The 28 Day FAT BURN starts Jan 6th! It’s a team challenge utilizing a comprehensive meal-replacement and coaching system I use to create the many Before and Afters you see on my facebook paage! WARNING: I do NOT Coach “diets”…this is a challenge for team players who want to create substantial, life long changes in their health and follow a PROVEN results producing system. It’s a points system based off of following the Habits of Health! You can earn points of nutrition, sleep, reading, calling your coach, exercise and much more! The team and persons earning the most points will be elligible for many prizes including the most incredible prize of all…. TAKING YOUR HEALTH TO THE NEXT LEVEL!!! This challenge is available to current clients and new clients! We just need to talk about your goals, choose a path and say “YES…Let’s GO.”
Watch this video to learn more!
Click the link here to join!
It seems like an eternity she’s been gone and yet it feels like just yesterday I gave her my last kiss. When you know unconditional love, it leaves a mark on your soul. It makes it rather difficult to wake up each day as the day before when it is no longer present in the form you once knew. Suddenly, something changes in you. You can’t act as if you are not changed, because you are and you can’t act as if you are not sad because it is just so.
Tuesday December 11, 2012, the day my mother left this Earth, my soul was shaken, my heart was broken and I had felt the very feeling I had feared for most of my life…the loss of momma. As distraught as I was, my 6 siblings, my father, my aunts and uncles and all the people whose hearts she touched…I see now that none of that mattered because she was with God and my brother Jason and so many others she had loved.
How I was going to cope would be a true test. Before when I had lost my brother, and others whom I cherished, I would basically retreat within myself not talking about it, to hide and not heal. It’s taken me a while to realize my pain serves it’s duty too. To show me things about myself and the world I could not know without it and to show things to others they may not see.
My momma would have always said, “everything happens for a reason” and as a child, teen, or young adult crying in her arms, most of the time that was a tough pill to swallow. Sometimes I didn’t want to hear it. But, she was right, as usual. Not talking about my mother does me no good and does her no justice. This woman who molded my life, showed me what it means to be “mother”…In my eyes, she was the momma of all mommas.
In elementary school, the assignment was to choose a role model, someone you look up to, “ like the president” they said. Even then, that sounded so silly to me. “Why would I choose someone I know relatively nothing about and who knows nothing of me? “
I went back to school with my parents names on the paper…Of course!
Momma was my guiding light and my place of true peace in this world. Her hug was the most sweetest thing, she would never let go. As a teenager, I’d often say, “Ok mom” and she would just smile probably thinking of how her baby had grown so fast before her eyes.
Although I wish now I had never pulled away a second sooner from her hug, somehow, weird as it may sound to you, I feel her peace and embrace around me constantly. Maybe it’s the memory and lesson of Gail Ann Durr Jane’ s life. The mark of a woman who sacrificed for her family.
Sure she was often judged and scoffed at because her and my father chose to have 7 kids. And, of course, having such a large family, you could say that monetarily we didn’t have it all. But, I had no idea. My belly was always full, my bed was warm, and my heart content.
There were many things we couldn’t afford. During christmas we’d pile into our Astro van with blankets, hot cocoa, and she would sing christmas carols. I’d look in awe, not at the houses beautifully decorated but instead at momma. There was nothing this woman could not do. Birth 7 babies without anesthesia, construct a drama club, write grants, become an ordained minister and reiki master and yet she had no formal education higher than high school. She did not just counsel me and my siblings and love my father, she opened herself to others as a tool for healing and support.
She often would tell me I had a healing heart and I would serve others too. I would never disagree with her but in the back of my mind I was distracted by the “shiny things” in my early years. Temporarily distracted about what truly mattered in life. I wanted a big house, nice car, flashy clothes….AND a husband and kids didn’t fit in that picture. Oh My Gosh….am I so happy I changed. I could care less for those things now if it does not include my family. My daughters and my husband are my happiness.
Driving to Lift one morning, pregnant with Sabella my first daughter, I felt her kick for the first time. Suddenly out of no where I began to cry so overwhelmed by a feeling I had never felt. I called my momma immediately, “Momma, I finally understand just how much you love me and I’m sorry if I ever doubted you”.
I feel so blessed that I could realize that moment and that I could share it with her. In these last years with momma, I grew up SO much. The lord had his patience with me that’s for sure and he poured his knowledge on just when it mattered most for me to take the form of a mother that my daughters could also be proud of…a momma like my momma.
And, to show my mother her worth to me, although she knew. Of course when you lose someone you love you’re overcome with regrets. There are definitely things I’d go back and re-write but it would be silly to harp on my regrets. It would mean I didn’t know or acknowledge her wisdom, her unconditional love and her ability to forgive.
But, what I will say to others is “Don’t wait. Don’t hold back. Don’t hesitate”. Take that as you will. Apply it to your life and the ones you love if you so choose.
I’d like to leave you with the letter I read for momma before we laid her body to rest. I’m sharing this with you in hopes someone learns from my mistakes and if there’s anyone who needs hope or proof that these things, love, do exist:
I’m not sure I ever really could convey to you the love I have for you in my heart. It seems, however, one of my worst fears has come true….Losing you.
I wanted to do so much more for you than what I did.
My poor heart aches. It’s been broken into a million pieces. I went home Tuesday night and crumbled.
