Move Nourish Believe Challenge (Week One Wrap-Up)


The first week of the Move Nourish Believe Challenge is over. I have really enjoyed the structure of the various challenges, and the new people I have been able to interact with.

Monday’s challenge was “sweat it out — show us your favorite way to sweat”!

Monday was a “stretching” day for me but I shared an older “sweaty” picture of a running day; running is always my favorite way to sweat.

Challenge Day One

Tuesday’s challenge was “Change it up! – Sweat a new way”!

Tuesday was a “regular run” day for me but I shared a picture from my “Kangoo” workout last year. It was definitely a new way to work out and a fun challenge!

Challenge Day Two

Wednesday’s challenge was “Let’s get planking — plank at least five minutes today”!

I did this in five one-minute segments: an elbow plank, a regular plank, a left side plank, a right side plank, and an elbow plank.

Challenge Day Three

Thursday’s challenge was “Buddy Up – work out with a friend today”!

Since I had no buddies for my 6 am run, I shared a picture from last summer, when I got together with my friends Diane and Amelia for a Saturday morning workout (I ran with Diane then kept running while she did an open water swim with Amelia) on Clearwater Beach.

Challenge Day Four

Friday’s challenge was “Show us your five fitness faves”!

Five Fitness Faves

My faves are (clockwise from top left):

1) My coach, Jeff Kline;

2) Yoga;

3) The child I run for through I Run for Michael, Gareth;

4) The camaraderie of runners (this picture is from our day running “Megs Miles” from Badass Fitness);

5) “The sheer joy of running.”

(And although I was only supposed to demonstrate five things, it’s important to note that Charity Miles is almost always part of my running!)

There you have it! There are two more weeks left in the challenge, so please feel free to join us! For more details, visit this link.

Thank you to Lorna Jane for sponsoring this challenge. Check out their cool fitness apparel via this link.

And although today wasn’t an official challenge day, I’ll close with the highlight of the day. My son (who has been sucked into a few years of gaming after many years of being an active youngster) joined me for the “Run for the Cookies” (he ran the mile, I ran the 5K). It was a happy happy moment.

Cookie Run Mother Sun

Happy Sixth Birthday, Journeys In Yoga

Journeys in Yoga turned six yesterday. In typical generous fashion, Suzanne offered a day of free yoga topped off by a champagne toast and birthday cake. I wasn’t able to attend, but would like to offer this post as my birthday “thank you” to Journeys.


Six Gifts Journeys Has Given Me

Flexibility Of course it is not unexpected that a yoga practice will increase flexibility! Journeys has helped me improve my physical flexibility, and time and again has helped my tight hamstrings and other running-related muscles and tendons become more pliable. But it is a flexibility that goes beyond the physical; it is a flexibility that encourages me to stretch my mind and heart in new ways.

Strength The first class I went to at Journeys was a core yoga class. I have written before about how I think core strength is indispensable to runners. At Journeys I became stronger, in my abs and in my confidence.

Peace of Mind I started going to Journeys at a time when I was injured and could not run. My husband had just lost his job and our family faced an uncertain road financially. The injury did not go away magically; the family situation did not repair itself spontaneously. But Journeys gave me a place to take a respite from all of that, one savasana at a time.

Friendship I have made friends at Journeys who broaden my life and support me. By sharing yoga time with people I know from other areas of my life, friendships have been deepened and extended. I needed this.

Focus Staring at a driste trying to balance does help us (usually) keep from tumbling over during a yoga session, but learning to look ahead at a steady point is a lesson I needed to learn (still need to learn) for reaching my goals in life. Journeys gave me a place to internalize this.

Abundance Abundance is Journeys’s theme of the month for March. It is fitting. Journeys has helped remind me of the abundance surrounding me, the tangible and non-tangible. In involving me in helping to publicize various donation yoga campaigns (such as One Million Bones and the Human Trafficking Prevention efforts), Journeys helped me feel that I had something to give, no matter my yoga abilities.

Lastly, Journeys is my “yoga home” — although I am early on in my yoga journey, I have had the opportunity to do yoga in several other states, to do yoga outdoors, to do yoga in front of a computer screen. No matter where I am, I am reminded that yoga shouldn’t hurt, that I should feel comfortable speaking up about what I need, that I should know deep inside that yoga is for everyone. These are all principles that Journeys has taught me.

I do not know if “gratitude” will end up being one of Journeys’s 2013 “Transformation Themes,” but whether it is on a list as a monthly theme or not, it is something I feel for this place every day of every year.

compressed namaste


Now “Board”ing (A Mama Kat Writing Prompt)

Usually, I let “choose” a Mama Kat prompt for me. This week, I am choosing the Pinterest-themed prompt because a) it’s easy and b) it’s the one I want to do! Here’s the prompt: Are you on Pinterest? Share the last five items you pinned, choose one and let it inspire a blog post.

