Five for Friday :: 8 April 2011 (and a race recap!)
Thank you to everyone who sent kind vibes and words my way last weekend for the half-marathon that I ran. I was thisclose to my goal of sub-2:00, with a time of 2:00:45. The perfectionist in me felt a tinge of disappointment (hey, I’m human!), but I was able to focus on the things that I was incredibly proud of – like, finishing, for instance. Not only did I cut 25 minutes off of my previous time, but I felt so much better physically and emotionally after this race. While my legs were of course aching, my feet sore, and my muscles exhausted, I felt incredibly strong and grateful crossing the finish line, doing my last mile as my fastest one.
Not only was my body more prepared this time around thanks to time, mindfully exercising, speed work, and cross-training with yoga, but so was my mind. There were several points during the race when I started to notice my thoughts go in an unhealthy and hopeless direction, like when the strong wind felt like it was pummeling me backwards. I made a decided effort, however, to refocus my thoughts and shift my attention to how I was feeling in my body – tired, but powerful. Despite the lack of crowd support (we’re talking deserted rolling hills of nothingness), I was my own cheerleader.
I also experienced a pivotal moment around mile eight. Chugging along on the pavement, I suddenly had the thought, “I want this.” For the several days previous, despite publically declaring my race goal, I had convinced myself that it didn’t matter if I achieved my goal – it was enough that I was trying. And it was, in a sense. I had worked extremely hard to get where I was at, so two hours or three hours or eternity didn’t matter. Sort of.
What I realized though, was that I was convincing myself that my time didn’t matter because I was scared of admitting that it was important to me. If I acknowledged that, I would have to experience the potential sadness and disappointment if I didn’t meet my goal. So instead of pretending that I didn’t care for the sake of preventing difficult feelings, I decided at that mile to say it aloud… I want this.
It was an invigorating feeling, one that made me run harder and faster than I had the previous seven miles. In retrospect, perhaps my burst of energy made me more tired later in the race, but it felt amazing. It was liberating to acknowledge to myself that I wanted something, badly. Despite not quite making my time, I feel really amazing about the race. I left feeling strength and gratitude, and I was touched by those who sent me messages of encouragement.
Aside from recovering from achy legs, I did stumble upon some really great things this week that I of course want to share with you:
- Dr. Dana, the brains behind the Body (& the Brood), wrote a fantastic piece outlining how self-compassion is an antidote to negative body image. I love the first line: “Poor body image tends to take root in neglected soil.” So true!
- Over on HuffPo, Hale Dwoskin shares a simple but radical way to stop dwelling on your problems. It’s definitely worth a try.
- Speaking of running (I promise I’ll stop soon…), I’d be interested to hear your reactions to this “debate” on Runner’s World where two experts weigh in: Can You Be Fit and Fat?
- Have you seen the Inner Beauty Mirror UnContest over on The Beauty Message Challenge? Check out the site for details on how you can both improve your body image and score an iTouch. Win, win!
- Last, I can’t help but put a plug in for the April edition of the Self-Discovery, Word by Word series. Mara from Medicinal Marzipan is our host and she has chosen a transformative word… Go check it out!
Thank you to everyone who commented, tweeted, and facebooked. I have had a wonderful year getting to virtually know so many of you, and have become a better clinician, blogger, and person because of it…
Signing off, but wondering… Have you ever almost achieved a goal? How did you feel?