I think that anytime you hit a milestone birthday it causes you to reflect on your life. This year, leading up to my birthday, I have spent a lot of time thinking about what I want for my next decade and making changes that will allow me to reach my goals.
The change with the most impact was the decision to leave my job after 15 years. I had become increasingly unhappy and that unhappiness began to change me as a person. I try hard to wake up every morning looking at the day as another opportunity to be kind and make the world a better place, but my frustration and anger were causing me to become someone I no longer recognized and didn’t particularly like.
Even with these bad feelings, it was not an easy decision to make. I was very comfortable in my position and loved the children and my amazing partner. I knew what I wanted to move on to, but I questioned if I could be successful. The thought of starting a new chapter at this point in my life was scary, but eventually, with a lot of reflection, I realized it was time.
I know that not everyone can leave a career because they are unhappy, but I am fortunate because my husband has provided me with the opportunity and the support to try something new. It’s still a bit scary, and I have no idea what this next decade will hold for me, but one thing I do know is that I will wake up every morning with the plan to be kind and to make the world a better place!
I woke up this morning with an unexpected free day ahead of me. What a gift! I decided to get my day started with some strength training and since I would be wearing Skirt Sports I decided to take a few pictures so that I could earn some challenge points.
After my warm up I got started with some rows. My camera was set to go off in 10 seconds so I went about my business with the hope that one of the 10 pictures taken would be good enough for the challenge. I didn’t look at the pictures until I was done with my entire workout. A workout which included doing three pull-ups with some jump assistance when I couldn’t even do one just a few months ago. A workout that I finished feeling strong and happy…until I looked at the pictures I had taken. The one you see attached to this post is the first one I saw. I don’t know what you might see when you look at this picture, but the first thing I saw was cellulite, stretch marks and thighs that just don’t seem to shrink, no matter how much weight I might loose. Suddenly, I wasn’t feeling as happy or proud of my progress.
Luckily, I caught myself before spiraling too far into some seriously unkind self talk. At this moment in my life I am probably happier, stronger (both physically and mentally), fitter and healthier than I have ever been, yet I was going to allow a picture to overshadow all that. It’s important to remember that we deserve kindness not just from others, but ourselves. If I was looking at a similar picture of someone else, I would see someone who is working hard to be strong and healthy and I would be full of encouragement and support. I need to remember to not just be a cheerleader for others, but I need to be my own biggest cheerleader!
On Fathers Day we were lucky enough to have both children home for a few hours. During their visit, my upcoming birthday came up. I began talking about my plans for the party-date, time, food, cake, color theme, etc. They both listened attentively because even though I was making the plans, they know they, along with their dad, will be implementing them! When I mentioned a “two-tiered cake,” my daughter looked at me and said, “You’re having a two-tiered cake?” Immediately I started getting a bit defensive and explaining that it was only going to be a small two-tired cake, surrounded by cupcakes. Sensing my defensiveness she immediately explained that it wasn’t so long ago that I would not have even thought of having such a cake. She went on to explain that I am much happier and more confident now. I have to admit that I got a little bit teary, but I am so grateful that she has recognized the transformation that my life has taken over the years.
My childhood left me with a lot of negative feelings about myself and an eventual diagnosis of PTSD. I have been very fortunate though. Each time I felt that I just could not go on, someone came along, gave me hope and let me know that I had value. Many times it was a teacher, other times it was the parent of a friend. As I got older many of these special people became dear friends and others only stayed for a short time. The best of these people was a boy I met in college who eventually became my boyfriend and then my husband. I am still not sure that he really knew what he was getting into all those yeas ago, but I am so grateful he took a chance on me!
My transformation to happy and confident did not happen overnight. It happened because each of these people took the time to build me up when I most needed it. I have no doubt that without these people I would not be here today. And I don’t just mean here, living this wonderful life. I mean here on this earth.
Sorry if this is a bit rambling, but my point is that we are all worthy of a two-tiered birthday cake! If there are voices around you that are making you feel differently, shut them off and move towards the light and the sound of those who are singing your praises and building you up!
Yesterday I did my first run of my new training cycle. My plan was to do six miles-5 miles with negative splits(getting progressively faster each mile) followed by a one mile cool down. When I wrote up my twelve week training plan I spent a lot of time on it. I wrote down every run I plan to do and what I hoped to achieve with each run. The problem is that I looked at the big picture, but I didn’t spend much time on what I needed to do to achieve my goals for each individual run. This lack of attention to detail resulted in a run that did not go as planned.
As is so often the case, running is often a metaphor for life, and this particular instance is no different. Too often we look at the big plan, but we forget the little details along the way that will help us actually achieve our goal. When you have a big goal, you know you need to break it up into smaller goals, but sometimes we lose sight of what it is going to take to achieve each of those mini goals that will eventually lead to our success. If success in some aspect of your life is alluding you, maybe it’s time to get down to the nitty gritty and spend some time concentrating on the smaller details.
That’s my plan and I am hoping a little more attention to detail will help my next run go much better!
I often get asked about why I started to run, so I thought I’d share my story here.
Technically, my running journey starts back in the late 80’s at Benton Jr./Sr. High School. My best friend Jill would decide each spring to run the 5k that was part of our annual field day. Each year we would say that we were going to train, but that never happened and we’d end up just in front of the truck waiting to pick up stragglers. We’d finish the race, but then we’d walk around in pain for the better part of a week afterwards!
Flash forward to Spring of 2002. I had been doing Weight Watchers for almost 9 months but could not loose the last five pounds to hit my goal. After yet another failed weigh-in I went home and decided to start running. The path by my house is marked by tenths of a mile, so I ran 1/10th of a mile and then I walked until I could breathe again. I kept at it until I could run the 1.5 miles around without walking and then I kept going until I was regularly running as much as ten miles.
Eventually I was sidelined by injury and surgery and took a few years off. In 2011 I was facing an empty nest and decided I need a hobby. I got back to running and ran my very first 5k on January 1, 2012. I ran on my own most of the time until September of 2012 when I joined a local training program. Joining that program changed my life. I met lots of supportive, motivating people who challenged me and made me feel like I could do anything! Since joining that group I have run over 100 races, including 8 marathons. The best part is that in 2013 I got my RRCA coaching certification and now I coach that group that has kept me going strong over the last 5+ years.
Running has truly changed my life!