Running People

I have only been seriously running for a few months.

I flirted with running for a while, never really committing. Running people were scary. Fast. Too fast for me to catch up to, and definitely too fast for me to keep up with.

So i started running by myself. Or with Chuck, who is the best running partner EVER, because she runs at the exact same pace as I do, in her stroller :) Or with my son, who hardly ever calls me a slowpoke and only occasionally runs actual circles around me.

Running people intimidated me.

Today is the one year anniversary of the Boston bombings. And all day, I’ve been reminded of the kindness of humans. The resilience of runners. The amazing things we as a country can do when confronted with hate and anger and damage.

Most runners are inherently good people. Think of it this way: you have to have an incredible amount of time management skills to find the time to run; be self-motivating to continue pounding the pavement over and over, rain and snow and sleet and hail like a speedy mailman;  have enough self esteem to know that you can do this, drive to push yourself to do it and the smarts to know that this is not usually a competition against other people….it’s a competition against the person you were this morning. Or yesterday.

You also have to constantly adapt to your body. To your surroundings. To the people around you. You make small changes in your gait when that twinge starts in your foot. Or your knee tells you when you’re over extending. Or the dog in front of you starts doing his business in the middle of the path and you have to take a second to pull the plastic bag out of your stroller and hand it to the dog owner who is obviously not going to pick it up….

But I digress.

I was passed by a lady three times on my long run last week. Three times. She was a little speed demon, running with no headphones and the biggest smile on her face.

I was hauling me, the stroller and Chuck (and the 84 pounds of snacks and entertainment necessary to keep Chuck occupied on a long run) up the biggest hill I have on my route. It was hot. I was miserable and ready to quit.

She said “Look at you! you are doing so amazing and HOLY SMOKES! That’s a big kid in that stroller! I thought it was a baby and I am SO IMPRESSED WITH YOU RIGHT NOW!”

I beamed and Chuck waved and blew kisses at her and said “My mommy is a RUNNER!”

The lady said “Yes she is, and a very good one at that.”

And went on her way.

The rest of my run that day, I had a big smile on my face. She passed me twice more (we run an “out and back” from a local park near the water and she passed out and back and then out again) and every time she waved and said “Stay the course!” and made me smile all over again.

Stay the course. That is what so many people returning to Boston to run the marathon are doing. They can’t stop. And they won’t stop.

And I hope every one of them crosses that finish line with a big smile on their face as runners, as Americans, as human beings….demonstrating that we stay the course. We runners, we Americans, we humans….we stay the course.

Why do I run?

I entered a great contest over at Another Mother Runner yesterday. I wrote out a very thoughtful entry (keeping it to 200 words was hard…there was a lot I wanted to say) and am now crossing my fingers that those words I chose were enough to show those ladies that I am hilarious, would be a fun person to work with and that I’ve been through a lot and could go through more to run this race with them.

But I digress.

The whole process made me think. Made me wonder why I run. Why I bother lacing up my shoes and putting Chuck in her stroller with enough snacks and entertainment to make it 6 miles without a meltdown.

Why do I run?

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1. I run because of my job. It’s hard having so many people in my ear with so many problems that I have to fix. I run to silence their voices and let them go.

2. I run because of my personal life. I run to quiet the trolls. I run to center myself and not worry so much about what other people are doing and why I can’t do as many amazing things.

3. I run to remind myself that I can do amazing things too. I can push my limits and grow and change. I run because four months ago, I couldn’t. I run because a year ago, I got winded walking up the stairs to my apartment. I run to prove to me (and only me, since my opinion of myself is the most important) that I can still move.

4. I run because it’s fun. There’s an amazing rewarding feeling when I get done running six miles (SIX!! Woo!) that I can do this. I love that feeling of my feet hitting the pavement and Chuck yelling “WHEE!!” as we run down the hill.

5. I do it for my kids. So they can see who I was and who I have become and so I can be a role model for them. I’m their mom. I can talk AT them all I want, but I need to put my money where my mouth is and put that rubber to the road. Kids follow your actions much more than your words.

6. I do it to silence the haters. The people who attack me personally because they feel inadequate in some way. The people at work who are sad or mad or lost and it’s not my fault and I cannot help them. The people who tell me I can’t. Tell me I shouldn’t. Those who belittle me, who try to break me down, who remind me of who I used to be and refuse to forgive me for my past mistakes. I run because when I do, all of that noise stops. The feeling of accomplishment trumps the heart-breaking things that people say to each other and to me.

