soulwork
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Maybe you’re an avid reader, maybe you’re not. Reading is great for everyone. So, love it or not….do it. If you love reading and read all the time, pick something unusual for you….maybe a foreign language book, or an interesting topic you’ve never explored. If you never read…start somewhere, maybe a newspaper – just read a little bit everyday. Try to get into a routine, reading for 5 minutes before getting up in the morning, or before going to sleep at night. It’s relaxing. And you can learn so much!

mind
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This week try to do a crossword puzzle everyday. No, they are not just for old people. Pick up a crossword puzzle book at the grocery store or book store, they are inexpensive and awesome for your brain. While you’re there, pick up a sudoko book – you’ll need that too. You can also find some online: https://www.boatloadpuzzles.com/playcrossword

resilience
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Bouncing back…

Bounce Back

Resilience. Love this word. Google hunting gives these definitions of resilience:  the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness; the ability to spring back into shape like an elastic band.

Yah, it’s that ineffable ability to bounce the hell back after life kicks your ass and knocks you down. And bounce back stronger. An awesome quality to have. And something that can be strengthened.

Think of a time when something happened and you were left feeling like you’d been sucker-punched. Gross feeling right? How did you react? How long did that icky feeling last? Were you able to shake it off and move forward? Sure it depends on how big or serious a situation is, but no matter what happens there’s always a reaction/transition time after. Resilience is all about the length of time it takes you to recover and start moving forward. Some people seem to be able to just keep soldiering on regardless of the severity of what happens. Others are immobilized, paralyzed, just can’t cope at all.

There are ways to work on your resilienceness…obviously practice leads to improvement. Easier said than done because well, when you’re getting practice it’s not likely a fun experience. Getting knocked down usually sucks; however improving your ability to bounce back from something hard is a great thing. Here are a few things to do:

  • keep a positive attitude
  • take care of yourself
  • set goals
  • identify as a survivor, not a victim
  • embrace your social connections
  • be flexible, embrace change

Keeping a positive attitude can be tricky when you’re feeling beat up…we’ve all been there –  when someone tells you to “stay positive” and you just feel like punching them in the face or giving them the finger. But, there’s something to be said about ‘fake it til you make it’.  Just keep trying to be positive. What does that look like? You know that annoying voice in your head that buzzes constantly in a negative tone? Tell it where to go. As soon as you hear that voice, replace it with a positive word or phrase. Trust me, with practice this gets waaaaaaayyyyyy easier. Just do it.

Take care of yourself: be kind to yourself, exercise everyday, eat healthy, drink lots of water, get enough sleep. This isn’t rocket science. Do not alienate yourself from the world.

Set goals. Setting goals gives you something to work towards. Yes you’re going to miss a few, but you’ll learn to reroute. And that’s practice….you get a curve ball, you adjust. It gets easier. Keeping your eyes on your target will keep you focussed and you’ll get better and better at handling distractions. Keep in mind distractions aren’t always a bad thing, and are often beneficial in guiding you in your right direction.

Survivor mode. Not victim mode. Do not let yourself play the victim. You are strong, and when you get knocked down you get back up…:). Letting yourself slip into victim mode, that just stalls the getting back on your feet process. Don’t do it. Tap into your inner superhero. Up ya get!

Your social connections matter. We thrive on making connections, feeling connected. Surround yourself with good people. Lean on them when you need to. That’s what friends are for right?

Embrace change. Try to be flexible. Life is always changing. Sometimes you know what’s happening and lot’s of times you don’t. Be flexible and you’ll be happier. How boring would life be if it was always the same?!

Getting knocked down sucks. Getting back up is varying degrees of ‘OMG I can’t do this!!!’, but with practice can be more like ‘ugh this feels hard but I’m doing it anyway’. Do yourself a favour and the next time your feet getting taken out from under you use the above tips. Setbacks happen, they build character. Deal with them, and keep moving forward. The more resilient you are the happier you’ll be :).

excuses
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Excuses, Excuses!

