Hope

Yesterday I set out for a run.   I didn’t want to really go.   There really was no reason to go.   Except that I both needed to get some exercise and I wanted to clear my mind.    The run was so much harder than it should have been.   Mentally challenging which made it physically challenging.   I wanted to pack it in before I even started.   I wondered what the point of it all was anyway.

The news of the day, the week, and it seems like the year was weighing on me.   Thinking about the rising number of deaths from Coronavirus.   Thinking about the families of those who lost loved ones, but couldn’t be with them at the end and can’t mourn together.   Thinking about all the health care providers, support staff and police literally putting their lives on the line for strangers.    Thinking about how many people still are not paying attention or taking things seriously.   Worrying about my family both near and far.   Thinking… Thinking… Thinking.

I admit that this run and the day was harder because of the despair.     Wondering what the point of going for a run was with all that is happening in the world.    It’s easy to let the despair and worry creep in.   To let it envelop you.   Wrapping around like a warm comfy blanket holding you down.    It’s easy to let it make you think there is no point to it all.

It’s so easy to allow yourself to fall into the darkness if your not paying attention.   Sometimes even when your paying attention, you have to hold on with all you have to keep yourself from slipping into despair and anxiety.   To know that it’s not comfort that it gives you, but a lie holding you still.   Pushing back against it knowing that no matter how dark things may seem, there is always hope.

Hope is the one truth that you must hold on to.

Hope will see you through.

Hope will get you to the other side.

As I was battling all these thoughts yesterday, I came across these balloons.    They were just what I needed it and I’m sure other people needed as they went by.    Some might have driven by and just saw balloons.   Not me.   I saw the hope they represented.

When times are tough…. And they are right now and will be in the near future, there is always hope.    There is always good even if you have to remind yourself of it.   Right now the world is a scary place.   There is lots to be upset and angry about, but there is also much to be in awe about and celebrated.

There are people singing from their balconies in Italy.

There are doctors and nurses whose secret capes are no longer a secret.

People are taking care of each other.

People are making balloon sculptors in their yard

The list goes on and on and on.

Yes, we need to pay attention to the bad so that we can do what is necessary but we do not need to change us.   Something I’m working on.

I finished my run yesterday.   In the whole scheme of things, it would not be considered a good run; but it was a run of will.   It was a battle but a battle that I won.     As I was running yesterday, I kept thinking what is the point?   What does it even matter?   Why?

That is the wrong way to look at it.

I run because I can…… because I want to……. because it is part of me…….. I am a runner.

No matter what is going on in the world, I can not let the world change who I am and what I do.   The point of living is living to the fullest.   To make the most of it and do the things that you enjoy doing when you can.   It is worth it, because it is something I love.   It matters because if you give up the things you enjoy than the darkness wins.   Why?   Because I can.

The world is a scary place right now.   No doubt about that.   That is all the more reason to grab the bull by the horns and live life to the fullest.

Don’t give in to the despair.

Shine even brighter because of it.

Don’t let the world change you.

Change the world.

Don’t ask Why?

Ask Why not!

 

Positive-Quotes-the-secret-24189487-500-301

 

Cancelled

cancelled

Everything is cancelled.

Rightly so.

Everything is cancelled and while we understand why, we appreciate the gravity of the situation, we know the necessity of it; for some reason we think we shouldn’t feel sorrow over the loss.   Maybe it’s just me, but I call BS on that.   Not just for runners whose races have been cancelled, but anyone who has anything which is everything cancelled.

We are allowed to miss meeting friends for coffee.

We are allowed to miss meeting our Mom’s for lunch.

We are allowed to miss running with our friends.

We are allowed to miss all the things that are important to us.

If our child came to us and told us they were upset that their soccer season was cancelled (which it is), we would never tell them that their soccer wasn’t important and they were being selfish.   At least most of us would not say that.   We would tell them that their feelings are understandable.   That it is ok to be disappointed.   That we understand that their soccer (dance, play, graduation, prom or what not) is important to them and that we wish things could be different.  That it sucks and we are sorry.

It is no different for us.

We are allowed to be disappointed that races we thought we would train and be ready for our cancelled.   For the runners who were ready to rock a race and then week before the rug was pulled out from them.   You are allowed to be upset.   You are allowed to feel sadness.   You are allowed to feel.

And just because you feel that way does not mean for one iota of a second that you don’t understand that there are people suffering, that people are loosing loved ones, that first responders are putting themselves in harms way for the good of the many.    You can hold both feeling and truths in the same heart.

You are allowed to feel.

 

 

Look for the Rainbow

photography of green grass field with rainbow

Photo by Alex on Pexels.com

As much as this sucks….

