Archive for inspiration

Our New Norman Director!

Sara R NormanJune 16, 2016
BREAKING NEWS:

We are happy to announce that Sara Riester has agreed to be the Director of the runhers Norman organization. Sara has been a part of the team for a few years.

Sara lives in Norman with her husband and two children. She began running four years ago to help manage the stress of motherhood and hasn’t stopped since. She credits the ladies of runhers Norman for giving her the inspiration and support to embark upon training for her first half marathon three years ago and her first full marathon last spring in OKC and hopes to extend that inspiration and support for other ladies in the Norman and surrounding communities whatever their personal goals may be. She is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in music education at OU.

Sara states, “I am excited to build on the foundation that’s been set here, and connect more women to our project. We want to be a great resource for the Norman community, and the surrounding area.” She continues, “We want lots of new women to come out for a run or walk with us, and see firsthand how inclusive and fun the environment is.”

And one of Sara’s favorite quotes, “We rise by lifting others.” ~ Robert Ingersoll

Now, let’s have some summer fun!

“Hey Clickbait, there’s something wrong with you.”

“Hey Clickbait, there’s something wrong with you.”
~ internet of things

From viewing today’s twitter feed:
@wrongwrong – You’re doing abs all wrong (running, exercising, eating, etc)
@wrongfood – Forget everything you know about food.
@wrongway – Why you are not getting the belly you want – 6 weeks to a flat belly!
@wrongsecret – Secret yoga poses to lean you out.
@secretscience – 6 foods for 6-pack abs
@buymyshit – Try this at night, you’ll wake up gorgeous.
@glamsquadtricks – Celebrity secrets to the beach body you want.

Scroll down the timeline. Click on the link. Read. Click on another super sounding link. Read. It’s a different sensational headline about how I am not doing this or that right, how I should change, be better, be like this, and be like that. What you are really telling me is I’m broken – and I need your help. I need your product, your fix, to be all that I should be. I’m not good enough. I better click and see what I’m missing. Yes, I am somewhat insecure, and self-conscious about what I see in the mirror. I don’t look like any of the women in the magazines or the advertising. If only I try this or that …

STOP. What the hell is going on? Smart advertising, neuro marketing, that’s what. Slick images that are photo-shopped, or even completely computer generated. Teaser phrasing – and wording to pique your curiosity. Professional athletes, or fitness models/competitors that spend hours every day in the gym. Don’t think for a minute these advertisers haven’t done their research, and know you are scrolling through the social media feeds until some headline captures your attention, or hits home (my hips) a certain way. Wait, I can re-shape my hips with one easy to use product? Before and after pics don’t ever lie … right?
It’s called Clickbait. And it’s effective. Let’s explore.

Clickbait is a pejorative term describing web content that is aimed at generating online advertising revenue, especially at the expense of quality or accuracy, relying on sensationalist headlines to attract click-throughs and to encourage forwarding of the material over online social networks. Clickbait headlines typically aim to exploit the “curiosity gap”, providing just enough information to make the reader curious, but not enough to satisfy their curiosity without clicking through to the linked content.
The key words here, quality and accuracy. Sounds like we digressed to the current state of politics, right? Well, the 80/20 rule applies here. 80% of what you’re clicking through on these sensational headlines doesn’t hold up to scientific scrutiny. Simply put, its bullshit, designed to get you on the path of a purchase somewhere down the road. If you re-tweet or ‘like” – it’s more likely for your friends to think you’ve researched or checked this out already, so a peer endorsement is way better than an advertiser’s claim. That’s where the socially influencing systems are at work, spreading junk science to the masses, many times without the re-poster even being aware that the claim is false. We want easy, we yearn for shortcuts – this is the society we live in.

The truth is … there is truth, and there is bullshit. The old saying, ‘if it sounds too good to be true’ has stood the test of time. You are worth more – take the time to do your own research on the facts before you try, or buy. Be your own best advocate. Question everything. There’s no one size fits all. You’re not doing everything wrong. You are doing many things right – reward yourself for that. At the end of the day, it really is all about those small daily smart decisions that add up over time, to significant change. You are not clickbait, you are smarter than that. Stay curious. Adapt good things into your world as you find them. Designing your life, your way, takes time. Have fun with the process!

