I know we’ve all heard and read about unplugging for a run every once in a while. It’s so easy to get caught up in the technology and stats of our runs between our phones, GPS, Garmin watches, heart rate monitors, and digital music that we forget why we’re out there in the first place…to run and enjoy it! It’s nice on occasion to not only completely unplug from everything and run, but to actually stop and take in your surroundings while you’re out there. Admire that gorgeous sunset over the water. Marvel at that leaf blowing in the wind. Take in the beauty that surrounds us everyday that we so often take for granted.
I recently did this on a run. Ok, so I had my phone with me (for safety reasons) and took a bunch of pictures, but I stopped a LOT during the run (time and pace be damned!) and just enjoyed finding different flowers to appreciate. Springtime in Louisiana is a beautiful time. The wild flowers and spring colors are abundant everywhere. I had so much fun looking for flowers and taking pictures that I totally forgot I was, *gasp*, exercising!! That’s what unplugging and enjoying the show is all about.
Here are just a few of the wild flowers I spotted along the course.
Make it a great week!
I am almost ashamed to say that this is the first year I have ever run the Classic. Easter is a big holiday for us and we almost always either have family in town or we’re out of town. It’s a hard race for us to coordinate and run. But this year we were free of family commitments. We were free to run the race! I was excited. My friend Nicole won two free tickets and she allowed me to use one of them! I registered Mr. Z earlier in the week and we were ready to go.
I hit the expo on Thursday afternoon. I had to run through pretty quickly because I was working downtown but, “Wow!”. What a great expo for a 10k race. Packet pickup was fast and easy to maneuver. I quickly walked through the vendor area to see what they had. There were so many great vendors there. I purchased some really cute running tanks from Dirty South Running and Geaux Run and talked a bit with Craig Watson, the race director for Baton Rouge Beach Marathon (SUCH a great race – one of my faves).
Saturday morning we woke up at 5:00 a.m. (EEP!) and got ready. We drove to meet up with Nicole and picked her up to combine bodies into one car. We decided to park at City Park and catch the shuttle to downtown. I was worried the shuttle bus lines would be slow so we gave ourselves plenty of time. The buses ran very quickly and efficiently though. There was no need to worry. We got to the Superdome about 7:30 and met up with Heather and Larisa, two other social media runners from the Gulf Coast.
Before we knew it, it was time for the race to start. We were pushing Baby Z in the stroller so we were waiting to jump into the last corral at the very back (as we were supposed to do). By the time we got to the start line the race had been going for 30 minutes. I knew this was a big, crowded race and I had no illusions of grandeur of racing it with a jogging stroller. We just set out to run/walk and weave in and out of the walkers as best we could. And we also just set out to have fun.
It was rough going getting the jogging stroller through the mob of walkers in the back. We were running a pretty good pace for the first several miles and we were STILL passing walkers and strollers at mile 3. I don’t think those people went to the back of the corrals. The race support and water stations were great all along the route. There were plenty of bands, music speakers blasting, crazy costumes, dancers, cheering squads and free alcohol to keep you entertained the entire time.
Baby Z became REALLY unhappy around mile 5. I don’t think he was feeling well and at that point he just wanted OUT of the stroller. So we took him out and walked a little over half a mile taking turns holding and playing with him. Suddenly as we approached City Park he said he wanted back into the stroller. THANK YOU LORD!! We managed to bang out that last half mile and finish the race. It was a huge cluster of people at the end. The crowd mostly kept moving well until it was time to enter the festival area. They had corralled that down to about five lanes of single file people. It bottle-necked terribly and it was almost impossible to get the jogging stroller through the barriers they had set up. There was no way that was handicap accessible and I had seen several wheelchairs on the race route. That was a bit disappointing to me.
Once we (FINALLY) got into the festival area we managed to meet back up with Nicole and several more friends that we knew were running the race. We saw Heather and Larisa and even Mindy one more time. While the food lines were long, I did pawn some yummy red beans and rice off of a friend. The weather was absolutely gorgeous. You could have not asked for a better day. All in all it was a fun race and a fun way to get out and spend a Saturday morning.Song Title: Spring to Come
Artist: John Butler Trio
Album: Flesh & Blood
I’m posting a bit late for some Monday motivation but I got caught up in all of the Boston excitement and I had, HAD to go for a run to celebrate it all!!
For this week’s Monday motivation I’m writing about a race and cause very near and dear to my heart – the race to Beat Cancer! I don’t know anyone who hasn’t been touched or impacted by the war with cancer. It is such a devastating disease that we need to conquer once and for all. One of my dear Twitter and Facebook friends Chris Wilno (@Run2SaveLives) has organized this location race to help raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) and We Will Find a Cure. And what’s even better, THERE’S A VIRTUAL OPTION!! For just $30 you get a race bib, a race medal (see pic below) and a chance to run for a cause. Run, walk, crawl, whatever!! No effort is too small. They still need participants to reach their fundraising goal. Please share this race with as many people as you know. Let’s all join in the fight to #BeatCancer!!
