Starting and Momentum

When your car is blocking your van and won’t start, you have to push it out of the way. Such was our task the last week when we were wanting to head out to our designated cycling route for the day. After putting it in neutral, my husband and I had to rock it a couple times to get the car going. It felt a little daunting at first with the car barely budging but a little bit of rocking it, it began to move, then it moved a little more quickly as it gained momentum. At the same time, we were able to ease up a little on the effort. And as it came to it’s designated spot, the park gear was re-engaged to keep it in place.

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We got to go out riding 2 days in a row last weekend. We did a 53 km ride Saturday with a longish break for supper and a 60 km there and back ride with a couple 5 minute stops for photo taking. Sadly going through town on Sunday we hit a lot of red lights. It is just as annoying to have a red light riding a bike as it is when in a car. On the bike it means unclipping one shoe from the peddle and dismounting the bike while waiting for the light to change, then remounting the bike and pushing to get going again. It is more difficult to start than it is to keep going once you have momentum. Of course sometimes there are forced stops.

A couple weeks ago after I wrote about feeling like a pug running down the road, I was able to go out a few other days for runs and it started feeling less daunting. It took some momentum in going out a few times to make it feel more normal and in fact really good. Then I ended up doing some long walks instead and last week the number of walks also fell by the wayside with plans to ride bike and other things taking my minutes. So again, running is in park gear. I have not stopped doing things, just doing other things. Last week I played basketball again as well as playing wallyball and some walks and yesterday we rode our bikes 82 km with a nice Mother’s Day lunch at the 60 km mark. Tomorrow I ride again.

Last week I started this blog post and had some momentum, then suddenly a stop. Isn’t that the way with so many things in life? We finally get the gumption to get going and then ‘life happens’ and the project we just got going on stops and as we are moving in other ways that thing sits in park. There are times we think, “Yikes I haven’t worked on that for a while now; I need to get started” but starting is sometimes the hardest part. Sometimes the effort to roll back and forth to get the momentum going is is a little overwhelming and we shove it to the back of our mind for ‘another day’. We all know it happens but how do we mitigate it?

A couple things that have helped me are focus and grace. I am the first to admit I suffer from SOS (shiny object syndrome). “Oh look, a butterfly”, might be written on my tombstone. I have a million ideas going in my head and I love to start new projects. I love seeing things coming together but then…crickets. It gets to a certain spot of ‘almost there’ and I lose interest. I have had to work long and hard on focus. In fact just as I sat down with my tea to write today, I got a text from my husband to send him a file. Which of course wasn’t that simple for me, and it didn’t take 2 seconds. At any rate, I continue to finish this despite it being time to make supper and still having a load of clothes to hang on the line (4th today). And along with the SOS is this going off on a tangent thing. So….focus, I struggle with it. I have certain things on my vision board and writing is one of them so I have been pretty consistent posting on my blog. I have not been perfect. That holds true with my diet, exercise and the half million other things I have going on, and that my friends, is where grace comes in. I need to have grace with myself and realize I might get momentum for a time and then there will be a stop. If I have grace, I will not fear starting (and stopping) even though it is more difficult to start. If I have grace, it will be less difficult to start and get momentum.

And finally, I liken it to something someone said on a podcast I listened to a number of months back. I would tell you who said it but I can’t remember or even who hosted it, but it quite possibly was Gary V or someone in that circle. He said he looks at his businesses and the things that he takes care of as balls on his desk, some bigger, some smaller and every day he needs to move most of them just a little to ‘keep the ball rolling’. Some days we move one ball more. Yesterday when we did the long bike ride, other things like working in the yard ball didn’t move, but it did today and the bike ball didn’t. That’s how I like to look at the things I want to do and have to do (because those toilets don’t clean themselves you know); I get to have focus for a time, I get to have grace and ‘keeping the balls rolling’ is momentum.

