Archives for May 2013

Every Day I am Yoga – ing

Ok, so maybe I am not yoga-ing everyday…but damn if I ain’t going to give it my best shot!

A little background I suppose is in order.

I have never (yes, never) been what you would call flexible or coordinated. I cannot touch my toes.  I have always been functionally strong. Just last summer I was hauling around 80 pound bags of concrete and hand mixing them with a garden hoe and shovel. I can’t do a handstand, but I can push mow acreage. I can run ridiculous distances, but I can’t do a cartwheel.

RockyIt was all very frustrating as a child so I just kind of let it go. Until I saw Rocky’s shoulders.

The picture was intended to draw attention to the beautiful scenery in the background. All I saw were perfectly shaped delts.

Chaturangas she said. A serious yoga practice she said. You can do it she said.

Run love yogaYeah – no.

I took a few classes at the Y, and the instructor was awesome. But it just wasn’t for me. I just couldn’t get in to it. Natalie made running Yogis look cool. She still makes running Yogis look cool. But I couldn’t take the plunge.

In all honesty, I still thought that I was going to carve time into my training schedule for CrossFit. That “functional” thing I talked about earlier really spoke to me. Strong chicks throwing around heavy stuff with amazing physiques piqued every ounce of curiosity I had. I knew that would be my next challenge. I knew that as soon as I could figure out the finances and the time, that would be where I supplemented my cross training for my runs.

Then Jill happened. And she knows just how to motivate me.

Capture

Y’all, when I tell you she is awesome, I wish I had never used the word before so you would know just how much I meant it. Jillian was effortless, graceful, powerful.

I was in Yoga Love.

I was also in Yoga jealousy. I could not do the hand stand. I could not flip the dog. In fact, there were a good many things I just couldn’t do. And I wanted to. I really, REALLY wanted to.

Yoga JillianYou see, Jillian walked through the class and talked about honoring the body, challenging yourself, respecting your limits, getting better with practice. These are all things ultra runners talk about. The ideas resonated with me in the same way Ultra running does.

It isn’t about winning a race or being better than the guy next to you. It is about winning at life and being better than you were yesterday.

I was going to make this work. Runners need to cross train, right? We need great stretches, strong cores, resilient minds – sounds like yoga to me!

Emily says, “Come to yoga with me after a run. It looks like this.”

And she drops in the middle of a 23 mile run and does this arm balance thing that I couldn’t do fresh with folks to hold me up.
Emily Yoga
Yeah, I had to learn more for real about this yoga business.

If there was any hesitation about this being the right idea, Lindsey put that to bed. Early on a Sunday morning, I set out to join her for a 5k run and Yoga in the Park. Awakening Yoga Studio had begun an every other Sunday Run/Yoga Group and I was anxious to check it out.

I ran with Lindsey and it didn’t take me long to realize she was fast. Not only was she fast – she was fast while pushing a stroller!

“You run about 21 minute 5k, right?” I asked while we ran mile 2.

“Yeah,” she said. “I PR’d at 20:50 but I was pushing the stroller.”

What?!?! Yes, you read that right. Go ahead and read it again. I offered to go with her to the next 5k she did just to watch James Michael so she could run free. Man I hope she takes me up on that!

She then proceeded to lead the most beautiful Yoga class. She was strong and elegant. There was no further debate in my head.
Yoga Lindsey1
What Rocky inspired, Jillian inflamed, Emily encouraged and Lindsey cemented – Lisa made possible. Her encouragement and partnership showed me how I too could make this work within my running practice and life parameters. And if I could do it – anybody could!

So the 30 Day Yoga challenge starts tomorrow!!! Are you reading this late? Then yours starts today!!

There is a prize and a certificate…but something tells me that if this goes like I think it will, there are far bigger rewards to be had.

Yogis, thank you. From the bottom of my rooted feet to the tips of my energized fingers, I can’t thank you enough.

Nameste.

Stay tuned while I learn what the rest of the words mean!!!

**Rocky doesn’t just do Yoga…she does a whole heck of a lot of stuff. One of the amazing things she does is an organization called Mothers Fighting for Others. Check them out. Help if you can. They are running out of money…fast…

MFFO

Introducing kindrunner…and my First Ambassadorship!