My chest closed in and I could barely breathe. All I wanted to do was switch places with you and not see you in pain. I cried myself to sleep in my husbands lap. He stroked my hair and as the fire burned I imagined it was you.
As the morning sun hit, so did the tears before my eyes could even open. I heard the sweet calls of my baby’s voices but all I could do was turn over and cry on the dry side of my pillow.
All I could do was lay there. All I wanted to do was nothing. Nothing held a smile for me and my body felt as weak as a twig that was snapped in half.
As I pulled the covers over my head, I thought of you, of course, but this time in a different type of panic.
“Who would tell your story? How would everyone know how incredible you are, how much you were loved and how much you loved us?”
I could not leave it in someone else’s hands no matter how distraught I was. After all, I only have thought about you and loved you everyday of my life.
Painstakingly, I slid out of bed, managed to brush my teeth and get dressed. I headed straight for pictures, memorabilia, and anything that reminded me of you and got to work.
For the past 3 days, when all I thought I could do was “Nothing”, I built a memorial in your name, a true love story.
As it came to an end in all it’s beauty and glory, I laughed and smiled actually for the first time in a week. For I had realized, yet again and in your selfless way..you only thought of us.
You know how long I wanted to hurt and you were going to see to it that I began healing in a timely manner according to momma. Yet again, at a time when all I wanted to do was cry, you made me smile and laugh. Just when I thought I had lost my best friend, the person who cared for me from birth…who brought me to life. You showed me what a worthy companion I’ve chosen to walk this life with. At a time when all I cared to do was cry, you proved you were not the only one…there was someone else who would feed me, watch over me, provide me with unconditional love and do his best to crack a smile on my sad face. Someone who at all cost made sure I could deliver our memories to display today.
At a time when I wondered, “what is family if it doesn’t include you?”
You showed me the unconditional love of my sisters and brother you gave me. You showed me the love of a mother and father, who were not of my own blood, that would watch over my sweet babies while I try to mend the pieces of my broken heart. And, you showed me in my weakness I am strong and I teach my daughters through my ability to be apart of your life and almost celebrate my grief for I could not be so sad had I not known so much love.
At a moment when my father hurts so badly inside over losing his life long companion and partner, that his mouth cannot utter the words to express his feelings. I stumble upon countless love letters from him to you, proclaiming his undying devotion, gratitude and love for you.
As another tear falls, inspired by the love story that has always been right in front of my face…I look at the clock and see it’s 3 a.m.. I smile for the second time in a week because, there you go again, and you remind me of your patience, determination and strong will that has been passed on to me as I relentlessly sort through countless photos and scanned, cropped and edited till my sight was blurred.
At the end of the video, my laughter turned to tears again but this time in joy. For this life you lived, although not easy, was a beautiful life that is novel worthy of the finest Love story ever written.
Although I still can’t believe this is really happening now, what I do know that’s real is your love and memories that will carry on through me, my siblings, our children, my father, your sister, your brothers, your friends and every person we touch.
How funny is it that you wouldn’t let me self destruct. You refused to let me be sad without rejoicing. And, you found a way to make me pull myself together long enough to see your message, the letter you hid away for us when this day come, a letter titled, “Think of Me”
I will think of you momma every time I look at my cheek bones, my brown almond shaped eyes, my coarse thick dark hair and my hands for they were also yours. I will think of you seeing my nose and lips, a combination of you and my father and a forever stamp on me that your love existed to be passed on for generations. I will think of you as I look at the back of my journal, filled with clutter and “doodles”…just like you used to do, but like you also I am creative too. Music fills the background as I sit here in my office, all the songs playing are tied with a memory, music you shared with me. “Listen to the words” you would tell me as a girl. Now every time I hear these songs, I think of you and with it a message for me to carry in my heart forever.
I will think of you on a beautiful day and I will think of you on a rainy day. I will think of you momma every time I hug my father, look at my husband in adoration and lean on my sisters and brother.
I will think of you momma every single time I hold my babies, kiss their heads and sing them our lullabies. And, I will tell them the story of you. When I hold their hands I will think of how you told me as a child that I one day would no longer hold your hand. And I will think of you yet again, because I proved you wrong as I told you I would that day when I was just a girl.
Even as a 30 year old woman, I held your hand, kissed your soft cheek and brushed your soft hair till the last second of your life. I will carry you with me always.
Love…your baby always,
I know this seems sad, but it’s quite the opposite. Do not be sad for us, be happy knowing that I’ve known such love. When you see me, do not offer condolences, offer a smile and even ask a question about my mother if you like and do not be scared that I will cry, I most likely will, but my tears are tears of joy. If you are a mom, remember there is no better gift you can receive today than that of adoring look from your child, a hug that never ends and a love that knows no boundaries.
So…here we go again! Since getting more structure to my running program, my lifting program suffered for 2 weeks (and also adjusting to holidays). I don’t know about you, but if I just take one week off from Lift’ing, I find it very difficult to muster up the motivation to do an intense lifting session. Here’s how I talk myself into it…
I know for a fact through practicing on myself and training others that HIIT (high intensity training intervals) and circuits are the most efficient forms of fat loss, sculpting, and muscle building. It effectively controls insulin & cortisol levels that may go awry when lifting intensely for long durations. Well, that suits me just fine because that means I’m going to be done in 30 minutes or less with my workout!
This workout was done in 15 minutes (that’s with transitions) and I felt every minute of it. Let your muscles do the talking and forget conventional methods of working out. If 10 minutes is all the time you have or all the time you have motivation for..then it’s plenty enough time.
