Throwback Thursday – School Days

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Just a quickie today – my first post from my Samsung Galaxy Note 3! I have been loving all of the ‘back to school’ pictures on Facebook and thinking about how fast it has flown for us … my boys are going to be a junior and senior in high school!

We’ve done loads of college visits, ordered Danny’s senior pictures, and will be starting the application process soon. Wow … hard to believe that the picture at the top is just from Danny’s freshman year.

And since I have all of my iPhoto library automatically upload to my Google drive, I am able to peruse my whole mega-photo library on the Galaxy Note! So I dug back to pictures I had scanned in way back in Massachusetts, and found one of John and I together as kids, and based on the photos around it could very well have been a back to school picture.

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WiAW – Loads of Food Plus Recipe Sharing “No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Recovery Cake”

Happy Wednesday – how is your week going? In our house it is the week between the 11-hour days of marching band camp and the start of school. So for some bizarre reason I decided to do a ‘What I Ate Wednesday’ post. I never thought I would do one of these … but I wanted to share a ‘food day in the life’ … well, OK – I wanted to share a favorite recovery food recipe and the post looked really sparse! Haha – enjoy!

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My incredibly typical breakfast: pear, Greek yogurt, prunes, and peanut butter tortilla wraps (or peanut butter toast)

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Lunch at work seems to consist of brought-in or catered meetings more often than not. This week we have a visitor helping us with an important run, so for a meeting we had Panera Bread – salad and a veggie wrap.

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Make-your-own pizza is a fave – this is from last week, but was awesome!

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Happy endings? My red wine and Lisa’s Martini!

Recipe Sharing

Also, I have a great recipe I want to share – it is for a recovery treat I have enjoyed since I first found it two years ago. I can’t find the blog that referred to it, but the original recipe is here.

Here is the finished product:

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Ingredients:
8oz whipping cream
16oz good quality milk chocolate
8oz Graham Crackers
8oz peanut butter
(optional 1/2 cup confectionary sugar, 2 tbsp butter)

Instructions:
1. Bring cream just to a boil in a small saucepan.

2. Bash or chop chocolate into small chunks and place in a bowl. Add hot cream and stand for 5 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, line a loaf pan with parchment (or waxed) paper.

4. Stir cream and chocolate until smooth and well combined. Pour enough melted chocolate into the base of the cake to cover the bottom.

(Optional 4a. microwave the butter for 20 second to melt, stir in peanut butter to thin, and then slowly combine in the confectionary sugar to make a fudge).

5. Place a layer of Graham Crackers on top. Cover with peanut butter (or peanut butter fudge).

6. Repeat until you go through most of the chocolate.

7. Add a final layer of Graham Crackers. Drizzle remaining chocolate over the top.

8. Refrigerate (or freeze) for at least 8 hours, or longer if possible.

9. Slice thin – as you might expect this is super-rich and filling!

The original recipe offers some variations:
– Dairy Free: Replace cream with almond milk or rice milk or coconut milk. Also replace milk chocolate with dark.
– Dark Chocolate: Go for it and replace milk for dark chocolate (you might want to drizzle some honey for sweetness)
– Sweet & Salty: add some sea salt flakes on top of the peanut butter layer.

What is YOUR favorite decadent recovery food?

1000 Runs – What Would You Do?

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Do you remember that abysmal Eddie Murphy movie ‘1000 Words’? (ok, to echo so many reviews, WHO thought it was a good idea to have a verbal comedian be silent?!?). Anyway, something Suz said recently made me stop and think … she said (wish I could find the full quote) that she believed her legs only have a certain amount of runs left in them before she is done.

Think about that – you only have a limited number of runs. We all know it is true, but not in the way that the movie suggests – that you will some day go to run and realize, nope .. all out of runs.

So if you had 1000 runs left in your legs, how would you spend them? Here are some thoughts:

1. Budget Them For the Long Haul

Think about it – I have been running for 25 years, and have run approximately 5-6000 times. If I want to be running for another 25 years I need to pace myself – 1000 runs divided by 25 years means an average of 40 runs per year.

Again, think about it – 40 runs per year. That is less than one a week.

And that is just for me, where 25 years puts me at 73. For some of you younger guys, 25 years still has you just around 50, with plenty of years left. Imaging running every other week so you can run for 50 more years!

2. Save them for My Kids … or Grandkids.

I have said that one thing on my bucket list is to run a race – 5k, 10k, whatever – with one of my boys.

With 1000 runs to spend, I would want to have the chance to run with them someday – or their kids if they choose to have kids (and no, we will NOT be putting that type of pressure on either of them!). But here is the thing – I would never want them to run a race FOR me, but rather choose to run a race, and do it WITH me. Make sense?

