Need a reason to run?

 

The “runners high” it’s that chemical reaction in the brain that tells you that you love running. Of course you don’t love running, it’s the endorphin’s acting as painkillers that make you feel exhilarated and euphoric. Once you have experienced the rush, that feeling of floating on air, then there’s a good chance you will keep on pushing yourself  to get another fix.

Recently Rod Dixon who won the New York marathon 33 years ago was inducted into the hall of fame, and he said “It’s not the race, it’s not the finish line, it’s the journey and how it changes lives,” And he is right, we start running for all kinds of reasons, but it is what can be gained along the way that keeps you going. Do you run to prove a point such as in the 2007 Simon Peg movie “Run fat boy run” where his mates told him that he wouldn’t or even couldn’t do it – damn cheek! Or like when the surgeons told me that I wouldn’t run again after a severe ankle injury? A certain stubbornness can make us step up and take the challenge. Maybe it’s to gain a sense of belonging and meet new people? to see new places? to lose a few pounds? or just to de-stress?, running has many rewards including that chemical driven elation gained from just getting out there and doing it.

The idea of running to compete or challenge yourself  seems like an obvious reason to run, and sure all those long lonely hours pounding the pavement need to have a reason or a goal, Can you improve your time? Beat your mates in the local half marathon? Or win your age group?  Some just run to finish, collect the t-shirt or medal and get the kudos for having “knocked the bastard off”, and even when the high wears off you can bask in the knowledge that you have done what so many others have not  – achieved a state of joy from just being in the race (bragging rights at dinner parties are also nice). Now some of us love the excitement of the start line, the cheering crowds along the way and even more so the finish line some 20 or 40 (or even 100) kilometres away, but as Rod said it’s not really about the running at all.

Camaraderie also known as a spirit of good friendship is contradictorily part of the lonely long distance runner’s mix. While many run for fun (a mildly sadistic, self flagellating fun) and others run to compete most want to enjoy their high with other people. Some join clubs to participate in events and meet new people and to gain a sense of belonging with like minded souls. We build relationships through our shared experiences and stories of the different runs we have conquered, encouraging us to keep going and improve. Any achievement is so much more special when shared with others and to be part another’s struggle or triumph can really boost your own feel good chemical cocktail. While the road to long distance running can be lonely, regular events and travel to special destinations with a group can keep your focused and motivated. There are many tour companies specialising in taking groups to international events like the New York or Great wall marathons where shared memories of that experience of a lifetime are made, or you can just  enjoy being with friends as you try the different local runs.

Now another good reason to pull on the running shoes is your own health – mental, physical and spiritual. Health studies show that outdoor exercise can improve moods and reduce levels of anxiety. The feel good chemicals released into the body can help fight depression, while increased fitness and metabolism help to produce a better body self image. Well done!, you lost a few pounds, you’re sleeping better and you are de-stressing, but wait there’s more! What about spiritual health? Yes, there is something amazing about communing with nature as you run alongside the river or lake on a spring training run with the water sparkling and the shady willows whispering, and urging you on – “just bit further – you can do it!”, or over a majestic mountain pass like in the Motatapu challenge from Wanaka to Arrowtown, as you go cross country over the alpine ridge and gain a sense of nirvana as your body goes into shock from the cold and intense exertion.  Time spent with your own thoughts gives you opportunities to solve problems and contemplate your world, it’s as if being without the deafening noise of modern communication gives your brain a time out to think and recharge .This time to meditate and be as one with the road or trail could your real quality “Me” time.

We may not all want to become ultra marathoners like our own Lisa Tamati on the 200+ kilometre Badwater race through Death valley. Some of us may just want to keep on running until we are like the octogenarian couple who recently finished an Irish marathon – holding hands no less! Or be like 85 year old Ed Whitlock who in October, ran the Toronto Marathon in 3:56:38. It’s amazing to see that the quest for the runners high knows no age limit.

It’s not about the finish line or even the running itself, we all could get addicted to the runner’s high and learn to revel in the supporters chants of “run Forrest run”. There are many reasons people start to run; Health, companionship, challenge or just to gain a sense of achievement but it’s an escape from the mundane and a thirst for more that really keeps people going.

