I don’t mean the typical struggle of everyday tasks and everyday problems… I’m really struggling. Struggling to know my place in this world. What and why I’m here. I don’t know if it’s because of the state of the world, or just the fact that this hovering feeling that something is isn’t right is suddenly surfacing, but I just don’t know how much longer I can really take it.
You see, it’s this constant fight, this conflict in my head, the voice that says I am not enough. Not smart enough, not funny enough, not pretty enough, not efficient enough, just never enough!!!
I am constantly feeling like I have to keep up this charade that I am okay and that I have it all together. I smile, I run, I say positive affirmations, when deep inside I want to cry. I want to yell. I want the noise to stop!
Suddenly the world feels so dark and empty and you can’t even hug your friends or see their face in real time that says they love you and that they are there for you. If they are, it’s distant. And when you finally get to see them, you have to pretend it’s all “good,” because it’s too awkward, too sensitive and too intimate to get real. Or maybe it’s just me….
I suppose when you are a wife, a mother, a teacher, a coach, a friend, the oldest daughter and sibling, there is this unspoken expectation to stay strong and be the light for others. And you know that people are looking up to you in certain ways, you want to be strong and somehow perfect, so that you feel important and big when in reality you are just a small human in a big sea of “what is supposed to be-” Lost in the waves of so many other people in the same boat- I’m “suppose to” look a certain way. I’m “suppose to” act a certain way, “I’m suppose to” believe the right beliefs. I’m “suppose to” hold it all together and do so with a smile and a twinkle in my eye.
Then when the flood gates open and you wonder if this is all there is, the darkest of all voices tell you, “Nobody really cares anyway.”
That is the end of the line isn’t it. When you believe nobody really cares. Sometimes I do wonder and I realize that I try really really hard to care, so that must be true for you and everyone else too, right? I wish that my caring would heal the world and make all our shortcomings go away, but it doesn’t. It’s hard when you let your heart bleed and then it bleeds, and bleeds, and bleeds, and you think, “maybe it’s worth it.” Then you feel so empty you just want to shout and ask, “Does anybody care?”
Let’s take a moment and just breathe. Let’s take a moment and think about all the good that is around you. Smell the air, feel the air fill your lungs and liberate your shoulders from all the heaviness it’s been carrying. It’s been a hard few months. And it looks like the road ahead is not going to be an easier.
It’s easy to focus on all the problems. It’s easy to let the problems eat us up. Before we know it we become annoyed, angry and anxious. How can we possibly get through the hard times if we are carrying so much negativity?
I sometimes wonder if the problems themselves are what eats us up, or is it our attitudes about the problems that really gives us the headaches, stomach pains, or panic attacks. I mean, yes, problems are hard and messy and we don’t want to deal with them- and that is precisely why problems are so tricky, because we don’t want to deal with them-we’d rather push them aside, ignore them, or find the easiest and most convenient path to rid of them so we can continue with our little life of luxury- or our little plans we have for our life.
I know this virus screwed up a lot of our plans. Hell, it had the worst timing. My son was denied a traditional high school graduation ceremony, it cancelled all of Spring Sports, summer vacations, and anything to do with summer plans, and now it threatens our school year- in which my youngest daughter may be denied a traditional start of her school career- who wants to start Kindergarten online? It also threatens my oldest daughter’s senior year of volleyball at Highlands. I may not be able see her play and I may not be able to coach Cross Country. I have already cancelled Student Council. Everything I had planned, and everything that I had hoped for, GONE!
No wonder there is so much resentment. No wonder there is so much depression. But what can we do? How do we face this? Anyone else feel helpless and pissed about the whole situation? After all, there are some moments in life that can’t be made up- that can’t be replaced.
