Complacency will kill you and other lessons from On The Edge

Sitting in a cold auditorium is how I might have started many nap stories during college, but in 2012 at a work convention I stumbled upon what is to date one of my favorite speakers.

Alison Levine.

In fact, I shared with you the tremendous lessons from that event in How To Climb Mount Everest {clearly lessons and not an actual guide}. **Note: Today’s post was scheduled prior to the recent tragic events. Having read this book, I have a much greater understanding of the work those Sherpa’s do each year to make it possible for others to summit Everest. It’s one of the most selfless jobs I can imagine.

Her speaking style combined with imagines of climbing Everest give you an immediate take charge of life, be bold and work hard feeling.  Her new book: On the Edge: The art of high-impact leadership, tries to capture that feeling, but it’s hard without her in person enthusiasm. OnTheEdgeThis is a FASCINATING book filled with a ton of great insights told through the adventures of her summiting Mount Everest, skiing across the Antarctic and those around her.

As always Cliff notes for those who are considering reading it or simply don’t have time:

Titles: Leadership skills aren’t the result of title or a promotion. “Leadership is an attitude.”

Passing limits: “Once you’ve been there--in that place of feeling like you’ve got nothing left, and you’ve pressed right on through it -- you know you can do it again and you aren’t worried about it.” <<Hello marathon running!
Two steps back: “..we tend to think that progress has to move in one particular direction, but that’s simply not the case. Sometimes you do have to go backwards--away from your destination-- in order to reach it.”

Teamwork: “A group is only a team when every member of the group cares as much about helping the other members as they care about helping themselves.”

Networking Lifesaver: “…people will always be more inclined to help people they know…” Why it’s worth the time to get to know those around you in every situation.

Complacency: It’s easy to stop paying attention when life feels routine. There is a reason most accidents happen within a mile of home. “Fear is fine, but complacency will kill you.” {Tweet that stuff!}

Excel despite limitations: Stop trying to overcome your weaknesses and focus on how your strengths can benefit everyone. Allow your team to do the same! Think of all the huge entrepreneurs like Jack Welch and Richard Branson who grew up with issues like dyslexia or stammering, they didn’t try to overcome their weakness they compensated with great strength in other areas.

Frugal, not cheap: “Don’t put yourself or your team at a disadvantage because you didn’t bother to get the proper equipment.” Get creative, do some digging and invest in what’s required to be successful.

Situational action: You can’t control everything. “The key to surviving storms is the ability to take action based on the situation at the time, regardless of the plan.”

Failure happens: Even some of the best climbers have yet to summit Everest because in those final moments near the peak the weather has turned bad…months of climbing and no summit. For some it’s failure, for others it’s another experience, new lessons and an amazing achievement. You have to be willing to fail to improve your skills.

Past motivational book recaps:
Lessons for peak performance {Eleven Rings}
11 Laws That Will Change Your Life
The Start Here Diet

Have you heard any really great speakers lately?

Do you agree with her definition of a team?

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Superfood Peppermint Chocolate Chia Kefir Pudding

Weeks spent thinking about making this recipe = 4
Time to actually make recipe = 30 seconds

Yup, proving my own point that we make healthy living too hard. This delightful dessert satisfies my sweet tooth, protein needs and cranky stomach all at the same time.

Finally a recipe that lives up to a magazine headline… the 30 Second Health Fix! In fact, you'll have it made by the time you finish saying the name.

What is kefir?
I’d seen kefir in the dairy case many times, but A. it was expensive and B. I wasn’t sure if I could eat it…I mean it seems like dairy! Kefir is actually a fermented dairy product that is usually 99% lactose free {the primary cause of dairy issues for many}. Thanks to Lindsay for giving me the thumbs up to try it out.

A. Turns out it’s thick like yogurt with lots of protein, so one bottle is about 8 servings for me and thus even cheaper than greek yogurt.
B. Kefir is filled with probiotics which are a huge focus for keeping my tummy happy.
C. Has tryptophan so it can be relaxing
D. Good source of B Vitamins
E. Tangy kind of taste, but quickly flavors with vanilla or whatever you might add
F. Like yogurt skip the flavors which have high sugar content

Chocolate Kefir Pudding
Superfood Chocolate Chia Kefir Pudding

  • 1/2 cup plain kefir
  • 1 tbsp cacao
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 tsp maca
  • 1/2 tsp spirulina
  • Stevia 3 drops (Vanilla or peppermint)
    Kefir Chia Pudding

Mix. Eat….yup this is how it went down…spoon…mouth..smile.

Let’s chat a little more about the superfoods {any food believed to provide added health benefits} that make up this tasty little treat.

