Monday, January 31, 2011
"It's very hard in the beginning to understand that the whole idea is not to beat the other runners. Eventually you learn that the competition is against the little voice inside you that wants you to quit." ~ George Sheehan
My friend Carey sent me this the other day. I have re-read it every day since she sent it and intend to read it every day for the next 27.
I remember doing my first 5k. I was so excited. It was the 35th year of the Hospital Hill, and I was so proud of myself for doing it. I wasn't in great shape, and walking 3.12 miles seemed like a huge feat. I felt just the same facing that race that I do facing the 13.1 miles of the Princess Half. That was a challenge for my body, just as this half is for me now. The only difference is in who I have become on the inside in the years since then.
Hospital hill ended up being a really bad experience for me. When I should have been reveling in the accomplishment, I was wrapped up in the comparisons. How I didn't look like the "runners" and how I finished a 5k at the same time that the first half marathoner finished their 13 miles. (I laughed about it, but inside, it truly upset me.) I ended up in a really bad place for a while after that race, because I wasn't doing it for me. I was still wrapped up in the self blame and shame game. I didn't feel that I belonged with "those people." I quit working out after that race. I quit for over a year. I gave up. I couldn't change my thinking, and because of that, I couldn't move forward. In that instance the little voice won.
Things feel so different for me now. I feel like I have found a spark within myself that is fueling the fire this time. I have my days. There is no denying that, but I do believe that the only competition I face in this challenge is myself. When I cross that finish line, I will be proud. Proud of myself for coming this far, for keeping a promise to myself, for continuing to challenge myself both mentally and physically, and for proving to myself that I am worth this. This time as I stand with all the runners I will know that I am there for me and no one else. I will find MY place in the crowd and I will know that I deserve to be there. That little voice doesn't have a chance against me this time.
So, thanks Carey. The little piece of wisdom you sent me will help me through the next 27 days. As the fear and apprehension was creeping in, you somehow sent me the nugget I needed at that particular moment to keep my head (and spirit) in the right place.
Monday, January 17, 2011
"Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming swimming swimming. What do we do we swim...swim....." -Dorie from Finding Nemo
This saying is really important to me. When Andy was having his spinal cord surgery and when he was hospitalized a lot, all he wanted to watch was Nemo. Over and over again we watched this movie. In fact, when he is sick to this day...he will ask for it. He found comfort in it. And I guess in my own way....so did I.
When things were hard with him....there was Dorie. "Just keep swimming......" When I wanted to give up.... there was Dorie. It's a pretty profound life lesson if you really stop and think about it. The only thing we can do is keep moving....Keep plugging through. Just keep swimming.
That's not to say that we don't have days that are stagnant. Today was that day for me. Lots of doubt crept in. Lots of negativity, and lots of feelings from my past. I have a name for the voice in my head and he paid me some pretty lengthy visits today to try to keep me down. At times it seems like feelings are unbearable or that one little snag has ruined everything. Today felt a little negative, a little like the "old" me, and a little blue. But tonight....Dorie popped into my head. Just keep swimming.
Being on the road I have been on hasn't always been positive moments with hopes of tiaras. There have been lots (in fact..lots and LOTS) of moments where I felt like giving up, like quitting, like I couldn't do this. Today was one of those days, and today it seemed important to write about it. To put out there that I am feeling discouraged, blue, and uncertain about this whole journey. Not to the race mind you.....but in general. Today wasn't a red letter day. It was FAR from a perfect day. It wasn't a particularly good day. And as I was sitting here tonight watching a little tv, I found myself starting to worry about tomorrow.
That's when Dorie popped into my head. " Just keep swimming.....just keep swimming....." I think sometimes we have a misconception that changing aspects of our life will permanently erase the obstacles and the voices in our head that try to stop us. I am seeing the flawed nature of this thinking. These feelings don't go away permanently......they just aren't allowed to stop us anymore. They will show up.....try to work their evil magic, and sometimes they will succeed, but as long as we listen to Dorie...they will not be able to take over our minds/bodies/lives anymore.
So...I am going to end my day today....with today. I am not letting tomorrow get involved. Tomorrow is a new day where I will continue to paddle my way along. It may not be great, but as long as I keep moving...I'm doing okay. Today sucked a little. Just keep swimming.... Tomorrow will bring whatever it has in store no matter what I say about it. Just keep swimming.....
Just keep swimming..... Just keep swimming.......
Sunday, January 9, 2011
I'm lucky. Truly....one of the luckiest people in the world I think.