Hugs & Health,
Fat Loss Specialist & Certified Health Coach
This will be one of my shorter blog posts, lol…only because my long winded self is exhausted and couldn’t say it any better than this video can. With the help of my friends, my passion for fitness, wellness, and it’s ability to change people’s lives in a major way was put together in this video as a powerful message that’s bound to stir up some kind of inspiration! After all, that’s my main goal in life…to continue to find inspiration and spread it to others!
Hugs & Health,
Fat Loss Specialist & Health Coach
Today was the annual Keeping Up With the Jones 5k! Always a fun race. In the past four years, I’ve been blessed to see it grow to be quite an event! As for the Jones themselves, they’re incredible people. Sweet, genuine, smart, and fun people to be around, Paul and Melissa are a positive team bringing energy to everything they do.
This may be why I’m so fond of this race. After re-connecting with my inner athlete and and the delicate balancing act that is life…I found so much peace in my training I wanted to infect others within my reach to shoot higher.
Its obvious, many of my clients already lift weights regularly. For my coaching clients whom work with me via phone & email on nutrition, they may not be exercising at all yet. There is something missing. No, not just cardio, but the hope to aspire for more. The hope that “your” body and “your” mind can fight the odds. The hope that you can define what “athlete” means to your body and in your life.
Yes, I know, you’re thinking,”Ok, Sam, you’re not just getting deep here, you’re digging deep.”
But, it’s true. Failure in itself should be defined by the lack of belief in one’es self. So, after my 10 weeks of training myself back to incredible, I decided that I was going to try to convince others to believe.Keeping in mind, many of our clients don’t run, have never run or run very little. I knew it would be smart & safe to start with a 5k, or 3.1 miles, in which anyone could walk even at a slow pace.
This was the perfect event for this new challenge. Fun, Friendly, non-intimidating but competitive if you want it to be so.
Since I had been doing more training than Harold and since I had enlisted the advice of Mrs. Rachel Evjn Booth, we decided he would be Mr. Mom and push the girls.
I do believe, Harold has always been Mr. Mom for this race! (Ok, next year honey)
Although Courtney and I and the team busted our booties recruiting and motivating others to join us, I was not actually sure just who was showing up!
Right before the 1 mile started, I saw our group pleasantly pull together! We had a showing of 18 people between team members & clients!
Yay! We’re going to change some lives today!” I thought…and erase some fear & doubt.
Sabella ran the 1 mile, as best as a 4 year old could. She did intervals. She would run to the stop sign, STOP, whine a little while walking, Run RUN Run, STOP, piggy back Ride, Run Run Run, STOP, daddy carries and runs with her safely cradled in his arms and then he sets her down so she can make her glorious mad dash to he finish.
As the one mile fun run ended, it was time to pull our team together for the 5k! There was a hint of anxiety and a pinch of panic in the air but mostly just excitement! It was so neat to see many clients show up who had never done a race of any sort or it had been a very long time since. Instead of running away, they all pulled tight into a well knit group. We chose “pace leaders”, many of our first timers were walking. Tim, headed up the walkers. Rachel, Tim’s girlfriend, and Courtney walked & jogged and then we had our 9-10 min/mile group and then the 9 min/mile or below group. Mostly, this was to offer a sense of “togetherness” at the beginning, because it’s often the beginning that is the scariest part.
Although I was initially planning on being a pace leader and pushing the girls, my coach, Rachel, advised me to use this as a benchmark run for the rest of my training. I was a little nervous about this. The Gulf Coast Half was a great race for me. I figured I could do a 5k faster than a 8:30 pace, but maybe not my PR of 21:50? I had only ran 3 times since the half that was on October 14…in this case, what would be doable?
Blah…who needs “doable” when you got grit! I decided to shoot for slightly slower than my PR. I aimed for a 22:00, but honestly I would’ve been happy with anything under 25:00 minutes. I clung to T’s side yet again. “T, I don’t think I have it in me today.” He nudged me off as if to suggest I was just being silly, but, I really wasn’t sure.
Music on, check! Runmeter app on, check! Go! Tristan was off…faster than a speeding bullet (nothing like a little superman analogy). My Runmeter lady popped in my ear, “6:50 min/mile” and you know what she meant, “SLOW DOWN STUPID”. I fell back behind Tristan until I got to a more comfortable pace, 7:30.
As we made our way to the lakefront on this beautiful morning (another reason why I LOVE the Jones 5K, it’s always awesome weather), you know how my mind wonders. I recalled the first year I ran the Keeping Up With The Jones 5k and I had actually won overall female! Thinking back now, I would give full credit to this race for solidifying my love for running. I had never won anything for anything athletic other than cheer leading before. The only medals or trophies that decorated my room were State Science Fair medals and a “Most Spirit” trophy. I knew I would not take first this race, but I wondered, would I have a chance of even ranking? As we turned onto the Lakefront, I felt pretty good. I seemed to be in the first wave of runners, even if I was dead last for the fastest it still felt good to be anywhere close to them!
Then, I looked down and thanks to my dad always telling me to “Look down where you walk”, my whole life (I grew up in the country. Snakes always ended up under my foot), I managed to not so gracefully leap over a snake! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been on a run, looked down at a twig and thought it was a snake only for it to be just a twig. But, this time the twig was a snake! It was not alive though. Wonder if it got trampled by those cheetah like runners? Anyway, I thought that this little snake was going to get the last laugh. If only I could have a camera set up to catch images of all the panic stricken runners leaping high into the air. Harold said he got to see a good bit of it.
