Daring to be Great

Recently I set a December writing goal for myself. It’s a bit lofty and perhaps a more than a little bit unrealistic, but not impossible. (Because, you know, an offensive orange Cheeto is thisclose to holding holding the highest office in the land, so anything’s possible.)

I shared the goal with my writing group, one of my best friends, and my husband, but I am not ready to share it with you.

You’d think it’s silly. Or maybe you wouldn’t, but you’d definitely think it was lofty, more than a little bit unrealistic, and thisclose to impossible. When it happens I’ll tell you. Or if it doesn’t happen I’ll tell you then. (If I’m brave.)

Two weeks ago my friend Kim received a pitch for her blog. It wasn’t a good fit for her, but it was a perfect fit for me, especially if I want to achieve this goal I’ve set for myself.

“Does this interest you?” she asked me.

“Bleep yeah, it interests me!” I answered immediately. (Only I didn’t say bleep.)

I contacted the person who reached out to her and he was receptive to me writing the piece.

Coincidentally (or perhaps it’s serendipitously) two similar opportunities have been placed right in front of my face from different avenues, waving at me, as if they were saying, “Hello, here I am. Come and get me. All you have to do is ask.” And I know if I capitalize on these opportunities they will help me achieve my goal.

But I have to tell you something.

I’m scared.

What if I get shot down? My goal isn’t reliant upon doing these two things, but they will help. A lot.

So if I don’t ask for these things (that theoretically should be easy to get) and then don’t reach my goal, I still fail, but not in a scary way. In an “I didn’t even try way,” because really, who am I to think that I am good enough to get that thing that I want.

It’s silly. Too lofty. Too unrealistic. Not thisclose to impossible. Impossible.

And then Saturday I went for a three mile run. Talk about thisclose to impossible. I haven’t run since May, except for around the building in boot camp where every step is torture and I curse my trainer’s name with every painful breath I take and I hate it so much and am so glad I stopped running.

But I’ve been eating and drinking too much lately (because food: yum! and drinking: fun!) and I didn’t have time to take a class at the gym and I needed to do something and as sucktastic as running is, it’s efficient. A three mile run is a lofty goal for a 51-year-old woman who hasn’t run in five months, perhaps even unrealistic. Thisclose to impossible.

Plus my phone was charged and the weather was perfect. The only excuse I had for not running is that I didn’t really want to because it’s so hard (except that I sort of did).

To keep myself motivated I set Spotify to my running mix and open my Runkeeper app so it would alert me of my time and mileage every five minutes.

Time: five minutes. Distance: zero-point-four-two-miles. Average pace eleven minutes, fifty-four seconds per mile. (Translation: damn, you’re slow)

Time: ten minutes. Distance: zero-point-eight-two-miles. Average pace: twelve minutes, eleven seconds per mile. (Translation: you might want to figure out another form of exercise, you really suck at this.)

That lady is mean to me, sure. But she keeps me going. Every five minutes I tell myself, just five minutes more.

At the 15 minute mark the mean Runkeeper lady tells me how poorly I’m doing (one-point-two miles at a twelve-minute-thirty-second pace) my phone shuts down. Shit. This is so hard. I’m at the steepest part of my run and two minutes away from reaching my turnaround point and I have no music. No mean lady. Only me. My legs. My feet. My heart. Everything I need. And so, I keep going.

I run to the turnaround spot, smack the light pole and head back. It is (both literally and figuratively) downhill all the way home.

When I hit a flat(ish) part I start to walk and fiddle with my phone to get my music and that mean Runkeeper lady back. Macklemore and Ryan Lewis cheer me on.

“Ey ey, ey
Good to see you, c’mon let’s go
Yeah, let’s go”

And I start to run again. When the song ends the music stop. Dammit! Stupid phone. But I don’t want to walk again so I run to the beat of my panting breath and my feet hitting the pavement. Huh step step step. Huh step step step. Huh step step step.

My mind begins to wander with the rhythm I’m creating. I think about how easy it would be to stop running because I don’t have my Runkeeper and my music. And I think about that goal I’ve set for myself and how the biggest obstacles in my way are the ones I’m creating for myself.

My goal my be lofty. Unrealistic. Thisclose to impossible.

But I’ve got  everything I need. I just need to make proper use out of it.

 

Running: THE Most Awesome Sport Ever!

My friend Simmah says that she’s tired of hearing me complain about running.

Facebook-comment

I know she’s right. In fact, even before her comment on my Facebook wall I had worried that I was coming off a bit too negative. People who know me know that I am not a negative person. I’m the obnoxiously annoying one who finds a silver lining in every dark and gloomy cloud. (Most of the time.) Trust me, I did not get nicknamed Pollyana by being such a Negative Nelly. (Negative Nelly?! – did I really just write that? Shoot me now.)

I do believe that thoughts become actions and in the power of positive thinking and all that bullshit. So maybe I would enjoy running more if I embraced it instead of fought against it.

So on Sunday morning went I went for a 2 mile run (It was actually a 2.34 mile run according to the RunKeeper GPS app on my phone, but my running coach is a known liar), I told myself how excited I was to be outside in the freezing cold crisp air and California sunshine instead of at home, cozy in my warm bed reading my book. And how happy I was to only be running 2 (2.34) miles. Uh, I mean I told myself how bummed I was to only be running 2 (2.34) miles. Oh how I wish I was running 4 (so you know, 4.68) miles instead! Because running is awesome. Running is FUN!

We started off on a hill, but that was okay. I’ve been suffering through practicing inclines on the treadmill and my legs are strong and ready. I started my run in the middle of the pack and when people started passing me in droves, instead of cursing myself for being so slow I looked over my shoulder and saw that there were still three people behind me. Ha ha I am not the slowest runner after all! Eat my dust slow pokes! Great job everybody! (Runners always say great job to the lame people who are trying their best even though they suck at running in back.)

jogging
It is almost impossible to see all of the people ahead of me in this crappy picture, but trust me, there are tons of them!

When I felt out of breath, like I literally could not breathe, I reminded myself that I haven’t passed out yet, so odds are that I wouldn’t pass out this time. Way to go lungs!

And when sweat trickled down my forehead and salty sunscreen got in my eyes, I told myself how glad I was to be cooling myself down and that I was ridding my body of harmful toxins.

And when the sun shone down on my face and I had to squint my eyes against it, instead of cursing the wrinkles and age spots freckles that were surely attaching themselves to my face that very minute, I rejoiced in the joy of receiving a welcome winter tan.

Oh running, my new love, why did I wait so long find you? Simmah is right. By just shifting my perspective, and telling myself that I love you instead of hate you, I find that I do love you.

And best of all, because I ran 2.34 miles on Sunday morning, that means I can eat and drink whatever I want on at the Superbowl party I’m going to later in the afternoon, right?

That’s what I figured anyway. I mean why the hell else would I run? (Other than the fact that now I love it, of course.)

So when I got on the scale this morning only to find that once again my gluttonous ways have netted me an overnight 2 pound weight gain, despite my muscle-building, calorie-burning, cardiovascular-improving fun and awesome run, do you know what I screamed said (very loudly)?

Running sucks!