Saturday, January 26, 2013

Chapter 15

"Though we all have the seeds of fear within us, we must learn not to water those seeds and instead nourish our positive qualities- those of compassion, understanding, and loving-kindness." Thich Nhat Hanh

So here we are. You're freaking out. You can't do this. You must have been crazy. Why did you think this was possible? Why don't you just save everyone the trouble and just sit back down? This is just too much, too fast, too soon.

Sound familiar? Probably. And what do the well-meaning people in your life tell you? "Just don't think about it." "Relax." "You'll be fine, just keep going." And then you punch those people because they have no idea what it's like to be so scared of failing.

Here's how it goes with me:

Body: Yeah! We're ROCKING this!
Brain: I can't do this.
Body: Oh, I can't? Huh. That sucks. I guess I'll stop and walk.
Brain: See? I told you so.
Body: You were right. I'm just not strong enough.

Luckily for me, a few minutes (or even seconds) later, a different voice speaks up.

Awesome: What are you doing?
Body: Me? Walking. I can't do this.
Awesome: Seriously?? You've done so much more than this.
Body: I know. But this is too hard.
Awesome: Is that what you're going to tell everyone? It was just too hard? You gave up?
Body: Um, that's embarrassing.
Awesome: No kidding. How cool will it be to finish this?
Body: It would be incredible. Especially because I don't think I can.
Awesome: Let's just try. See what happens. Deal?
Body: I hope you know what you're doing!
Awesome: Me? I DO! I'm AWESOME!!!

Even if you don't have that Awesome voice in your head- you can pretend it's there. Just imagine after your Brain tells you that you can't, AWESOME steps in. Try to imagine what that voice would say. You don't have to believe it at first, just listen to what it might want to tell you. And then, if it feels right, you can follow its orders. Because seriously, You're Awesome.

Monday, January 21, 2013



Overheard: text messages

Friend: I couldn't do today's workout [week 3 of a 9 week Couch to 5k program]. Is there a 1K I could sign up for? Or a half K I could do? Feeling pretty down.

Me: It's fine. You tried, right? Every painting isn't a best seller. Sometimes you just paint over the canvas. But instead of painting over this one, think about what happened: too fast? Too tired? Not enough water today? Rough weekend? And adjust accordingly. Your 5k is a compilation of EVERY workout, not the result of any ONE particular run.

Guys, I totally remember those early days. When one workout meant that your race was going to crash and burn. I remember this summer trying to run 6 miles in crazy heat and only getting through 4 of them and bailing out to go puke at home. I remember when each run was a vitally important predictor of the final outcome. That's so different from my attitude now. Now, if a run sucks, it just means the run sucked. It doesn't mean that I'll never run again. But I remember when it did. Gist: I know how this feels. You won't feel that way in 6 months. So keep running for the next 6 months so you can get to this good place.

The situation with this particular friend is that while she was following the C25k program, she was also increasing her speed incrementally each workout. This was NOT in the plan. This was working on speed AND distance at the same time. That's a no-no. You're either building up to a new distance, or you're working on speed. Doing both is going to have you on your butt really quickly.

I know. I did it. I remember clearly figuring out my pace for the marathon and realizing that I was basically walking. And I remember Trainer A giving me the same speech. "You're training to finish this thing, not set a time record. Let's get this first one done, then we can train for speed after it's over." And the 12 year old Veruca Salt in my head whined that I wanted to be good AND fast AND finish the race... Dude. You can totally have that. Later. Today, you're just training to finish.

I wonder if I had let myself believe any of this two years ago, if I would have been easier mentally on myself and been able to enjoy the marathon, instead of being so disappointed.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


All of this "not running" has given me a TON of time for navel-gazing. Enjoy the following:

om ah hung benza guru pema siddhi hung

“Homage to the diamond master, born in the lotus.” 
“Homage to the enlightened powers of the Lotus-born Guru.”

Om ah hung is an invocation- just syllables to start a prayer.
Benza (or vajra) is diamond or thunderbolt
Guru is master
Pema (or Padmé) is lotus. 
Siddhis are spiritual powers, like love, wisdom, compassion, forgiveness, enlightenment. 

It’s a way of affirming that the lotus grows and flourishes out of the mud of one’s own nature. Those enlightened powers grow in the mud of our own base nature.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Stop, Children, What's that Sound?

