Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Geek Painter -- Beautiful Landscaped Paintings for Sale

Today, I'm going off my usual topics in order to promote an extremely talented, starving artist.  Janine Klotz is a talented painter and mother of 3 boys who lives in rural Pennsylvania.  She learned how to paint from her artistic grandmother, Pauline Molignoni.  Janine puts endless amounts of time & effort into her paintings.  It is a great love of hers.  She paints landscapes.  She can also paint a landscape from photograph your produce for her.

She has painted beautiful murals.  And, her rates are extremely competitive compared to NYC.  Her paintings are $50 each.  She can frame as well.  Also, her children's murals are inexpensive as well.  She charges $300 for a mural which she can complete in a day.  She will travel from PA to paint your wall.  She will travel to NYC, NJ, and PA.  Basically, anywhere that is within a 2.5 hour drive from her home.

Please contact her or me if you would like more information or would like to purchase a painting, commission a painting, or have a mural painted in your home.  Her email is jez1617@yahoo.com.




Saturday, November 27, 2010

After 27 Days of Primal Eating, I gossip less...

As you can probably imagine, I have not been perfect in my attempt to eat a purely "hunter-gatherer" diet for the month of November.  Although I did not achieve 100%, I believe I hover somewhere around 90%, which I'm pretty darn proud of.

12 things I learned:
  1. Choose your misgivings and enjoy them wholeheartedly -- without one iota of guilt or self-loathing.  That would totally defeat the point of a true misgiving!
  2. Once you have your misgiving, get right back on track.  Forget about it, move one, this moment is a completely new one.
  3. Know the sources of your food! I'm really, really proud of the efforts I put in to researching and ensuring the food I'm eating and feeding my family is from humanely treated, grass-fed animals from pastured farms with knowledgable dedicated farmers.
  4. Fat is not your enemy.  In fact, recent studies show that eating saturated fats (from grass-fed animals) does NOT have an impact on future heart disease, diabetes, cancer, or obesity.  What's the catch? The people studied also ate a diet with little to no grains. (More to post on this later). My farmer Judy loves the fat on her animals and proudly calls herself a "fat girl".  Judy is by no means fat or even heavy. In fact, she is quite trim.  She just finds fat to be a delicious source of fuel for her.  She needs it too -- she works full time, has 5 kids and runs a farm.  Go Judy!
  5. When you are only eating a few types of foods (i.e., meats, veggies, fruit, & minimal dairy), it is very easy to see the impact what you eat has on you.  For example, I enjoyed some transgressions on Thanksgiving in the form of stuffing, cranberry sauce, corn, whipped mashed potatoes, and pecan pie.  My gut expanded a few sizes and I was in a food coma for the rest of the day. It has taken two days for my gut to get back down to normal size.
  6. Alcohol, even a delicious red pinot noir, should be drunk slowly, in small amounts, on more rare occasions.  My sleep has improved dramatically since I stopped drinking a glass of wine a few nights a week.  I reserve wine for special occasions like a date with my husband or a special meal cooked at home (like Thanksgiving or something really special that I want to savor).  Red wine helps to slow down your eating and savor every bite!
  7. 19 days in, I had my annual obgyn appointment.  I weighed myself for the first time and saw that I weighed 5 pounds less even with shoes & clothes on.  I'm not ready to post my before/after pictures, but there has been some weight loss with little effort.  Plus, I've been sticking to my regular workout routines of running 3x/week, playing with my kids for hours a day, and lifting 2x week. 
  8. Sugars and grains tend to put me in a sleepy coma.  The insulin surge I get from sweets and higher carb foods really decrease my productivity.  It prevents my body from burning fat for energy.  I really need to re-think how I will fuel during my next half-Ironman!
  9. Sleep, sleep, sleep.  Sleep is your friend.  Get as much as possible.  Go to bed earlier, get up later, and nap when needed. 
  10. Play, play, play.  Play with your kids, play with your friends, play with your husband.  Find fun things to do.  I just made plans to do a trampoline class with my sister and two childhood friends over Christmas break.  Don't hesitate.  Do things to put yourself outside the box.  Join a friend at a dog park instead of at a diner.  
  11. Use your extra energy to do things to pay it forward.  I've had more energy and mental clarity lately.  I've used that to help out friends who need a hand (watch their kids so they can run errands).  I've used it to pay closer attention to what my kids need from me -- and how my relationships can flourish from more of my positive attention.
  12. In a sense of communal spirit, I was inspired to work on a habit that is damaging to all communities and relationships, GOSSIP!  Of course we all do it, but we are also hurt from it.  One thing that often upsets me is when people compare my 3 year old to my 4 year old niece.  There are 13 months between them and their mothers (me & my older sister) are complete polar opposites.  So, obviously, some of our parenting objectives and methods vary significantly.  Besides, my 3 year old is so much like me and my niece is so much like my sister -- so of course they are going to be significantly different.  My mom started to say something in comparison the other day (not malicious in any way -- she just was going to say how they both do the same thing very differently).  I simply said, "Mom, please try not to compare them".  If I want to see how my niece is doing, I can call my sister and ask -- I don't want to get second hand information that will give me a false sense of superiority or conversely, make me feel inadequate.  Abstaining felt really good!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

