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?
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.
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?
Either I’m getting better at running faster or I’m just in better shape. Either way, I have been able to pull off a few miles under 9:00 which I haven’t seen in a LOOOOOONG time. I feel awesome just because I always do when I’m running but this last week I feel fast like a cheetah hitting sub 9’s. I imaging, knowing it’s just in my head, that the drivers that pass turn their head to look at me and think to themselves “wow, look at that girl go!” It’s probably more like “hey she’s running funny. Is she ok?” I have what my kids refer to as the BRENNA WOBBLE. Yep I am a category! That’s ok, I think it’s cute that they have a name for it. They can actually pick me out of a crowd of many many people just by the way I move. It amuses me.
Maybe hitting those times (8:53 mile 4 today) is because in the back of my mind I want it more and more. I think about improved times during every run and try to get at least one mile that skirts the nine minute mark. I think once you set your mind to something it just happens. I’m not one for excuses, in fact I hate people that just find one for everything. When I hear “I can’t” and I know that you in fact CAN but just don’t want to it makes me insane! Just who I am. What will be interesting to see is what some speed workouts do for hitting those marks. We’ll see.
What are some goals you’ve been surprised that you hit? Did it drive you to set bigger goals or keep pushing to hit it consistently?