Archive for life

It’s not how fast you know; it’s how well you know fast.

how well you know

by: runhers women’s association

“It’s not how fast you know; it’s how well you know fast.”  Let’s break that statement down. Fast learning is good, as long as you are drilling straight into the facts. Or getting to the heart of the matter quickly with good information. You don’t need more info. You need the right info, at the right time.

Reading a headline, or seeing an image on the television, in the paper, or on social media, doesn’t automatically mean it is true. So, you may ‘know’ something, but it may not be actually or even partially true –  or it could be a twisted opinion of something. And in many cases, it’s a flat out lie. Often times it is a clickbait type attention grabbing headline designed to get an advertisement (or three) in front of you. Willful ignorance is the not the way out, especially when setting examples to kids, or others you may have influence with.

Speaking of influence, many experts, leaders and celebrities are not educating you – they are being paid to sell you specific products. In fact, most sports stars and celebrities are endorsing unhealthy food and drinks.  Even our ‘peers’ are now selling out to companies who will provide them a few dollars of free product – in exchange for endorsements, which the company writes, on their social media feed. The more ‘likes’ (analytics) you can generate, the better. And marketers believe that peer to peer selling is the most effective way to move product right now.  So, be careful what you allow yourself to know fast – and don’t fall for all the ‘10 things you are doing wrong’ links. You’re NOT doing everything wrong!

If you are interesting in knowing more on the social media ‘influence factor’ – this is a good start. “Being A Social Media ‘Influencer’ Is Officially Meaningless.” http://www.vocativ.com/332174/social-media-influencers-lol/

On the opposite side, how ‘well’ you know fast, is a more robust view and understanding of what you are reading or seeing.  At IBM, Tom Watson had one word posted around the campus – think. Steve Jobs said at Apple that we have to make the details unforgettable, even intuitive. They knew, along with many other talented thinkers, that it is well worth the extra step, staying with a problem a little longer, to get through the clutter and find clarity. They actually did question almost everything.

Others insulting our intelligence is not the answer. Yet, every day we are bombarded with words, statements, and advertisements that do insult our intelligence. Our bullshit radar is on high alert almost full time these days. Or we have been habituated to filter and ignore, or accept the noise. So, science is faked (pseudoscience), health claims are unsubstantiated, research and studies are completely biased, or the number of participants in a ‘study’ is very low (non-conclusive) – and on and on.

So, how do you find clarity and truth in all of this? It’s not always easy. Of course there are things you don’t know, or are doing wrong. That’s the case with all of us. We can all do better. As women, when the hair stands up on the back of our necks in a social situation, we know something/someone is just not right. It’s sensory, and very real. You call bullshit, or leave that environment. It’s nearly the same thing with continued learning, whether it’s personal – or you are learning to help your family. Both are very important.

One way to getting to the root of an issue is using Sakichi Toyoda’s “5 Whys” technique – a simple but powerful tool for quickly uncovering the root of a problem, so that you can deal with it once and for all. Ask why 5 times on the matter at hand.  It can produce amazing results.

So, open your mind, and trust your instincts! Be your own best advocate, and that will take you a long way. And by the way, science says you think better when you have a run, or a walk – which only cost you a little time!  Not to mention all the other good feels!

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!

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

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

domestic abuse/unhealthy relationship/dating violence


Editor’s Note:
Our Designing a Safer Woman Guide is built to cover many issues relating to women’s safety. And it does cover some basics on domestic abuse and unhealthy relationships. This section is especially timely given all the attention in the media these past weeks on domestic abuse. We must continue to raise the bar, and the awareness on this issue that affects so many women. Violence against women is serious, even deadly. We must do all we can to support each other and find solutions within our communities. If you are part of an organization that deals with these issues, and have tips and/or resources you’d like to share, please contact us: info@runhers.com

One in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime. Domestic violence is the willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault, and/or other abusive behavior perpetrated by an intimate partner against another. It is an epidemic affecting individuals in every community, regardless of age, economic status, race, religion, nationality or educational background.

Violence against women is often accompanied by emotionally abusive and controlling behavior, and thus is part of a systematic pattern of dominance and control. What might have begun as an intense show of affection can quickly turn ugly if boundaries are intentionally crossed and you see the signs of abuse listed below.

BEHAVIORS THAT MAY INDICATE A PROBLEM

  •        Checking your cell phone or email without your permission
  •        Constantly putting you down and making unflattering comments
  •        The presence of extreme jealousy and insecurity
  •        Anger control issues and explosive temper
  •        The process of isolating you from your family and friends
  •        Making false assumptions and accusations
  •        Wild mood swings and acting emotionally imbalanced
  •        Any physical abuse whatsoever
  •        Possessiveness and intimidation
  •        Telling you what to do, where to be, how to act, etc.

