I Don’t Run!

by Mary Ann on August 11, 2010

I DON”T run. I have chanted this litany for most of my life. Oh, I have had a few running dreams that were exhilarating but in real life, I don’t run; that is until lately!

I have a blood condition that has plagued me for over fifteen years. I’ve never had a diagnosis until a couple of years ago. No known cause, no known cure. I could take some medications that might mess up my liver or my kidneys and would most certainly depress my immune system. That means blood work every three weeks. YIKES!

Well, I have taken matters into my own hands. I determined that I would find an answer this year because I believe that any situation can be made better. I found a couple of doctors willing to work just a bit harder with me. Unfortunately, their recommendation were changing how I eat and exercise. That was certainly not happy news.

The food thing has been tough. It is the extra thinking about food that I don’t like. Just making new decisions and finding new recipes and preparing foods in new ways is such a bother. And then there is the running! I chose running because it is cheap and can be done on my own block, in a short amount of time. But I really hate running!

However, I am really determined to find a reasonable solution to my situation. So running it is. It works this way: I walk the length of three houses and then I run the length of four. Then I repeat the pattern. Not too bad, right. Not right! It has been a killer. My legs were so sore the second and third day that I thought I wouldn’t be able to make it from the bedroom to the bathroom.

Right away my latent asthma started acting up. I didn’t really have time in the length of three houses to get my breath back. Then I needed to run again. Also, I was tired. After all, with my schedule, I had to run at 7am which meant I had to get up even earlier than that. Then there were the shin splints, really bad shin splints and my legs were so sore right where they connect to my torso. The back of my throat was dry and it was difficult and sometimes painful to swallow as I ran. Not to mention, that I looked and felt like a tank lumbering around our block. There was no grace whatsoever in my efforts to run. I am telling you it was miserable and not any fun!

Now I have a friend, Tara, who runs. She runs around the block with her dogs. She runs in marathons. She is a running fool and most of the time I mean that – running FOOL! She says that it is wonderful. It is liberating and invigorating. It relieves her stress. She runs because it clears her head and makes her feel better. It wasn’t making me feel better. It wasn’t working for me. I was very tempted to think that running would work for anyone but me. After all, I am no runner. It just isn’t in me. No one in my family runs or ever has. I don’t come from that type of family. We aren’t physical in any way.

Every day I want to quit! Every day! But I have really committed to health and so I just can’t quit. I have, however been looking at why it is so hard and why I want to quit.

The first day that I ran I just got up, stepped out the door and began to run. I didn’t stretch, I didn’t wear good shoes. The result was shin splints and sore legs. I didn’t drink any water before I left and I didn’t take any with me. I had gone to bed late, after midnight. Unfortunately that is a bad habit of mine. I have gone many years without any regular exercise. I have been too busy. We can add to this, the fact that I haven’t paid much attention to my eating or my weight. Hence the feeling of being a Mac truck lumbering around the block.

I ran for a couple of days before I started analyzing the situation. I thought about it a lot. I finally began piecing together what was

wrong. First I had a bad attitude. I was sure I hated running. I believed that I couldn’t run because of my family of origin, that I was 60 and overweight. I didn’t prepare to run. I didn’t have the proper equipment. I didn’t follow the rules which would have led to a more successful running experience. I didn’t get proper rest, drink enough water or eat well. I hadn’t set a time to exercise in the past and so of course there never was any time.

I want to relate this to your family and your Spark Station experience. Any time we begin something new it will take time to adjust. There will be false starts and less than perfect outcomes. We have to keep at it. We can’t quit. Eventually we have to look at our behaviors and attitudes and determine what needs to change. We have to learn the rules of success and follow them.

I get very interesting letters from parents. Some believe that they won’t ever be able to have a peaceful and warm family culture because they come from contentious, emotionally distant or broken homes. Some feel they are not cut out to be parents. Others are just too busy or they can’t figure out how to solve whatever problems they perceive that they have. Some are sure that their poor beginning efforts mean that it won’t ever come together in success. There are those who argue with one or more of the Five Rules of Engagement. They believe that they are negotiable, that they don’t all apply to them. Some families think that they just can’t find the time or that they can’t afford the equipment. Can you see the relationship to my running experience?

I want you to know that I have persevered. I have changed my ways. I am running consistently. I make an effort to eat better, drink enough water and get enough rest. I have set a firm time for running every day. I stretch and warm up a bit. I wear decent shoes which I found right in my closet. (Hmmm does Treasure Hunt Your House come to mind!) I have begun to believe that I can run. After all I have been doing it for some time even though the results haven’t always been what I hoped.

Today I still felt ungraceful as I ran but I could breathe. I wasn’t tired because I went to bed on time. I had some water before I left. I wore my good shoes. I didn’t argue with myself about getting up. I didn’t argue with myself that I had too much to do today to run – a blog to write, a presentation to finish for tonight… I have set a firm time to run. I run every day! When I am running I focus on how it feels. I smell the air. I enjoy the morning. I don’t think about all the other things I have to do. I don’t worry. I am present. It is stress relieving!

Today when I got to house four I kept running to house five. I think that I might even be able to run to house six tomorrow. I can envision running all the way around the block. I might even run a marathon someday. I don’t have to love running. I just have to run, every day, keeping the rules that make it work for me.

As for my health, my blood condition, I don’t know how that is going to work out. I do know that I am giving it the best shot I can. That is what you need to do in your families. Give it the best shot you can. Change how you think and perceive your family culture. Believe that you can create a great family. Work on learning and assimilating the rules of success. And then don’t quit! You can do this!!!

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TheJoyfulPalmer August 13, 2010 at 8:58 am

You go mom! I’m so proud of you.


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