Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Living Life in a Negative Split

I was out running this morning with one of my best running friends.  We wore it out today in spite of the fact that my legs and feet felt like cement.  I know why too.  Sugar is poison and I have had a lot of it lately.  My weakness is sugar cookies with frosting on them.  Sadly, I made some and it is like introducing the devil into my home.  I have eaten too many of the delicious confection and I felt it in my run today.  However, I let my mind defeat my body and I ran well today.  In fact, I got a negative split on my training run.  One of my running buddies pointed out to me that I get negative splits often.  I had not thought about it but I do.  For those who don't know, a negative split is where you run the second half of the run at a faster pace than the first half.  Most people struggle to get a negative split and I get them often without really trying.  I know why.  My body feels like trash when I start running.  I don't start feeling good until the second half of the run.  It is a wonder I didn't give up running long ago because of this very problem that turns out to be in my benefit.  I remember thinking this morning when I was half dead at mile 3, "You are gunna feel great soon, Sister!"  and I did.  I think we tend to give up when we feel like trash instead of persevering knowing that something better is coming.
The first part of the run you almost always feel like trash.

At the end, you feel better as long as you don't go out too fast and overexert yourself early on.  Life is a marathon, not a sprint, so go at it steadily so you have energy at the end.

Hold hands and stick together and we will get negative splits in the run called life.

Today in my run, I realized that a negative split is what we should strive for in life.  Our life here on earth is the first part of the run.  Many times we feel like trash, like cement is bogging us down.  Sometimes we give in, make bad decisions, do what feels good and end up not getting to the good part because we give up too soon.  Maybe because it is just too hard.  Maybe because we don't want to keep going.  Maybe because we just get beat down with life.  I encourage us all including myself to not give up, to lean on God, and to keep waiting for the good part(Heaven), knowing that life here on Earth is the first part of the run.  We will feel like trash most of the time, but soon, we will feel great.  We just have to keep moving to get to that sweet spot that by faith we know is there.

Thanks so much for reading my blog.  Saturday is my first speaking engagement as Fun Thoughts on Life.  I pray that it is a success and that God says what He wants to say through me.  Please subscribe to receive updates when I write a new blog.  There is a box to the right if you are on a desktop or laptop.  If you are on a mobile device, then scroll to the bottom and click "view desktop site".  Then the box at the right will be there.  Thanks for reading :)

Have a wonderful day and be sure to work on a negative split.

Friday, October 25, 2013

A Caterpillar and a Cat

Who says cats and dogs can't coexist?  Whoever did was a pessimist. The truth is that cats and dogs can live together and actually love each other. Two totally different animals, generally dogs will chase cats but when taught to coexist peacefully they become best friends and actually play together. 

My dog Charlie and my cats Harley and Hemi love each other. They were introduced into the house together when the cats were 2 and the dog was 3. So they haven't been together since birth. They play with toys together and also lay together as well as run around the house together racing. My favorite activity they do together is walk. Yes, my cats walk. It isn't something we taught them to do, they just do it. It is the sweetest thing you ever saw. I take Charlie out around 4 times a day to walk. Each time I do there is what we call a "celebrity guest walker". One or both of the cats will voluntarily walk right next to Charlie for our walk. 
This morning the celebrity guest walker was Hemi. 

My cats and dogs embrace differences in each other to coexist peacefully in the same home. Generally animals that don't get along, these particular ones choose to appreciate the other as a breathing being that deserves attention whether that be playing a game the other may not inherently enjoy, to walking together when cats don't usually walk, or eating cat food when you are a dog. Maybe there is a lesson we all could learn from my dog and cats. Maybe we could all be a little more tolerant of differences in each other and embrace the differences that make us all uniquely genius. Maybe our government should look at my dog and cats and learn. Even government could utilize differences in each party's beliefs to compliment each other rather than being like oil and water. Stevie Wonder said it best: "Ebony and Ivory live together in perfect harmony." Cats and dogs, Democrats and Republicans, introverts and extroverts, can all live together and compliment each other rather than tear each other down.

 Find someone not like you today and compliment something about them that you admire. It will be a good start toward peace. 

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Have a fabulous day!!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

The Anatomy of a Half Marathon PR

Yesterday I ran the Middle Half Marathon in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.  It was by far the best run race I have ever performed.  I began to think to myself, "What made this race different than other races?"  Then I compiled this blog post on the anatomy of a half marathon PR.  I blew my previous PR in the half marathon distance to pieces yesterday with an 11 1/2 minute improvement.  What did I do that helped me get that much better?