3. Run Boston – Qualify or Not

The reality is that while I might never run the Boston Marathon, it is something I would love to do. Without a fixed number of runs left, I don’t worry about qualifying – I will gladly just let it fade away and maybe run Baystate or Cape Cod or something and not worry.

But with a fixed amount of runs, I would make doing the Boston Marathon a priority. I would look at qualifying – either now or later – and also at raising charity money. The thought of being a charity runner for Boston is actually pretty motivating and uplifting in its own way.

4. Share the Love

One of my first thoughts gets back to something that came up a couple of times recently – that people find it motivating to see me out there any type of weather, day after day, no matter what. This came up from someone in their 20s, and it made me think – how could I give back?

If I only had a limited amount of runs left, I would want to share the joy of running I have with younger kids – high school, college, young professionals, and maybe even younger kids. I would want to do it NOT with ‘track types’ – though I don’t exclude them – but more with non-runners. I would love to help running change the life of someone just as it has changed my life.

5. Make Them Count

Suddenly the thought of junk miles is much more important, with only 1000 runs remaining. Suddenly the concept of a ‘run with purpose’ takes on new meaning. Group runs? Running with friends? Social running events? All of these would become something to focus more on taking part.

There are a few groups in my area, all are a bit of a drive (I know there are a couple that are local), but there always seems to be something going on in my schedule, and driving 45 minutes or more for a run on a schedule never seems to be a priority. If I only had a limited number of runs, that one run per week could be an important event, and it would suddenly be worth taking the time to make it worth while.

Bonus Use them to Transition to Something Else

Here’s the thing – as I was thinking about running once a week, a thought emerged: not running doesn’t have to mean not being active. I have thoroughly enjoyed recent bike excursions with Lisa and the boys, and I have always loved to spend time in the pool.

It is interesting to me that as I wrote this up, something that came through was that with limited runs left I would want to share my love of running – group runs, volunteering, races, and so on. It wouldn’t just be about me getting up at 4AM to do my daily run … which is why I was also thinking about what I would do for my daily exercise fix – because I know I’d want SOMETHING!

So how would YOU spend your 1000 runs?

Monday Musings and Music and More

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Well, another long weekend of me not being around much … but something Megan said in response to a comment from me really rings true: “Isn’t it amazing that once you start to disconnect, it just seems so much easier to do so?” And the reality is – YES, it is true.

Sure I got runs in on Friday and Saturday, and had a very busy weekend, but normally I would have made sure I got some blogging done on Saturday … but instead I got in my run, and made sure I chatted with my older son about his girlfriend and how both were doing, and brought my younger son to do his DJ gig and then a few hours later had a late lunch with him and Lisa, and so on. What it comes down to is this: I prioritized reading and writing blogs lower than I ever have before. And that is OK.

1. Run for the Memories

I have talked before about how much I love exploring places by running, and for more than 2 years I have run everywhere I have visited. In fact, in a month I will be in North Carolina for a conference, and aside from meeting with some of the best minds in statistics and seeing one of my friends and colleagues speak, I am really looking forward to finding a new place to explore through running!

But this weekend Harold had a great post about when running is about MORE than just the run. He details what I would call a ‘run through the generations’ – his dad, an old coach, places where his siblings lived and grandparents and grat-grandparents lived, old factories long forgotten, and so on.

As I mentioned in the comments for his post, I wonder what that would be like for me. For the house I lived in until the middle of first grade it is impossible, as it and the whole neighborhood are now part of an industrial park. And my parents lived in a different town than their parents, who were half-way across the state from their parents. And for me, no one in my immediate family lives near where we grew up, and most of my extended family is scattered up and down the east coast.

What would a ‘running through your memories’ look like for you?

2. No Race Weekend

I didn’t run the race I was planning on Saturday, for several reasons:
– Friday was very busy with the move-in, and also emotion, and a long day (past midnight)
– Both Lisa and Chris had to work Saturday, and I knew they would be long days.
– The previous year had 700 runners and about 1400 people … and a parking lot that fits about 16 cars (and on the other end of the trail one that fits a dozen.
– I would have had to bike over due to logistics, and when we were sitting up past midnight the night before I thought ‘no … not gonna happen’.

Am I disappointed? A little … Lisa and I were planning to do it together, she would have walked and I would have run and it would have been fun. But ultimately I am more disappointed that we didn’t do it together than about my choosing not to go.

I had decided I would have done the 5k, because I really was interested in that ‘sustained pain’ feeling. I still haven’t run a 10k so it would have been ‘instant-PR’. Oh well … there are always other 5ks – even this coming weekend!

