Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Superwoman takes on 2009

Do you sometimes find yourself looking at other people's lives filled with awe and amazement? You look at all they achieve with such ability, competence and skill - you look at what they are able to do and you compare this with your own knowledge of your mistakes, your laziness, your inabilities and procrastination. I am old enough to know better. I am old enough to know that life's rich tapestry does not unfold in just one shade and that most people suffer from doubts, misfortune, fears, worries and the (occasional) bout of procrastination. I really would like not to look at other people's lives and oversimplify and reduce them to a Hallmark movie.

Sometimes my friends look at me and think I am one of them. You know? Superwoman? They see that I work, keep house, look after my family, get all my geekery in and say that they don't know how I do it all - how I fit it all in. Most of the time they are talking about my running. In their view running is often the straw that should break the camel's back.

And the truth of the matter is that it can be hard to get it in. For the past year I have felt, increasingly, that my days are very long and very full. There are plenty of days where the to-do list fills every gap between 6am and 10pm. Bam bam bam. To fit in 5 miles on a day like that could so easily be optional. And then it could go. And I could go and sit down with my husband, or read my kids an extra story, or god forbid go and watch TV.

But it's not going to go. Because my day is also filled with moments of self-doubt, of tiredness, of lack of motivation, of questions of whether I am where I want to be. And running never ever inspires those feelings in me. No matter how hard it is, no matter how I am struggling to do my run I never feel it is a waste of my life. The rightness of what I'm doing when I'm out there is never in any doubt. It is a good thing for my health, for my life, for my mind, for my family and very much for me. Over the past 5 and a half years (incredible!) that I've been running it has forced me out there in the world, it has created friends and opportunities and time for self-reflection. So I'm still out there peeps. Even in January. And yes - to those of my friends and family who think I overdo it, and should slow down I say "not me. This is not an optional element in my life. This is what keeps me and my show on the road".

Speech done. 2009? Well - bring it on. It started with a bang, and a party. After a night of good food and great champagne with a few close friends we invited a much larger group of friends over on New Year's day for a run, walk and brunch. In the end 3 of us ran (Dawn, her brother-in-law Simon and myself) - Dawn peeling off after 3M and Simon and I completing the 5 miler. We then came in, met everyone else who had gone for a walk with children and bikes and dogs and had bacon and sausage sandwiches (it's an English thing, trust me) and coffee and orange juice. Pretty damn perfect. And then .. something that had been brewing for some time came up. Do you know that swedes are crazy? It's a fact. All the swedes I know are crazy. Fun and crazy. One of the many things crazy swedes do is swim in the sea on New Year's day. I know they're not the only ones who do this but I challenge anyone else to embrace this idea with as much gusto as the swedes. And we had a swedish friend with us that morning. And we have a lake on our farm. Mats and I had been bantering about swimming in there, and now it was New Year's day and clearly - it had to be done. 4 of us - Mats, my husband, my sister-in-law Hannah and I - lined up at the water's edge and in we went. Mats swam ahead, breaking the ice like a dog, and we followed. It was unbelievable. While you were in you couldn't really feel anything. But as soon as you came out it was like your entire body started screaming. Very exhilarating! And one way to get rid of a hangover.. My legs are still bruised from bashing into the ice as I waded in but I'll be there again next year. Everyone's welcome!




And now it's mid-January and I'm just ploughing on through. Work, home and everything else - nothing is too exciting and every area of my life has long to-do lists. Running is going fine - my first week in 2009 ended in 40M, the second in 31 and I'm hoping to hit 39 this week. Today's mid-week long run didn't pan out due to everything else going on but I'm hoping to run 9 on Friday morning. And then out for 14 with a long hill on Sunday.

I really want to do some of the memes going round at the moment but I'm going to just go ahead and post this now - it's been hanging in blog limbo for 4 days as it is.. Happy running buddies!

13 comments:

MarathonChris said...

Up, up and away!! The incredible thing is that people call you superwoman right at the moment when you feel least super.

But all that you do IS inspiring! We aren't perfect - just trying to get the most out of life!

2009 for me - stay tuned that is a future post on my blog.

Road Warrior said...

Well, I happen to think you're a superwoman and I don't think I'm wrong.

What I love about your attitude is that you've made running and fitness a priority in your life and that has allowed you to get the other, more important things done. Most people don't think that way, but you're an exception.

Great job on those weekly miles. Wow, you're gonna rock this thing!

ShirleyPerly said...

Oh my, to jump into an icy lake, that is certainly the mark of a superwoman to me!! (I don't think I could do it!)

Good for you and great way to kick off your year. I think everyone thinks that everyone else does way more than they do and underestimates themselves. I know I do and am in awe of people like you who seem to be able to do it all. Keep smiling and look forward to another great year.

jeanne said...

wonderful post and great way to start a new year! i must confess, i'm one of those who thought you were superwoman...and c'mon, admit it, you kind of are! embrace it!

but i will also admit that I see women like you and assume your life is perfect...which of course is silly and i know much better. 'tis just human nature i guess. but thanks for putting everything back in perspective. I needed that!

Marathon Maritza said...

I can already say with certainty that this is going to be one of my favorite posts of anyone in 2009.

You motivate me all the time to be a better runner and to live my life to the fullest. Seriously. Because you do do so much, with such grace and always with a smile, and this includes running. You are awesome!!

I hope 2009 gives you nothing but the best it has to offer!

And starting off the year in an icy lake - fabulous!

lizzie lee said...

Congrats for your Polar Dip. We have a race here on January 1st Resolution Walk/Run & Padden Polar Dip, and it certainly seems a lot of fun.

And in regards to Superwoman, keep doing it, life is too short to see it pass sitting on a couch. The power of running is one of the things that has made me see cancer as just a little obstacle on the side. And with every step of my runs, I feel I am smashing it to the underground.

aron said...

awesome job on all that running superwoman!!!! 2009 is going to be great for you :)

Krister said...

"Swedes are crazy.." ?? Hm, I have never gone swimming in the middle of winter, and will never, ever do so voluntarily. Does that make me not crazy or perhaps not a true swede?

Krister (from Sweden)

Krister said...

I wasn't offended at all. I understood it as "crazy in a good way". I didn't read it as anything negative. But I felt that I had to respond to it.

I always enjoy reading your blog.

Thanks for kind words about my audio recordings.

Susan said...

Wow! You are so admirable, in so many ways. I admire your ability to fit it all in, especially because it seems that nothing major falls through the cracks. I read a book once called "I Don't Know How She Does It." It's British and oh so funny.

I also admire your ability to "just do it." I am SURE that the running helps to cut down on the other insanity that life throws our/your way. And heck -- sometimes you even embrace insanity, i.e. the polar plunge. FUN! And, might I add, you're looking FANTASTIC!

Happy New Year, my friend. Here's to you!

Irish Blue said...

You polar dipping fool you!!! I love it!

This was such a great post. I feel the same way about my running. When I can't keep my running on track, the whole mess just derails. I love this line "This is what keeps me and my show on the road".

What a show it is girl, what a show it is!!!

PLANET3RRY said...

Us Runners have a different view on how to prioritize. Especially marathon runners... we know that there are certain things that are more beneficial to do and although we sometimes miss our goals, it's not about the defeat, it's about what we learned in the process about ourselves and the world.

So to 2009... BRING IT ON!

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