Richmond Marathon Hotels

I hope you have made the decision to set the Richmond Marathon as your 2015 fitness goal. You can run the 8k (almost 5 miles), the half marathon (13.1 miles), or the full marathon (26.2 miles). We will begin group training runs in May throughout the DC metropolitan area and virtually. During the race, Nadine will lead the half marathon group and I will lead the full marathon group. The 8k leader has yet to be determined. Volunteers?

Any and all of these distances you want to attempt are completely doable. Look at what you have accomplished so far in life. And you are a mom; the toughest job in the world. Many have counted you out numerous times yet you remain victorious. This will just be another victory only it comes with a shiny medal and cool blanket.

If you have, at all, considered joining us for the race and our SexyMomsRock! event during race weekend, I suggest you reserve your hotel rooms sooner than later. You can always cancel if needed but cannot reserve a room once the blocks are sold out. Reserve today and take one more step toward committing to achieving your goal.

Richmond Marathon Hotels

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How I Lost 5 Inches in 30 Days

I stopped weighing myself when I was close to 250 pounds. I had high cholesterol, low blood pressure, and was pre-diabetic. My hair was falling out, I had no energy, and I was menopausal. I thought all my health issues were due to massive stress. But, like most, there was a moment when I realized something had to change. For some, it is getting winded while playing with their kids. For others, it is their challenge getting up a flight of stairs. For me, it was my ex-husband telling me I was fat. What?! That was a big light bulb moment for me. Why I got so unhealthy, suddenly, did not matter. What I would do next did.

Like Adam and Eve realizing they were naked, I suddenly saw the truth about who I had become physically. In every mirror and with every hard to zip pair of pants, I saw my reality. I purchased a treadmill and ran my way down to 180 20150218_195121pounds. There is where I sat for a couple of years, give or take 5 pounds here and there. It was not until recently I was able to break the plateau and see a change in my health and physical appearance. I had to do something different to get a different result. Here is my simple 3-step process.

  1. 1. First, free your mind. We have been so brain washed by the commercial weight loss and fitness industries all fighting for our dollar more than our lasting results, that we do not know what to believe but are willing to try anything as long as it requires next to nothing from us. That will not work. Whether you are trying to lose weight, break a plateau, break a food addiction, or just get toned, it is going to take effort, planning, and discipline for you to meet your goal. Be open to learning new things about your body and about your food. Trust the process and you will succeed. Having the support of those closest to you helps but, unfortunately, many will look at you like you are funny. Stay the course. Stay disciplined. Join our SexyMomsMove group on facebook and we will support and encourage you.
  2. Regular exercise is necessary whether you are over-weight or not. You heart is a muscle and must be strengthened through exercise and your lungs as well. A minimum 3-5 hours of exercise a week must be a part of your routine. It is important to get your heart rate up for a consistent amount of time and yes, ladies, you have to sweat. There are too many products and wraps that will keep your ‘do done. And do not be afraid of weights. If used properly you will not bulk you up but will build lean muscle and muscle eats fat.
  3. If you cannot kill it, pick it, or plant it, then do not eat it. This is the Paleo way. It is not a diet. It is a lifestyle; a way of nourishing your body with real food. Our body is sore and tired from chemicals and food causing inflammation. Our daughters are plump and beginning puberty early because of hormones pumped into the meat. Our body chemistry is out of whack from added sugar, salt, and preservatives that let food sit on shelves for months. We have sold our health out for the convenience of processed and packed food that can be microwaved in 5-minutes. Give yourself 30-days, just 30-days, eating nothing but real food and you will see the difference in your body.

 

The Whole30 Challenge Snapshot

YES. Eat real food. Eat meat, seafood, eggs, tons of vegetables, some fruit, and plenty of good fats from fruits, oils, nuts and seeds. Eat foods with only a few, pronounceable ingredients, or better yet, no ingredients listed at all because they’re totally natural and unprocessed. Drink plenty of water.

NO. Do NOT eat during the duration of your Whole30 program. Omitting all of these foods and beverages will help you regain your healthy metabolism, reduce systemic inflammation, and help you discover how these foods are truly impacting your health, fitness and quality of life.

