People Watching, Rude Behavior, Hard Work & Stuff

Wow-has it really been almost a month since I started this thing?  Six more days left in June as of this writing. I’m a little off schedule as I had the running recap a week ago.  According to the calendar, summer just started.  We’ve certainly had a weird weather pattern here in Missouri. Weird (according to the American Heritage Dictionary) is 1. suggestive of or concerned with the supernatural; unearthly; eerie. 2. Of an odd and inexplicable character; strange; fantastic.  Eerie describes what inspires fear, uneasiness, or wonder that cannot be explained rationally.  I’m sure you as well as myself have watched others and have been well, let’s just say maybe…perplexed?  That makes more sense to me as it means puzzled, bewildered, confused- but fearful? I’ll get to that a few paragraphs down.

Now some folks may get all hung up on others’ looks. We all come from different backgrounds and cultures with various attitudes, beliefs, and prejudices that tend to mold us to a degree as to what is “normal” (puke). I don’t think too much shocks me anymore in that arena. What shocks me most is the way human beings treat each other. Take for instance rude (primitive, uncivilized, ill-mannered, crude) behavior.  It puzzles me, bewilders me, confuses me, and makes me uneasy.  I can handle (mostly) rudeness unleashed on me (although I will NEVER understand it), but when I see it loosed on others I have a tendency to get somewhat irritated.  When my fellow nurses work their butts off for 12 hours plus, miss lunch, hold their bladder contents, bend over backwards to take care of patients and then said patients/family members are rude and downright MEAN to them, I get irritated. Yes, we nurses would LOVE to say something back (you should hear the convos at the nursing stations) but we value our jobs more than their stupidity.  Yes, we understand that it is often a trying time for people and hospitals freak some people out BUT that is no excuse. In those situations, it is often a one time thing and the perpetrator ends up apologizing.  That is the exception. We can make a gazillion phone calls to the physician but we’re not going to be able to make him magically appear, but I digress.

Let’s think of some other examples. How about cutting in line-some people just never learned that kindergarten rule.  Here’s a good one-double parking.  That’s an easy one to analyze.  Those imbeciles just think they (and their vehicle) are more important than anyone else.  Just keep the sidewalk chalk handy so you can title their parking space for them…hee, hee, hee. There are all kinds of good ones involving driving and I’m sure you have encountered many of them. One of my all time favorites is when someone asks me how I am (though they really don’t care, it is just a polite platitude) and when I say, “good, how are you” they don’t answer-flipping RUDE.  When I was running on the trail one day a couple of boys on bikes came up behind me and one of them said, “let’s run her over.” An adult woman who was with them, whom I’m assuming was the mother, just laughed. The apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree I guess.  They did get “eerily” close, but I refused to go off the trail as I was as far right as I could get ’cause I’m stubborn like that. I may have also hollered something like, “bad upbringing.” Sometimes you just have to take the bull by the horns.

I have always been for the underdog, the misfit, the castaway (a discarded or rejected person or thing). Maybe that’s why I find it so hard to get rid of stuff and why I feel the need to bring shelter dogs home. I’m the biggest crybaby when watching movies. That scene from “Rainman” when Tom Cruise’s character starts wailing on Dustin Hoffman’s character gets me every time!  In my opinion and it is strictly that, I think the biggest population of castaways in society today are the elderly. One might argue that it is the unborn, or the homeless, or the poor. Many of the homeless and poor are the elderly. I will just state here, that when I see rude behavior directed at the elderly, it REALLY gets my dander up! When I see young punks that won’t respect our Veterans and the freedoms that they won for their sorry butts, it pisses me off. I wish I could just blame the younger crowd, but rudeness knows no age limit. I’m not so “out of touch” that I can’t see that there are some rude, crotchety old people out there too.  I’ve seen all ages close the door in an elderly person’s face, not give them good customer service, and treat them like second class citizens. Statistics show that the number of people in the U.S. age 65 and over will double by the year 2030. The problem is only going to get worse.  What have we become as a culture?

I hate rude behavior in a man. I won’t tolerate it.” -Character Woodrow Call from the movie “Lonesome Dove

I had an epiphany one day when I was cooking (a Kodak moment). When I was much younger, I would always call my mom or grandmother for advice with some culinary plight I was in. I realized with only my mom left on this earth, when she  is gone the buck will stop with me. That’s with a lot of things concerning the older population. They have a lot to teach us if we will just listen. When they are gone, all of the knowledge and wisdom will go with them.  We will be uneducated paupers for not engaging them while we have the chance. The only fear I have is that loss.

