Sunday, April 28, 2013

Pump It!

Usually I write for beginning runners, walkers and race walkers.  That is where I feel that I can do the most good, with what I can contribute, to the sports that I love.  There is so much misinformation and so many cold hard facts that it's often hard for a someone new to adult athletics to wade through it.    But today I'm going to write on a different subject and for long time road warriors.

When you live a lifestyle of health and fitness and this lifestyle has gone on for ten years, twenty years, thirty years or in my case over four decades then there are times that you need to be pumped back up.  You hit periods where you don't really feel like training at all any more or you just feel like you are going through the motions.  It seems pointless because your best days are behind you, you are getting older, slower and less limber.  It takes longer and longer to recover from an injury and you get injured so much easier than you did before.

These are the times when we have to dig deeper than ever before.  Deeper than when we need to go hard and go long in a race.  Deeper than when we need to get out on the road when it's hot and humid or below freezing and get our miles in.  Deeper even than when we have to get up at oh dark thirty, on a cold rainy morning and get to the starting line of a race.  You have to dig down to very core of your being to find the spark to relight that flame of desire.  That flame that has been strong before and as it began to fade a part of you began to fade with it.

I have had to rekindle that fire many times over the years and sometimes it would stay cold for a year or more before something would happen that brought back the need.  Yes the need because that lifestyle is something that once you have experienced it, although you may need to step back from it, becomes a part of your being.  When you do it's like coming home to a long lost love.  It's like being lost and then finding your way out of the darkness.

If you are anything like me then you have experienced those cold times yourself, times when it's just hard to find the motivation.  But somehow you did it and found that lost love.  You brought yourself back and it was like you came home and also, very soon, it's like you never left.  I'm speaking now to that adult athlete that is feeling the flame fading and it's threatening to burnout.  How do you get it back when you are really not feeling the love anymore?

When you feel it fading then you have to remember what it felt like when it was good and fine, when you were firing on all cylinders.  When you are training and racing you are, for the few times in your life, living by your own rules, master of your own body and feelings.  You are literally high on living and living free.  You need to remember but you also need to add a new goal.  You must find that which makes it worth it to train hard again.  To live by your own rules again and train again like you once did, you have to want it again.

It's time to change things around, shake it up.  If you train with music then change the songs in your iPod.  If your haven't been training to music then maybe it's time to start.  Get a training partner, plan a future challenge to work toward together.  Decide to do it all and train like the elite train.  Plan an interval day, a tempo day and an LSD day each week.  Cross train, lift, swim, put all the pieces of a training program together.  Or don't do any of that, simply make the decision that you are going to find the love and enjoy being in motion again.

If you are going through a cold spell, make the effort to find the love again, it will be worth it.  Shake off the funk and rediscover your own flame.

Thanks for reading.


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Getting it

There are several schools of thought about why athletes continually get better.  They continue to get stronger, faster and records continue to be broken regularly.  There is one group that says it's the performance enhancing drugs.  Even the athletes that don't get caught are doing them, they have just been lucky.  They use Lance Armstrong as the poster child for this theory.  According to them if those drugs were to be stopped we may never see a record broken again.  Another theory is that training methods keep improving and we keep learning more about not only how to train a muscle but how to feed it as well.  Still another is that it's a natural progression for each generation to be a little better than the last.

I personally think that it's none of these things.  Sure modern medical tests can find out if you are deficient in a vitamin or mineral and you can take supplements legally for those deficiencies.  There is a wealth of information now about training and fueling your muscles.  We have amazing new training equipment and the research is on going.  As far as the natural progression, who really knows.

If indeed athletic perfection were, drugs, scientific training, state of the art equipment and super fueling, then how do we explain the that endurance sports are dominated by the poorer countries.  The South Africans dominate the distance races, they don't have the resources to tap into the science pot but they are the hands down kings of the long distance races.  The industrialized, "developed", nations do excel in the short, sprint events.  Well they did until Usain Bolt came along form the tourist island of Jamaica.

What is the magic that is at work when a Kenyan runner can beat the runners who have access to the best of everything in performance training?  Is it that they are training harder, or smarter or that they are just genetically superior?  Or is it something else.  I believe that it is something else, something that you can't test in the laboratory.  I think that the spark that makes a good athlete great is that the great athlete has figured it out and they can't even explain it.