3. College Move-In

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The situation that had us with a fully loaded car last Friday morning is someone else’s story, but it was a fun and rewarding day and I was glad we could help out. The picture above is our son and his girlfriend.

Cornell is a beautiful campus that is really its own community, isolated by a few miles from the heart of Ithaca. It was a very busy day, but we were there to help every step of the way and got to see how much things have changed since Lisa and I had OUR first college move-in days 31 and 30 years ago respectively.

I do love how much has changed to really focus on the successful integration of new students. When I started it was more just a few social events then BAM into classes. Now they have loads of things throughout the calendar to help the kids learn how to navigate the school and their future.

4. New Phone

I posted about this on Instagram, but I got a new phone this weekend. It is a Samsung Galaxy Note 3 – and it is HUGE. The goal? To see if this device can replace both my iPhone and iPad for the majority of things, such as blogging, email, RSS feeds, and so on. Music software remains pathetic on Android so the iPad will remain for that, and I am really not doing much gaming recently, so it will be interesting to see if there is any impact on that front.

While I have had Apple products going back to 1979 and the Apple ][+, I have been an Android phone used from when they first came to Verizon right up until getting iPhone 5. At this point I have regularly been using the iPhone 5, iPad Air, Macbook Air, gaming PC laptop as well as a Kindle Paperwhite, Kindle Fire HDX, and Sony Playstation Vita. Yeah, too much stuff. Worse yet – I regularly find myself seeing something on the phone and then grabbing the iPad to type the reply. Makes no sense!

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One immediate thing? The Note 3 deoesn’t fit in my running belt. I see that the SPIBelt ‘large pocket’ fits these things well.

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And in general, I forgot how clunky so many things are in Android, as I work to get devices to pair, apps to link together and so on. I STILL haven’t gotten the Polar Loop to pair up correctly. Here is a good mantra: “With great flaxibility comes many hassles.”

5. Wealth vs. ‘Class’?

I subscribe to Quora because I love all of the discussions and reading great answers to questions. But sometimes the questions are … interesting. This one in particular documents parents who have shown their child a very warped view of the interaction between money and class.

Here is an interesting – and demonstrably true – view of reality from a different post:

in most cases lazy sons of multimillionaires end up better off than hardworking daughters of slum-dwellers

And from the post in question?

•My parents always told me to never leave a tip for waiters/waitresses at restaurants because they are just fishing for tips

Aside from being incorrect (and really just the tip of the iceberg of the article), it engenders an attitude of elitism that is unconscionable. And the wealth-based discrimination is every bit as real as any other type.

But the question I have for myself, and that I think we should all ask ourselves: in what ways do I have similar attitudes about things? I know that as a professionally employed, home-owning white Christian married male in America I have a position of considerable privelege. I just hope that when I can affect change, I do so to the best of my ability.

6. THIS Is America?

I have started and deleted many different things about the ongoing violence and racial tensions … and none of it felt right to me. I have always been a ‘question authority, but support your police & fire’. Because OF COURSE there is racism in police forces – these are people, and people are racist.

But there is also tremendous bravery and kindness and goodness and a desire to help – because these are people, people who choose a dangerous profession hoping to make a difference.

Here is my basic thought: the problem isn’t the police, it is US. Because they are us – and the problems reflected there in terms of race, religion, gender and so on … are problems endemic in our society at large.

My biggest problem comes with the militarization of America. When Reagan invaded Grenada, there was a groundswell of pride, and the decades since have built up the concepts of ‘American exceptionalism’ and ‘might = right’. More scary is how starting in the late 90s we have seen police forces equipped with tanks and so on.

So what we see more and more in the country is exactly what is shown here:

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7. Movies are Easily Diagrammed

You know how most times when you are watching a Rom-Com you can see the formula coming into play? Y’know, how the two people who will eventually end up together have a ‘near miss’ (or are just friends), there is at least one ‘other’ romantic interest, then in a dramatic turn there is the realization that ‘the one’ was always rigt there? Over at Neatorama this is diagrammed out for a number of genres:

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How do you feel about this? Is it accurate?

7. Do You See a Problem?

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I just started getting Tennis magazine, and two issues arrived at once. Both covers are from the very top playes in the field, one is male and the other female. One has a person playing tennis, the other has a sultry, over-the-shoulder barely clothed shot. Am I overly sensitive thinking WTF? Personally I think Maria Sharapova looks awesome playing tennis, just like Roger Federer.

8. Almost School Time!

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Hard to believe that we’re already at the point of heading back to school. This past week was band camp – a week of 9AM – 8:30PM spent playing and marching and drilling … the kids were lucky that the weather was generally nice. Two years ago we had a heat wave, last year alternated between hot and thunderstorms. There was only one rainy day this year.

