Self-esteem

PEACE OF MIND

20170519_183505

My view of the ocean from my run

I was listening to some country song during my run this morning, I don’t remember which one and it really doesn’t matter, but the song said that he found peace in a glass, or something similar. As I ran around the Marina Green, enjoying the beautiful sunshine, I thought how wrong the songwriter was.

And it brought me back many, many years…. more people than you think suffer from alcoholism. Believe this. It was my life for a long time.

Never once did I ever find peace in a glass.

For the better part of the remainder of my run, I mulled over this. Peace, drinking myself into oblivion? Yeah, right. Try the opposite. I drank because I hated myself. I drank because I hated my life, how on earth would getting smashed make anything peaceful?

We all have problems we’re dealing with in our lives. But there are better and healthier ways of dealing with them than with destroying ourselves.

For me, running is my outlet. When I couldn’t run because of my injury, it was really frustrating. Our lives are not easy and we cannot get by just working, eating and sleeping and expect to be happy. There has to be more.

Having a healthy hobby won’t cure all of our problems, but it gives us at least a short break away from them. And it gives us something else. It gives us a look a little distance away from them. Once I’m out on the road far from my apartment and my not-so-great neighborhood, what was bothering doesn’t seem so immediate or troublesome.

And if running doesn’t do it for you, then maybe a nice walk or hike will, or a bike ride, or lifting or yoga. The whole point is to give yourself a gift of a healthy hour or even a 30-minute vacation away from all the negativity dragging you down. That is what I call Peace of Mind.

Keep Moving!

Advertisements

FOOD!

Food is not your mother, your father, your friend, your enemy, your wife, your husband. Food is not your dream date, but it can be your date from hell. Food is not your lover but it can break your heart. It can promise to love you and then leave you heartbroken and lonely the next morning.

Our lives are weaved around eating and what we eat. Like bees hard at work creating a hive, we create our world of FOOD, thinking about what we’re going to eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner. Where are we going to eat? What are we going to buy? How are we going to cook the food we buy? It becomes obsessive to some of us. And that obsession replaces feelings, friends, and sometimes, life’s big moments.

Food is not a panacea, it is sustenance. Food is fuel for our bodies. We are living creatures and constantly moving, going. To do this, we need to eat to keep the engines firing.

When homo sapiens first evolved, we were hunters/gatherers. We ate what we could. But, as time went along, we learned that cooked meat tasted better and seasoned cooked meat tasted even better.

Like alcohol, drugs and other substances, food can be used to dull the senses. It’s probably misused in this manner more than anything else. To eat until one cannot move is to overeat. Food comas are not a very healthy thing to do, yet we still do it.

I’ve been developing and refocusing my view of food. We can change the way we see things. It’s never easy. I’ve stumbled and fallen, but I get back up and continue moving forward.

Food is wonderful, it tastes great. But it shouldn’t take the place of real relationships and well, LIFE. In my fifties, I desire more than ever to be as healthy as I possibly can. This means that I have to make choices, many of which involve food. I am not willing to sacrifice my dream so I can have another piece of cake.

To be the best runner I can be and one day, an independent professional trainer, I must use strength and determination to see the horizon ahead.

So, focus on your goals and forgo those trivial cravings and desires you have, because in the end, most of the time they aren’t worth losing sight of what is truly important.

Keep Moving!!!

Just For Fun

For two months I didn’t run. I attempted to heal or cure or whatever, my IT band issues, but it instead of going away completely, it remains. It is better than it was, this is true, but I had hoped that by stretching and resting it for eight weeks, it would feel better running again.

Nope. It still gets a little sore. Granted, I am going a little slower and shorter distances. I’m taking it easy.

The time off wasn’t in vain, however. I consider it to be a useful time of reflection and it did help me put things into a much healthier perspective.

I do believe I was trying too hard to be better. Self-improvement is a good thing, but when we push ourselves physically too hard, too soon, we’re asking for injuries. I wanted (OK, still want to) to be fast. I’ve had a great desire to be a better running, run faster than I did. And in actuality, I am 30 seconds faster right now than I was a year and a half ago.

20170421_145600

The beginning of the trail in Golden Gate Park

But where I live there are just not many slow runners. Or so it seems. Most people here in San Francisco are speed demons. Someone told me they were slow at 10 minute miles. I would have killed to run that fast at one time! I can do that pace really pushing myself, sprinting, but comfortably? No way.

