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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Year in Review


We are about to say goodbye to this year (not to mention, this decade) and usher in a new one. 

A fresh start.  A new beginning.

In 2010, I ran +/- 2,000 miles (I'm still trying to pin down a more exact number.  Cyndi's not really a detail person).

I started and finished 17 road races:  four 5K's, two 4 milers, one 5 miler, one 10K, two 10 milers, three half-marathons, one 16 miler, one 30K and two marathons.  I received age group awards in four of those races and set PR's (Personal Record) in four others. 

Not too shabby.

There's been some ups and downs, physically and emotionally, many of which have been talked about in this blog, but nothing I couldn't handle, even if I didn't quite realize it at the time.  Nothing is permanent.  Nothing lasts forever.

This too shall pass.  And it always does.

Yup.  It's been a very good year.

As we bring in a new 365 day segment, it's customary to make "New Year's Resolutions".  It's kind of like waiting until Monday to start a diet.  We decide that this particular January 1st will be the time when we finally decide to lose weight, start exercising, save more money, quit smoking, etc.  We put all our eggs in that proverbial basket, filled with hope and resolve.

I'm sure you've made more than one of these NYR's.  I know I have.

And, chances are, you haven't kept very many of them.  I know I haven't.

Remember, I work in the fitness industry by trade.  January 2nd, dozens of "would be fitness hopefuls" come to our facility in droves.  I call this time of year "tourist season".  They approach exercise with vim and vigor.  They come every day for the first week, or even two.  Then, gradually, you see them less and less.  All of a sudden, Valentine's Day is here and you don't see most of those new faces much, if at all.

I've observed this pattern every year for the past 16 years.
What's the problem, then?  How can we go into this endeavor filled with such optimism and positive expectation, only to crash and burn in a few weeks?

My personal experience with resolutions has taught me this:  anything that feels like work won't work.  If you approach change as something you SHOULD or HAVE to do instead of something you WANT to do, you set yourself up to fail.  Plain and simple.  I think we set these lofty goals for ourselves because we feel accountable to society at large for our behavior.  Sometimes, we impose these expectations on ourselves, but the motivation is the same:  approval.  From the time we were little, we have been conditioned to seek acceptance from our friends, family and peers.  We bought into the lie that what others think of us is more important than following our own instincts.

And that is why our resolutions go up in smoke.

We human beings are meant to be happy.  Granted, we sometimes forget this and can, at times, feel pretty awful.  But, even the hardcore masochist needs a reprieve from time to time.  We cannot punish ourselves indefinitely.  It's not our nature.  It's not what we're meant for.

Having learned this first hand, I have decided that there is only one New Year's Resolution I can be sure of keeping.

Not making any.

If I decide to learn a new skill, change my financial circumstances, or modify my behavior in any way, shape or form, well then, I'll just do it if, and only if, I want to.  I don't need to wait until the calendar tells me it's time.  If my desire and my intention match, taking inspired action is easy.  It just flows, effortlessly.

If it feels like work, it won't work.

Trust me on this one, friends.

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

It's my birthday and I'll rant if I want to

December 21, 1971

That is the day I made my grand entrance into the world as we know it.

As you can see, that is four days before Christmas, which is a pretty big holiday around these parts.

I also happen to be blessed with an older brother.  Aren't we cute???

Guess when he was born?

Christmas Eve.

I think my parents had spring fever.

There is a lot one could complain about being born this time of year.  For one thing, you do get a lot of the "combination birthday/Christmas" presents.  The tree was always up by the time the 21st rolled around, so the typical tradition in my family was to select a gift from under the tree to open on your birthday.

It was almost like playing Russian Roulette.  Would I open a fun gift to play with or would I end up with socks and underwear again???

As a young child, I always wondered why everyone else got balloons, party hats, and noisemakers while I had pictures of a fat man in a red suit on my presents.  Plus, my brother had a birthday around this time too, remember?  Not only did I have to share my birthday with Christmas, I had to share it with HIM.

I was also born on the first day of winter.  The day I was born, everything else died.

Now THAT'S a cheerful thought.

But, I'm not bitter.

Well, not anymore.

You see, the older I get, the more I appreciate being born on the day I was.  Since it coincides with the holiday season, there is a certain "festive quality" my birthday has always had that might not be there had I been born during another month of the year.  There is an excitement; a certain electricity in the air.  And, I also happen to be blessed with many good friends who have gone out of their way to make my birthday stand out.  They have even given me gifts wrapped in birthday paper, just so I can feel even more loved and special.

