The Man – or Woman – in the Arena

Motivational speaker and business leader Mary Kelly asked, “What is the best coaching advice you remember? In sports, business, life?”

I answered, “My Navy dad used to remind me of ‘The Man in the Arena’ quote. In other words, it’s easy for others to criticize when they are not in the thick of it. It has always stuck with me.”

Earlier in the week, I had also referred to this same quote by former U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt in response to a different question.

Then last night, looking through some old memorabilia, I came across a piece of paper my father sent me when I was stationed in Korea in the late 1980’s. [Read more…]

The Race Goes Not Always to the Swift, But to Those Who Keep Running*

Running Photo

But what does running have to do with writing, or horses, or the military, or any of the other things I normally blog about?  Well, running is a part of who I am.  I started running in college to try and unsuccessfully chase away the freshman pounds, but I didn’t become a dedicated runner until my first year in the Navy.  I found that besides the health benefits, running gave me time to think, a peace of mind, and that there really was something to that whole endorphin-high rumor.  I made many running friends, entered numerous fun events, explored new trails and sights, AND fit into my clothes better.  I loved the solitude of a long run and found that answers to questions came to me while running that I otherwise could not figure out.  I owe a lot in life to my running habit.

 

As the title suggests, I am not a fast runner, but I have kept going.  I’ve met people who have been discouraged by running, so since it is National Running Day, I thought I’d offer my personal advice for what has worked for me.  And all this for free!

  1.  Start slow.  Real slow.  Even if you walk a minute, then run a minute; some start is better than none.  This was probably the key to me continuing to run when I became dedicated.  I had always gone out too fast, became completely out of breath, and thought “this sucks.”  Start slow and build.  If you can breathe while you are running, you’re more likely to stick with it.
  2. Listen to music you like that will motivate you.  Bonus:  you also can’t listen to yourself breathing hard or hear the cat calls from your adoring fans.
  3. Buy good shoes; don’t skimp here.  If you don’t know what kind of shoes to buy, go to a good reputable running store with knowledgeable salespeople and ask.  Replace shoes every six months once you regularly use them.
  4. Find places you like to run – parks, running trails, bike trails, neighborhoods, gyms, your own treadmill – and break up the routine.  If you like where you run, you’re more likely to do it.
  5. Finally, set you OWN goals, not someone else’s.  Are your goals to improve your distance or time, or are they to ensure you are doing something good and healthy for yourself at least a few times a week?  Are your goals to run in every local park?  Do you want to complete a 10K?  Or are you motivated by ensuring you squeeze out at least a few hours a week just for you?  Whatever your goals; make them yours, adjust them accordingly, and keep a running log to see your patterns.

What better day for a new start than National Running Day?  If the President has time…and Oprah had time…don’t you?

*Author unknown, but in reference to Ecclesiastes 9:11

 

 

 

 

 

Writer’s Muscles

Now that I’m offically a “writer,” people frequently ask me:  “How do I become a better writer?”

My responses may vary some, but the key advice doesn’t change:  “Write more and read more.”

I especially like to encourage people to expand beyond what they noramlly write to flex those brain muscles.  Reaching beyond normal boundaries also provides writers a good break from their normal routines, and may just unearth hidden talents writers may not know lie beneath.

I took my own advice a few months back and participated in Writing.com’s 15 for 15 contest.  Contestants respond to a writing prompt title and image, and write a story, prose,or  poetry in 15 minutes or less for 15 days in a row.  I truly enjoyed the people I met virtually through the contest and found it to be an excellent exercise in ensuring I wrote — even just for 15 minutes a day — for over two weeks.  I even placed a few days, and below was what the judges named the winning entry one day.  I considered it a win that I hit all 15 days, and learned something in the process.

Writing Prompt

[Read more…]

Endurance

“Endurance” seems an appropriate topic today, in celebration of the 33 Chilean miners rescued, following their 69 days trapped underground.

In horse parlance, the Endurance discipline tests the stamina of horse and rider as they race to compete a long course; at the World Equestrian Games (WEG) it was a 100 mile course.   When my husband, Jaime, and I volunteered to support the WEG, we were pleased that our second assignment would be supporting the endurance competition.  We both had great interest in the sport and admiration for the athletes, even though we hadn’t participated in endurance riding – yet.   Hey, the senior member of the U.S. team, Jan Worthington, competed in the Games at age 70.  Talk about hope and endurance! [Read more…]