These are the last five items I had pinned as of the time the prompt was published:

These penguin appetizers:

These delicious-looking cupcakes:

These red whoopie pies:

These yoga gingerbread cookies:

(don’t try to click to enlarge though!)
And this dollar tree:

And here I must diverge from Kat’s original instructions….instead of choosing one of those pins and using it to inspire me to do a blog post, I just must focus on what my boards say about me. You get default boards when you start Pinterest, and then you can create your own (boards are “themes” where you can put pins that relate to each other).

My “Products I Love” board has three random pins. My “Favorite Spaces and Places” board has one pin. My “Books Worth Reading” board has one pin. My “My Style Pinboard” has two random pins. My “For the Home” board has zero pins. My “Stuff to Make When I Have Time – i.e. 2025” has nine pins (one of which I have actually MADE!!). My “Miscellaneous” board has two random pins. My “Images From My Life!” board has eight pins. My “Recipes” board has 17 pins, none of which I have made but gosh the cake batter adult drink is practically calling my name. My “Food Art” board has three pins (two of which I made a long time ago). My “Smarties Creations” Board has three pins (two of which I made).

My boards are disorganized and hard to follow. I think the main conclusion I draw is that a) despite the fact that it is a huge breath of fresh air to walk into a clean, well-decorated home, that’s just not where my attention goes; b) if it’s something I may be able to make and blog about someday, it gets pinned; c) I like to make stuff …. or dream about making stuff.

Maybe I’ll make myself a cake batter adult drink and try to “pin something down” that brings logic to my boards.

In the meantime, I can’t close this post without sharing Kat’s brilliant Pinterest guide:

A link to the Mama Kat’s Losin’ It Pinterest Guide can be found here.



2012 – The Carryover Resolution

I carry around a slip of paper on which I have written my three top goals. I do this based on a suggestion from Scott Ginsberg, the Nametag Guy. I am convinced that, although I have not achieved my three goals every year, I have come a heck of a lot closer based on this one small action. I don’t think Tenley’s and my trip to Guatemala in July 2011 would have happened without my habit of keeping a tangible reminder of my goals in my wallet.

I haven’t decided on all three 2012 goals yet, but one “carry-over” from 2011 is my goal of running a 5K in less than 30 minutes.

My involvement with the “Badass Army” is going to be one of the keys to achieving this goal. Thank you Shannon Colavecchio for this resolution template. Here’s my take on it. 

Badass Army 2012 Resolution
My body is a fortress that must be respected, fortified and prepared for any and all of life’s battles. I, Paula Kiger, as a devoted recruit of the Badass Army, do hereby resolve to stand firm in the duties and responsibilities inherent within.

Because the Army individually and collectively must stay strong and healthy, I resolve to abide by the the following principles:

• I will find at least 30 minutes a day at least five days a week for moderate physical activity. My personal fitness goal is to be active 30 minutes a day for six days a week. I choose a variety of things for my physical activity (ies). This variety includes:

          Running three days a week, with one of those days being interval training.
          Cross Training two days a week.
          Yoga at least once a week.
I will not back down from opportunities to have fun while being fit, even if they are outside of my comfort zone. I will also actively seek out and promote fitness opportunities that do good for causes I support. (This italicized section is an addition to the template.)
• I will not use the
D-word. Instead, I will eat to live; I will eat to fuel my active lifestyle.

• I will fuel my Badass with clean food, 85 to 90 percent of the time, incorporating “real food” like fruits and vegetables, dairy and lean meats and fish into my eating.

• When I crave something that falls in the category of “not so Badass approved,” I will – approximately 10 to 15 percent of the time – let myself enjoy it in moderation. Life is about enjoyment, not an existence of meager rice cakes.

• I will in all things seek balance, taking care of my fortress even as I push it to new challenges.

• I will complete one fitness challenge that I have, until now, been too under-challenged*, sleep deprived**, or overweight*** to do. My personal goal is to, before the end of 2012, run a 5K in 29:59 or less.

• I will support, respect and cheer on my fellow recruits. I will not be afraid to turn to them for guidance or encouragement when I need it. When I need a swift kick in the Badass for motivation, I will ask for that, too.

• I will not let the criticisms or passive-aggressive comments of naysayers bring me down. My eyes will stay on the prize.

• If I fall down, I will get back up and press on. That’s how the Badass Army rolls.

I am strong and capable of great things. I will use this resolution as constant guidance and motivation in the year ahead. Hooah!

*By underchallenged I mean that I have not sufficiently challenged myself. This is why I am working on adding a second activity to some of my days, such as Tabata drills in the morning and yoga in the evening.

