Tag Archives: The mental toughness of running

10 Reasons Buddy Runs are Fun, Interesting, and Challenging!

“The best way to relieve stress is not yoga or meditation – although those can be wonderful – but human contact. We need each other.”

Maia Szalavitz, The Sun Magazine

Although running is a wonderful activity to do solo, because it is a great way to problem solve, meditate, and reflect on life, running with your friends can be fulfilling, fun, and make those miles pass by quickly. To me, running with fun and interesting friends has been especially valuable during the long runs, as well as when doing trail running. The chatting, the laughter, the multiple perspectives on life and running have made me look forward to my runs with my amazing friends and training partners.

Holly has been my first running partner. We connected through the Fleet Feet training Facebook page and we became friends. It is always lovely to run together!
Although we went to graduate school together, Elisia and I became friends during my first CIM training with Fleet Feet in 2015. We ran many of our long runs together and had fun and interesting conversations. I am so happy that we reconnected through running.

10 REASONS RUNNING WITH FRIENDS IS MORE FUN, INTERESTING, AND CHALLENGING

 

  1. Running is a social experience and making new friends who love running as much as we do makes running much more enjoyable.
  2. Running is simply more fun when doing it with your running buddy/training partner, or doing it with a big group.
    My wonderful friend and favorite training partner Andrea and I jumping with joy during an easy run through Ancil Hoffman, or what I call my slice of Paradise. Lots of joy and excitement.

    3. Running with a good like-minded friend can make you step outside your comfort zone, such as adding push-ups after your runs, or doing squats and lunges at the bottom of a hill. My friend Cheri, who teaches an awesome core class at Cal Fit, inspires me to get those push-ups done.

After Cheri saw lots of my running posts and jumping pictures, she played around with her phone and came up with a brilliant way to take high jumping selfies. She set the phone on the 10 second timer and placed it on the ground, making our jump look really high. Fun photography I-phone trick that I would not have learned had I not met Cheri and started running together.

4. We all have a love-hate relationship with speed workouts on the track, but doing it together as a group makes it so much fun and challenging. Being on the Fleet feet Sacramento racing team, I get to train with the team on Tuesdays for our track workouts and long runs during the weekend. When I see my team mates run strong, I am motivated to run strong myself.

A fun evening doing speed workout with my Fleet Feet racing team. Josh and Tracy are much faster and stronger than me as a runner, which motivates me to strive and reach for more.

5. Running with others is beneficial to our emotional well-being, as we can talk about our successes and injuries to people who might have similar experiences and can be supportive of our journeys. The key, however, is balance, as we do not want to bring everyone down with our injuries. Instead, we want to find ways to be positive and encouraging of our running partners.

6. Trail running is the best to run with others for various reasons: company, support, strength in numbers in case a bear or mountain lion cross our paths, and the fun of being together in nature.

Having become part of the Trail Mix family of dedicated trail runners in 2016 has been the most amazing experience for me, as I have met incredible people and have explored new trails I never knew that existed before.
Exploring the Auburn Confluence trails with Adam and Aaron. Adam and I have been on the Fleet Feet Fit and now on the Racing team together.  He has also been an amazing training partner in 2016 when I trained for the CIM (California International Marathon), my third marathon.

7. Running with others gives us a different perspective on life, as talking about our ideas, problems, and challenges with our friends can bring solutions and answers that we could not have found on our own.

8. Running and training with a group, such as my racing team,  can infuse more meaning and purpose into your life, as well as unveil  life’s pure joys. 

My team mates from Fleet Feet Sacramento Racing team, which I have joined last year in December after running my third marathon and having a great year with a few age group wins in races.

9. Running with others makes us more accountable, which is paramount to our success in life and sports.

I have run most of my 20 milers with my wonderful friends from FF Fit who kept me accountable and made me enjoy those 20 mile training runs for CIM.

10. Running with others brings the concept of togetherness to a new level and makes us happy, content, and physically and mentally healthy.

Karen and I became wonderful friends during the Parkway 20-mile race that we both ran before the CIM. This picture is at the start of the CIM marathon in 2016. Grateful for our amazing friendship.

And when in doubt of whether to run or not to run, simply reach out to your friends who will help you stay on track. Also remember: running is a two-way street, which means that  your friends are there for you and you will in turn be there for them. All for one and one for all – my favorite musketeer mantra.

“What do we live for, if it is not to make life less difficult to each other? “ George Eliot, Middlemarch

For more info on running and real estate, whether buying or selling, please e-mail me at carmenmicsa@yahoo.com, or call me at 916-342-2446. Running for real estate with joy!

10 Tips for Running and Having Fun in the Rain! Don’t Let the Rain Dampen Your Stride!

When it comes to running in the rain, there is no middle ground: runners either love it, or hate it! Unfortunately, I have been leaning towards the haters group and have stalled and waited around for the rain to stop. Today, I had no choice but to go out in the rain and wind, which makes it even harder. Yet, before leaving the house, I told myself that I needed to have fun with my 10-mile run, so I composed another rap song just like other times when I ran in the rain. Rain equates rap? You might ask. Yep! The tapping sound of rain inspires me to rap, for some odd reason.

