Monday, April 27, 2009

3 My Wake-Up Call + Getting To One's Ideal Racing Weight


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Had a bit of a wake-up call today. Was packing for my trip earlier tonight, trying stuff on, etc., & guess what? Surprise, surprise! I couldn't fit into some of the clothing that I had no problem fitting into this past September (during the Hawaii trip). Uh, whooops.

What really got my attention was that it was my pants, & not my tops, that currently seem to be the primary issue in terms of fit.

As long as the pants zip, everything's cool. Needless to say, everything was not cool. ;-) Also, some items, while they could be zipped, looked more like sausage-casing than actual clothing items. Hahahaha.

And since I can't wear the same 2 pairs of jeans for an entire month of travel, it looks like I will have to unearth some items that I'm now somewhat begrudgingly admitting that I'm glad I didn't give away. Ugh.

While I'm not technically considered to be overweight & I genuinely am happy with my body in a general sense, it's a matter of relative consideration with regard to training & running performance. The blunt fact of the matter is this: There's no way getting around the fact that I've gained a bit of body fat & poundage (about 5-7 lbs.) since increasing my mileage over the past few months. As the mileage increased, so did the hunger; managing this was clearly a new experience for me, especially since I'd never really run that kind of weekly mileage before nor regularly completed long-distance runs past 10 miles until this January. However, the amount of food I was consuming was clearly disproportionate to the number of calories I was burning. Yes, experience is a great teacher. LOL.

Furthermore, if I want to get faster, one thing is clear: The extra chub has got to go. ;-)

Now, before some people decide to sound the alarms & go off on some "lecture circuit" tangent of their own, let me say this: Please be aware that I am referring to my own body & not other people's bodies, & also have an amply healthy sense of my own body image. Plus, I'm not referring to general weight loss, but rather body fat loss as it applies to training performance. Furthermore, even if I were to get really skinny, which I'm not about to do(!), this bod wouldn't be in any danger of losing any of its curves any time in the next millennium. That's just not physically possible. So it looks like my "badunkadunk" can rejoice in that fact. Hahaha.

Part of the problem, ironically enough, is that I spend a good bit of my time in workout gear. Can we say "streeeeeetchhhhhh" fabric? LOL. Even though they are body-conscious clothing, apparently that still didn't prevent me from losing sight of my body dimensions.

To be honest, I hadn't measured my body fat percentage (or weighed myself) that much in the last several months, which probably didn't help the scenario much either. I was wary of weighing myself too often, which was something I'd done much throughout a good deal of 2007 & the better part of 2008. Didn't want to repeat that mistake, but instead veered in the opposite direction, which obviously wasn't very helpful either. In order to find a better balance, I'm thinking that maybe taking measurements about 1-3 times per month is probably about the right amount for me, personally speaking. Not every week, which, for me, tends to leads towards too much counterproductive focus on metrics & numbers, but rather once at the beginning of the month, another done mid-month, & a final measurement done at the end of the month.

So, it looks like it's time to reset the dial again. It's no wonder I'm not clocking the times I used to do, aside from the other obvious training issues I've been facing lately. ;-)

Hawaii was really my benchmark, not only for balance between food consumption/nutrition & weekly running mileage, but also for getting closer to an ideal body fat percentage for training purposes. I was very close to my ideal training weight & had obtained the lowest body fat percentage since high school (when I used to run track & field).

Anyhow, I'm currently trying to redress this balance & am going to return to the effective eating practices [i.e., eyeballing meal & snack portions -- for lunch & dinner & not just during breakfast (which is more or less on autopilot these days), watching overall fat intake, maintaining dietary balance, limiting sugary treats to weekends or once a week, etc.] which worked for me during Hawaii, except this time try to relax a little bit more about the process. Even though I generally eat very healthfully, of course it's not just about what you eat, but also how much of it you are eating. ;-)

Speaking of which, here's a decent article which discusses 4 Ways to Reach Your Ideal Racing Weight. Hope it helps you. Enjoy!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

0 Weekly Update: Getting Back on Track! A Few Training Runs & a 10K Road Race


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I'm actually supposed to be packing right now, so this is going to be a super-brief post. :)

This week's training in summary: Ran a total of 16.93 miles this week: 6.36 mi run (on 4/22/09), 4.36 mi run (on 4/24/09), & a 10K race today. While it's a lot less weekly mileage than usual, it's a heck of a lot better than the previous 2 weeks in which there was zero running happening. :)

To fill you in briefly on those previous "missing" 2 weeks, what happened in a nutshell was this: I basically stopped running for about 2 weeks after the Cherry Blossom (on April 5th). Call it burn-out or whatever you like, but I just had had it, not so much in the physical sense, but rather on the mental plane. I was feeling mentally fatigued & also a bit demoralized about my training for reasons I won't elaborate upon here. Frankly, there was also a lot of unrelated stuff going on simultaneously, & the cumulative effects of it all were just not agreeing with me.

