Today’s guest is back today for round 3!
Her most recent book focuses on combining movement and meditation, which may include being more mindful while on a run.
I am looking forward to going a few easy miles with Nita Sweeney today as we catch up!
“Crazy Stupid Fun”
Since our last chat Nita Sweeney has changed her answer as to her favorite distance to race.
She currently prefers ultras, more specifically the 50k distance.
Nita has completed two 50k’s and describes the distance as, “crazy stupid fun.”
She ventured into the ultra world after spending a lot of time around other ultra runners.
In her words, “if you hang around a barbershop long enough you’ll eventually get a haircut.”
Things that once seemed impossible, suddenly seem possible.
Her first 50k was on a looped course which is a very accessible format for anyone wanting to try an ultra.
A Quick Turnaround
The path to completing her first ultra wasn’t quite as Nita had originally planned.
She initially signed up for her first 50k at the end of 2019, just as her book tour was wrapping up.
Then 2020 hit and the race was canceled, much like every other race that year.
Unbeknownst to Nita, her registration was deferred, not canceled.
In 2021, she was getting frequent emails from the race organizers, but she dismissed them as promotional in nature.
Upon closer review, Nita realized that she was in fact signed up to run the race in a mere 6 weeks.
She was training for a half-marathon at the time and decided to hire Denny Krahe to help her prepare for what little time she had left.
Nita has done the same 50k two years in a row because she loved the course format.
The course is very beginner friendly in a host of ways.
Eagle Up takes place in Ohio along the Erie Canal.
It is a 5-mile looped course that is flat and non-technical.
Each loop passes by the campground, allowing the runners to access their campsites along with a large aid station.
There are also 2 other aid stations and restrooms located along the loop.
There are numerous distances including a relay, 50k, 50-miles, 100k, 100-miles, and a 24-hour option.
The time cut-offs are generous allowing runners of all abilities the opportunity to complete the race.
Mainly Marathon Series
Along with venturing into the ultra world, Nita is continuing to knock out races in each state.
She even went as far as to run 4 half-marathons, in 4 states, in 4 days.
Nita has found that the easiest way to coordinate logistics is by using a tour company.
She chose to sign up with Mainly Marathons and let them handle all the details.
Initially, Nita had planned on doing 2 half marathons back-to-back.
Travel plans shifted and she was faced with the option of adding 2 more half-marathons in the span of 4 days.
Running 4 races in 4 days wasn’t the plan, but it was great training for her upcoming ultra.
In order to successfully complete each race, Nita relied on moving meditation.
Make Every Move A Meditation
Nita’s most recent book- Make Every Move a Meditation recently hit bookshelves.
She is making the connection that meditation provides benefits during physical activity.
The premise is somewhat simple, but applying it takes practice.
Nita begins by choosing an object of meditation.
Examples of things she has chosen are shades of green or different sounds (footfalls, nature, etc).
When/if her mind wanders she can bring it back to either the color or the sound she chose to focus on.
A common question that Nita receives is if meditation can distract from the pain.
Meditation can’t distract from the pain, rather the pain becomes the object of meditation.
Get Curious About Pain
Nita recently did a talk on race day anxiety.
In her experience, the tools taught are typically in the form of distractions, otherwise known as the turn-away technique.
Research has shown that at some point the individual may not be able to distract themselves.
Nita suggests turning towards the physical sensations rather than away.
Getting curious about the pain often helps to take away the fear, making the pain bearable.
Becoming proficient at this takes practice, much like learning anything else.
Nita advises people to be gentle with themselves, especially in the early stages.
Meditation is often misunderstood and there are many myths surrounding it.
Nita offers a full list of myths associated with meditation on her website.
She offered a summary of the list beginning with:
- Myth #1- “I can’t meditate because my mind wanders.”
– Thoughts can be uncomfortable, because people may judge themselves when their mind wanders.
– The mind is a muscle and training takes time.
- Myth #2- “I can’t calm my mind.”
– In order to calm your mind, you must create conditions to allow the mind to naturally slow.
– Some days the mind will move more quicker than other days.
- Myth #3- “Meditation must be done a certain way.”
– The best meditation is the one you just did.
– Meditation is adaptable and accessible, there is no wrong way to do it.
- Myth #4- “Meditation must be done alone.”
– With experience, meditation can be done with others.
– A lull in conversation is the ideal time to focus on meditation.
Nita has found that runners typically have more focus than the average person.
Meditation is a type of feedback loop that takes inventory of the body and mind.
Runners frequently take inventory of how their minds and bodies are feeling.
They may not associate those actions with meditation when in reality they aren’t that different.
It’s important to know yourself.
A more disciplined individual may find that the cues for meditation come more naturally.
Make It Your Own
Everyone is unique and there is not one “right” way to meditate.
Nita frequently uses reminders to check in with herself while on a run.
She sets her watch to beep or vibrate at each mile as her reminder.
Prior to starting each run, Nita will choose her object to focus on.
It is important to make the meditation your own.
The impacts of meditation are impossible to ignore.
Nita has found that it has given her the ability to keep moving for long distances.
When the race gets tough she knows what to do to get through it.
Mentioned In This Episode:
- Nita Sweeney Has Learned That Depression Hates a Moving Target (Episode 741)
- Nita Sweeney Became An Accidental Mental Health Advocate (Episode 912)
- Nita Sweeney (Website)
- Make Every Move a Meditation, Book By: Nita Sweeney
- Depression Hates a Moving Target, Book By: Nita Sweeney
- You Should Be Writing: A Journal of Inspiration & Instruction to Keep Your Pen Moving, Book by: Nita Sweeney
- Mind, Mood, and Movement Facebook Group
- The Writer’s Mind Facebook Group
- Mainly Marathons
- Eagle Up Ultra
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