Monthly Archives: July 2015

Learn To Value Your True Essence

Learning to value your true essence–your core self, rather than defining yourself through your looks or performance.

Giving yourself the approval that you might be seeking from others, rather than judging yourself. Valuing your effort way more than outcomes, and separating your worth from outcomes.

-Margaret Paul, Ph. D.


I ran 8 miles the other morning, early, half of it with my sister. Toward the end, on my own, I was praying for some friends. Then, my mind rested on this thought, very clearly, very specifically.

Challenge your thoughts today. You are more beautiful than you know. Your body looks completely different and better than you realize. Your friendship matters. Without you in this world. . . right now. . . there would be less salt and less light!

That was me, speaking to my running female friends, over 40 female friends, non-running female friends, under 40 female friends! But, more than those words to you female readers, it was Jesus’ words to me!

I began to think about where my thoughts rest and stay about myself? Where’s the truth about who I am? Where can I always go to be loved, affirmed, cared for? For me it has to come from and rest with Jesus.

Where did this line of thinking take me next? Hold on. May seem like a jump. . .

If you’re just running to eat, your missing out on running.

Here, I am challenging myself. . . my past. . . my now. . . my tomorrow. Part of my story is that I would exercise to maintain my weight. OVEREXERCISE. Not ever give myself a day off EXERCISE. Not stop when I was hurt, EXERCISE. Help me find my worth, EXERCISE. Help me find my happiness, EXERCISE.

THAT is a miserable way to go. I did not maintain my weight. I was tired. I did not find my worth. I did not find my happiness. I was hurt, maybe, not physically, but my emotional self was hurt.

Now, when I find myself looking at exercise, like drudgery, I have to evaluate what I am doing and why. I am happy to say that I am not running to eat. I am running. I am happy.

More on my story later. . . for now. . .

Learning to value your true essence–your core self, rather than defining yourself through your looks or performance.

July 2015: What I am LOVING

5 Things I’m Loving Now

1.  Hoka Challenger ATRs. I needed a new pair of shoes for Zion 100K (April 2015). It was a choice between Pearl Izumi EM N2s and the Hoka Challenger ATR. These two shoes are nothing a like.  I trained in the Nike Terra Kiger’s for Zion. I wore them through the entire training cycle. The Kiger’s were great for shorter distance running and training, but I did not like them for longer training runs, and I was not sure I wanted to get a new pair to wear in Zion. I was averaging 65-70 miles a week, during my peak,  and the Kiger’s were not working well for that amount of running. I chose the Pearl’s and ran Zion in them.  I was not as enthusiastic about the Pearl’s as I was the Kiger’s. So, I bought the Hoka ATR’s, when I got back from Utah. I had a pair of Hoka’s before, and I did not like them. I felt like I was tripping on them and that they were too “moon-shoeish”. The ATR’s have a different feel and I like them. I am getting ready to buy a second pair. Depending on the color you choose, they currently sell for $90.99-$130.

2. Oiselle Roga shortsThis is my second year wearing these shorts, almost exclusively. I just love them. The make them in long, regular or mac. I wear the regulars. They have a 4″ inseam. I am 5′ 10″ and 153 lbs. I wear a size 8. They changed their sizing from last year. They used to sell them in XS, S, M, L. They now sell them in sizes 2-12. I have them in black, midnight, burgundy, violet and hot pink. The only color that I would love to own is “pop”. I may purchase it soon. I like them because the fabric is stretchy and light. They have a wide waist band, with an inner draw string. They sit a bit above the hips. They have one small zipper pocket in the back, easy to store a gel and a car key. The sell for $46.

3. Suunto Ambit2. I have owned this watch now since March 2014. Prior to this Suunto, I had a Garmin for several years. The Garmin is pretty much ‘charge and go’, depending on the model. This took a bit more effort on my part to set it up. I admit that I still do not know all that it can do. If you are in the market for a watch to keep track of more than one discipline and a watch that has a long battery life, check out the Ambit2 review on DC rainmaker. His site does a great job of reviewing gear. You can get the Ambit2 for around $280 without the HR monitor. The Ambit3 was released 9/2014.  Some new features include mobile phone integration such as workout uploading and smartphone notifications.

4. Track Tuesday! Running on the track is a great training compliment to any running surface or distance. I have learned a lot about running,  on the track. It has taught me how to feel my effort. It has taught me how to push myself and still stay composed. It has improved my running form and efficiency. It is also a very measurable workout. There is no guess work. You know the distance. You have a time. Different speeds on the same oval produce different results. There is so much to do on the track! I believe it is a very effective tool. SO much more than just “getting faster”, SO much more. Track can be intimidating, but I bet there is a group at almost every track in your town and mine that would welcome a new runner. Try it!

