Wednesday, June 19, 2013

When the student is ready…

I actually had the nerve to google training for a marathon last night! I know, crazy… Right?? It was a pretty bold act because to even entertain the thought of running 26.2 miles with only an 11 mile long run seems absurd even to me! But much to my surprise, after looking at the training I humbly and apprehensively thought, Hmm. I couldn’t help thinking about my marathon running neighbor telling me that if you finish a marathon you are automatically a 1%-er. I’m not exactly sure what that meant but I liked it immediately. Stay tuned :)

Still thinking about my gutsy google search over my morning coffee today, I had a funny high school flashback. I was 15 or 16 years old and my friend and I decided to try out for cross country. Our reasoning for doing this escapes me. Here we were, girly girls with zero experience in any sport other than cheer leading, huffing and puffing down Maple Avenue, dead last behind a pack of runners that had become black specks in the distance. I vividly remember the coach driving by as we happened to be resting by a tree asking each other why the heck we were doing this.

“Come on ladies,” he shouted. “Move it! At the very least walk”.

Man did that tick me off! I remember thinking, who the heck is this pudgy little man driving in his teenie tiny compact car to tell me to move it? So we did what any other teenage girls would do. One of us watched for him and we hid & rested behind random parked cars when we saw him circling by as we made our way down Maple Avenue back to Notre Dame. And that marked my first and last time running for 25 years.

Today I started wondering why something I hated as a kid suddenly became so meaningful to me 25 years later. I decided the answer might be in a quote I had heard a long time ago…

“When the student is ready the teacher will appear”

So at 41, I’m finally laced up and ready to learn! And as shallow as it may be I secretly wish my past skeptics and even my pudgy little cross country coach would drive by and see me now! I wouldn’t hide behind a parked car today. I have 41 years of maturity and wisdom behind me.

In the spirit of the wise quote….

Sometimes when the pudgy shouting teacher appears the student is ready. To shout back, take a look at me now, buddy! Happy Monday!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Putting the pieces together

Isn’t it strange the way it seems we are already surrounded with all that we need? The missing component is using our unique creativity to put the pieces of what we love together and define our own success.
It struck me this afternoon on a rainy dreary Monday that it may be just that simple. I was having a tough time getting motivated to work. So I took a piece of advice that a decorator and friend from the community kitchen told me yesterday. I saw her at TJ Maxx and we talked about her doing some decorating for me. We joked that she would come over and decorate for me for drinks! She said all you have to do is pull out 5 of your favorite things and then we play. It all starts and revolves around surrounding yourself with what you love and what brings you comfort. It was a simple 5 minute impromptu conversation.

Today feeling in a funk I decided I would try some much needed self care. I did some short meditation before going to the gym. I remembered thinking on my long run yesterday that meditation is the space between thoughts. I almost always find that space toward the end of my long run. My mind is clear of clutter in the 9th, 10th, and 11th mile. It’s just me and my breathing and the drive to finish. I decided I should try to recreate that feeling today while being still. I logged a good 10 minutes which is great for me! I went to the gym and by lunch I was ready to get to work. Work. I have been searching for something new and more reflective of the person I have become to infuse into my business and I’ve been really stuck lately.

So this afternoon I decided to set up shop on the couch. I pulled out my laptop and thought of my decorator friend and grabbed something I loved. I immediately went to this candle. Its a heavy glass hand painted scented candle I made a long time ago. I love the look and the feel and the smell. So I lit it and felt instantly soothed. And then a spark came. My neighbor was just telling me of a candle she has that she loves and keeps on her desk. And it struck me. She is inspired by her candle. If I am soothed and inspired by this and I love this, maybe someone else will too.

So I snapped a picture and I put it on Facebook asking the question, Do you like this? A fleeting thought went through my head, what if no one likes it? But my new stronger runner-self replied, who cares? You love it! So I made the choice to be brave and I posted it.

Today’s puzzle pieces took me all day to put together… Running reflections, a community kitchen friend, something I created and love, confidence to get out of my comfort zone thanks to running, and now writing about it. All the pieces of this puzzle are things that I love. I can’t wait to see the picture that the pieces create down the road. Maybe going with the flow of life and simply loving what you love is the first step. Maybe success really is just using your creativity to recognize and put the pieces of all you love together. I think it’s worth a shot anyway :)

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Projections to gratitude

I was at the beginning of a long evening run this past week on my favorite lake route kind of lost in my mind and dreaming as I looked at the beautiful homes I passed. I think I was in the process of fantasizing which house suited me best as I planned my upcoming imaginary move to the neighborhood :) I used to do this all the time as a little girl. Fantasizing out my bedroom window was one of my favorite things to do!
Somewhere along the way it occurred to me that it was a beautiful hot evening and I hadn’t seen one person out on their dock or sitting on their porch. Weird. It struck me as incredibly weird. So I started making a point of noticing and counting how many people I saw. I spent over an hour running and only saw 3 groups of 3 or 4 people enjoying the beauty literally right in their backyard. My first thought was immediately how odd it was and my second thought was a bit self righteous. When I live here I will be appreciating the beauty and enjoying it every single day! I will never take it for granted. I will be grateful. Hold that thought!

The run got increasingly harder several miles later and I found myself struggling by mile 6. I started to feel light headed in the extreme humidity and my right upper thigh started aching. I hung in there until mile 8. Crap. This sucks, I thought to myself. Today was supposed to be the week I bumped up to 11 miles and here I was unable to do 10. And then I stopped running. Yup. I quit and decided to start the shame walk home after cutting the run short. Now let me add that walking really isn’t shameful. Well, except for me! I just hate having to walk! If I walk once, I will walk a million times so I rarely walk.

So during my shame walk I ruminated about how much this sucked. I had really been struggling lately. I hadn’t lost any weight in 3 months. I started trying all sorts of things to get it going again. I tried Crossfit, lifting, supplements. Nothing helped until I started the Paleo diet. I restricted my carbs and I lost 4 pounds in one week. Great, right? Nope. I felt dizzy and light headed all the time and my running suffered. I couldn’t sustain the mileage I had gotten up to on the diet. I had become a training gypsy subscribing to too many training plans.

Then it hit me like a ton of bricks. I was so focused on losing “more weight” and getting “more fit” that I hadn’t at all been grateful for how far I had come. Gratitude. The exact same judgement I had projected on all the folks not appreciating the lake applied to me. In my mind I started to realize that I had a choice right then. I could stop the nonsense. Stop the beating myself up over not finishing 2 more miles this week. Stop checking the scale every single day. I could make the decision to be grateful I had legs to run, a heart that beats strongly in spite of having some cracks and breaks over the years. I could take the time to listen to and learn what my body needs. I could find the balance in striving for a goal in a way that is enjoyable and fulfilling.

I don’t know if the folks living on the lake were out to dinner during my run Saturday night or if they really aren’t grateful for the beauty they have right in their back yard. And in truth it isn’t even my place to know or make the determination! Either way, tonight I was reminded how often it is that we project our own thoughts and feelings about ourselves on others. Tonight I was reminded of the importance of staying grateful for what I have and what I have accomplished. God I love running!