Exercising the Mind

Exercising the Mind

Well, I’m finally feeling better.  My only cold during my whole training so far — went straight to my lungs, and put me off the road for a week.  I took the time to rest, because…well….breathing IS a requirement for running.  So, I needed it.  Period.  End of Guilt.

Seven days later……Getting back on the road was I.N.T.E.R.E.S.T.I.N.G.

I started running again on Tuesday this week.  The really surprising thing was how much it felt like I backslided.  I was slow, and because my lungs weren’t entirely clear, I was huffing and puffing.  I couldn’t even run my normal 3 miles without stopping only 1 1/2 miles in.  What the heck was this?  I think I started to panic because it’s March…..and the Half is not that far away.  I couldn’t deal with feeling like I was stronger in January and February than I was standing here in March, only 5 weeks away from the race.

But, that’s how it was.  Soooooo.  What to Do?  What to Do?  I just decided…if Starting Over was what was required, then….that’s what I would do.  But it wasn’t really starting over, was it?  No way.  I have 13 weeks of strong,  awesome training behind me, and yet, somehow…I had become disconnected from it.  It was there, in my muscles, in my lungs, in my bones, and in my legs…..but it wasn’t there in my mind.    My mind was the one place where the doubt and the old Diane was creeping back in, and making me feel InCapable, UnABle, UnSuccessful.…all those same Negatively Charged things that I “thought” I had moved past.

Yea – wow.  That was quite a realization.  Just one week of rest, which my body undoubtably needed, but just 7 days of rest, and respite from my running routine….and my Mind went on Hiatus and Retreated to the Wimpy, Soft, Self-Doubting Place from once it came —- My Mind went back to the Couch!

That was it.  There really was no other way to explain it.  Here I was, in March, with Spring weather setting in, and I’m out on my streets, my familiar home turf, running 3 miles like I’ve done dozens of times now……and I’m hating every minute of it.  Hating.  Struggling.  Fighting.  Avoiding.  Negative.  Why was this happening?  I mean, how could I run on Christmas Day, and New Years Day, and in the snow, and in the bitter winter, and be Excited, Exhilarated, Motivated, Happy?  And here I am, 3 months later —  More Prepared, More Trained, Weighing Less, Faster — but Far Far Less Fierce!  Yup, my Mind Went Back to the Couch….and D@mmit, I was just going to have to go back in there and get it back!  So that’s what I did.

“How do you DO that, Diane?”  Yeah, good question.  Remember my first post, where I told ya…I’m not an Expert.  I’m the blogging equivalent of the Blind Leading the Blind.  Fumbling and Feeling my way through this Journey.  But Hey!  We’ve made it this far.  We’ve figure out alot of stuff on our own.  So, why not — let’s dig in and figure this one out too.

So, just like the day I sat on the Couch and Googled “Couch to 5K”, I returned to the Couch, scooped up my mind and greeted my friend Google one mo’ time.  Just as if I were shopping for shoes, or a pair of sunglasses, I opened the browser window, and typed what I was looking for:  Positive Thinking.  I’d like to buy some of that please — and expedite the shipping PLEASE!

What I found was a myriad of interesting sites.  A whole host of places where one could explore and practice positive affirmations.

Yup, you guessed it — to the Dictionary:

Affirmation:  a statement of something that is declared to be true.

Hmmm, interesting.  I don’t know about you, but I was expecting it to be more complicated than that.  So, practicing positive affirmations is pretty much a process of repeating a bunch of statements that I declare to be true?   So, I suppose the next question is — “Does the practice of repeating positive affirmations to yourself really work?”

Well, according to some, the answer is a resounding Hell Yes!  Here is some information from one site which talks about benefits  the practice of positive affirmations can bring to your life.

Affirmations can be used to destroy bad habits and create good ones.
Affirmations can help you get clear and stay focused.
Affirmations can help you speed up the progress on your goals.
Affirmations keep you balanced and calm.
Affirmations can help you live the life you want.
Affirmations can change your life.

Many believe that affirmations are the key to getting yourself in line with what you want, need and desire in your life. Affirmations have the potential to change the way you think, the way you look at yourself, your problems, your hopes and your dreams.  Once you change the way you think — well, then your feelings and your actions follow along.  And before you know it, your actions stop sabotaging you, and instead become a critical tool in helping you achieve your goals!  OH YEAH!  I’m SO IN!

So here’s the really really interesting AH-HA moment I had.  When I was reading, and wondering if this affirmation stuff would work for me…..it kinda dawned on me that my Mind was already being flooded by a whole river of thoughts.  You know….thoughts…..Um, kinda like statements of things that (somehow, somewhere) I declared to be true.  [That sounds Really Familiar, weird!!].  Yeah, my Defective Inner Voice was like a loaded affirmation gun……. filled with negative affirmations, just shooting them off into my Mind whenever it felt like it.  This stream of consciousness which I call My Defective Inner Voice, was already Alive and Operating.  I came to the conclusion that it was simply filled with the Wrong Kind of Affirmations.  But……..hmmm…..What IF?  (Yeah — Go For It Diane.  Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained Girl!! )   What IF…..I filled it with the Positive Affirmations, and then just let my Inner Voice  do its “thing“???   You know, cuz you can’t really shut it off anyway.  [Try….., unless you are a Buddhist Monk in Training….it is H.A.R.D. to find silence from yourself.]  But what if I used this Chatty Kathy in my head, and just fed her the right things I wanted to declare true?  It just might work!

From there…I went on the hunt for My Positive Affirmations.  What did I Want To Declare To Be True, anyway??   [ Oh Shout Out To Scott….YOUR site was wonderful.  (tinybuddha.com).  ]  I signed up, made myself an account — and store the affirmations that make sense for ME in there.  I select one per day, and repeat it throughout the day.  At first, I made myself say it at certain times a day, a certain number of times….so I can build a habit.  What I found is — that just the process of searching for Positive Affirmations has made a real difference already.  Spending time reading them, and selecting them into my account — has lifted my spirit, and altered my thinking.  I don’t find all of my affirmations online.  I have some that I made up myself.  Today was an example of that.

Picture this — Its March, spring weather has arrived.  I’m heading out today to run, it’s dark, it’s early, it’s lightly raining.  But I have 3 miles to do, and well — that’s what today requires of me.  (See, that’s one of my affirmations.  Do What Today Requires of You!  Just Do it.).  So, I’m heading out the front door to run, in less than perfect conditions….but just before I step outside, I told myself two simple words.   “Enjoy It”.

Yea — Enjoy It.  To me, this was a tickler, a reminder.  A reminder of those early days of running when I just l.o.v.e.d. being outside, in the fresh air, in the sunshine, in the sunset, just about anytime…I just enjoyed being out there…feeling strong, feeling free of burden, feeling lighter.  Because I used to leave my stress out there, on the pavement.  I used to Enjoy It.  Somehow, somewhere, the burden of the training schedule, flipped it in my head, and I started to resent it.  Started to look at it as homework.  I forgot to Enjoy It.

So Today started like this:    with Me….running down my neighborhood streets…..in the early dark morning….getting rained on….listening to my tunes……breathing fresh spring air….watching the trees come to life with bright pink buds…..counting daffodils in my neighbors gardens…..Enjoying Every Bit of It!

Oh, and by the way…..I ran 3 miles without ANY stopping to walk……and my pace was better than ever.  Go Figure!

So, if you do nothing else, just remember this simple thing:    Enjoy It….whatever IT is for you!

Ciao for now………Diane

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