Tag Archives: mindfulness

RACE RECAP – Diablo Trail Adventure Half Marathon

Is a trail half marathon with 2,500 feet of climbing an appropriate long run for a road marathon?  Probably not.

Can I resist a trail half marathon with 2,500 feet of climbing?  NOT REALLY, APPARENTLY.

My Happy Place!

My Happy Place!

It was a stepback week and I had a 13 mile long run scheduled.  Why not get some climbing and downhill running practice with my favorite race presenters: Brazen Racing?

My mantra for this race was “Don’t be dumb; it’s a TRAINING RUN!”  After my thrilling and unexpected AG place at Drag N Fly, I could feel a little competitive frisson.  My strategy was the same as last time: hike the hills, run the flats and downhills.  Keep the running pace easy.  Not difficult to do on this course, right?

That's a lot of hiking.

That’s a lot of hiking.

Because I’ve run the 5K event twice, I was familiar with the first hill.  It’s not long but it’s fairly steep and can really zap your energy.  I promised myself that no matter how many people ill-advisedly surged up the hill, I would not.  But I did.  Whoops.  I didn’t run fast but I did run.  Thankfully, it didn’t have any negative impact.  I enjoyed the downhill that followed, accompanied by an UltraRunner Podcast.  Music makes it hard to keep my pace in check, especially so early in a run.

Off I go in my SWEET glasses.

Off I go in my SWEET glasses.

Another climb with some narrow single-track followed.  I love this kind of running!  The trail got a bit backed up but thankfully everyone wanted to hike/run around the same pace.  This was the first of many times I observed people huffing and puffing “running” while I hiked at exactly the same pace.  I appreciate the pride that comes with running an entire trail race but honestly, I’ll take efficiency over pride.  Especially when the PACE IS IDENTICAL.

Careful where you step!

Careful where you step!

The next five miles were pretty uneventful.  Hiking the hills proved to be a great strategy, as usual.  All that Dailey Method thigh work powered me up, with minimal challenge.  Each time the trail leveled, I was happy to begin trotting again.

I knew that after mile 8, it was all downhill.  I love to run downhill but my right IT band was not loving it.  I took it easy and focused on lifting my inner thighs and hamstrings to support my knee.  Thanks again, Dailey Method!

You're never fully dressed without a smile!  And these sunglasses!

You’re never fully dressed without a smile! And these sunglasses!

When I reached the final miles, I was running far faster than I should have been for a long training run but it just felt so good!  It was also awesome because this course has been my nemisis.  Each time I ran the 5k, I would be so zapped by the hill that I would always stop to walk on the way back, even downhill.  Super frustrating.  NOT YESTERDAY.  I smiled each time I ran through a spot that had kicked my ass in previous years.  This time, with ten miles in between!  I’m getting a lot stronger, physically and mentally.

One challenge during this race was fueling.  I decided not to carry my handheld water bottle because it contributes to asymmetry that causes my IT band issue on the right side.  This was not a good choice because the aid stations were at 1.1, 2.7, and 7.8.  I thought there was one more.  I took my time to drink several cups of water at the second and third stations but it wasn’t enough.  I took far less fuel than I planned (since I didn’t have water to drink it with) and a vague headache showed up around mile 8.  After the race, I made a beeline for Ultima and food.  I had a couple oreos and a LOT of electrolyte drink.  My head hurt so much, I squinched my eyes shut trying to get it to release.  I wandered over to the standings to see if my AG places had come in.  1-4 were already in so I headed home, by way of an enormous Diet Coke and some curly fries.  Very happy, in spite of the headache.

So, I finished with a time of 2:39:47.  Cool!

Wait, wasn’t I psyched to break 3 hours before?

Yes.  I took FIFTEEN MINUTES off my trail half marathon PR.

WHAT?!

There were 500 fewer feet than the other courses but fifteen minutes?!  That is a testament to the mindfulness practice I’ve adopted.  I didn’t have any negative thoughts or fears, even when I knew I was under-fueled.  I stayed present in my body and ran the pace that felt right.  Which was my 5k pace at the end.  Woah.

