Tag Archive | inspiration

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:)

Running1

Out of Balance

amazing balance blur boulder

Photo by Nandhu Kumar on Pexels.com

I’ve been in better shape.

I’ve been in worse shape.

I’ve been stronger.

I’ve been weaker.

I’ve been in better shape.

I’ve been in worse shape (really).

I’ve been so many things and I will end up being so many more.  Things ebb and flow.   Up until a month ago, I seemed to be right on target for my Birthday Half Marathon right up until the world stopped.   Since then, training has not been training but getting a run in here and there as allowed.   Races right now are non existent.  Although, I think I might still try to do the  virtual run, but I don’t think I will run the full half.   Probably just the 8K.

Since formal training has come off the table and I have been trying to not loose my mojo.    Not just me but my whole household.   You know when you have nowhere to go and nothing to do, you really have time to squeeze in a workout.    We even cleaned out the garage.   Bought some equipment, mats for the floor and are in process of turning our garage into a home workout space.   It helps that many are sharing workouts online.   One that I have found that I like is the Nike Training App.   During the Stay at Home orders they are even allowing you to view workouts for free.   Yeah.

I even went so far as to dust off a no equipment workout from my CrossFit days.   Let me just say that while I did the workout, it was not pretty and it made me think.   I realized that while I’m not sure that I would want to be doing CrossFit now that I was in the best shape of my life when I was doing it.   The cross training was key.   I further realized that I gave my all to running and allowed everything else fall to the wayside.   Time was limited and I chose running over yoga, CrossFit, cross training, and everything else.  It seemed like a necessary tradeoff but it wasn’t a smart one.

On top of that I realized that by letting everything else go, I was missing out.   Now I realize that I am now in my early 50’s, but I have lost a lot of upper body strength.   A lot.  Yes, I can run marathons.   Yes, I have endurance.    Yes, I can get to the finish line.   All those things are true, but I lost balance.   Balance in life is good.   Balance in life brings harmony.   Balance is easy to loose.   I could still run a marathon but I had to push harder than I should because of all that I stopped doing.

When I had balance with running, biking, HIT workouts, weight lifting not only was I in great shape physically but I was also able to run faster and further without injury.   Now I realize that I am getting older by the day, so I may not get faster but I can certainly get stronger and find the balance that I lost.   And since I am getting “older,”  my body needs balance more than ever.  I also realized I missed it.   Yes, I’m a runner but I’m am more than legs especially at 5 foot 2.   In thinking about it to, saying I am a runner made it ok not to be anything else.    I used it as an excuse not to do other things even things that I enjoyed doing.

Often our lives become out of balance with out us even realizing it.   We take more responsibility at work, our families require more of our energy, volunteering for important causes takes time, pets, responsibilities and one and on it goes until we realize we don’t have time for “self care.”   We become out of balance without even paying attention or noticing.

Now some people hate the phrase “self care” or view it as hokey.   Some think it’s selfish. Some think that there is no time.   Some don’t understand that it doesn’t necessarily mean bubble baths, salon visits, or even running.   Self care is what is necessary in order to recharge your batteries what ever that may be for you.

Right now most of us have a lot of extra time.    There is no where to go.    There is no better time to give yourself some TLC because you deserve it.   Right now the world is raw, emotional, and tender.   Everyone is worried.   Everyone is stressed.   Everyone has their own baggage that most people have no clue about.    There is no better time to add balance and self care to your life because you can’t care for others if you don’t care for yourself.

So with that said,  I’m looking to control what I can in my life and bring balance to it where I can.    For now that means adding full body workouts.   Taking time to do more than just lace up my shoes.    And the good thing is that right now I have to the time to see where this will take me.   Hopefully it will take me to a more balanced approach to my running.

Do you have balance?

 

 

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

 

Just Run

Life is messy.

Life is complicated.

Life has it ups.

It always has it’s downs, but with any luck they don’t last long.

It’s the little things in life that makes up the big things. Often we forget that. We forget that with friends. We forget that with family. We forget that with many things in life including our running. We focus so much on the big goals… The pace, the distance, the races that we forget the important reasons to run.

Going back to basics has been good for me. Not just with my running which has actually improved. Feeling better. Running negative splits not because I was watching the pace, but because my body naturally wanted to run them. Having no expectations and just enjoying running.

Taking this step back has also allowed me to reconnect not just with my body, but why I love running so much. For me, running is a place to clear my mind. To think. To spend time with friends chatting the miles away. I forgot all of that. I forgot that I didn’t start running because I wanted to PR, running set number of miles, or anything except that running was my happy place.

