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
ASPCA
Ironman Foundation
DoSomething.org
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,
XOXO
~Jess

How close are we? This close….

asouthernmother
March 1, 2013

Polio has been 99% eradicated around the World.  How exciting would it be for our generation to say that we saw the end of polio just as the previous generation saw the eradication of small pox?  There are three countries in which polio still exists, Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Pakistan.    The wild polio virus still circulates in those countries.  Humanitarians risk their lives in those countries to administer vaccines, what will you risk?  Earlier this week a Pakistani police officer sacrificed his life while providing security to a United Nations funded vaccination team. Every child deserves a Shot@Life regardless of where they were born.  Hopefully the global eradication of polio is just of first of many victories for World health.  

There were 223 cases of polio reported in 2012 by the World Health Organization.  Germs do not carry passports and equates to 223 opportunities for polio to enter the U.S. through an unvaccinated population.  We have seen the resurgence of measles and whooping cough in the United States due to individuals not being vaccinated.  Geographic boundaries once confined us to a region but we are now a global society.  It is easier for germs to travel than we can with our passports.

Help show the World how close we are to the eradication of polio.  Lend your voice.
Rotary International started the campaign End Polio Now and in partnership with the United Nations Foundation Shot@Life campaign, we are that much closer to eradicating a disease that once devastated our Nation.


The Best Of the World’s Biggest Commercial from End Polio Now on Vimeo.

So you think you want to be a Disney Princess?

asouthernmother
February 28, 2013

Due to popular demand I am blogging about my race experience with Run Disney at the Princess half marathon at Walt Disney World Resort.  It wasn’t as “magical” as I dreamed it might be but it wasn’t a completely poor experience either.

My personal race bib and my team bib.  


The Race Expo was moved from the Disney Wide World of Sports Complex to the Coronado Springs Resort due to events being held at the sports complex.  It was very congested (like most of the race) and very hard to get around.  I picked up my race packet, and made it through half of an aisle before I got frustrated and we left.  I don’t understand why they crowded the aisles into such a very small space, there was still a significant amount of space left in the ballroom.  There were things I really wanted to pick up but I just couldn’t bare to deal with the crowds.  My family and I spent the rest of the day on Friday at Magic Kingdom but I will blog about our vacation experience in a second post.

We spent Saturday at Animal Kingdom.  I waited to pack my race bag which was a huge mistake.  My ear phones disappeared.  I frantically ran out to the local Winn Dixie to pick up a pair.  I ended up not getting in bed til about 11pm which isn’t great when you are getting up at 3am.  If you can’t handle getting up really early, this isn’t the race for you.  I was out the door by 330am and still managed to forget my breakfast.   I drank a 16oz coconut water and some gatorade on the drive over.  

My first piece of advice is stay at a Disney Resort.  Run Disney provides transportation from all Disney hotels.  I stayed at a Disney Good neighbor hotel, Marriott Residence Inn Buena Vista.  It was just a few miles down the road and it still took over an hour for me to drive into the parking near Epcot.  If you are military affiliated, stay at the Shades of Green resort (I will discuss this at length in the vacation post).  The grounds are beautiful, the staff is so friendly, and they have Run Disney transportation. 























Like many large races you will be herded into your corrals much like cattle, and there is a pretty significant walk from the starting entrance to your actual physical corrals.  It is a good way to stretch your legs and stop for a potty break.  Bag drop ends at 430am.  The actual first gun and wave starts at 530am.  You are suppose to be physically in your corral by 5am.  I was in wave G which was 7th.  It started at 617am.  Someone told us that it was easier to get out of the starting gate in the later corrals if you were a decently swift runner.  This wasn’t the case at all.  I am pretty sure you were going to hit traffic no matter what start time you got.  I don’t advise starting later, it gets boring standing around waiting.  Even if a Fairy Godmother is entertaining you…. 


























My adrenaline was starting to wear down before the gun fired and I was exhausted trying to get around 
people out of the gate.  There is something to grab your attention most of the course, so you won’t get bored.  There are forms of entertainment, water stations, character stops, the usual Disney sights, and all the volunteers cheering you on around the course.  I have a love/hate relationship with the character stops.  There are plenty of options but be prepared for significant wait times on all the popular characters.  Mickey/Minnie and Cinderella were both 20+ waits for personal photo opportunities.  I regretfully stopped for both and my photos have yet to appear (I am still crossing my fingers).   I also stopped for Cinderella’s evil step sisters and the castle which were about 10 min waits each.  





