January 2018 – Here we go!

Hello! It’s been a while and we are now right into 2018. How are those resolutions going? Most people I know have fallen right off the wagon and joking about how 2019 is going to be their year. In order to avoid such happenings, I took a different approach in making goals for the new year. I asked myself what 5 things I would like to have happen by 2019. I asked myself what 5 things I needed to be happy. Then I put those together in a list and thought about what would need to happen in order to achieve those 5 things. So wanna know my list? Here it is:

  1. To be healthier and fitter
  2. To write something (see my name on actually published pieces)
  3. To be more spiritual
  4. To be more financially secure
  5. To be in a happy and healthy relationship with a good guy.

So then I’ve gone through each of those things and made some notes about what needs to happen for those things to happen. For example, with number 1… “to be healthier and fitter” I do need to lose some weight and so I came up with a plan for that. I’m not making broad sweeping statements like: “absolutely no sugar or treats for the year and I must run at least 30 minutes a day, every single day of the year”.. but I have things like: follow the keto diet and workout 5 days a week, get back into running, eat out less.

With the second one: “to write something” well, I need to actually write something. I’ve been working on carving out time specifically for writing, because we all know that if one simply waits for the muse to arrive, one might be waiting a heck of a long time. So I’ve set goals that involve joining up with some fellow writers, trying to write a few minutes every day at least, get back to blogging, and have some early mornings or evenings dedicated to writing.

Thirdly: “to be more spiritual” is a bit more complicated but I do want to get closer to God this year, I want to start back with scripture memorization, and I want to find service opportunities in my church and community.

Fourth: “to be more financially secure”.. well that involves getting some savings going again, being smarter with purchases and then changing some habits. I seem to have adopted a strange stock piling mindset. I live like a woman who survived the depression. I need to only buy things when I need them. I live in a big city with lots of stores, so it’s not like I have to live without for more than 10 minutes if I run out of shampoo or dish detergent.

Fifth “to be in a happy relationship”… well that one is a little trickier because I’m only really responsible for 50% of that and these are things that I can’t exactly make happen on my own BUT I will try to make sure that good people know I am looking for a good man and I will try to put myself out there a little more… be more social and attend events where I could potentially meet someone. Yikes!

So the thing is– my goals are long term and involve making good choices day after day. I have adopted the mindset of thinking “will this take me closer to or further from my goals?” That’s it really. I’m looking at 2018 as a year where I make conscious good choices day after day, week after week, month after month.

I also would really like to have a different set of goals next year… so here we go!

Happy 2018!

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I run because he can’t.

Hanging in my parent’s basement is a calendar. My dad put it there. He uses it to keep track of the many miles he runs each month. The calendar has been blank since April. You see he, the man who has been a healthy runner for as long as I can remember, has become very sick. About 18 months ago he had a non-cancerous brain tumour removed. He miraculously recovered from that and we spent Christmas running together, for the first time. We ran lots of miles, he and I, talked about many significant and insignificant things and I loved (almost) every minute of it.  I planned to return to Canada for a bit this summer and continue to run with him as he added miles to the calendar.. but that was not to be.

You see, at the end of April he was diagnosed with a very serious kind of cancer. The word “terminal” has been used by health care professionals. This Thursday he started radiation and chemotherapy. I came home as soon as I could and will spend the summer taking care of him and being with him and just loving him. It’s all kinds of horrible. To see a person you have loved for your entire life, in pain, sick, weak… is really quite earth shattering. We are believing, hoping and praying for a miracle but at the same time, trying to accept the reality that he is indeed a very sick man.
And so the calendar continues to hang in the basement. He told me that if he can’t add miles to it, I should definitely do that. And so, with all sorts of heavy emotion, I lace up my shoes, head out the door and run along the roads we ran along together, not so long ago. In a time when I feel so helpless and unable to do that which really needs to be done… unable to cure horrible diseases and fix scary medical conditions– I look for simple solutions and coping techniques and so, I run for him because he can’t.

Somewhat Despicable Me

dear-me Dear Me,

Sometimes you are really rather stupid. I’m writing this so that you can avoid such stupidity in the future. So you ran a race and then what happened to you? Yes, you were sore and tired and a little over the whole experience of putting on your running shoes and so you just… stopped? True, people told you to take a few days off, to recover and to just take it easy. But you took it a step further and just stopped. You know what happens when you stop doing something that deep down you ultimately love…. you get all weird.
Today you went for a run for the first time this week and notice how awake you are now? Notice how much better everything seems to be? Notice how good that morning shower felt? Don’t forget that.
Running in the morning is something that makes you, you. Keep doing it, even on the days you don’t want to. You know that you actually really and truly are a better person on the days that you run. Running affects everything: how you feel about yourself, how you feel in clothes, how you feel about life, what you decide to eat for breakfast, what you choose to mull over in your mind and what you choose to ignore. Running helps you burn through negativity and shows you what to focus on. You love running and you know that it is especially good on the days you really don’t want to do it. So no more! You are back to being the girl who runs 3-4 days a week whether you want to be or not!
Stop being lazy and stupid. You’re better than that!
Sincerely,
The Better Version of You.

Psyching Up… Yikes!

