Saturday, August 21, 2010

THE SECRET WORLD OF RUNNER'S

I haven't posted in a while. Truth is, I've been very, very busy.  My life has changed drastically over the last year. I went to work for a hospital in Springfield last September.  There's  another whole different story that I won't go into about how and why I started work when and where I did.  Seven months later I transferred with that hospital to an associated branch in Orlando. A move from small town Missouri to Orlando was a drastic one and need I say a culture shock. Orlando, it turns out, is a city of extremes. But the thing I could not get used to was the traffic. The hustle and bustle was dizzying. I spent a lot of time searching the windows of the thousands of cars I saw on a daily basis for 26.2 stickers - anything that would tell the world that there were other runners out there. I saw ONE, the whole time I was there.  Orlando was not a bad place, but it just was not the place for me. So I began scouting the area for a more laid back way of life and alas, my hunting came to an end when I was offered a great job in Sarasota. We visited the area and loved it!  Without hesitancy, I quickly accepted my new job offer. 
I have lived in Sarasota a week and a half now.  It already feels like home to my family.  This is what we have searched for for years! We have spent our time blissfully running on the beautiful white sand beaches and deliriously biking the quaint little island of Siesta Key.  The beaches are one of Noah's favorite places, and I have concerns that he may grow fins!  After feeling so left out of my passion of running and biking in Orlando, I am now in a triathlete's paradise. There are 26.2, 13.1, 70.3 stickers plastered in the windows of lots of cars here all whom honk, wave, or give a thumbs up to others who have the same stickers.  Acknowledgement to the connection and appreciation to all things physical.
This morning, my husband and I joined a running group.  We showed up at 5:30am this morning at Fleet Feet downtown Sarasota expecting to get in a pleasant run and get to know some fellow runners.  What I did not expect to find on this run was a secret world of runners.  We began our run downtown Sarasota and headed towards Ringling Bridge (pictured above). As we got closer to Ringling Bridge I was surprised when I began to see hundreds of other runners and running groups running in the dark. There was hardly any traffic and the few cars that were on the road slowed down and respected the runners. Where have I been??? This was a runner's heaven! I felt as if I had discovered a whole new world. There were all shapes and sizes of people running all different paces.  It was awesome! We ran the most beautiful route onto Bird Key and around Lido Key.  We ran 10 miles in sweet paradise. 
This afternoon, while I was writing this blog, my husband was outside and met our new neighbor.  He brought her in to meet me.  Low and behold, she is a triathlete.  She had just completed a triathlon this morning. She has also done 4 or 5 half ironman's.  Her wealth of information and accomplishments were astounding and motiviating.  I can't wait to get to know my new neighbor more!
I'm looking forward to learning more about Sarasota and all that it holds.  I hope to start blogging again about my training and all the ups and downs.  Life is good!  
Lunch with my family after a long run at Pei Wei's - $20.00 . Pedicure for my aching feet - $25.00.  Finding the place that is home sweet home - PRICELESS! 
I will keep you posted!
Namaste'


**Just a side note : If I could move the rest of my family and friends here from Missouri it would be PERFECT!!! I do miss them so.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

