Monday, September 27, 2010
Sometimes life presents you with an opportunity to learn a lesson you hadn’t set out to learn and that lesson becomes more powerful and poignant to you than anything else. As I trudged up Cochran Hill Saturday morning all I was really concerned about was getting to the top of it. I didn’t care about my form or how I looked I just wanted to reach the summit and then I could collect myself and savor my victory. Since then I have had a chance to think about what really happened on that hill and it was a moment that I believe will change how I think forever.
Between the bottom and the top of that hill was a lot of hard work. There were a few fleeting seconds where I convinced myself it would be easy to pull off to the side and rest. Who would know? There weren’t any people around. I could lean on a tree and catch my breath and then come charging through the finish line. I heard Brandy Reed’s voice. She was one of my very first fitness instructors in May when I was taking my Ab-Blast class. When I would not flatten my planks out she’d lean over and say “The only person you are cheating John is yourself!” I could have pulled over. I didn’t. I kept moving. I had a goal and it was in reach.
When I started the C25K program back in May, my legs ached every time I ran. Running for ninety seconds took away my breath. I felt running a true 5K was years not months away. I had a tooth pulled and had to stop training for ten days. I twisted my knee one morning and had to stop running for five days. I had to repeat weeks one through five.
I never noticed myself getting stronger or quicker or having more endurance. I just kept working. I just kept pushing and when it came to be crunch time Saturday morning I brushed those “quitting thoughts” away and I reached my goal because there was no other alternative. I am a winner.
After we got home I went to the gym yesterday to do some light strength training. When I finish this blog I am going to run two miles. It’s what I do. Success is part of me and as I reflected on all of that the best thing I can come up with is that life is a lot of very hard work and when you take a short cut or cheat or circumvent the system, you lose. It’s like Brandy Reed said, “You aren’t cheatin’ the world John. You’re cheatin’ yourself.”
Sometimes I don’t chart all of my food. I know I’m probably the only person at Spark that ever does that! I work real hard to get myself into nutritional shape and then, when no one is around, I sneak a cookie but it’s okay because if I don’t write it down I didn’t eat it, right? I put a lot of hard work into balancing my diet, especially with all my travel. I learned going up that hill on Saturday that I can do anything I choose to do if I put enough effort and work into it.
Diets don’t work. There is no magic. There is a lot of dull and gray days and all the emoticons and goodies and mails don’t do much to change the landscape. It’s the stuff we don’t like to talk about because who is going to come to a web site that espouses gloom and doom?
The day comes though, when you are climbing your own Cochran Hill that you start to realize it’s the hard work that’s pushing you forward and all of those gray days were worth it. You realize there will be more of them. You know that you will have setbacks but you also come to the realization that no one can stop you from reaching your goals if you work hard enough at doing so. You realize that you can run steeper hills if you indeed have to.
The gray days become more bearable because of who you hang around with. Left to my own devices I doubt I would have stuck through all of this. Those of you who love me and accept me as I am are part of a huge network of positive people in my life who challenge me daily and share my same successful notion of life. Without those people I might slip back into mediocrity. You can be worth all the tea in China and you can believe in yourself till the cows come home but until you look to the right and then the left and you get the good old thumbs up from the people sweating next to you then something is missing. We are always alone in our struggles but we are never alone. It’s the eternal conundrum.
Now, what hill do you climb today? Let me know, I’ll give ya the thumbs up
Sunday, September 26, 2010
Now a bit of the back story, LOL
When we arrived at the park there was a full Gospel Choir entertaining(?) prior to the race. They were pretty good but after awhile, the closer it got to the race, they started to get on my nerves due to the fact that for some reason, according to the race organizers, the portable toilet people didn't deliver the portable toilets. My personal trainer told me to make sure I hydrated myself well before the race. I did. So without going into further detail, I was a little jumpy until I saw other runners taking advantage of the thick woods. Enough said.
I went all the way to the back of the pack and mentally prepared myself. There were runners with dogs back there. They sniffed me, a lot, LOL. The race started and all went well.
I had to stop, briefly, once. My left shoe came untied.
When I crossed the finish line and turned around my granddaughter ran and jumped into my arms.
While I was running Joan purchased raffle tickets. We won a huge basket, mostly full of things we gave our gran daughter. I kept the free pair of running socks.
The main thing is I really enjoyed myself.
Friday, September 24, 2010
We lost a friend this week. TRAINOF4 passed away after battling illness for some time. I wanted to pause before I started blogging to mention that and to honor her and her life.
If you follow my travels you know I live five minutes from my gym. That gives me a real advantage when I run because I can walk up there, warm up on an elliptical or a treadmill, stretch out my quads a bit and run. Usually I plan it that my run ends up at my front door.
Yesterday was my last run before my 5K on Saturday. The race course is full of hills and well I have run up and down a few I haven’t really had to face them that often. I picked a course yesterday of 2.1 miles that was basically a small roller coaster. Before I go any further a big shout out to my unofficial running coach, Paul, who is also my son and to my personal trainer Jen. Paul told me that if I ever wanted to be a serious runner I needed to learn to run from my core rather than my legs. As I went up and down these hills yesterday I was glad Jen had spent so much time helping me begin to develop those muscles. As I approached a hill I would shorten my stride and push from my core and while it took a bit getting used to I was able to get up and down. (Between you and I it was a minor amazement!!!) I finished my run and felt good. My recovery time was great and I had a wonderful day.
I write all this to preface the fact that this run almost didn’t happen. As I left the house and warmed up my heart and soul wasn’t in this simply because I was getting ready to do something I had never done before. Rather than being scared I decided I’d make excuses.
“Maybe all of this comes too soon.”
“You’re not a kid anymore.”
“You should be getting ready for work!!!”
I got on the elliptical and put my IPod on shuffle because the best way to describe my mood was apathetic. I just didn’t care. Halfway through my warm up I started listening to an old Fleetwood Mac song, Gypsy. There is a bit of a break in the song where Stevie Nicks sings”…..And it all comes down to you.”
I stopped before I walked out the gym door and I thought, “Yeah it does.” It all comes down to me. You can have all the support, encouragement, love and training in the universe, but it all comes down to you. No one runs that hill but you. So I did and I enjoyed it and I am ready.
This weekend marks my passage from someone who runs to a runner. I am not sure where this adventure takes me but I do know it’s entirely up to me whether I get there or not.
You will be with me tomorrow, in spirit, because you are part of an amazing group of people who encouraged me to do something I never thought I would be able to do.
I’ll try to update tomorrow but most likely it will be Sunday. We are driving to Louisville this evening and I’m not taking my computer.
Have a great Friday
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