Sunday, October 1, 2017

New Beginnings in Life

Have you ever taken a vacation, returned, and reassessed your life only to decide that major changes do not seem scary? I took a trip to Switzerland which was not only an epic adventure, but a template for thinking globally instead of locally.  I am taking a brave, new step towards the twilight of my career and redesigning my work life.  I want to continue my passion for wellness but on a different pathway.

 Is it scary?  Yes.

Will it work?  Who knows, but I know I need to try.

I have felt scattered this past year.  Holding a full-time job, taking care of my Dad, rearing a puppy, and trying to keep my running life together has been challenging.  I love being a part of the wellness world, but I feel that I have exhausted my current skills set since beginning my career 30+ years ago.

I have had a restlessness that wakes me up at night and consumes my thoughts during the day. This is how I know I need to try and step outside the box.  I need to push my edges and create more peace and harmony in my life.

I am fortunate to have a wonderful husband who although he doesn't try to understand me, he gets me.  He sees the highs and lows and supports, encourages and celebrates with me every step of the way.  There is something rumbling in my soul and I want to explore it. He is my rock, sounding board and my safe haven. Life is infinitely more wonderful having him as my husband.

Do I have a concrete plan yet?  Heck no.  That will be a part of the fun these next number of months as I am leaving my current full-time job at Starmount Country Club December 31st (unless they hire someone before then).

I have had many different avenues to encourage people to live healthier lives:  tv, radio, newspaper column, etc.  and maybe I will do something along those lines; or not.  Who knows at this point, but I am truly excited!

I can't wait for my future to unfold and I hope to chronicle it here in the blog.  Here is where I am committed to writing more and exploring this incredible earth we inhabit for such a short period of time.

Cheers to new beginnings!

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Saturday, February 4, 2017

New Year, New Everything!

I am embarrassed I have fallen short on the blogging front.  This is a new year and a new everything.  Last year this time, I was helping my Dad up in NYC in ICU.  Fast forward to now, he is living 6 miles from me in NC and adapting to NC life.  

In case you followed me last year, I did indeed hit my goal of 2016 in 2016.  I was logging some serious mileage in the month of December, but I did it!  I ended up with 2023 miles.  I did not, however, sign up for 2017 in 2017 because I did not like the stress this challenge caused me.  I think on a number of days I would have opted to rest my body (and probably should have) but I got my running shoes on and ran anyway.  I logged many more miles walking, rowing, elliptical training and cycling but I chose to only consider running miles in the challenge.  

One of the most magical moments of last year was being asked to be a Lululemon Running Ambassador.  Some of the Lululemon Crew came to a half marathon I was pacing in October and were there at the finish line with really cute signs. I was moved to tears of joy.  I have been a Lululemon fanatic since I learned about them 6 or 7 years ago in NYC.  I was the first patron on opening day at their showroom location here in Greensboro, NC and have been an avid fan of just about everything they sell.  They are really making great strides in their running gear and I hope to help them in any way I can with my 40+ years of running.  Big, hairy audacious things are in the works and I cannot wait to share them here on the blog.  Suffice it to say, I still pinch myself often to make sure I am not dreaming.  
 Lululemon now has a complete store at Friendly Center and I have been fortunate to host some runs from the store with more exciting plans in the future!  Stay tuned!  Now back to running...

 I am excited to be returning to Boston this April for the 2017 Boston Marathon.  My running friend, Jeriann, moved to Dallas so we thought this was a great way to see and spend some time together.  I am so excited to share a hotel room with her and plan on documenting our time in Boston down to the nitty gritty; all things running, that is!  I visited Jeriann in December and ran the half marathon there and ran into a few running friends celebrities:  Deena, Meb, Ryan, Desiree, oh my!  Can't wait for the fun to continue in Boston!  I did manage to earn 2nd place in my age group and just last week received my award.  Cameron, my faithful rescue dog LOVES to be in pictures!
I have been diligently training for Boston and can't wait to share what has been working and what hasn't in some future posts.  For now, here are some of my favorite pictures from last year (I am definitely working on my flexibility in 2017..eek!):

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

To say I am surprised that the year is half over is an understatement.  Many who know me know my Dad has had some health issues and I have been blessed to be able to help him recover and move down to North Carolina.  I could spend paragraphs of the joy and hardwork, but this is a wellness blog so I will stop digressing.

