Running Lessons- Rest. Don’t Quit

It’s been a rough start this school year.

I mean I work my Young Living business and see clients regularly, but I make the hours for these gigs. I set the pace. School on the other hand…

When school ended in May,Β  I had 2.5 months off with my kids. The days filled mostly with late morning breakfasts, swimming, gym-time, and eating frozen yogurt on the regular. Then BAM– August hit, and I was back in the saddle with full-time adulting. TA work, PhD Homework, dinner preps, early mornings, and all the food packing issues are now daily demands.

If I am being honest, some of the first things I wanted to ditch was this blog and the half-marathon training. I mean, who really wants to read this blog anyway? Who would notice if I decided to quit running? Would it really matter? Perhaps, it’s even wise to quit- you know? Rest. Present over perfect. Blah. Blah. Blah.

Turns out, I can totally quit if I want to, but here’s the thing- I don’t. I made a commitment to myself to consistently run and write. Not for achievement sake, but to attempt something I knew I may NOT do incredibly well, on purpose, and to give myself the grace to do it anyway. To ENJOY it. After all, I chose these tasks because they bring me joy and clarity in my often too hectic world. The publication of these efforts? I mean, I could totally write and not have a blog. Still, because I work from home and my regular conversations are with two really cute but verbally non-responsive dogs, I crave community and connection.

I absolutely love that I have an online community of like-minded people who are always on a journey to live well. So, it is here, that I share these tiny offerings of noticing, with the hope that we might connect on some level and encourage one another.

More on quitting.

Last Sunday, we headed out for an 8-mile run. The weather was awesome, and the run was good. We made it to mile 7 and then I stopped. At that moment, I realized that resting is okay and it is not the same as quitting. This may seem over-simplified and obvious to some, but for me, I am historically an all or nothing kind of player. I’m a rule follower and have Achiever in my Top Five Gallup Strengths. Still, I am discovering that I have the freedom to change the rules at any time and that I set my own bar for achievement- especially in tasks like running for fun for Pete’s sake!

This Sunday, I ran 2 miles. My body was achy, my mind scattered, and my day too full. So, I rested, oiled, and nourished my very tired self.

But I ran! I set the pace.

Today, my noticing is that resting is better than quitting. My reasons are still formulating. One that is clear is that I have kept a commitment to myself. It dawned on me, when life got busy the first thing I was tempted to put down, were things I had promised myself. The more I live, the more I realize how valuable the commitments I make to myself are, and how these commitments directly impact who I want to become. In contrast, I don’t want to happen upon a life that chaos brought forth. I’ve had both, and I undoubtedly prefer the life I choose.

So, this week I encourage you to keep going. Rest; don’t quit. You can do this!

Live a life you love.

Our last summer date night.

Running Lessons: Planning

The school year is upon us and our family schedules are changing.

During vacation months, I enjoy the time with my kids but simultaneously want more order and structure. So, the end of the summer is generally both sad and exciting for me. See, the fall quickly provides that structure in which I thrive, but it also creates an empty house.

As my family heads back to school, my daily company becomes Willow our black lab. I see clients on weekends and attend classes for my doctoral program in the evening, making my schedule opposite to that of my people.

Wellness will require some planning. Less sugar for healthy bodies, warm potted meals due to less produce and prep-time, and supporting immune systems and spirits with warm scents of Young Living Cinnamon, Clove, Nutmeg, Ginger, and Thieves. Even when I’m gone I can leave these investments for my family.

Running during this season is a perfect reminder for how to adapt.

The trees lead by example and remind me to change gracefully, conserve energy, and shed unnecessary attachments. The cooler temps remind me to add useful layers and purpose to connect with others to stay warm. Rising heat in the afternoons, remind me that the summer will be back sooner than I expect.

Time.

Next week, I will begin taking later morning runs and eating earlier dinners. Both will be alone, as I we all complete another semester.

I am preparing my heart for this gift. I know it’s exactly what we need. Still, I am grieving another summer, another year with my small but growing boy and the young lady who is no longer little. Meanwhile, celebrating and still missing the oldest whose away at college. I know time can’t stand still, but I wonder if has to go so fast?

