Chapter 7 ~ She Refused to Quit

Chapter 7

She dreamt she was running with Nicole. It was a Saturday. They were on a country road. The road they were running on took them past cornfields where the cornstalks were so high she couldn’t see over them. There was a group five runners clustered close together ahead of Nicole and she. They belonged to the Jaguars an elite running club in the community. They all wore blazing red running shorts with a gold stripe on both sides. Their running shirts were the same color red with a black Jaguar on the back of the shirts.
Nicole touched Lisa’s arm and said, “Sorry Lisa, I’m going to run with the big girls now.”
Lisa tried to stay with her. She ran faster. The faster she ran, Nicole ran even faster and pulled further and further away.
Lisa hollered at Nicole, “Wait for me. Wait for me.”
Nicole paid no attention to her. Her legs became more difficult to move. They were tightening up on her. The faster she tried to run, the slower her legs moved. That’s when Lisa woke up, she found her legs tangled in her blanket. Her heart was racing.
Lisa tried to go back to sleep. You might as well asked the sun not to rise, or a mockingbird not to sing. She couldn’t stop thinking about the dream. She pulled her pillow over her head, it didn’t help. At five-fifteen, she got up and started her stretching exercises. She stretched out her hamstrings, holding each stretch for thirty seconds. She stretched out her quads, and then her achilles tendons. She concluded with the four way stretch loosening up each of her hips. It was the same stretching routine Nicole and she followed before every workout. Today, she was stretching nearly three hours before she would run with Mia Hale and whoever else Mia brought along.
Three hours passed and Lisa was on the high school track going through her stretching routine for third time since she woke up. She was stretching her hamstrings when she heard Mia Hale, “You ready to go Lisa?”
Lisa leaped to her feet. Mia was already to go and looked like she already worked out. Mia was six feet three inches tall and as thin as a string bean. Lisa was nearly eight inches shorter than Mia.
Lisa looked for a car or bike. She didn’t see any. She said, “You run over?”
Mia said, “It was an easy three mile run I did for a warm up. I wanted to be ready for workout. You ready? All warmed up?”
Lisa wished she ran to the high school instead of having her dad drop her off. She said, “Yes, I’m all warmed up, let’s go.”
Mia led the way off the high school athletic fields, through the parking lot and on to Maple Street. Mia turned left and headed toward Hanson Road. Hanson Road led out of town and into infrequently traveled country roads. Initially, Mia set an an easy pace. Lisa had no problem keeping up with and ran along side. Neither Lisa nor Mia spoke. Lisa felt Mia pick up the pace at mile two. She stayed with her. Lisa was feeling good, she was keeping up with Mia.
Mia glanced over at her, “You’re running pretty good Lisa. Let’s take a detour to Mason’s Hill and do a few sprints up the hill. We’ll sprint up the hill three times and recover in between by jogging down. We wont’t take a break, we’ll keep moving. You think you can handle it? Mason hill is pretty steep.”
Lisa shrugged and said, “Sure.” Lisa all the while thought how she hated hill work. Nicole loved hill work. She told her it built stamina. Lisa usually begged off from training on Mason’s Hill, the biggest hill in the county. She knew she had no choice now but to do the hill work with Mia.
When they reached Mason’s Hill, Mia glance over and said, “Let’s sprint to the top.”
Lisa gave it her all on the first sprint up the hill and ended up a couple of strides ahead of Mia. The second sprint up the hill Mia, ran effortlessly and finished ten yards ahead of Lisa. The third sprint was worse for Lisa. She was three-quarters up the hill when she saw Mia at the top waiting for her. Lisa’s legs felt like they weighed a ton. She refused to quit. She looked down at her legs thinking her knees were going to explode.
Lisa made it to the top and bent over, her hands on her knees. She was gasping for breath. Her knees killed her. They felt twice their normal size. Mia came beside her, “I felt the same way when Nicole started me running Mason’s Hill. I thought I was going to die the first time. Try jogging in place it will get the blood flowing through your knees, it will get a lot of the lactic acid out of there.”
Lisa didn’t want to jog. She wanted to lay down and die. She never wanted to see Mason’s Hill again in her life. Then she remembered Nicole carrying her picture in her wallet. She wasn’t about to let Nicole hear about her quitting. She stood up straight and started jogging in place. In a few minutes she said, “I’m ready Mia. Can we try it one more time?”
Mia Hale looked at her, “You sure Lisa? It’s not going to be easier.”
Lisa said, “I’m sure let’s go.” Lisa started down Mason’s Hill. She remembered what Nicole taught her. Visualize, visualize, visualize. She started to visualize the run back up Mason’s Hill. She saw herself making her legs run. She saw herself making it to the top and not bending over in pain.
When Lisa and Mia reached the bottom of the hill, Mia and Lisa looked at each other and nodded. Lisa stayed with Mia half way up Mason’s Hill, then Mia pulled away. Lisa felt the pain coming back into her legs. It wasn’t so much that she was slowing down as it was that Mia was picking up the pace. Mia reached the top and turned around to look down for Lisa. Her eyes widened, Lisa was only fifteen yards behind her. When Lisa reached the top, she said, “Let’s go.”
Mia and Lisa fist bumped. The two continued their run to the high school.