It’s true, the virus has taken so much more than the lives it claimed and has caused so much havoc that our attitudes and mind sets may have taken a turn for the worst. We all want this to end and we all want to go back to the little lives we created for ourselves. I know that is true for me. I wish I could be in my classroom preparing for the first few weeks of school… the very same place I complained about because there was never enough time or resources to be truly efficient. The place where I sometimes felt the life suck out of me because I gave what I could with very little in return. The place where some people were difficult to deal with and at times and I would have to cry in the bathroom to let out all of the frustrations and hurt I carried….Now I would do anything to go back.
And isn’t life always mocking us in this way? Doesn’t life always have the last word, the final say, the lesson to be learned? Why do we continue to expect life to be easy? Shouldn’t we know better by now?
Yes, we need to take a moment and just breathe. Take a moment and be grateful for this time. Seriously! Be grateful! Let’s be thankful for all the small little joys that still exist. My son still graduated high school. My daughter is receiving a free college education because of volleyball. My youngest daughter gets to experience an education that many, and I do mean many, will not have.
I’m thankful for the family and friends in my life that have been there for me, in both the good and bad days. And isn’t that what true gratitude is all about? To be grateful not only for the good days, but also the bad. I mean, why should we only acknowledge the good in our life…. shouldn’t we say, “Hey, hard times are here, and it’s okay, and it’s going to be okay.” “I don’t know how or why we are going through this, but we will get through this.”
In other words, it is unfair of me to accept the good things from God (life, the universe, higher power) and sing with joy and then fight the bad things from God (life, the universe, higher power) and become bitter and indifferent. Sometimes courage and bravery isn’t always jumping in front of a moving train to save the world, sometimes it’s quietly submitting or surrendering to what God (life, the universe, higher power) has planned. I know it sounds counter-intuitive- because surrender sounds like defeat, or a crushing of your spirit, but by accepting the difficulties in your life and learning to trust God (life, the universe, higher power) while facing them is the greatest act of courage. The problem is that we don’t like to wait for the outcome, and sometimes we don’t like the outcome because it doesn’t fit in our little jar of good treasures, in other words, we didn’t get what we wanted, so we think trusting God (life, the universe, higher power) is useless.
All this to say, I’m sorry life sucks right now. I’m sorry that we are all going through a difficult time, and I’m sorry for the losses we all had to endure. But I believe that if we can take a moment, breathe in the air and be grateful for the circumstances that are beyond our control, we might be able to get through this with more kindness, love and empathy.
Like everyone else I am at a loss of words and heartbroken over the events of George Floyd. So many issues are evident here and racism of course is one of them. I read a lot of posts from social media about white people doing something about this problem- this hundred of years old problem. This problem that is so childish- wait- no it is not childish because children by nature are not racist, they are groomed and molded to feel superior over another human.
Like so many I feel helpless and powerless over the issue. Who am I to try and make a difference? I’m just another minority as well. A Hispanic woman with no influence, money, or power to end something so big as racism.
I’ve seen people encourage each other to protest, donate money to an organization, to google what can be done to help black people feel more equal. So I thought about what I could do. Because doing nothing isn’t acceptable. What if George was my dad, or uncle, or my son? I know that I would want something done- hence hashtag justice for George Floyd.
So what am I doing about it? Well, I’ve been trying to do something for the last nine years in my classroom. That’s right, I teach my students about racism so they are aware of the ugly truth when people think and believe they are superior over others. We read literature like “March” by John Lewis. “Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry” and “The Watson’s Go to Birmingham” all stories about racism in the perspective of the black person.
We discuss the issues and I have them write speeches on how they can end racism. The ideas, the articulations, and the passion that these kids display is nothing less than that of what I read in social media- wait- again I give too much credit to the adults- these speeches by sixth graders are not passive aggressive memes to rile up the masses. They are the raw and radical ideas of the mind of a child who hasn’t been jaded by society, and if they come to my class believing they are superior to others then they are UNLEARNING racism.
As much as I would like to give money to an organization that helps fight racism, I really don’t know if that’s enough. As much as I would like to stand in front of a political institute with my signs and fist in the air, again, I don’t know if that’s enough. Heck, writing and publishing this post is definitely not enough because my audience is only in the two digits zone. I don’t have enough of an audience to influence anyone- I’m not Oprah or Glennon Doyle.
