Holy Cowtown!

Slide1So, months ago (via a Facebook conversation), DR talked me into running in the Cowtown. The Cowtown is a 5K (3.10 miles)/10K (6.22 miles)/Half Marathon (13.10 miles)/Marathon (26.21miles)/Ultra Marathon (26.21+ miles). Yesterday, I decided to see if they had the race dates up yet. (Truth – I was checking to see when I could get my “Training for Cowtown” t-shirt.)

GASP! Not only are the dates advertised – registration is open. This means Cowtown is VERY close. To be more exact, it is less than 100 days away. To be really exact, it is 3 months and 4 days.

That means I have 1311 hours to get ready for my first “race”. My goal is not to finish in any certain time (though I prefer not to be the very last person). Next year, I will have loftier goals, but this year, my goal is just to finish and enjoy the experience.

Bring on Cowtown!

“Don’t give up on the impossible before you try it.” — Biggie Munn

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It’s the little things that matter

So, I can’t run a marathon (yet) or go a round with Laila Ali (not even going to happen!), but I can recognize how far I’ve come in the last few months.

My boxing trainer always starts my session out with jumping rope for 2 minutes (which I loathe – sorry, Wes!). When I first started boxing, I spent most of the time tangled up in the rope or jumping like a 3rd grader. This week, I noticed how much better I’ve gotten. I don’t quite have Muhammad Ali’s style, but I don’t get tangled up anymore and almost make it through the entire 2 minutes without wearing out (try it – it’s a long time to jump rope!). I smiled and celebrated my milestone. It shows how far I’ve come and proves there’s no limit on how far I can go.

“Take your victories, whatever they may be, cherish them, use them, but don’t settle for them.” — Mia Hamm

Future Implications

Between this blog, school and work, I have noticed how remarkably “social” the fitness and health industry has become. Since starting the blog, I have noticed more brands following me and I have been following some of them as well. Lately, I have been asked who I follow and why. The brands I follow the most are the ones that offer regular tips and useful information. My favorite is Runner’s World. For those who don’t know, Runner’s World is a magazine (obviously, for runners). I started reading the magazine and visiting its website after it was suggested by friends. What I like about Runner’s World is that it is an awesome magazine that appeals to all running levels. Everything that I have a question about, it has an article on. It has effectively translated its appeal into its social media strategy. Via Twiiter and Facebook, it sends out tips about shoes, gear, food and keeping motivated. Its posts often make me want to lace up my shoes and hit the track.

My Fitness Pal (a site that helps users track fitness, diet and weight goals) also has recently stepped its social media efforts and quickly is becoming another favorite. Lately, I have been getting motivating emails and tweets from MFP. Like Runner’s World, it has been motivating me to try new things and get back on the right path.

I think because both of these companies are continuing to evolve and are working to be more engaging to their followers, they will be around a while. They are changing as their audience’s needs are changing. Personally, I like that these companies are offering the engagement I need in the bite-side bits that appeal to me. I wish Garmin (the maker of my runner’s watch) was doing the same. I love Garmin products, but the company earns a C- in the engagement arena. I find most of their social media doesn’t appeal to me. It’s probably only a matter of time before some other brand woos me away.

For me (and I think the same is true for many), it is important for health and fitness brands to engaging. Those of us (like me) who are still working to make this health thing a way of life need all the motivation and engagement we can get. If they want to stay a part of my future plans, they have to keep the engagement coming.

Healthy Triangle

Even though I’ve been silent awhile, I haven’t totally abandoned my goals. I just started to re-evaluate them. It started in August when I took a class on emotional intelligence. It was a very interesting class, during which we discussed balance and whole body wellness. The concept of whole body wellness means that to be truly healthily, you cannot just focus on fitness. You have to look at your physical, mental, and spiritual health. Whole body wellness also looks at the concept that physical ailments could be caused by mental and spiritual issues.

The body piece of the triangle is what people usually focus on: exercise and nutrition. This you know I am working on. I still box once a week. I’m going back to running once a week. I am working on adding in abs once a week, too.

The healthy mind part focuses on knowledge and intellect. I think I have that part more than covered with school.

The last part of the triangle, spirit, is what I realized to be the weak side of my triangle. This part is about relaxing, emotions, stress management and enlightenment. My class in August made me realize that there is one giant change I need to make. Unfortunately, it is not an easy change or one that can happen quickly. In the meantime, I am working on small changes. Once of these changes includes getting more involved in my church. I am also working to do more of the things I like, like spending time with friends. I’m also looking into getting regular massages. I used to think getting massages was a luxurious and indulgent act. Then, through the help of health care professionals, I realized they could be a needed part in living a healthily life. Massages help relieve stress and tension. Stress slows the metabolism, which prevents weight loss. You see where this is going. Besides massages, I am also looking to start practicing meditation. I think this will also be useful for stress relief.

So there it is-Whole body health. I can’t be really healthy without focusing on all sides of the triangle. It makes sense. And like everything else I have learned, it’s all about balance.

Viral Marketing Initiatives

First I have to apologize for being silent for so long. Life has been a little crazy. In my time of silence, I have been thinking about life balance and how to achieve it. The parts of life balance in mind, body and spirit. (I will tell you more in my next blog and explain what it has to do with fitness.) Anyway, a class assignment got me thinking more about this.

We had an assignment about viral marketing. For your knowledge, according to Web Marketing Today, viral marketing is “any strategy that encourages individuals to pass on a marketing message to others, creating the potential for exponential growth in the message’s exposure and influence. Like viruses, such strategies take advantage of rapid multiplication to explode the message to thousands, to millions”. http://webmarketingtoday.com/articles/viral-principles/

Right now, one of the most famous viral campaigns is from Oreo and its “You can still dunk in the dark” tweet. This was a brilliant tweet promoting cookies. (It probably would have appealed more to me if an Oreo was a chocolate chip cookie.)

Two viral campaigns that did appeal to me come from Dove and Make A Wish. The Dove Beauty campaign, launched in 2013, promotes real beauty. The campaign started with the video “Dove Real Beauty Sketches” showed women describing themselves as an artist sketched them. Then strangers described them as the artist sketched the women. The women were shown the difference in the sketches. Make A Wish went viral when it helped a 5 year old boy battling Leukemia become a superhero for a day. The video followed the boy around as he portrayed BatKid and saved Gotham (San Francisco in disguise).

Okay, what do these two have to do with life balance? Spirit. More importantly, the promoting and healing of it. I think the spirit aspect of these campaigns is what made them go viral. Both of these campaigns have similar characteristics. They positive, emotion-filled, about real situations, have great content, and are memorable. These videos remind us what is important. The Dove video makes you stop and think about how you think about yourself. The Make A Wish video reminds us how the little things we do for others can make such a huge impact. The compelling, positive content of these videos is impactful, make people think, and make people want to share them. Part of the proof is I just shared them with all of you. Do they or did they compel you enough to share?