Ditch The Focus-Run Easier

I’ve mentioned recently that I have taken to the treadmill more often as my pregnancy has progressed.  The flat, even terrain is easier for me and having a bathroom right next door is very helpful too.  Last time as my pregnancy progressed and we lived in the city, I got fed up with trying to deal with drivers who ran through so many stop signs.  It just gets to be too much.

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So you can imagine my disappointment the other night when my husband told me that a belt had broken on the treadmill and it would take a week for a new part to arrive.  I went into semi-panic mode.  Where was I going to run in our small town where I could find a bathroom?  I also insist that all runners carry their phones with them for safety reasons, which meant putting on my FlipBelt, only adding to the pressure on my belly/bladder.

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After a lot contemplation, I decided my best bet was to drive over to my parent’s house and run around their mostly flat and quiet neighborhood.  It is my place of choice for runs and I can easily get 5-10 miles in from there.  I figured that I could stick close to their house for an emergency stop and worst case scenario, I would duck into the woods.

As I headed out I did a nice easy mile and felt great.  But the fear of having to go was constantly on my mind.  So I looped back and ran into the house.  I realized that I had pushed the panic button a little early and I was actually fine so I took off and decided to head out a little further.  I got two miles out and that was when I needed to decide if I would turn back home or take a trail to another area for an extra mile before heading back.  I decided to go for it and then started doing the math in my head of how long I would have to make it.

That was when I realized that I was far too focused on the potential of having to go to the bathroom and how many miles I had yet to do.  Many of us runners tend to have a Type A personality, and even if you don’t one thing that running quickly impresses upon you is a focus.  We start focusing on goals, on distance, on paces, on everything.  Sometimes that can be just too much!  What I needed to do was lose my focus and just run.  So I turned up my music and just cruised.

Do you know what happened?  It felt great!  I sweated hard.  I enjoyed the sun.  And I got six really nice miles of outdoor running in.

Lesson learned is that for all of the great reasons to focus during training or as we progress, it is just as important sometimes to drop the intentions and just get out and enjoy running for the sake of running.

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Here are a few ways you can silence all of the noise in your head and get back to basics:

Ditch the technology.  Leave the GPS at home and run a route that is familiar to you if you need to know the distance.  Not worrying about your pace, the current distance, or what you have left to do is a great release for your mind.

Turn up the volume.  Put on some music or a podcast.  Don’t literally turn the volume up too much.  It is important to still hear what is going on around you such as cars, people, and animals.  But having something to listen to makes it pretty hard to pay too much attention to the details of your run.

Switch things up.  Change your route.  Do some research and then get in the car and try a new place out.  If you have the luxury, take a day trip and go explore.

Run with someone else.  Join a running group or enlist a friend to run with you.  Perhaps you don’t all go at the same pace.  That is okay!  Run at the pace that is best for the slowest runner.  Enjoy the conversation and remember that there are huge benefits to slow runs.

How do you like to lose your focus?

29 Weeks Pregnant, Awesome Running, & An Identity Crisis

Happy Monday!  I hope everyone had a great week and weekend.  We had less than stellar weather around here, but we made the best of it.  Summer has been flying by with lots of work and tons of family activities.  I honestly hate to see it going by so quickly, but we are certainly trying to enjoy every moment.

This weekend marked 29 weeks in my pregnancy.  I’m feeling pretty great for the most part.  I had a fantastic week of running and logged 42 miles.  I was pretty excited about that.  The only bummer is that I have moved most of my runs to the treadmill at this point because of my frequent need to make a run to the bathroom.  Fortunately, we have a treadmill at home and I am able to run at the gym at work during my breaks.  Despite my growing belly, I am still feeling pretty good at this point.

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Now that we are into the third trimester I am definitely starting to notice some changes.  I am getting tired more often and try to grab a nap whenever I get a chance.  My belly is certainly getting bigger and my running is starting to slow just a little bit.

