Fortune cookie wisdom #22

“They fail, and they alone, who have not striven.”

I wanted to let you know I pick these fortune cookies randomly from a huge pile of my favorite fortune cookies collected over the past 2 years. I say this because today’s is very similar to the one I shared yesterday. After I share them with you I recycle them. I hope fortune cookies don’t become a thing of the past as I received a comment from my blogging friend LA saying they no longer give out fortune cookies at restaurants in NYC.

I absolutely love this fortune. It basically tells us we are successful if we try. I don’t need to have a million followers to enjoy blogging and telling my story. I don’t have to write a bestselling book although that would be quite the achievement. I can only fail if I don’t try. It’s really a great way to look at things.

This morning I went out for a run. I typically go four miles three times a week. Half of it I walk and half I run. You might think that’s amazing for someone of my age (47). I do not. I spent almost the whole time thinking about running and what my goals are. Honestly I am thinking about quitting or seriously cutting back after the race at the end of the month.

I have been running for the past 15 years. I think the first race I did was a 10k. I really can’t remember. I wish I kept track and wrote things down but I wasn’t writing anything at all at that time of my life. I got pretty good at running. It was nothing for me to run 10 miles without stopping. I could finish all races up to a half marathon in the top 10% of my age group. It wasn’t unusual for me to place in small town races. I devoted a lot of my time to running to get that good. I was well known on the neighborhood streets and the gym.

But that wasn’t enough, I wanted more. It made me feel alive. It was exciting. Exercise is a great way to burn off anxiety and a wonderfully healthy coping mechanism. I started doing marathons and did a 50k. I thought maybe I would qualify for the Boston marathon but I could never manage running the whole race. But that was okay, I just enjoyed the challenge.

Over a period of almost 10 years I worked my way up to running a marathon. It took a tremendous amount of dedication. It involved waking up early on Saturday mornings. Long lunch breaks. Running long boring miles on a treadmill. Getting caught in storms. Almost getting hit by cars. Getting attacked by dogs, bugs, and birds. Feeling afraid in secluded places. City streets. Remote trails. Getting injured, blistered, and chafed. Having to go to the bathroom really bad when there wasn’t one in sight. Wearing out expensive running shoes. Sweating. Freezing. Running friends. The endless search for upbeat playlists. Trying to beat my time. Travelling. Planning around weather. Competing. I loved it all until I didn’t anymore.

Then the pandemic hit. The 50k race I was planning to compete in got cancelled. My gym closed. Cold wintry weather. But the worst thing that happened was having colitis. I was incredibly sick for 10 days. I was so weak for a month after I could barely even walk. I had a hard time putting the clothes from the wash machine into the dryer without feeling exhausted. It was in that sweeping moment that I lost everything I painstakingly built over the previous ten plus years. I lost almost all of my stamina and endurance. I never was able to get it back which frustrated me. Running just reminds me of what I once had.

Now I have to face that my run might be over. My best days are behind me. Sometimes it’s hard to let go of the old and let something new begin. Part of me feels like a failure for giving up. But I am probably the only one that feels this way about me. I’ve always wanted to keep active my whole life. I achieved that goal. Now might be a great time to try other things I’m interested in like yoga or martial arts. When all else fails I’ll probably be the old lady that walks around the block a few times…

I can only fail if I don’t try, right??

The long run

I have been thinking about next year’s racing season.

This past week I decided that I wanted to do the Tough Mudder and a trail marathon next summer. The trail marathon is on my birthday. What could be better than getting up at the crack of dawn and spending your birthday in complete and total agony?? Not to mention feeling sore, sick, and exhausted after the fact.

Do I really want to run another marathon?? Do I really want to torment myself on my birthday?? I could be out spending the day having fun…getting a massage…drinking champagne…sailing…

But I love the challenge..the satisfaction of completing a goal…

Successfully overcoming obstacles is more pleasurable to me than unearned self-indulgence.

So I decided to go for it.

I almost signed up..

Then I went to the gym for a run.

My ankle started to hurt. It felt like my foot bones were twisted and grinding together. It wasn’t very painful, but the pounding on my foot mile after mile…

I ran while in pain like this several times now. It wasn’t bad enough to stop. It is like running with a small pebble in your shoe versus a sharp rock.

Friday morning I ran 10 painful miles. After I got off of the treadmill, I sat in the sauna a few minutes. While I was in the sauna, a stranger sat down next to me. She said that she saw me out on the treadmill and wanted to know if I was okay.

Are you feeling okay??

A stranger coming up to me and asking if I am okay??

Could this be a problem?

What am I doing to myself?

The pain made me more determined to fight the pain. I was, in essence, fighting with myself and someone was going to lose. I berated myself for the mile I had to walk. The physical pain seemed to even trigger emotions of other painful times in my life.

