“One of the most beautiful qualities of true friendship is to understand and to be understood.” – Lucius Annaeus Seneca
“In the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures. For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.” – Khalil Gibran
One of my favorite Fall weekends is the Twin Cities 10 mile run and Marathon. I’ve done three marathons and today was probably my 15th 10 miler. It’s fun to see friends and family running, people encouraging others on the sidelines and finishing a good run on a cool, sunny morning. The fruition of months of work for thousands of weekend warriors.
This group has run many events with me through the years, both running on the road and all of life events, both victories and losses. We meet up twice a week to run and enjoy a meal and always to gather on this weekend to celebrate the human spirit and resolve. They all make my life better by their presence.
Physical activity releases endorphins, changes our mood and keeps us young. And decades of research shows the value of relationships is the key to our longevity. So get your dose of friends, fun and moving your bones – your best prescription for a very good life.
To understand and to be understood. Let there be laughter!
“What we hope ever to do with ease, we must learn first to do with diligence.” – Samuel Johnson
Last Friday, I did a 9 mile run in preparation for the Twin Cities 10 miler which is in conjunction with the Twin Cities Marathon on October 1. I’ve completed three marathons and all were at the Twin Cities Marathon – a beautiful course. I felt good that I made 9 with my sporadic and mixed training as of late. The 9 mile run builds confidence that you can do the 10 miles so that’s the main purpose of the longer run. But what really matters is the time and effort in all distances, consistency and time on your feet.
I took it easy on Saturday and did a 6 mile run on Sunday. I got my stride, my flow and was reminded of all of the reasons that I run. It was like I was floating on air and one with the run. Those joy-filled moments when all of the pieces of work and effort come together in a beautiful symphony of cadence.
So often we focus so much on the work and effort, we miss the ease of flow and cadence of the input. When we experience it, we must celebrate it by simply taking it in and letting it move us. Daily living is a mix of ups and downs, momentum and struggle. It is the downs and struggle that are the foundation of the ups and momentum, of the cadence.
Keep moving, knowing that it won’t always be easy, but we find ease and flow when we move our mindsets out of the way and let our heart and spirit lead the way into whatever path is in front of us. Practice, repetition and getting back up every single time. With each strike of your heel, you build your cadence. And suddenly effort becomes effortless.
“The more I practice the luckier I get.” – Arnold Palmer
“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” – Thomas A. Edison
“Let us never know what old age is. Let us know the happiness time brings, not count the years.” – Ausonius
We spend a good part of our life competing, going faster in the pursuit of the prize. And I love a good competition as a way to keep improving and challenging myself to stay in the game. Never been a fan of showing up trophies.
As the years have passed, I have a new appreciation for time rather than recording new times. Time with good friends and family with an acute awareness of the brevity of time. Not only showing up but trying and not accepting anything less than doing our best, whatever that may be.
Today, we ran the Minnesota State Fair Milk Run, a tradition. We all run different paces. Rather than worrying about my time, I wanted to run for the experience of time with friends who are a part of the fabric and color in my life. We didn’t set any records but created a memory to treasure, especially when things change as they always do.
Enjoy each day, laugh and cast your bright light over those shadows that the world pulls us to. Be present with people and create time for yourself for gratitude and the sacred awareness of the blessings in your life. Dive deeper into this moment, rather than racing through your life.
“But for each of us, isn’t life about determining your own finish line?” – Diana Nyad
“Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” – Confucius
I signed up for Goldy’s 10 mile run three weeks ago to get myself moving on training again. It’s one of my favorite spring runs, weaving through the University of Minnesota campus and along the Mississippi river. While we’ve had an early spring, winter temperatures returned today with 20 degrees at start time.
For my first long event of the season, I felt pretty good. At mile 9, I stopped for one last cup of water at the water stop before pouring it on strong for the last mile. As I turned to start out again, the water that had spilled on the ground during the morning had frozen and I wiped out, hard. If being judged in a competition for falling, this would be a 10 out of 10 for execution, style, sliding distance and landing. A solid wipe out.
After I dragged myself up, I started out walking slowly and limping a bit. After a few blocks I started into a jog, limp, skip pattern for a few more blocks until I started getting into the groove again.