And, I do.

Now, as an adult, I love having my and my brother's birthdays so close together.  It bonds us in a very unique way; like we have this big secret that no one else knows except us.  That's pretty sweet.

So, you can call it a Merry Birthday if you want to.  I'm okay with it.

Either way, I can't think of anything else to do but celebrate.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Cyndi Does Dallas, Take Three

"All the king's horses and all the king's men
Couldn't put Humpty together again."

But, Leigh the physical therapist could get me in good enough condition to run 13.1 miles on December 5th.

And that's exactly what she did.

I made the trek with her and her hubby, Dave, to Dallas, TX.  She and I would do the 1/2 and he and his 70 year old dad would do the full (how COOL is that???).  Leigh was going back and forth about upgrading from the half to the full.  Having only a 13 mile long run under her belt almost four weeks prior, it seemed like a humorous idea.  On the outside, I was saying, "if you want to run the full, I'll do it with you.  Why not?", but on the inside, I was pleading, " the love of GOD!!!!"  

We arrived on Saturday, December 4th.  After many hours of travel, the first order of business (after securing a rental car, of course) was to find food.  They took me here:

We walked in and were greeted with a cheery, "Hi y'all!" from the hostess.  Hello, southern hospitality.

And this is what Cyndi Lou ordered:

Eggs from Hell
burrito filled with smoked chicken, scrambled eggs, and poblano peppers topped with mexicali sauce, avocado, and sour cream served with oven roasted potatoes

Why I thought this would be an ideal selection less than 24 hours before running a half-marathon, I can't say.  After all, this wasn't exactly "safe" runner food.  Maybe because I draw a line between "running" and "racing" a 1/2 marathon.  For some reason, I just threw caution to the wind.  

It was kind of yummy.  And how could you possibly resist the name???

After brunch, we made our way over to Fair Park for packet pick up and expo browsing.  It was like an act of Congress to find where exactly in Fair Park the marathon expo was.  This place was massive.  They even had these little trolley cars shuttling people around.  

Here.  Look for yourself:  

After many minutes of aimless wandering, and asking seemingly fit looking folks carrying running bags, we found where we needed to be.  The crowds, the lines.  It was craziness.  At one point, I was separated from my friends and was frantically texting Leigh to find out where they were.  

Everything really IS bigger in Texas.

But, I got what I came for:

And yes, we BOTH decided that staying with the half-marathon made the most sense.

This was the first time my name was on a race bib #.  Not only that, but it was my "formal" name.  I never go by Cynthia.  I still have flashbacks of hearing my mother screaming it when I was young, which usually meant that I was in trouble.  If the "Cynthia" was followed by "Ann", I was in BIG trouble.  And, God forbid, if she threw my last name in there, then it was Threatcon Delta for sure (little Air Force humor for you).

Leigh and Dave had some family stuff to attend to, so they dropped me off at the hotel.  We each booked rooms at the Fairmont, which was quite the swanky place.  Runners are used to sleeping in vans, for goodness sake.  Put us in a king size bed with feather pillows and, well, we just don't know what to do with ourselves.  I enjoyed a glass of wine at the hotel bar, watched some college football and headed upstairs for...ROOM SERVICE!  I've only had room service once before in my life and couldn't resist ordering it again.  As if it couldn't get any better, they were actually broadcasting the Boston Bruins Dallas, Texas.  It was the closest thing to being home.  

Speaking of being home, the pre-race forecast for Dallas was 34 degrees.  Yes, you heard me right.  I had flown from New Hampshire to Texas to run a race in early December and I still had to pack cold running weather gear.  

It couldn't BE more ironic.

My friends were going to be occupied for the night, so we swapped a few texts to firm up a meeting time and place pre-race.  Not only did our hotel have king beds and feather pillows, but it also had it's very own STARBUCKS.  Holla!  We decided to meet there at 6 a.m. to catch the first shuttle to the start line.  I got myself settled and into bed early.  I'm notorious for NOT sleeping well the night before a race, but these circumstances were slightly different.  It was 13.1 miles, as opposed to 26.2, and I really WAS approaching it as "just a training run".  I didn't want to make a big deal out of it because I didn't feel up to performing.  It was just a long run in a new place with friends.  That's it.

We met up the next morning, boarded the shuttle and headed to the start line.  The young man that I was sitting next to briefly engaged me in conversation.  Southerners are so friendly.