I realized later in the race it would be easier to just go back to the park with my medal and get photos later.  The only official race photo I have found so far is my finish line photo.  I really hope my other photos turn up.  This is one I had them take with my Iphone.  The next photo is of Minnie and I on Monday before we left the park.  



It would be much less stressful and the run would be more enjoyable if the wait times weren’t so long for most of the characters.  I don’t see that changing in the foreseeable future, so I would strongly suggest unless there is someone you really want on the course or maybe the castle, don’t stop.  Otherwise, I would wait and take photos on a visit day in the park.  

The run was pleasant.  I wasn’t so winded when I finished that I needed to lay down.  I actually had a phone conversation with my dear friend Myrdin right after I crossed the finish line.  I could never build up any speed on the course it was so congested.  I probably paced about a 10 min mile.  There was an overcast so it wasn’t too hot.  The last 3 water stops I grabbed a powerade to drink and a water to pour down my back.  I strongly suggest hydrating on each stop even if you don’t feel the need.  



I saw alot of people ditching their costumes.  There were people who didn’t run in costume, so don’t feel obligated.  If you decide to run in costume, make sure you do at least a training run in it.  Running skirts are popular.  I did a tiara and tutu.  

It was an overall fun experience.  How many times will you get the chance to run through Cinderella’s Castle?  I am hoping to do it again next year with some friends, and maybe do Wine and Dine in the fall to see if my experience is any different.  I don’t expect the issues with congestion to change.  It is a popular race series and you probably aren’t going to set any personal records on the course.  



I have two other half marathons in the next two months.  I am doing our locally owned and operated half marathon Run the Bluegrass.  It is on the beautiful grounds of Keeneland and set to be a wonderful race experience.  I know Eric Marr and his team have worked very hard to set the bar high for this race.    If you are moving past a 5k but don’t think your quite ready for a half marathon, he is offering a 7 miler which is a good introduction to distance running.  The Rookie’s Run the Bluegrass info can be found by clicking the link.  They are also offering .9 mile kids races which benefit Girls on the Run and the YMCA of Central Kentucky.  I am looking forward to seeing many of my friends Run the Bluegrass. 

I was also fortunate enough to be drawn for the Nike Women’s Inaugural half marathon in Washington, D.C. in April.  Who wouldn’t want a cute fireman in a tuxedo and Tiffany’s finishers medal waiting on the finish line?  

If you have any running or race specific questions please feel free to post in comments or email me.  I will be happy to answer them to the best of my ability.  I am by no means an expert.  I am hoping to do my first full marathon soon and I would love if some of my friends would commit to join in.  I am going to be doing a separate blog post with general Disney vacation tips and another about using the Charity Miles app for organizations like the United Nations Foundation Shot at Life campaign.  

Happy Fairy Fast Friday! 
XOXO
~Jess 






Violence Against Women Act VERY URGENT! Immediate action required!

asouthernmother
February 27, 2013

One Billion Rising has alerted everyone that tomorrow a vote will occur in Congress regarding the Violence Against Women Act.  Please take a few moments and locate your Congressman, and make your voice heard.  

There are two votes happening that need your attention.  
I am cross posting this from the V-Day facebook page because it needs immediate attention:

ONE BILLION RISING V-Day facebook page 

There has been an important and TIME SENSITIVE development with VAWA. 

On WEDNESDAY, February 27th, the House will vote on a rule to proceed with consideration of VAWA. We want them to vote YES on the Rule. 

On THURSDAY, February 28th, the vote on the actual bill will occur. We want them to vote NO on the House substitute bill and YES on the Senate version of VAWA.

Your Congress Members are listening to you! We only have a few hours to act so please call today and tomorrow morning. Members must hear loud and clear that they need to pass the bipartisan Senate version of VAWA! Your work has gotten us this far – let’s get this done!

URGENT ACTION ITEM:

To reach your Congress Member, call the Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121 or look them up herehttp://www.house.gov/representatives/. When you’re connected to their offices, ask to speak to the staff person who handles VAWA.

MESSAGE:

I am a constituent from (city and state) and my name is _________. I’m calling about the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). I urge Congress Member ________ to vote NO on the House substitute bill and then vote YES on the bipartisan Senate version of S. 47. VAWA can and must protect all victims.

Tweet to your Congress Member:

@[congress person’s handle]: On 2/28 vote NO on the House substitute bill and then vote YES on the bipartisan Senate version of S. 47. #VAWA  I have even included twitter handles.  