I'd originally intended to only take a few "days off" from running for some much needed R&R, because frankly, I was finding that as a result of the above issues, the enjoyment factor in my running was starting to decline & that needed to be nipped in the bud before a "total mutiny" or "system overload" occurred. ;-) However, those few days morphed into something else entirely as other factors in my life manifested themselves. ;-) I'm not going to make excuses; there was a good deal of stress & burnout going on over those weeks & basically, the running suffered in the process. However, those 2 weeks were atypical for multiple reasons, especially when taking into account that the previous 12 weeks had been spent running with far great frequency & consistency. :)

Of course, during my 2 week hiatus, I knew that the running would inevitably have to recommence at some point soon (hopefully sooner rather than later!), in order to have any shot at being (even marginally) prepared for 2 upcoming road races I'd registered for months ago (i.e., today's 10K race & a half-marathon the following Sunday!). So on April 19th, I did a gentle 3.35 miles as a "re-entry run."

Every runner knows (or will eventually learn) when they will hit the "point of no return" in their training. And, since I didn't want to drop out of these races, nor face potential injury, it was going to be "put up or shut-up time." The plain fact of the matter is that I'm glad my "back was placed against the wall," because at the very least, it motivated me to get started again.

Now granted, it's not exactly an ideal training scenario, but as mentioned earlier in previous DailyMile entries, what's done is done, & I can only move forward.

The good news is that I felt pretty good after today's 10K. No soreness, etc. One down, one to go. Now, the next goal is completing the half. It's not so much completing the distance, which I've done before & know I can do, but rather, completing the half safely & as smartly as possible, given the fact that my last 10-miler was done on April 5th, & my last 14-miler was done on March 29th. Hopefully, the fact that I've been running 14+ miles almost every weekend from January-March will count for something!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

7 (Female) Runner Safety Trumps Politeness


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I don't have a lot of time to write this post, so I'll try to be brief.

Most of you who know me know that I'm polite, usually to a fault. Even in Twitter, I like to respond to people when their reply merits a response, because I don't like to be rude. However, there's one instance in which I will make an exception to this rule, & that's when it comes to runner safety.

Let me explain. I took a bit of an unintentional nap this evening & woke up around 7 pm or so. Knowing that I still had to squeeze in a run, I went out anyhow. Now it was still light out at the start of the run but on my way back it was approaching 8 pm & was starting to get dusky. (Please note that for safety reasons, I won't run alone if it is pitch black outside, & if I do, these runs will be done with a running group, particularly in winter, when it gets dark outside at 4 pm!)

Anyhow, I only had about a mile & a half to go when a red car slowed up next to me & the fellow inside rolled down his window. He was gesturing for me to come over, but I didn't stop.

Now, it very well could've been an innocent attempt to obtain directions or what not, but as a female running alone on the sidewalk in an urban locale with the sun setting -- and at that, one who was armed with pepper spray, I still wasn't about to take any chances.

I thankfully was wearing headphones & pretended not to see him, but he wouldn't let up. His car kept sliding along beside me in a creepy kind of way. So, next I pointed to my headphones & armband, as if to say "Sorry, I can't hear you & am in the middle of my run," & then promptly sped up to try to lose the dude. He made one of those dismissive downward hand gestures to imply "Whatever," & was obviously annoyed, but I didn't care. I wasn't stopping. For obvious reasons, I didn't think it was a very good idea to approach the car!