And it does.

As hard as this may be…..

It’s harder for some than others.

We must look for the good.    We must look for the silver lining.   We must look for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.   We must look to the helpers.   We must focus on more than the negativity,  the trauma, the losses.    We must acknowledge the bad.   We must pay attention.   We must listen, but we can not bathe in it.

One thing that I have noticed that I haven’t really seen in a long time.   I’m noticing families coming together – physically.   I’m noticing families spending time together.   I’m noticing families sitting on the porch while their children play in yard.   I’m noticing families taking walks together.   I’m sure many are even eating dinner together.   And while this has always been happening, it has not happened at the levels currently.

This has only happened because the world stopped, the calendars cleared, and there was nothing else that needed to be gone to.   No soccer games filling up weekend.   No school events.   No this.  No that.   Nothing but having to be home with the people who mean the most, but we don’t often spend quality time together because we are all so busy.

Today I had no excuse to skip my run because I had no where else I needed to be.   I even had time to take the dogs for a walk before I headed out.   While out and about running,   I saw the parents walking with their teens (if you have teens you know how big that is).   I saw Moms/Dads pulling wagons on young kids.    Family bike rides.   Elderly couples walking together.   I will admit as someone who runs outside frequently, the level of families out together right now is unprecedented.

So I ran.   I enjoyed the sun, the wind on my face and thankful to be outside.    I went out running wanting to do about 7 to 8 miles.   I got 7 in and was happy.  There was not agenda.   There was no pace.   There was not “have to.”   There was just I wanted to go for a long run.   So I did.  Funny thing is that I had a great run.   My splits weren’t pristine and I wasn’t trying to be.   Running to run and it was enough.   Also maybe to run off all the junk I’ve been eating.

My hope is that when this is over and life turns back to “normal” that we reflect on where they spend their time as their calendars fill up.   Is it necessary to be busy, busy, busy all the time.   Is it necessary for our kids to be scheduled, scheduled, scheduled from morning till night.   My hope is that we will remember having time to actually sit and enjoy just being.   Being with our families.   Being able to have time to think without worrying what is on our calendars.   Most of all remember that chasing the brass ring isn’t necessarily what life is all about.

 

PS – Don’t worry for everyone’s protection as I ran today, if I saw a family I crossed the street.   I adjusted my route.   I stayed away.

 

Solo Runner

I was a solitary runner before it was cool to be a solitary runner.   To me going for a run is the time to clear my head.  To relieve stress.   To think and process.   Just to be.     I had recently talked about planning to get back into running with friends, that is off the table for the foreseeable future.   So I will remain a solitary runner.  Luckily I like it.   For now that is enough and I’m just thankful that I can get out the door and run.

We all have so many concerns right now.   Some about family that we are not with.   Some about family that we are with. Some about how we are going to provide the staples that we need to stay at home with our family.   Everyone has something.    Most have even more than one something.   Maybe even a pile of somethings.   Right now more than anything we need to find a positive way to let that stress out.    For me now as in the past, it is running.

I half heartedly joke that when this is all over I am either going to be back in shape with the running, online videos, and stress or I’m going to be 100 pounds heavier.    The only thing helping with me not turning into a stress baker (another thing I love) is that I’m worried that I  might have hard time replacing the milk and eggs.   Hopefully once the store panic buying settles down, I can get back to baking.   Until then I will run.

I don’t run fast.  I don’t really run far.   Although I am training for my virtual half marathon, I will run.   And since it will be a virtual “race,”  my training doesn’t have to be perfect.   I just need to get the distance (which I will).   I will need to wait another day to worry about the distance and the time.   See a positive.

Being someone who has been a solo runner for years now, the transition isn’t that hard when it comes to my running.    Although like going on a diet where you immediately crave chocolate, I miss running with friends.   As the saying goes, you don’t know what you have till it’s gone is so true.   So many things pre Coronavirus we took for granted….. Meeting a friend for coffee, shopping in fully stocked shelves, the ability to go out to dinner, and all those other small things.   It will be a bit before we get back to those days, but we will.   We just have to be patient.   It’s only been 5 minutes.

Being socially distant to me is not the correct phrase we should be using.   Right now, we need to be physically distant but socially there are so many ways to connect.    I’ve even facetimed my mother recently.    There is texting.   There is the old fashioned calling.   There is messanger, Instagram, facebook, twitter, and some thing that I’m sure I don’t even know about since I’m “older.”    So while we have to be physically distant lets not socially disconnect.

