Saturday, February 16, 2013

Coerced or Inspired

Perspective is what defines a situation for a person. Each of us sees the world from a different and unique context. Our background, education and experiences are only a few variables that shape our beliefs about the world, and as such, our response or reaction to stimuli.

Growing up, independence, strength of mind and body and a hardworking attitude were modelled and encouraged, by my parents. The message to me was, "you don't have to be the best, you just have to give your best". This is the perspective from which I see the world, myself and others. Others might see things differently.

I have a strong will and a strong personality. A few might even say I am bossy. I say I am directive. They might say I'm obnoxious. I say I am outgoing. Your definition of things is directly dependent upon your perception of the world, yourself and others.

A 10km run isn't a big deal to me because I have been training for a marathon. Someone who is not accustomed to this distance might find it intimidating. This week, Paula, a life long friend of mine, took a big step and registered for the Toronto Yonge Street 10k #TYS10k. This is an important commitment for her because this will be the first 10k event she has participated in. To her, this is a tremendous undertaking. To her credit, she didn't put up much of fight when I suggested she do it with me. She asked a couple questions, while I was busy trying to sell it to her and before I could make my third point, she advised me that she had registered. Though her experience would suggest to her that this task is weighty, she's doing it anyway, because some other life experience tells her that she can do it.

Paula and I have been connected since before we came into the world. Our parents were friends long before we were thought of. From the time Paula was born (six months after me), we have been linked. We grew together as toddlers, through learning to walk, toilet training and her habit of biting me. We graduated from elementary school and moved into secondary school (where she refused to skip classes with me). We matured into 16, 17 and 18 year olds (where she refused to participate in under age alcohol consumption with me). At some point when we weren't looking, we became young adult women. We spent 2-4 nights a week in bars (which are now called "clubs", despite being the same establishments). Paula didn't drink much, as I recall, but I drank a lot and often, so my memory about that may not be reliable. When I drank abundantly, I would smoke (yuck! I know) and one time I tried to make Paula smoke with me (you guessed it, she refused to join me). Now here we are, very grown up women with many responsibilities.

At the end of December I decided to get a very meaningful tattoo and you guessed it, I asked Paula to join me (and she did). This week I asked her to join me at the TYS10k and she will. Two years ago, I sobered up and gave up alcohol. I started running again. I eat a plant based diet. Perspectives can change with experience. Mine have and Paula's have.

I know from experience that Paula is going to have moments of doubt, uncertainty and a little anxiety about her training over the next eight weeks. I also know that if she trusts her training and does the work, she will be fine. On April 21 when she stands at the start line, with thousands of other runners, she will be excited, nervous and maybe nauseous. Her perspective may even be that I coerced her into doing this, as I have attempted to do, so many other times. My experience also tells me that as she crosses the finish line and is filled with the pride of accomplishment, her perspective will change. I hope she no longer sees me as the one who coerced her into running 10k, but as the one who inspired her to achieve her goal.

Note: On race day, please do me a favor and hold a sign high, for my friend that says "Go Paula V.--Christa is proud of you".
Please send me a picture of you holding your sign!

Friday, February 8, 2013

When One Door Closes...

Following the notification that I was not the winner of the iRun blog contest, I was disappointed. I wanted to win so bad,I could taste it. It was almost as if winning would have validated my struggle to remain sober. The win would have meant people were reading and interested in what I had to say. I spent a short period of time feeling lost and unsure of which direction to go. I allowed myself time to grieve the loss of something that really mattered and then I let it go.

I shared my perspective because I thought I had something to contribute and because I love to write. During the journey, I found many people did care and were engaged by what I had to say, others were just hangin' around hoping I wouldn't fall off the wagon and just maybe there were a few rubberneckers waiting for a train wreck to happen. Whatever their motivation was to read, people returned post after post to check up on me.

I have spent the past month setting up this blog page, writing and running. This blog spot has sat empty until today because I didn't feel inspired to write. My inspiration has returned and it has not come in the form of a fancy cocktail. This inspiration has come from the people at the Canada Running Series, @RunCRS.

Earlier this week, I woke up to a twitter message from @JennaPettinato from CRS. It turns out that I was invited to be a #digitalchampion on behalf of CRS to help create excitement about the Toronto Yonge Street 10k, #TYS10k. It seems as though I have been taken by the shoulders and pointed in a direction.

My ability to craft words into thoughts that reflect how I see the world has opened a door for me, and it's not the automatic door at the Beer Store! It's a door to a world of running and writing and writing about running. This door is like door number one on Monty Hall's "Let's Make a Deal", only I will not be trading this door for what might be behind door number 2, not even if there was a lifetime supply of Alexander Keith's behind that door.

Follow me on twitter @christadavidson

Moving Forward

Recently I was part of a blogging contest hosted by a Canadian running magazine called iRun. The winner of the contest would be the blog writer that had received the most "hits" during the contest period.

I was chosen, along with nine other bloggers to compete for the title of "Running Blog Idol 2.0". At the halfway point in the contest, half of the writers were eliminated leaving 5 people to continue on. I was one of the remaining 5.
In early January the magazine announced the winner, which wasn't me. I spent a day pouting and moping with disappointment. I really wanted to win.

In the end, I decided I wasn't going to quit writing because of the loss. I had actually gained much more over the contest than a simple "win" would have given me.

I am a recovering alcoholic and I miss a cold beer (or 6) and a glass of wine (or 6), in the worst way. I have been sober for two years because I run. When I want to drink, I run. It has worked so far, so I am not changing my sobriety strategy. I just keep running.

The posts I created for the iRun contest highlighted my struggle to stay sober over the past two years.
The content is now property of iRun, so it's not posted here, but click on the link to read my story.
I am proud of my story and of my writing and have decided to continue sharing it here.