Commitment to Travel Health: Nutrition and Exercise

Commitment to Travel Health: Nutrition and Exercise

Has anyone ever given you a hard time about trying to eat healthy or exercise on the road? Has anyone ever tried to pressure you into straying from your plan (which will make them feel better about themselves)?

Marcey on treadmill

I have been called many things when it comes to health, fitness, training….obsessed, boring, nut, addict, but I would prefer to be thought of as committed or dedicated. I have spent the last 20 years being committed to one form of physical activity or another. It started with aerobics and yoga in college and then changed to running. Once I qualified for Boston I became heavily involved in triathlons. After the ultimate goal of Ironman I moved more into off-road everything – mountain biking, trail running, hiking, adventure racing. A couple of years ago I started hooping and attended my second hoop camp in June.

It drives me insane to be judged about my dedication to working out. I don’t go hard every single day and being involved in so many activities makes it easy to do active recovery. I have regularly trained in mountain biking, running, hiking, Ashtanga yoga, Pilates, TRX, SMRTCore, hoopdancing and swimming. I also get massages regularly and am pretty diligent about recovery foods.

Some people need coffee when they get up in the morning. I definitely need to get my sweat on. I am a morning person for sure and naturally wake up before 7:00 but I don’t really like to talk to anyone before that time. I like my alone time and to be able to just get up and start training within 15 minutes of eyes open. There have been times where I shortened a work dinner or opted not to go out for drinks because I wanted to make sure I got enough rest and was able to get up early the next morning. If it is an important event with a client that is one thing but when a traveler is on the road all the time, that catches up to you and you have to prioritize.

It’s funny how people will refer to something healthy in a negative way but it is usually only those people who are insecure about themselves. People who spend too much money will remark about how cheap people are. People who eat fast food will call those who don’t ‘food snobs’. When I hear people make these kinds of statements I don’t usually argue because my opinion is that it is out of insecurity. I don’t think when I am on my death bed, that I will wish I had spent all of my money so that I was working at Walmart at 80, had eaten a diet of fast food instead of eating real food that is delicious or sitting on my couch so that I could watch mindless television and die an early death. No, I definitely think I will be glad I lived ‘committed’.

 

Commitment to Travel Health: Nutrition and Exercise

Do what you love, not what’s popular.

Do what you love, not what’s popular.

I hate running. This is what my friend said one day at lunch. I asked her why she wanted to do it and she said she needed to lose weight quickly. She is not the first person I have heard say they hate running or fill-in-the-exercise.

I never hate exercising or training. I don't even dislike it. There are things I would prefer to do, such as running or mountain biking over swimming or paddling, but mostly because the first two are more convenient. I would love to hoop more and do some types of functional strength training less but I know what I need to do to improve in my sport. I still like strength training though and never feel the need to put it off.

I think the only way a person will stick with something as a life choice is to pick something they like to do. What does it matter how intense the calorie burn is if you aren't going to stick with it? I also think it is a big mistake to pick a sport or a race just because other people are doing it and you want to fit in or are afraid of being left behind. I may not tell you, but the fact that you enter races, events or attend a class that you really don't like just because someone else does almost seems pathetic to me. Find what YOU like to do. Don't follow the crowd or your friend because it is popular or because you want to ‘keep up' in some way. If you don't know what you like, try different things but don't keep on keeping on just because.

As sports tend to become more popular and appeal to the masses, it actually tends to turn me off. This is a personal choice and I am in no way criticizing people for doing them but it just becomes less attractive to me.

When I started running marathons I didn't know a lot of people who did them. After 13 or 14 and qualifying for Boston, I was happy I met my goal because I didn't want to do them anymore. Too many people were doing them and they kept increasing the time until they became all day events to appeal to the masses. I just did my first ultra this year and will probably go this route from now on.

boston marathon

My name in granite at the Boston Marathon

I started doing triathlons in 2003 and now that they are uber-popular, I don't really care about doing them, unless it is an off-road.

ironman

Morning of Ironman

I love mountain biking because it is still easy to get into most races, it still has a grass-roots feeling and the community is smaller. Sometimes too small, as I have raced against myself for competition. For the most part, I don't do anything on the road anymore.

mountain biking

Mountain biking local trails with my Besty

road biking

My last real road ride w/ my friend Beth – 24 hours of Booty, which I did on my Single Speed.

Adventure racing is unique enough that I still have to tell people what it even consists of. There aren't a lot of females (c'mon, it's fun!!!) and I am always concerned with holding my own and adding value to any team I am on.