  • Do not consume added sugar of any kind, real or artificial. No maple syrup, honey, agave nectar, coconut sugar, Splenda, Equal, Nutrasweet, xylitol, stevia, etc. Read your labels, because companies sneak sugar into products in ways you might not recognize.
  • Do not consume alcohol in any form, not even for cooking. (And it should go without saying, but no tobacco products of any sort, either.)
  • Do not eat grains. This includes (but is not limited to) wheat, rye, barley, oats, corn, rice, millet, bulgur, sorghum, amaranth, buckwheat, sprouted grains and all of those gluten-free pseudo-grains like quinoa. This also includes all the ways we add wheat, corn and rice into our foods in the form of bran, germ, starch and so on. Again, read your labels.
  • Do not eat legumes. This includes beans of all kinds (black, red, pinto, navy, white, kidney, lima, fava, etc.), peas, chickpeas, lentils, and peanuts. No peanut butter, either. This also includes all forms of soy – soy sauce, miso, tofu, tempeh, edamame, and all the ways we sneak soy into foods (like lecithin).
  • Do not eat dairy. This includes cow, goat or sheep’s milk products such as cream, cheese (hard or soft), kefir, yogurt (even Greek), and sour cream… with the exception of clarified butter or ghee. (See below for details.)
  • Do not consume carrageenan, MSG or sulfites. If these ingredients appear in any form on the label of your processed food or beverage, it’s out for the Whole30.
  • Do not try to re-create baked goods, junk foods, or treats* with “approved” ingredients. Continuing to eat your old, unhealthy foods made with Whole30 ingredients is totally missing the point, and will tank your results faster than you can say “Paleo Pop-Tarts.” Remember, these are the same foods that got you into health-trouble in the first place—and a pancake is still a pancake, regardless of the ingredients.

Click here to read the complete breakdown of your 30-day challenge.

Click here to plan your shopping list.

Click here for delicious recipes. Don’t take any short cuts.

While there are a lot of resources, I suggest you go through the Whole30 website and the Paleo Diet website to further help acclimate you. Do not forget to take a before picture and also to join our SexyMomsMove facebook group. Whether you are a mom or not, all are welcome.

 

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V-Day Vajay: To Have Sex or Not to Have Sex?

Marriage night sex, make-up sex, now V-Day sex? Valentine’s Day has become one of the most commercialized “holidays” of our society. It pushes on the masses a one day requirement to express affection through chocolates, teddy bears, cards, and other such gestures. Brain cells fry at the massive work put in to figure out just the right scenario for that special person.

At the end of all the money spending, there is often an expectation that the man’s planning, spending, and effort will result in physical intimacy. There are often great SEXPECTATIONS (CNN.com, 2013). In a survey, nearly 85% of men and women reported sex as an important part of Valentine’s Day, yet only 50% say that they would be disappointed if they don’t “do it” on the 14th. If it is important to most, why aren’t all disappointed without it? The answer is simple. Not everyone is in the right relationship place to believe Valentine’s vajay-jay should be a requirement.

Often, we use intimacy as a tool to fill our own emotional voids and this day can feed into that if you are not careful. Listen, you should not feel any pressure to have sex on Valentine’s Day. In fact, you do not even have to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Any relationship professional will tell you, it is the consistency, every day, month, and year, of showing gratitude and affection to your significant other that is the mark of a healthy relationship. Not the ability to buy a bear and a box of chocolate one day out the year or the ability to reward it with sex.

It is not right for women to feel the pressure of sexual performance any more than it is right for men to feel the pressure of retail performance and buying just the right gift. If someone has expressed a great expectation for sex as the conclusion to this pseudo-holiday, beware. They are setting the tone for the remainder of your relationship.

If you do choose to celebrate Valentine’s Day, make it a day that you will both cherish and enjoy. It should spotlight the commitment, love, and growing appreciation you have for each other. When you have jointly focused on the relationship and not the day, the sentiment behind February 14th can be replicated on February 15th, April 23rd, October 12th, and any and every day you share your life together and that can include any and everything you desire. Happy Valentine’s Day

 

http://www.cnn.com/2013/02/13/health/kerner-valentines-day/index.html

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My Ex as My Next?

