Tagged: motivation

Just one more thing

How many consecutive fitness related posts does one have to draft before one is considered a fitness blogger? I don’t think this post – my second fitness related post in as many weeks – will put me anywhere near that threshold.

I guess this isn’t entirely a new post, it’s more of an add on to the thoughts I shared last week. As I mentioned, I completed the 30 Runs in 30 Days Challenge.

Here’s where the additional thought kicks in (Ironically a thought that entered my noggin in this morning’s predawn hours during a run).

Because I still haven’t conquered those lazy sleep in and do nothing physical demons, I took a couple of days off after having run 30 straight days. This morning was my first real run since completing the Challenge early last week. Surprisingly, I completed a run that was a whisper away from the four mile mark without too many aches and pains. A couple of laps around the roundabout down the street (That’s a traffic circle to you non-southerners) would have gotten me there.

I promise. This is the last post on this topic (that is until the next Challenge)

I promise. This is the last post on this topic (that is until the next Challenge)

Apparently, my body was positively impacted more by the 30 consecutive days of activity than negatively impacted by the 3 or 4 days of laziness.

I have a buddy who is an avid golfer, and he once told me about a similar experience that occurred with him. He had just come off of a period where he played little to no golf, but when he returned to the course, he played better than ever. I said to him that it must have been good muscle memory.

He bristled at this notion.

He said, correctly, that our muscles don’t experience memories. What they do experience is conditioning. If you perform certain tasks or exercises over a period of time the muscles you use will become conditioned, so even if you stop for a brief period of time, the muscles maintain a certain level of conditioning.

Such was the case this morning.

Running (walking, shuffling and crawling) 30 straight days helped condition my muscles (legs, heart, lungs and whatever other muscles come to the dance during a run) enough that I was able to perform pretty much at the same level after a couple of days off.

This was a refreshing change from those periods where I’d run for a few days and stop. Then when I’d get back into it, I’d pay the price with aches and pains from my head down to my feet, and sadly I wasn’t hot, sticky sweet (Sorry, I felt compelled to shoehorn a Def Leppard reference in that paragraph).

Once again (and for the last time, because wringing out a third post gushing over completing the 30 Runs Challenge would simply be overkill), I’m really pleased with myself that I completed the Challenge, and even though I could take a day or two off and still make it around my neighborhood without medical assistance, I don’t intend to. I’ll see you out there tomorrow morning!

Sunday Horoscope

My grandmother used to swear by her horoscope. I have vivid childhood memories of her reviewing the daily astrological predictions. She wouldn’t stop at her forecast. She’d review the family’s daily prognostication and that of any neighbors who might have happened by for a morning cup of coffee.

Even as a kid, I never took those predictions too seriously. Even though – I must admit – over the years I did continue to check in from time to time on what the stars had in store for me.

Now, since I get most of my daily news digitally, I don’t have get much of a chance to check in on my daily foretelling – at least not in the same manner and format as my grandmother’s daily practice.

Except on Sunday.

The Sunday paper is the only old school printed paper I still read from cover to cover – even though any breaking news I’ve likely been made aware of hours before on my trusty mobile communications device (My views on print vs. digital news distribution and absorption might serve as the topic of a future conversation).

Every now and then the stars get it right!

Every now and then the stars get it right!

Yes, part of my Sunday paper ritual is a review of the daily horoscope. Please forgive the lengthy set up, but this is why we’re gathered here today.

I’d like to share with you some thoughts on the forecast I received this morning.

Today’s horoscope said (paraphrasing) No one likes the know-it-all until the time comes when no one else seems to know anything.

No, I’m not suggesting that I am that know it all referenced in today’s mystical prediction. It may simply be that I’ve been in situations where things grind to a halt because no one is willing to step up and take action (I might be Viennese Waltzing my way around my editorial policy against matters too close to  the 9 to 5, so I think I’ll pump my brakes just a bit).

I found today’s horoscope quite appropriate on the fourth day of a new year. We can’t be afraid to take action – even if it means being branded a know it all. Stepping up and trying to help solve a problem or accomplish a task is often a better alternative than siding with those who favor stagnation, indecision and inaction.

To borrow and paraphrase the Bard, The fault is not in our stars, but in ourselves.

 

Retirement Envy

“Envy is the ulcer of the soul.”
Socrates

I have a friend who shared with me the story of a recent weekend trip (Yes, it’s really a friend. I’m not doing that ‘say it’s a friend to hide that I’m referring to myself gimmick’).  She traveled to New York to hang with some buddies she’s known since high school.

Several of these folks are retired.

Upon her return, she says, she felt a sense of envy because a couple of her closest friends get to see plays, travel and otherwise have fun whenever they want because they have made the choice to retire, while she’s still working for the man five days a week.

When I caught up with my friend after her weekend jaunt, she told me that she returned home with a bad case of “retirement envy.”

Don't fall prey!

Courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Since me and my high school buddies are a couple of decades (At the very least!) away from punching that time clock for the last time, I regret that it is hard for me to feel any empathy over my friend’s situation. Although I do understand how easy it is to feel a sense of envy when you perceive that someone is in a better situation than you.

O.K. pass the acetaminophen (No brand names, please, because I’m all about the generics!). I’m about to do some deep philosophical thinking which always gives me a headache!

