How to do Hard Things


(My personal process)

I am on a roll of doing hard things. I mean, the last few months, I have been hyperventilating, crying, cussing and smiling like a goon. Because I have training for an epic run, played an instrument on stage, sent out pitches to national magazines and reached out to my heroes for interviews for my podcast. Oh, and started a podcast.

It’s been scary, but so worth it. The funny part for me is the scary parts are so small, like asking for help, or the fear of looking like an idiot. It’s not the fear of dying or anything life-threatening. So, while I am on this wave of fun, I thought that I would jot down some advice while I am all high and mighty…just kidding, I am still a scared little bunny.  

Why do things that are hard? I mean, really? Why? Well, for one thing, it gets results. Good or bad, it definitely moves the needle over from the endless loop that life can sometimes fall into. So, if you are tired of going around and around, you might need to do a hard thing to jump the rut and start another song. 
*Also, I have found if I don’t do something hard, life will throw me something rough, and I’d much rather pick my own medicine. 
What: This is the part where I can get stuck. Identifying the thing that keeps tripping me up, and that I cannot seem to achieve. It doesn’t have to be climbing mountains or running a marathon. It can be something simple like standing up for myself, asking for forgiveness, having a hard conversation, getting support, or start to thinking differently. It’s something that I don’t normally do, and can be very simple. 
When: My test is when I should start dipping my feet in the pool of discomfort is when my vices take over and want to continually comfort myself. I’ll eat too much, run too much, do all the things too much. It’s then when I pause and realize that I need to face something that’s brewing and get over myself and jump. 

But how?
1. Look Up. “When setting out on a journey, do not seek advice from those who have never left home”- Rumi.
I have 4-5 people I look to who are always doing hard things and now the drill. I go to them to freak out, cry and hold me accountable. If you go to people aren’t challenging themselves, they won’t be helpful when things get tough. 
2. Keep a journal. Writing things down when things get rocky is super helpful to see patterns, truths, and mental blocks. (Also, for me, keeping a journal was a HUGE hard thing I did)
3. Self-talk (mantra). Find a phrase that will help balance out the negative chatter in your head. Mine is “You’ll be fine.”  
4. Always Ask. What’s the worst that can happen? I always go back to this question when my heart starts racing, and I start to spiral. ‘Will I fail? Get laughed at? Die? Will people not like me anymore?’
I usually question each one and keep going forward, unless death is an option. Or caves, I hate caves.

If you want to ask me a question or want to write down something scary you want to do, I invite you to e-mail me here.

Go forth!

Butts

I want to talk about your butt.
Caboose, derrière, hiney, rear end, biscuits, peach, glutes, patootie, bum, fanny, badonkadonk.

You may not know it, but your butt is very important to running. Lack of strong butt muscles, or as your physical therapist calls it, “lazy glutes” can cause all kinds of issues from shin splints, hip injuries to knee pain. Those glutes are the glue, and having strong glutes will keep your running body in good shape, and away from that jerk who just called your ass lazy. 

Here’s the problem: Fitting in another set of exercises on top of your busy day. Of course, I have your answer right here! If you can attach these booty exercises to all the things you are already doing in your day, your butt will get stronger and make your body happier. And you’ll look even better in those jeans. 

Stop Light Glute Fires:
When you are at a red light, fire your left glute, then your right glute, back and forth till the light turns green. Bonus: It’s safer than reaching for your phone. 

In Bed Leg Bridge:
Done in bed. Leg bridge is when you lay on your back, bend your knees, and keep your feet on the bed… Lift up your butt up in the air, and keep it there for 2 minutes. Make sure you tighten those glute muscles the whole time. Do it before you go to bed, cause hopefully, you do that every day.  

Brushing You Teeth Leg Lifts: 
Standing at the counter, while your toothbrush is doing its thing, raise and lower your left leg for 1 minute. Then change legs for the next minute like this. Bonus points for doing these in the morning and evening. 

Running Up That Hill:
Do your booty some good, plus get some extra cardio love by running up hills. You have to use your butt to get up hills. And going downhill works your quads which supports your knees. And going downhill makes you feel like this.

