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Remember that Feeling

Remember as a kid, you did things just to do them. Remember that feeling of just doing nothing and being content with it. Remember when you were younger going out with your friends for no reason with no destination, but just to drive and listen to music. Remember the days where you didn’t feel like you needed a purpose, destination, or challenge?

Today my hubby and I took a drive to a Garden Center to pick up a tree to replace one that didn’t survive the harsh winter. As we were driving, I was looking at the well manicured lawns, the not so well manicured lawns, and the “natural lawns.” Personally I enjoy the more natural looking yards from the “well manicured” pristine lawns. The well manicured to me are just fighting for perfection that was never meant to be nor natural…… Plus they are a lot of work. Although I have a mix of a well manicured and natural looking gardens and it is definitely not less work

Anywho…… What do these things have in common.

They are all about control.

When we were younger, we just let things take their course. Whatever happened happened. Then as we grew up had responsibilities , we needed to start taking control. We had to take control of schedules, budgets, other people, on and on the list went. Everything needed to be managed. Everything needed to be planned. We needed goals. We needed challenges. Everything was about finding our purpose. Finding our bliss. Even that became something to plan. Sometimes we found it. Sometimes we didn’t, but in the search we realized that sometimes it’s ok not to have a plan.

Some of my fondest memories from when I was younger was just hanging out with my friends. Times when we weren’t doing anything. Just hanging out on the beach. Going for a drive/walk. It wasn’t about reaching a destination, but about just the moment.

Since I started running, I’ve always been goal oriented even when trying not to be. Goals to hit a certain pace, distance, event, miles. Even when I was regularly practicing yoga it became about challenging myself to practice for a certain number of days or attain a certain pose. It wasn’t about just being.

I am trying to learn how to just be. To allow my running to be about nothing more nothing less than just about the running. No challenges. No paces. No distances.

Since new CDC guidelines I have met two friends for two different runs/walks. One friend we just walked and talked. One friend does the Jeff Galloway run/walk program, so we did that. Both of these started with much needed hugs as I haven’t seen either of them for a long time. (Sidebar – it felt really great to hug them). Anyway, I enjoyed both of these get togethers tremendously.

I always say that I need a purpose/challenge to get me out the door running. I want my purpose for now simply to be about the running. The meeting up with friends again. Friends who if I can run their pace, I will run their pace. Friends who might need to slow down to run my pace. Running by myself, just because I want to go for a run not because I need to go for a run.

Doesn’t that sound wrong? Ha! We are so trained that we always need to be working on something, to be improving something, to be striving for something that somehow the thought of just saying that I am not actively working, training, or planning anything seems like I am doing something wrong when for me it seems like I am doing something right and that is enough.

For now….

A State of Mind

I can be both a seasoned marathon runner and a runner just beginning. Who knew that being a runner was also a state of mind? Pretty much every runner will tell you that it is both physical and mental. Even as someone who couldn’t run a 5K right now, I still consider myself a runner. My car carries magnets proudly displaying 26.2, 50K, and Moms Run this town. To anyone who sees these, they might think that I run miles every day. There was a time that was true. I earned them and so they remain.

For now though, I am not running any marathons but I am still a marathon runner. No matter if I were to never complete another marathon, nothing can take away the finish lines that I have crossed. So yes, yes, I am a marathon runner who happens to not be training for a marathon.

I don’t want to say that I am starting over again. I think I need to start looking at my running as the ups and downs that we all have in life. There are times when we are up and there are times when we are down. It is the ying and yang of life. So as a runner, there are times when I run and there are times when I will not be running. The not running chapter is coming to an end.

I have been running with the C25K program now for going on 3 weeks. This is where I need to be just like I needed to give myself a break from running. Now my body and my mind have reset and am once again looking forward to running again. If you don’t look forward to doing something, you shouldn’t do it. Now I don’t mean work or all the responsible things that we as adults must do, but running had been my release. When it started to be another chore it was time for a reset.

I enjoyed spending my spring and summer walking. I enjoyed not feeling like I should be doing something else. I had no desire to do more.

I do now. How much more is up for debate and will change over time.

So with that, I am lacing up again. There are no races on the horizon to train for and who knows what 2021 will bring race wise either but that isn’t what I am even thinking of right now. What I do know is that it is not about feeling like I need to run, but a feeling of I want to run. Rebuilding is allowing me to do exactly that…. Rebuild. I must be serious about it as I bought new sneakers and new Oofas too.

