Inspired: Using the Lessons from IDEA World in the Real World

I was very prolific on my run this morning.

Whether it was the afterglow from Blogfest and the IDEA World Fitness Convention, or because I was on a rare run that didn’t involve a cross country runner or a dog, my mind got into inspiration mode this morning, and I had all these quotable thoughts running through my head for the entire six miles.


Of course I forgot most of them as soon as I stopped running.

As a cross country coach, I am expected to offer inspiring tidbits of information to my team, that will compel them to train harder, run faster, and push through the pain of their efforts to achieve success. I want to motivate them, challenge them, inspire them, to be better runners, better students, and hopefully, eventually, better human beings.

Profific 2

No pressure.

Truthfully, even after 12 years of coaching this does not come naturally to me. My words flow much better on paper (or on my computer screen) than they ever do coming out of my mouth. So when I get thoughtful, and start writing inspirational speeches in my head (usually on a run), I try to at least jot down some notes when I’m done.

Today’s speech, motivational quotes aside (which I’m sure are not original), involved some of the things that I learned from a few of the speakers at IDEA. Diana Nyad talked about laser sharp focus. Augie Nieto talked about perseverance in the face of overwhelming challenges. Jillian Michaels asked, “Why not me?” Every single one of them talked about failure. Yes, about failure, because the only way to avoid failure is to give up. And the key words, from all three, were “Never Give Up.”

Just in case I was being thick headed instead of inspired by all those outstanding speakers, I was given a little additional kick in the pants reminder by the top that I receive courtesy of Lorna Jane Active at Blogfest.

Prolific 3

Inspired by Augie

Even if you’ve never heard of Augie’s Quest, almost everyone by now has heard of the Ice Bucket Challenge, which is still gaining steam (not the best word in this circumstance), and, according to a news report I just heard moments ago, has raised over $42 million for ALS research.

Prolific 4

Augie Nieto, the founder of Life Fitness, was diagnosed with Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, in 2005. With the support of his wife Lynne, as well as his family and friends, Augie founded Augie’s Quest to raise money to fund research and drug development to find a cure for ALS.

I was excited that Augie and Lynne were able to speak at IDEAWorld. Augie, who has already outlived the life expectancy for this disease, exemplifies perseverance. He still trains several hours a day, is the chairman of the board of the ALS TDI, and just this past July, was able to walk his daughter down the aisle at her wedding. Never give up.

 Inspired by Diana

The quote that I like best about Diana Nyad is from D.L. Stewart of the Dayton Daily News, “The toughest athlete in the world is a 62 year old woman.” Diana told us the story of her journey to complete the 100 mile swim from Cuba to Florida. And it was a journey. She first attempted it when she was not yet 30, and she failed at it. And she gave up for 30 years.

Prolific 5

When she turned 60 years old, she took a look at her life, and asked herself what she was doing with her “one precious life.” She decided to try the Cuba swim again. And she failed. Three times. But this time, she didn’t give up, she persevered, and in 2013, at age 63, she became the first human to swim, without a shark cage, from Cuba to Florida.

As she spoke about laser focus, Diana Nyad referred to a high school teammate, who asked her, “Do you think that Billy Jean (King) worries about the draw? Who she might be playing in the semi-finals?” “No,” she said, “She doesn’t care who the umpire is, who her opponent is, what the weather is. She’s not even playing the ball, she’s playing the fuzz on the ball.”

It is this laser focus that allowed her to forget about the sharks and the jellyfish, the pain in her shoulders, the exhaustion, and simply concentrate on her goal. Never, never give up.

Inspired by Jillian

I’ll be the first to admit that I was not a Jillian Michaels fan before seeing her give the keynote speech at Blogfest.  I assumed the Biggest Loser Jillian was representative of who she really was. Like many trainers, I felt that the extreme measures used by the trainers on the show were not only dangerous, but counterproductive in the long term.

Friends 17One of the things that I admired most about Jillian was she not only admitted her mistakes, she owned them. She admitted that the Biggest Loser was not a slice of reality, not the way a personal trainer should treat their client. It was a game show, with a huge prize on the line, with people that, while their weight problems were very real, also had bought into the concept and the method that was required to win.

