Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Of all the changes I thought to make...

I have often dreamed of changes I would make to my life.  Healthier eating, walking and playing more.  Travelling the world.  I have even dreamed of owning my own business and owning my own home with a small "hobby" farm.

Never have I imagined, or dreamed, or thought of becoming a Runner.  That was always out of reach for me.  I'm too plain, too wide, too short, too homey, too slow, too old, too geeky, too nerdy....I am not a runner and never will be.  Vetoed that thought even as it crossed my mind watching others.  Wish I could be, but my body is just not built for running.  And that's that.

Have you ever heard of "fake it 'til ya make it"? or how we build walls to protect ourselves only to find we've limited our ability to grow and flourish?  Have you ever heard of the "Red Ball/Green Ball" strategy of dealing with negative self talk?

Here's the thing.  There are many things I have dreamed of doing, but I had these walls limiting me.  These brick walls are tough and tall and block out a lot of good stuff.  I've known for some time there was better on the other side, but I didn't know how to break down the walls.  So I "faked it".  I pretended to live life as if I was getting out of these walls.  When I started to slip back into my old habits, I would "Green Ball" it and override the habit with the actions I wanted to be true. 

Green Ball?  When you do or say something negative and destructive, that is called a "Red Ball".  You can do nothing with the Red Ball or you can hold on to it.  You can toss it away or you can choose not to catch it in the first place.  But whatever you do with it, you then override it with a "Green Ball".  You do or say something about the situation that is positive and constructive.  So everytime I slipped up or ran up against my walls, I tried to remember to throw a "Green Ball" at it.

The last couple of years have been tough for me.  New learning, new ways of doing things, I have a new baby!  I've had to make some new changes to make things succeed.  As much as I had to make changes, I kept running up against negative, destructive actions and talk...and not all of it was my own!  For every "Red Ball" I was presented with, I struggled to fire a "Green Ball" against my walls.  Imagine, if you will, bouncy balls...lots of them...bouncing around in a small round room at high velocity.  Standing in the middle of that been my life for the last while.

Today, I realized..I am a Runner.  Today, I jogged for half of my 30 minute "walk" in 5 minute stints.  I felt great!  I felt powerful.  I felt the surge of adrenaline and endorphins hit in the last jog as I rounded the corner to see my home just that little distance away!  I felt like I was crashing through a finish line in a marathon!  All this time, all those bouncing balls were weakening my walls.  A whole wall of my existance has crashed down around me in rubble and dust and all those balls escaped.  As the dust clears, I look out to see a new horizon.  For now, there are no "Red Balls".  For now, I don't have to fire back anything.  I stand in awe of the magnitude of this change.

It's amazing!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Can you handle the truth?

Recently, I've been introduced to C25K. What is C25K? It's one of those phone applications and it's short for "Couch to 5km". It's intention is to slowly ramp you up in activity until you eventually run 5km. This seems almost impossible to anyone who thinks they can't run or just can't....

I was one of these people. For decades I have stated in no uncertain terms that I am not a runner. Running hurts me too much to even think about it. Only those with light bodies can run because shin splints are painful!! I lied to myself.

I didn't realize I was lying to myself. I thought it was the absolute truth! What I discovered recently was that it is very likely that we are all lying to ourselves. A friend of mine who admits herself that she was very much a voluptuous shape (to be gentle) discovered this application and started following it. Her results have forced me to reconsider my "truths".

Now, I'm not saying it's easy. Some people have injuries they may never recover fully from. There could be health concerns like my dad. He had his heart and kidneys replaced 20 years ago. I sincerely doubt he's going to be running 5km any time in this life time.

Consider then, two facts:

1) The Paralympic Games that run with the Olympics was designed for people with disabilities that prevent them from competing in regular sports. These people could have given up when they lost their legs or arms (or never had them to begin with). They could have said, "I can't" and they would have had a million people agree with them. Are those million people telling the truth?