I’d love to start a group of slow runners and I still may. But I’m no longer going to push myself to injury to fit in to any of the established running groups. Some of them say “all paces”, but how fun is it to be the only one slower than everyone else at every run? Unless you are that one person, you don’t know what that’s like. It’s stressful and not all that enjoyable.

20170421_145828

So green!!!

I ran twice this week. My first run was a simple run from home down to the Bay along Market Street and the Embarcadero. My IT band was sore the first mile, but felt better as I ran. This is progress. I told myself.

Tonight’s run was pure joy. Because of eight non-running weeks, I’m a little out of shape, so my trail running isn’t what it used to be. It will take some time to get back to where it was. Work was slow at the end of the week and the big boss was out, so we were let go after a half day. Who wouldn’t be in a good mood after that? I zipped home, changed clothes and took the bus to Golden Gate Park to run my favorite trail.

I know it well, even though I hadn’t run it since last November. It had been a while. But just starting my run I smiled and everything was okay. The weather was in the high 60s, a cool breeze whistled gently and the sun was bright. The trail was empty, except for a couple hiking. Even the disc golf course I passed was quiet.

20170421_151111

The Redwood Grove

We’ve had so much rain, the park was bright green and lush, with flowers popping up everywhere. My pace was slow, but not terrible. I found myself more out of breath than I would have liked, but that will improve. And my IT band? Not bad at all.

I’ll take it easy and see if combined with strength training it gets better. I have a huge deductible in my medical insurance and no money right now, so it’s not like I could see someone even if I wanted to and taking time off isn’t an option anymore. I’ll just enjoy that I can run, even a little and see what comes.

Keep moving forward!

DO WHAT YOU FEAR

sf-runs-1-18-17

SF Runs

Think of something that you are afraid to do. I don’t mean something that’s super scary, such as bungie jumping or hang gliding, but something more every day, like speaking in public, or eating solo in a restaurant. Now, go do it. That’s what experts say we’re supposed to do: face our fears.

And that’s what I did this week. I ran in a group.

Mind you, this isn’t the first time I’ve participated in a group run, or even the first time I joined in this group run. But, by letting go of my past misgivings, I had a great time.

Usually in group runs, I’m one of the last to finish. I’m not a fast runner in a city where nearly EVERYONE runs fast. Even slow runners will tell me “I’m really slow” and WOOSH!!! They’re off at a 9-minute mile pace. My normal pace hovers in between 11:00 and 11:30 minutes per mile, which is actually 30 seconds faster than last year. I am hoping to decrease that time even more this year, but until then I will consistently be a slow runner in the Bay Area.

fast-run-1-18-17

Not a bad time!

Let me say that my fears and anxiety were all self-induced. The running group SF Runs, is nothing but terrific. They are truly good people, with a great leader, Leonard Adler, whose passion for running knows no boundaries. The free group runs are welcoming and warm, even if the weather is cold out, there are always friendly faces smiling at newcomers.

After my first time with the group, it was okay enough. But I was so far behind everyone that I felt everyone had to wait and wait for me at the end. Leonard ran the whole three miles with me. I wished and wished I could run faster and keep up with them. I wondered if I was up to this whole group run thing. I know I shouldn’t have been so doubtful, but it didn’t help my self-esteem much.

I left that first run wanting to do more, but not wanting to be so slow, so OLD so SLOW…..

But I did. I gathered my fears, threw them out, swallowed my pride and joined in this Tuesday. I kept up with a small group for most of the three miles and I was just a little slower that last mile. I ran nearly a mile faster than my normal pace.

I conquered my fear!

I can’t do anything about being older, but I can certainly change my attitude, cease my fears and enjoy how I am lucky to have wonderful people in a city where good people are getting harder to find.

Have great runs this week, conquer your fears!

Cheers!

 

 

INCLEMENT WEATHER AHEAD

Today I ran 6 miles in the pouring rain. It was not the most fun time running nor was it my best time. I wore my running rain jacket and strapped on my Osprey Hydration pack. It was a multipurpose trip because I had to pick up my race bib for the Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot and I had to buy my turkey. Because the turkey would be heavy, I needed to bring a sturdy shopping bag and my pack is the only running pack I have that I can stash the bag in. So much preparation!

I ran to Sports Basement in the Presidio to get my bib, one of my favorite places and then ran back to Safeway in the Marina, making up my run. Thankfully, the rain had stopped as I made my way home.

These are not easy days for many of us. For me, my medical insurance is skyrocketing next year. I don’t know how I’m going to make it. I can only put my faith in God and know that somehow things will work out. I pray every night for guidance.