When I made the loop directly on the lakefront, I was so happy to see Harold and my babies and Melissa Paretti and Jessie Wolz turning the curb too. I was waving and hooting and hollering and then I remembered…”Oh, you’re supposed to be racing silly.” Rachel clearly told me to “make it hurt” and I’m sure waving is not part of that scenario. Even at this point, running a 7:15-7:30 pace, waving was no longer an option. I started feeling the pain. It’s a little funny because, here you go again…Every race has it’s own story, here I was pushing myself as hard as I could and I told my clients, “don’t push too hard, just come see what it’s all about”.
I forget what I was thinking most the rest of the race until my insanely poor sense of direction got the best of me once we turned off the lakefront. I gave it another hard push, because I thought I soon would be finished, only to realize that I had another mile left. Where was that voice when I needed it? I guess I tuned her out at the wrong time. I had to dig really deep for this race and when the end was in sight, I found a little extra in the tank to pull out a 22:40! Needless to say, I was pleased. Tristan had done a 21:50! We both took 2nd in our age groups.
I was so happy to be finished but happier to wave and cheer in all of my friends!
In the midst of recovering from my hard push during the race, I realized I unfortunately missed several of our team members coming through the finish : ( There were so many incredible finishers. All of them, regardless of the time it took to cross the finish line, all closed their race with enthusiasm and a sense of accomplishments! What’s most impressive is that everyone was impressed with themselves! Even people who thought they would just walk, ended up jogging a little. People who thought, they could barely jog, ran. People who thought they would finish in 27 minutes ended up do it in 25 minutes.
And, Talk about “Super Dads”! There was my hubby with his double jogger, Garrett rocking the Jeep stroller, and Dustin pushing Boston for a stroller PR…I tell ya’, it’s enough to make a girl go all googly eyed! There were all kinds of super dads out there that day. Of course Tristan, but we also had Todd Reeves and 2 beautiful girls who ran the race with him. Brett did the 3.1 (super fast) and then did another 3.1 to finish a long run. Jeff who also came, ran, made a PR and then ran back to his family!
At the end of the race, the air was filled with a lot of this, ” I can’t believe I did…” fill in the blank. I think many of us couldn’t believe they had a good time. Monday morning the studio was filled with a different level of excitement. It was very intriguing and somewhat familiar feeling. As I talked to Julie, she was just overflowing with pride. The day before the race what I heard from her was a lot of “I don’t know…” and then Monday she knew she could and what’s more is I think there’s no doubt in her mind that there’s more to come for her.
All it takes is one little thing, one little event to build your confidence and to show you the possibilities of your body. Erase your doubt. Just because you’ve never experienced success or lasting transformation doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist for you.
Here’s to uncovering your inspiration and your internal motivation!
Hugs & Health,
Fat Loss Specialist & Certified Health Coach
Congratulations to the whole team: Cecily, Kathy, Beverly, Doug, Julie, Allison & her daughter (plus friend), Courtney, Rachel, Tim, Tristan, Jessie, Tracey, Garrett, Landen, Kennedy, Amy, Jeff, Todd, Sarah, Emma, Melissa, Naz, Brett, Joy and of course Me,Harold and our two princesses!
My personal account of the Gulf Coast Half Sunday October 14, 2012:
“Sometimes…I get a good Feeling. I get a feeling like I never ever felt before, I get a good feeling.” Bumping from my honda at 6 a.m. in the morning as I drove down a quiet sleepy road in Mandeville, LA this past Sunday. On my way to my second Gulf Coast Half on the Northshore! It was a good feeling. I was PUMPED! I wasn’t just pumped up with lactic acid from the Warrior Dash I had completed just 18 hours prior. Those race day jitters started up and, well, it really was a good feeling.
I knew today was bound to deliver myself an accomplishment. You would think I would be exhausted from having done the Warrior Dash just the day before, but no I was alert and ready to go. This morning I was ready. I was ready to step out from behind the “I just had a baby (2 years ago)” excuse and break that 1:57-2 hr 1/2 marathon time that was haunting me like a ghost. It was nagging at me much like this in my mind, “Was my 1:48 PR a fluke? Is this as good as it gets for me now?” Ah, who knew. What I did know is I didn’t plan on going home with anything less than 1:53.
A few miles from Fontainebleau State Park, I was making good time. Surely, I would be into the park and out my car by 6:10. The closer I got to the park, the slower my car moved. Red tail lights lit up the dark morning as we all eagerly trailed into the park. As I sat in the driver’s seat, alone, my heart raced, my mind wandered. I was figity and anxious. Very easily, I could have parked my car in the road and started my race right there. But, this was not an option and so I searched for what patience I could find and sat as still as possible as my car inched closer and closer into the park at about 5 miles per hour.
My rapidly beating music only irritated me at a certain point and so I looked out my window at the many people doing their warm-up lap. Ugh..I was jealous. As my jealousy quickly passed, I soon began to wonder about these people jogging about. Was it their first race? Was it their first half marathon? Would he/she have a PR? Was one of these people going to win the race? Maybe she’s running in someone’s name or memory?