For me, envy is a motivator. Rather than getting upset, depressed or jealous over someone who you think is doing better than you, why not turn that negative energy (Look at me getting ‘new age’ in my ‘middle age’!) into active energy. Notice I didn’t say positive. Don’t just be ‘positive’, get ‘active’ and do something!

Taking action is not always easy, but it certainly beats sitting in a corner pissed off.

My friend is taking action (and I’m excited to be helping). Me? I feel pretty motivated as I enter decade number six.

 You?

Where are your expectations set?

Expectations are interesting things. You can set expectations high. You can keep expectations low. From time to time, you may not have any at all.

I find that my views on expectations tend to be in contradiction to my overall views on life.

More often than not, I calibrate my expectations dial to a medium to low setting, and therein lies the contradiction.

I pride myself a very optimistic person. I’m generally pleasant, but when it comes to setting expectations, I have a hard time getting it up – the expectation, that is.

Half-full attitude with half-empty expectations

It’s not that I always expect the worst outcome in a situation; it’s just that tends to be my baseline.

If the outcome is favorable and exceptional, wonderful! Things are better than I expected, and I’m therefore happy.

If the outcome is poor or just so-so, wonderful! Things are just as I thought they would be so – again – I’m happy — and not surprised (and thanks to being mentally conditioned for an outcome in the toilet, I’m better prepared to respond).

The old adage goes, hope for the best yet plan for the worst.  Me? I tend to hope for the just O.K. and build from there.

Sadly, I think this is a factor of my advancing middle age as my view of the world metastasizes from optimistic to realistic.

Influenced by the experience and hindsight that comes from travelling around the block more than a few times, it’s hard to set expectations too much above medium.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a negative person. I think I just like to gird my loins in preparation for any and all worst case scenarios.

If life’s knee to the groin is off an inch or two, great! I’m happy, but if that crotch shot comes in straight for the jewels, I’m braced and ready thanks to my expectations being set accordingly.

That’s my challenge and a question for which I’m seeking an answer. Can someone live hoping for sunny skies, but clutching an umbrella at the same time?

We’ll return to our regularly scheduled, lighter, less philosophical fare next week.

The serious moonlight

My friends at the Oxford Dictionary (Print edition – cause I’m old school like that) define lunatic as “an extremely foolish or eccentric person.” Oxford also provides the origin of the word. Lunatic comes from the “Latin luna ‘moon’ from the belief that changes in the moon caused intermittent insanity.”

Why am I rambling on about the etymology of the word lunatic? Well, it’s because I think basking in the pre-dawn moon over Atlanta does something to me.

Let me explain.

I like to get my exercise grove on first thing in the morning. Now you might say one must be a bit of a lunatic to go running around the neighborhood before the sun comes up – and you may be right!

Moon over Atlanta

Moon over Atlanta

Early morning workouts are quite common, and I’m sure I’m not doing anything many of you aren’t doing.

For me, it’s just that I find that alongside the overt physical benefits, lay several covert mental benefits of basking in the predawn moonlight.

Generally speaking, the predawn hours offer no noise and no traffic. But beyond that, there is a certain peacefulness that surrounds being alone with your thoughts under the luminous glow of a predawn full moon.

When I walk out the door – there it is. When I pass that construction site of the house on the corner that will never be complete – there it is. When I tiptoe around that crack in the pavement – there it is.

Something about the moon’s gentle glow and a quiet stillness make it easy to think – which is what likely led me to conjuring up this post.

The early morning tranquility is a useful setting for reflection, introspection or simply thinking about the day ahead. For example, what’s going in the brown bag for lunch (leftovers from a nice soba noodles in peanut sauce dish Mrs. M. whipped up a couple of nights ago).

And most importantly, all of these mental calisthenics do wonders for taking my mind off of my sore feet and creaky knees!

Good Morning Moon! Thanks for lighting the way and thank you for the inspiration!

Coming apart

Every now and then, I like to flex my philosophical muscles in these pages. Such will be the case over the upcoming paragraphs.

As I often do, as part of the ol 9 to 5, I was delivering a PowerPoint presentation. I was getting my public speaking grove on – pretty routine stuff.

Then it happened. I got a little too animated and my size twelve foot somehow skimmed over my laptop’s power cable – right at the junction where the two halves of the cable come together.

The computer died about as fast as Anthony Weiner’s chances of being named husband of the year.

The screen went black and as it did I tried to recall every trick and tip I’ve learned over the years to recover when your tech craps out during a presentation.

Just when I was ready to channel my inner Tony Robbins and move ahead sans-slides, the laptop came back to life (thanks to a fully-charged battery).

Unplanned...unplugged

Unplanned…unplugged

Even though the power cable came apart, the battery kicked in, things got better and I moved ahead.

This morning, in an effort to get my HGTV yard work grove on, I joined Mrs. McCullough in spiffing up our lawn.

As I was grappling with a thicket of weeds, I felt my left boot sliding as if the laces had come undone. I glanced down at my foot and to my surprise, I see the blasted sole had become separated from the rest of the boot.

I was more annoyed than anything else. I paid a couple of bucks for these boots at a very well-known mail order establishment, and I would have expected a higher level of quality from said mail order establishment.

They don't make 'em like they used to!

They don’t make ’em like they used to!

Even though my shoe came apart, there was work to be done, so I hobbled back to my weeds and moved ahead.

So kind reader, if I can suggest a word or two of wisdom – when things in your life come apart, let your inner power supply kick in, go back to pulling those weeds in your life and move ahead!