Saturday, April 30, 2011

Thursday, April 28, 2011


Mother-of-two Gail, 44, credits the photos with helping her recover her self-esteem after battling cancer.

1.the correspondence in size, form, and arrangement of parts on opposite sides of a plane, line, or point; regularity of form or arrangement in terms of like, reciprocal, or corresponding parts.
the proper or due proportion of the parts of a body or whole to one another with regard to size and form; excellence of proportion.
beauty based on or characterized by such excellence of proportion.

Friday, April 22, 2011

A great inspiration

This is a great inspirational story written by a man that I have gotten to know. He is a wonderful person that truly has a passion for life. You can find his blog by going to
By Dorrian Rhodes, guest community blogger

Rhodes will be occasionally blogging for RunOregon as he continues on his journey towards his ultimate goal (read below to learn about that). I first met Rhodes through the RunOregon facebook page and then again later at the Operation Jack 6-hour run held at Summerlake Park in Tigard. When I learned about his accomplishments and what he still hoped to achieve, I asked him to share his story with RunOregon. If you want to get in touch with Dorrian, email us at and we'll forward it on to him; just include "For Dorrian" in the email subject line.

Dorrian-Rhodes.pngRhodes (#5244) at the 2011 Heartbreaker Half Marathon.
The term “obese” in America often conjures imagery of a slovenly person lying on a
couch late at night, surrounded by bags of chips and cookies, watching infomercials.
These slobs are often emotional wrecks without self-esteem or hope, and every story
related to how they came to their present condition, obesity, is sad. However, while
the criteria above for obesity fits some people; to say it fits all obese people is absurd and overbroad. 

Not all obese people share the same story. For some of us, our ability to manage care for ourselves has been overshadowed due to caring for others. Daily workouts take a backseat to properly managing household affairs and employment opportunities, also known as the daily grind. Days blur into weeks and weeks into years as our waistlines expand to resemble that of the couch potato, rather than Kate Moss. I share this story with many people who like me find themselves also overweight or obese. But a year and a half ago, something changed inside and set into motion the idea of a new possibility…that I could complete a 100-mile race. At the time, I was 365 pounds.

I believe that any worthwhile task starts with inspiration. My inspiration began when
I watched a documentary called The Spirit of the Marathon. In the documentary, four
average runners, and two elites, trained to run the Chicago Marathon. 

Of the stories that were covered, the one that I found most interesting was the one that wasn’t. As the runners lined up at the starting line, the camera briefly stopped on a runner with a prosthetic leg. Those of us with all of our limbs constantly complain about what we aren’t capable of doing. Yet, many physically disabled people rise to the challenge, and live at levels far beyond our own. I pondered within myself for an excuse or justification for not being active, when a disabled runner was about to prove that he was able. That was it! Inspiration was in the building.

There are few obstacles that can’t be overcome without training. At almost four times
the distance of a marathon, running a 100-miler seems to suggest that those who do them are not only extremist, but are just plain nuts. For even the advanced and long standing runner, my idea was extreme and far-fetched. Everyone I talked to expressed caution and various medical reports on knee injuries related to force impact. 

With that in mind, I started small by walking with my children. I also began to read literature on endurance running, and learned about running shoe construction. Fixing Your Feet by John Vonhof has been instrumental in helping my advancement in running and hiking. Armed with information, inspiration and desire, I slowly began to increase my weekly mileage. After shredding 50 pounds from my body, the journey continues in making this soft hunk of man into a hardened endurance runner.

You may be wondering where to begin. Start with getting to know your feet. Go to a
running shoe store like Fit Right, Road Runner Sports, or the Portland Running Company to get your feet evaluated at no cost. All running shoes don’t require running, start with walking daily. I want other obese and overweight people to know that a healthy lifestyle is not beyond your reach. Find your inspiration, be consistent and you are already on your way!

Friday song of the week

Never Alone By Barlow Girl

I waited for You today
but You didn't show
no no no
I needed You today
so where did You go?
You told me to call
said You'd be there
and though I haven't seen You
are You still there?
I cried out with no reply
and I can't feel You by my side
so I'll hold tight to what I know
You're here ... and I'm never alone
and though I cannot see You
and I can't explain why
such a deep, deep reassurance
You've placed in my mind
we cannot separate
cause You're part of me
and though You're invisible
I'll trust the unseen
I cried out with no reply
and I can't feel You by my side
so I'll hold tight to what I know
You're here ... and I'm never alone
we cannot separate
cause You're part of me
and though You're invisible
I'll trust the unseen
I cried out with no reply
and I can't feel You by my side
so I'll hold tight to what I know
You're here ... and I'm never alone

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


"If you've never failed, you've never lived."

To laugh is to risk appearing the fool;
  To weep is to risk appearing sentimental;
  To reach out for another is to risk involvement;
To expose feelings is to risk exposing true self;
  To place your ideas, your dreams before the crowd is to risk their loss;
  To love is to risk not being loved in return;
  To live is to risk dying;
  To hope is to risk despair;
  To try is to risk failure;
  But risk must be taken, because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing;
  The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing and is nothing;
  He may avoid suffering and sorrow, but he simply cannot learn, feel, change, grow, love and live;
  Chained by his certitudes, he is a slave and has forfeited freedom'
  Only a person who risks is free.

