Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Running and Gratitude

I recently had the opportunity to return to my alma mater, Loyola University Maryland to work a temporary position for several weeks.  I entered this endeavor with great trepidation.  I graduated in 2012 with a degree in elementary education however due to life situations, I was unable to procure a teaching certification.  Other unpleasant memories associated with my undergraduate degree lead me towards these feelings.

Once back however I remembered what my alma mater believes  which is "Cura personalis", Latin for "care of the entire person".  I was reminded that my education from Loyola cultivated me into the whole person -mind, body, and spirit and the commitment to this is a life of integrity, honesty, discernment, reflection and dedication to the great good along with intellectual study, social justice and service.  Returning back there granted me a final healing that I needed along with a new perspective as I start a new chapter in my life with a new career and job.

Now, you may ask what does this have to do with running and gratitude.  Running provides me the same thing.  Running makes me take care of my self entirely.  The right amount of sleep, training and nutrition help keep me "whole" and healthy.  Running allows me to spend time to reflect and rejuvenate myself.
How many times do you run when you feel like you don't want to run or haven't any energy left to give anyone or yourself?  How do you feel when you run on days like that?  I know myself that I feel refreshed, whole and ready to conquer the world.  How do you feel when you run "naked" without the GPS watch, music, phone or anything else-just run?  I've recently started running once a week without these items and feel alive.  I notice the beauty in the world as I run past from the smallest details-the flowers blooming, the trees budding, the birds singing, how fresh and new everything appears along with the breath of air as it hits my lungs reminding them how much they like the taste of air and living!  There is nothing more beautiful than the way the ocean refuses to stop kissing the shoreline no matter how many times it is sent away. When you create a space in running where you feel broken down, it is impressive that you have the strength and trans formative power of putting one foot in front of the other and build yourself back up.  These are the moments you notice when you run "naked".

Running has transformed me into a whole person.  Running has allowed me to grow, spread my wings and soar along with giving me the opportunities to allow my alma mater's beliefs enter more deeply into my life.  These are traits not simply inherent but are learned and must be practiced.  Much like training for a race.   Running has brought friends, adventures, community and happiness into my life.  Running has allowed me to give back in ways that I could only imagine from finding inspiration in social media, to writing my blog and recently being able to give a donation to Girls on the Run.  Last summer, when I was diagnosed with uterine cancer the running community embraced me with love and support.  Running has allowed me to sprint after my wildest dreams-to be valued, acknowledged, and loved.  Running gave me the ability to be awake.
Gratitude has been defined has an awakening of the heart.  When we experience gratitude, we unlock the fullness of life.  It turns what we have into enough, and more.  It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion to clarity.  It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.  Gratitude can make sense of our past, bring us peace for today and help us create a vision for the future.

Every day that I can run, it transforms me into this and much more.  What does running do for you? Does it make you a whole person?  How does it transform you?  How does running transform into gratitude for you?  Because of all of this, I am and will be always eternally grateful and happy!

Thursday, April 7, 2016

National Walking Day

Yesterday was National Walking Day.

 The American Heart Association sponsors this day to promote being heart healthy.  The AHA is concerned because as Americans we are spending less time being active therefore we increase our risk for heart disease, stroke and other health problems.

National Walking Day is held the first Wednesday in April every year and it is the kick-off of April being a month long celebration to be more active.  One of my local running stores, Charm City Run is hosting an event for NWD.  I decided to join and walk today.  Why should you walk?  Walking is easy and low-risk.  I strive to walk 10,000 steps each day.

A regular program (walking) can also:

  • Improve your cholestrol profile
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Increase your energy and stamina
  • Boost "couch potato" bone strength
  • Help prevent weight gain

The American Heart Association recommends that adults get 150 minutes or more of moderate-intensity physical activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity each week.  Even short activity sessions can be added up to achieve this goal. Here are some articles:
I arrived at Charm City Run only to find out that I was the only one attending the walk.  However, they had a half marathon training group practice that evening and I was invited to stay for the discussions and the run.  The first lecture was on nutrition and the guest speaker was Lauren from Live Full Baltimore.  She was fantastic.  The run followed around Lake Elkhorn however I walked about half the distance (2 miles).  My Garmin Vivoactive watch shut down about mid-point through this and I wondered if it would record everything.  To my amazement this morning after charging the watch, it did!  Following the walk (run), there was a discussion on various watches.  Afterwards the group went for pizza and drinks and I was invited; lively and fun group with wonderful discussions.  I even saw one of my friends from MRTT (Moms Run This Town). Overall, I had a great time even though it wasn't what I thought it would be and how much fun that life gave me this great opportunity.

Till next time and remember, my journey continues...If you can dream it, you can do it as Walt Disney said!

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Cherry Blossom 10 Mile Race Recap

On Sunday, I ran my second Credit Union Cherry Blossom 10 Mile Run.  I love this race as it is one of the most beautiful, scenic races in Washington, DC.