He walks in the room and smells good. You remember that smell would linger in the bedroom after he left for work. You take it all in. Then he takes your hand and looks deep in your eyes the way he used to, back then, when nothing else mattered in the world but his touch and your lips pressed to his. You wonder, why can’t things be liked they used too. I’m sure we could get it right this time. Maybe if we try again we could…STOP!!!

They are beginning to keep statistics about divorced couples who remarry and try a second chance at love. Whether you were married or just have children with a man you once dedicated years of your life to, the choice to return to a relationship with that person should not be taken lightly and definitely not left to emotions. Consider the 5 W’s: Who? What? When? Where? Why?

Who is this reconciliation meant to benefit? As mothers, we can be quick to use our children as justification for why we choose to do something for ourselves. We go to the store and yes, the babies need clothes, but it is also a great opportunity for some “me-time” around some cute bags and shoes.

It would be wonderful if every child born would have the daily presence of their mother and father under the same roof. That is just not the reality of many. There are many situations where the relationship is unhealthy, co-dependent, toxic, or abusive. The children are forever changed by each argument, verbal assault, or encounter of violence.

To want to reconcile so the children can have their father near may produce a different effect than you intended and could have long-term consequences affecting the very ones you, supposedly, made the choice to return for. Besides, he could be there every day. That does not mean that father is there as a daddy.

What do you expect to gain? Do you want someone to talk to? Is it your friend that you are missing? Is it your lover that you are craving? Is it all that makes that person up that you want back? Be careful when you answer because there was likely something about the “all” of that person that contributed to the first break-up.

If your end goal is to just have a better relationship with your children’s father, than keep that goal in the forefront of your mind. That is your central focus. If you are hoping to gain a best friend but he was not your best friend when you were together, than perhaps those skills are just not something he possesses and, truthfully, he does not have to work to change just because you want him back. If there is no clear purpose, than why are you getting back together again? Just asking.

When did you decide it was a good idea to consider reconciliation? Did this happen during a moment of emotional weakness? Was it when you came home with some great news and realized you had no significant person to share it with? Was it when you saw him with the next chic? When exactly did you think getting back together was a good idea?

If we are honest, we are women and women can tend to be emotional. If your decisions are made during times when your emotions are at their highest, then they are, typically, NOT rooted in logic, reasoning, or facts. They are what you want and feel right now with no consideration of the future or the past. Remember, you felt this way for him once before.

Where do you see this going? Do you see yourself back at the altar? I know of several second marriages of divorcees that are successful. They learned from their mistakes, worked on them together, and committed to actively creating a loving and successful life. It is completely possible. But is that where you see this going? Have the changes been made in you and him that will benefit the relationship and nurture each other? Or is it just two people who have always been attracted to each other finding themselves still attracted to each other?

Listen, the bedroom was probably never your problem. It was the day-to-day operations of the relationship and the household that was the challenge. If both are not willing to put in the work to be in the lifelong relationship you once promised to each other, than it should be clear that this path will likely lead to the same unfortunate end as it did last time. But if that glimmer of hope is met with commitment and love, you may have a second chance.

Why him? It cannot just be the sex. There is penis around every corner and his is probably not gold. Does he feed all parts of you; mind, body, and spirit? Does he support your dreams and encourage your growth as a woman? Does he respect and appreciate you as a mother? Why is it that you would consider going back to a previously failed relationship rather than moving forward and creating a new life with a new person?

Sometimes history is more powerful than we give it credit; especially when you are a woman of a certain age. Starting all over with someone who does not get why you are the way you are, who did not share in life-changing events with you, and who you do not share children with can be an overwhelming prospect. You have to meet someone, get to know them, play the dating game – UGH! Do not let that emotion dictate your choices.

Your life is yours to create and you decide who you create it with. You do not have to settle for someone that was not good for you because you feel you may not be able to do better. On the flip side, you do not have to settle for less when you have had better and there may be a chance to have that again. Just use wisdom and consider more than how you feel. You are a Sexy Mom moving forward. Whoever was divinely created for you will be moving in that same direction…even if he is your ex.

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The Core is the Key

The Sexy Moms Rock family is committed to helping you reach your fitness goals and (re)claim your health. Fitness should be a part of your lifestyle and not just something we do to get in a dress or skinny jeans. So whether you have been exercising for many years or are just getting started, let us start with your core.