My baby eating a porkchop from the Meatshare!

video
I recently participated in a Meat Share hosted and planned by Melissa McEwen.  Melissa developed a relationship with B&Y Farms up in the Finger Lakes.  We met in Secaucus, NJ early in November to meet the farmers and pick up our meats. I came home with 3 pastured chickens, 20 pounds of pork and 2 pounds of lamb. 

Judy, our farmer, showed us pictures of the animals where they were raised and educated us on the breeds (Tamworth  for the pigs; Tunis for the lambs).  Our meats were butchered by a Mennonite butcher and we were able to enjoy some Mennonite Sausage Recipes (Pork Apple Butter Cinnamon Sausage is heaven on Earth).

Shares with farmers are a very important part of supporting humane farming practices and ensuring we get to eat the best quality foods.  Industrial farms feed their animals lots of grain, corn and other cheap products in order to fatten them up for the lowest dollar.  Hey, this is America and industrial farms want to make a profit too, right?

Small farms, like Judy's B&Y farms, treat their animals with respect and allow them to graze in the environment they were intended to.  The Tamworths spend most of their youth grazing in the woods. They ate tons of apples, pumpkin, and whatever other sustenance they could find on their land (i.e., no grain, they were not stuck in a pen with hundreds of other pigs).

Their farm is located near Seneca Lake in the Finger Lakes Region.  I'm hoping to visit their farm this summer to see the animals that we will get to eat next harvest. 


If you would like to see a take of "Stealing a porkchop from a baby" please go to hunter-gatherer.com

Sunday, November 7, 2010

My Baby Eats Pig for Breakfast!

I'm just starting Day 7 of my 30 Day Paleolithic Eating Experiment.  I've learned some crucial things:
My 1 year old Aurora, chowing down on chicken & salad!
This girl has a very healthy palate!

  1. The Paleolithic Era was really about 2 million years ago vs. the 30,000 I previously posted (Thanks Rob).
  2. Dairy is still my mistress.  Every day I've put ~2 tablespoons of milk in my coffee or tea.
  3. Pursuing absolute perfection is an exercise in failure, deprecation, and should never be pursued when related to eating in our modern world (i.e. I made cookies with my 3 year old today -- and ate 3 of them).  Desserts really make me crave more desserts.  This was an experiment to see the effect that an isolated sweet consumption will have on my body. 
  4. One can exist without sugar and honey (for at least 7 days anyway...see #3).
  5. I can make an amazing chicken, carrot, sweet potato curry with no recipe at all. 
  6. If I don't consume alcohol (even just a small glass of red wine), I fall asleep quicker and earlier, sleep sounder, sleep longer, and wake up easier.
  7. My 1 year old daughter prefers a paleo diet as well. Notice the pix.
  8. I remember why I stopped eating sausage about a decade ago (see phallic photo below).
  9. NOTHING TASTES BETTER THAN FRESH HOMEMADE SAUSAGE FROM PIGS RAISED IN THE WOODS EATING MOSTLY PUMPKINS & APPLES. 
So it has been almost a week since I decided to go eat completely paleo for 30 days. I have not been perfect.  I tried coconut milk in my coffee. I tried black coffee.  At this point, I really prefer milk or creme in my coffee or tea.  So I decided to allow myself that concession.  This concession makes it easier for me to succeed in my pursuit.  I'm finally applying the good management techniques I learned in the Navy to my own "self-management".  Go me!

