A Letter to My Senior

This was not my idea.

High school Senior Parent Letter Assignment

Dear Bear,

You are such a beautiful soul that I am always cautious when I impart advice to you. But, I am your Giver of Life. As such, I invoke the right that all Givers of Life have to dispense advice whether needed or not, requested or not, right or not, wanted or not. (In this particular instance, I also note that YOU required it of me at the bequest of your teacher; this is not to be used against me in any later therapy that you may or may not need.)

Trust yourself. You are wondrously made. If all people had the heart you possess, the world would be a better place. There will be many times you feel unsure, doubtful, fearful. That’s okay. We all feel that way. Know that you are more right than you are wrong most of time. Yes, this is true regardless of what other people may want you to believe.

Consume at least 64 ounces of water a day. (Water in your Starbucks lattes only count on Sunday.)

You will get it wrong. We all do. When it happens – and trust me sweet girl, it will happen – own it, fix what you can, leave what you can’t, and suck every piece of education you can from it. Failure is not something you are, it is something you do. It does not define you. It does not define them. Grace is a gift I hope you freely give to yourself and others. This is not a trait of the lax or the pushover. It takes strength and courage. Do not believe those that tell you otherwise.

Banana splits are occasionally acceptable for dinner.

Sometimes you just have to say “F(edited out of courtesy to your English teacher)k it” and move forward. Not all choices feel good and safe. Not all choices are fun and desirable. Some things just have to get done, left behind, cleaned up, walked over, turned out, wrapped up, thrown away. This is where life just is what it is. These things, being left to their own devices, only get worse. I promise you, what smells bad today only reeks worse tomorrow. Just bulldog it and move on.

Drink with people who love you. Be the designated driver for those who don’t.

Be real careful what “they” you listen to. There is a whole world filled with the ominous “they.” We aren’t really sure who they are, what type of training they have, what their agenda is, but we are pretty sure they live in their parents’ basement nomming on cheesy poofs playing Dungeon and Dragons. “They” have big mouths and are currently trying to figure out how to make a living trolling the internet. They do not have girlfriends. Easy filter – if “they” insists that everything sucks and nothing you do is right and the entire existence of the world is a big conspiracy meant to create entire subcultures of GMO tolerant, gluten adverse, non vaccinated, obese fast food consumers, breastfed gym rats that poo granola Oreos, you are probably dealing with a “they.” Abraham Lincoln said it best – “Don’t believe everything you read on the internet.”

Semicolons are sexy. Learn how to use them.

There are assholes everywhere; that doesn’t define the “everywhere.” (Sorry, the edit just didn’t do the thought justice. Besides, you’re a senior, you can handle it.) Every sect of society – professions, neighborhoods, races, religions, clubs, cults, PTOs, opinion groups – are just a microcosm of society. A bad cop, teacher, solider, sailor, politician, mommy, doctor, teenager, old person does not provide reason to assume that all folks in that particular demographic are idiots. Quite frankly, it doesn’t necessarily mean the offender is an idiot. We all have bad days. And we all have folks in our groups that we would rather we didn’t. Boxes are for shoes, not people. Everyone is created as an individual and deserves the consideration of an individual. Of course, if they prove themselves individually to be the designated asshole, take them at their word that’s who they are and move on.

Don’t be afraid of profanity. It is not a sign of weak vocabulary any more than a love of chocolate is a sign of a weak diet. Sometimes, they both just taste good.

Different is not wrong – it’s just different. Your daddy likes to cut up his steak as he eats it. I like to cut up mine all at one time. You like to have your daddy cut up yours. None of those things are wrong – they are just different. Be wary of people who try to make “different” = “wrong” as they are usually covering up for some feeling of personal inadequacies that I can bet money you don’t want any part of.

Be a rebel. End sentences with prepositions. Unless you are speaking Latin. Or honoring Yoda.

If you realize one day that all your friends are alike, get new friends. I’m not saying cut the old ones loose. I’m just saying you need to grow your circle. There is no better way to become an asshole than to surround yourself with people who always think like you, agree with you, and are a whole lot like you. Nature shows us this. If we plant the same crop over and over in the same field, eventually the ground dries up and produces trash. Diversity in relationship is the single best thing you can do to ensure you do not become stale as a person. It also makes coffee shop conversation much more interesting.

Disregard that thing I said about profanity around your great grandmother. Thanks.

