Hip mobility and flexibility.. HELP!

Avoiding the short-cuts, Eliminating the long-cuts!

It’s my mobility in the lower back and the hips – I don’t have any.   Bent over and I can’t quite reach my toes.   Go into a squat and my ass still hangs over a foot in the air with a rounded back.   It’s ugly.   And let’s not talk about pigeon pose.. well.. let’s, actually – I can do the leg part just fine but bent over and holding myself up with my hands out in front of me.  Forget about taking my hands off the ground and sitting tall, straight up and down.  Oy!

Even childs pose sees me with my butt up in the air – I just don’t have the flexibility in the hips and lower back to ease down and into it.   Not yet anyway.

So, I’m asking for help.

Not shortcuts – I can do this for the long-haul and be consistent (you have my word!), but I also don’t want to waste time on long-cuts either.   Give me your best advice please – how am I going to get the flexibility and mobility that I want?   How many days?  How much time each day?  How much time each pose?  What has worked for you and how do you think that will work for me?

Thanks so much,

Namaste

I love weed

It’s been almost a decade since I smoked weed and I’ll be honest with you – I miss it! Why, I remember smoking and getting so high that it felt like I was melting into the sofa I was sitting on; my vertabrae so relaxed that each one would slowly and with supremely satisfying “POP!” noises, loosen and relax all the way down.

POP!  POP!  POP!

The reason I tell myself that I won’t smoke weed anymore is because I’m afraid it will rob me of my productivity.   You can pretty much put a fat red “X” on the day I decide to get blasted because all I’m going to do is sit around and dream, or tune out and pretend like I’m somehow being enlightened.

Sidebar: did you know that the peaceful-loving-weed-induced outlook on life can be as self-righteous as anything?  It’s pretty disgusting.

So I don’t smoke weed and guess how productive I am?  I’m not.  And why not? Because I’ve replaced weed with other things. I can kill hours watching YouTube and Netflix. Every night I toss back 1,2..4 beers and then I zone out.  Sound familiar? Sure, different high – same result. And that’s not all – there are LOTS of things I do to fill the time where I could be moving closer to my goals.

So it’s not weed, and it isn’t even alcohol. It’s not YouTube, Netflix, books, food – oh food is a good one!   What it is.. is buffering. We do ALL of these things and more to buffer against the hard choices we have to make in the moment.  It’s like my coach said the other day, “We all want to be lions until it’s time to be lions!”   When it’s time to make the hard choices, we buffer..I buffer, procrastinate, make excuses – in the case of weed, I would drift off into stoner-dreams of motivated inaction, filling my head with all the amazing things I’m going to do.. someday.

So what are your buffers?  How are you numbing yourself to the hard work that is life and how are you going to overcome?

 

EDIT: I realize marijauna doesn’t effect everyone in the same way.   This is just my reflection on how it affects me.   Thanks 🙂

Everyone wants

Everyone wants to be a lion until it’s time to be a lion.  Everyone wants to be a winner until it’s time to do what it takes to win. 

We all want to be tough until tough is all you have left.  

Sometimes you have to fix the plane you’re flying.  We all have responsibilities that need to be taken care of and, at the same time, we want to follow our passion.  So what do we do?  We choose one and sigh wistfully at the other. We cannot allow ourselves to do that.  Sure! It sucks but you HAVE to do both if you want to get out of the situation you’re in.   You have to fix the plane you’re flying. 

When it’s time to woman-up, you gotta woman-up!  You got to seize that shit!  Everything else is preparation. 

Challenging = Changing

Got to get out of my head.  I’m so deep into my own head sometimes that I’m mentally wringing my hands and vascillating wildly between enormous ego trip and feeling overwhelmed and out of my depth.

It’s an idea.  A seedling, planted.  It’s just out there and all eyes are on me and I’ve got two competing stories.  Which one will I listen to?

So I get all flustered and say something dumb because I’m trying to be profound and worthy instead of just listening and taking it in.   I say I’m selfish because cheering others on is how I can lift myself up.. and I regret it immediately.   I’m so deep into my own head and I’m trying to play chess with my thoughts and words when noone else is playing chess.   It’s dishonest.

