Flexibility…

Each week at my martial art studio we have a physical focus and a mental focus. This week’s lessons happened to be the same thing; flexibility…

Being flexible in all areas of our lives is important. Physically it will allow us to move with more ease, and lessen our chances of injury. In martial arts, especially arts like Tae Kwon Do that focus on kicking, it is important to stretch regularly to improve and maintain flexible hips and legs.

With that said we all need to spend more time warming up before workouts and having a good cool down stretch post work out. I know as a runner (sloggers need to stretch) I’m often pressed for time before and after my run and don’t always stretch the way I should. However this particular post has more to do with the mental aspect of flexibility. If you have a question about stretching, feel free to ask and I will direct you to resources.

On to the point; being more flexible in a me first have it now society is becoming more and more difficult — No one wants to bend or give way to someone else or different idea. Me, Mine, Me… Is today’s mantra — My Way used to be a song by Sinatra it is now an anthem for today’s society.

So when things or people push don’t resist, let it flow past you, like water… Bruce Lee said,”Be like water my friend.” He was right. Not resisting doesn’t make us weak, it keeps us sane. Water is very powerful, check out the Grand Canyon. Also know that everyone is not following the same agenda — We’re all in the middle of something. So the next time your appointment has been rescheduled or your flight has been delayed. Take a breath and do some light stretching and take time to be more flexible, you’ll be happier and healthier for it…

Run on,

G

Pacing

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One of the many things I’ve learned from running is pacing. Many beginners tend to start  off too quickly whether it is a long training run or a local road race. The object is to find your pace so that you can run efficiently throughout the race and finish with a kick.

Ironically I’m slow so my pacing is sloth, turtle, tortoise or in other words stop, walk, slog. All kidding aside, I do mind and record my pace more to understand what my body is doing rather than to win a race or obtain a PR.

Being a martial artist and a former nurse and a student of human nature I love learning about the mind-body connection and its effects on our daily lives. For instance yesterday I was feeling less than my usual self, I had a scratchy throat and general malaise – So I skipped my mid-week training run and opted for rest. I paced myself.

Even a few years ago that wouldn’t have happened, I would’ve ignored the signals my body was giving me and I would have gutted out the run. Probably feeling aggravated because nothing felt right and could have injured myself or exacerbated my mild cold symptoms to a full-blown bronchitis or pneumonia (it’s happened in the past).

Not running wasn’t the only way I paced myself, I also got extra rest and rescheduled a few tasks I had in my calendar. I’ve also learned to say no (not an easy task for me). Putting my health first has me saying no for the moment and rescheduling or if the task is too large absolutely no. A student of mine phrased it well when he told me, “It is easier to change a no to a yes, than a yes to a no.” He is right, how often do we agree to do something as a favor and it becomes a huge burden on your mental and physical health? By putting you first, pacing your self – You’ll make it to the end, of a race, a run and more importantly a healthy life…

Run on

G

Three Squares

During my training run today I was pondering a few of the things I’ve learned in life – So far…

When am I at my best?  I thought about it and I came up with when I check off these three squares everyday.

Number one, feed my soul; When I wake up I say thank you, to my higher power for I have another day. Then I read something spiritual anything from the Tao, the bible, or even an inspiring blog post. Then I meditate for at least five minutes but usually ten to thirty minutes. In order to do this I’m in bed by 10pm and awake at 5:30am.

With my spirit fed now it’s onto number two and feed my body; This isn’t just about eating healthy — Which I do. It’s about working my body. At sixty-one I typically work out seven days a week. I run three, weight train two, yoga two or three and martial arts three to four. As you can see many days there are double workouts. Maintaining a healthy body requires work. The body is meant to be active, training keeps my cardio vascular conditioning my resting pulse is 54, blood pressure 108/58. Maintaining flexibility and weight training provide me with balance and core strength, which hopefully keep me from having falls and injuries in my dotage.

Number three feed my mind; I have a number of older friends and family members that inspire me every day and the one thing they have in common is they feed their minds. Whether it’s my ninety something neighbor who reads the newspaper and does crossword and jigsaw puzzles, my mom who paints, bakes, and plays cards with her eighty something sister or there’s John (my stepdad) who at nearly eighty-nine maintains massive flower and vegetable gardens, changes the oil on his cars, prunes trees, paints houses and fixes just about anything. They all use their minds to work out problems. I enjoy learning, either a new martial art technique, something in business, a teaching tip or just general information I’m always seeking new interests. I learn something new everyday.

There you have it my happiness and my growth as an individual requires I check those three squares everyday…

What feeds you?

