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!