Thursday, December 29, 2011

Holiday Sickness and "The Talk"

If any of you had trouble with eating too much holiday food, I can tell you that I found the secret to avoiding that problem! Get sick over the holidays. Blegh.

That is where I have been. Christmas Eve and day I had a horrible migraine, and then the day after Christmas up until today I have been dealing with a Gawd-awful stomach bug that insisted on stealing any trace of food and water I possibly had in my system. Not fun, suffice it to say.

On the up side (if you can call television-watching an up side), I found an old childhood favorite on Netflix and watched that- in two takes thanks to a much needed nap...

Feel-good family movie... Gotta love it

Also, had the opportunity to see a gorgeous sunset on Christmas Day evening while traveling to see the family. You can't beat a beautiful sunset. :-)

Once again, excuse the blurry camera phone pics. And the big truck that decided to be a camera hog.


Being from a small town, there are certain.... quirks.... That show themselves as one gets older. Such as the fact that because I was not married and popping out kids by 19, there must be something wrong with me. I thought moving to a bigger city would help me avoid this taboo of being in my early twenties and not having at least 2 children already (gasp at the thought!), but there is always the holidays! *sigh*.....

My other half and I have been together now for almost 5 months. Decent dating time, right? Not too serious, but not casual either. Well, I go visit my father (good ol' country boy in the small town, as previously mentioned...) and he asks how long Jonas and I have been dating. I say almost 5 months. The conversation went as follows... (you can be sure to insert the southern accent in your head)

Dad: "5 months, huh? Any chance you'll be making it permanent soon??"
Me: "Dad! I just turned 24. There is still plenty of time and I'm not going to rush it."
Dad: "Well, just checkin. Ya know, I'm not gettin any younger. Mike, my partner at work, already has 5 grandchildren. I'm just sayin..."
Me: *glaring daggers* "Look, I still have plenty of time, and you're not going anywhere. I would think you would want me to take my time and make it a forever thing. Besides, I think you're just wanting to make sure the first grandchild doesn't come from the 18 year old boy (my brother) with the 16 year old girlfriend."
Dad: *coughs and turns the TV volume up*

*Sigh....* Gotta love holidays with the family....

I will be back soon with my New Years post. I will be touching on several different things, as well as hopefully debuting my inspiration board! We shall see. :-)

Ta Ta for now!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Breakfast Cookies and Holiday Randomness!

We shall start off with Muscle Man's favorite...
Breakfast Cookies!!

These little gems are a combination of different ideas I pulled from various blogs and created something that he and I could grab and eat on the run, and still maintain a healthy meal. These babies pack about 20g of protein apiece, taste great, hold you over for a long time, and are great to grab on the go, which we are always in need of. The great thing about these is that they are quick, fairly cheap, easy to make, and it's super easy to make variations because they're really hard to screw up. :-)

To make about 5 cookies:

* 1 cup oats (quick or old fashioned, doesn't matter)
* 1 scoop chocolate protein powder
* 1/2 cup peanut butter (or other nut butter)
* dash of cinnamon
* handful of raisins or craisins to taste

Put that in a large bowl and stir in about 1/3 cup of milk. Adjust portions however you want, but it should have about the consistency of thick cookie dough at the end. I like to use organic peanut butter or even almond butter, and in these particular ones, Muscle Man threw in craisins, crushed almonds, and chia seeds on top. Also, if I'm in the mood for something sweeter or will be sharing this with kids, I'll substitute a little Nesquick chocolate milk powder. Once you mix it thoroughly in a bowl (spoon, hands, doesn't matter.. :-) just spoon onto a plate in cookie form and stick it in the freezer overnight to harden. (PS- might want to put something on the plate so they do not stick... Maybe just a short spray of non-stick spray just to make it easier to get them off the plate)

This recipe is as healthy as you want to make it. Get better quality ingredients (i.e. organic, raw, as simple an ingredient list as possible on each item, etc), and the healthier it will be. Plus I found out the chia seeds on top are a great addition! :-)

Moving on...

Found this sign in a doctor's office, and felt it fits this blog SO well!
This is the whole concept behind my blog. Make the most of every little decision, opportunity and moment, because that is how we live a bigger life. That is how we are able to look back when we are 80 and smile.

Now it's time for... Holiday Randomness!!

I'm thankful for festive sweaters and scarves... Apparently it counters my dislike of blurry phone pictures. Ha

Creepy stalker snowman... Don't you have one?

This is what we call in Arkansas, a redneck Christmas... Merry Christmas ya'll!

This next one is a little dirty-sailor-ish in nature, but I still thought it was funny. Don't judge, I won't make a habit of bad language, but had to share!
No words needed. Ha!

And last but not least, this gem...

A married couple had been out shopping at the mall for most of the afternoon, suddenly, the wife realized that her husband had "disappeared". 
The somewhat irate spouse called her mate’s cell phone and demanded:  Where the hell are you?
Husband: Darling you remember that Jewelry shop where you saw the Diamond Necklace and totally fell in love with it and I didn't
have money that time and said Baby it'll be yours one day. 
Wife, with a smile blushing: Yes, I remember that my Love.

Husband: Well, I'm in the bar next to that shop.

If I don't post before Christmas, then let me just say...

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and God Bless!!

Monday, December 12, 2011

A Little Monday Pick-Me-Up!


So, I feel that Monday is sorely underappreciated, so I'm going to do a little "Ode to Monday" if you will!

Don't you think Mondays deserve a little love?

