Finishing the Race

Let me first mention that we draw motivation from many sources. Very often it’s a person, a thought, a song or perhaps a story that may motivate us. For me it was a children’s story about a butterfly.

Nike sponsored a run in New York called the Nike One Hit Wonder Run. This is where top Musical Bands, with No. 1 hits, would play their number one hit at every mile along the 5 mile course in NY’s Central Park. That year, Joan Jett made a special appearance.

I remember my last glance at the car thermometer before getting out of the car – 102 degrees. I was wearing the ticket to get into the race – a mandatory Nike dry fit, bright red, jersey with my number printed on it. 10,000 other entrants did the same. No shirt, no entry – that was the rule.

Driving up Madison Avenue to find a parking spot I took notice of all the red shirts walking, and biking uptown to 97th and 5th avenue, but it was nothing in volume compared to the sea of red shirts that were in Central park and at the starting line. It close to race time and the temperature was dipping to 91 degrees.

Secretly, I always get nervous before a race because I have this fear of not making it. Why? I have no clue. It’s weird. But as I’m waiting for the race to begin and contain my own self doubt, I overhear people talking about the hills and how big they were. Of course this fed my own self-defeating thoughts about running in such hot conditions. Then suddenly, I was intimidated by Central Park. Could I do it? Would I make good time? What am I doing here? I only had to look around to see that all the other red shirts and me were doing this run together. There were in no better or worse shape than I. If they could do it so would I.

The countdown began. The micro chip on my shoe would count my time from the moment I left the start line. I set off slowly, listening to all the folks around me chattering with excitement. I had classic disco music playing on my iPod. I was jamming.

Along the first turn, I saw a familiar face – a friend, a member of the press, off to the side the road, she wasn’t running but I called out to her and blew her a kiss and gave a hearty wave. This was a good start – a good sign! I feel pretty good! Then I hit the first hill…this was the supposed “killer hill” that I’d been hearing about at the start line? It was a little steep, otherwise no problem. A confidence builder. 1 mile done – four to go! Then my iPod froze. Damn! I started fiddling with it and lost about 3 minutes trying to reset it. The 9 minute mile folks passed me, the 9.5 minute mile folks passed me and I needed to get running! No way were the 10 minute mile folks going to pass me. No Way!

Ugh. I’d have to run without it, I was losing too much time.

The second mile had a couple of small hills and I was feeling the lactic acid buildup in my legs. My mouth was super dry, I needed water. I slowed up again to grab a cup from the water station, downed it, and soldiered along. Man, oh man, was it hot and I missing my iPod, Bigtime! I checked it again, still not working.. Some girl behind me was yacking about the guy who blew her off the night before, another was talking about how she should have taken up track when she was younger but didn’t know better, and another was talking about her marathon training….UGhhhhhh, I needed to silence the voices. I took my iPod and fiddled with it again but no use. I was losing time.

Almost half way there – three more miles to go! It would be fine. I would just have to think about something other than what I was doing. I took notice of the trees. It was shady for most of the run, but the third mile hill was a killer. Not because it was so big, in fact it was a mere incline, but my legs were feeling heavier. I passed another water station grabbed a cup of water and a Gatorade and gulped it down.

Suddenly the red shirts were becoming quieter.

Between the third and the fourth mile my legs kicked in. Ah, finally! I needed think about something other than the heat! Then I saw a girl collapsed on the side of the road from heat exhaustion.

There was an overall hush throughout the park. This was by far the coolest moment of the race. The only thing I could see was a flood of bright red shirts bobbing up and down in the distance ahead and all I could hear was the constant beat of feet hitting the asphalt. That rhythm would have to carry me through to the finish line because I needed a beat badly. I listened to my own labored breath and focused on the addition my own breathing – what I called the “rhythmic running band”. Those darn self-defeating came back telling me I wasn’t going to make it…

“Think of something else.” I thought.

Immediately, I flashed back to a story I knew about two caterpillars who discussed turning into butterflies. One resisted the change. The other friends got through the change. Once a butterfly she came back to motivate the weak and feeble caterpillar She did this with four words You Gotta Have WANNA. As I hit the asphalt in 99.9 degree heat, with 10,000 other people in Central park, I muttered the phrase “You gotta have Wanna!”

About Fitness of the Body

Fitness of the body occurs when all the body processes, physical and mental are functioning as the peak levels What does it take to achieve complete body fitness? It requires more than simply taking a trip to the gym, or a walk in the park.

Many factors come into play when we consider our body’s fitness. The daily intake of food, vitamins, and water are absolute necessities, and most often the items thought about. What about the conditioning of our body to deal with life each day?

Does our physical exercise have anything to do with the fitness of our body? Absolutely. For one condition without regard to the other, is not a complete whole. The body includes all of our physical processes, our mind, and our physical being as a whole. When we give thought to the fitness of the body, most often we contemplate our physical condition as it applies to our cardiovascular needs and our weight. But our bodies are much more than heart and a nice figure. What about all of our other organs? Are they fit? How do we maintain a fitness of the entirety? Daily physical exercise that benefits the body as a whole, taking time to rest and restore what has been depleted from our body over the course of the day, and making sure that we adequately supply our entire body with the nutrition necessary for healthy function.

