Husband: Let's enter the NYC Marathon Lottery.
Me: Sure sure. (to myself: pretty sure no one gets in that way)
March rolls around:
Husband: Buddy! We both got in to the Marathon!!
Me: Oh crap.
Flash forward to today. Never did I think that running 3 or 4 miles would be "easy". I still don't think it is, but when your little training schedule has you doing 10 miles on your weekly long run, 3 starts to seem like a breeze.
Six years ago, I really wanted to do a marathon. I was young(er) and confident that my body could do anything. I did some runs here and there without following any sort of training program. Then, I did the NYC Half Marathon and it was great! I finished in 2:13 which was I thought was pretty fantastic since I didn't consider myself a runner. A couple hours later, the adrenaline and the thrill of finishing wore off and my left knee wouldn't cooperate anymore. It simply refused to flex. I could squat down, but I couldn't stand and lift my heel to my butt even a little bit. I had to straight-leg drag my left leg like a zombie just to get around. It was the strangest sensation! No pain, just no functionality. After a couple days of laying on the couch, I could walk and move again, but it took a full year for the knee-to-hamstring tendons and ligaments to feel normal again.
Now, I'm a bit older and hopefully a bit wiser. I understand that I am not invincible and the body is just as delicate as it is strong. I've taken a full two months to work up to a 10 mile run. Although I follow a plan, I place more importance on how I feel, physically and mentally, on each run no matter how long or short. And here's where the yoga takes place. Of course there are the physical benefits of stretching and body awareness, but it is the yoga of the mind that has me infatuated. Especially on those shorter runs, I go out thinking, "Ppssshhh....this is gonna be easy breezy." Mile one always good. Mile two usually alright. Mile three starts and my mind says, "WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!!? I'm tired. Let's walk. Turn around. Go back. I don't wanna." It turns a bit darker, "You've barely finished two miles. How the eff do you think you're going to be able to run 26 miles. Just give up now. Go home."
And so the mind games begin.
The very first thing I do is check in with my breath. Is it smooth and relatively calm or is it short and tight, enhancing the feeling of anxiety? Once I've reclaimed my breath, I move on to my body. Am I really tired or is my mind playing tricks on me? How well have I been eating that week, that day, that morning? How much water have I had? Sleep? How much teaching have I been doing? I take all of those things into consideration and then say, "Okay. You are fine enough to finish mile three. Let's do that and then re-assess." Some days, I get into a really solid groove and feel great the entire time. Some days, I play the mind games with every single step and it. is. rough. Sometimes it's nine and a half minute miles the whole way. Sometimes walking is the best I can do.
MOST IMPORTANTLY, I say thank you to my body and thank you to my mind. No matter what all the numbers say, times, distances, splits, etc., it is amazing to just be able to walk, run, and move. Think of everyone who doesn't have this luxury. The mind can play cruel tricks on you, but it also has the ability to get you out of that funk. You are in charge of your own feelings whether it's something you say to yourself or something someone else says to you. Take at least one moment a day (preferably many more than one!) to tell yourself, "I AM *bleeping* AMAZING AND STRONG AND MY LIFE IS INCREDIBLE!! Think positive. Live positive.
Until next time, my dear friends!! xoxo
Below are photos of some of the new places I've seen while running around Manhattan. Almost ten years here and I'm still finding new nooks and crannies!