You should know by now that my passion is decrying the stereotypes manufactured by our society concerning aging.  Let me tell you about my mother.  As a teenager in high school she would get up and go to  work for a few hours every day before school,  then go back to work afterwards.  She also played basketball.  When she married my dad, she worked at a Savings & Loan place & eventually went to work for her brother who owned a grocery store. I spent many hours there as a kid  She found her niche there and continues to work in the grocery business to this day.  She knows that business upside down and in and out. Ask her about customer service!  My mother is the hardest working woman I know and she is whom I get my drive and work ethic from. She can work rings around people half her age. How old is she you ask?  My mother is 76 years young, or will be July 24.  I took her to the Royals game last Friday night and was a little concerned about all the walking due to some health problems she has had in recent years.  Well, did she fool me!  She is all of 90 pounds soaking wet and as spry as ever. It’s called grit, determination and the refusal to give up or give in to the preconceived notions of what getting older is all about. With some of the breathing issues she has (from years of smoking-quit 2005), she could have retired, gone on disability, thrown in the towel and said to hell with it. My mother is from different stock. Point being, hard work and great customer service is dying off with the older generation.  Laziness and entitlement are the buzzwords of the day.

Mom & me, circa 1967
Mom & me, circa 1967
Mom & me 5/30/14
Mom & me 5/30/14

That’s why I love running.  You can’t fake it. The lazy want no part of it. No- I do not think that everyone who doesn’t run is lazy. Don’t twist my words. For clarification, anything that requires dedication, hard work, and sacrifice is not generally something the lazy are willing to do. I’ve heard people cry about spectators not getting to have post-race refreshments…really?  Maybe they should just get a medal too, lol. After all, they are STANDING there well…spectating! Some slackers may very well get by with that crap in life, but not in running! How sad to go through life without any sense of accomplishment. No wonder people are unhappy.

Well I’m happy. I always have to have a goal to work toward. EVERYONE needs something to look forward to. I’m working on filling up my race calendar for the rest of the year. Fifty-four days until the next marathon. I’m looking  forward as much to the time with my oldest son as I am running the race! BQ or not, it will not be a wasted trip. I even (sort of) look forward to the weary “post race” body. After all, I am a little WEIRD (but not eerie) like that, and some would say it cannot be explained rationally!

Until We Meet Again,

Stephanie

No person who is enthusiastic about his work has anything to fear from life. -Samuel Goldwyn

 

 

 

 

Maryville, MO Marathon Recap…Just a Little Training Run

On June 14, 2014, the 12th annual Maryville, Missouri “Chamber Country Classic” marathon was held.  There was also a 1/2 marathon, 10k & 5k. Being that the only knowledge of this race was what I had read, I really didn’t know what to expect.  All I knew is that is was going to be very rural and very small.  I saw more farm implements on my two hour drive up there than I had ever seen in my life.

The website recommended to “book a room early” in one of Maryville’s three motels as they would “fill up fast.”  So that’s what I did, a few days before the race.  When I arrived at the Comfort Inn the afternoon before the race,  I was asked if I wanted upstairs or down.  Since the rooms were all inside, there was no way I was going upstairs (heck no-what if there was a fire)? Keep in mind this was Friday the 13th-and a full moon.  I’m not really superstitious, but the ignorance of some of my fellow humans keeps me on guard when the culture as a whole is making a big deal out of a date on the calendar.  Seems it drives some folks into mischief.  For the price, I was pleasantly surprised with the accommodations.  It was a clean, comfortable room with a refrigerator and microwave  and was surprisingly quiet.  I didn’t turn the TV on once.  The staff were friendly and the check in/out was a breeze.  That is my plug for the Comfort Inn in Maryville.  I guess I expected to see more runners hanging out it the lobby, but I had to keep reminding myself that it was not Chicago.

