Posts Tagged ‘inspiration

02
Jan
11

Creating an atmosphere of confidence in your mind for your journey

image from studentbranding.com

I had a terrific week and a few days ago I wrote a lot about the confidence I had in running long distance training or race runs.  As I ran my 6 mile run today I thought and thought and thought about this but I didn’t know I was until I finished.  I said to myself mid-way that I should go for ten miles because I knew I could do it and it would increase my long run distance build-up faster.  I held back though.  I thought to myself that I am 100% sure that even right now I could push through and battle out a marathon finish.  I mean heck, when there is so much on the line (a finishers shirt!!!  🙂 ) you always finish.  I know I could.  Would it be really fun?  Would it be “relaxing” and benificial?  Would it foster good thoughts or bad ones?  Then it struck me about training for me personally.  My body responds well to pretty much any kind of training I think.  I recover well.  I can go a long ass ways.  But it REALLY struck my that a conservative build-up (like the one I did when I first started running) did more for creating an ATMOSPHERE OF CONFIDENCE within my own mind than it did for creating a super fit person.  Of course the super fit goes along with the running but the multiple ultras and marathons, the way I explained to myself in my writing how I thought and felt going into a race, the sense of almost scoffing at a distance (with respect though) because I had done the work in the trenches far before hand.  It struck me that the ATMOSPHERE OF CONFIDENCE in my own mind was what I need to foster more than anything.  THAT is what creates IN ME the ability to stick with it, the ability to enjoy it, the ability to endure much longer distances.  In other words, I held back.  I cherished the “small” 6 mile victory.  I saw in my minds eye the red line on my confidence meter bump up because I finished my 6 miles in complete comfort and with a sigh of satisfaction followed by a smile.  There is plenty of time to build-up to 20, 30, 40 mile long runs.  I was reminded of the times where I had a 30 mile long run and I felt this exact same way when I finished: in comfort and with a smile.  Not sore for days, happy I did it, confident I could do it again. 

 
It also then dawned on me that training (or even starting exercise for the non-exerciser) is  a work of creating that atmosphere of confidence in the mind.  Making sure to work it in a way to create small victories to maximize and ensure that the confidence builds.  The body will make the changes it needs to, but the mind almost needs to be tricked into believe in itself if that makes sense.  It may seem slow forcing delayed gratification but suddenly you end up doing 50 times more than you ever thought feeling like its easy just like that 6 mile run.  I am committed to this.  Developing that atmosphere of confidence, developing that consistency of victory.  Maybe not moving on too fast but making sure I have lots of victories along the way.  Building, building, building.
 
Hopefully that all made sense because I just rambled a lot. LOL.
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31
Dec
10

Weight loss victory is a matter of perception sometimes.

Today I somehow made my way through the mass tangle of the internet into reading a list of the most expensive cars in the world.  It was pretty amazing that a $150,000.00 car didn’t even come close to making the list.  Below is a picture of one the most expensive cars in the world coming in at around $750,000.00 which oddly enough is about half the price of the most expensive cars.

A SSC Ultimate Aero-V (photo from wix.com)

This got me to thinking about the people who buy these.  To them, buying the 150 grand car is nothing and they could scoff at it.  And then to the person owning the 150 grand car would easily be able to get a 75 grand car.  And then a person from 75 to 50, and then 50, to 20, and so on all the way down to the person who thinks it is the best thing ever to have a 1985 oldmobile in good condition for $1500.00.  It is all a matter of perception. 

I think weight loss is the same way.  A person who has lost 500 lbs may think it is no big deal to have to lose 200 and so on.  Likewise, you can look at the “blow ups” on your journey in particular ways.  A person who gained all their weight back would wish they only gained half, and a person gaining half would wish for only a quarter.  And for me, TODAY, I realized that going way over my points could be looked at like a “blow up” but it really isn’t.  I still have SOME weekly points left.  If I had looked at going so far over as a huge failure I may have just said “EFF” it and started again on monday like we all have done a million times.  Today I chose to be excited that I was still on plan even while going over so much.  I chose to stay positive about it and realize it could have been much more “EXPENSIVE” points wise than it really was. 

I guess I was just reminded that we are all on a journey and no matter what mark we want to get to or what obstacles we face, we are all just people and our goals and hard times are important and real to us.

