7th April 2011 | Megan
Beans, beans the magical fruit,
The more you eat the more you…
…get 10% of your protein, 25% of your fiber and 10% of your iron needs for the day. Not only that, this calcium rich, B vitamin packing legume will help restore your energy and provides an excellent quality carbohydrate. As a Mexican food addict, I started making homemade refried beans when my children were really young. It seems there is always a container of them in the refrigerator, ready to be dipped into, scooped out of or just smeared onto a tortilla.
Homemade “refritos” are low-fat and super easy to make. This recipe is free form; the ingredients can vary in portion or type, depending on your preference. It can be used with pinto beans or black beans. I prefer to make mine simple then customize it with salsa, cheese or hot sauce depending on my taste of the moment. By making them with these four simple ingredients, it leaves the bean “base” to built upon by the user.
On a weekend night, my husband will mash the beans for me while I get the rest of dinner ready. It is a great arm workout. By the way, the picture below shows a red onion, not my preferred choice but it was what was in my pantry.
4th April 2011 | Megan
When I grew up my father ran marathons. I am not sure if I totally “got it” since it was when I was busy being a teenager. He was an 8th grade math teacher and it seemed he ran in the middle of the night to get it in before he headed to school. I do remember going to at least one marathon, The Avenue of The Giants, watching him run and finally appreciating why he trained so hard. His face at the finish line said it all, radiant and glowing, the day was his.
My father was within minutes of qualifying for the Boston Marathon. Back then, the standards were tougher, the sport a bit more Spartan and stoic; it seemed only the athletes running understood the magnitude of the race. Today, the race has swelled; the popularity of the marathon so big that this year the race sold out in less than a day, leaving thousands of qualified athletes without the opportunity to compete.
With the Kodak 3×5 picture of my Dad that day engrained in my mind, I began my running journey at age 30. I wanted that feeling behind that face, to experience the sense of accomplishment that made him smile. When I started running, so did the world. Perhaps everyone had seen what I saw, running became the “it” thing. It started when my younger sister, Mele, called me and asked if I would train for the Big Sur Marathon with her. I had never even run a 5K. I accepted the offer and took off running; investing in books, watches and gear to keep up with my new found hobby.
Mele lived in Northern California and I was in San Diego. She had run a marathon before, I had never even run a 5K. I struggled the first month as I went from never training for a race to THE BIG SUR MARATHON. I would map my long runs from my house straight up Pacific Coast Highway to Oceanside. Then my husband would pick me up. I was afraid to circle my house for fear I would just quit and head home. I followed a program perfectly, devoured anything marathon which at that time meant reading a book. No access to the world wide web of information, I bought every magazine I could find about running.
The day before the race I understood from all of my reading that I was to “carbo-load”. I walked around Monterey and proudly ate a loaf of sourdough bread, then topped it off with a huge plate of pasta before falling into a deep carb coma. I was going to have a great race!
The race went well, except for the 10 minute bathroom stop to lose the 10 pounds of carbs I ate the day before, I was hooked. I figured out the reward of setting a sport goal and reaching it on that day. My sister was proposed to at the finish line (yes, she already knew him) and my parents and family were there to celebrate.
So this year, many marathons, triathlons, and other races later, my journey was to come full circle. My sister, Mele and I were to celebrate our running past with a “sister run” at the Boston Marathon. I was thrilled, how neat to be able to run a race together nearly 15 years after she encouraged me to run Big Sur. Then I hurt myself (see blog post, “Detached, Attached”), partially tearing my hamstring in October. I encouraged Mele on Boston registration day to sign up, thinking I was going to be recovered and running. We planned, she made airline reservations and off to training we went. Well she did, I knew that my hamstring was delicate but I also knew that I have run so many races at this distance that I had time to throw in the bigger mileage at the end of the training, no problem.
Last week, three weeks before the Boston Marathon I called Mele. “I can’t run”, I told her, then paused for a reaction. My heart was heavy with this logical decision but I reassured her how much better it would be as now I could support her throughout the race and cheer at the finish! It was all a consolation to our original idea; two sisters running the Boston Marathon together, in honor of our father and in celebration of our running lives, which spanned proposals, weddings, children and our adult lives.
In two weeks, I will be a cheerleader for my sister. She will get to experience the magic of the Boston Marathon that I have enjoyed many times before; hang in the early morning at the athlete’s village in Hopkinton, run up Heart Break Hill and finish to the cheers of thousands on Boylston Street. She is a lucky girl! I am envious but more proud that I will get to support her. Our father inspired us to run but it was Mele that pushed me into training, challenging me to register and put on the race bib more than 15 years ago. I can’t wait to find her at the finish!
