Thursday, December 18, 2014

5 Things You Should Do Every Day (#pinspirationthursday)

I wake up every day and go about my business. Most days are pretty predictable, at least during the week, with the exception of jumbled afternoon naps and the occasional cancellation at the gym. But truly, despite those things, I can pretty much anticipate how my day will go. Weekends are different because there isn't a work schedule to abide by, so we tend to really, truly go about our business as we see fit. The to-do list is there, but it's not a deal breaker like it seems to be throughout the week.

But, there are a few things I try to do each and every day at least once because they make my day feel that much better. I'm not talking about "30 minutes of cardio" or "three square meals"...while they're important, they feel like rules to me and rules aren't always fun. These things I'm about to share, they're more like pieces of glitter peppered throughout.

1) Smile.
It doesn't matter what brings it out of you, but you shouldn't let a day go by without putting at least one genuine smile on your face. Because only the genuine smiles are backed by joy, and we all need more joy in our lives. There's just too much out there that brings about the frown.

Pin / Source
2) Learn.
Your brain needs to be challenged. Not just by daily tasks placed upon you by your employer or by your school curriculum. But seriously, it needs to be challenged by YOU. So if you click on a link to read an interesting article. Read it with all of your focus! Don't just skim it, don't just blow through a magazine. Or half-listen to a podcast. Stop and let yourself absorb it because even if it's about something trivial, challenging your brain to think about a new topic (or maybe even an old one), can be fun and exciting. Stop learning, and you really stop living. Amiright?

3) Move.
I could spew out a bunch of statistics about how frequently you need to exercise each week, but that's not really what this point is all about. Figure out those stats, but also keep it simple: Don't just sit there, get up and move. Do something that uses the body you've been given. If that turns out to be exercise, so be it. If you take a quick walk to the beach and back just to smell the fresh air, or throw down an impromptu dance party with your kids (she says admittedly), then so be it. Just move, y'all. We are a far too stationary bunch.

4) Eat.
Obvious, yes. But let's stop and think about how we eat: Rushed? Without thought? Or maybe without enjoying what you're actually stuffing into your face? Stop that, you. Tune into your food and actually enjoy it. Because food is wonderful. Even the healthiest of healthy eats. It's wonderful, all of it, and it's meant to be enjoyed. So stop worrying about it and start enjoying your meals. And start eating them a bit slower...which is what I struggle with, truth be told. I scarf big time. But I try not to, and if I want that chocolate truffle, or that extra bite of whatever, I take it and enjoy it. Otherwise, I'll worry about it for whatever reason..."oh, me...I shouldn't eat this because it's not good for me and I'm stuffed," but whatever. Life's too short.

5) Hug.
Human contact is incredible. Obviously it needs to always be appropriate, but when it is, it goes a long way. Case and point: A solid hug from a spouse, friend, parent, whomever. But I get that not everyone is a hugger, so I'm not saying you need to hug at least one person every day. I'm just saying human contact is incredible. Seal the deal with a solid handshake. High-five after a good sweat session with your buddy. Hug your kid at bedtime, then snuggle with your spouse. Whatever contact you get, take it. And if you give it, make sure you're being respectful. Always.

And here's a bonus thing. 
Listed as such because it might not be for everyone.

6) Pray.
I'm not sure what you believe in with regards to prayer. I grew up Catholic, so I've always believed in the power of talking to God. But if God isn't your thing, I think praying can take on a different meaning: Talk to whomever or whatever you believe in. Or, just talk to no one. Think. Ponder. Meditate. Get lost in your thoughts. Now, this happens to me way more than once a day. Don't call me crazy, but I've had some pretty good conversations with myself. Some based on prayer, others based on deep thinking. If we can't talk to ourselves, can we really talk to anyone? If you think about it, I bet you're actually a pretty good conversationalist. Which is awesome because then, what's boredom? I'd be cool with a coffee date with me, myself and I. And maybe God, too.

Question: Do you incorporate any of the above into your daily routine? Tell me how!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Winter #Running (...and why it drives me bonkers)

I'm in a Winter running funk right now. This happens every year to me. It's always a struggle because I just...ugh, the treadmill. I can't. And it's not so much that I hate running in the cold because as long as it's not icy, it really doesn't bother me. It's the fact that it gets dark so early, and the fact that I can't get out when it's light because of the kiddos and/or my work schedule. Unless it's the weekend, but running once a week just doesn't cut it for me. So right now, I'm in a funk. And I'm struggling to get in three runs a week (which is what I'm used to).

I did, however, get out for a 5K yesterday.

I turned on Songza, and the first tune that played was "Push It" by Salt-n-Pepa. So I did:

I wanted to run, and I wanted to run fast—which got me a new PR.

Today was another scheduled running day, but it didn't happen because I went on a quick shopping trip to make use of an Old Navy gift card that was burning a hole in my pocket. And when I say "quick shopping trip," what I really mean is "drive 45 minutes away to the nearest Old Navy." Ugh.

So I'm looking at Thursday as my next opportunity to run because:

Tuesday: Spinning + Core
Wednesday: Barre Fit

And that's why Winter running drives me bonkers.
Because when I teach, I don't have time for personal workouts, too.
I'd run at night, but...too dark to go out once the kids go down (and no treadmill at home).

In the summer, I was running later at night and it was working out perfectly.

But that ain't happenin' now. Mostly because I'm afraid of running in the dark.

So what am I doing to keep myself motivated?

1) Signing up for virtual races when there aren't any live races close by. See above, Jost Running is awesome. (I just signed up for the See How Far I've Come 10K!)

2) Listening to awesome running podcasts on the treadmill, and then hopping off the treadmill to make use of the track (to break up the monotony of running indoors).

3) Thinking about upcoming races. Like a local Frozen 5K in February, and maybe a return to the Chicago Women's Half Marathon in the summer. Or perhaps my first Zooma race. So many options, all totally motivating. (

4) Reading Runner's World and absorbing all the tips and motivation therein.

5) Meeting up with a local running group as often as I can (although lately, I haven't been able to make many of the runs for whatever reason).

6) ...

Question: How do you stay motivated when you find yourself in a running funk and/or during your off season?

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