What are you waiting for?

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Body for Life

I gained 45 pounds with my first daughter and 50 pounds with my 2nd. Yes, I know what your thinking, "the baby only comes out weighing 7 or so pounds. I was heavy. When I was pregnant, I found great comfort in putting butter on most everything and I ate a lot. While this may have been fine to me while I was pregnant, it wasn't so much once the baby came out.

Picture of me and my Grandfather in law when I was a few months pregnant with my 2nd daughter

Picture of me and my first daughter having just delivered my 2nd

After the birth of my 2nd daughter in 2003, I heard of the Body for Life program. My sister in law, Julie was doing it. I decided to give it a try. Since I had a c-section, I did wait 3 months to begin the program.

The Body for life program is a 12 week challenge and it's very simple. You eat 6 small meals per day, do an aerobic activity for 20 minutes, 3 times a week and weight training 3 times a week. You get one day of freedom, which means no exercising and you can eat whatever you want. For further reading, click on the link

You can buy the Body for Life book or check out the book from the library.

What I like about Body for Life is that you don't have to buy anything. It really is just about changing your eating habits and changing what you eat.

The following information is taken directly from the Body for Life website.

Official Body-for-LIFE Cardio-Training Plan

Cardio workouts are indispensable to an effective training program and general good health. By definition, cardio workouts can be any exercise—jogging, running, biking, swimming, elliptical machine, stairs, even jumping rope—that raises and maintains your heart rate over a predetermined amount of time. By doing so, you strengthen your heart and lungs and lower your resting heart rate, which means that over time the same effort that produced a 10-minute mile will produce a 9-minute mile. Cardio workouts burn fat. And cardio fitness is what gives you endurance and the ability to persist in sports and in life.

The Benefits of Cardio

  • Increases metabolic rate
  • Increases growth hormone secretion
  • Reduces stress levels
  • Increases blood flow to the brain increasing alertness
  • Improve cholesterol levels
  • Improves digestion
  • Boosts immune-system function

20-Minute Aerobics Solution™ — The Official Body-for-LIFE Cardio Plan

Cardio-Training Plan
  1. Warm up the first 2 minutes at Intensity Level 5
  2. Minutes 2-3 move from Intensity Level 5 to 6
  3. Minutes 4-5, 6-10 and 11-14 work your way from Intensity Level 6 to Level 9, maintain for one minute.
  4. Minutes 15-19 work your way from Intensity Level 6 to Level 10 (High Point at Level 10), maintain for one minute.
  5. Minute 20 cool down to Intensity Level 5 for one minute.
Alternate weight-training and cardio workouts for six consecutive days and rest on the seventh day.

I always liked the cardio part of the workouts. When I first started out, I walked up and down my stairs, gradually moved to the treadmill, just walking and slowly worked up to running. 

Official Body-for-LIFE Weight-Training Plan

  • Weight train intensely, three times per week on alternating days with aerobic exercise three times per week. Make sure to hit your "high points" during your workout.
  • Alternate training the major muscles of the upper and lower body.
  • Perform two exercises for each major muscle group of the upper body.
  • Select one exercise and conduct five sets with it, starting with a set of 12 reps, then increasing the weight and doing 10 reps, adding more weight and doing 8 reps, adding more weight for 6 reps. Then reduce the weight and do 12 reps. Immediately perform another set of 12 reps for that muscle group using the second selected exercise.
  • For each muscle group, rest for one minute between the first four sets. Then complete the final two sets with no rest in between, wait two minutes before moving on to your next muscle group, complete this pattern five times for the upper body training experience and four times for the lower body training experience.
  • Always plan your training before hand.
  • Record all your weightlifting exercised in a journal indicating the exercise selected and weight lifted.

Daily Training Guide

Download the Exercise Guide
Day 1 Upper Body Training Chest/Shoulders/Triceps/Back/Biceps
Day 2 Cardiovascular Workout
Day 3 Lower Body and Abs Training Quads/Hamstrings/Calves/Abdominals
Day 4 Cardiovascular Workout
Day 5 Upper Body Training Chest/Shoulders/Triceps/Back/Biceps
Day 6 Cardiovascular Workout
Day 7 Rest

Upper Body


Choose Exercise from List

  • Barbell Bench Presses
  • Barbell Incline Presses
  • Dumbbell Bench Presses
  • Dumbbell Incline Presses
  • Dumbbell Flyes
  • Cable Crossovers
  • Repetitions: x12, 10, x8, x6, x12, x12


Choose Exercise from List

  • Pull-Ups
  • Wide-Grip Lat Pulldowns
  • One-Arm Dumbbell Rows
  • Seated Cable Rows
  • Back Extensions
  • Straight Arm Pulldowns
  • Repetitions: x12, 10, x8, x6, x12, x12


