Saturday, August 30, 2014

Doing the work

If you want something bad enough you have top put in the work to get it. Today i did just that by walking to the grocery store and getting my run in too.
I was lucky this morning the sky was overcast making my 7am trek a little easier. Alone becuase 6am is to early and dark for me to join members of one of the clubs i belong to for a run. Actually it's funny that two of the groups i joined were running in the same place at the same time while i was home getting dressed.
Mornings are my meditation and then writing time. I try not to let anyone or anything disrupt me as my soul enters the day. It is the only part of day that I am relaxed and at peace. So i felt a little sadness that unless they change schedules i will not be running with them before the sun rises.
After the sun came up i was ready though. I thought over the idea of going for a brisk walk and then returning home and showering before going back out to walk to the store. It didn't make sense, so i threw on a backpack for the groceries  and made my way to the market.
One of the two groups that was doing a early workout was wearing pink to honor a member of the team. So I dressed in a pink and black running outfit also to show support for the sister runner lost to domestic voilence.
I felt really good as i made my way through the neighborhood. Half way into the first mile i hit the gas and ran a bit. Ive lost a step, the pre heatwave me could really move but i kept rolling.
Suddenly i heard a strange noise and i knew it wasn't the ducks by the "lake". Proceeding slowly i continued looking at houses as i passed by street entrances. The sounds were becoming more distinct. Screams, horrible crys for help it sounded like. I couldnt figure it out, where were they coming from. I really didn't want to run up on some crime scene. The closer i got to the park i realized it was a track and field event. Middle schoolers cheering on their teams in a cross country race. Through the woods it sounded like howling a bit. With that mystery solved my walk continued watching kids move through the course encouraged me. There was a straggler wearing a knee brace,one lone black kid and some fast runners who had finnished and ran back on the course to cheer on their respective teammates.
My mind traveled to the place that held memories of when i was their age. I wasnt into running cross country, softball and lacrosse were my thing. My schools fall sports were badmitten and field hockey.< I wasn't trying out for those lame teams. Still i looked at the young girls running and said to myself your future is yours to write. In comparison i thought of myself, where am i going from here. I heard the starter pistol go off just as i was exiting that part of the park. I had never dreamed i would one day be old, fat and struggling to make a three mile journey to the store on foot back then.
My feet took off jogging again
I spotted a police car hiding in the bushes. Guess that was park security for the people at the track event. I paid him no attention as i raced to the break in the yellow strip in the middle of the access road. Throwing up my hands in the finnish line stance i was feeling joyed.
Even though I rolled through the park and yet again was passed by senior citizens i was happy. The two older ladies who did lap me looked at me and said as they passed me, its okay we have more experience than you. We all laughed nut it did trouble me i need to work on strength training, it will help my endurance. I know i got myself up and out and God is good for letting me do it. As i exited the park it was just me and the rabbits. One hopped off the other stood her ground. I was left wondering if she had babies and was she protecting them.Whatever the reason was she didn't move and i decided to take advantage of the opportunity and snap a picture. It came out better than my selfie at least.

I assumed this is a mother rabbit and i wondered about the fallen sister. Was she a mother and how will her mother cope with the loss. I dedicate this walk to all those who have suffered though domestic violence. Many lives have been lost and ruined and not enough is being done to protect those affected. All i can do is pray that laws change.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Personal Best

Not long ago i started telling people i have a twelve minute mile. True i had a fabulous day in my new found "running" addiction but seems that was a PR. In Marathon circles it stands for personal record. Apparently i confused a good day with my average time. I have not been able to post a twelve since.
I think i might be closer to fifteen. One of the problems is my track is actually a 1.4 mile loop. I just round down the .4 and say its a mile. Maybe i should buy a watch with all the bells and whistles but i dont really care for gadgets i have to study just to learn how to set and store information. Hobbies are supposed to be fun not torture. The sport is already costing me a fortune,guess an old fashion stop watch will do for now. It would eliminate me being bummed out over time but won't solve the greater problem of distance.
With one week left in this month Im going to have to get real serious about keep track of my pace though. Contrary to what people think running a 5k is competitive. Since most don't offer medals  everyone's out to place in their age group if not flat out win. Slow or not, I would rather not have the old fogies in my age group beating me, lol.
So as i make the transition into frequent race runner, PR's will remain goals to surpass not set in stone times. If all else fails I'll just look around and if the person next to me looks even close to my age this sister is speeding up!

Thursday, August 21, 2014


I made up my mind i had to give up something that i love. It came down to this

I would have given up tastykakes but i did that for lent. It was torture, i don't think the lord wanted me to begrudge the sacrifice. After lent i ran right to a box of coconut juniors. Nope i cant give up a childhood comfort. Even if they don't taste as good as they used to and they dont send all the yummy flavors to Florida. The decision was easy, needed reward wins over sugary snack. Goodbye Reese's I'm not a big chocolate fan anyway and won't miss you for the next year. Well maybe a little but i have miles to run and my body will thank me.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Stepping Out

Who ever said life was easy like Sunday morning didnt have to walk in the heat that August brings to the south.
Thankfully i found some shade by trekking through a neighborhood route with plenty of trees. I also ran between sunny spots to the shade. lol, just trying to do whatever it takes to get that training in.
This week I will be working on time more so than distance. There are a few races that are not into giving bling and I'd like to at least try and get an award. My attitide about most races is to heck with other runners when we all get a medal. However if the only thing i receive for participation is a t shirt I am willing to speed it up to get a prize. Okay that's a fantasy, the tortoise could beat me in a race. Still i have to admit that at least the desire to compete is there.
Also is it wrong to say I'm bored with challenging myself. A new target to focus on would be great for me. This week i think I'll invite folks from local run groups to join me.

