While We Have Time, Let Us Do Good The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Run in Columbia, SC

by Shannon Boatwright

image 1I had the honor of being a part of this most incredible event on September 20th, 2019.  My aunt Susan Vaughan McPherson, who is the Director of Public Policy & Military Affairs at the Columbia Chamber of Commerce, works with the Tunnel to Towers Foundation and helped to organize this event. She invited my family and me to participate last year, but due to a hurricane, they, unfortunately, had to cancel the event. So, this year, we really looked forward to being a part of this special event. And when I say special, goodness do I ever mean it! To understand the impact of this event, you really must be there in person.

A little info on the meaningful purpose behind this event…

The info below is taken from the Tunnel to Towers website.

image 4“Firefighter Stephen Gerard Siller was the youngest of seven children born to Mae and George Siller. At the age of eight, Stephen lost his father, and a year and a half later his mother passed away, leaving him an orphan to be raised by his older siblings. For a while, Stephen went through a period of struggle, but thanks to the love of his siblings, and the values instilled in him by his parents, he grew up to be an extraordinary individual and dedicated firefighter. More than most, he knew that time was precious and accomplished much in his 34 years.

On September 11, 2001, Stephen, who was assigned to Brooklyn’s Squad 1, had just finished his shift and was on his way to play golf with his brothers when he got word over his scanner of a plane hitting the North Tower of the World Trade Center. Upon hearing the news, Stephen called his wife Sally and asked her to tell his brothers he would catch up with them later. He returned to Squad 1 to get his gear.

Stephen drove his truck to the entrance of the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel, but it had already been closed for security purposes. Determined to carry out his duty, he strapped 60 lbs. of gear to his back and raced on foot through the tunnel to the Twin Towers, where he lost his life while saving others.

Stephen had everything to live for: a great wife, five wonderful children, a devoted extended family, and friends. Stephen’s parents were lay Franciscans and he grew up under the guiding philosophy of St. Francis of Assisi, whose encouraging and inspirational phrase, “while we have time, let us do good,” were words that Stephen lived by. Stephen’s life and heroic death serve as a reminder to us all to live life to the fullest and to spend our time here on earth doing good – this is his legacy.”

My daughter, Mina, who is on the cross-country team at her high school, ran the Tunnel to Towers for the first time this year. She ended up doing an amazing job, coming in 64th out of 1278 people total who ran and 11th out of all the women who ran, placing 2nd in her division. She had the priceless opportunity to run alongside our firemen and first responders. Words really cannot describe how inspiring and motivating it is to run for such a great cause and in memory of so many precious people.  To recognize and applaud the people who fight for our country and help to keep us safe, to run alongside and cheer on all the first responders, military and fellow supporters, well, to say it fills the heart is an understatement. Let’s just say, we plan to be a part of this truly special event every year and I encourage you all to do the same!

Stephen Livingston, Lexington Fire Department, Station 2, congratulating Mina, my daughter, on placing in her division.

 

Please do check out the website https://tunnel2towers.org/ and mark your calendars for next year’s run!

 

 

Lady of leisure (or not)

By Jeanne Reynolds

Wow, what a great day I had today!

How often do you say that? Me, probably way less than I should. (Note to self: Pencil in “gratitude” for another blog topic.)

Here’s how it went:

I got up at 6 a.m. and ran a few miles to loosen up for a golf tournament. My playing companions – unknown to me until this morning – turned out to be extremely congenial and we cheered each other on through the round even though we’re also competitors. I played well enough to leave feeling good despite the (literally) 100-degree heat. On the way home it was still early enough to accomplish several errands (bank, gas, grocery store). I took a shower, did a load of laundry, checked work and home email and paid bills. Shortly I’ll be ensconced on the couch with a good book, a glass of wine and some cheese and crackers to relax before dinner, most of which the good folks at Publix have already cooked for me.IMG_3868

And I get to do it all again tomorrow.

That might not sound like paradise to you, but for a runner/golfer/ task-focused list maker/wine drinker/reader, it’s about as good as it gets. If this is what retirement will be like, I’m all in.

My past year of baby-stepping toward that promised land took a leap forward this month when I officially announced my plans to step down from my management role for a part-time job as a writer. 20 hours a week of (mostly) my choosing, a mix of in-the-office and at-home, doing the “fun” part of the job. And possibly most importantly, keeping the same health benefits. (Is that a sign of the times or what: “Will work for health care.” Another blog topic for another day.)

