A Dog-gone Unique New Year

I love dogs. Dogs are cool. When you come home at the end of a rough day, they are happy to see you. They have an unconditional love built into them. They don’t hold any anger or resentment towards you.

Dogs don’t judge. If you make a bad decision, make a mistake or gain a few pounds, your dog will not care. They will love you no matter what. With people, on the other hand, you never know how they will respond your actions. You can always be assured your dogs will love you. They will never judge you for something you say or do. They will be ready to kiss your face and shower you with affection when you come home. Your dog doesn’t care if you jeans don’t fit and you need another size, or if you made a mistake at work that day.

Dogs live simply and eat simply. Food, water and treats is their diet. What could be easier than that! A basic, simple diet with no preparation. Clean drinking water to quench their thirst. Treats galore for doing something as simple as sitting on command or simply just being so darn cute. They sleep when they want and play when they want. They have no stress. They don’t hold grudges. They are the ultimate non-human companion. (I’ve never had a cat, so I cannot make any assumptions about having a kitty companion).

So why the rant on dogs? Why not a New Year’s Eve post? Ok, here I go! Last year, I bought a dog named Kasey. I went to a pet store with my a friend one night and said, “I’ll take that one.” “That one” happened to be my current year and 1/2 old cockapoo! $1,000.00 later I had a puppy that peed everywhere, tore wallpaper off the walls, ate a wall through to the drywall and loved to destroy my clothes (running shorts, shoes, underwear, the works).

When 12/31/2010 came around last year, I had been going through some life major life changes: getting out of teaching ballroom dancing, breaking up with Pete, living in a new place, rejection from my mother and a whole host of other junk. This was my baggage that I was carrying around with me. I was at a point in my life where I was completely unhappy with where I was at. At the end of 2010, I resolved to make 2011 the best year ever and thought that anything would be better than 2010 was.

So was 2011 the best year ever? No. I wouldn’t say any year has been the best year ever. It was a good year. I moved on from last year’s struggles, grown up a little more, learned a lot, accomplished some pretty cool things (like running a marathon) and even got another dog, Bonnie! Like any year, 2011 had it’s struggles and challenges. I would say that 2011 was a unique year, just like 2010, 2009, 2008, etc. back to 1981 (when I was born)!

Dealing with life’s struggles, no matter what they were, I loved coming home to my dog (now dogs) at the end of the day. I knew they were there and would snuggle with me when I’d had a bad day and would celebrate (with treats, of course) with me when I’d had a good day. Dogs live simply. Dogs don’t judge. If you’re happy then they’re happy and if you’re sad then they are by your side hoping you will feel better. Having that companionship at the end of the day became really important to me. Trust, unconditional love and companionship is something as humans that we all seek.

I can say, going into 2012, it’s going to be a unique year and that my amazing dogs will be right by my side, no matter what I do and what choices I make!

Happy New Year to everyone! Make it the most unique year ever!



Don’t Be Late for a Very Important Date!

Make your life whatever you want it to be, but always let your conscience be your guide.

You can plan and plan and plan but if you stop and think about it life really is just around the river bend.

Always be on time. Never rush. You should never be late, be late for a very important date.

What date you ask? I know (hopefully) you’re thinking Disney right now. Why Disney? Why not Disney! I’m a huge Disney fan. Disney World in Orlando, Florida is a very cool place! So why not explore it with me at the Disney Marathon in January 2013? It’ll be a great way to see some of the parks, lots of Disney princesses and get a Mickey Mouse Medal when you cross the finish line!!

Ok, so if running a marathon is not your thing, I totally get it. You can walk it instead!

Ok, maybe not. If you know me, you know how persuasive I can be especially when I want something! That’s right…I will bug you until you say yes!

So what’s so special about flying all the way to Disney World to run a marathon? How about getting married afterwards?

That’s right! Pete and I are going to Disney in January 2013 and are planning to get married after the marathon (which I haven’t been able to convince Pete to run…but just give me time…I’ve got a year)!

You’re welcome to join us in Disney but make sure you’re not late, not late for our very important date!

Happy New Year’s Everyone!

Adding Fuel to the Fire

When someone tells you that you can’t do something that you want to do and believe in, use the doubt to your advantage to motivate you. You can do anything with hard work, motivation and faith in yourself. Use their doubt to fuel the fire of motivation deep within you.

I believe doing what you want to do in life is important. I’ll never forget being 8 years old and discovering my true passion: dance. I loved it! One day after dance class on the way home I told my mom that I wanted to be a professional dancer when I grew up. She laughed at me and told me that she didn’t think it was something I should do. Guess what? I did it. I’ve always kept that image of her laughing in my head. I used it to motivate me to work harder towards my dream. The dream wasn’t her dream—it was mine. By not letting my mom’s negativity get to me, I was able to transform her negative energy into a positive energy I used to fuel my fire to pursuing my dream of dancing and teaching. Bottom lineL I did what made me happy and I was successful at it. Hard work, dedication and belief in yourself will lead you down the road you wish to travel.

