Dr. Kenney’s Friday 5 Spot
On Fridays I like to share experiences I’ve had during the week with patients and in my personal life that I’ve found significant. I like to share them in hopes that you might find value in them and have something resonate with you in your life.
Something inspirational I heard. I was listening to an ultra-running podcast and the guest was a woman who recently completed a 240-mile race. What was inspirational about her was that she was not born as an amazing runner or endurance athlete. She was a regular woman that lost over 200 pounds! She got motivated to begin getting healthy not on the advice of her doctors or friends, it was the realization that she couldn’t walk a mile to a restaurant her friends had selected for brunch. She went from being afraid and unable to walk a single mile, to running 240 miles straight.
What I found inspirational was that she created massive changes in her life by starting small. She began by making herself a healthy lunch each day for two weeks instead of eating out. After two weeks, she added homemade meals for dinner as well. Those improvements led to joining a gym which eventually led to running (at night because she did not want anyone to see her). She followed no specific plan, just attempted different things, and gave it her best. Hearing her describe the mental and physical transformation she made from a sedentary, obese person to a confident woman unafraid to challenge herself, was amazing to me!
Something that has been helping me. Beginning on December 30th, my wife decided she and I should start doing daily ice baths through the end of January. We run cold water into our tub, then add shovels full of snow to get it approximately 35-40 degrees. I am the one that introduced my family to ice baths year ago, but I had not thought to do them in quite some time.
I stay in the ice bath for 3-5 minutes and it has made a tremendous difference in my recovery. With the training for my upcoming race, I have been running daily for almost 6 months and have continued to work out 6 days a week during that time as well. This tends to create soreness and stiff joints at times, both of which the ice baths have been decreasing dramatically. Additionally, putting your body into freezing water challenges you mentally so it helps build fortitude and strength in that regard too.
A lesson I’ve learned from my toughest races. As someone that has suffered through long and intense races, I have learned many lessons along the way. One I find significant is that it hurts more to stop than keep moving forward. When we face challenges (physical or mental), there is a tendency to want to take a break. We tell ourselves we will rest, gather our thoughts, and regroup but more often we simply lose our momentum and nerve.
I have found in races that when I rest too long, my body tightens up and it becomes more painful to continue. Mentally, my mind senses comfort and begins to see whatever challenge remains as more daunting. Likewise in life, when I take a break from pursuing a goal, I find I lose momentum and start talking myself out of making the type of aggressive moves I know will help. Having learned this lesson (often the hard way), my goal is always to rest as little as possible while pursuing relentless forward progress.
Something I teach my children. I don’t recall where I initially heard it, but a saying I teach my children is, “You get two names in life, the one I give you, and the one you will make for yourself.”
The first is important because it will always remind you of where you came from and how you began. However, the second is more important. I teach my children that the name they make for themselves is ongoing. It involves habits, character, how they treat others, reactions in times both good and bad, and so much more. In the end, the name you make for yourself is created over time through your actions so make sure they are ones you can be proud of.
Some quotes I love.
“You have what it takes, but it may take everything you have.”
“It is impossible to live without failing at something unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default.” – J.K. Rowling
“Sacrifice comfort to chase goals or sacrifice goals to chase comfort.” – Dr. Josh Handt
“Most people do not really want freedom, because freedom involves responsibility, and most people are frightened of responsibility.” – Sigmund Freud
“The false prophets told the people what they wanted to hear, and the people loved them. The true prophets told the people what they needed to hear…and they stoned them.”