So there are things along this journey to being fitter that are kind of like milestones for me. One is pulling on clothes that I like in a size that makes me smile. Another is when your friends or co-workers tell you that you look good which is always nice. One of my favorite all time motivational smile-infusing happiness-creating things that have happened to me is when my kids tell me nice things without trying to make me feel good. Let me explain what I mean by that.
I know that I look good. Good compared to my old self and the healthiest that I’ve ever been. Good is relative I realize because I understand that I am not shaped like Barbie or the tall and skinnies of the world and that is just fine with me. I am happy with the 161 average weight that I seem to hover over these days because I’m muscular and in fact also shorter at 5′ 4″ tall. This means that I tend to grow out instead of up or evenly distributing my ever fluctuating weight because that’s the law of physics. I will never be Jessica Rabbit or have Heidi Klum’s legs sadly. I’m me and I know my boundaries and I’m fine with them. My job is managing all of that within the confines of the fitness routine I put in and keeping it all in check to stay between 150-165 roughly. I am always striving to get to the bottom of that range but truthfully I don’t care if I never see the big one-five-oh again. I work out and I work out pretty regularly, by choice and sometimes twice a day. It’s a little bit of an addiction and definitely a habit for sure. Something I’m just always working on like Mr. Holland’s Opus, just not ever done. I want to live to the crazy age of 96 so this is a good path to help me get there.
Now nothing and I mean nothing means more to me in this world than my kids. It is super important that they are proud of me and want to be with me and talk to me and hug me and hopefully always like my kisses! I hope they always tell me about their days be it good or crappy. I would die if I couldn’t be with and around them. They are just awesome! So, in the flow of two conversations recently, one with each son (19 and 17 respectively), we were discussing super skinny something or other and I said to one son that if whatever the statement were, was true I’d be super skinny. His answer melted me to pause my thought and compose my fast melting self. He said “You are super skinny Mom.” and he kept moving on with his thoughts about whatever it was that we were talking about. He wasn’t looking for accolades or a hug or even a response. It was his honest opinion. PAUSE: my son thinks I’m super skinny! woo hoo! On another day not long thereafter I was talking to the other son about something weight related (not necessarily mine) and whatever I said it prompted him to say “well it’s harder to get any smaller than you Mom, you work out all the time.” and he too proceeded to add to the conversation as if he had just said “the sky is blue”.
There it was again from a different source. From the one who wouldn’t sugar coat something to make you feel good (that’s his father in him). They both simply had said what they believed to be true which was like getting the best race bling ever! For those of you who do not know I am a medal whore. I Race for the prize because why should I not be rewarded for running for 2+ hours right? As I reflected on these thoughts that my sons had about me, it occurred to me that I have reached a personal milestone in my healthy lifestyle endeavor in this life. I have achieved the admiration of my kids who are proud of me for all this crazy hard work that I do. It’s become so much a part of who I now am that they don’t question it as being Mom’s new workout habit but more like part of what their Mom does. Some mom’s garden (I do that too) and some Moms do crafts and some Moms drive trucks. My kid’s Mom cooks great meals, sings new words to old songs, runs in the rain, would do anything for her kids to be happy and she also does fitness and that’s cool to them. I couldn’t have gotten two better compliments in the world than those two matter of fact statements made in passing by my sons.
Well, that was longer than expected but sometimes they are. Remember that there are those moments that tell you that you’ve arrived that you have to cherish and lock away for the days where you feel like you aren’t doing anything right. They are the moments that motivate us and push us to strive for more every day.
So my friends and I finished the “Run The Year” challenge yesterday. We did all the miles on our own mostly although cumulatively we did some together in race miles and some fun miles too. The last 12 miles we did as a group and it was just great! It was 3 easy miles at breathing pace so we could talk and laugh and just make the most of something fun that we did together. When we finished we took a picture with our medals and felt accomplished and good about ourselves as individuals and as a new group of friends who most definitely will do other things together. We went to dinner, laughed and shared stories and future goals and had ourselves a little celebration of ourselves.
