Monday, February 28, 2011

At some point it just "clicks"

My friend, Beth Anne, and I had lunch several weeks ago.  As much as I would love to have lunch with her every, single week it just isn't possible.  However, the conversation is always so great - we pick up right where we left off. 

During our most recent lunch, one topic we talked about was how I have been working out, losing weight, etc.  She asked me what was different this time, and I told her that this time it just "clicked".  My mental and physical health and well-being is the most valuable thing I have.  I realized that no one else could care for my those things better than I. 

How'd I get to this point?  Most of the back story can be read on the "About" page of my blog.  Long story short is that in May 2010, I was done.  I was tired of not feeling good, both physically and mentally.  I decided that I was going to join a new gym, start working out with a trainer, and modify my eating.  The part about joining a new gym and working with a trainer was relatively easy.  Yes, my trainer kicked my ass, but he also taught me that I am capable of doing anything I set my mind to do.  It took until November 2010 to figure out how best to modify my eating.  I am now recommitted (for the last time) to Weight Watchers.  I feel like I am having great results. 

I feel better, both inside and out.  Thank God that it finally "clicked".

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Packing food for the workday

While preparing our food for tomorrow's workday this evening, I realized something.  I hate to prepare all of the various foods, but I am so thankful for them during the workday. 

This is a hard thing to reconcile for sure.  I spend between 30 and 45 minutes each night preparing food for the next day.  This time doesn't include the time I spend entering the information into my Weight Watchers Points Plus Tracker. 

The benefits of packing lunch far outweigh the "inconvenience":
  • I spend a lot less money.  I tend to purchase items on sale or make big batches of soup or leftovers for lunch.
  • I know how to track the Points Plus values of foods I pack.  When I eat in restaurants, I have to guess how many servings, how many teaspoons/tablespoons of sauce, how many ounces of meat, etc.
  • I actually eat a serving, versus several servings, as I measure carefully when packing my lunch at home.
  • I save a lot of time.  If I am eating out at work, I have to decide where I am going, get there, wait in line/be waited on, and get back to work. 

My normal day:
So.... Here's the question:  Do you ever grow weary of planning and/or packing meals?  How do you move past it?  I need some inspiration from all of y'all!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Trying something new - Quinoa and Black Beans

From Love Antiaging
Several times during our runs and discussions of menus, etc., Sarah has mentioned quinoa.  I hadn't really heard about this food item many times before meeting her.  When I did hear about it, I tended to just smile and continue about my business.  I guess growing up in a small, southern town predisposed me to eating rice, pasta, potatoes, and such with my dinner.  While I will never lose my love of rice and potatoes, I think I may have found a new favorite! 
The past few months, the hubs and I have worked hard to find new foods, new recipes, and new methods for preparing our old standbys.  I spend a lot of time searching websites, food blogs, and asking friends for recipes.  Every week, I try to throw at least one new recipe into the mix.  While we eat dinner, we talk about the things we like and/or don't like about the new item, ways we can tweak it to make it better/different, etc.

Tonight the star of the show was quinoa and black beans.  I came across this recipe on AllRecipes and saved it to my recipe box on the site.  When seeking inspiration for a side dish for our grilled chicken tonight, it seemed to be just the right thing.  

From left:  Quinoa and Black Beans; 1/2 Grilled Chicken Breast;
Green Giant SteamFresh Italian Blend veggies
From AllRecipes - "Whether you're trying quinoa for the first time or just trying a new recipe for quinoa, this mixture of quinoa, black beans, corn, and spices will make this dish a new favorite." 

The hubs and I totally agree!  This quinoa recipe has earned its place in our regular side dish rotation.  We are looking forward to trying more quinoa recipes soon!

What's your favorite way to prepare quinoa?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Thank you - it is the small things

According to my handy-dandy half marathon training calendar, today is a crosstraining/2 mile run day.  When I was packing my things for work, I decided to pack workout clothes that would be appropriate for a run or just going to the gym.

Around 11:30 this morning, I started getting jumpy.  I needed to get out of the office, but I wasn't really in the mood to go to the gym.  I found a route that would take me toward Cameron Village and back (about 2.5 miles).  I donned my shorts, t-shirt, jacket and Kinvaras and headed out.  Several of my coworkers looked at me like I was crazy, but oh well.

