The further away the further I go, and other rabbit holes

It has admittedly been weeks since I wrote last. A habit, hobby, outlet that is supposed to be exercised daily. It is not that I did not want to write. It is not that there isn’t anything to write. It is that I could not…trapped like a hostage in the labyrinth that is my mind teasing and tortured at times…I simply could not.

Whatever you call it, anxiety in many form or the litany of excuses you offer it, “it” holds you captive not allowing you to climb out. It is why the title is so poetic. The further away I get from any intention I have the further I go from it, down the proverbial rabbit hole. The climb from the rabbit hole is punishing requiring perseverance to start again. I do this with everything that has meaning in my life. People look from afar and say “you are so good at…..”, “it is so easy for you to…” or any other well-received but ill-deserved compliment but what appears to be on the surface is far more complex within. I am not good at it, it is not easy for me because it is always work. There will always be a reason not to, it is that I do it that it looks easy or good because you can only see the surface you cannot see the fight.

This time it is writing. I committed to this “outlet” when I was no longer able to run. Running had replaced food for three strong years in helping me to clear my mind, process my numerous thoughts and created a transfer addiction for the one (food) that nearly killed me. “But what if I cannot run” was never a thought before it was and then…rabbit holes. I could not run, I could not eat and if not those things then what would serve the “need”. I had been writing (journaling) for years as a therapeutic approach to get it out of my head, it could work again.

You look from afar and say “it is so easy for you (her)” but what you don’t know is that every single day it is a choice and sometimes it is a fight. I do not jump out of bed and happily go for a run. I actually hate running or doing anything in the morning. I do it because I have to, because I need to and because it serves me well. The same can be said about writing. The pressure is on since I chose to start sharing my writings, to now continue to write and to publish. It is never for a lack of thoughts to share but the pressure now is in producing something for the audience. While this can be a motivation it can also be a detractor or an intimidation to perform. The reality is that writing and running have never been about performance. They were never about stats, likes, accolades or medals. They were about health, mental and physical and that “back to basics” reality needs to be reminded. The minute the reason shifts from health to performance the intention is lost.

My running is best when I run at night because I am able to run off the day but the timing can be tough based on needing to “fit it in” versus waking up an hour early to “make the time”. My writing is best when it is “hot”. When I am thinking through a topic, when it is fresh, when the dialogue in my brain is like a conversation is when I am at my writers best! The times when I have stopped and seized the moment to write have been some of the best writings to date. The point here is that the choice in doing both is knowing that doing them is paramount and choosing when is simply idealistic.

in the end, this is what “Always Starting…The Art of Never Giving Up” is all about. It is about redefining the “reason” I started this blog and showing examples of how often I restart, rethink and redefine my intentions. Every restart is not as exciting as a New Year’s Resolution, sometimes they are as painful as a shot in the arm but I take on both with a sense of urgency knowing that getting started is the hard part; staying the course is easy until…it’s not. 🙂

Life as I see it – L.

My go-back will be my comeback…believe it.

Always Starting…The Art of Never Giving Up is what this blog is all about and it will forever define me. In the spirit of the blog I have officially started Half Marathon Training to go back to the place where it all ended December 7th, 2018.

(Disclaimer: Yes, I know the psychic told me not to run but I did check with my surgeon, and yes I told him a PSYCHIC gave me this advice and he promised me my running had nothing to do with the tumor and to keep running!)

The story has been told in great detail except THAT story was actually the start of a new one leaving the one I was in without a conclusion. It is an impossible ending, it is not where or how it was supposed to end. I was at the Islamorada Half Marathon ready to race when I came down with the stomach flu that would coincidentally be the symptoms that would find the stomach tumor that would ground me for 9 months. I was ready to get that sub-2:00 that I had been chasing all year, trained hard, trained well and then…nothing.

The next 9 months would be defining as running has been as much mental as physical health for me. Running clears my mind, it changes my mood, it makes my organs hum and my bowels move :). Not running has been tougher than any race without an outlet; I have had to improvise; reading books by the dozen and ultimately publishing my writing. These things are not necessarily bad but they are not running; they do not give me that same “high” and mental fortitude that holds me together.

After much going back and forth, and some admitted laziness I have decided it is time to lace back up and get back out there. I am using Runkeeper Go Half Marathon training to get me back in shape to run. The first run today was proof that this slower approach to training is the right one as two miles just kicked my butt!!

