Category Archives: Running

Running with Listening in Mind

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running legsI went running a few days ago and it was an amazing experience! I haven’t had a regular running practice in over a year due to injury. The last time I ran, over 3 months ago, I barely made it a quarter mile before an old calf injury flared up and I had to hobble home.

I really love running. One reason is because of my fond memories of it as a youth soccer player, as well as, a stint running track and cross-country (I couldn’t hack the individual pressure back then as a 13 year old, made it through one season and continued on with my team sport!). I’ve continued running on and off my whole adult life with very long stretches (years) of not doing any at all.

The first time I get out there after a long break I remember what I love about it so much. It just feels good in my muscle memory, fills me with positive body chemicals and gives me a sense of accomplishment. Plus, when you haven’t been able to run for long periods due to severe multiple injuries or other factors, you don’t take it for granted when the joy of this type of movement is given back to you again. I take it for the gift that it is.

Don’t get me wrong, I need my yoga, but my heart flies when I run–Which is actually really good, because I am so slow that is the only thing that is flying!

Our dirt road

 

I only ran about a mile on our dirt road that day, but that was more than I expected I could do in the midday heat. My former inner athlete wanted to go farther and push it, but I listened to my body and stopped when my back started giving me some twingy signals.

My thighs were so sore within 48 hours, I had to move very slowly when changing position from sitting to standing. Hilarious. Even the pain made me happy.

I’ll be taking this really slow this time, especially since I’m coming off a bizarre hip injury (from moving) and I’ll be sure to visit my chiropractor regularly. Fortunately, he knows how to shove my ITB back into the origin and insertion points when my muscle goes weak. That seems to happen a lot. Sigh.

But, I love it, so I keep coming back to it. My attitude is changed even more since my last season of running trails. I listened to my body then, but still pushed it too hard, because I ignored it! Now I’ve learned some better strategies for tuning into what my body is telling me and actually acting on that.

Interestingly enough, the coaching I did last spring on being a mindful eater has translated into all other areas of my life. I find that the principals I use in my own coaching business, also, have that same expanding effect.

What have you been discovering about yourself lately? Any news? I would love to hear about it!

Here’s to happy running!pink running shoes

 

Toddling through Slumps

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I’m going to start posting here about my experience as I go through the Brave Girl Brain/Body Experiment.

It fits right in with the themes of my life for this blog as it will cover body image, food/weight issues, confidence, exercise, priorities, etc. We are starting the mastermind part of this program on Monday and I’m super excited to be able to take this journey with some amazing women.

For me, I think that this is a pivotal time in my life to embrace more of my potential and not let my weaknesses have so much power. I do know that I need a community to accomplish some things in a timely manner. I really don’t want to wait another twenty years to break through these barriers, and at the pace I have been going with set-backs that threw me off track, it would take that long.

My brain is ready to be retrained!

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For my runner and yoga friends, I have been in a slump since returning home after a summer away. It seemed that something shifted in me when we entered the redwoods…in the city I was doing yoga daily, walking, running and very active all summer. At first, there wasn’t time when we returned home because of the immense task of moving by downsizing into a large studio. That literally took all my time and physical energy. But, after that two weeks…well, I seemed to be able to easily avoid exercising by my lonesome. The lack of studios, companionship and isolation seemed to seep into my bones and I stopped.

I took small family walks once in a while, but had no desire to do a yoga video by myself. (see the pattern? I understand these are just excuses. But, I have to set up my environment for the greatest success possible. That really is all there is to it. This beautiful environment is just not optimal for me at all. So, I’m hoping the camaraderie of the mastermind will help me over this slump, so that I will go out by myself (like I have so many times in the past).

A few days ago, my house mate and I went for a walk with our dogs. That was wonderful because we ended up running a bit, which felt amazing. I feel amazing after I run. This feeling engulfed me a few weeks ago when I was on a trail hike with my daughter and we ended up sprinting along, playing “chase” until I ate it on a tree root! I’ll hae to post a picture of my am gash here later! We still hiked another hour, but that was a painful fall. Regardless, I can still remember the pure pleasure of the oxygen pumping though my body and the smile on my face as we raced through the redwoods. Glorious.

There were many days when I was dying to go run, to move vigorously and I didn’t. I don’t know what that weirdness is about at all. My body wanted to exercise and I didn’t allow it too. Bizarro.

