A Day Away for $10 (or FREE!)

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Mom’s need a chance to get away! Well, here’s your chance. The DiscoverYou Holistic and Wellness Expo is happening this weekend at 100 Twin River Rd, Lincoln, RI.  The event  focuses on your mental, physical and spiritual well-being.  There are a variety of holistic inspired activities and over 25  inspiring speakers. Over 100 exhibitors will also be present to educate you and offer holistic services and products.  The expo takes place this Sunday on 4/3 from 10am to 5pm.  What’s great about this event is that’s it a chance to get-away for only $10. Actually, it’s normally $10 to pre-register or $12 at the door. However, I wrote an article on the event for Patch.com and Susan Lataille, the organizer of the event, gave a discount to readers as well as allowed me to raffle off a free ticket.    Check out the article for more details on this event, along with info on  a discount and a chance to win a free ticket!  Here’s to you health!

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(VIDEO) Early Intervention is Key to Helping a Child with Autism

Proof That it’s Never “too late” to Find Your Passion!

Now I am sure there are many of you out there right now who are all trying to figure out how to balance your busy lives.  We are always trying to juggle a variety of things, which can include any of the following: spouses, children, working, cooking, shopping, paying bills and keeping your house running in some kind of organized fashion, just to name a few.   We can all understand and relate to these issues and then you take me, a  40 plus-year old, divorced and now single mom of an 11-year-old-boy who is also working a full-time job.  As if that wasn’t enough to keep me busy, I decided to throw training for a FULL marathon into the mix.   26.2 miles!!!! 

“Have I always been a runner?”  Well, that answer would be a profound NO!  Truth be told, I did not like running when I was young.  So who would think that after all these years I would be getting ready to run my first marathon in less than two months?  Correction…ATTEMPTING to run a marathon!

It started almost two years ago, when one of my friends approached me to see if I would like to run a 5K road race.  This would be a 3.1 mile race run through the streets of downtown Providence, Rhode Island.  She gave me a training schedule, and my first thought was “Where on earth will I find the time to do this?”  I was eventually able to run about three-miles without completely passing out,  but as the race date was starting to loom over me, I woke up one morning with the worst cold I have had in a very, very long time.  It took almost two weeks for it to run its course (no pun intended), and that brings us right to the day of the race.

“How am I ever going to do this when I have been sick and have NOT RUN AT ALL?”  This thought and a million more terrifying thoughts were going through my head the whole morning before the race.  My son, my parents and my boyfriend were all there for the big day, and all that kept going through my mind was,

“Will they need to call an ambulance for me?”Tight shot of runnings shoes Well, the gun went off, and so did I.  I did eventually cross that finish line and the feeling of accomplishment and pride was so overwhelming to me.  As I was just getting over that dreaded cold bug, I had officially caught another bug — the “running” bug.

So, now we jump ahead two years, and I have run in almost 26 road races, which include a number of 5 and 10Ks, along with two half-marathons.   I will be celebrating my two-year anniversary participating in the exact same Cox Road Race in which I had started.  The only difference this time is instead of it being a 3.1 mile race; it will be a 26.2 MILE RACE!!!

Looking back now, making that decision to start running was one of the best things I have ever done for myself!   Considering how crazy life is, I was able to find something just for me which,  in turn,  has made me a happier and healthier person.   If each of you can find that “something” just for you, the rewards for yourself are incredible and so worthwhile.   This is something that may not happen overnight and like me, it could take 40 plus years to find, but once you do… enjoy it!  For all of the things we do for everyone else, we all deserve to do something just for us!!!

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Why Runners Get Hooked

People are always amazed at how much I love to run. But it didn’t start as a love affair….it started more as a silly boyfriend you date solely because he has amazing eyes. There was only one thing I loved about running in college, and that was that it gave me a maximum workout in minimal time. Sometimes, I hated every step. I don’t remember any run being over five or so miles, and most were more like three. I have to admit, though–that even early on, there had to be that post-run endorphin thing that I got, perhaps even subliminally, because nothing else is going to get you out in the freezing sleet and snow in rural Ohio, even if it is a “good workout.” Although I was athletic in high school, running was never a part of the game.

Typical Ohio day...

Typical Ohio day...

My running started to evolve a bit as I ventured out to Arizona for graduate school. Suddenly, I was mapping new routes.

Typical Arizona day

Typical Arizona day

I found some new friends to run with, and I entered a 10k. Shortly thereafter, I entered a half-marathon, and some duathlons (running and biking), and then, finally in 2000, my first marathon. I still wouldn’t say I loved running, I wasn’t even sure I liked it. But I am a creature of habit. I thrive on discipline and routines, believing that these things actually allow me to be more spontaneous. In my masochistic mind, working hard makes the playing more fun, and then being spontaneous seems like a deserved reward.

My first marathon was everything it shouldn’t have been. Any normal person would have thrown in the towel. To start with, it was an inaugural race. This is a bad idea because the race directors have had no time to figure out what “works”. I will tell you what didn’t work….the route. It was on a rural course where we sometimes saw no one for miles. People got lost. They ran out of water. Farmers were cutting alfalfa. I had an asthma attack due to said alfalfa. Then I got rocks in my shoes and re-tied them too tightly. Then I felt my feet bleeding. Then I threw up. Then I shuffled, hot, tired, sweaty, and yes, triumphant through the finish line….about a half-hour later than my projected time. And yet,  I wanted to do it again.