In Kentucky our members are 

Kentucky

District Name Party Room Phone Committee Assignment
1 Whitfield, Ed R 2184 RHOB 202-225-3115  
2 Guthrie, S. Brett R 308 CHOB 202-225-3501
3 Yarmuth, John A. D 403 CHOB 202-225-5401
4 Massie, Thomas R 314 CHOB 202-225-3465
5 Rogers, Harold R 2406 RHOB 202-225-4601
6 Barr, Garland “”Andy”” R 1432 LHOB 202-225-4706



Twitter handles
https://twitter.com/RepEdWhitfield
https://twitter.com/RepGuthrie
https://twitter.com/RepJohnYarmuth
https://twitter.com/RepThomasMassie
https://twitter.com/RepHalRogers
https://twitter.com/RepAndyBarr

Please know your Districts… Congressman Barr is Fayette and surrounding counties.  Knox County is Harold Rogers.   It only takes a minute or two, there is a link up top regarding other States.   

If you follow me on Twitter you can just RT my tweet and like it.  Please feel free to share!  

Happy Wonderful Wednesday
XOXO




Call to Action: Domestic Violence and Dating, Child Fatality

asouthernmother
February 20, 2013

Warning: This article touches on very sensitive topics so if you’re triggered by the topic of domestic violence then I advise you to stop reading. If you’ve been affected by domestic violence then it’s important you seek legal help to protect yourself. Similarly, if you’ve been wrongly accused of domestic violence then it’s important you talk to a Criminal Defense Lawyer Fort Worth Tx to help fight the charges.


Unfortunately, most people do not realize how easy it is to let your government leadership know how you feel. Generally a quick call to their offices will do. There are two proposed bills that need our support. House Bill 9 and House Bill 290 both deal with issues related to domestic violence.
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Kentucky House Bill 9 This bill would allow dating couples to get get domestic violence protection orders.


It is unfortunate that Kentucky and South Carolina are the only two States in the Nation that do not allow a dating couple to file for a civil protection order. In Kentucky you can only file for civil protection to couples residing in the same home, have a child together, or have been married. House Bill 9 would allow dating couples to receive the same protection. Civil order are often considered more serious. They are often the most quickly executed, and can be vital to saving someone’s life. Civil orders often have extended time frames.
Here is a link to the actual bill House Bill 9

Kentucky House Bill 290 An act relating to the external child fatality and near fatality review panel. Create a new section of KRS 620 to establish an external child fatality and near fatality review panel; establish its membership, duties, and responsibilities; and amend KRS 620.050 to allow records to be provided to the panel. The provision would allow records to be released to the panel to review fatality and near fatality cases in children who were suspected victims of domestic violence, abuse, or neglect. If you would like to read over HB 290, I have included a link directly to the Bill. Kentucky HB 290

One in four women will experience an episode of domestic violence in her lifetime. My brother and a dear cousin both lost their lives to domestic violence. No child should ever die at the hands of a parent or caregiver. A parent shouldn’t have to grieve over the loss of a child, and it is equally devastating for a sibling. I will never get over losing my brother Brandon, and no family should ever suffer the way we did. My dear cousin Angie lost her mother Cathy at the hands of her father. It is never easy to lose a loved one, but it certainly isn’t easy to lose them at the hands of someone you trusted.

It is very easy to call. The number is 1-502-564-8100. Please remember that legislators are elected by voting districts. If you live in the Lexington-Fayette area here are some contacts. You can let the operator know you support one or both of the proposed bills.
The names you will want to give them are
Julian Caroll x 651
Kathy Stein x608
Tommy Buford x610
Alice Forgy Kerr x625
Stan Lee
Ruth Ann Palumbo

Click here for the link to legislators by county in Kentucky

Please make your voice heard. Whether you believe it or not, every voice counts.
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Speak up for those that have already lost their lives to domestic violence. Far too many people struggle in silence, and so much more needs to be done to help survivors of domestic violence feel able to get in touch with a denver domestic violence lawyer or a domestic violence law specialist in their area. You really could help save lives with your action.
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Please and Thank You
Happy Thankful Thursday
XOXO
~Jess

And please feel free to share the link to this blog. We need to spread the word and make our voices heard!

Self-fulfilling prophecy…

asouthernmother
February 17, 2013

How many times have you believed the worst in people or a situation, long before you know enough to make an educated decision?  I am guilty.. guilty.. guilty!  We often develop preconceived notions about people and their intentions.  We can use the theory of self-fulfilling prophecies to our advantage but often they are detrimental to us.  