What pops into your head when you see that word? Got anything that you’ve been trying or hoping to get to or to get finished but by some crazy forces of nature it’s not happening? You probably do. Whether it’s cleaning out the junk drawer in your kitchen, repainting a room in your house, cutting out junk food, finishing that book you started sometime last year, or signing up for a 10k or 1/2 that you promised yourself you were going to do you can’t even remember when now…There’s usually a thing or 2 for most people. (And if there’s not? C’mon seriously.) And a lot more than 1 or 2 excuses why those things haven’t actually happened yet. Ugh. Why is that?! We get distracted so easily. Fear. Laziness. Those are the most common blockers.

Put those distractions (social media, anything with a screen, etc.), fears and laziness all together. Enter the obnoxious voice in your head. The one that chatters incessantly about anything and everything, all day long? You know the one I’m talking about – it can get really loud and bossy when you’re in planning mode. It’s the ‘excuse-making captain’. It loves to justify why you don’t need to do something right now, or maybe ever. It specializes in overthinking, stalling, procrastinating, avoiding. Sure it means well, in a self-protect kind of way. But overall it’s not really doing you any favours. You know those days when you wake up and boldly declare it to be a ‘get shit done’ day? Here it comes….an onslaught of awesome excuses why you don’t really need to get everything done today. Are you suddenly sidetracked by all the fun beach vacation pics 379 friends and some people you don’t even know just posted on facebook? Or maybe you are worried you won’t succeed? Or, maybe you are suddenly feeling quite tired.

Say you plan on going for a run today. Maybe you don’t really feel like running today. What happens in your head? Does that little voice start rattling off a bunch of reasons why you don’t need to or shouldn’t go for a run today? Or do you suck it up and go? What’s your tendency? If going for a run is not something you feel like doing then your ‘excuse-making captain’ is going to fire on all cylinders and your chances of going for a run suddenly become very slim.

What would happen if you stopped rationalizing your discomfort? Make a plan, and then make it happen. If that inner voice gives you a reason why you don’t need to make it happen, give it a reason why you should. Practice. Practice creates a habit. So why not create a habit of crushing your excuses? Go ahead. Do it ?

running_costa_brava
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Adventure: Running Costa Brava

A little while ago I wrote a blog about setting goals. I am reminded of a couple of things that I wrote. One was putting this question out there: ’what do I want my life to look like?’ Another was Christopher Reeve’s quote “So many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then they seem improbable, and then, when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable.” I believe that when you really tap into your soul and take a good look around, you will find yourself moving in a cool, and likely unfamiliar, new direction. One that is meant for you. I love adventure, I love trying new things. And I was recently moved in a new direction when one of my BFFs asked me to join her on a running trip to Spain. Just thinking about this trip puts a big smile on my face :). And to think I almost didn’t go! Thank you Elizabeth Gilbert (www.elizabethgilbert.com) and her book Big Magic for making me hyper aware of any little flicker of interest in my body that I now pay attention to and explore with great curiosity. It’s what made me jump in and say yes to running around Spain (after lamely first saying no I can’t). I’ll admit I love things that are a little different, mostly involving exercise, fun, and friends/family. So running through Costa Brava was right up my alley. Normally I would do some research on what I’m doing beforehand, but with this I went in fairly blind. And that’s actually an understatement. But anyway. It didn’t matter.

There were 6 of us, plus our guides, Pablo and Dani. I only new 1 person going in, and was happy to form such a great bond with our whole group – because they are all wonderful individuals. This was a 7 day running trip through Costa Brava. My friend and I chose to do the 4 day trip, as we had a shorter timeline. Ha, next time will be the full 7 days, no question.

We left Vancouver very early on a Saturday morning and arrived in Barcelona on Sunday morning. Hello sunshine!! We had a few hours of fumbling our way around with buses, trains, and taxis, but we made it to Girona a few hours later. This is a beautiful, old, history-rich city that I would go back to in a heartbeat. I could wander around the little cobblestone streets for days. We were off exploring for a couple of hours and that’s when the dreaded jet lag hit. Ugh. No time for jet lag! We are in Spain – too much to do and see! I think we were asleep by 6pm. And awake by about 1:30am. Not just awake. Wide awake. Ok, so we were too excited about the adventure starting at 9am to really care if we were tired.

