Thursday, January 27, 2011

Meanderings of a Has Been: Once A Runner

There are a lot of things on my mind I could blog about today. But I will take a little break here to pause and write about just one.

The small (but mighty) staff in my office know I frequently like to forgo a lengthy lunch hour, lace up my trusty Asics and hit the roads of Midtown Little Rock. It's my escape from the computer, the deadlines, e-mails, conference calls and data. A quiet reprieve from that nagging to-do list, always by my side at the edge of my desk, action items staring me down, begging to be crossed off. (Disclaimer: Regardless of how it sounds, I do enjoy my work, but everyone needs a well deserved break!)

Today, for some reason, I felt possessed to meander on down to the track at the middle school across the street. You see, I didn't really plan to go there. Perhaps the runner buried in me has an internal compass that took over. I'm not quite sure why, but my legs happened to guide me there and in a short six minutes I found myself standing on a track.

I walked up to the "start line" as it had been to me for so many years and immediately started to feel sick to my stomach. Images of races gone wrong and springtime college track workouts that seemed to never end but were capped with an endorphin rush flooded my mind. Memories of teammates and the camarederie, competition and bonds we created sliced through me like deja vu. Long Sunday morning runs and frequent hysterics on the run made me feel warm and fuzzy inside. It was a the good life!

I saw a young girl, high school or college age, warming up for workout with her coach by her side. I looked at her in envy and secretly wished I was getting ready for one of those epic workouts my memory is so fond of.

"This is so silly, I thought, because I'm not running a race here." The idea of running a race in my current form is enough to elicit inner laughter, not to mention my gag reflux. I found myself thinking "I'll just run a mile." Of course I had to time myself, because what runner, former or current, can run on a track without a watch? And sure, why not, let's time my splits, just for old times sake.

I won't post my time. It's not that bad and most anyone who might read this (lest my teammates and competitors of old) would say I should be proud of myself. I'll keep it between me and my trusty Ironman since we've been through so much together. The sad part is how painstakingly long the run back to the office suddenly became. The carefree jog to the track became an embarassing slog with a couple shame-ridden walking breaks.

This is my quest not only to get back in shape. Running isn't what it used to be for me anymore. It's not about PR's, mileage, race pace or goals. I don't do tempo runs, ladders, strides or plyometrics. I simply enjoy the feel of the road under my feet, the sun on my skin and getting lost in my own thoughts and memories. That's enough for me.

For now.

You can take the runner out of the "runner's world" environment. You can give her a job, pregnancies, children and a home to care for. But you can't take the runner out of her. I passed the young girl in the midst of her workout. It felt good.

Race schedule?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

I Surrender

I started thinking about this at church today but I'm not sure why. The message was not really about surrendering, I'm not sure, maybe God put it on my mind for a reason. This is it:

I surrender.

Not in your all or nothing, I'm going to let myself go, I'm going to let the dishes pile up in the sink, I'm going to plant my kid in front of the TV and curl up the the fetal position all evening kind of surrender.

More like:

I surrender the the fact that it's not going to get done all the time. That I can't have it all, all the time. But maybe I can have some of it, some of the time.

I surrender the fact that the laundry will never be done.
I surrender to the fact that I won't succeed at every business venture. Failure is a learning tool.
I surrender to the toys. Oh toys, I surrender to knowing that you do own my house and you have taken over. So be it.
I surrender to rushing. Being five minutes late isn't the end of the world if it gives me peace of mind.
I surrender to thinking that I don't deserve any time for myself unless everything else is done. Because it never will be.
I surrender to my ANGER. No one said that life was fair and that everyone gets what they deserve. So what?!
I surrender to my endless to- do lists.
I surrender to my negative thinking and multiple scenario building agenda that drives me and everyone around me crazy. I vow to be more flexible and expect a little bit less of others- any myself!
I surrender to the evil game of comparison I play with everyone in my life. Nothing good has come from it. Just because someone else does it differently or spends more time on something, or is smarter, taller (and maybe wiser) doesn't make them better than me.
I surrender to my own guilt. Only I can give someone or thing permission to make me feel inferior.

Finally, I surrender to being my own worst enemy. I can't do it all and I won't try anymore. I won't make everyone around me miserable watching me try and sucking them in with me.

So there, holy grail of perfect balance, there it is. My hands are raised in mock surrender. I will not fight this fight with you any longer. I will embrace the messy but beautiful chaos my life has become. I'm picking my battles- and this one is over.

The end.