11315 Miles

Run, Walk, Bike…Repeat. Never.Give.Up.

Women On the Move ~ Dr. Karen Gaffney – All Lives Matter

I love writing about all types of strong women and their accomplishments.  Honestly, I don’t know how I find some of these people.  It’s like divine intervention just leads me to the correct place and wallah!  I’ll start reading and something just connects and then you’re like whoa.  There are women everywhere doing great things and no task is too small.  Not to sound trite or a bit cliché but what we hold in high esteem in the United States sometimes, is less then impressive.  We all like pop culture.  I have found myself glued to The Kardashians© and Real Housewives of Atlanta© on more than one occasion and rarely have I said “hey how about that Grace Hopper, huh”?  Yes, I added a link ~ that is your homework between Fourth of July beers.  It’s a shame we don’t treat women like Grace Hopper as the real rock-stars.  Can you see a show called The Real Female Scientists of Atlanta?  No, I didn’t think so.  Let’s face it, we are addicted to the wrong kind of badassery.  Meet Dr. Karen Gaffney.

Photo courtesy of the Karen Gaffney Foundation

I love the photo above.  She is perfection.  Dr. Karen Gaffney has Down’s Syndrome.  Dr. Gaffney is the first person with Down’s Syndrome to complete a relay swim across the English Channel in 2001.

Karen graduated from Portland Community College in 2001 and received her Associate of Science degree and teaching certificate.  In 2013 she became the first living person with Down’s Syndrome to receive an Honorary Doctorate Degree, Doctorate of Humane Letters from the University of Portland for her work raising awareness for people who have Down’s Syndrome.   She travels the world addressing people on Down’s Syndrome and how she believes is a life worth living.  Unfortunately, the statistics of women aborting fetuses once diagnosed with Down’s is staggering.  This is not a post to discuss abortion or pro-choice.  What Dr. Gaffney is stating and showing the world is that all lives matter and having Down’s Syndrome isn’t a show stopper.  One of my FAVORITE sayings, “One Monkey Don’t Stop No Show“.

Some of Karen’s other swims include:

  • Swimming across the nine mile span of Lake Tahoe ~ which became the documentary Crossing Tahoe: A Swimmer’s Dream (you can find on Amazon)
  • 2009 swam the Boston Harbor to celebrate Down’s Syndrome month
  • 2 Gold Medals from the Special Olympics
  • 16 swims across the San Francisco Bay including the Escape From Alcatraz Triathlon.  (Bucket List Item)!

When she isn’t swimming she is running the Karen Gaffney Foundation.  Stop by and see what she is about.

 

“A life well lived, is long enough” ~ Seneca.  Happy Fourth of July and Happy Miles to You!!

This is for you Dr. Gaffney ~ one of my faves from the Divine Ms. M.  Down Syndrome don’t stop no show….

 

 

 

 

Women On the Move ~ Crystal Clark – The Heartland Running Podcast

Happy Sunday everyone and of course Happy Father’s Day to all the Dads.  Next up on my Women on the Move is Crystal Clark from Heartland Running.  I came across Crystal on Instagram, of course, and was curious about her and the running podcast she helps host.  Crystal’s first run was a half marathon and as they say the running bug definitely has bitten her.  According to her Instagram page she has run 15 x 26.2, 1 x 100k, 3 x 50k, 2 x 50 miles and is currently training for 100 miles November in 2017.

Crystal is one of three hosts on The Heartland Running Podcast.  From the site:

Crystal did not grow up athletic and almost failed gym.  So everyone was pretty surprised when she signed up for her first race – a half marathon.  She fumbled her way to the finish line (despite not evening know how far it was) and was hooked.  Since then she has run 20 marathons/ultras including the Boston Marathon.  Crystal’s current goal is to chase down a 100 mile finish.

Crystal lives in Ohio with her husband, son, and their pet cat Geddy Lee.

You can follow her adventures on Instagram @seecrystalrun.

I really like the site because it focuses on the running life in the Ozarks (I lived in Illinois for eight years) and beyond.  Over the last few months I have enjoyed listing to podcasts in the car and wouldn’t mind doing it myself one day. Maybe interviewing women on the move!  They have some good podcasts consisting of inspirational and informative stories/information about running and other sports as well as gear reviews and basic advice.  Really cool and they are fun to listen too as well.  Enjoy (link at the top).  Happy Miles to You!!

Women On the Move ~ Meet Michele Across America!

