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You’re not a runner – Is that true???

You’re not a runner – Is that true???

It’s something I hear almost everyday as I coach people through life using running as a catalyst to change.  I hear it more than almost anything else. I hear it from marathon runners, I hear it from casual weekend runners.  I hear it from hard core runners who run all the time and from those who only run when they are late.  So you’re not alone when you say you’re not a runner.  But I challenge you to ask yourself if that’s actually true?

What makes someone a runner?

Is it the amount of miles they run?

The frequency they run?

How fast they run?

Is it the thoughts they think?

or is it because they don’t run it with headphones?

So maybe you’re a runner, just not a ‘real’ one?

Can you be absolutely certain that its true you’re not a real runner?

How many miles do you have to run to be a ‘real’ runner?

How fast do you have to go?

How frequently do you have to run?

What kind of thoughts do ‘real’ runners think?

Or is it because they don’t run with headphones?

When you think the thought you’re not runner or at least not a ‘real’ one.  How does it make you feel?  What actions do you take or not take because you believe the lie that you’re not a runner?

For one second, drop the thought.  Pretend it doesn’t exist.  Who are you without it?  What do you do differently when you can’t believe you’re not a real runner?

Consider some turnarounds:

  • I am a ‘real’ runner
  • My thoughts about running are preventing me from seeing myself as a runner

Do either of these ring true for you?  Do they feel as true or more true than the original thought – that you’re not a runner?

I’m going to give you some evidence that you are a ‘real’ runner:

  • Have you ever run – if the answer is yes, then technically you are a ‘runner’ or at least you have been at some point in your life.
  • Have you ever enjoyed running (as a kid chasing your brother) – if you answered yes, once again, you are a runner.
  • Do you have a desire to run, even if it’s for just five minutes at a pace so slow a snail can beat you?  Guess what, you’re a runner just by having the desire and going out and giving it a try.

That’s it.  No other magic criteria.

Challenge yourself to come up with more turnarounds that fell as true or more true than the original statement that you are not a runner.  Find the evidence that supports these truths.  Remember, you are runner.  It’s in you. It might not be on the surface, but I’d bet money it’s in there somewhere. Find it.


What are you missing?

I almost ran into two huge geese while running.  They were walking along the river, right in my line of site and I almost missed them!!!  I was lost in thought.  In my head.  Focused on other things.  And I literally almost ran into two ginormous geese in the middle of my path. Luckily the geese started quacking or whatever it is that geese do and I was able to avoid a collision.

It reminded me of the selective attention test conducted by Daniel Simons and Christopher Chabris that asked people to count how many times a basketball was passed. In the middle of the video a gorilla walks in, pounds his chest and leaves.  Nearly half of the study participants were so focused on the passing basketballs that they entirely missed the gorilla.  

They’ve recently done a similar test (you can check it out here) that confirms the original findings.  It’s funny how we get so stuck in a routine, or a rut or a thought that we don’t notice what’s right in front of us,  whether it’s a gorilla or two ginormious geese.

“When your looking for a gorilla, you often miss other unexpected events.” -Daniel Simmons

What would your rather see in your life that you might be missing?  I’m curious to hear about what it is you might be missing that’s right in front of you.  Post your comments below!

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How do you want to finish?

“When you come to the end of all the light you know, and it’s time to step into the darkness of the unknown, faith is knowing that one of two things shall happen: Either you will be given something solid to stand on or you will be taught to fly.” — Edward Teller

The hardest race I ever ran was a half marathon that finished up a hill. There was  nothing about the race on the surface that made it especially hard.  Perfect weather, great conditions, great energy.  With one mile to go I felt great.  Then with 500 yards to go, I started to walk.

The problem was I couldn’t see the finish line.  I was tired, running uphill, so close to the end but unable to see my final destination.  

Even though I knew I was close, I let my feelings of exhaustion and doubt overtake me.  
It didn’t matter that the crowds were increasing, that I’d passed the last aid station a couple miles back that I had plenty of evidence the finish line just ahead.  I couldn’t see it.  A hard left turn 100 yards from the finish created a visual barrier between the race and the finish. I let one turn, 100 yards in front of me, cause doubt.

So I gave up.  Just before I got to the end I gave in.

I didn’t trust myself enough to know that I could finish.  I didn’t trust my body enough to carry me through.  Doubt overcame me.  It was hard.  I couldn’t see an end.  So I walked.  Then I turned the corner, there it was.  Right in front of me.  Just out of site, but so, so, close at hand.

What made it so hard was that I knew in my heart of hearts I could choose to finish strong.  Yet I gave in because I didn’t have the physical evidence I wanted to carry me though. I wasn’t able to visualize and feel the finish before I saw it.  Couldn’t trust myself enough to just hold on and finish no matter how close I was.

What barriers are standing in your way of a perfect finish in some aspect of your life?  Can you see past them?  Take a few minutes, step back and feel yourself crossing the finish line.  Really feel the relief, excitement, joy – whatever it is.  Hold that feeling and then ask yourself how you want to get there.  How do you want the last 100 yards to go down?  Run those last yards, up that hill, the same way you ran the first 12 miles.  One step in front of the other. Then Relax, and Enjoy the Unfolding.

