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1 0 Posts in life lessons
August 12, 2013

Balanced on the Edge

Balanced on the Edge

You will always be too much of something for someone: too big, too loud, too soft, too edgy. If you round out your edges, you lose your edge.

~ Danielle LaPorte

I have never been excellent with boundaries. Maybe as a child no one told me no often enough, or I somehow missed the lesson that there were things I couldn’t at least try if not achieve. I have always figured that this somewhat contributed to my success in life – I have not been afraid to try things, to push forward, to test boundaries (mine and others). I have been lucky. I have continued to find my way down a successful path – one that has allowed me to have a comfortable life, personal success and more than I really ever asked for.

I have often approached life like a fitness pursuit. Always looking for the next level of my personal ability like a runner looks for better times or a weightlifter a new PR (personal record)

The two are not that different really – you work hard and continue to put new challenges in front of yourself to see if you can do better. If you run you can always run a little farther, tackle a hill, pick up your pace. CrossFit is built for this – there is always a heavier weight, a harder technique, another rep to add. Life is basically the same if you think about it. Continue reading…

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July 22, 2013

Group Therapy

Group Therapy

IMG_4428“Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean.”

~ Ryunosuke Satoro

For the past couple of years as a runner, I have run alone almost exclusively. It’s not that I don’t occasionally go out with a friend, but mostly, I don’t. My running time is my time to not talk to others, to not answer, to not share. It’s mine. It’s personal.

In years past, however, my preference was always for groups. I did serious martial arts for a long time and part of what I loved was the dynamic of my school. We trained together. We trained a lot, and over time we became like a family. One big sweaty family united by upper cuts and side kicks and wrist locks. In years since I have had similar kinds of experiences in yoga studios, though less so because there is more transience in yoga.

For me personally, a funny thing happened over the years – the harder and more demanding my family and career became, the more I craved activities that took me away from people not towards them. Running lets me be an exercise hermit, and I am grateful for that. It also lets me be at my own pace and push only as much as I want to on any given day. One of my readers here once commented about physical “diminishing returns” in running…and I wonder if this is partly why.

So I started to think recently, that maybe part of the magic of a group has to do with accountability.

When someone else is there to push you, maybe you can expand your limits more than you can on your own?

Continue reading…

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February 28, 2013

Excuses, Excuses

Excuses, Excuses

It seems like the older I get and the longer I engage in an activity, the more excuses I can find to not do the activity.

This morning it was cold. If you are not a native Californian, please feel free to laugh now. I am sure it was not actually less than 50 degrees outside. But as I contemplated getting dressed for a run…well…I did feel cold.

There can always be something in the way. Cold, Tired. Sick. Stressed. Too much work. Too much laundry. Too many meetings. My life, wonderful as it is, is full of things, big and small, that can stand in the way of a run. Or sleep. Or 10 minutes to just sit and be quiet. Continue reading…

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February 26, 2013

Fits and Starts

Fits and Starts

We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us. The old skin has to be shed before the new one can come.
― Joseph Campbell

IMG_3686

I had sort of abandoned this blog. Still, after all these months, the notes trickle in…we miss you, where did you go, when is it coming back.

There are things we have to do for ourselves, not for others.

After my back injury, I was really frustrated. I healed a little, ran a little, hurt some more. I think I did that for months. I eventually thought I am not going to run again – that was a fun experiment, but my body has called it quits. I rode a bike, went back to yoga, walked, stared at my running shoes. Continue reading…

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June 29, 2012

Runniversary

Runniversary

It is necessary to try to surpass one’s self always: this occupation ought to last as long as life.
~ Queen Christina of Sweden

Technically, I am turning 43 today. But here, I am going to celebrate turning One.

One year ago today I laced up my very first pair of running shoes and I committed to a new course. I decided to start running but, more than that, I decided to run for a year.

Here I am. I have arrived.

When I started this journey, a year sounded like infinity and a half a mile in running shoes felt like a marathon. Today, I sit here hoping to recover from a herniated (ok 3) disc in my back and I finding myself wondering if I could manage to train for a half marathon in the fall if all goes well.

In-between, I have put a lot of miles under my feet and I have learned a whole lot about who I am.

Isn’t that funny? When you are a kid, you think of grown ups sort of like fully cooked humans. They are “done” and you are growing. Adults tell you that all the time don’t they? When you are grown up, you’ll see… But the special secret of grownuphood is that – if you pay attention – there is always more growing up to do.

One thing I learn more and more as I keep growing up is that we can be more or less conscious in this process. I am not saying that we can always choose the lessons or the training grounds, but we can choose how actively we participate in the process. On the surface, I chose running because I got to age 42 and realized that I needed to make a hard commitment to taking better care of my body because it was not getting any younger. (You can read about where I started here.) And I could have just left the decision at that. Lots of people make commitments to exercise right? And they quietly stop them 2 weeks or 2 months later and life goes on.

I chose to run for an entire year because I was looking for something more. Continue reading…

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June 28, 2012

Perspectives on Pain

Perspectives on Pain

Tomorrow is my birthday and I will have been running – and sometimes not running – for a year.

That seems crazy. I am sure I’ll have something more to say about it when I wake up.

Today, I have been just over 24 hours without medication for my back and my whole right leg is very unhappy about that – so it should not surprise anyone that I am going to say something about pain.

Pain is one of the great secretes of running. (and don’t any of you deny it)

When you are a non-runner, you look at runners along the side of the road or on treadmills or wherever and you think: Wow, that looks painful! You might even occasionally ask a runner why they would engage in an activity that looks like it hurts and they might laugh and say: Running doesn’t hurt – it feels great!

