Running Unburdened

Today’s run shouldn’t have been so easy. I’m fighting a cold, I started out much later than I normally do, there was a stiff northwest breeze, yesterday my legs felt like rigor mortis set in… But it was Friday and I was scheduled to do at least two so I figured I’d give it a shot and if worst came to worst I would walk. After a quick warm up I set out to my usual neighborhood run and my legs felt good, the wind was a bit of an annoyance but it wasn’t always a factor. I was able to maintain a steady comfortable pace even during the uphill portions. I was flummoxed I thought this was going to be a struggle, instead it was one of my easiest runs I’ve had in a while.

The whole time I was running I was analyzing why I was feeling this way and why wasn’t this hard. Then I realized I didn’t set any big expectations on myself I was setting out just to run or walk. Not to beat a time or feel one way or another. In part this was also due to the fact, that I’ve become more honest with myself and others in my life about what I can and cannot do. Life took a hard left a couple of months ago and my already busy life had a lot more responsibilities added. Admittedly I was a bit unnerved by all this, until I started realizing I could only control what was in front of me. I couldn’t change the past or act in the future all I have is here and now. I recently heard a quote by Abraham Lincoln that goes,” Luckily the future comes one day at a time.” That simple quote has given me new perspective, the same sort of perspective I get from running one step at a time and you get to where you’re going. I can’t let my sense of responsibility over burden me with guilt. I’m only one person with two hands, and an all too willing heart. By learning to let my limits be known I’m able to get more done for everyone, but more importantly, easily …

Running A(way)

Running; A way to sanity and away from insanity…

These past two weeks, have been some of the most difficult in my life. Through it all running has helped me maintain my center, relieve my anxiety, sadness, and overwhelm. During today’s three mile training run I discovered how much running has kept me sane.

After being blindsided by my cousin’s (brother’s) sudden death, then having to share this horrible news with my mother left me numb. So numb that my initial response was the inability to cry or physically move–Ironic for someone who is constantly moving. Shortly after sharing the news with my mother, I was able to shed tears and so many more have followed and are to come. I also found out that I had the extra responsibility of being named the executrix to his will.

As you may imagine my anxiety shifted into overwhelm! Along with my long list of responsibilities I had a bunch more heaped upon me when I was my most vulnerable. I wanted to run away. Away from the sadness, responsibility the pressure of doing the right thing being sure everyone was taken care of, but first I had to take care of me.

Self care for me includes, meditation, spiritual reading, my martial arts practice and running. The meditation, reading and martial arts required too much of my mental energy and although I continued with all those disciplines, running has been my great escape. I know for 30minutes to 2 hours all I had to focus on was the next step and next breath — This moment the only moment. I was able to cry (not pretty) mourn his loss, and try to run my anger into the ground.

After the days of the “hard running” I began noticing, dragonflies, butterflies, Cardinals, and pennies were found. I knew my cousin was safe on the other side and sending me messages. Running became a source of comfort.

I’ve been running on and off since 1991 first to prepare for my black belt, then occasionally to get into shape. It wasn’t until I was about to turn 60 that I gave myself the goal of running a half marathon, that I got serious about running. I didn’t realize until today that goal changed my life forever. It wasn’t finishing the half it was running, just running…

One Step, One Breath, This Moment; The only moment…

“Remember, Jonathan, heaven isn’t a place or a time, because place and time are so very meaningless.” From Jonathan Livingston Seagull, Richard Bach.

Run on,

G

Wait Management

Or how to avoid living an unfulfilling life;

I’ve been away for quite the while–I’ve got no answer as to why, maybe I just wasn’t compelled to write. I’ve continued to run routinely, entered in a few races and I’m still enjoying running’s many benefits. I guess I had the need to keep certain thoughts and feelings to my self. This past year I’ve witnessed a good deal of loss, and changes. I needed time to work these things through before I could write my thoughts and share them with you.

As I said 2018 and 2019 has been difficult, I’ve lost friends, had friends lose spouses, pets, and jobs. Some of my friends battled various serious illnesses, some won others didn’t. Generally change is not unusual at the end of a decade there seems to be more loss, and change for everyone during this period (out with the old in with the new). During all the added stress life went on, we went to work, paid the bills and got ready to do it again each and everyday.

Some may call this a rut, I call it poor wait management. Let me clarify this with an explanation that will hopefully provide perspective. About this time a year ago the younger brother of one of my students was diagnosed with bone cancer. Nothing seem to go his way, and despite, incredible treatment, and support from his family he passed away this past Wednesday at the age of 11. I bring this up as a not so subtle reminder that everyday is precious. We can’t think that illness only comes when we are old. You have to live proactively not reactively.

I have a bracelet that has the word Purpose on it to remind me to live with purpose every moment. My purpose is to share my experiences, to help people grow, to help others, to spread kindness, to create laughter, to learn to experience life fully the good and the bad.

So if you’re waiting for the right man/woman to complete you know you are a complete man or woman. Perhaps you’re waiting for children to leave home before you start working on your dream–you maybe waiting until they’re 50, can you wait that long? You may want to be starting a new career or business but the economic climate is wrong. There are as many waiting scenarios as there are people procreating. I’m here to say don’t wait! The only time we have is this moment, you need to take action NOW! No one is promised tomorrow.