The run started off great.  I didn't realize how hilly the neighborhoods around Cameron Village were though (have I ever mentioned how much I hate hills?).  I was able to stay on the street most of the run.  Thank goodness for that because the sidewalks are all rooty and broken in that area.

As I was returning, I passed Wiley Elementary School.  I thought the worst at first - I thought "...Those kids are gonna laugh at me... They probably walk faster than I run...."  Why did I care what a bunch of elementary school kids thought of me?  I have no clue.  But what happened next is even better....

I saw two girls, probably in third or fourth grade, as I approached the fence at the edge of the playground.  One of the girls was slightly chubby with long blonde hair; the other was tall, skinny as a rail and had a cute little brown bob.  (I don't know why those details were important, except that maybe it reminds me of Margaret and me when we were younger).  They were walking laps around the playground.  As I got closer, we began our little encounter:

Tall, skinny girl:  "...Aren't you cold?"  
Me: "No.  I am good.  I am almost done."
Chubby girl:  "How long have you been outside?  It's cold."
Tall, skinny girl:  "Yeah, I want to go in."
Me: "I have been out for about 20 minutes and I'll be done in about 10 minutes.  If y'all run your laps quick, I bet you can go back inside."  (Chubby girl and tall, skinny girl start running)
Me:  "Good job!  See!  You can do it!" as I pass the edge of the playground and they continue to run

So, to the two girls on the Wiley Elementary playground -- THANK YOU!  You will never know how much our little talk meant to me today.  Keep running girls - maybe I'll see you on a lunchtime run again soon!

Monday, February 21, 2011

My thoughts on body image

My cousin and me (November 1999)
I have always struggled with my body.  I wasn't ever the pretty, skinny cheerleader type.  I was the average girl.  I was friends with everyone and didn't really fit into any of the cliques in my small-town school. 

When I was morbidly obese, I daily suffered with knowing that I had huge rolls everywhere and just looked plain dumpy.  When you are pushing 340 pounds at age 19, it is hard to feel good about yourself.  It was a struggle to get dressed; it was a struggle to go to class; everything was a struggle. 

Of course, when you do lose weight, it is extremely hard not to always see the image of your old self.  It seems like a vicious cycle, and it isYou have to find a way to free yourself from those thoughts, no matter how hard it may be. 

Every single day of the week, I have to deal with thinking back to where I was and still seeing the image of my body at its highest weight (May 2000).  I see extra skin, dimples and ripples in my legs, and stretchmarks every time I look in the mirror - the battle scars of having been obese and losing weight. 

Over the past several months, I have tried to look in the mirror each day and think about something positive with my body.  Now, I see those sections of extra skin, dimples and ripples, and stretchmarks as success.  Over the past 11 years, I have managed to lose a whole, average-sized, healthy person in body weight.  Along with shedding pounds, I have shed bad habits, destructive behaviors, and I am working daily to build more and more confidence in my body. 

Is there more work to do?  Yes, absolutely.  There are more pounds to be lost, but I will not let those pounds keep me from focusing on the good things.  I will continue to look at my body as a place of improvement, but also as a victory over the things of the past. 
It is that victory over things of the past that makes me want to:
  • find healthy recipes to cook;
  • pack a delicious and healthy lunch;
  • go run;
  • workout with my personal trainer;
  • compete in races even though I may be one of the slower people on the course;
  • go in new stores to try on clothes (even if I have to don some shape wear);
  • encourage other people on their journeys;
  • smile at strangers that look like they are dealing with their own struggles;
  • and have a better outlook on my life and body.
It is wonderful!

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Great Closet Clean-Out

For some reason, I got a bug up my butt yesterday to clean out my closet.  I have a ton of clothes.  Some of the clothes in my closets are much too large, several years old, or I simply don't like them.  It wasn't until I started this project that I realized the ungodly amount of clothing I really had! 

While I was at the gym, I thought about cleaning out my closet the entire time I was on the Arc trainer.  I strategized in my head and made my plan of attack.  Because of the size of our condo, I have 2 smaller closets in our guest bedroom/office.  For last night's project, this was extremely helpful.  I didn't have to spread clothes all over our bedroom - I just made several piles in the guest bathroom and got down to business with cleaning out.

The images below may scare some, viewer discretion is advised ;-)

The pictures above are of my "work" closet and "everything else" closet.  I work in an environment that tends to be more on the business side of business casual.  Most days, I wear a suit or a jacket with pants.  The other closet holds everything else, including blouses, t-shirts, cardigans, dresses, etc.  I usually have a few things hanging on the back of our bedroom closet door and my jeans, shorts, and workout clothes are in bins on a shelf in the master bedroom closet. 

