Sunday, May 2, 2010

Lately I've been thinking about running. It comes to me almost like clockwork, every Spring, after the Winter doldrums, snow, sleet, ice and cold have passed. The birds are singing their melodic and sometimes sporadic tunes that wake me as the morning comes and the windows are open. I don't mind so much waking up early on a weekend when I know it will be spent doing something, anything with the warmth encompassing my entire being, mind, body and soul. If all that happens is that I sit outside on the back deck, Rascal demanding to run inside and then come back out again 10 times every hour, and the kids needing to be pulled out of the cave-like situation that Silvano has created with the house "shut up" and every blind closed. As long as the feel of the day is the laid back Summer feeling, even in the beginning of Spring, every day is a fabulous one.

With the all encompassing Spring Fever that inevitably happens during the first full week of lovely weather and the aroma of fresh flowers blooming, my mind automatically drifts to thoughts of running. This year I have in my possession a beautiful new treadmill in our basement. Silly to think of running on a treadmill in a dark basement when the weather outside is simple perfection, I know. However, in the last two weeks I have begun my Spring through Autumn quest for the elusive mile and that mile has been reached on this wonderful piece of endorphin producing technology. I've taken myself from zero to ten in a matter of days after 4 months of "taking a running break." Ten isn't a feat of epic proportions, but it was truly only after those 10 miles that that real running bug invaded my heart. Once again, it is inside me, waiting to get out. I want so badly to welcome it, and yet I feel trapped; obliged to say no to this magnet on my spirit until after I complete the daunting task of taking the first set of state exams for my newly anticipated career as a teacher. The exams are next weekend and I feel as though I cannot allow myself the time, when I truly have the time, to run, when I should be studying. It is rediculous, I know. However that stark realization does not make the thought of climbing aboard and running any more palatable to my demented mind. Martyrdom? Perhaps, but only to myself, so what's the point? However, it is what it is, and it is how I have operated for as long as I remember.

But tonight the pull was strong. It has been 6 months and 9 days since my first marathon. The day in October, 2009, at 41 years of age was up there with the best days of my life: My wedding to my best friend, the birth of my two children, and my first marathon finish.

As I watched a movie tonight about a teenager who wants to win Boston and produce a miracle to wake his mother from a coma, an almost irrational fear came over me. Where was my finisher's medal? Last time I remember seeing it was in November when it hung on our refrigerator with the gymnastics and wrestling ribbons of my children, and also accompanied by my first "Third Place" ribbon for our local 3.5 miler. If it's important, it has a place on the fridge for at least a little while. But where was it now?

I finished the movie and went to the kitchen. Almost as if I was opening the refrigerator door for the third time in a row, hoping in anticipation that something new and delicious will suddenly appear out of nowhere, I hoped in vane that the finisher medal would still be hanging there. It was not, of course, and then the search ensued. In the kitchen drawers and in the built-in cabinet: could Silvano have put it there in an effort to tidy up? But then it hit me at 10:30PM on a warm Sunday Spring night. I moved Rascal's crate and went into the built-in to get a flashlight. Upstairs quietly so as not to wake the sleeping loves of my life, I snuck into Brennan's room and heard him breathing so deeply and methodically. It is truly a sound as sweet as waking to the singing birds outside my window. By the small stream of flashlight light, I opened his closet door to where I keep my various race numbers and running related newspaper clippings. And there it was, under a couple of random pieces of paper - my finisher's medal from my first ever marathon. 26.2 miles of joyful memories and a foolish relief came over me like a wave. My adrenaline surged and I smiled in the dark as I thought to myself "I think I'll go for a run on my treadmill tomorrow."

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Creating your own destiny

Hi there! I'm back from a fabulous 4 day ski vacation with my family and a family of friends. The kids were exhausted and happy by the end of every day and so were the adults. Skiing, swimming, racquetball and outdoor hot tubs were a daily occurance for 4 glorious days, and we all walked out of there with our heads in the snow covered clouds.

I didn't do so well with the vegan quest on this trip, however. It seems everything you can order in a mountain top restaurant is either meat or cheese laden, and I fell into the cheese trap almost every day. But you know what? I'm not letting it get to me. I've jumped back on the v-wagon as soon as I got back home. Life is good.

I did, however, notice that I'm not feeling as good as I was prior to the cheese diving of the weekend. Neck and shoulder aches are back, and I"m looking forward to rehealing these areas with honest plant based eating, relaxation, positive thinking and acupuncture. Oh,the great things you can do for yourself with such little effort. Amazing stuff, really.

