10 Life Lessons Learned From Running

raising funds for lacuna loft

This post is one of our most read so we thought we’d share it again with you today!

Life lessons show up in the most unlikely places.  These are the 10 life lessons I have learned from running…

1.  drink water
Being hydrated just makes your whole day that much better and more manageable, running or no running.  Seriously!  I carry around a liter nalgene water bottle with me at all times.  My goal is to drink at least two of the full bottles each day.

2.  if you eat a doughnut for breakfast, eat something healthy for lunch

Ever try and do something active after only consuming carbs, fat, and sugar for breakfast?  Yea, it doesn’t go well.  Still, I didn’t used to eat doughnuts until after I was diagnosed with cancer and now they are one of my favorite Saturday morning treats.  And since everything is better in moderation, I balance out a morning of sugary wonder with a healthy and balanced lunch.  Know what is an easy and healthy balance to a morning of sweets?  Green smoothies!

3.  some days are good and some days aren’t

Some days you’re going to wake up on the wrong side of the bed for no reason, and some days life will be smooth sailing.  This is how it goes in running and in life.  Be kind to yourself on the off days…tomorrow will be much better.

4.  some things in life hurt and some things in life don’t

Running is tough, no doubt about it.  No ifs, ands, or buts.  Living through cancer treatments and into survivorship is hard too.  Sometimes life will be easy and sometimes it won’t be.  You can do it though…and we can help whenever you need it.

5.  if it is raining, wear rain gear.  If it is sunny, wear sunscreen

Preparing for what lies ahead is always a good plan.  In running this means planning for the weather and condition where you’ll be hitting the pavement or the trail…in life, this means figuring out what you need and trying to plan ahead to take care of yourself.  Ask for help, remember sunscreen, and be nice to yourself.

Read the rest of the 10 lessons here!


P.S.  Life lessons learned from my dogs

Want To Become More Physically Active?

exercise after young adult cancer

Lacuna Loft LOVES spreading the word about research!  A group of researchers in the Department of Kinesiology at California Polytechnic University San Luis Obispo is looking for young adult cancer survivors between the ages of 18-39 years old who live in California, Nevada, Oregon, or Washington who would like to increase their physical activity levels.  You must be more than 6 months post-cancer treatment and engage in less than 60 minutes of exercise per week!

All study participants will be a part of a 12-week intervention in which you will receive a Fitbit One with personalized step-goals, as well weekly emails of behavioral change content.  You will complete questionnaires and wear an activity monitor before and after the 12-week study.  Some participants will have the opportunity to earn money if their daily step-goal is met, which will be donated to a cancer charity of their choice.

In appreciation of your participation, you will get to keep your Fitbit One after the intervention is over and receive a $20 gift card.

If you are interested in participating or would like more information, please contact the research study staff!
Email:  survivorstepstudy@gmail.com
Phone Number: 805-756-5544

The Thing About Cancer + Exercise Is…

young adult cancer and exercise

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During the month of May, we’ll be bringing back some of your favorite posts in groups of 5!

Today, we’ve got 5 GREAT posts focused on getting to the nitty gritty of young adult cancer and exercise.

[/spb_text_block] [spb_single_image image=”14196″ image_size=”full” frame=”noframe” lightbox=”yes” image_link=”https://cactuscancer.wpengine.com/walking-for-exercise/” link_target=”_blank” fullwidth=”no” width=”1/2″ el_position=”first”][/spb_single_image] [spb_single_image image=”14194″ image_size=”full” frame=”noframe” lightbox=”yes” image_link=”https://cactuscancer.wpengine.com/partnering-with-friends-how-to-maintain-motivation/” link_target=”_blank” fullwidth=”no” width=”1/2″ el_position=”last”][/spb_single_image] [spb_single_image image=”14197″ image_size=”full” frame=”noframe” lightbox=”yes” image_link=”https://cactuscancer.wpengine.com/yoga-for-cancer-thrivers/” link_target=”_blank” fullwidth=”no” width=”1/2″ el_position=”first”][/spb_single_image] [spb_single_image image=”14193″ image_size=”full” frame=”noframe” lightbox=”yes” image_link=”https://cactuscancer.wpengine.com/inverted-yoga-pose-perspectives/” link_target=”_blank” fullwidth=”no” width=”1/2″ el_position=”last”][/spb_single_image] [spb_single_image image=”14192″ image_size=”full” frame=”noframe” lightbox=”yes” image_link=”https://cactuscancer.wpengine.com/beginners-look-yoga-for-cancer-survivors/” link_target=”_blank” fullwidth=”no” width=”1/2″ el_position=”first last”][/spb_single_image]

Partnering With Friends To Maintain Motivation

how to maintain motivation

According to my neurologist, migraines respond well to structure.  That means I’m supposed to keep a regular sleeping and eating schedule, and also exercise daily.  The latter is particularly unappealing on my bad days, which is why I enlisted some friends as exercise buddies.  They hold me accountable, making sure I get out for a jog or a brisk walk every day, without fail.  If I miss a day, I’ll end up with two furry black monsters bouncing off the walls.

While not everyone has, or wants, a pair of rambunctious dogs, the general principle of making a joint commitment with a friend is a great way to increase your motivation and accountability.  When you cancel a workout or a study date, you’re not just canceling on yourself (which is often easy, especially when dealing with fatigue and/or pain), but you’re letting someone else down.  That external force can help keep you on track.

In addition to my canine exercise buddies, I have friends with whom I regularly schedule work sessions and chore days.  It feels a little silly at times, but it definitely helps, so I do it!

Have you ever used this method?  Did it work for you? How to maintain motivation is always challenging.  How do you do it? 

Walking For Exercise

walking for exercise

One of the hardest transitions for me during my stint as a caregiver and then as a young adult cancer patient/survivor was figuring out what exercise meant.  When I was in undergrad and then graduate school, I developed an affinity for long distance running.  I started with a rained out 5k (yep, I went back home and straight back to bed without actually running), then transitioned myself directly to a half-marathon (13.1 miles), and finally to a full marathon (26.2 miles).  My body had always thrived on being active.  I loved biking and running and dancing my butt off on a Friday or Saturday night (or both).

Then cancer hit.

When I was caregiving for my mother it was cold outside.  I was back home with my parents, away from my lovely student work out facility, and emotionally and physically fatigued from my new caregiving responsibilities.  When I received my own cancer diagnosis, chemo started and my body was hit hard.  I was continually tired, nauseous, and uncomfortable.  I was used to running, biking, late night dancing, and whatever else, so when my oncologist repeatedly told me that exercise would help with my fatigue and general well being, I had NO idea what to do.  Running made me feel light headed, the idea of being perched on a bike seemed impossible, and late night activities were out entirely.  Plus, it never even occurred to me to just ask what sorts of exercise I could do, now that my definition of working out needed to change dramatically.

After several months into my survivorship, I finally figured out that going for a walk made me feel a million times better than staying cooped up in the house.  I seriously wish someone had been able to read my anxious, cancer filled mind and suggest the idea of walking for exercise earlier but nevertheless, I’m grateful that I figured it out eventually.  (I also wish that I had been able to voice more of these questions of mine but maybe that is an entirely different post!)

Dana Farber has thought this through and has an article describing walking for exercise and everything that entails.  They talk about warming up, tips for keeping proper technique and posture while walking, and more.  The whole article is short but well thought out and very informative.

However you do it, staying active is important during cancer treatments and into your survivorship!  Need help getting moving?  Ask a friend to join you!

How do you keep yourself up and moving?  Have you tried walking for exercise?