Category Archives: Blog

Being the Bean: Finding the Healthy Balance in Hot Water

I sat there on a stool at Fleet Feet, in front of about twenty or so mostly new faces holding a carrot, an egg and a jar of coffee beans. Now typically when I talk in front of a group at Fleet Feet, I know most everyone. We would of just come back from a run.

This time was different. I felt raw, yet it was a magical moment.

I was asked to share a condensed version of my talk as a reminder to those that attended the Kick Off for the Savannah Slim Down but also for those that were not able to attend. Some of the stories were left out, but I would love to share this story again!

Being the Bean: Finding a Healthy Balance in Hot Water.

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I love the story of The Carrot, Egg and the Coffee Bean. It talks about how you handle adversity; are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?

What would happen if you placed the carrot, the egg and the coffee bean in hot water?

The carrot which started out so hard and hard would turn to mush.

The egg which had a fragile shell would turn hard on the inside.

But the bean, oh sweet coffee bean, would change the water.

Think of the boiling water as the adversity you face in life and for this particular “conversation”, your health and fitness journey.

I shared in my talk, that while growing up I was an active kid, but I couldn’t get a hold of my eating. I was hard and strong on the outside due to my outgoing personality but on the inside I was all mush. I never felt comfortable in my own skin.

Even in college, I swam (D3 athletics) and I was invited to a picnic. I had clothes pouring out of my closet, but nothing fit. I was around 198 pounds.

I wore sweats on a 80 degree day. I literally sweated my ass off, but I played it cool. Pretending like no one would notice if I just joked around.

I wanted to crawl in a hole.

Carrot, I was the carrot.

After college I moved around a little…. Key West, Florida > Portland, Oregon > Savannah, Georgia.

Oh, Savannah, I love you.

I am surprised I didn’t die in Savannah about 6 years ago.

No, really. Like die.

I placed an ad on Craigslist for a run partner.

And I lied.

I said I was a 10- minute runner for like 5-6 miles. And I was barely a 12-13 minute mile runner for 2-3 miles. At least I had the female part right!

So thankfully a female (Charlotte, who I still run with today and she is freakin’ awesome! Hey girl!) showed up and she had also lied on her ad. We made a great team.

I not only feel in love with running in Savannah, but the town. Her people, her sense of community and giving back, her beauty.

I also fell in love in Savannah.  

A few years into our relationship we got married in the most gorgeous wedding and reception downtown. On the honeymoon, things began to unravel quickly. I started to run more to let the pavement listen to me. To listen to the fact that I just made the biggest mistake of my life. To have the pavement catch my tears and soak up my fears. I kept the mush of the carrot from everyone until the very end.

We got divorced 10 months later.

The carrot turned into an egg.

I used the egg’s thin protective shell to protect me from rude comments about my divorce but I was also hard on the inside. For the first time in my life, I didn’t turn to food to help me get through this hard time but I turned to running, counseling and friends. Over time… my egg turned into a bean.

Being the Bean. (#bethebean)

I really feel like my divorce was my life’s turning point. I sat down and reevaluated a lot in my life and I needed to look back in order to look forward. Again, re-read that line. Look back to look forward.

It wasn’t until I started this process that I began to change my water. To really be the bean in my fitness and health journey.

Now, I have been the bean a lot in my life. Just not throughout my fitness journey. I’ve been it at work, or through my volunteer efforts etc. And being the bean is not a one-stop shop, there are days I am part bean-part carrot. It’s an everyday journey and I am so happy that I am on it.

So here are my tips to Be the Bean:

 Food: In a world of convenience

Write out your battle plan: look at your whole week and schedule your meals & snacks accordingly.

Plan a day to meal prep

Pick foods your actually like!

Try new recipes or host a recipe swap (in person or online)

I believe that diet is a four letter curse word. Eat to fuel your body. Don’t fall for the hype. My weight didn’t come on overnight and it didn’t come off overnight. It look me a while to lose the almost 50 lbs (I am currently up– working on the down right now)

Friends: We all have some

FaceBook: join groups on FaceBook that promote healthy recipes or walk groups to keep you motivated. Or create on for your friends and post weekly challenges

Join a local group: WalkFit, Bootcamp, SlimDown Savannah are all available with Fleet Feet

Make Appointments: You wouldn’t cancel on your boss? Don’t cancel on yourself or your workout buddies

FITTE

Frequency: working out 3-5 times a week

Intensity: break a sweat

Time: are you a morning or night workout person? Invest the time in you for 30+ minutes!

