Spring and a Letter to a Teen-aged Me

25 Mar

Spring is here! In our house that means the countdown to Tax Day has begun! When you’re a CPA (like my husband) you celebrate your own holidays. Right now, he is working until midnight every night and still getting up at 6 am to run with me. Rather, he pulls me out of bed to run with him. It was all good until the beginning of March when the clocks sprung forward and we lost our early-morning sunlight. Raise your hand if you hate DST! But enough complaining. What westerner can complain when the US east coast (and midwest) has been hit with the one of the worst and unrelenting winters in history?

Life is good. The end.

I’ve been piling up the miles lately. I’ve had some great runs on and off the treadmill. Found some new shoes that seem to make all the difference in the world. If you are new to running, my advice to you is this: find some great shoes and do not stray. No two people need or like the same shoe. And, guess what? You don’t have to spend $170 to find great running shoes. The key is to find what works for you, be that a $60 pair of Nikes or $168 Newtons. Mine?photo-12The $60 Nike variety. Seriously, I LOVE these shoes. Really. I’ve tried Brooks (they’re great), Saucony (didn’t love), and Mizuno (cute but painful). Nothing tops Nike for me. I have run in Free Runs, Flex Runs, and now FS Lites. I LOVE these FS Lites. The fact that they are so inexpensive is just icing on the cake. I know I’ve found the right shoes when I don’t feel like ripping them off my feet .0002 seconds after finishing a run. I could wear the Free Runs and the FS Lites all day. That tells you something. (I have been in no way compensated for these statements. These statements are merely my opinion and nothing more.)

Since it’s officially spring and that means it’s officially the start of racing/training season for a variety of endurance sports, I thought I’d post my running story. I shared it here. But I’d like to share it the way it was written, as a letter to a teen-aged me. As my children come into adolescence I am trying to instill in them a love of something, anything–a discipline like running that will provide for them what running has provided for my personal development. So, here it is:

Dear Teen Me,

Hey you! Yes, you with the bad perm and five-dollar tennis shoes. Pay attention because I want you to hear what I have to say. Keep running. Keep moving. Just keep going. I know, I know, you think you can’t. You have asthma. You have shin splints. You get light-headed. You feel like you’re going to pass out. I know. Deal with it and keep moving.

I’ve been watching you. I see how your eyes dart around from person to person as if you’re searching for something in each of their faces. I know what you’re doing and I know you won’t find it there. You have always been the anxious type, trying to please, trying to perform, but more often just trying to find some sense of security. You were an early bloomer, growing faster than the other girls in your class. I know you never felt like you fit in anywhere—especially not in gym class. You aren’t alone. Now that I am grown, almost every adult I meet admits to feeling this way at some point. You just want acceptance and that sense of belonging. And at times it has felt hopeless, especially at age fifteen when your parents moved—again—in the middle of the school year, when you had tests to take, projects due, and boys to impress.

Don’t worry. As they say, “This too shall pass.” You won’t understand what that means for many, many years. But one day, the simple truth of that one statement will pull you through tough times—like the stitch in your side and the pain in your knee as you trudge through the ninth mile of your first half-marathon. “This too shall pass” will become your mantra as you log mile after mile on cold, moon-lit mornings, nose running, ears stinging from the bitter wind.

You think running is hard now? Toughing out those painful steps while you are young will prepare you for some of your darkest days, like when you bury your brother much too early in life, or when you watch your young daughter endure spinal taps, MRI’s, and up to 30 seizures a day before doctors can find something to help her. Running through pain and fatigue gives you strength and endurance. And you need those things not just today, but also down the road. Someone told me once that bigger children mean bigger problems. What that means is as life progresses, our challenges become greater. All the little things that seem so big now and cause you stress today will mean nothing down the road. I don’t say this to give you pain, or to cause you more stress. I merely want to show you that you are strong—stronger than you believe yourself to be. You can and will do hard things!

In the long run, you will regret giving up. You will regret not pushing yourself a little harder, a little longer. Running can give you what you’re looking for. One day you will find acceptance and belonging through running. All the hours you’ve wasted worrying about popularity, the texture of your hair, or the size of your thighs—those things will work themselves out. You will grow into your body and your emotions will mellow. You will survive gym class! And a little running can only help.

So, what I want to tell you, Teen Me, is have hope. Invest in yourself! Life isn’t about winning; it’s about participating. Stop saying you can’t; don’t worry about failure. Security isn’t found the eyes of a stranger or the arms of a boyfriend. You won’t find it in awards and medals, or the accolades of others. Stop chasing those things! Security is found in patience, faith, the right attitude, confidence and perseverance. Running will help cultivate these traits in you. Do it now, while your future is ahead of you. Find joy one step at a time. Choose happiness today. And never, ever give up!

 

Sincerely,

Fiauna Lund

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