I've been reading a lot about the power of positive thinking and the life force in your world. You reap what you think...think positively about what you want (a healthy life, a loving family, a carreer you truly enjoy, a warm, cozy home) and it will come to you. YOur body is open to accept it. Think negative thoughts (my job stinks, I always have this ache or this pain, my house isn't big enough, I don't have as much stuff as the Jones') and you will attract negativity - thereby perpetuating your own situation. I've heard and read about many solid examples of positive thinking reaping positive outcomes (try - Taylor is a PRIME example!!) and just now, while reading some of Taylor's blogs, I realize that it is happening to me right now! I just never realized it!

I left 2009 with aches and pains that almost constantly lead to migraines. Daily friggin migraines! :) But then I decided to make the change. I implemented positivity into my life on a daily basis. Positive energy in, healthy body and positive outlook out. It's working! I have actually been a bit perplexed as to why, after 3 weeks solid of daily migraines, did I make up my mind to heal myself naturally...and voila - no migraines since then! Why didn't it hit me how powerful my positive energy, thinking and changes I've made in my life have been? As soon as I sent the positive energy out, I in turn got the thing I was looking for - a migraine free existence! WOW!!!

It's all right here, girl. I'm my own newest known living proof that you get back what you put out. No more dwelling...only heart swelling and energy exuding. And now that I realize just how powerful this way of life is, WATCH OUT WORLD! I'm COMING OUT!!!! I can't wait to see what life brings me.


Thursday, January 7, 2010

Green smoothies, vegan cookies and accupuncture

All the are wonderful things, to say the least!

What a day today has been. There has definitely been work stresses (many, many work stresses) but the things I have been able to squeeze into the last 15 hours are truly healing and wonderful. Lets reveiw, shall we?

* Started the day with a bowl of organic red grapes, 1/4 smooth, ripe avocado and a slice of delish 10 grain artisan bread. (YUM!)

*3o minutes on the bike followed by an hour Centergy class (yoga/pilates/stretches/strength training/folds/spine twists...simply amazing stuff)

*Vegan stir fry with loads of veggies, vegan "steak", cashews, curry and brown rice and a few raw/dehydrated flax crackers I whipped up this morning. Vegan peanut butter chocolate chip cookie (homemade and frozen - True therapy for the stomach and soul.

*Accupuncture and green smoothie. Allow me to just say that I've spent my my entire life petrified of needles (the worst part of having 2 children was the intravenus needle that had to stay in my arm - UGGH!), and I was just SO ready for this natural healing (migraine healing) technique that it was really an amazing experience. And thank you to my friend Adrienne for getting the teeny tiny needles for me. :)

*Get kids home from school, homework and more stressful work stuff. But then I had 2 smoothie orders from the kiddos (one chocolate almond milk and banana and one pineapple/mango/winter squash/vanilla yogurt and almond milk) so I made one for myself. Soy yogurt, almond milk, peaches and mango. DELISH and so healthful!!

*My passion (one of them) is cooking and baking. So, I made a batch of vegan chocolate chip (half whole wheat flour) cookies. Can I just say, again,!

*Finished the night off with a free class by my accupuncturist and raw food chef friend Adrienne. She's creating a 50/50 diet plan (lifestyle) promoting 50% raw vegan plant foods and 50% "other". It's basically how I live my life. It was invigorating and lovely to see Adrienne's work play out to the "public". My "work husband" (lol!), who I'm pulling into the raw/vegan world little by little (I'm not even totally entrenched in it myself, so it's nice to have company on the journey!) came out to attend with me. Met some sweet people, tasted 2 more green smoothies (by tasted I mean 2 rather large glasses!) and the best nut pate I've ever had on crispy romaine. I'm SO making that! You could totally serve that as an appetizer at a party and noone would even think twice about it being "raw vegan" because it's just so darn YUMMY!

*And the exciting part is I won almost a whole gallon of freshly made green smoothie at Adrienne's lecture. Yahoo!!

So, it's been a great day. Tomorrow we leave for 3 days of skiing in Maine. I'm looking very forward to the getaway, and getting out there on the slopes with the fam-damily and our friends. Fingers crossed for a migraine free weekend!

Have a stupendous day, and TGIF (well, tomorrow).

Hugs and namaste,

Creating a beautiful day

Good morning.

Have you ever taken yoga? It's an incredible cathartic experience as well as invigorating. Amazing stuff, really. And in just a couple minutes I'm going to put my work aside, and drink in those wonderous asanas.

I've had a great run of veganism so far, and I'm loving every single minute of it. Truly and honestly loving it. I feel so amazing emotionally, which I'm sure is helping in my migraine free days.

