What’s the Password?!?

When I started this blog, almost a year ago, I realized that it would help me to have some structure to it.  I had originally thought that I would blog once a week on topics that were relevant to me such as, being a mom, being a runner, and being a coach.  My Monday blog posts were designated as “Mom Blog Monday”.  So, today as I begin my return to hopefully more regular blogging (now that XC season is over), I have to pass along an idea that I saw a Mom share on the national news to help prevent possible stranger abduction.  This Mom proactively prepped her own child with an agreed password, so that the child would know NOT to go with any stranger posing to know his/her parents.  How genius!

The Reality of Our World Today

There has been seemingly more media attention brought to light regarding stranger and child abductions as of recent.  Sadly, maybe this being a by-product of several recent deaths and abductions within the news.

It is terrifying and unsettling to realize that this media attention comes with the harsh reality and strong caution for all of us.  And yet, how can we direct this caution and ability to also be proactive with our own lives and children?

For almost seven years, my oldest daughter and I studied martial arts and self-defense.  At the time she was quite young and maybe didn’t even consciously realize the subtle lessons she was receiving.  She would often spar much larger people than her and sometimes spar several people at once.  Our instructor did a fabulous job of not only teaching her and me how to use our petite frames to defend ourselves, but also to have the mentality and confidence to be able to do so.   This message is imperative!  Our children must do everything they can; kick, bite, scratch, scream, and have the confidence to do so, in a situation if needed.

“What’s the Password?”

The mother that was sharing her daughter’s attempted abduction on the news, merited their proactive plan of having an agreed upon password.  You’ve heard the tactic of a stranger telling a child that their Mom or Dad got hurt and that they (the child) are supposed to come with them (the abductor) to go see Mom or Dad.  This specific girl was put in this exact scenario but remembered and had practiced with her Mom, that if it were a real situation, whoever it was would’ve been privy to their families password.

Once the young girl asked the stranger what the password was, the abductor was immediately turned off and fled.  This struck me as such a smart and genius plan.  Not only does it ward potential kidnappers, but it also even buys a few more seconds for the child to take a look around and possibly pinpoint where to run to for help.

What Else Can We Do?

I urge you to take the time to talk thru a plan with your own families.  Aside from martial arts and self-defense classes, there are other general safeguards that you can consider using such as;

Use a smartphone app to keep track of each family member.  On Apple iPhones, the pre-installed app is Find My Friends.  Directions linked here – https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201493

 

Another useful app that works across platforms is Life 360.  You can also set the app up so that you receive notifications when your child leaves school, or arrives home.

Additionally, on the iPhones at least, there is the ability to make emergency calls by pressing the right side button 5 times.  Again, in your settings on the phone you can also enter other emergency contacts that should be notified when an emergency call is made.  Of course, save this ONLY for emergencies.

Have talks with your children on what to do in hypothetical situations.  I’ve discovered that these talks vary from one kid to the next and with different ages.  I  never wanted to scare my kids, but I did want them to understand the importance of their safety.  Your talks might be very different if you’re talking to a small grade school child vs. a teenager.

Safety for Mom and Dad too

These apps and safeguards might be something that you have a tough time getting your teenager to buy into.  Especially, if said teenager is not liking being tracked (if you know what I mean).  But hopefully, you can convince them and help them realize that it is for them to be able to also be a lifeline of support if the tables were ever turned.

I’m a runner, and I’m aware of the risks.  I am 100% ok with giving my children the security of knowing where I’m at when I’m running.  And for convenience sake, they frequently use the app to check things like how far away I am from picking them up at school, after-school practices or a friend’s house.  That way they don’t need to distract me if I”m driving.

Today’s topic is not a light one necessarily, but one that seems so important now days.  Our school tells our kids that, “If you see something, say something!” If someone or something looks fishy or suspicious, to not just dismiss it.  Watch out for yourself and others!

Thanks to Iowa Running Company

Our local Cedar Rapids running shoe store, the Iowa Running Company, is hosting a Ladies Night this Thursday.  One of the features they’re offering to pre-registered ladies is a self-defense segment.  I love this and am grateful that they’re emphasizing runner’s safety within the community!  Thanks, Iowa Running Company!!

If any of you are registered for this, then I will see you there on Thursday as a guest speaker.  I’ll be doing a drawing for a free t-shirt give away and podcast highlight of YOUR story.  Can’t wait!!

Stay Safe!!!

 

 

Capital Striders Happenings and RMC Podcast Interviews

The leaves on the trees have begun to change and radiate fall’s beauty thru it’s vibrant hues.  It’s this time of year that many runners revel in all the glory of the crisp air and sanctuary of the outdoors.  With much anticipation of training that will culminate towards fall marathons, trail runs and the community of runners enjoying this time of year together, I am happy to announce today’s blog post titled, Capital Strider’s Happenings and RMC Podcast Interviews.

