'No Surge': My Journey Learning To Slow Down

'No Surge': My Journey Learning To Slow Down

The mantra doesn't apply to just running, though. Lately, I've found that it also applies to life.

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I ran my first marathon recently, and crossed the finish line with a 2:40 marathon debut, qualifying for the Boston Marathon. Placing 3rd in my first marathon, I could not have done so without the support of my friends who journeyed with me to Savannah.

The words that crossed my mind and kept me going through 26.2 miles were "no surge," a mantra that I tell myself to stop any sudden or erratic surges or changes in pace while running. The story behind why I started saying "no surge" to myself dates back to my junior year of high school, the week before our county championships cross country race.

In a race the previous week, I ran my worst race of the season. Almost 20 people passed me in the last minute of the race as I faded. Like many high school runners, I didn't take bad races well, and would often sulk and not talk to anyone for an entire day to wallow in my failure. I let myself down. I let my team down.

However, my high school coach, Gregg Cantwell, did not let me do that. He went up to me after my race and told me that he noticed I made 6 or 7 sudden surges and sprints in the middle of a race, and that drained me of energy I needed to finish the strong and ultimately detrimentally affected my time and composure. Equally nerve-racking was that the next week was our county championship race, and my failure in this race would be on my mind come time for counties.

The gist of what Cantwell was telling me was this: you can't win a long race in 5 seconds of sprinting. Stay steady and composed, and don't try too hard. Next week, don't surge, he told me, and I would be fine.

The next week, I stepped up to the line with the mantra "no surge" ringing throughout my head. When people went off the line sprinting, I ran my own race. "No surge," I told myself. When I was slower than I usually was at the early checkmarks of the race "no surge" were the words I told myself. When I ran up the steepest hill of what is widely considered the most difficult cross country course in New York, "no surge" were the words I told myself. I let the race come to me naturally, instead of unnaturally trying to seize it.

I didn't know this at the time, but even though it seemed like I wasn't running that hard, I was running faster than I ever was. I would finish with the fastest finishing kick I ever had, and would finish as the top man on my team and lead us in our county championship race. It didn't even seem like I was racing hard, but instead it seemed like I was just running.

The mantra doesn't apply to just running, though. Lately, I've found that it also applies to life.

My life often seems runs in paradoxes. The less hard I study on an exam, the better I do. The less effort I put into work, the more I get done. The message to myself should be clear at this point: chill out and stop trying so damn hard, and you'll be rewarded for doing so. When I do give myself the chance and the wisdom to slow down, I start doing things for the right reasons. I start volunteering to help people instead of seeking recognition and credit to put on my resume. I become kinder to the people around me because I want to take time to listen to them, not because I want a favor. I stop being "busy," and I get more done. I start praying not because I want God to do something for me, but instead to thank God for the people in my life.

That isn't to say that you shouldn't push yourself outside of your comfort zone. Dean Karnazes once said that "struggling and suffering are the essence of a life worth living. If you're not pushing yourself beyond the comfort zone...you're choosing a numb existence." But super type-A people like myself often lack balance, try to do too much at once, and burn out in the process. Slowing down and taking life at a sustainable pace saves me. It doesn't mean I do everything slowly, but instead, I do things slower when they're meant to be done slowly, and I do things fast when they're meant to be done quickly.

There has been a lot going on in my life, and what people close to me have expressed is that you can't control your circumstances in life, and you can't even control your past circumstances. But you can wake up every day with the attitude of doing your best to react to those circumstances and make the best of them. When we're ready, we can grow from them. As Romans 5 says, "we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, endurance produces character, and character produces hope." My unfortunate circumstances have, at times, seemed overwhelming and like the end of the world, but learning to slow down and living life with the mantra of 'no surge" allows me to press forward with peace.

I still think I made mistakes in my first marathon. At mile 18, feeling like I was absolutely unstoppable, I tried to make a sudden and drastic move to win my first marathon in dramatic fashion. One mile later, my body started breaking down and it took the same effort to run significantly slower, and that move was a big factor why. Predictably, it was in that mile when I started abandoning the mantra.

Naturally, I walk through life erratic and unpredictable, feeling like I have to finish everything at once. Although the outcomes in my life are still unpredictable, "no surge" allows me to proceed with steadiness, make less mistakes, and feel natural about it.

I have a peace now that I didn't have before I started applying it to my life, just like I had a peace in running that I didn't have before I started using mantra. It's what works for me, especially at times when I'm prone to anxious or racing thoughts. I can't control what life or what God throws at me; I never can. But I can control the poise with which I can react. "No surge," i say to myself as I write this article. I say those words again as I walk through a point of my life of extremely tumultuous uncertainty.

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An Honest Review Of ItWorks! From Someone Who Doesn't Sell The Products

No, I'm not looking for you to "join a team" or begin any challenges.
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I'm sure you've seen your friends on Facebook transition from friend to salesman. Whether it be for Scentsy, LipSense, or AdvoCare; multi-level marketing companies are on the rise thanks to social media. ItWorks! remains one of the most prominent.

ItWorks! is a health and wellness company using primarily plant-based ingredients without any artificial sweeteners or coloring. Their "number one seller" is the famous body wraps but the company is mostly weight loss supplements and vitamins. The company has a passion for the natural over the synthetic. Co-founder Mark Pentecost states on the site's Our History page that "you want to know that you're putting the very best things in your body."

