The Best of San Francisco party was a blast. There was a lot to eat and even more to drink. The venue, located at the Ferry Building, was beautiful, especially the outside section that was decorated with overhead lights and overlooked the bay. Perfect place to meet new people and admire all the chic Californian outfits.
On Saturday we explored Joaquin Miller Park, where Maclaine and I ran through trails that were definitely meant for hiking rather than running. Completely uphill the entire time. The trails did offer good variety from my normal runs around Lake Merritt or through downtown Oakland though. Not to mention we were running through the Redwoods!
I’m starting to train for a marathon in early October which means Sunday is long run day. Maclaine and I drove to the city to get the miles in. I stand by my opinion that the best way to explore a city is by running it. We ran through Golden Gate Park and along the waterfront. The foggy beach to our right and the pastel neighborhoods (Outer Sunset) to our left made for a calming, pleasantly simple run.
After the long run on Sunday, we caught some of the San Francisco Pride Parade. There was a lot of music, a lot of beads and a lot of color. It was so nice to be surrounded by an environment of happiness and acceptance. We just had to celebrate with some ice-creams from Pressed Juicery –I got a vanilla (made with almonds, dates, sea salt and vanilla bean) and chocolate (almond, cacao, dates, filtered water and sea salt) topped with coconut, granola and almond butter.
After the run, Maclaine and I had a chat that helped me with a revelation I’ve been mulling over for a few years now: How I'm running and how I'm sleeping are fairly good indicators of what’s going on in my life at the time.
Lately I’ve been struggling with my mental game while I’m running.
The best part of my runs are the beginning and the end - rarely the middle. I’m pumped up in the beginning, never have a problem starting. I’m determined in the end, never have a problem finding that extra push. But I hold back a little in the middle. I’ve analyzed this more than I care to admit and while this is just running and my pacing is insignificant in the grand scheme of life, it reflects something bigger: Doubting oneself. Not realizing one’s true potential.
Will I be able to keep up this pace for the rest of the run?
When I finish a run or race feeling depleted, like I had nothing more to give, it's a good sign, because that means that that I ran based on strength and confidence rather than fear of what's ahead.
The minute I abandon the tendency to think I’m less capable than I am, I am always amazed by what I can accomplish. Paying attention to thoughts like the ones I’ve been having mid-run can highlight what’s going on in my mind, outside of the run.
I haven’t been sleeping great and that almost never happens. For a while, I assumed it was the heat (we thought we couldn’t open any of the windows in our apartment, turns out we can). But I think it's because my mind is racing about what’s in store for the future. Where will I be next year or even next month? Though I'm feeling really encouraged and inspired and feel really good in the day-to-day, the fact that I’m letting the future consume my mind indicates that I’m not trusting, and therefore, not resting my mind. Just as I’m doubting if I can make the last few miles as fast as the early miles.
My running and my sleeping are indicating I’ve been thinking a little too much lately. With my emphasis on a consistent routine, I’ve been trying to control every move. That’s not the way it works. So instead, I’m choosing to think: “It’s all playing out as it should. I’m doing the very best I can and I trust that it will lead me to where I need to go.” I don’t need to know where I’m going, just that right here, right now, I’m doing what I feel is right.
What can we do when we’re all up in our heads? We can meditate, take it back to our breath. While running, I focus on the sound of my footsteps striking the pavement. The healthy air I’m inhaling into my lungs. The calming and controlled exhale. I can do the same when I'm falling asleep. Meditation is not something that has to be done on top of a mountain or with a monk or for five hours a day. Meditation can be practiced while you’re driving, cooking or eating, all the same.
When I was in Costa Rica, I started most of my days with a 5-minute meditation, which gave me the power to withstand stressors that came my way. I haven’t been practicing yoga as much as usual – which is probably the reason why my mind is busier than usual. I love when I make these simple connections. monk or for five hours a day. Meditation can be practiced while you’re driving, cooking or eating, all the same.
In addition to my other running thoughts (literally), I had another discovery. I realized that I finally (finally) found respect for those times when I’m off track (no pun intended?), out of line, in an inconsistent routine (eating poorly, falling off an exercise routine, drinking too frequently, or lacking sleep for too many days in a row). Believe it or not, I’ve grown to actually like these times rather than fighting them because I know that they indicate a time of “Okay, time to get back on track” just around the corner. I’ve gotten better about accepting my “off track” times (I used to beat myself up big time) because I now trust myself enough to know I’ll get there eventually. I always do. A healthy lifestyle is too crucial to my life, too fascinating even, to “fall off” forever. And now that I can trust myself, I can enjoy the ride. I can live a little easier. I find when I pay attention to these running thoughts, I discover important parts of myself.