Just Show Up

So this post might be a little different, yet not.   So stick with me!

Something exciting happened recently that I have been waiting to share.   I’ve been waiting because I wanted to be able to actually see if I would it really was something that I could be excited about.   Since the mail arrived two days ago and I’ve done my own testing I can say that I’m excited.

So here is the thing….. I was recently asked (yes ASKED) to become a Pineapple Clothing Ambassador.    This was not something that I sought out, but through my Instagram account they reached out to me.   Now I will say, that I’ve gotten DM’s in the past but nothing like this.   Usually they are the random “How you doing today?’ messages where you immediately block them or the guy who liked EVERY one of my feet pics (you know as a runner, we do those things).    This DM was different though.

Anyway, they were reaching out to me to see if I was interested in becoming an Ambassador for their company.   Now who knows maybe they asked everyone, but you know it’s nice to be asked to the dance.   Plus I don’t know that ask everyone but either way I was flattered.   I’m really not going to lie, it was very flattering with all the content out their to be asked (so please don’t pop my bubble).

Here is the thing and these are the facts I know….. I am not a young woman, but I am not an old one either!  I do not have a traditional athletes body.    I will never have a traditional athletes body.   I’m just not built that way nor do I have the desire to do what it takes to get down to whatever size the world thinks I should be.    What I do have though is an athletes heart and will to push through challenges.    I may not be the picture that comes to mind of what an athlete is but make no mistake I am an athlete.    Many times athletes like me are under-represented but that is slowly changing.

This under representation of people who like me sometimes hold other people back from taking the first step for a positive change.    You look at yoga studio and it seems like everyone is under a size 4 and can bend themselves in a pretzel.   Me…. I am still working on not falling down and my balance.      You look at fitness blogs (obviously not mine) and you see the finished product.   I will never be that finished product.     When you look at ads for fitness and runners, you see the top athletes.   The thing is those are people at the top of their game while most of us are still deciding what we want to play.

We’ve all had a friend say or maybe we have even said it that before the great pause that they will start going to the gym/running/yoga/any group activity that they need to loose 20 (fill in blank) pounds FIRST.   That’s not the way it works.

works

We need to be willing to show up as we are today not as we want to be tomorrow.    If we can’t show up as we are we will never be happy even when we finally deem we are ready to show up.    Who we are is not determined by the size of our jeans or leggings.   It is not determined if we have the “perfect” body.   It is not determined by anything on the outside, but on what we carry on the inside.   You can never be happy with anything else unless you can love the inside. (yeah I know hokey expression but could not be more true).

This past year, someone I know who looked like they should have it all together fell apart.    They have the right look.   They appeared on the outside to have everything that should make them happy.    They weren’t and they hit rock bottom.   Someone made a comment about being surprised because she was the last person you would expect and their in lies the problem.   Often we focus on living how we think others think that we should live –   looking a certain way  — Being part of the “right” group —–  doing the “right” things  —- on and on it goes, when really all we need to focus on is who we are and what we need to make us happy because if you are not happy with that nothing else can fill that void for you.

Circling back……..

So when I was asked to be a Pineapple Clothing Ambassador and determined that their USA made products were something that I could endorse, I jumped in.

 

As I said in my Instagram post today:  Proof you don’t need a fancy workout space. You don’t need a size 6 body. You don’t need negativity. You just need to show up!

So I am showing up.   I am sharing my not ready for prime time shape.

Pineapple Clothing

Use code: chrcha for 20% off your order too!

 

Giving into the Stillness

I admit it….. I am a sucker for Air Supply and like people who don’t admit it, I can probably sing along to most songs.   I also enjoy me some vintage Ozzy Osborne  and  a lot in between the two genres.

I am a complicated woman.    I am sensitive enough to cry at a movie while at the same time be willing to fight tooth and nail for something I am passionate about (some might refer to that by a name that starts with a B).     I cherish my family while being distant from some members.    I will go to bat for friends while having lost touch with others.     I have a blog called Accidentally Running Mama while currently not even running.   It is just life and we are all complicated individuals.   Those that are 2 dimensional are usually either boring or fake.

Here’s the thing.    I am all of these things and so much more.    I don’t pretend to be something I am not.  I am real even if I don’t put it all out there, but I pretty much put enough out there anyway. As we grow, we evolve we change.  We learn.   Sometimes we move on.    Sometimes we hold on.   Sometimes we don’t even realize that things change until we reflect.   Life is ever changing.   We are ever changing.    If you are unwilling to change, you are unwilling to try anything new.

