Eating Right

Eat something but not just anything. More »

Heart

You have gotta have heart- literally (physically) and metaphorically (spiritually). More »

Zero2Hero

Everyone loves an underdog. Learn to love yourself on the road to winning big time. More »

Balancing Act

It is all about balance: mind + body= a healthy and happy spirit More »

Rest

Be Kind. Give yourself a break and get some much needed and deserved REST. More »

NUTrition

NUTrition: You are what you eat or are you? More »

 

Gimme A Break. Give Yourself a Break.

Be Kind. Get Some Rest

Even though I like reading health and fitness books and magazines and talking to those who have made that industry their profession, there are a few things about health and fitness that came as a surprise to me. For example, I didn’t realize how important rest days were to training, especially endurance training. I even questioned my coach when I was training for my first marathon. Fortunately, despite the fact that I have an analytical mind, I do believe that there comes a time when you have to “shut up and put up”. In other words, humor the experts and give their advice a try before you dismiss them. I’m glad I did and as a result, I was able to go from run-walking (alternating) because of a knee issue to running the full 26.2 mile distance.

I also didn’t realize how important salt intake was in addition to water. I always thought drinks like Gatorade were unhealthy because of all the sugar, but I have now found healthier alternatives to stay hydrated and maintain a good salt to water balance. I discovered that I had hyponatremia without even knowing it or even knowing what it was, (water intoxication, basically having too much water in your system and not enough salt).  I found this out when my marathon coach warned me of the dangers of not ingesting salt with water. I had the symptoms: frequent clear urination and ditziness. And in case you didn’t know, it is one of the leading causes of death at many endurance races.

The other thing that surprised me is what a difference dark leafy greens make with my asthma. Now that I’ve learned how to cook them properly to remove the bitter taste, I love eating them even kale and collard greens (without the bacon). In case you’re curious, one of my dog park buddies shared a tip: boil them briefly with a pinch of salt and then rinse them well.

To be honest, I guess I am at a point when I realize that I am always learning something new and that I enjoy being in situations that allow me to learn and be inspired. I think that’s one of the great things about being a documentary filmmaker (oh, that’s really what I am not just a health advocate).  So I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that I have come to a point where I don’t feel as nervous about swimming in open water, even though at first the freezing, murky water was my nemesis. You see even though I passed lifesaving in high school (and I think all high schools should require it for graduation); I am so NOT a competitive swimmer that it is funny.

The open water swims that I have done during my triathlon trainings have led me to find religion.  I’m not a religious person, but I swear to you that on more than one occasion I found myself praying and saying, “Oh God, please help me!”

I’m not afraid of the water, even open and know how to swim for survival, but efficiency has been major challenge for me. There have been tri training seasons when I have congregated with other asthmatics at the midway point as we treaded water in efforts to catch our breath. Cold is a trigger for my asthma and apparently, I was not alone. It got to the point that we would just look for each other because we felt challenged around the same time.

I have also found it challenging to swim straight and get used to the murky water. Swimming in water that is so murky that you can’t see your hand in front of you is quite a trip and sometimes that journey involves ending up swimming in the opposite direction from the rest of the pack. I have joked and said that I was doing Escape to Alcatraz because my “sighting” once took me about 100 yards away from everyone else.

The murk once led me to whack into a harbor seal. Now, I’ve worked with marine mammals and LOVE animals, but I was startled and so was he:

“Have no fear Mr. Seal,” I thought jokingly. “It’s not like I can catch you. I can’t even catch my own shadow at the rate I’m going. Ha!”

I’ve made a concerted effort to improve the swim leg without sacrificing the other two and I have improved quite a bit in just a couple of years. What that means to you, if you’re dialed into WIFM: what’s in it for me, is that if I can, you can. I believe that if someone can do it, then anyone can do it. I hope that you will try to have that faith too.

And lastly, I know I have to remind myself of this, BE NICE TO YOURSELF. My goodness, we’re all learning. None of us are Olympians or even close to it. (One of my tri coaches was and power to her, but the average person you see at the health food store or on the trails or at the gym is NOT). Frustration can be a way to motivate you, but don’t let it make you beat yourself up. You wouldn’t yell at a toddler for stumbling, so if you’re letting your inner-critic get the better of you- shut that b—- up! Ha!

The next interview that I’d like to share with you is with someone who really understands how to meet a challenge head on and as a result, she learned how to be kind to herself.

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