Thursday, July 4, 2013

Team S.J.G.R. Thursday Huddle #1

Do it for the story, man! And for the HEART!

Happy Firecracker Day, Team!

Man. So everyone knows that the 4th of July is a day of major temptation when it comes to the food balance thing. But summer months in general can be tricky because of the whole social-barbeque-imbibing vibe of it all. And seriously--who doesn't like cookout food?

Answer: Everyone likes cook out food when it's good.

And so, since we know that this time of year can knock us off of our mindful balance, we put our game faces on. Even during backyard barbeque season, heart disease does not go away. Since for all of us we know that S.J.G.R. we won't pretend like it does go away.

No, ma'am. No, sir.

But never fear, people! I'm not trying to be a wet blanket. I'm just suggesting that this be a day that we put our mindfulness in overdrive. Enjoy the cookouts but keep your S.J.G.R. awareness turned all the way UP!

In Atlanta, Independence Day is synonymous not only with food glorious food--it's especially the day we all associate with The Peachtree Road Race. The Peachtree Road Race has the distinction of being the world's largest 10K. It's super hard to get a number, but something about the Peachtree Road Race makes people want to get moving whether they're running it or not.

Guess what, you guys? This morning I was one of the lucky people with a number for 2013 Peachtree Road Race. Not because I had my act together enough to have made it in by the deadline but instead because my brother Will was kind enough to give me his! (Thanks, bro!)  

I was so, so happy. Happy because I'd get to tell you guys about it, happy because I'd get to do something nice for my heart,  and also super-happy because this would be my first official race of any kind--EVER.

Races make you a bona fide runner, y'all!

But then came the rain. Oh, the rain! Yesterday it started coming down and WOULD. NOT. STOP. In the forty-something years in the history of the Peachtree Road Race, never had there been this kind of rain forecasted for the start of the race. I kept checking the news and looking out of my window hoping and praying that "100% chance of thundershowers" meant something different than thundershowers.

I woke up this morning and--you guessed it--there were thundershowers. Booooo!!! Hisssss!!!!! I stood at the window staring at it coming down feeling myself feeling sad. I mean, first a stress fracture derails my half marathon training back in the winter and now rain sabotages my first race ever? 

Damn, universe.

I logged onto the race website and saw that, rain or shine, the show would go on. I looked on Twitter and saw all of the folks saying they were in no matter what. That kind of amped me up!

I sent a text to my race partner/sisterfriend Frieda early this morning. Frieda trained in Internal Medicine at Emory and was one of our Grady Chief Residents when I was in my second year on faculty. She stayed on for a few years as faculty and then moved on to be in a thriving private practice group in town. That move didn't stop the show for us, either. We've remained good friends ever since and had planned to run today's race together.

But that was before the rain. Grrrr.

One of the things I love about Frieda (who I affectionately call Free-Free) is that she's always down for an adventure. So my text to her said this:

"Hey Free-Free! It's raining cats and dogs! Here's the million dollar question--do we do it for the story? I say we DO IT FOR THE STORY, man!"

And guess what? Frieda aka Free-Free the free spirit was 100% game.

Frieda and I coincidentally had the same shoes--we took at as a sign to go for it!

And so. We met up at Frieda's house, walked the mile and a half to the start line, and away we went!

6.2 miles of heart-loving excitement. We laughed, sang and danced for almost the whole time. At one point we were singing John Cougar Mellencamp's "Jack and Diane" at the TOPS of our lungs. (Yes, cougars singing Cougar.)

We averaged an 11.5 minute mile the whole way--I was super proud of that for my first race ever. Woo hoo! We didn't give up--even on the notorious "heartbreak hill."

Even better? The rain let up--literally--from the start of the race until about 45 minutes after we crossed the finish. The monsoon restarted after we were cozy inside and rubbing our sore muscles and tootsies.

All of it was awesome. I did my best to focus on my heart the entire time. I also thought a lot about my sissy and all of you guys, too. I looked at her picture before I started and felt super charged up. This picture was taken exactly one year ago today on July 4, 2012.

I was also so, so happy to run into my sorority sister, Tamika W. at the finish line. Tamika and I both pledged at Tuskegee University and we are currently in the same alumnae chapter. AND she personally knew my sissy. I totally would have texted Deanna this photo which she would have promptly put on Facebook. Ha ha.

Gamma Tau Girls finished strong!

