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my balanced life (or 95 days of movement)


There are ninety-five days left in the year.  I’m making a vow to myself and my body to make them ninety-five days of movement.

silhouette of running woman

Four years ago, I started taking yoga classes.  Yoga saved me.  During the lowest time of my life, yoga was my safe haven.

In 2011, things changed and I couldn’t make it to as many yoga classes.  So I started walking.  And then I started running.  In September 2011, I walked and ran my first 5K.   I finished.  Last.  But last beats the quitters behind me who stopped.  Even the quitters beat all those who didn’t start at all.

I walked or ran two 5Ks last year.  I kept running until November, when I fell and threw my hips out of alignment.

This year, I’ve struggled to get back into my groove.  The yoga studio closed while Carrie uses all of her energy to beat cancer.  There is a yoga class I take on Saturday  mornings, when I’m home.  And healthy.  I haven’t been since…when?  August?  Maybe July?

The last time I ran was the night before Nature Boy got mad, ran down the stairs, jumped over the gate and got bitten by my Rocky dog.  It was one of those hot, late night runs that sustained me through 2011 and mostly eluded me in 2012.  A slow, hot mile in shorts and a sports bra.  Nobody out but me and the moon.

After that, I went to bed each night thinking, “I’m too tired.  I’ll run in the morning.”  And every morning, I’d wake up thinking, “I’m too tired.  I’ll run in the evening.”

There are ninety-five days left of this year, and I’m done with excuses.  I’m going to fill those ninety-five days with movement.  If I’m too tired to run, I’ll walk.  If I’m too tired to walk, I’ll ride my beach bike.  If it’s too rainy to go outside, I’ll go to my yoga room and pretend that Carrie is there to push me to hold that position just a little longer.  Breathe just a little harder.

Between my birthday and the end of the year is when most people put on weight each year.  Between Halloween candy, Thanksgiving feasts and Christmas goodies, it’s a challenge to get through the year without plumping up like that Thanksgiving turkey.

I used to say I dieted and exercised to get my old body back.  I’ve changed my goal.  I don’t want my 25-year-old body anymore.  I want a different body.  A better one.  One that is soft yet firm.  Toned and healthy.  Lungs that can fill me with oxygen.  Heart that beats strong and sure.  Legs that carry me to the finish line.  Arms that hold me in a handstand.  That’s the body I want to walk into 2013.

Move with me!  Let’s end 2012 in triumph and start 2013 in the best shape of our lives! 

are you tired of starting over yet?


Every morning, my iPhone wakes me up with a reminder.

If you're tired of starting over, stop giving up.

It reminds me to get up.  Keep moving.  Put on my running shoes.  Run if I can.  Walk if I can’t.

This is my Year of Balance.  But last year was my Year of Imbalance.  It included a saved stumble and a couple of successful falls.  (If you consider a broken finger and a twisted ankle to be successful, that is.)

The stumble made me realize how badly I want someone walking beside me through life.  Someone quick enough and strong enough to catch me when I fall.

The falls showed me I haven’t found that person yet.

Even though I was married over twenty years, I’ve never had that kind of a catch-me-when-I-fall relationship.

The falls took a toll on me physically.  It’s hard to run with a broken finger.  It’s impossible to run if you twist your ankle and throw your hips out of alignment by about two inches.

I finished my first two 5Ks last fall.  By November, I could barely walk half a mile without my hip and shin complaining.

Thankfully sweet JZ came my office.  She pulled and pushed my legs around, and pretty much yanked me back into alignment.  Twice.

I’m tired of starting over.  So this time, I’m not going to quit.  After walking sporadically for the last month, I’m back on the Ease into 5K program.  Skipped straight to week 3.  Hoorah!

Ease into 5K used to be called Couch to 5K.  Honestly, the old name was more accurate for me.  When I started C25K last year, I was literally coming from the couch to work my way up to 5K.

Maybe this year the new name is more appropriate.  Maybe I’m not joining the race from the couch this time. Maybe I’m easing back into the race from the sidelines.

Woman running under blue sky with clouds and sun

So far this week, I’ve run 18 minutes out of three miles spread over two days.  (Don’t confuse that with an 18 minute 5K – which many of my friends can do.  I’m the 60 minute 5K girl.  At my peak.)

I wish it were as easy to get my love life back into shape.

I’ve had fun learning to be single again.  I’m having fun dating Little Boy, Honey Baby and the rest of the motley crew of men who cross my path.

Laugh out loud fun, actually.

But I’m ready to find the one who’ll catch me when I fall.