After about an hour rest, I ventured out to pick up my race packet and to get something to eat.  Timing with me is everything in the pre-race meal.  The business district of Maryville is really very quaint.  The packet pickup was at the Chamber of Commerce office in the old downtown area.  I am not lying when I say it reminded me of Mayberry.  No expo there, just sign the waiver, get your bib, shirt, goody bag and go.  Since the weather was in the 70s, I decided to walk around the town a little and I meandered into a thrift store.  Since this town is home to Northwest Missouri State University, the shelves were laden with Bearcat memorabilia castoffs.  I bought a book for $0.95 (tax included).  You want to know what book it is don’t you?  All I can say is that it is not a running book (and it’s not dirty).  I inquired about an eatery that was native to Maryville, since the town like most other towns, is  host to a plethora of familiar fast food joints.  They mentioned several of the Asian restaurants in town (buffets).  Um, no way I’m eating that stuff before a race. Load up on it and you’ll be “unloading” during the race!  After searching on my own, I decided to just head back to the motel and eat at the Applebees that is right next door.  I had some chicken pasta and a salad, went back to the motel, changed into my swimsuit, decided there were too many kids in the pool, changed out of my swimsuit, put my jammies on and called it a night…lame, I know.  It was probably close to 8pm anyhow and race alarms go off early.

Since the race started at 0630, I set my alarm for 0400 and had a wake up call set up for 0430 in case I turned my alarm off.  I wanted to have plenty of time to prepare and pack everything back up as I was going to check out when I left for the race, preventing an extra charge if I didn’t get back from the race in time. The race started at Donaldson Westside Park on the campus of NWMSU. I arrived about 0600.  The parking lot was about 385 yards from the start of the race and there were a couple of golf carts shuttling people from there to the start which I found to be extremely amusing, but I guess I have a warped sense of humor.  The weather was windy, cloudy, and 61 degrees-perfect (or so I thought).  As I approached the start area, mother nature was calling and I needed to find a porta-potty.  I saw two, side by side in an area, and not knowing if I was suppose to use them, I asked someone at the late registration table.  She said yes, I could indeed use them, whew! Every experienced runner knows that you get the peeing off of your mind before the race starts.  There was only a handful of other people hanging around and I think I counted 4 tents set up, none of which were medical.  That was my first odd observance.  There was a lone radio station set up and that was basically it.  This was also the first race I had seen where the start line, which also functioned as the finish line, was literally on a hill.  The wind had picked up a great deal and blew the clock over. I was glad I had a jacket although it was not one that I could just chuck. The announcer did every five minute count down and we all lined up on the hill.  It didn’t seem like there were very many people there.

The national anthem was played, the gun went off and there we went.  Since I didn’t have a goal time, and I was using this as one of my weekly long runs, I had planned on working on my pacing and probably doing a lot of walking.  Since my longest weekly run had been 18 miles up to that point two weeks prior, I was going to conservatively do 20.  My strategy was to run the first third between 9:30 and 10:00, the second third between 9:15 and 9:30, and give it whatever I had left the last third using run/walk at a ratio of five minutes to one.  The first 1.5 miles sailed by and was entertaining as there was an Army platoon running and singing cadence the entire time.  They as well as many others, turned the corner for the 5k and we thinned out quite a bit.  I think the 10k turned the corner with them, not sure.  All I know, is that the next three miles was nothing but hills.  I was doing pretty good maintaining my pace, kept having to tell myself to slow down.  Ah…the wonderful smells of the great outdoors in farm country.  I’m pretty sure I stepped on a cow patty too.  Second odd observation-the roads were not shut down to traffic and there was no one guiding you where to go.   You had to follow the spray painted arrows on the road and the few (small) yellow signs.  One great observation is that the water stations were well manned and there were plenty of them.

Miles 4.5 through nine were straight up Hwy 71 North against a terrible headwind that was growing increasingly worse.  Third odd observation-lack of police presence.  The vehicles were zooming by and the noise was like nails down a chalkboard.  I do most all of my practice runs on a trail in pure tranquility.  The noise and fumes were setting my nerves on end. Odd observation #4: a medical van driving on opposite side of the hwy. with the driver yelling, “good job.” This happened the second time around as well.  I spoke to a few people in passing inquiring where they were from and what race they were running.  Mile seven the volunteers were handing out cold, wet washcloths which was a nice distraction. Mile nine-about the time we turned the corner back onto Main Street with 4.1 miles to the half -way point.  I was feeling really great and ran for about a half mile at an 8:15 pace.  I knew I had to cut that out quick.  Ah, the finish line for the half-marathoners and the turn around point for me and the rest of us running the 26.2.  We literally ran around a cone at the original start and ran the 13.1 mile race all over again. My time then was around 2:07.  I was taking in a GU about every 5 miles and some salt every 10 (twice total) and alternated between water and Gatorade at the stations.

