Better Than the Alternative Tuesdays: Little Things

Happy Valentine’s Day, friends! I am not really a celebrator of Valentine’s Day, save for a card and a heart-shaped Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup (favorite candy) for JB.

Mmmm…Reese’s.

For me, every day is about the Little Things we do for one another. A text message saying hello. Coming home to dinner already made (or in my case, ordered). Someone holding the door for you at Starbucks. The doorman guessing your age and thinking you are 10 years younger. A phone call from a friend. Valentine’s Day doesn’t need to be a four course meal and flowers that cost 20% more just because it’s Valentine’s Day (I mean, if that’s your thing then that’s your thing and I hope you have a great day!). It can be the Little Things.

I don’t need flowers and dinner and all that stuff, just a card. I love cards.

Clearly, my love of cards is keeping Papyrus in business.

I love that the first song on my iPod today as I started my strength training workout at the gym this morning was one of my favorites.

The Boss and the Big Man. Nothing better.

I love that Reno and Blondie know me well enough to send me the cutest video of my sweet baby niece wearing her little bear outfit that I bought her. I have watched it probably a dozen times and downloaded it to my phone so I can watch it whenever I need a good hearty laugh and a smile. She’s dancing and smiling and being the cutest baby EVER. I won’t share the video ‘cuz, you know, she needs a little anonymity, but I will share something equally cute. A duck.

It’s the Little Things, you know? Thoughtful. Personal. Everyday things matter so much more than a gigantic Valentine’s Day thing.

Do you notice the Little Things that people do for you? A runner who smiles or says “good morning”‘ to you as you pass each other on the road. A friendly smile at the grocery checkout. Did you thank the person who held the door while you were walking through at Starbucks or your office this morning? Do you say hello to the security guard who has the BEST attitude every time you see him?

Little Things are all around us. We are all capable of doing Little Things for others. Whether or not you choose to acknowledge others’ efforts or make them yourself is up to you.

I kinda feel that if you try a little of both you will just be a happier you. Just try. ‘Cuz those Little Things make today way Better Than the Alternative.

What are your favorite Little Things? Are you doing anything special for Valentine’s Day? Tell me all about it.

Now go out and run!

Better Than The Alternative Tuesdays: Bad Stuff

Welcome back! I hope you all enjoyed a wonderful end-of-summer Labor Day weekend and are getting pumped up for the Fall race season, wherever you are. I, for one, am relieved that I made it through yet another New York City August without passing out from the intolerable heat and humidity. But that’s not our theme for today. Today’s Better Than The Alternative theme is Bad Stuff. You read that right. Bad Stuff is the reason why it’s better to be here than there.

Bad Stuff, like people getting sick, having the worst race of your life, losing a friend, failing a class, having to DNR a race, missing the train, getting sick yourself, anything bad that happens to babies or children, or simply having tremendously bad luck under difficult circumstances, happens. It just does. And it sucks.

Having experienced enough of this Bad Stuff in my life, I know that it has given me a gift in return. The gift to appreciate the moment and what I have. It’s a special gift that I know not everyone possesses.

I have a very large, very loud, very close family whom I love and who love me deeply. Whenever something happens, we pull closer together to support one another without missing a beat. Not everyone has that. When we lose someone, there are tears that always end with a party. When there’s Bad Stuff happening, none of us is ever alone. Maybe it’s just lucky we have a big family. Or maybe it’s that we are blessed to be as close as we are. Either way, with every trying time, we become more tightly knit together.

Bad Stuff in the form of bad races are the worst for me, at least physically. I had the worst race of my life in Jersey this year. I thought I wouldn’t finish. I was dizzy, sick, getting sick and so far away from the finish line and my husband that I couldn’t imagine I’d be able to get through the last 12 miles. But after that horrible race (and my victorious finish!), I have a newfound appreciation for when I feel awesome during a race. Or, at least, when I don’t have to stop 8 times at the POJ’s and get the dizzies. Even the ridiculous humidity at the Battle of Brooklyn didn’t stop me from celebrating my getting through the entire run without feeling yucky once! Yay!

Bad Stuff happens all the time. To good people, to everyone. No matter how horrible it is to go through the Bad Stuff, it has always taught me to respect the time that I have and to love the people I have in my life. So we endure it. We live through it. We fight through it. And we come out the other side different. Stronger. A little wiser. And we go on with that learned knowledge and newfound love for the good and we share it with the world.

If you are going through Bad Stuff, whatever it may be, please know that you are not alone and you are stronger than you think. You will come out the other side, we will all come out the other side, and we will be all the better for having gone through it. At least, that’s what I’ve experienced. So, I’m grateful for the Bad Stuff because, as cliché as it sounds, I have learned more from having gone through it than anything else in my life. And that’s why it’s better to be here rather than there; the good stuff is that much sweeter. And the good stuff (ahem, like baby nieces!!!) is GREAT.

So, friends, keep fighting the good fight. Now go out and run!

“If you’re going through hell, keep walking.” -Winston Churchill