Her real ideology is much more holistic, with a focus on balance and with no extreme measures for weight loss. In fact, she stated that, in general a personal training relationship should be long term (at least six months) before using the Biggest Loser type of motivation. And only if a trainer feels that it would be beneficial.

Jillian also acknowledged other mistakes in her career choices, and admitted to several failures. But she said that we should learn from our mistakes, that everyone fails as some point, and those who eventually succeed learn from those failures and use them to guide themselves toward success.

She also addressed the question of why she has been so successful, when there are plenty of other trainers, with more education, experience, and certifications out there. It’s simple, Jillian says. She tells herself, “Why not me?” Believe in yourself, because you deserve success.

I’ll admit that I did a 180 on my opinion of Jillian Michaels. Not only was she honest, she was funny, sometimes crude (which I always appreciate), and very inspiring.

It’s the People: Two more friends from Blogfest

I also want to add two people to my People I Met at Blogfest List. I didn’t really forget them, but apparently, since we didn’t take a selfie together, my brain shut down.

Friends 21Erin, third from the right, is also a member of Team Eleven by Venus. We hung out with a group at lunch and at the IDEA Opening Party.

And Angie! How could I forget her? On Friday, Angie posted on Facebook that she was going to run 15 miles on Saturday (she’s training for the NY Marathon), and did anybody want to run with her. She was planning to run loops, and her pace sounded about right, so I met her on Saturday morning. We ran six miles together, including a tour of Downtown Disney. She continued on (with another friend, yay!), and got in her 15 miles. Unbelievable as this sounds, considering we are both bloggers, we did not take a single picture of our run. I know!

So now I have prepared my inspirational talk for my cross country team, that I will use as we prepare for competition this season. I plan to tell a little bit of Diana’s story, telling them about focusing on their goal. And I’ll ask them, Why not you? You should be the winners at the end of the season. And finally, talk about perseverance, and that the most important thing is that they never, never, never give up.

Did you have an inspiring coach when you were young? Or now, as an adult? Who inspires you do push yourself to your limits. What are your thoughts on Jillian Michaels?

Yours, Mine, and Ours: Favorite Posts from 2013:

My Favorite Blogs of 2013

As a blogger and avid blog reader, there are always posts that stand out from the rest. These are the posts that mean something to me as a reader, and obviously meant something to the writer. As I was reviewing my past Weekly Reader posts, trying to complete the difficult job of picking just a few out of so many great posts, I noticed that the ones that meant the most to me were about being or becoming vegan.  I know that the new year is a time that many people consider switching (or at least trying) a plant based diet, so I thought I’d share a few that touched me.

Go Vegan - Favorites

No Meat Athlete: Vitamin B12 and the Case for (and Against) a Plant Based Diet.

The Vegan RD: 7 Reasons to Eat Meat? Here is Why They are All Wrong.

Cadry’s Kitchen: Thoughts on Being Vegan Enough.

Oh She Glows: Vegan How To: How to Make the Transition.

On the blogging front, there were dozens of great posts with tons of great information, but this one stood out for me because one of my goals (after seeing Bo Eason speak at the IDEA World Fitness Convention) is to become a better storyteller:

HubSpot: Go Beyond Blogging: How to Become a Better Storyteller.

This blog in one of my favorites. I couldn’t even pick a favorite post, I love everything that Julie writes. I also appreciate the work that goes into each and every post, plus she cracks me up:

Tri-ing to Be Athletic.

Finally, this post never made it to my Reader because it was just posted a couple days ago. Lisa always writes from the heart, and this post is a gut-wrenching review of a year she’ll be happy to say goodbye to:

Runwiki: Goodbye 2013, Hello 2014.

My Own Favorites of 2013

Every blogger has their own favorite posts. For the same reasons as above, it meant something to the writer, it struck a chord with the reader. Here are a few of my own posts from 2013 that I’d like to share again.

Samuel and Teddy - Favorite posts

There is just never not a good time to use this picture.

My post popular recipe (also my most pinned): Vegan Comfort Food: Pot Pie.