Running.  I have been running and have actually done a few races.  I did the Greensboro City Senior Games (I still choke on that word, senior) and managed to pull out 3 first places and 1 second place.  I am honored to represent Greensboro at the State Games in September.  I will have only 4 days to recover from my 24 hour ultra before my first event in the North Carolina Senior Games.  This should be interesting.  I am hoping to hit 100 miles in September.  Let's hope my legs feel the same way. I also had a girls get away weekend in May for the Running of the Vines 10k in Dobson, NC.  I was lucky enough to win first overall female and reconnect with one of my Winston-Salem running friends, Allison.  This photo was taken at some point after the race and it embodies what running does for me:  friendships and connections.  This photo makes me smile every time I see it.

If you follow this blog you know my quest is to run the year with at least 2016 miles in 2016.  I signed up with a virtual challenge called Run the Edge 2016 Challenge.  For more information, here is the link:

I slipped a little behind during my father's illness, but I am catching up!  In fact, I achieved this on July 4th:

I have 2 ultra races (Hinson Lake 24 hour & Crooked Road 24 Hour) so I feel confident I will achieve my goal of finishing the 2016 miles in 2016.

I also began one of my bucket list items this past weekend.  It will probably take me 10-12 years, but I want to hike the entire Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine.....all 2189.1 miles of it. As of Sunday, I have 2180.5 to go.  Dan indulged me and hiked 12.7 miles with me.  The section of the AT trail I hiked was only 8.6 miles, but you have to start somewhere!  We did not encounter half of the number of hikers I anticipated for a holiday weekend and was blown away by the vistas.  We started at the Grayson Highlands Park in SW Virginia.  Of course I wore my Lululemon gear to stay cool.

My camera has a timer which has been great on hikes where we encounter no one for hours!

This is the Wise Shelter.  I still cannot imagine me camping in one of these, but maybe.  Just maybe.  I would need a good friend to drag along for THIS adventure.
Speaking of adventures....look what we ran into on the AT Trail!  Yup.  This is a Longhorn.  In the middle of the AT trail.  I was petrified it was going to charge us!  When it finally meandered off the path, I started running and told Dan that I just had to be faster than him (LOL).  I am still not sure he saw the humor in it.

One of the delightful run-ins on the trail was with the horses!  We saw at least 2 dozen horses in a number of areas on our hike.  Some of them were tame enough to let me pet them.  This was fun!

I leave you with my thought for the day by Karim Seddiks:


Go dream......and run!!!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

2016 Inaugural Impi Team of Influencers

I personally have terrific news.  I had long work day on Monday and thought I was absolutely drained for the day, but I opened up an email and proceeded to stand and do a little happy dance!  There is nothing more satisfying than promoting a product I truly believe in. Getting rewarded for my passion is merely the icing on the cake.  I TRULY believe in my Balega Hidden Comfort Socks.  I am proud to announce I am part of the 2016 Inaugural Impi Team of Influencers.  I am stoked to speak, promote and have contests to share my love of this running sock.  What does "Impi" mean?  Well- straight from Balega International Press Release:

Impi is a Zulu word roughly translating to mean “warrior”. The 2016 inaugural team will be made up of approximately 100 men and women athletes from across the United States that will act as an army of Balega warriors. These run enthusiasts will help spread the Balega love across their social media channels, at races and in their day-to-day life.

I plan on being a champion warrior for Balega International.  I am excited to complete my 2016 miles in 2016 in my Balegas.  What I think I love most about my Balegas is that mine have never slipped down into my shoe.  They have a slightly deeper heel which makes my narrow heels happy that the fabric is not being stretched while on my foot.

Look for some exciting contests/giveaways coming up through my social media:

Instagram:  @cindyabarbour
Twitter:  @cindybarbour1
Facebook:  Cindy Kearns Barbour

Find me...let's keep in touch!

Here is where I am in my 2016in2016 journey:

I look forward to sharing my running journey with you in posts to follow!

Friday, January 8, 2016

2016: Oh Boy What a Year Ahead!

It seems crazy we have  finished the first week of the new year.  Resolutions, resolutions, resolutions.  Did you make any?  Without further ado, I did:

I agreed to complete 2016 miles in 2016.  I ran over 2,000 miles in 2014, but I actually did not even keep track in 2015 which may have led to  laziness less miles this past year.  I did not race in an ultra marathon last year and I only competed in 1 marathon; TCS NYC Marathon.  I paced and raced a few half marathons.  After my whirlwind year in 2014 my 49 year old body needed some time recover.  I feel energized and ready to tackle this year's goal.

I joined an online group to help keep me accountable.  As I usually tell people, I spend much of my time holding others accountable, so I frequently neglect myself.  Not this year.  This is my golden year. 50.  I am still swirling that number/word around in my mouth.  Haven't decided how I feel about it yet. But (if you know me) I'm going to make it EPIC!

