Adventures in Imperfection

Hit the Ground Running

I really needed to run.

My mom and I were sitting together Sunday morning before she went to church. I was quiet like I always am and she worried like she always does. It’s what mammas do. She keeps a post-race marathon picture of me on her refrigerator. I looked so young.

Hospital Hill Half

I telegraphed her a message, “Don’t worry about me. I just need to go for a run.”

So, I went for a run.

No big deal really. Just an easy two-miler that led me down the country roads I grew up on. One foot after another led me over the hill and down to the northeast corner of my dad’s milo field.  There were no sounds except for measured breathing, the flutter of ruffled quail feathers and the crunch of gravel and snow bearing the brunt of heavy footfalls.

My brain was full of opinions and self-righteous instructions.

You should be a better: daughter/mother/wife/sister/friend.

People need to know you love and appreciate them. Why are you so detached?

 I just kept running.

Even though I had knee surgery eight weeks ago, I ran with a limp and resembled a lame, old racehorse who needed a pasture more than the track it pined for. My knee was (is) shot.

But, I ran anyway.

Peace permeated my pores and pushed the pain aside. Good ole gratitude kicked the monkeys and ducks and unherdable cats out of my brain. With each breath and passed telephone pole, I started to feel something familiar and friendly. I felt…

Grounded.

I had forgotten how much I relied on running to keep me sane, easy-going and grounded. I’ve run most of my life – childhood and adult – and not doing so for several weeks had thrown me out of kilter. Most days started with laced up shoes, pounded pavement and solved problems even before the e-mails filed in. Problems accumulate with or without a run, but my ability to deal with them in a healthy way had diminished with each day I was unable to get out and do so.

So, I’m going to run smart.

It won’t be very far or very long and my goals will be simple: 3-5 miles and walk whenever I need to. Christy is keeping me inspired by sharing her training accomplishments AND she even made me my own Spotify running playlist: “Michelle’s Bringing Sexy Back” 2015 run mix. You can catch a sample of it below.

I’m going to run as much as I can.

There will be no PR races, no crazy training schedules or twenty-mile runs before daylight. No more marathons and my goal of running a sub-two hour half belongs to somebody else.

team in training

I’ll spend my time on soft, scenic trails with my dog and will run only for the right reasons: To calm the brain, to fill my lungs with air, to solve problems…

and stay grounded.

For me, 2015 will be about getting back to the basics, loving the people who love me and just being a better person. I have “my word” picked out for 2015 and I plan to share it next Monday. In the meantime, I hope that you are finding your own center in a world filled with swirling priorities. These times can drag us in too many directions and leave us feeling inadequate and detached. Let’s fix these little things the best we can. For me, it’s as simple as throwing on an extra layer, tying the laces and grabbing the dog leash.

I’ve hit the ground running.

Join me?

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PF Chang’s Rock and Roll Arizona 2006 with Tracy
kathy
Chicago Marathon 2005 with Kathy

 

 

58 thoughts on “Hit the Ground Running

  1. So encouraging! Thanks for this. I pray to get well and begin walking and hopefully one day run again. I have/had a love/hate relationship with running my whole life. Hoping 2015 will bring it on for good health… so wishing health and happiness to you in the new year!

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    1. Hi Merri!
      I’m so glad this resonated with you. I totally understand the love/hate relationship and wish you happiness and health for 2015 as well. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment.
      Michelle

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  2. Bravo Michelle…this phenomenon will echo throughout the halls of your life…and your fruitfulness will be commensurate with your cooperation with it. Resistance is futile!

    Take it from me, a few years on further down the trail…there is a deeper joy and greater accomplishment in the being of a runner rather than the doing of it, which by definition includes acceptance of things that you were trained for years to ignore and push right thru…my thing is cycling, and I have adjusted from 4 hour Centuries to 5 hour Centuries, to not even having a computer on my bike anymore…and just riding in worship and joy.

    No pain no gain…yeah, not so much. Oh, gain involves pain, yes…but I say no passion no gain!

    Passion…such a thing, such a simple thing…gives us hearts like sprinters and legs like marathoners.

    Blessings to you this year!

