Tag Archives: motivation

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!

 

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Do not let the fear of FAILING keep you from SUCCEEDING

As I hang up the phone from talking to the representatives of Kaplan University, I was pretty much taken back at the fact that just a week and a half earlier, I decided to get my masters and was registered and ready to start in just two days.  I decided to go for a masters in educational technology with emphasis on web design, the classes would be entirely online, but they were five credit courses that finished every six weeks. For those who don’t know, that’s a lot of work in a little bit of time.  The good news was, I’d be done in 14 months.

My timing could have been better, being that I decided all this just a few weeks before my school year started (i’m a teacher), but I figured it would be a year full of support from coworkers, and I wouldn’t be coaching in the fall either….well all that changed very quickly.

My team: a 2:65 ratio!
My team: a 2: to 65 ratio!

The week before school started, professional development was getting started, so I was checking emails and unpacking boxes in my new classroom when I noticed one of our coworkers sent out an email notification that they found a new job in a different district, but it was good for him and the family.  I didn’t think much of it, until two days later when I received multiple phone calls about becoming the schools new cross country coach, the job that became vacant at the loss of that employee.

I felt honored, but at the same time, I was starting a teaching year of two subjects I haven’t taught before, and just started my masters,

could I really succeed at all of them at the same time?

Quick answer… Yes, but it didn’t happen without stress induced medical symptoms.

Managing Cross Country Meets
Managing Cross Country Meets

In reflecting on how my life has been from this past September to November, I thought it would be appropriate to blog about how to handle the stress and time commitments of a very busy life, which I know for a fact, I’m not the only one enduring. Everyone has crazy times in their lives at some point, whether it is what I’m going through, or moving, or getting a house, married, child, new job, the list goes on forever!  I’m not trying to get sympathy or condolences, just attempting to give some tips and reassurance to those who are in a similar situation or want to pick up the pace of their lives.

So on top of teaching a teaching job from 6:30-2:30, coaching from 2:45-4, house/animal care-taking from 5-6, dinner making from 6-7, I had to dedicate the evening to something more relaxing.  I would constantly bring work home to do, but realistically…never got to it, and that’s OKAY.

The busier you are, the better you get at managing your time.

Created my own science curriculum and still made it fun and hands-on :)
Created my own science curriculum and still made it fun and hands-on 🙂

My prep time at work was jam packed with planning for the week ahead, my lunches consisted of either grading or responding to discussion posts for my masters classes, and I would call in the help of parents to come in and do my copying for me.  You learn to make-do, and that’s exactly what I did for those months of chaos.  The beginnings are always rough and exhausting because you haven’t learned to manage time. There was a time where I had to call a sub to go to urgent care at the end of the school day because I had to be ready to go to a cross country meet to coach after-school.  I was suffering symptoms of an ulcer, which, the main cause? Stress.  After changing some diet choices and reaching out to others to help lighten the load, the symptoms went away and I know now better ways to handle the coaching season.

Happy ending to the story?  I aced all my masters classes since I’ve started, my students have learned what they needed to

Enjoying time outside of work
Enjoying time outside of work

learn in the classroom, and cross country was the best coaching experience I’ve had so far and I can’t wait till next season. On top of all this, I’ve kept up with my fitness, enjoyed dinners and movies with my husband, and went on many adventures with my pup and friends.  Time management is the key to success, but it was definitely a learning experience to get to where I am today.

After truly dedicating myself to a break for the holidays, I face the second half of the year consisting of masters classes, teaching full time, soccer and cross country conditioning, followed by another very time committing season of coaching high school soccer (plus hosing a cross country race in the spring to fundraise). I know it’s going to be tough, but I’m ready and willing :).

Dedicating time for family and fun, GO GREEN ;)
Dedicating time for family and fun, GO GREEN 😉

The moral of the story, you live and learn, and sometimes life can be so crazy that you don’t know how to do it all, but you always get by.  If you want to further your education, do it! If you want to change careers, do it!