A strong core is vital to your general health and wellness. There is not one muscle in your body not connected to or affected by your core. Raise your arm and you engage your core. CoreBodyFrontBackLift your leg to walk up a stair and you engage your core. Stepping fly in your stilettos? You are keeping that midsection tight and that back straight. All of that is your core. Many consider their core to be just their stomach and seek to get that famous six-pack. It is far more than that. It is, in fact, and apron around your entire midsection, from under your breast to the bottom of your pelvis, your sides, your lower back, and even into your butt hips, and thighs. It takes a lot more than some stomach muscles to keep all that diva strolling on those red bottoms and you need to maintain it all through regular fitness.

a2We are going to start our cross training with a basic core challenge. The goal is to do as many circuits as possible as many times a week as possible. If you are a beginner just start with on time through at least three times a week. After a few weeks, increase to two times through, then three. Once you are able to complete three circuits in one day, increase your days per week to four then five. The best time to do this challenge is in the morning before your shower, or at night before you rest. As your core strength increases your body will begin to demand more from you. Don’t push it. Maintain a clean diet and be patient to prevent injury. We will introduce new fitness routines to add to your circuit as we progress together. Happy training.

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Driving Partners versus Passengers

Here is a short story for you. A woman was driving a long distance to a conference in a neighboring state with a fellow colleague as the passenger. She was excited to have someone to read directions and keep her focused during the long road trip. She looked forward to having a person she could have great conversation with to keep her mind sharp and offer that extra set of eyes for speed traps or any danger. She was sure she would have a fantastic road trip; so she thought.

Her conversation lasted the first 20 minutes of the 3 hour drive and was more useless gibberish than great conversation. After annoyingly flipping from station to station on the radio, her driving partner relegated to a passenger as she twisted her hips, adjusted her head, closed her eyes and went to sleep. Driving while angry, the woman became bitter over her wasted anticipation of the trip and her passenger. As she neared her destination she woke the passenger to help read the directions to the venue. Remaining true to form, her passenger lacked the competence to assist. Mispronounced names and skipped turns started a second journey from a point called lost to finally their final destination. They arrived 45 late. The woman was frustrated, disappointed and feeling completely alone.

My point? As you go through life, business, and personal relationships it is important to pick a driving partner and not a passenger. The car represents the tools and means you use to get from where you currently are, up your desired road and ultimately to the point of achieving your dreams and fulfilling your purpose. A driving partner will help you in your quest. A spouse will support and encourage you and not belittle you. A business partner will complement and not overpower you. A friend will protect, enlighten and support you and not emotionally drain you.

A partner will give you proper instruction and constructive council on which direction is right for your situation. They will stay alert keeping watch for the traps that you may not see but are waiting in silence to stop your progress. A driving partner will carry some of your load helping you make it to your goal at the life’s appointed time and not cause you to miss your opportunity. To the contrary, a passenger is just along for the ride. They travel at the expense of your energy, time, and perseverance. They contribute nothing yet deplete your resources.

Try this; in separate categories write your career goals, personal goals, and even fitness/health goals. Then list all the people that talk with you regularly, hang out with, who offer you advice, who ask how you are doing, who inquire about your dealings, and others in your various circles. Now identify who are partners in your success and who is just along for the ride. Make adjustments as needed.

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Your Business: It’s a Family Affair

Whether you are mom, wife, sister, aunt, or caring neighbor, there are many facets of YOU, all requiring your attention. The decision to become an entrepreneur only increased your work load. In addition to your usual titles and tasks you are owner, employee, receptionist, accountant, IT professional, and more. To say you are a “multi-tasker” would be an understatement. You are able to do each job, but are you able to perform them effectively, efficiently, and successfully? Are you growing and building your business or barely functioning and holding on in the midst of the chaos? If you are going it alone, chances are you are just holding on. One way to grow your business and ensure your success is by building your team.

Your first team members should always be those closest to you; your family. Where spouses are concerned, involvement is crucial to maintaining a healthy relationship. The trails of business are littered with the carcasses of failed marriages due to the growth of one spouse over another or emotional distance created by a shift in focus. Including your spouse in the building and managing of your business helps preserve the emotional connection of the relationship, instills accountability, and allows him to tap into his gifts and talents as you have yours. If you are connected to him and he is connected to your business he will have a vested interest in securing its success.

