Run. Run far. Run fast. Run hard. Run until you fall and then get back up and Run. Let your legs burn, your chest burn, your side ache and your feet hurt. Let your heart quit and your brain curse you. But Run. Run.

What is your passion? I mean, really. What gets your heart pounding, blood flowing, brain racing and sets your spirit on fire? What would you go after, so hard, that pain is ok and quitting becomes an impossibility?

There is much to this world and to the people in this world. There are things to love and show passion for everywhere I turn. But figuring out how to direct a passion in the proper way is tricky. Passion itself is tricky. Like…define passion. We have the loving, supportive passion. And then we have the destructive, tear it down and change it passion. Both scary, awe bringing things when understood and directed appropriatly. Yet when we are talking about passion, define appropriate…and so it goes.

As I examine myself, in hopes of personal growth and gaining a better ability as a human being to better this world, I find myself looking at other peoples passion as a way to learn. It blows my mind, all the beautiful and crazy passions there are coming from the amazing people on this Earth. I do believe all passions are needed, and that is part of there beauty. We are all equipped differently, and as such, have different passions and ability’s to contribute….

It’s beautiful and innocent to me when I see people fighting to save the animals and the trees. It’s beautiful because these things matter! How can we as human beings, with the power and strength we have over all other species on Earth actively destroy pieces of our amazing world? We should be protecting this world, nurturing this planet. Saving the Rainforest should be a no brainier. Taking care of the animals IS our job. I have a very loving soft spot in my heart for the people in this world who can, and do, fight for these things to be taking care of as they should be cared for by us humans. I can not, however, put my passion there. I am not innocent enough to do it. I wonder if I ever was…maybe once. But I see so much ugly. So many hurts and wrongs that are being inflicted on humans, by humans. Something in my head and heart feels guilt when saying, “Save the Animals!” with my attention and resource. Not because I think we shouldn’t save the animals and protect nature. But because Human Trafficking is real. Child abuse is REAL! Real, live human beings around the world starve to death. An embarrassing number of people have no access to clean drinking water. Moms are faced with the reality of choosing which of her children will live and who will die, not because she wants to ever make that choice!!!, but because she has no resources to take care of her sick child. Uhg! I just can’t really let myself think too hard on all these ugly things. It’s overwhelmingly painful. But it is truth. I can spend 5 minutes looking at all the different coffee creamers at HEB, imagining how each might taste in my coffee, choosing one based on my mood or whimsical desire. And more often then not, going with whatever is on sale. Someone else just spent three times that long walking with a jug for water…. water that looks dirty and I’d be hard pressed to even drink. Its so wrong…….I feel sad that I can’t afford to send my children to better schools or put them in the best soccer club. But my children have so much…when they get sick, they are taken care of. When they are hungry, they eat. Many parents can not give these things to their children…the money spent on all the frivolous desires is embarrassing for me to take in when I think about this. Yet I know that enjoyment is good. I enjoy many many things, and I take pleasure in seeing my children enjoying what I provide them. Such is the battle line in my heart. Its a double edged sword that I live my life on, and a sword I am learning that most people do not understand. Am I a hypocrite for buying coffee creamer and Greek yogurt instead of putting all the money I can into water wells in Africa? Is it wrong for me to ever eat at a nice restaurant when I am fully aware of the need others have for any food at all? Sometimes I think it is. But I still want to enjoy things and live in this amazing, privileged piece of the world that I live in, in this time that I do live in. There has to be a way!

I am still searching for my way. I want to live a life that is giving and caring of others. I want to give my children everything I can (including discipline, respect for others and appreciation, mind you!). I want to enjoy and appreciate all I have. I want to appreciate others and give to other people’s lives as well.

My biggest pet peeve has always been close-minded, judgmental people. But it wasn’t until very recently that I began to understand why. It comes from my own very deep desire to be understood. I know I don’t “add up” in a liner way. But if you follow the right order of operations, I make perfect sense. The thing is, many people do not want to take the time to understand the multiplication and parentheses needed to “add” me up.  And I have got to say, that is ok!! We only have so much time in life. Sometimes it is wise to give others space. Some folks are not going to mix well with other folks. Does that mean we can dismiss, judge or say f you to folks we do not mix with? No!!!!! When anyone throws out labels, creates a motive for anothers action or dismisses another person out of their own ignorance I get mad. Agree to disagree, but there is no need to start judging or to be mean. Maybe this is a complicated thing…???? I, for one, have a hard time throwing out ugly words or thoughts towards someone who I don’t know. Like, the lady yelling at the checkout girl at the grocery store? Seems pretty mean to me, but I have no clue as to what is going on in her life. Maybe I’d yell too if my best friend just died, I found out a loved one has cancer or any number of painful things!!!!! I mean, it just isn’t my place to say or even think a mean thing about anyone else when I am only me and can’t possibility have all the information needed to put meanness out on another being. That’s not to say I think it’s ok to yell at the checkout person, ever…Maybe this is complicated, ha! I just wish people would be nicer to each other and I honestly do not understand why we are not nicer and helpful and more grateful, as the rule.