If you are looking for my boys, they are the tuba on the left and bass drum on the right. This was as close as they got during the ‘public practice’ on the last night. The final song was rough – but what I love is that we will see an amazing progression from now through the competitions throughout September and October.

9. My Running Summary

For the most part this was a pretty ordinary summer week – out early, do my run, do my abs, get ready for work and go. Here is the summary:

Sunday: Bike trip with Lisa
Monday: 9.75 miles
Tuesday: 9.75 miles
Wednesday: 10.1 miles
Thursday: 9.75 miles
Friday: ‘Rest’ Day (College move-in)
Saturday 14.5 miles, fast & flat

The weekly total was about 54 miles running, plus a great long bike trip with Lisa, and a busy day walking around with heavy boxes at Cornell! I was definitely happy with my runs this week, especially my long run on Saturday – I really pushed the pace throughout, trying to keep my heart rate up at all times. And I continue enjoying trying to get in my ab work and planks every day! I don’t want to let this great habit stop!

10. Music New and Old

We watched a bit of the VMAs last night … and as always I don’t know why. For me, they represent the absolute WORST of music – it isn’t a celebration of artistry, or even of music … it is a self-gratifying celebration of celebrity as personified by those with the most marketing money to spend. I have very little good to say – except that I loved Ed Sheeren thanking and handing the mic to the ‘guy who made the song’. That is important – pop music isn’t made by the people singing them … they are just the new ‘Johhny Bravo’.

Anyway, the most annoying thing for me was Nicki Minaj, whose one-trick schtick of fast-rapping is played out, augmented for the video crowd by booty-shaking. The song she did shows the depths of the current state of pop music – she has made an entire song from a line from a throw-away one-hit gimmick song from the 90s. Here is the original:

And here is the new rip-off:

The distinction? One was a joke when it came out, the other is supposed to be ‘artistry’. Puh-lease.

Finally, Lisa came across a new song she loved this weekend, and we added it to our iTunes and listened on YouTube – ‘Night Like This’ by LP:

Myself? I have mentioned that I’ve been re-stocking my iPod with older music that has sat un-played for too long as I was reviewing more and more albums over the last 5 or so years. One song I had completely lost track of? ‘Night of the Iguanas’ by Joni Mitchell from her 2007 album Shine.

Did you do any races this weekend? Any cool new music? How was YOUR week?

Five Things Friday – For the Love of Twin Peaks

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Happy Friday! Today we are helping Danny’s girlfriend move into Cornell University, so it will be a long and busy day – but fun to get to help and watch someone starting a new chapter in her life. It also means I won’t be reading any blogs, commenting or anything else … another weekend getting behind on my reading – it does get stressful (#fomo)!

1. Sock Mishap

Do you have socks with ‘L’ and ‘R’ on them? I only recently got some like that, but since I did, you can be sure I make sure they are on the wrong feet. Who knows what can happen, right? Well, that exact thing was the topic of a funny Runner’s World post:

Emergency room doctors confirmed Brenda’s suspicion. In a statement to reporters, a hospital spokeswoman said that doctors had concluded Mr. Meyers’ injuries were due to “sudden catastrophic foot failure.” In layman’s terms: Mr. Meyers’ right foot simply could not operate in a sock designed for a left foot, and vice versa. Faced with such a physiological disconnect, the statement said, the feet essentially “short circuit” and then shut down.

Whew … and remember:

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2.

Why Haven’t You Had Kids Yet?

Remember how I talked about ‘stuff people with kids need to stop saying …’? Well, as usual, The Oatmeal has summed it all up perfectly!

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3. Arnold Says “Don’t be afraid to fail”

Yet another great business-related article from LinkedIn this week talks about “What Arnold Schwarzenegger’s 6 Rules of Life Mean For Your Job”.

It is really a very good article, and a reminder of how much Arnold has accomplished – far from a dumb bodybuilder, he was a multimillionaire in his early 20s with a lousy grasp of English, yet came to America and was a huge success – and that was more than 40 years ago!

Here is my favorite quote from the article:

“Anything I ever attempted I was always willing to fail. You can’t always win but don’t be afraid of making decisions. You can’t be paralyzed by fear of failure or you will never push yourself.”

4. Best Simpsons Quote

Speaking of quotes, yesterday Salt reminded me of my favorite line from The Simpsons, from the episode ‘Moaning Lisa’ from 1990. It really needs no introduction:

Well it doesn’t matter how you feel inside, you know? It’s what
shows up on the surface that counts. That’s what my mother
taught me. Take all your bad feelings and push them down, all
the way down, past your knees until you’re almost walking on them.
And then you’ll fit in, and you’ll be invited to parties, and
boys will like you, and happiness will follow.

haha.

