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"Don't let your happiness depend on something you may lose." ~C. S. Lewis

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Archive for the ‘2014 Races’ Category

PostHeaderIcon A new routine

I like to tweak how I prep for a race, given that I haven’t yet had a race where I think “ok, that’s it, it was a perfect prep, race and post-race experience!” Surely I can enjoy perfection of the moments I experience, and I can also tweak  various aspects to test out theories and outcomes. Actually have done it dozens of times over all these many races, whether newly bringing GU into the mix, or changing shoe companies, or shifting my pre race routines.

So, I’m two weeks out from race #30. Often times I attempt a no caffeine/no alcohol regimen the week leading up. And that works whether it’s a big travel effort to get to or not for the race. However, the last year or so, I’ve allowed myself to enjoy, like in 2010 and 2011, a drink or two two nights before or day of. And/or day of. Didn’t used to affect me too negatively before but I know my body is shifting, so what might have worked or not worked a year ago doesn’t necessarily apply.

Two weeks no alcohol at all. Not a glass. I always feel great drinking only lightly or not at all. This time it’s truly about seeing how my body responds both these next two weeks and on race day itself. Curious about dehydration at that level of energy expenditure. Plus I’ll likely have great sleep for WEEKS leading up to the race, which can only have a positive net effect. I can honestly say I’ve enjoyed the races where I cut it out the week in advance but having not done two weeks prior, I’m pretty curious how it will positively play out. Sure, going to SF and connecting with friends will then require some will power in those few nights before the race. And all bets are off as I head to Sonoma a few days after the race. But, this is a little mission I’m on to test another theory of the body.

I imagine it will make training and tapering smoother as well. Like purifying the machinery. And focusing on possibility. I’ve got some hills to train for, plus speed and strength work to indulge in. So, there’s some comfort in routine, the routine that works, plus within that, then always willing to try something new. Ha, I shared that with a training friend of mine, about my running and methods and then I said that outlook pretty much applies to how I live my life and he said, wow, you would’ve made some lucky guy a great wife and family! Yes, well, thank you buddy, I agree but it’s about running and my next professional leaps these days. And right here, where I’ll be chronicling each day’s training heading into the Rock n Roll SF Half on April 6!

PostHeaderIcon A gift

“Running is a gift I give myself. Even on days when everything seems to go wrong, I treat myself to the satisfaction of a run and then everything seems right again.” Arthur Blank

Not sure I could relate more to this concept. It’s so very true for me. It didn’t used to be, but when I shifted or evolved the relationship I have with running, with my body, the why – it is.

When you’re motivated by the outside-in gratification, whether praise or admiration from others or from the idea that you can burn the calories you ingested last night or a few days ago or that it’s what you look like in the mirror or to others, it’s quite easy to push, procrastinate, reschedule a run. Or whatever physical activity you connect with. But. When the motivation is peace of mind, clarity of purpose and unraveling of thoughts. That makes going for a run about the easiest thing to fit into the day’s schedule as anything.

There are days when I’m going a thousand miles an hour, with meetings and readings and calls and emails to take care of all morning and mid day. Then the mid afternoon sneaks up on me, I realize I still have a few hours of work to do, plus a few evening schedule phone calls and when, oh when, is that run or workout going to get in there? The old me, the differently-motivated me, would say, oh, I don’t have time today. I will get to it tomorrow. I’ll do a double run or two a day for a couple days to “make up” for it.

It doesn’t make up for it. I lose out on the mental, emotional and spiritual benefits by pushing it out a day. I don’t run the next day and go back in time to apply those benefits to the previous day. Doesn’t work like that. So. I crave the run. I crave the experience and the clearing out of the physical activity. The best part is, when I extract myself from whatever activity seems to be so darn pressing at the time, and get outside and begin to move my body the way it was meant to move, everything shifts. The stress of whatever it was dissipates. The tangle of thoughts unravel. The breath deepens.

Always worth it to take that moment. It doesn’t have to be exactly that schedule of a day. I was facing a very stressful meeting mid day a couple weeks ago. The old me would’ve waited until post meeting to do the run, because “I don’t have time.” And then the expending of energy to do said meeting would’ve most likely made me push the run after to the weekend. But. I chose differently this time. I rose early that day, as I tend to do when firing on all cylinders and/or wanting to fire on all cylinders, and did some work and study. And then at 8am went for a quick run. It was a gift I gave myself. I knew it would pay dividends, in benefits unseen too, for the meeting and beyond. Just the act of taking care of me instead of succumbing to the stress and expectations of sacrifice was empowering.

