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Sometimes going public is not such a good thing.  Facebook?  Maybe it wasn’t such a good idea.  That picture of you streaking through the center of town?

In this age of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, there was no way that wasn’t going viral.

But there are times when going public is a good thing.  There is a reason I put it out there to all of you that I had begun studying for my CSCS certification.  It created accountability on my part.  I also figured that if I made it public, I would have hundreds of readers who would in their own way make sure that I stayed the course (so to speak).  By making it public, I could not let the books and CD’s gather dust in the corner of my desk like so many other things have.

This works for just about any goal.  If you are thinking about running a race, be it a 5K, a marathon or anything in between (or beyond!), tell somebody – tell everybody!  If you’re thinking about joining a gym and getting yourself into better shape, announce it to the world.  In doing so, you will be creating your own support system that will A.) hold you accountable and B.) lend encouragement.  Offer regular progress reports whether through social media, email or even through a blog of your own (if you start a blog, let me know so I can check in on you regularly!).

In the rare circumstance that someone you share your plan with comes back with a negative response, USE THAT! Get mad, get angry, prove them wrong and then shove your accomplishment in their face while thanking them for the motivation.

In the end, you will accomplish your goal and even better, by going public, you may inspire others to follow.

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To get from here:

To here:

You must start by changing what goes here:

It may not be easy.  In fact, it may take a lot of work, but in the end, it will be well worth it.   Exercise is key, but what you fuel up with is a good 80% of the equation!  Don’t let the limitations that others would put on you stop you from becoming the Superwoman (or Superman) you know you can be.

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After my missed BQ at Sugarloaf this year it was suggested to me that maybe I could make another go at it at Smuttynose in the fall. The thinking was that with the new qualification standards for Boston, registration wouldn’t necessarily be closed as of September 30th.

I never did sign up for Smuttynose, and truly, even though there is space left, I would have no shot at training properly with only six weeks to go. I do have another marathon on already the schedule. Early November I am running New York. Conceivably, with about 11 1/2 weeks to go, I could consider running New York as a qualifier but that is a tough race to run at that pace. The truth is between studying for my CSCS certification, the girls being home from summer camp and dedicating my Sundays to training runs for the Team Up with Autism Speaks charity runners (if you haven’t signed up, please do —>– HERE –<—!!!) I haven’t had much time to train period. Early mornings are spent studying, days are spent keeping the kids active and entertained and evenings are spent cooking, dishwashing, putting everyone to bed and writing.

I know, I can hear you telling me, well, why not after everyone goes to bed?

Yesterday I wrote about finding your H-Spot – your happy zone. The place where you look at yourself in the mirror and are happy with the physical you that stares back. That H-Spot can be applied to everything. I’ve reached a place where I know I BQ’s once and came close on two other occasions. My happy place with running right now is helping others reach distances they never have before and getting the occasional personal run in.

And I’m finally okay with that.

Boston will wait. Training to qualify for Boston is on indefinite hold.

This satisfaction will not last forever. I know that eventually, I will want to get back to the pursuit of that elusive unicorn; I will want to toe the line in Hopkinton once again as a qualifier. It might be next year; it might wait until I’m 45. Whenever it is, I know I’m in a happy spot right now – plus, there is a certain satisfaction in having no fear of the 26.2 mile distance when I am running just for fun as I will be once again doing in New York.

There’s only room for so much on one’s dinner plate – and right now, I am satisfied with what’s before me.

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Has she found her H-Spot?

It’s a fact – two thirds of this country is considered overweight; nearly one third of this country is clinically obese.

Although having two thirds of our country overweight is, in and of itself, not a good thing, the fact is, there are many people considered to technically be overweight who are genuinely happy with who and where they are…

…and that is a beautiful thing.

In the big picture, our inner happiness is so much more important than our outer appearance. Don’t get me wrong, physical fitness is important to overall health and should be considered a key factor in your general happiness.

However…

You could be a size 0, but if you’re miserable it doesn’t matter – it’s going to show. If you’re a size 16 and you are truly happy, you’re going to radiate; you’re going to glow. It also works in reverse – if you’re a size 0 and genuinely happy, then that is where you should be. If you are a size 14 and miserable about it, then maybe it’s time to take control.

