Lindy Vincent

Lindy Vincent recently opened a personal training business, Moxie Fitness, which provides personal training services to time-crunched, health-conscious people. Additionally, she is a coach for Team Beach Body, the creator of well-known exercise DVDs and nutritional supplements. Read more about Lindy Vincent.

Tri C: Courage, Commitment, Consistency

Posted by: Lindy Vincent Updated: January 11, 2011 - 5:37 PM

Now that the shine of the new year has pretty much worn off, and it’s back to your regular routine, I want to highlight what I call Tri C, which is short for Courage, Commitment and Consistency. In my years spent thinking about why most people struggle significantly when trying to lead a healthy lifestyle, I have narrowed it down to a 3-pronged approach.   Focusing on these three things will help insure that your new year’s resolution to “get fit:, “get healthy”, “lose weight” or any iteration of the theme, stands a strong chance of coming to fruition.

On the journey to a healthy lifestyle the first thing one has to muster is courage. Courage can be defined as the ability to face unpleasantness without fear. The context in which I use courage is that one needs enough moxie to face the reality of your current status with one hundred percent authenticity and transparency in order to set the bar for improvement going forward. For example, if you are overweight, own up to the bad choices, in detail, that you’ve made that have resulted in unnecessary weight gain. If you are a smoker who wants to quit, have the courage to tally up what you spend on your habit on a monthly basis, as well as think about the toll it is taking on not only your health but on the well being of your loved ones. If you can’t remember the last time you exercised, have the courage to honestly list the factors that have prevented you from doing so. 
 
Next up is commitment. When you make a commitment you engage yourself in a promise that you plan to keep. Interestingly, most people would never easily break a commitment made to another person, but a significant number will easily, often without a second thought, break a commitment made to themselves. Many people resolve to eat better and to exercise regularly starting January 1st—of every year. Usually by February 1st that  commitment is long broken. What does it take to honor a commitment that you make to yourself? A strong, unwavering desire to do so, and a little help from your friends. Finding a support system, even an on-line buddy, has proven to make the difference in people maintaining their commitment to themselves. It goes back to human nature - - we do not want to disappoint someone who is counting on us, so we do whatever it takes to live up to that person’s expectations of us. 
 
Finally, consistency is king. Once you have identified exactly what behavior you want to change, and have enlisted the support of friends, family and/or co-workers, the goal is to take little actions every day until the new behavior is second nature. Let’s say your goal is to lose fat.  The best way to remain consistent is to make small changes over time. Start with eating a healthy breakfast every morning, or start with drinking a glass of water before every meal or snack. Once you have incorporated one beneficial behavior into your life, then add another one. A healthy lifestyle is not an all or nothing proposition. It’s cliché, but as much as I love running I had to throw in a running metaphor---achieving good health is a marathon, not a sprint. It requires a sustainable lifestyle change not a flashy, short-term effort.
 
Focus on the Tri C as you work to improve you!  The only thing you stand to lose is a few bad habits.  Happy New Year!

2010 Twin Cities Marathon - Been There, Ran That!

Posted by: Lindy Vincent Updated: October 3, 2010 - 11:55 PM

 

“From where does it come to see the race to its end…….it comes from within” – Chariots of Fire
When it comes to completing the marathon distance (26.2 miles) no truer words have been spoken. Today, I ran the Twin Cities marathon for the second time. The weather was crisp and clear, the spectators were enthusiastic and friendly and I was fired up and ready to go.  I’ve learned through the years that anything can happen during a race. I was feeling great and really strong for the first few miles, then things quickly took a turn for the worse. The race started at 8:00, and by 8:30, just as I was mid-way through mile 4, my right hip was throbbing in pain with every step. My hip had shown minor signs of an issue about a week ago after my last training run, but since it was time to taper down my runs in anticipation of the marathon, I simply rested it, iced it and took ibuprofen whenever it felt uncomfortable, which was infrequently. I believed that whatever the issue it was fleeting and that I would be fine. Wrong!  During the marathon the pain returned with a vengeance, and I seriously contemplated prematurely ending my run. I weighed the pros (I could prevent causing any long-term damage and I could get immediate relief from my pain) and cons (I would disappoint not only myself, but also my family and friends who’d come out to support me, and all my hours of training would be for naught). While I was wrestling with my decision I continued to run, because I really didn’t want to stop, and in the process of running my hip started to slightly numb. The pain was still there but it started to become a little fainter. I took that as a sign to keep going. Then, as I looked to my left I saw a sign that read, “Pain is Temporary but Pride is Forever”. That sign was in the right place at the right time, and it helped me to resolve to finish the race by pushing through the pain.  I began to overcompensate and run on my “good side” which allowed me to get by and still make progress. Before I knew it I was passing the 10-mile marker, then the 15-mile marker and eventually the 20-mile marker. My hip was still throbbing on and off the entire time but I was determined to give it my all and to finish the race. Right on time, at mile 21, I saw my wonderful husband and children cheering me on from the sidelines. Their support during my weeks and months of training coupled with their presence at the race was enough to keep me running towards the finish line. I miraculously made it across the finish line with a slight limp and a good finishing time. I was overjoyed and very proud of myself for persevering.  
As I’ve said many times, running is the best metaphor for life that I have experienced. Through the ups and downs, the good days and bad, we must gather our strength, dig deep within and resolve to keep moving forward, one step at a time.  We must never quit.

