Sometimes the moments that challenge us the most, define us

Deena Kastor

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Put it on the List

Well the back-to-back long runs have begun. I am a fairly slow runner so my weekends now consist mostly of eating, showering, and running. By the end of December or early January I will have completed a weekend of two 20-milers. There are runners who do this all the time and to them it would be the equivalent of me running two 5-milers. But we all have challenges that are often unique to only our own self. Is that true for most of you?

Lately I've been thinking of creating a "bucket list". For those of you who might not know what this is-it comes from the movie "The Bucket List". Or at least I think that's where it comes from. It is a list of things you want to do or see before you "kick the bucket". The  movie is great to watch-Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman together-an interesting combination.

I thought of this idea while out on a run. In fact, most of what I write in this blog comes to me during a run. So what would you put on your bucket list? I have to admit so far several of the items on my list are physical challenges-except for meeting Tom Hanks....and writing a book. Does a blog count? I can't believe I am going to put rock climbing on it but I know in my heart there is something inside me that says to. I will never, ever, in life-or in death-put touching a snake on my bucket list!

As a runner, I am inspired to try new things and challenge my body to do more. I often think to myself, "well if I can do this then.....". As a person, I am inspired by others to be the best person I can possibly be. There might be some overlap but you can't have one without the other right? Could I or would I run four marathons in four days without the help of other people or without being inspired by someone other than myself? Probably not.

How cool would it be to give this ability to children and teens who are abused-to have goals and achieve them? I know many of them struggle with this for a number of reasons and then often suffer the consequences. We can do this-we all know that a better life is possible-we just have to somehow convince others.

When I ran the Seattle Marathon a few weeks ago I actually felt some of the emotions that I did at the finish line of my first marathon. I think it was because at that moment, in the last minutes before crossing the finish line, I realized that I was probably running with some "first timers". And I also realized that for many people that day, it was the day for them to accomplish a life long dream. Somewhere at some point in their life they decided that someday they were going to run a marathon. And I was there when it happened. What if this was on their "bucket list"?

"Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it" Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe



Saturday, December 4, 2010

Bring on the Snickerdoodles

Last week I ran the Seattle Marathon. I happen to love Seattle very much and enjoy running in the city. The course is beautiful and I encourage anyone who is interested in running a marathon to consider it. My body felt surprisingly good throughout most of the run and I have recovered much faster than I have in the past. That is a good sign for April's event. I was worried that I would run Seattle and at the finish feel like I had made a big mistake by thinking I could run four in four days. Luckily, that was not the case.

So Christmas is here again and it is time to decorate and bake cookies. My favorite are snickerdoodles and I love to come home after a long-or a short run- and have a "few" with hot cider or coffee. For the past couple of years I have had a "baking day" with one of my teachers from high school. She became more than a teacher to me in my junior year of high school when I lived with her family for almost the entire year. A lot of people don't know this about me but I was headed down the wrong path as a teen and might have led a completely different life if it weren't for a number of people who stepped in and helped to change course. This particular family became a major part of my foundation for who I am today. I might not be a runner if it weren't for them.

I would spend the week at their house and go home on the weekends. At first it was like another world and felt as if I was part of a t.v. family. You know the type of family where violence and drugs don't exist and the homes don't have holes in the walls from someone using them as punching bags. They still have problems but they tend to be solved in 30 minutes or less and everyone says "I'm sorry" and "I love you" and blah blah blah. I mean, give me a break, that is so not real. I kept thinking that at any moment everything was just going to blow up and the true family was going to come out. But it never happened. They genuinely loved and respected each other. And it was a home of compassion and laughter. There were rules too which I actually liked. I felt important and wanted-the way all kids should feel.

I can't say that my life has been perfect since that year-I have definitely taken some wrong turns. But if I compare my life to a big stack of cookies, where the crumbly ones sometimes get placed in the middle or fall off the top and cause the stack of cookies to topple over-they are the big cookie-the one that is always there one the bottom-the sturdy cookie that you can always rebuild on.

Hopefully I will write again before Christmas but I wish everyone well in the coming weeks as we are all putting up our trees, decorating and baking- spending time with those that are important to us. In other words, BRING ON THE SNICKERDOODLES!