I am never a gentle taskmaster to myself. I crack the whip and get it done regardless of whether I want to or not…whether I am in pain or not.

My greatest strength is my greatest weakness. Self-discipline is a great super power to have, but…and you know that a but is coming, sometimes I need to take a chill pill and relax a little.

I am not good at relaxing. I want to push it to the limit which conflicts with my desire to do this for the long run.

If I push myself too hard, end up getting seriously injured, and have to quit running…What good is my determination??

Sometimes it is easier to show you my medals than to tell you about my struggles and weaknesses. I want to make running a marathon look easy.

I took today off, but tomorrow I am thinking about running. My ankle/foot only hurts for the most part when I am running. I have been trying to solve the problem with my foot. I think the pain is coming from bad sitting habits. I like to curl my leg under my body and sit on my foot. I want to see if it helps if I stop doing this.

So far I am still planning on signing up for the races. In the meantime, I have to be smart. I have to learn to take better care of myself. I have to recognize when exercising and being too healthy is unhealthy without a few words from a stranger in the gym. Somehow I need to develop that inner voice of reason.

I want to be in this for the long run…

 

 

drive

I had a busy weekend.

Paul and I left home early Saturday morning to set up a booth at a trade show. After a couple hours of working, we drove a couple more hours to see Angel at college. We arrived to see her a couple hours before her show. We haven’t seen her since we dropped her off at college in August.

There were some repercussions of leaving home earlier than the kids. Thankfully this time though it did not require a new bathroom floor. It was more along the lines of them thinking that they could both take a shower when it was time to leave to meet up with my mom. They were late and there was tension. Not to mention that things were forgotten.

Thankfully everything else went according to my plan. We were able to get at the restaurant early enough to get a table for 14 people and make it to the show on time. Angel had a lead role in the college opera and would be on stage for the first half hour only. If things went off rail, we could miss her part entirely. Several friends and family drove several hours to get there, got a hotel room, and some had to get a babysitter. Needless to say, a few minutes off on my time management could’ve been a huge disaster.

The show was awesome. Watching your child perform at a high level is very close to performing yourself. It is anxiety provoking, yet exhilarating. I was able to visit with Angel the next morning before she had to perform again. Then came the long ride home.

At 10AM, I dropped Paul off at the local airport. He had a business meeting. Instead of driving the 4 hours home and flying out, I decided it would be quicker for him to fly out where we were. Just 2 connecting flights and 10 hours later, he reached his destination.

I had to make the drive back with Arabella. I almost had a panic attack after I dropped Paul off at the airport before visiting Angel. It was a unseasonably warm and sunny day. Pedestrians and bikers were everywhere. Not to mention road construction and heavy traffic. I kept getting notifications on my phone for the flight which covered my navigation. I think I went through a red light since I was so flustered.

If you told me 5 years ago that I would be driving 4 hours without another driver in my car, I would’ve told you that you are crazy. I used to have panic attacks while driving. It would happen out of the blue. First, I would sweat profusely. I had to open my windows, even in the middle of winter. I couldn’t breath. I needed air, fresh air. Then the tunnel vision would hit. I would have to slow down. I’m sure that I swerved around a lot. I thought I would die or worse yet kill someone else on the road. I had to pull over at the first exit. My whole body would shake.

It was a horrifying experience. But I would not let fear control me. I forced myself to go back on the highway. Even if it was from one on ramp to the next off ramp. It was grueling and tedious. I wasn’t sure if I could even conquer my fear. But I had to put myself out there again and again or I wouldn’t be able to leave the house unless someone else would drive me. I felt feelings of failure when I could only drive a couple of miles from my house without panicking. But I kept at it and now I can say that I am almost completely able to drive without panic attacks.

I am also one of those annoying people that can’t seem to sit still. If I sit down without anything to occupy my mind, I will probably fall asleep. If the movie is not great, I fall asleep and I fall asleep sometimes even if it is.

Did I mention that I didn’t sleep that great in the hotel room?

I have fallen asleep while driving before. After about 2 hours on the road, I was starting to drift off. I knew this was happening because a stationary object bounced out into my vision. I think it was a garage. This has happened before when I was really tired.

Typically when Paul is tired, he can pull over for a cup of coffee. He instantly is energized and can drive for hours. It doesn’t work for me. Extra coffee makes me jittery and anxious while driving…more likely to have a panic attack.

I looked over at my passenger, Arabella, who was sound asleep. Did I want to wake her? Then I remembered our conversations in the car over this past week week…Mom, how old were you when you first had sex?? Were you in high school? College?? The interrogation went something like that…Ah, better just let her sleep.

I pulled it together and got us home safely. I knew I had no other choice. It was a great weekend, but long….very long, especially the drive.