5. Trail running! I am almost exclusively trail running now. This quote is from an article by Lauren Marie Fleming via Matt Gunn, race director for the Grand Circle Trail Series in Utah and Arizona,  titled, 7 Tips for Fat Hikers And Others Who Don’t Look Like The REI Commercial. Matt suggested modifying Lauren’s use of “hikers” and replace it with “runners”.

The best way to get confident doing something is to do it over and over again. You’ll never be fully comfortable trail running (hiking)-mostly because trail running (hiking) is all about stepping out of your comfort zone, in a good way- you’ll start to trust that you won’t fall off a cliff, be eaten by a bear, bitten by a snake, or sprain your ankle. It’ll get easier, you’ll get more comfortable, and you’ll learn to love the moments of triumph when you stop to catch your breath at the top of a mountain and are greeted by a breathtaking view.

Fiery Gizzard with ‘Jack and Diane’

The breeze blew through the trees. The temperature was headed for a comfortable high of 88. Comfortable because Franklin was 85 degrees at 5:00 am and climbing to a high of 97, “feels like” 102. 

Under a canopy of trees, next to the water and planning to be there for the next 13 miles. It really made my heart happy. It made my running legs happy. 

. . . We headed out at 5:30 a.m., me, Jack & Diane. (Mellencamp on the radio) “Jack and Diane” in the car in front of me. We stopped at Starbucks for coffee and we drove 1 1/2 hours to Fiery Gizzard.  Fiery Gizzard is a 13 mile trail that starts near Mont Eagle (Foster Falls) and ends in Tracy City (Sycamore Falls). For those of you familiar with the Ragnar TN course, the trail head, near Tracy City is like 300 yards from the exchange at Tracy City Elementary. I did not know it was so close, until Saturday. The last time I ran Fiery Gizzard was for the HardWin race in November. I was anxious to be back. I was anxious for adventure. Seriously, no better people to be part of an adventure with than ‘Jack and Diane’. 

Do something that makes you feel altogether alive! Part safe. Part adventure. Part unknown.

We parked one car at the Tracy City trailhead and drove to the Foster Falls trailhead to start. The trail is approximately 13 miles one way. There are bathrooms at both ends of the trail. Jack (Kevin) was going to do 26 miles. Me and Diane (Teresa) were going to run 13. 🙂 We parked our other car at Foster Falls, put on our vests, filled up our water bottles, went to the bathroom one last time and we were off. Don’t read too much into my reference of Jack & Diane. It was the first song that played for this road trip and Kevin & Teresa are def American kids. 🙂

The trail is very runnable. The total elevation one way is approximately 1500′. It is well marked with white aluminum blazes, nailed to the trees. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, blazes, it is used to describe a trail marker, permanently attached to trees/rocks, along a trail to keep you on course. There are places on this trail that you have to stop and look around for the next blaze, before moving on. But, for the most part, I think this trail is easy to follow.

The first 8 miles from Foster Falls is easy to run. At the 8 mile mark, the trail brings you to a junction at Raven’s Point Campsite. Def, take the 1/2 mile side trail to the Raven’s Point Overlook. You are rewarded with a 180 degree view, gorgeous. Once back to the Raven’s Point Campsite you can run 4.3 miles to Grundy Forest trailhead or you can run 4.5 miles to the Grundy Forest trailhead. For the  race, it follows the 4.3 mile distance. We decided to try the 4.5 mile side. I am grinning from ear to ear atm because I am looking at the free map that is at the trailhead and it says of the section we followed, “travels bottom of gorge, rocky and strenuous!!” Seriously! No joke!

Yep. . . rocky and strenuous. Pretty much a rock garden, long ascents, long descents for the entire 4.5 miles. I tried my best to have a good attitude. Just when you thought, “YAYE, DIRT!” There were more rocks. The rocks were just small enough to make moving very fast on them difficult. Imagine, the Stump Jump rock garden, the Savage Gulf rock garden and you get my drift. I secretly LOVED it. Yes, LOVED it. I think it would be a good training stimulus to start at Grundy Forest trailhead, run the non-rock garden portion of the trail to Foster falls and then, return to Grundy Forest trailhead via the rock garden.

Until we got close to Sycamore Falls, we only saw one hiker and one camper the entire time. Sycamore Falls has a popular swimming hole. There were many families at this end of the trail.

The surrounding beauty, the constant sound of water, the bridges over the water, the water falls, the quiet. . . can’t wait to go back.