But you know what? I actually do have an audience. Hundreds of little minds ready to learn and discover the world around them. My blog and social media accounts may not reach further than my front door, but I have a platform that is more powerful than any I can think of. EDUCATION!! Teaching our children to care about others regardless of race, class, beliefs, sex, or sexual orientation and whatever differences we have! That right there is what we need to do more of. I call for all educators to teach our children better. If you’re a racist or sexist teacher then I challenge you to educate yourself about these issues.
What’s the point of teaching our children the academics to become an Engineer, Doctor, Lawyer, Plumber or Construction Worker if we don’t teach them to be kind to EVERYONE?!?
Yes the world needs kindness and love and equality, but these concepts don’t just fall from the sky, they have to be taught. What the world needs is EDUCATION in order to achieve the riches of equality, love, kindness and most importantly peace!
In the words of one of my students, “It will take an ENTIRE generation for racism to end and it begins with education!”
Please share if you feel other educators need to be reminded as to why we became teachers in the first place.
At the beginning of every school year I like to my students about my grandma. I teach 6th grade “gifted” Language Arts, that means I teach a specialized group of kids who are above their grade level in reading, writing, creativity and critical thinking. Basically I teach kids who read well.
When we are first getting to know each other, before all the academic stuff happens, I tell my students a story about how I struggled with reading when I was young, because I did not have a lot of exposure to literature based on my family’s background, thus giving me a bit of a late start on literacy. When my students learn that my grandma never learned to read, they are in disbelief.
I tell them this story for several reasons- one, that you can do anything if you are determined, and two, don’t take literacy and education for granted. As much as this pandemic is showing us the value of public education and the importance of equity, we will never have perfect access to educating our children. I want my students to appreciate the gift of reading and the value of hard work. This is because my grandma taught me what matters most in this side of the world.
As I was taking a trip down memory lane, I kept thinking about the legacy my grandmother left. It’s actually quite ironic with a bit of surprise and a big dose of humility. These stories and memories of her bring me to a place of gratitude and in a lot ways gave me a new perspective on life.
You see, my grandma was poor in the eyes of the world. She did not seek success in the way the world does- with grasping and hoarding. If my grandma ever had “dreams” for herself, I will never know. Did she dream about becoming a doctor or actress? Did she want to pursue a business endeavor that would make her rich? I honestly don’t know. All I saw and knew about her life was nothing but giving of herself and loving her family. Right or wrong, she loved and accepted everyone, and that is no exaggeration.
In a world that values and is obsessed with materialism and status, my grandma didn’t seem to worry too much about having a house that represented Martha Stewart’s expectations, in fact, when you walked into her house all you would see from wall to wall were pictures of her family and Jesus (and some of those Jesus pictures were pretty scary too, especially to a little girl, just saying). No abstract art, or R.C Gorman paintings, because to her the masterpieces in her life were the people she created; the world she painted on the canvas of her heart, was her faith and her family. She didn’t care if you thought her house looked tacky or maybe a little obnoxious, her pride for her family and faith shone brighter than any Georgia O’Keeffe painting. That’s right family, we are way more valuable than a flower painting! Who would have thought that every time we entered her house, we were entering a museum of the finest pieces of art in our history!
This is why her legacy is so ironic and humbling. Growing up, I always thought I was deprived because of how poor we were. I learned to become jealous of my peers because they always seemed to have more- the name brand clothes, the latest technology- and by that I mean CD players and game consoles like Nintendo- they would go on vacations and they always seem to possess some sort of cool gadget we couldn’t afford to have, and I would end up feeling left out. It’s interesting now, looking back, that I use to believe I was not only deprived of material stuff, but deprived of a “normal” family.
