How I started to run

Running. Everyone is running. Running is the new black. 

It seemed to me like one of the signs of successful people, no matter what they were successful in. I always wanted to run but my efforts every time got me before I even started. Therefore, I also admired people who run, it’s simple: if they can overcome this suffering and sustain this pain for so long, they definitely have the stronger will then I do. And then, you know how these thoughts can spin around your head and create a personal picture of yourself, where you seem to be not focused, not strong enough and not dedicated enough. What is more dangerous, when those thoughts start to pour into other dimensions of your life, into your beliefs of your own capabilities and into your self-esteem in general. It takes more than that, of course, but it can be one of those doubting sources for pour thinking about yourself. Yeah, self-doubt is almost like my guilty pleasure.

So, you can easily imagine my surprise, when I got some nice equipment (a watch, actually) and a proper partner, and I gave it a try. And it worked. I was able to run along my personal training program and I didn’t want to die after that. Moreover, after the run and a shower, I felt as energized and powerful as almost never before. How is that even possible?

Like in many other areas of my life, I see part of the answer to this question in my own perfectionism. And stubbornness. I always thought that when I go out and aim to run, I should run for the whole time. Even for the first time. And when I had to slow down to walking so I could catch my breath, I perceived that as a weakness, as something given and unchangeable. My first and almost immediate response was: “Okay, I’m not good enough. I should stop making a joke out of myself and stop with this nonsense.” And of course, I used my stubbornness for making me actually believe that and never try it again. I could have use it to become better in running, actually, but that would be a totally different person.

I basically needed someone kind to explain me, that even running needs time to learn it properly and that my body needs training to adjust in order to reach my goal, which, let’s admit it, wasn’t exactly unreachable. Last year was one of the hardest ones, but also the luckiest one, because I have actually met this kind person and fallen in love with him. Sportsman by his heart and soul, dedicated runner. He introduced me to this idea slowly (he recognized my stubbornness too, haha) and I started to wonder, really slowly: Should I give it another try?

Another observation I made in this matter is, that you need two things: an authority to follow in your training and a way to see how you progress. I found this on a recommendation of my kind one in sport watch from Garmin. Not only they can show you how you improved physically (like how fast you run or how was your heartbeat during different stages of the run) and help you to improve your sleeping cycles or stress management, these can tailor you a nice running plan to help you accomplish your goals. For me, someone who never run properly before but prefers to not to ask anyone for professional advice, this is just revolutionary. And suddenly, I have my authority and progress, peacefully resting literally within reach of my arm.

After two weeks of running, I dare to say – running is awesome! It is good for your body, for your digestion, skin, muscles, posture and everything, but also for your soul, because you can feel super energized afterwards, have this sense of accomplishment and notion that you did something right for yourself. I start to feel my knees though, but I am willing to do whatever it takes to not to have to stop with it. Hopefully, a proper pair of shoes and a right technique will do the trick.

How about you, do you like running? Do you hate it? Any tips for hurting knees? 

Positive Diary #19 – Rain

31st May – I know, it might seem pretty basic. Rain, water, breeze, we tend to take all of these things as granted, although our ability to take advantage of them can change pretty rapidly. I can see it in the long-term change of weather, or maybe let’s say climate itself, in Czech Republic. I vividly remember every spring because I love them so hard. You can see all of the changes, you can feel them, touch them and mourn for them. But not this year. This year we are lucky and that is what I got to say today.

Springs in my country used to be fabulous. Blue sunny skies were often replaced by mild rainy days; the trees, grass and flowers were racing to sprout, all spaces were buzzing with life and there was enough of water in the exact perfect amount that you didn’t even have to think about it. It was a paradise, marking the soon-the-summer-comes time and eyes and hearts of patient spectators were drowning in unwitting amazement. Those times, those colors, sounds and smells, all of that taught me how to love nature. They made me who I am.

However, in recent years, those lovely spring days disappeared. And not just them. Snowy days of winter and the joy from seeing sun rays dancing on a fresh layer of frozen white water was replaced by dirty, dry and lightless short days; and warm summer days changed into almost never-ending waves of heat, leaving you wonder where have we all made the mistake and pray for this desert to go away as fast as it came. And between those two wrecked seasons – nothing. The sweet springtime suddenly became compressed into two-day season and that was it. From long, brown and grey winter quick jump into the never-ending heat of summer, thank you very much.

This year is different. And it fills me with joy, happiness and even hope that not everything has been lost. This May was far from all of those previous years. It is raining every other day, but mildly, lovingly and with kindness, don’t mistaken it with the already well-known relentless flooding cloudbursts. Herbs on the garden thrives again, birds sing, all is green and fresh, buzzing. Everything seems to be back in normal.