30
Dec
10

Staying on plan through all the feelings

It’s funny when I think of it, but bad eating doesn’t just happen when you are bummed out or pissed or some other negative emotion.  It happens when you are happy as heck too.  Food and eating it are closely connected to our emotions.  We use it for birthdays, holidays, and celebrations of all types.  We use it at funerals, work meetings, and vacations.  It is all around us during all our feelings good and bad.  It is possible to stay on your plan though during it all.  Sometimes its hard, sometimes its not, but it is ALWAYS possible.  Today I made it possible with some simple choices and the stuff I ate that was not optimal……………well…………..I just counted it.  Ended the day with one point left actually and that is good news.  LOL!  Even on a day where I felt the whole range of emotions and had lots of opportunites to not count or just blow it all, I hung on.  You can too.

I also got my run in tonight.  It was a dry and cold night.  I started the run just as the sun was setting so I took a pic through some awesome old oak trees.  Check it out and thanks for stopping by to read.

02
Jun
10

A life lesson from a “tuff” race!

 

photo by strangesports.com

So I have been thinking about this blog post for about two months now and this last race pushed me over the edge to finally be able to articulate in some form what I have wanted to say.  Most of you  know that I think ultra-running parallels life in many interesting ways.  One of the ways is the unexpected blow up.  Just reading what I just wrote possibly brought up your own sacred times in life where you experienced a “blow up”.  Not of temper, not of fire, but of life itself and the dreams that are contained within it.  Times in your life that forced a renegotiation of your goals or path.  We have all experienced this in some form or another.  But what we do with these times is what counts the most.  Avoiding times like these at all costs will not permit you to totally avoid them.  We can plan, we can hope, we can pray, but these times occur regardless.  It is possible to minimize the damage they can cause or possibly their frequency but one thing is for sure; they will happen.  And this is ok.  So I am going to write out one of these the best way I know how because I think you’ll like it and I just need to do it so here it goes.  Picture your own life as I describe the situation in running form.

Ahhhhhhh……….my goal is ahead and I have worked so long and hard and dreamed for so long about it.  I can taste it.  I can almost experience my dream in my mind just pondering on the attainment of the goal.  THAT place is so happy.  I know it will be amazing to get there and the sense of peace I will have knowing that I got my dream.  The journey has been long to get to the starting line but I am here.  I start my race with such joy and comfort knowing what my future hours hold for me.  Running in the breeze thinking how blessed I am to be able to be taking part in life like this.  I meet people along the way that improve my experience greatly.  I find out more about them as we run together.    I know that they are most likely just for a time but at this time it is great to get to know them.  As I am running I see the hills before me without fear because I know I can walk if needed or I can slow it down enough to conserve my energies.  There is no rush really, I have a long race ahead of me but the excitement must be contained so that I don’t burn out on a good thing.  I keep on just getting more excited that my dreams are ahead of my and they will become a reality.  Of course there are rough patches during the run.  My legs burn and I want to rest.  My back is tight and I want to stretch.  Many thoughts come during those rough patches that widdle my dream down to barely possible.  Then the sun shines in through the trees and my life returns as I eat some more carbs.  My mind awakens and I am in “the good” again believing all is possible.  Time moves on and on as I run.  I’m running, I’m running, I’m running.  After a long time of pursuing this dream something happens seemingly out of nowhere.  It’s the blow up.  The blow up is a devastating crushing blow to my mind and emotions.  The dream is shut down and the door feels closed.  Survival is my only thought during a blow up.  That and giving up completely.  I know the end is near enough but the short distance from the present darkness to the light at the end of my great achievement appears to be many more miles than it really is.  My thoughts change from delight in life and running to self questioning and sanity.  “Was I stupid for trying to achieve and experience great things.  Did I bite off more than I can chew.  Will I hurt myself doing this.  Am I in danger in this dark time” .  All the negative thoughts that I was able to conquer regarding my dreams before are now so consuming that I cannot shut them up.  Panic sets into me just as powerfully as the joy set in earlier in my journey.  Will I be able to get what I want so badly out of this now that attaining my original goal is impossible?????  This is where the magic happens in ultra-running AND life.  I know I can’t make it to my original goal.  I am already running longer than my goal finishing time and I have so far to go still.  What am I to do with all of this.  If I give up and quit I still have to walk to the finish because there is now way out of the race (life).  If I keep going through this blow up it’s going to hurt really bad and I don’t want to hurt that bad anymore.  If I just go slower I might as well quit!  But then the renegotiating happens.  At first I hate it because it feels weak like a cop-out but the courage begins to build again but for a new purpose.  The original goal is now very far gone but the endurance and capacity to conquer the blow up now takes precedence.  I find myself realizing that the journey could very possibly be more important than the attainment of the original goal.  The the experience of this hurt, this “failure”, this “shame” could be worth millions more than crossing the finish line without scars.  Although down and out, I forge ahead with a new but painfully real struggle.  I must not let the “blow up” finish me.  Then it hits me, “OMG………..the goal is not me.  I’m me and I don’t have to let the circumstance finish me and in fact I can let it refine me.”  My heart melts at the prospect of making it through this blow up as a better man, as a better more knowledgable runner.  I find great peace in this painful experience knowing that just making it through to the other side of it means so much to me.  And when I cross the finish line where my goal once sat waiting for me to take it, I am thankful for making it at all.  I am thankful for that pain and hurt that even though at the time seemed so intense was really only temporary as compared to the impact it will have on my future runs and life. 

