July Thoughts and Things: summer nights, heat waves, running, at-home fitness, black lives, birthdays, beach time, and spiritual & educational growth.

My mind’s running a marathon these days and Chicago’s not. Yep, they finally cancelled the marathon, along with NYC’s..darn Covid.. yet it’s all I can do to catch a breath myself and turn it off when it’s bedtime. No matter where you are, I  imagine it’s the same for most of us. How on earth..in these crazy times..does one keep it all together? In previous posts, I’ve talked about running everywhere, at-home fitness, varied workouts, and caring for our beloved minds. In this post, I’ll share how all of that is coming together – kinda – in the reality of my life, Covid-19, and summer- time in New York City.

Let me be clear, this summer is no walk in the park or walk on the beach, or even anything like an easy run. In fact, I’d have to liken it, if I can make use of a physical anology, to an intermediate hike of marathon distance with increased elevation. So despite the things that I have going on, and of course I’ve managed to find things to keep me from dying from isolation, it is by no means easy and requires deliberate daily steps, one foot in front of the other, to see the results desired. What are those results? Well, some are: keeping a sound mind, staying fit, cultivating a healthy lifestyle, and growth and development. Man, that sure sounds different from those intentions I had at the cusp of the New Year. Sad joke, but I guess the new year went with intention (mine).

July came with all the sunshine, heat, and yes, thunderstorms – with a jump into the hurricane season, that’s meant we’ve been sitting in  90°F+ for the past week or is it weeks, hard to keep track with everything else going on. America celebrated July 4th – independence day – the likes of which this generation had never seen before. I mean we had fireworks in our neighborhoods unlike anything, in terms of its aggressiveness and duration, it went on for weeks at all hours of the day and night, which initiated unprecedented complaints and reports and made national news that got the powers-that-be attention and eventually tempered the insanity. Could it be, like many were insisting, that it was an outlet for a people tired of Quarentine? Meanwhile, Black Lives Matter protests continued, though it has simmered down now, and in a final twist to highlight the issues of African Americans and the social unrest bubbling, John Lewis, a main figure in Congress and representative of the struggle for equality and justice for African Americans, died a few days ago. This is amidst the continued restrictions in American society aka social distancing, wearing masks in public, outside dining, many small businesses going belly up, and others, like gyms and health clubs, remaining closed.

The reality sometimes presents a bleak-ish picture but eternal optimism is something I subscribe to and so I’ve continued my workouts to varying degrees to accommodate the heat that’s been, let’s just say, WOW. I’ve always preferred summer over winter, now I’m realizing it has been more about the freedom, travel & adventure, and vacation aspect, which is really more suited for summertime than this crazy humidity. Worse yet is that even night runs are becoming overwhelmed by the heat. No siree, that is not good. When I work out at home, I’m usually operating on heat overload and try to take it outside when I can, even at night – late night. Night runs, always are one of my favorite things about summer, is turning into a bit of a fiasco these days. I’m finding myself out and about at 9/10pm just barely keeping from combusting. This year, I have the opportunity to cycle at night too, and I’ve started going out to the beach in the evening time. Who am I kidding? It’s not just because I would totally wilt away in the daytime, even thought I would, but it’s also been therapeutic and helps me get a much-needed break from the monotony of routine, the news cycle, and the four walls of my apartment. Praise the Good Lord for beaches that are within my proximity!

In the midst of the surreal-ness of what is now my life, and probably that of many others,  I celebrated a birthday. How surreal (insert roll my eyes)! July, the month of birthdays: America, mine, my brothers, my roommate. Seems I couldn’t get away from it even if I tried, and try I did, I took myself off to the beach and even did a run while there. An escape it was. Beautiful, exhilarating, a welcome change of scenery, from the waves to the sunset and moonlight, that’s right, I stayed until nighttime. It was absolutely wonderful. Props to my friends and family, who, though we were apart this year, managed to be a tremendous blessing through the gifts they sent my way. I was gratified with all the love and dare I say it saved the event from being  an abject disaster. God is truly looking out for me. I’m now able to include some new “tricks” (equipment) into my workouts – variety my friends – and I started my personal training certification! Totally cool, totally online, and totally overwhelming. I’m still trying to navigate my way and figure it all out so my excitement is tempered with caution.

I’m convinced though that this season, while full of uncertainty and numerous stresses, is one of growth and personal development. I’m learning and growing in my relationship with God, the most important area of my life, and thank God too, He’s had to hear me pray about that for years. And true to form, nothing good comes easy, but it’s a daily walk that I’m needing right now to help me balance everything that’s happening. I remain very grateful. And there’s now the opportunity to delve into an area I have a genuine interest in and heart for. I’m happy to learn more about the world of fitness and now have some idea that I can make this more than my lifestyle by working in the field I love with the most rewarding benefit of helping others realize their health goals. Cool huh? Don’t I know it. Except, I have to get through this (focusing in this unlikely season) to get to the other side to that goal. Truth is, God is always in the details, always has been, always will be.