However, on Friday morning when I left to go run some errands I was hit with a major hungry belly.  This hasn’t really happened to me and I haven’t had any cravings at all during this pregnancy.  I was going to be on the road for a bit and my urgency for food took me through the Burger King drive-thru.  I never eat fast food.  To top it off, as soon as I got my bag of food, I drove off and later realized I left without my change.  I was that hungry.  My breakfast sandwich was delicious but I did wonder what was happening to me with my bizarre urgency for fast food!

Beyond that, I do have to say that pregnancy brain is a real thing.  I am a list maker.  I live by lists and sticky notes.  But now, more than ever, I rely on these lists to keep my life in order. I can’t recall a darn thing I say I will do or have planned.  Last week at work I was making an appointment for a client and quoted them a time that I thought they gave me.  The client laughed and said we hadn’t yet discussed a time but the one I gave them would work.  I felt a bit foolish but she said she was an OB and knew what was going on.

When I got home from work that night I pulled in and thought I closed the garage door.  Later in the evening when Rock went to take the dog out, he asked why both garage doors were open.  Apparently I opened the other door instead of closing the one I parked at.  Doh!

Besides work and running, we have been spending a lot of time as a family doing fun activities.  We hit up a great charity event last week and I scored some awesome silent auction items.  I had a brilliant idea to put Rock’s name on the items I bid on so that he would have to pay for them.  But he had to run an errand when they announced the winner and I was left forking over the cash.  He made a point to snap a pic of me with one of my winnings.

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We also got to spend an evening with my family out on Torch Lake.  If you have never heard of this lake, I encourage you to Google it.  Torch Lake is huge and has a beautiful sandbar right in the middle where you can park your boat and play.  The water is crystal clear with colors reminiscent of the Caribbean.  You can rent a SUP on the sandbar, even get a burger from a boat that grills right there, or call and have a pizza delivered from nearby.  It’s a boater’s/pregnant woman’s paradise.

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Life may be slowing down but work is getting busier and busier these days.  The gym is keeping me plenty occupied and I am having such a fun summer with so many runners preparing for races this fall.  I almost wish it could be summer year round!

It rained a lot this weekend, but we took advantage of the indoor time and got a bunch of cleaning and errands taken care of.  After naps yesterday we pulled out the finger paints and Mary went to town.  It was a huge mess and we enjoyed every moment of it.

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How has your summer been going?  Are you as big a fan as I am?

Learn To Relax For Easier & Improved Running

While we were away over Easter weekend, I had the chance to do a few lovely runs on a rail trail in the Hudson Valley.  Then on Easter morning, Mary and I took a walk while Rock got to do a solo workout.  Usually when I am on a trail or path, I am busy running or working with clients, so it was a nice change to just take my time.  I was also able to take notice of a few trends that we often forget about when running.

Loosen Up:  I noticed that a lot of runners tend to get tense, especially in the shoulders and the arms.  This can make running not only uncomfortable, but also constrict your air intake; a bad combination!

Whether you are new to running or have been doing it for awhile, there is no argument that it isn’t always easy and it certainly can be uncomfortable.  The first few minutes of a run are always a bit more difficult than the rest, so make sure you set yourself up for success by checking in occasionally.  Make sure your shoulders are down and relaxed.  Keep your hands loose and unclenched.  Take in nice even and deep breaths.  Remember that after the first few minutes, your body will adjust and it will feel a bit easier.

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Slow Down:  During my walk, I saw so many runners who were struggling to keep pace.  Whether you are training for your first race or just aiming to get some time in on your feet, there is no rule stating how fast you must go.  In fact, slower running has huge impacts not only on improving your running, but also for cardiorespiratory efficiency, weight loss, and even speed.

If you find that running feels difficult or uncomfortable, take a breath and slow down.  It is far more important that you enjoy your time and stay healthy than getting it over a few minutes faster.  And don’t worry, if you stick with it, your pace will naturally start to improve.

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Dress For Success:  Unlike going to work in some offices, you don’t have to break the bank to dress for success.  When I see someone trying to run in shoes that are not meant for running, it makes me cringe.  Proper footwear is the first step to an enjoyable experience.  Running shoes come in all shapes, sizes, and price points.  Just as you wouldn’t wear baseball cleats to play in a tennis match, you don’t want to wear basketball shoes to go for a run.

