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B is for brain AND for body!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Brain and body are not mortal enemies. Research has shown that exercising the body has direct benefits to the brain.

Growing up, I had the mistaken concept that you developed one or the other! I was very proud of my brain... I was that natural A student. Academics came easy. I was good at figuring out just what was expected and providing that and more. Loved getting those great test scores. Learned it was bad to brag about it, never internally learned not to be pleased with my native intellect, though, and the praise it brought.

People should have a realistic sense of their strengths. But, at the same time, I had that mistaken concept about body... if my brain was my focus, my body got neglected. It was almost as though I de-emphasized my body so as to put even more emphasis on my reason for existing: my brain. I wore my fat as an armor that said to those around: she's in the room because of her brain, not her looks.

Funny the ideas that one latches onto in youth and how they linger in the back of the mind. Now I have internalized the knowledge that to take care of that brain, I have to take good care of the body of which it is A PART!

Many folks talk about brains versus beauty... and the nowadays tag line is "thanks, I'll take both"... a healthy body is a beautiful one. And now, my brain and body need to work in harmony with one another: I exercise my body to help my brain be healthy, too. And yes, I need, love, and appreciate both.

Life's good... Spark on! emoticon emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SUNNYWBL 10/21/2011 12:36AM

    I always claimed my brain also. I was older when I claimed my body. I really like how strong it can be! emoticon emoticon

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DEBRITA01 10/20/2011 9:25PM

    Oh, the ideas of our we mature, it's interesting to see how our thought processes have evolved. "I'll take both", too....I'm working towards a strong body and mind for the rest of my life. emoticon

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WATERMELLEN 10/20/2011 8:36PM

    Yup, like you I'm claiming both; they are inextricably intertwined. And it takes all the brains I've got to manage my metabolism, actually.

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COMPUCATHY 10/20/2011 7:39PM

    I like your "B!" AND I like your "I'll take both!" Me, too! Thanks for sharing! Keep up the good work! You inspire me! Thanks for the encouragement! Spark on! emoticon

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_LINDA 10/20/2011 7:36PM

    Good for you Barb! I think the only thing keeping me going is my exercise. With my bad insomnia, pain, and now allergy attack, I think I would be just a mindless zombie going through life forgetting things, not able to concentrate on anything, just simply existing. There is something to be said for eating healthy and exercising. Its the only thing keeping me from being permanently on the couch or in bed.. I was just an average student, and didn't participate in sports, but was thin, the only standout was my artistic work which always got the highest mark possible.
I will bet you are some kind of awesome smart now that you have your body healthy and happy!

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ANDI571 10/20/2011 9:48AM

    I was pretty much a B student. I don't think I ever gave it my all in school. But I was so skinny growing up that is all I ever heard. So in turn, that is all I think about is how to get skinny again. I think I too am realizing it isn't all about the size, but the body and brain together. Keeping the brain sharp now is so important as is the body. It's now more about a healthy brain and body more than being skinny.

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GRYPHONQUEST 10/20/2011 9:38AM

    I grew up thinking it was one or the other, and I was the "smart" one. Never mind that I was competing in figure skating - that "didn't count". Since I didn't think of myself as an athlete, I wasn't really exercising, right? (SIX HOURS A DAY. Man, if I had that kind of time now...)

What's the line from the Baz Lurman song?

"Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth. Oh, nevermind, you won't understand the power and beauty of your youth until they've faded, but trust me in 20 years, you'll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can't grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked."

So very true!

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BUGGYS 10/20/2011 9:26AM

    The mind/body connection is key to every aspect of our lives! emoticon

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DEBRA0818 10/20/2011 8:40AM

    My twin sister and I had a brain/body thing going -- I had a natural intellect and love of learning and she learned to emphasize her looks. The tragedy is that we were both good looking and smart but in order to distinguish ourselves, we focused on what we thought were our natural strengths. I spent many years on the couch trying to get rid of my sense of guilt over taking something from her (good looks) when I got thin, and, see-sawed back and forth wildly on this point. Finally, I was able to see that my body and my brain were truly separate from whatever she looked like or achieved. She fought an internal idea that she was not smart and finally (in her late 40's) went for her college degree and is now in nursing school. Ah, the tragedies of learning life wrong.