NEWS: Staci Patton is new Director of runhers OKC/Edmond

BREAKING: We are happy to announce that Staci Patton is our new Director for OKC/Edmond! Staci has been involved in runhers for a long time, and after being an elite BMX racer, a successful business owner, instructor for Piloxing, Body Pump and more, she’s agreed to lead us and grow our community here! Staci states, “I am excited to lead this organization and grow and connect with our community! Come run away with me in 2016! And by run away I really mean show up on Saturdays and drink coffee and run some, too. We’ve got a lot in store for the coming year.”

We are AMPED! Let’s GO 2016! Closing the year out STRONG!
‪#‎runhers‬ ‪#‎OKC‬ ‪#‎Edmond‬

belly laughs

Echoes of Happiness

Via: Daily OM – by Madisyn Taylor

As children, we laugh hundreds of times each day, delighted by the newness of living. When we reach adulthood, however, we tend to not allow ourselves to let go in a good belly laugh. Inviting laughter back into our lives is simply a matter of making the conscious decision to laugh. Though most of us are incited to laugh only when exposed to humor or the unexpected, each of us is capable of laughing at will. A laugh that comes from the belly carries with it the same positive effects whether prompted by a funny joke or consciously willed into existence. When our laughter comes from the core of our being, it permeates every cell in our physical selves, beginning in the center and radiating outward, until we are not merely belly laughing but rather body laughing.

Laughter has been a part of the human mode of expression since before evolution granted us the art of speech. Through it, we connected with allies while demonstrating our connection with people we didn’t know. In the present, laughter allows us to enjoy positive shared experiences with strangers and loved ones alike. Yet solitary laughter carries with it its own slew of benefits. An energetic and enthusiastic bout of whole-body laughter exercises the muscles, the lungs, and the mind in equal measure, leaving us feeling relaxed and content. When we laugh heartily at life’s ridiculousness instead of responding irritably, our focus shifts.  Anger, stress, guilt, and sadness no longer wield any influence over us, and we are empowered to make light of what we originally feared. Laughter also opens our hearts, letting love and light in, changing our perspective, and enabling us to fix our attention on what is positive in our lives.

It is easy to laugh when we feel good, but it is when the world appears dim that we most need laughter in our lives. Our laughter then resonates through our hearts, filling the empty spaces with pure, unadulterated joy. We regain our footing in the moment and remember that no sorrow is powerful enough to rob us of our inborn happiness. When we understand that uninhibited laughter is the food of the soul, nourishing us from within, we know instinctively that life is worthwhile.

happy 2015

A new year brings new goals, and high ambitions to tackle all those race goals. There are many opportunities for you to do just that this spring. As you can see we are working with several different races with multiple distance options.  This is a great time to join in all of our running fun and take advantage of our group trainings. However, with multiple options it can be difficult to make the decision of which race(s) and distances to pick.

One very important thing that I cannot emphasis enough, is not getting caught up in the advertising hype, and taking on too much, too soon. It can be tempting to dive right in and run all of them, but you can also greatly increase your risk for injury.  You may see more seasoned runners who are able to run back to back races in a short period of time; however that does not mean that is appropriate for everyone. Take your running fitness level and base mileage into consideration – and determine what the best option is for you over the long term. Overtraining can be just as harmful as under training so I encourage you to think about what your overall goal is, and what race is your top priority and adjust your training accordingly. I am happy to talk to you individually on that.

For instance, if you are new to racing but want to run your first half marathon this year, and don’t have the mileage built up yet for Go Girl Run (March 22), the best option for you may be the OKC Memorial Marathon on April 26th.  You can start with the Go Girl 5k, continue with your longer distance training, and then use the Red Bud 10k for more experience. Then, you can complete your goal with OKC Memorial Half Marathon.  Or if you want to run the Go Girl half but don’t want to miss out on our other race events, make that your priority. Follow our 12 week training for that, run a strong race then consider running the5k/ 10k at Red Bud and the 5k or relay at Memorial. And for those who do have more race experience, and want to run both Half Marathons for a new challenge, I say “ROCK ON”, just be smart with your training and listen to your body!  Let me know if you need extra help with increasing speed or racing strategy.

