December 19, 2010

1/2 Marathon Training & Mantras

Today I finished week 3 of my half training!  Miraculously, my tibia is holding up after my unfortunate stress injury/fracture that just would not heal (*knocks on wood*).  I feel a little soreness intermittently during my runs, but the doc said that as long as the pain isn't increasing while running, a little soreness is not a big deal.  I've continued running intervals to take some of the stress off of it and not overdo it.  Initially, it was frustrating to be sooo sloooow.  First of all, I was running smaller intervals than I'd like.  Even uninjured I like interval running, but this was ridiculous.  At the beginning I could only run for 30 seconds without pain!  Second, my pace was mega slow.  I run at a snails pace NORMALLY, so with babying my tibia slowing me down even more, it felt sometimes like I was barely moving.  Anyways, my leg is continuing to heal and my body is adjusting to running again.  And so is my mind. :)

Which brings me to my next topic...mantras.  Do you have a personal mantra?  One of those phrases you repeat that gets you through tough moments?  I have a few that I like to repeat during tough patches of runs.  Tonight it was, "When my body feels weak, I run with my heart," that carried me through the last mile.  Another favorite is simply repeating, "Reach for it, work for it, fight for it," during an impossible running stretch.  Not only does it take my mind off my exhaustion, but at times these kinds of mantras completely shift my attitude about the run.  They say a huge chunk of running is mental, right?

While those are a few of my running mantras, I have a personal mantra for my life: "Trust the process."  Short, simple.  Powerful.  I was introduced to this phrase my senior year in high school when I attended a Kairos retreat through my church.  It was repeated throughout the retreat by the leaders, mostly when we would ask questions about what was coming next or why we were doing anything.  But it wasn't until after the retreat that the profound meaning of this phrase really sunk in.  Trust the process.  Wasn't that what living was all about?  Trust?  A few years later, this phrase truly became my personal mantra.  During a rough time at the beginning of my sophomore year in college, I repeated it in my head, doodled it on my notes in class, and stuck a post-it with the quote on it next to my computer.  It reminded me that I could get through the difficult things going on in my life, and that, more importantly, they were happening for a reason.  Trust the process.

When I ran my first race in 2008, the Muddy Buddy, my teammate and I wrote those words on our forearms in sharpie.  The quote had become her personal mantra too.  While the Muddy Buddy is by no means a marathon, it was challenging for me as a brand-new runner.  I remember looking at the words on my arm and repeating them to myself.  It gave me courage, confidence, and most importantly, put a smile on my face.

When I think about teaching, I feel like this mantra is more valuable than ever.  That first year was tough.  And by that I mean, sometimes I still can't believe I made it through until January!  But, just like everyone said I would, I made it.  Sometimes I feel like it would be easier to teach at a different school.  It would be nice to have more support staff or parents who cared more.  It would be great if I didn't have crazy kids who have no structure or discipline at home and thus think school must be the same way.  It would be fabulous if I didn't have to worry so much about the school making AYP.  But then I think about what a gift it has been for me to teach where I do--I have gained an incredible amount of experience in such a short time, experience I will be able to bring to WHATEVER school I might end up at in the future.  Trust the process--things happen for a reason.

I continue to use this mantra when I have a tough day--at home, at school, wherever.  Trust the process.  Tomorrow is another day.  This is happening for a reason.

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