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Its that time of year again, lets go for a run!

It’s getting close to that time of year again….where we start to consider our health and fitness; or it will be soon. Lots of people worry about over eating (me!) or just eating too many sweets (me again) over the upcoming holidays. If you are one of these people its time to make a plan. Set a goal. Then go for a run.

Each year I indulge in way too many holiday feasts and sweets and ice cream! So every holiday my goal is to run a ½ marathon to run off all the calories willfully consumed during the holidays. All the training and then the running for 2 hours, is a great way to get back in beach shape and burn off all those holiday calories.

How about you?

I know January is when there are the most new gym memberships each year. If you are one of those persons, or just exercise on an off, I wanted to offer some tips on doing some cardio (running) to keep those clothes fitting.

Set a goal to run one or more 5K, 10K or half marathon race after the holidays are over. Running is the best way to burn calories. Your added training to complete your goal(s) are a healthy way to enjoy the holiday festivities and not feel guilty.

You don’t have to win these events, just finish and have some fun. You would be amazed at the atmosphere of other happy fitness fanatics afterwards. It’s like a party.

I have been a runner all my life. While I haven’t had a great deal of training in it I have acquired some ‘best methods’ in being the best runner I can be. I wanted to offer these basic running tips to you in case you are feeling the need to get healthier too. Certainly once you feel comfortable you can add more competitive habits to your training.

Here’s a great place to learn more, http://www.runnersworld.com/ where you can learn about ALL things running.

BREATHING : It goes without saying, breathing is crucial to running. If you are getting (back) in shape I always say the heart muscle is the first muscle to strengthen. That includes making your lungs more efficient too. Simply, you need oxygen in your blood. In a sense the oxygen gives you more energy. Ever notice how you breathe lots heavier at the end of the run than the beginning? Your blood needs more oxygen. So give it more!

When you run focus on your form (pick those knees up) and your breathing! Focus on taking deeper breaths before your body asks for them. It gives you more energy over a long run.

When you get tired, and you want to give up, focus on taking deeper breaths and give it another 3 minutes to get the oxygen in your system. It works! I actually adopted a running form from my 6 year old. When I chased her she placed the tip of her tongue against her upper lip and took off. For me, it gets my tongue out-of-the-way to take in more air. I look like a goof! But I am was beating 90% of my competition now!

Award for winning my age group in my hand ~ the plaque, not Ms. South Carolina

STRETCHING: I hope everyone stretches. The older you get the more you need this! Stretching is important both before and after your run. Why after? Ever feel real tight after a good run? Stretch those muscles out again before they clamp up. Your legs will feel MUCH better that evening.

Stretch a good 10-15 minutes before and after each run. The more loose and warm your muscles are the easier it is to run. You know this. Remember those runs when your legs just feel too heavy and tight to run? How much time did you do stretching? You just do your best running if your muscles are as loose as they were when you were 12. You didn’t have any trouble then, did you?

NUTRITION: Eat healthy, become lighter. That makes sense doesn’t it? Eat protein, become stronger! I take a weight lifters mentality to recovery. When you exercise you break down muscle tissue. You build that muscle up by consuming protein, hopefully with in the first hour after you exercise.

When I run hard I want to be stronger the next time I run to be able to run faster or further. Protein shakes or bars and some lean protein for dinner. Are your muscles hurting after you run? Give them what they are begging for…protein.

Don’t over dress, who wants added weight?

RUNNING APPAREL: This is not about fashion. It is about running efficiency. Most runners can’t run well when they are hot, or over heated. So think about how much you wear before you start out. Don’t over dress. It is extra weight, confining, and makes you feel tired because your body spends too much energy trying to cool you down.

A rule of thumb is dress for about 10 degrees cooler than the outside temperature actually is. Why? Your body heat will rise when you hit your stride running, right? If you start out dressed warmly, your body temp rises that much higher.

My ideal outside temp is 50-60 degrees. When it is over 75 I can’t run my best as I just get too hot…and I can only strip down so far!

Don’t run to win. Run to finish and have fun!

