New Lily

I’m Ready for Fall Running…How about you?

My happy place in Maine, where late summer running is bliss...if it weren't for the darn hills.

My happy place in Maine, where late summer running is bliss…if it weren’t for the darn hills.

I’m up north at Lovejoy Pond (it’s really a lake) in Maine for the last two weeks of summer.  Fall has come a little early to this quaint part of the country.  Waking up to the singing loons and 50 degrees is a refreshing change from the heat and humidity of Charlotte in late summer.  With the exception of the extreme hills, this is my favorite place to run.

Running in Maine is a wonderful foretaste of what is to come in the fall to North Carolina.  I, for one, am excited!  The greenway near my house will be full of runners training for the many races in various parts of the country from October – December.  Cross country runners will be lining up at high school 5K races. Many of those summer treadmill runners will hit the pavement when the air gets colder and the trees start changing. Running is contagious in autumn.

Where will you be running this fall?

Remarkable Louis Zamperini: Athlete and Airman (R.I.P.)

Louie Zamperini

Louie Zamperini

Louie Zamperini

Louie Zamperini

Occasionally, whether in person or in a book, we are introduced to such a remarkable human being that we are changed by the very meeting.  This is what it is like to read about Louie Zamperini in Unbroken, by Laura Hillenbrand.  Hillenbrand also gave us the story of Sea Biscuit, the famous race horse, and we were similarly touched. Unbroken is a story that is at once unbelievable and yet incredible because it is true.  To become acquainted with Louis Zamperini is to love him.  His spirit, his zeal, and his amazing will to live challenge us to become better people for knowing him. Even if we have only read about him.

Louis Zamperini had been on my mind since  I’d read Unbroken on a long car ride earlier this summer.  Then two weeks ago, I heard Zamperini had passed away.  He was 97 years old.  Hillenbrand, an eloquent writer, expressed her thoughts on Facebook the day after Louie’s passing.  Here are her words, “In a life of almost unimaginable drama, he experienced supreme triumphs, but also brutal hardship, incomprehensible suffering, and the cruelty of his fellow man. He was an airman, a plane crash victim, a castaway, he was attacked by sharks and strafed by his enemy, he was a POW and a slave, he struggled with post-traumatic stress disorder. But Louie greeted every challenge of his long journey with singular resilience, determination and ingenuity, with a ferocious will to survive and prevail, and with hope that knew no master. His life would not be a sad story because he would not allow it to be. His story is a lesson in the potential that lies within all of us to summon strength amid suffering, love in the face of cruelty, joy from sorrow.” angelina joli10537807_782094188478960_917427181496894744_n As a runner, I was compelled by the story of what brought  Zamperini to the Olympics in 1936.  With a son in flight school, I was equally compelled by the story of his experience as an airman in the war.  Mostly, though, it was his abiding perseverance and extraodinary resilience that was the most compelling part of Zamperini’s story. If you haven’t read Unbroken, I recommend you do soon. You will be grateful for the privilege. His story is the subject of a movie directed by Angelina Jolie that will be in theaters on Christmas day.  Here is a link to the trailer:

Five Awesome Mom Salads

My own version of Caprese Salad...

My own version of Caprese Salad…

I love summer food. Especially salads. Fresh and colorful, summer produce and meats on the grill are delicious additions to an otherwise plain salad. My favorite salads are the those made from fresh ingredients. Following are some of my favorite summer salads (first one is my own version, the others come from great sources). These can be really easy if you are already grilling out chicken, steak or salmon. Just add the meat to the salad and you’ve got protein to boot!! I call these mom salads because even if the rest of the family doesn’t share our love for veggies and are content with the meat from the grill…we can create great salads to enjoy as a main course.

1. Whitney’s Caprese Salad

Ingredients: mozzarella balls, roma tomatoes, red onion, fresh garlic, fresh basil, edamame, salt and pepper, olive oil.

Chop garlic, onion, tomatoes, and basil. Combine all indredients and mix. Sprinkle with olive oil (be generous) and salt and pepper. Chill and serve with fresh bread! YUM.

