New worksheet available! Stress LESS.

Hi everybody!

I have been scribbling different versions of this worksheet for some time now, and I finally have a version that I’m excited to share. It is the first in a series of worksheets that I will be making available on the (heyyyyy) WORKSHEETS PAGE!

 Me, being  not stressed  about being covered in Jell-o at my son’s 7th birthday party.  Yep, he still likes getting messy, I’ve just joined him.

Me, being not stressed about being covered in Jell-o at my son’s 7th birthday party. Yep, he still likes getting messy, I’ve just joined him.

This first worksheet is all about identifying your response to stressors. We all need LESS STRESS, and I am 100% sure you can shift your perception of your personal stressors (well, most of them anyway) to have less stress.

The basic idea is that you will identify your stressors. After you have identified your stressors, you can then have a real conversation with yourself about whether you choose to have a stress response to that or not. That’s right, you get to choose in more cases than not.

The example I always give in my clinic is when my son was about 2-3, he was obsessed with emptying all toothpaste, all dish soap, all shampoo, bubble bath, you name it..into the sink or the bath tub. We would be having a normal day, getting ready to leave the house and I’d realize that I sent him to get socks (or pants or whatever!), and he didn’t come back straight away. I would know that he was probably getting into something, and I’d feel this mild fury rise in me that he was wasting another tube of toothpaste. Even though the grownups had put it out of reach, my 5 year old probably hadn’t…..lo and behold a sink full of toothpaste AND toilet paper because he actually tried to clean it up. I was right, but I was in no place to acknowledge he was a little kid trying to learn. That moment sucked, and I wanted so much to have had a different response. It was predictable. He did it All. The. Time. He was an insatiable tiny mad scientist.

I had to learn to have a new response in that very moment. I had to decide that I would not allow myself to become stressed about wasted toothpaste. I had to decide that as I walked down the hall, rounding the corner to the bathroom, that I would take pause, assess the situation, and do my best to not allow this particular stressor become STRESS IN MY BODY. It was as simple as making a decision to respond differently. I use this example as a jumping off point. Other stressors may require more complex changes, but I’d highly recommend downloading the worksheet, and see just how many perceived stressors you can shift without embodying them anymore!

Pelvic Health

I recently gave a talk to a group of women about the Pelvic Floor: what is is, what affects it, who is affected, and what to do about it. This was the 2nd time I’ve given this talk (for a monthly series) because it was so well-received the 1st time.

 The first talk was a huge success.  There were several people that came to the talk AGAIN the second time around.

The first talk was a huge success. There were several people that came to the talk AGAIN the second time around.

In my talk, we dive right into the hormonal aspects of pelvic floor health, the personal history contributions, and the physical/mechanical factors at play.

I have long taken for granted the fact that people do not know their internal anatomy. I fell in love, head-over-heels-passionate-sleepless-nights-in-love with human anatomy when I was 19. I am visual. I locked in on where every organ, muscle, bone and ligament lived in the human body. Now, I’m teaching people in their 40’s where their bladder is relative to their uterus (or prostate!) and their colon and rectum. it feels like I have always known.

It is now believed to be true that 70-80% of the general population has some degree of pelvic floor dysfunction serious enough to warrant a doctor’s visit. The median age for females is 41. Let that sink in. That is why we decided the time had come for us to do a pelvic floor talk. My bootcamp leader at Wy’east Sisterhood and I were involved in a discussion with women who had never been pregnant, talking about incontinence.

Hold the phone.

People that had never been pregnant had pelvic floor issues? That’s when a light came on for me. I had treated tons of people for pelvic floor issues, but most of them were postpartum. I even said, “Every body that has a pregnancy needs pelvic floor work afterward”.

I had bought into the misunderstanding. People who had not been pregnant would not come to see me for things like constipation, low back pain, prostatitis, erectile dysfunction, or recurrent UTIs because those things haven’t been connected to pelvic floor muscle dysfunction in the mainstream. They didn’t know to come, and I hadn’t told them.

Well, I am telling them (and you) now. We are at a time when the importance of the pelvic floor muscles and organs is being realized. It’s about more than Kegels.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21160318

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26926816

When the Forest is on Fire

Last year, I wrote an article for Trail Sisters about how to properly respond to and care your lungs during Fire Season.  Click here for the full article.

 

 Hazy days in the Gorge.  You should normally be able to see Wy'east (Mt. Hood) clearly from this vantage point.

Hazy days in the Gorge.  You should normally be able to see Wy'east (Mt. Hood) clearly from this vantage point.

 Hazy Sunrise

Hazy Sunrise

Amanda Roe
Timberline Trail
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What is all of it for?

The training.  The running.  The stretching.  The eating.

It's for days like Saturday.  When I turned 30, I was pregnant and while that was an amazing feat, I knew that turning 40 would stir up the desire to go big or go home.  I know myself.

Last fall, I messaged a few runners and coaches in my area with some ideas about a 40-mile run for my 40th birthday.  It was on a Saturday, after all!  The idea of doing a circumnavigation around Wy'east (Mt. Hood) came up, but my birthday is too early in the season for the rivers and glaciers to be safe for passage.

