The Trails Taken

Today I ran after work, starting at 6:30. I had a somewhat frustrating day and knew this was the stress-reliever I needed.

I returned to yesterday’s location, but took a different route. It was mostly road– I recognized I was running the periphery of the forest from yesterday.

I made a decision again to just let go and try something new, though this time I was on a time crunch, and it would be dark soon. It was a bit windy and overcast– felt like fall!! How I relished that flirtatious breeze hinting of a chill.

This time, I happened upon a group of kids, who seemed to be having a race of some kind. Adults were standing near a stretch of road as kids crossed over and others cheered. I wanted to go where they were going.

I saw a newer friend from this year– turns out she’s involved with a kids’ cross-country team. Her daughter was in it!

It just felt like I was going the right way. My running app announced I’d hit my first mile and I kept going for a bit, but couldn’t resist the pull toward the woods.

This time I DID put on OFF! The last thing I need is a bunch of bites.

Ahh, a hill descending! I skipped down it precisely, angling to the side so that I didn’t fall or slide. And at the bottom, there was my uprooted tree again. I hauled myself up again and this time balanced across it without slipping. I was getting mud all over me– my shoes, hands, legs.

Glorious!

And then the climb back upwards. A short wooden bridge!

Today I had programmed a Prince track into my Pandora– so perfect. I got “Dirty Diana,” and “Jungle Love,” while navigating that tree and the hill and meeting the trail again.

I exited the forest quicker this time, and sensed I was close to getting back to where I began.

I was right– I saw my car but kept going because I wanted to get at least 2.5 miles. I had wanted three, but was already almost late for my plans and it was getting dark.

But 2.55 miles in 43:04 isn’t so bad! It’s only half my distance from yesterday but considering I started early evening after a full day’s work and didn’t have the sunshine, I think that’s pretty dang good.

The biggest change is that it didn’t feel so rough. I remember when I could barely breathe after that distance.

And I got in two runs on consecutive days.

I still had to walk a few little times. But my body is getting acclimated to running.

It’s happening! There’s no going back now.

And it totally worked. I was a little muddy, just sweaty enough, and smiling by the time I ended my run and got in my car to drive home.

I realized I didn’t need to talk out the things that had bothered me, or at least not all of them. Running just made me at peace and renewed my faith that tomorrow will be better.

Yay for endorphins!

I Did It!! This Runt is a Self-Defense Bad Ass Today!!

My arms are sore, my voice is raw, and my heart is thumping.

I can’t stop smiling.

I GRADUATED my self-defense class tonight!!

And to think I almost didn’t go. I couldn’t find my book, I couldn’t find anyone to practice with, and I was worried that I wouldn’t remember what I’d learned. I was worried I was too weak. Happy to say, I WAS WRONG!

Reminds me of being in school, the anxiety I used to have over tests. I would study like crazy and not get any sleep, and sometimes miss class. In the past I would find all the worst-case scenarios about why I would fail.

But instead of worrying, I decided to believe. Since there was nothing for me to study with, I had no choice. I decided to have faith in my own muscle memory, my instincts, my adrenaline.

I realized I wanted to see my classmates. I wanted to be there for and with them. We were all being tested. It wasn’t just about me. And I wanted to prove to MYSELF that I can do it.

There was just one condition: Don’t quit.

I told myself, “You are going to do it!” I shut out fear and focused on being positive.

I didn’t do anything physical to prepare. I did get a good night’s rest. I asked for some prayers, and I prayed myself. And I met up with one of my best friends, Catt, for pie beforehand. We caught up, we laughed, we ate pie, we hugged. I went to our final class in a great mood.

I watched a few people go before me. We were all rooting for each other. It was hard to watch the other women struggle and I could see when they were losing strength and wanted to quit. But we all yelling, “You can do it!” and our instructor would be right there, encouraging us too. And they triumphed! I could see I wasn’t alone– it was just as hard for them as it was for me.

When he called me up, I was ready. It was nice, again, to be called, “Miss Amee.”

To be respected.

The test was designed to make us tired, to catch us by surprise, to test our endurance. It was scary, and real.

I got through the push-ups, punches, blocks, and surprise attacks.

But mainly, I USED MY VOICE. That’s what he taught us the first day. My VOICE is my biggest weapon!

I can say this for myself, I screamed the loudest! It felt good, too. I feel like A LION!

It’s amazing to know I’m capable of it.

Our instructor said afterwards that using your voice provides a burst of energy, and it’s true.

The adrenaline DOES work. I used some of the techniques, but I was good at blocking punches and getting out.

I learned that it’s not easy to knock me down. I have more energy and instinct than I realized.

He asked us all how we felt afterwards. I told him I felt PROUD.

He had us line up and receive our certificate of graduation, and he gave us our t-shirts in a traditional way, then shook our hands.

The last time I got an award for something was my sales, at work. And I was happy about that!

But this was so much MORE exciting.

In this class I learned that it does not MATTER that I’m small. I am still a FORCE! I had someone take a picture of me with it, and also my classmates and our teacher.

I feel happy, confident. Strong. Like a total bad ass.

I’m glad our instructor didn’t take it easy on us in that last test.

I had been worried I might fail– I had thought before, “Who is this guy to pass or fail me?!”

But he had our certificates waiting, printed up. AND MY NAME WAS SPELLED RIGHT! My whole name! So many times, it’s been bungled. That’s the price of having two unique names.

He believed in us all along. He knew we would graduate. It was just up to us to go forward and claim it!

He did his job, we did ours. Everybody won. It wasn’t a competition.

And I’ll tell ya one thing: I am FRAMING that certificate!! And I already put on the-shirt, it fits perfect.