Category Archives: Fitness

Full Circle

In February of 2010 my distance running journey was kicking off and  I was training to run my first half marathon when I wrote this – Running from Crazy.

Seven years and several half marathons later I am planning to run my first full marathon tomorrow in Austin. So much has changed and so much has not. One of things that has not – that list of reasons why I run.

For all of those things that have changed, well those are reserved for another time and another series of posts.

I run for many different reasons:
to stay heart healthy,
to counter the calorie consumption in my favorite pasta dishes and chocolate,
to chat with the Lord,
to chat with myself,
to let the Lord chat with me,
to listen to good music like New Edition’s Candy Girl,
to dance…you lookin’ kinda cute in that polka dot bikini giiiiiirl,
to get out my anger and frustration,
to mourn,
to be thankful,
to feel (because sometimes I just get in a rut and cannot feel things),
to get away from crazy,
because I am crazy!

Training has been a wild ride, filled with lots of ups and downs (including lots of hills). But, I’m going into tomorrow trusting that I’m prepared and ready to face the road (and the hill after hill after hill…gotta love Austin!) that lay before me. My only goal is to successfully cross the finish line, preferably on my feet. There is not stress over any specific time, just to complete the course. Not too different from the goal I had seven years ago.

The other thing that’s not too different about tomorrow is the anticipated weather. Only the race in 2010 was in May and located in Beaumont, TX where warm temps and humidity are the norm year round. But you know…Austin has to stay weird. So why not warm, muggy weather in February? It’s all part of the fun, right?!?!

The one other thing that cannot go without mention is my absolute admiration and love for Girls on the Run. In 2010, I had stumbled across their website and was just becoming acquainted with the organization and their mission. My active participation with GOTR did not really begin until 2012, but it’s been life changing.  I am so thankful for the opportunities to be a part of this group and the friendships that I have gained in the process. Including my running buddy who will be on the course with me tomorrow.

The wheel has come full circle. – William Shakespeare

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The Synergies of Community

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This last week I had a special opportunity to help out with one of the coolest organized social runs I’ve seen in the area lately.

Team Red, White & Blue is a community designed to enrich the lives of veterans through social and physical activities meets every Wednesday at the VFW Post for a social run.

Street 2 Feet is a local non-profit organization that promotes strength and self sufficiency through the discipline and joy of running designed for our homeless community.

IAAP is a locally owned athletic advertising and promotions company that works closely with many of the non-profits in the area.

Team RWB invited Street2Feet out for their regularly scheduled social run this last Wednesday and IAAP brought out timing equipment, chips & salsa (the best home made salsa ever I might add) and yummy aguas frescas to enjoy after a hot summer evening run in San Antonio. Other running groups, vendors and food suppliers also showed offering support, treats and goodies too.

S2F RWB Social Run 2

Minka and I went out representing Girls on the Run, and help with serving up those tasty chips and salsa. I am fairly certain that for every 3 plates we served up we had to stop for a chip and salsa snack of our own. It was dang good salsa, y’all. I’m getting off track though.

RWB and S2F Social Run

I remember sitting in the theater watching a production of the Lion King several years ago. By then end of the show I felt like I had been right in the African Kingdom of Lions. I was drawn in by  how well the actors connected with the audience and the lighting, music and backdrops were so well designed and placed that I lost track of the fact that I was sitting in a plush theater. I left the theater humming Circle of Life and thinking through just how those lyrics applied to my own life.

Observing the coordinated efforts of the individual communities was just like watching a theater production. At Girls on the Run, we help the girls understand that each of their unique abilities, skill sets, and interest allows them to each play a role in their communities. And just like in a theater production, there are many roles that have to be filled. When everything comes together just right, a theater production will stir, move, and inspire an audience.

Team RWB, Street2Feet, IAAP and all the other groups that showed up to be a part of this event – YOU ALL deserve a standing ovation! The result of your efforts was definitely greater than your individual contributions. There was a sense of joy and gratitude that filled the air through the evening that was sure to inspire! Thank you all for your thoughtful contributions that are helping to change the world.

S2F RWB Social Run

Thank you, Mr. Fear

Try a thing you haven’t done three times. Once, to get over the fear of doing it. Twice, to learn how to do it. And a third time to figure out whether you like it or not. – Virgil Thomson

When I was a child I remember feeling extremely fearful much of the time. Some rational and some not so rational. I was afraid that I would fail a test, fall at dance class, be attacked by a snake, choke when I was eating, fall off of building, get hit by a car on my bike, dinosaurs would roam the earth once again and snatch me out of my bed and eat me in the middle of the night, break bones in gymnastics class, forget Bible verses in Bible drill, not know  how to kiss a boy when the time came, that I was adopted and my parents never told me, that Santa was not real…oh the list goes on and on.

Fear is an interesting thing.  I am not sure that I ever fully overcome it about some things, but I’ve learned a healthy respect for it. Even in circumstances where I have faced the dread and found joy in doing those things that originally scared me, there lingers still a hint of fright. The hangover of fear becomes my fuel, my motivation to keep going. It’s the very thing that makes me believe in something bigger than myself. . It’s the intersection of faith and fear that allows me to live beyond myself, remove boundaries, and  really experience life. Because this life and earth we live on is a scary place most of the time.