See...this week I was able to go ahead and sign up for the race. I have registered, bought a plane ticket, and booked a hotel. It's a done deal. Financial investment made. I'm excited at the prospect of completing this goal, and being able to do it with some of my best friends and supporters with me in person and in spirit. I'm lucky.
I'm lucky because I have really great people in my life who give me the straight poop when I need it. Jason who said "just freakin' do this!" when I was questioning. Robin who said "make sure you're making the decisions for yourself." Johnna who told me "I'd hate to see this goal pass you by." (and walked 8 miles in the gale force wind and sleet with me. ha) Mandy who said from the beginning over a year ago, "you can do this," and who has helped me get stronger and healthier. My kids, who inspire me to show them that their mom is strong, healthy, and does things for herself. And all the people who have read, commented, and encouraged me to keep on the path. Truly lucky.
I am 49 days out from the race now, and I have no doubt that I will be crossing that finish line in Florida a Princess. Not because of the medal, but because of the lessons I've learned and continue to learn along the journey to this accomplishment and because of the people who have supported me along the way.
And if you wanna talk lucky, listen to this. Seems I'll be going to Hawaii anyway. Yup...our timeshare company emailed us that we had been booked in a condo on the island of Oahu for the week of our kids' spring break. 11 days after the race, I will be sitting on the beach in Hawaii with my husband and my kids. It might not be the swanky romantic trip for two, but maybe this sweet, fun, amazing family vacation is really where I was meant to be. Spending time with the people for whom I want to live a long and healthy life.......
The training continues, the muscles continue to ache, but the person is happy and content today. That's really what makes me luckiest.
Tuesday, January 4, 2011
This bracelet isn't fashionable, or expensive. It didn't come in a fancy box....but it means more to me than a lot of my other possessions. It is a physical reminder to me of the year I faced, the challenges I overcame, and the progress that I made. I look at it every day, and it is there to remind me not of what I can't do, but of what I CAN.
I have to be careful at this time of the NEW year, not to make resolutions I can't keep, not to set unattainable goals. They gyms are filled to the brim with people who are determined that "this will be the year" and the tv is loaded with commercials about diet plans, pills, magic bullets. It's a time that the media uses to try to get us to focus on how fat, out of shape, and pathetic we've become. They want us to think that we have to completely reinvent ourselves to become acceptable, loveable, and successful. Well....they are wrong. Sometimes all we need to see our New Year clearly is a healthy dose of perspective. And I think finally....that perhaps in a small way the bracelet has helped me find it.
I still haven't signed up for my race. Not because I don't want to, but because another really GREAT opportunity has come up for Jason that might take place the week of the race. It would prevent me from being able to go to Florida to do the half marathon, but would give me a once in a lifetime opportunity to take a swanky trip with my husband for FREE! The battle I had to fight with myself is that this race is my GOAL! This race is what the bracelet was about! This race was the reason I had spent all of this time and energy last year enduring injury, setback, and sweating! I had to sign up before January 1 to get my name on the bib, and so everyone wouldn't think I had failed on my goal. I couldn't wrap my mind around the possibility of NOT doing this. The bracelet was reminding me daily that THIS WAS MY GOAL.
But you know what. I don't believe that this is what the bracelet was telling me at all. Who cares if my name is on a bib, if I run in Florida or Missouri. If Jason is honored by his work, this Princess should be standing beside her husband who she loves more than anything and honoring his accomplishment. I love him, how could I NOT wait to see if this comes through for him. There will be other races, and if he doesn't win the trip, then I will go to Florida and write my name on my bib with a sharpie pen. I don't have to have Walt Disney tell me that I am a princess to know it to be true. Sometimes being the Princess is acknowledging the accomplishments of others, being flexible, and taking life as it comes.
So, as I looked at my bracelet this morning, I realized that although my outward goal was the race, (and whether that gets done at Disney is yet to be seen, but trust me....there WILL be a half marathon for me in the very near future) but the true meaning of what it brought me was so much more. It represents the way I want to live my life. Happy. Healthy. Strong. And of course standing next to my Prince Charming.
It seems the bracelet did change my life.
So...with that I wish you all a Happy New Year. Happy beginnings to wherever this year will lead you. My princess is still evolving and I hope yours is too. Be realistic with yourself. Be kind to yourself. Try to show yourself understanding.
I'll keep you posted on the race progress. I'm still training, and getting ready like I'm going, but honestly, given the outside chance at a free week in Hawaii with the person you love, wouldn't you take the chance that you might have to alter your goals? I'm glad that I am.