Tag Archives: explore

Life: Picture it NOW

In my brain-fried state of mind after a long day of work and whatever else life throws my way, I find myself  “facebooking”, a verb I predict will be added to the dictionary in the near future BTW.

After flipping through my news feed, I was still mind-numb and didn’t feel like sleeping, so I flipped through my own pictures to reminisce on old times. Something i’m sure, and hope, everyone does once in a while.

I want you to take a minute and section out your day with what you do with your time.

For me, an average 24 hour work day goes like this..

7 hours sleep, 2  hours getting ready and driving, 8 hours work,  3 hours errands/pets/house/dinner maintenance, 3 hours homework/grading/planning,  1 hour of relaxing/getting ready to fall asleep… and repeat.  That’s only if I don’t have other things I need to do, like coach after school, or get the car fixed, etc.

Random weekend canoe and off-road adventure trip in Gladwin, Michigan
Random weekend canoe and off-road adventure trip in Gladwin, Michigan

When looking at the pictures, click after click,  I had a mini epiphany realizing that WOW, I’ve had a crazy, adventurous, fun life with awesome people… but how could that be?

 

 

 

When I take a snapshot of what my average day looks like, I realize that I’ve barely set aside any time at all to even have a life, but somewhere in chaos, I made a choice.

 

Ended up running the Detroit Half Marathon by myself, the view was worth it :)
Ended up running the Detroit Half Marathon by myself, the view was worth it 🙂

When I seemed too busy to even fathom doing anything besides what I need to do, I chose to do what I want to do instead.

I’ve made choices to live instead of exist.

Life is not your job, house, or stuff. Life comes in the moments in-between what normally fills our day and mind. So even though you have endless responsibilities, set time to actually do what you want and enjoy life, because if you’re not… then what’s the point of all work you put into it?

Everyone needs to make a living, but most people forget to actually live in the life they work so hard to make.

So I post a challenge to everyone reading this,  I want you to make a choice to do something that makes you happy instead of something productive… and take a picture of it. 

Better yet… reminisce with your own pictures tag any pictures of you making the choice to live instead of exist, it will help stir up the ambition that’s in all of us!

If you have Instagram, tag the picture with #time2beAmbitious.  If you don’t have Instagram, tag the Facebook page Time2beAmbitious in your picture.

Happy tagging 🙂 I look forward to seeing everyone live!

 

Trail Running for Amateurs! 3 Rebuttals for the most common excuses.

Winter
Winter

Running indoors has its benefits, it gets you moving, especially in the wintertime. No need to embrace the harsh elements of the outdoors when you’ve got a treadmill or indoor track right? Wrong!  Limiting yourself to the indoors for training, or even to suburbanized sidewalk running is dooming yourself for a short lived running life.

You need to see and feel the inspiration nature can give you if you just take the time to step out into the wilderness.

Here are some remedies to a few possible hindrances keeping you from the trails.

Spring
Spring

“bad ankles”: I have them, so I get it. Running on the trails is a higher chance of rolled ankles with rocks and roots, but it happens a lot less often than you might think. Your ankles do get stronger the more you go on trails, therefore leading to less rolled ankles.

Start on a mild trail, and if your ankles are sore, then that’s good!

It means that your stabilizing muscles and tendons were working hard and will be even more ready for next time.   If you have serious ankle issues, tape your ankles by watching YouTube videos, or get a brace from a local drug store.

Summer
Summer

“I’m going to get lost”: unless you are in the real deal wilderness of Canada or something of the sorts, the chances of you getting lost and actually being in real danger is slim to none. But to ease your fears, there are a few things you can do. The more prepared the better if you are one who is paranoid. Stop by the park office for paper maps, turn on a gps trail map app, go on the parks website beforehand and get a feel for the trail. The information is out there, but you can always take my suggestion and just GO.  Getting temporarily lost can feel exhilarating and adventurous, let alone distract you from the fact that you’re getting a ton of exercise!

Fall
Fall

“It’s just not convenient”: It most definitely takes time and effort to get out on the trail, and I understand your thinking if you get home from work and only have a little time before the sun goes down to get an outdoor workout in. To work it into your schedule, make it a weekend event that you can look forward to.  Planning ahead makes it more likely to happen, and with the hilly terrain and new scenery, you’d be getting twice or three times the workout in the same time period than if you were to be jogging around your subdivision.  Think about those kind of outcomes and you could instantly justify the extra travel time and efforts to get to new places.  Oh, and don’t forget to soak it in! I have a blast taking pictures while on the trail,

I worry less about my time and pace since the terrain is so different, and it is a great opportunity to see wildlife, stunning plant life, and more.

If I missed a key reason that is keeping you from the trail, please comment on this post and I’d be happy to throw some possible solutions your way!

The Realities of a Young Teacher (Plus…4 steps to Success!) Share with new teacher friends!

