Running Lessons: Mariposa Crossover

I’ve been on rest and reset mode the last couple of weeks regarding both running and writing- but I have not quit!

This past weekend we went to the Mariposa Festival here in Fort Worth. It is fascinating to learn that the Monarch Butterfly travels from Canada to Mexico every year pollenating along the way.

This got me to thinking. This tiny creature has a big job. What if it decided to quit? Without its migration, there would be no pollination of plants, fruit or flowers in the spring, monarchs to see in October, nor festivals to celebrate them.

The following day we completed a six mile run. It was faster than the last which was a victory, but we are substantially behind schedule. Still, we are enjoying the journey and all it has to teach us along the way.

So far, I’ve learned my health needs more than exercise. I knew this, but sometimes we need to experience truths for them to settle in completely. So, for three weeks I have been eating a mostly vegan diet and taking the Cleansing Trio from Young Living. I’ve also stopped coffee for a bit to let my adrenals rest and re-nourish. Oils like Endoflex, Nutmeg, and EnerGee are helping too.

Mostly, I’m learning how important small efforts are in relation to our lives and the world. I mean maybe only a handful of people read these posts, but that handful matters. You matter. Besides, with each post, I grow too!

Nothing occurs without impact, not even from the tiniest creatures. So, no matter how small the job, if it is yours- don’t quit!

Photo Credit 📷: Tom Fraire

Running Lesson- Be Present

I’ve been on a bit of break from writing, but I have been maintaining my runs. Today was a long one, which was six hot sweaty slow miles.

While running, I couldn’t help but list in my mind all of the things that I should’ve done last week.

The Should’ve Done List:

  • Gone to yoga
  • Read more to get ahead for next week
  • Eaten cereal instead of fast food tacos that night after class
  • Drank less coffee
  • Ordered Ningxia sooner
Road Behind

Then, about mile 3, I realized I was categorizing the in the wrong direction. I mean, I can’t go back. How was shoulding on myself a productive use of this beautiful run?

Much of the work I do with clients in my counseling practice involves past events and the regrets that have followed. Some of the work is anxiety about the future often based on past events.

This got me to thinking. If we continue to look back in regret, do we miss the enthusiasm for the good that might be up ahead while simultaneously missing the joy in the present?

What might staying present have looked like instead during those first three miles of mustabatory thinking?

Perhaps…

A Doing List:

  • Observing nature
  • Enjoying a playlist I chose
  • Breathing deeply
  • Mindful gratitude
  • Feeling fine
  • Worship

The irony does not escape me. I do see that I’m currently making a Should’ve List for my Doing List. But hear me out, I am hoping to create more awareness about the present and all it has to offer.

Yoga is helpful but it can become a chore for me especially during busy times.

It is definitely more than asana.

With my wiring, staying present takes practice, grace, and the creation and appreciation of space, time, and opportunities.

I will definitely be on the lookout. Passively of course.

What do you do to stay present?

Road Ahead

Running Lessons- Cross-training

Cross-training.

There is a day in my training schedule that calls for cross-training. Confession- I did not do this well my during training for my last half-marathon. I did a bit of yoga but that was it.

This time around I have included indoor cycling. Last winter we discovered Peleton and I fell in love with the classes, music, and instructors. Specifically, Ally Love. This lady is an inspiration and I find myself thinking of her words throughout my day too.

“Yes or yes?” She asks and this helps me stay on track and not quit even when my legs are burning and my eyes are filled with sweat. Then, later in the day, those same words help me do the things, adult, and get my life done.

Yes and yes, I also realize that this is a bit of a bougie bike, and no we are not rich. But, I felt that investing in something that improves our health and mind was worth it! And, it has been.

As for effectiveness, both Tom and I have felt really good on our long runs, and I have noticed less joint pain. I imagine this is due to the variety of motion I get now in my cardio sessions.

Today, I will be heading out for a run and tomorrow yoga. Funny thing is now that I follow the schedule, I’m not running all the time to train for running.

The goal of cross-training is to improve overall performance.

This got me to thinking.

Everything we do in life is actually cross-training for our other activities. What I learn in yoga I use in life. I breathe through difficulty and stretch myself mindfully to avoid harm. Eating teaches me the power of choice and temperance. Friendships teach me the beauty of connection, sameness, difference, and a hundreds of other meaningful things I couldn’t possibly capture here or maybe not even in words.

This week I’ve been back at school. Specifically, I started a class regarding human systems. From what I’ve learned so far, everything is connected and no action within a system goes without impact.

I’m venturing to say this concept as a construct is the reason for mindfulness in regard to our actions. Or perhaps it’s because of this concept that there is something to for which to be mindful.

See what I did there?

Some might call this overthinking. Gallup Strengths might call this Input and Intellection. Both could be correct.

For me, today, I believe it might be better described as savoring each moment of my existence in this divinely orchestrated universe.

In which types of cross-training do you participate?

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: 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- Fear is a Liar

The alarm went off at 5:45 am to signal our first weekday early morning training run.

Mercy.

Immediately, the psychological immune system kicked into high gear and reminded me of every scary thing that might occur if I proceeded with this run.

Wild dogs.

Coyotes.

Snakes.

An then,

It’s still dark.

You can run later.

Where are you shoes anyway?

Maybe you need more rest…

Here’s the thing, I have run in this neighborhood (a suburb in a farming community) for over 5 years. And, I am still here to tell about it.

Well-meaning, the psychological immune system is meant to keep us safe. It has real value when real danger is present. Still, mine can be a bit neurotic at times. It’s a struggle and action is the only cure.

Up, oiled, and out the door I went. And nope, I didn’t die!

I also caught a sunrise which I like to believe is a special gift for the brave who wander outdoors on purpose before the rest of the world is awake. Bonus.

Today, I encourage us both to put fear in its place and live boldly in freedom and victory.

What will you do today that scares you just a little?

Have an amazing day! Be of good courage.

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.