Click on these links for more wonderful summer salads…

2. Grilled Sirloin Salad

3 . Herby Cucumber Salad

4. Heirloom Tomato and Beet Salad

5. Watermelon Cucumber Salad

Be Healthy! Enjoy Summer. Laugh.


How I Found Myself Praying at the Velodrome

Me at the Rock Hill Velodrome

Me at the Rock Hill Velodrome

I haven’t been scared in a long time. I mean really scared. The kind of fear that causes your heart to beat fast and your body to tense up. This week I joined a few of my kids and a group of triathletes at the Giordana Velodrome in Rock Hill, South Carolina, who were taking part in a certification class.  Sometimes I am amazed at what a mom will do for her kids (more about that later).

The course began in a classroom at 9 am going over the rules of cycling at the Velodrome. Watching the screen as Kyle (our instructor) showed what can happen when cyclists don’t follow rules, I began to sweat. Naively, I had seen people (even kids) riding on the banked track at the Velodrome and assumed that it must not be as difficult as it looked. They made it look easy, in fact. Yet, as I looked at the screens and saw some of the accidents that can happen when people aren’t careful on the track, I started to wonder what the heck I was doing there.

Some of our kids have been training with a triathlon group (Volo Multisport) and the group was looking to become certified at the Velodrome in order to train there and participate in some of their monthly races. Unfortunately, clinics for groups require a minimum of eight people. Since the tri team didn’t have enough that were of the age to participate, my husband volunteered me. Which is how I found myself at this banked track… about to clip my cycling shoes into pedals, get onto a bike with no hand brakes, and ride around the 250m world-class Giordana Velodrome. And which is why I began to pray.

[Read more...]

Paddle Boarding …. And Other Fun Summer Workouts

Me on the paddle board in Maine!

Me on the paddle board in Maine!

Looking for a new kind of workout this summer? Try stand up paddle boarding. I discovered this workout a few summers ago in Maine when I nice gentleman offered his paddle board to our family while we were staying on Lovejoy Pond.  I was amazed at how easy it was to get up.  Staying up those first few minutes wasn’t as easy.  However, after about 10 minutes I got the hang of it and ventured out onto the lake for my first paddle board workout.

It is more of a core workout than I first imagined.  Staying balanced on the board requires core muscles and legs muscles.  Of course the arm muscles are working, and switching paddling sides allows for both arms to get a workout.  Concentration is involved as well, especially as you get used to the feeling of the board across the water. As I became accustom to the feel of the workout, I could look around at the beautiful Main scenery and really enjoy the “workout”.  On that first paddle board run I made my way back to the dock where my family was enjoying the waterfront when a boat cruised by causing choppy waters to emerge…and causing me to land in the water!

There are a lot of other things that you can do on a paddle board while it is in the water.  Some people do yoga. For a complete set of paddle board exercises click here. The cost of this type of workout varies depending on where you are.  Some parks near water will rent paddle boards for $15.00-$40.00 an hour.  Or often you can rent them for full or half-day prices.

Some other different summer workouts… [Read more...]

13 Great Tips for Healthy Eating

Eating shouldn't be complicated.  It should be as easy as riding a bike!

Eating shouldn’t be complicated. It can be as easy as riding a bike!

My good friend, Alan Tyson, physical therapist and owner of Architech Sports, posted the following healthy tips for athletes.  I believe they make sense for all of us!

Tip #1 Turns out mom was right…EAT BREAKFAST (within one hour of waking up).

Tip #2 EAT OFTEN (about every three hours).

Tip #3 Have a source of PROTEIN at every meal or snack (meat, fish, eggs or egg whites, yogurt, etc.).

Tip #4 Get 20 oz. of PROTEIN after your workout (not the carb-heavy stuff).

Tip #5 Drink H2O!  At least 63 oz. (or more) every day. [Read more...]

Finally a Green Smoothie I Can Handle

Not bad!  That's saying a lot!

Not bad! That’s saying a lot!

My brother-in-law is staying with us.  He decided he wants to start drinking a green smoothie everyday.  Since he had never tried one, he said to me, “How bad can they be?”  Well…pretty bad, actually.  Warm and fuzzy are not emotions that are stirred up in me when the word green smoothie is mentioned.  I’ve tried my share.  When two years ago my husband was diagnosed with cancer, I started making green smoothies for him.  I wanted the healthiest variety.  And he couldn’t eat fruit because his throat was subjected to radiation treatments and was incredibly sore.

