Tag Archives: athlete

Far Better To Dare Mighty Things

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One of my favorite quotes in the world is Theodore Roosevelt’s, “Far Better to Dare Mighty Things”.

“Far better to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor souls who neither enjoy nor suffer much, in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.”

No one on earth lives this wisdom more than one of our Project Athena “Survivors”, Alli Morgan. I created Project Athena to help women survivors of medical or other traumatic setbacks achieve their adventurous dreams.

When Alli was 15 years old, she tore her ACL in a soccer game. She went in for a routine surgery to fix her ACL and was progressing toward recovery until she faced intense pain and couldn’t advance further in her therapy. It was discovered in an x ray that a screw was lodged in the joint and the replaced ACL was too long. So she underwent a second surgery to correct the first. A few weeks after her second surgery, a staph infection set in, and her surgical wound refused to close. The ligaments and hardware in her knee became septic and were removed, but the infection continued to spread.

Over the next four years, which were spent on crutches, Alli endured over 40 surgeries and spent a collective 15 months in the hospital, missing college. To literally add insult to injury, her leg had become irrevocably locked straight, and no surgeon could provide her with an answer about whether she would ever be able to bend that leg or walk again. So at the very young age of 20, Allie decided to make a very brave decision to avoid the “gray twilight” her life had become, and she dared to do a very mighty thing.

She decided to become an elective above the knee amputee to gain her life back. She applied for a grant to become one of our Project Athena “Athenas” for the Keys to Recovery Adventure, which is a kayak and bike ride from Key Largo to Key West. She completed all 120 miles of that journey in 2012 surrounded by a supportive group of fundraising gods and goddesses in and crossed the finish line with her new bionic leg and her new life. She’s now a member of the US Paralympic Skeleton Team.

For me, Alli truly embodies Theodore Roosevelt’s Far Better To Dare Mighty Things quote, because she knew that there would be fear, failure, and pain along the way….but a far bigger fear for her was to take rank with those poor souls who neither enjoy much nor suffer much in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat. She knew her life would be harder in many ways, but as she said in an interview, “I didn’t know if I was going to get my life back or what would ultimately happen, I just knew I had to try”. Brave words, from a brave young lady who would much rather have victory or defeat than what ifs.

So what is your gray twilight? How are you in limbo in your life? It’s time to channel your inner Alli Morgan and dare mighty things!


Robyn Benincasa is a World Champion Adventure Racer, 3x Guinness World Record Kayaker, San Diego City Firefighter, 10x Ironman Triathlete, sought-after leadership speaker, New York Times Bestselling author of ‘How Winning Works’, proud owner of 2 bionic metal hips, and the Founder and CEO of The 501c3 Project Athena Foundation, which helps survivors live an adventurous dream as part of their recovery. In her spare time, Robyn’s favorite hobby is inspiring people to do insane, life affirming things like run their first triathlon, start their own business, hike the Grand Canyon Rim to Rim, or kayak and ride 100 miles from Key Largo to Key West. For more information visit www.robynbenincasa.com and www.projectathena.org.

The Secret to Long Term Success: Fall Down 7 Times, Stand Up 8

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By Robin Benincasa

I was at a big stand up paddling race with my friend Bill, watching the pros battle it out for the big bucks in the sprint race. I was amazed at how deftly they could maneuver at high speed around the 8 cones on the course, zipping through 180-degree turns while simultaneously surfing 4-foot tall waves.

I was scared to death of waves and equally afraid of the turns, so I always stayed away from races that had a lot of either. As the race leaders rounded the cone closest to the beach, I asked Bill why the pros were so much better than we were, and without hesitation he said, “they’re not afraid to fall in”. Continue reading

Olympic Quotes to Inspire You to Go for the Gold

What’s your favorite Olympic sport? Are you a figure skating or louge person? Maybe you prefer summer for the gymnastics or swimming? Whatever your sport may be the Olympics will be inescapable soon. Even if you aren’t a sports fan there is something inspiring about watching these athletes who dedicate their lives in pursuit of this single dream – of holding a gold medallion above their heads for all the world to see. They spend countless hours in gyms, on ice rinks, on snowboards or skis, giving their entire lives to get on to that podium. That is some serious dedication. What if we were all like that with our goals? Maybe we can be, and you can use these Olympic themed quotes to get you there.

