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Posts Tagged ‘2013’

Yesterday I paced a buddy of mine to his first NYCM finish – we started strong, got knocked down around 18, but got up and finished strong.  Way to go brother!

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I guess I need to do my part in recruiting some of you…

Below is a letter  I wrote yesterday reflecting on the events of the past week.  The letter is to the Boston 13.1 Team Up with Autism Speaks Team.  If you are so moved, please consider either joining us on September 15th or passing this along.

Thanks,
Luau

***

Dear Team,

The events of a week ago brought to our idyllic world certain realities no person should ever have to face.  As a runner, a marathon runner, I felt like this attack was a personal one – as if the bomber had come into my house; into my safe space.  Yes, Boston is my home, but the road, the race course, is where I find my peace.

What the two men did not realize is that the group of people they chose to attack was one that does not easily shy away from adversity.  Whether it is the half-marathon or marathon distance, every distance runner has had to face obstacles and has ultimately overcome fear.

I witnessed firsthand last year at Boston 13.1 the emotion on so many faces as Team Up member after Team Up member approached and crossed the finish line – so many runners who had just months earlier never believed they could cover the distance in less than 3 1/2 hours.  The tears of joy, the sense of triumph, the feeling of accomplishment were evident on every runner’s face.

This year, in light of last week’s events and with the continuing unfolding of events over the weekend, will feel different.  How can it not?  Here’s the thing – it’s just one more obstacle for us to overcome; and together, we will.

Your strength, your courage will carry you through to the finish and you will once again raise your arms in triumph.

But a race is not just about the runners.  When you toe the line at Suffolk Downs this September, you will be doing so not just for yourself and not just for the people in your life affected by autism.  It is true that Team Up with Autism Speaks is about fund raising for what we believe to be a wonderful cause, but you putting your foot at the starting line in September will also be a nod to all of the other people involved not only with Boston 13.1, but every race including the Boston Marathon itself.  A footrace is about the runners, but it is also about the organizers, the volunteers, the security, and maybe most importantly, those that come out to cheer us on.

It is the spectators that take the experience of an endurance event to a whole new level, and it will be no different at Boston 13.1.

Come September you will not only be running for you, you will be running for everyone.

So here is my challenge to you – run Boston 13.1 this September for you and those in your life affected by autism, but to help show your appreciation for those that come to cheer on runners, not just at Boston 13.1 or the Boston Marathon, but at all races, go out an recruit one friend to join you this Fall as we show not just Boston, but the world just how strong endurance athletes are.

Whether you consider yourself an endurance athlete or not, I have news for you – if you are running Boston 13.1 this September, YOU are an endurance athlete.


The events of the past week shook all of us.  I will readily admit I was rattled to my very core; but I very quickly realized one thing – we WILL persevere; as those affected directly by autism, whether as autistic individuals ourselves or as parents, siblings, relatives, friends, teachers or specialists, we are all endurance athletes so to speak – perseverance is what we are, perseverance is what we do.

I look forward to seeing you in September,
Luau – Boston 13.1 Team Captain

Starting next week, Lara (Team Up Organizer Extraordinaire) will begin featuring the story of us, the runners of Team Up with Autism Speaks Boston 13.1.  If you are so moved, please consider telling your story – who you are, why you run.

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Team Up with Autism Speaks - Boston 13.1 2012 - where's Luau?

Team Up with Autism Speaks – Boston 13.1 2012 – where’s Luau?

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Ready to register with our team? Click here
As a part of your commitment to join our Boston 13.1 Marathon team, you will be required to raise a minimum of $500 to support Autism Speaks2013 Team Up! with Autism Speaks benefits include:
  • Guaranteed Race Entry
  • Team Up! with Autism Speaks Runners Tank or Long Sleeve Shirt, and an Autism Speaks hat or visor
  • Private Team Celebration Dinner on September 14, 2013, at Logan Airport Hilton Hotel.
  • Online fundraising page
  • Team Up! Facebook Page
  • Virtual Coaching by a certified running coach Fundraising Tips and Opportunities
  • Dedicated Autism Speaks staff to answer questions you have and assist
  • Race Day Cheering Section- TBA
  • Post Race Team Tent
  • Team Handbook – In a PDF format and downloadable for reference at any time
  • AND if you are local, team runs with me starting in a couple of weeks!

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It’s that time of year again – New Year’s Eve.  It’s when everyone is coming down the homestretch of the Holiday Season – a time filled with plenty of food and drink, one last party and, for many, a lot of weight gain.  It’s also a time when people start to make resolution proclamations.

“I’m getting in shape this year!”

“I’m losing weight this year!”

“I’m getting into that size “fill in the blank” this year!”

And the masses then join a gym or buy some running shoes or “go on a diet”, all of which lasts a week, maybe three, and then it’s back to the same old same old.  By the time April or May rolls around, shoulders are shrugged and thoughts turn to “maybe next year.”

So what’s the problem?  And what, more importantly is the solution?  The problem is simpler than you might think.  The problem is not that people lack motivation, it’s that they lack education and guidance.

Saying

“I’m getting in shape this year!”

“I’m losing weight this year!”

or even

 “I’m getting into that size “fill in the blank” this year!”

doesn’t give you a well-defined goal, not even the more specific third one, because all of these goals are unspecific on how you want to get there.

The question anyone who is making a fitness New Year’s Resolution should be asking themselves really is, “what is my goal?  what is it that I truly want to achieve in terms of fitness/weight loss?”