Comment edited on: 10/20/2011 8:41:00 AM

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SEAGLASSQUEEN 10/20/2011 8:27AM


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SUNNY332 10/20/2011 8:16AM

    B is also for Bravery and that fits you to a T, BARB!

Great post.


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KATHRYNLP 10/20/2011 8:13AM

    AMEN to this... emoticon emoticon

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CIRANDELLA 10/20/2011 8:08AM

    Wow! Barb, I couldn't agree with you more :) And as for me, I'll take one of each - greed, don'tcha know! emoticon

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ABC's of Maintenance - A is for ambition!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Ambition is a great word to start off my maintenance alphabet for year two. Ambition encompassses both the drive to achieve a goal, and the goal one is driving to achieve.

"Does he (or she) have ambition?" is asked of anyone seeking office or a higher position in his or her career. Ambition is essential to success in some things. Being naturally talented or gifted only gets one so far... achieving may be easier, but it still needs to be sought.

As many folks discover on reaching mid-life, things that once came easier now require a drive to achieve... so the question about weight and health becomes, "do you have the ambition to reach a healthy weight / lifestyle?"

Now turn it on its head, and we're talking about goals, or the object of our desires. "What is your ambition?" speaks directly to this, and it is worthy of rexamination from time to time. Meditation, even: "What do I want from this?" is closely related to "What is my ambition?"

So answer for yourself: "Do you have ambition?" and if yes, "What is your ambition?"

I believe I do have ambition. What is mine? To live a healthy and meaningful life... and to be happy doing so!

Life's good... Spark on! emoticon emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FITFABJENN 10/21/2011 9:37PM

    This is such a terrific way to start off your year 2 alphabet. One must really have the ambition to succeed, that is certain.

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SUNNYWBL 10/21/2011 12:40AM

    I LOVE the goals of your ambition!

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LJCANNON 10/20/2011 12:47PM

    AMBITION is a Great Way to start any list. I am looking forward to following your Letters!
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WATERMELLEN 10/19/2011 7:52PM

    Yup, I AM ambitious!! I enjoy feeling strong and healthy and (vanity) looking as good as possible! But above all, I don't want a recurrence of breast cancer . . . recurrence being associated with weight gain in my case. So that's highly motivating with respect to keeping my weight down.

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ANDI571 10/19/2011 1:17PM

    What a great start with this blog. I also feel like I have ambition. I know there are some days it is lacking, but I just have to pull it back out and go for what I want, to live a healthy life. I want to be one of the those that people look at and say, "She's how old, Wow!".

Great blog!

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_LINDA 10/19/2011 11:49AM

    Great start for your alphabet! My motivation has always been to be as healthy and fit as possible so that I may enjoy life as close to normal as is possible for one with my condition. That I am succeeding is noted when people are surprised to find out how severe my condition really is and how much damage and surgeries have been done, and yet here I am, still walking everywhere I go and living independently. Go Me! Go you! We can do this thing!

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BUGGYS 10/19/2011 11:24AM

    Another good blog, Barb! I do have ambition...I want to move forward and reach my goal and achieve a healthy lifestyle!

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DEBRITA01 10/19/2011 10:25AM

    Ambition...good word for a rainy, dreary day. And, a great reminder to get a move-on. emoticon

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DEBRA0818 10/19/2011 10:05AM

    I definitely have the ambition, which my husband shares, to get fit and healthy so that our declining years are as pleasurable as possible, we remain independent as long as possible and we keep ourselves willing and able to make a contribution to our family, friends and community.

That's a lot of payoff for giving up sugar and flour!

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LOVE_2_LAUGH 10/19/2011 9:16AM

    You certainly do have ambition, that's for sure. Your blog struck a chord with me. Perhaps, besides lacking motivation, I'm also lacking ambition right now. The two are closely related, aren't they? Thanks for giving me some food for thought for today. I must re-evaluate my level of ambition.

