Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Adventurous Smoothies with Green Blender

As the mom of 2 teenage boys, I struggle to get them to eat anything healthy. Fruits, maybe, but veggies? I hear this complaint from all the parents I see in my clinic, so I know I'm not alone here. When the boys were little, I used to make fruit smoothies for them, calling them "fruit shakes", and in an effort to improve our nutrition, I've recently started making them again. It's been fun getting creative with ingredients and there are so many resources on the internet!

Recently GreenBlender approached me to see if I wanted to test their subscription service, offering to send me a box. Coincidence? I didn't hesitate to say yes!

GreenBlender is a smoothie delivery service company based in NYC. They send all the ingredients, pre-portioned, so that you can make healthy smoothies at home. GB uses locally sourced, organic produce and the ingredients are 100% vegan. Each week you get all the ingredients to make 5 different smoothies (enough to make 10 portions). The website has a ton of recipes and ideas to make your smoothies just perfect!

My GreenBlender box came via FedEx. I was excited to open it and see what was inside! I received the "St Patrick's Day Smoothie" box, and I was pleased to see that everything was cold when I opened the box.

Adventurous Smoothies with Green Blender

The first smoothie I made was the Mint Chocolate Shamrock. I would never have thought to put fresh mint into a smoothie, but there it was. They also used green leaf lettuce from Gotham Greens, which is a company that grows all its produce in pestide-free, ecologically sustainable, 100% clean energy greenhouses. I've been buying this lettuce locally at Whole Foods and just love it. I was excited to see GG included in this box! It was easy to put all the ingredients in the blender because they were all premeasured. The only thing I did differently was to add kefir in place of the water that the recipe called for. We aren't vegan and my athletic son needs protein. The kefir made the smoothie more creamy and both Matthew and I gave this one a thumbs up.

Adventurous Smoothies with Green Blender
Adventurous Smoothies with Green Blender
The Mint Chocolate Shamrock
Adventurous Smoothies with Green Blender
Pre-gymnastics meet
Adventurous Smoothies with Green Blender
He came in 1st out of 15 boys--could it be the smoothie? We thought so!
The Luck of the Eye-rish smoothie was orange, using orange, carrots, and goji berries, and with the addition of the kefir, tasted like a dreamsicle. I think this was Matthew's favorite smoothie.

Adventurous Smoothies with Green Blender
Luck of the Eye-Rish pre blend
He also enjoyed the Lepre-clean, which contained cucumber, apple, honeydew, and ginger as well as the Emerald Green smoothie, which contained kale, pear, kiwi, and pineapple.

Adventurous Smoothies with Green Blender
Lepre-clean pre blend
Adventurous Smoothies with Green Blender
Adventurous Smoothies with Green Blender
Emerald Green pre blend
I didn't want to leave my oldest son out, and since he's allergic to dairy, I made the Irish Coffee smoothie as the recipe called for. This smoothie contained collard greens, pear, grapes, oats, green coffee, and coconut milk. We both thought it was pretty tasty, but I would have preferred it with the kefir. Tom would have liked more coffee flavor--we've never tasted green coffee, but you wouldn't have known there was coffee in this one.

Adventurous Smoothies with Green Blender
Irish Coffee pre blend
Adventurous Smoothies with Green Blender
Irish Coffee
I really liked the GreenBlender smoothies, as did my sons, and found it a great way to try smoothies with ingredients that I would never have tried before. Luckily all of us are pretty adventurous when it comes to food, and so we didn't feel the need to leave out any ingredients, except the nuts which both boys are allergic to. There were some interesting ingredients that I had never heard of like camu camu and chlorella, which was as green as you might think! I thought these smoothies were a great way to get veggies into our diets. Adding kefir or yogurt is my recommendation if you are not vegan. I liked that everything was already measured out so I could quickly whip these up in the morning before school and work. But I should also note that there is a little prep work before you blend everything together. Obviously the fruits and veggies wouldn't be their freshest if they came pre-peeled and chopped, so you do need to do that yourself.

After making all these yummy smoothies, I realized that I need a better blender if I want to continue to make creative smoothies! My old Osterizer really moaned and groaned while trying to blend everything. Tom's smoothie, the Irish Coffee which contained the oats, was a little "chewy" and not as smooth as we would have liked, and this is when I told my husband that I want a Ninja blender for Mother's Day.

