Thursday, August 14, 2014

Some Is Better Than None

I may have figured out the meaning of life this morning during my run.  And let me just take a minute to thank myself for getting out to run this morning, because that has become a feat in itself lately.  If you're anything like me, there are a million decisions that need to be made before I actually step foot outside the door. Should I eat a little something first, or wait until afterwards?  What about coffee? Should I have a cup now, or use coffee as my reward for having run?  Do I throw in a load of laundry? I'm such a multitasker!  Laundry and running before 8 am?  How awesome am I?  If I don't eat, I may bonk out. Never mind that I'm only running 3 miles and there are a crapload of places to grab something to eat (I am at the beach, after all.)  Do I see a rain cloud?  Maybe I should wait.  Coffee first.  Definitely coffee first. And on, and on, and on.

Well, I did get myself out the door and I went for a run.  Let me take you there.  During the first mile, I rationalize, make excuses, beat myself up and become ADD girl. Wow, we're certainly slug-like this morning, aren't we?  I should be really flipping proud of the 11+ minute  mile I'm running right now...NOT.  I should have gotten out on Tuesday to run.  Cute dog!  Why is this woman running on the wrong side of the road?  Ooo, but her running shoes are cute!  Those two people walking sure take up the entire lane!  Is this kid going to ride his bike right into me?  When I looked down next, my pace had increased to 10+ minutes per mile and I felt the tiniest bit happy.  Then the questions, self-doubt and ADD started to creep in again.  Can I sustain this pace?  For some people, this is easy-peasy pace, but not me.  For me, this pace is pretty good.  Hell, it is amazing that I can run more than a mile!  Gosh, this is feeling really hard.  I get why people walk.  Maybe I should walk too.  I continue to push myself, the continuous threads of gibberish having spun themselves into, and back out of, my brain.  When I heard the beep of my watch indicating that my run was over, I felt great, accomplished and sparkly.  Don't you love that sparkle you feel after a run?  My mother-in-law actually described me that way once after I returned from a run.  We do sparkle after a run!  Voices are a little more giddy, eyes a little brighter, demeanors are exponentially more, well, sparkly!

As I stretched afterwards, I gave myself a little love.  I told myself it was OK that I didn't run on Tuesday because I ran today.  I told myself that my 11+-minute mile was better than a zero-minute mile.  All of a sudden, the silly decisions that I thought were so important before I ran became much less important, and what became very clear to me is this:  some is better than none.  All is better than nothing.  A little is better than not at all.  You've got to learn to work with what you've got, because when you do get it, it's that much sweeter.  There's a time to hit it hard, and a time to take it easy.  Don't beat yourself up for taking it easy, just make sure you get out tomorrow morning, or ask a friend to run (walk, bike, hike, whatever!)  Don't give it up, because what you don't know is how good you'll feel after you drag yourself, sometimes kicking and screaming, out the door, still with a thousand little decisions yet to be decided and the dirty laundry remaining dirty.  We sure put up some roadblocks for ourselves, don't we?  Try to shut your brain off for the minute it takes you to drag yourself out that door, then let it rip!  Let your mind go.  Let your legs, your arms, your doubt, your crazy, your problems go.  You will not regret it, I promise you.  You will have participated in some self-therapy, burned some calories and figured some stuff out.  Go.

Your sparkly self will thank you.

Do you find it easy to get out the door for a run?

Do you have a constant dialogue in your head while you run?

Monday, February 17, 2014

Without Running...

As I find myself in the beginning of 2014, I look forward to my running birthday.  I will be a five year-old runner in April 2014.  I ran my first half marathon in April 2010, at the age of 44, and I've been hooked ever since.

Don't get me wrong.  It's not that I found an innate, natural-born talent to run at a late age.  On the contrary, I found the strength to conquer something that was the furthest thing from natural born talent that you can imagine.  Running was never something I was good at, enjoyed, or even looked good doing.  When I was forced to run the mile in elementary school, I was sent home early because the gym teacher thought I was going to have a heart attack, I had so many red blotches all over my face.  Love that the gym teacher gave us zero guidance when it came to pacing.  Thanks Mr. Staats.

The year I turned 44, I realized that I could do this thing.  Instead of saying "no way," I said "why not?"  How hard could it be?  So I did it, and once I crossed my first finish line, I never looked back and I never said "Never again."  On the contrary, I rejoiced to anyone that would listen, "When is the next race?"

After five years of running on a very consistent basis (and when is the last time you really were consistent with anything?  I mean, I diet once a month, I stop drinking wine once a month, and I swear off whatever 'bad thing of the month' that is bugging me, but it never sticks!), I have some perspective to offer you.

Without running, I'd be a complete bitch.  No mincing words here.

Without running, my kids would have no reason (ok, one less reason) to be proud of me.

Without running, I would not have learned that a marathon consists of 26.2 miles.  (As a runner, you always get asked, "How long is your marathon?", and that's OK.  I forgive you.)

Without running, I would not know what a devoted husband I have.  He shows up to every race, and he's there at the finish line with Gatorade and a snack selection.

Without running, I wouldn't have the friends that I cherish today.

Without running, I would just lack purpose.

Without running, I wouldn't have anything to bitch about to my husband.

Without running, I'd probably be about 50 pounds heavier.

Without running, I'd be deprived of that high I get almost every time I head out.

Without running, I would not have an excuse to take that Saturday afternoon nap.

Without running, I'm pretty sure that I'd still have dessert, but I wouldn't feel as justified.

Without running, I'd have less cool clothing in my closet.

Without running, I couldn't talk about training in these frigid temperatures, or the heat of the summer, and feel like a total rock star.

Without running, I would not feel proud of myself.

I think that's what it comes down to.  I'm not doing this for anyone else but me.  I run races, not to display medals (ok, well maybe...), but to say, "I did this!"  In 48 years of living, I can honestly say that there is nothing else that compels me like running does.  I don't always love running, especially before I run, but I never regret having run, even after the worst runs I can remember.  It's like a notch on your belt, life experience, a new wrinkle.  It happened for a reason, and for every run, good or bad, I can tell you that I've never regretted doing it.  You just have to get yourself out there, but once you're out, you've got it.

And for the inner chubby, unpopular, lazy, awkward kid that I was, that's a pretty big deal.

So what is it that motivates you, and gets you out of bed in the morning? 

What makes you less of a bitch?

What makes you feel like a rock star?