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Posts tagged ‘mental-health’


This morning Mario and I watched another food documentary – Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead. If you’ve never seen it, watch it! You can watch it on Hulu, Netflix, Amazon, or iTunes. It’s only 1 1/2 hours and worth every minute.

I won’t say too much about the film, but it’s basically about two men who go on a juice fast for 60 days and the dramatic changes that they experience. While making the documentary, the main character, Joe Cross, talks with ordinary Americans about his fast and their current state of health. I couldn’t help but be completely bothered by the number of people who said I can’t do that, I don’t have the willpower, I’m not strong enough, or fast food just tastes so good. However, my favorite was a man who had already suffered a heart attack, saying that he would never change his greasy diet- ever.  I am only here for a short time so I might as well eat what I want. I think I might live to 55. He said this all while sitting beside his (I’m assuming) son. Not cool.

Watching so many people say I can’t over and over again, really got me thinking about willpower. As a society, do we really think we are that helpless? Do we really think that we are unable to take charge of our  lives and of our health? Are we seriously going to let food control us? And how to we go from thinking I have no self control to yes, I can do this? Now I am just as guilty as anyone else. When it comes to chocolate, I have it pretty much set in my mind that I have to have a piece every single day. Granted, one piece isn’t that bad, but it’s the thought that I have to have this that’s problematic. No, actually I don’t and maybe I should try skipping it every now and then.

Tara Parker-Pope:

The ability to resist our impulses is commonly described as self-control or willpower. The elusive forces behind a person’s willpower have been the subject of increasing scrutiny by the scientific community trying to understand why some people overeat or abuse drugs and alcohol. What researchers are finding is that willpower is essentially a mental muscle, and certain physical and mental forces can weaken or strengthen our self-control.

Studies now show that self-control is a limited resource that may be strengthened by the foods we eat. Laughter and conjuring up powerful memories may also help boost a person’s self-control. And, some research suggests, we can improve self-control through practice, testing ourselves on small tasks in order to strengthen our willpower for bigger challenges.

“Learning self-control produces a wide range of positive outcomes,’’ said Roy Baumeister, a psychology professor at Florida State University whowrote about the issue in this month’s Current Directions in Psychological Science. “Kids do better in school, people do better at work. Look at just about any major category of problem that people are suffering from and odds are pretty good that self-control is implicated in some way.’’

Willpower is tough, yes. But it’s not unattainable. Today, I had no chocolate and I survived. I might just try it again tomorrow. 🙂 It’s all about the small victories.

Happy Trails & Happy Running,


Hard Work and Pleasure

I haven’t mentioned this yet because I don’t want to stress myself out… Exactly one month after Chicago I’m running the Las Vegas Marathon. (I know, not the smartest idea.) I’m running the Las Vegas Marathon to help raise money for the Multiple Myeloma Foundation. Our awesome neighbor, who lives two floors above us, leads a team every year and this time Mario and I decided to participate. I have no doubt this will be a fun and exciting experience.

Today both Mario and I received a training book, The Marathon Method by Tom Hollad. I briefly flipped through the pages and saw a few new strength training exercises to try. Then I also sat down to read the introduction. This was my favorite part:

Sigmund Freud postulated that we avoid pain and seek out pleasure. I contend that true happiness and fulfillment come from seeking pleasure through pain. Not injury – causing pain, but pain in the sense that your will is put to the test. You undertake something extremely difficult, entirely of your own choosing. You invest large amounts of physical and emotional energy based on faith and the belief that you can achieve something that is far from guaranteed. And the more you invest, the  more obtainable your goals and the more incredible the pleasure that waits for you on the other side of the finish line. 

This is why hard work is gratifying. The pleasure is so much more.

Happy Trails & Happy Running,


Running Update: I definitely did a run more along the lines of a workout than an easy run today. I drove out to the greenway so I could avoid the sidewalks and traffic to do an easy six miles. The only problem with the greenway is it is uphill both ways. I’m not sure how this happens, but it is HILLY no matter which direction you are coming from. I really got into the groove and had some Eminem to cheer me along. Plus the not running on sidewalks or having to stop for cars was awesome. I went faster than I probably should have but I was so proud of the pace I was able to maintain up the hills.There is some serious benefit to training on those hills and this might be my new favorite route. States are here.

Lessons from Dr. Seuss

My dear friend of over 24  years, Lesley, once said to me that kids should read more Dr. Seuss instead of fairy tales. I couldn’t agree more. I have yet to meet anyone who had a prince sweep them off their feet and carry them away to castle. Instead, life is a little more like green eggs and ham with a little Whoville. 

Dr. Seuss:

You’re on your own

And you know what you know.

