Who Are You Racing Against?

My plan to stay motivated is working so far. I got up and did my week 11 day 2 run at 6:30 this morning. Right from the start, this was a very different beast from Sunday’s run. There was more wind for one thing, and I got slowed down in multiple places trying to cross busy […]

A Running Slump

My dear friend, clear your mind of can’t. -Samuel Johnson This morning was the first time I’ve gone for a run in a week. I’ve been locked in a battle with my alarm clock (well, I would be if I used an actual alarm clock), and my run has been losing. I’m always amused by […]

My Disembodied Body

Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding. -Khalil Gibran Remember last week when I wrote out a conversation between “me” and “my hip”? My hip was hurting on a recent run, and before accepting the pain and modifying my activity I disowned a piece of my own body. I do that […]

Eye of the Tiger, baby!

  A funny thing happened when I started tracking my runs with Strava: I started pushing myself harder. Funny how that works, isn’t it? I finally saw the full consequence of that little bit of extra push on my run this morning. This run. It’s another interval practice on my 10K trainer: run 15 minutes, […]

A Challenge I Could Do

I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying. -Michael Jordan

I am running longer and farther than I ever thought I was capable of, and it’s an amazing feeling. I expected training for a 10K would challenge me both mentally and physically.

The challenge I didn’t expect is not to my lungs, legs, heart, or will to carry on. It’s to my resolve to be kind to myself.

This morning’s run was the start of a new week, and it was tough. There’s a disclaimer at the beginning of the 10K trainer that these runs are supposed to be challenging, and to not be surprised if you have to repeat them before you’re ready to move on.

Intellectually I can accept that.

It presented me with a dilemma this morning. I had just moved into the next round of intervals and it became pretty apparent during my second 15 minute stretch that I was going to have a very, very hard time finishing the third one.

As I pushed myself physically, I was going to have to try to find the line between doing as much as I was capable of, and not pushing myself too hard. I don’t like leaving things unfinished, you see. I am apparently very susceptible to the sunk cost fallacy.

It wasn’t until this morning that I realized I was challenging my self-kindness at all. I knew I had reached the point it was time to stop when my form really started to suffer. To run those final 3.5 minutes of that last interval wouldn’t have been kind or healthy for me, it was going to be too much.

I get a lot of satisfaction from finishing a run and making progress toward my 2015 goal. Today I got a lot of satisfaction from finding my limit and not going over it. Today I was testing my capacity for self-love, and I passed the test.

I can’t wait to test myself again on Thursday!

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A Bittersweet Day

Inhale: 1, 2 Exhale: 1, 2, 3 It’s somewhere around 6:30 am. I’ve been out here for a while and I have a couple miles left to go. I never wear a watch, so time moves strangely. Really, it’s as though I’m out of the time stream entirely. All I can feel are my feet […]

And You Can Sing Along

Coming home from a medical appointment yesterday, I did something I haven’t done in a long, long time: I sang along with my music as I walked down the street.

I still vividly remember the last time I did this. (Annnnd I’m about to date myself, good thing my about page already has that listed!) I was at the farmer’s market with my mom, listening to a Paula Abdul tape in my Walkman.

I think this is the one I had.
I think this is the one I had.

I was so excited to be alive to hear music that I loved, I was singing along out of pure enthusiasm for the moment and for my life. Here was my mom’s reaction:

You shouldn’t sing out loud in public. Especially with music other people can’t hear. You sound terrible.

Thanks, Mom.

The criticism stuck though, I spent many years thinking how bad it would be if I sang in public. So I shoved down that little spontaneous part of me who wants to sing along with an awesome song as I walk down the street.

Then, yesterday, I finally allowed myself to reconnect with that spontaneous and joyful reaction to really feeling a song. I heard those old, hurtful words in my head and just let them go.

Yesterday I reclaimed the silly part of me who sings and dances to music only I can hear while I walk down the street. Not for anyone else. For myself. For the joy of just being alive.

I found this picture from 2014 recently. That's me singing and playing my guitar. Also, I still have that shirt.
I found this old picture recently. That’s me singing and playing my guitar. Also, I still have that shirt.

How about you? Anything you’d like to reclaim today?