It is going to be an amazing spring racing season with many opportunities to do great things! runhers is a wonderful, supportive community of women – who will cheer and push you all along the way. My goal is to keep you healthy and strong, so that running/walking is a long term lifestyle that you are still doing many years down the road. Remember, there will always be more races and WE WILL be there! Make the best decisions now, in the short term, so you are able to see that through to the end!  If you ever have questions about your training and “how to fit it all in”, never hesitate to ask, I am happy to help and want to see you perform at your best!  Those small daily decisions add up, so, here’s to a great 2015!

~Coach Sara

Director of Training Programs (and Energy)

 

feeling stressed?

Editor’s Note:  Below is a great article from the National Institute of Health (NIH).  Trying to balance everything in today’s world brings many stressors along for the ride. Of course, some stress is actually good for us. As Daniela Kaufer, associate professor of integrative biology at the UC, Berkeley states, “Some amounts of stress are good to push you just to the level of optimal alertness, behavioral and cognitive performance.” However, chronic stress has serious consequences- especially if we don’t develop ways to cope effectively.  The one thing we think is important that isn’t addressed in the article is laughter.  Finding ways to laugh is crazy good for your health!  So, yuk it up as early and often as possible, you’ll be happy you did.  Read on:

 

Stress Relief Might Help Your Health

Winter holidays—do they fill you with joy or with worries about gift-giving and family gatherings? Do summer vacations leave you relaxed or fretful over travel and money? If you’re feeling stressed out over supposedly fun things, it might be time to reassess. Take a few moments to learn how stress affects your health and what you can do about it.

Everyone feels stressed from time to time. Stress can give you a rush of energy when it’s needed most—for instance, competing in sports, working on an important project, or facing a dangerous situation. The hormones and other chemicals released when under stress prepare you for action. You breathe faster, your heartbeat quickens, blood sugar rises to give you energy, and your brain uses more oxygen as it shifts into high alert.

But if stress lasts a long time—a condition known as chronic stress—those “high-alert” changes become harmful rather than helpful. “Stress clearly promotes higher levels of inflammation, which is thought to contribute to many diseases of aging. Inflammation has been linked to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, arthritis, frailty, and functional decline,” says Dr. Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, a leading stress researcher at Ohio State University. She and other researchers have found that stress affects the body’s immune system, which then weakens your response to vaccines and impairs wound healing.

Research has linked chronic stress to digestive disorders, urinary problems, headaches, sleep difficulties, depression, and anxiety.

“Some studies have found the physical, emotional, and social effects of a disease like cancer to be stressful for patients, caregivers, and long-term cancer survivors,” says NIH’s Dr. Paige Green McDonald, an expert on stress and cancer biology. “However, there’s no definitive evidence that stress causes cancer or is associated with how long one survives after a cancer diagnosis.”

The top causes of stress in the U.S. are money and work-related pressures, according to a 2013 survey from the American Psychological Association. Stress can also arise from major life changes, such as the death of a loved one, divorce, illness, or losing a job. Traumatic stress is brought on by an extreme event such as a major accident, exposure to violence, or a natural disaster such as a hurricane or flood.

Caring for a person with severe illness—such as dementia or cancer—can also be a significant source of stress. More than a decade ago, studies by Kiecolt-Glaser and others showed that the stressful demands placed on caregivers can lead to poorer health, lower responses to vaccines, increased inflammation, and a more than 60% higher death rate compared to non-caregivers.

It’s not clear why some people can sidestep or recover more quickly from stress than others. These resilient people seem to “bounce back” more easily after stressful situations. Recent studies of animals suggest that resiliency may depend at least in part on our genes. But learning healthy ways to cope with stress can also boost your resilience.

“There are many different ways to cope with stress. We know from a lot of different studies that having close personal relationships—people with whom you can talk, with whom you can share your feelings—can be helpful,” says Kiecolt-Glaser. “So spending time with family and friends in order to maintain those relationships is perhaps one of the most crucial things you can do as a stress reducer.”

Unfortunately, Kiecolt-Glaser adds, “when we’re stressed, we tend to do the worst things that are not at all helpful to our health.”

