Saturday, May 24, 2014

Things I wish someone would have told me about running from the very beginning.....

* No matter how long you've been running, you always hate the first 2 miles.
* If you start running to lose weight, you might not lose that much, but eventually you don't care about weight because running has so many, REPEAT, SO MANY unplanned for benefits
* That I'd be SO happy every day
* That I'd feel a sense of immediate solidarity with other runners
* That for real, I'd LOVE and RESPECT my body for what it can do
* That it would change my life, take me places out there and in my heart
* That I'd become a morning runner and just LOVE it
* That no matter how much sunscreen I use I'd have a tan line from my shots all year long. Just when it's about to fade, summer would be back.
* That pepper spray would be my BEST friend
* That I'd have to redo my wardrobe to accommodate for the new gear
* That I'd live and eat in running clothes
* That I would jump around like a new puppy (in my head) every time I learned someone was a runner and not even bothering holding back the excitement
* That you face and work on your body issues every time you hit the pavement
* That once you make running a part of you life, life is lived in color.....nothing is drab
* That following a training plan religiously is a recipe for injury
* That listening to your body is THE only way to avoid injury
* That learning the weather for the next morning is more important than news
* That you begin to notice all the people, who for whatever reason, can't run.
* That my muscular, toned legs would surpass my bum, as my most sexy asset (my opinion...I'm allowed.)
* That I'd chew through 'favorite' songs super FAST and as a result know all the latest "cool" songs....I'm a teacher and my young students are always impressed by my playlist..little do they know I am looking for new songs weekly 
* That you'd start thinking ways to make extra money to pay for that race.
* That most non-runners care nothing about our obsession, so, don't be weird.....find a runner to talk to about running
* That suddenly magazine subscriptions are IN again
* That a half or a marathon becomes a less daunting challenge pretty fast in this journey
* That you'd get THAT excited seeing other cars with running stickers
* That you can't help posting on FB about your runs, oh, and that you start not to care who "un-friends" you as a result


what are some of your ideas?

Monday, May 19, 2014

You don't need all that shit to feel worthy

           One of my favorite children's book is called, "The Biggest House In The World"by Leo Lionni. In it, a happy snail continues to accumulate more and more shells, eventually becoming too big, too elaborate to move and enjoy being a snail.  I think of this book almost daily as I encounter our own cultural ways of overconsumption, bloated egos, bloated salaries (of the few), and even the processed food industry all of which have gotten so far out of control that the side affects from such excesses are beginning to affect all of society in one way of another. 

            Just like this snail, we have become weighed down by our things. We now show more pride in what we own and not who we are. In fact, I think we now sadly define our own self-worth by what we own. I was in Georgetown, DC this weekend. My phone was damaged and the only Apple store around was there.....unfortunately for me, I hate going to placed like this, I was nauseous almost immediately. Let me explain for those non-DC folks; Georgetown is a "unique" place in DC in which there are scores of high-end shops selling ridiculously high-priced items and white linen, poshy restaurants mixed in with million-dollar historical homes, pretty much a simple person's nightmare.  While yes, these things are gorgeous and alluring and oh, so perfect, they also become barriers to all that is genuine about life; they become barriers to your real self, to true self-improvement, to your true self-worth. Katie Byron, one of my favorite authors, always asks, "who are you without all your things?. This question conveniently brings me to running. 

            One of THE MOST attractive things about running is its simplicity. You don't need anything but sneakers and your body to go out and build some pride for yourself via the sport. For example, right now, I am sitting here glowing from the mere fact that just yesterday I ran 20 miles!! TWENTY FREAKING MILES!!  Running has placed the onus of self-worth right where it belongs, in my heart, in my own effort, my determination. No need for fancy cars, million-dollar homes, or Guccis to feel worthy and proud, I've got a million-dollar feet and million-dollar legs and a strong, healthy heart that provide me with all the happy I could possibly need. 


Thursday, May 15, 2014

Running as Prayer


                    Reflecting while running is innate. Have a problem? just go out for a run and 90% chance you will end that run with some type of solution and with a much better outlook than when you began. Today, I ran most of my 5 miles in prayer. I was shaken up by a story I read about the night before about Benjamin Sauer of New York . Ben was a 4-year-old who just this week lost his life to a brain tumor. As a mother of two I cannot think of anything more painful an devastating to experience than watching your little one get worse and worse and then pass away and not being able to do anything about it. As I faced the glorious rising sun in a hazy, foggy, yet, beautiful DC morning I felt such sadness for this family and this sweet little boy who will never grow up to be a dad, or get married, or graduate from high school. When I got home I gave both my kids a huge hug and made sure to tell them I loved them so much. 