5. 5k or 10k? Help Me Decide!

So tomorrow everyone has to work, and Lisa and I had originally planned to do the ‘Time to Sperr’ event. It is a charity event to benefit the park and foundation, and Lisa was going to walk while I ran.

I am still thinking of doing it – but can’t decide – 5k or 10k?

I was initially going for the 10k because it is all the same money, but then I was astounded by how stupid that logic was, and I also want to do a 5k to push myself … I have no idea.

Thoughts?

Bonus. Twin Peaks

Why is this the ‘bonus’ and also the title of the post? Shaddup, it is my list!

Anyway, in my ’22 Years’ anniversary post I talked about watching Twin Peaks by phone with Lisa, and Judith commented about loving it as well. The boys and I enjoyed watching ‘Eraserhead’ recently, and we have Blue Velvet on DVD, and have starting working through Twin Peaks again. It is stunning how well it hold up as groundbreaking TV even today.

You should really check it out if you haven’t watched before … here is a link to Amazon.

And here is perhaps my favorite sequence from any show, ever:

Habits ‘Emotionally Intelligent’ People Use To Maximize Happiness

Diagram of emotional intelligence

My happiness is one of the core items in my life, and something I work hard to maintain. I do it in my marriage, family life, relationships with others, job, and my personal interests such as music, running and healthy eating. And it seems that since my anniversary I have been reflecting on the good fortunes in my life.

Have you ever heard the term ‘emotional intelligence’? It refers to the ability to perceive, control and evaluate emotions. There was a cool article last week about things successful people will NOT do, and it all ties into emotional intelligence. How do you build your emotional intelligence? Here are four key ways:

1.Perceiving Emotions: For some this is simple, for others a lifelong struggle.
2.Reasoning With Emotions: We all have emotional responses to things, but using those reactions to prioritize our decisions is another thing.
3.Understanding Emotions: just knowing that someone is frustrated isn’t enough, we need to place those feelings into context, to determine WHY someone is feeling that way.
4.Managing Emotions: I have talked about my ‘response tree’ approach before – (a) does it merit an emotional reaction (b) is anger the correct response and (c) is your response in proportion to the action.

So what does this have to do with running and healthy living? Everything and nothing – because it has to do with life, and running is very much a part of our lives. So here we go – I have adapted the list to fit into what I see as its application to running.

Emotionally Intelligent People Won’t Let Anyone Limit Their Joy

When I talked about running this past weekend, it was like a declaration of independence – my joy for running is purely due to my love for the sport; my joy of a mostly Paleo & Vegan diet is based on my enjoyment of those foods.

If your joy is based on where you place in a race or how you compare to others, you are no longer in control of your own happiness. It is SO important to remember that no matter what others think of you or how they are doing, self-worth ALWAYS comes from within.

Emotionally Intelligent People Won’t Forget

I had what I should view as a pretty decent summer of running last year – I was regularly topping 60 miles per week, hitting doubles at least once a week, came within 2 minutes of a PR in a marathon in the pouring rain where the path turned to mud and there was more than 6000ft of elevation change, then hit a nearly 10 minute PR in my next marathon. I mean, why shouldn’t I be happy?!?

But I wasn’t happy because my pace control was atrocious! So I took my November half-marathon, and dedicated it to maintaining a flat pace – and not only did it work, I STILL got a PR! During 2014 one of my continued goals is pace control – running by feel, running flat, knowing what my easy, moderate and hard paces feel like, and so on.

The context around this in the business article was more about forgiving but not forgetting. It is important that we do that with ourselves – learn from mistakes, but forgive ourselves for making them.

Emotionally Intelligent People Won’t Die in the Fight

‘Live to fight another day’ is the saying, or in our case ‘live to run another day’! How does this apply? Be smart in your runs – don’t push yourself to injury, don’t get dangerously dehydrated or under-fueled.

I have long said that we need to approach all of our running like a marathon: know when to push, and when to back off, when to keep running and when to rest and recover?

One of my biggest ‘do something stupid’ moments was dieting and restricting while heading into my first half marathon … and totally crashing near the end and finishing in rough shape. I made it – and have never forgotten and never made that mistake again! That one race changed my ‘food is fuel’ view forever!

Emotionally Intelligent People Won’t Prioritize Perfection

When you read most race reports, or run summaries, or how people are doing with their eating – you will hear that things are ‘solid’ or ‘really good’ or things like that. Seldom do you hear people talk about ‘perfection’ – because as runners we’ve had enough ups and downs to realize that it doesn’t exist.

