Roads Less Taken

The Road Less Taken by Robert Frost is my favorite poem – In some ways it’s the most apt description of my life. That very thought occurred to me after I decided to take a right turn after my usual left turn during today’s run.

That small adjustment in my normal route brought me to a small section of bike path that runs parallel to my usual route but you’d never know it. My usual route is on a busy state road which leads me to a lovely neighborhood run but affords none of the natural beauty and serenity of the bike path. This small adjustment also added more milage which in this case was a good thing.

That simple change in routine made my run more enjoyable, and a little more challenging. I often hear people complain of being in a rut, but who created that rut? No-one has to do the something the same way every time do they? Isn’t that the definition of insanity?  What about always basing a choice on how others feel? (I’m not saying this is wrong, but it isn’t right if you’re only doing it for that reason).

Back to the road less taken — I haven’t lead a conventional life, never married, no kids, left a nursing career to pursue owning a martial arts school. At sixty one I’m running road races and writing blogs, choosing unconventional paths isn’t easy. People look at you differently they question your choices. Some may admire you, but others may ridicule you — I get it. People are afraid of being different of being the odd man out. We find a certain comfort in conformity. Believe me I’m not totally off the rails, I like structure, but it’s done my way!

There are times I wonder the what ifs of the more conventional road, but rarely. I believe  the choices I’ve made have not only made me the person I am but have effected all the students I’ve taught and all the people I’ve met. No regrets…

I’ve taken the road less traveled and it’s made all the difference!

Try taking a right after your first left and see where it takes you!

Run on

G

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Running with Gratitude…

This past week has been trying. I was in an accident on my way to work (rear-ended by a distracted driver in bumper to bumper traffic). I didn’t exactly have the most cooperative insurance agent (in her defense I was a bit shaken up). Then there are the all too many sad posts on Facebook from former colleagues and friends who are suffering major losses.

To top it all off, the accident agrivated some old issues from a previous accident — Nothing major just stiffness and soreness that limited my normal training regime. Admittedly I was very concerned about the future of my running. Sixty-one isn’t exactlly spring chicken teritory , so I iced and took ibuprophen as directed along with light stretching. The reduced activity gave me time to take invintory not on what happened but what I have and for that I am greatful.

Life can turn on a dime — You can be stopped in traffic and be jarred into a nasty reality, or you can be talking with someone in the morning and hear they passed that evening. There can be this little bump somwhere and the next thing you know you’re in an oncologists office discussing options. Which is why we need to be in the present, not griping about what’s passed or focused on a future event or wish that hasn’t happend. We need to practice gratitude and share what we have — Not gifts, but our gifts.

Give empathy along with or instead of sympathy, lend a hand rather than give a handout,  listen rather than preach, be present and appreciate all these moments, don’t wallow in regrets, most importantly Be Kind…

By the way I ran yesterday eight miles, they weren’t easy and it wasn’t pretty but I was running with a greatful heart, because I was running…

Run on

G

Run Pretty?

Ok, I so got this from Carrie Underwood’s Cry Pretty… In my defense I’ve thought about this topic frequently — Almost every time I run!

Let me begin by saying I dress for comfort and function. I own two pairs of dressy shoes one pair for warm weather the other pair for cold. So if you think my running attire is brand centered and color coordinated you’re wrong! I wear good running shoes, I’m currently using and loving Brooks Pure Flow 6 (I call them Sure Slow) when on my feet. I have some Rebook running tights and Turtle neck, and one Under Armor long sleeve shirt. Thats the gist of my branded running gear.

What do I wear? I’m 61 years old and let’s say not everything is what it once was. Heck I’m not sure if it’s where it once was? I wear compression socks, they serve a few purposes; they don’t bunch up in my shoes, no leg cramping, they hide my spider veins and they keep people from wondering if I’m running in baggy pantyhose. I also use woman’s soccer shorts; again function and comfort, they are longer, so there is less chafing and great cellulite cover up! My shirts are all the free racing T’s and then there are my hats I’ve got close to 40 ball caps that are rotated daily (I’m a bit obsessive) but they do serve a function as sun protection. So not dressed pretty.

Running, I’ve witnessed all sorts of beautiful people running: The petite ponytailed blonds who are outfitted in brand and color coordinated running attire. The ruggedly handsome gentlemen running in tank tops and running shorts. Yet they don’t run pretty. Because stuff happens when you run; sweat, runny noses, dry mouth, post nasal drip. So “Spit” happens! You blow your nose on your shirt or wipe it on your hand, or as I witnessed this past weekend you block one nostril and clear the other over a gutter (BTW this was done by one of the petite blonds). Which made me realize why bother wearing an expensive outfit if you’re not going to bring along a tissue?

My takeaway Run for the beauty of it, how it makes you feel because lets face it’s rarely pretty!

Run on

G

 

In The Gap…

On one of my more recent runs before I went on a weekend running getaway – I thought about the importance of being in or creating Gaps. First let me explain especially if you’re a new follower or don’t know that I’m a martial art school owner and master teacher. Gap in the martial arts is the space between you and a sparring partner or more importantly a potential assailant. That space or distance gives you time to; getaway, create leverage, power, get the upper hand.

Gaps are useful in all aspects of our lives, for instance; in music (rests) create space for melody – In meditation the small gap between the in and out breaths is where we find peace. Gaps in our schedule allow for rest and this is what I’d like to discuss further.

