Saturday, April 14, 2012

A Life Changing Movie

Many of you may have already seen the movie Forks Over Knives but I wanted to pass along a link that will allow FREE viewing from now until April 16th. As much as I would like everyone to adopt a plant-based diet, I think the bigger issue right now is to just be educated on your current food choices.

We are often mislead by the media and industry sponsored studies, making an informed decision on what a healthy diet is almost impossible. I ask that you keep an open mind when viewing this movie, take the information and test it for yourself. Personally, I think our biggest failure comes from knowing how to cure ourselves yet choosing to continue down the unhealthy path.

For me, the one thing I know I can (and will) do, is to use my diet as medicine. If it can be prevented and/or cured by eating then it is within my power to do so.

I hope you enjoy this movie and that it helps you achieve your goals for a healthier and longer life.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Is It Karma?

Last year I ran my first marathon ever, Rock n' Roll San Diego, with the help of Team in Training. It was, for the most part, a great experience. Don't get me wrong, I was terrified of the fund-raising part and often thought that I would have to change to the half-marathon after a handful of really bad long runs. But, in the end, I exceeding my fund-raising goal and finished all 26.2 miles.

I'm a marathoner!!
After San Diego I continued to run but not with the same zeal...I no longer had buddy-runs to show up to or group long runs already mapped out which included water stops. It was just me...and my excuses. The first being that I needed to recover from the marathon and the second that I NEVER wanted to do that distance again.

I had managed to lose a lot of the "speed" I once had. With all of those long runs I tried to relieve some of the pressure by allowing myself to run slower. I've never been fast...but I was certainly quite a bit faster then I was finding myself once I started running again. For me, my slowness became a de-motivator. I gave myself a pity-party...which lasted several months.

This spring I finally got the urge actual desire to run again. It's been a slow process working up from about 3 mile 'long' runs to about 5 now but I've been working on getting some speed back as I increase my distance. By incorporating plyometrics and weights I feel that I'm better balanced than when I trained for the marathon (last year I actually had an increase in body fat which is not atypical of endurance athletes) and, until now, I've remained injury free.

My cool finisher's medal!
Which brings me to today. The smell of Tiger Balm drifts up from my knee and a steady stream of Ibuprofen (mixed with a lovely glass of Pinot) is hopefully helping with any internal swelling. A week ago Saturday (Mar 31) I ran a trail 10K put on by my favorite racing group, Brazen Racing. I wanted to use this a jumping off point for more racing this year, my last season in this area, and since it was local and had a cool finisher's medal I was stoked about the race and never even worried about the distance.

Well, it wasn't the distance that was the was when the sky opened up and the bottom fell out. We were standing in the starting corral counting down the last few seconds before the start when Mother Nature decided to make this race very challenging (comparable to Tough Mudder). The first 2.5 miles were road and gravel...the rest was almost all single track cow trails.
I don't know why I'm looking at that guy all crazy.
Finish by any means necessary!
I don't know how else to explain the conditions other than imaging running on a Slip-n-Slide while it's raining. Running uphill was all but impossible since, with every step, we were actually sliding back down the hill. Most of us attempted to run on the side of the hills in whatever grass we could find so we had some kind of traction. I fell was as I was trying to pass a guy pushing a strollerA a downpour, on the side of a mountain, in the mud, on a cow trail that now resembled a river!

I wasn't kidding.
A big portion of the 10K course was like this.

And I wasn't the only one to fall!

But that wasn't even when I felt the first was when I finally got the chance to run all out. It was still pouring down (and cold) so I was sprinting to the finish to just get it all over with when about 100 yards from the finish I felt it...a sharp pain behind my right knee-cap. I quickly forgot about the pain when I spotted my good friend, and TNT running partner, Coleen at the finish. What a great surprise!!

Me (left) and Coleen (right) this past summer during a long run.
After changing into the dry clothes and sipping on the Soy Vanilla Latte she brought me (did I mention how awesome she is??) I completely forgot about my knee. But a week later the pain is still there. I even ran on Friday to test it out and while I felt fine running I am in pain now whenever I go up or down the stairs.

It's bad Karma I'm sure. You see, I had applied to be a Mentor for the fall season for our Team in Training Marathon team and got the position. But in the meantime I had decided that I wanted to run for me this race season (since it's my last). I didn't want to sacrifice my own running to help my mentees out so I declined the position. And then this happened.

3rd Place (age group)...makes me smile!
In the end I found out that I placed 3rd in my age group. And even though I am recovering from my first injury in a very long time, I am sticking to my guns and running this season for me. I'm 41...I don't know how much longer I can do this and I still have some goals I'd like to reach. In the meantime, I'll still volunteer to help my TNT group out by doing water stops for them...that ought to satisfy the Karma Police.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Friendship Deficit Disorder??

