Friday, September 28, 2012

Standing Ovation

Enduramoments is the name of this blog because I believe it takes endurance to conquor most  aspects of life...especially the challenges.  I also talk about endrance in respect to running, which has been my savior over the past 18 months. 

This post is dedicated to the wonderful people in my life...some are old friends from long ago, some I've only known for 6 or 7 years, others even less although their impact on my life and overall well-being has been just as great.

On and off throughout the toughest moments of the last year and a half, I leaned on a lot of people.  Some are sorority sisters from college whom I have known since before I was able to legally drink alcohol.  Others have come into my life through work, acquaintances or other general circumstances.  Finally, some have entered within the past year but have made such an important impact, they feel like they have been a part of my life forever.  Individuals that I've met through my running club, work or even a feeble attempt at online dating.  Friends... you know who you are and I'm writing this to tell you what you mean to me.

I find it amazing that certain friendly relationships serve such specific purposes.  Each close friend has a place in my heart because they are unique and because of their specific values and traits which when one considers the overall picture, have helped me survive this far in the process withougt giving up, running away or completely losing my marbles.

To clear things up, I have been divorced for less than six months.  However, this has been an ongoing process for over 2 years.  I cannot possibly describe every single cherished friend and how they have helped me, so do not despair if you don't see yourself in this post.  All of you are within these words.  Each and every one of you and you know who you are.  What I will say, is that some of you will think to yourself...hey she's writing about ME!

It's been a rough month.  The daily struggle to keep my head above water sometimes takes its toll and I get so very tired.  It's felt like the last 10k of a marathon for weeks and all I want to do is sit down on the side of the road and say "to hell with it" and take a DNF.  Since that's not really an option, I look to my friends for encouragement.  One of my newest but dearest friends, that I will call Jill for the sake of anonymity, gave me my pep talk during a run one day.  She said, "you know during the Olympics or when watching Ironman on tv, they do a backstory on some of the athletes?  The story always has something to do with overcoming adversity or taking a terrible situation and beating the odds to do something really great.  Well, that's you.  Greatness doesn't come from someone who hasn't known hardship...you will be the person they do the story on because you were at the very bottom and your climbing your way back up."  Triumph in the face of adversity...I sometimes think of my situation just as she said, a backstory of terrible struggle from which I will do... no, BE someone great.  Jill has great intellectual thoughts that I would never come up with on my own. Smartypants:)


On the other hand, I have Laura.  She sometimes bosses me around and yells at me but it's ok, I need that.  She also helps me find humor in things.  I was telling her about my recent trip to the unemployment office to meet with a case worker about some documentation issues.  While there I heard "clang! clang! clang!"  What the hell was that???  I look and see an older gentlemen with a white moustache nodding to people as he walks away from a bell hanging on a pole.  "Oh yay!" says the case worker, "that means he got a job!"  Since I personally do NOT have a job, I admitted to Laura that my first thought was that I wanted to take that goddamn bell and shove it up his ass.  Ring the bell NOW, ass hat!  (I know...I know).  Laura says to me, "that's the shit you need to write down.  Remember that because it will keep you sane and put a little humor into something that is so NOT funny."  She is correct.  That gentleman would make some funny noises walking around with a bell shoved up his ass. 

The stories that come out of Alison's mouth while running keep me going (and chuckling) for weeks at a time.  My favoite one has to do with a condom, a banana and a very akward dinner converation.  I'll leave it at that. 

My buddy Ken has been my partner in crime and although he probably hates it, he doesn't complain (at least out loud) when I force him to go to the beach and throw a football, run, ride or take the day off to just waste it.

Shelby has given me endless advice around community resources, how to handle some legal situations and has been a role model of how to take the hits that come at you but never lay down.