Self-fulfilling prophecies are known as the Pygmalion effect.  Paul Watzlawick, an Austrian born psychologist and philosopher said, “A self-fulfilling prophecy is an assumption or prediction that, purely as a result of having been made, cause the expected or predicted event to occur and thus confirms its own ‘accuracy.'”  It is the theory that we can sabotage or improve a situation by either negative or positive thoughts about it.  

I wish I could be a perpetual optimist but unfortunately my life experiences have taught me otherwise.  I hate being pessimistic, but it can be devastating to be let down.  I have had people who I put faith in, hurt me and shatter my confidence in others. In reality I know I have (often unintentionally) done the same.  I always expect patience and understand for myself, when I am not always willing to give it freely to someone else.  

“Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.”
~General Colin Powell

I challenge you to be more optimistic about the world around you.  Our children are taught by example.  We can’t steal the hope from their eyes.  We need to be kind, loving, hopeful, and most of all optimistic.   We need them to know they can fail with grace but they can succeed with determination.  

I will use myself as an example.  I am happy to point out that I grew up in a very rural part of southeastern Kentucky.  I am proud of where I came from.  Life isn’t always easy growing up in the foothills of the mountains.  The entire World has a preconceived notion about Kentucky and especially rural Kentucky.  I hate the stereotype that we are all barefoot and pregnant at sixteen.  This stereotype is only compounded by my thick southern accent.  

Someone once asked me, “Aren’t you afraid they will make fun of you?”.   I figured out how to use my accent to my advantage.  It is a conversation starter.  I once spent a large chunk of an evening volunteering at the KET gala entertaining then football coach Rich Brooks and his friends with my accent.  I like proving that just because, “I talk slow, doesn’t mean I am stupid.”  

Instead of walking into a room or speaking with hesitation, I speak with great confidence.  I am determined to undermine the stereotype that hinders many in Kentucky.  I am using a self-fulfilling prophecy to aid instead of hindering myself.  

We shouldn’t lower our expectations of others just out of the shear fear of disappointment.  We should aspire them to greatness with our expectations.  

Happy Spectacular Sunday,
XOXO
~Jess   


Self-fulfilling prophecy…

asouthernmother
February 17, 2013

How many times have you believed the worst in people or a situation, long before you know enough to make an educated decision?  I am guilty.. guilty.. guilty!  We often develop preconceived notions about people and their intentions.  We can use the theory of self-fulfilling prophecies to our advantage but often they are detrimental to us.  

Self-fulfilling prophecies are known as the Pygmalion effect.  Paul Watzlawick, an Austrian born psychologist and philosopher said, “A self-fulfilling prophecy is an assumption or prediction that, purely as a result of having been made, cause the expected or predicted event to occur and thus confirms its own ‘accuracy.'”  It is the theory that we can sabotage or improve a situation by either negative or positive thoughts about it.  

I wish I could be a perpetual optimist but unfortunately my life experiences have taught me otherwise.  I hate being pessimistic, but it can be devastating to be let down.  I have had people who I put faith in, hurt me and shatter my confidence in others. In reality I know I have (often unintentionally) done the same.  I always expect patience and understand for myself, when I am not always willing to give it freely to someone else.  

“Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.”
~General Colin Powell

I challenge you to be more optimistic about the world around you.  Our children are taught by example.  We can’t steal the hope from their eyes.  We need to be kind, loving, hopeful, and most of all optimistic.   We need them to know they can fail with grace but they can succeed with determination.  

I will use myself as an example.  I am happy to point out that I grew up in a very rural part of southeastern Kentucky.  I am proud of where I came from.  Life isn’t always easy growing up in the foothills of the mountains.  The entire World has a preconceived notion about Kentucky and especially rural Kentucky.  I hate the stereotype that we are all barefoot and pregnant at sixteen.  This stereotype is only compounded by my thick southern accent.  

Someone once asked me, “Aren’t you afraid they will make fun of you?”.   I figured out how to use my accent to my advantage.  It is a conversation starter.  I once spent a large chunk of an evening volunteering at the KET gala entertaining then football coach Rich Brooks and his friends with my accent.  I like proving that just because, “I talk slow, doesn’t mean I am stupid.”  

Instead of walking into a room or speaking with hesitation, I speak with great confidence.  I am determined to undermine the stereotype that hinders many in Kentucky.  I am using a self-fulfilling prophecy to aid instead of hindering myself.  

We shouldn’t lower our expectations of others just out of the shear fear of disappointment.  We should aspire them to greatness with our expectations.  

Happy Spectacular Sunday,
XOXO
~Jess