Uncategorized

 Commuter Nightmares; When is enough, enough?

New York City Traffic

The different commutes times that people put up with amazes me. Everyone had a different level of tolerance level – what’s yours?

When you’re looking at accepting a job offer you can often overlook other elements … such as how a new location may affect your commute. As we all know, happiness is directly affected by commute time. Your proximity to work is certainly not the only factor but it can be considered a perk or a nightmare…

Short Commutes
5-15 minutes

I secretly hate these people (not really) – but it’s mostly because I’m jealous. They get more time with their families, have lower gas bills, less wear and tear on their cars and something to brag about at the water cooler – and brag they do!

You’ve also got the folks that live near public transportation which means they may not even own a vehicle! Short metro or bus rides … and for a lucky few, the ability to walk out their front door and down the street to the office. These folks get the added perk of exercise while commuting. It makes my FitBit challenges all the more brutal — I’m determined to keep up with these short commuters even though they have more “feet on the ground” time.  Challenge accepted!

On the flip side of that they may be more likely to be tapped to run early morning errands around the office for meetings and events. Not because they are special but because they can physically get these tasks done because they’re not tied up in traffic.

Middle of the road commutes
15-45 minutes

These folks have commutes that still fall within that “I have a great commute” pocket but once you get past the 30 minute mark it’s not so much a perk.

It also depends on the distance traveled because 45 minutes in bumper to bumper traffic is different than if you were moving along at a good clip.

Nightmare commuters
45 minutes – 2+ hours

This is the bucket that requires you to really love your job … I mean really LOVE your job. If you don’t, it will wear on you fast. Throw in a bit of wintery mix (thank you #WinterStormStella and you’ll find yourself hitting that 2+ hour mark)

It could be that you have no choice because you can’t afford housing closer in. Then you constantly think about moving, which leads to the need to make more money, which leads to job searches.  You can tackle this tendency with podcasts or your favorite tunes.

Tools To Combat Those Nightmare Commutes

Personally, I prefer audio books. I pick a series that I know I would never have the patience or bandwidth to read in book format. I’ve made it through Terry Goodkind’s Sword of Truth Series and it took about a year but it made the drive so much more bearable.  I’ve also tried books that I would never want to read if given the choice but have been curious about. This happens a lot with non-fiction — not a big fan. I like to escape when I read, so the more fictional the characters the better! If you have no interest in buying the audio books you can check them out from your local library in CD format or in eFormat. Check it out!

Try Audible and Get Two Free Audiobooks

Most importantly you need to have a comfortable, and dependable vehicle to commute in. My vehicle is fairly new so it has the bluetooth connections which make listings to tunes, podcasts and audio books fairly easy. If you have an older vehicle and don’t want to use CDs you’ll have to buy a device that will serve as the car
bluetooth to connect to your phone. It’s certainly cheaper to outfit your older car (or truck) with current technology than it would be to buy a new vehicle.

Take some stress off your long nightmare commute by making sure that you’re connected with your maps and people in the safest way possible. Sure it’s expense but check out the Navdy®, an augmented reality GPS, and “see the road like never before”. Their product is pretty darn cool! Take a look see!

The most important thing when using all of these gadgets is to keep your eye on the road! Pay attention and if you need to “rewind” a podcast or a chapter on an audio book because you missed it due to someone cutting you off and you were busy trying to keep your car on the road … do it!

Uncategorized

You are responsible for your attitude

Attitude is the driving force behind the success and failures of almost all activities.

You are only in control of yourself. Be responsible and stop trying to change other people. Realize that you are the only one in control of how you react to situations and other people.

When you get angry at others stop and think for a moment. Why are you letting that person control your emotions? Take a step back and analyze the situation – what about it causes you to become angry and make a conscious decision to not rise to the occasion.

Remove yourself from the negative environment

One thing that I find works well for me is to make a conscious choice to just walk away from the anger. Simply put … choose to not be angry. Choose to be a positive influencer for not only yourself but also your peers.

New Year Resolution

2017 New Year’s Resolutions: Swimmers Take Your Mark

The start of the New Year takes me back to memories of standing nervously in the swimmers waiting area trying not to psych myself out for the race ahead.  As I listen to other swimmers talking about split times and snapping caps and goggles into place I can’t help but run through all my anxieties:

  • What is my strategy going to be?
  • What is everyone else’s strategy?
  • What happens if I don’t hit my rhythm
  • What if my tools fail me and I’m unable to see my goal marks?
  • What if I don’t pivot correctly or as fast when needed?
  • Am I going to have enough stamina?
  • What if I do worse than I did on my last attempt?
  • If I fail will people laugh at me?