Distance running scares me. Last weekend I ran the furthest I’ve ever run – a whopping 14 miles. It’s the first time I’ve gone beyond my race distance in training for a half. I’ve always been too scared to go further.

Each weekend when my long run rolls around, my belly fills with an anxiousness that is like a tiny million ants crawling around and my head swarms with thoughts in so many directions that I often never find a deep sleep the night before. Fear of how hard it may be ,and how tired I may feel, and whether I my endurance will hold up, all nearly have me calling in sick to the next days scheduled training run. But I step out of myself, take a long hard look in the mirror and tell myself to trust my training, trust the workouts (even the dreaded sprints), trust the strength I visibly see bulging in my legs, trust my running buddy,  and  trust the Lord. Then I slip on my shoes and head out the door before the sun rises to face my fear head on.

So, thank you Mr. Fear. If not for your existence, transformation in my life might not be possible.

Reason #4,579 that I LOVE Girls on the Run is because of the amazing transformation that happens in the girls lives over the 10 weeks they are together. As s former coach, I have seen the possibilities realized and love to watch the girls learn about their #limitlesspotential. They learn how to face fears and overcome obstacles and find joy in the process. You can help support them by supporting me. Just click here to make a donation of any amount. Race day is just 2 weeks away – eek!

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The making of a pearl

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The formation of a pearl begins when an intruder such as a grain of sand or grit enters between the two shell layers of the oyster and the protective layer that covers the oysters organs. The mollusk quickly begins to coat the irritant with a mineral layer called nacre or mother of pearl. Layer after layer of the nacre produces the iridescent beauty of the pearl.

Pearls have always been my gem of choice.

I love their simplicity.

I love their rawness.

I love their durability.

I love their timelessness.

I love their understated beauty.

At the time I was setting this blog up and selecting a name, I realized that I had a strong tendency to gravitate to one pair of earrings in my overflowing jewelry box. Just before stepping out of my bedroom door each morning,  I pilfered through my collection, holding up one pair and then another to find just the right compliment for that days wardrobe selection. As if without thought, I would lay down all of the colorful dangling beauties and slip on my simple, understated, classic, lovely, durable pearl studs, grab my gym bag and run out the door.

I also very much love a good running skirt and the feminity it brings to a good schweaty run. Hence the name Run Skirts and Pearls.

An irritant in my life is what started it all, this love affair with running. Running has become my protective layer that turns the unwanted intruder in my life into a the understated beauty of a life lesson.

But then there are days, where running is the grit and I the pearl. I thrive from the simple, raw, durable, timeless strength and beauty that I see in myself when it’s all over. And you can bet your bottom dollar on that raw part…makeup-less, sweaty, stinky, flushed, and downright disgusting.

So here is how it went down yesterday. A double whammy day that included an irritant begging for a protective covering to sooth the soul.

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And nothing less than merciless grit to get me up and down that half mile climb. Pure, true grit.  When it was over I emerged raw but durable, and simple yet timeless. Plus I had a pretty good shimmer going on from the sweat pouring off of my brow.

 

 

 

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We are all Superstars!

At Girls On the Run we give away Energy Awards to help reinforce and reward positive behaviors. Superstar is one of my favorites. This could possibly be because I watched way too much SNL during the 90’s and in so many ways identified with the awkwardly, spastic and nutty Mary Katherine. But, I am getting off track…big shout out to all of you SUPERSTARS out there that kicked off this fundraising effort with me! I could not be more grateful for each and every one of YOU!

This Sunday wraps up week 4 of the 17 week training plan with a 7-miler.  I am feeling stronger than I have in quite sometime and I really attribute this to the  yoga I’ve added into my workout routine. Yoga has been not only a place where I have found some happiness on my mat, but good golly, Miss Molly…my hips are seeing some flexibility they haven’t seen in almost 18 years. Bring on the Sun Salutations.

Last week training was briefly interrupted. I squeezed in a quick end-of-summer get away in which I sat on the beach, watched a cross-fit group work out all day in some sort of crazy beach workout, while I sipped on an ice-cold shandy, stared at the ocean, and read a mindless book. It was the best. Especially the part where I watched the cross-fit group work their fannies off. I wanted to jump right up and give them each a big Superstar shout out!

beach

Due in great part to you Superstars, fundraising is moving right along. If you haven’t made a donation yet, you too can be a Superstar  by clicking this link. Read up more about my fundraising efforts on prior posts and learn why I love this organization and how it is impacting the lives of so many little Superstars! Pay close attention to the part where you CAN make a difference.

fundraising dashboard

 

In honor of the late Don Pardo, let’s talk SNL a little more today… do you have any favorite characters, sketches, years, writers? Or do you all have an affinity for Mary Katherine and Superstar like I do?

 

 

What CAN you do?

I posted over at Girls On the Run San Antonio blog this week. Check out what Coaching for this organization means to me here.

