Week 5: RnR DC Half Marathon Training

Training Thoughts: Week 5 (Feb 5-Feb 11) — Low mileage

This past week was a bit rough. I had a lack of motivation, not just in running, but in keeping a positive, optimistic outlook. There were also nice moments to the week so all in all, I’ve successfully reset and realigned my thinking, giving myself time to process this past week’s mixed bag of emotions and events. This week’s training thoughts definitely reflect how all over the place (yet still physically in the same place) I am in playing life’s mental game.

Running on the Treadmill is a Metaphor for my life right now

The treadmill is a necessary evil. I ran my long run this week on a treadmill, all 10 miles of it, because of a constant onslaught of rain in the DC area on Sunday and my lack of motivation to not get it done outdoors before it started. Equipped with a 2 hour podcast and setting the treadmill monitor to scenic views of national parks in New Zealand and Utah, I embarked on m longest treadmill run to date. I was extremely surprised to experience such a meditative state and runner’s high on the treadmill. After mile 3, I was in the ZONE. This workout felt like a metaphor for my life. I have been putting so much effort and action into my future plans, yet I am still physically in the same place. Much like a treadmill, putting in effort in the workout yet literally remaining in the same place. Treadmill workouts are not very popular for this reason among many, but that doesn’t make the effort any less of a workout or the miles any less legitimate. It’s all about the mental game. Sure, I was not physically running anywhere on the treadmill, but I was still getting in my miles, I was still acting towards my goals even if big change has not yet happened. I know that as long as I put the work in, take action, and do so consistently, the big changes and opportunities will come.

When to Take time to think it through or just do it

If you know me, or have been following my posts, you know that I am an over-thinker. This tendency of mine defines how I make big decisions in my life. In Training Thoughts: Week 3, I talked about how I keep a healthy balance of reflection without allowing myself to ruminate, which is a lot alike finding balance between taking time to think things through or just doing it. For instance, sometimes I justify delaying my morning workout (or not doing it all or delaying it to the afternoon) as me “thinking it through.” But I know that this “justification” is just an excuse, to lay in bed a little bit longer, to procrastinate. I know that I always feel better after a workout and getting it done in the morning significantly improves the quality of my day. So at that point, I actively make a hard mental turn in my self-talk and say, just do it, Franny. Get up and go. This is how my thought process is with SO many things. This past week, I also announced my website on my personal Facebook. Something that I had been thinking of doing since September of last year. September?! Yes, I literally had been sitting on my website for 5 months because of “thinking it through” (Don’t even get me started on how long it took me until I decided to buy my domain name). But I told myself, just do it, Franny. Your voice will be out in the world and making your site public will keep you accountable in writing posts and maintaining it. For me, it’s really a cause of just doing it, and I always have felt positively after doing so.

Loving From Afar 

Ever since I was a teenager, I have viewed Valentine’s Day as just another day and once I had the vocabulary to call it out as a capitalist, commodified holiday that only celebrates one type of love (often romantic, heteronormative relationships), I started doing that, too. I have felt this way when I have been in a romantic relationship on Valentine’s Day and when I have not. To me, the principal of Valentine’s Day is really quite wonderful, to celebrate and honor the love in our lives. The problem is that Valentine’s Day as a holiday is marketed towards a lot of flawed societal norms of love, that there should be a special day dedicated to celebrating love (it should be everyday!), that the best way to show our love is through material goods (this is one way to show it, but it should not be the only or most important way!), that only romantic love should be celebrated, among many other things I could go into.

