Runner? Or someone who runs?

There has never been any doubt in my mind that I am a musician. I have been playing instruments since the 4th grade, I can read music, I sing for days and I have always had music as part of my identity. 

Me in grade school playing accordion with my Grandpa

I always felt like a musician at every age, size and weight. I didn’t need constant reminders. I have grown up around it. I eat, sleep and breathe musical theater.  It didn’t take a certain number of lessons, performances, my Bachelor’s degree or amount of compliments and positive self talk to know it. I’ve always known it and believed it. 

I was thinking about that statement yesterday as I was running. Sometimes I still don’t see myself as a runner or an athlete. I was listening to Run, Selfie, Repeat’s podcast about it and milling on it while running last night. 

Tuesday night running

For the longest thing I thought of myself as someone who runs. Not a runner. Someone who runs. When I crossed the finish line of my first half marathon, I thought of myself as someone who has run a half marathon. Then the second, third, fourth ones passed and I was still someone who had run four half marathons not a runner. Then the 5th one came and I had a supreme PR of 2:26:01 and I thought of myself who ran almost as fast as the average person.  Maybe I was a runner. 

Then I trained and ran my first full marathon. Maybe I was a runner? Does 26.2 miles equate to making you a runner?  I still wasn’t sure at that point. 

Mile 10 of the marathon

Then I hired a running coach. Does that make me a runner now that I have someone helping me achieve my goals?  Still wasn’t sure. But it made me more confident that someone else was looking at my progress and helping me get better. 

Then I was chosen to represent two amazing programs as an Ambassador. Mermaid and CIM. If I didn’t see myself as a runner yet, they did. I had a big surprise in my inbox when both of those emails came through in October 2016 and January 2017, respectively. I was starting to feel like a runner. An athlete, even?

Right now my runs are a struggle. I’m carrying extra weight and I have gotten a little out of shape from taking a running break for my show. But that doesn’t make me any less of a runner. I still struggle to call myself a runner.  An athlete? That’s a leap. Some days I see it and some days I don’t. But I am a runner even if it’s new, frustrating and scary. Just like I have always been a musician, from the moment of my first clarinet lesson. Just takes time to believe it. And I’ll get there. ❤️

Cheers runners!

You can’t put your life on hold. 

On Sunday I finished a run of a four weekend production of the musical A Little Night Music by Sondheim. My college did the show ten years ago and I was hooked. I didn’t get cast and knew I needed to do it if it ever came around. When I found out the theater I often do shows at was putting it on, I put it out into the universe that I WAS going to be cast. I worked for it. I dreamt about it and it happened.  I played the role of Mrs. Nordstrom and loved EVERY SINGLE minute of it. 

I tried to maintain my already full plate while adding in 5-6 days of rehearsal on top of it. Eventually I couldn’t sustain my 4:30 am alarm for the gym, going straight to work, going to the theater and getting in bed at 11:00. I thought I was doing fine until my body hit me with a sickness that lasted – no exaggeration – an entire month. I was sidelined significantly from activity. It was frustrating. 

Last week I caught myself eating my second meal of the day in my car and realized I had completely changed. I was someone I never thought I would be. I live eight minutes from my job, yet I was eating meals in the car, not exercising, and gaining weight faster than you can say weekend in the country. At my Weight Watchers meeting on Saturday I lost all emotional control and I sat in my meeting and cried. I raised my hand to say something and I just lost it. I owned up to everything that’s been hurting me. 

  • I’ve gained 22 pounds
  • I haven’t run in ages
  • I haven’t meal prepped in forever
  • I can’t do it all and I thought that I could. 

But in that moment of frustration and emotion, I was reminded of something that I had forgotten because it had been so long since I’ve done it. 

I have been so personally happy because I have been performing. 

I was once told that my face lights up the stage and that I am so graceful when I get out there. I can feel a shift in my heart when I get out there to sing. 

I could easily have said no to the production in an effort to save my schedule, keep my routine and get to my goal weight. 

But would I be happy?

Can we put our whole lives on hold to maintain our physical stature?

The answer is yes, yes we can. We can live in our safe bubbles and never let anything get to us. We can turn down social engagements and life changing opportunities to maintain our physique. But is that any way to live?

For me, it’s not. And I have to remind myself of the opportunity I was blessed with, the music I’ve sung, the friends I’ve made and the gift I’ve given the audience by being part of this show. 

It has been an opportunity to learn something new about myself and to be armed with new tools for next time I am faced with a wrench in my routine. 

I will never, ever put my life on hold because it is too short to do so. And so while I’ve gained some weight, and lost some physical abilities from lack of exercise, I’ve had an experience that was worth every moment of everything. 

And now that my show is closed, back to training for races!

Cheers to living our best lives!