The 4 minute mile was an impossible goal, runners for many years tried and failed to achieve that magic performance goal.  Then someone did it and it wasn't long before the 4 min mile was broken regularly.  Now the elite athletes go darn near that pace in the marathon.  Athletes viewed the 4 minute mile as impossible until they were shown it was possible.  It was a change in thinking rather than a change in training that made the 4 minute mile a reachable goal.

When Usain Bolt rewrote the record book on the sprint events do you think he was scientifically enhanced?  Did he have a secret training laboratory where he was exposed to the best training and diet?  No he figured out that "something".  Something clicks and then you are suddenly at a higher level than ever before.  The scientists that study such things say that we use only a small portion of what our brains are capable of.  I believe that the great athletes have learned to use more of that brain power to be better athletes.

One of my race walking friends that regularly brings home gold medals from international competitions says this about race walking, "Once you get it, then it's like a switch has been tripped and suddenly you can fly".  Race walking is a technique sport, like runners most of us are just plodding along wondering how the, "Really speedy ones", do it.  Most of them if they are honest don't know either, they just do it. 

What is this magic, mental super power?  I think it's as simple as believing in yourself and training with the mind set that you will accomplish the goals that you desire.  Will that make you a champion?  Well if you don't believe in yourself and work as hard as you can to reach your goals, then no you won't be a champion.  But if you do believe and can see yourself accomplishing your goals and then are willing to put in the hard work, then yes it's possible.

Thanks for reading.


Sunday, April 21, 2013

Random Acts of Kindness Thoughts

Yesterday I suggested that we honor the wounded of Boston as well as peace loving people around the world by doing random acts of kindness this week.  Kindness for a week doesn't change anything, right?  Well maybe if we do start thinking of those acts of kindness, really put some serious thought into them and do those acts often enough they can become habit.

Kindness can start at home, doing kind things for your family is a good place to start the ball rolling.  Kindness doesn't have to end with other people either.  When you do your marketing this week pick up a bag of seed and thank the pretty little birds that give us their songs.  While your at it you could call your local animal shelter and see what kind of things they desperately need.  Showing up with some cat litter, chew bones or even cleaning supplies will make you a hero.

A smile doesn't cost anything but I promise if you smile at people they will smile back.  It is amazing how you can cheer someone up with that simple gesture.  I often do my training through very poor areas of town.  When I pass someone standing on the side of the road, waiting for a bus or just walking along the sidewalk, they get a warm smile.  I will always get a smile back and often a surprised look as well.  It's like I'm the only one who has even acknowledged they existed for a long time.  Elderly people especially seem to appreciate that smile.  We get really good at ignoring the poor and the elderly among us.  Maybe it's time we learned to really see the world around us.

There are so many causes asking for our monetary contributions and many are I'm sure worthy causes.  But I think giving of yourself is equally important and often an even better way.  Volunteering to help out with a race to earn funds for a cause is a better memory than just writing out a check or doing a paypal.  Helping costs nothing and you have the knowledge that it might not have happened if you hadn't given of your time.

Another kindness is also an excellent way to help yourself.  We all have friends and family members we haven't talked to for way to long.  Most of us also have held a grudge about something for way to long.  All of us need to learn to forgive people for trivial things that happened in the past.  Isn't it time to bury those old demons and get on with your life.  A short note to an old friend that you haven't talked to for a long time, to let them know you were thinking about them, can really make their day and just maybe your day as well.

Next time you head out for some long slow distance training, give it some thought and see what you can come up with.  I bet you will think of things that not only help others but make you feel better about yourself.

Thanks for reading.


Saturday, April 20, 2013

Random Act of Kindness

We are coming off of a week in which there was a brutal attack against innocent people.   All around the world there is terrorism, brutality and injustice.  There is evil in the world and mans inhumanity to his fellow man is to most of us simply unthinkable.

I have a proposal to make.  Let's make this week a week that everyone of us, each day will do at least one completely random act of kindness.  You have all seen those videos where doing a good deed for someone starts a chain reaction of good deeds.  This week let's do that, let's practice what we believe, good will toward our fellow man is the antidote for evil.

There are way more of us good honest hard working people in this world than there are doers of evil.  Let's make the effort this week to prove that.  Yes the evil touched us all this last week but don't let that evil have it's way, don't let it make us hate and distrust.  Let's show we are better than that.