And I was back in a half hour. A half hour. That’s it. Most people spend three times that looking at Facebook and Twitter in a day. I gave myself that gift and it most certainly paid off with a nearly Zen me for the meeting. Sure I felt the surge of adrenaline and felt the rush of the emotional charge of the people involved. But I didn’t wind myself up in an unhealthy way nor did any stress I felt last very long. I went into the meeting feeling capable, confident and calm.

It’s addicting, in all the best ways, this habit of consciously choosing to take care of myself this way. To plan for the known  benefits of the run or workout – whether during a busy time or just plain old consistency. The brain works better. I work better. My heart works better. I think more clearly and see more clearly. It most definitely sets things “right” again. And that’s a well I will return to over and over again.

PostHeaderIcon The muse of running

It’s not a tight butt, or great legs, or flat stomach, or strong core, or general better health, or strong heart rate. The muse of running is a clear creative mind.

Sound simple? It is. It’s the number one reason I run. All the other are side benefits, and can be awesome and can also be their own motivators. But strong mind, ad strong heart as in the spirit heart not necessarily the cardiovascular heart, is the real muse. The motivator. The raison d’être. God bless the ability to run and the realization for it’s true gifts.

Is running itself the muse or does running inspire or create the muse? Not quite sure on that. But. I see that as semantics really. Either way it is incredible and bubbles up such extraordinary gratitude within me, I can’t wait to run again or feel into a run experience. The gifts are ever-present, ever-expanding and ever-generous.

Heading out for a run. I get to head out for a run! Ahh, sweet life.

PostHeaderIcon The walker in the runner

So I have been walking a lot lately. All centered around one of the greatest dogs of all time. And it’s been interesting certainly because it is without question a different way to engage the legs. For a while, once I got regularly into walking her and almost always a solid 2.5 miles, I was wearing my same running shoes. Or rather, the more relaxed Newtons that I own. But the lugs under the ball of the foot kept bothering me, and in fact, causing some foot and full leg issues.

So I got a little smart and I switched to my Nike frees. And suddenly the joy in the walk came roaring back. Before it was an effort, almost boring but also kind of painful. And, not only that, but it actually then negatively affected my actual running. I felt twinges in my right toes and soreness around the balls of the feet, as well as tightness in glutes and hamstrings. But now! Now, the walk seems to be, well, freer! And enjoyable, and even quicker.

What I don’t quite know yet is how supportive, helpful or foundational the many additional walks are to my running routine. With my next race five and a half weeks away, I shall find out!

PostHeaderIcon What does running mean?

What does it mean? Running. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

For me, what it means, is freedom.

Freedom in the moment. In the moment of the act of running itself. Freedom from whatever might’ve been pulling me back or pulling at me before I went for the run. Freedom from the constraints and small thoughts of the mind. Freedom from stress. Freedom from lethargy. Freedom from my comfort zone. Freedom from routine. Freedom from stepping backwards. Freedom from judgment, self imposed or outside received. Freedom from darkness. Freedom from whatever might be weighing down the spirit.

It also means accomplishment. And far from a race. It’s about follow through. Not just follow through in the arc of training and achieving the finish of the race itself. More than that. It’s follow through of the intention that day or that week to go for a run. It required of me to change clothes, to be present and intentional, to make shit happen. There are steps to making the run happen. And even at those times when it seems inconsequential or the run feels “small”, the actual act of doing it and making it happen is the sustained elation and energy throughout the rest of the day.

And it means love. Self love. Because of giving and gifting myself the freedom the run brings and the follow through that brings the sense of satisfaction of accomplishment. If I truly stay in the moment of it all, how could it not feel good? How could it be anything than exactly what it’s supposed to be, that run, that day, that moment?

Ah, the beauty of the run. The gorgeousness of movement. The bliss of energy purposefully given to self.

PostHeaderIcon Pattern Interrupt

Wow. Something has definitely shifted. The journey of the run continues. After being on an energetic freight train of happiness and productivity to ultimate success and things just click clacking along, along comes the giant sea monster rising swift and fierce to grab and claw at me, trying to bring me udner, hold me down and ultimately drown me. Been here before. And yes, fully aware a sea monster from the ocean and a train don’t exactly make for sense-making.

Been here before as in there’ve been times where this sea monster – and the waves I used to think I HAD to ride, that I rode to impress others, prove something to others and feed my own ego. I own that. There’s been times during these last few years that crisis have occurred and I throw myself on the sword and pull myself down onto it. And yet I know when I run, more now than ever because my approach to it and my perspective has shifted so profoundly, that I gain clarity, peace and freedom. And so. Last Spring is a great example. The sea explodes into a storm again and I find myself 24/7 dealing with crisis, personalities and wild assumptions of ill intent. Then when I  believe it would be best to take a small break and go for a run, I found myself beyond exhausted – physically and spent emotionally.