Once I hit those hills again, my steam was starting to fade a little, so I decide for the second half I would start the run/walk to save the legs  There were very few of us left (at least at my pace).  I kept having to look up ahead to spot a lone runner to make sure I was going in the right direction and make the turns. There we went again, that five mile stretch of noisy, fumey (if that’s a word) highway.  Curse you headwind!  It was blowing gravel and dust all over me.  I say “me” because it really was like a lone run at this time.  The blowing dust must have been the reason a couple of the water stations had been abandoned.  I just kept my head down and kept running.  I could see two girls in pink up in the distance and tried to keep them in my sight.  “Keep going” I told myself, because “excuses suck”-just like my shirt said. Alas, mile 22, and off that blasted highway. My trusty Garmin showed a time of 3:46.  I had hope. With 4.2 miles to go, I just might nail a marathon PR, or so I thought.  Remember, this was just a training long run.  With me going far above the recommended weekly mileage increase of 10% my right knee was starting to crap out on me.  I slowed WAY down.  I think my slowest mile was 11:30.  Those last three miles were pleasantly shaded through neighborhoods until about the last 1.2 miles adjacent to the campus.  Bless the mile 24 sign. I could have kissed it.  I felt like I was moving in slow motion…AND having an “out of body” experience.  All of those GUs on my belly were starting to rebel as well.  It’s amazing to me how any other two mile run is a breeze.  Not so much, the two miles and the end of a marathon.  I made the right onto street that would take me the last 385 yards.  “Keep going, keep breathing, you’re not dying… don’t throw up” was my finishing remarks to myself.  Oh finish line, such a lovely sight to see.

Odd observation #5: No one handing out medals at the finish.  I didn’t care, I just wanted to stretch out (or try)on the grass.  Oddity #6:  the “refreshments” at the end were at the bottom of that blasted hill  so I had to walk back up after I grabbed them.  The chocolate milk was lukewarm, but I’m not complaining. I was just glad I was done.  After lying in the grass for a bit I walked back UP the hill and asked where I got my medal.  The timing guy sent me to another table and stated, “You got an award too.”  Okay, that’s nice-this is just a training run.  I proceeded to get my medal, got my age group award and hopped on the golf cart (not so amusing this time) to take me back to my Jeep.  I was mulling over in my head where I was going to change.  Ding, ding, ding…Wal-Mart bathroom!   I had a few odd looks from the peeps of rural Nodaway County walking into Wal-Mart with my CWX compression tights on looking like something the cat brought home.  No matter, I had a 2 hour drive home and I was going to be comfortable and dry.  Amazing the blisters that one finds in odd places  when you shed your race clothes!

Summary: this was a good race, but not a great race.  I have to say that is was very well organized despite the lack of bells and whistles and frills. There were definitely things that could have been done differently (like NOT having the drinks at the end at the BOTTOM of the hill)! I also feel it would be safer to have more people out on the highway in case something happened, especially during the last half of the marathon.  The entry fee of $45.00 was very reasonable for a Boston qualifying race.  This is not a race for you if you are looking for crowd support or a big welcome at the finish, but a great one if you don’t like being crowded when you run.  Stats: Total finishers: 5K-80, 10k-46, 1/2-84, 26.2-66.  I know I would have done better if not for the headwind (which later discovered was 30mph).  But placing 11 out of 23 total females, 42 out of 66 total marathoners, and winning first place in my age group was not a bad gig.  After all it was just a “training” run.  🙂

If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” – John Q. Adams

Until we meet again,

Stephanie

 

 

Life in the Fast Lane

I’m frustrated and have been somewhat impatient lately and I don’t like it. Technology is moving way too fast for me. I’ve yet to fully figure out Windows 8 how to add things to this blog and it’s irritating me.  I can poke a needle in someone’s vein with ease, as well as shove a catheter in their urethra or a naso-gastric tube down their nose into their stomach, but I can’t seem to figure out a simple (really)? computer system. Makes me feel out of control and I like to be in control-of myself anyway, and my circumstances.  Seems like I learn one thing well and two months down the road it changes again-fast, fast, fast. I feel like I can’t keep up and that is irritating me-so out of character.

