only-young-once

I was young once. Of course I’m still immature.

There are halcyon visions of my little toddler kids doing upside-down twirls while hanging from the swing set in the backyard on bright summer mornings.

Gasping, I watched helplessly when my 3 year-old son Will fell from a head-down position and landed hard on his crown on the sparse grassy ground underneath; when the momentary shock subsided, he burst into wails of tears from the stun and pain.

I laughed when they twittered (NO… not THAT Twitter) their excitement over red wiggly worms or chirping hens.

I fumed when they bickered and argued with each other about Fisher Price toys.

Those days were exhausting, but I miss them.

In those earlier days I would wake up at 5 am and throw on my running shoes and run 8 or 10 hard, fast (for me) miles before breakfast. Weather be damned… rain, shine, frigid temps or blistering hot. It didn’t matter. I was young and nothing would stop me.

A few years have passed and now my birth certificate claims I’m not so young.

I still canter around the block in my high tech New Balance runners, absorbing the sights, sounds and scents of cherry and Ambrosia apple trees. But it’s just at a canter pace, no galloping any more.

And weather? Well, it had better be mild and at least moderately sunny or I’m gonna stay indoors and find my stride on a comfy, dry treadmill.

Running Van Half Marathon 2015

This is what “experienced” runners look like at the end of a Half Marathon…

 

………………..

Life is a beautiful, precarious, frustrating, exhilarating, gut-wrenching, soul-satisfying wonder.

We’re all given one and some of us – the optimists – appreciate it and thrive and glory in everything, even the bad parts.

And others of us – the pessimists – find pig shit in the sunniest of days.

It’s all a matter of approach and viewpoint and self-talk .

I called myself an optimistic-pessimist for many years. The thinking in my head was that if I had low expectations, then anything that somehow rose above those depressed levels would make me a happy, contented soul.

Dawson

C’mon Dawson … Always Look on the Bright Side of Life …

 

But I’ve changed.

I try to look at all things in life now from an optimist’s perspective. I expect the best and if it doesn’t pan out, oh well, this too shall pass, and tomorrow or the tomorrow after that will bring a sunnier day that I can enjoy thoroughly.

Today, as in life, I’m approaching my runs from an optimist’s POV.

I used to enter running races and triathlons feeling enormous internal pressure to meet my goals for time. I needed the affirmation that I had trained hard enough and had sufficient strength to push myself just a bit more, a bit more.

I needed my internal Mommy to tell me I was a good boy. I wouldn’t kick myself if I didn’t reach my goals, but I felt let down. There was an intense pressure to succeed.

When I enter a race now, I have a goal time in mind. but I don’t invest myself so thoroughly in achieving it the way I used to. My laissez-faire stance just says to me, “I’ll do my best and if I make it, fantastic… if not, fantastic still” .

Just two weekends ago I ran alongside about 14,999 others in the Vancouver Marathon/Half Marathon (I ran the half marathon section). It was a gorgeous sunny Vancouver day that would make anyone wonder why the heck they didn’t move to Vancouver long ago (aside from $1 million dollar average home prices). Mountains, oceans and sunshine are human seductive candy.

Running inside bucolic Stanley Park on a bright day while looking over Burrard Inlet, cruise ships in the harbour, is the definition of modern-day heaven.

Sun-Run

My mind was in “runner’s peace” for the first time as I glided, almost effortlessly along the forested roads through the park. I crossed the finish line over two minutes sooner than last year, but it didn’t really matter.

I’ve silenced my inner Mommy.

Why?

Because I’m still doing it. Just doing it. Like Nike.

I’ve been a pallbearer enough times … I’ve been to ample funerals and Celebrations of Life to love and appreciate the rise and fall of my chest, the beat of my heart.

And how many of my friends and acquaintances stopped running years ago because of knee issues and hip issues and age issues and and and.

The body we’re assigned either holds up or it resigns.  I’m fortunate in knowing that my runner’s resignation is still somewhere, someday, further along in the future, and for that I’m content and happy.

I’m still doing it and feeling like I’m a little kid myself hanging upside down on the playset.

The aging demons in my head have gone silent and I’m just a running fool for one more year.

forrest-gump

 

 

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