Peak Training: Mind & Spirit

This is my favorite page.

It includes mental, spiritual, and "natural" tools I have adopted, and am still working on, to create the best life possible for myself, and hopefully for you too. 

The focus is on my "Steps to Adventure", how nature & running can help make one a better person, and include some inspirational stories of others.   Because I am a female ultra/trail runner, many of those stories will be on either of those two.  I'm sure a lot of this will coincide with my blog as well.

To start with, here are my "Steps to Adventure":

Steps to Adventure:
· Choose to Live Life as an Adventure (Acknowledge responsibility for your life.)
· Use Your Inner Compass/ Know Your Roots (Use your values and morals to guide decisions)
· Find Your Trail (Follow your passions and understand everyone’s path is unique.)
· Decide on a Destination (Figure out where you want to go. What is your purpose?)
· Pack the Right Gear (How much “stuff” do you really need? Are you carrying any extra baggage? Leave behind the negativity in your life.)
· Map Your Route (Have an action plan (goal set) to guide you to your destination)
· Learn from Getting Lost (Learn from you failures and mistakes. Reframe.)
· Make Hills into Opportunities (Have a positive perspective.)
· Enjoy the Journey (Explore your surrounding and live in the present)
· Inspire Others/Make a Difference (Share your knowledge.  Help others live life as an Adventure.)
  •  Believe in Yourself.

Some of us, especially those of us who are introverts and/or energy sensitive, need time to ourselves and own space to relax.  Here is an example of my own space to relax and "dream":

Check out my post on Secret Smiles! :


The “Why” Game

 A Game to Take a Step Back


Did you ever play the “Why” game as a kid?  Ya know, that game where you ask a series of endless “whys?” to any and every response you get?

Or maybe you have kids now, and they simply use the game as way to drive you crazy?  It’s almost as annoying as the question “Are we there yet?” that starts just 15 minutes into a 2hr drive.

An example is “Why is the sky blue?” and you begin to make up some answer about color pigments and the reflection of water (that answer is a bit off, but you are on the right page…see the scientific answer here: ) and before you can even finish, you get another “Why?” followed by about 5 more.  Finally, throwing up your hands in the air (unless you are driving), you answer “Because God made it that way, that’s why!” feeling like that is the end of that game.  But then of course you get another “why?” and all you can do is shake your head and attempt to keep your sanity.

Well, that game may be highly frustrating at times, but it can also be a highly effective tool in your adult life.  Why? (Sorry, I had to).  Because it makes you dig deep to get the root of any answer.

And here is where we need to take a step back in order to go forward.  In starting this page, this was not my intention.  I was simply going to start out with my “Steps to Adventure” until I realized when reading “Unlimited” by Jillian Michaels how impossible…or at least unhelpful…that would be if our goal was really to move forward/upward towards our peak.  After all, trees can’t grow strong without their roots planted in deep nutrient rich soil.

If you have already battled and defeated you past demons, you can go ahead and stop reading.  For the rest of you, it is vital you read on.

Here is your chance to be your own psychologist*, by simply playing the “Why” game.   Yes, it is going to be hard, but aren’t you worth it?  Is 30-60 minutes of work too much to ask of yourself, if you really want to be better?

Let’s begin:

Think of what is bothering you in your life.  It might be a problem at work or in a relationship, or a bad habit you can’t shake.  It might be a defeating thought in your head that constantly arises, like “I’m not good enough” or “I couldn’t possibly do that”.   What is it that is it that you feel is holding you back in life?  Take time with this part.  Analyze every aspect of your life.  You may come up with a few things.

Then, start the game.  Ask yourself why you act or think the way you do.  Ask yourself your role in creating the problem at hand.  Ask yourself why you can stop that bad habit, and when it started.  And then ask yourself “why?” again.  This is something you have probably avoided for quite some time, so it make take some time to peel back the layers with multiple “whys?”  The key is just to be honest, and take responsibility for your past and current actions.

If you’re still reading, that’s a very promising sign.  It means you have the will to change.  Not all people do, or at least they’re not there yet.  I am a key example.

After being diagnosed with Anorexia Nervosa in 7th grade, I was sent to a psychologist.  In theory, this was a great idea.  The problem was, I loathed the idea of going.  I don’t think I ever really gave the poor woman a chance.

Instead, we ended up playing UNO every visit for 45 minutes straight…if I was in a good mood.  Otherwise there was a whole bunch of silence on my part.  And if she asked me any personal questions, I’d immediately shut down.  Up until a few weeks ago, I had little to no clue what in the world brought on my eating disorder or depression.

So yes, my parents ended up paying hundreds of dollars for me to play UNO every other week.

Then, when completing a journal entry from “Unlimited”, I let myself dig deep.  After a few pages, I ended with 2 sentences that almost shocked me with their truth:

“Maybe my guilt (guilt that was “taught” and nothing that was my fault) led to my eating disorder.”

“Maybe my fight to be perfect was because the world around me wasn’t”.

Yes, those two tiny sentences took almost 13 years for me to unravel, but it like the rope around my wings was beginning to unravel as well. 

As the saying goes (my chance to be corny!): “The truth will set you free.”

You can take this strategy into running too.  Simply as yourself "why do I run?"
I actually wrote a poem (not a great one, but that part doesnt really matter) titled "Why I Endure" with all my reasons.  By knowing my "why", I have the strength my need to always keep going even when exhausted.

So ask yourself “Why” again and again and again.  Do it as many times as it takes.  Get the hard work done now and put it behind you.  Then, get ready to starting moving forward! 

(And when you are done, feel free to go have some fun letting loose you inner child and starting driving someone else nuts by playing the silly version of the “Why” game with them.)

*Obviously, this is not a replacement for a real psychologist.  If your problems go deeper than what you can dig up yourself, I recommend a visit.  Psychology Today has a great tool to find one with your specific needs on their website:

Or, if you would like to do exercises yourself in greater detail and that offer better examples than the ones I have provided, check out Jillian Michael’s book “Unlimited” or find the online journal here:

1 comment:

  1. The black print on this page is very difficult (and the last part almost impossible) to read!