Being an entrepreneur and a mom has spawned the catch phrase mompreneur and its popularity created more accepting professional environments for parent and child. While some advances have been made, the daily challenges of being a mom and businesswoman remain. You have to balance your schedule with their schedule, give them attention when the business needs attention, feed and nurture them to grow and feed and nurture your business so it grows as well. Similar to how, if married, you involved your husband in the operating of your business is how you must approach the issue of children.

This is a scary concept because you have seen how your kids break up their toys and you do not want them to do that with yours. Remember the biblical principle of training up a child to prepare them for their future. We tend to apply that solely to their spiritual development. In fact we must train them up in finances, time management, communications, phone etiquette, organization, promotion, and several other areas that, coincidently, are areas you need assistance with in your business.

By working with and for you, your child can learn skills and values like being rewarded for hard work. For the hour or two you have a meeting where he/she is a perfect assistant, you immediately reward them with an hour or two doing their favorite activity or by going to their favorite spot. For every minute they are able to sit quietly while you are on the phone they get a quarter or dollar toward that must-have video game. Even for every flier they walk through the neighborhood distributing there is a reward. For every bag they help you carry, vendor table or event they help you run, there is a reward.

With youth come young bodies capable of moving quickly and working hard. Youth also brings sharp minds able to problem-solve and support you in understanding new technologies, for example. Young people offer insight into niche markets and emerging trends. By working with your children rather than seeing them as a distraction or chore, you are filling some of your labor voids while training and preparing them to succeed in business and life as adults.

Though you are the business owner, you cannot go it alone. Your success directly impacts the success and prosperity of your household and family. Recognize that your business is not just YOUR business. It is a family affair.

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3 Things I Learned from Divorce

Most divorces are not mutual understandings between two mature and rational adults that have simply decided their relationship had run its course. More times than not, there is an array of hurt, frustration, anger, resentment, bitterness, and general pissed off-ness. The reality of unmet expectations are a key source of these. After all, no one goes into a marriage believing or expecting their relationship will end. Rather things happen, people change, and sometimes spouses become toxic to each other and the relationship dies.

One day I looked up and despite my best laid plans, I was in a marriage alone. When he did come home, there was no communication and whether we think they cannot hear or understand, the arguments between mommy and daddy were changing my little girl. It had to end and it did. Going through a divorce, yes, I learned a lot about the legal process. But it was what I learned about myself that has been most valuable.

I learned how to separate my needs from my wants.  During my divorce process I wanted my ex never to part his lips to me again. However, I needed him to communicate with me for the sake of our child and for my own emotional closure. I wanted him to just leave me alone. But I needed our child to feel loved and have access to her father and mother together in the same room, at the same time. I wanted to pack up everything, move and live a new life as though the previous ten years never happened. I needed to stay near my support system and be mentally present so I could respond effectively to the constant changes of my new reality.

Spousal support, child support, visitation, property division – there can be a mound of items pulling for your attention. Keep your focus. There are certain things that need to be primary on your to-do-lists to ensure you and your child(ren)’s well-being. Do not be distracted by hurt feelings and your personal desires until you compromise those needs. Control your emotions. Stay rational and remain clear. Necessities first.

I learned how to manage my time and resources. Through the separation then divorce process, I was thrown into single parenthood. Single moms doing it and doing it well are definitely to be commended. But if I wanted to be a single mom, I would not have waited until I was married to have my daughter. The expectation was that the duties, challenges, and successes of one of the greatest jobs on earth (parenthood) would be shared with my husband. Simply because my marriage ended did not mean the responsibilities of parenthood ended. For that matter, neither did the responsibilities of maintaining a household and running a business.

Doctor and parent-teacher appointments still need to be attended. A landlord still needs to be paid. Food and clothing still needs to be purchased. Summer camps still need to be secured and you are only one person. If you stretch yourself too thin giving all of you personally and financially to the lawyers, the ex, the children, and the job, you will have nothing left for yourself. Manage your time wisely to include “me time” and quality bonding time with your child. Utilize your resources. Trusted family and proven friends that make up your personal community are there to support you. Drop the pride and allow them to help. You would be surprised how far a ride from school, a recital attendance, or a playdate with cousins will go in reminding your child they are loved and giving you a much needed hand.