There is no doubt that interwebs are full of nutty folks doing less than honorable things. Dissenters of blogger journalism and social media inter-connectivity rightly identify some of the ugly nasty that happens when folks can remain safely anonymous behind their computer screens and promote ugly from a keyboard.

However, it has been my experience that what you surround yourself expands. The past 2 years I have focused on surrounding myself with folks who are determined to be better – both for themselves and the community at large.

Expansion has happened again.

I have had the recent opportunity to connect with some super supportive runner folks over at Running Bloggers. Caroline, the membership and sponsorship coordinator of the group, mentioned an organization called “kindrunner.” With a name like that, of course I was curious.

Joe was quick to respond to my inquiry and a pleasure to speak with. It took little more than the length of two twitter posts to realize this was an organization I could support.

At Kindrunner we have 3 main goals:

1. Make running as fun, enjoyable, and injury and stress free as possible for all of our customers

2. Reduce the running community’s impact on the environment as much as we possibly can

3. Help people in need all around the world by repurposing used running shoes

As a mommy runner who didn’t discover the sport until her 30’s, it speaks to the camaraderie and support. As a mom, the importance of being a good steward and helping both naturally, locally, and globally. As an athlete who is always pushing the envelope, the availability of great new products.

I wanted to know what I could do to help.

kindrunnerearth

Kindrunner is like any other start up in that it needs you to know about it…and it needs you to understand it, love it support it, and tell your friends about it.
I can do that. I am hoping you will too!

The official launch date is June 1st. But don’t wait! Here is what you can do today (and it really isn’t anything different than you do now anyway).

kindrunner

  1. Check out kindrunner.com. Sign up for the newsletter. Ask a question if you have one. Get a teeny bit excited.
  2. Follow kindrunner on twitter. Maybe hook them up with a #FF or RT for good measure.
  3. YouTube tickle your fancy? Of course they are there.
  4. And of course a kindrunner facebook like would be awesome. Maybe even share the page while you are there.
  5. Coolio Instagram pics are starting to come in too!’

And that’s really it…until June 1st…

OH!! And don’t forget to start pulling out those old running shoes…you are gonna really like what happens next!

A Running Column, a Vegan, and a Winner Walk into a Bar…

Connect SavannahIn an amazing stroke of fantastic, I have been afforded the opportunity to submit a biweekly article to Connect Savannah. This is awesome on a number of levels…

  • I get to be in the same publication as Jessica Lebos (author of Yo, Yenta – go there now!)
  • Two loves – writing and running – converge
  • I get to meet new folks in the community and give love to the runner family
  • I am learning a lot
  • I get to offset some of my race fees
  • Did I mention Jessica Lebos?

The column, after much Facebook and editor discussion, has been bestowed the moniker More Than Miles. I like it. There is a whole blog post just discussing that. As for now, let’s just take a look at the first installation.

It’s not simply health, wellness, and mommy gets her sexy back.

It is more than one vegan woman and her barefoot running shoes.

The running community has discovered a whole new level of mettle hidden amidst the traditional spectator favorites. They can tap into it, explore it, and build relationships through it. There is a story of growth here in the South. There is a wealth of community, social responsibility, personal challenge, human spirit, camaraderie, strength, and kindness.

If nothing else, I hope to convey, in some small way, regardless of profiles, accolades, races, or routes, we would still run.

You can read the full article here.

Rails to TrailsA big thanks to Dan Hernandez and Victoria  Ten Broeck for their input. If you don’t know these folks…you really should.

Dan is a fellow minimalist runner with a maximist heart. He consistently combines his sport with charity and community work. From Rails to Trails to Liam’s Land, Dan is always working to keeping running fresh and creating ways for us to be a positive influence on society.

255341_10150976833754352_1098205556_nVictoria is largely responsible for my love of Ultra Running. She introduced me to Tim Waz of Lowcountry Ultras and invited me to volunteer at Cremator 2012. It would be the day I caught the crazy. God Bless Victoria  for all the trouble she has caused, she has never failed to follow through. She is always there, smiling, encouraging  supporting, educating  promoting. And she is a damn fine runner to boot!

On deck for this week – Getting Started and a few hints to help. Featured will be Mareesa Torres of C.R.E.W. and Mary Siegel of Savannah Striders. Yes, THAT Mary Siegel!