 Also one of Deanna's closest friends (also our sorority sister) did the race, too. Her name is Crystal H. and last week she texted me and told me that she was Team S.J.G.R. all the way! Here she is after the race. Look how strong she looks!

I sort of cried when I saw this picture of Crystal. And I'm sort of crying now just looking at it again. Deanna loved Crystal so so much. And she's been doing so many amazing things for her heart this year. This year Crystal ran THIRTEEN half marathons in 79 days. YES, y'all! S.J.G.R.!!! 

Sure, her body looks great but think about how happy this makes her coronary arteries! I'm so inspired by her--she's older than me and has an adult daughter, too.  Take that, heart disease! In yo' face!

But I deserve to eat WHATEVER I want, don't I?

After the race, I wanted FOOD! It's so tempting to want to eat everything in sight after a hard workout. You trick yourself into thinking that because you DESERVE IT that the realness has somehow gone on hiatus.

 It doesn't.

But thinking about my commitment to Team S.J.G.R. got my mind in the right place. I did indulge in some good food but I went through the process of balancing the treats with restraint. Harry and I had lunch at Houston's and we both turned down the spinach and artichoke dip which, if you have had that dip, is a very difficult thing to turn down. I knew that I wanted a glass of wine and that my favorite super-sized salad that I was ordering is covered with a peanut-based dressing that's fattening. I chose the wine and the salad. 

Another option could have been to have no wine, to eat half of the salad to allow some space for a dessert. But I wanted the whole salad and the wine. So that meant no to dessert. As for the dip? Hmmm. I guess I'll just say that I'm not sure for the amount of damage it would do that it made my worth-it list.

The BHE and I were talking about how we have to reprogram ourselves to stop eating at "satisfied." Neither of us were full after our meal so dessert was tempting. Since Harry is on the team, he was the one who helped nudge us away from the brownie/ice cream yumminess while I was the one who shut down the dip. The no's were gentle ones. Not guilty-smug-healthy-person ones. Gentle no-thank-yous.

THIS is what it's all about.

It's a rainy mess here so no cook outs or fireworks for us tonight. But I can say I remembered the fact that, even on 4th of July, SHIT IS STILL REAL.

How you guys doing so far? Check in TEAM S.J.G.R.!!  What did y'all do? How did it go? Successful? Epic Fail? Remember--failures are okay -- just dust yourself off and regroup. It's a work in progress.

Happy Birthday, America!

Now playing on my mental iPod. . . . Bab's Funny Girl classic was my anthem this morning.

And just picture two forty-something year-old moms running and singing this VERY loud and without a single drop of liquid courage! We were TURNED UP!


  1. Congrats on your first race ever, that is a pretty big race to start out your racing career. I also ran my first PTRR today, I was just ahead of you in Wave M, however, I am slower than you at a 13 min mile. Loved almost every minute of it, until my blister block came off in mile 5 and I limped to the finish. Like you I was tempted to reward myself with food, but I didn't. Had normal lunch and went to a delicious dinner at Cafe Lily with my mom, had a vodka cocktail with a healthy entree, no wine, no dessert. Felt strong about making those decisions. Will get up in the morning and walk/limp around the neighborhood (have a massage at 10!!!) Now, we gotta buckle down and start training for our Fall 10 milers, Dr. SJGR!!!

    1. Congrats to you, too, Jill! Girl, I was on mile five thinking, "In October this will only be the halfway mark--oh LAWD!!" Ha ha ha. Thumbs up on the mindfulness at Cafe Lily. Love that place and yes, you were strong for those choices.

      Yep, we have to get training for our ten-milers. EEK!! 0_0

  2. 0.0 here. I do not run, but I will be walking the 2014 3Day to celebrate 10 years of survivorship though. So a whole lot of training walks until then.

    The rain pretty much closed down my 4th except the meal and talent show at my church. Three years ago everything I ate was something I brought. That has really changed. I could eat the pulled pork because it wasn't doused in sticky sauce. Someone brought a really yummy corn and black bean pico de gallo that I ate without the chips. I had plenty on my plate without destroying my diet. And I noticed during one of the between act presentations that several of my friends have lost a significant amount of weight. I am happy to have started the movement. They still kind of over do the deserts,but they are easy enough for me to ignore. I enjoyed that glass of wine while I sat on my porch in the rain watching my neighbors make up for the cancelled Woodstock fireworks.