We only regret what we never tried–not what we did! Manage your wait, ask yourself what is the dream? What is my purpose? If you’re having difficulty determining a goal go for a run, I hear there’s a lot of thoughts during a run…

Hug someone, tell someone you love them, call an old friend and keep the young boy I mentioned in your thoughts any time you think you have more time…

Run on,

G

Running Through Winter

This is the first full winter that I’ve trained through. Believe me there were some sub freezing days that were less than ideal but I went anyway. I learned how to dress not only for the weather but for running in the weather. There were the had to hit the dreadmill days, but there was rarely a missed schedule training day and for that I’m proud.

Here is what I learned; even though the world seems asleep there’s still lots of life. Robins were replaced with darting chickadees and juncos. Ducks and geese still took the icy waters. Trees bared all the crooked misshapen branches no longer adorned with the color of fall. The sun’s angle created haunting shadows as I ran. The barren landscape of winter gave me space to go inward for some incredible reflection. Some I wished I shared with you all but selfishly kept to myself…

Spring is here my first race of the year behind me, it was difficult long, windy and sometimes cold, yet like the winter it had moments of clarity and peace…

Run on

G

eventually snow melts and spring will appear…

Show Tune Philosophy

Lately I’ve been listening to show tunes during my runs;Here’s what I’m learning.

Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes, a year in the life… (Seasons of Love) Rent — When this comes on I think of the past year, the good the bad and ordinary moments and it motivates me to be better. A better teacher, runner, “human” — I’ve become more aware of time and how precious it is…

(What I did for Love) from a Chorus Line, first thing I recall is that it’s my favorite song from my favorite musical. Then it reminds me of choices we make and how they effect our path. For instance choosing martial arts as a career vs remaining a R.N. I often look at my school and think of this song because one day there will be another choice to be made.

(Getting to know you) The King and I; I love this because it’s a teacher learning about her students. I find this song brings me joy, first it’s so bright and to be honest I’m almost floating when I hear this song.

(Ease on Down the Road) the Wiz, this one just inspires me to move forward get my butt in gear. Fun to run with.

There are many others, but I’m sure you’ve gotten the drift. I love looking for meaning and messages in music, in the things I read. I believe the universe speaks to us through these mediums. Besides it makes something I enjoy even more enjoyable.

So the next time you’re choosing a play list to work out or run with try going to Broadway…

Run on,

Gin

Attitude of Gratitude

Part of my 2019 intention of purpose, was not only to do things that served or had purpose but, to find a way to be grateful of the things, events, and people that cross my path — that give me purpose.

Since the new year started I’ve been following the exercises I got from a masters class from Calm on gratitude. Every morning following my spiritual reading and meditation I journal on something I’m grateful for. Subjects have ranged from long runs, certain members of my family and today’s entry “Inclement weather”. Those who know me personally (have either fallen off their chair or at least have reread the previous line). I repeat this morning I wrote a paragraph on my gratitude for inclement weather. This self-proclaimed winter weeny who has bitched and whined at the mention of cold and or snow is grateful or should I say found something to be grateful for regarding horrible weather.

You see finding something to be grateful for no matter what the situation helps me be happier, less stressed over that which is not under my control. For example, instead of sulking over the weather I focused on using the indoor time to get paper work done, a longer meditation session, warm cozy socks, home-made soup — The weather also allowed for a quick trip to the gym for some dread-mill running. Which is slightly better than no running at all.

There was a time not so long ago in which I could never imagine myself running outdoors in winter let alone go to the gym in a deluge to run on a treadmill. Yet this is what I did without complaint — I was grateful for the opportunity. I no longer hibernate in winter, I live each day under my terms, I am grateful for all I have and for all who share my path…

The change was easy, to quote Dr. Wayne Dyer “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”

Run on,

G


Purpose

I’ve chosen “Purpose” as my theme for 2019

I don’t believe in New Year resolutions. Just go into any gym after January 1st and see how many people had getting fit as a resolution, then go back on March 1st and see how many actually followed through! This is only one example of resolution failure. Which is why I don’t make any — A goal without a plan is just a wish, and that’s what most resolutions are wishes…

This is the third year I’ve themed. I started in 2017 with Inspire, it was the year I turned 60 and I wanted to inspire people to become their best selves. Last year I chose Create. I wanted to build off the inspiration theme and create new adventures and opportunities for myself and for others.

This year I’ve chosen purpose; as in the past two years I’ve bought a bracelet from My Intent with my word to be a reminder of my mission. Literally a mission statement that I wear to remind me of what I want to achieve. This year I want to live with purpose, have what I do mean something. For example I’ve joined Charity Miles, so every time I run I’m earning money for my charity Soles for Souls. I want to be sure I’m not just going through the day, I want to be more mindful, aware of others. I want my workouts to benefit me not just go for the sake of going. When I spend time with family or friends I want to be totally present – Really listen. The martial arts classes I teach to have substance not just form, but actual life benefits.

Some of the steps I’ve taken toward living on purpose are, keeping a gratitude journal. I don’t just list the things I’m grateful for I write why I’m grateful for them, even the challenges. I meditate at least daily, I read something spiritual every morning. I practice mindful eating. I’m limiting my screen time, you will see less of me on Facebook and hopefully more of me on WordPress.

I will be running with purpose, besides raising money for charity I will be looking for races that will bring me to new destinations and experiences.

I’m going to continue to declutter and consume less, because less is more!

I will be sharing more ideas that have helped me, and maybe they will help you. In the mean time live with purpose…

Run on to 2019 and beyond

Gin