VIEW POINT

At this point in my life I have some huge decisions to make.  I have been offered two opportunities to relocate with the hospital that I am currently working for.  One is in Tallahassee Florida and the other in Orlando. This week, my husband and I flew to Orlando to check out both cities as well as meet my potential new employers. Dreaming of warm weather and sunshine, the first thing I packed was my running shoes. Visions of running down a trail framed in ancient, crooked oak trees dripping with Spanish moss made me giddy.  So off we went on our new adventure.  We arrived at St. Petersburg-Clearwater airport at around midnight Tuesday. We stepped out of the airport into a shocking, wind nipping 30 something degree cold that burst my happy, sunshiney bubble. We ended up at Denny's at 1:00am due to an unusual hankering for pancakes. Our first impression of the people of St. Petersburg was an attractive blonde lady of 44 (she announced her age to everyone in the restaurant) who was extremely intoxicated. She sat at her table with an equally attractive male companion singing an excruciatingly horrible rendition of Landslide and in between lyrics announcing how badly the world had treated her.  Meanwhile, as we ate our pancakes, which were sinfully delicious, in walks an attractive younger brunette in her 20's with her male companion.  She too was extremely intoxicated.  She sat down in her booth and proceeded to talk her most vulgar profanity as loud as she could without quite yelling it.  My hubby and I felt it was time to leave quickly and quietly for the makings of a big, attention seeking, drunken cat fight was in the works. 
The next day (Wednesday) we woke to discover from the morning news that an unusual cold front had moved into Florida, low of 30's with the high only in the 50's. Bummer.  So off we went to Orlando to meet my first potential new employer. She was a lovely, small lady with the most beautiful Spanish accent.  I believe we would work very well together. After the interview we drove around. We were quite confused with Orlando. Orlando was so large that we never figured out where we were at or got a bearing on where we would like to live before we had to leave. Our 'views' of Orlando were not good. 
Mike had made plans to meet his daughter, her boyfriend and his little girl for dinner in Lakeland.  We had a nice dinner at Harry's and a wonderful time with Chelsea, Justin and Hannah.  We asked if they would come and visit. Chelsea states "Why? There is nothing there." To which we inform, "Yes there is. There are hills...and um...curves, lots and lots of curves." Chelsea's 'view' of Missouri was not good. But alas, we had to leave for we had a four hour drive to Tallahassee.  We ended up driving Hwy 98.  Words for the traveling wise. Don't do that.   We passed through towns that had city limit signs but no cross roads, no gas stations, no house, nothing. Don't know why they had a city limit sign. One of these cities was named Otter Creek. A city of otters perhaps?  Along the way we saw lots of truck driving, mullet donning men (some possibly women) with bumper stickers that read 'bubba army' and pictures of confederate flags flying on the capital and 'to hell with the manatee's, save the redneck'.  I believe that Hwy 98 is the Florida twilight zone. We spent that night in Chiefland. Our 'view' of that part of Florida was also not good.
The next day we arrived in Tallahassee. The town was beautiful. It was quaint and charming.  The potential employer there was an attractive brunette with a southern accent. I believe that we would get along fine as well. I was educated by the Director of Business development (another beauty) about the town's local lingo. For instance, if a lady smiles at you, bats her eyes and says, "Bless your heart", what she really means is, 'You're dumber than a box of rocks'. Which made me very self conscious from that moment on, for all I could think about was my grandmother. As a kid, she used to say those words to me all the time.  Our 'view' of Tallahassee was great.
We drove the interstate back to St. Petersburg, where my hubby, worried about finding a computer, ended up getting a room with one in it so he could take an online college class test before midnight. He barely made the cut off time. Then back to the airport on Friday at 5am. With the news that a warm up was on the way and going to be in the 70's.  Bummer again.
With my discouragement at not getting to see and do all that I wanted to do in Florida, I arrived in Springfield trying to see it with 'fresh' eyes. I wanted to see it as if I had never been there before and was contemplating moving there. I have always lived in Missouri and I am so used to seeing my surroundings, that I don't really 'see' it anymore. Hubby dropped me off at the car so he could get to class and off I drove, 'seeing' my new surroundings. Five minutes after hubby dropped me off I had just pulled out from a stop sign when I came upon a police officer who immediately put on his lights and pulled me over. I asked "why?", and he stated that I was speeding. "I had just pulled out from that stop sign," I argued. "There is no way I was speeding." He gave me a ticket for speeding 42 in a 30 zone. Which was impossible.  So I politely said to the ticket welding officer, "Bless your heart," and drove off. My 'new' view of Missouri was not panning out so well either. 
We had spent so much time in the car and on the plane that I felt a 100 yrs old. We never once found the time or a trail to run on.  So yesterday, we got out to do a run. I was so stoved up that it was torturous. We ran only 4 1/2 miles. I only started to feel better after mile 3. Then we got our new bikes out and rode them for only 6 miles. I felt much better afterwards.  Sitting for that long of periods is very bad for the body. I felt as if I had totally decompensated.  
I have some life changing decisions to make.  All based on a not so broad of a view of all that is to be considered.  As of yet, I am leaning toward Orlando due to the location and all that it has to offer, even though my 'views' on Orlando was not so good, I do not want to base my opinion on a very limited knowledge base. 
I am feeling edgy. I need to find some quiet time to contemplate and meditate.  I am feeling a very strong need to paint and write. This huge decision not only affects me, but my family.  I need to get still so that I may 'see' my situation clearly and make the right decisions.  These jobs may be more lucrative, but things that are material in nature are not the things that appeal to me. However, these jobs offer a promise of adventure, new opportunities, and who knows where the path may take us. I shall keep you posted. I do not want to make any decisions based on a very limited 'view' point. 
Until then, may you 'see' your surroundings as if you had never 'seen' them before. And may your 'view' point never be limited!
Namaste'

Sunday, February 28, 2010

A SPLIT SECOND

Thursday I skipped my 6 am boot camp workout. I had been tired all week and felt like I needed a break. So I got up at my usual 5am time and went to the living room. In the dark quietness of the house I sat and meditated on the beauty of the rare stillness of the moment. It is interesting how a house makes it's own unique sounds. The dogs snored softly in the hallway, the hiss of the water heater kicking on and the creak of the house as it adjusts to a slight temperature change. It's in these quiet  moments that I 'feel' life all around me. It's always there, it is just that I don't take enough time to be consciously aware of it. Something that I must work on. For this 'presence' is life.
Before I knew it 6 am was here and the usual hustle and bustle of the morning begins. Mike gets up to fix Noah breakfast while I head to the shower. On rare mornings like this, I also like to take Noah, my 12 year old son to school while I head into work.  On this day, we ended up sitting in an unusually long line of traffic. I happened to glance in my rear view mirror and noticed a young man sitting in the car behind us.  He appeared to be asleep. I thought to myself how strange that was and then quickly turned my attention to my son who chatted away about where the front of the traffic line was located. I drank my coffee while admiring his cuteness and thinking how quickly my children have grown up. Suddenly there was a loud crunching sound as we were hit hard from behind and thrust forward.  My coffee splashed everywhere as my son and I gasped in alarm. The young man behind us had apparently 'woke up' and suddenly hit his gas pedal. Nothing to be alarmed at with this incident. My son and I were fine and there was very minor damage to both cars. My point in bringing it up was this. Life can change in a second. 
I'm an RN and in the line of work that I do I see similar situations  like what occurred with my son and me, only they are magnified 100 times. I deal with the results of these accidents on a daily basis. One minute a young lady is talking to her son in traffic, and the next she is rear ended so hard that they both end up in ICU on a ventilator. Their family left to deal with the consequences  and decisions of the results of an accident that occurred in a split second due to someone not paying attention or being 'asleep' to their surroundings. 
One of my responsibilities in the role that I have at the hospital, is to help families make decisions with death and dying. Quality of life versus quantity of life. Each one is personal and everyone has different thoughts on this. Some will press forward with life no matter what state the body is in. Others accept letting go and would not want their loved ones to live in that state. My husband and I have discussed this situation thoroughly and know each others wishes. We chose quality of life, not quantity. Each person must arrive at their own thoughts on this matter in their own way and be respected with the decisions they make and the place they are at.  I have witnessed a 90 year old, five pack a day smokers cling to life at all costs and want all life preserving measures done, even if it meant living on a vent, in a bed and in a coma for the rest of their life. Yet, I have also witnessed younger people who chose to let go when life meant not living it as they were used to.
Yesterday, my husband and I went for a ten mile run. It was a great run. The temperature was 40 degrees and the sun was shining.  The birds sang to us the whole time and I noticed the trees had the beginning sprouts of Spring buds. It felt wonderful to get out and feel the pavement beneath my feet and the cool wind on my face. At points in the run when I started to struggle, I  focused on the stillness. Yes, even though I was running, there is stillness to be found. Be a silent observer. Listen to your breath, feel the sensations and there, that's where you will find the stillness. This stillness is being totally awake.
Life is precious. In a moment, it can be taken away. I want to strive to not 'sleep' through life, but to be 'awake' and observe life. To be aware of it around me at every moment. 
I encourage you, my reader, to do something you love every day, try something new. Try practicing being 'awake' at all times when you do these things. Oh, and most importantly, be sure and hug your loved ones and kiss them every chance you get, for life can change in a split second!
Namaste'