Type: mix it up! Do Zumba one day, swim another, walk one!

Enjoyment: if you don’t like the type of exercise you do, you probably won’t stick with it!

Preparation

I wasn’t ready emotionally for the fallback after my car accident and ankle surgery. I wasn’t allowed to run for while, but I could have aqua jogged or biked. But I didn’t, it wasn’t running. So I gained weight. I mentally wasn’t ready. Prepare for the fallback before it happens. Have healthy snack options ready to go. Prepare, prepare, prepare.

Random Tip

Keep an exercise journal so one day you can look back to see how far you have come. You WILL surprise yourself!

So remember, as you continue on your health journal or take that first step, wake up and smell the coffee. Go Be the Bean!

Runner Spotlight: Diane W.

The Publix Savannah Women’s Half Marathon is partnering up with Team in Training to raise money and awareness for blood cancers. I am a huge advocate for not only a cure but for programs that help patients and caregivers go through the process of a diagnosis, treatment plan and life after a cancer diagnosis.

As an Ambassador for the Publix Savannah Women’s Half Marathon & 5k and coach for our training program with Fleet Feet Savannah, I have had the privilege of getting to meet some of the Team in Training (TNT) runners. Below is a runner spotlight on local runner, Diane W., who is a cancer survivor and running for TNT in the half marathon.

Diane is on the left with her Seacrest Partner runners!
Diane is on the left with her Seacrest Partner runners!

Age at Diagnosis :: 49

 When I was diagnosed, one of my biggest fears was… whether I would be around to

watch my son, Alex grow up. He was almost 2 years old and my husband, Jerry & I were

in the process of adopting him.  Another fear was… what if they don’t let us adopt him

because of my diagnosis.

How Many Years Cancer Free

 2015 marks a special milestone for me; I’m celebrating 10 years as a Leukemia Survivor.

 I wanted to do something special to celebrate, so I set a goal to find 10 women to join

LLS-Team in Training to raise $10,000 to represent 10 years in remission and

participate in the Publix Womens Half Marathon. What better way to celebrate life than

to give back to the organization that helped me reach this milestone?

 A team of 14 co-workers at Seacrest Partners, Seacrest Sisterhood is running in my honor

and have already raised $14,000. In March, I will be surrounded by Seacrest Sisterhood

and Diane’s Divas (family & friends) running and walking alongside me on the course. I

feel truly blessed to have all of these wonderful friends, co-workers and family

supporting me.

 Type of Cancer

Chronic Myeloid Leukemia

Diane and her TNT run buddies
Diane and her TNT run buddies

Were you always a runner?

 No, I was not a runner. I was a multiple sport athlete when I was younger and continued

to play competitive softball into my 40’s.  By the time I was diagnosed with CML,  I was a

couch potatoe with bad knees.

When did you start running?

 I starting running when I joined Team in Training for the first time, in June 2012 when I

committed to fund raise and participate in the Savannah Rock n Roll.  I talked my

daughter Shelley into joining with me by convincing her she was doing it for me.  All the

while, I had convinced myself that I was doing it for her, to get physically fit and to honor

loved ones with cancer.  Regardless of the reasons, the running did not come easy.  I

wore full knee braces and started with 1-2 minute intervals. Those 60 second runs were

brutal in the beginning.  I’m happy to say my knees are better, I don’t wear braces

anymore and rarely do my knees ever bother me.

 Did running help you through your treatment or deal with it

afterwards?

 Cancer changed my sense of self.  I went through a whole gamet of emotions: denial,

shock, fear, anxiety, sadness, confused and uncertain about the future.  In other words, I

wasn’t interested in being physically fit.  Then, after watching my brother go through

more than 2 years of diagnosis, treatment, stem cell transplant and recovery o f

Amyloidosis,  a rare blood disease that does not have a cure and uncertain life

expectancy, I needed a purpose.   I joined TNT in June 2012 to honor my brother, Larry

Kee.  He is doing well but it’s a race to find a cure.

How has Team in Training/Leukemia Lymphoma Society helped you

throughout the process (ie grants, support, and training with TNT

supporters)?

 Team in Training (TNT) is a celebration of life, the human spirit, physical ability and

mental endurance.  As part of TNT, you receive a supportive team and exceptional

coaching to help you reach your personal fitness goals and successfully complete your

walk, walk/run or run. I will be the LLS Team in Training “Honored Teammate” for the

Publix Savannah Women’s Half & 5K on March 28, 2015.

