Let's Chat About Running and Marathons

Photo by: Mariah

Photo by: Mariah

 A graduate student by day, runner by night and an environmentalist everyday -  we sat down with Mariah @mariahmargaret to talk about running and how she got into running. Since getting into running three years ago Mariaha has not stopped . What started as a means of physical exercise has now turned into a lifestyle of mindfulness. When she is not running or saving the environment you can find her sharing her love of sustainability, health, spirituality and all things natural on her Instagram page.  Check out how she got into running and how she keeps running when things get tough

"I live as holistically as possible and aim to spread light and love through my Instagram handle. I have been a serious runner for about three years now."  - Mariah

1. How did you get into running? 

I wish my story of getting into running was more inspirational... but in all honesty, it was the classic attempt to get into shape after gaining the freshman 15. After first year of university, I was left stressed out and unhappy about my appearance. I took to running as a way to exercise, but what I found was an amazing outlet for my stress! I could just unwind, clear my head and THINK. What started as a means of physical exercise quickly turned into a mindful one, too.

2.What was the first race you finished?

I dabbled in track and field and cross-country throughout middle school and high school. To be honest, running never really appealed to me in these times. The first race I can remember was in high school, with cross-country. I think it was a 3km distance, and I DIED. I had to walk at the end! I was so embarrased! Its humbling to look back on these times. We all start somewhere!

3. How many marathons have you ran?

I have completed 2 official half-marathons, but several on my own time. I like to race, but I can get the same enjoyment (and save some cash) by putting on races for myself! I pick a route, tell a friend or two what I'm doing, and head out. Nobody to worry about but me, and my personal best!

4. When you are in those final kilometers of a race and want nothing more than to stop, what gets you through? 

This is a tough one. Some days are much harder than others. If I am listening to music, I find playing some intense songs may get me amped up to finish the run. I am also not opposed to taking a quick 1 min walk or break - simply refocusing, taking a second to breathe, and get back into it. What works best is simply being realistic. I have to get home somehow, so all I can do is put one foot infront of the other until I get there.

5. Do you have any pre-race rituals? 

I like to wake up extra early, to stretch and warm up for a long time. I stick to simple eats, like oatmeal or banana with toast, and make sure to drink enough. When I'm training, I like to pick one song that I listen to as i get ready, and I'll have that on repeat before a race. I honestly believe it helps to get you in the right mindset, and lets your body know that it is about to run. Currently, that song is Electric Church by Mike Taylor.

6. Do you ever have days where you don’t feel like running? What helps to get you out there?

First and foremost, I listen to my body. If it is telling me it doesn't want to run, then I don't!!! It has taken me incredibly long to get to a point where I am not afraid of resting. I have spent many years pushing my body to extremes and have suffered significantly because if it. But, if I'm just being lazy the best way to get out is to just put on the clothes. That is the hardest part. Just get dressed and go! Start with 10 minutes, and if that's all I can do, then that is all I will do. Often, once I am out there, it is smooth sailing.

7. When you finished a race, what is the first thing you want to do next?

EAT. There is nothing more satisfying than an ice cold, rich smoothie after a hard run. It is all I crave! Race days are fun though. The atmosphere is great, and you are surrounded by like-minded people. I like to hang out for a bit, interact with others, and spend the day with family and friends celebrating a job well done.

8. What advice would give to someone running their first race or want to get into running?

Do not be afraid to walk. I still have to slow down sometimes, or take a quick 2 minute walk break. There is nothing wrong with it! It can help you build up to longer distance and increase your fitness over time. Another tip is to treat easy days just like that, easy! Too often, runners push themselves hard even on easy days and don't give their bodies the rest it deserves. This will just lead to burn out. Take your easy days easy, and go hard on your hard days.

9. Where do you purchase your running gears? 

All over! I have different brands for different reasons. I like to have a couple nice pieces, from Nike or Lululemon that make me feel good and perform well. But, I purchase a lot of things from places like Marshalls or Winners that have great deals! Not every sports bra needs to be $80. It's nice to have those more expensive pieces as a treat, but they are certainly not necessary. The only exception is shoes. You need to spend more to get better quality shoes, that is a must. I wear Saucony but also like New Balance.

10. Why do you run?

I run simply for me. It is my time to relax and unwind. Those who don't run may find this crazy. You run to relax?? YUP. I rarely even listen to music on my runs, as I like to use that time to work through emotions, envision the future, send gratitude or simply just be. Of course, running is also a physical activity for me, and I would be lying if I said I didn't lace up every now and then for the purpose of a sweat sesh. But mainly, I find it to be an extremely rewarding way to find inner bliss and practice mindfullness. 

Photo by: Mariah

Photo by: Mariah

Being ordinary is extraordinary

Learning to take care of ourselves is the hardness thing, most of us have constructed a very busy life, so the notion of taking a day off or an hour to appreciate the little thing or the ordinary things seems impossible. We have been taught to reject the ordinary things and rejoice only in the extraordinary things, but often time we are blinded by this flawed perception of reality. Often time we miss our own good fortunate because happiness does not always comes in grant gestures or in the extraordinary things, but in ways we don’t even notice. Happiness comes in the ordinary things, the small things that we’ve been socialized to reject. Often time I am remind my happy moment as those ordinary moments such as talking to a friend, hanging out with a friend, taking a long bath, or enjoying a good practice. These moments seems so mundane, yet when I reflect upon them there is something about them that brings joy and a feeling of extraordinary. This is the beauty of happiness or good fortune they don’t come in big packages, but in the ordinary things that we overlooked in our daily life because we’ve have established a busy life that only gives attention to the extraordinary thing, but not ordinary thing.

The key is to be ever present and pay attention to the ordinary things

“By taking care of ordinary things – our pots and pans, our clothing, our teeth we rejoice in them. When we scrub a vegetable or brush our hair we are expressing appreciation. Friendship toward ourselves and toward the living quality that is found in everything. This combination of mindfulness and appreciation connects us fully with reality and brings us joy” _ Pema Chodron