Some people sadly have taken social distancing to an art form.   They feel that it is a way to protect themselves.   It may do that.   They may feel it necessary.  They may feel they have no other choice.   For them, maybe that is what they think they need to do, but all it really does is keep them from taking a chance on people and everyone at arms length.   When you keep everyone at a distance soon enough that distance will be too far to cross and you are then left wondering why no one crossed it.

For my running friends, we have all kinds of apps we connect on and through.   So while we can’t run with our friends, we can encourage them when they get out there.   We can be their in all sorts of way.    So connect, but just don’t do it in person:)

be-kind-2

 

Unless you have been hiding under a rock, you know what is happening not just in the United States but across the globe.

People are stressed

People are scared.

People are freaking out!

People are on the search for toilet paper.

If your not, you might be…

On the younger side

Not paying attention

A very zen individual.

For the rest of us….

We are stressed

We are scared

We are freaking out a little bit

No we are not letting the fear control us, but as I said before…. A little fear is a good thing.     It will keep you from doing the things you need to do.

We are freaking out, because no one knows what is going to happen.   We are doing these things, because we know there is a whole host of people who don’t believe “the hype.”   We are stressed because the store shelves are empty and there is no end it sight.   Even my 72 year old mother keeps sayin, “this has never happened before.”

She would be right.   This is not normal.   This is not business as usual.   This is putting strains on families worrying about paying bills, about isolation, and about trying to keep everything going.   This is putting stress both mentally and physically on people.   Remember that as you deal with people in your day to day life.

its-not-what-happens-to-you-but-how-you-react-to-it

The one thing about clearing your calendar and having nothing to do is that you have the gift of time.   It’s a strange feeling because you feel like you have so much you should do, but yet so much you don’t want to do.   Then before you know it, it is the end of the day and you still have laundry in the dryer.   Lets be honest though no one wants to fold laundry no matter how much time you have.

I did get an email on what my options are with my birthday half marathon.    One is to do a virtual run still getting medal and shirt and other is to roll it over to another race.   I am leaning towards doing the virtual race.   Although not really a race, but a run.   As I said before, this was about celebrating my birthday with a half marathon.   I’m still following my training plan to the best of my ability right now.  Who knows, maybe by April we will be able to have a group run and do it together.  Fingers crossed.

So I will run.

I will also start doing some of the great online classes being posted online.   Today I did a home core Pilates class.  I do think that I will feel it tomorrow, but I guess that’s the point.   I’d like to think that I would come out of this home arrest in better shape, but then there is the brownies.   So probably not.

Besides if there is one thing that we can all take away from this is that so much of what we deem important means nothing.    The silver lining in an otherwise cloudy sky right now.

Tomorrow the sun is supposed to be out and weather is going to be beautiful, so I will head out the door.   I will run solo but I will run.

How are you holding up?

 

 

 

 

You Either Control it or it Controls You

They say you either control your fear or it controls you.   It’s not just an expression.   There is so much truth to that.  Fear can paralyze you.   Fear can keep you from reaching your dreams.   Fear can keep you from reaching your potential.   On the other hand….. Fear can keep you safe.    Fear can help you to make wise decisions.    Fear can help you to live to see another day.     Like everything in life, it is about balance.

Some people in order to control their fears ignore it.   They pretend real dangers don’t exist.   That somehow they are immune to the consequences.   They pretend that if they don’t give into fear that somehow that makes them stronger than what they are afraid of. But pretending the dangers aren’t real, don’t make them any less real.  It just makes you reckless and in some cases stupid.   That someone they are immune when you are not.

Some people go to the opposite extreme and let their fear paralyze them.   They refuse to try anything for fear of failure.   They shut themselves off from people, relationships, challenges and just follow the path of no fear.   They live a shell of their potential life and never each for the brass ring for fear of missing it.

A little fear is good .  A little fear makes you think about consequences.   Helps you make smart and safe choices.   Not too much that keeps your from trying, but enough to keep you trying smartly.     It won’t stop you from signing up for a marathon because you don’t know if you can do it, but will ensure that you plan to get to the finish line.    It won’t stop you from life, but will make you think about your life choices.

We are all at a crossroads now.    Everyone I know whose paying attention is thinking about what is going on in the world.   How much social distancing is enough?  Some wonder if they are even necessary.   Are the places we think we need to go really places that we need to go?  What are the consequences if we go.   Then making sure we wash our hands when we get there and when we get home.   If your lucky, you even have some hand sanitizer for the trip.

Then there are people right now thinking that they are stronger than this virus.   That they will continue to gather, go to races/group runs, and somehow that makes them braver and stronger than the rest of us.   It really doesn’t.   It makes them more reckless.

