Do What You Can’t

You-must-do-the-thing-you-think-you-cant-do

 

“Do what you can’t”

It was a clip off of a commercial that was on. The tag line jumped out at me.

I let the words breathe over me for a few moments.

“Do what you can’t”

It left no room for considering something as impossible… unattainable… or out of reach .

Like.. just do it.

I considered those words a bit longer. I remembered an acrostic I had seen on “I can’t” years ago.

I

C- certainly

A-  Am

N- Not

T-  Trying

I thought of the times in my life those words had crossed my lips. I’ve entertained those less and less as I get older. I’ve done enough crazy things to realize that really, I can.  I just need to train my mind to get out of my way and do it.

I thought of the times I’ve heard people say that. Sometimes in regards to things that they want to do or sometimes it’s in regards to what I’ve done ( oh  I cant run…can’t lift weights… can’t….)

Listen, I couldn’t either a few years ago. Once my mind got out of the way and I let my body do things it’s  naturally made to do, It was crazy how it turned into…

watch me.

Oh, don’t get me wrong. Sometimes the things I’m considering scare me. They scare me ’cause I start thinking those thoughts…can I do this? Am I able?

Those thoughts of self doubt scare me a bit more than the thing I’m considering taking on, if  I’m being honest.

Why? Because I let doubts creep in about my abilities… but I’ve learned .. I can really train myself into anything.

How I think. How I approach life. My attitude towards things. How I take on new physical activities .

So as I considered that little phrase it just made me think of the times I’ve  taken on the things “I can’t”.

Fear has no place there. Insecurities have no place there. Self doubt has no place there.

You know what happens when you push through and take on the idea  that you can do anything?

It’s empowering. It builds confidence .You feel you can take on the world.

What big thing do you want to do ?

Go back to school? Lose weight? Take on a new project? Pursue a new fitness goal?

What do you need to remove from your thinking to accomplish something you think you can’t do?

You are only limited by your mind and the self imposed limits you put on yourself.

Go do what you can’t.

 

 

Tips To Kick Start A Healthier Lifestyle

taking-steps-to-a-healthier-me-blog-9_29_13

 

Once again another article caught my eye. I’m always drawn to news stories on health and fitness and am usually looking to see if it will tell me something new that I don’t know.   I  gather tidbits from articles that I find useful and valuable for myself or others and mentally discard the rest.

However, I’m always disappointed when the story leads to telling me this… being overweight/fat leads to health problems.

Like…tell me something I don’t know. Or tell the world something they don’t already know.

This is why the “diet” industry rakes in billions of dollars a year… from people who know that and want to make a change… who hope that the next new shiny thing will be what morphs them into being thinner, stronger, healthier, and more fit.

I may have said this before…  once or twice… and if you follow me much you know what I believe…

there is no magic cure or diet.

Can I just make a suggestion here? Throw something out at you? Do with it what you will…

Why not start with not eating crap… to put it bluntly…. and learning to exercise?

Two things. Two points here beautiful people.

Maybe you need to make a list of what you eat, maybe you don’t. You  know how you eat and what you eat. You know if it comes more in drive thru bags, boxes, or purchased off convenience store shelves.

Sugar, fatty, processed,  high calorie “foods”.  These are often what’s referred to as “empty calories” … simple carbs… it’s the stuff you don’t really need.

Cookies, crackers, chips, donuts, muffins, snack cakes, pastries, sugar cereals, sugared drinks, super size fries etc. we’ve been brainwashed to think we “need” to buy, eat, have these things.

We don’t.

All it does is mess with our bodies chemistry, often put us on a roller coaster of hunger, and adds nothing but fat to our bodies… and not the good fat we need.

It’s the kind of fat that grows around our waist and clogs up our hearts arteries and makes us buy bigger jeans.

Really, you don’t need that stuff. Yeah, some of it tastes good, but so does your health.  And trust me, when you start intentionally working your way away from it, these food products will have less and less pull on you.

So start there. Don’t go crazy and think you have to go live off kale and nothing else. Start by working to eliminate the crap food from your daily diet.

I’ve talked with people who “just” gave up sodas and they were amazed at their weight loss. No wonder. A standard can of Coke has 39g of sugar… which is 8 teaspoons in a can! Now figure if someone puts away….3,4, 5, or more Cokes a day…. that’s a ton of sugar for nothing but empty calories.