Choose Exercise from List

  • Seated Dumbbell Presses
  • Front Raises
  • Lateral Raises
  • Reverse Flyes
  • Upright Cable Rows
  • Upright Barbell Rows
  • Repetitions: x12, 10, x8, x6, x12, x12


Choose Exercise from List

  • Alternate Dumbbell Curls
  • Barbell Curls
  • Preacher Curls
  • Concentration Curls
  • Cable Curls
  • Hammer Curls
  • Repetitions: x12, 10, x8, x6, x12, x12


Choose Exercise from List

  • Seated Triceps Presses
  • Lying Triceps Presses
  • Triceps Kickbacks
  • Triceps Pushdowns
  • Cable Extensions
  • Bench Dips
  • Repetitions: x12, 10, x8, x6, x12, x12

Lower Body


Choose Exercise from List

  • Barbell Squats
  • Leg Presses
  • Leg Extensions
  • Repetitions: x12, 10, x8, x6, x12, x12


Choose Exercise from List

  • Dumbbell Lunges
  • Straight-Leg Deadlifts
  • Lying Leg Curls
  • Repetitions: x12, 10, x8, x6, x12, x12


Choose Exercise from List

  • Seated Calf Raises
  • Standing Heel Raises
  • Repetitions: x12, 10, x8, x6, x12, x12


Choose Exercise from List

  • Floor Crunches
  • Oblique Floor Crunches
  • Decline Crunches
  • Decline Oblique
  • Hanging Knee Raises
  • Reverse Crunches
  • Cable Crunches
  • Cable Oblique Crunches
  • Repetitions: x12, 10, x8, x6, x12, x12
Click here to learn about the Body-for-LIFE Cardio-Training Plan

So what do you eat during these meals? Anything healthy, but smaller, portion sized. When I was doing it, I always heard that protein, carbohydrate, fruit and vegetable should be the size of your fist and no more and that is what I went by. I did get rid of the butter, used more pam, sometimes olive oil, for example. The Body for life website is full of recipes and meal ideas and there is even a Body for life recipe book. Below is a sample weekly meal plan. It says to eat a Myoplex shake for in between meals. Costco was selling this, not sure if they are still, but they have a lot of protein shake mix.

Sample Weekly Meal Plan

Eat more often

Research indicates that eating smaller meals more frequently (about every three hours) supports metabolism and helps maintain energy.

Six egg-white omelet, 1/2 cup (dry measure) oatmeal, prepared with water Myoplex® Nutrition Shake Grilled fresh tuna with broccoli and roasted new potatoes Myoplex®Nutrition bar Eye of round steak with sweet potato and green beans Cottage cheese with blueberries
Breakfast wrap (low-fat sausage, scrambled egg whites, low-fat cheese, salsa, whole wheat tortilla) Myoplex® Ready-to-Drink Teriyaki salmon with cooked spinach and brown rice Myoplex® Nutrition Shake Pork tenderloin with asparagus and baked potato Cottage cheese with strawberries
Egg-white pancakes (six egg whites, 1/2 cup oatmeal, 1/2 T whole grain pancake mix, mix in blender), serve with sugarless fruit spread Myoplex® Nutrition Shake Chicken fajita wraps (grilled chicken breast, grilled vegetables and a whole wheat wrap) Myoplex® Ready-to-Drink Sushi made with brown rice, seaweed salad Green salad with cottage cheese
Scrambled egg whites, one slice whole wheat toast Myoplex® Ready-to-Drink Southwest chicken salad (chicken, lettuce, brown rice, black beans, tomatoes, onions, avocado) Myoplex®Nutrition bar Tofu-vegetable stir fry with brown rice Cottage cheese and grapes
Six egg-white omelet, oatmeal Myoplex®Nutrition Bar Turkey burger on whole wheat bun with lettuce and tomato Myoplex® Ready-to-Drink Grilled salmon with cucumber-dill dressing, green salad and baked potato Cottage cheese with an apple
Egg-white pancakes (see Day 3); sugarless fruit spread Myoplex® Nutrition Shake Chili (made with lean ground turkey, kidney beans, salsa), green salad Myoplex®Nutrition Bar Rosemary chicken with mushroom gravy, snap peas and whole wheat pasta Cottage cheese and yogurt

Replace this... with this
whole milk skim (0%), low-fat (1%), reduced fat (2%)
cheese reduced fat cheese
pasta with white (cheese) sauce pasta with marinara (vegetable) sauce
bacon or sausage Canadian bacon or lean ham
eggs egg whites or egg substitutes
white bread whole-wheat
mayonnaise reduce calorie, fat-free or mustard
regular salad dressings reduced fat/calorie dressings
guacamole salsa
creamed soups broth-based soups
butter, oil or shortening non-stick cooking spray, applesauce or prune puree

Body for life has a great community. You can chat with other people who are going through the exact same thing that you are.
So how did I do? Well in the 12 weeks, I lost 20 pounds. The running as most of you know stuck and I am now training for my 2nd 50 mile ultramarathon and I feel great. I still eat very healthy, and still have the Eating for Life recipe book and often use it.
Here are my transformation photos;
Before in 2003

After in 2003  
Photo of me now

The program works, I swear by it. At least check it out.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Healthier habits

The other afternoon I did a little barefoot running. I must have ran about 1/2 mi and I did it on a dry day and basically back and forth in front of my house. The first several feet, it felt a little rocky, was a little awkward, but I swear the 2nd half really wasn't bad.

