running

You Could Run a 10K

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  Whether or not you’re a runner, if you really wanted to run a 10K, you could.

I’ll explain.

The other morning, I woke up and noted the distance from my house to the woods.  I had biked there and ran a bit and then biked home about a month ago. That was a step up from driving there and hiking, like I’ve done for the past year or so.

After taking those steps, on this day, I decided I would run there and back. Because I wanted to see if I could do it.

And I did. Clocked it at 6.2 miles. A 10K. I didn’t plan to run a 10K, but I wanted to see if I could run all the way  to the woods and back. The unexpected 10K was a pleasant outcome. (I just remembered and it's super weird but I completed my first 5K around this same time last year).

It was my curiosity and willingness to push myself a little harder that helped me hit this goal. It took a change in my thinking about my personal limits for running, which until this morning was two or three miles. It also was the result of taking smaller, consistent steps and working on those muscles and then finally deciding to up the ante.  That last step was really what did it, though. That "I mean business" mindset. No backing out, no excuses, no doubt, no hesitation--just put the shoes on and run.

In my research for grad school these past two years, I’ve learned a lot about people and change. There is a whole field relegated to change theory—studying who changes and why they do it. The more I read, the more I find I need to read. That’s how research goes, right?

Basically, we are built to seek out change or stagnancy. We all eventually change, life sort of demands it, but each of us chooses how ready, willing and able we are to take it on. The lives we want are within our grasp, and we get to choose whether we get there on turbo charge or cruise control. Or if we even get there at all.

Whether or not you’re a runner, you can run a 10K, or whatever equivalent you want to pick, if you want it badly enough. When presented with a challenge in life, something that demands a change, a lot of people (most, actually) take an attitude that they are who they are and they can't or won’t change—which is sort of like saying they can’t do something, simply because they haven’t, yet. Or they pick easy things, things they know they will excel at, but avoid the harder change that is being presented to them. They tend to surround themselves with people who keep them at the level they want to stay and they claim to be content. Some might say they are just staying comfortable.

Choosing the changes we make has a lot to do with control, or rather the illusion of having control. If we aren’t able to give up control, we back away and we sometimes form resentments and in some cases, feel really angry about the change being presented to us. It usually works best when we are ready, willing and able and freely choosing something. If I had someone pushing me to run a 10K and I didn't want that challenge for myself, I probably would have had a much different result.

Many of us stop just shy of the line or goal we set for ourselves because of limiting beliefs or some deep-seated fear that we may not deserve the reward waiting for us. It's a damn shame and I see it happen all the time. I DO it myself, sometimes.

It is one way to live to wait until we feel completely comfortable before taking a flying leap into a new way of being. But consider that the best changes often happen just outside our control, inches beyond our comfort zone, when we aren't planning it or looking for it. Some of the best growth experiences happen when we just sort of jump in with two feet and give it our ABSOLUTE best without knowing how it will all turn out. Sort of like the way I hung out for the past two years, running somewhere between two and three miles a day. It was a comfort zone for me, something I was doing well. My time was decent, my pace was steady, I was even sprinting at times. But I felt like I could do more.

And that day came when I woke up and was determined to do my best to go harder and finish. To be "all in". And now I know I could run a 10K if I wanted to because I pushed myself.

You must have a 10K of your own rolling around in your brains. You have something you want really badly, in some area of your life, and you want to know if you can achieve it. This can be a relationship, a new business prospect or a personal fitness goal. I think about my friend who just opened her new office space (while having a toddler and taking the leap away from her FT job to start her health coaching business two years ago). She said to me, "it's really that easy, once you realize it. I could really do it, I just had to start and believe I could."

It's both awesome and maybe terrifying to know that you can make it happen, if you are willing to jump in with two feet and commit yourself. You just have to want it and you have to be willing to step outside your comfort zone of control to actually make it happen.

 

So, what's your 10K? What do you want?

What's one thing you're doing today to go harder than you've ever gone before?

 

 

Don't Just Do Something, Sit There!

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What happens when you sit with a difficult question or feeling?

 

People ask me about change and what to do when they come up against a difficult question or feeling. With thousands of clients, I've seen one major differentiator: the ones who sit with the feelings and the ones who run themselves into the ground trying to avoid them.

