Better Than the Alternative Tuesdays: The Ledge

You survived Monday. Hooray! And Tuesday. Woohoo!

This is how I feel when Monday rolls around. Not because I really hate mornings but am not a fan of Mondays at school.

This is how I feel when Monday rolls around. Not because I really hate mornings but am not a fan of Mondays at school. 11 hours in class will do that to you.

So welcome to Better Than the Alternative Tuesdays where we remind ourselves why is really so much better to be here, no matter what kind of crap we’re dealing with, than not. This idea came about from something Obi-wan (my Dad, not THE Obi-wan Kanobi) has said for years in response to the lemons life has thrown him/us, “Hey, it beats the alternative.”

And it does.

More and more I find myself out on The Ledge. In running, in school, in life. Just…out on there on The Ledge without a parachute, looking down and not knowing whether or not I’m going to fall to my eventual demise or into something better than I could ever have imagined.

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So, I guess I’ve been building my wings.

I went out on The Ledge and got into my dream school.

I went out on The Ledge and had one of the worst marathons of my career.

I went out on The Ledge and had major surgery to take back my life.

I went out on The Ledge and got told “no”. A lot.

I went out on The Ledge and made a friend.

I went out on The Ledge and got burned by people I misjudged. Again. And again.

I went out on The Ledge and met others with my disease.

I went out on The Ledge and true friends came to my aid.

I went out on The Ledge and found that a friend was not there with me.

I went out on The Ledge and found my husband there, right beside me, ready to take a leap with me, pushing me holding my hand.

Always holding my hand.

Always holding my hand.

The Ledge is a scary place. A place where you sink or swim. And for me it means that once I’m out there, someone else knows about it ‘cuz I’m a chatty one. So then I have someone who will know if I back out. Accountability insurance, I suppose?

Maybe I’m just a chatterbox.

Take this Virtual 5K. I put it out there and now have over 100 supporters, more than 20 raffle prizes, and people all over the world coming out of the wood work to help me meet my goal of $20,000. I didn’t sandbag my goal. I stepped onto The Ledge and look what happened.

Awesomeness happened.

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Holy awesome! Keep those donations coming, guys! I’m 1/4 of the way to my goal!

I’m learning to trust that regardless of whether or not I’m successful in these endeavors, I’m better for having tried. Yes, it’s lonely and terrifying to put yourself, your ideas, your beliefs, and even your health out there on The Ledge for others to ignore or ridicule.

 

But when you succeed, when you leap and find yourself somewhere better than you were before, even if it’s only once, it’s worth it. And so much better than the alternative.

Whoever thought "Doctor" would ever be in front of MY name? Not me.

Whoever thought “Doctor” would ever be in front of MY name? Not me.

 

Life is nothing without taking chances. Walk out on The Ledge every now and again, friends. The view is spectacular.

Now go out and run.

Pushing Limits

Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!!!! to all of you who have already signed up for the Kick Ass Virtual 5K on Tuesday, April 9th. I reached over $1500 in donations as of today and am SUPER excited to share all the raffle prizes that have been rolling in.

Sneak peak and hoping to add more!!!

Sneak peak and hoping to add more!!!

If you or someone you know would like to donate a raffle item, contact me!!!! (runstrongereveryday@gmail.com) And don’t forget to sign up for the Kick Ass 5K! Or you can just donate to my page 🙂

This whole $20,000 goal is so far outside of my comfort zone, I can’t even tell you. I don’t really think I’m going to hit it. I know I should “believe” I will but I don’t. It’s a goal. It’s a very public goal. I’ll probably fail. It’s scary to fail so publicly to reach my goal.

On the track, in the gym, on the road, I’m pushing hard so that when I toe the half marathon line, I know I did my best to get there. Training is the easy part.

Running til I feel like this. I call it "Panting dog".

Running til I feel like this. I call it “Panting dog”.

It’s easy for me to push my body. It’s much more difficult for me to push my personal life goals. When my body gives out, there’s a reason I can trace back to fix and it’s not usually my fault. I like to push my body to the limit.