For instance, stressed out people may tend to isolate themselves and not seek social support. “Exercise is a great stress reducer. But when people are stressed, exercise becomes less common and less appealing,” Kiecolt-Glaser says. “Instead of maintaining a healthy diet—also important to reducing stress—some people who are stressed tend to eat more donuts than vegetables.”

You may think that the agitation brought on by stress might help to burn calories. But evidence hints that the opposite is more likely. Kiecolt-Glaser and colleagues found that, compared to nonstressed people, those who were stressed burned fewer calories after high-fat meals and they produced more of the hormone insulin, which enhances fat storage. “So stress may contribute to weight gain and obesity through these biological routes,” Kiecolt-Glaser adds.

Getting enough sleep is also key to resilience and stress relief—although stress itself can interfere with sleep. To improve your sleep habits, go to bed the same time each night and get up the same time each morning, and limit the use of light-emitting electronics like computers and smartphones before bed. The light can reduce production of a natural sleep hormone called melatonin, which then makes it hard to fall asleep.

Beyond recommendations for exercise, healthy diet, social contacts, and getting enough sleep, Green McDonald says, “studies have also shown that mindfulness (focused attention on one’s own emotions) and other meditative practices can effectively relieve stress.”

“Mindfulness means staying aware and conscious of your experiences. No matter what we’re doing, we can always make time to bring our attention to our breath and body and stay there for a short period of time,” says NIH psychologist Dr. Rezvan Ameli, who specializes in mindfulness practice. “Recent studies show that even short periods of mindful attention can have a positive impact on health and well-being.”

Other NIH-funded studies have shown that mindfulness meditation can reduce stress, alter brain structure and function, and have a positive effect on the immune system.

“Mindfulness is a simple and effective tool that anybody can use to reduce stress,” Ameli says. Although the concept is simple, becoming more mindful requires commitment and practice. You can learn more about mindfulness meditation from local resources like yoga or meditation classes, mindfulness-based stress-reduction programs, or books.

If you feel overwhelmed by stress, talk with a health care provider or mental health professional. Medications or other therapies might help you cope. In the long run, reducing stress may help you to slow down and enjoy your time with the people and activities you really care about.

Tips To Reduce Stress

  • Get enough sleep.
  • Exercise regularly. Just 30 minutes a day of walking can boost mood and reduce stress.
  • Build a social support network.
  • Set priorities. Decide what must get done and what can wait. Say no to new tasks if they are putting you into overload.
  • Think positive. Note what you’ve accomplished at the end of the day, not what you’ve failed to do.
  • Try relaxation methods. Mindfulness, meditation, yoga, or tai chi may help.
  • Seek help. Talk to a mental health professional if you feel unable to cope, have suicidal thoughts, or use drugs or alcohol to cope.

References:

Daily Stressors, Past Depression, and Metabolic Responses to High-Fat Meals: A Novel Path to Obesity. Kiecolt-Glaser JK, Habash DL, Fagundes CP, Andridge R, et al. Biol Psychiatry. 2014 Jul 9. pii: S0006-3223(14)00385-0. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2014.05.018. [Epub ahead of print]. PMID: 25034950.

Alterations in brain and immune function produced by mindfulness meditation. Davidson RJ, Kabat-Zinn J, Schumacher J, Rosenkranz M, et al. Psychosom Med. 2003 Jul-Aug;65(4):564-70. PMID: 12883106.

NIH News in Health, December 2014

december’s challenge checklist

 

By: Coach Sara McCauley 

There’s no denying it – holiday season is upon us and in full force! Schedules become full of events, shopping, celebrating and eating, which means less time that you want to spend working out. This is may not be the best time to commit to a new fitness plan, however you can make a commitment to get the best out of each situation. Time doesn’t always allow you to go to a full gym workout, or a long run – BUT I know you can fit in something each day, even if it is 5 minutes! Something is better than nothing.  I put together a schedule for the month of December, which includes short workouts you can do, anywhere at any time. You can follow the calendar exactly, and take the guess work out, or pick/choose an item from the checklist each day.  It can be a very stressful time of year – you owe it to yourself to have a little “me” time.   

