Do You See the Finish Line?

“Do you see the large blue and orange structure up ahead Caroline?” David said to me with 300m left to go. I nodded and possibly muttered a quick “yes.” “That is the finish line, Caroline. You are about cross the finish line.”  Just then I see an orange shirt, an orange bow and a ponytail wagging as my girlfriend, Betsy, picks up some speed and dashes ahead of me towards the finish line. I follow her lead, muster up some energy and pick up my speed. But I can’t quite catch up to her. She finishes 5 seconds ahead of me.

Why am I sharing this with you? Why does this matter?

Here’s why. Because up until that very moment, I was the faster runner of the two of us. I trained consistently for this marathon since July without hiccups. I ran 4 times a week, did speed runs on Tuesdays, long runs on Saturdays, not to mention supplementing with cross training. I have long legs and a slim frame. By design, I’m a runner.

On the other hand, my girlfriend did have some hiccups along the way. She had surgery in early July which made it impossible to start her training at the same time as I did. In fact, when she did start running again, she could not even complete 3 miles because she had lost all of her previous conditioning. A few weeks into her training, she began suffering of knee pain. Severe knee pain. She had to stop running and go see an orthopedic surgeon and a chiropractor. And then there was the traveling. She had trips planned, vacations, holidays, you name it. As the clock ticked and the days passed, she became increasingly worried that she would not have the time to complete her training to run this marathon. All the while, I kept training and getting stronger…and faster.

At some point my friend decided enough was enough. If she was going to run this marathon, she had to get serious about her plan. She committed to the plan. She sat down with her calendar and the marathon training plan I had emailed her (which I too was following) and she devised her own plan according to the time she had left. There would not be room to go up in miles and down in miles week after week as I had been doing, so instead she would incrementally increase her mileage each week until she caught up to me. As for the knee pain, she saw her chiropractor regularly, googled videos on running using proper form and ordered the natural supplements our doctor suggested she use for inflammation. She paid attention and followed instructions. She, too, started getting stronger and faster. Oh, and she did one more thing…

She routinely and consistently visualized herself and repeated “I will run by Caro’s side the entire marathon. I will not stay behind.”

There is no question that Betsy is an athletic person. She has always been in great shape and has been exercising for many years. In fact, during our training, we ran together most of the time at the same speed. But when the miles started piling on and we started getting tired, I was always ahead. Sometimes a little bit, sometimes a lot. Now let me make something very clear. Marathon running is a competition against yourself. Completing a marathon (particularly your first marathon) is the accomplishment. The time is irrelevant. More importantly, Betsy and I were not competing against each other. This was not about who was going to finish first. But Betsy did have a concern. She was running this marathon in honor of MY DAD. This was something she was doing for me. It was important to her to see me cross that finish line. I felt the same way when I ran the half marathon in honor of her daughter. I didn’t care about personal records or about time. I wanted to hold her hand across that finish line and say “I did this for you because I love you and I honor your daughter and the life she lived.” And that I did. So for her it was about not losing sight of me. She wanted to keep up or keep up just enough…that she saw me raise my hands and cross. That was her way of saying…”I did this for you because I love you and I honor your father and the life he lived.” And that she did.

I digress. Betsy began visualizing herself by my side the entire marathon, and most importantly, crossing the finish line with me (or maybe ahead of me). She would repeat over and over again what her goal was, to keep up with me the whole time. She put this vision out into the universe and used self hypnosis and visualizations to see it happen. By January 24, 2016, Betsy had crossed that finish line with me (or ahead of me) hundreds of times. And low and behold, on that day, we paced each other the ENTIRE time. She would speed up, and I would catch up. Moments later I would speed up, and she would catch up. We enjoyed this yo-yo dance for 26.2 miles until the very last 5 seconds when her visualization became a reality. Betsy finished ahead of me, just in time to turn around and see me raise my hands and cross the finish line. Just in time to say “This one’s for your old man.”

Betsy proved to me that day the good ole’ saying…”most of it is mental.” Taking all the cold facts and our trajectories, I should have, at some point, left Betsy behind in the run. But Betsy’s mind is even stronger than her body. Her mind was not going to let that happen, and therefore, her legs obeyed.

This is not to say that you can get away with just seeing results in your head. You have to put quite a bit of work into achieving the results you’re looking for. But people underestimate the power of the mind. You have to train your subconscious to work in your favor. So when you’re fatigued or your physical capacity has gone as far as it can, or outside factors play a role, your mind will do the rest and get you through that finish line. Betsy’s run was an inspiration and a true lesson in the power of the mind. These were principles my father lived by. These principles helped my father live a rich, strong, healthy life despite his 17 year battle with cancer. There was no way Betsy could have honored him more than to put these principles into practice in her own life.

