Groovy Girls Go…….wound up

As the year winds down, while winding up, my mind is racing with thoughts and memories of moments I want to make sure I collect. Just like a run, some memories, like miles were harder than others…….some happened easily……..and still others were magical. I find this is exactly my life (as is probably most people’s).  
I didn’t think I was thankful for every memory if I’m being honest. Some make me sob with sadness and some make me so ridiculously angry I can’t even formulate a sentence. But, as I was thinking about these memories, as they relate to miles, I realized I am thankful for each experience. I don’t necessarily have to like each one, and I certainly don’t want them to repeat; but to reflect upon how they came to be is valuable and I can take from them the lesson I was meant to learn…….then run on…………leaving them far – far – far into my dust.  
As I sit, post run, in the sun, I know I’ve had some of the most amazing views and runs this past year. Runs I could have never experienced without equally amazing people in my life….and when I say AmAzInG we all know that word is only a slightly strong enough modifier to express just how really make-life-better-for-everyone-they-know kind of people they are. It’s in knowing these people and in watching their modeling of loving relationships that I have found strength to run a path that leaves behind anything but love. So I run………because in this past year I have understood people less than I ever thought I could. People who said they loved me did some and said some of the damnedest things………I’m telling you……and in those moments I tried to make sense of their actions and words and I just never could. I felt guilty for wanting to leave but I felt even worse when I endured what they had to give. So one day I just stopped. I stopped a run, I listened……..but this time it was for the last time. I realized I would never stop for such nonsense again………
I am so excited to run into 2017 in love……in love with love…….in love with the every person I’m keeping in my life……..in love with a little girl who’s every smile bring joy to my life…….in love with training again……and in love with every road my soles get to run. So I’m getting wound up as this year winds down. I’m ready to run.

Groovy Girls Go……Just the Right Amount of Tight

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Groovy Girls Go…..Fall-ing

I’ve fallen in love with fall, with life, with love, and thankfully I’m still in love with running. The Michigan morning was crisp, but frankly quite perfect for a run. The trail had been showered with a multitude of foliage and no step was without the cushioning spring that the layers of leaves provided.

I sat in the warmth of my car, eager for the minutes to tick by before go time.

My daughter, and friends, had run a race the day before and had set the bar high with the girls coming in 1 – 2 – 3……. Now it was my turn.

Trail races can bog down quickly and I was there to be anything but bogged down, I’m feeling anything but bugged down, so I took off with the lead and never looked back….. I looked down a lot, up and out a lot; but never back.

The path was new to me……but gorgeous. The trees still had enough foliage to play peek-a-boo with the sun-beams and as I ran the switch back, the light lit-and hid-and-shimmered-and spot lighted all of Fall’s colorful beauty. New paths, new adventures, new roots, new turns, new twists, and of course new slips. Everything I love about running, I’m loving about life.
The course saw me slipping, getting tangled up, catching my step after getting out of step, stumbling, but also powering up hills, striding out and picking up speed on the straights, and never once stopping.

New loves aren’t just any one way, just like a new trail doesn’t have just one kind of terrain. The beauty is in experiencing it all with grace and loving the experience for just that….the experience. The joy of being alive, taking a risk, having strength to keep going, and sometimes getting a little lucky to miss at least a few of the rocks and roots.

Groovy Girls Go…….Falling in Love in the Fall

Groovy Girls Go…….Just a Few

Do I get ready for the party with a few minutes to spare or do I run just a few?

Well, unless you’re new……you know what I do.

As my daughter and I sat snuggled on the couch, watching a, “Charlie Brown Christmas” going over the week ahead during the commercials, she looked at me and said, “I get to hang out with Dad while you go to run club.  I miss you but don’t want you to miss run club because I know you love run club.”

These are some of the best people I’ve met in Michigan, and the only sadness I have is that it took me almost 15 years of living in this place before I ran into them……literally.  Now, the consistency of their presence in my life, mile after mile, is even noticed by my little girl.

I couldn’t be any more excited to spend the evening, dressed up with people who more times than not are barely even dressed.  People who get me, keep up with me, beat me, and sometimes are kind enough to let me keep up.  Tonight, we dress up…….but not before I lace up……even if it’s for just a few.

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Groovy Girls Go………Sometimes Dressing Up

Groovy Girls Go…..Running on Empty

Running on Empty

There is nothing about Friday after the work week, sleepless nights filled with haunts of living a nightmare, the sadness that goes with loss, the put-on-a-happy-face for my beautiful child, happy co-worker, mother, lover that says go for a run………oh no wait; every part of every part of that does indeed say “go run”!

Every part of the week can make you weak but every part of the run keeps you running.  I’ve never regretted lacing up and getting out the door, even when every cylinder was firing against me.  I’m lucky that I’ve run long enough on empty at other times in my life to know that this too will pass.  Something, on someday, will come along and add fuel once again to my fire and it’ll burn bright again.  I believe the key to my ignition is out there; I just have to be patient.

There’s nothing about being passed by that I like, which helps drive my spirit and keeps me lacing up……And until I’m back up, running on all cylinders……I’ll be grateful to be running at all.

Groovy Girls Go…….Thankful There are More Than One Key on a KeyRing

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…..smile 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