I looked at, touched, and/or tried on every single piece of clothing in my closet.  It was neat to remember when I got the item, if I wore it for a certain event, etc., but the things I didn't think I would wear or were too big had to go! 

(Left:  Pile for Charity to look through; Right: One of the piles for Goodwill)

(Work closet)

(Everything else closet)

After dinner, I bagged up the clothes going to Goodwill and the clothes that I set aside for Charity to see if she wanted.  Then, the rest of the work...  I changed out all the hangers in both closets.  The "work" closets clothing is on white plastic hangers and the "everything else" closet clothing is on slim Huggable Hangers that I ordered a few years ago off HSN.  While changing out hangers, the clothes were ordered in a ROYGBIV type of order.  I think that hanging similar colors together helps me put outfits together quicker.  Plus, I am anal like that ;-)

So, in one night, I went through 2 closets, resulting in:
  • 2 bags for Charity to go through
  • 6 bags for Goodwill
  • 4 suits, 3 jackets, 4 pants, and 5 blouses for Dress for Success
I feel great about all the work I did.  As I said before, I didn't realize the ungodly amount of clothing that I had in my closets.  While I cleaned out a lot, I definitely am not suffering for options.  Looking forward to finishing the rest of my project this weekend!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Being the encourager and being encouraged

Today, I was able to experience both being the encourager and being encouraged.  It was a blessing for sure!

I have mentioned in a few blog posts that my college roommate, Charity, and I have been getting together and walking on Sunday afternoons.  The time that we have together during those walks is wonderful and allows us to catch up on what is going on with each other.  While we have always enjoyed our time together, being together while doing something that is so good for our bodies is even better.

Charity and I had plans to meet today after work to walk.  The weather in North Carolina was forecasted to be gorgeous this week and with it staying light out longer, we thought it was a great idea.  Before I left for work this morning, Charity messaged me and said that she wanted to do some intervals while we were on the trail and finish with a walk.  I was all about it. 

When we started, Charity seemed a little nervous.  It didn't take much to get her going and reassuring her that we were gonna do it together - fast or slow, extra walks, etc.  I know that Charity has goals related to running and I want to do anything I can to help her succeed. 

Why do I want to do this?  Because others did it for me.  If it wasn't for the NCRC gals, Sarah, my husband, Erin, Charity, family, friends, and colleagues encouraging me, I probably wouldn't be signed up for a half marathon on May 14th (eeek!!) - less than a year after my butt went out on a greenway for the first time. 

Charity (right) and me after our run/walk (1 - Aren't our
matching Sweaty Bands cute?  2 - Ignore the quality
of the pic, it was taken with my cell phone)
Going out for a run with Charity was so extremely encouraging to me.  Being out there showed me just how far I have come, but how much further I have to go to reach my goals.  Being able to cheer on someone else during the times when they feel like they may want to give up will do amazing things for a person!  It just warms you right to the core! 

We all have goals.  Those desires to achieve can be centered on anything - running, weight, job, learning a language, picking up a new hobby a goal for almost anything - but sometimes we need a little help getting there.  If we all serve as encouragers of one another, we will reap more benefits than can ever be explained. 

Go out and encourage someone - you'll feel great!

You need to be aware of what others are doing, applaud their efforts, acknowledge their successes, and encourage them in their pursuits.  When we all help one another, everybody wins.  (Jim Stovall)

There is nothing better than the encouragement of a good friend. (Katharine Butler Hathaway)

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day and weekend review

At our wedding reception (May 6, 2006)
First things first...  I want to say Happy Valentine's Day to the most awesome husband a girl could ever have.  We have been married nearly 5 years and I love him more than he will ever know.

Jason (aka "the hubs) is one of the most supportive people in my life.  He has been around for every up and down since 2004.  He tries to be as encouraging as possible, while helping me realize that some things that I may fret over won't matter in a day/week/month.  With his constant encouragement (and the encouragement of many others), I have made significant changes to my life and I am enjoying every minute of the journey forward!

Tonight, we are going to Michael Dean's for dinner.  This is one of our favorite Rocky Top Hospitality restaurants and tonight is their last night.  Dean, owner of RTH, is closing Michael Dean's after tonight's dinner service to change the concept of the location.  It will be another TriBeCa Tavern in a few months.  I have looked at the delicious Valentine's Day menu and the Pan Seared Grouper looks especially yummy to me!