If one thing can make a big difference imagine if you cut out other stuff too. Depending on how much of these simple carbs show up in your daily food allotment you might have to take slow baby steps eliminating a thing or two at a time… but do it.

Your body will thank you… your improved health will be a huge reward for you.

Now the other part…exercise. I’m kinda big on that now days. Mainly because I have enough of a track record now to preach like crazy at you regarding all the benefits of it.

Mental clarity? Physical strength? Weight loss? Amazing lab results? A body that’s reshaped? Learning to set and achieve goals? Reduce your risk of heart disease? Gain energy? Improve memory?  Gain strength and flexibility? Sleep better? Increased confidence? Mood improver?

Am I selling you yet ? 😉

So here’s the deal. Find something you think you can stick with, that you like, and do it.

I hear all the time from people… “It’s great you run but I don’t like running!”

I get it… running is hard and its not for everyone… if you don’t like it…don’t do it… but for heavens sake find something you do like, or think you could learn to, and get after it.

Do it every day. Make no excuses to not do it. Put it on your planner like you do going to lunch with a friend or any other appointment. Don’t play the martyr role and place yourself on the back burner of life.

You… your health… is worth it… I hope you get that …really.

It needs to be up there on top of your list ’cause I’ll tell you, no one else is going to put your health up there and make you get stuff done.

So here’s the kicker. Here’s what I learned a few years ago when I was scrambling trying to get my feet under me and get on this fitness journey…

when I started daily exercising ( and I mean daily… I accepted no excuses from myself to not get it done) I liked how I felt when I finished. I liked the feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction of doing it. I loved how clear my mind felt. I even liked being tired from it ( no endurance in the beginning for sure)

Before the scale had barely changed. Before a visible muscle had appeared. Before I ever thought about running or lifting or riding a bike like a crazy demon….

I loved how I felt when I finished. 

And when you start exercising and feeling good about yourself for doing it, you start taking more of  a look at what you are stuffing in your face and evaluating it.

Is it worth it? Do I need it? Do I feel better without it?

And as you keep on eliminating that crappy food you don’t really need and make a commitment  to daily exercise, somehow, the weight slowly and steadily will begin to come off.

You gain a new confidence in yourself. You start to look at what you do and how you eat in a different way.

It’s a process. But if you start with these two points, I’m pretty sure you’ll find yourself on a path to success… and skinnier jeans as well 😉

 

The Joy Of Your Health Journey

Find-joy-in-the-journey

 

It’s afternoon and I’m perched at the bar in my fav coffee cave with the hopeful expectation if I just start typing words, thoughts will form, and then magically my blog post will be born.

Actually, I have tons of thoughts that clamor to get out. Sometimes, they are all over each other and won’t let me separate them. I came in with a topic on my mind and realized awhile back I had written something almost exact on it ( I guess I feel kinda passionate about the topic. If you’re curious  it’s about.. fat… and the post is called “The Ugly Truth About Fat” you can read it too when you’re done here 😉 )

Anyway, I scraped that idea and was pulling down another long drink of my steaming coffee when hubby started messaging me. Now as much as I love hearing from the guy, sometimes, he can break my artistic and creative thinking.

However, today he actually stirred up some thoughts in my head with his teasing.

He threw out at me “didn’t I have a pill or shake or something to just magically make him lose weight and to help him get in shape?”  he says things like that cause he knows those over hyped products make me crazy… totally crazy.

I laughed and told him he was out of luck. He had to do it the old fashioned, not fancy, but get the job done way:  exercise and eat sensible healthy foods.

I jokingly said…” but if I gave you a pill or shake you’d miss out on all the fun of achy muscles and sweating”.

And then it hit me… it’s what I want to talk about…

Weight loss. Exercise. Committing to living a healthier lifestyle.

The journey.

It takes work.

Actually, it takes a lot of crazy hard work and discipline. Oh yeah, and an unwillingness to give up or quit. It takes a tenacity to get up each day and to keep going after it. You buckle into it as a life long commitment and not just a brief dating experience.

It takes a new mental focus to pass by the local fast food dollar menu that you wanna load up on and stuff in your face driving down the road, to pass on the chocolate bars checking out at the grocery store, or to scale down the big bowl of ice cream etc.