I now have 8 marathons, 6 or 7 half-marathons, 2 ultras (longer than 26.2), 6 triathlons, 3 duathlons, a dozen or so other distances and 3 or so bike races under my belt. Marathons are my fave….ultras are even better….and trail ultras? Don’t even get me started.

I still don’t always love it. There are days that 4:30 am is just too stinking early. The hills seem to have gotten bigger overnight, every step feels like small tree trunks have been attached to my ankles, and I look at walkers and think, “Hey, walking seems nice….I can carry coffee if I walk.” However, more often than not, even on the days I think I will have a bad run, about half way in I remember why I do it. I remember why it is important to work hard, because hard work reaps benefits. The benefits for me are those days when I simply cherish the sound and cadence of my steps, when I can focus on praying without distraction, when I get to catch up with a girlfriend and no one is asking me for a snack, when I get to solve the oil crisis and the rest of the day seems to unfold before me, limitless with its’ possibilities. At times I am in awe of the beauty of the landscape before me, of the sun rising in the desert as I am alone on the trail, seemingly alone in the world; of the wind whipping my ponytail and the feeling of accomplishment I get when I put in 12 or 13 miles and most people have yet to rise. And don’t get me started on the endorphins. They are my Zoloft and my Prozac and my drug of choice….these indescribable little feelings that leave me smiling and content, even if I am spent.

So I would venture to say that this love affair has been a long time coming. But now, it is more like the boyfriend you love because he is good for you. He makes you feel better, he may not be perfect every day, but he will never turn on you. You love him for everything he does for you, not just one thing. He may not be easy to catch, but not much that is, is worth the chase.

How about you?  Are you an avid runner…or maybe you’re just getting started and you’re having trouble staying motivated.  I’d love to hear how you got started, your favorite race,  or any questions you might have.  Leave me a comment below!

Fast Food is Not the End of the World (and I teach nutrition)

 oatmeal cookies

The little voice came from the back seat. “Momma, can Cait have your tookie?” We had just left the grocery store and I caved for a box of my favorite cookies. I deftly handed half a cookie back to the eager little hand. A few moments later the little voice pipes up again, “Cait have MORE tookie?” I said no. It was almost lunch time, and the cookies were full of sugar (those are the best ones). I was strong. I held my ground. Even as I looked at the little pout in the backseat. I knew I was right, right?
I was so proud of how we fed our babies. Breastfed until they were old enough to drink whole milk. We made all our own baby food (thanks to a great ‘family’ farm). From the start there was a fruit or vegetable at every meal. When my oldest daughter was young she could stare down even the toughest of competitors for a piece of broccoli.AMKB brocoli                    

That is why, I can’t believe I am admitting to this…I have a dark secret. Are you ready…
I love Taco Bell. Yup, that is the secret. I love it. Now I know all about the controversy. Thirty percent what? I don’t care. I have taken classes in nutrition, I teach parents about good nutrition for their children. I read blogs about nutrition. And yet…I still love Taco Bell. Why? And even worse…this could put me in parental lockup…I feed Taco Bell to my children. And they like it.
My oldest child was four before he really enjoyed ‘fast food’. Then each successive child was younger and younger until my forth gummed French fries. I am not saying we follow a drive-thru diet, it is only now and then. (I promise)  I still cannot get over the guilt and shame that I feel when I feed my children fast food. Why have we put such pressure on ourselves as parents to always be perfect and always do what is ‘right’? Who decides the rules?

 I was sitting at the soccer field one breezy evening with two of my children while one practiced. Another was practicing a different sport at another field. We had just come from three different places to get here. And I fed my kids chicken nuggets (with apple slices and milk). One of the other parents, in front of several others, commented “Haven’t you seen Food Inc? Don’t you know what you are doing to your children?” I politely replied that no, I had not seen the now infamous documentary (nor will I) and that we had a busy day. Her reply to me was “If you think you need to feed your kids fast food, then you are not managing your time well”. Well now, I don’t think I will recite that quote in my next parenting class.  Grr…
Every topic related to raising ‘our’ kids is open to interpretation. I put ‘our’ in quotes because we all have an impact on any child around us, whether our own or not. As parents, we make the best decisions we can to raise our kids. We cannot put blinders on them and completely block out the outside world and its influences. It doesn’t matter if it is what we put on their plates, how we clothe their bodies, or where they lay their heads at night, there will always be someone who feels the need to judge our choices. How we handle it is our parenting ‘legacy’.
Now I am not saying that everyone needs to feed their kids fast food. Just don’t look at me cross because I do. How about we make a pact…you don’t judge me and I won’t judge you…fair enough? We the ones that love ‘our’ kids need to stick together. It really does take a village, after all.

What are your thoughts on fast food?  Are you strictly against it or do you think everything is okay in moderation?  I’d love to get your feedback!

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