Last Sunday, I reached a personal fitness milestone. I ran 8+ miles without stopping. As you may remember, one of the items on my Mondo Beyondo list was to train for, and run, a half-marathon. A year ago, I was more out-of-shape than I'd like to admit, struggling to run even 2 miles at a time. Since setting my half-marathon goal, I've been slowly but surely building my weekly mileage. I'm now running between 5 and 6 miles, 3-4 times each week, plus yoga, swimming, and/or weight training on days that I don't run. My primary goal in improving my fitness level and changing my diet was to become my strongest, healthiest self, but one welcome side effect was saying goodbye to over 30 (and counting) pounds within the past year. I have so much energy. I'm sleeping better than ever. I feel lighter on my feet, literally and figuratively speaking. All of which just makes me even more motivated to continue on this healthy path.
But for whatever reason, 8 miles has been this mental hurdle. I'll hit 6 miles, and suddenly my brain wants to intervene. What makes you think you can run 8 miles? You're hardly built for distance running. You should leave that sort of thing to the "real" athletes. While I'm grateful for my strong yet curvy build, I'm 5'3'' and not exactly leggy. I know it's ridiculous, but at times (and most often, while I'm running), I struggle with this notion that I'm somehow less "legitimate" than the other runners on the trail. When this negative voice pipes up, it can feel nearly impossible to push through, especially when my legs are aching, my lungs are begging for rest, and it would be so easy to just call it a day.
So, running 8 miles non-stop was a big deal. (And in fact, we ended up doing a little more than 8.) I feel like I've broken through a mental plateau, and I'm now getting psyched for the next milestone, a 10-miler!
While I've been trying to practice mindful consumerism, I felt that a modest reward was in order, so I splurged a teeny bit at Whole Foods. Here's what I picked up:
1. Aura Cacia lavender aromatherapy mist
2. The latest issue of Yoga Journal (which actually features Sarah McLachlan, but I couldn't find an image)
3. Locally made bath salts by the Baltimore-based Biggs & Featherbelle (a neat company, by the way...all of their products are free of synthetic fragrances, dyes, and additives)
I'm a firm believer that a reward system can be a fabulous motivational tool when working toward a big goal, health-related or otherwise. Here are some more ideas:
Treat yourself to a bouquet of fresh sunflowers
Score an eco-friendly Klean Kanteen and sip H20 throughout the day
Spring for a deep tissue massage
Try a new shade of Burt's Bees lip gloss
Assemble a huge salad of organic greens, cherry tomatoes, avocado, cucumber...whatever tickles your fancy and savor every bite, preferably somewhere outdoors
Take yourself on a solo date to see Eat, Pray, Love - and begin planning your next travel adventure
Indulge in a pedicure
Call your mom, sister, or BFF for a marathon phone chat
Curl up with a new book, especially one that speaks to motivation and goal-setting
(Check out Tranquilista if you haven't yet!)
Pick up a fancy variety of tea...the kind that comes in a tin beautiful enough to re-purpose as a vase
What would you add to this list? How do you motivate yourself to reach tough goals?