• What I'm Thankful For

    As I’m standing in front of the mirror brushing my hair in “my bathroom” at my mom’s house, I’m having flashbacks to my middle school days of the late 80’s when I was sporting the permed long curls that I took the liberty of highlighting myself with a couple of bottles of Sun-In, and long summer days spent running carefree at the beaches in Carlsbad.

    In “those days” the drive from Fallbrook to the stairs at Tamarack Beach seemed like an eternity.  The twenty mile one-way trip was always filled with anticipation and excitement as I couldn’t wait to grab my boogie board out of my parent’s Ford Bronco and dive into the waves.  My sister was the surfer and would go out and shred with the boys but she was too cool to drive with us.  She would pull up in her red Pontiac Fiero with her board strapped to the top, secured with Thule racks.  She sported the Uggs back then too just like today on Thanksgiving.  She’s always been cool like that.  As I comb through my long blond hair, not much has changed over the last nineteen years, but things have definitely evolved-for the better.  I am the one that surfs now and my sister has temporarily put the waves on hold while she is caring for her two month old little boy.  I still have long blond hair but thank God it no longer has any trace of the chemically induced curls, and the color, well I have upgraded from the bleach in a bottle to the perfect highlights Lisa at Model Call Salon in La Jolla gives my hair.  Yep, she grew up in Fallbrook too and we have a ton of fun chatting and laughing about the days at Bonsall Elementary, the underground newspaper her brother started and oh my gosh did you here that Dominick’s Deli opened up a second location in town.  You know, all the vital details.

    I still run but now instead of running into the waves with my boogie board, I run marathons.  Boston Marathon, New York Marathon...I’ve run them both.  Placed eighth and ninth respectively.  Not bad for a girl who got her start in a small town.  But you know I wouldn’t have had my childhood be any other way.  When I come back to Fallbrook for the holiday so many good experiences come back to life.  I run up Mission Road from my mom’s house and turn onto Stagecoach Road and run right past the high school where I spent four very focused years.  In those four years I won twelve San Diego CIF section titles and five California State titles.  I have an easy time retracing my steps on the high school track as I recall the 10x400 meter repeats Coach Hauck would have us do every year on the first day of track practice.  Our track isn’t dirt anymore.  Nope, it’s been replaced with a state-of-the-art all-weather red eight lane track.  Mr.  Hauck would’ve been proud.  He passed-on a few years ago. Collapsed right at the track he had devoted so much time to.  I run up Stagecoach to Ranchwood Lane.  A quiet, anonymous street with a handmade wooden sign stating its name.  I make a right turn and immediately remember all the runs with the “boys.” Donny and Ian Forsyth, Tim Heck, Brian Purcell.  Mr. Hauck knew I was too fast to run with the girls and that the boys didn’t dare allow themselves to be beaten by a 4’11” 75 pound girl, so I ran many runs on Ranchwood Lane listening to boys be boys while I hurried to keep pace. Now instead I’m listening to a mix of Bon Jovi, Alicia Keys, Usher and Kings of Leon on my iPhone 4S.  I’m laughing to myself because the only cell phones back in 1991 looked like a big grey brick and weighed about the same.  Now I have one strapped to my arm and I can order a pizza with my Urbanspoon app or check my account balance with my Bank of America app.  Like I said not much has changed, but a lot has evolved.

    As I make the turn off Reche Road and head south on Stagecoach Lane to retrace my steps, the smell of sagebrush mixed with a late fall crisp, but warm morning totally awakens my senses and I remember the trips we would take in my dad’s red 1991 Jeep Wrangler up to Fresno, CA each year for the California High School Cross-Country State Meet.  It has always been held the weekend of Thanksgiving.  Yep we would pile in the Jeep, turkey-cranberry sandwiches tucked away in the back and I would play my Gameboy and listen to Oingo Boingo on my Sony Personal CD player during the five hour trip north.  My mom has the 1991 Red Jeep Wrangler now.  It’s had a few rebuilt engines put in it by Eric at Peter’s Automotive, but it still runs great and everyone in town still knows my mom by her car.  In fact, I saw Mr. Hutcherson at the gym in town this week and he asked how the car was running.  He sold my parents the Jeep back in 1991.  As I make the turn off Mission Road up towards my mom’s house I remember the thousands of times I have made this turn before.  Sometimes exhausted after a two hour training run, sometimes soaking wet after being relentlessly pelted with rain during an early spring run, sometimes numb after trying to process the change in my life that I didn’t like, but this time secure, content and happy.  You see, I am not just the girl that runs really fast and can beat the boys anymore.  I am a woman who has a career, is fit, intelligent and back doing exactly what she loves to carefree.  Not a lot has changed, but a lot has evolved.  And for that, I am very thankful.

    Follow Milena on as she blogs about sports nutrition, healthy sports drinks, being a woman and a modern athlete, as well as her personal life.

  • Baroness of Blunder

    Sometimes we learn the most on how to do something when we do it wrong a few times.  Yep I am definitely the diva of that divine saying and although I have managed to get myself into a lot of trouble, some good and some bad, by making a royal mess out of things, I can honestly say that I have always learned more when I embrace my mistakes.  I take that princess crown studded with errors, proudly put on for the day and take command of my kingdom that is in disarray.  And somehow, through the chaos, dust and confusion, my insight emerges with renewed perspective and passion for the project at hand.

