Detours

This morning when I left for my long run, I thought my only decision was do I go north or south when I get to the bike path? That wasn’t to be; because as I turned out of my driveway I noticed the sidewalks were blocked off due to road work (I obviously didn’t think this was going to take place on a Sunday). I had to quickly create a detour plan that would have me avoid the road work on my return.

I was allowed to cross and ran own on the opposite shoulder as I ran and recalled my meditation exercise of the morning which was on handling obstacles (funny how the universe provides us with answers we didn’t know we needed). I took a deep breath and recalculated my route and just ran by feel. I ran by the nearby reservoir, to the local middle school took a lap around the track, proceeded to a small bike path that’s behind the middle school and around toward my usual weekday rout. All in all I got my six miles plus done, but more importantly I got to witness swans, a cormorant, a heron, and a red tail hawk. I doubt I would’ve seen all of these in either of my “usual” long routs.

We come across detours of some sort everyday in our lives, not just the ones due to road work but the less obvious ones. Like making a plan to do errands and then a neighbor requests to come along, or the item you planned on buying is no longer in stock. There are the bigger detours like making a life plan with someone and they’re taken away from you.  There are the dreams that got redirected due to circumstances. The list is endless.

Though detours can be a simple annoyance or a life shaping event. How we get through them is determined by our ability to find a purpose to move forward no matter how difficult. By moving forward we take back a little of the control that was taken from us, try to find a purpose to fill that is bigger than yourself.

Continue to look for the good, there may be a swan to see…

Run on,

G

Our Best Selves

“I’ve been lately thinking about my life’s time”; from John Denver’s Poems Prayers and Promises is one of, if not my favorite line from a song. It seems I’ve been doing a lot of that lately and today even more so as I’m supposed to be writing a few words for a youth black belt graduation.

Much has happened, in these past weeks, in my life and at my school. Which is probably why I’ve been erratic with my posts. Personally I’ve been preparing for a half marathon, and traveling west to visit family and to attend my nephew’s wedding. There’s also been a lot at the school; belt testing, including youth black belt, preparing the school for my absence, and the usual day-to-day activities of a martial art school. However the greatest impact has been the loss of too many people I’ve known either personally or through my school.

I realize that we are closing in on the end of a decade and typically these are transitional periods. Which makes me reflect deeper, not just about the lives we’ve lost, but what am I supposed to be learning? Is it just to appreciate more (stop and smell the roses) or does it go deeper? Am I supposed to be contributing more? Leading an exemplary life?

I take teaching others seriously–Martial arts instruction is more than physical. I’m hoping to relay that tonight in my words to the people attending the graduation, but more than that, I need to help people to realize that the most important thing we can do or teach is to be our best selves…

“The days they pass so quickly now.” Hopefully we can find the time to talk of “Poems, Prayers and Promises”OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFor my old classmate Tricia, for the EBMA parent Michael, and for my friend Ron, til we meet again.

Run on,

Gin

The Long Road…

I completed my second half-marathon yesterday, and I’ve gained some new insights…

First thirteen plus miles is a long way to run, no matter how fast you go. Secondly practice may not make perfect but it makes you more proficient ( I took nearly twenty minutes off my last year’s time), granted when you’re slow it is easy to make big improvements. However improvements are never made if we don’t make the effort.

exercise hobby jog jogger
Photo by JESHOOTS.com on Pexels.com

Life is difficult, there are challenges far greater than running a long distance. People are struggling with health, family and emotional issues everyday. But if we take control of what is in our immediate control and work on improving even one small aspect of ourselves. We can gain the confidence to go beyond our comfort zone.

If you had told me two years ago that I would be running in long distance races. Contemplating on running in races out of my immediate area. I would have laughed. Yet I’m doing just that — Running a half-marathon was to be a one-off something to mark my sixtieth birthday. Then something wonderful happened along the way, running/slogging long distances made me more centered, it made me happy. Whether it was being out in nature, away from a screen, or the ample physical and health benefits. Running made me better and apparently the more I’ve trained the better I’ve gotten.

Yes, it’s been a long road from alternating running and walking between telephone poles. Finally being able to slog a mile without stopping, then running a full 5k and now running a half marathon where I felt good afterward! Taking that first step and following through to some 30,000 steps to yesterday’s finish line has taught me I can reach a goal if I’m willing to put in the work.

I hope I can be an example to the students I teach, that it takes more than wishing to reach a goal. It takes commitment and hard work. Who knows maybe I will inspire someone to take a step on the long road to wherever …

Running With Dad…

Today I ran one of my all time favorite races, the DownTown 5K (formerly known as the CVS Downtown 5K). This was the eighth year in a row that my friend Carol and I have run this race. We’ve had many other friends run with us but we’re the only two who’ve run it each year since 2010.

This year I believe I also ran it with my dad. My dad passed away in May 1989 of colon cancer — He would’ve been 89 this September 21st. So you can imagine my surprise when  I looked up my race number and saw it was 89! Coincidence? — I don’t believe in them. What I do believe is if you’re open to anything you will witness amazing things…

I was so looking forward to running this race, having this very meaningful sign from dad made it all the more special. At the very start of the race a dragon fly flew past me. As the race progressed I felt better and better I was actually passing people! The Sloth, Slogger, penguin runner was passing people.

