When Just Showing Up is a Victory

“Step up, show up, never give up”

I’ve been known to be competitive, both with myself and with others. Part of it is I enjoy pushing to always be my best, even when it comes to workouts. The other part is I believe competing against others makes us better.

Occasionally, though, a win can come in a different way, a non-competitive one. This is especially true in the running community and I saw it on display at yesterday’s Fargo Marathon.

5kRace

A personal best & top 10 finish – my aunt Mary achieved two wins.

For a small group of people, a win is the actual win – those who compete against others to win their respective race, whether full marathon, 5k, or something in between. For others, a win might be a personal one – those who compete against themselves to beat their best race time. And for, I imagine a large group yesterday, the win wasn’t competitive at all. At 45 degrees, 20 MPH winds, and continuous rain, the win was simply choosing to show up and run.

At yesterday’s Fargo half marathon, I found myself in that last group of people, except the weather was the least of my concerns. For me, the win was simply getting thru the miles and finishing the race.

Last week, I began having issues with my IT band, causing some pretty nasty pain on my 18-miler. The pain persisted in small doses through my training runs all week, making me hella-nervous for Saturday’s half marathon.

What was supposed to be a nice, low-mileage training run, an opportunity to run fast, became a training run mixed with caution and fear. After a couple of early knee pains, I knew it wasn’t going to be an easy run or fast run kind of day. I quickly went from, “Maybe it’ll be okay and I’ll be able to race,” to “OMG, please just let me not have to drop out from injury.”

After those early pains, I adjusted my speed and shortened my stride. I ended up having a great run and I felt strong. My finish time was nowhere near close to a PR and slower than what I’ve been training at thus far. But, for me, it was a victory.

HalfMarathon

Nothing winning about this race, except that I finished without injury.

Best of all, I barely noticed the weather. It probably sounds lame, but I was so grateful to be out there running vs. injured and sidelined, I don’t think any weather would’ve gotten me down. It’s amazing what mindset can do.

But back to what I realized yesterday. A win can mean something different to everyone, especially in running, but also in life. Sometimes, we win by being the best, by competing to be better than anyone else or a former version of ourselves. Other times, we win simply by stepping up, showing up, and never giving up.

Speaking of showing up, while I offer congrats to all the runners who showed up and ran in some pretty nasty weather, a massive shoutout goes to all the race volunteers and spectators who showed up. It’s one thing to run in bad weather. We’re runners, we willingly sign up for sufferfests. But it’s quite another to stand out in the elements all day to cheer and help us through it.

If you volunteered or cheered and you weren’t one of the people I shouted “thank you for coming out!” at during the race, Id like to thank you now. THANK YOU for showing up.

Do you believe that there’s victory simply in showing up? The comments are for you, I already got to share my story, so please share yours. Or, connect with me on Twitter @LindsayIRL.

A Running Recommendation I Would Not Make for Marathon Training

“Well, that was a bad idea.”

I’m usually all-for recommending running-related things I’ve tried. I recommend my best foods for runners. I recommend hill training include both incline and decline work. I recommend, yes, you should sign up for that race.

Last week, I discovered one thing I would not recommend – something I myself did that, while good in theory, ended up being one of my less-than-greatest ideas.

On Thursday, I looked ahead at the weekend weather, as I do, almost obsessively, every week to plan my long run. It was looking to be windy and rainy, a bummer for my planned 18-miler. That’s too much to do on a treadmill so I figured I’d just have to suck it up and try to enjoy the whipping gusts and being pelted in the face.

As I was looking at the hour-by-hour forecast, I noticed Friday morning looked perfect – mid 30s and practically no wind. I came up with the grand plan that I would run my 18 miles Friday morning, before work, instead of saving it for the weekend – believe me, there’s good reason to save long runs for the weekend…more on that to come.

EarlyRun

I know I’m not the only one whose alarm has looked like this.

In order to give myself enough time to wake up, run, and still be ready to go to work for the day, I figured I’d need to get up at 3:45 a.m.

Surely this wasn’t that bad an idea. I’ve done long runs on Friday mornings before – though the longest I recall was 12 miles. I’ve also gotten up early to get in miles before work – though it had been awhile since I’d been up before 5 for any kind of workout.

But, again, certainly this wasn’t that bad an idea.

It indeed was a bad idea.

Not only did I severely underestimate the time I’d need to complete the run – bathroom breaks, gel pit stop, unexpected knee pain slow-down – I also underestimated the time I’d need to stretch, then shuffle myself around to get ready for the day. Apparently one doesn’t move as quickly after an 18-miler with barely any sleep than a normal morning.

