Self-Discipline

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. – 2 Timothy 1: 7

Running gives me POWER! But, it is important to realize that that power comes from the Holy Spirit.  In fact, it is when I run outdoors that I feel closest to God. Looking around at nature and listening to the natural sounds in my environment puts me in awe every time.

I also see running as a way of showing myself LOVE and appreciation for what my body can accomplish.

Las but not least, runners are definitely SELF-DISCIPLINEd.  It definitely takes discipline to commit to running on a regular basis.

holy spirit_cloud

This is the view of the reservoir along one of my favorite long run routes.  While I run, I really do feel like the Holy Spirit is running along with me like a happy little cloud.  I try to tune in to what spirit is trying to guide me towards while I run.

Do you feel the presence of the Holy Spirit when you run? How do you feel POWER, LOVE, or SELF-DISCIPLINE during a run? Do you link faith and fitness in your life?

National Women’s Health Week

Hello everyone! I’ve been so busy lately that I’ve neglected you all, my beloved blog readers. If you follow me on Instagram (@drnayaka) or Twitter (@doctornayaka), then you have seen how much I’ve been doing as both a hysterrunner and a scientist over the past month.  I’m aiming to make up for that this week and am going back to a regular blog schedule. Let’s see if that works! Winking smile

This week is National Women’s Health Week! Our health as women is important, especially if you are a hysterrunner.  This week we are asked to pledge as women to take steps to keep us healthy.  They are:

  • Visit a health care professional to receive regular checkups and preventive screenings.
  • Get active.
  • Eat healthy.
  • Pay attention to mental health, including getting enough sleep and managing stress.
  • Avoid unhealthy behaviors, such as smoking, texting while driving, and not wearing a seatbelt or bicycle helmet.

These 5 steps are definitely a regular part of my routine.  Being a hysterrunner means being active and eating healthy to me.  It also means paying attention to our mental health and avoiding unhealthy behaviors.  I saw my doctor last Friday to get cleared before starting marathon training.  Yes, MARATHON training.  While I’ve been away from the blog, I ran in the Marine Corps 17.75K in Quantico and qualified to run in the Marine Corps Marathon in October.  I am ready to move on to my next personal challenge – my first marathon!!! Open-mouthed smile So excited!!!

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It is my goal over the next few months to share with you my journey to the marathon! The challenge coin we received states – EARN, COMMIT, TRAIN, INSPIRE, ACCOMPLISH. In April, I EARNed a place in the marathon.  This month is all about COMMIT.  To me, that includes getting cleared by the doctor, maintaining my basic level of fitness/running (15-25 miles/week), and building up my core strength.  In June and July, I will focus on my TRAINing.  In August and September, let’s see how we can INSPIRE each other. Then in October, I will ACCOMPLISH my goal to run a marathon!

What is your running challenge for this year? How are you doing with your running related goals?  Have you pledged to be a healthier you?

Don’t forget to go to the NWHW website and make the pledge to be a well woman. I’m taking steps for a HEALTHIER me!

Open Yourself Up to God

Last night on my way home from speed work with BRRC, I was listening to the Catholic Channel on Sirius XM Radio.  One of my favorite shows was on, The Busted Halo Show. They were playing Fr Steven Bell’s homily from Ash Wednesday.  Several points from his homily struck me.  One of them was the statement that we should “open ourselves up to God.” (In fact, I actually called in to the show for the What did I say in the homily contest as I was so touched by it.  I ended up winning tickets to see the movie “Son of God.”)

I found myself thinking how can I open myself up to God as a part of my fitness practice.  What can I do to be more aware of God as I run during this Lenten season?  During Lent, most people think about giving up something but the truth is you get as much as you give up.  You give up something to make room for more of a focus on God’s will.  In thinking about how to open up to God while running, I came up with the following ideas:

  • Give up the headphones.  Run at least one run without music.  Take the time to listen to your surroundings.  Listen to the sounds around you both man-made and natural.  Tune in to God’s world.
  • Forget the GPS and/or a set path. Run one run just for the feel of it. Go as far as you can.  See how far your body can take you without worrying about a specific distance.  Be amazed by what your body is capable of and thank God that you can run every step of the way.
  • Choose a memory verse or prayer to recite as you run.  One of my favorite bloggers Mile Posts has 26.2 Bible Verses for Running and Racing.  You could choose one of these or all to recite while you run.

Do you have any other ideas?  How will you open yourself up to God as you run this week? Have you given something up for Lent?