I’ll tell you something else I can’t keep up with-junk! What does one do with all of the cookbooks they have accumulated over the years? I don’t even cook that much anymore, I mean not enough to feed the masses. I should probably just turn my head and pitch stuff but that is hard. That frustrates me. I wish I wasn’t like that. I will always keep Betty (you know, Betty Crocker) where everything was still cooked in lard. I have the new & revised edition (1979, lol) that I obtained when I was in the Doubleday book club at age 15. I loved books then, and I love books now, but I digress. Now where was I, oh yes -junk. I KNOW that I did not accumulate this crap over a mere few months, so where have the years gone? Life in the fast lane. I didn’t need most of it then, and certainly don’t need it now.

Some things are out of our control like the weather, the price of gas, traffic, and how people treat us. Let’s look at each, shall we? 1) The weather: Outdoor weddings-really, who would plan such an unpredictable thing? Maybe those folks like to live on the edge (or in the fast lane). The people in Joplin, Missouri sure weren’t planning on a tornado ripping half their town apart on May 22, 2011, but it happened (talk about fast). I like to run (shocking, I know). Training runs are no big deal, my treadmill is my cure-all for inclement weather but race day? A fee is paid, you have trained your guts out and in an instant a race can be cancelled-with no refund. Or- you run in the absolute worse conditions you can think of. That’s not all bad. It teaches you to toughen up and learn to push through those difficult times. Signing up for races is a gamble, but much of life is a gamble. 2) The price of gas…nah, not going there, I can’t compete with the oil tycoons. 3) Traffic-what are you really going to do? 4) How people treat us: Ah, there’s a good one-one of the ironies/risks/pitfalls of life. You can be the best friend, relative, co-worker ever and people still have the RIGHT to treat you as they will. It is their right. After all, they are the captain of their ship. Those who love/give much find it odd when others don’t reciprocate. This is a lesson I’ve learned the hard way. I would give someone the shirt off my back if I thought they needed it. Now let me get this straight, I am all for philanthropic deeds for the unfortunate in the world and expect nothing in return. The same with others. If I do something for a friend or relative it is because I love them and want what’s best for them. The betrayal comes with the Judas kiss . You may sometime need a ride somewhere, a babysitter, a shoulder to cry on, a listening ear, and they’re not there and behave as if you are bothering them. Worse, they betray your confidence, usually to make themselves look better or to inflate their egos. That sucks, period. What you can control is your reaction to them. Unlike the weather, the price of gas, or sitting in traffic-your response to others is in your hands. You can throw a fit in those other circumstances but it won’t do any good, it’s not going to change it. You can throw a fit in dealing with people too and it’s just going to make you look stupid. BUT, you can start drawing boundary lines with others to protect your heart. Life in the fast lane… once you start changing it may get ugly but it is then that you discover who the true gems are. The rest? They aren’t worth your precious time anyway. You are the captain of your ship too. Don’t steer it in an opposing direction just to please others. I refuse to go down with others’ toxic ships.

Yesterday’s race- Maryville, Missouri. Why on earth would someone drive two hours away just to run 26.2 miles? Can’t you do that anywhere? Why yes you can! The issue is, when you are training for a key race and have weekly long runs, they can get very boring and let’s say difficult, to complete on your own unless you are fortunate to be part of a running club. With my oddball shifts, I am not. SO- originally I was just going to do the half, and try to improve on my previous half PR of 1:54:16 at Kansas City last year.  THEN, I thought well I needed to do a 20 miler this week and lo and behold there was a race that was reasonable and drivable. The great Hal Higdon says to use an official marathon as part of your long run training and have someone pick you up at said miles you are suppose to run (for me, 20 this week).  How could I possibly do that and get a big fat DNF (Did not finish) my ego said, NO, NO, NO! The experts also tell you to only increase your mileage by no more than 10% each week to avoid injury. My last long run was 18 miles on 6/1/14, which would have put me at 21.6 miles for this week even though the schedule just called for 20.  I chose to not run long last week and work on speed instead. Life in the fast lane– I was nailing my splits up until mile 22. My time at that point was 3:46, and I could just smell a marathon PR. The body did not want to cooperate and my right knee started rebelling (expert advice must be true), not to mention the 30 mph headwind for 10 of those miles. Long story short, I finished 4 minutes shy of my best marathon time of 4:32. Ironically I won first place in my age group, but no PR for me. I will post a separate race recap this week.