I'm not going to say that I am going to make a habit of it, but since I've been reading the book Born to Run by Christopher McDougall, I wanted to try it. The Tarahumara Indians in the book run barefoot and the book goes on and on about how shoes are too comfortable and how pronation has become an ugly word, when in fact pronation is really the natural movement of the foot, it is supposed to pronate. If you were to quit running in these ultra comfortable shoes, your feet unlearn the habits they picked up and would then shift to a self-defense mode. Ultimately, your foot would become stronger and less prone to injuries. It mentioned that back before these crazy comfy shoes were popular, there were way less injuries. We are essentially spoiling our feet.
So I have bought a pair of Vibram Five Fingers and I am very much looking forward to them arriving.

I have also begun consuming chia seeds.

What makes the Chia Seed the super food that many claim it to be?
  • 30% of the chia seed’s oil is Omega 3 oil. 40% of its oil is Omega 6 oil. This provides the nice balance those who take supplemental Essential Fatty Acids are looking for. The chia seed’s substantially dense percentage in alpha-linolenic fatty acid also makes this seed a healthy dietary source of fatty acids.
  • You do not need to grind the Chia Seeds to digest it. It is a relatively easy to digest seed, whereas flax seeds are not. Often, one has to grind flax seeds to be able to process them in their digestive system. That is not the case with chia seeds.
  • The chia seeds are great for athletes because they are highly hydrophilic. Being hydrophilic means it absorbs large amounts of water. Chia Seeds can absorb over 10 times their weight in water making them a great enhancer in hydrating our bodies. They absorb the water we drink holding it in our system longer.
  • Studies show that eating chia seed slows down how fast our bodies convert carbohydrate calories into simple sugars. This leads scientists to believe that the chia seed may have great benefits for diabetics.
  • The chia seed gels when becoming wet and this gel, when in our digestive systems, helps prevent some of the food, hence calories that we eat from getting absorbed into our system. This blockage of calorie absorption makes the chia seed a great diet helper. Eating the seeds also helps dieters by making them feel fuller faster so they will be less hungry!
  • Chia seeds provide antioxidant activity
  • Chia is a great addition to a detoxification program. Chia seeds are high in fiber and in healthy oils making them an excellent addition to many detox programs.
  • Mix Chia seeds into yogurt, sprinkle them on cereal in the morning, add to salads, or even add them to your baking. There are many ways to add chia seeds into your daily routine!  
Have you ever gone into the drug section of any store and been overwhelmed by all the supplement choices? There are so many and more and more showing  up on store shelves. They say all over them, buy me, take me, you need me! Seriously? Not so sure about that. I've heard that you really only need a good vitamin and supplements your doctor suggested, say because you had blood work done. So, I've begun analyzing my diet and supplement intake. I wonder if I really need to be taken as many as I am. I've concluded that I should continue to take my multi-vitamin and calcium with vitamin D.  I don't believe that I need to take my Glucosamine nor fish oil nor Magnesium. I had blood work done and was found to be lacking in vitamin D. When I found out that I was lacking it, I laughed out loud and thought it was ridiculous considering the amount of time I spend running outdoors.

As far as my diet goes, no more sugar packets, Fake sugar is bad for. I forgot how much I love vanilla soy milk. It is rich in Vitamin D and so yummy. I normally put milk in my coffee instead of coffee creamer, but am finding my 2nd cup makes me a little gassy, so I am trying a little creamer instead. I have gotten into the bad habit of taken not only a sleeping pill, but a Melatonin as well. Well no wonder I have been waking up so sleepy. I have been overdoing it, so the Melatonin is getting kicked out. It even says on the bottle not to take if you have a depression disorder. I haven't been diagnosed with anything, but as most of you all now I was pretty unhappy when we first moved to CA and that was about the same time that I started taking Melatonin. I would love to quit eating cow and chicken and instead just eat fish, eggs and cheese, but I don't think my husband will go for it. I think the way cows and chickens are raised and slaughtered makes them not healthy for you. I strongly encourage everyone to read or watch Food Inc. I also like the book Fast Food Nation.

Here's an article that I read from one of my Facebook friends, talks about whats in hamburger.
In case you missed it last week, The New York Times ran an excellent article on a South Dakota company called Beef Products Inc., which makes a hamburger filler product that ends up in 70 percent of burgers in the United States.

To make a long story short: Beef Products buys the cheapest, least desirable beef on offer--fatty sweepings from the slaughterhouse floor, which are notoriously rife with pathogens like E. coli 0157 and antibiotic-resistant salmonella. It sends the scraps through a series of machines, grinds them into a paste, separates out the fat, and laces the substance with ammonia to kill pathogens.