Since I’ve started my fitness journey in 2014, I’ve tried lots of things.     I started on just going to a gym.   Then added HIT (High Intensity Training).    Then a killer personal trainer.   Then upped it to Crossfit (LOVED IT).    Spent a lot of time practicing Hot Yoga (another big fan).   Some more HIT classes.   Had an amazing Running Coach.   Biked.   Swam.  (yes, those were mostly because I was doing Triathlons and cross training for running).    I’ve done lots of running (lots).   Now I am just walking.

I tried all of these things because I was willing to go out of my comfort zone.   I will say that as much as I loved Crossfit, I don’t think I physically could do it now (plus it is also such an intense type of workout mentally and I am not there anymore).   I probably could not take the heat of Hot Yoga anymore either as it probably would cause me to sweat out too much calcium.  Some of the other things I would love to do again and just may.   Then again having 2 kids now in college the disposable income for things like that is not what it used to be but I digress.    Anyway, I did all of these things because I was willing to open myself up to new experiences.    Actually if I wasn’t willing to try something new, I would never have signed up for my first event and remained on the couch

Being  willing to open myself up to something new has brought me to my 30 Days of Yoga with Adriene and walking.   When I first started walking, I thought that I was giving up something but remained committed to it even when I felt like I should do more.   I ended up walking more than 100 miles in July.    If I was running, I am not sure that I could have done that.  I have also been walking my minimum of a mile a day since June 21 and for right now I have no intention of stopping. This is working for me and I plan to continue through August.

By embracing the walking while at the same time embarking on a 30 day yoga challenge, I’ve learned a few things.    To be honest I wasn’t sure what to expect…. maybe learn to properly do some new poses.   To gain strength, flexibility and a better yoga foundations.   I have gained those things and more.  With daily yoga practice coupled with a daily walk, I am realizing that while I am gaining all the things I mentioned above that I am learning to trust the stillness (oh there she goes sounding all yogi again).   Here me out.

I am learning (still a work in progress) that I don’t need to push myself to the limit all the time.    That sometimes it is unnecessary and not only not what my body needs but not the right thing for it. I have learned that small changes can bring about big changes if given enough time to marinate.   I’ve learned that my body while not balanced can have balance.    I have been enjoying giving into a yoga practice with no expectations other than showing up to my mat ever day or in my case my garage with YouTube.  I have been enjoying my daily walks with no expectations but to get out the door. I’ve learned that just because I am walking does not mean that I am out for a Sunday stroll.   I’ve learned that it is all relative.

Today I went for a 5 mile walk.    I put on a Podcast and off I went. I feel just like a 30 day yoga is giving me a foundation for future yoga practice that my walking will give me the foundation that I need for future running. Since my surgery I kept pushing. Guessing where I thought I could be while never being in touch where it actually was. I am Embracing who I am now and not who I was in the past.

This is who I am today. Embracing the stillness with no expectations but just to show up is sometimes all you need to do so that everything can fall into place.

How do you show up?

Lesson Learned

Hindsight is 2020 they say.   Although after this year, we might need to come up with a new expression because no one wants to remember 2020 but I digress.   It is always so much easier to second guess something after the fact.   To pick it apart.   To dissect.   To play the could of, should of, would of game.   Never helpful.   

I will be honest as you know I always am…… As a runner, I always felt like walking was cheating. Now hear me out, I walked plenty.  Currently, I am not even running but walking every day.  What I really mean is that I wasn’t a good enough runner. There was not one of my 7 marathons that I did not walk during. Some I intentionally trained with walking in mind. That being said, somehow I felt like I wasn’t a real runner because runners don’t walk even if me as a runner did.   Somehow it meant that I didn’t measure up, that I was less of a runner, that I should be better because while I could go the distance, I couldn’t go just running.

My goal besides a 4:30 marathon was to run a marathon where I ran the whole thing. Somehow that would make me more of a “real runner.” I probably would have made both those goals one day but you know the whole Hypoparathyroidism thing.

While I know rationally I know that I was/am a runner. I just always felt like I should have and could have been better. That I wasn’t living up to my potential. Here is the thing…. I probably wasn’t. There is something about the distance of a marathon that gets in your head. I trained and ran NYC Half a sub 2 hour with no problem. It was hard. I pushed myself. I crossed the finish line smiling. Add 13 miles and it is a whole different beast not just physically but mentally.

Seriously.

Each marathon my head was the biggest obstacle.

