Sunday, June 26, 2011

A Different Lens

I was talking with a friend of mine last week regarding her new adventures in cycling. She was telling me about how the views of her city are so different by bicycle and her familiarity with neighborhoods has developed since she began riding. About three months ago an gentleman at weight watchers told me that you never really see a city until you run the city.

On my own, I have discovered that the lens through which we explore life changes based on our experiences, our attitude or our ability to be empathetic. I am often found telling a story during training sessions that we all have a choice when we wake up in the morning whether we are going to roll out of the right or the wrong side of bed. We can choose, when standing in the long line at the grocery store, whether we are going to have line rage or simply read the magazine or chat up another person in line.

Yesterday morning I woke up on the right side of the bed, however life had different plans for me. I woke up late, rushed around to try and make it to the MIT Saturday run, fell down the stairs, only ran 6 miles (I was supposed to run 8), my dog got sick, spent a ton of money at the doggy ER and was later meeting up with my out of town guests than I would have liked.

Since I have been on the path toward becoming an athlete I view life from a very different perspective, through a very different lens. It is a lens that makes me consider how my choices today might impact me tomorrow. Don't get me wrong, I am constantly living in the moment with the understanding that I have future goals. The following are some examples of how my choices have changed over time:

Before I decide to have a drink, I evaluate my training schedule for the next day.
When I am ordering dinner (which is rare) I am thinking about how it will fuel my body.
If I'm scared of something, I face it head on (with the exception of heights, I don't want to die).
If I am going to have dessert, darn it I am going to have a GOOD dessert.

So yesterday I had a choice to make once all of the fiascoes were out of the way. I could let all of the mishaps turn my day upside down, or I could move on and enjoy my company and the cool city in which I live. I chose the latter. We romped around town to look at campus, check out comfest and see the sights of the short north. What was my favorite part? Being with good friends and walking up and down High Street.  Again, it is all about the lens through which we view life. Next time I find myself having a bad moment I am going to remember all of the extraordinary things I get to experience because I chose to pick up the lifestyle of an athlete. I am going to remember how the bad run yesterday built my character to get through what will be a better run tomorrow.

So what am I trying to say in all of this? If you don't like what is in your view right now, change your lenses. It is never too late!

Oh and lastly, I know not everyone has the desire to run or ride but I do have to agree with my friend... The best way to see a city is by foot or bicycle. The following pictures were taken of me, or by me while experiencing life on foot.
Columbus River Front, Cap City Half Marathon 2010

Down Town Chicago, 5k 2010

Bike the Drive 2009, Chicago Illinois

Downtown Columbus, Half Marathon 2011. 

Colorado 2010, Me and Bob!
The feet that allow me all these adventures :)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Why I Run..

Miles Upon Miles Upon Miles? Some people run for charity, while others run for exercise, to make friends, to accomplish a goal or even for fun. Well  I've discovered I run for three big reasons...

Bragging Rights

One of the coolest things about training for a marathon is being able to say, I ran 30 miles last week. Well I can't officially say that as my training came up a little short last week BUT I can say I ran 26.5 miles last week. I guess that means I ran a marathon. I could check it off my bucket list! Ha, I don't think that qualifies for the 26.2 magnet that I am looking forward to slapping on the back of my vehicle in October.

So for those of you who have to see my Facebook feed on a daily basis, I truly apologize; but seriously it is fun to let the world know that I just finished a seven mile run, or twenty mile bike ride. It truly makes me feel like I accomplished something in my day.


People always told me to go out and get some exercise if I was depressed, pissed off, cranky, stressed and the list goes on. I have discovered there really is nothing more therapeutic than exercise. As long as I am logging miles whether it be by bike, foot or water I feel really good about myself. While in motion I find myself  strategizing difficult situations, cursing at the person who just ticked me off and sometimes simply zoning out and fining peace. Conquering a run/bike/swim or anything for that matter, than you initially thought you couldn't accomplish, can really impact your self esteem. It sure does beat the 80 dollars you may spend at your therapists office (BTW, therapy is great too, I just recognize that exercise can either supplement or substitute therapy).


When I run, especially with the group I have joined, I feel like I am part of something bigger than myself. The only word I can find to describe the feeling is the word spiritual. I know that may sound dramatic but if you know me, you know I have a tendency towards a little drama. Harmless drama, but drama nonetheless. As I mentioned before this 'movement' toward becoming an athlete has brought me one step closer to finding my inner peace, and that isn't even what I was looking for.

By the way the picture is from my favorite running store. I have a little shirt envy from those who wear this shirt around town! I hope to have one some day :)

Sunday, June 12, 2011

How to Beat the Heat and Minimize Dehydration

It seems to be silly to be blogging about heat considering it is about 65 degrees outside right now, but damn it was hot last week!!!

As my regular followers know I use Google as my main reference point for research, self diagnosis and random entertainment. I know this method of research is very scientific and the best way to figure out how to cure afflictions (wink, wink) and so I trudge on with my random searches for skin rashes, warts, plantar fascia and the list goes on...

The past two weeks I have been worried about dehydration because of illness and the sizzling heat. I spent most of my days trapped in my house two weeks ago and then quickly realized it had turned into summer outside. Not only did I need to figure out how to keep hydrated with the flu (I'm finally admitting that is what I had) but also with 90 degree heat and 90% humidity. I of course went to my trusty source to figure out how to ensure I stay healthy. You want to know what I learned??? Use common sense... Yep that's right, drink water and sports beverages when working out and prior to a work out. Just a plug, my favorite sports beverage is G2; low calories and still delicious!

The two things of note that I thought I should pass on are: First, if you are thirsty, it is too late. You are already dehydrated. Second, if your urine is darker than pale yellow you might be dehydrated.

Hydrating is about staying ahead of the curve. Never get thirsty!!!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Soldiers and Warriors!

The three of us after the Soldier Field 10
Before I got seriously ill this past week I had the pleasure of running the Soldier Field 10. Not only was it sponsored by my favorite running store, Fleet Feet Sports, it had the best venue and most awesome finish line. Imagine yourself finishing a 10 mile run on the 50 yard line on Soldier Field. So it is true I am not a big sports fan but you still get caught up in the excitement when everyone around you is hyped up and the theme song for the Bears was playing while you run through what I believe to be the same tunnel the players run through to get on the field.

So last week I was a Soldier and today I was a warrior! My friend Erin and I headed down to Logan Ohio to participate in the Warrior Dash. Although amazingly fun, it was also amazingly difficult! Most of the event went straight uphill, and I'm not talking about a slow incline, but rather an uphill that was covered in mud and freshly rained on. Running up the hill was nearly impossible. On the downhills we were much better off sitting down and sliding while trying to be careful to divert any contact between butt and rock.

The obstacles during this event included a pond with logs, planks to balance on (which is much harder than it looks), tires, barbed wire over mud pits, fire that you have to jump over, a river run, cargo nets and walls. I have to admit that my fear of heights took over at one of the cargo nets and barricade but overall the experience was amazingly fun.

I think my favorite part of the day was the water station. Basically two guys hold fire type hoses and hose you down to clean you off. It was my favorite part of the day because you had to walk through about six inches of  mud, get hosed down to clean off and then walk through another enormous field of mud to get out of the mix.

If you want to have an awesome day, sign up for a warrior dash near you!!!