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

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

1000 Days and 300 Miles

It’s been a milestone week for me. Not any of the big life events but those simple tasks that add up to a “Wow I did that” sort of milestones.

 

Gretchen Rubin of the Happiness Project and author of many wonderfully insightful books wrote; What you do every day matters more than what you do once in a while.” I believe this to be true, which is why I’m writing about these minor milestones. Let me begin by explaining that I recently discovered ironically from Gretchen Rubin’s latest book The Four Tendencies that I’m an upholder. Which according to Ms. Rubin means I meet both outer and inner expectations, so things like 1000 meditation days and 300 miles on a pair of running shoes are sort of built into my tendency.

I’m very regimented I love lists, and I love to do things that make me a better person, like meditating daily and running three times a week. You see what you do every day… Yes 1000 days or 2.79 years of daily meditation earned me a tiny gold star on my Insight App this morning. According to my activity app on my Apple Watch I’ve run 300 miles since the end of August or the equivalent of running to New York City and back. Little things add up!

It’s important to recognize our mini-milestones I believe these little everyday things are a  part of what I like to call the 1% better. Which is sort of a mantra of mine to be 1% better than I was yesterday – It’s something that I’ve shared with my staff and students. I believe we get too wrapped up in working on the big things which are often looked at as the BIG change that will make my life perfect, my dreams come true… (The perfect mate, home, career, family – life ) DON’T EXIST!

What does exist is the ability to be a better person; to be more centered, more compassionate, more engaged, more forgiving, more flexible, more healthy than we were yesterday and isn’t this what we should be teaching children? Just be better than yesterday is so much less stressful than being the best! In the long run the out comes are far healthier.

I do know I’m 15lbs lighter and far more centered, patient, healthier and disciplined than I was 1000 days and 300 miles ago!

Do your 1% best,

Ginnie

Hills; The ones we run and the metaphorical ones that we run into…

I set out on my usual Wednesday 2 miler, looking forward to clearing my head, working up a sweat and trying to gain some perspective on what’s been a crazy start to 2018.

Running does all of the above, it’s my antidepressant, my fat burner, and my Gingko Biloba. Which is why most of these blogs are written soon after returning from my runs. Today’s hill thought is no exception. If you’ve been following my journey please excuse the next bit explaining how I started and where I am now (first I will be turning 61 in about six weeks, I’m a former nurse, who is a master teacher/owner of a martial arts school who decided to run a half marathon to celebrate her 60th year). I’ve run on and off since 1991 but didn’t become seriously committed to running until training for the half.

Now back  to the hills during my training and until very recently I walked slogged up most large hills. Then it occurred to me that I’m running six miles with relative ease the hills are no longer a physical but a mental challenge. That’s when I start using my soft eyes technique (borrowed from meditation). You simply direct your gaze to only a few feet in front of you. Focusing just a few feet kept me from seeing the size and steepness of the hill. I felt the shift in the incline much like on a treadmill but maintain my narrow focus to the task at hand running a few more feet. I’ve taken this lesson into my busy life, I try not to look at the enormity of a task or event, I maintain my focus on smaller tasks that will lead to completing or solving the challenge. Yes there are unexpected obstacles but just like the physical obstacles along my run I navigate them to the best of my ability and stay away from worry of completion just trusting that one step at a time will tackle any hill as long as I remain focused and committed…

Enjoy the process, the results are usually worth it!

Ginnie