It's Friday morning, May 23. It's raining. It's 7:30am. It's my birthday. I have only run once this week, it was Tuesday, and I put off Wednesday and Thursday, because, well, the bed seemed to feel a lot better than the pavement on Phinney Avenue. But I have made this promise to myself. It feels good to come back from my run and take my black Sharpie marker and make the smiley face on the training calendar. I LOVE THAT!
So, I lace up my Nike running shoes, pull on a long sleeve capilene shirt and head out. The rain pelting. All of life still dormant in the early morning hours. And I run. One foot in front of the other, my heart pounding. It feels nice. It feels, well, freeing.
About two weeks ago, I made the choice to start the Couch to 5k Program. It makes me giggle because back in the day (we are talking 10 years ago), I was the co-captain of my Cross Country Team and was running 50+ miles per week. Now, I am like most Americans (although I don't think of myself as such), working the 9-5 grind, doing what I can to eat well, be active, and keep stress levels at bay. This running program is one of the coolest things I have embarked on. I like the structure, the easing into it, the approachability, and the goal oriented approach...nine weeks, three running workouts per week, 20-25 minutes/run...totally doable. I love that. Although I will say that it has been a bit confronting.
Sometimes the running does feel super nice. The blood and oxygen pulsating through my system, the way the sweat beads on my lower back and forehead, the feeling of "hell yes!" And like everything. there is the other side of the coin. I start with the negative self-talk. "God Jen, you used to be faster, skinnier, more in shape. You let yourself go. Way too many wings and pizza slices lady!" Well, all that chatter is just chatter. That is it. What I have come to realize is that I can choose the two paths...I can be at peace with the fact that I am getting older, my body has changed and I am staying active and feeling awesome or I can succumb to the negative Nancy in my head that has nothing but shame remarks. I choose the former.
The things is, over and over I come back to the premise that one of my spiritual teachers speaks of all the time: we are all just doing the best we can with what we have. For me, it's a 10 year old t-shirt, some Nike shoes, and the iPod I got my freshman year of college. But I run. I enjoy those 20 minutes, even when they leave me totally breathless and humbled.
I leave you with this...do something that is challenging. Pick up an activity from the past. Be open to being humbled. That is all.