  I was diagnosed with Chronic Myeloid Leukemia in July 2004 and immediately began

taking oral chemotherapy, a pill developed by a researcher funded by LLS.  By early

2005, I was in full remission. Without research funded by LLS and the development of

the oral chemotherapy pill I take, I most likely would not be a survivor today.

What are you most excited about for the Inaugural Publix Womens

Half?

 I am excited to be a part of this Inauguaral event, that LLS is official charity and that I’m

the Honored Teammate for it.  I’m excited to have Seacrest Sisterhood & Diane’s Divas

supporting and honoring me.

 Any random facts about you?

 When I’m not running, I’m devoted to watching Alex play soccer year round.  He’s a

member of the Georgia Soccer Olympic Development Program team and I volunteer as

the boys 2002 Team Administrator.

ad_publixwomens5k

I hope you enjoyed learning a little more about an awesome runner in your community! If you want to join Diane and myself at the race on March 28th, feel free to save $10 off and use the code: VictoriaRunsSWH. And as always, check out Team in Training online. They have tons of races, in lots of cool locations that can help you get in the best shape of your life, while you save a life.

Now that’s a win-win!

The ‘PRfect’ Pasta

As an Ambassador for the Inaugural Publix Savannah Women’s Half Marathon & 5k, I thought it would be a fun idea to try out a new dish that was quick to make, easy to figure out, and would be a great carb loading recipe. Instead of going to Pinterest, I asked my Co-Ambassador and Half Ironman partner-in-crime, Claudia Deen to help me come up with a recipe.

We don’t have a name for this dish, so I am naming it the PRfect Pasta. Get it? Ha. I crack myself up.

We did a quick trip to Publix and got the key ingredients:

Recipe Serves approx. 4:

– Whole Container of cherry or grape tomatoes

– Pitted Olives (we found a jar already cut for you)

– Pasta (we used Barilla Whole Grain, but you can sub in CousCous, Rice or Spaghetti Squash)

– Clove of Garlic (I already had the pre-chopped in a jar at home, so we used that)

– 1-2 tbsp of Olive Oil (I had some at home)

– 1.5 lbs Shrimp (we got fresh shrimp, but we can use frozen to save money or even go super fancy and call your local Shrimp Man!)

– jar of Rao’s Organic Homemade Tomato Basil Sauce (or use your own homemade pasta sauce)

-fresh Parmesan to grate or from a shaker bottle, your preference

 

Peeling Shrimp
Peeling Shrimp

Bring a large pan to medium heat and saute oil & garlic until the garlic is soft. While this is happening, peel your shrimp and chop your tomatoes in half.

Once the garlic is soft and you can smell all that yumminess, add in the olives (drained) & tomatoes.

Olives & Tomatoes added in

Let cook for 8-10 minutes.

Boil water in a pot with a dash of salt and oil in the water. Once it begins to boil, lower to medium and cook pasta (4 servings worth).

Simultaneously–

Once the tomatoes start to cook, add in shrimp and cover for 5 minutes. Make sure that the shrimp touch the bottom of the pan to help cook them. If you need a dash more oil, add it. Flip the shrimp once the first side turns white.

In a smaller pan, heat the sauce until it starts to boil.

Once the pasta, shrimp mix, and sauce are done… pour servings into a bowl or plate and grate fresh Parmesan on top!

 

Almost ready to plate it up!
Almost ready to plate it up!

Haven’t signed up for the race yet? Feel free to use my code: VictoriaRunsSWH to save $10 off!

Leave a comment below on your favorite Pre Race Carb Load meal and you will be entered in to win a $25 Gift Card to Publix! Comment by Tuesday, February 17th at 10pm to have your chance to win.

 

*I am an Ambassador for this race but am not compensated financially, just with some swag from New Balance (the other race sponsor). Opinions are always my own.

 

What’s Cooking?

I barely cook.

I mean it. Ask the boy. Or Hunter, the dog, who begs for scraps and usually gets the crust of my PB&J for his dinner.

My mom’s side of the family is Italian. Like Sunday dinners, from scratch pasta, and my Grandma went to her grave not knowing I am ‘too lazy to make sauce’ type Italian.

One of my goals, resolutions, things I want to do better-ish is cook a new recipe a week.