And you’re the one

Who’ll decide where you go. 

I’m wiser than a year ago and I know where I’m headed. I have a goal in my mind and I’ve decided to make it happen.

My vision board to remind me of my goals, #beamazing

My vision board (thanks to Bettyvision) to remind me of my goals, #beamazing

Happy Trails and Happy Running,


Recovery Update: My jogging around the house is significantly less painful. However, I’m not ready to push it just yet. The Chicago marathon is still far away and I’m keeping my focus on yoga and strength. On another note, I highly recommend downloading the Nike Training Club app. They have some awesome workouts.

My First Race as a Spectator

As cliché as it sounds, I honestly believe everything happens for a reason. Although it isn’t always easy to see or understand, there is a reason for our ups and downs. A little over one year ago, I ran my last 20 miler before Boston and had big hopes for my upcoming marathon. There was no way to know it then, but I’ve since had my first DNF, my best marathon, a half marathon PR that resulted in pretty bad injury, and my first experience as a race spectator.

Sunday morning was suppose to be the marathon where I proved to myself who I am as a runner. Obviously that didn’t happen, but I had the opportunity to be a part of everyone else’s excitement. It was a bittersweet moment that I believe was meant for me to experience. I learned a lot of things sitting along the sidelines and I found a new appreciation for what exactly a race represents.

As Mario and the many other runners headed off for their race, I decided to walk around and observe all of the other things going on. After seeing the beer garden being set up, one really big truck being unloaded with water, a band setting up their equipment, and cutest toddler ever walking around with her mom, I decided to sit and meditate.  It was a beautiful morning and I needed to find it within myself to be happy with where I was – a spectator cheering on my husband, my friends, and a lot of strangers.

Having my quiet time

Having my quiet time

After my much needed quiet time, I headed back to the finish line to watch the runners as they started to cross the finish line. I wanted to be right there from the time the first runner crossed the finish line to the time all of our friends crossed the finish line. I’m not exactly sure why, but it was actually an emotional experience for me. Words can’t even express how excited I was when that first runner crossed the finish line in 1:08:49. Can you imagine all of the hard work, miles, obstacles, workouts, ice baths, and foam rolling that man did? And then to win a race? What an amazing feeling!

Check out the winner!

Then as more and more runners crossed the finish line, I felt like I was on an emotional roller coaster with every single person, mainly because I could relate to what they were going through. Some people puked, one guy fell to the ground, and one lady, who looked like she may have been 60 years old, crossed the finish line in less than 1:30:00 and looked like she had hardly broken a sweat. Some were first time racers and others were achieving new goals.

Runners congratulating one another

Runners congratulating one another

But perhaps the thing that stood out to me the most was the fact that the race director was there congratulating every single runner as he or she crossed the finish line. And in addition, all of the other runners were congratulating each other. It didn’t matter the time on the clock and it didn’t matter who beat who. What mattered was that everyone had shared an experience, whether good or bad, and they had all survived.

Tobacco Road Half Marathon

Tobacco Road Half Marathon

This, I know, was something I was meant to witness.

Happy Trails and Happy Running,


Recovery Update: I am feeling so much stronger than I have in the past few weeks. The yoga, strength training, and interval workouts are amazing and are helping me to keep my sanity. My hip is in less pain than it was yesterday and I know tomorrow will be even better.

And for your amusement, here is a pic of us riding home in a car seat. It was too much effort to take them out. Thanks Jessica and Charlie for the lift!!

Riding with Bill in the car seats

Riding with Bill in the car seats

Boredom and Running

When I tell people I run, I often times get ask don’t you ever get bored just running? Absolutely not. In fact, it is one of the most stimulating experiences in my day, and I always come back feeling a little more energized and a little more connected.

To run 3, 6, 10 or even 20 miles out on the roads is to spend an extended period of time seeing new places, seeing new faces, and experiencing new emotions. How could that ever be boring? It doesn’t matter how many times I run the same route, I always see a new person and many times, I see a new building or a new landmark that I’ve never noticed before. I connect with myself and I connect with the world around me.

Boring? The complete opposite.

When you let it, running can show you a world you never knew existed. It doesn’t matter if you’re jamming out to your music or running the same route over and over again, there is always something new to experience. You just have to let go and let it happen.

Happy Trails and Happy Running,


Recovery Update: I have to be honest, I’m not really noticing the great improvements on a day to day basis that I noticed last week. I haven’t been icing in the morning but that will change tomorrow. Today, I went to the gym and did some intense cardio. I’m such a cardio fiend, and I can’t stand not sweating (a lot) for a day. Maybe that’s keeping my hip from getting better?

