Archive for December, 2012|Monthly archive page

Working on my form.

In running, Tangents on December 31, 2012 at 2:37 pm

[Caballo said] … if I really wanted to understand the Raramuri, I should have been there when this 95-year-old man came hiking 25 miles over the mountain. 

Know why he could do it? Because no one ever told him he couldn’t. No one told him he oughta be off dying somewhere in an old age home. You live up to your own expectations, man. 

 ~ From Born to Run, by Christopher McDougall

'my' trail

‘my’ trail

2012 could be billed as the ‘Year of Character-Building,’ to put it nicely – a long slog of a year.

For one friend after another, 2012 brought awful things. Life or death scenarios for children. Painful divorce. Suicide. Addictions that bottomed out.

The unrelenting stretch of bad news for my friends was hard to take even as a bystander.

My 2012 was a breeze in comparison, but it was an intense year of English-major-running-a-business stresses and solo parenting, which became something far more mind-boggling in August when my daughter started sixth grade. I’m still wrapping my head around how to manage my second go-round with middle school – this one as Counselor/Grownup in Charge/Homework Administrator and Overlord. I think it may be more all-consuming than when I was the sixth-grader riding a bus across town to the brand-new “pod” middle school I helped break in back  in the day.

All of which is to say I’m glad to see the backside of 2012. (Or, as one friend, whose 2012 began with her child’s cancer diagnosis, posted today: ‘You are cordially invited to BITE ME, 2012.’)

I’m grateful to have ended the year with a solo staycation that has cleared my head and left me with a sense of confidence and calm about 2013. On my first staycation day, I was thinking back on the year, and an image popped into my head out of the blue. No idea what prompted it, but it was right on the money.

It was a mostly silhouetted, rough-sketched figure, head down, shoulders squared, wincing and leaning into a headwind, all buttoned up. All resignation and dread. The posture was of someone bracing for what was coming – resigned to surviving it (with no thought of trying to get something out of it).

I think this was my stance in 2012 – or to put it in running-speak, my form. A year is a long time to live your life leaning into a headwind, so I hope to shake it off and begin 2013 with my grandmother’s famed upright posture (purposeful/determined).

And yet relaxed, too – as a slow, usually gasping amateur runner with a deep curiosity about what makes “real” runners tick, I’m soaking up Christopher McDougall’s Born to Run as I head into 2013. Reading about the Raramuri runners is reinforcing the idea I’ve seen elsewhere that the ideal running form involves relaxed limbs … that the most pleasurable running isn’t marked by taut muscles and pounding speed but by a feeling of floating along.

So in 2013, I aspire to run toward adventures and opportunities – instead of just bracing for what may be thrown my way – and to move through the good, the bad and the ugly (of life, business, Middle-School Administration, etc.) with relaxed limbs and mind.

Meanwhile, I’m going to get ready with my final run of 2012 on a trail lined with bare but beautiful trees and brilliant winter skies.

Happy new year.

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Postscript: I’m thankful to look back at my friends’ rough year and realize how many of those terrible scenarios played out with out-and-out happy endings and/or awe-inspiring doses of grace (what could rightly be called ‘amazing grace’). 


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