It went something like this:

YM:  So, are you running the race today?
Me:  Yes, I am.  Just the half.
YM: Just?
Me:  Well, compared to the full, it's just.
YM:  Oh.  
Me:  Are you running?
YM:  No, my brother is.  I'm just cheering him on.
Me:  That's nice.
YM:  So, what do you have to do to train for a race like this?  Do you run a lot?
Me:  Um yeah, something like that.

We arrived at our destination in the early morning dusk.  There was plenty of time to rendezvous with Dave's dad and stand in long porta-potty lines.  Thankfully, they also opened up one of the buildings in Fair Park so we didn't have to stand around in the cold (if you think we were a bit chilly, imagine how those Texans were getting on.  Dave's dad, Bruce, looked like he was dressed for a blizzard).  After hanging around inside for as long as we possibly could, we made our way towards the start.  Dave graciously offered to check our bags, so we only needed to find the portables and our corral (technically, it was Leigh's corral and I was there illegally...shhhh, don't tell anyone).

All of the races started at the same time, that is, you had marathoners, half-marathoners and relay racers in the same corrals.  It made for a very crowded and slightly delayed start.  I think it took us about 15 minutes to finally cross the line.  But, we did.

It was chilly and windy, particularly for the first couple of miles.  Right around the third mile, I felt stiffness and tension in my left knee.  Part of me thought about not mentioning it to Leigh, but then decided it would be a good idea to tell her.  Running with a physical therapist has its benefits.  She gave me cues on how to adjust my biomechanics, which helped some.  It never really intensified beyond mild discomfort after that.

About halfway through the half, I made a comment to her, something to the effect of, "so aren't you glad we aren't doing the full right about now???".  She was.  I was beyond glad.  I was ECSTATIC.  This run was about pure survival for me.  The last thing I would have wanted to do is suffer through a 26.2 mile race.  There is something to be said about "respecting the distance".

Once we were beyond the halfway mark, the miles began to tick away.  There was a good stretch of gradual uphill between miles 5-9, so we were ready for this to be over.  Once we hit mile 13, we picked up the pace in order to prevent the first place marathoner (no, that is not a typo) from beating us.  That was Leigh's idea.

Hey, it's the little victories that count.

Our chip time was a little over 2:03.  There were never any goals set or times to beat, so it was really irrelevant how long it took.  We were just both happy to be done.  I did feel relieved.  The knee was a little stiff, but nothing I couldn't handle.  They funneled all of us inside for mylar blankets, medals and finisher shirts, which was pretty cool.  

This race also had free beer to all the finishers.  Granted it was MGD 64, but it was free.  And it was beer.  


We caught up with Dave and his dad later on.  Both of them had a tougher than usual day on the course, but they made it.  We all finished our respective races, so there was nothing left to do but celebrate.  Lunch at Chipotle, followed by dinner at Gordon Biersch:

At this point, we were all pretty beat, so it was back to the hotel.  You know what they say:  early to bed, early to rise.  We had a 6:30 flight from Dallas-Fort Worth to catch in the morning, which meant leaving the hotel at the ungodly hour of 4:30 a.m.  

Once again, thank God for STARBUCKS.

And that's exactly what I did as I sipped my Grande Cafe Mocha while waiting to board the plane headed home.  I came, I saw, I survived the trip to Dallas.  I had some laughs with my friends and got another piece of hardware for the cabinet.  There were lots of positives to take out of the whole experience.  

Most importantly, though, there was a lesson to be learned.  And, I got the message loud and clear:  

Sign up for a marathon only because it's something you WANT to do, not because there is something you think you "have to prove".  Your intentions and desire need to match.  I thought that mine did, but they really didn't.  My head, or should I say ego, was all about it, but my heart just wasn't.  I broke my own rule, which was to give myself 30 days after a marathon before deciding whether or not to sign up for another one.  In the heat of the moment, I took this challenge on as a way to make up for not meeting my goal for the Atlantic City Marathon.  It's nice to do well in races, and it's even nicer when people notice.  But, you can't let it define you.    

Maybe that's why I had the knee issue.  My body just wouldn't let me self-destruct.  It stopped me since I didn't seem able to stop myself.  

Now, I understand.

Sure, there are plenty of people who can, and do, run two marathons several weeks apart.  But, they are who they are and I am who I am.  There is no one else like me.  And, since I am the only "me" there is, comparing myself to others is irrelevant and unproductive.  Instead, I'd rather unconditionally love and accept myself for who I am, no matter where I go, what I do, or what time I run.