I wanted to make curry one night, but I could not find my vegetarian cookbook that has an awesome sweet potato chickpea curry recipe.  My plan was to substitute  chicken for chickpeas.
Sweet potato, Carrot, Chicken Curry
1 pound Chicken
2 yams diced
1 can diced tomatoes (15oz) or diced fresh tomatoes
1/2 pound sliced or diced carrots
1 tablespoon red curry
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon cardamom
Cayenne, as desired
1 cup coconut milk
Cook the chicken diced chicken in olive oil.  Once chicken is mostly cooked add yams, diced tomatoes, 1 cup water, carrots and spices.  Bring to boil.  Turn down heat to light simmer, add coconut milk, and allow to simmer for 30 min.  This is a super sweet dish!
Sausage is just such a phallic food!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Primal Day 1: Dairy is my mistress

I would count Day 1 as a successful first day.  I ate completely "paleo" all day.  I even put coconut milk in my coffee & didn't enjoy it too much.  So, I drank less coffee -- probably a very good thing.

I did stray from perfect paleo eating all day.

My 3 transgressions:

1.  I was at the playground and my friend brought me a decaf tall cappuccino from Starbucks.  My former Starbucks drink (after I weaned myself off cafe lattes, of course).   She said I was kind of in a bad mood (I was) and she wanted to cheer me up (it did). So, I'm acknowledging my lack of perfection -- but I actually feel really good about this transgression.  I will take a great friend over perfect eating any day.

2 & 3.  While at the playground, my husband went ahead and cooked dinner.  I was going to make burgers and potatoes.  He made burgers and mashed potatoes.  The burger was fantastic -- it was infused with goat cheese and barbecue sauce.  My husband is a great cook -- and was very thoughtful to have taken the initiative so I wouldn't have to wait to eat.  He made the mashed potatoes with a few tablespoons of milk, but no butter. Again, I'll take an awesome meal from my husband over perfect eating any day as well.

I'm turning over a new leaf.  My former self would either excuse away the transgressions, find someone to blame, and verbally berate myself for it.  Oh, and spend so much time on my Catholic guilt, that I can't continue the challenge.

Instead, I acknowledge that on Day 1 -- I won't get a 100% -- but that isn't my goal.  My goal is to try again tomorrow and be really proud of the choices I made today.  Oh, and, I'm kind of on Cloud 9 to have such great people in my life.  Good friends and life partners are probably the best gift life can give -- I'M CHERISHING THEM!

Today's meals:
Breakfast:  2 eggs, 3pieces of Canadian Bacon, coffee with coconut milk
Lunch:  Left over pork loin
Snack:  Plain Tea (no honey or milk)
Dinner:  Grass fed burgers & mashed potatoes

150 Pound Barefoot Goddess GOES PRIMAL

Since I started barefoot running, I've been exposed to an unusual amount of people that eat what is called a "paleolithic diet".  I've been trying to figure out what this diet or lifestyle is for several months.  I've read some books/blogs/articles on it...but it seems really complicated for something that "in theory" should be really simple.

The basic premise, as I understand it, is to eat as closely to those that lived in the paleolithic era (circa 30,000 years ago).  This appears to be primarily a hunter-gatherer diet.  There appear to be several benefits to this diet -- especially the ones who are benefiting from it and thus continue to eat this way.

My understanding of paleolithic eating:
1.  Mostly vegetable based diet with meats that were raised in their natural state (i.e., grass fed beef, free range chickens, duck, lamb).
2.  Try to eat as local as possible (i.e., the locavore).
3.  No grains (no bread, pretzels, tortillas, pizza, spaghetti -- yikes).
4.  No beans (so long yummy mexican food)
5.  No Dairy -- well, you can take or leave this -- but it is recommended to use coconut milk as a substitute for curries or in your coffee.  The belief is that cavemen/women didn't have milking cows (I have to research this further before I can comment).

There are also some other philosophies that I don't understand yet -- which I am not going to discuss until I do.

My goal is to attempt a paleolithic diet (with the help & support of meetup group eating paleo in NYC) for 30 days -- basically the month of November.

My challenge begins today.  (Day 1 of coconut milk in my coffee.)