“To travel hopefully is better than arriving.” derived from Robert Louis Stevenson via Jeanette Maw at Good Vibe University

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Running through it

I didn’t want to run today.  I was feeling down.  Sad.  Missing my husband.  The weather matched my mood.

Rainy, overcast, windy.

I had more than enough good excuses to stay inside and feel sorry for myself.

I didn’t. 

I grabbed my shoes and loaded my ipod with a new playlist.  I hit the road with permission to run as far or as short as my heart desired.  No attachment to pace.  The only goal was to get out of the house and away from my thoughts.  The intention to simply run with the purpose of clearing my head and enjoying the run.

As I put one foot in front of the other, over and over, something started to happen. I began to feel better, to smile, to enjoy the music. 

I started to feel strong. 

With each raindrop that hit my skin, I felt refreshed. 

Each time my feet hit the pavement I felt grounded. 

So I kept running and running and running.  I ran longer than I’ve run all year, faster than I normally run. It was the best run I’ve had in months. 

All because I gave myself permission to run even though I didn’t want to.  It was what my soul needed to remember what it felt like to be free.

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Hate running?

This is for all of you out there who hate running. I hear ya!  Been there, done that. For a long time actually.  Every now and then, I still find myself hanging out in that boat.  To be clear, I’m not interested in convincing you to love running. I have no idea what you should love.  You are the only expert on you.  Running isn’t for everyone.  I get it.

Before you throw in the towel for good, resigned to a life of slugging it out on the treadmill or elliptical  and hating every minute of it – ask yourself some honest questions. What specifically do you hate about running?  If you’re anything like me, I bet it has a lot less to do with running than it does with your thoughts about running.

Hear me out.

How many times have you gone for a run, only to get short of breathe within the first five minutes?

How many times have you gone for a run for the first time in ages, only to pay for it the next day?

What does any of that have to do with the physical act of running, the actual physical sensation of putting one foot in front of the other?  Biomechanically running is not much different from walking, yet I rarely hear anyone talk about how much they hate walking.

Check in. Ask yourself what you think about running that’s making it suck.

Maybe it’s:

-I’m so slow, I need to run faster.

-This is so hard.

-I’m so out of shape.

-I’ll never be good at this.

-Why can’t I run faster?

-I’m no good at this.

-Somethings wrong with me.

That’s just a sampling of my old thoughts about running.  Guess what? Not one of those thoughts made running easier.  Those thoughts caused me to run faster than my body was willing.  Those thoughts propelled me to run longer than my body was prepared for.  All of this created evidence that I was out of shape. Which only reinforced my original thoughts that running sucked.

What if you consciously changed your thoughts about running? What if you left for a run with the intention of running as slow as you possibly can (I promise if you do this, it will feel easier).  What if you chose to love yourself and give yourself credit even if you only ran for five minutes.  What if your running didn’t mean anything at all about how good you were? What if you simply chose to notice how good it feels to move your body, smell fresh air and be outside?

Give yourself a break.  Try running without beating yourself. See how you like running when you give yourself permission to suck at it and still be awesome. See how you like running then.

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What if it was easy?

What would it look like if you let it be easy?  All the time?  Not just on a short run, on a sunny day, when you’re well rested.  What if on every day, on every run you allowed it to be easy? Or what if you just never let it be hard? Is that even possible?

I had an especially difficult run this week.  It was just a normal, short jaunt through the neighborhood that happened to go south.  I was rushed for time, trying to run faster than my body wanted to run.  Focused on finishing.  Being somewhere else I needed to be.  It wasn’t fun.  It didn’t feel good.

I realized deep down I’m holding on to a belief that if it’s to easy, to often, I’ll be bored.  I want to be challenged.  To keep learning.  To grow.  Can I still do that if it’s not hard?  Is there some special number on the easy/hard scale I have hit for fulfillment?

What if it’s possible for it to be easy and still feel challenged? To allow growth even when it isn’t hard?  This is what it would like like for me:

  • I would stop keeping score.  I’d ditch the Garmin and eliminate my fixation with knowing exactly how fast I’m running at every second.  I’d work on increasing speed during speed runs and tempo runs.  The rest of the time, I’d let my body run at whatever pace it wants to run.
  • I’d allow enough time to enjoy the run, no matter how slow I felt like going.  I’d take the time to stretch when I was done.  I’d be honest with myself about how much time I needed and be willing to give myself a little extra just in case.
  • I’d take the time to explore new routes.  I’d let myself run down by the river more often.  Even if I have to drive to get there.  I’d make a commitment to find runs that inspire me.

I went to Target today and bought a $12 Timex so I could still track my progress (I’m not ready to go cold turkey).  This felt like a good compromise.  I went to the river and ran.  I had no place to be all day.  I only looked at my watch once or twice.  You know what – it felt kind of easy.  Most of all, it felt good.

I’d love to hear what it would look like for you if you let it be easy all the time.  In running and in life.  Feel free to share your comments.

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What Are You Wishing For?

