Friday, September 30, 2011

What Moves You?

I went for a pretty good run this morning. My proposed 2 miles turned into almost 3 and a half. This was surprising because I almost didn’t get out of bed. The excuses were flying around in my brain like bees around the hive. I’m realizing that I have multiple personalities and the conversations go like this:

Old Heather: I didn’t go to bed until midnight.

New Heather(THE REAL ME!): So, you still got a good 6 hours of sleep

Mean Heather: Yeah, fatty. Get up! You don’t want to get all chunky monkey again do ya?

Old Heather: I worked out twice yesterday!

New Heather: That’s awesome! You can still run this morning!

Mean Heather: Bully for you, LAZY A$$, now GTF UP!

Old Heather: You guys suck

New Heather: You’ll thank us for this later

Mean Heather: Suck it, GET UP!

Then I get up and get going. What can you do? Old Heather tries to talk the others out of the run until I get going and then suddenly she’s gone. She vanishes in a whirl of pounding pavement, sweat and music. Mean Heather quiets down. She likes running but she’ll be back if I ever want to quit.

The question still remains, once I’m up and going what is it that helps me continue? It’s the MUSIC. This morning as I ran, I realized that although my running mix is varied and may sound strange to others, it’s perfect for me. It reflects my personality(s) and keeps me motivated on my journey.

One of the first songs that came on today was “Let it Rock” by Kevin Rudolf. Holy Moly! This is a good one. It’s electric and rockin’ and the lyrics always get me! “Because when I arrive I bring the fire” YEAH I DO! And this other line that I fear will get me in trouble one day, “But it broke his heart so he stuck his middle finger to the world, to the world, to the world”…Probably not a good idea to accidentally flip off cars as I run!

Next it was Elphaba and Glinda. The line in “Defying Gravity” where Elphaba finally decides that she’s going to go her own way makes me want to spread my arms and run downhill. If I’m lucky enough to be running downhill when it comes on, this is exactly what I do. “Everyone deserves their chance to fly! And if I’m flying solo, at least I’m flying free.” Running is such a solitary thing for me, but I love it.

Then it got all sexy up in my shuffle! Ladies and Gentleman, I give to you the Kings of Leon! “Sex on Fire” makes me run faster! Why? Because it reminds me of how much better sex is gonna get as I get more confident with my body. Another good one? “Come on Get Higher” by Matt Nathanson (or covered by Sugarland). **Mom, if you’re reading this I IMAGINE sex will be awesome when I’m more confident…I don’ t really know!*** For the rest of you - "Bow chicka bow wow" (if you get my meaning ;) )

And then you can be magically whisked away to England! Ah for the love of Mumford and Sons! “I will hold on hope and I won’t let you choke on the noose around your neck. AND I’LL FIND STRENGTH IN PAIN AND I WILL CHANGE MY WAYS, I’LL KNOW MY NAME WHEN IT’S CALLED AGAIN” Hello?! If that isn’t a metaphor for my life what is? Finding strength in pain and changing my ways….

Then there are a couple of songs that I put on the shuffle just because I liked them and while I’m running they come on and I realize they literally have the word “run” in them…

In “Mama Said” by Lenny Kravitz he sings, “And I’m always on the run!”

Or Florence and the Machine in “Dog Days are Over” she sings, “ You better run for your mother, run for your father, run for the children for your sister and your brother!” This is a reminder that I’m not only doing this FOR me, but to be a BETTER me and that benefits everybody!

Suddenly the shuffle goes country! Thanks to Rascal Flatts “Feels like Today” is my theme song. Another song with the word “run” and it inspires me to make TODAY the day I’m going to be healthy and happy!

This morning I got a strange new song to make me run! “In Your Eyes” by Peter Gabriel pops on. Too slow? NEVER! This song makes me want to persevere with the same defiance as Lloyd Dobbler holding up the boom box outside of Diane Court’s house. He isn’t giving up on her and I’m not giving up on me.

And after all of this almost 40 minutes have passed… I finish with a little Dave Matthews Band. “Lie in Our Graves” and the following line, “Would you not like to be sitting on top of the world with your legs hanging free? Would you not like to be okay, okay, okay” As a matter of fact Dave, I DO want to be okay. That’s why I run.

As I walk into my door the music ends and with it ends the silence of those voices in my head. This time the conversation is a bit different.

Old Heather: Wow! That was great. I’m really proud of you.

Mean Heather: Nice job kid, don’t forget to do the same thing tomorrow!

New Heather: Thank you.

Lloyd won't give up

Neither will I...

