Run Your Own Race: Focusing on Your Mission as a Runner

RUN YOUR OWN RACE! 

How to actually enjoy a run, an article from 4D’s owner, Liz Navarro, a marathon runner 

 

 When I was asked to write a brief piece on running, I’m not going to lie, I thought, why me? I’m not fast, I’m not as consistent as I probably should be, and unless you call my teenage daughters “hand-me ups” fashionable, I’m not that either. But I love to run. Love love love it! So if you are looking for a few tips from a 46 year young woman who can run without hurting you’ve come to the right place.

  • Only YOU know your own body

I tell my kids this all the time, because what makes one person feel great might not make you feel great. For example, nutrition wise I am as boring as they come, peanut butter and jelly, kale and lots of pasta are pretty much my staple. I can’t drink coffee (don’t be mad at me) not because I don’t enjoy it, it just doesn’t make me feel good…too acidic for me. I don’t eat red meat for the same reason. But my husband on the other hand can’t eat pasta, but pretty much survives on lean red meat. The point being you have to get comfortable being honest and knowing what makes YOUR own body feel good and just stick with it. Once your create a comfortable consistency in your diet with foods that make you feel great, it’s easy. Donuts everyday does not count, I did not go there, so neither should you.

  • If something hurts, STOP

Why, why, why do I hear so much advice to “push through the pain”?? Is a PR worth muscles strains and aching knees? Nope, not for me, I want to enjoy the run. If something hurts stop…slow down walk for a bit and reach to the sky. Stretch, breathe, but for goodness sake give yourself a break and don’t hurt yourself more. Tomorrow will be a new day! Unless if you are training for the Olympics or competitive athlete then listen to the advice of your coaches…I am training for neither, but I do have a 19-mile race coming up and I don’t hurt. 

  • Exercise your MENTAL muscles 

There comes a point during a race where you hit a certain mile and the “runner high” kicks in…and then comes the point in the race where you start to wonder why you decided to run this far. I like to imagine how strong each of my muscles are, and kind of take myself to some Zen happy place in my mind.  Sounds weird but here is an example.  Your legs are complacent in your pace…you approach a large hill…you mentally envision how strong your quads are and how they will power you uphill…focus your mind on that muscle specifically…you’re now going downhill…focus on the strength of your hamstrings comfortably carrying you down…and so on and so on. Exercising your brain too!

  • Run the LIFE out 

I can only imagine that I am not the only human being out there that does not have a perfect life. I have a wonderful family #blessed, but geez life comes at me.  Work, kids, issues, kids, grief, …did I say kids? Yes, there are magnificently wonderful times mixed in here, I’m not being a downer, I’m just a real person with real feelings. All I know is my running shoes have carried me through thousands of miles of therapy, all for the price of a nice pair of Brooks. What other sport can you do where you can start off lost and hopeless and finish ready to conquer a mountain?!! And the end of your run… when those life changing endorphins just kick in! That’s when you’re hooked!! You enjoy the run….

How to Make New Routines More Manageable

Changing your lifestyle doesn’t have to be a huge hassle that causes you to stress and quit. Instead, sticking to smaller lifestyle changes and healthier habits can make a world of difference. 

Managing a successful fitness, lifestyle, or eating routine can be difficult with our ever changing environments and busy social lives. 

So how are you supposed to manage your lifestyle and your new routine? Check out these quick tips to find out!

 

Simplify your eating routine 

Are you counting the calories and every little atom you contain in a day? If you can, stop!

By doing this, you are going to quickly realize that this has become a full time job on top of your already busy schedule! Instead, try to buy more home-grown, healthy, organic ingredients that you know will fill your body with good protein. This may help you skip the hassle and time-consuming journaling. You may actually enjoy your routine more in the long run! 

 

Check in on yourself 

Does your workout routine call for a 5 AM run followed by a 5-mile hike in the afternoon? If that fits you and you actually want to, please continue. However, most people find that their energy levels will not allow them to commit to this tedious schedule everyday. That is TOTALLY normal. 

