. Seriously. The race had a biergarten.

20170909_142758.jpg

She stayed with me, encouraging me and shouting random German phrases in her thick Texas accent. She ran to win.

“Runners train, they don’t practice.  Your workouts are designed to work different phases. Often this means running at controlled levels to maximize the time spent working in those zones. By going all out you don’t spend much time in that zone in the beginning and then cannot go fast enough to get in the zone at the end. However pushing your limits is where your gain your speed and strength. You need to incorporate sprints and high levels of anaerobic workouts to exhaust your muscles, break them down and build them back up. Run the correct paces.” – random Reddit dude. He runs to win.

We need to be picking up the pace – doing our wind sprints so when we need the extra oomphf to pass the pack, our bodies respond. Likewise, we need to keep doing our spiritual sprints so when we need to spring to action – like rebuilding whats left of a hurricane ravaged home – we’ve got enough strength to climb that mountain.

My spiritual muscles are exhausted from praying this week.

Next time, let’s go all out on a run. And then vomit. It’ll be great!

AirBrush_20170909164730

Run to win!

AirBrush_20170909164446

 

Sarasota, Florida.

8am on a Saturday.

I CAN’T STOP SWEATING. The only thing worse than Florida at the cusp of May is running a road race in Florida in May. However, I needed to get my butt in gear and get back to racing. April is National Parkinson’s Awareness Month. In our family, every day is National Parkinson’s Awareness Month. I run for Parkinson’s, for my super athletic father who has been sidelined with it and for people struggling who need to feel lifted up.

But I wasn’t feeling it this morning. It was hot. So hot. 90 degrees in the shade hot. Running in a sports bra hot. Pouring pit stop water on your head hot. (Or artificially colored orange Gatorade if you didn’t bother to check the contents of said cup.)  I’ve been injury free thus far but this morning my sciatic nerve decided to punish me for every sin all the way back to the sticker I stole from my friend when I was 7 years old.

On the early morning drive, I decided I would phone it in today. I don’t need to run fast. I don’t have anything to prove. It’s a big race at a big state park so I’ll hide myself towards the back of the pack and jog it in. Upon arriving, I questioned if I had found the correct park. There were 12 people there. I CAN’T HIDE BEHIND TWELVE PEOPLE!

start line.jpg

More eventually came, but I quickly realized there’s no place to hide in this race.

5k race crowd.png

It’s OK to hit cruise control from time to time. It’s OK to hang in someone’s draft for a bit. But we can’t stay there. Character is formed and honed in the struggle to keep up with and pass the pack. The race was about to start. I had to decide to either be a leader or a follower.

Is it possible to be both? Can you lead from behind?

At West Point in the early 1990s, there was a cadet named Chris. Stellar athlete. In fact, he was the #1 athlete in his class. A few months before graduation of his senior year he had to take his last physical fitness test. Unlike the rest of us mere mortals, Chris didn’t have to worry about the run portion of the test. He could cruise through without any effort and not only pass but win the event. The cadets lined up for their run and the instructor said, “Go!” About half way through the race, with more than a comfortable lead, Chris noticed a classmate struggling. Perhaps he was unwell. Perhaps he was hurt. Perhaps running was just not his premiere event. Instead of finishing his race as the leader, Chris fell back. He stayed side by side, step by step with his struggling classmate for the duration of the run. They both crossed the finish line together. And they both failed.

Chris was able to retake the test and graduate but the event had a profound effect on this young kid. Being a leader doesn’t mean coming in first. It doesn’t mean being the best, the fastest, the strongest, the wealthiest, the most successful. Sometimes, being a leader is about encouraging others. Motivating those around you. Sometimes it’s about coming along side someone and encouraging them to Run to Win.

leadership.png

I needed someone to come along side me today. I got on the 5k trail and CRAP. It’s all SAND! I can’t run on SAND!

lake manatee state park.png

And then insert the Gatorade incident here.

unnamed.png

And whats this? ALLIGATORS? WTF is that?!

alligators.png

JESUS TAKE THE WHEEL!

At my lowest point I saw a lady on the sideline with the now iconic red RWB shirt and her PTSD service dog. In a random 5k in a random city in Southwest Florida. She was the reminder I needed to step it up. Get over myself. Stop feeling sorry because I left my size 6 for an 8, because I’ve eaten too many home made blueberry muffins and washed them down with too much Chardonnay. Stop wishing I hustled my business more, called my friends more, worked harder on my relationships, said “I’m sorry” and “I LOVE YOU” more.

Friday.png

My race time was horrific. But after the race, a woman came up for a high five and said, “Great run – because of you I had my best time ever.”

Be a leader – even if from behind. There’s always someone watching – a child, a neighbor, a partner, a colleague, the lady in the RWB shirt.

unnamed.jpg

You can make a difference from any position in the race. Just don’t give up. Run to win.