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Motivation issues?

Take a couple of minutes and watch this movie. You will come away either a. never wanting to run again, calling all ultra runners raving lunatics, or b. wanting to call in sick for the rest of the week so you can see just how far you can run unsupported.
Enjoy!

I have been struggling today.  Not with food per se, but over the past week I have really been down in the dumps and doing a lot of navel gazing.  I am 37 right now and I don’t have a lot of “success” to speak of in my life.  I use quotation marks there because I am healthy (aside from needing to lose weight, I have no disease states), I have a better wife than I could ever hope to be worthy of, I have two of the sweetest sons (5 and 3) that anyone could ever hope to have, and I have a job in this economy with great benefits.  My intention is not to brag in any way, but to illustrate the point that I am acting like a fool.

Why am I allowing myself to be the mayor of sad-sackville?  I don’t have any good reason other than to say life hasn’t turned out the way I always pictured it would.  So what?!?!  I can’t think of any example in history of a life that turned out exactly they way it was envisioned.

I have used food as a therapy and I can no longer run to that false sense of security and comfort.  As per the title of this blog, I have a long way to go to get this weight off, but the important thing is to start, and then continue to start each morning.

If you are like me and make yourself a victim to the imagined future from your past, take a stand and remind yourself of what is good in your life.  Take some time and actually write it down.  You will not be able to argue with written evidence of the good in your life.  Once you have that list prepared, make a list of the areas of your life that are not good right now.  There’s your best opportunities for improvement.  Start with a small issue or area to get the ball rolling and experience some success and then find the next issue to tackle.

I will be making these lists on a quarterly basis to keep me sane and realistic about what I can be thankful for in my life.  I know I won’t correct every issue I don’t like each quarter, but I will be able to see progress that I have made.

I would love to hear some other strategies to keep yourself not just motivated, but excited about life.  Please leave a comment and let me know what is working for you.

Respect the Run!

Last year, I set out to chronicle my journey on my two next big goals in life.  First, to lose 100 lbs.  Second, to train for and complete a 100 mile ultramarathon.

If you have followed this blog at all you will see that I have not posted anything in quite some time and I have not stuck to my plans because I have not posted in some time.

In the middle of all of this, life has been happening.  I’ve injured myself and healed, I underwent minor surgery and am just now healed from that, so there are some legitimate reasons for my lack of running.  However, there are no reasons for my lack of weight loss.  As of this posting, I weigh as much as I did when I started this blog.

In spending time pondering this over the past few weeks, the question that keeps coming to me is, ” I know that I should be losing weight, but why am I not working at it? ”  This week an answer finally came to me.  I have not been losing weight because it is something I SHOULD be doing, not something that I genuinely want to be doing.

I know that I should be losing weight and I can now say that I truly want to lose weight.  I’m tired of having to look for XXL sizes.  I’m tired of having to overcome the doubt in people’s faces when I tell them that I am not only a runner, but an ultra distance runner.  I’m ready to start looking and feeling the part.

Stay tuned to see my progress, but I believe that desire rather than the requirement to lose weight will make all the difference.

More to come!

In addition to writing Odyssey100.com, I am also the “Gear Guy” for Beyond Limits Magazine.  Beyond Limits features inspiring stories about people overcoming real and perceived limitations in their lives to experience the full adventure that life has to offer.  Many of the stories are about athletic endurance, but some showcase the iron will that some display when faced with adversity.

Because I run and am borderline obsessed with gadgets I have the honor of partnering with Beyond Limits Magazine to review gear for their readers.

NightHawk Black White light ArmpocketRecently, I reviewed the new Nighthawk from Armpocket.  An excellent way to carry what you need on a run and still have the protection of LED lights to make sure you can be seen on the road.  You can find my review here.

Please take some time to read the stories at Beyond Limits and follow them.

Respect the Run!

I’m not much for mantras.  I’ve never had a problem with people using them as there are some genuine examples of mantras that work for some people.  I am particularly fond of Chris McCormack’s mantra, “Embrace the suck.”  He has used that to get him through some rough spots on race days, and I think two Ironman world championships will testify that it works pretty well for him.

Since I have come to realize that my obsession with food is an addiction / disorder, I have adopted a mantra of my own to help with both running and weight loss, “Fat ain’t fast”.  This phrase popped in my head about a week ago and it has stuck with me.  At the risk of overstating the obvious, fat ain’t fast reminds me that as long as I allow myself to remain captive to the fleeting comfort of food, I will never improve as a runner.  If I continue to give in to the temptation of junk food, I will always have the potential to be a great runner, but never realize that potential because my overweight body will not perform the way that it could.

I’m ready to be a stronger, faster runner.  I’m tired of having to enter races in the “hippo class”.  Yes, there really is a hippo class.  Despite their girth, hippos are apparently rather fast when they have to be.  I’m tired of having to ask for a size XXL t-shirt when I register for races (I’m rather surprised that size is even available to be honest).  Most of all though, I’m tired of telling new acquaintances that I am a runner and every time getting the question, “Really, you run?”.  I run, and I am no longer going to allow myself to be a captive to the false feelings of comfort that I find in food.

Do you have a mantra that helps you overcome temptation / addiction?  Do you have a mantra that helps you as a runner?  Leave a comment and let me know.  I’d love to hear from others who are using a similar technique.

Respect the Run!