Thanks for reading.


Friday, April 19, 2013

After Thoughts

Like most Americans I'm trying to make some sense out of the senseless act of terror against the people of Boston, during the marathon.

I'm part of a world wide community of adult athletes, most of you that are reading this are members of that community as well.  We don't all know each other, but our daily lives are so similar that we could all be living by the same book of instructions.  We go to work to keep food on the table for ourselves and our families and a roof over our head.  We prize our time that we can practice our chosen sport.  We are parents, spouses, bread winners, and we are involved with our community.  We really don't have the time to ponder who we currently need to hate.  We are too busy leading our own lives.

 Why would terrorists want to target a marathon?  Because it stands for what they are against, people getting along with each other, regardless of their religion, their nationality or the color of their skin.  Maybe our gathering, to practice our passion, is the biggest threat to their hatred.  The very concept of thousands of people, from the world over, coming together and cheering each other on, goes against the terrorists message of hatred.

What they did does send a message, that we are doing right.  We are examples, of what is good with the world.  Not because we run or walk or lead a lifestyle of health and fitness, but because we have come to understand that our battles should be against our own demons and not our fellow man.  We have learned that we must strive to be stronger in mind and body, to be a better person tomorrow than we were yesterday.  That is the good and wholesome message that we send.


Thursday, April 18, 2013


There is a poem about a woman who finds a poor half frozen snake. She takes it home, gives it milk and honey and wraps it in silk to get it warm. After the snake is warmed up it bites the woman and kills her. Just before she dies she asks the snake, "Why did you bite me, I cared for you". The snake replied, "You knew I was a snake when you brought me in". That poem is a wonderful lesson about the temptations we face in our lives.

Many things we know are bad for us, make us feel so good. Drugs, alcohol, cheating on our significant other all give us a feel good. Even though deep down we know it's destroying us. We crave those feelings. We drink to access because we crave that drunk feeling, knowing that the next day we will pay with a hangover for those feelings. I was a smoker for 35 years and the last 5 years or so I would tell my self this cigarette will be my last, because I knew that I was poisoning myself. But I couldn't stop. That few minutes of need over came my good sense.

That feeling of new and forbidden love is so wonderful like a drug in it's self. But that feeling doesn't last, the freshness and intensity fades over time and then you wonder where the excitement is that you felt for this other person.  Then you usually discover that you destroyed a good relationship by giving in to the temptation of cheating.

We follow a cause or join a group, just to have a sense of belonging. Even though we often know that group is just using us. We like knowing we are part of it. Like a politician who tells you, "if you will just vote for me, all your troubles are over". That politician doesn't give a darn about you, just your vote and you know that but you want that feeling that comes from thinking that maybe this time will be different.

We all have the same temptations and face the same demons. It's how we respond to those temptations that makes us the person we are. I was talking to one of the guys in the gym this morning who had just completed his first triathlon. Was he on a High? Hell yes he was, he was riding the drug of accomplishment. He said this morning that he was as excited as when he was back in college and had just won a big game.

We can get our highs and our 'feel goods' and we can get them the right way, without feeling guilty. We can have the satisfaction of doing something well, accomplishing a difficult task or helping others accomplish their goals. The possibilities are endless, we just have to look for them.  Our challenge is to look for 'feel goods', that keep us moving forward and not sending us into a spin of self destruction.

My crowd has discovered the awesome feeling of finishing distance events like half and full marathons. Whether you walk, run or a combination, that finish line is sweet. But even sweeter is over coming negative temptations and winning your own self respect.

Thanks for reading.


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Changed Forever

I just read a news article about the bombings at the Boston Marathon.  It said that the terror has come to the streets of America.  It says that we are changed forever.  I beg to differ with that statement, we adult athletes were already changed forever.  This act of hatred will not change us, we are beyond that, we will not be intimidated and we will not cringe in fear.

It has long been said that going the distance will change you forever.  That is just as true now as it was many years ago when men and women first decided to see what they were capable of.  How are people changed when they do these distance events?  When a person crosses that finish line of a 5K, half marathon, full marathon or an ultra event, they are not changed by what they just did over the last several hours.  They are changed by what they have done in the long months or years since they first made the decision to do it.

Often a person makes their fateful decision while watching some news coverage of an event, seeing runners and walkers out training in their neighborhoods or a friend asks them to do it with them.  That is the moment the change begins, not when they finally cross a finish line.  Those first few months after their decision is made are usually pretty tough but magical in that the improvements come so quickly.