It’s easy to look at others and think they are better off than you. In fact, I bet they would be shocked and surprised to find out how happy you think they are (Oooo that is Twitter worthy right there, except I don’t tweet). We all want to have a family that looks like or resembles the Norman Rockwell paintings, where everyone gets along, everyone is happy and well fed. Instead we belong to families whose flaws are questionable and some who are just down right scary. Some families are truly broken. Others are just trying to survive, and then there are families who are so fucked up, it’s funny.
Grandma was never the person to try and be what she wasn’t, and she never tried to force her will on her family. At least from my perspective. Whenever I was in my grandma’s presence, I NEVER felt bad about myself. I don’t know exactly how she did it, but her love seemed to overcome any negative emotions that usually surface when dealing with family members or other people in general. In other words, she never held it against me if I stayed away too long. She never gave me a dig about not calling enough, or try to repay me if I didn’t meet some expectation. It didn’t matter to her what you did or how you treated her or others, she just loved you. She never made you feel bad for being human.
All of this had me thinking about how her life was just “different” than that of the average person. And then I realized something divine. My grandma was not an ordinary average person, she was in fact a courageous Angel. Even though the average eye would only see a woman, a poor woman with no education, a woman who might be considered “non-essential” in our society, would miss the true sight of someone who was a direct messenger of the divine, because Angels are divine beings who tell us about God.
How ironic and humbling that even though my grandma never read the Bible, or studied theology or mouthed off about her opinions and beliefs, her life directly represented what it means to love as Jesus loved. No agendas, no getting even, no guilt trips and no grudges. Instead, she gave love, hospitality, forgiveness, grace, and joy.
What surprised me the most these last few days of grieving is how much I realized what an Angel my grandma was to my sisters and me, and to the whole family. To think I was deprived when all along I was protected, cherished, valued and how fortunate I was to have such an Angel in my life. How could anyone be deprived when you have such valuable treasures right in front you?
The old adage rings true- “you don’t know what you have until it’s gone.” Even more so, the expression, “Heaven has gained an Angel” could not be more true. Ofelia was always an Angel, she is just in a different form now, and so her spirit lives on in us now- to those who she called family.
I hate good-byes. I hate how permanent they sound, and I hate how awkward they feel, because deep inside, it hurts to say it. “Good-bye.”
The one thing Kevin told me was the hardest part about being a Senior during this pandemic- it wasn’t the graduation ceremony, not missing the silly prom, or the other activities that would not be experienced- he said the hardest part was not being able to say “good-bye” to his peers. To give that final send off before they all head in their own directions.
I suppose that’s why I hate the sentiment. I don’t want to accept that life brings changes. Sometimes I want everything to be as they were. Especially when everything and everyone around me is doing just fine. Saying, “Good-bye,” feels like I’m okay with whatever was and it is now over. It is time to move on.
Life can be cruel. It doesn’t ask you when you are ready for good-byes. It’ll lift you right out of your-self and BAM! change. What is even worse is not knowing what is ahead. What do these changes mean?
I am not talking about the pandemic- although it sure sounds like it. No. I’m talking about the death of my grandma. As I type this post, she is lying on a hospice bed ready to have her last breath. I had the choice to go and see her; to say “good-bye.” I couldn’t do it. I did not want to do it. I may have a change of heart, it all depends on what happens tomorrow. This pandemic doesn’t help the situation either.
Death always makes me reflect about my own mortality, and how fragile and precious life is.
Let me tell you about my grandma. She raised my sisters and me. She was married at 16. Never learned how to read, instead she had to work in the fields on her parents land during the Great Depression. She sent off her husband to fight in World War II. She had a baby that passed away at 6 months because she lived too far away to get the help she needed. She adopted a little girl afterward. Raised four boys. One of those boys was rather wild and never left the nest- that would be my dad and why my sisters and I lived with her and our grandpa (Pita). Pita died in 1990. She lived the remainder of her life widowed.
She NEVER held grudges. She worried WAY TOO MUCH about her family. She prayed everyday. She cooked and baked for her family. She loved the casino, perhaps too much. Oh, and she only spoke Spanish. That’s important because all of her grandchildren do not. We can understand and speak a few words in Spanish, but we are not fluent. Yet, we were able to communicate with her. That’s what happens when love is the dominate language. Love can break any barriers, including a language barrier. That woman loved her family NO MATTER WHAT!
