Today I decided that instead of facing down sadness, I’d go for a run. I’m still in 5K training mode. I have 9 more races to run by the end of the year so going out for a run is nothing unusual. It is unusual for me to leave the tv off and actively decide to start my day with meditation and running. I’m really glad I did.
I was laying in bed with tears running down my face, missing my little girl (1-1/2 weeks down, 3-1/2 weeks to go). I didn’t have to get up and the 5 hours of sleep I got was nowhere near enough, but my brain would not let me rest. I’ve done quite a bit of personal development work and I know that there are healthy coping mechanisms and self-destructive ones. Today I decided that being healthy was my priority.
It’s hot today, but probably not as hot as it’s going to be during some of my races so I got outside with my iPod. I usually listen to an energy meditation podcast before I begin my run. I love Stin Hansen’s work at http://www.mythoughtcoach.com. It’s a huge comfort when I am going through challenging times. Today I listened to Affirmations for Coping with a Crisis and particularly liked the following affirmations:
- It’s perfectly alright to feel sadness and hurt, these are normal human emotions.
- As I welcome comfort and peace, it will come. I am ready for comfort and peace now.
- I make sure my sources of help are constructive.
- The friends or family members that I need most now rally around me. When they reach out, I let them in.
- I shun any destructive behaviors as a way of coping with this.
- My primary focus now is learning how to heal in the healthiest way possible.
- When it is time and when I am ready, I will transcend this. I will rise above the ashes.
While I jogged I remembered to focus on my breathing and used an exercise I learned long ago. It calls for you to visualize your pain or anxiety and give it a color. You then breathe out that color and breathe in a calming color. I breathed out the flame orange pain and breathed in an island ocean blue. As I was breathing out that pain I reminded myself to let it go. I didn’t need to hold onto it to make it real. I could let it go and do my best to replace it with happy thoughts and memories. As I was sweating, I thought of all the toxins, physical and emotional, that were leaving my body and I was grateful.
Now for the new runners, here is the breakdown of my physical run. It’s seems to be a story of 8′s:
- First 8 minutes (1-8) – Piece of cake. I don’t even know where the time went
- Next 8 minutes (9-16) – I’m now thinking about the fact that I’m running and it’s hot, but it’s not too hard.
- Third 8 minutes (17-24) – Whew, I went a little further today then yesterday and yay it’s time to turn around and head back!
- Fourth 8 minutes (25-32) – Holy crap! When did this get so hard??? I just want to stop but I slow down to a jogging crawl.
- Last 8 minutes (33-40) – At this point, you’ve already run 32 minutes! Just think of it like the first 8. You can’t stop NOW!
I will say that at 37:30 I heard myself moan and I didn’t know whether I was going to hurl or cry. I swallowed my bile, kept up my slow shuffle and let the tears fill my eyes. Something about letting go made them not want to spill over onto my face. I stopped trying to control my sadness. It’s a real human emotion and I am a real human being. Some days I try hard not to be, but I am only cheating myself and those who find beauty and wisdom in my vulnerability.
Today I was sad. I meditated, I went for a run and I am now sharing what’s in my heart. I now leave the rest up to the Universe.
I would like to celebrate the ladies that are about to step up and journey into 5K101 training. I totally bulldozed them into this! Am I sorry? Not at all. At the end of the day, some or all of these ladies will step up to the challenge and see what they are made of. I know that each one of them is an extraordinary woman, as am I. It took a while for me to realize this simple fact, but there it is.
I understand that you attract what you put out. I’m thankful to have attracted a group of phenomenal men and women by taking the first steps of training to run a 5K. I am forming new friendships, getting healthy and learning how powerful I truly am. It’s kind of weird. Once you get going, there is a whole new energy around you and I don’t think you can turn it off.
I’m scared to run my next 5K. The first one was tough, but a testament to what I am made of. I know I just need to keep training and do the best that I can. I’m only running against myself, but it is so much easier to not push myself. It’s not better for me, but it sure seems easier. One of my friends recommended running a 5K in each state as a great way to travel the country with my family (thanks Tracey). It’s a wonderful idea that would never have crossed my mind.
Even better, she mentioned that Disney has a Disney Princess Half Marathon around the park. Having a little girl who dreams of one day going to Disney, this might just be a win-win. I can’t believe I am considering, considering running a half marathon! A funny thing happens when you get a little sprinkle of inspiration…it’s really hard to get it to stop. Just ask the ladies who have been reading about my training. I didn’t start out to inspire anyone. I was inspired by my workout partner and in turn I seem to be inspiring others.