We still fight the exceptional drought in Czech Republic, but seeing the wonderful power of nature, still loving and kind, despite those terrible acts we commit to her on everyday basis, fills me with surge of gratitude

I hope that more and more people will realize how profoundly beautiful and important nature is; that more and more people start to believe in her and that more and more people start to do what they can in order to protect her

The thing with nature is simple – she doesn’t need us. But we certainly need her.

Let’s be grateful for all of her gifts. And let’s start to give something back.

Have a lovely Sunday!

Wicked and Clever

Šárka

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The Positive Diary #18 – All the useful stuff

16th April – For the most of us, the current pandemic means restraints of freedom. We can’t go out whenever and wherever we want, some of us has lost their jobs, others lost a connection to their coworkers in offices as they are forced to work from home office. We cannot go to trips we planned, to concerts we paid for. We don’t even dare to dream about the future because we don’t exactly know, how it will look like. The traps of our mind, fears and regrets, might feel eternal, real and hopeless. I know it is hard, especially for some of us.

But hey, we are living in a time of great freedom and endless possibilities thanks to new gadgets and, especially, the Internet. Just look around… Do you feel lonely? You can connect to Discord or Skype and spend hours on the call with your friends and family. Is it still not enough? You can play together, wander through the Elwynn Forest or under the open skies of Middle-earth, or if you know more games than me, you can wander everywhere. And be safe.

Would you like to see a movie? And Netflix is not enough anymore? Well, there is HBO, Prime and many other different platforms. You just have to choose and enjoy it. Is it not the same without the popcorn and trashy people in a cinema? You can always make an online order and your precious popcorn will arrive. And if you really need someone to talk during a movie you want to see, you can go back to the first paragraph and try to call some of your friends.

Do you feel melancholically? Why won’t you listen to some of your favorite music? It is not the same as when you are on the go and you listen to it while being active every day, but it can definitely bring you those memories back. And the feelings you have when you listen to your favorite music, these won’t go away. Also, while listening to it at home and in no rush, you might notice, discover new aspects of these songs. All of the options of how we can listen to and approach to music have their own benefits.

Or maybe, you feel down and overwhelmed. The world seems to be falling apart, and you have no control over it. Luckily, there is plenty of useful mindfulness apps and even free YouTube meditation lessons online. You can just comfortably sit or lay on the mat and let these short voice recordings to calm you down. Maybe, you are too skeptical about trying it, but trust me, you have nothing to lose but so much to gain. If you can spare just ten minutes to give it a try, you will see for yourself.

Okay, maybe enough of fun. The TV shows are all the same, nothing can surprise you anymore and you feel empty and bored. Maybe it is a sign that you’ve had enough of fun and you are ready to work on your skills. I bet there is something, anything, you were hoping to learn for a long time now, but you never had the energy nor the time to give it a proper try. Well, guess what – this is the time we were all waiting for! If you belong to the lucky ones, who can work from home, keep their salaries, but still have an excessive amount of free time left, you can purchase some of the online lessons. I shared a subscription of MasterClass with my brother, but you can find whichever class or platform you like and get dedicated to fulfilling your dreams. There is many free “how to” and “DIY” videos on YouTube, you can try Patreon, Skillshare, whatever suits you better. Just go and give it a try.

Maybe the lessons are too much for you. Maybe all you wanted was time to practice your craft. Practice your writing, cooking, drawing, sewing, whichever skill you have and want to evolve. Because you have time to do it now.

The whole day sitting can also numb your senses, your will to enjoy the life. Luckily, you can always go to YouTube, Patreon or use any sport dedicated web or app to add a little more movement to your life. Yoga, pilates, dancing classes, shredding classes, whatever you prefer, it is there, just within a reach of you hand.

If you are tired of all those online activities, you can always grab a book you wanted to read for so long but never managed to merge entirely into it. Now you have the time. Jump into the story and let it to take you away. That is one of books’ magic purposes. They can also slow your overthinking patterns and calm you down, easily and naturally rock you to sleep.

 

I know times are hard and becoming even harder the longer they continue. I myself am having anxiety attacks when looking into future or just when I follow the news. It is overwhelming, even for a person who can easily work from home. But, as in other tough times and situations, I need to see the positive sides of this situation too. And when I look around, I see a lot. Despite the situation, internally, I have never been happier.

 

So now, just fix the outside world and we are done, right? Right.

 

Have a lovely day.

 

Yours,

 

Wicked and Clever

 

Šárka

 

DSC_0454_Fotor

The Positive Diary #16 – Ability to step back

9th March 2020 – What am I grateful for today? I’m grateful for many many things, as usual. For my health, my job, my loving and caring boyfriend; for all those possibilities to grow through my past mistakes or just through experiences. There is so much to be grateful for. But what am I grateful today, what am I grateful specifically on this day?

