Time

In Seven days, the month of September will be over our shoulders and we will enter into the last quarter of this year. Some look at November as the last month of the year to get any real work done that will bring results. December is seen by many as a time to slow the work and look at what the year has been. It is also used as a time to reset and prepare for the upcoming year. Looking through the eyes of wellness, slowing the approach or coming to a stand-still if only for a couple of weeks can have an undesirable outcome especially if a new routine is not yet a habit. 

Think about the times that you decided to change your diet, your daily activity, your thoughts or reactions to experiences. You had to actively work at making these kinds of changes until they became unconsciously made choices. Until the automatic decision making for the new life you are pursuing kicks in slowing the approach or skipping important habit building days can lead you back to the path you struggled to get off from. 

You definitely need a time to recover and pan over what you have achieved you just have to pick the right time to do this. That time will not always be aligned with the norms of the world, it will align with when you started, your goals and your plans. Evaluate, plan, and adjust as you need to. Consider the day to day choices you make, those choices will connect and add up to some type of result. The actions you take or do not take today will show up in the weeks to come. 

I have the opportunity to close this month out the way I desire to and you do too. Nothing is holding me back and there are not any obstacles that cannot be overcome. Have you thought about your obstacles and how you will get through them? I will not wait until the 30th and try to eat seven healthy meals in a day, write for seven hours straight, or run until I cannot take another step. I will work on each area of my life I desire to change for a reasonable amount of time each day and adjust according to what is or isn’t working. When the second week of October arrives, I’ll put into action the gain I would have achieved by then from the next seven days of September. That gain will sure up my confidence and take me to the next level.

Becoming faster, stronger, healthier, more knowledgeable, more understanding, more of anything will depend on what is done now. Closing out this month with actions or acquired information toward your personal achievements will show up in the next weeks or months to come. If you have not executed your plan or adjusted your thoughts and actions to align with the change you are awaiting do not expect the desired results to land in your hands ready to be unboxed. 

Take it all in. The past, the present and your vision for the future. Give yourself some time to know what you want and how it should be acquired. Your plan, executed according to your ability and your daily choices. Rest when you need to, gain some insight and never give up.

Autumn is Here, Are You Equipped?

As I work toward achieving my daily goals there is one challenge aside of the activity I choose, it’s the climate. I find myself dealing with what to do on the days that I cannot get outdoors and run. If I do not have a layout in my mind of what to do for 35-45 minutes, I can get stuck and miss the opportunity to jump right into my morning exercise. 

The weather can play a huge part in what you are able to do each day especially for a person who prefers being outdoors. Running in the hotter temperatures is something that I will do without hesitation as long as I am well hydrated the day before and if I don’t run beyond the point of needing to be replenished.

In the past I have ran in temperatures below freezing and managed to complete my runs without much difficulty. What I have not gotten accustomed to and will not take a chance with is the quality of air in the atmosphere and the UV index. When these factors are in the balance, I’ll go for something less vigorous or an indoors activity.

Each day nature is going to arrive and bring a few elements with it. As the cooler and wetter seasons get closer, I want to be prepared for whatever shows up. I have taken some time to plan out the next few weeks so that I will be able to continue to progress at the rate I desire whether there be rain, sunshine, or bad air. 

In the process of planning I pulled up some stored away memories and landed on a time when I could go to a public gym and utilize various weight machines and other equipment to get a total body workout. Now I am finding ways to work with what I have in the home and apply the techniques I picked up from the trainers in the gym. 

I have the different sets of weights, which are a classic go to for me and I also implement some resistance bands. Several years ago, I received a quick lesson at the gym on using resistance bands and I learned what areas of my body would benefit from the use the bands at the time. Now I have two different types of resistance bands ranging from 10lbs to 50lbs that I use for my entire body. I had forgotten exactly how powerful a flimsy band is until I secured one around my thighs and shuffled across the floor, I quickly remembered. 

Going into a new weight loss plan or strength training program on your own is good, but if you have the opportunity to get a few sessions with a professional in targeted areas go for it. The experience can be worth more than the money or the time you spent on it and you can always take that information with you and apply it to get the results you desire.

I need those tips and lessons I was able to learn back then for the present. I cannot get to the gym, but I have the equipment and knowledge I need to get the results. If you can learn enough about a topic or technique, you can benefit in some way. You do not have to be an expert at everything. You should be able to tap into the expert of the subject and receive the answers you need to reach your goals and passions and become an expert at your own gift.

Maneuvering around the elements of nature isn’t all cons. It awakens my interest in finding new ways to stay active. Being reintroduced to different exercises and equipment is a freshness that I am enjoying. If you are stuck or bored of your routine step off your broken in machine and activate some other areas of your body with a guided change. My muscles and my mind are ignited and ready to grow. 

