Tuesday, September 10, 2013

My Shadow

It doesn't take long before it begins.  

I am on my early morning run.  It is hovering just over 80 degrees, heavy on the humidity.  My legs feel strong.  My shoulders are loose.  I take deep, even breaths. As I take off down my street I almost feel like I do in my reoccurring dream, lightening fast, strong, ready to fly.  

I settle into my music and the clutter filling up my day falls away.  I watch two squirrels running across the road, fighting as they go.  A cardinal dashes by me and I dodge a wasp heading right for my leg. I watch the construction crew working on the house down the street, and the man watering his lawn, and the dog who watches me.

I check my pace at the mile marker and I'm impressed.  Faster than I normally go.  And in this heat. Nice.

Then it begins.  "You're running much faster. You are going to tire sooner. You are probably getting tired already. You are not built for speed. You're going to have to walk soon. See how hard you are puffing now?" My brain is working overtime to get my body to stop.  

I spot my negative trend and try to turn it around. I even out my breathing again and make sure to keep the same pace I had on the first mile. I tune back into my music and run on. 

"Brave" comes on my iPod and I feel my pace quicken even more. I think about how I want my children be brave. Attack life head on with wild abandon. Live without fears holding them back. Put everything they've got into what they want. I want that for them. And for me.

"The wind is really picking up now. That always wears you out. This is a big hill coming up, maybe after that you'll have to walk.  You haven't had enough water for this heat and you don't want to get a migraine." My brain warns.

I physically shake my head to snap these negatives loose. Why is it that I can be everyone else's cheerleader but my own?

I feel myself begin to tire.  I feel sluggish.  Knowing my brain is winning this battle I run through my checklist.  

My legs still feel strong. My shoulders are loose. My breathing is even. My back feels good. I'm okay. I can do this. 

"You're not tired. You're doing great! You are getting stronger. You can do this!" I chant to myself.

Before my brain can interrupt I catch my shadow out of the corner of my eye. 

"Is that me?" my brain asks. "Is that what I look like?" 

My shadow doesn't look tired. My shadow looks strong. My shadow looks powerful. My shadow looks brave. My shadow looks fast and free. My shadow looks like me.  

I put my head down and barrel through. I can do it. Faster and longer than I have before.

I get out of my head, turn off my brain, and just go.

I can be brave too.


Peruby said...

LOL! My bleary eyes this morning read the end as "I get out of my bed...." and I thought it had all been a dream. (grin).

You go girl! Beat down that negativity.

Kat said...

Peruby- I definitely didn't want to get out of bed this morning so that would have made sense too. ;)

Dawn said...

I loved reading this. I can understand it well and relate. I have been struggling with an injured foot the past couple of months and haven't been able to run very much. This post makes me want to try again.

Kat said...

Dawn- Injuries make it even harder to get the negatives out of your head, don't they? Because they are valid and we don't want to injure ourselves further. Running is such a mental sport. That's why I love it, and yet that is the hardest part about it. Hope your foot feels better soon!

Riahli said...

Awwwww, you made me cry. I know all too well about being a cheerleader for everyone but myself. Instead I am so often my own worst enemy. Sigh. I love your posts. :)

Kat said...

Riahli- I just recently signed up for my first yoga class in about 15 years. I've been wanting to do yoga FOREVER and I finally am starting. My first class was right after this run and the instructor was going through the relaxation at the end and she said, "this is a gift to yourself" and I swear I almost started crying. Isn't it weird how hard we are on ourselves and how little we give ourselves sometimes? Crazy.

Krystyn @ Really, Are You Serious? said...

I love this!

I have the hardest time "shutting" my brain down and being my own cheerleader....and you totally found yours in your shadow! Amazing.

Charmaine said...

hey Kat :) good job all round ... i really enjoyed this post ... u go be Brave :)

fsmum said...

I would love to run but I am too lazy and so is my shadow! I practice yoga too since 2010 and that is something that keeps me sane and reasonably flexible, if not fit. It's the only thing me and my shadow have ever stuck at!

Verna Lantz said...

Wow! You are such an inspiration. I think it is very brave to be running. I exercise daily, but the elusive running, nope. Maybe someday I will master it. :D

Elaine Alguire said...

Oh gosh, I do the exact same thing! I also take inventory of how I am feeling and do my best to stay positive! You CAN do it! WONDERFUL post, my friend!!

lime said...

ah, the gift that shadow gave!

Words To Live By

Be grateful for each new day.
A new day that you have never lived before.
Twenty-four new, fresh, unexplored hours to use usefully and profitably.
We can squander, neglect, or use them.
Life will be richer or poorer by the way we use today.
Finish every day and be done with it.
You have done what you could;
some blunders and absurdities crept in;
forget them as soon as you can.
Tomorrow is a new day.
You shall begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be
encumbered with your old nonsense.

-Ralph Waldo Emerson