A runner’s journey continues

March 25, 2020
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La Follette Park in Austin | Vanessa Stokes

By Vanessa Stokes

I just started running again after a month of rest. I had pushed myself and strained my left hip. I was familiar with the pain because I’ve done this before. I knew what to do and that was to rest. So I did.

While taking this time off, I stretched a lot and reflected. I like to reflect on my life and what I’m up to. It lets me honor myself for what I accomplished but also lets me see what didn’t work. I realized how much I love to run and exercise. I also saw what didn’t work – and that is my pace and getting up on time. I am so excited for warm weather to run outside.

Something else I discovered while reflecting is how much I get in my own way. I struggle and have struggled with getting up on time. My alarm goes off, and instantly I hit snooze – and I also see this in all areas of my life where I push the snooze, so to speak.

Vanessa Stokes

Can me not getting up on time be related to other areas of my life that are not working? So this is what I am going to work on: Seeing where I get in my way, and do the opposite.

I did the opposite of my thoughts and feelings earlier this week, and it’s working. I am able to get out of my way and accomplish what I am up to. I didn’t want to run because I thought to myself, “It’s too cold outside.”

But I pushed through it and ran anyway. I’m so glad I did. Yes, it was cold, but it only lasted a few minutes, and then I was warmed up. I got to see what it’s like on the other side of doing what I said I would do.

Another area of my life I am working on is cleaning up before I go to bed. I usually say to myself, “Oh, I’ll get to it in the morning.” But this week I pushed through and cleaned up. I accomplished what I said I would and now I feel free and ready to start my day tomorrow.

Getting in our own way of what we set out to do is human. All humans do this. However, when we are out to do big things like run a race, go back to school or whatever you are up to in life, when we get out of our way and do the opposite of what we feel or think we can set out to do, great things can happen. All humans have the capacity to do that.

Vanessa Stokes is a West Side resident, artist, community organizer and mother. When she is not running, she loves to chat with everyday people, cook, of course, eat and journey through her father’s, Dorrell Creightney, photo collection. Share her journey this year as she trains for this year’s Chicago Marathon.

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