Balance

This summer is shaping up to be a BUSY one already, for the whole Howard fam!

It can be easy sometimes, to get sucked into the overwhelm.  Trying to find time for growing the business, studying, training, shopping for and preparing healthy food (so we can have the energy to do all that other stuff), carting D to his activities, as well as all the other basic life and work stuff, can be tough!  Can anyone relate?  How many balls are you juggling in the air right now?  Does anyone else have to keep a working to-do list?  If I’m not writing all this stuff down, forget it.

Sometimes, as we get wrapped up in our lists and busy calendars, stress can start to take hold.  When that happens, our sympathetic nervous systems kick in, and we go into a “fight or flight” response.  The stress from work deadlines, heavy training volume, or overall busy-ness can all have the same effect, and cumulatively, the effects of stress begin to take a huge toll on our health.

While ultimately, our physical health can suffer in the form of impaired digestion, insomnia, and lowered immunity, to name a few, our mental health suffers greatly as well.  When we get into a state of overwhelm, we can easily lose focus and clarity, and our emotional set points can become very low, causing us to become irritable and lose our temper easily, when we wouldn’t normally otherwise.   This can seriously affect our motivation, because when the brain is in a stressed or overwhelmed state, we unconsciously begin to look for ways to avoid stress, typically procrastinating tasks that we would otherwise be more motivated to take on.  Ever get squirreled by Facebook, when you’re supposed to be emailing clients?  Anyone?  Surely that’s not just me :).

So how do we avoid getting to this point and letting it affect our mental and physical health?  These days, we are hearing more and more about the importance of self care.  Taking a little break now and then allows the mind a little “reset,” often providing the renewed motivation to get back on track, allowing us to be more present.  It can also provide some critical PHYSICAL energy, when we have been running on fumes.

This past weekend, the boys and I took a few days up in Flag to unwind and BREATHE.  It was a great chance to get out of the heat, get away from the work environment (hard to do and necessary when you work from home), unplug, and recharge.  As a result, I felt like I came home yesterday with a renewed sense of motivation, more clarity, and was able to organize my week (and the coming month) into manageable chunks.   I planned my work, and I’m workin’ my plan!!

Self-care doesn’t have to mean traveling ~ It can be whatever helps you to relax and recharge.  Massage, a day by the pool, a drive in the mountains, a facial, reading a book, meditation…   Any activity that helps slow the hamster wheel in your head and gives you a mental and physical boost.  Even taking a few minutes each day to do some deep breathing can be remarkably effective.

One of my favorite sayings is, ‘You can’t pour from an empty cup.  Fill your cup first and give from the overflow.”  I promise, if you make self-care a priority, you will be better able to take care of others in your life.  Selfless giving can really lead to overwhelm, so take the time and SCHEDULE your self care.  Make it inevitable.  Your mind and body will thank you.

And if you want help with making YOU a priority in your life, so you can experience infinite energy to deal with it all, let’s chat.  I’d love to help you!  Click on the “Schedule Appointment” button to book a strategy session with me!!

In good health…

What’s Your Barometer?

UgliestFeet

Question to my running friends….  Who thinks they would win this one?  I bet I’d give you a real “RUN” for your money.  HA!

I was looking at my feet today, and I realized they have become a pretty good gauge of where I am in life.  Most of the time, I’m used to seeing them looking pretty gnarly, with a bunch of calluses, some missing toenails, some toenails that aren’t really toenails, but…  Well, I’m not sure what they are.  Some toenails that have gotten so thick over the years from being bruised so many times, they’re like an armadillo shell.  Such is the price we pay, I guess.  I have managed to lessen the annual toenail loss over the years, with better shoe selection, but it still happens.

With the last ultra about 6 weeks in the rearview mirror, the feet have followed their usual progression.  The bruised toenails finally lifted off completely (not without a little help from me, muahahahah…), and new ones are starting to fill in.  Isn’t the human body amazing, by the way?  We’re like Geckos!  Although I wouldn’t test this theory with other body parts.  Anyway, I thought about how I’ve been feeling lately, and I decided, the toes are like a little reminder from my body that it’s a good time to be taking it easy, just running for fun, letting the feet and other parts recover before beginning some structured training again.

There are other signals too, especially as someone who has been a disciple of heart rate training for so long.   It’s fascinating to me, to see how the heart rate (both resting and during activity) responds to the different training cycles, and especially during recovery periods.  It’s been a great tool for me to create some major awareness about what my body is needing in terms of rest & recovery, and when it’s ready to start pushing the envelope again.