#Buttslap!
 Coach Beth

Hold My Cookies

 I went to a women’s only Rain City Rock Camp this weekend. Basically, they take women who never played an instrument, (or maybe new to it) and stick them with other new people, put them into a band. We had 3 days to learn an instrument, write a song, learn the song, and play it in front of a packed house. No big deal. It was awesome. 

In the middle of band practice on Sunday, there was this one part that wasn’t jelling for me, but everyone else had got it. I needed a little more time with it, but I didn’t want to hold people back. I said,
“I just need to get that down better.” 

“Oh, sure, we’ll loop around the same part while you get it. It’s called ‘holding the cookie‘. We’ll hold your cookie”

They did, and I did, and I got back the cookie. 

What a great metaphor for doing hard things in life. Do it with cool people who support you while you figure your shit out. I feel like our runners hold each other up, and hold the cookies.
Personally, I have a hard time asking for help, cause I feel like I have a whole cookie jar that needs to be held. But I have learned, people are usually happy to help, and support me and each other. I am so grateful for those people. 

5 Ways To Be A Good Cookie Holder. 
Congratulate people on their success: Cheer, shout, make a freaking big deal about big accomplishments. Remember when you did something that was hard, and cheer from that place. 

Show Up! Show up when you say you’ll be there. It’s that easy. 

High 5’s: Simple, easy, fast, and makes people feel great. 

Bring extra goodies: Great for on the run or afterward. If you see someone struggling, offer them a snack or water. It makes a difference, and you’ll have a happier running buddy. 

Know when to give the cookie back: Set boundaries if you are a person who holds all the cookies. Find out how many cookies you can hold, and for how long. Find language that lets you relinquish your load, and gracefully send the cookie jar back to the rightful owner. (If you are new or curious about setting boundaries, please check out my go-to Brene Brown. )
 

Thanks for holding my cookies!
 Coach Beth

Vocab Lesson:

Tuesday Tip! 
Running Vocab!
 

In the beginning, there was just running. It was running away from something, like from a saber tooth tiger, or a tsunami. Or chasing after something, like dinner that had four legs. And that was pretty much the end it. Running; going away or towards something using your legs, and moving at a fast speed. Fast forward on your 8 track player to the 70’s when jogging became a thing, (or asRon Burgandy calls it, “yogging”) and that just meant, running, but not all out, trying not to die, pace. 

After that, it just got all kinds of gummed up with descriptions and vocabulary to basically describe the same thing we are all doing, running from something scary, or something that we want. 

So, I have devised a tongue in cheek vocab list for running vernacular. Enjoy!

Race Pace: The goal pace you want to run for the next race you are entered in that you have a time goal for. But if your goal is to finish upright, then your race pace is not falling down. 
Fartleks: It’s a Swedish word for meatball.  No wait, that’s not right. I just am craving meatballs right now. It means speed play in Sweedish and makes me giggle when I say it. Any kind of fast/slow/fast interval work out can be a Fartleck. 
Tempo pace: A faster pace that is continued over a longer period of time, like 3-8 miles. It’s can be a race pace, but not sprinting. 
Sprint: This is an anaerobic pace that you only sustain for a short period of time. It’s an all out, run as fast as you can at 100% effort. Also might wanna barf by the end. 
Marathon: 26.2
Half marathon: 26.2 divided by 2. 
10k: 6.2 miles
5k: 6.2 miles divided by 2.
Ultra: Don’t worry about it. 
Endorphins: What to chase after, and sometimes catch. 
Runners trot: You ate something bad, and need to find a bathroom 5 minutes ago, and you can’t quite run. 
Junk miles: After eating junk food, you run junk miles, unless you get the runners trots. 
Chafing: When your inner thighs love each other very much and want to rub on each other for miles and miles, they will leave a mark that makes you scream when you get in the shower. 

The gravity of pain.