Healthy in Mind as in Body 🧠💪📝🤯👩🏽‍⚕️🧰📜✍🏼☎️💑🍎



At the rate this pandemic is going I figure it’s a good idea to address the issue of our mental well-being. In this season especially, but not singularly, it’s not enough to keep fit physically, more and more we’re coming to understand that caring for the mind is just as important. We know that physical exercise can help our mental state; we’ve talked about its positive impact through the release of those feel-good endorphins and its ability to put us in a better frame of mind etc. But juxtaposed to this is the inability to engage fully in any exercise activity without the capacity of a sound mind. If we’re anxious and/or feeling any anyone of its “cousins” like fear, depression, stress etc., it’s next to impossible to actively engage ourselves in any type of activity to promote our well being.

Like exercise is to the body so is peace to the mind. And because these are highly-stressful times, we need to pay as much attention to caring for our minds as our bodies. Mental health professionals, and many others, will agree that, present circumstances notwithstanding, the issue of mental health is one that has been getting increasing attention in recent years. There are many reasons for this but some have pointed to the advance in technology – the rise of social media – and the subsequent decline in real substantial relationships and meaningful, face-to-face communication as a delineating factor in the increase of psychological and mental issues that many face. While there are many contributory factors, I chose this one to make the case that if this is indeed so, then this season could be especially difficult for some of us. The fact is we have the makings of a perfect storm with the economic and social fallout from Covid-19. People, the world over and in these United States, are dealing with a conglomeration of issues from grief of the loss of family members, to sickness themselves, to unemployment, to restrictions to their freedom, to isolation in some instances, and then not enough space in others as a result of being in quarentine. It’s enough to make anyone lose their will along with their mind. And with all the losses already, that’s the one thing we can’t afford to lose.

I can’t promise that I have any profound knowledge when it comes to mental health and I’ll be the first to point anyone with any real and lasting issue/concern to a mental health professional: therapist, counsellor, or doctor for a consult and appropriate treatment. But I think it’s important to be aware that there is a need for us to be proactive in our own mental care to preempt a downward slide into what could turn into a concern that may require treatment. With that in mind, I’ve dug around and gotten some ideas on how we can take care of the invaluable real estate that is our minds in these trying times.

Things to do:

  • Create a Care Plan for Your mind – this is a more general and long-term-type plan but can include some short-term ideas you can then transfer to a daily schedule. These activities will differ from person to person but will generally consists of  aspects of fun, meditation or prayer, music, art, and/or creative ideas, life-long learning activities, and rest and relaxation.
  • Create a daily schedule – that includes some of the above so as remain focused and on task. This will leave less time for idle hands and minds. You might include a task or project you devised to empower or help yourself or someone else.               Examples are: Reorganize and clean out your closets and bag stuff for donations, safely volunteer at a soup kitchen or pantry, and plant a kitchen garden. 
  • Journal or Write – journal your thoughts, your prayers, your intentions, or whatever you’re feeling. Often, writing things out can help with processing difficult issues and allows room fora  honest and sometimes more objective assessment, which can help you to determine next steps. Writing also provides clarity and can help in either keeping you on course or provide a proactive approach to indicate when you’re running off course.
  • Stay connected – human connections via family or friends, or a mentor, pastor, group members and leaders are important to keep you grounded and to help you feel you’re not alone even with all the social distancing and quarentine guidelines. It is also important to know that there’s someone there to reach out to if you need to talk or need help of some kind.
  • Begin a New Course of Study/ Skill – Now is a good time to pick up a new course of study, a language, or a skill if you’re one with a lot of time on your hands. Choose something that can be beneficial to you and can add value to your field or career choice, or if you just for personal development. For example, graphic design might be feasible if you’re creative-minded and have some technical knowledge.

I encourage you to go easy on yourself. These are trying times to say the least so it’s ok to be patient and kind to yourself. Encourage yourself, challenge yourself, be good to yourself, but more importantly love yourself. If at anytime you feel you’re can’t process it all, reach out to someone. Get help. Contrary to popular opinion, reaching out for help is not a sign of weakness but takes enormous strength, wisdom, and humility. Stay strong-minded friends.

