(f)itness – yoga and the other Rodney

20 01 2013

Running has been my excercise of choice for the last few years.  Some of the reasons I’ve grown to love it are:

  • I can run with my friend and catch up on the day
  • It’s something I never thought I could do
  • It’s invigorating to go a long distance
  • It’s outside and I love being outside
  • It’s easy; as in it doesn’t require a lot of equipment

In September of 2011, I started having pain and inflammation over the area where I had screws and plates in my left ankle.  On November 5, 2011 I ran the Savannah Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon and finished with a PR.  On November 11, 2011, I had surgery to remove the screws and plates I’d had for the last 11 years.  I was back on crutches for a couple of weeks and in a boot for six.  Toward the end of January 2012, I was running again!  All was well until April, 2012 when I started having a nagging pain in my right achilles.  Here we are in January 2013 and I still have that nagging pain along with a nice knot over my achilles.  I’m hoping to still run the Tybee Half Marathon in 2 weeks.  It will NOT be a PR.  My goal is to finish…sigh.  Side note – I do have an appointment to have some Active Release Therapy done in February, so I’m hopeful that will help.

The quandary I’ve found myself in is that I cannot run nearly as much as I’d like nor as much as my body needs for exercise.  I’ve rested my achilles during the week and run long on the weekends.  I’ve needed something else to keep active during the week.  Here is where the other Rodney comes in.

I’ve been learning to do yoga in my basement rec room with Rodney Yee.  He has a great beginning yoga dvd and seems to be very patient.  He probably wouldn’t be so patient if he were with me in person, but he seems quite happy with my poses when he says “good”,  although he does have to keep reminding me to have “soft eyes”.  I’ve actually learned a lot including:

  • I’m not very flexible
  • I don’t bend well
  • My hamstrings are very tight
  • Gazing over my index finger in warrior II while breathing through my broad chest and rooted through my back heel while having soft eyes is not as easy as it looks.  Blasted soft eyes!
  • I like the way I feel after 20 minutes of twisting, bending, and contorting
  • Learning to relax at the end of a workout is challenging and refreshing

So, I think I’ll keep up my morning and evening meetings with Rodney on the dvd.  My next challenge is the hour long power yoga.  I’m sure I’ll have a new list of things I’ve learned after that!

Meanwhile, the most important Rodney keeps building his grills and declining my offer to meet the other Rodney in the house.




12 01 2013

74374_10151164748326160_1713085649_nMost of you who know me well are quite aware that I eat differently than most people – by choice.  In early 2011, I began following a primal/paleo way of eating which has truly evolved into a way of life for me.  My brother first introduced me to this “radical” way of eating several years ago after he had lost weight and seen his cholesterol and blood pressure drop significantly.  It is radical because it eliminates ALL grains, all processed foods, sugar, beans and legumes, most dairy, and limits fruit.  I can hear  you thinking – “It’s just another one of those low carb diets that includes lots of meat and nothing else”.  Well,  no.  I do strive to stay around 50-60 carbs per day, but I eat more vegetables than I ever have including mainly local organic greens of every kind, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, tomatoes, eggplant, many kinds of squash, sweet potatoes, and more!  I enjoy grass fed organic beef, pastured chicken and pork, eggs from local, pastured chickens that have these incredible orange yolks, healthy fats from coconuts, avocados, and olives, and homemade bone broths that are rich in minerals and all the good things that make our tummies happy.  I also enjoy my home-crafted fermented creations of kefir (from whole, raw milk), kombucha, salsa, and sauerkraut.

The result – I feel great, save for that nagging achilles tendonitis-my cholesterol is wonderful, my blood pressure is low, my weight has stabilized (though I sure would like to still drop 20 pounds!) and my gastric reflux that had been treated with a prescription purple pill for 15 years is …GONE!