One of the definitions of fear is to have concern or anxiety.

One definition  of brave is to defy, challenge;dare

I don’t know about you, but I pretty much have anxiety and concern right now.   I also don’t wish to challenge the coronavirus to enter my home.    All you need to do is look to places like Italy to see that right now a little fear isn’t a bad thing.

The beauty of being a mostly solitary outdoor runner is that for now I can still be a solitary outdoor runner without actually being brave because my fear is making me smart.   Today I went for a 6 mile run on the trails.   I was not the only one on the trails, but I was by myself on them.   Passing, being passed, and going the opposite direction.   It was all good.   The sun was out.   The air was fresh.   Most of all it let the anxiety fall away.

I’ve been reading a book recently about mindful meditation.   It is about meditating where you are no matter what.   Becoming in tune to your surrounding.   So today while I was out, I put on no music and to be honest when your running the trails the sounds of them are music enough.   But today, I ran.   I noticed the swish, swish, swish sound that my jacket made as I ran.    I noticed the sound of my feet hitting the dirt.   I just took it all in and spent time in the moment.

It was enough.

 

The Day the World Stopped

Busy-Calendar-600x250

 

We live in a faced paced world.   We live in a world with calendars filled in not by the day, but by the hour.  Color coded for family members and grids filled up.   We schedule play dates for our kids.   For many parents, their second job of being chauffer starts right when school gets out – practices, school events, music lessons, tutoring, etc, etc.  We even schedule our exercise and running.   Down to the last detail, our days are filled.

Filled with exactly what is the question?   Filled with things that bring us joy?    Filled with busy work?   Filled with things to keep our kids busy and off screens?   Filled…. Filled…. Filled.

What happens when those grids of activities, filled up calendars of events and appointment and expectations of places we “have to be at” come crashing down.   What happens when it seems like the world literally and figuratively comes to a stop?

That is when we realize what is important?   Will we be ok with the silence?    Are we happy with the people that we are surrounded with?   Can you take a moment to reflect if everything you think you should be doing are things that you actually need to do?

Every year since before I was married, I’ve taken a 2 to 3 week camping trip with my husband and his family.   We go to a lake near Canada where we basically remove yourself from day to day drama.   There is no cell reception at the lake and only wi-fi when you drive to town.   I always come back from that vacation feeling rejuvenated and refressed.

We can use this time to do the same.   Obviously this is very different circumstances.   Obviously and with good reason people are worried not just for themselves but their loved ones as well.  This is not a peaceful time in that sense because there is much to think about besides health.   Some people need to worry about financial strains too.  Some are just trying to find toilet paper.   As I said before, it’s getting real now.

While like others, I am disappointed in races being cancelled; I understand the reasoning and justification.   If there is one thing I am going to use this social distancing for is to get some reading in that I’ve been too “busy” to do.   I’m also planning to find time to hit the trails since I will have the time.   The trails are always a great place to run with others but also run alone.   The weather is turning for the better and  I can’t wait to lace up and get out on the trails this week.   Now is a great time to reflect on what we should fill our calendars with when the world starts back up again which it will.

What are you doing with your “social isolation” time?

It’s Serious Now

Closed

You know the sh*t is serious when they start cancelling races.   Big races.   Little races.  All races.   It usually takes an act of God for that to happen.   We are apparently there now.

Not shocking but somewhat since it’s a month away my Birthday Half Marathon is cancelled.    I am proud of these race organizers from NYRR to those organizing Boston Marathon for making these tough decisions.   While I know people are disappointed, it’s really just running.   It’s not life or death which is really what’s going on in the real world now.

Right now the real world is scary.   You can’t even escape to Disney World anymore because that is closed (not that I was going).  Go to a Broadway Show.  The show is not going on, so nope.   Can’t watch any sporting event (not that I would) because they are all cancelled.    Can’t run a race because that’s cancelled too.   You know what though….. None of that matters.

Seriously.

What matters in life is how you face disappointments.   How you deal with the world when the world is spinning out of control like it is right now.   And again, what is important is not just your health but the health of your loved ones friends, and neighbors.

For me, I’m still running.   I’m still going to follow my training plan.   I’m still preparing to run a half marathon that I won’t actually run, but I could.    For me this race was going to be a fun birthday run, but it was also a way for me to get back to running.   I don’t need to cross a finish line to do that.    All I need is to go out the door and run.

So I will continue to do what I’ve been doing.   I will get my runs in.   I will follow the plan.   I will do what I need to do for no other reason than that is what I want to do.    Isn’t that the reason I was doing this in the first place.   So even without crossing the finish line, it seems like I’ve already accomplished what I set out to do.