Amy Coach

I am not Coaching this season, but embracing my ability and desire to make a difference by running the Shiner Half Marathon in November as a SoleMate for GOTR. I’ve set a fundraising goal of $500.00 because I CAN run, I CAN rise to the challenge, and I CAN start to change the world right here in my local community.

We believe that every girl
can embrace who she is,
can define who she wants to be,
can rise to any challenge,
can change the world.
Can.

You CAN help make a difference too by making a donation to my cause.

Shiner training Mapmyrun start week

This week training officially kicked off.  I ran just under 15 miles this week and I am challenging at least 2 of you to donate $15.00 each. That is  just $1.00 per mile per person.

We can do this incrementally together, friends. I’ve got somewhere in the neighborhood of 250 miles to log before race day. If together we can come up with $2.00 a mile over the next 12 weeks, then we will have this thing in the bag and you CAN know you helped make a difference in the lives of super special young ladies!

Here is the link for making a donation:  Amy’s donation page.  And if you missed the first challenge in this post, there is still a really cool GOTR T-Shirt available for the first person to make a donation.

Recently I have come across articles and conversations about the fulfillment and passion for a purposefull life. I find fulfillment in my involvement with this organization because I personally have a passion for health and fitness and for children. Girls On the Run is where it intersects for me. Where do you find fulfillment, passion, and purpose in life? Do you have a cause that aligns with those areas of life you feel are important and bring meaning to your life?  

 

 

 

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Looking forward

“Some people spend all week looking forward to Friday. Some people spend all year looking forward to Summer. Some people spend their entire lives looking for happiness.”

Upside down, hips lifted high in downward facing dog this last Friday, I let these words just sink in to my soul the same way beads of sweat were starting to slip down my spine.

“It’s Friday and it’s summer. What don’t you have to be happy about?”

Deep breaths in and out. I recounted my self to soul chat earlier in the car that went a little something like this…

It’s Friday. It’s summer. You ARE going to this Vinyasa Yoga class to sweat your arse off and stretch your achy, old self out after a week of daily running. Of course you are going to go in because you don’t have anywhere else to go on this Friday night and other than this class, the most exciting thing going on this weekend will be your trip to the grocery store and a marathon evening of watching the season  two of Orange Is the New Black.

(If you didn’t pick up on the subtleness in my self chat above, happiness has been a bit elusive lately. You know how sometimes life can happen? Well, it did. And it’s been tough. But, not impossible. Just not necessarily happy.)

As we worked through our first vinyasa flow and I settled into my intention, that instructor made my day when ABBA’s Dancing Queen came blaring from the speakers. Right there in that moment I found happiness on my mat for that full hour. Yes. I. Did.

How can you not with an 80’s themed Hot Vinyasa class? Seriously people?


As it turns out, I have been living weekends mostly looking forward for to Mondays.  With the ABBA and Friday Hot Vinyasa combo I’m definitely looking forward to this coming Friday!

Where do you find happiness when life happens? Have you tried hot vinyasa? How about hot vinyasa and ABBA combo….experienced that? If not, you definitely should.

P.S. If you missed this post you should read it. Then you should visit this page and help me out by making a little donation.

 

Falling in love all over again

It’s been a long journey of healing from an injury in January. I’m still not fully recovered, but somewhere along the way I lost that loving feeling for running.

This morning though…I rekindled my love affair with running.

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Quad-dominant, Quad-dominant, Quad-dominant

“Shut your mouths and listen to me now,”  when spoken by a particular spin instructor at the local Lifetime  can be interpreted as “welcome to spin class everyone!”

No kidding.

The dude is hard-core serious about his class.

Over a year ago I happily bounced into this guys class knowing none the different, hopped my happy butt on a bike and got moving. Until he spoke. It was THE most intimidating experience in a spin class I have ever had and I never went back. Until last night.

My workout schedules for the week are planned around when this guy doesn’t teach, so when I realized I screwed up and managed to end up in his class last night, I decided it was time to buck up and get it done. I dragged myself to a bike in the back of the room. Lolly-gagged around with the settings and climbed up for an easy warm-up. 

As others trickled in, the back of the room quickly began to fill up around me. Everyone seems to like the back of the room in this class…could this be a direct correlation with the  instructors style? Hmmm… I was suddenly surrounded and feeling a bit claustrophobic.  I am not a fan of a crowd when I’m working out.

On the front row I spotted a couple of empty bikes and found myself in a real bind. Do I dare move and put myself front and center for the militant spin instructor or hang out leisurely with the rat pack in the back feeling like I was crammed in a sardine can??

What the heck?! If I’m in for this torture, I might as well be all in.

Front and center, music blaring, and all I could think was “Jesus help me.”

And guess what? He did. Jesus, that is but if I have to be honest so did the instructor. I survived and even left there with a whole new appreciation for this guy.

It is true, he plays no games.

He loves his spinning and has no mercy.

But he loves his pupils.

And like Schmidt from New Girl in the video below, I’m pretty sure he wants us all to leave there better than when we walked in…

P.S. Do you not just love Schmidt?! I’d sit next to him in a spin class any day.