Sign up is EASY. Just click on the RunSignUp link here:
Chris is a huge…no…GINORMOUS fund raiser for LLS and is such a motivating, inspiring person. You should follow him if you don’t already. If you don’t know Chris’ story, you can learn about it on his website We Will Find a Cure.
I had a chance to ask Chris a few questions on the race and their goals.
How did you come up with the idea for this race?
My story of loss led me to endurance sports. Had my Dad not passed away, I may never have been introduced to the world of 26.2 and 50 and 140.6. I always used a race to raise money to fight cancer. This campaign is different. No race, which is good timing since I can barely walk right now. Endurance sports led me to coaching and my belief that running can change your life and change the lives of others. What better way to bring this life lesson into the campaign than to do this. Certainly my hope is that a lot of people sign up and we raise money but the reason it is a fun run and all ages are welcome is because I hope the informal setting allows someone that has been sitting on the couch wondering how to participate….the chance to give it a try. That is why I hope people build teams and become an ambassador for the race. Use it certainly to fight cancer but also to inspire folks to change wherever they may be.
Explain a bit how the virtual race will work, for people who have never done one before.
The virtual aspect of the race is easy. You simply sign up for our race the same way as if you live in Los Angeles. We will mail you a bib and a medal. Your job is to put in the mileage wherever it is that you reside or are traveling on that day. If 3.1 miles is intimidating, do some mileage but push yourself beyond what you think you can do. If 3.1 miles is not challenging enough, push yourself to run a half or a full or a 10K. The point is to be out on the streets making a difference.
What are your goals for this race?
My goals for this race are 500 participants. We would also like to have representation in as many states as possible. The name of the campaign is We Will Find a Cure and I would be thrilled knowing folks from all over the country/world were participating. It would do justice to our name. My other hope is that somehow some way this race inspires someone along the way.
You inspire so many people daily with your coaching and encouragement. What inspires you to keep going?
A lot of things inspire me to keep going. Too many to list here.
1) My story albeit sad provided me with more motivation than one should ever need. It is one of the blessings from my story. I promised my Dad before he passed that I would do my very best to fight back against the disease that took him. I made the same promise to my wife and I promised Isabella I would lead a life that makes her proud. When I am tired and don’t want to keep fighting…..I remember these promises and I move forward.
2) I hope by moving forward and fighting back and sharing my story that I can inspire others…..inspire them to do the same…..inspire them to stand up and fight when they would rather curl up in a ball……inspire them to push past their limits and what they think is possible.
3) Truthfully I give a lot but I get much more in return. Over the years, being a part of changing lives…….I would not trade that except for more time with my Dad and Isabella.
4) There are people out there in the world in a dark place. They find themselves where I once found myself. They may read something I post. They may just be someone that watches me run all of the time. They need a spark in their life. In the chance my life crosses with that life…..I want to know I did my part to make a difference.
We often define ourselves by where we were during monumental, often catastrophic, events. People ask, “Where were you during 9/11?” “Where were you during Hurricane Katrina?” It’s a way for us to bond and share our mutual experiences, our grief, our pain surrounding these events that impacted so many of our lives. And, I think it’s a way for us to heal.
Today marks one year since the horrific Boston bombing. I remember explicitly where I was during that event. I had just come off training and running the Little Rock Marathon in March. I was in a running funk, as I always get after a marathon race. My heart hadn’t really been in my runs and they were few and far between. My mom was in town visiting over the weekend and she had decided to stay a little longer. I had taken the day off and we were having a great day playing with my son and starting a few new sewing projects. It was the early afternoon and Mom sat down at the bar to check her phone and briefly check the news. I’ll never forget her words,
“There’s been a bomb at the Boston Marathon!?”
I was in shock. I couldn’t process it. What? Surely this was a hoax. Surely this was just a small gas main or a car backfiring or something…surely. I ran into the living room and turned the television on and saw the horrifying events emerge before me. I checked my twitter feed and it was full of news, updates, shock and awe on what had just happened. At that point, we really didn’t even know. WHAT HAD JUST HAPPENED?
Even though I really didn’t know anyone running personally, I knew people who had run it in the past. I knew people who knew people that were running it. I knew runners on my twitter feed who were running it. Our running family had been attacked. Targeted. Hurt. I could not hold back the tears and emotions watching the chaos and pain unfold. (Even writing this I’m having a difficult time).
As the awfulness played out over the next few days, something else surfaced: unbreakable runner solidarity. People began running and posting their runs for Boston. I saw love and support being displayed from all over the world. People were organizing 5k races to raise money for the victims. Group runs were being organized where they were taking donations. T-shirts were being printed and sold to benefit One Fund Boston.