So with that, I will continue on this running journey that I have been all these years. You know it is time when you actually look forward to the thought of running. Not for racing. Not for pace. Not for distance. Just to run again.

Life is about listening to your inner voice. To respecting what you need and when you need it. And as will all things, what we need will change. What we want will also change. That doesn’t make us a failure. that makes us human.

Transformational

When the history books are written about 2020, there will be much to be said.   Probably volumes could be written already and we are only at the half way mark.

I think the biggest takeaway when we are all said and done and so far the best way to describe it……  2020 is a transformational year.    It was the year the world stopped, caught fire and transformed.

I wish I could tell you how it transforms.   I wish I could tell you how it all turns out.    I wish I could say that it all works out for the best.    I wish I had the gift to see into the future to give that peace of mind.

Transformational…..

It’s not just the world transforming, but individual people.     Your life is not written in stone.    How are you transforming because that is the only part of the story that you have control over.   No, you don’t have control over the outside forces of your life but you do have control over how you face these things.  Sometimes it is easy to forget that and feel like it’s all spiraling out of control.

So may transformations.

Life is one big transformation.   We grow.   We learn.   Sometimes we need to relearn.    We transform with life experiences.   We change.   Our circles change. For many right now life is never changing, yet still not the same.   Always transforming even when it all feels the same. Different, yet the same.

Right now I will say 100% that the books I bookmarked to read, but never did have nothing to do with time. That the “chores” I said that I would get to but still have not tackled have nothing to do with time. All those things we said we would do…. if only we had the time. Now we know if time was really what was holding us back. For many things, time had nothing to do with it but became a good cover story.

I’ve realized that I have enjoyed this step back.    This time to just be with no expectations.   This time to get back to basics.   To realize that I didn’t start running for the medals on the wall (although I do like to look at them).   I ran just to run.   Much like what my mother is doing now.   I have enjoyed just getting back to basics.

So as I am at home with my family, it is the same but different.   I have taken another running challenge (I think I mentioned it) of running the distance of the NJ Parkway (172.4 miles).   Another challenge.   Same but different.   This one there is no fan fare.   There is no big event.   There is just getting out there and getting as many miles in as I can.   Same, but different.

Currently I am plugging away.   I haven’t been keeping up as well as I thought, but I will push through and get it done.   I’ve got a little over a month to go and it will be time to pick up the pace.   Ok, not really the pace but the miles.  If I’ve calculated my miles correctly, I am only at 58.8.   I don’t see why I can’t get to the finish line.

Here is the thing…. What always seems impossible is right up until it isn’t.   So I will keep plugging away.   I will plug a little further, but I won’t stop until I get to where I need to be.

What if I fly

Welcome to the Tribe

I tease my Mother that she is not a spring chicken anymore.   Truth of the matter is at 73 that she has more strength, endurance and will to push herself than most people half her age.   Some days even me.

She has fire.

My mother is inspiring for many reasons.   I would bet that she has no idea how many people in how many different ways are inspired by her.   By her love of family.   By her faith.   By the way she lives her life.    By the way she sees the best in people.    By the way she lives her life.    Like many, here life has not always been easy and it’s not my story to tell but through it all she has never given up and kept moving forward.

That is how she got running.

Moving forward.   Starting with one step at a time.   Starting with walking.   Then walking and running.    Then setting small goals turning into bigger goals and sticking to it even when it didn’t work out.   She is primed and ready for us to run her first 5K and she knows it won’t be any time soon now.   So rather than put her shoes away, she made a new goal.

She decided she wanted to run 5 miles.   Then she did.

Then she ran 7 miles by mistake the first time but has since done it again and again.

My mother calls me her coach although she doesn’t always listen.   She sometimes does her own thing without telling me till it’s too late, but that is a different story.    While that may be true, I am impressed with her stamina to keep pushing herself.    I give her lots of advice…. Make sure she stretches.   Make sure she rests.   Make sure she pays attention to time on her feet and recovery. Lots of advice that she listens to 80% of the time.

Right now I am actually trying to reign her in because although she is doing great, I do worry that she is going to injure herself as she jumped her miles too quickly (not my advice) and her longer runs can be almost 2 hours.

I need to pay attention to the advice that I give her too.   Although it is always so much easier to give advice than take it.

Anyway today on National Running Day, I wanted to celebrate a new member to the running tribe…. My Mom.