source: lifekdesigns.com

Life’s Where you are & What you eat 👄🍴🥢

Vegging out @Home
Vegging out @ home

In previous posts we’ve established that exercise and running 🏃‍♀️ are not just good ways to embrace this season of imposed isolation but that they’re really beneficial to our overall health. But what in the world of Covid-19 have we been eating! Science doesn’t have to tell us that locked inside with nothing to do but binge; whether on a Netflix series🎞️, reading 📖, cleaning, or even exercising, it’s all happening in close range of food🍝. Unless the Pantry’s empty, we’re eating. Since there’s no running away, pun intended, we’ve got to figure out how to eat smart so that when we get to the other side of this we don’t end up worse off than where we started. In fact, there’s hope that we could come out of this with a more balanced and healthier approach to life beginning with our diet and the right perspective. ➡️

Recall at the beginning of this year how I talked about setting intentions as oppose to goals. It’s a tad foggy right now, since it seems like such a long time ago, but it is also possible to eat with intention. Ding💡. And it may be easier than it sounds, given anything coupled with intention sounds like it actually requires additional effort. Intentional eating is just like any other intention really, it simply requires one to act with forethought🤔. That would mean deciding in advance what you hope to achieve – let’s say maintaining a healthy weight and remaining fit and active during Quarentine – and then setting about the wheels🎡 of everyday eating etc to fall in line and help you do it. Easy right? Truth is, it’s really not too difficult. Of course it all depends on what your intentions are. But I’m willing to bet that most of us want to be alert, energized, focused, stress free, and forward looking and thinking. The stats say that when we exercise, we eat better and sleep better, and this in turn helps us look better and feel better. When we have a general sense of well-being; we communicate better, work better and live better. Post-Quarentine goals anyone?

If the above is true, and the science says it is, then eating motivation gets a 10 on any scale of 1-10. So here’s what I do to help with my healthy, fit, and active intention when it comes to food and eating during these difficult times. 1. I stock up on healthy foods to include lots of whole grains🌾, veggies🥦🥬🥕, organic meat🥩, poultry🍗, and diary🥛. 2. I choose fresh or frozen over canned and packaged. 3. I pick organic fruits in place of packaged chips, and store bought cookies🍪, cakes🍰, and ice cream🍦. 4. I purchase Yogurt, sorbet, and ingredients for homemade smoothies and juices. 4. I prefer Homemade 🍞 and cakes tailored to my health needs (gluten free is a healthy option I like). 5. My must-have ingredients include: Olive oil, a butter substitute like Country Crock, my one trusted seasoning spice – Mrs Dash, homemade blended green seasoning. 6. I limit store-bought sauces and choose organic ketchup, mayo, and bar-b-q sauce when necessary. 7. I buy organic as much as possible, which is costly but I weigh my options. It means sometimes giving up something I don’t need to put toward this option. 8. For me, nuts🥜 and dark chocolate🍫 are always healthier options than their counterparts. 8. I cook for 2 days at a time to stretch my meals and maximize my efforts. 9. Oatmeal and fruit🍌🍓 is my go-to breakfast, it’s cheap, filling, and healthy. 10. I’m learning that having a well thought-out daily schedule🗓️ will mitigate against being at odds with time on my hands to be bored as boredom can lead to eating/snacking🍿. Also, I limit eating at night🌌 before bed 🛏️ and when necessary eat foods that are easily digested and low in sugar and fat content.

The truth is there is no hard and fast rules when it comes to eating well and I’d be lying if I said I am always good about following my own advice but I have found that I am my best when I try to stay within the parameters of a healthy diet. All of the suggestions I have outlined above are habits that I practice daily and I will say, more often than not, I follow through. What I have found easy is to surround myself with healthy choices, which are a bit limited these days I admit, but in so doing, I have little option for anything else. This is a great way to adhere to any intentions of staying fit and healthy this year.

The question then is not if we can do this but how badly we want to see our intentions come to pass.✊

Sources: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/weight-management/keep-active-eat-healthy-feel-great#eat https://www.eatthis.com/diet-butters/

Exercise Your Way to a Strong Mind & Body “Alice”.

I woke up yesterday to April 1. What in the world! How dare time keep moving on as if my life hasn’t been turned upside-down and reality isn’t now likened to a scene from Alice in Wonderland; except then, who am I? Shrinking Alice, the Rabbit, the Mad Hatter, the Queen of Hearts? And where the heck am I? Where is the comfort of my life – my everyday routine of busy days and never-long-enough-weekends, my complaining and grandstanding of never enough time to do..well..anything. Ironic, though it is, time is all we have these days amidst the craziness of a virus hellbent on upsetting our routine and leaving disquiet and unsettling changes in its wake. But one thing is becoming quite clear, whomsoever we choose to be may very well determine who we are when this is all over.

Under normal circumstances and in the routine of our everyday, it’s oftentimes a challenge to juggle the many interests and day-to-day activities we engage in to maximize the best use of our time and resources. These days may be the “new normal” but they are anything but normal. Time, one of our most valuable resources on any given day, is in endless supply these days. However, this has in no way diminished its value; In fact, I want to stress on the importance of seeing time, in these “not normal” days, as an opportunity to invest in ourselves with the benefits/returns to be derived in the not-too-distant future. Let’s dive into how.