I really like running with friends and feel like I could do so much more with them than I could alone. One of us is a super athlete having run marathons, triathlons, iron man races, brave unique races and just some crazy things. She makes me feel bold and is the reason I consider running something further than a half marathon. Another of us used to smoke like a chimney and has come back from ill health to someone who reminds me that I can achieve anything I set my mind to do. The last of our quartet is someone who makes reminds me that no one can take my cookies away from me and that I deserve to do anything I want to do because this is my life. You see my friends, although they may not know it, are the glue and strength in my everyday life. Each day I know them I realize how fun life can be and how much I have needed friends. These ladies are my special friends and my crazy friends and my supportive friends. They make me strong, make me laugh, keep me realistic but brave and are the piece to my puzzle that has been missing. I love my girls because I am a better person because I know them.
We are the Bad Ass B’s!
Today I ran a 10 Mile race with my friends. It was awesome having friends with me. We didn’t run together much but just having them there was amazing and invigorating and so freaking happy! We are all different in so many ways but runners are wonderful people with an amazing comraderie even to strangers. Today I had something happen to me that I’ve always feared. I missed the turn markers. This race was less than stellar in terms of most everything and the weather did a torrential downpour on us half way through. It would have been ok but my watch and phone are cracked so water is NO BUENO! So I was running respectable splits and would have hit my target finish time of sub 1:40:00 but I missed one of the turn markers. All of a sudden in the pouring rain while trying to keep my watch dry and jump big puddles and not get hit by a car I found myself all alone. I thought maybe I would see another runner around the corner but no…. I looked back and there was one of the girls I had met who came with one of my friends so I thought I was on the right track. I kept running until a woman in a truck stopped me to tell me that the runner behind me asked her to tell me i missed a turn. MISSED A TURN! uugghhhh! I thanked her and started back and it was my new friend that I met earlier at the start of the race. She stopped her race to get me back to mine. Only runners would do this.
This mishap is something that I have always dreaded. What would I do? Well now I know so it’s not so scary anymore. I have my new friend to thank for that. She’s a runner and we smile and say hello, cheer eachother on, pick eachother up, pat eachother on the back when things go wrong and we look out for eachother no matter what. I don’t know how long I would have kept running in that direction but it was far less because she stopped and helped me. It’s one of my favorite things about running. We support each other. So my overall time for 10 miles was more than I wanted but less than it could have been on the flip side. I’ll take that! I spent time with familiar smiling faces that mean the world to me and I met new friends and I’ll take that too! These ladies, this sport mean the world to me. I am so happy I started running! I love you all!
Today as I was on my regular run I decided to run slower than my body probably would have taken off without direction. I ran slower because one of my running friends asked me if I ever run slow. Well the answer to that is yes but lately it’s no. So being funny or at least trying to I purposely ran close to a 10 minute mile for the 3 that I put up today. I told her it was for her and it amused her which was my intent. I have to say that I love my running friends because they keep me realistic, super motivated and brave. Without them I would run too fast all the time, would not vary my workouts and would be way too hard on myself. My friends encourage me and cheer for me when I do something successful and they never poo-poo even the small success’. My friends always have a story of something I have not yet and may not experience that teaches me what to look for and how to handle those things. My friends have prepared me for bad runs because they have been there. My running friends are the people who are now my friends who I love talking to, running with and have a lot in common. They are my confidants, my voices of reason and my cheerleaders. My friends sign up for races because I get all excited about running them and they don’t mind when I send them stupid meme’s in the middle of the day just because I thought they were funny. They are my voice of reason and they pretty much just accept me for who I am, quirks and all! I thought about them as I ran today and was just thankful to have them to share my running life in part. They are funny, crazy, tolerant, understanding, encouraging, brave, bold, daring and so many other words that inspire me every day. Some I have known longer than others but each of them is just as important to me and all for very different reasons under the same umbrella.
So here’s a cheer to my running friends who are my extended family and deserve a thank you for keeping me going every day. I love each of you for all that you are to me and for listening to my incessant ramblings that always are about fitness and having fun. You are good sports and I’m happy to call you my friends!
Do you have people that share in your passion?