In addition to making my morning routine stressful, I knew a crash would come at some point in the day – and it would be a big one. Despite my effort to go to bed at 9:15, I got very little sleep. Coupled with the fact that running 18 miles is, you know, more than slightly fatiguing, I started really crashing right after lunch.

On top of that, there’s an unavoidable stiffness and soreness that comes with an 18-miler – unless maybe you’re Gwen Jorgenson or someone equally elite. Even with my efforts to get up from my desk, move around, and stretch, I was uncomfortable for much of the day.

In conclusion, I do not recommend getting up at 3:45 and running 18 miles before going to work.

The only silver lining was I got my run done and in perfect weather. It was worth it…but I still don’t think I’d make the decision again.

Who am I kidding, I’d sign up for that sufferfest again if it meant I got better weather and the satisfaction of having my long run done before the weekend. Tiredness and pain and all, I had quite a bit of satisfaction throughout the day on Friday. But I still wouldn’t recommend it.

Remember when I wrote awhile back about how runners are crazy? I think I just made another case for that…

Is there something running-related you would not recommend, based on your own experience? Share in the comments or connect with me on Twitter @LindsayIRL.

Wednesday Wisdom – Real Life Wellness Advice for May 8

“A quick round-up of thoughts and articles for being well.”

Welcome to Wednesday Wisdom, real-life wellness, health, and fitness advice in a simple, easy-to-digest format, designed to give you maximum energy and inspiration.

If this blog post were food, it would be toast with banana and peanut butter.

Because it’s marathon and general race season, here are my three top wellness topics for today:

1. What to Expect from a Marathon, How to Train for a Marathon, and How to Run a Marathon

Fargo Marathon

Running the Fargo Marathon

I break down a marathon in chunks of the race to help guide you through the process and give you a great experience running a marathon. It includes info from all three posts in the series: what to expect from a marathon, how to train for a marathon, and how to run a marathon.

2. Five Tips for Your First Half Marathon

Full marathoners, I’m not just sharing tips for you – those who have questions about running your first half marathon, this one is for. A quick post for all you first-time half marathon runners or even those of you veteran runners who are looking for some encouragement or advice.

3. Taper Goals for Marathon Training

This is not your typical taper post. Here’s a thought for how to make the best of a taper and improving overall wellness with a good habit.

Do you have questions or topics I can address with a #wednesdaywisdom blog or in a new, full blog? The comments are all yours to ask questions, share ideas, or, you know, just leave a comment – so do it, please! Or, connect with me on Twitter @LindsayIRL.

More Wellness with Wednesday Wisdom

“There’s wisdom of the head and wisdom of the heart.”

Wow, if you love alliteration, you’re probably losing it over the title of this wellness blog post.

Last week, a random thought while running got me thinking about the stories I share on this blog. While all are rooted in my opinions and experiences, I do believe there’s a good dose of solid advice – even a little wisdom – in most as well.

WellnessAdvice

Lots of my wisdom comes from eating Reese’s. It’s true.

In that spirit, I’m launching a new feature on the blog. A quick ‘round-up’ style post that takes some of my favorite, reader favorite, or top-of-mind posts and breaks them down into a sentence or two. Quick bits of Wednesday Wisdom in a short, easy read.

Because this thought came to me randomly while running – this happens a lot and it’s fantastic; it’s also why I don’t run with headphones – I missed kicking it off on the first Wednesday of this month.

But good ideas are good ideas, no matter when they happen, so I’ll get things going this Wednesday. Fun fact: this Wednesday is also my birthday. Between free food, a run, and a new blog post, I’ll be about as happy as they come.

In the meantime, a quick reminder to new readers or those who have read a few stories: My thoughts, opinions, and wisdom are all based on experience. I’m self-taught in the wellness world; I have no formal training. If you’re looking for like-minded wisdom from an actual professional in the industry, I suggest following my pal, @JoeFitness on Twitter or @JoeFitness on Facebook.

Please let know if there are questions or topics I can address with a #wednesdaywisdom blog or in a new, full blog. The comments are all yours to ask questions, share ideas, or, you know, just leave a comment – so do it, please! Or, connect with me on Twitter @LindsayIRL.

The Challenge to Define What’s Healthy Food and What’s Not Healthy Food

“Food is fuel…or sometimes, it just makes us happy.”

