Monday, June 10, 2013

Running on Empty

I thought about this blog for a very long time.  But, I could never start it because I could never come up with any sort of solution.  I was exhausted and stressed and I didn’t feel like I could write about it because I hadn’t found any lesson in it….until now.

I have to tell you I am running on empty lately.  I mean, no gas in the tank, sputtering along, fumes coming out of the engine, running on empty.  This long run is plain ol’ exhausting and I can’t seem to get off the treadmill.  Not only can I not get off the treadmill, I swear someone keeps speeding it up every time I feel like I might be hitting a good stride (Is this treadmill defective??).  Forget leisurely jog, this run has me sprinting at full speed just one misstep away from sliding off the back end and right onto my ass.

Possibly the world's worst and also most appropriate selfie.

I am sure that being a man is hard and has its own set of stresses and maybe we’re all equally stressed out, but I’m not a man, so I can only speak as a woman and being a woman is HARD.  We are expected to work as hard (harder if we want to receive any recognition) as any man, stay thin, and strong, and perfectly coifed.  God forbid your toes aren’t perfectly polished, your hair isn’t thick and straight and parted perfectly, your teeth aren’t impossibly white, and your skin isn’t sun kissed (even in the winter!).  We are expected to be natural homemakers capable of whipping up a gourmet meal with five ingredients and no cookbook.  We should keep a spotless house able to pass any surprise white glove test.  We are supposed to be sexy and sexual.  And we are supposed to do all of this with ease and a smile.  Oh Lord, and then there is the whole other messy topic of being a mom, which I won’t tackle beyond to say, “How do you do it?!?” 

But seriously, how DO YOU DO IT??  Are you really accomplishing all of this as well as you look like you are?  Because I tell you, I look around at all of you as you fly by me and you do not look like hot messes.  In fact, you look good.  You make this run look easy.  You look like you’ve got it all together and I am jealous.

How you look to me.

How I feel as you fly by.

I can’t lie, running on empty has got me pretty bitchy these days (I can admit to this because my husband does not read this blog).  There is no doubt I’m a pretty miserable running partner.  Lately, I find myself resentful of my own exhaustion.  Even “tasks” that I normally enjoy have me ready to explode.  On more than one occasion I have had some full blown meltdowns over the tiniest of comments that I construe as criticisms.

All in all, I guess you could say I have been too exhausted to enjoy the run.

And then I got the perspective I needed.  This weekend I stumbled onto an old Oprah and I was introduced to Nick Vujicic 
And if you didn’t just click on that link, let me fill you in: The man has no arms and no legs.  Not two arms, no legs.  Not two legs, no arms.  Not one of each.  The man HAS NO ARMS OR LEGS.  And still, the man travels all over the world as a motivational speaker.  He manages to walk, travel, minister, motivate, and on and on with no arms or legs.  Now that has got to be truly bone tired exhausting.  And yet, Nick is thankful for what he has been given.  How can I complain about my tiring days when I have been given full and healthy function of all of my limbs?!?!  And right then as I sat there cracked wide open and crying uncontrollably I realized what I was missing…APPRECIATION.

"Just an observation: it is impossible to be both grateful and depressed. Those with a grateful mindset tend to see the message in the mess. And even though life may knock them down, the grateful find reasons, if even small ones, to get up.”
Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free
From now on, I’m going to practice the art of appreciation.  When I find myself at my absolute lowest, I’m going to force myself to find three things to be appreciative of and I’m going to use that appreciation to continue moving forward.  For I know that this run is going to hurt at times.  My feet will ache and my legs will falter.  But appreciation will keep my spirit from sinking to the level of my feet.  With appreciation, my spirit will fly as my feet drag along.  And who knows, maybe if I keep at it my feet will start to follow my spirit.
A few things I was grateful for on this weekend's HOT and exhausting run:

I am grateful to the City of Houston for continuing to develop and improve the Buffalo Bayou running trails so that I can run with a view like this.

At times when the road I planned to run is impassable, I am grateful for those trail blazers ahead of me who have laid out an alternate route.


I appreciate that there are people out there who want to make public parks safer for me to run. 


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