    *Charissa sets computer aside and mounts her bike affixed to the trainer!*

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    1. Ooooh! A Century ride! I’ve always wanted to try that. I rode for a while when training for a duathlon and broke my foot in the middle of the race.
      It might be time to take that sport up again as it does seem easier on the knees.
      That said, I’m heck on wheels likely a danger to others with my clumsiness. I may need to leave the riding up to you.
      *backs away from the bike and wishes I was had Charissa’s grace (tee! hee!)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Lololol. Too bad I don’t live closer. I totes could teach you. And I was a serious runner til 30, and joint issues. Now? The gliding freedom of the bike, well nothing compares. Plus you could get to know Jane too!

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  3. I’ve lost touch with some of the things that ground me too. My daily walks slacked off, I haven’t been reading as much or writing in my journal. Some of it is because of the holidays but I think I’ve been eating spiritual junk food for awhile now. I’m eager to get back to giving my soul what it really needs. I’m so glad that you’re on the mend enough to run again, even if it’s not the really big runs. I’ll join you! “Let’s fix these little things the best we can.”

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    1. “Spiritual junk food”
      Oh my goodness…you are SO right!
      At your mention, I signed up for Brave Girls, went through two weeks of lessons and stalled out. It seems like a great time to come back, no?
      I’m also thrilled that you highlighted the sentence about fixing these little things. I almost edited it out…but, that’s what we do, right? Try to fix the little things before they become big.
      Seems like you help me do that all of the time.
      Wishing you a happy, healthy and grounded 2015 dear friend. xo

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I am so with you! I’ve been feeling so…I don’t even know the word I can use. I need to do something to get myself back in sync and a way to clear my head. I used to write…and will again. I have the shop to run but I need to get physical. I can’t run like I used to so I’m going to become faithful to my elliptical and my bike.

    Ready?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “Chase the demons” is such a great reason.
      So funny–I actually thought of you while I ran on Sunday. And to think that we just “met” last week!
      It was the Tiffany blue skies that had me all enthralled…there’s no other blue like that blue and the sky was that perfect shade.
      Happy New Year to you, too!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Hey Mama! Great to see you back – running, writing, thinking. It’s interesting isn’t it how we find those things that allow us to get centered? For me it’s driving. I can be alone with my thoughts while my body is doing something rythmic that still allows me to think or just float. You obviously have the benefit of your activity also benefiting your health. In this world it is so hard to be really alone with yourself and still have those you love nearby. For me it is better than meditation and leaves a clean, healthy feeling. I can’t do much in the way of physical activities for health reasons, but i can certainly understand the pull to run.

    I hope the New Year brings you and yours health and prosperity Mama – oh, and if you’re taking the dog running, beware of the trees. ha!

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    1. I could totally see your meditation space being in the driver’s seat, Paul. I kinda like that, too.
      I hope that your New Year is happy and healthier than ever and am so glad our paths crossed in 2014. Thank you for the reminder about trees…do you want to remind my dog, too??

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  6. Yes, yes, yes. Yes to the running and the peace that it brings. Yes to doing so responsibly and for the right reasons, at least more often than not because we are human, afterall. And yes to doing these things to care for ourselves and ultimately feel more connected to those around us. I really loved this post and all the lovely pictures. You’re amazing.

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    1. YOU are one of the people who has gotten me back here. I loved reading your post and seeing pics from your bridge race. It made me want to get back and hit the road even more. I look forward to reading more about your running adventures and seeing the pictures, too.
      Yes, yes, yes right back at you, sister! xo

      Liked by 1 person

  7. You go, girl. We all need what grounds us and should do all we can to find it. Mine is disc golf. I clear my mind and for an hour all that matters is the next throw and the forest and clean air on the way to it.

    I love that you accept running in a new form. You’ve accomplished much. Let running give back a little now.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We have a disc golf course just up the street from us. It adorns the trail I used to run all of the time. Perhaps I should try some of your medicine?
      Wishing you a happy and healthy 2015, Eli! Thank you for taking the time to read and comment.
      Michelle

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  8. I am walk, walk, walking everywhere now, with hopes to be cleared for a couch to 5 K and eventually more program in February.

    I think it is great that you readjusted your way of approaching this and are listening to your body along the way. You, and Christy, rock!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Squeal!!! Im dying to get out and run long enough to finish your list. I’m jamming to the Offspring right now!
      Thanks for reading this today…i know that you are unplugged and knee deep in Dawgs and dogs πŸ™‚
      Love you, my friend!!

