A Lesson In Humility

Five days. 18.81 miles.

I have completed my first week of serious running after a long hiatus. I have one word to describe how I feel. 

Humility.

This body has been ignored for a while now. Even when I was doing CrossFit semi-regularly, I could tell that I wasn’t putting the ‘umph’ into it and had plateaued. I was stagnating. My workout routine had fizzled. That cardiac procedure that I keep threatening to write about fell smack-dab into the middle of the summer. 

Things just weren’t clicking.

Enter running. Running and I have been wonderfully reunited. See prior post for all the sappy details. But, one thing that never ceases to amaze me is the transformation a body can make in a short amount of time. 

Let’s discuss.

My thighs.

I’ve never been a woman blessed with svelte or slender thighs. I am packed tightly into my 5’4″ frame. My quads have never been described as ‘delicate’. I wish. While they are big, they are powerful, and I am constantly amazed at how they carry me forward as I run. Even as they lay dormant for the past several weeks, and as I wake them up with the jarring motion of running, they respond. They may protest initially, and greet me with extra bounce and jiggle, but they settle in and remember the rhythm.

Ah. The rhythm of running. The sheer motion of putting one foot in front of the other and repeating this ad infinitum. It just never gets old. Or less wondrous. I still can well up at the mere thought of the beauty and simplicity of…..just…..running.

My boobs.

Oh my. These babies have seen it all, really. Puberty, childbirth, a half-hearted attempt at breastfeeding, weight gain, weight loss, and gravity. Gravity sucks. While this journey may begin with two sport bras, I’m quite certain that months from now, I will be shedding one.

My knees.

My knees have always been a source of concern. I don’t have great ones, and I know they won’t get any better. I baby them. I do my best not to shock them out of hibernation, but yes, this week has been a rude awakening for them both. We get out of bed in the morning a little slower, but also knowing that as each day passes, the pain will be replaced with strength and determination to get the day’s job done.

My feet.

Oh, the beauty and joy of runner’s feet. I can already feel the transformation here, and soon so will my pedicurist. (Must remember to tip more as the weeks pass…..)

This body is still capable of a transformation. I believe it. I know it. I’ve seen what it can do. I am humbled by what I can accomplish. This body will never allow me to take it for granted. I know this from this past week of waking it from its long slumber of sedentary sleep. She doth protest, but she carries me where I want to go. 

When I first laced up my first pair of running shoes back on June 1, 2005, I was tipping the scales at 165+ lbs. When all was said and done, and the holiday season approached, I was 110+ lbs. Six months. A six months I will never forget. I literally watched my body transform and change. I remember that sweet feeling.

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And I want it back.

 

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Never Say Never

It sounds so trite. So full of shit, but there’s never been a more accurate three words to sum up this post.

Never. Say. Never.

I must admit, I’ve been in full-blown denial for the past few months.

I miss running. I miss feeling my legs move forward, back and forth, back and forth, increasing with speed and feeling lighter each time I set out on the road. I miss the mental challenge that running provides. I miss the solitude. I miss pushing the limits of my body, with each passing mile. I miss training for a race. I miss the way this body felt as a ‘runner’.

I have been watching others run for months now. Friends on Facebook sharing their personal victories, running stories, and I remember a day when they first laced up their shoes. It’s akin to watching your child grow before your very eyes. A great feeling, but one that left me feeling a bit sad.

That used to be me.

I long for that feeling again. I long to stretch my legs. I long to lace up my shoes and go outside and just…..run…..Run for no other reason than I can. I can run.

While I have been dealing with some cardiac issues that have since been mostly resolved, there were no other obstacles in my way. There is nothing standing between me and my running shoes.

This past Monday morning found me reading running posts by my friends, smiling as I looked at their recent race photos. I could feel myself changing as I scanned the photographs and reading the race reports. It all suddenly clicked with one text message that came through from James:

“Now go get on the treadmill and sweat a little, and test your heart a bit!”

Boom.

It hit me like a ton of bricks.

I was going to run today. The thought hit me so hard that I began to laugh, then cry.

