Groovy Girls Go……Running Scared

Running Scared
The light sneaks through the branches lining the trail and lights the path in an angelic way………until I realize I’ve used the word angelic and sneak.

I run scared because I think someone is sneaking in on me and even though I may be no angel I do think he will kill me.
I’ve run scared for longer than I can remember now.
This last marathon I looked behind every tree because I had been told that in 9 months I would have a baby…………is that code for I’ll be raped? 
I’ve been living a nightmare that I’ve kept mostly to myself…….now it’s out there for the world….and so here it is……I run scared…..
Every time I lace up I wonder if I’m being followed. Every time I lace up I wonder if I need a new route. Every time I lace up I wonder I’d I’m going to turn the corner and be drug behind a tree and killed……

Running at least allows me to have some control in the how I’ll die but at the same time; NO ONE SHOULD LIVE LIKE THIS.
Once upon a time I had a man addicted to drugs break into my home and steal everything I ever thought was valuable. I forgave him and once I picked myself up from crying on the floor, in the hallway, I moved on. He only took things, the worst of which was the class ring from my mother’s high school, and I knew it could be so much worse. That class ring was the only thing I asked the prosecution to beg to get back………………..but it never was. And so we all moved on……….
Now I live a nightmare where someone I once loved uses everything I ever said, any dream, any wish, any hope, and any insecurity …. uses it now against me and those I love. I’d give anything to rewind the clock and remove this person from my life; but alas those things that don’t kill us only make us stronger. Well fucking cheers to putting this cliche to the test.
And so I do the only thing that makes sense…… I run. Despite being afraid, and having every training run throwtered by this person I ran…….be it scared; I ran fast. I went home after the race in Erie thinking I had failed. Not only in life, but in his race as well, to only get a text from a friend two days later telling me congratulations……..I had won my age group.
So despite it all……….I won. Despite the horrid words spewed at me, despite my life threatened, despite my family now always feeling scared, despite my friends having to wonder who’s telling the through, despite …………..I WIN………. I WILL FUCKING WIN.
And so I run. I parked my car and hit the trail. Amongst the trees and the brush I ran in the sunlight because I have nothing to hide.
Groovy Girls Go………..Because I Won’t Run Scared Anymore…….. FUCK YOU

Groovy Girls Go…….Stopping Traffic

Ok, so I didn’t exactly stop traffic……but traffic was certainly stopped.  

So…….after sitting for an hour in the parking lot that had been I 96, in my running clothes, I couldn’t NOT run.  

I had already gotten out of my car to stretch out and check the scene (which was grim at best) I did what any runner would have done, I ran through traffic.

The voices in my head wondered if I should be embarrassed and begged me to stop, but my shoes were louder and my breathing then replaced the nay-sayers in my brain. 

I laughed at myself while people sitting in cars, dressed nicely for work, laughed with me.  I saw people on phones, reading, singing, sleeping, and best of all kissing!  We aren’t often given the gift of time in life but when you are; do what you love……

Groovy Girls Go…………For a Run in Traffic

Groovy Girls Go……Clearing the Path

Sometimes there is so much debris on a path that it’s not even worth going down…..other times however, the path is worth clearing! 

I went out for a recovery run and that’s exactly what happened; I cleared away the debris and the path was certainly worth the effort.

Running can do that for a person; if you push through the self-doubt, the insecurities, the fear of failure, and just go….. The path is most often worth every step. 

….. And so with everything I am, I travel down the path that needs clearing……with a strong stride……ready to give a new path a try… wide!

Groovy Girls Go……Onto a Clear Path 

Groovy Girls Go……….Thicker Skin After the Healing

No two days are ever the same, no different than no two runs are ever the same.  Yet, day after day I get up ready to give life my all, making the best.  No different than my runs.  Day after day I lace up ready to give my all to make the best of my miles.  

Just as in the daily path of life, the running terrain plays a crucial role in output of effort, time, even distance able to be covered.  There are so many factors tied into having a great run……but then again, some days nothing goes into having a great run.  In addition, sometimes runners just have to take what we can get. 