Exercise is what I do and in the most challenging of times I run to what I know for comfort and a sense of wellness. If I can catch my breath, work up a sweat, release some feel good endorphins, and stimulate my senses, then the world is still on its axis and there’s hope yet. This is not unique to me, there are a lot of literature on the effects of exercise on our physical and mental well-being and there are many people who benefit from adopting a healthy exercise routine. So allow me to share with you a variety of simple exercises you can use as a template to inspire your endorphins rush as our world goes through this crisis alone but together.

Running, Jogging, Walking – a relatively easy, cheap, and safe way to enjoy the outdoors alone. Spring is the ideal season, minus the wet days, to enjoy the chirping birds, budding leaves, and flowers in bloom in neighborhoods and parks. Nature is awakening and so will your senses. Just be mindful of doing so in daylight and keep your social distance. New to this form of exercise? Start slowly and with shorter distances that you can build upon as time goes on. For example; start with a goal of a 1 mile walk, which you can increase to a jog, then to a run, or feel free to utilize a combination of any two or even all three. Remember, it’s your body and your journey. Listen to it, and take pride in your daily accomplishments.

Cycling – another great calorie burner and a great way to get your exercise outside of the four walls of your home and to enjoy the outdoors when the weather is great. This is of course for those who have bikes. It’s become my newest crave and I like to think I’m a Cyclist-in-the-making. It’s so much faster on the bike than on foot too!

Yoga and Stretching – Stretching should ideally be performed before and after your workout, whether its an at-home workout, or before or after a run or jog. Stretching keeps the muscles flexible, strong, and healthy, and we need that flexibility to maintain a range of motion in the joints (Harvard Health). Pre workout, it serves to warm up the muscles so as to prepare for it’s use and works to keep you free from injury. After that run or workout, post workout stretching benefits are much the same and helps with releasing muscle tension.

Yoga can be different things for different people. For me, it is an excellent way to get my stretches in and practice my breath or breathing. This is really important, not only for me as a runner, but for all of us as per the usual stresses of life and especially now under present quarantine conditions. Practicing deep breathing can bring you calm, energize you, and reduce health problems. The best thing about stretching and yoga is that you can follow a guided video at home or on a mat in the quiet area of the park/ outside (my favorite) and use this as a meditative form of relaxation. There are many videos online, I especially enjoy Alo Yoga from which you can choose, short or longer, sessions particular to your taste.

Ab Workouts – Ideally targeted to that area of the body that makes us crazy with envy when we see a person boasting a six-pack. I mean, yes please! Of course much of that has to do with our diet but some is attributed to exercise and a minute amount to age. Again, thank God that we can do these alone, at home, in the park, or in the backyard. There are tons of YouTube videos and many exercises we can do on our own as well. You can make a list of your favorite, most challenging, or an ideal combination and set up a schedule to workout. If inside, it’s best to clear a spot in your living room for those days when you’re stuck in and designate it as your workout area. Stack up your mat and any workout additions in that area and allow it to work as a reminder of your intention. Some common and simple core exercises include: sit ups, crunches, Russian twists, planks, on the back leg raises, V-ups, and leg sissors.

Dancing – a fun way to release stress, burn calories, and enjoy yourself. You can do this alone with just a dance playlist in the privacy of your own home or join an online class. Virtual dance classes present a fun opportunity to let your hair down and shake “it” off.

Photo Credz @Pinterest.com

Swimming – A great cardio workout, which sadly many of us will be unable to utilize during this time with all the restrictions in place. But it’s a definite plus for those with access at home where you can work on drills and laps to develop technique and build endurance. It’s something I had planned on taking up this year for my triathlon training, now we’ll just have to wait and see. The intention is still there. Hope springs eternal.

Gymnastics movements – I’m limited here by the fact that I have no bars at home. But hey, I have a wall; so while I can’t do pull ups, toes-to-bars, knee or elbow raises, I can manage some wall walks, practice my handstands and handstand push-ups, which helps with shoulder strength and mobility. Since this is a movement that requires demonstration, and YouTube is a treasure trove when it comes to learning a new skill, check out a beginner video to help you get started.