First Marathon, Philly 2014, was a fluke. I had been training for Runner’s World Hat Trick (5k & 10K one day, next day Half) and rolled into Philly on a whim after one 20 miler. I didn’t know what I was doing. It was hard. I didn’t overthink. I finished 4:46:20. If I had pushed, I could have been under 4:45

Next up was Marine Corps Marathon. This one I trained with a good coach. I was ready right up until I wasn’t. GI issues that I didn’t push through led me to my marathon PR of 4:38:14. This should have been my day, but mentally I didn’t want it enough to make it happen.  I always thought I’d have another day.

Then a trail marathon which I rolled into but loved doing. Probably because there is no pressure or expectations that you are going to run the whole thing. Plus trail races are a whole different vibe and expectations are very different.

2016 was supposed to be my year. Although I had a bump in my training due to a sprained ankle, I still was mostly ready. I could definitely go the distance because I had finished a 50K that year right before marathon training, I ran my sub 2 half, and I ran my 5K PR of 26:26. I was ready to both go the distance and the pace. Right up until I wasn’t. I went out running strong the first half like there was no second half. Once I hit the wall, it was a struggle to keep going but I did. Finishing in 4:56.

After that my thyroid surgery and that called it a day for my 4:30 marathon time. My goals since has just been to go the distance, don’t crash my calcium and cross the finish line. Consistently, my races time wise have been going the opposite of every runners dream…..

2017 Chicago Marathon: 5:48:52

2018 NYC Marathon: 6:10:13

2019 NYC Marathon: 6:20:41

Some might see these as failures. I don’t. I see them as perseverance. The year after my surgery, when I was being treated by the wrong doctor I was actually able to run decent paces. Although it was much harder to keep up for longer distances. The issue was that I was taking too much calcium which while good for things like running, it was bad long term for things like kidneys. So, you know, trade off was not very smart.  Although at the time I did not know that even if my doctor should have which is why he is no longer my doctor.

So here we are now, where I am living in the low calcium range but saving kidneys. In hindsight now I feel like I wasted my before hypopara runs and maybe I did, but there is nothing to be done now. I can only look to the future and learn from the past to plot my course. I’ve been thinking a lot about goals. Goals for now and long term since, you know, there is a lot of time to think right now. This post is already too long to get into. Plus I am still forming, plotting, and kind of waiting for the world to be safe again.

Right now, I feel that the best way I can be a runner is not to run. I am giving my body the break it needs. As I said before I have been walking a minimum of a mile a day since June 21, but usually more.   Other day I walked 6.25 at a brisk pace around 16:10.  Shorter distances I pick it up honing in on my speed walking.  I am embracing walking. I am embracing learning to cut myself some slack and know I am enough just like I am.  I am embracing what ever I do… walk, run, and anything in between is enough.

I realize that when it comes to my running, like most of us, I am harder on myself than anyone else. I also realize that while I may have medical issues, my biggest issue has always been my head. (shocking). That voice telling me I can’t do it with a self fulfilling prophesy so that I don’t. So with this step back, I am learning to trust my body. I am learning what inner voice to listen to and what voice to tell to shut up.  I am learning to be ok with not pushing but also not going easy. Finding the middle ground I so often miss.

It is so easy to get discouraged when we do not reach goals we think we should reach. It is easy to make excuses for why things are the way they are. It is easy to pack it in and call it a day. What is not easy is sticking around when things don’t pan out the way you want. Learning to roll up the hill instead of down. To make lemonade out of lemons.  To just be and be happy with that.

Sometimes when you look at the reality of why things are the way they are, you have to just let it go. You realize that you can’t change how they turned out. You not only have to accept it, but move on from it even if it means letting go. Letting go of guilt.   Letting go of missed opportunities.   Letting go of all that is and has held you back.   In life sometimes you realize what you once thought an important is no longer important to you. Most of all learn from it. Sometimes we have to do it over and over and over again because we did not learn the lesson we needed to learn the first time

 

Are You What You Eat?

They say you are what you eat. Who they are, I have no idea, but that is what they say.   If that was true, I might just be a bowl of ice cream.  I’ve been thinking about this and know that I do need to be better with what I eat. I’m not getting any younger. I am technically bordering on obese as far as weight charts go (shut up)  and most of all I am trying to be overall healthier in my lifestyle.

My goal right now is just to eat better. Although I am not a bad eater, I could and should be better. I have been eating Pescatarian for a while now. There is no specific date that I can point to as it was a gradual transition. My son came home from college earlier this year as one. So while cooking for the family, I began to cook more meals for the family or a separate for him. Cooking for one is hard, so usually by default I would eat what he ate.

