Saturday, January 24, 2015

How deep is your bravery buried?

Today I was texting with my lifelong friend, Paula and our conversation was about risk taking. She said to me,
Alone at my hotel

 'Yes, but you are brave and I am not.'

...when I read that, it stopped me and made me think...

I told her that she was brave too; her bravery was just buried a bit deeper within her than mine. I thought some more...

I haven't always been brave. My bravery was buried at one time, just like Paula's. I would do some gutsy things when I was drunk, but that wasn't bravery it was more like stupidity.

I encouraged Paula to be brave and to take risks and say 'yes!' to adventure whenever possible.To do this, I advised her to take small steps; no big leaps.

I told her small acts of living outside of her comfort zone, little by little would unleash the bravery that I know is inside her. She was skeptical. I made a few suggestions of small acts that would require her to take a deep breath and have faith that everything would work out but wouldn't be so daunting as to paralyze her efforts.

At this point, the conversation (is it still called a 'conversation' when the communication is via text?) turned to running...what a surprise!

I suggested she think about running Toronto Young Street 10k. I reminded her that she has done it before and then I cleverly sent her a link to a 12 week Couch to 10k training plan. I had a moment where I felt bad that I had done that unsolicited. Running is my thing. It's what I do to survive and thrive in my life. What made me so egocentric as to think that what was good for me would be good
Running in Central Park
for her? Why am I always so quick to push running on people?

The question came to me and was answered just as quickly. Running works for me. It might be dramatic to say it has saved me but then again, maybe it isn't. I don't want to find out. What I know is that I am a different person in many ways since I adopted a running life. Being sober certainly can be credited for this new life I am enjoying, but it is not understated to say that I have 1,469 days of sobriety to my name because I run.

The question that then sprang to mind was 'What came first the chicken or the egg?' (not certain if this is an appropriate saying for a plant eater but no animals were harmed as a result of its use, so I think I'm good). Let me explain...

Was I always all these things that are emerging since I have been running or has running made me this way?

Am I brave and strong and resilient because I run or were these qualities always part of me except they were drowning in alcohol (because I can assure you that I was not a good example of any of these things when I was drinking too much).

Has running changed me or has sobriety changed me? Has running developed these things in me or has sobriety allowed them to flourish?

Empire State Building. That took bravery!
I would like to believe I had these things inside me, just like I told Paula she does and that sobriety and running, together have let me be who I am supposed to be. I am so much more and have so much more because I don't drink and because I do run. I don't think the answer can be teased out easily.

Running makes me clear and confident and with this confidence, bravery overflows. This week I
traveled solo to New York City to cover the launch of the new Adidas Ultraboost running shoe. This in itself may not be a big deal to some, but for me...I have flown 3 times in my life and never alone or to NYC. At one time I wouldn't have done it, either. Now, in my life and in my current frame of mind, I did not hesitate for a second when the opportunity came up. I navigated the airports alone (easy peasy). I roamed the streets of NYC alone and fearless. I  went up the Empire State Building solo. I dined with myself. My husband was nervous for me. My kids were worried about me. My Grandma was horrified that I was alone in NYC...but not me, I relished every moment of it. What an awesome experience.

In summation, it doesn't really matter what the source of my bravery is, but that I am grateful for how it has enriched my life. On Tuesday I am off to Portland Oregon (solo) as a guest at Nike Headquarters, to check out what's going on there with their running shoe developments. Chicken or egg...I am loving this sober running life.

Solo walking tour of NYC. Walked about 10 miles

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