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Monday, July 10, 2017

Netflix and Hulu really need to get their act together and not leave people without something to watch all.summer.long. Actually, it makes me a little nervous for the fall when all my favorite shows get new episodes...I guess this is a heads up to Ben that putting the kids to bed will be his job then. As a result, I've been watching YouTube in the evening and have found some really fascinating clips. I got hooked on documentaries of The Western States 100 mile endurance run.  I was especially inspired by Katie Lickteig, not because she won, but because of her amazingly positive attitude.

Then I watched this video , about Elle Ip, and I cannot stop thinking about it.  Basically, she signed up for an athletic swimsuit competition when she was 8 months pregnant and not living an active, healthy life.  She documents her 10 month struggle with losing the baby weight plus getting toned for a swimsuit competition.  She doesn't have a nutritionist or a coach or a babysitter or even a gym membership!  She has a treadmill and some free weights and a scale+tape measure.  I sympathized with her through the tears of sleep deprivation and caring for small kids and trying to do a little something for yourself.  This is what I cannot stop thinking about: she found that what worked for her was, light training and allowing herself one day a week to eat whatever she wanted.  She didn't starve herself the rest of the days; she was very conscious of getting enough nutrients to feed her baby but made healthy choices and those "free" days would literally eat anything that sounded good to her, no matter what it was or how much it was.  As for the training, she walked on the treadmill for 30 minutes a day and lifted light weights IN HER CLOSET.  I was just in shock.  Her body didn't immediately bounce back, like most videos you see of women just easily dropping the weight.  No, you could see that it was a struggle and I found that so refreshing.  What I found the most remarkable about the journey was that you could see a shift, when she really started losing the weight and it wasn't until her baby was about 8 months old and the competition was close!  I was getting nervous!  The shift happened when she started getting more sleep, which made her stress levels go down and as she saw some results, her mood improved.  Sleep+low stress+ positive thoughts=amazing results.

If these two videos aren't proof of the power of the brain in fitness, I don't know what is.

Strength of the mind

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Friday, July 7, 2017

Being completely vulnerable.
If you look through my journal, you will see a theme.  Actually, you probably don't even have to look at my journal to know this theme in me.  I have a very natural tendency to be negative.  Give me any situation and I can find the negative...some might say that I even look for it.  It's not depression, it's just a negative script that runs through my head.  I have been fighting to change that script; those journal pages are filled to the brim with scripture and prayers.  I finally came to a spot where I knew something had to change TODAY.  I need to accept that this is a struggle I may always have but equip myself to fight.  Why TODAY?  Because what runs through my head effects my words and my attitude towards my family and that in turn effects their words and attitudes, especially one very impressionable little girl. 

While this much needed change was on my heart, I listened to a podcast (while running on the treadmill to make it a little bit enjoyable) by Marathon Training Academy, called "How Running Changes Your Brain-Interview with Dr Wendy Suzuki" can also watch a similar video here.  Oh, how I needed this!  Dr. Suzuki has done extensive research on how exercise changes our brain, but I would say she equally found that our brain changes our exercise.  Things I found interesting about her podcast and really needed to hear:

1. We are the most productive (our brains are functioning at their highest capacity) right after exercising. 

2. When we have negative scripts running through our brain, those negative synapses are stronger and therefore fire more naturally.  Saying positive things will strengthen the positive synapses over time and hopefully, will eventually take over that natural position.

3. Say out loud positive things during an exercise. 
**This goes hand-in-hand with runners having mantras, but takes it one step further.  A suggestion would be to say while running:  I am strong.  I am committed.  I am fast.  I am more than enough.  I am on fire!

4. In a study between running, HIIT and walking, walking actually won for the best exercise for our brain.  Surprising, but it won because running and HIIT both put stress on your body (it's good stress, but it's still stress).  I probably won't be taking up walking, although hiking is intriguing, but it is a good reminder to make sure you get in some slow, easy runs.

5. Brain health is more important than most want to give it credit.  Things to do to keep this very important organ healthy:
~Sleep!  At least 8 hours a night.
~Eat a healthy diet...more on that later
~Meditation or prayer
~Learn a new skill
~Learn a new language
~Do something you enjoy
~Listen to music
~Drink tea and say things you are thankful for
~Don't check email and social media.  Obviously for work purposes, you probably have to check email a couple of times a day, but the idea is to not let it fill your thoughts.

6. She addressed being down on yourself during working out.  I found it refreshing that I wasn't the only one who compares myself to other athletes around me.  BUT it doesn't matter what they are wearing or how fast they are going or how far or how big their muscles are...

 boy, did I need that kick in the pants.

7. She did some interesting research studies.  I have a secret love for research like this.  In one study, they had a green drink and told one group that it was a tea full of vitamins and protein and was only 100 calories.  They gave the same drink to another group and told them that it was full of sugar and chemicals and was 800 calories.  The group who believed the drink was healthy, felt better about drinking it (had those positive synapses firing away), but the group who thought it was basically a milkshake felt terrible about drinking it.  It's amazing how our thoughts affect even our food choices!

Running is 90% mental, which means that all these years I've been running on 10%, which also means that running is amazing because that 10% has really helped my mental status stay somewhat positive. I'm really curious to see how my running changes after I put some work into a healthy brain.  Interestingly enough, I ended that treadmill run feeling like I could have kept running; it was the best I've felt in a long time.

My journey on this subject is just beginning, but it is clear that all aspects of my life will benefit from this endeavor. 

I am strong.  I am committed.  I am more than enough.

Small regrets


Sunday, July 2, 2017

I'm excited to announce that I have finally conquered getting up early in the morning to run and there is no going back!  It's the small victories in life...

Anyway, I was running one morning, thinking about this past year and realized how much I regretted not documenting our running.  I so wish Ben had blogged through intense training while being deployed and getting a medal every single race they had on base.  I felt like there wasn't much to say about my running, but really, there was.  It may not have seemed like much, but just the fact that I was able to run at all while Ben was deployed is huge.  More than huge.  His first deployment, I was so stressed I could barely make it through 2 miles.  It was amazing to not have that stress this time around (not that it was all roses) and to be able get in some decent miles.  This time around, it was a stress reliever and even though it was just circles around my house, it was refreshing.

When Ben got home from deployment, he gave me Faster Road Racing, a book he used while deployed and he helped me to see that I was actually in a big time running rut!  I was so thankful for those rut miles, but I was literally doing the same run (same miles and pace) and it was actually have somewhat of a negative affect. 

This is a quote from HungryRunnerGirl:
"Some warning signs for when you know you need to make a change in your training—>  you are experiencing constant fatigue, a change in your sleep patters, you are sick more often than normal, moody, loss of menstruation, change in your weight, lots of worrying, forgetfulness and anything else that is off to you and your normal self."

I definitely had some of these symptoms, but just contributed it to deployment.  Crazy enough, I have more energy now when I get up early and mix up my routine.  Ben's also home, so that helps too :) 
Ben helped me to realize that I was running all of my runs too fast and helped me finally accept that it's okay to slow down.  Now I have a tempo run, interval run, aerobic run and long run throughout my week with some strength training and am feeling on top of that rut.

I also regret not documenting running in the winter here because we are sadly back to summer, which equals the treadmill.  Blech.

Every once in awhile we like to pretend it's not summer and run outside.  And then there was that one crazy time Ben tricked me into running to Mexico and the border patrol came after us.

Some how I have to find a way to make treadmill run interesting posts for awhile...