Weekend in review:
I worked from home on Friday.  Then, I met a wonderful friend for lunch.  We had a great time talking about everything that is going on in our lives.  I wish it would work well to have lunch more often, but for the time being I enjoy our lunches to catch up. 

Friday afternoon, I picked the hubs up from work and we headed east to visit my parents for the weekend.  We arrived in Beaufort around 7:15 p.m. and promptly headed to Ribeye's for dinner.  Dinner was as yummy as usual and didn't disappoint.  After dinner we headed home and piddled around the house before heading to bed relatively early.

On Saturday morning, we attended my younger cousin's (Jordan) basketball game.  This is the first game we have been able to attend this season and she has improved greatly since last year.  She seems to be relatively competitive and enjoys playing.

Lunch bunch (the hubs, Logan, and Jordan)
We picked up Jordan and Logan around 11:30 and took them to lunch at No Name Pizza and Subs.  I figured that Logan would order cheese pizza, but was surprised when Jordan said she would like pizza too.  We talked about what kind of toppings she would like and she wanted the veggie supreme.  I was beyond amazed when she wanted to order veggie pizza, I guess I just assumed most kids didn't really eat veggie pizza.  We had a great lunch with the kids, but unfortunately I only got one picture of us (and it didn't include me!).

After lunch, we went back to my parents house to kill some time before the second basketball game of the day.  We went to Logan's game in the afternoon.  To only be 6, Logan is pretty darn good at basketball.  He played very well, but was upset that he didn't score on multiple shots. 

Saturday evening, we hung out at the house.  Mama and I made Beef and Broccoli and baked egg rolls.  So delicious!

On Sunday, we headed back to Raleigh.  It seems like the time always passes too quickly when we visit my parents (and family).  It's ok though - we'll be back soon!


Friday, February 11, 2011

Stylish Blogger Award

Sarah tagged me for the Stylish Blogger Award.  YAY!  I love learning about people and their journeys through their blogs. 

Here are the Rules for the Stylish Award:
  • Make this a post and link back to the person who gave the award to you
  • Share 7 things about yourself
  • Award 5 great bloggers
  • Contact the bloggers and tell them they've won!

So, here goes... 

  1. I have had the same best friend since diapers.  I met Margaret she was about 6 months old and I was about a year and a half.  We went to the same babysitters, through elementary/middle/high school, worked at the same seafood restaurant, etc. Although we are very different from one another, we are best of friends.
  2. I was a band geek.  I marched in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in 1995.  It was an awesome experience.
  3. I am named for my Dad's sister.  My middle name was Emily-Marie before I got married (Yes, a hyphenated middle name and that means that I went through childhood with 4 names).  My Daddy chose that as my middle name because it was his sister's name.  His sister was born with severe medical issues and was confined to home; my Dad played a significant part in her care.  While my Dad was serving in Vietnam, she passed away.  Oddly enough, I was born on the same day that she passed away, 13 years later.  I will always have a special love for the aunt I never met.
  4. I love, love, love the beach and warm.  When circumstances change with my employment or finances, you will definitely find me living by a beach.
  5. I love Disney.  I went to Walt Disney World the first time when I was 26 years old.  I wasn't convinced before we went that I would like it (I tend to be too serious and don't love crowds).  Well, my hubs was right - I loved it.  We're taking a Disney cruise and spending 4 nights at the Polynesian Resort for our 5th wedding anniversary in May!  I am planning to run the Disney Princess Half next February (that is what started this whole running thing).
  6. Cheerwine and "quarter cakes" are my weakness.  As a child, every time we passed the TeePee (gas station/convenience store) it seemed like we stopped.  We could go in and get a Cheerwine and a quarter cake (aka Little Debbie Cake).  My favorites are the Fudge Round, Star Crunch, and Swiss Cake Rolls.  I honestly can't tell you the last time I had one, but I don't really miss them.  Thank goodness Cheerwine comes in diet!  It is so good! 
  7. I want to be crafty.  I try desperately but haven't found the right thing for me.