 It was a great day to turn 40!

It was a great day to turn 40!

I ran a few races in late winter/early spring and something in me just shut off and shut down.  I had ZERO desire to try and go 40 miles.  30 miles seemed long enough.  I decided (that's the key word) that I didn't want to be a cliche, running 40 miles for 40 years.  I decided to be funny and run a local trail called the "4-T" (see what I did there?).

 

In a parallel running universe (that frequently overlaps with mine) another friend had reserved a condo at the base of Wy'east for mid-July.  She planned to complete the circumnavigation for her 40th birthday.  She extended an invitation.  Spoiler alert: I accepted. 

What came next is the unexpected gift of jumping into something beyond perceived capabilities.  What came next is the expansion of core beliefs. 

In the last couple of weeks leading up to our big adventure, I would see Wy'east (aka Mt. Hood, but I find myself drawn to using the pre-contact names for natural landmarks whenever possible), from Portland, and it would look bigger and bigger every day.  I juggled thoughts of doubt and belief equally.  I mean, who runs around an entire mountain in a day?  

The answer to that is: more people than you think, and I certainly know a lot of them---so when 9 other women showed up the night before to prep for the big day, my confidence came into view again.  I decided to have fun.

 

The biggest thing I have learned this year is how much power we have to decide for ourselves whether or not something will be hard.  Will we quit or will we keep going?  Will we even start? 

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Well, we definitely started.  I, along with 9 other women, hit the Timberline trail at 5:25am, just as the sun was coming up, knowing full-well that the sun would be setting as we made our way back to our starting point.

The incredible thing about doing the circumnavigation is that there are views pretty much ALL THE TIME.  We had to keep ourselves moving/not take too many photos.  We also had to keep in mind the many river crossings that would be rising as the sun melted the glaciers during the day.

The first few were not too big of a deal.  Once we got into the afternoon melt, it was a different story altogether.  The trail conditions were primo, soft, reasonable blow-down (fallen trees, etc..).  The rivers swelled and raged, and made me REALLY glad I had been doing a lot of cross-training.  Forget about wading or running.  Crossing the rivers required leaping from boulder-to-boulder (on tired legs)

 After a river crossing, one of the few flat parts of the trail!

After a river crossing, one of the few flat parts of the trail!

After one of the more challenging (dangerous) crossings, we had the biggest climb of the day between Miles 24-30, up to Lamberson Ridge.  From up there, I felt I could see all of Oregon!  We had already been out for 11 hours, and I knew we still had actual glaciers to cross, so again, not so many pictures, just lots of digging deep and moving forward.  At altitude.

The glaciers were actually quite a relief, nice cool snow, and luckily, really easy to traverse the day we did it.  I guess easy after 12 hours of trail running becomes a relative term, but let's just say I was dreading them a bit, and I did not need to spend any mental energy dreading them once it came to crossing them. I have heard many other worse stories.  For us, the rivers were BY FAR the hardest.  The glaciers seemed like a cake walk.

   What is that written on her legs?   Well, it isn't the directions for the run! One special thing I have done since 2006 is Mile Dedications.  People in my life have the chance to sign up for a mile of meditation, prayer, kind thoughts, memorial, etc.. by me during that mile.  It breaths life into me when I know who I'm running for.  I ask each person to pay forward a token of kindness during my run, because we need all the love and beauty and kindness we can get in this life.

What is that written on her legs? Well, it isn't the directions for the run! One special thing I have done since 2006 is Mile Dedications.  People in my life have the chance to sign up for a mile of meditation, prayer, kind thoughts, memorial, etc.. by me during that mile.  It breaths life into me when I know who I'm running for.  I ask each person to pay forward a token of kindness during my run, because we need all the love and beauty and kindness we can get in this life.

 Looking north to Pahto (Mt. Adams)

Looking north to Pahto (Mt. Adams)

 The Dollar Lake burn area, already starting to bounce back from the Eagle Creek Fire of 2017.  This was one of my favorite parts, watching nature renew amidst devastation.  Resilience in action.

The Dollar Lake burn area, already starting to bounce back from the Eagle Creek Fire of 2017.  This was one of my favorite parts, watching nature renew amidst devastation.  Resilience in action.

At what was meant to be our second to last major river crossing, I managed to emerge from the forest into the river canyon with a hilarious tumble down the lava rocks.  I felt grateful at least a few people got to see that.  I had only fallen one other time all day, so I was glad to have made it 33 miles with so few injuries.  The crossing was the most challenging of the day (of course).  We all made it across.  It was another boulder-leaping ninja warrior deal.  We were all ready to be done.  All of our maps said the trail was 40 miles.  The more we talked to hikers coming from the other direction, the more we realized that it was closer to 42 miles.

We made it all the way to mile 38 (2 more miles? 4 more miles?) when we made our first, last, and only wrong turn of the day.  Someone had posted a sign "TO LODGE" at a junction, which we took to mean Timberline Lodge, where we were headed.  We took the junction to the left and headed downhill towards what we assumed was out last river crossing of the day, White River, which of course has not one, but two separate branches to cross.  We noticed that we were heading away from the mountain, and not toward it, not toward water at all.  Backtracking, and hiking uphill, we found the juncture again, and proceeded on the trail, at this point realizing we'd be finishing after sunset.  