So my first half marathon is on Sunday. I suppose I could say I’m a tad anxious about it. My training has been going but not going all that well. I think a week off was probably not the best idea but that’s life.. Hopefully I didn’t do too much damage. I ran a final […]

My Scripted Reality

wordsI had a scripted childhood. My parents wrote us “scripts” for everything.. answering the phone, being introduced to adults, politely declining food at my gramma’s house, what to say to the one parent if I preferred that the other one put me to bed, what to say when someone at a birthday party opened a present I had been dying to have, how to pray before a meal, how to pray before bed, what to say to my friend’s parents after I ate dinner at their house, what to say to an authoritative figure who I believed was wrong (that one is pretty good actually). There were scripts for everything. I can see why my parents did that.. they didn’t want us yelling obscenities into the phone or being rude when we were suddenly in a strange or somewhat demanding situation. They wanted us to be prepared and so they gave us lines to learn and we politely recited them at the right time… most of the time.

That being said, and maybe this is a subconscious rebellion against the scripting of my childhood but I’ve never really been into mantras or key words or special phrases or affirmations. I’m not a huge fan of meaningful inspirational quotes or cutsie sayings. It just seems a little touchy feely and I’d much rather get out there and do something about it than sit around chanting my thoughts. However, I’m starting to think that maybe I should be a little more open-minded because really.. mantras, phrases, motivational quotes, power words.. they are just scripts for grownups. And sometimes.. when I’m standing at the lunch buffet or running around a park at 5 in the morning, it’s nice to know that I’m not going to scream and shout cuss words or curl up along the side of the road in a messy heap of self-loathing.

So what I think I need to do is write a new script.

I started thinking this because up until this point my inner health-related script was more along the lines of: “This is bad but diet starts Monday” or “Ten more minutes on the elliptical and I’m so ordering an extra large pad thai”. Not entirely helpful in the long run. I’m starting to realise how vital it is for me to have my head filled with powerful phrases. No, I’m not running around saying super schmaltzy things.. well not most of the time I’m not, but I do like to have a few significant things going on in there.  (insert blonde joke) Seriously, I’m realising how important it is for my brain to have something to revert back to or make sense of or grab onto or play over and over.. especially during the difficult times.

This morning I typed some sort of semi-motivational thing on MFP along the lines of having a week filled with “7 healthy days”. Writing that out ended up helping me say no to a chocolate muffin at 10am because.. well that wouldn’t be a “healthy day” sort of thing. I want 7 healthy ones… (days not muffins). The thing is that it was funny because that little phrase just popped into my head right when I was about to pick up the dangerous treat and made it easier to say no.

It helps to have a few ideas or thoughts or phrases in our heads that we can go to in moments of physical or mental weakness. I find this is especially true when it comes to working out. It is so easy to be too kind or easy on our bodies and let ourselves have undeserved breaks and unearned rest days. It’s easy to justify breaking a run and walking just a little longer because our legs ache or not doing push ups until we collapse because our arms kind of hurt. It’s all too easy to talk ourselves into staying on the couch with blankets because if we go outside our skin might get wet.

During weak moments.. that’s when we need help from powerful words swimming in our brains.

Maybe you like the famous quotes about needing to give 110% or living each day like it was your last (although why would I spend my last day on earth at the gym?) or Philippians 4:13 or “a year from now you’ll wish you had started today” or “that which doesn’t kill me makes me stronger” (thank you Nietzsche and Kelly Clarkson) or “I’m gonna show you how great I am”.. or something to the tune of Eye of the Tiger.

Maybe the big flashy quotes don’t do it for you and you go for more mundane things like: “I need to look super hot in July” or “if you run faster then you’ll be able to lie on the living room floor for 5 minutes” or “True happiness is not found in cupcakes” (which I’m still not 100% convinced is true). 

Or maybe the workout is taking everything out of you and you can only manage to grunt a few key words, primate style: “Hot” or “Stronger” or “Poison” or “No” or “MUSCLES!!!”

Whatever is going on with you and your workouts and/or food choices.. it’s highly helpful to fill your head with thoughts that get you through the struggles and temptations and back to the good place… the land of 1% semi-skimmed milk and raw honey.

Maybe you are the more abusive type who likes to call yourself a Fatty McLardass as you huff and puff around the block or maybe you take the more loving approach and tell yourself that you’re just running bravely down the path toward Beautiful.. whatever it is.. it’s important what you are.. what I am…what we are telling ourselves. I do believe that a large part of our success depends upon it.

So write a script. Tailor it to fit your needs. You know when you’re at your weakest and you know what you need to hear. Write it down somewhere, memorise it and one day you’ll be happy to have such nice or harsh or “abusive” or “motivational” or just downright inspirational and healthy things popping into your pretty little head.

When Bad Runs Happen to Good People

 What the heck happened yesterday? I skipped my morning run due to heavy rain and preferable warm blankets and decided to go after work.

It. Was. Awful.

Nothing was clicking. It hurt, it was slow, it was heavy, I felt gross, I felt out of shape, I felt hungry, I felt faint, I felt crampy, I just felt terrible. I tried switching songs, I tried changing my pace, I tried giving myself a little pep talk and then… nothing. So I just embraced the idea that it was going to be a bad run day.
And you know what? That’s okay.
Bad runs happen. Sometimes it’s downright miserable.
But I think that’s when we grow as runners, when for whatever reason, we’re having a terrible time and we just keep going. Logging miles is logging miles. You do gotta take the good with the bad.
So is it with life. Bad days happen to even the best people. Having a bad day or a bad run doesn’t make you a bad person or a bad runner. Getting thrown off and throwing in the towel accomplishes nothing.
But putting your time in, coming home, stretching, showering, getting cozy with a hot bowl of soup and telling yourself that it will get better, that tomorrow will be better..
and believing it
that is the key to being a great runner.
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