As a health and wellness enthusiast, I get asked a lot of questions related to being healthy. Among my favorite – yet, least favorite – are questions about food.

“Is being a vegetarian healthy?”
“What’s a healthy pre-race meal I should eat?”
“Can you recommend a healthy protein bar?”
“Is this [insert food] healthy?”

You get the idea. I say these are my favorite questions because I love food. I say these are my least favorite questions because…well, I love food.

ILoveWaffles

Sugar, carbs – but I’ll make the case for healthy

Confused? Stick with me, I’ll explain.

When it comes to “healthy” food, I’ve come to the conclusion there is no right or wrong answer. Personally, I’m a fan of inclusivity, the idea that no food should be off-limits and encourages one to eat any food in moderation. Yes, eat all.the.foods.

The problem in trying to define healthy food is the term has become subjective because there’s no one-size-fits-all model of what it means to be healthy. I think we’re all striving for our own version of what healthy means and there are a lot of variations of healthy, especially when it comes to food.

One person can make the argument that a salad is healthy while another can point out why it’s not.
One person can tell you why being vegan is healthy while another can support the argument that eating meat, eggs, and dairy foods offers more health benefits.
Hell, I could make the argument why a donut is a healthy food choice and I could stand behind it 100%. My pal and awesome runner, Tom Donaldson, would be my expert witness if we ever went to trial.

My point is, what’s “healthy” for one person might not be for another person because we all have different goals. We all have our own personal baseline for healthy and it can look greatly different than someone else’s.

I’ll use myself as an example. I’m training for a marathon and I lift once or twice a week. My weight and muscle-to-fat balance are appropriate for my genetics and frame. But I’ll never be skinny. I’ll never have a flat stomach. I eat to fuel my body to run, lift, focus at work, and be happy so I’m a good wife and mother. I don’t cut calories or deprive myself of foods I enjoy to lose weight or my gut.

GoodLunch

Pre-run or post-run, Jimmy John’s fuels me to be my best.

Back to that “healthy” donut argument – while I could make the argument and stand behind it, I’ll admit it would be a thin one. A better way to make my point is with more realistic examples.

For me, a waffle with peanut butter and half a banana is a healthy breakfast.
For me, a veggie-filled pita with cheese and hummus, a peach, and a protein bar is a healthy lunch.
For me, Greek yogurt is a healthy snack.
For me, eggs on avocado toast with a baked potato and ice cream for dessert is a healthy dinner.

Those foods fuel my goals, my happiness, and give me a feeling of balance. For me, those are healthy foods.

For someone trying to cut carbs and sugar, or lose weight, most of that food is not healthy. It’s not so much that it’s not healthy (weeelll, I may be stretching that statement with the ice cream), it’s more that it doesn’t support that person’s goals of what he or she define as healthy or what would make them healthy.

Another point that comes into play is frequency. Back again to the argument I can make for a donut being healthy – it doesn’t stand up if I’m trying to plead the case for eating a donut every day. Me eating ice cream for dessert to give me some healthy balance and happiness? Yes…but No, if I’m putting down a pint every night.

I’ve thought about this idea of defining healthy a lot, especially when I’m asked about if a certain food is healthy. An event that happened at work last week inspired me to finally write about it.

Our office participated in National Walk at Lunch Day. After the walk, our wellness committee told us a variety of healthy snacks would be offered. We were provided an apple, a standard protein bar, and a high-protein granola bar.

For the person avoiding sugar, none of these snacks would be healthy. For most people, the nutrients, fiber, and protein offerings between the three absolutely qualifies them as healthy. Add to the fact they’re all tasty snacks that would be a better nutritional choice than what’s offered in a vending machine, further makes them healthy snacks.

ProteinSnack

All the snacks. I want ALL the snacks.

Side note: I happily took one of each snack to parcel out and enjoy at my leisure later on.

My final point in this struggle to define healthy food is that we, as a society, particularly “experts” trained in the fields of nutrition, can’t even agree on what foods are healthy.

Expert #1: Fruit is healthy!
Expert #2: Nope, fruit has too much sugar, so fruit is not healthy.

Expert #1: Milk is healthy!
Expert #2: Actually, dairy is now, in fact, not good for you, so milk is not healthy.

Expert #1: Vegetables are healthy!
Expert #2: Not so fast – carrots, corn, and potatoes are too starchy so they’re really not healthy.