I rarely get into any science or argue with naysayers.  I’m not out to evangalize anyone into eating this way.  I know it works for me, my body is very happy, and there is a plethora of research to support it.  I eat a wonderful variety of real food and have truly never craved bread, pasta, cake, etc.  Two years in and I believe I will eat this way for the rest of my life.

IF you’re interested in reading more, I’ll point you to where I started.  Mark Sisson’s Primal Blueprint.  He has a book, but you can learn most everything you need to know from his website www.marksdailyapple.com.

Also, living in Columbia, we are fortunate to have great sources for very clean food.  Most of these are available at the Saturday all local market on Main Street.  14 Carrot in Lexington is awesome and I love supporting a local small business (bonus: on Thursdays and Sundays from 1-5, all their produce is 30% off). Rosewood Market is also locally owned.  We now have Whole Foods in addition to Earth Fare and we’ll soon have Trader Joe’s!  There are quite a few CSA farms where you can pay for a weekly share.

I recently joined a Paleo Pen Pal group.  Every month the members are paired with other members for a primal/paleo ingredient swap by mail.  A recipe is to be created and prepared with the mystery ingredient and then shared.  I’ve just received my first ingredient and I sent my ingredients to my Pen Pal last week.  Be watching for our posts : )

I will share more about Mark Sisson’s blueprint for primal living, but for now, I’ll leave you with his 10 Primal Laws:

Primal Blueprint Law #1: Eat Lots of Plants and Animals

Primal Blueprint Law #2: Avoid Poisonous Things (what would be considered poisonous may surprise you!)

Primal Blueprint Law #3: Move Frequently at a Slow Pace

Primal Blueprint Law #4: Lift Heavy Things

Primal Blueprint Law #5: Sprint Once in a While

Primal Blueprint Law #6: Get Adequate Sleep

Primal Blueprint Law #7: Play

Primal Blueprint Law #8: Get Adequate Sunlight

Primal Blueprint Law #9: Avoid Stupid Mistakes

Primal Blueprint Law #10: Use Your Brain

(f)ifty is the new thirty

19 09 2012

I will be your God throughout your lifetime—until your hair is white with age.  I made you, and I will care for you.    I will carry you along and save you.          Isaiah 46:4

I was thinking today about that TV show Thirty Something.  Some of you may remember it.  I was actually twenty something when it aired and would imagine what it would be like to be in my thirties.  I laughed when I thought of that.  What happened to my thirties – and my forties while I’m thinking about it?  Doesn’t matter now because apparently 50 is the new 30 since so many baby boomers are now 50 and beyond.  I’ll go with that!

In my blog absence, I turned fifty; the big 5-0.  And it didn’t bother me.  Really, it didn’t and I felt strangely proud to say I was 50.  Just so I could remember my big birthday weekend, I did this

and this

Team Sworth beasted the USMC Mud Run.  Okay beasted may be a stretch and I did end up with a black eye for my efforts, but it was an incredible experience with my three children. (Thanks Ryan for getting me over all those logs!) I can’t imagine spending a milestone birthday doing anything better.  And I’ll never do it again.  Mud Run = one and done!

I also went skydiving.  Yes, for those of you who will ask, I jumped out of a perfectly good airplane at 14,000 feet and had the ride of my life.  And I will totally do it again – in just a few weeks, actually.  I had fun watching this video again and reliving my experience.  All you have to do is enter your zipcode and come along for the ride!

Skydive Carolina Video.

Would you believe me if I told you I had never really taken risks until I was in my forties?  It’s so true.  Don’t wait that long if you’re younger than me.  What are you waiting for if you’re older than me? Take some risks.  Step big outside your comfort zone.  It’s frightening and exhilirating and it grows you.

I’ll be fifty-one soon.  Can’t wait to see what’s next!


