Thursday, April 29, 2010

I would NEVER!

Why do I feel like I should start off with "bless me, readers, for I have lapsed... it's been over 2 weeks since my last blog..." Oh! The bloggers guilt of leaving people hanging, with nary a hint of the multitude of things going on in my brain.

Ok, truth be told, there hasn't really been a _whole_ lot going on in my brain. As tends to happen, though, there's been an overarching theme of late that's been annoyingly persistent and must be dealt with. ;)

Part of it has been prompted by the fact that (cue fanfare) I'm finishing my personal trainer cert, dammitall! I've got 2.5 questions left and I'm way ahead of my self-imposed deadline of June 13. Once I pass that test (being positive and optimistic ;) it means I will have earned the right to tell people what to do! Whoo hoo!! Watch out world!

The other part came when I discovered a friend from high school had a blog - I know, in an age when /everyone/ and their cat has a blog, it shouldn't be a such a surprise. What was the surprise is the content, or rather my response to it. He has discovered a love for barefoot running and has since run a few half and full marathons ala the primal hobbit - just skin and road.

I know! I thought the same thing! Why on /earth/ would you want to run a marathon?! (ducks and hides from all my awesome marathonin' peeps that I looooove dearly!) I can totally dig on the barefoot part (or at least in the spiffy Vibrams because I'm a tenderfoot clutzy wuss that would step on the only shard of glass in a mile of me) but oy the marathon part... the stress and strain and OMG hours of training! I would /never/ do that!

Hey now!!! Before you unsubscribe or send me off a nasty gram... hear me out.

That of course has prompted me to think about my own journey down the weight loss road and take a look back at where I started and where I am now. I realized there's a lot of times along the way that I've said (or at least thought) "I would _NEVER_ do suchandsuch!" and realized that those are the things that have now nestled themselves into my life for good.

I feel like the times when I say, "I would /NEVER/..." The universe says, "Yesssss! A challenge has been issued!"

/NEVER/ giving up pasta/bread/grainy/starchy goodness!! Yeah, well... I haven't entirely but I can go several days without a second thought or hankering for any of the above.

/NEVER/ running unless I'm being chased by a bear! Helloooo... 2 5K's under my FuelBelt.

/NEVER/ getting married! Whee! Comin' up on 2 years in June. YAY!!!

/NEVER/ lifting really heavy things! Ok, this one never crossed my mind. I've always harbored a secret love of bodybuilding that, now, I can fully embrace. I just never thought that I would actually lift _really_ heavy things with ease... still working on those full body weight pull-ups, but I know that, on my current path I can achieve the look and strength needed to step on stage... but I would /NEVER/ do that! ;)

See what I mean?!

When I look back over the last 3 years, I am AMAZED at what I have accomplished and things that I've switched my attitude on because I finally saw the value in doing so. I didn't set out from the get go to run a 5K, but it eventually became a new and exciting goal to achieve.

Now I'm feeling a bit nervous since I know there's a lot more "I never's" that have been put out there... wondering which one's going to be next!

How about anyone else - is there anything you're doing now that you /never/ thought you'd do?! Or do you still have a long list of "I would /NEVER/ do..."?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Tuesday Thoughts... on Being

I know this is usually a Thursday thing, but there's a few things that have been thunking me in the brainpan of late.

That's what happens when you open yourself up and are silly enough to ask The Powers That Be, "What am I missing?!"

You get an answer...

From the amazing and lovely CJROMB: Just Be...

From the minimalist folks...

myla and jon kabat-zinn on simplicity
by joshua becker on April 11th, 2010
When sitting, just sit.
When eating, just eat.
When walking, just walk.
When talking, just talk.
When listening, just listen.
When looking, just look.
When touching, just touch.
When thinking, just think.
When playing, just play.
And enjoy the feeling of each moment and each day.


And a touch of Zen...

"Before enlightenment; chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment; chop wood, carry water.” ~Zen proverb

“When walking, walk. When eating, eat.” ~Zen proverb

“Zen is not some kind of excitement, but concentration on our usual everyday routine.” ~Shunryu Suzuki

From me, myself, and I... don't get so wrapped up in what seems like the BIG stuff that you miss the small stuff... because really, the small stuff IS the BIG stuff on a less spectacular but more meaningful scale. The stress, worries and anxiety will still be there, waiting for you, but will your life? Your love? Your dreams? Your health? YOU?

