Friday, October 25, 2013

Take these broken things and make them awesome

If you came home from work one day to find that your puppy had invented a new game where he
Doggy Jekyll & Mr. Hyde
pulls all the coats off their hooks and chews the buttons off your winter coat, you might think it was a bad thing. But if you were like me, and you had a super awesome mom with a box of cool, old miscellaneous buttons, your coat would now have new buttons, including a top button shaped like an elephant! And you would see that sometimes when things get broken they end up even better than before. Then you would take said coat to the dry cleaners, because normally you don't buy things that are dry-clean-only or you cheat and throw them in the washer on the hand-wash cycle, but you aren't taking any chances with your fancy new elephant button coat so you're doing it up adult-style at the dry cleaners. But then it smells all weird and chemically there so you decide this will be your one and only foray into the world of dry cleaning. Still, you will have learned that you always have a choice. You can mourn the loss of the broken things or you can make them into something far more awesome.

Lyric of the moment: "Why does time move so fast? Precious things never last. Figure out, don't forget. Only love, no regrets..." (Because it makes me think of the scene in We're the Millers where Jason Sudeikis' character says to the kid with the NO RAGRETS tattoo across his chest "You have no regrets? Like, not even a single letter?" I laugh so hard whenever I think of it.)

Friday, October 18, 2013

Prime of my life

I happen to be lucky enough to know a lot of incredibly talented, amazing, inspiring runners/athletes/superhumans. And I love it. The only downside is that sometimes I feel like a slacker for not running 50Ks or cranking out 6 minute miles or giving birth to triplets in the middle of a race and still getting a PR (Which I really hope is not a thing. I'm utterly terrified even thinking about it. Though it would make for photos).

It's hard for me to resist the peer pressure of other people's awesomeness. All the things they do and the races they run sound so exciting and fun. And I already want to go everywhere and do everything as it is. But I still have a lot of life left (hopefully). So I can afford to relax, take it one day at a time and be happy with whatever happens. I only get this one body (as far as I know). I have to take really good care of it so I can live long enough to go on all the adventures.

I'm falling into the impending-birthday funk again. Not because I'm getting older. I want to be one of those hilariously sassy and self-possessed old ladies when I grow up. But because birthdays always make me feel like I am the worst ever and have wasted another year doing absolutely nothing. I'll be the first to admit it's crazy and irrational. I had a lot of adventures in my 31st year.* I ran, I laughed, I loved, I met new people, I bought my house a new porch for its 113th birthday, I went to Egypt (by myself!) and Cape Cod, I adopted the biggest-headed, most adorably clumsy puppy, I water skied (for 10 seconds. In a bikini. And no one looked away in horror or turned to stone) and I set a personal record for most pumpkin bars eaten at one sitting (It's now up to 4. If there was a dessert version of Man Vs. Food, I would totally rock it. But then I'd have to run 50 miles to burn off all the sugar so I didn't become insufferably hyper). A lot of happy and funny and good things happened while I was being 31. And if my friend Pete is right about even numbered birthdays being better, then I have a lot to look forward to in year 32. So I need to get out of this funk and get on my way to becoming that hilariously sassy old lady.

Lyric of the moment: "But hold me fast, 'cause I'm a hopeless wanderer..."

*If you were being punny, you could say that at 31 I'm in the prime of my life.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

It was an experience

I've found that it helps not to think of things as either good or bad but to consider everything to be an experience. And that the more I can embrace those experiences, the more adventurous and full my life will be.

Recent experiences:

*Painting and staining the front porch. It took 2 coats of paint, 2 coats of stain and 4 days of work, but I'm happy with the way it came out. I'm also happy that I've almost run out of things to paint in my house. If I never have to hold another paintbrush, it'll be too soon. But I'm happiest that Mike was there to help me. I'd gotten used to doing everything myself, but it feels good to be part of a team. And to have someone to laugh with as the radio kept playing that terrible song about banging like gorillas.

*My boss likes us to get flu shots so I've had one every year for the past 9 years, but for some reason this year I had a bad reaction to it. I was all tired and achy and got all these red, itchy bumps all over my arms, legs, back and stomach. I think I would have rather taken my chances with the flu. But it was, as they say, an experience. Though one I hope to avoid repeating.

*Yesterday I made a yoga sandwich with running bread. I ran 6 miles on the road in the morning, did my Yoga For Runners DVD, then ran the TrailsRoc Ready, Set, Glow race at night (5ish miles of trails! In the dark! With glow sticks!) My only goals were not to hurt myself and not to get lost, and I failed on both accounts. But it was fun, despite the fact that I kept twisting my ankles. My left ankle was pretty swollen when I got home, but I iced, Ibuprofen-ed and Pain Terminator-ed it, and today it is a little tender still but otherwise ok. I'm far too heavy and uncoordinated to be a trail runner, but I'm trying not to let that stop me. And it did get me to use the weight room at the gym today for the first time in...forever (I'm usually too intimidated to venture in there because I have no muscles). So that's a silver lining.

Lyric of the moment: "Like a sprained ankle, boy I ain't nothing to play with..."

Thursday, October 3, 2013

A good runner has no fixed pace and is not intent on finishing

One of my favorite quotes from the Tao Te Ching is “A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.” I'm hoping to translate that to running, as in a good runner has no fixed pace and is not intent on finishing. I want to run for the pure enjoyment of it and not be defined by speed or distance. But I have a hard time relinquishing my love of results. I like working hard. I also like seeing that hard work pay off. I want to be better today than I was yesterday. At everything. Even if it is only infinitesimally better, I want to be continually improving. Which is unrealistic. And exhausting.

I don't want to lose that drive to find my limits and push past them. But I have a tendency to make myself crazy over my perceived, and often times invented, inadequacies. So I need to let go of all that junk.

I have a hard time with detachment because it can veer towards apathy. And I don't want to be apathetic. I want to be enthusiastic and excited and loving the crap out of everything. But to do so without expectation or attachment to any particular outcome.

Sometimes it seems a little impossible. I'm confusing myself even thinking about it. Though I think all my ankle problems last year may have helped in a way (Oh god I can't even believe I just said that. Dear Universe: this is in no way an invitation for any more injuries. I would however be delighted to accept more miles and more peanut M&Ms. Or pretzel M&Ms. I'm not picky.) This year I've been happy just to run without pain. Or with pain, but the kind that's only slightly uncomfortable, not the kind that's like you-need-to-stop-now-things-are-seriously-FUBAR-up-in-here.

I also think trail running is helping because I don't care that I'm slow, I just focus on staying upright. And trying to keep up with the group so I don't get lost in the woods.

I don't know if the answer is long slow distance or only doing races "for fun." Or maybe there is no answer, it's just something I will figure out along the run.

Lyric of the moment: "After all it was a great big world, with lots of places to run to..." Word.