Monday Motivation

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It’s amazing how your body knows exactly what it needs sometimes. I woke up with a hankering for a good yoga class and had an awesome hour of asanas, stretching, meditation, and stillness.

In yoga, we are challenged to set an intention or dedication for the duration of the class. What do I wish to accomplish or what do I intend to do for the 60 minutes? If there are no intentions, we are to be ok with the circumstances.

Imagine what your life and body would look like if you decided to set an intention each day. It would bring new meaning and purpose, and even change your behavior.

Set an intention or dedication for your day, and life, today because a life without purpose is futile. Give it life!

Monday Motivation: Motivate Others

Growing up I believed my dad was Superman. He was strong, brave, and had these ginormous hands that put The Hulk to shame.

Getting older doesn’t scare me. It’s seeing my dad get older that scares me because there’s the realization that Dad is no longer Superman with super human strength, super human hands, or super human health. Both my parents have had health scares this past year and as a result my dad in particular has worked to lose 25 pounds, releasing 100 pounds of pressure on his bad knees.

This year, for his 60th birthday, dad asked me to buy him a recumbent bike. Not my mom, but rather me. “Why me?” I asked. Dad has never asked me to buy him anything nor does he like accepting gifts.

My father now sees his formerly over weight, unhealthy daughter as an expert in fitness. He’s been so encouraged by my weight loss journey and the work I’ve put into running that he would only accept a bike from me.

If I could change my life and my health, he was sure that he could do something about his…even at 60. He admitted that for a while his bad knees were discouraging and made him sad. But instead of moping about it, he decided he wanted to do everything he could to help strengthen his knees.

Sometimes the thing we view as weakness, like asking one’s daughter for help, is the thing that makes us stronger. And other times, let us remember that we inspire others even when we don’t think they’re watching- so let us continue to press on toward our goals. If not for ourselves, then for those who are quietly watching.

My dad is not Superman but he is indeed a super man.

Happy birthday, dad.

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I’m In! Lessons Learned from A Marathon Qualifying Race

You’ve probably noticed that I’ve been silent. While I’m talkative and outgoing, I’m very silent when things get hectic in my life. It helps me process and handle the chaos. I’ve been on the road traveling for work this month and things have finally settled down after this week.

Saturday I qualified for my second NYC Marathon by completing the nine races required.  Woohoo! But it didn’t come easy. Not just because it was a 15k. Let me back up a bit.

After spending  two weeks following an artist around the country promoting an album, I flew to LA for a few important meetings. I flew in Thursday morning from NYC and flew out Friday night, landing in NYC at 6 am on Saturday morning. That’s right. Yours truly took a red-eye and then headed straight to the Ted Corbitt 15k (about 9+ miles) race to qualify for the 2012 NYC Marathon.

Everyone and their mother told me I was crazy.  While I automatically responded that I’d be fine, I was wrong. I WAS crazy. I lacked sleep, had no fuel, and my legs were killing me from being on a plane for six hours. I went to Central Park lacking the confidence to run the 9+ miles and almost gave up on my marathon dream. But instead, I sucked it up convinced myself that I’d at least try. If I ran three miles and really felt like I couldn’t finish, then I would allow myself to go home. But I finished. The race absolutely sucked and my time reflects it, but I finished. But having been so painful, I will carry these lessons learned with me for the rest of my life:

1. Don’t wait ’til the last minute. I had to do this race because there were very few qualifiers left in 2011. Sure, I could have run another race, but the last qualifier is NYE night at midnight in Central Park. :/ I have a tendency to procrastinate in all that do. It’s probably because I’ve always made it work somehow. But as I get older, I’m learning that procrastinating has its own unique consequences. Whether in life or wellness, never prolong what can be done now. It may be too late!

 

2. Fuel properly. I had oatmeal for breakfast. That’s what I always eat. But eating the same oatmeal before a 15k was probably not smart. Why would I think that eating the same amount of food would carry me through an almost-half-marathon?

 

3. Lower the bar…a bit. The idea of running 15k Saturday morning was daunting. But telling myself to run three miles and having an exit strategy ready, put my mind at ease. So the next time you don’t feel like working out, tell yourself to go to the gym for 20 minutes. Chances are once you’re there, you’ll want to do more. If you don’t, then it’s probably your body telling you that it needs rest.

 

4. Love what you do. My boyfriend asked me if I enjoy getting up early to run races? The answer is hell no. I am a sleeper. I fear becoming a parent not because of the huge responsibilities, but rather the lack of sleep that follows. I may not love waking up before the sun rises, but I love WHY I do. Waking up early is a circumstance  of wanting to qualify for a marathon. Racing makes me feel good. It empowers me. I love the strangers who surround me. We all have to do crappy things in life, but make sure there’s a “love” reason for enduring them. Otherwise, it’s not worth it.

 

5. Believe in yourself, always. Plain and simple. Everyone else thought I was crazy. Sure, I was but I didn’t let others get to me. I knew I could do it. Had I doubted myself from the beginning, I probably would’ve gone home that morning.

Monday Motivation: Santa Claus, marathons and other magical things

I thought of you. Yes, you.

Sunday, Oct. 9, was the Bank of America Chicago Marathon.

To say I am not a runner would be an understatement, but I know many of you Lean Girls are. Running 26-plus miles does not sound like fun to me. In fact, it sounds unnatural. I cannot think of one thing that would compel me to run a marathon.

Or, I couldn’t, until I heard Chicago attorney Brenda Russell’s marathon story that Monday morning on Chicago Public Radio.

Russell didn’t run the Chicago Marathon. She ran the Santa Claus Marathon in Rovaniemi, Finland, a place I previously was familiar with only from my favorite childhood Christmas movie, “I Believe in Santa Claus.” The poorly-dubbed VHS version I had actually was called “Here Comes Santa Claus” and came, courtesy of my mom, from some Christmas movie bargain bin. It’s about a girl and a boy who travel to Rovaniemi to appeal to Santa Claus to bring back the boy’s parents, who were, like, murdered in Africa or something. Anyway, the point being, Santa Claus lives in Rovaniemi. So does The Blue Fairy.

Russell’s story is every bit as crazy and magical.

The Chicagoan challenged herself to run a marathon on her 50th birthday, she told Chicago Public Radio’s Eight Forty-Eight. And the only marathon on her birthday was the Santa Claus Marathon, she said. So she traveled to Rovaniemi, alone, to run the marathon. Only… well, she found out she wasn’t really alone.

You’ll have to click here to listen to the whole story.

And then, tell us, what’s the craziest place where you’ve found encouragement?