Truth: I've run twice since December 14th. Two times in a month. That's... sad. But actually, that's amazing. What happened? I got sick in December. Sinus problems, exhaustion, then Christmas, then more exhaustion. And never once did I put on my game-face grimace and decide that I was going to go 'out there' no matter what.

There's something different now. I'm listening better. Oh? What's that lungs?? You've got the beginnings of fluid settling in? And how can I help? By not running in 20 degree air? Ok. Sure thing. No problem.

What's that cardiovascular system?? You're drained? Dehydrated?? Does that mean I should gear up and tax you into submission? No? Huh.

My acupuncturist thinks I've made a breakthrough. I'm shocked to have lost 5lbs over the holiday- what with the eating and the not running. So maybe it was time for a change. I just hope that once this is all over I can put these amazing new shoes on, go out and spend some gift-card money on fresh gear, and burn up some winter mileage.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

What Will We Do Today, Brain??

Sitting still for 4 weeks (relatively) I've finally decided to jump on a small project I've been thinking about for six months. Every year my Dad's family gets together in southern Missouri for a shared family vacation. Imagine the Dirty Dancing family summer camp, but everyone is related to each other. We have dinners, talent night, games, activities...

And this year I want to have a 5k fun run/walk/stroll. We're a pretty active family- most people are involved in some type of physical activity as a hobby. We're blessed to be a very fit family. So the vacation is generally a nice relaxation time. But last year I saw an opportunity.

So here we go: Anna plans a 5k. Here's my list so far:

*Course map
*Water/sports drink
*Bibs (?)
*T-shirts (?)

What else do you guys think I need?

Monday, January 7, 2013

Give me spots on my apples...

I'm a runner. I run outside. All the time. In every weather. I have favorite routes. I have a 2 mile route, a 3.1, a 4, a 5 and a 6.2. If I need to run longer distances I combine the routes to get what I need. Many runners don't enjoy running the same path over and over. Stephan is one of these. He invents paths and crosses streets and turns left (who turns left??) and maps the run when he gets home to see how far he went.

I have routes. I have markers along those routes: The 1/2 mile mail box. The 1 mile cement goose. The 1.5 mile tree with the word "MOM" carved into it and candles lit below it. The 2 mile tennis court. Etc. Etc. Etc.

This morning the MOM tree was gone. Someone cut it down. And the three trees in a line behind it. Also about 6 trees the next street over that shaded the long 1/2 mile stretch leading up to the tennis court. They're just stumps in the ground now. As I ran past I couldn't help thinking, "Someone cut my trees down." MY trees. MINE. If they have to have public hearings to determine whether or not my neighbor can put up a fence, why didn't anyone ask me if it was ok to cut down my trees? A petition? A sign? Some sort of warning at least?

I want to plant ten trees now to make up for the ones I lost. But they have to be in specific locations- appropriate to long summer runs. Maybe with sprinklers or misting machines triggered by the proximity of my iPod. Can someone please get to work on this?

Saturday, January 5, 2013


I haven't been posting because I haven't been running. Or, really, doing much of anything. But I was struck today by the thought that, 10 years ago I was a complete lunatic. 2003 was perhaps the most insane, psychotic, emotional year of my life.

And that was 10 years ago already.

Man, I'm glad that's over.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Hey, Sexy Lady

Hey runner people. It's New Year's Day. Have you written your lofty goals and set down your resolutions? Sure.

Here are the reasons I hate this tradition:

1. Today is my birthday. It makes me sad to think people are restricting their diets, beginning painful exercise programs. or thusly changing their lives in large and often disappointing ways today.

2. It's just a day. There is no power to 1/1. You can decide anything on any day of the year. I wish more people would feel as powerful every day as they do on 1/1 to make positive changes.

3. It gives people the excuse to totally tank their lifestyle for the month of December. "I'll start January 1st" is such a common excuse for people to procrastinate making changes they know they need to make.

4. It sucks the will out of people to watch the days tick by in January and they haven't achieved (or even started!) any of their goals. It makes January depressing.

So what do I ponder philosophically on January 1st? On my birthday? I always hope to have the courage to change the things that I realize need to change during the year. Something about acceptance too sometimes... but we all know that's the first step and... well... I try to set reasonable goals.