We met our guides after breakfast. Both awesome and quick with warm smiles. Pablo Rodriguez, owner of Running Costa Brava (www.runningcostabrava.com– you have seriously got to check out this website and then book your trip, not kidding), put together a fantastic running plan for us, and his wife Cristina arranged our accommodations for each day (each place we stayed at was spectacular and unique). Pablo is a mountain runner extraordinaire – the guy runs either barefoot (I know, it seems crazy right?!) or in these little flip flop things that are wafer thin and look like they might survive for a week or 2. He then tells us he’s had them for 6 years…I watched curiously and continuously in disbelief as he ran barefoot, sure that he was going to end up with cut up and bleeding feet – we ran over rocks of all sizes, giant pine needles, prickle bushes, and a variety of other terrains, and his feet were totally fine! Pablo is passionate about what he does and it shows; he emanates a fantastic calm energy and positive vibes in such a relaxed and happy manner that you are instantly put at ease before setting off on a 20 kms + run each day. He pushed us, encouraged us (much needed and appreciated especially as we’d approach a decent size and lengthy hill), and he was interested in getting to know each one of us. I know I ran with a smile on my face the entire time. Pretty sure we all did. And you could just feel the satisfaction and happiness that gave Pablo – like he wanted everyone to not just see but feel the beauty of our surroundings. That we did. We had many wonderful conversations as we ran through the forests, over mountains, along the beaches. At 1 point I was a little concerned when Pablo started telling me in a somewhat serious but slightly mischievous voice, “you know Kelly I have a bit of an addiction…”. I’m thinking oh boy, hopefully it’s nothing serious or bad. Then he says “if I see a trail I haven’t seen before, I have to just go. I just go.” It totally made me laugh. Because it was so him…leave no stone unturned. Pretty sure he knows every single trail out there, and he’s made a lot of them himself, with his machete. Pretty cool.

So Day 1 had us naturally going for coffee at a quaint little coffee shop that is frequented by cyclists. I mean who doesn’t go for coffee first, before running? This is not exactly how things happen at home, I run with my girlfriends and THEN we go for coffee. In Spain, we went for coffee, then ran, and then went for beer. Ha ha. We ran from there for the next few hours, stopping lots to take pictures, take in the scenery of Girona – old churches and convents, and running through the Gavarres Forest. And then we came to the Wall. Here we were told that if we could make it up to the top then we would know that we’d be fine for the rest of the trip. Great. I was then told ‘c’mon you can run up the whole thing let’s go…’. um, WHAT???? I guess my huge smile and the adrenalin I’d been going on made it seem like I was a decent runner. I am truly a very average runner, who gets high on extraordinary life moments. This life moment was several days long of continuous ‘holy shit is this all really happening, everything is just so freaking awesome!’. It recharges you, gives you more energy than you thought you had, and gives you permagrin :). Back to the Wall…..It was steep. Really steep. Narrow, awesome, technical, awesome, never seemed to end, and awesome. I did try to run the whole thing. But stopped to hunch over and try to breathe more than once. Sure felt good to get to the top. That was a nasty Wall. But I’d do it again. We continued running, ending up at the Castillo de Sant Miquel, that gave us an amazing view of Girona. An awesome 18kms day. Day 1, survived. Check :).

Day 2 was longer, 23.5kms. Whew! We started our run from a little medieval village called Sant Marti Vell, and continued running through many medieval villages, stopping for beer in Jaume Square, located in another pretty little medieval village – Monells. Our run on this day was much less hilly and technical, but equally as beautiful. We were ecstatic to run through the gates of the 1000 year old Farmhouse (Mas Rabiol) in Peratallada, that was our accommodation for the night. Not even funny how beautiful this place is. A little slice of heaven on earth. Food to match. We were treated to the most incredible feast for lunch on our arrival. Beer, wine, yummy cheeses, meats, bread with fresh tomatoes and olive oil, pork, and the most delicious cannellini beans I’ve ever tasted. Then it was time for a little siesta by the pool :).