I'd rather be better at life. 

And, you know what they say about life.

It's a MARATHON, not a sprint.




Friday, December 17, 2010

Cyndi Does Dallas, Take Two

When we last left our heroine (that's me), she had successfully bounced back from a week of inactivity and transitioned back into running again.

And she did that.  She even booked her airfare and hotel room for Dallas.

Things were business as usual.


Friday, November 5th.

Let's talk about that.  And, while we're at it, I'll stop referring to myself in the third person.

There was a 6 mile run on my schedule broken down as two miles easy and four miles between an 8:40-8:50 pace per mile.  Things were going like they normally do until the last mile.  I started feeling a sensation in my knee, almost like a mild stiffness.  I knew I was almost done, nor did I feel overly concerned about it, so I sucked it up and finished my run.  Afterwards, I stretched and foam rolled, thinking it would help the tweaky feeling.

Saturday, I ran five miles outside from my house.  That sensation was there again, this time a bit stronger.  I had the Larry Robinson 10 miler on the books for the next day.  I suppose I could have taken Saturday off, but I really wanted to be outside.  Moreover, I still wasn't convinced that there was "anything going on".

I did the 10 miler the next day with my pal, John (refer to the "You CAN teach an old dog new tricks" post).  And, I noticed it again.  A little more.  You see, there is one thing I have learned.  There are a lot of things in our life that we may not have much feeling around or, perhaps more accurately, don't want to see.  If you're not sure what to do about something, don't worry about it.  Just wait.  Ignore it some more.  It'll get bigger.

And, pretty soon, you'll know.

That's what happened.

I rested the day after the race, only because it jived with the schedule (I can be a slave to routine).  I picked up where I left off.  Six miles on Tuesday.  Eight miles on Wednesday.  High intensity 10 miler on Thursday.

It was there.  That feeling.  Just kept getting louder.

Ignore.  Ignore.  Ignore.  Not happening, not happening, not happening.

Sunday, December 5th loomed.  The friend I had planned on running it with decided to drop down from the full to the half marathon.  She didn't have the base mileage for the full and there was still time and space available to do this.  Suddenly, I had the perfect compromise.  I would register for the half-marathon as well.  The full marathon never sells out, my friend informed me.  However, the half has and was very close to closing registration.

So, that's what I did.  I gladly ponied up the $100 for the half-marathon and breathed a sigh of relief.

Things would be fine now.

Then, I ran 16 miles on Saturday.  And it was ridiculously hard.  My slow pace felt like my race pace.  Thankfully, my friend, Christina, was uber patient with me and didn't mind taking it easy.  My heart rate was through the roof.  Plus, we were experiencing unseasonal like warmth and I had way too many layers on.

On top of the leg being cranky, I hadn't slept well the night before at all.  My body was just tired.  But I  

Bigger and bigger and bigger.

The broken sleep pattern continued.

Just how many signals did I need?

Cyndi Lou's not stupid.  She's just stubborn.

And HOW.

I cross-trained the day after my long run.  That night was the Sunday night where I didn't sleep.  At ALL (refer to the "WIDE Awake...I'm WIDE Awake..." post).  Monday was complete rest.  I didn't run on Tuesday, either.  I was starting to get wise.

Or desperate.

By the time Wednesday came, I got my wake up call.  My six mile run, which should have been a walk in the park, was painful and slow.  I actually felt the need to stop a few times to stretch, hoping that would relieve the tension.  However, that was equivalent to putting a band-aid on a broken arm.

That ship has sailed, sister.

It was time to pack it in.

It was also time to call my physical therapist who, coincidentally, is the friend I planned on doing Dallas with.  My appointment for treatment was Friday, November 19th.  That left us with two weeks and two days to fix what was broken.  I was committed to the trip, emotionally and financially.  I was also losing my motivation.

Ever hear the expression, "it sounded like a good idea at the time?"

Yup.  That summed up my brilliant idea to do Dallas.  It lost it's luster in a hurry.  What started as a potentially challenging, yet fun, adventure was turning into an obligation.  I began to feel more like this was something I "had to" do instead of something I "wanted" to do.  Of course, my friend would have understood if I backed out.  I bet my husband would have been fine with it also.  Sure, I'd be out a few hundred bucks, but it's only money, right?  

The most important things in life aren't things, after all.

The problem wasn't with my friend.  Or my husband.

The problem was with me.  But, like everything else in life, you have to figure that out on your own.

Just wait, Cyndi Lou.

