A Little Bit on Getting Started

Just Go Run“What do I need to do?”

That is probably the single most asked question I get. And while the last More than Miles column from Connect Savannah is obviously not all encompassing, it is a great (in my not so humble opinion) overview of some of the resources available to new and aspiring runners.

You can read the full article here. I suggest it as I was able to work Memorial Day, a 100 mile race, and Zombies all into one 800 word article. However, if you know nothing else, know that I said this…

One of the best things about running is pretty easy to start. You don’t have to really do anything that most of us aren’t already equipped to do.

I subscribe to a pretty pared down version of running. I don’t own a lot of clothes, gear, or shoes. In fact, if I was certain I wouldn’t cut my feet open, I would drop the shoes too.

I don’t wear a heart rate monitor or a super sexy multi-sport, waterproof, laser shooting, GPS watch either (although I totally would if I could bring myself to buy one). Therefore, you will find that I subscribe to the “just get started” school of thought.

Mareesa TorresBig thanks to Mareesa Torres, a Savannah attorney and Fleet Feet CREW coach, and Mary Seigel, Ultra Runner extraordinaire and Savannah Strider member, for helping me with this piece.

These amazing women do more than just run for themselves – they carry those of us wanting to be better further along. They support and encourage making us all better runner and better people.

You can check out CREW training here.

Savannah Striders can be found here.
Mary Siegel
For my facebook folks, I encourage you to check out Running Bloggers and Savannah Moms Run This Town. Both groups are a wealth of information on all topics. For this article, they were very helpful in gauging which apps were the most (and least!) helpful, useful, and popular. However, don’t blame them for the Zombie thing…

all that blame belongs to Massuto and Waz 🙂

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!” 

Tan Toes…Strong Woman

The Ladies at the Lighthouse

Seriously I thought that My Beautiful Chaos was always going to be the mantra of my life. Once I got married, had some babies, held down a job, and occupied some free time, what else was there but chaos?

The chaos is still there…it is still beautiful. I still love it. But it doesn’t compel me to create the way it once did.

“You are a great writer.” Dan says. “But you aren’t writing there very much anymore are you?”

“No,” I tell him. “It seems I am only motivated to write when something pisses me off. I don’t want to write pissed off.”

And that is true. But I do want to write. And where I once wore the badge of chaos as an honor, it now seems to be a place of uncertainty and instability. I have become more settled into who I am, what I am made of, and the wonders of constant evolution. I am proud that I can still handle the chaos. I am more thrilled that I am learning to thrive and wield it. 

So The Chaos still lives…it may even be updated once in a while. More than likely, old things there will strike me in a different way now and find itself migrated here. Who knows? But let me tell you a bit about here.

Savannah Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon 2012

As you may know, my inner runner escaped last year. It has been a hell of a ride since then. I have been amazingly fortunate to meet some amazing people along the way. Good, encouraging people. Smart, helpful people.

I have been blessed in discovering a whole new part of me that made all the other parts of me make a little more sense. It is interesting how acquainted you can get with yourself during double digit mileage runs. It is amazing how competent you become in other aspects of your life when you realize you are tangibly just that strong.

Spinach Smoothie…yes, please 🙂

Please know this is not all about running. But make no mistake, running changed my life. And it changed my voice. In fact, it changed nearly everything about me. My relationship with my God and my family is better. My understanding of myself is more authentic. My confidence in all other areas is stronger. My mental, physical, and emotional well being has been transformed by healthier choices.

In short, life just doesn’t seem that chaotic anymore.

So my journey has shifted out of the chaos and into the world of strong, tanned toes…what do I mean by that anyway? Well, a few things

My first barefoot run

  1. If you know me at all, you know I hate shoes. I only wear them when I absolutely have to. I live where it is sunny most of the time. Ergo, my toes are tanned
  2. My love of running hit a whole new level when I learned you didn’t have to wear sneakers to do it. In fact, you could (and some folks say “should”) do it barefoot! So, I tried it. It was like being a kid again. Now, because I can’t risk tearing my feet up, I am what is known as a minimalist runner (barefoot purest will appreciate that I know the difference).
  3. I think I was an ocean animal in my previous life. Ok, so I don’t actually believe in previous lives. But if I did, you would have no trouble convincing me I was a dolphin or a mermaid or something. I love the water. I love the sand by the water. I love my tanned toes in that sand and that water.

