"Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think." A.A. Milne

Thursday, February 10, 2011

What Running Has Taught Me About Life

So I am training for a half marathon so I spending alot of my time, well, running. It also gives me a great deal of time to think. I have not been a runner very long, maybe 3 years but it has quickly become a very important part of my life. I have learned many lessons that made my running more efficient, more enjoyable, and better able to serve my health and life. I have found that these lessons can easily transfer to life.

Lesson #1 You are competing against yourself not against the person on the next treadmill or near you on the race course. Technically, if you are racing I guess you are sort of competing against the person next to you but not really. Some of you may be elite athletes that have the ability to take a top prize in a field of 20,000 but I don't. My race, my competition is really about me. Can I beat my time? Can I get a better split? etc. Life is like that too. Stop competing with the lives of people around you and live your life the very best you can. You have no reason to live up to them. None.

Lesson #2 You have to put in the time. For the most part, people just can't wake up one morning as say, "Hmmm I don't have much to do today. I think I will go run 13 plus miles.", especially if they have never run as a practice before. Getting to that goal means hours and hours of just pounding pavement or the treadmill belt due to this wicked winter. You have to put in the time and allow you mind and body to make the slow steps to reach their goals. I find the same is true in life, you have to be willing to do the work. I know a few amazing people who have the coolest dreams but they NEVER succeed. Why? Because they are not willing to do the work each day to achieve them. Once it turns to work they lose interest or motivation. The daily grind is what will truly make the difference.

Lesson #3 You have to learn to relax This has proven to be crazy important to running longer and longer distances. When I first started running I would tense up in my shoulders, neck, and upper back. I guess the stress and strain of this new physicality was settling there. It made the run so hard and often left me with a headache. Then one day, I learned I had to consciously and deliberately relax those muscles. It was hard! But I used to yoga techniques to focus my breath and release those muscles. I was going for a sort of loose, rangy feel. Then one day it clicked and FREEDOM! It was incredible. All of a sudden I had more energy and endurance. My runs refreshed me rather than leaving me achey and sick feeling. I now relax unconsciously when I feel that tensions. Life is pretty much like that too. If we insist on living in a hyper state of anxiety, tension, and worry, it quickly affects our health, our attitude, our lives! Learning to relax and deliberately release tension can combat these negative affects. In any situation, you can only do what you can do. After that worry is not productive. I have found yoga and hooping to be of the utmost importance for this. What can I say? I love to be totally Zenned out.

Lesson #4 You have to treat your injuries properly You are running great. You are making it to all of your runs. Your time is fabulous. Then you feel that tendon or muscle pull. Nooooooo!!! It is so very uncool. But the worst thing you can do is to tough it out. Eventually, you will do more damage and force yourself into a longer recovery. You have to take care of these injuries, if that means ice your foot, do it. If it means completely rest for 6 weeks, you better do it if you want to heal. Life throws some nasty curve balls. Sometimes things happen and it is bad. Sometimes, we don't even bear a teeny tiny particle of responsibility for situations we now must deal with. This is where self care comes to play. I have found that many women, especially those who are wives and mothers, take some of the worst care of themselves. They put everyone else first and neglect their spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical health. Then the inevitable happens....crash and burnout! It doesn't have to get to that point. Take care of yourself! Whatever that means to you. In fact, preventative care, of both injuries and burnout, should fall under this lesson. Learn it! Live it! Fall in love with it!

Lesson #5 You have to show up This could fall under putting in the time but I think it is different enough and uber important. No matter what you do, if you don't show up and run, what is the point? So I beg of you, show up to your life! Get away from the tv, shut the computer down, turn you phones off, whatever you have to do and show up huge for your life. Please don't be the person at the zoo glued to Facebook while your children BEG for you to pay attention. They will stop begging eventually and you will have missed out on something wonderful. Please don't choose to watch untold hours of tv and then claim you don't have time to workout, eat healthy, spend more time witht he kids, whatever. I want you to get to the end of your life and say, "Wow, I had an amazing life!!" not, "Wow, I watched ALOT of tv and computer screens." I promise you will want to say the first one.

So that is it, some of the lessons I have learned from running. I hope you get something out of it. If not, you can just be grateful this was not a year form now. If it was the title would have been "Out of the Blue Bloody, Nasty Diaper Rashes andWhat I Have Learned From Them".

Peace, Love, and Joyful Hooping!

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