The world will not know or miss Ofelia Abeyta, but her family will. We have been touched by her strength, courage, and unconditional love. Her legacy is her family.
So I will not say, “good-bye” to this amazing woman. I will say, “see you soon, Grandma!” or better yet, we are going to sit in heaven and drink a beer and tell stories. Yes, there is beer in heaven.
I love you Grandma! I am the woman I am today because of your love for me. You loved me when everyone else seemed to abandoned me. You helped me to understand the meaning of love AND the meaning of family. You taught me those words are one and the same.
I hope you have someone in your life who has touched you as the way my grandma has touched mine. Most importantly, I hope you will be the Grandma in this crazy world. To love your family and friends unconditionally.
Friends, I know this time seems unsettling and there is a lot of fear and anxiety going around. One thing I know for sure is that this pandemic has effected all of us, but not necessarily in the same way.
I’ve seen a lot of crazy hurtful deeds during this time, as well as some comic relief. I have also witnessed a lot of good and light during this dark time.
Much like yourself, I too have had waves of emotions and times where I felt helpless and depressed. Learning how to navigate “social distancing” and having a house full of the people I love ALL DAY long can have its toll. It’s tempting to go down the spiral of depression, anxiety, anger and confusion. I for one, noticed how gloomy and anxious I was becoming, and then trying to manage the people in my household who also were feeling overwhelmed with everything around them, was a lot to carry.
With all that said I discovered something that might help during this time. There has been a lot of good advice out there on how to cope and manage what we are all going through. Meditate, pick up a new hobby or delve yourself into the hobby you are already doing, virtual meetings with family and friends, clean the house (maybe), read, write, and one of the best are those virtual Happy Hours. There are messages about having grace with ourselves and fellow friends as we go through this unprecedented time.
I want to encourage you, especially if you are feeling pretty crummy, to consider helping someone else through this. I know we are “social distancing” but that doesn’t mean you can’t help. If there is one thing in my life that has really helped me and the wisdom that was given to me, is that when we start serving others we tend to feel good about that, and when we feel good about ourselves, we are less likely to feed the negativity that allows us to fall on ourselves with depression and anxiety.
When we start focusing on helping other people, we don’t have time to think about ourselves and our situation, therefore, we start spreading kindness, love, and gratitude.
Now you don’t have to do something grand and enormous. You don’t have to be rich or educated to help others. All it takes is a little time and a little effort along with some creativity and courage to do something for someone else.
Just a few weeks ago, when this all got started, a dear friend of mine left a card, a toilet paper roll, and a bag of chocolate chip cookies to bake on my front door. The cover on the card was beautifully painted and had the words, “Collect Memories, Not Stuff,” and on the inside she told me how much our friendship meant to her. Let me tell you, that brightened up my day and it felt good to know that other people care.
You see, it doesn’t take a whole lot to show someone you care, or to do something for someone else. I know you know people in your life who may need a little uplifting. Perhaps you know someone who needs a little more help, because as I mentioned earlier, this pandemic has hit us all in very different ways.
Here are a few ideas on what you can do to help someone else:
1. Start a Virtual Book Club/Happy Hour with friends.
2. Put together care packages with your friend’s favorite candy, food, books etc. and leave it at their door.
3. If you are blessed financially purchase a lap top for a student who does not have one.
4. Write thank you notes.
5. Write that letter.
6. Make masks and donate them.
7. Pull weeds for an elderly neighbor’s yard.
8. Order and pay for an elderly’s groceries.
9. Order take out for someone else.
You get the point. No matter how small, or how silly, do it. I promise you it will help diminish the depression and anxiety. If you really feel like doing something a little more, find a cause to support. Mentor or Tutor a young kid who needs support. Big Brothers Big Sisters is a wonderful organization that will give you a match, and I promise you that the Mentors get more out of it.
