What would you do knowing you would never be successful at it? Knowing you can never share it on social media, you will never get paid for it and basically, you do it for the pure joy it brings to you.
Last week my Cross Fit gym hosted a beer mile. This is a real event, the world record is 4:34. Obviously, this is an elite runner who happens to guzzle beer. Warning, If you turn the equation around it doesn't work. Elite beer guzzlers who happen to run are not likely to set records! Anyway, the rules are pretty simple. Drink, run a 400, and repeat four times. One stipulation, the beer does need to be 5% or higher alcohol content. I had participated in a beer mile a few times before but, I had always drunk light beer, as I am a girl and well...I thought it was only fair. However, I was informed to be legit I had to drink heavy! For some unknown reason, I decided on Guinness Blonde. Blondes do have more fun, or so they say!
Beer 1: Ready, set, drink. The first beer went down relatively easy, it was hot and I was thirsty. I was feeling good until the 300 mark, my hamstring, I could feel it tighten up and slow me down. No time to think about it though, keep running.
Beer 2: I guzzled my second beer quickly and was feeling confident as I was in the lead.
Beer 3: My third beer was a little warm, my blonde friend was not too fun right now. As I finished the third 400, I could feel my stomach expanding, I thought it might pop if I had a belly button ring, (which I don't) but if I did I am sure it would have popped off like a cork.
Beer 4: By now the beer was very warm and my stomach was at capacity, but I was in the lead and needed to guzzle. As I took off on my last 400, an image of me having a projectile moment ran through my mind, I also had bad thoughts about blondes, I think I was starting to hallucinate! I stopped with hands-on knees not sure I could go on but, quitting was not an option. I started to run/jog and to my surprise with less than 100 yards to go I heard footsteps and they quickly passed me like I was standing still. I was beaten!
This race got me thinking. Why do I do it? I don't get paid to run. Obviously, I felt like crap after guzzling four Guinness Blondes,(I'm a brunette) and I strained my hamstring. There is no logical reason for my actions. I guess it's time to leave logic behind. I do it because it brings me joy.
I challenge you to find the one thing that you do because you love it, it makes you feel alive and win or lose, you are doing it. Find your "me time". Whether it be golfing, running, sewing, painting, singing, writing, meditating, walking or sitting quietly on your front porch, find and protect your passion. When you feed your passion, your passion will fuel you.
By the way, running is the part that brings me joy, the beer was just icing on the cake!
"Feel the Rush"
Adventures are like an education without the book! Minnesota Spartan, top 10 lesson learned.
10. Don't eat fried pickles the night before a race. I know this seems obvious to the casual observer, but after riding in a car for 6 hours sometimes the excitement of arriving seems like a victory.
9. It's not all about me! Shocker! This race was different because my 5 grandkids, my daughter, and her boyfriend had not raced a Spartan before. I figured this out when my daughter was frantically following me around the venue before the race and yelled: "Mom are you going to tell us what to do?" "OOPS!"
8. "Code Irene?" It was down pouring before the race, we were getting updates on Facebook about race delays. Spartan posted that there was no parking yet and there was a 30-minute delay. Then someone commented with, "We are in Code Irene!" What the....?
7. Don't judge others, but it is ok to laugh inside...just a little! I was standing at the start line of the 3+ mile race and observing those around me. The guy next to me was jumping up and down, flailing his arms, deep breathing in his obvious warm-up mode. Then I noticed he was wearing a camelback. I wanted to gently remind him of the four water stations and the fact he could probably climb, crawl and run faster without the extra pack. I smiled and wished him luck!
6. Brave and stupid are not synonyms. About halfway through the race I heard it, rumbling and more rumbling. As I was carrying my sandbag up the hill someone yelled at us to come back. They were evacuating the mountain, safety issues. I finished my sandbag carry and followed the crowd. Then I heard it. a lady asked, "Is this mandatory or can we keep going?" The official told her it was mandatory. She did not like his answer. How do I know this? Her response was something like, "We signed waivers so I don't know why we have to ........."
5. When you "bring it on", you really need to, "bring it on". With the race delay, confusion in the morning schedule and fried pickles, I was not feeling the rush so to speak. The first obstacle was a big hurdle, I remembered it from last year as my rib cage was bruised from jumping up and then over. This time I ran, jumped and plopped, back down. What? Ok, back up, run, jump and over! Game time.
