Sunday, March 9, 2014

Every. Damn. Day.

I can across this little gem recently and its spurred me to some serious action.

The language is simple.  Albeit harsh, but to the point and uncomplicated at that.  Given my recent shift off of the tri training horse and back into the saddle of the marathon running horse, I've been thinking.  I've been thinking about my running goals and my marathon goals.  I've had the same one year running goal for 4 years now.  4 years.  Recall:


And so I run a marathon; and I don't make it sub 3.  I'm at ease with not making it...really and truly I am.  I've had a few good kicks at it and haven't gotten there.  I'm still a decent amount of time away at 3:07.  7 minutes is a long time when you're out there on the marathon course.  As a matter of fact, this 7 minutes represents one mile of running for me and a slow one in truth; the pace for a sub 3 is decently faster than a 7 minute mile!  Not making it more than once has taught me so many important lessons about myself.  A couple I'll share here:

One. I set BHAGs.  Big. Hairy. Audacious. Goals.  How I know this is because I haven't made it.  Despite all the running and the yoga and the strength work and the speed work, I STILL haven't made it.  While I don't measure my success as a runner or as a human solely on the basis of this one time standard, it's still important to me.  What I do know is that I'm truly and honestly pushing myself to go big because it certainly has not come easily.  Life is so short.  I'd rather play big.  Period.  Even if it means one of my one year goals lasts far longer than one year.

Two. I am resilient.  I have failed.  Yes.  I have tried and tired harder and still failed.  Truth.  But I also know it doesn't define me.  That I will get it, and when I do, it will be a snapshot in time that I cherish based on how I will FEEL.  And that keeps me running.  It keeps my feet in shoes and my shoes on pavement.  No matter how many times it hasn't happened.

And now, because I mentioned action, let's get to it.

My attempts and re-attempts to hit this goal have always been hyper focused on running.  More speed work and less miles.  More miles and less speed work.  More speed work within more miles.  Following a more structured program with a coach.  Following a less structured training plan on my own.  Running a 26.2 mile road race definitely requires focus and training and there is certainly no shortage of information out in the world (human AND digital) to support a training plan.  The shifts I've made have ALWAYS focused on the running piece. 

And so, in the spirit of the journey and the practice of running, I'm shifting my focus.  I'm starting to look at my training in a more holistic sense.  What does this mean?  It means for me, that I'm considering how I'm fuelling this runners body.  My inner chatter used to tell me that I could eat whatever the sam hell I wanted BECAUSE I ran for miles and miles and miles.  And now, I am looking at the food and nutrition I ingest as a means to an end.  A way to stay healthy, a way to aid recovery and a way to honour this body that does crazy shit for me whenever I ask it to. 

Here it is in simple language:

I eat healthy, nutritious and whole foods that fuel and heal my body every day.

Note: no sugar.  no candy.  no processed bullshit.  I'm two weeks in and feeling fantastic.

As well, I'm focusing on the rest and recovery piece.  Pushing your body through this kind of training requires that you LISTEN to what it needs.  Sometimes, my body is screaming at me to rest: joints aching, chest hurting, exhausted all the time screaming.  Sleep often eludes me and, to be real, is a required part of training.  My body can't heal if my body doesn't rest.

Again in simple language:

I sleep 8 hours 4 times per week.

Note: no emails, social media or cell phone 1 hour before bed.  No emails, social media or cell phone until I have been awake for 1 hour.  I made it the first week.  The second week, I made it 8 hours for 2 days and 7 hours for 2 days.  I'm sleeping better and feel less scattered.  A small victory.

Food. Nutrition. Sleep. Rest.  Will it work?  Only the Marathon Gods know.  What I can tell you is that the journey is the part of this that I honour the most.  I will approach it like a learner and will appreciate every damn moment.


Do I want it?  Yes.
Did I write that shit down? Yep.
Can this be considered a fucking plan?  I believe so (just so my hard core running friends know- I have not lost it; there is still a running/training plan too).
And I'm working on it. Every. Single. Damn. Day.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Expectation. Ego. Excitement. And other Es.

I'm an honest gal so I'll cut to the chase.

Not too long ago, I signed up for a triathlon.  The moment I did this, the following feelings ensued:
dread (my ass gets sore on the bike)
anxiety (when the mother eff am I going to find time to work tri training into my schedule on top of pursuing huge and important life and marathon goals)
annoyance (towards myself- WHY did I do this if this clearly isn't what I wanted to do)

Because I'm a Virgo and I run and I get to my mat, I let it marinate for a bit.  I asked myself many challenging questions.

What prompted a triathlon to make its way into my goals?
Were my established goals in triathlon REAL...and if they weren't what is the COST of keeping them?  For me, and for my peeps that I aim to support and inspire in living authentically towards their vision of life through their goals?
What was driving the decision to potentially NOT participate?  Fear of the unknown?  Fear of failure?  Or was it really and truly about what I really and truly aim to accomplish through my own goals?

I could write a novel here.  Instead, I am going to keep things short, simple and sweet.  Kind of just like me.

