Saturday, November 23, 2013

run. eat. teach. a guest post from mallory!

a while back mallory (from Run. Eat. Teach.) and i started talking about guest posting for each other. i wrote this post for her blog, and today she has written this post for my blog! stop over to her blog and say hello, shes very inspiring and has a really cute baby boy just like hen!

Woohoo! I am so excited to get to guest post for Danielle today! We have followed each other's blogs now for about a year, but when our sons were born, we really started clicking. We give each other tips and share our boys' milestones. It's nice having someone to connect with on such similar topics.

I believe my son is just a few weeks older than little Henry. Isn't he just adorable? 

Joseph Isaac Hood
May 14th, 2013
8 lbs. 10 oz. 
21.5 inches long

Me and my buddy!

Well, I am Mallory Hood, English teacher by day and self-proclaimed wannabe writer by night. I read. I drink coffee. I watch How I Met Your Mother, the Office, and old episodes of Seinfeld. I'm a closet Lifetime movie fan. I love Christmas movies. If I could have five Christmas trees, I would. (I will one day.) I really like my husband. I cook. I try to clean. I try new things. I often sign up for too many things at one time, get really stressed out about it, then feel really awesome when I get them done. I teach people how to use the English language although if you're not from the South, it might not sound like I know what I'm talking about. I love to shop on the internet. I play piano and sing. I'm crazy tall. My eye twitches if I don't have supper by five o'clock. I love peanut butter in my oatmeal. My maw maw (Southern for Grandma and Grandmother) is my hero. I am drawn to disciplined, goal-oriented, self-motivated people. I have the best running buddies a girl could ask for. I love Basset hounds. I have a cat named Gray Cat. I am a mom to my husband's mini me. I love being a mom, and I think I could do it again one day. I am predictable, and I love routine. Writing books or being a freelance writer in my pajamas would be my dream job. Green is my favorite color. My faith in God keeps me centered, stable, and happy.

Now for the fun stuff. I love finding out about how runners tick, especially those who are faster than I am (ahem...Danielle). Maybe these tips will help a sister (and maybe a brother) out.

How did it all begin?
My running story begins on a sunny day in Alabama at the end of March of 2011. I had just recently recovered from what seems like a lifetime of mental torture. I battled with food and weight issues for around ten years. Name a diet, and I had tried it. The scale had gone up and down so many times, it had whiplash. I tried pills, cleanses, starving, getting rid of food in all unimaginable ways, and over exercising (although some might consider what I do now as just that...). After years and years and years of praying and learning about who I am, failed tips at seeing nutritional therapists, and taking ridiculous pills that did not help me, God finally got through to me. I guess you could say I had an epiphany. I was tired of being dull and boring. I was tired of attaching my identity to what I had been doing to myself. When I really thought about what truly made me happy, I thought about being in college with my friend Janell walking track and talking about life. I thought about hiking with my husband up in the mountains or walking the fourteen mile trek to see a giant tree in our national forest (Yes, it happened. Yes, there's a giant tree.) I thought about swimming in the summer with my friend Whitney when we were little girls. It finally occurred to me that everything that made me happy was when I was with friends and family doing something active. Now back to 2011. That day was originally going to be spent walking the track as I had done for an incalculable amount of times, days, years. But I decided before I headed out that I wanted more than just the same...just as I had realized with my life as a whole almost a year before. I began my running journey that day just by deciding that I was going to jog one lap and walk one until I got to two miles. I liked it so much, I decided to do it again the next day but jog two laps and walk one that time around. The next thing I knew, I was signing up for a 5k (even though I originally had no idea what a 5k was). I ran my first one on May 19th, 2011. I gave blood the day before, so I felt terrible. You know. Everyone knows it's ok to runs miles and miles the day after you give blood. It took me 36 minutes, but I knew after the moment I crossed the finish line, I wanted to beat my time. It really is addictive. The next 5k in July was 31 minutes, and the next one in September was 26. The next thing I knew, I had signed up for a 10k in October. When I ran that, I decided on a half in December. Well, I guess you know what happened next. I ran my first marathon in February of 2012. If I'm not chasing a PR, I'm chasing a new distance. I keep wondering if I'll ever find that place where I don't want to run anymore. I sure hope not!

This is me at my first 5k

My first half marathon

Why do you run?
I run because it literally sets me free. If you want to really experience nature, run through it. If you want to clear your head, run. If you want to have time to really sort through your problems, run. If you want to develop some of the best friendships you'll ever have, run. If you want to eat a whole pizza and a carton of ice cream all in the same day, run. It has been one of the best things that has ever happened to me, and I hope I can be a part of the runnerverse for the rest of my life. I wouldn't care a bit in the world if Isaac wanted to grow up and be a runner, either. 

My awesome running buddies!

I was pregnant here. This was my first half with Isaac.

Me and Janell!