On the positive side, I may have a running partner once a week. I was talking to a couple people at the YMCA and one very friendly woman was saying how she wished she had a running partner one night a week. I did explain that I’m not very fast but that didn’t matter to her.

One of the reasons why I don’t do group runs is that in San Francisco, the runners are very fast. Group runs usually consist of runners who can run 7:00 to 8:00 minute miles. The slow ones go 10:00 minutes per mile. I could never keep up with that, so I am usually always the slowest. I don’t want to be the slowest. I don’t mind once in a while, but always the slowest isn’t much fun and those who are faster can never understand that. They’re always very nice about it, but they don’t get it. So, for me, it’s better to run by myself; there’e much less stress and feelings of complete inadequacies.

So, we shall see if my running partner works out. And we’ll see if I can find that elusive personal trainer’s position I’ve been striving to find…..

I don’t want to end this on a negative note. I am very thankful for what I do have. I have a never-say-die attitude. I will not give up, I will not stop working towards what I want and neither should you.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Cheers!

 

I Took The Plunge….

I turned 56 this past February. It was momentous only because I knew it was now or never that I make big changes in my life’s path. I haven’t been happy with the way my “career” – or whatever my day job is, has been going. I haven’t been happy with my work for a very long time and unlike how the many negative people around me feel, I can change the direction of my life, even at my age, and do something that makes me happy, that fulfills me.

Instead of working endlessly in an office where I do nothing that matters to anyone without getting any credit for anything, I want to work in physical fitness. I want to be a Personal Trainer. And I don’t just want to work in a gym somewhere. I would like to work with seniors and help them live better lives. I would really like to help seniors have healthier and happier lives by becoming more active, move more, and be show them how much better their lives can be.

But it’s a scary thing, this whole life change deal…. I’m very afraid. I’m in decent shape myself, I do need to lose a few pounds, so I don’t look like much of a trainer. There is a live group session next weekend and I know I’ll be the oldest one there and probably the only one who doesn’t look like an athlete. HAHA! I’ll just have to amaze them by showing that I’m in better shape than they think. (And I am.)

And when I get my Personal Trainers Certificate? What then? How do I get a job? I have no clue. I have sent an email to a volunteer organization in San Francisco to see if I can work with seniors once a week. That can help me get a foot in the door and maybe make some contacts.

I’m excited, nervous, scared and freaked out. But I guess that’s normal…. yoga today helped calm me down a bit. I’m going to need that, a lot in the upcoming weeks.

Cheers!

The box from NASM

The box from NASM

A Mile at Five Minutes Or Fifteen Is Still a Mile

Running is a sport for all kinds of people. Old, young, tall, short, heavier and thinner can all enjoy the sport of running. With the huge diversity of runners, there is bound to be a wide variety of running speeds. Some runners are rabbits and some are turtles, and that’s what makes running great! Not all runners are going to be rabbits!

I get a bit cranky when I hear some trying to put limits on running half marathons and full marathons. With the exception of the Boston Marathon and specified time limits, even if you run slowly, you can still run a marathon and run it well. You do NOT have to run a mile in 9 minutes to run a marathon or run a mile in 10 minutes to run a half marathon, though I’ve heard those limits from others recently.

I don’t know where they come from, but they are out there. No wonder some runners feel bad about being slow. Don’t feel bad, just run. Be a turtle; embrace running! So you’re slow! Who cares? If you enjoy running, then run, slow or not, you’re still running. If you want to get faster you can attempt to do so, carefully, by doing some interval work ONCE a week, no more, please!

But it’s not necessary. Remember, running is a lifelong venture and it’s not who wins each race that counts.

Cheers!

GOODBYE 2014

So, I’m spending New Year’s Eve at home, as I usually do. I’m not a fan of NYE celebrations; I don’t enjoy being around drunk people, especially masses of them, and I before I was injured, I wanted to go for a run on New Year’s Day. Instead of that, I’ll enjoy my morning, do some reading, stretching and watch hockey. Not a bad way to spend the morning.

I bought a bottle of Trader Joe’s Sparkling Wine Chardonnay Grape Juice to open for the occasion, but I couldn’t get it open. In my drinking days, I opened hundreds of champagne bottles, but I could not get this one uncorked.

So, I looked at this unopened bottle as the past year. There are lots of good things and great moments, but the best is yet to come.

2014 has been a year of hard work, disappointments, proud achievements, frustrations, amazingly wonderful surprises and through it all there were the people I truly care about: my family, my friends, my foam roller and my new friend, the roller ball.

