Thursday, December 8, 2011

Safety first.

Have you had "the talk" with your children? No, not *that* talk. I'm talking about the everyone-in-the-world-isn't-quite-as-good-as-we-are talk. Its a tricky subject to bring up because usually we are trying to do the exact opposite! We shield our children from bad language, mature subjects and all things scary. But folks, you gotta get over it and have this talk with your children. It could save their lives.

The abduction and murder of 7 year old Jorelys Rivera from Canton, Georgia is a horrific reminder of this. Jorelys was simply playing outside with her friends. She left them for a minute and told them she was going in to get some drinks, and was never seen again. I read an article today that a friend shared on Facebook and I thought it was important that I share.

The article is found here, but I wanted to highlight some important facts and suggestions from the article.
***These are taken verbatim.

Some statistics:

The typical (important to remember, not all) abductor is a 27.7 year old, unemployed, white male who moves around a lot and typically has a prior criminal history.

The typical victim is a 11.4-year-old, female (74% of those kidnapped are females), who is friendly, outgoing and is from a stable family relationship.

Most of these abductions are crimes of opportunity. 66% of these people are in the area for legitimate reasons, and most abductions happen by someone the kid knows, within a quarter mile of the home.


I have talked to my children about strangers, etc., but honestly I haven't really sat down with them and played out scenarios. What would you do if this? What you do if that? They know never to leave school or anywhere else with a stranger. I have talked to them about people touching them inappropriately. But, because I do not have the mind of a monster, I cannot know the crazy things that they come up with to lure children to them.

Another piece of the article is suggestions on how to approach this with your children and some things to talk about with them. Here are some of those ideas:

One idea is to play a “scenario” game: ask your child “What would you do if someone came up and asked you to help them find a puppy?” A good answer to tell them would be: ”Grown-ups don’t ask kids for help, they ask other grown-ups.” That way they always come find you, first.

You’re not allowed to hurt anyone, unless they hurt you. If they grab you, bite, fight, and scream “you’re not my mom, you’re not my dad.”

radKIDS (Resist Aggression Defensively) has some sound advice: 1) No one has a right to hurt me because I’m special. 2) I don’t have the right to hurt anyone else, unless they’re hurting me and 3) If they do, it’s OK to tell. So tell your kids if anything happens that “It’s OK, and it’s not your fault.” Kids don’t want to get in trouble, and often take the blame and keep quiet.

Adults don’t have secrets with kids, and you don’t have secrets from mom and dad. If someone has a ‘secret’ with you, you tell mom and dad.

Tell your kids that if they get lost somewhere – a mall, zoo, park, wherever – a clear, safe, solution is to run to a mommy with kids.

Code words are good (only people who know this ‘special’ word are allowed to pick you up), but people are even better. Only mom, dad, aunt, grandma, grandpa, etc. are allowed to pick you up and take you somewhere.

It is a tough subject to talk about because we really don't want to scare our children...but honestly? I vividly remember watching the movie 'Adam' on TV when I was probably about Jacobs age (8). It terrified me. I even remember laying in my bed and not being able to sleep! TO.THIS.DAY I remember it. It obviously had a lasting impact on me and I never, ever, ever would have so much as taken one step with a stranger.

It's an important conversation, guys. I suggest having it with every single one of your children no matter the age. It could save their life.

Rest in Peace Jorelys. Many prayers for your familys healing.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Why every distance runner should CrossFit and why every CrossFitter should distance run.

I'll start by asking, am I an expert on either of these topics? Absolutely NOT. All I know is what I experience...and I do realize my experiences aren't that of anyone else's. We all have a mind of our own and get through things the way we know how. That said:



Mostly because YOU ALREADY HAVE IT IN YOU. But I'll get back to that later.

Distance running is tough. It wears down your muscles. It requires a ton of training. It is a big commitment; a lifestyle almost.

The first few years I was "distance running" (training for half-marathons and full marathons), basically all I did was run. I definitely had the mental toughness for it but I only got better (read: faster) veeeery slowly. When I first started, I was about a 10 minute/mile pace. After a few years of training, I had only dropped that pace down to about 9:30/mile. Maybe on a really good day 9:15/mile...but that was me really pushing it.

At some point I decided to switch up my training and start some personal training at my gym. I started working with a really awesome trainer. I didn't do this for the sake of my running, I simply did it because I was getting bored and needed a change. Little did I know how much strength training would improve my running! Very quickly my pace started getting faster....and faster....and faster. I went from a 2:04 (9:28 pace) half marathon to a 1:49 half (8:19 pace). For all you math whizzes out there, that's more than a minute per mile drop! That is huge in a considerably short period of time. I also went from a 27:30 5K (8:51 pace - and that was bookin' it for me) to a 22:10 5K (7:08 pace!) That is HUGE!

