This has become my rally for the past several summers...as the temps start to rise, the need for people to drink more also rises. But many people also resort to drinking more than their bodies need just to help keep hunger at bay--true hunger cannot be squashed by drinking more water. Hunger is your body's cue telling you that it needs fuel--food. Thirst is your body's cue of telling it needs water--fluids.
What got me started was reading a blog on the health website that my husband's company uses to help their employees stay healthy. One of the suggestions written by a blog writer was to "Drink as much water as you can."
Well, I am here to tell you that you can drink too much water--remember your body gets fluids from more than the water we drink--food such as fruits and veggies provide us with hydration, as well as coffee, tea, juices, diet sodas.
A few years ago when I was taking my Road Runners Club of America Running Coaches certification course the instructors stressed to us the need to get the word out to endurance athletes regarding a very serious condition--hyponatremia. This is when an individual drinks more than their body needs which can lead to a dangerous drop in sodium levels as well as affecting the hormones regulating fluid levels, therefore the kidneys don't function as they should and if the condition evolves swelling of the brain can occur which could lead to coma and in some cases death.
The idea is to drink to thirst---I know, I know, I have heard it a million times that when one is thirsty they are already on the verge of dehydration--but the reality is, thirst is our bodies cue to drink--we do not have to force fluids, nor can we stay ahead of our hydration--that is NOT how our bodies work.
Think about it--if you have a pet--say a cat or dog and it's really warm outside, do you force your pet to drink? Do you shove a water bottle in her mouth? --probably not--the reason, your pet knows when she needs water and will search for it. We do not have to force fluids--and in doing so you may actually be creating more issues than you need to. So a little lesson I am here to share--DRINK TO THIRST and allow your body to be your guide--not the little thought that if some is good, more must be better.
RUN HAPPY and RUN STRONG
I remember when I first took up the sport of running well over 7 years ago, I could not read enough on the sport. In fact up until a few weeks ago I had well over 100 books on the subject sitting on a shelf in my office. I read everything I could get my hands on--everything from books to magazines to websites. I read everything from Running for Dummies to what many running experts consider to be the encyclopedia of running, Dr. Tim Noakes book, Lore of Running. I even went so far as to get my running coaches certification from the RRCA in July 2009.
With all this knowledge I just knew I had what it took to keep me running injury free--but that all changed in August 2012. During a long run at the end of August I started developing calf pain--not cramping per se, just a tightness in my left gastroc. It had been a really hot Texas summer so I thought this was due to poor intake of electrolytes--although I had never experienced this before and I never had this issue with my Chicago marathon training.
I went home did some stretches and took a few days off. After several disasterous attempts at managing the long run I decided to defer the Marine Corps Marathon to October 2013--I just did not have it in me to get through those long runs, my left calf just would not relax.
I started seeing a sports chiro and this is when I started putting it all together--Was it my shoes? My fueling? My running surface? My lack of recovery? While it could have been any of these things, the reality probably lies within the center of my being--no, not my soul--MY HIPS!
While shoes are important, according to new research, they may not be as important as we once thought. Same thing goes for fueling, running surfaces, recovery time, etc. But one common thread that seems to be floating around these days is that a runner's hips can be the cause of many issues--everything from knee pain, to ITB issues, even plantar fasciitis.
When I started training with Jay Johnson he had me start doing a series of exercises to help strengthen the muscles supporting the hips. If the hips/knees can't extend and flex properly via strong hips and glutes--this means my calves have to do much of the work to propel my body forward. The body would rather engage the big muscles (especially the glut maximus) to do this job than the small muscles of the gastroc and soleus.
I reluctantly started doing my MYRTL exercises, along with a series of planks (supine, prone and side) and other drills. I equate these exercises like my anti-hypertensive--as long as I take my medicine I am able to keep my blood pressure under control, but if I should stop, no telling what would happen. Same is true with these exercises--while they do a tremendous job for my hips, they don't do a lot for my vanity--like a biceps curl or a triceps dip does for my arms--but they are far more important to my goal of staying healthy.
So you may wonder why it took so long for this old chassis to break down. Well, running injuries are funny--more times than not, they do not happen overnight but instead they are the result of weeks, months and years of poor bio-mechanics and muscle imbalances.
My sports chiro explained it to me like this--let's say you take your car into get new tires before you go on a trip across country. You take your car in when the mechanic tells you that your car is out of alignment and that it would best to get your car aligned BEFORE getting your new tires. But you believe the guy is trying to get more money out of you and you leave with four brand new tires. Months pass by and all is going well--your car seems to be driving well, that is until you are driving down the road and you have a blow out. Now what was once an annoyance with a little pull to the right, has now caused major damage to your car--had you just spent the time and money to get the car aligned, you may have been able to prevent major damage to your car.
