On Clearing Space and Creating Victory

Spirituality, Temple Building, Text Talk, Women's Health

Over on PhYINomenal, Sojo’s self care focus for November is Elimination – time to release, remove, denounce, deny and let go. It’s a great time to release that which no longer serves you and invite in affirming energy, new processes, and transformative experiences.

If you’ve never checked out her site, today’s a great day to do it. Get the self care calendar for November and see what simple things you can do to release the deadweight and bring new life.

Over the years I’ve found myself in that place many times. One time in particular, I was stuck, stagnant and depleted. I needed something, anything, that could help me recharge my life and get inspired again.

I finally realized that I didn’t need to look outside myself for the answers. With patience and intention I could create them for myself. And I did. I spent several weeks enacting some simple practices, not unlike the suggestions Sojo recommends each month. And in short order, I found my joy once again.

I wrote about that experience shortly after it happened. I shared my story and my steps once or twice and then forgot about it. Earlier this year I sat down to dish with Sojo about templebuilding (listen here!), and it all came back to me. I even found the guide I drafted years ago and decided I’d put it out in the world. Eventually.

As it turns out, now is the time! I tried to convince myself to wait until next year, or next month, or next season. Later. But it’s always later. So if there’s one thing I’m working to release this month, it’s Resistance and his twin sister, Procrastination.

As a 42-year old woman who has lost both parents (momma 13 years ago and daddy 10 years next month), I know for sure that time waits for no one and tomorrow is not promised.

I’m not expecting my work to reach a million people, but I do hope it can create value in the life of at least one. If you’re looking to revive your inner beauty, and do it your own way, consider using my guide as companion in your walk. It’s available here.

Let me know how you tap into your creativity and create your next victory.

#Sub60: 16 of 61

Sub 60 10k, Temple Building
new brooks
First day in my new Brooks Launch.

Sunday’s long run tested my shoes, my stride and my insoles.

I have an ongoing challenge with shock/fatigue effecting the ball of my right foot. Over the years, I’ve dealt with the symptoms successfully for the most part. In the past two years, it hasn’t flared up at all, so I’d forgotten about it until earlier this month. That was about the time I ran out out my old shoes (500+ miles) and purchased news ones. Somewhere in that transition, my foot reminded me of the way things were.

The new shoes haven’t helped, so I tried new insoles this week. I did a short run with them, but Sunday’s long run was the official new insoles trial. Would my feet hold up for over an hour of running, or would they start to complain?

They complained.

I adjusted my foot strike throughout the run and found some shifts helpful. I realize much of this will be trial and error until I’m ready to go see a specialist. I’m not, yet, so trial and error it is.

Aside from foot fatigue in the last mile, the run was a good one. I kept a steady 11 to 11:45 pace as prescribed, tending toward the lower end of the range. I locked into the pace easily, and found the only real work happened when expected: tackling the one or two hills along the trail. I backed up the pace a little bit to recover, but it was still within my target intensity.

Tomorrow’s run is another easy one, but I’m really looking forward to Thursday’s challenge. It’s speedwork, and I plan to become good friends with  track.

#Sub60: 11 and 12 of 61

Sub 60 10k, Temple Building, Zaimu Challenge
Saturday's post-run sunrise
Saturday’s post-run sunrise

Yesterday Blue and I ran two miles and strides. We arrived early to the park, ahead of the 5k racers. We got our two on the greenway and closed out the strides on the track. I wore new running shoes for the occasion, but I didn’t run long enough to see how my feet liked them.

Today’s long run was a 5-miler. An extra rest day Friday and carb loading yesterday proved great choices. I experimented with my pre-run fuel this morning as well, eating a little banana with almond butter before the left. The combination left me feeling energized and strong the entire run. My shoes also worked pretty well, and I’m looking forward to some good miles with them.

Next week I move into more vigorous runs and increased mileage. As it is, last month I set a personal record for most miles run in a month (58.4)! I am traveling to Colorado later this month. It takes me a few days to get used to the altitude, so I’m expecting a few days off then.

Wednesday, weights

Sub 60 10k, Temple Building, Zaimu Challenge
Ernestine Shepherd, Body Builder

Today is Global Running Day.

This is an event I’d never heard of until my RunKeeper app pushed a notification encouraging me to participate. I debated this, but I decided to stick to my running plan, which lists today as a non-running day. This is risky because where I live, it rains every Thursday in June.

Truth is, I was a little tired yesterday.

I turned in thinking I’d catch up on rest this morning, rather than lift weights as planned. Despite all alarms being off, my body still anointed 5 a.m. as the waking hour. I snoozed until 6 but then I needed to make a final decision. Resting or not?

A vision of Natasha Hastings on Instagram persuaded me to choose not. Wednesday is weights day after all, so I went for it. If I feel too fatigued, I can always take breaks, or quit, I thought.