My body twitched and my legs were ready to fire! But, my heart was traveling in another direction. “What are the many stories to tell this morning?”
Finally, I was in the park and my car was tucked away in a self made parking spot. I jogged towards the starting line, which was maybe half a mile and started searching for Tristan, lead personal trainer at Lift Training Studios. He was going to be my inspiration today and although I did not expect to be able to keep up with him…I was sure going to try.
It was still a little dark. I went to the Jones Physical Therapy tent first and said my good morning’s to Paul and Melissa and then asked, “Hey…did you see T? He has my race #.” They hadn’t seen him yet and so I told them to hold him hostage if he passed until I got back. : ) I didn’t walk far before I found him. “Ah…I knew it would be the first half naked man I saw”, I joked with him. (If you looked like Tristan, you’d walk around half naked too)
We said our good morning’s as well and then an awkward pause. “So, you have my number?” I asked. His eyes opened wider suddenly and mouth dropped. “What. No. You didn’t get my text?” He had left my number at the studio and told Harold. It was not like Harold to forget, but we did have a rather busy weekend. I couldn’t be mad. It wasn’t like I was going to win. Who cares. It’s the fact I could run it and that’s all that mattered.
Of course, Tristan had a solution and here’s where you can’t go wrong doing local races. I was taken care of and properly suited with my race #! I was excited but of course no race is complete without a little pre-race drama.
Now that the drama was over. We had a little time for bathroom break (absolutely essential pre-race) and then we made our way towards the “Start”!
The crowd was thick and the air was crowded with anticipation! We tried inching our way as close to the 9 min/mile section but it was of no use. I have to thank Tristan for staying with me. He was so prepared that had it not been for me, and my silly girl ways, he would have been in that starting line right where he was meant to be.
Standing in place. I put my earbuds in, started playing Young The Giant (not too fast, not too slow…filled with words to help me run this race with intention), got my running app ready and took some deep breaths. As the music played in my ear, “Life’s too short to be the carrot…” I looked down and noticed that there was still dirt under my nails from the day before. Would it haunt me on this run? Was I a glutton for athletic fun this weekend? Did I sacrifice my PR to slip-n-slide in the mud yesterday?
Before I knew it, we were off! Was there a count down? Was there a gun shot? I missed it as I often do, but no matter, Tristan was at my side and I can always trust in his lead. Slowly at first, we trotted over the start and into the first few miles of our run. It was like a maze. Winding in and out of all different paces to find our place on the road that day. Again, I trusted in Tristan. Men are often good at these kind of things. Sure enough, he found us a spot were we could find a good steady pace. “7:30, 7:45, 8:00, 8:15″…My little running coach whispered in my ear from my running app as if to suggest…”Find your pace already!” But she never yells, oh no, she is always very calm. And, so we did find our pace. 8:30 mins/mile.
I was quite hesitant to accept it at first. This pace was feeling very good, very manageable, but would it be manageable for 13.1 miles? That was the real question. I had hit close to this in a training run, but everything is different race day! Everything. To take my mind off the worry, I focused in on the crowd as I usually do in a race. What did I see? I saw a young man running in a purple shirt that said, “For my dad”, a long lean man that looked like a well seasoned runner, a gentleman darting into the woods for a potty break, and straight in front me was a petite little power house of a woman. “Hmm, ” I thought, “Cute outfit”. As she strutted along in my favorite athletic apparel, Lululemon. I also noticed she was in great shape. Very lean & muscular. People would think that’s odd for me to focus in on such observations, but don’t forget what my career has been for the past 12 years. I’m a personal trainer, it’s the first thing I notice and appreciate.
Anyway, I noticed her pace. Steady and even it was and slightly faster than me. She would be a good pace leader for the moment. This is something I do every race too when I hit a point of struggle. I look into the crowd and find someone who can lead me through. They never know it, but for that time, they are my guiding light.
By mile 6, my guiding light had disappeared. We hit the lakefront and Tristan started to fade a little too. I should have slowed a bit too, but I made a pact with myself to stay at 8:30 for the whole race if possible. I couldn’t slow down now, I had to prove it to myself if I could do it that day. So, I strutted along in a sea of unfamiliar faces. That was until I hit West Beach St and not long after turning I see a water table, a much needed water break and the first one I took on my run. “It’s Sam!” I hear and I was so excited to see my friend and Lift ambassador, Courtney eagerly reaching out with water. I stopped for just a few seconds to drink, because I still haven’t mastered the Drink-while-you-run-but-don’t-choke method (I’ll get there one day Ryan) and set off again.
As I picked up pace again, I looked across the street and there was the rest of my crew. Harold, Brett, my father-in-law all ready to aid the runners that day. I wanted to hop over that median to Harold. I wanted to say, “Ok, really 6 miles is plenty today”, but I resisted. Mile 6, mile 6.5, Mile 7…the mental warfare began as I made the loop into Heritage subdivision and worked my way to Harold.
And there was my sweetie finally. A cup of Go-Go juice, a kiss, and I found myself lingering as if I needed to be pushed from the ledge. Suddenly, a pat on the tush and I felt like one of the guys in the locker room! “Yea, I got it coach, put me back in” is what I felt as Harold sent me on my way.
I don’t remember much at this point. The great Varsity crew. Bud gave me a nice “Hi 5” but I think I would’ve hugged him if he told me it was the end of the race! Heading onto the trace, I had to call out the big guns, as H would say. Mile 7.5, mile 8, mile 8.5, mile 9….the miles were passing slow and I need some real motivation, my girls.
