Why I take Cold Showers

Cold Showers

We have a bad plumbing setup in our house.

I’m not sure if it’s hard to get water to the area we live or if the builder used sub-par plumbing components, but we have a lot of trouble getting water flowing freely, especially upstairs in the master bathroom.

The water heater is not great either. I could easily wait 5 minutes for a hot shower, sometimes longer, and five minutes is an eternity during a rushed morning routine.

One day while running late for work, I decided I was going to say “forget it” and I hopped into a frigid shower for the sake of time.



 

WHOA! The water hitting my skin was a shock to the system. I might have jumped and winced like a girl. Had I just been awakened from hibernation like a bear?!? My whole body was fluttering.

I wanted to wash my hair and body and get the heck out of there! No wonder we take hot showers instead of cold, because THIS SUCKS!

After getting out of the shower – teeth chattering, body shaking, skin red – I tried getting dressed and went about the rest of my day, surely thinking I’d started off a bad day. Showering in cold water was a tough thing to do that day, but I began noticing something new.

I felt alert and alive the rest of the day.

Walking into work, I was ready to face the day boldly. I had already gone through the most difficult part of my day, so what could be worse than a cold shower? I began to fear the day’s activities less.

Getting home, I started trying to find articles about possible benefits of cold showers. Surely someone else had done this before and had experienced a similar feeling of accomplishment.

I ended up coming across a man named Joel Runyon. Joel has a business centered around doing the impossible, and he even has a whole system built around taking cold showers, check it out here.

I even found out he did a TEDx talk about cold showers:

I know not everyone will watch this, so I’ll break it down a little. The heart of the message in taking cold showers is to make it a point to get out of your comfort zone on a daily basis.

I’ve been taking cold showers for over a week now, and I think I’m hooked.

Cold showers suck because they are supposed to suck. They teach you to live in the moment of what you’re going through.

You have nowhere to hide in the shower, therefore, you are facing this difficult situation head-on. It relives fear, which is our biggest obstacle to success.

It’s great to know that Joel and his advice is actually changing peoples lives, I hope you’ll try it and see if it will change yours.

Would you try taking a 5 minute cold shower?

Arm-ed with an iPhone

Armed with an IPhone

With the announcements of 2 new iPhones coming out in just days, the Fleck household has been abuzz in cell phone talk this weekend.

We then notice our blood start to boil as our current phones get slower and drain battery more and more. Someone’s got to be doing this on purpose, right? It all sort of feels like a marketing plan to get you to buy a new phone…



America is currently underway with a cell phone plan revolution of sorts. Major carriers are dropping prices dramatically and that means if you’re stuck in a contract, you could be paying double (or more) what you would by shopping around. Take a look at the major carriers and you’ll see that Verizon (our provider) is just about the only company who’s not budging on prices.

So we went to T-Mobile to shop around. In short order, we discovered we’d end up getting more data and no contracts, all for $100 less per month! (And we are on a 20% discount with Verizon, mind you.) I like Verizon, but are they really +$100/mo. great?

I think this trend will continue. I think we’ll see phone prices go down and down. Shop around if you haven’t in a while, you could be saving a ton.

The Decision?

Not that its set in stone, but Kristin and I will probably upgrade, and the next step is to figure out which size phone we want. 4.7″ seems big but still manageable. Is 5.5″ too big?

Apple put a lot of work into creating some great new fitness and health tracking into the new phones, and that is really cool. It would be awesome to have those things work seamlessly in a bundled app.

That’s also what is starting to concern me. The new phones are much bigger and more on par with Android sizes now.

As a runner, I feel like the current iPhone is a somewhat large thing to be working out with, anyway.

If the whole point is to use the phone while working out, am I really going to be strapping a 5.5″ behemoth on my arm like that for every run? Are there case alternatives that now make more sense?

When the super-sized Androids started coming out, I was shocked how big they were, and the people who wore them with an armband running just looked silly to me.

Is Apple going to make wearing phablets on your arm cool? Will we all get used to this?

Let me know what you think in the comments!



What’s your Food Kryptonite?

Food Kryptonite

“I think we should get two jars this week, maybe..” I say to my wife, looking like a little kid with the sad, puppy dog eyes.