I had to do something. I had to get out of my funk. I had to RUN. The above picture is of me and my son a few days after. We ran 2.62 miles virtually with Moms Run This Town. It was such an emotional run but I ran for the runners, the families, the friends, the spectators and for me.
This year I plan to join a group run with our local running store Varsity Sports on Monday morning to remember, to share, to heal. And then I plan to cheer on the amazing runners who have trained so hard to run Boston 2014. I encourage you to find a group, run with a friend or even run solo. Run. Remember. Heal.
The runner spirit cannot be broken.
Last Monday I talked about doing something that scared you. I LOVED all the responses I received! You wonderfully inspiring, brave souls joined a group bike ride, put together a 70.3 ironman relay, and ran intervals for the first time!! I was sidelined a bit last week with a head cold and then Baby Z got sick. But for my something scary I decided to set up a Facebook page for my blog. It was fun! You can check it out here https://www.facebook.com/JenZenatorRuns. Take a gander and “like” it…well, ehm…if you like. 🙂
This week, for my Monday Motivation I posted this meme. I’ve always loved this one because it’s SO TRUE. Some (well, most) days I struggle just to get out the door to exercise. I am always full of tons of excuses, “I’m too tired”. “I’m too busy.” “My house is dirty.” “Ohh, a Friends episode just came on!” I often use a little trick to get myself out the door. I make a bargain with myself, “Just 10 minutes”. All I have to do is move for 10 minutes. I can run, jog, walk, dance, skip…whatever, just MOVE. If I’m not feeling it I can go back in and finish that episode of Friends (that I’ve seen a million times already). 99.99% of time, once I get going and those endorphins kick in I start feeling great and want to finish what I started. Ten minutes turn into 30. One mile turns into three. And I’m always glad I walked out that door.
So this week, I challenge you to GET OUT THE DOOR! Make a pact with yourself. Just ten minutes of movement. That’s it. Try it and let me know how it goes. Did you fell better? Did you keep going?
Make it a great week!
A little throwback Thursday to my very first marathon – the 2008 Inaugural Rock ‘n’ Roll San Antonio Marathon. All I remember during this picture is I was so tired and in So Much Pain. Everything hurt. But I was also so elated. I had done it! I had just completed 26.2 miles…on my feet…without passing out! My entire family came out to cheer me on. I still remember them screaming for me at the finish. I have a coffee mug from the expo and it is a most prized possession. One look at that mug reminds me of all I do can when I just put my mind and body to it.
I’m pictured here with Sarah from I Sarah the Queen. She helped me virtually train for this marathon and supported me throughout the entire journey. I love her to death. If you don’t follow her, you should definitely check out her blog. She is amazing!
One of the healthiest things you can do is EAT THE RAINBOW!!…and no, I don’t mean grab a handful of Skittles. I mean eat a variety of fruits and vegetables in varying colors. The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Produce for Better Health Foundation recommend nine servings of fruit and vegetables a day for active women. One serving equals approximately half a cup, so that equates to about 4 and a half cups of fruits and veggies a day. And the more colors you have on that plate the better!
“Each shade represents the phytonutrients plants make to protect themselves from sunlight, disease, soil problems, and extreme temperatures. ‘Plants can’t put on a hat or wear sunscreen, so in order to survive, they create chemicals with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects,’ explains James A. Joseph, PhD, chief of the neuroscience lab at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University in Boston. “When we eat produce, these substances are passed to us.” (via Fitness Magazine’s “Color Your Diet Healthy with Fruits and Vegetables“)
The general consensus is you should strive to eat at least five colors a day. Some sources even say six or seven! The list of fruit and veggie options within each color is extensive. I’m not going to list them all here, but below are just a few of my everyday favorites that I keep on hand:
- lettuces of varying types
- summer squash
- yellow or orange bell peppers
- sweet potatoes
- purple cabbage
If you’re like me, you’re probably thinking to yourself, “NINE servings??” Yes, it sounds like a lot, but through just a little bit of planning and some smart food choices you can hit that recommended serving goal easily.
In Part 2 I’ll talk about some easy and fun ways to eat your colors and get in those servings of fruits and veggies.
So I challenge you to get out there this week and do something that scares you!
I’m fighting a bit of a head cold right now, so today I’m just going to do a slow and easy three miler followed by some hip and glute strengthening exercises with my resistance band.
For my something that scares me, I think I’m going to try a new class at the gym, or I’ve been thinking about going to a StrollFit class put on by our local Baby Boot Camp. I’ll let you guys know how it goes!
Let me hear about your week’s fitness plans and your plans to do something new and scary!
Make it a monumental week!