I am a huge fan of the fitness look, the fitness glow. It lends a certain confidence that is extremely appealing to me. But I am even a bigger fan of true, genuine happiness, the kind that produces a mega-watt smile and an air of confidence; the kind that unintentionally demands attention from everyone in the room.

When it comes to the question of a fitness program, most of us know it’s not a matter of one size fits all. It’s not even an issue of individualizing programs to get people to one common goal. People need to find there happy spot; the place where you are going to be happiest – THEN you come up with a plan; and of course, if you find that you are not happy when you arrive at that spot, tweak your program; change your destination.

Obviously there are certain health issues that come into play if one is too far to either extreme. I would suggest that if one is striving for either extreme at any cost, then there are other issues at play (that or your name is Christian Bale, Jared Leto or Renee Zellweger and it’s part of your job).

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The bottom line is that the human condition is a spectrum, one with a wide, WIDE range. It’s our job to figure out where we as individuals belong to maximize our own joy and understand that if someone else finds that true joy elsewhere, that is okay.

If that true joy is at a size 0, well then you design a program to get you to that size zero – but if you’re going to be a lot happier at size 14 well that is probably where you should be – with no apologies at either end or any size in between.

Sex appeal comes in all different shapes and sizes – the most common denominator, at least from this guy’s point of view?

Happiness.

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I haven’t been a student in over 20 years. And the last time I was a good student was over 24 years ago. Sure I studied for and took the GMAT’s over a decade ago, but there was no text book, no real study materials.

Last night this arrived –

Study Materials for the CSCS

-these are the study materials for the CSCS Certification exam. The textbook, Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning, is heavy enough to do curls with.

Curls anyone?

This is going to involve a lot of self-motivation. I shouldn’t be a stranger to that. I had to do it through all my marathon trainings. But in a lot of ways, getting up to run sprints, tempos and long runs is a lot easier than sitting down with a text book to study. If I want to achieve my goal of a March Certification, I am going to have to dedicate some serious hours.

You know what?

I’m ready.

Let’s go!

I’ll be available for appointments in April – just in time to get you ready for bathing suit season or a mid-summer race.

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I originally was going to write this post for special needs parents. Then I decided that maybe I should include siblings and grandparents. That led me to cousins, extended family and friends….in the end, this post is for everyone, anyone…any person who is loved.

Are you loved?

I can pretty much guarantee, whoever you may be, you are…there is someone out there who loves you…your parents, your children, you family and friends. Long lost connections…someone who looks back through time…

Somebody loves you.

And because of that, you owe a debt.

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Yesterday I wrote about how the pandemic of inactivity was killing us, causing 1 in 10 deaths worldwide. Putting that on par with smoking and obesity, that means that at least 30% of all deaths in the world are relatively preventable…that 30% of all deaths are the results of a slow suicide.

But Luau…

I can’t quit smoking.

I’m too big and can’t change my body.

I’m too tired and depressed to be active.

Bullshit!

Would you want your child, or your spouse, or your mom or dad to slowly take their own life? Would you buy those excuses from them?

No, no you wouldn’t.

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There is a wonderful website called the “Oxygen Mask Project”. It was created by two Special Needs Moms to inspire other Special Needs Moms to help them help themselves, because in their own words, “To care for others, you have to take care of yourself as well.”

As is so often the case, what is good for the Special Needs Community, is just as good for the rest of society.

We owe a debt that can only be repaid by taking care of ourselves to all those who love us, because in the end, isn’t that what life and happiness is all about…Love?

Without it, what’s the point?

Repay your debt daily…30 minutes at a time.

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What would you say if I told you there was a preventable pandemic that was the cause of 1 in 10 deaths around the world.  That’s right, 1 in 10.  10% of all deaths – WORLDWIDE.  That number puts it on par with smoking and obesity.  It causes coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, breast and colon cancers.  It’s something that lurks in your den, your office, permeating your life.

It is everywhere, but unlike smoking which has been shown to be as, if not more, addictive than heroin, this killer can be easily dispensed.  In fact, if we were able to reduce its presence by just “even 10% to 20% worldwide…it could save between a half-million and 1.3 million lives each year. This could also raise global life expectancy by almost a year.” -Matt Sloan, CNN.

1 in 10.

That’s a lot of death.