Truth be told, I was annoyed on multiple levels: First of all, aside from the obvious safety issues at hand, I was timing my run & didn't want to stop -- it'd break my flow. Don't people know not to stop runners who are quite obviously in the middle of their workouts? Can't they ask walkers for directions instead?! ;-)

And secondly, I couldn't believe how clueless this guy was, because he obviously had no idea why I wasn't stopping. It wasn't just that he wouldn't let up, but that he couldn't understand why a lone female running on the road in the evening just MIGHT NOT want to stop and give him directions. It's like, "Duh! You idiot! Put yourself in my shoes. You, an unknown male of undetermined age & intentions, are slowing your car up next to me, a lone female running on a city sidewalk as it's starting to get dark outside. Don't you know that most women would be thinking in this scenario?!" I couldn't get over it. Apparently, some people are REALLY dense. ;-)

As a city-dweller, I am acclimated to all sorts of harsh realities, & as a runner, I pay particular attention to pedestrian safety issues, both vehicular & otherwise. And, as I'm sure many of you already realize, women have in fact been pulled into vehicles for seemingly innocuous activities like stopping to give directions, & dragged off to some unpleasant end. In fact, that's right out of the criminal playbook; the "perp" will act like he's lost or needs your assistance, & will ask you if (a) you've seen his missing son or lost car keys, (b) you can give him directions (!), or (c) he will do or say whatever else he can to distract you from his true purpose.

This is why I firmly stand behind my decision not to stop. This isn't paranoia; it's reality. So, ladies, if you happen to be running on walking alone, it's better to be perceived as impolite than to potentially risk your lives.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

1 Lots of Happenings A-Happening :)


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I'm not sure how much/often I'll be able to post here (or tweet) over the next few weeks.

I'll be racing both this weekend & the next (i.e., a 10K & half-marathon respectively!), & then, the day after the half-marathon -- BLAM! -- will be on a plane heading off to Europe.

All of this is will be happening in less than 2 weeks, & there's still a lot left to do to prepare for the trip. I'll be gone for about a month, & so, don't know how much time I'll have for online activities. Much of our time will be spent in rehearsals (i.e., I was accepted into a music festival) & what time isn't spent in rehearsals or practicing will be spent eating, sleeping, travelling around, & yes -- running!

Of course, I'm very excited about the trip & am also looking forward to running in new locales. ;-)

I'd like to kindly ask that you refrain from asking me to elaborate on the details of the trip right now; frankly, I'm so busy right now that I don't really have much time to post or tweet, let alone discuss the trip! All of my free time has been spent packing & preparing for the trip, as well as getting ready for other activities & projects which I'll probably be talking about in due course.

As they say, good things come to those who wait. :)

If I have time, & depending on wi-fi hotspot locales, I will try to post some pictures & notes of my trip.

Note to my European pals, if you'd like to visit me or attend our concert, you are more than welcome. You can either email me or DM me in twitter, & we'll try to arrange something. Again, not sure how much free time we'll have, but if things work out, it'd be great to see you!

Cheers,
-C

Friday, April 17, 2009

6 "See Corey Run" Listed as One of the "100 Best Wellness Blogs For Women"


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Hi Everyone,

Got some exciting news to share with you:

"See Corey Run" was just recently voted as one of the "100 Best Wellness Blogs For Women" by the site, MastersInHeathCare.com. The blog is listed in the "Exercise & Fitness" section (#47):




Wow, this is just so cool!!!! Thank you so much for this fantastic honor.

It feels extremely gratifying to know that people are enjoying this blog, & getting something constructive out of the content posted here.

I am also really sincerely appreciative of several of you who've expressed similar sentiments to me directly, either through your comments on this blog, emails, tweets, or via verbal acknowledgment in person!

I'm a big believer in the importance of showing & verbalizing appreciation & really do try to sincerely express this to others whenever possible. So, when people express this to me in kind, I realize that it's a truly beautiful gift, & not something to be taken for granted.

It's great when someone recognizes that what I've been trying to do here on this blog is to convey more than just concrete facts & figures about nutrition & fitness; I'm also trying to give people food for thought that helps them grow & evolve past their original conceptions of themselves & what they think is possible to achieve. While part of the idea is certainly to help people reach their potential & fulfilling goals, I really do feel that what I'm trying to do goes beyond this basic cliché.

I am trying to create a new awareness in people of how they view themselves, their fellow human beings, & their environment. I hope that people will take away a sense that what they do in their fitness regime is not just about "getting the workout done," but is also about helping to improve their minds & bodies as well as inspiring others around them to create something sublime & enduring within themselves by starting a journey towards fitness & health.

While science can show us exactly how exercise & nutrition can positively impact our physical health in specific, significant ways by literally mapping out how these physical changes occur, I really believe that it is the question of "why" that really gets people's attention. The curiosity in us to discover both scientific and psychological explanations (in concrete &/or abstract terms) is what lights the spark within.

