Beautiful Spring Day … and still doing Penance …

21 03 2009


It’s an amazing spring morning here in Denver … about flipping time in my impression! I got my schedule from Dave on the 19th … four days out of sneakers as the proverbial finger rap for doing the Republic stair-climb. Ok. Could be more … and it’s a good thing I was so mentally worn out from Huntington Beach that I didn’t pull out the sneakers, because I was so disgusted with myself that I wanted to pile in miles … but something stopped me … and it had nothing to do with not having a schedule. I’ve piled in miles when off schedule as punishment for poor performances and not handling pain in the past. When I was younger and irritated with myself, I would sprint up whatever was handy. Later in life, it would be probably be just as destructive in an effort to get my own attention and feel something.

Aristotle wrote “What we have to learn, we learn by doing.” I fully get it. Now don’t get all shocked that I know Aristotle … firstly, I have a quote service that sends me e-mail quotes in the morning and secondly, he’s the name of a friend’s cat. I do agree with it, however. I like being filled in very carefully about what I’m getting myself in to, but I have to fall down and make the proverbial mistakes to get the lesson to take hold. It’s the getting back up again that takes the effort.

Last year, I was able to power through on sheer stupid hard headiness and probably, in a strange way, anger. I can truly say that I was angry with myself from Disney through probably re-cracking my ankle … that would be January through December 2008!  I did it … largely to the cost of my body and friends further questioning my sanity. I was screwing up the one thing I did for myself, and determined to make it right … Probably grit and dense determination … and being able to work with a lot of pain and keep going. Other than for fleeting moments, when I searched my heart last weekend I had to admit that 2008 was not a truly fun year for me walking.

Yeah – stupid.

Even worse was the flood of stuff that I’d truly not dealt with in my past … I didn’t have safety to deal with. It’s the “when you’ve got nothing left to lose” thought process … ok maybe “thought” isn’t the right choice in words. 

I look at photos from the Boulder Backroads (October 2006) and Disney (January 2007), I see a very heavy person who was able to somehow get through … and … maybe happier that first year than I truly was last year. Why? Because last year, although I wanted to maybe get faster and do better, I was not taking really decent care of any other area of my life. Where I was having fun before, I was pushing myself too hard without really allowing myself to rest and build back up. Something that I did just for me in a sea of everything for everyone else lost that meaning … it became all about time locally … out of town was a different feeling: More relaxed and more for me. I felt a strange pressure locally. Since I don’t train with people, I don’t have people around to let me know what’s going on with form; to say “your leg isn’t straight … you are *not* getting it right. Come on … let’s take it slower …” Kristin offered training up in Boulder with her, but with my car … sigh. Without anyone getting between me and myself, times might have gotten faster, but everything suffered.

I’ve written before, and I do believe it … if your head isn’t on well, then things just catch up and will force dealing. In A Christmas Carol, the lesson of changing your life can change things around you. I have a lot of things in my past that HAVE to be dealt with. By not dealing with them, I slipped off the flat of the sword of life – the fun place … to cutting myself on the edge with something I truly love and enjoy – my walking.

Nothing was good enough. Next race had to be better, but the cost was increasing. Unhealed injuries, head working against me and then the flood of memories … athletic, personal, private … Letting the wrong people have too much control has been part of my life story. I’ve learned a great deal and it had to come at quite a cost. I truly believe that’s how the best lessons are learned.  I probably had to have everything go completely wrong in my first four races of the year to have this happen … the exception was the stair-climb, but, as I was reminded, that isn’t my “primary” sport. Why? Because someone truly hasn’t taken care of herself physically, financially, emotionally and spiritually.  By stopping and failing a race I’ve been let know that I truly didn’t want to do in the first place but was doing it as an alternative as a race I truly detest, I did something unusual: I did the right (and hard for me) thing AND I allowed myself to feel it completely. I allowed close friends in to take care of me right away.


It’s been a long week. I detest downtime, but it’s given me a chance to clear out. Huntington Beach had nothing to do with racing and everything to do with starting in a new space. Sometime I’m going to have to break through that fear being set of judged races and, worse yet, the whole letting down team and others. Right now it’s something else.  I *know* I’ve got to get the foundation properly built. You can only survive on coffee and vitis for so long before everything falls apart. I’m staring at my schedule through the Bolder Boulder (Memorial day) and notice that it literally ends 2 days before I fly to California for the See Jane Run Women’s 1/2 Marathon on the 30th. I see the word “easy” all over it … it’s time to have things explained to me … I don’t understand that word … my life, in my mind, has been inactive laziness punctuated by periods of all-out frenetic action which lapses back into inaction again.

Does this mean that this is the last penance/punishment schedule Dave’s going to ever have to write for me. Not bloody likely. I’ll probably keep pushing myself in an effort to feel alive. I am hoping, however, that going for nearly two months without a race, making myself train properly and build up a foundation and getting my life straight will bring back the jazz I felt before. Competing has to be fun and personal enrichment … for me, there’s a very fine edge … and sure my times and some of it was truly fun last year … but it came at a VERY high cost … and I’m paying it. 

I have seen my competitive dark side …. and I’d prefer not to go there again. Nothing left to lose? Nah … I completely *got it* that I have a lot to lose and even more to give. Now I’ve got to trust.




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