Expert #1: Eggs are healthy!
Expert #2: Nope, egg yolks have too much cholesterol, so eggs are not healthy.
Expert #3: Whole eggs may not be healthy, but egg whites are healthy!
Expert #4: Nope, you don’t get enough protein from egg whites alone, so egg whites are not healthy.

O.M.Effing.G. And don’t even get me started on the push to swap regular foods for the latest healthy food or superfood – you know, the ones that really aren’t swaps, like kale chips. Swapping kale chips for Baked Lays surely will save me calories but will also make me sad and unfulfilled.

Side note: Please stop with the kale. No kale. No kale, ever, no thank you. #teamspinach all the way.

Health, like wellness, is more than a number on the scale, pants size, or daily macros. Health is what makes you feel good, your best. For the most part, what are generally accepted as healthy foods like apples, salads, and veggies are going to make up the bulk of my diet because eating those types of foods make me feel good, my best, and I imagine this is the case for most people.

Typically, I feel much better after snacking on an apple vs. a donut. For the most part, I’ll have more energy eating something like a veggie-filled pita for lunch vs. pizza. But not always…not always. Some days, especially during marathon season, I want the donut. Or the pizza. And I feel great after. There’s a place for all in my healthy lifestyle.

What are your thoughts on the healthy food discussion? Are there foods you believe to be healthy for all and those that should be avoided at all costs? The comments are your space to share thoughts so please do so. Or, connect with me on Twitter @LindsayIRL.

Yes, You Can Run a Marathon – Here’s Why

“It always seems impossible until it’s done.”

Training for a marathon is something.

There’s the obvious stuff. You get up before dawn to run for an hour before work. You eat more food that you ever thought possible. You sacrifice happy hours, sleeping in on Saturdays, and toenails. All because you voluntarily signed up to run 26.2 miles…and paid a chunk of change to do it.

Yes, people think runners are crazy and sometimes, stepping back to look at the big picture, I get it.

But one of the things I love most about training, marathon training especially – and why I suspect others jump into the same sufferfest-filled boat – is it proves what we’re capable of doing. It’s also why I wrote a controversial blog that sparked a big Facebook debate a couple years ago about my frustration of a local runner making a big show of himself for not training. For that story read: don’t run a marathon without training.

YouCanRun

Each week I made it thru the miles is a victory – when it’s hot out, an extra-big victory.

I remember the first time I ran a half marathon. After finishing, I thought to myself, “I could never run a full – another 13.1 miles, no way!”

I remember thinking something similar when I trained for my first marathon. “Wow, that 14-miler was brutal. No way can I do more next Saturday.”

I remember hearing this from numerous runner friends who had tackled the half marathon but not yet the full marathon. “I can do the half but there’s no way I can run double that.”

But the thing with marathon training is you can – you can run the full, you can do more, you can double the mileage you once thought to be your maximum capacity.

One week you’re exhausted after your first 10-miler, a few weeks later you put in 16 miles, then soon after that, you stop your watch after hitting 20 miles – or, if you’re like me, 20.2 miles – with the ultimate feeling of satisfaction.

The whole 20.2 miles, that’s another story. Feel free to read: why to run the .2 when training for a marathon.

Back to marathon training. Those miles, right? All.Those.Miles.

The thing is, tho, they’re a build-up; I wouldn’t say a gradual build-up, as it seems to escalate quickly, especially after that first double-digit run. But somehow, we do it. We build our endurance. We manage to hit those goals. And we push ourselves to add another mile or two the next week.

Yes, training for a marathon is something. It’s something that, as I write this, I’m in the midst of – how about you?

Special shoutout to Maggie and Kate who are in the thick of training for their first full marathon. I’m excited to see you ladies at the start line of Grandma’s Marathon in a few weeks – and, more importantly, celebrate your victory after.

What’s a lesson you’ve learned from training for a marathon? Is there a nugget of wisdom you picked up training for a 5k, 10k, or half? The comments are all about you so please leave one. Or, connect with me on Twitter @LindsayIRL.

Tips for How to Qualify for the Boston Marathon

“Boston is a state of mind.”

It’s Boston Marathon time. Oh how I love the Boston Marathon. Last year, I had the opportunity to watch it, as I was a few weeks into maternity leave. I know my son didn’t realize how cool it was to see Des Linden bring it home, nor did he get tears in his eyes like his mama did watching her run down Boylston and break the tape. It still was fun to watch with him.