Day 3 was another 20+kms of stunning scenery and varying technical terrains. We began in the Gavarres Forest and ran our way out to the Coast. That first siting of the Mediterranean stopped us in our tracks and was a combination of breathtaking and inspiring. We ran past numerous castles and fisherman’s villages, running along beautiful sandy beaches – you know, the ones you see on postcards and don’t really believe exist – they exist – I felt like I was literally running from postcard to postcard. We stopped for snacks by the sea in Palamos. Our run ended in a little village called Calella de Palafrugell – at the Sant Roc Hotel. I’m pretty sure I announced to everyone more than once that I was just going to stay there forever. This place was stunningly beautiful and had such a cool ‘life is good’ vibe about it. I could have sat staring out at the Sea for hours. Taking it all in felt so good for the soul. So did a dip in the clear, salty Mediterranean.

Day 4. This was my last day of running with the group. I was going to savour every second of the day. I knew it was going to be epic. And it was. Another 20+ kms this day. We ran straight from our hotel, through the cobblestone streets to the next town, where we got a ride up a long switchback (hey guys thanks for the ride it would have been a forever long run up!) to the Sant Sebasti Lighthouse where the view was unbelievable – felt like we were on top of the world. We continued running, down, down, down, along technical trails, along the coastline, up cliffs, down cliffs, down more with rope assistance, until we ended up at a pristine little beach with a very unexpected and charming little family-run cafe. Cala Pedrosa. Seriously it was remarkable for us to see this place here. Time for beer. I am not a beer drinker. Anyone who knows me knows this fact. I had a beer here. It was bliss. You might be wondering how one can drink beer and then run. Hmm, well this was Spain. There are a lot of things that happen a little differently – like going for coffee at the start of your run, siestas – everything shuts down for a couple hours in the afternoon, and dinner? That does NOT happen before 8:30. Not kidding. That one took some getting accustomed to. Beer finished, ok so we kept running, this time up, up, up, way up, only to come across more insanely beautiful views of the Mediterranean. Every time we would stop to take it all in Pablo would say ‘oh, just wait for the next one’. Like how could it get any better? But it did. We made our way to Tamariu. Another place I insisted I was going to stay at forever. There were many of those :). There happened to be a diving board out on the rocks, so we all took advantage of it and went for a dip in the Sea. Again, bliss. I didn’t want to get out. We continued running up through the town and then through another forest, and into another quaint little town called Begur. We stopped at another family-run Cafe for some Croquettes, Pa Amb Tomaquet, and Calamars a la Romana. Pure, local yumminess. Food in Spain is so tasty! Off we went running through the little streets of Begur, and up to the Castell de Begur (Castle). Another ‘we are on top of the freaking world!’ moment. 360 degree views. It was worth the steep hill to get up there. No one would argue that. We could look down and way out to see where we were running to as our final destination of the day. The Medieval town of Pals. It seemed really far away. Off we went again. A lot of downhill. Winding our way down and around. Finally Pablo says, ‘ok guys, the Paella (this is what Pals is known for) will be ready at 5:00. So that gives us 22 minutes to get there. Let’s do it! Ok guys?’. What? It still looks really far away! Again, off we went. This time much faster. The Paella better be good…Somehow we made it, 5:00 on the dot. We feasted on beer, wine, sangria and the famous Paella. It was SO good. Everything was just so good. As I sat there taking in the sunshine, my glass of wine, the views, the Paella, my new ‘running Costa Brava’ friends and the connections we’d made, and thinking about all we’d done over the last 4 days, it was a bit overwhelming. I thought of something that Pablo had said – “the only way to see a country is to run through it”. I didn’t really get it before. I get it now. And I totally agree with him. You see so much more on foot. We were not in the touristy areas. We were exposed to the raw beauty of Costa Brava, local style. And guess what. It was impossible to not live in the moment every step of the way. And that was absolute BLISS. 100% pure happy. It’s what life is all about.

If you want to get away, feed your soul, do something really really awesome? Do yourself a favour, book a running trip. Don’t run? Start. Costa Brava is everything the postcards hype it up to be, and more. www.runningcostabrava.com. Trust me :). It’s so worth it.

experience_your_life
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EXPERIENCE, your life

“Experience is the teacher of all things” ~ Julius Caesar

Can’t argue that.