You remember You, right?

That person that you sometimes make eye contact with in the mirror. That person who is beautiful, talented and has an amazing smile? When's the last time you spent a little quality time with You?

It's so easy let the little BIG things swallow up your day, your week, your year.

In the midst of the chaos, once in a while, take time to just sit. Just look. Just play. Just be.

It's NEVER too late.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Run for a Cause

As y'all know, I participated in the Race for the Cure 5K on Sunday, April 11th. It was an amazing event and there were a lot of take home lessons from not only the process of getting ready for it, but from just being there.

But first, the specifics: Finished in 34:20 which averaged an 11 min mile pace. Not only was that a personal best for me, it's also 4 minutes faster than my first 5K! (and as you see some of the photos, I probably could have finished faster but who care... I had a need to document everything. ;)

::does the happy dance::

Now for the general recap/thoughts/insights (cuz you know I've got a lot ;):

I'm not gonna lie: I really, really hated getting ready for this race. Up until about a week ago I was a lot more focused on me, my 'training', my struggle than the bigger picture. At several points I really thought about not doing it, but didn't want to let my friend, A, down.

Lesson Learned: Sometimes the buddy system really works!

It was her first race and I wanted to be there with her and run with her, even if it was only for a few minutes. If I quit/dropped out, I would have missed out on not only the overall experience, but the chance to bond a little more with her. Besides, she would have dragged my butt out of bed anyway, so why say no? LOL!

Once I stopped focusing on the memememe of the process, looked at the bigger picture, then changed my perception from 'training' back to 'working out with a purpose', it all fell into place and I _really_ started to look forward to race day.

And what a day it was!

I got my stuff ready the night before and between A & I we finally figured out how to put the chip on our shoes. Seriously - the directions were either written for a 2 year old or a MENSA member! It was quite amusing watching us trying to figure it out but eventually we did what looked reasonable and seemed to be ok with the computer system so guess we did ok.

I got all decked out that morning, rechecking everything to make sure I had what I needed:

We got to the site a little before 7 am and got to hit the booths for some spiffy swag.

Lesson Learned: Always bring along a Sherpa! LOL!

I was sooo grateful that one of my awesome SparkFriends, Barbara, came out to support us and offered to hold the bags for us because I was _not_ looking forward to figuring out how to manage it during the run.

The best part of the morning was things like this:

The Bra-brella just totally made me giggle and the bra/b00b related puns were everywhere! Where else can you literally let your undies hang out and be totally fine with it?! There were men sporting sax-ahy silky bras (in a 'supportive' way, rather than mocking ;), women with bra banners, etc, and a sea of pink everywhere I looked.

We met up with the rest of Team Fights Like A Girl and they all totally rock!

Salina (on the far right in dark pink) ran her first 1/2 marathon a couple of weeks ago so for her, this was easy peasy. ;) And here she's sporting her mad stylin manicure:

We all joined in the warm up and I was able to snag this photo of some of the race training participants as well:

I can't remember most the names but the lady in the bright pink "Survior" shirt is a total rockstar! She started with the training group in the 'beginner' group because she wasn't sure if she could do it... and ended up moving up to the 'advanced group' and literally running circles around us!

Thing is, when I saw her that morning, the BIG picture of the event really hit me.

All along I knew that it was for a good cause, yeahyeah raising money for cancer research, blah blah, a lot of races are to raise money for stuff, lets get going.

But when you are at an event that is so focused on a single issue, and surrounded by people who have been effected personally by that disease, it is immensely powerful. When I saw my training buddy there, standing proud in her bright pink shirt, she was more than a survivor, she was victorious! She had shared a bit of her story before so it wasn't a surprise, but seeing her suddenly made the thousands of bright pink shirts pop out of the crowd.

Lesson Learned: Doing something for a cause you believe in will motivate you like nobody's business.

This is one event, in one city, and this was probably only a small percent of the men and women who are living to tell the tale. I realized that this wasn't just about raising awareness, this was about making a stand and I was doing my small part to help others fight that battle.

