Saturday, July 31, 2010

First Loves

When I became a part of Running Grrrl I had no dreams of being the fastest runner or of even completing a half marathon. Lealah asked me to become a part of a running group and I said “yes”, because she's my friend. I had no intention of really becoming a part of the group. I figured I could tell her that I was working, something came up, and I would just keep excusing my way out. Not because I didn’t want to be a part of the group, but because it was running.

Growing up, I loved running. I realized early on that I could totally beat all of the boys, which meant I was always picked first for games at recess. Sometimes on the weekend my dad would take me out to run with him. We would go out and run from telephone pole to telephone pole, and I would relish every “win”. As I grew up running remained a part of my life. In high school and college my tennis coaches would laugh that I wasn’t the strongest hitter, but I could outlast most opponents and run down every ball.

After college I had an on again, off again relationship with running. Remembering the fun that I used to have with it I would come back and try to pick up where I had left off, only to be punished for my absence, left panting and sore from muscles I'd long forgotten. It was that relationship that I always came back to.

And then I started dating THE EX. Running became our thing. We did a couple of 10ks or just ran the bike trail on date night. It was great. And then we broke up.

I have never been one to trust easily. I spent many years building up walls to ensure that I wouldn’t be hurt. And then when all the walls came down I was told I wasn’t worth it by the person that I’d built my life around. I shattered.

In the aftermath of the breakup I threw myself into work and running. In the moments of silence that I had I would beat myself up and review every aspect of the relationship, and then I would cry to the point of throwing up. Where had I gone wrong? I rationalized that the demise of the relationship was due to some flaw in me. In an attempt to silence everything and assert my worth I started training for a half marathon and I made the horrible discovery that physical pain is easier to bear than emotional pain. I couldn’t bear the immense sadness, but I could handle running to the point of exhaustion. I slowly began to punish myself. But I loved the pain, mostly I loved knowing that I was the one inflicting the pain. And I vowed that nobody would get to hurt me again. I took what I had once loved and twisted it into something dark and painful.

A month and half went by with little sleep and constantly pushing my body. I dropped to 89 pounds. I couldn’t walk up stairs without getting light headed. And then I got sick. The doctor said that I was putting too much strain on my body which had led to an infection. I was exhausted. I stopped running when I came home.

I moved shortly thereafter and started to rebuild my life. I rediscovered all of the things that I’d given up. I went back to church. I fell back in love with writing, tennis and music. I made new friends and realized that I could stand alone and be alright. It took a year and a half to gain back the weight that I had lost, but it was a physical reminder of what I had done to myself and how far I had come. The girl that I once was, the girl before the boys and the self-doubt, re-emerged- strong, passionate and optimistic about the world around me.

Occasionally I would run. I would run for 10 minutes at the gym. I would run while playing tennis or chasing the dog. But I no longer ran for fun. And then Lealah asked me join the group.

Like I said before, I had no intention of joining. But Lealah's enthusiasm was infectious and the next thing I knew I was standing at Montana de Oro with a group of women I didn’t know, praying that I wouldn’t have a nervous breakdown. Before I started running I promised myself that at the first hint of pain I would stop. I was afraid that all of those old feelings would come rushing back. But there was no pain. I was met with smiles and words of encouragement. And I only felt relief when I finished. Still, I thought it was probably a fluke. I decided to tempt fate and ran the next week and was just as hesitant, but nothing happened except being slightly sore. My fate wasn’t entirely sealed though until Miracle Miles. Running on the beach, surrounded by people, they all just melted away. It was just me. No iPod, no self criticism just the sound of the water and my own breath. And I realized that I was happy. I was HAPPY. Perhaps the hardest thing to do is forgive yourself. But I'd finally done it. I could no longer punish myself for all the could'ves, should'ves and would'ves. Those old ghosts had been vanquished and there was nothing more to prove to anyone else or to myself.This was the running that I loved, the running from the playground, running after my dad to the next telephone pole, running to get to the ball. It had come back to me.

So Running Grrrls, thank you. Thank you for giving me back a piece of myself. You have no idea how inspirational and awesome all of you are. This group has allowed me to safely push myself and rediscover myself and running. I love how supportive everyone is and know that my success is your success as well.


Paloma (P-Phunk)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Who Doesn't Wanna Be Recognized?!

So as women we all know that sometimes being a woman is a thankless job. Not to say that it's a "job" to be a woman, but really it is work to be a "good woman." And all of us would agree that there is a difference between being the woman we sometimes wanna be and the one we ARE being...tirelessly. I've had plenty of conversations with you ladies where we discuss the stats: we work, clean, organize, take care of kids if you got 'em, plan, nurture, look good, smell good, accommodate, mediate, listen, sympathize, empathize, etc. etc. And the reward? Well, that's just it, a lot of times there is no outside reward. The reward is the simple, personal satisfaction we get knowing that we have managed to do all of this in a day's work and we're still living, laughing, loving, and running:)

Well Running Grrrl wants you all to know that we recognize you! We see all that you're doing. We acknowledge how difficult it is to make dinner every night (and I'm not talking scrambled eggs like me) but a delicious home-cooked meal, from a recipe (and then bring a bowl of it over for your best friend who doesn't cook)! We see that you get up everyday to raise children into people and those little people are lovely and vivacious! We recognize that you get up faithfully and get dressed, put on your makeup, balance your checkbook, grocery shop, and clean the house, with a smile, in spite of the depression and anxiety that may be churning in you. We see that you get up every day before sunrise to drive to work to a job you don't love just so your family can have benefits. We see that you're driving to a job you do love but it divides your life and spreads you thin. We recognize that you get up on Saturdays, your one day to sleep in possibly and come out to run with a group of women you hardly knew six months ago. We see all of this and are speechless. In awe of the women you are choosing to be and not the women you sometimes wanna be.

So here at Running Grrrl, we've decided that there really can't be enough recognition, acknowledgement, verbal praise...because it's kinda like Dr. Bravo says (he's kind of like the God of parenting sometimes, so I really listen when he talks) "you can never give a child too much love." And that's how we feel about you. We can never love you too much or say too many good things about you. So, with that said, we are announcing the start of RUNNING GRRRL OF THE MONTH: SPOTLIGHT'S ON YOU! In August, with the roll out of our new website, it will also feature a Running Grrrl of the month. She will be recognized for all of her amazing RG qualities. This means not just her skill as an athlete but really what is at the core of RG and that is, what makes you authentic, unique, special, and an amazing woman. We want you all to know that being a RG has about 10% to do with athletic ability and 90% to do with the heart, what makes you tick. You are encouraged to nominate a RG (either by emailing us, or on the blog if you'd like) that you think embodies some of these dynamic qualities and each month she will be featured on the site. And of course, you all know I love gifts, so she will most definitely receive a little something she can cherish (I know you all covet the dollar store beer mugs still).

Thank you again for all you do, as women, mothers, daughters, sisters, aunts, coworkers, wives, friends, and Running Grrrls. We love you!
-Her Broyle(s) Highness-