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- 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?

Running Lessons- Less is more?

Yesterday was a short run. Fun, not too difficult, and quick. I know it did it’s part for increasing my metabolism based on the intense hunger that followed too.

I did my best to stay on a healthy eating plan. Here’s the thing, I struggle when I don’t have a food plan. I know eliminating food groups is a bit extreme and generally is not maintainable based on my many failed attempts at becoming vegan, vegetarian, paleo, keto, a blood-type dieter, etc…

Still, when I am able to eat anything, no foods eliminated, I struggle with weight management. Less food options, means less to work through in my head when I’m hungry or hangry for that matter.

Oh and God love the 21 Day Fixes and Whole 30s, that provide results and then frustration. Remember my struggle with temperance and consistency ?

So, struggles in mind, I have been working on sustaining a Paleo meal plan with more plants than protein. I feel best when grain-free, and too much protein is not good on my system either. I’ve done pretty well for the last three days.

Then, about 9:30 pm last night Skinny Pop and dairy-free Halo Top beckoned my attention. Not paleo. I guess the good news is it wasn’t chips and Dairy Queen?

The struggle is real. I love to eat!

I think it might be time for some Aroma Freedom to retrain my brain. Stay tuned.

How do you stay fueled without fattening up when training?

Gallup Strengths Finder

One of the many interests that I squeeze on my insta-bio is Gallup Coach.

Gallup is an organization that researched the characteristics, traits, or tendencies, that make up people. Gallup calls these elements talents. From research, they’ve discovered that understanding personal talents and growing them into strengths makes a positive difference in performances.

Gallup identified 34 talent themes and once assessed, an individual can see how their talents line up. This knowledge creates awareness. Strengths coaching can produce a personalized performance strategy.

Regardless of the talent themes, each person can develop strengths and improve his/her life simply by doing what they were uniquely designed to do. I coach people of all ages beginning as young as 10 years old.

This coaching design has a valuable impact on work, goal-setting, family-life, parenting, academics, and relationships. In addition, it is great for students, teachers, ministry groups, teams, and businesses.

This type of personal development can make life more meaningful and fulfilling, because clients understand how they best function and then strategize to make contributions to the world around them in a unique and natural way.

The other title on my insta-bio is professional counselor. More specifically, I am a solution-focused counselor who relies on the client to be the expert regarding his/her life. As an SF counselor, I’m simply a guide who helps the client discover what is going well and how to do more of that in life to see improvements. This practice is similar to strengths-based coaching, as it focuses on what people do well instead of working on what they do not.

Perspective changes things!

Personally, Strengths Finder helped me determine how I wanted to spend my life. I don’t live within conventional roles for my professional life any longer. Instead, with my Gallup Strengths Coach, I work to develop a life that makes sense for me and my unique design. Now, my life and insta-bio are full of things I am passionate about and can make a living doing!

Do you live a life you love? How did you make that happen?

If not yet, I would love to help you take the next step! Let’s connect.