The first guest post for this week is about running! Elizabeth and I met last October at Blogtoberfest. And by “met” I mean nodded at each other like middle school boys on a basketball court. We’ve e-bonded over our love for running, 90s throwback jamz, and similar sense of humor. I’m thrilled to have her here today!
Hi, there! I’m Elizabeth, and I write a lifestyle blog called On Tap for Today. I write about running, eating, my French bulldog (but not eating my French bulldog… please, I’m a vegetarian), and life in the city. I’m thrilled to be guest-posting today for Michelle. Thanks, friend!
I used to think mantras were like superpowers for life coaches, words they could summon to outmaneuver the rest of us. It turns out, mantras are something we can all benefit from having in our arsenal. From running a marathon to surviving a marathon conference call, mantras help me to focus, remain positive, and dig a bit deeper.
After coming in a “disappointing” 17th place (meanwhile, I may have come in 17th from last in my marathon) in the 2009 Chicago Marathon, elite marathoner Kristen Fryburg-Zaitz enlisted the help of sports pyschologist Stephen Walker, Ph.D. to develop what he calls “magic weapons”: running mantras. If they’re good enough for Kristen Fry-Z (I just made that up… can I call her that?), they’re good enough for me. And you.
When I was younger, running usually happened in tandem with another organized sport like soccer or tennis, and was doled out either as punishment or preparation. In the past few years, I’ve come to enjoy running for running’s sake. I’m certainly not the fastest runner, but I (almost always) have fun. Even on the admittedly awful 18 mile training runs in the dead of winter, when I wouldn’t see a single person for hours, I found a way to enjoy myself. I may have mental problems. I suppose that goes without saying.
It wasn’t always that way, to be sure. I’ve spent hours of my life being worried and anxious before the start of a race or training run. I’ve doubted my abilities, considered dropping out of races, and have made myself (and likely those around me) miserable. Taking charge of my attitude and putting energy into training my brain have made all the difference.
The word mantra (which always makes me think of praying mantises… but that’s neither here nor there) is Sanskrit for “instrument for thinking.” For me, developing and using positive instruments for thinking have helped to make my runs anything from more relaxing, to more intense. It’s all about which words you choose; it’s all about the conversation you have with yourself.
When I am climbing hills, and tempted to walk, I repeat over and over Earn the downhill. If things are getting really bad, I say it aloud. People pushing strollers make haste to get their children away from the scary lady in Spandex talking to herself. I like when people get out of my way, it makes running easier. Sort of. Fitness Magazine though this mantra wasn’t half bad (or was only half bad?) and printed it in their April 2010 issue. Toot! (That was me, tooting my own horn. Thanks for putting up with me.)
When I am feeling distracted, I remind myself to Enjoy every step. Exercise, though it often feels like an obligation and/or a pain in the bum, is a privilege. I try to be mindful when I am out on the road, and find running to be the perfect time to reflect, pray, and blow snot rockets without judgement.
And when I begin to compare myself to others, or doubt my abilities, I have my go-to mantra at the ready: The moments matter more than the minutes. Life is meant to be enjoyed. Spandex and all.
What’s your go-to mantra?