Perhaps it's not THIS bad...Source
I am operating in friendship deficit. I'm not looking for sympathy or to place blame necessarily because I know, deep down, I am just as guilty as the next person for letting my friendships atrophy. But as I find myself well into the second quarter of the year and I reflect on the same promise I make every year ("Make time for friends."), I wonder if it's time to redefine what friendship means to me and to change my expectations.
I went a very, very long time without T.V. Well, I owned one but only used it for exercise DVD's or an occasional movie. So, when I moved in with my boyfriend, who not only had a 40" Vizio Gallevia but also Directv and about a bajillion channels, I found myself mesmerized and totally addicted to several shows, one of them being Sex and the City. After all, what girl doesn't love to watch a group of close knit friends make there way in New York City, right?
Being inundated with the advertising and images from the media has changed our perception of reality. We know that, as women, we place higher expectations and pressures on ourselves to be thinner, more fashionable and successful because that is what is being shown to us in the media as acceptable, normal and desirable. But lately I've been wondering if my {not so} secret love affair with Sex and the City reruns, and it's predecessor, Friends, has led me to place impossible expectations on my personal friendships.
Although I feel light years away from my deepest, darkest depression, I still have my days when I feel lonely, and perhaps even socially stunted. I've always been introverted, often mistaken for stuck-up, and have had very few female friends. Having been a military brat I still find it hard to make and maintain long-term relationships but it has not dampened my desire for them. Enter Sex and the City and a handful of new friends.
I envisioned us having lunches together or even just coffee or cocktails. I thought for sure, this time, I would have someone to go shopping with who could tell me if an outfit looked good on me (finally I wouldn't have to walk out of the dressing room and ask some random stranger what they thought). I pictured us getting together to bake cookies during the holidays and sip sangria pool-side in the summer. We could share what I always thought were secrets about make-up application and hair styles and all of that 'girl stuff' I missed out when I was young and too busy being a tomboy. This was it!! I would no longer be the socially awkward girl who didn't want a birthday party, not because I didn't desire one, but because I didn't have any one to invite.
We tried, my handful of friends and I. We met for a few lunches while our other halves were at their weekly "guy's lunch", which had been a tradition for the past 10 years. But slowly our group disbanded. People got busy, kid's had needs and "other things" became the priority. After a few weeks our group emails included more and more "Sorry, can't make it. Billy's got a game." and "Jane's home sick from school, I'll have to pass." and "I'm exhausted from work, I don't have it in me to be social". I tried to reach out with messages and articles about how important female friendships are and how we deserve to have time to hang out with our friends. Sadly, I even tried to guilt them by saying that the guys have kept their lunch tradition alive for 10 years and we can't even do it for two months!! Nothing worked.
(I really don't mind dining alone, but you get the point) Source
 I attempted to do one on one get-togethers with various friends thinking that maybe it's just too hard for a group to pick a date and time that works for everyone. It lasted exactly one outing. It wasn't that we had a bad time. In every instance, whether it was the entire group or just two of us, we always had a great time. We laughed, vented, laughed some more and departed with hugs and "can't-wait-to-see-you-next-week". And I'm pretty sure it wasn't that they didn't like me (fingers crossed) and therefore just started to brush me off...we have spent time together (very sporadically) since the demise of our lunches and continued to enjoy each other's company. Yet I still feel unfulfilled, disappointed and slightly rejected. 
Now I'm no saint when it comes to friendship maintenance. I have missed just as many of my book club meetings as I've made. I've failed to attend any Pampered Chef, Miche Bag, or PartyLite shows that my friends have hosted. I've bailed on yoga dates with lame excuses (it was mostly just laziness and a mild case of feeling sorry for myself). And I have stopped asking, encouraging and badgering my friends into going out...this includes sending reminder after reminder of the 'dates' we do set, which most often ends in me staying home. 
So how is it that Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda managed to get together all the time, have real telephone conversations and maintain this tight sisterhood when I can't even get a friend to answer my text??
Oh, right, it's T.V.
But is that really it?? Am I really expecting too much from my friends based on how female friendships are portrayed on a television show? Or have we become a society that keeps ourselves so busy and over-extended that we no longer have a need for honest to goodness real friendships? I have a tiny blog...a spec in the microcosm of Blogger and Wordpress...yet there are many times I feel closer to my handful of "followers" and "tweeps" than I do the people that live 5 minutes from me, who I can hug and see and with whom I can actually share a bottle of wine! It's as if the world is suffering from A.D.H.D. and we can't possibly image sparing an hour to relax and shoot the shit with another real life person. It's become an imposition to set aside time, even once a month, to be somewhat selfish and prioritize a relationship outside of the home or work. My friendships have become a series of "Likes" and "Retweets" and I feel a void. 
"Face-to-face chatting is giving way to texting and messaging; people even prefer these electronic exchanges to, for instance, simply talking on a phone.Smaller circles of friends are being partially eclipsed by Facebook acquaintances routinely numbered in the hundreds. Amid these smaller trends, growing research suggests we could be entering a period of crisis for the entire concept of friendship. Where is all this leading modern-day society? Perhaps to a dark place, one where electronic stimuli slowly replace the joys of human contact." ~ Mark Vernon via USA Today
I know what you're going to say..."Easy for you, the childless one, to say, you don't have the same kind of responsibilities". But I do have responsibilities...I work outside of the home, I'm also my own housekeeper, laundromat and cook. Spending time with my husband is a priority, I take my exercise seriously often having to schedule time for marathon training and, even though my blog is small, I have a deep desire to write and share and it's a time-consuming priority to me.
We talk about making time for what's important (and no doubt about it, kids are important) but maybe what we really need to do is just flat out take time. Sometimes, the most therapeutic thing you can do is be selfish once in a while. Take a break from being a spouse, a mom, a worker, a blogger or an exerciser and rekindle those friendships that empower you. Then, when you return to your family, job or workout routine you will have even more to give.
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