I learned that I am tougher than I thought. When my marriage ended I jumped into survival mode. I had to step up as the head of my household. I had taken care of myself before but there is not as much at risk when you are a grad students living in a one room efficiency, sleeping on a futon, and eating pizza every night as when you have a child. Failure was not an option. I had one chance to give this child what she needed to be successful and productive in life and I was not about to let that be compromised because her father did not want to be a constant and active part of the process. But it was hard…real hard.

I cried alone in the dark while she slept. I apologized often and made up excuses for the void of her other parent. When the weight became overwhelming I even considered how I could end my life. I thought how much better she would be without me. But despite the challenges, the hard times, or toxic thoughts, I woke up every morning and did my best. I looked in my child’s face and saw my purpose for pressing through each day.

Divorce can be hard. Some processes are more tumultuous than others. Some are quick and easy legally but the emotional wounds aim to destroy your spirit. Know that no matter how dark it may get, you are tougher than you think. There are lessons you can learn and apply to other areas of your life and to your next relationship. There is some self-love that went untapped because your focus was your spouse and your child. Tap into it and remember you are important and worthy of love. The conclusion of your marriage does not define who you are or what you have to offer. At the end of the tunnel is a chance for you to look back and share with someone else going through what you learned from divorce.

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Running from Racism – Road to Richmond

While tapering down heading into this week’s marathon, I went for a twelve mile run through College Park, Maryland that took me up well lit streets filled with University of Maryland students and the colorful crunch under my feet of fallen autumn leaves. The last week is the week you make sure you train in what you will wear when you race so there are no wardrobe malfunctions. It is when you finalize any gels or hydration aids you might want to use. The last week is the time to calm your thoughts, settle your emotions, and to relax your body for the upcoming task it has trained to undertake. Unfortunately, entering my last week was nowhere near relaxing.

As I prepared to leave Route 1 (the main street outside University of Maryland) and enter the campus, I was particularly nostalgic. The campus holds a lot of memories for me. I spent many days on campus with my sister. While she was in class I would hang in The Pub with the college students and basketball players. As a high school athlete, I was in basketball heaven sitting among Derrick Lewis, Len Bias, Keith Gatlin and a basket of fries. I felt completely at home as I ran among the students; until one spit on me.

I shared the sidewalk with cyclists, other runners, and men and women of all ages and races. We all passed the same guy on the way to the campus entrance, yet as I pass him, I hear over the music in my ears the distinct sound of the pull and the release of spit. I thought, “Did he just spit on me? I know he did NOT just spit on me. He spit on me, didn’t he?” In complete disbelief I asked myself over and over again in hopes of convincing myself that this guy, out of all the people who I witnessed passing him, did not just decide to look me, the sole person of color, in my face, and spit on me as I passed. I have received dagger-like glares while running before. I have even received the random B-word. But never have I experienced something so vile and hateful during my self-imposed running therapy sessions.

Immediately, all the parts of me convened for a mental board meeting to discuss what to do. “Angry Black woman” quickly stepped forward in full neck twisting, hand-waving, Vaseline, and Tims mode taking off her earrings preparing for the fight. “Mom” and “Educator” were too busy trying to hold her down to really voice their opinion. “The Militant” was only slightly better than “Angry Black Woman.” Her intent would still have him hitting the ground. But then she would proceed to call the authorities on herself and begin her public human rights protest until the media showed up and he was expelled from school. “The Public Figure” had to contemplate how this would look in the media. She wanted to hurt him too but surely the headline would read of her attack on him before mentioning his ignorance. Not a good look. The one thing everyone in my head agreed on was that he must feel some type of physical pain for his action.

Just as I reached the decision to stop and confront the guy, “The Child of God” showed up and said, “Relax, it’s over.” What!?!?! Over?!?! Though I thought I was standing still, life moving in slow motion around me and me still in knock-him-out distance, I actually had continued running. Now far from the problem, it would serve no purpose to turn around and return to the ignorance. I tried to remain a disciplined runner and just keep running. Every person I passed began to look like him. My anger began to increase with every white face I saw. Not only was I running with the visible offense hanging from my back but the peace and tranquility of my run was completely broken.