A Vegan

PP15coverIn case you missed it – and I don’t see how that is possible – Dreena Burton loves me and she gave me a copy of her eBook to give away. I have already had the chance to cook up a few of these Plant Powered 15 and they did not disappoint. Even for the omni, these recipes do great for Meatless Monday, Fish Stick Fridays (for my Catholic family), or just side additions. If you are curious, this eCookbook is a great place to start.

A Winner

TinaAnd Tina Hein will have the chance to do just that!! Congratulations to Tina!! She is he first TTSW Winner. I will be sending Plant Powered 15 right over! Let us know how it goes!!

Take some time today and click thorough to some of the links above. I would love to know what you think, what you would like to hear more about, and any article ideas you may have!!

 

Respecting the Injury Without Punking Out

limitsThe last thing I want to write about is being injured. Nobody wants to read about it really. It’s like that scene in Days of Thunder (yes, I just went there. I LOVE that movie – don’t judge) when Harry Hogge, played by the wonderful Robert Duvall says to Dr. Lewicki, played by Keith Urban’s wife (my feminist friends love it when I do that!)

Drivers can’t stand to be reminded of what can happen to them in a race car. They, they don’t go to hospitals, they don’t go to funerals. You get a driver to a funeral before he’s actually dead, you’ve made history, darlin’.

Same thing with runners. We just hate talking about injuries. Unless we are injured. Then we want EVERYBODY to talk about them in the faintest hope that somebody, somewhere had the exact same thing, found the magic bullet, and it will work for us too.

I also don’t care to write about it as it typically means it is top of mind because I am injured. I am.

I took a fall this weekend and the bump to my head has me out of commission just a bit. I don’t think it will be too long. Probably another day or so. But I missed an epic weekend of running with some of my best run family. And I missed my freaking training goal. Again. And the Oreos…crap the Oreos.

But this is not my first injury. Hell, it isn’t even my second. And it is certainly not my worst.

I fractured my right heel September 1, 2012 during my long training run for my first marathon…that was 6 weeks away.

Then I tore my left calf muscle on December 13, 2012 during a light jog during an interview for a local news station. Dawn wanted to talk about my first Ultra…that was 4 weeks away.

I ran both races. One I finished amazingly well – better than I could have hoped for. The other? Well, let’s just say I left plenty of room for a PR on the next 50k.

On the surface, it may seem like I rushed both injuries. I don’t think I did. What I do think I have successfully accomplished when dealing with injuries, is learning how to respect the injury without punking out.

The first time was pretty hard. I didn’t really respect the injury. In fact it took almost a week to even admit that I had one. I had no frame of reference for dealing with such a setback. That resulted in some serious confrontations with depression.

The second time was easier. Respecting it was not an issue – I couldn’t walk at all. But, I had been here before. I knew it would get better and I knew I would run again. But this injury hurt – a lot. And that was scary. I was timid getting back into it. I listened to folks, while well intentioned, tell me that I couldn’t do it. I completely punked out on myself from time of injury until about mile 15. At that point it was good enough to finish, but not soon enough to perform well.

This third time I am fortunate. The injury is minor at best and really has nothing to do with my running mechanics. It is enough of a hurt to put me out but not so much so that I can justify being out for too long – easy respect/punk balance. And I have gotten into a pretty good routine of injury management. (PS ~ I am not a doctor. I do not play one of TV. I have less than no medical training unless you count that time I spent on WebMd. This is just my anecdotal thoughts on recovery)