Sunday, February 21, 2010

HIT BY A BIG RED TRUCK

Today, I wanted to go bike riding, but alas, this Ozark's weather has determined for me once again, that I shall stay inside. I sat in the house on this rainy, dreary gray day writing a monthly health article with my twin sister. Our articles are published in several local newspapers (you can read our published articles on our blog @ http://www.adoubledose.blogspot.com ).  I drank hot tea while nursing my sore legs.  We wrote about the benefits of sunshine, as we longingly looked out the double glass doors, yearning to see if there might be any breaks in the rain so we could dash outside and ride. But no sunshine was to be had. The sun must have taken another day off. Being lazy, I suppose, behind dark, heavy clouds and the rhythmic pitter patter of rain on the deck. So Audrey, Mike and I settled in and made the best of it by making warm comfort foods of homemade chicken soup and oatmeal scotchy cookies. 
Yesterday, I ran 20 miles. Mike, my hubby, ran the first 13 miles with me. We ran the Bass Pro half Marathon route in Springfield MO. We kept a nice 10 to 10:30 pace going all the way to his stopping destination.  My legs were a bit sore at that point and I could tell that I had an unusual amount of lactic acid build up too early in my run. But the day was a rare, sparkling sunny 55 degree day and I had to take advantage of this perfect weather. So I tried to make the best of it. I said good bye to hubby and off I went to complete the run. 
Without my hubby to talk to I started to notice the sounds of nature. The birdsong was amazing. They sang to me the entire run. It was beautiful. However, there lovely song started to dim and then eventually went unheard as my pain increased and my brain could not focus on anything else. My legs started to feel like lead between miles 16 and 17. What went wrong? I hobbled and walked the last 3 miles of my run. 
The problem, I believe, lies in the fact that I was not fueled properly. For one thing, I take a powdered magnesium supplement. I realized that I had not taken this supplement in several days and that I always took it before a long run.  I also try to fuel up on coconut water and water the day before a long run along with carb loading. I failed to do any of those things. I certainly paid for it.  Last week, my run went totally different. I had fueled properly and felt strong on my 16 mile run. I did not get sore at all from that run.  Now, at 16 miles, I was hurting. It was a terrible reminder of how important fueling up before a long run is. Lessoned learned.  I know that I will have runs where my body is tired and I just don't have it in me. But a lot of discomfort can be prevented if I had properly prepared my body. 
Last night I kept poor hubby up as I rolled around in bed and moaned with my stiff, aching body. Ibuprophen just didn't cut it. Lactic acid hurts. 
A dear man man I once knew named Bob (who has been released from this world) used to have a favorite saying to people when they did something stupid, "Duh, big red truck!" he would say with his unusual, beautiful, melodic voice.  Well, not only was not fueling properly a 'big red truck', but I felt as if it had ran over me and then backed up and ran over me again. Thanks Bob!
There will be better runs.  I will focus on the positive, and that is at least I got the run in. Next time, I will try and avoid that stupid big red truck at all costs!
Namaste'

Sunday, February 14, 2010

A BAD DAY...OR IS IT?