JOIN SOME AREA RUNS: You have worked hard. You have sacrificed in time, food, and comfort. So reward yourself. You have earned it, right!Take time to have some fun for all the sacrifices.  Join an area run! Or better yet, grab a friend to come along.

Most running events are fundraisers to support noble and worthwhile charities. You’ll feel good about supporting these! The charitable organizations want to raise as much money as possible so they try to make the event as attractive as possible to get as many participants (funds) as they can. Most area runs have all types of runners and walkers….all types.

These events make it fun to run with some great post-race parties, including free beverages, fruits, and giveaways! If I haven’t lost you, here is a great example of what I mean from a favorite local race. The first 2 minutes are about the charity and who it benefits (kids hospitals). The rest shows the fun Christmas themed run downtown as participants (and dogs) dress in their favorite Christmas running outfits and the party that takes place afterwards. Take a look:

Have fun with your fitness! It doesn’t matter if you are the fastest or slowest. (You won’t be the slowest) Just go to run. Run at a pace that allows you to finish and enjoy it. Then meet other running comrades at the post-race party. You’ll see, everyone is happy and in a great mood. And so will you! You did it!

Then you’ll want to run another one.

Post-race party after a Christmas run

There are lots of other tips in running but these are some basics to consider. Whether young or old, new or experienced. Have fun! Stay Healthy! Eat some more Christmas Ham…you’ll run it off!

Its a Dog Day…..

First off…Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends!

I hope you had a great day with family and friends!

We had a memorable meal here, although it was a bit different as my parents couldn’t make it this year. Aunt Sue drove through the stormy rain to make it here though, to the delight of my girls! It was also a bit different as we were starting new traditions for our Thanksgiving, being the first one in our new house.

And so, let the Holidays begin!

It is officially the  Holidays in our home when someone from my family comes down to visit. Do you know how you can tell?

Domino’s Sugar starts sending us post cards and thank you notes!

Yes, my family can’t travel unless they bring the treats. And so, now stocked up this morning we had this piled in the corner…..


That is a collection of an Apple Pie, a Pumpkin Pie, a pan of Brownies, a tub of Macadamia Nut Cookies, and my wife’s ever so decadent Cranberry bars.… for three adults and two little girls. That pile would have been higher if my parents made the trip.

So I did fit in a run this morning, knowing what kind of day weekend  it would be.  I did a few laps around the block and then another as a fav Buffett song came on the Ipod, Pascagooula Run...With the warm and inviting thought of the Gulf Coast of Alabama on my mind I decided to run until the end of the song.

I smoked the bird and my wife did the usual amazing things with dinner. I really enjoyed it this year. I mean I really did! You can tell as I didn’t stop to take any pictures. Right?

We went around the table to say what we were thankful for, starting with Dylan. She said ‘Family’, which touched my heart. It went to Skylar next who said, ‘Pumpkin Pie’. Then Dylan said another and then Skylar. And back and forth it went.

It was nice to see the girls recognizing things they were grateful for, not just taking them for granted. The going back and forth with thanks finally ended when Skylar said she was thankful for God. Dylan couldn’t top that.

Dylan learned a lot about Pumpkins for two weeks prior to Thanksgiving in her Kindergarten. So she was really looking forward to her pumpkin pie. So much so that using the fork just would not do. Before long she just picked the pie up and ate it like a cookie.  ….crumbs all over the place!

Pumpkin Pie

I ended the meal looking for volunteers to help Daddy clean up all this mess. The room fell silent.

After all it was nap time. So you can’t blame our girls.

So I blamed Aunt Sue.

You see Dylan wanted Aunt Sue to sleep with her. Then Skylar wanted Aunt Sue to sleep with her. Then Dylan. Then Skylar. Then tears.

So after a lengthy debate it was decided Sue sleeps with Skylar while Mom went to sleep with Dylan.

Hello? Volunteers? All these plates? All these cooking pots and pans? Leftovers? Hello?

Stop and think what your kitchen looks like while you eat Thanksgiving dinner. Is it a pile of dirty dishes and empty counters kinda natural disaster like ours?  (sigh)

This was what was left after I hid all the dirty dishes and silverware in the dishwasher…the Leftovers!


