Staying “there”

During our weekend away to the lake house over Labor Day weekend, we had such a blast. Even in doing the simplest of things together. Those things just felt better, more amazing, more special,  because we were out of our normal “at home” routine, we were much more disconnected than ever (except for the occasional tweet or FB status update!), and it was just what we needed.

Case in point: (best self-portrait ever, hands-down):

(yes, major dorks, MAJOR)

As part of that disconnected/weekend away, we went out on a couple of rundates. Our last two runs of the season at the lake house and we wanted to make the most of them. Nothing fancy. Just an out and back loop that’s roughly 5 miles. But it’s just different there. Surrounded by gigantic trees, the scent of pine mixed in with whiffs here and there of the lake water, and total peace and quiet.

As I’ve always said, one of the things I love about our runs together is that we often have some of the best conversations when we run. And this weekend’s rundates were no different. In particular, Scott made a brilliant point – one that I am giving him ample credit for because I didn’t see it, not from a million miles away.

He simply told me this:

Use the focus you put into barre n9ne, that need to stay present when at the barre to maintain good form and to breathe through the tough moments, and put that into the final stretch of each run. Don’t zone out. Not during the first leg and the last leg of your run. Use that focus to push a little harder, trust your body a little bit more, to run present. To get there and stay there.  

Hmm. He makes an amazing point – on staying “there.

I gravitate towards running because it’s totally my “me” time – I’m often one with my thoughts throughout our runs together, even when we’re chatting away, my thoughts wander throughout our conversation, throughout each run. I take in the sights around me, I enjoy feeling my body working hard, but I’m definitely not staying “there” when it’s time to kick it harder, to run just a little bit faster, to enact change in my running pace and style.

This is an entirely new concept to me.
But not.

I use that same focus during barre n9ne – to make sure I’m keeping proper form (SO important in this class), to make sure I’m pushing myself to stay in those poses for as long as possible, to never give up.

So why have I never thought to apply that same focus to running?

I think it scares me a little bit- staying “there” when the going gets tough with running. But you know what? It’s time to stay “there” when I run. Even if it scares me a little bit.

Just like the mantra on those awesome Lululemon bags say: Do one thing that scares you everyday.

Why not let that be staying “there” when I run?  That’s the kind of “scary thing” I can get behind…

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34 thoughts on “Staying “there”

  1. what a sweet snapshot of the both of you. and you’re in SUCH A GOOD SHAPE! wow, those shoulders look marvelous. however, great post and lovely thoughts – as always. totally know what you mean by wandering thoughts, losing the focus during the end of a run. will keep this in mind the next time. thanks for always feeding me with food for thoughts 😉

    • Can I just tell you? I read this in the car while stuck in traffic this morning and your comment made my day!! Thank you for such a sweet compliment, you even made me blush, for real!

  2. Love that picture!!!

    Also, totally agree with both of you: staying there is important in running to really push yourself…but it’s also scary because it hurts! Staying there means you feel it…feel the burn!

    • Right – sometimes the pain IS scary but that’s also my body’s way of telling me that the work is WORTH it. All goes back to listening to your body – and understanding when that “good hurt” is worth fighting for vs the “bad hurt” which means stop and try again another day.

  3. That picture is awesome!
    I can relate to what you are saying. I often use my Physique 57 drive to push me through other forms of exercise, especially running. Definitely stay ‘there’ despite it getting scary. Channel that Barre N9NE energy and you’ll be running for miles!

    • haha glad ya’ll like the picture, we’re GIGANTIC dorks that way. 😉

      Totally knew you’d get what I meant about getting “there” in barre n9ne and in running – I’m sure it’s very similar in Physique classes for you! Channeling that focus and energy is the only thing that will enact real change in your body, this much I’ve learned.

  4. Wow, great point Scott. Knew I liked him for a reason ;-P So true. I need to do that more too. I tend to OVERfocus and that for me, is worse. Love the pic too!

    • He’s so smart, isn’t he? I guess I should listen to him more often 😉

      I kind of wonder if you are OVERfocusing on the negative things when you run – because sometimes real focus during a run is a good thing…feeling that body do the work, pushing through the pain and all of that, it really does require over focus in a way, and maybe you just need to switch what you’re focusing on and HOW you’re focusing on it when you run and it’ll help you get past that mental block of running you tend to face now and then?

    • Right – like there’s definitely a time and a place to just zone out and enjoy the run, but certain points during any run ought to involve more focus…and during something like speedwork, focus is key (especially in terms of focusing on NOT puking lolol)

  5. I have found myself doing the same with weight workouts recently. I want to amp the intensity with some of my strength training and was thinking the same things this morning. Had a great session by being willing to push past just goin gthrough the motions. Great post, as always, Jess!