Today’s Quote by Madonna


If your joy is derived from what society thinks of you, you’re always going to be disappointed.


Paco’s Tacos & The Garbage Truck

Farlo took a right onto Alameda. He straightened the truck out, and jammed the  brakes. Unfortunately, he stopped in the middle of the road causing the car behind him to veer to left to avoid back ending the garbage truck. Veering to the right would have been a better course of action. The driven collied head on with Paco’s Taco food truck. Fortunately, both were traveling under the legal 30 MPH limit.

“You don’t know how to drive. I bet you don’t have a license,” said Joey G.

“Watch it, kid. Just because I gave you a name with an attitude, doesn’t give you permission to toss your attitude at me. Get out and get three bags of tacos from Paco. Use Martinez’s credit card. While you’re waiting ask Paco he knows the location of the crack house.”

“You are so prejudiced. How do you know the food truck operator’s name is Paco? The used it because it’s clever advertising. It’s easy to remember, ” said Joey G.

Farlo gave him a look. Then said, “I almost have my evening set up if we can rescue Harry J within the hour. Don’t mess this up on me. Take Tina with you for backup.”

Joey unbuckled, kicked around the Starbucks cups on the floor and the carry all. He got out, Tina followed.

“Where do you think you’re going?” barked Farlo.

“I’m going to get tacos and info,” said Joey G.

“Not until you police your garbage and clean your side of the car. You’re taking advantage of Martinez.”

“Me? You got to be kidding,” Joey G came right back.

“Tina!” growled Farlo.

Tina jumped on Joey G’s chest and went eyeball to eyeball, vicious mouth to quivering lips.

“Okay, okay, call her off. I’ll clean it up.”

“That’s better. Tina watch him,” said Farlo.

Ten minutes later Joey G returned to the garbage truck carrying three bags of tacos. Tina right behind him in case a taco dropped out of the overladen bags. He opened the door, climbed into the passenger seat. Tina crawled in behind him and waited for her feast. Joey put Tina’s bag between the driver and passenger seat. He didn’t have a chance to take the tacos out of the bag. Tina was all over it, like flies on flypaper, bear on honey, and plaque on un-flossed and un-brushed teeth.

“Well?” said Farlo.

“How did you know his name was Paco? Don’t tell me. I have more important information. The crack house is not a crack house. It’s a clothing store specializing in pants and underwear for plumbers. It’s just up the street.”

“I got to give them credit. Who would’ve figured that a crack house for plumbers would be a front for Manchurian mob?” said Farlo as a matter of fact.

“The Manchurian mob? Are they dangerous? What are they doing with Harry J? They’ll probably kill us. Can’t we say we tried and Harry J was collateral damage? Boy, these tacos are the best,” added Joey G.

Farlo took a bite, he turned to his right and saw Tina staring at him. Tina finished her six tacos and wanted to order seconds. Farlo took his bag of tacos and placed it on the floor. “Enjoy them girl. You earned it.”

Farlo put the garbage truck in gear and waved at Paco as he pulled by the food truck. Paco hollered, “Hey, the homeless creep who tried to tell me his name was Martinez didn’t tell me they was for you, man. Next time it’s on the house.”

“Not a problem, Paco. Give Maria and Paco junior a hug for me.”

“Will do, man. Be careful. There are some bad dudes in the crack house. They make me pay protection for selling on this street.”

“No more. You’re all paid up. I’ll talk to them,” said Farlo.

“You the man, Farlo. Anything I can do for you, you name it.”

“Adios, Paco.”

“Via con dios, Farlo,” said Paco.

Farlo drove under the speed limit down Alameda. He said, “It’s a bit more complicated. I promised Paco we’d convince the Manchurian mob to stop asking protection money.”

“Don’t forget about Harry J. How do you know Paco?” asked Joey G.

