The Attitude of Gratitude

By: Dr. Dawn McCrory

“When you arise in the morning think of what a privilege it is to be alive, to think, to enjoy, to love.” ~ Marcus Aurelius

My ironman training is in full swing… sort of. I am actually focused on my half ironman scheduled for July in wine country. This race will be a nice halfway point on my road to IMNZ and give me an idea of how to adjust and focus my training for the rest of the year. I am already feeling a bit stressed about the added training time. I can barely fit in the training needed for the half at this point, let alone the full ironman! And the more I think about it and try to plan my weekly workout schedule, the more stressed I become.

And then I took a step back this morning and said THANK YOU

I have a lot to be grateful for… my loving and supportive wife, great pups, kitty purrs, a new business (, a savvy business partner, amazing clients and patients who trust me to help them heal, my health, my knowledge and practice of self care to keep me healthy, my parents, morning dog walks, beautiful weather, training partners/friends on the weekends, swim goggles that don’t leak or fog (Sable), a choice between pool and ocean swims, my BlueSeventy wetsuit, great road bike (Trek Madone WSD), fantastic running shoes (Newtons), my Toyota Highlander with a bike rack, sautéed kale and onions with sweet potatoes, awesome chocolate balls rolled in shredded coconut, etc.

When I stopped to think of all that I am grateful for in my life, the other stuff just dropped away. It doesn’t matter if I can’t fit every single workout in for the prescribed time/distance. It doesn’t matter if I get dropped on every hill climb. It doesn’t matter if I struggle with leaving my comfort zone. Nothing really matters but a heart full of gratitude. From gratitude all good things come.

So what are youlgrateful for today? Make a list and say a heart felt thank you for each and every item on that list. Now… doesn’t that feel better than stressing about what you don’t have? I thought so!


Virtues of Trail Running/Hiking

By: Dr Dawn DPT

“If you take any activity, any art, any discipline, any skill – take it and push it as far as it will go, push it beyond where it has ever been before, push it to the wildest edges of edges, then you force it into the realm of magic.” ~ Tom Robbins

Trail running takes running into the realm of magic for me.  The further I run and the more difficult the trail, the more magical the experience. But above and beyond the magic of communing with nature and my own body, there are many virtues to trail running or hiking no matter the distance!

Hitting the trails builds strength, enhances balance and coordination, develops mental focus, and teaches good running skills that are translatable to pavement running. The uneven surfaces of rocks, roots, and ruts demand constant mental focus, short quick steps, side to side hopping, and continual fascial and ligamentous as well muscular adjustments from the ankles through the hips and spine in multiplanar movements. All of these great demands on the body serve to build injury resistance. The softer surface of the trails is easy on the joints too!

There are a few considerations to create a safe experience while you are communing with nature:

Walking/power hiking is okay and even encouraged especially on steep ascents/descents or very rough or unfamiliar terrain

Pick up your feet!

Keep your steps short and quick

Keep your gaze just ahead of you not directly down at your feet

Engage your core and stand tall

Go for time not distance: road miles are not translatable to trail miles

Take water, nutrition, and a fully charged phone

Familiarize yourself with the trail beforehand and/or go with someone experienced

Smile and offer friendly greetings to all those out there on the trails with you!

Take only memories; leave only footprints!

I hope you seriously consider hitting the trails after reading this little piece.  Maybe I’ll see you out there! Check out the links for trail running/hiking groups in the Los Angeles area.

Famous (or almost) trail runners:

Laird Hamilton, big wave surfer

Lance Armstrong, cyclist

Paula Radcliffe, women’s marathon world record holder

Ryan Sutter, firefighter and winner of the first season of The Bachelorette

The Triathlon Misnomer

Dr. DawnBy: Dr. Dawn DPT

Well, I am 3 weeks into my training for IMNZ and feel it necessary to discuss the other “sport” within the sport that make triathlon training a challenging and ever-growing demand on my time.  I am speaking of the “sport” of self-care: strength training, flexibility training, bodywork and nutrition. My training plan calls for swimming, cycling, and running 3 days/week. On top of that, I strength train 1-2 times/week, work on flexibility with stretching and/or yoga, daily self myofascial release, scheduled body work sessions every 1-2 weeks, dialing in my daily nutrition and workout nutrition. Not forgetting to add one day off each week!  Whew! I get tired just thinking about it all!  As a physical therapist, I feel I have the self-care sport under control. I know what to do and how to do it!  The challenge is fitting it all in around work and everyday life.

Nutrition, however, is an interesting sport. Everybody has an opinion on what the right plan is for an athlete often times assuming all other plans are inherently wrong for some reason or another. You must be vegetarian, no you must be vegan, no no you must be paleo, no no no you must be gluten free and I have researched and tried them all!  I was diagnosed with Celiac disease in early 2010 and also have had a long history of dairy intolerance.  I am now gluten free and other than that, I have no “must”dietary restrictions.  Giving up gluten confirmed that certain some food choices make me feel better overall than other food choices.

I always tell my clients to listen to their bodies; they know themselves better than anyone. Better than even me or their doctor and if they quiet their mind and listen the answers are within each of us. I am finding my nutritional nirvana in much the same way. If you listen to your own body, I find it will tell you what is right for you.  A nutrition plan that may be totally wrong for someone else, may work for you! That is most important to remember.

I have settled into a modified paleo diet which is often referred to as the cavemen diet.  Paleo allows for organic lean proteins, fruits and vegetables only.  No processed foods, sugar, dairy, legumes or gluten are allowed in the paleo tradition.  I occasionally partake with goat cheese, gluten free grains and allow myself to eat whatever I want minus gluten once a week.  I feel so much better when I refrain from legumes and grains!  Which is probably why my body felt miserable on a vegan diet,  even though my emotional brain wanted so badly for it to work.

There are some important factors/food choices to consider no matter what dietary plan you choose to follow.  It is always best to eat organic fruits and vegetables as much as possible, drink plenty of water and refrain from or limit calorie laden liquids such as: soda, fruit drinks & alcohol.  If you choose to have animal protein in your diet, eat lean and clean protein from farms that take care of their animals. Eat plenty of good fats: avocadoes, nuts, coconut oil. Refrain from sugar.  It’s not rocket science and it does take some thought and effort to eat healthy, but one thing is certain and that is that it always does a body good!

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