I will always tell you my story, I will tell it all day long, that is if you’re ready for it. If are willing to listen, and hold the story in your soul, and be available to open your heart for it to go in and steep there. I will do that with you. I can do that because I have heard many other stories from people who did not expect to share their stories, but they do. A kind of river pours out that sometimes just happens when you run with someone. It happens when the time is right, and there is no eye contact, the breathing is heavy and the pounding pushes up the weight from the chest to the windpipes and pours out the mouth. I have heard everything, and I can’t imagine something I could be told at this point that would be shocking. Yet, with all of this, I am not weathered or hardened, but the opposite. I feel with all these songs that have set into my ears, I have been beautifully cracked open to the agony of peoples lives and really be able to see them on a very real level. It’s a gift, and I don’t take it lightly. It also gives me grace for myself to know that it’s hard for everyone and that your hard, and just as valid and painful as hers, his and mine. We all are hurting on some level and I feel so heavy and light at the same time with the gravity of living on this earth.

Matras

 

I am a big believer in talking to yourself like a weirdo. What you say to yourself has a huge impact on how you go about the world, and if you can think and say good stuff, it usually clicks in with your brain and becomes a belief, new habit or just true. Which is pretty cool! Example, if you go around saying “I love running” after a while, you’ll love running. Go try it and let me know how it goes. 
 
  I also get a giggle when people re-iterate phrases I blurt out and they tell me that it really helps them and I think, “I said that? That’s good!” Here are a few of my favorites that hopefully will help you when you are in need of a little mental buttslap. 

1. You’ll be fine. Yes, yes you will. You can do these things and you will be fine. 

2. What’s the worse that can happen? I have to constantly tell myself this when I am scared and taking a big leap of creativity, endurance or having to have a hard conversation. I’ll hear that itty bitty shitty committee of fear raise up in my head and I’ll say aloud, “What is the worse that can happen?” And that usually does the trick. Unless it’s death or harm to my family, I do it. 

3. Be comfortable being uncomfortable. Let’s face it, sometimes it’s not all rainbows and unicorns and stuff sucks. But that’s when I tell myself that this discomfort will lead to good things, it makes it easier, and that’s where there is growth. I also know it won’t last forever. 

4. I am grateful. This is a gamechanger for me, and it usually follows #3. I am so lucky to do what I do, with the people I admire, and with this strong body. I am so so grateful for that. 

5. Just show up or Just start. Confession. I have a pet peeve: People who say the will do something, and then they don’t show up. It’s confusing, rude and my little 8th-grade heart gets hurt cause no one showed up to my slumber party. But that’s a whole other issue. Just show up people. Just show up and start and it will happen. 
 

P.S. A new episode is up called “The Runners” on 
“Why We Run” 
(Click Here To Listen) And if you enjoy it, please rate and review it (which can be donehere)

Change Out Your Tape Of Excuses

I was talking to my friend Jess yesterday, who is also a coach and we were chuckling at all the excuses that we heard. (and know that I have said all those same excuses to myself!) And I mentioned that it’s not an excuse, it’s a broken tape that’s in your head that may be in need of changing.

Example:                 Change to:  
Too tired                   Running will help me get better sleep
Too stressed             Running will help me be more in my body than my head
Kids need me          I’ll check with other half or caretaker/neighbor/friend for help
Feeling sick              I’ll come out and see how I do. (unless you are contagious)
Hungover                  Fresh air will do me some good
Haven’t run all week  I’m well rested to run
It’s too cold               I have layers to dress in

It takes a few passes to retrain your head, but you’ll that excuse tape will start being a little softer each time. Promise.


In the beginning​…

…Way back when I started running back in 1900’s in San Francisco, I didn’t know what the hell I was doing, and I didn’t like to ask for help, which is kind of a disastrous combination. I went out, failed, felt bad and went out and did it again.  It went on for months. At some point, I found myself in the local shoe store in the Haight Ashbury noodling around for answers to my 5000 questions,  

‘Why am I so bad at this? When does it get easier? Is my body even built for this? Do you sell a pill to help this process along at all?’

  But the only thing that would come out of my mouth is “My knees always hurt, and I am not sure if my shoes are good.” Those nice people pointed me to some good shoes, and my running and part of my ego were saved. If only I got better shoes from the get-go, it would have made the whole process easier and less painful. But I guess if running came to be any easier, I would not be doing what I am doing now. So there. Here are my top 5 mistakes that I made, and hopefully, you will learn from. 