Of course I am not sharing all this information to gloat...only pointing out that improvement was solely adding strength training to my regimen. Getting stronger so my legs could carry me faster and my endurance could improve.

My trainer did mostly CrossFit (*CF) style workouts. Since that time, I have left that gym and joined a CrossFit gym. CF is UNBELIEVABLE for your strength and endurance. CrossFit, according to Wikipedia, is:

a strength and conditioning brand that combines weightlifting, sprinting, gymnastics, powerlifting, kettlebell training, plyometrics, rowing, and medicine ball training.[1] CrossFit contends that a healthy, fit person requires proficiency in each of ten general physical skills: cardiovascular/respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed, agility, balance, coordination, and accuracy.[2] It defines fitness as increased work capacity across all these domains and says its program achieves this by provoking neurologic and hormonal adaptations across all metabolic pathways.

After taking more than a year break from running and very recently starting again, not only have I have not lost any speed, but running has come very easy. The speed, the strength and stamina to climb hills; this is all part of a CF workout on an everyday basis.

Now let's get back to the statement above; "YOU ALREADY HAVE IT IN YOU". Any distance runner knows that AT LEAST 50% of it is mental (probably even more than this). Your body is capable of so much more than you realize. In my opinion, what separates a good runner from a great runner is simply belief in oneself; an inner strength inside the soul. It is mental strength, determination, will, perseverance and simply just the belief of "DON'T GIVE UP!". There is a word for all of these traits that someone shared with me long ago and I recite it in my head every time I need an extra push (which is practically every day. CrossFit ain't easy y'all).

If you have this mental capacity (and you know deep down whether you do or you don't) it makes you a better runner. And an awesome CrossFitter, because you have the ability to push yourself beyond what others will do. CrossFit is such an AMAZING cross training, but not everyone has it in them. It is very competitive and very tough. But if you have this "push" within you for running, you are already ahead of the CrossFit 'game' even if you haven't started.

CrossFit will be so good for your running and will help coordinate your body in ways that you can't believe. You will be a SO MUCH BETTER runner for it.

Now, let's talk about the flip side:


I know every person who is really into CF is either a)seriously rolling their eyes right now OR b)thinking, "this chic has no clue what she is talking about!" People who CF think "CROSSFIT IS THE ONLY WAY!" "Every other workout is a total waste of time!".

While I do agree that CF is the best thing I have ever done (body wise), you really can't compare it at all to running. They are two totally different animals. I run to hear the gravel crunch under my shoes; to feel the wind on my face. I run for the birds, the trees, the smell of nature. I run to give myself a quiet minute to think about things that have been on my mind. Running is for the soul! Before I loved running I thought the idea of running for enjoyment was crazy! It was clearly only for people who were deranged enough to have convinced themselves that they actually enjoyed running. Sort of a coping mechanism for exercise, if you will. Now I know this isn't true at all. There is more joy to find in running than you could ever imagine. The peace and tranquility; never mind the incredible sense of accomplishment that comes from completing a long run.

CrossFitters are now thinking..."OK, but I can find peace and tranquility at the spa, so why 'damage' my body with a long run?"

That's easy.

First of all, it wont damage your body. If you hydrate, fuel and listen to your body, you are golden. Especially if you have built up the muscles to support your body during a run. This is hogwash.

But mostly because, YOU ALREADY HAVE IT IN YOU! You have no idea how many times I have been in the middle of a WOD (WOD = Workout Of the Day) and felt like I didn't have anything left. Then I would think to myself "OK, remember such-and-such race at mile 10 how terrible I felt....but I finished. If I finished then I can finish now!" Or I'll think..."I only have one round left. That's about 5 minutes. If I can run for 5 hours I can do ANYTHING for 5 minutes!" I pull mental strength from my running experiences AT LEAST once a day while I am working out. Running has benefited me so immensely at CF that I honestly can't imagine what it would be like without having experienced pushing through MAJOR body fatigue.

Although I am no CF superstar (yet :) ), I have found that having been a runner puts me a step ahead of the game.

So the point of all of this? Nothing really, just to share. Having been on both sides I can appreciate both of them and how they can help you become a really, really great athlete. Facing adversity during long runs will make you a MUCH better CrossFitter and CrossFit strength and endurance training will make you a WAYY better runner. Try and and see for yourself. I dare you. :)