Process

Prior to starting a new commitment to running I was doing a combination of walking and running for a distance of two to three miles 4 times a week. I didn’t wake up and start a five-mile run on cold muscles back in August although, I have a long history of running it would not have been a smart choice. It takes time and distance to prepare for the longer runs and to be able to run nonstop. 

During the months of June and July I worked on walking at a speed that I was able to keep for 10-15 minutes and then a run for 8- 10 minutes and close out with another stint of walking. As I progressed the walking speed increased, and the time decreased. I couldn’t hold back on the desire to run and of course the amount of time for each stint of running increased with my desire. Some of the walking I did was at top speed and I laughed to myself as I tried to figure out a form that flowed. I was entirely involved in the speed walk; it was new and worked a set of muscles that I did not feel being activated during my running or slower paced walks. 

 Most of the transition to running from walking was about feeling. Your body will let you know what it can handle, and your mind will determine if it is a legit claim. There is a difference in the pain of getting stronger and the one that says stop before you injure yourself. You may not get that signal on moving day when you are packing and lifting boxes, but if you exercise regularly or train for a sport you know that signal. Listen to it.

Process must be present. We hear it’s a process and we say it to others but knowing it internally and figuring out what to do each day, week or month for the change we desire to see is the break-down of the process. Whether we are looking for a change in health, lifestyle, networks, or our own behavior we must figure out what the direct and personal plan should be without rushing or skipping crucial stages. It could be quick and simple and not much consideration needed and there are other situations when a total acceptance of the new will be pieced out and reasoned within before we can take a step toward the change.

My running plan has gotten me to where I want to be right now. It has even branched off and guided me into a heightened awareness of what I am eating and my fluid intake. My senses are open and waiting for the next benefit of taking care of my body and my passion. 

Fueled and Satisfied

How are you living? I am living well. I am eating the food I need to fuel my body for exercise, and I am eating for the best daily health I can acquire. A path to physical strength and endurance has to include a food intake that is nutrient packed. This week I am trying a beet, cucumber, celery, and pineapple blend to drink a couple of times a day along with the other healthy selections I have each day. I am also working to cut the foods that are worded as nutritious, but really are not the best choices for me. I have heard people say you are what you eat but will also eat the wrong kinds of food. Some have been eating this way since childhood and the choices made for them as a child are now adult habits that they are stuck in. Breaking any habit takes daily work and a commitment, sometimes you may even need to reward yourself for progress. Being healthy and not dependent on daily medicine is a great reward for a few of the people I have talked to about their conditions.

I have never figured out how some people can eat just about anything and go without illnesses however it lets me know that I cannot always eat what my sibling or co-worker is having. Working at a very large office complex led me to consider this often. The office atmosphere I worked in was typical and every other week there would be a food day or two. There would always be a small percentage of nutrient rich food and the rest would be some type of junk mostly desserts. I couldn’t help to think that this type of food must have been what my coworkers had grown accustomed to eating over the years or maybe from a young age. I even found myself going over to the food table and grabbing a couple of packaged store-bought chocolate chips cookies a few times. Never did we have desserts from a nice bakery, so why was I eating this food, why was I wasting my calories on a less than average taste experience. I don’t know if I was just passing time or wanting to snack, but I had to stop. I eventually made a habit of bringing in extra veggies and a variety of berries on food days to keep me focused on my health and not on thinking a few cookies aren’t that bad. How many times could I really use this reasoning just to have dessert.

At some point in life we have learned how, what and when to eat from someone or several people. We can know exactly what harms us and what makes us better and still choose more of the wrong kinds of foods. Even with a knowledge of food our budget, our lack of discipline, or an urge for sweet or salty flavor gone into overdrive will guide us into our food choices. To be well in our beings and stronger we have to take on the task of fueling the body properly and knowing when too much of the empty calories are dangerous to our health. I have learned to walk into the kitchen for my first meal of the day with this mindset: consider what you need to fuel the body and satisfied taste. It is working for me. 

Familiar vs New

Ten days into the month and I am keeping the pace. This month I will do 6 to 8 miles for my longer runs and 2 miles for my recovery days. There are several routes I will add to my list this month. I like to have a mixture of hills and flat terrain, and I will still include a familiar route that has several rolling hills. Some good things can happen on familiar routes.

