Running With Yourself

I love to run. I love the feeling of fatigue, struggling between the realm of comfort and pushing myself, listening to the rustling of leaves, the chirping of the birds, even the short conversations of cyclists passing by. The steps I take become rhythmic while I slowly breathe in and out, my thoughts wandering throughout the present. My body is synced to my every motion as I look forward. When I run, I am one with my mind, my body, and my surroundings. Despite the motion and utilization of energy consistently occurring, this is one of the only times in my life where I feel the most centered. I am a mindful runner. Running is a meditative act for me and many others, and I believe it is a simple transformation many other runners can take on.

We all have routines, things we think and do everyday. Some of our routines serve us well, and some don’t. Something that’s become a big part of my daily routine – one of the...:

What is meditating?

So does meditating mean you need incense, rocks, beads, saying “Ommmm” for minutes at a time? Well, maybe. Traditional meditation can happen in a variety of ways. You can go to a class, utilize youtube videos, or even focus on yourself and just take time to be present for a few breaths, minutes, or hours. Meditation is what you make it, as are the benefits.

Benefits of Meditation

Just Breathe-Ancient Practice of Pranayama can help you detoxify, shed excess weight, and boost overall vitality.:

  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Lowers the levels of blood lactate, reducing anxiety attacks
  • Decreases any tension-related pain, such as tension headaches, ulcers, insomnia, muscle and joint problems
  • Increases serotonin production, which improves mood and behavior
  • Improves the immune system
  • Increases the energy level as you gain an inner source of energy
The one type of meditation that I choose to utilize is mindfulness meditation. This meditation allows you to focus on the now, release any feeling of tension or worry, and truly focus on grounding yourself. Almost as if you find your center.

How is this useful to running?

Your runs are what you make them. Even the most intense track workouts can allow for a moment of clarity. Writer Amy Marxkors wrote about a story she made up about a long stretch of farmland on one of her long runs, and it wasn’t until I found myself making up a story about squirrels on an 8 mile trail run where I realized that she was unintentionally practicing a moment of mindfulness. She was not letting the fatigue hinder her thoughts. There was no complaining about being out on a run. We are in motion when we run, as is the world and by utilizing our very senses and connecting with the moment we are in, we are well on our way to a moving meditation as we run with ourselves.

Benefits of Mindfulness (Meditation) | Lynn Hasselberger for Elephant Journal | #infographic #meditation #mindfulness:
As runners, we utilize music, strobe lights, groups, and fight a never-ending battle between cars and cyclists. It is easy to allow our mind to be cluttered with stress and unhelpful thoughts as we put our foot one in front of the other. A good way to start practicing mindful meditation is to eliminate distractions. Maybe start by ditching the music and playing a senses game. One run you focus on all you hear, and, maybe on a later run, you try and point out all of the changing colors on the tree- just being mindful of not cluttering your mind with homework, work stress, and other thoughts that only bring negative emotions.
On a recent trail run, I was overwhelmed to the point of tears. Two miles in, I stopped on the side of a cliff because I was too jumbled to continue. My legs felt like bricks and I was worried about work, relationships, finances, you name it. As I stood on the cliff, I paused. I listened to the boaters fishing speaking to one another. There voices echoed between the leaves and it felt as though they were only a few feet away. I saw a hawk circling around some trees, and as the boat took off I watched the waves ripple. I felt like I was slowly coming back into my body, and as I breathed, I closed my eyes and rooted myself in the ground. I felt like me again, and in those few moments my run was altered. I ended my 8 mile run on a strong note.
How to be happy now. Things you can do to be happier, thanks to science and the power of positive psychology.:
It is amazing how a few moments can change the outcome of a stressful day. I know this is something that works for me, however, I think every person- runner or non-runner- can benefit from meditating daily. Take time to focus solely on yourself and live for the now. It’s not something that’s only spiritual, but it truly allows you to be able to appreciate the little, and big things in life.
Go The Distance 69:

 

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The Supplement/Wrap/Diet Free Way To Lose Over 100 Pounds: Starter Edition

   My name is Sam. I’m 22 (pushing 23) and over the past year and a half I have lost a considerable amount of weight. 