Overall, I feel I’ve gotten a lot better about listening to these signals my body is sending me, not only as a result of being at it for a couple of decades now, but more so in the last year than ever.  Embarking on the health & life coach journey has afforded me strategies and tools I never realized were even available, that now allow me to be so much more mindful and aware of my energy needs.  This includes, but is certainly not limited to, my ability to manage stress, be more accepting of the things I cannot change, and overall find balance and grace in life that has no doubt transcended into my training and racing.  You simply cannot separate running (or any other athletic endeavor) from the rest of your life.   All areas of our lives are symbiotic, and one greatly affects the other.

And, like clockwork, as the toenails start to heal, the other signals from my body that scream “RECOVERY!!” have started to quiet down as well.  Motivation is starting to creep back, and it’s time to start working on a training schedule :).

I’m curious, what’s YOUR barometer?  What sort of messages do you get from your body, when you’ve been under too much stress (physical or emotional), not getting enough sleep, not eating well, working too much (insert your trigger here)…?  Do you need caffeine all day?  Start craving sugar?  Drink too much alcohol?  Does your digestion suffer?  Do you suffer energy crashes?  Are your moods all over the place?  Do you gain excess weight?  There are so many ways our bodies send us messages, but too often we don’t listen.   I encourage you, the next time you are feeling any of these symptoms, or anything else that’s keeping you from having the energy you need or being the person you think you deserve to be, stop and listen a little.   That’s your body talking!  What’s it saying?

And, if you’d like a little help deciphering some of those messages, I currently have space in my health coaching practice for two new clients!  Feel free to join me for a FREE Infinite Energy Strategy Session, where we can:

  • uncover what might be keeping you from having abundant energy and feeling your absolute best
  • develop a powerful vision for what infinite energy will mean for you and your WHOLE life
  • discover which foods and lifestyle habits are depleting you, and what to do about it
  • get crystal clear on a step by step plan to rejuvenate your health and energy in 90 days or less.

This session is about 60 minutes and takes place over the phone.  If you would like to explore the opportunity to really make some lasting changes and live life to your TRUE potential, I invite you to schedule a strategy session with me.  It’s FREE!!  Woohoo!  You can click on the link here to get scheduled, but space is limited (ooh, that was cliche, sorry)…

Okay, now, who’s got the ugliest feet?

In good health…

 

Discipline?

discipline-845x321A quick Google search of the word discipline will net you several definitions:

noun:  

  1.  The practice of training people to obey rules or a code of behavior, using punishment to correct disobedience.
  2. The controlled behavior resulting from discipline.
  3. A system of rules of conduct.

verb:

  1.  Train someone to obey rules or a code of behavior, using punishment to correct disobedience.
  2. Punish or rebuke someone formally for an offense.
  3. Train oneself to do something in a controlled and habitual way.

Well, none of that sounds any fun at all! 🙁

Yet, if you look at the root of the word, you’ll see that it comes from the Latin word for pupil, ultimately providing the source of the word, disciple.  I like that much better :).

A couple of times this past week, I was told I am admired for my discipline.  Discipline when it comes to nutrition, discipline when it comes to training.  I started giving a lot of thought to those negative connotations that we all think of when hearing that word:  Strict.  Rule-abiding.  Unforgiving.  Punishing.  Regimented…

I hope people don’t assume that’s how I live my life.  Far from it!  Maybe I do display discipline, particularly when it comes to training, with a big goal on the line.  And maybe I am “disciplined” when it comes to nutrition, but I truly prefer to live in the mindset that I am a student in life.  I am a disciple of my body, listening to the messages it is sending me EVERY DAY, and doing my best to honor it by not only fueling it with the foods that seem to work the best for me, but also by constantly learning how to be my healthiest self with nourishing self-care, stress management, the right exercise for me, and REST when I need it.  Am I always perfect at hearing those messages?  Nope.  Do I sometimes push too hard and realize when it’s too late (like when I’m sick or hurt) that I should’ve backed off the gas a little?  Yep.  That’s part of being a student.  We are always learning from our mistakes.  And boy, do I make some mistakes.  But when I do, my body is here to remind me that I don’t have it all figured out yet, nor will I likely ever.