“It hasn’t even been a week, and you have a half-full one at home!!” she exclaims. “No way, It’s completely ridiculous!”

I can almost smell the anger in the air as she gives me the bull-horned face of rejection. I put the other jar back on the shelf and my mind darts to wondering how I’m going to survive the week, like a junkie with an empty needle.



This is the conversation that happens weekly in aisle 7 of our grocery store. Sometimes I’ll just quietly go to the aisle myself, pick out the container and place it in the cart so that she doesn’t have to deal with the conversation. Why should I ask anyway, she knows my habit.

Better to ask forgiveness than permission, right?

 

Is this some crazy sugar-filled treat I let myself have? An outlier in our otherwise healthy eating habits? Could it be some weird concoction that’s an expensive delicacy like caviar, therefore bankrupting our frugal living?

No, it’s organic peanut butter, and I’m completely and hopelessly addicted.

Yeah right, if only I limited myself to this much at a time.

What usually ends up happening, in reality, is somewhat unbelievable and horrific. I devour peanut butter to the point of excess. One week, I calculated that I could easily average 800 calories a day of peanut butter. That is too excessive, probably… but, I mean, it’s delicious, guys.

Soon after coming home from work, my wife knows that I’ll already be all over the stuff. She’s no stranger to the peanut butter-laden welcome home kiss. We could be on our way to dinner, and I’ll just have a little bit to taste. I’ve even had it for a whole meal while standing up in the kitchen.

What’s the big deal?

We’re not talking about an unhealthy thing here, really.

Organic Peanut Butter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A source of good fat, little to no added sugar, and a fair amount of protein. Basically just peanuts and a little salt, right?

The problem lies in my complete dependance on the stuff. Even if it were the healthiest food known to mankind, I should still try to limit my intake of peanut butter just as anything else in life. By keeping a check on my food, I’m able to better balance out the rest of my life, otherwise I’d just be curled up in the corner of the room, rocking back and forth, with dried peanut butter crusted around my lips.

It has easily become my food kryptonite, and it can take down an entire day’s worth of workouts in a single bound.

Over the past few months, I’ve been really trying to stick to one spoonful of peanut butter a day. I’ve found it best to keep myself out of eating more by grabbing my spoonful and then quickly replacing the lid.

This method has really helped me, just by setting this simple control in place.

It’s important to recognize what may trip you up, and not reject it completely. Though I’m getting slowly better at limiting peanut butter in my daily plans, I still allow myself the treat and try to limit and monitor it.

Let yourself have that food that you want, whatever it may be. It feels rewarding. Just be able to recognize when you are powerless over it, and make a plan to include it in your success.

 

Have you recognized your food kryptonite? What is it, and how are you limiting it to achieve success?

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Are you an Educated Runner?

I know with this week’s earlier post, you’ve been wondering what this Change could be. Well, it’s more of an improvement, and it will definitely be a learning experience.

I’ve been training for my fastest PR leading up to the Cincinnati Too Half Marathon on October 19th, and up to this point, I’ve been working on my own training schedule.

In my never-ending quest for securing a PR of 1:30 for this race, I came across a group of coaches from Educated Running, and they’ve got a great deal that really excited me.

They are currently running a coaching promotion called the USA Project 50/50, check it out:

USAProject5050

Though I have complete confidence in my ability to make a plan I can follow, I know that I do not have years and years of vast ninja knowledge that these coaches do.

I do not have the USA Track and Field Level 1 certifications that all of these coaches do, nor have I ever helped two high school cross country teams finish top in their Regional Meets like Coach Hammond.

I am looking forward to sharing my future training with you all leading up to the big race day October 19th!

I’ve been a runner for about 6 years now, and I still consider myself a student of running. There are so many things that I learn everyday about what running really is and what it can do for you.

I signed up for training because over the years, I’ve bootstrapped this whole operation with $30 shoes, $7 training watches and Jillian Michaels DVD’s. I have never had the chance to get expert knowledge into how to train for a specific running goal. This is going to help me in my preparation, and it will give me a chance to try new things with my training, many of which I’ve never dug deep into before.