  1. Seriously consider the need for a professional. It is no secret I don’t believe every booboo needs an labcoat. I never saw one for my calf. I had crutches, I monitored the swelling and the bruising, I lived and breathed RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation). But my heel was undoubtedly improved by a trip to Ledesma Sport Medicine. I am in the process of making a chiropractic appointment to make sure the fall didn’t knock me outta whack now. I know it isn’t cheap. I know it isn’t convenient. But if we can make the time to run for 3 hours on a Saturday, we can find the time to drop into a free injury clinic that are offer by bunches of run stores. Just call one.
  2. Diet, diet, diet. Food is as important, if not more so, during recovery than during your actual races. Your body is consuming huge amounts of resources to fix what is broken. You can either give it what it needs so it can get about its business, or, you can keep shoveling food like products and just wait until the resources are there.
  3. Don’t neglect what you can do. In the beginning, that may be complete rest. THIS IS DOING SOMETHING. Rest is like food – your body needs it. However, none of my injuries required complete rest for an extended period of time. It is important to do something. Walk, lift weights, swim, stretch. Just don’t stop asking your body to do things. It will get lazy and lazy punks easy.
  4. WarriorListen to folks with a filter – even me right now. There is tons of good recovery information out there. Take that in, see how it works for you, and appreciate the input. But, not all advice is good advice. Additionally, no one knows your body better than you. Some will push you too hard. Most will pull you too far back. Grain of salt is a good rule of thumb here. **Bonus – my favorite phrase in this instance is “I am so glad that works for you.”
  5. Stay in the game. Be supportive of others. Stay on top of the going ons. Don’t seclude yourself. Injuries are depressing enough without recoiling into a self made hole. If you can run yourself, this is the best time to pitch in on the other side of the tape. In all honesty, you will probably learn more helping others with their training than you ever did focusing on yours.
  6. Don’t be a punk. You were a warrior before the injury. You are a warrior with an injury. You will be a warrior after the injury. Period.

All that being said…my goal completion for last week sucked…and it was looking so good… But, what good is accountability if I am not going to be accountable? So here it is.

Week of May 6, 2013 Results

Log my first +40 run week to include 2 speed work sessions
– 16.5 miles with 1 speed work session

3 Cross Training Workouts
– yeah…none

15 minutes of stretching every day to include one Yoga class
– 3 stretch days…no Yoga

Plan and track all food, drink, and supplementation
– 3 of 7 days

Week of May 13, 2013

  1. Log +30 run week
  2. 2 Cross Training Workouts
  3. 15 minutes of stretching every day to include one Yoga class
  4. Plan and track all food, drink, and supplementation

 

**Photo Credits

The Fitness Fashionista
Daily Fitness
Chamomile Green

Cross Contamination

Mar2013ChauhanOne of my favorite laundry folding techniques is to watched Chopped during the process. I really don’t mind the mounds of laundry my family produces if I get to watch Ted Allen dole out judgments on amazingly random basket ingredients. Let Maneet Chauhan or Geoffrey Zakarian be on the panel that day – so much the better.

While watching this particular episode, a chef nicked her finger. Nothing major, only a little, yet constant, blood. She attempted, then removed, the bandage. She said it hindered her ability to work. She then proceeded to hand toss her salad.

I knew the judges weren’t going to eat that. Regardless of how delicious it looked, regardless that most of the basket ingredients were in that salad, regardless that the rest of the plate suggested the salad was a masterpiece…they were not going to eat it. It had been contaminated.

She got chopped.

Let me go on record as saying that I truly appreciate passionate, engaged, and principled people. Too many in our society have checked out and fail to require resources that allow them to make informed decisions.

That being said, many are hand tossing salads with bloody fingers.

This is not a new thing – correlating unrelated topics as if they somehow had some type of obvious symbiotic relationship when they actually do not.

But it smacked me in the head the other day while listening to Rich Roll’s podcast (still one of my favorites, by the way).

Rich’s guest was nutritionist and dietitian Andy Bellatti MS, RD. The topic, more or less, was real food and the education that is lacking in the nutrition industry. What I heard Andy say, among a host of other brilliant ideas, was that a major hindrance to the education movement was the inability of differing groups to come together as a conglomerate to flex some collective power (total paraphrase).

I see this all the time. Ethical vegans have issues with dietary vegans who blast the paleos who insist the veggies have small brains. Vegetarians are perceived as fence riders who are really more or less glorified hipsters who just discovered that PBR is, in fact, one of the best beers ever. GMO Labelers assume capitalists could care less about the plight and breastfeeders swear that formula moms are intentionally killing their children. And let’s not even start on the vaccination fronts.

Separate-2Coca Cola has none of these problems. Neither does Duncan Hines. Or McDonald’s.

Andy is on to something. Rich agrees. So do I.

And then Rich mentions gun legislation. Huh? That’s weird. But, years in the Navy has taught me message filtering so, whatever. But then he does it again. Andy seems to not notice. But I notice. And I am betting a bunch of other folks did too. The topic has just gained the characteristic that everyone just agreed was killing the message to begin with – cross contaminated.

