How Making 8 Simple Life Changes Led Me to the Biggest Victory of My Life
Have you ever done something that scared you? Something that made you push yourself beyond what you felt you were capable of? Something that made your heart pound and your stomach drop? I just did something that I have wanted to do for about 6 years. I always dreamed about doing this but on some very real level never thought I could. Sunday September 13, 2015 I ran my first full marathon….yes I said FULL, that’s 26.2 miles. I still can’t really believe that I did it. Now I have never been athletic by any means. I never really played any sports as a kid and as a matter of fact, in high school, I excelled at taking naps! So for me to sit here and tell you that I ran a FULL marathon…well, that is BIG news. I don’t say any of this to brag I say it to tell you that if I can do it, then you can too, if it were a challenge you’ve wanted to take on. You see not everyone desires to run a marathon and after running one I realize why. At about mile 22 I realized that this was the worst thing I could ever do and that I must be insane to put my body through such hell. I can now understand the shirts that read “26.2 I’m full crazy.” Full crazy I am! Once the pain wore off I was already contemplating my next one.
Me at the finish line
It wasn’t just the experience of running the marathon, but the months of training leading up to it. I had to commit to getting up nearly every day to run, and Sunday doing a long run during a very hot and humid summer. The last couple of months during training I did a few things to take care of myself and prevent injury. Here’s what I did and how you can benefit too: 1. I hired a personal trainer Having ran 5 half marathons already, I never really did too much cross training ( i.e. weight training, to strengthen your muscles and prevent injury.) So I hired Maria, a fantastic personal trainer who kicks my butt for 30 minutes twice a week, helping me accelerate changes in my body. I started seeing results within the first week. The time and money I have invested with Maria has been totally worth it on accountability alone. 2. I got frequent massages Being a massage therapist; I hate to admit that I don’t get massaged as much as I should. Speaking to other massage therapists I know I’m not alone. Seems we like to wait until we are really hurting and NEED a massage. However, massage is an important part of body maintenance and if you are doing it on a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly basis you are less likely to get to that desperate point where you are already in pain. Massage also increases endorphins, the feel good hormone and the body’s natural painkiller. You can increase your endorphins through exercise as well but THAT doesn’t feel quite as good as wonderful as a massage. So I took my own advice! 3. Increased my water intake I have heard for years and read countless articles on the benefits of drinking water. I can tell when I have a client on my massage table whether or not they are drinking enough water, I can feel it in their skin and I can feel it in their muscles. One of the first things I say to a client who is experiencing tightness in muscles that wont seem to go away is “how is your water intake?” the answer is almost always, it could be better. The rule is whatever your body weight is for example if you weigh 150 pounds, divide that in half which is 75 and that is the amount of ounces your should be drinking in a day. The recommended dose is 8 cups (64 oz) but I think most of us actually require more. If you are not even close to what you should be drinking for your body, don’t try and drink the correct amount in one day, your body is use to what it has been drinking so you want to slowly increase your water intake until you are at the correct amount. Trust me. You will have more energy, feel better, everything will run a little smoother, and if you are trying to lose a few extra pounds increasing your water will definitely help. 4. Cut down my alcohol intake (even though I LOVE wine) On the opposite end of increasing my water intake I decided to decrease my alcohol intake. I enjoy my wine, and coming home and having a glass or two had become a habit I had devolved over the last few years. Undertaking this huge goal of the marathon I knew I had to decrease or eliminate my alcohol intake completely. I cut down from drinking almost on a daily basis, to drinking once a week. It wasn’t until I took the alcohol out of my system that I realized how crappy it was making me feel. I do still indulge in the occasional drink with friends but I no longer keep the habit of coming home from work and always having a glass or two of wine. 5. I got SLEEP! Sleep, seems like a no brainer, I know that I am a completely different person when I do not get enough sleep. I need at least 8 hours. Typically I work in a dimly lit room with relaxing music playing, not the best place to be when you are tired. I haven’t fallen asleep during a massage yet and I would like to keep it that way. If you are having trouble sleeping make sure your bedroom is free of distractions, including TV, cell phones, or computers. If you are browsing the Internet before bed your mind is very much on and you want to turn off the mind so you can get a restful night sleep. Getting a massage during the day has been known to help you sleep. I also recommend Young Living Lavender essential oil. You can diffuse it or just inhale it before bed and it is very relaxing. For more information on Young Living, feel free to message me. 6. I started meal prepping Not familiar? Basically I would spend one day each week, making 2 or 3 meals that I could eat throughout the week. Many times after coming home from work I am so hungry and if I don’t have a meal prepared that I can just heat up I find myself either going out to eat, spending unnecessary money or eating junky food that isn’t really nourishing my body. This action will save you money and keep you in a healthier mind set. 7. I said NO to overworking and certain social obligations. Saying NO, is something I have a hard time with. I like to make everyone happy, whether it is socially or having to do with my clients at work. While in training I said yes to getting up early and yes to running until my legs felt like spaghetti, so in turn I had to say no. I had to say no to going out on Saturday nights so I could get up early on Sundays and run 10, 15, 18, or 20 miles. I also had to say no to the last minute client when I already had a packed day. In saying no to others I was saying yes to my marathon and myself. 8. I started meditating Just like drinking enough water, meditation is another thing that we are not doing enough of. In this high tech very loud world we live in sometimes it can be difficult to sit in silence with ourselves and quiet our mind. It’s no secret that stress is a big contributor to some of the major health problems in the US today. When clients come to me complaining about pain in their neck and shoulders some saying they feel the “weight of the world on their shoulders.” That’s when I ask: “do you meditate?” You can find guided meditations on Youtube if you are new to meditating. A guided meditation will have relaxing music with someone guiding you into relaxation, perhaps describing peaceful images, or repeating a mantra.
Enjoying the quiet at the top of Overlook Mt. in Woodstock, NY