Sunday, June 29, 2014

Summer breezes! On break from Architecture school: 3 rules for enjoying yourself...

As Spring semester came to a close, I had begun to think about all of the adventures I was going to entertain...learning to sail, running the trails, stand-up paddleboarding, scuba diving in Lake Michigan...

Unfortunately for me, I had signed up for two online classes. Luckily, only one started right away. The thing about online courses is that they are great for getting credits out of the way during the summer break, but they have a pretty significant impact on your summer 'break'. So this post is all about 3 ideas to keep in  mind that I am striving to focus on myself.

Being an ultra runner, my base running mileage dropped significantly due to keeping up with the accelerated 4 week course and work. I was able to still do the Northern Kettle 50k (first ultra in over a year) and then also partake in one of my favorites, the Chippewa Moraine 50k.

1. TAKE THE TIME AS IT COMES : Ultra running is a pretty dedicated sport in terms of time, I mean you have to get in the miles if you want to be able to COVER the miles. Being signed up for Sawtooth 50 mile now coming up in September, this has been a period of re-learning to juggle my priorities with my responsibilities. What I have really learned to embrace is the fact that you have to grasp opportunity as it when I get a chance to hit the trail for an hour, I just GO. I don't think about it long enough for my brain to talk myself out of it, I just get out there. Like many other runners, I have never went for a run in the woods and then thought to myself, "I never should have done that...I feel so much worse now...". Believe me, those little acts of initiative will keep you living as an athlete throughout whatever life throws your way.

2. DON'T OVERPLAN YOUR TIME : Being a man of extremes, I have had a lifelong tendency to overdo pretty everything I do or attempt to do. When it comes to my weekends for instance, I willfully plan all of these things to do, and will agree to more if asked only to come to find that I have no time  left for myself. You have to keep time open for just 'whatever come along'. This helps to keep a little spontaneity in your life, otherwise things become too bland and planned...who needs their life to feel like its work? Free up some space in your schedule and you will find things to do during those spots when the time comes...I guarantee it.

3. SPEND TIME IMPROVING YOURSELF : This is important year round, but when you have extra time like during the summer months when there are nice days to provide that extra motivation, there is no better time to pursue activities/hobbies that give back. Reading good books, trying out Yoga or Standup Paddleboarding, simply going for more walks and reflecting on your life in general...these types of activities keep people grounded and sharp. Giving yourself time to reflect or time to become more flexible or stronger enables your body/mind to perform better. You will feel better, you will be more focused, and you just may find something that brings you some real joy in your life. Life should continue to be about learning and personal growth, don't get sucked into dogma and become complacent in your every day affairs. I took a yoga class last semester and loved it. Not only did my recovery times lessen after long  runs, but I felt better. I was more engaged in 'the moment' and aware of my own body-where I was weak, where I was strong. It helped me identify certain issues that I needed to pay more attention to, such as a tight hamstring or a stressed knee. Take the time to try out something that requires you to listen to yourself, to slow down and pay attention. Those activities bring us back to the moment, help us to fully live in the present. Its important to take the time to enjoy those, because like summer break, they are gone before you know it.