Mental Training

I am officially on Spring Break and see light at the end of the tunnel in my job. Because my job is one that requires long hours of sitting, I have also made an effort to do some yoga stretches every four hours and to get up out of my seat and walk around the building every two hours. Stretching, rolling, and strengthening are also happening at home every night before I go to bed and every morning when I wake. Although there is still slight discomfort present in my hamstring and glute, I have felt the pain decrease. There have been a few occassions where I have found feeling sorry for myself and wondering if I will be able to even make it to the starting line of the Newport Marathon, but I have not allowed the negative thoughts of defeat to knock me down. If anything, it makes me even more determined to take care of my body and treat it right in order for the favor to be returned.

  
The weather here has been absolutely erratic. Winds, which don’t seem to bother any of the people who grew up here,  seem to be present every time I have to run.  I’ve chosen running outside with the wind over the treadmill in order to train my brain to be tougher. Although I don’t think I have quite mastered, or embraced running with wind, I am proud of the fact I still manage to face and run against my nemesis.  My long run this last Saturday tested my mental fortitude. The stormy gray clouds were filled with a smorgasbord of snow, rain, and sleet. But it wasn’t  mother nature’s fickle palette bothering me. It was the WIND that really set me off on a tantrum the size of a two-year-old. For the first two miles, I found myself swearing at the weather conditions, whining about the fact there is ALWAYS wind in this city, and asking God for a break. Even though I knew my attitude stunk, I was so deep into how I felt, I couldn’t seem to get past my funk. So I began to pray. I asked God to help me get over my self-pity. I wanted him to remind me about how fortunate I was and how trivial my tantrum over the weather was.

  
With each step I took, I named something I was grateful for and continued to do so until mile four, where I finally felt God’s peace. From there on, it was as if the wind had turned into a soft breeze, caressing the path set forth in front of me. I no longer had to pray to recognize how fortunate I was. “I don’t HAVE to run. I GET to run!” That moment right there was a moment of triumph for me. More often than not, I am unable to get myself out of the whirlwind of negativity and walk away feeling completely dejected. This past Saturday though, for the first time since I can recall, I had MENTAL RESTRAINT and won the battle. My mind was not in control. My marathon training this time around is not focused on time. The focus is to achieve a strong mind. It is to tackle every run with gratitude. To prevent the negative voices in my head from overtaking the voices of reason and the voices of grace. How will I measure mental success? I will praise God no matter the CIRCUMSTANCES or the RESULTS.

  
 

Advertisements

Achy, Breaky Butt

My butt hurts. There was a time my butt hurt, but that was in my twenties when I went roller skating and I landed on my keister pretty hard. Aside from that time, my buttocks have never really hurt like the way they have been hurting this past week. Most shocking was how sudden it came. Last Saturday, after a long and slow 10 mile run, I found a rather dull ache on the inner left cheek (sorry, TMI). It was strange, because I just could not pinpoint a logical source for the onset of the pain. After much pondering, I’ve come to the conclusion that my sedentary profession (I administer standardized testing and write lengthy reports that nobody reads) may be the culprit of my frustrating ache. So, I spent a significant amount of time searching the internet trying to find ways to combat an achy butt. It seemed like the consensus was: stretching, strength training, and rolling. For the last two days, I have been diligently doing just that.

Rolling with my homey!

I signed up for the Newport Marathon, taking place June 4, 2016 in Newport, Oregon. It is a rather anticlimactic way to announce it considering I made a big deal of how I was in search of the ideal Marathon. It was my intent to write a rather enthusiastic post about how I had found my close-to-ideal marathon race, but the intent was competing with the thousand and one thoughts that race through my mind from the time I wake, to time I finally lay me down to sleep (How many more days until Summer? I want to visit Japan. I want to attend an Australian Open tennis match some day. It would be so much fun to run a Marathon in Greece. I am feeling anxious and don’t know why. My daughter needs to get up early to take a shower tomorrow. Why is it always windy in this darn city? Please God let me die without ever having to wear a diaper. My three-year loves Avocado and Salami sandwiches. How many licks does it take to the center of a tootsie roll pop? My poor husband is going to be canonized a saint for putting up with me.) I could go on and on, but it is not my intent to bore anyone to death. However, if you suffer from insomnia and this post is making you sleepy, then read away to help you get some decent sleep. Anyhow, where was I? Oh, yes, my marathon.

 

I can blow bubble gum and think a thousand random thoughts at the same time.

 
Newport Marathon, in 2010, was my first Marathon. I pretty much crawled my way to the finish line with giant crocodile tears and snot running down my nose. It was frustrating and NOT FUN in any way. The reason why I picked it this year was because that day is available and does not seem to conflict with any other responsibilities. The course is familiar to me, so I know what to expect. The temperatures in Newport during the month of June are preferred temperatures (low 50’s and either sunny or overcast). We also have family that live near the coast which we can visit while we are there. It seemed like it was meant to be! However, with the recent introduction of the butt-ache, I am now neurotic there will be a Eugene Marathon repeat. There is a vicious battle playing out in my head right now, and by the end of the day, I am mentally taxed trying to balance the tug-of-war between my neurotic thoughts and positive thoughts. For now, I am taking each run one day at a time, and praying, rolling, stretching, and keeping the faith that whatever happens with my body between now and June 4 will not diminish in any way shape or form who I am as a person and all the work I put into what I do.

 

Visiting McCall, Idaho during their Winter Carnival this past February. It was so much fun!

 
There is also a half-marathon I am registered to run on March 26. Since March is my birthday month, I thought I would bid adieu to 38 with a bang and welcome the possibilities that life will offer as a 39-year-old (my last year in the 30’s – yikes). The 1/2 marathon is the Hop Hop Half, and it takes place in Portland, Oregon. Hopefully it will not be wet and windy, but at this point, I will be happy with whatever mother nature throws my way because once again, my main goal is to get to the starting line healthy and cross the finish line with a positive and grateful heart.

What adversities have you had to face during training season? Do you tend to see the glass-half full or half-empty?