Archive for the 'Struggles' Category

10
Dec
14

One aspect of mental toughness for runners

reality-check-ahead-signMental toughness is REALLY important for runners of all types.  Being mentally tough makes us better athletes.  Some people have found a way to become more mentally tough even when they aren’t running.

Everyone knows that not running, when you are a runner, is tough…..but have you ever thought about how you can mental train yourself to be more tough by demonstrating mental toughness during an injury?  That’s right, you can continue to train even when you can’t train by enhancing your mental toughness during a time of despair.  Taking a break from running is not so easy sometimes, it takes it’s own type of endurance, and you can use this to your benefit.

Here’s how:

  1. Think positively- Oh yes, easier said than done for sure.  During a hiatus, it’s important to practice substituting negative guilty feelings with positive grateful ones as fast as  you can when the negative thoughts hit you.  This practice will really help you when you are back on your feet in a race.
  2. Train your mind by challenging yourself with exercise you don’t like as much.  This will help you when you reach that HUGE freaking hill that you don’t like in the race since you know you can do what you don’t like to do now.
  3. Relax and think long term.  You know how at the beginning of a marathon or 50 miler you don’t just sprint your way to the end???????????????????????  You don’t do that because it’s not wise and won’t get you what you want.  Think like this when it comes to taking a break because of injury.  Long term health and vigor are the most important in the end, plus………relaxing is imperative to your success while running as well.
  4. Use the spare time to FINALLY spend a Sunday with people you love since you can’t be out on the road for 5 hours.  This will help you be more joyful while you are running as well.
  5. Stay mentally tough by making sure that you eat properly since you are not burning all those calories like you were when you were training hard.  This goes back to #4 and long term health.  You will also be feeling better if you kept at your current weight when you get back to running.

Those are some simple tips that will help you increase your mental toughness when you can’t increase it by running!

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02
Jul
14

How important is routine to your weight loss success???

IMG_0016As the tress in the picture border and frame out the pathway, routines can become one of the most important pillars that will hold you up until you achieve your weight loss goal.  And again like the picture, your routines can frame your path to success.  I believe to achieve weight loss without consistent routines is very difficult.  Think about it…………you have to exercise consistently, then you have to slowly ramp up the exercise consistently, you will have to have a pretty consistently healthy diet where you eat less than you burn, and you will have to weigh consistently.  Each of these things will have a routine with it.   For example, I weigh myself once per week on Monday’s and ONLY Mondays.  That is my routine and it has a purpose (weighing more often than once per week can breed trouble and discouragement due to normal fluctuations).  I also have exercise routines that I do on a consistent basis.  I am changing these routines up now but once I get the changes made I will have developed a new routine that I will perform on a consistent basis.

Another thing that a routine can do for you is give you something to look forward to, or measure, or beat.  It gives a person a good feeling when they do something that their routine calls for.  When you are supposed to work out after work on Wednesday and then you do it, it builds up confidence in you.  Confidence is often built upon what YOU DO. This is why I think the main focus, especially in the beginning, is to develop a routine that you can consistently follow.  One that if you do it, it will be impossible not to succeed as long as you have patience.  Routine, habit, consistency…………..I guess you can call it by many names.  Just KNOW that doing the right things over and over will get you to where you need to go.  It won’t always be at the speed you want and sometimes it may be faster, but having the endurance to keep on keeping on will get you a win.

HOW DO YOU DEVELOP A ROUTINE?

  1. Write down you goal
  2. Read that goal daily
  3. Write a daily “to-do” list of things that you have to do to achieve that goal (stay within weight watchers points, calories, exercise today).
  4. Be persistent and develop patience
  5. Watch yourself achieve your goal
  6. Be thankful
23
Jun
14

Update on the journey

img. credit:www.tynesweb.com

img. credit:www.tynesweb.com

This is an update on my journey.  The funny thing about being on a journey, whether it be weight loss or personal growth or whatever, is that there is no end to it.  Just like the road in this picture, a persons journey is a long and eventful passing of time which makes you into the person you are.   Often times the journey takes you on a road that is up hill. LOL.