Friday, August 15, 2014

More than a walk

I'm not a paid spokeswoman for the girltrek movement but I am a believer in community activism. In that spirit i would like to thank the  organizations founders Morgan and Vanessa for the work and mission they have embarked on with their trekker initiatives.
You see I'm not just out on the street walking and running to work off stess but also to meet people and form ties to the community. We now live in a time when society has locked itself behind the doors of their homes and work. So when an email turned up in my box on a Thursday i knew it wasn't the usaul Friday fire message that would encourage me to make the most out of the weekend. Nope these women pulled out the big torch. Right at the top of the page was a paragraph that summed it all up.

"We walk to heal our bodies,inspire our families and to take back the streets of our neighborhoods."

Hello, it is in itself a powerful statement.We are a community that has had to reinvent ourselves more than once in the struggle to survive in America. There are individuals all across this country who are quietly going about doing just that. They are taking on the task of making their corner of the world better not by forgetting the past but incorporating traditions into modern society. There are also those who are finding  ways to connect all those dots in a manner that benefits everyone.
African American women have long been sick and tired of being sick and tired of this stuggle because that's exactly whats breaking our bodies down. We are the last line of defense for our communities.We are the cooks who must take on the issue of proper nutrition in the home. We are the educators who must teach our children not to turn their frustration inwards on themselves,family,or towns but rather to express frustration by freely and civilly talking about what troubles them. We seek not to limit what they can do or who they love in this world based on our own fears, failures and experiences. Instead we share our triumphs which are a compilation of all those things wrapped in the support and knowledge of our life lessons.
We do this because in most cases we are the bread winners and the only cornerstones of the families. So it's important we maintain our health.
Oue wellness is the one thing that is both a mental and physical issue. The key to maintaining it is by understanding the connection to a balanced lifestyle starts with letting go of the bad habits.  Seeking out fast food and sitting around interacting with electronics devices living the couch potato  lifestyle is killing young hearts.
So we gather ourselves together as mothers, sisters, wives and daughters to strengthen bonds on the way to better health and community activism.
I am proud to be a piece in this mosiac we call a community. No this is not some monolithic gathering of radical women. We are just trying to reclaim the peace and harmony we deserve.
So when folks outside of the community make judgements about who we are, we say not so fast. We are all Gods children and we shall not be removed from being considered a part of humanity.We will continue to lift our voices and give praise for allowing us to make those walks.
In fact on runs through the neighborhood  i pray for my safety and that of my improving health. Im thankful to greet people from all backgrounds and age groups.Well to be honest i see very few from the twenty and under crowd. Yet as I'm moving i always think one spirit at a time. No matter what the naysayers of the world think I am all about sharing joy. If i inspire one person regardless of who they are to just get up and move I'd be happy.
Its magical to meet new individuals and discover new places in the city everytime i go out on these strolls.
Ask me how this is activism and id say,I walk because it is my way of supporting the community. If i haven't asked you to come walk with me its because i haven't met you yet.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

#Positive Signs

Yesterday i was reading through threads on the NBMA boards and came across a powerful message.
One of the members shared an inspiring story about an event that  happened to her while exercising.
Out on her usaul morning run in the city she came to a stop at an intersection. While waiting for the light to change she noticed a young  woman in her car lean over for something. When she raised up again she unfolded a sign that said YOU ARE PERFECT.
She stood shocked but then it hit her what an inspiring gesture. After all she had been worried about the few pounds she picked up in the last month. By the time she finished her workout and got home inspiration to pass it on called to her.
She made her own sign and posted a picture of herself holding it in a thread called postive signs. She then asked one question, what would your sign say.
It touched me because I'm now a caregiver who until recently let herself go.  In the mist of the pain i felt talking care of an elderly parent i became an emotional eater. I didn't realize i had stopped caring about myself until i picked up some literature at a seniors expo. It was a pamphlet that had a list of ten signs of caregiver burn out. Reading through i was horrified to learn i had eight of them. From that day until now i have kept a vow to myself to take better care of me.
In the past i would say i don't care about my plight i need to make sure my mom's alright. I became lost in that statement. I simply ceased to breathe thinking i was doing the right thing because i love and cherish my mother. What i overlooked was the fact i couldn't help mom if i wasn't taking care of my own mental and physical needs.
So this year I decided to reclaim me. I started walking and that lifted my spirts.In fact the old me started shining through my gloom. I enjoyed walking and as i looked around and saw people running  on my strolls i decided i needed to run too.
I came back to this blog and wondered why i had given up the idea to complete a triathlon. My answer was i hadn't, i just put it on the back burner. Well the pot is nolonger simmering it's at a boil.
My attitude about my health has totally changed just by taking an hour a day to move my body forward. I wanted not only to feel better but look it too. I brought new running clothes and let my oversized tshirts and jeans from the mens section go. No more fat girl dressing. I used to take pride in how i looked. It wasnt vanity just dressing nicely but once i gained over one hundred pounds that all went out the door. I only wanted to be comfortable, which is hard when every large size has elastic and is covered in giant flowers prints. I refused to wear that mess.
In January I gave up sodas and although i have not totally gone vegetarian i eat less meat. I hadn't touched beef in years but fried food proved a little harder to let go of.
As i walk/run everyday i feel powerful. I cant say i lost weight although some friends have said so. All i know is what Im doing is good for my soul. Up until recently I had not thought of encouragement from strangers as a source of inspiration. Then Sunday in the park as i played jog to a certain pointr a runner said to me "way to go, keep it up". He gave me the thumbs up as he ran by. I know he would not have said it if i wasnt over weight but i took it in a postive light. A few days later i read a thread written by a pioneering black marathoner who not only give props ti the long distance runners but those of us just starting out and working on the 5ks. You dont find many marathoners giving the 3 milers credit but we all must start somewhere. It's not easy moving two hundred plus pounds down the road but everyday i wake up and do just that. If i were to hold up my positive sign it would read.....