It takes intentional determination to  choose healthier foods over junk foods.

To eat less when your mouth and eyes just want to eat more but your tummy has said… “HEY! we’ve got enough down here!”

It takes a serious amount of mental work in the beginning to get in your workout gear and get after it. I never wear exercise clothes to just wear exercise clothes. Those for me, mean work. They aren’t play clothes. My mind knows exactly what’s coming when I’m in my work gear… it’s time to get serious.

Then of course there’s  the physical out put you invest into your chosen activity.  You already know what comes from it. If you do it right you’re breathing hard, sweating, and your heart is beating strongly in your chest.

How much I love those feelings now! How much I anticipate it!

So when I fired back at hubby he’d miss out on sweating and aching muscles I realized how much I’ve learned in the course of training and disciplining myself on this journey I call a healthy lifestyle.

How much we would miss out on if there were …really.. some secret magic pill or potion to help us  get rid of the weight we had put on from a lazy lifestyle and never have to exert any energy or invest anything of ourselves into the process!

Over the course of the past few years I’ve been at it I’ve learned to embrace some things…to look forward to them.. to see the fruits of my labor present themselves in my life.

I love a body that is tired from hard work of my physical labor! I don’t mind my muscles being tight when I know its from running or cycling or lifting heavy weights.  I don’t mind days I’ve done a 20 mile run and I’m ready for bed at 9 pm like some old person ( forget that I was on the road at 5:30 that morning getting after it)

I DID A 20 MILE RUN THAT DAY!

Did I ever think, years, or the year or even months before I could do that?

You don’t do things like that without investing a lot to get there.  I didn’t pop a pill or drink a magic potion.  I busted my butt to get to that point…involving hours and hours of training and sacrifice…

I think if I had a short cut I would’ve missed out on all the discipline it’s taught me.  I would not have the incredible fierce mental toughness I have that only miles and miles out on a road will teach you. I wouldn’t have learned about sacrifice to make things happen or the work needed to accomplish huge goals. I wouldn’t have experienced the joys and pains of pursuing goals bigger than I am.

I think back to my beginning days when a 2 mile walk was enough.

I realize how much I’ve grown and learned. How much stronger and more powerful my body is now. How much energy I have. How I’ve learned to eat better and how to eat to fuel not just my day but my athletic activities.

It’s been a birthing process. A journey. An adventure that can only be limited by my mind.

Taking short cuts would not grow us. It wouldn’t teach us. We wouldn’t value what we were given if we didn’t have to invest and work hard for it. We wouldn’t have the satisfaction of reaching goals that have challenged us.

I know now that the process is ongoing. It will require consistent effort, discipline and hard work.

I know its worth it. The labors I go through make the end results all that much sweeter.

I for one, am grateful, there wasn’t a pill or magic potion to do it for me.

I would’ve missed out on so  much on my journey. I would’ve certainly missed out on learning exactly what I’m made of and what I’m capable of doing.

journey arm pic

Wherever you are learn to enjoy the journey. Embrace the process. Learn from your experiences and celebrate how fierce and strong you are.

You don’t need pills or potions.

You just need your indomitable spirit to do it.

 

Motivation Or Discipline?

 

 

motivation

Motivation. the general desire or willingness of someone to do something.

Motivation:  we need it in life to accomplish anything we  put our minds too. Without it we lack the ability to get anything done. Some days we are more motivated than others. Some, we don’t care if we get off the sofa all afternoon.

For instance a day like today… cool, cloudy, rainy, it screams… “Stay home and lay on the sofa all day and read!”

I didn’t… I’m actually at Starbucks writing this blog right now so at least I’ll have some level of productivity today 😉

Sometimes, let’s be honest, it’s hard to sustain a constant level of motivation.

Let’s take that over to exercise. I believe sooo many people have good intentions when it comes to doing it. They start off in the week feeling highly motivated to do their chosen activity and then as the week wears on, their motivation begins to lag.

If ONLY we could keep that at a constant level.

Motivation can be a fickle thing.

Do we  need more than a “pull yourself up and drag yourself to the dreaded task motivation ?”

I think so.

In the beginning we do need a level of motivation to get going. We have our reasons to do it and that carries us for a bit.