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Matter Over Mind

"The good Lord gave you a body that can stand most anything. It's your mind you have to convince."
— Vince Lombardi

I’ve thought a lot about the words “I Can’t”. There are a lot of things I can’t do.

I can’t fly an airplane.
I can’t surf.
I can’t play the guitar.
I can’t rewire a computer.

But the thing is I CAN learn to do all of those things…if I wanted to. Honestly, I have no interest in flying an airplane or rewiring a computer (the surfing and guitar would be cool though, bucket list time!)

BUT when it comes to my body, as of today, there is NOTHING I CAN’T DO.

When I first started running, I would get tired so quickly. At the time, I couldn’t run a mile. I pushed myself and trained until I COULD do it.

I remember a particularly challenging run when I was bargaining with myself. “Heather, if you make it to that tree, you can walk for one song.” “Heather, if you make it to the light post, you can walk for a 20 count.” But my body would keep going. In my head I wanted to stop. My body and more importantly, MY HEART…wasn’t hearing it.

In fact, at one point I was walking and I didn’t even know I had stopped running. My body KNEW when I couldn’t go anymore and slowed down, but my mind was still running.

It’s difficult to match your body and your mind. The mind is a tricky and slow thing. My mind doesn’t always seem to know what’s going on with me.

It tells me to stop when I can still go.
It thinks I can’t fit into clothes at some stores when, in fact, I probably can.
It doesn’t recognize the person in the mirror at a glance and does a double take.
It says I can’t.

If you were doing something and someone you knew or even some stranger looked at you and said you can’t, would you listen? Or would it make you want to try even harder? Would you sit back and listen to the naysayers or would you get stubborn and do whatever it takes to prove them wrong?

For many of us, someone else telling us we can’t just makes us more determined to prove that we can. Why do we insist on proving others wrong but we still let the voices in our head deter us from our goals and dreams?


It’s time to tell our minds to SHUT IT!
It’s time to listen to our bodies. It’s time to listen to our hearts.

I CAN! Can you?

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The First Step

Have you ever watched a baby learn to walk? The little one is all full of trepidation and wobbling. They hold on to the coffee table or their mommy or the couch. They refuse to let go until something in them switches and they just KNOW they can do it and suddenly they’re walking….and then they don’t stop.

That’s how I felt at the beginning of this journey. As I come up upon the one year mark I see that we take first steps every day. Sometimes we’re wobbly, sometimes we jump up and go. Either way, once you’ve taken that first step all the steps that come after seem a bit easier.

I’ve been trying to run in the mornings. I really love the way I feel when I’ve accomplished my run before many people I know have even gotten out of bed. I love that I pass the same guy who can only be described as FAAAAST (he passed me 3 times yesterday) and the same older lady who won’t even nod “hello”, she just stares straight ahead. Maybe I’m scary at 6:30am? No, for sure I’m scary that early. I love that it’s cool out and even though I sweat it’s not unbearable.

I hate getting up that early. I like to sleep. I have a hard time falling asleep. My mind races when I lay in bed because, well, it’s the only time I stop. I go, go, go all day and my brain finally has some time to work stuff out at night. This means I often don’t fall asleep at a decent hour so I definitely don’t want to wake up at the a$$ crack of dawn.

However, I’ve come to notice that once I’m up, I’m up. If I can just get my two feet on the floor and butt out of bed, then it all comes naturally. I brush my teeth, wash my face, change into my running clothes, turn on my Garmin and I’m gone.

It’s totally that first step.

It’s the same way with this whole journey. Once I started making the commitment to living healthier I couldn’t stop. Do I have moments of weakness? Of course. I like sweets and fried food and beer. Do I have moments of laziness? Of course. Sometimes the best thing you can do for yourself is sit on your booty and rest. However, I can’t stop living like this. It’s like a baby learning to walk and then thinking, “Meh, This blows. I'll just crawl or that nice lady I call Mommy will carry me....forever.”

Once you start, you can’t stop.

Life often gets in the way. A lot of people have ups and downs on the journey to look better, feel stronger and live healthier. The thing is, if we would only remember that the first step is the hardest we’d realize how easy the rest of it is. It becomes second nature, like putting one foot in front of the other.

So the next time my alarm goes off at that god-awful early time, I’ll try, in my weakened and sleepy state, to remember that this is the hardest part.

I’m not saying the rest will be easy. There are decisions that have to be made and pressures that have to be dealt with. We all have crazy schedules, different amounts of stress and friends who can eat whatever they want and never exercise.

But once we stop wobbling we can use our courage, our determination and our new-found strength to let go of the coffee table and move forward towards our goals.