RMC Podcast Interview with Capital Striders

Capital Striders representatives, Kristin Adkins, Amber Crews, and Jason Kenyon were all kind enough to take time out of their busy schedules organizing and hosting the upcoming fall trail races, Des Moines IMT Marathon Volunteer coordination, and the 100 mile November Challenge to let me ask them a few questions during a group interview.

Capital Striders is a running club group based in Des Moines, Iowa and is currently about 550 runners strong.  They offer a well-rounded amalgamation of various types of training runs, group runs and is heavily involved in the Des Moines area running community.  Listen to their interview thru the podcast link below that describes and talks more in details about some of their specific training runs thru out each week.

Upcoming Races and Fall Motivation

Amber Crews and Jason Kenyon tell us some of the race highlights of two of the upcoming trail races that the Capital Striders Club will host.

Fast approaching at the end of October (October 27th, to be exact) is the “To Grandmother’s House We Go” trail race.  Included here is a link for registration and race details.  http://www.capitalstriders.org/to-grandmothers-house-we-go.  The race distances of 5k, 10k and 15k offered are based on the 5k loop thru Brown’s Woods.  They even encourage and give prizes for those that are brave enough to come in costume and honor the Red Ridinghood them.

The other scenic trail race being held before the end of the year is the “Sycamore 8“.   This race travels along the Des Moines River and if you’re one of those cold weather runners, then mark your calendar for this year’s race to be held on December 1st.  Link for registration and race details here – http://www.capitalstriders.org/sycamore-8

Along with the weekly offerings of speed work on a track, hill runs for strength, and Saturday group runs, the club offers some more informal trail runs which you can find out about location announcements by following the ‘Capital Striders’ Turkeys‘ Facebook page.

In addition to the weekly group offerings, there is also what’s called the ‘100 Miles in November Challenge‘ spearheaded by Kristin Adkins.  With a couple years under its belt, the 100 Miles in November Challenge has been proud to collaborate prize offerings with Fleet Feet Sport and Heartland Soles to award a pair of new runnings kicks.  Local Hy-Vee dieticians have also contributed runner’s swag in the past like a new Fitbit watch.  If only I lived 2 hours closer, I’d sure be taking advantage of this late fall motivational running group.

Runner’s at Heart

It’s always fun to hear about an individual’s specific reasons for running, their personal motivation or their proudest running moments.  Within the Ep. 8 – Capital Striders RMC Podcast episode, you’ll get to hear Amber tell you about her zen 50k in Portland memories and how she came to identify herself at a young age thru running, Jason’s Rocky Mountain Park experience and his downhill hail running PR, and Kristin’s battle with Mother Nature at last spring’s Boston Marathon and how she came to find her role with Capital Striders.

FREE Race Registration Giveaways Contest!!

Capital Striders was generous enough to give away 1 FREE race registration for each of the upcoming “To Grandmother’s House We Go” and “Sycamore 8” trail races.  If you’d like to enter the contest, here are the parameters;

  1. On Facebook and/or Twitter – “Like” both the Capital Striders and Runnermomcoach pages.
  2. Share this blog post thru Facebook and/or Twitter via the Runnermomcoach Facebook/Twitter page, on your personal Facebook/Twitter page.  This can be done by simply clicking on the SHARE button at the end of this post.
  3. Be the first to directly e-mail cemerunblog@gmail.com with screenshots of 1 and 2, along with which race you would like to receive FREE entry into by 10/25/18.
  4. Ready?…Get Set…GO!!!

 

Holy Mother Runners from Iowa

Do you get paid to run?  Are you endorsed by running shoe companies to wear their shoes while running fast, with the hopes that it’ll influence watchers to go out and buy XYZ shoe brand so they can be fast too?  Do you get to include daily naps and massage and a dietician into your lives so that you can run and train all day every day at maximum ability? Do you have a nanny that comes and keeps watch over the children so that you can go log miles?  For the vast majority of you, this is NOT our reality or running way of life.  Today’s Holy Mother Runners from Iowa blog post features two “real” women from the Midwest and how they have kept running in their lives despite work, families, and the day to day chaos so many of us keep as a barometer of normalcy.  It may find you just as motivated if not more to put that next race on the calendar, once you hear how relatable and real these “mother runners” from Iowa are.

Response to the Holy “Mother Runner” Campaign

Last week after posting a contest for my Holy “Mother Runner” campaign, two local Moms won an RMC t-shirt and guest feature for my RMC podcast.  Ironically both mother’s who have daughters that run cross country at the school I coach at.  Their daughter’s have both participated in the program as 7th and 8th graders and will be entering their third year this coming fall season as incoming Freshman.

Holy “Mother Runner” Campaign

Iowa “Mother Runner” Suzie Johannes

Suzie has two teenage children both heavily involved and active in sports and activities.  She herself is a child physical therapist and has a service-oriented career.  I believe she may also assist her husband at times with his custom home building endeavors.  Needless to say Suzie lives a busy life but still tries her best to live an active life of fitness as well.