When times get tough, I make my list. “I’m doing this for my girls!” I proclaim out loud only in my mind but would yell if not to startle other runners. But, of course, in times of weakness you’ll fight yourself on even the things you love and want the most. “How is this for my girls?” I questioned myself. I could be with them right now. So, I made my list.
Cons: 1) I had to wake up early. 2) 4 hours without my girls
Pros: 1.) I’m a walking, talking, living role model for my girls 2) I added years to my life span with my husband and girls 3) I have tons of energy to play and be silly with my girls 4.) Well into my golden years, I will not be limited in the things I can do or the places I can go.
That’s enough, but I can elaborate and go on for years because this literally translates into every aspect of my life as a mother, wife, and professional.
Mile 9.5, mile 10, mile 11…heading back into the park the grand cascading oaks mark there will soon be a finish and a resolution to the battle in my mind. Mile 11.5, Mile 12…”Pace 8:32″ she whispers in my ear. “Time 1:45″ With one mile left, regardless the aching of my muscles, I can always make a big push at the end. (Picture this being said in a charming southern accent…)”Like a horse running to the stable” a man once described me as at the Rock N Roll (Yes, I was once referred to as a horse. Hmmm, compliment?”
Anyway, this horse was off and I poured every last bit of my energy out on the last mile. Why? Because I wanted to take out anyone next to me? No! Because I wanted to be done ASAP!
1:52:14….I had done it! The days of the post-baby half marathon times were behind me and I was on my way to progressing towards my personal best again. For me, a person whose life line, my air, is personal achievements and aiding others in realizing theirs, this truly meant the world to me.
Who knew a little 13.1 race in Mandeville, LA could mean so much to one person. Realizing the thoughts that went through my head, the story of my personal journey, I was eager to hear more from others. My friends who I’ve been so blessed to meet along this journey to wellness and living a full life.
It’s a fact. People think about the things that matter the most to them when pushing their personal limits. When Dustin Hinton started his weight loss journey (53 lbs lost) and aimed to become an “Iron Man”, he thought of his son Boston. This Gulf Coast Half was a 1 year anniversary run for him and marked the beginning of his journey to the Louisville Iron man.
I could go on and on about this guy. In the short time I’ve known him, he’s inspired me and I know many others with his story. Every time I chat with him, I walk away with something meaningful to transpire into my life.
“Surround yourself with people who inspire you to be more than you were yesterday. ” I always say. Point and case!
In Lorraine’s words: “Latest Obstacle:
Jeff is my neighbor! On many runs, we pass each other in our neighborhood. Sometimes we stop and chat and sometimes it’s a polite nod and a wave of the hand and that’s the subtle ways of “Runner’s Support”. What I didn’t know about Jeff is that he has quite a story of his own. Jeff used to be 30lbs heavier
Jeff told me, “I ran it last year with a time of over 11 min per mile. Lost 30 lbs this year and ran 10.09 a mile. I could have done it faster.” I can relate Jeff. Keep doing what you do and you’ll get there!
Jeff found support in his brother and likewise his brother in him I’m sure. He said, “He has a torn ACL that he never had repaired. This was his first half. At mile 7 it started to bother him.”
Yet, he finished! Incredible.
I’ll never forget doing the Pensacola Half just a few short months after Mila was born. Crossing that finish, it was my most challenging race, but hearing, “Way to go Sam!” over the mic made me feel so accomplished! That’s mike. He’s nothing but upbeat, friendly and a true believer in people! These races embody southern culture and it’s all about the people and the places we live. 13.1 miles can be intimidating, but not The Gulf Coast Half! It’s fun and friendly. This is what races should be all about…living life!
There were many other friends and stories that day. Too many to count, too many to write about, but all worthy of a “Hall of Fame” for sure. Shannon M. and her sister Lauren, I saw their updates on Facebook noting the impact this race made on their lives. I’m inspired and motivated by all of them. Just when I want to quit, and believe me I do want to quit sometimes, I think about my “Why” and I think about all the people who are searching for and achieving greatness in their lives on a daily basis. Suddenly, I know, it’s not enough to just wake up, work, eat, sleep…life is about more. When you say you want more, you have to choose to “run’ after it, sometimes literally in my case and the case of my friends. “More” doesn’t just walk up to you and say, “Take me! My name is More and you can have me.” Nope, it’s something you seize. It’s there for the taking if you truly want it. It just starts with you deciding to grab it. When will you grab it?
Hugs & Health,
Fat Loss Specialist & Health Coach
Then runs got longer, and that’s when it happened, while training for a half marathon, I hit 8miles(my breakthrough point). I remember how hard it was at miles 6 and 7, and all of a sudden I realized I was no longer huffin’ and puffin’.
I was singing to the music on my ipod, my mind was clear, and senses were heightened, and felt like I could go on forever, and there it was the -“Runners High”.
I had found enlightenment, meditation, freedom.
This past weekend Samantha and I ran the Gulf Coast Half Marathon, not only did I get to do it with my long time running buddy, but we were fast, I hit a personal record – 1hr 53min that’s an 8:30 mile for 13.1 miles.
But there it was at mile 8, “The Runners High”, the clarity, the singing, the heightened senses, it was all back….and of course, Samantha sill beat me, but no matter, I again found my Nirvana and that’s all I needed.
