Monday, June 29, 2009

Meet Abigail. This is the newest addition to our family and we actually got her the weekend before we had to put Roxy down. Abby and I share a similar story- a spotty past with lots of let downs along the way, never quite understood, and in swoops the superhero to save us from ourselves. Roxy saved Abigail, she chose her from all the dogs at the SPCA as the perfect one to come into the family and fill the void. So far, Abigail has eaten two heart rate montiors, three shoelaces, a sports bra, a flip flop, a pair of sunglasses, a lap watch, some socks, a multitude of stuffed animals, and more raw hides than I can count. There have been moments when I have wondered if Roxy chose this dog to get me back for something. Today, though, I am confident that Abby was chosen because, like most things in life, she is teaching me a lesson and preparing me for challenges that lie ahead.
The thing I love about Abby is that she has absolutley no limits in her little doggy brain. She does not realize she is smaller than Sophie, she does not realize we are stronger than her, she does not realize she just simply cannot run 20 miles (yet). She has no idea that the squirrels are faster or that the cat has sharper claws or that a growl is any kind of warning whatsoever. Now, I suppose it's possible that she is just plain and simply dumb. Okay, that is actually quite possible. BUT, I prefer to think that she is fearless, without bounds, unwilling to submit or conform to her surroundings. I prefer to think of her as "Abigail, the Conquerer!"
I watched Abigail this morning as she "conquered" Sophie's bowl of food. Sophie did not find this interesting in the least and instead stood by growling and barking her protests as Abby gobbled up everything in sight. But, I did. I realized that every day we have a choice; we get the opportunity to choose how to go about our day or our run or our job or maybe even just our slot in life. We can be like Sophie and stand by and protest and watch our life be gobbled up by someone else, or we can choose to be like Abigail. We can set about the goal unaffected by the nay-sayers and protesters, completely oblivious to the fact that there is any limit to what we can do in a lifetime. I hear comments everyday about how bad the economy is and how people can't find jobs and how tough it is out there and I say "Rubbish!" Sure, things aren't quite like they were and money is a little tighter. Maybe we have to think twice before we pull out the debit card or we have to skip a meal out here and there, but put your earplugs in, friends. We live in a great country with more opportunity in a day than some people see in a lifetime. We have hope and possibility. We have choices. As for me, I choose to be like Abigail. And while they are busy complaining, I'll eat their food, too!
"Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize." 1 Corinthians 9:24

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Tarahumara within me, Run Strong!

I’m not sure what’s changed in me. I don’t know if it was the rollercoaster that was 2008 or maybe the sudden awareness that the only guarantee is that nothing is guaranteed. Maybe it’s the uber-awareness that minutes are precious and the next day may never come or even, quite possibly, my own sort of journey to find my personal limits. Whatever it is, I feel an inner frenzy to push myself further than ever before and to step out of my comfort zone in every aspect of my life. I seem to be on an incessant quest to find the last straw. I have an Ironman distance race in October, something I never even pondered until this year, and lately I have been contemplating the physicality of a 100 mile foot race.

And that is how I started yesterday’s run, with these thoughts swirling in my head. I needed a challenge. I needed to feel the pavement, to have my legs beg for mercy. I wanted the sweat to cover every inch of fabric and to feel the heat of the sun taunting me to quit. I felt the surge of adrenaline. I felt my inner Raramuri (go ahead. Google it!) fighting to be set free. I sprinted the first hill and then did it 5 more times just to prove I could. I may have even let out a war cry at the top. From there, I continued on at a blistering pace, jumping roots and dodging vines. I climbed over a fallen tree and raced the stream for a good mile. The blood was pulsing through my veins and the sun could not stop me. I was a warrior, running to conquer new territory. I was an indian chasing the deer that would be dinner. 9 miles later, I was spent. Wasted. Completely DONE.

Hot? Absolutely!

Painful? Most definitely.

Smart? Eh…. That’s debatable.

Liberating? Amazing? Satisfying? Unquestionably!

Don’t misunderstand. I don’t think everyone should go run in the heat of the Florida noon sun or do crazy (stupid) workouts or even push themselves to complete exhaustion. I do, however, recommend stepping out of the comfort zone and finding the “life” that dwells within. I think there’s great value in looking the challenge square in the face and never backing down. Maybe it’s just signing up for a race, running a new, harder course, or even trying a new time of day or a new running group. Whatever it is, DO IT!

Look long and hard at the path ahead. If it looks easy, don’t go that way.

If, however, you look out and wonder how the hell you are ever going to cross the terrain in front of you, then press on.

You know you are right on course.

Take the baton and run with all your heart!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

My name is Becca and I have an addiction.

I think the hardest part of being an athlete is resting.

No, seriously.

Do you think I am kidding?!?!

The hardest part of this whole game is taking a little time off and letting the body recover. I know that my Couch 2 5K people might read that and think I am completely out of my mind, but it is absolutely true. Not in the beginning maybe, but over time it becomes a defining part of your day. You would never wake up and go about your day without brushing your teeth and putting on deodorant. It just wouldn't feel right. It is very hard for me to go a day without a workout.

Not every addiction requires treatment.

I know because I run!

Perhaps I am lucky that my drug of choice is running . Without a runner's high, the day drags and I feel crappy about myself and my body. My energy is not so high and I can be downright crabby. It's true, I promise..... ask my husband. A good run sets the whole day in motion. I mean, I accomplished a great task before the sun ever even hits the sky. I feel smart and vibrant and successful and, well, like WonderWoman pretty much. It's awesome!

Except, when it isn't. Except when the runs are going slower and the legs feel heavy and it's a chore, and maybe even it starts to hurt a bit. And that's when you know, you took it for granted. The gift of running. It's a hard balance. The balance between constant improvement and going further and faster and taking a day here and there to repair the body and enjoy just being still. It's hard when people compare mileage and times and goals to remember that those things are very individual and no two people can do the same thing.... nor should they. Sometimes, I think that's the hardest part of running but it's also one of the many life lessons that running has given me.

My schedule, my path, is mine. No one else owns the same destiny as me and no timetable is as perfect for me as the one I am on. What I view as successful may only be mediocre to someone else and as great as it is to work hard and have results, you have to slow down and be still or it all passes by before you even know it.

I tell my runners that it doesn't matter how hard you train if you hurt too bad to stand at the starting line. And I think that's todays lesson for me. It doesn't matter how much I pack my schedule and accomplish if I didn't enjoy it while it was happening.

Darn. This balanced life thing is so hard!