In August of 2013, I was over 275 pounds. I was interning at the little place in Orlando called Walt Disney World.  That was where I began my journey. However, I’ll give you some  background information in myself so you can see how exactly I got to that point in my life.

   
Here I am at the end of my freshman year.

  

Here I am sophomore year

 

Finally, me on my 21st birthday when I first got to Disney World.
Within my first three years of school, I both literally and metaphorically did a lot of growing. For me, Disney was a roller coaster but, in all of my years of college, I had never learned about what I really wanted to do with myself. I was comfortable. Comfort brought on settling and I dug myself into a whole where I felt settled rather than happy. I was having a rough time adapting to being so far away from home, so, during a phone conversation after a visit home my mom said that I needed to fill my excess time up by doing something for me. In here mind that was going for a walk.
My mom is a marathoner.

She a bad B

My walk was her half marathon at the time because I was so out of shape. I was drinking, smoking, and eating in an attempt to fill a void in my life. I don’t know about many of you, but free time is my downfall because I get bored. Boredom leads to me getting bummed out from over-thinking, which then is closely followed by a bad mood. It’s a viscous circle. After years of her telling me to get healthy, I finally agreed. 

I got my ass on an elliptical and started my journey.

  
It took me 1 month to move from elliptical, to treadmill, followed by running 2-3 miles outside. From October, when I started, to December I went from being unable to jog 1 mile to consistently running 6 (at a 12-13 minute pace).

So, when beginning your journey there are some things to keep in mind.

1. Don’t starve yourself because you aren’t dieting. 

Eating right for a healthier you is a lifestyle change. Not something you’re going to give up once your body is how you want it to be.

Food is your friend. 

Think of your body as a vehicle. Your car is going to weigh lighter without gas, but it doesn’t have anything in the tank to get you anywhere.

Indulge when you feel like it, and enjoy your food.

2.Progress takes time, and is a roller coaster. 

It is SO easy to get discouraged.  One of the main roles that I follow is that I don’t live by my scale. A scale just tells you how much mass you have on this earth. It does not tell you that you can run a half marathon. Those numbers are merely there to help you realize where you are. A scale is not you as a person. 

People call themselves that all the time. Here’s the thing, you aren’t fat. You have fat. If you so choose to work out, you can do something about that. Or, for some people they may choose to have more fat on her body. Who are we to judge others for their own life decisions. When it comes down to it, no two bodies are the same. Men and women are two very different entities. And when you look at each sex, you’ll find that there’s variation between everyone uses those identities. 

There’s an adjustment period, or moment of realization where you realize that you aren’t happy. But does it mean that somebody else your size is wrong and being happy. Everyone has their own individual goals to strive for. I like to think of weight is running a marathon.

You put ours, hundreds of miles, and blood sweat and tears into training. You train for one day. You have no idea what could happen. There could be an unexpected injury, a bad storm, or could be the most perfect conditions and you just don’t feel right. Just because you don’t feel good or you’re upset doesn’t mean that you can’t change it.strive to be the best version of you. It takes time, but you’ll get there.

3. Be mindful of what you eat.

Grilled chicken, salmon, good cards, pasta (when measured accurately), fruits are all awesome. If God didn’t make it, avoid it. 

I could never, ever, fathom giving up my believed diet coke, but I monitored my intake. I never once starved myself in the beginning because it’s hard for your body to shift its habits. 

You will be gassy, having to go to the bathroom because your tummy is upset, even go through being bloated but that is apart of the process. Just like you, your body will need a reset and time to adjust all of the changes you’re going through.

 
Even where I’m at now, I’m unhappy- or unsatisfied. A couple months ago I was more than this. Health problems caused me to gain weight. I’m doing everything that I possibly can to fix that. It’s a lot of effort at first, counting calories, being sore, finding motivation, and most importantly getting enough sleep. Once you get into the habit of it though, it just becomes natural. 

If you have any questions, or just want to know what else I’ve done when starting out, please feel free to post in the comments section. I’m glad to make any edits or updates. In the future, I’m planning on making a post about maintaining weight loss, how to make healthy food good, and what to do when you get sidetracked! 

For some additional information, check out my piece How Running Changed Me on Runners World!