At first she HATED running…

This story out of Sports Illustrated speaks for itself, and is touching on so many levels. Physical improvement. Accountability. Teamwork. Persistence. Heart. Patriotism. Compassion. Love. 

It’s a simple story of a single act that turned into something so much bigger, and for whatever reason really touched me as I read it a second time this evening. I hope you enjoy it, too, and as my dad would say “Grok the Fullness” (Grok the Fullness? Check it out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grok ). vivian__husband_run1

Vivian White would do just about anything for her son, but this was asking a lot. Take up running? She hated running. Had ever since grade school. Besides, at 47, she was set in her ways.
But he persisted. This was 2005, and Brian Bales was a junior on the Charleston (Ill.) High track team. Every week in the off-season Vivian would drive him to a nearby college and time him in the 200 and the 400. In turn, Brian would try to get her out on the track. Eventually she gave in. At first she was gassed after one lap. Then it was two, then four. If she faltered, there was Brian, backpedaling in front of her like a cornerback and shouting, “Come on, Mom, you can do it!” Or he’d trail her, a hand in the small of her back, saying, “I know it hurts, but you’ll thank me one day.” He taught her how to create a rhythm for her breathing by bouncing a tennis ball as she ran, how to block out pain.

Most 16-year-olds would consider it horrifyingly uncool to train with their mom. Brian loved it. “It made us a lot closer,” he says. “And as soon as she got an iPod, it was like she could outrun a horse.”

Click here to read the full Sports Illustrated story.

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The Nike Experiment

nike-running

I love hearing various stories about what works for people’s “wellness” initiative, or what they do to get–and stay–motivated to improve themselves physically. And I’d love to hear or read some other comments from readers, so post your comments away!  

Fundamentally, I do think Nike has it right as, with many things in life, it ultimately rests on “just do it” to a large degree. Yet, there are different ways to do it; it’s one reason why I never laugh at whatever it is that people try in order to get in shape–different things will work for different people (sidebar: at the same time, at a certain point we’ve all got to stop chasing panaceas or fads, pick something, and do it diligently). But for some a treadmill is the answer, others the gym, and others it’s swimming or running or weight lifting or spin class. 

So this article caught my eye because it’s a great story about the impact this little device has had on numerous people. It’s not for everybody, but for some people it will change their life. It’s also been one of the ones in which I’ve had some success in staying on a consistent workout, using metrics and goals to chart my progress. So I’m also a believer. 

A few things that have helped me along my wellness journey (by no means have I figured this thing out, and I’m still a ways off from my goal of 15% bodyfat and there are many many people who are way smarter in this subject arena than I am) have included:

-the iPhone application calorie counter, to help monitor and track behaviors over a period of time and helps with accountability while also finding some of the hidden calories that you might not recognize; consistently checking bodyfat on a monthly basis to chart progress;

-utilizing the South Beach diet to help jump start healthier eating over a period of time (it’s a good long-term eating plan as well though I will make a few deviations for my own personal preferences);

-taking a few tips from others that I come across throughout my reading and observation or hearing stories of success from others (e.g. don’t eat anything three hours before you fall asleep);

-and, finally among a few other things, my Nike +. 

The Nike Experiment: How the Shoe Giant Unleashed the Power of Personal Metrics
On June 6, 2008, Veronica Noone attached a small sensor to her running shoes and headed out the door. She pressed start on her iPod and began keeping track of every step she took. It wasn’t a long run—just 1.67 miles in 18 minutes and 36 seconds, but it was the start of something very big for her.
Since that day, she’s run 95 more times, logging 283.8 miles in about 48 hours on the road. She’s burned 28,672 calories. And her weight, which topped 225 pounds when she was pregnant, has settled in at about 145.
Noone knows all of that thanks to the sensor system, called Nike+. After each run, she can sync her iPod to the Nike+ Web site and get a visual representation of the workout—a single green line. Its length shows how far she’s gone, and the peaks and valleys reflect her speed.

Click here to read the full story.

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Happy Father’s Day

Though late in the day, I’m still going to get my Father’s Day post in before “COB”, even beating midnight Eastern time.

My Dad is a phenomenal individual and I really appreciate him (as well my Mom, but today is the Dad’s day) more than words can adequately express. Which might be a good thing, because this week is Convention where a lot of Univera associates from all over North America will descend upon Seattle for a three day event and I am burning time fast, with still much to do this evening. A quick stop at the house for dinner and then back to crank until well into the night, along with a lot of my colleagues who are doing the same thing, to finalize preparations for our annual Convention.

So as I was thinking about a Father’s Day post, and whether to even do one. As I was driving home from working offsite I thought I could share on a lesson I learned from my Dad that I reapplied yesterday during my Saturday run.

The lesson is a simple one: your body lies to you.

He used to tell me this when we’d go running, I remember heading out with him on the weekends at a young age (possibly late elementary school, or was I a bit older?) we’d go out for anywhere from 3-7 miles around the neighborhood. Every run seemed to start the same. The first half mile I’d feel lousy, and I’d tell my Dad and whimper something like “this is hard” or “I don’t feel good” or “my legs are tired, let’s turn around!”

