Thursday, June 13, 2013

Strengthening Yourself for the Hills of Life

Upon moving to San Diego back in December, I knew I wanted to make these days and years moving forward the best years of my life. Spiritually, mentally, and physically. I have been focusing a lot on my fitness and recently started a new 40-day meditation. I found places here in San Diego where I feel most inspired and make it a point to go there often.

I used to be the girl who hated running. Dance was my sport of choice so I was accustomed to a fast sprint of cardio and action-packed variety with stunts and tricks. Doing the same motion repeatedly and for a long distance just didn't strike my fancy. Ever. Until I moved to San Diego. It started with that one day back in January when I surprised myself by saying yes to running through Torrey Pines. I felt inspired and motivated and wanted to push myself again.

I later went for my first run through the legendary Balboa Park. A simple walk through Balboa Park is enough to inspire me, no matter how many times I've been. But to zoom over the bridge, past the San Diego Zoo, around the "Tree of Life," and then to finish my run by sitting there at the Lily Pond, reflecting on life and the beautiful place where I live... now that is inspiring. It clears my mind every time and it became something that I needed. I couldn't stay away and you can tell from the racerback tan lines that have appeared on my back and won't go away.

But the inspiration doesn't stop there and this is where I get to the point of this post. I don't need to run somewhere where my feet touch the ocean. I don't need to run past the one and only San Diego Zoo. Lately, I've been going for runs in my neighborhood and the solace I receive is amazing. To do something as simple as running through the streets where I live and to receive the peace and clarity and happiness that comes from something so very simple... how could I ever ask for more?

It hit me really hard on Tuesday night. I was nearing the last leg of my run, listening to P.O.D.'s "Alive" on repeat, running through the streets of a city I had only dreamt of living in years ago. And here I was. My home. My place. My streets. I was reminded back to 2002 when that same song was my ringtone. Back when ringtones sounded like video games. I thought back to the girl I was then. And then I thought about the woman I am now. Maybe not much has changed on the outside other than my hair color but I knew how much had grown on the inside; how much had been solidified and strengthened. And as I was running along a path that was 75% uphill, it reminded me how I got where I am today. Not only am I living in my dream city, in a neighborhood with palm tree lined streets and views that overlook all of the valley, but I am living a life of happiness. Even after all the hills.

I got where I am today because I changed my thinking. I consciously made the decision to live a life of happiness, of positivity, and of prosperity. And I have to make that decision again and again everyday before my feet hit the floor as I get out of bed. Just like when I'm running and I see a hill approaching. I have to consciously tell myself, "You got this. Keep going. Push harder." And I look down at my legs and I see the muscles in my very own legs. I see their strength. I see their tone. And I remind myself it's because I've been pushing myself that they've strengthened so much more. But the greatest feeling? The greatest feeling is when I get to the end of my run. I am drenched in sweat. My legs feel like jelly. My heart is pounding. But I feel amazing. Because I can look back at every single one of those hills I conquered. Every single time I thought, "Dang, I'm tired" or, "Man, my hips hurt" but didn't stop.

It's not physical endurance that matters. It's mental endurance. Because the mental endurance is what gets us through the hills of life, no matter what they may be. Make the decision everyday to be strong.


Chelsea said...

I never really thought of it that way. I always tell people, "running isn't a physical sport, it's all mental." And now I get it, so is life. I should be more mentally positive to myself :)

Sandie LifeInPositudiness said...

Very inspiring post. Love how you describe and compare running over the hills with going thru the ups and downs of lide.
Dance has been my sport as well my whole life, and I never liked to run. but the very few times I go for a jog, I feel so much better. maybe I should listen to you and do that more often. I'm sure it would indeed strengthen my mental endurance as well and help in so many other ways. thank you for sharing your experience and feelings about it!

Katie Did What said...

I love this post so much. YES, it's mental endurance that gets us through it all. You are SO strong, both physically and mentally, and it's amazing and inspiring to see, Chelsea. <3


Jess said...

Mental endurance. You're so right!

JBean said...

One of the many things I love about running! Makes you stronger not only physically but mentally.

Holly said...

You are one wise owl, my friend! I find solace in running as well, and I push myself so hard when I run. I've been out of the game, but recently picked it back up. It's so refreshing to go for a run, to know that the only thing pushing me to the end is me. And I am so rewarded at the end of each run knowing that despite the pain in my legs, I didn't stop. It really is all mental, running and life. I admire your way of thinking. So inspiring! xoxo

Cara-Mia said...

Ah I love this. Great post. I really wish I could feel that way about running... maybe some day.

Renee Arianna said...

Just thinking of everything you've been through and reading how positive you are is more inspiring to me than words can say. I've been on an uphill battle with running in itself. Some days I force myself and then I'll have a terrible night at work (nurse) and instead of mentally pushing myself to go run I just go to sleep. I've got to do better and do better in the mental preparation department!