In going off of last week’s thought (briefly) on love, I’ve been thinking loving from a far. Doing this applies to many people in my life right now and it looks differently depending on who those people are. For instance, since moving away from California, staying connected and loving my parents has looked very differently. I’m no longer a phone call away from weekend brunches or dinners or having my parents come to my performances. I talk to them everyday, either via text or phone, because that is how I can love from afar until I make them more immediately in my life by moving. Even if people are not physically in your life anymore, there’s always a choice and a way to keep them a part of it. Loving from afar can be letting go of people you once shared a romantic relationship with, accepting that the time you had together is over but you grew and learned a lot from it. Loving from afar can also be calling an old friend for the first time in neither of you can remember and being able to catch up like not a day has passed. It can be sending texts because you remember they started a new job, heard they moved cities, or recently had a big news, happy or sad.

This Valentine’s Day, I encourage everyone to celebrate and honor all love in their lives, romantic, familial, friendships, and self-love. Because it really all truly is wonderful!

View more of the Training Thoughts Series here!

Week 4: RnR DC Half Marathon Training

Training Thoughts: Week 4 (Jan 29-Feb 4) — 22.25 Miles

Hello, everyone! I hope your February has gotten off to a great start. I’ve been very introspective during my workouts this week, so this week’s Training Thoughts are very reflective. I hope you enjoy and maybe read something that resonates with you!

Creating moments of joy

When is the last time you felt joy? What was the setting? What were you doing? Over the past few months, I’ve found small ways to bring moments of joy into my life. I’ve also focused on the present and not getting attached to these moments, focusing instead on cultivating a life that fosters them, since ultimately they are temporary and are only one facet of life.

I’ve felt joy in many small ways recently: talking with my parents daily, phone calls with friends back on the West Coast,  planning activities with friends in DC, blue sunny skies after overcast days, candlelit bubble baths while listening to some of my favorite classical music pieces, breathing in crisp air on the walk to the grocery, the smell of fresh sheets. For all of these moments, there have also been sad and difficult ones, too. But pushing through the tough moments are the ones that make the presence of joyous ones all the brighter and more appreciated. Based on our thoughts, perceptions, attitude, and vibrations, we find what we seek to find in the world, so I’ve decided to seek and create joy!

Self-absorbed vs. Self-aware

We all need to take care of ourselves and do what’s best for us, but there’s a line between being self-absorbed and self-aware.  These qualities are sometimes tied up with our personalities. I’ve definitely been self-absorbed, acting out of selfish and often times frustrated motives, but I’ve found that when I make these choices, I end up mentally and emotionally drained because I was externalizing inner conflicts on to others. I don’t feel like myself and I don’t like myself for making those choices, but I recognize this, accept full responsibility for my actions, and engage with self-healing to find the balance in taking care of myself while remaining in-tune and connected to my environment.

When we are self-absorbed, we put up a wall around our insecurities, hiding them behind other measurements of perceived “success” because we do not want to show our flaws or be emotionally vulnerable. When we are self-absorbed, we put our best foot forward in the hopes of being liked and coming across as nice and charming, instead of focusing on creating genuine, lasting connections. When difficult, external things happen outside our control that are not aligned with our opinions or narratives, self-absorbed actions are defensive and devalue others because of their differences in perspective.  When we are self-absorbed, there is a lack of empathy or compassion (or it is only conditional or transactional) and there is little willingness to compromise with others.  When we are self-absorbed, we listen to others talk with the intent of responding, proving people wrong, or winning a conversation instead of understanding and acknowledging what they’re saying.

When we are self-aware, we find comfort in the discomfort of our insecurities and take action in our self-growth. We seek help when needed and recognize that it is not a weakness to fully feel raw emotions in the present and fully process them or share them with others instead of bottling them up inside ourselves, knowing that it is a part of the healthy, worthwhile process of emotional and mental growth. When we are self-aware, we seek new friendships and relationships because we want to truly share our experiences, learn about others, and create a community, instead of focusing on how others perceive us. When we are self-aware, we admit to our mistakes, take responsibility for our actions, and apologize with no expectation of being forgiven. When difficult, external things happen outside of our control that are not aligned with our opinions or narratives, self-aware actions understand and accept that all things in life make us who we are. We accept others’ differences in opinions, narratives, and perspectives, recognizing that they color and enrich a broader understanding of things outside our own experience.