My favorite recipe post: It’s a tossup between Jackfruit Burritos and Garlic Pizza.

My most popular running post: Runner! Burnt Out? 4 Reasons Why and 5 Ways to Get Your Mojo Back.

favorite posts

My favorite running post: Why Half Marathon is the Perfect Distance.

My most popular exercise (motivational) post: Excuses, Excuses: How to Overcome the Top 5 Exercise Excuses.

My favorite motivational post: What I’ve Learned About Aging Gracefully from My Older Dog.

Many of my personal posts are sharing family events, racing recaps, and fitness updates, but sometimes I do share a little more. This year I wrote about two important women in my life, both of whom have passed away. My Aunt Lois, who died in January, and my sister Susan, who passed 10 years ago. Both women were important to me, and I love introducing them to you. Writing about them also helps me sort out my feelings and work through my grief.

I hope that I’ve had a bit of an impact on your life this past year, maybe made you laugh or cry, taught you something or motivated you in some way.

Wishing all of you a happy and successful 2014.

Weekly Reader: Wednesday Wisdom from the Web

Have you ever read a great book, seen an inspiring movie, or heard a great joke, and thought, “I’ve got to share that!” Of course you have! Here are a few things from my Reader in the last week (or two) that inspired and motivated me, made me happy, sad, and angry, made my stomach growl, and made me laugh.

Weekly Reader - vegan soup

I have been all about soup lately. It inspires me!

Just because I’m inspired by soup this week doesn’t mean that’s all I have to share. In addition to soup recipes, you’ll also find some other yummy vegan deliciousness (I just like writing that), some great blogging tips, fitness inspiration, and a very happy announcement in this week’s Reader.

Vegan Inspiration

Vegan American Princess, 5 Essential Vegan Soups for Fall/Winter.  Debby Sunshine has you covered. Take your pick of any of these delicious soups and you’ll be warm and ready for cold weather.

Cadry’s Kitchen, Home-style Split Pea and Other Soups that Will Stick to Your Ribs. As you can see, I am all about soup this week. Cadry’s Split Pea will warm your bones.

JL Goes Vegan, Vegan Biscuits and Sausage Gravy. Biscuits and gravy is something I gave up long before I became a vegetarian, but I can’t wait to try this yummy sounding vegan version.

Healthy. Happy. Life. Homemade Seitan: How to Recipe. I am always looking for the perfect seitan recipe, so I will definitely try Kathy’s version next time I make it.

Running & Fitness Inspiration

Tri-ing to Be Athletic, The 2013 Athleta Iron Girl Race Recap. Julies creative and funny posts always have a place in my heart and in my Weekly Reader. Follow her adventures!

Cotter Crunch, Activating those Glutes for Injury Protection. Great information and exercises from Lindsay on how to strengthen and activate your glute muscles.

Fun and Fit, Why Do You Exercise? Is Looking Good Enough? Kymberly wants to know, why do you exercise? To feel good? To be Healthy? To look good?

Miss Zippy, Why I’ll Never Run 26.2 as a Training Run. I admit it, I’ve done it. But I was younger, stronger, fitter. I got away with it then, but was it wise?

Blogging Inspiration

Brooklyn Active Mama, 5 Easy Ways to Make Money on Your Blog. Do you want to make some money on your blog? Nellie has some great tips to get started.

More Than Just Dessert, DIY Self-Hosting: 5 Things You Need to Think About Before Making the Switch. Speaking from her own experience, Emily has some great tips for what to do before you make the switch to self-hosting.

Hubspot, Go Beyond Blogging: How to Become a Great Storyteller. As I’ve mentioned, it is my goal to become a better storyteller. Read this to find out why it should be your goal too.

Blogelina, 3 Great Places to Find Ideas for Blog Topics. If you have ever sat and racked your brain for a topic to write about, Tanya has some great tips to help you find ideas.

Hubspot, A Simple Formula for Writing Kick-Ass Titles. This is your extra for the week. Writing titles is not as easy as it sounds, and the timing for this is appropriate, as I have run out of all the “Inspiration” titles I can think of for this post.

