Monday Motivation: Motivate Others

Growing up I believed my dad was Superman. He was strong, brave, and had these ginormous hands that put The Hulk to shame.

Getting older doesn’t scare me. It’s seeing my dad get older that scares me because there’s the realization that Dad is no longer Superman with super human strength, super human hands, or super human health. Both my parents have had health scares this past year and as a result my dad in particular has worked to lose 25 pounds, releasing 100 pounds of pressure on his bad knees.

This year, for his 60th birthday, dad asked me to buy him a recumbent bike. Not my mom, but rather me. “Why me?” I asked. Dad has never asked me to buy him anything nor does he like accepting gifts.

My father now sees his formerly over weight, unhealthy daughter as an expert in fitness. He’s been so encouraged by my weight loss journey and the work I’ve put into running that he would only accept a bike from me.

If I could change my life and my health, he was sure that he could do something about his…even at 60. He admitted that for a while his bad knees were discouraging and made him sad. But instead of moping about it, he decided he wanted to do everything he could to help strengthen his knees.

Sometimes the thing we view as weakness, like asking one’s daughter for help, is the thing that makes us stronger. And other times, let us remember that we inspire others even when we don’t think they’re watching- so let us continue to press on toward our goals. If not for ourselves, then for those who are quietly watching.

My dad is not Superman but he is indeed a super man.

Happy birthday, dad.

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Give Thanks For

(I) Give Thanks For:

the delicious food and wine I’m about to inhale.

dry socks, because wet socks are aggravating.

strong legs that endure mile after mile.

wonderful people who love me in spite of all my flaws and inspire me to be better.

a patient boyfriend who gives me the freedom to experiment and try different things, even if it seems crazy.

the ability to think, dream, and doodle because without which there would be no hope.

good health, because nothing replaces that.

the opportunity to work in an industry that most only dream of.

being able to afford yoga classes, races, or anything else that you can technically do for free but still pay to participate.

a local running organization that hosts a race every week, I’ve learned this week that this is rare.

and last but certainly not least – amazing LGC readers. I am truly grateful, humbled, and hope to bring you more exciting, inspiring content in the future. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

 

There’s so much more for which I’m grateful and I don’t want today to be the only day in which I express my gratitude. I made this “Give Thanks For” frame inspired by the “I Love You Because” frames I’ve seen on pinterest. You can use a dry erase marker to finish the sentence every day. Check out T&K, the other blog I co-write, for supplies and instructions.

Have a wonderful, carb-filled, starchy and delicious Thanksgiving Holiday.

xoxo,

g

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recipe: Cranberry Sweet Potato Bake

Sweet Potatoes are my favorite starch and the perfect time to have them is during the holiday season. I love sweet potato casserole but hate the high sugar in canned yams, marshmallows, and cinnamon sugar seasoning. Here is a LGC exclusive recipe for you Lean Girls who are looking for a healthier alternative to the traditional sweet potato casserole.

Ingredients:
6 sweet potatoes
6 oz fresh cranberries (or half a bag)
1/4 cup of raw pecans
1/2 cup- 3/4 cup raw agave nectar
1 tbsp cinnamon
Cloves

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Peel sweet potatoes and chop into 1″ pieces.
2. Combine chopped sweet potatoes, pecans, and cranberries in baking dish. Mix 1/2 cup agave nectar with 1/8 cup water. Stir mixture into baking dish. Sprinkle cinnamon and cloves in baking dish.
3. Bake in oven for one hour or until sweet potatoes and soft. Stir occasionally ensuring that potatoes are covered and baking in agave syrup.

4. Serves 8-10. 154 calories per serving.

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Fit In Fitness

The marathon was cancelled and I’ve lost all desire to go to workout. I knew I wanted to take a break after the marathon, but need to remember that I can’t completely let go.

So instead of pushing myself to go to the gym, I’ve found alternate ways to burn some calories this late fall:

1. Raking leaves. Did you know if burns about 150 calories per 30 minutes? While I’ve never been a fan of yard work, I proactively decided to rake leaves for my dad since he’s getting older. Isn’t amazing how our attitude changes everything? I actually enjoyed the time outdoors and got a decent arm work out.

2. Long Walks. Granted it’s not as much the cardiovascular exercise that running is but there’s something really peaceful and serene about a long walk. I’ve been walking home from work, across the 59th street bridge into Queens. It’s a little over a 4 mile walk and burns about 400 calories if I speed walk. The view is also spectacular. If you are unable to walk to/from work, I strongly encourage you to find a trail that you can hike on weekends.