So what is this killer that is everywhere?  According to a series of studies released in British medical journal The Lancet, that killer is inactivity (read the studies here —>HERE<—).  That’s right.  Sitting around on our asses, staring at the boobtube, picking our noses and mindlessly doing nothing is killing us slowly in awful ways – heart disease, diabetes, cancer.

So what can we do to reduce, if not eliminate the effects of inactivity?  The answer is simple really – move.  That’s right, MOVE your body.  I am partial to running, but it really doesn’t matter what you choose to do to get the heart pumping and the blood flowing – run, jog, walk, swim, bike, make love, jump rope, play tag, wrestle, climb a tree, gymnastics, get chased by the police (but don’t get caught), CROSSfit, jumping jacks, dance, play Wii or XBox Kinect, anything…anything for at least 30 minutes a day.

And then invite a friend.

I have gone on and on about the obesity epidemic that this country faces (2/3 of Americans are overweight, 1/3 are clinically obese) and how simply getting healthy could help resolve our health insurance cost issues, but this inactivity pandemic is just that, it is worldwide.  Do your part to help ease the financial burden of preventable diseases – get up, move and drag someone with you.

You’ll thank me afterward.

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Summer is in full swing now and that means one thing to many people – it’s sandal/flip-flop season.  But many of us suffer from dry, cracked, calloused heels  and feet that just look plain fugly.  Personally, I wear flip flops all year round unless there is an excess of 3 inches of snow on the ground, but that doesn’t mean I don’t suffer from the same heel and sole issues as the rest of you.  Men won’t say it, but we suffer from this problem just as much as women do.

So what’s a person to do?  You want to wear flips flops or sandals, but nothing seems to work to get your heels and soles soft & smooth.

Lotions & moisturizers?

They seldom live up to what they say they will do.

A pumice stone?

That’s a lot of hard work, and honestly, I’m not convinced that they actually are rough enough.

That metal shredder egg thing?

Only if you wanna risk shredding your feet.

Some people like to cover their feet in moisturizer, then cover that with vaseline and THEN cover that with a sock.

I can see how that would work, but what a mess!

There’s the whole fish thing…

But that’s just plain weird.

Of course, you could always go to the salon for a pedicure –

But that can get pretty expensive if you need to go every week.

No, none of these things are as effective and as inexpensive (free) as what I recently discovered to be a cure for rough feet.  I can’t believe it took me 42 years to realize that this product was readily available just about every where in the world with free access to just about anyone.  And though we have already paid for it in a sense, there is no extra cost involved in using it in this fashion.

Put simply, it’s our streets and sidewalks.

Three runs and 10 miles of running bare foot later, my soles and heels are as smooth as they have ever been – a little dirtier maybe, but as smooth to the touch as a baby’s bottom.  You can do it too!  For free!  The only cost to you is your time spent running – so really you’re saving even more because you’re killing two birds with one stone…AND you’re saving money on shoes (or not having shoes) at the same time!

So if you have some sole and heel issues, don’t waste your money on products that don’t work or your time in a snooty salon – take off your shoes and get out there and run!

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So the latest uproar I’ve heard today involves this:

Yeah…this is real.

Yup, that’s right, THAT is an automated mashed potatoes & gravy dispenser that can be found in 7-Elevens around the world (for whatever reason they are particularly popular in Singapore).

Here’s what it looks like in action:

As you know, I am a huge proponent of living a healthful lifestyle – I believe in daily exercise, eating right and getting plenty of sleep.  Those three things are the legs of the stool that I believe you can place your goals for a happy life upon.  You would expect that I would find this mashed potato dispenser to be an abomination, a crime against humanity waiting to happen.  Many of the 7-Elevens that offer this product, bundle it with a soda that is bigger than your head, all for the low, low price of about $2.  After your tub of instant mashed potatoes & gravy and your barrel of colored sugar water,  I am sure you will have taken in the recommended intake of sodium and sugar to last you a week.

If this comes to America, the fat will simply get fatter…and fatter…and fatter.

I should be outraged.

I should be angry.

I should be writing to my Congressman.

But you know what?

I say bring ’em. Bring ’em here by the thousands.   Put them in every single 7-Eleven in this country.  Place them in a prominent place in the store so that those who “need” their mashed potatoes and big gulp don’t have to walk as far or burn any more precious calories.  I say decorate them with flashing lights and even give it out for free for the first month to get people hooked on the sodium/sugar delivery package.  Hell, even offer curbside service so that people don’t have to actually exert themselves to get this over-sized package of empty calories.