I am thrilled for CIM and even more thrilled for it to be over so I can do some serious goal setting.  Time to level up!

BOOM!

 

 

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Mindfulness – Part One

About a month ago, I began to live more mindfully.  Since then, I’ve attempted to write about it several times and found myself stuck every time, including now.  These changes have been so profound, even in a short amount of time, that I can say that it has changed my life.  Consider this the first of many posts about the topic.

Fundamentally, I am trying to be present in my mind and body at every moment.  Truly *being* where I am with no thought of what’s coming next, unless I’m purposefully planning.  The only unhappiness and anxiety I have in my lovely life is a product of worrying.  When we worry, we use our creative minds to remove ourselves from present contentment and place ourselves in an imagined future where something is going wrong.  Put that way, it sounds like a terrible way to live but it is so common!

Recognizing that in this moment everything is fine can be really powerful.  In the first few days of thinking this way, I noticed 2-3 times per day that I felt anything other than contentment.  That’s it!  They were fleeting moments that dissipated as quickly as I noticed them.  I was truly amazed by how content I was, even when sitting in traffic, waiting in lines, etc.  If you’re just *being* with your thoughts, your music, your podcasts, the sunshine…everything is pretty nice!  Of course, not every moment is fine.  Someone may say something hurtful, a driver might do something dangerous that frightens or angers you… Those are still realities of life but we can choose whether we let those moments pass quickly or dwell on them, forcing ourselves to re-experience the hurt/discomfort over and over again.  No thanks.

I can get daunted pretty easily and daunted typically equals very unhappy.  However, when I’m actually doing the daunting things, they always go well!  I love my job and whether I’m teaching a voice lesson, a Dailey Method class, or singing, I feel this amazing sense of flow.  I’m so fully engaged that time seems to speed up.  I leave each activity feeling more alive than before.   My motivation for actively seeking presence was to feel as engaged and positive outside of those activities as I feel when I’m doing them.

To eliminate feeling overwhelmed, I committed to stop looking at my calendar.  Instead, I take 5-10 minutes each day to sit down with the next day’s schedule and set an intention for each activity.  I think about what each student, class, or workout needs.  I make a little notation in my phone and boom, the day is handled.  I can spend the other 23 hours and 50 minutes of today being in today!  I’ve also noticed how much time I truly have when an activity is contained within it’s allotted time (instead of being thought about all day).  4 lessons and 2 DM classes isn’t ALL DAY, it’s only 6 hours.  That shift has allowed me to reclaim and enjoy a whole lot of previously squandered time.

Birthday Notes!

Birthday Notes!

Around the time this all started, I had a wonderful Dailey Method workshop with Lorna Samatas, owner of The Dailey Method – Elmhurst.  The topic was “Theming Your DM Class” but much of it was about mindfulness techniques.  One concept that I really took to was the idea of “arriving” in a space.  The idea is that when you cross a threshold into a new space, it’s a mindfulness trigger.  You take a moment to pause and consider why you’re there and what you hope to get from the experience in that space.  My Dailey Method students have responded well to this as a way to truly begin their practice.  I’m using it everywhere from entering a rehearsal to retreating to my bedroom at the end of the day.

Without question, this has significantly changed my running.  I will explore this in a subsequent post(s) but I want to tell you that last week’s 17 miler and yesterday’s TWENTY were both amazing runs.  I was *calm* the entire time.  I didn’t have any dread or fear of the distance.  At the beginning, I had no sense of how long I had to go.  I simply ran.  I noticed physical sensations, noticed ebbs and flows in my energy, noticed clouds, noticed my own happiness.  It was tremendous and couldn’t come at a better time.

Happy from beginning to end!

Happy from beginning to end!

There’s a lot more I want to share and now that I’ve gotten this first post through my fingers, more will come soon!

Please ask questions or share your favorite mindfulness tips and resources in the comments!

 

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