Work has been as stressful as I had anticipated - one issue after another. The stress in my neck that I felt as I drove into the office driveway after 13 days of vacation is still here and I"m just working internally at alleviating it. Deep breathing, calming thoughts (very purposeful calming thoughts), eating when I want to so as not to "obsess" (I tend to obsess about food and fitness) and stress from that, and also not stressing about not hitting the gym in a while. I'm doing ok., however this morning I'm feeling a potential migraine coming on, so I'm meeting it head on (ba ha ha!) with a heated neck wrap as I write this and the knowledge that I'm going to go hit the stationary bike for a 1/2 hour followed by a Centergy (yoga/pilates/strengthening/stretching workout) class, and THEN my very first acupuncture treatment. WOW!!!

So, here's to calming thoughts, deep, cleansing breaths and trying new things. Have a wonderful day!!


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

My lunch date

Good Morning!!

It's a lovely New England Winter morning, and I'm happy to say I got through my late night Board meeting last night and am back in the office today with a smile on my face. You know why? Because I'm SUCH a foodie that I went to bed last night thinking about this GREAT new raw restaurant that opened months ago a mere 2 miles from my office. I mentally reviewed the menu in bed last night, and woke up raring to go to work with the knowledge that I will be EATING there for lunch today.

And the best part? My friend is driving into the city to meet me there at noon! Yippee!!

Salad, Kombucha and AMAZING chocolate Torte. Mmmm...

Breakfast was yummy organic grapes, avocado and about a 100 grain bread with vegan butter. Great way to start the day, let me tell you.

I'm feeling GREAT and migraine free again today. Life is GOOD, folks! Day 11 of veganism and feelin' fine.

Have a wonderful day!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

A little about my "running" history: My first 5 miler!

Hi there! One of the reasons I wanted to blog was just to share a bit about myself and my journey into fitness. I came from a not-so-fit place. S.A.D. diet (including LOTS of meat, fried stuff, fast food, beer, etc.), minimum exercise, although I really wanted to work out more, and major yo-yo dieting! YIKES!! Now, top that all off with the smoking (how stupid!!)I started with a college friend Freshman year, and continued till I found out I was pregnant with my darling daughter 10 years ago, and you have the makings of one un-healthy chick!

I wanted to work out harder than the 30 minute aerobic dance videos (you know the ones, pony tails, bright pink leotards, leg warmers - c'mon, you've been there!), or the 3 mile power walks, but the smoking did me in. Why did I continue? I knew it was reeking HAVOC on my body, but 1) I was young and invincible, 2) I was addicted as hell! Can you say MAJOR addictive personality? Yikes!

I had always said that the only way I'd be able to quit was when I got pregnant. And it's exactly what happened. It was one of the best days of my life, finding out we had successfully made a living being, who I was sure would be the center of my life (and she is...) and the hardest day, trying to give up what had such a lock-hold on me. But I did it! Had cravings for about 2 or more years, but I DID it!!! Chalk one up for moi. Smoke free for 10 years. :)

So,that nasty habit being kicked, and my diet going from SAD to Veggie-rama (more on that transformation later), I started running. Wouldn't go far. 3 miles was the norm. It took a mere 1/2 hour and I could be out and back before anyone knew I was gone. And it felt GOOD!!

I ran from 2001 - 2008, 3 to 3.5 miles at a time. Loved it, but wanted more. I still had the "I can't run long but I can run frequently!" mentality (remnants of smoking mentality.) But one day that changed. One day in September of 2008 I was sitting at work and had a mental breakthrough. Out of the blue, I got it in my head that I was going to double my distance. I was going to run 6 miles that day!!! But could I do it? The doubt was there, but I squelched it with my adrenalin kick. I went out to a great sports store at lunchtime (a bene of working in the city!) and got a pair of new running kicks. I Launched my plan of doing my first ever 6 miles at the local track by my house, and I could hardly wait to get home! But it was going to be hard...

Ya know what? Getting my Masters while working full time was hard. Giving birth to 2 children was hard. Not eating cookies after 8:00 is hard...but not THAT hard. I was strong. A bit flabby on top of the muscle, but I was strong and motivating more every day to stay strong.

And it HAPPENED! I ran 5 (not quite 6) miles for the first time ever. Ever!!
Unfortunately, what I though were fantastic new NewBalance kicks turned out to be "high arch" kicks, and I, my friends, apparently do not have a high arch.

I skipped out of work early on a beautiful sunny afternoon, and I went to the track with the magical, mystical number of "6 miles" in my head. Had been thinking about it all day. Don't know why 6 miles, but it is what it is. Maybe it's just because 6 miles is a nice, even 4 times around the track on all 6 lanes. 24 times around the track = 6 miles. Whatever, it seemed like a good enough goal.