Let’s talk about our ability to step back today.

As a person who is constantly overthinking everything, I find this ability very helpful. It is a feature I’ve been rediscovering for the last couple of days and it gives me what I was searching for thoroughly for the last couple of months.

I’ve been through a lot last year. It was essentially a storm year – for my personal life, for my work life, for the way I used to see myself. It gave me as much as it took away from me. But eventually, I managed to find my way out of every trouble, with a little help and also with a sense that none of what happened was a mistake. These were only experiences. Not necessary only pleasant ones, but still – just experiences. Just this shift, to see what we did without the constant judgement of ourselves and without that constant comparison with what could have been instead of what actually was, is freeing.

Another step is a simple realization. It is the moment when you realize, you are going to heal, with time. It is about learning that you need to be patient with yourself the same way you are patient with others. It is a promise of hope. You are on the right path; you just need to persist.

But even with knowing all of this, there are certain moments of weakness. It goes hand by hand with overthinking and the trigger might be almost everything. Moreover, with overthinking, it is not just our old scars and experiences that can start to exhaust us. It can be the most teeny-tiny problem you are dealing with in work, minor problem with people at school, basically, it can be anything. But with a little ‘help’ of overthinking, the problem can grow in your head really quickly really big.

So, what then? Learn to acknowledge that you are overthinking and learn to take a step back. Get distance in order to see the problem with fresh eyes, from a new perspective. It can be a guided meditation that will teach you how to become aware of this. It can be a person, who notifies you that you are thinking too much. In the first, second or even a third time. It’s okay to have help. And trust me, eventually, you will learn how to realize that on your own. And when you do, there are different rituals that will help you to take a step back.

Like breathing. Focusing on your breath and on your inner voice can help to take away the outside noise and redraw your attention to something worthy. What helps me, right now, is my imagination.

I lighted two candles in my bedroom this weekend. Those helped me to get rid of my negative thoughts or memories during the time when they burned. It was my safe space, a shelter where I can be happy, finally, and enjoy time with my special one. So now, even when I’m not there and the candles are not burning, I can picture them in my mind, see their light and feel their warmth. I can easily tune back into that feeling of safeness and harmony and use this feeling to repel those unnecessary negative ones.

That is magic. On some level. It must be.

And that is what I am grateful for today.

 

Happy Monday, everyone!

Perfect Spots in Prague: Vítkov Hill

When you visit Prague for the first time and you usually have only limited time, the schedule is somehow very easy to figure out. There is the Charles’ Bridge and astronomical clock to see, trdlovník or svíčková to taste and beer or Becherovka to get drunk with. No problem with that, it just works like that when it comes to fast traveling.

But! For those moments when you have more free time to spare, when you are slow traveling or when you move to the city in order to live and work here, you will discover there is much more to see. And that these places are way better than classical crowded touristy spots.

Perfect Spots in Prague: Vítkov Hill

National Memorial on Vítkov Hill and the giant statue of Jan Žižka standing right in front of it are visible and recognizable from various different corners of Prague. I remember it was always one of the points of orientation while maneuvering throughout the city, even when I was a kid and later, in my teenage years. Especially, when we were coming home from faraway places, I knew, when I saw the statue and the hill, I was close.

It was many years after that, when I first started to see the place as a perfect venue for meeting my friends and family. As a place where you can just chill, hang out and forget about the buzzing life you left down there, under the hill. Because almost all roads lead to Vítkov, it is easily accessible from various different quarters: from Karlín via stairs starting on Invalidovna or via the tunnel coming right through the hill from near the Karlínské náměstí; from Žižkov by just walking or from the city center via the secret shortcut between train stations Masarykovo and Hlavní nádraží connected to a cycleway and, you guessed it, some other stairs.

You can tell a lot from this description – first of all, you get pretty sweaty while reaching the top of the hill, especially during the long hot summer days. It is fun to see how your physical fitness is slowly declining as you spend more and more hours in the office. But that is also a good reason not to skip this trip! But secondly, the view from the top is just spectacular. I cannot just have enough of it. Because the place is visible from many spots in Prague, you can see almost the entire Prague from up here as well. That is quite logical, right? And it is definitely worth all the effort.

There is a lovely park behind the monument with many benches to sit on and it is also a favorite place for many sportsmen and sportswomen – for jogging and training under the open sky. What I personally love the most is to sit on the low wall surrounding the monument, observe everyone and everything and the whole city along all of it and chat with any of the precious beings I know.