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Nasty looks from old Men

Tuesday afternoon I was walking with a gaggle of kids and parents to one of the many outstanding NYC playgrounds.  Lily jumped into a puddle & got her shoes all wet --- she saturated them to the extent that the rubbing was hurting her feet.  So, I did what any rational Mom would do and said, "Lily would you like to walk with your piggies out?"

The kids were all a little crazy on their school Halloween high -- so I don't think the other parents noticed much.  Or, maybe I'm getting so comfortable with barefooting that I didn't feel as self-conscious as I would have in the past.

We passed by an outdoor cafe on York Avenue and an older man -- sixties or seventies with a shock of white and brown frame glasses was reading the WSJ.  He pointedly looked down at Lily's feet and up at the gaggle of parents to undoubtedly express his displeasure at the sight of a beautiful young girl joyously running barefoot down a NYC street.

I looked straight at him and smiled.  He continued his disapproving stare.  At this point it was a  standoff.  I kept smiling...neither one of us backed down until I passed the cafe. 

Sunday, October 17, 2010

I was a hero twice in one day

This is actually something I wrote in August.  I wasn't quite comfortable with my self-appointed superhero status at the time.  Now, I understand that heroism is being who you are -- and not apologizing to yourself or the world for not being any more or less.

"To go against the dominant thinking of your friends, of most people you see everyday, is perhaps the most difficult act of heroism you can have."
Theodore H. White
American political writer
(1915-1986)



I committed two acts of heroism by 1pm  one hot August day-- simply by not internalizing. 



1) I participated without taking on too much.  After a whole year of being a stay at home mom, I'm itching for some type of project.  I've resisted signing myself up for random tasking.  The big commitment I made to myself is to honor my passions --- but in order to do that -- I have to get in touch with what they are.  So, I volunteered to co-coordinate the first barefoot inspired race.  We had a conference call with the venue.  My co-worker seemed to be calling from a quiet office.  I was calling from my apartment with SpongeBob blaring in the background. Before we conferenced in, I let her know my circumstances and said I was going to listen but mute out.  She worked with the parameters I gave her -- and I saved myself from some embarrassment. 
2) I honestly let a friend know she was cranky -- without making her feel worse.
My dear friend whom I can depend on for just about anything was having a bad day -- most likely caused by poor sleep and fueled by some negative interactions.  I didn't want to lose my positive vibe (it is hard work getting it -- and once I lose it, it is really hard work to get it back).  So I listenend for a short while, and than said, "You aren't happy today are you?"  She took a moment and reflected on her past 24 hours and realized she barely slept & she spoke with someone who really drained her.  These factors combined with the summer heat and our extremely energetic children was causing her doldrums.  We met up later in the afternoon, she got a quick nap and was back to her old self -- she actually thanked me for pointing it out.  I reminded her that she has been there for me for the same things.  

1st Annual NYC Barefoot Run














It has been a while since I posted.  Life got very exciting that last week before the 1st Annual NYC Barefoot Run.  This race was purely the result of, "we should..." thinking.  You see, in mid-August, Chris McDougall, the author of Born to Run, came to NYC for 2 reasons -- which turned into 3.


They were:
1.  To meet with Bill Clinton to discuss natural running in Harlem.
2.  To do a book signing at Word bookstore in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.
And....the linking event that made it complete...
3.  My fellow barefooters, John & Maggie Durant, planned an eight mile minimalist run from the Clinton Foundation to Word.

That last reason, turned to more discussions -- a few times while at our barefoot runs, John & I spoke about a barefoot run.  After the McDougall run, John said, "we have to do it this fall -- now is the time".  Personally, I was thinking springtime or next fall.  But John and Maggie were ahead of the curve, as most great minds usually are.  They had already scouted out Governor's Island and had set their sights on October 10th.

Maggie has a brilliant business mind and quickly got things organized and going in the right direction.  They got sponsors, permits, and all the barefooting gurus to join us.  In 6 short weeks, they organized a barefooting convention.  I am ecstatic that I was able to participate and help with some of the planning.  (Sidenote:  any time you have the opportunity to work with bold, visionary, smart and courageous people...TAKE it.)  It was a lot of fun and did not feel like work, even for one second.  I got so much more out of helping than I put into it.