However, at a point something new takes over, or it has to since as we all know, motivation can lag and eventually disappear.

What is that?  you might be wondering as you sit there tossing down your coffee…. what is the “thing”?

It’s  discipline.

Discipline :The practice of training people to obey rules or a code of behavior.

“the practice of training” .

Disciple begins to be the next step when motivation has moved you out the door.

Discipline is what takes over and moves you out of bed into your workout clothes. It reminds you that you will NOT be happy with yourself if you come up with some lame excuse to not get it done. It is the thing that becomes wired in you to help you accomplish new goals.

I often get asked how I stay so “motivated” but the honest truth is, motivation is not what drives me anymore. It’s pure discipline that’s been hard wired in me now.

Discipline is what makes me structure exercise as a part of my morning routine, makes me put on workout gear first thing when I get up, and already have planned my athletic adventures for the day.

Discipline moves me outside when the weather is less than ideal or I don’t “feel” like it. ( I always feel like it once I get going) Discipline reminds me of my goals and it also reminds me of how awesome I’ll feel when I finish.

Discipline can see ahead and not just the day I’m in. It knows that what I do today, makes me stronger for tomorrow.

Discipline says that goals are not reached by sitting back and doing nothing, or not making it a priority. Discipline doesn’t allow excuses to come in and justify not doing it.

Motivation, can be a much more fickle beast but it’s the first step towards a more disciplined life.

Remember the difference…

Motivation has a “general desire”

Discipline is  “the practice of training”.

Motivation is great to get you moving, but always aim towards a lifestyle of discipline in your endeavors.

Do you see a difference in motivation and discipline? Have you learned the difference in your life?

 

 

Intimidation, Life, And Crushing Goals

Intimidation.

 To intimidate implies inducing fear or a sense of inferiority into another, to make timid; fill with fear. 

If we think of this word what usually comes to mind is in regard to people…. one person intimidating another.

That in my opinion, is the lowest form of cowardice however, this isn’t where I’m going in this post.

I want to talk about how we can be intimidated with life or things in life.

Keep in mind part of the definition…. ” to make timid, or fill with fear”

Intimidation is just fear and fear can be crippling to living our life out loud. It can rob us of our potential and the potential for our lives and what we can accomplish.

I contemplated that in a fresh way this past week.

I try not to live my life in an intimidated way on any level. If there’s one thing living an athletic lifestyle has taught me… being intimidated has no place in it. In turn that has carried over into the rest of my life.

Every new challenge or goal has required a level of strength and discipline to stomp down any aspect of fear and intimidation.

The fear of the unknown. Feeling intimidated or inadequate.

Being able to face a physical challenge that ( in the moment) seemed daunting and out of my perceived abilities.

For instance….Learning to run. I know, sounds easy enough, right? But running is hard.

I remember being up to running around 6 miles several days a week when a friend tossed out at me I should run a half marathon.

I laughed. Yet, she had planted a seed. I rolled it over in my head and within a couple weeks I had signed up to run a half marathon a few months later.

Yes, it feels intimidating to look at running a race that’s 13.1 miles. I felt the worry of “what if”.

Yet I toed that line and did my first half in 2:15. I walked away with a new level of confidence and a new awareness that stomping down potential fears would only make me stronger in what I pursued.

It was the beginning for me in my athletic journey… a take no prisoners and don’t even think you can’t do it mentality.

More half marathons, full marathons, a 50K all eventually fell under my feet.

No room for intimidation.

Yet, there I was again facing it this week out on my bike. Ha, cycling has also taken me to a whole new level of finding out what I’m made of.

It’s demanding and requires much strength. Toss in some major hills and it’s even more fun.

For instance, this one particular hill. ( It’s really a mountain they cleared and paved over if we’re being honest) Anyway, it’s a blast flying down it, but it requires a huge amount of strength mental and physical to ride up.

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You want a strong mental game when you see this coming and I’m fairly sure I break the speed limit on the way down 😉

 

 

It was a part of my route the other day. I’ve ridden it before but  it was always in the front of my mind on my ride… it was coming.

That’s when I realized I was allowing it to intimidate me.

Why? well truth be known, I’m fully aware of the physical demands it requires.

It’s freaking hard. It requires a brutal amount of my strength.