Cardio Exercises – outside of running and cycling there are many other easily accessible exercises we can do to get our heart rates up and release those endorphins. 1. Jump Rope/ Skipping is a favorite of mine and doesn’t require much technique unless you want to graduate to a more advanced skill level like Double Unders. In the CrossFit world we use the term Single Unders for when the rope passes under your feet once and Double Unders for when it passes twice in one jump. 2. Burpees can be done easily by dropping to the floor facedown and using one’s hand in a push up motion to jump straight up as you feet leaves the floor and your hands meet overhead. This is repeated as many times as you decide. It’s an exercise we love to hate for it’s constant movement and high intensity. 3. Jumping Squats are almost self explanatory except remember that squats need to be below hip level to maintain proper form. 4. Jumping Jacks, high knees and butt kicks on the spot are also self explanatory. 5. Sprinting is short distance running at high speed with short recovery efforts after each Sprint (100 meters is my favorite). 6. Lunges: walking, jumping, and reverse are great glute exercises and a great addition to any cardio workout. Begin with feet hip width apart and step forward with the preferred leg and lower your body until the front knee is over your shoe while your back knee bends until it touches the floor in a straight L while you balance on the back toes. Stand and alternate legs and repeat. You can include a jump or do them in the reverse with a step back and knees back approach instead of forward. 7. HIT workouts are high intensity exercises that combine short bursts of different exercises like mountain climbers, push ups, squats, and burpees. They are great sweat-it-out workouts with constant and rapid movement.

The ideal workout would consist of a combination of warm up exercises, strength, and cardio. And could look like any variation of my daily workout these days: stretches, running/ sprints/ cycling/ jump rope; some combination of strength – these days I make use of books, backpacks, resistance bands, and other safe household items to add some weight and challenge – and could include weighted sit-ups, weighted squats/overhead squats, hip thrusters, deadlifts, plank rows, man makers, and some ab exercises. Some days I switch it up to emphasize yoga and core workout or sometimes, like today, I have a cardio day: 1500-2000 jump rope – a combination of Single and Double Unders and a 10 minute Ab workout. Go me!

One thing I’m super thankful for during this time is technology and the ability to vary workouts and generate new and refurbished ideas into tailored workouts because of the tons of resources that are available online, and on YouTube particularly. Technology has given us the added advantage of doing these workouts alone, but together. Who’s not thankful we can “Zoom” in with our friends anywhere, or Skype, or FaceTime, or do a live video call to share our time and workout with others if we so choose. Because, I’ll be honest with you guys, I’m not digging this solitary confinement at all. Praise the Good Lord for technology and our tech gurus!

March Madnes, Spring Fever: life lessons in a new season


March means the new year is officially over – no more happy new year greetings. We’re marching into spring, whether we feel it or not, and making crazy plans to overcome the winter malaise that has shrouded us for the past two and a half months; hence my “march madness” concept. The actual concept has everything to do with American college basketball and nothing to do with my take. LOL. But let’s go with my spin for a second as I was heaven bent on sticking with it but for our new reality. You might say, that’s what March used to mean and you may be right. A normal year ago that could be what it meant. What we’re currently facing today is challenging that entire premise.

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Never, in a hundred years, would I have thought I’d be discussing or writing about a virus, on this platform. But our world climate has changed, and the reality has now taken on a somewhat sci-fi feel that has left me and everyone else grasping at the remnants of a world we use to know. A virus that was non-existent in these parts of the world just 10 weeks ago now seems to have the world in its grips and have left millions of Americans and people all over the world grappling with a “new normal”. What do you do when all you have known is suddenly taken from you? To whom do you turn and where do you go? If and when those questions have been answered you may then get a glimpse into the why of it all, but even that is not certain. The only certainty we’re dealing with these days is that life as we once knew it is over. That is the chilling truth. Chilling because while change is anathema to us humans when you add uncertainty and illpreparedness to that, what you have is the making of a perfect storm fanned by the waves of fear.

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People are dying, others are fearful, many are losing their jobs and livelihoods, some are in constant danger and exhausted (our healthcare workers that are on the frontline battling this virus), while there are others still who are tasked with the job of governing and administrating this global disaster. Let’s not forget the sick and vulnerable members of our society like children in foster care and our elderly. And those are only the ones I’ve listed. There are so many other members of society who are also being affected in a very real way by the Covid-19 virus. It’s almost certain that at the end of this no one will escape unscratched. We can only pray. The truth is since little is known about this strain of the coronavirus, its origin,  development, or mutating ability, and certainly there is no conclusive information on how it spreads, or even its most susepctible targets – information appears to be evolving quite rapidly – this leaves many of us in the least favorite and very discomforting position of having little answers and trusting in that which we cannot see. What!

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Humbling and scary as heck to suddenly find ourselves in a position of ignorance with no control over what’s unfolding before our eyes. What to do? Anyone? Since our very lives depend on the actions we take, I want to suggest that we cannot possibly take this lightly. Our next steps could mean anything from gaining hope, perspective, a new understanding, developing a new and/or healthier appreciation for life, faith, health, a new or different habit or may just mean changing our thought patterns and actions to align with a stark new reality. Whatever we do, and decide we must, it will mean embracing a new normal that will forever alter the way we live. My purpose is not to dwell on the fear factor and what may or may not happen or any other “scary” elements of the unknown, that would be an exercise in futility. I’d rather focus on working with what I have right now – the present – and allow the future to take care of itself. In fact, let me be clear, I prefer to let God take care of that for me.