The result, known by some in the industry as "pink slime," is marketed widely to hamburger makers. The product has three selling points, from what I can tell: 1) it's really, really cheap; 2) unlike conventional ground beef, which routinely carries E. coli, etc, pink slime is sterilized by the addition of ammonia; and 3) it's so full of ammonia that it will kill pathogens in the ground beef it's mixed with.

In short, Beef Products' is peddling a solution--and a cheap one at that--to the beef industry's embarrassing food-borne-illness problem (see my Meat Wagon series of posts for more on this topic). No wonder that burger purveyors from agribusiness giant Cargill to McDonald's, from Burger King to your kid's public-school cafeteria, snap up 60 pound blocks of pink slime and mix it into conventional ground beef at doses of up to 15 percent.
But as the Times story shows, the ammonia doesn't always kill the pathogens in pink slime. Indeed, far from sterilizing a batch of burger mix, pink slime can actually add to the pathogen cocktail:
School lunch officials said that in some years Beef Products testing results were worse than many of the program's two dozen other suppliers, which use traditional meat processing methods. From 2005 to 2009, Beef Products had a rate of 36 positive results for salmonella per 1,000 tests, compared to a rate of nine positive results per 1,000 tests for the other suppliers, according to statistics from the program.
Thus, of pink slime's three chief selling points, only one holds up to scrutiny: it's cheap.
Note that the information unearthed in this important Times is new only to the public; the fast-food industry, the USDA, and the school-lunch program have long known about pink slime's less than stellar food-safety performance. Indeed, pressure from buyers may have contributed to the pathogen load--as The Times reports, complaints about an overpowering ammonia aroma forced the company to ramp down the dose of the sterilizing agent, which may have upped its susceptibility to salmonella, etc.

The pink-slime episode teaches us hard lessons about a food system that hinges on a few big companies churning out loads of cheap food. In a brilliant chapter in his book 2007 book The End of Food, Paul Roberts demonstrates how the profitability of large food companies depends completely on keeping costs as low as possible.

As companies scramble to slash costs, you get the rise of vast environmental calamities, like massive, feces-concentrating hog factories. Yet get human atrocities, like slavery in Florida tomato fields and systematic worker abuse in factory slaughterhouses. And you get public-health nightmares, like soaring diabetes rates tied to the rise of cheap, highly subsidized sweeteners.
The National School Lunch Program, which forces cafeteria administrators to feed students lunch for $2.68 per student per day, is a microcosm of our cheap food system. Two-thirds of that outlay goes to overhead and labor, leaving much less than a buck to spend on ingredients. No wonder the lunch program is such a massive buyer of pink slime--3.5 million pounds last year alone, the Times reports.
School lunch officials said they ultimately agreed to use the treated meat because it shaved about 3 cents off the cost of making a pound of ground beef.... In 2004, lunch officials increased the amount of Beef Products meat allowed in its hamburgers to 15 percent, from 10 percent, to increase savings.
Three cents off the cost of making a pound of ground beef. Under the severe fiscal austerity that school cafeteria administrators operate under, pinching those three pennies is a rational decision, even if it means subjecting children to ammonia-ridden slime that may contain pathogens.

For its part, the fast-food industry has reacted to the Times revelations, not by renouncing the use of pink slime but rather defending it. According to Associated Press, "Fast-food chains McDonald's Corp. and Burger King Holdings Inc. and agricultural conglomerate Cargill Inc. all use the [Beef Products] meat in their hamburgers. All said they'll keep using the meat and that their products are safe."

For them, billions of dollars in profits depend on pinching a few pennies per pound on inputs. As long as that economic structure remains in place, we can count on continued pathologies in the food system.
Tom Philpott is Grist’s senior food and agriculture writer.

You know I'm not even sure drinking a protein is even necessary. According to an individual analysis of what I personally should be consuming, I only need 6 ounces of meat a day. Well a Costco chicken fillet is 11 ounces. Why do I need to drink a shake that has 27 grams of protein in one serving? Well they are delicious. You can find out what you should be consuming by going to

So there you have it, I'm developing better habits, creating an even healthier Jeannie.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Friday song of the week

One tri, one tri
One tribe, one time, one planet, one race
It's all one blood, don't care about your face
The color of your eye or the tone of your skin
Don't care where you are, don't care where you been

'Cause where we gonna go is where we wanna be
The place where the little language is unity
And the continent is called Pangaea
And the main ideas are connected like a spear

No propaganda, they tried to upper hand us
'Cause man, I'm loving this peace
Man, man, I'm loving this peace
Man, man, I'm loving this peace

I don't need no leader that's gonna force feed
A concept that make me think I need to
Fear my brother and fear my sister
And shoot my neighbor or my big missile

If I had an enemy to, if I had an enemy to
If I had an enemy then my enemy is gonna try
To come and kill me 'cause I'm his enemy

There's one tribe y'all, one tribe y'all
One tribe y'all, we are one people

Let's cast amnesia, forget about all that evil
Forget about all that evil, that evil that they feed ya
Let's cast amnesia, forget about all that evil
That evil that they feed ya, remember that we're one people

