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! 🙂

 

Feeling off and Let down

So for the past few weeks including this week I have only worked 4 days.  I’m not bragging.  On the contrary, I find that it makes me feel a little off.  When I look at the calendar, in fact, I have not worked a full week since early December.  Some of those days I took off due to the holidays but some of those days have been due to the abundant amount of snow we have had in New England.  In fact if you are looking for your snow, I think we have it.  Since the beginning of February we have only had 5 days without snow and I think they were saying that we have over 7 feet of snow since late January.  I love snow but I think I’m done, really I think I am feeling a little off.

I like to have a schedule and I find I work better if I know what is going to happen in my week so these snow days, while I appreciate the time off with my family, I need to get back some normalcy or I think I’m gonna have to talk to my boss about working only 4 day work weeks (not really sure this will fly!).

So that is my feeling off, now on to my feeling let down…

Due to all this snow, I just found out that my half marathon scheduled for this weekend has been canceled and I also won’t be able to get my new jacket that I earned by completing the trilogy of half’s last year (which you could only get by coming to the race and picking it up also, as of right now they are not sure when they will be giving those out).  I get it, I understand that it will not be safe and shockingly they are predicting more snow for this weekend.  I was hopeful that I would finally get to go outside and run because I have been stuck on the treadmill since January.  With all this snow, I might be able to go outside safely in about April.  Now I don’t want this to come across as an all whiny post, in fact, while writing this I was hoping to inject some motivational, inspirational stuff, so here goes…

My training for my marathon is going great.  I have done all my runs on the treadmill and this includes my long weekend runs of 18 or 20 miles on any given weekend.  I’m feeling really strong and hopeful that this marathon in April will go well.

A little shoveling can be used as cross training right… well if so my cross training is going fabulous.  Plus when I am trapped inside, I have found some things I can do to spice up my ab routines and strength training even with my light weights of 5lbs and 10lbs.

Sorry I have been away so long, you would think with the days off I would keep my blog updated but sometimes when you “feel off” it’s pretty hard to think of things to talk about.  So like any good therapist would say, “It’s time to push through this and get back some normalcy” and this is what I intend to do.

Have you ever felt off?  What has gotten you back on?

Ever had a race canceled?  What did you do?

A little snow from about two storms ago.  Just add about another foot to this picture.

A little snow from about two storms ago. Just add about another foot to this picture.

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The escape trail from the back of our place.

Most recent treadmill run with the snow on the way home.

Most recent treadmill run with the snow on the way home.

 

Life Balance

life-balanceAccording to a blog friend’s website (check her out here: Piper’s Run) today is mental health day in Canada.  As a therapist I think that is a great idea and wondering if the US has an actual day like this too.  I’m not sure because really every day is a mental health day for me especially during the work week.

On the blog,  Anna talked about the following questions and gave her personal reflections on them and asked others to do the same.  So here goes:

Question #1: Give your personal definition of life balance.

Having my priorities in the right place and getting the most out of each day.  My life balance includes eating good, exercising daily, spending quality time with my family and friends as well as spending some quality time with myself on a daily basis and if it all doesn’t happen, letting it go and trying again tomorrow.

Question #2: Do you sometimes struggle w/ life balance as a runner? (running taking over, annoying others/not running as much as you want).

Sometimes I find running takes over on the weekends especially when I have to get the long runs in.  My family has been accepting because they know that I am a better person if I take the time for myself.  Plus I feel like it helps my daughter understand that as a women we can get drawn in to doing so many things for others we put ourselves on the back burner and we really need to create better boundaries and make ourselves a priority.

Question #3:  Have you ever made a physical list of what your priorities actually are? Whether yes or no, what are the top 3?

I feel like a makes lists daily for what is the priority of the day.  I may not write them all down but they are always swirling in my head.  But my top three priorities will always be family, spiritual/mental health and physical health (although those two are intertwined so easily).  Everything else makes itself a priority after that, like what do I need to get done today?!

Question #4: Have you ever taken a few days & tracked your time & see how you actually use it? Work, sleep, TV, phone, family, running, etc 

Not really.  I think I have a pretty good idea because I do have a training log for my running and I can tell that I spend a lot of time in the exercise world and know that I usually spend 8 hours at work per day during the week as well as try to get at least 8 hours of sleep each night (cause I love my sleep).  So If I add that all up I would say that is about 18 or 19 hour accounted for some I’m assuming the rest is at home with family or running some errands. lifebalance

Question #5: If you feel like things are unbalanced, how do you hit reset? For some, it’s easy – for others, quite hard. Share your tips! 

I go for a run!  As a therapist I have days where hitting the reset button can be difficult.  If I’m in groups with clients, sometimes I will talk about having struggles with resetting (without getting to personal) and hear how they reset.  I find that helpful and they do to.  Also laughter is a great reset.  I try to find something funny whether it is a cartoon, funny show or just rethinking my thoughts and finding humor in my ways of thinking.  It is very helpful.

Question #6: Is improving our life balance as runners all about increasing positive things, decreasing negative things or both?

Yes, is that a good answer?!  I think life balance is realizing that positive things will happen and we need to enjoy them.  Negative things will happen and we need to learn from them.  But trying to decrease things means to me that we have total control over everything that comes into our life on a daily basis, which is so not true.  We do however have control over how we perceive it and what we take from it.  If we work on keeping ourselves in a positive state of mind, even when negative things come in, we will see them in a better more productive/positive light.

So I took the challenge about life balance, now it is your turn.  Give it a try.  Answer the questions and let me know about your life balance. 

Overwhelmed…

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My fortune at my work Christmas party. I thought it was great and fitting!

I don’t know about you but this time of the year I find myself beyond overwhelmed.  It is really all I can do to finish work, fix dinner for the fam, and get some rest to start it all over the next day.  I get so excited when it is the weekend but before I know it, BAM, it’s time to start it all over again.  Today I was so happy that I got out of work at 12pm.  I was able to come home and fix myself a hot lunch, which is unusual because I usually eat a sandwich real quick between clients.  I find that this doesn’t help the overwhelmed feeling.

Today, I was able to put a word to what I was feeling.  I thought it was stress but really I didn’t have a lot to be stressed about because Dave was doing most of the Christmas shopping and thanks to the internet I have been able to do a little in the evening.  But today I just decided it was the emotions that happen this time of year when you don’t live close to your family, you want to do so many things, and you want to keep your level of work performance really high especially when your clients are really struggling.  So instead of stressed out, I call it being overwhelmed.  I find that my overwhelmed person tends to pull back from all social media, spends alone time on the verge of tears (yes, even a therapist has emotional times), and just not exercising like I should (which probably would help the verge of tears self!).

So now that I realize it and the Christmas season is just at its most stressful/overwhelming period I have to make a plan.  Dave mentioned to me that I haven’t been blogging very much so maybe I should use my blog for what I intended (a place to talk) and focus back on what is important.  If I don’t get that perfect gift for someone, it’s not going to be a big deal.  If I go for that long run and miss an event it is not going to be that big of a deal, because I do better when I allow myself some time to meditate while I run.  I need to take the pressure off myself.  Time to get back to some basics.

Me and Judy before the Jingle Bell 5K - My fun little Ms. Claus outfit.

Me and Judy before the Jingle Bell 5K – My fun little Ms. Claus outfit.

I did find myself more relaxed last Sunday after the Jingle Bell 5K with my marathon friend.  It was great to run with a friend and 5500 of my closest running friends.  I felt sheer joy to be doing something I love.

Are you feeling like me?  Maybe it is time for you to take a break too.  What is your plan?