Unrelenting Blogging, Running and Courage: Six Year Anniversary!

Word Press informed me today it’s my six year anniversary as a blogger.

Hard to believe this chronicle of my life still stands– I attempted to erase it once. Exes had commented, past friends were keeping tabs on me, fellow bloggers encouraged me. Thank you to those who have subscribed, followed, commented and encouraged this unrelenting literary journey! Some have left, but most have stayed.  It’s edifying.

I went through a period of wanting my life without documentation.

My emerging narrative had no focus, I felt it was a waste  of time. But as events unfolded, I found this humble blog to be a refuge.

I would write what I want, without censor or error by editors. Without deadlines.

This journey began as a public vow of accountability during Lent, to uphold my Catholicism and Lenten promises. To challenge me.

Six years ago, I was searching for meaning in a relationship with a man. I thought that was the dream I should chase. I thought my treasure would be in another’s heart– in the reflection of what he loved in me.

Now I have accepted loss in relationships that haven’t lasted. I wrote about some dates, and the struggles to combat loneliness and failed compatibility. But I kept the details away, not wanting to jinx something still evolving, nor preserve details of suitors who did not work out.

Now I have accepted uncertainty and blog when I feel compelled.

I am still restless, but have re-directed my energy. Now the relationship I feed is that with myself– and running is the mechanism driving me forth.

Now I have races and goals for which to train! The joy I find is in surpassing my doubts.

I seek my own approval, reward myself with courage.

I’m making plans without fear.

I’m still Catholic, but now I forgive myself easier. I don’t depend on Lent to hold me accountable to my own promises.

I allow myself to be human, faults and mishaps included. I enjoy Mass but it’s not the center of my life as it once was.

I’ve chosen to build my life around developing a routine of running. I’m struggling with rising early and getting to sleep early enough to maintain that schedule. But already, it’s bringing me peace.

I’ve signed up for training classes for an upcoming race, my first 10k with lots of hills. I’ve joined the local run club in my community. I’ve attended group runs. I’ve enlisted a running buddy to start soon. I’ve purchased running gear necessary. I’m learning to layer properly in differing weather so I can persevere.

I’ve also failed twice this week on something I consider major: I missed my training class Thursday, and slept through a group run this morning.

I’m worried because my next race has a time limit for me to qualify as a finisher– I usually need 1 hour and 30 minutes to run five miles. This race requires 1 hour and fifteen. I felt intimidated— but signed up anyway. Now that fee has been paid! I want that finisher’s medal.

Today as I ran, I pushed myself. I knew I had to wean my mileage and maintain it below a 15 minute mile. And I did, except for two short bouts of walking. I noticed my knees hurting by the end, 3.16 miles. But I don’t normally feel that when I’m running regularly.

Tomorrow morning I’m meeting someone from our running group early. I’ll go faster.

I’ll be the runner I know is within me.

I think I’ve found something special with running.

And it’s in every road, every time I put on my shoes.

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“She’s a Wildcat:” Week Nine of Self-Defense

I didn’t blog about last week.

But tonight was note-worthy. Small class, again.

I noticed my instructor complimenting me often, after weeks of criticism. I think he sees how hard I work– I’m probably trying harder than anyone in the class. That’s because I need the lessons in this class for my survival the most desperately, being the smallest. Also, I don’t assume I’ll be able to take the class again.

“She’s a wildcat,” he said, as I was about try something we learned with a partner. It was issued like a playful warning. I chuckled a bit.

This week I picked up the moves quick, and used my voice without thinking– loud and effective. In every exercise, I found myself yelling, “NO!” over and over. And he commented on that as well.

Clearly, I’ve earned his respect.

I noticed how calm I was doing these exercises. I used to get frustrated with myself instantly and want to give up. Now I can power through, especially with some help about my technique. Even when I had a neck spasm– I stopped, noticed it, massaged it briefly, and kept going. I was able to complete most of the moves with a calm face, without fear changing my expression. I have less fear, period.

But on one of our exercise scenarios, I started out working with a woman taller than me. We were working in a trio, along with a man I’ve worked with several times the past few weeks. She said she wanted to try it with him, not me, because my being small threw her off.

I thought that was fascinating. Here I am, feeling intimidated about “attacking” a woman bigger than me, almost feeling like I have a handicap because of my small stature.

And she was MORE afraid of me (when I role-played the attacker) because I’m smaller. I thought about how the joke about how elephants are terrified of mice– at least in cartoons. Probably a better example is arachnophobia. How often do most people joke about wanting to burn down a house just after seeing a spider? ONE?

Sure, spiders are poisonous– but only some. Bites can be fatal or at the least annoying. But the main reason people are so freaked is because they are small and move fast. Usually they blend in and you never notice them unless they move. My Dad has always said that “Spiders are a lot more afraid of you than you are of them!” And it’s true.

I suppose I can relate. How many times do spiders encounter grave danger, just going about their business? All they are doing half the time is walking or spinning a web, so they can eat. They are constantly being attacked by predators much bigger– they are pretty low on the food chain! Why do you think they are created to blend in? It’s their main defense against oblivion. But also, spiders are powerful. People know that.

I’ve been trying to blend in most of my life. I’m finding this is impossible. So instead of working so hard to do something that is sure to fail, I might as well embrace it. I stand out because of my smallness. I’ve got a big voice, though a quiet demeanor. I don’t raise my voice unless necessary– and that’s rarely. And this class is helping me learn to have a command presence as well.

If people want to be intimidated by me, I’m probably safer! So I’m going to stop hiding. I’m going to dress better, walk proud, make more eye contact and stop being meek. I’m not apologizing like I did. I’m doubting myself less and less.

I’m a serious woman, and I like that about me.

I have a feeling this will be good for me in business.