Search

CarpoolDaze

Category

Exercise is Medicine

How a Friend & Music Got Me Running

“At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.” -Albert Schweitzer

One of my my goals this year is to start thanking the people in my life who lit a spark in me and others.

Today I want to thank my friend Bo, who got me started running.

I was in junior high-school when I first “ran” just to run. In the past the only time I had to run was in soccer.

Just “going for a run” was definitely not on my “to do” list. Never felt the pull.

Yet, I began running because of Bo, my childhood friend and neighbor.

One day as we were chatting after school, he invited me to join him running that weekend. How nice, right?  He must have realized I needed or wanted to lose weight.

That Saturday we met for our first run. It was Bo, his black Sony Walkman, and me.  In his Walkman was a mixed tape of his favorite Led Zeppelin music. We said hello to each-other, then he put the earphones in his ears and off we went.

Uphill. 

Can we stop, I said?

I was out of shape and not a “runner.” I began huffing and puffing. Bo must have sensed my misery! About 5 minutes into our run, he stopped running.

He looked concerned (or maybe just annoyed) then smiled at me.

He took off his earphones and handed them to me along with his Walkman.

“Amy, you gotta listen to music…it will make your run better!”

I took him up on the offer and put the earphones in.

I had heard “Stairway to Heaven” at many school dances (the parents and teachers loved to waltz around slowly to that song), but really never listened to any other Led Zeppelin music.

I figured any music would work to ease the pain of the run! The first song on his playlist was “Black Dog.”

“Hey, hey, mama, said the way you move / Gonna make you sweat, gonna make you groove…”

I started running and it did seem easier.

I survived that day thanks to Bo and Led Zeppelin.

And I am still running today!

Now, every single time I hear a Led Zeppelin song…I feel like I just gotta run!

Crazy.

So, thank you!

You never know what a little kindness can do!

Who knew I would learn to LOVE running?

Who knew I got back to running because of the iPod?

Who knew I would run so many races in so many places?

Who knew I would then go on to teach people how to run and earn money doing it?

And who knew I would own a dog named Finnegan who also loves to run?

The greatest of gratitude to Bo.

Thanks for the spark!

Fin. Amy

Thrive.

A few years ago my husband and I had the great opportunity to meet Dan Buettner who is a world cyclist, adventurer, researcher and author of health books The Blue Zones and Thrive.

His talk was about his research into the healthiest communities in the world.

He started out by asking the audience of 100 adults a powerful question:

“Did you walk or bike to school as a kid?” Every one of us raised our hand.

“Do your kids walk or bike to school now?” Not one person raised their hand.

That got our attention Dan!

His research was inspired by the Danish Twin Studies, among others, which established that only 25% of how long the average person lives is dictated by genes. In other words almost 80% of how long and how well you live is up to you. 

Beginning in 2004 Dan, along with longevity geneticists, medical researchers, anthropologists, demographic scientists, epidemiologists funded by National Geographic, identified pockets of people across the world who live the longest and are the happiest.

Then they went to visit them!

They were searching for evidence-based common denominators among all places.

They termed these healthy pockets “Blue Zones.”

In these Blue Zones they found that people reach age 100 at rates 10 times greater than in the United States! And they have astoundingly low incredible lower rates of cancer, heart disease and diabetes, those big and nasty killers in the US. Here is what else they found.

9 common traits in Blue Zone members:

1. They move naturally all day.

The world’s longest-lived people don’t just pump iron, run marathons or join gyms. Instead, they live in environments that constantly nudge them into moving without thinking about.

Think: Do I really need to drive to the library or grocery store? Can I walk or ride a bike? Can I get a stand up desk? Take a walk at lunch outside? Get a dog and walk it?

2. They know their Purpose. 

The Okinawans call it “Ikigai” and the Nicoyans in Costa Rica call it “plan de vida;” for both it translates to “why I wake up in the morning.” Knowing your sense of purpose is worth up to seven years of extra life expectancy!!!

Identify what you are passionate about and pursue it as your purpose daily.

3. They take time to Down Shift.

They experience stress like we do. But they take time to relax every day. Okinawans take a few moments each day in the am to remember their ancestors, Seventh DayAdventists (Lomo Linda, CA) pray, Ikarians (Greece) take a nap and Sardinians (Italy) do happy hour with friends.