Food for Thought

It’s Linz, Itz an Announcement and I’m Pregnant!!!! I am so happy to share Lindsay’s announcement. She’s already glowing!

Weighty Matters, What if Characters in Horror Films Acted Sensibly? Nothing weighty about this matter. Just some good fun, answering the question I always ask when I see a scary movie.

Run to the Finish, The Last Ironman Finisher. Amanda, who was fortunate to be in Kona to watch the Ironman World Championships, wrote a great series about the experience. This was my favorite post, about the last person to finish before the cutoff time.

Fit, Feminist, and (Almost) Fifty, Older Women and Eating Disorders. Sadly, there is an unfortunate downside to staying younger longer.


Since soup was my inspiration this week, I will take this opportunity to share my two recipes:

Butternut Squash, Sweet Potato, and Red Pepper Soup

Mexican “Chicken” Soup

Now it’s your turn. What has inspired you this week? Please share!

Weekly Reader: Running Into Inspiration

Have you ever read a great book, seen an inspiring movie, or heard a great joke, and thought, “I’ve got to share that!” Of course you have! Here are a few things from my Reader in the last week that inspired and motivated me, made me happy, sad, and angry, made my stomach growl, and made me laugh.

Weekly Reader - Cross Country

Young people running. I find it inspiring!

Before we get on with the link love, I was asked to share this information about an upcoming Twitter Chat:

Twitter chatFitness Magazine (@FitnessMagazine) and Aetna (@Aetna) are hosting a Twitter Chat this Thursday, September 12, from 2-3 pm Eastern time. The topic is “What’s Your Healthy?” Healthy can mean many things to different people. They want to find out what it means to you. Hashtag #AetnaMyHealthy.

I always find it interesting that, with no planning on my part, different topics and areas take precedence each week. Last week I had tons of vegan recipes, in another post I will share lots of blogging info. This week I find that I’m heavy on the Food for Thought category. Just a random thought. When I select posts to share I do it kind of on the run. As I’m browsing through my reader, I mark a post to save as I go, then go back when I start to write this post. I always have to weed it way down because there is a whole bunch of good stuff to share.

That being said, I sure that, whatever your favorite topics, you’ll find some interesting things to read here. Enjoy!

Vegan Inspiration

Oh She Glows, Ultimate 4-Layer Vegan Sandwich. Hurray! Angela’s participating in Vegan Mofo! I’m expecting lots of great recipes this month, including this 4-layer sandwich. Yum!

SpaBettie, Buffalo Jack Sliders. Jackfruit + Buffalo sauce = Spicy Deliciousness.

Running & Fitness Inspiration

rUnladylike, Competing Against Life. Ever have to make the choice between your training and your non-athletic life? We all do. Jesica puts it in perspective.

Miss Zippy, Five Things I’ve Learned from Low Heart Rate Training. I’ve been watching Amanda’s low heart rate training experiment with interest. Here are a few insights that she has learned in the process.

Blogging Inspiration

Hub Spot, The Complete Guide to Updating and Republishing Outdated Blog Content. If you wonder why this is important for your blog traffic (and it is), you need to read this post.

Blogelina, Balancing a Blog and Home Commitments: 4 Very Helpful Tips. If you’re reading this, you probably write a blog. And if you write a blog you know how it can suck up your time. Here are some great tips to help you find balance.

The SITS Girls, How to Write About Hot Topics with Style and Grace. If you’ve ever written about a controversial topic and had it “blow up” you will appreciate Kimberly’s advice here.

Food for Thought

Fit and Feminist, Some Thoughts about Media Coverage of Diana Nyad’s Swim. Did you see much coverage of Diana Nyad’s epic swim? I thought not. As always, I love ready Caitlin’s perspective.

Miz Fit Online, We’re Not Dogs.We’ve Earned Better. It’s not often you get to see Carla ticked off, so hop on over and enjoy her rant.

No Meat Athlete, Vitamin B-12 and the Case for (and Against) a Plant Based Diet. It is true that vegans can’t get vitamin B-12 from their plant based diet. Matt reflects on what that means in a vegan lifestyle.