As I walked away from the finish line, a young guy came up to me to tell me that he saw me fall and that I was an inspiration for getting up and finishing. I smiled wide and thanked him for the encouragement.
A few lessons from this morning…
Take the time to say a kind word of encouragement to someone every chance you get. He didn’t have to say anything but he did. It made my day and reminded me of the power of words and actions.
I’m not the fastest runner and won’t be winning any races anytime soon, or ever. I am happy to still participate, finish and push myself to stay in the game. On my 51st year in this world, I would still rather participate than spectate. Do things that challenge and even scare you a bit. You can do more than you think so start, and finish.
Life is so much more than successes and victories. It’s about how we get up and that we get up when we fall. Never give up and keep getting up, every single time.
Last lesson, water freezes and pavement is hard.
Participate, persist, persevere and show kindness. Thanks Goldy, good class today.
“You are not here merely to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand.” – Woodrow Wilson
This is one of my favorite weekends – the Twin Cities Marathon weekend, a tradition. I ran my first marathon at 39 years old in 2004. My last two marathons were the Twin Cities Marathon in 2013 and 2014. Last year may have been my last marathon, but I’m not committing to not committing at this point. This year, I ran the Twin Cities 10 mile with Jeanne, Linda and Terry. Three strips of tape wrapped tight around my lame ankle makes running doable but at times questionable.
Every runner has a story, a battle, a challenge, but they show up just the same to finish the sentence, the paragraph, the chapter of their journey. I’ve never been fast, but stubborn and persistent fit pretty well. And fortunately, I surround myself with some of the same.
“For a gallant spirit there can never be defeat.” – Wallis Simpson
Today, there was a lot of mettle behind the medals. Jeanne, a breast cancer survivor, Mom, Grandma, Cousin, confidant, friend, co-worker, a bit of an ass-kicker and so much more than she knows. Walking joy and delight, she always brings life and the party to the party.
I met Linda through Jeanne in 2004 and the three of us have traveled the last 4-5 years to half marathons throughout the country – officially forming the “sole sisters.” Linda is a Mom, personal trainer, creative jewelry maker and good friend. She has a bone floating around her knee, nothing that a bit of tape can’t hold together.
I also met Terry through Jeanne and “the running group” in 2004. We gather to run and chat on Wednesdays, Saturdays and various running events throughout the year. Terry is 77 and is more fit than most 30 somethings I know. In addition to cancer years ago, he had an ankle replacement and yet he’s still running. He has an awesome sense of humor and always has a good story worth repeating.
These are the friends that I surround myself with so some of their courage and resilience rubs off on me. I have many medals from a variety of running events throughout the years. None are more valuable than what I’ve learned and witnessed by running the runs with friends who really show the mettle behind the medal.
“Wherever you go, go with all your heart.” – Confucius
Twelve days and six flights later, I’m home. A business trip on the west coast, vacation on the east coast and a last minute business trip in the middle made up the first half of January. All travels went very well.
The annual “sole sisters” half marathon trip with Jeanne and Linda dropped us into Key West, Florida. Considering winter, busy schedules and a few ailments, we were all thrilled to finish healthy and happy. The ocean, sun and blue skies with friends who know and accept us as we are make up the ingredients for a good time.
“Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
There’s something about getting away to change your perspective, relax and discover new places and people. There’s also something about coming home, refreshed and grateful for the people/dogs and places that just feel right.
In all of our travels, across the country or across town, we can be present to each moment with our hearts open to discover the beauty that surrounds us and within us. Cast light and let light in.
“To be rooted is perhaps the most important and least recognized need of the human soul.” –Simone Weil
Thanksgiving morning began with the Turkey Trot 5k with my nieces and nephew Emily, Jenna and Mark in 0 degrees. It ended with sixteen family/friends, four dogs, two turkeys and new memories as the holiday season commences.
“Rejoice in the things that are present; all else is beyond thee.” – Michel de Montaigne
Many find this season difficult with loved ones who are gone and/or strained family relationships. It’s easy to retreat and hibernate. But if we keep moving and living as fully as we can, we honor those who are not with us by staying in the game. And when rooted by the love and companionship of friends and family, all things are possible, even forgiveness. Care for your roots and plant some new ones this season.