I thought this was adorable... And as you get to know me, you will find how true I feel this is. I love coffee. It's my kryptonite. God was thinking of me when he created coffee. True story.

Monday often gets such a bad rap, and why? Simply because the poor thing fell at the beginning of the work week. I constantly see things online where people are talking about how much they hate Mondays, how they wish Monday would go away, etc. But honestly, I think that is more of an issue with our mindset than with Monday itself.

A typical Monday mindset...
  • We don't want to get up early on Monday after having the weekend to relax
  • Can I please just keep hitting snooze?!?
  • OMG if that snooze goes off one more time I'm going to break my alarm/phone....
The sequence from that point forward tends to be a variation involving at least some of the following: cursing at the alarm and the day in general because you HAVE to get up with this final alarm or because you look at the clock and realize you're running late... Chase the kids/dog/husband around while trying to get everyone out the door with everything they need, INCLUDING yourself- because you're superwoman and remember everything for everyone, right?... Oh crap, you forgot your lunch because the dog peed on the carpet while waiting on you to finish cleaning up the cereal mess Timmy so lovingly left on the dining room floor... Looks like you're eating out today... Well, what about your workout? Eating out sure won't help that... But do you have time to work out? You completely forgot you had that deadline coming up tomorrow- OUCH %&*(#$^$*# I spilled my coffee!!

**Find wall, bang head, beg for Friday to come around**

Does that sound familiar? I know it often does for me. You feel like Monday hits and everything bombards you, or the vast list of things to do is looming over you, or things just won't seem to go right, or you feel unprepared to start the week up, or whatever the case may be.

The beauty of it, is that the change can be as simple of adjusting our mindset.

I started believing a long time ago in the power of self-fulfilling prophecy. In other words, what you say and what your attitude is will affect the outcome of any situation. If you think or say, "I hate Mondays. Today is going to be awful, I can just tell." Well, you know what? You're right. It is going to be awful. You just made it that way. "I'm not prepared for today at all. I just can't handle the start of the work week." Let me tell you the simple truth: The week will start regardless of whether you want it to or not, because one thing in life is for sure: time goes on. 1) You can handle it, because you are a strong person who is very capable. 2) Learn from past mistakes, and prepare better. 3) I bet you're a lot more prepared than you think, so get out there and conquer the world. :-)

A Few Things to Help With Mondays:

* Prepare for the week on Sundays. Everything has its time and place, so on Sunday, spend some time relaxing where nothing invades your happy place: read, take a bubble bath, watch a movie with the family, play a game, go for a run, stretch a little, whatever takes you to your happy place. Just relax. THEN, once you feel a little better, spend an hour or so getting ready for the week: plan out lunches for the week, make sure everyone (including yourself) is aware of what events or highlights are happening during the week, etc. That way when Monday hits, you won't feel quite as overwhelmed.

* We tend to feel tired on Mondays because we sleep in over the weekend, or at least let our schedules get out of whack, and then we blame it on Monday. Studies have proven that our internal clocks are very sensitive to change, and just 1-2 days (i.e. a weekend) of deviating from your normal routine can throw off your body. It is recommended to never deviate from your normal sleeping pattern more than 90 minutes. So if you get up at 6 am during the week and then turn around and sleep until 10 with the kids/husband/dog on the weekends, how do you think that will make you feel once Monday rolls around? It's going to make Monday the most cruel S.O.B. you've ever laid eyes on.

* Welcoming Monday is a conscious decision we have to make until it becomes a permanent mindset. I look at Monday as a fresh start. WE create our own opportunities, and what is Monday if not a chance to start a fresh new week and do things right? It is an opportunity to work harder, show more love to those around you, make sure that your diet and exercise are on track this week, or maybe just make sure to get in a little "you" time this week. Monday is a chance to start fresh. Welcome Monday like it's a friend giving you another chance, another clean slate.

Look at Monday as a starting line to a great week, not as a curse that ended your weekend.

I truly believe that is one of the keys to a great week. :-)


On another note, I have been learning a lot from the blogging/fitness world, and I have been growing as both a person and an amateur blogger, so a heads up to all of you that there will be changes to come to the blog and my own personal goals as a blogger reaching out to all of you on the things that are important to both me and you... Details to come... :-)


And last but not least, it would not be my  blog if it wasn't random, so here is your dose of randomness for the day...

My mother gave me a silver pen to write on various surfaces- I don't know, it's a crafty thing and I'm all about craftiness....

Hmm... What to do with the pen first...


Oh crap... Don't sing and take a picture at the same time.
Let's try this again...

There we go!

Until next time, remember... One thing is always constant- time goes on. So are you going to choose to be prepared, hit the ground running, and come out on top of even the biggest of setbacks, or will you let *Mondays* or any other adverse scenario run you over?

Your choice... Let's do this!!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Do you know your numbers?... And my smoothie escapades...

As part of my journey to better health, I decided to go in for a physical. My first one since probably the ninth grade. I felt it was important for overall health, but also because I had a half marathon I planned (notice the past tense) to run in March. Upon meeting for a follow-up with my doctor yesterday, I found out two things: 1) My cholesterol is a little high for a 24 year old, and 2) I have a very severe Vitamin D deficiency.

