Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Breathe Easy

An interesting article from Runner's World on how to breathe when running....

Sunday, March 17, 2013


I am fresh off a six-week strictly vegetarian diet.  My oldest daughter encouraged me to read Joel Fuhrman's book Eat To Live, and I am a changed person.

According to Amazon:  Fuhrman's restrictive diet plan is designed for clinically overweight people who suffer from a spectrum of lifestyle/obesity-induced conditions like diabetes and heart disease and need to drop a significant amount of weight fast—about 20 pounds in the first six weeks. The basis of Fuhrman's program is Nutrient Density, expressed by the simple formula health equals nutrients divided by calories. Fuhrman's "secret" to optimum health and permanent weight control is giving the body only what it needs. An aggressive six-week vegetarian plan segues into a regimen that includes a limited amount of animal products, like lean fish or egg whites once a week.

For me, this six-week plan was a chance to see if I could live without meat.  And guess what...with a little planning and organization, and a few trips to Trader Joes and Sprouts, I did it.  I learned to plan vegetarian meals using specifically legumes, tofu and alternate sources of proteins. And I realized how lacking I was in fruits and vegetables at most of my meals.  While I was paying strict adherence to Fuhrman's diet, the pounds began to drop.  But I began to add sweets and carbs into my diet as the weeks went by and I saw those pounds creep back on.

My takeaway from this book and my diet is:  I can live without meat.  I never got a bloated tummy like I sometimes do after meals.  And I really can and should fill up on vegetables and fruit for my meals and not always rely on beef or chicken or even fish to be the largest item on my plate.  I don't need diet soda on a daily basis. 

I am going to continue on my vegetarian journey.  However, I am not ruling out the idea of diving into a juicy steak every now and then.  I will consider myself a "flexitarian" as a friend calls herself -- flexible in food choices but striving for clean eating, and making the veggies and fruit the main course of my meal, not meat.

I'll keep you posted.  It's only just begun.  But six weeks in, I feel great and strong and balanced.  And that's a good thing. 

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Runner's High

by Abigail Tucker 

Insights from my daughter, a former high school runner and now a runner for sanity in college!

 I have always loved running...it is something you could do by yourself, and under your own power.  You could go in any direction, fast or slow as you wanted, fighting the wind if you felt like it, seeking out new sights just on the strength of your feet and the courage of your lungs.

I run because it doesn't matter whether I come in first, in the middle of the pack, or last.  I can say "I have finished."  And there is a lot of satisfaction in that.

I run because, not because I think it is doing me good, but because I enjoy it and can't help myself...The more restricted our society and work become, the more necessary it will be to find some outlet for this craving, for freedom.  I know you have to wonder at times what you're doing out there.  I don't choose to run for the time that goes by while it's happening:  it's all about the after effect.

Over the years, I've given myself a thousand reasons to keep running, but it always comes back to where it started.  It comes down to self-satisfaction and a sense of achievement.  The biggest challenge a runner faces is not their physical capabilities, but their mental ones.  When you hit that wall out there, there's only one thing that's going to keep you from pushing forward: your mind.  As a runner, if you turn your mind off and leave it to your legs, you'll reach a runner's high -- the experience where your whole body goes numb and it's nothing but your legs and the concrete.  The motion in your legs becomes effortless.  You stop hearing your breath and everything becomes silent and your feet feel weightless.  Instead of feeling like your inner body temperature is going to explode, it almost feels like ice is running through your veins.  Everything around you becomes white.  It is the closest thing I've come to feeling like the only person or thing left in the world.  And it doesn't seem scary.  It is empowering and defying.  It's the moment where I remember why I choose to get out of bed before the grass is defrosted.  It's the moment where I remember where my confidence comes from.  It's the moment I remember why I was blessed with a body from Heavenly Father. 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Highlights From A First Timer

Linda and Emily enjoying their race

by Linda Miskho

Last Saturday I ran my first half marathon --  The Phoenix Half Marathon.   This was a big thing for me.  Okay this was a HUGE thing for me.  Why?  Because up until a year and a half ago, if someone had asked me if I would ever run a half marathon I would have looked them straight in the eye, laughed a little and then with all seriousness said something like, "I'm not a runner, I hate running, I have bad knees and I have no desire."  In fact, that was the same response I gave a year and a half ago when I was asked to participate on a Ragnar team with 11 awesome women, Lorie Tucker being one of them.  How grateful I am for the power of friendship and a purpose!  Running has become a source of strength for me. 