“If you wait for the perfect moment when all is safe and assured, it may never arrive. Mountains will not be climbed, races won, or lasting happiness achieved.” – Maurice Chevalier
When we live life in slices, in moments, we value and honor each day. If we get stuck in the past replaying what’s happened again and again or in the future wishing or worrying of what’s to be, we miss the power that we have in this very moment to make different decisions, to find and be peace, to dream and do bigger, to push ourselves beyond the fray and excuses to attain our best selves.
“But friendship is precious, not only in the shade, but in the sunshine of life, and thanks to a benevolent arrangement the greater part of life is sunshine.” – Thomas Jefferson
Some moments are sweeter than others, but they all culminate to define who we are, where we are going, what’s most important and who we choose to be with on the journey. Someday is today with all of its imperfections and beauty. Slice into each moment, moving step by step into who you are meant to be.
“Love proves itself by deeds, so how am I to show my love? Great deeds are forbidden me. The only way I can prove my love is by scattering flowers, and these flowers are every little sacrifice, every glance and word, and the doing of the least actions for love.” – Therese of Lisieux
There’s so much more behind the engraved medal at the end of the marathon. Traveling as light as possible, I don’t carry my phone so I can’t capture the beautiful scenes on the journey. But each mile has pictures engraved in my memory.
“Every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home.” – Matsuo Basho
At the start line, thousands of runners gather hopeful and excited, sprinkled with a bit of fear of what’s to come, but starting just the same. My first marathon with my brother John and both of our third marathons.
From start to finish, people gather along the streets clapping, jumping, cheering for strangers – scattering flowers. A mom stops to kiss her husband and kids who are beaming with pride in her feat. Dads and daughters running along side each other.
Mile 17, questions on my sanity sneak into my thoughts then shift quickly back to what I said to myself at mile one – how do you run a marathon? – one mile at a time, break it up. Mile 21, I can make it, take it all in, walk when you have to, keep going. Passing runners at the medical stations exhausted and injured reminds me that there are no guarantees. Anything can happen on marathon day. Everyone does not finish.
I don’t visualize the finish line as much as mile 24.5 where family and friends are gathered, standing for over five hours in 40 degrees cheering thousands of runners on and waiting patiently for me to finally show up. Scattering flowers.
Mile 23.5, my niece Emily runs up to greet me with a hug and smile and starts running me home. She ran her Dad to the finish and came back out for me. My left calf knots up and she stops to rub it out. Scattering flowers.
We approach 24.5 to my cheering crowd – hugs and hoots all around as if I’ve won the marathon. Emily continues on with me and Linda, who has an injured knee, joins us to run me to the finish. Just down the road, Jeanne is waving her arms, doing jumping jacks and joins my finishing pack. Scattering flowers.
The finish line. The medal. The journey that started four months ago and hundreds of miles is complete with the final 26.2. And each mile of the journey, I’ve never been alone. I’ve been gathering flowers.
“I have dreamed in my life, dreams that have stayed with me ever after, and changed my ideas; they have gone through and through me, like wine through water, and altered the color of my mind.” – Emily Bronte
On my way to a meeting yesterday by my house, I knew the shortest route to get there. When the road was backed up, I changed my route even though it was a bit longer. As I drove down the altered path, I realized its familiarity.
All summer long, I ran this path for my marathon training many early Saturday mornings. And this morning’s detour shifted my worry about Sunday’s marathon to excitement and calm. Doubts suddenly overcome with ease in knowing that I did the work and the results will unfold as they are meant to.
This journey is complete. And what remains is getting to the start line, joining thousands of runners who share similar stories of set backs, personal records, injuries and fatigue from four months of training in the middle of life that’s filled with too many commitments, deadlines and distractions. And yet, they showed up, despite those voices of dissent.
The detours, wins, ties and losses are all part of our life, our path transforming us into who we already are. All of the altered paths lead us to what’s next and what’s right for us. Put down the map and take in the scenery. It’s a beautiful path, especially the detours.