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Since I’ve always been about good health, exercise, and overall well-being, I’m left with the overwhelming sense that these are essentially the things that I must fight for now. It all appears under attack at this time and I dare say it’s both a physical and spiritual battle. How can we respond? Well unarguably, we have more time on our hands these days than we’ve had in some time, with so many people here in the United States, and around the world, facing lockdowns and stay-at-home guidelines. Since we are a people who love to stay busy, it is actually a good thing that we now have to slow down and take the time to intentionally do things that matter for our well-being. There is no better time than now to spend quality time with each other within the family, to incorporate an exercise routine into your day, to focus on cultivating healthy eating, thought, and lifestyle practices, to develop a new hobby, business idea, and/or to build or develop a faith base and spiritual relationship with God. The physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual, and even financial benefits to be derived from spending time on each of these aspects of, or involving, you, is immeasurable and is worth every moment of your very valuable time. Since time is money, you can be sure you will see the return on your investment in the not-too-distant future.

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Mindful that some of us need to be motivated and encouraged in the area of exercise, in my next post I’ll look at some ideas on how we can take advantage of the time we have now to develop an exercise plan that will allow us a healthy avenue to channel our energy and avoid stress during these challenging times. Stay tuned!

New Year’s Intentions Not Goals

Ahh January! Breathe in a New Year with all the possibilities, energy, and good intentions. What will we do with it? In fact, what should we? How many times have a new year come and gone and so much of what we thought to do have remained..well, undone. What’s different about this year and how will we mark the onset of a new decade?

So I’ve been thinking maybe it’s time for a change. If we’ve been doing the same thing every year for the past decade with little to no positive results, then we should consider tweaking things a bit in order to get the result we seek. So if neither goals nor resolutions have been working over the years then you might want to think about setting an intention instead, the difference being that an intention is something you plan to do irrespective of the outcome while a goal is something you hope to achieve. Small word change yes? But some argue that it’s more mental, intentional, and logical and can result in successful outcomes. According to business blog Inc., by building on your intentions first, you set the path in your mind. Goals can be seen as a milestone or milestones along that path. For example, I might determine to do an Ironman this year and have a goal of finishing in say 10 hours (slightly ambitious for a newbie I think). I may or may not fall short but you know what, I intend to complete it anyway, time notwithstanding. See in this example, the goal seems stressful to me (10 hours!) but my intention, while challenging sure, is pretty exciting.

Setting intentions are simple and stress-free. You can determine to take a new step forward – beginning with your thoughts. After all, it’s right there that the very first seeds of intent are planted.

In fact, I’ve gotten a jump on this whole setting an intention thing and have been on it since last month when I set one practical and one spiritual intention. It’s important to me that I remain healthy, get healed, and grow spiritually and intellectually this year so I went ahead and set my intentions to ensure this, as much as I can anyway. With that in mind, I’m spending the first couple months of the year in PT for my knees and taking a step back from running. While I’m not giving it up entirely, I’m hoping one to two short runs per week will be acceptable and that modified movements at the gym, to keep the stress off my knees, will help the healing process along.

On the practical (physical and adventuresome) side, I intend to finish a Sprint Triathlon this year and while I’ve been thinking to do one in April, I’m debating, with my knees in recovery, if that’s too soon. I’ll make a final decision in about two weeks. I’ve also decided on just one marathon this year (unbelievable I know), which will bring me up to a total of twenty. And no, I’m not ruling out more running, I’m just putting healing first and allowing my body to lead the way. My Spiritual journey, on the other hand, is a process I’m fully engaged in and embracing as an opportunity to develop and overflow into the other areas of my life. I’ve also embraced the idea of learning a new skill to help with a business idea.

So far, so great! Challenging but not stressful. 2020 is looking good and we’re feeling positive and purposeful; that’s a very important foot to step out on. Next steps are pretty straightforward, there is really only one strategy that will work to see those intentions through: daily reminders to myself and consistent effort turning the wheels of progress each day. Some days will require a lot more effort than others, but I believe that each day dedicated to following through on my plans and completing it will be exciting, challenging, and ultimately rewarding.

