Friday, January 30, 2015

Topic 18: 10 Signs You Should Invest in Health

Self care is hard. If it was easy we wouldn't have a society plagued by chronic stress and the almighty "Busy Schedule". Having a busy schedule is not something to brag about, it is something we all should really evaluate and adjust.....Sometimes we associate being busy with being IMPORTANT. Well let me tell you, I don't agree. Many important people could be less busy and still be just as important. I could be less busy and still be important. But I digress.....

Investing in your health is investing in YOU, in your LIFE, your FUTURE, and not much is more important than that.... I'm no doctor but I am a mental health professional and here are 10 signs that I pick up on in my office that tell me that you (I, we) should invest in your health.

1. The scale is creeping up up UP.
2. You are grumpy and snappy, at everyone, for anything....
3. You are unhappy most of the time.
4. Your body is achy and sore even though you've been skipping your workouts.
5. You find yourself day dreaming of the beach (mountains, rivers, get the idea) more than focusing on your work, family, other responsibilities.
6. Your house is messy and things are piling up.
7. Your kids are grumpy and don't want to be around you.
8. You can't sleep or your sleep habits have either drastically or minimally changed.
9. You have headaches often.
10. You find yourself wanting to punch people in the face (this is my favorite and one I experience often, it tells me I need to start taking care of myself).

So there you have it, 10 in-your-face signs that you might need to invest in your health, in yourself, in your future.....

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Topic 17: Why We Love Love (And You Should, Too!)....

Oh. My. Goodness.

Am I done with the 30 Day Writing Challenge that has been happening since October yet? Ugh.....And to top it off I have to talk about loving love? Let me see what I can do....

Why we love love (and you should too!)....

Well love is awesome. When it is good it's GOOD. It feels so great. But when it's not's so not good. Few things in this life have the potential to murder you like love. It doesn't murder you nicely or quickly either. It seems to take joy in your slow, smothering, painful death....But when it is good, the sun is shining, the birds are singing, flowers are blooming, four leaf clovers is awesome.

Love gives meaning to life. It gives us a reason to wake up each morning, to look forward to each day. I'm not talking about just love for a significant other either. I'm talking about love for yourself, love of life, love of all things good and beautiful. Love of hope, love of fun, love of kindness, love of making others happy....Love makes the world a better place.

If you recall a previous post written to someone I needed to forgive, (HERE) I talk a little bit about love. Love is the difference between good and evil. When you are filled with love there is no room for anger, aggression, hate, vindictive behavior. When you come from love you want what is best for others, you want those that you love to live happily. You want them to feel love, to love and be loved...even if it is not in the way that benefits you.  I truly believe the old saying that goes, "If you love something let it go free. If it doesn't come back, you never had it.  If it comes back, love it forever." How good does it feel when they come back to you?! There is no better feeling than that of being confident in again, I chose love and it feels good.

In my job when I see couples having trouble I give them this, The 5 A's of Love:


And if those don't speak to your heart maybe this will: Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. 

And this my friends, is why we love love and why you should too.....

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Myths About Running a Marathon Part III....

Ok, the last 5 myths about taking on the marathon are here! I know you have been on the edge of your seat, just waiting for these final thoughts....if you missed it click here for Part I and here for Part II.

I know by now you have probably already picked your marathon and registered! So these last five myths may make no difference to you at all. I still feel it is important to finish what I start...(get it? Finish a marathon?? Hardy har har!!!).

Myth #16: It's pointless.

Maybe so. But for me it was not. Deciding to train for and run my first marathon was a huge life changing decision for me. I have written a number of blog entries about this. One in particular I wrote about how running a marathon made me feel like I had a unfair advantage in life, a secret weapon, a super power that people would not ever know just looking at me. From the moment I hit REGISTER to the moment I crossed the finish line I was growing and changing as a person. I went from grumpy, unhappy wife and mom, depressed and without direction to an empowered woman. A woman who knew that no matter the challenge, what ever roadblock I come up against, I would prevail. I would take it on and over come it. I would be OK. I would take on life.....just like I did 26.2 miles. So NO. For me running a marathon was not and is not pointless. It is a turning point. A beginning. It will become a keystone to the days and months ahead. You will find yourself in conversations saying things like "Before my first marathon....yadda yadda yadda.....After my marathon I...blah blah blah...." It will change your life.

Myth #17: People will be jealous of me if I do it. 

Well, I can't say for sure or speak for everyone but  yes, someone will be jealous. And it will be awesome.

Myth #18: My dog will love to train with me!!

Um, I'm certainly not a vet nor an animal professional...but I'd have to say FALSE. Of course your dog can run some of your shorter runs with you but that much mileage for your four legged BFF actually isn't good, in my opinion. I'd definitely talk to your vet about it first. Just like you have to work up to it, so does your dog. Just use common sense and don't overdo it. Hip problems are devastating to your dog and it's quality of life.

Myth #19:  I'll do one marathon and that's it. 

Maybe. Just maybe you will be the one and done type. Maybe not. I have known a few to complete one and mark it off their bucket list. But the majority end up being hooked and wanting to do at least one more. So who knows? Not you until you do one!

And finally...

