The Healing Process

in ~ ten ~ tion: inˈten(t)SH(ə)n/

1. a thing intended; an aim or plan; “she was full of good intentions”

2. MEDICINE: the healing process of a wound

Interesting. I didn’t really think of the meaning of the word intention past the idea of it being a committed plan of sorts. Seeing the secondary meaning, the healing process of a wound, suddenly I am seeing my April intentions in a slightly different light. It seems really fitting to think of my attempt to regain my healthy ways as more of a repairing of a wounded habit. When we get right down to it, I know how to do this. This is, in fact, a mindset I used to carry me through races and to help motivate others while coaching. It is a reestablishment of the connection between my mind and my body. A way to get them talking to each other in a supportive relationship.

So, with this in mind, here is a little update on my healing process:

1. Write every.single.day. Whew. This is still a difficult thing. I have three new poems, and dammit, I’m counting this blog post for today!

2. Keep the food log a rolling…easy. Did that. Ate the cupcake.

3. Maintain Strength Training. Not so easy to keep the training plan. It turns out I need specifics here. Guess it is the personal trainer in me. I did a lovely workout yesterday and did an hour of yoga for strength this weekend. I feel positive about the commitment to putting in the time, but am wary of the idea of not having a solid plan. I struggle with this every.single.time and really need to break the need to over-schedule myself but manage to keep myself on track and on task. The trick is to make sure I don’t over-train and leave myself unable to meet my other intention…

4. Run once a week. SUCCESS! Ran a slow and pleasurable 5km last week. It was great. However, as this also falls into the category of need a plan / way to go forward with a strong commitment to myself.

So far, so good. I am meeting my own goals on my own terms and right now, that’s about all I can ask of me.

Beautiful Beginnings

There’s something both charming and disabling about the 1st of the month. We are prone to desire that feeling of starting fresh, new, unspoiled. It is somehow the idea of wiping the slate clean and giving ourselves a second chance that makes the first a  magical place, a miniature New Years, if you will. And, with that kind of pedigree, it’s no wonder we stare at it and feel the weight of the newness crush our ambitions before we even start.

Well, maybe that’s a bit overmuch, but there is something to be said for setting out to achieve something and resultant weight of the intention unmet. The newness of an entire calendar month, free from cancelled gym sessions but full of empty spaces to fill with glorious plans, is tantilizing. April 1st: a day for fools, pranks, and tricksters. A day set aside to create lighthearted havoc without consequence. I’ll have none of that, thanks. I want to set my intentions clearly, and with purpose. No tomfoolery about it.

Cultivating a list of things to accomplish in a month is tricky. Too much, and we set ourselves up for failure. Too little, and will we feel like we got anywhere? Last month I tried on my old habits in a bit of a haphazard manner. This wasn’t intentional on the outset, but upon reflection, it worked well. I started and kept most of a training plan. The whole purpose wasn’t to make a significant gain with regard to strength or cardio, rather it was to help my recovering body remember what working out felt like. Certainly, it was nice to wake up knowing that the day was a ‘workout’ day and find myself looking forward to getting sweaty. The food tracking came from a reminder of self (which you can read in an earlier post) and the habit was remembered, but not solidified. During the past few days of March, I have been working on getting up earlier. I used to find working out in the morning, or squeezing in a yoga session, the greatest reward I could give myself. I miss that feeling and want to see the sun rise as I go through a sun salutation!

So, here it is. My list of April intentions. They are not in any particular order, though I think I left the last one last on purpose. Don’t we usually leave that which we fear the most for the end?

1. Write every.single.day. This may seem like it isn’t a huge deal for someone like me, who (despite this blog’s erratic posting) writes for a living – well, I teach it. Same same, right?. I mean writing with intention. I write things for a variety of purposes. I want to funnel my thoughts and channel my creativity to a better end than a clever or witty comeback. To aid me in this effort, I have joined Writer’s Digest’s PAD challenge. This “PAD” stands for poem a day and the name alone makes me feel intimidatedToday’s challenge was to write a poem on resistance, and my brain has cooked up everything from a cheeky haiku about ohm to a long, dreary aabb rhyme that once paired grief and relief. Not much happening thus far…but I am intent on keeping this going!

2. Keep my food log. This is a constant battle because I lie to myself in subtle ways, as I was reminded as I tried my hand at tracking during March. Omit the vegan mayo, please! Forget that second beer! Wine? Me? Nah! Talk about grief and relief…I just want to be honest with how well/unwell I’m treating this body of mine. It’s a process, folks. No one said it was going to be easy! Luckily, I have a great little group of friends on MyFitnessPal and we support each other insofar that we congratulate each other for sticking with it. Checking in there over the month of March was almost consistent, and I think this sets me up for greater success this month.

3. Maintain my strength training program. I did well with this in March. I completed most all of what I set out to do when I created a little program using Nike Training Club (NTC). For those of you who haven’t tried NTC, it is a great, free circuit training app that will guide you through, exercise by exercise, a full 30 to 45 to 60 minute workout. There are different levels of fitness ability ranging from beginner to advanced, and most all of the exercises are bodyweight-based. I want to regain my strength so I started out with, and will continue in April, the strength training option. While regaining my commitment to strength training in March, I had to admit to a few pals that I couldn’t quite navigate a flight of stairs due to tightness in my quads. It was a good feeling. I felt like I had done something.

4. Run one day a week. Here’s the toughie. It will be the most challenging for me to meet because it is the one with the greatest, how shall I put it, visibility. I know. I’m better than feeling judged and, who really cares?, but to slog it out on the roads again…with this body. I’m not loving the idea. I am used to tracking heart rate, and tracking distance, and tracking time, and POSTING all this information through Strava or Training Peaks. Ugh. I’m not ready for that. But, I am ready to invite running back into my life, one run per week, which luckily for me equals 5 runs. Seems like a small amount, right? And, this week is already half done. I need to get myself out soon. I think Friday would be a nice day.A little reward to myself.

Well, that’s my plans for this month. I’m giving myself the biggest pat on the back right now. I shared this. Now, I’m about to make it happen. I will check in over the month. I’d like you to check back; see how I’m doing. And, best of luck to those of you who make your own April plans. Trust me, I’m pulling for you xx