Posted in exercise, food, know better do better, mental health, mindset, motivation, physical health

Go get what you deserve

Get out.

Exercise.

Eat real food.

Cut the processed crap.

Cut the added sweeteners.

Quit smoking.

Get enough sleep.

Cultivate relationships with people offline.

Turn off the TV.

Why?

You deserve it.

Feeling good in your body, being healthy, having energy, are worth it.

We’re told at every turn that it’s not.

“You deserve a treat.” Sure you do! But a “treat” isn’t deep-fried or chocolate-covered.

Can you really think of no way to reward yourself for whatever you feel you need to be rewarded for other than to eat junk food?

(How often do you need to be rewarded?)

Have you lived in a sluggish, tired body for so long that you forget how good it feels to have energy and mental clarity?

Being tired all the time is not the inevitable result of hitting a certain age. Neither is weight gain. Many significant health ailments are avoidable or reversible.

When I was in my mid-20s, people who were in their mid-30s told me I would understand when I was their age. Same thing happened in my mid-30s from people in their mid-40s.

As I pass through their ages, I understand that they were blaming it all on aging so they didn’t have to accept that it was really something they had some control over.

Make healthy choices.

You deserve it!

Posted in exercise, gratitude, mindset, motivation, physical health, thoughtfulness

Gratitude for more than health

A few years ago, I was doing a 10k and was maybe a little undertrained. (What?! Never!) Was running it with a good friend and we knew we’d have a good time, even if we didn’t have a good time.

Somewhere around mile 5, I got a text from the guy I was dating at the time:

Hey! As you make progress toward the finish line think about how really lucky you are to participate in that 10k. In the grand scheme of things it is pretty cool. It means you’re healthy enough, financially secure enough, living in a place that can safely put on a big event like that. It’s a good way to spend a free morning. Lots of people all over would love to be in your shoes, feeling what you’re feeling. It’s pretty cool. Hope you’re having fun!

I’ve often been grateful for good health and mobility, not just in the context of running. But he added extra layers that I take for granted most of the time.

So if you’re out this weekend, particularly at something you’re maybe less than excited to be at (I’m looking at you, track meet!), soak in some of his good thoughts about all of the other variables that we take for granted to make it possible.

But it’s also a reminder of one of the reasons I move it move it: because I can.

 

Posted in about me, exercise

Distracted exercising

I used to need to be distracted to be able to get through a workout, especially running.

Nowadays, I often look forward to the time for quiet thinking. Not just because it’s quiet (see: elementary band teacher and mom to a loquacious 7-year-old) but because there is something different about the thinking that happens on a trip (or 20) up the bleachers, or a run around the neighborhood.

I’m not totally sure why. Maybe it’s like the thinking that some people do in the shower.

Lots of ideas, some concrete (lesson plans, things to do with various people, ways to renovate the house, things to write about), some abstract.

The thinking isn’t always pleasant, but working through it together with happy-brain chemicals almost always leads me to feel better on the other side.

So I feel like: I used to need to be distracted to avoid whatever was in my brain, but nowadays, I can let it flow, manage it, and move on.

It’s pretty cool.

That said, there is also a component of distracting myself from the task at hand (read: running), but my brain so often is so busy that it can easily take over nearly any task.

Also, I didn’t decide to do this. It started when I was triathlon training. No earphones/earbuds allowed on the course, so I eventually started training without so race day wouldn’t be jarring.

There are some days that I would like my brain just to turn off for a bit and I’ll listen to music or a podcast on those days, and some days I run with a partner (most often but not always The Climbing Daddy), but the rest of the time, I run with just the ambient noise.

 

Posted in exercise, food, know better do better, mindset, motivation, physical health

It’s normal. But is it good?

At some point recently, my Facebook memories claimed this quote:

“I have eaten a lot (for me) of junk food in the last week or two, and I feel like crap. It is amazing to me that how I feel right now used to be ‘normal.'”

If we’ve never been on a path with decent health habits (food, exercise, sleep, stress, connection), we have no idea how much better we could feel.

I had no idea.

How we feel is normal. But “used to it” and “good” aren’t synonyms.

Sometimes (read: usually) taking the first steps to healthier does not instantly yield the results we want. I know countless people who were completely sedentary, started exercising, and complained bitterly that they were exhausted and it was a myth that exercising gives you more energy.

It’s not a myth. But it’s also not a 5-hour-energy drink. Give it a couple of weeks or a month.

Any time I don’t feel like exercising and go out and do something anyway, I felt better after. Always. As a general rule, I feel better when I exercise regularly. I’m not an outlier in this.

Most of us know we feel better with a good amount of sleep. (What “a good amount” is varies pretty wildly.) It’ll take a week or more of regular, sufficient sleep before it yields results.

Stress is a huge weight. I go through periods where I’m able to relieve myself of some of it and feel much lighter. I’m working on managing what’s left better in hopes of maintaining some of that buoyancy when I’m dealing with situations that I can’t get off my plate.

Food plays an enormous role in mood and energy level (which are themselves linked). A reasonably healthy diet on a consistent basis is better fuel for your body. When you have good fuel, you run better. But again, it takes more than two days (or two meals haha) of eating well before you feel it. And if you’re eliminating allergens or irritants, it could take a month before it’s all cleared your system, depending on which food.

If you’re running on low energy, I challenge you to start tweaking your basic health habits and see how they help you. Start with just one.

Change your normal.

 

Posted in about me, differences, exercise, mental health, mindset, motivation, physical health

I am a runner, but…

I’m here today to give some confidence to the slow and less enthusiastic among us.

I’m a runner. I’m slow. Lately, I’ve been running 12- to 12.5-minute miles. At the fastest I’ve ever been, I ran 5K in 29:20 (or something close to that). Once.

(I had only one other 5K under 30 minutes. It was a Komen run. I’ve long since learned about the dark side of the Komen organization and I don’t patronize their events. But I couldn’t get rid of my only sub-30 bib, so I trained to be faster—something I nearly never do—just so I could break 30 minutes again, have a new bib, and get rid of the Komen one. Also in that race, I placed second in my age group, something I don’t anticipate happening again unless there are only two of us.)

Anyway, I’m slow, but I get the job done.

Also? I don’t like running long distances. On regular evening runs around the neighborhood, I’ll go between two and four miles. Four was more common when I ran with running club. I just ran four this morning for the first time in probably two years. (I did a 10K last winter, but we walked a fair amount.)

Two half marathons taught me that I don’t like running half marathons and, until further notice, don’t need to run another. (I’d walk one, if someone was interested in walking together.)

For a while, I had stopped listening to anything while I ran. That turned out to be good, because I could use the time to clear my mind. Most of the time, I still run without music or podcasts, but every now and then, I don’t want to be all up in my head and take something to listen to. Sometimes The Climbing Daddy and I run together and talk.

Also? I don’t love running. I’ve never had a runner’s high. After a couple of miles, it starts to feel tedious.

But I love (and need) the benefits that come from running. Nothing is a better mood stabilizer. Can be done nearly anywhere. Just need weather-appropriate clothes and decent shoes (and good socks, if not in Vibrams).

So, to the people who run without loving it, who don’t run far, who don’t run fast—I am one of your people. If you need a running partner for a dose of anti-depressant, let me know.