POTENTIAL ABUSER STRATEGIES TO BE AWARE OF

  •        They might use an Intrusion Test where the perpetrator subtly checks out your boundaries by physical proximity, comments or demands on your time and attention.
  •        They might use Desensitization Tactics.  You become accustomed to these intrusion tests, and no longer notice when your physical/social/emotional boundaries are crossed.
  •        They might use Isolation Tactic. The perpetrator isolates you, or waits for a situation where you’re isolated, to provide an opportunity for an assault/rape/attack.
  •        They may have frequent angry outbursts.  These outbursts are meant and intended to intimidate or control you.
  •        They ignore you or don’t believe you.  They keep testing and discounting your “NO.”
  •        They intrude or continue to intrude your personal space and are almost always too close or try inappropriate touching or other body contact.
  •        They frequently interrupt you and/or make intrusive or insensitive remarks, such as about your body, other women, etc.
  •        They use Forced Teaming which is making it seem like you have a mutual problem that you jointly have to resolve.
  •        They use Loan Sharking, which is doing you favors so you may feel like you owe him something or give him the benefit of the doubt.
  •        They use Typecasting which is calling you a name (snob/racist/lesbian, etc.) which they want you to try to disprove.  

 

how to fall in love with running in 5 steps

by: Marie Wreath Editor’s note:  We’re happy to have guest author Marie Wreath let us repost her article.  Whether you run (or walk) a mile, or thirty miles, there are some great perspectives in here to think about! Like so many things in life, it’s about your own personal health and happiness, so take what you need.  Enjoy the article!  

How to fall in love with one of the most beneficial things that you, all by yourself, can do in this life.

    • Give it a fair shake. Brand new to running and already convinced you hate it? Please wait. Do not sell yourself short by struggling through one awkward, wheezing mile then declare running just isn’t for you. You know the millions of physical and mental benefits, right? Why did you start? Don’t you believe people who say that running makes them happier overall? Just get past the weird beginnings, trust me. My beginnings were extremely weird. And still I often need three miles to warm up for a five mile run. Even well-seasoned ultra-runners are known to say “Never judge a run by the first three miles.”Three miles. That is about half an hour of warm up, and it is SO worth it! If you are even a little bit interested in this amazing new chapter of life, then please give it a fair shake. Nibble at it. Seek support. Try different methods. Get the long view and grow a funny bone, because you will make yourself laugh … a lot.
    •  

    • Find your own running buttons and push them.Everyone is different. Running may seem painfully routine looking in from the outside, but there is a deep inner world there, a vast ocean of thought and feeling that you get to explore every time you lace up. (Maybe that’s why so many writers are also runners … huh.)And there are a hundred thousand variations for runners to discover. Do you listen to music, or keep the rhythmic silence? Run alone or with friends? Trail, track, or treadmill? Cold weather or hot? Morning, noon, or night? Try lots of different combinations until you discover your sweet spot, then max out! Enjoy yourself. Then shake things up again, enjoy some variety. Then go back to your reliable routines again. My favorite running blogger The Monican has lots of fun ideas to offer but always goes back to this smart mantra: You do YOU. Amen.
    •  

    • Stock up on inspiration for a rainy day. Even deep into your own running obsession, far past your first big runner’s high, you’ll have dry days. You’ll have mornings when you had planned to run but WOW something else sounds better. Or you question the benefits. Or you just need new ideas. Be ready for those days by making little collections of motivational words, images, and info-graphics.
    • Ever heard of Pinterest? I have like three boards that revolve around fitness, but one in particular serves running alone. I refer to it when I can feel my feet dragging or my thoughts going negative. Maybe you’d rather have an old-fashioned vision board, complete with cork and push pins and glossy magazine pages! Know thyself, and motivate thyself.