Not a run was had. For over a week. And it was a long tedious week. Drawn out days, late nights and early mornings instantly on email and phone calls. None of it was to move my dreams forward but to proselytize myself to a cause I’d long since become disillusioned about. And yet, I didn’t choose me. Not for the amount of time I spent being overly available (people take and assume as much time as you give them) nor every time I chose NOT to run.

I felt it. Acutely. But the flip hadn’t switched yet. I’d yet to meet some of the new angels coming into my path. And the angels who’d already arrived I’d not chosen to open myself up to quite yet. The train was still in the station being inspected, cleaned and beginning to load supplies for a new track. Heck, sometimes the track wasn’t even clear in it’s direction then.

Fast forward nearly a year. Many a time in that span I was pulled under by the sea monster. Much time sacrificed, business launches put on hold, healing postponed. Tastes of what’s to come continue to invite, and tme spent with the monster continued as well. And then I made a choice. I stuck with an original plan to go to a running event instead of sacrifice myself again for the sea. I showed the universe what I wanted and what I was committed too and what I was willing to choose. Me. And I caught hell from a few small minded folks. But I stuck to it.

I believe there was a shift that occurred there, or that act of choosing in those moments helped push the shift along. And so, a few months later, just after I was given a gift of a calm sea and easeful graceful parting, a storm came crashing down. In the midst of the most beautiful opening to a new XXX too.

My default kicked in and I practiced awareness. I was initially surrounded by beautiful light workers who saw the pain and continued to call to me through the fog. Reminders. Awareness. Inspiration. I literally felt like I was suddenly caught in a tide sweel, the spot where an ocean tide coming in meets a river mouth and it’s pulling you under. You occasionally grasp a breath or feel the strength to push up and wave frantically. Oh, you feel the sand beneath you and with all your strength launch in any direction to escape the swirling energy of the pull. It’s almost futile, in fact you wonder if you’re making it worse. Water keeps filling your mouth as you gasp for air, you feel the fatigue in your arms as your heart continues to race. Not again, you say. Not again.

And you’re right. Not again! I drowned a bit but not all the way. Newfound strength that I found within my soul popped and I found myself paddling, using long forgotten swimming strokes to direct me and newfound strength in my legs to propel me away. I didn’t crash onto shore and lay there panting. I strode confidently up onto the beach and went for a run.

For real. I could’ve stayed in my hotel room and continued to email, call and generally angst. And Lord knows I was certainly tired enough to do so. I could feel the pull of the old me, the one last Spring and Fall who would be drowning in the swirling sea and see the lifeline, the bouy, even the shore of my own design and essentially say “nah, I’ll stay here and lose myself again, that’s cool.” As if that made things better.

I did as much as I could with what I had at that time and turned away from the phone and the computer (that sure, was still screaming a bit at me) and changed into running clothes. Headed down to the hotel gym to get my treadmill run on. Wow. Been a while. But it came back quickly. And was ultimately fascinating to me in a way. And I pushed my tired soul past what I initially thought I could do and found the relative ease and true joy in the 30 minutes I gave to myself. It wasn’t traditional pretty but it was me choosing to release and take care of myself in that moment.

It was a pattern interrupt. I did something different this time. Why keep doing the same behavior when it never led to my ultimate higher purpose? I was called to choose to shift. I listened. Followed through. Reaped the rewards. I have not a doubt in the world that the retrun on investment will continue to pya dividends large and small in seen and unseen ways for a long time to come.

Was about to write that it’s not that I didn’t think about said crisis’ while running, but in recollecting, actually, aside from seeing texts come in until I turned my phone over, I didn’t. I thought about the run, the journey up, the pattern interrupt. I dealt a little bit longer with things post-run but realizing that I was creating my own drowning and my sensitive seeing self was taking entirely far too much on my shoulders, and that nothing was a life-threathening emergency or even close to it, took myself to grab a salad.

And met two more amazing angels to connect with and shine the brigher side of life, bring me back into the me that is now, the mea that I can and do love. Beautiful reminders so quickly, awareness so easily, gifts in the moment. Wow. Twas meant to be. I chose differently and the reward was instant. I literaly thanked the stars as I walked back to my hotel, as they displayed themselves so brilliantly above me. I pivoted quicker than ever to my true core, true north, true self.

And all because of a pattern interrupt during a completely unplanned, unexpected, undesired resurgence of the very thing I’m gracefully leaving behind. Ah, beautiful lessons abound. And gratitude too. Running’s gifts continue to amaze and inspire.