Putting my thinking cap on, it was that time  I decided I was thankful for a few things.

First, after carting all the dirty plates to the kitchen, the dining room floor was a disaster! Remember when you had two small kids eating big meals?

So with little time to lose I became ever so thankful for technology and our Roomba Robot Rosie, who agreed to sweep and buff the dining room floor for Daddy.

Rosie RobotThanks Rosie!

Before I started rinsing all the dirty things and trying to find a place for them I noticed it was after 2:00pm. And so the Thanksgiving football games had started. THAT would be a good way to distract me while I labored over this disaster in the kitchen!


Thanks Fox Football!

So I got all the dirty things stowed. I only had the leftovers to put away yet. But where? What to do? Tupperware? Dirty containers? What to save and what to throw away? Mom usually does this chore for me! What to do! …the game was on!

How am I going to clean up all these leftovers I thought?

Enter my best buddy Chumley…..

DishesThanks Chumley!

I hope yours was memorable and found things to give thanks for too!

Now, did you hear there is only 3 weeks left until Christmas?

Thanks Online Shopping!

Are you ready?

I had the opportunity to travel to a company meeting yesterday on upcoming events in 2014. These types of things usually are bolstered by some sort of funny or motivational videos to break up the meeting.

Unfortunately for you, one of these really stood out to me yesterday. I loved it.

Part of it was because it was a real life running story, and have a bit of a racing history. But another part of it just illustrated what one can achieve when you want something bad enough.

My company used it to illustrate the point of ‘Being Prepared’. But I think you can label this great achievement under a half dozen personal or professional clichés. ‘Heart’ comes to mind.

So if you can use a good motivational lift today or if you prepare similar types of business meetings yourself you really should see this….

Goal attainment comes to mind after watching that. What do you think?

What would you have done?

I had another video I have been wanting to post, but I did not want my blog to come across as one that preaches these things all the time. There are many blogs out there that can do it better than mine.

It’s actually one of my favorite commercials right now. Its by Guinness. And if you watch it don’t assume you know what the moral of the story is. Watch and see what happens towards the end. That final motto is a phrase I have lived by.

No, not the motto, “Guinness, have more”. Its the “choices we make reveal the true nature of our character“.

And I think the message there just goes back to the first video, doesn’t it?

Are you ready to have the best weekend ever?

I may go for a run……and then drink a Guinness.

Memo: Summer vacation should never be dull!

So how is your summer so far? Have you been able to get out and enjoy some of the great activities outdoors? Our life in 3D has been fairly busy so far although “activities outdoors” turned out to be a bit of a curse. You’ll see what I mean later. When you live on the coast you get a lot of visitors in the summer. This year has been no exception. So I wanted to get you an update on where we have hiding the past month or so, sans WordPress.

Our girl’s summer vacation began with the end of school this year. Their Aunt Sue came down from PA for a week. Aunt Sue is one of the several friends that love to dote on our girls. If I was to guess I would bet she has half of their Christmas presents bought already and part of their birthday gifts. She doesn’t need a reason. If she see’s it, its on sale, and its cute, has something to do with Disney Princesses, cute clothes or shoes she will buy it for them. (Shhh… my wife and I hardly ever have to buy any clothes for our kids the way this works.)

Aunt Sue came down with a to-do list in hand. During the week the kids went to the park  or Chic-fil-a to play every day.

Hang on…. there’s more

Cinderella, you’re soo mav!

They played at home doing one of their favorite activities: Playing “dress-up”.

Knickitty knock-knock Tink!

They went to the nearby water park and then we all went to the beach on Saturday. We left in the morning to avoid the bridge traffic jams, bad leftover parking spots and prospecting for a spot on the beach.

Summer Saturdays in the surf and sand

The down side of going to the beach Saturday however is that it eclipses my gym day. So the first thing I did was try to sneak in a run back across that island bridge. Phew! Do you know how hot and humid it is running outside? That was sarcasm as I spend most of my running indoors on the dreadmill.

You can practically feel the humidity through this picture!

It was a great week and great weekend. Its always like a bit of a vacation for us when people come to visit as there is always plenty of attention to go around to the girls. They are at their best the whole time!