I know I’m going to love this new topic I have created Women on the Move.  Already, I have found some exciting subjects, doing great things, to write about.  I have to say up front, I don’t know any of these women personally.  Never met them.  If I do, I’ll let you know, but for the most part I just have come across them electronically and have decided to follow/research them further.

Let me introduce you to Michele, or as she states it, Michele Across America.  You can find Michele at her own blog https://micheleacrossamerica.com/.

Michele is a physical therapist from Napa, CA.  In just 39 days she will be riding across the country to raise money for Multiple Sclerosis.  She was an avid rider in her earlier years completing Centuries and double Centuries (a gal after my own heart) and is now looking to add another amazing feat to her list.  I’m interested in Michele because I have a good friend that has MS as well.  In 2013 I participated in the MS 50 mile walk in St. Louis over three days and raised $1000.  You can read about it here:

https://11315miles.com/2013/04/28/50-mile-ms-challenge-walk/

https://11315miles.com/2013/04/18/50-mile-challenge-ms-walk-update/

https://11315miles.com/2013/05/21/ms-50-mile-challenge-walk-update/

https://11315miles.com/2013/05/31/ms-50-mile-walk-day-one-recap/

A lot of updates….so if you feel like reading.  But this isn’t about me.

Michele will start her ride in 39 days and I can’t wait to follow the journey.  I’m interested in all the logistics and how she’s going to accomplish this grand feat.

Visit her donation page Bike the US for MS found here: http://biketheusforms.org/cyclists/detail.asp?cid=1084

She is also on Instagram at micheleacrossamerica.

As she so eloquently states, “even 1$ helps”.  Yes it does.  Happy Miles to You!!

Mileage Recap ~ October Wrap Up…Hear Me People of the Good Hood!

Three more weeks of training to go and I’ll be heading to Tucson to participate in the EL Tour De Tucson Century Ride.  I’m not going to call it a race, because I’m not racing anybody.  Maybe the clock.  My goal is to finish in the time allotted or a little before.  Training so far has been going well.  I am hitting all the milestones I’ve set for myself without too much trouble each week.  So far no mechanical mishaps and for that I am VERY grateful.  My body felt better during last weeks long ride then this week.  This weeks long ride was ok but became a real grind towards the end.  I felt good for the first 40 miles, then I started to feel fatigued.  Not bad but I seemed to be sweating more and a little tired.

My physical body felt fine, I was experiencing a drained type feeling.  I also had a hard time clipping out of my new pedals.  It caused some stress and angst every time I needed to stop.  I’m not 100% used to these new pedals and not quite sure why I’m experiencing this problem.  Now that I’m into the 50+ rides I need to focus more on what I’m doing inside and out.  Eating, drinking and resting.  It’s not at all like training for the marathon.  There is a different type of intensity.   I will admit I was thinking about everything under the sun.  My mind was just wandering this time around.  As I get closer to 50 miles that’s when I start to notice my mental fatigue.  I’m more reckless meaning not really paying attention like I did at the beginning of the ride for cars or people etc.  Like I’m just going or an out of body feeling sometimes.  I started to think about the movie Castaway on this ride.  Your mind starts playing tricks when you’re really tired.  Wilson!  Try to keep up Wilson! Wilson can you pass that sports gel friend?  That’s exactly what I felt like.

wilson wilson1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Or having the urge to laugh uncontrollably!  Oh that was funny Wilson, I’m so enjoying our time together!

dumb-and-dumber

 

 

 

 

On part of my route I go through a more, shall we say affluent neighborhood.  We shall call it the good hood.  A lovely non-gated community nestled at the base of South Mountain with very nice homes.  There is a cul de sac that I have a timed stop.  Usually for a gel, water or maybe a bite of an energy bar.  Last week I stopped and I tried to take my gum out and dispose of it in paper.  I opened my mouth too wide and it fell on the ground.  No….I didn’t pick it up.  I didn’t have the proper packaging because I messed it up with the gel pack and I…well damn I just didn’t want to get my hands sticky.  I’m sorry people of the good hood.  This week I dropped a plastic bag, while riding, in the same location.  I carry a bag for garbage (see I’m responsible!) but no I didn’t stop to pick it up.  I did pick it up the next time around.  Oh and yes, I took some selfies.  I can only imagine what the neighbors are saying as they look out the window drinking their morning coffee, “George, there’s that woman again!  And…and she’s dropping her gum, now a selfie!  I knew we should have voted yes at the home association meeting for the community gate!”