The light faded quickly, the headlamps came on, and we finally reached the White River Canyon.  Assessing a river's depth and turbulence in the dark is not something I am particularly skilled at, so we took this one realllllll slow.  It is 2 miles up a "vertical beach" of lava silt and sand to reach Timberline from this point.  It took close to an hour.  It took courage and strength I wasn't sure I had.  When 16 hours on the trail turned into 17 hours on the trail, I had all kinds of mixed feelings.  The night sky was to die for.  Everything hurt.  The lodge kept flickering in and out of view.  There was peace, even in these painful, exhausted moments.  Finally, finally, the sound of the Salmon River headwaters, meaning the climbing was done, and it was a short walk down to the parking lot. 

43.4 miles. 10,000+ ft of elevation gain. 17hours and 10 minutes. 

Some people want stuff for their birthday.  I pretty much just want to see what I'm made of.  I want to see what nature is made of.

Strip it down to one foot in front of the other, sending kindness out into the universe.  

 

Amanda Roe
Wild Woman Trail Marathon and Relay

Ahhhhhhh, year SIX of the Wild Woman Trail Marathon and Relay (and 50K).  This was an ON year for me.  That puts me at 4 good years with this race and 2 not so good years.  I shaved 39 minutes off last year's race (an "OFF" year) and 15 minutes off my fastest time for the course so far. 

Beyond the actual race, I simply love going to the event every year.  I get to meet up with runner friends from Idaho, Washington, and Oregon....and every year there are runners from far-flung places that show up.  It's a great event.  So great that I'm stoked to announce I'll be sponsoring a team of high schoolers to run next year! 

Pic by Launa Gray: Cooling off in the stream-fed horse troughs at the finish line.  Mission Accomplished!

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Night time meanderings

Even in your neighborhood, slow down, find the beauty cultivated within your direct radius.  All of these incredible flowers were found on a walk less than a mile from my home.  To the beauty creators and cultivators, thank you.  It is crucial to reset by looking at nature and appreciating the small things.

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1. Miyazaki Y., Park B.J., Lee J. Nature therapy. In: Osaki M., Braimoh A., Nakagami K., editors. Designing Our Future: Local Perspectives on Bioproduction, Ecosystems and Humanity. United Nations University Press; New York, NY, USA: 2011. pp. 407–412.

2. Brunet M., Guy F., Pilbeam D., Mackaye H.T., Likius A., Ahounta D., Beauvilain A., Blondel C., Bocherens H., Boisserie J.R., et al. A new hominid from the Upper Miocene of Chad, Central Africa. Nature. 2002;418:141–151. [PubMed]

3. Tanaka A., Takano T., Nakamura K., Takeuchi S. Health level influenced by urban residential conditions in a megacity—Tokyo. Urban Stud. 1996;33:879–894. doi: 10.1080/00420989650011645. [Cross Ref]

4. Dye C. Health and urban living. Science. 2008;319:766–769. doi: 10.1126/science.1150198. [PubMed][Cross Ref]

5. Brod C.  Technostress: The Human Cost of the Computer Revolution. Addison Wesley; Boston, MA, USA: 1984.

You Start Dying Slowly
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Bear with me, this is a message of hope.

Birthdays roll around once a year.  How do you feel on your birthday?  This poem, by Pablo Neruda is close to the thoughts I have.

You start dying slowly...

if you do not travel,

if you do not read,

If you do not listen to the sounds of life,

If you do not appreciate yourself.

 

You start dying slowly...

When you kill your self-esteem;

When you do not let others help you.

 

You start dying slowly...

If you become a slave of your habits,

Walking everyday on the same paths…

If you do not change your routine,

If you do not wear different colors

Or you do not speak to those you don’t know.

 

You start dying slowly...

If you avoid to feel passion

And their turbulent emotions;

Those which make your eyes glisten

And your heart beat fast.

 

You start dying slowly...

If you do not change your life when you are not satisfied with your job, or with your love,

If you do not risk what is safe for the uncertain,

If you do not go after a dream,

If you do not allow yourself,

At least once in your lifetime,

To run away from sensible advice…

 

~~ BY: Pablo Neruda, Spanish poet who won Nobel Prize for Literature in 1971

Endure
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I have been reading the book "Endure" by Alex Hutchinson over the past few weeks, and today was the day I put into practice what I learned.  I challenged myself to hike Dog Mountain before work today, and I knew it would be tight.  I'd have to keep moving up the 3000ft elevation gain over 3.8 miles up the side of that mountain. One of the big take home lessons that I gained was "actual" vs "perceived" exertion.  This chart really stuck with me.  The decision to stop. The decision. To stop.  So all morning I practiced deciding to continue and push myself.  It felt kind of magical.  There were moments of "what the heck?", but there were more moments of, "Look at me go!"  I must've asked myself about 50 times if I was actually needing to slow down or if I was deciding to slow down.  

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One of the final, glorious pushes to the top!