An adult athlete in training learns to endure discomfort, this can be a very new and frightening experience for a beginning athlete.  We seasoned road warriors know that there are going to be times we are really sore, but we know it goes away, there will be times we are exhausted to the point we can't even get up under our own power, but we have learned it passes.  We learn that, as we become stronger, we recover quicker and that which was once difficult is now easy and we are already chasing a new level.

A man or woman who once wouldn't think of going out without their hair combed perfectly or their make up just right soon becomes comfortable being out covered with sweat and hair a mess.  Fashion becomes less important than function and comfort.  We also come to realize that we aren't all that different from the other athletes out there training.  Whether they are white, black, Asian or Native American, we come to know that we are all pretty much the same.  We learn to respect each other and to support each other.  An honest hard effort is something to be applauded, no matter who it is that is pushing their limits.

The long slow workouts teach us that we can do more and go further than we believed possible.  We learn that we are in control of our body and our mind.  Playing a video game for hours might entertain you but spending a couple of hours alone on the road with your own thoughts and going under your own power, will teach you that you are more than you ever imagined.  It's universally true that you will quickly learn to respect that person that you meet out on the road, that person that is you.

The hard workouts are when we learn that we are not weak and helpless victims but strong and in control.  We become stronger but also tougher.  We come to know that we are worthy.  Like the sleek, well muscled horse galloping across the pasture, we tend not to care what the cattle we pass think of us, not from an inflated ego, though we are proud, but because we have become comfortable with in our own body.

We put on our 'big boy or girl' pants and go out in weather we would once never think of going out in.  We know that we can endure bitter cold, intense heat, driving wind and pouring rain.  Somewhere along the path we follow we come to realize that we are not just passing through nature but that we are a part of nature.  We are as we should be, at peace with our world.

Changed, yeah I'd say that we, the world community of adult athletes are changed.  But are we intimidated by someone trying to spoil what we have, nope I think we are above that.  Will we be afraid to gather and do our races.  No we will not be chased off.  We are not the rabbit hiding in the bush but the wolf standing content, strong and proud with our pack.  Changed, yes but not by an evil that has tried to bring us down but by the path we have traveled to get where we are.

Thanks for reading.


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Boston Thoughts

Several years ago I watched a movie, I'm sorry I don't remember the title, but it was about some Canadian Geese flying home after spending the winter in the south.  The movie follows the brave birds as they fly non stop seeking their home.  They are finally there, flying on the strength of their will alone.  Long past exhaustion, beyond the limits of endurance, near death from the effort they are home.  Then as they are gliding in to land and at long last rest, you hear the shotgun blasts, the hunters are waiting.  After all they endured to be killed as they approach their finish line.  I stopped hunting forever that day.

Those of you that have gone one on one, toe to toe with the challenge of a distance race know that feeling.  You finally near that finish line and nothing else matters but making it there.  Your whole being is centered around crossing that line.  You have given all you have and your putting one foot in front of the other with the power, that you have discovered within you, a power you may not have realized was there.  Then to be killed or injured just as you reach that hard fought goal.

I can think of no better legacy, for those who were traumatized and killed by this attack, than for the endurance athletic community to stand united and continue to spread our message of following a lifestyle of health, fitness and peace.  Perhaps if others notice our efforts more now, then our message will spread because of it.

Thanks for reading.


Monday, April 15, 2013

Hoist The Colors!

We call ourselves brothers and sisters, we endurance athletes.  We are the gold standard in getting along with our peers from the world over and treating each other with respect.  We are the example of courage, we are the cure and the antidote for the ills that plague the people of the world.

Now let's show that we transcend the fallacy of race and regardless of our personal nationality that we are indeed brothers and sisters.  Let's show that we endurance athletes the world over are expressing our displeasure at this horrible act of terror and that we honor our dead and wounded brothers and sisters at Boston.

Tomorrow wear a race shirt to work.  If you work for a company that won't allow it then wear your race shirt as an under shirt.  Show your solidarity and express your disgust at this type of terrorism.  Let the world see and hear our message.  I'm sending this request to the International Athletic Alliance and to club sites around the world.