Maca: hormone balancing
Spirulina: immune system power booster
Cacao: energy providing
Chia: omega 3’s
Kefir: probiotics

Find more fun healthy recipes on #strangebutgood, Gluten Free Round up and #recipefriday link ups!

Have you ever tried kefir?

Anyone else spend more time THINKing than doing with recipes?

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Save the drama for your…hairdresser?

As the towel dropped, I leaned forward squinting at the massive gilded mirror to ensure I was seeing things correctly.  Had I been flour bombed like Kim Kardashian somewhere between the wash basin and the chair?!

I’d never seen my hair that particular shade of blonde before or paid someone a nice chunk of my hard earned freelancing money to get it. Heading home prepared to fall in love at third or fourth site, I first tried a selfie in the bathroom, then the balcony, then the bedroom…results were conclusive, I didn’t like it.
HairstyleWhat I thought I described...what I saw.

When D had the misfortune of gracing our door step, I pounced.

Me: GIVE ME YOUR absolutely completely honest feedback. Is it awful? Do I look washed out? Should I go back? What do I do? {I may have said is my butt big, I’m not sure what was happening.}

Him:  oh it’s very…Springy. Yeah some of it looks a little white, but I like it…except the line across the front, that’s weird

YEAHH so when I put my hair in a ponytail it looks even worse, that’s pretty spectacular for a girl who spends 99.9% of a given day in a ponytail.

"Life is an endless struggle full of frustrations and challenges, but eventually you find a hair stylist you like." --Anonymous

What’s the big deal, at the end of the day it’s just hair?! This certainly wasn’t a cry worthy moment, but it was a face plant on the floor, lots of deep breaths, don’t post a craptastic photo of yourself moment. As my brain shut down, I’d like to say I was simply meditating.

Because well, it’s not JUST HAIR.

It’s THE hair that I worked so hard to regrow after seeing it destroyed by my hormonal roller coaster. The hair that was so thick and full that it made me feel gorgeous no matter my chubby cheeked size as a teen…well I’ll never be 18 again and hopefully I’ll never have this color again either.

On Wednesday, I calmly went back pointed out the hideous line which she immediately agreed needed to be resolved and then I tried to find a nice way of saying…fix it all, but I’m terrified to have you fix it because what if it’s worse.

As I sat head tilted back in that awkward guillotine shaped bowl hump, listening to another stylist gossip about a woman who recently adopted a dog because she probably feared her eggs had all dried up I realized…THAT’S the kind of drama I expect at a salon. HA!
bedhead**All names and hair colors have been changed to protect those involved. Thanks for letting me ramble through another Thinking Out Loud Thursday.

All right, now I need to hear from you…How important is your hair to you?

Can a bad hair day ruin your day?
Any hair dresser horror stories??

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How to train for Boston Heartbreak Hill

Ever find yourself taking note of the incline on road while driving and pondering how far it is from your home? You know, the kind of road that would make for superior hill training? No…you must not live in Florida.

Once I committed to the insanity merriment of running the Hat Trick {5k, 10K,half marathon} at the Runner’s World Heartbreak Hill Festival in June, I knew it was time to to start making mountains out of molehills. The best way to train for any course is to mimic the terrain…in this case rolling hills.

Luckily, our home gym recently expanded with a shiny new Nordictrack with iFit thanks to my friends at Icon fitness.  Once you finish rolling your eyes at my new toy, let’s chat about why it’s so damn cool.

  • I pulled up the RW Half course map 
  • Utilizing Google Maps within iFit, I plotted the first half of the route for about 8.5 miles
  • Then I created a shorter route for the last portion of the race, roughly 3.5 mile course
  • Bopped over to the treadmill, logged in to iFit and both course were synced up
  • I selected the shorter course for a quick test run and then…I ran.

Not that interesting you say…well smarty pants, just wait a minute.

Here is where it gets CRAZY - the treadmill automatically adjusted the incline as it moved me along the plotted road!!! One minute I was looking at the overview from Google Maps, the next the street view and pretty much continuously shouting “hey D you gotta see this”. {Note: yelling while running not recommended, it’s very wasteful of oxygen}. 

I get that I’m a running nerd to the core, but seriously this is cool!
iFit MapsiFit also has a number of other programs so if I wanted Jillian to yell at me or run along a path in say Italy, I could do that too…oh and you bet I well.

No fancy schmancy treadmill for you?? Good news I’ve got something for you and it’s free…we call them…wait for it…hills. {Share this with a training partner!}
For those racing Boston, Heartbreak Hill is merely a blip on the overall race…but it’s a 700 meter blip after mile 20 just as many are facing the dreaded wall. Those of us doing the RW Half will enjoy the steep down about mile 2 and trudging back up it at mile 12…woo..hoo?

