The Dixie Chicks Had It Right

“I’m ready to run.” Alright, so I’m not running away from the altar, but I am entering my second month of my newest fitness challenge, “Running to Rome.”

During the month of June, I was feeling sluggish from adjusting to a new work schedule and couldn’t find the energy to do anything when I got home from work. My diet was under control thanks to the My Fitness Pal app (look me up!), but I still needed a major cardio outlet. I debated my options and decided to give running another try.

I headed to the trail, but only managed to do 2 miles. After this painful run, I hobbled to my car and headed home to stretch. As many of you (or the very few who read my blog) remember, when I first started down the road to wellness, I was running almost 5 times a week. It was painful, but my body adjusted and I averaged almost 3.5 miles per run. As time progressed, I switched to indoor activities, such as P90X and the elliptical machine. Occasionally the mood would strike and I’d lace up my sneaks, but I always punked out when I started to feel those shin splints creepin’. However, this time, I couldn’t help but wonder if maybe this was the missing piece to the puzzle.

I took a few days to consider my options and decided to start on July 4th before heading to my parent’s for a holiday celebration. Unlike the many times before, I didn’t run hard or fast, but paced myself well. I was jogging at a moderate pace, and actually enjoying the fresh air and scenery. I finished three miles with relative ease and felt so proud that I had kept going. The next three-mile run felt even better! By the end of July, I’d traveled 23.65 miles and felt like three miles four times a week was definitely possible. For giggles I decided to map it. Heading north, via I-79, I mapped at a point just north of Waynesburg, PA, which made these 3 milers seem less mundane and routine. Trust me when I say that it makes all the difference to see that you are actually heading somewhere when you run. This thought immediately led to, “So, how far can I go?”

My “Running to Rome” challenge was originally supposed to be “Running to Maine,” however the mapping for that trip was a bit more complex. I had already started a map on and saw no reason to reroute. I looked at the possible destinations in my current path and landed on Rome, NY. It wasn’t an area I’d ever heard of, but it is home to the 3 mile long Woodstock Peace Wall. The distance averaged to about 465 miles from my base starting point in Star City and as of right now, I have 439.65 miles left. I should reach my destination by April 2012. (I’ll try to post a weekly update so you can follow along!)

Aside from a weekly mileage update, here are some things you can expect to see consistently over the next few months:

  • A weekly yoga pose
  • Healthy (and delicious) recipes
  • Daily health tips for better living
  • My healthy choice of the day

Since it’s almost Friday (the end of my week), I’ll go ahead and pick a pose of the week. Vrikshasana, otherwise known as Tree Pose is great to help open the hips and is thought to help improve deep concentration. Give it a try:

Photo courtesy of Microsoft Office clip art

  1. Stand straight and keep your feet close each other.
  2. Bring your right foot up to your left inner thigh, creating a triangle (think The Graduate).
  3. Find your balance and slowly bring your hands up to your chest to prayer position.
  4. If comfortable, bring arms overhead to a straight position.
  5. Stay in this position for 10 seconds and remember to always breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth.

 As for my healthy choice of the day: Instead of having chocolate Kisses for dessert, I opted for a cup of my delicious Republic of Tea Vanilla Almond black tea.

“The great Gift of the Leaf is that it relaxes the brain, freeing it to float to its true home in the boundless and the inexhaustible – the sublime state we call Tea Mind.” -quote on the canister