On a path I know, like the one with the rolling hills, I can run without thinking about what is coming or which way I should go. I know the general distance I must go and the amount of time that must lapse before I reach my set goal. Although the route is familiar it is still a challenge. I can barely keep my pace while traveling up these steep hills and they seem to never top off quick enough. I used to slow all the way down to a walk at about halfway up a couple of the hills, but now I keep running. It is a slower run as I push my aching thighs to continue, and I will take that for now. 

Maneuvering this route, a couple of times a month has created a few fans for me on the sidelines. Along the way there is a blue house which is fenced in, but the gate is usually open when I pass by and there are three young boys who call out to me and wave. I have even grabbed a runaway ball for them and made sure they made it back across the street after retrieving it. Hearing their laughter and voices alarms me of the next hill on my route. Their house is right at the beginning of the second hill I run up and it may be the steepest. 

At the top of that hill there isn’t a downslope, it curves right into another incline. Since there is a dogwalker’s house midway through I call it the Doghouse hill. At this point on my route I am occasionally greeted by a lady sometimes she is in her car or headed into to her home. Normally she nods or smiles, and I often see people passing by or in their cars doing this, so I wasn’t expecting to be remembered until the day she did something unusual. I was rounding the curve at the top of the hill and headed into the next just as I passed her house and she yells out “you are getting stronger”. I smiled through my mask as I waved at her and ran on. A few seconds later I looked down at my legs and thought I am getting stronger. 

I needed those words in my ear that day. Before I stepped off my porch that morning, I had decided to run right through the Blue House hill or hill number 2 and on to the connecting Doghouse hill or hill number 3. Even if I had to catch my breath for a couple of seconds on the downslope, I was going to make that day my first time completing both hills without walking. It is great to find new routes to challenge the muscles and it is also rewarding to go on a familiar path. I am looking forward to doing both during this month.

A Ride for a Lifetime

Every day of August was not a day with a physical activity planned and conquered. I had days that I used to recover and days that I let rush by without getting a workout in. I wanted to make a habit of being okay with strength training and running to make it a part of my present and future and that has been a success. 

For the month of September I want to focus on building the lifetime physical health image that is in my mind. I think of physical health as something that must done for a lifetime just like eating and sleeping. It can appear as more of an option or accessory to life instead of a necessity. I look at it like the food a body must have to survive, if one type of food can no longer be ingested you switch to one that can and chose not to be hungry. You eat for a lifetime out of necessity and exercise has to be looked at the same way if you want to have a total body wellness.

I realize my lifetime image will change as my endurance, strength, and age change, but it must continue from day to day and month to month. Waking up each day with a set time to run and a set distance to go will give me the power to build this lifelong image with a routine in place until it becomes an actually routine.  I’ll keep a voice in my mind to shout an encouragement to me if a sudden modification needs to happen for any reason. It will tell me to adjust, but don’t give up, don’t abandon your wellness and I will listen. I don’t ever want to be in the place of doing nothing because I cannot do exactly what I desire to do. 

I have found my way out of reserve and into a better lifestyle. The work of August has given me a momentum to reach new physical goals that will shake up mind and please my spirit, I am ready for the ride.

The End of a Thing

The end of a thing will set the scene for what is next. As the month of August bows and prepares for an exit, I am headed into a new season, one that I can enter into with an accomplishment that is open for growth. I can confidently say another 30-day goal is reachable and something I will take on as a part of my choice to improve my health lifestyle.   

I opted for a 30-day challenge to start off to avoid feeling pressured by time. It is easy to choose a yearlong goal and say how many miles you will run, how much weight you will lose or the amount of muscles you will gain, but the doing is the difficult part. If you think there is more time to reach a goal, you may put off getting started or wait until the last few months to act and over work the body or start an extreme weight loss regimen. Choosing a weekly or monthly goal or doing a quarterly check-in with yourself may provide insight into your progress and help to determine what you really want for yourself.

Running without trying to break a record and doing strength building exercises without trying to compete with a me from the past gave me a chance to commit to a new beginning without limits or minimums. I only looked to finish the miles I planned for the day or the amount of time I agreed to at the start of my strength training. There was not a picture of an athlete, friend, or neighbor hanging in my mind to compete with; only the present me, the contract, and a healthier lifestyle.

In the journey to get back something I love, something I would do on any waking day I found a start to reclaiming a healthier lifestyle. A lifestyle I placed in the background and did not give great importance to. Every day I am making a choice to live better for my health and reaping the benefits that affect the other parts of my life. I changed my routine to get what I love back into my life. I pushed aside the excuses and reasons why I should not, and l decided I would. I looked pass the thought of the physical pain I knew would come and embraced the pain of change I felt. 

I feel great, my body is shaping into a physique I have not seen in a while and I feel no pressure to become a size. I will continue on the journey.