I got hydrated and dressed, and pushed play on strength DVD.  I did take a few short breaks, but I felt energized overall.

Tomorrow is back to the pavement. And yes, the forecast shows the standard Thursday rain. Wish me well! I won’t run in a thunderstorm, but I won’t let simple rain keep my miles off the books.

Monday, rest day

Sub 60 10k, Temple Building, Zaimu Challenge

Today is Monday, an exercise rest day according to my running plan. It’s a good thing because I need it.

Before the plan, I alternated running, PiYo (“Pilates based yoga”), Pump (weights) and rest. I generally ran two-three days a week, did weights two days a week, one day of PiYo and one day of rest.

Last week I experimented with new things, including basic classical Pilates and a short kettle bell routine. The activities themselves may work with my running program, but I’ll have to be more intentional about planning which activities on which days (and to what degree).  This week proved to be a little much.

I found this guidance on Runner’s World:

LONG RUN
Day Before: Cross-train or total rest
Day After: Cross-train or total rest

SPEEDWORK
Day Before: Cross-train or easy run
Day After: Cross-train, easy run, or total rest

TEMPO RUN OR HILL REPEATS
Day Before: Strength train or easy run
Day After: Strength train or easy run

I have Monday, Wednesday and Friday as non-running days, and thus far my body is pretty firmly committed to Monday (today!) as a total rest day. I’m playing with strength training on Wednesdays, and PiYo on Fridays. For now at least. I’ll see how my body recovers this week.

Later on, I plan to incorporate swimming, and that will be an adventure all its own.

Conversation, concentration

Sub 60 10k, Temple Building, Zaimu Challenge

I’m supposed to complete quite a few of my training workouts at conversation pace – slow enough to talk to a friend. I wondered about the importance of running slowly so much of the time, especially when your overall goal is to train your body for speed and endurance.

I tend to take longer runs (5+ miles) slower, but, in general I run a moderate pace. For me that’s too fast to tell a story mid-stride, but slow enough to notice my surroundings and make an occasional quick joke.

Here’s what I found about conversation pace:

Running at conversational pace (also called base running), has lots of benefits, including: helps create a more efficient running style; helps your muscles to learn to burn fat more efficiently, receive and process oxygen better, and deal better with lactic acid; trains your heart and lungs to become more efficient at absorbing, delivering, and utilizing oxygen.

All of those things sound important to me! Another writer emphasized the fat burning efficiency, and the fact that building a strong base is the key to faster, longer running.  She even shared some interesting research about avoiding the moderate pace I usually run.

Laughing during conversation pace.
Laughing during conversation pace.

I love the way I feel on the longer, slower runs. The energy builds throughout the run, and by the end I feel so vibrant. But my uninformed approach was to run a moderate pace, especially on my shorter runs – nearly every run.

I’m curious to see how more conversation pace running will impact my overall ability to burn fat and run strong.

How about you? Do you run slow enough to hold a conversation, or do you go a bit faster?

Running Buddha

Running Buddha, Sub 60 10k, Temple Building, Zaimu Challenge

A funny thing happened yesterday. While searching for the image to accompany my blog, I suddenly felt “some kind of way.” I’m not sure what that phrase really means (ha), but I felt excitement and a sort of recognition, seeking and finding yet another runner. Not just runners… I’ve been seeking and finding elite track athletes. Women who spend hours a week training their bodies to be efficient and fast. Side note: they’re all fine, too.  Yassss!

Mikele Barber

The feeling surprised me because although I was sprinter in high school, I didn’t really enjoy the work that went into it.

As a kid, I loved racing classmates and neighbors. Sprinting felt like flying, and I could count on being first or really close. But running varsity track wasn’t exactly fun. It was okay to run hills and stairs, jump boxes, pull tires and the like. Yet when it came to the conditioning runs, either long distance or endless sprint repeaters, I hated them.

I avoided running for years after high school because I had such unpleasant memories of conditioning. Occasional school yard races with my elementary students or fellow teachers? Sure. Distance running or any type of training? Hell no.

So I’ve found it surprising to come to running on my own terms and enjoy it. There’s much to love about it including the sights, smells and fresh air outdoors, and the overall feeling of accomplishment and fitness after a strong run. I can set personal goals and work toward them sans stress.

Me, finishing Tuesday's "3 miles and strides."
Me, finishing Tuesday’s “3 miles and strides.”

But this feeling yesterday, this connection or bond with women who work at running was certainly new.  And it fits with my current feelings and approaches to things, so I’m going with it.

During many of my runs, I learn lessons, and sometimes I share them here. Whether I blog about it or not, I’m always growing while running. When I’m absorbing lessons while running, I always think Running Buddha.