Anyway, I have kept the weight loss faith.  I have not forgotten what it takes to succeed and win some of the battles that we all have to fight.  I don’t always win but I get my share.  Since shortly after the start of 2014 I have lost significant weight, I am happy as heck with my family at home, and my journey has taken me to a place I NEVER dreamed that it would take me.  Well……….I guess I dreamed of it I just never thought it would come to reality.  The last post I wrote on the blog was in November 2011 and it was set to private because it was deeply intense and personal.  The things I wrote in that blog were things I only dreamed of, things I never thought I would experience because the things I was currently experiencing at that time were so bad that I figured I could never grow strong enough to create change in my own life.  Well, I did!!!!  Actually, I can hardly believe that I did it.  Maybe someday I will share that part of my journey with you.

On the eating and exercising front I am winning the daily battles.  The weight gained is now coming off at a good clip, my fitness level is increasing dramatically, and my mind is being refreshed with new vigor.  I never did gain all my weight back but I did gain a good portion of it.  It was hard, REALLY hard because you begin to think you are a bad person or that you are not worth what you once were.  That is bull crap.  You are worth it and you are still that same ole’ person who has desires and dreams and hopes that all things can be possible for you.  It just so happens that you are in a shell that you aren’t happy with, a shell that keeps that “good” you from coming out, a shell that diminishes the power of happiness in your life.  Sure you can still be happy and you would be better off if you COULD BE but your mind plays tricks on you.  It tricks you into believing you are LESS when you weigh more.  The sooner that you can realize this the sooner you can take the bull by the horns so you can go for it and get what you want.  Life is ahead of us, and life is really short………..I am taking the simple daily steps to get the most out of my life. 

Oh yeah, last week I also just finished my 27th marathon.  It was my slowest one, and by far the most difficult but a great victory nonetheless. 

23
Jun
14

Writing, Running, and Life Change

IMG_1216

The picture above is my lawn.  To me……..today……..this pic represents a fresh start that is based upon YEARS of hard work and planning.  It’s spring and summer time.  The lawn is looking its best but it is because of the work put in prior.  I know it is just a lawn but the meaning behind it is so powerful.  This lawn has taken money, huge amounts of time, hard and difficult work, plenty of planning, and a mass amount of maintenance.  I will go as far as saying that it is a good representation of life and what so many of us aspire to.  Not that everyone aspires to have a beautiful time consuming lawn, but what we do aspire to takes the same types of efforts and focus.  Weight loss is one of those things.  It takes money, huge amounts of time, hard and difficult work, plenty of planning, and a mass amount of maintenance.  It is a goal and achievement not easily won, but IT IS POSSIBLE.

I am back to this blog after a long, long time away but I have never stopped striving and working on myself to get to where I want to get.  I have gained some weight back, I…..with much gusto……..let some bad habits back in, I didn’t exercise for a long time, and I just did a lot of things that I knew would not help me to achieve my goals.  I didn’t let it all go though.

Anyways, it is good to be back.  I am not sure if anyone will still read any of it but I most certainly need it AND desire it.  Writing gives me great avenues to express myself in a healthy way which reminds me of where I want to go and who I want to be.  Hopefully over time others will get some benefit from it.

06
Jan
11

Weight watchers: if you blow it……..hold on cuz it might not be so bad

So yesterday I had a scare at work that basically through me (somewhat unknowingly) into myemotional eating persona. LOL.  It was stressful that’s for sure and the minute somebody asked me if I wanted some fast food I hoped right on that band wagon without a thought.  Then I felt guilty about it and ate a bunch of candy.  All in all I ate 91 WW points for the day.  It was a true blow up but I stopped it after the candy since I was actually pretty dang full of the yummy fatties.  I wasn’t going to count any of those points but today I decided it is what it is and I should count it.  I turned out that it was not such a horrible blow up after all.  Sure I emotionally ate which I don’t like to get into when I can help it but even after counting all 91 points I still have 13 weekly points left.  That was a huge relief and I could have enjoyed many more hours of “NON-GUILT” if I would have just counted it right away and known the truth.  So it was a good lesson RELEARNED!!!  If you blow it, just hold on, stop, and count the calories/points.  It is usually not as bad as you think it is.  It is the guilt that you let fester that kills you because you hop right back into that bad healthy cycle.

