Sunday, March 3, 2013

Running lessons: Attitude and intention matter

This morning, one of my Facebook friends posted that she was going for a run and was going to love it.  Apparently, she had a tough run on Saturday so woke up dreading today's run. Instead of giving into the dread and skipping the run, she focused on generating positive energy, got her butt out the door and (it seems) had a much better run than yesterday. Her post reminded me of how important attitude is.

I had to work a little harder than usual to be positive about my runs this weekend too when I discovered I'd left my good running shoes in the city and would have to wear a pair of worn out old Sauconys instead. Once upon a time, I'd almost certainly have used the lack of good shoes as an excuse to skip the two runs I had planned. Instead I opted to run slower and to take walk breaks as and when needed. I can't say either run felt great but at least I got them done and taking it easy meant I had plenty of time to take pictures along the way. Here are a few of my favourites from today's run.

The mouth of Petite Riviere
The road to Green Bay
Green Bay

Risser's Beach boardwalk
My last turnaround point - Crescent Beach
My favourite place in the world - Risser's Beach
Attitude matters in other areas of life too. Lately, my meditation teacher has been talking about the importance of intention. As she explains it, it isn't enough that we do good things, we have to have good intention as well. To illustrate, she invited us to consider the difference between thoughtfully and lovingly offering a gift to someone and throwing it at them with the intention of injuring them. Obviously, the first would result in good karma, the second in bad.

In real life, our choices are often much less stark. For example, suppose I learn that someone I know has been cheating on their taxes. I could certainly argue that the "right" thing to do is to report them. But what if, in doing so, my real goal is to exact revenge for something they've done to offend me?  Does my negative intention obviate the good I do by ensuring they are punished for breaking the law? Karmically speaking, the answer seems to be yes. When we do the right thing for the wrong reasons, we create bad karma that eventually finds its way back to us.

On the other hand, even when we do a right thing with the right intention, the outcome won't always be positive. A few years ago, Husband gave a copy of "Meditations for Women Who Do Too Much" to a colleague he liked and respected as a birthday gift. His intention was to recognize how hardworking she was and to encourage her to take more time for herself. Unfortunately she took his gift as veiled criticism and became quite angry with him. In the end, they talked it out and all was forgiven but it goes to show that, even when your heart's in the right place, others may not perceive it that way. Very often the way people react to the things you do has much more to do with their intentions than with your own.

Which brings me back to running.  Having a positive attitude doesn't guarantee that every run is a good run. However, it does make it a whole lot easier to deal with the bad ones and to appreciate the good ones when they happen.

In closing, a brief summary of my training over the past week:

Total # runs: 4
Total distance: 36k
Longest run: 16k
Tempo run: 1 x 6k 
Hill training: 3 x 200 metres
Other training: 90 min. yoga

Happy running and writing, friends!


  1. An excellent post for me this morning, Janice, as I woke on the wrong side of the bed with a bad attitude! Your words remind me that my attitude (and, therefore, my lack of intention) will color my entire day - best to step back and re-adjust :)

    Great pics - the tones are very sepia-like! And good job getting out there for a run on those old shoes!!

  2. Glad it was helpful, Janet. And thanks (re the pics).

    It was too nice a day not to run - even in old shoes. Loved running through Petite Riviere, etc. Very mild, no wind to speak of, and the roads were quiet on account of the grey skies. Felt as if I had the beach all to myself.

    Hope your week`s going well!