What are the biggest challenges you face as a running mama?
Time. Finding time to do three, four, even six mile runs has become simple. (It wasn't when we first brought him home.) Finding time to run a sixteen miler is another story. I also struggle with cross training. I feel that since I run so much, that should be enough. I know that it's not, however. I know that I need to stretch, foam roll, and do some sort of other exercise at least once during the week, but it's hard to! Sometimes I use Isaac as weight while I do squats in the living room. I'll do calf raises while I brush my teeth, and I'll stretch in the floor while I'm playing with Isaac. This yoga video from runnersworld is something I've been trying to find time to do. Even if it's just a pose or two, it still counts as something.

What motivates you?
Primarily it's where I've come from and the things I have overcome that motivate me the most. Knowing that I never want to go back to that way of life gets me on my feet every day. Also, knowing I inspire hundreds of kids to get off the couch each day is a huge motivator. My husband motivates me, too. He motivated the whole family one time in 2005 to climb a mountain in the Smokies. We hiked 5.5 miles up in the rain. We were wearing jeans, and most of us had on tennis shoes. We stayed in a three-sided shack (also known as a shelter), and we couldn't build a fire. Remember, our clothes were wet, and it was about 20 degrees. We had horrible, heavy equipment, and we carried canned food to eat. While we slept, it turned very cold. It started snowing, and the next morning, we hiked down in a blizzard. Some of us had icicles in our hair. We had nothing but some ponchos and maybe a sweatshirt. The snow was so heavy, the roads were closed when we got down to the trailhead parking lot. As awful as it sounds, we made some great memories and have gone up several times since. Heath has hiked it 34 times, I believe, while I have 11 or 12. I've lost count! I would've never EVER considered doing anything endurance if it had not been for the hikes he took me on. That gave me the confidence to lace up my shoes for the first time. He makes me want to be a better person. He makes me want to be a good wife and a good mom. He makes me want to push myself to greater things. Last but not least, Isaac motivates me. I want him to grow up knowing that his mom and dad did things they loved, pushed themselves to be successful in their pursuits, and most of all, lived a happy life, grateful of all their many blessings. 

Me and Heath in 2012

Me and my little family in July 2013

What does your diet look like?
I have an 80/20 rule. Eighty percent of the time, I eat healthy. I love oatmeal any time of day. I really like peanut butter and banana in it. I love chicken salad made with light mayonnaise on wheat bread with some Pringles or chili cheese Fritos (guilty pleasure!) for lunch. I like Greek yogurt, toast with Nutella, fig newtons, cheese, and fruit for snacks. Supper is pasta days leading up to a race or long run, and during the week I usually eat lean protein with peas, rice, and/or some kind of potato. I like soups a lot, too. On weekends, I usually splurge a little. I eat chips and salsa or eat a breadstick or two with my meal. I've been on an Asian kick here lately. I love sushi when I can get it. Yum! I'm hungry. I probably drink too much coffee, and I love a diet Sunkist or Grapico with my supper. Yeah...I know. It's not the best thing to drink, but it could be worse. I'm definitely not a food snob, and I could stay in a grocery store for two years and never flinch.

What are your greatest accomplishments?
Giving birth! Haha. No, (YES) I would say running two half marathons with Isaac in my belly. That was something I'm very proud I got to experience. I guess my marathon would be second. I ran the Mercedes Marathon in Birmingham, Alabama, in 4:30. I was pretty proud of my time as a first timer, oh, and the fact that I lived to tell the tale.

Me and my Mercedes medal

What are your favorite gadgets and running gear?
I love Brooks Adrenalines. I've had a bazillion pairs. They provide the right amount of stability for my overpronating feet, and they come up high enough. Some shoes just don't do that. I've tried Aasics and Mizunos, but I didn't feel right in them. I love Nike and Under Armour Cold Gear. I love any kind of singlet for warm weather. I probably have an unhealthy attachment to my Garmin and my music. I won't even run a race if I can't wear my headphones. I know. It's pathetic. I'm in search of some better socks! I've been wearing Pearl Izumi, but they get holes in the toes so quickly.

What are some tips and advice you have for people just starting out or for those who are already active?
Don't be so serious. If you have to tweak your training plan a little, do it. If you had a piece of cake at a birthday party, don't beat yourself up. You can't live like that. If you can say that I'm better than I was yesterday, last week, last year, you're on track. Never do something that's not going to make you better tomorrow, and never involve yourself with people who aren't going to make you a better person tomorrow. Start slowly, and don't over do it. Don't get so caught up in the numbers that you forget to enjoy life!

What has been your favorite race?
I love taking long trips to a race with my husband. It's that excited, getting-up-early feeling I always get that's so infectious. But I think my favorite race was when my running group and I ran the Rumpshaker in Birmingham. It's for colon cancer awareness. At the time, everyone in our group was there, and Regina and I wore sparkly skirts. We all set some PRs, and afterwards we got to walk through a giant blown up colon. It was hilarious. The race food was awesome, too. It was a great day that I'll always remember.

What's up next?
A 50k? Maybe?? I also want to get my half marathon time under two hours.

Thank you so much for allowing me to guest post for you, Danielle! I had so much fun writing it. Maybe this novel of a post will inspire someone!!

"You are who you choose to be."
-my husband, Heath 

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