Thursday, June 13, 2013

Getting personal

First off, SHEW!  What a difference a day makes in a run (and my mood).  I don't normally run two days in a row but I just really wanted a do-over of yesterday's run.  I went out super early, the street lights were still on, and I just ran wherever I wanted.  I even tried out my new hat from Target, it worked really well!  (excuse the early morning grainy shot!)




 I wasn't running any faster or slower than yesterday, but I knew right away it was going to be a good run.  I just let everything go and ran. It was fantastic.  I ran out to my favorite path that always smells so good, there's tons of honeysuckle.  Pretty weeds flowers all along the path too! 


 So, what's so personal about that?  It was what was going on in my head that was personal.  

 I really let go of everyday life stuff and enjoyed the run.  At some point I had a little flash of a familiar picture in my head.  It's something that for years has occasionally popped in my head (do you have those kinds of things?  Memories of something pop in your head out of nowhere?) but more and more as I got older and started running.  I have never shared this with anyone, I don't think, so it feels pretty personal to put it out here...

When I was 12 or 13 I read a book.  I have NO clue what book it was (you can tell me if you  figure it out).  I have a feeling it was a Judy Bloom book.  I was very unhappy as an early teen, for lots of reasons, hormones and such, but probably what I allowed to effect me the most was my weight.  I was so consumed with what everyone thought of me, I'll take the blame for some of this, but being teased for years in grade school can take a toll.  

So, back to this book.  In the book, a girl, just like me, was teased and treated horribly by her schoolmates.   One summer, she decided she had had enough and went out into her back yard and ran in circles.  She ran and ran around her yard, all summer, dieted, and in the fall she was thin. (yes, totally realistic!  Sheesh.)  She went to a masquerade party with a mask on and no one knew who she was, but they all wanted to be her friend.  She tricked them, I remember that but not much more. The gist, she proved that she was still the same person and they were shallow, horrible people...or whatever. 

 I remember wanting so badly to do what she did.  I think I even went out and ran around my back yard once or twice.  I yo-yo dieted as well.  Ugh.  I  remember wishing and hoping I could show everyone how wrong they were to judge me.   I never did though.  I thought I didn't have enough willpower.   I struggled and my self-esteem suffered.

Obviously I didn't realize at the time how wrong the author was.  Sure, she was trying to point out that people are shallow and shouldn't judge, but I have realized something since then.  It wasn't that I didn't have willpower, it was that I was not only wanting it for all the wrong reasons, but I was looking in all the wrong places.  I was looking outside myself.  Looking to change just the outside for all the people on the outside. 

Those times when I realize I'm REALLY RUNNING and I'm really doing it, it's not for someone else.  It's not to prove anything to anyone, it's not to get skinny and have people like me.  It's for ME. It's inside, not out.  I feel strong, focused, and  accomplished.  Running isn't really about the outside, it's inside you, where you have to dig deep and push through.  I think I somehow thought if I looked the way others wanted me to, then they would see who I am, but I had it all wrong.  You have to find yourself  IN yourself and FOR yourself.  Oh geez, this is harder to put into words than I thought and I'm getting all philosophical.  

The bottom line is that I feel like I am more myself running than any other time and it has not a single thing to do with what I look like. (ok, that's a lie, I do love my cute running skirts and tutus! LOL) 

 When the vision of that girl popped into my head this morning I thought about how running is healing the hurt girl that I was.  I longed to run back then because I thought it would make me look the way I wanted to look.  It turns out that running is far more rewarding than I  had ever imagined. The way I look seems to only be a nice perk that doesn't mean much in comparison to the other things I have gained.

Has running healed you or made you a stronger person on the inside, in any way?  Did you ever think, before you started running, that running was such a "heady" activity?  

28 comments:

  1. Maybe I should try running without music because I can't think about things like this when I run. I only hear and think about the music. If I could get lost in my thoughts it would make the time pass better. That happens only occasionally, and for very brief periods, sort of like catching yourself dozing off to sleep. I realize I'm drifting off in my thoughts, and then once I realize it, I stop. And if I try to, consciously, I can't do it again.

    Good for you, figuring things out. Xoxo

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    1. I do run with music, but when it's a really good run like this, I couldn't tell you what the music was! You described it perfectly though, it's like you realize you have dozed off with your thoughts. I think it's really a form of meditation and it's true, if you think about it, you can't do it. The more I run, the more often it happens, so maybe it will be that way with you too! In meditation they say to just gently let it go when thoughts come into your head?

