Monday, June 22, 2009

"You know, I've been thinkin'. . . "

This weekend was amazing! I ran, hands down, the best run of my life. It changed me. Wow, I change a lot. I think I'm sort of change junkie. It's the gardener in me. Plants grow the best when they are challenged. I love a good challenge.

Anyway, I'm planning on posting a long entry with lots of pictures from my weekend later—promise.

First, I just wanted to post something for Music Monday.

Can one person with one idea change the world? Fifteen years ago someone said, "What if we got a team of twelve together and ran from Logan to Park City on back roads and mountain trails." Well, that tiny seed of an idea grew into one of the largest running events in the west. Nearly 9000 nearly crazy, hard—and soft—bodied souls ran with little food, less sleep, in cramped driving conditions, through pelting rain and intense heat. Because somebody said "What if?"

When an idea is first planted there's not much too it. But if you let it grow, nourish it and let it take root. It will grow. Share it with a friend and who knows what can happen.

I first saw this on Melinda M. blog last year. Here's the link to this video if you'd like to watch the entire screen. Read more about Matt's dancing adventures here.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

One telephone pole at a time.

Friday, I'm running with twelve teammates to bridge the distance over the Back of the Wasatch Mountains from Logan to Park City, Utah. That's 180+ miles if you are wondering. In 24 hours. My personal chunk of the mileage is 16.8 miles broken up into three segments, including a lung burning four mile climb over Guardsman Pass above Midway, Utah where I will run 4 miles at 8,000+ feet gaining 1700 feet in elevation. Did I mention I'm running it at 3:00 in the afternoon. The hottest part of the day?

Yes. I am nervous. But I have trained hard and I am ready. I've done all I can do to prepare so it's out of my hands. Time to put my faith into a higher power.

Ten years ago I couldn't run a half mile. I was that girl in gym who did everything possible to get out of that treacherous mile and half run. Running was for suckers and people with no imagination. So I told myself to hide the envy I felt for all those svelte cross country stars.

By the time I was in my mid twenties I had numerous health problems. I felt old, tired and unattractive. I never wanted to go anywhere or see anyone because I knew that people were judging me. For being overweight. Ugly. Lazy. I hated myself and it showed in my charming personality. But I accepted my weight and my sorry life as what God intended. I was just one of those women with big bones. I was born to be heavy. I deeply resented "naturally thin" women. It was so unfair. Why didn't God want that for me?

Then I overheard two "naturally thin" women planning their week in the halls in church one Sunday. At five a.m. every morning they were running at least 5 miles. They'd been doing this every weekday morning for years. It hit me like a stack of hymn books. Natural thinness was a myth. Like small bone structure. These women worked very hard to maintain health and shape. They ran through heat and snow and freezing temperatures every single day. I couldn't stop thinking about that. I pondered that revelation a very long time.

If they could do that. So could I. Right? Maybe? Why not. At least I could try. Then I got angry. Angry at all the naysayers who ever said I couldn't do those things. Angry at the gym coaches and school teachers, and immature adolescent boys who said I was too fat or brainless or ugly. Most of all, I was angry at myself for believing that humongous pile of crap! It was all a myth. And I had fallen for it!

So I pulled an old pair of aerobics shoes out of my closet and went for a run. I ran the distance between two telephone poles before I had to stop and catch my breath.

The next day I ran it again.

And again,

and again,

and again.

Adding distance one telephone pole at a time. My view of myself changed on those runs. All those negative voices started to fall away. Left in the dust of my running trail. Instead of only seeing the things I wasn't capable of, I began to see all the things I was. After a month of running six days a week at six a.m. I ran two miles.

I cried.

Never in my entire life did I think I could run two whole miles. It's still logged in my memory as one of the best days of my life. I went home so ecstatic over what I'd accomplished that I chucked all the junk food stashed in my house. I wanted to be able to run far and I couldn't do it on EL Fudge and licorice. In another month I was up to four miles, then six, eight, ten, twelve. Every mile marker was another milestone adding to a positive believe in myself. Please don't mistake what I'm saying. It was not easy. It never is. But it did get more tolerable in time. And after a while. I needed those runs like I needed nutritious food and water. My biology changed. My spirit became one with my body.

In six months, I lost over 45 lbs. My new confidence led me to apply for a teaching position at a local college. I job that I love. A job I could never have imagined for myself 15 years ago. The quality of my relationships improved and I created many new friendships as I used my new found confidence to try new things. I became a better mother. More organized, tidy and full of life and energy. And I started writing because I finally felt like I had something important to say. I changed my belief in myself one telephone pole at a time.

We are all capable of extraordinary things. The adversary doesn't want us to believe that. He wants us to decompose on our sofas in self loathing. Changing how we feel about ourselves is not easy. Losing that weight, writing, staying organized, teaching college students are all incredibly challenging at times. I have to work at it every single day. It's a struggle to lace my sneakers and get my tired butt out the door. In the same way that it's a challenge to put my butt in the chair to write or put that delicious chocolate chip cookie back in the cookie jar. I just do it and worry about the consequences later. Because the joy is in the journey and once I take those first few steps or type those first few words it's just a matter of going as far as I can that day. One telephone pole at a time.

Monday, June 1, 2009

I have a blister where? Music Monday

It's Monday already? Sheesh this summer is getting ahead of me. I have far too much to do this week to spend time on my blog. But I had to leave something for you to do while I'm feverishly scrambling to catch up. 

For Music Monday, I picked something a little reminiscent of high school. One band stuck with me through all of the drama and angst of adolescence. Especially when my parent's unceremoniously ripped me out of school my senior year and dragged me kicking and screaming from our little cabin in the mountains of Midway, Utah for the urban sprawl of THAT WEST DESERT town not ever to be named here. (We'll call it Area 51.5). One band kept me sane. Or crazy. I'm still undecided. 

BTW Stephenie Meyer got the moving in high school thing all wrong. Maybe if there were vampires in my new high school things would have been better. Not because I wanted to date one. (I have strong opinions about icy metrosexuals in white turtle necks. *shudder*) But because I would have begged them to rip my throat out right in front of that giant statue of a buffalo in the school foyer. Anything would have been better than being the only senior suffering through conjugation in sophomore french. (I hope Utah has finally standardized graduation requirements.)  

Moving my senior year still sits near the top of the list of things in my life that completely sucked. Wedged somewhere between watching my mother suffer through a brain tumor and season 4 of Lost. 

High School did have it's upside. I experienced a gold mine of material for my books. Not the least of which was how to get the lead in the school play as the move in. This is not a good thing by the way. There was no Zac Ephron in Area 51.5. High School Musical left out the scene where the disgruntled ingenue eggs the new girl's house. No wonder I stifled my talents in favor of brutal self-deprecation. Poking fun at myself was much better than cleaning wet toilet paper out of the olive trees. So instead of dazzling them with my abilities, I learned to how be funny and aloof and smile wide even when feeling completely alone. 

But everyday after the school parking lot had cleared and I'd shoved those hideous purple gym shorts back in my locker. I'd drive through the maze of beige and brown sprawl to this CD, cranking up the speakers until they crackled as I sang my lungs out. 

Gross Point Blank is the movie referenced here if you were wondering. Great flick. One of John Cusack's finest. (I heart John. I heart funny men. Nerdy, slightly quirky guys in particular. Nerd guys rule! *Sigh*)