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Monday, November 28, 2011

Race Not, Want Not

"Indecision becomes decision with time." -- Author Unknown

After I crossed the finish line of the 2011 Chicago Marathon on Sunday, October 9, I figuratively patted myself on the back for completing another 26.2 mile race and was excited about recovering, resting and rebuilding for the next challenge that was sure to come my way.

A few weeks passed.  I was back to running 5-6 days per week and feeling pretty good.  Some folks would ask, "so what's next on the agenda for you?"  I would hold my finger to my lips and make the universal "shhhhh" symbol and told them it was double top secret.  In reality, I was leaning toward squeezing a third marathon in this calendar year and doing the Honolulu Marathon on December 11.  A friend of mine lives there and invited me to stay with her.  I even had a ride to and from the airport!  I did my "reverse" taper and began my ramp.  About three and a half weeks ago, after a 16 mile run, I started coughing a bit.  The coughing gave way to chest congestion, which introduced me to some body aches that culminated in "OMG, I cannot get warm for the life of me".

After taking a sick day and riding the couch, it became clear to me that I COULD have done another marathon, but perhaps I SHOULD decline.  Yes, it was Hawaii, yes, it's "paradise", but I wasn't going there to lay on the beach and drink mai tais.  As much as I love running, and I do, marathons aren't easy, no matter where you do them. 

So, I decided to pass on Honolulu's 26.2.  And my friend totally understood, which I knew she would. 

Ever since then, it's been a whole lot of nothing.  Don't misunderstand me, here:  I'm running.  The week after I bounced back from my cold/cough/flu, I logged 48 miles.  Last week, I ran 44 miles on a holiday/travel week, no less.  I'm SO running.

I'm just...not..."training for anything".  Technically.

For the first time in, omigosh FOREVER, I don't have a race planned, whether it be a 5K or a marathon.  

And...I'm not...really...interested right now.

AH!  There, I said it!!!  I don't feel like being obligated to a race or a training schedule.  This is a very unfamiliar feeling to me because I ALWAYS have something pending, it seems.  I almost feel like a woman without a country.

But, you know what?  F**k it.  I'm going to ride the wave and see where it takes me.

I'm learning that life is all about "going with your gut".  If it feels good and you have a strong desire, then go full force into it.  However, if you have to make a pros and cons list in order to decide about something, then perhaps you have already decided.  That's what makes that first quote I listed so great.  We make big hairy deals about things sometimes, not because we don't know what to do, but because we don't want to accept our answer.

Well, this girl is taking her indecision as a decision.  I'm going to ramble, rant, rebuild and run because that is my desire.  As much as I love the "R" words, Racing just isn't on my radar right now.  

And, I'm okay with that.  :-)

"Everything is something you decide to do, and there is nothing you have to do." -- Denis Waitley

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Wanted: Boston Marathon Finishers/Spectators/Volunteers With Really Good Stories

My blog is pretty promiscuous; that is to say, it gets around.

And that is a good thing, particularly when someone needs to get the word out about something important.  Friends of mine who are involved with the Danvers 5K Fun Run and Wicked Running Club told me about a man who was getting ready to write a book.  After swapping some emails back and forth, I offered to give him a plug:

"My name is Joel Richardson and you can reach me at  I am writing a book on the Boston Marathon from the perspective of those who have experienced it firsthand, especially runners, but also possibly officials and even spectators.  If you have an anecdote or story you would like to tell, please contact me and either send it along or we can do an interview, either online or by phone.  Thanks!"

Would you like to share YOUR story???  Come on now, who doesn't want their 15 minutes of fame???

Drop Joel a line.  Tell him Cyndi Lou sent you.  :-)

Monday, November 7, 2011

My 24 Day Challenge Story

Over the summer, I started to notice posts on facebook from my friend, Alison, about a company called AdvoCare.  Along with the posts, she had before and after pictures.  Now, I'll say this:  Alison looked great before.  She's always been into fitness.  But, her great got even greater in the after shots. 

I was...intrigued.  I work hard, and I played just as hard.  I wondered if this was something I could use to help me feel better and run better.  Honestly, the whole "looking better thing" wasn't really on my radar. 