Back to the online group.  I love seeing inspirational photos, quotes and funny stories from this group.  They live all over the world and it is nice to see snow, beach and all weather in between.  I also see this as a cautionary tale;  1 person's ultra is another person's 5k.  Translation: Remember the tortoise and the hare story?  Not every day should be a run day for everybody. Rest and recovery is key to longevity in this sport.  I should know.  I've been running for 40+ years now and I am rarely sidelined with an injury.  The few injuries I have experienced in my life were from tennis and not running.

Creating goals are great. Goals shared with like minded people are even better; till they are not.  Be careful.  I am hopeful that everyone is listening to their body!  Okay. I will stop preaching.  I will say this, however, this group got me out the door the other day when it was 24 degrees at 5:15am for a speedy (because I was cold!) 5 mile run.  All the posts from the midwest were reminding me I can be tough and handle a little cold weather running!

Last weekend I kicked off the running year with 50k with some running friends.  We were the "Blister Sisters".  We were an all female masters team and finished in 3:49:xx.  It was cold, but fun.  Salem Lake has always been one of my favorite places to run so it was especially great to run it with a great group of ladies.  This photo is missing my running friend, Dena.  She got to sleep in, arrive, kick butt and leave with our hardware for winning our division.  I am sandwiched in between my friends, Jen & Jeriann.  They may look adorable, but they are speedy ladies!

I am signed up to race the Wrightsville Beach half marathon in March.  I will pace the 1:45:00 group in the City of Arts Half Marathon in Winston-Salem on April 2nd  with my friend, Jeriann.  We have way too much fun pacing together.  I am pacing the Raleigh Rock and Roll half marathon on Sunday, April 17th.  The only other (little, haha) event I am signed up for so far is the Hinson Lake 24 hour Ultra.  I ran there 2 years ago and completed 92.7 miles in a little under 23 hours.  I look forward to attempting a 100+ this year.  Here is Dena and me at the start of the Hinson Lake 24 hour ultra 2 years ago.  We had a blast.  I look forward to making memories in 2016.
I always love hearing what goals/resolutions others make for the new year.....I want to make a vision board with your responses....please take a moment and comment!

Happy Running!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

TCS New York Marathon

There is so much to tell about this race. I feel like I should break it apart into 2 sections:

What was GREAT about the day
What was BAD LESS THAN IDEAL about the day

There was so much I did right, and so much I wish I could change, but that is the inner dialogue all most runners experience with every race.

New York was unlike any other race I have ever done:  50,000+ runners converging onto a bridge to run through the streets of the 5 boroughs.  These were city streets.  I was awestruck by the sights and sounds.  I loved the cheering of the spectators, runners and volunteers.  I experienced the quietness of the bridges, and then the surge of loudness of the bands, DJ's and noisemakers (insert:  need more cowbell!).  I also was impressed by the efficiency and thorough planning it must have taken to pull this event together.

The expo felt like a kid walking into Disney World for the first time. It is heavenly to see what is out there in our sport. Decades ago when I started running there were not all the gadgets, cute outfits and paraphernalia there is today. I am glad it is now a fashionable sport!

I am one of the lucky ones that got to stay 2 blocks from the South Ferry at my parents' condo on Wall Street.  I had an easy walk to the ferry that took us to the bus which took us to the entrance of all the color coded athlete's villages at 6:00am. It is hard to wait for a race with 50,000+ people walking/milling about, but they sure make it easy with food, 1700 port-a-potties, and a plethora of runners from many countries. I was settled into my assigned village with over 3 hours to go. For those of you who know me, I chatted with people, lots of people.

My starting corral was on top of the bridge.  They started funneling us towards the starting line with about a half hour to go before the start.  Each corral had several Goodwill donation bins that we threw our extra clothing into before the start. The temperatures were warm for a November day in New York. Well...they were too warm for me!

My goal for NYC was to run happy and Boston Qualify.  I wanted to run in the 3:20-3:40 range (which is a rather large time range) so I hid my Garmin from myself.  I wanted to run by feel and feel alone. It was a pretty crowded start so I settled into a pack.  We climbed the first mile up the bridge and I looked around smiling (didn't look down because the thought of 50,000+ runners on 1 bridge was scary to me). My Garmin was set to divulge only mile splits, no paces. The first mile was a 7:48 which was perfectly in the wheelhouse.  I actually felt like I was not moving at all.  The second mile was down. Down is an understatement.  When we reached the 2 mile mark I saw a 6:48 on my Garmin.  Oppss- didn't mean to do that, but I was in a pack and wasn't working very hard.  Besides, it was almost a completely downhill mile.