The cholesterol I found surprising considering I try to exercise and eat right, and do better than 80% of people I know. But that got me to thinking, and after researching and asking serveral people, I realized something: It's not that everyone has better cholesterol than me, it's that no one gets it checked until there is a problem. No one knows their numbers. All my numbers were fine, except my LDL cholesterol was 109, when the most desirable is below 100. He essentially said that those 50 pounds I'm wanting to lose? That has to come off before I do anything else. PERIOD. He said it isn't going to affect me yet, but if I stay like I am for another 10 or 15 years, that number is going to get worse. This has really made me realize just how important it truly is to focus on true health and well-being, and not just weight loss alone. I know this comes from living a life of southern fried food, a high stress lifestyle, and loving comfort food. But over the past year, I have learned the true value of eating right versus eating to diet, and my whole perspective on life and health has changed.

The Mayo Clinic as well as many other sources (including your doctor... *cough cough*) have ample information on cholesterol and other important numbers, but here are the ones I want to present to you:

Total cholesterol
U.S. and some other countries Canada and most of Europe
Below 200 mg/dLBelow 5.2 mmol/LDesirable
200-239 mg/dL5.2-6.2 mmol/L Borderline high
240 mg/dL and aboveAbove 6.2 mmol/LHigh

LDL cholesterol
U.S. and some other countries Canada and most of Europe
Below 70 mg/dLBelow 1.8 mmol/LIdeal for people at very high risk of heart disease
Below 100 mg/dLBelow 2.6 mmol/LIdeal for people at risk of heart disease
100-129 mg/dL2.6-3.3 mmol/L Near ideal
130-159 mg/dL3.4-4.1 mmol/LBorderline high
160-189 mg/dL4.1-4.9 mmol/L High
190 mg/dL and aboveAbove 4.9 mmol/LVery high

Long story short, LDL cholesterol is the bad cholesterol, and the lower it is the better. If you do not know your numbers, I would suggest seeing your doctor. Yes, you may not be sick now, but wouldn't you rather take preventative steps and live a long, happy life filled with loved ones and great experiences, than wait until there is a problem and it may be too late?

I was very happy to be able to tell the doctor that I am already on my journey for weight loss and true health, and I am solidly working out (doing CrossFit ever since the doctor restricted me from running), but I do believe I'm going to step it up after this discovery. Hence the importance of knowing your numbers.

Also, the Vitamin D deficiency... Doctors are finding more and more correlation between Vitamin D deficiency and critical illnesses, which is why testing for it is becoming more and more frequent. After the lab results showed how low mine was, I researched it and approached the doctor with a barrage of questions because I wanted to know about this inside and out. What I came away with was reenforcement for a healthy (i.e. healthier) lifestyle: Take a high concentration of Vitamin D (he gave me a prescription); take fish oil capsules (stocked with Vitamin D); get it from things such as milk, lean chicken, oily fish, and eggs; get outside and get some sunlight for at least 20 minutes a day.
Sunlight is obviously the preferred choice because the UVB rays allow the synthesis of Vitamin D3, and those are the key vocabulary words to remember when it comes to Vitamin D boys and girls: UVB NOT UVA (like you get in concentrated form from tanning beds... tanning beds will only have 6-9% UVB rays IF ANY) creates the synthesis of Vitamin D, and Vitamin D3 has been proven to be more effective for our bodies than Vitamin D2.

I am by no means a doctor, I have no certifications of any sort, and I am NOT trying to tell you what to do. But I am on a journey for better true health and quality of life, NOT a fad diet for quick weight loss. This means I want to listen to and understand my body, and this is part of it. And I wanted to pass the knowledge onto you.

Moral of the story: Get checked. KNOW YOUR NUMBERS. You never know what you could find out, what your body could be needing, or what you could be doing to improve your quality of life.

On another note: The Smoothie Escapade has started!!
Part of my journey is that I want to start incorporating smoothies into my daily (or at least weekly) routine. Someday I will write a post about the benefits, but for now just accept that it's good for you. ;-)

So far I have tried two kinds. The first was a green smoothie, because despite the fact that it's hard to get used to the idea of having various types of grass in something you're consuming, they are overwhelmingly good for you (superfood and all that jazz) and dadgummit I am BOUND AND DETERMINED to learn to like them! So with the advice and guidance of Amanda and Robyn Openshaw, I started exploring the options for my first green smoothie. Also, here and here and here are three of my favorite posts of Amanda's that have been invaluable!

I know, not a very pretty picture, but bear with me, I'm new! :-)

My first green smoothie:

* 2 cups spinach
* 1 cup milk (any kind works... I used cow's milk because I was a little scared :-)
* 1/2 tablespoon flaxseed
* 1 banana
* 1 tsp green powder
* ice

My verdict? It was ok. I think I need to warm up to the whole green smoothie taste. It tasted very fresh and cool (if that makes sense), but will definitely take some getting used to.

Sooooo.... After trying the green, I decided to go a completely different direction one morning, and try something that was packed with protein and could hold me for awhile. The result was a love child of a lot of different recipes combined with whatever I had in my kitchen and felt like throwing in.

Morning Protein Smoothie

* 1 tsp cinnamon (got the idea from Amanda, and it worked out amazingly!)
* 1/2 cup coconut milk (I like mine thick, you can adjust accordingly)
* 1 1/2 scoops protein powder (If I want it more sweet- because face it ladies, it happens- I substitute about a tbsp of Nesquick)
* 1 banana
* 1/4 cup raw organic peanut butter
* 2 tsp chia seeds (not necessary, but I like to add them when I can)
* ice

I don't care who you are, this smoothie tastes great. It stays with you, but it's not super heavy, it's packed with nutrients, and... Not gonna lie... It helps me cope with the green smoothies better. :-)

I will update as I continue my smoothie rendezvous, but for now that is all I have to report!

Everyone have a great weekend!!