It'll get bigger.

And, pretty soon, you'll know.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Cyndi Does Dallas, Take One's not that kind of story.

The day after I ran Atlantic City, I had the notion to run the Dallas White Rock Marathon on Sunday, December 5th.  My friend and her husband were registered for it and I thought it'd be fun to travel along with them.

Yes, I realize that was only one month and 18 days removed from marathon #6.

What can I say?  I wanted to get back at it.

Truly, I do not think my motives for taking on this task were pure.  It was more like my brain saying, "we can do better, Cyndi Lou...we can do better than 3:48 in Atlantic City...we can still try to improve our seeding at have until February 2011 to submit a faster time than your Vermont City BQ..."

My running brain equates to the bully that always shamed you into forking over your milk money.  Gets me every time.

So, I ran the idea by my running coach.  He's been in the biz for almost two decades, so nothing really phased him.  He basically told me that if I was motivated to run in the cold and dark that, yes, we could do it.

Then, the surgery happened.

And I was in the knee immobilizer for a week.

Wait, did I forget to tell you about the surgery???

Forgive the random storytelling.  Let me catch you up.

In August, I had gone to the dermatologist to have a sketchy looking mole on my left thigh looked at.  It was maybe the size of a pencil eraser...maybe a little bigger.  It had JUST started to change and struck fear into the hearts of my loved ones, who implored me to have it checked.  The doc examined it and agreed that, yes, it needed to be removed.  He numbed the area, shaved it right off in the office, checked my body for other potentially "suspicious looking" marks, and sent me on my way.

About a week later, one of his associates called to tell me that the biopsy reported my lesion as "severely atypical".  In other words, it was close to being a melanoma.  She told me it would be necessary to see a plastic surgeon, so they could remove a greater surface area, as a safety precaution.  I consulted with the "there's more to my practice than fake boobs" guy, explaining to him that I was running a marathon in October and hoped we could have the surgery after I ran the race.  He didn't think it was crucial enough to address beforehand, so we scheduled the procedure for three days after I ran AC.  In addition, he let me know I would need to wear a knee immobilizer for 7-10 days afterwards because the skin was very tight around the area he would be stitching.  Not to gross you out, but flexion/extension of the knee could pop the stitches.  Since I was going to be on the reverse taper anyway, I didn't think it would be a big, hairy deal.

On October 20th, I had the procedure.

I walked into the office like a perfectly normal person.  I had even done a "welcome back" five mile run with a friend of mine that morning.

Forty five minutes later, I walked out like I had just had reconstructive surgery on my left leg.

You should have seen the size of this knee immobilizer.

It went from the inside of my left thigh down to mid calf.  In addition, it was fitted with metal bars on the sides and the back to, you guessed it, keep me from bending my knee.  Because of this, I had to walk "peg leg", like I was dragging one.  You should have seen me trying to get in my car.  It took me five minutes to figure out how to hoist myself up and into the driver's seat without bending my left leg.

Try it sometime.  I won't like it.

Once I made it home, I had to also figure out how to EXIT the car without bending my leg.  It was like recreating the wheel, for crying out loud.  Quite frankly, it all seemed to be a bit excessive.  All of that for this:

"That" warranted wearing this cumbersome contraption.  ALL the time.

I could only remove it to shower.

I had to sleep with it on and everything.

But, I figured, eh, how bad could it be?

I could probably use a week off from running anyway.

Once I limped into the house, I got myself on the couch and stayed there for the rest of the afternoon.  I had to be at work bright and early the next day, but since I had already gotten the entering and exiting of the automobile down, I figured it would be no big deal.

I work 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thursday.

That's eight hours.

Eight hours of:

What happened???

What did you do to your leg???

Did you do that running???

OMG, did that happen at your MARATHON???

Compared to the endless barrage, getting in and out of the car was a piece of cake.

But, after telling the story to over 200 people, I figured the rest of the week I was sentenced to wear this thing wouldn't be so bad.

And I did fine with the "no running thing".



That was day four.  Day four of nothing.  No running, no spinning, no walking outdoors for active recovery after a long run.





Sunday morning, deciding I was well enough, I asked my husband if he would assist me in removing my own stitches.  Needless to say, my idea wasn't well received.  Horrified by my suggestion, he left the room, refusing to entertain the notion of playing doctor.  And here I thought all men loved to play doctor.

Goes to show you how much I know.

