Marci and I are officially eight weeks out from running the WDW Marathon. This coming weekend we're running a half marathon in Malibu as part of our training plan. This is usually the point in training when I know I'm almost done - I know I just need to taper through this week, relax, and get ready for my one long run on Sunday. And then be done! Be done with the 5:30am wake up calls, be done with the long Saturday runs, be done with being super careful about what I eat, and time to just relax and give myself a break. However, training for the WDW Marathon means this is only the halfway point.
Fatigue Is Setting In
I'm starting to feel a little fatigued with my training. I'm getting bored with my running routes and even more bored when I'm forced to run on the treadmill now that bad weather is starting to creep in. I'm also REALLY starting to miss running with Marci. Having a training partner physically be present would be such a great motivator right now! Thankfully, we saw each other a few weeks ago when we took a break and spent a weekend in Las Vegas, and we only have five more days until we're back together again to run the Malibu Half.
I'm not really sure what to expect from this half marathon. I've been logging 20-30 miles per week over the past five weeks, my long runs all ten miles and over. Two weekends ago I ran 12 and this past Saturday I went back down again to ten. My left hip is still bothering me, I've been foam rolling and stretching and icing like crazy, so I'm hoping I'll just keep doing that and all will be well. I've also got the workings of a wicked blister the size of a dime on my big toe. Amazingly all my other toes are doing great and the blisters I used to get on the sides of my feet are long gone. Other than my hip and toe I have been feeling GREAT, so I just need to focus on the positives. I think I'm hitting the point when I just need to stop thinking about running and just get out and enjoy the time outside. Getting up at the crack of dawn means I get to see beautiful sunrises and rainbows that I'd never otherwise see.
Running With The Mind of Meditation
About a year ago I started reading Running with the Mind of Meditation: Lessons for Training Body and Mind by Sakyong Mipham and I think its time to start rereading it.
The book discusses lessons which combine mindfulness with physical movement that can be used by anyone regardless of spiritual background or ability. The hope is to teach runners to run with more energy, focus, and patience. I was intrigued by this book because my mind tends to wander when I run and I find myself becoming incredibly impatient and unfocused leaving me to freak out when my mind thinks its going to be harder than it really is. This book has helped me take a breath, think about the moment I'm in, acknowledge how I am feeling, and let go of everything else. Since I've put some of its teachings into practice I've noticed I've become a much more present runner. One part of the book discusses using your breath to control your mindfulness and its been incredibly beneficial to me:
Paying attention to the breath as we exhale and inhale is extremely beneficial for the body and the mind. It helps to detoxify the mind from stress and negative thoughts and emotions, including regret. The breath is like the waves in the ocean that help circulate the water so that it does not become stagnant. Therefore when we pay attention to the breath, we are automatically brought into being present. This clarifies our mental state.
The book discusses the path of warriorship where one engages in life courageously, but without aggression. There are four phases: Tiger, Lion, Garuda, and Dragon.
Tiger is the first phase which talks about the principle of mindfulness, which leads to contentment.
This is the phase in which we work on technique, on paying close attention. It’s when we build up the base. In the tiger stage, we learn how to focus. At the same time, we practice not overdoing it, so that when we simultaneously develop gentleness. In short, by applying mindfulness and focus, we accept and appreciate who we are.
The lion phase associates running with joy.
We worked hard as a tiger, so now we enjoy our fitness and the freedom that it brings. We have built a strong base, and we know how to run, so we can throw away our watch and head out the door. With less concern about how many miles we run or how fast our intervals are, we enjoy nature, the streets, and being alive.
A garuda is a mythical eagle-like bird with two arms as well as wings. It represents the inconceivable power and awesomeness of the mind.
For runners, this outrageous phase of training means that we are competent and accomplished. Now we can challenge ourselves. This may lead to some outrageous runs.
The dragon is the last phase which represents wisdom, intelligence, foresight, and omniscience.
We are no longer running for ourselves, but to benefit others. Extending ourselves, we join with others to run for a charity or a cause, like world peace.
I'm hoping by time I toe the start line of the WDW Marathon I'll be fully in the dragon phase, running for Team Fox and Parkinson's Research.
I know its about the journey and not the finish, but these are definitely going to make it a little bit sweeter!
Eight weeks to go!
Parkinson's disease was first discovered in 1817 by Dr. James Parkinson. It is a disease of the central nervous system that happens when the loss of cells in various parts of the brain include cells that produce dopamine - a chemical messenger which transmits signals in the brain that coordinate movement. Loss of these cells cause neurons to fire without normal control, leaving patients less able to direct or control their movement. About one in 100 people over the age of 60 have Parkinson's Disease, but people as young as 18 have been diagnosed. At least one million people in the US have Parkinson's Disease.
Team Fox is The Michael J. Fox Foundation’s (MJFF) grassroots community fundraising program. Its members include thousands of people worldwide who generate funds and awareness for Parkinson’s disease research. All funds raised through Team Fox go directly to MJFF to advance its mission to accelerate the delivery of life-changing treatments, and ultimately a cure, to people with Parkinson’s disease. Additionally, thanks to the generous support of an anonymous donor, 100% of Team Fox proceeds in 2014 went directly to research efforts to help speed a cure for Parkinson’s.
While I train for this marathon I'm also raising funds for research and a cure for Parkinson's. If you're interested in donating to my team, 'Run, Betty, Run!' you can by clicking HERE. (A while ago I read an article about two 85 year old women named Betty and Betty who have been running partners for over 50 years and still compete together. Marci and I since then have called each other Betty and Betti in hopes that we will still be running together when we're 85!)