Warning: I get a little deep here and think I needed to write this more for me but I hope you gain something from reading. =)
Where do you feel most at peace? What gives you purpose?
Sunday morning I was in the car sipping coffee, singing out loud along with my favorite radio station’s acoustic set which I so rarely get to listen to (I’m one of the few people left on the planet who doesn’t have satellite radio otherwise i’d be listening to the coffee house channel because I’m a sucker for acoustic, singer-songwriter genre music. The doodle was on the front seat (about to be dropped off at my sister in laws) and I was driving to the start of a charity 5k run.
I felt so at peace and happy. It made me think a lot about the things/people/places that make me feel that way. After my husband died I spent more than a decade seeking out solitude and peace. I found it with a walk in the woods, catching up with a friend over a cup of coffee or a road trip. I loved to drive and would drive all over to meet up with friends for long weekends. And then I found running. Running soothed my soul and gave me peace and comfort. And we can’t post about peace without mentioning Duncan—I come home from work at night and all my stress melts away as we get comfy on the sofa and settle in for the night.
can’t get any more peaceful. Dog, nature walk and coffee!
Anyway that leads me to the second part of this post and brings it back to the 5k I was driving to. I was headed to this charity 5k to run with Mr. SOTSS and his (almost) 10 and (almost) 12 year-old daughters. I was happy to be in such a calm peaceful and joyful mood. I was looking forward to the run not knowing it would be for anything more than just to help Mr. SOTSS out and my own Sweat Out the Small Stuff reasons.
As we lined up at the start I paired up to run with his older daughter and Mr. SOTSS paired up with his little one.
lined up representing a whole lotta sneaker brands Brooks, Asics, Saucony and Nike! =)
While I am now a year into my relationship with Mr. SOTSS I am still early on in getting to know his girls. Mr S. has been great at knowing when the appropriate time to introduce us was and he continues to know when it makes sense to include me. I know it’s all new for him too and I really commend him on how he’s handled everything so far. Those girls are very lucky. They have a super dedicated mom and a doting dad to start. And then they have lots of other role models in their lives like sports coaches, teachers and extended family. I’ve had some anxiety over how I would be perceived and whether or not the girls would really look for anything more from me other than dad’s friend Sally who does arts and crafts and plays video games with them. But it was during the race that I realized that I could be an additional role model in their lives and instinctually (the way I am with my niece and nephew) I thought about how I could provide value instead of just keeping his daughter company. At one point about halfway during the race his daughter who I was running with was struggling a bit…mainly the heat and humidity were getting to her. Her cheeks were flushed and she was having some trouble trying to stay in control of her breathing. I told her to let me know if she wanted to slow down but she said she was ok. Something made me think she she just might not have felt comfortable enough to tell me if she wanted to slow down so I told her I had friends who ran marathons by doing run/walk intervals. They had a watch that would beep every 4 minutes to let them know to take a walk break. And they would continue running 4 minutes and walking 1 minute for the entire race which helped them recover. I then told her about some strategies I use when there are hills. I would take it easy and walk up the hills knowing it’s easier to go downhill so i could start back running on the downhills. Basically I wanted to give her some food for thought. So as we approached the next hill she asked if we could walk a bit and then when we got to the top of the hill and she could see it was time for the downhill she said “OK, I’m ready to start running again”. I didn’t tell her what to do or how to handle her discomfort yet my information helped her to make decisions. And not only did she complete the race but she was totally in control. She didn’t whine or cry or make a big deal about how hard it was to run in the heat and humidity. She didn’t just decide to walk the rest. She never gave up. She chose what part of the remaining course she’d walk and what part she’d run using signs as markers and making note of the hills. And she sprinted to the finish with all the confidence in the world. (Side note: she also chose to pour water over her head at some of the water stops and we giggled together. I’m sure it felt good and someday I might just have to try that too.)
She has great form too!
We can feel peace when we feel purpose.
Both girls did wonderfully and after joining them and their dad for a little post race lunch at their aunt’s house I said goodbye. My original purpose was just to help Mr. SOTSS out and escort one girl so that each girl could run their own race and he didn’t have to try and stay as a group. But it became more than that for me and hopefully for his daughter too.
And I learned a little something from the girls, too.Running is just a part of life. Afterward, drawing contests and selfies with dad and Chester the dog were just as important as the 3.1 mile run they participated in earlier. I want to take that mindset and apply it to my training for the NYC marathon. I want to remind myself that while I will be running a lot for 16 weeks of training, it is just a part of my life. And hopefully I’ll get to be part of those drawing contests and silly selfies too. We can’t take life too seriously or we’ll forget to have fun.