This exploration of what regular exercise & sound nutrition gives us is something truly magical.

It is partly about self-discovery (or in some cases re-discovery!) through a reconnection with your physical self, but in the process you also inevitably connect with other aspects of your being as well. In the process of becoming, you can't help but become a catalyst for inspiring constructive change. You start the light inside yourself, but it can spark a thousand more lights in others.

Essentially, the ideas start with individuals, but then they becomes something bigger than any one person. We have that kind of profound power to affect each other in the same way a stone makes reverberating ripples in a pond, & so once we recognize this, we must safeguard our responsibility & be aware of the types of energies & signals that we are passing around. Each of us is a beacon. And it is up to us what kind of beacon we are going to be, not just for ourselves, but for others as well. What we put into the air truly has a dramatic effect on the world, in both the figurative & literal senses of the word. We can no longer be blind to this reality. It is time to wake up & be conscious of our effects upon each other.

This sensitivity, once found, is a powerful thing. We have the ability to instill this in ourselves & in others, & pass it around like an invisible "hot potato," but one with good karma that can't be kept to ourselves for too long without wanting to pass it on quickly to someone else. :)

So, since life is short & we only have so much time on this earth to accomplish our dreams & get to where we're going, let's all do something good with that energy. There's no need to hoard it just for yourself or restrict it to a small circle of family & friends, because once you give it out, you'll find that, interestingly enough, it regenerates inside yourself & begins anew. Yes, there's plenty more from where that came. :)

We have the ability to impact others with this profound beauty within ourselves. It's not something we do to manipulate or control others for ego gratification or our own selfish gain. That just won't do, because it will eventually hurt all involved parties in the end. No, we do it because it is something we feel compelled to do as a means of helping people find their inner vision of themselves, & the means to achieve it. We can't just do it for ourselves & our own motivations; we must let go our egos & our hurts & move forward to something grander & more noble. We must let go & step outside of ourselves to help others realize their own dreams. That is a gift more valuable & precious than anything we could ever buy for those we care about, because it given with true consideration & regard for others, irrespective of our own wishes of what we want for someone. In letting go of trying to control others & the outcome of various circumstances beyond our control, we regain focus on where are heading; we remove the distractions & realize that the answer is about engaging in a dialogue which brings us closer to acceptance of what is & also what can be in the best possible way.

Friday, April 3, 2009

3 Open Letter to Running Companies: Please Put Your Brand on Twitter & Facebook! And While You're At It, Here Are Some Basic Ground Rules To Follow!


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OK, I have a request for my favorite running companies: Please put your brands on Twitter & Facebook, if you haven't already done so. :)

For the clueless & as-yet unconverted (& that means both companies & individual private citizens) who have yet to harness the awesome power of Twitter & Facebook, I say please get with the program. Wake up & stop making fun of the rest of us. These tools aren't a waste of time; they are a way to reach people & communication information.

And for companies, they are not only pure marketing genius, but also a way to keep their pulse on what their customers want (a central tenet followed by any good business) & also a great way to generally communicate with their "customers/fan base."

However, there are some ground rules. You have to know the "correct" way to go about setting up your Twitter account, tweeting, & interacting with your customer base.

Also, furthermore, it is not enough for running companies to simply have a presence on social media sites. Companies need to be able to tweet useful information to consumers & be actively conversational as part of the process. They've also got to understand the subtle ground rules, many of which are unofficial (i.e., to be read as "not yet available in printed 'RTFM' guidebook format," ;-) ), especially when it comes to social media etiquette.

First of all, unless you want massive unfollows, do NOT, & I repeat, please do not DM (i.e., "direct message" for the as yet uninitiated) people unnecessarily with marketing/advertising garbage as your first tweet.

I don't care if they chose to follow your Twitter ID first; that doesn't mean they want to be bothered by unnecessary direct messages cluttering up their Twitter mailbox &, (if they link their Twitter accounts to their email accounts), their email Inboxes. This is almost always perceived as the equivalent of spamming people or if you need an "IRL" equivalent (i.e., "in real life"), sending them direct mail marketing in "snail mail" format, i.e., unwanted junk mail. :)

I would even tread lightly after establishing rapport via tweeting with your customer base. Abuse the DM privilege with your customers, & you'll quickly find yourself unfollowed.