Monday, December 5, 2011

At a Difficult Crossroads... Also, brighter note- Christmas Cards!!

First things first... One of my favorite things about Christmas- Christmas Cards!!! I would LOVE to send out a Christmas card to you lovely bloggers out there, so if you are cool with emailing me your mailing address, I'll send you one! I know, a little random, especially with me being fairly new to the blogging world, but I am a Hallmark fanatic (I blame it on the fact I worked there for two years... I will not touch a card that isn't Hallmark unfortunately) and love to send out Christmas cards to friends and family. A lot of you have been a big inspiration to me through your blogs, and I think snail mail is a more personal way to say thanks and send warm greetings. My email is on here, and if you can't find it, leave a comment with your email or something and I'll send it to you. I look forward to sending out some of my cute cards! :-)

Moving on...

I had an awesome post planned today about the benefits of organic eating and other diet goodies, but that will have to wait... I had a doctor's appointment today for a basic physical- You know that whole "Check with your doctor before taking on any fitness routine" shpill? Well, I actually listened. Shocker, yes.

I digress...

I talked to the doctor about the fact that am on a weight loss journey to lose a total of 100 pounds (I've lost 50, and have 50 to go- Woo Hoo!!), but I also have a half marathon in March that I'm dying to run. Basically he told me:

1) I can't lose weight and run a half marathon at the same time and expect to be successful at both. For losing weight, you are restricting your calories while doing exercises focused on overall fat loss and muscle toning. For running high mileage, you up your caloric intake in order to sustain yourself for the rigors of running the higher mileage.

2) If I start upping my mileage (I'm at 3 miles 3x a week, with a 6 mile long run on Saturdays) any more than 10% a week while I am still carrying this extra 50 pounds I want to lose, I'm at a very high risk for a stress fracture. He put it like this in the end: "I'm going to give you two options. You can take it slow, lose the weight, and then slowly build your running and forget about the medals and short time frames (see post about me loving bling) and do it safely. OR you can take the risk and go ahead and train and run, and if you end up with a stress fracture or hurt ankle, I'm putting you in a boot for 6-8 weeks. Your choice."

........ Wow doc, alright.... When you put it like that, I guess it makes a little more sense. No one likes being in a boot. And I have read posts on here from runners that have dealt with this exact scenario and end up frustrated and disappointed.

The doctor is officially recommending that I focus on losing the weight first, and THEN look at running higher mileage and racing. He said, "Why don't you do this: from here until your 25th birthday (which is August 5th, 2012 by the way), focus on losing the rest of the weight. Then make your 25th birthday the starting point for all your specific fitness goals. You want to do a marathon? Train for it. Ultra? Train for it. But until then, put your energy into losing the weight. That way it is off by 25, and you won't have to worry about it for the rest of your life."

So why then, if he made it so dadgum (yes, I said dadgum... from the South, remember?) clear to me, am I still struggling with this? My boyfriend, friends, and DOCTOR are telling me to take it much slower and lose the weight first, and yet I don't want to let go of the half marathon in March. Anyone have any insight on this? Thoughts? Have you dealt with anything like this before?

I would love to hear from voices of experience on this. I love running and can still do the 10K (which two of my best friends are actually doing the 10K) and other 5Ks and small races throughout the year, but he thinks anything more as far as mileage would be detrimental in such a short period of time. Would love some input. Thanks guys!

Random side note: I have been freezing at work for the past two weeks because the heater has not been working right in the office. This morning, I decided to be prepared today and was proud of myself for thinking ahead, and I wore a long sleeve shirt as well as a big thick sweater on top. I get to work.... They fixed the heater.

Have a great rest of the week!!

Another sidenote: Stop by RuntotheFinish and check out her Glam Headbands giveaway!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

My Shoe Obsession and... Eating Puppy Chow?!?

So, remember my lovely philosophy on enjoying the little things? Well, I have learned to keep the "little things" in check as well. Let me paint you a picture of two things I am reining in by the weekend...

First... I never really had a shoe obsession. Shoes were shoes, and I kid you not, I am still wearing my Birkenstocks that I've had since the 10th grade. Don't judge me.... I'm afraid the mere presence of my Birks is the bane of my mother's existence. I'm pretty sure she would burn them if she could get her hands on them.

But I digress...

I have discovered a love for running shoes. Now, I'm betting many of you can relate. Since I have started running (which was only about a year ago, mind you), I have already acquired and/or gone througth five pairs of running shoes. I am now hopelessly devoted to my 1) Asics Kayanos for walking/everyday wear/regular activities, 2) Brooks Adrenaline GTS for running long distances, and 3) Brooks Cascadia 6 for trail running. I would swear by any of these shoes, ESPECIALLY the Brooks Cascadias. And I don't know why, but I just feel cool wearing BRIGHT green shoes on a trail.

You can't miss me in these!

Well, Brooks has dropped another gem... The Pure Project. In case you have not heard of these shoes, check them out HERE. I have always felt torn about barefoot running... I have always wanted to try it in order to work on my form, but I have been warned against it so many times that I started wishing for a way to have the support but still have a flexible, lightweight shoe. Well, the PureCadence seems to be the answer. Brooks has put a lot of research and work into this line, and I'm excited to try it out. I'm hoping I can sucker ask my dad for a pair for Christmas. That is the beauty of being 24, unmarried, no kids... I still get to have a Christmas list for the parents! :-)

I give you... Brooks PureCadence!
You can't miss me in these either! I'm starting to think my feet just like the attention...

