Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Roads They are A-Changin'


Changing is hard, isn’t it?  Sometimes, I think I am open and willing to change.  Other times I get the rude awakening slap in the face reality that I really am NOT open and willing to change.  I cling to my ways of doing things regardless of whether it makes sense or not.  What is that saying? 
Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
Well, that’s me and my route.  Right now, and for the past several months, a portion of my running route has been under heavy road construction.  Ok, I must defend myself a little bit right now lest you think I am one of ‘those’ people.  You see, I DID change my running route about a year ago, when the snow plows and bad sidewalks forced the change.  I am capable of changing.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

My Running log is going away!


My running log website is expiring!  Well, I think it is safe to say that my obsessive-compulsive nature is not a secret to anyone reading this.  So, I will just start by saying MY RUNNING LOG WEBSITE HAS LEFT THE BUILDING!  And, clearly, I’m upset. 
You know how “they” sell your mortgage?  One day you are paying to Washington Mutual, the next it’s Fleet, then the next is Chase.  Or your bank account.  I opened one with BayBank, then it magically became Bank of Boston, then Fleet, and on and on.  All the while, I never did a thing.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Not Yet


I can’t write about running.
And I can’t write about nutrition.
Not today anyway.  Not yet.  
In fact, I am late with my article.  But it seems every time I have sat down at my proverbial typewriter to write my next running or nutrition article, my heart aches.  As much as I want to move on, write a thoughtful musing about running, it just feels wrong.   
So instead, I thought I would share the advise I gave my children this morning as I sent them off to school.  I may catch some flack for this, but I may also help someone.  So, the potential to help (to me) outweighed any flack I might receive… so I will share.

Post Run Stretch?????


So I guess everyone knows that the right way to start and end a run is with a good warm up and stretch… I guess that was everyone except me.
Until recently, my warm up and cool down happened on my front steps.
Warm up: walk down the steps
Cool down: do one large lunge (take three step at a time) with each leg on the way back in. Combine, if the weather is good, with taking off my sneakers.  Pour a cup of tea.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Let's talk emotional running


So how was everyone’s Thanksgiving?  That’s a loaded question, isn’t it?  If you are like me, there may have been moments of sheer gorging and overeating, followed by moments (or days) of regret. 
That’s why I run.
Not to shed away the pounds.  But to shed away the guilt. Guilt is a pretty useless emotion, a very bright friend told me.  Carolyn said it is only useful IF it causes you to change your behavior.  Otherwise, just let go of guilt.  She said that years ago, and has no doubt forgotten that little snippet of conversation.  I, however, have not.
So after a wonderful visit with folks that are surely part of my family, if not by blood, then by choice, I make my way to the streets and run.  I clear away any guilt of all things negative, of my little mistakes, of my overeating, of my poor time management, how I got too little done and had so much to do.
I clear it all away when I run.  It is in this way, with all the negative feelings gone, I can truly enjoy the good times.  They are first and foremost in my mind.  The geocaching we did with my girlfriend’s family, the conversations over drinks and food, and the jokes.  Reminiscing over silly school stories. 
It’s interesting.  As I ran, I beat myself up over how poorly I had eaten, how many bad choices I made, decorations were not quite perfect, house was not quite clean enough.  And after about 10 minutes of running under a clear and open sky, I started recalling how much I love my friend of 35 years, how beautiful the weather was, how well our children got along. 
And then, I felt the run, the open sky, the clear air, steal away the guilt. 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Autumn Runs


As time marches forward, month after month, year after year,  I have to say that autumn is my favorite RUNNING season.  I’m definitely a summer girl, let’s get that out of the way.  But there is something magical about running in the fall. 
I ran early yesterday morning, and I could feel the trees beginning their retreat – but not quite yet.  They are in fall mode.  The air is crisp in the morning, and while still in shorts, I can feel those days quickly ending.  I will have to get out my running pants soon.  Not yet, but soon.  For the leaves haven’t turned colors.  I still have that to enjoy.  And while the occasional leaf will fall and waif is way through the air to me, there are still leaves to be had.  Still leaves waiting to change.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Running Motivation


