The last 7 days have been amazing. From the responses I received from last week’s post, to cowbelling (both in real time and virtually) for the badass #Birdstrike team, to meeting up with an old and new friend for a hike. I have been inspired, uplifted and definitely ready to get trail running.
In last week’s blog I shared my thoughts with you on my struggles with training as a masters runner. I was pleasantly surprised with the responses I received from others in the same boat. It’s funny how my internet research left me answer less, but hearing from others (who too wish there were more discussion on this topic) has given me support and a few options to try.
However there was a common thread in my conversations with others, beating ourselves up for not living to our expectations, specifically as a masters runner. So many comments questioning abilities and struggles; judging performance (or lack thereof). It’s honestly like being a teenager all over again, struggling to understand how to adjust to life’s physical changes on our bodies. While there is definitely truth in the importance of eating right, and dedicated training to achieve goals, there is also the emotional side of training which we rarely talk about. I too find myself struggling at times with negative image and negative self-talk.
How am I working though this? For me, it’s Yoga.
For the record, I am not one of those runners who embraced yoga into my life. I actually fought it for many years, the poses, the time, the slowing down. I honestly didn’t understand the benefit it would bring to my training. I saw yoga as a way to stretch and keep the joints loose. It doesn’t help that I was under the mindset, if you weren’t pushing yourself to fatigue it wasn’t a true workout.
The reality is I didn’t think I was “good” at yoga. The yogis, the poses, the essential oils intimidated me. I would go to a class, and get frustrated by more experienced people in my class, I would get antsy sitting in a pose too long, I didn’t know the proper form and was too embarrassed to ask for help.
Then life changed. Not long after I moved to Los Angeles, I had a mini breakup with running. I began going through a bit of internal angst, as I had always identified as a runner. I felt my mind constantly racing, searching for something to fill the void and keep me moving. I couldn’t focus on anything specific, just scrolling through social media, listening to every podcast I could and even attempted to bake a few items (that one definitely didn’t got to well).
Here I was in LA, where there is a yoga studio on practically every street corner, but I was still fighting it a bit. Then I listed to this podcast with Julia Hanlon and Rebecca Pacheco and began to think maybe yoga wasn’t so bad after all. I tried a class or two, but still wasn’t convinced. It was when I picked up Rebecca’s book and seriously, it all changed, I began to understand that yoga wasn’t only about working out, or stretching sore muscles, it was also about learning how to be present. This book helped me understand how to break down the poses, the reasons, and the rationale behind yoga and soon realized this was exactly the mental love and strength I needed in my life.
It took me a bit of trial and error, but I have found a studio that works for me. I went to studios where everything sparkles and the music is pumping, but I felt old and out of place. I went to a few outdoor sessions but found myself getting to distracted, I even tried a candlelight session but the oils and chants were a bit much. (I also tried a few online yoga programs, but I prefer the guidance of an in-person instructor) It was when I tried a local small studio; I finally found a good fit. I found a place where the participants were age diverse, and more importantly the common thread among the teachers was the self-talk lesson during session. Each class I attended I noticed the teachers would calmly work to bring your thoughts back to your own practice, your own poses and diminish the need to look around the room to others for comparison. I found this so refreshing. I began feeling stronger in my poses, even when I fell, or didnt have the proper form. I slowly began to recognize when negative self-talk thoughts would creep up on me in class and am working toward diminishing them.
As I process some of the physical challenges I am facing with my running lately, I catch myself judging my speed, my need for more sleep and especially the muscles that get so sore after a moderate weight training session. This is something I rarely have dealt with in my running life, but lately I find myself making excuses and beating myself up for my struggles. When I put out my blog last week, I honestly didn’t expect to find out others were dealing with that too. At first, it was a bit of a relief, but then I got a little mad.
Why as women over the age of 40, trying to maintain our athletic abilities are we struggling with this type of self-talk? Maybe it was because we aren’t talking about it. We hide our feelings, not wanting to be judged. Through my yoga sessions, I am learning to recognize those thoughts and then I can push them aside. I have a long way to go, but it’s a start.
I can’t speak for others, but for me it meant a lot to know I’m not alone in these fitness struggles. My hope is we can keep the positive conversations going, in an effort to quiet that negative voice when it creeps into our head. I know this doesn’t answer the questions on how to train and perform, but at least it helps to not feel isolated and defeated.
Trail running training is starting up for me again. This is my last week of base building and next week I start a full-fledged training plan. While I can’t wait to hit the trails I am so badly craving to run on, I have one step I want
to take before I dive into a plan. I have decided to get some blood tests/panel done with recommendations on ways to enhance my performance via nutrition and supplements. I go in for my testing later this week, so stay tuned and I will share my experience.
My spring race schedule in the coming months includes:
Hot Chocolate 15k San Diego
Pasadena Trail Run 5 mile
Santa Barbara Wine Country Half
Xterra Malibu Creek 22k
I hope you will follow along as I share my journey. If you are an Oiselle Volée member, join the conversation on the Ning Masters page, I would love to hear your thoughts and share ideas. If you aren’t then comment below. Let’s keep talking, motivating and helping others reach our goals