Direct messages in Twitter are really not supposed to be utilized like direct marketing. And we all know what happens when companies send out massive amounts of junk mail (in either snail mail or email format) to people without consideration or regard for consumer preferences; their unsolicited advertising flyers & catalogs & emails usually end up in the trash bin, or hopefully, better yet, (if we are talking about actual paper!), in the recycling heap. :)

Either that, or people will usually call & ask to have their names removed from your lists & will unsubscribe themselves from your email lists. "Please do not rent or sell my name/contact information" is often the most common catch phrase used by consumers in this case. :)

It's one thing to send marketing when it's wanted; quite a different matter, when it's not wanted. :) True, you probably can't blame companies for trying, & sending out an initial catalog or flyer as an attempt to try to reach new customers, but for goodness sakes, it's high time that companies wisen up to the process & use electronic databases to track whether their direct marketing is actual effective or not in building or maintaining their customer base: Please don't keep sending us catalogs & flyers in the mail when we didn't seek you out & are obviously NOT buying your products after the five zillionth catalog mailing. Then your marketing campaigns just becomes wasteful & ineffectual, & environmentally irresponsible.

Speaking of which, in this Digital Age of social media & social responsibility, I honestly prefer to buy from companies that choose not to blanket the earth with their paper catalogs & flyers; there's a much more consumer-friendly, eco-friendly/green, & responsible choice -- product websites/online stores/blogs & yes, email. Now, I don't mean harassing people with unsolicited emails either. People hate that sh... er, stuff. :) I mean, provide a way for customers to sign up for your emails or tweets or Facebook product information pages, as a voluntary choice. :)

Not only is the aforementioned tactic a personal pet peeve of mine -- both IRL & online, but it will, generally-speaking, get you more unfollows in Twitter faster than you can say "twitt-diot." ;-)

And ahem, it's not just me who doesn't like this. This seems to be a general consensus amongst the Twitterati the last time I checked. ;-) People have already been bombarded with these sorts of tactics IRL & in email, & are frankly getting mighty annoyed, & rightly so. So please don't alienate your fans & future clientele this way.

Instead, let me suggest another way to go about making your presence known: Prominently feature Twitter & Facebook badges on the front pages of your company websites, which in turn will link to your corresponding company/product pages.

Also, instead of DM'ing people to death, it's much better to simply use the @reply feature, (now the @username feature), & thank your fans publicly for their follows. This does two things: It makes people feel good that you are (publicly) acknowledging their presence & rewards them for their "brand loyalty." Also, since Twitter has now changed the "@replies" to "@twitter_username," which allows any mention of their username (whether it's a direct reply or a general mention, etc.) to show up on their own "Twitter radar" (i.e., in their @username Tweet stream) when they click their own @twitter_username, & also allows people who follow your followers to see your @twitter_username in their Twitter stream as well. :) Viral marketing via word-of-mouth-advertising can't get much better than that; & wow, it's all been done without being a nuisance to the general populace too. :)

Even better, you can thank your customers by putting the "#followfriday" tag at the end, which will give both you & your customers new followers. Your tweeps will greatly appreciate your shoutout/recommendation, particularly if it's genuine. :) The "you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours" thing really does work quite effectively in this case. :)

Secondly, talk back to us when we talk to you. That's just good plain customer service tactics. Especially if we followed you first, it's clear that we are interested in what your company has to say, or rather tweet :). However, the no-DM rule still applies, unless we are contacting you first in the same manner, or have sent you an @username tweet & it's apparent that the response requires the delicacy/privacy of a DM communication.

If you follow us first, do not unfollow us right away if we don't give you an immediate follow. Not everyone twitters regularly or checks their Twitter account with unfailing frequency notifications to see whether or not they've got any new follows. Also, some people have configured their Twitter accounts NOT to notify them when they get DMs or new followers (or they redirect this sort of mail to a spare account they never check ;-) ), precisely because they don't want these messages cluttering up their primary email Inboxes.

Also, by the same token, do not immediately unfollow us after we start following you. This is typically construed as rude, & viewed very unfavorably in the Twitter community. Nothing will give you a bad rap (or an unfollow) faster than using this unsavory technique to artificially inflate one's Twitter following. A BIG NO-NO & might I add, très uncool.