Yet when we look at others (back to the first item on the list, right?) we often see a ‘perfect form’ or a perfect runner … WRONG! They are no more perfect than the rest of us! They might be after, have more endurance, be more agile, or whatever … but perfect? No.

Emotionally Intelligent People Won’t Live in the Past

I have mentioned several races where I didn’t meet my expectations – and in each case I set up a way to take the power away from those events so I could remember them fondly. I learned from those mistakes, and they are in the past now.

If you let your past mistakes and failures dictate your reality, you will be limiting what you can do and where you can do in life. Don’t let that happen – leave your mistakes behind.

Emotionally Intelligent People Won’t Dwell on Problems

You only have so much focus and mental energy to go around, so if you are dwelling on the past you have no time for the present or future. Sure we need to learn, but lessons are small and easy to carry through life. Let the past teach us things about how to shape our future, but then leave it behind.

Emotionally Intelligent People Won’t Hang Around Negative People

There is a distinct difference between frustrated but motivated people, and negative people. One set will voice frustrations at people or situations but ultimately want to move on to a more positive place … negative people find solace in the swamp of negativity.

There are negative people everywhere, and they will destroy you – your running, your eating, your life. Sure you want people around you to provide reality checks and keep you grounded, but not a self-serving complainer.

Emotionally Intelligent People Won’t Hold Grudges

Did you know that holding grudges is a stress response, so recalling the grudge actually causes the stress to resurface. That is just not good for you no matter how you look at things.

So what grudges do you have? Relationships are a clear one, but also races, foods that are triggers, other runners who beat you before, touchy subjects with people close to you and so on. While you shouldn’t forget things we learn, it is important to let go of the stress and regain control.

Emotionally Intelligent People Won’t Say Yes Unless They Really Want To

In business and in life, inability to say no leads to stress and burnout – with eating it causes failure to maintain goals, and with running it gets your hurt. I look at the example of the Corning Glassfest 8k run compared to the Catharine Valley Half Marathon – I knew I wouldn’t run either, but didn’t want to give up the 8K. That caused me to be stressed and irritable. With the half-marathon, I decided long before and as a result was totally open to enjoy the day.

So whether it is saying no to a race, saying yes to a rest day, or no to some food you’d rather not eat – be polite, but firm. You will thank yourself!

Emotional Intelligence and Eating Disorders, Running, and Dealing With It All

One of the reasons I decided to post about this was that there has been study in recent years (a couple are here and here) about the relationship between Emotional Intelligence and things like body dissatisfaction show that as dissatisfaction increases, emotional intelligence decreases.

A great article looks at translating Emotional Intelligence back into actions, and the quote: “We don’t see things as they are. We see things as we are.”

As for runners, according to a study from the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport “Findings lend support to the notion that trait emotional intelligence associates with adaptive psychological states, suggesting that it may be a key individual difference that explains why some athletes respond to repeated bouts of hard exercise better than others.”

In other words, the better you can deal with the emotional aspects of your life, the better you can handle the ups and downs of being a runner.

How is YOUR Emotional Intelligence?

Wednesday Wandering Mind – The Usual Nonsense But Mostly Health Stuff!

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Now here is something interesting – I didn’t post on Monday. OK, maybe you noticed that, maybe not … but I sure did. While to an extent I could blame it on my busy anniversary weekend, or the sh!tstorm I knew I was walking into on Monday, or the kids starting band camp, or whatever. But none of it was true – the reality is I have 24 drafts in various states of completion, yet I just came up blank. So I let it go … but given how easily things have flowed lately I found it interesting. Apparently whatever was ‘stuck’ broke free …

1. Food Pyramid for Runners

I really love the food pyramid from Runner’s World, one of those classic ‘what they think, what I think …’ things, but with a twist.

The interesting thing I have talked about in the past is that for many years I was in the “I run so I can eat whatever I want” camp, and while most of my food choices were good, I regularly dipped into the lower part of the pyramid. But as I ramped mileage past 40 miles per week back in 2012 my eating shifted much more into the ‘fuel zone’, and I became very particular about what I put into my face.

So it struck me the other day when a runner friend grabbed ‘one of everything’ from an assembled ‘carb overload’ table that resulted when a few different people had coincidentally brought items the same day. And he said ‘this is why we run, right’? For me, the answer was ‘no’. Homemade stuff? Sure – and I had a great macadamia nut cookie … but not any of the store-bought items. Just me … but the ‘run to splurge’ thing isn’t important to me.

2. Take Time to Celebrate Your Victories!

A while back there was an article at Runner’s World called ‘Bask Now, Analyze Later’, which emphasizes taking time to celebrate what went well – and particularly focuses on one thing: I crossed the finish line.

