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Finding Balance

We all have an Achilles heel that can trip us up as we pursue our fitness and health goals.  Sometimes, it is only a minor slip up that causes our healthy habits to start to taper off.  If you’re like me, a cheat meal can easily converts into a cheat week.

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So how do we stay the course without driving ourselves nutty?

  • Allow yourself latitude to miss a workout or eat a treat. It’s okay to not be perfect.
  • Don’t cut out whole food groups completely. Ditching carbs is certainly effective, but not practical long term.
  • Don’t give up everything you like. I can give up almost everything, but don’t make me give up or change my coffee!
  • Have a battle buddy.  Together you can keep each other on track and disciplined.
  • Sign up for a race or event, so you have a milestone to work towards.
  • Practice yoga, it will reduce stress (and stress hormones) and help you avoid injury by keeping you flexible.

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These are just a few tips you can use to taper off your unhealthy habits and convert them into healthy habits and on your way to a healthier lifestyle.

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My Loud Life

There used to be a time, probably about ten to twelve years ago, that if you wanted to reach me the best way was to call me.  The problem with phone calls, especially once you have children, is that it isn’t until you are on the phone that the children need you desperately.  It is one of the Murphy’s Laws of parenting.  This also applies to anytime you go to take a shower, bath, or sit down to relax.

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Without fail, even still, when I am on the phone, my boys and my puppies become the neediest and loudest creatures on the face of the planet.  No matter where in the house I hide, they will track me down.  The matter of course is always urgent in nature, like needing more gems for mobile game, hunt a lizard (Athena) or to locate the Roku remote.  Serious business that dad can’t resolve and that can’t wait for another minute.

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My boys came with three volume settings: loud, louder and loudest yet.  This comes in handy in restaurants and stores where they’ll make horrifyingly embarrassing comments that you hope and pray nobody overhears.  Then you say prayer that if by chance they did overhear the comment, they didn’t judge you too harshly.  It is also convenient for long car rides, which thanks to travel hockey we have many, where they can argue loudly for hundreds of miles as we drive across Florida.

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Life in a house full of boys is only quiet when they’re sleeping or when they’re scheming.   With the Mayor and Goalielocks, this can be a dangerous proposition.  You never know what scheme they’re cooking up or what animal they’ve captured and hid somewhere in the house.   As a boy mom, when there’s silence and they’re not sleeping, you know something is about to happen.

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The truth of the matter is when the Mayor finally graduates and life quiets down, I think I’ll be a little lost.  My days and nights are full of noise from the puppies to the mini hockey games upstairs to every interrupted phone call, but for almost eighteen years that’s all I’ve known.  Until that day comes, I’ll enjoy the madness and the brief respite my yoga mat provides.

 

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Small Gains Turn Into Big Triumphs

Almost two years ago, I started running 5K races.  I had never been a runner and had never run a 5k, so I set a goal for 2016 to run 12 5Ks in the year and break the 30 minute mark.   I hadn’t run since middle school, but when I did run I was quite fast just over the 7 minute mile mark.  When I started off running and was barely under the 10 minute per mile mark, I couldn’t believe how slow I was and how hard it was to run that fast.  What had happened to all that speed?

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I trained halfheartedly the first part of 2016, with multiple trips and excuses complicating the training schedule.  In August of 2016, I buckled down and started training in earnest running 20-25 miles a week with my oldest son Jake.  The beauty of running with Jake is that I had to work to keep up with him since I don’t enjoy being left in the dust.  He is significantly faster than me, so this was a huge win for me from a training perspective.

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Our first race of the 2016-2017 season was early in September and it was a scorcher.  I was pumped up and ready and he was apathetic and dressed in pajamas and skate shoes.  I ran my heart out and broke the 30 minute barrier.  I was thrilled!  Meanwhile, Jake crushed the race and won his age group.  I ended up placing 4th in my age group, which was a huge triumph for me.

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By the end of the year, we had continue to whittle away at our time.  Jake got his down into the 21 minute range and I got my 5k down to 28.5 minutes.  Hitting both of my goals, the time and quantity were huge wins.  Sometimes though training, and life, is all about the small wins.  Over the course of the year, we had littles wins at each event.  Race after race, we chipped away at our times and built confidence.  When it comes to training, little gains add up into big wins.  Don’t get discouraged if you’re only seeing small movement in your times.  Overtime, you will see just how much you have gained.

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This year we’re working on our time and adding distance.  We won’t be running as many races, but that’s okay.  My goal was to be able to run a mile under 8 minutes and I finally did this in April, but now need to extend that pace out two more miles.  We plan to add in a 10K sometime this fall, which still seems daunting to me.  This time of year, it is difficult with the weather to coordinate our runs, but we cannot lose focus or the 10K will be painful.   And yes, sometimes it is okay to have one of those days where getting out of bed feels like a major triumph.

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Revelation

When I think about a revelation, I think of a big, salacious announcement, Armageddon or a major personal break through.  The definition of revelation can vary across people.  Some may find new details of Taylor Swift’s love life to revelatory, while others could not careless.  Many of us our looking for revelations in our own lives; the meaning of life, our purpose, or our path.

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In looking for our revelations, we often look for big signs.  As if there will be a billboard pointing out our path and purpose with an easy to follow map.  That would be awesome, but it doesn’t exist.  In our everyday lives, there are often revelations that we overlook.   It is these small revelations that overtime add up into wisdom if heeded.

