Inward Comfort, Outward Things

**Sections originally published June 22, 2007

Fun Office SuppliesOk, so yesterday, I made quite the declaration of hardness when it comes to the metaphysical. I do believe in God, an afterlife, and occasional oddities…but general mystic stuff just ain’t my thing. I am not real sure if I think that it works, if it is just a placebo effect of things that could have been accomplished if you had just done the work, or something I just put off.

But, I know I believe in intellectual honesty. I also know I believe in the growth and evolution of self. So, in honor of those things, I feel it necessary to acknowledge the fact that there is one area where I am already completely comfortable with, if not addicted to, the facade of the placebo.

I totally dig on comfort items.

  • Right now, I am drinking Chocolate Velvet coffee – not because it tastes good, but because it feels good.
  • When I was in the Navy going through the 2nd hardest school they had to offer, I, the squared away, had the matching Winnie the Pooh notebook and pen.
  • Before I deployed, I bought a pretty purple pen because it made me smile.
  • I own 4 Webkinz myself because they make me giggle.
  • I have a favorite coffee mug (which the Chocolate Velvet Coffee is in right now).
  • I will start having my husband light up the fireplace too early in the fall.
  • I have a favorite blanket.
  • I have footy pajamas.

They say confession is good for the soul – so, couple this with today’s affirmations and I should be unstoppable!

2013 Update

I still believe firmly in comfort items. When someone (usually my beloved) says, “that’s all in your head,” I think to myself, “Well, where else does it need to be??”

  • IMG_20130902_130514_532_20130902130954006I now drink black coffee…and it still feels good
  • I have an overall passion for office supplies
  • I am a sucker for Minions
  • I have a coffee mug collection (and have begun to switch some out becasue they don’t make me quite so happy anymore)
  • Still love a good fire (although I do not hope for the cold)
  • I have swapped out a great blanket for awesome socks
  • And I still love comfy pjs

Screenshot_2013-08-21-13-51-57-1Regardless of the changes, edits, updates, gains, and losses, I still believe in the power of positive emotion. Maybe that warm fuzzy is all in my head…but it sure does light up my heart 🙂

Savannah Follow Friday I

This “Follow Friday” was pretty hard. There are a ton of really cool people in Savannah. Runners, creatives, professionals, hosts, and everything in between can be found in the beautiful Lowcountry. Because I live here, I am blessed to know a lot of them.

So, I have decided this will be “Part I” of who knows how many Savannah Follow Fridays there will be.

FF

And, I appreciate that everyone doesn’t love “the Twitter.” I do. But I will make sure you can find these folks in other places. Fair enough? Great!

Jillian Stafford (JillyStaff) on TwitterJillian Stafford (@JillyStaff) I am truly in love with my life. But, if there was another life I could experience, Jill’s would be up there. Strong, passionate, sensitive, creative – awesome in all the ways I am not. Jill brings a whole lot of cool to Savannah. Mother of Savannah Tweet Up, (@savtweetup), Jill is the life of the party, the calmer of spirits, the encourager of souls, and the creator of influence.

Sandy Traub (sandytraub) on TwitterSandy Traub (@SandyTraub) If you need to know anything about, from, going on, happening around Savannah, just ask Sandy. A sister in the love of pink, this lady never fails to recognize a call for help, connection, or interest. Founder and CMO of Spatior Storyline Marketing, Sandy is everything that is right about social media, marketing, and telling a story.

Eat It and Like It (eatitandlikeit) on TwitterEat It and Like It (@eatitandlikeit) There is a lot great about Savannah. Our food is one of them. Jesse Blanco, helps keep all of us on top of the yums around town. “Some people see our show as a guide to local restaurants in Savannah. Others see it as a must have foodie resource. Some use it for recipes. What we are actually (in our view) is simple. Something different than you see on all the cooking/travel shows out there.”

Connect Savannah (ConnectSavannah) on TwitterConnect Savannah (@ConnectSavannah) Coolest newsprint in Savannah. This weekly publication offers a fresh perspective to all things Savannah. They also happen to run More Than Miles every other week (which makes me a bit biased, but hey, whatever). If you needed any other motivation, they also have best writer in town, Jessica Lebos (@TypeItLoud) (okay, she is my friend, yes, BUT that is NOT biased – chica ROCKS!).

Gnate The Gnat (gnatethegnat) on TwitterGnate the Gnat (@GnatetheGnat) More than a mascot, Gnate is a Savannah Icon! The face of  Your Savannah Sand Gnats (@GnatsBaseball), Gnate makes all other varieties of noseeums more bearable.  Gnate has so much cool that he even makes me forget that the Sand Gnats MLB team is not the Atlanta Braves (no, I do not feel compelled to acknowledge the actual team – I love Gnate, that’s gonna have to be enough). Do you have any idea how much cool THAT takes???

Visit Savannah (VisitSavannah) on TwitterVisit Savannah (@VisitSavannah) Don’t let the “Official Convention and Visitors Bureau” tag fool you. They do not mean “official” like cream colored walls, navy pants suit, high rolled bun official. All day, every day, all over the Savannah Lowcounty area, this is the one stop source of what is going on. Not finding what you need to know? Tweet them. They answer back and they are ALWAYS RIGHT!!