Gratitude and praise.

Here’s to another school year. May it bring friendships, knowledge, health, opportunities for service and a gentle practice of training through change.

How are you preparing for fall?

Running Lessons- Don’t run alone.

Accountability is one of the many reasons for this series. I’ve committed to run and write about running and the life that follows. Although this has been a great practice to keep me both consistently moving, thinking, and writing, I can’t help but be grateful for the person with whom I am running this race.

On long runs, I follow my husband. I learned this practice several years ago. Honestly, it was in the practice of running that has God shown me how to follow my husband.

Tom’s top five Gallup Strengths are Empathy, Harmony, Communication, Arranger, & Maximizer. Mine are Strategic, Restorative, Input, Achiever & Intellection. You might say he’s all heart and connection, and I’m head and execution in this marriage, but that wouldn’t be completely true.

With Restorative qualities, I also have a deep desire to heal what’s broken in the world and with Arranger and Maximizer strengths he loves his work as a public educator and leader.

We are both soft and steel; we are murky-deep and still transparent. Our strengths characterize how we make things happen, but our passions dictate which things.

With Strategic as my number one, I rarely enjoy being told what to do. Years ago, I fully understood following my husband to be just this. I struggled because 1.) He didn’t often tell me what to do. 2.) When he did, I rarely listened. This caused some problems early in our marriage. I won’t sugar coat this- I was wrong.

And we almost didn’t make it.

Still, somewhere around year eleven, after Tom had torn his Achilles’ heal/tendon. Our marriage and his ankle healed. He did the work. Physical therapy, exercise, ate right, took his supplements, and began to rebuild his lifelong running practice.

Meanwhile, I had begun running 5Ks with my newly found health. I was new to running, but Tom coached me from the couch as he recovered.

Now, we began running together. As he recovered, he began to pass me. I followed begrudgingly and only because he was faster. After awhile though, I began to love the security I felt following him.

With his strengths of empathy, he signals when bikers are near, checks for me when I slow, and paces our race based on both of our needs (mostly mine). In life, I continue to watch for his signals and do my best to follow.

I am the weaker vessel, and I am fine with this.

I’m grateful for my husband and his leadership on and off the road. I’ve learned that one of my best strategies, is to defer to him. He understands what I need before I do and this is a gift for my highly driven and Achievement oriented design. He also helps me finish what I start because he believes in me while I’m still stirring the excuses in my prayer closet and strategizing.

This practice keeps peace and passion alive in our marriage. It is organization, not control. It’s by design, and I absolutely adore it!

I am beyond grateful for my running partner and the God who orchestrated every step.

Who or what keeps you going?

Curious about strengths in your marriage? I’d love to help! Click here for more information on Strengths Finder.

Running Lessons- Guilt

My mother says, “Guilt is a useless emotion.”

I am not sure about the psychological truth to this statement- yet. I do know that guilt tends to surround my efforts in health and fitness. You know the shoulds and oughts that linger the minute you’ve eaten off plan or rested on a non-rest day?

Maybe it’s just me.

Yesterday, I had a three mile run scheduled, but I also had some unscheduled insomnia the night before. Sleeplessness shows up from time to time and does it’s best to wreck my plans for productivity. I’ve learned many tricks that help: yoga, essential oils, good nutrition, and supplements. Still, I have off days of little to no sleep.

Progress not perfection.

Instead of a run, I slept late. Then, I took my son to the aquarium, where we met our aunt, uncle, and cousins. We ate lunch at the cafe instead of at home as planned and ended with ice cream.

It’s been some time since we’ve seen this part of our family and it was fun to catch up while exploring. I absolutely loved this day and the time spent with my sweet boy and our family.

It was a treat.

Guilt lingered in the background to be sure it wasn’t left out, and pestered this morning as the sun came up.

And today, I’m back on schedule and headed out for a run. I intend to eat better too- again.

I wonder if guilt is what gets me back on track? I also wonder if grace could be a better more kind and edifying encourager?