The weekend kicked off with a talk from Dr. Daniel Howell at TipTopShoes. Lily came with me so she could pick up her race packet.  Dr. Howell gave a talk on the benefits of barefooting.  He just wrote a book called, The Barefoot Book:  50 Great Reasons to Kick off your shoes. 
Unfortunately, Lily was full of energy & was running around so much during the talk that I wasn't able to hear most of it.  Since he is a great and patient teacher, as well as a father himself, he did not bat an eye when Lily ran right between him and his audience.  He thought the barefoot 3 year old provided a great back drop for his talk.

I was able to talk to him later that day.  He is in the process of preparing to talk to his local school board about allowing kids to go barefoot in school.  One of Dr. Howell's goals is to see barefeet as a viable option in our society.  He dispelled several barefooting myths (i.e., there are no health codes preventing barefeet in stores or restaurants and it is totally legal to drive barefoot).  I look forward to conversing with him more in the future, especially about barefoot options for kids.

Later that afternoon, there were a series of clinics in central park led by Barefoot Ted and Jason Robillard.
 Barefoot Ted is featured in Born to Run.  Jason Robillard is a barefoot ultra marathoner who founded Barefoot University.  He gives clinics and teaches others how to properly and safely run barefoot.  He also wrote The Minimalist Guide to Barefoot Running. I bought this book several months ago and it has really helped me pay attention to the things necessary to improve my natural running form (from drills, to cues, to strengthening exercises).
  

In Born to Run, we learn that Barefoot Ted's spirit guide is the monkey --- he wears a little monkey charm around his neck.  He is a truly unique individual who knows himself and is able to objectively look at humans at our time in history. It is as if he has some gene-resistant strain that prevents him from being influenced by media and those around him.  From him I clearly saw how important it is to truly be your own self and your own guide.
When asked about how fast he runs, he said that he doesn't care about time.  He did run the Boston Marathon in ~3:20 -- but prefers to run at a trot.  He said he wants to be, "happy and healthy".  He also had some unique insight into our competitive natures, "if you want to be timed, now is your time in history, people are obsessed with time."  He also pointed out that if you hurt yourself, we are fortunate  enough to have the doctors and therapists to put us back together again.  Ted epitomizes the expression, "be who you are".  Imagine what the world would be like if we were all so comfortable in our own skin.

Jason Robillard reminded us all that we are our best teachers.  Listen to your own feet and body.  Most of all, don't give too much advice.  Some people will listen to advice before they listen to themselves, and may get hurt.  Jason signed my copy of his old book.  It has since been re-printed and is about twice the size.  He took my address and said he was going to send me a copy of his new book.   He said he would send me a copy of his new book because he, "feels bad when people spend money on the first book."  Well today, a mere 9 days after that conversation, a new signed book arrived in the mail.  Jason really followed through.

Saturday night Dr. Dan Lieberman, Harvard Professor gave a talk on the fall & rise of running.  His scientific analysis on the shock transient your body absorbs from heel striking was astounding.  Basically, if you heel strike you are subjecting an almost instantaneous shock equivalent to 5x your body weight from your heel through your neck.  No wonder I always got shin splints and lower back pain.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

The Barefoot 3 year old

Lily patiently waiting to run with her blue balloon
 In preparation for the 1st Annual NYC Barefoot Race next weekend, I was interviewed by race founder John Durant and profiled in the "Wild Profiles".  The focus was on encouraging your children to go barefoot.
 



Lily playing soccer at playground after a romp in the sandbox, barefoot of course.
 Top 10 Reasons why you should let your child go barefoot
10.  Kids are natural born runners. They love to run and move, let them do it the way they want to
9.  Less boo-boos.  They will barely trip barefooting -- but when they are in thick soled shoes -- they seem to trip a lot more.
8.  Builds up their natural foot strength.
7.  It encourages them to listen to their bodies.
6. They pay much closer attention to their environment and where they step.
5.  Think of all the money you will save on fancy footwear!
4.  Barefoot on the playground makes them more coordinated and improves balance. (If you don't believe this -- try doing tree pose in sneakers). 
3.  Helps stave off obesity and all the ills that go along with it. 
2.  You have a live-in running partner.
1.  Joy -- Next time you are in the park, watch a child run around without shoes.  No pain, no HRM, no watch, that is true happiness.




Lily dashing down Park Avenue during NYC Summer Streets on Aug 7th.