After getting second place in the Cookie Contest at the Rape Crisis Center’s Cookie Bake Off last month, I realized I am not that bad at baking or cooking. And that was only my 3rd time baking anything from scratch!

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I realized I needed more motivation than my three year old Pinterest Boards full of recipes, so I turned to my friend Claudia for some guidance in the healthy recipe department. And boy do we have a treat for you! We picked out a great, but easy recipe that can be whipped up after a long day of work that is healthy and a crowd pleaser.

But before you get to witness what we whip up in the kitchen, I want to see what YOU whip up in the kitchen. And to make it easier for you, you have a chance to win a $25 gift card to Publix. As an Ambassador for the Inaugural Publix Savannah Women’s Half Marathon & 5k, I got two gift cards to give away so I still have another for a give-a-way later on 😉

So leave a comment below by Sunday, January 11th at 5pm and tell me what you will whip up in the kitchen with $25 and a winner will be chosen at random.

Wanted: A Few Good Humans

“Miss Vicky, Miss Vicky”

I used to hear that from the kids in my lane when I was a swim coach for seven summers in Northern Virginia. I’ve always been a coach. I thrive on the sidelines, cheering, screaming my heart out with tears in my eyes.

As you all know, I have been coaching with Fleet Feet Savannah for the last few seasons of their CREW program. And I’ll be honest, when I started I was a rookie with much to learn, but I had enthusiasm, heart and determination on my side.

Fleet Feet’s CREW program is currently looking for a few coaches to join their programs and this got me thinking about why I coach and what coaching means to me.

Over the last few seasons, I have grown not only as a runner but as a coach. I am more confident in my abilities to answer questions, lead a group of adults from various backgrounds, and to foster a safe environment in which to develop a deeper passion for the sport. I am extremely passionate about coaching— so I thought why not jot down what I feel makes a great coach…. by all means, this is just piddly ole Victoria’s list… take it for what it’s worth.

Enjoy!

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1- Don’t coach for yourself all the time. Sure, we coach because it helps keep us accountable or it gives us the warm & fuzzies inside. But trust me, coaching because you need help getting your tuckus out of bed in the morning is completely transparent. Or if you want to coach because you desire more accolades behind your desk or a high-five…. maybe stick to running your own races and hang those medals behind your desk.

2- Not everyone is made to be a coach and that is perfectly fine!  All different personality types can make strong coaches, but are you flexible among various personalities? Are you able to switch gears when thrown a fast one?

3- Continuing Education. Sports are always evolving and so are we.  You wouldn’t want a coach that just became a “coach” from watching one 30-day DVD, would you? I really like this quote from Julia Child, “You’ll never know everything about anything, especially something you love.” Wouldn’t you want to learn a better way to explain hill repeats? Tempo runs? What about the newest studies on lactic acid? These things take time and energy and are not accomplished during the workout (see #4). You can also get RRCA certified which I felt was a nice addition to my coaching. It took what I knew, finessed it and added in other knowledge and resources that made me a more complete coach.

4- It’s a commitment. It’s a time commitment away from your training, from your family and from your social life. Is it worth it? Hell yes.

5- You have to be on. I coach, along with my co-coaches, beginner/intermediate runners. Just like any other sport, beginners sometimes need more positive coaching. Sometimes coaching can take a therapeutic turn, and you work through different issues with a runner, all while leaving your issues at home (or save them until your training run). I love this part of coaching; seeing how running has helped personal lives is so fulfilling.

6- Giving Back. My two first run coaches believed in me even when I was pulling up the rear on nearly every. single. run. And yet, they made sure I learned about cadence, tempo runs, and why the hell I needed to take an ice bath. They showed me what it was like to believe in myself, and now it’s my turn to give it back ten fold.

*****

Now, I will say that this season should have an asterisk. With my injury, I came in 1/3 of the way through the half marathon training season and felt out of sorts…. it honestly was harder than I thought to get into the groove and gel with the group the first few runs. It took me a while to “be on”. I haven’t been continuing my education with as many articles as I should. But as we are approaching race day in three weeks, I can say I gained more and learned more from the runners than they did me.

Coaching is a daily event in my life, between emails or texts/calls to runners or the countless text strings between Fleet Feet coaches, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Being invited into someone’s adult life as a beginner run coach is a gift and everyday I am grateful, even on the days that are extremely frustrating.

Do you coach? What are your thoughts? If you don’t coach, what do you think makes a good coach?

 

 

Real Talk.

