Running at 3:30 AM…

I didn’t realize how much I miss running very early in the morning until I did so today.

When I was in college, I’d run every day from 3-4 am.  Every day.  Rain.  Snow.  Sun.  Wind.  It didn’t matter.

I hurt my knee after my marathon and gave up running for almost a decade until I started CrossFit and picked it up again.

Now, I love to run 5k’s and jog.  I just don’t do it every day!Image result for running in the dark

Today I decided to exercise early.  By myself.

It was snowing out but not sticking since the ground is too warm here in CO at this time of year for that.

It was euphoria…

There’s this “dead zone” as I like to call it where 95% of the population is sleeping and it’s between 2:30-4:30 am.  This is my favorite time of the day.  To be alone.  Me.  My thoughts.  God.  To do my thing.  To think.  To plan my day.  To read.  To write.  To exercise.  To breathe.  To be.

I also love the dark.  I love winter because it’s dark the majority of the time.

You combine all these elements–darkness, silence, and the sense of being alone on this planet–and you touch magic.

I wanna touch magic more often now.  Don’t you?

A Gratitude Run…

Image result for runningAs I posted a few days ago, I have been learning a lot lately about achieving your goals and defining them.

One thing Chop Wood Carry Water recommended was a gratitude walk when you’re comparing yourself to others.

Well, I took this idea and turned it into a “Gratitude Run.”

I love to run.  There’s nothing better to clear the mind, promote clarity, have some quiet time to yourself, and be healthy.  It’s the cheapest exercise program out there!  I have some of my best ideas when I’m running.

So yesterday I went on a gratitude run.  I tried to take everything I saw and be grateful for it:  prairie dogs, melting snow, grass, pavement, trees, bird calls, lakes, memories, etc.  I also used this time to be grateful and thank God for all the blessings in my life:  family, love, happiness, house, home, car, CrossFit, time to meditate and time to run, my job, my life, this moment, my future, my past, etc.

This was a great exercise!  I had some ideas I want to implement in my life not to mention I feel I’m not grateful enough in my life or humble.  I need to remember how blessed I am so I am a better person, more empathetic to others, more compassionate, more caring.

I plan to make every run (except maybe when I race) a gratitude run.

Try it yourself, see if your attitude or mindset changes, and let me know what you think!!

CrossFit’s Online Running Course

Image result for crossfit running course

I like to run.

So it was a no-brainer to sign up for CrossFit’s online running course, which went over the correct running technique to prevent injuries, major faults, and corrections.

As a runner, we all pass through 3 major phases:  Pose, Fall, Pull.  The pose phase is where your feet are directly beneath you.  The fall phase is where your feet are not touching the ground.  The pull is when your other foot pushes off and you complete your stride.

Runners want to maximize their fall phase in order to run faster.  This is contrary to popular belief that increasing your stride will make you run faster.  Your body is more efficient the more it maintains its center of gravity.  This goes for lifting heavy weights as well.

This course also goes over how to analyze a runner’s stride and if they are efficient or not.  Ultimately, the longer you stay in the fall phase, the less your energy output, the less work you do, and the longer you can do without feeling the effects of fatigue.

I would recommend this course to anyone looking to improve their running technique.  I implemented what I learned during my very next running session and saw immediate improvements.  Great course and great information!

The Best Part About Running IS….

…the birds.

I never run with music.

During a race, I want to hear if someone is coming up behind me.

During a jog, I want to hear nature.

What’s not to love about a low-flying hawk’s screech, an owl’s hoot, or a crow’s caw?

I am not alone.  Nor would I want to be.

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Running is Stress Relief…

Normally, I take the winter off from running.

But here in Colorado, we’ve had such an unseasonably warm winter that when it hit 60 degrees out, I HAD to go for a run.  Who could waste such beautiful days?

Now, it’s colder out.  And I still find myself craving my afternoon runs.  And frequently, I take them.