My “new life” starts in July, but I’m getting in some early practice by interspersing a few vacation days into my work week for golf (this week) and the beach (next week). And so far it’s exactly what I hoped it would be: a just-right blend of deadlines and downtime. Time really is the ultimate luxury.

I hear from friends who’ve trod this path before me that they’re so busy in retirement they don’t know how they ever had time to work. And to be clear, I’m only semi-retiring. Between those 20 hours and some freelance work, I’ll be spending plenty of time at the keyboard.

Still, I have to say taking this step is just a little bit scary. I think we’ve planned and saved carefully (with some excellent expert counsel) so we can afford it, but who knows what could be lurking around the corner? And I wonder if I’ll miss being in the middle of everything, in a role where people seek my help but not necessarily my opinion. Will I still count?

There’s only one way to find out.

True grit

by Jeanne Reynolds

 What makes people successful – Talent? High IQ? Money? Luck? Genes?

 No, no, no, no and no. All those things help, but the true driver of success is grit.

At least, that’s the opinion of Angela Duckworth, a psychology professor who’s been studying this stuff for years. And the more I read and think about it, the more I believe she’s exactly right.

225px-True-GritDefinition here: Grit is a combination of unshakeable motivation, persistence and determination. Simply put, it’s sticking with it. Never giving up, even when it gets hard.

I’ve become fascinated with this concept since hearing Duckworth talk about it recently on National Public Radio. She’s done tons of testing with students and teachers, adults and kids. Unfailingly, whether in school, work or life, it turns out high performance is most closely tied to high levels of grit.

I’ve seen this play out in my own life. Take running, for example. I’m slow, and I didn’t T330_189554_Runningbecome active in the sport until later in life. But somehow I’ve managed to run 21 marathons, including five Boston Marathons. I tell people distance running doesn’t require talent – it only requires you to keep moving. That’s grit.

And because I’m pretty gritty (take the Grit Scale Test to get your score) there’s a good chance I’ll get that children’s book that’s been in my head since age 9 down on paper and submitted to a publisher one day.

Can you get grittier if you’re not hard-wired that way (Hey, marathon running isn’t for everyone. I get that.) or help your kids develop more grit? Probably. One way is to develop a growth mindset. It’s a concept developed by Carol Dweck that says our ability to learn isn’t fixed. In fact, our brain grows in response to challenge. The key is believing failure isn’t a permanent condition. We have to be allowed and willing to fail, so we can learn and start over with the lessons learned. (Note to helicopter parents: See that word “allowed”? You might need to back off so your child can develop grit.)

Programs like Girls on the Run that teach girls how to train for a longer-term goal may help. You can also try some online exercises like this this one.

I think the idea of grit as what determines our success is great news for most of us. I enjoy doing many things I don’t necessarily have an innate talent for: running, singing, golf, playing the flute, writing, cooking. But that’s OK, because talent and smarts apparently don’t matter as much as getting back up when I fall down and taking the next step.

As Duckworth says, “Grit is living life like it’s a marathon, not a sprint.”

 

Resolutions rewind

by Jeanne Reynolds

This time last year I posted that I don’t make New Year’s resolutions. Instead, I like to set a few new goals each year.

To recap those thoughts, goals focus on accomplishment rather than fixing what’s wrong. They feel positive instead of punitive. I may not achieve all my goals in any given year, but putting them in writing helps me clarify what’s important to me.

What I rarely do, though, is pull the list back out and check my progress toward those goals. Yeah, I kind of know in my head the big things I accomplished during the year. (Some of them end up in my Christmas letter, when I get around to doing one. Christmas letters: love them or hate them? Discuss among yourselves.)