But I know I can do it.. that I have done it… and the way to keep crushing it and putting it in place is to well.. just keep doing it.

Keep heading out there, staring it down and using the same strength I’ve used to muscle through every other challenge and conquer it.

I know every time I do it I will become stronger, mentally and physically.

I will always, of course, have a healthy respect for it. How can I not?

But I’m making a choice to not be intimidated of it. How? I will keep intentionally seeking it out until it begins to feel totally natural to me.

Pushing down fears, taking them head on and not being intimidated with hard things in life builds and strengthens us in ways we can never imagine.

What mountains are in your life that intimidate you or leave you feeling fearful?  There’s only one way to overcome it and that’s by facing it and pushing until you have put it under your feet.

Don’t let those things keep you from the potential that lies in you.

Passion, Gold, And Goals

olympic medal

 

So the Men’s Olympic swimming is over. I now have no life. Seriously.  Please tell me I wasn’t the only one hyped up over the incredible energy they delivered? Or the fact that Michael Phelps was this amazing, beautiful machine to watch in the water. Or that I wasn’t the only one who cried watching his “final” swim ( say it isn’t so)

And let’s just pause a minute and give thanks to the camera crews for giving us such good…coverage…. of the men’s swim team.  Really, thank you.  😉

Ah, but there have been other exciting things.

This weekend has been track and field and I actually got to see the women’s marathon this morning. I was impressed when the first 5k was knocked out in about 17 minutes. Yikes. Of course, I was hopeful for our girls from the US (they placed a respectable 6th and 7th out of a field of 160’s I believe) I’m always in awe that they run a marathon ( 26.2 miles) in a little over the time it takes me to run a half marathon. I can’t imagine running those speeds for that long.

Then there was the sprinting, Usian Bolt. The man is like a human explosive.

Sprinting. Short. Sweet. Powerful.

And it doesn’t take much time to view 😉

Of course, I must mention the gymnastics. USA women totally crushed it. I am always in awe at these tiny dynamos that can throw their bodies around and do these crazy and complex moves.

I don’t see my 6’0 body doing stuff like that haha

Every athlete at the Olympics was there because they had a passion, and they pursued it, and they became the best student of what they were doing. They invested countless hours,  sacrifice and dedication to their sport.

We can learn from them.

I found this quote from Michael Phelps that resonated with me :

“I found something I love and never gave up.”

We don’t have to wonder how that worked for him. 28 Olympic medals. Most decorated Olympian ever.

Nope, he never gave up.

The majority of us will never be Olympians. We will never come close to knowing the hard work and sacrifice that they invested into their sport.

But I’ll tell you this…. we can all have or find that thing we love and never give up in our pursuit of being better at it. We can become stronger, more skilled,  and a better student of that thing that we pursue.

For me right now, it’s cycling. I’m learning I have a lot of strength and power to bring to this sport and it’s now a matter of practice and consistent training to improve my skills. I know I won’t train for the Olympics, but trust me, I will be in races at some point to cut my teeth on and test my skills and passion. My nature is competitive and I will always be looking to improve and be better than I was the day before.

Tell me … what is your passion? Do you have something that challenges you ? Or motivates you to work harder? What’s the “gold” you pursue?

Mental Strength And Lessons From An Olympian

 

 

Oh boy. Let’s talk more about the Olympics.  Let’s specifically talk about the swimming and how USA has burned up the water in all events.

I dare say…. there isn’t an average, normal, swimmer who hasn’t watched and wondered what it would be like to swim like a human dolphin with that amazing speed, grace and agility.

It makes me painfully aware of my horribly inadequate water skills.

Those athletes didn’t develop that skill overnight. It has taken them years of practice, training, sacrifice, and self discipline to achieve the athletic level they are at today.

It’s also taken a high level of mental toughness and determination as well and that’s what I want to talk to you about today.

I thought I was the only one who caught Michael Phelps sitting and mentally preparing before his swim the other night when that young athlete was shadow boxing in front of him, essentially seeking to break his focus and alter his mental game…. hoody on his head the look he delivered was priceless.

Michael Phelps laser
Ha this version made me laugh

 

 

Intentional or not, it was totally priceless.

Obviously, I wasn’t the only one who noticed as the internet blew up with it overnight and meme’s abound with this photo.