While I won’t be running the Boston Marathon again anytime soon, I know this year’s race will inspire several runners to go for their own BQ this year. Based on my experience qualifying for the Boston Marathon – and failing at it twice first – I thought this would be the perfect time to share a few things I learned through those failures. Here are my tips to run your Boston qualifying race.

Run a Familiar Course
Most people don’t set out to qualify for Boston Marathon on their first 26.2 undertaking. And if you’ve done it, you really don’t need my advice…but I appreciate you reading this so I’ll at least try to make it entertaining. For everyone else, there’s benefit to knowing the course and planning your race strategy appropriately. You can’t predict the weather but at least you can have a heads up on the other environmental factors around you.

RunBoston

Ready to run Boston? I’m here to help.

From the obvious like knowing when hills are going to hit and aid stations are offering gel to the less-thought-of ones like knowing when a relay exchange or popular cheering section is coming up helps to plan for the best experience.

I had run the Fargo Marathon a few times before attempting to BQ. While the course did change a bit each year, I still had the benefit of it being my hometown race, so I knew the roads and I could practice them even during my training.

Eat to Run
I know, I know, we run so we can eat. But we also need to eat so we can run, at our best.

There are foods that fuel performance and, equally important, those that encourage recovery better than others. I’m talking lots of lean protein, leafy greens, vitamins – the obvious stuff. While it may seem obvious, the real trick is actually doing it. It’s easy and tempting to forgo a smart spinach egg-white omelet, sweet potato, and orange for the more appealing half a pizza and candy bar. I mean, you just ran 16 miles. Bring on the carbs and sugar, amIright?

It doesn’t have to mean giving up pizza or other foods you want to eat. Just make a conscious effort to balance it and remember that what you put in is what you get out. Small yet smart changes to my diet played a big role in my BQ. Again, it’s still okay to #treatyoself. I mean, I’m never going to give up Reese’s. Never.

Lift Weights
While runners tend to focus on miles, miles, OMG I need to run more miles, racking up the mileage can lead to burnout and injury, while strengthening the legs makes them, well, stronger.

Achieving a BQ is about more than being faster, it’s also about better overall endurance and creating a body that can withstand step after step pounding pavement without breaking down and fatiguing as badly. It also doesn’t hurt to focus on upper body weight training, too, as a strong back, shoulders, and arms can mean better posture, form, and breathing, all adding up to better run.

I will caution that, as the weekly mileage increases, overall strength can be harder to maintain. I’ve found that I need to accept the fact I have to lower my weights, but still keep up reps. For those looking for ideas, here are a few of my best leg workouts.

Do Speed Work
To BQ, you need to run faster. How are you going to get faster if you don’t try to get faster?

Speed work like various short sprint methods is essential to get the body accustomed to a faster pace as well as build better endurance. The best part about speed work is it doesn’t have to be super intense or done with every run, either – in fact, it shouldn’t be all-out, hard running every run. It can be a gradual build.

I found success with doing it one run a week. Some weeks I’d do my (not) patented Lindsay Intervals. Others it would be a few 60-second sprints sprinkled across my 5-10 mile run. Yes, it’s gotta be done but it can be done at varying levels. Here’s another idea of a running interval workout to get faster.

Push Speed on Long Runs
That important speed work I talked about – while dedicated speed work should be kept to maybe just one weekday run per week, it’s important to push the pace on long runs, too.

In order to maintain a goal pace for a marathon, one has to practice that pace during training. It’s not going to magically happen during race day.

I made this big mistake on attempt #2. I did speed work on my shorter runs during the week but I never pushed it during my long runs. I assumed it was more important to make sure I had the endurance to make it through my long runs and that my adrenaline would perk me up enough to maintain a faster pace come race day.

While my speedwork and adrenaline held up through the first 16 or so miles, it really started to slip away around mile 18 or 19. The heat and humidity didn’t help, but the real problem was I hadn’t practiced sustaining that pace for the long haul.

So, I learned and the following year, I practiced race pace during long runs. This was a key differentiator in missing and achieving the BQ.

Visualize the BQ
I hate myself a little bit for providing this type of fluffy advice. But I swear, there really is something to the power of visualization, seeing yourself in the moment of what you’re trying to achieve, especially towards the end of the race.

SupportRunners

My coworkers were pretty pumped for me.

For me, this was big around mile 21. At that point, the BQ was still well within my reach and I was feeling confident. As I continued into miles 22 and beyond, I felt stronger, I didn’t feel like I was starting to bonk and tire out. Part of it was my solid training, but the other part was that I saw myself actually crossing the line in my goal time and it fueled me to keep pushing.

