Category Archives: motivation

Eating in Moderation: Timely holiday thoughts from Seth Godin & Malcolm Gladwell

One brownie makes you happy, a second brownie, maybe a little more. The third brownie doesn’t make us happy at all, and the fourth brownie makes us sick.”

Seth Godin, “The Moderation Glitch

Malcolm Gladwell describes this in his new book, David & Goliath, as the “inverted U”. “For a while, more input gets you more results, but then, inevitably, things level off, and then, perversely, get worse.” – SG

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The holiday seasons now sound like a broken-record in my head; every year I’m writing and reading list after list of “how to” survive, prevent weight gain, stick with the workout routine, etc. Healthy holiday eating tips can easily be found EVERYWHERE – magazines, blogs, podcasts, radio and TV shows, social media, etc. They’re rarely novel, yet consumers bookmark, dog-ear and save them for calling upon when motivation is low and dessert consumption is far past the point of content.

healthyholidays-890x612

Image source.

“Moderation is a marketing problem.”  -SG

What I’ve learned:
No one wants to hear “everything in moderation”.

They may want you to authorize the “eat whatever you want just exercise a LOT!” plan, or a strict list of what NOT to eat, or maybe an exact meal plan, calorie count, shopping list, and perhaps while we’re at it, a personal at-home chef to make sure that healthy cooking gets done. I certainly don’t blame anyone for wanting any or all of the above – remove the guesswork of nutrition, the time spent deciphering all of the research and tips, and voila! We dine happy. Right?

Well, no, it’s never that easy.

But it IS simple: Eat in moderation*.
Enjoy food while you’re eating it. Move on, and go move.**

*Turn off the mental debates of this nutrient over that one; stop calculating how many calories in each bite, and put away the scale. Use a plate isn’t the size of a medium pizza, fill it with a variety of foods (and colors), and dine slowly so that your stomach can do its job and let you know when its full.

**Use your muscles to do something that motivates you, challenges you, or just gets you out the door for some fresh air! It doesn’t matter what that activity is; it’s important that you enjoy doing it, and you both want and make it part of your routine.

awesome …there is this exception. #truth

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“If the data shows us that in so many things, moderation is a better approach than endless linearity, why does our culture keep pushing us to ignore this?

…This is the wine drinker who goes from the health benefits of a daily glass of wine to the health detriments of a daily bottle or two. This is the runner who goes from the benefits of five miles a day to knees that no longer work because he overdid it.

Habits are the other half of the glitch. We learn a habit when it pays off for us, but we’re hardwired to keep doing the habit, even after it doesn’t.”  – SG

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What You Do Every Day

I use this quote over and over for a reason – if you take this into account EVERY DAY, it will matter.  (And clearly because I love it. So well put, Gretchen!) The way we eat, drink and/or workout (or don’t) for one holiday matters much less than how we do all of the above every day before and after the celebrations. The approach we take towards our health on a daily basis matters more than the approach we take towards the holiday dinner buffet.

Habits, and goals, matter. They drive decisions, mental chatter, and eventually, outcomes.  Think about yours, and keep them in mind.

Make yourself proud

Because honestly, that’s what will matter at the end of the day: how you feel.

—-

HAPPY Holiday season!

I hope you’re enjoying the time with family, friends, seasonal tunes and your  traditional favorites!

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Filed under doin things My way, food, health, motivation, Nutrition

Planning for the Training, Not Just the BQ

I qualified for Boston at the 2012 Marine Corps Marathon. Even though I was “in”, I knew I probably wouldn’t be in. It’s a tight race these days, and the faster you go the more likely you are to get that highly sought-after bib! For 2014, 3:34:04 didn’t quite make the cut, and that’s totally okay. Boston is prestigious, that’s why we strive to be there. If thousands of other females between the ages of 25-34 are faster than me, then they should have their hard-earned bib. Women running marathons these days are nothing if not a quick and determined group of gals!

And if I have to qualify again to be among them in 2015, then so be it.

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“The body achieves what the mind believes.”