Now I ask you, do you see your finish line? Is it weight loss, or reducing debt, or a successful relationship?  I invite you to identify your finish line and begin the process of visualizing the results you’re looking for. SEE IT. Talk yourself into BEING IT… even if at the beginning you’re faking it. And then do your part. Take the steps that need to be taken to achieve those results. Pay attention, follow instructions, and follow your plan. And then leave the rest to the universe. After all, the universe works in mysterious ways.

What’s the Plan?

I never really planned to run a marathon, or a half marathon, or down the block. It was an accomplishment I had toyed with in my mind but with no tangible steps to achieve it. Just a fleeting thought.  It wasn’t until my friend, Betsy, asked me to run a half-marathon with her that this distant possibility became a reality.

Running a half marathon is like having your first child… right after your first child is born, people start asking you “when’s the next one coming?” Same with running. Cross that half marathon finish line and guaranteed you will be asked “So when’s the full?” Fast forward 5 months and here I am two weeks away from running my first full marathon.

Why am I telling you this? Because in order to be successful in anything you do, you need to have a plan.  Some people think planning takes away from living a spontaneous, exciting life. Being a planner can seem boring and mundane. But nothing is more exciting than realizing your dreams and goals…and to do that, you need a plan. And this applies to everything. Even if you are doing something you had never “planned” to do, once you’ve made the decision to do something, you need a plan.

As my training began for the full marathon, one of my friends from our running group sent me a “marathon training plan” by email. I glanced it over and was generally following the plan. However, a few Saturdays into my training, my plan called for 14 miles. But I only had time to run 10. I didn’t think much of it. During my run, a running friend asked me “What are you running today?” My response was “Well, my plan says 14, but I think I only have time to run 10.” He said, “Caroline, we have run many marathons and we have a rule. You plan your run and you run your plan.” My response was, “I understand Bob, but my husband has to see a client, what am I supposed to do? if I don’t have time, I don’t have time!” His response was, “Figure it out. But you have to run your plan.” He was serious. And if realized if I wanted to finish strong and run a good marathon, I needed to change the way I looked at my marathon training from that point forward.  That day I ran my 10 in the morning, went home so I could stay with the kids while my husband met with a client, and several hours later in the afternoon, I ran 4 miles to complete my plan. That was the last time that happened to me. Because from that moment, I did not only look at my training plan, but I planned my life according to that training plan. If I had something on Saturday morning that would prohibit me from running my full plan, then I would run on Friday or Sunday or I would start my run a lot earlier. I played with my schedule and tweaked it around. No one week was exactly the same. But I ran my plan.

Another reason people do not like to have a plan is because it can become frustrating when you plan, plan, plan and then regular life gets in the way and your plan falls apart. That is going to happen. A plan cannot be set in stone. You or your kids are going to get sick. You’re going to get a flat tire. You’re going to have to stay late at work one day. Something is going to come up. That’s ok! It’s going to keep things spontaneous and exciting. LOL. But when you’re armed with a plan you know what you’re supposed to do, which makes it easier to make it up, work around it, or rearrange your schedule.

When it comes to eating healthy a plan is a must. If you don’t plan your meals, you end up eating too much or too little. You spend too many hours without eating and then you’re famished and will eat whatever is available to you. And when you’re out and about it is extremely difficult to find healthy options on the go. So you plan. You take snacks in your purse or briefcase; you prepare food ahead of time; you take your lunch to work; and you reduce your exposure to the times you will make exceptions. This will make success so much easier to attain. When you have a plan, you have a sense of control. And you will have power over your own decisions.

Here are 3 tips when planning a healthy eating week:

  1. Work around your schedule. Do not plan and shop for 7 different healthy dinners if you can not cook 7 nights a week. Be realistic. How many nights in the week will you really be able to cook when you consider late nights at work, soccer practice, and any other events you may have. If you can commit to 3 meals, then only plan for 3 meals.
  2. Batch cook and eat leftovers. This ties directly to my first point. If you can only commit to cooking 3 nights a week, make those nights carry you through the other nights. Using a crockpot helps a lot. Also plan meals that will be easy to match to other meals. Example, if you’re making chicken, meatloaf, quinoa, beans, or soup…make a lot of it and the next day you can throw the chicken on a salad, puree the soup, add some fresh vegetables to your quinoa, etc.
  3. Shop consciously. When you’re eating healthy, you will eat a lot of perishable foods. There is nothing more frustrating than spending lots of money on fruits and vegetables and throwing them away because they’re spoiled. If you’re buying food for the week, you have to take this into consideration. If you’re shopping on Sunday and you’re planning to make asparagus on Friday, I would not suggest you buy the asparagus that Sunday. Its just too many days before you’re going to use it. You may have to take a trip to the store mid week. If you don’t like to do that, then leave Friday night meals for foods that hold up longer or that you can freeze. Cook and/or eat the perishable foods first.