Any opinions about the minimalist movement? Or about running shoes in general?

Now, the other "little thing" I need to get a handle on... COMFORT FOOD.

Muscle Man introduced me to a very beautiful thing this past week: Firehouse Subs. I told him no because it was just like Subway and I was burned out on Subway. He looked at me like I was crazy, said it was nothing like Subway, and then we were on our way (what can I say, I'm a pushover). What I instead found was a mecca of sandwichy-goodness and flavored sodas.
The Steak and Cheese. Pretty much heaven on a bun.

This is the space-age contraption inside of every Firehouse Subs restaurant. You hit a touchscreen to choose your base soda, and then a selection of a ton of different flavors pops up for that soda. Peach Sprite?!? Yes please!! Once you choose, a PUSH button starts blinking. Gee, you think it might want you to "push"? Well, I had never seen anything like it, so I was very amazed by this.

So where lies the problem? On top of having Thanksgiving last week, I had Firehouse Subs TWICE, and that's not all ladies and gentleman... For the work potluck I had to come up with a quick, cheap, easy finger food. What did I come up with? Puppy Chow!!
I'm not posting a recipe, because I refuse to be an accomplice to poor eating habits. So ha. But let's just say it is a heavenly mixture of butter, peanut butter, chocolate, and powdered sugar that decided to gang up and attack a box of Rice Chex. Most of it made it to the potluck. Some may be still sitting in a tupperware container at home.

I'm making the puppy chow the stopping point until Christmas. I'm participating in HBBC from RuntotheFinish for extra motivation, but I also know from experience that I just feel better whenever I eat better. Pure and simple fact. So, thanks to some advice and recipes from Amanda and a few other random sources, I'm also hoping to start experimenting with green smoothies and incorporating those into my diet on a regular basis. I will keep you guys updated on that, and how the smoothies turn out.

So, moral of the story: Never forget to enjoy the little things in life, but always remember everything is best in moderation.

Treats always taste better when you know it's a rare and special occasion, and shoes (or other indulgence) are always more highly valued when they are a treat versus an obsession.

That's all for my pearls of wisdom today. Enjoy the rest of your week!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy thanksgiving from the ninjas!!

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to be exact!

Well... TMNT in camo.... And wearing a Disney Princess shirt.... Don't judge... *cough*

Those are my beloved godchildren, whom I got to see this past weekend for the first time in a long time. I swear, hugging them made my world feel complete. Yet another reminder that some of the best things in life are free.

So, the holidays for me are always interesting... I am very close to my family, so there are a lot of gatherings. Have you ever seen Four Christmases with Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon? Then you know how my holidays go. BUT, with that being said, I wouldn't have it any other way.

I went shopping at Barnes and Noble for a calendar for next year, just like I do every year... (I know, exciting, right? I'm such a hellion...) and found the perfect page-a-day calendar:


If you have not seen lolcats or I Can Has Cheezburger, then you have been missing out. If you don't find at least one of them funny, then we obviously won't get along. Just sayin. So now I'm pretty much positive that this next year, I will be chucking the inspirational calendar at work and going for this one. Very professional, I know. The boss will love it.

Two of my favorites:

It doesn't matter what kind of day I've had, this always makes me laugh.
Can't you just picture what that cat is about to do in 3 seconds? haha

I feel this way sometimes when I run in the morning... Minus the tail... Wait, what?

I have now joined Twitter! I know, I'm stepping up in the world. Facebook, a blog, Twitter, what's coming over me? Maybe I need attention... Good ol "Daddy Didn't Love Me Enough" syndrome, who knows. But feel free to follow! ESanders8793

Although I practice being thankful literally every day that I wake up, this time of year is special regardless. Everyone should pause for at least a moment to savor every blessing we have bestowed upon us. Family, friends, a wonderful caring boyfriend, an awesome job, a car that I don't have to worry about breaking down, the ability to enjoy running and other physical activities, and a God who made it all possible for me. Whether today, tomorrow, over the weekend, whenever... Think about (or maybe even write down) all the things you're thankful for. Or better yet, if there is someone in your life that has seriously impacted you in some way, take a moment out of your day and let them know how thankful you are to have them. It can truly make all the difference to someone.

Enjoy the holiday, enjoy the company and the food, be safe, and take in everything around you for all it's worth. Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 21, 2011

If you read any of my posts, read this...

Everyone runs for different reasons, and one of my main reasons is for one of my best friends, Jessica. She is one of the strongest, most fun (funnest??), most inspirational people I know, and in April 2011 she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She is in her second round of fighting due to many leftover active cancer cells after the first fight, and she has decided to fight the fight this time around with diet and exercise instead of chemicals and harsh radiation. A hard decision, I know, but she has been amazingly strong. I admire and respect her in so many ways. Remember my first 5K back in March that I have talked about? Well, she was the one I ran it with, and we were in training for a half marathon together. So here I am today, still running for her. I will still be running the half marathon, but what I'm more excited about, is that through all of this, she still plans to walk in the 10K in March! Now that is an overcomer right there!

I think about her every time I run, and it reminds me why I'm doing this- for the love of running, yes, but also to prove to myself I am an overcomer. That each day, each little decision I make, impacts my choice to live a better life, to be a fighter and an overcomer.

