Can’t build your temple without laying bricks

Temple Building
Today was a cardio day, but yesterday was weights. I got down. Crushed it today. Really knocked it out. o/ #champion #fitgoddess— nicole means victory (@ndcollier) February 13, 2014 Weight lifting is interesting for me. On the one hand, I love seeing progress. I can lift the weight with less effort as time goes on and see real strength. My muscles get sculpted. I lift and carry heavy groceries in a single bound. On the other hand, it's hard for me to get psyched up to do it. A run in the early morning? No problem. My favorite aerobic workout before sunrise? No sweat. Weightlifting, however, requires some mental gymnastics to get motivated. But yesterday? Crushed. I do a full body workout with a barbell and plates. Ten tracks including warm up, squats, chest,…
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The Very Best Thing

Personal Narrative
What's the best thing you did this year? — dream hampton (@dreamhampton) December 22, 2013 Writer/director dream hampton asked this question on Twitter and shared a steady stream of responses. People taught their children to read, nurtured loved ones in times of sorrow or ill-health, quit jobs they hated, and traveled or moved overseas. Some took classes and learned things that allowed them to radically transform their ways of being. Others wrote books, got married, took a chance on love, or learned to love themselves. It's a beautiful question, and one that requires no external metric. I've been thinking about it, and while there are lots of things I'm glad I accomplished or tried or read, I think the best thing I did was push beyond my comfort zone. There…
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Winter Solstice

Personal Narrative
It seems only a few days ago when I wrote about the autumnal equinox, but here we are, welcoming a new season. It's the first day of winter, and it comes to us bringing rainy skies and mild temperatures. Despite the gray start, I am feeling pretty sunny about things. I have a few projects in the works - some brand new and others that are getting a much-needed refresh. I'm not waiting until the new year to get started. I am beginning today so things will be well underway as thew new year dawns. What about you? What plans do you have for winter or the new year?
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Give me my 10s

Personal Narrative
This was a milestone week for me in many ways, including the fact I finished two 10Ks! One was in miles and the other was in words. On Sunday I was feeling, as they say, "froggy." Out of the blue, I declared to myself that Monday I'd run 6 miles for the first time. This has been a goal of mine for a long time. I know many people who've done it, and my personal long was 5.55 miles, from a year ago. I've only run five miles or more a handful of times in life, and the 10K/6.2 mile mark seemed scary, quite honestly. On my days of high energy, I'd think about tackling it, and it just seemed a touch too far. Rather than drown in a sea of…
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On Holding Back

Temple Building
Today's run surprised me. It had been over a week since my last 4-mile run. Generally speaking, a couple of rest days are good for me. But too many means I start to lose a level of fitness. It's not to say I forewent exercise completely. In addition to rest days, I had a couple of bouts of weather-induced indoor aerobics. I also threw two short runs in the mix. In a hotel and pressed for time two mornings in a row, the treadmill beckoned. I've mentioned more than once how much I enjoy outdoor running and dislike treadmills, but there was no safe place to run nearby. It was the 'mill or nothing. No Bueno Let's get right to it and say both of those runs sucked. I never…
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On clarity and sabotage

30 Day Blog Challenge
The clearer you are about what you're supposed to be doing, the harder it is to do something else. #random — nicole means victory (@ndcollier) September 24, 2013 This has been a year of transition.  Every season thus far has boasted some sort of change, and that remains true with the advent of fall. Recent professional shifts have left me considering next steps, which, in many ways, will be a return to previous steps. As I checked in with self about my current professional path, the thought above came to me. When I say "supposed to be doing" I don't mean according to some external metric.  These days it's easy to be swayed by the expectations of Big Brother. We're a surveillance-happy society, wherein we've virtually relinquished self-control and self-expression…
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Just keep swimming

30 Day Blog Challenge, Personal Narrative
"I think that a lot of people in our country have gotten depressed, pinned in, pinned down with living lives they don't want...tell me what your dreams are. What are you chasing? It's not impossible." ~Diana Nyad There are lots of big stories in the news right now. Some of national import, others of international import, but the one of personal import is about badass Diana Nyad. She's a 64-year-old marathon swimmer, she set a new record, and perhaps most importantly, she refused to be defeated by time, circumstances or self-doubt. She went for an Xtreme Dream and made it come true. Age is not an excuse for giving up. Allowing yourself to grow passive and draw back is a sign of personal defeat. There may be a retirement age at…
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Starting where you are

Temple Building
I ran this morning. I really wanted to go, and although I had planned on strength training, I chose to heed the call to get some miles instead. I'm so glad I did. I'm a runner. You could also say an out-of-shape runner, or a runner on vacation, or a runner who hasn't run much this year, but I'm still a runner. My personal long is 5.55 miles, and at one point my average distance was 50 miles/month. It's been a long time since I've hit either of those two metrics. I pretty much gave up running late last year when I began spending more time in hotels than my own home. I don't know if you know this, but many hotel treadmills suck, and that's only if you can…
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Be true.

30 Day Blog Challenge, Personal Narrative
Do you have a favorite quote that you return to again and again? What is it, and why does it move you? If you summon your courage to challenge something, you’ll never regret it. How sad it would be to spend your life wishing, “If only I had a little more courage.” Whatever the outcome, the important thing is to take a step forward on the path that you believe is right. There’s no need to worry about what others may think. It’s your life, after all. Be true to yourself. ~Daisaku Ikeda I first saw this quote in the November 2012 issue of Living Buddhism magazine. Sae Chonabayashi said it encouraged her to pursue her dreams. It encouraged me to do the same. At the time I read the piece, I was at a crossroads;…
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On looking and leaping. #NaBloPoMo #amwriting.

30 Day Blog Challenge
Do you always look before you leap? Of course. Gravity is real and objects are solid. Not looking where you leap can lead to injury. Or worse. That said, looking first doesn't negate the leaping. It simply means assessing the situation beforehand. I weigh pros and cons. I mull things over and consider multiple angles. I do a gut check: How does it feel when I think about leaping? I can't say if I put more stock in feelings over facts. It depends on the leap in question. I don't do all of this to talk myself out of leaping, but rather so I can leap mindfully. I think a related question is Have you ever taken a leap you've regretted? The answer to that is a solid no. Regret…
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