Don’t ever make one decision out of fear. It is my belief that there are only two true emotions in life – love and fear. I don’t have to tell you that one is exponentially more productive than the other. There are times you will find yourself afraid or feeling one of its offspring emotions – hate, anger, depression, spite, resentment. Don’t beat yourself up about that as it is natural and human. It is in those human places that we are able to work through and find those ways to be more human. That is where we find grace, compassion, courage. Make decisions in that space. It is worth the work.

Do not make a habit of eating food that comes out of a window.

Make the commitment to love forever. There are so many obstacles and story spinners out there trying to convince you that love is not the answer. They need your love most of all. Love animals, love people, love babies, love criminals, love saints, love the broken, love the healed, love yourself…always love yourself. This is not always easy and sometimes it can only be done in a detached, acknowledged only in a broad sense type of way. There are atrocities in this world that will bend your heart to the point you think it will break. People will be careless with your emotions and you will hurt. You will look at yourself in the mirror and find an imaginary million and one ways in which you don’t measure up. Don’t be surprised when it happens and don’t let it define who you are. Your heart is the most beautiful thing ever created. Share it, be prepared to nurse it, do not hold fear in it.

My baby girl, there are so many more things I want to tell you…

  • Never go on a second date with someone who is mean to the wait staff
  • Live your passion
  • Never leave home without your sketchbook
  • Sometimes going to the store in pajama pants is necessary
  • Exercise
  • Volunteer
  • Always have a book to read
  • Compliment others
  • You can always come home
  • I am never further than a phone call
  • Diet soda is for crazy people – just drink the regular stuff

But most of all I want you to know that when you feel like it doesn’t matter, you don’t make a difference, you aren’t capable of being in this adult world – you are wrong. You have been changing lives since the day you were born. Who I am now is so much because of you. It scares me to think who I would have become without you. Thank you for growing up with me. I am so glad you are my kid.

Love,

Momma

 

Turn Around Tuesday ~ Hal Borland ~ Patience and Persistence

Tuesday’s Thought

Knowing trees, I understand the meaning of patience. Knowing grass, I can appreciate persistence.

~ Hal Borland (1900-1978)

A Bit of Encouragement… 

AnniversaryYesterday September 9th, The Dude and I celebrated our 14 year wedding anniversary. Wait! Don’t click away! I promise I will not get all sappy and spend our coffee telling you how enamored I still am or how wonderful he still is. I mean I could, but I won’t.

I will say that I realize that there have been folks married way longer than us. I also look forward to the day when we too can claim 40, 60, 75 years of martial bliss. But 14 years is still a long time for us.

14 years is still a long time. Period.

I thought a lot yesterday about how much we know about each other, how much better we are at communicating. I thought about the challenges we have overcome and how the experience of those challenges make all the possibilities of what comes next not quite so scary. I thought about our children, how blessed we are to have them, and how close we are to letting the first one go. I considered all the things about life and love that I know now because of the last 14 years.

And I realized that there was nothing on the planet I could have done to make that process of growth happen any faster. It took the time it took. And it will take another 365 days before I can tick it off again – regardless of how hard I work, may want it, or study it.

The truth is that, while there is a time for all of that “nose to the grindstone” stuff, sometimes it just takes the time it is going to take and you just have to trust the process. It was pointless to check out, give up, or rush it along. Making it to and through requires that you take it one step at a time for whatever time it takes.

And we got here. This time next year, we will have done it again.

Today I want to encourage you to question what has been called “the microwave mentality.” Life is not minute rice, challenges are not 60 minute drama series, and microwave popcorn may be quick, but it loses some of its greatness in the process. But you already know this. We see books, kits, or seminars created by folks who have figured a piece of life out and expect to have the results duplicated by the time we get to “The End.” We forget that there were years of working it out and pushing through to get there. The walk on the beach is beautiful not because it was made in record time, but because of the moments our feet were in the sand.

Thanks for the coffee!

Tuesday’s Person of Interest

Krysten Siba Bishop ~ The Misadventures of a Darwinian Fail

Turn Around Tuesday began in April 2007. It is an email delivered newsletter that is typically written on Tuesday morning (my husband says you can always tell how Monday went by how Tuesday reads!) and in subscribers’ email hopefully in time for their morning coffee!