Everyday something about life surprises me so I’m unsure why I am surprised when runs surprise me….I’m clicking along on a pavement path-run.  The sun is hot and I’m thankful for the bits of foliage that drape over small sections giving some reprieve.  At one point there’s an unassuming branch that catches me just right, it’s contact with my skin slices my arm.  Just as this isn’t my first mile, it’s not my first scratch.  But, as the run continues, the wound opens up a bit and my sweat begins to sting and the blood runs down my arm.  

Red lines emerge on either side of the cut and when I’m done running there’s a throbbing ache that takes me by surprise; but that I just have to take.  This isn’t what is going to defeat me or my running…..not today at least.

I had to feel the pain in order to then heal from the pain.  Fortunately for me, this one isn’t going to scar…….and I’ll have a bit tougher skin for the next run!

Groovy Girls Go……..A Little Scratched Up

Groovy Girls Go……….I Mean Didn’t 

Yup, the title says it all…..every reason why I prefer to run device free.  I want to believe any time I get to go out and move my body the experience will contain more good than bad:  maybe by the end of this blog I’ll believe that again, but for now; NO WAY.

Anyone who writes anything is reflective.  It’s part of the writing process.  So I sit back and try to reflect on the path that has led to this moment….a moment that fills the outdoor airwaves with call after call, sharp words, verbal daggers whose only purpose was to expose every weakness I have, lonely thought, sadness, jealousy, and fear. 

So here’s the reflective part: are these my characteristics as a person?  Is this who I am?  A shattered woman so broken that my only purpose in life  is to use my chards to cut others?  I’d never be so arrogant or full of ego to admit I haven’t hurt someone or had actions I later realized were done with the intention of nothing good coming from them………

But then that’s when I realize; no, I am not this barrard of insults because,  well just because they weren’t the truth.  I realize I’m a marathon away from perfection ( probably an unmarked distance ……details) and I don’t just say I learn….I actually do.  I have an amazing village where integrity and honesty are those qualities valued by everyone and we all hold one another to those standards.  If any of us fall short, we have a village to gently pull us back after the fall of owning up.  And our character is gently reshaped to no longer include the flaw.

And so I desire to run but I honor the monologue and I listen; hoping for a chance to interject but I quickly get this is just going to be a volcano I merely have to survive.  In the time it took took for thus person to slash at my character I realized I could have ran a marathon and that running would save me from this natural disaster as well. I will weather this storm and I will come out, standing on top of the new earth after the lava hardens.  Because that’s all these angry words were.  Lava that flowed around me but couldn’t bury me because what was spewing was more of a reflection of the spewer than me.  

And so this new island, the aftermath of the storm, will blossom into a beautiful paradise and the views from every run on it will have been worth this lost run.

Groovy Girls Go………No More Taking Those Kinds of Phone Calls 

Groovy Girls Go…..Damned Up

Running is hardly ever easy.  I wonder if that’s sometimes it’s biggest draw…..the fact that not everybody even can do it (and certainly not everybody wants to do it!)

Now I’m not saying everybody had to be fast.  Because I also live by the motto that there is always someone faster, stronger, cuter, richer…….always.  It’s becoming comfortable with your own-self, but running is more than that.  Running is being able to find comfort within being uncomfortable.  

As I run up to the Hungry Horse damn, it’s one of the most beautiful sites! It’s a perfect temperature. The mountains are touchable from the road.  The whisper of the clouds are weaving their way throughout the pines that reach to where Heaven meets earth. 

The mountain road winds it’s way up, and up, and up, and up…..each step is stunning despite my inability to breathe at this altitude and with this climb.  Each step is painful and with every step up I’m finding that I have to will myself to keep going forward.  I’m however in good company and my Will to succeed is stronger than my Desire to quit.  

The damn, I’m not going to lie, was a welcomed sight and I knew then that the 5 miles back was now essentially all downhill.  The free falling feel of running downhill is fast and exciting compared to the work of each inch that going up demands.  To experience my feet flying amongst these clouds playing in the pines was freeing and worth the agony that has now flown from my mind……all that’s left is the fun run.

Groovy Girls Go…….Up to go Down

Groovy Girls Go……Combining Two Loves

When two loves collide, I believe it is a match made in heaven…….and I think this moment has been 40 years in the making.