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I can and will run a sub-3:30 marathon.
Declare. Run. Repeat.

A folder has been created in my bookmarks, the search is on! I’m not looking for the perfectly flat course or the best climate or the easiest destination to get to. I am looking for something that doesn’t scream HILLS everywhere or snow in May or require worldly trip (that’s happening on its own, without running).

I’m looking for a race that will check a few boxes, and will get me here:

Boston Finish Line

As the fate of the internets would have it, this research has been interrupted by a few reads that totally changed my mindset. The goal: re-qualify for Boston (2015). Sure, that will fill miles of mind-games and internal monologues next spring.

But, more importantly, the training? That’s a lifestyle. It changes your everyday routine in ways that we, as runners, {eventually} miss when it’s not all-consuming. We change our weekend agendas. We plan ahead for runs, cross-training workouts, meals, rest and sanity-checks. We think about the Finish Line countless times from Day 1 to Race Day, and anxiously await those tapering weeks.

But what about everything in between?

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“The goal is absolutely secondary: it is the functioning toward the goal which is important.”

Hunter S. Thompson

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The training is what really challenges you – physical and mental exercises that get you ready for everything that can/will happen from mile 1 to mile 26.2. The training is a way of functioning that (hopefully, all-fingers-crossed) gets you ready for that goal time.

Whether or not that race goes exactly the way you plan? That’s {unfortunately} somewhat unpredictable. But the work you put in to get yourself there can’t be taken away.

Challenge & Change

You will learn the importance of the journey. The journey is the reward.

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As the end of this fall marathon season marks the beginning of spring race-planning, just keep these thoughts in mind. Remember that you don’t choose to run a marathon (or any other distance) just so you can show up on race day and pound the pavement for 26+ miles. (Let’s be honest, that’s not always the fun part.) Sure, the goal is to finish, but the motivation is the challenge of getting yourself in shape enough to do so.

The fun is in the miles that lead you up to that startling line, in realizing that yes you can survive 10-20 milers and adjust your schedule to fit in ALL-things-running and dedicate yourself to something and see it through.

Join me: pick a challenge that will change you (whatever that may be), then enjoy the journey that gets you there.

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Filed under Goals, marathon, motivation, running

Ending the “I Know I Should…” Conversation

So, now you know how to be SMART!  Let’s keep that conversation going…

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Between my work with Wellness Corporate Solutions and my own clients, I wish I had a dime for every time I hear the words “I know I should…”. And if I had a quarter for every time I’ve said them? Well, I’d send us all on a retreat to shut us up and enjoy some “Do it Now!” moments instead.

Rock-climbing in Thailand? Yoga in Costa Rica? Hiking in Peru?
We have some options!

who you want to be

There is more information “out there” circling the web than any of us need – we can self-diagnose on WebMD, for better or worse, and we can look up nutrition facts and track our intake, exercise, sleep habits and stress levels on a lot of different platforms. There are pages that tell us how much money we should be saving, or where we should be in a career by now, or all the ways that someone else has failed and succeeded in ways that we may never be able, or want, to imagine.

We end up with a lot of “I Know I SHOULD…” thoughts,
and not a lot of action.

Goals usually come from a place of that “should” attitude, and part of the achievement process is getting to that “will”…

Truth be told, you can’t replace that “should” with “will” until you’re ready and prepared and already past the mental point where that change is exciting, not just daunting. Then, you just have to start.

We often tell clients to think ahead
How do you want to feel
one year from now?

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What works for me? Well, I get a great slap of reality every time I coach someone to make a change, and consequently go through the process with them. I’m reminded of the things I’m thinking I should be doing. I’m lucky that my work, life and passions have intertwined themselves like that.

But outside of coaching, the things that go from should –> will are the ones we put out there. TELL SOMEBODY WHAT YOU SHOULD/WANT TO DO.

Clearly I feel pretty strongly about that, but it makes all the difference in the world. Welcome to the Law of Attraction – put your ideas out there, telling as many people as is appropriate as often as you think about it. (Warning: friends and family, repeat conversations to follow.) The ways and means will follow.