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  9. Just loved this, Michelle!

    One of the first things I do when I’m struggling, is to step back from the things and people that ground me. It’s an asinine practice, I know, and one which I need to do away with; but habits are hard to break, even when they Break you. I have been reaching out more and snuggling in more, both of which do me and my heart such good. So, thank you for reminding me that we don’t have to be the we we were and that things don’t have to be as they were either. Part of the joy of life is finding and fine tuning what feeds us. And it sound to me like you’ve done so.

    I hope to do the same.

    May 2015 be kind to us all.
    And may you forever Bloom.

    With heart,
    Dani

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We must be sisters from another life, Dani.
      What is it about the struggle that takes us away from what (who) we know will get us through??
      I’m glad you’re reaching for the people and habits that keep you grounded and full of love and gratitude.
      “Part of the joy of life is finding and fine tuning what feeds us. And it sound to me like you’ve done so.”
      I always love and appreciate your wisdom and perspective.
      My heart right back to yours, dear friend. xo

      Liked by 1 person

  10. “Run, Forrest [insert Michelle], Run!!!!” That’s a good motto for you and all of us (although I prefer biking, walking, hiking or anything but running, truthfully, since it aggravates my hip and knee something awful)…but just moving feels good and clears your mind, like you say. Can’t wait to read about your cool new word for the year!

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    1. Hi Char!
      Would it make you giggle to know that we had a horse named Forrest? He was such a good boy, but went lame way too soon…my daughter and I often joke that I look like Forrest these days. I don’t care…he was a pretty boy!!
      You’re my biker friend and I love to live that life through your eyes. I’m looking forward to more of your adventures in 2015.
      Happy New Year to you and yours, Char!

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      1. Oh, how funny! That’s a perfect name for a horse, and it’s much nicer to be called after a horse than a cow. I’d glare someone down if they called me a cow (it just seems so demeaning…ha ha). But if you look like a horse, even a lame one, that’s a compliment because they’re such graceful creatures. I stopped chewing gum as much because it seemed too cow-like. Am I weird? (Don’t answer that.)

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      2. Oh Char!
        I am cracking up at your comment. Do I think you’re weird? NOPE! I think you’re wonderful πŸ™‚
        Would you think I’m weird if I admitted that I have the urge to “moo” whenever I run by cows??

        Don’t answer that either!

        On another note? Are you still on track to publish your next book in a series? If so, I’m going to be running something I call ‘Freestyle Fridays” in 2015. Part of my plan is to give my author friends and additional place/platform to share or talk about their books. You are more than welcome to my space if you are interested!

        Happy New Year!

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      3. I want to Moo too. When my kids were little, I always mooed when we passed cows (because that’s just what moms do for their wee ones), but when they were teens and I caught myself on a drive saying, “Look! Cows! Mooooo!” and my husband laughed at me, I realized I needed to grow up. I hate growing up!

        And yes! I’m interested in your Freestyle Fridays. My launch date for the 3rd book is near the end of January and I’ve been doing character interviews on my site while I’m waiting for my new covers to get finalized. I am going to have to push myself to do more marketing this year (which I hate)…but it’s necessary, I guess.

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      4. Oh, I just love that you moo, too! We were destined to be friends!
        Congrats on your third book! We can visit via e-mail over the next few weeks if you like and see how you’d like to use the space to market. I’m planning on a post this Friday to explain my freestyle vision, but I’m approaching it with only a loose structure ad am open to suggestions.
        I’ve not published anything yet, but I did finish a first draft and hope to do something with it next year. Everything I read about needing a platform scares me a bit…hoping I can pay it forward and learn in the process. I’d be honored to have your writing on my site.
        Have a Happy New Year, Char!!

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  11. This post has really made me happy, Michelle, because writing it has obviously made you so happy. Run small and reap big benefits, my friend. You got it knocked. Happy New Year! Appreciate all that it will be, Mama Mick Terry. πŸ˜‰

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    1. Dear Mark,
      You must be one of the coolest and kindest people I know…thank you for reading!
      You’ll be happy to know that my running will also help me expand my music tastes like you and I talked about…Christy’s list is chock full of music I’ve never heard before and LOVE.
      I’ll be looking towards you for motivation as well.
      Have a happy New Year!