It’s easy to collapse in the last couple of miles of a marathon, where you’re so close yet so far away. No matter how well-trained you are, things happen on race day, especially in those final miles. Visualize the victory and it will help.

Embrace Support
For some, the goal of a BQ might not be that tough to achieve. I think for most though, it is. And it’s tough to achieve any goal in isolation.

There’s a lot others can do to help you achieve a goal, whether it’s mentally cheering you on or picking up your child from daycare so you can squeeze in your speed work run. I was very thankful to have the support of so many people when I prepared for mine, from the simplest, “how’s your training going? You’re going to be great,” to the larger pieces of advice from fellow runners. If you don’t think you have people in your life who will support you, I bet you do – and if nothing else, contact me. I’m here for you!

The other side of support is accountability. Knowing I had so many people who had cheered me on and believe in me throughout my training, and were sending me good vibes on race day really helped push me. And the best part about it? I didn’t have to ask a single person for their support; it all got thrown at me, with enthusiasm. Especially considering it was my third time trying to achieve this goal, that was a really special feeling.

Take Care of Yourself
Pushing for a BQ is going to put a good amount of stress on most, more than training for a marathon with no speed goal in mind. Don’t forget to take extra good care of yourself.

Ice, nap, foam roll, up the water intake, stick massage, sleep more, use rock tape (do it properly it you’re going to use this, don’t just use it for shits and giggles or because you think it looks cool). If you start to feel something sore or tight, take care of it. And good rest is part of good training. I know this one is tough, especially those who have littles.

I admit, even though I listened to my body, I didn’t do a ton of extra care during my BQ training. I did foam roll, drink more water, and take a post-long run Saturday afternoon nap most weeks. That worked for me but don’t skimp; if you feel you need more for yourself, do more for yourself.

Good luck to all you wicked fast runnahs taking on Boston Marathon this year! May your journey from Hopkinton to Boylston be filled with smiles, memories, and feelings of pride. You earned it.

Who else has a good BQ success tip to share? Or do you have a personal question related to your quest for a BQ? The comments are all yours so please leave one, or tweet me @LindsayIRL.

Words of Wisdom for Personal and Professional Wellness

“Nothing will happen if you don’t take action.”

The older I get and the more I write, the more I notice my personal and professional life seem to collide…in a good way. Back in the day, most of my 20s, there weren’t many boundaries between my professional and personal life. It was too much work, not enough life. Balance was off.

Now that I’ve worked towards setting boundaries and keeping some distance between the two, they’ve started to mesh, in a good way.

But this isn’t a blog about work life balance. That’s for another day…

DragonAlumni

Former Dragons back on campus to learn!

I recently attended an event at a local university, my alma mater, MSU Moorhead – go, Dragons! The keynote speaker was the smart and witty PR pro, Shonali Burke. She shared inspiring stories with good takeaways to keep in mind for anyone who works in PR, social media, event planning, marketing, or related field.

As a writer and PR pro, I enjoyed the event and opportunity to hear her speak. As a blogger and wellness enthusiast, I enjoyed the event and opportunity to hear her speak. Worlds colliding.

She ended with the quote I used to kick off this blog (so simple yet YES), and three key messages. I thought about them and how I try to apply them to myself, both personally and professionally.

1. Face your fears
There’s value in failure. I’m a big believer in doing things even if you’re scared to fail – in personal life. I’ve shared many personal stories, one I’m most proud of is my decision to – for the third time – try to qualify for Boston Marathon, even though I was scared I’d fail again.

I’m a big believer in doing things even if you’re scared to fail – in professional life. When I earned my new role at RDO Equipment Co. of PR Specialist, no one had been in that role before. The company had never had a PR program. It was up to me to build it and make it successful. It was scary and I know I made mistakes and failed in some areas along the way. But I’ve also learned from those mistakes and failures, and been successful in several other areas along the way.

QualifyingforBostonMarathon

I did it – after failing twice, I achieved my goal of qualifying for Boston Marathon.

On another note, I faced one of my fears at this event. One of my fears is speaking up in large group settings. After Shonali spoke to my belief of not letting fear of failure get in your way, I had to ask her if she could share an example of a failure she learned from. Probably not a fun question for someone to answer but she obliged.

2. Be of service
One of the reasons I started blogging (and continue to do it regularly) is because I genuinely want to help others be well. As much as I do it for my own enjoyment and stress relief, I really do want it to be a resource people can look to, whether to learn or find the answer to a question or to laugh and just be entertained.