Yesterday my hubby, Mike stated that he wanted to run 16 miles with me. I need to up my miles because I am training for the Go St. Louis Marathon in April.  I have been a bit worried about this marathon because our weather here has been a atrocious for long runs so I have been slacking on them. I was a little concerned about Mike because he had never ran that far before. He has always chosen to stick to the half marathon's and 'work on his time' and he has said that he has no desire to run a marathon (unless I run Disney and then he would reconsider). Our last weekend 11 miler went well, so what was another 5 miles? So I gladly accepted his offer of running 16 miles with me. Our problems first began at home. I had purchased a pair of bright pink Newton running shoes and have loved them, but was undecided as to whether I should wear them or my new Asics Gel Kayano's.  So I put a Newton on the left foot and an Asics on the right and wandered around the house in them to try and decide.   The last thing I wanted was to come up lame on this run with no way of getting back to the car.  After much to do about the shoes, I chose the Newton's, which ended up being a good choice for two reasons. #1 They help me to run with better fore foot running form and most importantly (chuckle) #2 Just about every female runner that I meet on the trail says "Love your shoes". Which heck, I hate to admit it, I may be slow, but with my Newtons and CR-W pants I am dressed like a speeding Kenyan! Haha!
We headed out the door and was about a mile from the house when I realized that I had spent so much time trying to decide on what shoes to wear, that I had forgotten my garmin. OH NO!! My hubby patiently turned around the car. He does not understand the importance of that piece of equipment to me. Once we finally arrived at Sequiota Park I packed my cell phone in my fuel belt in case I saw something 'interesting' on my run. The weather was unstable. Some weather reports said that it would snow or rain and others informed that it would be a sunny 40 degree day. The sky was a looming, heavy gray and the air a crisp 30 degrees. Dressed in layers we headed down the trail with our fuel belts packed down with coconut water and Kashi oatmeal cookies. The first two and a half miles were torture, as they always are with me. My body resists the pain of movement and the cold exacerbates the pain, but once I get past that point I'm fine.  My body gives and I can focus on the moment. Hubby ran just in front of me, making sure from time to time that the pace was OK for me.  I snapped the picture at the top at South Creek Trail. I thought it was interesting how some ducks stood on top of the ice and others swam about.  I wondered if their feet got cold. When we reached the half way point at mile eight to turn around, Mike was struggling. I stood admiring the beauty of the woods and eating an oatmeal cookie when I turned around and found Mike on the ground. He was 
moaning and stated that he
was just 'stretching his hips'. He struggled all the way back. We also discovered that we had been running with a tail wind and now we were running against a face chilling, mean resistance. This time, I ran in front and had to keep asking him if the pace was OK. Occasionally I would look back to find him in the same position on the ground. I, being the sick humored person that I am, found this interesting. and since I had brought my phone along in case I found something interesting to photograph I snapped this picture.  He did not think it funny, nor interesting. He was having a bad run.  I just happen to be having a good run. I felt strong and ready to run. He felt exhausted and just wanted it to be over with.  I ended up running ahead and meeting him back at the car as he hobbled in. "Next time you decide to do a long run," he said sarcastically, "You can run with your women friends". I laughed, for I knew that he was discouraged and a new day will bring better thoughts and a better run. 
When we have a bad run, just as when we have a bad day, we need to keep in mind that it is normal and most importantly, temporary. It is just what it is. We need to try to not get discouraged and always keep in mind that 'this too shall pass'. A bad day is only a day and good days will return. Besides, Bad days serve to make us stronger and certainly makes us appreciate the good ones even that much more. 
Most importantly, just stay true to your run and let it be what it is.
Namaste' 
Just a side note : Hubby is feeling much better today and is in better spirits about his 'bad run'. He is wanting to do more long runs....20 miler, here we come! :)

Sunday, February 7, 2010

MY RUNNING VALENTINE


One week from today is Valentine's day. It is a day to reflect upon and show appreciation towards one's love. So in honor of this day, my husband thought we should celebrate it with a Valentine run. I was very happy to oblige, since I love running with my valentine.  We drove to our favorite place to run, Sequiota Park in Sringfield MO.  It was 32 degrees and with the wind chill factored in it was a bone chilling 24 degrees. To add to it, the gloomy gray sky looked as if it was going to drop an intimidating load of snow and/or ice.  I snapped this picture just before our run (my teeth were chattering).
After we started out, I would have darted back to the car in a second had my husband just gave the word.  But he didn't.  So inside my head I had a pity party. The first mile was excruciating. I was very cold and my body was sore from the week of boot camp and group strength I had done every morning and add to that the stress of my work week. I was just flat out pooped. But I followed my husband anyway hoping that it would get better. While I labored to keep up with him my mind wondered, as it usually does. I was being negative. Because my body was sore and tired my mind was thinking negative thoughts and thus keeping the perpetual cycle of misery going.  I then started to wonder about conditions.  Conditions on love. Conditions on running.  We all do it. We place certain conditions on love. 'I will only love you if...', and so on and so forth.  You have even known and experienced people whom have placed conditions on their love towards you that have retracted their love from you because you did not meet, in someway or another, their expectations. Some people refuse to love you because of 'trust', when in fact, they don't trust themselves and project that issue onto you, never recognizing that it is a sign to look within. 