Then there is an excellent post promoting the currently hot “Strong is the new Skinny” mantra. The post is fresh, irreverent, and all the things I love about passionate writing. And then she decided to calls particular politicians “stupid twit.” Cross contaminated.

Today I was introduced to some amazingly informative videos about corporate tactics in the food industry. I also learned that most of the problems are caused by the brainwashing perpetrated by the right wing. In addition, if the nanny state was what we needed, then that probably wasn’t a terrible thing – government involvement wasn’t all bad.

Nevermind this is the same government that makes formula feeding more lucrative than breast feeding, mandates government control of childhood vaccinations, creates the black market for raw milk, and a host of other ideas that usually produce ire.

Completely cross contaminated.

The definition of communication includes this beautiful nugget

a technique for expressing ideas effectively

We are not communicating effectively when we cross contaminate. We are not, I dare say, communicating at all.

Let’s take this and see if I can make up some fictitious examples

Food labeling is imperative in our society. Knowing where food comes from and whether or not the food we are buying is genetically modified is a consumer right and should be required by the food manufacturers. We don’t believe in killing our children in the womb. Shouldn’t we be informed on how we are caring for them once they are out.

Sugary drinks are a detriment to the health of our nation. They cause a myriad of health problems and produce increase health costs. You are smart enough to protect your home with a firearm from unwelcome intruders. Doesn’t it make sense to protect it from artificial sweeteners?

Yeah, it doesn’t sound any better the last dozen or so times I have heard it done either.

You now know that I have a love for Chopped and a distaste for contamination. I intentionally did not discuss my thoughts on vaccination, raw milk, babies, abortion, guns, or sugar. I can do that in a whole other blog post. Or a different video. Or podcast. Or article.

Please, allow me to introduce myself and assure you I am not alone. I am self educated and self aware. I am free thinking and ever growing. I am not lumpable. I agree with a variety of people on a variety of things. I disagree with some of those same people on different things. I want to learn so that I can become a better steward. I want to understand differing ideas so that I do not become arrogant and close minded. But if my greens are continually tossed with bloody fingers, I simply cannot consume it and we both lose.

 

**Picture Credits

Training the Way You “Ought”

First CommunionAs some of you may know, it was an amazing weekend for my family. Our daughter Savannah received her First Holy Communion. She was very excited and it was a beautiful liturgy.

During the entrance procession of the children, it was obvious that there was something slightly different about a few of the kids – my Savannah being one of them. In our parish, First Holy Communion typically happens when the children are in the 2nd grade. Savannah is in the 6th grade.

My husband and I completed our two-year conversion journey Easter 2012. The children were baptized on the Day of Pentecost that same year. That put the littles in alignment with their peer group. This Easter season, the two older children received the sacraments that “caught them up” with their peers. Madison, communion and confirmation. Savannah, communion.

We are now, as far as Catholic families are concerned, “on track.”

During the liturgy, I considered all the hard work both my family and the respective Catechists had put into walking through and making informed decisions about this journey. Father Joe, Sister Mary Ann and Cyndy Glasscock, in particular, walked alongside our family the entire way. It was, in many instances, unorthodox – even for converting families. Mark and I took two years to do what can be done in only one. The children were given every opportunity to decline the invitation to join the church. They were given special instruction and asked lots of thought provoking questions to ensure that this was for them. The children were allowed to choose their own Godparents.

We didn’t quite do it the  way some would say you “ought” to.

But, the way we did it was right for us (and, as an aside, in accordance with Church teachings 😉 )

I considered the how the same has been true in my health and wellness journey. (Yes, I think about running during Mass on a regular basis. I pray about it even. If you are one of my running buddies, chances are pretty good that you too have been prayed for or had a rosary decade said for you).

I did not coming into fitness the way you “ought.” My first successful, albeit non sustainable, attempt was for the sole purposed of losing baby weight. This current, seemingly sustainable, journey is a bit whacked out too. I mean seriously, who in their right mind decides they are going to an ultra marathon runner at the age of 36 with a husband, four kids, a dog, a cat, a turtle, and a full time job? I mean, it seems to be a little late in the game and the schedule demands are nothing short of, well, demanding.

I did not come into nutrition the way you “ought.” It wasn’t until the habits of my children were regrettable skewed to the unfortunate that I decided to open my eyes and pay attention. I waited until my habits, tastes, and likes were fairly engrained before I decided to take action and learn healthier ways. I eat differently than every single member of my family.