"Running (life) is a big question mark that's there each and every day. It asks you, 'Are you going to be a wimp or are you going to be strong today?'"
- Peter Maher, Canadian marathon runner

Ice Ice Baby!

Posted by: Lindy Vincent Updated: September 9, 2010 - 10:23 AM

 

Ice Ice Baby
There is just one month left until the Twin Cities Marathon. I’m excited as I enter the final stretch of my training. My latest long run was 18 miles last Saturday, and I will run the Get Ready To Rock 20-mile race in White Bear Lake this Saturday. One runner’s ritual that has kept me going and has contributed significantly to my speedy post-run recoveries is taking ice baths after each long run.  
Let me explain.  Preparing for a marathon requires, among other things, running numerous short runs (6-8 miles) and several long runs (10-20 miles) over a course of three to four months. Long runs are critical for marathon runners because they enable the body to adapt to running greater distances safely and efficiently. One bummer is that long runs also increase a runner's risk of injury, which can result in a necessary (but depressing) break from training. One way that I learned to mitigate the probability of sustaining a running injury is to practice cold-water immersion, known to many runners as the dreaded ice bath. Cue the haunted house screams.

According to several experts, cryotherapy ("cold therapy") constricts blood vessels and decreases metabolic activity, which reduces swelling and tissue breakdown. Once you get out of the ice bath and  the skin is no longer in contact with the cold source, the underlying tissues warm up, causing a return of faster blood flow, which helps return the byproducts of cellular breakdown to the lymph system for efficient recycling by the body. Ice baths also suppress inflammation and help to flush  harmful debris out of your muscles.
 
The long and short of it is, ice baths work for me. I don’t feel as sore as I used to before I discovered ice baths, which makes me better prepared to execute my weekly training runs without issues. What I do is quite simple --on my way home from my long run I stop by Byerly’s and purchase two 18-pound bags of crushed ice. Once I’m at home I get into the bathtub, run enough cold water to cover my legs, then I add the two bags of ice.  Truthfully, for the first few minutes the ice bath is extremely painful and I want to cry. After the first five minutes my legs are so numb that I don’t feel anything. I sit there for twenty minutes surfing the Internet to pass time. The ice baths are brutal, but anything that speeds my recovery is worth the pain. The best feeling is getting out and taking a warm shower. I then stretch and relax in my bed to warm up. In about 30 minutes I’m good to go!
Non-runners, and some runners, think I’m crazy for taking ice bathsWhenever the topic comes up I get a lot of questions and some interesting looks as I describe the ritual and the benefits. All I can really say is don’t knock it until you try it! As I continue on the long road to 26.2 this is one ritual that will remain a constant.

13.1 x 2

Posted by: Lindy Vincent Updated: August 23, 2010 - 4:45 PM

 