Then during this whole pandemic there were stories on the news about meat packing plants and I saw some video footage that really got me thinking about what I was eating. I am only telling you this not to sway anyone, but as part of my story. I know several people who go out of their way to shame people to eating their way and that is not me. I find that really annoying. I readily cook meat for the meat eaters of my family. During this time, I also joined 2 local CSA’s for my fruits and veggies and have been trying to get away from processed foods.

But on this quest to eat pescatarian, I also had to learn to cook this way. This woman can not live on tofu and salad alone. I realized that when you can’t depend on meat to bring the wow factor to your meal, you have to expand your horizons a little So as we move forward, I will share some of my adventures in cooking.

Yesterday, I made Chickpea Sweet Potato Curry. I must emphasize that my foray into cooking Indian Food which I have been doing more of is that not only do I not have a high spice tolerance, but I have not really eaten or know much about it. Luckily there is not only the internet but I have friends willing to share their knowledge. When it comes to cooking though, I have never been afraid to try new things (ok, that’s a lie because macrons still scare me). This one reminded me of a stew and I will say that since I’ve since made a few curry dishes, I felt comfortable playing with the recipe to make it my own somewhat.

My favorite pot to make big meals like this in! Le Creuset Dutch Oven (if you don’t have one, get one!)

The first thing I realized when cooking the Indian dishes and vegetarian dishes as a whole….. the prep work. When cooking with fresh veggies there is lots of chopping. This recipe though was a nice mix of canned, frozen and only chopping was onions which always make be cry and the sweet potato’s. Since I did go rogue on this recipe, I also chopped plantains adding them shortly after the sweet potatoes began to soften.

Giving credit where credit is due…. this is the recipe I used as my base: http://Chickpea, Sweet Potato and Spinach Curry

 

Changes that I made….. As mentioned above, I added cut plantains once sweet potatoes softened and I doubled recipe except for chickpeas. I also used 2 cans of crushed tomatoes instead of chopped tomatoes because I didn’t have diced tomatoes. So this made it more stew to me. I also used mixture of creamed coconut and coconut milk. Again, I was going for more of creamy strew to go over my rice.

My family is obsessed with the Naan bread and I made a double batch. Even my son who does not eat the curry will eat the Naan because why not?

Then when it ready to eat, I put over some white rice and viola….. Easy peasy lemon squeezy (although there was no lemon).

What was nice about this is today after my 6 mile walk, I made a big bowl of this to replenish myself with and it was perfect. Much better and healthier option than what I might normally eat after a run. Plus can’t beat benefit of sweet potatos and spinach.

 

 

No Pressure

The other day I ran into a running Mom I know. We were talking about what we were up to and asking about our running. I said that I was taking a break from running and just walking. In talking to her, I said that without any races on the horizon it has been nice to give my body a break. The more I thought about it, the more I realized it was true. Since I’ve started on the journey, I have always been training for something. I even planned my Thyroid surgery around running the NYC Marathon pushing it off so I could run it. I went 2 weeks afterwards so that I would also have a chance to recover from the Marathon while putting me out of commission for Thanksgiving.

Priorities.

Always a race. Always an event. Always pushing and training. If the world had not stopped, I am 100% sure that I would be currently be in the midst of training for another NYC Marathon. Part of me is a little sad because I have run a marathon every year since 2014. I was also looking forward to being part of Sandy Hook Promise team again. That would have been different pressure. I’m still trying to see if there might be some way to do it, but then a big part of me thinks why?

I will be honest with you. I have never been a fan of running streaks (for me) even thought I consider my marathon’s a streak that is about to be broken. It always seemed like unnecessary pressure on top of all the pressure that comes with training. Currently, I am on a walking streak since June 21rst. I usually do 2 to 3 miles, but some days longer. Every day at least 1 mile. I wanted to complete at least on month, but now I use it to inspire and push me out the door. I was only planning to go 30 days, but I kind of like the push it gives me and plan to keep going.

I have always pushed myself and I do think my body is enjoying being given a chance to just be. This has gone in with my yoga training. I have completed 13 days of my 30 day challenge. I am reminded again that yoga can be many things depending on the day. Some days it is gentle stretching. Some days it is finding balance and some days it is pushing past limits. Every day though is a gift that I give myself.

Seriously.

It is a gift to get on the mat and just focus on the movements. The breathing. The moment. To find stillness. Yes, I know that seems very “yogi” but it is true. Now that I am not practicing with an agenda other than to show up, I realize that yoga is not a means to an end in the way that I thought it was.