I will post them here one week after they are sent out to the subscriber list. If you want to receive them in you inbox in real time, please click here

Turn Around Tuesday ~ Gretchen Rubin ~ Embrace What Is

Turn Around Tuesday began in April 2007. It is an email delivered newsletter that is typically written on Tuesday morning (my husband says you can always tell how Monday went by how Tuesday reads!) and in subscribers’ email by 6 or 7am. 

I will post them here one week after they are sent out to the subscriber list. If you want to receive them in you inbox in real time, please click here

Tuesday’s Thought

Embrace what is.

~from Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project

A Bit of Encouragement… 

Screenshot_2013-09-10-05-46-39-1The relaunch of Turn Around Tuesday has been met with mostly welcoming arms.

Yeah, mostly.

Not everybody was glad to see it. Interestingly enough, the ratio was clearly in TAT‘s favor. And I really meant it when I said that I too have had to unsubscribe from items like this in the past and I knew it was never personal.

I still took it personal.

TAT never fails to awaken something in me. What that something is may change, but it is usually a sense of longing to fulfill a grand purpose; to be all that I was intended and have the potential to be.

That awakening can be daunting.

I immediately default to all the reasons it will fail, why I am not good enough, how I am not capable, equipped, educated, bright, dedicated, young, attractive, wealthy, mobile, flexible, strong…How I am just not enough.

I look at everything that there is not. Everything that I am not. All the things I will never be and will always be not.

In that frame of heart, the slightest bit of, “yeah, that’s not for me” rocks me at my core.

Until I remember to embrace what is.

I am again reminded that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I have a perspective that, amazingly to me, you find interesting at least enough times to let me come back once a week. While what is said is not new, it is mine, and for my heart, and evidently many others, it feels anew. And that’s just as good.

Today I want to encourage you embrace what is. So many times we are wooed into doubt and despair because of the “not.” The fact is that what “is” tends to be so absolutely abundant that we could spend a lifetime exploring all the greatness. The “not” would never be missed if we weren’t actually looking for it. While I may not be fully prepared to do all the things my heart would have me do today, I am enough to move towards those things. What I can embrace is the opportunity to recognize the journey, enjoy the process, appreciate who I am while moving towards who I am becoming. And the truth is, we are all “becoming.”

Thanks for the coffee!

Tuesday’s Person of Interest

Molly Maher – Stratejoy

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Turn Around Tuesday ~ Thomas Edison ~ Success, Failure, and Giving Up

Turn Around Tuesday began in April 2007. It is an email delivered newsletter that is typically written on Tuesday morning (my husband says you can always tell how Monday went by how Tuesday reads!) and in subscribers’ email by 6 or 7am. 

This is the first installment since January 2011. I will post them here one week after they are sent out to the subscriber list. If you want to receive them in you inbox in real time, please click here
Thomas Edison Success

Many of life’s failures are experienced by people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.
~Thomas Edison (1847-1931)

A Bit of Encouragement… 

I currently have Conway Twitty’s Hello Darlin’ playing in my head right now. It has been a long time. And it is nice to see you.

I struggled with putting TAT on hold nearly 2 years ago. It is something that I love to do. Graciously, those whose inbox receive it seem to enjoy it as well.

In all honesty, I struggled with bringing it back. You may have noticed a bit of that in the email you received a few days ago. I was completely prepared to give TAT a complete overhaul – even down to when it was sent out.

The response was fairly overwhelming. So, as you can see, aside from the face lift, TAT is still pretty much the same. And I am filled with gratitude.

Ideas like “failure” and “give up” are pretty interesting to noodle over.

In July, I DNF’d (did not finish) a race. You can read more about that here

I did give up. And, while I justified it in the physical, it was my spirit that failed.

During that same race there were others who wanted to give up as they were physically shot. But their spirit held on and they finished. My spirit is pretty strong too…I was pretty close to finishing…until I just quit.

I learned a lot from them and about myself. I like to think that if I learn anything then the failure has been redeemed. The only true failure is quitting, giving up, and refusing to glean any lesson from it.

Success is also an idea that has to be addressed on a regular basis as there is no dictionary passage that does it justice. What success is, what it looks like, not only differs from person to person, but across situation, point in time, and perspective.  Understanding its dynamic nature cannot be overlooked.

For me, “success” is nearly synonymous with “purpose”. My purpose in my runs is to be better than I was before. Therefore, even when I don’t perform as well I can, the purpose is still achieved and there is the success.