All of these things go through my head when I’m thinking about my New Year’s resolutions. To be honest I haven’t put together a list just yet. I’m more than a bit hesitant as I walk into this race’s waiting area. What do I make my goals for this year? Does the standard lose weight and be more successful make the list as the primary spots? Do I want to be that general or do I want more specific goals that are success orientated?

My strategy for goal setting should be one that allows for benchmark wins so as I move through the year I’m fueled by successes that motivate me to do better, do more. Building on a multitude of small wins allows for the flexibility to change tactics as needed without sacrificing ground already achieved.

While I can certainly learn from others and how what works for them – I can’t let everyone else’s strategy influence what mine is going to be. It can be intimidating and create a feeling of uncertainty if you’re not doing what others are doing. Am I doing it wrong or are they? That shouldn’t be a part of thought process. If it works for you and you’re meeting your goals throughout the year – keep at it.

Hitting a rhythm in goal achievement can be extremely motivational. If I’m not hitting goals on a regular basis I feel like I’m out of sync and that my activities are not moving the needle. It’s important to make sure your goals are attainable so you can develop a rhythm for success.

Making sure you have the right tools at your disposal is extremely important. Tools can be people, technology and any resource that allows for you to be productive. If you find that you are having problems reaching your goal you may want to evaluate and invest in the tools at your disposal. I’m going to give a shout out to one of my favorite productivity tools: MindNode. Fabulous for organizing ideas and note taking! Tip: Stay organized!!

Being able to accept that your methods for goal achievement may not be working is extremely important. You need to be able to realize that and pivot, and pivot quickly. Don’t waste time on failed strategy. Use it as an opportunity to redesign your strategy and share your knowledge with others to help them build their strategies around your learned experiences.

Having enough stamina to reach your goals is important. Building stamina involves training and repetition. Don’t just reach your goal – CRUSH IT.

One thing that paralyzes is the fear of doing worse than you did before. Avoiding this fear while playing craps may not be the most lucrative of decisions  – but if you take a different approach and just keep at it you’re bound to get different results. It’s finding that right combination of actions + timing that is important. You do have to eventually make the decision to cut losses if it appears that the goal really is unattainable or no longer makes sense.

Don’t worry about people laughing at you for you failing.  They’re really just jealous and in awe that you have the guts to keep at it.  Reminds me of that one time playing softball when instead of sliding feet first on a steal at 3rd base I wanted to try hands first. I ended up flipping over and was safe, because the ball was never thrown, and everyone laughed at me. I loved it – because I tried something different and even though it was a horrific fail, I walked away with that feeling that at least I tried it. That was over 20 years ago … if I tried that now I probably would need to be carted away on a stretcher!

These are all things to think about when setting your New Year’s resolutions. Having that yearly reset button on the status of your goals is refreshing and offers the opportunity to take a step back and strategize. It does not mean that you get to abandon the race! Heats get called up one by one and it’s finally your turn to step up on the block … and TAKE YOUR MARK!

Running

Plantar Fasciitis – I Hate You

The great thing about running is the resulting athleticism, clear mindedness and reduced stress. The bad thing about running is the resulting injuries if you’re doing it wrong, overdoing it, getting to old to do it as much, or aren’t investing in proper gear.

I’ve had a series of injuries ranging from IT band issues to more recently PLANTAR FASCIITIS. Which, despite teasing from my friends, doesn’t mean you have warts on the bottom of your feet. Jerks! Ha!

If only I had known that the stone bruise I was experience was an earlier indicator of what was to come.  I could feel it happening as I ran on the treadmill at a friend’s gym with my brand new shoes on.  Needless to say I’ve returned those shoes and picked up another pair that are the same trusted brand/model that I’ve been wearing for years. More to come on that later.

I haven’t torn the fascia but I’ve seriously stressed it – so much so that I limp around at work, can’t wear flats and certainly can’t run. The x-ray revealed that there were no bone spurs which is good because the last thing I need right now is foot surgery or to have to wear around a boot for six months. The half marathon is going to have to wait.  Too bad I’m out the registration fee now. I just physically can’t do it. Maybe they’ll let me downgrade to the 5K which still may end up being a stretch (no pun intended).