With all of this in mind, I plan to document my journey to a sub 60 10k. From the mental and physical discipline, to the workout specifics and rationale, and everything in between. I’m about one week in to a 16-week program, so join me!

Blogs about running lessons will be categorized Running Buddha. Blogs about the program, Sub 60 10k.

7, 8, 9…

Running Buddha, Sub 60 10k, Temple Building, Zaimu Challenge

In 2014, I began a running plan via my RunKeeper app. It’s a fat burning plan, and alternates intervals with steady runs to increase your fitness level. The app features several such plans for goals like run a 5k (3.1 miles), run a 5k in less than 30 minutes, and so on. Although I don’t enter races, I run 5ks and a rare 10k (6.2 miles), as part of a regular exercise regimen.

While perusing the plans back then, I noticed a 7-mile training run included to build endurance for a 5k. At that point I was a consistent 4-mile runner and 7 miles seemed daunting. It was a little too far outside my comfort zone, and after all, I was just a casual runner. The goal and the fear intrigued me, though. I filed it in the back of my mind to target later and stuck to the simpler fat burning plan.

Fast forward to 2016. One day, more or less due to happenstance than planning, I ran 7 miles! And then I did it again on purpose which was actually harder to do! After 7, the new uncomfortable, too-far-out-there goal I secretly filed away was 10. One day, I’ll run 10 miles. (I have zero or less than zero interest in training for a half or whole marathon, by the way, so don’t get any ideas). Anywho, 10 gives me the same jitters 7 did a couple of years ago, and I had no plans to hit it soon.

Sanya Richards-Ross

This weekend, I signed up for a new training plan via RunKeeper. Based on my current fitness and mental readiness for challenge, I selected a sub 60min 10k. This means running just over 6.2 miles in under an hour. It’s definitely doable, but unlike past running ventures, it will take actual training, rather than casual effort.

Before signing up, I skimmed the plan and noticed an 8-mile run in the mix. I felt the familiar tension, but brushed it off because of the two 7s under my belt. I locked in the plan and completed my first run (4 miles) on Sunday.

But today, while looking at the run calendar to confirm date of said 8-mile run, I blinked, observing there was much more in the offing. This 16-week plan starts off comfortably, but quickly ramps up to regular long runs – something I’ve never done with any consistency. There are two 7-milers on tap, and after a few weeks, not one but two 8-milers, two 9-milers, and shock of all shocks, yes a 10-miler.

I said it was time for a challenge. Wow. Here it is.

One step. 10k.

Running Buddha, Sub 60 10k, Temple Building, Zaimu Challenge

Today I began a 10k training program.

I started on Day 3, as I’d already completed the equivalent of the first two days on my regular regimen. I ran my standard distance – 4 miles – so it was an easy entry.

IMG_8426My distance running has been primarily self-taught/self-guided until now. I’ve been comfortable, and now that I’m fully settled into my new life, I’m ready to break boundaries.

I want to prove to myself that I can set and accomplish goals with consistency and commitment. These ingredients are sometimes lacking in my creative endeavors, and the combination of structure, challenge and discipline will reap benefits in the weeks and months to come.

Today’s run was to be conversation pace, defined on this plan as 11:15-11:30 minutes per mile. I nailed it at 11:20 average pace, but it was interesting to note that my conversation pace was more like concentration pace. Because I usually go much slower at the beginning and much faster at the end, I constantly checked my pace to make sure I was on target. I made mid-course adjustments the whole run to make sure I remained on track. I had to remain focused to keep pace.

The plan is a sub 60 10k. That means my goal is to run just over six miles in just under an hour. This is a doable stretch for me. Although I’m confident I can be successful, I know it will take more effort than I’ve given in the past. Normally I run just for fun. Now I’m running for excellence. I don’t plan to enter an actual race, but I do plan to run faster, and longer and increase my overall fitness.

Today I took a step, and won. My next run is set for Tuesday…

In progress

Running Buddha, Temple Building, Zaimu Challenge
Ajee’ Wilson

Today I ran another 4 miler. I don’t generally run two days in a row, but rain is forecast for tomorrow, so I had to get it in.

I had modest goals – namely maintaining yesterday’s performance with the addition of a slightly faster warm up mile.

To my surprise and delight, I crushed it.

I pushed the warm up mile and was progressively faster on all miles thereafter. I even dropped my average pace by 30 seconds.  That’s pretty shocking, and in truth, I hit my target. As in, what I expected to be doing after a couple of weeks of effort.

Next steps? Keeping this up long term, and not just as a quick trick a couple of days here and there. I’m still taking breathers on mile four, so I’ll also plan to build endurance for speedier runs.

I’m excited to see my mind and body work together to create an outcome. This is one of the things I most appreciate about running. It shows me I can visualize and enact things in the real world.

Now to apply this to projects in progress…

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Read about Ajee’ at the 2014 Penn Relays here.