Sometimes you just need a happy place. A place to let your stress go. A place to let tears flow. A place to chat about unimportant and important things with a friend. A place to let your mind wander. Most of all it is supposed to be something that helps alleviate  your stress not add to it. If it adds to it, your doing something wrong.

I was doing it all wrong.

I’m happy to report that I am finally doing it right. I am looking forward to getting out the door again. I am making plans to run with friends again. I am allowing my running to help me destress and not stress me out. I may be running slower that I had been trying to run, but I am also running faster than I thought I would. That being said, I am NOT even remotely looking at my watch when I’m running. Time is not my goal right now. For now, I am running. I am running and that is enough. That is more than enough and all I want.

Life is filled with so much pressure. So much expectations. I am not an elite athlete. I’m never going to be on the podium. To be honest, for now, I have no desire to do more than what I am doing which is…..

To Run.

 

Restores the Soul

It’s funny how often in life as the saying goes, you don’t know what you have till it’s gone. It’s more than a silly cliché. It’s factual. Think of the people you know who….

Haven’t appreciated a spouce till after getting a divorce.

Didn’t truly appreciate a friendship until it’s too late.

Didn’t appreciate health until a diagnosis

Even the old…. Didn’t appreciate your youth until your too old.

All of these things and so much more is sadly true. Although sadly I think it might just be human nature that makes us this way. If your lucky though, you learn from each loss and appreciate the here and now. It’s a challenge though because it is so easy to fall into the trap again and again. This is why it is best to remind yourself to have a grateful heart. It’s not always easy to keep, but when you manage to do so life is so much better.

Today I did something that I have wanted to do for a long time. I hit the trails for a long run. I had wanted to do it last week after I saw my old running cohort post about meeting people for a trail run. I actually planned to surprise her, but it wasn’t in the cards. It was an “off” day for me and pushing to do the trails even if I had managed to make it off the couch would not have been good. And to be honest, I didn’t even make it off the couch that day. Unless you count when I went out to dinner that night. I guess we can count that and I am grateful that I did not need to worry about cooking dinner on that off day.

I’ll be honest, it took me a few days to get back to the swing of it all. Once I did, I really wanted to get to the trails. I used to run them all the time and can’t even remember the last time I made it to them. It’s been a while. Partly because it does require more time to run the trails. Partly because I wasn’t sure I was up for the trails. And partly because I’ve been nervous about hitting the trails again.

Today was the day to get out there. Weather was perfect. Been feeling good. Really was no excuse not to do it.

So I did.

When I pulled into the parking lot, I saw some of my Moms Run This Town Mamas getting ready to go out for their own trail run. It was nice to get a hug from them and see their smiling faces. I knew that I would not be at their pace, but I also knew that I really needed to do this on my own……

A friend texted me during the run asking how it was going. I texted back the first thing that came to mind.

It Restores the Soul

Truth. Running the trails again…… Something that I used to do all the time without a thought……. It was like taking back something that I felt was lost. I used to go out for training runs without a care. Now there is planning. When to take the Natpara. Do I take calcium before, during or after the run? How do I feel? It’s not just about grabbing some fuel, filling water bottles and going. I realize that one of the things that has kept me off the trails was fear. Fear of getting wonky on a run. Fear of not being able to do it. All kinds of crazy and some not so crazy fears, but if you let fear stop you from doing what you love then fear wins.

So while today’s run was not fast. While I acted like a tourist stopping to take pictures…… While I enjoyed the beauty of the trails….. While I soaked it all in……. While I just went out and did what I set out to do…… I had a heart of gratitude.

It Restores the Soul…..

I am so lucky for so many reasons. As I said in a Facebook post today, while the trail may be rocky; it is not impossible.

Things are only impossible if you let fear win. Fear did not win today and it has shown me that as always, it is a damn liar. So while I am still sore….. While I am tired…… While it was not easy…… It was also not hard and it was certainly not impossible.

I will be back and it’s nice to know while I was out running the trails alone today that I had support all along the way and I’ve also got some people who will make sure that next time I have company.

Trails and Friends…. Perfect together.

No Guarantee

There are no guarantees in life. No guarantee of tomorrow. NO guarantee of good health. No guarantee of love, friendships, or anything lasting.

Depressing right?

Not really. Knowing that there are no guarantees means that we must embrace each day with the knowledge that each day is a gift. Each interaction with a loved one is special. That each day we get to decide how we are going to face the day. Will it be a good day or not? And yes much of what happens in our day is out of our control, but how we respond to what happens determines if it is a good day or not. It is the glass half full thought process.

The optimist looks and is happy the glass is half-full.

The pessimist is upset because it is half empty.