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Sounds Good

Sometimes I feel like a pug running down the road. Usually it’s when I am running down the road…pretty much literally, feeling that feeling of bulluppp, bulllupppp, bullllyyyppp, bulllluppp…and the wheezing and gasping that comes 500 metres into the trip. Is it any wonder it takes me forever to talk myself into running. Every few months I get motivated to go out for a run, remembering how good I felt after the run, how good I felt to say I went for a run, how good I felt thinking ‘I am a runner’, all the while forgetting how it actually feels while I run…like I am an old pug. No disparity toward pugs; they are adorable, loving and great companions, but along with the doggy gifts they have, they come with some doggy shortcomings as well, and not just short legs. Anywhoo…  Sometimes I feel like I am dealing with those same shortcomings both literally as well as figuratively, in many areas of life.

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This is Fendi (@fendipug on insta), my friend Crystal’s sweet pug. She is young, so running isn’t as hard for her as it is for me.

So last week having done a lot of steps through the week, going for my first bike ride of the season and being in a challenge I didn’t want to just give up on… AND having a busy and somewhat stressful day ahead of me on Friday, I mustered up the mental fortitude to hit the pavement jogging rather than walking. I have always maintained I prefer running over walking because it takes way less time to go the same distance. I didn’t have much time so it seemed a logical choice at the time. After some debate and a couple shiny objects delaying the start, I set out. Five hundred metres down the road, that puggy feeling hit me and I remembered why I hadn’t run in almost two months. I start feeling better at the one km mark and started to think…hmmm, while I am already out here I should go a bit further than 2 km. I have learned to not listen to THAT voice as often, so I did my 2 km and walked a little.

With the run and subsequent shower behind me, I was on top of the world as I set out for the day. I had good energy and felt wonderful and wondered at my lack of motivation to go out to run all the time. That’s when I remembered how I felt running and at which point I pretty much wrote this whole post in my head. I love the idea of running, I love how I feel after running, I love telling people I ran, I love how I feel telling people I ran haha. BUT I don’t really love running, at least not the beginning of the run. Funny, the sermon this weekend was about this very thing; how we love the idea of something but the follow through is not the dream we were dreaming.

There are a lot of other things in life where metaphorically I feel like a pug. Pretty much any new venture is like that. I think it’s a great idea and start out, only to find I am struggling with it, maybe physically I am not so coordinated, mentally not as coordinated (can’t remember the terminology, the words, what I just read or heard) and feeling like I am out of place doing things in a world where everyone else seems coordinated. And then there is that breathing thing. It sometimes feels like I can’t catch my breath as I am trying to learn a whole bunch at once, or like I am drowning in information and don’t know where to go next. That feeling of needing to take a deep breath but getting hit again with a detail I have overlooked. Wanting to just breathe normally but feeling like I need to keep running.

Then it happens, things settle, I know more, I am more comfortable in the journey, and my breathing slows. When I have reached the milestone of the task I struggled with, I feel great. I can say I ran, I can share the experience and it feels good to say, ‘I did it’. And whereas I liked the idea before doing it, not knowing the struggle, I like the feeling of accomplishment after even more…because…I did it despite the struggle. I did it.

I went out for a run today again. It still took some convincing for me to go, but today I did remember how good I felt Friday. I ran about two km again. Then I walked another four so had some extra time to listen to the podcasts I downloaded. The run was a little easier today than Friday, possibly the bike ride this weekend also helped, probably because I ran Friday, and probably because I had a better mindset going out.

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After my run, wearing my cycling jersey and earbuds. 

Sometimes things sound good, they sound like fun but when we are doing them they might not be so much fun. I talk a lot about cycling and how much I love it, and I do, but there are a lot of times, it doesn’t feel like fun in the moment. There are a lot of times it is a struggle, or it just isn’t feeling fun, times when my husband or I will ask one another, ‘Are we having fun yet?’ but we keep going or we start again. The reality is, the big things we do, the things that make us feel like we accomplished something, the things that make our world better, the journeys we take to learn things, to do things, to experience things are not always rainbows and butterflies but without those pug moments, without the bumps in the road and without the rain, the rainbows and butterflies at the end would not be such a blessing. So, I will continue to embrace my inner pug in sports and other life experiences, to experience life more fully through those moments and enjoy the rainbow and butterfly times even more.