“The truth will follow us and poke at us
until we acknowledge it.” 
-Baron Baptiste

I want to/should/will get a fitness coaching certification, so a friend started sending me updates on workshops available and my coworkers have offered help with the ACSM courses.

I want to/should/will travel abroad this year, so experienced people have offered up tips on places to go, where to stay, and helpful travel sites to bookmark. 

I want to/should/will do yoga teacher training – I got called out (ahem, tagged) on Facebook recently as a friend kindly posted that there’s an upcoming info session at our favorite studio.

NOTED, world. I hear you & I’m listening.

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End the internal monologue. Know the difference between the shoulds you want and those you don’t – put the good-for-you ones out there, be ready, and watch the world work its magic.

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Filed under about me, Goals, learning, motivation, Yoga

Month by Month: Being SMART

Almost exactly two years ago I found myself in an airport looking for a good-read to take on the plane with me. I wanted something thought-provoking, non-fiction (usually my go-to), but a little bit lighter than the Brian Tracy-esque library I had been browsing at lululemon.

My eyes found “The Happiness Project” (Gretchen Rubin), read the first chapter and kept themselves busy with those words for the entire 3-hour flight.  A former Supreme Court Justice Clerk, Churchill biographer and working-mom-of-two suddenly realized, “The days a long but the years are short.”

Happiness Project

The confession here would be that I have yet to actually read through to the very last page of this book, even though I stand behind its message, approach and lessons. (Yes, I did note that I’d like to finish books. Consider this exhibit A.) But I took something away from those pages that has totally changed my approach to the days the calendar reads “1”: I set goals/focus for every month, all year long. Sometimes the focus-flavor-of-the-month is completely different from the 30 days that preceded it, sometimes it’s a continuation. Regardless, the goals are SMART and keeping me in line.

SMART Goals

It’s an old-fashioned approach; I write them with pen & paper, tape it on the fridge and check the box when it’s appropriate! Sure, there are apps for that, but don’t mess with what works, right?

January’s goals seemed to be focused on an attitude, but the measurable stuff included things like this: use the EPIC yoga pass (that had been dormant for a month), cook at least 5 new recipes and run at least 20 miles per week. All boxes were checked, and getting back into that exercise routine helped set me up for February.

This month the mind, motivation and I are all business. I’m looking into a blog redesign, creating a media kit, planning my 2013 races (one confirmation is in!), planning spring travel and trying to learn the acronym language of business.

The idea here is to give yourself some things to work on without completely overloading the list and overwhelming your brain but also putting enough on there that you feel challenged and motivated. The next step is to break down that goal into the steps it will take to get to that check-mark.

Example – my baby-steps: contact blog designers & narrow down options (check!), look into other media kids for an idea of what I’m getting into (check!), look into local & national races to start debating what’s worth all of those dollar bills (check….ish) and reach out to RDs in private practice (check-in-progress).

To get your mind in the right place, remember this:

what you do every day20 seconds of courage
challenge and change

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What are you up to this month?

What’s on your bucket-list for this year?

Think about it…

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Filed under challenges, Goals, learning, motivation, new things!, things that make you go Hmmmm

Marine Corps Marathon: Run DC for Boston!

Well folks, it wasn’t raining on Sunday morning and the hurricane held off for us! We ended up with ideal running weather for most of the race (60* and overcast), completely lucked out. I wouldn’t change a thing about this day…

I set a lofty goal for this race, but wasn’t willing to let it go. If you want to take the island, burn the boats. I know all too well from coaching and personal experience that as soon as you give yourself an out, you’re 1) deciding that not even you believe your goal is possible and 2) setting yourself up to let it go.

Burn the boat – go for 3:30! If you don’t try, you’ll never really know.

MCM outfit   bib longMCM morning readyMCM gear   sign 2

It started with a 5 a.m. wake-up call, to make it on the Metro by 6. It takes at least 10-15 minutes just to get out of the station once you arrive at the Pentagon! Then you’re looking at a long walk to the bathrooms, bag-check and eventually the race start. Consider this your warm-up!