Over the years I have run several half marathons, participated in an Ironman triathlon,and even completed an off road “ultra” marathon, pretty ambitious for a guy who was the epitome of the one time “Anti-runner”.
Tristan Martin, CPT
Fitness & Wellness Coordinator LIFT Training Studios
Lead Trainer LIFT Training Studios
Standing out in the crowd, a fellow muddy racer states…”It’s as hard as you make it” to another exhausted muddy racer who glanced over the diverse crowd in awe. He couldn’t believe the vast variety of people from ages to fitness levels that came out to participate in an event that, at first glance, seems so, well, HARD!
(A tune for all you warriors)
“It’s as hard as you make it.”…And, it dawned on me his brilliance in all it’s simplicity that any race can be done. Any race can be finished. Any race can be won no matter how difficult or challenging the appearance.
I have to say, in Every race that I’ve Ever done, this thought has entered my mind in another way. Every race I’ve been in I’m always amazed by the variety of fitness levels there. I guess I’m no different than most. As a novice runner, I pictured these events to be over flooded by the fittest of the fit, the leanest of the “lean & mean”, the toughest of the tough! I pictured my newbie self being crushed and, honestly, humiliated. But, to tell you the truth, this is nothing of the such.
Races are fun events. It’s full of curiosity and those questioning, “What if?” ….What if I can do this?!
The Warrior Dash in Denham Springs, LA this past Saturday (October 13, 2012) was no different! Was it tough, sure, BUT…Only as tough as you make it. It’s also as fun as you make it.
I so wish I had pictures or video for you along the way. I wonder if I can’t paint a picture for you?
11:25 a.m., Our heat is ready to run in 5 minutes. In the background of rapidly beating heart, anxious for the “GO”, is thumping music, Thor is beating on his chest (yes, I really was standing next to Thor), camo clad participants pumping out burpees is anticipation, Sam jumping and kicking ( as if it were an efficient warm-up) and Harold standing so calm, cool, and collected as usual. The announcer coordinates warrior calls….”Hold this one as long as you can”, he says as the crowd roars! Then the countdown… 10, 9,8,7,6,5…4…3…2…1…GO!
And we were off! Harold darts off, as he usually does, and although I had no Garmin or iphone app whispering my pace in my ear as usual, I knew it was fast. It was more like a 7:30-8 min pace at least. The ground was dry and somewhat bumpy, but still dry. That was for the first half mile and then there it was…It was like the Holy Land of Mud. The place mud dies and goes to heaven! I mean, seriously, if I were mud it wouldn’t get any better than that! It was atleast a mile, maybe more, of trudging, sliding, slipping, belly flopping through mud and mud puddles and mud ponds (for me at 5’2” some puddles seemed more like a small pond).
Harold was in his element! He definitely seemed to be one with the mud as he leaped through the slop. Every so often, he’d stop as if he expected to see me tip toeing through the muck. And, I was and grumbling…”this isn’t running…This is NOT running”. But then, I’d laugh and look to the person next to me who was having an equally challenging time not busting his or her butt and say, “this is more like dancing”.
And it was. Take a step and skate and arms would fly up…”Like you just don’t care”! It was pretty hilarious and at the same time I was scared of twisting my ankle and not being able to run the next day in the Gulf Coast Half Marathon.
Looking back at this part, I really respect the mud now because it took people of different fitness levels and put us on an, almost, even playing ground. Talk about humbling a runner with an average 8:30 min/mile pace to finish at a 13 min/mile pace. It’s that big of a difference. Doesn’t matter if you have 30 miles per week under your belt, when you get to that mud, you’re like anyone else…struggling just to stand on two feet. And, you just gotta smile at that…we’re all even in mud’s eyes.
So, we’re finally through the mud and come to the “Capsized Catamaran” which seemed more like barges separated into 3 sections through a rather deep puddle. I’m not even sure my feet could touch the bottom and I really didn’t try. I just swam through, pulled myself over the barge and dove into the water aiming for the next. I was so glad I regularly made push-ups and pull-ups apart of my weekly routine, had I not, I think I might have gotten stuck right there. (Harold mentioned at the end that there was a section on the side where it had a ladder of sorts to help you crawl over. Oh…that would’ve been nice to know!)
I climbed over the third barge to Harold patiently waiting…and we were off again through, you guessed it, more mud. But, almost suddenly it seemed, the mud ended and we emerged through the woods onto a beach. Yes! I was so happy to see the sand, but Harold not so much. So, we slowed and held a steady pace and then came to the “Teetering Traverse”….a balance beam…about my height…It looks pretty simple, but being with tired and heavy legs makes it more challenging. Up and over we went and then on to the “The Trenches” of barbed wire fence and logs to which we crawled under. My hair got caught, so, note to ladies…pull your hair back nice and low to the shoulders.
That one we sped through and then it was the “Great Warrior Wall” which towered over me and I felt like David and Golliath….It’s apparent to me I have something with heights at this point. It’s not so much the up as the ….”Oh my lord!” Down part. Strange I know, but I scaled that wall like it was nothing and then paused at the top for about 30 seconds contemplating the down. There was a ladder of sorts, but still, looking down made my stomach sink.
“Come on Sam, you can do it. Just take your time.” A patient vote of confidence from Harold was all I needed and I climbed down with ease. Turns out…that was my favorite part! I really need a wall like that in my backyard or something…So much fun!
