Running for My Life

July 21, 2013

There is a saying that food is the most over-abused antidepressant while exercise is the most underutilized, I whole heartedly believe this is true. I have found myself in that vicious cycle of overeating to calm my nerves on more than one occasion. It took me years to realize what I was doing, and what I was doing to my body. The last few months have been some of the most tumultuous of my life. I am dealing with my own emotions, the hurt I feel for my son, and a complete overhaul of my personal, social, and professional life. I worry about getting drawn back into an unhealthy lifestyle, and trying to cope with day to day stressors without turning to food.

I am generally a healthy eater. I grew up on a farm and we always had a garden. I have helped stake tomatoes, hoe potatoes and turnips, and pick beans. I am not a fan of fried foods, they actually hurt my stomach. I do have a vice for chocolate, and just about anything sweet. My great grandmother and I would make homemade peanut butter fudge, blackberry dumplings, peach cobbler, or some other delicious treat several times a week. My active childhood made it easy to burn off the calories but my metabolism slowed down with age. I gained a significant amount of weight following my brothers murder, the birth of my son, a terrible injury associated with his birth, and serious problems in my marriage. I am pretty sure I ate my feelings, and I cared for a baby alone so I was unable to be as active as I had been. Oh and there was the breastfeeding, I have never had such an insatiable appetite in my entire life! I ate double what I normally did, and I didn’t loose weight like everyone else. I wasn’t having any sex because of the problems in my marriage, so I wasn’t even getting a workout from that! And although its fun, visiting hd porn video doesn’t have the same calorie-burning effects as sex.

Two years ago, to everyone else I had everything I ever dreamed of. A beautiful son, a successful spouse, and a very comfortable life. Sadly, I looked in the mirror and I was miserable. In my eyes, I was fat and unhappy. The only source of joy in my life was my son. We were living in Bogota, Colombia so my options were limited. I was stuck in a hotel suite with Gabe while Arturo worked, and he didn’t get in til after 5pm. Bogota gets dark shortly after 6pm, and it isn’t the most hospitable city after the sun sets. The weeks were very long and lonely. I missed my home, my friends, and most of all the woman I use to see when I looked in the mirror. It wasn’t just my weight, I was unhappy with myself, and choices that I had made.

We lived at the J.W. Marriott and luckily they had a well equipped gym. I heard my friends chattering on Facebook about the Couch to 5k program, and I decided to check it out. I would be ready to go to the gym when Arturo arrived from work, and I pounded the treadmill. It wasn’t fun. I suffered a slight bought of altitude sickness after I arrived in the city, and I was unable to use the local remedy because I was still breastfeeding. Coca plant leaves are boiled to make coca tea, and routinely sold legally on the streets of Bogota. It is the same plant used to manufacture cocaine, and I was always apprehensive about ingesting it. My overweight, out of shape, post-pregnancy, and breastfeeding body really struggled the first weeks at 9,000 feet above sea level. I just pushed through the lack oxygen and tired muscles.

Physical pain is nothing compared to true emotional pain, and I used this motivation to just keep running. My sweat felt better than tears. I found a positive way to channel all my negative emotions. Less than a year later, I would finish a 12 mile Tough Mudder, and start my journey towards a full marathon. I have several half marathons under my belt and I completed those without great difficulty. Two of my prized possessions are my Tiffany Blue Nike running shoes, and my Tiffany & Co. finishers medal/pendant which I received for completing the inaugural D.C. Nike Women’s half marathon.

In two weeks, I am helping Bluegrass Junior Woman’s Club with our Foam Run Foam 5k which will benefit our charities. It will be a very easy course at Masterson Station Park here in Lexington, Kentucky. I hope runners and non-runners alike will come out to help support us. It will be a great way to help out several very worthy causes. A great way to help out several national charities is to use the smartphone app Charity Miles. You can earn money for each mile ran, walked, or biked.

There are days that I feel like I am running for my life, but in reality I am. I run for my health, my sanity, and my love of cupcakes. I want to set an example for my son about living a healthy lifestyle, physically, mentally, and emotionally. The next few months I will have to push myself, and I appreciate all the encouragement from others. My first full marathon will be the Marine Corps Marathon in October, and the weekend before I will run my first Bourbon Chase relay with the team Merry Pranksters. I have my eyes set on a triathlon, and who knows maybe even an Ironman one day. I am trying to make the best of each day and each run, one step at a time.

Happy Smitten Sunday,


Why do you run?

Lately I have been getting the question, “Why do you run so much?” I have the simplest response, “Once you have endured real emotional pain, you figure out a little physical pain never killed anyone”. I survived the emotional turmoil that was caused by the murder of my brother and a few miles definitely won’t kill me. My brother was a runner, actually the true runner in our family. When I hit mile 10 of the Disney Princess Half Marathon the remix of Forever Young came on my shuffled playlist.
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I knew my brother Brandon was running with me. He will always be forever young to me.

I also really like the motto of Sean Astin and his Run3rd crew.

“I run 1st for my myself, I run 2nd for my family, and I #run3rd for you.”
~Sean Astin
Running is very cathartic for me, just like writing. It helps relieve some of my pent up stress. I think, I sing, I cry (and rarely from physical pain). There is no drug – in my humble opinion – that could ever give me the stress relief or mental clarity that running does. Though I recognise we all have our different ways of coping.
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I do have friends who use galaxy glass pipes to take medical marijuana to help navigate their stress, as well as their exersise routine. Apparently it doesn’t just serve as a destresser but also as a reliver of joint and muscle pain so it may be an option if you’re considering running as well. Nowadays several online shops sell low odor strains for those who need help but don’t like the smell, which means that more can enjoy it and feel that sense of relief. I know for me, the run is what I need the most and I highly reccomend you try it out, not just for your mental health but for the health of others?.

How can we run to help others? Thanks to Smartphones and an app from Charity Miles, it is super easy to do charity while you run (walk or bike). You simply download the Charity Miles app which is free, swipe your screen to start and select your charity from a vast list of organizations.

I am not sure they could have made Charity Miles easier to use. I have heard of people using it while they are shopping at the mall, working (great for healthcare professionals who are on their feet in a clinical setting or hospital), and you can even help a charity while doing very dreaded house work!
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The app is absolutely free and ridiculously simple to use. They don’t spam your email or harass you. They use our everyday tasks to help out a whole variety of charities.

Two of my favorites are:
United Nations Foundation Shot@Life campaign which advocates for global vaccination
Wounded Warrior Project which provides life saving and sustaining services to wounded service members.

All of the current charities include:
United Nations Foundation Nothing But Nets
United Nations Foundation Girl Up
United Nations Foundation Shot@Life
United Nations Foundation World Food Programme
RED the Global Fund
Every Mother Counts
The Nature Conservancy
Pencils of Promise
Partnership for a Healthier America
Habitat for Humanity
Autism Speaks
Feeding America
The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research
Stand Up To Cancer
Wounded Warrior Project
Ironman Foundation
Achilles International

Please help spread the word about the Charity Miles app and the wonderful organizations that profit. It is an incredibly easy app to help some very deserving charitable organizations.

Happy Thoughtful Tuesday,