Today was a much better day for eating.  I also ran.  Yesterday I didn’t run because of the work emergency and the mass amount of food made me to full to run.  But I was back at it today.  It was a drizzling dark night tonight with heavy heavy fog.  The run was tough, I ran faster than I normally do and I just wasn’t in to it.  I didn’t enjoy it that much but sure was happy that I did it.  Here are a couple of pics from the run.

this is what my run looked like to me. it was actually pretty beautiful and neat

27
Dec
10

A new dawn ahead: Weight Watchers, Running, and a Fresh start

A new year is ahead of us.  This year has been a very wild ride for me personally.  I have not been posting here at all for sometime for various reasons but have not stopped writing because writing is something that helps me learn about myself, my ways, and my weight loss journey.  I hope that I have not lost all my friends here.  I am going to start posting regularly again and I am pretty darn excited about it.  Please feel free to join in on my adventures for 2011. 

For starters, I have gained about 50 lbs.  Yeah that is a lot but what can I do about it now except move forward into a new and exciting dawn. 

This was during my run tonight.

Here I am just days ago during my family christmas

Running

Part of the weight gain came about because of a serious burn out on running that was largely due to personal life stuff that I described on the blog earlier this year.  I tried hard to hold on to all the running I was doing but I just couldn’t, not with the mental stress and life changes.  Plus, I was working really hard on balance. I think I went to far with it though………….LOL!  So I never stopped running but I cut way back and am currently on my way back to running more and getting fit.  Come along with me as I progress again in my fitness, endurance, and running.  I feel like I am practically starting all over with running but I am far from that I think.  Still, way out of shape in my opinion and the extra wait is not fun to run around with.

Weight Watchers

I am, as you may have guessed, doing weight watchers for the “healthy eating” portion of my journey.  I get lots of points on this new POINTS PLUS plan.  Seems pretty well.  At the current time I am not going to meetings but doing it online.  I am having good success with it so far and plan to continue that for sure.  With the exception of xmas day I am eating pretty good and counting EVERYTHING. I know what to do, I am not making excuses, and I will succeed. Soon enough I will look like this again. LOL

Stay tuned to the blog to follow my journey-a-fresh.  I am excited and I hope that my posts can help you on your own journey with real life inspiration.  IT’S GOOD TO BE BACK.  I AM COMING BACK TO MOVE FORWARD!!!

02
Jun
10

A life lesson from a “tuff” race!

 

photo by strangesports.com

So I have been thinking about this blog post for about two months now and this last race pushed me over the edge to finally be able to articulate in some form what I have wanted to say.  Most of you  know that I think ultra-running parallels life in many interesting ways.  One of the ways is the unexpected blow up.  Just reading what I just wrote possibly brought up your own sacred times in life where you experienced a “blow up”.  Not of temper, not of fire, but of life itself and the dreams that are contained within it.  Times in your life that forced a renegotiation of your goals or path.  We have all experienced this in some form or another.  But what we do with these times is what counts the most.  Avoiding times like these at all costs will not permit you to totally avoid them.  We can plan, we can hope, we can pray, but these times occur regardless.  It is possible to minimize the damage they can cause or possibly their frequency but one thing is for sure; they will happen.  And this is ok.  So I am going to write out one of these the best way I know how because I think you’ll like it and I just need to do it so here it goes.  Picture your own life as I describe the situation in running form.