Now it is my chance to award several others!
  • Jim at 50 After 40I love reading his blog!  He is so incredibly encouraging!
  • Shelby at Eat, Drink, Run:  I stumbled upon her blog a few months ago.  I love reading it and she lives in the same city as me!
  • Debbie at Weigh Down:  She's a fellow WW'er.  I think it is cool that she takes pictures of her journal every day.  I have used her blog to get myself out of a food rut a few times.
  • Lisa at 110 Pounds and Counting:  Her blog was one of the first that I started following.  She reminds me daily what this is all about.
  • I have no idea who else to tag.  I love reading blogs!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Thursday awesomeness

This week has been awesome, but today has been most especially awesome and wonderful.  Several things:
  • A coworker/friend at work took a new picture of me for our office directory, etc.  It turned out great!  I actually liked the picture she took and I don't normally like pictures of me.
  • I worked a half day in the office today, then went to the School of Government at UNC-Chapel Hill for a meeting.  Since I am going out of town tomorrow, my boss said I could "work from home" tomorrow.  Not sure how much I will actually get done considering that I am going to the gym and lunch with a friend, but it is a nice change of pace.
  • Had the most delicious veggie wrap from Elmo's Diner for lunch at my meeting.  I have enjoyed breakfast/brunch at Elmo's a few times, but this wrap beat those meals hands down.
  • Decided to go to the mall after my meeting and try on pants...  Tried on, fit into, and purchased pants that are 2 sizes smaller than what I had been wearing!
  • Went for the normal Thursday evening run with Sarah.  Since I am going out of town this weekend, we were going to go ahead and do our "long" run this evening.  We did 6.2 miles, on a Thursday, in February!  I am still amazed at how well we are doing!
  • Awesome Meredith College GNO (girls night out) at Sono in downtown Raleigh!  Charity and I shared a bowl of edamame and I had a shrimp yaki-soba - so flavorful!
I am not sure if the day could have been better!  Tomorrow morning, I am going to get up at regular time, hit the gym, have lunch with a friend, then pick the hubs up at work to head to Beaufort for the weekend. 

Looking forward to a great weekend!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Three workouts in two days?!?

Seriously?  Huh?  Did I really just do three workouts in two days?  I have been in a little bit of a funk for a few weeks.  I have been absolutely mommicked the past week or two.  I don't know if it is weight loss, work, weather, or just a funk.

Quick aside....  Don't know what mommicked means?  It is a saying that is used most often in the down east area.  When I say "down east" I mean the small communities east of Beaufort, NC when driving on Highway 70 (Harkers Island, Smyrna, Williston, Davis, Atlantic, Cedar Island, etc.) not Rocky Mount/Kinston/etc. as the newspeople seem to label it. Mommicked basically means that you are frazzled, worn out, messed up.  Don't be surprised to hear "My lord honey ain't I be a mommicked this night..." when travelling to the area where I grew up.  Anyway, I digress...

Yesterday afternoon, the rain started around 3:30.  Sarah and I always run on Monday.  I definitely needed my run yesterday.  When Sarah called to see if we were still running, I told her that it wasn't raining that bad.  I don't know that she was that happy about it, but the run turned out well.  It wasn't that rainy and it was as therapeutic as it always.

This morning, I went to Weight Watchers to weigh.  I was feeling stressed before I went (and was not very nice to the hubs before I left home).  When I stepped on the scale, the person weighing me told me that I lost 4.6 pounds.  I missed last week, but 4.6 pounds in 2 weeks is more than great!  I have reached my 5% goal and look forward to keeping on.

Going to Weight Watchers lifted my spirits a little more and I wasn't feeling quite as mommicked anymore.  A group of coworkers go over to a gym around the corner from our office on Tuesday and Thursday for a group fitness class.  Our organization's Wellness Committee pays for the group workouts the committee encourages staff to go.  I have been too intimidated to go in the past, but took a shot at it today.  All I can saw is "Wow".  It was a great workout, with some great coworkers, and just what I needed.

I finished up my third workout in 2 days by going to my normal Tuesday personal training appointment.  I told my trainer about the lunch time workout and we modified things a little, but he didn't really take it easy on me at all. 

I am so grateful that I am able to really feel better about my lifestyle change.  The process to make the change clicked a while back, but now everything about changing my lifestyle seems to be clicking.  Here's to many more good days ahead!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Weekend in review

I love reliving the weekend via a catch up post!  It makes getting through Monday that much easier.