The next time you think about the word discipline, or say to yourself, “I could never X,Y,Z, because I don’t have enough DISCIPLINE,” think again.  Find one small way that you can HONOR yourself and your body this week, and really tune into what you learn.  Turn up the volume on the messages your body is sending you.  And if you continue to be open to learning and growing, small changes eventually become big habit shifts.  Before you know it, what you once thought was impossible or “too hard,” might just become your new baseline.  And then, as a disciple of YOU, the possibilities are infinite.

Make it a great week, everyone!

Stepping Back

This past weekend, I had the privilege of attending yet another HCI (Health Coach Institute) Live event, this one right here in good ole Phoenix!  I gathered with 800+ of my closest friends and tribe mates at the AZ Grand Resort, which has been recently renovated, nice!  This event came at a perfect time for me, as I have been feeling a little “stuck” lately with how to move forward with my coaching business, continuing education, and balancing everything else in life.  I went in with a goal of being re-inspired and motivated.

What I got was so much more.  I should have known it would not only be inspiring, but transformative.  That’s what this whole journey is about, after all.  Before Day 1 even started, I told myself that I would go into the experience with an open heart and open mind, that I would allow myself to engage more, taking in the full experience as much as possible.  At the Live event in Dallas, I was more closed-off, not knowing what to expect, feeling a little shy, not really meeting new people, really just there to “observe.”  While I had an amazing experience in Dallas, I feel like this event in PHX was even more rewarding.   Not only did I get to bring my hubby for a day of content this time, I got to practice some incredible, breakthrough coaching sessions with my friend, classmate, and fellow heart warrior from CA, Lori.  Plus, we had some amazing, inspirational speakers who really lit a fire under me!

One of the first things I learned when studying to become a Health Coach, is that we can only take our clients as far as we are willing to go ourselves.  That transformation begins with US.  That said, the first step in the transformational process is stepping back.  So, this weekend served as a perfect opportunity for me to “step back” and see how some of my limiting beliefs have been holding me back and causing me doubts.

You see, I am REALLY good at trying to control everything.  And when I do this, I tend to take on the role of martyr.  If I have to do it ALL, how am I going to be able to continue to do it all AND start a year of studying for my HMBA Mastery Certification starting in May?  How on earth can I do this and still maintain some sanity, or still be there for my boys?  I mean, I HAVE to do it ALL, don’t I?  I can’t ask for help, can I?  Do I even know how???

Suffice it to say, being led through some coaching by my AMAZING LPF (Lab Partner Forever), I realized this is the limiting belief that keeps coming up for me time and time again.  We all have some limiting beliefs, and I’m willing to bet most moms out there have one very similar, if not the exact same.  “I have to provide for everyone else first, then I can take care of myself with what’s leftover.”  And what’s usually leftover, is a depleted, exhausted version of ourselves.  What we think, we create.

I made myself a promise this weekend, that I will find ways to ask for help.  And that when help is offered, I will accept.  Instead of saying, “I don’t know,” I will say, “I wonder…”.   I am EXTREMELY blessed.  I have a husband that does offer to help, and I need to be better about acknowledging and accepting those offers.   And the things that don’t get done?  Pretty sure no one will die if I don’t get that load of laundry done, take the dog to the groomer, or even write this blog.   More likely, no one will even notice (except maybe my running buddies when I pull a dirty shirt out of the hamper to where on the run).

By making this promise to myself, I can better find a balance, handle the load, and not try to serve from a depleted, stressed out version of me.  If I am well, I can better take care of others.  After all, isn’t this what I coach my clients to do?  Self-care is so important, so fill your cup and give from the overflow.  And there’s no shame in relinquishing a little control and asking for help, so go ahead and do it if you need it.  I promise, I will too.

 

 

We don’t Always Stay on Top

IMG_4589Pretty sure this picture says it all.  Pure elation at the pinnacle of one of my best races, as well as the pinnacle of a fantastic season in general.  I don’t believe this day could’ve gone better, and it capped off a very strong season of running for me, possibly my strongest yet at 50 years old.  There were a whole lot of Cloud 9 moments in the days following this race, as well as lots of laughter and shared stories with friends who also had great experiences out there.