(briefly) on love

(Love is obviously a huge, important, wonderful topic, so I’m aiming to capture a tidbit of my thoughts on it, hence the “briefly”). Since Valentine’s Day (AKA a commodified, capitalist exploit that can also impose ridiculous expectations) is around the corner, I’ve been thinking a lot about love. Specifically, I’ve been thinking about love as an action and as a guide, to emanate it back into the world to nurture our lives and surroundings, but without expectation or intent to gain.

I recently finished reading All About Love by bell hooks, which was truly healing (and I highly recommend it!). She discusses love as an action, and further builds upon that idea in different areas of society, challenging modern perceptions and expectations. There are different types of love, and this book has led me to practice, recognize, and actively appreciate and express gratitude to all of its forms in my own life.

For example, who do you say “I love you” to? Your family? Your significant other? Your close friends? I caught up with a friend from via FaceTime last Friday and had a great conversation with her. When we were saying goodbye, we parted with exchanges of “I love you.” The phrase “I love you” is socialized for romantic relationships, and while I of course agree with that, I do not believe it should not be exclusive to that! The delivery and deeper meaning of saying “I love you” will depending on context and we say we love things and people (other than our romantic partners) all the time. The way I see it, as long as saying “I love you” is genuine, joyous, and aligned with compassionate actions, keep emanating it this way!

How are you celebrating love this month?

For Training Thoughts: Week 1, Week 2, & Week 3!

Week 3: RnR DC Half Marathon Training

Training Thoughts: Week 3 (Jan 22-Jan 28) — 20.3 Miles

This week’s Training Thoughts is brought to you by my long run. Although I had lower mileage this week, I got some awesome workouts in for cross training. I bench pressed for the first time (in a kick ass all female strength training class, too!), caught up with a friend over a DC SoulCycle class, and went to Sweat Pink DMV event at Xtend Barre Arlington. I even got two few two-a-day’s in! They were very rewarding, but made me realize I need to plan dedicated time for unwinding self-care activities this week.

Giving it More, especially when you think you can’t

At about mile four of my eight mile long run, I was waning, feeling like I should just cut the run short to six miles and head back to my apartment. I was thinking about what I wanted to eat afterwards and how it wouldn’t be terrible for my training if I just cut the mileage short. But I knew I wouldn’t just be cutting the mileage short, I’d be cutting myself short of a chance to give more to my goals, especially at a time when I was mentally limiting myself. The thing about making progress, is that it’s there’s not a physical arrival point (except actually maybe in a run, when you physically finish your workout). Making process is a continuous journey. I have to remind myself that being resilient, and staying overall mentally tough is readjusting my limiting thoughts, and giving it more.

reflection vs. rumination

As humans, we inherently function based on our past thoughts and actions. Whether that’s conscious or subconscious, it’s simply how we turn present and future thoughts, beliefs, goals, decisions, and choices into driving actions. Our past realities, and how we acted then, somehow dictates our current reality, and how we choose to act. As someone who has to check herself when she thinks about the past too much, I believe there’s importance in reflection. The part that I have been actively working to check myself on is when reflection ticks towards rumination. The two definitely happen over the course of a long run and I find myself needing to tip the mental scale. During reflection, I’m actively seeking solutions to my past problems, figuring out what and how I can do better in the future, and freeing myself from the burden of emotional baggage. During rumination, I’m preoccupying my mind with all the things I could have, should have, would have done if things had been different in a certain way, dragging that emotional baggage into other aspects of my life. I’ve given myself permission to think about the past, but only in positive reflective ways. When I start to ruminate, I literally tell myself, don’t go there, Franny, it’s not going to make you happy, and you deserve to be happy! Awesomely enough, those cautionary words empower me to keep moving forward while being appreciative and reflective of my past.

If you’d like to see more of Training Thoughts, check out Week 1 and Week 2.