Father’s Day today, 6/15/14. Tough day for me. Lost my dad 7 years ago and he decided to go on…Father’s Day. Complications from a stroke left him partially paralyzed on his right side and without a swallow reflex so he had to have a feeding tube. This was four months after the initial stroke which included weeks in therapy, a rehabilitation hospital, and then – a nursing home. He knew what was going on and it frustrated him because he had expressive aphasia (fancy term for not being able to express or communicate). I know he thought we abandoned him. I would go see him after work and he would be lying there in his bed looking so sad. The day he died I was at work and one of the nurses called me and said he wasn’t doing too well.  Since my place of employment is an hour commute from the place he was in, I didn’t make it. He died five minutes before I got there. I still beat myself up over that. Work-that necessary evil. I was taking care of other folks’ dads while mine was dying. Life in the fast lane, but I wish I would have driven faster.  Ironically, I have had the last several Father’s Days off.  I have made it a ritual of sorts the last few years to honor my dad by going out to the cemetery and eating an oatmeal raisin cookie in his honor (his fave), as well as listening to Johnny Cash (his fave) on the way there. I did that today, and told him once again how sorry I am that I didn’t make it in time. He was a kind man who never knew a stranger. He didn’t have a lot as far as earthly goods were concerned, but he was rich in loving people. I blame him for giving me his dry sense of humor. He loved to make people laugh.  The daughter is a mirror image in that regard and she has her father’s eyes- not only in color, but seeing people lovingly. I do have my daddy’s disposition.  Below: me at age 8, 1972 and my dad at age 8, 1936.

My Daddy's Disposition
My Daddy’s Disposition

The days go by fast don’t they? Hard to believe we are half way through June and the year as a whole. Don’t let life in the fast lane distract you from what’s truly important (or it may surely make you lose your mind). What’s better at the end of your life- a handful of invoices and pay stubs from all the overtime you work or precious memories? No one can ever take your memories from you. Live, laugh, love and dare to dream…big. Don’t live life so fast that you miss the best thing that might have happened to you along the way.  The finish line will come eventually, don’t rush it…breathe.

Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of.” -Benjamin Franklin

Until we meet again,

Stephanie

P.S. I started this blog as much for me as for helping other people along the way and I don’t profess to maintain grammatical accuracy. I had to follow APA format enough in college and I HATED it. When I become more concerned about commas and the proper use of the ellipsis than I do about content and the message, then I may as well quit (cause I’m somewhat rebellious, remember)?

 

Life is Like a Box of…Laxatives?

You’ve heard the phrase, “Garbage in, garbage out” right?  That statement unequivocally has numerous connotations.  I will enlighten you to a few: Gasoline is not necessarily garbage, but try putting it in a diesel engine, right guys?( NO, I have NOT done that)!  I did try to iron once with “Easy Off” oven cleaner thinking it was “Easy On” speed starch. That didn’t turn out so well either.  Washing machines are another great example.  I might know someone who may have put a micro bead pillow in the washer.  The washer looked like it had a bad case of rabies as it was foaming at the mouth (I heard).  Those tiny pillows have a gazillion or more of those tiny beads in them…who knew?  Milk is not considered garbage, but I know if I give it to my dogs they-well use your imagination.  Sugar is a sweet crystalline carbohydrate but if you give it in excess to small children their behavior will make you feel like garbage!  I could go on and on, but you get the drift.

  From the moment we’re born, we constantly take in information.  Babies are like sponges, absorbing their environment long before they can utter a word.  The brain (the stinkin’ thinker) is a curious thing.  It has been compared to the computer but unlike a computer, it is always changing and being modified.  There is no “off” for the brain (unless you’re brain dead-I’m not going there). And don’t I know it as I have been suffering from insomnia as of late.  Suffice it to say, your environment and what the people in your environment “programs” into you, shapes who you become.  When I was a little tyke of about 4 years old, my brother (two years older) told me to step on a nail.  Now mind you, I had snow boots on and he told me that the nail would not go through my boot.  I thought I was going to bend that nail over with my foot and leap tall buildings with a single bound.  After all, I did grow up watching the original Batman series (oh wait, that was a Superman reference).  Point being, I had not learned to think abstractly yet- everything I was told, I believed.  If you were lucky enough to grow up in a super positive environment that’s a beautiful thing, until you venture out into the world of the unknown-the world of naysayers and dream dashers.  As we grow, we internalize and start to believe the things that are told to us about ourselves if we are told them often enough.  I grew up with a lot of “cant’s” with no real explanation as to why.  As a result, I became somewhat rebellious and strong-willed but I eventually learned to question everything.  Let me tell you, it has been a long, slow process reprogramming the “hard drive.” 