Then I realized that this issue of 'conditions' certainly pertains to running as well.  I realized that I had placed 'conditions' on this run with my husband.  I was willing to throw in the towel and run back to the warm car had he just shown one little sign that this was a possibility.  I then agonized over how my body felt and in turn started retracting my love of running with thoughts of 'why am I doing this', 'uggh, this is awful', 'I'm cold' and most importantly 'this hurts'.  When running, just as love, begins to hurt, we often, all too easily throw in the towel.  But, isn't something that's worth striving for worth some pain? Focusing your thoughts on the positive outcomes that will come and the sense of satisfaction and accomplishment that you will feel if you hang in there and endure past the pain is what will get you through.  Love, just as in running, isn't easy. But hanging in there and knowing that experiencing pain is normal will make you stronger and will all be well worth it in the end. You will end up with a strong body and a strong relationship with your partner.  
Eckart Tolle states in his book 'The Power of Now' that 'the greater part of human pain is unnecessary.  It is self created as long as the unobserved mind runs our lives. The pain that we create now is always some form of nonacceptance, some form of unconscious resistance to what is. On the level of thought, the resistance is some form of judgement. On the emotional level, it is some form of negativity'. I was resisting my run, and in turn, I was judging it negatively as a bad run.  Instead of focusing on my pain, I should have focused on the act itself. So I started looking around me and realized the incredible beauty that I was surrounded by. This had all gone unnoticed when I was in my negative state. I snapped this picture of Mike running over a bridge -metaphoric, I thought of crossing over from negative to positive. I no longer noticed how cold it was, but enjoyed the crispness of the air. My run then became a utopian experience in textures, the crunch of the snow beneath my feet, the sound of birds singing a happy song and the tree branches creaking as they gave to the wind.  I even noticed a robin hoping around in the snow - the first sign of Spring. We ran 11.07 miles and enjoyed just being together. I am blessed.  I have a husband that runs with me. We enjoy the same activities, we train for the same events.  Life is good. I had absoultely no reason to feel or think negatively in my life. I am blessed with too much. 
After our run, we headed to the gym and sat in the hot tub, showered and went to Red Lobster for our Valentine treat. He then took me to the mall and bought me a wonderful new fragrance called, of all things, 'unconditional love'. Then he took me to my favorite place - the book store, where we spent the rest of the evening drinking coffee and browsing through books.
I hope that this Valentine's day leaves you with a feeling of blessing and unconditional love.  If you don't have a significant other, maybe you are blessed with a best friend or a pet as a Valentine.  There is certainly no better example of unconditional love than a pet. Whatever it may be, may you recognize the blessings that surround you each and every day and may you love unconditionally.
Happy Valentine's Day!
Namaste'

Sunday, January 31, 2010

MY FAVORITE GEAR

My week in a little overview went something like this. It starts at 6:00 am Monday morn tri-swim class, Tuesday morn boot camp, Wednesday morn group strength and on Thursday and Friday work and weather got in the way. I had to go in to work early on Thursday and missed group strength. Then on Friday, we had a weather system come in(snow and sleet) that closed down the gym so there went that class. Yesterday (Saturday), my hubby and I were finally able to make it to the gym and I ran around on the inside track for 10 miles...that's 90 laps on a little oval. Afterwards I swam 20 laps in the pool (1000 yards). So all was not lost in 'work out world'. Instead of using this blog to express the thoughts in my head that randomly occur, I thought I would use this moment  to share my favorite gear. So here they are :
My favorite shoes are Asics Gel Kayano - I have tried many, many different shoes, but I always come back to these. They have gotten me through the toughest of times and have never let me down yet. I love the new side lacing on these shoes. Several years ago they came out with a leopard print - wish they would come out with more crazy colors like that- this year, it is just boring blue, but I bought them anyway :
  
My favorite socks are the feetures bamboo socks - love em in the winter and in the summer!

My favorite way of carrying fluids & snacks on long runs are my fuel belt - can't live with out it! I also bought an extra pouch so I can carry my cell phone. They come in different colors - my favorite is pink, but I ended up getting the red - it was the only one in my size with four water containers. Buy it snug so it doesn't jostle around during your run. You will also need some 'tightening' room. If you are like me you tend to shrink a bit around the middle on those long runs. So you'll need to be able to snug it up some as you put in those miles.

My favorite fuel to fill my fuel belt with is coconut water. Ever since I have switched to coconut water I haven't hit the wall. For me, not hitting the wall meant trying to keep my blood sugar from plumeting, and this seems to be the key. Unlike gatorade and those other sports drinks it is not sugary, so you don't get 'sweeted' out if you have been drinking it for four to five hours on end. Also, If you have trouble with cramping, then this is a drink you should try. 
My favorite running bottoms are CR-W tights. It compresses your lower body and almost feels like you are getting a nice massage while you run. It also helps control the 'jiggle'(Not that anyone here has that problem..LOL ;)- The only draw back about these pants is trying to use the bathroom after you have ran for a while - hard to get off and back on a sweaty bum.
My last, but certainly not least, is my most favorite gear of all. My Garmin! I love the fact that I can go anywhere and get my miles in and know exactly how far I went and how fast I'm going, or rather, more like, how slow I'm going. As long as I have my garmin, then I no longer have to get in the car to drive my miles to see how far I went.  After a run, I walk in the house and it instantly uploads my route to my computer giving me a complete overview of how my run went. I opted for the cool green one!
I have many, many more favorites, but for the sake of time, and not boring you to death, this will do for now. Hope you enjoyed my favorite gear. Please feel free to leave me a comment with your favorite gear. Would love to hear about it!
Namaste'