Run on,

G

 

Running with Gratitude…

This past week has been trying. I was in an accident on my way to work (rear-ended by a distracted driver in bumper to bumper traffic). I didn’t exactly have the most cooperative insurance agent (in her defense I was a bit shaken up). Then there are the all too many sad posts on Facebook from former colleagues and friends who are suffering major losses.

To top it all off, the accident agrivated some old issues from a previous accident — Nothing major just stiffness and soreness that limited my normal training regime. Admittedly I was very concerned about the future of my running. Sixty-one isn’t exactlly spring chicken teritory , so I iced and took ibuprophen as directed along with light stretching. The reduced activity gave me time to take invintory not on what happened but what I have and for that I am greatful.

Life can turn on a dime — You can be stopped in traffic and be jarred into a nasty reality, or you can be talking with someone in the morning and hear they passed that evening. There can be this little bump somwhere and the next thing you know you’re in an oncologists office discussing options. Which is why we need to be in the present, not griping about what’s passed or focused on a future event or wish that hasn’t happend. We need to practice gratitude and share what we have — Not gifts, but our gifts.

Give empathy along with or instead of sympathy, lend a hand rather than give a handout,  listen rather than preach, be present and appreciate all these moments, don’t wallow in regrets, most importantly Be Kind…

By the way I ran yesterday eight miles, they weren’t easy and it wasn’t pretty but I was running with a greatful heart, because I was running…

Run on

G

Willing to vs Wanting to…

I was introduced to this concept earlier this week at a program on anxiety. The facilitator Dr. Mark Schneider Ph.D, spoke on the differences of “wanting” and “willing” to do something. This struck a chord with me because I’ve always been fascinated with how some people will go through hell and back to accomplish something whereas others say they want something but can’t seem to get it…

Which calls to mind the many individuals who’ve crossed my path either as a student or a fellow martial artist — All seemingly wanting the same goal but ultimately most weren’t willing to achieve the goal of black belt. Ironically it had nothing to do with the individual’s ability or aptitude for martial arts most of the people who dropped out where very talented; In fact most of the students who struggled and learned from their presumed failures went on to become very good practitioners.

Then there was today. My training run just a short 2plus miles around the neighbor hood and I had to will myself into going. I’ve been working ridiculous hours in and out of the school without a break since January. I’m mentally and physically spent. Yet I knew if I could lace up my running shoes and take two steps out the door I’d get the work out in. You see I’m willing to run to get what I want; good health, energy, a better mood, and  maybe a fairly inspired blog post.

There are so many amazing individuals who will themselves to amazing things everyday. So my quick trip around the neighborhood is hardly newsworthy but it made me appreciate myself more. It made me feel better, and far less sorry for myself. So the next time you think about wanting something think about what you’re willing to do for it? Then as the ad says “Just Do It” or at least be willing to try!

Gin

13.1 Thoughts

Last December on a whim I decided to enter the Amica Newport Half Marathon. It was held yesterday and yes I ran and completed it, here are my thoughts on that run.

Mile one; December of 2016 reading through my emails I notice one from Grey Matter Marketing announcing the Amica Newport Marathon. Deciding this would be an interesting goal for turning 60 I registered. No where in my wildest dreams did I realize what a profound effect this would have on my life.

Mile two; Shortly after registering for the race I happened upon a Facebook ad for MyIntent.org and their bracelets. They ask you for one word to put on the bracelet and I chose INSPIRE I wanted this to be a year where I was inspired and could inspire others.

Mile three; In February my mother hit a speed bump she had a heart attack and required four stents. At the time I was also contemplating training for my seventh dan in martial arts. I decided to table that to be a larger presence in my mother’s life and to focus my energies on the half. My mother’s illness also brought into focus my less than ideal physical state. I was nearly ten pounds overweight and out of my customary shape. I know a few of you may find being ten pounds over weight hardly out of shape. Those ten extra pounds on my small frame would make running difficult. I increased my cardio at the gym and started using the Lose It ap.

Mile four; I turned 60 on March 24th, part of my birthday celebration was to head to Arizona visit my brother and sister-in-law, where we’d also road trip it to LasVegas. While in Pheonix I got in my first outdoor tun of 2017. The half marathon was over six months away but this is where it started to become real.

Mile five; Zeal by Zurvita became my go to training and life supplement, if you’re unfamiliar with this great product go to my web site zurvita/va02885.com and check out the great benefits of this amazing product. I use it everyday most days twice a day. It was also a part of my long run regime and had a bottle with me at the half.