Do you want to try your own GreenBlender Smoothies? Click on any of the GreenBlender links or use the code LONGWAYHOME to get 20% off your first order!

Do you make smoothies? And do you put veggies in your smoothies? Any fun recipes you want to share? What blender would you recommend I buy?

I was given a box of GreenBlender smoothie ingredients in exchange for my review. All opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links.

I'm linking this post with DebRuns for Wednesday Word. Today's word is adventurous!

I'm also linking up with Confessions of a Mother Runner and Miss Whisk for Meatless Mondays!

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Big Sur Marathon Training Week 8

I may as well just throw my marathon training plan out the window. Although my foot and hip are feeling better, they're still not 100%. Early in the week, I took the legs for a test run and it went pretty well. Still somewhat sore, I had the revelation that while I can run some, I need to modify my training significantly. In fact, I did throw that training plan out. Welcome to Creative Marathon Training 101 aka gimpy runner doesn't want to give up the dream. Feeling optimistic with the new normal, I embarked on the week with renewed vigor.

And then the plague struck...

Big Sur Marathon Training Week 8

Monday: Sore after my mega 45 mile bike ride the day before, I went to Megan's yoga class. She always starts off the class with a reading or a quote, and today was no different. Of course, I don't remember it. But trust me when I tell you it set a nice tone for the class. We worked on more twisting poses, and our peak pose was Fallen Angel. I've never done this pose, and initially, I was nervous about it until I realized that you get to put your head on the ground! 

Big Sur Marathon Training Week 8
Fallen Angel pose
Tuesday: I had 8 miles on the original training plan. It had been a week since I last ran and I decided to go for a slow 6 miles. I felt pretty good during the run. Certainly, I was aware of my injuries but I wasn't in pain. When I finished, I did my heel and calf stretches. As the morning went on, my foot began to bother me, but it was nothing like I had experienced the weeks before. At this point, I realized that a long run was not going to be a good idea. This is when I made the decision to completely modify my training plan. 

Big Sur Marathon Training Week 8
Ecstatic to have a mostly pain free run!
I am 4 weeks away from Big Sur and right now my goal is to get to the start line and finish. I've heard from quite a few people (thank you!) who've trained for marathons by cycling and pool running, and that's what I'm going to focus on. There will be some running, just to keep my legs in the game. But there will be no long runs. Marcia suggested I split the pool running with running on my long run days, which I thought was a good suggestion. 

I'm not at all anxious about this. Well, maybe a little bit. But Big Sur is a bucket list race for me and I am running it for the experience, not for time. I also don't want to be trashed after and not be able to enjoy my "not second honeymoon" with my husband. While this is not the way you want to train for a marathon, I'm at peace with my decision. 

Wednesday: the original marathon plan had hill repeats to do, so I put my bike back in the trainer and pulled up one of CTXC's interval videos. I rode hard and it felt great. Except for the 3 minutes of that EDM version of What Did The Fox Say? Not again! Afterwards, I did the SeaWheeze yoga video that I love so much.

Big Sur Marathon Training Week 8
Cobra Pose
Thursday: I had planned on a 6 mile run, followed by CrossFit. What I didn't plan on is getting the stomach flu. UGH! I had started to feel crummy at work the day before. About 2 am I woke up and the party started. I sipped on Tailwind most of the morning. Because having the stomach flu is kind of like an endurance event, isn't it? All those trips to the bathroom? The pain? The "I just want to die" feeling? And the feeling of victory when you realize it's all over? No medal tho.

Big Sur Marathon Training Week 8

Friday: A scheduled rest day, I was still feeling ill and had to call off work. I may have shed a few tears of frustration. I spent yet another day on the couch and ruminated about this marathon training cycle and all the missed running. In my Runfessions post I asked for good vibes and received a ton of them. Thank you to everyone! I used the time off my feet to write my blog posts for the week. I watched a wonderful movie, Brooklyn (more tears). I started eating again, focusing on bland but protein rich foods. I jumped into a short IG yoga challenge. Luckily, today's pose was sun salutation. The sun felt good but the pose was about all I could handle!