Truth is, I’m feeling like a fraud.   That’s the story I’m telling myself.   I’m a fraud and I have everyone fooled.   I’m not worth all this good stuff.   That’s what I hear myself saying..to myself.   I’m surrounded by such good sweet people, strong capable and successful people and then there’s me; the joke.   Not because I struggle with the workouts – I do – but because my heart isn’t as pure as they seem to think and I’m not quite as good as they want to assume.   And their hearts are so kind and bursting and full of goodness..

That’s one story.

The other is that I am that good, and getting better.   That I’m better than I think I am and I’m actually kinder and more loving, more capable than even you think I am.   I’m all me and that’s who I am.   When I’m giving my reasons for doing something or wanting to do something, I don’t have to be afraid and be ‘measured’ in my responses – I don’t have to massage the message!  I can just speak out of my heart and trust that what comes out is going to be true and good and wholesome and loving and kind.

100% me.

So that’s my challenge – to listen to my wizard and only my wizard and to be challenged and not be deterred.   Because, here it is.. if it didn’t challenge me, it wouldn’t change me.

To run a mile

That’s a tough distance.  It isn’t long enough to get out of “The Suck” and actually enjoy a run, and it isn’t short enough to see the finish and have the comfort of knowing that it will all be over very soon.   It takes a little more time than that.

Today, Aggie asked me about helping her get over the anxiety, and, I probably gave the worst advice I could give.  I said that the mile is a ‘suffer-fest’ and you just have to accept that it’s going to suck and do it anyway.   That is all true BUT, there are ways to get out of your own way.

The first one ties in to what coach was saying today – talking about hard things from a position of strength and positivity.  Lie if you have to; beg, borrow and steal, but you have to be able to hide your breath and walk tall, even when it hurts.   Listen to the story you are telling about yourself.  Are you saying – ‘I get anxious!’, ‘It’s SO hard!’, ‘I’m no good at this kind of thing!’?   Or are you saying, ‘I face my fears!’, ‘Even when it’s hard, I’m harder!’.. ‘I’m actually not bad at this!’.    Keying in on that self-talk and changing it, whether you feel it or not, will still give you an edge.   Just like coach was talking about today.. put all your positives on the negatives too and walk that shit.   If you don’t, then the negative story will win, it will scare you, it will break you and it will eat you.

The second is to distract yourself somehow.   Pretty much every run that I’ve really pushed myself involved having a mantra – a place I can escape to and buffer against the pain and quitting-thoughts that are trying their damndest to take over.   At times, that mantra has been something inclredibly simple like, “I can.. I can.. I can..” and sometimes that mantra has been the weirdly comforting thought that the pain I’m feeling right now is proof that I’m getting stronger.   I’ve done vizualizations where positive energy was focused into a thread of white light and I held onto that thread, focused on that thread, and pushed away the hurt as I kept my legs moving – thinking of nothing else and gaurding against any other thought than that bright white thread of positive energy. Might sound weird, but I’ll take weird when it works.

A couple of times recently, my mantra has been to ask myself, “Can you suffer some more?”.   I’ve yet to find that I can’t push myself a little more.

You can also count your steps to 100, over and over.   I think the key is to find something that doesn’t make you think too hard or in depth, but at the same time, is enough to occupy ALL your thoughts to the exclusion of the negative thoughts: ‘this hurts’, ‘I can’t do this!’, ‘I’m in trouble here..’ and so on.   And you never really know what your mantra is going to be.  I’ve gone into races thinking that ‘this’ was going to be my mantra and what I would use, only to have something else bubble to the foreground and take over.

So remember!   Imagine a version of yourself that isn’t afraid of the mile, isn’t afraid of running hard when you can’t see the finish line, and doesn’t get anxious what they get in a hard spot.   Now do your best, and be that person.

Putting it all together.

Putting together your own training plan

While there is a lot to know, it’s actually not that difficult and, like everything else in running, you might have to experiment to find what works best for you.   My best advice is to follow Rule #1: “Listen to your Body”, know your limits, and be realistic with your goals.   If you feel the goals you’ve set for yourself are too big, don’t just chuck them, find the stepping stones that will eventually bridge the gaps – THEN you’ll be ready to go after the big Kahuna!