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Music makes the world go round.  If it has a good beat, good rhythm and I can dance to it, I am a happy camper.  Music is a universal language.  If it has no words or is in a foreign language is a matter of little consequence.  Music is revelatory.   When we here a song, it can transport us to a meaningful moment in our lives.   Every time I hear the Beatles, “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away,” I am transported back to the tram in Germany travelling down the rainy hill from Neuschwanstein Castle to our where our tour bus was parked.   We all have songs that transport us back to magical moments in our lives or songs that carried us through the difficult times.    Which song is your favorite?

 

Love Thy Tendy

There’s hockey mom crazy and then there’s goalie mom crazy.  Go to any rink across the US or Canada and you can pick out the goalie mom who is pacing nervously or sitting nervously near the end of the ice.  Between periods she’ll migrate from one end of the rink to the other.  Depending on how the game’s going for her goalie, she may make small talk with her team’s hockey moms or she may walk by silently.

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As her goalie slides across the crease or moves to make a save, she moves with them.  When the puck leaves her goalie’s zone, her pulse starts to slow as their team makes their way into the other team’s zone.  Her pulse remains steady until the puck pops out into the neutral zone sending her pulse rate up.  If the game is close, her pace is safely in the fat burning zone.   (Thank you Fitbit!)  Not until the handshake line starts, will her nerves start to unwind.

 

Her job is tough.  Her tender could play the game of his or her life, but still walk away with a loss. A loss, which most tenders, will place solely on their own shoulders.  On the flipside, her goalie could have an off game and the team could still win.

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Goalie is a unique position that takes a unique personality.  There aren’t many people, at least sane people, that would volunteer to stand in front of a hard rubber puck moving upwards of 50-70 mph to try and stop it.

As a goalie mom, it is hard to see young goalies, mine included, beat themselves up, but I know the mental difficulties of the position will prepare them to deal with adversity in their lives.  For us goalie moms, the Dunkin Donuts coffee, the Ciroc, the Bailey’s, the Goose, the Ketel and our fellow hockey moms help us cope.  At least we get an hour of free fat burning courtesy of our goalie’s hockey game!

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If you’re looking for more hockey mom related content, here’s the perfect place to start.

Photo Credit for action shots to Pam Huss (awesome FL Bulldogs hockey mom), Pat Cash and myself.

Be Authentic

Who we are, how we lead, how we work, how we parent and decisions we make are all based on a frame work of morals and ethics that were ingrained with us from our youth.  Sure over the years, our moral and ethical framework evolves, but the shifts are not crisp, nor are they tectonic in nature.  Or are they?

I believe in servant leadership and have practiced it in my current role and at my previous company.  My leadership style isn’t and wasn’t based upon a company or management philosophy in place, but rather based on how my moral and ethical framework interprets the role of a corporate leader.  In other words, it is authentic to who I am and how I operate.  My leadership style has never been a tool of expediency.

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There are times in our lives, where it will be tempting to give into expediency and pivot from our ethical framework and our leadership style.   Giving into the expediency may result in short term gains, but as a leader the voracity of your character will be questioned by your subordinates and those above you.    Before you pivot to expedience, ask yourself if the short term gains will outweigh the longer term ramifications.  How will your organization perform if they no longer have faith in you or your intentions?  Is it worth the risk?  I would argue all day every day that it is never worth the risk.

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Establishing a Writing Habit

After a decade long break from writing, I picked it up again when I started this blog in late April.  Rusty and out of practice, it felt both good and terrifying all at once.  Inspired to write by the circumstances of my life, I felt compelled to create this blog.  Writing provides me with a creative outlet and a platform to help others.  Many people start writing, painting or another creative outlet because they’re inspired by their life’s circumstances, but they don’t continue pursuing their art as their inspiration wanes.

The thing with inspiration is that it is not constant.  It is fickle and ever changing.  If we rely only on inspiration to drive our craft, than we are likely lose interest as our inspiration wanes.  Rather than relying on inspiration, rely on habit.  Make your craft a part of your daily routine.  This will make it a way of life and not reliant upon the fickle nature of inspiration.

The draw in participating the daily prompt for me was exactly that.  It has been to establish writing as an important part of my daily routine.  This will help me polish my writing skills and ensure my blog doesn’t become just a flash in the pan.

Life’s Storms

Life is fickle.  Life is funny.   It seems to go one of two ways.  Either nothing is happening or everything is happening and our world is collapsing around us all at once.  Both the boredom and chaos associated with either scenario can be all encompassing and destructive.  In the calm, it is easy to become complacent.  In the storm, it is easy to give up, but don’t.   You are much stronger than you ever imagined.   As Victor Hugo so eloquently said, “even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise.”  And remember, as you weather the storm, you are not alone.

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My Dapper Boys

You may recall from my previous blog on the hazards of being a boy mom that my boys didn’t like to wear clothes once they got home for the evening.  While they mostly keep their clothes on upon returning home from school or hockey practice now days, they still don’t relish dressing up or wearing anything fancy.

On the rare occasion that they do get dressed up, I have to indulge and get as many pictures as possible.  First, I want to document the fact that they were able to find matching socks.  Secondly, I want to document the millisecond in which their clothes have not yet been stained.   Thirdly, I just want to relish in the cuteness of my little boys dressed up in a natty outfit.  I love when they look nice and dapper.

One of my favorite photos shoots we did with the boys when they were younger was shot in the Loxahatchee Wildlife Refuge, which is the Everglades.  The location could not be more beautiful and more appropriately chosen for my kids who are obsessed with nature.  Amazingly, their clothes stayed clean long enough for us to get some beautiful shots.

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