“I want to get in shape” can mean so many things – what kind of shape?  at what cost?  The same can be said about “losing weight”.  There are all kinds of ways to lose weight, some are long-lasting healthful methods, some are…well, not.  Both can get one to a goal of losing weight and/or getting “in shape”; one can get you there rapidly, the other can get you there and keep you there indefinitely.

Once you’ve defined what it is you are actually trying to achieve, the next question becomes are you willing to change.  If you are trying to alter your physical make up for the better, undoubtedly, you will need to change some habits, and change can be hard.

That’s where it all falls apart every year for the majority of people.  An unfortunate result of our on-demand society is that we have become more and more a people who demand results immediately.  We then assume that if we don’t get the results we want immediately, that whatever we are trying must not work or must not work for us.

We start to make excuses –

oh, I’m just not shaped like that. 

oh, I’m big-boned. 

oh, I tried that and it just doesn’t work for me.

oh, it was uncomfortable.

Really?

Well, to be honest, for a small percentage of the population, that is true, HOWEVER, the overwhelming majority of people who use these excuses are simply unwilling to put in the time to change and they think, incorrectly, the excuses will make them feel better.  Now, before you jump on me for calling people lazy, please go back and note I wrote unwilling, not lazy.  Change takes sacrifice and sometimes people are unwilling to make certain sacrifices to achieve change – and that’s okay.  BUT, you have to realize that a choice has been made not to change.  Owning this choice instead of making excuses goes a long way toward inner peace and happiness.  If you can’t commit to change, then enjoy where you are and embrace it.  Mental health and inner peace is just as important as physical health/fitness.

Here’s the bottom line – hard work pays off; consistency pays off; a healthful diet pays off.  You put those three things together and your results are guaranteed.  For some, those results begin to appear on the scale and in the mirror within a week; for others, the visible changes don’t appear for a month or two, but something to realize is that the moment you make a change for the better, good things are happening inside you…immediately.

So is this the year?  Where to start?

The first thing I tell people is to start tracking what they are consuming.
You would be amazed just how much you actually consume throughout the day without thinking about it.  The mere action of tracking, truly committing to tracking you intake, will make you think twice about the variety of snacks that may cross your lips.

There are quite a few food tracking apps, but the two I found easiest to use are:

My Fitness Pal:

http://www.myfitnesspal.com/

and Lose It!

http://www.loseit.com/

The thing I like about their apps over others is that they are user-friendly, allow you to enter recipes and create meals, and have access to bar code scanning for easy input.  The apps also allows you to set weight loss goals over a period of time.  The apps though should be used as a guideline, not treated as gospel.  Once a week it’s a good idea to eat whatever the mouth and stomach desire.  One can’t live in a perpetual state of denial (meaning denying yourself “goodies and treats” – a topic for another post) without eventually feeling bitter.  The 90/10 rule works pretty well for most – for every 9 healthful meals, eat & drink something ridiculous!

The second thing I tell people is that they must perform regular physical activity.
This can come in many forms.  I have always found running to be the most affective, particularly for achieving physical fitness while pursuing weight loss, but physical activity can include swimming, biking, taking the stairs instead of taking an elevator, walking, even enjoying the company of your spouse or significant other (I know people get squeamish talking about sex, but it should be noted that a 150 lb person having sex for 15 minutes burns almost 75 calories – that’s nearly 300 calories per hour or the equivalent of a brisk walk or a 10 mph bike ride, but more fun).  The point is, there are many ways to incorporate physical activity into your daily life.

For those short on time, I did a little experiment this Holiday season.  Some of you may have heard of Tabata – it’s a method of exercise where you do a full body exercise for 20 seconds at 100% followed by 10 seconds of rest.  You repeat this cycle 7 more time, completing the exercise in 4 minutes.  It is intense and if you do it right, you pretty much want to throw up at the end of it.  It is effective, but it is not fun.  So doing a little research I came across HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training).  It’s actually been around a while, but I was so into my running I had not really checked it out.  The concept is to perform high intensity full body actions for a short interval, followed by a shorter interval of rest – it is similar to Tabata but not quite as intense.  Right before Thanksgiving, I decided to see if this kind of quick hit training could make a difference.  I chose to use the burpee as my full body movement of choice.  If you don’t know what a burpee is, click —>>>HERE<<<—.

I did five sets of 28 burpees with one minute of rest between sets.  Within each set I would do a 7-7-7-7  routine to mix up different kinds of burpee variations.  For those counting, that’s 140 burpees.  I was able to complete the routine in less than 15 minutes.  I did this 3 times a week and I purposely did not run during that stretch except on Thanksgiving (had to do a Turkey Trot – 3.1 miles) and on my birthday (ran 4.3 miles for 43 years).  That’s a total of 7.4 miles from November 22 to December 31 – essentially a non-factor.  So what were the results?  Despite eating my share of holiday food, less than 45 minutes of work a week allowed me to actually drop 4 pounds and lose a small percentage of body fat.  I am looking forward to seeing what happens when I bring running back into my routine tomorrow.

The third thing I tell people is get some proper sleep.
Sleep is when the body resets itself.  It’s when it heals.  A solid 6 – 9 hours of sleep is absolutely necessary for achieving good health.

Finally, I tell people to stick with it.
It’s hard when you don’t see immediate results.  I get that.  What I try to remind people is that change IS happening.  Slow change is more permanent, because your body and your mind are getting into habits that will stick.  Stay the course, believe in the program and you WILL be rewarded.

So is this your year?  Do you have a specific goal?  If you really want to change, make it a priority and stick with it until the end of March.  This is a trick of sorts though, because if you DO stick with a regular routine until the end of March, you won’t stop because the routine will have taken over.

Good luck with your 2013 health and fitness goals!

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