While we are at it, ladies you will want to wear a comfortable sports bra.  All of us want to keep our assets tucked and tight when we are out there logging our miles.  If you are chafing and uncomfortable, it won’t be an enjoyable experience.

And gents, I’ve mentioned it before but find some nice fitting running clothes.  Your chafing issues can cause some ugly nipple bleeding, and nobody wants to see that!

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Just slow down and have fun.  Running can be tough at first.  But if you are patient with your body and yourself, it will eventually feel like second nature (or at least much more fun).  Give yourself the grace to go nice and slow and make sure you keep your body relaxed.

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What are your tips for making running easier?

What I Am Loving Right Now

Happy Friday!  For some reason, this week flew by.  We started with fabulous weather, got really chilly in the middle, and are just hanging on for the weekend now.

Today I thought it would be fun to share some of my recent favorites.  Spring is in the air and it has me feeling all sorts of fabulous.

Pinkberry Meyer Lemon

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If you live anywhere near a Pinkberry, run there now and try the new lemon flavor.  I know the frozen yogurt craze has been done and most of it is just okay.  But Pinkberry is the real deal.  They only have a few flavors at a time, with their original tart being the standout, in my opinion.  Real, fresh, tart yogurt without all of the sugary extras, it leaves you feeling far less guilty about this delicious splurge.

Lemon is the perfect spring-like flavor.  I tried it once with fruit on top and fell in love.  In fact, I skipped dinner the next night, ran six miles instead, and ended up at Pinkberry for a delicious serving of……well calcium. Right?!

Knockaround Sunglasses

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I lost my Oakley running sunglasses during our move.  Major bummer.  I know they are around, but I couldn’t find them in time for our trip to Florida.  I figured I would be fine without them, but the first time I tried running on the beach, I knew I had made a big mistake.  The glare off of the sun and sand was not a good combo on my eyes.  All of us runners should practice proper sun care and that includes wearing shades.

Rock loaned me his Knockaround’s and it was love at first run.  Most of these glasses will cost you about $20 and are polarized.  They are light, fit comfortably, and don’t bounce around when you run.  One of my biggest pet peeves with shades is if they fall off when you lean over or place them on top of your head.  These stay put but are light enough that you won’t even notice they are there.  At $20 a pair, you can afford a pair, or maybe even two!

Just Salad

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When the weather gets warm, I crave salad. During pregnancy I try to make sure that I eat a big bowl of veggies at least once each day.  Just Salad is my daily go-to place in NYC.  I love going down the line and picking different combos.  I also really like that they use as many local ingredients as possible from organic kale to fresh made bread, and cheeses.

Decent Fitting (Non-Mom) Maternity Jeans

H&MWhat is it with ugly maternity clothes?  Just because we are pregnant doesn’t mean we need to wear a box or a bag over our growing bellies.  I have been having serious jeans envy as I wander NYC.  Can’t an expecting mom get a decent pair of denim without breaking the bank?

I happened to check out H&M’s maternity section and snagged a great pair of boyfriend jeans for under $40.  And can we talk about how awesome the elastic panels are on maternity jeans?!  I seriously think everyone should be able to enjoy the benefits of a little elastic to hold them in!

Nice People

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It seems these days that everyone is in a rush and looking at their phones or worried about something else.  It can really start to get you down!

The other day I was running a loop of Central Park when a cyclist cut me off, and without looking crossed over into the pedestrian/running lane to stop.  I had to jump over their bike and just barely escaped an accident.  I was really annoyed and almost shouted at the person.  Instead, I hopped over the bike and tried to keep running.

A gentleman run up alongside me to check on me and we ended up having a really great conversation.  I had been struggling the last mile or so and was dreading a big hill that was coming up.  Instead, we chatted all the way up and I almost kept going with him.  To the minimalist runner from San Diego who was in town on business, thanks for reminding me that runners are a really great bunch!

What are your recent favorite things?  Does spring have you craving all sorts of new goodies?