Sunday, January 24, 2010

INSIDE YOUR HEAD


It has been another busy week. It began with triathlon swim class @ 6:00am on Monday. I  alternated my morning workouts with group strength and boot camp and after class I head off to work.  I made one exception to this routine . After much debate, my friend Denise and my co-worker Dayle opted to do The Starting Block's Resolution Run 5K in Springfield MO on Saturday morning. So I broke my workout pattern on Friday where Denise and I arrived at the gym @ 6am to sit in the hot tub. I know, I know, why would anyone get up early and go in just to sit in the hot tub? The thought behind it was to give our bodies a break and a little pampering before the next day's 5K. Besides, as busy as we are, we rarely get to take advantage of the hot tub, steam room and sauna that our gym offers, so why not? It paid off. We arrived at our 5K Saturday morning at 8:00am fully refreshed. The weather was calling for rain and thunder showers all day. It was 43 degrees and the dark gray sky looked as if it could burst forth a hard, runner torturing rain. There were 330 other brave (or some call us foolish) souls to run as well.  When the gun went off I ran away from my two friends Denise and Dayle. I had decided to give it my best to see if I was getting stronger.  So far to date, my fastest 5K PR is (don't laugh) 28:31. As I was running the last mile and struggling every step I began to focus on what I was thinking. I found that I was saying to myself 'No, I can do this.' and 'No, I won't give up.' Every time that I thought these thoughts I realized that I instantly wanted to stop and walk the moment that 'No' came into mind. So I consciously started thinking 'YES, I CAN do this.' and 'YES, I am going to PR'. About a half mile from the finish line, a young lady, whom had kept the same pace as I, breathlessly said , "I've been pacing with you, you are carrying me through, please get me to the finish line." She was struggling just as hard as I was and using me as her gauge. I wondered what the dialog was inside her head. I turned to her and said, "Hang on tight, I'll get you there." And with that, we picked up our pace and crossed the finish line together. I was thrilled to see that I had PR'd with a time of 27:10!! While we stood at the finish line waiting to get our chips cut off our shoes my fellow runner gave me a hug, thanked me and introduced herself as Cassie. She said that when I took off in the beginning, she had made it a goal to keep up with me. Had it not been for me, she said, she would have never made it to the finish line in that time. I was thrilled. If your a runner, then you can relate to the bonding that takes place at these events.
After it was all over with, I pondered the importance of the dialog that each and everyone of us has inside our head on a constant basis. This dialog, if not consciously thought about, can be very detrimental to us.  It can keep us from doing our best. Had I not realized that the word 'no' was triggering a negative response from my body, I probably would have given in. By consciously thinking about what we are thinking, we can change our destiny. We can even change little things, such as a PR in a 5K. I had no idea that another person was counting on me to get them to the finish line. Had she not said anything, I would have never known. So I ask, you the reader, to take a moment in your day to day activities and think about what you are thinking.  Think about how your body is responding to your thinking and then you have the power to think differently! You may never know who is counting on  you to get them to the finish line!
Namaste' 
P.S. After the race they had drawings and gave away random prizes. My number was drawn and I won a massage and acupuncture! I gave my appointment away to my hubby, who opted to stay at home because of the forecast. He loves massages. He later showed me how grateful he was- It's all Karma my friends, all karma ;)

Saturday, January 16, 2010

THE CLOCK OF LIFE



I sit at the computer this unusually lovely Saturday late afternoon drinking a warm cup of Starbucks French press coffee and reflecting on the active week that I have had. I am constantly trying to find a balance with my hectic life schedule. Somehow, I must fit in workouts, runs, full time job, family etc. I have certainly realized how precious time is in many ways. Time is such an important, yet overlooked virtue that we often take for granted. But first, before I talk about time I'll give a summary of my weekly workouts.
It started out perfectly. I attended my first triathlon swim class this Monday at 6 am and I loved it. I'm learning to find my 'balance' in the water. I'm also learning not to fight the water but glide through the water to preserve energy and be more 'stroke' efficient. I'm going to learn a lot and am very glad that I signed up for this swim class. My other 6 am classes were Tuesday and Thursday boot camp and Wednesday and Friday group strength. Great classes and glad I'm doing them. I can only hope that they will help make me a stronger runner. After my workouts I shower and head straight to work, which happens to be a very convenient 3 minute drive from the gym.  
I had started the week with the goal of watching my diet. I need to 'lean' up for the Ironman so my intentions were to focus on eating frequent, small amounts of healthy foods.  Unfortunately, in the job that I do as an RN Case Manager at a Specialty Hospital I am 'marketed' a lot by vendors seeking my referrals.  So it started out on Monday morning with fresh, warm, home made sugar cookies from a home health agency.  Then a catered lunch of smoked barbecued brisket with mashed potatoes & gravy and yet more cookies from a medical equipment company. Then  the most wonderful Bavarian cream pastry that I have ever tasted from a TPN company, followed by a whole package of Butterfinger candy bars from a skilled nursing facility. You get the jest of it, lots and lots of unhealthy crap! Unfortunately it all jumped right into my mouth! I couldn't help it.  I was a victim! It came at me every day, from all directions, screaming "EAT ME". When I wasn't even near it and it innocently sat on my desk and I was clear down at the nurses station, I could hear it call my name. It was horrible! A junk food fest-frenzy fit only for the biggest of the bariatric!  Yes, I succumbed. Normally, when I get this food, I politely say thank you to the gift bearer and quickly take it to the nurses station for all the employee's to eat. But this week, I was selfish! I ate it all, yes I did!! And it was good! Oh, so very good! O.K. enough about my feeding frenzy, and back to the diary of my quest to the Ironman.  
Today, I squeezed my now bigger butt into my CR-W tights and stiffly headed out the door praying that I would not have a 'blow out' and cause permanent emotional damage to everyone who happened to witness it (Please God, let the seams be stitched with steel). My hubby, my dear friend Denise and I met my running group at Sequiota Park this morning at 8am.  I had not run with these wonderful women since the Bass Pro Marathon.  We had all disassembled and normally resume our runs back up again in May to train for the Bass Pro again.  But this time I had received an email from our group leader Zoe who stated that they were getting together to run this Saturday.  So we joined them.  I can honestly say that I was thrilled to see everyone! It was so good to run with them and I felt like I was 'home'.  If you have never been a part of a running group, I strongly encourage it.  There is a bond like no other when you train, sweat and endure with a group of people for months on end and then complete a marathon with them. It made me realize how precious these ladies are to me.  For 14.3 miles we chatted like old times as if we had never missed a run. The time  that we spend together is precious.  Which takes me back to the beginning of this blog...time.  To reflect very seriously on how you spend your time is of the utmost importance.  At the end of your life are you going to remember the couch and TV shows that you watched, or are you going to remember the times where you challenged yourself?  I can assure you this, the one thing you will look back on are your accomplishments, whatever that may be i.e. going back to school at a late age, trying a new class, running a marathon, or trying a triathlon. Have you ever inspired anyone? Made a difference in a person's life, the community, etc.? I believe it is important in one's life fulfillment to ask yourself these questions.  Life is too short to make sitting on the couch a priority. Even if you fail, doesn't that beat sitting on the couch? At least you had the guts to try it.
This morning as we pulled up to the park, it was a cold, dreary 40 degrees.  It was also raining, which made it feel that much more cold (The weather ended up clearing up during the run and you could not have asked for a more perfect day for a run). There were about 20 vehicles parked in the parking lot. I laughed and pointed out to my husband.  "Look, every vehicle here has a 26.2 sticker on their back windshields." He laughed and stated, "Because we are the only ones foolish enough to be out here in this."  But in fact, it was guts.  Guts that got us all out on this dreary day, and guts that will carry us through to the end.  These men and women have completed a great accomplishment and proudly display their accomplishment on their windshields.  What are you displaying on your windshield? Will you look back in the end and 'wished' you had done something? Why not now? When is there a better time...there may never be.  Appreciate this moment, for it will never be again. So I end this blog with this little poem that I found. I hope that you are as inspired and blessed by it as I was.
The Clock of Life is wound but once 
And no man has the power 
To tell just when the hands will stop 
At late or early hour. 
Now is the only time we own 
Love, live, toil with will, 
Do not wait until tomorrow, 
For the Clock may then be still.
Namaste'