Suzie strives to teach her kids that being active and setting goals for themselves should be fun.  And to do what you can thru the process towards those goals so that you can “look back with no regrets”.  As a mom who understands the importance of the journey, she says she does all she can to offer support but let her kids somewhat define what that support looks like.  She offers to take splits for them during their races, and of course emphasizes the lifestyle of eating well, and helps them with the at home physical self-care that’s necessary to prevent injury.

First Time “Half”er Tami Flockhart

Tami had running seeds planted at an early age with her involvement in track and field as an short and middle distance track runner.  Since then, she’s continually defining her running life and returned to it after a bet with her husband that he’d take dance lessons.  Tami has recently trained and completed her first ever half marathon.  She chose to run the Des Moines Women’s Half Marathon as her first and says she may choose to do another this fall.

Tami also attests to the difficulty of how to manage work, kids, life and yet have enough ambition to complete long runs on the weekends.  She inspires for her daughter to follow suit and turn it into a life sport.   And of course takes the opportunities with her daughter to teach life lessons from her participation in the sport and thru the empathy of being a distance runner herself.

RMC Podcast Interviews

The three of us sat down and recorded the informal style podcast.  It felt like a casual chat about their own running and kids, or just a down to earth heart to heart from Coach to parents.

What I appreciated most, and hope that you will as well, is Tami and Suzie’s candid real runner mom balance and perspectives.  Sometimes these “real” stories motivate us more since we can relate and realize our fight to fit our own goals and running identities into our lives, are successfully shared amongst so many.  If you’ve ever asked yourself…How do they do it?  Can you do it too?

YES, YOU CAN!!!

 

Holy “Mother Runner” – Deena Kastor

Last week I started a blog post campaign called the Holy “Mother Runner” Campaign.  My intent to starting this focused campaign is to introduce and highlight some of my favorite professional “Mother Runners” (a few that have inspired me over the years), as well as empower those of you out there that have figured out ways to incorporate running into your post-childbearing mother runner lives.

The RMC Podcast

If you follow my social media accounts you may have seen the contest and post to follow last week’s blog post, which was to highlight the first three “mother runners” out there to comment by highlighting your stories thru a podcast interview on my RMC Podcast on iTunes (a link can be found on the right of this page) as well as reward you with an RMC T-shirt.

I couldn’t believe how immediate the response was by two fellow “mother runners”, Tami Flockhart and Suzie Johannes.  These two women are both Iowa locals and have successfully passed the running bug onto their daughters, who participate in our school’s cross country program.

So, stay tuned for their podcast interview later this week and get to hear each of their personal running stories and journeys with running.

“Mother Runner” – Deena Kastor

The feature “Mother Runner” in today’s blog post is Deena Kastor.  I have been a huge fan of hers since she won the Bronze medal in the 2004 Athens Olympics, the first in over 20 years.  To sweeten her likeness, she is also an 8 time champion in cross country.

What’s super cool about Deena now though, and pertinent to this campaign, is that she not only had her child in 2011 but has been able to return to the marathoning and half marathon community.  Before we get to her post-baby accomplishments, let’s talk about some impressive performances from her past decade’s highlights reel.

In 2008 Deena won the US Olympic marathon trials.  This specific race was strategically symphonic with an underdog turn-over for her after chasing down Magdalena Lewy Boulet during the last 10 miles.  Watching this takedown happen and evolve via live coverage put goosebumps on my arms.  Go, Go, American women distance runners!!

She has placed consistently in the Top 10 professional women’s field over the past decade in races such as the LA marathon (3rd – 2013), World Championship Marathon (9th – 2013),  and NYC Half Marathon (2nd – 2010).  But the creme de la creme in my current opinion was her return after having her daughter Piper Bloom.  Not only had she returned to running successfully after having a child, but also entered the ‘masters’ division and found a new balance for herself both as a mother, runner, motivator and author.

Here is a link direct from deenakastor.com with her Bio and Stats – http://deenakastor.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Deena_Kastor_Bio.pdf

Kastor as a Master

Kastor has been running post-baby now for seven years and has been throwing down ‘masters’ division records in both the half-marathon and full marathon distance.  There is hope for us running Mom’s after all!

Her record times range from 1:09:39 for the half, which she ran at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon in Philadelphia and a blazing 2:27:47 for the full marathon which she nailed at the 2015 Chicago Marathon.   Her Chicago masters marathon record was faster than the previous record by almost a full minute.

Not only has she been lighting up the half marathon and marathon distance at the Masters level, but she has figured out a new balance for herself as mom/athlete.  She’s implemented the power of positive mindset into life and as proof of going beyond, she’s even written a book called “Let Your Mind Run”

“That’s what this entire book is about,” she said. “It’s about pushing your limits and figuring out a way to mentally to get through physical struggles so you can condition yourself more positively, more optimistically.”-letsrun.com


This book is next on my iPhones notes list of “Books to Read”.  I can’t wait to be recharged by what lies within the pages as I’ve always been a believer of positive mindset and the limitless power that embracing this mindset can offer.

