So I’ve started running again. Partly it is because I have felt the pull to get out again but I’ll admit that mostly it is down to the fact that I have put on almost half a stone in weight. The only exercise I have been doing since March is yoga and while I know that yoga can be a fantastic way to stay in shape, the sort of yoga I do does not really lend itself to that (mostly I lie on the floor in savansana and do a few gentle stretches). OK so I’m exaggerating slightly but for the most part I practise a more restorative type of yoga and I rarely spend more than 30-40 minutes on my mat. While I do really feel the psychological benefits, I am more flexible and I feel strong, I cannot escape the fact that I am gaining weight.
I absolutely know that if I were managing my diet properly, I could maintain my weight while just doing these daily yoga sessions and my walks with the dog; but as I am currently eating everything in sight, unfortunately I need to get myself out there pounding the pavement.
I was worried about how I would find the running after taking such a long time away from it. Past experience has shown me that any progress made can be lost in a matter of weeks and starting again is literally that, going back to being a beginner. I was pleasantly surprised though, on my first run back, it felt like I had never been away; yes it was hard, but running is always hard. I have done another couple of runs since that first one and I have started to experience something that I rarely have when running…..enjoyment.
I think this new found enjoyment comes from the fact that previously when running regularly, I was always trying to achieve something, more speed, faster intervals, greater distance; not so this time around. Now I am plodding along slower than an elderly turtle and would probably be overtaken by a pensioners walking group; but I’m OK with that. I am working on staying present and enjoying the fresh air (and I love love love running in the rain, it is so cleansing) and I had forgotten how meditative running is for me. Afterwards I have been doing a good yoga stretch and I am finding that (other than my first run when I couldn’t walk for three days) I am not stiffening up and it isn’t affecting my new found flexibility.
Since I’ve started running again I’ve found that I am more inclined to eat better (I’m sure my impending holiday / I’ve got to wear a bikini is also having an effect) and I am also feeling balanced within myself.
I don’t know how long this will last (the running or the feeling balanced), I am very fickle and I may well change my mind again next week, but I’m realising that that’s OK. Part of what I’m trying to work on going forward is being less rigid with my routine and allowing more spontaneity into my life. After all, what works for me this week may not be what I need next week and I need to be open to that. I think that the more in tune I become with myself, the easier I’ll be able to read what my body (and my mind) needs and that could change monthly, weekly and even daily.
I’m also trying to be less driven by ego, which means focusing less on what I or my life looks like on the outside and looking within at what works for me. My mantra at the moment is a quote by Eckhart Tolle “Life isn’t as serious as the mind makes it out to be.” I want to bring more joy into my life and recognise it and appreciate it when it is present.
I’m aware that I am massively contradicting myself here; I know that focusing on my weight is completely ego driven. Identifying with my physical appearance is so hardwired into me that is going to take a long time for me to let go of it. I think the fact that I’m aware of it is the start of the process and knowing that I’m working towards changing my conditioning is at this point in time, enough for me. I don’t need to rush the process, everything is just as it should be at this moment in time; I trust that. In the mean time I’ll be out there putting in the miles slowly but surely.