Day 4 in the backwoods of VA and it finally arrived. My threshold for when I start to miss my family. I love it here because it’s serene and beautiful and it’s the only time i will spend with my parents and sister perhaps for another year. Life is busy and I come as often as I can but it’s starting to feel like a lifetime between visits now that my dad is getting older. I knew it would eventually show up, tugging at my heart at some point making me homesick for the things that keep me busy, drive me crazy and helped prompt me to come down in the first place. I love my life and all the craziness it brings but sometimes I just want to get away from it so I can’t do it. So I have to do nothing but sit and reflect on it. Maybe it’s God’s way of giving me perspective and appreciation for those things so that I don’t become bitter or obsessive in a bad way. Maybe I needed a break, in fact I know I did. My son’s Eagle project is making me mad and I’m too involved. Time to step away Brenna. Maybe I came because my father has been diagnosed with the onset of Dementia and I want to spend some time with all his quirky annoying habits while he remembers me. Maybe I just miss my mother and my sister. Either way I’m here again and happy to be so. I’m enjoying it but home is now calling. Four days in and now I’m waking up in the middle of the night texting them that I miss them and lying awake wishing I could hug them. I especially miss my sons, James in particular because I can’t talk to him or text him so there’s just nothing there. He’s away with the Scouts and they aren’t allowed electronics during their trips so it’s like going cold turkey with him and I’m not a fan. I think about all of them on my peaceful runs every morning, hoping they have happy days and good experiences. I talk to my daughter and husband every day which is comforting. I started off thinking about my life during my morning runs on these quiet roads but now in just these few days it’s drifted to thoughts of my wonderful family and about how much I love and now miss each of them. Well, I suppose if I didn’t think about them or miss them that would be a different problem that would need solving. Perhaps I could work that out on the road too as I have worked so many things through out there. I feel like I can solve anything by just throwing my running shoes on and heading out for a nice long run. They weren’t kidding when they came up with the slogan that running is cheaper than therapy! The great road is wise and strong and comforting for me and as I have many times I will step out there seeking it’s solace to self medicate through running. As much as I like the peaceful roads of VA I will be happy to once again to be on the rural roads of Mass. I love running no matter where I am.
There is something different about running in the fresh country air of southern Virginia that fuels the soul and mind. It’s the same air but not at the same time. It’s quiet and peaceful and perfect for digging deep into one’s mind and thinking through the stuff that we don’t have time to weed through daily. You can see the sun rising on the horizon that you would swear you could just reach out and touch it’s so close. At the early morning hours as I tread on the pavement the residents are getting their days started and the Amish folks already have their day well under way with their business and farming. I wave at everyone because here, everyone here waves at me. I’m recognized as my mother’s daughter now, the one that runs since everyone knows my parents and each other and everyone talks about and to everyone else. Here you definitely run with a stick as I found out today passing the three amigo mutts. One decided to run just behind me a bit letting me know who’s territory it was. I also run with Mace but this really didn’t warrant radical action even though I did think about breaking it out for a second. A simple shout back letting him know that I could eliminate him if I wanted to with a firm voice did the trick just fine. There are sections of my route that are a little creepy and lacking life but they are not very big and I’m past them before I finish thinking about being nervous running there alone. Virginia, as many places, has a lot of poor sections. Houses in disrepair or falling over and even abandoned. It’s like a scene from a picture of America long ago when everyone struggled and family values were something different than the waning and changing ones of today. It’s a reminder to me about how fortunate I am to have all that I do. It’s easy to get caught up in daily life and complain about what we don’t have to which I am no saint. The house needs paint, the roof needs repair, the floor needs to be finished and about a hundred other things that aren’t good enough the way they are. When I come here, all that goes away because I am among people who struggle much more than I do. When I come here I am sure to remember to thank God daily for the life he has provided to me and the family that I have. As I run here, I miss home not for the things I have but for the people in my life. Their absence makes me so happy that I can miss them so much. When I am here I look forward to the Blueberry bread that my father makes. It’s so good and he feels so happy when I ask him to make it for me. I’m happy that he can still make it at 86 years old and I ask him to make it on purpose. Partly because he’s been diagnosed with Dimentia and the days of his memory and coordination and lucidity are getting shorter and that makes me sad. So while he is still all together I do what I can to make him feel useful and happy, besides it gives me a reason to go running here so I can eat it! So good! Time is in slow motion here and the days are really long with little to do. Running although the same as it is at home mechanically just seems to last longer here as if the air were gelled and thick to move through. You’re just forced to look around and take it all in. Runs are always happy and pass by in the nicest fashion setting the day up so it can be nothing but good. There just is nothing else like running to fill your soul like the back ass sticks of Virginia!