When I fail at a life goal, I feel like a total and complete FAILURE.

So I don’t push those limits. Well, I didn’t until the past few years. Putting together this Virtual 5K for (essentially) me makes me uncomfortable. I’d much rather just give them all of my money and not risk the failure.

I'd much rather run a 5K for something/someone else than for myself buuuuut, there are a lot of IBD-ers out there so I'll run for them!

I’d much rather run a 5K for something/someone else than for myself buuuuut, there are a lot of IBD-ers out there so I’ll run for them!

But there are kids with IBD. There are kids who will never know life as anything other than being the “sick”. There are people out there who live every day with pain and drugs and just the worst of the worst of it and I won’t be too chicken to set a $20,000 goal because I’m afraid I won’t meet it.

So here I am. Me and $18,500 more to raise. Watch me push that limit all the way til June 8th when I push my body in Chicago.

Gauntlet thrown.

Now go out and run!

Better Than the Alternative Tuesdays: Weight

Guys, I’m in midterm week month, so blogs may be shorter or non-existent until things settle down over here in Crazy Town. But it’s Tuesday so let’s not forget why it’s good to be here instead of the alternative.

Weight.

It’s become a nasty word in the world these days, wouldn’t you say?

Gaining weight. Weight of the world. Light-weight.

It’s not too long ago that the word weight carried a negative connotation to me as well. Yet recently, I’ve begun to embrace it.

What is weight to you? (Image courtesy of shutterstock.com)

What is weight to you?

There is nothing more comforting or calming to me than to feel the weight of my husband against me.

A hug, a hand, or when he is recruited to be my blanket because I just can’t get warm enough in the winter. I breathe easier, my heart rate slows down, and I almost always fall asleep.

Something about the weight of my hand in his.

Something about the weight of my hand in his.

When I was recovering from surgery, it was all about the weight. Was I eating? Was it leaving me properly in my new device? Too fast? Too slow? Was I gaining weight?

Despite one person’s comment that my 20 pound weight loss was (after a 5-day hospital stay and one organ removed) “looking good” on me, gaining weight was a top priority post-op. Both times post-op, actually.

GI surgery means things get scary in that world and weight gain = success!!! Normally a dirty phrase in my world, I was thrilled to see the scale headed back toward my normal.

I was healthy again. Weight was a good thing.

Feels good to be healthy again.

Feels good to be healthy again.

And there is nothing in the world that feels better than having the weight of a baby on your shoulder as you rock her to sleep.

My sister-in-law was always asking if it was too much for me to have her lying on me or if she was heavy in my arms. Heavy? Psh. Weight is no matter when my little Peanut needs to be rocked to sleep. I shooed her away and held Peanut as long as I possibly could.

Like Obi-wan says, there is no house so peaceful as the house of a newborn baby.

I don’t mind feeling the weight anymore. It reminds me to be calm, to be grateful, to be present. And that’s certainly Better Than the Alternative.

Now go out and run.

Better Than the Alternative Tuesdays: Repeat

Happy Tuesday! BTATs are set aside to remind us why it’s better to be here than the alternative (not being here). I definitely lose sight of this sometimes, especially in recent weeks, so today I’m reminding myself that even annoying things can be beneficial.

I don’t like to Repeat myself. To expend the energy to say something twice because someone wasn’t listening to me the first time drives me bananas. I’m working on it.

Evidently, I make this face when I'm annoyed, so says JB. This particular photo was taken at a race where there were only 7 POJs. Not ok. Totally annoyed.

Evidently, I make this face when I’m annoyed, so says JB. This particular photo was taken at a race where there were only 7 POJs. Not ok. Totally annoyed.

And there’s nothing more frustrating than having professors Repeat themselves day after day, slide after slide. I go crazy when I read the same magazine articles in the same magazine year after year, just with different pictures.

I mean, how many different ways can one person really “Get fit fast!”?

Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. (Images courtesy of Runner’s World)

But Repeats can be good for you. They can be beneficial. They can work in your favor when you least expect it.

