Listen Up Hard Heads

I will be heading back to Kaiser for the 3rd time in as many weeks tomorrow.  Some of these trips could have been avoided.  A look at my behavior over the last year or so tells the story.

  • In the last year there’s been at least three times when physicians have said stop running , heal completely, then return at a slow pace. What I did? Stop running until I felt good and went right back to full steam ahead.
  • There have been at least two physicians that have said lose 10 pounds. I would lose 5 get some good labs and start eating whatever I wanted to again accompanied by wine of course.
  • Two times physicians have instructed me to perform stretching and strengthening exercises for the back, legs and feet. Again once the pain was gone I resumed my usual level of activity which involves pounding the treadmill and pavement and making the move from the Barbie weights to the big girl weights the prescribed exercises are filed away in a folder.
Back in the day my mom and all the old folks use to say “a hard head makes for a soft a**”. Well they were right, I have spasming butt cheek to prove it.

I can’t afford to be hard-headed anymore. I’m older, diabetic and in  perimenopause. I have learned, the hard way I suppose that the body will always tell you when something is wrong. Even though society says push through it, grind it out or at this one gym I used to go to, “go ahead and throw up” this is something I can no longer do. Listen, comply and modify is my new mantra. It’s what I have to do to maintain a decent quality of life as I age.  As of this writing I am forbidden to perform:

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I have stuck to what the doctors ordered, pending additional instructions from my visit tomorrow and follow up with sports medicine.

I know I’m not the only hard head out here. I’d love to hear your hard head stories, what made you stop being hard headed and the results of the change.  If you care to share please do so in the comments, on  Google+ or Twitter.

To all those who have read my lamentations and given suggestions on how to get better, thank you!

Photos: MsThorns

Powered By Soul Spotlight – Michael Wilson Jr.

Oh how I can go on and on about this guy. The Burpee Champ, the Big Tease Chef who tempts the internets with his food porn, the music connoisseur, the politically astute, the wry humorist and the boxing expert.  That’s just the stuff I know about.  He also happens to be the first person that I EVARRRRR “hungout” with in a Google+ Hangout. Introducing my “food husband” Michael Wilson in his own words.


Michael Wilson Jr., 38 creator and host of the Pound 4 Pound Boxing Reportpodcastblog and YouTube channel and regular contributor to Ringnews24.

Tell us about your fitness routine.

I workout at home 5-6 days a week primarily P90X and Neila Rey’s no equipment workouts. Once a week I practice yoga to maintain flexibility.


Do you follow a particular nutrition plan?

My diet is my weakness. I do drink 64 oz of water a day and try to eat as healthy as I can.  I eat salad 3 days a week and lots of fish and grilled chicken. My main weaknesses are Reese’s Pieces and Snicker bars.

How long have you been practicing your fitness and nutrition programs?

Around 2004-2005 I was heavy, around 250 pounds and my blood pressure was at dangerous levels. I started out by walking at a local park and lost 30 pounds which was cool but I wanted to tone up. Around 2008-2009 I saw the P90X program and started it and have built muscle on the program.

Do you have a success story or testimony you’d like to share?

I no longer take blood pressure medicine and now keep it in check through diet and exercise.

What motivates you to continue to maintain a healthy lifestyle?

There’s an aspect of fear on my part. I don’t want to go back to the days where I was 250 pounds and my blood pressure was at dangerous levels.  Now if I go 3-4 days without exercise I get restless and have to do something.

Do you have a personal motto or philosophy that you subscribe to?

Take care of all aspects of your health, physical, mental and spiritual to maintain balance in your life.  This works in a general sense and for me personally.

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Powered by Soul thanks the man of many talents, Michael Wilson for sharing his story with us.  Be sure to check him out all over the internet by clicking the links in the Vitals section.

If you or someone you know want to be featured in the Spotlight, drop a line in the comments, on Twitter or on Google+.

Photos: Michael Wilson collection

A Real Pain In The…

20130619_150939Some comic details came forth from my visit to urgent care Sunday. Stuff like jumping butt cheeks, stale graham crackers and x-ray technicians who know only of x-ray film from books like they’re ancient history. Then stuff got kinda serious. I’m diabetic after all and I do get a little scared sometimes. My sugar was down to 59 and my arse was hurting and messing up other stuff.


I’d been having these muscle spasms for a week in my fanny. Thinking that skipping running a week I’d be in good shape so I kept it moving. Lifting weights, Tai Chi, yoga everyday and some time on the elliptical. By Sunday I couldn’t take it. I had this tingly and numbness that ran from my rear end all the way down my leg to my right foot. The doctor ordered an x-ray, instructed not to run or lift weights and prescribed oral steroids and pain meds.

The doctor called later that evening and stated that I have arthritis in back. Queue expletives.