I find it extremely beneficial not only to take time off but take time away and alone. We need to create a distance from our everyday lives where we can strip away our labels (daughter, boss, instructor, neighbor, cat mom, association member, sister) where we can be our genuine selves. People spend time at retreats, spas, ashram, hiking the Appalachian Trail seeking inner peace. I love just going away for a couple of days on my own to the mountains or the ocean. Where I can just be my genuine self — No expectations, no history just me.

It’s been way too long since I’ve done this August of 2016, was the last time. I don’t count vacations with family because there is only physical distance between home base, not from home. So this past weekend I ventured to Falmouth, for space, and a race. It was wonderful just to be a fly on the wall, to people watch and have no attachment to anything or anyone. To be me on my own, reading in lovely surroundings walking a beach – Finally able to listen to myself think without the interruptions of my roles’ responsibilities.

Then their was a 5 mile race where I was able to meet fellow sloggers, and experience running without knowing a route, enjoying the process, people, the views and experience. Where my only thought was enjoy, breathe and smile.

After the race on my drive home I thought about the G A P as an acronym; Gaining Another Perspective… 

What’s your Gap?

Run on G

Who’s Running This Moment?

p5011039.jpgTwo weeks ago browsing in Barnes and Noble I happened upon a book by one of my favorite teachers Pema Chodron, COMFORTABLE WITH UNCERTAINTY. I didn’t realize at the time that it was prophetic!

I’m a very structured person. I like schedules, routine and “certainty”. However 2018 has been less certain than anytime I can remember. Whether it’s a universal shift, my getting older which means my family is getting older therefore more susceptible to illness or I’m just more aware…

A day doesn’t pass without me hearing of another friend, family member or some associate suffering from a loss, a diagnosis or some other issue or another. Which has made me keenly aware of how fragile it all is and how very little control we have in anything, except our reaction to what is happening.

These past months at my martial art studio has been a whirlwind of activities, which has kept me in high gear without a break – Until this week. You’d think a simple week off would be filled with R&R – No. Instead surprises daily, sick staff members, auto accidents, miscommunications. Then there is the scheduled car service that got messed up, closed restaurants, revamped lunch plans ect, etc, etc. The list is endless!

I react with a deep breath, be grateful for the moment and carry on… I run the streets of my neighborhood, the local bike path and today – finally Colt State Park. Where by putting one foot in front of the other moving forward realizing the only certainty is this step and this breath, that the only control I have is my reaction to the beauty surrounding me, knowing that life isn’t perfect, but there are moments always unplanned that you feel perfectly content being “as it is”.

Run on,

G

Willing to vs Wanting to…

I was introduced to this concept earlier this week at a program on anxiety. The facilitator Dr. Mark Schneider Ph.D, spoke on the differences of “wanting” and “willing” to do something. This struck a chord with me because I’ve always been fascinated with how some people will go through hell and back to accomplish something whereas others say they want something but can’t seem to get it…

Which calls to mind the many individuals who’ve crossed my path either as a student or a fellow martial artist — All seemingly wanting the same goal but ultimately most weren’t willing to achieve the goal of black belt. Ironically it had nothing to do with the individual’s ability or aptitude for martial arts most of the people who dropped out where very talented; In fact most of the students who struggled and learned from their presumed failures went on to become very good practitioners.

Then there was today. My training run just a short 2plus miles around the neighbor hood and I had to will myself into going. I’ve been working ridiculous hours in and out of the school without a break since January. I’m mentally and physically spent. Yet I knew if I could lace up my running shoes and take two steps out the door I’d get the work out in. You see I’m willing to run to get what I want; good health, energy, a better mood, and  maybe a fairly inspired blog post.

There are so many amazing individuals who will themselves to amazing things everyday. So my quick trip around the neighborhood is hardly newsworthy but it made me appreciate myself more. It made me feel better, and far less sorry for myself. So the next time you think about wanting something think about what you’re willing to do for it? Then as the ad says “Just Do It” or at least be willing to try!

Gin

Turning Corners, and sharing thoughts…

I often place unneeded pressure on myself; For instance the essence of this blog is “thoughts from the run”, but what if I don’t want to share those thoughts? See what I mean? I’ve sort of promised more than I’m sometimes willing to keep… In my defense when I first started running seriously every run was filled with some sort of amazing revelation (at least to me). Whether it was about my journey, what I was experiencing or just how I was feeling. Now that I’ve been running (slogging) fairly seriously for a year, I’m finding my thoughts are more mine and for me only.Emotions or issues I’m dealing with and finding clarity from the run.

Turning 60 last year was amazing one of my best years ever, I was able to travel and experience new adventures, met new friends and reached new goals. I was running with rose colored glasses. That was until the end of last October when I found out a friend of mine was experiencing a serious health threat. That shook me hard! Many of my runs following that news consisted of Why, Why has this happened? Why this person? Why am I so lucky?

I thought about some of my Facebook posts and past blogs where I preached my training beliefs trying to inspire others but wondering if I was coming off as a bragger, or a know it all. Was I excited to share my new found passion for running or was I preaching?

These thoughts still occupy much of my runs, as do the worries about my parents aging, my neighbor’s health, my business’s future (my future ), but here is a thought that came to me today as I was running my neighbor hood route. The first mile is an incline and it can be a challenge somedays but then I turn a corner and the terrain levels out, another corner and it’s downhill all the way home…

I thought that profound (at least I think so) observation was worth sharing; There are always going to be hills to climb but if we continue to keep moving forward one step at a time there will be corners to turn and an easy run home…

Keep moving forward…

G