Lily's natural curious ways and questioning eventually made me realize how wise it would be to allow her to run barefoot. You see, I was injured almost every competitive season of my life due to simple sloppy running form.  My heavy heel striking led to chronic shin splints and stress fractures. Little did I know that my "supportive" shoes and orthotics were actually my problem.  It wasn't until after I returned to serious running after Aurora's birth that I realized I needed to change something.  I needed to ditch the shoes!
  Lily's scientific questioning made me realize that the best thing I can do for her is to NOT interfere in the process of her developing her natural running form.  Her body is teaching her how to be a runner better than I ever could.


Lily testing her feet on the bridle path. "Mommy, the little rocks don't hurt anymore!"
Since Lily is only 3, we had a lot of discussions about running "with your piggies out".  It is important to be careful.  Don't step on anything that hurts your feet.  Fortunately, most three year olds won't do anything that hurts.  Now, when we go on the cinder bridle path, she says, "the little rocks don't hurt anymore -- I can run on them now".  When she gets tired, I encourage her to go just a little bit further.  We'll repeat a mantra like, "I can do it, I can do it" for just a few more feet. 

The great thing about kids (especially young ones) is that they have no choice but to put all of their energy into everything they do, and when they are spent, they literally cannot make themselves go any further.  So we really don't have to worry about overuse injuries.

The best advice I can give is to listen to your child, no matter their age, and support them in their  quest to learn more about the world around them.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Go Slow To Go Fast

I got my lululemon goaltender --"by when date reached" in my inbox the other day.  My goal was to complete my first half-ironman.  Check that off, goal completed sat.


So what next?  According to the lululemon goaltender guidelines, we should have 1 personal, 1 career, and 1 athletic goal at all times.  We should have a short term (1 year), mid term (5years), and long term (10 years) goals always on the horizon.  I've found these guidelines to be helpful -- that being said -- goals need to be continually modified or adjusted to as not to become burdensome.  If your goal becomes just another item on your "to do" list, than maybe it isn't the best goal to be pursuing right now.

One of my biggest personal discipline goals has been to stick to a maximum of 3 things.  For me and my pseudo-ADD personality, this takes a lot of discipline. I once went to my old boss to ask for guidance on my upcoming annual goals.  I gave her a list of about 7 things I believed I needed to work on.  She said, very wisely, "those are all great goals, but I want you to pick two to work on this year".  That was some simple, understated, amazing advice.  This woman had my M.O. As my boss, it was her job to save me from my endless lists of things "to do" in my life.  If I'm are working on so many things, I'm really improving on none.  If I'm only focusing on 1-3 things at a time, I'm actually making lots of head way. Go slow to go fast.  Go slow to go fast.  Do less to do more. 

These are the goals I'm currently focused on (in no particular order):
1.  Learning french - I just started taking French lessons at the French Alliance.
2.  Establishing a solid morning and evening routine for the kids.

3.  Help plan 1st annual Barefoot Run in NYC -- planned for Oct 10, 2010.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

My Big Race


I'm excited to see my husband and daughters as I start on the 56 mile bike.

I had an amazing time at my race on Sunday, September 12th.  I decided to compete in the Athena Division -- the only female "weight class" in the sport of triathlon and like all things you never want to do -- they end up being some of the greatest choices.
 
Once I decided to go switch to the Athena division, I started identifying with the wonderful goddess of wisdom.  I felt wise, powerful, and strong -- all good things to feel before a 70.3 mile race. I started showing off my goddess curves.  I wasn't in the fat girl division -- I was in the GODDESS division.  Not everyone can be a goddess.  Everywhere, there were skinny triathletes with washboard abs and  thighs etched from stone.  There were only a few of us smooth & curvy goddesses.  Our abs weren't jagged and rough enough to grate cheese.  They are soft and supple and huggable. So many people wanted to talk to me -- maybe it was the big smile on my face, my less than threatening physique, or the simple anomaly that I was the only one swimming without a wetsuit.  
The swim was refreshing and glorious.  I had no idea the Hudson River could be so calm, warm and taste like the clean fresh-water of the pristine Adirondacks. The tide was almost too perfect...as it caused several swimmers to swim in the opposite direction. A woman swam right into me going the wrong way. A few minutes later, a kayaker gave me a courtesy poke to tell me I was doing the same thing. So, I had to sight every stroke. It took me 40 minutes to do the swim even with all the bumping and turning and NO WETSUIT!

