October 19th, 2009
Another marathon for Alanis. She will be running also in the New York City Marathon on November
1st in support of the Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust. She wrote:
hi. just ran a marathon last weekend on behalf of national eating disorder association, unbelievably harrowing and beautiful and moving and surreal experience. i was blown away on many levels, not the least of which being that at around mile 20, even though it was clear I could NOT keep going, i did. i have to bow down to the human capacity to persevere...and for me, ALWAYS easier to do that with a star of bethlehem to keep my eye on and i soldier on. this cause fueling this run is beautiful. and i love edward and shauna. halfway through the marathon last weekend i though "oh, i'll have to tell shauna and edward that i can't do it. it won't be a big deal. they'll forgive me." then, mere seconds after i crossed the finish line, someone came up to me and said "will you do it again?" (body's still warm!! eyes still glazed! i hadn't even broken down and cried yet!!) and i found these words coming out of my mouth: "yes, november first." and that was it. i was and am committed. for the maasai conservation wilderness trust. for edward. for shauna. for myself. and for the collective idea of tenacity, perseverance and loving/prevailing in the face of fear and pain. yay, can't wait. jumping in last minute, please contribute whatever you feel called to...super grateful. love alanis.
The mission of the Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust is to support the preservation of biodiversity within the Maasai tribal lands of East Africa by promoting conservation, education and health services within the Maasai community.
The uniqueness of both equatorial Africa's grassland ecosystems and the traditional culture of the Maasai people face daunting challenges to survive and co-exist in a sustainable manner. Recognizing that the fate of both rests with the Maasai themselves, the MWCT collaborates with the local community on innovative programs designed to promote conservation in ways that bring direct economic benefit to people.
Working to link the tools and capacity of the global conservation community with a local culture that maintains deep intimacy with and knowledge of its environment, MWCT is truly a model for achieving global sustainability in the 21st Century.
October 13th, 2009
Alanis completed the marathon in 4:17:03, which equates to a 9:49 pace for 26.2 miles. Her brother, Wade, finished the marathon in 5:27:42, according to the official race results. Leah, her friend, beated both completing the marathon in 4:03:55.
New Diary entry after the marathon day:
that experience was truly beautiful and electric and traumatic and exciting and horrifying and surreal and moving and unforgettable.
the communal-kindness amongst the fellow runners (rick saved my life with talking me through two pretty big stitches...), the support the venue itself (stunning), the perseverance, the breath, the presence the attunement to the body parts (!), the intentionality....
all of it, pushing the body to its capacity....
as rick, who is an ultra-marathon runner said: "after 20, smooth and steady, soon it'll look like a war zone...."
so many people i am grateful to, for their support, silent usually....
doing this with my friends and brother...
for NEDA, for myself, for everyone there
dedicated every mile to a different person i know and love
surrounded by funny and kind support...
i can barely walk today...the comedy of us all attempting to do things like, lift our legs into the car etc...the excrutiation on our faces...classic.
so grateful for this experience
for the training, the lead up, the denouement, the laughing, the shock, the numbness, the rapture, the endorphins, the cold river plunge, the coconut water, the friendship, the collective....all of it.
2009-10-08 :: I'm getting faster as my race approaches I woke up early this morning but I'm going to be taking meetings scattered throughout the day, so my run will be later this afternoon.
I'm getting faster! I notice the parts of my training that have increased my pace the most are:
1. Running with someone who is faster than I am (as I see her body disappear into a tiny 1-inch version of herself, I am inspired to pull up my running-shoe straps!)
2. Doing 1/4-mile repeats: I run at anywhere between 8 and 9.5 mph on the treadmill for 2 minutes straight, then walk for 2 minutes. I repeat that anywhere from 7 to 14 times. The next time I run after having done them, I run faster!
Eating at night (especially foods with lots of salt) and not sleeping enough make me sluggish. So although I do both from time to time (for fun's sake), I know that the next morning I may feel like I'm dragging a little.
I would say that sleep, diet, a general sense of well-being, and inspiration (music, a running partner, variety in the run routes) all make a huge difference.
2009-10-09 :: I am so excited but have pre-race jitters!
I ran my final run before I go to Susanville today for the big marathon tomorrow. Was joined by a couple of friends and I was smiling ear to ear. I even sprinted a little here and there cuz I felt like a corralled horse. :)
Running just two miles felt like restrained torture based on how much we've been training and pushing through over the last many weeks. It also made my heart skip a beat because this implies the "great taper", which precedes the imminent big day (!!!!) So excited and nervous and thrilled all at once.
