Thursday, August 7, 2014

Brick by Brick

This isn't the post I had originally planned for today. I had planned on recapping the two races that I did in July, which happened to be the worst 5k I had run in 3 years and the worst 10k in 3 years. I've avoided talking about them much because honestly I hadn't accepted them. While I haven't accepted them yet, I have realized that some things you shouldn't accept.

You shouldn't accept failures, because they don't define you- and you can use them as fuel to get better.

You shouldn't accept success, because if you become 'content' you'll stop pushing and challenging yourself and then what is the freaking point?

What's that quote? Never let failure go to your heart, and never let success go to your head.

You shouldn't accept people taking you for granted. You are worth something, your efforts matter and if people don't notice and appreciate...they do NOT deserve to be a part of your life.

You shouldn't accept that "bad things happen" it's part of life but sometimes those things can be prevented. Understanding that bad things happen is one thing, but accepting and not doing anything about it(when you can)- that has to stop.

You shouldn't accept constant negativity, each person in this world has enough going on that we don't need other people peeing in our cheerios.

You shouldn't accept people making you feel small, or useless or unimportant because you don't meet their standards. Fuck standards.

I could go on, and on about all the things that we shouldn't accept in this world. I could also point out that I have been guilty of each and every one, including doing some of these to others. Shame on me.

We shouldn't accept a lot of things, but we should use them...the good and the bad. They are all bricks. Now I'm not a mason, but I do know a good one so I'll  pretend that's me right now.

We build our lives brick by brick. Every lesson, every memory, every choice and decision we make- it all builds up to who we are and what we stand on. The people in our lives, yeah they are bricks too.

Not all bricks are created equal. Some are smaller and rough around the edges- for instance that test (or 5) that you failed in that college class..or those stupid drunk nights we'd like to forget...yeah that won't exactly wreck your home (maybe your GPA a bit). Then we've got some bigger bricks, jobs or friendships that held an important part in our lives but eventually faded. We've also got some gigantic bricks (again, not a mason)....that long term relationship (perhaps an engagement or even a marriage) that really takes up a piece of that structure we call life.

In terms of training all bricks are not created equal either. Those PR's and breakthrough bricks will be bigger than any crappy workout or race will ever be. Those hard days where you don't want to run but you do, those still add to the foundation.

All of these 'bricks' get put together in whatever way they fall, we don't always have control to move them around like tetris. As the lines pile up and full "rows" fall away it gives us room to fill the empty spaces and then move on to the next. The whole time, building a stronger and better foundation. Some of those bigger bricks (so technical, I know) take longer to 'fall away' but eventually you pile up enough on them that they too become just another piece of the foundation that drops out of sight.

Those bad races from July, sure they are still there and part of this training cycle. But so is the kick ass tempo run I did yesterday (where I most certainly beat that shitty 10k race time in a workout). Let the good fill the cracks and then move on. Each brick has purpose and each gives your life structure. You use the bad ones to step on while working your way to the good things.

Those friendships and relationships that didn't last? Those bad workouts or races? Those moments where you question if you'll find what you are looking for? Guess what, they helped you get where you are today. Learn from them, and use them to move forward without dwelling on them. Because you know what, tomorrow you'll add another brick to the pile and those other ones will be further from the top.

Maybe this makes no sense to anyone but myself, it wouldn't be the first time.

But right now, my 'mantra' is "brick by brick". I have some big things I need to build around(in life and training) so I can move forward, but each day I will do just that. Throw a brick on the stack and keep on going. Some days "brick by brick" is a tough pill to swallow because I just want to throw a million on at once to move on, and some days I want to take a sledgehammer and go all #beastmode on that damn wall knocking it all down.

My secondary mantra right now is 'get shit done', so there's that. Some days 'get shit done' is as small as getting out of bed when I'd rather just sleep, or doing a workout regardless of how I feel. Other days 'get shit done' means accomplish a ton of things today, so tomorrow's 'get shit done' can be to relax on my one day off.

So go build a wall, or knock one down and start all over. Whatever you do, don't accept...don't settle...and don't forget that eventually the older bricks will fall away making room for new and improved ones.

I wouldn't even know what questions to ask following this mindless masonry and tetris blerb.


Let's all be thankful I'm not a mason, and be surprised to know I'm actually good at tetris.


  1. Nice post. Easier said than done sometimes, but as you said, the good and the bad days all move you forward. Learn from the bad, relish the good. Those crappy -30 runs in January when I didn't want to get out of bed, let alone go running, added the bricks that made me beat my previous marathon time by 1 hour.

  2. True words. These things happen - but we can't get held up. We've gotta move on!

  3. Brick by brick is a great running, and life, mantra.

  4. Thanks for that! While my running has been great lately, my life has some stuff going on that is hard to deal with. This week I really got down to the nitty gritty to examine what was going on with it. It's hard to take that much of a hard look at your situations, but once you do, it's that much easier to move forward! Hang in there.

  5. Nicely said Laura! All things I needed to hear right now so thank you! You are so right! My running is beyond awful right now and I have been soooo down on myself for it. I am going to take your encouragement and get back at it regardless. Have a great weekend!!

  6. LOVE this post and so full of things I needed to see read and hear right now. Made total sense. I have let negative people and negative things bug me lately and I need to focus on the good and moving forward and making positive changes. Hope you have a excellent weekend!

  7. I couldn't agree with you more. I've personally adopted the "screw em" attitude with the negative people, and I'm much happier, it totally works.

  8. I absolutely love this post. You've had a rough few months, and the way you continue to charge forward despite all that is incredible to me. We all have rough patches in life; it's how we choose to pull ourselves out of them that defines us. Can't wait for our run next week - we'll lay down another training brick and friendship brick *insert cheesy emoji face here* ! <3

  9. I hope things are on the upswing for you and ASAP! You've got a positivite attitude that'll get you through and make you an even stronger person to help inspire others!

  10. Everything that happens in our life, the good, the bad, the ugly makes us who we are. It's what we do with it and how we use it that is our choice. Glad your building a foundation instead of just a pile of bricks. :)

  11. Nice post. I'm glad you are seeing some positives right now, I know how hard it's been. I am always envious of your mentality and you are stronger everyday. I cannot wait to see how you at your marathon!

  12. What a great analogy- I love your perspective. I was thinking this weekend about how SO much of our reality is our perspective- glass half full or half empty... gratitude or pity parties... it really makes a difference to be determined to make the best of what is going on and not let all the "bricks" get you down.


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