A sprinkle of inspiration is a powerful force. Use it wisely!
The morning after. I wonder what negative connotations that brings up for many of you? Today it has an achy but lovely meaning. The morning after I jogged my first 5K! Wahoo!! If I wasn’t sore I might do a victory lap around my living room. The outpouring of support and kudos has been crazy! Crazy in the best way.
I’m stunned that serious runners are offering to run with me if I ever need a buddy. It’s kind of daunting, but I know I’m up to the challenge. I just have to keep my ego in check. Not a puffed up ego, but the one that tells me that I’m not good enough or fast enough or why would they want to run with me. Enough of that! We can have a therapy post another day. I’m still processing the significance of what I did yesterday, but I know that it is life changing.
As a woman who has suffered with obesity my entire life, this is a game changer. To run 9 more 5K’s this year I’m going to have to take better care of my body. That does include eating foods in support of my fitness goals. One of the big challenges is managing my increased hunger. I know that I need to compensate by adding vital nutrient dense foods and not junk. I have my eye on my 40th birthday (just under 3 years away). I have every intention of being fit and fabulous at 40!
I was going to type all the things I struggle with, but I understand language has power. So: I am a powerful, confident, loving woman and mother. I surround myself with positive influences and am passionate about the work I get to do. My life is healthy, full and inspired. I give back to my community and am unbelievably grateful for my village (you know the one that helps you raise a child, push you to be the best you and checks you when you screw up)!
This morning after I have no regrets.
The goal was to finish, not finish first or last – just finish. I am so grateful to say that I completed my first 5K this morning. In the rankings I was dead last (727 of 727) – there were a handful of people who finished after me but the organizers were already taking the equipment down. I’m going to work really hard to forget about being last as it doesn’t even matter.
What matters is that prior to today I had only jogged 1.5 miles. Today I jogged 3.125 miles (thanks Kevin for the mileage clarification). That is my personal best. It took me 1:02:34. I need to remind myself that means I jogged for over 1 hour without stopping. I wanted to be faster, but what matters is that I did it! I finished! I have failed at so many other things…but not at this. It was pretty magnificent having my little one waiting for me with a medal at the finish line. Her words were the best, “Mommy, in my heart you finished first.”
I won’t lie and say that this was easy. Pushing myself 30 minutes longer than I’d ever been in one day was huge, but I had a ton of support. I want to thank Todd Lange at Running Mate Media for a terrific training program called 5K101 which prepared me for today’s race, my training partners Chipo & Kern Jolibois who encouraged me to get started, supported me along the way and were right there with me at the finish line, the Smith family for friendship, music and loads of encouragement and my family and friends who have been cheering me on via social media sites.
I didn’t expect the outpouring of support from the other runners. It was the one thing that had me close to sobbing during the race. Most of the runners were on their way back when I was still heading down to the halfway point. The were calling out encouragement and cheering for me to keep going. Instead of being embarrassed at being slow I was uplifted. It was a humbling and beautiful experience. Today I became a part of the running community.
My training partners have thrown down a challenge of 10 – 5k’s this year…so this is just the beautiful and exhausting beginning. Now it’s time to take a much-needed and well-earned nap.
I’m so supposed to be sleeping! My training partner will have my head when she realizes I’m not in bed. Tomorrow is the day! My first 5K. My cold is ebbing and my anticipation is rising. I’m waiting for my ipod to synch with a mishmash of music, hastily thrown together at the last minute. Nothing went as planned today, but it was fun.
I got home late, threw a load of laundry in, half unpacked our bags and got my racing gear together. I was supposed to wipe an sd card clean so I could get pictures but what are you gonna do. There are only so many hours in the day! I guess the nice part is that I don’t have a lot of time to freak out either. Tomorrow will be what it will be.
I finished my 8 week 5K101 training program yesterday. That’s a HUGE accomplishment. I’ve already won! So what’s left? Of course to win again. Winning looks like getting up, going to the race and doing the best that I can. That’s my plan and I’m sticking to it!
If you are reading this and thinking you wish you could, but know that you can’t…you can. Just give it a shot. Be it racing, taking a class, asking a guy out – whatever. Somewhere inside I made a choice to try something new and tonight I am on the eve of the first race of my life. I’ve been at that choosing point many other times and decided against moving forward. I’m not sure what was different this time around, I’m just glad it was.
And I’ll be thrilled for you when you step out and try your something new.
(Please excuse any typos – no time!)