So stop posting political bullshit on your social media and start doing something for someone else. Your politics (and religion) mean nothing when you are not living it. No political post on my Facebook feed is going to change the world, but helping someone else, giving of our time, resources and creativity… will!
If you are so inclined, and you have other ideas to share about how to help or encourage others, please leave the ideas in the comments.
UGH!! Politics! Who needs it? Every time I scroll through my Social Media page there it is- someone ranting or arguing about social justice political idealism. So much to say, so little time.
The truth is I don’t care about your politics! To think a politician, a system or a belief is going to “fix” what is so inherently broken is foolish. I want to tell everyone to STOP!! Just stop with all the back and forth on who and what is going to give us the best economic growth, why pro-life is even a political issue, and the propaganda that puts fear in the lives of voters.
EVERY TIME. Every. Single. Time….I read a commentary on issues like gun control and abortion I wonder where their ideas come from in the first place. One side says, “Don’t take away my rights to bear arms, but let me take away your rights to your uterus.” One side says let’s have some sort of gun control as if that would “fix” the mass shootings happening way too often, while the other side blames mental health.
What is wrong with the world is not of a political issue. The problems we face are not going to be fixed by our current corrupted Government. The reason is that the problems we face are ones of moral values that are way more complicated than how we vote or who we vote for. Therefore,the world doesn’t need YOUR opinion on YOUR political stance to make this world a better place!!SO STOP trying to convince me about your party, your president, and your belief system.
As a mom and educator I have faced these issues and wondered how best to approach them. How do I raise my own children and my students to the morals and values of equality and justice. Yes, I teach them that voting is a right and necessary. Yes, we discuss issues like racism, classism, sexism and all the other isms. We quote the Declaration of Independence and every morning we stand and pledge our allegiance to the United States of America! What I find more and more terrifying is the apathy I see when we discuss about the injustices. Doesn’t it make sense though? I mean if we are teaching our kids to leave the “issues and problems” to the politicians so we can eat, drink and be merry, why should we care?
Until we can all face our own corruption and encourage the world to a “spiritual and moral awakening,” rather than a political one, will change start to happen. The Government is not going to take care of us. The Government DOES NOT EVEN CARE ABOUT YOUR CHILDREN! Just take a good look at our public school systems! I am not preaching anarchy, I’m simply stating that if we want our lives and the lives of those around us to be better than it was yesterday, we need to be the ones to roll up our sleeves and get involved. Politics will not be enough!
We all want to be successful. Whether that be in our careers, relationships, or in our recreation and hobbies. We are taught from a young age that in order to be successful you must work hard, and if you want to be more successful than your peer, then you must work harder than your peer. If you want to be the most successful then anyone else, then you must sacrifice and/or find “ways” to succeed, even it that means compromising honesty, integrity and whole hearted values.
It isn’t unusual to hear about people who work too hard that they end up with headaches, stomach problems and sleepless nights. Some people work so hard they get heart attacks and strokes. We all know someone who just works until they are ragged, and think thats a good measurement of success.
With running there is no difference. You hear about runners who train so hard and so much they end up injured or dying.
With all the technology we have today to improve our athletic abilities- hydration drinks, nutrition and protein shakes, pre-workout supplements, recovery drinks and so forth, there is one piece of the equation I believe that doesn’t get as much attention as it should, and not just in the case of running. That is the importance of recovery while resting.
As human animals, because we really are just animals, we need rest in order to live well. Most animals use winter time to recover, rest and recharge for the spring and summer days.
God even took one day of rest after he created the entire Universe, which tells us that if even an all powerful being, who doesn’t even sleep, needs rest, how important is it for us?
We do not value the concept of rest. We get up early and work until it’s way past dark and applaud those who do. We use our weekends to get ahead, to play hard, to catch up on the chores and get away to “do” something.
We just simply do not have the time rest. So our bodies AND our minds pay for it.