Today I want you to recognize purpose in the things that are important to you but currently feel unproductive, hard, or  just no longer viable. If they are truly purposeless, then let them go (heck, maybe you just need a break!) But give the  ideas of success, failure, and giving up some real consideration. It is very possible that we really are just that close.

Thanks for the coffee!

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 

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.

 

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!” 

Finding Success in the Failures

success-consists-of-going-from-failure-to1There is something interesting about that word “failure”. Actually, there is a lot interesting about that word. Rest assured I am not in the mood to get into all of them right now. It can be kind of a downer for a Monday morning and seriously, who needs that?

The interesting thing that I am thinking is as often as I still use the word, I rarely ever mean it as a soul crushing defeat description anymore. I am, thank God, getting to the point where I don’t really have those very often anymore.

What the word is becoming to mean the majority of the time is

I had a goal of “A” but I only got to “B”. What do I need to do about that differently?

Now don’t get all excited. I am not jumping on the “everybody gets a trophy” bandwagon. What I am saying is that if striving to be an Ultra runner has taught me anything, it is this

If you continue to define yourself by one moment, one meal, one training session, one run, one goal – good or bad – you will miss all the wonderful things that ultra running, that life, offers. The joy is in the fondness of memories, the seizing of the day, and the respectful preparation of the future.

Last week I did something I never do – I set written, short term, measurable goals for myself and published them here. I thought it only proper to report of how the week looked compared to how I actually did.

Track all food and drink

This went beautifully! I learned that I am not taking in enough calories to compensate for my activity. The problem is I drink a lot of water and I eat a lot of food. However the food is big bulk low calorie coupled with the water – I feel full most of the time.

I am also at my target weight/body fat. Therefore I have nothing to pull from when I am empty. Couple that with a poorly planned fueling strategy this weekend (which I will talk about in a sec), I am the poster child for a great article written about the importance of taking in enough calories by Madeline. (I can’t find the article – Madeline, will you link it in the comments?)

**Note – The Lose It app takes into consideration exercise into the daily calorie counts. The calorie count you see is a net of what I ate minus what I spent. The budget is based of calorie allowance for weight maintenance. 

15 minutes of stretching every day

What can I say? I find stretching painfully boring. Yes, I realize it is super important. Yes, I know i should do it any way. I did manage to do the stretching routines 3 times this week. And that is 3 more than last week. AND I have scheduled myself a fantastic Yoga class on Friday at Awaking Yoga studio  in Richmond Hill with the fabulous Jillian Stafford! Progress, baby!

N TC3 Nike Training Club Workouts

This one I did too, although not without some serious discomfort. If you have never used the Nike Training Club app, you really should consider it. I was thrilled when it finally became available for the Android after being exclusively iPhone for so long. It is free, it is easy to use, and it is hard on the body.

After the first workout, my suspicions were confirmed. My lack of cross training was seriously affecting my overall ability to stay fit. My runs were suffering. The morning after the Drill Sargent workout my whole body hurt. I expected my upper body to be sore, but my lower half? I am a distance runner for goodness sake! Couple squats and I’m walking funny? Yep, gotta use those muscles in all kinds of different ways.

Log my first +40 run week

I didn’t quite get here. But I am am a better runner for the short fall. I picked up three key points that I did not really have cemented in my mind. They, for me, are big ones.

  1. Speed work is important. I am never going to get faster and stronger if I don’t work faster and strong. 
  2. Planning routes does have its place. While there is a lot of freedom is going out and just running, some days there is comfort in knowing just where you are going to achieve your desired goals.
  3. Preparation is key. I can’t make up for water I didn’t drink, food I didn’t eat, training I didn’t do yesterday today. It doesn’t work that way. I also have to remember that my life now requires that spur of the moment trip packing requires more than just a toothbrush. I no longer live out of a drive through window or on chips and salsa. Before I zip up the duffel bag, I need to remember what it take so give my body the best chance to do what I need it to do.

The biggest success this week? Goal setting works. And I don’t mean it works in the global sense. I mean I am making it work in the personal sense. There were quite a few times this week when I thought about cutting corners. But I knew that I was tracking the progress. More importantly, I knew that you would know. Accountability is an amazing thing.

I appreciate you all being here for it.

Week of April 29, 2013

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

 

**Quote Photo from Lifehack.com

Getting Grip on Goals with Gratitude

gratitudeYou like what I did up there with that title I know.

