Not showing up!

By the way, this isn’t going to be a guilt-trip kind of blog.   If you’re braced for a verbal/written tongue-lashing, you might be disappointed.   It isn’t that we don’t need a kick in the pants sometimes, but that’s not my job here – that’s your job.   But you have another job too, and that’s what I want to talk about today.

We all have this script in our heads of ‘how things should be’.  In running races from 5k’s all the way up to ultras, we have this undefined image of how the race ‘should’ go.   Of course, things never quite turn out the way we plan though, do they?  We go out too fast, the weather is awful, our knee is bothering us on race day, we trip somewhere along the way or take a wrong turn, we can’t quite seem to dig ourselves out of a recursive negativity.   All these things and more can happen in races, they can happen to our plans, and they can happen in life.

Not only can they happen.. we all know, they will happen.

So something happens and our plans get wrecked.  We can’t make it to a meeting we wanted to go to, we can’t find the will to leave an aid station and continue on our journey or race, we can’t figure out how to write a proposal or create a strong elevator pitch for an idea that’s been knocking around forever.   But at that point, it stops being about that thing, whatever it is, and starts being about you.   Who you are.  How will you handle this setback, defeat or failure.  What will you DO, now?

And the funny thing is, it was ALWAYS about you, the whole time.

When those curveballs come, you need to find the original script – “So those plans got smashed.. what gives me the best chances of moving forward?”.   That’s how you show up, even when you couldn’t “show up”.   You brush yourself off, you take on this new challenge of forgiving yourself, accepting it for what it is and nothing more, and you let go of that self-abusive, useless and even damaging thought process.

Letting failure tear you down is the worst two-for-one deal you could ever take – but you don’t have to!

Who do you think you are?

Tell me.  Why can’t YOU do this or that.  What is the big goal, the impossible goal YOU have set for yourself?  Is it Boston?  Is it one mile?  Do you think it’s impossible for YOU to run a mile in under six minutes?   Seven minutes?   EIGHT?   Why are you so unspectacular? When the question hangs in the balance, will you always say “NO!”.   You will always say no, but you’re only saying it to yourself.

Who are YOU to think you could achieve these goals you never even considered?   Other people scoffed at you and you scoffed right along with them.   You sided with your critics.. against yourself.  You keep doing that.   Why should anyone stand up for you when you won’t stand up for yourself?

YOU ARE DOING WHAT YOU’VE ALWAYS DONE.. YOU WILL GO WHERE YOU’VE ALWAYS GONE.

Is that what you want?   To stay where you are?  Mediocre?  Playing the “At least…” game? I’m on to you!   You say, “At least I can be kind despite my obvious disability, or I can cover up my weaknesses by working harder than anyone all the time,.. I can hide this by doing that!” as if it is all somehow mutually exclusive to you being successful in goals you never dreamed of having.  “I’m not good with numbers and I’m not witty and I get nervous when people are talking to me and things get awkward.. but at least I can be kind to everyone I meet!”.     

Why can’t you be all the good things?

So, we begin to dream of being the kind of person who doesn’t apologize for their weaknesses and who stops trying to settle their weaknesses with their strengths in some kind of life-balance sheet.   But we’re still not free because we think, “Who do you think you are?”.  We level this age-old accusation that “YOU are NOT worthy!” or “You really don’t actually think you can do this, do you?  HA!”.

But you are worthy.   We are not afraid that we are inadequate.  We are afraid that we are powerful beyond measure.  It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us” ~Marianne Williamson    Read the entire thing.  Meditate on it.  Stay on each phrase.  Stay.

And I have to say, if those thoughts aren’t occurring to you, you are nowhere near your boundaries.  You are playing it safe.  You have not pushed yourself or dreamed big enough to scare the shit out of yourself.

You are capable of so much more.

 

Guest blog: “I hate Running”

“The thing that I love the most”

Emily, aka “RobotLeggs”

I recently came across an article entitled, I Hate Running, which resonated with me on a level I didn’t expect it to. It inspired me to further examine what I also love and hate about the thing that I love the most: running.

It really is a relationship in and of itself. Running is a thing or a hobby or an obsession or whatever you want to call it, that millions of people have a relationship with. Like most relationships, it has its peaks, valleys, and all the stages in between. If you’re lucky, it gives back what you put in. Some days it’s easy, some days it’s damn hard. Some days, reality matches your hopes and expectations. Some days, you want to quit before you even start. Running, for me, encapsulates how I want to approach life – by really being alive and experiencing, accepting, and appreciating it for what it is each day, whether it presents itself through love or hate.

Sometimes, thoughts and feelings of love and hate flow through my body simultaneously, as if they’re in an epic battle to see whether the other will back down and give up. Those are the most defining moments, those moments when you’re right on the edge of your physical, emotional, and mental pain threshold… and you want to quit. But you know that this is where growth happens. This is when all your best – or your worst – qualities surface: either your perseverance, courage and grit; or your fear, lack of confidence, and self-deprecating monologues. As it is in running, it is in life.

Thank you, Emily for this great blog.  You really capture the way I feel about running and how, just as in life, it can be simultaneously challenging and totally rewarding. 

You’ve got this!

It’s so freaking easy to get discouraged.  Here we are in late January and, for many, that New Years gym membership is already getting dusty.  The new bike is hanging safely from the garage ceiling.   We’ve started eating sweets again, or whatever.  

