Today’s blog isn’t about running really as much as it is about a runners mentality and how we sort of avoid judging each other or getting wonked out talking with complete strangers. It’s about a double standard whereby runners have a wide berth to just be who we are while the rest of the world stands in our very critical judgement.
Runners are super friendly for the most part I find. They smile, they help you finish races if you are struggling …or LOST like I was one time and they almost always greet you with good morning or a hello or a supportive “you got this”. I myself say hello to nearly every runner, biker, dog walker that I see on the road. Not everyone is responsive but that’s ok. I don’t find anything weird with talking to a running stranger anywhere or any time.
Today I had an experience as I put together my @cumberlandfarms iced coffee, which has stolen my business from the @HoneyDew_Donuts and @DunkinDonuts crooks who think asking $3.68 for a mostly ice, iced coffee is ok. It’s not but I’m no longer your customer so whatever!
Anyway, I was at the counter mixing my flavor into my coffee and went looking for a lid. I didn’t see one in front of me (couldn’t have looked hard!) so I had to encroach upon the space of this nice girl making her own iced coffee to find a lid in front of her. As I leaned back to put the lid on my treat and realized that I had actually had 3 stacks of lids right in front of me. How did I miss that? I don’t know but moving on…. She said something that sort of eluded to the fact that she may have missed the stacks too or maybe something insinuating that CF didn’t put them in plain sight even though they were. Then came the part that made me feel really wonky. This sweet young bleach blond girl with the tiny little nose ring, no make up and a cute outfit randomly says to me “you look pretty today”. I’m now in the Twilight Zone. She looks at my sundress and says “I like flowers”. I say thank you, she tells me to enjoy my day and I return the sentiment to her. I pay for my coffee and gas and head out to my truck. That’s all there was to it. She was sweet and lovely and simply nice and I got all weirded out by it like she was hitting on me or something. I truly felt out of place and in a rare moment, didn’t know what the hell to say to her. WTF! Why is it that I’m totally comfortable talking about nothing to any running stranger yet a very nice person takes a moment out of her day to try and minimalize my irritation at myself for not finding what I wanted and I’m Wonked out? I’m not weirded out often in situations like that but maybe it’s because I wasn’t expecting that conversation to go beyond “Excuse me” and “no problem”. “You look pretty” feels like something I’ve stereotyped coming from a close friend, daughter, mother, co-worker or family member. Maybe we just don’t do things like that enough which is probably what is wrong with this stupid world anyway! So, even though I do not know who she was, I want to thank the nice young girl in Cumberland Farms in Bridgewater MA who was simply as nice as nice could be to me. You made my day and made me want to try to be nicer to some stranger some day soon. Maybe my head is too far stuck up my running butt and I’m only super accepting of runners and critical of the rest of the world. I should watch that from now on don’t you think?
Today I was slow. I ran a 12:11 first mile and slow similar miles for 2 & 3. I wasn’t out of breath but I talked and talked and talked. I spent 36 minutes running and could have run another 3 but I stopped. Today was not about me or training or about my race. It wasn’t about time or fitness or bragging rights. Today I ran with my daughter who is at one of the lowest points in her life struggling with weight. I have been there and I know that struggle. I know the demons that close in at night when there is nothing to do but wait it out until daylight when your responsibilities keep your mind busy until you do it all over again. She asked me to help her and how does one say no to someone reaching out for help? I wish someone had been there to help me instead of me clawing my way out all alone. So I put a plan together for her and I got up at 4:45 and we got out the door just after 5am. Together we started and I did most of the talking which consisted mainly of running basics and only concentrating on one step at a time and finishing because today that’s all that mattered. I talked about things to keep in mind about good form and safe running and running for self satisfaction. I think I threw up every running thing I’ve learned as we ran. I just kept talking so she could mainly stay quiet and concentrate on not puking LOL. We stopped and sipped Powerade every mile so she could take a breather and much to her surprise she made it all 3 miles! You see when you’re alone and struggling the desire to stop outweighs the desire to power through it especially when you’re fighting extra weight and a bulging disc in your back all you want is a reason or an excuse to stop so there is no guilt. It’s really hard. Period.
So today was all about a memory for me. It was about being there when someone needed help to encourage them and show them the way. It was like reaching out my hand to help Fat Brenna and tell her that everything will be ok. It felt wonderful to be there for a first all while hoping it wasn’t the last. It made me feel good and made all the normal thoughts about pace and time and form and things that needed me to do them back at home go away leaving only a sole purpose and that was to be inspiring to someone. It filled me with sunshine on a dreary cloudy day and that is something that you can’t buy. May you have days where it’s all about you because you need those days but may you also have days where it’s all about someone else because that is like community service for your soul.
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?
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?