This list was supposed to be done in response to Thursday’s Elf 4 Health Challenge. There were a lot of neat little “Thankful Thursday” posts.

So now it is Friday, I am late and missed the Thursday catchy title day. And by being late, I feel the need to amp up the idea to justify why I couldn’t just bang out 20 things yesterday.

And so I have.

December 26 – December 31 are six of my most favorite days of the year. Christmas (music) is over and we can all relax. New Years Eve is coming up and that is fun. And a whole, new, blank, exciting calendar is waiting to be unwrapped.

Awesome.

These six days are simply perfect for reflection and projection. Until you hit a brain block and freeze up.

Fortunately for me, I have super smart friends. Myers Barnes posted a great video on goal setting yesterday. There is a ton of cool in this video. This quote broke open the freeze ~

Success is driving ambition with a written goal…I can’t actually give you driving ambition but what I can do is give you the plan. So I will give you the plan if you supply the driving ambition.

It clicked.

Reflection and projection work so well together because gratitude writes its own goals.

Let me put it another way ~ the things I am thankful for create my driving ambition. If I can articulate those things that I am appreciative of in 2012, I can channel ambition into a written goal set with a plan for 2013.

I now worked the process ~

  • I sat down and identified 10 aspects of my person (professional and personal) that makes the main of who I am (yes, I did 10 on purpose because it made 20 easy)
  • I wrote down two things I am thankful for in each category
  • I correlated those two 2012 gratitude with two 2013 goals

Faith

Gratitude ~ for a grace and a love from a God who knew me before conception
Goal ~ spend quality and intentional time in study and prayer

Gratitude ~ for the women in my church who consistently encourage, motivate, and make me smile
Goal ~ to be a productive member in my parish to pass on what they have done for me to others

Mark and April Wife

Gratitude ~ for a husband who loves me totally, flaws and all
Goal ~ to return that love not because he does, but because I do

Gratitude ~ a husband to strives everyday to be the man God has called him to be
Goal ~ to be the kind of wife that God has called me to be

Mother

Gratitude ~ the gift of motherhood
Goal ~ to grow in patience, wisdom, and time management to give them the best in me

Gratitude ~ for daughters who are different, strong, smart, gifted, talented, interesting and amazing
Goal ~ to strive to create an environment that nurtures, promotes, and allows for their ability to grow and expand

Sister, Friend, Family

Gratitude ~ for those family and like family folks who continue to be such a blessing to me
Goal ~ to be more available as an ear, a shoulder, a companion and to be more mindful of the needs of others

Gratitude ~ for those friends and families who sacrifice so much to keep us safe
Goal ~ to be more prayerful and attentive to the needs of those who stand the watch at home while loved ones stand the watch elsewhere

Home

Gratitude ~ a house rich with love and history
Goal ~ to be a better steward of that home

Gratitude ~ to have a home at all
Goal ~ look for ways to help others who are struggling with the basic needs in life

Citizen

Gratitude ~ to live in a country where I am free to pursue life, liberty, and happiness
Goal ~ to be a better steward of my God given talents in a way that allows for the life improvement of many

Gratitude ~ to live in country where freedoms and rights are embedded in our founding
Goal ~ to respect those rights by watching that my words are respectful, my thoughts truthful, and my actions honorable

AprilHealth

Gratitude ~ for a body that is mine
Goal ~ to treat my cells as the prized possession they are with better choices in fuel, function, and fun

Gratitude ~ for my runner family
Goal ~ to strive for my personal greatness on the tracks, roads, and trails while encouraging others to do the same

Writer

Gratitude ~ to be able to put nouns and verbs together in such a way that touches people
Goal ~ to be mindful that words heal or hurt depending on the deliverer and the responsibility to be genuine is a great one

Gratitude ~ to be able to convey thoughts that allow me to keep my own mind clear
Goal ~ to respect that writing is more than a hobby and to keep it as priority for a number of reasons

Real Estate Professional

Gratitude ~ to belong to a community of people who strive to conduct business in an honorable and community enhancing way
Goal ~ to contribute to this organization to my fullest capacity with character and quality as mission one

Gratitude ~ my expanded network of professionals who epitomize coming from contribution
Goal ~ to remember that a rising ship carries all higher and that my responsible contribution to the curation is important

Now that step 1 is complete…I leave you to work on step 2…curious what that is? It’s up there in the video 🙂