The Place Between

Gearing up to return to regularly scheduled training is, well, frightening. Not in the ‘I can’t do that’ kind of way, but in the ‘I won’t be able to do *this* anymore’ kind of way. Training, at least a serious commitment to, requires dedication. Furthermore, it often comes with a side of early to beds and no thanks, I’ll skip that. Already I know that eating well, making sure I get enough water, and going to bed early today will make tomorrow morning’s group run (YAY!) so much easier. None of those things really jive with the fabulous week of shows I’ve just attended. I love my go out nights, but I think it is time to start being a bit more choosey with my time.

Not to get too involved (hey, my return to this is a happy choice!), but it does require a tad more time and routine care. Ultimately, there is a question of what makes it easier to propel the body through a run other than dedication and simply showing up: water, whole foods, and rest. It is a simple equation. Input the good for you and get the most out of that body of yours. However, this is such a hard thing to make a habit. It is so easy to have a few drinks and eat late at night (um, check last night’s Insta feed). And, I saw this all the time while training people. Clients or runners would show up tired, hungry, hungover (yeah, that happens!) and I would almost feel like saying why? Why are you here? Why are you wasting your training session/money? Yet deep down, I knew their commitment to themselves was developing and I had a part to play in helping them get there. Pushing them to find the best in themselves and seeing them develop healthier lifestyles was rewarding. It came down to asking for the best someone could give at that moment and accepting what they offered; I often got more out of them that way.

In a way, I think we can all do this for ourselves. Accept where we are wholly and give ourself a place to stand. Our current state (whatever that happens to be) provides comfort of some sort or we wouldn’t be there. It serves some need that we have. We like it because it is known. We know how to be there. We recognize the locals and accept the culture. We are safe. But, once we push outside that barrier we put up defining the line between what we can and cannot do, we see the other side of possibilities. And man, that ground looks pretty cool, but, hey, we don’t know the language, we don’t know the steps, and it is just too damn safe over here. It takes quite a bit to jump. In these moments, the questions come rampant: should I? could I? Yet, once that leap is made and our feet land on something and we wobble and sway to regain our confidence…wow…we find out so much more about ourselves in the place between where we are and where we want to go.

So it is a return to early nights, and early rising. A return to a glass of water rather than a glass of wine (well, sometimes wine!). And ultimately, a leap onto once familiar ground to find that place where I will discover just how far this runner really wants to go.

Running Full Circle: A side note

Well. Plenty can change when you open the floodgates. I mentioned earlier that it was likely that I would be returning to familiar grounds with coaching…and, now I am starting up again on Sunday with a 10K group. You would think the concept of getting up at 7am on a Sunday morning to head out into the dubious weather of St. John’s with a group of strangers would be crazy. Yeah, not here! I feel rather rejuvenated and my runner’s heart is beating just a little bit harder (wheeeeee!). I’m excited about getting back into the groove of regular training. And, coaching. And, sprints. And, hill training. Oh my! How I miss helping people push themselves to explore what they can achieve.

Yeah, I’m a dork.

Well this dork has come full circle. Maybe it is long overdue to shake off the scaredy-pants mentality and really embrace that feeling that my body is capable of more. Maybe my 1/2 marathons and dandy race days are not over. Maybe this little body of mine has a few more kilometres in her yet. Let’s find out.

When it Clicks

It was somewhere between the opening ‘hug your neighbour’ and closing group savasana of last night’s epic, Signal Hill yoga class that something clicked. I moved in time with 200+ yogis of various levels of practice with confidence and good humour. I say good humour simply because the joy of yoga is really accepting where your body is on that given day rather than asking it to continuously give. What clicked?, you ask. Well, sitting in the open, sea air with a group of similarly-minded peeps was…amazing. The air was *buzzing*. People were happy. They each took the time for themselves to practice the joy of moving the body. Ahhhhhhhhhh.

It wasn’t just that feeling we all shared. It was letting go of the constant, hesitant voice in the back of my head that questions are you ready to do this? are you here yet? isn’t this too hard? That voice has chased me for months; nipping at my heels. And know what? My body had all the answers. I moved in time with the poses, accepted where I was, and expressed the movements with certainty and confidence. All those days of yoga were working on healing my body even while my mind railed against the ease of it. (Yeah, I’m that person. Yoga is easy and therefore not a workout. Jerk). Errant thoughts aside, my body moved and twisted and held poses regardless of what that mean old brain of mine came up with. My body reminded me that it has been there waiting for me all along and in the magic of twilight, mind and body clicked.