Mile six; Chi Running by Danny Dreyer; I knew if I was to run a half marathon my body wouldn’t be able to endure the way I had run in the past. It was time to seek a new way. I had taken a mini course of sorts on Chi Running several years ago at the karate studio of a former training partner. I was intrigued to say the least but didn’t pursue any further training because I was only doing one or two 5k’s a year, but a half marathon would require longer and more training runs. I bought Chi Marathon and downloaded Chi Walk/Run from the Chi running web site. I used these valuable tools to set up my training and to get reacquainted with running.

Mile seven; On the road again, armed with my sixteen week Chi half marathon training guide, now eight pounds lighter I took to the roads and to the track to practice. Believe me running or slogging with a metronome is no easy feat, when you’re rhythmically challenged! However I persevered and found an ap for a running metronome that played behind the music in my headphones – Which also alleviated the strange stare I got from people who heard me beeping as I ran.

Mile eight; Running longer and further than I’ve ever ran before. The first time I ran more than eight miles I though I’d die. I was in the heat of August and I’d run a hilly course. It was one of the few times I had a twinge of doubt regarding my goal.

Mile nine; Learning about running shoes and choosing the right one for me. The great thing about running is it doesn’t require much equipment. The bad thing is the equipment required has to be good or you’re toast! After reading Chi Running and understanding how the body works, I wanted to be sure I was wearing the best possible shoe for me and my goal. I had run in a stability shoe that was recommended for me for over ten years, but after investigating my foot, reviewing my wear patterns and assessing my hip discomfort I found out these shoes were wrong. I went to Brooks and did their shoe finder and found the perfect shoe. My runs are smooth with very little discomfort during or afterwards.

Mile ten; having friends, coworkers, and family members support your mission. I can’t tell you how important it’s been to have people ask about my training and encourage my slog posts on Facebook. Knowing you have people who believe in you or that you inspire makes those Sunday morning training runs so much easier.

Mile eleven; Having a bigger purpose than just running; Yes this was about seeing if I’d be able to complete the goal, get into shape and cross another thing off the bucket list, but to me it was more much more. I wanted to do something difficult and meaningful to celebrate my 60th year because so many friends, and family members weren’t lucky enough to reach 60 – Including my father. When it got hard to run up a hill or something hurt I’d remember the pain they all endured and I’d go on for them as much as for me, maybe more…

Mile twelve; pre-race doubt and some paranoia. To say I was a bit paranoid about getting sick before the race would be an understatement (to all who endured the nutty instructor, my apologies). Then there was the thought of horrendous weather or being unable to finish on time or at all. The pre-race insomnia (thankfully I had to be up at 4am so I didn’t have to toss and turn as long).

Mile thirteen; the race, let me begin by saying initially this was going to be a one off. Done box checked on to the next thing, but after experiencing the people and the event I’m hooked! I had the most amazing time! This was one of the best days of my life and I want to relive it again….

Point one; After crossing the finish line and spending the remainder of yesterday, reflecting on the incredible experience. I know these things to be true, I will do it again, it was one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself; I’m in better physical and emotional health than I’ve ever been. I will toast myself with the homemade beer given to me from one of my black belts and enjoy a Lean Cuisine pizza (don’t want to go too far off the rails).

On to the next thing,

Gin

 

 

 

Peace and Joy

I’m coming down from my soapbox — My last few posts have been rather pointed and for good reasons. However I’d like to get back to the “Joy of running”.

Fall is just around the corner, although it feels in full swing in my coastal neighborhood. Temperatures in the low 50’s and a gusty northwest wind made me adjust my Friday morning park run. Instead of running along the water I ran through the middle of the park and onto the wooded trails. I’d forgotten how much I love being in the woods (not fun in the heat and humidity with mosquitos) the grounding solitude running trails gives you is like no other running.

If I had to rank running surfaces, trails would be my favorite because it seems the most natural — Where it all began. It’s funny because my preferences reflect a progression from most natural to least; wooded trails, bike path, streets, tracks, and treadmills in that order.

My senses are definitely heightened because of the tricky surfaces, the occasional squirrel, rabbit, chipmunk or woodchuck dashing about. The air was clean with the crispness of the impending autumn even a few leaves have started to turn. It’s humbling to think about the history of this beautiful land and how blessed I am to be living here and now to enjoy running in this beautiful natural cathedral.

What was supposed to be a two mile training run turned into a 3.5 mile run/hike, which was fine by me because everything including the few wrong turns was perfect  — the way life should be experienced, with peace and joy!

Where do you find your running bliss?

Ginnie