Big Sur Marathon Training Week 8
Sun salutation
Saturday: A good night's sleep and a mostly calm tummy had me feeling optimistic. The sun was shining, it was 50F, and I was beyond excited to put on my running shoes to run 6 miles. I promised myself I'd go slow, and as it turned out, I had no other choice since I struggled to reach 9min/mi pace. Only one pit stop needed, and I even got my pose of the day in for the #YogaisintheAir IG challenge. 6.08mi/9:03m/m

Eye of the tiger, baby!
Crow pose

Sunday: I had a 15 mile run scheduled for today. I hemmed and hawed over how to accomplish something that would be equivalent. My first "brick" workout (and I'm not even a triathlete!), I would have gone pool running first but the pool was closed for Easter. Instead, I decided to run 6 and bike 20.

The run again was slow--I'm still somewhat fatigued from my illness--but besides my foot pain, I felt strong. My legs felt fantastic and I lamented that my foot was holding me back. Yes, it hurt. But no worse when I finished. I consider that a win. 6.20m/9 min/mi

Big Sur Marathon Training Week 8

I came home, ate breakfast, and changed out of my sweaty clothes. It's funny, when you run you dress for warmer conditions because you heat up as you move. But for the bike, you need to dress for cooler temps because the wind resistance cools you down. Even though it was 52 when I went out, I covered my ears and slipped on my gloves. I rode to the bike path where I have done so much of my race training. The path was getting crowded with walkers and little kids on bikes. Note to self: it's that time of year. Must go earlier. Overall, it was a good ride, and I'm grateful to be able to train like this. 

There was one funny thing that happened on the way back. Part of the path crosses a busy road, and I pulled up next to another woman on a bike. I had passed her earlier on the path. She didn't acknowledge me and when we had an opportunity to cross the road, she pushed off in a hurry, pedalling furiously. What was that all about? Ohh hell no! My inner competitor woke up to the challenge, and I began to pedal strongly. She was moving pretty well but it wasn't long before I passed her up. Smokin'. I might not be able to run fast, but I've still got skillzzzzzzz....

Big Sur Marathon Training Week 8
Today's #yogaisintheair challenge pose was lotus. Which is a huge challenge for me with my tight hips. When I got into this pose, a cyclist stopped to ask me if I was ok. I laughed and told him I was taking a selfie. LOL! BTW, I love this mural, which is on a school that I pass to get to the bike path..
How was your week? Any funny training stories you want to share? Anyone else changing their marathon training plan? 

I'm linking up with Holly and Tricia for their Weekly Wrap! It's the best! And they are too!

Friday, March 25, 2016

Runfessions: March Edition

I'm spilling it. Opening up my soul. Got some big runfessions this month. Please don't judge. It's all good...

Runfessions: March Edition

Let's start with the biggest runfession ever. Well, besides that last post about my affairDeep breath. I runfess that I've been totally downplaying my injuries here on the blog. Trying to stay positive is my mojo. But with Big Sur breathing down my neck, I'm kind of running out of time here, and I'm feeling a little panicked. I don't need sympathy. I don't need advice. With my coach, my doctor, and my expert friends, I'm in good hands. What I do need is good vibes. Just get me to that start line, ok, maybe I'm being greedy here, but get me to the finish line of Big Sur. Let me walk away without a limp. And then let me enjoy my week with my husband.

Runfessions: March Editions

Along these lines, I've modified my training plan significantly. I went for a test run on Tuesday, and while the run was mostly pain-free, as the day went on, my foot started to hurt and the hip was "there". Not painful but "there". You know that sensation. What this tells me is that there will continue to be lots of cross training and not a whole lot of running. I'll have time on the road because that is important. But I came to the realization that morning that a long run is not going to happen in this training cycle. And there's the truth: I runfess that no long run doesn't make me sad. At all. If this race was about a finish time, I'd be more worried. But this isn't my first rodeo, and I think know I can do this. Even with minimal running. Thank you to everyone who chimed in about this. I won't be the first to complete a marathon without much running.

