The day I decided to be a runner was the day we left our apartment and life in Florida (with my husband flying out of FLL) and I drove 4 hours with three kids and a dog to the north to embark on what would be a 3 month trip and transition to living in […]
The day I decided to be a runner was the day we left our apartment and life in Florida (with my husband flying out of FLL) and I drove 4 hours with three kids and a dog to the north to embark on what would be a 3 month trip and transition to living in the Philadelphia area. The day I decided to be a runner I drank a bottle of wine. The day I decided to be a runner? I probably should not have been making any decisions other than how to walk a dog & take kids to the bathroom singlehandedly at the rest area along the Florida Turnpike. (No being was left in the car, thank you.)
Yet, this is the day I decided to become a runner. Honestly? I blame my cousin who was visiting my sister at our final destination that day. It’s all her fault. She has been CrossFit training for a few years now and was sharing that she’d be in Philly for a Spartan Sprint. I thought that it sounded like a SWELL idea! Note: she was sharing that she would be in town. She wasn’t asking me to join her. I did that all on my own. Wine, really.
Okay. I really shouldn’t blame the wine, stress, or my cousin. Right then and there, we both registered for the Spartan Sprint happening at Citizen’s Bank Park (which we had a Groupon for!) then toasted our excitement for race day with…you guessed it! More wine!
She also shared she’d be back in the Orlando area in 2017 for the Disney Princess Half-Marathon. And you know what I said? I’ll join you! Let’s Do it! Why wouldn’t it make sense that a woman who hasn’t run more than a couple of miles run thirteen and one-tenth miles. 13.1. So, in the matter of what was about an hour, I went from being a non-runner with zero plans to run to a person who was planning on running. For fun.
Training: A Runner was Born (Life: Make a Plan)
I’ve never run a race before. Infact, I had knee surgery eons ago and pretty much used it as an excuse that I can’t run. Well. I no longer believe that I can’t do it. I know I can do it– I just didn’t want to train before. Now I do. I haven’t read a ton on running, though I have two books on hold at the library I can’t wait to get! I’ve watched a few Youtube videos on proper running form. I researched the best running schedule to follow and invested some time, energy and money into making sure that I was meeting dietary needs to support all this extra effort. I’ve also been extremely diligent to take great care of my knees with specific exercises and stretching. Finally, two mornings a week, I wake up at 4am to get a short run in.
None of this has happened overnight or without me thinking about it. Like in life, when you know there is a goal to accomplish, you make plans to get it done. Life can skate by pretty darn quickly (not new information, I know) and it is easy to let life happen to you. By that I mean, your decisions are based on external things, perhaps in your control or not. But to be successful, make progress, have forward momentum, one must decide, plan and follow-through. I can not run 13.1 miles. Yet. But come February, I certainly will feel much more confident in my ability because I have made these small decisions to get me much closer to my goal. I’ve read, and have most definitely experienced, that life is made up of a bunch of seemingly small decisions. Make the most of them!
Injury: Needing to Slow Down (Life: Shit Happens)
Every Saturday we (me & Mike) run a long run. They’ve been going pretty well for me. I use a combination of a run/walk to complete the miles after a certain point. I was feeling good about my progress and had noticed many improvements in my endurance and speed up until this point. Then I started running the 8 miles due that particular Saturday. For whatever reason, one of my knees was not cooperating. Maybe I didn’t foam roll enough? Too much? Did I step wrong? Did I have enough rest days? I had no idea. There was no way that I was able to run those miles. So I didn’t. I didn’t give them up completely, however. I walked those miles. As in life, sometimes shit happens for no apparent reason and we keep going. We keep getting up, walking the dog, going to work, and then it isn’t so shitty anymore. So I walked. The entire time I wondered: what do I do? Do I give up? Not race next month? Stop training for the half?