Alas, as often happens after a big goal race, a few days later, after the endorphins have worn off, the post-race let-down started to sink in for me.  I don’t always suffer from this, but I have before, and it definitely happened this past week.  This is a hard thing to describe to someone who’s never been through it.  While I have coached people who have literally fallen into a depressed state, for me it’s not quite that bad, rather a feeling of just being a little “lost.”  It’s natural, after training with such a specific goal for so many months, with such great focus, to feel lost, now that there’s nothing to train for or keep us accountable.  The question comes to mind a lot, “What now?”  My first run, 2 days post race, I was already trying to plan out the coming YEAR and think about my next ultra!  (This was, of course, before I had completely come down off that runner’s high).   Often times, once the let-down sinks in, it can be hard to motivate ourselves to get out the door for even a short easy run, let alone anything of substance.

Sometimes, compounding things, is the fact that after the race, when we’re feeling good, celebrating accomplishments, our nutrition falls way off-plan as well (raises hand).  We’re more apt to eat ANYTHING immediately after the race, and I certainly enjoyed the spoils of my labors all of last week.  Before you know it, the choices we’ve made nutritionally are now affecting our energy too, and not in a good way.   Alcohol and sugar (if those are your things) definitely do not contribute to higher energy levels.

Suffice it to say, it was a bit of a rough weekend, feeling down emotionally, with low energy and just not physically my best.  But you know what?  That’s okay.  I like to think of these experiences as learning opportunities.   Sometimes, we need reminders that we ARE human.  One day we can feel on top of the world, and the next day, we can feel, well…  Not so much.   Allowing ourselves to be human and fall off track once in a while, without judgement, is actually a good thing.  It’s all part of what gives us a better understanding of those things that make us feel good, and those that rob us of that feeling.

For me, this week is a fresh start, beginning with nutrition.  Time to clean up from the inside, so that energy can shine outward.  I remember WHY I love to eat healthy, high energy food ~ Because I CAN.

Progress > Perfection, my friends.

Run Happy 🙂

What’s your Why?

8I60Re5rSQeEUqmuBeymkwLess than 4 weeks to go before the next Ultra at Crown King.  Consequently, I have definitely been feeling the “hamster wheel” effect lately.  Every time the alarm goes off, I picture Bill Murray in Groundhog Day.  Wake up well before the sun, run the miles, climb the hills, then do the rest of the grown up responsibilities.  Some days, another round of miles makes its way in there too.

Being in the middle of the biggest block of training right now, the mind and body get weary, and you start to wonder WHY you are putting yourself through it all.  Everyone has their reasons, not all the same, but ultimately, we all have our own “WHY.”  I have lots of why’s, not the least of which is the awe of seeing how the body can adapt over weeks and months of training, as we get stronger mentally and physically.  Done properly, the body breaks down, recovers with rest, and adapts to be ready for the next level.  Some crazy distance or climb that seemed impossible a few months ago, now becomes your weekly Monday or Tuesday workout that you don’t give much thought to.  The human body is capable of so much, and I truly dig the challenge of testing my limits and seeing what I can achieve.

Suffice it to say, last Friday morning, I was NOT feeling that “why,” nor did I care to see what my body could do.  I was scheduled for long miles, which I’d have to break up into 2 runs due to mom & work duties.  As usual, the alarm went off at stupid-o-clock, and as if on auto-pilot, I headed out in the dark for some solo easy effort miles.  This is what I mean… “easy” miles actually meant 9+.  After getting Shorty to school, I then headed off for some more trail miles.  By this time, my brain is trying all sorts of things to talk me out of it.  “Your legs are toast.  You have to climb over 4000′ tomorrow.  You have a huge to-do list.  You should just take that 9 miles and be done.  You don’t have time for this.”  I think we’ve all heard these voices.  In spite of the valiant effort my brain put forth in trying to back out of it, I forged ahead, thinking of the reasons I should do it, not the least of which is I CAN.  I am super fortunate to have the opportunity to build my own schedule and be flexible with my training.  Did I have to put a couple of things on the back burner that day?  Sure.  Did everything get done?  Nope.  But I also started thinking about so many people I know who make it work, in spite of the many challenges & obstacles life throws at them.  Like my running buddies who start their runs so early in the morning, that Strava classifies them as “night” runs, so they can get in the miles before a full day of work.  Or those who put in time on the treadmill when traveling (YUK).  Doing whatever needs to be done to achieve those goals.

So, a couple of miles into my trail run, feeling SOOO tired and dragging butt, as I was thinking about those who do what needs to be done to feed their “why,” I stopped to take in the view, got a little pep talk from Florence and the Machine, and even though my tired old legs didn’t move much faster from that point, they definitely felt lighter, and I mentally enjoyed those miles so much more, simply remembering to not take for granted my ability to do this crazy thing.