Obviously too with being a top-dog runner mom she had to figure out what new realistic goals to set for herself.  Letsrun.com, wrote a flattering article on Deena Kastor explaining just this – ‘RRW: At 45, A Rejuvenated Deena Kastor Ready To Ride The Hills At Boston Marathon’.

Kastor was nearly 39 years-old at the time, and had to totally reinvent the way she lived and trained to find a new balance.  She had to stop trying to mimic the training she did as a 29 year-old, reduce her mileage and the number of runs she did every week, and lower some of her training intensity.  She successfully re-booted her marathon career, taking third at the Skechers Performance Los Angeles Marathon in 2013, ninth at the IAAF World Championships in August of the same year (as a 40 year-old), and tenth at the TCS New York City Marathon in 2014.

– http://www.letsrun.com/news/2018/04/rrw-45-rejuvenated-deena-kastor-ready-ride-hills-boston-marathon/

Kastor Kickstarts the “Mother Runner” Campaign

Next blog post will hopefully include details on my Iowa Runner Mom friends Tami and Suzie.  After that, you can look forward to posts including mother runners Paula Radcliff, Kara Goucher, Gwen Jorgensen.

If you would like to recommend or nominate another mother for inclusion or highlighting within this campaign, please comment or e-mail me thru the Comment/Contact tab at the top of this webpage.  And as always, please help me pay it forward to other “mother runners” out there by sharing and liking this post.  Power to all you runners out there and especially you “Mother Runners”!  😀

Holy “Mother Runner” Campaign

Why is it that women can never give themselves enough credit?!  We balance kids and parenting, schedules that drive us in all different directions (literally), jobs and careers, volunteering at school, maintaining our homes, our health, yada, yada, yada.  There’s even been a new presence on social media of “millennial moms”, runner moms and all kinds of “super” moms that somehow and some way find a way to balance health and fitness into their daily lives.  I’m dedicating today’s post and making a call to action that I”m going to call the Holy “Mother Runner” Campaign.

Stop and Give Yourselves Credit

The majority of the time I get talking with other “Mother Runners” and get to hear their personal running stories or journey of how they got to be a runner, I hear conversational phrases like, “oh, I’m not fast”, or “I only run X miles”, or even, “I don’t run, I just jog”.

Cut the crap Moms!  You wouldn’t tell a good friend of yours the same thing you’re saying out loud about yourselves would you?!  Your story is unique and deserves acknowledgment and credit!!  It is not easy fitting in time to go for a “jog”.  Not to mention, half the time we mother’s are hearing society and culture telling us two different messages.

We are supposed to uprear our children into star citizens and balance the good graces of humanity on mother earth one child at a time, starting with our own.   Along with the family responsibilities we presume continual efforts at proving there is no longer a glass ceiling within our careers and jobs. And supposedly weaseling in and sometimes performing the magic acts of going for a “short”, “slow”, “jog” amongst all these societal and family pressures isn’t worthy of even calling yourself a “runner”?  Nonsense!!

What is this Holy “Mother Runner” Campaign?

Here’s the deal!  I want you to STOP downplaying yourself and own up to being the bad A$$ “Mother Runner” that you are!!  If you can be more confident in your efforts of running, no matter the pace or distance, you WILL most likely inspire or motivate someone else.  Don’t you want to do that?!  Don’t you want to help another mother find a healthy balance in her life, feel empowered or inspire her to take what may be her first steps (literally) as a “mother runner”?

Share your story with others, don’t be shy!  I’m putting the Holy “Mother Runner” Campaign out there as an open invitation and challenge to you.  E-mail me at cemerunblog@gmail.com or click on the Contact / Comment link here or at the top of this page and tell me your story.

The first 3 Mom’s to shoot me a line will receive an RMC logo t-shirt and a feature on my RMC iTunes podcast.  

Tell me about how you became a runner.  What was it that inspired YOU to take your first running steps?  Did you run in school growing up?  Have you run any races?  Do you have a running buddy or favorite places to run?  What does running do for your life and how does it make you feel? If you were writing a future letter to one of your children, son or daughters, what would you say to them to inspire them to give running a try?

Please share this post with other “Mother Runner” friends of yours and encourage them to join the movement and campaign as well.  We “Mother Runners” need to learn how to bond with each other and empower each other.  Ready?  Set…go!!!!

 

Training Diary – Week 9 of 10

It’s finally here, kinda like Christmas morning when I was a kid, I’ve been anticipating the taper of my current training.  I’ll taper for the next two weeks and will take my peak mileage from 44 miles for the week down to 30.1 miles for the final week which includes the race. But to first re-cap last weeks training and take you into my Training Diary – Week 9 of 10.

Last Weeks Training Recap

Monday – 6 miles on my usual hilly route.  I will be completely honest here,…I felt slightly dehydrated on this run.  It was a bit muggy this morning and I did not do a great job hydrating properly thru the weekend.  Note to self!