    My personal life, running career and relationships have all taken their walk down the aisle in the castle of chaos but the invaluable rewards I have learned from the mishaps, well I wouldn’t trade them for all the gold in the land.  And the biggest gem in this collection of hiccups is the age of 36 I now allow myself to make mistakes.  It is kind of like allowing yourself to have some dessert.  If you deny yourself for too long then pretty soon one day that Entenmann’s Butter Pound Cake and Oreo Cookie Double Stuffs look like a match made in heaven that need to be a part of your universe sooner than later.  A little dessert and little room for error on a rather consistent basis will keep your cravings away, help you learn a lot and most definitely make you a much saner royal ruler.

    My name is Milena Glusac and I am a world-class athlete, coach, account executive for Vitalyte and their line of sports nutrition products and part-time baroness of blunder.  I am a busy woman that sometimes doesn’t have it all together.  I know what it is like to try to balance work, training, dating, deadlines, timelines, biological clocks and dogs that act like kids.  I know you are busy ladies out there too trying to be it while while serving your noble court with a smile.  Well my series of blogs and women’s forum is intended to give you a place to land when you just don’t feel like you can find the time, strength or energy to make it all perfect all the time.  Join me by putting on your imperial tiaras of imperfection and take some time for yourself to be you. This is a terra firma that doesn’t judge, criticize or hold resentment.  This is a safe haven of rest from the world of expectations.  This is a bastion of respite where you are free to learn about the healthy lifestyle you want to create and get to know more about making time for you.  So as you read my series of blogs I encourage you to join the forum and take your seat with the other high priestesses of aberration because after all, this is about you.

    I don’t know about you but my iPhone 4GS alarm serenades me with the strumming noise of a guitar, encouraging me to wake up while it is still dark.  Every morning I go through the same cascade of questions as if I am trying to uncover the secret workings of the universe: It can’t be normal to be awake in the morning while it is dark?  How can it be that the drive through line at Starbucks is so crowded?  Will I get my Skinny Vanilla Latte quicker if I brave the frigid 61 degree 6:00 am San Diego weather and walk in?  So many questions race through my mind at this early in the morning.  The one thing I do know is that I need to meet my trainer Michael at 6:30 because that is my time.  Yep the space I have set aside for me and only me in my day.  I know I will more than likely misjudge a few things and make a few errors during my day but the one thing I won’t do is miss my early morning workout.  There is a reserved sign on this table for one and their isn’t any amount of caffeine deprived SUV drivers that are going to crowd me out of being on time for my date with me.  I have a horrible habit of being five minutes late everywhere.  I know it stems from my over flowing schedule and trying to fit twenty five hours of living into twenty four hours of space, but I am working on this because I have learned that I actually will get just as much done with a lot less stress if I learn to say no.  Yikes that small two letter word that for years just seemed to require more frickin guts, gumption and grit to blurt out than I thought was polite.  But I am past the “polite” phase in my life and am in the phase of being good to myself.  And if being good to me means stepping down from a few of my “responsibilities,” than I welcome my capricious antics with a big party and a few bottles of champagne, adorn my crown with a few new jewels of disregard, and cut some rug with the court jester.  Now this feels good!

    I am sure many of you have felt this way in your life at some point.  But how do you come to that space inside where you are taking care of yourself without being selfish and while still caring for the things that really matter in your life.  I feel, at least for myself as woman, that I wanted to make everything right, have everyone be happy and be looked upon as the good girl.  On the outside it appeared as if everything was perfect in my life.  I was the polite daughter that listened attentively to everything her parents expected, I was the perfect student who never caused a disturbance and the compliant friend that listened and smiled.  Whether it was my dislike for chaos or confrontation in my surroundings or just the dislike for having to defend my opinions that were contrary to those around me, this continual compliance eventually erupted in my physical being.

    At the height of 5’6” and 80 pounds I just learned to be quiet about everything and literally wither away from the loudness that surrounded me.  Now eighteen years later I have dealt with those issues that drove me to retreat and disappear from the continual fighting and maturely face something and say, “this is not the right situation for me” and lead my life the way I choose.  Crazy how we never actually can get away from something we don’t face.  Now I just know how to face it straight on with my head held confidently high and running shoes laced tightly.  Instead of running from the uncomfortable situation first, I address it with poise and tact, then I go for my run and enjoy the time to clear my mind and take rejoice in my royal title of duchess of dominion in the land of controversy.  Yes dealing with issues as they arise and then proceeding with my life without staying off course for too long has allowed me to make sure I am still “taking care” of things as they need to be but assuring I will be there for myself when it is all over.  I no longer get lost in the clutter created by situations.  Instead, I take a seat high in my throne and take a deep breath because I know that I will always represent myself with dignity and have a fabulous time doing it.  After all we must remember what the role of court jester teaches us.  He was meant to help those lost in a world of burden  lighten their sense of “duty” by introducing actions of joy and laughter.  It is through mistakes and folly that we actually gain a greater perspective.  Follow me in this series of blogs, position your princess tiara perfectly (or imperfectly) on your head and let’s re-engage ourselves as empowered woman who want to live an active, fit and healthy lifestyle while still addressing all those early AM alarm clocks and long lines just to get a Vanilla Bean Frappuccino (should I end it here or add this last sentence...) It’s going to be a great journey fueled with a little caffeine, some sarcasm, a few stories of my personal struggles and experiences, and great tips on training and nutrition.

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