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…
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…
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.”
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…
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…
“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”For my old classmate Tricia, for the EBMA parent Michael, and for my friend Ron, til we meet again.
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.
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 …