On Running Marathons & Meditation

This is a guest post from Aurea Dempsey, Vancouver editor for VITA Daily and a MOMENT member from the beginning. She shares her journey crushing her latest goal- running a marathon in Hawaii. 


Recently I lived out a dream.  On December 11th, I ran the Honolulu marathon.  It was a dream for two reasons:  Hawaii always seemed like a magical, far-off place.  Somewhere I so hoped to travel to one day.  And two, it’d be another marathon I could add to the 8 or so others I’ve run before.

Often I’m asked about my running, including how I manage to run marathons at all?  I always sum-up my answer by saying

‘Anyone can run a marathon…it comes down to making the commitment to train properly’.

Over the years, my formula has included a mix of running with cross-training, clean eating and supplementation, daily yoga and practiced mindfulness.

Where Honolulu was concerned, I just wanted to have fun and hope for no sudden injury.  If all goes well, maybe run a sub 3:30.

Here’s what really went down…including the mini-vacation that carried me to the end.

2:30 AM rise and shine. 

While ridiculously early, I squeezed in a few minutes of meditation and some yoga.  Ate yet another bagel (!) and sadly, washed it down with a weak, crappy coffee due to poor planning on my part.  That’s how my morning started.  But I wasn’t going to let it take me down. The start-time was 5 AM, and thankfully my hotel arranged taxi shuttles for us runners.

 

 

Making our way to the course, I went over the online reviews I read earlier in my head, as well as feedback from others. 

Dark,

hot,

hard

and hilly.

Pretty much what everyone said. Needless to say it was going to be a challenging course.  The famous Diamond Head climb (twice), and with no starting corrals or pacer bunny to rely on.

Not even 10k, and I’m already spent.

Yep.  That’s how I’d sum up the first 10k.  My legs felt so-so, and the heat and humidity were already taking a toll. 

Not only that, but the hills felt long.  The darkness, quiet.  And I was alone.  Horribly, I let my brain wander to visions of me pulling over to the side of the road and calling it a day.   Hawaii was fun enough on its own, why did I have to throw in a 26 mile run?

Time to take a mini-vacation.

Channeling my mind and thoughts, what I’ve learned in yoga, watching Super Soul Sundays and the rest of it, I knew I had a choice:

Focus on the pain and agony of this marathon or focus on what I can do NOW to turn this race around for the better.

And just like that, I chose a mini-vacation. 

Specifically, I went to Hiro’s voice. Her Italian accent and the encouraging words she’s shared during our weekly meditations together. To focus on our toes, our legs, our stomachs.  To breath in and out.

Long breath in. 

Longer breath out. 

A mini vacation exhale. 

An exhale so good, my body would relax with anticipation for the next delicious inhale.

Finish line, really?

Before I knew it, I was in the final stretch. My legs were feeling it, but I finished strong.  My time was 3:28. Not my fastest, but I’ll take it.  Of 20,000+ participants, I placed 240th. I was 7th in my age category and the 34th woman overall.

Now when I’m asked how did I make this happen? My reply is somewhat different:

“Honestly, proper training and divine intervention; Choosing one slow, and long breath at a time.  I took a mini vacation, that’s how.”