 

 

Just Move

A couple weeks ago I heard a story: A farmer and his wife were retiring for the day after a satisfying day of work. As the farmer was falling asleep he heard a sound just outside the window. Alerted awake, the farmer listened intently. Sure enough he heard it again; the dog outside the window on the porch moaned. “Did you hear that?”, he asked his wife. “Yes”. Then there was a small whimper. They listened a little longer and there was a tiny whine from the dog. The farmer got up, put on his robe and went to check on the dog. A few moments later the farmer returned. “Is the dog okay?” the wife inquired. “Yes” was the reply. “What was wrong?”, she queried. “He was lying on a nail” the farmer responded. “Well why didn’t he move” the wife asked? “I don’t know; I guess he was comfortable”.

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Ohhh…I have been guilty of that. I can’t even claim that it was when I was young and less experienced in life. How often do we whine, moan, and/or complain about something in life but when it comes to making a change, we don’t because we are comfortable.

Change isn’t comfortable; it can be downright uncomfortable. It is easier sometimes to stay on the nail, whine and moan, complain to whoever will listen, probably feel sorry for oneself, rather than to do something that has an unclear outcome.

It’s not even just the big things, like when feeling trapped in a job. Some of the most common areas of comfort and complaint are not complicated to change. How often do people complain about being overweight, then reach for seconds or snacks? How about those who say, “I need to exercise” but then say “I just don’t like to be sore”, or “I don’t like the feeling of being breathless” or “I would love to ride my bike but I don’t want a sore butt”? Maybe those things aren’t for you. Maybe your nail isn’t very sharp. Perhaps yor pain point isn’t to the level of wanting to change. If you are complaining, whining, moaning about your situation, perhaps it’s a sign.

You are not a tree, just move!  If taking a leap of faith isn’t the solution, then taking one small step on firm ground is. Not every step will look the same but we must be willing to take the step.

At the beginning of the year we were looking at little to no vacation time. In January we went to a vision board workshop and made vision boards. One of the items on our boards is cycling/cycling trip. To continue our trip across Canada we would need 3 weeks worth of time to make the trek to Sault St. Marie to begin and to ride for a couple weeks and return. We have not been able to continue our trip for various reasons over the last couple years and this year is no different. About a month ago, my husband informed me he has a bit of vacation time. Being obsessed with doing a little riding, I considered some options. One of the things I have been planning after finishing our cross Canada trip, is to go to Vancouver Island to cycle. So, because of the vision board, because of thinking outside the box and because of past thoughts, an idea was born. Then I talked to a few people about it. We like to have a support vehicle. Our daughter called one day and said her friend would like to go with us and if we go at a specific time she could be our support. So a date and support vehicle were set, and in a couple of months a cycling tour should happen (barring emergency/tragedy situations). I am pretty pumped and looking forward to begin training (cycling) as soon as the weather permits. Small steps…goal in sight.

What do you do when moving seems impossible? That’s when thinking outside the box comes in. That’s when you pull out all the crafty supplies and magazines and make a vision board. That’s when you start talking with others about what you want to do (accountability and collaboration) and over time, the path you are on changes. A small shift in what you do daily will make a big shift in where you end up.

 

 

Change

The only constant in life is change. Each year a couple months after New Years I have another opportunity to reflect on my life. In reality, I don’t wait for a special occasion but you know…sometimes a birthday makes one think on the past year and reflect on the ramifications of getting older. Don’t get me wrong, getting older is better than the alternative. Despite the rolling over of the calendar however, one doesn’t need to become laden with the foreboding feeling of the years passing by as many do. Some people are known to mourn the loss of a previous decade or worry about entering a new decade…that’s so not me. Maybe it’s because I don’t always act my age.

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What is acting your age? Age is such a specific number that has such variable meanings on people’s bodies and minds. There is no denying as we grow older our body does age and the reality is we won’t be getting out alive. The changes we experience are created by variances in each individual. Much of the changes are can be modified by how we think and what we do.

Having read Spark by John J Ratey MD, and Fast After 50 by Joel Friel I have realized there is science behind the idea of our bodies not aging to the extent we may believe. I am inspired by those athletes in their 70’s, 80’s and 90’s who push the limits of societal markers for age, who are dispelling myths of how one imagines those ages to look (or who have seen it first hand in themselves or others) and who are breaking down barriers in what is ‘deemed’ physically possible by society. Sadly most people look at those inspirational people and believe them to be anomalies in physicality and don’t recognize the anomaly is actually in their mindset: what they are willing to accept (or not) and what they are willing to do to that end.

