The Refinery

In Going All Out, I describe my return to my running self and how energized I felt to be training for my first Marathon race. Since that post from May-2018, my race venue changed from NYC to Arlington, VA, but the change in venue did not reduce my delight in purposefully running again.  During the early summer months, it seemed surreal, the long runs, the speed workouts, challenging as they were, all of them gave me delight in knowing I was prepairing my body and mind for an epic event…running 26.2 miles on October 28, 2018!

If you are losing faith in human nature, go out and watch a marathon.
Kathrine Switzer

Then, on August 10th, the wheels came off. Over a 24-hour period my body went from seemingly healthy and turned into a raging conflagration steeped in the melting pot of a full-blown shingles viral attack. I could not believe that this hideous malady had found me out. For all my good health and strength and well-being, I was laid out in such weakness, and racked with the firey pains so common to this hideous malady. How could this happen so suddenly, without warning? I was dumbstruck…awestruck really…with my unhappy fortune and especially for the disruption this had brought to my marathon training!

For three weeks I did little more than rest; and I use the word metaphorically. Sleep did not restore or invigorate; sleep could not be caught or latched onto; sleep only took me away from myself and cast me into strange, mysterious places of unknowing. Perhaps it was due to a lack of sleep together with a steady dose of unrelieved pain, but whatever the cause, I also realized a fermenting growth of anxiety sprouting like ugly weeds in my garden. Something like dispair seemed to ooze into my consciousness. I noticed these downward thoughts even while I accepted and acknowledged the fact that I am no different or exceptional from anyone else. None of us is immune from illness and disease. Even people who do everything right for their body can and will, from time to time, succomb to break-ins or break-downs in their well-being.

If we were to examine our diseases poetically, we might find a wealth of imagery that could speak to the way we live our lives. Following up on that imagery, we could attune our lives and allow ourselves to be corrected by the disease. That is what I mean when I say that without sickness we wouldn’t be cured, physically and psychologically. Care of the Soul ~ Thomas Moore

Thankfully, by the end of week three, I had an ephipany, a bolt out of the blue, rekindling the dark place of my pitiful thinking. Like an arrow finding its bulls-eye, the thought hit center and ran my runner’s soul clean through: You may actively recover your running (body) with the mindset of starting the marathon race! You may not be able to finish all 26.2 miles, but at least you may purpose to begin training…again. YES! YES, YES, INDEED! To toe the start line, come what may, would be my very own victory. Victory over illness; victory over dispair; victory over defeated thinking. The barb hit its mark!

A funny thing happened on my way to the Marathon…to be continued!

MCM

 

Quote

In Pursuit

EXCELLENCE IS NOT RANDOM.

It is also more than a short-term ambition, accident, or accomplishment.

It is developed by design and achieved by setting and tenaciously pursuing high, competitive goals.

The greatest champions in history have all had a long-range vision and plan of what they wanted to accomplish in tandem with a complete daily devotion to their specialization.

Having daily or weekly improvement goals to meet will help ensure that you are always working right.

Stay focused on performing daily acts of excellence in the face of temptations to get sidetracked.

The Champion’s Mind ~ Jim Afremow, PhD


excellence-is-not-a-skill-it-is-an-attitude.jpg


FROM: LET YOUR MIND RUN by DEENA KASTOR

At the core of many of his stories was a distinction between success and excellence. Success was “having“: money, awards, status. Excellence was “being“: living your values, having them guide your daily life. Pursue excellence, Coach (Joe Vigil) would say, and success will follow.


Philippians 4:8 (NIV ~ Bible)

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.


 

I Remember…My Little Red Shoes

Let your dreams outgrow the shoes of your expectations.
Ryunosuke Satoro

One of my favorite childhood memories is about getting new shoes….play shoes! My favorite play shoes from the time I was three years old until about seven or eight years old, were PF Flyers. I LOVED my play shoes; and I especially loved when they were new. I loved how they smelled out of the box: a little rubbery, a little like starched canvas. I would spend a great deal of time inspecting my shoes at home. I would run my fingers over the clean, bumpy, gum soles and I would press my pudgy finger tips into the bright, squishy insoles…insoles strewn with fanciful graphics and words I could not read.

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Deb in her shoes ca. 1965

I remember being intrigued by the rectangular box on the heel of each shoe. Each box so beautifully bright and blue atop the contrasting white, wrap-around rubber. But most of all, the favorite part of my new shoes were their unscuffed white toe-caps, which of course, I thought made them look so very strong and keen, ready for fun. For many days after receiving my new shoes, I would line them up on the floor of my closet next to my old play shoes. Then I would notice the stark contrast between the two sets.

I would think about all the days of playing I had done wearing my old shoes; no wonder they looked so tired and shabby. How many days of play would it take, I wondered, before my new shoes resembled my old shoes. I pondered whether it was possible to keep my new shoes forever new, and then a sad thought appeared. I realized the only way to keep my new shoes new, would be for me not to wear them for play. That was an unbearable thought, because new shoes are meant to be worn and played in! And so at a tender age I learned a helpful lesson from my little red shoes: everything new eventually grows old, but adventure, real or imagined, may always be had simply by lacing on a new pair of shoes.

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My current collection for play

Challenge = Change = Improvement

Two weeks old! We are two weeks into the New Year 2018 and I am needing a challenge. My race calendar is empty this winter and I need something to motivate myself to improve my fitness…so…I am going to challenge myself!