I biked much faster than my 2 previous 50+ mile bikes. I wasn't able to put as many long bike rides in as I would have liked --- never-the-less -- I was thrilled with my 3:35 bike --  16mph -- on my little sister's old bike! I had the energy to really crank up the hills, push on the descents, and drive on the flats. The only people that passed me were those on those fancy cervelo triathlon bikes that cost $3k+ and look like they weigh in at 13 ounces.  The people riding them looked like they were going to take off and grow pegasus wings.
Lily paces me to the finish!


I decided to do the run barefoot, which wasn't the wisest choice. The course description said the trail portions were "packed dirt". But they were really those grey man-made stones that were quarter sized. There was no shoulder trail to run on. I slipped on my VFF for the trail portions -- but those stones were too painful for my poor little foot pads. Regardless, I stayed positive & felt wonderful the whole time. 
Matt, Lily & Aurora met me at the 13 mile mark.  Lily sprinted with me to the finish.  She was tasked with the very important job of running as fast as she could to help mommy get to the finish.  Lily is the true superhero...and she is also a princess and a CHAMPION!
A high five.
Lily showing off her new medal!
A big hug for the two champions!


My goal was to break 7 hours and I did. I came in 2nd in the Athena division and won a new watch!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

150 Pound Barefoot Goddess

Tomorrow is my big race...the Westchester Toughman Half-Ironman Triathlon.  Today, we took a family trip up to Croton Point Park to pick up my race packet and drop off my bike.  Lily & I stuck our toes in the water -- it was very refreshing  -- the perfect temperature for a 1.2 mile swim.

It is supposed to be 70F tomorrow with just a few showers.  Hopefully, the showers won't be on the big downhills (I'm not a fan of falling off the bike).   I'm planning on doing the 13.1 mile run partially barefoot and partially in my VFF. 

Part of my hopes with all my training (about 10 hours a week of biking, swimming & running) was that I would get back to my pre-pregnancy weight.  That, my friends, did not happen.  I started seriously training for this race 13 weeks ago and I'm still 150 pounds.

I was a little frustrated by this until I remembered that I'm going to turn all my negatives upside down.  I'm not an annoying self-deprecater anymore; I don't make excuses for myself; I don't apologize for who I am; I don't beat myself up for not living up to impossible standards.  I accomplished a lot.  I had the courage to put myself out there.  I made a commitment to do something that I would have to rearrange my life for ...if I had any hopes of achieving it.   And... I did just that --AND that is how I became a GODDESS.

If you have ever heard of the CLYDESDALE division, you may have also heard of the ATHENA class.  Clydesdales are male competitors weighing in at over 200 pounds.  Athena's are female competitor's weighing in at 150 pounds or more.   I have transcended the usual, boring age group and moved on to the Goddess of Wisdom division. 

I have a new found appreciation for my strong body and curves.  I did not stress about how I'm going to look in my curve (and love handle) hugging racing outfit.  I wanted to ensure I wouldn't go under the 150 pound mark.  Once you identify with the Goddess's, it is hard to think of yourself as any other.


Don't get me wrong.  I didn't stuff my face or eat any more than usual.  I still avoided sugar and loaded up on veggies and good proteins and went lighter on the carbs. For now, 150 pounds seems to be where my body is staying.  I feel good.  I have lots of energy.  I clearly look like an athletic woman who has borne children.  My body is an expression of my life and I love and respect it.  I love and respect myself as well!

Thank you to everyone who has shown their support to me throughout the training process and never let me doubt my ability to accomplish new things.

I'm off to bed now -- have to get the family out by 5am tomorrow morning.  I need more luck with that than I do for my race! Godspeed!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Making a Genuine Effort is Being a Superhero

Hello, I'm Jeanne & I'm a recovering perfectionist. Hi Jeanne!

Anyone who knows me may not believe the above statement...for several reasons.  The biggest one is that my life has never seemed organized and orderly. I'm ambitious.  I set high & lofty goals...my to do list is a mile long, my life list includes items like "be an iron man triathlete" & "hike the Appalachian trail" & "publish my memoir".  I throw caution to the wind and don't really worry about the fact that I have no arts background -- but I want to go back to school for a Fine Arts Degree.

