Archive for May, 2012
One day an old man was walking down the beach just before dawn. In the distance he saw a young man picking up stranded starfish and throwing them back into the sea. As the old man approached the young man, he asked, “Why do you spend so much energy doing what seems to be a waste of time?” The young man explained that the stranded starfish would die if left in the morning sun. The old man exclaimed, “But there must be thousands of starfish. How can your efforts make any difference?” The young man looked down at the starfish in his hand and as he threw it to safety in the sea, he said,” It makes a difference to this one!”
I feel fortunate to work in an environment where I can make a difference in people’s lives every day. I see health and wellness as more than lifting weights and running on a treadmill. As the trends of fitness have evolved, so has my perception. I now see fitness as a powerful vehicle that creates change. Change in our movement patterns, thoughts and actions. Fitness allows the opportunity to build strength, confidence, empowerment, and character from the inside, out. Physical results are just one by-product of hard word and dedication to change.
With that, I had a wonderful opportunity to help create change by educating a group of high school students at a health fair this morning. Along with three of my coworkers, we were able to provide benefits to exercise, nutritional tips and exercise programs they could do at home sans any equipment.
This is just one platform I hope to grow in the near future. Childhood obesity is on the rise. We need to stop this epidemic. Now!
What are you doing to help make a difference?
It was late winter/early spring of 2005 that I decided to sign up for my first triathlon. The race I signed up for was a Half IronMan, go big or go home I guess. I had always been a member of team sports from the time I could walk, literally. Now was the time to try to do something on my own. My thought was, “If I do well, it’s because I put in the hard work. If no, then I’m the only one to blame.”
There were a few things I needed to do to make this a reality. First, I needed to buy a new road bike. With the help one of my brother’s besties and his buddies at a local bike shop in Madison, we found the perfect bike for me. Seven years later that bike and I ride as one. Next, I needed to practice swimming in open water. Thanks to my cousin and her wonderful generosity, Lake Winnipesaukee became a second home on the weekends. Running was never a strong suit, but something I could manage. All three disciplines I could manage individually. It was a matter of bringing them all together.
For the better part of the summer, I worked really hard on improving time and technique. Before racing the 70.3, I knew it be best to try (no pun intended) a few smaller races. My first ever triathlon was the all women’s Danskin. This is a great race for all ages, sizes and abilities. The intent is to create empowerment, self-esteem and confidence. I was so inspired to see women of all backgrounds participating in such a great event. Not long after I drove to Vermont for the weekend to do an olympic size tri. It would be a similar course to my larger one scheduled only a month later. This was a great opportunity to see the terrain. And terrain there was. Vermont= mountains. Just driving the course, I felt my car chugging up the hills. How was I ever going to pedal up these same roads. But in the end, I made it!
August rolled around and my parents drove out from Wisconsin to watch me race. Waking up to less than 60 degrees and rain was not a very welcoming site. We checked in and got things all set up. I put on my wet suit and started to warm up in the water. Unfortunately between the cold weather, rain and less than ideal water temperature, mild hypothermia had slowly started to creep in. As I finished my 1.2 mile swim and jumped on the bike, something did not feel right. My feet were cold and shivers set in. With two laps down on the bike and two to go, I chose to pull out of the race. It wasn’t worth trying to finish the race under these conditions.
There were many people who completed the race with respectable times. Unfortunately there were nearly 30 people taken to the hospital because of medical care, namely hypothermia. I was one of the lucky ones. Choosing to pull out was one of the smartest decisions in all my years of competing in sports.
The title of this blog can mean many things. To me, it’s not only about triathlons. It is also about going out there is doing it again. Even though I have not signed up for another half, I have competed in several triathlons since. Triathlons are one of the fastest growing recreational sports for adults. The allure to me was that I needed a goal. By putting in the time of preparation of workouts, nutrition, sleep, smaller races, this helped achieve that goal. It also provides a great social atmosphere. Maybe competing with your friends or introducing them to a new discipline is a great way to spend time together.
There are many great races nation and worldwide of all abilities. Check out the following links for more info:
I know many people get stuck in a rut with their fitness because their workouts only consist of being inside. The great outdoors offers an endless supply of fun activities. Find something you enjoy or have always wanted to try. Step out of your comfort zone. Bring a friend along for the ride.
Below are some pictures of my favorite ways to keep active, outside. Enjoy!
It is good to realize that if love and peace can prevail on earth, and if we can teach our children to honor nature’s gifts, the joys and beauties of the outdoors will be here forever.~ Jimmy Carter
One of my favorite activities during the summer months is to grab an oar and set sail in the kayak. I find the early morning time best, when the water looks like glass. Often visiting my friends at their lake house in NH, this is a great opportunity. Their particular lake has very little boat activity, which makes for an enjoyable experience. However, one must never let their guard down.
Forming good habits early can make the difference between a great kayaking day and a bad experience. The following are a few safety tips know before setting sail.
- ALWAYS wear a PFD (personal flotation device).
- Know what the weather patterns are before heading out.
- Develop a float plan. If you are will be out for more than one hour, let another person know your intended plan.
- Carry enough drinking water with you, especially on warm days.
- A small, air tight First Aide kit is a must have.
- Choose bright-colored gear and clothing.
- If kayaking will be a family outing, make sure everyone is aware of ALL safety rules and instructions.
- Take a kayaking safety course. It could save your life.
It was only a few days after my 18th birthday when I got my first tattoo. If I recall correctly, my parents weren’t thrilled with the idea, but knew it was going to happen. Their primary concern was safety. I even remember my dad calling the tattoo parlor and inquiring about safety precautions and possible side affects. Since that day, I have added a few more. Let’s just say I have more than one, but fewer than ten.
There are countless reasons we choose to decorate our bodies with ink. Some use it as a form of self-expression or artistic freedom. Others use it to show off their spirituality, heritage or favorite literary quotes. Many get tattoos as a way to remember a loved one or as simple as showing off their favorite flower. One lady I spoke with recently said it was a way for her to feel comfortable in her own skin.
No matter your personal reason for choosing to get some ink, everyone should and must educate yourself. There are a few risks involved. Some include
- Allergic reactions to dye colors. Especially red, green, yellow and blue dyes — can cause allergic skin reactions, such as an itchy rash at the tattoo site. This can occur even years after you get the tattoo.
- Skin infections. This could be swelling or redness around the tattoo area.
- Blood borne disease. If the equipment used to create your tattoo is contaminated with infected blood, you can contract various blood borne diseases — including tetanus, hepatitis B and hepatitis C.
If you are afraid to ask a parlor about their safety procedures, then you are not ready. Gather as much information as you can.
- A great place to start in the bathroom. How clean a bathroom is will tell how important it is for a parlor to keep their tools clean.
- Ask if the artist wears gloves. If the answer is NO, walk out the door.
- Make sure the tattoo artist removes the needle and tubes from sealed packages before your procedure begins. Any pigments, trays or containers should be unused as well.
- Never get a tattoo under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not trying to sway you from getting a tattoo. In fact, I’m sure I’ll add more in the near future. I just want to be sure you are well educated before sitting down with a needle to skin. Please, do your research. Both about your artist and the parlor you choose to use.