     

  • Set a fun goal (or two or three) and make them known to loved ones. This is pretty standard advice offered for all kinds of new endeavors, and it almost sounds cheesy, but cheesy stuff tends to work! My advice for new runners who want to build enthusiasm? Look for a snazzy 5-K or a half marathon and register. Pay the money so you’re committed. Then on your calendar count the necessary training weeks backwards from the event date and pencil in your workout plan for every week. (Hal Higdon is a great source of advice for training.) And record what miles you run against that plan. Get consistent. Blab about it to your friends to the point they are mildly annoyed.Last March I was close to burnout for different reasons, and had I not made my goal of “running my first full marathon at forty” so public to people who really love me, I might have backed out. I am SO GLAD I didn’t back out. What a sad thing that would have been. Concrete goals made public are effective!
  •  

  • Always go one more. One more mile, one more song, one more lap, one more day. However you’re measuring your frustration at any given point, try going just one more past where you want to. Remember that running is largely in your head, maybe more so than in your body; so take every opportunity to strengthen your mind. It will improve your life in so many ways. Do more than what you think you can do. Over and over, bit by bit, you will be amazed.  So that’s my advice if you are thinking of a wonderful new running obsession but need the final nudge. If you do these five things: Give it a fair shake, find a groove, stay inspired, set goals publicly, and go beyond your own expectations… I am pretty sure you will fall in love with running. And running will always love you back. And then we can grab some miles together sometime! Now you tell me. If you’re a runner already, what advice would you give a newbie? If you need some nudging, what’s on your mind? What’s holding you back from starting, or what’s slowing you down?Run while you can.~ Marie XOXOXOXO Marie Wreath’s blog can be found at “The (Not Always) Lazy W” here: http://lazywmarie.com/hi-im-marie-welcome-to-the-lazy-w/ and on Twitter @thelazyw

face the fear

by: Emily Boecking

Blank. Sheet. Of. Paper.  Yes, paper, not laptop, or desktop monitor, or tablet device.  After dropping my laptop one too many times, any sort of word processing software no longer exists on that 200 GB of memory, and I really haven’t had the patience to schedule an appointment with an Apple Genius (or Apple Not So Genius) to remedy the situation.  This lack of sufficient computer capabilities is one of the many excuses I have used to put off writing this article; including, but not limited to: I don’t have time, I’m too tired, writing requires thinking and I’ve already done too much of that today, I have several movies in my Netflix queue to catch up on… you get the idea.  So here I am.  Blank. Sheet. Of. Paper. 

I usually think of myself as the “go getter” type—someone decently good at making “To Do” lists, and then knocking out the tasks relatively quickly.  But this one task, to write a simple article on what it means for me to “face the fear”, stayed on my “To Do” list week after week.  I finally had to ask myself why I kept finding so many excuses, as lame as they were, for procrastinating on this particular undertaking.  Finally I had to admit that my excuses served no purpose other than to distract me from facing my fear of writing this article.  What was so intimidating about this article? 

Hell, it was my idea to write the article anyways.  Although it is a topic I feel passionately about, I realized I was scared that I might not really have anything of merit to say about the subject.  I couldn’t even fathom how to approach the article.  Maybe I could make the piece anecdotal … possibly relay some examples of obstacles or issues in my life I feared and how I worked through them, whether successfully, or not so successfully.  And yes, I could see where that approach could have some value. Honestly though, if that were the course of action to take there had to be someone grossly more qualified than myself to lead such a discussion. 

Sure, I’ve been through some stuff, and had my shit, but how does that make me different than anyone else?  Plus, as much as I like to put on a tough exterior, I honestly don’t think I’d make it through the entire article claiming that I am “Fearless.”  Heck, I couldn’t even sit down to write an article about fear because fear was the very thing inhibiting me (suck it irony).  And taking the opposite approach of composing a confessional of how much some shit scares me didn’t sound like too much fun either (I for dang sure didn’t want to reveal all of my gross insecurities to the general public).  So. Blank. Sheet. Of. Paper.  We meet again. 

And alas, as much as I would like to say the inspiration as to how to give some substance, and content to this matter struck me with a lightning bolt of epiphany, it did not.  Rather, I had to make a truce with the endeavor.  Knowing I couldn’t speak as any so called expert on “how to face the fear”, nor could I portray a self-flagellation of all my fears and woes, I could, however, engage in a discussion in regards to our collective challenges as to how we handle fear, and how we can find the strength from within to face it.

So here it goes …

If we ask ourselves how many of our fears are based on reality, and how many are based on our perception of reality, what would the ratio be?  Would we be able to say that 99% of our fears are reality based?  50%?  Or maybe a mere 1%?  If we are honest, most of us would probably confess that the majority of our fears are based on what we perceive reality to be, rather than what it actually is. 

An Alcoholics Anonymous adage states that FEAR is an acronym for the following:  False Evidence Appearing Real.  As various situations and stimuli arise in our lives, our natural human instinct is to relate the current circumstances we find ourselves in to prior experiences.  Since life happens on its own terms, which are often not in accordance with our own terms, many experiences have outcomes that may be, in our minds, less than we had hoped for, or perhaps an outcome we associate with failure.  And with that association of failure arises emotions that we’d rather just not feel again, or deal with.  Maybe the feelings that are conjured up are just a little uncomfortable.  Maybe they are a lot of uncomfortable.  Or maybe somewhere in between.  Regardless of where that feeling falls on our “uncomfortable” barometer, the bottom line is, given a choice, we’d rather avoid that uncomfortable feeling and just not go there again.