Last week we planned for 3 meals. One of them was a ratatouille. Orlando did not want to make the ratatouille until later in the week and because it requires a lot of eggplant and tomatoes, we held off on buying the ingredients for that meal. Turns out that the other two meals we made had so much leftovers that we had enough food for the whole week without having to ever buy the ingredients for the ratatouille. We saved the money and the frustration of letting it go to waste.  One thing we’ve noticed is that its hard to eat vegetables left over. Some veggies don’t hold up well the next day and don’t reheat well. This week we made collard greens and are happy to report that collards hold up VERY WELL. We made a huge batch of it on Sunday and were able to eat them until Wednesday. That made life so much easier. The first night we had scallops, cauliflower mash and collards. The next day we mixed in the collards with quinoa and chili. The day after that we made chicken and had cauliflower and collards with chicken. The chili was delicious on a salad for my lunch one day that week and in a pita sandwich for the kids’ lunches. The meals were recycled and combined the whole week, which didn’t require us to do too much cooking. It was awesome.

Here is our collard greens recipe. Hope you enjoy them!


  • 2 LBS of Collard Greens
  • 2 medium onions diced
  • 5-6 garlic cloves chopped
  • 48 ounces chicken stock
  • 2 tsps salt and pepper or to taste
  • 2 pinches of red pepper flakes
  • olive oil


Collards are big and reduce. We cooked it in two parts. Sauté the onions in olive oil until translucent. Then add garlic for about 30 seconds. Add 1 lb of collard greens. Stir around the collards with the onion and garlic mixture until the collards wilt and make room for more. Add some salt and pepper. Then you put in the second lb of collard greens and add a little more olive oil to coat. Stir in the entire mixture until its all well coated and mixed in together with the onions and garlic. Add the pinch of red pepper flakes and pour in the chicken stock. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for about 55 minutes or until greens are tender.

A New Day. A New Year.

The day is finally here. Its the first day of a new year. The New Years holiday is a special holiday for me. Every holiday has a general theme: Thanksgiving is about being thankful;  Valentine’s day is about saying I love you; New Years is about change. I love that. I love to review the highs and lows of my previous year and make plans for the new year. I love the energy that comes with people wishing goodness for the year to come, positive thoughts, and calls to action. I love to see the gyms flooded on the Monday following the new year and people taking up juice fasting and healthy diets.  Many people, however, are bothered by this holiday. They scoff at New Year’s Resolutions and they will offer a hundred reasons why people don’t ever stick to them. They will tell you they are pointless. And truth is, most people don’t stick to their resolutions. Most people don’t make the changes they wish to make. Most people have the same resolutions year after year.

So what’s the point in making them?  One simple word sums it up: HOPE.

Each new year gives us hope that better things will come and that things can change. You know what….its true!!!! Things can get better, and things can change. Whether the resolution sticks or not is actually irrelevant. Why? Because what matters is that as long as we are alive, we have the power to make positive changes in our lives. Whether its January 1st, or Monday, or the day after someone or something inspired you…if you are breathing, you can change your life for the better. That hope should never be lost. To lose it would in essence be, to die while you’re alive. Does that mean that when the clock strikes 12 o’clock, you will all of a sudden be a new person? No, of course not. But the truth is it only takes a moment for something to click in your mind. What takes time is to take the steps necessary to make the changes that your brain knows you need.

A new year also gives us the opportunity to close the last chapter in the book of our lives and begin a new one. For me personally, this has much significance. 2015 has been the most difficult year of my life. It is the year I lost my best friend, mentor, and soul mate… my dad. It was not only difficult because of his death, but also because of the toll his illness took on him and on me. It was difficult because after his death I had to deal with the aftermath of his affairs and that, too, was all consuming. To be plain and simple, it sucked.

Of course there were good things that came in 2015. My husband started his own law practice and had a remarkably successful year. My three boys continue growing and  thriving in school and in life. I ran a half marathon and discovered a passion for running… a total plus! And as a result of my dad’s passing, I have found friendships (old and new) that I am beyond blessed to have. So, like always, its never all bad. But… there is no denying that 2015 was an extremely painful year. And yet, as of today, 2015 is in the past. Whether I still miss him or not, this is a new year. This year will not be remembered as the year I lost my dad or the year I spent in and out of hospitals with him. I don’t know what memories will mark this year.  But I have HOPE they will be good ones. And as of this moment, I have a whole year left.

So I say, MAKE YOUR RESOLUTIONS; SET YOUR GOALS; PLAN TO HAVE THE BEST YEAR OF YOUR LIFE!!!!! Celebrate this holiday. Enjoy the energy, spirit and hope that comes with this time and use that energy to propel you forward. Get your momentum now that its free flowing and help yourself move in the direction of your dreams. Your work is not over. No, on the contrary, it is just beginning. But how lucky are you that you have been given the gift of life and the chance to do whatever it is you want to do?