It’s been a rough 10 months while I battled an injured ankle from my accident.

I’ve gained some weight and while some people are super sweet and say they can’t tell. In my mind, I say “Bless your heart”…. but I do mean that the nicest way possible!

I love spinning and I love aqua jogging, but it’s not running. It’s not my run group. It’s not my cute Brooks PureFlow Cadence shoes. It’s not “my thing”. I wanted “my thing” back. I even bought a new-to-me fancy bike with aero bars to get me excited in case it took longer to get back to running….. it sat in a corner staring at me.

Currently, I feel sluggish when I run and my lungs feel like they are going to explode. Internally, I am cursing more than a sailor for letting myself go with super yummy food, great cocktails and not doing as much working out as I could of done with a bum ankle. To be honest, I didn’t want to do anything that wasn’t running. Silly, eh?

But now I am excited.

Excited because I can run. Excited that on Saturday I ran 5.5 miles with my group. Excited because although my lungs feel like they may explode, I could still talk and laugh with the girls. And I while I needed to glide my thighs more to prevent from chaffing, I am running.

And NOW, I can get excited to spin. Excited to aqua jog (I still can’t swim because my ankle hurts in the water when I kick—weird, eh?!). Excited to cycle on the new bike with my fancy new clip in shoes. Excited to hopefully be able to get back to yoga soon since my flexibility is almost there.

Excited to have this piece of me back.

Running isn’t all of me. But it sure as hell makes me fell a lot better.

Whew!

I had a freak out.

In my defense, it was warranted.

I felt a slight pop in my ankle on Saturday. I was standing with some runners post run and was lightly stretching. POP. I didn’t even run or bike that morning, but was ‘car coaching’. Side note, next time I will double check my tires so I can bike coach….

foot

 {Pre-Surgery Humor}

I noticed on Sunday afternoon, while scratching my ankle, that right behind my ankle felt super caved in. When I compared my ankles, my ‘bad ankle’ was almost an inch caved in. I freaked.

It didn’t hurt, but looked funky.

So I didn’t run with the group on Monday nor HIIT on Tuesday with the girls. And I actually scored an appointment with my Foot & Ankle surgeon yesterday morning at 8:30am.

Dr. Awesome confirmed that my previous two cortisone shots did not cause the fatty tissue to shrink (or whatever he said). But the pop I heard was two of my tendons rubbing over each other. Or maybe he said ligaments, I really am the worst patient when it comes to listening to the diagnosis. And the caving in…. apparently I have more muscle in my ankle (per the MRI) and that muscle had atrophied.

So….

I can still run my 1:1’s for 2-4 miles and work my ankle back up!!

Whew.

 

21 Days to…

I’ve been having a hard time during the past few months with being a cranky butthead (more on injury recovery later).

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And to calm my crankiness, I ate candy. Met a lot of friends for drinks. And avoided doing the low impact activities because they weren’t running.

I would walk passed the candy jar at work and it was like Halloween everyday, minus the real crappy costume. Pop about 3-5 ‘fun size’ bars almost everyday and that’s almost 1,200 calories a week just in candy. JUST.IN.FREAKIN’.CANDY!

Oh… and then we found an ice cream truck.

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Game Over.

So on Wednesday, I started my ’21 Days to…. challenge’. My goal is to not eat candy, sweets or other crap during work hours for 21 days. It’s only been two days but I am cautiously optimistic that I can do this challenge. Feel free to join me during these 21 days! Just click on the ‘upcoming events’ page to the right and join us as we conquer XYZ for 21 days.

Cheers to healthy snacks and remembering that I don’t need a min snickers just because I am happy, stressed or bored.

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What are YOU going to change for 21 days?

xoxo

First Post

First, welcome to my new blog ‘home’. Isn’t the design the cutest? I love the layout and think it makes it more user friendly, yes? Thanks to Genina at Low Country Paper for her branding expertise. You’ll be seeing some more of her work in the future 😉

Anywho….

I’ve been radio silent for the last few months on my blog (but not on my other social media accounts), mostly because it’s hard to write on a running blog when you haven’t been running much.

Cue the sappy music *whomp. whomp. whomp*

Well my self-induced pity party ended this week, y’all! Nothing like a good water jogging session and modified HIIT workout to get you back in your groove!

pool run

There are a lot of awesome things coming up on my radar and I am excited to see the light at the end of this recovery tunnel….

I can’t wait to fill you all in on all the fun!