23rd March 2011 | Megan
This article was originally written in March 2009. I reprise it here because I feel strongly about what it says. This Sunday night is the first training night of the 6 week RLAM Training Plan. Whether you are doing it alone or with a training group, the goal is the same. In order to improve your fitness, you must put yourself out of the box, not into danger, but you must challenge your mind and your body so progress will happen! Get out and Run Like a Mother!.
Yesterday was a day about tests
I always have felt that as we age (gracefully), we must continue to challenge ourselves or our brains will go stale. It is easy to fall in the habit of the same day in /day out rituals, living comfortably within ourselves. When we don’t take challenges, we age. When we take challenges, we grow …does that make sense?
So Sunday morning I raced in a criterium bike race. Seems simple since I am a triathlete, right? Wrong, triathlon is a race in which one can not be within 3 meters of another bike. In criterium races, you can smell your competitor’s breath, touch their handlebars and rub tires. The race I did was my third experience in a series of races called the Bethel Spring Series. I talked about trying these races all winter, then they came.
The first race, I got dropped by the peloton (the main body of cyclists in a race) and had to cross the finish line in dead last. The next race I hung in, frightened out of my mind. It is 45 minutes of super fast cycling in close quarters with a lot of jostling and jockeying for position.
Yesterday, I raced again,this time with two of our kids watching and two great friends for support (and a friend’s husband who documented the event). I think I invited them to come because this style of racing is so uncomfortable to me that I needed pressure to stay in the race. By the 5th lap, I could feel my oatmeal coming up, by the 12th lap, I felt my heart ripping a hole in my shirt (I was certain). I had a top 20 finish yesterday. It actually does matter (OK, I am a bit competitive) but it doesn’t. What matters is that I did something that wasn’t comfortable, wasn’t “in my box” and challenged me. I loved it!
Last night was the first training session of the Run Like a Mother training series. There were over 70 women out on a beautiful Sunday evening at the RHS track. Eric Hodska, the RLAM coach, brought his wife and kids. There were 8 incredible helpers to support the session. Most of the women that were there last night were challenging themselves in a way that was uncomfortable or foreign to their bodies and minds. Learning what intervals were, how to pace, breath, foot-strike and how to train properly for a run or walk goal.
It was incredible! Smiles, laughter, some panting but in all a great evening of women working within their limits but at the same time expanding their horizons. Sounds goofy but it is true!
Run Like a Mother is about challenging yourself a bit further than you thought you could. No, you don’t need to be a mother to run, just a woman up to being out of the box for a bit!
9th March 2011 | Megan
“…to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do we part: and to that I pledge you my faithfulness.”
I said these words to my husband on our wedding day, way back when. Those special words usually reserved to communicate your commitment to a loved one can also apply to how I feel about running. A sort of silent spouse, my “Sister Wife” (ewww, but you know what I mean)of sorts, one that shares my ups and downs, supports my thoughts and challenges me constantly. I have tried to never let it engulf me or obsess about it, rather treating all the components of my life as equally as I can. It is this balance that keeps all the other pieces of my life in check.
I learned to love running; what it does for my mind, my heart and my body, not immediately but after a few years. I learned that the euphoric feeling was an absolute gift but even more so were the times that I struggled, wanted to give up, or was just plain uncomfortable. I embrace those mental and physical moments as “strength training” for my brain. It is because of my running that I have learned to deal with the terrible times in my life.
I share this today because for the last several years, I have wanted to share this feeling, this love with as many women as possible. I want those that felt they couldn’t exercise to become familiar with not just the physical aspect, but to see that the mental element can save souls. Their own soul, their spouse’s, their children’s, their friend’s even their dog’s. Not kidding.
Then the sisterhood benefits …don’t EVEN get me started here. The friendships I have made, the lives I have shared, the good, and sometimes the not so good, running has given me a social life like no other. I wouldn’t trade it for a bunco party or a book group!
Run Like a Mother® has been my obsession for many years now. I think constantly about how to engage the Mothers of this Universe (ok, maybe U.S.) to learn to love this sport. Now, it is happening. I invite you to take a moment and check out the new site (www.runlikeamotherrace.com), witness the launch of two new race locations (three in total), and how you can participate even if you aren’t near a Race on Mother’s Day this year. Run Like a Mother®’s website will grow into a landing spot for women’s running. One in which you can get the encouragement you need to get out there, the technical support and injury prevention that is needed to maintain your habit, all while being the best Mom you can be. You can take the vows or perhaps you already have…maybe they just need to be renewed, wherever you are in your running, I hope Run Like a Mother® becomes a landing spot for you.
