Tag Archives: running

Running with Listening in Mind


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



B.A.B #1 Power, Joy & Strength

English: Hope Solo

English: Hope Solo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This morning while I lay in bed awake at 4:30 am, the words Power, Joy and Strength were running through my mind. Recently, I watched an informercial on athletic workout DVDs that focused on giving a person the hard work out of an elite athlete. Olympic athletes, like Apollo Ono and Hope Solo, were in the video promoting it. On the topic of power, Ono commented that without explosive power at the end of a race, power that you can draw on when your muscles are absolutely exhausted, you won’t be winning any gold medals.

We need to develop that type of power in our lives when we accomplish various tasks also. We might not have the pressure of an Olympic medal hanging over us, but we can still use the same idea.

To get the power, you train and push yourself beyond your limits, when you are exhausted at the end and want to quit. Then of course, you recover from that workout, so that your Strength builds also. This is nothing like pushing yourself beyond your limits on the road to burnout.

This is strategically planned and executed for the maximum results. A vital part of any training is the rest period. Without that, you’ll never reach your potential.

I like being practical and having techniques and tools and strategies that are effective to advance in my goals in life. It is important to have a roadmap, so you actually arrive at your destination one day. Now, I love a good rabbit hole and less traveled road as any person with an adventurous spirit, but there are times I have to contain myself with some parameters so that I don’t wander so far off course (which can be very exciting) that I never arrive. Life is about the process and I get that, but my world view does not include endless reincarnations of the soul. There comes a point when this dimension of life is over and your soul, yourself, moves on to another dimension of eternity.  Getting to that point is the ultimate end in a sense. Metaphors involving running the race and finishing strong are sprinkled all through the writings of St. Paul.

That tension of living in the process, in the present moment, for that is all we have really, we can’t live in the past or future, combined with having an actual completion of this phase of life as we know it here on earth…well, that tension is challenging to live within. If you are too focused on crossing the finish line, so to speak, you miss everything that makes up your “life” in the here and now.

There can be no joy without being here now. Joy is not something that you run after, instead you invite it in during the mundane and exciting details of your everyday life. There has to be joy experienced, allowed, absorbed during the process or there really never is any joy at all

Joy can be found in all situations and states of being, although some are a lot harder than other to see it. Those elite athletes didn’t always experience joy doing their grueling workouts, but many times they did. The joy of concentration, effort and pain, even, are all included. The afterglow of joy in the sense and actuality of the accomplishment is also a part of this.

©Michelle Hess, 2012, All Rights Reserved

Toddling through Slumps


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!

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.

On the road again…


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!

Back on Track


I’ve been in a slump the past 2.5-3 weeks. I pushed too hard to fast (not just with running, but with diet also) and I wore myself out. I needed to coach myself out of it (and get some encouragement/reality checks from my sister!).

Deeper issues were pushing the slump and awareness is the first step in dealing with that. I’ve realized how my healing from depression is playing itself out. The process is important so that my mind is changed, my habits are transformed and I makes choices that result in a new homeostasis–a new set point.

I have much to say on this topic, but needed to just do a quick update to get the release started.

Ran 4.3 miles today on the beautiful trail by the ocean. It was a good run!

How long can your intervals be?


The doctor reminded me yesterday that I need to do intervals to maximize weight loss. I can’t always be meandering about at my slow and steady pace for miles and miles (ok, for a few miles!). Later, I realized that I usually run negative splits on my long runs, so my question is, How long can the intervals be to function for max weight loss?

It was a good change to make today, running intervals on the muddy trail. I alternated between faster running, medium running and fast walking. I did this for 54 minutes with an additional half mile warm up/down.

Running faster than normal, breathing heavily, felt good. Usually, I run slower to conserve energy so that I can run as far as possible. (I want to run my first half marathon SOMETIME this year!) I loved pushing hard knowing that the chimes would sound soon on my Podrunner Intervals so I could slow down!

My legs were burning the last 20 minutes of intervals. I didn’t have much energy left at that point, so it was mainly willpower.

Anyway, there are longer intervals on the Podrunner program (get it on itunes), with 10 minute intervals. Would that still have the same effect as 90 second intervals? Or does it go more into burning your fat stores?

Oh sage runners out there let me know your answers!

Strong Roots

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!