I'm supposed to carb up all week but I had no appetite today (nerves?). I forced some rice down along with tons of fruit, soy, ginger, egg whites, and English muffins. I am brought back to, and reminded of, my intention for this big run-to offer it up to all the courageous and precious peeps who are in the throes of, or on some part of, the journey of loving themselves through an eating disorder.
Knowing I might be able to raise awareness about eating disorders really keeps the flame alive for me... and has made training for the marathon so pointed and sustainable.
Tomorrow is the race!!
2009-10-10 :: And I'm off... my first marathon is today!
The big day is here! I can hardly believe how much care and time and effort has gone into being prepared for this marathon for the National Eating Disorders Association. We (my friend Leah and my brother Wade) have turned this hard-core training into a practice of sort... spiritual, serviceful, and (sometimes!) outright masochistic and adventurous! It's been an incredible journey-one that has uplifted and anchored me, and filled me with great empowerment and buoyancy (those endorphins!).
Source: www.alanis.com hey there
night before marathon run...so excited and nervous. sleep will be an interesting challenge tonight :)
i have been praying and meditating throughout the afternoon
so grateful to so many people for the support that i have received around this run that i am doing on behalf of the national eating disorder association....
it's been a gift to use my body for something bigger than the ego-me...
to offer the training and the run itself up to all people on this planet who have had a fraught relationship with themselves, their bodies, their souls, their emotions, their place in this funny world, their food, their relationships....
i see so much as a microcosm....how i drive, how i eat, how i work....is how i LIVE.
all my values and beliefs are imbued into how i do what i do each day.
to notice when i persevere, when i buckle, when i ignore my heart, when i kick ass, when i am gentle....whether it's when i have been training for this, or how i am in a meeting, on a phone call, out at a party....
bringing this kind of awareness to this time and this cause has been one of the great chapters of my life
it's returned me to that wild-eyed jock girl i was when i was young...
alive and energetic and bouncing off the walls...the great combo of masculine and feminine....
finessing the art of figuring out when to push and when to rest...this process has forced me to grow up! love it
to the people at NEDA
to you, who contributed to this cause through this site
to my friends who have rallied around and buoyed my runs and blisters and reframing of all things athletic (Food, sleep, massage etc)
to the people i am running with (my brother wade, my friends tim and leah)...
thank you to you each
and i send love, formally, to the people whose hearts and bodies i/we are running on behalf of.
you are not alone.
and there is a way out.
i love you.
ps: i'll check in when the race is done :)
October 10th, 2009
Alanis Q & A for NEDA:
What motivated you to run a Marathon?
I was excited to have my orientation shift from viewing my body singularly as an ornament to that of being an instrument... and I had begun running for the first time about a year ago, after having been inspired on my tour by watching my assistant leah run like a gazelle every time we would work out.
How did you choose the National Eating Disorders as your charity of choice for the run?
I knew that the training for the marathon would not be sustainable if it weren't for some star of Bethlehem for me to look to throughout it. Infusing the training with a real sense of purpose and contribution was what would make it possible for me. For me to offer up the run to this higher cause. I have seen the positive effects of movement (empowerment, attunement, care, considerate "fueling", sleep, rest etc) and I wanted to offer this run to anyone who has had a fraught relationship with their food, their body and their heart and soul.
Were you worried that training for a marathon might trigger some eating disordered type behaviors?
I was worried, and it did. And I forgave myself. And was gentle. And I saw that there was no way for me to maintain a high level of energy to do the training if I was undereating or eating in a way that wasn't caring. So the training itself created a great context and container for me to find a balance in how I fueled myself. I was able to tune into the subtleties of what made me run faster and with more fire.
What is your number one goal in this marathon? Is it about speed, the accomplishment if finishing or making a statement about getting healthy and overcoming an eating disorder?
I don't know if an eating disorder can be "beaten" as much as it can be loved and understood into some personal version of harmony. I knew that the training for this would take my healing to another level. My main goal began with my wanting to finish it. As I trained, my goal began to run at an increasingly faster pace... which became the case. Super exciting.
How do you think you will feel after you complete this marathon?
Relieved, excited, exhausted, happy. Ready to celebrate. J
What would you tell people who become obsessed with over exercise?
It's another sneaky version of bulimia. And that it too warrants gentleness and inquiry. Asking myself questions about why I ate more than I needed (was I staving off loneliness? Was I angry? Was I tired? Did I need snuggles and couldn't find them? Etc) and then I would look to why I was training. what helped the most was the great structure to the training, its' benefits were immeasurabe. Ie: I never really went above what I had committed to doing in the training, and my assistant leah and I were accountable to each other (SO important to have this!) and supported each other when we needed to take it easy. And also championed each other when we needed a little wind in our sails. So inquiry, gentleness, and accountability with a caring a wise friend all helped.
