Friday, January 25, 2013

Embrace Healthy Living: Overcoming Seasonal Affective Disorder

I am very excited about an upcoming opportunity to present at the Kanab Women's Forum on March 16th.  Me and my friend Carla will be speaking on embracing healthy living through positive life changes.  Click on the link for more information and to attend the conference.  Michael McLean is the keynote speaker at the event and I cannot wait to meet him and hear him speak.

Since I have been asked to present on embracing healthy living I've been thinking a lot about how I can be a better advocate and live a healthy and balanced life.  It has been freezing this winter in Utah and from what I've been following on the news it has been colder than normal all over the United States.

Yes this is real.  Taken from right outside my house last weekend.
This time of year can be incredibly depressing and more than ever I think several people are suffering from seasonal affective disorder. Between the freezing temperatures and the inversion in Utah I've found I have to work a little bit harder to stay positive, happy, motivated and healthy.  Being stuck indoors, not seeing the sun or sky for days in a row, and trying to breathe with the inversion can become overwhelming, frustrating, and honestly kind of miserable!

Here are 10 things I've found beneficial in helping me wane off seasonal affective disorder and embrace healthy living.

1.  Healthy eating.  I am absolutely no perfectionist when it comes to nutrition and definitely believe in balance in all things.  But what I do know is that when I eat better I feel better.  Eating too much junk just makes me feel like a big piece of junk and leads to sadness.  I've been making a conscious effort to eat extra fruits, vegetables and high-quality protein.

I give HRG a run for her money I think with my salad making skills. :)
2.  Smile.  Never underestimate the power of a smile.  How many times have you been having a terrible day and someone simply smiles at you and it completely turns it around?  Smiling is truly contagious and such a simple way to beat the blues!

My Niece Vara's smile warms my heart ever single time.
3.  Plan indoor activities.  I have been trying really hard to plan at least one or two fun indoor activity each week.  Last week I took my nephew to a movie and this week my entire family went to the circus.  There are fun things to do indoors but sometimes it just takes a little more planning, research, and creativity. 

4.  Weekend Getaways.  Last weekend I was able to drive three hours south and pace the St. George Half Marathon.  It was a quick trip and the weather was in the 50's!  48 hours in the sunshine was just what I needed and I came back reinvigorated, happy, and with a new sense of motivation.

So fun to meet my Daily Mile friend Eileen at this race.
5.  Exercise.  One of the best way to stay motivated during the winter months is signing up for a race.  I signed up for the IMS Arizona Marathon clear back in July and knowing I have this race coming up has really helped keep me on track.  Starting each day with a run makes facing the cold so much easier for some reason.

6.  Shopping.  Yes I am addicted to shopping and seeing a clearance rack with an extra 40% off coupon is incredibly euphoric to me.  Almost as great as crossing a finish line at a race...almost!  It might not be shopping for you, but re-explore a favorite hobby that you have been neglecting.  Not that I ever neglect shopping but you get my point right?

My Mom surprised me with this new outfit this week.  We may or may not both be failing with our resolutions to shop less in 2013.
7.  Random acts of kindness.  It is simply amazing to me how great it makes me feel to help and appreciate others.  I've made it a personal goal to write at least two Thank you cards a week to friends and family and doing this has brought me so much joy.  It just feels so good to focus on others instead of myself.
8.  Spend less time alone.  I live alone and during the winter it is easy to get stuck in a rut of vegging out in front of the TV at night.  As fun as this sounds it is a major trigger of depression for me so I have tried to surround myself with others.  I love living alone but being with people makes me happy! 

LOVE spending time with these kiddos.
9.  Planning vacations.  I have a couple of upcoming vacations planned for 2013 and having these to look forward to and plan has really helped my mood.  Having something fun to look forward to no matter what it is has really helped me stay focused and happy!

I am heading to Minnesota to see this girl in May and I absolutely cannot wait!
10.  Fuzzy socks, hot chocolate, snuggles, and fleece pants!  It really is the simple things like wearing fuzzy socks under my boots to work and snuggling up with my nephew that help me keep me sane when the weather outside is insane!

Any tips you would add to my list?

I think the bottom line is that it all comes down to attitude.  Our minds truly are powerful tools and if we stay positive and focus on the good rather than the bad we will all survive this chaos together right? :)  Have a great weekend everyone!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Treadmill Boredom Busters

It's been far too long since I've actually blogged about "running" on Running For Trevor but I have actually been logging quite a few miles this Winter.  In my opinion this is the hardest time of year to stay motivated as far as running goes.  Races are few and far between, temperatures are below freezing, and well sometimes sipping on hot cocoa and watching the biggest loser in fluffy fleece pants just seems like the cool thing to do.

Fortunately I've been able to resume most of my running outside with the proper clothing, lots of caution, and a few really crazy great running friends.  Last Saturday I even ran my coldest run yet in -6 degree weather.  That was a whole new level of insanity even for me but when properly dressed anything under 10 degrees feels about the same.  Cold is cold!

Running outside all year long is absolutely possible and many of my amazingly talented running friends never set foot on a treadmill.  But for those days when you just want to wuss out or don't feel like putting on 12 layers of clothing here are my top five treadmill boredom busters.  Because lets face it, unless your EMZ running on the treadmill is just complete torture.  Here's my attempt at keeping it Interesting.  As always everything that I post on this blog is simply my opinion and what has worked for me.  I am definitely no expert.