Runfessions: March Edition

Earlier this week I shared with you that I cried in front of my coach. I'm just glad she didn't make me do burpees. What I want to runfess today that I may have had a temper tantrum later that day. After I drowned my iPhone, I spun my wheels trying to get a new one. Since I wasn't due for an upgrade, I learned I would have to pay full price for a new one. I found that hard to swallow. The Apple Store wouldn't give me an exchange since my phone had water damage. After waiting 20 minutes in line behind a guy who was arguing over a $4 charge on his bill, the Sprint store I told me they only had 2 phones left, a 128GB 6S plus or a 64GB 6S. I may have uttered the f-word as I walked out of the store. Maybe I pounded my fists on my thighs as I f-worded my way back to my car. I might have hit my head on the steering wheel a few times. When I look back on it, I'm a little really embarrassed. Let's just chalk it all up to a really bad week filled with injuries, frustrations, and stupidity on my part. I've finally got a phone. I'm back on track. Life is good.

Maybe I need to change more than my training plan. All these bloggers are posting about healthy eating. Nicole's got all these yummy Paleo creations, Deborah's making vegetarian treats, and Julie posts gluten-free goodness. Meanwhile, I runfess that I'm over here eating pizza every Friday night, drinking wine with dinner, and eating chocolate all the time. No lie. But I've been trialing GreenBlender smoothies this week (next week I'll have a full review), and they've been delicious and healthy. I really need to turn it around. Some good incentive right there.

Finally, when I was in Florida with my parents, I runfess that I felt like a little kid. My mom and dad wouldn't let me drive myself to my race because they were worried about me driving by myself. To that hotbed of crime, Sarasota. Heck, I drive to Chicago all the time, and we all know what's going on there! At one point during my trip, I was sitting in the backseat of their car, listening to them bicker. The easy listening music was playing. I started texting my sister:

Some things never change...


Another month, another round of runfessions! You still love me don't you? What do you have to share? You can link up with Marcia or just head over there to read more runfessions! This is the most fun link up around!

I'm also linking up with the DC Trifecta aka Courtney, Mar, and Cynthia for the Friday Five!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

I'm having an affair...with running

I've got something to confess. I know, runfessions isn't until Friday. But it's been weighing heavily on my conscience.

I'm having an affair.

Happily married? Sure. But my heart doesn't belong to one. Before you start to judge, my affair isn't with another person.

I'm in love with running. This isn't anything new. But for the last couple of weeks, it seems to have taken on a new importance.

I'm having an affair with running

Sing it with me: (with apologies to Billy Paul) "Me-eee, I-IIII, me and the road, me and the road, me and the roooad....we've got a thing, going on. We both know that it's wrong. But it's much too strong...."

This past weekend, my husband and I were planning the rest of our trip to California. We picked out hotels and talked about sightseeing after the Big Sur Marathon. We went to the California coast for our honeymoon, 27 years ago. This time around, we want to see some of the things we missed.

27 years ago in San Francisco
"It's going to be our second honeymoon!" I exclaimed.

"It is NOT a second honeymoon," my husband said. "We're going because you're running."

Stunned, I didn't know how to respond. I mean, so what I'm running? We would not be taking this trip if it weren't for running. Right? And who encouraged me to put my name into the Big Sur marathon lottery in the first place? Hmm? Mr Man?

He didn't answer me that one.

My husband has always had a love/hate relationship with my running. He supports me, no doubt. He's always proud when I finish a race, and he loves to hear my finish times. The medals always make him smile. I hear him bragging about my running accomplishments to other people. But he's always been a little ambivalent about it. He makes snide comments about all the time I spend training. The blog. I've never been quite sure why.

So when Deb posted this week's word prompt: faithful, I started thinking about this a little bit.

When I look at my running like an affair, well, I guess I can see things a little more clearly.

I looked up some signs that indicate your spouse is cheating on you and applied them to running:

-Your spouse starts dressing better. Well, isn't that the truth? I've made no secret of my obsession with running clothes. Who wants to run in baggy old sweats?

Tell me these Athleta tights aren't on point...
-Your spouse frequently disappears out of the blue. Well, I do tell him where I'm going but sometimes I run farther than I planned.

My 3 hour bike ride? ooops....
-Dropping another person's name into the conversation. I do talk about running a lot.

-Excessive internet usage is a red flag. Guilty as charged. I sit in front of the TV with my laptop opened all the time. Posting my runs, blogging, connecting with other like minded folks...

-Your spouse starts forgetting everything you tell them and/or you have to repeat everything you've told them. Their thoughts are elsewhere. What?

-Your spouse starts encouraging you to have an interest all your own. I've been really supportive of his home brewing. Sampling the beers. Isn't that what a supportive spouse does?