I couldn’t complete this post without a special dedication for an 11-year old who was tragically killed yesterday. Abigail Zukowski was the youngest daughter of a high school friend of mine. While I haven’t seen him in years we had reconnected on Facebook a few years back and today I learned of this unfortunate news. She was crossing the street in the crosswalk and struck by a car. I’m so very saddened for him and his family including their two other daughters.
I mentioned the other day that since I’m trying to get all these (running related) kinks to finally disappear before I go full speed ahead into marathon training this January that I was going to keep my mileage light through the end of the year. So I just keep opting for 3 mile runs. And guess what? I really like this distance. Maybe I should abandon distance running and just run 5ks? OK I’m being dramatic. But seriously, I can run 3 miles any day of the week.
This morning, at 6am, it was freezing and windy. I think my weather app said Real Feel: 12°. It was still dark and I wasn’t feeling too hot so I opted to snooze and decided to just pack a gym bag. I’d hit up the dread-mill on my lunch break. Well, that’s exactly what I did and I’m so happy with that decision:
New York Sports Club Tuesday 5k
I rocked sub 9 minute miles! Did I mention I’m loving these 3 mile runs?!!!! I especially love that my knee doesn’t bother me at all for these short runs.
I’ve been enjoying some pretty colors of the Empire State Building the last few nights while I freeze my butt off at the bus stop.
Purple for the March of Dimes
Turquoise for the Alzheimer’s Foundation
And speaking of pretty colors, I got a mani/pedi on Sunday and opted for this pale pinkish, lavenderish, silverish, nudish color.
twinkle toes and fingers and paws
I’m going to make it a point to try not to get all Bah Humbug on everyone this year as the holidays (and the tourists) arrive in NYC. The department store windows will start being revealed in the next week and then there’s the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade which I’m actually going to participate in this year. My office building is along the route so we have the option to get passes into the building to watch the parade from our suite which is on the 8th floor (EYE LEVEL with the balloons!). And then the Rockafeller Center tree gets lit and traffic snarls will become a daily nightmare. Oops, I did say I was going to try NOT to get all Bah Humbug. I am so lucky to live in New York City…..but sometimes I just wish I wasn’t here. 8 million people…
Well, enough of that tangent. It’s late and I’ve got unglamorous things to do like laundry and packing my lunch for tomorrow.
So tell me. Is it cold where you are? Do you like the holidays or do you want to just hit the fast forward button and get to January 2nd?
I’m deeply saddened to share some heartbreaking news.
Last year I was part of Dicks Sporting Goods Every Runner Has a Reason Campaign. I got to meet so many inspirational runners. One of those runners, Meggan Janota, passed away this morning. She had been battling cancer for quite a few years.
I’m just so sad. Such a beautiful, young woman with her whole life ahead of her. (Meggan is # 3972 in the photo below).
Every Runner Has a Reason photo shoot (a faux marathon)
I remember feeling terrible that I had to literally give her the sweaty white shirt off my back because they needed her to wear it for a different shot. I remember not even knowing she was sick or in the middle of treatment at first. But most of all I remember sitting around in between takes just sharing laughs with a bunch of runners who understood me and understood how amazing running is.
You’ve probably seen my video but here’s Meggan’s video. Please watch. Please take a minute to say a little prayer for her family as they start their lives without her. And please take a minute to be grateful for this day that wasn’t guaranteed. As cliche as it sounds each day truly is a gift.
I’m probably going to head out in a few for a run. Just a short one. A few miles for Meggan. It just seems like the perfect way to remember her today.
Yesterday I decided to run a 5k distance in my neighborhood and “push it”!
Not necessarily “all out” but I focused on getting out of my comfort zone. I am running my first official timed 5k on Saturday and I have no idea how to pace myself! I’m a fish out of water with short runs. I ended up keeping a 9:31/mile pace. I know I’m probably capable of keeping a 9:15 pace. So I’m just going to leave my goal at breaking 30 minutes. Let’s see what happens.
I am off from work today so I took the doodle for a nice walk in the crunchy, colorful Autumn leaves.
Red Autumn leaves
And then stopped off at the vet clinic to get a 6 month supply of his heartworm and flea and tick preventative meds. Of course he started shaking when we pulled into the parking lot. Poor doodle. He must have thought he was going in.
Tonight I’m meeting my “wolf pack” for dinner for a little birthday celebration. And in the next few days I have some exciting news to share! I’ll keep you in suspense for now.