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  12. I’m running with you all year long Michelle! 2014 was the year of little running….and I know exactly how you’ve felt the last 8 weeks without the ability to run out life’s little and not-so-little annoyances. However, slowly and steadily, miles are building and the mind is getting right again. Or, at least, as right as it will ever be! one step at a time, friend. Go easy…let your body heal….and the miles will come. Anxiously awaiting your 2015 word! πŸ™‚ Much love, Sarah

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    1. Sarah! Sarah! Sarah!
      One of my most favorite running buddies ever! We truly DO need to get together for a reunion run…despite what Lori says.
      One of my favorite memories was when I first met you in Holton during a scrambler run. We ran the golf course in the snow. I love how running has always connected me to the very best people in whole world…I will forever count you among that group. xoxox

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  13. How awesome for you! I don’t like to run…. It is hell on my ankles which is the reason I fell in Sept and broke my wrist so bad. But I walk. I admire your resolve and it is a great analogy! I hope you have a wonderful and incredible year!! Rock on my dear!!~

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    1. YIKES! Nobody got time for a broken wrist!!
      I’m quickly learning and enjoying the benefits of walking, too. So glad to have met you in 2014…looking forward to your friendship in 2015. Have a great New Year! xo

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      1. It’s gonna be better… 2014 had it’s ups and downs and I suspect this year will too. But it’s all in how you deal with them! My wrist was a result of simply rolling my ankle while crossing the street. My life stopped! Completely! for 2 weeks. It broke into pieces. I had to have surgery and now have 8 screws and a plate permanently in my wrist! I was burning the candle at both ends but didn’t think I was THAT bad…..apparently the universe had a different idea *sigh*
        I do know how to say N O but I’m much better at it now…. LOL!!

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  14. Ah Michelle….
    i adore you!
    i am so happy that you are running again, healing.
    and i love the passion, the switch:
    “I’ll spend my time on soft, scenic trails with my dog and will run only for the right reasons: To calm the brain, to fill my lungs with air, to solve problems…”

    as a yoga person all of that is built right into my practice, and as an aged yoga person the noncompetitive nature is also built in….i just do what i can and revel in whatever it is i do. very freeing and , yes, grounding!

    Can’t wait to hear what your word is…i am struggling with mine, which is a first. i’m not sure why and i don’t like it…but i know it;s my monkey mind working overtime. Yoga later will help, and the word will come when it does, when it’s supposed to. Maybe tonite or tomorrow, maybe not.

    xoxooxoxo
    happy 2015!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. And I adore YOU!
      In fact, you’ve been on my mind a lot these last few days. I know you have a yoga training coming up and I can’t wait to hear how it goes. Don’t worry about your word…it will come, just like you said, in spite of the monkey brain. Could you imagine if we rounded up all of our collective monkeys? We’d have a circus!

      I’m adopting your yoga mindset, too. You’ve inspired me this year and it’s helped me reevaluate a lot of things. And, to make it concrete, I’m all signed up for one class/week on Fridays with a dear friend who calms my spirit just by being with her. Kinda like I imagine you doing with me.
      Have a happy New Year Michele…I look forward to walking through 2015 with you. xoxoxoxo

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  15. Love it, Mickey. (Augh, mind that knee, will ya?? Bah! Be gentle.) Aside from the fact that you look as buff as you do in those shots and that I love you’re helping to bring back the sexy, I of course appreciate the grounding running brings you to. And when Mom’s face is flushed with calm and happiness, the whole house is happy, amen? Thanks for the inspiration. And I mean that.

    Love bunches,
    D.

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    1. You are too kind!
      You are also so right about the calm and happy a flushed face can bring. In fact, one of my very best mama friends just told me yesterday “When Mama gets her work-out, everything just works out.”
      You inspire me, too…but, you already knew that didn’t you? xoxox

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  16. Running is my cheapest therapy. It is THE cheapest therapy, seriously. But running for me was always an emotional, mental connection. It was never about numbers. The best runs happen without my GPS, on a mountain, and end with me feeling reconnected to the mountains and myself. πŸ™‚

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    1. Sigh…mountain running. Killer on the lungs (for us sea level dudes), but soooo good for everything else.
      Thanks for reading, tweeting and pinning. The only time I’ve ever been pinned was by my wrestler son πŸ˜‰
      You are the bestest!!

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