4. Not everyone enjoys pain. After the race, I was waiting for my youngest daughter, as I was a little worried about her. She did not really train, she is not a runner and she was really here for the family time. All of a sudden I looked up, there she was, standing with her boyfriend. She looked as if she just got off a rollercoaster, one that was on autopilot and did not stop. She was a pale shade of green and I asked her if she was ok. As she swayed from side to side, she replied that she was not ok and she threw up 2 times during the race. "OOPS"
3. Weaknesses can be beneficial. Everyone who knows me knows my sense of direction is zilch. As I was waiting to start my heat I noticed the guy in charge was telling everyone they needed to wear the red wristband from their packet to be in the competitive race. Some replied they were not given one so he gave a few people a band, but then started to run out and sent the others back to registration. I waited for the right moment and asked him if I had to wear the band and he said yes. He told me to go back to registration and then I asked him how to get back to registration. He immediately gave me a red band!
2. Actions speak louder than words. I was confused, I wondered why my daughter worked so hard in this race, hard enough to get sick? She was not in the competitive heat so I thought she would lollygag. To my surprise she made it further on the rings than I did. She is tougher than she leads on. Apparently, competition is something inside, beyond our control. How hard you push speaks volumes.
1."If you can see yourself doing something, you can do it. If you can't see yourself doing it, usually you can't achieve it." David Goggins
Side note: My daughter thinks lesson #9 (see above) should be lesson #1! OOPS:)
"Feel the Rush"
How often have you invited someone to share in your joy? I know I personally share great books, movies, healthy food and much more when I feel moved and inspired. I have invited more people than I can remember to run a Spartan race and I am excited to announce, I found some takers. My daughter and her boyfriend will be joining me in Minnesota to race their first Spartan this weekend! OO-RAH!
Speaking of invitations, I heard a great homily on Sunday. The priest challenged us to invite others not only to things and events, but invite others to what moves us each and every moment of our life, Jesus Christ. So I am inviting you with the same enthusiasm as I have when I invite you to a Spartan race. Sign up today to visit Him in His house or in prayer. OO-RAH!
What does OO-RAH mean anyway? Why do marines say it so often and with such passion?
I decided if I am going to spout it I better know what I am spouting! Well I just happen to find the top 10 list of possible meanings.
1. I am a Marine
2. I enthusiastically accept your message
3. I am excited to be here.
4. Pleased to make your acquaintance.
5. What you ask of me , I will not only do, I will in a manner befitting a Marine.
6. I expect good things out of you.
7. Good job.
8.I am not supposed to be motivated about performing this task, but I will force myself to express excitement for the benefit of my fellow Marines and to tactfully annoy my superiors who gave me the task.
9. I love being a Marine.
10. I am about to destroy something.
After learning the meaning of OO-RAH it got me thinking??? I bet the man responsible for creating this great word......is a...... "man of few words"!
"Feel the Rush"
How do you perceive stress? Is it a threat? Is it a challenge?
This weekend I had the opportunity to watch my niece run the 3200 meter race at State Track. After she crossed the finish line she had the dry heaves. Her dad was beaming while counting her heaves as her mom took pictures of her after race nausea. We quickly ran to greet her at the fence as she was not feeling the joy. We were all laughing, not at her of course, but proud she gave it her all. It made me wonder why we do it. Why do athletes sign up for such stress?
Upon investigation, I found out why stress is in fact good for you. Author, Kelly McGonigal says 'stress creates resilience and growth'. When something we care about is at stake, we experience stress. Obviously my niece cared about racing well. She was willing to stress all day mentally and stress physically during the race. There is no doubt athletes are tougher than most. Great athletes are willing to go to the dark place longer and stay longer in stress. Stress/pain is a warning light, but by no means do you have to perceive it as a threat.
I joined my CrossFit buddies for a 3 mile trail run this weekend. The stress of running trails forces awareness and discipline. As three of us raced ahead through the first mile, one runner fell, flying over a tree branch. "Leave no man behind" was my first thought, but the lead man raced ahead and I followed as we glanced back to check for movement, and she was back on her feet. We chose to wear a weighted vest to add stress. Our mindset? It was a challenge, not a threat. It was short term, and in turn we would grow mentally and physically.