Same is true for these all important ancillary exercises--when we take time to work on the muscles that support running we keep the body in better alignment. When we take time to cross train we allow for more recovery of the muscles while still supporting our endurance and strength. When we take time to allow our bodies to fully recover between races, hopefully we can prevent our bodies from having a blow out that will keep us from running for weeks and months.
As for all those books on my shelf--80 percent of them went to the half-price bookstore--the information which was considered sound and logical for the day is no longer considered to be the same today. We must understand that with new technology and a better understanding as to how our bodies function, much of what we learned is no longer sound advice. It may be that history will prove us wrong, but for many, many years runners ran in nothing but shoes they found at their local department store. They only drank water on their runs and they didn't care where they ran, whether concrete or asphalt, they just ran. As more people take up running, the number of people reporting injuries will rise, too. Just remember though, you are an experiment of one, so take the information you learn and see if it applies to you.
Stay well and healthy!
When I was a kid I was quite shy around those I did not know well. In fact up until just a few short years has it been that I have I developed the confidence to live MY life not as others see me living it, but as I see myself living the life I was meant to live. If you would have seen me 10 years ago I would have been back of the room sitting in a corner waiting for others to ask me to join in. I was not anti-social--I just did not feel as though I belonged. Sadly, I believe much of this had to do with my weight and the insecurity it brought to me.
Don't get me wrong--I was very active in my daughter's school as a volunteer but when it came to interactions with others, especially women, who were much thinner than me, I lacked the confidence to put myself out there. I was too afraid that others were judging me based on my looks, my weight.This was something that I struggled with for the better part of my life.
I am not really sure when that all changed, but I know that running has given me the confidence to put myself out there and not care what others think. Taking the risks to live a dream far exceeds the power I GAVE to others. And what fun this new confidence has brought me!!!
So if I want to dress as a Piggy Princess running the streets of Cincinnati or cheer for others in full piggy attire to inspire them to live their dream than so be it. We only have one opportunity in life to make the most of what GOD gave us--I don't want to look back with any regrets--any could've, would've, should've--I want to EMBRACE THE JOY that we are all meant to have, IF we just let down our inhibitions!
Open up any fitness magazine these days and trust me you will discover more than 1000 different ways to lose x amount of wieght in so many days or weeks. Eat more protein, eat less protein. Add fat, cut fat. Don't eat carbs, eat carbs. Caffiene is good, wait a minute caffiene is bad. Run high intensity intervals, no do walking to promote fat burning. Drink water as if there was no tomorrow, oh wait but not bottled water. Well, as you can see, it's a wonder we have the issues we have when it comes to health, fitness and wellness. The information is very conflicting and who are we to believe.
My take is there is NO ONE-SIZE-FITS-ALL APPROACH to health, wellness and fitness. Genetics, lifestyle, workout history, food likes and dislikes all should be factored in. There is no magic path to health, wellness and fitnss, but the path one is willing to take.
If someone told me that I would have to eat cabbage EVERY day to lose or maintain my weight, I can pretty much tell you that aint' gonna happen. I like cabbage, but I can't and won't eat it every day. If someone told me I had to swim 1200 meters 4-5 times a week to lose/maintain my weight, that ain't gonna happen. I like swimming but it is not an activity that I enjoy, but that to that degree--at least at this moment in my life.
But here's the take--none of the facts I mentioned earlier are wrong or for that matter are they right. The reason we have to look at our desires, our passions, our goals, and mostly our genetics to discover what works best for us.
A few years ago I attended a wonderful seminar led by running expert Coach Greg McMillian. I have followed Greg for many years and I consider him one of the country's most mindful running coaches. During the seminar he made a comment about running and one's ability to improve and what made an Olympian an Olympian--he said a lot of that has to do with one's training, but much more has to do with chosing the right parents.
In other words, we cannot elect to ignore our genetic ceiling. Now before you get all flustered, this does not mean you are doomed to a life of obesity or inactivity--you just have to accept the fact that there is only so much one can do. I would love to be 5'10" but that ain't gonna happen. I am destined to be 5'1" and barring any shrinkage due to osteopenia or osteoporosis, I hope to remain 5'1" for at least a few more years.
The reality is, so many people follow the paths of others without forging their own way. Develop their own plan. Discover their own passions. Follow their own dreams and goals. When we focus on what we do--not what the scale reads or what our friends and family are doing, then we can build the self-efficacy to continue on the road to health, wellness and fitness. It's all about accepting who we are and having the confidence to pave the path that we are meant to be on.
Until next time! GO EMBRACE YOUR JOY!!!
When I was a little kid I used to think that anyone over the age of 20 was old and if you were old enough to be a grandma or a grandpa you were really, really, really old. It's so funny that when we are young we can't wait to be older and when we are older we wish we were younger. There is something about the human psyche about wanting what we don't have.
