Pre-Judgement, Double Standards and other life lessons learned….I am enough

So, the older I become the less tolerance I have for ideals that do not make any sense to me. Often, unfortunately, for those who know me well – I am not very good at NOT expressing my displeasure. Even if I wanted to withhold my opinion, my facial features are very telling and I give my thoughts or feelings away by the look on my face. Hence the reason I do not play poker!

As a younger woman, for oh, I don’t know……the first 25 years of my life, after the age of 5 when most of us learn how to truly express our pleasure or displeasure about life circumstances – I was pretty much a people pleaser aka a doormat. Oh yes!! Believe it or not, that was me! Since the age of 30 though, a metamorphosis has been taking place and now that I am pushing my mid-40’s, my tolerance level for things like double standards and judgment based on ignorance is slim to none.

In my running journey there have been many who have stated that they just don’t understand the “need” or the desire I have to run. Which is fine. Please, tell me you do not understand and I will do my very best to help you gain some understanding. That’s just the kind of person I am. I WANT to help others gain understanding. The problem lies in those who state that they simply don’t understand, then go on to say ignorant things like – it’s dangerous, it’s bad for your body, it doesn’t make any sense…..etc.

As for dangerous – let us compare running outside to driving a motorcycle shall we? Consider the statistic that most fatal auto accidents occur within .25 or 1/4 of a mile from your home. Do we hear this about running. Not last I checked. How about comparing running to another form of exercise I hold dear – road cycling. That is, riding an 18 lb bicycle on the side of a paved road while distracted and often irritated and harried motorists “drive”, supposedly sharing the same road w/those of us on 2 wheels. Hmmm….Sounds pretty dangerous to me! Do we have this level of danger whilst running the trails? Uh…NO! Yes, we must share the trail w/scared deer, fellow runners and even a few stray mountain bike riders but have you ever heard of a catastrophic meeting with any combination of those? I haven’t!

Okay, alright, let us deal with the idea that running the trails is somehow bad for our bodies. I suggest you talk to my chiropractor who gave me the go-ahead to run AND informed me that running the trails is good for you and better, easier on the body and healthier than running on the street. Is it bad for my body to run 20 miles, while eating various (healthy) food types substances? Unhealthy for my body that I drink bottle after bottle of hydration fluid while running the trails? Oh….I KNOW, it’s unhealthy because of all the work done on my muscles from all the variable terrain out there on the trails….right?!

Granted, I will give you that preparing my body to run 100 miles is a bit time consuming at times. It is certainly not an easy task by far! Guess what?! That is EXACTLY the reason why I love it! It is precisely one of the reasons I signed up to complete this 100 mile adventure. It will NOT be easy. It WILL test my very limits – physically, emotionally and spiritually and you know what…those are the reasons why I WILL do this event. The reason I WANT to complete the training leading up to this event is so I can find out…HOW FAR can I go?!

I have lived my life for the most part, according to some set of jacked up rules and regulations and expectations that others have set for me and I have fallen into the habit of trying to live up to those expectations. No, I am not the same person I was 20 years ago. No I am not the same one I was even 10 years ago. We grow. We learn and we continue to move on, changing as we grow. I REFUSE to believe for one moment longer that I am not enough. I refuse to suffer in silence while others determine what it is I am supposed to do/be/think/feel. I am ENOUGH!

No, I am not the perfect: wife/mother/student/teacher/athlete/runner/learner/friend and any other labels one would like to stick me with. Guess what….That is ALRIGHT! God did not make any of us perfect and as long as I still TRY to do what is right, just, fair and true to the standards I have set for myself – I am enough…….I will do what I have always done – persevere and continue to fight for another day. Only now, I am responsible to setting an example for THREE little girls too. I must teach them that they too are ENOUGH. Perfection and submission are not necessary requirements to be loved for who YOU are…

Until next time…


Expectation and lessons learned….a bit of a rant

First off, let me say Hi! How are you? And, of course, thanks for reading my blog! I really wanted to type this one up yesterday to get it off my chest but decided to sleep on it to see if I could simply let it be. Unusual for me since I am generally quick to let folks know how I am feeling, either intentionally or simply by virtue of the fact that my facial expressions speak volumes about my state of mind! πŸ™‚

An important lesson I have learned over the course of the last several years and especially in the last few months since beginning the training for my 100 mile race in December (Brazos Bend 100!!), is to minimize my own expectations of events and of people. Once we have set a specific expectation (usually loftier than should be allowed!) we have also set ourselves up to feel a certain kind of way when all things do not go as planned. I know, I know – control what you can and let go of what is out of your control. Easier said than done for someone like me who plans, almost everything.

Allow me to tell you what occurred and you be the judge. I have been cycling and running for the last 5 years with various groups in our local community. Initially, the cycling was done primarily to prepare for various triathlons but I quickly realized that swimming is not in my realm of successful sports and since my last triathlon a couple years ago I have stuck to cycling and running. Do what you are good at right? So, yesterday we join the three local cycling groups for a combined ride. There are riders of various abilities and, in my experience, there has always been the expectation that nobody will be left behind.

Men, and fellow cyclists like Bill C, David R, JC and numerous others, have all taken their turns at bringing up the rear of a group of cyclists to ensure that everyone makes it back to the starting point safely and without getting lost somewhere in the middle. It is with this expectation that I feel comfortable going out on these rides. You see, I am fast on the bike, (in spurts) but I am usually chasing the wheel of one person or another in front of me and I often don’t remember exactly where to turn on a given route. Geographically challenged- I am.

The group yesterday wound up being split up because there was a group that wanted to go further than the 25 miles and it just so happened that I was in that group that wanted to go further. Unfortunately, there was really only one or two people out of 8 who knew the route from start to finish. This was fine initially because we were all within a half mile of each other. Then, something happened – I waited on another rider who was behind me – and dropped my chain as I was shifting. It’s really only a matter of jumping off the bike and readjusting the chain, putting it back on the sprocket, then jumping back on and starting back up.

From this moment on, I could not see the group ahead of us. Okay. Alright. I told myself that they would surely be waiting at the next intersection……Nope. Nobody there either. It’s okay, I bet they just kept going slowly so as to keep the legs from getting cold. Next intersection – they will be waiting there for sure. Again, we arrived at the next intersection to find….nobody waiting. I truly only had a general idea of where we were by now and I was fuming. I actually stopped, took out my trusty Iphone and looked at the GPS to get a handle on where we were going to wind up. I was absolutely furious!!

You see, whether I am riding or running the trails with others, I make sure that the people I am with either know the route or I stay with them until they are comfortable with their surroundings. If there is a chance that they are struggling – they do NOT get left behind – EVER. I have walked the last 3 miles back to the trail head with a friend who was just having an off day and couldn’t muster the energy to run. I have ridden my bike at 8 mph at the very back of a group of people with someone who was just getting back on the bike after a long absence and was not fast enough to stay with the larger group.

That’ll teach me

The other lesson is about personalizing your lifestyle, and not nearly as long of a rant I promise. πŸ™‚ I just want to say that no matter what your sport of choice is, find out what works for you, eat the foods that work for you, use the training tools and training plans that work for Y-O-U, supplement or not depending on your personal preferences. We are all individuals and what works for one may not necessarily work for you – God made each of us unique. Experiment during training so by the time you hit your race or primary event, you have your training and nutrition “dialed in” to your unique needs. Train like you will race……

Peace and blessings…..until next time

Andice Ride