In my near future I see more rolling of golf balls and frozen water bottles along the arches and heels of my feet, much time spent holding up walls at 10 sec intervals and make sure to keep up with other forms of cardio until I can start running again. I can do all of these things myself without going to physical therapy – so I’m going to avoid that drain on the wallet as well as the physical torture.

Here is a great guide on how to stretch and treat plantar fasciitis.

Lesson: Listen to your body and take care of your feet. The feet are so important – they’re the foundation.

 

Productivity Tools · Stationary

Productivity and Paper: Confessions of a stationary addict

For the longest time I’ve touted that I’m digitally organized – productivity apps lighting up all of my devices. I would pick up paper planners and put them back. Mostly I just enjoy the feel and smell of paper but why would I ever want to lug around an organizer/planner when I have my digital version at the tip of my fingers (or evening pinging me with reminders on my wrist)?

I received this whimsical number from a friend for my birthday.

WoodLand Tales – Illustrated by Melissa Redondo
[Orange Circle Studio: Calendars For Today]

I tested the limit of my theatrical capabilities to express my appreciativeness for such a thoughtful gift – if but useless to me. To make matters worse, I was also gifted by numerous people with my other vice … pens and pencils. There was no hope for it now … I had to write in the damn thing, if but to only experience the feel of the graphite running across brand new (to me anyway) bound paper. Don’t get me wrong, it was GLORIOUS – but next was the inevitable nagging reminder that I don’t use paper productivity tools… past tense??!

I found that I started to fill in the dated squares on the monthly calendar section which quickly turned into filling in the things I had accomplished on the day by day entries. In retrospect this truly a smart way to keep track of all of the conversations that I had during the week and plan for the important items the next day.

At the office my work area is peppered with an array of wildly colored post-it notes with various scribblings and drawings in different color inks. To anyone else but me it looks like a disaster – but really it’s an elaborate scrum board that just might need a secret decoder ring. I crave this visual representation of ideas and the only way I can digitalize it is to take a picture of it everyday or also organize it in a productivity node app like MindNode. How does the planner help me with this?  It makes the physical board portable by providing with a space to stick all of my notes in an organized fashion.  My scrum board comes home with me at night and hangs out with me on the weekends – where I can modify it when ideas hit me.  LOVE IT!

Long story short … don’t knock it until you try it. If you tried something a long time ago and it didn’t work out – give it another try and take a different approach. I would have never bought one of these for myself because I didn’t think it would be useful but when the opportunity was presented to me via friend and I didn’t waste it.

Don’t waste opportunities.

Home Goods

To the mattresses, for rewards!

I can honestly say that I’ve bought more homes than I have mattresses for myself. The one we are currently on was purchased in 2002. It’s still in good condition but we’re noticing our backs are starting to hurt – sure we’re getting older but NOT that old!

The question is whether we want memory phone or coil. After much research and in-store visits we settled on memory foam – which is a first for us. We’ll see how it goes! The brand we ended up with is Amerisleep.

Other factors to consider before buying a mattress:

  • Budget: settle on a range you can live with.
  • Getting it home: look for free shipping deals or pick-up in the store if you have a vehicle large enough to transport.
  • Warranty: Most manufactures have a warranty that lasts a certain number of years (avg 10-20).
  • Sales: If you can hold out for a holiday try to pick up one when there are deals. (example: we got $200 off with Amerisleep’s Columbus Day Sale)
  • Rewards/Referrals: Yup we got that too… read to the bottom for a link on how to get $50 off your first order. When you refer you get $75!

Here is a chart from MemoryFoamMattress-Guide.org that neatly ranks the brands by consumer satisfaction. The Amerisleep Revere caught our attention but we ended up going with the firmest option, the Americana – which was much cheaper! #WINNING

screen-shot-2016-10-08-at-10-26-26-pm

Don’t miss out on Amerisleep’s Refer A Friend code!

You get $75 and your friend gets $50 off their first order. You get unlimited rewards with the referral code. If you do it right it will end up paying for the mattress and then some!

Happy sleeping!

Running

Running Shoes – An Investment In Your Feet

womens running shoes Asics

If you’ve ever purchased running shoes you know they are quite the investment. Ideally you would have visited a running store like Potomac River Running or The Running Store to get your feet and gait analyzed so you know what type of shoe is best for you. I fought this method for years — decades really. My friends call me stingy … I’ll go with frugal — but not spending the money necessary to have good foot ware was MORONIC.

