Hanging On

Hope Pass 2
I have been woefully neglectful, oh blogging world. Not writing. Not reading. Taking a break, I suppose. But life does not wait, and one must keep up. Or try, I suppose. So much has happened. So little has changed. It’s a total pendulum swing, and sometimes, I’m just trying to hang on.

So, in the spirit of hanging on, here are some shots from my long run this past weekend. Hope Pass, it is. Or, as my husband says, “Hope to not Pass out at 12,000 plus feet.” I was seriously slow on the uphill, wondering is it really possible for me to complete this 100-miler thing within prescribed cutoff times, and cruising fast (well, I hesitate to use that word in association with me – let’s just say not-slow) on the downhill. Stunningly beautiful run. Difficult run. Up and down, literally. Up and down, figuratively. Kind of like, well, life.

And since I seem to be thinking in mottos, here are some more:

Enjoy the beauty. Hope Pass 4

Embrace the harshness. Hope Pass 6

Be attentive (sorry, sort of a little hiccup here, but had to slide in a picture of the 2 big white dogs). BWDs

Go with it. Hope Pass 5

Be with it. Keep on, hang on. If it were all that simple…

Fun

fun
This will be a truncated post. I could kvetch about all the obstacles put into my path lately and complain bitterly about how this is impacting my ability to a) prepare for the Boston marathon, and b) prepare for my 100-mile race in August. However, I will refrain. And I will remember two things:

1) This is FUN. It is recreation. This is not my job, not my career, not my life. If it isn’t FUN, it shouldn’t be done.

and

2) You do the best you can, under the circumstances. Everyone lines up having endured or experienced different factors or conditions. You can only really control one thing – your attitude.

So there.  Thanks for listening.  And go have some fun. By the way, the 2 big white dogs are VERY good at this.

Vagabond Feb. 2013 067 Fun

Curve Balls

Curve ballI’m usually not one to use sports metaphors, especially baseball ones. It is not my favorite sport – but never say never.

Life, it seems, has thrown me more than one curve ball lately. And I have discovered that I ain’t much of a catcher. On the upside (just your standard fast ball), I was able to run 12 miles yesterday morning despite a nagging achilles/tibialis posterior/lower leg dysfunction. If this was the only funky pitch I had to handle, I would be coping okay – this ‘lil old pain issue is being addressed (thanks to help from Lee Carman at Pain Solutions, Dawn Powell at Bridges Integrative Health and Dr. Tim Schardein at Vital Chiropractic), and although I am scaling back my goals for the Boston marathon, I will run it.

However, outta left field, life decided I should attempt to handle not only a curve ball, but a series of knuckle balls, or better yet, screw balls. Without getting into the long and gore of it, this has made me quite uncharacteristically pessimisstic, listless, depressed and well, angry. And anger ain’t pretty, and it makes your personal relationships strained, to say the least. And that creates even more challenges. Which just feeds the cycle of pessimism/listlessness/depression/anger.

But that’s life, I know. You don’t always get to, if you will, bat a thousand.

And I need to step up to the plate. (I know, I know, this baseball jargon is getting a bit much.) My optimistic side is thinking that I can indeed get through this rough patch, and that maybe there are some parallels here to the kind of physical and emotional challenges I will face in my 100 mile trail race. If I can get there, physically. If I can get there, emotionally.

My pessimisstic side, which seems to be in control at the moment, seriously questions the notion that I will get a shot at that race. (Yes, wrong sport, I realize.)

But, then again, you can be two strikes down, and it ain’t the end of the game. So, I say, play ball, life, play ball. Let’s just see who wins.

Success

MoneyYesterday morning, I was kind of half-listening to the radio, when I realized the station I was listening to was airing a program about how to succeed. I appreciate this little community radio station and I often think their programming is distinct and interesting, so I started to listen a bit more closely. Soon, I was struck not by the methods the program recommended to succeed, but by the definition they used of success itself – which came down to making money, and lots of it. It really wasn’t a surprise, being that I live in a capitalist society, but it did seem a bit, I don’t know, perhaps, well, narrow – the making of money, the making of more money, the making of the most money.

Now, I’m not against having enough financial wherewithal to have a comfortable life (and I suppose, we could argue endlessly the definition of “comfortable”). But to me, success is so much more than money. It is moving forward. It is being happy. It is changing course when moving forward is not the right direction. It is awakening every day and trying your best to be the best runner you can be, or the best artist, or the best garbage collector, or the best dog-owner, or, well, the best whatever.

I feel that I am often successful (of course, not always – there must be the yin, along with the yang).  Although my 100-mile run attempt has yet to come, and I may or may not be “successful,” I like to think that moving in that direction, taking one step forward, and then another, and another, either literally, or figurtively, or both, is what defines success. Perhaps I’m just consoling myself early for a potential DNF, but I don’t think so. I will try my hardest and with the most gumption I can drum up to finish. And I think that spells success.

How do you define success?

As long as I can

Tablet and Lost Wonder Hut Feb 2013 014The 2 big white dogs and I were out galavanting around with my hubby and friends this weekend up at and around the Lost Wonder Hut. They totally plowed through, sometimes staying in the ski track, but often forging ahead and post-holing over and over (talk about some heavy-duty interval training!). My friend Alexey turned to me after a particularly difficult uphill section and said, “So how long can they keep this up?” I began calculating their ages and what I presumed to be the end of their best fitness ranges and then I thought “I don’t know – they could keep this up for years.” And why not? If it’s fun, and they aren’t destroying their bodies, how could I deprive them of what they love, and of what they do with such joy and abandon? So my response was, “As long as they can.”

And I think that is my philosophy too. Some people like to tell me that long-distance running is potentially dangerous and injuring-producing and bad for me and hard on the joints and all sorts of other horrible things, and then they ask “How long are you going to keep this up?” My response will be the same as for my dogs – “As long as I can.”