-Your spouse comes home and heads straight to the shower. To wash away any signs of infidelity. But really, is this wrong to do after a run?

When I look at it, the signs are all there. It appears that I may not be the faithful spouse that I pride myself on.

But if cheating by running is wrong, well then...I don't want to be right.

Do you have a jealous spouse when it comes to running? How do you balance your marriage and your love for running?

I'm linking up with DebRuns for Wednesday Word. Today's word is faithful. I can't wait to see what everyone has to say about this one!

I'm also linking up with Wild Wednesday: AngelenaMarie, Annmarie, Nicole, and Michelle are hosting the party! Check out Annmarie's bluetooth headphones giveaway!

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Big Sur Marathon Training Week 7

This week started in Florida and ended back in chilly Chi-town. Not only that, but there wasn't a whole lot of running this week. Have you ever trained for a marathon without doing much running? Can you say anxious?

Big Sur Marathon Training Week 7
Anna Maria Island Sunset
Monday: Post half marathon rest day. I was incredibly sore--in my quads! I guess those downhills on the bridges took a toll on me. Who says Florida is flat? I did my yoga for runners workout and tried to stretch everything out. I also walked on the beach for about 2 hours. Secretly, I have an obsession with seashells, and I could spend all day, every day looking for the perfect shells. The gulf wasn't giving up anything, but no matter. It's always wonderful to be out on the beach. The waves crashing on the shore, the feel of the sand on my's like therapy, really. My foot was a little sore but no more than usual. I found this really encouraging after running 13.1 miles the day before.

Big Sur Marathon Training Week 7
Warrior one on the beach
Tuesday: I wanted to test out the legs before I headed home. Plus I just wanted to run one more time in Florida! It was really foggy! I went out for a 6 mile run around the island. From previous years spent there, I had a nice 6.5 mile loop and hoped to complete it. But around mile 3.5, I felt a strong tug in my right hip flexor. This wasn't the soreness that I experienced during the race, but a more sharp pull. People always give me a hard time about running through pain, but this was one of those pains I knew not to ignore. I stopped immediately to walk and rubbed the spot that was hurting. I started running again, and it hurt, but not so sharply this time. By mile 4 (my OCD likes even numbers), I decided to stop and walk back to my parents' place. There was no sense in risking injury. I was pretty sure that the pain was due to my bike crash from the previous week, but to be safe, I called the sports medicine specialist and set up an appointment for the next day once I got home.

Big Sur Marathon Training Week 7
Last run before I head home.
Wednesday: I had hill work on the plan, but since I wasn't running, I did intervals on the bike. I could not get YouTube to stream through my Apple TV, and so I just listened to my running playlist. Which turned out to be the best thing for me. I rode hard and fast. There was no pain with this ride.

Big Sur Marathon Training Week 7
Frog pose post bike ride
Later that afternoon, I saw my doctor. Of course, she shook her head when I told her what had happened last week on the bike. She was concerned about a femoral head stress fracture, although both of us discussed that it was pretty unlikely, considering that I ran a half marathon on Sunday. Still, she ordered xrays. No fracture was seen, although I do have some "degenerative" joint changes. You know, arthritis. Smh. My doctor told me to take a week off and try some gentle running after that. If it was still painful at that point, she would have me get an MRI. She did reassure me that provided I didn't have a fracture, she would get me to Big Sur. After the race, she told me I needed a real break and some rehab.

Thursday: I drove to the indoor park district pool to do some pool running. On the way home from work the night before, I had stopped to buy a pool running belt and a waterproof iPhone case. Armed with all my gear, I waded into the diving well. Alarms were sounding off in my head as I lowered into the pool with my iPhone. There was no one there but me and the lifeguard, and I started "jogging" around the perimeter. My tunes were playing and I started to think that maybe this pool running wasn't going to be so bad. After one lap around the pool, I heard zzzzzzttt in my headphone and yep, my music stopped. Dammit. When will I learn to listen to my gut? Why would I listen to the teenager at Best Buy? I took my wet phone out of the "waterproof" case, set it on the bleachers, and got back in the water to finish my workout. The teenage lifeguard didn't laugh at me, surprisingly. He walked around the pool while I jogged and we chatted. That helped the hour go by quickly.