Off to pound that out. Wishing you a day filled with guilt-free joy!

Running Lessons: A snake…

Remember the snake fear that came to mind at my 5:00 am alarm last week? Well, that became a reality during yesterday’s 5-mile long run. So in defense of the psychological immune system, it does know things. However, the moral of this story up front is, I survived.

Snakes are a real possibility when you run on a trail in North Texas. This one was of the rat snake variety (according to a biker who passed it when we did) and was long enough to stretch the width of our paved trail.

It was harmless.

Still, I think I stopped breathing for a minute or two following the sighting. Which, in my defense, could have been deadly.

But, it was not.

One of my big fears came to be yesterday and it wasn’t that bad. As I finished my run, with improved pace time, I couldn’t help but think about how this relates to most of the fears that have held me back in life. Maybe you too?

I literally have the word Courage tattooed on my arm and have spent the last several years perfecting the art of “doing it scared”.

I took my first yoga class, because I heard it could be helpful in practicing bravery. (It is!) I discovered essential oils to help support my emotions and overcome other fears. Hiking has become an effort in intentional adventure and running has helped tremendously too.

As a therapist and coach, I work with others to help them overcome the scary and live a life they love. As a student, I study resilience and the power of mind. I guess you could say I’ve learned to leverage this challenge of mine and use it to add value to my life and that of others.

What I continue to discover is that fear is indeed a liar or an exaggerator at best. Rotten things do happen but most of the time they don’t. Leaning into difficult experiences builds strength for that which lies ahead.

Running trails and life have unexpected challenges, but I wonder, if we don’t take those trails, how can we truly know our fullest potential? I still hesitate. I will probably always need to breathe through scary moments. It’s my wiring, but it is no longer my cage.

Today, my challenge was a friendly snake, and I’m happy to report I lived to write about it.

What would you do today if you knew you would succeed? I say go for it! I can’t wait to hear about your success.

Be well,

Franchesca

Running Lessons: Rest Days

Confession: Rest Days make me nervous.

I think the problem stems from the fact that I do not ever really rest. I generally only sleep 4-5 hours, and then, run full speed through my daily tasks. So, having a designated day, when I am suppose to be resting, feels a like a lot of pressure.

I am in no way glorifying my busy. I admire people who can relax, read books without stopping to research something that needs more explanation, or watch a television show without working on a blog, the Young Living Business, editing photos, or cleaning the house.

Still, that is not me- yet.

See that growth mindset thing I did there? As it turns out, I’ve actually improved in this area. Calming down takes practice when you have genetics like mine.

Don’t laugh.

In full honesty, I come from a long line of people who don’t sleep much, work too much, don’t retire, idle high, and never stop thinking.

Strengths call this Intellection & Achievement.

I long to be good at rest. I oil regularly and yoga often to get there. And no, the irony of my working to rest, does not escape me.

Strengths calls this Restorative.

Interestingly, my brain slows down when I am running. Thoughts get themselves in order. I’m able to become more steady minded and grounded. My breaths deepen and fill my core. Eventually, I can hear my heartbeat; on good days I hear His voice.

And I listen for my next steps.

Maybe for me, running days are actually my rest days?

Who else runs to rest?

Running Lessons- On the mat

Today was cross-training day. Heated yoga stretched me out and strengthened my body and mind.

This teacher was incredible.

I have been a yoga teacher for several years now. Still, my personal practice is always incredibly challenging. See, as a teacher, I lead. I’m in control. When I’m led in yoga, I am challenged to submit to another’s leading and grow every single time.

Fun Fact- The brain requires new content, discomfort, adaptation, challenges, good food habits, and healthy living for improved neuroplasticity.

Yoga.

You might be wondering what Running Lessons I learned on my mat today? Well, I learned more about my inability to live with temperance and consistency. Just like on my mat, as a runner, I start off too fast. I also, don’t practice regularly and then when I do act as if I have been.

Ouch.

With every movement in this practice, I encounter a need for balance, breath, effort, rest, submission, humility and water- Running Lessons.

Who else loves yoga and all it has to teach us about living well?