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Just Enough

Well, the week started out with a big bummer! All across the country there has been record breaking cold, snow and ice. Here in Missouri we've had snow and extreme cold.  It is 12 degrees F as I write.  To help me accomplish my New Year goals I had signed up for a triathlon swim class to be held at the gym on Monday mornings at 6am. I missed my first class :(. The roads were slick and I was unable to make it in that early. The plows had not yet been through our area, so I opted to play it safe and drive in later to get to work at 8am. I was able to make it to boot camp on Tuesday at 6am. The temps were -2 degrees F. We had a great class and it was well worth getting out for. On Wednesday I did group strength at 6am. There weren't very many people in class. I suppose they opted for a warm bed instead (whose to blame them). Wednesday afternoon we had another weather system come in. It happened to be around 5pm when it came in. I had to stay late at work to get my BLS certification renewed so I was driving home in the midst of it. Blustering winds, more snow and record cold. Thursday morning bootcamp was canceled along with all the area schools. So there went that class :(. Dayle, a wonderful nurse practitioner that I work with, asked me to join her in a Hot Yoga class. I was thrilled! I love yoga and have been trying to figure out a way to incorporate it back into my hectic lifestyle. With all my running my ligaments have gotten so tight that yoga would be perfect for me. Dayle is a runner as well and she loves Hot Yoga. So we planned on Friday after work to go. Then we had record breaking lows come in along with advisories to stay home. The temps were to get -10 to -20 degrees below. So our Friday Hot Yoga class was canceled :(. This weather has certainly put a damper on my goals. So now this brings me to today, Saturday January 9. Mike and I got up this morn, drank our coffee, watched a bit of the news and headed off to the gym for a run.  We decided to do 8 miles on the indoor track. I followed my hubby around an oval and watched his hiney for 72 laps.  The only good things about running on an indoor track is the surface, no wind resistance and certainly no hills, so our pace was a nice 8:50 min per mile. Which is not to shabby for me since I tend to be a very slow runner. Otherwise I don't like running on a track.  It makes me feel like a hamster in a wheel, much the same way a treadmill makes me feel.  You also have to dodge all the newbies who can't read the signs that are posted everywhere that say 'walkers on inside lane and runners on outside lanes'. It can be quite an obstacle course at times with the old people in there SAS shoes and jeans and the New Years Resolutioners in their cotton shirts and sweat pants. I can only hope that some of them will stick to a more active lifestyle this time.  In a couple more weeks the gym will clear out and it will be back to business as usual. After we ran, I swam 20 laps (1000 yards) and it was a perfect way to end our workout.  The water felt so refreshing after a run.
I have a bad case of Spring fever.  It does not help that Mike and I have our new bikes in our bedroom that we look at daily and say "Oh I wish I could ride my bike". It is killing us!  But it also gives us hope, something to look forward to.  I know that this weather will not last forever and that this season makes us appreciate the Spring and Summer.  It is the blessing of 'just enough'. Just enough winter to make you appreciate the Summer, just enough of not working out to make you appreciate working out. Just enough of not running to make you appreciate the fact that you have a body that can move. Yes, this may be a blog that has a lot of gripes in it, but in all actuality it is a blog about blessings. There is a reason for all this bad weather just as there are reasons for every season in our lives.  It forces me to sit down and reflect about how lucky and blessed that I am and that I have just enough. :). Now that I am done blogging, instead of yearning for the sounds of birds singing, I'm going to enjoy the beauty of the prismatic colors and the crackling, soothing sounds of a nice warm and cozy fire.
May you, my friend, be blessed with 'just enough'.
Namaste'