                 Who do you pray for when you run? Most days I pray for Mya. She is a 5-year-old I run for and whom I met online. Well, I met her mom online via a Facebook page called 'I Run For Michael'. The site matches runners to children who are unable to walk or run. Aside from little Mya, I also pray for those I pass on my run who have trouble walking or who can't walk. Running has changed my life so drastically and has made me enjoy every day so much more than ever, my heart goes out for those who don't have the ability to tap into this amazing gift. I also pray for all the homeless people I pass by daily. There are about 7 of them I see regularly, most of the time they are sleeping, seeing as I run at 6am most mornings. 

                   So again I ask, who do you pray for when you run?

          

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Rewriting Motherhood

                           All girls, while growing up, are well aware that motherhood comes with a list of expected behaviors. Mothers MUST be this way, mothers MUST do this, mothers MUST basically serve the entire family and place herself second always to be defined as a "good" mother, and even then, it might not feel like you're doing enough. I see plenty examples of this form of "sacrificial" moms all around me. One way to know IF you are a sacrificial mom is by simply asking your own kids, "what is mommy's favorite thing to do?",  if they answer something to the affect of doing service to them, like, "mom cooks", or "mom cleans and does the laundry", you have become a sacrificial mom. In thinking this over as I write, I suppose being a sacrificial mom is not the worse thing that could happen ; Your kids find you indispensable, your hubby enjoys the daily meals you provide and it all feels for the most part in perfect, harmonious balance because no one is complaining, everyone is happy. Another way to tell is you are a sacrificial mom is by checking your general, day-in-day-out energy level. I see too many young moms, friends of mine, with small kids who are tapped out creatively and are desperate for a way to escape the big drain. Trying to be a perfect mom can be so, so tiring, so exhausting. 

                When all is said and done, I feel a good life should not be one in which you help others fill their dreams in spite of yours. So ask yourself, what do I love to do and just do it. You have kids? bring them along. Figure out a way to do your thing before they wake up, after they go to bed, find a sitter once a week, give yourself the gift of worthiness. Let your kids witness you fulfill your BIG dreams right before their eyes so they will grow up with this gift, this life recipe, if you may, of just how to go about chasing their own dreams. 

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Rather Die on mile 18 than on a couch.....

                  I've been hearing a lot lately about the 'dangers' of distance running. Okay, let's calmly think this through a moment. How many people die every day from obesity, heart disease, diabetes? WAY too many. So, the 'dangers' of running a marathon are far, far less than not ever running at all. Also, and most importantly, I think most people who run and enjoy running are not doing it to LIVE LONGER anyway. Yes, that might be one positive outcome....but I don't think such a passionless outcome is the only reason people rack up scores of miles a week. The impetus far surpasses such banal reasons. I can only speak for myself, but for the most part, the quality of my life since I have begun running has improved 1000-fold. I liken my before-running and after-running life to the difference between black and whiteTV versus color HD TV. Life since running entered my life has been an explosion of color, fun, fresh.....I feel alive, awake, aware, strong!! It feels amazing every day being a runner and that state is a priceless feeling.........I would not trade this high quality of living for anything, even for the fear of dying. So yes, when people caution me about running too much all I say is, "I am feeling so happy and strong lately that it's worth the risk to me...I'll take my chances." Then I go out for a LOOOOONG run. 

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Mother Runner Gift Ideas for Mother's Day....

Here are some of my ideas of what to give a mother runner for Mother's Day from a tried and true mother runner.

Here is a great basket JUST for marathoners found at Well Baskets online. I LOVE the idea of a basket of running related objects. My dream basket would have a combination of any of the following: GU's (various flavors), a pair of Balega socks, honey stingers, a new cap, a running store gift certificate ($25 or more), new water bottle, sports sunscreen. Of course you don't need someone to put the basket together for you......you know your runner best....make a personalized basket only you know she'd love. 

If your mother runner is at all like me, she might have her bibs and medals just hanging from all over the place. A great gift would be getting her a place to display your medals and bibs.....lots of different styles can be found on Etsy.com

Running-related jewelry. This one is found on Etsy in the store labeled, TheRunHome 

Balega socks are my favorite socks....here is where you can order some on Amazon. 

A running tank top....it's getting hot and t-shirts will no longer be cool enough.....You cannot go wrong with this one....here is the link to the one below:

I don't think a runner fanatic can ever have enough running-related bumper stickers....here is one that I would love...




 This might be a bit odd....but dates are the latest in natural, non-GU snacks for long runs. I would NORMALLY not buy them because they are so expensive....so, they make a great treat as a gift...can never get enough of these!!


Of course, a gift certificate to a running store is DREAMY.....the BEST gift I've ever gotten so far has been this one.....I went to the store and got a $100 discount on my Garmin....totally awesome.