Ahhhhhhh……….my goal is ahead and I have worked so long and hard and dreamed for so long about it.  I can taste it.  I can almost experience my dream in my mind just pondering on the attainment of the goal.  THAT place is so happy.  I know it will be amazing to get there and the sense of peace I will have knowing that I got my dream.  The journey has been long to get to the starting line but I am here.  I start my race with such joy and comfort knowing what my future hours hold for me.  Running in the breeze thinking how blessed I am to be able to be taking part in life like this.  I meet people along the way that improve my experience greatly.  I find out more about them as we run together.    I know that they are most likely just for a time but at this time it is great to get to know them.  As I am running I see the hills before me without fear because I know I can walk if needed or I can slow it down enough to conserve my energies.  There is no rush really, I have a long race ahead of me but the excitement must be contained so that I don’t burn out on a good thing.  I keep on just getting more excited that my dreams are ahead of my and they will become a reality.  Of course there are rough patches during the run.  My legs burn and I want to rest.  My back is tight and I want to stretch.  Many thoughts come during those rough patches that widdle my dream down to barely possible.  Then the sun shines in through the trees and my life returns as I eat some more carbs.  My mind awakens and I am in “the good” again believing all is possible.  Time moves on and on as I run.  I’m running, I’m running, I’m running.  After a long time of pursuing this dream something happens seemingly out of nowhere.  It’s the blow up.  The blow up is a devastating crushing blow to my mind and emotions.  The dream is shut down and the door feels closed.  Survival is my only thought during a blow up.  That and giving up completely.  I know the end is near enough but the short distance from the present darkness to the light at the end of my great achievement appears to be many more miles than it really is.  My thoughts change from delight in life and running to self questioning and sanity.  “Was I stupid for trying to achieve and experience great things.  Did I bite off more than I can chew.  Will I hurt myself doing this.  Am I in danger in this dark time” .  All the negative thoughts that I was able to conquer regarding my dreams before are now so consuming that I cannot shut them up.  Panic sets into me just as powerfully as the joy set in earlier in my journey.  Will I be able to get what I want so badly out of this now that attaining my original goal is impossible?????  This is where the magic happens in ultra-running AND life.  I know I can’t make it to my original goal.  I am already running longer than my goal finishing time and I have so far to go still.  What am I to do with all of this.  If I give up and quit I still have to walk to the finish because there is now way out of the race (life).  If I keep going through this blow up it’s going to hurt really bad and I don’t want to hurt that bad anymore.  If I just go slower I might as well quit!  But then the renegotiating happens.  At first I hate it because it feels weak like a cop-out but the courage begins to build again but for a new purpose.  The original goal is now very far gone but the endurance and capacity to conquer the blow up now takes precedence.  I find myself realizing that the journey could very possibly be more important than the attainment of the original goal.  The the experience of this hurt, this “failure”, this “shame” could be worth millions more than crossing the finish line without scars.  Although down and out, I forge ahead with a new but painfully real struggle.  I must not let the “blow up” finish me.  Then it hits me, “OMG………..the goal is not me.  I’m me and I don’t have to let the circumstance finish me and in fact I can let it refine me.”  My heart melts at the prospect of making it through this blow up as a better man, as a better more knowledgable runner.  I find great peace in this painful experience knowing that just making it through to the other side of it means so much to me.  And when I cross the finish line where my goal once sat waiting for me to take it, I am thankful for making it at all.  I am thankful for that pain and hurt that even though at the time seemed so intense was really only temporary as compared to the impact it will have on my future runs and life. 

So I think it is with life too.  We all have goals and aspirations and dreams.  Sometimes it is as though we are running through life so smoothly but we don’t see that huge cliff that drops off just ahead.  That cliff that swallows up so much of what we think we have in us to give.  That blow up that takes so much out of us that life seems terribly painful to keep at.  So much is possible for us.  So much is right there for us to become if we can renegotiate the path and the goals.  In a sense I feel like even though we might not get what we originally wanted, we will get the best that is attainable by moving on through the blow up.  Things get painful, and slow, and don’t work on our time line but keeping on develops in us such a tremendous power to achieve the most important thing.  That is to achieve the depth and reality of the person that we can be.