In addition to doing what you want in life, it’s also important to stick by the decisions you make, no matter what they are, and to have no regrets. In the autumn season of 2010 I wound up getting really sick for a few weeks. It forced me to take a month off of dancing. I was working 40 hours a week at my day job and teaching dance part-time about 20 hours a week in the evening. When I was well I discovered I had so much more free time on my hands. I felt relaxed and rested and decided that I didn’t want to teach dance anymore. When I announced my decision to stop teaching I received some negative feedback from two people that I love the most in my life. Ironically one of the people was my mother! The other person was my boyfriend Pete. He told me that he didn’t want to see me stop teaching and he felt that I would truly regret it. I took what he said into consideration and decided that I had made the right decision. I’m glad I stuck with the decision I made. I have more free time now to try new things and develop new skills. I also have time for a social life and have had a blast developing close friendships with people. I love my life! I don’t live my life with regrets. I can’t change the past. I can only believe that the decisions that I’ve made are strong decisions and stand by them no matter what the outcome.

If you do have a bad experience with something, learn from it and let the experience guide you to the next level and you’ll learn something along the way. In January 2011 I had a lot of free time on my hands. Since I love the art of sport and movement, I thought I’d take up running. The longest distance I’d ever run at that time was 3 miles. I had a plan in mind, and it was to train for a half marathon. So I went to Fleet Feet Sports in Schererville, one of the local community running stores, and signed myself up for their half marathon running program. One of the training races that we ran to get us ready for the half marathon was called the Taltree 10 Miler. Race day conditions for Taltree were less than desirable. It was a cold, rainy April morning. Making things worse, I was getting over being sick and hadn’t slept well for several days. I wound up feeling sick on the course and had a miserable run, but I did manage to finish the race. After I crossed the finish line, I went straight to my car and drove my sick butt home. My running and performance that day did not go at all like I planned, but it made me want to do more and get better, so I signed up for the Chicago Marathon. Running isn’t something I consider myself proficient at in the same way I do dancing, but I figured running a marathon would put me up there with the best runners. Did it put me up there with the best? No, it didn’t. I’m still slow and at the back of the pack. However, I learned that I really liked running and that I really liked the challenge that marathoning provided me. As usual, it made me want to do more! It fueled my fire!

No matter what you do in life, live passionately, work hard and use life’s ups and downs to learn from and motivate you. By adding fuel to your fire you will keep on burning strong no matter what path you choose in life. Live strong, be strong and don’t let anyone get you down. Keep on moving!


My Holiday Season

December 26th through December 31st are what I consider to be my holiday season. It’s after Christmas that I start to develop my Christmas glow and to look forward to the new year. I’ve spent quality time with my family and friends. I can reflect back on the year that is about to end and think about how I’d like to improve myself and my life in the year to come.

For me, the holiday season is not about Christmas shopping, getting people stuff and receiving stuff from other people. I’m very appreciative when I do receive a gift. If someone takes time to give something then I believe it is from the heart—I receive it and am truly grateful for it. As far as my gift-giving goes, I prefer to give either the gift of experience or something personal I’ve made or done. One of my favorite gifts to give is going to lunch. I love going to lunch with just one of my friends so we have some extra-special personal time to spend enjoying one another’s company. To me, this is a gift that is reciprocal—it gives and receives. The recipient enjoys a nice meal and my company, and I enjoy a nice meal and the company of my friend. In addition to lunch, I also like to give the gift of homemade food. My boyfriend Pete and I made homemade fruitcakes this year. We started out small making only four to see how they would turn out. They have been a great gift to give because we invested our time into and produced something really yummy for people to enjoy. I saw my grandma on Christmas and gave her the fruitcake we’d made for her. She said to me, “It means a lot that you took time to make this for me. That makes it a special gift.” When giving a gift, I like to give from the heart and I enjoy watching the joy that people experience when they receive the gift.

When I look back on the past year, one of things I look at are my physical accomplishments. I stopped teaching dance at the beginning of 2011 and what I discovered was that I had a lot of free time on my hands. Since I’m a person that likes to stay active, I made a plan at the beginning of 2011 to run a half marathon (13.1 miles). That small plan turned into a bigger plan of running a marathon and raising $1,000 for a select charity. I picked a marathon that I’ve always wanted to run—the Chicago Marathon—and a charity that supports a cause I believe in—Team Paws Chicago. The experiences I had with this changed my life. I wanted to share my life-altering experiences with other people so moving forward I’ve decided to start a blogging about these experiences at Sarathlete: Sara the Athlete. This year my focus main focus is on triathlon! The thing I love about sports is the people you meet along the journey to preparing for the chosen sport and how they impact, change and affect your life. I will be sharing these physical, mental and emotional journeys on Sarathlete. So please stay tuned!

Enjoy this wonderful week between Christmas and New Year’s. Be thankful for the past year and how it has changed your life and look forward for new changes to come. Life is a journey. Be thankful for every day and look forward to the next! Happy Holidays to you and your family and friends!