Tuesday – 6 miles easy recovery run.  Easy pace is becoming slightly faster than what it was at the beginning of training.  Not a complex concept by any means and one that is pretty predictable and expected with regular aerobic work.  Small message here, ANYONE who disciplines or dedicated themselves to daily aerobic activity or running, WILL become fitter and can perhaps also become faster.

Wednesday – 8 miles with 6 miles at Half Marathon Pace.  The weather was slightly cooler this morning and I sure did capitalize on it.  My tempo miles looked like this…Mile 1 – 8:34 (warm-up), Mile 2 – 7:08, Mile 3 – 6:54, Mile 4 – 6:51, Mile 5 – 7:07, Mile 6 – 7:16, Mile 7 – 7:00, Mile 8 – 9:20 (cool-down).  I followed the workout up with SAM Hard Day Phase 4 work.  I also added in some resistance band work and of course the usual foam rolling and stretching.

Thursday – 5 miles easy.  My legs were a little heavier today.  My calves were a little sore and I haven’t decided whether it’s just the natural lactic acid and metabolic waste build-up from the tempo miles or whether it’s from switching into a 4mm heel drop running shoe from a 12 mm heel drop cushion shoe.  No biggee, and I will roll out well and drink lot’s of water.

Friday – 14 miles LSD.  I feel pretty confident with my energy gel consumption timing and hydration strategy.  I make sure that I’m consuming fluids every mile, beginning at mile 1 all the way thru 14.  I drink even if I’m not necessarily thirsty yet even in the early miles.  And I consume an energy gel with caffeine around mile 6-7.  This seems to be enough extra calories to sustain me thru 13-14 miles.  I may choose to write a blog post about effects of hydration and the science behind blood plasma etc.  later on this week.  Followed my run up with protein bar, banana, and 32 oz. of amino energy drink within 30 minutes post run.

Saturday – 5 miles easy.  Nice and slow again today.  Legs weren’t quite as tired as I thought they might feel after the week’s mileage.  I followed up the easy run with 4 – 150 meter striders at 5K race pace.  The wheels are seem to spin a little easier and quicker on these too.  Hoping they do on race day as well.

This Weeks Epiphany

As I’ve been noting the weather temperatures and humidity on each day of training and how my body feels in response to warmer days vs. cooler days, I began to think about the possibility and probable chances that race morning would deliver me warm and humid conditions as well.

I asked myself, is it more important to capitalize and take advantage of training and hitting paces in cooler training weather, or to luck out and be able to have cooler weather on race day?  Well, the realization came to me that I’d rather be able to receive the physiological benefits of having some cool weather thru training and be able to maximize the workout and then be more physically prepared for the race regardless of the race day’s weather conditions.

And then I came to even more of an epiphany which is that, it doesn’t really matter how I analyze the weather, the training, or the “what if’s” of what weather will be on race day because it’s going to be whatever it’s going to be.  I will prepare mentally for whatever is given to me and just have to do my best in order to control what I can control.  C’est la vie!

 

What is GOTR and What Does it Have To Do With Me?

There is something big brewing in America right now!  I’m sure you’re probably assuming that I’m going to say it is running, and then launch off into how and why the running boom that began back in the 1970s is still alive and kicking today.  No!  What’s brewing is more specific than that.  It is more specifically GOTR.  You may ask “What is GOTR and What Does it Have To Do With Me?

GOTR is Empowering Young Women All Over America

Three years ago, my youngest daughter Vivian was presented an opportunity thru her school to participate in GOTR.  What is GOTR you might ask?  GOTR is an acronym for Girls on the Run.

Girls on the Run is a non-profit 501(c)3 life-changing, after-school program for girls in 3rd-8th grade that creatively integrates running, goal-setting and training for a 5k with a curriculum all about developing confidence, respect and healthy living. “

The flier came home from school and my first impression was pretty simply that it was a running program for young girls to learn how to run and to basically learn to get along with each other.  But after the 10 weeks that culminated in a celebratory 5k, it became very clear that the GOTR program was and IS much, MUCH more than just my first impression.

Over a period of 10 weeks, girls in the 3rd through 5th grade participate in an after-school program like no other. Designed to allow every girl to recognize her inner strength, the Girls on the Run curriculum inspires girls to define their lives on their own terms. Throughout the season, the girls make new friends, build their confidence and celebrate all that makes them unique.

The Girls on the Run lessons encourage positive emotional, social, mental and physical development.  Participants explore and discuss their own beliefs around experiences and challenges girls face at this age.  They also develop important strategies and skills to help them navigate life experiences. We start with helping the girls get a better understanding of who they are and what’s important to them.  Then, we look at the importance of team work and healthy relationships.  And, finally, the girls explore how they can positively connect with and shape the world.

Physical activity is woven into our program to inspire an appreciation of fitness and to build habits that lead to a lifetime of health.  At the end of each three month session, the girls participate in a Girls on the Run 5K event.  This celebratory, non-competitive event is the culminating experience of the curriculum.  Completing the 5K gives the girls a tangible understanding of the confidence that comes through accomplishment as well as a framework for setting and achieving life goals.  Crossing the finish line is a defining moment when the girls realize that even the seemingly impossible IS possible.

