Tag Archives: balance

What I’ve learned so far from giving up endurance races this year…

If I were to recall my new year’s resolution for 2016, it would be this: “Do not sign up for any major race.” And by god, I’m doing it!

I’m writing this now (and not waiting for January 1) because it’s been over a year since my last race: Chicago Marathon on 10.11.15.

Not doing a big race this year seemed like such a weird goal for me, especially after 6 straight years of non-stop triathlons and half-marathons/marathons. I’ve honored my promise with myself though and here’s what I’ve noticed since setting this intention:

  1. Running is fun again. Running pretty much stopped being fun. My body felt like poop when I ran and it was all about the time/pace or how running balanced out/burned off the food I was eating.
  1. I’m moving my body in ways that truly fill me up. Like hiking or walking Daisy. Instead of moving/exercising out of obligation.
  1. I feel way less pressure to fit in exercise. And what’s the point of exercising if it doesn’t totally light me up?
  1. More time!!!! I noticed in the past year how much I would prioritize training over a hang out. Or over taking time to sit down and read a book. Or write. Or focus on my business. Or take a long bath. Or nap. Or meditate. Or do NOTHING.
  1. It’s gotten easier. At first friends asked me to sign up for this half-marathon or that Ironman… the endurance athlete bug in me lit up at the thought of it. I even tempted myself with an ultra [still am tempted…] But when I kept coming back to my WHY and was the WHY strong enough to compel me to ditch my intention and sign up for a race… the answer always came back to no. And after several months, turning down races started to feel like a YES. It felt like a yes to honoring my body in a new way.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with training for a race. In fact 95% of the races I’ve done have been some of the greatest days ever. Like Ironman Lake Placid, my first year doing NYC Triathlon, and Chicago Marathon. Whew. Amazing days!!! But for me I know that I need to be careful. Or … mindful. Last year, I recognized I needed to create a new pattern and redefine my relationship to running and races.

And so I took a year to pause and notice. Even as I write this, I notice that in the process of letting go of my attachment to being “an endurance athlete” I also let go of a few other attachments (things/beliefs/people/relationships) that just simply did not serve me.

I’m still toying with the idea of one day jumping back on the endurance bandwagon [my heart is still set on an ultra-marathon] … but my approach is slower and much more intentional than ever before.

Why I’m not doing any big races in 2016 – Original blog post from January

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Take Care

It’s been a weird, migraine-limbo day. I woke up with that “oh crap I’m getting a migraine” feeling … which wasn’t quite enough to completely dismantle me but WAS enough to have to miss my beloved Bowspring class and although I treated my migraine “naturally” I still felt all screwed up and out of control.

I so wanted my day to go as planned, to follow every step, every appointment I had on my calendar.

I managed to make it to a lululemon goal-setting afternoon but even so felt like I just wasn’t fully there because I had this fog of migraine that so palpably was separating me from the rest of the world.

I could feel it in my interactions with everyone I came across today.

When I came home from goal-setting I was more relieved than ever to slip into my most comfortable of clothes, curl up on the couch, and doze off to the continuation of my Parenthood binge. I felt comforted, sweet, and held.

I let go of needing to control the outcome of my day and held onto “take care of yourself Maggie.” Because sometimes that’s all we can do.

The obligations and need for control get in the way and I’m working, slowly learning, that when my body is giving me clear messages I need to listen. Not only that, I need to honor them.

Not surprisingly, I am starting to feel better as I crawl out of migraine-limbo. I’m so happy to see the sunshine and my newly blossomed orchid sitting so content on the window sill. I am happy that tonight I get to spend time with my guy and that tomorrow is a new day.

So, please go and take care of yourself darling. Lord knows you deserve it.

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Simply Living and Living Simply

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Flowers blooming out of the ledge at Zion National Park.

On my most recent visit to my chiropractor we were catching up as it had been over 2 weeks since my last appointment. Dr. Josh Lander is still a new fixture in my life but I have already seen huge gains in the health of my hip and knee. During our sessions I feel free to ask any questions about the work he is doing (to help with my injuries) but we will also chat about race schedules, I ask random questions about running, and during this last visit he asked if I had been up to anything cool.

I immediately felt the need to respond with an impressive laundry list of my recent feats. Work, personal life, vacation, you name it. I was so relieved that I had something “cool” to talk about – my most recent trip out west.

I told Dr. Lander about the many places I visited with my cousin in just 4 days, covering over 1000 miles as we drove through Arizona, Nevada, and Utah.

When I turned the question back to Josh, and asked if he had been up to anything cool recently, he replied with a chuckle, “working my ass off.” He expanded to say “that and fitness. I had lyme for 3 months over the winter so I’m just really happy to be able to be focusing on my fitness again. I’m living simply.”

That’s when it hit me how much we (or at the very least I) often strive to have more on my plate: more classes, more clients, more events, more slots full. And I often find myself wanting to be able to regale folks with all the amazing things I am up to, but then have a sinking feeling that A) those things aren’t really that amazing and who’s going to give a damn? or B) Who wants to hear if I’m just living simply and feeling super happy by the little things like being able to run?

I can answer that second question for you: I do!

I was so relieved to hear someone, who is highly successful, happy, and motivated, be completely honest and also proud of the fact that they are living simply. And feeling fulfilled from having their health back.

And when I really think about it, and dig a little deeper, I too feel full from the fact that my migraine patterns have shifted to the point where I can work, be social, regularly attend yoga, and run outside. I am so grateful that my health has taken a turn for the better. It is a very simple, yet substantial (and literally life changing) gift.

It’s time to stop beating ourselves up for not doing enough, for always feeling like our plate isn’t full enough. Our plates, our hearts, our souls – they are plenty full if we stop and take inventory. Yes, I’m telling you to take it easy on yourself, create a groovy balance in your life, find your mojo, live simply. Or simply live.

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Work/Life/Play Balance: The never-ending saga

I love this quote so much and wish we could all (myself included) really take these words to heart and remember to PLAY more.

The opposite of play is not work – the opposite of play is depression. Respecting our biologically programmed need for play can transform work. It can bring back excitement and newness to our job. Play helps us deal with difficulties, provides a sense of expansiveness, promotes mastery of our craft, and is an essential part of the creative process. Most important, true play that comes from our own inner needs and desires is the only path to finding lasting joy and satisfaction in our work. In the long run, work does not work without play.
– Dr. Stuart Brown featured in Brené Brown‘s The Gifts of Imperfection

I’m going to make a conscious effort this summer to PLAY more. Who’s with me? How will you play?

Vacation with a dear friend means Play!

Vacation with a dear friend means Play!

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