So, I meant to write this post last Thursday for “Thursday Series” but then decided to put it off to Friday because it would be the last day of the month and I thought it would be better on the last day of the month. A monthly recap thingy. (See how bad I am at this Thursday thing already?) Then I got busy with the yoga weekend thing and now here it is Monday. And the 3rd of June. Which is not a Thursday or the last day of the month. But I’m still thinking about what I was thinking about, so there’s that.
Awhile ago I started reading this blog about trail running and on a fairly regular basis, Eric – the author – would write about “Can-Do Moments”. Those moments when you cross over the line between ‘can I?’, ‘maybe?’ to “Wow! I really can do this!.” I like that phrase – “can-do moment”.
I’ve been thinking about my own can-do moments a lot over the last week. Life has been kind lately. Passing them out like candy to the point that gratitude is overwhelming me.
on Thursday Friday, I was going to write about my own trail running. If you recall, at the end of April, I set my mind to mastering the trail at my office with a specific goal of getting out on that trail at least once a week. It’s a pretty challenging trail but it’s well maintained and gravel. The problems I’ve had with it are mostly about consistency – not getting on it consistently and somehow expecting my pavement time to make that trail easier. That doesn’t work. Inconsistency rarely works for me.
On Friday, I was having a long day and wasn’t feeling like my trail run. But I thought – do it and you’ll have the goal for the month. You can write that you did it - have yourself a can-do moment. And I did it. I went out there that Friday and I buckled down and did my work and I was really proud of that. I had made it out on that trail at least once a week for all of May! GO ME! I’d seen deer multiple times. I’d been dive-bombed by bees. Crossed paths with chipmunks. Once, I passed some co-workers on a hill and later they stopped me to say how strong I looked running that hill – which was what made me think of the can-do moment thing. Not only am I running that trail regularly – but I’m looking good doing it! (Okay, so I’m a little vain.)
I’ll also say that somewhere in this month of doing these runs, they’ve stopped being a
vendetta chore. I’ve actually started looking for forward to them except for when I don’t. I catch myself standing up in my cube multiple times a morning to look out the windows across from me and check the weather – thinking how pretty it is, how that air will smell nice (It smelled GREAT today!) and the sun coming through the leaves makes me happy. When I look out there, I start tapping my foot and calculating several times how many more minutes I’ve got until I can justifiably go to lunch and get this run done.
I’m really loving these trail runs. When I don’t want to do the trail run, it’s never about the trail. It’s always about something else – a deadline, a sore ass, not enough sleep. Never about running and never about the trail. Also, I find myself wishing I did more trail runs than pavement runs. So there’s that.
Then this weekend came and I went and got myself all certified to teach yoga. I’M A YOGA TEACHER!! 200-hour course DONE! MAJOR CAN-DO MOMENT! And I’ve got a plan to start teaching 2 mornings a week before work. I’ve worked it out with my boss to make it happen. Peeps – this is a thing I am VERY HAPPY – capital letter HAPPY – about!!
Finally came today. After 2 intense 90-minute yoga classes over the weekend, I was sore. I felt good, but I was pretty sore in my core, a little sore in my legs. I thought to myself – just pack up the gym bag anyway. I always like to have a packed gym bag at the office. From my view over the cube, I saw a breeze running through the trees and sunshine on leaves and I thought - it looks pretty nice out there. Go, even if you’re sore. You’ll regret it if you don’t. So I went and as I got started I said - just get through the first mile. You’ll feel better when the first mile is behind you. And I did. Then I went into the loop and I thought three different times about cutting it short before I reminded myself – You’re out here to get stronger – and this is how you do that, you don’t cut it short when it feels hard. You’re running up a hill – it’s SUPPOSED TO FEEL HARD if you’re doing your work. So I ran the loop, and I went to the overlook and I almost talked myself into NOT going up the set of 20 steep stairs that mark the halfway point. But I said to myself – SELF, the top of these is the best part of this whole run. If you aren’t going up them, why did you run up here? So I went up them and I took the pause to survey all the land, watch the birds for a moment – remind myself what about this is a good idea -
when I saw her.
Two honey-colored leaf-shaped ears and big brown eyes looking up at me from a grassy low-spot – the dark green field grass so tall it was chest high to her and I couldn’t see her legs. A beautiful, healthy doe. So odd that she was all alone – I usually see at least 2 or 3 together, but I didn’t see anyone others near and she didn’t look sick. If I hadn’t made myself climb those stairs, I never would’ve seen her. And I thought to myself – what an awesome reward for doing my work today!
Then I took a deep breath, turned it around and started back – looking back to see her still watching me even as I got further away. Course reversed – it was the back part of the out and back – and usually the part I get tired. Back is harder. Maybe I should cut it short here? Nope – go do the run the way it should be done. You’ve got good weather today – this won’t last much longer. Enjoy it now. Make your left back into the loop and do the whole thing. So I did. Talked myself through the inclines that hurt and the steep parts that hurt worse and smiled when the down hill came. And just as I came through the final curve in the loop,
I spooked something in trees just in front of me, right before the path opens up. I caught a glimpse of honey-brown and knew my deer had taken the short cut I’d passed on. I’d dropped out of the loop about 10ft behind her and she’d trotted across the only piece of road I cross on this trail. As the bushes opened up I noticed she wasn’t alone.
The tiniest, sparkly white-speckled, knock-kneed fawn I’d ever seen was 3-ft from her. Both of them about 15-ft from me now.
She hadn’t been alone in the grass - the grass had just been taller than the fawn. Peeps – it was soooooo pretty my eyes watered. Up until mama turned and licked little’s butt. Awk-ward! C’mon – this is real life, not Disney. Apparently, deer mommas lick fawn butt. There you have it. I decided to un-see that part. I stopped and waited for mama to pick a safe direction – and for her and little to move off the trail – little stopping one last time to take a good look at me. How could I not be completely awestruck? Friends – seeing that was a better reward for doing all my work the way I should have than I ever would’ve asked for. If I hadn’t done every little bit of that work, and let myself enjoy it – my timing would’ve been off and I wouldn’t have gotten to see any of that. If I’d said – hey, I’m tired and I worked out all weekend, I’m skipping it – I wouldn’t have seen that. If I hadn’t committed to this goal of mastering this trail, I would’ve cut it short and then shorter, and missed all of that.
Knowing that you got to see something AMAZING because you did all your work and you’ve been dedicated to your goal.
Friends, that’s a can-do moment. Humbled, amazed, lucky, proud, in trail love. All at the same time.
And the Summer is just getting started.