Kitten a Go-Go, Why I dumped my Obstetrician. Your relationship with your OB is one of the most important that you will have. Read why Danielle chose to switch in mid-pregnancy.

FitKnitChick, This is Your Body on Sugar: The Science Behind Food Cravings. This is simply a great post from Tamara about why we have sweet cravings. Hint: It’s not because you are a weak bad person who just can’t say no.

Amazing Asset, Confidence, When Only Physical Appearance is Considered. A personal post from Tessa about how achieving so-called physical perfection doesn’t lead to confidence or happiness.


Now it’s your turn! Have your read (or written) something that needs to be shared? Please do!

Weekly Reader: Autumn (Almost) Inspiration

Have you ever read a great book, seen an inspiring movie, or heard a great joke, and thought, “I’ve got to share that!” Of course you have! Here are a few things from my Reader in the last week that inspired and motivated me, made me happy, sad, and angry, made my stomach growl, and made me laugh.

weekly reader autumn inspiration

It was hot and muggy but it sure looked inspirational.

This post really has nothing to do with Autumn, but I have reached beyond the end of my patience with the heat and unnatural (for the desert) humidity. It is raining outside as I type this, but it is still 106 degrees. I just want it to be Fall! Please!

In honor of Vegan MoFo, I’m leading off today’s Weekly Reader with some favorite vegan inspiration. Then, for you bloggers out there, some super helpful ideas to make your blog even better. And finally, some great workouts, and discussion of workouts from some great fitness and running blogs. Enjoy!

Vegan Inspiration

Spabettie, Croque Monsieur Stuffed Waffles. Kristina has created a Strange but Good concoction of vegan ham and cheese stuffed waffles that our friend Laura would be proud of!

Itz Linz, 31 Healthy Smoothie Recipes. Not all of Lindsay’s smoothies are vegan, but the ones that are sound and look so delicious that I can’t wait to try them!

The Naked Kitchen, Gluten Free Cinnamon Raisin Bread. Nothing says breakfast better than hot cinnamon raisin bread straight from the oven. Yum!

Just the Food, Taco Tuesdays: Fusion Tacos. Here are two fusion taco recipes from Joni’s upcoming cookbook. You also have a chance to win Fusion Food in the Vegan Kitchen!

Cadry’s Kitchen, Back in Thyme: Breakfast Burritos with Roasted Potatoes. This sounds so delicious that I want to go make it right now even if it is late in the afternoon. I have a fondness for tofu scrambles, but add seitan bacon, roasted potatoes, then wrap it in a warm tortilla and I am in veggie heaven!

Blogging Inspiration

The SITS Girls, How to Make a Media Kit Using PicMonkey. Bloggers (who want to monetize their blog)! You know you should have a Media Kit. Here is a super easy instructional post on how to do it. NOW!

Blogelina, How to Design Your Blog: Writing Tips. Yes, writing is important to the design of your blog. Here are some great tips for beginner bloggers.

Hubspot, How to Embed a Pinterest Board on Your Website. I didn’t even know this could be done, but now I want to try!

Hubspot, How to Create an Infographic in an Hour. I’m dedicating this share to my friend Tiffany, who once spent hours creating infographics. Here is a template (plus a bunch of other tips too).

Healthy Living Blogs, Blog Tip Thursday: IFTTT. It stands for If This Then That and it will help you organize and automate your online life.

Running and Fitness Inspiration

Fitfluential, A Week of Workout, Labor Day Edition. Fitfluential did the work for me, gathering a bunch of great workouts together in one post. From burpees to stretches, you’ll find something to love (or hate) here!

Best Body Fitness, Move It Monday: 20 Minute Pyramid HIIT. Tina always has great workouts and this one will get you sweaty fast! It’s a challenge, but you’ll be done in 20 minutes.

Fun and Fit, I Want to Get Fit, But How to Start? It is never too late to get in shape, lose some weight if you want and start to feel great. Kymberly and Alexandra have some great tips to get you moving.

rUnladylike, 10 Truths About Running. I love this post from Jesica! It is full of great reminders of why I love running (and why I love other runners).

Have you read (or written) something that needs to be shared? Please do!