Fitness is about dedication, determination, acceptance, fortitude, routine, consistency, learning, application, switching it up, flexibility and so many other things. Learning to work within all of these words to be the best and smartest athlete you can is a process. Sometimes you give it your all and other times you give it all you have in the tank. Knowing when to do either of those things is really important. Being able to accept the days when you just can’t give 100% for whatever reason is something that takes a lot of effort, at least on my part, to wrap my head around. You won’t get very far if you don’t learn to work within the boundaries of what can and cannot be accomplished on any given day. You do what you can and accept that one day at a time.
My struggle to decide what fitness routine I want to do every day at 5:00 am isn’t always clear. Sometimes I don’t even know until that morning what direction I’m going to take. Sometimes I end up doing exactly what I want and other days I just do what I can because time isn’t always on my side. I can’t complain because I work out 7 days a week most weeks and switching up my routine with a schedule like that is really important to staying healthy and not wearing myself down too much. Today I had another fight with my body. We got home from rehearsal at 11:45. Thank god I did lunches earlier in the night! Anyway, my alarm just seemed to go off way too early. I fought with my body, which will be another year older in a few weeks, for 15 minutes after the alarm went off trying to decide if we were headed out or headed downstairs. I wasn’t really keen on even getting out of bed today. Sleep was laying on me like an elephant today and I wasn’t really fighting it much. So after several minutes of consideration and deliberation about what we were going to commit to, downstairs won.
For those who haven’t read my previous blogs, my husband and I build, paint and manage the sets for the high school musical productions put on by The Raynwater Players made up of the students at the school. The show is tomorrow and its ridiculously big this time with too many sets, too many pieces left to finish and too many late nights. Making this all happen is cumbersome and there is just so much prep each night to make the most of every minute. Making dinners and lunches and getting supplies and things grows daily and takes more and more time away from sleeping as we get closer. Today I can’t even go in to work on the show because I will be picking my son up from college for the summer (WOO HOO! SO HAPPY!).
These things all take my time putting a choke hold on free time / me time. These days during show prep I do what I can and accept that for now. The show will be over soon and I can go back to two-fers soon. So today the bike won the draw and it’s actually probably good that I stayed in because my knee felt a little wonky. It didn’t hurt but it just felt wonky today. I believe in signs so I’ll chalk that one up to a sign that bad things would have happened today if I had gone outside to run. Thirty minutes is thirty minutes whether it’s running or weight training or riding the bike. It all goes to reinforce the same thing and that is keeping me healthy and agile. Some days you do what you want and other days you just do what you can because something is better than nothing on any given day.
Have you had challenges getting your workouts in? How do you make it all work?
Today I envy everyone that has a running partner. I was out for a simple 3 miles and just wished that I had someone to talk to to enjoy the run, leaves, perfect running temp, sunshine, everything. I know I’m never actually alone when I’m alone because like it or not, the Lord is always with me. I don’t give enough appreciation there and maybe I should have settled my thoughts to thanks instead of bitching about stuff that probably needs to be let go of and wishing I had running friends that lived nearby. That’s a work in progress for another day. Today was amazing out. Beautiful and fresh and sunny. If I wasn’t purposely taking it easy I would have kept running but there are two guaranteed days where I either don’t run and do weights, don’t do anything at all or do a simple 3 miles. It’s called obeying the body and taking care of the temple. It’s a tough runners lesson to get good at being faithful with but once you’re there it becomes part of your routine.
Today I wish I was running with someone and somewhere else. Somewhere on a long windy farm lined road filled with hills and trees and fences. A place where the leaves scatter across the street jumping out of your way as you traverse to your destination. Today I envy a lady I know running the MCM 10K because I know the route will be beautiful and lined with service folks who dedicate their lives to make mine safe. I thought to myself when I saw that she was travelling so far to run 6 miles how rediculous it seemed to travel so far to run so few miles but today I’m jealous of what she is doing and what she will accomplish. I am more jealous of the experience on such a wonderful day meant for outside efforts. A day where my windows will most likely be opened to let Fall in. Despite the day I personally wouldn’t travel for anything less than a half marathon. That half & full marathon series is on my bucket list.
So as I down my little bottle of chocolate goodness filled with old people vitamins I think about my appreciation for certain things. Although there were many “I wish-es” in this blog I choose to end it with all the things I am grateful for. I am grateful that I have the ability to strap on kicks and go whenever and wherever I want. I am grateful for a wonderful running day. I am grateful that I still have days where I have to take it easy. I am grateful for the numbers 3 through 13.1 which are the miles I’ve ever run. I am grateful for a Lord that realizes I’m probably the least perfect person on the planet but he lets me try anew every day. I am grateful for health that allows me to run at will and for the ability to appreciate all the things along every path I walk. Walk, run, jog, bike do something that makes you feel good and always remember along the path that you may be going to look around and appreciate all the wonders that are around you whether you are alone or in good company. As cliche as it may seem remember that “Life IS short” so be happy because only you can make you happy!