We are one people
One, one, one people
One, one, one people
One, one, one people

One tribe, one tribe, one tribe, one time, one planet, one race
Race, one love, one people, one and
Too many things that's causing one to
To forget about the main cause

Connecting, uniting
But the evil is seen and alive in us
So our weapons are colliding
And our peace is sinking like Poseidon

But, we know that the one, one
The evil one is threatened by the sum, sum
So he'll come and try and separate the sum
But he dumb, he didn't know we had a way to overcome

Rejuvenated by the beating of the drum
Come together by the cycle of the hum
Freedom when all become one, one forever

One tribe y'all, one tribe y'all
One tribe y'all, we are one people

Let's cast amnesia, forget about all that evil, evil
Forget about all that evil, evil that evil that they feed ya
Let's cast amnesia, forget about all that evil, evil
That evil, that they feed ya, feed ya, remember that we're one people

We are one people
One, one, one people
One, one, one people
One, one, one people

One love, one blood, one people
One heart, one beat, we equal
Connected like the Internet
United that's how we do

Let's break walls so we see through
Let love and peace lead you
We could overcome the complication
'Cause we need to

Help each other, make these changes
Brother, sister, rearrange this
The way I'm thinking
That we can change this bad condition

Wait, use you mind and not your greed
Let's connect and then proceed
This is something I believe
We are one, we're all just people

One tribe y'all, one tribe y'all
One tribe y'all, we are one people

Let's cast amnesia, forget about all that evil
Forget about all that evil, that evil that they feed ya
Let's cast amnesia, let's cast amnesia
Forget about all that evil, that evil that they feed ya

One tribe y'all, we, we, we, we're one tribe y'all
One, one, one people
One, one, one people
One, one, one people

One, one, one people
One, one, one people
One, one, one people
Let's, let's cast amnesia

Lord, help me out
Trying to figure out what it's all about
'Cause we're one in the same
Same joy, same pain

And I hope that You're there when I need Ya
'Cause maybe we need amnesia
And I don't wanna sound like a preacher
But we need to be one

One world, one love, one passion
One tribe, one understanding
'Cause you and me can become one

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Today, I met a new friend.

Isn't he sweet? He was such a snuggler. I'd walk away and he'd snuggle with me.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

2 stories of compassion

I was at the skating rink with my daughter today and as I was watching  her skate from the side, a little girl and her sister skated over to me. The big sister was helping the younger one skate. The older sister skates away and the younger girl pops her head up at me and asks me if I will help her skate. She must have been 4. I told her that she should probably have her momma help her and that is when she said that her mom is in jail. How could I say no? So I helped her for a little while and then saw her sister who looked a little concerned so I gave the child back to her.

The second story comes from someone that I knew in high school. He wrote that he was driving when he noticed an elderly man that was down on the sidewalk, he couldn't reach his cane, so he couldn't get up. He pulled over and helped the man up. The elderly man mentioned that he had been down 10 minutes before anyone came to help him.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Sensual running?

She liked to tell them that running huge miles in the mountains was "very romantic."

Gotcha. Grueling, grimy, muddy, bloody, lonely trail-running equals moonlight and champagne.

Ann insisted, running was romantic; and no, of course her friends didn't get it because they'd never broken through. For them, running was a miserable two miles motivated solely by size 6 jeans: get on the scale, get depressed, get your headphones on, and get it over with. But you can't muscle through a five-hour run that way; you have to relax into it, like easing your body into a hot bath, until it no longer resists the shock and begins to enjoy it.

Relax enough, and your body becomes so familiar with the cradle-rocking rhythm that you almost forget you're moving. And once you break through to that soft, half-levitating flow, that's when the moonlight and champagne show up: "You have to be in tune with your body, and know when you can push it and when to back off," Ann would explain. You have to listen closely to the sound of your own breathing; be aware of how much sweat is beading on your back; make sure to treat yourself to cool water and a salty snack and ask yourself, honestly and often, exactly how you feel. What could be more sensual than paying exquisite attention to your own body? Sensual counted as romantic, right?
How come this guy isn't my running partner? Darn!

-Taken from the book Born to Run by Christopher McDougall. Ann is Ann Trason.

I'll have what she's having.
How are your runs? The next time you go out, why not try thinking running as sensual? Feel every part of you body as you run, feel the sweat dripping down your back, feel the breeze as it blows through your hair.

Just becareful not to run into anything.

About Ann Trason:

Ultrawoman Ann Trason could be the greatest athlete you never heard of.