When you start running, you quickly learn that pain is just part of what you sign up for. Seasoned runners are kind of like military veterans. They won’t just go about telling everyone about their battle injuries – but once they know you are part of the team they all have a story or 5 or 10 to share because now they know you will understand. You hurt your foot and someone is there to tell you about their chronic plantar fasciitis or their last broken toe. Get hip pain and sure enough you will suddenly find 3 runners to tell you about their bursitis. Knee pain? No worries – five of your new runner friends will tell you about how they came back from that ACL repair and that that was the very thing that pushed them to a new personal record or their first marathon.

And you are going to tell me that running doesn’t hurt???

Running does hurt. Seriously. Let’s just all admit that. But it also feels great and this is the catch. When you pass that point where the feels great part exceeds the part where it hurts you are hooked.

Maybe that’s when you actually become a runner.

At least I can tell you this – ever since this injury got me to the place where I physically can’t run, I miss it all the time. Each and every time I see a runner on the road or the beach or simply tying their shoes, I get a little pang of sadness, envy, longing. I want that to be me.

Here is a true story from this morning. Continue reading…

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June 27, 2012

Up One Hill and Up Another

Up One Hill and Up Another

I got my MRI results today and I could use this space right here to review it and grieve over it a bit more, but I am not going to.

At least not today.

Today I spoke briefly on the phone with an old friend who always cheers me up. We mostly didn’t talk about my back, but about love and relationship and family and life. I just felt better when we hung up.

Tonight as I was reflecting on my day, I remembered a trip he and I took together in college to Yosemite National Park. We were camped for a time by a little lake in a more remote area of the northern part of the park. Beyond the lake was a ridge that looked like it must have a great view. The first day we set up camp we decided we should go up there to see the sunset. It took almost an hour to get to the top…and we found it was not the top at all. There was another higher ridge just beyond. So we watched the sunset from there and decided to try for the higher peak the next morning.

In the morning we set out. Up the first ridge, across a little flat, up the second ridge to the top…but no…seriously. Not the top, but another peak just beyond that. No problem it was early, we set out for the next one. Get to the top and then go back to camp for lunch. Up we go. What we found there was not what we had imagined. From the top of that ridge, we faced a mountain. A really, really big mountain. All those “peaks” it seemed had just been the foot hills.

For us, on that day, the mountain was just too big. We had not prepared for it.

I started running almost a year ago. I have had challenges on many levels but this thing with pain has been an interesting voyage. Continue reading…

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June 14, 2012

A Rocky Moment

A Rocky Moment

 

 

 

 

 

 

So while I sit around not running this week waiting on my ultrasound results, I might as well tell you about some other things.

At the end of May, I had the pleasure of going to Philadelphia and attending the annual meeting of the American Academy of Clinical Endocrinologists. I had not been to Philadelphia since I was a teenager, and was hoping to get out at least a little and see some of the city.

Since I took up running, and I travel often for work, it has become kind of a fun adventure to find cool places to run when I am away from home. When it turned out that the Philadelphia Museum of Art was almost exactly a mile and a half from my hotel…well, how could I resist. And, yes, I took a picture with the statue too. And no, I am not going to post that. Continue reading…

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June 13, 2012

Got Your Panties?

Got Your Panties?

A few of you have asked where I have been. I have a lot of blogging to catch up on. It will all help to explain why I spent the better part of 3 hours at the office of an orthopedic surgeon today.

But I want to start with this.

Two weekends ago, me and my two friends – W and B – we took a little mom-cation to Palm Springs. When moms are away, they talk. Not about the kinds of things men think they talk about. Surprisingly, even when what we are trying to do is get a day away from our kids, we talk about our kids.

B told this story:

She has a habit of doing a sort of oral check list when she leaves the house – “Got my phone, got my keys, got my purse…” You get the picture. So one day, she is folding laundry and her 18 month old toddles up when she is folding and says “Mommy, what’s that?” “Those are panties,” says B. “They are sort of like pull-ups for grown ups.” Sort of.

So the next day, they are leaving the house and B is doing her checklist. “Got my phone, got my keys…”

“Got your panties?” chirps her child.

We all laughed. B then recounted how her mom had always stressed that she should always have on nice panties in case she had to flee a fire in the middle of the night. After all, we can’t have firemen seeing us in old panties…or worse.

Now it was my turn to really laugh. My mom used to say the same thing. Seriously – how many of us got that advice drilled into us when we were growing up? But even more I figured I aught to tell my girlfriends about the time I did happen to end up in my panties with a group of firemen. Continue reading…

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May 28, 2012

Of Titles and Name Calling

Of Titles and Name Calling

Titles are but nicknames, and every nickname is a title.
~ Thomas Paine

The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their right names
~ Chinese Proverb

On Mother’s Day this year  my mom gave me a gift certificate for my favorite running store. The card said “For your new-found passion.” As I was contemplating the cute new running skirt I had just seen in their mailer, I had this thought: My mom thinks of me as a runner.

Almost 43 years ago, and perhaps without even intending to, my mom gave me my first title: Daughter. I still hold that title along with mother, ex-wife, doctor, friend, boss and others. Mostly, I am comfortable with all of them.

Since I started running in June of last year, I have occasionally had someone call me a runner – sometimes seriously, sometimes as a joke. Mostly it has felt awkward and uncomfortable – like a thing I am trying on and I am not sure I am comfortable enough to wear it out in public.

I had a recent conversation about this with another friend who is a doctor. She didn’t understand why I was not comfortable being called a runner after nearly a year. It went like this: Continue reading…

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