In September, I flew to Portland, Oregon to run a marathon. Preparing to run a marathon takes months of conditioning: running 4 times/week, strength training, stretching, eating well, staying hydrated, resting and getting enough sleep. Like a Kundalini Yoga practice, this training cultivates mental strength, the ability to withstand and work through discomfort and most importantly, a Keep Up spirit. Sure, there were days where I felt tired and there were runs where I didn’t feel good, but I kept up. Quitting was not an option. Instead, I kept moving forward even if that forward movement was walking (or running really slowly😳).
Throughout training, I maintained a positive mental attitude. I saw myself finishing. I felt how it would feel to cross the finish line with tears in my eyes and a big smile on my face. I felt the medal hanging around my neck and saw myself adding it to my medal rack.
When I arrived at the starting line in Boring, Oregon, it was cold, dark and rain was imminent. With relaxed intensity, I stood at the start with only two things on my mind: “I’m finishing no matter what” and “I need to run as many miles as I can before it starts raining!” (it started raining at mile 16, not bad).
As I ran, I started laughing out loud because I realized I traveled over 2000 miles to run 26.2 miles in the rain and never did it occur to me I couldn’t do it. Even as I whooped and yelled for the last mile because everything hurt (oooh those hills got me), quitting was not a consideration, let alone an option. I would have crawled through the finish if I needed to.
This marathon experience has given me an opportunity to reflect on how I set goals in my life and to consider why I’m successful in some areas but not others. One important difference is being "all in" versus giving myself an "out". When I give myself an out, it’s a lot harder, if not impossible, to achieve my goal. What if I arrived at the marathon and said, if I don’t feel like finishing, I can always quit? The outcome could have been different, there were lots of reasons to quit that day. And as I write, I can’t imagine saying this to myself for the marathon. Yet, I give myself an out in other areas of my life, creating duality because I allow myself time to think about the out vs The Goal. I am not all in. Not to mention, the out is often accompanied by intense stress and anxiety putting me in a space of fear and scarcity. Not the place to be in for goal achievement. Certainly not the space I was in for the marathon.
The beauty of life is that we always have opportunities to reflect, learn and grow and we can apply our experiences in one area of life to others. With that said, here is what the marathon has taught me about goal setting:
Do you currently have a goal you are working on for the end of this year or into 2020? I would love to hear about it. Sharing goals is inspiring. It stretches us to dream bigger, be audacious and to know if others can do it, we can too.
With the cooler weather, I have been craving oatmeal for breakfast. Initially, I thought it was too heavy for a pre-run meal, but I have been experimenting with it and it's not too heavy at all. In fact, it's perfectly warm and satisfying.
Oatmeal is quite nutrient dense, 1/2 cup of uncooked oats makes about 1 cup of cooked oatmeal and contains 13 grams of protein and 8 grams of fiber. A solid start to the day. I have been adding a spoon of almond butter, chia seeds, cacao powder, a banana and drizzle of maple syrup for a slightly sweet, grounding, nourishing bowl of breakfast. It's quick to make and provides the right amount of fuel for me to get moving.
Oatmeal provides a nice base for a variety of toppers - raisins, dates, dried cranberries, fresh or frozen berries, coconut, hemp seeds and cinnamon offer a variety of combinations that will keep oats interesting so we can continue to enjoy them throughout the colder months.
After a very cold, snowy and windy training - I ran my first race of the year today. I'm kind of a wimp when it comes to cold weather running, but I scheduled this Half Marathon to motivate myself to get moving and to condition myself for Marathon training. This race was my I did it moment as I happily waved goodbye to winter. The weather this morning was beautiful, sunny and mild. The course was hilly. I felt strong and better prepared than I realized. I can't ask for much more.
This is what I ate yesterday and this morning, in preparation for my race today. I started yesterday with a smoothie very similar to my Spring Super Food Smoothie except I substituted orange juice for the plant milk and omitted the cacao.
My pre-race meal will sound familiar. One hour before race time, I ate one half of a brown rice tortilla with 1 Tbsp nut butter, 2 dates, a sprinkle of hemp seeds and about a teaspoon of maple syrup. I also had coffee with soy milk and drank about 32 oz of water before the race began. We had just over an hour of driving which gave me plenty of time to hydrate and eat my breakfast.
Here I am, post 13.1 - Mission Accomplished!
I ran today and I always have the same thing before running, coffee with half of a brown rice tortilla (heated on the stove) with about 1 Tbsp almond butter, 2 dates and a sprinkle of hemp seeds. It's not pretty, but it is a light breakfast that is filling enough to send me out the door without feeling like I'm running with a brick in my belly. I also try to drink about 24-32 ounces of warm water during my morning sadhana so I'm well hydrated as my day begins.
I am an animal loving-Vegan runner, I practice and teach Kundalini Yoga and I love to cook and eat flavorful plant-based food.