Bottom line, if it’s important enough to us, we will find a way.   What’s YOUR WHY?

Run Happy, my friends!

 

IMG_4212How’s 2018 going for you so far?  Did you survive the holidays??

I did.  Barely.  Maybe I just have more awareness as I get older, but I’ll tell you what.  Even when I thought I was doing a pretty good job at the time, I could not escape the ill effects of the added stress, sugar, and alcohol in my life.  All of the above led to increased inflammation, decreased immunity, and lower energy.

Normally, we don’t travel during the holidays, but this year, since I have a landmark birthday coming up later this month, we took a family trip to San Francisco, leaving 3 days after Christmas and staying for a week.  Sort of an early celebration.  Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard about what a horrendous flu season we are supposedly having.  Even if it’s not the flu, it seems everyone around us is getting some sort of URI this year.  I pride myself on my immunity.  Thinking back, I’m pretty sure the last time I had any virus worth remembering was early December 2015.  I only remember it because I ran the Frenzy 25k hoping to not cough up a lung.  I’ve had quite the streak going since then.

Fast forward to our flight out of Sky Harbor on the 28th.  I think 90% of the people on our flight were sniffling, sneezing, and coughing.  Panic?  Nah…  I had packed my Oscillococcinum & hand sanitizer and was ready for a fun adventure in San Fran!!  I have a killer immune system!  Arrive on Thursday and hit the ground running.  Saturday started as the perfect day.  Got up and put in about 6 miles, went to breakfast with the boys, grabbed a latte, headed out for some sight seeing and SHOPPING!!  I mean really, can a girl ask for much more?  Saturday night, we had dinner reservations at Epic Steak, an amazing restaurant down on the waterfront.  Get to dinner, and suddenly I’m feeling “off.”  Tired.  Run down.  Oh no.  Am I getting sick?  Nah…   Wake up Sunday, still trying to shake the feeling.  I just need some more Oscillo.   Maybe a nap.  Hydrate.  It’s New Years Eve, and we have plans to go to the BEST pizza joint in town.  I am going to ENJOY, dammit!  Suffice it to say, enough wine and comfort food really made me feel better that night, but New Years Day, I woke up and realized it was official.  I was sick.  My streak was broken.  Scratchy throat, heavy congestion in my chest, headache.  Shit.  Did the “things” during the day, but spent 10-11 hours in bed each night and napped when I could.  Waved the white flag and started taking NyQuil (although I still woke up during the earthquake).   Let me just say, it’s tough being away from home when you’re sick.  I have an arsenal at home of immune boosters, nourishing foods, and essential oils that will kick any cold right in the butt.  Unfortunately, none of that available.  I couldn’t find a soup without pasta or heavy cream in it within 5 miles of our hotel.

Shortly after returning home, the cold had turned into bronchitis, and I’m now on an antibiotic.  Getting better, but here’s the thing.  This being sick crap REALLY makes me appreciate those times when I am healthy.   My training has been compromised, I am keeping my poor husband awake all night with either my hacking cough or the insane snoring from my post-nasal drip, and I just plain old don’t feel well.  However, if I start to get down about it, I just force myself to think, “I appreciate this shitty experience, because it is making me more grateful for my health, and I will get better.”  This is my reframe.  I am really looking forward to feeling better, but I know my body needs time to heal, and if I get down and stress about it, I’ll prolong the experience, because the body can’t heal in a stressed state.  For now, I simply adjust the intensity with which I do everything (including training), and rest when I need it.  I’ve rallied my arsenal and put into practice all I can to give my immune system a kick in the pants.  No, I can’t put my entire life on hold because I’m sick (who can?), so I am using the tools I have.  Riiicola…

The next time you are sick, or in a low place, or just not feeling your best, reframe it and be grateful for the good times.  Sometimes the shitty situations are unavoidable, and we can’t to anything to change them, but we can change how we respond to them.  And that can go a long way toward better health.

Here’s to a Healthy 2018, Peeps!!

Fa-la-la-la-la, La-la-la-BLAH…

candy-cane-hearts-w-e1355981734716

Are you feeling it yet?  Are the holidays catching up to you?   If you’re like me, you may already be feeling the effects of ALL those treats at your disposal so far.  One only has to look as far as January 1 to see the toll this time of year can take ~ New Years Resolution, anyone?

If you are feeling like you might need a little kick in the pants to get your nutrition back on track after the holidays, and you’re looking for some accountability and coaching, you’re in luck!

