Sunday, July 19, 2009


We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.
- Aristotle

I used to contemplate excellence in my life and was really struck by the fact that little acts we do reflect what we truly value and what we repeatedly do, adding up to who we really are. What habits do you have that create excellence in your life. Or what habits do you have that may be keeping you from excellence? Here is a nice idea of the difference between perfection which everyone falls short of and excellence, which is difference for everyone and worth striving for.

Perfection is being right,
Excellence is willing to be wrong.

Perfection brings fear,
Excellence encourages risk.

Perfection leads to anger and frustration,
Excellence generates power.

Perfection is being in control,
Excellence is being flexible.

Perfection is judgment,
Excellence is Grace.

Perfection is taking,
Excellence is giving.

Perfection is doubt,
Excellence is letting it flow.

Perfection is a destination,
Excellence is a journey.

The slow burn

I write a lot of personal essay style pieces. This is an abbreviated version of one that was submitted to Have Fun for Bolder Options.

When I injured my knee, I didn’t realize how much it would impact my life. So when it came to hanging out with the youth I mentor through Bolder Options, a running and biking mentoring program in the Twin Cities, I didn’t think twice.

We are in the running program, but I always try to teach my youth that wellness and fitness are about being well rounded. We attend healthy habits and nutrition meetings; I have taken her for walks and stressed the importance of stretching and drinking water. So biking seemed like a perfect fitness substitute for our time together—a lesson in cross training!

So off we went to the spin class at my favorite YMCA. After the first few tracks, my youth really got into the spinning, she was working hard and concentrating. I was so proud right at that moment. She was here with me, on a bike doing a hard work out and pushing through.

We had been through a lot, hanging out and being active together the past year. Our relationship was actually a lot like being on that bike. There were the steady ups and downs you experience when you 're getting to know someone, especially when you're such different people. There are the sprints you work hard through: the fast paced, heart-pumping spurts of energy that you sometimes didn't even know you had in you. You swell a bit with pride knowing that giving it your all, was worth every second.

Then of course toward the end of every class or ride there is the long hill, usually accompanied by a slow burn. When your will and endurance are tested and you really don't think your legs can pump anymore. As you settle in for the long climb, you know the hill is a waiting game. You can feel the results already burning in your muscles-- it's you growing stronger. You can feel it in your head as you encourage yourself, and you can feel it in your heart when you know your doing this because you love it.

I knew a change was happening with our relationship: we weren't just spin converts: we were hunkering down to welcome the hills we could see just in front of us. And we were going to climb them together.

Here we are at the lake... She loves pictures!

If the shoe fits: run in it!!

Hurrah! New running shoes for Mary! I was so excited yesterday to get a new pair of running shoes, with a PINK logo!! I am not a brand junkie, nor do I really prefer one brand over another. What I do prefer is a stability based, light weight shoe and I think I hit the jackpot. The pink swoosh is just a fashion plus. 

I had been experiencing some knee discomfort, the right knee due to an injury from the MNRG Championship Bout in April. (I have a wickedly interesting past I will blog about sometime!) The other knee was just sore during and after my runs and that is a sign to my that the shoes are a little lacking in gusto and support. SO, yesterday on a whim, I bought a pretty new pair. I was a little weary since I did not buy them at one of my 2 trusted running stores, but for the price I couldn't pass it up. 

I tried them out today on a short little run/walk with the youth I mentor and they were A++ material! Not only did they match my new running tank, they were stable in the ankle and heel and cushioned well throughout the heel and ball of the foot too!  They didn't have as much padding as my old shoes did around the tongue and back of the shoe, but it didn't seem to matter. I think they will be great for training and working back up to my desired milage!

Here are my old kicks: 
Nike Air Structure Trax II, ah reliable with a splash of sunshine!

Here are the NEW Kicks: 
Nike Air Alaris plus for ipod and what the Nike store has to say about them below!

The Nike Air Alaris II+ MSL Women's Running Shoe is a trainer that delivers a smooth yet stable ride with excellent cushioning.

  • Breathable mesh upper with synthetic overlays for support and optimal fit
  • Soft crash pad for shock absorption at impact and reduced pronation
  • Full-length Air-Sole unit for cushioning and impact protection
  • Phylon midsole for lightweight, resilient cushioning
  • Medial post to help moderate overpronation
  • Strategic placement of multiple types of rubber and traction for a smooth, sure-footed stride from heel-strike to toe-off
  • Forefoot flex grooves for a more efficient, natural range of motion
  • Considered Design for high performance and low environmental impact
  • Nike+ ready
Now, I will have to invest in an ipod to really take full advantage, until then, you can meet me at the lake!
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