“Storming Normandy”, then “Barricade Breakdown” which was full of over-under-over-under, “Hard Rain” a wall you scale as water pours ontop of you, then the “Tipsy Tightrope, “cargo Climb”, “Junkyard Jump”, the famous “Warrior Roast”, and the grand finale of “Muddy Mayhem”. The final stretch, when you see those glowing flames is an unbelievable feeling! The home stretch!
To imagine actually running into fire as fast as you can and with some excitement I might add is almost unimaginable for some. It was not my first time leaping through fire but this time was the first I wasn’t scared! Of course, that was not it, because you can’t finish a mud run without one more good taste of mud! So, to truly earn the finish and our beer and our warrior horns…we dived into the mud one last time and crawled under barbed wire fence once more time to the finish! 41:50 sec for Harold and 42:00 for me. Who cares…we were done!
A kiss at the finish and a swoosh of endorphins! I really did feel like a “Warrior”!
So many other people were out there that day. I’d like to know what they took away from the experience.
I know for some of our clients like Marta…she texted her trainer in appreciation for the challenging workouts he plans for her weekly. She felt prepared and accomplished!
For Courtney and her crew, “The Sole Sisters”, they had a girls night and had an adventure that challenged their comfort zone. Courtney said her goal was…”To do it! And overcome the fear of races”. I can relate Courtney!
Cindy Samuel, she was looking for a challenge too! You made your trainer, Tristan, proud.
And then I run into Facebook Friends and school friends…Well, it was just a cool day!
As my second Warrior Dash, this took on a new meaning from the last. The first one, I was just 3 months out from bringing my little sweet Mila into the world. I wanted a “wake up call” or a serious call to action that made my mind say, “Ok, Sam, you’re ready to do this again.” This time around, I wanted to enjoy some fun time with my husband and hopefully keep up with him! While he definitely could’ve lost me in all that mud very easily, he didn’t and I like to think I had my own strengths in the event myself.
Many times I thought I was leading our little duo…inspiring him to keep going. Turns out at the end, he said he just wanted to look at my butt! Right! We’ll let him use that excuse for now ; )
Anyone reading this, if you’ve done the Warrior Dash or another mud run, please share your experience below!
Get Up, Get Going, Get FIT!
Hugs & Health,
Fat Loss Specialist & Health Coach
P.S. Contemplating doing a mud run. Don’t be scared by my descriptions of the the obstacles and course. The great thing is you do what you can do. Can’t climb the wall…then, walk around. It’s your race!
(week 4 of my “Fitting in Fitness” Journey)
Alright, by now, you may be thinking I’m super mom. You might even be thinking I’ve got it all under control. Nah! If i didn’t make it clear in my last post, I’m pretty imperfect. I’ve accidentally cursed in front of my kids. I forget daily tasks on a a daily basis. I’m just like any other person. I had a terrible weekend too. Why? Oh, no fault of anyone else’s…just was in a funk. (shoulder shrug)
It started off with a great staff get together. After that, things began to unravel. See, I thrive on structure. It may be difficult for me to create and even implement initially, but when I do, Oh Boy…I love it. However, the smallest thing to throw me off my newly adjusted schedule ends up putting me in a tailspin. Very quickly, I find my surroundings to be overwhelming.
I returned home to no food to be cooked. Which turned into a very late lunch, which turned into no plan for dinner. The girls were not ready to eat again and being a bit cranky, so, I put their tiny hiney’s in the stroller for a quick jog. It was such a lovely evening a 3 mile jog turned into a 5 mile jog. Only, the pleasantry quickly turned into one cranky baby who was suddenly ready to be put to bed and another who was fighting sleep by talking a mile a minute…Literally! That girl can talk!
After jogging behind a double jogger for 5 miles…It’s no surprise that I was exhausted! I walk in to a frustrated husband because somehow I forgot the metabolism the man had and Of Course he would want to eat again! I had no plan and his frustration quickly turned into mine. Only, I made him suffer most of the rest of the weekend for it. I mean, how dare he ask his wife what’s for dinner!? Men!
I took Saturday off for some recovery. I slept later. I didn’t clean, cook, (I did do the groceries)and I didn’t do the laundry. It was like I was on strike for a day. I took the girls to the park and just played. No worries, just fun with them. By the end of our play session at the park, I figured I had way to much to smile about. For whatever reason I was frowning, it needed to be turned up side down pronto.
By 1 p.m. they were happy and ready for a nap and I was ready to pick up my pouty lip and make amends with my moody self.
” I usually have so much patience. I just don’t know what got into me. I’m sorry” I explained to H. He gave me a hug and shrugged off my moody temperament that quickly.
Ah…Men! : )
I cooked dinner…Happily might I add. I came to conclusion that I was simply overwhelmed. For four weeks, I managed to get in 4 workouts a week and by the fourth week I added two short runs. The first two weeks were exciting. Week 3 I felt the extra pressure. Week 4 I was exhausted and a bit moody. There’s always going to be growing pains, but I’m confident all will fall into place!
So, here was my theme song for the weekend. Well, only the “she’s so mean” part remind me of myself and the rest is just cute. Enjoy!
I was so aggravated. I put the babies asleep and locked myself in my bathroom to finish my workout…Women! I did 3 rounds of this circuit. Enjoy the workout and the song…and hopefully a giggle on me.