Big Sur Marathon Training Week 7

After my pool workout, I went to see Becky for CrossFit. I talked to her about my week, my drowned phone, and my doctor visits. Then I started to cry. I hadn't cried at all since the bike crash, and when I finally do break down, it's in front of my tough as nails coach. She let me cry, and then we talked about what I was going to do. She talked about all the positives. How well I did in that hot half on Sunday. That I got back on my bike after the crash. That she seriously doubted I had a fracture since I ran that half without much pain. That I was going to get to Big Sur, no matter what. And that I wasn't going to cry anymore. For my modified workout, she had me do cleans into front squats, 3 sets of 10 alternating with squats/plate flips. Then I pulled the sled across the parking lot alternating with 3 sets of 10 slam balls. Finally, I rowed all out for 3 minutes. It was hard, it was therapeutic, I was pain free, and I felt strong and badass when I left.

Of course, I have no pictures from this day, since I had no phone. I know the rule, no pictures, the workout didn't happen, right? Trust me. If I could have a do-over for this day, I would. And yes, the workouts happened. Note to self: there is no such thing as a waterproof phone case. I spent the rest of the day getting a new phone and setting up all my apps. Second note to self: do not ignore those alarm bells. Trust the gut. Pity party? Over.

Friday: rest day. By the way, I got my attitude adjustment at work. Remember my patient Jolie? She and her mom stopped by the clinic to see me. Her hair is growing back, but she's decided she likes being bald and wants to shave it! She climbed on my lap and wouldn't stop hugging me. Life is indeed very good.

Saturday: What would have been 5 miles on the road ended up being 50 minutes of spin class on the trainer. I used one of the GCN's spin class videos, and it was a good one. The only thing I don't do is stand up in the pedals when the class does. I'm too afraid of aggravating my PF.

Big Sur Marathon Training Week 7
Post spin cycle!

Sunday I had a 12 mile run on the plan. I read somewhere that cycling and running time on the road are not equivalent, and that a cycling workout should be about 1 1/2 times longer than a running workout. I don't know if this is true, but it was incentive for me to plan on a 3 hour bike ride. There are a bunch of forest preserves around here, and I found a way to connect my usual 2 hour route to the preserve where I ran that half marathon last November. I layered up, as it was 40 degrees, and slipped on my neoprene toe covers that Kelli recommended. The sun was shining brightly, and that made it feel a little less cold. I had the path to myself. Getting to the other preserve was interesting. Even though the suburb I had to ride through boasts that it is "bike friendly"--yes, I rode on a well-marked paved path-- the people driving on the busy roads were not at all bike friendly. Part of the route took me over Interstate 90 on a bridge that was under construction. There was still a bike lane but OMG, it was a little hairy. I also had to ride past Woodfield Mall--who knew that would be on the bike route?--so I also had to contend with the shopping crowd. After that, I crossed under another highway and came to the entrance to Busse Woods. I felt myself relax as I was able to increase my speed on the smooth path without worrying about cars. This preserve is yet another pretty oasis in the middle of suburbia. I circled around the 8 mile loop and headed towards home. One more scary crossing--damn you road construction!--where I actually had to ride on one of the busy roads for about 1/8 mile. Then it was home free. 45 miles/3:16.

Big Sur Marathon Training Week 7
These pretty birch trees made me stop and strike a pose!
I know what you're thinking. Or maybe you're not, but I had this thought. Why didn't I go the extra 5 miles to make it a half century? I was going for time, not distance. This was the farthest I've ever ridden on my bike. It was also the coldest temperature I've ever ridden in. My quads were screaming at this point, and my hands were numb. I was more than ready to be done. And I was really happy with this ride. I hope it counts for marathon training. It sure was fun!

Have you ever trained for a marathon using cross training? How did it go? Any suggestions for making pool running more interesting? 

I am linking up with Tricia and Holly for their Weekly Wrap!

Friday, March 18, 2016

Book Review: Find A Way by Diana Nyad

While not a running book, Diana Nyad's memoir of her attempts to swim from Cuba to Key West is full of inspiration for any endurance athlete. You know how this one ends. But that's ok, because in Nyad's words, it's about the journey, not the destination. Sound familiar? We runners say that all the time! What an epic choice for this month's Taking the Long Way Home Book Club!

