The Things I Thought I Knew: Running With Values-Based Intentions
It's been a big month for me. Not only did I complete my year-long studies at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, I also started a nine-month intensive with Holistic Nutrition Labs. I'm enrolled in its signature program called "Full Body Systems." In it, we'll be studying seven different systems into the body:
- Digestive System
- Immune System
- Urinary System
- Cardiovascular System
- Endocrine System
- Nervous System
- Reproductive System
The program started with the first two months spent on the Digestive System because most disease and illness begin in the gut (even if you don't think it's gut-related!). In fact, the gut is considered the "second brain" of the body.
To no one's surprise, my doctor told me that I now have Leaky Gut Syndrome and a sluggish, low-functioning thyroid. Based on what I've learned in Digestive Intensive it makes total sense. (In fact, I knew this is what the diagnosis would be before my appointment.)
But I'm optimistic about my future because I know what I need to do and what my body needs to heal.
And the one thing my body doesn't need is stress, including stress from high-intensity training.
Knowing what I know now I am kicking myself for not listening to my previous doctor when she told me, three years ago, that my body needed a break from endurance training.
But if you're a runner, then you know that the last thing a runner wants to hear, and their greatest fear is not being able to run. Granted, I haven't trained for a marathon since 2014, but I have really had a difficult time accepting this. I felt like a lesser person, less of an athlete. And if my body would have allowed me, I am quite certain that I would have continued to "push through" because you know, "no pain, no gain."
But I am okay with my current situation - now.
In addition to my health studies, I was crazy enough to take yet another course, but this one was completely for personal development. I talking about Jess Lively's (I love her!) Life With Intention Online.
Intentional living has been a topic that I have been fascinated with for the past few years. Before taking the course I knew what it meant but wasn't sure how to manifest it in my own life in a way that was meaningful to me. That was my goal in the course - to figure out what intentional living meant to me (my values), and how to incorporate it into in my daily life.
The course was fantastic (I highly recommend everyone take it when it opens up again!), focusing on four areas - possessions, personal habits, relationships, and career (very similar to "Primary Foods").
As we worked through each area we were challenged with asking ourselves, "Is my ego talking or my intuition."
The ego bases our successes and happiness on outcomes and achievements, whereas our intuition bases it on joy and fulfillment when acting on our values in the present moment.
Although I did not go into the course thinking about how it would relate to running as I went through each module it's the one thing that I kept coming back to.
As learned more about ego versus intuition, and values-based intentions, I came to a realization that so much of the reasons I ran were ego-driven. When I first started running I ran because it was new and fun. I was able to do something I was never able to do before. Then, as I got more into races, over time it began more about getting the PR, being able to post it on social media, and "keeping up with the Jones."
As I worked through the course, and coaching calls with Jess I was able to peel back the layers and rediscover my value, "I run to feel strong and alive."
I no longer run to chase an outcome, instead, "I run to feel strong and alive."
I can play with speed as I run, and that may - or may not - influence my PR, if and when I ever get back to running races.
And even if I'm injured, I can still feel strong and alive in other ways. Given my current circumstance, strong and alive can mean simply keeping one foot in front of the other.
I may not able to run far, or fast but instead of beating myself up about it, I can approach running from a place of freedom, joy, and possibility. And doing this has made it far more enjoyable again.
I still work with my running coach, and will continue to do so because I need the accountability and love the support. But these days I workout intuitively. I have my workout plan for the week but I really listen to the messages my body sends me and will intuitively decide what workout is right for the current day - or even if one is appropriate at all.
Because this is what I need to do in my present moment of healing.