Since I went “public” with my goals last year, I thought it only fair to share the results. And two things surprised me:

  1. I had forgotten most of the items on the list.
  2. I did better than I thought.

Here’s a look:

 

  • Run a half-marathon in under 2:05. Yes! I ran the Palmetto Half at Sandhills in
  • 2:03 and change. I have to confess this wasn’t exactly a stretch goal since it’s waaay slower than I used to run, but coming off some injuries it seemed reasonable.
  • Paint our bedroom and get new linens and towels. Yes! We ended up getting nearly the whole inside of the house painted a calming gray. Love. It. For those interested, I went with an all-white bed and mossy green towels in the master bath.
  • Obtain and complete at least 3 freelance writing jobs. Didn’t take even the first step toward this, except in my mind. Realistically, this won’t happen until I can cut back my hours on my “real” job. Maybe this year.
  • Lower my golf handicap to 14. Surprisingly, yes! I had some good rounds in the summer and fall, bringing it down to 13 something. Of course with our recent weather I’ll be back where I started, but at least I know it’s possible.
  • Finish the first phase of landscaping in the natural area of our Cat Island home. Hmm, sort of? Another pesky hurricane drained a good bit of our resources but we’re making progress. Unfortunately, a couple rows of wax myrtles that will one day be a huge hedge aren’t yet making a dent in the use of our yard as the neighborhood ball field (you can probably hear my husband saying “I told you so” in the background). But someday … And we did plant four new trees to replace some of those lost in the 2016 hurricane.
  • Take a special getaway trip to celebrate a milestone birthday. Not yet – see hurricanes above. Instead, the trip will be this year to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. Rome, Tuscany and Amalfi coast, here we come.Italy guidebook

So now it’s time to set some goals for 2018. I’m going to take a little longer to think about that. But based on points 1 and 2 above, I realize it’s not the goals themselves but the act of setting them that matters. Most of us get so busy just charging through each day, we seldom stop to think about where we’re going. Just taking some time to think about what’s important to me – and what I might be willing to do to reach it – is a good goal in itself.

Becoming a Runner

By: Ashley Whisonant

Exercising was something that never came easy to me. I hated going to the gym. This dates back as far as high school gym. We had the choice to walk 7 laps or run 3…guess which I would ALWAYS choose? You got it. Seven laps here I come.

Hitting my thirties was a wakeup call to me. I wanted to exercise to be around for my boys. Having two active boys under 5 made our Saturdays full of soccer, bike riding, and outdoor fun. Momma needed to keep up!

After joining FiA, Females in Action, I felt more energized and overall happier. The early morning boot camps started my days with laughs and fellowship.

I was ready for a new challenge: running! I began training with a good friend to prepare for our first 5K. We were both non-runners working towards the same goal of completing the 3.1 miles. We pushed each other in the cold, rain, early morning, and nights. We sacrificed sleep and time with our babies, but we did it to prove something to ourselves. Pushing ourselves to reach a goal was healthy. It was healthy for us to have time away getting better – better together.

We successfully finished the Hot Flash 5K in Timmerman Trail. Did we come in first place? Not even close. But we did reach our goal and pushed ourselves further than we ever imagined.

My Goal is No Resolutions

By: Jeanne Reynolds

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions. Don’t believe in ’em.

But I do like to set new goals every year. Semantics? Maybe, but I think there’s a small, important difference between resolutions and goals.

Most people’s resolutions seem to be about fixing what’s wrong with us. Losing weight is the most popular New Year’s resolution in America according to most lists, while the very vague “get healthy” tops others. Get organized, quit smoking and get out of debt are also up there. And guess what? They’re also the most commonly broken resolutions, so come February the house is once again a mess, the credit cards are maxed out and we still can’t button our pants.

New Years Goals

Goals, on the other hand, are about accomplishment, building on our success and reaching our dreams. They feel positive instead of punitive. I may not achieve all — or any — of my goals in any given year. But thinking about them and putting them in writing helps me clarify what’s important to me.

So — in no particular order — here are some of my goals for 2017:

  • Run a half-marathon in under 2:05.
  • Paint our bedroom and get new linens and towels.
  • Obtain and complete at least 3 freelance writing jobs.
  • Lower my golf handicap to 14.
  • Finish the first phase of landscaping in the natural area of our Cat Island home.
  • Take a special getaway trip to celebrate a milestone birthday.

I’m far from perfect and there are many things that need fixing around about my person. But I’d rather focus my energy on the things I enjoy. That word — “enjoy” — has hidden power in it. Webster’s defines it as “to experience with joy.”

And if I were going to make a resolution, it would be to let myself experience more joy in life.

LMC Heart & Sole Five Miler Training Tips – Shin Splints

Today marks the one-month countdown to the LexMed Heart & Sole Women’s Five Miler! Two of our Every Woman Bloggers bloggers, Crissie Kirby and Lara Winburn, have been hard at work training for the race.