Sunday, April 14, 2013

Racing and Eating

 One of the things that is confusing for adult athletes, that are training to do their first long distance event, is what to eat and drink before during and after the race.  There are a lot of different opinions.

Some people will tell you that if you eat anything before a race it needs to be very light and at least an hour before. Other people can be seen chugging a sports drink to wash down a bagel just a few minutes before the race starts. Other people look like they are going on a grand adventure with their belt filled with special foods and drinks that are "Scientifically developed", for optimal performance.

During a race it's the same thing, some people have special fluids, gels, Goos and food to eat along the way. I've seen everything from peanut butter sandwiches to beef jerky being eaten on the move.

I'm going to give you my take on this subject. I was a competitive runner for over 30 years and a race walker after that. In addition I worked with a lot of military personnel, helping them get in shape to pass their required fitness tests and athletes training for competition. So I have some opinions derived from experience and trial and error.

My personal pre competition meal is a cereal like Special K or Cheerios, with a banana cut up on top and skim milk, I add a glass of water and a cup of coffee. I'll eat this about 2 hours before start time. I eat and drink that far ahead for a couple of reasons. 1. I want the meal digested and not sitting in my stomach. A meal eaten shortly before you start will still be pretty much there when you finish your race, so it really didn't do you any good because your body had to channel blood to your stomach for digestion of that meal and that means some of the blood that would have gone to your muscles has gone to digestion instead.

A runner because of the bouncing has more problem with stomach distress than a walker so it's even more important for a runner not to have a belly full of undigested food. My number 2. reason is that I don't want to have extra potty breaks. Your body uses the water and other fluids for a lot of purposes. One important use is to clean out the waste from the cells and then send that "Sewer water" out. This is important since your body is removing lactic acid from the exercise effort. But starting the race with your stomach full of water will just cause you to have to make a pit stop soon after you start when the potties along the way are the most crowded.

During the race you use an average of 100 calories per mile. In a half marathon you really don't need to eat anything. You have more than 1300 calories already stored in your body for use. Just drinking the sports drinks will supply you with plenty of extra calories along the way. Sports drinks are a good idea because they have the salts and sugars to replace what your using. The food in your stomach from a pre race meal, eaten just before the start, is just going to sit there and make you uncomfortable.

In a marathon you do need to keep your calories coming in but not always with food, once again you need the sports drinks for fluid replacement and the salts and sugars. But it doesn't hurt to use a gel or Goo if you have used then in training and they sit well with you. I will eat several banana halves, or orange slices, during a marathon, if they are offered and toward the end I'll have a couple of gels and maybe a bag of sports beans. When you don't eat a little along the way during the marathon you start really running out of energy somewhere between miles 18 and 22. A cup of sports drink at every water stop is a good idea and if you want to add a sugary product like a gel or Goo it's ok. But you don't need to eat a gel every mile! And once again real food will not be digested and supply energy unless your body sends that blood needed for muscle performance to digestion instead. A sugar product like a gel or a piece of fruit, is for all intents and purposes pre digested, so it is quickly useable by your body.

Of course you want to drink a little water or sports drink at every water station. Dehydration will get you during the race long before you will starve to death. A good way to gauge your hydration level is to look at the color of your urine. If its dark yellow your getting dehydrated and if it's clear your ok. You want to go to the race with clear urine not dark yellow. You start a marathon dehydrated and your going to be in trouble before it's over and you probably won't finish.

After the race eating is pretty much up to you. But remember your body has just been challenged to a difficult task and it's weak. Avoiding strong drink and very spicy food is a good idea unless you want to be very uncomfortable. I like a cold beer and something like baked fish or a pasta and chicken dish. Of course when you finish you want to drink a few bottles of water and or sports drink, your biggest challenge is rehydrating.

Thank you for reading.


Thursday, April 11, 2013

Finding You

Wouldn't it be an amazing and refreshing world, if everyone was comfortable in their own skin?  But unfortunately it's human nature to look down at others, to make us feel better about ourselves.  We tend to spend our entire lives in a continuous state of "Yea for my side"!  My school, my church, my country, my state, my team, my child, heck we even get down to my stuff.  We feel that we have to have something or belong to a group that defines us.  I'm worthy because I'm a..... or I own.... or I'm a can fill in the blanks.  Or even worse I'm better because I'm not a.....and you are.  But does it have to be this way?