Then a couple of weeks ago Nicole had a great post called ‘Things I did right during my last race’, which celebrates some of the things she did well – and that is SUCH an important thing to do. And something we rarely do …

Think about your last race or long run – what comes to mind first? Probably how it could have been better. I look at my long run from just over a week ago – I did 18.79 miles. Two thoughts – I didn’t get to 20, and I under-fueled. But … c’mon, I ran almost 19 freaking miles! Can I not celebrate THAT for a second? Sure it is important to visit our mistakes – and I did, which helped me to a properly fueled run over 23 miles this weekend. But I never really took the time to celebrate what I had accomplished.

So that is my challenge to you AND myself: celebrate your accomplishments. And if you leave a comment – tell me something awesome about yourself that you are celebrating today!

3. Drink More Water, Gain Less Weight!

We all know how important hydration is, especially as we burn through the summer months as runners (though as we know, winter hydration is just as important!). An interesting study from a while back that was covered at Runner’s World showed that drinking water – and other non-sugary drinks – led to less weight gain.

After controlling for several factors that could affect weight gain, the researchers found that people who drank water, coffee, tea, and diet beverages gained less weight each four-year period than people who drank sugar-sweetened beverages and fruit juice.

Of course, we know that diet soda definitely doesn’t help with weight loss – and might even work against it due to how it confuses your body into expecting real sugar and when it doesn’t arrive it causes another hunger cycle to get back the resources it dumped before.

It all comes back to the basics – just like with foods, so too with drinks it is best to stick with things like water, infused water, coffee, tea, wine, and so on.

4. Reminder that ‘All Natural’ is Meaningless

OK, so I have gone on and on about how all of those ‘all natural’ protein powders and supplement pills and so on that people use and say ‘hey, it is all-natural, it must be good’ … is not guarantee. And recently on Buzzfeed there was an article about just how meaningless the ‘natural’ claim really is. From the post:

Can you spot anything actually found in nature in this product?
Ingredients: Citric Acid, Potassium And Sodium Citrate, Aspartame, Magnesium Oxide, Contains Less Than 2% Of Natural Flavor, Lemon Juice Solids, Acesulfame Potassium, Soy Lecithin, Artificial Color, Yellow 5 Lake, BHA (Preserves Freshness).

Though my favorite has to be the ‘all natural’ Cheetos … seriously.

5. Another Cautionary Thought on Anti-Oxidents

Yeah, I already went off on the whole Supplement thing, but it bears noting a more recent article discusses how some of the core thoughts behind the mechanistic workings of antioxidants could be wrong, and how we could be negating benefits of exercise by our ‘couldn’t hurt’ mentality:

“A supplement industry now worth $23 billion yearly in the U.S. took root,” he notes.

Taking antioxidant supplements before exercise actually negates some of the well-documented benefits of physical exertion.

And yet, antioxidant pills have proven to be a bust. In February, a group of independent US medical researchers assessed 10 years of supplement research and found that pills loaded with vitamin E and beta-carotene (the stuff that gives color to carrots and other orange vegetables) pills are at best useless and at worst harmful—that is, they may trigger lung cancer in some people. Just this month, a meta-analysis published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that antioxidant supplements “do not prevent cancer and may accelerate it.”

And a 2009 study found that taking antioxidant supplements before exercise actually negates most of the well-documented benefits of physical exertion: That is, taking an antioxidant pill before a run is little better than doing neither and just sitting on the couch.

Again, I don’t consider this to be remotely conclusive science, but it is interesting – and gets back to what I keep saying: know what you are putting into your body, and when in doubt – don’t.

6. Debunking “Chronic Cardio”

Michele wrote a post asking ‘is running healthy’ which brought up a post from ‘Mark’s Daily Apple’ that claims that, basically, our current methods of exercise are ‘bad for us’. When I read the article, I had a few issues:
– The ‘summary’ block wasn’t a summary but a sales pitch. Anyone using an obvious ‘click bait’ title, then leading with a sales pitch has already hit an 8 on the ‘BS meter’.
– Looking to the end, it is clear that the goal is to make recommendations that align with the primal / Paleo ideals. Which isn’t surprising since the opening was a sales pitch.
– The intro claims that the ‘conventional wisdom’ is “45 minutes to an hour a day of intense aerobic activity” … but that isn’t true at all. The REAL recommendation is “150 minutes per week of moderate exercise or 75 minutes per week of vigorous exercise”. In other words – the basic assumption of the article is WRONG – and since finding the CORRECT information took me less than 5 seconds … it is not unreasonable to assume that the article was INTENTIONALLY MISLEADING.

