Posted in exercise, gratitude, mindset, motivation, physical health, thoughtfulness

Gratitude for more than health

A few years ago, I was doing a 10k and was maybe a little undertrained. (What?! Never!) Was running it with a good friend and we knew we’d have a good time, even if we didn’t have a good time.

Somewhere around mile 5, I got a text from the guy I was dating at the time:

Hey! As you make progress toward the finish line think about how really lucky you are to participate in that 10k. In the grand scheme of things it is pretty cool. It means you’re healthy enough, financially secure enough, living in a place that can safely put on a big event like that. It’s a good way to spend a free morning. Lots of people all over would love to be in your shoes, feeling what you’re feeling. It’s pretty cool. Hope you’re having fun!

I’ve often been grateful for good health and mobility, not just in the context of running. But he added extra layers that I take for granted most of the time.

So if you’re out this weekend, particularly at something you’re maybe less than excited to be at (I’m looking at you, track meet!), soak in some of his good thoughts about all of the other variables that we take for granted to make it possible.

But it’s also a reminder of one of the reasons I move it move it: because I can.


Posted in meandering, vulnerability

Ever have a song blindside you?

I was listening to a podcast with Norah Jones. At the end, she sang two songs.

Now, to be honest with you, I rarely focus much on lyrics when I’m listening to a song for the first time (or most of the time). I have a lot of trouble understanding the words (partially due to how music is, and partially due to hearing loss), and so it’s much more enjoyable for me to just listen to the whole thing and not try to focus on lyrics.

So because of that, I was caught off guard when I started understanding the words.

The song was The Grass is Blue, a Dolly Parton cover. In that link, she sings it with piano, but in the podcast (at about 1:28), she accompanied herself on guitar.

The chorus:

Rivers flow backwards
Valleys are high
Mountains are level
Truth is a lie
I’m perfectly fine
And I don’t miss you
The sky is green
And the grass is blue

It kicked me in the gut. I cried. (I definitely didn’t hear the second verse.) I have no idea why I was so sad; I don’t know who I was missing. (There are a lot of people it could be.)

If I had listened to the first verse, I wouldn’t have been surprised—it talks about a break up—but I didn’t, so I was.

I’m not surprised by it any more, but it still makes me teary. I wonder what it’s poking at in me…

(Dolly loved Norah’s cover; they performed the song together at the CMAs in 2003.)


Posted in about me, exercise

Distracted exercising

I used to need to be distracted to be able to get through a workout, especially running.

Nowadays, I often look forward to the time for quiet thinking. Not just because it’s quiet (see: elementary band teacher and mom to a loquacious 7-year-old) but because there is something different about the thinking that happens on a trip (or 20) up the bleachers, or a run around the neighborhood.

I’m not totally sure why. Maybe it’s like the thinking that some people do in the shower.

Lots of ideas, some concrete (lesson plans, things to do with various people, ways to renovate the house, things to write about), some abstract.

The thinking isn’t always pleasant, but working through it together with happy-brain chemicals almost always leads me to feel better on the other side.

So I feel like: I used to need to be distracted to avoid whatever was in my brain, but nowadays, I can let it flow, manage it, and move on.

It’s pretty cool.

That said, there is also a component of distracting myself from the task at hand (read: running), but my brain so often is so busy that it can easily take over nearly any task.

Also, I didn’t decide to do this. It started when I was triathlon training. No earphones/earbuds allowed on the course, so I eventually started training without so race day wouldn’t be jarring.

There are some days that I would like my brain just to turn off for a bit and I’ll listen to music or a podcast on those days, and some days I run with a partner (most often but not always The Climbing Daddy), but the rest of the time, I run with just the ambient noise.