The definition of experience from Wikipedia: is the knowledge or mastery of an event or subject gained through involvement in or exposure to it.

What are some of your greatest experiences so far? You likely have a few that pop into your mind right away, maybe something recent, or something from when you were a kid. These are most likely fun, or special times, maybe a wedding, birth of a child, a great party, completing a marathon. Do you get revved up just thinking about potential new experiences? This is your life right, and, no brainer, you want it to be awesome. Full of great experiences. Really really great experiences. This is living. It’s learning. Obviously not all experiences are pleasant. They can be brutally hard, gut wrenching, and seemingly debilitating. These are important in your life too. How do you handle the really tough experiences? These hard times are a part of your growth. Good thing they can also be the exact opposite of bad. The awesome ‘woop woop’ and ‘yahoo!’ good times that everyone loves. We learn from every single experience. And it’s how we handle these experiences that helps shape who we are. On the inside. You would not be who you are today if it weren’t for all of the experiences in your life to date.

I recently had one of the greatest experiences ever. I’ll have to write another blog all about it. One of my bffs asked me to join her on a running trip to Spain. I think I laughed and said something like ‘oh that would be great, but I can’t’. 3 kids, new business, bad timing, blah blah blah. That was that. But then there was this little flicker in me that wouldn’t go away. I read a lot, and I believe it was Liz Gilbert in her book Big Magic, that said to always be curious, especially if there’s a teeny tiny flicker. Any flicker. So I paid attention. I called my friend up and said I was in :). And I am so glad I did! I’d always wanted to go to Spain, and here was an opportunity. Sure the timing wasn’t ideal, but that’s just how life is, right? It all worked out. I’m an over thinker (yes I am well aware that some of you reading this are totally rolling your eyeballs right now…) and I love to look at past experiences and figure out what I ‘got’ from them, what I learned, or try to figure out what the hell I was supposed to learn. Because sometimes things just happen and leave you wondering WTF. And sometimes those things are not figureoutable for years. But at some point, you will figure it out. You will understand. If you try to figure everything out immediately, well, speaking from experience, sometimes the more you try to figure something out as its happening….it will elude you. Some things need to be left alone for awhile, and not overthought. I learned a lot from my running trip to Spain. It was an epic ‘living in the moment’ trip for me. It was impossible to not live in the moment, which was awesome. And on the flight home I told myself that that experience was a MUST REPEAT experience. So good for the soul.

Think about some experiences that are common for you – hmmm, lets say exercise (I know, it always comes back to exercise!). Every time you work out, go for a run, a hike, a bike ride, whatever it is that makes you sweat, these are experiences that have a positive affect on you. Maybe you go out for a 5 or 15 km run – your mind is happy, your body is happy, and your soul is happy – you are likely to repeat this. Why? Because it was a positive experience and you have learned that exercise works in your favour – you feel good when you exercise. And then when you don’t exercise, you soon figure out that you don’t feel as good. Back to exercising :). See how that works? Experience IS the teacher of all things. Embrace your life, and all the things that happen along the way. All of your experiences are like little puzzles pieces that get put together to make a beautiful picture. Of you. And YOU are awesome.

overcoming-obstacles
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Overcoming Obstacles

Obstacles…get over them.