**Gary Droze, who coaches our interval sessions, asked me about my sleep. When I sheepishly admitted how much sleep I (don’t) get, he said to envision it like a farmer who has planted carrots. If he pulls them out of the ground every night to check how they’re doing, the carrots will never have an opportunity to reach their full potential. The parallel applies to fitness – your body needs time to recover every night in order to reach its highest capacity.

***Estimates vary, but some sources say a 10 pound weight loss can result in a minute shaved off of a 5K race time. Here’s one article.

Of Yoga, Squirrels, and The Eye of the Tiger

The first yoga class I ever attended was a core yoga class at Journeys in Yoga. As is typical for my fitness situation, I chose something that fit my schedule, not thinking too hard about what I was getting into. (That explains why I ate a half a bag of mellocremes two hours before the class … yuck.) The class I wandered into was a Core Yoga class. Over the 14 months since that first class, it became a necessity, right there behind breathing, eating, and the other “have-to’s” of life.
Now our teacher John is moving on to a long term work opportunity outside of Tallahassee. By way of a farewell, a list:
 “You Know You’re a Regular at John’s Core Yoga When”
It doesn’t surprise you that “The Only Exception” is followed by “Kung Fu Fighting.”
The acronyms RSHB and LSHB mean something to you.
The song “Eye of the Tiger” is more of an “elbow walkup thing” than a “Rocky” thing in your head.
You can’t listen to Foster the People’s “Pumped Up Kicks” without dropping into a forward fold.
You know to ask “is that all planks or just elbow planks?” when told, “that’s it for planks.”
Counts and time spans are a bit “estimate-y” (but isn’t that 121st squat good for us after all?).
The phrase “that’s my dog” may mean your yoga position or this song (or both).

You know to find your stretch (which is probably a lot easier than finding your neighbor’s).

It doesn’t faze you, during hydrants, to hear one option for the diameter of your knee circles described as “the circumference of a squirrel’s head” ….. or when your teacher, having pondered a moment, says, “well the squirrel’s still alive.”
You know you can “fall out when you need to,” but you really, really, really don’t want to because you feel so supported and motivated.

You know you’re a regular in John’s core yoga class when, in the midst of trying to say goodbye (for now) with humor and a bit of satire, you have to stop long enough to say the most sincerely felt of “thank you’s” …. for helping us find more physical strength than we thought possible, along with a healthy dose of inner strength too.

Nothing squirrel-y about that.

Wordless Wednesday (Pleasing Purple Edition)

This is Week Five of the Shades of Autumn Photo Challenge. This week’s color is purple. 
One advantage of living in North Florida in the fall is that it is possible to enjoy outdoor activities well into the season. A couple of weeks ago, I had the physically and spiritually rejuvenating experience of doing outdoor yoga after work. The venue, a place called Lichgate, was perfect.
The Centuries-Old Lichgate Oak.
Yoga without walls.
And beautiful purple nearby:
I am not sure how this shot came to be, but I love the effect I stumbled onto:
The Shades of Autumn Photo Challenge is hosted by Kristi of Live and Love Out Loud, Alicia of Project Alicia, and Rebecca of Bumbles and Light. The challenge welcomes photographers of all skill levels. Next week’s theme is brown! The linky for brown week will be up starting on Friday, November 11.

Birthday Savasana

I am very new to yoga, which I have been interested in for a while. My curiosity was heightened by a “Speaking of Faith” interview with Seane Korn that I listened to this summer. I was also drawn by programs like ALPHA Running. ALPHA Running’s approach is centered on a strategy called “RYT,” which stands for “Running,” “Yoga,” and “Track.” 

Now that I am about eight weeks into going to yoga regularly at Journeys in Yoga, I am hooked. I know it will be good for my running, when my injury heals enough for me to run again, but in the here and now, it is good for my mental state.

There is a phase at the end of each yoga session called “Savasana.” (Yes, I did have to look this up in order to be able to blog about it – remember, I said I am very new!) In Savasana, you typically take the corpse pose and to quote Amey Matthews: “release holding in the muscles .. let go of thoughts in the mind .. relax the breath .. gradually create a sense of dissipating into the atmosphere around you.”

I am very surprised that the teachers at Journeys in Yoga have not had to wake me up to make me leave and make way for the next class while I have been in Savasana.  Amey Matthews writes, “sleepiness can be an unconscious escape into a more familiar state of mind.” (And no, this post is not about me and meetings … it’s about yoga, remember?!) 