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What is your favorite motivational quote? Share it in the comments below! 

News Anchors Burst into Laughter After Ryan Lochte Interview – Funny!

It’s nice to see professionals let loose every once in a while – especially news anchors who are usually so measured and contained. After a recent interview with Olympic-athlete-turned-reality-star Ryan Lochte, this Philadelphia news crew broke into uproarious laughter, proving that no amount of discipline can train away a sense of humor.

It may seem a bit cruel to have a laugh at Lochte’s expense, but it’s all in good faith. Between laughs, one of the anchors even says, “He’s so cute!” Take a look and let us know what you think: mean or just fun?

Lochte’s reality show, “What Would Ryan Lochte Do?” will be premiering soon on E! which is why the swimmer has received considerable coverage of late. The show is expected to be fairly bland, even perhaps to flop, but who knows? Maybe Lochte will surprise us! Until then, here are the five best quotes from the pilot episode:

1. “I’ve talked in front of … like… a lot of big business people about stuff I didn’t even know.”

2. “The key to the Lochte haircut is being fresh and looking up-to-date.”

3. “These are my shoes that I designed from top to the very sole to the very top to the bottom. Laces.”

4. “One of my favorite movies: What Women Want.”

5. “The key to the Lochte haircut is being fresh and looking up-to-date.”

Not a fan of Ryan Lochte? What celebrity would you like to see with their very own reality t.v. show?

My Hero: Aimee Mullins

When I think my life is hard and I want to quit, or just feel sorry for myself, I try to think of people like Aimee Mullins.  Who is Aimee Mullins?

Aimee is a double leg amputee.  She lost both her legs in childhood to a genetic disease.  As an adult she is a recognized athlete, model, actress and activist.  And this beauty has brains.  She graduated from Georgetown University with a double major in history and diplomacy and is a tireless advocate for the disabled. She has been named one of the fifty most beautiful people in the world by People Magazine.

This woman has accomplished more than I ever will, and has done it with a grace and dignity I can only hope to aspire to.  She exemplifies something I have observed in my practice, "from adversity comes strength".  If you turn and face it that is.  If you run from adversity, or medicate it, or use drugs, alcohol, relationships, work, sex, eating or other things to distract you from it, you do not learn to overcome it.  But if you face adversity squarely in the eyes and walk through it, you come out on the other side with increased compassion for others, increased coping skills you can use to face other adversities in life, increased wisdom and increased self knowledge.

Aimee Mullins has not only faced her disability, she has embraced it; with courage, humility and even humor.  In one interview she quips,

"Pamela Anderson has more prosthetic in her body than I do.  Nobody calls her disabled." 

This young woman has a voice which should be heard.  I encourage you to listen to her interviews and seminars.  They are free and readily available on the web.  Aimee tells personal and humorous stories of her struggles and her triumphs which will inspire and uplift you.  Two of my favorites are listed below.

"How my Legs Give me Super Powers" on Boing, Boing. 

"Aimee Mullins and her 12 pairs of Legs" on Ted.com

For more information about Aimee Mullins please see:  Sport’s Heroes’ article on Aimee for information about her accomplishments and her life, or see:  Wikipedia’s article on Aimee for pictures of her and her famous "boots" designed by Alexander McQueen. 

For more articles about mental health, please visit my blog at Kellevision.com.

 

 

Caffeine Helps Athletes Feel Less Pain When Exercising

 Researchers at the University of Illinois report that 300 mg of caffeine (the amount in four cups of coffee) reduces
muscle burning during intense exercise in both regular coffee drinkers and in those who do not drink coffee at all (International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism.  April, 2009). One of the researchers, Robert Motl, PhD, says that caffeine blocks spinal nerves that transmit pain messages to the brain. This means that people can exercise longer because they feel less pain.