As far as all of those treats and eats that are everywhere, enjoy them! However that doesn’t mean ALL of them. It’s the season for chocolates, sugar everything, thick sauces, adult beverages, etc. – so, while there is no reason to deprive yourself, or completely eliminate the temptations, I do encourage you to make smart decisions.  Here are a couple of tips to help keep your goals in mind, eating under control, AND your sanity through the holidays: 

  • PORTION CONTROL:  When eating from a buffet style meal, make ONE plate. Choose appropriate servings of your selection and stick to that. Don’t go back for seconds. Drink water, and give your body enough time to settle. If you decide at that point you are still actually hungry go back for a protein or veggie.  
  • EAT BEFORE YOU LEAVE HOME: If you are attending an event that you know will not have sensible options, or not sure when your next meal will be, eat a healthy meal before you leave home.  This doesn’t mean you have to become a social outcast, you can still eat what is offered, you’ll just have something healthy already in your stomach (veggies!) – so, you don’t over eat out of starvation.   
  • KEEP HEALTHY SNACKS HANDY: Keep a protein bar or quick snack in your purse, at work or in your car, just in case. We all know those “quick” shopping trips can turn into an all-day event, so be prepared. Keep that HANGER under control, no one has time for cranky pants! 
  • POTLUCK: Chances are you will attend one or many of these before the month is over.  So, you control what you eat. Why not YOU be the one to bring a healthy dish? There are thousands of healthy AND tasty recipes that can be offered, hello Pinterest, that do not require a lot of effort! This way you know there will be a smart choice at the party, and you can introduce new options to more people! 
  • EAT YOUR VEGGIES and HYDRATE:  Notice the vibe yet?  Stop complaining and just eat your greens! We’ll put aside all of the many health benefits that veggies offer, and stick with the simple fact:  they provide a great source of fiber which keeps you fuller longer AND keeps your system regular. I urge you to drink lots of water throughout the day.  Keep water close at all times. Try to get at least 96 ounces. Reach for your water after a meal, before that dessert, and between meals. Often times you eat out of boredom, or you think you feel hungry, but in reality you could just be dehydrated and need fluids.    

We all know that the holidays test every bit of will power, and your ability to make good decisions. Remember, it’s alright to indulge a little. If there is something that you REALLY want than eat it, in the proper portion, then move on. Don’t let guilt consume you, you have enough stress. Let it go! Try to get in as much activity as you can, even if it’s not all at once, sneak little bursts in, it does add up. Make the commitment NOW to stay healthy and make smart decisions through the upcoming weeks!  You will be happy you did in January!  

Let’s GO!

  1. 50 PushUps 50 Starjumps
  2. 20 minute Fartlek Run
  3. 40 Jumping Jacks, 40 Jump Squats, 40 jump lunges
  4. 100 Pile Squats, 20 half squat, 20 full, 20 half with heel raise, 20 full with heel raise, 20 pulses
  5. 5 minute wall sit (take short breaks to complete)
  6. Yoga stretch
  7. HIIT 40/20/4 High knees 40 seconds, rest for 20 seconds, Plank Jack 40 seconds, rest 20seconds,    complete 4 rounds of each.
  8. 60 single leg deadlifts, 60 hip bridges
  9. 100 Crunches, 20 slow crunches, 20 right, 20 left, 20 bicycle, 20 butterfly
  10. 100 Lunges,  20 alternating front, 20 alternating back, 20 right, 20 left, 20 jump lunges
  11. 5 minute plank variations, high, low, side, legs lifted, arms lifted (break as needed)
  12. Park furthest away from store to add in extra walking every time you go to the store.
  13. Running in place, squat jacks, plank walk, 1 minute of each, 3 rounds total
  14. 200 mountain climbers
  15. 2 burpees, 2 leg lifts, repeat 4, 6,8,10
  16. 60 superman extension up to a high plank
  17. 100 Vups, modify as needed
  18. Foam roll your tight overused muscles
  19. Booty Burner, 50 Alternating back lunges, 50 front lunges to balance, 50 single leg decline bridges (use a step or couch)
  20. Run 1-3+mile run, make the time for yourself, do a few laps in your neighborhood, get some fresh air!
  21. Take the family for a walk or run, start a family tradition
  22. Step it Up! Use a stair, chair or a study bench, 1 min of each: alternating step ups, step up to balance 1min each side, side step up to leg lift each leg, jump ups(box jump)
  23. Plank Jumps: 20 of each repeating twice. Front:High plank position, jump feet in together, Right: jump feet to the side then to the center, Left jumps, In& Out: start with feet together, jump them out wide then back in.
  24. Fast pace laps around the mall before shopping
  25. 10 push ups for every glass of eggnog
  26. 100 push up challenge (can be throughout the day)
  27. 1 mile run time yourself, try to beat your time next time
  28. Take the stairs everywhere you have the opportunity
  29. 20 Squats every time you check your Facebook on your phone
  30. 20 second plank for every gift you wrap
  31. Alphabet abs: lay flat on your back, lift your legs off the ground, feet toghet “draw” the alphabet with your feet
  32. Ab Burner: 20 frog crunches, 20 bicycle crunches, 20 leg lifts, 20 side plank with dips, each side, low plank with hip dip 20 each, high plank with leg ext 20 each, 2 min low plank hold
  33. Tabata Squat Variations 20/10/8: 20 secs of each squat, 10 secs of rest, 8 variations of squats. Wide squats, side to side squats, squat jumps, split squat(each leg counts as 1), squat jacks, chair pose, squat pulses
  34. Firecracker: 50 jumping jacks, 20 star jumps, 20 plyo push ups, 20 explosive jump lunges, 20 back lunge to high jump each leg, 50 jumping jacks