I love to run because it clears my mind, but I realize that yoga does that in a whole different way. It provides s whole different set of tools. Now I don’t think I could use yoga in the same way, but it is a great addition for body and mind.

While running, it is all about what pace your are running….. breaking a PR…….Going the distance….. pushing…..

Yoga is not that. Yoga is about showing up. Focusing on your breath. Knowing that each day will be different because each day your body is not the same. It is about small movements that still manage to make your legs quiver. It is about recognizing changes in your body even small things. Like when your realize that your heals are all the way down in your downward dog and knowing that tomorrow your legs might be tighter and it’s ok if they don’t touch.

My sister is actually a yoga guru. She spent a summer on an island (sorry, Jen I don’t remember which one) where she did a full immersion into her practice. There were days when they couldn’t talk. There were days where they spent hours on the mat. Like, seriously, she went the distance with her yoga. I never really understood what she got out of yoga but I think I might be beginning to.

All our lives we think the goal in life is to be busy. To work hard. To go faster. To push harder. To go. Go! Go! To be a hamster on the wheel. Riding the crazy roller coaster thinking that is what we need to get ahead. To ride the Merry Ground and grab the brass ring with both hands.

Some days that is exactly what you need to do.

Some days you don’t.

And the problem is that often we get on the merry go round reaching for the brass ring that sometimes we realize that we don’t even want the ring. Maybe we want cotton candy. Maybe we want the Ferris Wheel where we can enjoy the view and just relax.

This year has been crap. Everyone knows it. That being said, this year is also a gift. Time to assess. A year to think more what you want in life. What serves you and what is missing. I also think that my body is saying while it enjoys all the pushing from racing, it also needs more too. Lets be honest, I am a women in her 50’s who needs to not only push her body but to replenish.

Maybe it’s the yoga… maybe it’s the open schedule…… maybe it’s having time on my hands….. maybe it’s because I have been enjoying having time to breath…. to think…. to be…….. All I know is that is that when it comes to adding things back to the mix, I will have to think long and hard if it serves me

Be Kind…. Even to Yourself

Why are we so hard on ourselves? Why do we always put ourselves down? Why don’t we treat ourselves the way we treat our friends? Why aren’t we kinder to ourselves?

Inquiring minds want to know!

As with everyone, I am in a few group message chains with my friends. These forms of communication are even more important now when you can’t see your friends. In one of these groups recently, we were all saying all the bad but very tasty things we were eating that we shouldn’t be. Then how we needed to get on track. On and on….. You know this conversation because I’m sure you’ve had these converstions.

(Sidebar – Do ONLY women have these conversations? Seriously. Although my husband has said to me about getting back on track, I don’t think he discusses with his fishing or work buddies. Maybe I’m wrong. Am I? )

Anyway after this conversation where we were all beating ourselves up about gaining weight, not loosing weight, and our bad eathing habits I started to think…..

This particular group was a bunch of running Mamas. Some are still running and training for virtual marathons. Those of us not running are still active. We are not sitting on the couch eating bon bons all day even during a pandemic.

A wise friend said, “Life has been extra nuts lately right ? Eat the damn cake chocolate pie cookie ..drink the wine beer pizza whatever …and more importantly be kind to ourselves”

Why is it so hard to be kind to ourselves?

If a friend calls us and tells us they totally blew their diet, blew through their Weight Watcher points, or gained weight; we would come back to them with a kind word (at least I hope so!). We would not berate them. We would not tell them they were hopeless. We would not tell them they blew it. We would reply that it’s ok. That tomorrow is another day. That each day is hard enough without beating themselves up. We would be kind.

So lets be kind to ourselves. Let’s start by treating ourselves the way we treat our friends. Let’s start by giving ourselves a break. Let’s start by knowing that it’s ok to eat the donut, eat the cake, and even eat the brownie but just maybe not in the same night. And if for some reason, we do eat them all in the same night to pick ourselves up the next day and say it’s ok. We will do better.

Here is another thing. As a woman of a certain age, it is pretty damn hard to loose weight. Hormones are all over the place. Metabolism is non existent. Then add no thyroid and a non working parathyroid glands and it is perfect storm of impossible weight loss.

Seriously.

No joke.

No lie.

Now I am by no means saying it is impossible to loose the weight. I am just saying that I am not committed enough right now to engage in trying to the extreme necessary. And while I may eat the donuts, the cake, the treats for the most part I really am not a bad eater. I eat a fairly healthy diet filled with lots of fruits and vegetables For right now, I have embraced a pescatarian diet. I don’t really eat much processed foods. I’ve dieted. I’ve trained and run marathons. On paper, I look good. On the scale is another story.