"This is a swimmer's Mount Everest, the great epic ocean endeavor of our blue planet."
I'm a runner, not a swimmer. Never have been, never will be. My idea of swimming is paddling around the pool on a raft or jumping from the boat to the waterski. But for Diana Nyad, swimming was her outlet. In Find A Way, Nyad shares her journey from the pools where she trained as a young girl as well as her traumatic childhood. Reading about the sexual abuse from her father and her coach was difficult. I wondered how she could overcome such horrible experiences and become so mentally tough.

Resilient. Driven. Focused. Determined. These are the words that came to my mind while I read this book.

Throughout the book, she describes her training in great detail. There were 16 hour swims. Night swims. Throughout her multiple attempts to meet her goals, some harrowing encounters with poisonous box jellyfish. In fact, the limiting factor to her achieving her goals were those box jellyfish. She invited an expert to join her team to help find a way to swim through those hazards.

I was impressed with the large number of people Diana had devoted to her dream. Besides the jellyfish expert, there were shark divers, medical experts, handlers, kayakers, navigators, so-called independent observers to verify the swim as authentic, meteorologists, support crew...the list goes on. The Xtreme Dream Team, as she called them, were pretty much intact for all 4 attempts.

What I loved about this book was the dedication and drive Diana demonstrated throughout her quest. Even after the failed attempts, she never lost sight of the ultimate goal, the Key West beach. Even when people suggested she try swimming a different route, to a different destination, she knew that she wouldn't be satisfied with that.
"The human will is far and away stronger than fear and common sense combined."
"Our greatest weakness is giving up. The most certain way to success is to try one more time."
Of course, I also loved that she refused to be limited by her age.  Diana was 62 when she reached her goal. Her training was intense. I was exhausted just reading about some of the swims. The fact that she was able to do this training 3 years in a row and attempt this swim multiple times tells the reader a lot about her spirit but also that an athlete should never be discounted because of age. Certainly, endurance sports are ideal for the aging athlete. Don't tell Diana Nyad she's too old to chase her dream!
"At sixty, in every way, including as an athlete, I am at the prime of my life."
"Don't put your assumptions of what one is supposed to feel at my age on me. I defy those suppositions of limitations. If you feel aches and pains, say so. But I don't, and I refuse to follow you or anybody else's conrolling and denigrating parameters of mediocrity."
Amen, sister!

If I have any complaint about this book at all, it was at bit tedious at times to read about Nyad's training. She describes her training swims in great detail, and sometimes I had to put the book down to absorb everything she was sharing. In her epilogue, she shares that 80% of the story is not in the book. I can't imagine the book being any more detailed than it already was. I think her editor did a nice job paring the book down to make it very readable.

For me, this book was very inspirational. Throughout the book, I kept reflecting on her drive and determination to reach the other shore. There were so many great quotes I pulled from the narrative.
"Whatever your Other Shore is, whatever you must do, whatever inspires you, you will find a way to get there."
At the end, as she's pondering her accomplishment, she comments on how the actual beach landing and achievement was kind of fuzzy to her. As she says, "in the end, it was the journey that inspired."
"So for that journey-versus-destination debate, to my mind it's all about the journey. Yes, I remember the end and the feeling of the walk up the beach still sparks euphoria. But the journey lives somewhere deeper than memory."
Isn't that the truth? Even though I've never accomplished anything nearly as grand as swimming across the Florida Straits, my dream was to run a marathon. I say it readily to people, there is no greater feeling than crossing that finish line after all that grueling training. But we learn so much about ourselves in the process of preparing for an endurance event. Finishing an endurance event is somewhat bittersweet. Sometimes it's hard for us to not sign up for another event.
"I share that same thirst to live that drama again. I do." 
What inspired you most from her story? Do you have any life dreams you want to accomplish?

Here's the link up badge! You can find the link up at the end of the post. The link up stays live for 2 weeks--it will close April 1, but the comments stay live forever! Don't forget to link back to this post, and please read and comment on the other reviews. If you want to review a different fitness-related book, please feel free to link up with us as well! Remember, sharing is caring! I'm so grateful to all of you who participate in the book club!

Next month we are reading How Bad Do You Want it: Mastering the Psychology of Mind Over Muscle by Matt Fitzgerald. I've heard great things about this one, and with everyone training for halfs and fulls and triathlons and oh my! the timing is right! Link up will go live Friday, April 15! And remember, you can read any fitness related book and link up your review.

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