There’s just something peaceful about morning running. Maybe it’s the quiet of the day or the darkness that hasn’t quite conceded to the bright glow of the majestic day ahead. There are not many cars around nor other runners where I am or even people walking dogs. It’s just quiet almost to the point that I can hear my thoughts out loud. I love that first breath in of fresh crisp air that purges my lungs of night air and fills my soul with brightness. It calls me to it, envelops me and makes me its own for 30 minutes of bliss. I can see the glow of a dawning day in the windows of my neighbors and see those who have started their day. I can smell those ambitious enough to cook something that appeals to my palette as I run on an empty stomach thinking about the pancakes and eggs I’ll make when I return. As dawn lights my way, revealing my form I realize this is the best run that I’ve had in many days. I enjoyed it a lot and am happy I didn’t wait until tonight to go. When I run in the morning I have no worries, no problems, no distractions. My phone isn’t ringing, I’m not tied to the internet and I’m not trying to organize anything. It’s just me, in the dark blending in with what remains of the night. Free as a bird and not weighted down by life at this very moment.
Today as I make my way through my neighborhood wondering who knows I’m passing by, my mind is on my race on Sunday. I’m running The Falmouth Road Race and thinking about how the race will go and whether it will be my race. It may not be. Because of the time of the month it may have to just be fun. I’m not expecting it to be a stellar race because I just don’t do well a few days before I get my period. 2-4 days prior, my legs are heavy, it’s hard for me to breathe and it’s just a struggle. Even if it’s a struggle, I’d like to beat last years 1:18. I’m much stronger this year in my core than last year which will be helpful. Nonetheless, if I go into it not expecting too much and not trying to be faster than last year I think it will be fine. Slow it down and I’ll have more fun. My friend who runs this race with me might like company for the entire 7 miles rather than being dumped at the starting line like I usually do. I well know how not fun running alone is so that might be the way to go I think. It’s all about the fun and the experience.
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!
One of the things I like about being in my position having come from a weight problem, depression, eating issues and lack of motivation is my ability to speak from experience. It’s one thing to try and make someone feel better by telling them that they will get there but it’s entirely another to look them in the eye and tell them with complete conviction that only they can reach their goals through making a change. Telling someone that they have to change their habits and be motivated and determined and focused. Assuring them with the tone of my voice that it can in fact be done but they have to WANT to do it. I’ve said it before and I’ll continue to say it till I die, unless you are in a wheelchair, dying or dead, where there’s a will there’s a way. Blind people have run marathons, people without limbs compete in all kinds of sports, fat people lose hundreds of pounds without surgery and why? Because they have sheer determination and will power to do what it takes to get it done. It’s funny how having experience changes how you say something to someone looking for advice. Not having experience makes you want to tiptoe around feelings and impressions. Having experience waives all that because you know how to get it done because you’ve done it and you didn’t accept excuses from yourself and you’re not about to accept them from anyone else. The bottom line advice is Just Go Do It! Period. I did it and so can you! What are you waiting for?
Progress is slow it’s as simple as that. As much as we would like to see results right away it just can’t happen that fast unless you’re Mama June and even that took time. I’ve been taking progress pictures of myself since November and some of them look like I’ve made good progress and others just don’t look different at all. Some days I wonder how I can do more. Other days I try to switch it up so I am doing some different things so my body is confused and doesn’t get complacent. Then there are days where I wonder why I do all that I do because let’s face it, I’m 48 and probably not turning too many heads any longer. I mean I look nice outside thanks to hair dye and makeup and staying fit. Clothes hide cellulite and sometimes bulges in bad spots so to see me with clothes on is sort of an unfair picture. I’m not complaining at all because I know how I feel and in fact still hear from people that are impressed with how I do look. It’s the bathroom mirror that bothers me and all the work that I do that isn’t doing enough that can sometimes be a downer. My answer to myself is if you want it, work harder. That really is the answer that I need to own if I want it bad enough. I want it but I’m not willing to really do a ton more than I am because I care about good health and feeling good, which I am in and do, over trying to look like someone that I’m not. Even with this realization and understanding I still have the days where I feel defeated. It doesn’t last long because I live with a child fighting the weight and good health battle. When I see her trying so hard right now I remember how far I’ve come and remind myself to appreciate where I’m at and do what I can to support her.
I wrote today’s blog because last night she said sort of jokingly that she wished she could see results in a week. Yeah, don’t we all! That would be great but as we all know, it takes 30 days for you to feel a difference, 60 days to see the difference and 90 days for your friends to see it. That fact is with a LOT of hard work, dedication and determination. It will happen but it just takes time. We have to be patient and do our due diligence to get there plain and simple. I have always believed that you have to want it bad enough to sacrifice all that you need to in order to get it. That is where I find that many people struggle because we have become a society of instant gratification and unwillingness to work hard for what we want. Where there’s a will there’s a way plain and simple, we just need to find it and get it done. Remember to use the 21 /90 rule to cement your commitment and to go from attempting it to in the habit of it to having a new lifestyle that changes your life!