 

That is NOT what I said

**From the archives ~ originally published April 27, 2011

Life in the home has been complicated by this tank top.

Ok, maybe not this EXACT tank top…but I own one a lot like it.

Ok, maybe it isn’t just this tank top…

Maybe it is this innocent looking creature…

MorganDo not let her fool you…her ways are not for the faint of heart. At 4, she is good, real good. I can only imagine where we are going to find ourselves

Example ~

Morgan: Momma, can we have macaroni and cheese for dinner?
Me: No baby, I am making mashed potatoes.
Morgan: (utter outburst of screams and tears) You mean you are never going to feed me ever again?!?!

Umm…not what I said…

Example ~

Me: Morgan, please take your thumb out of your mouth.
Morgan: But Momma, my body says I have to…
Me: Morgan, I know it is a hard habit to break, but you are gonna mess up your teeth.
Morgan: (another outburst as in previous example) You mean you are gonna knock my teeth out and cut my thumb off!?!

Ummm…no?

And finally (but not only) ~ The Tank Top ~

Daycare: April, I hate to bother you but Morgan says you have a shirt that upsets her. She is in tears.
Me: Really, I can’t imagine what that could be.
Daycare: Well, I don’t believe you own a shirt that says that.
Me: Says what?
Daycare: Well, Morgan says you own a shirt that says (wait for it….)
“I hate my daughter”

Ummm…no….again….thanks….

Little Tybee Conquest Victory Lap (WITH PRIZES)!!

There aren’t enough words to tell you how much I love race volunteers and crews. There is nothing that compares to a smiling face, a helping hand, a hug, an encouraging word, or a cold beer at the ready while your body is trying to figure out what in the world you are going to do to try and wreck it next.

They look like angels with boiled potatoes and salt tabs.

One of the most transforming days in my running life came as a volunteer.

I these two truths compel me to find opportunities (and time!) to forgo running a race and volunteer or crew instead. Kinda like the runner version of “Pay it Forward.”

I thought I had found this opportunity with the inaugural Little Tybee Conquest.

tybee2This race kinda freaked me out a bit. It is roughly 10-11ish miles (depending on the coast line) on the beach with four channel crossings. The race was limited to a small (15) number of runners due to the nature of the location. Little Tybee is an uninhabited island off the coast of Tybee Island, Georgia. To reduce the environmental impact of this beautiful little sanctuary, the decision was made to keep the race small.

I wasn’t sure about it to begin with. I can run. I am strong. I can swim. But, I can’t really swim swim. The whole idea made me nervous. Awesome time to volunteer.

Race Director extraordinaire Dan Hernandez took me up on my offer and asked me to be the volunteer coordinator. I agreed and it was the easiest job on the planet. It was a small race and Dan is so on top of everything, there was really nothing for me to do.

We met early Saturday morning and loaded up the boat. We got over to the island and set up the start. Easy peezy.

The weather had been rough so there were some runners that had called Dan the day before to let him know they weren’t going to make it.

DNS runners = orphan bibs
Orphan bib+cool people+awesome course = April wants to run

That’s the math for ya.

Me ~ I think I am going claim one of those bibs.
Dan ~ That’s an awesome idea. You should absolutely do that.

Yeah, not quite the response I was expecting.

toesI went through the reasons I couldn’t run. There were three big ones – I hadn’t eaten, I was only in flip flops, and, most importantly, I had no bandanna. I mean, I was in total non runner mode.

But there was aid station food. And I am a minimalist runner; I could just do it barefoot. And, to seal the deal, Dan had a bandanna.

I feel like I should be doing a better job than just “and this happened, and then, this, and then that.” But I guess sometimes, you just have to tell the story.

So I grabbed Emily’s bib enjoying the idea that I had her number. Emily is an amazingly gracious, talented, generous, FAST runner. She is also my friend. The idea to run was feeling more right.

ElijahInteresting thing I did not know ~ We opted to write our numbers on ourselves rather than pin bibs due to the water portions of the race. There is a current in all the channels so the bibs probably wouldn’t hold up. If you ever get the opportunity to do that – do it! I completely underestimated the total badassed feeling it can produce.

So, I ran.

I ended up running most of the race with Gregg and Brian. Turned out to be a pretty good thing too.

At the third channel crossing we are told that the kayaks, life rings, and life jackets didn’t make it to the fourth channel crossing. There was a boat drop mix up and the turn around had been moved forward, ahead of the crossing. This makes my heart sing. That last channel crossing is a beast and I was not looking forward to attempting it.

When we get to the new turn around, there is confusion. The lead runners are still going. Bren had helped plot the course and knew exactly where he was supposed to be going. Luke was right there with him. We Three Amigos shrugged and followed the leaders. “Leader determines the course,” I said, figuring there was no way we could turn around at this point if the leaders hadn’t started back yet.

Dumbass move, Groves.

channel4We get to the last channel crossing and pause. We have been told that this channel is different than the others. There is always a current and there is no wading as the drop offs are quick and substantial. There are no volunteers, no kayaks, no life vests, nada. “That is further than it looks,” I tell the fellas. Brian, who is the best swimmer I have ever seen in real life, says, “Oh it’s fine,” and starts fishing his self across. Gregg agrees. What’s a girl to do?