How about you? Will you take the next two weeks, until the end of January to challenge yourself to do some physical activity or exercise every day? Because I want to improve my fast twitch muscle fibers, I will be doing a burpees and jump rope challenge. I make up the rules for my challenge. And you may make up the rules for your challenge too.

Challenge yourself to do better and be better. Growth starts with a decision to move beyond your present circumstances. ~Anonymous

Starting today I will do 10 burpees every day (consecutively) and add one burpee each day thereafter. Additionally, I want to improve my stamina and coordination so today I also began my jump rope challenge. I jumped for 30 seconds without stopping or tripping on my rope. Each day hereafter I will add 10 seconds to my jump rope routine. If needed, I will take an active recovery day from my challenge every fourth day, which means I will only do 10 burpees and 30 seconds of jump rope on those days.

So what do you think? Is there something you want to challenge yourself to do? This is the perfect time of year to begin a new fitness routine. There are many ways to challenge yourself, whether you strive for a fitness goal or strive to improve your creative abilities. Just give yourself a goal that is measurable in seconds; minutes; repetitions; steps walked or run; pounds lost (fat) or gained (muscle); etc.

The sky is the limit so be creative and have fun with your new year challenge. You’ll find  some links to exercise/fitness challenges below this post. Let me know how you are doing as we go through these next fifteen days together!

Two week fitness challenges

Silver Sneakers January Fitness Challenge

 

 

What Are You Waiting For?

To wait is to partake of the human condition.
To wait patiently is to become like the divine.

Why do we feel so put upon, so grated against when waiting is required or requested of us? And yet, every created thing on earth is subject to seasons or periods of waiting. That we feel we should be exempt from a waiting season is perhaps unjustified and irrational.

So then, since we are not exempt from this great equalizer, we acquiesce and assent: we will always be subject to the ‘waiting rooms‘ of life.  Waiting puts us at dis-ease because to wait is to witness the passing of a most precious commodity: our time. And to be human is to experience the tides of time propelling us forward. Onward always time sweeps us unceasingly closer to the shores of our desires and fears or it pushes us further away from the ports of our comforts and homelands.

Waiting can be the most intense and poignant of all human experiences—the experience which, above all others, strips us of affectation and self-deception and reveals to us the reality of our needs, our values, and ourselves.
W.H. Vanstone

Perhaps the problem we have with ‘waiting’ arises from the meaning we attach to it. For myself, I am learning that to wait with impatience is to disdain the chain which anchors me to the present moment. And our modern culture informs us how best to keep time; to make the most of time is to not waste it in waiting.

We are taught to keep ourselves busy…and distractions of each sort beg for entrance into our moments; mindless entertainments promise to fill our every idleness.  Additionally, I believe our modern mind struggles with waiting because we equate waiting with inactivity. And inactivity is deemed an unacceptable waste because we perceive it a detour from the tasks of our own busyness…from rowing ourselves towards the desired shoreline of our next appointment, goal or aspiration.

Now that I think about this, I am becoming aware that it is during the times of my enforced waiting, whether due to sickness, misfortune or deviation from plans made, when waiting feels like the traversing of a wasteland….and I am as one who is adrift on the open sea of innumerable minutes, hours, and days; alone and afloat in my little boat with no oars, a slow leak and only my own thoughts for companion.

Perhaps this is why I (we) so strongly resist life’s waiting rooms, because it is in this place wherein we must sit in such close proximity to self. To wait patiently, cheerily, is to trust that this time of seeming inactivity is an opportunity to grow…to expand…to enlarge…in our relationship. And not only in relationship with our self but also with the others who paddle their boats so near to us.

It is strange that the years teach us patience; that the shorter our time,
the greater our capacity for waiting.
Elizabeth Taylor

So I have taken these moments today, to try to teach myself again how to be comfortable in the ‘waiting room’. Of course there are abundant opportunities every day to school myself on this topic. You too, no doubt, have similar opportunities.

Consider some of life’s waiting rooms: the lines we stand in queue; the weekday commuter traffic in which we drive; waiting for school or medical test outcomes to be revealed; a vacation hoped for; planing for a move, or birth, new job or marriage; wading through personal wreckage of a failure or loss.

So in waiting I am learning that it is possible to wait with peace and purpose; because in waiting I have found songs to sing; wounds to bind; corners to sweep; weeds to pull; seeds to plant; poetry to write; tears to wipe; arms to hug; prayers to pray; hands to hold; legs to run; dreams to imagine; hurts to forgive; grace to notice; love to make; joy to share; and life to live…whether I’m waiting or not.

 

Of Sheets and Socks

Think...Feel...Be....BodyWise!

I was putting away a basket of clean laundry this morning and I noticed how my little running socks and dryer sheets could hide out unnoticed in the deep pockets of the king size fitted bed sheet. It made me chuckle because I have often re-discovered a lost sock or small clothing item many weeks later when putting a clean fitted sheet on the bed for the first time after its laundering. Upon such a discovery, I’ll scold myself for not checking the deep pockets before putting the clean sheets away, and then think nothing more about the lost and found item while I return it to its rightful place in my drawer.

But this morning after putting the clean socks and sheets away, I considered how often these lost items go unnoticed, until I need them most. Then I made this funny little connection about little lost things…like the little…

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