Sunday, January 3, 2010

MY 2010 GOALS


Now that 2010 has suddenly arrived  I find myself wondering where did 2009 go? Last year was a good one. I ran several 5K's, two marathons (Nashville Country Music and Bass Pro), tried my first sprint triathlon (Republic Tiger Tri) and went on my first official 47 mile bike ride (Tour de Bass). This year is going to be an even better one.  We are off to an excellent start. Yesterday, Mike and I picked up our new road bikes, mine is a lavender fit woman Felt and his is a beautiful black,white & red Bianchi .  We could have bought ourselves a REALLY nice flat screen HD TV with a surround sound system, but both of us agreed we would much rather have the bikes. Besides, they are much better for us than a TV and we would certainly get more enjoyment out of them. Neither one of us watch much TV. I believe that the world would be better off with less TV's anyway! We brought our shiny new bikes inside and parked them in our bedroom and was so happy this morning to wake up and see them first thing. The only problem is that it is 12 degrees out, snowed four inches overnight and is still snowing as I write :( As for furniture, give me a garmin (which I have & love) and for clothes or jewelry, give me a new pair of running shoes or CR-W pants and some tech shirts and I am as delirious as a cat with catnip. Our vehicles are old and proudly plastered with bike and 26.2 stickers. I can't wait to put an ironman sticker on them (after we earn it)! We don't hesitate to jump in our vehicles with our sweaty bodies, dirty kids and dogs, or hitch our bikes on them. We would gladly give up material things to pursue that which brings us joy and helps us live life more fully. So that brings me to my goals for 2010. This is going to be the year for trying new things and attempting new challenges.

GOAL #1 : BRANSON IRON MAN 70.3
Mike and I are going to attempt our first 70.3 Iron Man!  We have decided to do Branson Missouri's first official 70.3 Iron Man in September. People are saying that we are nuts because the bike course is going to be "challenging". But we have home court advantage.  We live only 20 - 25 miles away and can easily go to Branson on the weekends and practice swimming, riding and running the course. And for those of you who do not know what the Iron Man 70.3 entails it is this.  The swim is 1.2 miles long, the bike is 56 miles and the run is 13.1 miles.
My weakest point is the swim, so to help me overcome this, I have enrolled in a beginner triathlon swim class that starts tomorrow at 6am.

GOAL #2 : LOSE WEIGHT
I am only 5'1" and I am not overweight. However, my big booty seems to be perpetually stuck between 114-116 lbs. I would like to get my weight between 105-110 lbs. I know that I will never be a competitive athlete, but I would like to know that I have done everything that I can do in order to achieve MY best time. I am competing against myself and in order to do my absolute best I need to be at a good, athletic weight.
My husband is 6'2" and weighs 225 lbs. His goal is to get down under 215 lbs. This seems like a lot of weight to carry, but he has long, thin legs that carry his big frame pretty darn fast. So lots of fish, chicken, salad and sensible eating for us if we are going to get serious about achieving this goal.

GOAL #3 : RUN AT LEAST 2 MARATHONS
This is certainly a do'able goal for me. It will be my 5th and 6th marathons.  Mike has not run a marathon yet, he would rather work on increasing his times in the half marathon. So this one is my goal.  I have been sponsored by the Missouri Beef Council and have been entered in the Go St. Louis Marathon to be ran on April 11, 2010.  I am already training and feel certain that this will be a great one. I also have plans of joining my running group for the 3rd year to train and run the Bass Pro Marathon in Springfield MO in November 7, 2010.  If I can work in another marathon somewhere I certainly will! So here is my time goal...don't laugh... I would like to run a marathon under 5 hours. My best time so far was Bass Pro this last November in which I came in at 5:22:46. So if I lean up a bit and do some speed work along with my cross training for the triathlon I believe this is certainly a very do'able goal.
GOAL #4 : JOIN A BIKE CLUB AND RIDE!
Now that we have our new bikes we want to do the MS 150, the Tour de Cox and the Tour de Bass. We will probably join Springbike Bike club and ride with other local riders. My twin Audrey and my best friend Denise bought new bikes too, so we plan on being a cycling team. We have appropriately named our team 'Slow Riders'. It is going to be a fun and exciting year with our new bikes.

GOAL #5 : HAVE FUN!!
The most important thing in ALL of these goals is to have fun. We are doing them for the adventure and to enjoy life.  Life is too darn stressful as it is.  We work hard so by golly, we plan on living it up! The most important thing is not the time in any of these events, but the sense of accomplishment. I enjoy the strengthening of relationships that all these events have provided for me. It has strengthened an already strong marriage. My husband and I love and cherish our time together on the bike or watching each others butts jiggle as we run the roads together.  I have never had so much fun and laughed so hard as when me, my sister and my best friend ride or run together. I have also met new friends on this fitness journey who have enriched my life beyond words and is, as the commercial says....priceless! And absolutely nothing can describe the way it feels to cross a marathon or triathlon finish line!!
So that is pretty much it. I will blog my journey and progress along the way. So stay tuned!  In the meantime, get out, get moving and challenge yourself to try something new!
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Namaste'