Mile after mile was comfortable and fun to see all the screaming/cheering spectators.  I was in a great groove because I returned to 7:30 pace miles just like I practiced at the Mini-Myrtle Beach (half) marathon 2 weeks earlier. Actually, when I cruised across the halfway point I was pleasantly surprised I was within 30 seconds of how I finished the Myrtle Mini run.  All was going great....until mile 14 (cue the screeching brakes).  Cups. Lots of cups. Ridiculous amount of cups I was dodging, jumping and sliding across.  Did I mention cups?  Well, there were also sponges, banana peels and assorted carbohydrate/electrolyte replacement gels.  It seemed there were water tables every mile. I slightly jumped over then landed on a cup. I then slid with that cup until I smacked my right foot into a subway/sewer grate.  I practically fell over and probably would have if a volunteer hadn't caught me. Then everything went bad. Very bad. My second toe was throbbing.  I kept running and grimacing and then watching me lose quite a few people I was running alongside. I wished them good luck and proceeded to question my ability to run further, but I was determined to Boston Qualify so I pressed on.

I altered my running gait to accommodate my toes that did not want to touch the ground again. For those of you who don't run, this can be a very bad thing. My body is used to running a certain way. I have been running that way for 40 years. I do NOT recommend doing what I proceeded to do. I then did what I tell myself never to do in a race. I walked. I think I walked a certain portion of every mile and then I would start running again because I felt guilty for walking. Why did I feel guilty for walking? I have no unearthly idea. I remember doing a 3:13 at a marathon at Myrtle Beach and getting beat by a woman who was doing the walk/run racing method. It was hard playing the yo-yo game with her, but she smoked me to a 3:11. I think I am stubborn (I am sure Dan is smacking his head in an 'aha') and wanted to BQ so badly that I didn't care what I did. I needed to get to the church finish line on time.

I saw Dan and Amber at mile 16. I was so in shock that I actually heard/saw them I look a little surprised in this photo, don't I? You can see my black Fellow Flower about to fall out on the side of my head. Amber is my son's girlfriend who is doing an internship in NYC and staying with my parents. Having Amber there was like having a piece of my kids with me on my journey.

I could not tell you what mile 17-23 looked like, sounded like or even felt like. I truly do not remember anything but focusing on putting one foot in front of the other. I took water/gatorade at every opportunity and had plenty of Honey Stinger chomps, so I know I hydrated and fueled during those miles. I started some cramping in my outer calf muscles due to the altered running gait and was trying my best not to touch my right foot to the ground each step. That is hard to do...just sayin'. I saw Dan and Amber again somewhere in between 23-25 and I knew I was going to finish in time to BQ. I remember whining to them that I was cramping and something was wrong with my right foot/leg. I pressed on and could not even enjoy the last mile which I am sure would have normally had me smiling ear to ear. I walked a little in that last mile and lamented on how I have NEVER done that before!

I finished the race and immediately squealed for the medic personnel saying there is something wrong with my calves and my right toe. They were great. They walked me to the medical tent which was right past where I took a finisher photo on the way. I thought I was grinning ear to ear but you can clearly tell I am grimacing. Oh well....(insert smile) I Boston Qualified!

Within 3 minutes of finishing, they took my blood pressure and it had dropped to 76/46 with a pulse of 56. I am going to watch my BP in the next couple of months to make sure there is not something wrong. They gave me ice for my calves and salty chicken broth for my tummy. They kept asking if I was dizzy and I actually felt great sans the calves and right toe! They let me leave once my blood pressure rose to 80/50 and I walked hobbled to get my post race poncho. The arduous journey was worth it. What an awesome plus! After collecting my poncho and walking 8 blocks I found these 2 lovelies. I am so lucky to have a supportive husband and family to do this crazy little thing called running. Running inspires me. Running challenges me.  Running keeps me grounded.

I have so much to be thankful for and so much work to do to stay running healthy. I am taking time to heal my foot and monitor this BP thing.  I did so much right in this marathon, and I did so much wrong. That is why I love running. Be grateful for days where you feel invincible and learn the lessons you need to learn on days things don't go as planned. Runners can be a little bogged down by numbers, past times, and paces. I am choosing to stay in the moment and enjoy every step!