I have done some serious running during the month of August as I continue to prepare for the Twin Cities Marathon in October. My long runs are now deep into the double digits, and I ran not one, but two, half marathons this month. I’ve had a few minor tweeks to contend with but for the most part I have been injury-free and running some of my best times. I have settled on my nutrition plan and have road tested all of the right accessories and energy gels. I log a lot of miles weekly to prepare for the big day, but It's been the half marathons, the race atmosphere, that have fueled my passion.
The first half marathon, held on August 7th, was Minnesota’s green race, the Urban Wildland Half Marathon, benefitting the Wood Lake Nature Center in Ritchfield.  I was a little nervous at the start line because I hadn’t raced in a while, but once the race kicked off and I got into my rhythm it was on!  Running through the streets of Ritchfield with hundreds of other enthusiastic runners was incredibly fun.  The weather was not great for a race (hot, humid, scattered showers) but the sideline supporters were amazing. The streets were lined with children in wagons, loudly cheering supporters and a ton of volunteers handing out water and Gatorade. My only goal going into the race was to finish in less than 2 hours and I happily and thankfully met that goal. Along the course I met a few friendly runners but one stands out in my mind. Her name is Mary. Mary and I found ourselves running in lock step as we rounded the final half mile stretch to the finish line. We quickly introduced ourselves and encouraged each other to keep pushing. We were both tired but knew that in a few minutes we would be crossing the finish line.  Out of nowhere I got my second wind and started to just kick really hard in order to have a strong finish. Mary told me that she couldn’t keep up but then she began cheering for me at the top of her lungs.  All I heard was “go Lindy! You can do it Lindy! You’re almost there Lindy!” as I ran to the finish line. I then turned and cheered her in and we high fived each other in celebration. It was a beautiful moment shared between two runners. Moments like that serve to fuel my passion for running.
Just yesterday I ran the inaugural 13.1 Minneapolis Half Marathon benefitting WorldVision.  Because I had just successfully run the Urban Wildland Half I was feeling great and anxious to get started.  It was a nice sunny day, sort of hot and humid, but manageable.  There were a lot of people at the start line which had a very narrow entry way for us all to pass through so that our timing chips could be activated. Right away I was running shoulder to shoulder with slower runners and could not get out of the pack to pass anyone. Once I was finally able to break free I had to run on cobblestone for about a quarter of a mile just to hit a comfortable stride. Not a great start. I found myself trying to play catch up during mile two, but I overcompensated and ran that mile too quickly. My whole race strategy was falling apart and I had to quickly re-calibrate. By mile 3 I was able to hit my stride and to maintain a comfortable pace. I was feeling great until mile 7 when I became nauseous and began to experience stomach cramps. I thought about stopping but couldn’t bring myself to do it even as the pain worsened. That’s never happened to me before in all of my years of running, but I persevered and met my goal of finishing in under two hours.
These two different races, characterized by their unpredictability, offer the perfect metaphors for life: always expect the unexpected and never quit. 

The Long Road to 26.2

Posted by: Lindy Vincent Updated: August 1, 2010 - 9:08 PM

At 5:00 a.m. this morning I headed out the door to run my favorite 8 mile course as part of my five-day-a-week training ritual to prepare for the Twin cities marathon on Sunday, October 3rd. It was still dark and I was the only one on the road. I did my ritualistic warm up stretches ,which I haven’t strayed from in years, turned on my iPod Shuffle to find Kanye West rapping about the Good Life (a great running song), activated my GPS, secured my water belt and took off. I absolutely love running in the morning before my family wakes up. That way I know I won’t be interrupted and can get my run in before all of the daily activities begin.   It’s also great to run as the sun is coming up and nature is beginning its day. I feel alive and ready to conquer the world.   I must confess that I can’t stand wild animals, but due to the frequency of my encounters with chipmunks, rabbits, squirrels and even deer, I’ve learned to co-exist with them without too much drama. One of my most memorable runs was early last spring when I was running the trails near my house and a deer dashed across my path about a foot in front of me. I almost had a heart attack. Luckily, the deer had no interest in getting to know me better and I got out of dodge as quickly as I could. I think I did a 6-minute mile fueled by sheer adrenaline. 

As I was running this morning  I formulated the framework of this blog post. I decided that I am going to keep a journal of what training for a marathon means to me and how it’s impacting my life.  I’ll update it periodically as I get closer to race day.  I figure one day my children can read it and get a better understanding of why their mom is so passionate about running.
Although I run year round, I officially began my marathon training on July 7th. I have run a marathon before and I’m excited to do it again knowing full well that numerous challenges lie ahead.  Preparing my body to go the distance is an interesting undertaking. From my weekday runs to my weekend long runs, everything I do pretty much revolves around optimizing my running strategy—lately I’ve been focused on perfecting my carb loading technique, working on my recovery strategy post-long runs and trying to determining if Gatorade or Power Aide will be my drink of choice on race day. Even such seemingly mundane things as finding new songs to add to my iPod library, tinkering with what to have for my pre-race breakfast (oatmeal and a banana or a Shakeology smoothie?), and finding the perfect running socks (they must be seamless and moisture-wicking) take on lives of their own.
Besides having the right “stuff”,  training for a marathon requires a great deal of sacrifice on many levels, especially when I factor in my family. As a runner I pretty much always have some minor pain or tweak to deal with, not to mention the sheer exhaustion I sometimes feel from the mileage I put on my body. However, I think the most significant sacrifice comes from my husband and children because training requires me to be away from home for hours while I do my long runs on Saturdays, and for significant chunks of time while I do my base runs. My husband often has to re-arrange his work schedule or postpone his own workouts until I’m done with my training. The kids have to go to their dad for things that they would normally come to me for, or postpone an activity or play date, which requires their patience and understanding. I’m really lucky to have the encouragement  of my family as I train. One key to successfully training for a marathon is having the support of my spouse and children. Although they are not runners themselves it is imperative that they understand and support the sacrifice and dedication required to feed my passion.
It’s a fact that the training will get progressively harder as I get closer to race day. There’s a quote (I’m paraphrasing) that basically says that if the marathon doesn’t kill you then the training will. Training is demanding and challenging, but absolutely critical to a strong performance on race day. While my weekday runs range from 8 to 10 miles, my weekend runs are in the double digits and will continue to increase by about two miles each Saturday, culminating in two 20-mile runs. I’ve decided to mix in two half marathons in August to mimic race day and to really get a great understanding of my current race pace so that I can realistically set my target time goals.   It really helps to do the long runs with my marathon training partners, one of whom has some very aggressive pace goals, in order to keep pushing myself. When running alone it’s easy to get into a comfortable pace and sort of zone out. When I run with competitive people it serves to further motivate me to give it my all, and to me, that’s what the marathon is all about----giving my all, having no regrets and leaving nothing on the table. I’m a fiercely competitive person (with myself) and I play to win. That’s why running is the perfect sport for me because there are endless ways to improve and challenge myself.
While it is indeed a long and winding road to the marathon, it’s also an extremely rewarding and satisfying journey. To know that I can master my body as well as my mind as I race towards my running goals is priceless. At the end of the day, training for a marathon is incredibly difficult, but I love it. There is nothing in my fitness life I would rather be doing in this moment.  

