Letting go

By Jeanne Reynolds

I was in yoga class when it happened.

As I tried to ease into a downward dog (which looks more like a downward log thanks to my lack of flexibility, but that’s another story), the instructor encouraged us to let our necks relax and heads drop comfortably. That meant my eyes were facing directly back at my angled thighs. And that’s when I first saw it.

Loose, crepey skin hanging away from my legs. Like … OMG … old lady skin. Now, I realize I’m part of the Every Woman Blog team to fill a certain demographic, but seriously: When. Did. That. Happen?

And: Now I know why most people wear capri tights for yoga instead of an old pair of bike shorts.

I’ve never been mistaken for a Vogue cover model, but c’mon. These are an athlete’s thighs. Thighs that have run 5 Boston Marathons and regularly lift weights and walk 18 holes of golf once or twice a week. Apparently all that doesn’t overcome the fact that they’re also 61-year-old thighs.

A friend – several years younger, many pounds thinner and a much faster runner than I am – told me she’s noticed the same thing recently. It’s not really wrinkles. As she put it, her skin is letting go of her body.

That doesn’t make it look any better, but the idea of letting go does make me feel a little better. Because being able to let go of some things is one of the best parts of getting older. When I hear people long for their younger days and wish they were 21 again, I recoil in horror. I (vaguely) remember the things I obsessed over at that age that now seem so lacking in perspective. Which of course makes sense, because you can’t yet see the big picture from the bottom of the hill.

I’m realizing there are many things I’ve been glad to let go as I’ve gotten older:

  • Caring what I look like for a quick run to the grocery store.
  • Always having to tell someone when I disagree with them.
  • Feeling like I have to sign up/volunteer/donate every time I’m asked.

Of course, there are many more I’m still working on:

  • Worrying because I can’t ever seem to get everything done.
  • Feeling guilty when I need to say no.
  • Spending more time trying to make things perfect than simply enjoying them.

And there are things I hope I never let go:

  • Challenging myself physically and mentally. I don’t know if or when I’ll run another marathon or go sky-diving again like I did to celebrate my 50th birthday, but I won’t rule it out.
  • Being willing (even enjoying) looking completely silly while doing something fun. Catch me dancing to “Love Shack” and you’ll see what I mean.
  • Believing age is a number, not a definition.

So, fair warning: I’m going to yoga class tomorrow. And if I get the laundry done, I’ll be wearing those same old bike shorts. If it bothers you, I suggest you set up your mat on the other side of the room.

Or just let it go.

letting_go____by_senyan

My Secret to Running …

By: Brady Evans

I’m sitting here on my couch giving myself permission to be lazy.  I generally only give myself such allowances after one thing and one thing only: long runs.

This morning I spent three hours pounding the pavement around Lexington while completing an 18 mile run.

I know.  I KNOW.  I know.

“Why?”

I still can’t answer that question.  I’m training for my third marathon and the reasons for which I keep embarking on this sickly sweet pain and pleasure experience are still nebulous.

I think runners keep a secret from non-runners.  Okay.  I keep a secret from non-runners.  It’s weird.  My non-running friends and family talk more about my running than I do.  “This is Brady.  She’s a runner.”  “This is Brady.  She runs marathons.”  “My wife is amazing, she wakes up at 5 am and goes running in 30 degree weather, with a headlamp and a reflective vest, of course.”  It is nice to hear people say these things, but I don’t speak up about the truth.

I don’t crave running.  I don’t feel like my day is incomplete without my run.  Running hurts me.  After I drove home to my little farm out in Gilbert after my run this morning, I had to pick up my legs to get them out of the car.  I am not super human.  Running for three hours straight hurts.  Bottom line.

I hate the first three miles.  I will come up with nearly every excuse in the book to get myself to turn around during the first 30 minutes of my run.  I make believe in my head that the twinge in my knee cap is really my IT band severing and the pinch in my lower back is the beginnings of a bulging disk.

Why do we runners keep these facts a secret?  Maybe if we didn’t, more people would jump on the running bandwagon.  They’d realize that their feeling that their body isn’t made for running is just a myth.  Of course our bodies are made for running!  It just hurts getting started.

I run because it gives me such a feeling of accomplishment.  I run long because it is a rare feat.  I run longer because one day, I might not be able to.

I’m not asking you to take up my sport.  My very own husband, although he is proud of me, thinks to himself “what a waste of energy.  Imagine putting that energy into yard work.”

What I’m asking you to do is take up the task that is difficult.  Do the thing that you are not supposed to be able to do.

To me, there’s only one way to run 18 miles.  That way is to run 9 miles away from your car.  There’s only one way back.

It is about setting yourself up for success.  Do it!