Lead Heavy Legs and Race Training

I recently was going through my website and found that one of the most searched topics on my site is “legs feel like lead during training.”  I did a post on this a few years ago and since it seems to be so popular, I thought we should touch upon this again.

Running is one of my favorite things to do.  That doesn’t mean that it is always easy.  Sure, some days are easier or better than others.  There are also days when every step is a struggle, and every minute is a process of me pleading with myself to keep going.

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Regardless of how many or how few miles you have logged before training for a race, one thing is almost certain, race training will exhaust your body.  Your legs will in fact feel like they are full of lead.  Your muscles will likely ache and you will probably fall in and out of love with the sport during your training cycle.

Training for endurance races is an involved process.  Plans will have you doing various types of runs that might involve both short and long mileage, speed work, tempo runs, and perhaps even sprints.  Each of these serves an important purpose in making you a stronger and healthier racer.

You will also notice that most plans follow a periodized pattern.  This involves a gradual increase in mileage over time.  The increased distance is meant to slowly train your legs to endure the large amounts of mileage you will face on race day.    In order to do this in a healthy manner and to hopefully avoid injury, you will spend many weeks of higher mileage training.

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This type of training and mileage will in fact, exhaust your legs.  In order to make your muscles stronger, you have to push them.  Just as your muscles get sore and tired when you lift weights, your legs must go through this same process.  In order to build muscle in the gym, you gradually lift heavier weights and for longer periods.  The result of this is tired and achy muscles, just like you feel after endurance training.

There are two things that you need to do during this period.  First, you must approach your rest and recovery in a manner that allows you time to heal and recover.  Respect your rest days.  Don’t run.  Stretch and do some light activities.  Drink lots of water and eat plenty of bright red and green fruits and veggies as well as plenty of protein.  Remember that a healthy diet fuels your training.

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Once you have ensured that you are resting and recovering properly, you then need to push through those heavy legs.  There will be days and even weeks where you legs and body feel absolutely exhausted.  You will have to continue training through these tired legs.  Your pace may slow down a bit.  Don’t push it too hard and be patient with your body.

Finally, know that this won’t last forever.  Trust that this process is meant to build your body and make you stronger for your event.  It will be difficult and frustrating at times.  With patience and diligence, you will soon find that you feel like yourself again.  In fact, you might even find that you are stronger than you were just a few weeks ago.

What is your best advice for dealing with tired and heavy legs?

Runner’s Amnesia

I recently heard the term “runner’s amnesia” and it has had me chuckling all week.  If you are a runner or have ever run, you most definitely have suffered a case of running amnesia.

The onset typically starts when you first begin.  Each day you struggle to breathe and push yourself through a workout.  The entire time you curse yourself for ever considering running.  You constantly remind yourself how much you hate this.  You swear that when you get home you are throwing your shoes away and never running again.

Somehow, by the time you wake up the next day, you seem to have forgotten about that run and you are at it again, cursing your way back through.  In fact, you might even go out the next day and see a cute running top or a shiny new pair of shoes and decide that you must get those for training, despite having just said you would never do it again.

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As a coach and a runner, the most common case of runner’s amnesia that I tend to see involves endurance races.  I cannot tell you how many times I have heard about a runner crossing the line of a half marathon and swearing they will “never do that again” only to sign up a week later.  Even better is when they decide that “never again” meant they might as well tackle a full marathon while they are at it.

Years ago I proposed doing a marathon to my husband for the first time.  I told him it was a bucket list item that we should do.  His response was that he would train with me and run a portion, but not the full race.  Today we have done multiple marathons and together coached hundreds of half and full marathoners.  Funny how quickly things can change.

As a matter of fact, I remember the morning of my first (and supposedly only) marathon.  I was sitting eating a bagel and these strange words slipped out my mouth without me realizing what I was doing, “Next time we do this, we should……”  We both looked at each other and had a scary moment.  We both knew right then that there would be a next time.

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So what is runner’s amnesia?  I believe that it is this wonderfully sick mechanism in our brains that allows us to suffer our way through a difficult run or event.  It allows us to curse ourselves, our bodies, and our poor judgement.  We can even say we will never run again or never do a particular race again.  And at the time, all of this is absolutely fair.  We are miserable.  Our bodies hate us, our minds hate us.

