Training Detox — Learning to Live in the Experience

Over the years I’ve been a big sucker for all of the motivational quotes. You know the ones that show up in your facebook feed or that friends post in your private workout groups. Things like:

Heck yeah, I want to be a champion!

I mean, who doesn’t want to be a champion?

Yes, I will prove how much I’m worth right here!

Yep, everything about my identity has to be proven right here in this workout….

Beast mode is ON….honestly I’m not really sure what that means. I don’t spend a lot of time around ‘beasts’…what would you define as a beast anyway? For me, Beast mode usually means I’m going to go get injured because I pushed more than I should have without enough recovery…

Don’t get me wrong, I still love a motivational quote. I actually write down quotes that I want to meditate on in my journal but now they’ve taken on a very different focus. Instead of punishing my body to get into a physical state that I think will somehow make me better, I’m listening to what my body is trying to tell me about what it needs, how to recover (read my story about a bike accident earlier this summer), and more importantly what makes me come alive. I’m learning to experience rather than compete.

Competition is not bad, I actually have enjoyed it in some form or another for years (read more here) but I’m burnt out. I’ve gone from goal to goal and I don’t even know how to just live in the experience anymore.

Last week, mother nature gifted Georgia with a few days of low humidity and cooler temperatures for late August. I took advantage of the weather by taking my dog, Bell, out on a lunchtime trail run at a local park. I was determined to be there just to enjoy the trails, let my body move, and get her some much-needed exercise. Out of habit, I turned on my Garmin watch. I was enjoying the wooded trails that meandered along the river when I felt the familiar buzz on my wrist. I had gone a mile — in 16 minutes. Impossibly slow for a relatively flat trail and immediately I went from enjoying the trail to mentally breaking down my run and why it was so slow. I spent a good minute or so worrying about my pace and future races until we saw a natural staircase that led down to the river. I let Bell off of her leash to go grab a drink and followed her down. I watched her play in the water and just enjoy every moment. I was reminded of WHY I stopped training. To experience moments like these instead of focusing on a device on wrist to judge my performance.

Bell chilling in the river. She really could care less about our pace or how many miles we go — she’s just looking for the next great experience

One day I’ll go back to focusing more on pacing and training. I love chasing the goal too much to give it up for good but for now the training that I take part in is more about teaching my mind to live in the experience than it is about what my Garmin says or motivational quotes on my facebook wall.