Faith and Fitness Friday–Valentine Style

love God valentine

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Thank You #SexyShred!

Over the past 4 weeks, I have been participating in an awesome challenge. Started by @FeministaJones, it is a social media-based community Health and Fitness challenge.  It was created as a way for her to get off a serious plateau.  Now in its 5th and final cycle, I was happy to be able to participate as I have been firmly on a plateau for a few months now.

Very Clean Eating + Awesome Exercise Challenges = #SexyShredlifes short eat clean exercise

Clean Eating

Each week besides adhering to the clean eating diet, we were encouraged to do additional food challenges in the hope that these swaps would become lifestyle changes.  I have been eating clean for a while but I benefitted from being more mindful of my food choices and paying attention to portion sizes.  My personal challenge as I did this was to actually track what I ate and how much. I suffer from – Rungryitis. I run, I’m hungry, I eat like a bottomless pit.  This is a new issue for me.  But no matter how clean you eat, overeating is still overeating!

Thanks to #SexyShred, I have not had an overeating day and there have actually been days where I still had room to eat more yet felt full.  I think it’s because I was more mindful of what I was eating. The other benefit has been completely detoxing my body of sugar. The only sweeteners allowed are raw local honey and maple syrup.  So I’ve had honey but even that I’ve had sparingly.

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Here are some examples of foods that I ate on the challenge – Honey Oat Muffins, Zucchini with Eggs & Chicken Sausage for Post-Run Breakfast, and Pumpkin Blueberry Coconut Jars for afternoon snacks. Check out my Pinterest Healthy Recipes board for more ideas!

Exercise Challenges

So you all know that I am a Hysterrunner and that ever since my surgery I have been aiming to add more strength training into my routine.  Bikram Yoga and Aqua Zumba have been good to me for cross training.  But strength training and focused core work has been hit or miss.

#SexyShred had us aim for 240 minutes of exercise this week which is doable with my running schedule.  It also had weekly exercise challenges which pushed us to do things outside of our comfort zone – burpees, push-ups, crunches, wall sits.  All exercises which I hadn’t been incorporating regularly have been re-introduced into my routine.  One day we had to do 15 Russian twists every hour we were awake; another day was a 3-exercise circuit done as many times as possible in 20 minutes.  Being accountable to my fellow shredders was the motivation I needed to keep up with the challenges.

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Russian Twists with a 13lb weight!

Dealing with the Winter weather we have had over the past few weeks here in Maryland has made keeping up with my running hard.  As I wanted to not only hit the 240 minute mark but exceed it, I found other ways to exercise when running wasn’t possible.

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One Saturday morning the snow and ice derailed my long run plans but instead of sleeping in I did 3 workouts in one day – Yoga for Runners at Charm City Run and the circuit at Curves followed by a class at Xpose Fitness as a part of the #SexyShred group workout day.  Other days, I worked out in my basement.  I’ve finally started working on my upper body strength!

Results:

I have definitely seen improvements in my overall fitness levels in the past few weeks. Weekly 1-minute tests have improved for me – 0 Burpees in week 1 are now 15; 63 jumping jacks to 72! Today I will be completing the post-tests as well as my last workouts of the challenge and I can’t wait to see my progress.

Have I left the weight loss plateau? Sort of. After weeks of the scale not moving, I lost 1 pound on #SexyShred. My clothes are falling off as my body is changing from the strength training.  I’ll take that! It’s still Progress!

Did you do #SexyShred? Have you done any exercise or weight loss challenges for this year? Tell us about your progress in the comments.

Faith and Fitness Routine

november 2013 routineAs we begin a new month, I would like to share my current fitness routine with you.  It is what is working for me right now and feasible to do with work travel and the upcoming holidays.

A good workout routine is one that should allow you to grow both physically and spiritually.  This month Faith and Fitness Magazine is celebrating their 60th issue! Quite an accomplishment! The editor’s page speaks about the qualities of a good routine.  I am sharing portions of it here.  Please feel free to visit the magazine to read the entire article as well as all of the articles in this month’s issue.  Here are the ‘routine’ characteristics evident in “a good physical workout, an intentional lifestyle and in the very core of our spiritual design – your faith.”

DETERMINATION AND PERSISTENCE – What is your “Don’t give up” attitude? That is the strength when no one else stands with you. It is the hope that drives you to go forward and go hard beyond reasoning, popular consensus and even obligation.

