Saturday, October 24, 2015

Ran My 3rd Marathon

3rd times the charm. Maybe. Ran my 3rd Hartford Marathon. This time around I applied more mindset "woo-woo" stuff than previously. In particular I relied heavily on the Abraham-Hicks school of thought. I only trained when I really wanted to. I didn't really diet down as much as I was planning/hoping. However I read a book called Endurance Training Nutrition published by the always awesome Human Kinetics. I should say I read some of that book. Turns out I felt like running quite a lot this summer. I really enjoyed the hot, dry weather that smiled on the northeast this year.

Race day was October 10, 2015. I had originally planned on weighing in at 190 pounds. I ended up a jolly, healthy 215 pounds. So I was about 18 pounds heavier than my last (2013) run. My goal was to have fun and finish. Exactly what I did, but crazily enough I surprised myself. My previous marathon time was 4 hours 4 minutes, and like I said a bit lighter, so I was expecting to finish around the 4 and a half hour mark this year. Another thing I did different, I ran in a Spider-Man themed outfit. A perfectly reasonable choice for a 42 year old, 6 foot 4 male. Needless to say, I didn't blend well. Every kid under 12 saw me. Almost every mile of the race, I'd see a group of spectators with a young bored kid. So I'd wave and smile at him or her, and they'd just light up and start yelling for their parents, "Mom, Dad, Spider-Man just waved at me!" I gotta say, it was a total blast.

My youngest son is really into Spidey. So all summer I visualized coming across the finish line, and him lighting up seeing me in my costume. However, it didn't work out that way. My wife took the two youngest kids to swimming lessons which ended at 12. I'd told her before the race, "Don't worry, I won't be finishing til about 12:30." Wrong. I ended up running my fastest race so far. I think the positive energy I got from interacting with the spectators combined with my affirmation helped immensely. The affirmation I used was "If you think you're in The Zone you're not, because there is no thinking in The Zone." More of a reminder than an affirmation really, but it worked. I didn't do my usual brooding/think to much run. I have to say I enjoyed all 26 miles, and when I came across the finish line I actually felt like I could've kept going.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

With such an ominous title as The Power of Death, how could I pass up the opportunity to write a review of this book? Though not entirely an easy read, Gabriel Dee's book probes deeply into the unknown experience we are all destined to one day face. This book is a wonderful companion to your daily meditation practice. We don't have to be paralyzed by our fear of death. We can move beyond fear into understanding, and it's not as difficult as that may sound. It's as easy as understanding the rhythm of our own breath. This is serious subject matter, but easily integrated into daily life. I hesitate to use the term "one liners", but Mr. Dee has several succinct, beautiful quotes peppered throughout the book that will stick to your consciousness. If you've never had a near-death, a close call, or a Satori experience; not to worry, the author has written some ideas and techniques to help bring you to that powerful place of living in the present moment and harnessing the power of death itself to improve your life. I received a free review copy of this book, I was not paid for this review, it reflects my honest opinion.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

I first heard of Jon Gabriel a few years ago when he was being interviewed on Coast to Coast AM. He really impressed me with his straightforward approach. He has a gift for making a complicated subject easily understood. And weight loss has definitely become a complicated subjected nowadays. This is a book for someone who is serious about getting results. The idea of visualizing turns off some people, however, Jon Gabriel explains the science behind his techniques and why they work. As a trainer, I've tried many times to convince certain clients that their negative emotions and their stress levels are what's holding them back from reaching their weight loss goals. This book goes into great detail about the interconnection stress and emotions have on our hormones and how our metabolism runs in certain programs. Jon isn't preaching a "woo-woo" "think yourself thin" approach. He covers all aspects of weight loss in this book. This is a great book that I'd highly recommend to anyone concerned about their weight. I received a free review copy from Hay House, I wasn't paid for my opinion, and this is my honest assessment of this book.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Beautifully written, with a lot of heart. This is a very insightful and interesting book. The author's adventures in Bhutan are gripping. I found myself thinking, several times throughout my day, on different lessons she encountered on her journey. The culture clash she went through, was easy to identify with, but I wonder if I could've handled it as well. I knew nothing about the country or people of Bhutan going into this book. The day to day and the religious traditions of the Buddhist culture is extremely interesting. Linda Leaming has a great writing style, and a wonderful way of telling a story. A Field Guide to Happiness is a a lot of fun. It's thought provoking and inspiring. I was fortunate to receive a review copy from Hay House, I wasn't financially compensated in any way, and this review represents my honest assessment of the book. I highly recommend it.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