What I want you to get out of this:
  • Remember that each little decision- getting up an hour earlier in the mornings for exercise or maybe just "you" time, going for a walk with a loved one versus making sure to catch your favorite show on cable, consciously making an effort to choose better foods such as fruits and vegetables- each decision impacts your future. Your habits determine your end results. What kind of results do you want?
  • While each decision is crucial to your health, please please please do not forget to savor each moment for what it's worth. Take advantage of every random opportunity, grab hold of new adventures that take you outside of your comfort zone, hand out an extra smile today, go volunteer, anything! With all the daily stressors we have thrown at us, we often forget to be thankful for the little things that we do have. Stop, take a deep breath, and once a day think of at least one small thing you're thankful for. Once I was able to run again, I was just simply thankful for the fact that I could run. Having an injury can be humbling. Also, you think you're life is rough? I guarantee you there is someone out there (possibly many people) who would trade with you in an instant. Just keep that in mind.
  • Read the note that Jessica posted on facebook below. It's long, but it explains her journey, and I think it is a worthwhile read. It reminds us to be thankful, to cherish what we have, and it invokes a feeling inside that most of us know, that overwhelming desire to fight and overcome against even the most hopeless odds.
It’s hard to believe it’s been almost 7 months since I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Initially I was in complete shock and in an attempt to keep my sanity & just “get through this” I went into “trust the doctor” mode & was the best patient possible. I took my medicine, went through 4 months of hell with a good attitude & smile on my face, doing whatever my doctor asked of me – trusting her medical degree & experience more than myself - I was in a chemo fog those months. It was all I could do to go through treatments, work my full-time job and keep my head straight. Throughout this whole time I’ve been collecting books, articles, links, etc… to alternative treatments / healing the “natural way” - but with a foggy head I wasn’t about to make any changes.
As you know from my previous fb notes / updates, the chemo was successful in significantly shrinking the tumor & cancer in the lymph nodes enough to be able to have surgery & have all visible cancer removed. As far as technology in 2011 can tell – I am cancer free. However, 4 out of 5 lymph nodes that were removed tested positive for active cancer cells. This was my “wake up call”. You’d think it would’ve occurred at the diagnosis, but like I said, I was in shock & overwhelmed by it all – it happened so quickly, I didn’t really have time to process anything fully & had to make a decision quickly & made the best one I could at the time.

Between my last round of chemo on August 18th & getting the results from my surgery I had time to clear my head and had time to process what was happening in my body. At the recommendation of my doctors I had begun a new round of chemo on October 11th but the only way I knew it was doing anything in my body was that my blood counts tanked – in particular my white blood cells & platelets. They were so low I only received 2 treatments and couldn’t receive more because my counts were so low.

In the meantime, while waiting for my immune system to strengthen I began researching, watching documentaries, reading medical articles / research /case studies and emailing with doctors who have successfully walked this road without chemo & radiation. I hadn’t been ready to even look at this option before but this was the time. My “ah-ha” moment was a Sunday a few weeks ago, I had spent the entire weekend devouring all these studies & reports – I turned everything off and got up and started talking to God – telling Him what was stirring up in me to do & that I needed wisdom, clarity and to know what to do with this stirring. I began praying in the spirit so fervently – I knew it was coming from deep within & when it lifted I knew what I had to do. I had a peace & confidence that was unshakeable.

I went in the next week to my oncologist & my blood counts were back up enough to get chemo but I refused chemo & told my oncologist I will be refusing all further chemo treatments & radiation. She was not happy about the refusal of radiation. I agreed to meet with the radiologist for a consult and told her I’d give her my final decision this week. I met with the radiologist & we talked for almost an hour – he answered my questions & I told him I’d tell Dr. Gentry my final decision. I called Dr. Gentry the following day & told her nurse my final decision, to refuse further chemo & radiation and to treat with nutrition & exercise instead. She said that she will still be my oncologist for life & wants to keep an open door policy with me – if I ever need to come in, I can just come even if in between set appts. I had blood work done on Wednesday of this week & my counts are back in the normal / healthy range – Praise God!
I’ve already had 3 of the strongest / best drugs they have to offer in fighting breast cancer & I’ve had all visible signs of cancer removed from my body. As far as I am concerned, I am cancer free. I will still have blood work done & will see my oncologist next month & then every 3 months for the first year and follow ups for the rest of my life just to confirm all is well. I am not making this decision lightly; I’ve done my homework & have a peace about my decision.

I am choosing to fight recurrence / any remaining cancer cells in my body with nutrition & exercise. I’ve drastically changed my lifestyle to vegan, low-fat, low glycemic, consuming at least 80% raw foods that are ALKALINE. I know cancer thrives in an acidic, anaerobic environment, so I am doing all that I can to make my body a hostile environment for cancer & any other types of disease, infections, etc… And, treating “possible” cancer recurrence with toxic treatments that further damage my body & compromise my immune system doesn’t make sense to me. God designed our bodies to heal themselves and how can it do that if it is compromised? And, I know that if you have cancer in your body, by the time you find it – it’s been there for years & has gone all over your body. So, the best thing to do is to build up your immune system so that it can defend against any further cancer & other diseases that you could become susceptible to.

When I discovered the lump in my breast it was right before I made drastic changes to my diet but before that I had lived years eating sugars, fats, unhealthy food & lots of high stress. I was not a healthy person at all – even though I always wanted to be that, I wasn’t. By the time I made the change, it was because I was home praying and felt really convicted about how I cared for my body. I thought it was so I could get pregnant but looking back I can see the warnings /promptings to make lifestyle changes that I ignored. I believe that God was trying to warn me to make changes because this was a potential but I didn’t see that. When I made those drastic changes to my lifestyle I noticed the lump in my breast would actually get smaller & the lump under my arm would seem to disappear. I had just assumed it was hormonal or a cyst & didn’t think much of it at the time. When I lost my babies, I figured I had missed it when I felt God telling me to make those changes –because all I could see is being pregnant. After the 2nd miscarriage I got really depressed & dove into all my old bad habits & worse ones. I ate sugar like it was going out of style, stopped exercising & gained 50 lbs in a short time. The lumps grew, and became painful to the point that I sought out a doctor & the rest is history.
Since I have been so vocal throughout my journey since diagnosis – I felt it only right to be vocal about this decision.