LISTENING AND LEARNING – This is your capacity to take every experience in every moment and process it into a God-given opportunity to grow. It is fueled by persistent humility and eagerness to discover and apply. You do this best when you realize that to be like God is to be free from the narrow limits that control and destroy.

CONFIDENCE AND BARING – These are markers placed throughout routine to guide us. They are the tried and tested that give us familiarity and assurance. These qualities provide a recognizable spiritual genetic fingerprint to the repeating but continually evolving journey.

MEASUREMENT AND DEFINITION – Maybe you can feel it and sense it. But are the changes and strength really there? Routine gives us the needed parameters to achieve and define progress and growth with measurable results. There is no vagueness only clarity. Your physical fitness can be measured in health and muscular definition. Similarly you can taste and see God’s blessings and guidance.

EVALUATION AND VISIONING – Finally, no routine is ever complete and simply begun again without the important processes of reflection and anticipation. God gives us others because this isn’t meant to be a solitary experience. It is usually not without some pain but it is most certainly intended to be brimming with hope. Routines are documented, sometimes poorly, hopefully well and with detail. Take time to review the experiences, conversations, notes, emails, prayers and journals — everything in your routine that now becomes a new layer to your life. This is your new skin, fresh cells created so you can Be Life in new ways like you’ve never been able to before.

– Faith & Fitness Magazine ~ Brad Bloom, Oct/Nov 2013

Progress Not Perfection

Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. – First Timothy 4:15, Bible ~ New International Version

It’s Labor Day Weekend.  My scale-free summer has come to an end.  Technically, it ended last Thursday in my doctor’s office.  But, I still kept up what I was doing and did not step on a scale at home or look at my weight until this morning.  The verdict…I have lost 1 pound.  Am I upset? NOPE!!! That wasn’t the point.  Although I do still have some weight to lose, I needed to focus more on becoming better at getting fit without focusing on the scale.  I also took measurements of my body at the beginning of the summer. 

Body Part L/R July 17th August 30th
Arms 14”/14” 14”/14”
Thighs 21”/21” 20”/20.5”
Calves 14.5”/15” 14”/14.5”
Waist 39 3/4” 37”
Hips 44” 43 1/2”

 

I’m so excited!!! (cue the Pointer Sisters!) I have definitely toned up this summer, including almost 3” lost on my waist! No wonder Erika of The Black Girl’s Guide to Weight Loss actually commented on one of my Instagram photos with one word – CURVES!!

So how did I get here? I focused on training for Fall races in my running.  I didn’t race at all for July and August – just trained.  I made sure that even when I was travelling I made time to run.

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I ran a 7 mile loop of the Rock N Roll Philadelphia course.

2013-08-03 20.46.18 I ran trails in Delaware State Park.

I did the exercise challenge which I posted for July as a part of my crosstraining.  Lots of crunches, planks, and pushups.  I mixed up my crosstraining a lot actually.  I did Vinyasa Yoga for a few sessions, Aqua Zumba for a few sessions, and tried TRX for the first time.  I believe I’m in love with TRX and will definitely be adding that to my weekly workouts for the Fall.

My eat clean progress was continued as well.  I always find it easier to eat more fruits and veggies during the summer.  There are so many to choose from.  I did the green smoothie challenge in July – YUMMY!!! With the exception of a few days when I was travelling, I have had a green smoothie almost every day for breakfast.  My hubby got into them as well.  So on the mornings when I didn’t make one, he made one for us.

All in all, it was a great summer!  For this Fall, I am going to focus on FITNESS and drop the last few pounds of FAT. Details soon to come.  In the meanwhile, remember to…

progress not perfection

Did you have a Scale Free Summer? How did you do on your fitness goals this summer?

God is My Strength

my flesh and my heart is God

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Faith & Fitness Friday–Self Control

1 Corinthians 9:25-27 –

Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.

 

Faith & Fitness Friday–Believe

Mark 9:23 –

Jesus said unto him, “If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.”

One year ago, I was excited about running my first 5K at the Baltimore Women’s Classic.  Today, I picked up race packets for 2 different races – the Dreaded Druid Hills 10K and the Baltimore Women’s Classic 5K.  I would have never imagined doing this last year.  But, I have always believed in Jesus and that he will order my steps.  That belief has led me to overcome so much in the past year. I am truly thankful that I have become a hysterrunner.

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Are you racing this weekend?  Have your beliefs inspired you to be better? 

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Rock N Roll Philly Half Marathon

Race # 10September 15th, 2013
Aiming for a PR!