Once you have a (realistic, attainable and challenging) goal, pick your starting and end dates for your plan.  Remember too that any good plan is basically building you up to a single day where you will perform at your peak fitness level – make this day your race date, and write it down!   Make sure that your chosen race date is far enough in the future that you have at least 8 solid weeks to train.   You might need more or less time depending on several questions:

  • How fit are you currently?
    • Not very?                           Add more weeks!
    • Pretty fit!                           Keep it at 8 or shorten it a bit!
  • How big is your target race?
    • Super long?                       Add more weeks!
    • Walk in the park?            Keep it at 8 or shorten it a bit!

Next step is to write out your “Peak Week”.   This will be the hardest week toward the end of your training and right before you “Taper”, or cut back your weekly mileage pretty drastically two to three weeks leading up to race day.   For longer distances, the most challenging workouts will consist of long runs and possibly Tempo runs in the middle/late weeks leading up to the peak week long run.   Additionally, with Marathon training specifically, having two 20 mile long run weeks can go a long way in helping you succeed in your marathon.   For 10ks and Half Marathons, focus on making Tempo runs your hardest workouts and Intervals are awesome for 5k training plans.

Now write your first week of training.  This one should be slightly more mileage than you are currently running week-to-week.   If possible, add weeks at the front end to make sure you have a good base-mileage built up for the race you want to train for – if your target race leaves you with some extra lead-time, consider that a bonus!   That way, you can hit the ground running with your speed workouts in week 1 and build from there – just remember Rule #1: Listen to your Body!

From here, you just need to connect the dots.   From week to week, moving forward, increase your mileage and intensity and every third or fourth week (four is probably better for beginners or those with a questionable base), schedule a “Down-Week” to give your body a break and a chance to heal and rebuild going into the next building cycle.

Now you have a plan but remember two more things – if things don’t feel right, take time off!  Also, I left out HOW MUCH to increase each week because I want you to incorporate the flexibility that works for YOU!   In other words, maybe you want to increase slowly at first and exponentially later.   That might look like a 10% total mileage increase each week for the first 4 weeks and then 20% the last 2 weeks before peaking and tapering.   You could also just keep it even and steady with the regular dips of the down-week all the way through.   The point is, different plans and different people will find benefit with different things.   For Marathons and maybe Half-Marathons, 1 week easy followed by 2 weeks hard and 1 week spiked before resting again might be best to get that “POP” workout simulating the final run.   Others might get injured doing a heavy “POP” week and do better with gentle climbs punctuated by down weeks.  Listen to your body!

At the edge

Get pushed right up against that hard edge – the rock, the hard-place.   You have a decision to make.   When someone calls you out, do you get defensive or do you absorb it and keep moving forward?

Here’s the thing.   When you begin to pay attention to being defensive, you’ll get the rare opporunity to see something in yourself you don’t get to see all the time.   I get defensive when I feel people are calling my integrity into question.   I get defensive when people doubt me – warrented or not.   I get defensive when my purpose or ability is called into question.

And you know why?   And pay attention now because this is the really hard part.. The reason I get defensive is because the story I tell myself about myself just matched what they said about me!   When someone calls me a liar, or a weakling, or a sand-bagger, or a coward, or a lazy bum – I get pissed off because that is the same fucking story I tell myself.

 

So we get the walls up, the guns come out, and we’re ready for battle when someone says something that pushes up against our ego.   You’re in it.  Right now, in that moment, it’s on.   What do you do?   What will you do with this teachable moment?   This moment is hard and it hurts a little but it won’t show up when you’re ready for it and it won’t manifest when you don’t have the corresponding thought and self-judgement.. it just won’t be there unless you’re there too.  So what can you do?

You can recognize that this little failure.. this little falling short is one instance and not the whole.  You can accept that when someone is calling you out on it, they just might be doing it because they have your best interest at heart.   You can see the thought in yourself and forgive yourself for having it, and you can take it and make it better.

Being defensive is an opportunity to improve yourself in the actions you take, the thoughts you have about yourself, and the humility you have toward others.