goals

Meditation In Motion

Meditation has become a part of my daily routine. While this word may freak some people out, to me, meditation is simply taking the time to focus on my breathing and find inner peace and calm.  It allows me to create a space in which I’m able to be completely present, surrounded by gratitude, bliss and awareness.

I’ve deemed running as my “meditation in motion.”  I’m able to get lost in my own running world as I become aware of the sights and sounds around me.  It’s an absolutely beautiful experience.  However, it’s beauty is only prevalent if I’m in the right place mentally.

Since announcing my audacious goal of 13.1×10, people have shown a huge amount of support. (Which I am entirely grateful for, and my heart is so full!) A major question I find myself being asked is “Which will you actually race.”  And I respond honestly with, “I haven’t thought about it!”  I began exploring this question deeper: which ones should I run at race pace?  On yesterdays 13 mile run, I found my answer:

None of them.

As soon as I start to think about that phrase, “race pace,” I lose sight of the meditation and running just becomes a motion.  Narratives get created in my mind and I find myself surrounded with self judgement and criticism.  I recognized these thoughts surrounded me as I found myself looking down on my run yesterday.  The pavement (and therefore the run) seemed never ending.  Right away, I knew this is not how I want to feel on this run, or any other run whether it’s a mile long or 20 miles long.  So, I took a deep breath in and looked up.

 Now, rather than endless, my run seemed limitless. 

So, I let go of all those thoughts consumed with self doubt and criticism.  People say the only person you should be in competition with is yourself, but I respectfully disagree.  I don’t want to compete with myself from the past, creating these beliefs of how I should and could be running.  So,  I stopped.  No more reflecting on my run history from the past or creating narratives for the future.  It’s time to focus on the now and realize how perfect and beautiful this run, and any run, truly is.

PRs will come without a doubt.  Some races will be better than others.  I’ll be forced to face the heat, the hills, some wind and rain, too.  But, with my focus being meditation in motion, I’ll be able to love each and every moment, and the awareness it brings me.

I’ve found my soulmate pace: my pace in which I’m able to push myself but still have control and awareness of my breath and my surroundings.  For me, keeping a solid 8 minute pace allows me to stay in a meditative state.  There’s moments where I get lost in the run and naturally pick up the pace.  But, for me and for this goal, it’s not about pushing the pace.  It’s about staying in a place of gratitude, bliss and presence as my body carries me down a new path.  It’s about finding balance and persevering mentally.  It’s about showing my students that goal setting comes in different shapes and sizes, each ambition unique to the individual.  It’s about keeping my runs limitless.  It’s about meditation in motion.

Am I still nervous?  Of course.  Mindfulness is a practice.  Each course will bring it’s own set of challenges, it’s own way of trying to take me from mindful to mindless.  I’m confident, though, that with my purpose and students in my mind, I can and will persevere, enjoying each most steps I take.

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What does meditation in motion mean to you?  How do you use motion to create a space of presence and bliss?

13.1 x 10

So, I just set a goal.

A very audacious goal.

I’m running 10 half marathons during the 2015-2016 school year; one each month.

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Each one will be dedicated to a pair of my students.

My relationship with running has recently evolved.  While running used to be my escape, it is now my me time.  When I lace up and hit the trail, I’m given the opportunity to build my awareness.  I grow mindful of my breath, of my surroundings, of all that I have to be grateful for.  I’m amazed at how this relationship has changed and how movement can be so meditative.

Why 13.1? 

Goals are meant to challenge you.  For me, personally, the distance of a half marathon will allow me to both mentally and physically challenge myself.  By no means is the plan to PR each and every race.  In fact, most races will not be ran at race pace.  While I’m destined to gain at least 1 PR from this (since I’ve never ran one before…automatic PR woohoo!), my ultimate goal is to focus on my breath, soak up my surroundings and smile at the opportunity on the paved paths ahead. And, yes, I’ve heard…races are expensive. But, not with proper budgeting! Rather than placing extra money in my “spending money” category for movies, dinners and drinks, some of that cash will be dedicated to the newly installed “race” category.  While I focus on leading a life with a balanced body and mind, balanced finances are important too. It’s a win-win in my eyes when my money goes to investing in that balance.

