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July 21, 2013

New Days, New Goals, New Challenges

New Days New Goals New Challenges

“Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.”
~ Goethe

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I sort of stopped paying attention to this blog some time ago. Life gets busy and writing seems more like a thing that get in the way than…well, than much of anything.

Plus sometimes I think to myself, this thing has served its purpose. I ran for a year, I wrote for a year.

End. Of. Story.

But perhaps not. I think that part of what happened here – and those who followed along bore witness to this, is that I started to really enjoy running – it became part of my life. I still like it now and I still run and it’s now just kind of part of who I am. In the eyes of some, that might be a successful experiment. It has been for me. The minimal learning here was that at least in my life – busy, chaotic, full, but with a priority to stay healthy and fit – the age-old advice that you should chose an activity you like for your regular exercise because you will be more likely to do it – proved to be untrue. What I found – and this might help others too – was that what I really needed was an activity that I could actually accomplish regularly despite my life. Running fit. So I ran with committed effort. I ran and it changed me. At least it made me a runner.

I think it also made me a better person.

I will never be a great runner. I’m not going to be fast, I’m not going for super distance. As a 5 foot tall woman with asthma, I really wasn’t build for this sport. But it gives me results, it gives me a stronger, healthier body – and frankly, it gives me a healthier mind. And once I learned all that, it could have been the end of the story. And perhaps for running it is.

Then there was CrossFit.

I am probably about to make a terrible mistake in writing what comes next. 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

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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 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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May 14, 2012

Races with Girlfriends

Races with Girlfriends

Running is the greatest metaphor for life, because you get out of it what you put into it.

Oprah Winfrey

So much has changed for me in 11 months of running that it’s hard to wrap my mind around it.

If you had ever ever told me I would even think of entering a race – even months after I started running I might have called you silly to your face. When I first started running, people constantly asked me what I was training for. I quickly realized that this is common conversation between runners – many of whom run (at least in part) so that they can participate in races.

This was a conversation that happened the other day when I was running with a friend. I was a hot day and we were stopped on the side of the path at a drinking fountain. Another runner – I think she was from South Africa – stopped about the same time.

My friend: Hot day, huh?

Other runner: Oh yes!

My friend: Are you out here training for something?

Other runner: Not at the moment…(pause)…but there is always something to train for right!

And she flashes a happy, sweaty smile and takes off. Continue reading…

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March 2, 2012

My Life – and Other Endurance Sports

My Life – and Other Endurance Sports

 

 

 

 

 

Endurance is patience concentrated.
~ Thomas Carlyle

I am writing this this morning from my home airport – Santa Ana John Wayne.

Today marks the beginning of a very busy Spring of travel…Seattle, Austria, Italy, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Texas.

This morning I was up and running on my treadmill at 4 am and thinking:

My life is like one long exercise in sprinting from here to here to here…why on Earth am I up when I could be asleep? Why am I running now when I am sure that sometime later today I will run to a meeting or to catch a cab or do the special sprint between terminals in 4 inch heels (I dare you guys…)

I guess there is not an easy answer to this. I am running because I said I would. I am running because I can and because it is helping me achieve the physical goal I want to achieve before I reach whatever we might call “old.” I am running because it is the only thing I can really make time to do in a life that never seems to slow down or stop long enough these days for me to do anything else.

My life does feel like an endurance sport some days. Like I need to keep fit just to keep up with the daily demands.

Ah…boarding.

Here we go.

Happy Friday!

Jacqueline

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February 28, 2012

Reason (Enough) To Run

Reason (Enough) To Run

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our culture has spawned all sorts of sayings that use the word run.

Run the gauntlet

Run out of steam

(Don’t) Run before you can walk

Run off in all directions

Run around like a chicken with it’s head cut off

I love language and the way we use words. When we hear phrases like this, we learn a lot about the way our culture (or the culture at the time the phrase was coined) thinks about a thing or a concept. Despite all the great things runners (even beginners like me) might say about running, our society has come up with all sort of uses that imply going to fast, being reckless or cavalier, or exhausting yourself.

We use the word run to describe extremes mostly, not norms.

Maybe we have it wrong. Continue reading…

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February 6, 2012

Staying the Course

Staying the Course

Most people never run far enough on their first wind to find out they’ve got a second. 
~ William James

I broke my own running record yesterday.

Never mind how far I went or what the prior distance was. I finished the run quietly sitting at my friend Wendy’s kitchen table watching our kids play. It was Sunday morning. Friday night I had returned home very late from Cleveland, Saturday I was up at 5 to prep for each of my boys having separate sports tournaments in a city almost an hour away at different locations. Saturday night one at a slumber party, the other another social event. I was sweaty and tired – my day ahead involved laundry, errands, homework and a Super Bowl party. Monday was starting to look restful.

And quietly, I am smiling to myself because I just accomplished something – something just for me – in the midst of it all. I don’t need to share.

My life sometimes feels like a series of sprints and obstacle courses. I may not be a trained runner, but I am a trained mom, coach, chauffeur, business woman, traveler and friend. I am an endurance athlete in life. Continue reading…

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January 24, 2012

The Myth of Loving It

The Myth of Loving It

In my life, I have both read and given a fair amount of lifestyle advice. When I was practicing as a full-time physician, I often talked to my patients about diet, exercise, sleep and other elements of life that could impact their health.

When it comes to making lifestyle change, the recommendations are often pretty simple, but the implementation is hard.

Most people are pretty durable in their habits, and making new ones or changing lifelong patterns is more difficult than they think. It takes perseverance, motivation, and sometimes repeat trial, failure and restart to stay the course.

In taking up the new activity of running for myself, I have been reflecting a lot on what it really takes to make substantial change and the advice we often give and receive around this. We do a funny thing when it comes to exercise. Part of the advice given is almost always:

Chose an activity you enjoy.

Now I admit, I have both thought this and given this advice many many times in my life. It sounds right, doesn’t it? Chose an activity you like and you are much more likely to stick with it? What we don’t usually do is question whether this strategy works.

Continue reading…

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January 10, 2012

There’ll Be Days Like This

There’ll be days like this…When you open your hands to catch and wind up with only blisters and bruises; when you step out of the phone booth and try to fly and the very people you want to save are the ones standing on your cape; when your boots will fill with rain, and you’ll be up to your knees in disappointment. And those are the very days you have all the more reason to say thank you. Because there’s nothing more beautiful than the way the ocean refuses to stop kissing the shoreline, no matter how many times it’s sent away.
~Sarah Kay

Part of the reason I fell out of the habit of regular exercise a many of years ago was that the number of things that seemed to be standing in my way somehow grew to be big enough that I just couldn’t see how to do it. I have long been a busy person with a full life. At one point I was in medical school and working a job and managing to train 3-6 days a week in martial arts. Later, I was working in private practice, had a part-time consulting business, had a baby, did volunteer work, and still managed to do yoga, go to spin classes and walk in the parks near my home. I can’t exactly recall when it became too much – but it was somewhere after baby number 2, the consulting company taking off into a full-time business, agreeing to chair a health conference and joining a corporate board on the side…

I never stopped exercise wholesale – it just slowly but surely got squeezed out of my life. One day I woke up and I had memberships at a gym and 2 yoga studios and I really wasn’t using them at all.

I had become one of “those” people.

Continue reading…

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