7. I run because I don’t ever want to be the mom who can’t keep up with her kids ever again. Ever.

So that’s why I put shoes on and my earbuds in and run like the (very slow) wind.

Do you run? Why or why not?

Busy busy busy – a drive by posting.

After I posted that adorable post about how I need to blow more bubbles…I had two of the busiest weeks I’ve had in a really long time.

Running, both literal and figurative. I ran my first 5 mile run! It was crazy. I ran with Chuck in the stroller and Boy Wonder ran with us. It was a great family run and I Think we might try to do those more often. I do run my first 5k in four weeks, so I better keep going :)

Work. Work has been crazy busy. I don’t talk about my employment *EVER* (I read Dooce before she got fired), but I really enjoy my job (most days, like everyone) and it’s just been nuts lately. We will leave it at that.

Kids. Boy Wonder is in 8th grade now, and finishing up middle school and getting ready for high school. Making sure he stays on track while shuttling him to sports practices and games, church youth group and anything else he needs to do. Chuck is easier. We just have play dates and trips to the park that don’t really run on a schedule yet.

All in all, my life is a little crazy at times, but it’s honest and open and fun and we are doing good work and I wouldn’t have it or my family any other way.

 

I’m forever blowing bubbles.

IMG_2618Some days, it’s all go go go go go go go.

Other days, you have to take the time to stop and blow bubbles.

People under the age of 5 are fabulous lessons on the beauty and the awe in the world that we keep missing when we are  going so fast all the time.

Occasionally, Chuck makes me slow down.

She asks me (always extremely politely) to color on the sidewalk when it’s sunny or blow bubbles indoors when it’s raining or “watch me, momma, watch me!!”

IMG_2583How can I not? I’m trying to be a great example for her as well, and if I’m cleaning and sorting and hurrying everywhere, I’m not seeing the reflections in the bubbles. I’m not enjoying my silly girl.

I’m not truly enjoying anything if I am living at a breakneck speed.

So Chuck is a blessing to our family. She makes sure that I slow down.  Makes sure that we focus outward. Makes sure nothing is ever too serious and everything is done with lots of glitter and tutus and fanfare and amazement.

IMG_2575It’s never too late to stop and see what’s around you. To notice how beautiful bubbles are when you blow them, and how perfectly round. How they make little rainbows and then they’re gone.

How much a bottle of soap and water and glycerin and a little plastic loop can make a 4 year old and her mother slow down and enjoy the day and each other just a little bit before life speeds up again.

Because she will be 18 next week, I swear. That’s how fast I feel things slip by sometimes.

Plans

My kiddos, working towards a goal (aka making a Perler bead creature)

My kiddos, working towards a goal (aka making a Perler bead creature)

I have a tough time making plans.

Not plans like what I write in my dayplanner. That, I have on lock. My whole life is recorded both in a hard copy physical dayplanner and an electronic one on my iPhone that is synced to three different email accounts, just in case I lose anything, it is backed up and then backed up again. I’m good there.

I mean plans like “I plan to run a half marathon on XXX date.” And then making it happen.

I made Disneyland happen because I had the wherewithal, I had a goal, I had a hard date by which to meet that goal, and I did whatever it took to make that happen. I didn’t have a plan on how to make it happen, I just took one step at a time, knowing where I was going. I spent that whole trip with an amazing feeling of accomplishment, because that was a huge goal and I did it.

But in recent memory, that seems to be the only goal I’ve been able to reach.

My weight loss has stalled out because I reached my first BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal). I did not think I would make it, so I didn’t want to be a disappointment so I didn’t reset the goal once I actually lost that 50 pounds.

My budgeting goals are going VERY well, but that’s not something you normally chat with people about.

My Crossfit life is coming along swimmingly, but I never set goals in the box because I’m not sure what my limits are and my coach helps me with that.

My personal business (aka “The Stuff I Don’t Blog or Social Media About”) is kind of at a standstill because I am at a very big crossroads in my life and need to pick a direction to go.

So I think my big issue is that I don’t know how to set SMART Goals and then reset them once I reach them. So that’s my job this week….how to work towards goals and set ones I can actually attain.

How do you set goals? Do you formulate a plan to reach them, or just do whatever it takes to make it happen?