We hit the start line in time for the count down and we were off!
Wow what a rush! The course was all on surface streets that had been blocked off for the event so it was a nice wide path! Along the way there were lots of groups of people cheering us on like these folks:

There were even cheer squads from the U of A and from some high schools. I felt like I had my own cheering squad!

I was extra surprised at how I did and I managed to keep up with Salina for most of the race because I kept focused on her and another couple that were at about the same pace. They were easy to spot in their pink camo shirts with their 'names' on the back: Ramb00b and Pvt. McTi!!y. LOL!

The last 1/2 mile was the worst - my knee was feeling a bit tweaky (I was grateful I taped it!), my shins were getting a bit sore (past due for new shoes!) and I had to go to the bathroom (Lines were too long before the race!), but I pushed through. The result was a slightly astonished look on my face to see my time as I crossed the finish line.

Shortly after I crossed it, I saw a hand reaching out from the crowd to give high fives to the finishers. I raised my hand in response but the second we made contact, I stopped.

I turned to see a beautiful woman there in a bright pink shirt. She grabbed my hand harder and we gave each other a big hug and at the same time we both said "Thank you for being here!" to each other. Tears were running down our faces as I walked to the end to see Salina & Barb waiting for me.

It was one of those moments that could never be planned, duplicated, or believed until you experience, and left me speechless.

Lesson Learned: Never under estimate the power of the smallest gesture.

In that moment, I felt her struggle, her uncertainty, her faith, and confidence. And at that moment I really, really got why I was there, and why I know I'll do it again.

I know that I said that I probably wouldn't do another race, but at the time, I didn't have a good reason.

Now, I do.

It made me realize that whole runner vs. Runner argument I've been having with myself is a moot point. It's not about the chip time, or my placement, or my collection of bibs, or my overall mileage that matters.

It's about being there. It's about showing up to help the greater good and let someone know you care enough to do something silly like run 3 miles in honor of them, their families, their friends.

Oh yeah, and having a little fun in the process.

Though next time, I may have to wear a cape. :)
What cause are _you_ willing to walk/run/ride/get up and move for?

Friday, April 2, 2010

Why I run...

I find it interesting, when I feel myself ramping up to full-on "Rant Mode," something always comes along to knock me down a few pegs and point me to a bigger purpose.

Today was no exception.

I've been ruminating over a random thorn in my side that recently got stuck there, and, as one is want to do, formulating a little 'high horse' blog about it. Then I got an email from my fave Personal Trainer (well... a very close 2nd to Tom V. ;) Jonathan Roche, about him running his 15th straight Boston Marathon and is a member of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute team, and has been for (I think) the full 15-years.

His email really drove home /why/ he was doing what he was doing, and who he was doing it for - the impact that the disease has had on his family and people he loves. It was a great reminder that the little things really are just that: little.

In a little over a week, I will be running in my 2nd 5K as one of the multitude of participants in the "Race for the Cure".

It's Not near the endurance limit-pushing event of a marathon, but in some ways it's felt like I've been preparing for a marathon rather than a piddly little 3 miler, questioning why the heck I'm putting myself through this.

Now I understand why: Because I've made it all about me.

Yeah, it is a little about me - my fitness and wellness journey. Being fit and well enough to even consider entering a competitive race is a huge step that I won't discount. Just being able to take time to 'train' is a blessing. Even though I feel like it's been an up hill battle emotionally and physically, I've been able to _do it_ to know it feels like a struggle.

Reading Jonathan's email reminded me I really don't know struggle.

Granted, just like the Who's that Horton encountered, a struggle is still a struggle, no matter how small. But I'm now facing the privilege I have of participating in an amazing event with a bigger and better purpose.

I'm grateful I've never had to sit, wringing my hands, waiting to hear the words, "You have cancer," spoken to me, my husband, my parents.

I am grateful that I haven't had to up-end my life to make way for treatments, sickness and overwhelming tiredness.

I know that no matter how "meh" I feel about this race, my feet will be driven by something bigger than me, by the thoughts of people much stronger than I. People I know, people I love, people I've never met.

It's not for the funds raised (though it can be important), it's by the awareness raised.

The "C" word has a multitude of names and faces, more than it should, and it is for them that is why I run.