Thursday, November 21, 2013

Talk, Don't Listen

This morning, from around 8:30 until around 11:30, I ran 16 miles.  By myself.  In beautiful, cold, sunny Central Park.  And it was awesome.

My longest training run before today was 12, and my longest run ever was 13.1 with the help of race day adrenaline, crowds, and either my sister or my husband, to cheer me on, distract me, and make it seem almost easy.

Needless to say, I am incredibly proud and incredibly excited that I not only did it, but I genuinely enjoyed it.  I was able to make my last mile my fastest, which I still can't believe, and I had a good balance of running with only the thoughts in my head, with my beloved Gomers, and briefly with my lovely husband on the phone.  I'm particularly proud of the miles I ran without anything at all in my earphones, particularly when I paused my podcast because I just needed to be in my own head and talk myself through.  I needed to be more present with myself.

Both my memory and Google have failed me in getting the source of my inspiration for today's blog, sadly.  The title of it comes from a segment I saw on the Today Show last week or a couple weeks ago where a guy was promoting his book - I can't even remember what it's about, but some kind of better living inspirational tips.  Those are a dime a dozen these days, especially when you're a yoga teacher and a runner and inundated with bazillions of links a day to numbered lists of how to live better/healthier/more inspired.

The one thing he said that really stuck out to me and that I've really taken to heart though, was:  "Don't listen to yourself - talk to yourself."

At first that seems just wrong to me - as a yoga teacher, I'm constantly telling my students to listen to their bodies before they listen to me.  It's important to follow our own intuition, to heed the signals our bodies give us, and to listen to our hearts.

However, we all know how easy it is to fall prey to that other set of voices which tell us to quit, or which give us permission to indulge in something we had vowed not to.  The little voice that can have so much power over us - the little devil on our shoulder.

The quote to me is all about the unbelievable power of positive self talk.  That phrase sounds cheesy, but it is one of the most important tools we have in our toolbox when it comes to any kind of positive action in our lives.

Runners always say that running is mostly mental.  Life coaches (and the like) always opine on the power of positive thinking - we even have a yoga game by that name at Karma Kids!

There are few things more awesome than experiencing it for yourself first hand.  Whether it's running a stupidly long distance or making a choice as to how you're going to mentally approach your day, try it - don't listen to the negative or lazy voices in your head.  Talk to yourself instead and see what happens.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Marathon Fever

There's so much I could write about and so much I could say about these past two weeks!  I gave my blog the week off last week (and will likely do so again next week) due to visiting Marc in gorgeous, gorgeous Pennsylvania while he performs in Pride and Prejudice at the lovely Bristol Riverside Theatre.  (Featuring fabulous reviews that single him out here.  And here.)  It hasn't been fun having him gone, but it's been awesome to have these mini-vacations to look forward to - as I say in my yoga adventures with my kiddies, it's so great to get out of the city for a little while!

The big headline in my life over these past two weeks, though, is something that is just going to keep taking more and more of my time, energy, and passion for the next 61 (!!) days - RUNNING!  Specifically, marathon running.

It's been a rough training start for me so far - I've had lost of aches and pains in my knee, my feet, and struggles finding the right new shoes.  I've had to take time off and am behind in my planned training schedule, which drives my type-A'ness absolutely nuts and frightens the wits out of the part of me that already has her wits frightened when I think about the fact that I'm running a marathon soon.  Or at all.

A highlight that I've been looking forward to on this training journey is volunteering at the NYC marathon.  I was supposed to do it last year, but of course we know mother nature had other (terrible) plans for the city.

After such a rough year for the running community and the nation - between the devastation of Sandy, the tragedy at New Town, and the Boston Marathon bombing among others - it was beyond inspiring and triumphant at the marathon this year.  Runners from all over the country, all over the world, in all shapes, sizes, and ages running for an infinite number of reasons and passions...it was an absolute privilege to be able to cheer them on for their last 800 meters of the race.  The time flew by and I just couldn't stop clapping and cheering.  It was fun to single out French runners and cheer for them in French, to cheer for all the Bostonites I saw, and any random thing I connected to or any random person who had their name on their shirt or just looked like they needed an extra boost.

The amazing Kathrine Switzer has been quoted very often, never moreso than this past year as saying, "If you are losing faith in human nature, go out and watch a marathon."  It's hard to really understand what that means until you go to one, whether you're running it or not.  The absolute outpouring of love, support, respect, insane gritty effort, joy, and lots of agony too, is overwhelming.

Riding on that high, I had my fingers crossed tighter than ever that my nagging left foot and left knee would cooperate and my shoes would be on my side as I attempted my longest training run ever this morning.  I've raced 13.1 miles, but I've never run higher than 10 on my own without a cheering crowd and race-day adrenaline.

I'm happy to report that I made it all the way through - with quite a few walk breaks, aches, and pains, but with nothing too alarming or out of the ordinary.  (Your feet are just going to hurt after running a certain point, sadly.  No getting around that one)  Surrounded by stunning Central Park in its full autumn glory, with a mix of silence, the Two Gomers (best podcast EVER!), and a phone call with my hubs for the last two miles, I shuffled my way around the 6 mile loop twice and have lived to tell the tale.

I'm equal parts proud and relieved, and equal part absolutely terrified - this personally groundbreaking distance I just ran is going to be my easy distance for long runs going forward.  (Well, after next week's 10 at least)  In the not too distant future, I'll look at 12 on the schedule with more relief than terror.  The 12 will pale to the 16, 18, 20...I mean, gulp.  Seriously - gulp.  How am I going to pull this off?

I know my sister is struggling with the same thing right now - and thank goodness we have each other or I'm sure we'd have each quit by now after realizing what an insane thing we've gotten ourselves into!

All I can do is remember how profoundly moved I was this past Sunday cheering for the tens of thousands of incredible runners on Central Park South as they gamely ran toward the finish line.   I can remember how amazing it was to run my first 5K, 10K, and Half Marathon with my big sister and how proud of ourselves (and shocked!) we were at each distance.

And finally, to remind myself of two very crucial things:

1. The Disney course is FLAT.

2. Mickey Mouse will be there to cheer me on.  And maybe, if I play my cards right, Prince Eric will be too.