The Holiday Season was difficult for me this year. It was a little lonely and also hard because of my lack of finances but once Christmas Day was here and being with my friends everything was right again. When it comes to Christmas, the best thing is to enjoy yourself as best as you can and ignore everything else. Ignore all those boasting about what presents they got, or where they’re going or anything else that you wish you could have or do. Just enjoy what you already have.

And that’s exactly where I continue my journey in 2015…enjoy what I have already, PLUS open that bottle!

This past year was about setting the foundation. The upcoming year is about setting and finishing the first floor.

My workouts will take center stage. Weight control is of prime importance and once I can start running again, I will add on the miles and be back in business. Until then, I need to get my core, legs and arms strong.

Attitude is another area I will be working on. Many times I defeat myself by being so self-judgmental. If I recognize those self doubts when they rear their ugly head, I can stop them. And if I can do that, my attitudes towards everything will improve.

For 2015, my fitness goals are:

  • Run 1 half marathon and 1 marathon
  • Lose weight
  • Obtain my Personal Trainer Certificate
  • Be more positive in my thinking

Enjoy your New Year. I just know 2015 is going to rock!

Cheers!

Why I Run

Tonight I had what I could call A Perfect Run.

Not every one of my outings is perfection. In fact, so many of them are difficult to get through, and I love them because of my struggles and stubborn desire to finish. Sometimes, during my runs, my legs feel like lead, my lungs like iron and it takes the first half mile or so to get into a decent pace before my legs and breathing catches up to my brain.

But not tonight. I must be doing something right. All the hours I’ve spent at the gym strengthening my quads, core and hips has done some work because the last week my runs have gone well and I have felt little pain and just a bit of soreness. Tonight, I started my run slowly and especially carefully. It had been raining all day so the streets were wet and slippery. I dodged the wandering tourists and grumpy commuters Downtown. I was able to gain some breathing space on Sansome Street past Broadway, where I could lose myself in my run. I could have run for miles and miles. Everything felt great, so I spent a few moments focusing on my form: back straight, yes, cadence, nice short steps: yes, breath even and rhythmic: you bet.

I continued running down The Embarcadero and ended in front of the Ferry Building. It was about as wonderful a 3-miler as I could ever hope for. I know I looked pretty silly smiling on the Geary 38 going home, but I didn’t care. Runs like this make me feel strong and free. They give me back all the power that slips away during the week when people put me down, when they tell me I’m too old, too fat, not good enough, not rich enough, not ambitious enough, not cool enough.

Tonight was why I run. For tonight, I felt true freedom.

Run on, get your power back! Cheers!

The Hardest Thing….

At my friend’s Wake this Tuesday, I had the chance to talk to an old co-worker of mine. A truly wonderful person A. was always a terrific workmate and it was nice to talk with her again. The first thing she said to me was to thank me for something I taught her.

This was a surprise to me. Me, the irresponsible one when I worked there, for the most part, anyway. I was a drunk for most of my years working at concerts, at least until the last couple of years and I didn’t know I could teach anyone anything.

She said that I taught her not to Self-Sabotage. And then I remembered way back to a conversation we had while having dinner before our shift at a show. It was many years ago, but it was clear in my mind.

On my run tonight, I thought back at Self Sabotage. It happens when we wish to punish ourselves. And why would we do that? Because for some reason or another, we dislike ourselves.

I’ll be exploring this subject in many blogs, because that’s what I’m doing in my life and it’s too big of a subject and much too important to gloss over in one blog. But I’ve committed Self Sabotage many times (and quite recently) because I wasn’t happy with myself.

How many times have we reached for cookies, chips, beer, wine, or something else because we weren’t happy with something that we did or we are? I bet there are many times.

The first question I ask is: Why do we hate ourselves?

It’s something that’s taught to us from birth. At least it was for me. I was raised Lutheran. My mom’s family immigrated from Scandinavia where everyone is taught to be modest, and nothing I did was ever good enough. No matter how hard I tried, it never seemed to be enough to please my parents, I was such a disappointment to them. So the seeds of self-loathing set in early. Combine that with impossible to achieve media images and being told time and again how imperfect I was, no wonder I had self-esteem issues!

It’s taken all my life to understand and truly KNOW that I am a pretty good person. And even this has to be reinforced sometimes daily, sometimes hourly within myself.

So, Self Sabotage? It is a real and nasty thing and now with artillery of my own, I can combat self negativity when it starts to creep in.