Run to You

Happy Sunday! I am so glad this is the last week of the month. February has been a horrible, no good, very bad month for me. But if we don’t have bad months, then we can’t have good ones? Even though I’m not running right now, I’m starting to see my running shoes at the end of this very dark tunnel and I found this really cute video that brought me happy running thoughts. I thought I’d share…

Happy Trails and Happy Running,


Recovery Update: I no longer have a fever but breathing and sneezing are another story. I did Bikram hot yoga today and it felt great to sweat like that. I really do miss doing Bikram. I absolutely loved it when I did it every week. Tomorrow, I go see about my psoas. 🙂

Run for Your Life

I am sitting here watching Run for Your Life, a documentary about how Fred Lebow started the New York City Marathon. (Yes, this is my Friday night entertainment.) I’m about halfway through but I absolutely  have to stop and type this… Runners back in the late 60s and early 70s were bad ass. Period. They exhibited the pure essence of running, which I often times feel modern day runners (myself included) miss due to gadgets, training plans, and all of those other “running things.” They ran just to run. It’s actually quite beautiful to watch.

The second thing I have to say is I think I just found my new running hero – Nina Kuscsik. She was the first woman to run in the New York City Marathon, the first female winner of the Boston Marathon and a two time winner of the New York City Marathon. Besides being an awesome runner, she also didn’t start running competitively until she was 30. I’m still 29. She gives me hope.

There is a clip in the documentary where a reporter asks Kuscsik where she finds time to run. After all, she did have three children to care for. Her response was perfect. She said while other women may get a babysitter to go to the parlor or out to lunch, she gets a babysitter to go out for her long run. Obviously that served her well because 80 marathons later, she has been inducted into the Runner’s Hall of Fame. You can read more about that here.

I’m off to finish the movie now. It’s soothing my injured runner’s soul. 🙂

Happy Trails and Happy Running,


Recovery Update: My hip continues to get better. I went to the gym again today and focused on some lower back exercises, in addition to cardio of course. It’s interesting to me how I am so much more aware of the muscles on my right side than I am on my left side. I’m working towards finding that balance between the two.

Yoga in Schools

Today I found something that makes me even madder than the people who stand in my way on the sidewalk when I’m running towards them. In fact, I’d say this makes me exponentially madder. Parents are suing a school system in California because the school system is offering yoga classes. Yes, you read that correctly. A school system is being sued because they offer yoga. The reason being…. it is a violation of church and state. I think my face just turned a new shade of red. Read more

A Breakthrough

Yesterday my very wise G+ friend told me that perhaps one day I’ll look back at this race as my “breakthrough moment.” According to Google, the definition of breakthrough is “a significant and dramatic overcoming of a perceived obstacle, allowing the completion of a process.” In my heart and in my mind,  I think my very wise G+ friend is right.

My running is cyclical. Run a lot. Get injured. Bike a lot. Forgive me when I say I am fed up with this sh*t. Why can’t I just be consistent? I learned two very important things about myself this past training season. One, I learned how much I really do love running. It’s not something I do just so I can eat my turkey burger. I really do love it and I am completely addicted. The second thing I learned about myself is I am fast and I can be much faster. I know the runner I am and I know the runner I can be. I believe my goals are well within reach and one day I will surpass them.

As I’m dealing with this injury, I’m no longer mad and I’m no longer sad. Now I’m just determined. I realize that I may not be running for a month, and I’m okay with that. I’m okay with it because I want this time to really address my problems. I am reevaluating what I do, how I excel, and what my body needs that I’m not giving it. Maybe 50 miles a week is too much for me and I need to substitute a workout with cross training and strength training. Maybe my easy runs need to be about a minute slower. Or perhaps I need to do running drills every other day. I don’t know but I look at this as a complete breakdown and a chance to build myself back up. I’m not worried about losing fitness. I’m not worried about my next race. Right now, I really don’t care about those things. I care about realizing my full potential and giving my body what it needs in order to excel. I care about finding myself in this running world. I care about completing the process.

Happy Trails and Happy Running,


Recovery Update: I’m walking much better today. I went to the doctor and it went just as I expected. It could be this or it could be that. Come to PT twice a week and let’s see how it goes. I think I now remember why I never go to doctors.

And check out one of my race day photos:

I never take good racing pictures

I never take good racing pictures

Gary Atlas

Runners are crazy. There is no doubt about that. We run really long distances at really early hours in the day, give ourselves blisters, chafe our thighs, experience something known as the “wall” and continue to run, and even eat gooey gel things so we can keep pounding the pavement. I’m happy to be part this special group of people. It’s nice being in such good company. Well today I learned just how crazy runners can be. I learned about Gary Atlas… Read more