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KALIGIRL 10/19/2011 8:42AM

    Here's to healthy ambition and enjoying it to boot!

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SUNNY332 10/19/2011 8:31AM

    I have that ambition also and am thankful for Spark People that they keep lighting the spark of my ambition.

Do have a Wonderful Wednesday.


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CIRANDELLA 10/19/2011 8:10AM

    emoticon Good morning, Barb! You've just dished up the inspiration I needed on this sodden, chilly, and drizzling East Coast morn - tanks o' thanks for that! Ambition surely must be that sometimes elusive "spark" that touches off the crucial chemical reactions behind any successful, long-range effort.

What better ambition could there be than your powerhouse combo of achieving a healthy and meaningful life? Come to think of it (and I hadn't before!), we both share that same ambition. So glad to have met you here on Spark! - Susan emoticon

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MSLZZY 10/19/2011 7:56AM

    Awesome "A"! Thanks for starting the alphabet and my day off right! HUGS!

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LEANJEAN6 10/19/2011 7:52AM

    Great blog and so true----- MUSTER Up That AMBITION!!! Lynda

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Last year's alphabet

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Last year I did the alphabet blogs, with the following words:

A - Assimilate, Adapt, Accept
B - Budget
C - Consistency, crazy, compassion, compulsions
D - Diligence
E - Experience
F - Fellowship
G - Genuine
H - Honesty
I - Inspiration
J - Just
K - "kit"
L - listen and learn
M - Mastery living
N - No!
O - Observe
P - Play
Q - Quest
R - restore
S - "should"
T - Time
U - Usable
V - Vitality
W - Wholeness
X - Xenophobia
Y - Yield
Z - Zeitgeist

I am re-listing them here, because I am beginning to think about blogging another alphabet, and my goal would be not to repeat any of the words I used last year (if you want the whole of last year, you have to go 24 pages back in my blogs).

So, fair warning, the pen is getting warmed up for learning my ABC's of maintenance, all over again!

As for today's best news: I gave donating blood another try... and this time, success! Woo-hoo! I was rewarded with my four gallon prize - a black "I bleed Husker Red" T-shirt. Yeah, I have a whole closet full of comfy cotton T's, courtesy of my activities of the year.

Life is indeed good... allergies are simmering down (two days post race)... flu shot is out of the way (last week)... and the running season ended well. emoticon emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GOHUSKERS2 10/20/2011 4:16AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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_LINDA 10/19/2011 2:10AM

    Awesome list!! It will be intersting to see you try top that one! Good for you for donating blood! In spite of all the major surgeries I have had, I have never needed any blood. My blood is very healthy, too bad its so full of chemicals to donate, although someone with RA might benefit..
Nice to hear your allergies are settling, mine sure are showing no signs of getting better :( I have bridge on the day my building gets flu shots :( but I am required to get it, so I will have to make the trip somewhere else to get it..
Keep up the awesome work!

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WATERMELLEN 10/18/2011 11:43PM

    Looking forward to your "new" alphabet . . . and: from all of us who've needed transfusions, thanks for donating!

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KARIDIAN1 10/18/2011 11:26PM

    Sounds like you have a project on your hands.

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MSLZZY 10/18/2011 9:04PM

    Love your list and looking forward to the new one. So glad you could donate blood and get another T-shirt. You can never have too many LOL! HUGS!

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SUNNY332 10/18/2011 7:45PM

    Bring it on....I am ready!


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CTUPTON 10/18/2011 7:32PM

    emoticon emoticon

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Reflections on training and racing

Monday, October 17, 2011

In the past year I have "done" several road race events, some of which I was in good training for, some not so much. This morning I was reflecting on the fact that my training has really fallen off in the past couple of months, and yet, I put in the fastest 5K of my athletic year yesterday afternoon.

I don't care to do it again (race without training better), and I have to wonder if I would have done better with regular training runs, or if I did better becauses my body had more rest time? I will probably never know.

I signed up for the Governor's Cup the same time I signed on for the Buffalo Run. I knew I was not training for the 5 miles for Buffalo Run and was very happy with my time for it. But I figured (back then) that I had six weeks to resume proper training before the Governor's Cup.