 

how to have a better attitude at the pool (or on the run)

Editor’s Note:  Running and swimming have a lot in common, with the main thing that both are “lifetime” sports.  You can do either at a very young age, through adult life and on through the golden years.  Running, like swimming, you can do just for fun, or to compete.  As far as burning off stress and staying fit, both are excellent choices. So with that, here’s an article that we found on a swimming site, that serves its purpose just as well with running!  Enjoy!

by: Olivier Poirier-Leroy – via swimswam.com

It’s crazy how much of an impact our attitude has when it comes to the way we perform in the pool.

On days when we are riding high, with life seemingly bending to our will, even the toughest of workouts is met with an optimistic and determined front. And yet, when we feel bummed out, or pessimistic, the tough stuff in the pool becomes even tougher.

“Excellence is not a skill. It’s an attitude.” – Ralph Marston

Being positive-minded when you are going through those heavy bouts of training, where exams and assignments are piling up, can help make the challenging stuff easier to handle. When we are optimistic we are able to better brace ourselves for the difficult chapters in our swimming career, and perhaps most importantly for the team, you contribute to developing an environment where everyone – and especially you – are primed for success.

1. Get better at failing. If you look at the way you take and handle setbacks as a skill, something you can actively work on, than you are light years ahead of those swimmers that take every failure – large and small – as an indictment on their abilities. Look, setbacks are gonna happen. From the age grouper, to the multi-Olympic, multi-gold medal winning athlete. What separates those from who allow failure to define why they quit and those who choose to make failure a re-direction in their journey is the outlook they have. Decide to work on improving the way you handle failing.

 2. Journal some gratitude. By now there is no doubt that at least one of your friends on Facebook (perhaps even you) have taken some form of the gratitude challenge. (For the uninitiated, you write out 3-5 things you are grateful for on Facebook each day for a few weeks.) Research has shown that this actually works, and that redirecting your thoughts to the good stuff in your life that you have in your life increases happiness and decreases stress. You certainly don’t need to post it online for the world to see,   spending a few minutes at home logging it into a notebook or log book works just as well.

 3. Celebrate the victories. Especially the small ones. If you are like me, you tend to undervalue the impact of your small wins. Because they aren’t the big, life-altering victories that cause massive change, we gloss them over, ignore them and bypass them. Which is too bad. Although having three really good practices in a row, or doing bilateral breathing for the full workout, or doing every meter with awesome technique isn’t a world record or gold medal, it’s still worth recognizing and celebrating.

 4. Be solutions oriented. It’s easy to point out the faults and shortcomings of not only ourselves, but of those around us. When things aren’t going our way the quickest route is to latch on to the problem and dwell on it. Rather than piling on to yourself (or others) seek a solution, a path forward and offer constructive criticism. When we seek solutions we are moving forward, making progress. Making excuses and offering criticism without guidance keeps us stuck in place.