One of my friends that I am so grateful for and I'm sure he has no idea, is Adam.  Adam sees things just a hair differently than I do but that allows me to see the gems of opporunity that sparkle now and then through the dark cloud of struggle.  He reminds me to enjoy those little sparkles (ok, those are my words not his.  He would never say 'sparkle').  He also did the one thing that has made the biggest difference in the past week.  He gave me something to do.  Just a few hours of work a week, but he gave me a purpose.  He also understands that I have shit that goes on in my head and thoughts that sometimes have a mind of their own and reminds me "don't let the voices win!". 

Stacy has a positivity that rubs off on me whether I want it to or not. Her bubbly energy makes me smile when it hurts and as someone of my own generation, she often has a good view of what is, what should be and what should not.

Tim gave me perspective by showing me what could be if you fast forward my life by a few years. Advice on how to be ok being alone, how to handle kid stuff and a calmness that surrounded me like a warm blanket.

During the worst of times, my cohort in late Boston nights and Southie dive bars was Dana.  We are both doing much better but having someone there to lament life and love with was critical.  Plus, we found the best mixologist in Beantown!

Darcy also understands parenting as one instead if two and the struggles of being a woman without a partner in life. We've even danced together in her livingroom, trying like crazy people to learn a dance made for teenagers.  I still picture that every time I hear that specific song. Glad no one got that on film!

It would be tough to get through the week without my friends in the running clubs that I look forward to seeing every week.  Diversion is a great way to avoid stuff!  We talk races, running and beer.  Somehow it ends up being all about the beer.  I cannot say enough about my new tri family who so generously adopted me and make me feel like a rock star! I greatly look forward to racing as part of the team and getting to know them.

So, a standing ovation to all of you.  You are loved back and appreciated more than you know.  Probably more than I can express. Sorry if I gave you a lame name replacement but your real names are so cool, there was no improving on perfection!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Mind Over Matter

I have been running long distances for about 5 years now.  Don't get me wrong, I've been a runner all my adult life but not heavy into the miles until more recently.  This past year has been the most challenging year of my life in so many ways.  Abandonment, betrayal, loss of employment, divorce, the death of my beloved dog, financial ruin... you name it, it happened.  One full year later from the beginning of the end, I find myself in a much better place in most regards.  Maybe not financially, but that's a tale for another day. 
 
We all have ways of coping with stress and mine was running.  I used running to escape, to avoid, to punish, to reward and to keep whatever small amount of sanity I had left.  I hit bottom and when I did running was what allowed me to claw my way back up. 

During this time, I trained for and ran lots of half marathons but most noteworthy were the two full marathons... my PR/ Boston Qualifier and Boston itself.  Throughout the training and endless miles, some of which were the according-to-training-schedule kind, some of which were the late-night-by-the-light-of-a-headlamp-sobbing-my-eyes-out-no-idea-where-I'm-going-don't-care-if-I-ever-get-back kind.  Many were somewhere in between.  Point is it was crazy amounts of miles and never was there an injury.  Never was there a twinge of an injury.  God knows I was not kind to my body during this time.  I didn't eat right, in fact I lost a good amount of weight from not eating enough.  I definitely did not sleep well or enough.  I drank. I didn't stretch. I never got a massage.  How is it that staying injury free was even possible?  I think my body and my brain made it possible.  I sometimes wonder if there had been twinges or injuries but my body protected me and did not allow me to feel them.  I do believe my brain was so overloaded with emotional trauma that physically, I hardly felt pain.

The human brain and body are amazing.  Looking back it seems to me that I would not have been able to exist in that swirling cyclone of severe emotional distress without the running.  Running allowed my brain to release endorphins, which are the bodies natural painkillers.  Without the ability to clear the adrenaline that was  constantly being pumped through my system, my body would have gone into overload.  I think my body did what it needed to do to ensure physical survival.

Why do I think this?  Well, time has healed many wounds and I am no longer a shell of myself.  I consider myself happy (for the most part) and on the road to emotional health as well.  I still run, quite a bit although I've decided the late night runs can now wait until daylight and I make sure I know where I'm going.    I decided about 12 weeks ago to run another marathon.  This time, my body decided not to cooperate.  I. Hurt. Everywhere.

