Monday, August 25, 2014

Running Scared

A few weeks ago, my daughter Annie mentioned a local 5K run that was coming up.  She said, "It's at the end of September" and I replied, "That sounds like fun."

I am still not convinced that I actually said that as I am not aware of ever thinking running in a 5K would be fun. The only time I recall running on purpose was when I was in my early 20s and chased a would-be  burglar out of my Hallmark store on Congress Avenue in Austin, Texas. Since running after a drug-crazed robber is not a very intelligent decision, I suppose I've associated running with dangerous activities ever since. 

For the last few months, however, Annie and I have been an effort to get some exercise and have a few calories left over at the end of the day for our glasses of wine per our fitness app.  Annie straps  Luca in the stroller, walks over to get me and we take various routes so as to eventually end up at Starbuck's for tea or Adam's grocery store for milk or veggies. As far as I could see, there was no reason to change this routine at all and I thought we were all very happy with it. But then,  Annie began running a little bit here and there. I stayed with Luca pushing the stroller and she would run ahead and double back, catch up with us and run ahead some more. All along the way she would exhort, "Come on, Gramma! Run a little bit!"I pretended I didn't hear her.

Then, one day, I trotted a bit. Annie had purchased one of those weird looking jogging strollers and it made me feel like I could possibly pick up the pace. A little. It wasn't horrible and Annie still literally ran circles around me, and I began to feel slightly more healthy. Then Annie got the brilliant idea of running--with Luca in the stroller -- in a 5K the next town over.  For some reason (and this is the reason I began to wonder if she was actually my child) she was incredibly successful at it wanted to do another one. Hence the above-mentioned 5K discussion. And we signed up.

Now of course I needed actual running clothes. (Although, I didn't plan on running very much. I was going to maintain my usual job of wheeling Luca around the course. Thank god.) If I was going to be a part of a field of runners, I had to at least wear something other than my 20-year-old bicycle shorts and a large sleeveless white tunic. I needed to go to Marshall's. Annie has been picking up her adorable and colorful running clothes there with major success. I assumed I would have a similar experience, but after about 30 minutes of walking around and around the racks of polyester netted tanks and teeny little shorts, I came home with one pair of black and gray shorts. Actually, it looked like a little tennis skirt and I was pleased it would hide my, well, you know, anything. (And I posted the 30 minutes of walking to my fitness app.)

The problem was that even though it looked on the hanger like it would fit me, it really didn't when I got home. Back to Marshall's I went to return the skirt and pick up the next larger size. But, there weren't any. Not the style I wanted anyway. In fact, there were very few shorts, skirts or skorts in my size at all. Did a bunch of Large women decide to run that week? At that moment, a woman pardoned herself past me and headed to the fitting rooms. There, hanging from her arm, were about seven pairs of Large running shorts, including the pair I wanted! I hovered near the fitting room for a few minutes and then felt self-conscious so I moved over to Fall Sweaters and hovered there. Finally, the lady come out...and modeled each pair for her husband. (I personally prefer the privacy of a closed dressing room--or my home--to a public mirror when trying on Large running shorts.) Stalking her for my shorts might take some time.

Believe it or not, when she finally came out, she took the whole bunch with her. I went to ask the Fitting Room lady if she had left any behind and sadly, she had decided against only the purple ones. I was left with only an exchange for credit and no shorts. Of course this means I'll have to trek out again for appropriate running attire. Now that I'm signed up to run, it's a requirement. At least I was able to use the Marshall's credit for a new fanny pack. Fanny packs are necessary running equipment since I need to bring my phone with me with all my apps on it. And I need to bring my glasses with me because I can't read my apps without them. And I need tissues because apparently when I run, so does my nose.

I'm not even really going to run, anyway. But it will be good to be properly outfitted. 

Friday, August 8, 2014

Wrong is the new Right

Okay, okay, I'll stop. Nothing is the new anything. Except Orange. Orange is still the new Black. Thank god.

When one is trying to motivate herself to get back into a more regular writing schedule, she may occasionally dig back into her old work to fortify her confidence and give her some ideas. (I'll stop with the third person, now, too. It gets old, doesn't it? And confusing.) 

The current trend in business these days, if you believe TED, seems to be about how Failure is the new Success. (whoops! It's just too darn easy!) Learning from failure, teaching from failure, etc. It reminded me of an essay I wrote years ago about being wrong. I submitted it to NPR's This I Believe segment and it is posted still on their website - here. I wrote about being singled out as someone who could be counted on to put my foot in my mouth and say the wrong thing. Regularly. This is not something that many of you are just now discovering.  But go on the link. Read for yourself. I'll wait....

Done? Good. The thing about being wrong (as I wrote in the essay, in case you didn't really read it) is that it gives you 100% of the possibilities of any given situation. And if you are comfortable with being wrong, as I am, then you don't feel so badly if you've made the wrong--or other--decision. The consequences after either decision, right or wrong, are just information for the next decision. Learning happens, or it doesn't, so the lesson comes around again and gives you opportunities to sharpen, or ignore, your instincts. That's what's so fun about life.

I had to learn to be comfortable with being wrong. Besides having been criticized for many years about my choices as a wife and a parent, I also really do make a lot of "other" choices. Quitting school to get married, quitting a job at the beginning of a recession, quitting lots of things I probably should have stuck with longer, but didn't for what seemed like a good idea at the time. Except smoking. Buying a used transmission for my used Mercury station wagon. Twice. There are more, but that's enough.

I could have made better...I mean... different choices, but those were the choices I made and I'm sticking with them. Whether I realized it at the time, I always learned something from my decisions. Sometimes I learned that I wished I had kept my mouth shut, spent more money (or less),  stayed home instead of going out, wore more clothes or left earlier. But where's the fun in doing everything right all the time. Or, thinking you do?

Seriously, if you can't be comfortable with being wrong at my age, then getting even older is going to be a much harder process.  Happily, also at this age, you don't remember half the things you do, so who's to say who's wrong and who's right anyway?
(Maybe not a plastic dress for Easter...)