By Sarah Lavendar Smith

Reprinted by permission from The East Bay Monthly, January 1998

I was leaning into an uphill stretch of Grizzly Peak Boulevard, jogging along at an embarrassingly slow pace, when I first saw Ann Trason. I heard the footstrikes of a fast runner pelting toward me and glanced up from the pavement to watch a sinewy woman motor by, her eyes fixed dead-ahead.
I'd seen Trason's picture in a 1996 Runner's World article that called the Kensington resident the best female runner in America and "without a doubt, the greatest woman ultramarathoner in the World."
Since she was headed home down Grizzly Peak, she might well have been on the tail end of a 50-mile training run to Lake Chabot and back. But she looked as fresh and swift as someone running half-mile intervals around a track.
For me - for anyone - to recognize Ann Trason is unusual. Perhaps no other athlete has accomplished so much and remained so little-known. The 37-year-old holds world records at distances from 40 miles up to 100 miles. She runs - and wins - against men in. races far more grueling than Hawaii's famed Ironman triathlon. Yet mainstream sportswriters ignore her, probably because she competes in events that offer little or no prize money and get almost no media exposure.
The world applauded in 1994 when Michael Johnson scored a double Olympic victory in the 200 and 400 meters, but few noticed when Trason accomplished her own historic double, a feat beyond the reach of any sprinter in gold Nikes. In the space of just 12 days in June 1996, Trason set a course record at the 54-mile Comrades Marathon in South Africa (6 hours, 13 minutes), then flew home and won the women's division of the 100-mile Western States race in 18 hours, 57 minutes (in a field of 370 she finished third overall). She did all this while struggling with the pain of a torn hamstring muscle. Then she did it again in 1997.
Western States race director Norm Klein calls Trason "the finest athlete in the world today. Look at what she does - she's competing against men because the women are no competition to her, and she's holding her own. And she's doing it and not getting anything in return. She's doing it for the love of the sport and the satisfaction she derives from it."
Trason now has her own Nike deal, but she doesn't have the ego that normally goes with it. She can't recite her record-setting times; she's a little skeptical that anyone's even interested. "I can't believe this isn't boring you to death," she tells me.
Trason would rather hype her sport than herself. She encourages me to try distances of 50K and farther, telling me I could do it, most people could do it - it's just a matter of training and mindset. She says she runs 100 to 120 miles a week when building for a race, "but you can get by on 60 or 70, that's the great thing." She sounds as if she's discussing an aerobics class.
I met Trason with the hope of gaining some insight into how she runs as far as she does and why she's so devoted to it. Even her home's location is defined by her passion for running. She and husband Carl Andersen, a senior vice president at World Savings and Loan in Oakland and an accomplished ultradistance runner himself, told their real estate agent that their house had to be no more than a half-mile from a trailhead. They finally found a place near Silby Trail in Tilden Park.
Trason could easily be a world-class marathoner. She's qualified three times for the U.S. Olympic Trials. But she isn't content to stop at 26.2 miles. And besides, she prefers to run on mountain trails, not paved roads.
Trason might reasonably have taken the past year off to recover from surgery in November '96 to repair her ruptured hamstring muscle, and to cope with nagging ankle trouble. Instead she ran in last summer's Comrades Marathon and in the Western States. Why does she push herself so hard?
"It's the sense of achievement," she explains. When you finish a 10k, Trason says, you might look at your watch and. see an improvement of 20 seconds or so from your previous time. But when you're running rugged trails over 50 or 100 miles, anything can happen. Your times vary by hours, not seconds. "When you finish 100 miles," Trason says, "I don't care what your time is - you feel like you've really accomplished something."
The sport of "ultrarunning" is still relatively obscure and misunderstood. People tend to think of ultrarunners - if they think of them at all - as an individualistic, vaguely spiritual sect of athletes, plugging along, rain or shine, in pursuit of some mystical runner's nirvana. Perhaps they've even heard of the legendary Tarahumara Indians of Mexico, who run in homemade huaraches and are often the ones to beat in ultradistance races. (Trason has bested Tarahumara runners in the Western States race. The Tarahumaras reportedly were put off by sharing the trail with a woman and teased her as she passed.)
The number of runners who run farther than marathon distance is small but growing. Fred Pilon, editor and publisher of UltraRunning magazine, guesses there are some 8,000 dedicated ultrarunners in North America, based on his magazine's circulation and participation at races around the country. There were about 30 ultradistance races in the United States when his magazine started, in 1981, and that number has now climbed above 400.
The Western States is the Super Bowl of ultrarunning, a 100-mile trek that starts in Squaw Valley, traverses the Sierra and finishes in Auburn. Trason shows me photos from the race: in one she's running uphill through pine trees, a water bottle in each hand; in another she's fording the waist-high waters of the American River, clutching a rope to keep from being swept away in the current; in another she's standing on a scale at a medical checkpoint, making sure her 5-foot-4-inch, 102-pound frame hasn't lost too much weight. She's been the top woman finisher at the Western States nine years in a row. She's come within five minutes of winning the race outright, finished second overall twice, third three times.
It was her love of this Sierra course that first got her hooked on ultradistances. In 1986 a friend took her on a run of the first 30 miles of the Western States course. "It was beautiful," Trason says. "There are some places you go in life where you feel like you just belong. I felt like I was floating, floating in the clouds and the flowers. Coming home, I fell down a hill. I'd left my friend and didn't know where the course was, but I found my way. It was mystical - and I'm not a mystical person.