The next weekend the girl’s Aunt Charity came down with our girl’s favorite cousin Nikki. Nikki is two years older than Dylan and the two really hit it off. In fact that’s where she is at right now. Its great to see all three of them together! This time, however, we had to try to fit that ‘summer vacation week’ into a weekend.

Our ‘Heartbreaker’

So once again it was out to the beach. The kids love to play in the water (me included) and we had a great time. Then we hit a great beach restaurant on the way back before naps.

She Luvs the water!

Afterwards,  packed up the car again to go see a the Disney Movie “Brave”. To me, this was not the typical Disney movie. The young heroine actually rebels against her own mother. My wife points out this is nothing new for Disney if you think about the Little Mermaid. But it was a good movie.

I really enjoyed it and a must see for any mother / daughter duo out there. Plus it was set in Scotland with all those wonderful Scottish accents and scenery. (paralleling the movie Braveheart in a sense)

The next weekend was a break at our house. Our neighbors are a couple of loving grandparents. Accordingly they shipped 12 (yes, I said 12) of their closest grand kids in from all over to spend the summer here. They are all great kids. None are older than 10 and so they work out great with our two cherubs. Two or three of the oldest kids have really taken to our two. So I invited those three and my two to our downtown aquarium on Saturday.

We had the best time since I have taken our kids there. The popular favorite was the 12 foot albino alligator. We also saw a 10 foot Nile Croc curl up and scratch his ear like a dog. They are supposed to be sedentary aren’t they? Dylan petted a snake. Skylar grabbed said snake when it was here turn. I had a hard time pealing them away from the exhibit where you pet passing rays and horseshoe crabs.

“We got Fins to the left, fins to the right…”

They enjoyed seeing the jelly fish and sea turtles. Then they all caught their breath in front of the large tank. This time the 4 foot sharks kept making their passes right by our kids sitting on the floor. They swam up close enough to the glass where it was easy to spot their 3 rows of teeth. One time one swam up slow and close, appearing to almost stop right behind an oblivious Skylar, who had her back to the tank. The shark got everybody else’s attention!

The next week was the 4th of July week. Our old neighbors and best friends came back to town to visit and spend time with their family. We met up with them at the mid-week fireworks display. The kids had a great time playing with their oldest as us older kids just sat around and caught up.

The next morning it was back to the movies to watch a free airing for kids. We were lucky to see Dreamwork’s, “Puss In Boots”.  It was quite creative I thought as it wove a story line using practically every story book character around, from little Boo Peep, Jack and Jill (they weren’t so nice) Humpty Dumpty, Jack and the Bean stalk with the goose that laid the golden eggs and many more.

Salma, Antonio and Humpty-Dumpty disguised as the Golden Egg

It was a better than expected flick with Antonio Banderas and Salma Hayek in the lead roles. Hey, where Mathew McCoughney is to you girls Salma Hayek is to me.

Somewhere I picked up the most tenacious case of poison ivy that past week. I was wiping it with pure bleach. That didn’t even keep it down. It fell nicely into the weekend plans however.

Saturday and Sunday our friends stood us up found other people they needed to visit. We got it but it left our kids hurting as they were looking forward to doing fun times with them again. So how do you distract the broken hearted kids? Take them back to the beach! That was my idea. I remember from my youth how the healing powers of the sea ( they really are!) do great things to cases of poison ivy. That was my plan Saturday morning when I said “Let’s go”. I spent two solid hours playing in the salt water! The only effect the sea had on my poison this time was spread it around to my butt!

I was spreading getting the poison in all the worse places to get poison ivy. Think of the worst place to you? Yep, I got it there too. Sunday morning I got it on a place on my bum where I couldn’t see it. It just itched there! I had to stand up on a chair in front of the mirror in the bath to get a glimpse of how and where it spread. Now, imagine the feeling you might get as you innocently turn the corner in your bedroom early one morning and find your spouse standing up on a chair looking at their bum in the mirror? Its never dull around here!

