Scarlette Letter – Weekend Edition September 13, 2015

Students of happiness agree that certain habits foster feelings of contentment, peace, and joy. These habits include:

Gratitude – I am grateful for the communities I belong to, physical and virtual

Affirmation – I am committed to my goals and dreams

Attitude – I feel empowered by my accomplishments

Activity – Just a little half marathon with a whole bunch of hills

Nurture – A lovely day Saturday with my love, strolling, enjoying the beautiful weather, a few new restaurants, and each other’s company. Sunday, after my race, a wonderful afternoon on the deck in the mild temps, reading, writing, resting, socializing (on social media)

Enrichment – “The future comes one day at a time”

Nourishment –

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Giving – Several organizations benefit from the proceeds of the race I ran, and, I donated by “Whole Foods bring your reusable grocery sack” nickel to a worthy cause fathering than having it deducted from my bill.

Connection – Spent time with my sweetie and we chatted with folks everywhere we went, on Saturday. Chit chatted a little, Sunday, with other runners and with a grandmother full of curious questions about running races and kids, with her grandson in mind

Simplifying – I made a new pile of clothes to go to charity this week, with intentions of adding a few more pieces from my closet

Journaling –

Ideas come to me at the oddest of times and usually when I am without pen and journal, or while driving and unable to tap my thoughts into Evernote or into a blank Word document on my phone.

I had a wonderful and rare Saturday with my guy, yesterday, and a busy and challenging half-marathon today. Several times, fabulously fantastic ideas came to me for stories to share with you, and, because I was enjoying my day, I did not record them, and, poof, they are, for now, gone.

Tragic, I know. But, there are times when we need to break away from the things we do to enjoy the moment at hand. Those special moments, special days, and special events that come so rarely should be unbastardized by work, or our other, usual tasks. Too often we squander the time we have with the really special people in our lives, or compromise it, by focusing on less important things. How often do you find yourself picking up your phone and addressing some seemingly important notification when you are in conversation with a loved one, a friend, a family member. Our attention is the most beloved thing we can share with those we love, they deserve as much of it as we have to give.

Yes, there are those unavoidable communications and tasks that must be dealt with, but, truly, those should be the exception and not the rule.

That’s my excuse, and I’m not one for excuses. I have no great story for you today, this weekend, but, rest assured, in my afternoon of rest and recuperation, I have jotted down a fair number of ideas I’ll play with for stories tomorrow, or the next day, and perhaps the day after. Today, yesterday, I had much more important things to do.

Social – Instagram (begoniascarlett), Facebook Page (Scarlette Begonia), Twitter (@BegoniaBegoniaS)

For Me and For You

I ran a ten-mile race last weekend. I didn’t win the race, but I did win.

I’m reasonably new to running, I started running at the age of 48, just four years ago. I’ve run a few half-marathons and one full marathon, so far. I didn’t win any of them. I’m registered for a couple of half-marathons and four full marathons over the next year. I won’t win any of them. But I still win.

Scarlette Begonia

Why run in races if you’re never going to win?

Running, for me, fulfills a couple of very primal needs I discovered I have rather late in life; it makes me feel free and it fulfills my competitive spirit. If I’m not in it to win it, how does it fulfill my competitive spirit? I compete with myself, I strive for continual improvement.

Fitness is a lifestyle I believe in, it is a lifestyle I foster, it is a lifestyle I create for myself. Let me clarify fitness and what it means to me:

Fitness is a lifestyle that facilitates good health, well-being, continual self-improvement, self-confidence, and self-worth. Joy.

Fitness is not getting skinny enough to wear that dress to the high school reunion. Fitness is not losing weight to look good, to catch that guy, to attract that girl, to get the engagement ring, to fit into the wedding dress. Fitness is not bulking up enough to win a body-building competition. Fitness is not racing once to prove it can be done. Fitness is not about doing it for someone else.

Fitness, your health, your well-being, are only ever about you. It is a choice and one you choose because it brings you joy.

Scarlette Begonia

I run as part of my fitness-focused lifestyle. It is hard, but it brings me joy and a great sense of accomplishment. I race because it’s fun, I enjoy the fanfare, I enjoy the people, I enjoy having a measure of my personal improvement.

In this past weekend’s race, there were 540 finishers. I came in 309th. Clearly, I didn’t win the race. I wasn’t even in the top 50%, but I’m still a winner. I finished. I ran ten miles. I did, however, run at a faster pace than any of my previous races, though this was the shortest race I ever ran.

I poured over the results, the results of others, knowing everyone runs, and races, for different reasons, for very personal and individual reasons. Some folks do run to compete, to win, to be the fastest. Others run for the sheer pleasure. Other folks run because they can. Sadly, some folks run to please someone else.

Scarlette Begonia

The fastest finishers, the winners of the race, the folks who took home the purse and the prizes, ran a full five minutes faster per mile than I. One such man was 72 years old. Winning. I reviewed the field of finishers near my finish time, I came in a couple of seconds behind a woman who was 74 years old.

Scarlette Begonia

I looked at the people who came in last, and these folks were, in my perception, the true winners of the race and should be awarded the highest purse, the biggest medal, and the most recognition. In the last ten finishers was a woman, 99 years old. Winning. Finisher 540 of 540; a woman of 83. Winning. How blessed to be of such good health at that age to complete a ten mile running race, and, judging from their pace, they were moving along fairly well. They eclipsed my rather ridiculous hiking pace. My rather ridiculous hiking pace elevates my heart rate to an aerobic level, it causes me to sweat profusely, it makes my muscles all wonderfully sore for the next couple of days. A 99 year old woman and an 83 year old woman and a smattering of other octogenarians maintained that pace for ten full miles. Think about it; many folks that age aren’t able to drive ten miles, or walk ten feet. When I grow up I want to be 99 years old and finish a ten mile running race! Run because you can.

Scarlette Begonia

I am speculating, but I’m pretty sure those elderly runners aren’t running that race for anyone but themselves. To live to be 99, or 83, is accomplishment in itself. To be able to run ten miles at that age obviates a commitment to fitness, a personal desire for a fit lifestyle. They aren’t running to get in shape to fit into that dress, to get the proposal, to find a date, to please someone else. They run because they can and because it is their choice, their lifestyle, and, I’m guessing it brings them an incredible amount of joy, confidence, self-respect, and self-worth.

And that, my friends, is truly winning.

I do it for me. Do it if you want, but do it for you.

Scarlette Begonia