Slowing down and being resistant

resistanceI don’t know about you but slowing down is a struggle for me.  In everyday life, with everyday situations I work my hardest to get the outcome I want and know if I slow down I may not get it.  I work hard and want to reap the rewards.  But sometimes it takes slowing down to reap the rewards.

I know, I know, that does not make sense.  Here is my take on it.  We need to slow down to enjoy the journey.  We need to slow down and look around and appreciate what is there.  Appreciate what we are doing, the process.  Life is more about the journey than the end product.  And best of all I think the end product will be better because we have taken the time to enjoy the ride (Oh and life is a ride!).

Right now at our house there is a LOT of things up in the air.  One example is my house itself.  We are in the middle or mid beginning of remodeling.  Not quite sure how to describe it other than we have our living room floor in but plywood in the kitchen and bathroom, a toilet on our back porch and half my kitchen in my living room (which does make it easy to get a drink since the fridge is only 10 feet away from the couch!).   I want to speed this process up because it sucks to come home to chaos at the end of the day.  Also we have some transitions in jobs that are happening and that is a stressor I would much rather skip thank you very much!

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My local rail trail. What a beautiful place to run.

So how do I handle these things and not be so resistant to change, enjoy the change and the adventure.  Well for me, I try something new with running.  Why not?  It’s my stress reliever!  Today I began working on slowing down my running.  I know it sounds weird that I would try to slow down when most of the time we are all trying to speed up but I’ve been trying to figure out how to go father and keep a stronger pace.  All the stuff I have been reading has been talking about slowing down to be able to run further and actually in the end go faster.  I don’t know about you but I struggle to slow down and then by the end of my runs I am pushing myself to the extreme and then I am faster but at the expense of the rest of my body.  I’m exhausted, my old, tired body becomes more sore and struggles in the repair stage/rest stage.

Today I worked on trying to stay in a low intensity state of mind and time by running at what I thought was a low intensity.  You are supposed to do this with a heart rate monitor but I forgot mine so I went by feel.  I figured that if I went at least a minute slower than what I thought, I would be about 80% of my effort and hopefully in the low intensity area.  Not sure where I got a minute from but when I read about elite athletes they mentioned running some runs 2 mins slower than their actual race pace.  Since I am a weekend warrior, I figured one minute would be good.  The whole philosophy is to run most of your training runs at low intensity effort and the other 20% at high or moderate intensity.  Here is a link for a better description from Running Times.

I’m hoping it works.  Today it felt pretty good.

That brings me back to slowing down…

IMG_1475At first it was hard.  It was hard to wrap my head around being outside doing the 10 mile distance and it taking longer than usual.  It was hard to keep a slower pace.  It was hard to hold back.  But I started to get out of my head, look around a little more, just enjoy the fact I was doing something I really enjoy and feel each step.  It began to get easier, I started saying “Hi” to everyone on the trail, smiled a little more, and enjoyed the breeze at my back (then hitting me in the face on the return).  The benefit was that I enjoyed the journey.  When I got done, I was ready to be done, but I wasn’t hurting from pushing too hard, I wasn’t upset that it was in the 80’s and I should have gone out earlier, I was relaxed.  I felt like I listened to my body and my head was in a better place.  Overall I would say it was a success and I am looking forward to training for my next marathon this way and hoping that it will work.  And as far as slowing down and enjoying my everyday life journey, that still needs work but I think I learned some things to help:

1) Quit being resistant!

2) Change is okay and necessary.

3) I need to smile more and enjoy the journey.

4) Stay in the present moment embrace what is going on maybe even finding solace in the chaos.

5) The change will make you better and stronger!

It’s amazing what a good long run will do for your brain!  🙂  Happy Running!

 Anyone ever tried this plan?  Did it work for you?  How about slowing down in general, do you struggle with this as much as I do?

Quick snack after the run.  Cold pizza and a protein drink.  Probably should work on my diet next!  :-)

Quick snack after the run. Cold pizza and a protein drink. Probably should work on my diet next! 🙂

 

Life’s ups and downs

I seem to disappear a lot from the blog world… sorry.   I try to come here and write inspirational stuff or stuff that I think people would like to read, which in reality is completely different than why I started this blog.  So I was thinking just writing would be good for me, so here I am.