It’s really kind of funny how you set out to do something and then get totally stuck. And then you laugh. At the irony. Ah……life. I love writing. I love choosing what I want to write about. I do this by feeling. Feeling what just feels like the right thing to explore, and talk about. Sometimes I just write until I’m finished in one sitting. Sometimes I take many days, or sometimes weeks, to write. And then there are times like this. When I feel like ‘awesome, this is what I’m exploring now, great topic, yay me!’ So I sit down at my computer, books/magazines/online articles ready to dive into. A few days goes by. Nothing. Nada. ZERO. And then I laugh. Because I look at my topic. Overcoming obstacles. Apparently I have a big fat one preventing me from writing. Couldn’t just be that I am ridiculously too easily distracted or anything, right? I am a fantastic procrastinator. Learned that in high school. And I know many of you are right there with me, some could even hold a trophy for best procrastinator…;) I can feel the eyeball rolling already….ha ha. There really should be a course in school on how to not be a good procrastinator. Ugh. So something is in my way. What is it? Ha. I could make a list 100 miles long of things that are preventing me from working. But none would be it. I just get in my own way. It’s that simple. In my 29 years of life I’ve learned a thing or 2. Ok fine, I’m not really 29. But I have learned how to be very realistic. I’m great at getting in my own way. Most of us are. It’s how we deal with ourselves to keep moving forward. Because that’s what life is all about. Moving forward. And moving forward, there will always be road bumps, obstacles, shit that hits the fan, stops, stalls, whatever you want to call them. It’s part of what makes life so interesting and amusing. Challenges are good for us. Have you ever done an obstacle course? Tough Mudder maybe? They are awesome! (If you haven’t, you really should, seriously! If you want to try one let me know, I am IN!) So, let’s talk more about getting over these BIG HUGE OBSTACLES.

Our buddy google tells us about the word obstacle: a thing that blocks one’s way or prevents or hinders progress. Can you think of a time when you had something block your way or prevent or hinder your progress? Ok, rhetorical question. You likely just had a bunch of memories flood your brain….we’ve all had things block/prevent/hinder us throughout our lives. And we always will. Some teeny tiny things, some that seem colossal. It’s life. What do you do when something gets in your way? Run? Hide? Freeze? Attack? Overthink? (I get this one…) Climb over? Go around? Yes, this list goes on…Obviously it depends on the type of obstacle in front of you as to how you will respond. And your perception of it. If it’s fear you will respond one way, if it’s something unexpected and maddening then you will respond another way. Obstacles can come in many any shapes/sizes/forms.

There’s a great article in Psychology Today by Jim Taylor, and he talks about the different types of obstacles that get in our way: baggage (from childhood), habits (affecting your actions and reactions to the world), emotions (fear, anger, sadness, frustration, etc.), and environment (where you manage your baggage, habits and emotions). Letting any of these obstacles take over and control your life is what gives you that yucky feeling of being ‘stuck’. Another common theory is that there are 3 types of obstacles: external, internal, and habitual. I agree with this – I think that as above, the baggage and emotions can fit into the ‘internal’ group here, environment is ‘external’ and habits are ‘habitual’. External is the stuff that’s out of your control, such as economy or physical limitations. Internal is what you have control over, skills, time etc. And habitual is how we get in our own way. I think I’m an expert in this category. Ugh.

Time to get ‘unstuck’. I was reading up on overcoming obstacles at www.inc.com and read this: ‘part of the exhilarating feeling you get from achieving a goal is overcoming any obstacles that stepped in your way’. This is so true! Right? If there were no obstacles en route to your goal it just wouldn’t be the same. Sure it would be awesome to achieve your goal. But think about it for a second. Say you set out do a triathlon. You are training, doing a great job. Ok, so by training, you are running. Obstacle #1: you don’t own a bike. Obstacle #2: you haven’t actually swam (other than with a child or a cocktail in hand, so that doesn’t really count) in years, probably since you finished all the swim lessons your parents made you take as a kid….You’ve never done a triathlon before and you are so fired up about it! Nervous too. A few weeks before race day you borrow a bike and go for a long ride. Ok, feels pretty good, but, Obstacle #3: you realize you are on a mountain bike and you will be renting a road bike, which seems a bit scary. But anyway… Alright 2 out of 3 activities covered. 3 weeks before race day you decide to swim. Whoa. Obstacles #4 &5: apparently breast stroke in a triathlon is not cool and you are supposed breathe every 3rd stroke, not 2nd. What?!!!! Front crawl time. There is some serious floundering that happens in the pool, round 1. You make a phone call to a Triathlon Coach – you tell her what you are doing and need to re-learn front crawl. Coach asks you what your goal is. Is she crazy? No brainer: to not drown. Suddenly the plan of doing a triathlon is seeming somewhat insane, in that what the f*@k were you thinking kind of way. 3 lessons later you are feeling pretty ok that you will survive the swim on race day. You are somewhat concerned about friends with experience in triathlon telling you how people may swim over you. You just try to block that piece of information, telling yourself that that will never happen to you. Obstacle #6: that happens to you. For some reason the ‘elite men’ category starts shortly after your group, and being elite, they swim right over you, your goggles get knocked off and you are temporarily in shock that some dude just barrelled right over you. Regroup. And major positive self talk. Keep on swimming…You finish the swim. Phew. Bike time. Obstacle #7: 1 minute into the bike ride (on the road bike with such skinny wheels you don’t believe it’s going to survive the ride), some guy passes you but gets too close so the front wheel of his bike collides with yours momentarily and seems to lock. Somehow they detach and you are still upright on your bike. Again, phew. You survive the ride, and then the run. Happiness! Coming across the finish line you hear your name being announced and realize that you have completed a triathlon!!!! Woop woop! Exhilarating feeling right there. What goes through your mind? You revisit the sweetness of pushing through all the obstacles. You did not let any of them stop you. And THAT makes finishing the triathlon feel so freaking awesome :).