The harsh reality, at least for me…

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Literacy Lesson (3rd grade)

If you are thinking about being a teacher, either currently in college, or about to go to college, my number one piece of advice is…don’t? Someone needs to let younger generations know of the reality, so here it is… long story short, it is extremely difficult to independently live if you are a new teacher. I was 100% positive that teaching was the career for me, and I love it, but I’m also extremely grateful that I’m married because I would otherwise be 27 and still living with my parents. The payroll system is corrupt and the likelihood of the system changing anytime soon is extremely slim. If teaching is your true ambition, then awesome, but plan on either marrying soon, living with your parents, or living with roommates. As a graduate of the year 2009 from the nation’s TOP teaching school (GO GREEN). Here’s my story, as well as some critical advice to those younger generations.

If I didn’t scare you off yet, or maybe you’re just starting out in the teaching world, here are four simple steps to success from my personal experience.  Please comment below with your teaching experiences!

Step one: Take chances.

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Teaching about the holidays in Japan

If there are opportunities to get up and move right after college, DO IT. The chances of opportunities like this later in life is unlikely. Before you settle down, plant your roots, and start your official career, get out and teach in another country. I was chosen to participate in the JET (Japanese Exchange and Teaching) Programme and was sent off to teach in rural Japan right after my internship. That experience could be a blog in itself, and even though it was difficult, it made me mentally stronger and open minded…and I’m appreciative of that. There are many different opportunities to go around the world, especially if you’re a teacher, I challenge you to take a day and investigate the options!

Step 2: Take what you can get, but try to stay focused on a purpose.

To graduate and find a job right away as a teacher is not impossible, but it’s unlikely. The reality is, you may be subbing for years before actually landing a job, but don’t sub in a school for too long. If you have been there a year and opportunities to hire you have been passed by administration, GET OUT OF THERE. Subbing after getting back from Japan allowed me to get experience in all different kinds of subject areas and grades which made me realize what I eventually wanted my end goal to be… A middle school science

teacher. The problem? I wasn’t science certified… The difficult job market allowed for me to look into additional certifications. It was busy, but I earned my science endorsement in just one semester and

Leopard Geckos in Class
Leopard Geckos in Class (5th Grade)

was then marketable with the endorsements of science, English, and geography. All three endorsements led to long-term and permanent positions. Point being…furthering your education to doable, and totally worth it.

Step 3: Be a PAIN in the @$$. 

The jobs will not come to you, some professions have recruiting companies that do the research and come to you with a job and a salary, but teaching is a whole new world. To get a job, you need to find a district you are interested in, and mail out your resumes with cover letters that are specific for their school. Do not address them “to who it may concern”. Once you’ve mailed out to all the districts, check every other day for job openings between the months of April

Student teaching Students
Student teaching Students (6th Grade)

and September. If you see a job opening, apply online, but then take the time to drive to the school AND central office and give them your resume in person, introduce yourself, make yourself known. Taking the time to do this is exhausting, but trust me, it got me a job and it will for you as well.

Step 4: Experience is Experience, so make the best of it!

In 5 consecutive years, I haven’t taught the same thing twice… My teaching career in 5 seconds goes like this.

3rd grade internship > English in Japan > long-term science sub > 5th grade charter school teacher > (got hired in the public schools) 6th grade Science, Sixth grade social studies, 8th grade academic intervention (yes, all in one year) > 7th grade science and social studies (currently teaching) > next year? something different… but hopefully full-time science.

It sucks to constantly put your heart and soul into creating, just to have it not be able to be used the next year, but everything I have done in the past has led to better opportunities and teaching

7th Grade Scientists
7th Grade Scientists

strategies.  Even though these jobs seem to have little in common, they have all built on each other, and will eventually lead to even greater opportunities.  It is difficult to be patient, I’ve definitely felt the frustration this year, but I make the best with what I’m given and have as much fun as I can.

Teachers please do this…

As a middle school teacher now, I make it a point to show CNN student news and every single opportunity to show the kids a new

Mt. Kaimon, Japan
Mt. Kaimon, Japan

kind of profession, I pause the news and address it.   Lack of exposure to all the diverse and engaging careers out there in the world was something that was extremely lacking when I was in school, probably the reason why we have had such a surplus in jobs like teaching, because it is what everyone knows and are familiar with.  These ten quick minutes once or twice throughout the week gets the wheels turning in the minds of our future generations.  It is so important to keep them open-minded, because we are preparing them for jobs that haven’t even been created yet!

Oh, and don’t forget to actually enjoy yourself in the free-time between the educational experiences 😉

View from my moped off the side of a mountain, Japan
View from my moped off the side of a mountain during a mini random road-trip, Japan

NO SUCH THING AS BAD WEATHER… JUST BAD CHOICE OF CLOTHING.

Quotes addressing this idea have been sourced back to 1912, and it holds true to this day! As we are reaching record lows across the country for this time of year, I figured it would be appropriate to create a post that addresses the best clothing that gets your mind off the chill factor.

As one who doesn’t let the cold hinder activity, I wanted to share what I’ve learned about how to dress in winter.  It took much trial and error through a large span of climate settings, but what is posted is the best of the best of my experiences. The following advice goes from head to toe to help you be prepared for the winter chill.