Vítkov is basically one of the last places in Prague that were able to defend its charms, place that is quiet, peaceful and adorable and what is more, you can see the city you love from up here in its whole beauty. So please, while visiting, try to hold on to it and enjoy it. Staying humble while facing the greatness such as this one is also a part of the experience.

The Positive Diary #14 – The air and the clarity

18th February 2019 – Today, I want to talk about something we take so very often for granted but it still remains one of the most crucial bases for the life on Earth itself. I want to talk about the fresh air and the various ways it can help us through difficult times. I have to admit I am always that one annoying person who complains about a bad air in a room, especially when there is lots of people or in case there is no possible way to give the room a good airing. It seems to me that many people don’t even recognize there is something sneaky and unhealthy going on when we breathe such a bad air. To me, lack of a fresh air starts to feel like a great tiredness and continues with feeling dizzy, powerless and almost sick. But in the moment I leave the room and grasp my breath, all of this suddenly disappear. That is also the reason I cherish every single moment when I can take a deep breath in and out.

Focusing on one’s breath is one of the techniques that can help us to reduce stress, ease anxieties and repulse panic attacks. It can also be used as a technique to help you fall asleep faster when your brain is overwhelmed by the number of thoughts spinning inside your head after a stressful day. Maybe the reason why I feel so weakened by the lack of the fresh air is the fact that I use these techniques so often, sometimes even without acknowledging it.

But there is also another part of me that loves the air. My less rational but the more loving part. Even as a child, I was always attracted by the strong wind during summer thunderstorms. And even as an adult, I just can’t help but to love the mild breeze ruffling my hair on a quiet walk through a forest. It is an inseparable part of my deepest admiration of Nature itself and every conscious breath I take is not only my ally for fighting my inner demons but also a reminder of this love.

So yes, no matter how silly it can sound, today I am the most grateful for every breath of chilling air I took outside today and for every other I will take in the future.

Take a deep breath and enjoy your evening, my friends!

With love

Wicked And Clever

Šárka

The Positive Diary #13 – Warning signs

25th November 2018 – I am an expert especially in one thing and that is taking too much on. Well, I would say comparing with others, I don’t take on that much but maybe that is the problem, that we tend to compare ourselves with others and then make our decisions based on these comparisons. While all we ought to do is just ask ourselves: is this really good for me? Am I going to make it through with my health and sanity left? I usually forget to ask and then, in the middle of a semester, I usually end up thinking about how I will manage to survive until it ends. I’m no good at managing stress, I have to admit.

 

When I was finishing my bachelor’s degree, I somehow got this job offer I couldn’t dismiss so easily. It was a position of an editor in one of the most renown Czech magazine for kids. As my first job ever, I couldn’t wish for anything better. So, I accepted it. First two months, it was a joyful ride – I didn’t have many classes at school, I was content with my co-workers and I felt important. I felt how my self-confidence is growing, slowly. It was a dream. But then, first warning signs started to appear.

 

My strong immunity went to zero and I was sick all the time. With that, I ceased to enjoy my work, I ceased to enjoy my classes, my marriage, my life – everything was consumed by the dullness of everyday stress. I stopped managing my time schedule, I didn’t have time to do my home works properly and neither to do the job assignments. I remember this dark and cold emptiness from that time which I was trying to fill with the music of one of my most favorite bands, All Time Low. I decided to ignore all the warning signs until the point when there was a huge chance, I wouldn’t finish my bachelor thesis on time. Only then, I decided to execute the plan I had already dreamt of for several months and I finally quit. It has been the roughest few months in my modern history.

 

Since that time, I’ve always tried to avoid myself from getting into such situations again. And the reason for that is not that I would like to spoil myself but rather the fact that it was not worth the effort. We basically live in the age when workaholism is considered to be trendy and the one who is not as obsessed with gaining power and money as the rest of a society is usually considered to be weak, even lazy. I don’t think these people, and me among them, are lazy. We just value our lives more than money, we value our time more than showing off with a new super-fast car or super-expensive watches. When you think about it in this perspective, who is the fool in this story now? 🙂

 

So, today I want to express my gratitude for being able to recognize and also being able to respond to those warning signs I have been experiencing for some time now. Based on my old experience, I have decided to slow down a little bit. And I have to admit that during the last couple of days, much of my happiness and calmness has returned.

 

I believe these are the crucial things in one’s life that are worth the extra effort. Just find yourself time to rest properly, to feed your body with nutritious food, to exercise the body with fav YT yoga video and to calm your mind with the guided meditation that always brings you the tears of joy. With that, everything else will surrender and you will be able to see the meaning of your life again.

Think of it tomorrow, as the new week begins.

 

With love

Wicked And Clever

Šárka

 

DSC_0016.JPG