Sunday, January 20, 2013


Sometime around the end of last spring, I started hearing people toss around that mnemonic device, YOLO. If you aren’t aware, it stands for You Only Live Once. My initial interpretation of this acronym, coined by a rapper named Drake, was that it was encouraging people to live for the moment. Living for the moment obviously implies that the consequences of tomorrow really don’t matter. Live how you want, perhaps live recklessly—get covered in stupid tattoos, sleep with whomever, drink until the sun comes up--because YOLO!?! This mentality REALLY annoyed me. The message is just all wrong. The last thing people need in the 21st century is any encouragement to make poor choices!

As I was reflecting on 2012 and planning out my 2013, believe or not, YOLO kept popping in my head. But this time, I had a new interpretation that may be a bit different from the original intention of the acronym. Yes, You Only Live Once. That being said, the consequences of tomorrow ARE significant, and should shape the decisions we make today. Life moves really fast, although most things that are worth anything require a great deal of time, work, and patience. That being said, the most important thing we can do with our life, considering YOLO, is do the best that can with what we have. And, no matter what the circumstances are or how long it takes, we have to continue to move forward to make the most of the time we do have. Otherwise, life is just one big waste of time!
Wasting time by living a passive life is just not an option for me, nor should it be for anyone. My goal for 2013 is to move aggressively forward towards making a difference in my own life and the lives of others…because YOLO! So, how do I plan on accomplishing this incredibly broad goal? I have broken it down to some small goals that I plan on working on every day which will build up and help support some additional big goals that I hope to accomplish.

My small goals are to continue working diligently towards being the best teacher, sister, aunt, daughter, friend and runner that I can be. I’m going to work hard on being patient with others (and myself!). This includes being less judgmental and more understanding of the actions and circumstances of others (and myself!). I also want to continue to stay balanced in all of my many life roles. It’s very easy to get caught up in one role and neglect others; I would like to avoid that! Additionally, I want to worry less about the things I don’t have, and focus more on the blessings that I do have because…YOLO! Life is too short to be stressed out about things we can’t control. God has it figured out; we just need to keep moving faithfully forward.

My big goals are to run the Cleveland Marathon this May in 3:10 (YEP, BIG GOAL) and to run it for more purpose than my own selfish desire for a BIG personal record. I plan on raising money for a charity that really hits home for me- Wigs For Kids. Coincidentally, I ran (and WON!) the Wigs For Kids 5k at the CLE Zoo in the summer of 2011. It was very hilly and by far one of the most challenging 5ks I’ve run. I recently learned that a very courageous student of mine is a spokesperson for Wigs For Kids. I also learned that she has Alopecia, which is an autoimmune disease that causes hair loss. She never let on that she had this condition, let alone was a representative of the organization. I was so moved by her kindness, positive attitude, and bravery despite facing such a difficult hurdle in her young life.  She is such a great role model. I decided that I wanted to donate my hair on her behalf and hopefully inspire others to do the same! I also decided to raise money throughout my training for the CLE marathon for Wigs For Kids, specifically for hair replacement treatment! I am in the process of trying to get a hold of the right people to get the ball rolling—I can’t wait to get started!!! I am very passionate about making this happen (hence all of the exclamation marks) because…YOLO! I might as well do something to positively impact others as I'm training hard to positively impact myself!

And, my selfish goal for the CLE Marathon is to set a BIG personal record. My current P.R. is 3:16. 3:10 isn't exactly "lofty," and definitely in the realms of possibility. But, it's going to require serious dedication. Since I’ve stopped the beta blocker, I’ve been blowing myself away with my progress. I am trying to hold back as much as I can until my official training starts on the 28th, but it’s been difficult! Greg McMillan has my 16 week plan all set up for me, and it’s totally different than anything I’ve ever done before. I’m going to put 110% of myself into it, and am looking forward to seeing what I get out of it! Throughout my training, I will be running the St. Malachi 5 miler in Cleveland, Just a Short Run ½ Marathon near Pittsburg at the end of March, and the Nike Women’s ½ Marathon in D.C. at the end of April. Additionally, I’ll likely run a few 5ks at various points throughout my training. I’m really hoping to break 1:30 in the half marathon and 19:00 in the 5k. These goals aren’t too steep and are definitely realistic. But, they do require serious hard work and perseverance. The time is now to aggressively push forward to make these happen because…YOLO!

Also, because YOLO, I’m going to be running responsibly this spring. That means listening to my body ALL of the time. I will not be in the hospital this spring—that’s another goal of mine!! Overall, I want to focus on being healthy and treating my body right because…YOLO! Hahahaa J

There are so many things exciting me about this spring, including coaching my sister for her marathon debut! She will be running the Cleveland Marathon, as well as the other half marathons I am running this spring. She is a naturally gifted runner, and I truly believe she can qualify for Boston. Who knows...Boston 2014!?! I will be encouraging her to shoot for this goal because…YOLO!

So, here’s my message with this blog post: always remember YOLO. You get ONE life. You can either do nothing with it, or you can do something amazing with it. Time is going to pass regardless. Don’t let it pass you by. If you have a goal, the time is now to get started. You may not get there right away, but if you work hard enough and consistently enough…you just might get there! And, if not, you will have had one heck of a journey with a great story to tell, which is better than doing nothing at all!
I'm not exactly sure what Drake's true intentions are, but I think he just MIGHT be on to a pretty positive movement. In case I haven’t said it enough: YOLO, folks. YOLO. J

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