 

2, 4 , 6, 8 is testosterone what we really hate?

Behavioural challenges in toddlers and young children can have multiple causes. There is a large amount of conflicting research around what affects little boys behaviours, with no real evidence to suggest that it is just a burst of testosterone. I believe that a number of factors including hormones such as testosterone, and environmental and social experiences affect children’s abilities to self regulate, communicate and adhere to socially accepted and expected norms.

  • Are the adult’s expectations of a child’s behaviour right for that child’s developmental stage? – preschoolers just don’t think like adults!
  • Are boundaries and expectations taught in positive ways that the child understands? – convince the child it’s the behaviour you want to improve and that you love them always.
  • Are there any socio-emotional issues that are affecting a child’s actions/reactions? Family violence/abuse? post natal depression? poverty? or attachment disorders?

There is very little reading available around 2 year olds (terrible two’s) other than their struggle and frustrations to communicate, learn social rules and concepts while dealing with their families fast paced worlds.  There is little to suggest testosterone is the culprit.

Early language development can be attributed to lower testosterone with at least one study suggesting that this is why girls talk earlier than boys, can communicate better and get less frustrated equaling less challenging behaviour.  Higher levels lead to less early language and a toddlers preference for larger groups and later aggressive play. (Alexander,2014; Friederici, et al. 2008). This must not be read in a vacuum and will only play one part in how a child learns and copes with different situations. Having positive role models and present supportive adults should be seen as key to positive learning out comes.

Children grow and learn so rapidly and there are a multitude of reasons why they might have challenging behaviours. Check your own behaviours, expectations and strategies for helping wee ones through this awesome time in a child’s life.

Snippets and articles for further reading.

“Increased testosterone may be linked to increased levels of aggression 1. But there is certainly no link between testosterone and inattention or over activity 2. So, if Mr. four years old suddenly started to fight or behave in an aggressive manner it could be linked to an increase in testosterone – however, a four year old who does not listen or is generally acting up is not likely to be caused by any hormonal changes”. (Evidencebasedparent, 2014).

“What’s Really up With a Four Year Old Boy’s Behaviour Then?

In short – Us, me, you, parents, adults, society…….. We don’t really “get” normal little boy behaviour, which is strange given that around half of all adults have been one. Little boys (and that is what a four year old is) need to play, play, play, play, play and play some more. They need open space, nature, air. They need trees to climb, balls to kick, mud to squelch, frisbees to throw. They need to be allowed to use their amazing imaginations and explore the world with their whole bodies” (Ockwell-Smith, 2014).

References

Alexander, G. M. (2014). Postnatal testosterone concentrations and male social development.

Evidencebasedparent , (2014) http://evidencebasedparent.blogspot.co.nz/2014/07/the-myth-of-toddler-testosterone-surge.html

Friederici, A. D., Pannekamp, A., Partsch, C. J., Ulmen, U., Oehler, K., Schmutzler, R., & Hesse, V. (2008). Sex hormone testosterone affects language organization in the infant brain. Neuroreport19(3), 283-286.

Ockwell-Smith, (2014). https://sarahockwell-smith.com/2014/06/09/why-the-huge-testosterone-surge-in-young-boys-is-a-myth-and-what-really-causes-their-behaviour-to-change/

The Runners High

 

You may have heard of it the “runners high”, the chemical reaction in the brain that tells you that you love running. Of course you don’t, it’s the endorphin’s acting as painkillers that make us feel exhilarated and euphoric. If you are lucky enough to experience this you will want to get that hit again.

Now recently Rod Dixon who won the NY marathon 33 years ago was inducted into the hall of fame, and said “It’s not the race, it’s not the finish line, it’s the journey and how it changes lives,”  And he is right, people start running for all kinds of reasons, but it is what  can be gained along the way that keeps you going Do you run to prove a point such as in the 2007 Simon peg movie “Run fat boy run” and your mates told you that you wouldn’t or even couldn’t – damn cheek! Or like when the surgeons told me I wouldn’t run again after a severe ankle injury? A certain stubbornness makes us step up and take the challenge. Maybe it’s to gain a sense of belonging and meet new people? to see new places? to lose a few pounds? or just to de-stress, running has many rewards including that chemical driven elation gained from just getting out there and doing it.