Here’s to an exciting, challenging, rewarding, [and some fun running too] 2020! 🥂🏃‍♀️✨

Celebrating One Year of CrossFit and 10+ Years of Running 🎊🎊🎊

If you had told me 10 years ago that I would be an avid Cross fitter and runner, approaching my sixteenth marathon in a week’s time, and living in New York City for seven out of those 10 years, I’d probably have believed you on everything but surviving seven winters here in the Big Apple state. It’s a testament to my spirit of adventure, and, I might add, survival skills, that I have lived here this long despite vowing to the contrary when I was younger. It is that spirit of adventure, with which I credit my athletic proclivities and the propensity to push and redefine so-called limits.

One year ago, after much ado, and yeah I had a few misgivings with my running in full swing, I started CrossFit. I didn’t know then if I would be able to dedicate myself wholeheartedly to, what seemed back then, such an aggressive form of fitness training. I mean by all accounts it was tough and demanding. Did I have the time and ability to commit to that type of thing? I didn’t know. But dammit I hoped so, since the buzz was it could help my running. So yeah, I was a bit trepidatious, actually a helluva lot. After all, those guys lifting looked mad strong in all the pics I’d seen, and I’d seen a lot combing the internet and other media images. A year later, I can safely say that you should never let apprehension get the better of you.

These days, I like to say, it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. It’s unlikely I’ll ever be able to go back to a regular gym. I now know all gyms are definitely not created equal. But while CrossFit boxes might hold the edge in the exercise arena, which is possibly because of their badass reputation and commitment to High Intensity Training and Olympic Style Lifting/ Weight Training, I’m also aware that there are many competing fitness ideas popping up all over the place. CrossFit’s ability to maintain their edge will depend on their ability to diversify, develop, and reinvent their core concepts in the coming years. In the meantime, it’s been pretty interesting, challenging, and invigorating.

Those who know me know that I have never been one to back down at anything , even less so when it came to exercise. So that CrossFit was or rather is a challenge means only that you can be sure I’ll give it my best. Thus far I’ve enjoyed the competitive but encouraging spirit among gym members and the variety in the programs offered at my gym. The comraderie among athletes when we do class WODs (work-out of the day) and at in-house competitions have been truly inspiring as have been the coaches’ knowledge, experience, and willingness and ability to impart said knowledge. The CrossFit environment is one where one can thrive with the right attitude no matter their level. We can all agree that you don’t pay a lot of money for someone to kick your ass and have nothing to show for it. The gains are where it’s at people.

So yes, I’m feeling the gains some: I’m already so much stronger than I’ve ever been, my lifts are getting better all the time, though I do struggle in a couple of areas..my damn humanity..and I’m developing a host of existing skills while learning new ones and new ways to do old ones. Next Monday I’m running the Boston Marathon, yet again, and I’m hoping that, weather aside this time, I can possibly see some of those gains extend itself to stronger running, better endurance, a lot more confidence, and the absence of injuries. Yay! Go me!

Running 2019: A Formula for Success

Source: Pinterest.com

Bang, went the door shutting unapologetically on 2019. For many it was too soon, while for others it was non too soon. Regardless, the new year is here, and for many it has arrived with expectations, pressures, hopes, and fears. More so for those who felt crippled last year by circumstances and fear. For those of us who tarry here, this year is an unerring reminder of perceived limits and weaknesses. This should not be. Each day, in and of itself, is an opportunity to begin, to redo, to try again, to take advantage of the moment – here and now – with the resources, the knowledge, and the abilities we have in hand.

Let’s forget last year for a minute and what didn’t happen and focus on what we can do today. It’s worth pointing out that the ability to live in the present is a worthwhile pursuit, which allows us to channel our energy and resources into what can benefit us today. What if you made one goal – just one – for this year that involved daily tactical steps to make sure its realization. It is possible this may ensure that at the end of 2019 you are in a better place than when you started, and you might just kick ass doing so. The idea is to eliminate division in your ability to apply your yourself, your time, and your resources, thus allowing you to channel all of the above into one major area for growth, change, and/or accomplishment. Now I don’t know about you, but I’ve been doing this new year resolutions/goal setting thing for a few years, and try as I might, I have yet to accomplish everything I set forth to do each year. So much so, that I’ve decided that a change is necessary. If I want different results then I must do things differently.

And so, here I am, resolution-less, and finally figuring that maybe, just maybe, I’ve been going about this resolution thing the wrong way all along. Thank God for second, and third, and fourth chances; and that’s what this new year represents to me, another opportunity to get it right, or at the very least, to try differently to accomplish something of immeasurable worth, something that will not only add value to my life, but to someone else’s as well. You see the world is filled with people wanting some inspiration, motivation, a bit of hope, a reason to change, to move, to do, to become something that will in turn impact someone else. The easy part is deciding what to do – making the resolutions – the challenge lies in actually carrying out those plans. I posit that with one goal in sight your chances of running 2019 and getting to the finish line increases exponentially.