Where do you draw the line of healthy exercise vs. over obsessive exercise?
I am onto myself these days. So I can tell when I am being obsessive. There is a fiendy quality to the run (and often it is done when I am beyond tired, often at night. So too many late night time runs-not always-can indicate my being obsessive. I have the order of priorities: sleep first. Food second. Running third. So if I don't have the first two nailed, I can't run. So it incentivized me to nurture the first two. When I run healthfully I feel empowered and kind. When I run obsessively I feel nervous, stressed out and disassociated.
For far too long, eating disorders have been stigmatized and treated as lifestyle choices rather than the serious illnesses that they are. Do you understand how powerful it is that you are willing to stand up and advocate on behalf of NEDA and people struggling with these illnesses that they represent?
Yes I do. It has been at the front of my mind throughout the entire training for me. I have often become choked up on my runs because of it. This relationship with my body and heart and feelings and food and hormones and structure is so delicate and fragile at times... and is complicated in a way a lot of people don't understand. There can be a flippancy and lack of empathy toward it based on people's limited understanding. The care and sense of love and community around this subject that I share with fellow strugglers is all the more profound based on the massive misunderstandings that there have been around it. I am writing a book right now and I get into this subject even more in it.
Why do you think so many people remain silent about eating disorders?
There's this perception that overeating is for the weak-willed. But you have never met a more steeled and brave and willfull person as anyone addressing weight and food issues. We are all very smart and steely and there is so much to an eating disorder beyond what people know. There is shame around it as well based on the fact that you often can't hide your struggle. Many addictions can be hidden and swept under the rug. Often peoples' struggle with food is evidenced physically. There is great shame that underlies this struggle. And added shame at the fact that there is not a lot of empathy for how intricate and complex the disorder is. I am happy to stand by people (and myself) in this healing, because I understand first hand how there are so many elements that play into it, far beyond the "self-control" admonition that if often hurled at us.
Do you see our society doing any better in promoting health rather than size?
I do see there being many more books and articles out there about health. And that's exciting. However I still see the skew being toward "health for skinny-ness" orientation. Weight loss or gain as an incidental aspect of becoming healthier is exactly that: incidental and unavoidable in a cause and effect kind of way. But ultimately a shift toward greater health is its' own reward…the energy and sense of well-being and self-love and care are the great brass rings. Sleeping better. Improving our relationship with ourselves, with our feelings, with our sense of spirit, with our friends and lovers and family...it is a holistic shift…not one that is carried by chasing a number on a scale. I do notice that the shift in pop culture has moved toward a body composition conversation versus an outright weight conversation. I see that personalizing a lifestyle skewed toward healthful eating and movement and relating is the key piece. Because otherwise, any change is going to be temporary at best.
In your industry, do you feel a lot of pressure to be perfect?
Yes. And that has gotten more extreme with plastic surgery etc being so commonplace. Almost expected of you at this point. I do notice though, that I never feel more beautiful than when I am well fed, well rested and well "moved" as I call it (exercise/dancing etc). I feel so alive when my hormones and sensual pleasure is considered, when the spiritual and emotional aspects of myself are tended to. and when I am tuning in my wounded, fragile parts and my feelings with inquiry rather than food. Beyond that, make up and clothes and color and hairstyle become fun in an incidental, fun and secondary way.
As a terrific talent and role model, what would you tell young people struggling with eating disorders?
I would tell them that they are not alone. That they are not crazy. That they are not weak and faint-willed. I would tell them that there is a way toward love and care and self-acceptance, and that it is a process and that it takes time, and that time is all we have. And that there is support here for us. And that unconditional love does exist. that there is a way toward a sense of beauty that transcends AND includes color and cut and whimsy and sexiness outside of the confines of what 2% of all human beings look like. And that health is the portal to the unique version of a felt beauty that we all possess.
October 9th, 2009
Alanis will appear among some other famous people (actors, singers and such) in the new PBS Documentary,
This Emotional Life. The documentary unfolds across three, two-hour episodes, exploring ways we can improve our social
relationships, cope with negative emotions such as depression and anxiety and become more positive, resilient individuals. Each episode
weaves together the compelling personal stories of ordinary people and the latest scientific research, along with revealing comments
from celebrities such as Chevy Chase, Larry David, Elizabeth Gilbert, Alanis Morissette, Katie Couric and Richard Gere.