Don’t let intimidation of failure block the pathway of success; you’re stronger than you think!

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!

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!

Find “Your People”

MeetUp

You don’t have to go about pursuing your ambition alone. This is a well-known site, but I wanted to post on it because it could really help if you didn’t know it existed. This resource is called Meet-Up. I recently took a poll to find out what meet-up groups I should feature but unfortunately did not get much feedback to guide me. I hope you at least get an idea to check it out for yourself for your specific ambitions!q

There is something for everyone on meet-up, and always options no matter where you live. I’ve gone on hikes and camping/backpacking trips with the Michigan Adventurers Club (featured image above), played pick-up soccer with the Sunday Holly Soccer Players, and improved skills and increased my enthusiasm for rock climbing through the Detroit Area Rock Climbers group. You can set your account to send you notification of future meet ups. The use of the website is free, but I do think there is a small subscription fee if you wanted to start your own meet up group (which is usually divided amongst the group members).

Meet up is a fantastic way to meet people of similar interests while you participate in things you love doing.

These places are featured in Michigan, but you can do this for ANY STATE. And PLEASE comment on recommendations if you have them, as I am always looking for new things to try!

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Metro Detroit Fun and Fitness: “Enjoy fitness activities like Wallyball (winter), Volleyball (summer), Cross Country Skiing, Ping Pong, Bocci Ball, Biking, etc , laugh and have fun while at it. When weather permits outdoor games like Sand Volleyball is also planned. We have biking too… not so light fitness but fun fitness…riding several different trails located throughout the Detroit Metro area. For just plain fun, there’s concerts, eating out, or just meet’n’greet events.”

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Beer Snobs of Michigan: “Michigan is bursting at the seams with 90+ Microbreweries. Everyone that we have tried have been better and better. We know there are people out there that appreciate good beer as much as we do so we started this group to begin sharing these Microbrewery trips with others.”

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Metro Detroit Athletes: “MDA is all about sports—every sport—from popular ones like volleyball, tennis, softball, and soccer, to more obscure ones like parkour, bocce ball, and curling. During the warmer months we’re likely to play ultimate, sand volleyball, and a third sport at least every week; as well as bike, skate, and socialize.”

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Adventure Quest: “If you love being active and enjoy spending time outdoors – this group is for you! The main focus of the group is spending as much time outdoors as possible participating in many diverse activities including hiking, camping, bike riding (road, trails, mountain, and touring), canoeing and kayaking, backpacking, geocaching, and orienteering, XC skiing, and snowshoeing Our events are hosted all over the Metro Detroit area, Michigan, and other states. We also occasionally throw in some cultural events like visiting museums, going to exhibits, movies, or just meet at a restaurant to socialize.”

Get out and do stuff you love with other humans!

BROKE? 10 THINGS TO DO UNDER $10 (Get out of the house! ;)

It is extremely easy to get stuck in the cycle of coming home from work and just relaxing inside.  It’s nice to do that once in a while, but having it become a regular thing could lead to a lot of negative affects. Weight gain, depression, poor eating habits, and increased feeling of laziness are all things that could come from staying at home too much. Here is some motivation that won’t break the bank!

$5-$7 State parks and County parks: there are amazing trails to hike in, walk your dog, go on a date. I will dedicate a post sometime solely to parks, but for now I’ll be brief.  You can go fishing, have a picnic, read a book, etc.!

$5-$10 (for used disks, free if you have disks) Frisbee golf is cheap and fun, I’ve learned that soccer golf is a thing as well ($5).

$7-$10 Rent Equipment: try something totally new, or get out and do something you’ve enjoyed by renting equipment. Many parks have rentals for cheap. Take a car that already has a park pass and you’ll just have to worry about rental fees, it’s about $10 or less an hour to rent a boat or kayak.