I’ve been pretty stressed lately with life decisions–ya know, the big one like what should I do with the half of my life left type thing.Jingle 4

Running clears my mind.  I get TONS of writing ideas from running.  I remember tasks I have to complete.  I see hawks and birds and squirrels and smile.  Even though my heart rate is technically up, it is really down.

And afterwards?  Priceless the relief I feel from all of life’s stresses.  I’m even considering a 5k if the weather is nice enough!

Conclusion:  runs are back.  And I’m so relieved!

The Key To CrossFit Is…

Pace!

Repeat.

The key to CrossFit is pace.

Definition of pace:  “consistent and continuous speed in walking, running, or moving.”  I’ve said it before, but it’s so important it’s worth repeating.  It’s like church.  The Bible never changes.  Neither does the stories or what Jesus said.  However, humans need to hear things over and over again and sometimes with just a slight twist in order to get it.  That’s why we keep going to church even after knowing the Bible inside and out.  We can never know it and get it all and remember it all without reminders.

So get it now!

Today in our WOD I was the last one off the bike and the last one off the rower.  Neither of these moves is one of my strengths.  However, I got on and just stayed steady.  The last moves, however, were two of my strengths:  bar over burpees and overhead squats at 65 lbs.  I had my game plan before we started.

What happened?

I beat most of the people in my group.

Why?

Because they all attacked the assault bike like it was going out of style and the same thing with the rower.  At the end of the WOD they were toast.  I still had some left so I poured it on and won.  I do this same thing in 5k’s.  I find my pace and stick with it until the end.3afa7dcffc40db0631009

Rich Froning is the master of pacing.  You watch him do any WOD and he’s constantly moving at a steady pace.  The idea is to keep your heart rate as level as possible.  If you’re constantly peaking, you’ll need a valley to recover.  And a valley takes time to descend.  Time you don’t have if you want to win.

What’s the result of pacing?  For Rich, 4 CrossFit titles in a row.

For me and you, better times, more wins, and a workout at the end having you feeling amazing because of it.

Find Something You Can Win At….And then DO IT!!

When I ran 5k’s and didn’t place, it sucked.

I especially didn’t like it if it was crowded, and I’m running on a boring course like city streets.

Now that I’m older, I’m winning at 5k’s in my age group.  And it’s fun!

It doesn’t matter the prize, I just like to win.  It can be a pie.  It can be a Christmas ornament.  Or it can be $50!  There’s something inside of me (and I believe inside all of us) that likes to win.  I don’t know if it’s vanity or shallowness or self-validation.  All I know is man is created to always strive to do better, to be better, to test his limits and his skills.  And when we accomplish a goal or do better than others, endorphins kick in and we feel alive!  We feel ecstatic.  We feel for lack of a better word–validated.  As if our existence means something.  If only for a fleeting moment in time…

The same is true for CrossFit.

I CrossFit because I like to win.  I like to beat the boys.  I like to beat everyone.  I like to be on top.  It doesn’t always happen (in fact, it’s less frequent than I’d like), but when it does, my day is stellar.  My confidence is up.  My attitude is winning.  My perspective sees the big picture instead of the miniscule daily irritations in life.

All because I won at something.

Over the weekend, I was talking to my husband about this same thing.  He used to race motorcycles.  And win all the time.  He used to be one of the top racers in his class.  He misses that.  He misses the competition.  But mainly he misses winning.  He is seeking that “thing” again in his life.  Because we all need it…351e79i

My advice to you:  find your “thing” and win at it!  Pickleball.  Tennis.  Swimming.  Running races.  CrossFit.  Board games.  Pool.  Or team sports: softball, basketball, flag football, etc.  Writing contests.  Pie-eating or baking contests.  Quilting.  There is no end to what this world offers.

Find your passion.  Do your passion.  Win at your passion.

Trust me, if you do, your life will be much more fulfilling, meaningful, vivacious, and full of hope.  Your confidence will skyrocket.  You’ll be more content and ready to take the inevitable beatings the world pummels you with.

Every victory counts.  No matter how small.

Because it’s the small victories in life that climb the highest obstacles in your path.