Picking Your Head Up

My head downPretty crazy week over here in my world. Our life just carried into the next chapter – Adam started Med School this week at UNE. We have quite a journey ahead of us. I am now the bread winner for the family and Adam is going to pour himself into school for the next 8 years or so.

I am so excited to move forward, especially after a year or two of a semi-holding pattern. But, being the control freak I am – all this change has me in a tizzy.

Adam is at school about 45-50 hours a week and has lots of studying to do when he is not. We traded cars, I handed over the keys to my Jetta that has done me good for the past 7 years and he handed over the reigns to his Jeep Wrangler (see you later good hair days). We are going to have to get used to a smaller income and the dogs are going to have to get used to not having someone home with them all day. Big week… big week.

So I have had an exhausting week between trying to run the dogs each morning, keeping up with housey stuff, a busy week at work and gearing up for the Beach to Beacon (10k that was yesterday). The most exhausting part though has been the roller coaster inside my head. I am a worrier, a planner and I can deal with ANY situation as long as I know what I have to deal with and right now… I am not in control of any of those things.

Picking my head up

By now you know I run but you may or may not know I joined a running group last winter. I can run a 12 minute mile for ever. I have done 3 half marathons and plenty of other long runs. 12 minute miles and I can just do it. What I can’t do is run faster. I get nervous and panicky when I run faster and I am terrified that if I run faster, I will burn out and not be able to complete my distance I am supposed to run.

With this running group, I have a coach. Our group’s running coach, Ziggy, is a true legend to Maine running and probably the sport itself. Going into this I thought he would tell me I held my arms wrong, my stride was too short, that I leaned forward too much – nope. The biggest advice Ziggy gives me at races, timed mile trials or 880 repeats is “Pick your head up Amanda!” I run with my head down.

I heard the advice and I tried a few times but changing your ways is difficult so I think I accidentally gave up.

Smoke from White Birch FarmI recently started taking horse back riding lessons again. Every other week I head up to White Birch Farm and have a lesson. It has been great and I have forgotten so much since last time I rode. There are hundreds of little things that I need to relearn and I need to get to know these horses, my instructor and the ways of this farm.

A few months in though and I already have had my biggest weakness pointed out (repeatedly), I need to pick my head up! I ride with my head down, pretty much looking at the horses head. If we pick up the pace and are trotting or hopping a fence, I will never make it – we will be running into the fence before I even look at it.

So I need to pick my head up

I have started picking my head up when I run and I have noticed a few things:

  • It is an empowering feeling to see what is ahead of you. It makes you immediately feel stronger.
  • You are taking on the road versus the road coming AT you. With your head up you are like ‘I will run over there and then up there’ but with your head down, literally you just see asphalt coming at you. You are almost playing defense on the road coming at you versus taking charge of where you are going.
  • It makes me a little sick, almost like motion sickness. I have to assume running with your head down versus up does something to your breathing. Right now I just now it makes me a little light headed but I think that will get better.

For horseback riding, by picking my head up it makes the horse know that I am in control of our situation. I am going to have an eye out and we are headed over this way and it is going to be cool.

In this next chapter of my life – I can keep my head down and internalize, over analyze every situation and make myself crazy (like I did this week). Or I can pick my head up and look at our future. My husband is getting to study to do something he loves. He is achieving his goals. I am acheiving my goals and we are going to have better lives because of it. Just like running and riding, I need to look ahead to where we are going and not drown in the details of getting there. There will always be ‘what-ifs’ but they will always work themselves out.

“I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.”
Wayne Gretzky

8 Replies to “Picking Your Head Up”

  1. The remarkable thing about you is that during or after making yourself crazy, you find the positive, see the rational and move forward. Not everyone can do that! One of my favorite quotes is “It’s only life afterall.” Sometimes it helps my overthinking 🙂 Not only will it work out, it will be great!

  2. thanks for this thoughtful post, Amanda! Like you, my natural state is to analyze, worry and plan everything in the hopes that I can at least have the illusion of control. I think I’ll try making “pick your head up” and my new mantra. I’ll let you know how it works.

    1. Please do and let me know how it works. I will warn you it may make you a little sick but I think looking out over the bigger picture is definitely the way to go. Good luck!

  3. I knew there was a reason I read your blog. I really like your positive attitude towards life and have been working on that for myself for about a year. It’s a wonderful feeling to be in control! Best of luck with UNE.

    1. I think I need to lose touch with control and make it the new ‘c’ word. Lots and lots and lots of change at the same time. All we can do is keep our head up and look at the end goals, surround ourselves with good people that we trust and can talk to and breathe in and breathe out.

      Thanks for your kind words and working on things for yourself is often the best thing you can do for not only yourself but the people you share your life with. Good luck to you too!

      1. I have learned so much this past year about myself and breathing in and out is so important to just force you to slow down. I have to remind myself that there is no rush and slow and steady is a perfect pace most of the time.

        Keep up the good work!

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