Several of us use tools like Qwitter, SocialToo, or FriendorFollow, so we KNOW when you unfollow us. So don't think we don't know. We usually do. :)

Also, unless the person has already revealed their real name in their Twitter profile or website listed on Twitter, the best policy is to not tweet to people using their first &/or last names. This is the equivalent of "calling someone out." No one wants to have their privacy violated, so please be respectful. Also, be careful what you tweet to people; try to be sensitive about what you tweet to people in the public space. People don't exactly enjoy the act of being publicly shamed.

What you reveal about yourself is one thing; what you reveal about someone else without their express permission is quite another! If you're not sure that what your tweeting will be received well by others, then that moment of hesitation should probably be telling you something. ;-) It's usually best to trust your gut instincts, unless of course, you have no social graces or consideration for others whatsoever, & then please disregard the earlier portion of this statement. ;-)

Also, please realize that Twitter is a two-way street. Even though someone might protect their tweets & thus, not have them listed on the public timeline, this does not mean the same automatically applies to your tweet replies. If you tweet publicly, others can see your Tweets. In other words, this means that if the entire world so chose to follow you on Twitter, they'd see your tweets. Even if people aren't expressly following you, there's a lot of general content (from Twitter, Facebook, & other social media sites, etc.) which is publicly searchable, & a lot of people might actually be horrified to find out what other people can find out about them online. And I'm not just talking about those websites where people can pay to fish around & find out private information about private citizens. Those sites are nefarious enough, but as is common knowledge amongst the IT & subterranean IT communities (i.e., read "black hat vs. white hat hackers"!), you don't even need to pay someone to get this sort of information. Any common search engine will do. Plus, there are spambots, searchbots, & all sorts of other tools. You don't even need to provide tags for search engines. Trust me, they will find you, even without those. :)

Also, be mindful of creating useful & timely content in social media. No matter whether you are low-end or high-end, social media participants expect companies to provide value, not only in their products, but in their Tweets & other social media communications.

Admittedly, individuals have a little bit of an advantage here. We can tweet things like "eating a delicious tomato & basil sandwich on sourdough bread a local outdoor cafe." OK, true, not everyone might care, & sending repeated mundane tweets (especially as general tweets without the @username!) might get you unfollowed after a while, but we have the leeway/prerogative to do this if we like. Companies obviously have less leeway, not just because these tweets could potentially be viewed as "unprofessional," but also because they lack tangible value for their target customer base. :)

People who have specifically chosen to follow companies are doing so because they either would like to receive useful product information from you & hear about your events, or because they want to be affiliated with your brand as a follow & are potentially interested in generating future discussions with you. :)

Also, Jane/Joe Citizen can tweet things like "OK, I'm going to workout now at my gym. TTYL, tweeps!" as a way to let our followers know we're going "offline." Companies don't have this option, because as an online entity, they are expected to to forgo these types of communications & be a seemless 24/7 presence on the internet. While people might not expect instant responses from Twitter, they do expect some response at some point from professional/business entities on Twitter.

So, for those running companies who've yet to get on Twitter & Facebook, I'd like to ask, "What are you waiting for?" If want to stay current with Gen X, Y, & Z :), you'd better get twittering & Facebooking. They are your current & future customers.

You know that old, tried-but-true business adage about how it's important to stay current & adapt to dynamic changes in the marketplace? Technology & social media are a HUGE part of that equation. If you don't realize significance of the former, then you are REALLY living under a rock. And if you recognize the former without acknowledging the value of the latter, then you might just be living under an electronic rock. :)

Plus, it's like, "Hello. Twitter & Facebook are free advertising media." A-duh. :) You should be jumping, nay leaping, hand-over-foot, to get yourself onto the social media highway. And if you don't yet have an online presence, you REALLY better get with the program. And fast. :)

Plus, I've even given you a more-than-generous chunk of social media advice to get you started. So there. Now you really have zero excuses. :)

And finally, for those running companies who are already online entities & have joined the social media revolution (Facebook, Twitter, etc.), I applaud you. And for those who are doing it well, I doubly applaud you.

As for the clueless & as-yet uninitiated remaining entities out there, I have one thing to say: Get on board. The rest of us have already hopped that train, & have long ago left the station. :)

And to those of you who think social media is stupid or useless, you just don't get it, do you?! "Sure, go ahead & snicker at the rest of us." Those who do not "get" social media will be left in the dust. The idea isn't going away anytime soon.

