I met with my friends Tanya MFK and Dr. Aarti Soorya online to create a new resource for you. Things are changing at such a rapid pace around the world these days with the global pandemic of covid19. Tanya, Aarti, and I got together to bust some myths about the virus. We also wanted to provide you with some resources for staying well during this time. The video closes with a guided meditation to help you find some calm amidst this storm.
I wrote this blog a few weeks ago. I didn't get a chance to share it with you because a pandemic swept through the world. I felt drawn to create resources for you to help with these trying times. Since then, I've thought back on this blog. When I wrote it, I had no idea how our lives were about to change. And yet, the lesson in this blog holds such a relevant message to our current circumstances. I wrote this blog leading up to my marathon. Since writing it, the race got cancelled. Again, something I never would have predicted. I decided to run the race anyways. I created a route. My brother met me along the way with food and water. Friends ran the last few miles with me from a safe distance away. Life rarely shows up with way we expect it to. Our current circumstances are a testament to that. It's in moments like these that I have to surrender and trust the process...
I ran my longest distance five weeks to race day. 18.5 miles. The training plan called for one more long run before race day. 20 miles.
Knee pain kicked in. I took a week off from running altogether. Ice, ayurveda oil, arnica salve, foam rolling, and stretching. I knew I had to mend my knee before taking on a longer distance run of 20 miles. I also knew that they say if you can do 18 miles in training, then you can finish the marathon. So, leading up to the 20-miler, my knee pain was improving but I knew I still had to be mindful. I decided to skip the 20.
I kept working on my strength training, flexibility, and did some mid-distance runs. But, I felt it wise to not push my knee for 20 when race day was only 3 weeks away. My goal was to finish the marathon, not give it my all for a training run.
And so, I had to trust the process. I had to trust that the 16-week training plan built in space for things like injuries and illness. I had to trust that my steady buildup to 18 miles would take me through 26.2 on race day. I had to trust my intuition to listen to my body.
In the end, isn't that all we can do?
"You can plan a perfect picnic, but you can't predict the weather."
You have to trust the process. Whatever goal you're working towards. A project at work, healing a relationship, building a business. You don't know the result. The outcome isn't given. You can visualize it. You can come up with a plan. You can take specific actions to work towards it.
You can't predict the obstacles that will arise along the way. The setbacks, challenges, and unforeseen circumstances. All you can do is trust the process. Trust that you are doing the best that you can. Keep checking in with your heart, mind, and most importantly, your intuition to guide you.
Race day is a few days away. The biggest physical goal I've ever set out to achieve. I don't know what the conditions will be on race day. What will the weather be like? Will I be able to fall asleep the night before? How will my stomach hold up? And, how about my knee? I don't know the answers to these questions and there's only so much I can do to prepare for whatever arises. So, what's left?
Trust that everything will turn out the way it's meant to. Whatever that means or looks like.
Maybe the unexpected hurdle in your project is leading you to a more innovative solution?
Maybe the challenges in your relationship are giving you clarity on your needs and boundaries?
Maybe the setbacks in your business are opening doors for using your gifts in ways you hadn't thought of before?
Yoga talks about doing your karmas. These are well-thought out, spiritually aligned actions. And then, yoga says let go of the rest. Surrender your attachment to the outcome and results. In other words, trust the process...
The thing with running is your recovery days are as important as your long run days. When I was teaching yoga at studios, I used to guide my students into child's pose midway through the class. I'd have them rest there for a few moments. And, I'd always say to them, "These moments of rest are as important as the moments of activity. It's in these moments of rest that you allow your body to integrate."
The same holds true in running and in life. My knee started acting up about 8 weeks into training. I've had this knee pain in the past, and so I knew how bad it could get. I also knew that if I want to get to the starting line of the marathon, then I needed to nurse my knee. I needed to be mindful with how I chose to proceed with my training. And so, I extended my walking intervals. Instead of 30 sec: 30 sec run:walk intervals, I extended it to 30 seconds running and 90 seconds walking. That was even too much for a few of my long runs, so I ended up walking the entire thing a couple of times!
The interesting thing about these intervals is that I'm able to go further and feel better. My pace is relatively unaffected, and my body is able to recover better. What that says to me is that my performance and recovery actually improve with resting.
This makes sense for other parts of my life too. It's only when I create space to rest that I'm then able to return to laptop to write. When I allow my mind to rest on my days off, then I'm more alert and focused while at work. Whereas when I find myself pushing through, it takes a greater toll on my body, mind, and emotions. Those moments of rest actually make me better and more productive in other parts of my life.
Research on productivity show that taking scheduled breaks improves your workplace performance. A recent study found a ratio of 52 minutes on and 17 minutes off to be optimal for work-related tasks. The study also emphasized the importance of taking actual breaks. Like standing up, moving away from your laptop, and doing something non-work related. They cite going for a walk as being one of the best types of break. This makes sense to me because you’re bringing movement to your body. When you bring movement to your body, your brain releases endorphins. This shift in neurohormonal balance naturally leads to a shift in your mindset. Your perception moves from being singly-focused to more broad. In other words, you open your mind and expand the horizons of possibilities. You find more innovative solutions when you’re not actively engaged in your work.
This is one of the reasons I’ve enjoyed training for the marathon so much. The chunks of time I’ve blocked off for running give me space away from everything else. It’s in that space that I find healing, inspiration, and solutions.
So, I challenge you this week to schedule in breaks. Notice how you feel. How much more you get done? And, more importantly, how effectively you’re able to get it done? I want to hear from you! Comment below and let me know how it goes!!
It was my first long run without my training partner. We'd been doing our long runs at the park, and he usually led the way. So, I was on my own to navigate the trails. In my mind, I had it all planned out. I'd follow a similar path as what we took last time. I didn't look at a map. I'm terrible at maps anyways! I knew it in my head.
Well, I came to an intersection 1 mile in that I'd never noticed before. When I'm not leading, I tend to not pay as much attention to things like which way to go when faced with an intersection! So, here I was, on my own, and I had to make a decision. Well, I went right and soon realized that wasn't our normal path. I decided to keep running. I had a general idea where it would lead me, so I wasn't shooting completely in the dark. I also knew that it'd eventually meet up with the trailhead I intended to hop on. So, another mile in, I came to an intersection. I saw a sign for the trailhead, but again I could go left or right on the trail. I couldn't remember which way to go, so I turned left. Well, that took me on a loop back around to that first intersection!!!
Eek! So, I was 3 miles into my 12-miler and I hadn't even made it onto the actual trailhead! But, you know what I realized?
It's when you get lost that you find your way.
I now know exactly where each of those intersections lead. Had I not explored it myself and let myself get lost, I never would have learned it. I had been relying on my training partner all these weeks and never noticed where the path led.
I also realized that miles are miles. My goal was to cover 12 miles that day. It didn't matter if the miles were all on the trailhead, or if 3 of them were me exploring my way onto the trail!
The fact is life is life. It's days, one leading into another, of experiences and lessons. You'll have days that you get a little lost. Can you enjoy those days with a sense of adventure trusting that it’s all helping you find your way?