Beauty awakens …

Beauty awakens the soul to act.

Dante Alighieri

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Hello 2014

Its time to say “Good-bye” to 2013 and “Hello” to 2014. 

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Was 2013 memorable? Did you accomplish everything you wanted? Did you stick to your New Year’s Resolutions?

Have you made any new Resolutions for 2014? What goals do you want to achieve?

2013 was an eye opening year for me. Many things in my life changed. I lost old friends, made new ones, and most importantly, I made a life changing career move. 

By far the most important decision I made was to quit smoking. While I fell off the wagon here and there, it was the best thing I could have done for my health. 

I have been reading a lot lately about making 2014 the best year of your life. I don’t think you need to pick a certain day to change your life. You can start whenever.

Granted, I made the decision to quit smoking a New Year’s Resolution, but it was the only one. I decided to pursue a career in writing in October of 2012. And I stuck with it. 

With 2014 right around the corner, many people are in Resolution overdrive. Whether it be get into better shape, stop drinking/smoking, do more for the less fortunate, everyone is looking for that 1 thing to help them feel better about themselves. 

Here are a few things I think are important, and you don’t need to make them a Resolution. 

1) Say Hello

Whether your at the gym, grocery store, or coffee shop, we’ve all avoided talking to the next person in line. For some reason, we find it easier to ignore them and stay inside our heads. A simple smile and hello could make a bad day better for the other person into a better one. 

2) Leave Routine Behind

Routines can be comforting. After all, you know how its going to end. There in lies the problem. Mundane can get boring. Spice it up. Take a different route to work. If you exercise after work, try getting it in before hand. Try a new cologne. Get a different haircut. 

3) DISCONNECT

Shut off the phone. Log off of Facebook, Pinterst, and Instagram. Sit down with your friends and family without distractions. Let them know that you are completely there for them.

4) Be Nicer

Be more tolerant of people. We are the land of the free, we need to accept everyone in all their shapes, sizes, and colors. Stop posting comments that make you look ignorant. No one likes someone who is constantly putting down other people. 

5) Do Something Wonderful

Pay it Forward and Random Acts of Kindness not only make you feel better, but will make your family and friends think better about you. 

If you want a better year, you have to start with yourself. You don’t need a New Year’s Resolution, you just need the attitude to accomplish it. And the will to succeed. This final tip could be the most important of them all. 

Be Yourself.

Barefoot Running

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I love this time of year, and I hate this time of year. 

It has not gotten above 35 degrees where I live in almost a month. To a runner, this is ideal weather. Even with the brisk weather, it still feels good to run.

Your sweat isn’t running down you in rivulets, it is a better work out for the lungs, and for me, I get to run during the day. 

The downfall is I have to start wearing shoes. I don’t own the traditional pair of running shoes. I own the Merrell Barefoot Vapor Glove, and a few others. They are all minimalist running shoes. 

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I looked into the Vibram FIveFingers, but decided against it. 

I have read countless articles on the benefits of barefoot running vs traditional running. I find most of the findings to be bullshit. 

In my opinion, it helps with fatigue, muscle strain, and injury. I do not care what these so called “experts” say. They can survey thousands of people, and will never come up with a correct answer for this question. 

You and you alone are the only one who can determine what is best for your running style.

If you see who is doing the bashing of the running style it is people who are monetarily linked to a product. 

If someone is promoting a new running shoe, of course they are going to tell you that minimalist/barefoot is bad for you. They want to see you fork over the cash for new shoes. Because lets face it, as a runner, we have more running shoes than any other style. 

I personally have 6 pairs of running shoes, 2 pairs of sandals, 2 pairs of dress shoes, and 2 pairs of everyday shoes. All of my other foot attire combined equals the amount of running shoes I own. 

We are a strange breed, us runners. 

Also, I think anyone can be a barefoot runner. Just like running, you have to train yourself into running barefoot/minimally. Yes, at first it is going to feel different, you are trying something new. 

Eventually, like everything we practice, we achieve greatness. And if you find out barefoot running isn’t your style, you can always go back.

I have been running since I was 8. I didn’t start barefoot running until I was 15. 

When I first started, it was a quarter of a mile, gradually working my way up to where I am today. 

I remember my track coach telling me I was going to lose my arch, get shin splints, and damage my hamstring. I can say 20 years later, none of that has occurred. 

One added benefit to my running barefoot, is that I learned how to run on my toes better. My heel barely ever touches the ground now. This is good for your quads and calves. 

Every runner should try to change their running style. We all plateau at some point. There is no gain when you have reached this point. You have to spice it up a little.