Then "Life" intervened in the form of overtime and a rebellious attitude, and that proper training didn't happen. The Susan G. Komen run got "tucked in" to the schedule, and rebelliously skipped. I half-heartedly did some run-walk workouts on the treadmill, but more on the order of once a week, not three days.

I kept walking on my work breaks, and I did the occasional strength workout, but seriously, I was more focussed on just keeping my head above water. I had my little tantrums, my scary food binge thing, and a lot of second-guessing along the way.

Then, for better or worse, I went out and did it. This morning? Still sneezing. Some muscles reminding me they would have liked a better prep for what they need to do. But overall, not too bad.

I am not signing up for the Jingle Bell (arthritis 5K, November) or the Holiday run (December, track club 5K). I don't want to run if I'm not properly training. And I have to figure out just how much training time I have room for... either that, or an event that grabs my vision enough to make training a priority. But you never know... a last minute change of heart?

And that will be the focus of this week, figuring out "what's next". Life's good. Spark on! emoticon emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SUNNY332 10/18/2011 5:05PM

    Life is good and you have added to your life by your running and fitness training. I agree with you that a person needs to be "ready" for a run. Keep up the great work and can't wait to see where you go from here.

You are my SHERO but I think you already know that!

Hugs, Sunny

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WATERMELLEN 10/17/2011 9:05PM

    I no longer run because of hip/knee problems when I try . . . use the elliptical instead. And golf, weight lift, cross country ski, hike etc. etc. But: I like your careful weighing and the process/project distinction. This fitness thing is "for life" for me: so about process. Even when I was running 10 km probably more times a week than I should have done -- I very seldom entered a race. Just not my thing. There seems to be a lot of pressure to sign up for races as fundraisers etc. But there are other ways of making charitable donations and running was for me more of a meditative thing

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MOBYCARP 10/17/2011 8:36PM

    This blog makes me think of the project/process tradeoff. I've signed up for a small organized 5K, because I want to see how well I like it; but I'm really looking forward to just running off-program, when whatever run fits into the schedule is OK.

A few weeks ago at the gym I overheard a couple of guys talking. One was saying how he ran a lot of road races over the past year, and he was tired of them. He didn't want to race very much, just train. That's the tradeoff. Train for the race = project with defined goal. Train for fun, for fitness, with no particular end in sight = process.

I'm thinking I'll settle down more on the process end of the spectrum, but I'll take a look at some races just to see what happens. It's possible that I could surprise myself.

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KALIGIRL 10/17/2011 1:20PM

    Here's to "what's next". I know it will be grand.

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SLENDERELLA61 10/17/2011 12:00PM

    Thanks for this honest blog. I agree with you that I only wnat to run when I've trained properly.

I've tried to train regularly, but 3 colds this summer have just messed with my plans. This last cold - worst cough of my life - has lasted more than a month. I don't know if my training ran down my immunities, or if it would have happened anyway. It's hard to know. Looks like my plans for a 10K on Nov 12 isn't going to happen. Darn.

Best wishes for finding an inspiring goal that gets your training going!! -Marsha

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DEBRA0818 10/17/2011 11:41AM

    This time of reflection will allow you to sort out what you genuinely want to do, and I hope will also allow you to tap into your genuine wants and needs. So often I get caught up in an ideal only to realize that the ideal far outpaced my actual wants.

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BESTSUSIEYET 10/17/2011 10:24AM

    It is so important for us to Count the Cost before making commitments ... And too often we just jump in without thinking. I like that you are going to evaluate what, when, why! Have a blessed day, Barb!

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SJSLOWRUNNER 10/17/2011 8:50AM

  I completely understand. The past two races I've done I've signed up way in advance thinking I have all this time to train - and then two weeks before I ask myself where all the time went. After my last race I said "I'm not doing another race without training" and resolved to run consistently after that so I'm always ready. Of course I still haven't run again yet - but I haven't signed up for anything either.
But good job on your run.

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MSLZZY 10/17/2011 8:11AM

    You did awesome but a time of reflection is always good. Do what is best for you.

