Tag Archives: inspire

Running Rifles

You know you’re in Texas when you climb into your running partner’s truck and spot a pink .22  rifle between the cup holder and passenger seat.  Four of us were heading out to the family ranch of my friend, Monica, for a cross-country run.  Those of you who are city folks might wonder how much crime we anticipate out in the Texas Hill Country.  Well, it isn’t exactly the wild west anymore, but a rifle is handy when you encounter wild boar, rattlesnakes, or a mountain lion. 

Before you auslanders* shake your head in disbelief, we saw a wild boar out in the country just two weeks ago.  Imagine an aggressive several hundred pound wild boar with nasty tusks looking at you with ill intent, and you’ll know why Monica brought the pink rifle.  Luckily, she convinced her husband we would be fine without strapping the pistol on as well.  It’s darn difficult to run with five pounds of pistol slapping against your body every step.  Then again, it’s hard to shoot a boar when you’re half-way round the ranch and the rifle is still in the truck…, but at least we had a chance with it nearby.  As it turned out, we didn’t see anything to shoot that day.

*In our German heritage town, auslanders refer to foreigners or just plain people who “aren’t from around here”.

We heard plenty of shots though, since it was the first day of dove season and neighboring ranchers were out bringing down their share of birds.  Ah now, I have truly digressed.  Here I am writing about rifles and wild animals, when I really want to share what I re-discovered about running and motivation.

We went to the ranch to have a different and more difficult workout than the usual pavement run.  Three of the four in our group are entered in a twelve mile obstacle course event in a few weeks.  It’s a very brutal cross-country run with obstacles that include mud filled drain pipe swims and twelve foot walls to surmount.  We aren’t exactly ready for the running distance or the obstacles, so we needed more practice in the field, literally.  (If you want to learn more about the obstacle course, click this Tough Mudder link and have a look.  You can decide if we’re crazy or just a whole lot of fun.)

Sometimes it’s hard for me to motivate myself to run as often or long as required to reach a goal like twelve miles of obstacles, but that day I was ready to run.  In fact, I wanted to run longer than we did, which was a nice surprise.  I’m the oldest of the group, old enough to be mom to any of the others (seriously, they are thirty and under to my forty-seven), so it surprised me that I wanted run farther.   It also felt great to be motivated again after pushing myself all summer through the drudgery of running in the heat.

The two-track we followed around the ranch took us by fields and trees and was a satisfying respite from the pavement of town.  Definitely the feeling of country played into my extra motivation, but it was the camaraderie as we ran and talked that energized me and made it fun.  We made the loop once running (mostly) and when no wild animal came after us we decided to go a second time.  We were out over an hour, with plenty of sweat and shortness of breath, yet it didn’t feel like an hour at all.

Today, I ran again.  It was a completely different experience.  This morning I worked hard to stick with my plan.  The run felt like forever, but it was only thirty minutes.  It seemed really hot and muggy, though in truth it was no different than usual.  I played mind games with myself to keep on track and even broke up my intended long run into three interval runs.  During one of my walks between intervals I realized why running today felt so different from last weekend. 

Today I was by myself.  My friends each run solo during the week, so they were missing from my run this morning.  Working hard toward a difficult goal is simply more fun with friends.  Friends energize each other, socializing distracts you from thinking about how hard the work is, and involving others inspires you to do more. 

A few months ago, a speaking partner and I worked together to create an all day workshop.  Once again, my motivation was much higher when we worked on it together than when I was on my own.  We worked long days in the weeks leading to the event, but it never felt like it.  The power of involving friends in a common goal is immense, whether your goal is a personal one or a professional goal.

“The power of involving friends in a common goal is immense”

Monica asked me tonight if I want to run together again this weekend.  “Yes!  Count me in!”  We plan to run the loop at Enchanted Rock, which always wears me out.  There is a lot of up and down, rocks to navigate, rivers to cross, and gravel that rolls underfoot on the steep parts.  On my own, it’s a good disciplined run.  Together, it’s a worthy challenge that feels like a social event, just something you do with friends.  I’m already anticipating how fun it will be. 

I’m going to put friendship in my toolbox of motivational techniques.  Next time working toward a goal feels like drudgery, I will call a friend and find a way to team up on at least an action step or two.

We obstacle course contenders may not be ready for the challenge coming up in a few weeks, but we will train more often and harder by working together.  With our commitment to run the loop at Enchanted Rock as a team, we will have one more trail run to our credit.  There will be one big difference this week though – the pink rifle will stay at home.  At Enchanted Rock, the Park Rangers have us covered.



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Some people say there is nothing more beautiful than a confident woman at ease in her body and with herself.  We all need role models like that, and the young woman I met last night is a good one.  She was radiant, confident, quietly electrifying and beautiful.  She drew people to her as we gathered in the dressing room to model for a fashion show.  Ariana had never modeled before and said she was a bit nervous.  She didn’t look nervous.  She looked beautiful and sure of herself in an understated way.  I wondered if my college-age son knew her from school, so I asked Ariana how old she was.  I guessed she was about twenty.

Ariana is just thirteen.  Thirteen, the age when most American girls fret over how they look, worried that something or another is not just right.  A nose too big, a chest too small, skin not clear enough, an outfit not cool enough – those are the things young teenagers often worry about, and those worries usually show up in how they carry themselves and connect with others.  Some of us carry those worries into our adult selves, continuing to build on theories of “not enough” and “too much” while downplaying strengths. 

Rarely do you see a thirteen year old girl with the unassuming confidence Ariana had in herself, especially a young woman that is about to walk down a runway for the first time.  She had no training; only a demonstration of how to turn and pose had been given her.  She had seen the lights, cameras, and large white screen that would greet her at the end of a runway woven through a crowd.  The show was for business owners that represent JR Collection www.jacquerudman.com.   Ariana was ready.  At about 5’10”, many girls might have worn flats or low heels.  (Models were given complete discretion on footwear.)  Ariana chose spiked 4” heels.  She looked fantastic and glided easily down the runway. 

In a world where many hesitate to reach out with 100% of their capacity, this young woman stood tall and ready to take on a new challenge.  So many girls and women hide or dim their natural gifts.  Few understand the freedom of living life to the fullest.  As I stood next to Ariana waiting for my turn on the runway, I smiled and thought about how much fun she was having.  She seemed calm, though her eyes showed a sense of excitement and anticipation.

I was in the presence of someone living entirely in the moment and it was contagious.  It was then I realized what a role model Ariana was being for each of us that night.  I relaxed and stepped out toward the runway feeling good, moving smoothly and smiling as though each person there was a good friend.  Ariana helped me do that.  She was modeling so much more than the clothes, and she doesn’t even know it.  Thank you Ariana, for modeling the kind of woman I want to be!

I think we all need a little more Ariana attitude in us.  Here is a question to ponder if you agree: 

Who would you be if you let your beauty shine 100%?

This is the kind of question my clients often use to decide where they want to go and what they need to do to move there.  It isn’t a selfish task.  Being the most radiant you is a way of showing appreciation for your gifts, of respecting the life you’ve been given.  Give it some thought, and decide what you want going forward.  Then lead yourself and others to a more beautiful self.


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