Let’s get real honest. That’s not really the question I was asking myself. The question I was asking myself was, “What’s a girl in FIRST to do?” What I might should have been thinking was “pride comes before the fall” but who ever thinks THAT when they need to?

I was in first place. Lara, who is far more talented and swift than I, had opted not to do the last channel under the current conditions.

This was it. You’re damned straight I jumped in that water.

About a fourth of the way across the channel I realize that the swim is exactly what I expected  – further than it looked.

And few more minutes (I guess, I have no idea how long it took) I was beginning to question my choice. The shore behind me was getting further away. The shore ahead was getting no closer. This is no bueno.

Ok, I decide, this was a bad idea. Probably a good time to go back. Except I am in the middle, I think maybe a little closer to where I am going than where I came from, but I can’t tell. Move forward, go back, either way my chances suck.

“I have just ruined Dan’s race,” I think to myself. I am fixing to drown, ruin any chances of this race happening again and my husband is going to be pissed. I am not even supposed to be here. I am supposed to be back at the start in my flip flops tending to that cooler of beer I brought waiting for the runners to come in. Instead I am in the middle of this water fixing to die.

I am an idiot.

I look over and Gregg is not too far ahead of me. “Gregg, I am not sure what to do. I am a little freaked out right this second.  I am not really sure how to get across this channel.”

Gregg, in a ever so calm voice says, “Just keep swimming. You are going to be fine.”

Well, that really is the only option, isn’t it?

PaceOutSo I flip over on my back and start kicking and Gregg keeps talking. I think to myself, “Just keep kicking, you will get there. Just keep going, don’t stop, no worries, you will finish.” Pace Out.

Gregg talks to me the duration of the channel and then he says, “You can stand up now.” I flip back over, super excited, and put my feet down. Gloriously the water is chin deep, I dig my toes in and run my ass outta there! On shore I say a super bad word, hug Gregg, swear he saved my life, breathe deep, and collect myself. Gregg and Brian laugh a bit and it is time to start running again.

The course is an out and back so there was still the task of going back across the channel. No problem according to the fellas. We will just start further up the beach so that current won’t wash us out. Gregg and Brian will be close at hand and, since I have demonstrated my ability to stay calm in the midst of my panic, it will be fine.

I get my nerves back about me, hit the turn around, lose them again, get them back together, and reach the channel crossing. It takes me just a minute or so to get back in that water. But I am more comfortable now. I know I can do it. I know it takes longer than I think it will. I know I will not get left behind.

We head back to the start and it is wonderful company. We get to the wooded area and it is totally transformed. It is low tide now and the roots of all these magnificent trees that have fallen over are exposed. Instead of having to run through the woods, we run through the roots. Under, over and around them, some are taller than me. I wish I could tell you what an experience it was. (Registration for the 2014 Little Tybee Conquest opens in a few days!)

The guys sprint to the finish to take 3rd and 4th place. It is fun to watch. I am spent at this point and am content to finish the race at the same pace I have run the duration. Bren has a beer at the ready and I am so thankful. And I get to take pictures with the most awesome trophy I have ever seen.

A couple of thoughts about winning this race…

First, crossing the channel is a decision conundrum, even in hindsight. It was unequivocally stupid. But, it was also empowering and worth it. I don’t really know what to do about that except to say that it goes directly into the category of choices nobody else can make for you. This is where getting comfortable in your own skin, listening to your own inner voice, and competing with no one but yourself proves itself important.

Second, that Pace Out thing is no joke. I was not the fastest person out there. Lara is. Hands down she is the better runner. I have appreciated her friendship, training advice, and spirit. She has the heart of a tiger and the tenacity to match. I don’t, I CAN’T, compete with her. But, I do compete with myself. I run my race and appreciate my body for giving me the best its got any given day (and a bit more when I need it). And this day, in this moment, it was good enough for top prize. I am honored.

Third, I seriously want to run barefoot more often. I can’t begin to tell you how fun that was.

Lastly, my runner family is the shit. When I think of the advances that I have made in my fitness level, appearance, health, and ability, NONE of it even begins to compare with the ties that bind us together. Being around these people, having them as a part of my life, is one of the most treasured gifts I have ever been given.

So, in honor of the win, we are giving stuff away!!! I have 3 amazing prizes for three lucky folks!

I can’t tell you what my time was on this race because I really don’t remember. My pace was not important. Not dying was important. Finishing was important. I also am still a bit irritated at the asshats. So we are giving away a super awesome, “What’s your Pace? DON’T CARE!” t-shirt. (As an aside, I would like to congratulate PaceOut and Georgia Game Changers for their new relationship. You can now buy PaceOut gear in that retail location!)

DFITTI typically wear my PaceOut gear when I run. It is the most comfortable, durable, run friendly tank I own. I wasn’t planning to run and my DFIT tank that I got for my birthday makes me feel like a warrior (and the husband really likes it too!) Good thing I was channeling a bit of warrior groove that day – it was helpful. So we are giving away one of those too!

And, you need some place to wear all this cool gear. You are in luck! DFIT training sessions are back in full swing! We are giving away a four pass pack. Yep, you can win the opportunity to get yourself beat not once but FOUR times.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I am a Fan of the “Fad Diet” (or “The Daniel Fast: Part Deux)

So first let me assure you that you are in the right place and you are talking to the right person. I am certain that you were not expecting the “fad diet” nod. Give me a minute.