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CIRANDELLA 10/17/2011 8:09AM

    Training is such a key element, isn't it? Your experiences underline that.

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The Governor's Cup... and why I should not try to race in the Autumn...

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Ah-choo! Ah-choo! Ah-choo! I went running drugged with Zyrtec, which I took this morning.

I got through the race, and in good time, too. 5K in 30:53, for a sub-ten minute mile pace. I am thrilled with my performance... I did not run the whole way, dropped to walk multiple times throughout the course, but to finish with an average 9:57 mile, that means I was pushing it when I *did* run, and those walking breaks were power walks.

However, all that leaf mould and dust? My goodness... I was sneezing up a storm on the way back to the car. And all the way home. Still draining now, two hours later. I just hope I haven't damaged myself for the work week ahead.

And this wraps the season of Barb's athleticism. No more 5K's this year. Gotta start thinking about what's next. But for now? Endorphins rule. emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SHELL- 10/18/2011 10:33PM

    Very inspiring! I try to never miss your blog!! emoticon

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FIT4GOOD3 10/17/2011 10:48PM

    Congratulations!! It will be another month before I can run 5k, but I'm inspired by your example! Way to go!
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ANDI571 10/17/2011 4:08PM

    That's awesome you went ahead and did the race in spite of your allergies, and finished on top of it. Good for you! I don't know if I would have. That is so awesome!

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DEBRITA01 10/17/2011 1:59PM

    Good job completing your 5k goal despite the allergies... emoticon emoticon emoticon

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BUGGYS 10/17/2011 11:49AM

    Nice time, Barb despite the allergies...congrats on going out and doing it!!! emoticon

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SUNNY332 10/17/2011 8:49AM

    I know all too well about allergies as I have had a bad weekend too.

All in all - you had a great time on your 5K and need to be proud!

Take care and Hugs, Sunny

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GOHUSKERS2 10/17/2011 7:22AM

    When you started this journey did you ever think you be able to do this? Look what you've accomplished. I think it's awesome. Great job even with the allergies. You can be proud!!

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_LINDA 10/17/2011 2:47AM

    That is amazing you were able to run like that with nasal problems!! Well done!! You rock!!
I am so struggling with mine, nothing seems to stop them :(( Maybe I will have to look at this Zyrtec..
Hope you recover soon..

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SUNNYWBL 10/17/2011 1:41AM

    The best part about allergies is they don't last as long as colds do! At least, not for me.

What a wonderful pace! That must feel very good.

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KARIDIAN1 10/16/2011 11:38PM

    Nice time! Winter will be here soon in MN, so we will need to change it up too. Hope your allergies calm down now.

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MSLZZY 10/16/2011 9:38PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticonEnough of the allergies!

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MOBYCARP 10/16/2011 8:33PM

    Good job getting the race done under adverse conditions! emoticon

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CIRANDELLA 10/16/2011 7:30PM

    emoticon Wowzie woozers, Barb! You RULE!!! Congratulations on completing the 5K; that's quite a feather in your dusty/moldy cap! Plus, you managed it while dosed with Zyrtec - a real trouper :) I imagine that running this time of year, with the fall allergens just burgeoning, is an extra challenge. We've got some serious air filters in the house, but even on days I don't leave home, I've had a little "drippiness" :) Three cheers! And every good wish for a great week ahead. P.S. - Thanks for the update on LGH and their expansion! I got such a kick out of that :) - Susan

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MNTWINSGAL 10/16/2011 6:44PM

    This is the worst time of year for me, and for that very reason. My head plugs up, and I feel like I've been on a crying jag. The power of self-persuasion....I actually start feeling sad because something in me thinks I've been crying.

But you got out and did it anyway, so kudos to you! Congrats on a successful season of racing, and good luck coming up with something equally challenging for the long, cold winter. Whatever you put your mind to, I've no doubt you'll succeed. WOO HOO!

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SLENDERELLA61 10/16/2011 6:42PM

    Congrats on your great time, Barb! Sorry you got the allergies triggered. I'm off running due to lingering cough/cold. Darn. Hope we both perk up soon. Take care. -Marsha

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