Once I hit mile 58 things began to go downhill.  My goal for this week was 65 miles and I fell just shy of that with 61.72.  I was making my final round when I stopped to cross a street.  Once I unclipped and put my right leg down I had the worst cramp in my right quad.  I have Never had a cramp in my quad and nothing that bad.  When I looked at my leg there was a huge mass right above the knee.  At first I thought I had done something much worse but it wasn’t the pain of a pulled muscle.  But the pain overtook my whole body.  I literally had to lay the bike down.  After a few minutes I was able to cross the street and again just stood there until the pain passed.  Per the Mayo Clinic online:  http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/muscle-cramp/symptoms-causes/dxc-20186052

Symptoms and causes of muscle cramps

Symptoms

Most muscle cramps develop in the leg muscles, particularly in the calf. Besides the sudden, sharp pain, you might also feel or see a hard lump of muscle tissue beneath your skin.

Causes

Overuse of a muscle, dehydration, muscle strain or simply holding a position for a prolonged period can cause a muscle cramp. In many cases, however, the cause isn’t known.

Although most muscle cramps are harmless, some may be related to an underlying medical condition, such as:

  • Inadequate blood supply. Narrowing of the arteries that deliver blood to your legs (arteriosclerosis of the extremities) can produce cramp-like pain in your legs and feet while you’re exercising. These cramps usually go away soon after you stop exercising.
  • Nerve compression. Compression of nerves in your spine (lumbar stenosis) also can produce cramp-like pain in your legs. The pain usually worsens the longer you walk. Walking in a slightly flexed position — such as you would use when pushing a shopping cart ahead of you — may improve or delay the onset of your symptoms.
  • Mineral depletion. Too little potassium, calcium or magnesium in your diet can contribute to leg cramps. Diuretics — medications often prescribed for high blood pressure — also can deplete these minerals.

Risk factors

Factors that might increase your risk of muscle cramps include:

  • Age. Older people lose muscle mass, so the remaining muscle can get overstressed more easily.
  • Dehydration. Athletes who become fatigued and dehydrated while participating in warm-weather sports frequently develop muscle cramps.
  • Pregnancy. Muscle cramps also are common during pregnancy.
  • Medical conditions. You might be at higher risk of muscle cramps if you have diabetes, or nerve, liver or thyroid disorders.

Damn…age..no they didn’t!

Anyway, it passed quickly and I felt fine after five minutes.  Didn’t even need a nap that day.  I completed 80.99 miles this week!

Bam!  I finished October with 310.44 miles for the month.  7385.24 miles remaining!  Blessed and grateful.  Happy Miles to You!

week-8-long-ride

 

 

Passion Post #8 ~ Want Life Change…Run a Marathon

A lot has changed since I began this blog a little over two years ago.  What started out as keeping track of running mileage in honor of my late mother’s life has transformed into a major life changes.  I began running for myself.  I liked the results so much I continued on and started this blog and a few small races here and there.  I kept pushing myself into new challenges and eventually completed a marathon in 2013.  There were setbacks along the way…pain and injuries, but I keep going.  If there’s one thing I’ve learned in this life ~ change happens.  Sometimes self-made other times not so much.

Life is all about growing and at age 47 I am ready for change. I’ve been trying to write this post for months but I just didn’t have the time, energy and frankly I do miss my friends back in the Midwest.  I have been associated with the United States Army for over twenty years as vet, spouse and DA civilian.  I would not trade my time serving the military for anything.  Like all people I’ve had good experiences and less than stellar ones with my association.  But as I get older, I know there is more for me to experience and goals to achieve.  So I am reinventing myself and venturing out to try something new.  I no longer work for the Army and I packed up my stuff and moved to Arizona.  Whew!  New places, faces and challenges.

Moving is tiring and so is change.  You may be asking yourself what does this have to do with running a marathon?  Sort of like “hey you know I stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night” therefore implying I can do anything.  But…after running a marathon I know I can do anything (within reason of course).  It’s not like I didn’t know that beforehand.  Sometimes along the way we tend to forget we have the power to change our circumstances.  You can do anything you want with the proper planning and passion.  Running a marathon is a life-changing event.  It’s physical, but in my opinion a more mental trial.  You prepare, train and plan.  You nourish your body and be disciplined to follow a regimen that will take you to completion.  When the physical you doesn’t want to participate the mental you must convince that physical self to move forward.   Let’s not forget the passion of will.  You must have the will to succeed and finish.  This is with all things in life.  If you don’t like it then have the courage to change the circumstances.  Stop talking and start walking.  I’m not advocating everyone go out and run a marathon.  Running a marathon was just a normal progression for me and I’m blessed to have been able to rise up to the challenge physically.    Even more blessed that it opened my eyes to new change.