Why?  I haven't changed my form.  I eat fairly well.  I get good sleep.  I am more controlled and mindful of sticking to a training plan and not over training.  My body continues to not play nice.  It disagrees with each long run with aches, pains and sometimes a little swelling.  I have always been one to listen to my body and if I get a negative response when I try to work through some pain, then I ease up.  I have had to give up on the marathon that is now only a few weeks away, due to more aches and pains than ever. 

See...I think my body knows I don't NEED running in the same way anymore.  I am able to face challenges and remain whole instead of fracturing into a million tiny pieces as I would have before.  I am in a more positive place now and the running serves many purposes but is no longer essential for survival.  As frustrating as it is to deal with injuries and changing carefully laid plans, it is good to know that my body once again trusts that I can handle adversity and take on new challenges without wanting to drive my car off the road.  My body is free to finally tell me, "hey asshole, that HURTS!!"

Looking back, I am amazed at what I was able to do in a physical sense.  At what other point in your life would you run an 18 miler just because it was "something to do"?? Seriously!  That's just not right! 


So, I guess what I should be doing right now is saying "thank you body", indulging in some much needed rest and learning to be grateful that during a time of crisis and emotional turmoil, I was still able to take care of myself and find inner strength to get through to the other side...even if that act was totally subconscious.  Cherish your body and what it can do because sometimes it's what it doesn't do that turns out to be the blessing.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Meaning of...Running?

Oh Blog!  How I have missed you! 

Working full time sure limits my ability to write and do all things creative.  Not running though...still manage to fit that in.  I described it tonight as a part of life just like eating.  A necessity...

In the world of dating, I am asked about my running quite frequently.  This has the effect of making me think about the role it plays in my life and the meaning I assign to it.  I have come to realize how very important it is.  I used to just say, "I run, it's what I do", which was true.  You find something you're good at and stick with it!  My view of running is evolving however, and becoming more complex.  Yes, it's 'what I do', but WHY?

 There's the obvious...so I can eat (ok and drink) whatever I want!  Then there's the underlying 'runner's high' reason that most people don't really understand, unless they're runners, but pretend to.  Even deeper still is a need, almost a basic human need to be categorized with the others, food, water, shelter, touch... 

It is this deepest level of meaning that I am starting to really explore and understand.  These are thoughts not easily put into words but I'll certainly try!  Think of meditation...kind of an out of body experience.  Of course, running isn't quite like that because tell you what...a lot of time it hurts and I am certainly inside my body feeling that!  It's more the end result I suppose.  A sense of calm and a bit of a mental recharge, not always a physical one, but a slight shift in thinking from whatever my thought process was before the run.  Maybe I'm a little more optimistic, a decision seems a little clearer, anger has dissipated a bit, an insurmountable task seems mountable (wait that's not a good way to say that), er...doable.

There have been times during a run when I am feeling comfortable, not running hard, not struggling, not pushing...where I almost feel like I could close my eyes and coast.  Certain nuances I normally take for granted are more noticeable.  I have discovered that I love the smell of honeysuckle when I'm running. 

All of this would be overwhelming to try to describe to someone if you don't know them well.  I figure though, if I understand how important running is to me and why then explaining it someone else, particularly a non-runner, is a bit easier.  Hopefully, there won't be a time where I am forced to choose between running and someone else.  We all know which one would win.  For right now, I'll keep it as my paradise mixed with some pain and discomfort, that ultimately leads me to a place where I am closer to my ideal self, the one that is happy-go-lucky, optimistic, sunny, good natured and endlessly patient.  Stay strong and keep on running.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Finally...the Boston Race Report

It's been a few weeks and for that I apologize.  As I'm sure you all know, life doesn't slow down after a big event or even enough to let you wade in its glory.  That being said, I will fill you all in on my Boston experience, good, bad and ugly.