Find my joy in running again:)

So while the world is going crazy looking for toilet paper and hand sanitizer and everything is out of your control, remember that what is in your control is how you respond.   When you realize that, you realize that none of the other stuff matters because what happens in life even on a good day is never in your control.   So you just have to roll with it and make the best of it and if you can’t do that just accept it.   Once you can do that everything else will fall into place.

Control

Take the First Step

Getting off the couch is hard.

Staying on the couch is hard.

 If getting off the couch was easy, everyone would do it.    But sometimes, sometimes, sometimes it’s just so damn hard to get off the couch.   The couch is comfy.   The couch is safe.   The couch doesn’t disappoint.    Most of all the couch is what we know.   The couch is easy, safe and comfy.   Although that is a lie too.   The couch isn’t easy, it’s just what we are used to..

Sometimes though it’s not just about physically getting off the couch, but getting mentally off the couch too.   These things usually go hand in hand.  Sometimes you can go through the motions, but your mind just isn’t with you.   Motivation isn’t always there as much as you want it to be.   As much as you will it to be.   The lie your mind tells yourself that it just doesn’t matter.   It doesn’t matter if you go for a run.   It doesn’t matter if you stay.   Nothing matters.   So why bother.

It matters.

What we do in life matters.

How we show up in life matters.

I will say that for someone who has struggled in the past, I do know that how easy it is to listen to the voice that tells you it doesn’t matter.    It comes to you as a friend.   It comes to you as a reason for your struggles.   It comes to you wrapped in lies, but sounding so truthful.   That voice is a lie.   That voice is wrong.    That voice needs to be told to shut the (blank) up.

Easier said than done sometimes.

Taking that first step off the couch in life is hard, but the first of anything in hard.   Once up, you can see the sun shining.  You can feel the wind on your face.   You can see the buds on the trees.    You can see that all those things that told you to stay put, hide your head,  and listen to the lies was just that…… lies.

Take the first step.

You won’t regret it.

first step

 

 

Focus

It’s funny, I’ve noticed that I’ve gotten a few new followers recently.    I’ve got over 300 followers now.   Although truth be told, I would bet that maybe, just maybe, on a good post 5 to 10 people actually read it.    It’s ok, I don’t blame you because we all have busy, complicated lives.    Truth be told, I often write for me as like running it clears the mind.  I’m not sure that what I say is filled with any wisdom or helpful to anyone but me, but I write anyway.    For those who followed thinking they would get expert running advise, I’m sure they realized they came to the wrong blog.   Yet here we are.   You, me and maybe 2 other people.   It’s ok, it’s like meeting a friend for coffee except I’m still in my PJ’s with unkempt hair and slippers.

So often in life we focus on the wrong things and don’t even realize it.   At the time, they seem important and at the time they are, but then something happens in our lives to change that focus.   We focus on the size of our jeans, how fast we can finish a race, following our diets, and so many things that seem like the right thing to focus on……. Right up until we put our glasses on and what is really important comes into foucs.

We should be focusing on things like….. How do I feel in these jeans?    Did I fully enjoy the experience of the race to it’s fullest?    Am I happy with the outcome and if not, why?  Is what we our putting into our mouth nourishing our body and mind and do we full good about it?

Focus…..

Sometimes you are on the right path.   Sometimes the path is expected.   Most often we end up on a path that we never thought we would be on.   The path is hard.   The path is not where you expected to be, yet you are there.    You can stomp your feet and fight tooth and nail that you don’t belong on that path, but that changes nothing.   You can do everything right, but still end up in places that you never thought that you would be.

That is life.

There are no guarantees.

There are no promises.

There is only what is and the acceptance of it.

Fighting to be on a different path will not change the trajectory of the path you are on.    The only way through is to forge ahead.   To face the bumps, the bruises, and the obstacles that fall into your path.    Only then can you get to the other side and from there you can choose a new path to follow.

So to bring this back to my running………

I’ve hit some bumps in my training for my birthday half marathon (yes, that is what I am calling it from now on).   In the whole scheme of things, my training has come to the bottom of my to due list and I am ok with that.

Focus

So with that, I have been running but not necessarily to train but because it is what I needed to clear my mind.    I will get there in April as ready as I will be and I’m ok with that.   Besides, I’ve got time and I will be as ready as I will be and no more.   My goal for the day is to enjoy the day and I’m happy to report that it’s turning into a party as I’ve got some running mama friends joining in too!    This is why I fell in love with running….. Because of the peace of mind it gave me and the strong friendships bonded over the miles.

Focus

focus