I was a little concerned, after reading the introduction, that the word God would distract from my enjoyment of this book. I'm one of those guys who grew up around Us vs. Them Christians, and even as a middle aged man I find the idea of an externalized God/redeemer off-putting on my best days. However the poet Em Claire is so talented and skillful, and her poems so mysterious and beautiful, I didn't mind in the slightest. I found myself identifying with the deity she spoke of, as more like the oneness you feel in meditation, rather than the separation preached by fundamentalists. Matter of fact she's so skilled at pulling you into her magical wording, it becomes easy to let go of preconceived notions and just explore where she's coming from. There's certainly a healing power in these poems. The cut and feel of the pages, also add to the mystical quality of this book. I'd recommend this book to any hopeless romantic regardless of religious persuasion or denominational inclination. This review represents my honest opinion of the book. I was given a free copy for review purposes from Hay House, and wasn't paid or coerced in any way.

You can buy a copy of Em Claire's Silent, Sacred, Holy, Deepening Heart directly from the publisher by clicking on the picture link above.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Brave and beautifully written, the poems in Nancy Levin's Writing for My Life speak on her personal experience, while managing to inspire and teach at the same time. Some of the lessons are easier than others. Many are lifelong themes we all go back to and revisit occasionally. Some of the poems come across as painful and amazing in a way that only poetry possibly can. But it's not a gloomy collection. The underlying theme is about overcoming, and coming back to who you really are. Being true to yourself without finger-pointing. The writing is done through the eyes of the author as she went through a divorce after 15 years of marriage. However, her pain and separation become the reader's pain and separation. Writing for My Life...Reclaiming the Lost Pieces of Me is a deep, intense work of art. It will get under your skin and teach you some things if you give it a chance. There is great value in her words, and I look forward to reading more of Nancy Levin's work in the future. I received a free copy of this book for review purposes from its publisher, Hay House. I wasn't paid or influenced in any way for this review. It is my honest assessment of the work.
I've recently rekindled my love of poetry. I've found it works really well with my mindfulness meditation practice. It also helps me deal with the stress of being a stay-at-home dad of 4, very loud, boys, and also the demands of being a personal trainer. On the surface it wouldn't seem a subject that has anything to do with health and fitness, but like I always say 'bodybuilding is a mental process.' So anything good for the mind, is good for the gains. I'll be posting the occasional poetry review on my blog, mixed in with all the other empowering books I find helpful. Keep your head up. Today is a great day to be great.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Personal power and self mastery are terms that have been bandied about in self-help books for decades, but author Brendon Burchard does a great job of putting a face on those concepts, and making them accessible to everyone. As a person who is already driven and motivated to some extent, I was going to skip this book, but I'm glad I didn't. Mr. Burchard has a poetic, stylish voice, but he also goes for the jugular. He doesn't waste time or pull punches. He asks the tough questions, and reminds the reader often that we are personally responsible for our success or failure. The 9 Declarations are inspiring and fascinating. Each is given a thorough explanation and study with practical examples included. The journaling suggestions in this book can bring clarity and a sense of possibility to many different kinds of challenges. If true freedom and personal development appeal to you, then you'll get a lot out of The Motivation Manifesto. I was given a review copy of this book by the publisher, Hay House Inc., I was not financially compensated in any way and the opinion expressed is my honest assessment of the product.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

There's nothing you can criticize or not love about this children's book. Great ideas, cool art, bright colors, but best of all it empowers kids. Positive thinking, self-reliance and acceptance, taking care of others; all are spoken of in a fun, interesting way. What my son enjoyed most was the detail in the art. Because of the many animals that live with Chris and Len, there's a lot going on, a lot you don't notice right away. So it makes the book fun to just sit with awhile and bond with your kid. If you liked the first Chris P. Bacon book, this is a no-brainer, you'll love this one too. I was hesitant to admit that I'm so left brain oriented, that after reading and reviewing the first Chris P. Bacon book, I totally missed the fact that his name is a pun. Doh! However, learning to not take yourself too seriously is one of the lessons the new book teaches. Great lesson for a kid of any age. I received a free, review copy of the book from Hay House. I wasn't financially compensated in any way, and the opinion expressed in this review is my honest assessment.