  • Did walking workout with folks from work during lunch.  We have exercise classes scheduled (usually) two days at week at a local gym for staff members that wish to participate.  Most Fridays someone will put a walking video on.  It was nice to get in a bit of exercise in the middle of the day.
  • Dinner after work with the hubs at Milton's.  I wanted to order pizza so badly, but in the end I decided to Pasta Primavera with Shrimp.  I was totally satisfied and ate less than half!
  • I was supposed to get up and do a 5-miler.  When I woke up and heard the rain, I went right back under the covers.  (Kudos to my friends that did the Krispy Kreme Challenge in the rain!)
  • Hubs and I met up with my college roomie, Charity, for lunch at Village Deli followed by some shopping at Fleet Feet.  Charity got some new shoes and socks so she can start training for her first 5K.  I got a sweet hot pink sport skirt off the clearance rack.
  • Ran a couple errands and went grocery shopping
  • The rain cleared up in the afternoon and I knew I needed to get my miles in.  I set my Garmin for (15) 3:30/1 intervals and finished 5.75 miles on the greenway.  I had a totally new experience while running and I haven't decided if I will blog about it or not, it might be too much information.
  • Cooked a near-gourmet dinner at home - filet (tuna steak for the hubs) with roasted asparagus and Parmesan orzo
  • Stayed in bed way later than I planned
  • Fixed a breakfast casserole and got the chili in the crock pot
  • Went for a 6.4 mile walk with Charity
  • Fixed "crack dip" for pre-game festivities
  • Had some great friends over to watch the Packers win the Super Bowl (although, I find the commercials much more interesting than the actual game)
It was a great weekend!  Even though the weekends are short, writing and reading about the weekend later in the week makes me happy!

McFatty Monday - week 4

I triple puffy-heart love Blair (that's totally something she would say) from The Heir To Blair.  Not to mention that I am beyond excited about our lunch plans this week!

So, anyway, Blair asked some interesting questions regarding weight loss in her McFatty Monday post for this week:

Are you afraid of anything with weight loss?  With success?With shedding old habits?  What do you think causes that fear?

Yes, I am afraid of a lot of things with weight loss.  Most of it revolves around the thought that I may fail.  I have been on every diet possible and I have honestly never stuck with it.  In the past, I have always had the best of intentions, with very little follow through.  That's a lot of pressure on me this go-round.  But, I feel like this time is totally different:
  • I made the choice myself (no one told me to lose weight, my doctor wasn't pressuring me, etc.). 
  • I found an outdoor activity that I love (running) and I have stuck with it since July, including working through an injury. 
  • I have worked hard to set long-term goals for myself (at least one race per month, half marathon in May, and a fitness "bucket list")
  • I am moving out of my comfort zone with food.  I am willing to try different combinations of food, new fruits and vegetables, etc.
  • I am making dates with friends to do fitness related activities, versus immediately suggesting dinner.  My college roommate and I get together on Sunday to walk.  In the past, we could have just as easily scheduled lunch or dinner out. 
  • I am keeping a positive attitude.  It doesn't matter if the scale is moving down, so long as I feel good about how I did with eating and exercise.  If I didn't do well in a week, I evaluate and move on.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Running = meditation

I look at running as meditation.  It allows me to decompress, download, and get rid of a lot of negative stuff.  That's my secret.  I go inside myself.  --  Jeff Corwin, American animal and nature conservationist

This quote came from Runner's World the other day.  After reading it several times, I realized how very true it really is for me.  In August, I started talking with a counselor/therapist about some issues in my life.  Since the beginning, Michelle has talked to me about meditating.  She firmly believes that doing a "brain dump" and sitting quietly, focusing on breathing, etc. will help reduce stress and allow clarity of the mind.  Unfortunately, this just isn't really me.  For those that know me and all my craziness, it is obvious that sitting down for 10/15/20 minutes to meditate is not in my nature. 

So, how did I get to feeling that running is meditation?  While I started running for the physical benefits, I see now that it goes beyond that.  I continue to run for the benefit of my physical well-being, but I also continue to run for the benefit of my mental well-being.  The time I spend running, with or without a running partner, is a time to reflect.  I generally run on the greenway - the greenways are not terribly crowded, they are scenic, and fairly quiet.  When I run alone, I focus on my breathing and letting my mind move away from the day-to-day things in life.  When I run with Sarah, we tend to use the time running to talk about things on our minds - and it turns into a very helpful therapy session of sorts. 

While I haven't completely given up on meditation in the traditional sense, I love what running as a form of meditation has done for me.  In my running, I am able to tune out everything around for just a little bit and just be