Then there are those that are just happy because they are lucky enough to have a glass to fill. They know that sometimes the glass will be full. Sometimes it will be half-full. Sometimes it might even be empty, but and here is the important part…. It is always refillable.

And yes, sometimes, sometimes we look at our half filled glass and wish it was filled with something else. That is probably the most dangerous way to look at your glass because if you allow envy or jealousy to fill your glass it is hard to swallow.

So while I know it is hard to always be the optimist. In my opinion that although easier to become one, you can be swallowed if you allow yourself to be a pessimist. In the end than it is harder to be the pessimist. It does take practice to look at the glass half full. It does take effort to remember how lucky you are to have a glass in the first place. It helps though when you realize that your control in life is really tied to how you face a situation.

Sometimes in life many things will happen out of our control. Sometimes we are dealt a bad hand. The trick is knowing that even with so much out of our control that we still deep down have the ability to be happy. It’s not always easy. If you watch children though that you will learn the secret to being happy…… Just be in the moment.

So as I begin this new training (pre training) cycle for running NY City Marathon, I am going to try to remind myself to be in the moment. Know that each training run won’t be great, but many will. That if I am running slow or walking, that there are people who wish they would be able to be in my shoes. That no mater how far, how fast, how slow that I go; the fact that I am able to go is all that matters.

Is your glass half full or half empty?

Looking Foward Not Back

We live in a society that is always sending the message that

BIGGER IS BETTER

NEW & IMPROVED

FASTER & FASTER

GO BIG OR GO HOME

We buy into it. Sometimes these are right. Sometimes they are wrong. At some point in our lives these can be true, but what happens when they no longer fit into your life? What happens if you no longer buy into these messages? Where does that leave you?

What happens if after years of chasing longer distances, faster paces, challenge after challenge; you just aren’t feeling it? Is there a place for us?

I think many people get burnt out because we start pursuing things not because they are something we want to do, but something we feel we should do. I ran a 5K, I should do a half. I’ve run a few half marathons, I should do a full. I’ve concurred the full, I should do an ultra. Sometimes these are things that start out as wants but then turn into expectations. The pressure is often all on us.

We get burnt out. We loose the joy. We stop running.

I have and maybe one day again, have pursued the distances. I’ve only completed one 50K, but in the recess of my mind I don’t feel that is the end. The same with marathons…. I’ve done 6 now. I have no desire to run one in the near future but also don’t feel that is the end. I’ve chased the ever elusive 25 minute 5k. To a non runner, I was close at 26:26, but we know the truth. I’ve chases an obtained a sub 2 Half Marathon coming just under wire at 1:59. I’ve had monthly running goals. Yearly running goals (1000 miles in a year). I’ve had goals big and small.

I have no goals right now. No distance or pace goals. My goal right now is just to as said many times, get back to the basics. I’m actually ok with that. I’ve been doing my running following the C25K program. 3 runs a week. Part of me wonders if some people think I’m not pushing hard enough, so what’s the point. Part of me is like, “that is not enough.” Then part of me is like, “enough.”

ENOUGH

I am enough. I have been embracing it as you’ve probably heard before but it is a constant reminder. If you are always looking at where you came from, you won’t see where you are going. I am going forward. I am continuing my journey. Yes, it is a much different journey than I thought I would be on at this point. To be honest, at this point I really thought I would have done another ultra, hat trick, and that 25 minute 5k. I was disappointed because I thought I wasn’t where I should be. That I wasn’t doing what I was supposed to be doing. These thoughts still creep in.

I am FINALLY getting to the point where I realize that I am right where I need to be. Doing what I need to be doing. My journey is my journey alone. Alone doesn’t mean that I am by myself on it. It just means that I can only be happy with it if I accept it. I really think I am getting there.

I have been running my runs on a treadmill for the most part. I’ve been conscience to keep the pace under control. The max I’ve been using is 5.3 and those are for briefer intervals. Sometimes I feel like I’m not pushing hard enough. Then I remember that for now it does me no good to push the pace and really for what purpose. Running on the treadmill while boring has kept me in check. This is what I’ve needed because the few runs I’ve done outside, I’m not as in check. I am actually starting to like it. I also know that once I get back outside that I will have to learn to control paces again.

Sometimes life doesn’t give us what we want. Let’s be honest…. often life doesn’t give us what we want. But if you make peace with what life does give you, you are able to enjoy where it takes you in a way that you can’t when swimming against the tides. I’ve been having this conversation with one of my sons that attitude is everything and it’s true.

I have started looking forward. Thinking about new challenges that I can take. Realistic challenges for where I am at. Sometimes it’s good to pivot right when you’ve always been going left because you never know where the new path will take you.