Today wasn’t much better. I did some yoga took the meds which I hate and made an appointment to go back Tuesday. The pain isn’t bad it’s the spasms and tingling stuff that is wearing me out. My paranoia about not being able to move runs deep. Moving and diet changes enabled me to be off medication for diabetes for the last 6 years. What I believe is that I’m paying the price for carrying 200+ pounds on a small frame for years and that the damage was already done when I finally got my act together in ’08.


I’m trying to be optimistic but I’m fearful of being limited after coming so far.

Stay tuned…

Photos: MsThorns

Powered by Soul Spotlight: Edwin Boatswain

IMG_20140622_115643Thanks to the Google+ Smartphone Photographers Community I’ve had the pleasure of meeting the Road Runner.   Not only was he submitting beautiful photos to some of the weekly photo challenges of the group, i started noticing some photos of him outfitted in running gear and race numbers and such.  Turns out this dude is a BEAST so much so that he celebrated the first part of his birthday this year running a 10k.  Anybody who chooses running to start off a birthday is someone whose story I’d like to know and hopefully you will to. Introducing the Road Runner, Mr Edwin Boatswain in is own words.


I’m Edwin Boatswain, from London, England, UK. I’m 44 years old and a software developer.

Tell us about your fitness routine.
My exercise regime is a mix of whatever I’m enjoying at the moment. Yoga is a staple though. I study Vijnana and Body of Light yoga as my main practice with a great yoga teacher who gives great detailed instruction. You can find out more about Vijnana and body of light at her website. square I go to the YMCA and try a lot of classes. Yoga, Strike! and circuits are current favourites. My main focus at the moment though is running. I’m not a natural runner by any means but I’m really enjoying it and finding my limits. Then pushing them a little bit.A few years back I signed up for a Nike sponsored 10K. I dragged myself the park, went to some of the training runs and got hooked. I really don’t know what I’m doing so I’m learning by doing and paid for my mistakes with injuries however the Central YMCA has a great physio by the name of Andrea who also practices yoga and runs. Frequently she’s stopped me from running while injured but given me the tools to get back on my feet. She practices in London and Bath and has a website here. 1405247031805 IMG_20140712_194126 In the UK there’s a private health company called BUPA that sponsors a series of runs. They provide a great set of training plans on their website and lots of advice. I’ve run three half marathons and these training plans have gotten me to the end. So to answer your actual question. My current training plan consists of: 4-5 hours of yoga a week 4-5 sessions of running a week of various lengths A circuit class whenever I can fit it in.

Do you follow a particular nutrition plan?

I try to follow a balanced diet but have struggled with weight since I was a kid. I’m a Weight Watcher and have been through several versions of the Weight Watchers programme. What I’ve taken from each is to keep a record of what you eat and aim for a balance from each of the food groups.

How long have you been following your nutrition plan?
I’ve been a Weight Watcher on and off since the 90s. OK mostly off, but last year I reached my goal weight after tracking properly and being active. There was a hiccup after which I put weight back on and (today actually 7/17/14) I made it back to my goal weight.


What motivates you to maintain your fitness and nutrition programs?
I really didn’t like the sluggish and constantly tired feeling I had while heavier. I like the extra energy I have now and I’m probably turning into an endorphin junkie! Another motivation is clothing, it’s much easier to buy clothes now.

Do you have a motto/personal philosophy you’d wish to share?
I’ve been hearing a Fatboy Slim song a lot “Eat, sleep, rave, repeat…” Trying to fit in the training runs recently it started to feel like “Eat, sleep, train, repeat”. I kind of like that one as a tongue in cheek motivational thing.

Powered by Soul thanks Edwin Boatswain for bringing his boundless energy across the pond and sharing it with us. Please check out the links that he’s shared and pass along to your folks.

If you or someone you know would like to be featured in the Spotlight, drop a line in the comments, on Google+ or Twitter.

Photos: Edwin Boatswain collection

Taking it Easy at Rabbit Hill Park

IMG_8678I went to a place that I’ve only heard mentioned on the news, Dacula Georgia. Turns out it’s really not too far, straight out 316 about 20 minutes from where I live. The 20 minutes was well worth the drive to experience Rabbit Hill Park.

IMG_8688The park is split and runs on both sides of Rabbit Hill Trail and hosts an abundance of amenities. In the evenings the entire park is in use. In the mornings, folks primarily make use of the trail and the dog park. What’s cool about the dog park is that it doesn’t allow for dogs and owners to mingle all willy-nlly. There are separate spaces for large and small dogs as well as a “dog run”.IMG_8916

The Trail
The park website indicates 2.65 miles of paved trail. Coming from Hurricane Shoals, this refers to the part of the park that is on the left, which includes the dog park and volleyball lots. The outer loop of the trail is 1.34 miles. The loop and the inner trails make up the the 2.65. I actually chose to run the 1.34 outer loop, crossed the street and looped around the basketball/baseball/lake side of the park which is about 1 mile with another 1/4 mile (approximate) around the lake. Whatever route you choose, it’s all pretty much smooth sailing.RabbitHilltrailmap(map courtesy of Gwinnett County Parks)

A few other notes on the trail to be mindful of: only the dog park side is marked, also both sides have stretches where there is no shade, i.e. you’ll cook but only briefly. Lastly neither side of the park is hilly, winding yes, some short inclines yes, but no hills. I’d say it’s perfect for getting in speedwork which I did see a guy doing but I didn’t photograph him as he was giving me side eye when we crossed paths earlier.