Student Dedications

Goal setting and mindfulness is a major part of the curriculum I teach in my classroom.  I’m excited to share my journey with my students, to provide them with an example of goal setting, perseverance and healthful living.

2015 Races

Here’s a list of Halves I am committed to:

August 23: Hotlanta Half Marathon (signed up!)

September 19: Race 13.1 Raleigh Fall Half Marathon

October 17: Bull City Race Fest
November 15: Raleigh Rocks the Green Way
December 5: Winston Salem Mistletoe Haf Marathon
The plan is to keep the races local, a way to give back to the community.  The first and last half will be the only ones not ran locally…a way to celebrate the beginning and end of this journey!
Cheers to a happy, healthy body and mind!

Want, Need, Share, Succeed

Happy Weekend, Friends!

Rather than sulk about the dreary weather in Durham today, I took the opportunity to put my goals down in writing.  Check out a snapshot of them below:

Goals

I’ve declared 2015 to be my year of presence.  I’m working towards living in the moment, soaking up my surroundings rather than constantly looking ahead.  I noticed a big break through during spring break, a week spent porch-sitting, rocking chair reading and yoga bending. It was the first time I fully embraced and enjoyed my time off.

I’ve decided to lay out what it is I will want, need, share and succeed in 2015.  Here’s the dirty deets:

Want

What I want in 2015 is to travel/vacation abroad with Adam. We have big plans for this year.  It’s been years since we’ve gone on vacation. A well deserved get-a-way is without a doubt the near future.

Need

What I need in 2015 is to mindfully eat, whole organic foods that fuel my body.  While I’m not into the diet scene, I am into fueling my body with what’s good for it.  I’m letting go of foods that don’t serve a purpose to nurturing my body.

Share

What I will share in 2015 is inspiration to empower others to lead a balanced life. My goal is to reach as a many people on how to mindfully think, speak, listen and act. When we first take care of ourselves, we are then able to take care of the world around us. Through social media, fitness & social circles, my goal is to inspire others to be the best, balanced version of themselves.

Succeed

What I will succeed in 2015 is run a half marathon sub 2 hours.  My fitness journey has had it’s ups and downs over the last 10 years.  I’ve finally found a balance between running, lifting and bending.  I’m in the best mental and physical shape of my life for it.  I’m ready to tackle a half marathon.  Who knows, maybe a 26.2 is in my future!

Oh, and I still really want to start a book club. THIS WILL HAPPEN.

What will you want, need, share and succeed this year?

Why I Tossed My Life Check List

Being twenty-something, there are a lot of expectations I feel used to feel like I had to meet.

Oh, you know, just the usual:

1. start your successful career

2. get married

3. have babies

Basically, have an epic life change before the age of 30.  And while doing all of these things in your twenties is wonderful, it’s also wonderful for them to not happen. Because…well…to each their own.

Being a Type-A lady who is overly organized and is OCD about planning, I had my life laid out since I was little.  Finish high school, go to college, become a teacher, get married, have babies, continue teaching for 50 years.

As the years went by I was able to check these things off my life list:

finish high school…check!

go to college…check!

teach….check!

live happily ever after…cue screeching breaks here.

You see, when I reached the teaching part of my “life check list,” it didn’t go the way I had planned. The 12+ hours day, the exhaustion, the lack of a social life, the lack of insanity all proved to be too much.  I knew teaching would be hard (duh), but when I looked back on my year of teaching a daunting feeling came over me: I have to do all of that again? I felt trapped. It just wasn’t for me.

It was at this point I realized I needed to stop focusing on my “Life Check List” and start focusing on me.

Here’s how I did it:

1. Embracing The Unexpected: let’s be real…you (probably) can’t predict the future.  I know I can’t.  I thought being in a classroom was my purpose.  Maybe it is.  But right now, it’s not. You have no idea if what you’re doing, or planning on doing, is going to make you happy.  And you know what? That’s totally okay.  Give it a try.  I gave teaching a try, and realized that right now it wasn’t for me.  Embrace the unexpected, enjoy the journey.  It’s all about creating who you are.

