One of the many things I’ve learned from running is pacing. Many beginners tend to start off too quickly whether it is a long training run or a local road race. The object is to find your pace so that you can run efficiently throughout the race and finish with a kick.
Ironically I’m slow so my pacing is sloth, turtle, tortoise or in other words stop, walk, slog. All kidding aside, I do mind and record my pace more to understand what my body is doing rather than to win a race or obtain a PR.
Being a martial artist and a former nurse and a student of human nature I love learning about the mind-body connection and its effects on our daily lives. For instance yesterday I was feeling less than my usual self, I had a scratchy throat and general malaise – So I skipped my mid-week training run and opted for rest. I paced myself.
Even a few years ago that wouldn’t have happened, I would’ve ignored the signals my body was giving me and I would have gutted out the run. Probably feeling aggravated because nothing felt right and could have injured myself or exacerbated my mild cold symptoms to a full-blown bronchitis or pneumonia (it’s happened in the past).
Not running wasn’t the only way I paced myself, I also got extra rest and rescheduled a few tasks I had in my calendar. I’ve also learned to say no (not an easy task for me). Putting my health first has me saying no for the moment and rescheduling or if the task is too large absolutely no. A student of mine phrased it well when he told me, “It is easier to change a no to a yes, than a yes to a no.” He is right, how often do we agree to do something as a favor and it becomes a huge burden on your mental and physical health? By putting you first, pacing your self – You’ll make it to the end, of a race, a run and more importantly a healthy life…
I often place unneeded pressure on myself; For instance the essence of this blog is “thoughts from the run”, but what if I don’t want to share those thoughts? See what I mean? I’ve sort of promised more than I’m sometimes willing to keep… In my defense when I first started running seriously every run was filled with some sort of amazing revelation (at least to me). Whether it was about my journey, what I was experiencing or just how I was feeling. Now that I’ve been running (slogging) fairly seriously for a year, I’m finding my thoughts are more mine and for me only.Emotions or issues I’m dealing with and finding clarity from the run.
Turning 60 last year was amazing one of my best years ever, I was able to travel and experience new adventures, met new friends and reached new goals. I was running with rose colored glasses. That was until the end of last October when I found out a friend of mine was experiencing a serious health threat. That shook me hard! Many of my runs following that news consisted of Why, Why has this happened? Why this person? Why am I so lucky?
I thought about some of my Facebook posts and past blogs where I preached my training beliefs trying to inspire others but wondering if I was coming off as a bragger, or a know it all. Was I excited to share my new found passion for running or was I preaching?
These thoughts still occupy much of my runs, as do the worries about my parents aging, my neighbor’s health, my business’s future (my future ), but here is a thought that came to me today as I was running my neighbor hood route. The first mile is an incline and it can be a challenge somedays but then I turn a corner and the terrain levels out, another corner and it’s downhill all the way home…
I thought that profound (at least I think so) observation was worth sharing; There are always going to be hills to climb but if we continue to keep moving forward one step at a time there will be corners to turn and an easy run home…
Keep moving forward…
These past few days I’ve seen woman, who are friends, family members or clients who are fried. This is evident by all the tears, headaches, colds and dark circles I’ve noticed. I’m sure the season has something to do with it, but my guess is these woman are putting them selves last.
Putting your own needs last is what woman do. We are wired to put the needs of others first. Your family’s needs are one thing but many of these woman have put committees, causes and other out side influences ahead of them selves as well. Which is admirable but not always wise, I’m not saying to give up volunteering, however you need to consider your self too.
Most of us have ridden on a plane and have witnessed the safety lecture in which the flight attendant explains what to do when the oxogen masks are deployed. They tell you to place yours on first if you have children! This is so you can be alert enough to care for them. Utilize this safety instruction with your everyday lives. Do one thing for yourself each day put your self first. By doing this we are more physically, mentally and spiritually ready to take care of everyone else!
Be kind to you…
It was only twenty seconds out of every minute, but I was running! Something that I haven’t done in six weeks. It doesn’t matter how far,fast or what my splits were. The only thing I cared about was I ran and I was pain free! This small start got me thinking about how I’ve taken my health, my body and my life for granted. This small detour has given me better perspective on what’s important to me. Yes, running a half marathon would be a wonderful challenge and accomplishment. However, just being able to run to enjoy the miracle of my body, is far more important to me. Not that I’m no longer setting goals for myself,but now I’m reevaluating which goals are most important. I’m focusing on the one thing that will allow me to accomplish the many… Simply put I’m taking care of me, when I am centered and healthy, the life I want revolves around me.
Starting over with my running and how my life runs…
One of the reasons I’m attracted to running is very little is required, except good shoes and time. I’m free of team obligations, expensive equipment,scheduling venues needed to participate, like a tee time. It’s me and where I choose to run. Since I’ve started running this unencumbered philosophy has found it’s way into other areas of my life. I’ve lost twenty-one pounds that kept me from performing at my optimum. My diet has become “cleaner”, lots of fresh vegetables and fruits sometimes eaten raw or as close to their natural state as possible. I’ve spent less time on the computer and watching television. I sleep more peacefully and breathe more fully. Even though I experience the same stressors in my life, I’m far less stressed. It amazes me how deciding to run has transpired into all I just wrote about. The ripple effect personified!
We all need to be freer of the chains we burden ourselves with. I’m always drawn to the scene from A Christmas Carol, when Marley appears to Scrooge. Marley is burdened with chains and when Scrooges asks about them, Marley answers that these chains were forged in my life time. How many have we forged? I know running isn’t for everyone but what could you do? Remember one simple act will cause a ripple effect, all you need to do is act…
BTW you will be visited by three spirits,
The more conversations I have with friends, family, clients or strangers, the more I realize how everyone is stressed! Burdened with worries of the economy, aging parents, growing children and struggling relationships (including with ourselves). We are physically and mentally spent. All you have to do is watch the evening news and see how many advertisements there are for antacids, antidepressants, hair restoration, impotency medication and pain relievers! These are all medications to relieve symptoms of a body/mind overwhelmed! I’m not discounting the benefits of any of these medications or treatments but I’m promoting PREVENTION FIRST!
I teach martial arts for a living, self-defense is a major part of what I teach. The most important aspect of self-defense is being in shape to defend yourself! What have you done lately about your diet? Food is fuel. Are you fueling your body with good nutrients that will maintain optimal function? Are you exercising your body to keep it strong and mobile? Are you feeding you spirit with prayer and meditation? Are you feeding your mind with good information? Poor physical, and spiritual states lead to the “Blues” start defeating the blues by getting outdoors and walk, jog, or dare I say run! The endorphins you produce, the calories that you burn and the stress you WILL relieve may save more than a trip to the doctors for one of the aforementioned medications.
Maybe just maybe you may De-Feet The Blues…
Have you exercised today?
A body in motion stays in motion… Taking time to rest while training is probably more difficult for me than getting up and working out! The trick is having days off scheduled along with your workouts. Over training is as bad as under training. Finding a happy medium where you can get optimal performance without injury or fatigue is difficult.
Life is also a workout – We need to have Rest-Stops along the way so we can be at our best for our families, our jobs and for ourselves. Resting mindfully, not just taking a day off from working out or work, but finding a way to recuperate mentally and physically. Reading something spiritual, listening to good music, cooking a healthy meal, meditation… All ways we engage our senses and replenish our body/mind.
There isn’t music without rests, its just one note. So let your life be a symphony write in the rests…