The Secret to Doing Anything. Any. Thing.
It's the Glorious Month of Gratitude. Today I have a good one for you. And it's a secret.
Lean in real close, will ya, and lemme whisper in your ear ...
Apparently I can do anything.
Go ahead. Dare me.
Nah, screw that. I know at least half of you are sickos and just the thought of your possible suggestions makes me clench my buttcheeks.
So let me rephrase: I can accomplish anything. Anything that I want to.
This seems like a nice place for a subhead
You know how sometimes you know something intellectually, but your brain hasn't quite gone to work on it yet?
Well this whole doing anything thing -- I've always known I could. I'm either optimistic to the point of mental illness (not entirely out of the question) or I'm a goddamn supercharged uncontainable potential machine.
But here's how I confirmed all of this.
One of my best pals, Cora, started running more than a year ago, I think. Honestly, I don't know when she started because she has her own life and I have my own life and I'm not her damn zookeeper, okay?
All I know is that all of a sudden every time I talked to her it was running-this and running-that and 5K andsneakers and yadda yadda yadda.
I listened. Because that is what friends do when their people have found a new love -- and clearly this was LOVE for Cora.
However, this wasn't an easy love for her. She would say things like, "I'm really bad at it" and "I'm so slow." But her tone was what intrigued me. She didn't say these things in a beating-herself-up way. She said them in a matter-of-fact way, with a smile and a shrug of her shoulders. Like, "Yeah, this is kicking my ass a little bit and maybe I'm not a natural at it but oh well. I'm going to do it anyway."
My friend Katie also started running. She would say things like, "I hate every step I take when I start. But then I feel good."
I have tried to be a runner a few times in my life and I usually only get a few weeks in before my right knee starts acting up. So while I couldn't share this running thing with my pals, I was happy for them that they had found this new, cute, little hobby, and I only occasionally wished that they would shut the hell up about it.
Now this right here -- this would be a great place foranother subhead. Let's do it!
So a few weeks ago (um wait -- months ago?) I had The Breakup. The Breakup was preceded by lots of breakup eating. And drinking. Then the event was, of course, followed by lots of wine, cake and guacamole, as any proper breakup should be.
I was feeling ... sluggish.
And depressed to the point that it felt like someone was following me around smacking me upside the head with a board over and over.
I was thiiiiiiis close to going to the doc and asking for something to help me get through it. But I didn't. Not because I have a problem with people taking meds for depression, but because I was concerned that Obamacare would get overturned and then I'd haveDepression! in my health history -- which would then raise the price of my insurance forever. (Because once depression is in your health history, you are fucked as far as getting an affordable independent insurance policy. True story.)
But man, I knew that I needed something.
So after hearing my girls yammer on about running for so long, they finally got to me. I thought if I started running perhaps it could help me potentially tackle the after-effects of turning my face into a landfill, as well as get some endorphins going so I could find a way to stand upright again.
(Tangent: Don't you wish endorphins was really endolphins? So happy, that would be.)
I'm still working up to the lead-up on how to do anything, which was sort of the point of all this? How have I not gotten there yet?
Can I drag out a story or what?
We're getting there, I swear.
I told Cora I wanted to run. She was so giddy I'm going to bet that she weedled in her pants just a little bit.
She asked what kind of sneakers I was going to get.
I reminded her that I was poor so I was probably just going to go to Payless and get something.
She was all, "No, no, no! You have to have running sneakers! It makes a huuuuuuuuuge difference. I have some that might fit you! I'll send them to you!"
At first I was going to make fun of her for being a fussy runny-type (and also weeing in her pants) but then I thought that she might have a point.
Because, as I mentioned above, I have failed at running in the past. So I decided to listen.
And then my darling Cora gave me the keys to the kingdom.
For real? These subheads are getting totally tiresome.
I have been running for six weeks now and I farkinglove it. While I run along, scarcely believing that I'm actually doing it, I just keep thinking that if I approach other things the way I approached running this time around, I can do anything.
Here is what's important about what I did this time that made it all finally work (hat-tip to Tony Robbins, who apparently has been trying to tell people this stuff for years but we, I mean I, just haven't listened):
1. Just because you're a failure doesn't have to mean that you're a failure.
Did you know that the year Babe Ruth held the world record for the most home runs, he also held the record for the most strike outs?
The people who succeed are the ones who swing for the fences again and again. Keep your eye on those fences, bitches!
2. Make friends with the smart kid.
Running looks easy, right? You just put on some sneakers and go. But, uh, that hasn't quite worked for me in the past.
This time around, Cora has told me so much about how to get started, how to have my feet strike the pavement, why I need to wear her hand-me-down sneakers ... and on and on.
All of these little tips and tweaks have equaled a Trish who can go!
So do your homework. Or don't do your homework but make really good friends with the kid who did and then copy.
3. Remember that hard work and perseverance will eff your shit up if you go about it the wrong way.
One amazing bit of magic Cora shared with me: Run for four minutes and then walk for one minute.
It sounds so simple. And it is. But it's also powerful. I can do just about anything for four minutes. And if that's all I have to do, it's not so hard.
When I started running before? I'd go out and kill myself to run two miles right outta the gate. Then I'd beat myself up that I didn't accomplish it. Getting out there again and again was less and less fun.
Easy to see why I got hurt and why I quit.
Be reasonable. Don't set yourself up for failure.
4. Resting and recovering don't make you a wussy.
No one can run full steam ahead all the time. Allowing that minute of walking for every four minutes of running lets me run for longer -- and now sometimes I even stretch it out to five or six-minutes of running because it feels so good.
Recovering is important. Cora also told me that people who do interval running actually burn more calories throughout the rest of the day than people who go balls-to-the-wall the whole time.
In other words, recovery leads to better cumulative outcome. Give yourself a break.
5. Look at the small picture.
I'm not trying to run a marathon. I'm not trying to get ripped abs or score a magazine cover shoot withRunner's World or anything like that.
I'm just trying to get outside about three times a week.
I think about this like I think about my writing: I'm not going to sit down TODAY and write a entire novel. But I can certainly put some words down. Eventually, I'll have a real body of work.
Take stuff in manageable doses.
6. Give yourself time to adjust.
This is one tidbit Cora told me that I love: When you first start running, your heart and lungs are the first places you'll feel the benefit. So after you're doing it for a while, you'll want to run longer.
But wait! It takes the better part of a year for the rest of your body to start feeling the effects. Your muscles and your bones and your everything else aren't there yet.
So even though you may be tempted to kill that shitone day, keep in mind that if you haven't put the work in yet, you might not be ready.
One more subhead. Because I know they make you smile and I love it when you smile. Smile for me, baby.
(Seriously, I just creeped myself out with my own subhead. Bleh.)
So today I am thankful for ...
My friend Cora for sharing her running nerdiness with me.
Autumn, for being such a beautiful-sounding word.
Living near a national park that kicks my ass over and over again with its absolute gorgeousity at this time of year.
My heart and my lungs for allowing me to run -- up actual hills -- and to feel good about it.
Pandora, for providing endless and free tunes.
My hand-me-down sneakers, which make my feet feel like proud little purple peacocks.
That feeling after I've been running for about eight minutes, when I look around and go, "Hey. Wait. I'm like, totally, doing this. CHECK ME OUT, WORLD. I'm a runner, bitches!"
That feeling after I've been writing for about a million hours, when I realize I could write for a million more.
You foolish, foolish people, who just read this lengthy sonofabitch to the very end. Have I told you lately how much I love you?
Trish Sammer Johnston