What Does GOTR Have To Do With Me?

Girls on the Run and it’s driving principles are something I can get behind.  As many of you know, I have coached cross-country and distance running to girls grades 7-12 at Prairie and am going on my seventh year of coaching.  I’ve always thought that coaching any sport is so much more than just the sport itself, and have believed it to be an opportunity to positively influence young kids and in my case more specifically young girls.

To give a little more preface, late last winter my running bestie and I decided to go after a shared bucket list goal of running a marathon together.  We chose to run the 2018 Bank of America Chicago Marathon on October 7th of this upcoming fall.  It was her idea to run for charity and we both loved the idea of running for Girls on the Run.  It just made so much sense!!

We both feel very passionate about the program and what it’s done for girls all across America.  We also both share the same passion for doing what we can for youth and young women and as proof, she volunteer coaches cross country with me at Prairie.  This is not the first time she’s put her own running abilities and physical gift towards raising money and giving back towards charity, but it WILL be my first time doing so.

My Fundraising Goal

I will be running the Bank of America Chicago Marathon on October 7th and fundraising $1500 on behalf of Girls on the Run-Chicago to empower young women. These donations go directly toward crucial program scholarships for girls in need. By June 30th I am trying to raise $200, any donation will help me hit my commitment goal!

You can donate online here: http://www.crowdrise.com/2018-gotr-chicago-marathon/fundraiser/RunnerMomCoach

Or by writing a check to Girls on the Run-Chicago with my name, including SoleMates 2018, in the memo section. Please send your checks to Girls on the Run-Chicago (1415 N. Dayton St, Suite 112 Chicago, IL. 60642). On behalf of the 11,000 girls that GOTRC will serve this school year, THANK YOU!

I will be honest in saying, while this new goal of running for charity is exciting and something I’m passionate about, I am a little nervous about meeting the fundraising goal.  If you have read this far and choose to help support me and Girls on the Run, I will say from the core of my heart…THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!!  Your donation WILL make a difference for a young girl out there that just needs guidance, acceptance, self-worth, a confidence boost, and to be taught that she CAN make a difference in the world by learning how to be positive and make intentionally good choices.

 

Training Diary – Week 7 of 10

Happy Belated Memorial Day!  I first want to post a public ‘Thank You’ to the men and women who have fought and are still fighting to preserve our American freedoms, way of living and for protecting our country.  I understand it is not without extreme sacrifice or a steel core of belief in our freedoms and livelihood and the utmost bravery.  These were a few of the thoughts that cycled thru my brain this morning on my run and realizing that such a seemingly innocent practice of mine and so many others in America, should not be taken for granted.  This is what I will remind myself to be grateful for as I annotate my Training Diary – Week 7 of 10, and thru the remainder of the week.

Teaching Our Kids about Memorial Day

I’ve asked my kids before if they knew what Memorial Day was and why we celebrate it.  The answers I received were a little wishy-washy to say the least.  They of course now know what Memorial Day is and why we celebrate it. We’ve even gone the extent of reminiscing moments in our own lifetimes of instances where American armed forces have had to fight for our freedoms and the daily lives we can so easily take for granted.  Or the simple freedoms of being able to just step outside and go for a run.

Memorial Day
Graves at Arlington on Memorial Day.JPG

The gravestones at Arlington National Cemetery are decorated by U.S. flags on Memorial Day weekend in 2008.
Official name Memorial Day
Observed by United States
Type National
Observances Remembrance of American soldiers who have died in military service
Date Last Monday in May
2017 date May 29
2018 date May 28
2019 date May 27
2020 date May 25
Frequency Annual

Memorial Day or Decoration Day is a federal holiday in the United States for remembering the people who died while serving in the country’s armed forces. – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memorial_Day

Training with a Grateful Heart

This week is the first of two weeks now where I’ll bump up to running six out of the seven days of the week.  The drive and push culminating with peak mileage in two more weeks before a 7-day taper going into the race.

I’ve discovered that it becomes easy for me to become mildly obsessed with training and putting all my cherries in one basket so to speak.  And feeling like I have to be ALL in.  My lifestyle and livelihood begin revolving around my training and in some ways, it becomes self-centered.

So one of the tactics and humbling reminders I thought about this morning during my easy recovery run, after yesterday’s 6 miles in 80+ degree heat, is to stop and be grateful.  I’m grateful I have my health!  I’m grateful I have a life in which I can put forth the time and effort to go after simple running goals!  In an even bigger picture, I’m grateful that I live in a fostering country that promotes health, wellness and a country where women are even able to run free.  Having this mindset this morning really actually launched me off onto a mindset of gratefulness as I began to imagine how much worse life could REALLY be.

Training Log

Monday – 6 miles slightly hilly with marathon pace running.  (Shell-shocked by the heat and humidity)  Joel biked along beside me and thank god he carried water with him.  Positive was the gnats weren’t as bad as I had prepped myself for.