I miss my training goals on a regular basis. I still have yet to find the gumption to do one speed work drill. Yesterday I had an Oreo. Even if I was completely inline with my schedule, there would still be some who would say I run too far and eat irresponsibly. On Fridays I let the children buy ice cream at school if they have had good behavioral marks that week. I still let them eat lunch at school.

I don’t train, eat, raise, function, as some would say I “ought”.

But I feel right on track.

If you saw the look on her face in that church on Saturday morning knowing she was about to receive the body and blood of our risen Savior, an act that not all subscribe to at an age where even those who do is still considered late, you would know she felt nothing of “ought” and everything about “right on track.”

Are there for sure wrongs? Yes. Are there better ways? Yes. Are there practices that will lead to better results when followed? Yes.

Should we freeze up, quit trying, give up what we love, forget the whole thing, throw in the towel, and, in general, consider ourselves less than because we have not lived up to another’s “ought.” Never.

April 29, 2013 Results

Log my first +40 run week to include 2 speed work sessions
– 28 miles, 0 speed work, I DID get my 22 miles long run in though 🙂

3 Nike Training Club Workouts
– 2 NTC workouts, 1 Insanity Workout

15 minutes of stretching every day to include one Yoga class
– Arg! Stretching! So easy yet so hard. I DID get the Yoga class in…more on that soon…

Plan and track all food, drink, and supplementation
– I tracked it better than I planned it, but both were better than last week

Week of May 6, 2013

  1. Log my first +40 run week to include 2 speed work sessions
  2. 3 Cross Training Workouts
  3. 15 minutes of stretching every day to include one Yoga class
  4. Plan and track all food, drink, and supplementation

Making choices that encourage our bodies, minds, and spirits to say “Thank You!” 

Introducing Ultra Runner Supporter, Dreena Burton

I have been writing this post for three days.

Ok, obviously it would be more correct to say I have been TRYING to write this post for three days (which is painfully apparent by this amazingly weak intro)…

But I have just never done this before…

And I am not really sure how or where to start…

Look, I only started running about 2 years ago…I am not the best, I am not the fastest, I am not the tightest…

And that is okay. I am proud, strong, and completely in love with my fellow runners.

I am passionate. I am dedicated. I am happy. And I want you to be happy.

Sometimes, that is better than first.

And every once in a while you get those folks that believe in you. Those folks that come alongside you, see that they can help, and offer to walk – or run! – this way with you a while.

THE Dreena Burton has done that for me. Author of four vegan cookbooks, I first became acquainted with Dreena after my Vegucated collision. After a whirlwind Twitter romance, I was thrilled to learn she was more than a chick with a spatula. She cared about the food, she cared about the bodies, she really, really cared about the kids.

PP15coverDreena makes being vegan fun. She helps me introduce it in fun, unassuming ways to my family. She encourages me to try new things. She never judges, often suggests, and always, always comes from contribution.

Now, in addition to being my champion in the kitchen, Dreena is my cheerleader on the trails! If you have ever entered into any kind of organized run, you know they cost a bit of money. If you enter into a lot of them, you know they add up. If you enter into a lot of them and the nature of them are such that advanced nutrition, hydration, supplementation, and gear become factors – you know it gets downright expensive!

Dreena believes in plant powered athletes and she believes in me…again, not because I am the fastest or the first, but because we are all in this together to

make choices that encourage our bodies, minds, and spirits to say “Thank You!” ~TTSW

In celebration of this new relationship, Dreena has offered a free copy of her brand new Plant Powered 15 eCookbook!

The Plant-Powered 15 is a collection of fifteen whole foods vegan recipes, all oil-free and flavor-full. Recipes include: “Mac-nificent”, “Sticky Almond Blondies”, “Umami Sun-dried Tomato and Almond Burgers”, “Creamy House Dressing”, “Wonder Spread”, “Black Bean Soup with Sweet Potatoes”, “Almond Zen Granola”… and more!

Vegan, veggie, paleo, oreo…whatever you eating pleasures are, this eCookbook compliments them all.

Seriously…Umami Sun-dried Tomato and Almond Burgers… Yeah – you know you want it…

***a Rafflecopter giveaway