I do it, and I do it big. Here's to not forgetting about it.

Posts tagged ‘Perception’

Pay to Play: Race Report

I don’t know about y’all, but there are times when I simply cannot persuade myself to make time to run. I make all sorts of excuses – fatigue won’t allow me to do my best, or I could be spending time with those family people or working, etc. So I did what any girl on a Friday would do to get my feet back on the pavement. Registered for a 5k scheduled for Saturday. 

I prepared myself quickly and quietly so as not to wake Lil One or Adonis. The race site was a nearby familiar one – I did most of my marathon training around this particular lake. Knowing that my race registration would help to benefit victims of human trafficking was even more motivating to me. It is funny how we get wrapped up in these questions about our value and self-worth, taking for granted the freedom we have to be able to spend even one moment to reflect, when there are so many who lack just that – freedom. I told myself that when the horn went off, I was going to run for anyone who can’t. No time for self-pity OR self-flaggelation! 

I really was not sure what it meant to pace myself when it started; rather, I didn’t know what it would look like today. My marathon pace was 13:26 and I have a tough time with perspective – sometimes a 13 minute pace feels like a 9 minute pace and I’m just slow no matter what, you know? Gahhhh! Focus! Just. Run. 

And so I did. I would be lying if I told you I didn’t look at my Garmin, but it WAS a race and I did want to do my best by maintaining whatever pace I could. When I got tired, I thought of the freedom I had to be there that morning. As I turned toward the finish, I lamented that the course appeared to be .1m short, but no matter. I went and I did it AND my pace was 10:14! 

Who. Is. This. 

The only explanation I have for such a speedy performance is the fact that I’ve been getting sufficient sleep and eating very cleanly, because the only runs I’ve been doing have been with the girls training for their first 5k or with Adonis, running and walking for our half-marathon relay. Lesson: problems can be solved by clean eating, sleep, and money! 

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Bada$$es need love, too

As the peak of triathlon season approaches, I am feeling many things. With less than two weeks remaining until my “A” race, what I am feeling most is doubt. Doubting that I will finish within the time goal. Doubting that I will finish at all. Incredulous that I belong among this group of people who do things like swim 1.2 miles, bike 56 miles, and run 13.1 miles. In a row. This is my first race of this distance – it’s normal to feel some anxiety, right?

Evidently, I am not the only person who will show up at his or her race with these type of feelings. I have found myself sympathetic with other beginning triathletes who question themselves similarly. However, I have caught myself being judgmental with anyone who has more than like, 5 minutes racing experience than I do.

I’ve been there.

I know what you’re going through.

and the worst –

I. Am. Right. There. With. You.

The f*** you are.

You have been doing this a long time OR completed this same distance or even same course before. You’re so much faster and stronger than I am. Why are you even talking to me? You make me sick.

And then – I am reminded of my relationship with music and my music babies. One of my favorite exercises is to have them raise their hands if they suffer from stage fright. I always raise my hand with them because indeed, I still get very anxious before I perform. Invariably, at least one student responds, “No. Way.” I tell them we are all growing musicians, but I’ve just been growing a little longer than they have. And they actually buy it.

I applaud my babies when they are brave enough to play 3 note songs for each other. As I age, I think I am even more proud of the risk I take as I share music with others. In some ways, greater experience brings greater risk. You’ve delivered results in the past and success becomes more normal than not. As you expect more of yourself, others start to believe in you as well. “Man. People think this is going to go well. What if it doesn’t?”
Dammit, if anyone DARED to question why I was nervous as my recital last month was approaching, I looked at him or her as though s(he) had two heads. “Why wouldn’t I be nervous? Dumbass.”

Oh. Heh.

I suppose that if I am allowed to be nervous on stage, despite having performed since I was 4, people who already call themselves Ironman can be nervous too. While I haven’t read the USAT guidebook lately, I think it’s a safe bet to say that only humans are allowed to compete in races. To be human is to be fragile. Having the will to test your limits, regardless of your experience level, is to always be admired – never judged.

So uh – for all the thoughts that have ever run through my head about you – my bad. 🙂 I am praying for your progress, just as I pray for my own.

13 days.

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Peace, Expectations, and Ben and Jerry

As I dressed to go to the local Target recently, I threw on my shirt from St. Anthony’s. I frowned in the mirror. ‘This is something athletic people wear. What am I doing.’ Reminding myself that I had indeed completed the race, I sighed and went on my way.

Later that same week, I went to the doctor. As though the doctor isn’t the most miserable place in the world already, the nurse asked me to step on the scale. 164 pounds. Fantastic. 6 more pounds than it had been 4 days prior. Yes, it’s in the middle of the day when I’ve been eating and drinking water. Yes, I’m fully clothed. The thought of my needing to wear my Big Lady J clothes (which I am not quite confident enough to donate) still haunts me.

Every time I go to the gym, I look around and see all the fit people. Those assholes. People who regularly take the time out their of busy schedules to ensure that they keep their bodies nice both inside and out are to be admired, no? I often think to myself it would be nice to be in that club. You know, this one:

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I’ve had a protein shake before. That’s something.