Take advertising for example. It is designed to make us believe that we have a true need for xyz product and that we are going to be left in the dust, a mere speck of a human being on the underfoot of society if we don’t make the leap and buy, buy, buy with EVERYone (sic), else.  Because the new car gets the girl, the designer cologne will make Channing Tatum appear in your bedroom. That old furniture? Get rid of it or your friends and neighbors will hate you, and for goodness sake pu-leeeease ask your doctor about a sample of any & all of the myriad of pharmaceuticals out there because something has to be wrong with you especially if you are over the age of forty. Because only “old” people get erectile dysfunction and constipation…and die.  Have you ever noticed that all of the life insurance commercials feature “older” looking people as if the young don’t/can’t die?  A few months before I turned the big “5-0” I began receiving literature from AARP.  That’s cool, no big deal.  The other day I received an addressed flyer/coupon to purchase “poise pads” for “light bladder leakage.”  Oh heck no- that’s NOT cool!  The ONLY time I have had “bladder leakage” was during pregnancy & that was a couple of decades ago when I was “young.”  Believe me when I say that as an RN, I take care of a LOT of “young” people who have many of the health problems that are geared to elders in advertising. The problem arises when we start believing this garbage.  Garbage in, garbage out-“Well you know, I’m not as young as I used to be, my bowels sure are acting up, my heart is weak, I tire easily, my joints are stiff, I may need a little blue man to hang in my windshield”…ad nauseum!

  October 1998 I flipped my mustang to avoid being hit head on by a car on the wrong side of a gravel road. I basically turned quickly to the left and lost control.  My then three year old daughter was in the back in her car seat.  I have always said there was an angel with a pillow to protect that girl.  Strange feeling to be upside down, smelling gasoline and not knowing how you are going to get out.  Momma protection mode/adrenaline kicked in and I somehow managed to get out and get her out.  It’s really all a blur.  She just had a little bump on her chin and I knew there was something terribly wrong with my back.  It was probably a half mile to my house, so I attempted to carry her and walk. This was out in the country, so not much traffic.  Thankfully someone drove by and saw the car and then us a few yards away.  I ended up with an L1, T12 vertebral fracture with a lot of soft tissue damage.  It took weeks in a brace and months of therapy just to walk somewhat normal without pain.  I was not a runner then.  Orthopedic doctors said much physical activity was going to be difficult for the rest of my life…Pfffffft!  ALL things are a matter of perspective and the innate stubbornness I possess fueled me to prove them wrong…and I did. To quote a portion of a book I am reading called, “Running Within” by Jerry Lynch & Warren Scott:

 “Perhaps one of the most exciting and rewarding aspects of your running life is the potential to go beyond your self-imposed limitations.  You begin to realize that many of your limiting beliefs about what can or cannot be done are simply preconceived restrictions and attitudes taught to you by parents, teachers, friends, and others during your formative years, with no objective basis in reality.  The most damaging of these beliefs is the notion that such restrictions can never be changed and must be accepted without question as blueprints for your future.”  

We must purge our lives of negativity and “record over” the lies and “self-imposed” & “others-imposed” limitations & restrictions.  I can’t and won’t be someone I’m not…not now, not ever.  But then again, I am somewhat of a rebel.  Garbage is meant to be thrown out. That coupon? It went promptly into the trash.  🙂

Until we meet again,

Stephanie

“Whoever I am is not to be confused with the names people give me or what they call me.  I am not my name. I am territory.  What they say about me is a map of me.  Where O! Where is my territory?” -R.D. Laing, psychiatrist (as quoted in “Running & Being” by Dr. George Sheehan).