2. Focusing On Me: A big part of enjoying the journey is building a relationship with yourself. Rather than focusing on what you should be doing, focus on your growth.  Does it make you happy?  Are you feeling inspired?  Is your inner light shining?  When I was teaching, I felt out of relationship with myself.  My light was dimmed. I wasn’t inspired.  And, therefore, I wasn’t happy.

3. Set Goals Instead: Rather than set up a long list of things to accomplish, set goals.  Visualize how you are living your life in 10+ years.  What do you need to do to get there?  What do you need to accomplish? What gets you excited?  If your life doesn’t excite you…what’s the point? (Side note: your goals will change…again…embrace the unexpected). This really did it for me.  I looked ahead 10 years and realized I didn’t want every year to look like this one. It was time for a change.

Do I know exactly where I’m going? Not quite.  But there is one thing I do know: I’m happy. My inner light is shining and, right now, I feel so in-tune with myself.  I know my purpose is to inspire others.  I can’t do that if I’m not inspiring myself.  How did I start inspiring myself?

By tossing my life check list.

What To Look For In A Workout Partner

I’m all about group classes.  I love being around people who are sweating and working their asses off.  It’s motivational and inspiring.  Plus, it makes you feel better to know you’re not the only one getting your ass kicked by the workout.

I’ve tried the whole working out alone in the gym thing.  And you know what?  I found it totally boring.  I like being around people, so the social aspect of my workout keeps my mind sane while I’m pushing my body.

That being said, it’s important to surround yourself with the right people.  Working out shows you where your strengths are as well as your weaknesses.  For some, their weaknesses can be a sore spot.  It’s important to be around people who will life you up rather than tear you down.

Here’s what I think makes the perfect workout partner

1. You love the same sport.  Whether you’re bending, lifting or running together, you both share a love for the same activity.  Don’t try to force your significant other or bestie into doing what you love.  No one likes a negative nancy while they sweat.

2. You think win-win.  The perfect workout partner will be similar to you in strength, whether you’re out on a trail run, lifting weights or in a hot yoga class.  It makes pushing each other easier.  However, there is a big difference in competition and friendly competition.  For example, if find yourselves saying “I’m going to lift more,” or “I’m going to beat them,” you’re straight up competing with them. (Side note-don’t say this out loud.  You’ll sound like an ass.) Friendly competitors think more along the lines of “if they can keep going, I can keep going.”  Try thinking win-win instead of I’m going to win.

3. You have similar goals. It’s easy to motivate and push each other when you have similar goals.  You work on making progress together. You both value your time inside or outside (depending on your sport) because your end point is the same.  This is also where that friendly competition comes in.  It’ll push you that much more to reach your goal if you have someone working by your side.

4. You balance each other out.  Sure you may have some similar goals, but you will have different strengths and weaknesses.  Use them to help each other out.  Coach each other.  Have days where you work on your partners weakness, and days where together you work on yours.  Nobody is perfect.  Even if you are strong in one area, the continuous practice will make you that much stronger. Plus, nothing beats the feeling of helping someone else become stronger (physically or mentally).

5. Cheer each other on. Even when you can’t exactly breathe, you and your partner are still saying phrases like, “Come on!” and “You got it!” or “Almost there!”  Chances are you’re saying them super fast, as to get it all in one breath.  But you know what?  That right there is workout partner love.

Here’s the part in the post where I get to ramble about my fabulous sweat partners.

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This upside down bad-ass is Ansley.  She is without a doubt the best CrossFit partner I could ask for.  We push each other, help strengthen each other’s weaknesses and work towards similar goals.  Walking handstands…here we come!

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This blonde bombshell, Erin, sparked my love for yoga, and reignited my passion for running.  Together we pushed through challenging hot vinyasa classes and beasted some runs up awful hills. (LOL what were we thinking?!)  Thanks for the motivation, baby girl!

Workouts need to be motivating and fun.  If you’re workout partner sucks the fun out sweating, it may be time for a break-up.

Who do you love to sweat with?  Who keeps you motivated and having fun at the gym, in the studio or on the trails?