For some, you’re on the she and getting closer to tipping over.  Not sure how much longer you can hang on.  

I have a message for both groups. “It’s not too late, you aren’t beaten, don’t give up!”

Maybe the change is being super stubborn.  Maybe you’ll have to tweak some things and try again. Maybe you’ll need to do something completely different.  But. Don’t.  Give. Up!

Your new attitude is “I’m going to have a healthy lifestyle even if I don’t see improvement!”  You won’t always have motivation or the will to follow through but giving up is just something you don’t do.  You get back up, you dust yourself off, you try again.  You will accept yourself where you are and keep doing the work to get you to where you want to be, he’ll or high-water. 

Trust me.  Relentless forward progress will yield results.  I promise. 

You’ve got this!

Something something time-management

It’s a subject that has bubbled to the surface for me lately, but I don’t want to think about it.  It’s like going on a diet, only, instead of being an authoritarian asshole with what you eat and how much you eat, you have to be an authoritarian asshole with what you do and how much time you spend doing it.  

Nobody likes that asshole. 

I want to just gloss over it and not really think about it; thus the title of this article.  It isn’t that I’m indifferent, it’s that I’m scared of what my life will look like when I stop escaping.  I’m scared of how it will feel when I don’t buffer anymore?

I’m thinking the long-term reward will outweigh the short-term relief. What do you think?  Do you buffer too, and in what ways? 

Every single dog that barks!

So, disclaimer.  I’m not into animal cruelty at all.  I love dogs.  This is just an analogy, and, as anyone knows, analogies are never perfect.

Have you ever heard the following phrase?

Don’t throw stones at every dog that barks!

Of course, you should never throw rocks at dogs.  They’re usually just trying to protect their territory or they’re just as scared as you are, so they bark and fuss and carry on.  But the phrase has nothing to do with animal cruelty or normalizing the act of throwing rocks at dogs.  This phrase is about something else entirely – and as it may be a holdover from an era where throwing rocks at dogs was somehow acceptable, I still think with the proper caveats, we can still learn from it.

Talking to my aunt Charlotte about all my plans, with the group, with training, with everything – I mentioned that I was working on getting certified in Personal Training through the NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine).   She didn’t hesitate to say, ‘do you really need that or are you just throwing an obstacle in front of yourself for no reason at all?’.  I mean, she was basically asking if I really needed to stop and throw rocks at that dog?

Along this same line, I ran across a video or motivational meme recently that indicated that if you keep waiting until you’re ready, you’ll never start!  That’s pretty amazing.  It went on to say, start before you’re ready.

Devin Loetscher (‘lurcher’) once told our group – “If it doesn’t scare the hell out of you, it isn’t worth doing!”

So, you can’t just go on leading your OWN beginner 5k group.. aaaaand queue the excuses;

  • you haven’t even run a 5k
  • you’ve never taught anyone anything (false, btw)
  • you aren’t certified to coach
  • you don’t have time for this
  • no one will listen to you, like you, love you.
  • no one will take you seriously

Those are all dogs barking in one particular field – leading and coaching a 5k group.  But what about life?  What about all the other things you sell yourself short on?   What if those are just dogs that are barking and..

..you should just do it, anyway?

The Running Shop (Pt 2)

Running with MS

Francisco had ordered a pair of the New Balance Minimus trail shoes; the T10 v4.  We joked a little about how popular this release was because it finally went back to the original design everyone loved.  That shoe created quite a following.

 

Francisco has MS and he’s a runner.  Someday, that won’t be the case, but for now he can still find joy there and he does.  His gait is such, that his left foot swings through a little low and the tread beneath that toe wears out really fast – even with the Vibram outsole. He wondered if there was anything he could do about that and we kicked around some ideas.

After he left, I went to the running subreddit and asked the same question he had asked me, and I wanted to share some of the responses here;

“I like the trail shoe idea. My suggestion is if the shoes are not worn out find a product like Shoe-Goo to build up the tread so it takes longer to wear down. I used to build up my treads with this to get longer life from my shoes.” ~ /u/amh_library

That’s a really great suggestion that I’ll remember.

“This may sound like a stupid idea, but here goes. Occasionally companies will help out people with special needs, perhaps such as needing more left shoes. Maybe you could reach out to the suppliers, explain the situation and see if maybe they can either sell single left shoes for him or even provide them? It’s probably a stretch, but if it makes them look good then they might consider it.” ~ /u/CatLadyTheSecond

This will require some follow up but if the worse they can say is “No”, then it’s totally worth it.  I should have the contact information to actually get this request to the right person.

“Somewhat of a side note, you should look up Kayla Montgomery. MS pt with amazing running story, though I’m not sure about what shoes she used, might be worth looking into” ~ /u/YogiMooseTX

This one got me choked up a bit.  I’ve seen it before, but it really hits hard each time. I was pretty much blown away by Francisco and Kayla’s story broke my heart in a good way.  It’s the spirit that gets this huge setback and doesn’t quit.. that has a certain demise on the horizon, a degenerative disease like MS where people slowly lose functionality going from wheel-chairs, to beds, ventilators, feeding tubes and finally death… all of this staring a person in the face and still they run.  Right up to the edge, each time.

I really loved one phrase that I think sums up a lot of this tenacity;

“As time goes on, I get back up” ~ Kayla

No matter what, get back up and try again to push against the impossible.