Take time to relax, meditate, and give thanks daily. We know stress leads to chronic inflammation which contributes to very major age-related disease. Why feed the monster?

4. They stop eating when they are just 80% full.
“Hara hachi bu” –Is the  Okinawan, 2500-year old Confucian mantra said before meals which reminds Okinawans to stop eating when their stomachs are 80 percent full.

Think. Do you really need that extra helping?

5. They eat a lot of beans and plants.

They have a “Plant Slant.” They eat what they grow too. Vegetables and beans, including fava, black, soy and lentils, are the basics of most centenarian diets. Meat—mostly pork—is eaten on average only five times per month.

Start small: Double daily intake of beans and veggies.

6. They enjoy wine moderately. 

People in all Blue Zones (except Adventists) drink alcohol moderately and regularly with friends and/or with food. Moderate drinkers outlive non-drinkers in these zones. The trick is to drink 1-2 glasses per day (preferably Sardinian Cannonau wine says Dan).

If you can drink just 1 or 2, do.

7. They have a faith-based community. 

All but five of the 263 centenarians they interviewed belonged to some faith-based community. Denomination doesn’t seem to matter. Research shows that attending faith-based services four times per month will add 4-14 years of life expectancy!

We need God and each other. Find a faith community and connect.

8. They put loved ones first. 

Successful centenarians in the Blue Zones put their families first. This means keeping aging parents and grandparents nearby or in the home (It lowers disease and mortality rates of elders and children).  Neighbors of all ages are also active in visiting other families and learning from elders.

Have you talked to or hugged your family lately? Checked in with your neighbor?

9. They have like-minded friends

Dan said,

“The world’s longest lived people chose–or were born into–social circles that supported healthy behaviors, Okinawans created ”moais”–groups of five friends that committed to each other for life.

Research from the Framingham Nurses Studies shows that smoking, obesity, happiness, and even loneliness are contagious. So the social networks of long-lived people have favorably shaped their health behaviors.”

Connect with a healthy, caring tribe daily.

It is so interesting that 6, 7,8 and 9 are all about the power of connecting in community.

Try to apply some of these tips today and let me know how it goes.

Check out Dans new mission – Creating Blue Zones across the US! http://www.bluezones.com/live-happier/thrive-centers/

Fin! Amy

Day 2: Writing a List: Stress Be Gone.

12 Ways to Unpack My Busy Mind 

  1. Thank God for the day ahead.
  2. Workout with FiAnation.com.
  3. Run and walk outside to my music.
  4. Hug my Gordon Setter.
  5. Read and write.
  6. Visit Calm.com for daily guided meditation.
  7. Call or meet a family member or friend.
  8. Light a calming candle and deep breathe when kids whine or fight.
  9. Have a fun family dinner.
  10. Snuggle with kids on sofa and watch a funny show.
  11. Plan with husband on Sunday afternoons.
  12. Hide in my room.

Take Another Step. Choices do Matter.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Afloat.”

Can telling our stories bring us afloat and help others too? 

I know so! See how survivors, thrivers, dreamers, story tellers and fellow runners Bruce McIntyre and Jim Willett learned to do this despite both hearing those dreaded words: “You… have…cancer.” 

Bruce: Choices Do Matter  http://www.choicesdomatter.org/you-have-cancer/

Jim : Take Another Step  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vyjM2S6MGPU

What a day!

Want to Run Faster, Further and with Less Injuries? Yoda Says: Check your Form.

I learned to LOVE running when I finally made a choice to focus on my form.

Over the past 30 + years of running, playing soccer and countless races, I learned to run slow, fast, short, medium and long distances, to hydrate, to eat well, and get sleep (if you can) before races.

I never thought about my form as a runner. 

As a result, I ended up with a slew of injuries and x-tra gear; pain in my metatarsals (across toes), IT band pain, piriformis pain, rotator cuff pain, heel pain, shin splints, a ganglion cyst on my ankle, x-rays, the “boot”, and $350 orthotics, and many stabilizing shoes.

It’s just the life of a runner!  With each visit to the doctor, he would say “Don’t run for at least six weeks!

Gasp.  I just HAD to run ya know? So I would go right back out there exactly 6 weeks later and get injured again. 🙂

Alas! The running skies opened in 2005.