Myth #20: Runners High, it's not real.

Oh yes it is real....that Runner's High is as potent of a high as any drug (not that I know first hand, I can only assume and I have been told by those who do know....and the chemical feel-good hormone released is the same hormone released in others when they get high from other not-so-healthy ways).  The Runner's High is in fact what keeps us going, keeps us've heard it before, "She's out chasing that Runner's High!" Of course! And why wouldn't we be? It feels so good, so amazing! It truly is hard to put into words other than it is something that doesn't always happen but when it does it is amazing and you find yourself chasing it...and wanting to experience it again and again.

So there you have it. 20 myths about the marathon either validated or debunked. So what are you waiting for? It's the perfect time to pick a race, register, and get out there and catch that Runner's High!

Friday, January 2, 2015

Marathon Myths Part II.....

There are so many reasons to not run a marathon. Most them are not true. Not legit. Not anything other than excuses. Of course time is a factor. Logistics alone can be a nightmare. But the truth is if you want to, you will. If you don't want to, have ZERO desire to put your body through 26.2 grueling miles then you don't have to. No biggie. I don't care. No skin off my back. But lets call it like it is....most people don't run a marathon because they either plain and simply don't want to...or they think they can't.

Call a spade a spade. You're afraid. Afraid of the distance? Of failure? Of pain? Afraid of what damage will be done to you body? Of how hard it will be? Afraid of commitment (hey, I don't judge....I've got my own commitment problems, and committing to a marathon is NOT one of them).

If you missed my Myths of Marathon Part 1 you can find it HERE. Now,  let me tell you a few more myths of the marathon.....

Myth #9If I try and quit then I'm a failure.

False. Making the commitment alone takes guts. Stepping out of your comfort zone and daring to say maybe I can is a win! Many people try and do not cross the finish line. That is not a failure. I have completed three marathons (not a lot, many people have done WAY more than me!) and DNF'd one....and I am here to tell you that DNF (Did Not Finish) hurt in more ways that I can explain. It was one of the THE toughest courses in the U.S., Big Sur California. It is coined THE destination race of the United States. And yes, it was gorgeous. The view was breath taking. The course was killer. And it killed me. I had to quit at mile 20 after beginning a run/walk at mile 11 and finally coming to a complete walk at mile 18. I knew I would not be able to finish and found myself in the shag wagon. It hurt my pride but my knee hurt worse. Quitting was the best option and one that I knew would ensure I could recover and return to the road after I fully healed. So quitting is not a failure. Not starting because you are afraid? Well you be the judge.....

Myth #10I'll have to put an annoying 26.2 sticker on my car.

Nah! You don't have to. But I bet you'll want to!

Myth #11: I'll have to buy lots of expensive gear.

Again, might end up wanting to get all the new techie gear, the latest New Balance, and the all-important compression tights. You can train and run in a simple cotton t-shirt (HIGHLY RECOMMEND NOT DOING THAT) but you may pay for it with chaffing and skin rubbed off....but you can get by with simple moisture wicking fabrics that don't cost an arm and a leg. You will find that quality gear just feels better and makes you run

Myth #12: I'm going to have to run like 127 miles a week. 

Nope. Not at all. It is best if you have a good running base of at least 15-20 miles per week and depending on the coach some say you should have been consistently running for at least a year. I agree that that would be optimal HOWEVER....with the proper plan and smart training you can train for and finish a marathon as a complete Novice, a noob if you will. And you can do that with minimal weekly mileage. Throughout my training for my first marathon my highest mileage week was 40 miles. Everything else was between 10 and 30 miles. The key is to train smart and be realistic about your training and your goal. Training to finish is WAY different than training to qualify for Boston.

Myth #13: I might poop my pants.....

Well....I cannot lie....poop happens. And it's gross. And it's embarrassing. Personally I have never pooped my pants while running but I certainly have had some close calls and thank my lucky stars there was a Honey Bucket close by (and for all y'all from the south, a Honey Bucket is a Porta Potty). Part of the training is figuring out your nutrition, what you can eat and cannot eat. What happens during a run after you eat XYZ? And adjusting accordingly. Running also gets your intestine all worked up and things just happen....and sometimes you poop. Hopefully not in your pants and not on the road. I've seen so many people pooping in bushes along the road or's just part of it and not for the faint of heart. If you absolutely cannot imagine yourself doing that then just know going in that there is a strong possibility that if you can't find a bathroom or a honey bucket, you might just have an accident if you absolutely refuse to use a bush.

Myth #15: I travel for work (or insert any reason for missing chunks of time in your training plan) and will miss workouts...there is no way I can swing it. 

Nope. Not completely true. My go-to marathon and running guru Hal-Higdon writes that you can stop running for up to 5 days without losing significant conditioning! So that business trip to Vegas that will have you at the slot machines  in a conference 12 hours a day will be fine. Simply ease back into your training plan once you get back. Don't be afraid to take walk breaks or slow your pace. You'll regain that fitness within a week or so.  But really.....we all know that most hotels have finiteness centers....or you could at least go for long walks. The activity will be good for you after sitting all day anyway!

Ok folks....If you have any marathon myths you'd like debunked let me know! I have five more to go.


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