Hoopdancing is definitely not mainstream and there is a 50/50 chance that if I tell someone I do it that they will laugh and say ‘hula hoop?' (Hula is a brand, thank you very much). If I was trying to be cool and popular I would certainly pick where I whipped out a hoop but I don't really care about that type of stuff. I don't have any friends that I hoop with and I didn't know anyone that hooped when I started doing it. My husband has a couple of hoops (I have three) and people always joke first about him hooping until he tells them that those two big hoops on the wall are his 🙂

Speaking of my husband, he doesn't really hoop anymore but in the last couple of months has become completely addicted to disc golf. He plays almost daily and has even sported his first disc golf injury. Yes, they exist. Is disc golf a popular sport? Not really. Is it even considered a sport? Depends on who you ask….but he loves doing it and it is great exercise walking around the course.

Don't continue doing something just because you have always done it. When you have reached the point of boredom or where it feels like it is work then it is time to switch. Everything I have done has been exciting for me. When I reach a certain point, and only I know what that point is, I know I need to move on and find something new. I have some ideas about what my next sports might be, but I'm not ready to switch out anything yet.

Find your thing. Whatever it is. Don't do it to be popular. Don't do it to look cool and certainly don't do it just to burn calories. Pick something fun and challenging. Maybe it's a martial art, orienteering, inline-skating, kettlebells, hooping, clogging….you get my point. But respect yourself enough to do what you love. Or at least like a little bit 🙂

Do what you love, not what's popular.

The Kitchen Pass

The Kitchen Pass

The kitchen pass or domestic pass is a name that some of the people I race with call permission from their significant others to race or train. Today I rode my bike for five hours which is something I do often in the summer. Last year I raced 17 times and this year, while I'll be racing less total number of races, I will be racing at least three 24+ hour races, at least two 12 hour races, and several other shorter ones with most of the races being overnight or weekend excursions. In addition, I took off for a week to the Grand Canyon to do my epic hike with my friend Kobza.

I have never once had to ask for a pass and I am so thankful for that when I hear people discussing it. When I first heard the term last year I laughed, then was confused and then felt relieved and grateful. My husband is not a racer. He is a recreational cyclist who is now addicted to disc golf. I don't really have interest in this sport but sometimes I'll go with him and hoop along the course or I'll just walk with him and throw a few here and there. We have done a couple of century road rides together and have done mountain bike trips for the last several years.

My husband was the person who got me interested in mountain biking. He taught me how to ride and then was patient while I was learning. Slowly, I got faster and then I got better. We don't ride as much together lately, but nonetheless, he is supportive and WANTS me to be a better rider. He can't understand when he hears other guys talk about not wanting their girlfriend/spouse to learn to ride because they don't want them interfering with their guy time or because maybe they are afraid they will get better than them?

While writing this I paused for a while trying to think of a time when I was asked not to go for a bike ride, run or race over a weekend.  My husband knows that this is what I am passionate about. My husband has stayed up all night long volunteering for a race without even being fed by the race director. He has been promised at a volunteer gig that he will get to ride singletrack and then never been given the time. He has driven over a 100 miles up and down narrow, winding dirt roads in a single day just to hear another volunteer say he didn't need him. He has stood outside on pavement all day directing riders and has slept in a cold and a hot tent all night to make sure that I am at the race start on time.

I have only raced with men and have mostly trained with men (if I train with anyone at all) and I can only think of one instance that my husband ever said anything and even that was pretty mild. My team consists of men and I have even spent the night with three men in a hotel room on the eve of a race (a few women think this is shocking but I still don't know why) and my husband doesn't care. He is realistic and knows that there is nothing attractive about sweaty smelly adventure racers that have been using the woods as a bathroom for the last 24 hours.

This year I had wanted to do a week-long expedition race in Idaho but only knew of one other racer who was interested and willing. My habit is expensive but my husband has never mentioned money a single time in 18 years when it comes to what I spend on training and racing. Some of that may be because he is a musician and I could probably race for the rest of my life and not spend what we have spent on equipment, studio space, recording equipment and the like. But honestly, I think it wouldn't matter.

I know some of you out there with kids are thinking it is because we are childfree that we are able to live our lives this way but I truly think that even if we had more than a cat, my husband would still figure out a way to emotionally and physically support me. It is what keeps me sane, makes me excited, provides my moving meditation and keeps me healthy. If I can't do what I love, how can I love who I'm with?

Thank you Kevin, for never making me ask permission, provide an excuse or give me a guilt trip.

Commitment to Travel Health: Nutrition and Exercise

Pilates Side Lying Exercises

This video will show runners and cyclists the appropriate muscles to use during Pilates side lying exercises. This is not Jane Fonda from the 80s, doing 100 side leg lifts. Do them right and you won't need to do many!

 

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