run

run

 

run through the pain

both the ache and soreness

coursing through your legs

and also the searing flame

burning through your heart

 

run to remember

every good moment

the love, the joy

and every bad time

the heartbreak, the anger

 

and run to forget

every victory won

because they do not define us

and every failed attempt

for reasons same

~

Photo by Zoltan Tasi on Unsplash

 

My Health Journey: A Beginning

I believe strongly in body positivity. One of the best voices in this space is Jameela Jamil and her body positivity campaign I Weigh. If you haven’t come across her or the campaign, check them out. It’s all about amplifying body positive individuals and the name I Weigh refers to what we all weigh, every piece of us. Not only our measured weight but the sum of all our parts.

But I no longer feel positive with my own body. And that’s what it’s about, isn’t it? I don’t feel this way because of some elusive body goal portrayed by Hollywood or because I know that this is not the best version of myself.

~

I was always involved in sports as a kid, but my diet was always a wreck. And my familial genes have been against me for most of my life as well. All that said, I was a decently healthy youngster.

I continued to eat a terrible diet, and in my early 20s, a friend tagged me in an old picture of us on Facebook. We were trying to crush Coke cans on our heads, as teenage boys are want to do, and I had never been more embarrassed in my life. The picture was just a very unflattering picture of me, and not because of the behaviors.

I’m not trying to denigrate anyone, especially my family, but I’ve seen what I could expect in my future if I continued to live my life the way I was. A big belly, health problems galore, and an early exit.

I started doing research, listening to people in the know and found my plan. I slowly transitioned to eating a vegan diet, running regularly and hitting the gym on occasion. And running was a revelation.

I love running. It brings me closer to nature, mental clarity and just feels good. And I’ve gone through ups and downs with it. At my peak, I ran a marathon distance on my 25th birthday and ran 15 miles one Saturday, followed by 12 miles the next day. Both feats were accomplished while training for a 15-mile race through the nearby forest.

About two weeks before that race, my IT band cramped and it took me almost 2 years to recover. I didn’t allow myself to recover properly and it threw me off course. But I bounced back a year ago and started training for another race.

My habits took me off course again. My best friend got married last year and I was in a groove. The wedding was out of town and I told myself I’d take that weekend off and come back refreshed that Monday. I haven’t run since.

~

So, back to body positivity. I saw myself in the mirror the other day. I see myself in the mirror every day, but I SAW myself that day. I’m overweight, unhappy and my body has been telling me to wake up for a while.

I know myself well enough by this point to know that I can’t give myself an out. If I have a reason it will be slightly more difficult for me to work out that day, I’ll opt out. Path of least resistance.

So I looked up a workout routine and made plans to follow it after work. I go to Planet Fitness so I can go any time of day. If I have to get out of bed to workout before work, I’ll talk myself out of it. Self-realization is the greatest tool we all can possess.

I’m starting this week. The greatest changes are made when you are no longer able to bear the pain of remaining the same. And I’m there. I’m sharing this not only because I want to document this journey, but also because I do better under pressure.

I won’t share the before picture I took yet. Honestly, it’s a little too much right now. To beginnings!

~

Photo by Guillaume Briard on Unsplash

Dirt Church

Sunday comes again,
same as the week before.
My shoes firmly on my feet,
I reach the sacred temple.
I see the same people every week,
wearing their Sunday best,
searching for absolution.
The wood is firm,
holding us in place,
keeping us focused.
We are both preacher and choir,
our breath, call and response.
The longer the service,
the closer we come to truth.
And only when we’ve found our higher power,
and confessed our sins for the week,
do we feel complete, whole again.
Next week will come calling,
same as this and those prior.
And we’ll congregate again,
our dirt church calling us home.
~     ~     ~     ~     ~

Calling

Head full, needing relief,
the trail comes calling.
It’s song luring,
a dog whistle for the heart.
The path uneven,
the dirt compact,
the trees engulf me in their silence.
The winding road,
weaving its way between the roots,
takes me further into the unknown.
Where will it lead?
What will I find?
Who will I discover?
The answer,
as I’ve found many times before,
is myself.

Keep Your Headphones Coiled (Sometimes)

A few weeks ago, I went hiking on the Appalachian Trail. You can read about my experience here. Because it was unfamiliar territory, and because there are legit BEARS in the mountains, I went hiking without having my headphones in. I needed to be able to detect threats if needed or be more in tune with my surroundings in case a worst-case-scenario happened.

I’m usually the person that doesn’t go anywhere without headphones. The grocery, walking down the street, even at work if I’m working alone, I’ll have my headphones in. It’s my safe space and my bubble that will usually deter people from trying to disrupt me. So to hike for three hours in the middle of nowhere without headphones was definitely outside my comfort zone.

I won’t rehash my entire experience again, but it ended up being a beautiful experience where I was able to clear my head. Without the constant noise to distract me, I was able to dig deep into some issues that I’ve been having and find answers. And I also was able to think of new things I wanted to investigate or do. It was a great place to find some clarity.

I knew I wanted to try it in the city, where the images aren’t so picturesque and the sounds aren’t so serene.

When I came back to the real world, I knew I wanted to try it in the city, where the images aren’t so picturesque and the sounds aren’t so serene. I wanted to see if I could find that same happiness when the elements weren’t in my favor. And while it wasn’t the same experience, the few times I’ve run without headphones since have been beneficial, in most of the same ways.

Make no mistake, headphones are still necessary for me most days. I’m getting back into running shape, which means the majority of my miles are arduous and painful. And the podcasts or music that I like to listen to are a big help toward getting me to the end of my miles for the day. But every once in a while, it’s nice to unplug and listen to the silence (or cars) around you.