It’s funny how when you run a lot, running a lot ain’t no big thing.  Back before I knew I was a runner, it seemed almost impossible to even think about running an entire mile without stopping.  Mile by mile, run by run. It’s no longer impossible.  

I was doing my short run around the neighborhood today. Its about two miles, a perfect run when you’re short on time or just ramping up for the season. It got me thinking about how I used think running was so hard. How this thinking it was so hard, stopped me from trying.  Stopped me from the making it easy.  

Once I got passed the one mile barrier, six miles became the next obstacle. I used to say to myself and out loud to anyone who would listen “I wish I could be one of those people who just loves to go run six miles.”  I would say it as if ‘those people’ were some kind of crazy people. Die hard. Someone different from me. Yet as I said it, I would unintentionally imagine me doing it. Loving it. I’d see the picture of me, running six miles.  Often in the rain.

“And that which you manifest is before you.” -The Art of Racing in the Rain, Garth Stein

As I was thinking about which distances are easy or hard, I had a sudden flashback to all those years ago when I used to wonder about those people who loved running six miles. Why six? I have no idea. It was just random number at the time. Although the fact that 36 is my favorite number may have contributed. I could have easily picked people who love to run three miles, or seven. I picked six.  

I was hit with the realization that I now tell people my favorite distance to run is six miles.  It’s far enough that you have to pace yourself. You can’t go out to fast.  You have to be patient.  It’s not to long enough that you have to plan your day around it. Coincidence?  Maybe?  But ask yourself, what are you manifesting right now. Intentionally or unintentionally? What fears are leading you to you? 

“Resist the temptation to base today’s decisions upon today’s facts and circumstances, which are little more than what remains of yesterday’s decisions.  

Instead, base them upon the facts and circumstances as they will inevitably be once your dreams have already come true. Once you’re already deep in friends, laughter, health and harmony.  Once your dreams ‘ain’t no big thang’, honey” -Mike Dooley, Notes from the Universe

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Exclamation Marks!!!

Living with exclamation marks

I’m an exclamation mark kind of girl. For a long time I felt bad about that.  Exclamation marks get a bad rap.  To over the top!  To much excitement!! To much cheeriness!!!  I sure didn’t want to put in that category.

I’d write something, finish it off with an exclamation mark, or two or three.  Then hit backspace, delete, erase.  I didn’t want others to see my exclamation marks.  I was willing to erase me and my excitement so I didn’t get put in eye roll category.

Not anymore.  Starting now, I’m letting others see me exclamation marks.  No Apologies.   Life deserves to be lived out loud!  With excitement!!  Over the top with to much cheeriness!!!  I don’t care what spell check has to say.

So where are your exclamation marks?  What are you willing to erase to fit into someone else’s idea of how you should live your life?  Where should you hit enter instead of delete?

Here’s to a day filled with exclamation marks – whatever they may be for you.

Keep Smiling!

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I hate hills. They say running up hills is good for you. It builds speed. And endurance.  Whips you into shape. They also say running down hills is worse for you.  Harder on your knees.  Who are these people? I’m not one for being whipped into anything.  I don’t run hills. In fact, I avoid them.  Entirely.  I’ll change my whole route just to make sure I don’t even see a hill. 
During my first marathon (Portland) I was so relieved when I finished the ‘big’ hill at mile 17, I started to sprint to the finish.   Never mind the fact I had another 9 miles to run. I was at the top of the hill. In hindsight this is an extremely poor race strategy. Note to self, the race isn’t over just because you made it to the top.
This year, I plan to avoid that mistake. I’m running one of the flattest marathon courses out there.  This is not an accident. A fellow runner once told me after he finished the Chicago Marathon that it was almost too flat. As if such a thing could exist. He went on to say it was so flat it was boring.  This is when I made up my mind I was going to run Chicago.  
Today was different. I can’t explain it. I decided to take a different route, even if it meant I had to run up a hill. I just wanted to mix it up.  Do something different.  I have a core route through my neighborhood. I can turn left go slight downhill, up a hill, then slight downhill or do the reverse with the hill broken up and a long downhill in the middle. I bet you can guess which route I normally run. Not today. Today I was going to run up that hill. Even if it meant I was going against the wind. I’m always telling my clients to find what feels downstream. Go with the flow. Stop fighting against yourself. Yet downstream today felt like heading straight into the wind up a damn hill.  
They tell you to lean into the hill. Small steps. Same effort. Don’t push harder, don’t let up.  Just take smaller steps.  Find a spot about 10 to 20 feet in front of you and run to that marker.  When you’re almost there, pick another spot just in front of you.  Every now and then, look out into the distance to remind yourself where you’re going. So that’s what I did. I made it to the top of the hill, 10 feet at a time.  
My reward was letting loose and sprinting down the hill. I didn’t care that my shoe was untied. I didn’t care that I passed my street. That my run was ‘over.’  The wind was at my back and I was going downhill with the sun shining on my face. Pink was blaring through my headphones:
“’I’ve done all I can think of. Chased down all my demons, I’ve seen you do the same. Oh, pretty pretty please, don’t you ever ever feel Like you’re less than perfect you’re perfect in my eyes. 
It felt pretty perfect to lean into that downhill stride.  
Happy Running.

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