Soldiers and doctors train to do the same things over and over again so that when it comes down to a split-second decision where someone’s life is at stake, there is no thought required. They react the way they were trained to react. Repeatedly trained.

As runners, we are also trained on Repeats. Mile Repeats. Hill Repeats. 800 Repeats. These Repeats make us stronger, faster, and fitter. They are hard and sometimes boring to do, but the benefit of these workouts is undeniable.

Brooklyn Bridge Repeats = Mile Repeats. BOOM!

Brooklyn Bridge Repeats = Mile Repeats. BOOM! (Image courtesy of MK Photography)

In school, some of my classes are on Repeat every semester so that when you come see me in the clinic (wink, wink), you can rest assured that I know every muscle, ligament, tendon, bone, and movement of your body. The benefit of this type of training is undeniable.

Ugh. Fine. I’ll go and do mile Repeats on the track after class. But I won’t like it. Good thing Birdie will be there to make sure I show.

As much as I hate it, doing things on Repeat is one of the best ways to train your body and your mind. And if putting workouts and classes on Repeat get me my PR and make me an awesome PT, it’s worth it.

Goal = Dr. Abby. Takes lots of Repeats.

Goal = Dr. Abby. Takes lots of Repeats.

What kind of Repeats do you do? Have you trained or studied for something that made you just bananas but ended up being the best way in the end? What’s your Tuesday workout? What makes today Better Than the Alternative for you? I’m heading out to the East River track. See you out there!

Now go out and run.

Be Your {Running} Self

Birdie and I were chatting a few weeks ago. Have I mentioned she’s wicked fast and WINS races? Yeah, she does.

Remember how I ran the 10K? She ran the 5K. Ahem, she WON the 5K.

Remember how I ran the 10K? She ran the 5K.

I was proud of my 10K, just 10 weeks after surgery. 47:19:00, 65th place, 6th place in my Division (Women 30-39 in the 10K), and 20th of the women overall. She won. She WON the race. And ran 19:58. I mean, really. She’s a rock star.

Anyway, she’s fast and I’m…respectable. She said I should go run at Thursday Night at the Races, an indoor track meet held on Thursday nights in NYC. Fast people run there. I’m a fast people groupie. And a running nerd.

I buy my 16 month old niece matching running shoes. Cuz that's how I roll.

I buy my 16 month old niece matching running shoes. Cuz that’s how I roll.

I was flattered, but declined to hold up the events by making people wait til I finish my 7:30 miles for 3 miles. Sounds fast, and I’m proud of my time!, but I know those girls are running 5 minute (or less!!!) miles.

Yikes!

This would be me always.

This would be me always.

I’m not the target runner for that venue. Nor am I anywhere near elite, sub-elite, whatever comes after sub-elite status. I’m a middle-of-the-road gal.

I don’t pretend to know how to be or be a lead-pack runner. I also don’t pretend to be a cool runner. I fully burst out into song when I see someone I know at a race. I cheer like a wild banshee for my runner friends when they truck on by. I probably embarrass some people, but I don’t care.

Oh yeah. I bring the cowbell & drums to cheer.

Oh yeah. Me and my friends bring the cowbell & drums to cheer.

And so I feel good about my races and times. I don’t compare myself to people I have no business comparing myself to. I don’t get mad that Birdie runs 3:10 marathons and my best is a 3:46. I don’t covet other runners’ 40 marathon medals in 4 years cuz my body would never tolerate that.

And let’s be real. No matter how many blowouts I get at The Dry Bar (why aren’t you making an appointment with them right now??), I am a curly girl.

Straight hair, sleek and pretty though it may be, is massively time-consuming. Wild child curls it is!

Straight hair, sleek and pretty though it may be, is massively time-consuming. Wild child curls it is!

When you know who you are, what your strengths are, all the amazing things you have to offer the {running} world and all your fabulous {running} friends, you can be happy for them instead of pining after their medals and times and brand ambassador opportunities.

It’s so much more fun to be happy for friends, isn’t it? Ugh. Jealousy is soooo time-consuming and lame. Be proud of your achievements, whatever they may be!

Now go out and run!