 5. Remember that attitude is a choice. We make a metric ton of choices on a daily basis. What we are going to eat for breakfast. Whether or not we are going to pay attention in class. Whether or not to unfollow or fully unfriend the chronic meme-poster friend on Facebook. The mental approach we take on, the attitude we carry around with us, is dictated by us as well. Simply thinking about having a better attitude can often be just the thing to have it improve. Being conscious of the fact that our chosen attitude is our prerogative is better than allowing our attitude to be influenced by others and left up to chance.

 6. Don’t let the negativity of others infect you. This one is a little more sneaky. We don’t often notice how the people around us influence us until much later. Hang out with a complainer for the course of a day and you can’t help but latch on to some of that negative energy, catching yourself complaining by the end of the day. Hang out with positive-minded people, however, and you will find their optimism to be infectious. If, according the law of averages, we are the average of the five people we spend the majority of our time with, what does that make you?

 7. In the words of Ghandi, be the change. When you are positive with others around you, supporting their goals, making for a more positively charged training environment, caring about your teammates, you cannot help be become more positive with yourself. Seeing the positive within you comes with seeing the positive in others. The effects of this may seem simple, but they are profound. When you choose to be the catalyst for creating a positive environment in training, and when you and your teammates encourage one another and foster an environment that pushes everyone to succeed, everybody wins.

NYC Shakeout Run with Ryan and Sara Hall…and Meb

By: Laura Mullins, director, Norman runhers
 
While most runners slept in on the cold, rainy Saturday morning before the NYC Marathon, my Norman RunHers crew got up early for a very special event. We had been invited to attend an intimate “Meet and Greet” with husband and wife Ryan and Sara Hall, followed by a shakeout run in Central Park. Unsure of what to expect at this event, we packed lightly, dressed in our rainy weather running gear and hopped on the subway to Midtown. I was told the event was limited to 100 people and we were thrilled just to be in the mix and have the opportunity to share a room with these running sensations. But upon arriving, we discovered only about 30 people battled the cold, wet weather and turned up for breakfast with two of America’s top distance runners.

As my group of seven runners grazed the delicious continental breakfast, we were nervous about how much to eat. We really wanted to run with the Halls, but we had no idea how fast they would go and if we could even keep up. Determined to enjoy the moment, we grabbed some coffee and bagels and introduced ourselves to a few other runners who were also waiting anxiously for the guests of honor to arrive.

We were all enjoying a friendly banter when the lovely couple quietly glided through the door and right into the middle of our breakfast. They were kind, humble and soft-spoken. They patiently fielded all of our running related questions about nutrition, training as well as specific advice for the NYC Marathon that was less than 24 hours away. The weather forecast was not looking good for race day with highs in the upper 30s and winds between 20-30 mph. Ryan offered great advice that I truly took to heart. “It’s up to you when you wake up in the morning to decide how you’re going to deal with the conditions. Make the decision to embrace the challenge and focus your energy on being thankful for the opportunity to race.” So true. No amount of cursing the weather was going to change it. It was up to me to accept it and save my energy for running, not ranting.

Later, the Halls graciously chatted with us as we ran a few miles through a rainy Central Park. The crew of men surrounded Ryan while us girls vied for Sara’s attention. I enjoyed two amazing miles chatting about faith, life and running with Sara (all between my gasps for air as I tried to keep up with her “easy” pace). Despite the fact that Sara is a professional runner and I am merely a recreational super-fan, I found that we both were learning how to focus more on the pure love and passion for running rather than only the race results. In the past, I let my insecurities get the best of me and allowed my self-esteem to be dictated on the results I did NOT produce. Does it make me less of a marathoner if I don’t break 4 hours or ever qualify for Boston? If I am feeling this kind of pressure as a weekend warrior, I can’t even begin to fathom what elite athletes like Sara and Ryan must feel when they don’t meet a certain expectation! Running with joy truly is a goal every runner strives to achieve.