Getting My Run Back

Heading into the third week of executing the contract I made with myself, I looked at the calendar and half the month was behind me. I had done some things to get acquainted with giving my body the daily exercise it deserved. Running was at the top of my list and the other cardio I included offered the right portion of different I needed to spark a fire in my muscles. I could feel the effects of the various squats, lunges, and balancing moves in my fibers. It was satisfying to feel stronger, but I had another feeling going on too.

As I looked at myself in the mirror, I felt a burst of excitement and I smiled as the words “I am really doing this” entered my mind. I almost got a bit goofy. Here I was opening the door that had merely been cracked opened for more than a year and the crack hadn’t been large enough for me to get through. Day after day I would watch people run up hill, downhill and around the parks all from my car window. Why not just go and run? I wanted to, I wanted to take a chance. I didn’t budge and was not planning to. 

I had developed anemia from having low iron and it was extremely paralyzing to think of being out on a trail or miles away from home and not be able to catch my breath. I thought I would be out there waiting for someone to find me. I tried indoor running and exercises, but any vigorous movement for more than a few minutes would send me to the coolest part of the house to catch my breath. Defeated, I took my pills and waited for a change in the numbers.

Months later my iron replenished, but my habit of running was lost on some path I couldn’t find and nowhere near my doorstep. Running has been a safe place for my thoughts and a release for any doubts or stress that would land on my shoulders. The moment I let “the run” slip from my reach I also allowed that place of release to disappear. 

I gained 20 lbs. during this setback and I saw a rippling effect in the making. Knowledge of this uninviting future pushed me to start the scattered exercise routine; you know the one day this week workout or maybe a brisk walk on my break kind of day. It wasn’t working and I was ready for more. Then came the month of August peaking from below July and like a concerned friend I told myself “it’s a perfect time to get your run and back”. 

Preparation

My body was still adjusting to the change in routine. At the start of the week I noticed one of my knees had a strange feeling in it after logging 4miles. It wasn’t there while I was running or during other exercises, but post workout I could feel the difference while walking around indoors. The jiggly feeling in my knee nearly psyched me out of doing anything at all. Then I remembered the pain and stiffness from the first week of resting too long after a long run and I wasn’t signing up to walk around with that type pain haunting my steps. 

Although the discomfort in my knee was not painful, and it would come and go I couldn’t ignore it. If I was going to get stronger and healthier, I also needed to include proper before and after care of my body. I couldn’t allow one health concern be reason to put my body at risk for a real injury, so I took some care action. 

I checked my gear and to be sure I had the right shoes for the distance and impact. The running shoes I was using had also become the ones I would leave at the door and throw on to go wherever. I switch them up with another pair that were tucked away in the garage and the switch up made a huge difference. I could feel the cushioning and a solid support in theses old but new shoes, and they did not weigh me down. They were not the only change up, I also decided to wear a brace to help reduce the movement of my knee and the area around it while causally going up and down the stairs in the house.

Research, learning and doing without worrying myself out of progress are what carried me through the second week of real commitment to self. I thought my takeaway this week would be the connection to the outdoor scenery or the music that helped to boost my effort, but it was the knowledge of preparation. Having the best tools for the hour is just as important as having the will to do the work for the type of improvement I want to see.

A Maze of Solutions

The next day, Sunday, the day after my big run I woke up with fatigue muscles. I was sore and as the day went on, I became excessively sore. A short walk and stretch or foam roller may have helped, but I did neither and opted to rest for two days. On Tuesday my legs were willing to engage in a light run, 2.28 miles and .58 miles of walking. My body felt pretty good, but I did not want to exhaust myself right away, well not until midweek.

Wednesday hit and I felt the need to apply pressure and responded with 30 minutes of cardio including dancing, 200 squats and 100 leg lifts. I squeezed all the energy out of my being during this session. My eyes were looking past what did not feel good in the moment and focused in on the image of a drastic transformation, so I did not hold back. 

Finally, the end of seven days was near. Of course, I rested on Thursday after wearing out my legs the previous day, and that left Friday open for a light run of 2.02 miles and a half mile walk through my hilly neighborhood. The weekend arrived and I got caught up in it with no problem. The thought of exercise or running did not even marinate in my mind at all, and besides achieving some basic daily movements my flesh was deprived.

I do not know if I am doing more hurt or harm the way I have been juggling intense and light workouts with extended rest days. I used to feel as though I had a better grip on what was good for my body type and exercise level; now I feel like I am a beginner finding my answers through a maze of solutions. 

Hiccups and struggles overall, I was excited that I made it through the first week and I felt good about it. Habits were broken and new habits were created. I want to go on, I want to challenge myself and I will.