One of the reasons I love what I do as a PR pro is my work provides helpful info to customers and potential customers. It also provides content for our website, marketing team, and salespeople.

3. Keep your feet moving
This can be taken quite literally in the running world. I think about it when anyone asks me for advice as they’re about to run their first race, whether a 5k or marathon. One of my key pieces of advice: don’t stop moving. Ideally, keep running, even if you’re running so slow you’re practically walking. Or, if you need to slow down to walk, do it. Just don’t stop moving.

This also extends to wellness. Keep moving towards your goals, even if the steps are small some days. It’s so much harder to get back going again once you’ve stopped, so just keep moving.

And I think you can see how this applies to professional life as well. Some days suck. Some days are just unfocused and unproductive. But that doesn’t mean you just give up and stop. There’s always something small that can be done to keep yourself going. It might not have the biggest impact on your work but it does on your work well-being.

Tying it all together is the quote: Nothing will happen if you don’t take action. Take action – face your fears. Take action – be of service. Take action – keep your feet moving. Take action in these three areas and make good shit happen.

Thank you, Shonali Burke for your lessons and entertainment. Side note, I really want to visit Washington D.C. – not just because I love history but because I want to try one of your famous dosas…then tweet about it. Obviously tweet about it 🙂

Do you feel you can apply Shonali’s wisdom to your personal or professional life? Do these concepts inspire any new ideas or actions? Please share your thoughts in the comments or tweet me, @LindsayIRL.

Meal Repetition for Good Health and Wellness

“Lather, rinse, repeat.”

Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs are two people who’ve made the concept of repetition smart, trendy, and charmingly quirky. I’m talking about the way these two are known for wearing basically the same outfit every day.

The supposed reasoning behind their outfit repetition is that, by removing the decision of what to wear each day, it frees up the brain for more important, billionaire-esque thinking and decisions.

Feel free to roll your eyes. It sounds a little reaching, right? I imagine the reason they wear (or, in Steve’s case, wore) the same thing every day is because they simply don’t care. And that part, I respect. They’re smart, successful, and aren’t lacking in funds for whatever their hearts desire(d) – why should they care what anyone thinks of something as meaningless as their wardrobe?

WafflesAreBest

One of my favorite foods for any meal – waffles.

Regardless of the reason why, I started thinking about this when reading an article more wellness-related. It was about people who eat the same lunch every day and the advantages that practice can have on overall wellness, provided said repeated food covers the nutritional bases.

I found myself interested right off the bat because I don’t like eating the same lunch every day. This is equal parts interesting and ironic because I enjoy eating the same breakfast nearly every day (a wheat waffle with peanut butter and half a banana) and I often eat the same thing for dinner most nights (two eggs on avocado toast with a side of veggies in some format – maybe a steamed blend, a sweet potato, or raw with hummus).

Even though I enjoy it and it nicely fits into my evening time that’s more focused on keeping a one-year-old happy than cooking, I feel the need to at least try to mix up my dinner because I want to be sure I’m exposing myself to different nutrients and flavors. And with lunch, I have even more of a desire to do this.

But, why? A first thought is my belief in inclusive eating; including all foods rather than restrict foods from a diet.

My usual dinner checks off important nutrition boxes – protein and good carbs, plus iron, antioxidants, and tons of vitamins. Logic tells me that if I were to fashion a regular lunch that includes different veggies, another protein, and a fruit, I’d have my nutrition bases covered, even without factoring in my typical snacks like Greek yogurt, fruit, and nuts…and chocolate. I admit it, I snack on a lot of chocolate.

On the day I began writing this blog, for example, I enjoyed a salad with mixed greens, spinach, and cucumber, a half cup of cottage cheese, a cup of peaches, and a small side of tater tots (because, tots – mmmmm, tots). I enjoyed it and it made me happy, it was reasonably balanced and healthy.

Which brings me to the other side of things. Just like my example lunch, I enjoy the taste of eggs, sweet potatoes, and hummus-dunked veggies – so why am I so worried about enjoying the same foods daily?

I think part of this has to do with the fact that my life includes an office job and a one-year old. In short, my daily routine is nearly identical every day.

JimmyJohns

I can’t imagine life without some of my favorite lunches here & there.

And you know what? I LOVE it. I love routine, I love consistency, I love schedule. I LOVE it. The fact that my days are often very similar is something I love. So, again, why would that make me feel as though I need to change up something as equally important in my lunch.

