19th January 2011 | Megan
A few weeks ago, I re-”friended” a woman on Facebook. I say re-friend because I think we were always friends, at least in the real world, we had just lost touch decades ago. Erin responded with acceptance, (phew), and wrote a beautiful note to me explaining that she had something of mine from our childhood, that she had kept safe all these years and wanted to return it.
There are so many amazing things about this story that it has taken me a week to even grasp the depth of the connection. Then even further to think of were the two of us have been in the last 30 or so years, what we have experienced in the time not knowing each other and how our lives paralleled in so many ways. I feel a bit desperate and sad knowing that both of us have experienced some pretty rough spots in our lives and that perhaps we could have been of help to each other. However, we have weathered the storms and perhaps this connection is meant to be a gift for now and the future.
For several days, I waited for the arrival of her package. The girls came up with the mail on Tuesday with “it”. There it was, a paisley padded mailing envelope with my name written in the most identifiable handwriting from yesteryear. If it wasn’t for the girls, still backpacks on their shoulders, pleading me to open it, I think I would have been happy to stare at the package itself for a bit longer. Seeing Erin’s handwriting brought back a flood of memories. While my handwriting has diminished to scrawl, hers never changed. I felt 10 years old again.
The first part of the package was a color copy of a birthday card that I had made for Erin when we were twelve. A quirky poem, (did I write it or is it a Hallmark knock off?, not sure) and a picture of the two of us hand in hand roller skating. Then, several more photos, another roller skating, one from the photo booth at the fair,… the memories come flooding back. How did Erin slip out of my life? Different high schools, different paths and then we grew up and out. We lived for several years less than 20 miles from each other and never knew it.
So as I marveled at this unexpected gift, happy to know that she had cared for this note for so many years, then a little pink tissue package fell out of my hand and another note. Here is part of what Erin wrote;Dear Megan, I hope you enjoy your bracelet as much as I have enjoyed saving it for you all these years…..I have to tell you that I have consciously and caringly made sure this sweet bracelet of yours has stayed safely placed front and center in my jewelry box all this time, never moving it for fear it would get misplaced, and every time I would open that box and see it, I would smile and remember our friendship and fun times together…In a sentimental way I felt privileged that the bracelet ended with me, it held such fond memories of our youth. I enjoyed the responsibility of preserving it to someday return it to you…. it was a symbol to me of some of the sweetest and meaningful memories and friendships of my childhood…
And so Erin’s writing goes on, personal and heartfelt, touching me in a way that I am reduced to a puddle at the kitchen counter. My kids have now deemed me weird and can’t believe this little bracelet has created the tears running down my face.
The letter goes on reminding me that if I decide to wear it now, that it is not my address anymore…. amazingly though my parents are still at the same address and have the same phone number.
I quickly fired an email off to Erin and told her I needed a few days to respond. In those few days, I have had time to realize how important a person she was in my childhood and how now she has come back with this gift at the right time in my crazy adult life when a little bracelet brings such light. I have not taken it off, I am not sure I will.
The bracelet is one of those goofy ID tags you ordered off the back of Parade magazine (after you ordered your 10 records for 99 cents, only to owe your life later). It is silver with “I Love You” in French, Spanish, Hawaiian (so random) and English on the front and the back has my personal information. I remember sending away for it and waiting by the mailbox, just as I did last week, to receive it once again. We all had them and as Erin pointed out it would be helpful if we ever skated ourselves outside of the city limits.
In the few emails we exchanged, I found out that Erin and I had run the same marathon a year apart. That she took up running during an extremely difficult time of her life and how it saved her. Erin was a beautiful runner growing up, one whose grace on the track made running look effortless. I am excited to know that she returned to running and that it helped her. While Erin was on the track in junior high, I was in the middle, throwing things, discus and shot put. Never would I imagine that running would now be such an integral part of my life. How I use it for the same reason most of us do, to remain sane and strong, to free us of lives struggles for brief moments of a day and to strengthen us to carry on.