If we use our resources wisely and educate our selves about the things our body needs to maintain fitness, over the course of our life, it isn’t a difficult thing to attain. But you cannot abuse your body for years, and then hope for immediate results in trying to attain overall fitness. It didn’t become unfit overnight, and it won’t become fit again that quickly.

Proper attention to the physical needs of each part of your body results in the fitness of the whole. Every part of your physical body exists to work in unison with another part of the body. Two hands are necessary for optimal functioning of the limbs, two feet, two eyes, etc. The physical body is designed to work better than any machine invented to date. It is more complex and powerful than any piece of equipment we have on the market. It takes more abuse than believable, and continues to operate, even without the daily requirements being met, for several days. It is a fascinating machine, as machines go. But it is an even more fascinating subject, when we choose to care for our bodies as the temples they really are. They house our mind and soul, and when the body is fit, it does its job tremendously well.

Reaching Fitness Goals

One important thing to remember when setting your fitness goals is that they need to be difficult to reach, but not so difficult that you never get there. It may sound easy but it can be tough finding the right balance. If you find yourself always surpassing the immediate goal infront of you then you should raise your expectations. By not doing so, your body will feel gratified when reaching the goal and not push harder. Remember you are involved in fitness to get into better shape and you cannot do this by not pushing your physical limits.

To get started try tracking your progress throughout the first couple of weeks of your new workout routine. Once you see what your body can handle you can slightly increase the level of resistance, giving yourself a stretch goal to shoot for. It may take you a few weeks to get there but once you do you will feel like you are really making progress. Remember that the mental process is a huge part of your workout. If you believe you can do something you probably can.

For more ideas on how to set realistic fitness goals you can speak with a local trainer. They are used to working with people new to fitness and can give you some pointers for maximizing your time. They can help you track your progress and let you know what percentage of increasing your body can handle. And remember to speak with your doctor before beginning any new exercise routine and if possible schedule a physical to insure your body is healthy and ready to workout.

Physical fitness should be an important part of your life. You will benefit both physically and mentally from exercising. Setting and reaching your own personal goals will give you the satisfaction you need to continue working hard.

Info of Exercise Efficiently

The human body’s architecture is such that it enables fluid movement when allowed to perform optimally. The skeletal system, muscular system and ligamentous system is arranged to work in harmony to expend the least amount of energy for the task desired.

Muscle fibers are orchestrated in a manner to promote multi-planar movement. This helps the body produce more force, which in turn makes it more adept at achieving desired movement results.

As mentioned in “The Best Exercise” article, the nervous system along with the help of the proprioceptors, gives the brain (and spinal cord) constant feedback to make the body more proficient.

Ligaments and joint capsules protect the joints from unwanted and extreme movement and also give feedback to ensure movement competence.

Our system and, it appears, all animal species’ systems, are designed rather well for success.

As children we are “wired “with all the right movement patterns for success. As we age and develop poor postures, inflexible musculature and other compensations due to poor movement habits…we “foul up” the system.

It would seem to make sense that our best movement strategy would be to let the body move as it is designed to move. We would be successful by leaving well enough alone. “Don’t try to fix what ain’t broke”- so to speak.

We are “messing with nature.”

So, how can we keep from altering nature? How do we keep from developing poor movement habits; and better yet un-do existing ones?

I think it is fairly simple and something that can be achieved quickly. As the saying goes, we will have to jump over to “the simple side of complexity.”

The body is a complex organism. However, it is already designed for us to be successful. We just need to take advantage of the arrangement and work with it instead of against it. This will improve our overall health and fitness.

Here are some key points to allow this to happen:

Perform a daily exercise routine that works the body in all three planes of motion. These planes are the sagittal, frontal and transverse (front to back, side to side and rotational). This action alone will allow the muscles to operate as designed and give proper feedback to the brain and spinal cord. Sending proper information to the “control tower” will result in better movement outcomes (posture, flexibility, reflexes, muscle and ligament strength).

Exercise with the movement goal in mind. What does your body have to do on a daily basis? What postures, movement patterns and activities do you ask it to do? How do you need to prepare for its ultimate success? What exercises and/or stretches must you perform to prevent problems?

If I am a computer programmer, I want to make sure I do exercise routines to stimulate my muscles to help keep my metabolism at levels to prevent excessive weight gain. I want to make sure I do flexibility routines to prevent muscle tightness and poor posturing. I need to make sure I take several breaks throughout the day to at least adjust my posture and possibly do quick exercise routines to stimulate my brain.

Stop introducing unnatural exercises and exercise machines to your system. A basic rule of thumb is to evaluate your routine based on its functionality. Do you do a movement like this on a daily basis? Does a particular machine put you in a non-functional environment?

Pretty much any exercise that “isolates” a muscle is unnatural. The brain recognizes muscle synergies, so isolating a muscle confuses the brain. Examples: seated leg extensions, machine biceps curls, pec (chest) machine.

Get on your feet and work in 3 planes of motion. Allow the muscles to “load and explode” (lengthen and contract) through the available range of motion (i.e. not too extreme range under tension as to cause injury).

Lastly, feed the system nutrients. Start with water; half an ounce to one ounce of water per pound of body weight. Keep your body hydrated to ensure proper functioning – not to mention clearer thinking.