Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Change the record....what's your soundtrack?

We've been experiencing artic temperatures here (39 degrees when I wake up!), and I have really slacked on my running.  But my 5k arrived last Saturday and even though I wanted to hide in my bed and pull the covers over my head, I laced up and headed out.
I arrived at the park and realized that I forgot my fitbit, my flipbelt and my earbuds so that I could listen to Jeff Galloway coach me through my race. Not a good start.
The race started and without my app in my ears, I didn't follow my normal Galloway method of a 3 minute warm up.  Big mistake, because I felt my legs start getting tired early in the run.  Galloway says the first mile is the most important time to do measured walk/run intervals, and after this experience, I believe him.
About a mile into the race, I told my friends to go on ahead of me (they hadn't stopped training like this dummy so I didn't want to affect their times).  As I jogged along on my own, I looked up and saw a heavy girl walking back towards the start line.  What struck me was the angry, defeated look on her face.  I was so bummed for her, because it wasn't the physical run that was stopping her, (she could have very easily walked the rest of the race) it was the voice in her head that was telling her she couldn't finish.
So I kept plugging along, even though I was beating myself up in my head for slacking on my training.  I  kept thinking about how I could be running faster, how my legs shouldn't feel so heavy, about how far ahead of me my friends name it, if it would make me feel worse, it was going through my head.
When I came to the final bridge to run over, I was feeling pretty bad about myself.  Then I looked up, and my friend's husband and his parents were standing halfway on the bridge cheering for me.  And her husband came and ran that final bit with me, pushing me to the end.  And finally, my inner voice shut up.  Because I realized that even if I wasn't the fastest, even if I struggled the whole way, I finished.  I had some great friends that were there cheering me on, giving me their support.  I didn't turn around and allow my negative self voice to win the battle.
So the next day, I was all dressed up, feeling like I looked reasonably cute when I ran up to Safeway for a few things.  I was over in the bakery aisle, looking at the bread when a cute guy bumped into me.  He smiled and said "excuse me", and I smiled back, opened my mouth to speak when the dairy commercial playing overhead let out a "MOOOOOOO".  FML.  I just turned and walked away without saying anything.
I couldn't stop laughing as I walked out to the parking lot, and of course shared this with my friends, who were anything but amused.  They didn't think I should have automatically compared myself to the cow in the speakers.  But that negative voice in your head has been playing a long time, and they know just the words to say to get your attention.
I need to learn how to change the record, but it's definitely something that you have to actively practice, just like running or healthy eating.  I hope I'm up to this challenge!!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Finding a new yoga studio......

I'm losing hope that my old yoga studio will reopen, so I broke out of my depression and forced myself to start looking around for other options.  I found that in a few weeks without yoga, I was becoming increasingly negative, having trouble sleeping and losing motivation to run or do any other form of exercise.
So I took my sad ass out this weekend, (thanks, Windee for marching along beside me! You are a trooper!) and tried two new yoga studios,Yoga Breeze and Yoga Pura
I really wanted to love Yoga Breeze because it's closer to my house, and I did like the studio and the two teachers I tried.  However, it's in a busy strip mall, and in my first class, they didn't utilize their music in a way to cover up the outside noise, which ended up distracting me. 
I even tried Yoga Breeze a second time (I wanted to love it that bad!), and when I walked in and hear music playing, I was pretty relieved.  Until I realized that the same song was on repeat for the entire class. I wanted to roll my head up inside my mat after the fourth time it started over.  Then for savasana, she just turned the music completely off, so we listened to the conversation of a couple of preteen girls outside the window.  Not a bit relaxing for this mother of girls.  During savasana, I like to tune out my real life, not be reminded of how annoying teen girl conversations are. I kept trying to tell myself if I was keeping my mind quiet, these things wouldn't bother me, but it was no use, I was irritated.
On Saturday, we went to Yoga Pura.  It didn't look like much from the street, just a storefront set into a little strip mall.  But when I walked in, it looked like a yoga studio, it smelled like a yoga studio and they were welcoming like a yoga studio.  I felt great when I left there, although I would have to say that this teacher didn't utilize music very effectively either, but we were able to hear the gongs from the other studio, so that was cool.
I think for me, yoga is more than the physical stretching, it's the emotional stretching.  I have a pretty stressful job, and it's easy to get overwhelmed and bogged down in the negativity.  When I go to yoga and they start talking about the theme of their class that week, it's a time for me to open my mind and allow positive thoughts to flood me.  I find if I can allow a positive phrase into my brain, I can use it all week.
One of the things said this weekend is that "You are the sky, the emotions you feel, the bad moods of others are the weather.  And the weather always passes over the sky, it always changes, it never covers the sky for long.".  I've heard it expressed another way, that you are your own ship and everything around you is the ocean.  Will you allow others to capsize your boat? Or will you steer it into safer waters?
And for me that is true.  I'm very influenced by the moods of people around me.  If they are stressed, it's easy for me to become stressed.  If people are unhappy at work, I feel like it's my job to fix it and it stresses me out if I can't.
But if I go to yoga regularly, I am able to have a much more zen approach to other people's feelings. I don't own them, I can't fix them, it's not mine. All I can do is live the best life that I know how, and for me that means laughing as much as I can.


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Winter Blues............

Raise your hand if you've hit a winter slump.  Back when I lived in Illinois, I was usually in the depths of despair by February from a lack of sun and failure to be outside.  Since I moved to Arizona two years ago, I don't remember having my seasonal depression hit.  But it has made a surprising comeback in 2013.
I have to admit that I've hit a rough patch.  Due to the intense cold in Arizona (some mornings is was 36 degrees!), I stopped running at 5am before work.  But I felt like it was okay, because the 40 day yoga challenge had started and I had just done 12 straight days of 75 minute yoga classes.
Then I suddenly received news that my yoga studio was closing (hopefully, only temporarily) due to financial issues, so on a Friday morning, I found I had nowhere to go after work.  I am not a person who enjoys change. I've been going to yoga classes at least three times a week since last June.  So to suddenly have this gaping hole in my routine really shook me up.

Now I'm sure you would think, "okay, dumdum, that's your cue to get your ass out there and run again!".  But you would be wrong (you knew that, right?), because I suddenly found myself too tired to get up early in order to run before work.  This was really bad timing, because last Saturday, I ran my first 5k, the Color Run. 
I've been training for this 5k since October.  So it was weird that in the week before the race, I totally lost my drive. The more I stayed in bed longer, the worse I felt.  And I knew that not running was making me feel worse, but I felt helpless to change it.
The Color Run came on a very un-Arizona like day.  It was rainy, cold and miserable out.  I felt completely unprepared and like a complete poser even being at a 5k.  Thankfully, I had three friends (Windee, John and Andrea, you rock my socks!) run it with me because without them being there, I would have stayed at home with my head buried under a pillow.
So, not to say that I'm still not struggling with the blues, but this past weekend I did a 5+ mile walk/run interval, and I've run twice this week.  I don't want to do it, but I keep telling myself that even though I still feel blue, I'll feel even bluer if I don't get some endorphins moving.
Whenever, my brain gets to this point of glum bitchness,  I think about this scene from, "City Slickers". 

But like Billy Crystal, I just keep trying new things and hoping to find my smile.  Hopefully, it won't involve birthing a calf.