When runners increase their training, many are affected by shin splints. In fact, shin splits is the topic of our next training question, from Crissie, for Health Directions Wellness Coordinator, Amanda Castles.

Crissie: My shins give me a terrible fit. What is the best way to prevent and treat shin splints?

LMC _133Amanda: Shin splints are very common among runners and often occur when your training routine has recently become more intense. With increased activity, the muscle, tendons, and bone in your shin may become overworked. This is what causes you to experience pain along your shinbone. The good news is that most cases of shin splints can be treated with rest, ice, and other self-care measures.

Here are some tips to help you prevent and/or treat your shin splints:

1. Make sure that you are wearing proper running shoes for your feet specifically.  Running shoes are designed to support the arches of your feet (whether you have flat feet, medium or high arches) and the mechanics of your running motion (taking into consideration which direction your foot rolls as you run as well as which part of your foot strikes the ground).  If you need help determining the best pair of running shoes for you, local stores such as Strictly Running and Fleet Feet can help you find the best fit for your needs. Running in shoes that are not worn out and provide proper support for your feet is key to preventing shin splints.

2. Avoid running hills while your shin splints are causing pain.

3. Stretch your calf muscles. You can see a calf stretch demonstrated in our Heart and Sole training video of stretches. You may find it beneficial to stretch your calves before and after your training run. Just remember to do your warm-up before stretching as we do not want to stretch cold muscles!

4. While sitting, trace the alphabet with your toes. Be sure to perform this activity on both legs. You can do this particular activity several times per day.

5. Icing your shins will help to reduce the inflammation. You should ice for 15-20 minutes at a time and you can do this 2-3 times per day.

6. Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or naproxen, can also help to reduce the inflammation and any pain you may be experiencing as a result of your shin splints.

7. You may find that you need to scale back the time or distance that you are logging with your training runs for a little while. Avoid the activities that cause you pain, but don’t give up all physical activity. Try other low-impact exercises like swimming or biking so that you can stay active.

Leave a comment to let us know how your own training is going or to leave a word of encouragement for Crissie and Lara! 

Off and Running?

By: Mary Pat Baldauf

It started innocently enough at the gym this morning. Jenny and I were chatting on the elliptical, and she was talking about her latest run. “If there is one thing I don’t feel motivated to do, it’s running,” I said. Then Lila Anna chimed in that St. Lawrence Place had a 5K in February, and that a lot of people walk it. Before I was off the elliptical, I had committed to walk her 5K. But sometime between hopping off the elliptical and finishing my strength training, I decided that I wanted to run that 5K.

Huh? How did that happen?

I love my friends who run. Two of them, Wayne and Vicki, have even inspired me as I’ve watched them move from walkers to runners. However, I also find some runners annoying. To them, everything is about running; it consumes them. They run injured. They run in extreme temperatures. It’s all they talk about. This is not who I want to be.

Here are my reasons for wanting to run a 5K, The Race for The Place in particular:

  • I need a non-weight related goal to work toward. I’m getting a little obsessed with the scales, and that’s not good. Working toward a 5K would help me focus more on fitness and overall health vs. watching the scales.
  • I want to see if I can do it. You know, the “you must do the thing you think you can’t” thing.
  • I am really competitive, and sometimes when I see someone on Facebook or Twitter who has run a race, I always think, “They’re a runner? They don’t look like a runner. If they can run a race, I could certainly do it.” Sad, but true.

So, now what?

I texted Traci, who said that I could definitely be ready by February, especially with my trainer’s help. I downloaded a “Couch to 5K” app called 5K Runner. It coaches you to prepare for a 5K in eight weeks through a three-day-a-week regimen. I’m also going to email Daniel, my trainer, to see how he can help me prepare between now and February. And I told someone. I told Lila Anna, and I’m also telling you via the blog.

Stay tuned…

Running for the Colon Cancer Challenge …

By: Summer Brons

On Saturday, March 24 I participated in Lexington Medical Center’s Colon Cancer Challenge.  Held at Dutch Fork High School in Irmo, the event offered 65-mile and 25-mile cycling races, as well as an 8k run and a one-mile fun run/walk. With the race practically in my backyard (and with a modest registration fee!), I signed up for the 8k, happy for an opportunity to run my favorite distance for a great cause.