Most people can tell you what's wrong with somebody else, or what "they" need to change.  But when you ask that same person who they are then they will start telling you which groups they identify with.  I'm an American, I'm a Christian, I'm an accountant, I'm a Republican.  Now there is nothing wrong with being any of those things but those are groups to which we belong they are not who we are.  Most of us just have never put effort into self discovery.

All can never truly be right with our world until we do solve that riddle.  We have to strip off those layers to find the person inside.  This country used to have a military draft law.  When you reached the age of 18 you were subject to being called to serve in the army.  It didn't matter if you believed in the current war or not, if you were called then you were going to war unless you could prove a good reason why you shouldn't.  I'm not going to dwell on debating whether that was a good or a bad idea but it did change the people that were affected by it.

What if we had another type of draft, a requirement that you had to go somewhere and train to do a marathon.  Not just any marathon but one where people from all over the world would be serving their requirement as well.  A marathon where there were no awards but a finisher's medal that was your right of passage into adult hood.  You had to produce your medal to get a job, a marriage license or any of the other adult stuff.  During the training and then the marathon, you would learn a lot about who you are and about how much all of us on this planet are more alike than different.

Those that have done long distance events will tell you that there comes a point where you have to meet 'you' and find out what you are capable of.  You discover the courage that is in you, courage that you may not have known about.  You will find that you can put one foot in front of the other even after you think you have nothing left.  You will also see that everyone around you is locked in their own battle with the distance.

When you start your own journey, to better health, self discovery is a part of that path.  You will never know true health and fitness until you learn who you are and become at peace with who you are.  I applied for a position in the Air Force and one of the requirements was an evaluation by a psychologist.  One of the questions I was asked was how comfortable I was with being alone for long periods of time.  I explained that I was a long distance runner and an endurance athlete.  It seems that most people can't handle being cut off from their identity groups.  Being alone, for long periods of time, with just your own thoughts and company, is stressful for most people.

Becoming acquainted with yourself is one of the biggest steps you can take to better health.  Learn, your strengths and weaknesses.  Learn what your morals are, your limits, learn what is really important to you.  Only through self discovery can you come to know that you are more than the money you have in the bank, the size of your waist line or the groups you belong to.  Next time you go for your long slow distance training strip off the layers and see who you find, you might just come away with a whole new respect for the unique and amazing person you are.

Thanks for reading.


Saturday, April 6, 2013

Like a Boss

You hear all the time things like, "You have only one life, this is not a dress rehearsal, you are not practicing, this is all you get".  Or you hear. "Be thankful for what you have and stop stressing over what you don't have".  Good advice and both very true but we tend to tune out advice like that.  One of my favorites is, "Be glad for having to get up in the morning and going to work because it means you have a job", that is more true now than ever.  Most people are not happy with their life and that is a tragedy because we do truly have only one go at it.

It would be nice if we had a remote control for our lives so we could change the channel if we didn't like what was on.  Or fast forward through the rough times but rewind and replay the good stuff.  But we don't have a life remote control, so like with the old style TVs we have to get up and change what we don't like.  Hum, get up and do something if you want to change 'you', what a novel concept.  Bet you have heard that one before as well.

Take a good look at that person that looks back at you from the mirror.  Do you really know them?  Do you know their strengths, weaknesses, their limitations and their talents?  We, every last one of us have a weakness, we put off making the changes that would make us happy.  Most of the time it's because we don't really know what that is, that magic place called happiness.  Well here is a news flash, happy is not a place you can go to, it's how you perceive the life you have and how in control of it you are.

Being in control, that is where a lot of people fall off the happy wagon, they just don't feel in control. They feel like life is just pushing them along and they are hanging on.  Life is indeed a journey and you can be pushed along or you can choose the path.  You do that by having dreams and goals that you want to accomplish and then make good solid plans to achieve them.  Be the boss of your life, you decide where you are headed and then, like the boss, you make it happen.  If health and fitness is your goal then go to the store and buy some good shoes, fitted for you, and let your feet start taking you where you want to be.  The secret to being healthy and fit is to start scheduling the time to let your feet take care of business.

Losing weight is a biggie for a lot of us.  That becomes easier when you decide to take control as well.  Again be the boss of that person in the mirror.  You have absolute direct supervision over what and how much you eat.  You do the shopping, the preparing and if your eating out the ordering.  So you do have absolute control.  If it's not in the house then you can't eat it, a good boss plans things like that.  If you take responsibility for what, when and how much you eat then you are in control and you can achieve your weight goals.