Those obstacles are a few examples (ok, well they are real life examples because that might have happened to me…) and as I said earlier, obstacles take any size, shape or form really. The point is that when you overcome one? It feels really really satisfying and great.

To be better prepared for overcoming obstacles here are a few things to get good at:

being realistic – if your goal is to write a blog, what are your priorities? What’s your time frame? What needs to happen in order to get this blog done? Check your attitude and your behaviour toward this. Keep it all real, and in alignment with your desired end result.

manage your emotions – these can be a huge timesuck. Right? Emotions can and will affect our thinking and judgement. Try to be logical. Try to stay positive and monitor any impatience. Avoid self-defeating thinking.

be open-minded – if theres something blocking you, try to understand it as clearly as possible. Keep an open mind as to what angle you can view this from in order to better understand it and overcome it.

To help strengthen your obstacle crushing muscles, here are some suggestions from www.mariashriver.com: Focus on positives, don’t ever give up, challenge yourself and try new things everyday, SMILE, everyday ask yourself if you’re happy, don’t compare yourself to others, and celebrate little accomplishments.

Some of these things seem so trivial. But remember, a little goes a long way. When you are working toward a goal, there are going to be obstacles. There just are. Some, so small you barely notice. Some not so small. Whatever is going on as you work to overcome something, or get unstuck, on your way to getting somewhere or achieving something, remember this: ENJOY THE JOURNEY. The whole time I’ve been writing this blog I am remembering the words to a Miley Cyrus song – The Climb. Some lyrics are very fitting here….

‘there’s always gonna be another mountain

I’m always gonna wanna make it move

Always gonna be an uphill battle

Somebody’s gonna have to lose

Ain’t about how fast I get there

Ain’t about what’s waitin’ on the other side

It’s the climb’

What’s your climb?

I guess I must have had some of this sink in….because I had millions of things ‘blocking’ me from finishing this blog (in the form of excuses & distractions). I got in my own way. But hey – IT’S DONE NOW! I finished. So can you. What’s making you feel stuck right now? What are you doing about it? Keep moving forward :).

water-drink-it
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Water: Drink it!

Drinking: water

Ok, so not the most exciting topic…BUT, it’s kind of essential. I read a great article by Joshua Gowan, Ph.D. (You, Illuminated) in Psychology Today (read the whole article here.) I love his lines – “It’s so easy to get a drink whenever I’m thirsty. This is a convenience to be grateful for, not taken for granted. This is so true! How many countries in the world don’t have access to clean drinking water like we do?Most of us don’t drink enough water. Why not? Well, I ask myself that question ALL THE TIME. Because I kind of suck at keeping hydrated. The important water rulers of the world tell us that on average we should be consuming approximately 3 litres of water/day if you are a male and 2.2 litres of water/day if you are a female. This is a rough guideline really, as the amount you need will obviously vary depending on things like your body weight, size, activity level, and climate that you live in.