So it is simple enough to discount the entire article, and quite frankly it undermines the credibility of the entire website. But someone took the time to actually debunk the points that were made in the original article:

One of the main reasons that Mark is against running – it decreases fat metabolism – isn’t supported at all. In fact, this study shows that aerobic training like running burns more visceral and liver fat than resistance training.

And this study shows that running is better than strength sessions for weight loss. This isn’t to show that you have to choose between the two – both have an important part in any healthy exercise program – but aerobic running is actually better for general weight loss.

Now one thing that came up with Michele’s post and in the comments was the ease of over-doing things. In other words, if you tend to be an extreme person who refuses to recover and just does extreme exercise all the time … well, maybe you will see negative effects.

Sure – but I have two thoughts: first, you will likely be injured well before any of the stuff in Mark’s article is a major concern … and second it is pretty much like arguing that water is bad for you if you choose to drink 47 liters per day. Um, yeah. Stick with reasonable training and exercise programs, folks.

tl;dr – running isn’t bad for you, anyone who says it is probably is selling something.

7. Could ‘Intermittent Fasting’ be Good For You?

This one is pretty far out there – and the general thought could be a trigger for those already dealing with restriction and with a history of restriction and other food-related issues (i.e. me).

You can see some of the articles here and here and here and here. From one article:

The human metabolism does not grind to a halt if you skip a meal (or three). For it to slow down by even ten percent, one would need to fast for 72 hours straight (don’t worry, no one’s recommending giving up food for three days)[1][2][3][4]. In fact, even 48 hour fasts have been shown to have no negative effect on metabolism, cognitive performance, or fatigue[5][6]. That’s not to say fasting can’t be a little uncomfortable — we’ll get to that later.

But why would anybody want to fast? For starters, IF shares many of the benefits of following a low calorie diet, such as a lower risk of stroke and cardiovascular diseases [7][8][9]. Fasting’s effect on the heart is especially interesting: One study concluded just one day without food per month can potentially halve the risk of developing coronary artery disease[10].

8. Barefoot Running – It isn’t Bad For You, But Some Shoes Aren’t Good For You!

The whole debate over barefoot running has seemed like a he-said/she-said back and forth nasty debate since I got serious about running and shoes a couple of years ago. As I started back, I began with what are described as ‘minimal-ish’ and ‘ultra lightweight’ shoes. And I tried shoes that were lighter and thinner and dropped from 4mm to ‘zero drop’ … and eventually got to the Merrell Vapor Gloves which are zero-drop with 2mm cushion (compared to the 12+mm on most shoes) – and it was just too little shoe for me.

There was a big backlash, and last year loads of reports came out noting that the science for the backlash wasn’t there … and then a few months ago courts found that Vibram had mis-represented their shoes and the potential benefits in order to increase sales.

What is reality? I’m really not sure – there are articles about why barefoot-like shoes are ‘not best for most runners’. And I think that for people starting out, finding something with moderate cushion to start seems wise – and THEN working on different shoe drops and types to see what is optimal for you, consulting with people who can observe your stride and footfall pattern. Gradual, informed changes are always your friend.

9. FDA Closes the Trans-Fat Loophole

Have you heard about the 0.5g *per serving* trans-fat loophole? That loophole has now been ‘closed’ and if the rules go into full effect foods will no longer be allowed to claim ‘no trans fats’ if there are any present at all. Here are more details:

After thirty-odd years of everyone knowing trans fats are bad for us, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has proposed measures to ban all trans fats in our food. The move comes after decades of research finding consuming trans fat is strongly linked to heart disease and obesity. The ruling is just preliminary for now, but when (or if) it comes into effect (the timeline is kinda fuzzy), there will be some big changes on supermarket shelves.

It turns out a lot of our favorite treats are laden with the stuff, even though brands often claim otherwise. This is thanks to an egregious loophole that allows a product to be labeled “trans fat-free” if there’s less than 0.5 grams of the stuff per arbitrary “serving.” Right now, the best way to tell if a product contains trans fat is to check the ingredients: If there’s partially hydrogenated oil, there’s trans fat.

10. Psychological Effects of Exercise Deprivation

Pete Larson from Runblogger highlights a study at Science of Running that had athletes take two weeks off … from the article:

“Following the layoff, the athletes saw significant increases in feelings of tension, depression, anger, confusion and total mood disturbance. Additionally, there was a decrease in vigor. These changes in mood aren’t terribly surprising, but it’s pretty profound when you think about it. Just by taking someone outside of their norm of aerobic exercise for 2 short weeks, people’s mood states were significantly impacted.”

I think many of us can relate in some way to taking time off and really feeling like our overall state was altered. For those who have been injured, what is your experience?

What Health Issues Have Been Tweaking You This Week?