Thursday, August 25, 2016

Speed bumps

I woke up feeling inspired to get my 3 mile run in this morning. I have my second running group meetup this weekend, a Brewery Festival 5K. I haven't run regularly the past couple weeks so I'm nervous about going through with it. The jury is still out but usually in the end, my #willrunforbeer philosophy wins out & I find myself at the start line, prepared or not ;)

Today's run kept me breathless with my heart pounding just trying to keep up with this little cutie. 

The run was tough after all the inconsistency the past couple weeks. As I ran behind her I was struck by how much she seemed to love every minute of the ride. I started thinking how I used to love riding too as a kid....the lazy days of summer. No school, just friends and sun and water. The wind in my face as I rode to my best friend's house totally carefree.

About a mile in Liv was riding on the sidewalk and I was in the road running when we came to a speed bump. With a huge smile plastered on her face she yelled back to me, "Hey mom! Can I? Pleeeease??"

I gave her the green light and she instantly whisked down the incline from the sidewalk straight for the speed bump, complete with the sound effects to accompany the little jump. 

Admittedly, my first thought was...

Oh my gosh, please be careful Olivia Grace.

She navigated the bump just fine and returned to the sidewalk as happy as could be.

I, on the other hand, spent the rest of my run thinking on that speed bump.

I wondered when I lost the excitement in taking on life's speed bumps. I mean, I'll speak for myself here, but I admit as a grown woman, I don't like them. In fact, when I see the figurative speed bump in the distance, dread usually takes over. 

How many times do I turn the other way? Change my route?
How many times do I face the bump with a smile and excitement and just keep going?

All this reminded me of a post last week.

I posted this before a trip to my hometown last weekend. 

Let's just say I may or may not have been on my way to a 90's concert with one of my childhood friends to see Vanilla Ice, Tone Loc, Coolio, & Salt N Pepa.

Why might I have found myself there, you ask?

Well to fully understand I have no choice but to take you back to 1991.....

Vanilla Ice and I 1991

PS Pay no mind to the girl with the perm...

Vanilla Ice 1991

Oh yes I did ;)

Back to topic....

Driving back to my hometown I couldn't help but think about my hundreds of commutes on that very road years before. 

I remembered how often I spent the drive hurrying. Worrying about this. Worrying about that. Ironically, most of which today, are inconsequential and meaningless to my life. 

Note to self. Must. Stop. Worrying.

I literally had to catch my breath when I passed one place in particular. It was in that exact spot I remembered hitting a very big speed bump in my life. Instead of trusting myself and taking on the bump, I gave up and stopped riding. I consciously made the decision that I wasn't strong enough just then, but someday I would be. Little did I know at the time, that someday wouldn't come for many years and that it would be in that decision and many more like it, that I would say goodbye piece by piece to what was left of the carefree, unafraid, speed-bump-loving-girl, for a very long time.

They say insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. 

So today after my run, I hopped on my bike, wind in my face, carefree, and I went back to that speed bump and I rode over it as fast as I could. 

Dancing in the rain, 1976

"Remember her? She's still in there. Inside you. Let's go get her."

Thursday, August 11, 2016

My long runs are always a metaphor for life

My long runs are always a metaphor for my life. Always.

I was interviewed last week by a journalist from Prevention Magazine on my weight loss journey and I told her running changed my life and she asked me how. I wish I had shared some of this with her.

Last week I had wanted to hit 10 miles on my long run but it just didn't happen. It was my own fault. I did everything I knew I shouldn't. 

I was unprepared in every way possible.

Nutritionally I had eaten crappy & drank too much.

I stayed up too late the night before.

My mind was consumed with things I had absolutely no control over.

I didn't mentally plan my route out the night before.

Worst of all?

I woke up early that morning and I knew I needed to get moving right away to beat the heat. But instead of prioritizing myself, I didn't maintain my boundaries with someone and I started hours later than I should have. It was 11:30, the hottest time of day, almost 90 degrees, and major humidity. And I thought I'd do my long run.

Can you say self sabotage?

The only good part of the run was around  mile 3 or 4. I was about to pass out from the heat when I thought of some of my friends in my running group & their #freethebellybutton campaign. 


Completely drenched in sweat, I decided to peel off my shirt & run in my running top. I think my body temperature immediately cooled down like 10 degrees. Running in my running top was a very big deal for me. I live in a small town & I was sure someone might see me. 

What will people think?
I'm not really fit enough to run like this.
My six pack isn't exactly a six pack...

Then I got over myself. 

The truth is no one really cared except me. And if they did, it was for the 2 seconds I passed by. I couldn't help but wonder how much energy I waste on caring what other people think. 

I think I'll stop doing that.

So around mile 5 or 6 I knew I wasn't going to hit 10. At that point I had beat myself up enough. It wasn't happening. I decided to accept it finally & set a new goal. If I could make it to 7 miles today, (that was how far I had ran the week before on my long run) then I wouldn't be gaining anything, but I also wouldn't be losing anything.

I couldn't help thinking, sometimes you tread water, and sometimes you swim. This run was all about treading water and I felt immensely better when I finally made peace with that.

This past week I've thought about all the things I did wrong prior to my long run. I totally knew better than every single one. I hadn't set myself up for success at all. 

The marathon 2 years ago taught me how to set a big goal and name my dream. More importantly, it taught me how to achieve that goal, achieve that dream.

Marathon 2014

All the real power in achieving a goal or a dream comes from the small steps we take leading up to it. It lies in the countless seemingly small decisions we make that no one really sees as we head toward it. 

True for running marathons. True for life.

I've always believed you have be able to visualize yourself in what you say you want in order to actually get there.

That's still true.

But you also have to swim. Tread water. And swim again. A little further. And a little further.

Every single day.

I jumped off the cliff into the water a long time ago after my mom died, to try make some sense of my life, grow my confidence & finally define my own happiness. 

Oregon Coast Trip June 2016
And while the jumping was a first step, I've realized the real hard part has come after the big jump. The hard part comes when you're in the water swimming, day after day, with no land in sight. You can't go back to where you were and you haven't yet hit where you want to be on the other side. 

Maybe that's what faith is all about?

Trusting that you'll make it to the other side when you can't see any land.

Swimming. Treading water. Swimming again. All the while keeping your head above water & never giving up.

I'm happy to say that while I still don't see land quite yet, I did see 10 miles on my long run today.

Swim. Tread water. Swim again.

My long runs are always a metaphor for my life. Always.