Let’s look at the ‘sciencey’ stuff here. Research shows that 60 – 70% of the body is made up of water. The USGS Water Science School sites H.H. Mitchell, Journal of Biological Chemistry 158, telling us the following:

  • the brain and heart are composed of about 73% water
  • lungs about 83%
  • muscles and kidneys about 79%
  • bones about 31%
  • skin contains about 64% water

Water is needed by all the cells and organs in the body in order to function properly. What are some of the functions of H2O you ask? Water forms saliva, acts as a lubricant and cushion for joints, regulates body temperature, transports nutrients and oxygen to cells, and acts as a shock absorber for the brain, spine, & fetus. Water is lost by the body during normal everyday functioning and needs to be replaced. There are many many many health problems that can occur from not drinking enough water. Headaches, lethargy, foggy brain, constipation, light headedness, grumpiness, are some of the ‘less serious but super irritating’ symptoms of being dehydrated. When your water intake doesn’t equal your outtake you become dehydrated.

We all know there are a gazillion benefits to drinking enough water everyday. These include: more energy, shinier hair, improved mood, better skin, flushes out toxins, boosts immune system, keeps you ‘regular’, helps fight fatigue, helps prevents headaches, keeps our kidneys functioning, and the list goes on pretty much endlessly. One thing I have noticed (as a person who is not so great at drinking enough water…) is that when I run or workout I feel about a thousand times better when I’m hydrated. If I’m not? I’m dragging my a$$, feeling sluggish and like I’m carrying a 5000 lb weight around. Not exactly the best feeling. Right? I know I’m not the only one – have you felt this way during a workout or a run? Sucks. Big time.

So…how to drink more water? That’s the big question isn’t it. I have asked myself this question hundreds of times, every year. Maybe even every week. Ha ha. I put this question out to a group of friends to see what got them drinking water everyday. It seems that the most common response (other than ‘omg I find it sooooo hard to drink water!’) was to keep a water bottle filled and with them at all times (this seems to be the only thing that works for me). Other common responses were drinking before every meal (helps curb appetite), keeping a water bottle in the car, using water in morning smoothies instead of milk, adding bubbles to make it sparkling water, drinking herbal tea all day long, getting a water cooler, keeping a huge jug of water in the fridge, adding lemon/lime slices, and drinking Perrier with dinner. There are several apps out there to assist you with drinking more water…seriously, I swear there’s an app for anything. Check it out: Water Tracker – Drink More Water, by AppsForBrain.com. $2.79. OR free – Daily Water Free – Water Reminder by Maxwell Software, or Waterlogged. Most of them track your water consumption and send you reminders to drink more water. You can hook these up to your phones. Cool? Yes. I used a free one but found it to be a bit too much work. Bottom line….just fill your water bottle (yes with water…) and drink.

Wondering about some other fun ideas to get yourself drinking more water? You can add any citrus fruit or even some vegetables for flavouring. You can even freeze little bits of fruit, or cucumber and use them as ice cubes, or in ice cubes in your glass of water. Maybe you are a straw person? Get yourself a funky straw and sip water all day long! There are some pretty wild and crazy straws out there (krazystraws.com). Invest in a super cool water bottle if that will get you drinking more, there are millions of options out there – head over to www.thewirecutter.com – they’ve done loads of research and tested 22 different water bottles…you can find out what their faves are before shopping.

A couple other things to consider: that somewhere between 2 and 4pm low energy feeling – it’s usually from not being hydrated, same as a headache-drink water to feel better! Load up on water-rich foods: watermelon, cucumber, celery and lettuce. These will also keep you fuller longer. When you are having cocktails, try to match your drinks 1:1 with water. I know this doesn’t sound ‘cool’ or ‘fun’ but it will save you from feeling total UGH the next day! And finally, super important to remember…make sure that when you are exercising, you are sipping water throughout your workouts. It will take some practice if you’re not used to doing this, here’s a tip: get a friend to bug you every time…trust me, it will work. I was average, at best, at carrying a water bottle with me through a workout, and almost never (ok never) carried water with me on a long run. Having a friend pretty much yell at me in frustration because I didn’t bring water on our runs got me bringing water on our long runs. You have to replace what you are sweating out, so be diligent. There are only perks here – you drink water while running and you’re going to feel better :).

Now would be a good time to go get a glass of water. Thirsty aren’t you…