Whether it’s a person and their bigotry, the plantation culture of the work environment, or our own personal failings, in life there will be times we have to make choices on how we handle foolishness wrapped in flesh. The emotional route is always an option but emotions don’t always tell the truth. We can ‘feel’ a way about a situation but when we compare what we ‘feel’ to what we ‘know’ they don’t match. Violence is a choice but is often perceived as the person having no self-control or lacking the discipline to explore more civil options. With diplomacy we can talk it out, radical civil disobedience can force the hand of change, and passivity can….well, I’m not sure but it is a choice. We make a million choices a day about what we will do or not do. Rarely, do we deliberately think to make conscious choices about what we will allow to affect us or not affect us or even who we will be or not be in challenging moments.

I thought about the spitting incident for many hours after it happened. At some point I changed my route to loop back around as if he would be standing in the same space waiting for our confrontation. I completely allowed his ignorant action to affect me, my run, and my mental state. I shared my experience with my fellow National Black Marathoners Association runners group hoping any similar experiences would make me not feel so alone. There were stories but they didn’t give the desired effect. Instead, I was grieved that we were bonding over stupidity, ignorance and racism. It was getting harder and harder to let it go, to refocus on the upcoming marathon, or even to pray.

In an instance, the borderline torment ended. Among our group comments, one fellow runner said, “I’m praying for your peace sis.” I realized I was giving that guy, his actions, and the situation permission to affect me. That was a choice I was making. It was not a choice that was moving me toward my goal. It was not making me a better runner or person. It wasn’t productive. I needed to make a different choice and I did. It still angers me at times. Those are just opportunities for me to make a Godly choice again.

One thing we do not have is control over another’s actions or choices. If I did, I would have chosen for that guy not to spit on me. We do have our own individual opportunities to choose love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. We can choose to give, to live, and to be the example of these spiritual fruits. Despite others and their choices not to, we can choose them for the best version of who we are; mind, body, and spirit.

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Road to Richmond – Out of Control

It is a little over a week before the Richmond Marathon and it has been two months since my last Road to Richmond post. In that time so much has happened. My daughter became ill, we were in a car accident, I started a third job, I added to my training by starting CrossFit, and I have struggled to push past my running plateau so my time and performance could improve.  It has seemed that despite my best efforts, life continues to intrude on my reasonable levels of peace and sanity. Now facing not one, but 3 marathons and a half within the next 3 months, I struggle to remember my purpose, find my balance and regain my desire to persevere.

Not to be preachy or assume anyone’s spiritual relationship status, but there is a story in the Bible that comes to my mind. It’s the story of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. There were moments where He felt the weight of His responsibilities and of His future and questioned His need, desire, and willingness to endure. Adding insult to injury, at His weakest, most exhausted state, He looked around and discovered those closest to Him were not equipped, capable, or willing to help Him carry His load and complete His tasks. Still, in the face of His own doubts, He got up and did what He had to do both for Himself and for others.

I let the challenges of the past couple of months affect my mind, my emotions, and relative to the Richmond Marathon, it affected my training. The busier I got the less productive I became. The more I tried to do the less got done. When we start saying, “There are not enough hours in the day,” it is time to re-evaluate what exactly we are spending those hours on. God knew what He was doing when He signaled the sun to rise and start our day and it again to set and start our rest. What is so important that imbalance would trump that? Who or what are you giving your energy to? What have you set as a priority? Is the busyness and over-committed schedule masking a greater issue? What is the benefit or desired outcome of all the grinding, the drama, and the massive effort?

I had to refocus and remember the “why” or my personal, professional, and fitness choices. I needed to remember who I was called to serve, identify and remove the toxins I made space for in my life. Please know recovery of any type is a process. Fitness recovery after an injury takes time to rebuild strength and range. Emotional recovery takes time to remove the stain of pain and disappointment from the memory. Financial recovery takes time to pay what is owed while laying the foundation for future success….and on and on. Recovery is part of the promise so we don’t have to push it. Just get back up.

Regardless if it’s with the help of others or you look around and find yourself alone while others sleep, just get back up and start again. Day by day apply the wisdom you learned from the challenges of the past. Re-evaluate. Refocus. Recover. Restored you will be more effective and success will find you.

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