Of course with each passing year I realize that what I once viewed was old is actually not so old these days. In fact knowing that I am just 4 months shy of celebrating my 52nd birthday I realize that MY middle age is not my grandparent's middle age--or at least I don't think it is. But had you asked me this question 8 years ago, you may have been surprised to hear my answer.
I was 80 pounds heavier, having just had my gall bladder removed and newly diagnosed with hypertension. My feet and back hurt all the time and it was difficult for me to walk without something. I had little energy and I was in a chronic state of depression. At age 43 I felt middle aged--in fact I felt that all my good days were behind me.
But on February 9, 2005 that all changed. I decided enough was enough. I had two choices-- I could wallow in my sorrow OR I could empower myself to do everything I could to embrace the habits of heatlhy living.
It was a VERY slow and meticulous process, but I did things my way. I started tracking what I was eating and started doing small stints of workouts on the elliptical until I worked my way up to an hour a day. Nine months into my journey I joined a gym, took up strength training and running and as they say the rest was history.
It took me a solid 3 1/2 years to lose the weight, but I did not care. This was a lifestyle. It was my new way of living. So much so that I got my dream job working for SparkPeople.com, which I held for almost 5 years. But there was something more.
In July 2009 I received my Road Runners Club of America Certified Running Coach certification, but I still longed for more. So this past spring I took the next step to get my ACE CPT certification--yep at the tender age of 51 years 8 months. The first exam I have taken in almost 30 years. But I proved to myself that day that I can do this.
My desire is to help others forge their own path. Not to follow the path of someone else, but to carve out a plan on their own with my guidance. I am a firm believer that when we find a passion in what we do, no matter how old we are, we are never too old to change the courses, we just have to have the courage to put up the mast and see where life carries us.
I remember when I was a kid every March/April the Wizard of Oz would show on TV. I know I am aging myself, but that was back in the day when it was a BIG deal to show it on TV--it was like the Wizard of Oz was a rite of passage to springtime. I often questioned whether this had to do with the tornado in the movie as springtime in tornado alley is prime time to hunker down.
A few things always scared me about the movie--the flying monkeys and the Wicked With to name a few, but I was really afraid of the Cowardly Lion. The Scarecrow well he was just goofy and the Tin Man seemed so genuine, even though he lacked a heart, but the Cowardly Lion, well, he was one character I think, even back in the day, I related to.
I was never one to be adventuresome. There was something about playing life safe. I did not care (and still don't) for roller coasters or heights, but I was also afraid to change directions once I chose a path to take, even if I knew I was on the wrong path. At least I knew it was taking me somewhere. It was giving me direction.
When I started running my life began to evolve. I started taking risks. I started putting myself out there. I started to live life as the adventure it is meant to be. I quit worrying about what other people thought of me, even if they didn't/don't get my sometime off-the-cuff humor.
If you knew me 10 years ago you probably would not have noticed me. I always sat in the back of the room. When I was a volunteer I always allowed others to tell me what to do instead of me taking the initiative. I did not want to hurt other people's feelings (what many experts allude to as a PEOPLE PLEASER) so I became comfortable in staying safe.
Today I took the American Council on Exercise Personal Trainer Exam. I had bought the material a couple of years ago and dabbled with the material from time to time. I would study it and put it down when some of the concepts became a little overwhelming, even for me having a degree in nursing. Well, last winter I vowed that 2013 would be the year. I gave myself 4 months to fully prepare--it was tough--as someone who has not taken a test in almost 30 years (my Nursing Boards were my last 'real' test), I was terrified. But I was committed to putting my fears aside.
I arrived at the testing center feeling confident and fully prepared. That was until I read the VERY first question. I told myself that's OK, flag the question and move on. The next one I did not know--then the next, then the next. In the first 15 questions I had flagged 12 of them. I was beginning to feel like a failure and I still had over 135 questions to go. I took a DEEP breath and began to answer the questions I knew for sure were correct. I then went back and looked at all the questions I flagged and it seemed like the answers appeared out of nowhere.
I looked through all my answers (all 150 of them)--I still had almost 40 minutes to go. I debated about looking over them yet again, but I talked myself out of it--I either was ready or I wasn't. I clicked the Submit Exam button and dang it, if the test didn't prompt me, "Are you sure you are ready?" Oh my, am I, was I--I clicked yes--typed in the words "I understand". I had to fill out a brief survey before I could get my results--my heart was pounding as if I had just run a marathon--I literally thought I would pass out. The minute I answered the last question in the survey, the "YOU PASSED" all in caps appeared on the screen. I kid you not, I literally thought I was going to pass out yet again. I was then instructed to print my results, which the proctor gave me. I literally was crying all the way to my car. There was such a sense of relief to have this behind me, but more a sense of ACCOMPLISHMENT that I did not let FEAR win and keep me from fulfilling a dream!