It would of course be easier to just sit back and tell the doctor to do whatever they want to do to me but, just thinking about that makes me nauseous because I’d be going against what I know I’m supposed to do. This lifestyle change is not easy, especially since food is such a huge part of our society & culture. I have the best husband ever! Patrick has agreed to keep our house stocked with only good foods & when we eat together, we eat the same, so I’m not the “weird” one eating alone or feeling like an outcast. When God created me, He gave me this incredible stubborn /strong-will personality that serves me well in situations like this – it makes me tough as nails when I need to be. I can’t violate the peace & confidence I have on the inside. That may not makes sense to some and that’s okay. I’m not asking you to feel comfortable with it or understand it – just respect that this is my decision to make & this is what I believe it best for me.

Unfortunately insurance does not cover alternative therapies like treating / preventing cancer with nutrition (you’d think they’d take advantage of the savings). I have decided to choose Dr. John McDougall as my doctor and the only way to become his patient is to go through his 10 day Program in Santa Rosa, California. He has done extensive research on Breast Cancer & Nutrition. I’ve corresponded via email with both him directly and one of his patients, Dr. Ruth Heidrich. Dr. Ruth was diagnosed with breast cancer that was in advance stages & had metastasized to her lungs & bones; she had a mastectomy with 17 lymph nodes removed on one side and when they told her she would have to undergo chemo & radiation she went to Dr. John McDougall who was conducting Clinical Trials for Breast Cancer & Nutrition. Dr. McDougall told her she would have to refuse chemo & radiation and treat solely with nutrition. She did exactly what he said and now over 25 years later she is in her mid 70’s and completely cancer free, her arthritis reversed, her bone structure is that of a 30 year old and she has since completed several Ironman Triathlons, as well as hundreds of marathons and races. She has been such an encouragement to me – she responded to my emails personally within hours of receiving them. To view Dr. Ruth Heidrich’s story, click here:
The 10 day Program with Dr. McDougall costs $4760 (that includes lodging, all food, 3 private appointments with Dr. McDougall, 2 sets of labs, cooking classes, a private session with a personal trainer and more. My airfare should cost approximately $500 +/- so I’m estimating, including incidentals, that I’ll need about $5500 total.
The earliest dates available are January 28th -February 5th, 2012, which is my preference. But if I have to have longer to raise funds, I can go on March 16th to 25th, 2012. I have to put $500 down to hold my reservation and then pay the balance in full upon arrival.

Why do you run?

What feelings did this bring up for you? Any input?

Friday, November 11, 2011

Nothing like a little cardiac in the morning!

So... Your Friday Funny for today... Hey, maybe we'll make this a regular thing! But I digress...

So, my muscle man and I were hanging out at my apartment. He was laying on the floor transferring songs from my laptop to his MP3 player for his workouts because I have better music than he does because he needed to freshen up his playlist. I was doing God knows what, all I remember is I was on the couch. We got into a discussion about what music we like to listen to while we exercise. I told him that for weights, I usually like rock of some sort, something fast with a good guitar line usually. And as he brings on a fast-paced hip hop song, I say "Yeah, I listen to that kind of music while I do cardiac." And then went back to whatever I was doing. He stops, looks at me, and says, "What was that honey?" I look at him bewildered... "What?? Why are you looking at me like that?" And I'm sitting there thinking he's crazy or deaf or something. When he sees I'm obviously not getting it, he fills me in oh-so-flippantly... "So you go into cardiac when you run? I think you're running too hard." I sit clueless on the couch for about 5 more seconds while he revels in his cleverness, and finally my light bulb comes on. Yes, apparently I cardiac every morning. Most people go with coffee to get up and go in the mornings... I say nothing beats a couple of paddles and an electric shock to the heart apparently. Yes, muscle man enjoyed this so much he updated his facebook status with it. I realllllly appreciated that one.

Ok, I lied... I enjoy my coffee as much as the next person...
Mmmmm..... Pumpkin Spice....

Moving on...

I have decided (or I'm 95% sure I've decided) to run a half marathon on March 4th. I did not plan to do a half marathon so soon after being injured, especially considering it will be my first distance longer than a 5K, but the "Fors" seem to outweigh the "Againsts".

