I made a pledge to myself this year to achieve more balance in my life, to focus on things other than running. I had realized the funatical runner was morphing into the fanatical runner. Just change one vowel and the whole thing goes from one extreme to the other. I want to be more than just a runner. I look around me at people I admire, people who are not one-dimensional as I feel I have become. One of the people in my life who inspires me is my friend, Kris. She is someone I would love to be – a Renaissance woman.
Kris came into my life through our mutual interest in dogs. Since 1994 I have owned dogs who compete in agility (dog obstacle course), obedience, and Rally. Kris owns several dogs who compete in breed, obedience, Rally, and dog sled racing. After retiring from a professional white-collar career, Kris became a dog massage therapist and canine conditioning coach. She is as important to keeping my dogs ready for competition as my massage therapist, Jennifer, is to making sure I am ready for my next race.
Over the years I have gotten to know Kris as she massaged my dogs. If she came to our house, it was usually when ‘Jeopardy’ was on the television. We would watch the show as she worked. Kris always seemed to know the answers, regardless of what the category was. If she competed on the show, she would be the next big winner.
If we weren’t watching ‘Jeopardy’, we would just chat. Through these conversations, I learned she plays in a symphony orchestra and bakes her own bread. At one time Kris owned sports cars including a Lotus and my favorite, an MGB. Her knowledge of engines and car mechanics was impressive. When I ran a half marathon on a private race track, Kris knew all about the place. She had worked as a course volunteer during races there. Kris gave me wonderful suggestions when I traveled to Colorado for a race – seeing a concert at Red Rocks, visiting the Wild Animal Sanctuary, and fun restaurants to enjoy. Visiting her home once I was in awe of her gardens. She has ponds with frogs, koi fish, and water plants. Kris knows so much about many different subjects. The one thing Kris is not is one-dimensional.
From the time we are little, people always ask us what we want to be when we grow up. Answers typically include doctor, nurse, lawyer, football player. I wish I had said I wanted to be a Renaissance woman, that I wanted to be able to do many things and know about as many subjects as I could. Problem is I don’t think there is a college curriculum geared for future Renaissance women. Perhaps the key to being a Renaissance woman is to just be curious and open to learning new things.