The day itself was preceded by many days of fretting, planning and worrying about the logistics of how and when I could get myself to the start and what to do about the projected heat and many warnings put out by the BAA. Heat forces Boston Marathon runners to adjust

 Once that was figured out, I could focus on the race itself.  My plan was to spend the night at a friend's house about 20 min from Hopkinton (otherwise known as... the start).  That worked out well actually, and with the guidance of a wised runner,, we knew just where to go for an easy drop off.  The shuttle took me and a busload of other runners, over to Athlete's Village.  What a sight!  I've never seen so many runners in one spot!  Music and announcements blaring, people everywhere and choppers flying overhead.  Not to mention this was the day people dream about in New England.. 80 degrees or above and sunny.  Shade was hard to find in the Village but I found some and managed to stay cool until the announcement of my wave.  Once that happened, all bets were off.  As a throng of runners made their way out of Athlete's Village toward the buses to check our gear and then the corrals at the start, the sweating began.  It was hot.  After finding my bus and checking my gear, I palled around with some other runners from Maine as we made our way to the start.  Corrals?  Nope, whatever was going on, things must have gotten behind so as we all made our way to the corral area and start line, the announcer was telling us to just go, don't stop, time to RUN!

Off we went. OH CRAP!  Now, an important part of Boston is knowing the first half is downhill.  It was not the easiest thing to do but I held back enough for the first half so I didn't blow up the second half.  Some of the time I felt the downhill, sometimes I did not.  What I did know, is that due to the lack of downtime at the start (which was a major bummer for many) I did not get my final pee.  I realized as I ran that I had to pee but thought the weather was extreme enough that I wouldn't have to pee for long.  Totally wrong there.  Since the weather was so hot, residents were outside with hoses, the fire dept opened a few hydrants and people were throwing water left and right.  Needless to say, the hoses and hydrants, in addition to the water I was dumping on my head every mile made me a wet soppy mess.  Given the amount of water being thrown at me...I decided instead of stopping to pee at a portapotty, I would pee while running!  Ahhh...seems so simple doesn't it?  Nope wasn't happening.  By mile 13 I figured I'd just find a porta potty and get it over with.  I wasted a whole 2 minutes waiting for that thing!!!! What the hell are people DOING in there anyway??? Hello...there's a race going on... get the fuck out and let me have my turn!

Sweet blessed relief!  Now that I was a bit re-energized and not to mention slightly lighter, I was ready to continue.  Now mind you...I am terrible with geography and never bothered to really study a map of the course.  I knew it in general but couldn't tell you which miles were in which towns.  I busied myself by looking at signs, trying to figure out where I was.  I knew there were famous spots on the course that I was looking forward to experiencing but couldn't for the life of me, remember where they were!  As I ran along, I listened to others' conversations and stuck to my race plan which was working wonderfully.  Gatorade for my mouth at each water station and 1 to 2 cups of water on my head each station.  This was working well so far, I was definitely ready for more drink at each mile but the combo of drinking and dumping was working to keep me cool enough to last until the next station.  The hoses and things were great overall, I would never complain.  I do have to point out however that as a runner, I really prefer the rain setting on the hose valve or maybe the mist setting.  Not so much the fire hose setting.  Especially when it catches you on the side of the face.  That's a bit extreme and almost enough to blow my sunglasses off.  I appreciate the gesture really... just careful where you aim that thing. 

Ok, back to the town thing because I actually have a point.  I ran past the sign "Welcome to the Town of Wellesley".  For those of you not familiar with what that means, it's a place runners look forward to.  A half mile of screaming female students from Wellesley College with signs that would make their mothers proud (or blush).  Every variation of "Kiss me I'm ____(insert anything you can imagine, I saw them all)".  Some of the ones that stand out for me, "Kiss me I'm a lesbian", "Kiss me I'll be a virgin for you", "Kiss me so I don't have to kiss him (arrow pointing to some random dude)", "Kiss me you'll run faster", oh and "Kiss me I'm Canadian".  I poke fun, but running down what is affectionately known as the 'scream tunnel', is a whole lotta fun!  No, I didnt' kiss anyone although the "Kiss me, guys need it too" boy was kinda cute.  Smart guy, made his own sign and got to hang out with a couple hundred women all day.  Did his mama proud.  I found it fun just to run by high-fiving as many people as possible and reading the signs.  Very entertaining, loud, but entertaining!  Totally one of my favorite moments.