First of all, all the stars were aligned which is imperative for a Personal Record.  The weather was perfect, low humidity, temp in the high 50's to start, 60's at finish.  The course was perfect.  It was flat and it was a course design that had us passing those who were in front of us, and also those behind us at numerous points on the course.  It was very distracting and also entertaining to be watching people for folks you know along the way as well as a real treat to cheer on the first place man and the first place woman.  For me personally, I enjoyed seeing the person who was in last place.  I cheered louder for her than the person in first place.  She was the real winner in my book because she was like Nike-she was just doing it.  She is the one I want to be like.  The one who is working hard toward her own goal.  I have been that person in a race before.  The last one.  It was a couple of years ago in the Goodlettsville 10 Miler.  I was in last place.  Escorted by the medic truck and the police.  I had the best time ever in that race.  I beat everyone sitting at the Cracker Barrel and IHOP.  And so did the lady who was last yesterday.

I had been doing a lot of core work at home to strengthen my back and core and abs.  I do what I call 30/30/30 every day.  Some days I forget but most days I do it.  30 Sit ups, 30 squats, 30 push ups, 30 second plank.  I believe this has made a world of difference in my running speed.  I have discovered that strengthening your core will make you a stronger runner.  Recently I added 30 Superman's to my routine.  It helps strengthen my back too. Here is a picture of me doing a superman in the mud at the mud run if you don't know what a Superman is :)

Running farther than your race distance will help you get a good time in a race also.  If you are used to running 17 miles in training, then 13.1 will be an easy trot for you.  This is what I discovered yesterday.  I am currently training for the Goofy in Disney World in January.  It consists of a half marathon on Saturday and a full marathon on Sunday back to back.  39.3 miles.  So my training runs have been in the 17-19 mile range lately.  I remember yesterday looking down at my watch at mile 3 thinking "Oh I only have 10 more miles.  I am totally going to beat my best time today."  What have I allowed myself to become???  ONLY 10 more miles??  That is forever, but not in my mind.  10 miles is like walking to the mailbox to me now.
Our group on a training run that is always made better with popsicles that one of our girls drops in a secluded location so we can have one as a pick me up along our route!

Speedwork, whether it consists of Yasso's or hill repeats will increase your ability and decrease your time.  I generally do hill repeats which is running up and down a hill over and over and over again.  Yasso's is running 800M as fast as you can, resting a 1/4 mile then doing it again over and over again.  Both create a machine in yourself.  Here is a link on how to do Yasso's.  http://running.about.com/od/speedworkouts/a/yasso800s.htm

Having a support system is key.  My running club is like my family.  We all run together, we laugh together, we cry together, we pray together, we do life together.  Without them, I would not get out the door to run most days.
Crazy as it may seem to many, the decision to start running barefoot has improved my speed tremendously.  Read my blog post called Barefoot Running-A New Endeavor and Consumer Report.  It tells exactly who I think barefoot running will appeal to and who will benefit from it.  Here is the link to that post: http://funthoughtsonlife.blogspot.com/2013/05/barefoot-running-new-endeavor-and.html  It is definitely not for everyone and I would not recommend it to everyone or anyone for that matter.  I am saying it works for me :)

Of course, it didn't hurt that my race number said "Groovymom" on it...
My last thought is one that actually makes me mad.  I have struggled with my weight my whole life.  Last October, I was down to the smallest I had ever been in my adult life.  But at that weight, I could not run a half marathon.  I could only run a couple of miles.  So I am now 10 pounds heavier, and I run great.  So as mad as it makes me, I will admit that I run better heavier than I do thinner.  I like the way I look thinner, but I like the way I run heavier.  I just feel better.  Honestly, last October, when I was eating very little to lose weight, I felt bad.  I think my weight it stabilized now, and I am still much thinner than I used to be, but not as thin as I was last year.  I am trying to accept this.  It is hard for me.  But heavier, I knocked 11.5 minutes off my personal best time at the half marathon distance.  I can't argue with that.  

My race strategy was simple.  I walked through the water stops so I could get a good drink without throwing water all over myself.  I ran the rest of the way.  I am very proud of that accomplishment.  I was consistent with my pace.  The whole race I was consistent.  I stayed focused, listened to music, watched the people, ran by feeling not by watch.  