So, I reached out to her and she phoned me a couple of days later.  She and her sponsor, Laura, spent a good 20 minutes talking to me about AdvoCare and how I could use the products to improve my running which, was truly my top priority.  I started with three products:  Spark, Arginine Extreme and Catalyst.  I went for a run with Arginine and Catalyst on Friday, July 1st and felt pretty good.  Then, the next day, I took Spark for the first time before my 5 miler.  Holy speed, Batman.  If you don't believe me, see for yourself:

The funny thing about it was, I didn't really feel like I was working much harder than usual.  I had the same basic level of effort output, however, my results were much faster.  Prior to trying the Spark, I had been running 5-6 miles @ 9:10-9:20/mi.  I averaged 8:34/mi for this run which was around marathon pace.  I was starting to really believe this stuff.

As the weeks went on, I purchased more product and tried new things:  Meal Replacement Shakes, O2 Gold Caplets, Nighttime Recovery Caplets, Post Workout Sports Drink, Rehydrate, etc.  The list goes on.  The more I tried, the more I liked and the better I felt about this company and the quality of their supplements. 

I decided to take the plunge and become an Advisor, the highest distributor discount level, after I ran the Chicago Marathon last month.  I figured I'd be ordering a ton of stuff anyway, so might as well maximize my investment by getting the most for my money.  People were starting to ask me what I was taking, based on how I looked and how my running had improved.  Now, I was getting into recommending product and distributing samples of Spark and Slam (which is a 2 oz. energy shot).  Since I was already committed and pretty serious about this, I thought it would be smart if I tried their big, potentially "life changing" seller:  The 24 Day Challenge.

Their tagline is lose up to 10 lbs./10 inches in 24 days.  Again, I wasn't in this for weight loss, necessarily, however, I needed to try it to see if it worked.  I couldn't, in good conscience, recommend this to someone who was looking for a weight management program unless I tried it myself.  On October 11, 2011, I began my 24 Day Challenge.  I took my starting weight and measurements which, I'll share with you here:

Weight:  146
Right Arm:  11.75"
Shoulders:  19" from left to right
Chest:  36.75"
Waist:  29.75"
Hips:  35.75"
Right Thigh:  22"
Right Calf:  15"

And now, gasp, here are my before and after pictures.  First, here is me from the front:

And now, here I am from the back:

(Personally, I always thought this was my better side anyway).

I did the 10 Day Cleanse first, followed by the 14 Day Max Pack.  At first, I hopped on the scale every day.  About halfway through, it seemed to be a little obsessive and I was beginning to allow the daily up/down normal fluctuations in weight to affect my motivation.  So, I decided to table the weigh-ins until my challenge was complete.  I'd say I was 80-90% compliant with the recommendations and guidelines set forth, so I was pretty proud of myself.  The last day of my challenge was Thursday, November 3rd.  On Friday, November 4th, I took my "after" weight and measurements:

Weight:  138
Right Arm:  11.75"
Shoulders:  19" from left to right
Chest:  34.50"

Waist:  29"

Hips:  34.50"
Right Thigh:  21"
Right Calf:  15"

I lost 8 lbs. and about 5.25" from my frame.  I was under 140 lbs. for the first time in several years.  Here I am "after".

First, from the front:

And now, my better side, made even better:

Can you see the difference???

I am not a big fan of getting my picture taken, nor do I particularly enjoy donning a bikini.  But, I did it anyway, because I knew how important it was to be real about this whole experience.  Seeing a nameless personality on tv or the internet before and after because of some xyz product is all well and fine, but chances are, you won't really identify with them because you don't know them.  In order for this to seem credible to my friends, family and others, I had to go into this all the way or not at all.

Needless to say, I feel great and the feedback that I've received from all kinds of people has been super positive.  I've sold about a half dozen of 24 Day Challenges so far and fully expect to match that number in the next couple of weeks.  I went into this venture, almost four and a half months ago, just hoping to find one or two products that could help me run better.  What I found instead, was a healthier body, a fun, profitable business opportunity and a vehicle that can help me improve the health and wellbeing of the people with whom I live, work and spend time.

I'd say that's a win/win, wouldn't you?

Please let me know if I can help you or someone you know and love feel better:

"The greatest good you can do for another is not just to share your riches but to reveal to him his own." -- Benjamin Disraeli