IMG_8951Overall Impression

I love this park. Rabbit Hill has something for just about everyone. After having completed Peachtree, I really wanted to go out and run for the joy of it and Rabbit Hill Park is a great place to run/walk/bike etc. and enjoy the sights. For more information on Rabbit Hill Park visit the website. For more photos, see the album on Google+.

Until next time see you on the trail.

Photos: MsThorns except where noted

Powered By Soul Spotlight – Deandra Bryant

20140608_091859I met Deandra a few years ago at a HIRL here in Atlanta.  What I noted about Deandra straight off was how FLY she was.  She’s not just a pretty face though, over the last several months I have watched her transformation to pretty FIT.  I couldn’t let her get away without sharing with the rest of us, what she’s been doing.  So here’s the fly, fit girl in her own words, introducing Deandra Bryant.

Deandra Bryant from Atlanta, Georgia.

Tell us about your fitness routine/program.
I work out 5 to 6 days a week. I do a mixture of an hour of cardio. It could be zumba, piloxing, taebo dvds or elliptical/ treadmill machine. I also incorporate weight lifting in my activity 3 days a week.


Do you follow a particular nutrition plan?
I follow the clean eating method. I try to get in at least a gallon of water a day.

How long have you been active with your fitness program/nutrition plan?
I’ve been in my fitness journey since December 2013.

Do you have a success story or testimony you’d like to share?
I have lost 30 pounds and 4 dress sizes. My cholesterol, glucose and blood pressure are all within healthy ranges.

What motivates you to maintain your fitness/nutrition program(s)?
I want to live a healthy balanced active life.

Do you have a personal motto/philosophy you’d like to share?
Who says change is not within you?! Get up, Grind it out, be grateful.

Whew! Did you get all that? Deandra puts in work! Powered by Soul congratulates Deandra on her committment to a healthy lifestyle and on the progress she’s made on her journey. Thank you Deandra for sharing your success with us.


Would you or someone you know like to be featured in the Spotlight? If so, please be sure to drop a line in the comments, on Google+ or Twitter.

Photos: Deandra Bryant collection

Retirement Party – Peachtree Road Race #16

The old broad waffled all the way until the last week this year but mugs refused to let me weasel my way out. With the promise (to myself) that this was my last Peachtree everrrrrr, predicted perfect weather and a commitment to go to the race with the young’n below. My fanny made it out the door to the 45th Annual Peachtree Road Race, my 16th and FINAL 🙂


The People
I met this cute couple Jamie a race veteran and Albert a first timer who were absolutely right. Travelling after 7:00 am to the race start made their wait time for their start wave minimal.


I plopped down next to Christian, also a first timer who was cool as a cucumber and indulged the old broad’s questions and photo snapping.


Of course upon arrival there was no shortage of costumes. Wonder Woman and I think Captain America (not good with superhero names) were making their way to the start line.


The music
The bands this year were some of the best I can recall. At Brown & Co. Jewelers the band was playing some serious funk. Further up at Fellini’s Pizza I heard rap and across from Justin’s, salsa/merengue so good that I wanted to take my non-salsa dancing self over and join the party.

My race
I ran through and got sprinkled by the holy water at St Phillip, ran up cardiac hill and took it easy by running just under 4 of the 6.2 miles. Taking it easy allowed me to watch an 80 year old man who was a member of the  100 marathon club pass me, meet and talk to a soror from Decatur Alumnae and enjoy all the good music, colorful folks and architecture on the way to the finish. My finish time was the slowest I’ve ever recorded and I was over the moon about it because there was no need to visit the medical tent.

I’ve said I’m through for the last three years or so but actually mean it this time.  I had to get my ego out of the way and realize that I can’t take heat and humidity like I used to and weather like today doesn’t happen every year.  I’m certainly not through racing now that I’ve got most of the injuries behind me, but I’m no fool either.  Fall and winter are my new seasons and as long as the body holds up.  I’ll return to racing when the temperatures drop.
How did you spend your fourth of July? Was it in active pursuit of a personal record in a race, or active pursuit of a plate, beer and friends and family? Let me know in the comments.
Until next time see you on the trail and Happy Independence Day!
Photos: MsThorns