On January 2, I’ll be kicking off a 4 week Group Health Coaching Program, which will offer a 14 Day Clean Eating Challenge (running from January 8-22).  Here’s what you’ll get:  A nutritional guide that includes whole, fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats, gluten and dairy free.  Think of this as a quick nutritional “reset,” which eliminates highly inflammatory foods.  You will also have access to the CoachConnect app, with your entire plan, including recipes, shopping lists, meal suggestions (vs strict meal plans).  The app will also allow you to track your nutrition, hydration, movement, sleep, as well as mood, energy, digestion, etc., to help create awareness of what foods are fueling you the best.  In addition, you’ll receive 4 weekly coaching videos from me with tools to help you maximize success on the program.  I’ll also create a private FB group for those enrolled in the program, where you can ask questions, receive support & accountability, share & celebrate our successes together, and receive coaching in a group format.

The cost of the program is $79 per person, and includes all of the above.  If you are interested in signing up, or just have a question, please feel free to click on the “contact” link here and reach out that way.  Deadline to sign up is January 1, with the kick off and first coaching video released on January 2.  This will allow time for everyone to review the plan, shop for, and prep your healthy food.

I hope you’ll join us!  This is sure to be a GREAT way to clean up after the holidays and stay accountable!

Merry Christmas Peeps!!

HoHoHoHELP!

The holidays are in full swing, peeps!  Now, if you’re like this little guy^ or Buddy the Elf, you are busting at the seams, and you probably had your shopping done by Thanksgiving.  If you’re more like me, you *maybe* got some of your shopping done, squeaked out a few cards, and are literally planning the days left until Christmas down to every last stinking minute in order to fit it all in.

This can be one of the most stressful times of the year, as we all know.  Add in parties, ALL the food, desserts, alcohol, and before you know it, we’re feeling tired, bloated, stressed, cranky… You get the idea.  No wonder we make those New Year’s Resolutions ~ we can’t wait to get back to feeling good again!

What if it didn’t have to be this way?  What if we could do just a few little things here & there to help minimize that mental AND physiological stress?  Yoo-hoo…?  We can!   Since diving into Health Coaching, I have had to undergo quite a bit of self-transformation.  I can’t expect a client to take on challenges and strategies I haven’t gone through myself.  Over the past 8 months or so, I have learned quite a few strategies that I’d like to share, and if you implement some, you may just sail through the rest of this holiday season relatively unscathed.

  1.  Sleep.  Whenever humanly possible, try to get 7-9 hours of sleep each night.  Create a power-down hour before bed each evening, where you ditch electronics and immerse in a relaxing bedtime ritual.  Sleep is essential for detoxing, and cumulative sleep deprivation can lead to serious health issues.
  2. HYDRATE.  Seriously.  This is one of the BEST things you can do to help balance your blood sugar levels, keeping mood and energy even keel, and making you less likely to crave the evil treats lingering at work or that office party.  Dehydration can often mimic hunger.  If you’re finding it hard to resist that Christmas cookie, chug back 8-10 ounces of water, wait 10 minutes and see if the craving disappears.
  3. Balance.  I’m talking about food & alcohol here.  Just because it’s the holiday season, doesn’t mean we have to constantly bury our face in cookies and drink alcohol daily.  If you can set yourself up to eat well MOST meals, and save all the “naughty” stuff for one meal each week, you will be ahead of the game!
  4. More Balance.  Don’t try to be everything to everyone every day.  Don’t overcommit.  There are enough demands on your time already, and it’s okay to say “no” once in a while.  You can’t pour from an empty cup, and if you aren’t doing something for yourself once in a while, you are simply giving everyone a depleted version of you.  And that is helpful to no one.  Do what you need in order to relax ~ meditate, conscious deep breathing, massage, etc.  Set aside time each day, even if it’s only 10 minutes.  Don’t forget to be good the most important person in your life ~ YOU.
  5. Damage Control.  Not IF but WHEN we partake in that inflammatory nutrition and stress-inducing activity, we can minimize the damage with a couple of things.  Detox tea is great.  Best if consumed at night (remember detox while sleeping), but you can drink it multiple times a day.  Another great way to draw out toxins is with an Epsom Salt bath.  2 cups of Epsom Salts in as water as hot as you can comfortably tolerate, soak a minimum of 20 minutes.

