Today is Global Running Day. I don’t know what that means. Is this another Hallmark card day? Is there an appropriate flower or edible that is assigned to this? Does Nike give out free shoe laces?

For me, every day is Global Running Day. If you’re just tuning in, I’m a New Yorker living part time in Europe running for Parkinson’s Disease which has sidelined my awesome, athletic father. I started running later in life and haven’t stopped. There are three reasons I’ve continued to make running a part of my (almost) daily life.

  1. It keeps me fit. I’m a professional model and that means having to stay slim enough that someone wants to photograph me in their clothes. A good playlist, a pair of sneakers and a supportive sports bra is all the equipment I need. I can run in any city, any country, and part of the world I happen to be in.AirBrush_20180606134946
  2. I run to raise awareness for Parkinson’s disease. My father taught me to run competitively at a young age, although I resisted for 2 decades. He would have me run a lamp post, walk a lamp post or run a mailbox, walk a mailbox. When I’m recovering from an injury or getting back after a break, I still do this to get my stride back. Before Parkinson’s took away his balance, he taught my daughter.img_5008.jpg
  3. Running has balanced my hormones, forced me to eat cleaner for energy, helped my emotional and mental health. It clears my mind. I can forget whatever problems I have. For 20 or 30 minutes nothing else matters. It keeps the dark clouds from taking over.

Someone close to me asked me how I maintain this transatlantic lifestyle without losing myself. It takes a lot of work to stay connected to myself when my personality is to be all things to all people. I feel darkness. No matter where I am, the person I love – the people I love – are somewhere else. Have you felt that intense darkness? Fear and doubt and heartache? Do question if you’re doing enough – if you’re good enough – if it’s all enough? It’s a dark, lonely place to be and I’ve been there. I suspect you’ve been there too.

In the early 1980’s my parents brought home a tall, thin, awkward high school kid from the midwest. He was going to be my family – he didn’t have parents and Aunt Rosa, who raised him, was too old to be involved in his life anymore. So he joined our family.

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He entered the Academy and graduated four years later. He went into the “real” Army and the darkness set in. The clouds were too much for him to take and on the 9th of July 1990 he took his life. He didn’t leave a note. He left a voicemail message. I can still hear it in my head. I was 12 years old.

He left me all his music – he was a prolific composer. I still can’t bring myself to open the box.

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There are three things I want you to know:

  1. Some of us are more prone to the “darkness” than others. I don’t know why and it really doesn’t matter. I’ve heard artistic types like actors and designers are the most prone. Maybe. Maybe their deaths just make the evening news. The soldiers death, the one who just couldn’t get the wounds of war out of his head, certainly doesn’t trend on twitter. Be aware of those around you. Maybe your greatest contribution is to come alongside someone else.
  2. We need to identify the darkness when it comes and engage our spiritual muscle. Your prayer life needs to hit an all time high – the kind that brings you to your emotional knees. God made you to be in a relationship with Him and He doesn’t make mistakes.
  3. You need to call on your tribe – the people in your life that regardless of location or time or circumstance will step up every single time. Maybe its a family member or an old roommate or teammate. Maybe it’s someone you served with once or met on an airplane over Topeka, Kansas. Whatever, whoever, find your people. 

Or call me. Message me.

I’ll be your tribe.

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Whatever you do, don’t stop. Brush off the clouds and keep going.

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There doesn’t need to be a special day to exercise. We need to move our bodies every day. There doesn’t need to be a special day to be a friend. We need to connect with people every day. There doesn’t need to be a special day for mental health awareness. We need to keep the dark clouds away every single day. There doesn’t need to be a special day for presenting our best selves before God – we should be bringing our best every day. Our families deserve our best. Our friends and coworkers and children and parents and partners deserve our best. WE deserve our best. So lace up and get out there.

In the meantime, I’m going to keep running.

Around the lamp post, from mail box to mail box, around the block or around the world, wherever you are,

Run to Win.

 

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“You’ve all been to the stadium and seen the athletes race. Everyone runs; one wins. Run to win. All good athletes train hard. They do it for a gold medal that tarnishes and fades. You’re after one that’s gold eternally.” 1 Corinthians 9:24-25

 

 

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As a skier, I love the cold.

As a runner, I hate the cold.

So, I have a treadmill. I believe it was invented by the world’s most boring human being who neither runs nor has a soul.

Today, with frost covering the ground, I decided to tap into my inner Jane Fonda and do a workout video. Since I’m not the yoga-pants-to-brunch-soccer-mom type, I chose Carmen Electra’s Fit to Strip. Yes, that’s right. And let me tell you – there is a reason strippers have amazing bodies. You try to suspend yourself upside down one handed from a inanimate object. My abs are so sore it hurts to sneeze.

I won’t be finding employment swinging from the rafters anytime soon but I feel good having started off my day breaking a sweat.

Routine is boring but necessary. Brushing our teeth, daily chores, working out has to be automatic. So often routine turns into rut. Our marriages get stale, our exercise routines get mundane. Our jobs become monotonous. I’m not Oprah (nor am I Carmen Electra, obviously) so I don’t have any great advice for avoiding the rut. However, I am mindful of it.

We need to change it up. Do something different at work. Be an encourager. Take the stairs. Park farther away from work. When you take a bathroom break, do a few squats. Tomorrow, do a few more. Meditate. Pray. Let God be a part of the routine.

Most mornings, my father recites by memory Psalm 90 from The Message. (I have not memorized a bible verse since the 7th grade.) He recites it every morning – the entire thing. (I can’t remember where I placed my grocery list 10 seconds after I wrote it.) But verses 12 & 17 apply.

12 Oh! Teach us to live well!
    Teach us to live wisely and well!

17 And let the loveliness of our Lord, our God, rest on us,
    confirming the work that we do.
    Oh, yes. Affirm the work that we do!

Psalm 90:12 & 17 (read the entire verse here.)

Lets strive to live well. Shake off the rut with me. Get up and Run to Win. 

If all else fails, hop on the pole. (Just don’t blog about it. People will judge you…)