After that, the miles kept ticking away peppered by sights I would recognize.  I am a Boston College alum and I recognized the tower peeking out from above the trees with relief...I was getting close!  Then came Heartbreak Hill, which just because it was Heartbreak Hill, I was determined to run and not stop.  Conquered!! It wasn't so bad :)  Soon after that I hit a stretch where things got tough.  The heat finally was taking it's toll.  It was only a matter of time since it's virtually impossible to take in the amount of calories and water that you are expending.  I hit that point around mile 23 or so.  I began the inner battle with the little voice that tells you to stop, that you are stupid for doing this to yourself, that it doesn't really matter in the grand scheme of life...

I did not stop but instead began looking ahead and running with the goal of making it to the next stoplight.  Luckily, I was on a stretch of road where there were stoplights every couple hundred yards.  The people were still cheering but for whatever reason, there were less hoses, spray guns and no shade!  The heat was brutal along this stretch and a lot of walking was happening (by others of course).  Around mile 24 or 25, I hit a hill that was not tiny but not huge.  Long story short, it was just enough to break me for a moment.  I walked it (sigh).  I maybe walked a total of 2 to 3 min and then rallied and began to run again.  Damn, I was not going to walk anymore!!  As I plodded along (felt like plodding, was probably a 9 min mile at that point) I looked up and joy oh joy, there was the Citgo sign!  If you dont' know the Boston course, the Citgo sign is a huge lighted monstrosity on top of a building that is in Kenmore Square.  That is probably around mile 25 or 25.5.  Woop, woop!  Almost the end!  As I ran through and made the turn onto Hereford Street and up the short hill onto Boylston the crowds were 4 people deep and so LOUD!  It was awesome!  Boylston street is much wider than I remembered, it felt like 4 lanes totally open with just a few runners here and there.  I felt like there weren't many runners around me at that point, that may not be true, I have no idea. 

The finish.... Oh glorious finish!!! Done, done, done.  What a ride!  Can't lie, glad it's over :)  At least I'm still alive! (and I have the jacket).  Oh, and Igot my name in the local paper ;) Fosters article: A sweltering run for locals

Picking up my bib number at the Expo.

My daughter wrote inspirational words to me <3


Post race celebration!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Boston!!!!!

So yes, today I ran the famous Boston Marathon.  This was my first (and what I have also claimed to be my last) time running it.  Yes, I qualified and yes I ran in 88 degree heat in New England in mid-April.  I am excited to write about the experience and share the ups, downs and excitement with you all!  I will NOT be doing that tonight however, I can barely hold my head up!  I am going to gimp my way to bed and dish the juicy details another day.  Thank you to all the wonderful supporters for your words of encouragement and to those of you who were out on the course today.  I didn't see anyone but knowing you were there was enough.  Really :)

Saturday, March 10, 2012


Last month I was honored to to be selected to write a guest post for Catherine Gryp, author of the blog Simply Solo. http://simplysolo.wordpress.com/ .  Below is my post and links to the comments and sometimes heated conversation that followed.   ENJOY!!!

http://simplysolo.wordpress.com/2012/02/07/simply-solo-spotlight-happiness-defined/

Happy Tuesday! Today’s guest post is written by Halen Gori of Enduramoments, a blog about Halen’s children, endurance training and her transition to a “me” instead of being part of a “we.”

Happiness Defined

What is happiness? Can it be defined, or is it a different feeling for everyone? Happiness is elusive. Happiness is like the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow … does it exist so you believe, or do you believe therefore it exists? I don’t claim to know for sure, but I know what happiness is NOT.