And yes, we have all read the motivational books and heard the inspirational quotes that instruct us that we can’t hope for anything more out of life other than status quo if we approach life from a stand point of avoidance of failure and uncomfortable feelings.  Once such quote on the subject can be found in Theodore Roosevelt’s The Strenuous Life speech,

Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.

But stuff comes up in life.  Maybe it’s a time to just branch out a little from our comfort zone, or maybe it’s a time where we are asked to really step up to the plate.  And if that stuff, whether it be big or small, invokes that deja vu of some “who, what, where, when or why” from our past that we really didn’t like, our natural reaction is to respond, “Nope.  Been there.  Done that.  Not going there again.” 

But here is the real reality of the situation: we have NOT been there before.  We have NOT done that.  Of course we are not going there again, because we can’t.  Maybe something similar to the situation we currently find ourselves has happened before, hence our protective instincts flair up.  We get scared and have an impulse to respond out of fear.  And in those moments, I personally often find myself having a little internal conversation in regards to Mr. Roosevelt’s quote:  “Yea, Teddy got it right on it being better to ‘dare mighty things’, but today I’d rather be content to be in that ‘gray twilight’ area.  I may not know victory, but I’ll go with not rolling the dice and instead be able to eliminate that suffering thing from the agenda today.” 

And some days, this is response is OK.  We don’t need to wage war with the world everyday by any means.

Yes, we all have major and minor life crises that we are faced with– relationships, careers, the economy, natural disasters, crime, etc. – but none of them are going to be confronted and defeated within a single day. 

Looking outward at the external battles raging in our lives may not be where we are called to direct our energy.  Rather than outward, maybe the direction to look is inward, at the internal battles we face.  And many of those battles are merely incarnations of fear.  Exactly how facing these fears will look like for everyone, I can’t necessarily speak to, but it might take the form of asking ourselves questions such as:  ” What things, both good and bad, am I avoiding because of my fears?”  “Where am I selling myself short because of what my fears tell me I can and can’t do?”  “Where am I selling others short because of this?”

Fear loses its power over us when we let go of the outcome.  When our days are no longer governed by our expectation of what we think can happen or will happen or should happen,  all of the “what if” scenarios that fear played out in our minds fall by the wayside, and we can instead be fully present.  And when we are fully present, we are able to take action from a place of personal strength and power.  Whereas before we would have resorted to simply reacting to challenges out of fear, we can now empower ourselves to act mindfully and purposefully in any given set of circumstances when we let go of the power fear had over us. 

So maybe today we dare that mighty thing anyways, and maybe we risk a measure of defeat, but we also open ourselves up to experiencing a measure of victory.  And whether it’s victory, defeat, or everything in between – isn’t it all experience?  And isn’t experience what life is made of?  Maybe today we take that chance at facing our fear, knowing that if failure does happen, we can still handle it. 

Face the fear… and do it anyways…

stay creative this spring

By:  Britta Newton @ www.brittablogs.com

Inspiration Board. Whether it’s magazine cutouts push pinned to your wall or a framed bulletin board a creative brain needs the tangible inspiration. Try printing out some of your favorite Pinterest boards and favorite blog posts.

Keep a beautiful pad & pen on you at all times. I have a stack of unique notebooks, and when I brainstorm I grab which one inspires me for the current project. Using a beautiful pen will keep writing happily!

Write. Keeping a daily journal and writing about your thoughts each day will keep your creative juices flowing! When they start flowing you’ll be overwhelmed with the hopes of ideas and you’ll have a pen in hand to write everything down.

Read.  Magazines, books, blogs… Reading and looking at great images will keep your mind in critical thinking mode.

Be Active. Doing a 15 minute yoga video in your living room, or taking a walk around the neighborhood will get your blood flowing each morning.

Add Color. I painted my office orange and it really has done wonders. Add color to your work-space to inspire different moods each day. Something as small as multi colored post it notes will brighten up your mundane to-dos.

Surround yourself with creative people. Having a positive support group to bounce ideas off of will be the tracks to your train. Learning from others and having competition will keep you improving daily.

…and in my opinion, the most important.

Break The Rules.  Which ones? All of them. (P.S. I said rules, not laws. Don’t break laws.)