3. Cleaning and organizing. Ok, this wasn’t really isn’t considered working out but it still gets you moving and that’s the point. Scrubbing tubs, mopping floors, going through my closet and dragging donations to the Good Will gets my heart pumping. Cleaning for an hour burns just under 200 calories per hour!

4. Jump roping – it’s not just for kids. Jump roping at a moderate speed torches 120 calories every 10 minutes. That’s comparable to a good run. I use a weighted jump rope to get a nice arm work out in – you’ll feel he burn after 30 seconds!

What do you do when you don’t want to go to the gym?

Book Review: My Life On The Run

I don’t usually read personal memoirs for two reasons:
1. No one’s life fascinates me THAT much.
2. One who has a fascinating life does not mean one possesses the skills to write a book.

My friend Brianne picked up a copy for me when she met the author and running maverick Bart Yasso at a Mizuno event in NYC. She proceeded to tell me how inspiring he was and how he encouraged her to run, even though her doctors advise against it. little did I know that my friend Had just met a road race celebrity. The book’s been sitting on my shelf for almost a year until this past week when Sandy kept me indoors. I figured it would also help me calm nerves for the marathon.

“My Life On The Run” chronicles the challenges and triumphs of Yasso, Chief Running Officer at Runner’s World magazine, and that’s and understatement. Yasso’s stories are sometimes unbelievable because one thing that is apparent is the man is crazy: 1000+ races (marathons, ultra marathons, relays…) including a cross country bike ride in three weeks on seven different continents. Imagine the amount of travel, the extreme weather conditions, the lack of hospitality, and the different kinds of food (he’s a vegetarian). Those don’t make for a comfortable or easy journey. On top of it all, he was diagnosed with Lyme disease early in his career.

I’m not touting Yasso to be a superman or someone to be adored. Instead, I thank him for reminding me of all the reasons I fell in love with running: the people, the sites, the travel, and most importantly the human spirit.

Yasso’s greatest accomplishment with his book is that he reminds people, runner or not, that we are capable of far more than we think. Most of the time, the thing that separates us from greatness is ourselves and our fear. Running redirects our energy and gives us an opportunity to clear fear out of our heads and replace it with dreams. Once those dreams are acknowledged they have a chance at becoming reality.

Thanks Bart Yasso, for your humor, insight, and honesty. This is the kind of book I hope to write one day, one that inspires those around me to live a life worth living.

Scene On the Run: No Marathon

There was no marathon. As I’m sure you’ve heard, Mayor Bloomberg canceled the race on Friday afternoon (5:30 pm) saying the race was “divisive” and building animosity towards runners and the event itself.

Of course I’m bummed but I’m not disappointed. While I said I would run if the race would’ve happened, this was the right call and it should’ve made earlier. I was selfishly relieved because I, and many runners, were torn and heavy hearted while we also believed the race would be good for the city. Alas, it’s over and done. There will be other years and many other marathons. Unfortunately others can’t say that. I count my blessings.

I’m still raising money for the Red Cross through Crowdrise. While I can no longer give you a cut of my heat sheet, I now offer to run a mile for each person who donates. Equally, if not more important…please donate blood, batteries, blankets, food, diapers, pet food. I know it’s a bit overwhelming so if you’d like more info on how you can get involved (even if you’re not in the NY/NJ area) please leave a comment or email me and I will help you get plugged in. Unfortunately the needs will not go away after this week. Many of those affected will be dealing with the Sandy aftermath for months, even years. So donate whatever you can and I will run a mile for you too…I’d love to be challenged to run 100 miles 😉

Scene on the run this weekend…

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Notice I went on a mini food tour. Yeah, I basically read “marathon canceled” and immediately grabbed all the white sugar I could find and ate everything I’d given up for 40 days in about 40 minutes.

Happy Monday.

Why I Will Run the NYC Marathon Post-Sandy

I, like many runners, have been torn about whether to run the marathon. Whether we like it or not, this race is happening with or without us.

I mean no disrespect to those who are still dealing with the aftermath of Sandy. If anything, I pray for you and our city and have already sought opportunities to volunteer in the coming weeks.