Let me start at the beginning. That way my journey will make sense to you. This year has been the most difficult of my entire life, and I have kids, so I know difficult! New Year’s Eve, while the rest of the world celebrated, I went to bed early because I didn’t want to give 2011 the satisfaction of even getting a goodbye. I called out a “don’t let the door hit you on the way out” and awoke to a new year. Hopefully a new year + a new life = happiness!!

dog who died
Halen's beloved greyhound Doc who passed away this past August

2011 brought a dump truck load of smelly cow manure crashing down on me. I lost my job, lost my dog, lost a loved friend (luckily not to death) and lost my husband. I shouldn’t say I lost him, because I know where he is. He’s living in our old house with our two young girls. Maybe I should say I gained an ex. Either way, I am no longer married. All in the quest to find happiness. Did I find it? I’m going to make you read the whole post before enlightening you. To do otherwise would just be bad marketing!

I was married for 11 years, but with my ex for 13. I can barely remember last week, so a lot of the memories over the last 13 years are caught in cobwebs in the back of my brain closet. There are a few specific moments that became clear as my ex and I went through couples counseling. At the time, these events were easily explained away. One such memory is very vivid. The second day of our honeymoon, I sat on one of the most beautiful beaches in Hawaii and cried. At the time, I really and truly believed that I was homesick. Wrong answer. I was sad. Sad the wedding party was over, sad that my family all went home, sad because I was supposed to be celebrating something I didn’t feel. I was in Hawaii! Hawaii is for lovers, but I didn’t feel (or act) like a lover. I was a tourist! Room service, champagne, strawberries … NO WAY! I want to go explore!

As the years went by and babies popped out, I felt heavier and heavier. I kept trying to shove away the blanket that was weighing me down. I rationalized to myself that marriage isn’t always great; there are ups and downs and all that crap. Isn’t this what marriage was supposed to be? How the hell would I know? I’ve never been married before! This feeling would come and go, interrupted by events, kids, family. But like bad street food, it kept coming back up.
I finally decided it was time for a change. Hearts were broken (his), fingers were pointed (at me) and even the dog would get upset when we would have an emotional discussion (he hadn’t died yet). We took space for a while to let things settle before deciding on couple’s therapy. I was hopeful. I went to see Crazy A (our therapist’s nickname due to her crazy but completely wonderful, free-spirited personality) and had a goal from the get-go. I wanted to love my husband. Correction, I wanted to be IN LOVE with my wonderful, kind and amazing husband. Weeks and weeks went by; things seemed to improve and I would think, YES!! Then, NO!! Then, maybe?? Am I happy? Possibly. I hope so!

marathon run
Halen in May 2011 after she ran the Key Bank Vermont City Marathon and succeeded in qualifying for the Boston Marathon

Then things fell apart. All the hard work, talking, exercises … I felt no different. How silly! Crazy A may have been crazy, she may have been a genius, but she wasn’t capable of magic. No therapist can make you, teach you, or convince you to love someone if you just don’t. Once we both realized this and I moved out, I felt that weight gently lift. Slowly but surely, peeking out into the light and blinking from the brightness, was happiness. It showed itself just a little at first and eventually more and more. We became friends. We hung out, me and happiness, BFFs. It’s been a long journey, but happiness comes to stay with me for about two weeks at a time. It disappears every once in a while for a day or so, but always returns. Actually, once a month for about three days, happiness gets bound and gagged and thrown in the basement, but thankfully it doesn’t hold a grudge.

child playing in leaves, fall folliage
Halen's oldest daughter

How do I know it is happiness I’m feeling? Well, I don’t do drugs, so it’s not that. Things look different through happiness. The sun seems brighter; I notice and smile at little things, like the mom and her toddler in the coffee shop, or a duck sliding around on the frozen pond. Things like hearing a donkey hee-haw in real life or smelling my children’s hair make me feel warm and sunny inside. Getting out of bed and not dreading the day, having the “today just feels like a good day,” feeling seems like happiness.