My sister has suggested that I talk to my doctor about hormone replacement therapy. Truth be told, I take so many pills a day because of my Hypoparathyroidism that the thought of adding to the mix is just tiresome. So I am at a loss and I really do not feel the need to go to extremes as I have maintained where I am for the last 3 years since my surgery when I added these extra 20 pounds.

Now please don’t take this to mean that I have given up. I haven’t. I am not sure when yet, but I will once again start tracking my food. This actually is more for when I go to the doctors for my physical so that we can discuss it. Although my doctor is not one to use the scale as the be all indicator of health. If your doctor isn’t, I would say find one!

Now with all this being said, I am not saying that I wouldn’t be thrilled to wake up 20 pounds lighter tomorrow. I’m just saying for right now….. With all that is going on in the world…… It is just not my priority. I am not saying it won’t one day in the near future, but for today I am content to walk my mile a day and complete my 30 day yoga challenge.

You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know

There is an expression:

You don’t know, what you don’t know.

This expression can be most peoples motto. Sadly though it is usually people who know the least who think they know the most. Although truth be told now days everyone thinks they are an expert. Everyone thinks that if they Google something that they know more or as much as those who study something their entire lives. We are all superstars with infinite wisdom. I mean if you have Google or watch a YouTube video that has to count for something?

Nope. Not really. It is a good way to start your education journey on something, but it by no means makes you as qualified as “an expert.” You know those people who have gone to school. Who have trained. Who have taken tests for degrees, certificates and all those fun things that used to make someone an expert. But that doesn’t compare to the internet expert.

What we fail to realize is the the experts are the best of the best (usually not always). They are the superstars who didn’t start off that way but earned their capes with hard work and experience. To do that, they knew that they had to listen to people with more wisdom than them. They could not rush their status as the reigning expert. They had to earn it.

Many times due to our ego, lack of patience and pure stubbornness; we do not want to start at the beginning. We want to skip over a few steps thinking somehow we don’t need to start at square one. Everyone else should but not us. We are somehow the exception to the rule. We can jump over the foundations. We already know what we need. We would be wrong.

We don’t know what we don’t know until we take off the rose covered goggles and look at ourselves as we are and not how we like to think we are. Once we do that, we are open to actually learning something. We are open to being better than we were. If we do that, we can maybe one day actually become the expert that we initially thought we were.

On my walks, I have been listening to some great podcasts on my walks lately. One of them is the series Silence is Not an Option by Don Lemon. While listening, I thought to myself that there are several people that I know who would benefit from it. They never would listen because they don’t know what they don’t know. When I thought that, I realized that I was the same when it came to yoga as there is much I don’t know.

As I mentioned the other day, I have realized that I was trying to skp steps in pursuit of certain yoga poses. I was doing this purely due to my ego. Purely due to focusing on a goal and not the practice. Thinking that since 4 years ago I did yoga on a regular basis that I could now skip steps. So with the knowledge that I also did not know what I did not know nor can my body do what I think it should, I am stepping back in my yoga practice.

Let me explain….

As I said, I am goal orientated. I need a new challenge. I need a new goal but I need a smarter beginning step goal. I have started the 30 Day Yoga challenge with the Yoga With Adriene on YouTube. I finished day 7 today. Each day is a going back to basics. It is building the foundation of a good yoga practice. It is learning. It is building flexibility and strength. It is being patience and know results will come but maybe not as quickly as I would like. It is not easy, but it is also at a level that I should be working as a beginning.

In my opinion that the biggest failures in life are those individuals who refuse to learn. Those who remain rooted in one place refusing to open up to something new. Some let their ego keep them from reaching their potential not being willing to open themselves up to admit that they don’t know everything. As said previously, only a fool thinks they have nothing to learn.

I am still reaching for my goals. I am just adjusting them. My first goal is to complete the 30 days. With that I will continue to open myself up to practice other poses. Fear of failure won’t stop me and I will continue to try. Sometimes fear of failure keeps people from reaching for the stars and leaves them only to be looking at them. I will reach

No Shortcuts

I have often said that we need to focus on the journey and not the destination. I realized when doing my yoga practice today that I was not taking my own advice. I have been so focused on achieving certain poses that I have been short changing myself and my practice in pursuit of them. Cheating myself of fully learning and building the strength necessary to achieve them fully.

