Monday, January 16, 2012

Runs in my veins...pun intended!

Cindy and me after her first half marathon and my first full

Thank goodness I have a supportive husband, or none of these runs, every weekend, would be possible. He gets up when I do, which on more cases that not, is earlier than during the work week.  He gets me, he would never discourage me or get in my way.  Sometimes he runs with me on a short run, which I must admit that I love, and truly wish my kids would follow suit, maybe one day.  He laughs at me when I can't sleep because of anticipating the next morning's run.  He really laughed the night I was running in my sleep, like a dog does when he dreams, my feet were in motion under the covers. It takes a special person to be with a runner, especially an endurance runner, especially this one.  I know no moderation because during the run, I feel most calm, most in-tune with me and I have the clearest mind.  Perception of many things change on the road.

 It is exciting, a new adventure, a gift, one waiting to be opened by me and whoever is with me that morning. 

Yesterday, I was talking about running, (what's new) and told Nik that I loved him more than running. Imagine a Christmas grin that appeared on his face because he knows just how much I love running.  

It is a given, running is as big a part of me as the blood that courses through my veins.  Now I am in no way, shape or form the best at it, believe me, but I love the freedom of the open road and I work hard. Running clears my mind, never ceases to put a smile on my face and recently has given me even a bigger insight into life in general. I will expound.

Since November, I have been doing some running with people who have just started out running trying to increase their mileage to help them attain their goals.  Company on the road is nice sometimes.  I stay with them to encourage them along the way is a better explanation. There's no way to help somebody run. I have been in a sense support crew member.       

I have had the privilege to get to know a few people over the past weeks and I see them in a totally different light.  First thing is when you are on the road with people for hours, conversation flows especially when no headphones are involved, and the miles tick away, sometimes too quickly.  I won't name names (they know who they are) here but I am going to share what I have learned, profound things that are so worth mentioning. 

To begin with, never ever judge a book by it's cover. Unless you take the time to get to know someone, you don't have a clue where they have been, mentally or physically.  Running allows you to tap into both of those, running makes you raw, as in vulnerable, for a lack of a better term, (there is bodyglide for that, just kidding). Tapping in to what reserves you possess, that only you know where to dig to find.  You learn that sheer will and determination is what fuels most runners, some are naturally gifted runners, others literally run their legs off to get better.  They are a culmination of over-comers, survivors, people who have been given up on by doctors, people who have defied the odds and gave the middle finger to whoever played a part in trying to sabotage their success. 

 Then there is this wonderful thing called grit.  My most recent encounter with grit comes encased in a 5'4" guy  who for no reason other than self determination and a little thing called grit does what he does. After having run with him a few times, the phrase, "NO EXCUSES" takes a whole new meaning.  My friend was paralyzed at fourteen years old on his right side after an accident, wheelchair bound with a twenty percent chance of ever walking again.  Christmas day this crazy guy, took off on a miserable seventeen mile run, alone. At that time I was unaware of his story, his goals.  Over the past two weekends I have had the privilege of running with him, last week ten miles and this week thirteen. Did you read what I said, he is now running, not in a wheelchair. I have been forever changed. 

Then there is another crazy guy I know, he is gifted beyond measure.  His resting heart rate is forty-one. What in the world! Let me share a secret about him, he is the most HUMBLE person I know.  He doesn't let his ego get in the way. 

On that note I will say this. I have run across someone I lovingly call cheese dust. He is unfortunately the most arrogant jerk I have ever met.  Let me clarify that he is no part of our group that runs, but he stole the joy and crushed one of my friends spirit as he was running his first half. If you feel good about yourself through bullying, that is sad. And remember have children. How would you feel if someone treated your daughter or son that way? Just saying...  

Then there's Taz. He has heart, and won't quit. :) 

Melinda, who calls me KFM (kung fu master) and Cindy (who says that I would make her shutter when I would ask her if she wanted to run somewhere different) both who have embarked on journeys of their own, doing better than they thought they would.  Just to see them smile, through pain, because running hurts, fyi, all the time, because of personal achievement.  Miles and miles of smiles, tears and accomplishment and I have the honor of witnessing them, one by one!

All in all I have learned the following things:

1) with determination, even if the medical professionals say different, anything is possible

2) some of us are naturally gifted and some of us are just  naturally gifted at working hard

3) humble versus arrogant, seriously. No discussion needed.

4) grit and heart will get you a long way

5) never let anyone steal your joy (I'm working on that one.)

6) never forget that one day in the past, was your first day running too

7)running is definitely about the journey, about the people along the way and miles and miles of smiles, blood, sweat, tears and a little thing called GRIT.