half training week three: step up the mental game

This week started rough but ended on a high note. The one lost rest day and additional running day really made a difference (so tiring), I think I need to start swapping out cross for running on Wednesdays.

Monday - cross, biking
I was still sore from bouldering on Saturday and thought Monday was a rest day. I was wrong. Came back from my bike ride and was feeling great because whenever I go on bike rides I feel like Lana del Rey singing "Ride"...and then I took a gander at my training schedule and figuratively smacked my palm against my forehead because I was supposed to run 5.5k tonight. Oops. At least I wasn't sedentary...

Tuesday - 5.6k, 32 min
This run was particularly brutal because I was feeling particularly demotivated. Note to self, don't eat chips and salsa prior to running. Why did I do it? Because it was raining really hard and I thought it wouldn't let up for a while. Well, I was wrong and it let up in about 10 minutes. I headed out while it was still a little drizzly but no torrential downpour ensued, luckily. Tuesday was an especially tiring work day and when I got home I wanted to do nothing but lie down on the cold, hard ground. But alas, due to my mistake yesterday I had to run today.

Wednesday - 3k, 17 min
Fartlek time! Mentally knowing that this run was only going to be 3k motivated me to run harder, my first 2k went by pretty quickly. I tried to alternate two minutes at a quicker pace, then two minutes at a jogging pace. Didn't realize how tiring that would be. Last kilometre my mind slowly wandered away - I lost focus and slowed down. Need to step up that mental game, because exhaustion is just a trick of the mind. Or maybe I'm just so used to that easy pace, I can't pick it up - needs practice.

Thursday - 6.3k, 43 min
Today was brutal, it took me way longer than usual to run the 6k, and I'm bad at tracking distance without a phone so I ended up running a little more than six. But alas, I made it. It hit me like a ton of bricks how large a part the mind plays in all of this. Panic attacks are crippling in more ways than one...more on that in my final thoughts. During my run, despite my best efforts, it was hard to breathe. My mind kept on going back to what was causing my anxiety and I couldn't shake it. Usually running helps, but this time it exacerbated my feelings of hopelessness. However, I did feel better after my run. Despite everything, I was able to cover the distance - small wins.

Friday - rest

Saturday - 8.5k, 52 min
Long run today. I plugged in earbuds for the first time and actually had a great experience running while listening to Invisibilia, an NPR podcast that explores the "invisible forces that shape human behaviour". Do you believe in coincidences or that the universe has a plan for you? I'm not really sure what I believe in but what was in store for me during this podcast was very relevant to my run. The episode I listened to was called the The Secret History of Thoughts and was an investigation into whether our thoughts are a reflection of our inner self or if they're simply fleeting things that don't necessarily hold much value. The latter has become the predominant way of thinking for many psychologists currently. So if you ever have negative thoughts - acknowledge it, but also question it, and if it does not serve you, let it go. I highly recommend listening to this episode. Wish I heard it sooner, because it would have helped with what went down on Thursday.

Sunday - cross @ Om TO
Happy Pride! Eid Mubarak! So many exciting festivities on Sunday! One of my besties Steph and I went to Om TO (pictured right), a free outdoor yoga festival held in the distillery district. There were classes led by yoga teachers from different studios across the GTA all day long. Super cool event, we did two classes before it started to pour. It was really different doing yoga outdoors and around so many people. Closing my eyes in savasana, feeling the slight breeze, then opening my eyes and watching the clouds move was very relaxing. Sharing energy with all the many humans around me was a very moving experience. So many good vibes up in the distillery! Will definitely be back again next year

Final Thoughts
Like everything in life, running is mostly mental game and breathing tactics. My yoga teacher once told us that learning how to breathe during our practice is vital (literally) to get the most out of our practice and also so that we can translate it into our everyday lives - to be able to breathe through the difficult moments. I had a bit of a panic attack on Thursday and breathing was difficult. Focusing on my breath, consciously taking deep breaths was imperative to calming my nerves. Further, I now know that my thoughts aren't me and if they do not serve me, I should let them go. Becoming mentally strong is just as, if not more important than being physically strong. Being able to push through that hill, the last mile, being able to let go of thoughts that don't serve you, being able to stand up for yourself and let go of people that don't have good intentions (but also to embrace the ones that do have good intentions) - this is all part of it. Thoughts can be overwhelming, but they don't have to be if you learn to control them. It all starts from within.