You have to remember to check in on yourself and see if your body is actually up for that. If it’s not, substitute it with a routine that is more suitable for you that day. You can even spice it up and add in a yoga class instead to allow your muscles to relax and energize that way. 

When your energy levels are back up, take that hike in full stride! 

 

Continuing to live healthy and happy doesn’t have to be a hassle that makes you want to pull your hair out. Instead, it should make you excited and ready to try a new venture! If you’re struggling with your daily routine or activities, always look for alternative options and keep your mind focusing on something new.

8 Reasons to Eat Healthy

“Healthy eating” has gained quite a lot of stigma over the years as the method to shed alot of pounds. And even though it does help you lose weight, there are actually tons of reasons people choose to eat healthy. 

Many people view healthy eating as a punishment instead of a reward–which is what we should be viewing it as. Eating right can change your mood, health, and mindset in the long run. 

 

Heart health 

Heart diseases are often found relating to unhealthy eating habits and patterns. The boom of fast food and easy-to-make meals have allowed people to grab and go instead of properly prepare foods. This has led to a burst in health conditions related to poor diet. 

Many diets pertaining to the heart recommend consuming a lot of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. 

 

Weight loss 

The main contributor for a change in diet: weight loss and weight watching. Watching and managing your weight can help you avoid obesity, which can lead to various conditions such as heart diseases, poor bone density, and diabetes. Many diets ask that you minimize or cut out processed foods and eat substances like beans, veggies, and fruits with low calorie levels. 

Pro tip: plant-based foods tend to help those on a weight loss plan feel full longer, helping them limit their food consumption.

 

Gut health 

Vitamins B and K benefit the colon and aid in fighting viruses and harmful bacteria in the body. A healthy diet normally provides a good combination of probiotics and prebiotics to help with digestion. Yogurt is an amazing product that is full of probiotics.  

 

Manage Diabetes

Eating healthy can help regulate your blood sugar levels and heep cholesterol in check. Diabetic people are normally warned to limit their foods with salt and sugar as well as avoiding foods that are fried. 

 

Reduce Cancer Risk 

Antioxidants that come in veggies and fruits can help one limit his/her chance of developing cancer. Although no one can stop cancer, it could be a better way to help prevent any issues that could arise. 

Phytochemicals, which are contained in veggies, fruits, and legumes have vitamins C,A, and E, lycopene, and beta-carotene that have been proven to reduce the damage due to cancer. 

 

Improved memory 

Find yourself forgetting things more often than normal? It could be due to your diet! Research has shown that consuming omega-3 fatty acids, fish, vitamin C, D, and E can improve brain performance. 

 

Stronger Teeth and Bones 

A healthy diet can make a dramatic difference in minimizing your vulnerability to bone issues like osteoporosis. Foods rich in calcium (such as cabbage, legumes, and broccoli) are a great way to help bones stay healthy. You can also get tons of magnesium from vegetables, seeds, nuts, and whole grains. 

 

Conclusion 

Finding a good diet and great source of healthy ingredients can be tough at times. It is much easier to walk through the grocery store and grab a pizza than it is to make food at home. However, convenience is not always key. In fact, it’s normally the opposite. 

The next time you go to the fast food line, remember how eating healthy can help you thrive in the long run.

How Can Pumpkin Benefit You?

Article from Lindsay Martin, MS, RDN, LDN

Ah, isn’t Autumn just lovely?  It’s one of my favorite times of the year! Crisp air, leaves starting to changel, and pumpkin is a favorite autumn ingredient. But let’s take a deeper look into our favorite autumn flavor and find out more about the health benefits and not just the yummy taste.

So, when you think about pumpkins, what comes to mind? Jack-o’-lanterns? Pumpkin pie? Charlie Brown? Pumpkin spice lattes? Well, there’s more to these orange gourds than Halloween and sugary (but delicious!) desserts and drinks. Pumpkins have numerous health benefits — none of which take center stage in autumn’s most frequent offerings.

