Welcome back to SOLO at SIXTY!
The alarm went off EARLY last Saturday morning. It was dark and foggy when my younger daughter and I left my house. This sounded like such a good idea several months ago, but now? I have been worrying about this all week. Gave up 2 days of working out to be rested, but am I? Had another session of dry needling for my hamstring so I would be ready, but am I? Am I ever ready for this?
We arrive as the sun is rising, surrounded by 3,000 other women, their families and friends there to cheer them on. Stand shoulder-to-shoulder for half an hour as we line up in pace groups and work our way to the starting line. And then… BOOM! We’re off. I am zig-zagging between people looking for an open space (have I mentioned I am a bit claustrophobic?). Eyes on the ground in front of me for any obstacles – when did they put a bumble strip down the middle of this road? Did I start out too fast? I normally do. Can I finish? I love running. I hate races. Why do I always sign up for them?
“Racing teaches us to challenge ourselves. It teaches us to push beyond where we thought we could go. It helps us to find out what we are made of.” Patti Sue Plummer, US Olympian
Three miles down… if this was a 5K we would be finished. One more mile to go. Can I finish and finish strong? That’s when I see it – the first banner of the Motivational Mile. “Where the names of loved ones and friends who have battled cancer are posted.” There are so many banners lining this last mile. What is the first banner everyone sees this year? #MoveforJenn . Yes, I will finish. And I will run as hard as I can knowing this young mother of 2 would give anything to literally be in my shoes right now. Half a mile to go and I see the other banner I have been searching for: Luanne Mahannah Hinshaw. I don’t give up because I know Luanne (my childhood friend) would also give anything to be in my shoes. I cross the finish line of the 36th Annual Charlottesville Women’s 4-Miler for these brave and wonderful women, and for all the others, who exemplify Grit and Grace in their battles with cancer. My friend Luanne battled cancer bravely but had to say goodbye to her family and friends in the end. Her beautiful daughter-in-law, Jenn, courageously stared cancer in the face and said you can have my foot, but not my spirit nor my life. And on September 29th, this brave young woman will show us what being a survivor is truly all about when she runs her first 5K after losing her foot to cancer. Jenn is a daily dose of inspiration to everyone.
“When life gives you every reason to be negative, think of all the reasons to be positive. There’s always someone who has it worse.”
When I find myself having a pity party, which I do at times (don’t we all?), I remind myself to stop and think about all that I have to be thankful for. Honestly, I try to stay so busy that I don’t have time for that kind of party. And I have learned that no matter what, life goes on. I mean, look at me. I am happy (most of the time). I am enjoying my life more than ever. I have done more in the past 2 ½ years than in the past 30. Just last week I spent time with 2 of my kids, saw 3 movies – Mama Mia (loved it!), Black Klansman (left me shaken to the core), Crazy Rich Asians (LOVED this – made me laugh and cry) – ran a race, spent an afternoon at a vineyard, met friends for dinner, and went to a cookout. These are the kinds of parties I like! And as Jamie Lee Curtis said on the Today Show about turning 60, “Sixty feels like I have no time to waste…and I am happy!”
“You have within you right now, everything you need to deal with whatever the world can throw at you.”
After the Charlottesville Women’s 4 miler Saturday, I went to work for a bit to make some headway on our financials, and then out to King Family Vineyards to work on my blog, relax, have a glass of wine, and celebrate another race in the books with my younger daughter and race partner. Well, I got to relax. She was working. Sunday found me back at the club for cycle, church, work, and then to Richmond to my older daughter’s for a cookout with my son-in-law’s family, including Sweet Baby Lily! Oh, what a blessing Lily is!
“Sometimes happiness is a feeling, sometimes it’s a decision.”
Life is good for me and can be good for all of us. Are there hard days? Absolutely. As all of my friends celebrate their wedding anniversaries, I hurt. Thinking I should be on year 38, but happy I am not at the same time. Both emotions battling for top spot. Luckily for me, feeling thankful wins out every time.
“Always turn a negative situation into a positive situation.” Michael Jordan
I read this week that the top 4 habits to make you feel happier are:
- Smile at 3 different people every day
- Write down or say 3 new things every day that you are thankful for
- Compliment 3 different people every day
- Perform 1 random act of kindness every day
Couldn’t hurt to try at least one of these each day. I always smile at everyone I pass when I am running and say good morning. Most of the time they smile back and say good morning to me as well. And it does make me feel good. And when I am running and someone I know blows their car horn or yells hello to me, that also makes me happy and gives me such a boost. One of our club members drives a city bus and he always blows the bus horn and waves at me since I run on his route.
So why do I keep running races? For that wonderful euphoric feeling I get when I cross the finish line. That feeling of conquering something that takes great effort. And why do I keep picking myself up when life tries to bring me down? Because life goes on, and tomorrow is another day. And life is good. Everyday there is something to be thankful for, even if I have to search a bit harder some days.
This week make an effort to be happier. Smile at 3 people and perform one random act of kindness every day this week and see what happens in YOUR life. Be thankful for the little things, and don’t waste your time being upset because as we all know, none of us is promised tomorrow.
PS – last week I said I would share with you something I learned each week. So… I learned this week that, meteorologically speaking, fall began Saturday, September 1 (race day!), but astronomically speaking, fall doesn’t actually arrive until September 22nd. What’s the difference? According to my favorite Beach weatherman Ed Piotrowski, “Astronomical seasons are based on the position of Earth in relation to the sun, whereas the meteorological seasons are based on the annual temperature cycle. Meteorologically, winter is defined as the three coldest months of the year (DEC-FEB), summer the three hottest months (JUN-AUG), spring (MAR-MAY) and fall (SEP-NOV) the transition months.” Makes sense to me! But still… I am NOT ready to say goodbye to SUMMER!