  • I have a close friend running it, which makes it easier
  • I do EVERYTHING better under pressure
  • When I didn't have a race coming up, I felt like I had less direction, and therefore less motivation to push myself. I love to run, but my competitive nature comes out just like with any other sport, even if it's only against myself and my own PR's
  • I still have 16 weeks to train, and my long run tomorrow is 4 miles... That's about right, right?!?
  • I will admit it: I am a runner that loves bling. I am not ashamed. And for those of you that don't know, Runner's World has proclaimed that not only is the Little Rock Marathon a Boston Qualifier (obviously I'm not worried about that... pfft) BUT it is famed for having the largest medal of any marathon event in the world. And this year is the 10th anniversary, so how big do you think that sucker is gonna be?!? I'm not missing out on that, even if I have to be carried crawl walk across the finish line.
  • I am coming back from an injury that took me out for 8 weeks, and muscle man as well as my mother (yes, I'm 24 so my mother's opinion still counts for something) think I should hold off
  • I am very hard on myself in all aspects, so certain people I'm close to are afraid that even if I say I'm not keeping a time goal, in my head I will be and I will beat myself up mentally if I don't make that, even though it is my first half marathon.
  • I'm not exactly taking the *slow* approach when it comes to running my first half. Most people said to give it a year or two to work up to it, but I don't think it would be me if I didn't start out with a bang (Metaphorically speaking God, please no banged up knee or any other kind of bang... Wait.... What??? Enough stream of consciousness........) My uncle John Morelock is an ultra runner, still running at 70, and his motto and his goodbye when speaking to anyone is "Run gently out there" as in take it easy, enjoy it for what it is, and take your time. He has tried to express this to me numerous times through our running talks.

So, I pose a few questions...

Have you ever had a slip of the tongue that people have caught onto and poked fun at you for?

What do you think about the half marathon decision? Any insight about it?

Thanks everyone, and remember to enjoy the weather, enjoy the fact that we're able to run, and enjoy the weekend! Adios for now!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Gluten-Free Attempt... And Gearing Up for Winter Running!


I am on day 2 of my gluten-free diet (for those that didn't know, I possibly have celiac... Woohoo! Not...), and things have gone pretty well. Below is a picture of my typical breakfast- Rudi's gluten-free bread with almond butter, and fruit. It just so happened that someone in the office brought in an Edible Arrangement, so that explains the lovely array of fruit. Today was a comice pear instead of that nice, colorful collection.

So anyway... Did great until a pumpkin roll magically appeared in my refrigerator (which I may or may not have bought in the bakery at Kroger... *cough*), and I ate some of it. I pretended like the nutrition label didn't exist long enough to indulge in this lovely little ball of fall festiveness. I swear I'll be better today... It helps that the pumpkin roll is gone. Heh.


And NO, I did not eat it all on my own! Muscle man may have had a bite or two... :-)

Moving forward...

I've started buying my much-needed supply of winter running clothes! Just bought a new long sleeve performance shirt from Run Pretty Far. If you haven't seen her line, I would suggest checking it out. I did after reading about it from RunToTheFinish, and I loved her collections! Performance tees, good price, good quality, and super cute designs. Ladies, I would suggest checking them out! Ok, men, you can to, but if you wear one of those cute little designs, by God I want a picture. Stat.

My awesome new shirt! I'm really looking forward to having this for my morning runs.

I also have put a running jacket on hold at my local running store. If you live near Little Rock or ever visit, 1) make sure to look me up for a run! and 2) you have to check out this store. They just started carrying Moving Comfort, and I fell in love with this jacket:

Now the only thing I'm missing is a good headband to cover my poor ears in the cold. Yes, I love running in the cold. But yes, I am also a giant pansy when it comes to the cold. You would be too if you started turning into an icicle at 45 degrees. Just sayin.

So that is my slightlybriefslightlyboring update. Enjoy the weather!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Fun Friday!

My uncle is an ultramarathoner, and I have a lot of respect for him. He lives in Washington so most of our communication is via email, and he sent me this lovely snippet once when we were talking about racing (and training hard) versus running slow and smart. Enjoy and have a great weekend!

Running or Racing—a comparative analysis

stop to look at the trees as they pass by.
ricochet off trees as they zoom across the landscape.
worry about their flashlight batteries lasting.
get to the finish line before dark.
enjoy the aid stations
sometimes pass through before the aid stations are set up.
take naps in tents at aid stations.
take naps as they wait at the finish line.
watch flowers opening in the morning sun.
pass through in the predawn darkness.
worry about cut-off times.
worry about course or age-group records.
write next-of-kin information on their wrist bands
write split times on their wrist bands
wonder if there will be any beer at the aid stations.
wonder what kind of electrolyte replacement drinks will be at the aid stations
get a hamburger as they pass through towns
slap down one more bit of tofu enriched yoghurt, whey, and scampi granola
talk to local farmers as they pass by
scare chickens, cows, and small children
are relieved to hear someone approaching from behind
feel the pressure of someone approaching from behind
seldom get lost as they follow those hundreds of sets of footprints
worry about course markings (color, context, intent, malcontent, bent…)
admire the view as they amble on across the landscape
are vaguely aware of something off to the right—or was it left?
know the names of the “sweep” at 17 different events in 8 counties and 3 states.
drop if more than 17 minutes behind predicted time for the day.
say “Thank you.  Yes, I do believe I’ll have another brownie” just before being pushed out of the aid station.
smile and say “Thank you” over her shoulder as she heads for home.
have been seen grabbing trees, cactus, and other runners to keep from careening off the course on a switchback.
make it look so easy, seldom stirring up dust or even disturbing the llamas.
have out-of-body experiences as the day goes by and the finish line recedes in the afternoon sun.
have been heard to wonder admiringly about how the rest of us cope with being out there so long.
sometimes curse day of race registration.
follow a plan conceived months ago.
have long involved conversations with others as they pass or get passed.
surface long enough for a smile and an often monosyllabic response.
have teddy bears, dragons, and other karma caretakers of the foray jangling from their fannypacks, Camel Baks,…
have a hand-bottle.
have been seen in cotton t-shirts.
have all that super-neato logo stuff.
slay inner dragons on good days.
slay inner dragons on good days.
compete in their time, in their style, on their terms…
compete in their time, in their style, on their terms…