The funny thing about a bumper sticker mantra is that it is hard to craft a message so witty, so insightful, so perfect, in just a line or two that it’s message can’t be picked apart. It is just too hard to close all the gaps.

Therefore, I have grown practiced at filling in the gaps myself with what I think they actually meant. Large doses of “benefit of the doubt” so to speak. I am very kind to these little posts and enjoy them greatly for what they are.

But this one inspired me to think a bit different – a little more around the fringes.

You see, I am a food addict. So, maybe I throw that word “addict” around kind of loosely. But, in my world, there is nothing that can derail my motivation and resolve like food. Nothing.

I started smoking with I was 15. I didn’t quit until I was 35. There were some periods of non-smoker behavior in there (i.e. I never smoked pregnant), but I was basically a smoker for 20 years. Quitting was NEVER hard. I could pick them up and put them down whenever I wanted. They just don’t bother me. So I never really understood the problem folks hard when they tried to kick the habit. Or drinkers with booze.

Until I tried to change the way I ate.

I was 25 and had just had my second kid. I hit 210 in the pregnancy and came home just under 190 pounds. I had a military uniform I had to get back into. The Atkin’s Diet was the rage. Made sense.

That “fad” diet taught me a ridiculous amount of stuff about myself, none more important than the unhealthy relationship I have with food.

It also taught me the importance of making choices, goals, and appropriateness. It is true, I could not “live” Atkins. But, Atkins worked. Low carb plus an amazing exercise routine produced results I would have NEVER imagined. Of course, being 25 didn’t hurt either.

Once I reached that goal, I began to tweak the plan so that it worked for me. I learned my tolerances, my abilities, and my body. That worked pretty well for a pretty good while.

Until I went and lived in the barracks on TDY for 6 months. For my non-military readers think six month long conference, home on the weekends, living on limited, but adequate, expense account.

The pounds and, more importantly, the unhealthy choices came back. It was yo-yoie. Being deployed for seven months didn’t help either. Then the welcome home from Iraq baby…then the “holy shit you are not really pregnant again already” baby.

But I can be pretty motivated and got the excess weight off for a minute. But it was nothing sustainable. It was diet pills and cleaner shakes. The fact that my heart and other vital organs came away from that abuse unscathed is nothing short of a blessing.

I did make the conscience choice to stop with the drug store brand of weight loss. It had become obvious to me how dangerous that was. The amount of toxins and stimulants I had to ingest to offset my crappy food and exercise choices was ridiculous.

cant-out-train-dietOf course the blow back is that people soon stopped being surprised that I had four kids.

So, I walked the dog and lost no weight. I ran and lost no weight. Why? Because you cannot out train a bad diet.

Folks will tell you all the time “moderation is the key.” And they are absolutely right – if you can accomplish that great feat of “moderation.”

I, however, need an intervention. Call it a “fad diet” if you want – I need the hard reset. Tell me how unsustainable it is as life choice – I already know that.

I am not trying to live in the harsh, I am trying not to die in the easy.

So, I found the Daniel Fast. And it was amazing.

It was also about 19 months ago. Just like anything else, this stuff needs a reboot.

I am so far off the food wagon I can’t even tell you how bad it is without hanging my head. All of my days are reset – days since I have eaten animal, fast food, soda, processed junk – all of it. And while that may just sound like a cheat day to some, for a good many of us, it is a crisis.

So. let’s do it again, shall we. Here are basics for those who don’t like to click to past posts.

The Daniel Fast is 21 days of over achieving veganism with some spiritual help.

Daniel FastDON’T

  • consume anything with or from a face (meat, cheese, seafood, dairy, butter – nada)
  • consume anything processed
  • no sweeteners (no sugar, no honey, nada)
  • drink anything but water (no coffee, no tea, no booze, nada – water!)

DO

  • drink LOTS of water
  • eat anything from the ground (beans, nuts, whole grains, fruits, veggies)
  • start on a slow day – you may feel a bit tired/cranky the first day or so. Lots of water helps

Here are my Part Deux caveats…

  • I am going 26 days vs. 21. There are 5 days between today and September 20 that I know I will need a pass. I have worked the buffer in. However, I have given my self a number of days, not certain days. If I can’t keep it together and flake on a different day, I will have to make that day up during the time I had planned. Accountability – I need it.
  • Coffee, I am keeping it
Really? Is a 12 week eating plan that bad of an idea? I think not...

Really? Is a 12 week eating plan that bad of an idea? I think not…

Another note about my 5 day buffer. I seriously considered waiting until after Labor Day and after my anniversary weekend to start. But then I figured, can’t I always finds a reason not to do what I know I need to do today? There will always be something – that is life.

Most of life’s failures come from putting off today what you plan to do tomorrow which turns out to feel hopeless because feel like you waited too long.

Today I am starting what could be considered a “fad diet” to regain focus on my lifestyle so it can last forever.

Reality is, one persons “fad” is another persons salvation.
~ Rebecca, Weight Wars

They are fun. Enjoy them. Laugh at them. Take them in. Let them motivate you and impart their intentions to you. But never be afraid to live your life because of a bumper sticker.