Lots of folks who talk to me say they love the idea of running.  It’s just the actual running that throws them off.  But the idea is awesome, Chantel.  You go, girl! 
Like everything, besides eating, running requires some measure of motivation.  And for some, it’s just a little - while for others, it’s a lot.  Here are some tips to set yourself up for success:
  1. Get a new pair of shoes.  Be sure to change your shoes regularly to avoid injury.  New shoes every 500 miles (or less) keep your legs and spirit feeling good.
  2. Chose a great playlist.  I think I have shared that I run  with bare essentials, no music, etc.  But lots of runners get pumped by the music.  If this speaks to you, load your ipod with your favs and head out the door.
  3. Sign up for a race.  You have a concrete goal to shoot for.  Be sure it is neither too far in the future, where it doesn’t seem real.  Nor do you want it tomorrow where there isn’t sufficient time to train and get excited. 
  4. Make it a habit.
  5. Get out the door.
I’ll take a moment to elaborate on the last two: habit and get out the door.  Herein lie the real key.  The others are ‘tricks’ that may help.  The final two are golden.  Once we make something a habit, we are more likely to stick with it.  Get out the door.  And by this I mean, lace up your sneakers and step outside.  You are 5 times more likely to run than if you remained on the couch.  How’s that totally made up statistic?  But the point is valid.  Put your sneaks on and go outside.  With all that work invested, you will probably run, at least a little bit.  Heck, you had to bend over and tie your shoes after all.  Hate to waste all that effort.  Silly but true!
Here’s how those two work together:  Once you tie your shoes regularly and go outside, even just to feel the breeze, you are now creating a habit.  Granted, it’s just a shoe-tying habit, but it’s a habit.  Now, this shoe-tying-going-outside thing we are doing is just something we do.  Perfect.  We are more likely to just keep doing it.  Without thought.  By nature, we are creatures of habit.  And now that it’s a habit, well, you get the picture.  I could stand on the porch and see which way the wind blows then walk back in and take my sneakers off.  But since I went to all that effort and put my shoes and shorts on, maybe I will just run around the block.  Maybe just once. 
It’s really as simple (or as complicated) as that. 
To follow Chantel, visit www.spiritualeats.com

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Cha Cha Cha Chia


And YES, I am talking about the Chia Pet with the greens growing out of its eyes.  Well, sorta, anyway. 
I could also call it Indian Running Food, as it was known in days gone by.    The chia seed is making a comeback.  And not because it was a kickin’ terracotta creepy-shaped-head-plant-holder-thingy.  But because it is a high nutrient high endurance food. 
To sing the praises of the chia seed for a moment, let me just share with you its versatility, and where its power lies.  For starters, it is more easily digestible than, say, flax seed (which will pass right through you if not ground up).  Secondly, it has a mild taste, which means you can sprinkle it on salad without ‘ruining it’. 
Another lure for me would be that ounce for ounce, chia delivers more omega-3s than salmon;  while being high in fiber and protein, too.   When put into water, it creates a gelatin type consistency which helps move things along and out through the intestines………. Just another bonus.
And for me, this last benefit can not be overemphasized too much.  I make a living out of teaching people about real food, unprocessed food.   How to lose weight while still keeping energy and not feeling deprived.  These are tall orders.  One of the big stumbling blocks I hear over and over is that the food I promote has a short shelf life.  In fact, some food, like my beloved bananas, will turn brown  on the 1.5 mile jaunt from the grocery store to my house if banged just a little.    
Then in comes the chia seed.  Chia seeds can stay fresh longer than flaxseeds; and most other seeds for that matter.  They are less susceptible to rancidity; and that is a huge seller for me – and everyone else.
Follow me!!!!!  here or at www.spiritualeats.com

Sunday, October 21, 2012

My Secret Club


There is a group of folks I seen when I run; and I am one of them.  I get their emails, I know them, and they support me.  My running group.  The funny thing is I never run WITH them.  Yet still, I know their schedule, I know their routine, and I voyeuristically see them on facebook. 
See, for me, running is almost a private thing.  For nearly 40 years, I have run alone.  On occasion, when a friend really wants or needs the company,  we go together, and chat.  And it’s enjoyable – once.  But I find my runs to be a private reflective quiet centering.  I don’t worry about before or after, just the moment, the cracks in the sidewalk. 
And if I were to run with the group, how would I keep pace?  Or would they slow me down?  Do we have to stick together?  Do I have to ‘chat it up’?  What do I say?  Do I smell?  Am I going to have to shower BEFORE I run?!  Do I have to put on makeup?  Do I have to comb my hair???  What's proper running etiquette?  Yes, these are things I think about if I were to run with my group.
But I do say MY group, because they are.  Since joining the Highland City Striders quietly and almost secretly a few years back, I have found them to be supportive and kind.  Always cheering me on through their emails, supporting my life in general, without (heaven forbid) being peer-pressured to run with them. 
What I also know about them, is they have a wealth of knowledge in running; and they are my go-to guys for any questions I have.  IF I were to run with them, I could try intervals, hills, long and short runs.  They do it all, as well as run races, and basically hang together.   Were I to join in on one or any event, I would be welcomed into the gang as the card-carrying member I am, closet-carrying or otherwise.  It’s a cool thing.
I would encourage anyone who loves running to find their local club.  Either for companionship or to just tap into from time to time.  For our Hudson and Marlboro friends, visitwww.highlandcitystriders.org and do what I do – secretly read about them.  
Who knows…….. some day, you may see me on the roads with a friend or two.
To follow Chantel, visit www.spiritualeats.com