Why do I want this?

Because I believe in Natural Selection.  Do you?

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About a month ago I went to my 20th year college reunion (yes, I’m that old).  To kick the festivities off, a few fraternity brothers and I decided to take to the links for 18 holes of golf.  I suck at golf.  I mean, really, really suck.  I’m so bad that I tell people that I essentially get to play twice as much golf as your regular hacker for the price of admission.

Yeah, I’m bad.  I’ve got this wicked slice that essentially means I lose at least one ball off the tee on every hole.  It’s so bad that I  play to my weakness on short par-3’s.  While everyone else is pulling out 7- or 9-irons for the short shot to the green, I pull out my driver, place the ball on a tee, line up the shot…and then turn 45° to 60° to the right (I’m left handed).

Last month initially my friends looked at me like I was crazy, but when the ball flew off the tee, began to turn to the left about 50 yards out and then land mere feet from the cup, they were dumbstruck (of course, I ended up 2 putting it missing my opportunity for my first ever birdie, but that’s my golf game).

Short par-3’s – essentially my only opportunity to keep up with anybody.

But then on the last hole we were presented with a situation where we needed to hit the ball off of the tee over a deep ravine to the fairway a good 100+ yards away.  The guys I was playing with could all easily make the distance, but with my awful slice off of the tee, I was pretty convinced I had no shot – the distance was too far for me to play to my weakness.  Even if I line up at a 45° angle, the ball was not going to cover the straight distance.  So I tried to relax.  I loosened my grip and just the club swing itself.  To my (and everybody else’s) surprise, my ball went straight and long, past everyone else’s save one (and it was close).

At that moment I realized that I had played to my weaknesses too long and that if I wanted to improve as a golfer, I would have to simply get back to basics and start all over again.

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This past week I ran twice for a grand total 6 miles.

6 miles? Isn’t that a little short for you Luau? I mean even for like one run?

Yes, it is, but I feel like these two short runs may have been the most meaningful 6 miles I’ve run in a very long time.  Those two runs were done in my bare feet, on the sidewalks and roads of my neighborhood.  Because of the hard surface and complete nakedness of my feet, I was forced to run very carefully, more specifically, more correctly.  To say that the experience was totally painless would be a blatant lie – pebbles, hot asphalt, twigs; they all hurt when you step on them just so.  But what didn’t hurt were the arches of my feet, the joints in my knees and hips, my back or my neck.  The reason?  Because I was running with proper form – I had no choice.

A few years back when I first started this running thing, I made the early adoption to the Vibram Five Finger trend.  I was so gung-ho about it that my wife got me this as my birthday cake:

Yes, that is a Vibram Five Finger KSO Cake

I would end up running several marathons in some version the VFF product line including Boston 2010.  Eventually however, I moved away from the VFF’s.  I migrated to Saucony’s minimalist shoe, the Kinvara, and immediately took 11 minutes off of my marathon PR and qualified for Boston 2011.  The Saucony, though minimal in spirit and design, still afforded me some decent protection when my form would break down in the later miles.  They allowed me to to extend my stride forward when I was tiring without causing pain to my heel.

I happily ran in them for almost 2 years, even coming close to re-qualifying for Boston under the new standards this past May.

But something has been off.  Something has been wrong.

I love my Kinvara’s but they have allowed me to play back toward my weakness, which is the heel-strike many of us have grown up into with the over-sized bricks we grew up with as children of the 80’s and 90’s.

I recently watched this (courtesy of my good friend Pete over at runblogger.com)

And then I saw this (also courtesy of Pete over at runblogger.com)

One thing became clear to me, it was time to go back to basics.  Much like I was able to improve my golf stroke by going back to basics, I plan on improving my running and running form by going back to basics and starting all over again.  The 6 miles of barefoot running I did last week brought me back to the basics of running.  Stripping away all of the technology (and as much as I love my Kinvara, they are still a thick soled shoe) at least two or three times a weeks and going naked I believe is going to make me a better runner in the long run.

I will not be as fast immediately.  I will still probably do my longer runs in either my Saucony’s or my VFF’s, but this stripping down, this completely natural running I believe is the key to making me better, stronger, and eventually, faster.

I feel like someone who has just discovered running for the very first time…again.

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