There is no test to take to be a runner.   There is no pace required to be a runner.   There is no distance required to be a runner.    No races that need to be run. The only thing required is that you run and YES… she runs. So I herby decree that she is the Accidentally Running Grandma:)

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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.

 

It’s Serious Now

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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

Often times the struggle in life comes from not knowing who you are. Knowing what you can be versus what you want to be. Like the little kitten who thinks that he is a lion. Yes, he may have the heart of a lion, but that does not mean that he has the body on one. There are some things that one must accept.

Often in life, our struggles come from reality versus expectations. Some realities with dedication and hard work can change. Then there are times that no matter what you do, how hard you work, or what you are willing to change that reality can not. Often that is where the battle comes in. Where disappointments come in.

Some may have the heart and soul of an elite marathon runner. That does not make it so. That being said, that does not mean that you can not become the best version of you at a given point in your life. Trying to live where you are not at a point in time will put you in constant battle with yourself. If you can accept that reality as it is and not how you want it to be, than you can not only enjoy the process but be happy with it too. Again, easier said than done. This holds true for much of our lives.

I will admit that I do not have the dedication or will to be an elite athlete even if I had the body which I clearly do not. I like to sleep in too much and maybe ice cream more than I should. That being said, I do have a drive to be more than I am. The reality though is that I am now a (ahem) middle aged runner with Hypoparathyroidism who can never compete with the image in her head of how things should be or where I was prior to surgery. The beauty is that doesn’t stop me from trying to be more.

So off I went plugging away. Getting my runs in. Doing what needs to be done. Going about my business. Going out for my longest run this training cycle. 10 miles. I didn’t know if I could do it. I reminded myself of my last post where I clearly said that what you do without the fanfare is more important than when you have it. I also reminded myself to stay true to the training. So I went out thinking no matter what I would just get the run in. My plan actually called for 9, but mentally I needed the 10. So I went out and just plugged away.

Just keep running. Just keep running. Running, running, running.

You know what? I did it. I finished the run. I felt good about it. I felt like I could have kept going. Although I was very happy to be done. It was hard, but it was not impossible. Sometimes you don’t need to be the lion, you just need to be the kitten that is not willing to give up.

Here’s the thing too…… Sometimes though it’s ok for the Kitten to know that maybe it’s not her time to be the lion. Sometimes we need to step back because as fierce as we are, sometimes life has other plans for us and that’s ok too. Every battle does not need to be fought. Sometimes it’s ok to find a new path. Often it is the acceptance of that new path even if it’s just a temporary one is what makes you as fierce as a lion.

The world is filled with people getting shit done. Doing what needs to be done to get through the day. Most you might walk past and not even realize the struggle it may have taken them to get from point A to point B. This is why one of my favorite expressions is “Be Kind” because you never know what someone is struggling with…. be it depression, be it an injury, be it giving up a dream, struggles at home, or maybe they are just having a bad day.

So be the lion. Be the kitten. Be you. Most of all… just be kind.

You Can’t Hide From You

We all do it. Have our moments when we are by ourselves and think…. No one is around. I can….. eat the cookie, drink from the cereal bowl, stay in my PJ’s all day, skip a workout, ect, ect…..

Most of the time what we do in private is our business and it doesn’t matter. That being said, often what we do when no one is watching is more imporatant than when you have an audience.

Easy case in points….. Making sure that someone notices you giving a big tip, doing a good deed but making sure everyone knows you did it, being an ass to someone who can’t say anything back because you can, playing the martyr to anyone willing to listen but leaving your part of the story out. This also holds true to training.

What we do in private is our own business. Everyone has their own thing. Focused on their own goals as it should be. Everyone has to stay true to themselves, their goals, their expectations and just focus on doing what they need to do. Just do it. Do what you can. What you’ve trained to do with no doubt.

The problem arises when people aren’t true to themselves or their training. Anyone can make a training run look spectacular if you stop your watch every time you stop, walk, or take a break. While the miles may get done, it does not give true sense of what you can do or prepare you for where you are going. For some this leads to pressure to perform on a given race day for a performance that you might not be ready for. For some this may lead them to cross lines that shouldn’t be crossed and cheat. In the end though, they really are only cheating themselves out of seeing what they really can do..