Training Again: Dedication and Commitment (Life: It Keeps on Keepin’ On)
I took one full week off after my knee injury. No running. No cross-training. I iced and rested. Then I spent a week refocusing my energy on making both knees stronger again. I walked, strength trained, iced and rested. I’ve decided to start again from the beginning of my training schedule. I am not giving up. Today I ran a mile. Pain-free.
Sometimes when things get rough, it is truly important to recognize when you just need a break from the task at hand. Frequently, stepping back from something is smart, necessary, and healthy. It isn’t a sign one should quit but a sign that a new strategy is needed.
I don’t know if there is a scale to measure a stronger person. Is it even quantifiable?. I feel strongly that accomplishing my goal will make me a stronger person. From the outside, no one will know that I’m any different. Sticking to a training schedule, early mornings, cross-training, and dealing with setbacks are all things that can make you a stronger runner, but can also make you stronger person to handle life and it’s ever-curvy road.
What makes you feel like a stronger person in your life?
Gratitude & Celebrating
Yes, thank you. More, please.
These words have become the mantra, prayer, wise words, and gentle request of one of my closest friends. She utters them when things get a little difficult, urging herself to recognize that the challenges of one day or week are only making her stronger and more capable to handle the future. She shouts them with joy when joyful things are happening or when life is full of mundane. Because the mundane is actually just stillness and life needs that too.
When I call her, to complain or laugh, to celebrate or cry, she repeats them to me:
Yes, thank you. More, please.
Who are we thanking? Perhaps Source Energy, Great Goddess, the Universe, Good Orderly Direction aka G.O.D., Buddha, Mother Earth, your God, his God, her God…all of the above.
Yes, thank you. More, please.
So on my thirty-something birthday, I could write a list, but it isn’t the list itself that I’m proud of. It’s life: living, breathing, and being. Yes, thank you. More, please. All of the difficult parts, all of the sticky-icky and best left forgotten: Yes, thank you. More, please. All of the joy, friendship, and love. Especially all of the love. Yes, thank you. More please. For the sweet and simple moments.Yes, thank you. More, please. I am truly grateful.
Today I am excited for the many adventures yet to be lived. I have so many firsts left to experience: places I haven’t yet traveled, friends I have yet to meet, and stories yet to be written. (Just last week I tried duck for the first time!) They don’t need to be placed on a list or in a bucket. Life will unfold as it has and always will: day by day, moment by moment, and depending on my point-of-view that day, a touch too quickly. Today I am celebrating that I’m here–with salted caramel ice cream pie from the local ice cream shoppe.
Yes, thank you. More, please.
I’ve often wondered how to “come back” to this space. In my head, I imagine it to go very much like a couple of long-lost friends bumping into each other at Starbucks (not that you’d find me there any more. You know. Saving money & all.) Something kind of like this:
You: “Hiiiiiiiii-eee! How are you? It’s been so long since I’ve seen you! How’s the family? Mmmhmm. That’s fantastic!”
In between I’d calmly and sort of awkwardly answer: “Hiii. So good to see you! I’m great thanks. You? It has been awhile. A really long while. The family’s good- kids are growing and we’ve moved. Yes, definitely fantastic.”
And then you’d ask, because, let’s face it, who wouldn’t?: “Did you Do the Thing?”
“Ummm. Yeah. So the Thing didn’t really get done quite the way we thought it would. We’re not upset by the not doing of the Thing. We just had a small change of plans.”
Back to you. This is where most people give great supportive comments along the lines of “there are more fish in the sea” type things. Only, pertaining to The Thing. You’ll do so. I’ll accept them. Awkward moment over.
See? It wasn’t hard to come back to this space. It was a lot less wordy than the last time I took a break. An Upright Grand Piano & a Break. It’s good to see you here.
The kids are great. Getting big. Still not going to school and yes, we did indeed move.
We are living in the Philadelphia area now. We can throw pennies on Benjamin Franklin’s grave any time we want. Not that I think he’d like that but people do it.
We will have to grab a beer next time we catch up. I’m pretty sure Franklin would be pleased.