So here I sit, a new path to forge; challenges to tackle and new adventures ahead of me.  It is also scary.  I’m ready to test these feet in a new place.  Here’s to new beginnings ~ Happy Miles to You.

Passion Post #6 ~ The Art of Letting Go

Letting go.  It sounds so simple, but depending on the circumstances it might be painful and tough.  Life’s lessons.  Letting go of loved ones, friendships, and bad habits.  Sometimes we let go on purpose to better ourselves, other times change is thrown upon us and we have no choice but to let go in  hope that there is a lesson to be learned and that in the end we become better.

Letting go is an art form so-to-speak.  You can handle letting go well or you can handle it poorly.   So for this post it’s all positive.

For most women our hair is our crowning glory.  It is the cherry on top.  Our hair defines us.  Don’t think so?  How many times have you looked in the mirror ~ you’re wearing a rocking outfit but that hair!  Bad hair can put a damper on anybody’s day.  We spend lot’s of money each year cutting, coloring and taking care of our hair.  It is the ultimate accessory.  I am no different.  I think I’ve had my hair every conceivable way.  Short, long, colored, punk and don’t forget big.  Hey the bigger the hair the closer to God!    There was a musical based on Hair!

Have you ever thought what it would be like if you lost it to disease?  Would it bother you?  How would you feel?  Hopefully, most of us won’t ever find out, but for many it is a reality.  I have been growing my hair out for the last two years in order to donate to Locks of Love. My hair was getting majorly long and I really, really loved it.  I haven’t had my hair that long since I was sixteen.  I was getting to the point I liked it so much I didn’t want to cut it anytime soon.  Kind of had this feeling….hair blowing in the wind.  Ok, not really ~ :).

Joe Dirt

This weekend I decided to part with my hair so someone else can enjoy it.  I can only hope that each strand will bring someone the happiness and strength they need to fight their disease.  Donating my hair only strengthened my ability for patience and fills my heart with gratitude for giving.  Letting go can mean, strength, respect and resolve.  If you’re interested in donating to Locks of Love see the link below:

Locks of Love

Before

Before

Hair

After

 

Enjoy your Sunday ~ capture your passion.  Happy Miles to you!

Passion Post ~ #4 Time Waits for No One

I have been going to the same lady for my alterations for at least 3 years.  She is from Korea and is around the same age as me. Think of all the people you come in contact with for small errands on a continual basis.  How many of them do we really get to know on a more personal level? Do you even know their names?  Do you take the time or do you think it’s important to wonder?  I think we all fall into the “I’m in a hurry and I really don’t want to know the specifics” trap.

When she opened her store I was grateful.  I was tired of going to my present alterations place because they had made a series of costly mistakes.  This place was close to my daughter’s school and wasn’t as busy so I thought I would give it a try.  I was glad I did!  Every time I walk in she greets me with a big smile.  She is a beautiful woman.  Petite, bobbed black hair and high cheek bones.  But she isn’t small.  Her personality and her self-confidence make her a giant.  If there weren’t other customers in the store we would chat.  In these past three years, I’ve learned about her family and the different jobs she’s held.  With every adventure there is a gleam in her eye.  It’s very uplifting.

I’m at the point in my life and career that I’m starting to think about other things I might want to do besides what I’m doing.  Career change or a possible move somewhere else.  Who knows.  So as she was fitting me I just asked her, were you scared when you started your business?  Without hesitation she said no, I’m never scared.  I was taken aback by her quick response.  Then she continued with the biggest smile; I have a heart condition (that she shared with two other siblings) there is always a chance I might not be here tomorrow.  If I want to do it, I do it.  Her brother died at 26 and her sister at 42.  She said again, I don’t wait, I pray about it and leave it in God’s hands. I remember her telling me about the heart condition.  This is what happens when you get to know people, you learn little things about them.  I began to think how easy it is to put your dreams, or those little adventures, aside always making excuses or just saying maybe I’ll get to it tomorrow.  Even when we are physically fit we sometimes make excuses of why we can’t or won’t.  She was a good reminder of that today.  Then she said, “you’re going to think I’m crazy“.  I laughed and said you have to be kidding me:)  She keeps a bucket list, of all the “adventures” she wants to try.  I absolutely love it when people describe their actions as adventures.  It shows hunger and passion.

Here’s to passion every step of-the-way.  Happy miles to you.

BayArt

New Perspective on Life

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