So sure, go ahead & laugh. The rest of us will be laughing all the way to the bank. :) Ka-Ching! :)

Likewise I'd like to say to friends & family members who have yet to join the party, you might want to hop on board & start twittering & Facebooking. Yes, that's right, I just used Facebooking as a verb. :)

Several of my friends have already realized that if they want to communicate with me in the most immediate but nonintrusive way, they'd better start twittering. :) My preferred communication typically goes in the following order: Twitter, email or (mobile) phone calls, Skype ;-), & then Facebook. (Facebook is used more for staying in the loop with what friends are doing. Honestly, I'm not a huge fan of Facebook apps or email; there's a lot of privacy loopholes/violations that are just plain wrong. Also, as a hint to those trying to reach me, my social media mailboxes get checked far less often. ;-) )

Everything else comes after that. Except for obviously socializing face-to-face & in-person communication. :) As is typical of most people, where that ranks in the scheme of things honestly depends on the general level of one's busy-ness. :)

So, if you want to reach me or know what I'm up to right now, you know where to find me. :)

Speaking of which, you're welcome to follow me on Twitter as @cyberpenguin (personal twitter ID), @coachpenguin (professional Twitter ID, running coach), @ferlanticouture (professional twitter ID, original artwork/online store), & wfdjewelry [professional twitter ID, original jewelry (bridge line)/online store]. Also, feel free to become a fan of my Facebook pages, Ferlanti Couture and Wildfire Designs. :)

3 Substance vs. Superficiality, The Faceoff Match: Whomp, Take That, Hollywood!


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I'd like to reprint a comment here in this post that I recently left on the blog, MollyGood. How I even came to leave a comment on this blog is a story unto itself:

I happened to be chatting with someone on Twitter this week about DWTS & the positive athletic ideals it promotes (in spite of the show's obvious corniness & moments of phoniness :) ), & was doing a search on some of the pros, when I came upon Molly's blog post. And due to the subject matter (i.e., unhealthy perceptions regarding body image), I just couldn't resist commenting.

Before you read my comment, you'll probably want to read Molly's post, 'DWTS' Pros: These Girls Are Fat: Because Everyone Should Be Skin And Bones. Please note that title is meant to be ironic & not literal!!!!! :)

Here's what I wrote in response:

No. 53 cyberpenguin says:

These women are beautiful & curvaceous — not FAT! — & apparently lots of people agree with that assessment. Cheryl Burke was recently voted "Sexiest Dancing Pro" in TV Guide's "Sexiest Stars" Poll.

Hollywood has to step outside & take a breath of fresh air, because their warped world view is not only unacceptable, but a really unhealthy message for so many youths & adults.

The focus should be on health, instead of this sort of garbage anyhow. A person's body fat percentage really should be viewed from the perspective of what's healthy, versus just through the oh-so-narrow lens of what Hollywood finds acceptable.

Frankly, who the heck cares what Hollywood thinks is an acceptable "body image." I sure as heck don't. As my mom always likes to say, "Consider the source."

Since when do we really need Hollywood, the media, cosmetic companies, & others in general to tell us what is beautiful anyhow? We have eyes; we already have the means to interpret beauty in our own way, as we see fit. It's our job as adults to serve as a buffer, & (also to) serve as the central repository of self-esteem for our own children. If we project a strong sense of self-esteem that comes from deeper sources, one that is not dependent simply upon external factors like "the opinions of others," then it's very likely that others around us, including children, will take a strong positive message from this as well.

We have to stop empowering (the unhealthy attitudes so typically representative of) these "commercial conglomerate entities" & favoring them with attention, when in most cases, we should be voting with the power of our pocketbooks & promoting other points of view which reinforce health & healthy points of view.

I applaud you for speaking out against such nonsense. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, & it's high time people stop focusing on "the cult of celebrity" & instead turn that gaze inward, for some serious soul-searching. ;-)

Speaking of health & healthy points of view, I would like to invite people to visit my fitness/exercise blog, which encourages health & real, lasting changes for a healthier lifestyle versus temporary outlooks or attitudes & behaviors that ultimately don't end up serving us.

The URL for the blog is See Corey Run: A Fitness & Nutrition Journal.

Best wishes for health & happiness,
Corey (a.k.a., Cyberpenguin)

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OK, yeah, I know what you're thinking: You couldn't resist throwing a bit of shameless self-promotion in there at the end, now could you? But what I'm really trying to promote is good health & healthy outlooks & body image, so it's not really about me, but rather about whom I want to help & what I want to accomplish. So there! :)

Thursday, April 2, 2009

1 From Newbie to Veteran Runner: One Lesson Can Last A Lifetime :)


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How many times has it been said that a common mistake of newbie/inexperienced runners is to try to do too much too soon?