I think part of this might stem from being a goal orientated person. I run not just because I love it but for events that I sign up for. I started this journey with a goal of completing a Sprint Triathlon. I wasn’t a runner, swimmer, or biker but I had a goal. Goals to me are part of the process. I’ve set goals for distance. I’ve set goals for times. I’ve set monthly/yearly mile challenges. I took this thought process with me to my yoga mat.

Goals…. Goals…. Goals.

To be honest, I know that for me I need goals to motivate me. Big goals. Little goals. Even on a run, sometimes a goal is as simple as running to the next utility pole. Goals are important. Goals are necessary. Not just in running, but really in life. Goals in life might be a simple or grand, but everyone has something. It could the day or master plan goals of finishing finishing school, finding a better job, buying a house or planning for retirements. Goals can also be as small as your daily To Do List to make it to the end of the day. Without these small goals, I might just sit on the coach all day. If you don’t set goals, you might not ever move forward. Staying stagnate is not a way to grow as a person….. as a runner…. as an athlete. Most of all it is not the way to accomplish anything in life.

So with this attitude, I went into yoga. While having a goal to achieve certain poses in my mind is still good, I realized that I was starting to solely practice yoga in pursuit of these poses. I was not giving myself to the mat fully nor was I getting out of my practices what I should. Practicing yoga only in pursuit of poses was short changing my practices and myself. So with this aha moment, I had a mind shift in my practice.

I took a step back. I gave myself fully to the practice allowing myself to not simply pursue a pose but to pursue giving myself over to the practice. On recommendations of some Moms in my MRTT group, I tried some YouTube Yoga classes. These classes were different than what I had been doing because they had the feel of actually being in a yoga studio with the same mindset.

I also realized that while I do still have goals of reaching certain poses that in order to get to the level of fully achieving them that I must build a proper foundation. I was skipping the foundation building required. You can’t finish a marathon before you have trained to run one any more than you can reach more advanced poses without being more in touch with what your body can do, build up the required strength, and learn to trust in your ability.

By the way for those who think that yoga is not a workout, I encourage you to take a class. Holding your body up with your arms will cause you to break out in a sweat especially when your body is build like mine! Standing (or attempting to stand) on one leg will not only test your balance but your leg strength and as you age you do begin to loose balance, so you must work on retaining it. Trusting your body enough to ask it to do things you never imagined possible comes with time and practice.

So while I have goals. I have had the realization that practice might not make perfect but if allowed can be beautiful. I am not sure if I will ever reach my very lofty goals of handstand, wheel pose (backbend) or crow pose but I will pursue them in a more honest fashion now. These are not easy poses and for those that know me, you know that I very rarely take the easy road, so it is fitting.

I am not sure if I will ever obtain these goals but stepping back to go to the basics and build my foundation will help me more than single minded approach. As in life, your might not always reach your goals but if you stop reaching not only will you never achieve them but you will never know your true potential.

So with all of that, I say again……

Life is about the journey and not the destination

And this time I really mean it.

NO EXPERT

I admit that I am not an expert in anything. I am not an expert at baking. I am not an expert at cooking. I am not an expert at parenting. I am not an expert at running.

You might be wondering what your doing here then. While not being an expert, this does not mean that I do not have much knowledge. It simply means that I recognize that I still have a lot to learn. I have learned a lot along the way… through trials, failures and success.

I think this is what sometimes makes or breaks people sometimes. The truth of the matter is that everyone no matter what your level can learn from others. Anyone who thinks they have nothing to learn is probably someone you don’t want to listen to anyway. Have you ever talked to someone who has the attitude like they knew everything (even if they knew tons)? Usually these people don’t know half of what they think they do.

I am not an expert baker, but I know that I could teach a thing or two about making the perfect chocolate cake. By no means am I an expert parent, but I have taken parenting classes and have experiences that might be helpful to others. I am not a running expert, but I have run around the block enough times to give some advice. (You know 7 marathons, 50K and I don’t know how many other smaller events).

The thing about expertise is that it usually comes with experiences. You have to be willing to try. You have to be willing to fail. You have to be willing to learn from your mistakes, successes, and others. Most of all you have to be willing to keep going. The thing is no one is every born an expert at anything and the only way you become one is to start at the beginning.

Many people are afraid to embark on new adventures for fear of failure or worse thinking that they need to be an expert before they even start. You see this with people thinking they need to get in shape before they start going to the gym. People think in order to start running that they need to be able to run. People are embarrassed to go to a yoga class because they can’t hold the poses. Here is the thing, everyone has to start somewhere and usually that is at the beginning.