After an exhausting week that filled my head with self-doubt about my ability to run the NYC Marathon on Sunday, the Halls’ encouragement lifted my spirits and helped me find my gratefulness for the amazing opportunity before me to participate in the world’s largest marathon. I thanked Sara for running with me, because her short time with me truly impacted my heart when I needed it most. I appreciated her sincerity and her genuine nature. Those with less integrity would not have even bothered to ask my name. I felt so empowered after spending time with both Ryan and Sara that I could have not run the race and been completely fine with it. There was no way my day could get any better.

But then it did. As I helped myself to a second cup of coffee, I heard the organizer ask the runners to move to one part of the room because he had a surprise for us. Cool. Maybe a free shirt or a water bottle?  Well, the surprise turned out to be a whole lot better than any gear I could have imagined.

In. Walked. Meb.

Every runner in the room shared a collective gasp “Ohmygod!” “No way!” “Are you serious?!?”, followed by a hushed silence as the 2014 Boston Marathon champion raised his hands up to speak. What words of wisdom would Meb bestow upon us mere running mortals?

“It’s going to tough out there for all of us tomorrow. Be prepared to run 10-15 seconds slower per mile than you had planned. And enjoy every mile.”

Us? Did he just say us, as if he and I and this small group of super fans are somehow similar?!? Yes. He did say us because, as he explained, “We are all running the same race and sharing the same miles.” Well, the course may be the same, but as most runners know, the race is different for each and every runner. Keep running your own race, my friends, and I will see you at the finish.

Best shakeout run ever.

balance: the teeter totter of life

Balance is the one thing in my life I am constantly working on and shaping. Just like a teeter totter, it shifts back and forth. Sometimes the sway is every minute, while other times it is much larger and requires more attention to get the balance closer to the neutral point.

Life balance is not the same for everyone. For instance, an extrovert needs more social stimulation for an energy boost, while its counterpart, the introvert, recharges their battery by having some solo time. Knowing what you need in your life is crucial in the dance to find your balance.

I am currently at a place where my balance would physically exhaust most people. This fall I am doing three half-marathons, getting BODYPUMP certified, and teaching three PILOXING classes a week. Plus my normal workout schedule. It also includes adequate nightly rest, regular food prep at home, taking care of my clients at the salon, running a business, and my weekly run with my runhers ladies. I do still have time to catch up on my favorite shows, see my friends and family, and have an occasional nap in there, too!

One area I am making a conscious effort to work on is not telling others what their life balance looks like. Is it not always easier to dissect someone else’s life instead of taking a hard look at our own? Yeah, I have been there, too! The truth is I have no idea what keeps another person feeling more in balance. I walk in my shoes on my journey, and you walk in your shoes on your journey. All I can hope for is that you are mindfully working on creating and finding what your balance is.

Why is life balance important? Simple. Life runs smoother. Personally, I am less stressed and frazzled, which keeps me more rational and lighthearted. I also have time to breathe, really admire, and give gratitude to my surroundings. Have you taken the time, or even noticed, the colors of fall happening around us? Or, the bright orange and pink sky early in the morning, and at sunset? Just take a minute to stop, take a deep breath, and reset. Balance.

Some ideas that have helped me:

  1. On Sunday, plan out your weekly to do’s on a paper calendar and give adequate time for all things. Include work, sleep, workout time, “me” time, friend and family time, home maintenance, etc. This will help you manage your time and will show you in advance what kind of flexibility you have for the week. Feel free to make it colorful and fun! It’s your calendar.
  2. Know what your heart and soul need to stay centered. Life balance includes your mental health, emotional well-being, and your physical self. Do not apologize for making those needs a priority. You will be the best version of yourself and able to give to those around you more when you are more in balance. If you are craving a Netflix binge, but the house needs cleaning, by all means … watch a little Netflix. The house will still be waiting for you when you are ready!
  3. Know that perfect balance is not the goal or something to achieve. Life balance is like yoga: it’s a mindful, daily practice. You get better at it. It will evolve as your life evolves. Make adjustments as needed.

My balance right now has included new challenges. I have been in my career for twelve years, and wanted a change, so I have stepped into the fitness industry on the side. It has not taken away from my time in my business at the salon; however, it has added another level of fulfillment to my life now. I don’t know if this is a lifelong venture, but it’s in my today, and I am embracing it 100%. 

Live. Life. Beautifully.

~ Staci