That was the day I read a small article about running form in our local paper, The Charlotte Observer.  The author suggested that we consider our body mechanics and alignment while running versus just the shoes. It made so much sense! But who knew? My previous foot doctors had never analyzed my form, nor had I!

Was the author actually saying it might be me not the SHOE?

This reminded me CarTalk on public radio!  He suggested we poor injured readers reach out to ultra runners Barefoot Ted or Danny Dreyer for additional help.  Dreyer had just published a book called “ChiRunning” which combined good running form, with physics and the ancient martial art of Tai Chi.

I was not ready to go barefoot then but decided that day as a trainer, and an injury-prone runner, to pursue ChiRunning with all my might.

My injuries went away almost overnight.

You can imagine how I became a RAVING fan!  Such a fan I decided to become an instructor and have been teaching this form and philosophy along with instructors all over the world since 2007.

Chi Running decreases injury while enhancing energy efficiency, speed, mental clarity and joy (because you are not injured and probably faster).

The key components of good form Excellent posture, alignment and relaxation of your shoulders, arms and feet, an engaged core, a quicker, shorter mid-foot stride and a very slight lean from the ankle (Why lean? Physics).

The fee: Free. You just have to be mindful.  As we instructors like to say, focusing on your form with every step you take is a tiny price to pay if it will enable you to run injury free, or get back to running.

Are You Injured?  Let’s check your form!

Look down at your feet. Do you splay your feet? That splay in your right or left foot may explain your ongoing knee, IT band and hip pain on the same side.  Tip: Align your feet hip width and parallel.

How is your posture? Do you stand, work, walk and run hunched over or with poor posture? Got text neck? This creates stress in your neck, upper and lower back, hamstrings and knees. Pore posture also compromises your ability to inhale and exhale efficiently when exercising. Tip: Run tall and lightly. Align your ears, shoulders, hips and feet in a vertical column and engage your core. Check what this looks like in a mirror. 

How do you use your arms?  Do you even use them?  You should! Do your arms “sashay” or swing laterally as you run? Hello IT band and hip pain! Maybe even rotator cuff pain. Tip: Align arms parallel and at a 90 degree angle on flats.  Allow them to glide fully as you run.

Check your shoes. Are the heels of your shoes built up? Are they clunkers? Not everyone needs a light minimal shoe, but long ago I learned that it is YOU not the shoe that needs to work harder to prevent injury! Tip: Try on a lighter neutral shoe.

Why? If you have a shoe with nosebleed heels or a high heel-to toe drop, it will simply encourage heel striking and related pain (think shin splints, plantar and achilles pain, fractures, runners knee and back pain).  Note, if you still prefer cushion, there are several popular new cushy rides on the market such as Hokas.

Run to cadence. Our military figured this out long ago! Tip: Run with a metronome or find songs with a 175-180 bpm. Or run to your own waltz, right 2,3, left 2,3 and so on.

Tight shoulders?  When running, do you ruminate about your job, the family, boyfriend, girlfriend, bills, competitors, and your to-do list? Tip: Get in the flow.  Use runs to focus on you – your form, nature and breathing.

As you focus on your form and relaxing whether running solo or with groups, you will run more efficiently, faster, and eventually look or feel like you are gliding like a Kenyan!

Use these tips! Your running life may truly change! You may change! Just ask the thousands of recreational, fitness and competitive runners worldwide who ChiRun, run with great form and even barefoot run!

How to Fail Forward

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Embrace the Ick.”

IMG_2236

Last year the “Ick” arrived again by complete surprise.

You may have experienced this kinda “Ick” yourself when you got some awful news!

Personally,  I was blindsided.  I lost my trust in other’s.  I felt misunderstood.  I was angry. I was hurt, bruised and confused.

I even got physically sick.

Then, while living with the “Ick” over a few long weeks, I finally came to realize something had to change.  The”Ick” had way too much control over me.

“Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn” say’s author John Maxwell.

It was my season to learn.

I made a concerted effort to gain wisdom from the “Ick.”  I took the time to learn how leaders of all kinds faced crisis and prevailed, or failed at something and applied lesson’s learned to move onward with success.

Then I wrote it all down.

Doing this work helped turn the “Ick” into light and my loss into a win.

Thankfully, I finally learned to #Fail-forward.

What a Day!

Fin. APR

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