So, if the holidays start to take their toll, or if you are feeling it already, try integrating some of these little strategies in your life, and hopefully, you can minimize the damage.

Plus, stay tuned…  I’ll soon be announcing an opportunity for a post-holiday nutritional re-set!!   🙂

Happy Holidays, Peeps!

RACING AGAIN!

I’m super stoked.  This weekend, I ran my first race in over 8 months!  Capping off last season with the Xterra Black Canyon 10k, the rest of the year has been a bit of a bumpy ride.  Major surgery in April kept me sidelined for a while, then PRP for the chronic hamstring tendinosis had me resting again for a few weeks throughout August and part of September.  After slowly crawling my way back through a course of physical therapy, gradually and safely building my mileage base, while listening carefully to my body, I finally felt comfortable enough to register for the Frenzy 10 miler at McDowell Mountain Park this past Saturday.  I’m not the kind of person who likes to spend cheddar on a race and just go do it as a “training run,” so my intention was to challenge myself and RACE this one.  Knowing that I hadn’t run at a hard effort for more than a few short intervals since March, I was a little unsure whether or not I’d be able to sustain a race effort over a long distance, but I was willing to give it a shot.

I’m VERY grateful to experience continued healing in the hamstring, to the point it’s no longer a limiting factor in my running ~ YAY!  In addition, over the summer and continuing into the fall, I’ve been extremely fortunate to have learned some priceless strategies surrounding mindful eating and stress management, all which have helped my body make the most of the fuel I’ve been giving it.  There is NO DOUBT in my mind, that these strategies have contributed to the healing of my hamstring, as well as my ability to continually ramp up my training as planned (appropriately, of course).

Still, there was that voice in the back of my mind, causing a little self-doubt.  I basically just had to tell it to shut the hell up.  I set 3 goals for myself on Saturday.  One, to finish in under 1:40 (I hoped I could do 10 in about 1:35, but knowing the course always measures long, I gave myself that extra cushion).  The second goal was to finish in top 10 females.  My final goal was to have FUN, enjoying the return of trail racing season with friends, and that included earning a little time in the post-race beer garden :).

We were blessed with total cloud cover and cool temps for most of the race.  Warm enough to go without sleeves, but not too hot.  A few sprinkles and wind in the early miles were a little surprising, and luckily it didn’t end up raining any harder.  Rick and I planned on running together as much as possible, with the knowledge that each had the freedom to run his/her own race.  We started in the top 1/3.  I knew I didn’t want to get stuck behind too much traffic, because that usually creates unwanted extra work for me, either in the form of pushing too hard with someone on my heels or working to have to get around people who are pulling me out of my rhythm.  I finally found the sweet spot around 3 miles in, when traffic cleared, and I had a good 100 feet or so in all directions.  It wasn’t until then, that I actually got into a groove and was able to relax & run my own race.  By this point, however, my heart rate was way higher than I’m used to running, hanging steadily in tempo range.  I wondered how long I could pull this off, let alone surge anymore in the later miles or pass anyone else!  “Oh well,” I thought, “let’s see what happens!”  Over the next few miles, I was happily able to hold steady, and I think I passed about 10-12 gals from the 10-mile race, eventually catching back-of-the-packers from the 25k.  It felt good to continually pull ahead of others, and throughout the entire race, I was only passed by one gal, who finished about 40 seconds ahead of me.  She was a great rabbit for a while :).  As expected, I started suffering some at about 8.5 miles, and I knew I was gonna have to turn up the GRIT dial for the final surge.  Okay, “surge” is a strong word in this case.  It was more like running through wet cement, fighting the urge to puke the last mile!   Those rollers and the final climb up through the parking lot almost did me in.

I managed to cross in 1:38 & some change, as 7th female overall, and I thoroughly enjoyed the company of friends in the beer garden afterward!  Check, Check, and Check.  Another great nugget from the day is that the hamstring held up beautifully as well throughout the entire race!!

For anyone interested in pre-race/race nutrition, here’s the low-down:  Breakfast (about 2.5 hours pre-race) was coconut/chia pudding with berries & walnuts, and some bacon.  About an hour before the race, I had about 1/2 of an RX Bar.  During the race, I sipped Tailwind from my handheld.  Feeling like this was a good nutrition strategy, and largely mentioning it so I can refer back :).

It feels really good to be back out on the racing scene again!  Looking forward to the next event, as well as a great season of training with friends on our way to CKS 2018!

Run Happy, my friends 🙂