I used to be that shoe buyer that went for the cheapest, most practical looking shoe regardless of the brand. I was not an avid runner — my yearly running activities consisted of one 5K and period games of softball. Then I had a health scare and realized that I would really miss being able to run so I started doing it more and more and more.  Those cheap shoes were wreaking havoc on my feet, knees, back and gait. I bit the bullet and went to get measured for running shoes.

$120 later I’m all set with my new Nike Structure Zoom 17 and ready to start running for real. the difference was unmistakeable.  My pain went away and my times improved greatly. Why didn’t I make the investment before? It’s clearly a no-brainer … but I’ve come to realize it’s a mindset that I have to overcome. Spending more money on higher quality items that fit better and last longer are much better than finding the cheapest option available (in most situations). By the way … I don’t go boring anymore – I go loud colors!

It’s most ironic that as I write this post I’m rolling a golf ball under my foot to help with my plantar fasciitis. I was late replacing my shoes … they’re really only good for 350 miles and I have around 600 on them.  The padding is gone on the side and the sole is rubbed away from miles pounded into the pavement/cement. I wasn’t intentionally regressing to my old ways of stingy, moronic frugality … I just was unable to find the time to get the shoes.  Let’s see how these new ASICS Gel-Kayano 23 work out!

Take away: Take care of your feet! Invest in your feet! You’ll save money on doctor’s and physical therapist visits. Ladies, it pains me to say it but DON’T where high heels.  Flats are the best thing at work – they may look a bit frumpy at times but even if you just wear them at your desk and walking to and from your car or public transit, try and get away from those heels!

General

It’s Your Life. It’s Your Hustle.

This time it’s for real. Those words have been used before — multiple times. I keep telling myself that I need to put down my ideas on paper and do more than just share them with a few friends in passing. I make a lot of mistakes, but I learn from them and things just keep getting better.

Sure there are events that you can’t control – but you can control how you react. This is the first of daily blog posts. I’m hustling every day whether I feel like it or not. Many times it just feels like I’m standing still (especially if I’m sitting in traffic – but that’s a story for another day) but those moments are precious and need to be utilized to their fullest.

I’m not saying you need to be GO GO GO all the time but you should be utilizing your time to move your life forward. Whether it’s time to reflect on your day or plan for tomorrow – you need to be hustling. Yes, I do consider Netflix binge watching a form of hustling … but that’s for another day. The adage … everything in moderation.

Part of hustling in life is obtaining those small wins. You may experience a lot of set backs but you need to position yourself to provide opportunities to get those small wins. Surprisingly (or not) – even though you are in control of your own life, you’ll find that others can help you obtain those small wins. The adage … do unto others as you would do unto yourself.

Off the soapbox. Until tomorrow!

 

 

 

 

New Year Resolution · Running · running shoes

2016 New Year Resolutions: Healthy Body + Healthy Mind

2016 New Year Resolutions

Healthy Body + Healthy Mind

I’m definitely going to focus more on running. I didn’t do that much better in 2015 than I did in 2014 which needs to change. That’s why I’m really pushing on my goal of 1,000 miles run in 2016. This means I’m really going to have to step up my stretching routines.

It’s important to look at how far you’ve come so you know what you are capable of doing … and then push myself farther.

Maybe a 5K? (2012) New Balance
310 miles (2013) Asics something or other
608 miles (2014) Newtons / Nike Air Zoom Structure 17
695 miles (2015) Nike Air Zoom Structure 18

Yeah it’s time to change my shoes again … and if I’m going to have a goal of 1,000 miles that means I’m going to have to get another new pair of shoes half way through the year. No more running with holes in the bottom of the shoes. It’s especially worn on the balls of my feet. Same spot on all my shoes.

2016 Running Goal: 1000 miles
2016 Books read: 24 (that’s only two a month)
Gonna hit the pool again too:)
Go big or go home right?

Workout routine

Weekdays
Early Morning: T25
Lunch: 30 Minute run + 20 Minutes weights and calisthetics
Evening: 100 minute speed walk or swim (once a week)

Weekends
Saturday (early morning) long run (8-10 miles)
Saturday (evening) KenpoX
Sunday (early morning) Yoga
Sunday (evening) Core work