1: 1 minute on/off intervals:  Warm up easy and then alternate 1 min sprinting followed by 1 min easy recovery, cool down.
Why I like it?  I like this workout because it is simple yet effective and works those fast twitch muscle fibers that so often get neglected with emphasis on distance running.  Mostly I like it because I am dumb and this workout takes very little brain function.  Just run fast for 1 minute and then slow for 1 minute.  Anyone can handle that right?

2:  1 mile repeats:  Warm up easy and then alternate 1 mile fast followed by quarter mile up to a full mile easy, repeat.  Try to increase your speed a notch with each repeat.  I usually end up doing 4 miles fast in a 60 min time period.
Why I like it?   I like any sort of interval workout on the treadmill because it breaks up monotony.  1 mile repeats are a good alternative to tempo runs and help build stamina without fatiguing the legs as much.

3:  Hill Intervals:  Warm up at 1% and then gradually increase the incline every quarter to half mile until you have reached 3.5-4.5%, then go back down with the same method.  Keep your speed steady throughout.
Why I like it?  Keeps things interesting and your mind constantly thinking and builds lower body strength.  One of the few beauties of the treadmill is that you can manipulate it.  You can basically mimic the elevation of any course by utilizing the incline on the treadmill.   

4:  Progressive Tempo Warm up and then start a steady state tempo beginning at marathon pace and finishing at 10k-5k pace.  Just increase the speed a notch or two every mile to mimic the pace you are aiming for.  Depending on what I am training for I will do this for 4-8 miles.
Why I like it?  The treadmill is utilized as a tool in this sort of workout and in a sense is teaching you how to pace yourself.  It is often hard to mimic paces outside because you are in control and terrain varies so why not let the machine do the work? All you have to do is keep up with the belt. ;)  Not feeling it?  Slow it down and just run at marathon pace.  That is the beauty of the will spin at whatever pace you tell it to.  Always listen to your body.

5:  Fartlek:  Bored to tears on the treadmill?  One of my favorite ways to bust boredom is to throw in a 5-40 minute fartlek effort.  Warm up for 10-30 min (or however long you feel like really) and then run at a steady fast pace for as long as you want and follow it up with a cool down.  This is one of those workouts that I never focus on distance but rather time intervals and effort. 
Why I like it?  I like this workout because it can be completely impromptu and can be as short or long as I want depending on the day.  Also because I don't really like to follow a way specific training plan and rather try to be intuitive and listen to my body.  Again mostly I like this workout because I am dumb and don't like to think and this is a great way to increase lactate threshold and improve speed.  I think fartleks are a great go to when you are feeling good but don't know how to channel that positive energy.    

Cliff notes:
  • I base all of my paces for different workouts off of the McMillan Running Calculator.  This does not work for everyone but for me I have found it to be incredibly accurate and very beneficial.  I am not way strict about following it but rather use it as a guide.
  • I base my workouts towards whatever I am training for and where I am at in my training cycle.  For example since I am training for a half marathon right now I would do my 1 mile repeats at half marathon pace or a little faster and my 1 min intervals at 5k pace.  Make sense?  Don't be afraid to ask questions.  Just leave an e-mail in your comment and I will reply.
  • Always follow up a hard treadmill workout with an easy recovery day or cross-training.  Your recovery pace should be a good 45-90 seconds (or more) slower than your marathon pace give or take.  Everyone is different.  My friend Jake just wrote a great post on recovery.
  • Music, TV, Ipad (not that I have one but they seem to be all the rage), Magazines, books, people watching, singing out loud, and dancing (why not?) all contribute to busting boredom on the treadmill!
So as much as I despise Satan's Sidewalk, the dreadmill, deathmill, or whatever you want to call it.  The treadmill really can be a great tool for consistency on those crappy days when you just don't want to face the elements outside.  Just try to resist the urge to bang your head against the screen!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

I Resolve To

Thank you for the incredibly kind, supportive, uplifting, and understanding comments on my last post.  I feel very fortunate to have such a great support system and it is so reassuring to feel love and comfort on so many levels and from so many people.

2013 is officially upon us and it is a great time to reset, re-asses, re-prioritize, and move forward with passion, love, and a clearer perspective.  There is just something incredibly freeing and refreshing about starting a new year.  No matter where you are at in your life you can always start over and move forward right?  I've made countless mistakes in my past but fortunetely these mistakes do not define me and it is how I respond and move forward that truly matters.  I cannot go back and change or re-write my history but I do have the power to pave the way for my future.  Here is a short list of 13 things I resolve to do in 2013:
  • I resolve to laugh more and stress less.
  • I resolve to study more and shop less.
  • I resolve to indulge more and feel guilty about indulging less.
  • I resolve to appreciate more and complain less.
  • I resolve to forgive myself for mistakes I have made in my past more and feel guilty less.
  • I resolve to serve and help others more and think about myself less.
  • I resolve to run for fun and enjoy my surroudings more and run fast less.
  • I resolve to slow down, have fun, enjoy more and worry less.
  • I resolve to connect with friends in real life more and waste time on social media less.
  • I resolve to love myself more and criticize my imperfections less.
  • I resolve to be a positive example to those around me more and gossip less.
  • I resolve to spend time with loved ones more and watch TV less. 
  • I resolve to open my heart, trust more and fear less. 
I resolve to always progress forward without looking back and to be the very best me that I can be in 2013.  The best runner, friend, daughter, sister, aunt, supervisor and person I am capable of being.  I cannot go back and re-write my past but I can control my future.  I can dream big, live boldly with passion, embrace love and write my own story.

What do you resolve to do in 2013?