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I think this is similar to what I have been experiencing with my return to running. I ran two, 4km runs last week and felt strong. I definitely pushed myself enough, but was conscious of my speed and my distance. While I had little to no muscle pains in the following days, I did struggle a bit with my breathing (insert: sucked air, loudly and obnoxiously the entire way!). But, again, my body just seemed to be there…waiting for me to take it out and give it a go.

So, now, that leaves me with another week stretching out ahead of me, all full of opportunity and whatnot. I’m keeping my daily yoga practice in the 30-40min range and really working on different expressions of poses. Working on alignment is a good place to be, I think. I recall my complete and total devotion to bakasana (crow pose) in August 2013 whereby I worked on the pose every single day. This time, I’m going to look for the strength in variety. The meditation on that alone will be good for both my ego and strong desire to control all of the outcomes. To add to my week, I have spoken with my former Running Room boss (Scott, if you ever read this “You’re not the boss of me!!”) and he graciously offered to give me another coaching group. The grin bubbled out of me when I heard that and I suddenly became the biggest, goofiest person in the room. I blushed and everything. It went a little over the top when he said that they’ve missed me. Truly, I almost cried. There’s a strong temptation to jump on a certain bandwagon and to say that things are lining up for me, but I think it is more the case of me being in the right mindset and more willing to take the opportunities given. That darn yoga creeping in and making me all relaxed and stuff. With yoga a given and running about to become a bit more permanent, there is only one thing left to think about: FOOD.

Ah yea. Food. Damn that stuff is good. As a vegan, people often comment to me that I must feel so deprived. This couldn’t be further from the truth. I LOVE fruit and vegetables and legumes and whole grains and bread and nachos and sausages and pizza and chips and …wait. What just happened? Jokes about the downward spiral into a bag of Lays aside, I keep a pretty constant stream of healthful foods on my Instagram and 80% of the time, that’s all I eat. But, man. Don’t I love a good chip. Or French fries. So. Good. And while I am not someone to limit myself from tasting the yummy rainbow of food that is out there, I often am pretty flip about what quality of food I am eating. I admit to thinking that if I eat reaaaaaallllllllly ‘good’ I can have whatever the heck I want even if it almost an entire bag of organic tortilla chips (this may or may not have happened post-yogic bliss last night). The ‘good vs bad’ food mentality is just dangerous for those like me who have struggled with ED. Instead, I am going to focus on taste and nutrient quality to fulfil my desire for yumminess and my need to fuel the activities I enjoy.

In that vein, I made myself a slimmer Matcha-Mint smoothie this morning and, after taking a look at what my CSA, Seed to Spoon, organic fruit basket from Real Food Market, and pantry had to offer, I decided to make up this lovely and filling lunch. I don’t really have a name for it, and have never posted a personal recipe before, but here it is. Hope you enjoy!

Mango-Lime Quinoa Black Bean Salad (2 servings)

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Dressing:

juice of 1 lime, 1/4 tsp cumin, 1/4 cup Apple Cider Vinegar, 1 Tbsp oil of choice (I used Udo’s Oil 3-6-9), 1/4 tsp sea salt, 2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro (don’t skip!!)

Salad:

1 can of black beans, rinsed; 1 cup of cooked quinoa; 1/2 a mango, chopped; 1/2 – 1 jalapeño chopped in small dice, avoiding the seeds

Method:

Cook quinoa. I use a rice cooker; it’s fast and easy to clean up. Chop cilantro and whisk into the rest of the dressing ingredients and let sit. Chop mango (save the other half for a smoothie!) into ‘bean sized’ pieces; it will just mix better. Dice jalapeño using all of the pepper or just half; it really depends on how hot you want it. Open can of beans and rinse well. Dump beans into a medium sized bowl and toss in dressing to coat. I find the quinoa will immediately soak up the dressing, so it’s best to add it AFTER beans meet the sauce. Add quinoa (I added hot quinoa because I am impatient, so it is totally okay to follow suit!) and enjoy 🙂