I am going to close yet another chapter the right way and pick-up the chapter that ended in Islamorada back up and finish it. The chapter that is being closed is the one that took a stomach tumor, gallbladder, appendix, small intestine and a stomach. For goodness sake I am lighter without all of those organs which should equal speed…right!?

It is what I do, I am a finisher. It just simply does not end this way. It does not end with me never running again. The reality is that if I have it my way it won’t end; I will run forever, free, unencumbered and mentally well. I hope that you will follow my next 12 weeks and start something of your own, pick-up a chapter where you left off incomplete and do the hard work. It’s the hard work that builds character, courage and stamina for the fight.

Life as a runner…L.

I don’t want to…

This is the latest statement that I hear myself saying more often than not. Let’s explore my laundry list of all of the things “I don’t want to…” lately:

  • Get up at 5:00 am; this is the golden hour as no one else is up so it is the perfect time to exercise, write, catch-up on shows or reading.
  • Exercise; yep I don’t want to run, bike, Orangetheory or anything at all.
  • Eat the same foods again and again; I just told my friend yesterday that I cannot eat another “fill in the blank”. I am over my diet!
  • Write; yes, this is the latest as this is a passion of mine but sometimes it feels “hard” and that creates resistance so yes even writing has an “I don’t want to…” somewhere along the way.
  • Do anything; many a weekend I find myself just wanting to do nothing despite a laundry list of items that are “To do” I find myself “Not To Do-ing” for the sake of being still.
  • Be where I am at that moment; yes this may be a tougher one to explain but I find myself at times not wanting to be where I am at that moment. It’s an awkward feeling especially when I am somewhere that I chose to be initially. Might be a bit of “fight or flight” spurred by anxiety but most of the time it is a daunting feeling.

You get the idea, the love of being an adult and being responsible for myself is that I decide what I want to do and what I do not want to do! The discipline is forcing the things you should do despite want and that is where at times I would like to throw myself on the floor like a 2 yr old and have a full-scale tantrum. Ha!

I do agree with the statement that you have to “meet yourself where you are” however that is not a permanent solution to the “I don’t want to…” argument. Meeting yourself where you are is more of a strategy for the moment and not for the long-term. If you don’t want to run today, then don’t, but if you don’t want to run ever again you have to consider the implications of that decision. If I don’t run it affects my weight, my mental health and my social circles. Am I willing to give-up these benefits of running because “I don’t want to…” or do I instead push on?

At some point you have to push beyond the “I don’t want to…” because that is what discipline is all about and where habits are formed. No one wants to do anything all the time. Of course some things are more pleasant than others and don’t require as much effort to get to a point of “wanting to” but in the example of running, it is hard and so you are not going to “want to” all the time but having the discipline to stay the course it what makes a great runner. The benefits of being a great runner have exponential benefits to physical and mental health and that is what makes it worth pushing beyond your want. The same can be said about a healthy diet. No one starts out wanting to eat healthy. Let’s face it macaroni and cheese is always going to taste better than broccoli however the long-term decision to stay the course of a healthy diet will extend your life and for that reason the decision to push on is easily made.

One of the greatest ways to get beyond your “I don’t want to…” moments are to find an “Accountability Partner”. Find someone else that is not wanting to do the same thing and partner! My son said to me yesterday, “I have been setting my alarm clock for 4:45 am to get up and workout before school, but once the alarm goes off I don’t want to get up.” I can totally understand because I also do not want to get up at 4:45 am BUT if we partner we can make it more tolerable. What if we both get up at 4:45 am and do it together? It will make it easier to get up as we won’t want to let each other down and we both benefit from the long-term effects of getting that workout in before school! Accountability! Voila!

I am not sure what is easier being an adult that can decide what you want or do not want to do or being a child and being told what to do. Ultimately I will choose “adulting” every time but the point being that having the ability to decide can be a sticky wicket. If you do not possess the discipline to push yourself beyond your immediate “wants” you may find yourself “paying the price” for that decision. When I think back in my life to all of those moments I pushed past the “I don’t want to…” moments I have ZERO regrets. I cannot think of a time that I would look back and say, “Man, I wish I had not pushed myself to do ________” because the reality is that that resistance that shows itself in those moments are typically the hard work that needs to be done to create our best life.

I leave you with a challenge; do ONE thing today that you do not want to do and then considering how it makes you feel when complete. Were you better off for having pushed through or….well let’s stay optimistic in our approach as I think we both know the discipline to do will always beat the lack of discipline to don’t.

Doing as I do – L.