Let me ask, how do you perceive stress? Is it a threat or a challenge? If you are stressed, do not be a victim. Believe you have the resources to handle stress. Use the energy of stress to perform at a higher level. Make stress a challenge and grow.
The month of May brings stress to many. Teachers are tired (including myself), students are testing and ready to be done, parents are busy with end of year projects. Challenge yourself and try to change your perception of stress. Stress is not your enemy! Your perception of stress is the enemy.
Stress is reality.. use this reality for challenge and growth. Stress shows you care and gives life meaning. Without stress, life has no meaning. So, if for some reason you were "stress free" before you read this, now you have something to stress(care) about.:)
"Feel the Rush"
The Lincoln Marathon came and went, testing the human limits of mind and body. I have been reading "Endure" by Alex Hutchinson. He breaks endurance into three parts, Mind and Muscle, Limits, and Limit Breakers. I focused on the "mind and muscle", as I only had a few days to put my new knowledge into action. I also had a plan to race "smart". Here is my personal unbiased rating of me!
#1 Eat- I ate healthy all week with lots of real food. Better yet I drank plenty of water leading up to the race. I ate a banana before the race and a yummy gel at the start line and a gel half way through. This was my first experience with braces and ripping gel packets open. Warning...
Do not try this at home. I give myself a solid 8 on nutrition.
#2 Obsess- Honestly I did not sleep well most of the week as I was trying not to think about the race. The more I tried, the harder it became. I finally decided to stay as busy as possible and that was helpful. I give myself a 5, plenty to improve on in the stress/obsess category.
#3 Plan- Boom, as I started running I felt like I was slowing myself with every step. People passed me the first few miles and I had to talk to myself "don't do it, take it easy", I decided to be in the moment and take it all in. People offered "margaritas" and "screw drivers" early in the race. I won't lie, it was tempting not to stop and partake! I enjoyed passing churches with musicians outside singing, and when I saw the nun clapping on the sidewalk I almost asked her to pray for me. On second thought, she probably has more important things to pray for than my race goal. A strong 9 on execution of my negative split!
#4 Pain- At mile nine as I was climbing the hill, as expected my good friend "Pain" joined me. Instead of ignoring him or complaining I said, "welcome, I have been waiting for you", We enjoyed the last three miles together. I give myself an 8. (Honestly, I could have been a little nicer to my friend)
#5 Fun -Giving high fives to kids on the race course always makes me smile. I tried to smile as I was running because supposedly you will run faster with a smile. Although I thinks it just makes one look like they need to find a bathroom and quick. Then I tried another piece of advice, running with a loose face so as not to add tension. But I was a little afraid of bugs flying in my mouth and I was hoping no one would take a picture with my mouth open, face jiggling and slobber on my face. Who writes this stuff anyway. Fun? I am a 10.
A final note about my 267 page book "Endure". I cheated and wanted to know the ending, Yes it is non-fiction, but I know all good authors save the best for last. On page 259 it states, despite all the previous information the best way to improve your marathon is................
"Run a lot of miles, some faster than your race pace, rest once in a while" Now you tell me!
"Enjoy the Rush"
Endurance, "the struggle to continue against the mounting desire to stop". A versatile definition from researcher, Samuele Marcora. The ability to ignore the natural instinct to give up, slow down or back off is crucial in running distances. It also requires effort.
Yes, it is that time of year again, the Lincoln Marathon is here. I am older and wiser now, I am only running the half marathon this Sunday, 13.1 miles of pure bliss. I decided to remind myself of all the things I "know", but do not "do". "Do as I say, not as I do", has always been my motto! This year "do as I say, do as I do", is my new mantra. Allow me to share my mistakes!
1.Eat, and eat some more. The week before the race you train less so as to allow your body to recover and be strong. It is difficult to eat like a king when you work out like a beach bum. Eat anyway.
2.Don't obsess. Yes research says to imagine yourself running the race and crossing the finish line. I don't think imagining it so often that your mind actually thinks you have already competed is a good thing. Stress is stress, real or perceived. Don't stress! Save the pre race image for...... well, "pre race".
3.Stick to the training plan. Yes, you have a pace and a race time you have been training for. Race day is not the day to decide you have just been granted super powers and found out you are Usain Bolt's long lost cousin!
4.Embrace "pain"! Love it, hug it, invite it and thank "pain" for the company. Don't act surprised when "pain" joins you in your race. "Pain" is your running buddy.