Athletes take caffeine because they know it helps them to exercise longer. When muscles run out of their stored muscle sugar, they have to burn more fat which requires more oxygen. Lack of oxygen is the limiting factor in how fast and hard you can exercise over long periods of time. When you run low on oxygen, lactic acid accumulates in the muscles, which makes muscles more acidic, causing the burning that you feel in tired muscles. However, caffeine helps to delay the burning by causing muscles to burn more fat so they can preserve the sugar stored in muscles and you can exercise longer without accumulating large amounts of lactic acid.

Another interesting study from Iran showed that omega-3 fatty acids lessened delayed onset muscle soreness that occurs 48 hours after exercise in untrained men (Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine, March 2009).

Should a diabetic or pre-diabetic drink coffee?

Probably yes.   Several studies show that people who drink coffee are at reduced risk for diabetes.   Starting people on either caffeinated or decaffeinated coffee helps to prevent diabetes, which would indicate that something else in coffee, other than the caffeine, is beneficial.  A study from Vu University in Amsterdam in the Netherlands shows that two chemicals found in coffee, chlorogenic acid and the vitamin B3 precursor,
trigonelline,  both help to reduce the rise in blood sugar that follows eating a sugar load (Diabetes Care, March 26, 2009). Several other studies show that these components of coffee reduce blood glucose concentration in animals.   Compared to a placebo, chlorogenic acid and trigonelline caused significant reductions in glucose and insulin concentrations 15 minutes after taking a sugar load.

 Is there any evidence that caffeine raises blood pressure?

If you do not have high blood pressure or heart disease, there is little evidence that drinking coffee will affect you.

Several studies have shown no association between drinking coffee (up to six cups per day) and sustained high blood pressure or heart attacks (JAMA, February 14, 1996; American Journal of Epidemiology, January 15, 1999; Hypertension, July 2000).

If you have high blood pressure, you may want to limit your caffeine intake.  Caffeine can raise blood pressure slightly and temporarily in people with normal blood pressures and more so in people with high blood pressure, but there is little evidence caffeine causes sustained high blood pressure or heart attacks (European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, June 2007).

Coffee and tea may be good for you because they contain polyphenols, which help protect against high blood
pressure and heart attacks by preventing blood clots and lowering C-reactive protein (CRP), a marker of inflammation (Atherosclerosis, August 2007).

Pre-Game Stretching with the New England Patriots

Whether you’re headed out for a run, preparing to take your squash opponent to school, or limbering up for the season opener of the company bowling league, you likely have a preferred pre-game stretch, a few signature moves and motions that help you loosen up and get ready to play. My pro-golfer pal, Joe Horowitz, uses twisting poses to simulate his swing, for example. Meanwhile, you can find my friend, Karen Fabian, an avid runner, in viparita karani before a race. Professional cyclist and a reader/commentor on my website, OmGal.com, J. Alain Ferry opts for lunges as a way to fire up the muscles in his legs before the starting gun fires. 

For football players, like the New England Patriots, pre-game poses of choice would depend upon the position of the player. Receivers benefit from twists, to mimic the game-time action of reaching around, receiving a catch, and then, continuing a forward motion. Offensive lineman, given their need to be very grounded and low to the earth, are best served by standing poses, like warriors and utkatasana- which appropriately translates to mean "powerful pose." For defensive players, I might recommend balancing asanas, forward bends, and some protective work for the shoulders. Likewise, a quarterback would benefit from shoulder work, hip postures, such as pigeon, (which also serve to protect precious knees), and some pranayama to boot. Think about: if you were about to endure four hours of the biggest, strongest, fastest men on the planet trying to clobber you at full speed- you’d need to spend some pre-game time breathing deeply too. 

So, what’s your favorite way to limber up?

 

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