 

     

 

Sorry, Don’t Recognize You

You know about smart phone screen security and how facial recognition works like a charm, right? Well I’m glad it does for you because I inevitably get the dreaded “sorry, don’t recognize you.” I think to myself, “what is the point in having this stupid feature if it doesn’t work properly?” So I do my little design thingy and unlock my phone. It’s kind of annoying not being recognized.

There is a bar in the town where I live called “Good Times.” It’s actually a restaurant/lounge that serves pretty decent food. The old girl is getting somewhat dilapidated & has recently gone up for sale and whether is sells or not, the owner is closing the doors July first. Before the “no smoking” ordinance went into effect, it still had the original ashtrays at each table from 30+ years ago. The retro condom machines are still in the bathrooms and make for a good chuckle. My dad spent a lot of time in that place catching up on weekly events with his old cronies. He always said it reminded him of the “Cheers” bar where, “everybody knows your name.” It’s nice when people know your name and are glad to see you. It’s kind of sad that in our current society we don’t take the time to get to know people. When I was a kid in the 70s, we always went “visiting.” In a small town, people generally at least know who you are, although that is changing.

Sometimes I am glad people don’t recognize me. If they do and spend any length of time with me, they quickly realize that I am not the same person I used to be. Have you ever noticed that some people like for you to stay the same? I mean generally we are the same person, but if we don’t hop on the “improvement bus” we stagnate (synonyms: languish, decline, deteriorate, fall, do nothing, be sluggish) like the building that houses “Good Times.” The truth (according to Stephanie) is, it makes people uncomfortable when you start changing, especially if it is for the better. They may fear that it will make them look bad or lesser than, or incompetent, or…fill in the blank. Truthfully (according to Stephanie), it is their insecurities that hold them back and they want the same for you. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction (Newton’s third law), and sometimes your actions bring the opposing forces to the valley of decision. They must then decide what this means for them. Hallelujah when they get on the bus with you or at least give you a “high five” and a cordial sendoff. Unfortunately that doesn’t happen too often. Caged birds don’t fly well. They may still be able to fly, but they can’t soar. Some folks like to keep you in their neat little, predictable cage. Sadly, it may include family members.

I recently turned fifty years old-half a hundred, half a century…an antique! It’s weird that when some people find that out they treat me differently. The aging process doesn’t bother me, we’re all headed there if we live long enough. What bothers me is that there are those that want to fit me in their mold of what they think I should be (there’s that cage again). I’m just me, plain and simple. I’m not a grandma yet, but when I become one I’m not going to be one that can’t keep up or confined to a rocking chair. People let their minds limit them so much. My youngest son (who will be 25 in August), got married this past Friday 5/30/14. The reception was a blast! I could have danced the night away. I’m sure I gave some folks something to talk about. Guess what? I DON’T CARE! People become old when they stop playing and having fun…or care about what others think. How much more would you do in your life if you didn’t give a hoot about the opinions of others?

Yada, yada, yada…I could go on and on but for sake of your attention span (adults like short and concise, I learned that in my nursing education class 🙂 I will wrap things up. When I discovered running, it set me free. Out on the open road or trail with just me and my thoughts, I became very introspective. I have looked back and dissected every situation in my life-“what if this, why that, if only, blah, blah, blah.” So much happens because of the choices we make, good or bad. And contrary to popular belief, your choices do affect others. Life is nothing BUT choices most of the time. I refuse to be limited by the choices others try to make for me. On the flip side, I take personal responsibility for my own choices. I choose to see the good in people even when they don’t want to see the good in me. I choose to love, to hug, to laugh loudly, and dance like nobody’s business when I feel like it. I have found freedom and acceptance in the running community. What a diverse group of people! Whether you run a 7 minute mile or a 12 minute mile, a mile is still a mile. Runners are some of the nicest people I have ever met and have found a network of support on social media. When you meet up with a bunch of runners they may not always know your name, but they’re usually ALWAYS glad you came…CHEERS!

“You need to overcome the tug of people against you as you reach for high goals.” General George S. Patton

Until we meet again,
Stephanie

Here’s the link to the mother/son dance we did at the reception. The sound is muted due to copyright issues with the music, but just imagine Enya’s “Only Time” in the beginning, transitioning into Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” followed by the theme from Night at the Roxbury, and ending with “What a Wonderful World.” Thankful for the friend who recorded it on their phone. youtu.be/CelfpXtkqo4