The real bummer of this self-reflection is one of the reasons I’ve never done well with meal-prepping is because – you guessed it – I don’t enjoy eating the same lunch day after day after day.

I think it’s time I take a good look at my opposition to eating the same lunch every day and, perhaps, try it.

As an initial effort and a way to dip my toe in before diving in headfirst, I ate the same lunch the day following the article read and my start to writing this blog. And it went well. I looked forward to my lunch, knowing it was going to be delicious, which it was. I didn’t dread it, thinking it would be the same boring lunch again two days in a row.

Then, I tried it again – two days in a row of the same lunch. This time a veggie and egg pita with hummus and feta cheese, a mixed veggie blend with lentils and beans, and a Greek yogurt. Again, delish, reasonably healthy, and balanced.

I started thinking my next step is to try three days in a row or just go for it and do a whole week. What I discovered, though, is my lifestyle, not an aversion to food repetition, got in the way.

I like grabbing lunch with friends or coworkers occasionally. I regularly run errands over the lunch hour and grab a quick lunch at one of my favorite places on my way back to the office. And, a key flaw in this concept, I don’t always plan ahead well enough to make and pack my lunch.

All those reasons all hold different weight. And they’re all valid. So, maybe I won’t be a star meal prepper and reap the rewards of having the same lunch every day. For the record, that would be nutritional reasons, not that I assume I’ll achieve any level of Zuckerberg or Jobs-esque thoughts.

A final note: My husband rocks at meal prep and genuinely enjoys his repetitive lunches. And I mean, he’s a really smart guy…maybe he’s onto the next Zuckerberg/Jobs trend in exercising brilliance.

Do you eat the same lunch or other meal/snack every day? Why or why not? Maybe you’ve never really thought about it before and this will enlighten you into something that might work well for you. In either case, please share your thoughts in the comments. Or, as always, tweet me @LindsayIRL.

Get Up Early & Establish a Morning Routine for the Best Day

“Rise and shine.”

Everyone has the time when they’re at their best or do their best work, whether that’s housework, work work or workouts. Typically, we’re either an early bird or a night owl, with some variations of both mixed in.

But the morning and the night can do more than be our time to do our best “things.” They can be the time we set ourselves up to be our best “selves.”

Ugh, I cringed when I wrote that. I find the trendy concepts of “be your best self,” or “living my best life,” equally annoying and basically just a social media must. But, in this case, it supports what I’m going to discuss.

We had a wellness lunch and learn last week at work. The topic was all about routines and, as a creature of habit, lover of schedules, and one who thrives on routines, I was all ears.

The speaker talked about establishing morning and evening routines. People were invited to share examples of their own routines to help inspire those looking to create or improve theirs.

GetUpEarly

Every day can’t be a vacation – but you can have a good start to every day.

It makes sense that morning and evening present ideal times to establish good habits and routines. The bulk of our days are typically filled but early morning and late in the evening usually give some flexibility for making them ours.

I’m more of a morning person and I have a pretty great morning routine already. Part of this has come with getting older and better managing my time. I wake up early to work out, get myself ready, and enjoy breakfast, which includes deep breathing and mindfulness work – all before my son or husband wake up. On rest days or those that I have the luxury of an evening workout, the routine is the same, I just get to sleep a little longer.

Either way, I love it. I enjoy that quiet time to myself, when no one is up but me. While some days it’s hard to get up so early, it’s worth it and I always appreciate it.

One thing that struck me about everyone who shared a story, and all the examples the speaker shared of famous successful people – they all get up early, too. And that’s the time they dedicate to important habits for themselves.

It makes sense. Even for the most well-planned, Type A person, it’s easy for plans to change and the day to get away. That 5:30 workout might have to be bumped due to a work deadline, child emergency, or numerous other reasons. But if it’s the first activity of the day, before most of the world is awake, there’s nothing to get in the way.

On another note, the first part of the day quite literally sets the tone for the day. There’s even a saying associated with bad days: Waking up on the wrong side of the bed. Waking up being the key there, implying a bad day begins the moment the day actually begins.

Getting up early to add valuable things to a morning routine or simply make it less hectic and rushed is so worth it. For those who aren’t morning people, even getting up just 10 minutes earlier – the smallest effort can make the biggest impact.

Do you get up early? What’s your morning routine – or what are you striving for in a morning routine? In either case, please share your thoughts in the comments. Or, as always, tweet me @LindsayIRL.

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