Once a Runner, Always a Runner

I was thirty-five. I tossed my last pack of cigarettes in the garbage, never to take up the nasty habit again. I was still slim and trim, so I thought, till I paid a yearly visit to my gynecologist.

“You’ve gained six pounds. And you gained it all in your butt!”

“Wow! A whole six pounds, I mocked.”

“Six pounds this year, another six pounds next year, and the next, and the next. You get my drift?”

“Yeah, I get it.”

So I bought an exercise tape and started jogging in place which was a total bore. I’m an outdoorsy kinda girl, so after a few weeks I started walking around the neighborhood. That was boring too, so I ventured up town to the gulf course which was fine till the guys started gawking at me and asking me if I was lost.

So I began walking on the well trodden streets of down town High Point, North Carolina where I felt safe. It was noisy, but safe . . . except for seemingly blind drivers cutting in front of me as I was crossing an intersection, or smart alecks honking their horns and yelling, “Hey baby! Wanna ride?”

For three months, sixty minutes a day I’d walk. Every day. Aches and pains. Rain or shine.

Pushing through the sweat and tears, horn-honking and jerk-yelling paid off. I lost ten pounds. My legs were firmer, I was breathing better, and I felt stronger than I had felt in years.

I was very athletic in grade school, running relays, 50 yard dashes, and jumping the high rope. My long, skinny legs could outrun any guy any time.

So, at the ripe old age of thirty-six, I started jogging, first two minutes, then four, then ten. The first time I jogged twenty minutes non-stop, I felt like a bird gliding through the air. There was no stopping me now. I was a runner.

Three to four times a week, every week for seventeen years I’d lace up my running shoes and hit the pavement, never stopping till my sixty minutes were up. I didn’t run for speed, I ran for distance. Saturdays, I’d throw in an extra thirty or sixty minutes for added strength and endurance.

Then I entered a few 10k’s, never seeking to win but, to push myself a little harder. One race, my son ran with me, encouraging me all the way to the finish line.

Most people thought I was nuts and asked me why I’d spend so much time running, especially in the hot, summer months of North Carolina.

Running gave me peace of mind and a tremendous sense of power and control that I never felt growing up. My self-confidence soared and I was simply a much happier person. People who don’t run or do some other type of strenuous sport can never understand that.

Sadly though, in spite of all the life-changing benefits, I stopped. Not cold turkey, but my runs became less frequent and less and less enjoyable. During every run, feeling as heavy as cinder blocks, my legs rebelled. I became frustrated and discouraged. It’s as if my body was screaming, “I’m not doing this anymore!”

But, my brain kept yelling, “Oh, Yes you are! You’ve worked too long and hard to stop now!”

Finally, I told them both to shut up, that I was done.

Then came the excuses: I’m too old. It’s too hard. Too hot. Too not my thing anymore.

I tried walking, but after all the years of running, walking didn’t do it for me. I had to walk too fast and hard to get my heart rate up. So ignoring the guilt of even thinking of giving up, and because I’m an all or nothing nut case, I just quit.

It’s been twelve years since I made my fateful decision, regretting every minute of it. By now I have a ton of excuses not to run: I’m sixty-eight . . . way too old now. My bones are too fragile. My legs are too weak. I’ll fall and break something. And I’m just too fat, too tired and lazy, too far gone to ever get back in shape again. Besides, who cares anyway?

I care for one. My family cares. My doctors care. And I don’t want to just sit around eating candy and drinking sodas while my life slides down the tubes. Now is the time to think about my health and well-being. Now is the time to get off my big fat butt and do something.

I’m into my fourth week of walking, four to five days a week. This week I started jogging. Not because I’m not afraid of getting injured, but because my Oncologist’s words keep bouncing around in my head, “Once a runner, always a runner.”

Plus, my son is a fitness trainer: Making An Impact : Robert Staton Selected For The Cobra-Defense and doesn’t allow for wimpy, fat momma excuses . . . no matter what your age or how out of shape you are. As long as you’re breathing, you can do something.

But, I don’t have the luxury of going to Robert’s boot camp over thirty miles away. And I envy those who get his grueling training in the flesh. All I get is his distant voice ringing in my ears, “Go momma! Push through the burn! You can do more than you think! Never give up! Push, momma! Push!”

Excitedly I call him and share every small victory. His words of praise and encouragement thrills my heart, giving me the strength and desire to keep at it.

I don’t want to put my family through unnecessary grief because I won’t take care of myself. I don’t want them to see me old and helpless. I don’t want them to visit me in a nursing home because I failed them and myself. I know that there are some circumstances that can’t be helped. But, in my case, I can and I’m a fool if I stubbornly refuse to do it.