Can I just pause here…to publicly admit… he’s seriously my new super hero? Yeah.

Michael Phelps olympic
Do I need words???

 

 

michael-phelps-200-butterfly-
This……

 

 

michael-phelps-pan-pacs-2014
His competitors should be afraid….

 

Ok… enough of that….

What about during the swim, the young athlete, Chad le Clos was focused on Michael by looking at him and not focused on his swim. I’m sure Mr. Phelps was 100% aware of him, but his focus was on the task at hand and what he had to accomplish, not who was next to him.

He had his eyes on the prize.

As an ordinary kind of athlete, I’ve watched with avid interest his preparation and focus before his events.

I study to learn. And this is my take away….

His intensity and focus could be felt.

He tuned out what was around him. Headphones on he was in his zone.

I’d bet you anything, he was already playing that race out in his head.

As we saw with the young competitor shadow boxing in front of him, he didn’t let that shake his focus or composure.

He was fixed on what he was about to do.

I  know how I feel before races and how I sort of “get into myself” and just zero in on what I’m about to do.  I remember my husband had snapped a pic of me at the start of my last marathon…. ha… I had THE most intense game face 😛

Certainly, the outcome of my race doesn’t involve a gold medal but I’ll tell you I want to do the absolute best I can just as much as that pro athlete wants to perform to the best of their abilities. I have high expectations for myself.

As an athlete mental toughness and strength, I believe, are crucial and almost as important if not more so than the physical aspect of it.

I’ve had to learn to almost get inside myself, my mind, and take myself to a place that envisions doing what I’m going to do.

It leaves zero room for self doubt. None.

I believe that mental toughness carries into all aspects of my life. Yeah, it’s honed through tough physical activities, but there are lots of other daily life events that aren’t easy and I find myself utilizing that mental strength.

So how do you develop this mental muscle?

Practice. Work it like any other muscle.

Have a laser focus on what you are going to do.

Block out distractions.

Believe in yourself. There is no room for doubting your abilities. None.

See the thing before you in your mind and see yourself being successful and accomplishing it.

Don’t talk yourself down…quitting isn’t an option… and success will taste much sweeter.

Determine you will give your all and your personal best.

Understand your mind is a powerful thing and learn to harness it. The more you practice it, the stronger it becomes.

I think after all the training for the marathons, a 50K, and now taking on hard terrain and huge hills cycling, I’d say I have a pretty strong mental focus…but it’s a constant practice and discipline one that I believe I’m always improving on.

The first time I saw this quote, I was a few miles out from finishing a half marathon. Those words gave me strength to push on and reminded me of the tremendous power of my mind…that mental muscle  took charge and helped me finish strong.

 

task

 

 

Tell me, do you have tricks or ways of building your mental muscle? Has it helped you?  Or… Is this idea foreign to you and something you need to work on?

The Power To Inspire

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Inspire:

fill (someone) with the urge or ability to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.
Also, motivate, encourage, influence, move or stir.
There are many people in my life who inspire me, who encourage and motivate me.
My husband. My mom. Friends. Even strangers.
On an athletic level I admire so many athletes. Although I am far from the league they are in, there is a common thread ( I believe) no matter what our level of athleticism.
Determination. Focus. Perseverance. Tenacity. Intensity. Drive. Hunger. Passion. Goal driven. An unwillingness to stay the same but to constantly be improving on where we are.
A spirit that never quits and doesn’t know the meaning of it.
I see individuals who haven’t been willing to stay where they are but push to get better, to work harder, to know they won’t be the same months from now.
I want to be like that.
That inspires me. The “me” who is a kinda ordinary, middle-aged mom, grandmother, sassy wife, and late blooming athlete.
My husband often shoots me down when I used the word “ordinary”… ha… he says I’m anything but ordinary… I’ll take that for the compliment I know it is 😉
When I have people tell me I inspire them, well, that’s up there for me on the list of awesome things. If I can inspire people who know me and know what I’m up to with my physical antics, to get out and do something, I couldn’t ask for anything better. If sharing what I’m doing stirs them, makes them think, “Hey, if she can do that, I can try something”
inspire people
Yeah, amazing.
But you know who really inspires me?
You.
The one who is still in the process of getting yourself out there. It doesn’t come easy yet and you struggle with making yourself do it, but you do.
The one who is willing to try something new, knows nothing about it, but is game to learn.
The Mom out pushing a stroller.
The older people walking their neighborhoods.
The cyclists flying down the road for miles.
The new runner who is still figuring it out and learning to run more than walk.
The overweight person taking those first steps towards physical freedom.
I’m inspired by those of you who follow my blog, and I see the things you’re out in the world doing and it makes me want to press on. You run, cycle, teach, lead, and inspire in your own worlds. You’re on the road, in the gym, doing boot camps and other crazy things.
Sometimes, as I scroll through my Facebook page, I see posts of my friends who are sharing their activities. I love the posts and pictures. I love seeing them doing something positive and good for themselves.
Seriously, some mornings when I’m still sleepy and the idea of exercise seems…. really tremendous… I’ll see someone’s post and it … inspires me. It reminds me of what I’m working to do, to accomplish. And it motivates me to finish off my coffee, get my gear on, and get moving.
Maybe, just maybe, that inspiring thing goes in both directions.
Don’t ever forget, you have great influence within your own circle that surrounds you. Your passion and what you bring to the table can inspire someone around you, never forget that.
As for me, you’ll find me out on the road, doing something always pushing and working a little harder and wanting a little more and never quite settling for where I’m at.
In the end, if what I do has inspired you, that puts joy in my life knowing I’ve made an impact on others.
Do you ever consider the impact you have on your personal world to inspire others?
inspire-me

F.E.A.R.

fear

 

Growing up I was an avid reader. I still enjoy reading and I like reading on a wide variety of things only now I can do it on my phone, my computer or in book form ( ok I’m still really old school and love nothing more than going to the library and picking out some books, call me a nerd)

One author I readily devoured, was Stephen King. Why?? Why? I’d ask myself when half way through I realized I was terrified. It had crept up on me as subtle as the morning dawn… fear. It gripped my heart and made me drop the book and go find something wholesome and distracting to do so those feelings would subside.

I swear Pet Cemetery left me jumping at every random scratching sound and had me sleeping with one eye open and I couldn’t blame that on Metallica’s music 😉

Geez. He’s so good at scaring you and making you fearful.

Yet, what was scaring me was nothing more than the extreme and deep mind of a gifted writer.  I really had nothing to fear.

Yet how often in life can fear grip us when we really have nothing to fear? Fears of the unknown, of “what if”, of what would I do, what if this happen? etc. etc.

Fear is a vital response to physical and emotional danger—if we didn’t feel it, we couldn’t protect ourselves from legitimate threats. But often we fear situations that are far from life-or-death, and thus hang back for no good reason.

Look at that last part again…. hang back for no good reason.

What fear causes you to hang back from something or leaves you worried or causes you anxiety for no good reason?

I was thinking this past week (one night when I was supposed to be falling asleep) about a long ride I was going to do the next morning.  The long ride wasn’t what was troubling me. I knew I could handle the mileage. What I was feeling a little fearful about was what I’d encounter on my long ride.

A hill that twisted and turned, which I guess you could say, led up to the top of the mountain it actually was. There was also another significant hill on my route, I felt fairly confident I’d nail that ok.

But this other one, that was troubling me. Ok, if I’m honest with you, my readers all over the world, I was a bit fearful.

discard fear

Why??? That next morning with the miles building under me and settling into the rhythm of the road, it was in my head, a presence almost taunting me.

It left me fearing my abilities, or perhaps, lack thereof to take on something so formidable.  I’m fairly new to the world of cycling and I was riding on terrain where they run one of the toughest cycling races in our state.

Did I have what it would take? I knew I was strong but was I strong enough to muscle that hill ?

What I knew I had to get on top of long before I got there, was my mental game. I couldn’t go into that without my mind firmly being in place. If there’s one thing I’ve learned as an athlete, my mental game has to be as strong, if not stronger, than my body.

Fears, will cripple your mental game.

So I began to mentally talk to myself what was I afraid of?  Really?

I was afraid of not being able to do it, of failing.

I then asked myself, and what if I couldn’t, what was the worst that could happen?

EEK.. get off and push it up the hill??

I was afraid I wouldn’t have the physical strength to do it, that somehow , I’d be lacking.