 

Image Credits
The Princess & Her Cowboys
Weight Wars
Strong is the New Skinny

Sunday Set Up, Going Big, and “Turn Around Tuesday”

My MySpace Profile Picture. Seriously.

So I bought a book…and it is a good one. And I debated whether or not to even share it with you. Not because of you, but more because of me. The title is very, very telling. And sometimes being very telling is a bit scary. But I jump ahead of myself. Let me do this in order and I will be as quick as I can…

I started blogging on MySpace. Yes, MySpace. Then on April 3, 2007, I started a little newsletter called “Turn Around Tuesday.” Later that same year, I converted aprilgroves.com from a static, then traditional site, to WordPress. (Don’t bother going there….it will just bring you back here.)

I love to write.

I also love to pay the bills.

But don’t get worried and fly away. I am not morphing all our conversations in “ShamWow” dailies. Stay with me.

In July 2007, I moved the little newsletter to Constant Contact. One of the best decisions I ever made, by the way. Here is the text from that Turn Around Tuesday.

“The highest courage is to dare to appear to be what one is”
– John Lancaster Spalding
Bishop (1840-1916)

Transparency. In today’s world, this item is becoming more and more important. With the soaring popularity of Web 2.0 interactions such as MySpace, Facebook, and LinkedIn, it is possible for people to become whom ever they choose – and we would be none the wiser.

It can be tempting to assume a persona that is not truly our own. Many times, we feel under equipped, over shadowed, and unappreciated. In order to move around these feelings, our voice becomes unauthentic.

However, this manner of practice seldom works and never lasts long. The good news is, you don’t need it all. Your family, friends, associates, and clients deal with you because they trust and depend on you. This is a huge responsibility and requires dedication and hard work. Don’t make it harder by attempting to upkeep a facade.

The uniqueness of ourselves is the thing that makes us wonderful. The display of that is a step on the road to greatness!

41AX4HYVGOL._SY346_PJlook-inside-v2,TopRight,1,0_SH20_I still believe that. So I am telling you about the book I bought.

As many of you know, I have a day job that I love. I also moonlight as a writer. I love that as well. I would like to do more of it. I am doing more of it. I hope you will hang out with me and let me know what you think.

So, back to the book. Create You Writer Platform by Chuck Sambuchino talks about leveraging blogs, networks, and your life to become a more successful writer. Even as long as I have been involved in writing and blogging, this book has me looking at it different.

So, we are going big and not even thinking about going home. But remember, no “ShamWow”. Seriously. And I need your help.

tumblr_m2qf8vUiqT1rttse6o1_400I am doing a few things…

  • Many of the product links will be affiliate. That will not change my honesty. If you think something I bought will work for you, please consider clicking through here.
  • I am hoping to guest blog on other sites and you will soon see some guests here. If there is somebody you would like to see in the TTSW feed, let me know!
  • I am relaunching Turn Around Tuesday. We will see how that fits into my current life. It may get a name and/or format change. Who knows? But your feedback is appreciated.
  • There is a giveaway this week!! Hoping to do more of those too!

And I am certain there is more stuff going on…but quite frankly, that is enough for this one thought. I need a long run now (but that will have to wait for my trip to the chiropractor!)

 

**PhotoCredit

BroTips
Diana Daley

The Judgmental Side of Health and Wellness

tumblr_mekji0xReh1r6u05ro1_500_largeI am not a psychologist. I don’t even play one on TV. Neither am I a physical trainer, a nutritionist, a coach, a dietitian, a counselor, nor a circus clown. I make all those qualifications to ensure that you understand that I realize I may not be the most classically learned individual on the planet and, therefore, there may be something about today’s topic that I am missing (I threw the clown thing in there to see if you were paying attention).

I will also concede that I may be guilty of the very thing that I will push against. I am both saint and sinner, with the latter winning more often than the former. Call hypocrisy if you must, point the finger at me (I am a big girl, I can take it); but then, please, let’s move along and address the issue.

You need to eat a cheese burger? I can see your ribs.  Kinda gross.

No one needs his body to be like that !!!!!!!

Not feminine at all.

Your bloodlust diet (edited for language)

And, my favorite

I totally respect the hard work. I’m just saying it is not attractive….everyone is entitled to their own opinion!!

**Note: I took the liberty of correcting spelling and grammar to keep your (and my) head from popping off. You’re welcome.

Aaannnndddd, yes, I found all of these comments on public forums where they were responding to people who had put themselves out there publicly. Quite frankly, I am tired of that being used as an cop out for folks to be nasty to each other. If someone is walking down a public street and you don’t like the way they look, do you just go run up to them with your finger in their face spouting, “eewww you unfeminine beast!! You’re effing nasty!!” No, you don’t. The “public” thing is crap.

The debate on diet, exercise, and general “how to” for health and wellness has been going on for decades. I think the debates are wonderful. Listening to smart people discuss smart stuff is one of the major ways in which I learn. I have little problem with differing opinions.

In all honesty, I think the issue I have is not with the ideas, but the structure in which the ideas are conveyed and supported.

I do “A” because “B” sucks.

I don’t do “B” because I am better than you.

I don’t really understand why anyone would do “B” because I don’t want to do “B.”

“A” is sooooo superior to “B” because…look!! Unicorn!!!