I don't remember the day that I actually went from hating to run to enjoying it,  but I remember one experience that changed my perspective and has helped me through many runs.  I love running east down Lehi Road in Mesa.  I love that run because I can see the beauty of Red Mountain and the other mountains in the distance.  I love the orange groves.   I remember being so grateful to Heavenly Father for his beautiful creations. And then I had the distinct impression that I should be just as grateful for the ability to be able to run.  I don't have to run but I have the gift of a healthy body and I get to run.  Gratitude

The first thought I had about the possibility of running  a half marathon came to me during a ten-mile leg I had during the So. Cal. Ragnar.  Three weeks before the race my relay leg changed from 4.6 miles to 10.  Who does that to someone?  What a blessing that turned out to be.  I remember during that run thinking how good I felt.  Could I do three more miles?  Could I really do a half marathon? 

The Phoenix Half Marathon was the perfect course for me.  I remember checking out the website and looking at the course map.  We would start and  run right by my neighborhood.  How cool would that be to have my family out front cheering me on?  I was excited about a new goal to train for after Ragnar.   This was definitely one of the most strengthening, powerful experiences in my life. Here are a few tips, tricks and highlights from a "first timer".

Goal: When I first signed up, my initial goal was just to finish the race and enjoy it and not worry about finishing by a certain time.  But as I trained and got stronger I realized that setting speed goals gave me a sense of strength and accomplishment.  I started timing my individual runs and once or twice a week I would try and improve by pace.  Toward the end of training I set a goal for myself that I would like to finish the half under two hours.  I felt a nine-minute-per-mile pace would be challenging.  Two weeks before race day, my running partner, Emily and I set out to run the course as a practice run.  We completed it at a pace of 8:45 per mile.   We were under two hours!  Emily said adrenaline will help us go faster.  We might be able to do 8:30!  At the start of the race we were fast, under an eight-min-mile pace.  Honestly, toward the end at mile 10 I felt like I couldn't get a deep breath.  I remember thinking that when I saw the finish line I would really cry because this is the hardest thing I've ever had to do.  I remember seeing the clock at the finish line and it was all worth it.  1:49.23 an 8:21 mile pace.  Since I'm a first timer any time would have been a personal record but I really knew that it was a PR for me.

Running Friends: I truly could not have run this race without training partners.  I think, actually for me, training was the highlight because of my great partners.  We laughed, complained, planned and motivated each other.  Seriously -- when its only 35 degrees out, you need friends that rely on each other to get you out of bed.  We had great therapy sessions!  On race day Emily and I ran together.  She had run 4 marathons and did the Phoenix Half last year.  She was such a source of strength.  When I would tell her that I was struggling, she would say "Breathe, we got this" or "You're doing great." I needed her.

Training:  We used the Hal Higdon Training, intermediate program for the most part.  It was great to have a guideline to go by, however,  we modified or added miles as we needed.  I did strength training two to three times a week and crossed trained some on the mountain bike.  The part I wasn't so great with was stretching and I realized a little too late how important that step was.  After long runs my hamstrings would be so tight that it was hard to sit for long periods of time.  I'll do better with this next time.

Phoenix Marathon Race:  Being a first timer and not really being able to compare it with anything but the Ragnar, I absolutely thought it was well planned and a great course.  I loved running through neighborhoods and downtown Mesa.  The volunteer aid stations were spaced out perfectly.  My favorite was the finish line and runner's area.  It was organized and the volunteers were amazing.  Words of congratulations were everywhere.  It really made you feel special.   

Now that the race is over I am left with the same feeling I had after Ragnar of "What's next?"  I need something to keep emotionally and physically strong.  As Lorie would say "Dream Big".  That is kind of scary!  Maybe the half marathon again?  Maybe the full?  One My favorite quotes:

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Church of Change

I heard something powerful at church today:  When you change your life, you change your legacy.

I love this. 

When is the last time you made a change for the better ?  More vegetables on your plate, more moving less sitting, spending more time outdoors, bettering yourself.

In my world, my kids are watching, and my family is taking notice.  They see mom getting up early, trying to eat better, and trying hard to set goals and achieve them.  And they are doing the same for themselves.

What is the legacy you will be leaving?  Think about it.  We all want our kids to be better than ourselves, right?

Why don't we all try and make a change - just one little change for the better - today.

Que lindo es sonar despierto.
How lovely it is to dream while you are awake.

Dreams That Have Come True