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    2. Lora, I don't know you and hope you return to see this comment... sometimes music helps but sometimes it hinders. I find that in upbeat songs with a fast tempo my pace picks up and I run with some serious power. but then sometimes a song by someone like jewel or sarah mcglaughlin will come on... and I will get deep within my head, focus on breathing and the music makes me turn inward.... it is those days that i run with some serious power just because that power helps to work out my own issues. try changing up your tunes a little and see what happens.

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  2. I completely agree! I love that with running, you compete against yourself and it feels like such a great accomplishment when you achieve a new PR or distance. My hubby isn't all about the medals, but I love mine. They're a reminder that I put my mind to it and ran that crazy distance for ME, no one else. :)

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    1. Yes! I love pushing myself for that new achievement Kim! The bling is an awesome reminder! ;)

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  3. What a great story! I am completely with you on this too. Running has changed me for the better in every way possible :) Even though it started out merely as a way to lose weight, it has revamped me in to happy, healthy, free spirited person!

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    1. Free spirited, yes! It's so funny that something that you have to push hard to do and is such a mental game makes you feel so FREE. It's like an oxymoron or something!

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  4. I share a lot of the same body image thoughts you do (but i am sure you already knew that). I run as a way to heal myself as well. I wonder though, as much as I longed to run as a teen and child... would it be as spiritual a thing as it is now had i been able to run back then?

    I love that you had this opportunity to explore some of your own issues. I also love that you put yourself out there and shared for others. sometimes that is all the motivation that others need to feel less alone.

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    1. Thanks Amy! I'm sure it wouldn't have been what it is now, I am definitely a culmination of all the events and things that have happened over my life and I think running takes on a different meaning not only for each individual but at different times in our lives as well. I'm glad you share this with me Amy, although I'm not glad you share this with me, if that makes sense. It was a struggle for so many years and I'm torn between the thought that I feel fabulous now BECAUSE I went through the things I did and I'm healing from them now. Sometimes I wonder if I would be as fabulous if I hadn't gone through all those struggles, ya know? :)

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  5. This is one of the most amazing posts I've ever read...not just on your blog but any... It is so real and it breaks my heart at the same time that it makes my heart bigger. It makes me feel like I understand you so much more now and without you knowing it...you understand me more too. I just want to give you a hug. :(

    I believe you are amazing. You look amazing! You are in better shape then most people I know. I hope you know that. I've had those flashing when running too, I feel like it's helping me work through those walls that I put up.

    I wasn't a thin child either. I did do cross country running and swam throughout middle school but if it makes you feel any better it didn't help...

    You're spot on when you say that it has to come from within...I feel when we are so young we just cannot comprehend that thought though. It always comes later in life with more lessons learned along the way.

    I'm always here if you need anything, even if it is states away :)

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    1. Aw Meg, thank you!! <3 You can give me a hug in February! ;) I just want you to know that your response to me put a huge smile on my face, I think it will be there all day.

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  6. I think the book you are talking about is Blubber by Judy Bloom.

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    1. I think you are right Kimberly! Thanks!

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  7. I love this post! I had similar problems when I was a teen. I wasn't picked on and looking back now, I was actually quite average sized, but I felt terrible all of the time. I was starve myself and then binge because I was so hungry.

    That behavior continued until I trained for my first half marathon when I was 34. It's crazy how your perspective changes when you train for something. Now it's not just about losing weight, it's about training and improving.

    Yes, I still could drop some weight, but when I'm seriously training, it isn't my focus anymore.

    Great story, thanks for sharing. :)

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    1. Jamie, thank you so much for replying!

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  8. I remember reading that book myself when I was young. Having that same hopeful ending for myself as I had read in the book. I too was the overweight kid in school that everyone made fun of. I have been there too and the toll it takes on your psyche and self-esteem is something that I still haven't been able to recover from. I'm in my 30's and I still feel like that out of place fat kid waiting to be picked for a team during PE; never quite feeling worthy.

    Running, the activity above all others, is what I hated doing the most. Until I tried it a couple of years ago. I did it to prove something, initially to my group leader (I was in WW at the time), then it was more for myself. I wanted to show myself that I could do it and that I could push my boundaries to achieve something I thought was silly and folly. I became empowered by the miles that passed under my feet. Confident under the buckets of sweat I expelled from my pores. And relished in the tears of anger, pain and happiness that I shed during my runs when I slashed through a mental or physical barrier.

    These things are hard to explain to others and really are only meant for you to enjoy because this is for you and you alone. People can be proud and in awe of your accomplishments, but they will never know the true work that was put into what you do and how far you have come. And it's not for them to know, it's for you as the runner to enjoy and embrace.