All the stars were aligned for me yesterday.  For that I am grateful.  It is wonderful to come home to your family and be able to bask in the glow of personal accomplishment.  We are not our best selves if we give up everything about ourselves to be a mom, wife, dad, father, etc.  
Thank you so much for visiting my website and reading my blog.  Please subscribe to receive updates when I write a new blog.  Visit my website at www.funthoughtsonlife.com to see what opportunities I have to offer.  And don't forget me when you need a speaker for your next event.  Big or small, I do them all!

Have a great day!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

A Celebration of Frosting

I love frosting.  It is my favorite dessert.  I love cake too, but I could do without cake and just eat the frosting.  The sweeter the better.  Don't give me any of that whipped frosting mess.  Give me buttercream or give me death.  White buttercream frosting.

Today we celebrated frosting.  Frosting on our family cake.  We had two children, each 4 years apart.  Our oldest child was always the eggs in our family cake.  She holds our family together firm and strong.  Now that she is 18, she still plays her role well.  For example, I was so upset when our dog got hit by a car that I was just an emotional wreck.  My Eggs held herself together and supported me and stayed firm and strong when the wind blew.  Our second child, a son, is the flour.  He causes our family cake to rise.  Rise to the top.  He provides structure, stability, and substance.  The best part of any cake in my opinion is the frosting.  I love frosting because it is sweet, makes the cake pretty, is colorful, finishes a cake, and decorates something otherwise bland looking.  Our youngest child is our frosting.  She completes our family cake.  Our baby.  Today we celebrated Frosting because she was born 11 years ago today.  Sweet, colorful, fun, finishing touch, decorative, pretty, Frosting.

Happy Birthday, Sweet Sweet Frosting!

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Have a great night and enjoy some frosting!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Tennessee Safari Park Review

Yesterday I visited what I would call the "Best Kept Secret in Tennessee".  Based on a friend's recommendation who recently moved to Jackson, Tennessee, my youngest and I decided to try it out.  The address for the place is actually in Alamo, TN.  It is between Jackson and Memphis.  It is out in the middle of nowhere, on the Conley family's property.  They work the place as well as own the animals.  They also live on the property in a gorgeous home that you drive past to get to the entrance.  The web address is www.tennesseesafaripark.com

We pulled up to the ticket booth where the nice man, the owner, greeted us.  The prices are very reasonable.  $12 for adult, $8 for child.  Then you could purchase food to feed the animals.  You can't take your own food to feed them as they are all on a restricted diet.  You could buy a bucket of feed for $3 or 4 buckets for $10.  We went with 4 buckets and had more than enough food to have fun with.

The gate to the drive thru part was open, a grate was there to keep the animals from escaping.  From the moment we entered the area, the animals started approaching the car.  The excitement had begun and we had driven no more than a few feet.  The animal variety was vast.  They had zebra, camels, deer, pigs, all sorts of gazelle and antelope, many deer-like animals that I was unsure about what they actually were, bison, emu, ostrich, llama, etc.  The guide they gave us at the entrance told of all the variety of animals but who had time to read that when the animals started coming right up for food!
The property was vast.  The loop in the drive thru zoo part was 3 miles.  You could drive around as many times as you wanted to.  We went around once. 

 The ostriches and emu were the most aggressive about trying to get food.  You would be feeding an ostrich out the passenger window and all of a sudden another one would crane it's neck in through the driver's side window all the way across the car to get a bite from the bucket.  It was HILARIOUS!  We literally laughed the entire time we were there.

Once you were finished with the drive thru part of the zoo, you could park in another area and go to the walk thru part.  In the walking area, there was a petting zoo with goats.  Then you could also see monkeys, parrots, and a few other animals.    It was definitely a day's worth of fun if you wanted it to be.  Or, you could do the whole thing in two hours.  Just depends on how much time you have and how much fun you want to have.  There are little things for the kiddies to do in the walk thru part.
The giraffes were definitely worth seeing.  Such majestic animals.
We got some great video clips while we were there. 

 All in all, my review of the place is I give it a huge thumbs up!!  It is a must see and worth the 2.5 hour drive from Nashville to see this.  Kids and adults of all ages will enjoy this place.  They also have a gift shop where you can get candy, souvenirs etc.  The bathrooms were clean and well kept.  Well done, Conley Family, you bought a zoo :)  In fact, this whole experience reminded me of the movie We Bought a Zoo.  

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Have a wonderful weekend!