I’m ready to find the one who will inspire me to stop giving up.  Because I’m tired of starting over.

Question:  Are you tired of starting over yet?  What makes you keep going?

run, regina mae, run


I never thought of myself as an athlete.  As a child, reading was my sport of choice.  When mama sent me outside to play, I’d tuck a book into the waistband of my shorts and recline under a shade tree.  A tiny, delicate girl, nobody looked at me and thought, “there’s our next star athlete.”  When it came time to pick teams, I was a bargaining chip.  (You can have HIM if you take HER.)  Other than one very determined and seemingly misguided PE teacher, nobody made an effort to turn me into an athlete, either.

That changed when I started yoga three years ago.  My jelly donut of a belly tightened up.  I found my core!   I started believing in my body.

Last March, after two months of deliberation and hours setting up the perfect playlist on my iPod, I started walking.  My first walks were plodding half-mile affairs.  I moved at a snail’s pace from my house to the pool and back – half a mile.  Then I graduated up to the elementary school around the corner – a mile.  My time dropped from 26 minutes a mile to 22.  Then 19.  My distance increased to two miles. Then three.

Around that same time, some of the girls in my yoga class started running.  They inspired me so much that I decided to run, too!  In June, after talking to my friends and reading everything I could find on the Internet about running, I downloaded the Couch to 5K (C25K) app on my iPod.

C25K is a great way for beginners to become runners.  Three times a week for eight weeks takes you from nine one-minute runs interspersed with 90-second walks to running for thirty straight minutes.

The higher the temperatures rose, the farther I ran.  My easy, every day run became the mile and a half loop around my neighborhood.  Weekend runs were two to three miles on Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge.  It was the slowest run you’ve probably ever seen, but it got results.  I lost weight, my booty shrank, and the endorphin rush was out of this world!

To make sure I stayed on track, I signed up for two 5Ks:  the Lt. Dan 5K in Beaufort, SC, and the Susan G. Komen Race for a Cure in Charlotte, NC.

It’s sad the Lt. Dan 5K organizers don’t have a trophy for last place finishes, because I earned it!  Thanks to shin splints that started in the first quarter mile of the race, I did my own personal portrayal of Forrest Gump (before the braces fell off), walking stiff-legged through the streets of downtown Beaufort.  My friend, Myrna, signed up the morning of the race and ran for the sole purpose of making sure I didn’t quit.  I wish I could say I’d have finished either way.  Honestly, without her pushing, prodding and encouragement, I’m pretty sure I would have joined the crowd lining our downtown streets and waited on the parade to start.

Myrna and I after the Lt. Dan 5K

Luckily, I signed up for both races early, because the dead-last finish would have discouraged me from signing up for another 5K in this decade…or lifetime!  Whatever.

Carita, Astrid and I decked out for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure

The Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure was a much easier event.  My baby sister, Carita, her beautiful daughter, Astrid, and I walked along with seventeen thousand other participants.  (Yep – 17,000!)  We finished solidly in the middle of the pack.  No shin splints!  No last place finishes!  That sure felt like success to me.

In the last year, I’ve walked and run over 200 miles.

I dropped my time from 26 minutes/mile to 18 minutes/mile.

I finished two 5Ks.

I learned about myself in the process.

Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge

I love running alone on deserted, residential streets late at night, or through a national wildlife preserve, communing with the alligators and egrets.

Getting fitted for the right shoes is as essential as sweat-wicking panties!

No matter how much my body wants to quit, my knee complains, my shin shrieks, the endorphin rush waiting for me at the finish line is worth the effort.

Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure 2011

There is no worse feeling than watching the pack recede further and further into the distance.  My times for my races were within two minutes of each other.  But psychologically, it’s easier for me to be crammed into the middle of a swelling pack of humanity than trailing stiff-legged behind a small crowd of much fitter and faster athletes.

It is essential to practice your parade smile and wave, just in case the parade catches up to you!  (And thanks again to the nice Beaufort Police Department officer who trailed me in his squad car, lights flashing, to make sure the parade didn’t overtake me!)

The last runner gets the loudest applause!  Mostly because the crowd knows the parade starts next, but still…I take my wildly infectious, foot-stomping, clapping, shouting encouragement any way I can get it!

Best of all, I learned that frail, skinny little girl who was me is an athlete.

I am an athlete.  I am a runner.  My run may not look like yours, but it doesn’t have to.  It just has to look like mine.

Question:  What have you done lately to expand your idea of yourself?  How have you taken the idea of who you are and turned it on its head?  And if you haven’t yet, what are you waiting for?