Later on that day, my best buds, John and Ted, came over for food, football and fun.  And to see how the cripple (me) was getting on.  They arrived fresh and sweaty from a 15 mile trail run and were all jacked up on endorphins.

I hated them.

Maybe I'm overstating it just a little bit.  I heart John and Ted.  But, at that moment, I was as green with envy as Kermit the Frog.  And if Cyndi can't have any fun, well, then, no one else should be able to play either.

Logically, I knew it was only a week.  Lots of people take a week off all the time.  It's not like I was never going to be able to run again.  I was just indulging in some good old fashioned self-pity.  That was the soup du jour for me and I was not about to turn that frown upside down.

Thankfully, John and Ted heart me back and didn't seem too put off by my sulking and moodiness.

Monday and Tuesday came before I knew it and I could see the finish line.  I was going to get the stitches out late Wednesday morning.  Tuesday afternoon, I decided to take the brace off.  I was sick and tired of wearing that big, bulky thing.  Besides, I thought I could use some practice in learning how to walk like a normal person again.

Boy, was I right.

For the first 2-3 hours after I removed the brace, I WAS WALKING EXACTLY THE SAME.  It was as if it was still on.  Note to self:  neuromuscular adaptation occurs in six days.

Got it.

The next day, I showed up for my appointment.  After waiting an hour to be seen (no, I'm not kidding), the doc looked at my leg and seemed to be pleased with his work.  The stitches came out easily.  The first words out of my mouth were:

"So, can I run now??"

He looked up at me, sighed, and said, "how about waiting until tomorrow?"


Truth be told, I was just so bleeping happy I could walk and engage in frivolous amounts of knee flexion and extension like everybody else.  I didn't really mind waiting until Thursday to run.  Besides, I had to go to work anyway.

Thursday came, and I got my butt back out for a run.  Nothing like "easing back" into it.  I ran 6.3 miles.  The next day, another 6.3.  And the day after that?  A nice 9 miler with my friend, Christina.

I was back to prepping for Dallas.  I figured I would just pick up where I left off.

Business as usual.  Right?

Not exactly.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Back in the Saddle

I ran yesterday morning.  It's the first time in two weeks that I've sustained a running pace for a decent amount of time.  It doesn't feel like it did a month ago, but it feels better than it did a week ago.

I call that "progress".

I thought I'd give it another go this morning, so I laced 'em up and headed out.  After walking for 5-10 minutes, I started to run.  I went about twice as long as I did yesterday before inserting a walk break.  The good news is, the choice to do that was my brain talking, and not my body begging.  Once I started to run again, it felt fairly easy to transition from walk to run.

I call that "encouraging".

It's safe to say that the decrease in training and inclusion of alternative activities has done my body some good.  Through the gift of hindsight, I'm able to appreciate the decision to cut back.

But, what's more apparent to me is how running helps me to be the best person I can be.

This is only day two of running close to what I'm used to on an average day and I can already feel a spring in my step that hasn't been there much the past couple of weeks.  I'm more relaxed, patient, calm and friendly.  These are all very important personality traits to have, particularly when you work with the public like I do.  Who wants to be around a sour puss of a fitness instructor/trainer?

Certainly not ME.  And I was sorta kinda being one.  Let me tell you, it's not so good for business.

I did my absolute best to put a game face on and power through it.  However, I've never been very good at hiding my feelings.  I suppose that is a mixed blessing.  The good news is, I didn't get fired or flipped off by any of my clients during my running layoff.  So, I've got that going for me.

Right now, I'm feeling optimistic.  Most of all, I feel such appreciation for the gift of physical activity, specifically, running outdoors.  It's so easy to fall into the trap of taking things for granted.  Sometimes, we just get wrapped up in a bunch of little things and we stop paying attention.  We get caught up in "majoring in the minors" and, consequently, get further and further away from our true self.  We have all of these subtle "reminders" that come up, but we ignore them.  However, they just don't go away.  They get bigger and bigger until they manifest in such a way that you have no choice BUT to stand up and take notice.

Ergo my run two weeks ago.  The last half of it didn't feel so good.  But, that wasn't my first "warning".  There were many others, I'm sure.  Cyndi Lou was just too busy to notice.

Perhaps that's why these little lapses happen.  Once we come through it, we can feel appreciation for the contrast that caused us to learn and grow.  It gently reminds us to focus on what's really important and to celebrate life every day and in every way.  There is nothing like a moment of clarity to put everything in its proper perspective.    

We live and we learn.  We fall down, but we get back up.  And back in that saddle.