Whether you think you can or think you can't, you are right.

Barring illness and injury, we can apply this to so many aspects of our life while we age with only a sprinkle of realism. Let’s face it, realism will pop up it’s ugly head without our help, so don’t entertain it more than a sprinkle at a time and only for health and safety reasons. Whether you think you are too old for something, or think you aren’t, you’re right!

I have decided to do monthly theme’s for my blog posts and thus my personal growth, because when you have a word of the year, or word of the month, you will think of it, it will pop up in conversation, you will question it, you will notice it and you will work on all those things to grow. So for me this month’s theme is change and the next few blog posts will focus on change. I am getting this post out a little late in the week but want to continue to push toward consistency. It is International Women’s Day today, so a shout out to all the women who push the boundaries of expectation and age in all things they do.

For all those reading, I want you to journey with me this month in thinking about change. In this post I talked about what we can physically do in a broad sense. Are you doing all you can or are you using age as a reason not to? Are you sure you can’t do something? Yes I realize we don’t want to do some things; is not doing what you don’t want to do, serving you? Is there something (a way to get your heart pumping, get more steps, move your body) that you prefer over others? Are you willing to entertain finding something you will like (or tolerate) to start? We all struggle with the barriers in our minds; questioning our thoughts is a huge step in breaking away the barriers sometimes a pebble at a time.

As spring is approaching I hope you are encouraged by the promise of new beginnings, continued growth and increased abundance. Have a great rest of your week.

Dawn

 

Making Tracks Toward the End Goal

Last week a friend invited me to go walking with her in a sports facility near home. She was going and desired some company so we made arrangements. Making tracks is so much easier when distracted by good conversation. We walked for about an hour and 45 minutes (over 11 km) around the track. That’s a lot of talking and walking. It was a great substitute for my running efforts that were foiled by the cold weather the last week. It looks like we will have really cold weather again this week and finally warming next weekend, so my plan now is to go to the track on Tuesday again and this time walk and run and get on the spin bike, then next Sunday I will run outdoors when it is nicer.

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Making tracks which I am doing in snow right now but dreaming of making them in sand.

My efforts to go out and run on Sundays and Tuesday is my way to increase my days of exercise. I currently have hiphop dance on Monday evenings so that gets me moving. Wednesday’s bootcamp is a mix but is mostly strength work, and sometimes I sub for wallyball in the evening for 2 hours of play time (I will be doing that this week). Thursdays I play wallyball for an hour and half in the morning, and basketball in the evening for more than an hour depending on how many show up. Fridays has me cleaning house and other chores that often involve movement by not cardio or strength. Saturdays I rest for the most part but I have gone for runs or bike rides on occasion (but not recently).

I haven’t gone snowboarding this season and completely missed last season. The last 2 weeks we got a lot of snow so as the weather warms my desire to hit the slopes will increase. I was thinking a lot of it today. Last year, time got away and there wasn’t much snow; conditions seem better. I feel an urge to get a couple days in as my goal in learning to snowboard at a later age than most people, was to one day be able to go snowboarding with my grandkids. That will be when they are between 4 to 8 years old, because after that they will be so much better than me. Still it is something to keep me motivated by having something to work toward.

I am really pushing toward getting my cycling legs in shape. With the hold on our cross Canada tour, I have been a little less motivated to train hard on the bike. In fact the last couple summers I haven’t got on my bike as much as I would if we were going on a trip. This spring I will push myself to hit the road on my bike as soon as possible. It is in the spring that my running takes a back seat when I get on my bike seat and head down the road.

The last couple of years I have done less than I previously was. Don’t get me wrong, I still do (was doing) more than many people but some things have fallen by the wayside. I am feeling better now and will work toward getting my strength and activities up again. With good training and nutrition (and thankfully few injuries and joint issues), my increasing age should be a small influence on my activities. So I go into the next 11 months of 2018 with much hope and anticipation. What gives you hope and anticipation?