Apparently, there is this way I think I am supposed to look. Or a number I am supposed to weigh. The tricky bit is that it seems to be a moving target. The only rule is that wherever I am is not good enough. I’ve been unhappy at 135. I’ve been unhappy at 215. I’m tired, but I am not sure what I can do to find peace. Occasionally, my good friends Ben and Jerry help me along the way. They are as consistent as my always falling short.

I’m familiar with guidelines of 80/20 or even 90/10 (those are Broccoli to Ben and Jerry nutrition ratios). If it’s less than 100% I suck. Do I know what it would be like to attain 100%? I probably still wouldn’t be satisfied because something else would be wrong.

I feel as though my body taunts me. “I can tell you work out” is one of the most torturous things I hear. I don’t feel I deserve it, though it’s probably fair to say I’m one of those gym assholes people fairly dedicated to regularly working out. I feel guilty because I could and should be stronger, or faster, or better looking, or whatever. Super stupid alert: my guilt is compounded by my being black. I swear some people assume my people are all fast and strong. I Brahms better than I bench press, sorry!

Why the hell am I apologizing?

For one, Brahms is AWESOME. Perhaps more importantly, maybe what anyone thinks isn’t so – well, important. 3M is always talking up those 4 agreements. “Don’t take anything personally,” she says. But what about what I think of myself? And these bloody moving targets?

Maybe true peace lies in accepting where you are and being okay with needing to grow at the same time. That, or I’ll find it at the bottom of the next carton of Ben and Jerry’s. Either way is fine.

Dear Christians, I’m lobbying for a new hobby.

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First, I’d like to let you know who is writing you. I count myself among Christ’s followers. I was raised and baptized in a Southern Baptist church. I regularly tithe, read the Bible daily and do not view it as merely good ideas. I am saved by Grace and work (and fall short) every day to show that I am thankful Christ gave his life for me. Theologically speaking, I am no liberal.

I count myself blessed to have been born in the United States, where I get to put on my church hat, grab my iPad, and choose which translation of the Bible I’m going to read without fear. I’m not talking about the kind of fear of losing a couple of friends or people thinking I must not be too bright if I think the Bible is God’s inspired word. I mean fear of the government. Fear for my life. I can worship freely and I love that the framers, whatever their flaws may have been, set us up that way.

I’ll speak to one of our favorite hobbies now – the pro-life movement. As to where I stand, I think abortion is tragic. I wish they didn’t have to happen. I wish no woman suffered the pain of a miscarriage. I wish no woman would ever go to the doctor to learn that her child would be born with an unimaginable defect. I hesitate to call myself pro-life because of all the mess it’s associated with. At the same time, I am not comfortable calling myself pro-choice for the same reason. I find it disturbing that people would picket and shout at complete strangers with whose situation they are completely unfamiliar. I also find it flippant and disrespectful to say “don’t like abortion? Don’t have one.” Everyone has a right to a voice. Christians, we have a responsibility to make that a Christ-like voice. A loving voice. The stuff that happens outside those clinics ain’t it. In a perfect world, abortions would not have to happen. Many things are not under our control. You know what we SHOULD do if we hate abortion so much? 1. Work to improve circumstances of mommies and 2. Work to educate children so children are not having children. Nothing unbiblical about that. Summary: put me in Clinton’s camp. It should be safe, legal, and rare. I think there are lots of things related to 1 and 2 mentioned above that the church can be doing to make it rare.

You know what will definitely NOT make it rare? Not covering birth control in an insurance policy. The recent decision of the Supreme Court disturbed me on several levels. I could only imagine if my mother worked for Hobby Lobby when I was a teen and needed birth control for hormonal issues that had nothing to do with the pill’s intended purpose. Our God made us free to follow Him. Jesus did not grab Peter by the throat and say “joker you better put that net down or else.” We cannot expect for everyone to believe what we do, and certainly not in this context. Aside from that, regarding the purpose of birth control – I am positive that many of the women who work for Hobby Lobby are in happy, heterosexual marriages. If the beef is that everyone should be procreating, why is Hobby Lobby covering vasectomies? Certainly Viagra promoting procreation is a joke too, right? Most in the market for an erectile dysfunction drug are not in the market for children. It just makes me suspect that if men could get pregnant, abortion would be a non-issue. “Shoot, I’ve got season tickets. I can’t have this baby.” Just. Like. That.

Christ died and rose to save people. John 3:16 does not say “For whatever corporation believeth in me shall not perish but have eternal life.” If a corporation were a person, it would be a two year old. Selfish, having no interest except in the here and now for its own sake, regardless of how it impacts others. What do we do with two year olds? We don’t let them out of our sight for a moment. We appreciate two year olds and love them, but we – some more than others – are all too aware of the damage they can cause.

Christians, a decision like SCOTUS made is damaging to us. Don’t think for one second that it’s out of the realm of possibility that people will say they have a right to deny anyone, including us, a right to anything. Christ is bigger than this. We should be bigger than this.

I used to think that the thing I feared most about following Christ was that I wasn’t doing a good enough job with the rules to be known as a Christian. Now it scares me that because I am not shoving my theological beliefs in people’s faces like a jerk I will not be known as a Christian. We should be known by our love (with truth, of course) and not by trying to keep women from having access to birth control. Not even abortion. The thing that prevents women from having them!

I know my walk is imperfect. I share that with all of you. Let’s all walk more humbly, keep our eyes on Him, and leave the judgment to the Perfect One.

Love,
Lady J

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