#IDEAWorld Recap, Part 1: Bo Eason

Just in case you missed my first #IDEAWorld update post, The People, you can find it here.

You know that a speaker made an impression when they become the standard by which all other speakers are judged. It is a rare occurrence, and when it happens, you want to hold on to the experience, relive it if possible, so that you can draw out every bit of inspiration and knowledge.

Such was the case when I saw Bo Eason, first as the Keynote Speaker at IDEA World Fitness Convention, then in a session entitled Why Your Personal Story is Your Most Valuable Asset.

Sessions - IDEA World Fitness Convention

Bo Eason was one of the best, if not the best, speakers I have ever seen. His keynote speech was simple, yet powerful: Bo telling his story. He is never still as he shares his childhood hopes and dreams of becoming an NFL safety, no, not just a safety, the best NFL safety. He moves constantly, striding, jumping, even running on stage, as he tells the story of his plan for achieving his goals, the obstacles he had to overcome, and finally his success. He uses his body, his voice, and his connection with his audience to motivate them to learn to tell their own story. He was mesmerizing.

Session - IDEA World

I was so inspired by Bo’s speech that I decided to go to his session and learn how to tell my own story. Bo says that the information age is over, and for the rest of our lives (and probably our children’s lives too), the power and the influence will belong to the Storyteller. We are all striving to connect with each other, and the ones who can tell their story, can share themselves, will be the leaders. He encouraged us to learn how to move with power and confidence, and to connect with our audience, one person at a time.

This was a workshop, so, after a story or two, Bo had us spend some time writing our own story. He said that our story should be from a time when we were challenged, embarrassed, or hurt so deeply that it changed our lives and helped to make us the person we are today. These things frequently happen when we’re young, between nine and 12 years old, and leave a lasting impression.

As I wrote out my story, I had a revelation. When I write my blog, I tell you all a lot. You know about my dogs, and my grandsons. I shared my experience with my excisional biopsy, my first colonoscopy, and exercise induced asthma. You know my feelings on animal rights and being vegan, and I have even talked about my husband and his health (a little anyway, that’s really his story to tell). But have I really been generous (as Bo would put it) with my story? Or have I been a little stingy?

I think I tend to hold back a little on expressing my feelings. Not just in my writing either, though that’s what counts here. I have this little reserved part of me that holds back, keeps my emotions in check, and I have a difficult time opening up and sharing myself. After hearing Bo speak, and starting to learn how to tell my story, I realize that I want to open up more. It is something that I intend to work on. I think it will not only improve my writing and my blog, it will make me a better wife, leader, and maybe even a better person.

Anyway, after spending several minutes writing out our stories, Bo had us find a partner and take turns telling each other our story. Fortunately, I was with Tiffany, and it was a little easier speaking to someone I already knew, if only for a few hours.  But then Bo tricked us and had us tell our story two more times, to two different people, each time paring it down a little to be as concise as possible. One thing I learned is that while I can write my story pretty well, actually telling it, out loud, will take some practice.

Sessions - IDEA World Fitness Convention

As you can see, Bo Eason has had quite an effect on me. After seeing him speak, I told Alan all about it, both because I was excited and because Alan is a huge San Francisco 49er fan (Bo finished his career with the 49ers). Of course, I told my husband all about Bo’s Jerry Rice story, both because Alan’s a fan and because the story is such a demonstration of the power of commitment, dedication and hard work. Then, as I was preparing to write this, I googled Bo to gather some information, and found an old YouTube video where Bo was telling the story. Not only did I get Alan to watch it with me, we both sat through the entire 40 minute video, once again entranced listening to Bo Eason.

I’ll leave you with one tip from Bo that will help you write your own story. The more personal you make it, the more universal it becomes. Don’t be afraid to dig out that most intimate story, even if it is embarrassing, or humiliating, or revealing, because when you share that story, your audience will relate to it. Your story is the most powerful thing that you have.

I am working on my story, and I will share it when I’m ready. It is part of my commitment to becoming a more generous person.

Are you a storyteller? Have you ever seen or listened to a speaker who changed your life?

Stayed tuned this week for more recaps from IDEA: The (Other) Sessions, The Expo, and The Food.