Whether you’ve determined to run your first marathon, hike The Andes, participate in your first triathlon or iron man, or even just begin a new health or exercise plan, I encourage you to keep it singular, have someone hold you accountable, do quarterly reviews and necessary realignment, and keep company with those who will support and champion your vision.

The door swings wide open on 2019 and there you stand: one goal, one mind, twelve months, and you determined to succeed.

February Is Heart Health Month

img1519497740564_1.jpgFebruary brings to mind: hearts and flowers, and hugs and kisses, and endless mushiness. Cute and necessary I think, but ideally it’s how we should live everyday, receiving and sharing love with those in our lives and those we have the opportunity to meet. Before and beyond that though is the notion of loving ourselves. Just what does that mean anyway. Aside from pampering oneself and giving others the permission to treat us with dignity and respect, how can we engender love for ourselves that has a multiplying effect that extends beyond us to make a lasting impact on our world? I posit that how we treat and care for our bodies, minds, and spirits speaks a helluva lot more to how we care about ourselves and in turn determines whether we can truly care for others.

Every February we celebrate Heart Health Month. During this time we talk about physical matters of the heart (monitoring our cholesterol & sugar levels, diet, exercise, and other risks factors) all super important..but what if we paid equal attention to the emotional and spiritual aspect of our hearts as well. What if we approached the heart as more than just an organ that beats and transfers blood throughout the body, but one that is intrinsically linked to the very nature of our existence. After all, there is no life without it.

So with just a week left, it’s not too late to encourage you to consider:

(1) A healthier lifestyle this year. Give some thought to embracing a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables, lots of greens and color, whole grains; reduce your intake of unhealthy fats and oils, processed foods, refined sugar, and sugar additives.

(2) Visiting a doctor. Get all your vitals checked including your cholesterol and sugar levels and for heart and breathing irregularities, and blood pressure levels. Use the opportunity to take all the necessary annual blood and other tests that are recommended to make sure you’re healthy and whole physically.

(3) Exercise. Not over rated, exercise has been proven to have positive effects on your heart and reduce your chances of heart disease, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, or to have a stroke if you are physically active. Some experts recommend at least 30 minutes per day of some time of exercise that accelerates your heart rate, while some cardiologists even suggests running ( particularly interval training) as a means of achieving cardiovascular fitness. Most often getting involved in group exercise to motivate and support you can work to get you started and keep you going.

(4) Volunteering, giving back, and embracing our spiritual selves. Engaging in individual or community efforts that relates to reaching out and cultivating and building relationships with the aim of encouraging and uplifting others works to create feel-good endorphins and empathy in us and toward those we engage with. It also opens us up the reality of our place and purpose in life to being a blessing to others. We begin to recognize that there exist a common thread that links all that we do. Our desire to be healthy and whole individuals is tied to our need to live with meaning and purpose, which helps us in our pursuit of happiness. Ultimately, and altogether, it all has an over reaching positive impact on our mental, emotional, and thus, physical health.

On with the New Year, Easy on the Goals

Only 11 days inside the New Year and many of us are already stressing 2018 Goals. If you mean to begin how you want or expect things to end, then this does not bode well for those of us indulging this early in a stress fest. This is why I’ve opted to do things a bit differently this year; instead of my “a million things to-do list,” I’ve opted to keep it simple by having one over-arching goal of managing my time and finances wisely to be better able to do things that really matter (this year) and add value to my life. This has cut down a typically sizeable list to two main goals with strategic steps to get me there with minimum stress.

I am mindful that managing my time and finances wisely doesn’t necessarily translate into success but will require a steadfast and systematic approach to acquiring the art of saying no. No to things that seem appealing, desirable, and irresistible even. No to things that do not add value and gets in the way of me achieving financial satisfaction and causes me to spread myself too thinly across an array of feel-good, do-good obligations. This systematic approach involves noting where I hope to be when December rolls around and listing tactics like: making monthly spending budgets, Starting a savings plan, and utilizing a calendar approach to keep track of my training, races, gym work, hours of sleep, and overall health.

I am not fooled into thinking this is an easy switch. On the contrary, this concentrated effort is probably going to impose constraints on my otherwise free-spirited lifestyle. But, I’m convinced this is the way forward if I stand any chance of achieving a sense of purpose and self this year. I’ve dedicated this month to etching out my plan and to enlist ways to hold myself accountable, thus creating some breathing room to allow me to focus within the limits I have constructed. I’d be less than honest if I didn’t say I’m a tad intimidated by the whole affair. On the other hand, I recognize it as necessary as running. While I’m not one to dwell, the lesson learnt last year RE the limits to my super powers (I’m still getting comfortable with this notion that I’m simply human and can only do so much and not all at once) is one I intend to make work for me this time around.

Here’s to making it happen this year, one goal at a time! 🍻

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