Short stories from long runs

This blog about my run and training

First, I’ll throw it out there that I sort of botched my workouts last week. The early part of the week went as planned and then a few really stressful days in the office put me over the edge and the downward spiral did its thing. Aggressively.

Part of the spiral seems to be driven by self-doubt and/or frustration. Initially, a negative thought of some variety. Then indulging in junk food… Why bother eating healthy anyway? By the time I get home from a lengthy commute, my motivation to exercise is usually trumped by a grouchy mood or simply preferring to hang out with my hub, recapping and decompressing. I’m telling you, it’s really something and I wouldn’t advise it. (The cop-out part, not the time spent with husband, of course.)

I’m working on it.

One of the things I’m using to work on it is another affirmation technique. One that I’ve been using for the past week or two is simply stating: I am grateful for my body. Making this statement is a way of transforming my perception of my body from a vessel that I inhabit into a vehicle I use to make things happen. The thing is, I was finding myself tacking little afterthoughts onto the affirmation: I am grateful for my body. It’ll be better if I lose ten poundsI am grateful for my body… so I’ll appreciate and enjoy this extra glass of wine. I am grateful for my body. I wonder if I’ll fit in that dress for the party next month.

It didn’t really sound like gratitude, so I shifted it a touch: I am grateful for this body. This one. The one I have right now.

I thought about it during a 30 mile bike ride Sunday, which I went into completely blind and having never rode more than 10 or so miles in one stretch before. I am grateful for this body. My legs are strong.

It came to mind when I snacked on a nectarine Monday morning after a long meeting when I might have typically reached for potato chips. I am grateful for this body. You get out what you put in. I enjoyed the crunch, the sweetness, the juice. I tasted each bite and savored it.

I repeated it as a mantra during my run last night, four and a half miles around my neighborhood. I am grateful for this body. These legs and these lungs and this heart get me out of the house and up over hills and farther and farther, little by little.

Last night I carried my iPhone while I ran and listened to each song, sometimes focusing on the lyrics, other times the beat. “Life will pass me by if I don’t open my eyes,” one song reminded me, eliciting a sly smile. How many times do you hear words of wisdom from women swear we will one day look back at photos of ourselves, realize how beautiful we are, and wonder why we gave ourselves such a hard time? The funny thing is that I felt light and quick and strong for each step of the run, as if I could control my pace with exclusively positive thoughts.

Clicking off the timer on my phone as I cooled down in my driveway after, I was shocked by my estimated splits, especially the first three when I was most excited and my legs were fresh. Breaking it down, I averaged an 8:09 pace more joyfully and with far less effort that I can ever remember. I am grateful for this body.