God has blessed me with a strong and healthy body and expects me to take care of it. He says so in His Word (1 Corinthians 6:19). He healed me of colon cancer. He delivered me from emotional bondage. And He’s with me every day, rain or shine, encouraging me to be all that I can be. Giving me all the strength I need. Loving me every step of the way. How can I give anything less than my best in return to Him?

~Sandi

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The Blue Ridge Parkway

Although we missed the peak, the leaves shimmered like jewels along the Blue Ridge Parkway. It was a sunny, 72 degrees. Not a cloud in the sky. Peaceful. Absolutely breathtaking! And what made the adventure more spectacular was sharing it with my husband and his sister, and our youngest grandchild.

Between my ancient camera and the blinding glare, I came up with a few good shots to use in my digital designs. I hope you enjoy our little adventure.

The Blue Ridge Parkway

The Family Gathering

             None of us like having our pictures taken, especially our grandson. But he humored me for a few seconds at least!

The Blue Ridge Parkway

Fall

We are only a few miles from surrounding mountains in our area, but a hundred miles from Fancy Gap. The sites along the way, however, are just as breathtaking as standing and looking across the mountain itself.

Serene

Serene

I’d love having a little log cabin with a big porch overlooking this view. Put a swing on it and I’d stay here all day!

 

Butterfly

Digital Designs by Sandi Staton

Digital Designs by Sandi Staton

Butterfly Story . . . our struggles make us stronger!

“A man found a cocoon of a butterfly. One day a small opening appeared. He sat and watched the butterfly for several hours as it struggled to force its body through that little hole. Then it seemed to stop making any progress. It appeared as if it had gotten as far as it could, and it could go no further.

So the man decided to help the butterfly. He took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bit of the cocoon. The butterfly then emerged easily. But it had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings.

The man continued to watch the butterfly because he expected that, at any moment, the wings would enlarge and expand to be able to support the body, which would contract in time. Neither happened! In fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings. It never was able to fly.

What the man, in his kindness and haste, did not understand was that the restricting cocoon and the struggle required for the butterfly to get through the tiny opening were God’s way of forcing fluid from the body of the butterfly into its wings so that it would be ready for flight once it achieved its freedom from the cocoon.

Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in our lives. If God allowed us to go through our lives without any obstacles, it would cripple us. We would not be as strong as what we could have been. We could never fly!”

–Author Unknown

Fizz . . . Fall is in the Air

Fall is in the Air

Colin, atrampinthewoods.wordpress.com (fodrambler), is so kind to share another photo of Fizz for me to use. She is so charming and I love using her in my designs; she makes me happy. Thanks again, Colin!

Thanks to all of you who visit, and like my blog.

Fizz Fall in the Air

Bees by Fodrambler

Bee by FidramblerTo Bee, Or Not To Bee

The first time I got stung was on my thumb by a yellow jacket. I thought I had been electrocuted! When my arm swelled twice its size all the way to my elbow, I thought I was going to die! Of course I was only twelve and a little mellow dramatic, but I was really scared! I do think bees are pretty, though, especially when they’re frozen in a picture and can’t get me.

 My creation using PaintShop Pro X6, fodrambler’s photography, psp tubes, and lots of layers, texture, and special effects.

Bee By Fodrambler 1Hide n’ Seek Bee

Here is another photo by fodrambler. I kept the design simple to focus more on the bee. He sure is a handsome fellow.

Bee By FodramblerSimple Pleasures

I posted this in an earlier post but thought this little guy would enjoy being with his friends.

Thanks again, Colin, for allowing me to use your photos in my digital designs.

Home Sweet Home

It’s not that I don’t have photos of my own to use in my designs, I just enjoy using Colin’s (atrampinthewoods.wordpress.com), better known as fodrambler. His blog is very interesting and amusing. With his permission, I have used his photos of Fizz, his furry sidekick. Today I have designed around a beautiful farmhouse that Colin posted. After a little cropping and erasing and adding a few picture tubes, I came up with the following design. Thanks, Colin!

Home Sweet Home (Fodrambler)

Fizz . . . In Fantasy Land

Colin, atrampinthewoods.wordpress, posted another picture of Fizz, and she jumped right into my design. We had so much fun in Fantasy Land today, chasing fairies and butterflies, smelling the flowers, and playing hide n’ seek. I didn’t venture too far, though, cause I was afraid I’d get lost and Fizz would head back to the UK without saying good-bye. Thanks, Colin, for allowing Fizz to spend time with me today. She’s a lovely little lady!

I created this piece using PaintShop Pro X6, psp tubes, and photography by fodrambler (atrampinthewoods.wordpress).

Fizz in Fantasy Land

Fizz in Fantasy Land