Are you skeptical about taking the pumpkin out of the pie (or cup)? These health benefits may change your mind:

Weight Loss 

Pumpkin is rich in fiber, which slows digestion which keeps you feeling fuller longer. There’s seven grams of fiber in a cup of canned pumpkin. That’s more than what you’d get in two slices of whole-grain bread.

Pumpkin may be filling, but it’s also a low-calorie superstar. Canned pumpkin is nearly 90% water, so besides the fact that it helps keep you hydrated, it has fewer than 50 calories per serving.

Improved Vision

Pumpkin’s vibrant orange coloring comes from its ample supply of beta-carotene, which is converted to vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A is essential for eye health and helps the retina absorb and process light. A single cup of pumpkin contains over 200% of most people’s recommended daily intake of vitamin A, making it an outstanding option for optical health.

Pumpkin also contains lutein and zeaxanthin, two antioxidants that are thought to help prevent cataracts and may even slow the development of macular degeneration.

Boost of Immunity

Looking for a way to ward off illness and improve your immune system? Try pumpkin. The large shot of vitamin A the fruit provides helps your body fight infections, viruses, and infectious diseases. Pumpkin oil even helps fight various bacterial and fungal infections. Plus, pumpkin is packed with nearly 20% of the recommended amount of daily vitamin C, which may help you recover from colds faster.

Youthful Skin

Eating pumpkin can help you look younger (beta-carotene in pumpkin helps protect us from the sun’s wrinkle-causing UV rays), but the pulp also makes a great, all-natural face mask that exfoliates and soothes (see recipe to make your own). 

 

All-Natural Pumpkin Face Mask

  • 1/4 cup pureed pumpkin (not pumpkin pie)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tbsp. of honey 
  • 1 tablespoon of milk. Mix, then apply it, wait for 20 minutes or so and wash it off with warm water.

Lower Cancer Risk

Beta-carotene is great for your eyes and skin, but you know what else it’s good for? Fighting cancer. Research shows people who eat a beta-carotene-rich diet may have a lower risk of some types of cancer, including prostate and lung cancer.

Vitamins A and C are “a kind of cell defense squad.  Both are rich in antioxidants, and act as shields for your cells against cancer-causing free radicals.

Could Help Treat Diabetes

In scientific tests, pumpkin has been shown to reduce blood glucose levels, improve glucose tolerance and increase the amount of insulin the body produces. More testing needs to be done before we can say for sure what pumpkin’s benefits for diabetics will be, but if you have diabetes, munching on pumpkin certainly won’t hurt.

You can even add pumpkin to some of your favorite family recipes like chili, hummus and smoothies. 

Turkey Chili with Pumpkin

  • 1 large yellow onion, diced (about 2 cups)
  • 1 medium bell pepper, red, yellow, or orange, diced
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced (or 3/4 tsp. garlic powder)
  • 1⅓ lbs. ground turkey or chicken, 90 to 93 percent lean
  • One 15-oz. can white beans, drained and rinsed
  • One 28-oz. can diced tomatoes with liquid
  • ¼ cup tomato paste, no salt added
  • One 14-oz. can pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup reduced-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1½ tsp. ground cinnamon, or 1 Tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 2½ tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • ½ tsp. ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp. cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 4 cups baby spinach leaves
  • Avocado (optional)
  • Nonfat plain Greek yogurt (optional)
  •  Cilantro (optional)
  • * Can top your dish with shredded cheese, cilantro, plain Greek yogurt, avocados, and pumpkin seeds

Blend all ingredients together in a crock pot and cook for 4 hours and serve. 

  • Benefits: turkey swap from beef makes it a leaner choice and cuts back on the saturated (unhealthy fat).
  • Beans is a great source of fiber and protein as well as iron.
  • Pumpkin is a great source of fiber, Vitamin C, E, A, folate, iron, copper, riboflavin, manganese, and beta carotene- good for fighting cancers, eye, and skin health, as mentioned.
  • Greek yogurt instead of sour cream to give more calcium, protein, and a healthier alternative. 
  • Spices and herbs are great for antioxidants, phytochemicals