Seizing the opportunity, I hopped off the chair and exclaimed, “Perfect timing!” (No doubt) I told my wife that I had a new batch of poison where I can’t see it and barely reach it. I asked her if she would do me the honors of dabbing the new batch of poison with a cotton ball filled with bleach. She fell to my logic and reluctantly agreed.

Now, going back to the idea of “never dull around here”. I bent over a bit, put my hands on my knees and prepared for the cold sting of the bleach ball. My wife started painting the affected area on my backside with the Clorax. All was quite until Dylan turns the corner and asks, “Whatcha doing mommy?”

“Well I, ahhh….you see., ahhh…because I, ahhh…. Dylan! Shouldn’t you be getting ready for church?

But the party doesn’t end there. You see, in our church they do a children’s sermon where they bring all the kids up in front of everyone and the Pastor tries to tell them a story or lesson. That Sunday’s theme was helping out other people. The Pastor asked if they helped out at home.

Help with the cleaning he asked? Help putting away their toys? He was leading up to when Jesus helped two people, ridding their illnesses, when entering a new town. And so he asked the kids if they ever need help at home when taking their medicine?

Dylan finally chimes in, “Well Pastor, I don’t so much, but this morning, my mommy…….”

Never a dull moment!

I hope the rest of your summer continues to get hotter and hotter…in the fun way, not literally. And that your summer may never rest on DULL.

PS: I went to the doctor that same Sunday afternoon and got a shot in my now infamous bum.You can’t have poison ivy when there are kids around, can you?

What fun things have you done this summer?

What has been one of your more embarrassing moments?

What Am I Doing Wrong?

This morning is my gym day. It was a good day! I am largely reduced to making it to the gym once a week now, with everything going on. So big gains are hard to expect. I hope to do some maintenance there and work on my running. I have been stuck in a rut though these past few months.

Back in October I broke a toe. So I couldn’t run for 2 months. Then came December and the holidays. Between the lack of running, being locked up in the house all week, and the fat we consume over the holidays I have put on 10 pounds! I never put on weight.

Today, however it was different. I hit the weights and felt strong.  I ran for the full 45 minutes without stopping. The calorie counter said I burned over 625 calories on the treadmill, although the weight scales still said I weighed the same. ~ at least it wasn’t MORE (again) this week!

So I came home and we did what we always do, go to our closest restaurant for a Saturday lunch. The manager at this Texas Roadhouse has basically adopted our girls. It started years ago when Dylan wouldn’t talk to her. The manager said, I’m going to make you talk to me yet!”  And so she ran back to her office took a picture of Dylan and then came back out producing a paper placemat with Dylan’s picture on it. They have been inseparable ever since.

When we come in every Saturday the manager gets to a point where she can stop what she is doing and corrals, now, both our kids. She’ll put one on her hip and holds the other by the hand and off she goes. The manager takes these two to do table visits, make corrections on the computer, into the kitchen and behind the bar, where another fan of the kids awaits. Dylan come out from the bar with a styrofoam cup full of cherries or oranges. They come out of the kitchen with bowls of marshmallows. And then she walks the kids to our car when we leave and buckles them in their seats. She is priceless!

Today was different though. Today Tammy came out with two large Christmas bags! She had been saving them but just too busy to ever bring them out over the busy holidays. Our youngest got a little cart to push with a tea set on it plus a  life-size doll. Literally. It is as tall as she is! Dylan, being in her Disney Princess phase,  got a Cinderella doll that dances in the bath and Belle, from Beauty and the Beast, sitting on a horse. It was awesome! And way too much!

Is it any wonder these two think the world belongs to them? When managers at restaurants spoil them too? You should see the treatment at Carrabbras, where all the staff know them too.

So we had a great time at lunch. While my legs were tightening up a little from the earlier run, I still had a great meal, the usual smothered chicken, loaded sweet potato, house salad plus the macaroni and cheese that our kids didn’t eat. (Along with some rolls with the yummy honey butter spread on them)

We came home, plopped the kids down for their naps and I took a nap, not before popping three pieces of chocolate, from the left over Christmas candy, in my mouth. I was pleased I ran better today but still frustrated that I hadn’t lost any weight. What am I doing wrong?

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