Halens youngest daughter

Watching my children and really seeing them for the first time, their beauty, their innocence, their distinct personalities and the amazing way they change a little bit every day. I need to touch them constantly. These are all things that went unnoticed or unrecognized before.

Before, I survived, now, I LIVE. I dream big and go for it. I found that rebellious spirit I once had that when told “you can’t do that,” responds with, “watch me.” I am more present in my relationships with people. I care about their lives and do what I can to help. I am finally the friend I’ve always wanted to be, less judgmental and more accepting. I dove into running and a triathlon with new energy. I went back to school to pursue a different degree that would allow my constantly running, creative, full-of-big-ideas machine to get some use.

I still have flaws. I still get sad. I still miss people I don’t see anymore (and of course, the dog). I still have healing to do. If I compare where I am now with where I was two years ago, I think I now know what happiness is and I think it’s here to stay.

How has your journey taught you what true happiness feels like?

Copyright 2012. Simply Solo blog by Catherine Gryp. All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Hello Lover...

Ever stop to think about what role running or triathlon or other such sport plays in your life?  For some it is simply a means to stay fit, 30 minutes of torture so cake can be eaten and beers drank.  To some, it's barely a thought once it's over and done for the day. Some do it in groups and enjoy the social aspect more than the run itself.  That is all well and good.  That is NOT me.
Running (and someday triathlon) is part of my identity. If my day does not revolve around it, then I am thinking about it all day...when will I fit it in, how will the weather be, what shoes will I wear, what did my coach say again?  It's not an obsession.  Really.  I say I think about it all day but sometimes those thoughts are, "ugh, I so don't want to do this today". I must admit for someone who runs as regularly as I do, I am a piss poor planner.  Probably because I have no regularity to my schedule so I can say, "oh, I'll just run later".  Today, later never happened.  Of course, other crises reared their heads during the day which needed attention but in the end I missed my run for no real good reason.  Crap. I can't look it in the eye.  I am ashamed and apologetic.

Recently, I got a tattoo on my neck that had to do with running.  People were a bit shocked but I never had a doubt, never once thought twice about it.  Why is that?  Because of the reasons behind why I got it.  Running has been a part of my life for many years.  In the past year or so, it has been the one constant when everything else was in chaos.  It was dependable, loyal and always gave me a little boost afterward.  I never had to doubt that it would come around or that it would feel at least somewhat good.  It was so normal, so mundane and so comforting.  It was exactly what I needed every time.  It kept me distracted from other problems yet focused on the goal.  It made me take time for me, which was so desperately needed.  It let me escape but always brought me home safe and sound.  Sliding on my running shoes had a familiarity that makes me think of being in the arms of someone you trust with all your heart.

Running has a place in my life much like a lover.  I need to give it attention and be fully in the moment when together.  I have to make it a priority over other things, even when I'd rather be doing those other things.  I communicate with my body much like a loved one...I have to listen carefully, intently.  I make sure I understand to the best of my ability what I'm being told and do my best to follow through.  When it feels good, it feels very, very good and I have a great day.  When it feels awful, I am grumpy, defeated, unsure of myself.  Much like a lover, running has the power to lift me up or tear me down.  I am subject to it's whims and fancies, moods and attitudes.  The run is my partner, we work together toward a common goal and if we don't work together we end up at a standstill.  Running makes me feel strong, lively, womanly and sexy.  It does things to my body that I wish I could replicate...my cheeks flush, my muscles
become flexible, I sweat, my heart races and sometimes I wish it would never end.  Of course, there have been times where running comes before everyone else- the kids, the friends and even those of the opposite sex. I wonder what happens when someone challenges the run, wants my undivided attention in a physial way?  That's a challenge that will be interesting.  I wonder what happens when the run gets jealous?  That could get ugly.

So the next time you lace up your shoes, think about what running is to you.  If you're like me, you look it in the eye, give it a wink and play a little Barry White. Let's Get it On.