I met with my coach, Coach Miranda via Google Hangouts, and it was a great introduction & kickoff to the training schedule. He said something that has already really resonated with me.

He said I need to trust him by taking a leap of faith.

I don’t think there’s a better statement than that. To pivot from my own training plan into something completely different is scary. I’m afraid that I’ll be abandoning my own plan and feel like a failure. I’m afraid that this plan will be too different from my own.

After much soul-searching, I realized that this is exactly the kind of leap of faith I need in order to grow in anything. Not just running, but in life.

The key to change is letting go of the fear – Pittacus Lore

Letting go of fear applies to so many good things. I’ve taken leaps of faith before where I had no idea what I was doing, and they’ve turned out to be some of the best moments of my life.

Follow me along this new and exciting path. I will also be blogging with them on their page, which you can check out here

This new coaching plan will lead me right into the Cincy Half Marathon Too, and I’m excited to see how this coaching can re-shape my whole training plan!

Educated Running is an online coaching service with a personal touch dedicated to making you a smarter runner. They believe that there is more to training than just following a plan. Their customized training plans enable you to trust in your training come race day.
You can find more Educated Running on their Facebook page, helpful facts about food on Instagram, and join the conversation on Twitter.

 

Half Marathon Training Week 4 – What’s this change all about?

Half Marathon Training Week 4

Week 4 has been a bit of a humbling week. I took my first break from scheduled program, and maybe pushed myself a little too hard on the outset.

Here’s how Week 4 shakes out:

Week 4 Training Schedule

 

Monday

Another Jillian Video (No More Trouble Zones), but this time I moved it to Week 2 on the videos. It was more difficult and I felt more strained at the end.

I guess that’s a good thing, but boy was I tired.

Tuesday

Got so exhausted from yesterday’s workout that I struggled through this pace run. I ended up going a little slower than normal for the pace run, about 8.5mph, and as you can tell, I should have been going a bit faster, according to my calculations.

Wednesday

Wednesday is where I sort of hit a wall. Maybe I was feeling the burn still from Monday, or maybe it’s because I had thrown too many speed runs in this week. Between my life outside of training and that hardcore session on Monday, I decided to skip Wednesday’s run and make it a rest day.

This is totally fine, and I don’t feel bad about it.

One of the worst things you can do is overtrain yourself. This leads to injury. I’ve been successful in that I feel like I’ve never overtrained myself in my 6 years of running. It’s ok to take a break every now and again, and it took me 4 weeks into my plan, which I think is pretty successful.

Thursday

Ahh, yes, my dreaded Yasso day! I never used to hate these things until now. I used to basically go the opposite plan, where I’d find out how fast I can run that 800m and then I’d get an idea of my finish time. Now I’m planning to a finish time, and this plan is all of a sudden SO TOUGH!

I’m proud to say I finished my first full Yasso at 10.6mph for 3m 11s! The next two were slower and not full runs, but still respectable. I didn’t even care, I got a full Yasso in without banging my head on the treadmill.

Friday

With skipping Wednesday’s run, I felt compelled to get something extra in. I decided to do Yoga on Friday and it made me feel great.

I’ve been really happy with adding yoga into the mix this time around. I highly recommend it to you runners out there, even if you’re a complete beginner like me.

Saturday

A shorter and slower long run of 6 mi is just what the doctor ordered for this week. It gave me a chance to get my bearings from the haphazard week, and regain some confidence. It was still a tough and faster long run, but I’m building up some great endurance, and I’m very happy with that.

Sunday

Finished off the week with another pace run, with hill training mixed in. These hills were GIANT, at 11 degree inclines going 5.5-6.0 mph.

 

The week was a mixed bag, really. At times I’d feel super strong, and other times I could barely continue. I think that there’s a certain level of fluidity in my schedule. Making small changes here and there is ok with me, if it means success overall.

I’m listening to my body and what it’s telling me.

Coming up next week, I’ve got a bit of a change for everyone, and I’m pretty excited for it!

It’s something I’ve been planning for, and it’s a bit of a departure from my regular training as well as these posts you’ve gotten used to. I hope to be able to switch it up and kick it up a notch to really reach my goal.

Look for that update on the future of the training later in the week!



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