"There's something very romantic when you're running 100 miles in the Sierra. And you have to know a lot about yourself. You have to be in tune with your body and know when you can push it and when to back off. Your head's the coach and your body is the team, and your body has to listen to the coach about how much water to drink, how much food to eat, the pace. I find it less boring than going out and running a marathon."
Trason hasn't always been so fond of long runs. Her first ultradistance competition, a 50-miler in 1985 when she was 24, was a miserable experience. She'd been dabbling in triathlons when she saw a flyer for the race, which was in Sacramento. The fact that she'd never even run a marathon didn't deter her. "I just thought, I'll run a 50," she says. "It was 108 degrees, the hottest day they'd ever had the race, and I didn't even know to carry a water bottle."
So, I guess, she must have done a lot of walking.
"No," Trason tells me. "I refused to walk because I was trying to learn something about racing. So I finished."
But she must have barely straggled home.
No, she says. She won.
In fact, her husband informs me later, she set a course record.
Andersen runs about 100 miles a week and occasionally he races. He's experienced the agony of dropping out 85 miles into the Western States, and he says he's amazed by his wife's ability to deal with the pain and fatigue during the toughest stretches in a long-distance race. "She has the ability to not only not drop out but at that point to push herself," he says.
Trason started running at her Pacific Grove high school, where she was a track standout. There was no girls cross-country team so she ran on the boys team. She won a track scholarship to the University of New Mexico but stopped running seriously in college because of a knee injury. She transferred to UC Berkeley and graduated with honors in biochemistry. She had planned to enter a graduate program in physical therapy at Merritt College last fall but put those plans on hold so she can concentrate on training and physical therapy for her ankle.
One goal Trason has not set - at least not out loud - is winning the Western States outright. In fact, she gets a little defensive when asked whether or when she'll beat the men. She has won a handful of ultradistance races outright, and many who follow the Western States can't wait to see her finish first in that renowned race, as if her victory there would prove that gender differences do indeed disappear when the race is long enough.
Some observers theorize that the longer the distance, the more level the playing field for men and women. Men's muscle strength will always give them an advantage over women at short and medium distances, but certain aspects of women's anatomy - lighter bones, better fat metabolism, more estrogen - can help women in the long haul. Or so the theory goes. Trason thinks studies so far are inconclusive, and she doesn't buy into the notion that there's some magical distance at which gender differences cease to matter.
"This sport has a lot to offer women and I don't think they should have that burden," Trason says. "The thing that's probably hardest for me is when I've won and people say I was second or third. They don't do that in the marathon. Can you imagine [Boston Marathon women's winner] Uta Pippig finishing the Boston Marathon and being told she was 31st place or 37th or whatever? It wouldn't happen. But for whatever reason people say, 'You've done so well against the men, you deserve to win.' I just want to go out and run."
But Trason admits she has fond memories of the '95 Western States, when she caught up with defending champion Tim Twietmeyer near the end of the race and finished second overall, just five minutes behind. "I caught him with just 15 miles to go and his eyes were so big!" she laughs. "I'd never beaten him, because he would die before I beat him, but it's like, I caught him, and it scared him, and then he ran as hard as he could. And it was like, this is good, I like this."
Trason probably won't come so close next summer. She's respecting her limits these days, trying to take care of her troublesome left leg. "I don't think I'll ever be at the level I was before," she says. "I've pretty much known that for the past couple of years." She dropped out at mile 12 of a 100K race in Holland last September, an experience she calls "completely humiliating." But she'd recognized her pain and didn't want to risk injuring herself again.
Trason's problem stems from a less-than-full range of movement in her left ankle, which puts stress on her hamstring. She spent all of '96 running in pain while her doctors tried to pin down the source. Exploratory surgery finally revealed that 90 percent of her hamstring had torn away from the bone. That spooked Trason, who was awake with a local anesthetic during the operation and watched as doctors reattached her hamstring with surgical bolts. "When I saw that," she says, "the thing that upset me the most was, I can't believe I did this to my body. I said, this isn't sane."
She cautiously returned to form in early '97, training just enough for the Comrades Marathon and the Western States. "I wanted to prove I could come back after doing something as stupid as rupturing a hamstring," she says. "Running is about being smart and knowing your body, and if you're so stupid that you go and tear your muscle off the bone - I looked at that as a failure. I wanted to prove I could come back."
Now she's working with physical therapists to improve her ankle and carefully gearing up for the coming season, training enough to stay in shape but not driving herself to her peak. I ask how far she's cut back her runs - down to 10 miles or so? No, she says, she and Andersen went to the Sierra the other weekend for a 50-mile run, 10 miles of it through fresh snow. Back home, she's doing about 85 miles a week. She says she's willing to forgo the upcoming Comrades Marathon if necessary, but it's difficult to imagine not showing up to defend her title at her 10th Western States.
"Comrades is more for the head," she explains. "It's televised, it's one of the world's premier road races. And Nelson Mandela personally congratulates the winners. The Western States is more for the heart. You're competing more against the trail than the competitors. You have to know the trail and feel the trail and communicate with nature. That's my goal, to get to where I can get back on the trail."

Sarah Lavender Smith is a freelance writer who lives in Kensington. Copyright (c) 1998