  • Hills early in training program - this will build quality leg strength and has been shown to help with injury prevention per Matt Fitzgerald
  • Long hills, not fast repeats - Repeats early in training as noted are good for strength, but most Boston courses involve long gradual hills which require extended endurance.  Try longer hill repeats or setting the treadmill on an incline for a couple miles.
  • Down jumps - Jumping off a bench and landing with bent knees is great to practice the impact created from downhill running {an often overlooked aspect}
  • Drive - If hills aren’t regular around you, then take a little extra time on the weekends to drive to a hilly route. Luckily in Orlando in about 40 minutes we can get to a great hilly area and on race day it makes that drive totally worth it.
  • Ending on hills - After a longer run, try to end with 5-10 hill repeats, no speed required just get used to using different muscles as your legs fatigue.
  • Starting with downhill - Everyone worries about making the climb, but running downhill creates a lot of stress on the quads. If you can use decline on the treadmill or start your runs heading down, then finishing back up that’s ideal.
  • Fuel - During hills your heart rate increases and your body begins switching to carbs for fuel. Ingesting some carbs prior to hitting the steep portions can help.
  • Intervals in long runs - During a mid-distance run start to add intervals, the increase and decrease of heart rate will mimic the intensity of hills late in the race.
  • Pace or effort - Learning to focus on effort over pace can make conquering hills easier. As you allow your body to slow conserving energy on the way up, pick up speed on the way down and even out in the flat areas.

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Boost marathon performance with a walk

Believe that walking and being a runner aren’t compatible? Real runners don’t walk?? Or do they! This is not about run-walk intervals. This is about adding walking to your routine.

Running along side one of the speediest men I’d ever met, I was shocked when he told me his very expensive coach ordered him to start more walking AFTER finishing long runs. Validation that all my walking is more than just free transportation! boost marathon performance

Benefits of walking for runners:

  • Walking builds endurance {consider it extra credit training}
  • More time on your feet during training ensures you are race ready even after the expo and site exploring on race weekend
  • One can walk much further than they can run
  • It utilizes the same muscles without the impact
  • Walking eases low back pain {an issue of many desk jockeys}
  • Walking strengthens your feet
  • Walking large hills strengthens the glutes without the heart rate raising intensity

Adding some walking to your routine might just help you run farther and faster by building leg strength, increasing lung capacity, reducing stress and burning extra calories.

Where to add walking in your training?

  • Walk on rest days as active recovery which is both low impact and beneficial to your run
  • Add 10-20 minutes at the end of your long run which will increase the total mileage and time on your feet, but without the added injury risk of running past your limits
  • Walk to do errands, walk around the office, pace on the phone
  • Walk in place of a run when you are injured or under the weather. Double the time your run would take for the walk.
"While walking takes longer, it will bestow the same endurance as running, while reducing injury risk."—Jeff Galloway, U.S. Olympian {Tweet about it!}

While the focus of this articles is on pure walking, don’t think that run-walk intervals are only for newbies:

  • It works for runners of all levels from beginners to Ironmen
  • For new runners walking breaks allows the musculoskeletal and cardiovascular systems to recover while building endurance.
  • For injured runners it reduces the risk of overuse and can be a great mental relief in returning to running.
  • In the summer months it allows the heart rate to drop reducing effort
  • Many a runner has BQ’ed with this method and swears it kept them injury free {as I always say there is no one right method, be open to testing what works for you}

Right now I’m continuing to workout purely for the joy of it and to feel strong. I’ve got no specific race goals.
7 weeks until RW Hat Trick

April 07 - 45 min walk + 30 min bike | Core Workout, stretch
Apr 08 - 6 mile treadmill fun run + 20 min walk + 10 min bike | 2 mile easy run + 20 min walk
Apr 09 -  30 min bike trainer w/ 1 tabata + 40 min walk | 2 miles + 20 min walk + 30 min yoga
Apr 10 - 10.3 miles {Avg 9:33 LHR run} + 10 min walk | 2 miles + 20 min walk
Apr 11 - 20 min walk + PT exercises -- I badly wanted to workout, nothing hurts and I had the energy…but I can also tell my body is reaching that pause now or I will pause you phase.
Apr 12 - 60 min bike trainer + 60 min walk + Core
Apr 13 - 10 mile easy run {avg 9:43} + 40 min walk + 30 min yoga

#BESTFOOT THIS WEEKBestfoot This Week Link-Up
Time to share how you put your #bestfoot forward last week. Your posts will appear on 3 blogs each time you link up: here, Krysten of Darwinian Fail and Ericka of SweetLifeEricka.

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