However, by the next morning, our brains have somehow erased most of those terrible memories or somehow recharged them so that we can laugh about how we stumbled across the finish line or threw up into our shoes.  Suddenly we are amused by our terrible experience.  Less than 24 hours later we think, “It wasn’t that bad!”  We start contemplating our next event or planning a revenge.

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While it might be a safety mechanism in our brains that allows us to erase terrible, horrible memories, it also is that strange mechanism that makes us runners totally weird.  It allows us to forget just enough to get back out there and keep going again and again.

What is your best case of runner’s amnesia?  Were you ever unable to not completely forget a bad run or race?

Make Yourself An Informed Consumer

Over the past few months I have worked with many clients who are trying to live a healthier life.  One thing that has become increasingly common with food logs is the general misunderstand about what is “healthy” and “unhealthy.”   There is a lot of misinformation out there regarding diets and well being.

One of the best ways to ensure that you are an informed consumer and healthier eater is by looking at food labels.  These is a standard format for all of the foods we purchase and consume.  All food labels look alike and show you the same information.

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The first thing you will notice at the top of a food label is a description of what the serving size is and how many servings are in each package.  This information is extremely important.  Serving sizes are not determined by anyone other than the company who produces the food, meaning that each company can determine how large a serving size is.  Next you will want to know how many servings are in a package.  It is not uncommon for a small package to have multiple servings.  If you did not realize this you might think you are consuming far fewer calories than you actually are.

Next on a food label, you will see calorie and fat content, followed by the percentage of calories that come from fat.  This information is also very valuable.  A snack with less than 100 calories per serving is considered a low calorie food.  Any snack with 100-400 calories per serving is considered a moderate calorie food.  And a snack with over 400 calories per serving would be considered a high calorie food.

Below the breakdown of nutrients on each label, you will also find a full list of the ingredients.  These are listed in order of largest amount to smallest.  It is always recommended to look for ingredients at the top that you recognize.  If you find words that you cannot decipher or do not recognize, they are most likely preservatives.  Aim for eating more whole or recognizable foods in your diet.

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Do you recognize most of these ingredients from your pantry?

You will also see a list of potential allergens.  All allergens must be listed.  The most common that you will find are peanuts, tree nuts, soy, wheat, dairy, eggs, and gluten.

Buyer Beware!

Please note that while the government does regulate food labels and most food claims, it does not regulate everything.  Just because you find “whole grains,” “organic,” or “healthy,” or “natural,” does not necessarily make them great choices.  Sugar laden cereals can also contain whole grains.  Organic food can also be full of added preservatives or sugars.

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All of these claims are legal to place on the cover of packaged food.

While a food label may make certain health claims, it doesn’t mean that it is completely healthy.  Before you assume that a food is good for you, read the label and check it’s serving size, calorie and fat content, amount of sugar, and ingredient list.  Compare food labels and always opt for the lowest sodium option between foods.

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I may have tried to convince my husband that these are “natural” but we both know it’s not completely true.

Serving sizes can be very misleading.  Some small bags that appear to be a single serving can actually hold two or three servings.  If you did not realize this you might think you are making a wise choice.  However, knowing just how much you are consuming might change your decision.  I recently came across a granola that was listed by the ounce.  Do you know how small an ounce is?  The granola had 40+ servings in a small bag.  That to me, is almost scandalous!

Be aware of certain foods that can appear to be healthy but labels might show otherwise:  Some of the leading culprits (but not all) are cereals, granolas, fat free candies/chips/crackers, energy bars, energy drinks, smoothies, juices, and trail mixes.

While reading food labels might seem tedious now, you will likely find it eye opening.  Once you get used to reading labels, you will soon find that you will naturally give it a quick scan and gravitate towards healthier choices.

What is your best recommendation for being an informed consumer?