In case you were wondering, I finished in 3:34:17. I was the 808th female and 4858 overall. I am a NYC New York Marathon FINISHER and I am proud!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Taper Crazies: The Road to the TCS NYC Marathon

The taper crazies have hit.  For those of you who do not run, this is the 2 weeks where you drastically cut your weekly mileage to prepare your muscles to run a marathon (26.2 miles; don't underestimate that .2).  This is where you review your training cycle and hope you 'did enough'.

The questions swirling around in your head can be staggering.

Did I run enough long runs?
Did I run enough hills?
Did I run enough tempo runs?
Did I? Did I? Did I?

Even though I have run over 15 marathons, 6 ultra marathons (anything over 26.2 is considered an ultra) and many, many half marathons I still respect the distance.  Yes I know I can run 26.2 miles.
Am I trying to race this marathon?  No.  I just want to run happy and enjoy it.  My focus is going to be shorter distances after this marathon so I truly just want to Boston Qualify (under 4 hours).  I ran a 1:37 half marathon the weekend before last and felt amazing.  Boom. I would be just fine keeping that train moving a little slower but nonetheless chugging along at a comfortable pace (for me). There is nothing better than feeling the miles click off on your Garmin without you realizing you are exerting effort.  Unfortunately, most runners know it is solely about THAT (race) day.  Race day can be anything, a mixed bag of sorts.

Each time I lace up my shoes to run a training run I always wonder if this is going to be a good day, tolerable day or a horrible running day.  Some training runs you question what the heck you are doing with running shoes on.  Some training runs you feel on top of the world.  This is where the taper crazies begin.

The time I would have used for running is now empty.  My energy levels swing higher and lower than a kid on a swing trying to touch the sky.  I find myself not sleeping very well either.  I have been waking up super early almost every day since my taper began.

The taper crazies have hit me so hard, I painted our youngest daughter's bedroom over the weekend. She is in her third year of teaching, so to say I dragged my feet is an understatement.  One of my steady running partners, Jeriann, helped me gather all my painting necessities because she was in taper mode till yesterday.  She rocked the Marine Corps marathon in DC with a 12 minute PR (3:25). I was singing and dancing following her on my phone all morning.  I should note I started texting her at 4:25am and she answered!  I think my husband was ready to have me committed.

Jeriann meeting me for a quick goodbye lunch before leaving for DC

My New York experience starts on Thursday afternoon.  I am lucky my Dad lives on Wall Street in Manhattan so I am walking distance to the South Ferry.  I will take the ferry to the starting line on Sunday at 6:00am. 

I found out that I will be starting at 9:50am on TOP of the bridge (insert yikes) in Wave 1, Corral D so I SHOULD have plenty of time to find where my corral is located.  I will also be taking a whole meal with me (in clear plastic bags) because I will be HUNGRY after just sitting/standing there for hours. One of my biggest racing idiosyncratic behaviors is that I need to see the starting line the day before or I don't sleep well because I will dream about the gun going off and I am scrambling trying to find the starting line.  Yes, that IS a taper crazy I have hung onto since high school.  I will have to deal with this this year because I will not be looking at the starting line the day before.  I will be visiting with family.

At Boston I had my friend, Jen Farrell with me.  Jen is one of my favorite running partners who put up with my crazy work  hours for years.  She was great about meeting me anywhere at anytime.  I still miss her immensely!  I will feel very alone without her with me at New York.

Notice the taper crazies unfolding in the above paragraphs?  I am bouncing all over the place.  I feel like a hamster who had their wheel taken away from them. I just want to run.....right now!

This morning I had a leisurely 6 mile run with some running buddies I do not get to run with very often.  We had a chatty, silly run that felt amazing in our cooler temperatures here in North Carolina. 
Beth and Amy allowed me to process my taper crazies while we chatted and ran farther than we originally scheduled.  This is why I love our Greensboro running community....EVERYONE IS AWESOME!

Amy and Beth were so much fun to run alongside!

I am sure I will have more to say about New York, Much more. I am trying to contain my excitement about seeing my Dad & Stepmom, and my sister and her family. I look forward to running all 5 boroughs by myself (alongside 50,000+other runners).  I think ONE of them will help me find the starting line before the gun goes off.

I leave you with a quote from William Shakespeare, "Things won are done, joy's soul is in the doing". I am fortunate to have supportive family and friends that give me daily encouragement.  Speaking of is a link to the trailer of my son's (Nick Westfall) first full length feature film he wrote and directed, "Finding Home".  I couldn't be more proud. It will premiere in Wilmington, NC on Saturday, November 21st on National Adoption Day.  Enjoy!