It’s just pain, right? That’s what I kept telling myself on today’s run. I’m not sure what happened or why today was so tough, but I’m glad it happened today and not Sunday. In preparation for Sunday’s 5K race I’ve mapped out my (3.2 mile) route. A few minutes in I knew I would be lucky if I even made it to the 1.5 mile mark that I hit on Monday.
The first 2 minutes were tough, but I though I just needed to warm up. The following 4 minutes were just as hard, which is surprising. Usually once I get going I settle in and find my zone. Not today. At the 10 minute mark I was thankful I hadn’t dropped or stopped. My legs hurt and didn’t seem like they wanted to keep going. The thought of another 20 minutes was not a happy one…but I kept going.
Now the full route deposits me right in front of my house. If I only get half of it done I get to walk the rest of it home. Maybe it was thinking about the long walk home, my achy legs or the work that was waiting on my desk that had me off my game. Who knows? It just happens like that sometimes.
At minute 12 I summoned my inner Xena Warrior Princess and channeled all of my West Indian ancestors. I said to myself, “Why you crying? HUN???? I’ll give you something to cry about!!!!” and kicked up my pace. I figured if it was going to hurt I might as well make it worth being out there. I should point out that these were stiff muscles and aches from trying something new, not pains that should cause me to stop and see my doctor.
What I discovered about myself, as I fought to finish the last 9 minutes of today’s jog, is that I am capable of truly accomplishing great things (I did make up time and at least matched Monday’s distance). Sometimes I need to remind myself to stay in the moment, to focus on the very next step and that’s it. One day at a time, one step at a time and one task at a time.
Today I will not focus on the aches and exhaustion, I will remind myself to celebrate that I jogged 30 minutes straight, through pain and doubt. I will also celebrate the things I have done in support of being a great mom and successful entrepreneur.
Don’t forget to give yourself a pat on the back today.
My first 5K race is in 8 days! I publicly proclaimed on Facebook that I was doing it , I told all my friends and family and I officially registered. There is no turning back. On Sunday, May 15th I WILL cross the finish line. I am doing an 8 week 5K training program through Running Mate Media http://runningmatemedia.com/. I am a reformed couch potato thanks to this step by step program. It’s been challenging but my body has adapted to the training much easier than I ever expected!
Even though it’s been an empowering 7 weeks, some days (like today) getting that run in is a huge challenge. We started the day with a 9 am soccer game and then took the train into Philly for Amtrak’s National Train day. We had a wonderful time, but I was beat when we got home around 6 pm. I had 4 training sessions to get in by Friday and I need a day off between each session (basically – I had to run today). The warm, sunny, gorgeous afternoon was long gone and it had started to drizzle. It would have been so easy to say, I’ll do it tomorrow. It didn’t matter. I had to run…or give hope of completing my training program before Sunday’s race. Giving up is NOT an option, so out I went into the cool, overcast early evening. Of course the rain picked up. Tired, wet and a little reluctant, I plodded along.
Mother Nature’s reward ?
A big beautiful double rainbow.
Day 4 blogging and I am sitting down to write at 10:30 pm. Sigh. Yesterday was filled with focus, risk taking and task slaying. Today, however, has been filled with one necessary yet endless task. Everything seems to be taking longer than usual. Add Week 7/Day 2 of my 5K101 training (http://runningmatemedia.com/), an evening conference call and a pile of work still on my desk and you have a nice case of exhaustion. I wish I could click my heels and be in a theater watching a great new movie – Rio, Something Borrowed, Thor or Green Lantern. Alas that is today’s pipe dream.
Instead I started my day listening to a meditation podcast about cleaning and organization. I can’t really say that I lost today, it just feels like it. I look around my place and STILL see piles of paper on my desk, the same clutter on the kitchen island and about 20 new emails that need to be addressed. Back in the good old days I’d just stay up till I dropped, some days I still do but I can’t afford to do that anymore.
I’ve learned that my patience is directly related to the amount of sleep I get. When I don’t sleep and am stressed out my daughter ultimately is the one who loses. Life is full of stress, but she didn’t sign up to have a disconnected overwhelmed mom. So…what gives? Judgement.
I’m not a bad mom or a terrible homemaker because “IT” didn’t all get done. Reading to my little one at bedtime was just more important than handling a pile of filing. I did a lot of stuff today. Important stuff that is in line with my vision and achieving my goals. It needed to be done and no one else is coming to my place to do it. The life lesson? Live in the moment, appreciate the challenges and be grateful when I get another chance tomorrow.