Picking The Right Training Plan For You

It seems that now is the time of year when everyone starts nailing down their racing schedules for the spring, summer, and fall.  While the snow might still be on the ground and it feel a little early to start thinking about summer running, training plans will have you back at it in the next few weeks.

Many runners come to me wondering just what type of plan they should be using.  Some people want a customized plan.  Others want to find a free plan online.  Both can work well for just about anyone, but there are many factors that you should take into consideration before choosing the best fit for you.

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Pick your race and then decide on a goal.  Is your goal just to finish?  Or do you have a time in mind?  Basic cookie cutter plans are typically a great way to go if you are looking to simply finish a race or try a new distance.  However, if your goal is to PR or qualify for another race, you might need to consider a plan with specific speed training based on your goals.   A coach can also help you determine what paces you should be using for different types of training runs.

What can you commit to realistically with your schedule?  Running and training for races takes up a lot of time.  Work, family time, and social activities require time.  Be realistic about how much you can actually commit to training.  If you know that you only have three days per week to train, don’t try to cram in 5-6 days.  You will quickly become frustrated and feel as if you are failing.

What level runner are you?  If this is your first race, don’t select an advanced training plan.  While this might seem like a great way to meet your goals, if your body is not already accustomed to this amount of mileage, you are running a recipe for injury.  Don’t rush your training.  There will be many more races.  Start out slow and build your way up.

Know your limits.  I used to think that I needed to run 70 miles per week to be at my peak.  The reality was that anything over 60 miles per week caused overuse injuries.  I know my limits and keep my training mileage for marathons at around 50-60 miles and my non-training mileage at 40-50 miles.  While it might seem that 70 miles would make me stronger and faster, that certainly won’t be true if I am injured.  Instead, it is important to know your limits and train smart within those boundaries.

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Don’t fall victim to recycling plans.  Just because a plan worked well for you once, doesn’t mean you should just repeat that plan over and over.  Every race has different conditions and elements.  Chicago is flat while NYC is full of hills and bridges.  Following the same training plan for both races might not give you the same or best results.

Also keep in mind that as we continue to train, we change as runners.  We get older.  Sometimes we get faster.  Our goals change.  Our needs change.  Listen to your body, your goals, and the race and then make changes accordingly.

Understand what the race your training for will be like.  If you are training in the winter for a summer race, you might want to do some indoor runs on the treadmill to simulate warmer conditions.  If you are in a flat area but training for hills, you will want to look for hills or find some inclines.  You might also consider some cross training to build up strength in your quads as declines can really wreak havoc on these muscles.

Keep in mind that no two plans are perfectly alike.  Do your research.  Speak with a coach.  Most coaches are happy to give you a free consultation to discuss what you might need and expect.  Never settle on a plan and always be willing to make adjustments when needed.

What is your best advice for finding the right training plan?

Busy Days and Weekend Adventures

I seriously have not forgotten about this space.  Life has just gotten rather hectic lately and I decided to take a week to stay busy doing other things.  A co-worker broke her leg on our icy streets and I have been covering lots of extra hours at work.  No complaints here, as I really enjoy my job.  But I do hope my co-worker is feeling better soon.

At some point during the middle of last week, Rock suggested that I go with him to teach skating in Central Park for the weekend.  After some schedule juggling and some very kind offers from my parents to watch Mary, we were off to New York City for a few days of skating and lessons.

The weather was astounding!  It stayed in the 50’s all weekend and there was no snow in sight.  This was a delightful break from the constant snow we have been getting in Michigan.  It felt like spring!  I took a few days off from running and just enjoyed working as much as possible.  When I wasn’t working, I spent my time wandering the city.  It had been a long time since I just walked around and enjoyed the sights.  I felt like I had a renewed appreciation for everything.

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My office at 6am.  Not a bad way to start the day…..after a cup of coffee.

Rock and I stopped into St. Patrick’s Cathedral.  We wandered Central Park and the Time Warner Center.  We watched the skaters at Rockefeller Center.  That brought back special memories for me because we went there on our first date to see the Christmas tree.

We ate delicious food.  Thursday night we had a late evening slice from Artichoke pizza.  If you are ever in New York City or Queens, I highly recommend a stop here.  I covered my craving for sushi and beef shwarma.  And I of course enjoyed some delicious NYC bagels for breakfast.

