Wednesday, March 21, 2012

I Second That Emotion

I am a newbie when it comes to running. In fact I don't really think of myself as runner at all, really. More of a "jog/walker." I do try to walk quickly, though, when I take those breaks in my routes. I still am not sure what really finally got me out the door in my running shoes all those months ago - but I am becoming more and more glad that it happened.
I generally run in the mornings. I know myself well-enough to realize that once I am up and dressed in my work clothes the last thing that I am going to break away from my day to do is any kind of exercise. Basically I roll out of bed and into my sweats and running shoes and head out the door. Fortunately it is usually still pretty dark outside because I am sure I am rather scary looking. But like I mentioned in my earlier post "If You are Moving - You Win!!", as long as I am moving I have accomplished my main goal.
There are many things I am discovering I like about running. One of the biggest things that has surprised me is how well running handles pretty much any emotion I might be going through on a given morning. And I have run the gambit - anger, heartache, happiness, frustration, confusion, joy and so on. Running takes each emotion - puts it through it's paces and leaves me in a much better place when we are finished.
Anger was big early on for me. I pushed myself pretty hard on days when that was my driving emotion. The thing about anger, though, is that it requires energy. And, interestingly enough - so does running. After a morning of running I discovered that somewhere along the way my anger had petered out and I was in a better frame of mind to take on whatever awaited me that day.
Heartache and sadness are no match for running, either. I have done several morning runs with tears streaming down my cheeks and sobs forcing me to slow to a walk. Yet when I kept going eventually the tears and sobbing would run their course. The wind would dry my face and I could take a deep breath and begin my day with a renewed strength to carry on.
Running has allowed me the time to work through frustration and confusion in my life. It is dedicated time by myself where my mind can work through problems that I could not focus on any other time of day because life in general is too distracting. Often something that is disturbing or perplexing at the beginning of a run will be much more manageable by the end of it.
The best runs, though, have been happy or joyful runs. Those are the days when my attitude is good and I've had enough sleep. On those mornings my running stretches are longer, my walks are quickest, my mood is bright and the whole experience is just amazing. I love those runs. They don't happen every time I go out which makes them all the more precious when they do come.
So, I will keep running - loving the fact that no matter what I am feeling - running can handle it and I will be in better shape in more ways than one when I am done.

Monday, March 12, 2012

If You Are Moving - You Win!!

I used to be a couch potato. And I am not exaggerating. My life was, well, sedentary is the best word I can think of to describe it. Basically I sat - a lot. I sat at my desk at work. I sat in my car driving myself and my kids from A to B. I sat at home watching tv or 'working' on the computer. All the years I spent sitting around I THOUGHT about exercising more. I am an excellent thinker. Sitting, in fact, was very conducive to over-thinking. I worried about the shape I was in. I worried that I was gaining too much weight. I worried that I was not doing what I needed to combat the hypertension I had been diagnosed with several years ago. I worried about my cholesterol levels after a yearly physical. But that was all I did. Sit and worry. Worry and sit.
I blame my oldest daughter Cody for planting the nagging thought in my brain that started to change things. I have no idea how the conversation started or what made me agree to it. Over a year ago we somehow came up on the topic of the Bolder/Boulder 10K race and I found myself agreeing to run it with her. WTH? Who was I to think I could walk a mile without getting winded - much less get through something like the Bolder/Boulder? Well, as life would have it circumstances did not allow for us to participate last year. And with all that was taking place in my life I let the thought slide into happy oblivion with a profound sense of relief. Until Cody did it again. Out of the blue several months ago she asked me how I was doing getting ready for the Bolder/Boulder. Because THIS year we were doing it - no excuses. In my head I was screaming, "Are you kidding me? I thought we were done with that!!!" What I said to her was something like, "Oh, yeah, I guess I really need to start working on that, don't I?" And again in my head, "God, help me, what am I saying????"

Well, God did help me because only He could have led me to the two statements that helped get me up and moving. The first one is "No matter how fast or slow you are going, you are ahead of everyone still sitting on the couch." I don't consider myself terribly competitive, but that definitely encourages me. I may not be able to beat anyone else in the race, but I can certainly stay ahead of all those couch potatoes. And that statement also helped begin a significant change in my own thinking. I no longer count myself among those left behind on the couch.

The second statement is "If you are moving - you win!!" It fits perfectly with the first. Basically as long as I get up and get out my front door with my running shoes on - I've won. It doesn't matter if I walk the entire distance I am doing infinitely better than I was sitting on the couch all the time. And it doesn't matter if I walk/jog just around my block - I am moving, aren't I? Or if I walk jog a few miles - still moving!!! Heck, I can skip the whole way if want - doesn't matter. Moving = winning. Getting something in my head that gave me a sense of accomplishment was crucial to encouraging myself to not only get out the door, but to keep doing it the next day, and the next, and the next. You get the picture.

Along the way something amazing has happened. I started out running by myself - but I have acquired a few "friends in spirit" who looked at me and said, "If you are doing this - I want to, too!!" Other friends who are - shall we say, no longer spring chickens (seriously, when DID that happen???), and who, like me, were among the less than active members of society. Instead of just working towards the Bolder/Boulder with my daughter, I now have committed to running a 5K with my sister in Rifle, CO and another 5K with one of my bestest friends in Glenrock this summer. None of us lives in the same town, so my unofficial role has been chief encourager/nagger. I will text these gals regularly and ask for their latest walk/jog report. I love it when they write back and tell me they got out and moved!! Now when I run in the mornings I am not just doing it for me - I want to keep being able to encourage them as well.

So, here's to Cody, Jeanette, and Michele - thanks for joining me! Let's keep moving!!