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Hope for Brevard

I woke up tired and trust me going out for a run/walk was the last thing i wanted to do. Not long after debating with myself about if i should just let "race day" slide and do the 5k Monday i developed a headache. That was the last straw. I got up showered and ate some fruit. Of course the negative forces weren't done with me yet, as i was walking down the hall to my living room my knee buckled. Ouch that was the good knee come on not another bad sign. Distractions be damned i made my way out the door.
It's hard to stay motivated during training but i have been kept on track by finding worthy causes to run for. Today my mission was to spread light on the need to find loving homes for the many four legged members of our community. There are so many dogs and cats that need and deserve good homes. I made sure to tell the volunteers at Brevards pawsitive hope thrift shop i was walking in their honor this wekend. While in the store i noticed one of the volunteers had a hansome foster named pretty boy with her. He is the cutie in the picture ready to go home with someone. Sadly some people have the nerve to impulse "buy" this poor animals. They end up being returned as if they were the wrong sized clothes.
So i walked and spot ran my heart out for four miles to help my fur friends. Yes i know a 5k is 3.1 but my route today was all about finding the shade. I took the long way and actually enjoyed myself. To be honest moving didn't make me feel less drained my mile split was 15 minutes three off my best time. I felt like i was going in slow motion and could do nothing to speed up. I didn't lack energy my drive just was flat.
I felt happy to be on the road at least. It takes strength to conquer your own lack if motivation. Today i just said i will not give in to anything negative, no excuses!
I made it,that knee is fine, the headache has gone away and the drag in my step has turned to a spring. I'm loving this virtual game day, its keeping me going when i try to make excuses not to. I also hope someone will see pretty boy and save him too. I have never been a cat person but he is a really cool cat. Call the shop for more information. Hope for brevard is a non profit.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

One month

I started this post early in August as a count down to a journey into the world of 5k runs. My plan was to find a good work out schedule to help this old body of mine prepare for a years worth of events. Mother nature has not been cooperating with me on this.
Since the begining of summer the heat index has been deadly and a host of daily rain storms in the afternoon have been accompanied by lighting . The only other option afforded me was to buy a treadmill or hit the pavement as the sun rises . I have choosen take on a series of morning walks.
That is the only exercise i plan to do. Challenging myself to move is a major step in my fitness plan
Some days i work or speed, other days it's time. I have to admit mostly the victory is that i just made it out to walk.
I know i need a buddy to help me improve but after joining  four different groups Im still grinding it out alone. I will say my between walk sprints are getting better though.
The other bright side is that I'm lucky to be in Florida where the fall and winter months are considered our peak marathon season. That means i have only three weeks to ready myself for the first date on the 5k calendar. Let the games begin I am so looking forward to the journey!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Good miles

Yesterday i logged seven miles and it felt great. Well maybe not that thrilling but very comforting to my soul.
The walk started out smooth no body aches at all, after about a mile i got busy and ran a bit. Actually it was the slowest run you'll ever see but i was moving quicker than a fast walker. I'm  now able to run about a fourth of every mile on a good day. In the sweltering heat of this summer that has translated to a twelve minute mile. It might sound awful slow but as an overweight person trying to push myself towards running a 5k watching my time decrease is empowering me.  Little victories help to keep me moving. Now this woman is not looking to become the fastest, i just want to see what I am capable of.
Did i mention i want to have some fun too. Already my being becomes excited when i think about my walks. Its because I've been having my own little versions of personal 5ks just for motivation. I look forward to signing up for some organized 5ks in the future as well.
So today my version of Friday fire is simply to let go of what i thought i couldn't do and embrace what I  am doing in the moment. BAM!