I immediately got up, changed my clothes and grabbed my running shoes out of the closet. I peered down as I laced up my shoes. I took a moment and just stared at my two feet and my two legs.

These unlikely partners have taken me to places I thought I’d never go. Six marathons, three half marathons, a 100K trail relay, countless 10Ks, 5Ks, a healthier, leaner body, and most importantly, a healthy mind. A happy mind. I am in the midst of a beautiful honeymoon with my running shoes again, and our reunion has never been sweeter. I don’t claim to be the fastest runner, and I never will be, but one thing is for certain: I may be the happiest runner right now, and for me, that’s much more important than speed. I have had a few false starts over the past few years, but for reasons I can’t quite pinpoint, I do believe this return is gonna stick. I’m hungry for it. I need it. I want it back.

Back in 2006, I treated myself to a little inspiration in the form of a necklace. It was a $25 purchase that I cherished more than any other piece of fine jewelry. I never, ever, took it off, until a few weeks back prior to my cardiac procedure.

After the procedure, I remember staring at my pendant and thinking, “I’m not really a runner anymore.”

I put the pendant away. Out of sight, out of mind, right? (Another trite saying).

This past Monday as I was preparing for my run, I opened the drawer and found my pendant. I smiled. Countless family, friends, strangers, patients, and patients’ families have looked at that pendant over the years and asked, “What is that? A runner? Are you a runner?”

Yes. I am.

 

3, 2, 1…..GO!

Tamalpais CrossFit team – Regionals 2012

I could make this post about how awesome CrossFit is, what great things it can do for your body and mind, but honestly, I’m not here to convince anyone of anything. That’s simply not my job. I’m a nurse, and I’m a blogger. And, today, I find myself mesmerized, inspired, and motivated by what I witnessed via the interwebz. But, yeah, I’m not gonna lie. I think CrossFit rocks.

A team from my CrossFit box attended this past weekend’s CrossFit Regionals in Santa Clara, CA.

They didn’t just attend.

They kicked some serious ass.

They proved to everyone that CrossFit isn’t just about how strong you are physically, but by how much heart and determination you bring to the game. How your mind is just as important as your body.

In the box we are always told to get our mind in the game, bring your heart to the box, get inside your head to get that last rep, lift a little heavier today, push your limits, get your PR, and ring that bell.

After watching this, I nearly cried. I cried at the enormity of what they accomplished, the humility with which they did it with, and the inspiration of knowing how it feels to shatter a record, whether it’s for the world or for yourself. Good stuff. It reminded me of the first time I crossed the finish line of my very first marathon.

They make this shit look easy. More importantly, they got the job done. No grandstanding, no boasting, no bullshit. Just hard work, determination, and dedication. In my short time at Tamalpais CrossFit, it’s been a true pleasure watching them grow as athletes and competitors.

While I may never participate in a Regional CrossFit Games, I am proud to work out side-by-side with these athletes and share a CrossFit box with them. I gain inspiration with each workout, and the motivation to come back again tomorrow. Isn’t that what it’s all about?

If the mind isn’t in the game, the muscles will never win it.

I don’t have delusions of grandeur when it comes to what I can accomplish with CrossFit. I want to be relatively fit for my age (43), gain some strength, and look good naked. Never underestimate the power of your own mind. That’s the message I took away from their performances this past weekend. Sure, they are all strong guys and gals, but if their heads weren’t in the game this past weekend, their muscles would have stayed home.

But, leave your egos at home.

“The one thing I love about CrossFit is there’s always somebody better than you.”  -Meshelle Misfud

I am proud of each and every one of us. We all show up. We all work hard. We all work out only to come back and do it again. Why? I can’t speak for everyone, but the camaraderie is just as much a part of the WOD as the muscles we constantly build. Friendships are formed in the process. We are all different individuals, but something brought us to the same box. We are all unique, with varying levels of fitness. CrossFit is uniquely designed for everyone. Anyone can do this stuff. You might not set a world record, but the movements are universal.

This isn’t unique to CrossFit. It’s unique to life. Pick your ‘sport’. Stick with it. Give it your all.

Choose your passion. Choose your path. Bring the two together and see what happens.