    • YES. This totally comes into play with weight work as well – if you are literally just going through the motions, you are never going to get as much out of the workout as if you focus on every single rep and every single exercise. It goes back to that mind/body connection thing I talk about all the time in the context of barre n9ne…same deal with weight lifting, fo sho!

  6. That is sooo true! What a new (but not new) concept for running. It can be hard to stay focused during a hard run just because it “hurts”, but just think of what we could push ourselves to do. Thanks for posting your conversation!

    • Isn’t it funny how new/not new it feels when you see it all spelled out that way? It was for me at least so I’m glad I’m not the only one that was like “hmm, really good point…” 😉

    • He is very smart, indeed. 🙂

      That’s the thing – it’s the end of that run that should be your BEST not the part you dread most. You know? Sort of goes back to the whole “running the mile you’re in” versus always focusing on the end, the end, the end. Every mile has a different purpose if you really think about it (hmmm this could be a whole blog post in and of itself!)

  7. I love the smell of fresh pine trees! Your husband put it right, you need to stay present. I think this post is a good reminder of that. I too often drift into my own thoughts and don’t really push myself like I know I could if I were present! Loved this post!!!

    • Isn’t it the best? It always evokes such great memories for me – of the lake in the summer, and Christmastime in the winter. 🙂

      I totally agree – drifting into your own thoughts has a time and a place in workout, but if you’re ALWAYS drifting and never focusing? That’s when your workouts can start to suffer.

  8. Eek! That’s scary! I always try to zone out and think of other things when the going gets tough, run-wise. Maybe that’s not the answer, because I definitely don’t do that during Core Fusion, and it never occurs to me to stop. Where as with running – I stop all of the time. Hahahaha. OK, maybe we’ll give this a shot this weekend.

    • See? That’s exactly my point – you always push through when it comes to core fusion, so why is it ANY different with running? I think it really does come down to how mental running can be (vs. any other physical activity) and finding a way to balance that fear with a healthy dose of drive to get you through those tough spots in a run (just like in a tough spot in CF). Easier said than done, but worth a shot!!

      • I think part of it (for me, anyways) is that in Core Fusion, I feel like I can get through anything because nothing lasts for very long. With running…it is different. Especially those long runs. But I think you are also right in that running is so much more mental than Core Fusion or really than anything else I do. I’ve a 30 minute run planned for tomorrow so I am going to experiment with this.

  9. Your husband is a VERY wise man. I tend to zone out when I run as well. But every once in awhile there is an amazing run or part of a run when I really concentrate on my body movement and nothing more – that’s when I float. The moment my mind wanders, it’s lost. Barre workouts teach us so much…why is it so hard to translate that into other parts of our day or workout? Your post has inspired me to REALLY focus on my 3 miles tomorrow.

    And there is something about running in peace and quiet that’s amazing…it brings a sense of clarity. I’m so happy to hear you had such a great weekend!!!!

    • He is, indeed 🙂

      LOVE how you describe that moment when you just “float” during a run – that is PRECISELY the feeling I had last week during that speedy 7-miler. I just want to replicate that again and again and again. It was amazing. I REALLY do think that focusing more when I run vs. less is going to make such a difference in how I feel during that run but also how I perform at the end of it, too.

  10. Love this post! It’s so true that there are times when we can apply one way of thinking to one type of situation, but why not apply it everywhere in our life?! Think about what we can accomplish and the goals we can achieve if we can mentally get behind them. This post really made me think! And I love that y’all had a great time at the lakehouse. Billy and I are actually going to the lake this weekend to celebrate our anniversary. 🙂

    • Exactly! Not that you should treat every situation in life the same, but when something you learn actually DOES have a really good application in another part of your life, it totally makes sense to apply away! I don’t know why I didn’t see this before…man, my husband is so smart 😉

      Have an AWESOME time at the lake for your anniversary, YAY!!

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  12. When I first started taking barre classes, I noticed that I started looking at my running differently, especially when it got hard. Each series of exercises in barre class at the beginning made me feel like I was going to die, but I pushed through and everything was okay. I realized I wasn’t working nearly as hard during my runs as I was in barre class. Barre class helped me learn to be a little more uncomfortable during my training runs.

    • It is truly incredible to me just how much I’ve learned in the nearly four months since the barre n9ne challenge started in May. I’ve learned a TON about myself, about my abilities, about my strengths and about how focus can make all the difference in the world. Just like you said here, you can apply so many learnings from taking a barre class and using that learning in other aspects of life…in your case (and mine), applying that mental endurance and strength to running is huge.

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