Tuesday – 6 miles easy (5:30 am).  Ran to the sun rising, birds chirping.  Legs felt a little heavier from yesterday, so slow run by feel pace today meant 8:45 avg.  Lunge Matrix and leg swings before heading out.  Yoga and core work post run.

*Rest of the week looks like this

Wednesday – 7 miles with 5 miles at Half Marathon pace (will shoot for 7:14 avg.  and no slower than 7:23 mpm) SAM Hard Day Phase 4 , core work and foam rolling.

Thursday – 5 miles easy.  SAM Easy Day Phase 4 Yoga or Active Isolated Stretching and core work.

Friday – 13 miles LSD (long slow distance).  I always like to try and finish off the long runs a little fast, just so I know and can practice recruiting mental and physical sources when I’m tired.  Will run with fuel belt with my water and electrolyte drink as well as at least 1-2 Honey Stinger Gels.

Saturday – 5 miles easy.  Yoga and core work.

Kid President Tackles Big Questions

Have you ever seen the YouTube videos under the Soul Pancake channel?  I just love this kid and he calls himself “Kid President”.  He’s got a great laugh and sense of humor, and he somehow asks some potential deep questions in a light and innocent sort of “kid” way.

When I was looking up some facts on ‘Memorial Day’ one of Kid President’s videos popped up in the google search.  It’s not the first video that I’ve watched from this young fellow that has made me smile and appreciate life in a more innocent and “wide-eyed” perspective.  Just thought I’d share.

 

“A Hero is someone who voluntarily walks into harms way.”

– Tom Hanks

Back to the Grind with a ‘Yes’ Brain Mentality

Last week of my training was a drop back week and I’ll admit that I had difficulty holding back when my body felt good and was telling me to go.  It’s easy to give the advice to others but ironically hard sometimes for me to remember for myself, that ‘easy’ days really are supposed to be ‘easy’, and drop back weeks are really implemented into training for the same reasons, which is recovery.  Coincidentally, I personally had to redirect my focus to deliberate recovery and I used the extra time gained from not logging as many miles towards some mental strength training work by starting a couple of books that teach and enforce the “Yes” brain mentality.  This week begins Week 6 of 10 in training and I’m Back to the Grind with a fire in my belly!

Applying The Yes Brain Mentality to Myself

I’ve recently been doing some reading on how to parent teaching my kids how to effectively face challenges, deal with stress, and approach life with an openness and curiosity or “growth mindset”.  A couple of the books I’ve delved into are, ‘The Yes Brain“, “GRIT” and one for myself called, “The Brave Athlete“.

In each of these books and in accordance to a blog post I wrote last week, there is a strong re-occurring point which is made regarding how not only to teach this principle and foster it in my children but also how to have a “growth mindset” for myself.

As I’ve been reading thru each of these books, I can’t help but analyze and apply some its psychology to understanding my own psyche and mindset specifically with running and my current training goals.  You have no doubt heard before that there is so much power in a positive mindset.  In fact, the very first paragraph of “The Yes Brain” leads with this introduction…

This book is about helping kids say yes to the world.  It’s about encouraging them to open their minds to new challenges, to new opportunities, to who they already are and all they can become.  It’s about giving them a Yes Brain.

Also within the first few pages, the book describes the differences between a No Brain and the Yes Brain.

The Yes Brain, in contrast (from the no brain), emerges from different circuits in the brain that become activated and lead to receptivity rather than reactivity…

…we feel much more capable of addressing challenges in a strong, clear and flexible way.

The Yes Brain mindset is what we want for our kids, so that they learn to view obstacles and new experiences not as paralyzing impediments but simply as challenges to be faced and overcome and learned from.

Week 6 – Back to the Grind!

With very bright and conscious thoughts of positivity, resilience and the “Yes Brain”, or even taken a step further a “GRIT” attitude and mentality, I am back after a drop back week and “Back to the Grind”!

I am feeling physically strong and capable and have been able to implement some additional strengthening, mobility and fast twitch muscle fiber work (plyometric work) into my training.

This morning I did my weekly hilly route and practiced my “I think I can! I think I can!” mentality going up each hill and found myself really feeling quite strong.  Anytime that I started feeling winded or the slightest bit physically challenged I would put deliberate mindset to being present.  A mindset and focus on my breathing, my form, observing how my body felt, my environment and surroundings and then following all that up with something positive.  I may have even said out loud something like, “I can do hard things!”, or “I am able and capable!”.

“Que Sera, Sera” (Whatever Will Be, Will Be)

Ironically after doing some soul searching and coming to the decision that this would be my final attempt at trying to qualify for the NYC marathon with a qualifying time, there was almost a weight lifted.  It’s almost as if I’ve found a new peace within myself in just appreciating being able to physically travel the journey.  I’m just as proud of the effort that I’ve been able to devote and as an asthmatic and allergy burdened child, I never dreamt I’d be able to even run a marathon.