Being unhappy with work is often an issue as well.  Most of us spend about a quarter to a third of our life each day at work, so we need to address that as well.  This is of course an area where we don't have as much control as we do over our health and fitness, but there are still ways to make changes.  The first step is to think about exactly what it is you don't like, about what you do.  This is a topic that has no one real answer so I'm just going to use an example from my own life.  When I retired from the Air Force I took a job at an automotive group, I was the systems coordinator, trainer, Internet sales consultant and even direct sales consultant.  It wasn't a bad job, but it was 8am to 8pm 5 days a week.  I was to tired to exercise and took my comfort in food, usually fast food.  When I got a day off I had endless chores to catch up on.  I felt trapped and not in control of my life.  Since I was retired from the military and had a college degree I was eligible to teach high school classes, in my degree field, if I passed all the teacher exams.  So I spent a year, every free moment studying, History, Economics, Geography, Psychology and Social Studies.  I took my exams and passed them, but as fate often does, when I was getting ready to start looking for a teacher position I was offered the job I have now and it filled all my requirements for what I wanted out of work.  Mainly job satisfaction and more "Me", time. 

When you make a decision to take control, changes happen, sometimes not in the way you plan but they happen.  Because when you do start taking control, you begin to change right then and both you and the rest of the world see you differently.

Thanks for reading.


Thursday, April 4, 2013

Decisions Decisions!

There is a term in military aviation 'Decision Height', that refers to that point in your decent where you have to make the decision to go on and land or to pour on the jet fuel and go around for another attempt.  Our lives are a long series of decisions and like that pilot you have to make those decisions.

Our life is a journey but the path is never straight.  It's the decisions that we make at each cross roads that determine how successful our lives will be.  Some of those decisions are the most important things we will ever do because they directly affect us from that instant forward.  There are some decisions that when you look back over your life were clear turning points.  The decision to go to collage, to get married, have children the list goes on, each of those were decisions that changed you forever.

As adult athletes we have even more decisions.  To start with, the decision to be an adult athlete and follow the path of a healthy lifestyle is an extremely important decision.  We have no idea how important it really is except for the affects it has on our health and fitness.  That decision can have the effect of you being a positive example to people you don't even know.  Someone who has been on the edge of making the decision, to start getting into better shape, might see you out on the road doing your miles and make their on decision, right then and there.  Or your children, co workers, friends, anyone might look at you as the positive role model that helped them to lead healthier lives.

We also make countless little decisions every day most of which aren't, in them selves, life changing but they do add up.  We need to strive for the good decisions to vastly out weigh the poor ones.  I'm going to give you a weapon, for you to use, to strengthen your 'will power', remind yourself that you are making a decision when you are making one.  When you are hungry, remind yourself that you are about to make a decision, don't just reach for or order whatever.  These smaller decisions can add up and eventually cause major changes in your life.  Enough poor decisions can increase your body fat, decrease your stamina and impede your progress.  But enough healthy decisions can do just the opposite and speed you along on your chosen path.

Some decisions can seem insignificant at the time but they can start a chain reaction that you didn't see coming.  Calling in sick at work, because you have something else to do or you just don't feel like it, can seem harmless but that one time makes it easier to do it the next and the next after that.  Deciding to have one more drink, because you feel just fine and very much in control, can lead to life changing consequences that you never imagined.  Even if you don't go out and get in a car and try to drive, just walking you could injure yourself, or you just might show someone a side of yourself that you really wished you hadn't.

This week when you do the marketing, each time you chose an item, think of it as a small decision and not just blindly throw it in the cart.  You want that cart filled with smart decisions and not poor ones, they do add up.  When it's time to exercise and you really don't want to, or you are feeling super and want to push it, remember you are making a decision that can have a cumulative affect on your fitness.  Not working out when the weather is to bad or your not feeling well is a smart decision but not working out because you are just feeling lazy is a poor decision.  Each time you make the decision not to exercise, just like the calling into work sick, when you are not, it gets easier to make that poor decision the next time.  As the Tim McGraw song lyrics go, "You get stronger each time you don't give in".

Our life is a series of never ending decisions.  The best we can hope for is that we have to courage to make the right ones more often than the wrong ones.

Thanks for reading.