Turning 36

And the “Strong Woman”? There is a bit behind that too…

    1. I could not care less about being a twig. Twigs cannot, as a matter of regularity, hand mix concrete, use a chainsaw, push a mower, hold a sleeping five year old the duration of a Mass, help her husband move furniture, or run distances some people won’t drive to work in a car. That takes strong. Now understand, if you are a twig and you like that – more power to you. I believe in doing what works for you. I ain’t mad and I am for sure not trying to change your mind. It just isn’t me. And I happen to think muscles on chicks are sexy.
Tough Girls!
  1. I am not interested in being a victim. A strong mind and a strong body work with each other. Strengthening one is empowering the other. I believe in personal responsibility. I believe in the power of the mind. I believe that circumstances change only in so much as we have the mental and physical strength to change them.
  2. I am not sexist, but I am a woman and I am raising four of them. So, while I hope my writing is helpful for the fellas (and y’all are more than welcome here), I don’t really know a whole lot about being a strong man or raising strong men…so there’s that.

So, I am still fixing up the place. Feel free to offer opinions, ideas, and questions…I am looking forward to getting comfortable here 🙂

I will tell you about my diet and fitness choices…

So a really cool thing happened on my Facebook page a few days ago. I posted this ~

After 5 pregnancies, 4 deliveries, nearly 36 birthdays, I NEVER thought I would look this way again. Stronger than I have been since I was in my early 20’s and my washboard is back (although with some new tiger stripes). Melissa, Tanisha, Marc, Victoria, Dan, Shannon, Tony & Allison, Lisa, Sabine ~ and a host of others I can’t tag because of facebook’s stupid tag limit ~ Thanks…the hard work, attention to food and body, focus and spirit connection, is not only paying off now, but is proving to be a shift in lifestyle and not another tangle with fad diets and sporadic exercise activity. I really appreciate y’all. My future grandchildren thank you as well!!

And my friends did this ~

**Are most of the comments made by folks that liked thus not actually resulting in 117 individual people? Yes. Did that change the number of notifications that came through and actual instances of encouraging moments to me? Not on your life.

Almost immediately my friends came to my side, encouraging and congratulating. The amount of happy conveyed was immeasurable. I hoped one day to return the favor. I quickly discovered how.

There are a bunch of folks out there just like me who want to make different choices. They are frustrated with their fitness level. They are frustrated with their diet. They want the results I am getting. They want me to tell my story. And I will. In a minute. This conversation has to happen first.

I hit a ton of roadblocks in my journey. I am still hitting them. I do not do everything “right”. Quite frankly, I don’t even know what that means. In all honesty, if I did, I probably still wouldn’t do it.

While researching, talking, and listening, I encountered quite a few folks who obviously did know “right.” And if it didn’t feel right to me, conflicted with a different piece of research I found, or just didn’t factor high onto my personal priority list, well, I was obviously the uneducated dolt who just didn’t care enough about my well being to hear what they had to say.

I can’t function that way. Good on folks who can. That ain’t me.

I am going to go back to last year and tell you my story thus far. Please know that I made no decisions haphazardly and my choices may or may not fit for you. That’s okay. We are all different. We all have different perspectives, resources, priorities, desires, and lives.

Here is what I can tell you.

  1. We aren’t talking real estate, so I am not trying to sell you anything 😉
  2. Every word of that Facebook post is true.
  3. I am happier than I have been in years.
  4. Your choices are not my choices and vice versa. So there is no judgement here. You do you, I do me, and maybe we can help support and encourage each other in the process.
  5. I am not a professional dietitian, nutritionist, sport medicine, whatever ~ I know some, but I ain’t one. All the information I give you will be solely anecdotal with references that stand on their own.
  6. Thanks for everything. I can use all the help I can get.
  7. In appreciation for that help, I offer all the help that I can.

So, that being said, I will post about my health choices. But you have to know, you are probably already mostly awesome 🙂 Your path may have different things in store for you. I can’t wait to hear what they are!