Bad shoes: Yes, see above. I also ran those shoes into the ground and they may have disintegrated when I was done with them. This also led to knee and hip pain that I sometimes blamed on the extra 10 pounds I was carrying around. Nope, just that my shoes were expired and I needed new ones. (I was also very cheap, so dumping 100 on shoes every 6 months hurt my soul a little.)


Bad bra: When I started running, I wore 3 sports bras on top of each other. I still bounced, but I couldn’t breathe. I finally found a “proper” bra for my DD’s and my life, girls and running were much happier. 

Didn’t run with people: My running buddy was a yellow walkman, a PIxies cassette tape, and maybe the radio from time to time. I didn’t know anyone who ran, so I went out solo. I even trained for my first marathon by myself. Yes yes, I know I can be funny and charming, but after 13 miles, I am no fun to hang around with and my mind was not very friendly. When I moved to Seattle I found a group to run with and it made all the difference. There is a time for me, myself and my music, but I’ll take running with people 90% if the time. 

Stopped running after I ran my goal race: My big goal was running a marathon. It took me 2 solid years to do that. Once I crossed that finish line, I found the couch and stayed there for about 8 months. I now tell people to sign up for a race as soon as your done with your BIG race. Something small and fun to remember why you liked running in the first place.  

Ate all the things: I consumed everything and anything with the idea that “I am a runner now” and that extra weight that I wanted to drop just kept adding up. This one I am still working on this, but now I am better about trusting my hunger levels before eating, and not out of fear that I “might” be hungry later. It’s only 100 calories a mile people, if that’s one of your goals, those are the numbers. So that’s 1 mile for 1/2 of an IPA. All about priorities! 

Thank you, running​.

Thank you. 

You have taught me that I am tougher then I am. 

You have always been there for me. 

I am still learning lessons from you, whether I am ready for it or not. 

You have shown me that I can honestly do anything. 

You were there when I was low. 

You kept be solid when my world was moving. 

You are my anchor, my clouds and my heart. 

Your Pace Or Mine?

Coaches Tip Tuesday! 
Your Pace Or Mine? (You’ll Be Fine.)
  So, I am among a lot of runners. Sometimes they are running, and sometimes there are milling about waiting for their running buddy to come. I am also a skilled eavesdropper and love listening to a couple of running buddies meeting up. The conversation usually goes down like this:  “UG! I haven’t run in a week. I need to go slow today.” “I am very tired,  I am not sure I’ll be able to keep up with you today. ” “My knee is kinda weirding out, so, I might not be able to go the regular pace.” I also hear this when I meet people on a daily basis. It’s like they have a list of go-to holdbacks to deal out to make sure I won’t break them. Just for the record, I have never actually broken a runner. I haven’t even tried. I use to take this conversation to heart and really slow down, or constantly check on them, “is this ok? are you ok?” but know I kind of listen, acknowledge, and then properly forget. I know that it will be fine, and if we are talking, laughing, and are next to me that they are fine. So, I thought it would be a good reminder of what pace looks like for a new runner, or even one who has been around the block. 
First: The first mile, just go extra slow. Your body is trying to wake and figure out what it’s doing. Keep your pace a little slower, or maybe walk for a bit before starting. 
Second: Here is the pace rule of thumb. If you can’t talk, you are going too fast for a “regular run”. If you are sprinting, then no, of course, you can’t talk. But if you are just going for a run with a buddy, then you should be able to talk. Not sing, then you are going TOO slow and are probably annoying people, but a definite 1 sentence at a time, in between breathing, is a good pace. 
Third: Make sure your head isn’t setting the pace. Your brain can sometimes hijack your body and your heart rate and will go into panic mode out of fear. (like the fear of not being able to keep up, feel like you’re being chased, or concern that you won’t be able to make it the whole way. ) A good way to to get your heart and lungs back in charge is to suck a big ‘ol breath in your nose, shake out your arms, and tell your head, that it ‘will be fine’. And you will also be fine. The joke is that it’s just running, one foot in front of the other over a period of time. That’s it. You can do this.  You will be fine!
Coach Beth