The temp on the digital sign read 101 as we pulled into town from a day of driving.  And even though nothing about this seemed good for a run, I am in Montana and is there really not a good time to run?  

So I slipped out of the car and into some shoes.

A run out to the farm is one of my favorite routes while back home.  I take every chance I get.  Every collected moment and view of this run tells the stories of the miles of my life.  

I begin by running the street that I walked for the years of my elementary days.  Each corner brings back a memory of friends, stories, fights, tears, getting asked out, breaking up, laughing, but probably most importantly – growing up innocently. 

As I leave the city limits I pass where we said goodbye to our friend Justin.  I remember that cold day as if it was just this past winter.  My adult mind knows he is at peace but my earthly heart breaks for all the life he missed living.  I smile through watering eyes every time I pass by.  I no longer mourn, I do though get washed over with happy memories of his good spirit.  I continue on and even in the stifling, lip cracking heat I’m trying to suck in, I’m grateful for the chance to move my own body, to sweat, to hate what I am loving doing……I’ve been reminded that we never know when our current chance is our last chance. 

…..and if this shadeless route wasn’t merciless enough I now begin to climb the climb up out of the valley the town quietly hides in……..I try to find a different gear but today I’m just lucky to keep moving up and forward.  The winding ascent keeps the top just out of sight until I am almost ready to stop and walk……..I will myself to not stop, to appreciate the can inside of me and then there I was; I had made it to the top.   

One last open stretch of road lined by wheat fields being cut by local farmers is next on the route. 

I go speeding down this open straight stretch because it feels good.  The wheat fields that have yet to be harvested blow in the heated breeze – the ocean waves of the west that I part with my running and my father combines.  

And then there it was, the view of all views, 40 years in the making.  Two people with similar roots yet very different branches grew in a way that allowed them both to be at exactly the same place in the same time both doing exactly what they love.

Along a very purposeful path whom we arrived at living very different lives, two unlikely loves come to share the same space, collecting the same moment, both looking out in love.  Dad from the cab of his combine, me from the souls of my shoes…….dad coming down the field, sitting proudly in the cab of his combine, harvesting his nurtured to Montana-golden-perfection-wheat.  Me, harvesting this moment.  

I’m so grateful for a life lived creating routes and running paths that have led me to exactly……….now.

Groovy Girls Go……..For the Harvest of Being Exactly Where I’m Suppose to Be

Groovy Girls Go…….Up a Creek

Each stage of childhood brings with it, it’s own unique joys.  At eight, Montana is pretty much up for the next level of adventuring. 

As she nervously awaits to board the bus for our white water rafting I’m proud of her for being willing to verbalized that she’s nervous, but I wonder why at the same time……this is actually her third time rafting.  

(Granted one time she slept through the whole thing as I held her in my arms – amazing for the mama…..)   

So we sat together on the rock, everything taken care of on our end, waiting……..

……..and then just like that, the bus ride is over, the chatter and rules are over, the dividing and introductions are over and we’re on the river.  The crystal clear water that has literally come from the glaciers and will nourish us today in more ways than one.  Her smile has become her face and her big brown eyes are alive with exactly what life is suppose to reflect back from an eight year old.  Excited innocence and anticipation of the glory to beheld up around the bend………

The power of the mountain river is apparent in every rock.  The glacier fed river is also very generous in allowing views to reach her rocky bottom.  The variety of colors shimmer their unique beauty up to the surface and in these early stages of the ride we take in the rocky colors of calm. 

 There is no mystery for me as to why people seek the clarity of nature when life becomes murky and unsure.  The river offers a clear forward flow.  Life is perpetually moving forward however not always clear…..yet life gives us these moments of clarity and it is for us to be living with our eyes wide open in order to take in the view.  I can’t imagine there is a life decision whose answer wouldn’t t be as clear as the water from these snow-capped mountains.   

Yet just as in life, we turn the bend of the river and the fallen bolders that tried their best to block the stream have failed; yet succeeded in churning up the calm into a froth of uncertainty.  And it is in these moments we brace ourselves.  Use the skills we’ve been taught.  Look to those in our boat and together navigate the waters.  