There have been about three times over the past two months when I am sure my mind was doing some important work during Savasana.  One time involved my husband’s previous employer and the letting go of resentment. Another involved something very fundamental about the parent-child relationship, and understanding the intent behind the physical gifts our children give us – how much they want our approval and how much they gain from our pleasure in the items they bestow on us. Today, mindful that I needed to have something to write about tonight, I was trying so hard to consciously hold on to the phrase the teacher said as we began Savasana – something about creating spaces for our minds and our bodies.  But the deeper I allowed my “boundaries to soften and dissolve” (credit Amey Matthews), the more I lost the ability to hold on to that specific phrase. The music playing had to do with magnificence and the ocean. I was gone, and I was not asleep.

On my birthday, I am so grateful for this new influence in my life. I suppose I have my foot injury to thank for sending me on this particular path. I love this simple yet eloquent graphic shared by Ashley of MS Run the US recently, and I view these moments of Savasana as stepping stones between the comfort zone and the magic.   

Speaking of things that I am grateful for, check out this creation of my young friend Leila’s. Is this not the best “front of a birthday card envelope” EVER?
I thank Leila for these well-articulated (and flattering!) thoughts. I thank my friends and family for the things they have done, big and small, to make today nice for me. I thank my son for “eliminating” the wasp that was buzzing around the keyboard tonight. I thank the practice of yoga for the moments of Savasana, of providing me opportunities for “time of observation without expectation.” (Amey Matthews quote)

No Visible Means of Support

Yesterday, the family and I returned from St. George Island.  Our extended family vacations there every year.  Last year and this year, we were in a house called A Blue Heron (which is not blue):

Wayne and Wayne left on Saturday for the entire Saturday-to-Saturday stay.  Tenley and I arrived on Wednesday because I had work obligations and she had dance class.  It took me from 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday until around 3 p.m. on Thursday to wind down enough to feel vacation-y.  This sight helped:

One of the biggest stories of the week has to do with my adorable 15-month-old niece, Peyton, who was apparently very content each day floating around the pool in her Princess float (Peyton, sadly, went back to Charleston before Tenley and I made it to St. George).  So content that everyone had come to assume that, except for occasions when she would list to one side or another, she was “good to go.”  That worked out fine until the strap broke between her legs.  Fortunately, the strap malfunction occurred when she was right by her dad; she was silent as she began to slip below the water.  This story reminded me of Tenley’s 6th birthday party, which was held at Mary’s pool in Thomasville.  Because I was so worried about liability and a private pool, I had hired a lifeguard to keep watch on everyone.  After the party, the lifeguard was released to get dressed.  When I returned to the pool area, I saw my 3 year old son being fished out of the pool by his father!  He had been in a floatie, and had tried to reach for a flower/sponge thing that had been one of the favors.  He fell out of the float and started sinking while his dad and his aunt were talking a foot away.  Hm.  So ironic since I had hired a lifeguard!  All’s well that ends well in both stories, but Peyton’s experience did make me think about the “Drowning Doesn’t Look Like Drowning” link I have been seeing on many Facebook accounts recently.

The other thing that I would like to celebrate about my few days away is the ability to exercise each day, without a multitude of other things bearing down on me.  When I run before work, I know I have to get home (quickly), get ready, possibly get children going, and get my head into workday mode.  When I run after work, I am usually thinking about how much there still is to do between finishing my run and bed.  When I go to intervals, it is a rush to get there and there are errands to run immediately afterwards.  Vacation afforded me the opportunity for two runs (one HOT and the other in the rain, pre-dawn) and a walk along the beach right at water level, which felt great on my heel.  I listened to some inspirational and funny podcasts, including Speaking of  Faith’s podcast about yoga as meditation in action, which resonated with me for several reasons, including its references to learning to be present by accepting the negativity that we so often try to resist and, on a completely different note, Matt’s RunDiggerRun episode where he talks about running the Marine Corps 17.75K race (17.75K because the Corps was established in 1775).  I especially chuckled at the signs along the route, such as:  You Are Not Almost There!  Don’t we runners feel that way anyhow during a run?  Might as well see it in black and white (or USMC scarlet and gold?). 
One more thing on the exercise topic.  I want to sing the praises of Daily Mile.  Even though I was drug kicking and screaming into one more thing that I have to have a log on and password for, I can’t say enough about the motivating effect of knowing that my DM friends are expecting me to post a run, walk, cycle, commute, or …. SOMETHING!  They do a better job with their logo than I do, but here’s the DM logo I created on the sands of St. George Island.  Give them a try if you need some additional support. 

I suppose the theme of this blog ended up being support.  Support of those podcasters out there who give us things to think about; support of our fellow runners/athletes who understand that we all need an extra “you can do it” from time to time, and the most important support of all, Princess Support (phew!). 
What kind of support have you recently found especially helpful?  I’d love to hear about it!
In the meantime, I’ll “run” into you next week, readers.