Saturday, September 17, 2016

I Am Not A Runner, But My Best Friend Is.

       Last week after my post, I ran 11 miles!  Writing those words seems to have broken my runner’s block, so now I am wondering if this writing thing is a kind of magic.  What if writing is some magical way of breaking all kind of bad habits or ways of thinking?  I am thinking of putting this magical theory to the test.  Why not?  It can’t hurt...
      I have run in 1 marathon, 3 half marathons, 4 10ks, and 5 5ks.  I still don’t think of myself as a runner most of the time.  When I drive my daughter to swimming, I see all of these people running and I actually find myself getting jealous.  I find myself thinking “Damn, I wish I could do that.”  Then it hits me. I do that a lot!  I am so impressed by runners and have so much respect for them.  Why don’t I give myself that same respect?  
I have a bad habit of comparing myself, in many ways, to other people.  This is not a very productive way of living.  Using this way of measuring your life bases your good/bad mood, your happiness, and the way you look at yourself on how you compare to someone else.  This is a really good way to live if you want to ALWAYS feel inferior to someone else.  This isn’t fair to yourself and it isn't fair to the one you always compare yourself to.  When it comes to running, I always compare myself to my best friend, Amy.  
     Amy is a fantastic runner.  Her drive, endurance and heart is amazing.  I started seriously running because of a snowy afternoon on Amy’s couch.  We were both stuck in our lives and needed a change.  We decided to train and run a half marathon in Disney.  We started training and we DID run that half. In many ways that experience changed both of us.  God brought the two of us together to be each other’s Heroes.  We have used each other to go beyond what we ever thought what was possible.  That being said, I always think of her as a better runner, a faster runner, a “real” runner.  In other words, I make myself feel inferior to her when we run.  Why would I do that????
Let me start off by making this very clear. Amy has  NEVER made me feel this way.  She has been so supportive and is always my biggest cheerleader.  Now back to me, I am a slower runner than Amy.  There is nothing wrong with that. We are different people.  I had a realization the other day, I have never allowed myself to even consider the fact that I could run as fast as Amy.  I have a stamp in my brain, that I put there without even realizing it, that said “Kris can’t run fast.”  That stamp has become a fact in my brain.  There is no evidence to back this up, because I have already convinced myself that fast or even faster was even possible.  
     I need to clarify the word “fast.” I am a slow runner and would love to be an 11 minute mile person.  That would be my fast.  The only reason that seems so hard to me is because I have compared myself into creating limitations that are not really there.  I feel inferior to Amy and other runners because that gives me an excuse to use these limitations.  It is scary to face limitations.  Especially false ones!  This limitation I have placed on myself gives me an excuse.  I have said before that I have always been an underachiever.  This is one of the reasons why.  I place limitations and use the word “can’t” a lot.
     Ok, let’s see if this magical writing thing really works…..

     I am going to use this marathon, this next year and this “magical writing” to break these old habits and limitations.  The truth is, I don’t know how fast I can run a mile because every run is different and I don’t know my full potential.  I am betting that I can achieve my goal of a mile in 11 mins.  I don’t know if that is what I should be running.  I am not anyone but Kris.  I am right now throwing away my limitations and only concentrating on my success.

      I am a badass woman, who has crossed the finish line in a marathon, half marathons, 10ks, and 5ks .  I have logged over a thousand training miles.  I have no limitations!

    Amy, I release you from being my mirror.  I look nothing like you!   