If you’re wondering about the song, it was “A Murder of One” by Counting Crows (Yup, still dating myself.) It begins with one of my favorite lyrics of all time:

Blue morning, blue morning, wrapped in strands of fist and bone.

Finally, yes, the post title is another Buffy the Vampire Slayer reference.

Slowing Down

I have so much to do today that I am going to meditate for two hours instead of one -Mahatma Gandhi

Yesterday I finally kept a promise to myself; way back in the winter I decided that one day, when the weather was warm, I would sit under a tree by the lake and meditate for as long as my heart desired.

I haven’t felt so free in a very long time. The strong winds, pounding waves, the movement of the grass and leaves, I felt like they were allowing me to finally release some of my old wounds. After those two hours, I felt lighter than I have in a long time.

It was a revelation in many ways, but one thing that struck me the most yesterday was how much time I seemed to have for the rest of the day. Normally, my days go whizzing by in a whirlwind of activity and thought. Yesterday I was constantly amazed by how early in the day it was. I’m sure that part of that is that I set no tasks for myself beyond the meditation and eating.

There’s more to it than that though. I had my phone and computer off all day (well, until I caved at 6:00 pm), and I focused on one thing at a time.

It inspired me to try a mini-experiment: for the next week, I have turned off the email alerts on my phone. In fact, the only alerts I’ve allowed are phone calls and texts.

So far, I love it! I’m so used to being immediately reachable via email that I thought it would feel like I’d lost a part of myself. Instead, I feel more able to really focus on the task at hand.

I have been just as productive today as I would be on one of my whirlwind days (I ran, I went to yoga class, I cooked for myself, I ran errands, I did laundry, and now I’m writing this post!), but I feel much calmer than I normally do.

I think a two hour meditation day is going to become a weekly event! How about you? Have you tried anything similar? How did it work for you?

Daily Mantras

I love mantras. I used to think they were silly, but that was such a long time ago that I honestly can’t remember what changed my mind. Now I use them all the time. Whenever I feel upset, anxious, or just disconnected from my body, I have a lovely little touchstone that’s always right there.

I like this journal for mantras and general life-improvement ideas and plans.
I like this journal for mantras and general life-improvement ideas and plans.

I’ve had what I might call a life mantra for several years now. It changes every few months as my life and needs for it evolve. Whenever I feel adrift or unfocused it’s nice a nice reminder of where my life is right now.

This past weekend I was finishing up my lymphatic drainage and visceral manipulation training, and I was feeling a little apprehensive about it. It takes a great amount of trust for someone to allow their organs to be manipulated. I am literally moving around the fluids and tissues of their soft underbelly. The practitioner needs to have a clear intention of what they are working with, and be absolutely attuned to their client.

Add in the distraction of the other students, the traffic noise outside, and the general nerves that come from being new to a technique and it can be hard to focus.

A mantra to the rescue! Both mornings before class I would sit and write my daily mantra in that cute little journal. Whenever I felt nervous or in danger of losing my intention I had the right words to bring me back.

It was so helpful, that I’ve decided to continue the practice in my everyday life. Taking the time to sit quietly, come up with the right words, and then write them down is a wonderful way to start the day.

Alpha what?

My monthly resolutions post seems to have struck a chord with people in real life, which has been pretty neat. I thought it would be fun to revisit that concept and my results from last month.

Resolution:

I decided to meditate on my mat instead of in bed and eat a light snack.

Results:

Mat meditation: I chose this one because I kept falling asleep during my guided meditations when I did them in bed. I thought lying on a thin mat on the hard floor would help. While it did make it easier to stay awake for the entire guided meditation, I think then having to get up and go to the bedroom woke me up enough to really limit the usefulness of this one.

Snack: Despite my best intentions (and written reminders) I only remembered to do this one a couple of times. I can’t seem to wrap my mind around the concept of eating anything before bed.

Conclusion:

I’m calling both of these a bust even though the snack didn’t get a fair trial.

Do I feel discouraged by this result? Not at all, because it’s June. New month! This month I’m going back to meditating in bed, but propped upright with pillows. I’m also listening to alpha wave music as I fall asleep. Last night the music was kind of overwhelming, but I want to give it a decent chance. If I don’t like it, I get to try something new in July!