We tried many different varieties containing lots of kinds of greens… wheatgrass, kale, spinach, collards, celery, cucumber, etc.  None of them were particularly palatable.  Some people would say it just takes time, that your taste buds get used to things.  Not mine.

My husband can tolerate fruit now, which makes a smoothie a lot easier going down. I decided to do a search for green smoothies.  Much to my surprise they weren’t really green at all.  I would have called them greenish-orange, purple, any other color of the rainbow in fact, but green.  Pineapples, peaches, bananas, strawberries, blueberries….  Every kind of colorful fruit imaginable went into these “green” smoothies.  How are they green?  They weren’t really what I was looking for.

While I have given up trying to make a non-fruit green smoothie that tastes good, I also don’t want to add too much fruit to totally mask the greens.

Following is a healthy, green smoothie recipe that has just a little fruit, a solid pack of greens, and tastes….well, pretty good (that’s really good on the true green smoothie scale). My brother-in-law’s friend sent this recipe….hope you like it! [Read more...]

Easter Is a Wonderful Chance to Try a “New Program”



This is a day of joy.  It represents new life.  New beginnings.  Second chances.  As a Christian, this day is THE day.  It trumps all others.  We celebrate Christ’s incredible gift to each one of us. I sat in church this morning keenly aware of how, though undeserving, I am grateful for the opportunity to start anew.  Glad to toss the “old self”, I feel excitement at the prospect of a new one.  This is true for all of me, not just the spiritual part. As a mother, a wife, a daughter, a sister, a friend.  In all aspects of my life I could use a second chance.  Can’t we all?

I am not a theologian.  And this is not a religious blog.  But I can’t help but see the connection of Easter in every area of my life.  Yesterday was unseasonably cold here in North Carolina.  It rained for 13 hours….then I stopped counting.  I was supposed to meet my friend Susan for an early am run… but it was raining too hard.  Instead of venturing out, I got on the treadmill in my bedroom. My husband gave me this treadmill two years ago.  Although thrilled at the time, I have actually not been a fan of running inside.  Boring.  I can never get past staring at the screen and counting each second as it goes by. [Read more...]

Is There a Healthy Way to Lose a Few Pounds In Time for Spring/Summer?

beachesphoto_lg_antiguaandbarbudaThe answer to the question is YES. From what I have learned over a number of years, however,  a slow weight loss is typically the most effective.  Losing weight in the short term can be helpful, though, as a jump start.  If, say, you are heading to the beach for spring break, and you want to lose a few pounds, you can do so in a healthy manner.  You can even keep it off if you play your cards right.  My suggestion is always to take the long term approach, but if you have an event like a wedding or spring break, using that as a goal to help you start the process is fine.

The following are three ways to lose a few pounds in a few weeks:

water glassimages1. Drink more water.  Wake up and drink a glass of water.  Drink a glass of water a few hours later.  Before lunch, drink a glass of water. Drink a water bottle all afternoon.  Drink a glass of water before (or with) dinner.  Drink some herbal tea with lemon an hour before you head to bed. Why is water helpful to losing weight? [Read more...]

Tabata Method is a Great Way to Workout

tabatascreen568x568I feel a little late in coming to the dance.  Folks have been talking about high intensity interval workouts for a long time.  Yet, it’s only been recently that I have used the Tabata method.  And I love it.  For those who might also be a little late to the dance, the Tabata method was named for Dr. Izumu Tabata, a Japanese doctor and coach who discovered that short, high intensity exercise followed by shorter rest intervals showed the best performance in studies he conducted (the idea was originally pioneered by the head coach for the Japanese Olympic speed skating team, Irisawa Koichi and Tabata piggybacked on his research and knowledge).

The Tabata method paper was published in 1996 in the journal “Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise.” entitled, “Effects of Moderate-Intensity Endurance and High-Intensity Intermittent Training on Anaerobic Capacity and VO2max.”  These doctors discovered that interval training produces much better results than aerobic training. This included building as much muscular endurance as 45 minutes of normal cardio training. [Read more...]