Often when we are thinking of starting something new, we do a little research or at the very least Google it. The problem with that is that usually you only see the finished product. You see the runner with a medal. You see the fitness guru. You see the Yogi contornting themselves into positions that make you scartch your head. You see all of these things but you don’t normally see the struggle that it took to get them there.

Everyone has struggles. Everyone was once a beginner. Everyone has failures, but in a Facebook/Twitter world most people don’t share those things although I do. Life is not perfect.

They share the perfect cookies.

Not the ones that burnt.

They share the truimphet finish line photo.

Not the one showing how hard the day actually was.

We need to realize that life is not a facebook update. We all struggle. We are fail. We all have imperfect lives. If we keep comparing where we are in life to someone’s Facebook page, you might get depressed. Life is not a Facebook Status. Actually we need to bring a little more reality into our virtual lives. We need to start sharing how we got to where we are going. Who knows maybe someone needs to see that they are not the only one with imperfect lives. Sometimes the best way to be inspiring is to show reality.

I’ve been practicing Yoga pretty regularly since March. Using Nike Training App. I used to do Bikram Yoga a few years ago and loved it. In the Nike Training App one of the classes was a beginner inversion class which go me hooked. I admit….. I am not flexible. My legs are usually tight. I am (ahem) overweight. These things do not make for a good Yogi, but I still practice.

I’ve been working on new inversion skills. My goals are a handstand, crow pose, and wheel pose (backbend). All of these are not beginner poses. None of them am I close to conquering. All of them when Googling for tips, only show perfect Yogi’s with perfect form. I get that. Same reason runway models look the way they look. If I could go to a studio, I would see a class full of people in different levels of their practice.

So here I am not even close to being a Yogi, but starting at the beginning. Willing to try.

Willing to fail.

Willing to show myself in my imperfect state with imperfect form and just being willing to try.

That is all we can do in life…. Try. Give it our best. Be willing to pick ourselves up when we fall and try again. The journey is equally as important as the destination and we would do well to remind ourselves of that more often.

UnPause

When the “Great Pause” as in my mind it will be known started in early March, no one knew what it would mean.   No one knew how long it would last.   In the beginning, most of us treated it as a snow day where time stopped.    No rules.   No expectations.   PJ’s all day.   Then again, maybe that was just my house.   The only one who remained on a regular schedule is my husband who immediately started working from home.  

So while life as we knew it changed, we only thought it was temporary.   Yet, here we are …months later still trying to figure it all out. Realizing this is not a pause but a temporary new way of life.  This is what we need to do…… for much longer than we ever imagined.   In ways we never thought of.

So now it’s time to hit the play button and take our lives off pause. Slowly…. Cautiosly…. Smartly… Taking things off of pause and restarting in small steps.

Here it the thing though….. It is also time to evaluate what things that we paused that didn’t serve us, our families and our lives. Prior to the pause everyone wore “busy” as a badge of honor when maybe it wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. Many for the first time in years have been able to have family dinners because everyone wasn’t over scheduled. There were not parents heading off in opposite directions with different kids only to meet exhausted at the end of the day. There was time to do puzzles together, game nights, and just time to putz around the house to actually just be.

I’ve kind of done the same thing with my running. There were no races to train for. No events that I felt I would miss if I didn’t do. There were no expectations. I could just be. Leading me to get back into practicing yoga and slow things down. And while I have signed up for virtual events, the expectations for them is much different.

So with that I Started walking. Taking that step back from running. Enjoying just being. At first it was not intentional. It really started just because it had gotten extremely hot and humid, so I thought walking would be better. Then I realized that this is what I needed. I began getting out every day and while I am not “on a streak,” I am going on 3 weeks without missing a day. So now I have a small goal of hitting a month streak.

At first, I felt like I should be doing more. Than I should at least attempt to run. That this was not pushing myself. Then I realized that I didn’t want to push. That I had no need to push. That sometimes you have to go back to the beginning to get where you need to go. With that there was a mindset change.

My walks are not Sunday Strolls, but more of a power walk pace. Walking with purpose as they call it. I want to get my legs used to a set pace for walking because I also know that when I do add running back in that walking MUST be part of the conversation. Eventually, races will start again. Eventually, I will sign up and be training for one again. When that time comes, I know that in order for me to be consistent, be effective that I will need to do a mix of walk/running.

So as with life, I will start to evaluate what has not served me well in my running. I will evaluate and adjust. Until I am ready to take the next step in running (the C25K), I will walk with purpose using the time to listen to some Podcasts and just be.

I know that I may not have been using this pause as efficiently as some, but to me life isn’t always about the finish line but the way you get there.