 

Tips for Running in the Rain:

 

  1. Do not overdress, as a matter of fact underdress!
  2. Wear just shorts and T-shirt, if it’s not too cold, as clothes will get soggy and heavy.
  3. Do not rely on those expensive water proof or water resistant jackets; you will still get wet, so why bother?
  4. Apply glide, or Vaseline to toes, armpits, and other areas of your body that can get chaffed.
  5. Be ready to run in wet shoes and socks, which you won’t bother you, once you settle into your comfortable pace.
  6. Run at your comfortable pace, but allow yourself to be slower, especially if running in the wind and rain like I did today.
  7. Allow yourself to notice nature, animals, and people you meet, and that way you can be creative, such as coming up with songs, poems, etc. to make the time go by faster and have something to amuse yourself with.
  8. Watch the road and run in good traction shoes to avoid slipping and falling.
  9. Pat yourself on the back for sticking to your running schedule and for toughening it out, as you never know what the weather will be like on race day.
  10. Have fun during the run and relax with a hot soup, tea, or cocoa after the run. It will be all worth it!
American River flooding large portions of our Jedediah Smith Bike Trail.

Advantages of Running in the Rain:

 

  1. I was alone on the bike trail today with wild geese who seemed confused to see the closed trail.
    Wild Canada geese exploring the closed trail
    Geese staying away from the wet trail.

    2. I rejoiced in nature and all the bursting blossoms on the trees that reminded me that winter is almost over and spring is inching forward. I loved this blooming tree so much that I came up with a little poem:

    Flurries

“Kissing the bike trail

the soft, delicate petals

are not crushed by pedals

on this rainy, windy day. ”

Blossoms kissing the trail. A flurry of white.

3. The wind and rain act like resistance bands, so running in the rain is fortifying for the body and mind.

I had the rain, wind, and the hills keeping me in tip top shape today. Happy and wet feet!

4. You get to inspire others to exercise rain, or shine.

The River is quite high at the Harold Richey Memorial Bicycle Bridge. Harold Richey was also known as Mr. Bike Trail.

Disadvantages: None.

Go out and run, bike, or walk!  A little rain won’t melt your souls! On the contrary, it will fortify them.

For more info on running and real estate, whether buying or selling, please e-mail me at carmenmicsa@yahoo.com, or call me at 916-342-2446. Running for real estate with joy!

16 Life Lessons I Learned from Running in 2016!

“Running gives us the total freedom to be ourselves, while negotiating life one stride at a time.” Carmen Micsa

Physical Fitness Lessons

  1. When in doubt you can do something, just do it anyway. I have learned this lesson this summer during the week I ran 101 miles just to see what it is like to run like an elite runner. I had started my week with a 15-mile run on the American River Parkway in the morning. In the evening, I went running through Ancil Hoffman Park and doubted I can have a decent 5 mile run, but to my great surprise, I ran in the low 8s and felt great. It also helped to see a coyote roaming around and trying to beat the summer heat.
    On the American River Parkway
    Coyote prowling around Ancil Hoffman Park

    2. When the legs get heavy, stop clenching your fists and teeth; instead, lighten up! Anytime I am tired, I love looking up at the sky. The turkey vultures seem to  have the smoothest and seamless fight pattern. They glide effortlessly and float with grace. I try to imitate them, while making my body glide down the trail with ease and determination to  end the heavy breathing and my body’s fatigue.

    The ducks were quaking and moving while I was just admiring them and taking a break from my long run.

    3. When you feel sluggish, look for someone slower than you to make you look better. I remember being at the end of my run and getting into a desperation mode when I came across this steady and determined tortoise crossing the bike trail. I smiled big and understood that slow and steady is a good thing; yet, I still found enough strength to push a little faster and not listen to my tired body.

    Feeling as slow as tortoise? Get those legs moving!

    4. Body aches all over, but you still need to get your easy run in, which is by no means easy. I remember starting my group strength training class this summer to get my body stronger and avoid injury. After my first class, I got  super sore, as my bosy was not used to the intensity. The next day, I had to do a Fartlek run that started with a 2-mile warm-up. I felt the gluteal muscles halting my entire being and thought to myself that I could just skip this and wait till the next day to run. Yet, once I finished my first two miles and got into doing my Fartleks, I felt so much better and the speed agreed with me.  Moral of the story: find that sweet spot to push past pain and a tired body.

    I used to wear knee sleeves, but not anymore.

    5. Knee pain is making you wince and stop more often than you want. My knees used to bother me until I started to run faster and changed my form and cadence. The quicker turnover of my feet also alleviated the strain I was putting on my body, so every time I get tired, keeping my form as intact as possible is key. http://www.runnersworld.com/race-training/the-great-cadence-debate

Mental Lessons

6.  Relax the mind. Although this is only my second year as a runner, I ran 18 races ranging from 5Ks to 50K this year. I PRd 16 of them and won 7 races in my age group. One reason I enjoy racing so much is because I am really good at relaxing my mind. I know I will be prepared and I do not worry or stress about the outcome of the race. I try to enjoy every minute, while I visualize myself running at a great pace propelled by all the racers around me. I can honestly say that I am not nervous when racing, whether I run a 5K or a marathon, which is why relaxing my mind with positive images and a good pep talk really works.