Sunday came quickly and I boarded a plane back to Detroit.  I had the luck of getting an upgrade to first class.    After a long delay at LaGuardia, which ranks in my book as the worst airport to be stuck at, I walked down the ramp to board the plane.  Half way there, the pilot sent me back and announced all flights were in a ground stop to Detroit due to fog.  Flights had been canceled all day and it didn’t look good for us.

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Fortunately we managed to board the plane after a surprisingly brief wait.  We then sat on the tarmac for what felt like ages as flight plans were made and changed.  I managed to make it to Detroit by evening and drove three and a half hours home in dense fog.  I arrived home in the wee hours of the morning and woke to early cries from little Miss Mary.   Fortunately, she was game for an hour of snuggles in bed, before it was time to start the day.

With a few hours of sleep and a few extra miles in my frequent flyer program, it was back to reality and back to the gym for work.  What would a weekend be without some fun adventures?

Quick summer trip planner for you.  Did you know that National Geographic just named our area with one of the Best 21 Beaches in the World?

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The Rockefeller tree may be pretty awesome.  But Rock outdid himself by proposing to me here.  Then National Geographic chose it.  Coincidence?  I think not.

How was your weekend?  Did you have any fun adventures?

Take A Look In The Mirror-Like What You See

Happy Monday!

The other day while training a client, I placed us in front of a mirror.  I believe mirrors are a very useful tool for working out.  I was mentioning that we should watch ourselves to make sure we are performing sets properly and that we should also focus on good posture.  It is important for us to roll those shoulders back and keep them down.  We often tend to slouch as a way of hiding and also tense up during the day, causing our shoulders to rise.

It is very important for us to maintain great posture as we get older.  We also need to roll those shoulders back and not slouch, as a way to gain and portray our confidence in ourselves.

I was surprised to see my client shed a few tears and apologize, saying that she doesn’t like to look in the mirror.

This stopped me in my tracks.  Here was a beautiful woman, with a wonderful personality.  She is kind and full of life and to me that creates a great sense of confidence.

I myself have always had a rough relationship with mirrors.  I tend to let my eyes wander in yoga classes and constantly compare myself to others.  I usually see myself as much bigger or heavier than those around me.  Like many of us, I tend to quickly focus on what I perceive as my flaws.

On Saturday I headed into our basement to use the new treadmill that finally arrived.  After last weekend’s 14 miler that left me chafed pretty much from head to toe, I knew that I needed to wear something a bit more suitable.  YEARS ago, Rock gave me a pair of Nike compression running shorts.  I honestly never wore them before because I felt my legs and butt were too big.

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I pulled them out for the first time and put them on and gave myself a shrug in the mirror.  Rock was happy to see me using my gift for the first time and asked how they felt.  He of course said they looked great.

As I ran on the treadmill, I began to notice that these shorts felt fantastic!  It made me feel a bit silly for never wearing my gift.

As a coach and trainer, I often speak about how we need to love our bodies and work to gain confidence.  Sure we all see faults in ourselves, but we also need to seek out and acknowledge the great things we have.

Most of the time we tend to be our harshest critics.  We look around at others and believe they don’t have the same insecurities that we carry.  The truth is, we all have insecurities.  Many of us spend far too much time worried about what others think.  We need to spend more time focused on telling ourselves what we like about us.

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The reality is that most people are far more concerned with themselves and don’t have time to think about your faults.  Most people don’t even see these things that we spend time hating about our bodies or whatever it may be.  And generally speaking, any person who takes any time to mock or tease you, is suffering from many more insecurities than you are.

Stop worrying about what others think.  Take more time to glance in the mirror and focus on what you love about you.  Spend a little bit more time lingering and seek out those things you never even realized you like about you.

Stand up straight.  Roll your shoulders back.  And put a smile on your face.  You owe it to yourself to love what you see in the mirror.  If we can spend a little more time focusing on the positive, we will spend a lot more time enjoying life and loving ourselves.

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