Thursday, July 14, 2016

Finding my why

I was talking to my old running partner about my upcoming marathon. It's the second one I'm attempting and I was complaining to him that I'm struggling with it this time. 

"Tough when you don't have the first time fire. And I guess after the first it has to come from a different place. Good to reflect why you want to run it. The answer will come from a different place."

And so began my obsession with trying to figure out why I want to run this stupid thing again....


I always say everything happens for a reason and I really do believe that to be true. But at the same time, I often beat myself up trying to figure out the reason. Sometimes I feel like a dog chasing it's tail. 

The past week the sky was falling down. And I've been trying to make sense of it all. What lesson am I supposed to be learning in all this?

Have you ever had a period of time everything, I mean everything, seems to come crashing down around you all at the same time? 

That would be my week. 

In the past I would not only have went into pity party mode, but I would have stayed there a good long time. 

Who am I kidding? A very long time.

This time I got there and I cried. I cried for 2 days. I asked why. I felt sorry for myself. I even lashed out a little bit at the people I love. 

Then I forced myself out of bed. 
And I ran.

I didnt just run though. 

I literally ran into my fear. 

Ironically I found myself back on the sidewalk I started running on like 4 years ago. 

Yes this one. It's pinned up above my desk.

I vividly remember running on that sidewalk with several images from my past right in front of me; while I carried the 60 pounds of extra weight I had accumulated before I started running.

Did you ever see this? 

That was me 5 years ago & me now. Crazy, right?
Fear and shame suck.

Back to the run. As I ran I started thinking about how far I had come since first running the route. 60 pounds is no joke. And with the shedding of it, I had shed the fear and shame too and replaced it with strength & confidence. 

I mean I had taken myself across a marathon finish line. Across the country 3X all by myself and yet here I was seemingly back once again, at the beginning in so many ways, at 44 years old. 

I'm letting fear in again? 


Huffing and puffing once again.

Fearful once again because of things completely out of my control.


The one thing all the events of the week had in common was the fact that I couldn't control any of them. Not a single one. And that's what scared me. 

Run into the fear.

Run into the fu*king fear.

It's literally taking one step at a time that eventually gets you where you need to be.

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

So it's one step at a time. One day at a time. Someone once told me.... 
If you can run 1 mile you can run 2 miles...
If you can run 2 miles you can run 3 miles...
If you can run 3 miles.... You get the idea.

Crazy runner mentality, right? But that philosophy & mentality got me across a marathon finish line once before. 

And I really believe that philosophy will get me across the next. And maybe even this God awful week.

Yip. I think I just found my why.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Choosing the moment

Last week I was reflecting on how I found myself sitting with the little old fortune teller lady dressed in purple at a street festival on the West Coast. She had said this....

"You. You, young lady have a very big choice to make. It's weighing on you. You need to stop being afraid of it. You know what you have to do. Don't waste another minute, another hour, another month. Another year. Stop wasting your life. Stop mourning the past & the dead. Be happy. Get out of your mind and go with your heart."

It got me thinking about choices and decisions.

In the spirit of full disclosure I'll start by telling you up front, I suck at decision making. It is so totally not my strong suit. Not even close, actually.

Pretty much I agonize over every possible outcome, consequence, and worst case scenario that could potentially come to fruition when, oops I mean if, I make the wrong decision. No pressure, right? This quite effectively sucks every ounce of joy out of both the decision making process and whatever I am trying to decide about.

So you can probably see why I hate them? 

Interestingly I'm an entrepreneur and just the very nature of my role requires me to make all kinds of decisions every single day, about every single detail of my career. 

Hmm. I wonder why I did that?

Anyway. Back to topic. So it was my last night on the West Coast, my favorite place in the whole world, and I had a very heavy heart. I decided to head out for a run. The hotel pointed me in the direction of a really cool running path and I headed that way.

True to me being me, I turned the wrong way on the river path. I didn't get far when I quickly realized the path seemed to vanish in about 1000 feet.

Hmm. This is weird.

I kept on running, a little bewildered, until suddenly I looked up to this.

In case you're wondering, that's Mount Hood. It was a spectacular view. The sun was setting in the West, the opposite direction I was running in, and it cast the most beautiful pink hue on the white glistening snow. My iPhone just didn't do it justice.

It was breathtaking.


The trail goes the other way. 

And the other way? Well that was equally as beautiful. The sun was setting, the sky was gorgeous. 


I couldn't do both. And I couldn't just stand there. It would get dark soon and I needed to get my run in. First, for my sanity and second because I'm on a running team and I had totally been slacking on my miles after I sprained my ankle twice. 

I finally decided I'd go the opposite way and run toward the sunset, but keep looking back at Mount Hood as long as possible. I am a master negotiator, I tell you. People pleaser, extraordinaire.

It's exhausting.

Perfect. For like maybe 5 minutes.

Ok so this is a very bad idea.

I tripped and I almost got run over by several bikers multiple times. It was awkward continually looking back. After awhile I realized I wasn't enjoying the run at all. 

All this brought up lots of scenarios from my past and even a few from my present that seemed to have perfectly manifested themselves right in front of me, in these two beautiful opposing views.

I kept running.

And guess what? Eventually I just stopped looking back. At first I was sad that I couldn't see the beauty of Mount Hood anymore. Who knows when I'll get to come back and experience it again?

But Mount Hood was still there behind me. It didn't get up and move.  It was hard to believe that just 30 minutes prior it had unexpectedly just popped in my view in the first place even as I was traveling the wrong way entirely. No struggle. No searching. We just kind of found each other.

But I had to go back home tomorrow. Tonight was my last night. And running into the sunset reminded me of that. I realized when I let go of Mount Hood it was so much easier to stay present in my run and the beauty of what was in front of me.

"....Stop mourning the past & the dead. Be happy"

I still think my tendency will be to agonize a little over the choices and decisions in front of me. But I hope in light of them, I also remember Mount Hood and the peace that came with going all in and just making a decision. The world in fact, did not come to an end.

I think what will stay with me most of all, is how much more enjoyable and peaceful the run was when I finally stopped looking back and I focused on where I was going.

"What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us." Ralph Waldo Emerson