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Going Barefoot


The end of summer means cooler mornings and last chance bbqs with friends.  It also means our roughest Summer Feet.   I’m a runner, so I know my feet pretty well.  We made a deal with eachother a long time ago.  We’re friends. 
In April, as the sun starts warming the air, I may bristle out barefoot to the mailbox ouch-ouch-ouching it every step of the way.  Those are my Winter Feet.  They feel the grooves on the stairs and any other non-existent bump or errant pebble.  Winter Feet are tender and tentative.  They fear the ground.  They fear exposure.
My Summer Feet, however, can walk across fire, handle shards of glass, anything really - only to realize when I am home, “Oh, wow, look at that, there’s a nail in my foot”.   I yank it out and move on with my life because I know Summer Feet can handle it.  If that were my Winter Feet, well, I’d probably be dead, or at the very least in the Emergency Room.
Summer Feet are tough. 
If ever us runners were to explore Barefoot Running, now would be the time.  Summer Feet Season.   I have gone shoeless on the beach, but never on the road.  And I don’t think I am quite ready for that anyway.  Yet, I do have a pair of Nike Free Runs which I am testing out currently.  They are a far cry from my trusty and true Sauconys.  And putting the two side by side, I would say the Sauconys are my heavy weights while this minimalist shoe is a feather weight.  Still, I am going to give it a test run. 
They go on like a glove, no lacing up.  More of a slip on.  As I make my maiden voyage in these minimalist shoes, they are light.  And I mean really light.  How could they support this frame?  Breathe.   I am nervous but realize there is enough cushion not to completely freak me out.  It’s a step toward barefoot.  And it’s a good step.  I feel the way I run slightly adjust to these shoes and wonder for a moment if I am going to get shin splints or something.   I disregard the shin splint thought and keep running.   My body tweaks itself.
By the time I am home, I feel pretty good.  It's almost as if the lighter shoes lightened me somehow.  There was a non-existence to them.  Strange.  My monkey mind wanders.  I ponder the closeness to the earth we all feel when barefoot.  (though, I of course, technically wasn’t barefoot).  Still the idea is there; the thought of using our real soles, the ones we were born with, to connect our souls, just a little closer to the earth.    
Share your thoughts or experiences on barefoot running. 
Follow me here or at www.spiritualeats.com  

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Run Where You Are


Running on the beach, Nantasket Beach to be exact, has provided the most scenic backdrop you could ever dream of.   Which brings up the most critical running advise I could ever give anyone; and that is to  (drum roll, please)  RUN WHERE YOU ARE.  Wherever that may be.  And I mean that in both the figurative and literal way.  If you are away on vacation for example, run where you are.  If you are nursing an injury and have to lessen your running distance, same principle applies,  run where you are.    
A word about running on the beach - water has always held a deep fascination for me.  Growing up in Mystic, CT on the docks, water became what I see as my natural backdrop.  The water, the smell, even the rotten-egg low tide.  The childhood simplicity converging with intense complexity, as long as my memory serves, I have always had an undying love affair with the water.  It’s no wonder that when I run on the beach, it’s an automatic given – I cry.  Yes, it’s true, I have been here a week; and crying on the beach like retired NFL coach Dick Vermeil pretty much every day. 
My ritual is to get up in the morning, put on my sweaty sports bra that has been ‘cleaned’ with salt water and left to dry on a terrace.  After that, it’s the stinky shorts, again, sprayed cleaned with salt water, and put on along with the wet sneakers.  Next step, while boys are still sleepy-eyed, I hit the sand.
Breathe……. The tide is low in the morning.  So I run along the hard packed sand close to the water’s edge.  Up to the end of the beach – Point Allerton – and back down again.  It usually starts with a stiff jerky run as my 40+ year old body warms up to the morning.  Once I see some dead sea animal washed ashore, then I know my run has officially started. 
The sand is different than the hard pavement of Hudson streets; and my feet fall heavy on the sand, sinking in.  The waves give a melody that softens my heart; and the seagulls won’t move as I pass by.  I move higher on the sand, and it gives under my feet.  I pass by the abstract person with leathery tan skin and continue my journey toward Point Allerton.  My mind wanders as the sea’s crashing waves are steady and rhythmic.  Random Person #2 has clearly set up for her ‘Official Beach Day’ staking out prime property in her chair long before others have woken and brushed their teeth.  “Good morning” as I pass by. 
I turn at the rocks, the point of no passing, and head my journey back to my temporary home on the third floor of our hotel.  As I stop in front of our hotel, while still on the beach, I just can’t bring myself to leave.  The sand is soft, and though I forgot to mention, I ran the second part of my run barefoot with sneakers in hand.  I throw my sneakers to the high end of the beach and scream “BOYS”.  They hear me from the open window that faces the water and watch as I splash into the water (to ‘clean' my clothes, of course).  I know, within 5 minutes, they will join me.  And I am grateful for this beach run.