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Runner's Block

This is a question that a runner gets asked by people all the time.  “Why on earth do you run?  I don’t run unless someone is chasing me.”  “I hate to run!  Why do you do it?”  Every runner has heard these and many more questions like them.  I have never thought too much about the questions until now.  I have hit a wall or a runner’s block.  My sister is a writer and she has talked about the writer’s block.  I say to her what a lot of people probably do “hang in there”  or “all you have to do is work through it”.  This seemed like a logical thing to say.  The problem is that it is crap!  Actually, the truth is that there is nothing I can say to help her.  
I am running the Marine Corp Marathon on Oct 30.  I wanted into that race so badly.  I submitted my name to the lottery and got in.  I was so excited.  I started training and then something awful happened… I hit a runner’s block!  I am not running well, I have lost my focus and I am not enjoying it.  WTF!  I am getting ready to run in this awesome race and I have no desire right now to run.  I have tried the advice that I gave my sister.  I have hung in there and tried really hard to work through it.  I have read every book I can find.  Nothing has worked.  I keep trying to figure out what is going on and then it hit me.  I have forgotten why I am running in the first place.  
Why am I running?  What about running used to make me so happy?  What am I so afraid of?  These are the questions that I have to answer.  I have to put all the bullshit aside, open up and answer those questions..and here’s the the biggest part...I have to be honest with myself.  
Flying Pig.jpg
In May 2015, I ran the Flying Pig marathon in Cincinnati.  This was a hard marathon for me.  What I mean is that I hurt my knee at Mile 17 and I was in major pain for the last 10 miles.  My knee was swollen and yelling at me to stop.  I discovered that I could push myself farther than I ever thought possible.  I didn’t finish in a great time, but when I crossed that finish line I had become a different person.  I came up with a motto for myself after that race… “If I can make it through Mile 22, I can make it through anything.”  I made it through all 26.2 miles!   Flying pig 2.jpg     My girlfriend even gave me a ring that says Mile Twenty Two on it.  I never take it off.  Now, I return to one of my questions.  “What am I so afraid of?”  This won’t be my first marathon… It can’t get much worse… I know I can do it.  After a lot of soul searching, I have discovered that I am afraid of being the best I can be.  What?!  I find it scary to even think about.  I know that sounds crazy.  Why wouldn’t you want to see what your best looks like?  I don’t have a good answer for this.  I know what my failure looks like, but I don’t know what my best looks like.  I have always been an underachiever, just giving enough of myself to get by.  It scares me to lay it all out there.  It could be that I am afraid that my best is not good enough or not as good as I thought it would be.  It is safer, to me, not knowing.  I think the MCM has presented to me an opportunity to find out.  I believe that has affected me more than I thought it would
.Flying Pig 3.jpg
Here is what it comes down to…  Why did I start running?  In the beginning it was to quit smoking, but then it became about challenging myself and changing myself.   It has evolved.  Why do I run?  I want to know… I need to know.  The only way to know is to just go with what comes to my mind when I think running.  Here it goes…
When I run, it is all about me.  I have no one else depending on me but me.  There is not another person alive who judges me on my running, except me.  I guess the best way to say it is, I run to be free to be selfish.  I get to only think about me.  For a short amount a time, I get to listen to whatever I want to.  I can listen to the nastiest rap song, the loudest rock,  or the sappiest pop song (that I would never admit to listening to) and I don’t have to worry about anyone else's opinion or judgment.  When I run it is an hour a day I get to be absolutely selfish.
I run to find that person I want to be.  I run to try and catch that person, who I know is in my soul somewhere.  When I am trekking down the road, I see her and I speed up to catch her.  There are times when I catch a little bit of her and hold on tight.  Those runs are the ones I live for.  They change me a little bit.  I always think when I start a run if I will see her.  There are times when she is way too fast and crafty for me.  I believe that those times have discouraged me and I committed an awful sin.  I let that get in my head and take away those moments when I did catch her.  I let the negative overshadow the positive.  I let my mind think it was too hard, so i quit looking for the person I want to be.  
I run to keep myself balanced.  I often find myself so anxiety ridden that I can barely function.  I worry about things that are out of my control.  Running helps me beat that anxiety out of myself.  It is hard to run and worry at the same time.  I am not saying that I run and find all the answers.  I don’t run to find answers.  I never have.  I run to quiet the questions.
Running is hard and takes a lot of mental strength and physical strength.  I can run and feel like crying because it is just so hard.  Those times are when the reasons I run and the motivation is hard to see.  The music and selfish pleasure disappear.  I feel completely raw and almost broken.  That is when I can hear God whispering in my ear. That is when I begin to feel love and comfort.  All the rest is gone and nothing else matters but what is in my ear.  
That is why I run.