I get really excited about things really quickly. My mind fast forwards through several steps and I have another time consuming goal on my to do list. 

I'm a huge fan of putting yourself out there.  You wouldn't have most of your life experiences if you didn't say things like "why not?" or "what if?" or "let's see what happens when..."or "I'm going to try...My problem is I spend so much time thinking about these things, that I'm way too distracted to wipe my counters down or make the effort to put all the toys in the basket each day. It's a bad combination because I'm too much of a perfectionist to not verbally berate myself for not keeping a clean house.

I read an article on Adult ADD a few months ago.  I read the opening and the first of 10 symptoms.  The first was "excessively long to-do lists".  I read it out loud to my husband and he confirmed that was me.  I skipped forward and read the recommendation to make several to-do lists: a daily one, a new daily one, & a long term one.  So I wrote out my morning & evening routine. I put everything on that I ideally would get done every day.  I put "clean kitchen" in the evening routine & "take vitamins" in the morning one.  I put everything on including: coffee, brush teeth, feed baby, dress Lily, etc. 

I made them pretty colors and printed out my two pretty lists and hung them up in my kitchen. This has worked wonders for me.  I don't look at my daily lists every day, nor do I accomplish every task every day.  The magic is, that I no longer get angry at myself for not keeping things up.  I usually get most of what needs to get done most of the time...which a LOT more than I used to. I still get annoyed at my tolerance for clutter, but I clear out the clutter about once a day now instead of watching it pile up. 

  

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Reaching out to another person, even if it means being late...

Living in NYC means you can find a kindred spirit anywhere.  For me, this means running barefoot through Central Park with other barefoot runners ...at 6:30am...on a Tuesday.  Yes, such a group does exist in this fine city.

I'm an early riser, just as my kids are. My husband...well, let's say he'd rather never rouse.  So, I'm stuck with this daily dilemma -- should I get up early & exercise, or should I let my husband sleep?  Did I mention my kids are 3 yrs old & 10 months?  Yeah, so from the moment they wake up until they go to sleep, they require at least 80% of my attention (they really get close to all of it all the time, but phone texting is an awesome way to have a conversation in sporadic 7 second increments. Once they sense I've been a less than captive audience for 10 seconds the dynamic duo quickly conspires to get my full undivided attention once again).

This morning I woke my husband up to let him know he had the conn so I could go out on previous mentioned adventure.  If I'm not meeting anyone, my husband usually gets to sleep --- this superhero has a tendency to want to make her husband happy.

My 3 year old decided it was too much to separate from me -- so I just walked out -- like all moms have to do from time to time.  As my elevator arrived --the tears stopped and I heard her say -- "Can I give mommy a hug & a kiss goodbye?"  My heart melted and I went back inside to get my hug and kiss -- she said she couldn't wait to see me again.  I promised waffles and syrup when I returned. 

Needless to say, this extra good bye time meant I got to our meeting spot late and my group had already left (we have a strict 10 min policy).  I was a tad disappointed, but I as I began running around the reservoir and enjoyed the early morning shade, my disappointment melted away.  I was a superhero to my daughter.

I left with a warm, teary hug and kiss and was going back home to one real soon, hopefully less teary this time.   

Saturday, July 31, 2010

How I became a Barefoot Superhero

I did not set out to be a superhero, a barefoot one at that.  Like all great life adventures, it was an unplanned tale of twists & turns that would never have turned out as perfectly if I had injected my genetic need to plan things out to the nth detail.

Did you ever do something in life...not really a choice, but just tried something out that literally turned your whole world around and upside down?  You may not have realized it was happening -- but you kept doing it because for you were happier while you did it and were filled with an exciting sense of elation afterward.  You were wise enough to realize that this feeling could be fleeting.  It probably won't last.  You weren't going to ruin it by thinking about it too much.  It was your night as Cinderella.  Your fairy godmother came and made all things perfect in your life for a few hours. 

This is my Cinderella story.  One day I took off my shoes and started running. I felt light & free.  Creative. Thoughts ran wild.  I felt at home, at peace, and in love with my own body & life.  My mind, body, & soul came together and worked as one.  I was in a zen state of bliss.  An upright, moving savasana. I communed with the gods & nature. 

This is my story. This is how I became a barefoot superhero!