Science and research are starting to discover, or at least beginning to realize an old truth, that rest is part of the wholeness of health. Rest is in fact just as important as exercise and diet.
One of the reasons some people give up on running so quick is because they don’t give themselves permission to rest, recover and recharge. They want to run faster and longer as soon as possible. They don’t want to wait for months or years to be where they want to be with their goals. So they turn to gimmicks like recovery drinks or something like steroids.
So if you are new to running- give yourself time to rest, recover and recharge. That means taking a day off completely. And when I say take a day off- I mean a day off from everything. No running, no working, no catching up on chores. If you are like me, and need a somewhat clean house to be restful, do it the day before. Taking a day off means reading a book, watching movies, listening to music while writing in a journal. Taking a warm bath. It means taking the time to also reconnect with yourself. Resting is not just for the body, but it is especially for the mind. As a coach I try to teach my athletes the value of meditation or visualization while resting after a workout.
I know it sounds unrealistic, especially if you have a family, with soccer, swimming, dance and baseball games, and endless hours of homework, so it’s going to be very difficult to find the time to rest. SO maybe instead of a whole day, it could be one or two hours of just resting the body, soul and mind.
I cannot stress enough on how important this one missed piece of the puzzle this truly is. I am a believer that this little treasure does not only work with athletes, but with every single person. Imagine if we all came from a place of ease, rest and peace, instead of a place of dis-ease, restlessness, and stress?
That’s right! Running sucks– because it is hard. So why on earth would anyone want to do it? For starters runners have cute butts. Who doesn’t want an ass you can bounce a quarter off? 🙂
In all seriousness, building endurance and stamina takes time. Not every run is going to go smooth, in fact most runs are challenging and incorporate some kind of pain. This is what separates the tough from the lazy. If you ask any great athlete, it takes months and years to master a skill. To get better at running, therefore, is to go out and run. Before running my marathons, I was running half marathons, and before running half marathons I was running 10Ks, and before running 10Ks I was running 5Ks… you get the point. So technically it has taken me five years to build up my endurance for the 26.2 miles.
You see, after making the decision to start running or to improve your running performance, it’s going to suck. This is because you will experience some kind of pain, some kind of set back, and it probably won’t feel good the first few times you go out. But when your body finally starts to transform and you are taken away by the euphoria of what is known as the runner’s high- all the pain is soon worth it. And let me tell you, it is definitely worth it.
Now, if the pain scares you, be encouraged, you are stronger than you think you are, and sometimes you will have to FORCE yourself to keep going. This is why running is so dependent on mentality.
Running is 90% mental- 10% perseverance. The physical part follows the path of your mentality and your perseverance. Most people have the opposite in mind. They follow the physical and let that lead their mentality which shortens or kills any potential of gaining the price.
There is something about pain during exercise/running that tells people to STOP; however, when we listen to that voice, we prevent ourselves from true transformation. It is IN the pain that trains your body to run further, faster and to transform your body.
So today’s tip– ALWAYS work through the pain. Go that extra second, minute, rep, whatever it is. Push yourself beyond your limits and you will succeed.
Of course don’t be stupid and work yourself to an injury- that is why recovery is so important. So stay tuned for the next post about the importance of rest.
I have ran and finished two marathons. My first marathon I finished with a time of 5 hours 10 minutes. My second marathon I finished with a time of 4 hours and 29 minutes. It’s not that impressive when compared to elite runners who can run it in 2 -3 hours, however, the fact that I can run for 26.2 miles is impressive and so I’d like to share to those of you who are entertaining the thought about running.
I remember a few years ago when I thought I would never be one of “those” people– the 26.2 sticker on the back window of their car. The people who get up at o’dark o’clock to squeeze in some miles. The people who seem to check the weather constantly in hopes that by some miracle the weather will change to ideal conditions to help with a PR (Personal Record). Yup, even running has its own acronyms and language. Soon, you will be talking about pacing, sub (place number of miles here), splits, hitting the wall and so forth. The running community is definitely a different kinda world, but don’t let it intimidate you and don’t write it off just yet.