How bad do you want your goals and what do you sacrifice to achieve them?
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 I feel like Cinderella reflecting on her wonderful evening at the Ball! Last night I went to a show at Symphony Hall! I have never been there and was in sheer awe at every detail of the building’s exterior, the interior and the hall itself. The doors were leather with brass riveted fastenings, the details adorning the walls and ceilings and staircases alike were amazing. The rugs were brilliant and royal and soft as I walked on them. The front doors all open wide under the lit overhang which sat beneath the majestic flags that hung high near the roofline were welcoming and the staff with smiles on their faces stood at every door welcoming guests and assisting us to our seats. It was absolutely the most beautiful building I’ve ever been in in my life. As I sat in that brilliant hall in my seat watching just an incredible show I had something pop into my head that will be on my bucket list for sure. I want to dance in Symphony Hall! If I had my way, I would have been brave enough to try it, waiting for everyone to leave but that isn’t really feasible without some serious strings. It’s actually more like a pipe dream from a combination of chick flicks out there that I’ve seen so many times. In my fantasy the lights would be low, the tables and chairs would be cleared, the POPs would have stayed in their seats playing a dancing tune and my love would have led me to the middle of the floor for a dance while the Symphony Hall staff looked on thinking how lovely we looked.
Back to reality. Things like that only happen in the movies but wouldn’t it be so wonderful if it actually happened? I think so and I plan on finding a way to indeed Dance at Symphony Hall! EEJANAIKA (Japanese for What The Hell) you might be thinking. Is this even related to Running? The answer is actually yes! This blog is mostly associated with running and fitness but it is also associated with having goals and being brave and being motivated which is more where this particular blog fits in. I owe this bucket list addition to running in fact. It is because of running that I feel like I can actually have a dream about dancing at Symphony Hall. I am in shape now and I can dance and I now also feel comfortable in pretty clothes and flowy dresses that aren’t boxy that show off my much better shape. Running has given me the confidence to even think that I would want to or could do that, a gift that just keeps on giving! Running has made me brave enough to have a bucket list and feel worthy of believing that I can do these things. Running has given me a believe that I can and should experience amazing things. I love running and all that it brings me…friends, happiness, confidence, strength, tenacity, motivation, memories and an updated bucket list!
PS: Someday I WILL dance at Symphony Hall, twirling round and round in a flowy dress and pretty dancing shoes to the music of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. The lights down low glowing off the gold frosted walls of two tiers of balconies, caressing and flowing over ornately crafted walls and a ceiling that are intricately and delicately designed to catch and release light, memories and dreams.
I finished the book “When Breath Becomes Air” last night which was written by Paul Kalanithi. Paul wrote this book because he found out he had terminal cancer and he wanted to document his journey as he faced his own mortality. He wrote his journey from brilliant Neurosurgeon to Cancer patient. Paul was quite interested in diving into looking death in the eyes and analyzing what death means and looking at it as a process instead of running away from it. It is an honest book that I don’t know as if I could have written in the midst of suffering from Cancer and watching myself wither from health to having people on my death watch just waiting for me to pass to move on. It’s a good read and something that will not leave my mind. You should read it. THIS Ted talk by Lucy Kalanithi is what prompted me to read the book.
I thought about Paul this morning as I headed out to run and I thought about Lucy his widow and Cady his infant daughter who most likely won’t remember her father except in the things her family and her mother share with her. I thought about my own life and thought about how I read and cried through this book and as my legs carried me over my three miles I confirmed with myself that if I face this same kind of decision in my life, I do NOT want to spend time chasing time if the outcome is sure to be finality. I would rather spend my time simply talking to my family, and running, having cookouts and creating memories and laughter than living in a hospital bed. Everyone dies we just don’t know when we’ll die or how. Why worry about it? Every day and moment should be lived to the best of our ability being the best people we can be don’t you think?
I run because I want to be more healthy. I want to be more healthy because I want to live as long of a life free from canes or adult diapers and medications as I can. I started off running to run away from life’s problems. I ran to save myself from deep dark places that the anti-depression commercials talk about. I ran not to look forward but to not look back. Things are much better now for me and I am probably the happiest I’ve ever been since getting married. I now appreciate meaning in life and the joys that my family brings me, especially my children as they head into adulthood. I now run to be able to have as many tomorrows as I can and to “experience” every day rather than just living every day. Lucy and Paul “experienced” life and looked at life in a really analytical way both in life and through and during death. Running saved me and has taught me to really appreciate and experience most everything. Running has become the glue that keeps me sane, lets me analyze things so I can better understand them more like Paul and Lucy do. Running lets me reflect on things that have happened and what my takeaways are a lot like Lucy and Paul did as they applied the lessons they were learning through their difficult journey through Paul’s illness.
It’s books like this that make me a better human who appreciates the important things in life over skimming through each day blindly, and it’s running that has allowed me to take all those moments and push them forward to tomorrow and the next days to come. Life, like running has good days and bad, joy and pain, frustrations and memories, positives and negatives. We should know what we want from both, have goals for both, give mindful thought to the moments and milestones that we experience during both.