Saturday, I went to the Expo for packet pick-up and had the opportunity to hear Meb speak and then get his autograph.  I had met  Meb in the past at my first race Expo in Las Vegas for Team Challenge and the Rock-N-Roll half marathon.  So, I grabbed my scrapbook and his latest book, Meb for Mortals and headed to DC.  Parking is always a problem but I lucked out and grabbed a spot on the street right next to the National Building Museum.
 This is one of the most beautiful buildings inside and outside while packet pick-up is well-organized.  The expo is one of the smallest but accommodates a runner's needs.   I got my packet and headed to hear Meb.

 His lecture was amazing; just like him!  He spoke about running, training, winning the Boston marathon the year after the bombing and his love of God and His goodness.  He answered several questions and got right to the autograph signing.  He is gracious, warming and genuine!  I showed him my scrapbook and he remembered me and that expo is Vegas!  He signed it along with his book and smiled for several pictures along with well race wishes.  He hoped to run CB with a six minute mile!

I also took pictures of the race map and runner's area even though I have done this race in the past.

The weather forecasts for Sunday weren't great and I had to keep checking due to the changing conditions.  Cold, high winds and rain were initially forecasted.  The forecast changed to cold and high winds only with gusts up to 60 mph.  Here are articles outlining the conditions Local weather and  wind article .  The race organizers were great with the communication indicating that the race was still on however mile makers, the start/finish overhead markings along with various tents and the kids race was too dangerous due to the winds.  I put together my flat me with various adjustments due to the cold windy weather  along with my running prayer and headed for bed.

I was up at 4 am and on the road by 5:15 am to avoid traffic and park in DC.  I also arranged a Sparkle Skirt picture meet-up so I wanted to be there early since I knew the signs wouldn't be out at our arranged picture opportunity.  Thank you to the girls for showing up for the picture.

Then it was off to MRTT (Moms Run This Town) multi-chapter picture but somehow I missed the big group picture.

Trying to get warm was the hardest part.  I had on four layers and the wind was still blowing so hard that I couldn't get warm.  You can see by how my jacket was wind-blown in this picture.

I found my corral; lined up with everyone, national anthem and we were off about 15 minutes after the first corral started.  The first two miles weren't bad (just a bit cold) but after coming off the Memorial Bridge around mile three, I started to get warm.  I took off one jacket and tied it around my waist.  At this point, the 5k had started and I saw some of the fast runners around mile four for me.  All that I could think of was that I needed to be faster because CB has a strict time limit of 2 hours and 20 minutes.  Panic set in as I saw those runners and thought I still have six miles to go and can I make these time limit.  However around mile six (the second jacket had come off so now I had two jackets around my waist), I realized that I would not only make the time cut-off but be okay with my time.  I slowed down and enjoyed the race more at this point as I was coming into Haynes Point which is quite beautiful. I also managed to grab a great picture with the Washington Monument and Tidal Basil.
 It was extremely cold as there was nothing blocking the wind from the river front but I didn't want to put a jacket back on due to time.  At mile nine, I realized that I had only one more mile and several volunteers at the water stop recognized me, hugged me and congratulations me for running the race. A huge THANK YOU to the volunteers that day either at the water stops, mile markers who were shouting out the miles, medical and police.  You chose to support us in this cold, windy race and we couldn't have done it without you!!

As I started off Haynes Point towards the finish line, I always forget that there is a small incline around mile 9.5.  I struggled through the wind front and crossed the finish line with the time that I had last year.  A bit disappointed but overall happy given the weather conditions!  Quick pictures but no medal (I actually borrowed someones) because I forgot to order one early.

However, one is now ordered and on it's way to me!  Homeward bound and another thank you to my friend, Chris who ran the 5K and cheered me on through the cold wind!

I love this race and can only hope that I will be able to run it again next year for my third year in a row.  Did you run Cherry Blossom this year?  How did you do considering the weather conditions? Would you run it again if you were chosen in the lottery?

Till next time and remember, my journey continues...If you can dream it, you can do it as Walt Disney said! 

Additional Discount Codes from a Fellow Blogger

I have the wonderful opportunity to share discount codes from a fantastic fellow blogger.  Colleen,

 from Live Free and Run is sharing her codes with me.  Please feel free to visit this link Discount Codes for more discounts.

Also, check her out on social media at InstagramTwitter and Facebook.

Till next time and remember, my journey continues...If you can dream it, you can do it as Walt Disney said!

Monday, April 4, 2016

Race Discounts and Companies that I love!

Here are some companies that I love and am proud to be affiliated  with as an ambassador or guest blogger!


Use GEDS16AMB028 for $5.00 off registration

Use this for a 15% off discount 

Use AMBKALLAS16 for $5.00 registration

Use AMBKALLAS16 for $5.00 off registration

Use "Kallas" for a discount

#RIOTS Week Six and Seven

It's weeks six and seven for the #RIOTS.  I got a week behind as I had a lot of personal things going on these last two weeks. I ha...