Since most reviews of these products come from distributors, who are therefore biased, I have reviewed three of their greatest products and one I believe you should avoid.

1. Greens™ Blend Chocolate

As a vegan, I sometimes have to double check that I'm receiving the proper nutrients. ItWorks! Greens have been saving my life lately. It contains 52 herbs and nutrient-rich superfoods as well as 34 fruits and veggies. It is meant to alkalize, balance, and detoxify.

This is my favorite product! It gives me energy and even fills in for breakfast sometimes. It honestly makes me feel great. Then again... they always said eating all your fruits and veggies would!

ItWorks! gives you those healthy servings in a delicious chocolate flavor (which is bomb with almond milk). Make sure you use a blender bottle or blender. Like many powdered supplements, it can have that grainy aftertaste.

2. Advanced Formula Fat Fighter™

The idea behind this supplement is that it’s "okay to indulge if you have your Fat Fighters." Basically, if you just must have that sweet treat or piece of bread then you can take this pill within an hour to prevent your body from absorbing the carbs and a portion of the fats. If you're anything like me, you eat what you want when you want, so you'll end up taking these pills on the daily.

The main reason I like the Fat Fighters is that they reduce cravings and I normally have such a sweet tooth!

3. ThermoFIGHT™

This product is meant to increase calorie burning, boost the rate of your metabolism, and boost your energy. Like with Greens, I definitely feel energized when I take this supplement. Not in a jittery or wired way, either.

They say "abs start in the kitchen" but I'll try and cheat the system when I can!

4. Ultimate Body Applicator™ and Defining Gel™

This is the ItWorks! claim to fame... and that ASTOUNDS me.

I used to be so skeptical of this company because of the wraps. I tried them three different times and was not impressed each time. The ultimate body applicator and defining gel are meant to tighten and tone the skin to redefine the appearance of your body’s contour. Sure, you'll receive those results... just at an outrageous price. It's an expensive product that requires a lot of re-purchasing in order to receive any drastic results. Not to mention the most drastic results are just reduction of water weight.

They're really just an overpriced skin firming lotion. I suggest finding a nice cream from Target and sitting in the sauna instead.

If your facebook-friend-turned-salesman pushes for you to buy the wraps, just remember that I warned you.

I would like to give an honorary mention to KetoCoffee (probably their second most popular item). Because it is not vegan, I have not given it a try. I have heard amazing things from multiple women, though. Most keto coffee recipes give people the shakes and amp them up too hard. I've heard that ItWorks! has perfected the recipe.

I have used the first three products for a little over three months now. Sometimes I am inconsistent and miss servings. However, I match these products with a vegan diet (mostly whole foods based) and 3-4 days of exercise. I do not have drastic results but I have lost a little over ten pounds and feel great each day. I plan to remain a customer with this company (I have Greens on Autoship!).

I feel so blessed to be a Loyal Customer with ItWorks! because I receive up to 40% off and free shipping after three months. Without this discount, I probably never would have given this company a second thought. I highly recommend going that route because, well...

Cover Image Credit: Savanah Garcia | Instagram

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Men, If The Gillette Commercial Angers You, You Need To Re-Evaluate Your Morals

If you are offended by this commercial, YOU are who the commercial is aimed at.

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On Tuesday, January 15, Gillette, a men's shaving care company, released an extremely controversial commercial. This commercial that has taken over social media by storm shows many different examples of toxic masculinity and how men should encourage other men to be the best they can be, playing off of the company's tagline.

Many people are angry with this commercial, mostly because they believe it to be "anti-male." It first shows different examples of toxic masculinity, such as a dad saying, "Boys will be boys" as his son beats up another kid. It then goes on to other examples, like sexual harassment against women, social media bullying and mansplaining. In the last part of the commercial, it shows different ways men can counteract these same situations in different, positive ways.

I have seen so many tweets of men throwing away Gillette products, cussing out the company and saying they have no right to "come after men" like that. But guess what?

This commercial isn't anti-male. It is all for being a positive influence and a respectful HUMAN.

"Boys will be boys" is not a valid excuse for your son to beat up another kid at school. Mansplaining everything a woman says does degrade her. Standing on the sidelines watching a man make comments to a woman who clearly isn't interested is awful. Just like girls automatically hating other girls is not okay just because it is seen as a societal norm. This isn't about being against men and it never will be.

No, I'm not a feminist because I do not align with the man-hating definition that that word is given in today's society. But I have more respect for the men in my life who don't subscribe to the idea that being a man means that you have to be an immoral, toxic person. This commercial isn't about being politically correct. It's about being a good person and just happens to mention the negative traits that men sometimes exhibit. Just like women do.

The best men in my life are the ones who put their masculinity aside and don't let it infiltrate everything they do. They stand up for other men who are being put down due to who they are. They stand up for women who are being harassed by other men. They teach younger boys how to be respectful, honest, good men so that when they grow up, they can teach their sons the same lessons.

The men who are triggered by this commercial need to look themselves in the mirror and ask why it bothers them so much. Is it because YOU make excuses for the way you act because you're "a man" and it is just "what you do?" Maybe it is because you know it is true, that you can see the toxic masculinity in yourself but don't want to admit it.

Whatever the reason, just understand that the commercial couldn't be further from putting down men. Gillette, and the rest of society, want men to be the best they can be, period.

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