Then as I came toward the turn back and there was a beautiful black and white springer like the one I had, Eliza Doolittle  never left my dad’s side while dad was dying. Wow dad you even brought Doolittle to cheer me on!

asphalt-clouds-endurance-421160Running up that final hill I found another gear when Glen Millers’s In The Mood, (one of dad’s favorite tunes) started playing on my iPod. I crossed the finish line with a PR and five full minutes faster than I did it last year. Yes dad and I had one heck of a race…

I know a few people may read this and think its crazy talk, believe what you wish. My belief allowed me to run with my father today and to feel his presence, that my friends is a gift!

By the way dad, could you send a little mojo to our Giants tonight?

Run on!

Gin

Now is All We Have…

These past weeks have been fraught with long hours at work, and endless bad news…

My choices were curl into a fetal position and ignore it all, complain to anyone and everyone, or run for my sanity. I chose run.

Today with weary legs and a heavy heart I headed out for my ten-mile training run. I found out yesterday that a nursing school classmate had passed. Sixty-one isn’t old. Yet age doesn’t make a difference with death, it comes when it chooses not when we choose.

There has been so much illness among my friends, and associates lately — It is so disheartening. I understand it is all part of life and as we age it becomes more evident, it doesn’t mean it becomes less hard or scary it just is…

It is very easy at times like these to focus on all the scary the future holds or the seemingly better days of the past, but what is and always will be is now. That is what we need to focus on — It’s all we got.

This thought led me to recall one of my favorite Zen stories; There once was a monk who while walking happened upon a ferocious tiger. The monk backed away from the tiger to the edge of a cliff, where he noticed a vine the monk grabbed the vine holding on for dear life. When he noticed two mice were gnawing the vine. The monk had nowhere to go. He looked around and saw a beautiful strawberry. With one hand he picked the berry and ate it, “What a delicious berry,” Proclaimed the monk.animal-big-cat-roar-47312 

You see the tiger represents the past the monk clinging to the vine represents now and the fall into the chasm represents the future or death. My advice is to enjoy the now. Pick that strawberry and taste it with all your senses. Because no-one knows how long it will take the mice to chew through your vine…

Run on,

Gin

Crazy about running…

People who are close to me often ask me why do you run? Are you crazy? My answer is I run to keep me from going crazy and then there are runs like yesterday where I can actually say I’m crazy about running…

Yesterday I woke up at 4:45 to participate in the Mount Hope Bridge Run. This run is a point to point 5k that includes running over an 89 year old suspension bridge from Portsmouth to Bristol Rhode Island. It is the only time pedestrians are allowed on the bridge. The early wake up time is because runners are shuttled from Roger Williams University to the starting line at the South end of the bridge.

I drive over this bridge at least twice a day four to five times a week to work and back. The views are spectacular which explains why so many of us are rear-ended on the bridge each year. You can’t help gawking at the spectacular sights. So to run this race was a no-brainer for me! I would’ve got out of bed at 2am if I had to.

The weather forecast wasn’t that pleasant, rain and possible thunder showers were predicted.Thankfully they held off and the horrendous humidity of the past week was tolerable.

Participants gathered on the Portsmouth side exchanging small talk, anxiously awaiting the start of the race. I love meeting people at these events, you have varied backgrounds but a common interest and on race day a goal to participate and finish. There are always conversations about different races, gear, injuries and training. It makes me smile to see families participating — Parents passing on their love of fitness to their children. Runners are the nicest people, they encourage and cheer each other, even though they are strangers.

It was finally time to start the race, the horn sounded and we were off! The views were spectacular, people were taking pictures and selfies. The first part was a steady incline until we got to the middle of the bridge where the American Flag was hanging. I have to admit I got a little lump in my throat passing under the flag. We continued on to mile one not too far from the base of the bridge then we headed toward the entrance of RWU and ran through the campus. There were a lot of rolling hills but the campus was lovely. The weather was still cooperating until the end. Where I crossed  the finish line not with a PR but fairly close. I was greeted with fist bumps by some of the guys I met earlier in the day. I caught up with my student and we took in the views of the lighthouse and the bay.

What an amazing run! What an amazing morning! I’m Crazy about running on days such as this…

Run on,

G

 

 

Bike Path/Life Path

During today’s long training run I had plenty of time to reflect (trying not to think about the heat and humidity ) on life; its randomness and its synchronicity the duality of Tao…

These thoughts initially started on Friday while running the bike path in Colt State Park. There’s this section of the path where gulls like to drop shellfish to crack them open. The path is littered with fragments of shells large pieces to very minute ones. The randomness of the sizes reminded me of people and their lives — How random longevity  and abundance is… I know there is some control with our health by how we care for ourselves and wealth can be earned but there needs to be a certain amount of synchronicity or fate…

Today I was reflecting on how the bike path is like life’s path; There is beauty and there is danger. People who are focused only on their own gains and people who are looking out for one another. Everyone is sharing the same piece of earth going at different speeds and directions, trying to connect with friends and family while trying to avoid others we happen upon. There are bumps, briers, and blind curves to be aware of, yet among all the potential dangers there’s amazing natural beauty to admire. A lot like life don’t you think?

If that isn’t enough, the bike path has been recently repaved, and with that it’s gotten narrower and more dangerous. Rather like peoples’ mindsets — Also more dangerous…

I know this post is a bit heavy but so is my heart a small boy lost his life on that path a week ago, a random cruel accident. Which has made me more aware of my life’s path and how important it is to be grateful for my piece of shell…

Run, or walk your path well…

Gadorable-boy-child-1104007