And so now three decades later, my bracelet is back on my wrist and Erin is back in my life. We are “all growed up” and reunited. I am hopeful to see her in person this summer. To give her a hug, thank her for being the keeper of my bracelet but mostly to say it has been too long. Thank you Erin, for this incredible gift, you have no idea…
8th January 2011 | Megan
Whew! Happy New Year! We are already eight whole days into a new year, a new decade and for many a new start. I always use January 1st, well actually more like the 3rd to rehab my diet, (the college bowl games don’t allow for a diet makeover), review my athletic goals and try to make a dent in my desk. It is now the 8th and I have rehabbed my diet, reviewed my athletic goals and my desk is still in a pile. Mostly because the first two, I look forward to doing. The third, ick. I will never be good at organization. Much like doing exercises in the gym, it is easier to perform the ones that are easy than tackle the ones are uncomfortable.
So today, the 8th, I will try to tackle my desk. So far, I have read the NY Times, taken the dog for a long walk, made pancakes, eggs and other breakfast items (I am a short order cook), cleaned the kitchen and assigned chores. Now I sit at my desk. What am I doing? Writing.
Getting started is the hardest part.
So is starting an exercise program. Both the desk and the exercise program can seem cumbersome and awkward if too big a picture is in front. I am going to look at my desk as many elite athletes planning their training year. These athletes take the entire year, chose their key event then break the days into phases. The phases below are loosely adapted from Joe Friel, a renowned endurance coach, and author of many books that take into consideration sports science and his own experience.
The Preparation Phase: An easy way to look at the Preparation Phase for a traditional athlete is a way to promote exercise adherence and improve your health and fitness through consistent exercise at a lower heart rate. Training yourself to train.
For the desk organizer, it would be the act of sitting down at the desk and feeling comfortable with the action and the arena.
The Base Phase: Generally the longest period of the season. This is when an athlete is steadily increases the volume to boost endurance and ready the body for increased workloads.
For the desk organizer, this is when I look at the piles, move them around, re-sort them and get them ready for the EVENT.
The Build Phase: Marks the introduction of anaerobic-endurance training. Intervals, hill work and weight training is fine tuned to avoid injury but is key to the improvement. Non-key races can improve fitness and be a barometer for the training at hand.
For the desk organizer, I believe this involves the many trips I have to get up from my desk to find something else to do (intervals and resistance training). However it also marks my ability to actually move through the first few mounds at a pace that seems to be working.
The Peak Phase: This is the time that the accumulation of all your phases pays off. It is time to reduce your volume while keeping the intensity high. Lean and Mean happens here.
For the desk organizer, the process is happening. I have to begin to streamline the actions. Piles on the desk begin to become more specific piles on the floor. The engine is revved up and ready to read, review, file and recycle. (I thought I went paperless?!?)
The RACE: This is it! The reason we have been training. Race, work on refining and recover. Ahhh… the fruits of the phases have prepared you well.
For the desk organizer, it is the finale, the visible black blotter that appears on your desk, your favorite pen uncovered, your glasses found and that darn permission slip you were sure was sent in weeks ago turns up.
So you see, taking my most hated chore and putting into work-out speak, a place that I am comfortable, helps me accomplish the goal. I have only made it past the base phase, but am feeling hopeful that it will get done. For 2011, find a goal and then break your weeks down into phases. Accomplishing the steps in phases makes the goal not seem like such a mountain. Before you know it, you will be at the top!
Happy New Year! Now, I must work on my desk…
27th December 2010 | Megan
This morning, as I was doing the post-holiday refrigerator clean-out, I noticed an unused bag of spinach. Hmmmm…. what to do with it? Since it is about 18 degrees out, with hurricane like winds and snow falling, I decided a quick pick-me-up soup would be best. Here is what I came up with…crazy healthy, low fat, full of iron and protein and a huge side benefit!… it tastes good! I like it loaded with hot sauce and crunchy croutons but could also support chicken or even rice.
One serving is a little over 100 calories, a gram of fat, 10 grams of protein, loaded with potassium, 60% of the RDA of Vitamin A and 40% of Vitamin C.
RLAM Strong Like An OX Spinach Soup
created by Megan Searfoss
- 3 cloves garlic, pressed
- 1 small white onion, diced
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 2 medium potato, peeled and cubed
- 2 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 2 1/2 cups lowfat 1% milk
- 9 ounces spinach, 1 bag or more
- 1 dash pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1. Heat oil in medium pot or Dutch oven. When glistening, add onion, celery and potato. Saute for 5 minutes. Add garlic and saute a minute more.