People in the world told me (from the most loving and generous place possible, to be clear), that  I would likely rock a triathlon and kill it.  A serious #goalcrush if you will.  This fed my ego (and yes, we all have one, good, bad and ugly) in the most external and unsatisfying way. When I'm real about it, the time for triathlon for me is simply not now.  It might not be ever...I don't know.  But when I look at my values, when I look at life, and when I dig into what I want to create, participating in a triathlon that I have no desire to participate in is in COMPLETE antithesis to all of these things.  

The cost of having an inauthentic goal, of any kind, for me, is simply a price I am no longer willing to pay.  It weighs on my psyche.  It weaves its way into my life in the most negative and unappealing ways.  Joy and happiness give way to anxiety, dread and fear.  But most importantly, how can it possibly allow me to stand for my people (my family, my friends and my team), lead from a place of authenticity AND coach towards CHOICE if I am making a conscious and active choice to keep a goal that isn't real for me?  I can't.  I won't.  It isn't who I am.

So I did what I have learned in the past year works for me.  I got out of my head.  And into my heart.  As Richard Wagamese (have you read his books yet?  #doitnow) states, "The head has no answers, and the heart has no questions."  And my heart is leading me here:

Removing the triathlon goal from my goals.  It is the right thing to do right now.  It makes me smile.   It makes me tingle.  It makes me excited for other really big and important parts of my life.

Instead, I'm committing to filling my goals with the things that are actually filling me up and are allowing me to live big.  I'm focused on the marathon and with it, I see many halves and 10ks in my future.  I'm focused on creating and sharing something special for the running community in #yeg.  I am focused on creating space for peeps to MOVE, EAT and HUG. 

And last, but certainly not least...

I am committing to having ready and posted on the wall by end of this week, beautiful goals that are set in truth, are authentic and are written from a place of supporting vision, legacy and LOVE. 

Thanks, JulieG, KatieC, LauraM, MichelleC, AinsleyR, AlishaK, BeccaR, TinaH, AmandaS and the entire army of people that support me on a daily basis to live in truth.   How lucky am I to have so many messengers of magic in my life. 

I am so excited for what is coming.

Monday, January 13, 2014

The Ceremony of Running

Sometimes all we need is to find a little magic in the universe.  Magic.  It can come to us in many forms, any and all forms; human form, e-form, expected and unexpected, big and small.  But always amazing and usually for me, just what I need in any particular moment.

Not too long ago, I read this facebook status from one of my favourite authors, Richard Wagamese:

"I am drawn to ceremony like Earth is drawn in its circle around the sun. To begin a day's journey without a smudge, a prayer and meditation is to lack a center. I'm not a holy man or a great ceremonialist. I only know that ceremony is the magnet that draws me closer to Creator, to the Grandmothers, to my essential and truest self. It doesn't have to be elaborate. Breathing is a ceremony when it's mindful. So is walking. So is looking at something that moves me. So is talking when the talk is real and earnest. When I inhabit something fully, when I am mindful, when it increases me, I am in ceremony - and there is joy in the recognition of myself..."

And it struck me.  Running is ceremony for me, important because, as he so eloquently states here, it is THE magnet that draws me closer to my truest self.  It is these moments on any given day when I am on the pavement accompanied by the repetitive rhythm of my footsteps, the  steady, strong beat of my heart and the sound of my breath that I am most at home and at peace within my soul, simply because I am all there.  All right there in that footstep in that moment of time. 

Running, for me, started as exercise.

Running shifted, for me, to moving meditation.

And now.  Running as ceremony. 

I like it.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Running Naked

Today, I went running.  Naked.

Not naked without clothes naked.  My currently geography is Edmonton and while -4C with windchill is certainly a welcoming treat  from -30c with windchill, No clothes naked would perhaps mean frost bite in some fairly interesting areas.  Plus, I'm kind of shy.

What I mean by running naked is that I went stripped down, bare bones, lets get real running.

This was the first time I've been running in 14 days.  It feels like the first time I've been running for months.  Maybe ever years.  I didn't over think it.  I committed to being a running virgin and dove right in.   It wasn't about any particular training run in any particular training plan to meet any particular running goal.  It wasn't to work any shit out in my head or in my heart.  It wasn't about finding the exact right winter running costume for this exact winter running temperature on this exact winter running day.  I just went because I was told I was able to go, and well, quite frankly, this is what I do when I'm done work for the day- I go running.

I was out for 25 minutes.  5 minutes longer than I was "allowed to be running" and one hour and 35 minutes short of an average Wednesday add some mileage run.  I had a thought for a moment about how this was frustrating, depressing and pathetic.  And then I remembered.  If this was how I was going to see the run and my current situation, then this was surely how it was going to be.  And so I chose.  I chose to see those 25 minutes of running like I've never seen running before.  I paid attention to my breathing.  I acknowledged that my chest felt uncomfortable and then I just let it go.  Its not good or bad, right or wrong.  I am where I am and my body is where it is and I have this incredible opportunity to start running all over again.  For the first time.  Naked.  Because when I strip it all down (forget the expensive running watch) and peel back the layers (forget the training plan, the pace and the distance) the opportunity that is before me is indeed a gift.  I have the opportunity to create the whole training path from start to finish.  The only thing possibly holding me back are my thoughts about what running was like.  What it has been.  Or what it possibly should be.

And my goals?  Just to be clear...they're still there.  I'm still after them.  And I will get them.  2014.  Its even and these will be mine.  A sub 3 marathon and a consistent 1:25 half.