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    Sounds Like Winning

    Sounds Like Winning

    My first half-marathon was in 2005.

    It wasn’t an ideal first foray into 13.1 territory—just a flat out-and-back course on a gloomy road, in the rain, with very few spectators. I made a rookie mistake and wore a cotton shirt. But even worse, I forgot my headphones. All I heard was my breathing and the sound of my feet hitting the pavement and puddles for 13.1 miles.

    That was all there was to focus on for the entire race, and for me it was indescribably boring. I haven’t made that mistake since, and music is an absolutely crucial part of any workout I do.

    I have never been a fan of silence when it comes to sports or fitness. In high school, we would blast Britney in the locker room and all take turns singing the words. We would make up chants on the bus and on the bench. In college, I used to crank away on my bike trainer in my dorm room, blasting Brand New while my legs burned, climbing an imaginary hill.

    I actually admire runners and athletes who embrace the silence.

    To me, they are probably experiencing their activity the way it was originally meant to be experienced. There is something about being able to focus solely on one thing that is refreshingly pure, especially in this age of overwhelming noise in all aspects of our lives. I definitely understand why some people can be annoyed with their "headphoned" counterparts. There’s the unfortunate case of people using headphones who don’t pay attention to their surroundings at all, leading to awkward “on your left” passing interactions that fall on deaf ears.

    But for me, music exponentially adds to both my enjoyment and motivation, to the point where I am basically dependent on it to get a good workout.

    Some songs have gotten me to the finish line when my feet can’t (thank you My Chemical Romance), and some songs have gotten me one more rep during CrossFit (thank you Kendrick Lamar). My favorite part of Spartan Races is when someone runs up alongside me with a speaker in their backpack, blasting music, even if it’s only for a moment. When I’m in the middle of a boxing round and can barely hold up my arms anymore, the chorus kicks in and I can always find new strength.

    So regardless if you’re an old-school realist or an earbud aficionado, discover what pushes you that one extra step when your body tells you it can’t do it. The battle is 95% mental. Tap into your personal catalyst for overcoming obstacles, and continue to beat yesterday.

    Are you someone who has to have music during a workout? Comment below and let me know if we share that in common!

    Look in the Mirror

    Look in the Mirror

    There's a part of me that always had that mindset - in sports, in my working career, and even when I found CrossFit. I was ok going into a "dark hole" mentally if it meant I had a better chance to win. No one was keeping score in those daily workouts but me, but in my head, everyone was.

    As I've gotten older, I've started to realize how much I'd missed the mark when it comes to evaluating competition. It's so easy today to spend time and energy obsessing over what everyone else is doing. We scroll social media and feel convicted that we aren't training on a scheduled rest day because we see someone else online posting video from their finished workout. We battle anxiety because "so in so" just posted a picture of a big achievement. We compare ourselves and all of our struggles to that one picture, and most times, we feel so much less than we actually are.

    We exhaust ourselves trying to run other people's races, constantly looking at their lanes instead of focusing on our own.

    You see, when I take a "it's always me vs you" mindset, I waste all of my energy focusing on (dare I say, obsessing over) what's out of my control - which is you. I don't control you - I have no influence on the abilities you're born with, the contacts you've created, or the work you choose to do. I only control me. And you only control you.

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    A Mindset Shift For Success

    A Mindset Shift For Success

    We don't stress about not knowing how a book ends when we read chapter one, and we don't get disappointed if we fail to reach our goal on the first day we set out to achieve it. We understand it's Day One, so we simply channel our efforts into doing our best on that day in order to position us to be at our best tomorrow.

    So how do I keep focus on "Day One" in the midst of a trial?

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    Take care of your body, mind and spirit.

    Take care of your body, mind and spirit.

    We are living in a culture of on the go, never ending responsibilities, duties, deadlines and drama. So many people to see and places to be can make it easy to let your health slip away without you even realizing it. No matter what your job, schooling or life may be, we are all extremely busy. Good news is that we can break it down and focus on just a few details to enhance our health.

    Seven years ago I was a 32 year old wife and mom of one kind toddler boy and things were not going as planned.  My weight was the heaviest I had ever been and my mood was always middle of the road. I was just going through the motions and parenting from the couch. I was TIRED and stressed all of the time- as in just get me through the day so I can go to sleep.

    On a Sunday morning in June, I woke up and headed to my bathroom. As I made my way into the closet my balance was impaired. When I rounded out of the closet and attempted to walk to my sink to splash some water on my face, my vision failed me, it felt like sacks of bricks were on my chest and the back of my neck stung hot. I started seeing swirls of colors in the mirror, I wasn't in the reflection but something was. I won't go into too many details but I will tell you that it never occurred to me that it was a stroke. And I waited two days to seek medical attention.

    In these seven years since I have recovered, I've learned some key habits that have helped me lose and keep off over 60 pounds even with being blessed with a baby girl post stroke. They have helped me in mindfulness, in finishing several half marathons and in enjoying lifting and CrossFit. So my interest in sharing this with you is to hopefully help you in your fight for wellness and health. In thinking I was taking care of myself pre-stroke, now I know that I most certainly was not.

    1. Everyday test your limits. Run faster or farther, lift heavier or push harder. Physically test your limits to rewire your brain. In accomplishing something you felt like either giving up on or slacking on, it will give you a stronger sense of purpose and belief in yourself.
    2. Everyday perform some type of mindfulness or meditation. This doesn't mean I am saying go in a perfectly set up room and get on your yoga mat and om it out...I am simply saying take five minutes to focus on a goal of yours. Breathe in deeply, breathe out deeply and tell yourself you are doing this. When the scattered thoughts of all the items you need to accomplish that day start creeping in, focus on that one goal.
    3. Everyday eat real food. Simple. Feed your body with fuel, with real ingredients. Pass that down to your children, nephews, nieces etc. They are going to need that knowledge.
    4. Everyday drink your water. Simple. Skip the sugary drinks and go for water water water!
    5. Everyday express gratitude and smile. Simple.

    So there it is, a nourished body can do amazing things. I truly believe your greatest wealth is your health.

    Kelly Fucheck is a wife, mom of 2 beautiful children. At the age of 32 she survived a Stroke which changed her life forever. She now holds a CrossFit Level 1 and assists at TTR CrossFit and is Founder and Owner of Empowered Strides on her mission to help others in their wellness and fitness journeys.

    Keep Competing

    Keep Competing
    Your story isn't over yet.

    It's been a rollercoaster of a year for me personally. For each win experienced, I seem to take a gut punch. It's almost like a constant, emotional yo-yo up and down. Do you know that feeling?

    It's been a hard ride to hang onto. During those down times, it's far too easy for doubt to creep in and whisper lies. When I experience a small win, I flinch, just waiting for fear to remind me that it won't last. The turbulence creates difficulty in staying focused on the outside goals I have. It's during this time I have to force myself to hunker down and hang on.

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