Lines weren’t too bad, and I arrived to my corral with about 15 minutes to spare. I found those Pacer balloons right away and headed over to join in the fun, taking everything in and the throw-away jacket off.

THE PLAN: Run with the 3:35 group for the first few miles (exactly how long? TBD). Break off to eventually settle into an 8 min/mile pace.

MCM banner _ Congrats Runners

Miles 1_3 elevation Miles 1-3: Our pacer warned of the initial uphill battle – we would take it relatively easy and then use the downhill to balance it out. Given the crowded start, you don’t have much of a choice! It takes a lot of weaving, watching the ground to avoid potholes and making sure these miles don’t spend too much energy.

My first clue that this race & I were on the same BQ-or-BUST page: it was easy to keep up – vs. last year when staying with the 3:35 group was requiring way too much initial effort. Early win!

I stayed right with the crew– those hills lending a helping-hand – and focused on effort. Keep it easy, keep it easy, keep it easy.

5K – 25:06 – 8:05 min/mile – Perfect.

Miles 4-6.2: Passing over the Key Bridge brought me to the first D sighting of the day – hello! He had his bright neon-green sign (recycled from last year, thanks to its effectiveness & familiarity) and a big smile. I loved it; he knew I was cruising nice & easy. I had passed the 3:35 group, and was one mile out from worrying how far behind me they were.

10K – 49:18 – 7:56 min/mile – Building a cushion.

As my feet stomped on the 10K mat, I knew updates were being sent and everything felt right. “Here I come, Boston…”

Miles 6_9 elevationMiles 6.2-9: Heading up Canal Road brings us to the first deserted stretch. Spectators are few and far between (understandably) and there’s a steep hill up ahead. I charged up conservatively – this won’t be last hill to tackle!

My coworker Jared was waiting right in the middle with his girlfriend – more familiar faces and a Hey-I-know-you! grin…

Mile 7 JBR tweet

The passing high-five was so hard it left my hand tingling – there was a lot of oomph behind that cheer! Keep powering up, up, up… Coming back down into Georgetown greeted me with D sighting #2.

Feeling good? Yep! Need anything? Nope!

For every mile there was a feeling of gratitude that I was here again, doing this race again, testing my limits again. There was a flashback of right here, last year, I felt ___, and a mental check-in with the here and now.

Mile 9 was crucial last year; I realized I was running a sub-3:35 in a 3:40-goal. I wondered what would happen.

your body hears everything your mind says

This year? I was running my sub-3:35 goal, landing every step with intention. My pace felt easy (for now), but I knew what every mile ahead looked like. Stay positive; focus on this mile and this effort. Save your energy and take all of this in…

15K – 1:14:05 – 7:56 min/mile – Spot ON.

Miles 10-12: The crowd is thick, loud and amazing! We’re essentially running through a tunnel. (Side-note: apparently Bart Yasso was at this spot, mixed in the crowd! Awesome.) We pass behind my favorite memorial, Lincoln (hey friend!) and right onto Ohio Drive. Running on a flat stretch along the water I saw D again, taking a few sips of water from his bottle (spoiled, yes). He warned me that the wind was picking up, and to draft or run with a group if I could*.

I saw a sign** that would push me around Hains Point and onto the mall:

Today is not that day

Photo source.

**Another sign we saw a few times: Paul Ryan would have Finished by now!Clever.

Miles 12-15: Distractions welcomed! Running around Hains Pt. will never be “fun”, but it’s flat and it gets 3-4 miles out of the way. There were a few cheer groups, a band or two and a lot of signs put into the ground every ~20 yards (by the Pacers group, I think?).

As soon as we made the turn around the top of the peninsula (now on the North side), it hit. *There’s the wind – hello! I held onto my hat for a few strides, overhearing someone say this would give us a tail-wind over the bridge. If that’s true, enduring it now is totally worth it. If not, thanks for the hopeful distraction!

20K – 1:39:17 – 7:59 min/mile – Sticking with it.

HALF – 1:44:45 – 7:59 min/mile

Hello again, D! He was parked at miles 15 & 17, right near the same corner. Yep, feeling good!