It’s quite a feeling of freedom to not have to feel a sense of failure based solely on the outcome of the race itself.  “Que Sera, Sera”!!  So, I will leave you with one of my favorite quotes by Teddy Roosevelt…

https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/7-it-is-not-the-critic-who-counts-not-the-man

 

 

 

My Monday Mantra is Growth Mindset

It seems as though there has been a softly whispering universal message being sent to me over the past few days and weeks.  The message not only relates to me and my current training and goals but also became apparent to me yesterday on Mother’s Day.  The day was filled with ‘motherly’ things like moving my oldest daughter home from college, going out to lunch with my family, and spending the evening with extended family to celebrate.  But there were a few moments that deflated my Mother’s Day excitement to be honest.  So, this morning I decided to reset and take control of my perspective.  My Monday Mantra is Growth Mindset.

What is a Growth Mindset

First of all here is a quick explanation of what I’m talking about.

http://mindsetonline.com/whatisit/about/index.html

  • Why brains and talent don’t bring success

  • How they can stand in the way of it

  • Why praising brains and talent doesn’t foster self-esteem and accomplishment, but jeopardizes them

  • How teaching a simple idea about the brain raises grades and productivity

  • What all great CEOs, parents, teachers, athletes know

Mindset is a simple idea discovered by world-renowned Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck in decades of research on achievement and success—a simple idea that makes all the difference.

In a fixed mindset, people believe their basic qualities, like their intelligence or talent, are simply fixed traits. They spend their time documenting their intelligence or talent instead of developing them. They also believe that talent alone creates success—without effort. They’re wrong.

In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment. Virtually all great people have had these qualities.

Teaching a growth mindset creates motivation and productivity in the worlds of business, education, and sports. It enhances relationships.

Why is this My Monday Mantra

There were a couple of moments on Mother’s Day that I paid more attention to and paused a little longer to analyze.  My children were each displaying “nincompoop” behavior because they each are experiencing relative stressors in their lives.  And even though, it initially frustrated me I realized that as their Mother and parent, it is my duty to teach them how to cope.

My oldest daughter is closing out her freshman year in college and finishing up with all of her finals.  Taboot, she has been told she needs to work her butt off this summer in order to make and contribute to her transitioning to an out of state college next year.  The transition and choice to move out of state in pursuit of her college dreams and career goals is a scary one, but one worth the risk.  She maintains a hopeful and bold outlook or rather “growth mindset” about it all, but I wonder how much angst she harbors.  She is no rookie to hearing her mama preach about mindset and the power of positivity.  Or that, the only person that will dictate your life is YOU!

My youngest daughter, who gets “drug around” to everything including to Des Moines yesterday to move said eldest daughter out of her dorm, was becoming negative and mopey.  And as often the case, she can become a hard person to reason with and maintain a positive perspective on things she feels are out of her control.  I guess I don’t blame her!  Needless to say, I was grateful we were all together, but the vibe wasn’t exactly ideal Mother’s Day vibe.

Putting the Mantra in Place

I got home with my husband and took a deep breath and we sat out in the garage analyzing where our family is at right now and planning the next few months together.  I think we’ve literally high fived each other with the pact that we are going to be “strong” parents, not just good parents.  Part of our garage action plan is to get back to deliberate efforts at teaching our kids how to have a “growth mindset” and positive outlook on life.  And to give them some serious life lessons and perspective on hard work, contributing to community, family and society, and teach gratefulness or appreciation.

This rejuvenated me and I made the connection of what I’m putting my own personal mindset to right now, which is the power of positivity and having a growth mindset.  I came to a realization that if I can re-enforce this to my kids and bring this topic back to the surface (we’ve discussed it before) that perhaps it will re-ignite intention.

I will dig out some other great articles I”ve hoarded over the years that reference and put emphasis on the importance of having a growth mindset, and share them with you thru out the next few blog posts hopefully.   Some references I’ll specifically share for how growth mindset is important for athletes.  As well as the most recent books I’ve finished, that bring this principle on board.

I also, decided that I’m going to start and keep a “gratefulness” journal with my kids this summer.  Should only take a few minutes during breakfast or dinner every day for each of us to write down and acknowledge 3 things that we were grateful for that day.  Kinda cheesy, but hey if it works than hooray.  At the very least hopefully it’ll plant subconscious seeds that will stick with them the rest of their lives as they travel down the winding road in pursuit of happiness.

For now, I’ll leave you with this poem.  Read it thru once and then read it again, backwards!

Growth Mindset Poem

Today was the absolute worst day ever

And don’t try to convince me that

There’s something good in every day

Because, when you take a closer look,

This world is a pretty evil place.

Even if

Some goodness does shine through once in awhile

Satisfaction and happiness don’t last.

And it’s not true that it’s all in the mind and heart

Because

True happiness can be obtained

Only if one’s surroundings are good

It’s not true that good exists

I’m sure you agree that

The reality

Creates

My attitude

It’s all beyond my control

And you’ll never in a million years hear me say that

Today was a good day

Now read from bottom up