Out I go. Even had my friend and our kids with me. My friend was encouraging me every time we passed on the track (she is a walker/runner) and the kids played. But my son, 6 year old love that he is, cheered me on good and loud whenever he looked up and saw me run by. LOVE that!

At 3 miles (2 sets of all 6 lanes) I was at my usual "phew" place. Ie: "Phew, I made my usual 3 miles, I'm tired but that's because it's time to stop." But I knew I had to go on. I wanted to go on. All I could think about was that I wanted to go home and tell my hubby that I ran 6 miles (he's so proud of any of my running accomplishments - thank you baby!). I wanted to shout it out to my friends who I would regularly walk/run with. I wanted so badly to be able to share my 6 mile accomplishment with everybody I knew!

At 4 miles I was still going strong. "Only 2 more lanes and then I'm on my last set of 6...I can SOOOO do this!" But I started doing it with a limp. I could feel the blister starting on my arch. In my new sneaks! AAAHHHH! I can do it. I can plug through.

By 4 1/2 miles it was really painful. With each step I could feel this blister thing growing. I was so aware of each step, I didn't know if I could even finish 5 miles. But I persevered.

At 5 miles ( I honestly don't think I've ever run 5 miles before...4 1/2 I've done once or twice but not 5) I physically felt like I could absolutely finish the last 4 lanes and make my 6 mile goal. No problemo with the legs and the breathing and the psyche. No problem at all. But this BLISTER must be the size of my foot by now and I was running with the right foot turned in. I didn't think I should do this for another mile. I figured I'd better just adjust the sneaker or something. So I finished mile 5 and "pulled over". Took off the shoe, took off my sock and saw the quarter sized blister pulling apart my arch. Well, everything else feels ready to finish that last mile, so back on with the sock, back on with the shoe, and I was about 5 steps in and I just couldn't even walk. Probably shouldn't have even stopped at all. But I had a 3.5 mile race that Sunday (4 days!) and if I made this monster even bigger, I wouldn't be able to do my race, and I'd waited all year for this race. I LOVE this little local race that I had done every year for what seemed like ever. So, I limped over to my friend, gathered up my kids and limped to the car.

But you know what? I RAN 5 MILES!!!!! FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER!!!! Oh-my-God I was so excited!!!

And after my 3.5 mile race that Sunday, I took a few more days of blister healing time off, and got BACK to the track, with NEW shoes, and RAN THAT 6 MILER!!!!!!

It was exhilarating, from the beginning to the end.

From there it was 5Ks, 10Ks, a 1/2 marathon, and just this past October, my first 26.2 mile MARATHON! Running is in my soul. Who knew? I guess I did. Just needed to get out from beneath the smoke and find that runner-girl. And ya know what? She kinda rocks! :) :)

Anyone else got some cool "first timer" stories to share? I'd love to hear them!

Hugs and fabulous runs!

Back to work ~ the migraine/work connection. :-P

Good afternoon and happy Tuesday! Today's my first day back in the office after a leisurely and lovely 13 days off. Ah, yes, back to life - back to reality. But what I've found was absolutely astounding, and not in the best of ways. I don't know if it was the orthobionomy treatment my good friend Cynthia gave me a week ago (a kind of extremely gentle body work), or the now 10 days of a pure vegan diet I've been feeding my body, or the pure joy and relaxation of being home with my hubster and youngsters, but I have not had a migraine in DAYS! Other than the brutal case of strep throat I somehow contracted on vacation (but I was o.k. with it! antibiotics and rest abounded!) I haven't had a headache in, lets see...4 days today!! FOUR DAYS MIGRAINE FREE!! YIPPEEEEE!!!!! Mind you I was having the pesky buggers almost daily for 3+ weeks before the holidays. Now - NOTHING!

OH, and the strangest part? I haven't been taking my nightly preventative medication, either. Migrain free - naturally! WOW!!

BUT...(creepy haunting movie music in the background) the closer I got to my office this morning, the tenser my neck and shoulders became. WTF!? By the time I was walking up the stairs in my building, I almost had a headache. Back, neck and shoulders are surely tense. But as of yet, it hasn't manifested itself into my head. FINGERS CROSSED, PEOPLE!! LOL!

So: stress. #1 cause of migraines in Terri. I thunk it, but now I know it.

Oh, well, at least I KNOW it!

At the moment I"m eating a FABULOUS salad from The Kingdom (a.k.a. Whole Foods), wrapped in Nori sheets. Boy, howdy it takes some talent to eat from a nori sheet, and I don't have it! But mmmmm, mmmmm is it YUMMY!

Well, that's all for the moment, folks. I hope you have a wonderful Tuesday. Take care!!