MCM running 2 Keep going no matter what

Miles 16-19: After a quick out-and-back on Independence Ave, we’re finally on the National Mall. It’s gorgeous, mostly flat and still packed with the best spectators. The wind is seemingly blocked as we loop around the front of the Capitol and I see D one last time before the bridge.

30K – 2:30:20 – 8:03 min/mile – Beat. The. Bridge.

My mind flashes back to painful running memories – if I do anything on this day, I will BEAT THE BRIDGE. Here we go…

MCM sign I will

Miles 20-22: Remember the ups and downs – remember how long this stretch feels…

A lot of people stop to walk here – last year that was my weakness, as it seemed so much better than running. This year it was my strength – keep running, you’re fine!

I saw D twice (one lane of the bridge is open = perfect for cycling spectators!) and he reminded me that everything was on pace. He said my Mom had been tracking & texting, and she was excited! I so happily took water & motivation from him.

When I made it to mile 22, and didn’t need to use the Water stop as incentive to get to the end / take a walk break? Huge win! Things were undoubtedly starting to hurt, but all systems were still going.

35K – 2:55:52 – 8:05 min/mile

MCM lululemon cheer stationMCM lululemon sign Kim Kardashian

Miles 22-23: Hola Crystal City, I’m back!

The best part of this stretch was knowing that the lululemon cheer station was here and ready to dance with us (and/or hop in to run a few yards)! It was a huge boost to see them – Hi Katie + pup! – and listen to their pumped-up voices.

Thank you, team lulu!

MCM running 1
Photo courtesy of fellow Run-Ambassador, Melani.

The bad part about this stretch was the new route – we had a few extra inclines and ramps thrown in, vs. the old out-and-back. On any other run, those elevation changes wouldn’t have made an impression. When you’re racing, and 23 miles in? They hurt.

I took my only water stop around mile 23, walking for a quick 20 seconds and thinking nothing has ever tasted better.

Miles 24-26: I reminded myself over and over and over that I was BQ-ing today. (I may or may not have repeated it in my head to the tune of “We will, we will Rock You!” by Queen.) This was it! We powered through gusts of wind – holding onto my hat again – and the extreme fatigue that sets in at this point. I knew my pace was slowing, but not enough to throw me off.

40K – 3:22:29 – 8:08 – Bring it home…

Somewhere in that last mile I saw Ivan & Elizabeth – it shocked and surprised me in the very best way (also saw them back at 17), and this picture tells me everything.

Did every muscle and joint hurt? YEP. Was I about to BQ? No doubt…

MCM running - ivan

26 – 26.2: My time was getting too close; I put absolutely everything I had left into that last stretch. My feet were killing me, my hips were screaming and my stomach was giving the unmistakable puke-threshold signal.

Ignore it all. Get to Boston – Get to Boston – GET TO BOSTON. The last 3 hours of 8 min/miles brought you to this. Don’t let it go!

MCM Finishing Clock Time

MCM finishers shootMCM logo   medal
MCM time   believe instagram
MCM post-race w D

Marine Corps Marathon – October 28, 2012

3:34:04 – 8:10 min/mile avg

Overall: 1416 / 23515
Gender: 230 / 9995
Age Group: 75 / 1865


I know that 3:30 is in there for me, I just didn’t quite get it this time. That’s my sign that the marathon won’t be shelved; I want to go after it again*.

I’m thrilled with the way I paced myself, held onto energy for the end and pushed through the seemingly unavoidable fatigue that comes from pounding the pavement for 26.2 miles. I can’t imagine anything I would have done differently during the race, and that’s all I wanted to run away with.

Here’s lookin’ at Boston, 2014! Mission accomplished.

*After Boston, which c’mon, we all know that one is just for fun & hills!

Thanks, again, for your endless support! It’s invaluable to have a community behind you with each goal tackled and accomplished, and I hope these pages continue to prove that.

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Filed under DC, Goals, learning, MCM, motivation, race report, Races, running, things that make me Happy