What I love about running is that there are no concrete rules to follow. You pretty much make it what you want. You want to run 1 mile, great! Want to walk/run for twenty minutes, awesome! The best part about this sport, is that you compete with yourself, not necessarily other runners. It doesn’t matter at all what place you get in a race. IT DOESN’T MATTER! What does matter? Finishing the race. Beating your time from the last one, if that is your goal. You never see a Facebook post saying, “I came in 3,921st!”
I could go on and on why running is the best sport/ exercise there is, but what I really want is for you to realize that it doesn’t matter how athletic you are, what your fitness level is, or if you are an athlete, running makes your life better!
I was first introduced to running by my uncle. There was something fascinating about racing. I joined the track team in middle school and then high school. I mostly ran sprints, specifically the hurdles in track and field. I joined Cross Country my freshman year. It wasn’t my favorite sport, but I ran to help with my track career. Distance was something I didn’t think I could do very well.
I wanted to run track in college but instead I got married, then divorced, re-married had two kids, divorced again, re-married had another baby. Needless to say running was put on the back burner for the next few years.
Running was something I did when I had a chance, in order to get a work out in, or to help me shed a few extra pounds gained from all the IPAs I loved. I would sign up for races like the Chips and Salsa, Duke City, but I would only run the 5Ks (3.1 miles), because anything longer than that seemed impossible.
I remember being in awe when I would hear of others finishing their marathons. My very dear and best friend completed 9 marathons, along with half marathons, batton marches and bike races! This is where the proximity principle comes in handy. When you start to hang out with people accomplishing big goals, you start to get influenced. This is why joining running groups is so important. I prefer running alone, but that doesn’t mean I can’t be a part of groups for accountability and once in a while I will run with a friend. So if you are thinking about embarking on your own journey, find someone who inspires you with their own track record and ask them questions, join a running group, or log on to google and start searching. There are tons of resources out there, but the best ones, in my opinion, are the people around you.
It wasn’t until after the birth of my third child that I started thinking seriously about running. I signed up for 10Ks (6.2 miles) instead of 5ks. One year at the Chips and Salsa race, I placed 1st in my age group for the 10K and something inside me whispered that maybe I could run a half marathon (13.2 miles).
When talking with other runners, they would tell me, “If you can run 6 miles you can run 13.” They added, “What you run in your training, you can double during a race.” I wasn’t too sure about that advice, since there is a huge difference from 3 miles to 6 miles to the scary 13 miles, in my opinion.
So I signed up for my first half marathon at the Duke City Marathon back in 2017. I had no idea what to expect, how to train and what I needed to do with my nutrition to support my training. So I asked my runner friends about training, read articles from Runner’s World, joined Facebook running groups. My goal was anything faster than 2 hours. Sure enough I ran a 1:58 for my first half marathon. After that, I have not been able to PR the next few half marathons I ran. I am not sure why, the only thing that changed was my diet. Back then I was eating Isagenix and using their supplements and stopped for a bit, so needless to say, I started on their program again, and I don’t regret the extra few dollars I spend for it.
So here I am two marathons later, and have several people asking me what the secret is. So I have decided to write a series of posts to share some of the experiences if you are at all interested in joining the dark side.
The first step- BELIEVE.
Before you buy those cute running shoes, and turn on your play list for that first run, you need to check your attitude. Just like you need fuel before you start your vehicle and head down the road, you need to fill your mind with positive beliefs. If you HATE running then you are probably not going to go very far. If you had bad experiences with running, then you are probably going to avoid it. If you think you just don’t have the stamina or endurance, then you are right.
You have to change your mindset about running.
You have to believe that you can run. Believe that you can run fast. Believe that you can run far. Believe that you can cross that finish line! Once you make that decision to believe in yourself and run, you will begin a love/ hate relationship that will benefit you in ways you can’t even imagine. Not to mention that you will surround yourself with a community that kicks ass.