Hello, Friends! It feels good to be writing again, even though constructing sentences feels as clunky as my running has of late. But clunky running doesn't always have to be negative. Sometimes taking a break is exactly what's needed.
I spent my summer rehabbing a painful bout of acute hip bursitis. For those unfamiliar, bursitis is basically when your bursa, a natural pocket of fluid that provides the body with cushion, becomes inflamed. It's a stubborn injury that cut weeks off my marathon training. My progress went from "run the marathon faster" to "run without pain". Fall 2021 would have been my 8th NYC Marathon, and my 10th marathon overall, but, days before the race, I cancelled my entry. And as soon as I hit that cancel button, I felt relief.
I also started canceling everything.
A 15k race was cut from my calendar in early December, after I realized I didn't remember the last time I ran 6 miles, let alone nine. I canceled a 5k due to having a tiny (not COVID) cold. Zero guilt backing out of all of these.
I spent a few weeks after the marathon just allowing myself space to be. I went on a few runs, just enjoying the cool air on my face, no pressure. I realized in retrospect that my training cycle didn't have the joy it usually has, walking a tightrope to get the hard training in, but not hard enough to go into a painful relapse. Any elation I would normally feel after hitting those distance markers (16, 18, 20 miles) was just not there. Instead of wallowing in any musings of what I didn't do, I focused on what I could do.
I was able to revisit an old love of mine just a few weeks after the marathon--hot vinyasa, my first hot class since pre-Covid days. No longer did I have to put my physical yoga practice on the back burner due to high mileage I needed to hit or essential recovery.
I felt so much happiness moving my body pain-free, discovering new ways to position my feet and stabilize. Though I was less agile than my former self, somehow I felt stronger. There's a saying in yoga: don't worry about what other people are doing on their mats; worry about your own mat. At the front of the class, while everyone else moved in their own flows, I took a child's pose here and there, breathed. Knowing when to take child's pose builds an inner strength that I am finally understanding.
After a few more weeks of just allowing my running to be anything but ego-driven ("carefree", maybe even "numbing" are words I would use to describe those runs), I decided I was ready to come out of my running child's pose. I'm ready for structure, ready to follow a plan like I would in a yoga class--guided, but my own pace, my own flow, and as many rest days as I need.
I’m hosting my first ever workshop!!! It feels like a dream come true, even though I never thought my first workshop would be on Zoom, during a pandemic, talking about thoughts. I always pictured myself in the mountains leading vinyasa and discussing leadership or something, while co-presenters prepared for some sort of music and wellness portion of the retreat (this could still happen. I am not giving up yet).
But let me tell you, our thoughts are fascinating. Our brains, little computers spitting out and regurgitating mediocre and sometimes crap thoughts, need training just as much as our physical bodies do. After a few months of taking a closer look at my own thoughts, my mission became clear — a thought workshop was needed and a no brainer (hee hee, pun intended).
During years of training clients, coaching, and teaching, I’ve learned that so much of what I do involves the gentle nudging of someone’s mind. Reassurance here and there. Compassion and empathy always. And of course, motivation; I can’t physically make anyone work out, and this is true even in one-on-one in person sessions. Professional athletes will say one of their most important pieces of their training and staying in the game are their sports psychologists -- everyday athletes like you and I also need some form of mental and emotional support.
Nothing beats/replaces seeing an actual therapist, and I cannot stress that enough. However, during this workshop (which is Sunday, 4/11, 1PM EST) we’ll be looking at the tool of thought work and how it can enhance your training, as well as, how to do it. The work I’ll be highlighting in this workshop is different in the simple fact that it’s something that we’re told to do (“let go of whatever isn’t serving you” or “think positive”), but never actually taught how to do. Once it’s taught, then you have another toolkit to play with when it comes to your health and fitness. Who doesn’t want that?
What we’re not going to do in this workshop:
Address issues that need the attention of an actual certified therapist/psychologist, etc. Eating disorders, exercise bulimia, any sort of abuse--you get the picture. Not the focus of the worksop.
What we are going to do:
Address common thoughts and feelings that arise when noticing our minds, in the context of: exercise, workouts, workout performance or lack thereof, injury, pandemic…
all will be touched upon.
Our End Game:
We’re not going to rewrite the way we think about all those concerns, but we do want to look at them and notice a few things:
Oh, and, we’ll do a little bit of movement, just a little, to get the creative juices flowing. Hope to see you there!