And I could keep going. In circles. I WANT TO BE NICER TOO!!!…..

Instead, I move on.

I move on to an idea. What if more of us tried to live our passion??? Not another’s, but OURS!!?!????!!!?????

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Arkansas Traveler 2015

The Arkansas Traveler is a mostly rutty-type jeep road 100 miler with 7 or so miles of spectacular single track trail early on, and around 1200 ft of elevation gain. This isn’t one of the “hard” 100s but it’s no Rocky Raccoon either (and I don’t think RR100 is quite as “easy” as it’s reputation, just FYI). I came to run this race this year because my husband planned to run it and I thought it looked fun, so why not?…

The why not’s:

I’ve spent the last few months training on faster, flatter terrain. Like a track. And the treadmill.

I currently have no trail shoes to run LOOONNGG in.

A few weeks ago I injured a muscle deep in my lower abdomen. As a result, I spent the last 2 weeks doing nothing, not even one vinyasa, in hopes of avoiding an MRI and a potentially more aggressive approach (like surgery) to “fix” my hurt muscle.

When it came down to it, I knew I could start this race (my ab felt good!) but I was not sure how far I would go. I knew I had to be willing to drop to avoid possibly worsening a pull and creating a tear to my abs. I was so thrilled that 2 weeks off had good results that I in no way wanted a 6 week lay off, and I knew that any miles would be a happy thing if I could run uninjured.

I also knew my lack of footwear could be an issue, though I wasn’t too worried about that. What I did was stick insoles into my Sketchers (I normally run without the insoles that they come with). The Sketchers I have are so perfect on roads and flatter trails but my foot moves around a bit too much on rocky hills. I need to get me a trail shoe for some things. 😦 In hindsight, I would have worn different shoes! Ouch toes and that meshy upper I love so much was no bueno on the Rocky type bigger hills.

Still, the biggest goal of all for me was to avoid a real injury that would take more then a few weeks to recover from. I’m hoping to run a fast 100 in December. The December race takes priority for me, so I was willing to view this race as training and hoping I would get to mile 60 before I had to push into the “bad zone” where your muscle just rebel. This did not happen.

Somewhere around mile 17 my legs started to feel crampy and yuck like they do later in 100s or when I’m reaching the end of shorter fast races. I wasn’t running hard ever and my heart rate was low. I also had a headache (though I thought that might be due to some insect that stung me in the head around mile 12. Ha! Funny, but it even bumped up and stung bad. First bug bite in a race for me.) I thought I had my nutrition right so I was confused as to why I would feel kinda blah so early on. A few miles later I noticed my hands were hurting. I looked at my right hand and it was supper puffy! My fingers from my knuckle to my nail were white. This creeped me out a bit. Soon after, I had to stop and pee. I suspected I was low on electrolytes. At the next aid, I ate a pickle, took extra electrolyte tabs and refiled my bottle with Gatorade. I had been taking electrolytes, but I was thinking I needed more. I also grabbed 2 GUs (yay salted caramel!!!!!)  At this point, I stated walking more hoping my legs would feel better soon.

All told, it only got worst. 😦 I kept taking in more electrolytes then normal with nothing getting better. Around mile 30 my head began to ache bad bad, and my ears were ringing off and on. When I started tripping every few steps, I knew I was done.

Could I have walked it in and finished? Likely, though not assuredly. My main thought was that I would end up with a new injury if I continued. I also began wondering if my abs might actually have something to do with my legs, though I think  more likely not. The only times I felt my (hopefully old) injury was when I tripped after mile 40.

Right now, my legs are mostly trashed but I think I’m fine. I so much enjoyed getting in a nice long run. I so much enjoyed meeting many trail runners from many states. I enjoyed the little running time I had with old friends and my hubby. I very much appreciate Mr. Crownover’s  words to me, both in asking thoughts and advise and in giving thoughts and advice…Mediocrity is something to be pondered for me. I also purposefuly wore a tank that said “live in the moment”. This was such a beautiful thing for me, having a constant reminder to stay present. This reminder helped me take honest inventory of my body and mind. It helped me stay positive and not let the beauty of the moment I was in escape me, even though there was pain too and a little frustration and disappointment. Over all, I wouldn’t trade the day I had for anything other then the day I had.

Now, after a burger and fries and a SHOWER!!!, I’m going to head back to the finish line to see Scott finish. GO SCOTT GO!!!!!!!!! 🙂