So I think it is with life too.  We all have goals and aspirations and dreams.  Sometimes it is as though we are running through life so smoothly but we don’t see that huge cliff that drops off just ahead.  That cliff that swallows up so much of what we think we have in us to give.  That blow up that takes so much out of us that life seems terribly painful to keep at.  So much is possible for us.  So much is right there for us to become if we can renegotiate the path and the goals.  In a sense I feel like even though we might not get what we originally wanted, we will get the best that is attainable by moving on through the blow up.  Things get painful, and slow, and don’t work on our time line but keeping on develops in us such a tremendous power to achieve the most important thing.  That is to achieve the depth and reality of the person that we can be.

18
May
10

A special gift, a fast run, and losing 4 lbs.

Yesterday I was inspired by a VERY special person to keep on posting on the blog.  She reminded me that my journey was special and that I was special too.  I work a lot of hours and don’t spend a whole lot of time at home anymore.  After work yesterday when I got home, there was a special gift sitting on my front door step.  It was my favorite dessert in the world from Elephants Delicatessen: The infamous ding dong cake.  I could not find a picture of it and it would probably make the strongest of  you fall of the wagon anyway. LOL.  It was just sitting there and enclosed within the bag was a magnificent letter of encouragement.  It made my day and it offered my up a fabulous post run meal.  🙂  Thanks special person!

Once I got over the intense pleasure of receiving a wonderful gift I started to prepare for my run.  Well, after some thank you’s and a 5 minute nap.  I woke up refreshed and looking forward to a good run.  I had 7 miles a goal marathon pace which is about 7:30 minute miles.  I knew it was going to be hard but I was not afraid of that.  I was not afraid of failing in this run.  I took a step out the front door to experience what ever the run would lead me too.  I reached into my running jacket pocket to commence Breaking Benjamin on my Ipod.  As the song Anthem of Angels flooded my ears I began my run halfway down my driveway.  My neighborhood road is exactly .5 mile to the main road I venture out on.  There is a hill just before the main road and I was tired already.  I did not hesitate to walk about 50 feet because I knew I had to run a fast run and walking that short distance would not hurt me.  I was already breathing hard but kept at it.  I got to the main road and settled into my pace.  I ran and ran and ran and listened and listened.  Much emotion was built into this run and it carried me a good distance.  After 3 miles I finally got into my zone and the running felt easier which is odd because usually it takes me a good hour to kick into smooth running.  Step by step, minute after minute, mile after mile………..I made my way back home averaging a pace of 7:29 just like the clock in the pic.  It was a hard run and it was a succesful run.  I am just getting back into running goal paced runs more regularly since the 100 mile attempt last February.  It feels good and I am looking forward to growing in running again. 

I also lost 4 lbs last week.  My workouts with the trainer are going well and I can see changes in my body already.  I will have to lay off the legs though so I will probably be cutting the training down to twice a week really hard without the third day for legs.  I’m STILL keeping on keeping on.

A word for my fellow journy-people:

Sometimes life is smooth sailing.  The trail you are running is clear without obstruction.  You feel good, you are succeeding, you are winning the good fight.  Then comes a steep steep hill.  This hill comes out of nowhere and it scares the crap out of you.  You have no idea how you can make it up such a steep climb and you don’t understand how such a huge obstacle could just appear right in the middle of your smooth sailing  journey.  ITS OK!!!  You will keep at it.  Taking one step at a time climbing higher and higher until you reach the top but it will be hard and that’s ok too.  There may be plateaus mid-hill.  You maybe be able to rest for a moment only realizing you are not at the top and that the weight you carry is just too much to carry on.  There is hope in this hill.  You will learn yourself, you will change, you will become the person you dream of.  You’ll be able to start again up this hill.  And the higher you climb the more the hope that was lost will be begin to build up again.  There is hope, there is victory!