5.Have fun and "flow". Remember the reason you compete. Flow state is priceless. "An altered state of consciousness in which the mind functions at it's peak, time may seem distorted and happiness prevails. In such a state an individual feels truly alive and fully attentive to what is being done."
By the way, did you know Usain Bolt has endurance? Yes he slows down a little less than everyone else. (I wonder if I am related?)
"Feel the Rush"
"As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another" (Proverbs 27:17) I have heard many people say, "If you're the smartest in the room, you're in the wrong room." I personally was not too concerned about this. Although I was good in sports, I was not the best. I got good grades, but I am not an academic. If truth be told, I would "like" to be the smartest in the room, so what's up with this saying?
Think about it. If every day you know you are the smartest in the room, would you become complacent? Would you be fulfilled and happy? Would you be at your best or feel superior to those surrounding you? Would your ego feel safe knowing you are the smartest in the room? Ryan Holiday says, "Ego is the Enemy", "Just one thing keeps ego around, comfort."
You want to be stronger, add more weight. You want to get faster, run harder. You want to get smarter, surround yourself with minds that will allow you to grow and learn. If you are the smartest in the room, there is no stressor, and you are the only one not growing. We need stressors in life. The Powhatan Indians bathed their babies in cold water, it started at birth and continues through life to,"toughen them up". Winter? No problem, they broke the ice and jumped in. This created courage and hardiness. So how can you become courageous and hardy? The perfect acute stressor is.......cold.
A 22 page document shows the benefits of cold exposure are: brain health, pain management, longevity, fat loss, athletic performance, immune health and mood. Aubrey Marcus, founder of Onnit, suggests a "power shower". Turn on your shower warm and wash as usual, then start to breathe and turn on the cold. Focus on keeping the breath under control and then repeat this sequence of hot and cold for 3 minutes. This also allows you to practice mental toughness. God knows most of us could use a little more of that! So as Friedrich Nietzsche said, "What does not kill me makes me stronger"
In case you were wondering. I am clearly not the smartest in the room, I am in a room with 6th graders all day! Ego. Check!
"Feel the Rush"
"To have Christian hope means to know about evil and yet go to meet the future with confidence."- Pope Benedict XVI
I attended the funeral of my best friend's mother this past weekend. The loss of loved ones can often leave us feeling lost. The world can seem dark and our lives can feel pointless. Death tends to cause us to look for meaning and purpose. Hope is the answer. Hope is knowing the future will be better than the present. So to have hope we mush have future goals, a belief those goals are possible, and have a path to attain them. Without hope, we may become depressed and hopeless.
Fr. Mike Schmitz says , "Hope is almost always connected to action." He says hope is not simply optimism, although optimism can be a good thing, it is almost always useless when needed the most. Too many of us spend our days wishing for a better future, and wishing is just another form of hopelessness. To have hope is to have meaning and action is required.
He tells a story of a former military man captured during Vietnam, Since he was of high ranking he was tortured more and and was in the POW camp for 8 years. When asked how he survived when so many other succumbed, he replied. "Oh that's easy." The optimists said, "We will be out by Christmas" then, "we will be out by Easter", then "Thanksgiving". And when the time came and went, they died of a broken heart. He and the others fought "to live". They acted and had a clear fundamental purpose and belief.
What do you hope for? Do you want a better job? Want to lose some weight, run a marathon, or have more time with family? Do you want to sleep more, have more money, have less stuff, find a partner to love, or create a better relationship with a family member?
I do not wish you luck in your future endevour. My hope, (this is my action) is you will choose action, not wishful thinking to make tomorrow a better day!
"The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts: therefore, guard accordingly, and take care that you entertain no notions unsuitable to virtue and reasonable nature." —Marcus Aurelius
"Feel the Rush"
Today is the first day of the rest of your life. What do you want your life to look like? The amazing thing is the choice is yours. I have spent many years of my life being passive, allowing things to happen to me. How many of us are spectators in our own lives? I know I was for years. I watched my energy decrease. I was tired, bloated, and had brain fog. Most days I woke up only to look forward to my next nap.Then I began an active quest for energy, peace and joy! I can honestly say it was a long journey, which I am still on. I am no longer looking for the magic pill! Magic hacks....yes! At 51 I feel more energetic than I have in years. If I were to give everyone the top 3 things to allow you to live your life with energy, peace and joy...