So welcome, come join the fun, be a part of the community and for goodness sakes, Run Like a Mother®!
9th February 2011 | Megan
This has been an especially trying winter for me. Likely the same for anyone that lives anywhere but Florida. It has been cold, slippery, nasty and downright uninviting for most of us. Last year from January to October, I logged over 5,000 miles by bike and by foot, 99% of it done OUTSIDE.
The OUTSIDE portion of my training is what my life is about. I have never been great at being inside. Mostly because I view my exercise as a brain activity and being inside doesn’t seem to exercise that as well as it does outside. Just ask my husband about my lack of outside workouts. He would likely tell you about my irritableness, my lack of workout motivation and malaise. Over the years we have invested in indoor equipment because we have lived in areas that aren’t always conducive to outdoor workouts. That being said, there is little that deters me from being outside. If it is cold, I layer. If it is wet, I cover. If it is snowy, I snowshoe. If it is icy, I use Yaktrax on my shoes. I will do almost anything to be outside. Except this year, it all changed…
I partially detached my hamstring at the Ironman World Championships in October. This injury has totally thrown me. (To read about the injury click here … http://runlikeamotherrace.com/blog/page/7/ ) Physically, mentally, as a wife, a mother and an athlete. With cardio coming to a screeching halt for several weeks, I went to physical therapy, Active Release Technique therapy and did what I could to rehab. Then came the stress of the holidays, the first of the year and here I am, desperate for the rush of endorphins, the camaraderie of friends and the blast of energy that outdoor exercise gives me. I have spent the last several weeks on a bike trainer and a treadmill in the basement, watching episodes of Toddlers and Tiaras, counting every painful minute as they trickle by.
I am ready to be OUTSIDE! Oh, but OUTSIDE isn’t ready for me. Piles of snow make the roads too narrow to navigate, slicks of ice make my footing unsure and the cars coming at me seem to feel the same way. Because my hamstring would not like quick changes of pace or quick contractions on ice, I am sentenced to remain inside until the thaw.
To aid in my recovery and try to stave off interior boredom, I recently purchased a TRX suspension system. I attended a clinic put on by Eric Hodska at Bethel Cycle (www.hodska.com or www.bethelcycle.comboth show a video of the class) on how to use the system. The TRX is a strap suspension system that costs about $180 and can be easily anchored to a door or overhead bracket. It is also great because you can travel with it.
So for the last two weeks, I have opened the booklet that comes with the system, remembered what Eric taught me and performed a twenty minute quick workout twice a week. UGH! Somebody rescue me! I am a terrible indoor exerciser combined with my “oh, that’s plenty of reps” attitude, I was headed for disaster.
Yesterday, at the encouragement of a friend, I attended a TRX class. Now, I am not a class type of girl. For many it works, but for me and life’s crazy schedule, the thought of DRIVING to a class has never worked. I would rather head out the door for a run and savor the precious minutes that commuting steals. I went to Elevation Spin (www.elevationspin.com) in a neighboring town for the workout. The studio is barren (in a beautiful, zen way), with white walls, exposed wood beams, mirrors and the hurtful TRX straps suspended from the ceiling. For one hour, we strengthened, stretched, huffed and puffed our way through the workout. Michelle, our instructor, helped me with hamstring modifications and smiled and encouraged as I struggled through the workout. I hated every minute of it, a good hate as I knew it was doing the trick. As a personal trainer and someone who has exercised on top of exercise, it is great to be nudged in a new direction.
The TRX suspension is a great strength addition for a cardio junkie. It is done with no weights, no barbells or machines, just two straps hanging from the ceiling and your own body weight. It can be modified if you are injured or weak with easy progressions made by body position. EVERY muscle in your core is worked to maintain balance and control. I am certain had I paid more attention to strength last year, I would not be injured.
Today, as I write this, every muscle is crying. I rode the trainer this morning with legs that felt the need for some sort of lubricant before they got going. I am always an advocate of putting yourself in a situation that challenges you or makes you feel uncomfortable. Yesterday I succeeded at this. I am not a indoor, exercise class kind of gal but I am learning. I have already signed up for several more weeks of torture or at least until the snow thaws…
TRX Suspension can be found at www.fitnessanywhere.com Run Like a Mother is not affiliated with this company in anyway.