Training isn’t usually glamorous. Training isn’t usually all that fun. It is hard. It isn’t always easy and honestly if it’s easy then you aren’t training hard enough. Truth be told, sometimes you just don’t want to do it. (Sounds fun, right?) But the truth is that no one suffers from short changing your training than you. Only you can be honest with your effort, your outcome, and knowing if you pushed when you needed to push. Not your friends. Not your running group. Not the crowds. The only thing that can push you to both train and cross the finish line is you. It comes from a place deep inside. Internally. If you wait and need external motivation to get you there, you will fail.

Now I’m not saying that external forces can not be motivating, because they can be. The crowds of NY can carry you in ways that someone who has never experienced running a marathon can never understand. That being said, when you are out running a 50K in the woods, there tends to not be any crowds to carry you and even during a road race there are solitary places. There certainly aren’t any crowds to carry you through training. This is why every runner, every athlete, needs to find their inner voice. They need to find their why?

Everyone has their own why. Everyone has their own reasons. Some have more than one reason.

When you push yourself to run when you don’t feel like it….To run faster, farther, and for longer than you want without the crowd, without the finish line, without the medal; you are better for it. You are a better runner. You erase doubts. You gain confidence in yourself and your abilities. Because the biggest truth is if you can’t do it when no one is looking, it will be almost impossible when everyone is.

So find your Why? Find your inner voice. Do what you know not only needs to be done, but what you know you can do if you allow yourself to do it. When I started training this cycle, I had my doubts. I had trouble completing 3 miles. I’ve been plugging away. Then last night, I noticed something. I ran my 5 miles and could have kept going. I felt good. I felt confident. This is what training does not just to the body, but to the mind.

Keep doing you.

It’s Only a Month

It’s amazing that I can have run a half marathon literally less than a month ago and feel so out of shape.   I ran a good race too.    I need to get it back together.    I need to get back to not being out of breath and sweating like I’ve just ran a half marathon after teaching a gymnastics class.   Literally drenched in sweat today.

I remember when I was training for my 50K that I ran 6 days a week.   My short run was 5 miles.

Good Times.

Now I’m not saying that I want to get out every day for 5 miles, but I do miss the feeling that I could if I wanted to that I could.    I also know that I need to get back into better cardio shape which might help.   My schedule has not been my own lately, but I’ve decided that I need to stop making excuses and get it together.

So I’m thowing down the gauntlet.

I’m going to start streaking.

Now those of you that know me personally know that I’ve really never been into the concept (for me) of streaking.    I know people who have been streaking for years and I am in awe of them, but have never felt like joining in the crazy.    I’ve done streaks of working out every day, but never running.

Until now.

Although I do plan to limit my crazy.   It will be for 30 days.   Actually 28 because I started 2 days ago.   A minimum of a mile a day for the next month.   I think this might be just what I need to get back on track

This is really something that hopefully should be relatively easy to keep too.   Monday, I start coaching elementary track 4 days a week.   So it should be easy enough to get my mile in those days since I will already be in running attire and out of the house.    There will be challenging days some that I already know of and some I’m sure will crop up unexpectedly but it’s only a month.

A lot can change in a month…..

Here’s hoping.

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Perspective

 

Sometimes in life we get stuck in a rut.   It is so easy to get caught up in the minutia of it all.   To look at things with eclipse glasses on where everything is darkened out.   We are waiting to see the eclipse only to realize that we are looking the wrong way.  Then you change directions and see the beauty before you.

You get perspective.

It is so easy to get caught up in thinking about where you were and what has changed that you forget that the journey isn’t over yet.

Nothing has changed, but there has been a shift in my thinking.

I need to stop looking backwards and start looking forwards again.

It’s a lesson that I learned a long time ago, but seemed to have forgotten.

Perspective.

Today I went out for 3 miles.   I had planned to do the walk/run for it but changed my mind.   Honestly the only reason that I changed my mind is because it was raining and I didn’t want to walk in the rain.   Anyway, I just focused on the run.   I let my body be in charge of it.   There was no thought of pace.   Just focusing on my breathing, how I felt, and enjoying running in the rain.

Here’s what happened…

I hit mile 1 without walking.   Then I hit mile 2.   Then I thought to myself, it’s been a long time since I actually ran a full 5K.

So I did….

I felt good.   I could tell that I was breathing heavier the last mile, but that is because it was raining a little harder.   Besides it was a good heavy breathing.    I felt good and am really happy with myslef.

NOW this doesn’t’ change my plan for Chicago because running a 5K does not make a marathon.

One day at a time

One run at a time.

Just running to run..

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