The History Channel wrapped its second season of Alone, a show where ten contestants are dropped off on their own in a specific portion of Vancouver Island. Contestants had to build their own shelter, hunt their own food, adapt to the changes of the weather, and deal with the elements of living in the wild. Not surprising, the most challenging factors for the contestants were their battle with hunger and the isolation that surrounded the rugged beauty of the island. What was most evident for me was the way each contestant responded to the challenges. Patience and positivity were the most powerful weapons to battle the demons that crept in when the novelty of the experience wore off. It was the contestant who remained calm and tackled what would be a disappointing outcome (high tide, no fish on gill net, pelting rain, wet shelter, missing family members) with positivity that won the ultimate prize. The show was a personal reminder for me of how powerful and positive remaining calm and staying focused can be for your overall health and achieving a personal goal.Not being able to run has been challenging, and I will not pretend that is has not affected me psychologically and emotionally. But I am not going to dwell on self-pity and I am tackling each day with an appetite to remain active while recognizing that running is not the only physical activity my body can perform. Not training for a specific race or having a set running schedule has given me the opportunity to spend extra time on activities I enjoy, like reading. I didn’t learn to read until I was almost eight, and it wasn’t in my native language of Spanish, it was in English. I moved to the United States a month before turning seven years old. When my mother registered me for public schools, I was placed in the first grade because the district felt first grade was more appropriate given I could not speak, read, or write English. There was a part of me that wishes I would have been placed in the corresponding grade based upon my age, but I get the rationale. When I learned to read, it was ABSOLUTELY MAGICAL! Even better, once I learned all of the letters of the alphabet and their corresponding sounds, I was able to read in both Spanish and English. In high school, I added a third language, French. Although I cannot say I am proficient in French, I can say I am capable of reading and understanding the French language comfortably. Extra time has also allowed for me to take off on weekends without worrying about putting in a long run. And with the purchase of our RV, we have been taking advantage and trekking off to the beautiful pockets of nature Oregon has to offer. Finally, I have been entertaining and hosting family members for the past month, which has kept me busy and given me little time to think about missed running opportunities. Staying busy has made the month of June and July fly before my eyes, and in a way, it has made Summer felt really short. Fortunately, I have three and a half weeks remaining before I return to work, so I am planning on soaking up every a second of what’s left and make the most of it. What I will not be doing is counting down until I can run again. It will happen when I am ready and I don’t want to rush the healing process.
Miami, Florida is a mega-tropolis and though I appreciated growing up in a such a rich and culturally diverse environment, there are definitely some drawbacks. With a population of 3,000,000 people – Oregon has a combined population of 4,000,000 – you can imagine what commuting looks like. Furthermore, because of it’s flat terrain, you don’t get to experience mountains or the views one would gain from climbing a mountain. Thus, it was critical for us to ensure my family experienced elevation and the rewards of the huffing and puffing that come from the climb.Hosting and playing tour-guide was rather exhausting, but we felt great pride showing off the beauty the state of Oregon has to offer. What was most refreshing was the detachment to materialistic possessions. Hiking to the top of a mountain, pausing to enjoy a waterfall, sitting around a campfire to roast marshmallows, and the lack of reception made us feel not only connected to nature, but to one another. We were able to give each other our undivided attention and participate in the give and take of an organic conversation. The only status updates pertained to food, the beauty of our surroundings, and the magic of a campfire under the scintillating stars.
I still have another three more weeks before I can even attempt to run a single mile, but as long as I have the mighty outdoors, I have enough to be grateful for. With two more months left of Summer, I reckon there will be plenty of adventures that will give me the opportunity to count my blessings.