- 2. Add Chicken Broth and Milk. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, then cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
3. Stir in spinach, then cover and simmer for to more minutes
- 4. Cool slightly, then transfer to blender, (working in batches as warm liquids expand in blender) and blend until smooth.
- 5. Return to pot and season to taste.
- Servings 6
- Notes: Wonderful with sriracha sauce or other hot sauce as condiment or a dollop of sour cream. Top with croutons!
16th December 2010 | Megan
I have a side sport. I love to cook. Many moons ago, I went to school to become a doctor. It didn’t happen, but the residual “scientist” in me uses cooking like a lab experiment, adding and subtracting ingredients until the perfect blend is achieved. Usually I don’t write these concoctions down and forget about it once it is devoured, then later reconstruct again, tryig to recall what made it so good the first time.
Mostly I cook for taste, meaning full-fat recipes. I don’t like to use substitutes when so much flavor is derived from the real thing. I would rather eat less of something and have it cook correctly then try to reduce the calories on the whole recipe sacrificing flavor, moisture and texture. THIS IS WHY I RUN!
So, with that thought, I have reconditioned a favorite recipe. One that can be made quickly and given to your running partners after a holiday run. It is healthy, kid friendly, but sophisticated enough to be cool for your best running gals. The best part is that it is an evolutionary recipe, meaning it can evolve into a dessert recipe with chocolate chips and coconut or remain in the snack- health bar arena but with raisins and pecans or whatever you like. It is easy to fill these bars with antioxidant rich foods, such as cranberries, almonds, orange and oats as shown in the pictures below. These Bars can be cooked crispy or tender and chewy, they are as versatile as a mother and athlete need them.
Here is the dilemna… Run Like a Mother® needs a name for the bars! Something that personifies a healthy active lifestyle. Put your thinking caps, take a good hard look at the pictures and come up with the name. The winner will receive RLAM official gear. Please go to the Run Like a Mother® Facebook page to be considered. One winner will be chosen on 12/17.
Run Like a Mother® _______________ Bars
Ingredients: Oats, dried cranberries, sliced almonds, orange juice and zest, olive oil, honey, brown sugar and a lil’bit of molasses… recipe to follow, once the bars are given a name.
4th December 2010 | Megan
One of my dearest friends is having a milestone birthday this month. Joyce is one of the first women I met when our family relocated to the East Coast. She called and invited me to run with a group of women that meet on Sundays. During the phone conversation, I listened to the enthusiasm and encouragement in her voice and decided to take her up on the offer.
And so it goes, the beginning of my running friendships on the East Coast. The group of women that inspired me to create Run Like a Mother, but this isn’t about that story.
The ORL (original Racy Ladies) are getting together today to celebrate Joyce. Our group has grown in the past four years so it is rare that the eight of us get together alone, still we will be one shy today as Kim has moved to Texas.
Last week, the emails started flying, what do we get Joyce? Gift certificate, workout clothes, fun spa essentials…? We quickly determined that we needed something memorable, that she could keep with her and know how special she is to all of us. So the search began.
Today, there are millions of quotes, songs, poems and other words of inspiration that are emblazoned on jewelry, clothing, pictures, bumper stickers and plaques. Words are powerful but what rings true to one person might not mean anything to another. I scoured the internet looking for the item that might represent what Joyce means to us. Difficult!
After several hours, I realized why this was so troublesome. How do you cram all the laughs and cries that we have experienced as a group into a gift that can be fit neatly in a box? How can you take all the runs, races, road trips, and Steve’s Bagels meetings and package it with a bow?
Our running group is likely duplicated again and again all over the world. Women getting together to share those stolen moments away from reality to be “little girls” again, giggling, teasing, and sharing, with the added benefit of a run. It is a sacred time. We have weathered some bad life experiences and celebrated some wonderful milestones and running grounds us all. The Racy Ladies have supported dreams and carried defeats while training for 5Ks, then triathlons and even marathons. It really isn’t about who does what, we just support the effort to get to help someone reach a goal.
So to our friend Joyce, your bracelet we gave you is a mere symbol of what we give you and you give us on our runs. If our runs could be bottled, we would be millionaires. Thanks for being a wonderful friend, training partner and Racy Lady. Happy Birthday.