    Thank you for sharing today.

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    1. Lena, you nearly made me cry. It means so much that you get it, I think we think that we are the only ones who suffer through these things and I forget there are others out there that share this with me. Your response was beautiful and I can't thank you enough, you explained it even better than I could.

      It's a journey, for sure. I still have that nagging voice but she's quieter and less frequent now. (I had to tell her to go away yesterday when I was at the pool)

      Seriously...I just keep re-reading your response...it's like poetry for my heart. <3

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    2. Oh...now it's my turn to cry. Thank you for that.

      It does feel at times like we are the only ones dealing with these feelings and pain that we have endured, but like you said it's a journey and everyone has their own versions. That nagging voice hits me too and it's so tough to tell her to beat it, simply because she was the only company I had for so long.

      You have done wonderful things and you have more amazing moments to come. Breakthroughs you never thought would happen, accomplishing goals you one time felt were too big to fathom, and enjoying yourself in ways you didn't think were possible. It's all there for you and I can't wait to read your journey. :)

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  9. So glad you had a good run this morning! The flowers are pretty..and refreshing! :0) I know exactly what you mean about running and healing. Great analogy along with the book!

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    1. Thanks Karen! I'm still feeling great this afternoon!

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  10. Thank you so much for this Karen! I too have struggled with weight my entire life and was teased in school (through high school). I've always been the "fat girl" with the exception of two periods of time where I lost about 30 lbs. But, even then, in my mind I was still the "fat girl". I could never make the outside and the inside match. I feel like now, through running, I'm finally starting to see a glimpse of what this could be like. And yes, I started running to lose weight (and run the Princess Half), but I'm finding that what it's given back to me is so much more than weight loss. I realized just yesterday actually that although I'm still at the beginning of my running (and weight loss) journey, I feel better about myself now than I have in a very long time. And it's thoughts like this that I know will keep me going during that really hard run or when the scale doesn't move like it should, because I know that what I'm achieving on the inside is just as, if not more, important than the outside.

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    1. Yes! I'm so glad you replied Jenny and that's just how I feel! My outsides and insides are finally starting to match! Did you run the PHM this year or are you training for next year? Do you have a blog? I would love to keep chatting with you.

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    2. Thanks Karen! I haven't run it yet. I was initially going to train for 2014, but I've decided to hold off until 2015 so I have more time to acclimate to running (and to save for the trip. Ha!). I don't have a blog, but reading blogs like yours (and several others, including some ladies who have commented here) makes me want to start one. :) I'm in the 2014 Disney Princess Half Runners group on Facebook and on the DIS Boards (cupcakegoddess13). I would love to keep chatting with you too!

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    3. You should totally start one! It's not only great for meeting other runners, but it has helped me stay inspired and focused on my journey! I'm planning on 2015 as well, so maybe we'll actually get to meetup! It seems so far away, but it flies. Your SN on the DIS looks familiar, I'm on all the DIS Princess threads as well and a couple FB groups too! I'm glad you posted!

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  11. I just discovered your blog a few weeks ago but I HAD to comment about this post. :)

    I was always the fat girl and never thought I would be an athlete and certainly not a runner! Over a two year period, I went from morbidly obese to "normal" and surprise, surprise those insecurities that the fat girl had didn't go away with the weight that I lost. Then running entered my life and wow, was I hooked! I never thought I would be a runner. I mean, come on, you don't get to be morbidly obese and think "yeah, I am going to run one day" but I LOVE IT. I love the feeling of freedom, the feeling of accomplishment and the feeling of rightness with the world when I am done with a run. It is the only thing I do in my life for me and me alone. And this week, I took the plunge and signed up for the Tinkerbell Half Marathon and the Glass Slipper Challenge. Next year this former fat girl will earn her wings AND her tiara!

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    1. Whoohooo Wendy! That made me smile! Thank you so much for commenting, it is so awesome to know that others have shared these feelings and running has changed their life the way it's changing mine. I'll see you there with my own tiara!! ;)

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  12. I read that book in middle school and it I have vivid memories of trying to do some kind of exercise routine over the summer expecting to be transformed into a thin gorgeous girl and the disappointment when it didn't happen. Those memories still float through my head occasionally, so it was amazing to see this blog post. I run to prove to myself that I am an athlete, even if I don't quite look like one yet. I love that running doesn't have a selection committee to let you in, you just lace up some shoes and get moving. Thanks for a thought provoking post!

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    1. Thanks April, I'm amazed at how many people had the same experience and reaction! It's awesome to know I'm not alone. I love the running community as well and love how anyone can do it and everyone supports each other! <3

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