 

The idea of running to compete or challenge yourself  seems like an obvious reason to run, and sure all those long lonely training hours pounding the pavement need to have a reason or a goal – Can you improve your time? Beat your mates in the local half marathon? Or win your age group?  Some just run to finish, collect the t-shirt or medal and get the kudos of having “knocked the b*****d off”, when the high wears off it’s still good to bask in the smug glory of knowing that you have done what so many have not (and for so good reason do not want to). Of course some love the excitement of the start line, the cheering crowds along the way and even more so the finish line some 20 or 40 (or even 100) kilometres away. But as Rod said it’s not really about the running at all.

Camaraderie also known as a spirit of good friendship is contradictorily part of the lonely long distance runner’s mix. While many run for fun (a mildly sadistic, self flagellating fun) and others run to compete most want to enjoy their high with other people. Some join clubs to participate in events and meet new people, to gain a sense of belonging with like minded souls. Having stories and experiences to share while building relationships encourages you to keep going and improving, “Any achievement is so much more special when shared with others”. While the road to long distance running can be lonely, regular events and travel to special destinations with a group can really add to the anticipation of that high. There are many tour companies specialising in taking groups to international events like the New York or great wall marathons where shared memories of that experience of a lifetime are made.

Now another good reason to pull on the running shoes is your own health – mental, physical and spiritual. Health studies show that outdoor exercise can improve moods and reduce levels of anxiety. The feel good chemicals released into the body can help fight depression, while increased fitness and metabolism help to produce better body self images. Great you’ve lost a few pounds, you’re sleeping better and you are de-stressing but wait there’s more! What about spiritual health? Yes, there is something amazing about communing with nature as you run alongside the Kaiapoi river on a spring training run with water sparkling and the shady willows whispering urging you on – just another few k’s or over a majestic mountain pass like in the Motatapu challenge from Wanaka to Arrowtown as you go cross country over the Alpine ridge and gain a sense of nirvana as your body goes into shock from the cold and intense exertion, the time spent with your own thoughts gives opportunity to solve problems and contemplate your world as if being without the deafening noise of modern communication gives your brain a time out to think and recharge . Time to meditate and be as one with the road or trail can be great for problem solving or come to up with new ideas. Think about running even in a group, or alone as real quality “Me” time.

While we may not all want to become ultra marathoners like our own Lisa Tamati on the 200+ Kilometres Badwater race through death valley, some of us just may want to keep running until we are like the octogenarian couple who recently finished an Irish marathon – holding hands no less! Or 85 year old Ed Whitlock who in October, ran the Toronto Marathon in 3:56:38. It is amazing to see that the quest for the runners high knows no age limit.

It’s not about the finish line or even the running itself, we all could get addicted to the runner’s high and learn to revel in the supporters chants of “run Forrest run”. There are many reasons people start to run; Health, companionship, challenge or just a sense of achievement but it’s the thirst for more that keeps people going.

 

Be Present, so much learning can be seen as kids have fun

Takahia, stomp! E peke, Jump!

5 4 3 2 1 Houston we have no problem

Learning to launch a rocket required a lot of focus, practice and determination for nga tamariki as they used their bodies, knowledge and social skills to support each other.

Using a toy rocket that requires a jump or stomp to force air through a tube which pushes the rocket many metres into the air required the acquisition and practice of many skills in the playground. Using ideas about their own bodies and the amount of force required or even body parts (2 feet versus 1) was great learning as some children were observed to have challenges around jumping and landing 2 footed on a small air bag. Other children were heard to encourage their peers and quickly took up the use of “E peke” jump to pass on the idea that more force would be better from 2 feet rather than a stomp from 1.

There was good perseverance in gaining the right technique and also in being able to conform to the social expectation that lining up was the rule for this impromptu experience. While the more able 4 year old’s became competitive in how high they could get the rocket, some younger ones looked for support in joining play,. Using older children and teachers to encourage and invite others into the exercise worked well and gave confidence to those trying something new in the gross motor area.

Something so simple met the different needs of so many in the space of about 30 minutes, just by being alongside a group fluctuating from 10 to 15 and allowing them to self regulate we all gained some valuable learning.