I am in the pre-contemplation stage, with periodic leaps in action, in regards to my body. The book we are reading for the mastermind talks about the various stages of change. It’s funny how I bounce around so much between them, like a toddler learning to walk.

The goal is to have a real metamorphosis so that the development is complete and I am out running, not toddling around!

I’ll keep you posted on this journey.

Building Mental Toughness

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When I was running trails in Northern California, I encountered the truth that 90% of a successful run is due to mental strength. Our bodies can do so much more than our brains allow for because, of course, our brains want to protect our bodies. They send out signals that we just…can’t….go…on…gasp, long before we are physically depleted. It’s a self-preservation issue.

That mental toughness I was rediscovering on the trails is being engaged now in the Bikram Torture Chamber (as he calls it).

Anyone, who has done any physically and mentally challenging task (in other words, a physical challenge that involves FEAR) knows that deep emotional feelings come up under that kind of stress. It’s an important skill to be able to feel immense frustration, anger and other intense emotions and work through it to the point of letting go. Any elite athlete will confirm this point.

Bikram yoga, due to the extreme heat and physical difficulty of contorting one’s body in that very heat, provides ample opportunity for working through strong emotions. The whole point of sticking with it, develops deep perseverance, determination and inner strength—IF you let it.

So, I don’t like it much. It absolutely kicks my butt; yet, I am almost addicted to the promise of a healthy body. I’ve got another week to go, but am getting weary going every day. It is truly exhausting.

Just as in running, once you build a strong base, it lasts for a long time. You can take time off and still go back and run almost as well. I’m hoping that that the next week will help me build my base for a healthy spine and body. Fingers crossed.

On the road again…

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On the road again…TRAIL, on the trail again! (imagine that 70s song, “on the road again”, please)

Today, I drove to the gym and walked into a relatively quiet and dark room. No lights. Hmmm… Ah, no power! Since, I have been feeling really antsy to go running outside on the trails again (I think my last time was last fall?) I decided to try it. Admittedly, I was a bit scared that I wouldn’t be able to do it; that something would hurt so badly I would have to stop, like on my last trail run; that I wasn’t really healed, nor had done enough strengthening in the gym. You get the idea.

The grin on my face as I was racing along (for me an 11 min first mile pace is fast on the trails) was large. I kept waiting for the hammer to fall, some sharp pain to slow me down, but it never came so I sped up and worked on keeping a relaxed, well-postured form. I felt like I could go much farther, but I was cautious and just ran the 3 miles. Amazingly, still no pain!
As I sit here typing this I am feeling twinges, but that is probably because I was vacuuming downstairs for an hour.

Sweet relief. I am so encouraged.

Hitting the gym tomorrow morning before work.

Yea! I’m running on trails again!

Strong Roots

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Strong Roots

Today was my first trail run in over a month. It felt good to be out in the sun breathing the ocean air.  I have to map my run on dailymile.com to see how far I went, but it was somewhere around 3 miles. I ran the second half 2 minutes faster than the firs, which was hard because of so much uphill.  I was reminded again of my theme for this year, which God has been speaking to me about: Perseverance.

Ahhhh, yes. No matter how many times I stumble around obstacles or am waylaid by injury or sickness, I get back up and go run again. It’s the same old story pounded out step by step. In the past, I would get sidetracked by long standing struggles which would take so long I eventually ended up distracted by other choices. For example, I would work out for 5 months straight (almost daily) and then end up doing nothing for months. Distractions such as stress from work or travelling, etc would lead to a loss of the healthy habit.

In my coaching training and while being coached, I learned lots of great strategies to minimize these problems, but ultimately it comes down to my WILL to move forward, to not give up. Perseverance is a mental muscle that needs exercised. Just as with running I am building more muscles fibers, I’m deepening the connections for my mental muscles also. To mix a metaphor, I view it as growing deep roots so that eventually the inevitable distractions and hardships that cross my trail will not send me completely off my path.

On the trail today, after a big storm with 50-60 mph winds, a big tree was felled across my path. As I ran around the tree I noticed that although it was toppled, it still had the bottom of its trunk next to where it had been growing with the others. Because of the connectedness of all their roots underground, the rest were still standing. As perseverance is more deeply rooted I think the easier it is to call upon it when it has been neglected. Or maybe, it just “grows back” more quickly like a dormant plant.

I’m too distracted right now by the 5 year old girls needing attention to develop this thought!

The life of the running mom…duty calls!