NOTE: this is somewhat bias towards women… since I am not a man and don’t know what is, or is not, comfortable. If you are a male reading this and have some good recommendations, PLEASE comment below and share the knowledge!

“You know it’s all about the base…”

The most difficult thing to anticipate in the winter is whether you will be too hot or too cold during your adventures outside…either one could be very uncomfortable and affect your experience.  I’ve had the best result with the following…

Detroit Turkey Trot 2013
Detroit Turkey Trot 2013

Head: fleece headband and men and woman can wear the behind the head earmuffs. Both of these are nice because it allows heat escape, avoiding the sweating and overheating factor.

Neck: I used to wear a variety of scarves with different densities, but I’ve moved on from those and onto Buff neck-wear.  I absolutely love the lightest density

Buff Neckwear
Buff Neck-wear

shown in this image. I’ve used it in multiple races and it helps to cover my face and allowing me to breathe, and doesn’t get too hot if the weather warms up on the adventure. I also have a more dense version of the Buff which I use for less exerting activity or more severe weather.

Upper body: when the weather is under 40 degrees, I resort to tight, form fitting Under Armour long sleeve base layer tops.   Men Click Here.

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Over the base top, I wear a light jacket if I’m running or doing similar exercises in degrees colder than 35 degrees.  If I am doing activities such as downhill skiing, cross country skiing, or hiking, I’ll wear a sweatshirt over the base, then a coat over the sweatshirt (depending on how cold it is and the intensity of the activity).

The main point is dress in layers!

If you’re exerting a lot of energy, start off feeling cold because if you start your exercise feeling comfortable, you will be too hot in a matter of minutes.

I once ran a 5K in 7 degrees and was grateful for my light choice of clothing as I found myself throwing off my gloves in the middle of the race.

Legs: I have been lucky to have relatives who know me and my hobbies during the holiday season, so I have no lack of athletic winter tights to fill my dresser drawers.  Athletic tights such as these truly help block the chill, while allowing mobility to the max.  I also use these as a base to all moderate activity, wearing them under jeans and snow pants when the temperature really drops.

Toes:  Cotton is not your friend, especially in the winter. I’ve read about the negative effects of cotton through various magazine articles and my experiences agree, cotton is terrible for athletic people.  The best solution, especially when the weather is below freezing, is wool. REI and Smartwool are my top two brands, as they have different densities for all kinds of activities.  From light running socks to extremely thick winter socks, these brands have a sock for any occasion. But with IMG_0593warmth and moisture wicking technology comes the hindrance of cost.  These socks are VERY pricy, my advice? If you have small feet, buy the children socks. They are just as good quality for a fraction of the cost.  Have normal size feet? The REI brand and other off-brands are usually cheaper than the most popular Smartwool.  You can go a step further and just wait for holiday sales to occur, socks are almost always on the discount list during the holidays.

For discounted gear, check websites for their outlets. Here are a few good ones!  Nike  REI   Dicks Sporting Goods  Under Armour

There you have it, head to toe recommendations from yours truly, based on over ten years of experience in running, skiing, snowboarding, and hiking through the winter months!

Stay Dry and Warm or Get Wet and Muddy??

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There were so many signs telling me not go to out running today. There was this mix of sleet/snow/rain, no sun, cold, I just ate so I’d probably cramp up… It would be so easy to get in my warm car with heated seat and just cruise on home where more warmth and comfort awaits me….but luckily… I didn’t.

 

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Some background knowledge…. There was an opportunity to take advantage of an awesome free resource; an environmental science seminar at a local nature center. Yes, it was 4 hours of my Saturday, but taking advantage of these opportunities provides me with awesome resources to use in the classroom, plus, the setting is usually someplace new to explore.

 

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When looking up this place called Seven Ponds Nature Center, I noticed they had multiple miles of trails. I figured, if I were to drive out there anyway, why not go for a run after the seminar? (Planning things like this in advance really helps you gain new, fun experiences, fyi ;). BUT…the weather sucked, it was gloomy and cold, and they served us lunch at the very end of the seminar, meaning I would probably cramp up at any attempt to run.IMG_0522.JPG

IMG_0513Sometimes you just have to go against your will to be comfortable and embrace the cold, wet, mucky world of the outdoors. The adventure will ALWAYS trump the experience you would have had otherwise!

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All the pictures you see here were a result of my mini adventure trail run/hike through the unknown woods of Dryden, MI. In fact, every single picture on this blog was taken by me, proving that these places are real and are accessible to the average joe ;).

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I anticipated the discomfort of trying to run after eating, so this was a relaxing jog throughout the woods, I had a trail map, but I don’t like to use them.

I find that there is an extra sense of adventure if you don’t care where you’re going and you just GO.

Whenever I started to cramp up, I’d start walking, or stop to take a few pictures. There was so much wildlife to enjoy as well; I saw a beaver and a total of 8 deer. I even got up close to a startled six point buck that was taking a nap next to the elevated board walk. It was awesome.

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Despite all signs and temptations to stay inside and relax, it was such a rewarding experience to…

Embrace the elements, get outside, and explore!