At what point do we as idea havers realize that knowledge changes every day and is therefore a fluid possession? That we should probably be a little more gentle with our “oughts” as they tend to have big teeth and will bite us in the ass (regardless of said ass size).

Should we not concentrate more on supporting our own positions rather than tearing down that of another? I love to run long and lift heavy.

Does that mean I wish everyone would run long and lift heavy? Yes!

553485_10201283719391272_690525169_n

The Amazing Natalie. Yes, her first name really is “The Amazing”

Does it mean that I find people who don’t to be less than? No!

  • I am amazingly inspired by the yogis who can bend and balance in amazing feats of strength.
  • I long for the grace of the swimmers that cut through the water as easily as one runs down the road.
  • I am floored by the dedication it takes to prep for shows and drop those last body fat percentages.
  • I am envious of those whose relationship with food is not addictive and can practice that wondrous nirvana of moderation.

In all fairness, there are things at this point in my life (see, there’s that fluid knowledge awareness) that I personally do not want. I see how some folks do it and I would not do it that way.

I will use the Paleo Mama as an example because she knows how much I adore and respect her.

I could say:

I function on a plant based because eating meat is so horrible. Those poor animals…your heart health…your fat intake…your cholesterol…you must have never seen Forks over Knives. I will let you borrow my copy of The China Study.

Or

I function (when I am on the wagon) on a plant based diet. I feel, look, perform at my best when I am living in that zone. I think a plant based diet is awesome because it is humane, healthy, and empowering.

Amanda

Beautiful. Sexy. Strong. Warrior. Winner. Amanda.

The difference is understanding. I understand what works for me. I also know eating meat, or having a differing opinion on the food chain, does not make one  inhumane. I know that there are beautiful people like Jackie who are rocking that Paleo lifestyle, getting really healthy, and raising an amazing family.

Yes, I know everyone has a right to their own opinion. You have a right to voice that opinion. I guess you do also have the right to behave like an ass.

As I proof this little post, I wonder what it is that motivates the irritation and the drive to vent it. I suppose it is the numerous people that I come into contact everyday who are trying so hard to do better. Like me, they are not perfect, but they are attempting to be better than they were yesterday. They don’t have it all right, but they are working hard on less wrong. They still have some indulgences that, quite frankly, they aren’t real interested in giving up.

The work that they, you, are putting in is tough. It is a journey. It is a walk of successes, failures, and run of the mill normal. It can be enlightening and oppressive. The thing it is typically not is easy. I get frustrated when the outside world, because of their “right” to an “opinion” makes it harder.

You are amazing. Your journey is amazing. The differences make us better. Go get your happy.

 

Photo credits

That ARThletic Girl
Black Tie 
Gym & Motivation 

Fitness Follow Friday

These are a few of my favorite things

I used to do a pretty neat Follow Friday. Now I know that #FF is Twitter of old and I hardly see it anymore. But I think that is more because folks did it in a wildly unsexy way. Just a litnay of “you need to”s with very little thought or information. It began to feel shallow…we hate shallow.

So let’s talk about @aprilgroves Follow Friday favorites in a semi deep way…

Lowcountry Ultras

This follow is the exception to the “this list is in no particular order” rule. @LCUltra is ALWAYS at the top of my list. The community and culture provided by this ultra running organization has been, for me, life changing. Overstated? No. Two years ago I started running. A year and a half ago I met @LCUltras and volunteered at an event. Eight months ago, I became an Ultra Runner. Four weeks ago I ran 50 miles. Life. Changing.

Madeline

I love it when Twitter meets “in real life.” The Army gave @foodfitandfam to me recently and I am amazingly grateful for her. She keeps me encouraged about a good many things. If I had known her when I was a younger women, new wife, and new mommy, I would be a better person today. She is a level headed encouragement and a wealth of practical information.

Meat Free Athlete

When I cut out animal products in November, it was an unexpected change. I was training for my first ultra event and recovering from an injury. I began to devour sources of information on how to move through this life change in a way that was supportable in my training. @MeatFreeAthlete is an awesome resource for all things vegan in a way that helped me to learn how to become a plant powered athlete.

Fleet Feet Savannah

This is my local nod. @FleetFeetSavGA is more than just a supporter of the local running community – they are propellers as well. This organization’s effect on the growth and expansion of the availability of races in our beautiful city cannot be overstated. They have some pretty kick ass runner staff too.

Rich Roll

richroll (richroll) on TwitterThis guy blows my brain regularly. He moved my thinking from systems and control to intrinsic and self aware. Recovering addict and recovering attorney, @richroll took a chance on his life and is living his dream. He won me over the day he talked about struggle to live his life on his terms. Where would the car repair bill from? What would his family do? What if it didn’t work? But he reminded me that we never make decisions out of fear. Oh, and his plant based fitness stuff is pretty awesome too!

Lindsay L., RD

This registered dietitian’s blog is a giant resource. Fun and fresh, @LeanGrnBeanBlog has a little bit of everything. Her weekly “Bean Bytes” is a go to for me. Every Monday you can find a great round up of the latest and the greatest around the web. From recipes to inspiration, workouts to slow downs, it’s all there.

Check them out, tell me what you think, and feel free to suggest the next round for next week!