2) Any movement, any progress is good. Anything is better than nothing. How slow the start is or how short is of no consideration. Progress is the only success to be measured. The Paralympics were founded as a therapy to give those with physical challenges a goal to work towards. As we all hear from all Olympians, their biggest and hardest competitor is themselves.

Look at those parathletes now? Is "I can't" really truthful? Since they obviously can and can do it better than I can with all my working limbs, I'd have to concede that, "I can't" is a lie.

I take the bus and walk most places already, so the early stages of C25K aren't really workable for me. It literally starts you out with doing 5-10 minutes of activity. So if you really not ready to do more than a little at a time, you can do this.

What was that? you don't have a phone so you can't have the app? That's ok. There are online versions of this all over the place and you can cut and paste it into a Word document to follow it. All the phone app does is make it more fun by adding music and alerts to when to walk and when to jog...it takes the thinking out of it for you.

Oh, you don't have a watch to time yourself? Dollar Store. They have a ton of cute bands and pins. In this activity, the most expensive expenditure is going to be a good pair of walking shoes and a watch..and the watch is only gonna cost a buck...maybe two.

So, I finally kicked myself out of the house for a solid walk. Not carrying bags to go to the store. Not pulling my rolling briefcase. Not pushing the baby buggy. This is MY time. Fifteen minutes out and fifteen minutes back. That's all! How far I got isn't what mattered. The fact that I got out at all was what was important. I didn't even try speed walking. It was just a walk. When I got home, I posted on my FB my "success" and got a huge response from my friends. I even got a little giddy from the praise.

Next day, I did it again with the same results. I felt pretty good. I kept doing it every day and getting praise and getting a little faster in my walk so getting a little further and getting more praise. You can see the cycle. Then a rainy day hit. It was cold, it was wet, it was absolutely horrible. That was when I was introduced to the "Donwannas". You've heard of them I bet!

All I could hear in my head was "I donwanna go out in the cold and wet...ick!". Then I heard my dtr whining that she didn't wanna go to school. I despise whining. I turned to tell her that she's not made of sugar and won't melt. I heard in my head, "and neither are you." Oops...truth time. I've always prided myself on being a good example to my kids. If I use that statement to my kids, then I have to apply it to myself. Once they were out the door, I put my shoes and jacket on and out I went. I warmed up real quick and then it wasn't so bad. Got home, had a cup of hot lemon and ginger tea, curled up with a book. Felt really proud of myself and I felt I earned that little bit of quiet time.

After a couple of weeks of walking, I was feeling good and while on a walk I was re-evaluating my "truths". I had already proven that I could stick to a regular activity. I wondered. Could I? Was I being truthful about not being able to run? My friend was up to jogging 5km and more already! If she could do it, could I? hrm...so I upped the pace to a slow jog and did that for a minute, then pushed a little more for an extra half. I got back to walking and realized that wasn't so bad. A few minutes later, I tried again. Again, not so bad. Then I realized, what I do in one direction, I had to do in the other because if I didn't, I wouldn't be back on time and I had things to do! So, on the way back, I jogged a couple of times, walking between them. When I posted, my friends got really excited for me. I got all giddy again.

A few days later, I got smacked up side the head by the donwannas again. This time they brought ammo. I had a ton of things to do, the baby was up early and I was going to be walking a lot already (in between busses). The donwannas won...two days in a row! I justified myself saying that I was doing a lot of walking with all I was doing already! But the truth just kept poking it's head out from around the wool. Truth was, I was letting the donwannas win.

I talked to my friend and she's heard of the donwannas, too. Her understanding seemed to give me the strength to beat them and out I went the next day with the donwannas chanting at me for 2 whole minutes! It was like a child stomping to their room. They went silent as I heard the truth chanting back, "I can I can I can". Ten minutes into the walk, I moved up to a jog. By the time I got home, I was high as a kite on the adrenaline! Didn't need coffee that morning!

This morning, the donwannas were back. But I have ammunition, too. They were strong, but I'm stronger because I know the truth. Truth is we can convince ourselves of anything, that includes "I can't". What is the truth? Are you ready for it? Do you want the truth? I do.