While I am originally from Virginia, I consider myself a New Yorker. I always have been and always will be. I was here the weekend after 9-11 and I remember witnessing the resiliency, strength, and community that New Yorkers shared and I wanted a part. I cheered for the Yankees in the 2001 World Series because the city needed a reason to cheer (I have been rooting for the Yankees ever since). For the record, Hurricane Sandy is not 9-11; however, the people and their hearts are the same.

To quote Bart Yasso from My Life On the Run, pg 184:

“We had started the journey as Russians, Germans, Canadians, French, Americans, Irish, and Inuit, but we ended as athletes. Running does that to people. It brings unlikely folks together and fosters a fellowship like no other sport.” 

That is exactly what the Marathon does. Those who are normally divided by borough, race, economic status, neighborhood, street, creed, etc. are one on Marathon Day. And isn’t that what we all need in this time of distress? A little unity. There is no other day when you’ll see a kid from the projects hi-five an old Hasidic Jew. It’s one day where people put aside their differences to support and cheer for another human being. It’s a glimpse of Heaven.

The conditions aren’t perfect and I wish the circumstances were different, but I support New York City and will run for it this Sunday.

Today I am asking friends, family, and any other good Samaritans:

-OR-

  • If you cannot donate $, please donate blood or volunteer your time to one of the many great organizations working to help families affected by Sandy.

In exchange for your donation, I will mail you a cut of my heatsheet (it’s the aluminum thing marathoners get wrapped in after a race), will etch your name on my race day shirt, and sing your praises on my LeanGirlsClub blog. For one day, we can all be marathoners and New Yorkers.

This race is not about me, never has been. It’s for New York.

 

Sandy

They say that Sunday’s marathon is still happening. Sure, New Yorkers are resilient and the show must go on. On one hand the race brings over $350 million to the city, especially during a time when small businesses need it. On the other, it also seems wrong to shut down the city and take medical professionals and rescue officials away from recovery and rebuilding efforts. I’m conflicted.

I am one of the lucky ones to have power, heat, food, my home and no personal damage done. If I run on Sunday, I will run with a greater purpose. I will run for my great city.

I couldn’t get to Manhattan but here are some shots of the Sandy aftermath from Astoria.

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Scene on the Run: Hurricane Sandy

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New York City has a different vibe, smell, sound in the rare times it’s bracing for a big storm. It’s something I can’t quite capture in photos.

My dear friend Nelle texted me asking how I was going to prepare for the marathon with six days remaining and Sandy crashing the party. My four goals for the next few days:

1. Continue to eat clean. Yes, I want a glass of wine but I don’t want anything badly enough to ruin the work I’ve put in.
2. Don’t get injured. My running group co-leader asked how I was going to get injured if I’m tapering. He clearly does not know how clumsy I am. I bruise and bump into things way too easily. Yesterday I took a misstep and now my foot hurts. Hope it’s better by Sunday.
3. Roll out and ice the Achilles every night.
4. Remember that all the work is done. I did my last long run yesterday. Sandy is actually a blessing because she’s forcing me to rest my legs these next few days. Always remember that not much is accomplished at the last minute. Preparation is key. I am ready!

Lastly, should the NYC Marathon be cancelled for any reason because of Sandy, which is highly doubtful, I will be ok. I read tweets and status updates about how the marathon “better not be cancelled” and it angers me. If it is, it means this storm will have been devastating to the city of New York and its people. Let’s not be so self -centered fellow runners. Instead, let’s pray for the homeless and those in evacuated areas and get through the week safely.

Be well. Be safe.

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Butternut Squash Mac and Cheeze

My eating has been the cleanest it’s ever been. I haven’t had any alcohol in 40 days (I love wine – this is a big deal) and very little to no bread, flour, white sugar, and anything that’s considered “bad” for you. I really do believe one of the reasons I feel prepared for the NYC Marathon in 11 days is because of the clean eating. I don’t have the sugar or salt weighing me down. My palette is super sensitive to things and certain things that I used to like, like the Starbucks pumpkin spice latte, don’t taste good to me. And I thought my palette was sensitive before! So when a eating lover as myself can’t find pleasure in food, she gets creative ad tries new things like this vegan Mac and Cheeze.

The pasta is a brown rice elbow macaroni (who knew there was brown rice pasta?!) and the Cheeze is puréed butternut squash, Dijon mustard, nutritional yeast, Earth balance, and almond milk. It isn’t cheese but it’s a good alternative. I also added some raw kale and crushed red pepper flakes. In the future I think I will add some meat or beans…obviously the meat will not make it vegan!

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