The 8k didn’t start until 8:45am and it was probably after 8:15 by the time I arrived. I’d intended to show up earlier, but I found myself in a bit of a battle with my iPod Shuffle, having determined that the morning of a race was the perfect time to completely erase everything on the device and begin anew. Multiple syncing issues later, I gave up the fight and decided to run with my iPhone since it was already in my hand and I knew it had music. I can’t run without my tunes, I just can’t. Kudos to other runners who can pound out the mileage without a soundtrack…I am simply not one of them.

I’ve digressed.

I made my way over to Dutch Fork High and was pleased to find that the event was extremely well-organized.  I was parked within seconds and able to walk straight up to the registration tables and pick up my race packet with no wait, no hassle. All that was left to do was sit in my car and compile a suitable playlist. (Shameless plug time: A premium membership with Spotify is totally worth it.)

As the clock ticked closer to 8:45 am, I made my way to the starting line with the other runners. It was a small field and everyone seemed to be in good spirits as we listened to the speakers touting the importance of colon cancer awareness prior to the start of each race.  As the horn blew and we set off, I went out entirely too fast and found myself tired within the first half of a mile…oops. I don’t run with other people very often, so when I’m in a situation with other runners around me, the excitement tends to push me beyond my typically manageable pace and I’ll burn out quickly.

Luckily, I was able to settle into a reasonable clip and particularly enjoyed the downhill stretches throughout the five-mile route. The course was great; a nice mix of flat, downhill and uphill terrain as we looped back to Dutch Fork High.  My Garmin clocked me at just under 48 minutes for 5.03 miles. Solid! As long as I’m under a 10:00 min/mile pace, I’m happy.  9:40 or under is grounds for excitement in my book.  According to the results posted by Strictly Running, I came in at 47:52 for an average pace of 9:38 and finished 10th out of 24.

The race was a great way to kick off my weekend and I’d like to give a huge thanks to Lexington Medical Center, Strictly Running and all involved sponsors for pulling the event together!  Cancer awareness is so important; it’s great to see folks getting involved with the community to help spread the word and raise funds for continued research and treatment.

My Secret to Running …

By: Brady Evans

I’m sitting here on my couch giving myself permission to be lazy.  I generally only give myself such allowances after one thing and one thing only: long runs.

This morning I spent three hours pounding the pavement around Lexington while completing an 18 mile run.

I know.  I KNOW.  I know.

“Why?”

I still can’t answer that question.  I’m training for my third marathon and the reasons for which I keep embarking on this sickly sweet pain and pleasure experience are still nebulous.

I think runners keep a secret from non-runners.  Okay.  I keep a secret from non-runners.  It’s weird.  My non-running friends and family talk more about my running than I do.  “This is Brady.  She’s a runner.”  “This is Brady.  She runs marathons.”  “My wife is amazing, she wakes up at 5 am and goes running in 30 degree weather, with a headlamp and a reflective vest, of course.”  It is nice to hear people say these things, but I don’t speak up about the truth.

I don’t crave running.  I don’t feel like my day is incomplete without my run.  Running hurts me.  After I drove home to my little farm out in Gilbert after my run this morning, I had to pick up my legs to get them out of the car.  I am not super human.  Running for three hours straight hurts.  Bottom line.

I hate the first three miles.  I will come up with nearly every excuse in the book to get myself to turn around during the first 30 minutes of my run.  I make believe in my head that the twinge in my knee cap is really my IT band severing and the pinch in my lower back is the beginnings of a bulging disk.

Why do we runners keep these facts a secret?  Maybe if we didn’t, more people would jump on the running bandwagon.  They’d realize that their feeling that their body isn’t made for running is just a myth.  Of course our bodies are made for running!  It just hurts getting started.

I run because it gives me such a feeling of accomplishment.  I run long because it is a rare feat.  I run longer because one day, I might not be able to.

I’m not asking you to take up my sport.  My very own husband, although he is proud of me, thinks to himself “what a waste of energy.  Imagine putting that energy into yard work.”

What I’m asking you to do is take up the task that is difficult.  Do the thing that you are not supposed to be able to do.

To me, there’s only one way to run 18 miles.  That way is to run 9 miles away from your car.  There’s only one way back.

It is about setting yourself up for success.  Do it!