12 02 2011

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,  fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.  ~Hebrews 12:1-2a

One simple word, “Finisher”, is engraved on my two half-marathon medals.  There is a unique story for each runner who receives the title of finisher.  My story is highlighted in a note posted on my Facebook page entitled Before and After, so I won’t tell it again, but thought I’d share some of the lessons I’ve learned along the way to becoming a finisher.  Funny thing…I’ve realized most of these lessons can be applied to every walk of life, so here we go:

Running is best shared with a friend.  My best friend, Debbie, was a PE teacher out of college.  I was not.  However, for almost 4 years we have walked and we now run almost every day.  She encourages me and holds me accountable.  We talk, we laugh, we sing, we pray, we ask and answer tough questions, we’re quiet at times and we live life together on the trail.  So many things in life are best shared with a buddy.

When your mind tells you your body can’t go any further, it’s lying.  The mind can be a great asset, but an equally great enemy.  When I think I’ve run the last step I can run, most of the time I take the challenge and keep going and going.  Mental hurdles are roadblocks not dead ends.

Set a goal and work toward it.  When I first started running, I ran for 1 minute and thought I would die, but we set a goal of running for 3 minutes and then walking for 3 minutes.  I set my watch to chime at every 3 minute interval and would go for miles.  Eventually I could run 6 minutes, then 9, and then an entire mile without stopping to walk.  That was a little over a year ago.  Every time I met a goal, I would set another.  Today, I ran for 2 hours and 23 minutes without stopping. 

Celebrate Small Victories.  Debbie is a great journaler and has a record of so many of our small victories.  “Walked 5 miles today without stopping”; “Ran 1 mile!”  “Ran first sub 10 minute mile!”  “Ran 5.2 miles”  So many little “firsts” have been recorded on this journey and we’ve celebrated every one! 

Failure is inevitable, but rarely permanent.   In running, as in life, we will fail.  What we do with that failure is up to us.  I’ve recently gone through a series of failures on the running trail. (see lesson 2) It began after finishing our first half-marathon in November.  The following week, we went out for a run.  Debbie suggested 4 miles; I scoffed and said 6. We went for 6 but I stopped at 4 and WALKED the last 2 – epic fail (and I should have listened to her!)  The next few weeks out running I found myself often stopping before our goal mileage.  It was mental; it was physical, and it was maddening because I’m stubborn (ask my Mom) and I don’t like to give up!  I had to process the failure, work through it, and then decide to start again…small.  2 miles – success!  3 miles – success!  You get the idea… 

Preparation is key.  My Dad has a saying that’s often true when things go belly up – “PPP” – poor prior planning.  So many things that I never thought of are necessary for a good run.  1. Good shoes that fit well.  Spend the money, it’s so worth it.  Go to a store that specializes in running to be fitted.  Trust me on this.  Disclaimer – this may be TMI for the guys  2. Girls need good support and the correct undergarments are essential.  Guess that’s enough said, but it makes the difference between being able to run and not being able to run for me.  3. Get running clothes that work for you.  They don’t have to be expensive, but comfortable for the long haul which usually means flat seams, wicking, and double layer socks to prevent friction.  4.  Fuel your body well and NEVER, EVER  try something new (sports drink, energy gel, breakfast, etc) on race day!   Your stomach will thank you for it.  

Little things can turn into big things.  A tiny blister, a toenail cut too short, chaffing, a pedicure that messes with your calluses – these are all little things can totally derail a runner.  Read this as “lessons learned the hard way”!

Encouragement is vital.  I was reminded of that again today.  We are not elite runners and never will be.  Today was an out and back and I wasn’t far off my prediction of when we would meet runners coming back as we were going out.  We clapped and cheered for them just as many along the course clapped and cheered for us…it’s powerful!  NEVER underestimate the impact of encouraging words for those ahead and behind you.  We passed a girl today on mile 11…she had quit running and was walking.  As we passed her, I didn’t think to encourage her, but she said, “Great job ladies”.  Wow…

There is no time like the present.   Everyone has something they’d like to do, but think they can’t.  So what are you waiting for?