05
May
10

Eating, running, and weight watchers???

Like the homing pigeons above, I need to come home.  I AM GOING TO GO HOME.  I am headed back to weight watchers again tomorrow.  I will admit, I have a sense of shame about going back.  Not because of the weight I have gained or anything like that.  I feel “worthy” of going back but what I feel bad about is stopping my meetings in the first place.  I love them you know.  I care about the people there and they care about me.  There is no reason but full on self-deception that has caused me to stay away.  So today I will make a grand entrance at my “home” once again.  I will go there head high and weigh in.  To be honest, even as I write this I am telling myself that I should not go back.  That I should just stay away and forget about it.  But that is my unhealthy side talking.  I know what works for me.  I know what I like to do for my body.  I have listened and listened and listened to my body for so long now there is really no arguing with what works for me and WW works.  And in fact, it works for an endurance athlete as well.  I have made WW work for ultras and marathons.  It will do the job.  I say “it” but really it is just eating healthy and eating the correct amount of calories.  “It” is like any other normal eating program.  The only difference from what I am doing now is that IT IS NORMAL. LOL. 

I am going to start training hard again with my running and on top of that I will be doing three days a week of resistance training.  I long for this.  I am in recovery from the Strolling Jim at the moment but I will be back hard at it soon enough.  I yearn for the self exploration that it all brings, and the self revelation that I experience.  I can’t wait for the sense of accomplishment DAILY knowing that I am doing the RIGHT thing for my body.  The right thing for my life.  I never would have guessed that running would have become such a part of my life.  I never would have dreamed that I would write a post about my third year of long distance running and that I completed my 22nd long race.  I don’t say this stuff to be arrogant and I hope you don’t see it that way.  As I write I am even humbled by the process.  The process of step by step growth.  The process of learning what and what not to do while running.  I am humbled that I can even call myself a runner and to be honest at this point in my running life I still sometimes don’t think I am a REAL runner.  Now that is crazy because a REAL runner is just a normal person who runs, jogs, walk/jogs, etc.  There is no distance that makes you a runner.  There is no magic number of races that changes your identity to be someone else so that you can finally be a REAL runner.  There is no days per week that you must run to be REAL.  All you have to do is get out there and do it.  Fast or slow, smooth or uncordinated, natural or unnatural.  So I am going to get out there and do some more running becasue I want to.  I don’t have to.  I am the same person with the same worth and the same integrity if I do or don’t.  But I want to run, and I want to experience all that it has to offer me in this short life.

05
May
10

Running through it

Over the last several months I have not done a whole lot of being consistant.  I have had a very hard time getting my life back together enough so that I can once again stick to a “normal” schedule of daily operations.  At least this is what I have thought……………………….but I have had a stroke of insight today.  I have not been doing ALL BAD!  So I will look on the bright side of things.  I have developed and implemented a new system at my work place that will change it forever and for the better.  I have followed my dreams of training for, and finally attempting to run 100 miles.  I have continued to eat ok enough not to gain ALL my weight back.  I have held it together in many ways but it still does not take away the fact that it has been really really hard.  And the hard stuff is not over yet either.  Sometimes I feel it is only getting harder.  But one thing I know for sure is that I have been running through it all.  It is the constant (other than God) that stands firmly in place.  Well, not always firmly but I have not let go of it.  I have cut back, gone hard, eased off, etc. etc.  But I have not turned my back on running.  I have pretty much stayed with at least two days a week of running.  My come back races were 32 and 41 miles. 

This tiny piece of consistancy, with which coach dean has helped tremendously, has helped me piece things together.  It has helped me have a foundation to build off of again.  I am back to exercising with cross-training.  I am excited once again about my running goals.  I am looking forward to doing more running in the very near future and Coach Dean will help me attain physically what I want to attain emotionally as a way for me to set a foundation for all that is to come.  I have to start somewhere.  Heck, I have already started long ago, but I have finally realized I cannot do this all at once.  I cannot go at this with an all or nothing approach like I normally can.  i just don’t have the mental nor emotional energy to do so.  So it will go step by step but I will keep on keeping on.  I will run, I will eat, I will workout, I will talk things out with people I trust, I will remember my blessings and……………………………………..things will become what I desire them to be.  I have learned a lot about being patient with myself and that has been hard.  But I am glad I have learned it.  VERY GLAD.