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 …

Hills; The ones we run and the metaphorical ones that we run into…

I set out on my usual Wednesday 2 miler, looking forward to clearing my head, working up a sweat and trying to gain some perspective on what’s been a crazy start to 2018.

Running does all of the above, it’s my antidepressant, my fat burner, and my Gingko Biloba. Which is why most of these blogs are written soon after returning from my runs. Today’s hill thought is no exception. If you’ve been following my journey please excuse the next bit explaining how I started and where I am now (first I will be turning 61 in about six weeks, I’m a former nurse, who is a master teacher/owner of a martial arts school who decided to run a half marathon to celebrate her 60th year). I’ve run on and off since 1991 but didn’t become seriously committed to running until training for the half.

Now back  to the hills during my training and until very recently I walked slogged up most large hills. Then it occurred to me that I’m running six miles with relative ease the hills are no longer a physical but a mental challenge. That’s when I start using my soft eyes technique (borrowed from meditation). You simply direct your gaze to only a few feet in front of you. Focusing just a few feet kept me from seeing the size and steepness of the hill. I felt the shift in the incline much like on a treadmill but maintain my narrow focus to the task at hand running a few more feet. I’ve taken this lesson into my busy life, I try not to look at the enormity of a task or event, I maintain my focus on smaller tasks that will lead to completing or solving the challenge. Yes there are unexpected obstacles but just like the physical obstacles along my run I navigate them to the best of my ability and stay away from worry of completion just trusting that one step at a time will tackle any hill as long as I remain focused and committed…

Enjoy the process, the results are usually worth it!

Ginnie

Running Through “IT”

Today’s short training run felt like I was running in molasses – It’s been an extra long week at work and it was humid as hell… (come to think of it hell probably has a dry heat)

Anyway I digress, I’m sure everyone has had a day training or at work when you’re not at 100%. Today was the day for me, until it wasn’t. Allow me to explain. Like I said it’s been a long week of teaching karate classes and my usual Wednesday training run was put off for a few hours because of work commitments. I got out of my car at the park ready to get some form training done. I started down the trail and I felt like I had the wrong legs, mind you I’m not the most graceful runner I slog — But even my slog felt awkward, I thought about calling it a day then decided not to, after I hit mile one I still felt like a car stuck in first gear. Then my mind settled into the music (Neil Diamond can do that) and It became easy and peaceful.

Once I allowed my body to move without me thinking how beat my legs were or how humid it was. I was fine, I let go of my ego and just got lost in the movement, the moment and that’s when it hit me, I ran through “IT”.

Life is a lot like running, it’s hard to get started on a new project, job, diet, relationship, adventure — Until we let go of our egos preconceived ideas of how things should be and just let go. It’s then when we see our biggest growth.

The next time life bogs you down in molasses, just run through it! You’ll be the better for it…

Gin

 

School Is In Session…

I’m in a good space right now. When I’m like this I notice things — I become aware. I find lessons in everything, from driving to work, to switching my seasonal wardrobe. There are literally hundreds of lessons every week in my universal classroom. There are subtle messages from the TV I watch (not the Madison Avenue messages). My cats and the rest of the animals I encounter teach me something. Running and Yoga are my first lessons of the day . From the moment I wake up school is in session…

This isn’t just for me, it’s an open classroom everyone is welcome. The only enrollment requirement is you show up everyday open to learn about; life, about you…

Got to go one of my teachers just walked in and needs to be fed!

 

Ginnie

Leader Of The Band…

After a day immersed in Oprah’s Master Classes, and Super Soul Sunday, I’ve had a lot to digest. There were so many AHA moments, but two stuck with me while I was running. How Oprah explained all the synchronicity that lead to who she was. Second was her passion about teaching and making a difference. As I ran I tried to retrace my steps back to a seemingly insignificant moment that has molded me into the teacher I am today.

I don’t recall the year but I was either in seventh or eighth grade. My brother had come home from school asking my mother if he could take drum lessons (this was inevitable he drummed on everything since he was a toddler). Oh no I thought another way for him to get more attention than me! Really the only reason I decided to play an instrument was I was jealous of my younger brother. I asked my mother if I could also play an instrument. Knowing her favorite instrument was the saxophone that’s the one I chose. The only stipulation was that I had to play it until I graduated high school. Little did I know how this would impact my life forever. As you may have guessed jealousy is not a good foundation to start anything. Yet when I first got my sax I was excited and thought I squeaked and squawked through Twinkle ,Twinkle Little Star pretty well. After a month of group lessons my teacher thought I could use private lessons (you can imagine why). Mr. Roger Dietz my saxophone teacher and eventual high school band director was about to create a monster!

You’re probably thinking wow she got great at playing the saxophone – Hardly I got a first hand account on how to instill confidence. I was so afraid to make a mistake I could hardly play yet Mr. Dietz allowed me and others like me to be in the band. Knowing that if I could find my confidence and overcome my shyness I could eventually learn. That’s exactly what came to pass, when I found my confidence I was good enough for second or third chair. Yet the biggest gift was I found my voice. The band was a place where I felt accepted and a part of…

That beautiful being gave us all a voice, we had a wonderful band because we had a wonderful leader… A true leader of the band! Mr. Dietz, Uncle Roger , Your example lives on in the teacher I’ve become and  in the Martial Artists I teach!

Thank you, forever grateful,

Ginnie

When To?

Some of the most difficult decisions in my teaching career (and in life) are the “When To’s” . I’m an adult child of an alcoholic and a certified enabler. Therefore I tend to want to do everything, to make it easier or right for the others involved. On the surface this behavior seems rather benign – It isn’t.

Always doing for others especially staff and students, prevents them from experiencing the growth they need. Yet there are times when in order to teach them properly I need to actually do what I’m asking to get done… (I know I’m talking in circles) . This is the dilemma; When to interfere and when to let go?  I’m constantly at odds with myself over this. I want to get what I want the way I want without hurting anyone’s ego.

I know I have to trust my guides and learn from each situation, but it doesn’t make it any easier. For instance  “When To” end this commentary?

Ginnie