The World Through My Shoes is my look at living this incredible gift God has given us. As a busy wife, mother and daughter I relish the alone time I receive on my early morning runs. It is in the stillness of those predawn mornings where I often am inspired. Thank you for taking the time to read my words.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Affair

My household is still sleeping when I quietly sneak out the back door.  The sun remains hidden behind the night, yet emerging slowly as it's light begins to outline the mountains ahead of me.

The affair began a few weeks ago and in three more weeks it'll be over.  Although he is never boring, he tires me and a handful of weeks is about all I will be able to handle of him.  No one can see me as I make my way down the road; this is a good thing as I rolled out of bed only a few minutes before.

We meet Thursday mornings on a quiet and desolate road.  Other options are available, but none fit into my schedule as easily as this road.  I arrive and suppress my feelings to run the other way.  No, I must follow through with this.  I can't see him but I know he is there.  

Inhaling deep I look at my Garmin, press the start button and begin to run.  Hard.  Bart slinks out from behind the shadows.  He falls in step right behind me, he pushes my pace.  I can not out run him.   His voice breaks the silence in my head, telling me to slow it down.  I look at my watch.  He's right.  He's always right.  I curse him.
Half of a mile later, I find myself in a slow and easy pace.  Bart says nothing.  My watch beeps.  Bart pushes me and I am forced to pick up the pace once again.  The nighttime clouds created an air laden with the mugginess of summer.  Beads of sweat drip down my forehead.   Bart smirks.  "Don't flatter yourself" I mumble.

Another 800 meters completed, I slow my pace once again.  While catching my breath, I smile as the realization hits me - not once did Bart tell me to speed up or slow down.  The correct pace becomes easier to find.  Despite nailing the paces, Bart hovers over me refusing to let me go.

The cycle repeats itself several more times.  I am hot, I am tired and I want to punch Bart in the face.  Yet, he does not give up on me.  Like a bad penny you can't get rid of, I hear his voice over and over again, "Come on Cheri, you got this."  or my favorite, "Oh yea?  You can't punch me if you can't catch me."

With the workout done, I turn and head for home.  Bart disappears into the shadows.  I question the sanity of this affair.  I am a tired and sweaty mess, not caring to ever see him again.  Yet, after a long shower and few hours removed from our rendezvous, a secretive and coy grin emerges on my face.  It is this feeling of tremendous accomplishment which drives me back to him time and time again. 

Yasso 800s will be waiting for me next week to push me, work me and to make me stronger come race day.  Bart and I will continue this love/hate relationship. That is until the day comes when I catch him.  And instead of punching him in the face, I will hug him while standing at the finish line of my Boston Qualifying Marathon.        
The man himself.

Friday, August 10, 2012

How Much Can You Bench Press?

How much can YOU bench press?  (Does the question beg of a tone in which you can hear the antagonizing sneer?  Good.)

I don't belong to a gym or have a personal trainer.  I run.  What I do have is a 15 year old son with a weight set.  This is great for him as it keeps him interested in exercise and away from video games, well at least make it so he isn't always playing video games.

Earlier this year I sprained my ankle and started going crazy without my daily run.  Craziness makes one go insane.  It's true.  I googled it.  In my insanity I asked my 15 year old son to show me some exercises to do on the weight set.  He relished the moment of son-teaching-mom and showed me some exercises to do. 

They weren't my favorite, but I did them.  They didn't take much time and it made me feel like I was at least doing something which was far better than doing nothing.  It wasn't but a couple weeks (and to my complete surprise) I began to see definition.  One could actually see my arms had muscles and weren't just appendages hanging from my shoulders.

I am still trying to find out where my abs are hidden.

Running is my exercise of choice and after slaying the Ankle Dictator I resumed my 30 to 40 mile weeks. Every once in awhile I walk by the weight set and still pump out some of the lifts he showed me.  Today I realized how glad I am my son taught me what he did.

Having nothing particular to do on my lunch today, I filled my car up with gas and took a few minutes out of my day to stop by the house and surprise the boys.   I walked through the garage (past the weight set) and through the back door.  My oldest was sitting on the sofa watching something extremely educational on tv (I'm certain).

"What are you doing here?"

"Just stopping by to get a hug from you, can I have one?"

He smiled (!) and stood up from the couch.  All 6'1" of him bent down to give me one of his big bear hugs.  When the kids were little I did not think anything could trump a hug in which you feel tiny little fingers wrapped around your neck.  Now I know big boy hugs are just as special.

He breaks away and smiles before sitting back down.

"Where is your brother?"

"At the neighbor's."

Once out the sliding glass door, I call for my youngest.


"Yep, it's me!  Can I get a hug?"

"MOM!!!!"  The lilt in his voice betrayed his excitement.  Leaving his friends behind he came running through the back yard.  I stood in the lawn waiting for him.

Without warning, my 5'1", 95 lb, ten year old linebacker of a son leapt up in the air and into my arms.  I caught him while standing my ground.  He wrapped his legs around my waist and gave me a body hug.

"What are you doing here Mom?"

"Stopping by to get a hug from you and your brother."

He lets go, smiles a big smile and says, "Ok, I'm going to go play now."  And off he went.

Driving back to work, I thanked God for my health and the strength I had to catch my leaping son.  I thanked Him for big boy hugs and the blessing of being a mother.

So I ask you, how much can you bench press?  You don't need a gym membership or even a weight bench.  Pick up a 2 pound sack of potatoes for $3 on your next trip to the grocery store and lift the bag ten times with each arm.  Arm curl a 32 ounce water bottle (that's 2 lbs!).  The possibilities are endless when using simple, every day items.

People often ask me why I run; more often they tell me I'm crazy.  Truth be told, there are lots of reasons why I run.  However, there is just one answer on the top of my list, and it is this - I feel better about life more now than I ever did before I got up and moved my overweight tush off the couch.  Being healthy and active brings a certain color to the world, a color you didn't know was missing.  Once you see The Color, you want everyone to see it.  That's when they start to call you crazy.  But it's ok.  You can see The Color and you know one day they will too if you lead by example.  Especially your children.

Get up and move.  I don't care if you walk, ride bike, swim, or chase squirrels in the back yard.  Doing one small thing a day is a stepping stone to seeing The Color.  And I promise you, you will see it.

Afterall, if life throws you a 5'1", 95 lb 10 year old little boy, don't you want to be able to catch him?

Believe in yourself.