Inspiration comes in many forms. This morning, mine came in the form of a dog that desperately wanted to fly. I’ll get to the specifics on that in a little while, so please indulge me by first reading the back story:
As much as I sometimes yearn for a sedentary lifestyle, raising four sons kind of demands certain level of engagement, which does not allow for inactivity. In addition to the day-to-day activities, my BFF Julie and I do a brisk 3 mile walk, several days each week, under the guise of keeping in shape. The walks are really just an excuse for a Girly Gab Fest–the fact that we actually get in a little exercise is purely coincidental. We
are very dedicated try to squeeze in a walk whenever possible, but sometimes it is a challenge to make the time. I’d be lying if I said that we never skipped the walk so that we could get a little more sleep in the morning. Don’t judge. Sleep is a hot commodity in my world.
Our quick pace works for us because neither one of us is a Runner. In fact, we are both very much Not-Runners. Living in an area populated by crazy-fit-Ironman-triathletes, it is our Not-Runner status that bonds us together.
I Run When Being Chased is kind of a mantra of mine.
So a few weeks ago, I sent Julie a text wondering if she could walk the following morning. She replied “Hey! How about we start doing the Couch to 5K?” Wait. What?! Being that we have both pretty much dedicated our lives to being Not-Runners, my reply was Obvious:
Who are You? And what have you done with Julie?!
Of course I called her to verify her true identity. I was full-on ready to alert her husband to be on the lookout for a Julie-Pod hidden in their closet, if need be. (Sci-Fi Geeks–name that movie.) I think my exact words were something along the lines of “Are you out of your mind?!” She laughed, and told me that she was thinking about learning how to run, and thought it would be fun to do together. I would have told her that she was nuts and didn’t know me at all, but she followed with the statement “Besides, then we can actually run in the Run for Hungry Children in September.”
Argh! She had me, and she knew it! How could I not run for hungry children?
Me and all my skepticism ran with Julie the next morning. And you know what? It wasn’t horrible. Julie kept track of the time, and we chatted non-stop so I couldn’t concentrate much on the fact that I was running or think about how much I hated it. A victory for sure. We’ve been following the C25K plan for a few weeks and I must say that it’s not bad at all. I feel reasonable when we are done, and I am anxious for the next session. Weird.
I definitely couldn’t run without someone to talk to and keep me accountable, which is precisely why I panicked when my alarm didn’t go off this morning, and I missed the meet-up with Julie. (Lost power last night.) She went ahead and did the run, which left me with two options: 1) skip it and go back to bed or 2) do the run myself.
I decided to suck it up, and try the run solo. I’d be lying if I told you that I wasn’t obsessing about my dorky stride, or trying not to obsess about the seconds passing until I could stop, or feeling sure that death was upon me at a few points. Because Un-Motivating Me was definitely present on that run. Then I remembered the sweetest dog at the Ultimate Air Dogs show during Cherry Fest. (See? Told you I’d get to the flying dog.)
Ultimate Air Dogs is a nationwide competition/show in which dogs are measured by how far they can “fly.” The dog starts at the back of a long platform, and runs after a toy that their owner tosses out into the pool.
The jump is then measured for distance, with the dog flying the greatest distance being the winner. Some of the champion dogs can fly a distance of more than 45 feet! Very entertaining to watch.
This sweet pupper was new to flying. He really wanted his toy, but he wasn’t so sure that he wanted to hop in the pool like the other dogs did.
He wanted the toy, but his fear was holding him back. His mind was getting in the way.
Pupper-Momma could sense his reluctance, so she hopped in the pool to let him know that he was safe. She was there for him.
Pupper-Daddy came to lend his support, too, and still the sweet pup wasn’t sure. For the pup, it was as if he felt better that he wasn’t alone, but he still had to overcome his mental block regarding the task at hand. He probably knew that he could jump into the pool if he wanted. He definitely had his eye on the prize–his toy bobbing in the water. He just didn’t want to leap into the pool like the other dogs.
The pup paused a moment to steady himself, and looked to the side at the crowd that was cheering uproariously for him. It was then that the pup noticed the ramp leading into/out of the pool that the dogs use to climb out. He quickly seized the opportunity to take the alternate route into the pool. Just look at Pupper-Momma’s surprise at his method!
In the end, the pup got into the pool on his own terms, and the end result was the same. He got wet, fetched his toy, and happily swam a few laps with it as if to prove his point. He did it His Way. And it all worked out fine.
So as I was running alone in 90 degree heat with seemingly 600% humidity, I shifted my focus from the self-deprecating thoughts of quitting and failure that were swirling around in my head, and gleaned inspiration from the Pup that Wanted to Fly.
Un-Motivating Me was not going to win today.
Instead, I focused on that sweet pup that kept his eye-on-the-prize and achieved his goal–not in the way everyone else did, but on his own terms. I finished my run in all of my sweaty, dorky-strided glory. I didn’t run the way most Runners do, but the end result was the same. I Ran.