Nonetheless, that observation does not make the statement any less true. :)

Even for those of us who've been running for many, many years (myself included in this list), we are not immune from relearning that lesson from time to time. ;-) While there are certainly times when this particular lesson was relearned because it simply was not learned adequately enough the first time around, most of the time we are (hopefully!) not repeating this lesson due to being boneheaded or stubborn, but rather because we are encountering a new set of experiences in which the previous set of experiences & conditions do not apply. ;-)

So how do we know what is "too much too soon"? Of course, we can read about every single challenge we might encounter along the way before it happens to save us some trouble, but there are times when inevitably, experience is just going to be the most immediate & bluntly effective teacher there is. ;-)

And so, sometimes, in our running, we need to cross the line of what is "too much" to find out where the line is drawn. Now I'm certainly NOT suggesting that runners should do any highly dangerous, foolhardy, or illogical things, but rather that testing ourselves & our limits will show us a very accurate picture of where we are, & where we might want to go (or in some cases, not go!).

As I tweeted the other day in Twitter:

"When it comes to running, there's a fine line between dedication & insanity. Exactly where that line is drawn is different for everyone. :)"

"It is often by venturing over the line that we recognize where it's drawn. :) And sometimes we redefine the line in the process."


As a person who's been applying this particular lesson for more than 30 years (of which the exact number of years past 30 will not be divulged -- so don't even bother asking :) ), I can personally attest, not only the importance of this lesson, but also the importance of having to relearn it again upon moving from an experience base of which was largely comprised of short & middle distance training to the much less familiar territory of long-distance training, which, needless to say, has been a much more recent phenomenon (i.e., within about the last 5-6 months or so). ;-)

So, in other words: While I might've been really good at assessing my fueling & hydration needs for short & middle distances for many, many years, I had to completely relearn a whole new way of handling these very same issues when I began regularly running distances of 10+ miles.

Truth be told, the body's increasing demands for fuel & hydration were only a small window into the larger picture of issues that a long-distance runner has to contend with on a regular basis. ;-) In a word, whatever I knew was still useful, but the entirety of the situation soon became a completely different ballgame.

I found that the same also happened with caloric/nutritional intake & weight management issues. It took a period of readjustment to get the balance right. And honestly, I'm still working out some of the kinks as I go along. ;-) But there's really no shame in this; if anything, one thing that I've learned through the sport of running is that a runner, no matter what their experience level, is continually in "learning mode."

True, experienced runners might have a better understanding of their capabilities than a newbie runner, but even the veterans of the sport aren't excluded from the powerful value & implications of this lesson, & its continual reapplication in new circumstances/scenarios.

Learning is truly a lifelong pursuit, & running is great reinforcement of this value.

And, as I increase my mileage past 16 miles, which will be happening several times after April's running clinic finishes, there will inevitably be more lessons & more adjustments. And so it goes.

Experience teaches runners patience, persistence, humility, and a whole host of other great life lessons. And one of the most profound lessons is that the more we know, the more we find out that we have yet to learn. :)

0 Some Profound Wisdom on Nutrition, Exercise, & Health


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Hello All,

I'd like to share an MP3 interview I came across this morning. I'll admit that, I was multi-tasking while listening, because it took a while to get into at first ;-0, but after a while I sensed that these two people were onto something really profound & then switched gears to listen in a more active/present way. So yes, it might take some time to warm up to this interview, but if you stick with it & give it half a chance, I think you'll find that it's well worth the time spent listening to it.

"To Count Or Not To Count" - John M. Bernardi interviews Ryan Andrews

Why do I think this interview is so important?

For so many reasons.

First & foremost, it's about developing a more finely tuned, effective solution to sound nutrition & "food management." It's about how we can achieve a less programmed response towards the "either-or" mentality when it comes to our health/nutrition/exercise habits. For example, it's not just a simply about making a choice between calorie-counting vs. intuitive eating. :)

The second half of this discussion is particularly pithy, & probably contains more complexity than is typically found on this topic as discussed by the general populace at large.

I strongly urge you to listen to this audio clip, as it presents a general philosophy that doesn't just apply to food, health, & exercise. It's a profound & very important statement on how to go about achieving balance in life in general.

Please pass this along to anyone else whom you care about! Thanks!

Best wishes,
-C

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