My life is having some recent ups and downs… after the marathon I was down, then I got into the Chicago Marathon and found myself up.  Yeah for a new goal to drive you to keep going.  I also had a great run in a last minute half marathon I signed up for.  It was on my birthday and was really fitting that I was turning 43 and had the number 430 as well as the race being on the 9th of May and it was my 9th half marathon.  I would say the stars all aligned.

I now find myself a little down once again.  I think this is because my training has no goal at this point.  It’s not time to start the training for the marathon but who wants to lose all that fitness from my last full marathon.  So I try to run at least 3 times a week and figure I should just stay in my old training plan adding the bike in and core work.  But still I struggle with a funk.  I understand the post marathon blues but I’m hoping this is still not it.  As a therapist I would tell myself to try to stay out of my head and do things I love.  Here is the problem… I am doing the things I love and they cause me to be in my head.

At home we have some job changes happening and I am finding that I am not good with change.  Okay there I said it.  I like normalcy, I like a plan, I CRAVE structure.  You throw in uncertainty and change and I seem to lose my mind.  We are also remodeling and living at home while doing it.  We have a good contractor but one who seems to have us wedged in to time that he has available.  So that means one room gets done and then we wait for a week or two for the next room to get done.   Now you have a runner without a plan, having a house remodeled inside, and job changes and you have a crazy woman with no focus who can’t get away from the craziness who by the end of the week wants to run away.  Don’t worry, if I run away I will always return because this orderly person likes to shower and likes her bed! 🙂

There it is the craziness of some of the ups and downs going on in my life.  I want to sit back and enjoy them and find that having one or two at a time is okay but all at the same time is overwhelming.  So now you know… a therapist is a normal person (oh wait, not sure I ever mentioned that before).  :-0  We struggle too and sometimes the reason we do therapy is because it is therapy for us too.

PS – I will be going for some long runs this weekend and trying to keep my mind in the moment and enjoy the day, at least these are the coping skills I’m going to put to work and hopefully they will work.  🙂

 

 

The Post Marathon Funk

My friends Troy and Nettie who finished the half marathon and waited around for me to cross.

My friends Troy and Nettie who finished the half marathon and waited around for me to cross.

Well the marathon is over, the one I trained so hard for.  17 weeks of training completed and the results… well not at all what I trained for.  So bring on the post marathon funk.  I was ready, I had done everything, and then it happened.  I flew to the race and could not stop sneezing for days.  Basically making it near impossible to meet my goals.  To say I’m sad or in a funk is an understatement.  I felt like this was going to be the one to get me near the 4 hour mark.  But if you have not ever tried to run a marathon while only breathing through your mouth I don’t recommend it,  I found it pretty much impossible.

With the crazy winter we had in New England, I was thankful to hear that the weather was going to be nice and cool and pretty much ideal.  But this is not about the marathon (I promise I will do that recap soon) this is about the funk I have been in since the moment I crossed the finish line. runningquotes2

Let’s just say there were lots of tears and some were from exhaustion while others were from missing the mark.  It was great to have my family and friends at the finish line and be able to share in the finishes of two of my friends for the half marathon.  It was also helpful that two days later I found out that I had been chosen in the Chicago Lottery to run the Chicago Marathon in October.  But then there was the how to get back at it without pushing too hard and still letting my body rest.  This is really hard because running has always been where I process, where I figure out how to deal with expectations when they go awry and how to move on when feeling stuck.

I was able to get a massage which was helpful and then my mom dragged me (it was fun) to Jazzercise with her on Tuesday which was helpful to do something different than the usual routine.  Over the past week I have also had a long run of 8 miles and a few short ones outside (still mouth breathing because of allergies but at least I’m outside.)  Then there is the crazy moment I had last week where I signed up for a half marathon coming up this weekend for my 43rd birthday and mother’s day.

I guess I’m telling you all this to let you know that even though the race was hard and I have been in a funk, I am trying really hard to get back to a routine and move past this disappointment.  Also I’m remembering that running is a gift.  Not everyone can run a marathon and this was my fourth one!  Not everyone can stick to a crazy training plan and keep the motivation going when things get rough and I made it.  So now to focus on my next race, read lots of racing blogs and books and prepare for the 5th marathon in October and who knows… I may meet my goal in Chicago or at least enjoy the adventure. runningquotes