My Love/Hate Relationship With “Running”

When I get read to go for a run, my mind conjures up fond memories of my feet rhythmically hitting the pavement, my favorite music loud in my ears, wind in my hair, cool air on my face, my mind not stressing about anything, just being.

And then I actually go running…or, more accurately, “running”. I do have my favorite music in my ears, and my feet are certainly hitting the pavement, but I’m not loving it. I can’t catch my breath, my heart is beating faster than I feel might be safe, my mind is trying to convince me to stop at every step, (a lot of times it wins), and I am completely UN-COM-FOR-TA-BLE.

But, after I’m finished, I end up feeling great and suddenly I love running again!

โ€œRunning is nothing more than a series of arguments between the part of your brain that wants to stop and the part that wants to keep going.โ€
โ€” Unknown

When I was about 20 years younger, and ran often, I was pretty good at it! I would run ten miles on a weekend regularly. Then I had 3 kids, dogs, mom responsibilities, and my running fell by the wayside. I’ve picked it up and dropped it several times throughout the years, but I’ve never worked at getting my running back to the level it used to be.

Technically I know how to run. I know I should start out slowish, get a nice pace, don’t “outrun” my breath, don’t overthink it, and just put one foot in front of the other. Easy enough, right?! Instead I start out way too fast, can’t catch my breath, overthink EVERYTHING, and keep giving myself permission to quit. I know it would probably help to start over from the beginning and train to run the correct way, but instead I just keep trying to contain myself at the beginning of each run, and next thing I know I’m speeding up, breathing too fast, and the cycle starts all over again.

So, in a nutshell, my “running” currently sucks. But, the most important thing I can do about that, is keep showing up. Last year, even though I knew I couldn’t run 6 miles consecutively, I still signed up for a 1/2 marathon in Yosemite. I decided to view it as an adventure, and not just a run. I remember all of the runners were shuttled up to the top of a mountain at roughly 6am. I was tired, freezing, intimidated, and I had to go to the bathroom about 15 times before the start. But once the run started I felt AMAZING! The views were so beautiful and the people so nice and supportive! I will admit I struggled a lot of the way, I stopped and started, stopped and started. But eventually I finished it – THIRTEEN FREAKIN’ MILES!! I don’t even remember how long it took, maybe 3 hours? But it was such an awesome experience!

Since then I have signed up for several 10k’s, but I try to stick mostly to trail runs . Running on a road to me just gets so monotonous. I admire anyone who can run or walk miles on a road or a treadmill, it takes a lot of patience! But I look forward to running on trails because: 1) The scenery can’t be beat and 2) Trying not to roll an ankle or trip and face plant (all of which I’ve done) forces me to keep my eyes focused on the ground and my mind engaged on the run. It involves shifting my steps from jogging, to jumping and side-stepping rocks, tree roots and other obstacles. I spend so much time concentrating on my steps and the path that 6 miles is done before I know it! And since I’m definitely not going for speed, I can stop a few times and catch some beautiful scenery, like this:

And this:

And this:

The views alone are worth all the effort! There’s something so peaceful and satisfying about just being still for a moment in the quiet awesomeness of nature.

So maybe you’re struggling with something you don’t feel you’re good at, or you’re frustrated with? Or maybe you’ve been wanting to try something new but are intimidated? My suggestion is: keep! showing! up! Put in the effort and you WILL get better! Just make sure to give yourself some grace, no self-judging, and acknowledge your victories (even the small ones)! I know I will keep running until I get better at it. And even if I don’t end up running as far or as long as I want, for now, I will definitely remember to enjoy the journey!

Thank you for reading my little blog ๐Ÿ™‚

It’s Not Personal, It’s Science

Do you love your body? Do you hate your body? Do you tolerate your body? Many of us judge ourselves based on what we see in the mirror…maybe our skin is too light, or too dark, has too many spots, or is saggy, dry or oily. Maybe our legs are too short, too long, too thick, or too skinny. Maybe we get upset at the way we look in jeans, a tank top, shorts or (Lord help us) a bathing suit.

Day to day we go through our lives judging ourselves by what we look like on the outside, when – you guys! On the inside, there is absolute MAGIC going on!

The number of cells in our bodies number in the TENS OF TRILLIONS, which is amazing on its own when you realize we all started from just ONE! The human eye is made up of more than 20 separate structures with MILLIONS of nerve endings. Google how the eye works one day when you’re bored, it’s so complicated it’s amazing that it even works. And I could spend all day long talking about the human brain. It’s the original master computer, and even after thousands of years man can’t replicate it. It generates its own electricity ya’ll!!

Then we have our muscle structure. It takes almost 100 muscles just to walk…from your abs, to the muscles in your hips, your glutes, your thighs, your calves, your shins, not even to mention the ligaments and tendons. Plus your nervous systems and the signals your brain has to coordinate, send and receive!

So my challenge for you this week is to simply move your body. Go for a walk…if you can only walk down the street and back, do it. If you can jog down the street and back, or around the block? Do that. If you’re not able to do either, then move what you can move…your arms, your torso, your fingers, your neck. And instead of concentrating on how uncomfortable you are, or how much you feel like people are judging you, or what you’re missing on Netflix, I challenge you to not think at all. Just feel. Feel how your stomach flexes so you can move your hip, which helps swing your leg forward, and causes your knee to bend, and your foot roll so you can propel your body. Feel how yours arms automatically swing in opposition for balance. Feel how your heart knows it needs to start pumping faster and harder (even if it’s just a little) because it’s AUTOMATICALLY responding to the demand of the rest of your body. You don’t even have to tell it to!!

You guys we are walking, talking, miraculous wonders of the universe! Whether you believe in creation or evolution, we are the smartest, most evolved species on the planet. Doctors spend YEARS studying the human body, they may never know what it’s fully capable of. And we’re reducing it all down to what we look like in a pair of jeans or a bathing suit??

I say we take that back. Check yourself throughout the day, if you catch yourself having a negative thought about the outside of your body, go inside. Your heart is pumping automatically. Your eyes are looking around and processing all the images automatically. We chew and swallow and process nutrients automatically. You guys our bodies ARE AMAZING! I propose that we commit to understanding it better, and begin showing it the respect that it is due.

Thank you for reading my little blog ๐Ÿ™‚

Vicki