Winning first place in my age group at the Fabulous 40s 5k run, which felt hard due to the heat, but I ran relaxed and was excited to see my results at the end.

7. Tell your brain stories. You might scratch your heads here, but the reality is that our brains will not distinguish between a true statement or a little white lie, which by the way you should not make a habit to use unless you need to make yourself believe in your ability to keep on running strong. For instance, my favorite mantra is “fresh legs,” which I tell my brain towards the end of a race when I am tired. My brain will accept the story; my finish will be much stronger.

My body was done after 7 hours of running my first 50K, but seeing my sweet Sophia at the finish line running next to me has activated my “fresh legs.”

8. Let the positive energy carry you over the mental threshold. At the beginning of a race, most of us possess this positive energy, but towards the end when legs are tired and want to quit, the energy decreases. My trick to increase and keep my positive energy consistent is simply to observe my breath, the sky, the trees, and anything else that will take my mind off any negative feelings or remarks.

During my first 50K Folsom Gold Rush, I kept my positive energy by noticing the harmony and perfect flow of nature.

9. Surround yourself with positive and vibrant people to boost your own mental strength. We runners underestimate the power of our own words and others, so in order to perform at the level we want, it is imperative to surround ourselves with the doers and believers instead of the naysayers. When our family and friends believe in us, our minds are like a well-prepared plot of land waiting to receive the seeds that will later will grow into healthy plants. Our minds are no different and need the same clearance and preparation.

Finishing California International marathon strong. I had so many friends and family who cheered on me and believed in me so that made my running the marathon easier and more enjoyable, as my mind received all the good vibes.

10. The power of distracting the mind and redirecting our thoughts. I can honestly say that all women who are mothers like myself will get this very easily. During long runs, I have learned to distract any negative objections my mind brings up, as well as redirect my thoughts to more positive images, such as celebrating at the finish line. Additionally, whenever necessary, I treat my mind the same way I used to treat our toddler kids by using the power of distraction. The beauty of this is that my mind will accept distractions when body and legs are tired, whereas our children who are older now detect any attempt to distract them when I change the subject.

Even stopping for a jumping picture can be enough to distract the mind and infuse energy.

11. Let imagination guide the mind. During my 20-mile race before running CIM (California International marathon), I used one of the signs someone made for us runners to fuel my imagination and to make me run at marathon pace the entire race. The sign read: “Pain is temporary. Facebook pictures are forever. ” I smiled when I saw that, because as the Facebook queen- ha!ha! I could totally relate to the sign. I even started to write my won FB post in my mind, which helped me continue my run at a strong pace without hardly any pain.

Feeling strong during my 20-mile race three weeks before my CIM marathon.

Spiritual Lessons

12. Running brings us closer to God. With every step and stride, we go through a giant leap of faith. We believe in ourselves and are grateful to the higher powers guiding us. Moreover, when I ran my first marathon in 2015, I felt that God attached angel wings to my shoes that helped me run non-stop for 26.2 miles.

Finishing the first marathon CIM 2015 was truly a divine feeling.

13. The Zen of Running. Running with calm and composure turns us into Zen runners.  It is easy to overreact and worry about things that are not under our control, but if we learn to harness the Zen in us and smile when things get tough, then we will enjoy ourselves more and will be stronger mentally.

Enjoying a trail run on a frosty morning and feeling Zen about my run and life.

14.  Running is humbling. We as runners know that every race can take a sharp turn in a good or bad direction, so we  try to stay humble and not let our minds take off with too much elation and excitement.  As Lao Tzu says in one of my favorite books Tao Te Ching: “The further you go, the less you know.”

A humbling view from one of my trail runs through Cronan Ranch. The view left us in pure awe.

15. Running is serenity soothing the mind, soul, and body. When calmness turns into serenity during my runs, I experience an exhilaration similar to being on the peak of the tallest mountain. My poem about serenity that I wrote after one of my runs can also attest to this indelible feeling:

Serenity

“The crowns and branches of the trees

dip themselves in a pool

of serenity.”

The flowers at the edge of the river brought peace and serenity to my run at the beginning of spring this year.

16. And last, but not least, running is my meditation in motion. With every stride, I feel the pulse of the earth underneath my feet. I meditate on the mundane, the nature around me in correlation with God’s amazing grace, life and death. When I meditate and run, I am in sync with the world around me and feel so ALIVE. Running is LIFE.

The blooming trees in spring offer the perfect backdrop for my meditation in motion.

 

With all the lessons learned in 2016, I feel that I am barely scratching the surface of life and that the further I go with my running, work, being a mom, wife, professional, writer, friend, the less I know. I ran 1,649 miles in 2016 and looking forward to running even more in 2017. Namaste! Happy 2017 filled with wonder and many spiritual wanderings.

For more info on running and real estate, whether buying or selling, please e-mail me at carmenmicsa@yahoo.com, or call me at 916-342-2446. Running for real estate with joy!