 

 

Because (Unfortunately) There Are Asshat Runners (and Writers)

When I first started blogging over here at TTSW, I told a bit about why my writing, at that point, had taken a somewhat of a hiatus. That is as true today as it was then. However, this is where context is important. I was only motivated to write when I was angry. That is bad. Feeling the need to put words on a page sometimes when you are angry – totally different thing and in this case, absolutely necessary.

I get tagged in this Facebook link share. It is concerning an article titled “Plodders have a Place, but is it in a Marathon?” Ok, granted this article was written four years ago, but I didn’t know that when I read it. I did know, however, that I had just written an article on a related topic for Connect Savannah.

“The Savannah Rock and Roll Marathon is doing for the third year in a row what it has always done – creating new runners. Most training schedules are starting and there are a bunch of new gear, new questions, new excitement, and new runners.

This makes my heart big.

But real quick and without a whole lot of attention given to the offended and no attention given to the offenders, I feel compelled to mention an unfortunate presence in running. When you encounter it, it is my hope you will say to yourself, “this is what she was talking about,” and let it slow you down none.

I wish I was setting up a funny joke. Actually laugh at it. It is pretty ridiculous.

Running is like any other sport, hobby, club, or community. It is a microcosm of society and as such mostly contains wonderfully supportive folks.

Unfortunately it also contains those other kinds. There aren’t a ton of them, thank goodness. But this journey is hard, mentally, physically, spiritually, and emotionally. One encounter, one sideways conversation can be bell ringing. It isn’t fun and if you are guilty of this you suck.

For the rest of you, allow me to be so bold as to offer you what I consider to be three truths about running.”

You can read the full article here.

First off, let me say you are more than welcome to stop reading here. The trash set forth by the quoted asshats is best handled by crumpling up the piece of shit story and going for a run – long or short, fast or not so much.

However, if you yourself are an asshat and are feeling a bit encouraged by this piece, you must continue.

More importantly, if you are a runner (and YES you ARE a runner) feeling a bit deflated by the “they”, this is most assuredly for you.

Many of those slower runners, claiming that late is better than never [because it IS], receive a finisher’s medal just like every other participant [because they EARNED it]. Having traversed the same route as the fleeter-footed runners — perhaps in twice the amount of time — they get to call themselves marathoners [because they ARE]. ~ Juliet Macur, journalist [emphasis mine]

“It’s a joke to run a marathon by walking every other mile or by finishing in six, seven, eight hours,” said Adrienne Wald, 54, the women’s cross-country coach at the College of New Rochelle, who ran her first marathon in 1984. “It used to be that running a marathon was worth something — there used to be a pride saying that you ran a marathon, but not anymore. Now it’s, ‘How low is the bar?’ ”

947107_608163062529389_922364302_nHere, Ms. Wald…let me give you some perspective. 

“It’s a joke to run a marathon when it really isn’t even that far,” says April Groves, 37, ultra runner badass. “I mean you are only out there, what less than 6 hours? It used to be that running distance was worth something. There used to be pride in saying you were a distance runner but not anymore. Now it’s, “I only gotta go 26.2 right? I mean, it’s just I am worried about that .2.”

Yeah, it doesn’t sound any better when you say it. And the point isn’t valid either.

That is one of the things I LOVE about the Ultra community. Do we have asshats? Sure we do. But they aren’t common and they certainly are not popular.

This mentality is so obvious that folks need about two minutes to recognize it. My husband who is not a runner finds the Lowcountry shirt hilarious because he loves the irony. “Y’all don’t even think that way,” he says.

“In Ultras you are cheering on the other people standing next to you because chances are at some time during the race you’ll need that person, even if its just a quick, ‘keep it up, man’ or a 20 mile pacing buddy,” said Tim Waz, a real runner (see how stupid that sounds, Ms. Wald) and owner of Lowcountry Ultras. “I see it as the plodders are out there working harder because they are on the course longer. Power to everyone for just getting out there regardless of distance.”

“[O]nce elite event…” Are you freaking serious? It is 26.2 MILES! Some folks wouldn’t drive that far to WORK. Walking for 6 or 7 HOURS is hard damn work. It is elite. My 8 hour marathon friends, YOU are elite.

“Purist believe…” Purist? Are we talking about the folks in the over engineered shoes, with gear that cost enough to finance a third world county, and a supplement bill to feed that same country? Because I bet she isn’t talking about half naked barefoot people who fuel on whole food and water during a race…whatever.

Then we have the elite runner and longtime marathoner Julia Given chiming in. She has a touted marathon time of 4:05:52. Oh wait, what? The MEDIAN finish time for women is 4:03:39? Oh that’s because of the slow people skewing the time. Wait? No? You mean that WAS the median time? Yeah, for women, in 1980, before the plodders. So longtime marathoner has a less than mediocre time. She would be pissed if my sub 4 running for 2 years not much younger than her self saddle up and told her slow poke behind she needed to speed up or go home.

Difference between me and her? I think her accomplishment. even if not her attitude, is amazing.

But I tend to think Ms. Given is a teller of tales. She claims that she has this conversation

I always ask those people, ‘What was your time?’ If it’s six hours or more, I say, ‘Oh great, that’s fine, but you didn’t really run it.’

She lives in Virginia. That’s too far South to talk sideways at people too many times and not get slapped. Just saying.