I look over my shoulder and those big brown eyes are taking in the white water with a healthy mix of fear and excitement and then our eyes lock.  It’s for a split second, but enough for her to know that I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else in the world in this moment and that even more importantly, I couldn’t want for anyone else to be in my boat.  

The rapids are upon us.  Commands are shouted and breath-takingly-cold water comes straight at us.  To be doused is unavoidable.  My body takes on an energy as I paddle through this section, wet, cold, nervous, shivering, yet all the while determined to not only keep myself afloat, but to keep everyone in my boat afloat.  

There’s a beauty in this danger and uncertainty.  The unknown allows for strength of character to emerge and it’s how we responded to the challenges put forth by the river  that has allowed our boat to pass through and now breathe, warm off in the sun, and to smile and laugh with one another while taking in the glory of our boat’s success.  Eyes no longer reflect fear of the white cap water, but a gratitude and even stronger trust in the strength of not only each self, but our collaboration to persevere. 

And so the river flows and we eagerly take on each section; gaining in confidence and trust…….and inevitably……have fun even in the biggest of white caps. 

Groovy Girls Go…….Thanful to be in the Same Boat

Groovy Girls Go…..Knowing It’s Going To Be Tough

Truth be told, I believe it’s safe to run in our comfort zone paces……and I suppose that’s fine for many after all safe is called safe for a reason.   Running comfortably can be fun, you can talk, still get miles in, and even cross finish lines for medals.  

I get it, not everyone cares about the clock, I’m not even really sure how much I “care.”  But I certainly am not, not willing to work my ass off.  So today, the weather was crappy, I was suppose to do 4 easy, but I had a chance to get on a tred mill and I don’t know if there’s any better way of keeping honest than pressing that faster button?

And so I took to the power of the hamster wheel and spun my little legs until they couldn’t turn over anymore.  

I ran outside my comfort zone because I’m certain I wasn’t having any conversations with anyone and I’m also certain life begins when you’re willing to risk picking up the pace.  

So I’m putting myself out there.  Taking chances in life…..maybe going too fast…..the clock will tell.

And hitting that speed up button on my tred in the hopes of finding a new comfort zone hoping the clock will tell.

Groovy Girls Go……….For a New Comfort Zone

Groovy Girls Go…….Hitting the Road

Summer is an amazing time for my daughter and I.  It’s a chance to really connect and reconnect with the most important characters in my life.  The strangers I have collected and whom have become family.  Beautiful characters who add such beauty and joy to my life story and for whom I am ever thankful to the universe for placing along my road.  

I sit in the back passenger seat, bouncing along a dirt road, traveling the first leg up a mountain.  My pretty painted toes sparkle in the mountain sun in my flip flops.  The car is filled with souls that equal the beauty of the mountain and the laughter is as sweet as the vanilla infused bark of the spruce pines surrounding us.  

We make a turn and happen upon a mountian meadow.  Bleached and twisted branches adorn nature’s flower garden and as the kids jump out of the truck to run……I’m happy.  

I change into my shoes, jump out of the truck and skip up ahead the rocky mountian road to glimpse the next part of our journey and for a flicker of a thought I wish I was running.  My thought hasn’t even completed when a voice behind me, with such excitement asks, are you going to run?

Here, take my skirt……do you mind?  

No, go…….

And now I am no longer a passenger, I’m my own vehicle, moving my own body, sun on my body, breeze blowing past, muscles adjusting, feet settling in……I’m a runner and I was running.  

I had no plan, yet I know if you run up a mountain, you will eventually get to the top.  Collectively we had no plan, we had no map…….but now I did.  I knew I wanted to be my own way.  And so I ran.  I moved myself over some of the most stunning terrain I’ve ever seen.  Every step I climbed a little higher towards the sky; because I could.  

I’m certain I could go on and on about how breath taking each step was……how every rock I moved past was merely a stepping stone for something even more beautiful up ahead…….yet the best part of the story for me was hearing that the kids, following behind me in the truck, got out and ran a bit too.  My daughter, my friends, they all get to hear the stories; but now we all got a chance to be characters in the same adventure story.  

A story where I got to do what I love, followed closely by some of the people I love the very most in my life-story.  People who get me and got what I was going to do even before I knew myself…… And the best part……….we all came out on top……..together.

Groovy Girls Go……….together.