There's no denying that change can be hard. It isn't always pretty, awesome or fun. When it's challenging, our first instinct is to run to avoid the pain or difficult feelings and thoughts. I've learned this never works, in fact it often drags the painful process out even longer. As the saying goes, "you can run, but you can't hide."

Running from difficult thoughts, feelings or questions is how we avoid being present. We sometimes do this by busying ourselves with tons of tasks and responsibilities and we call it, "being responsible" or "being busy". We justify our escapism so we can validate our decision to avoid the painful stuff.

I get it. Bills need to be paid. Laundry needs to be done. Dishes need to be washed. Work tasks need to get checked off. But over time, this way of being only reinforces the muscle we have around avoiding and running. We don't strengthen the muscle of staying. We don't become more able to sit with pain and tough stuff, we just get really good at avoiding it so it never feels more likely or more possible to endure it.

We perpetuate our very predicament.

I learned to sit with hard feelings during a few different transitions in my life. When I felt challenged by something at work, with a relationship or within myself, I intentionally told myself to sit. Sometimes I even had to sit on my hands or wrap my legs around the chair rungs. When I did this enough times, I became able to sit with my thoughts, however painful or hard, and eventually I changed my perception of those thoughts. They were no longer painful or hard, they just "were". When I stopped being afraid and stopped being so busy to avoid facing my fear, I became more able to face whatever change was coming my way. I breathed more deeply, got more air in my lungs a thought more clearly.

It helped me plan my next move and helped the change process move more smoothly.

Next time something challenging or painful comes up, don't just do something---something to avoid the tough stuff---just sit there, instead.

You might be amazed how productive sitting still can be!

 

 

photo courtesy of livingaquotablelife

 

 

 

How To Complete a 5K

About two months ago, my friend asked me if I wanted to run a 5K to benefit a local organization that serves the homeless. photo 1

My first thought was, "wow, he must think I'm a pretty good runner" and my second thought was, "I could totally do that".

And so I said yes.

And then I forgot to run to make sure I could run a 5K. For those who don't know, a 5K is equal to 3.1 miles. I wasn't entirely sure I could run 3.1 miles. Saying yes made me commit to the idea that I could and would be able to do it.

Did you ever have that same experience? Where you weren't completely sure you can do something but something about agreeing to it makes it become more likely or possible?

So here's what happened, with my tips for how to complete a 5K:

1) make sure you can run/jog/walk somewhere close to 3.1 miles: 6 days before the race, I ran 2 miles with ease. The night before, despite feeling a little low, I ran another 2 miles without dying or hacking up a lung. I figured I was good to go.

2) set clear intentions: the morning of the race, I showed up and decided to do my best. It was the first time I was doing something like this. Do you get a rush from doing something new? I do. It sort of doesn't matter what happens because I figure, hell, at least I'm doing something new. Might as well enjoy it!

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3) be real about what YOU can do: the other guys on my team were all near 6' tall so they took off with their long legs striding well ahead of me. I decided, in that moment, that this experience wasn't about winning or even keeping up. It's about doing it, completing it, honoring my commitment to show up and do it the best I could.

4) take in the scenery: fueled by the energy of almost 1,000 other runners surrounding me, and people on the sidewalk, waving and clapping, made me smile. The weather was nice, my playlist was loud and fast-paced and I was happy bouncing along at my own pace.

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5) listen to your body: around the 2 mile mark I got a serious cramp in my side, which was interesting because I never cramp when I run. I slowed down. I noticed the people running around me. I felt grateful to be running, to have a body that has been through a lot in the past year but was running this race, anyway. The cramp passed and I sped up a little. More inclines came and I took them with ease. Something turned in my stomach and I almost started crying--it was so powerful! I realized I had run most of the way and I didn't need to stop. My legs and lungs felt stronger than ever. I realized that I was going to finish this thing and finish it strong.

6) give it all you've got: I sped up in the last leg, passing about 30 people on my right. I had no idea about my pace. It didn't matter. I saw the gate at the end, waiting for me. People were cheering, I pushed myself to a near-sprint across the finish line and notice my time is about 30 minutes. I said out loud, "good job!" and gasped for air.

 

this is me, gasping for air a the Finish line

I don't know how many more 5Ks are in my future, but it sure felt good to say "yes" and do it. My official time was 29:09, which is pretty darn good for someone who runs less than once a week.

I was left with the awesome possibility of what I could have done if I ran more often...

Share your stories of running or any time you tried something new or met a goal you set for yourself. I love inspiration!