  3. Kimberly so proud of you for doing the Peachtree! I used to live in Atlanta and that is not an easy race especially with the Atlanta heat in July (may not have been as hot because of the rain which I hope was the case for you guys!). I had a quiet, low key 4th. No family in town so I spent a lazy day at home. I am proud of myself. Typically on these days, I find it harder to do my workout, eat well etc because I am not busy. I had my normal healthy breakfast and light dinner. I did indulge on making fresh popcorn (yes I put real butter on it) but I had a one of those Healthy Choice little pastas you add a little water too for dinner and that was it. This was a big day for me because I cannot tell you how many days like this I have had where I end up eating junk ALL DAY. Did not happen today.

    I woke up too late yesterday to get my walk in before it was crazy hot so I knew I was going to have to do it around 6pm last night. I was sitting on the couch, quite comfortable in my air conditioned house) watching TV and watching the clock. At 6pm, I ALMOST decided, naah I will just go out tommorrow. I thought about our TEAM and decided, NOPE gotta get out there. I have a route around my neighbor hood that has a lot of hills that takes me about 40 minutes to do. I used to be a runner but in the last few years I had bad knee and back issues that kept me from running. the last 2 days I have walked, I have put in a couple of running intervals for about a minute or 2 which is all I can do right now. Did the same last night. I am usually very heat intolerant, and the heat index was in the 90's during my workout last night. I got through it, even did my brief running, and was drenched by the time I was done but I was able to do my normal route without cheating.

    all in all a very successful 4th! Go TEAM!!!
    My workplace is doing an 8 week health challenge where you can sign up and document your workouts. Signed up for that today!!! If I do well, helps me get a discount on my health insurance!

    Happy 4th everyone!

    1. That sounds so amazing, Amanda. I love the idea of getting a discount on your health insurance! Wow! Keep it going, ladybug!

  4. I'm actually pleased with myself. I knew I would be going to the fair with my best friend, which meant splitting a strawberry cheesecake funnel cake with him (and completely ignoring my gluten intolerance). There is no doubt for me that that funnel cake is WORTH the 750 calories I consumed. I had a light brunch, ate the funnel cake as my dinner, and paired it with water. So worth it!

    1. Funnel cake is so off the chain yummy, right? LOL. It's all about awareness which you had. Tell yourself all week that you threw down on some funnel cake and you'll be just fine. Mindfulness is what's up! Go Team SJGR!

  5. Hello, team,
    I spent my 4th with friends from my previous job (my research lab family- as I call them). This was the first big cookout party I attended since I declared myself part of the SJGR team on June 24th. Here’s what I did to feel proud at the end of the day that I did something good for my heart :)
    First, I was very conscious of everything I was eating. In the past, I would just socialize around the appetizers table and eat without thinking what or how much I was eating. This time…although I had a longer list of items to add to my food diary, I knew exactly how much of the food I was eating. So… instead of writing” had chips and dip”- I wrote “3 chips with 1 tbs dip”. I also did not try everything that was there to try (I was always asking this worth it?...and most of the times the answer was no). I gracefully took just one sip of the mixed drink that I was offered, and I decided the drink was not worth more, but I also did not refuse the hosts…so happy heart and happy hosts :) I did not go for the burger- but for a chicken/turkey hotdog without the bun, and I loaded my plate with the roasted Brussels sprouts that I made and fresh veggies. I avoided all the potato and macaroni salads, but I did try the homemade mac’n’cheese (1 tablespoon). I tried a forkful of the delicious chocolate raspberry cake that my girlfriend ordered with her coffee later in the afternoon, and I had half of my glass of wine instead of a full glass later in the day. I did go for my jogging session later in the evening…and it stormed so bad…that my phone was dead this morning  (Lesson learned- wear your phone in a waterproof case when running outside in Florida ;) Being so mindful about what I ate at the party paid off on my scale this morning- minus 1 lb :)

    Dr. Manning, congratulations on your first race! I am envisioning my first 10k for the beginning of the next year :)
    Thank you, JoLai, for the FB page!
    Go SJGR team! Have a great week!

    1. Way to go, Livia! It sounds like you have the willpower to do the "bites, licks and tastes" things. Kind of like the French eat. Little samples of decadent things. I go overboard so am not as good as you. Ha ha ha. It's all about mindfulness. Sorry about your poor phone!

  6. Congrats on your first race! I love the effect that the Bridge Run in Charleston has on the community to get out- even if they are just walking it (it sounds like Peach Tree is similar). That race is definitely on my race "bucket list!"


"Tell me something good. . . tell me that you like it, yeah." ~ Chaka Khan

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