Denzel and the Impact of Theater

Posted by: Lindy Vincent Updated: July 11, 2010 - 6:32 PM

My family and I just returned from a whirlwind visit to New York City.  We had fun doing the tourist things like hanging out in Central Park, touring the Natural History Museum (where they shot the movie Night at the Museum) and riding the Ferris wheel at the world’s largest Toys R Us in Times Square.  That was all great, but the highlight of the trip was definitely witnessing Denzel Washington embody the lead role of Troy Maxson in August Wilson’s award-winning play Fences on Broadway.   I’ve seen Fences a few times over the years at local theaters here and in other cities, so I already knew the characters and the story, but with Denzel lending his skill to the piece this theater experience tops the list as one of my most memorable yet.

For those who have seen any one of Denzel’s twenty-six movies, I don’t have to tell you that he is, arguably, one of the greatest actors of all time, but to see him live gave me a chance to witness someone take their craft to a completely different level.  Not only was Denzel a master of the dialogue, but his charm, facial expressions, voice inflections, movements and verbal dexterity transported me to 1957 Pittsburgh.   I laughed, I cried and I wanted the play to go on long after the two and a half hours were over. 

Experiencing Fences on Broadway really took me back to my childhood, and made me ponder the role that the arts, specifically theater, can play in the shaping of a child’s outlook on life.  As far back as I can remember I have loved going to the theater.  Although my family didn’t have a lot of resources as I was growing up, one thing my mother did that had a significant impact on both my sister and me was exposing us to the theater at an early age.  In one of our local theaters in Cleveland, Ohio, the Karamu Theater, we were able to experience a wide breadth of culture, and to begin to gain an understanding of the larger world around us.  We learned about life through the stories of others while we laughed, cried, sympathized and were amazed.  In fact, I did an internship at the Karamu when I was a senior in high school, and my sister had roles in several plays during her high school career.  I believe these things happened as direct result of the power and impact of theater on young, impressionable minds.  Additionally, when I was a child my mother started the tradition of going to see Black Nativity at the Karamu every Christmas.  I loved that experience so much that I decided to carry on that tradition with my own family so my husband and I take our children to see Black Nativity at the Penumbra Theater every year. 

As a parent I have made it a point to expose my children to a wide range of cultural experiences.  They have seen several plays ranging from Mulan Jr. at The Children’s Theater to The Lion King on Broadway, and their response is always the same:  amazement, wonder and curiosity.  They marvel at the characters, the costumes and the set, they question us about the dialogue and the story, and often want to read the book or see the movie after they have seen the play.  While it is extremely valuable to expose all children to theater, museums, concerts and all forms of the arts, it’s especially beneficial for underprivileged children because, like reading, it allows them to imagine a life beyond their current circumstances.  The numerous benefits of exposing children to the arts is well researched and documented and includes children learning to think creatively and with an open mind, children learning to observe, describe, analyze and interpret, children learning to express feelings with and without words, and children learning to practice problem-solving and critical thinking skills.  So the next time you’re looking for something to do with your children I strongly encourage an outing to see a play.  Whether the star is Denzel Washington or a local actor, I guarantee the experience will be memorable and have a positive, long-lasting impact.

 

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