January Challenge

Fruits and Veggies!!

Fruits and Veggies!!

I don’t really believe in making New Year’s resolutions.  I think you should be making resolutions year round in order to constantly make positive changes when YOU feel they are necessary (not when the calendar dictates).  It is kind of sad to see the gym packed all through the month of January only to find the numbers dwindling in February.  I think people get the idea that they have to make some kind of resolution (which usually seems to involve some type of exercise or diet regiment) so they tell themselves that they will vow to go to the gym more often.  Then it doesn’t last long because they weren’t really motivated to do it in the first place.  Maybe it was the wrong time or they made a choice that didn’t fit their lifestyle.  Or they chose a goal that was not realistic or they tried to take a giant leap instead of focusing on small steps.  It takes a bit more planning than a one night stand with an idea on New Year’s Eve.

Anyway, I like to challenge myself year round and I usually find a way to involve my family.  For the month of January, it will be a challenge focused on all-you-can-eat vegetables and fruits (my secret way of getting my kids to eat more of the good stuff)!  The goal is to earn points each day by eating a certain number of vegetables and fruits.  The bonus comes when you try something NEW!  My daughter keeps talking about brussel sprouts and I just turn my nose up.  I think I might have to suck it up and cook some brussel sprouts.  I have seen pictures in recipes where they actually look like they might be good…

Please feel free to follow our challenge.  The winner usually gets a day of sitting back while the loser does chores or the winner may get taken out to lunch (obviously it depends on who the winner is… I will be happy with sitting back and barking orders at my oldest daughter :).   We are a pretty competitive family so I think that I will need to do a lot more grocery shopping in order to get through this month.

JANUARY CHALLENGE

RULES:

  1. Consume 6 different types of vegetables per day.  They must be different so one pound of green beans will only count as 1.  You need to consume at least a small handful to count as one.  Don’t worry about exact measurements, but use good judgment.
  2. Consume 4 different types of fruits per day.  One fruit or a handful of fruit pieces (dried fruit counts).
  3. Max points earned per day is 10, BUT you may earn one BONUS point per day if you consume a vegetable or fruit that you have never tried.
  4. You may not make up points on another day.  You may not substitute fruits for vegetables or vice versa.
  5. Must be “real” vegetables/fruit:  not Eggo blueberry waffles, fruit snacks, desserts or other processed treats.  Healthier options will count: such as granola bars made with real dried fruit (homemade is always best).
  6. Tally up your points throughout the day and record them on the calendar at the end of the day.

SUGGESTIONS:

Vegetables:

Broccoli, Squash, Spinach, Tomatoes, Carrots, Celery, Tomato sauce, Soups, Chili, Peppers, Kale Chips, Zucchini, Salads, Onion

Fruits:

Pineapples, Mangos, Dried berries, Apples, Canned Fruit in water, Bananas, Oranges, Berries, Natural Applesauce, Kiwi, Banana Chips

If you made a New Year’s resolution, then good luck to you!  It is kind of nice to start with a clean slate and for some reason that slight change in a number seems to do that for all of us.  I am looking forward to whatever 2014 brings my way!

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The Running Community

Spending Thanksgiving morning with great running buddies!

Spending Thanksgiving morning with great running buddies!

Last night was our annual Christmas light run hosted by our local club, the Foothills Running and Cycling club.  I walked into the meeting location not surprised to see about 30 runners milling about.  It didn’t take long for me to find friends in the crowd.  Back in the day (when I was a bit younger), I used to go to parties, bars or clubs (okay, maybe I have only gone to like one real club) because I thought that was the cool thing to do for fun.  Now I find myself participating in social activities that revolve around running… probably a bit healthier for the mind and body.  But don’t get me wrong, we do enjoy a beer and some not-so-healthy food afterwards.

I never really knew which crowd suited me best.  In high school I was definitely hanging out with the nerd types who always got their homework done and even did extra credit in their free time.  Yet, I wasn’t always so “good” in that sense because I felt a need to rebel (nothing serious, but I would push the limit sometimes).  Then I went to college and became a mountain woman of sorts (well, just picture Alaska) and tried to mix outdoor recreation with party central.  After that chapter, I decided to get a tad more serious and joined the military.  I was basically told I didn’t fit in when I was constantly yelled at for not marching correctly.  Seriously, I have no coordination and I didn’t think it was a requirement.  I should have taken dance classes in order to prepare.

That whole military chapter didn’t last long.  I settled for being a military wife.  Yet, after serving in the military, I didn’t really want to live and breathe it 24-7.  I couldn’t even fathom the idea of living on base and solely associating with military friends.  My husband pretty much felt the same way.  However, it was difficult to find friends when the military was our life and I was only able to work in jobs that I wasn’t one hundred percent happy with.