Beyond Limits Magazine  presents stories about overcoming the self-imposed limits we all put on ourselves.  Many of their stories focus on running and other adventure sports.  Occasionally I have the opportunity to review running gear for the magazine.

Today, I compared three different armbands to carry your iPhone while you run.  This is the third review in a series of four, intended to help you become a better and safer runner by running with your phone.  The first post detailed the reasons you should carry your phone with you while you run.  The second post compared three different phone cases that can take a beating and still give the full functionality of your phone.

Please head over to the magazine and check those posts out.  While you’re there, be sure to read the other stories.  They have assembled some truly inspiring stories from some people we can all learn from.

Heartbroken about Boston

I am absolutely heartbroken about what happened in Boston today.  To all who are directly impacted both physically and emotionally, know that you are being prayed for.

Can You See Your Goals?

Florence Chadwick, an American born in San Diego in 1918, made quite a name for herself as an open water swimmer.  Her greatest accomplishment was a swim across the English Channel in 1950.  She accomplished the same feat the following year.  In 1952 she set a goal to swim between Catalina Island and the California coast.  15 hours into her 26 mile swim a thick fog rolled in and Florence began to doubt her ability to finish the swim.  Unable to see the shore, she asked to be pulled into the boat.  After arriving back on shore, she learned that she stopped swimming within a mile of shore.  

Undeterred, Florence succeeded 2 months later under the same foggy conditions.  During an interview after her swim Florence was asked what was different about her second attempt than the first one.  Florence told the reporter that she was able to complete her swim because she had a clear vision of her goal, the coastline, in her mind the entire time.

I’m not pretending to think I can add anything to this lesson to always keep our goals in front of us.  I for one will be taking some time this week to make sure mine are clearly outlined.

Completely Derailed Today

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I am not proud of myself today.  I started off in a bad mood and it just seemed to go downhill from that point forward.  I left the house this morning angry, and because I have the habit formed to seek comfort through food, I had drive through for breakfast.  Almost as if on auto pilot I was pulling away from the window at a popular chicken restaurant with a very fatty comfortable breakfast ready for an embarrassing drive time feast.  Sounds kind of gross to describe it that way, but that’s the reality. 

I got to work and didn’t even have a chance to open my email before my boss was at my desk looking for an update on something that had arrived not 5 minutes before I did, (bad mood continuing to decline).  I then went headlong into meetings for the next  3 hours, hence my morning was completely devoured by 2 meetings.  By the time I stopped for lunch, I was ready for some more comfort.  I actually drove back to the same popular chicken restaurant and had another fatty, disgusting meal.  This time with dipping sauce on the side. 

Because I have programmed my mind through habit to feel comforted after eating like that, I drove back to the office feeling ready for a nice cozy nap.  Instead, I went back for another 2 hours of meetings which left me with 3 hours to do the work that could have taken 5 hours to complete. 

The takeaway for me today was that I was too easily derailed from my plan to eat well with a purpose of nutrition rather than comfort.  Thankfully, I get to try again tomorrow and remember that I can overwrite the destructive habits with new ones. 

Let me encourage you to do the same.  After a day where you had no will power, remember that you cannot shame yourself into making a change.  You will only be successful by analyzing the situations that caused you to deviate from your plan and make sure you aren’t caught off guard the same way tomorrow. 

Are you experiencing success with your weight loss or running?  Please leave a polite comment and let me know. 

More to come…

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The development of the human brain is a marvel of nature.  I feel confident that no one will argue that point with me.  As humans have developed over the years our brains have developed to allow as much of our daily routine to run on auto-pilot as possible.  As I have been thinking about my habits/addictions, it became clear that habits are one of the greatest defenses early man had.  Early man was able to have a regular routine of hunting and gathering so that while he was performing the mundane tasks of life for the thousandth time, he did not have to actively think about every step he had to perform to complete the task.  He could perform the task on auto-pilot and allow his brain to focus on looking for predators.

Fast forward to modern man, we don’t have to worry about predators (okay, we do have to worry about zombies), but we have the ability to create our routines so that we don’t have to always think about every step to complete our tasks every time.  Thus, we are able to free up some of the brain’s computing cycles to think about running, blog posts, how we are going to get our wives to calm down about the fifth pair of running shoes we just purchased, etc.

Habits have provided us with productivity and a sense of security.  This is a good thing because we can achieve more and cultivate a mental, or possibly even a physical haven of rest and safety.  Unfortunately, our habits all too often are detrimental to our lives.  Case in point, through this odyssey, I will be breaking a habit/addiction of eating fast food.  I can’t explain it, but something about the ability to have cheap food given to me in my car has become a very comfortable and safe haven.  It doesn’t taste good.  I have never looked forward with great anticipation to the culinary “delights” I get by ordering into a speaker, and yet it is still a very comfortable thing for me to do.

Recent studies have shown that once the pathways for a habit have been laid down in the brain they cannot be overwritten.  We will always have the code for the habit in our minds.  Sounds hopeless, but it isn’t.  The human brain is pliable enough that it can establish another habit that would have a stronger attraction to us.  

Applying this to my fast food habit/addiction, I will always feel a pull to seek the comfort of the fast food experience, but I have the ability to create another habit for purposeful, sustainable eating that can become a stronger comfort to me.

We will deal more with habits/addictions in future posts, but I wanted to get you thinking about what habits/additions you are allowing to hold you back, and what you can do now to make a stronger habit.

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