And he’d just look at me and say “your body lies to you”, and would continue with “give it some time and you’ll see what I mean.” So we’d go a bit further. Another half mile and I wasn’t feeling good, but by then I wasn’t feeling so bad either. By the second and third mile I generally felt pretty good. Sometimes great. But, almost always, at least pretty good.

Now, I’m sure someone is reading this right now and thinking “Well, this is blasphemy! You should listen to your body!”

Indeed, sometimes you should.

But I’m not talking about putting my hand in front of a blowtorch and sloughing it off as mind over matter whilst forging forward; instead I’m speaking about the lesson I learned as it relates to being steadfast and doing some of the things you don’t naturally feel like, or want, to do.

Which, for me, quite often, includes working out.

In fact, I think that’s true for most people in that our bodies, and minds to some degree of course, don’t “want” to work out. If you doubt it then consider for a moment why we don’t, instead, have an epidemic of lean, skinny, mile-eating, resting-pulse-rate-of-50, hyper-fit men and women across North America?

After I work out I am always glad I did it. Without exception. I might not always feel physically good afterwards (though, again, usually I do by the time I’m finished). But I’m always glad I invested in doing something good for my health. Over the past ten years I’ve gone up and down with my wellness initiatives, and getting back on the horse is always hard. Staying on is hard, too. 

My body resists, instead it THINKS it wants to sit on the couch, or get a bit more sleep, or eat the Cherry Garcia ice cream in the fridge…along with a few thin mints (thank you, Girl Scouts). So sometimes I have to force myself to get going, and simply realize that, at times, my body lies to me.

So now that I’m in a rhythm of working out and preparing for the Portland Marathon in the fall it’s a bit easier because I’ve got to follow a regimented schedule, and now at this point I look forward to more workouts than those I don’t. During the weekends I usually do my long run for the week, and the longest I’ve done so far is 16 miles. In contract, yesterday’s run should’ve been a breeze, it was only five miles and the pace was moderate.

But there are still occasional days, like yesterday, when I felt as if someone were beating me with a billy club with every stride. And in the last two months that I’ve been diligent about running on my regimen I’ve never once considered ending one of my runs prematurely–until yesterday.

Mile number two, I felt terrible, and I was going to bag it.

Then, as I was running (struggling) I remembered, out of nowhere, the lesson from so many years ago where my dad would turn to me and remind me “your body lies to you, give it some time.”

So I did.

And by the end of the fifth mile I realized that, once again, he was right.

Thanks, Dad, for all the great memories and lessons you’ve taught me over the years. Including one that I used, completely unexpectedly, yesterday during my run.

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Rachel, Did You Work Out?

 

Rachel Wisby, in the fields of Hilltop Gardens in Lyford during our retreat
Rachel Wisby, in the fields of Hilltop Gardens in Lyford during our retreat

This afternoon I was talking with Rachel Wisby, who heads up our Creative Services team. We were discussing working out, getting in shape, losing weight, all that stuff.

And she said to me, “how do you get over ‘Mpmphfhhph’?”

“You know”, she continued in her British accent, “Mpmphfhfhph! That thing, it’s like, that moment when you’re sitting there and you decide whether to work out or not.”

Ah, yeah, the “Mpmphfhfhph” moment. It’s that small but massively impactful point in time that makes some people wimps and others strong, the fragile moment that wins and loses battles, the point of decision that propels you to get you fit or keeps you fat, it’s the thing that stands between you and greatness or is a stepping stone to greatness.

The “mpmphfhhph” moment is, ultimately, the fragile precipice upon which the battle of success and failure often precariously balance. 

It’s that decision point when you decide to reach for the snooze one more time or you turn off the alarm and get up to work out. It’s when you’re done with work, and you’re debating a workout and achieving your dreams–or watching TV while others achieve theirs. It’s the moment of decision between reaching for the Cookie Dough ice cream or plain kefir and green tea. 

It’s the “Mpmphfhfhph” moment.

So, how do you get beyond it? That moment? Because, fundamentally, it’s the decision that’s made in those moments that makes the difference. Intention is great, but it doesn’t mean snap if we never act on it. 

So I’m not sure how to get through that moment, we all face it in some or many areas of life. I don’t think there’s a formula but I do think there are some things we can do to prepare for it and “Just Do It” (which, incidentally, I think the people at Nike recognize is the reality of getting in shape–that it boils down to just doing it).

In the last few years I think I’ve learned a few things from my own experience as well as learning through others. One of these lessons I hope to blog about after I get a bit more practice and experience with successful application. 

Today, though, Rachel told me after the dialogue about the subject she felt better and was a bit more reinvigorated. “Ready to go”, she chided in her great accent. And I didn’t say anything, we just talked about it. Sometimes simply talking about it makes a difference.

And so does accountability. So as Rachel left my office she committed she was, despite some prior stuff scheduled this evening, committing to work out for 30-minutes tonight. Even if it were just walking. So I promised to hold her accountable and ask in the morning. 

So, good morning Rachel. I just have a quick question before we get going in the day: “Did you work out last night?” 🙂

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