It’s sad, but I can’t even say that I fit in with the mom types.  I find little pleasure in group playdates (I am more of a one-on-one mom), attending social gatherings meant for moms and comparing mommy notes with other moms.  I prefer not to plan and coordintate, but to just grab the kids and head to the playground when it is most convenient for us, take a hike on a local trail or load up the bikes and jogging stroller for some family exercise.  Maybe I should do more things with other moms and their kids, but I haven’t quite found a connection yet.  For some reason, we always became good friends with people who don’t have kids (they always have kids after we move away).

It took a few years, but I finally figured it out.  I have a passion for running and it was something I could do that wasn’t part of my job or the military.  I decided to sign up for Team in Training so I would be forced to run with a group (and of course I would be supporting a good cause in the process).   An introvert like me just needs to find the strength to take that first step.  Fortunately, it didn’t take long for me to figure out that runners are some of the nicest, friendliest people I have ever met.  Runners are alike in so many ways.  If I may generalize, they are intrinsically motivated, open-minded, disciplined, driven, hard-working and compassionate.   They are the type of people who I want to surround myself with.  Not surprising, there are full-time working mommy runners, stay-at-home mommy runners, military spouse runners, active duty military runners, teacher runners, hippie runners (just thinking back to life in Alaska), college runners, etc.  We all know that everyone has more than one title in life.

If you are a runner, but hesitant about running with another runner and joining a group, don’t be.  The running community is all-inclusive.  It doesn’t matter if you are a jogger, a slow runner, a fast runner, a short-distance runner, a long-distance runner, a chatty runner, a quiet runner… you get the point. Runners will accept you for who you are.  If you need proof of how great the running community is, then just look up articles about how runners are always running for a cause.  After the Boston incident, they got right back up and strengthened bonds.  I’m proud to be a member of the running community!

In any case, I hope you find what you are looking for.  We should all surround ourselves with people who make us happy, build on our self-confidence and enourage us to strive for greater things.

Who I Am

Sharing my joy with my family means the world to me!

Sharing my joy with my family means the world to me!

It takes a long time to figure out who you are supposed to be and where you are supposed to go.  Some people say you make your own destiny, some believe in fate.  Others believe that a higher being determines our path in life.  I suppose that I kind of believe in all of those ideas.  Sometimes I think that things happen just because they were supposed to happen.  For example, what would my life be like if I hadn’t joined the Coast Guard to meet my wonderful husband and create three of the most precious human beings?  I was not one of those people who thought about joining the military during my childhood.  In fact, it was a very spur of the moment decision.

Yet, in a way, I did make my own destiny.  I chose not to fall victim to the harsh realities that were presented to me during my childhood.  I made my own choices about who I didn’t want to be and where I didn’t want to go.  I didn’t know quite where I was going, but I definitely knew where I didn’t want to end up.  Of course it wasn’t always easy to be “me” because I struggled with my identity, especially during my early twenties when I was still figuring out what life was all about.

I thought that if I believed in a higher power then maybe I would be pointed in the right direction.  Well, it didn’t quite work out that way or maybe it did and I just didn’t realize it.  I tried going to church and I wasn’t always sure if I belonged there.  Yet, I can’t help wonder about the beauty that surrounds us in the natural world and the amazing beings that we create.  Then I think about the sadness, loss, hate and grief and I wonder why that is necessary.

I would like to say that it all came to me when I got married.  But that wouldn’t be a true statement.  I would like to say that it came to me when I had my first child.  But I still didn’t have it figured out.  It took me many years to get it together and I still don’t have all of the answers.  I suspect that I never will.

Running has opened up a whole new world and I now see things in a different light.  I am more appreciative of what I have and I work hard to do what’s right.  Actually, I work harder than I ever thought possible.  Something inside of me turned on and I am more of a fighter than I ever was, mentally and physically.   I have made a connection to my inner self and the world makes more sense to me.  I am still not sure if I have the power to make the changes or if my fate is already sealed, but it doesn’t really matter.  I have to live each moment with the realization that I will never know what is going to happen next.  I can only hope that my life experiences have made me strong enough to accept what may come.

It is still a challenge to figure out what I am supposed to be doing.  All I know is that I want to make a positive impression.  I want people to have something meaningful to say when they attend my funeral.  I want my family to know that I made my mark on the world and that they can be proud of who I was.  I want them to move on knowing that I was happy with who I was.  I can’t be perfect.  Nobody can.  But I can work with what I have and make the best of it.  Some will agree.  Yet, others won’t.  I can’t be concerned with that.

Some people say that putting 26.2 stickers on your car and posting your running achievements on facebook is a bit obnoxious.  But this is who I am.  I am a wife, a daughter, a mother AND a runner.  I can’t help but feel the need to reach out to others and share my passion of running.  That is the reason why I decided to be a coach.  If I can make a difference in someone else’s life, then that will be the answer to my question.