My beautiful, wonderful, amazing, strong, runner friends…you inspire me. You inspire a great many of us. I am cheering for you and I hope you will return the favor – either when I pass you or you pass me. Maybe on a particularly good day, we can find a few miles to run together.

 

500 Street Fights…Or 50 Miles…It’s Legit

Screenshot_2013-08-13-09-02-05-1I think I have used this Vin Diesel clip from Knockaround Guys before…I will use it again. Truth is, if I could figure out how to use it in every single post, I probably would.

So a tiny bit of background explaining yet another (back to back) race recap (sorta) from the chick that rarely does them. Actually, this is going to be the last time I state that disclaimer. I think that I am buying into the idea that “race recap” means “Mile 1 I breathed, then mile 2 I ate some stuff, then mile 3 I hit a wall…” But I digress…

Kelley and I enjoying the post 50 mile run festivities

Kelley and I enjoying the post 50 mile run festivities

I belong to an awesome virtual group called the Women’s Running Community. I have just worked with them to bring a chapter, WRC – Lowcountry, here locally (if you are interested, we would love to have you!) They have another niche group called WCR – Ultra Running to cater to the crazies. The admin for that group, Corina, is an awesome sport of whom I am quickly growing fond. She asked if I would share with the group some of what goes into preparing and completing a 50 mile race (aside from the psychological review).

I am not going to bore you with the “what you already know”s. And let me be clear once again – this is what works for me. I do not live in the land of “everyone needs to.” I love minimalist running, plant based eating, heavy lift cross training. I do not taper, I don’t really know the tactics of a proper recover. I know what a training plan is…even if I don’t know quite how to use one. This works for me – sometimes. It is always a work in progress. I may do it different tomorrow. You might too.

However, one of the constants in my “training” (gosh, I really hate calling it that), is the fact that I have a very real, very full life. One husband, four kids, three pets, a career, awesome friends, a running column, this little bloggy thing…yeah, I am extracting the marrow fully out of the bone of life. So I have to watch my schedule. And, most importantly, I have to be real with myself.

Therefore…

How do I train with four kids (and all that other stuff)?

My runs are largely unsexy and unholy early. They are on a super boring, short distance repeater route in my neighborhood. This is out of necessity since most mornings I have to be finished with my run by 0630. So, even a 6 or 7 miler has to be started around 0500 or 0530. There is NO WAY I am adding travel time to that just to get to a route that is more fun to run. So, I have discovered a few apps that make the miles a bit more interesting. I have a rosary player, a zombie game, and an audiobook subscription – lifesavers all.

Even on the weekends I start super early. Typically these are my long run days. So to run 20-30 miles, I have to still start at 0500 or 0600 to get it in while the rest of the family is sleeping in and to be finished by lunch. Training for ultra distances nixes the off day after a training run. So I run long on Saturday and still need a 6-12 mile run on Sunday.

But look at that mess up there? Seriously, there is not always time for that. So I don’t make all my runs. I don’t log all the miles I am “supposed to.” I don’t always get in those back to backs. Sometimes there is a super tired husband, and a cat that has peed outside of the litter box, and a kid who is having a melt down, and a house that seriously needs a wipe down, and a yard that needs to be mowed, and grandparents I haven’t seen, and friends I haven’t lunched with, and parents who need some time, and a book that needs to be read…and I just. don’t. run.

600672_539915602739929_1109972797_nSay it with me… Just. Don’t. Run.

Then there are times where all the above is true and if I don’t get some miles in, the other crazies in my head are going to forget how bad I look in prison jumpsuit orange and cut you. In those cases, screw the rest and just. go. run.

Say it with me…Just. Go. Run.

So, how many mile DO you run a week?

Not enough I am sure. My goal as a runner is to be able to run a 50 miler whenever I want. I want to be the kind of runner who, at the drop of hat, a running buddy can call and need a training partner, a pacer, a race buddy, and I can go – regardless of some point on a training plan.

So the goal during the week is usually 50 miles. I. Never. Make. It. But that is okay. I usually come in around 30. But I know that as loose as I like to be with my “training schedule,” the cold, hard fact is that chance of injury increase when regular mileage does not support the long run. So, while I cut myself tons of slack, I do not make excuses and justify the punk out.

What do you eat on the run?

988674_561407983924024_781717531_nBeer and salted potatoes are my favorite. Ginger Snaps and PB&Js rank up there pretty high too. I LOVE coconut water, be careful though. Too much could, ummm, ruin your time. The upside is you will know where all the bathrooms are the next time. I try really hard to not do a bunch of artificial stuff – they wreck my tummy and I think there is something seriously weird about spending money with a “Health and Nutrition” company who thinks putting trash in their products is a good idea. But that’s just me. I stick with Hammer products mostly and drink a pretty good bit of HEED.

As a side note, I just started with a pretty regular regime of sweet potatoes. So far, the results have been just short of astonishing.

Walking vs. Running

This one is easy…whatever I feel like with only a few caveats

  • “Hell, a 15:48 pace to finish? You can walk that!” is WAY  harder than it sounds – I prefer to run and get it over with.
  • Once I start walking, it is super hard to get started again. I try not to do it too often. I envy people who can transition easily.

And, when all else fails, remember the brilliant advice of Ray Krolewicz…

“There are no low points in ultra marathons. I get sleepy sometimes and I take a nap.”