Fear can cripple us from moving forward, no matter what it is in our life we want to take on.

I didn’t want to “hang back for no good reason”. I wanted to face what it was head on and know that I could do it. I knew once I tackled it, it would not seem as insurmountable as next time.

The sun was out high in the sky although it was still morning. Sweat had already soaked me and was running down my legs and arms, my gloves were wet under my hands. I felt my legs respond to the incline. I tried to make my breathing as focused and even as when I was in childbirth, slow, steady and measured. My heart, it let me know if was doing it’s job 😉

I took that hill, I focused on each pedal stroke, tried to keep my breathing even ( which was pretty hard!), and knew that when I got to the top I’d be back on my “regular” training ground again.

I was so afraid that thing was gonna eat my lunch.

It didn’t.

I did it. I never let that fear come back that I couldn’t.  I felt victorious.

You know what? I just did that hill again yesterday. I have a very healthy respect for it. But you wanna know something?

I improved my time from my first attempt….so there’s that…. I went up it faster.

Fears can cripple us. They can hold us back and keep us from new victories, in all areas of our lives.

I love this quote from Zig Ziglar…

“F-E-A-R has two meanings: ‘Forget everything and run” or ” Face everything and rise” the choice, is yours”

I’ve heard this before, and well for me, face everything and rise is where I’m at.

Now, what about you? Do you have fears that hinder you or cause you to hang back from living?  What will you choose? to rise? or to run?

fear 2

 

 

Obstacles And Opportunities

overcoming obstacles

Have you ever noticed conversation is just better over coffee with a good friend? I had the opportunity recently to have coffee and conversation with one who is special to me and when we get together, well, our conversations last hours. We both have a passion for people and helping them be successful in fitness, health and wellness.  We compare notes and brainstorm ideas off of each other.

It’s a refreshing time to encourage one another in the callings we have.

At one point she told me how I was an encouragement to her. She knew I had been off running due to an injury and she also knew I had picked up other activities to keep me moving.

She was admiring the fact I hadn’t just quit  since I couldn’t run.

Honestly, at this point, I’m so used to some high level of activity it seems crazy to me to not have something to fall back on. Not to mention, I’d totally go crazy not doing anything.  I’m  used to having that physical movement in my life now.. it’s not only a habit, it’s an outlet, and a place that is just for me to go to.

And well… I don’t quit.

My friend had been dealing with an injury herself and was encouraged to try and find other outlets or activities she could pursue while she recovered.

I was thinking about our conversation later that day. Thinking how if I had become discouraged about not running and just did nothing, all I would’ve missed out on.

Before my injury, running was what I primarily did. Oh, I did structure in a few days strength training and I’d toss in an occasional day here and there on my little mountain bike to take the place of an easy run and to give my legs a break from running.

Running was my love. My passion. A place that made me feel strong and powerful.

I eventually started adding a little more cycling in to my routine, but again, nothing serious.

My injury made it a seamless move to more time on the bike. It gave me the mileage, time out on the road,  and being outdoors that I craved.  It filled that hunger in me.

Last year I “upgraded” to a cheap road bike from Walmart. I proceeded to ride the wheels off of it.  It was during this time I realized how much I was really enjoying this other sport, and not just as a supplement to my running.  I realized with the strength I had built running that I had the potential to be good at cycling.

Somehow the obstacles I had encountered actually brought about new opportunities for me.

Opportunities to experience new things, grow, and challenge myself to try things I hadn’t done before.

There’s a lot to learn about cycling! Therefore, I talk to those who are knowledgeable, I read, and most importantly, I’m just out there on my bike doing it.

I can hardly wait to find a race to challenge myself with.

Was my injury something I wanted? No. I can hardly wait to be out on the road really running again like I want to be.

Allowing myself to move in new directions has allowed me to grow more as an athlete, but also it lets me see that I can do anything I set my mind to.

But then I’ve kinda always approached obstacles in this way. I don’t let them stop me from where I’m going. I just look for ways to get around them to keep heading the direction I want to go.

Obstacles are limiting and I don’t want to be limited. Obstacles are simply new opportunities.

What about you? How do you view obstacles that come to you? Do you find ways to get over them to keep pressing on to your goals?

obstacle