“It’s a long story. I’ll give you executive summary. I met him. I did him a favor. We have a history.”

“That’s an executive summary? You didn’t tell me anything,” complained Joey G.

“Exactly. Get your head in the game. The Crack House is up on the right.”

Farlo took a right down an alley way and at the end of the alley way, he took a left down another alley way. Trash was lined on both sides of the alley. He stopped the garbage truck behind the Crack House.

“Get out and start collecting garbage and putting it into the truck.”

“Why? I’m not a garbage man?” said Joey G.

“You are now, kid. Get into the part before I toss you into the garbage.”

“You ever hear of the word please?” asked Joey G.

“No. Move it.”

Will Farlo, Tina, and Joey G finally rescue Harry J? Will Farlo convince the Manchurian mob to stop collecting protection money from Paco? Who’s Filo?

Change Our Attitude – Change Our Life

I wish everything turned out the way I wanted it turn out. It’s not the way life works. Sometimes life throws a fastball right past us. What are our choices? We can complain. We can RSVP to a personal pity party. Or, we can assess our situation, adopt a different attitude, determine to make something good happen from our circumstances. The following short YouTube video provides a great example and motivation for us to look at all situations through an optimistic lens.

Our Attitude Makes All The Difference

Life isn’t easy. Some days it takes heaps of courage just to get out of bed. If you’re having a tough day, you’re not alone. Every person who has lived, is living, or will live has rough, really rough moments. The attitude we take to life’s rough moments can make all the difference in how we work our way through them. The right attitude will transform tragedy’s into triumphs. The following short YouTube video presents a short story using metaphors to illustrate the importance of cultivating the right attitude.

You’ve Got So Much To Offer

Never be satisfied. You’ve got so much more to offer. Dig deeper. Keep digging, digging, and digging. Keep growing, growing, and growing. Even if no one ever hears of you. Keep digging. It’s all about what’s inside you. If you and I keep digging and growing we’ll do something very special. We’ll show others that ordinary people who won’t lie down are capable of extraordinary things.


You Have A Wonderful Gift

Have you discovered your marvelous gift? Keep searching. It’s there. Keep searching. Once you find it, embrace it, polish it until you and your gift are one. You’ll shine bright. Finding our gift doesn’t come easy. It’s hard work. We may toil for years, but when we discover it, hold on to it, don’t let go, and shine, shine. shine. Whatever your gift is, let it take hold of you and lead you on your journey.


You Are Capable of Greatness

Every person is capable of greatness. Whether you are young, old, black, white, brown, yellow, red, green, or purple; it doesn’t matter. You can be Catholic, Protestant, evangelical, Morman, Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu, and not religious at all; you are capable of greatness. You can be male or female; you are capable of greatness.

Every person is capable of greatness. It may be greatness in the eyes of a child, neighbor, or stranger. It may be greatness at work or in front of a crowd of 100,000 people. it doesn’t matter. You are capable of greatness when you take your great gift and develop it to the full and share it with all who come in contact with you. It’s the who you are. The who you are is a wonderful gift. Keep on growing and glowing.


Trust Your Instincts

“The more faithfully you listen to the voice within you, the better you hear what is sounding outside of you.” – Dag Hammarskjold

I never had a real mentor. I had three people who touched me along my journey. I wrote an article for a prestigious journal titled, “Friends Along The Journey.” These three people showed up at the right place, right moment, with the right push in the right direction.

I share a brief story about the first of the three “friends.” J was my supervisor early in my career. I’ve always been a free spirit and did things differently from many others viewed as the “correct” way to do them. Somehow, the style worked for me. I’m not sure I would recommend my free-wheeling ways to others. Colleagues grumbled about me. I wasn’t like them. They complained to J. It wasn’t long before J invited me into his office. I knew I was in trouble, or so I thought.

I walked in with the attitude, “take it like a man.” J was a former football player, large, muscular, an imposing figure by any stretch. He looked up from his work, pointed an index finger the size of nice-size dowel, and said, “Sit.”

“Yes, Mr. J,” I answered.

J pushed his glasses down to the edge of his nose, leaned forward, and said, “Ray, you have good instincts. Trust them. That’s it. You can leave.”

“Thank you. Mr. J.” He brushed me off with the wave of a hand.

How fortunate I was to have an authority figure I trusted to give me permission to trust my instincts. I followed his advice from that moment on and it made all the difference in my life.

Trust your instincts.

Trust your gut.

Trust your heart.

Give it whatever name you want to give it, but trust it. It is your inner guide pointing the way for you.

voice in the heart