$5 (free with park pass) Dog Park: wear your dog out and make his/her day. Seeing them happy instantly pleases you! If you’re social enough, you could meet some new people in the process 🙂

$8: It’s that time of year, visit a cider mill! Not the store kind, but where there are hay rides for $1, pick your own apples for $4, and get a couple donuts and some cider for $3. This could be a great day date with a significant other, friends, or kids.

$10 in speaking of kids… if you babysit or have your own, check out favorite attractions as they could have special deals at certain times. Airtime apparently has admission for $10 and course, most playgrounds are free.

$5-$10 There are so many places to bike to. South-east Michigan has many “bike-able” cities, and those in northern Oakland county can bike from city to city using the Polly-Ann trail, Paint-Creek trail, and the Macomb Orchard trail.  Make a pub crawl out of it to attract friends and make destinations interesting! (note: please comment on this post if you don’t live in this southeast Michigan, and I’ll help you find some places near you!)

Rainy day?

$5 Matinee Movie:  Yes, Netflix is cheap and convenient, BUT it is better for your body and mind to get out and actually have a great movie watching experience.  Go out with some friends, take your kid, or a go day date to a matinee movie, only $5 before 5pm!

Get out for a drink and food while catching up with friends. You’d be surprised at how good weekly deals can be at your favorite places. Bar Louie has $1 burger days with $2 beer specials, you could easily work with those prices with tip for under $10 bucks! Even the small town I live in has great specials if you put a little effort into looking them up.

$10 Wednesday Crank Night at Planet Rock:  climbing can be expensive if you’re just starting out, rental equipment and such. There are ways to get around that if you’re just starting out, but the little extra spending is worth it for the future experiences!  Those who are a bit more experienced and have their own equipment (or a friend who has equipment you can borrow), can go to Planet Rock on Wednesday evenings for just $10 (6 dollar discount from regular admission!)

GET MOTIVATED TO RUN IN THREE EASY STEPS

Running: The Lifetime Sport.

You don’t see 55 year old gymnasts, 70 year old football players, or 60 year old volleyball players.  No matter what sport you may love with all your heart, the truth is, our culture and your body doesn’t make it easy to keep pursuing whatever sport you grew up loving.  I know this because I grew up drawing soccer balls on every homework assignment, played year-round since I was 6, and even made my best friends from MSU through intramural soccer.  The further I part from college years, the more distant I’ve become of the sport I love…even coaching it doesn’t fulfill the same satisfaction…it actually makes me crave it more.

Reality sits in and even though it’s possible to join an adult league, the challenge and atmosphere isn’t the same, let alone the long commute.  BUT this isn’t my point… my point is, take up running! Running is a lifetime sport. You will see people in their sixties and seventies cruising the trails like nothing else matters.  If you’re at that age where you’re craving a way to get exercise the way you used to, here are a few resources to get you started!

  • Download some new tunes to run to, focusing on the music rather than the run: there is an awesome app called discovr music. Type in any artist or song and get a chain reaction of similar music. Pandora works great too, the commercial free version is only $4 a month, but it uses data while you’re running outdoors.
  • Download a running app to document, track, and plan runs. My personal favorite for years is nike+running. It is fairly accurate, maps your route, plays your playlist and tells you your pace every mile. There are many other apps like this if you search, but nike+running is my fav. Into zombies? A few years ago I downloaded a running app called Zombies,  Run!  It is an integration of a running app and an interactive zombie story where you are a “runner” who is sent on missions. Throughout the engaging story, the app takes breaks to play your playlist as well. There is even a setting for which zombie radars track whether you increase your speed!
  • Feel good about what you do every time you go out. You may go out and run/walk a mile and feel exhausted, and that’s OK.  The key is to get outside consistently and jog a little more each time.  You will be blown away at how fast your body adapts and gets in condition when given the opportunity.

I could write a novel on running tips, but I’ll save more for another day! Get out, go for a run, there is nothing to lose!

(Well, you may lose stress, fat, and bad habits, but that’s okay 😉