Microsoft Team “Rules” at the Nashville 2016 Marathon/Half Marathon/5k

 

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“The miracle isn’t that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start” John “The Penguin” Bingham.

Another Microsoft Nashville Team Marathon completed!  This year was another great year for Microsoft participation in the Country Music Marathon.  We had several Microsoft employees and family members run either the 5k, 1/2 marathon or Marathon this weekend.  It continues to amaze us, as each year our attendance continues to grow.  Work/Life balance is a top priority at Microsoft and therefore the continued increase in attendance more than likely is a direct result of our company’s focus on insuring employees are incorporating this in their lives. This is always a great opportunity for Microsoft employees to engage their entire family in a “fun” event together with other Microsoft families.  David and I were particularly excited this year as we had Mitch and Samantha from our family join our team! All of these folks trained over the past few months and prepared for the endurance challenge.

The night before the run we always have a dinner for all employees and their families running this event.  As usual the dinner was great and the sharing of stories and the time spent getting to know each other and their families was very rewarding.  This year “giant meatballs” were the favorite for all the runners.  Typically we have plates and plates of Pasta at dinner..this year Meatballs were EVERYWHERE!

The weather forecast for the marathon was very gloomy with thunderstorms predicted throughout the race.  It was an overcast morning on Saturday, April 30th, 2016 as the Microsoft team began to gather on the walking bridge from Nissan Stadium to Downtown Nashville. Periods of rain were in the area and traffic was plentiful.  The above photos consist of the employees that were able to make the 6:00 am photo shoot. Throughout the race we had periods of light rain but overall it ended up being a welcome cooling experience- much like a kid running through a sprinkler- it was just a 13.1 mile sprinkler in this case!

The marathon also changed the course again this year.  When I heard this, I thought “well it can’t get any hillier then in years past.” Wrong!  This year was the toughest course to date with hills for the first six miles and then a grueling hill the last mile before the finish.   Not sure why they did this but it was definitely part of all the conversations that we heard as we walked through to get our medals as well as the discussions during the party afterwards.  I cannot imagine what they will do next year- no way that they can put more HILLS into this course ( I will probably be eating these words after next years marathon).

This year was also a different race for David and I as we have changed our eating lifestyle.  We are now enjoying a Paleo/Keto lifestyle which is focused on a low carbohydrate eating style.   One thing that we have noted is that eating this way has definitely improved our overall performance and energy levels.  In fact, prior to this race we did not carb load (as we have done in previous marathons) and during the race we did not need to “fuel” ourselves with Gatorade or gu or jelly beans.  Our bodies naturally relied on burning fat for energy alleviating the need for us to  “replenish” or fuel our bodies during the 13.1 miles.  At the end of the race, we felt completely different than in past years.   Typically we are completely exhausted, out of breath, and in a lot of pain. This year, due to the fact that our bodies had leveraged our fat for energy, we felt great at the end of the race.  Other than a few pains in our legs or back (due to the mileage) our energy levels were high, we were alert and enjoyed the time after the race together.   David also had a PR this year for this course beating his PR 10 years ago!

I am sure there were many great accomplishments for our runners during this race!  Just finishing is an accomplishment, especially for our first time runners!    Ten years ago David’s PR on this particular race was 2:05:48.  It just goes to show that some things do get better with age as this year his ‘official” time was 2:03:26!  Mitch also had a overall PR during this race of 2:02 :20 and Samantha had a PR for this course of 1:55:51- Congrats!

Everyone had their own reasons for running this race; to achieve a PR, to challenge themselves, to get in shape for the Q4 activities at work, to embark on their first race or  to engage with their family in a fun event.  No matter what,  everyone running the race committed to a new goal,  worked hard, sacrificed to achieve their goal and experienced many of the same challenges across the course.  We are both fortunate to be able to be part of this team each year and enjoy and support the successes of everyone on our team!

Another great team event!  Looking forward to next year’s race on April 29th, 2017!

 

 

 

Embracing a Healthier Lifestyle Two-Gether!

I realize it has been a while since I have posted a blog. Even though I have not posted, we have been running and have some great accomplishments to share (I will be updating my blog over the next month or so).

During this post I wanted to share with you how David and I worked together to change our eating habits and thus our overall lifestyle so that we can enjoy many wonderful and healthy years ahead together.

About a month ago, we both realized that it was time to make some changes. Even though we had been exercising we both felt sluggish, over weight, not focused and just plain not engaged with each other as much as we had in the past. It seemed as though we fell into the same rut that we have talked about in the past due to the pressures from work and the constant interruptions from technology.

One morning I was sitting in bed and came across an article on the “Bone Broth Diet” http://bonebrothdietbook.com/revolution. I found it to be quite interesting especially since I have always struggled with immune system problems and it seemed like this diet was targeted at reducing inflammation throughout the body. Although I had not had any large breakouts from my immune disorder for over a year it seemed as though I was constantly taking Tums and just did not feel right. I felt it was time for a change.  David had been exercising quite a bit but was not seeing as much progress as far a losing weight and getting his blood pressure and cholesterol under control as he would have liked to see. After explaining the diet to him and the fact that it was only a three-week commitment we decided to try it out and STICK to it Together!

I spent a good two days making the bone broth for our three-week diet.   I never thought it would be so hard to find bones! I went to many butchers and they said that they gave their bones to some other company. The bones that were available for sale in the grocery stores were pretty high priced. I was continually wondering how I was going to even begin this if I could not find the bones! We had a great time together searching for bones. I am sure you can imagine the conversations we had (I actually laughing as I am typing these words). I finally found a bunch of chicken feet (lots of great cartilage) in a local store and mixed these with the carcasses of chicken and turkey. With these bones and the beef bones I was able to make enough broth to last the entire three weeks. Actually still have a great deal of broth left today!

The Bone Broth Diet Book continually talks about all the stages one will go through as they move through the three-week diet. I will have to say that the only tough part of this was the “fasting” days. The other days were pretty easy, although energy levels were low due to low calorie consumption. The biggest challenge for us at the beginning was not having our wine. David and I typically have a glass or 2 of wine about 4 evenings a week. During winter many of our special times together are spent sitting by the fire with a glass of wine watching our favorite TV Shows like the Walking Dead. We decided that during this three-week period we would try different types of hot tea together in replacement of wine. We actually enjoyed this and now have become quite accustomed to having tea together in the evenings as opposed to wine every other night.

During the diet you are not supposed to weigh yourself accept at the beginning and at the end. David and I are both very different as far as following these types of rules. David likes to see the changes and the effects of the change immediately and I prefer to just wait until the end. I have been on diets before and no progress day after day makes me anxious and therefore I typically just give up. Given this, David was receiving positive reinforcement daily with the weight loss he was experiencing. I just kept focused on the goal of changing my eating habits over the three week period.

We were successful! We made it through the three weeks and have completely transformed the way we will eat going forward. After completion of the three-week diet we no longer crave bread, chips, sweets, grains or any of the high glycemic foods that impact our bodies in negative ways. As runners we always thought that we had to have carbohydrates to fuel our bodies during our training and our marathons. After going through this change from high carbohydrate diet to a low carbohydrate/high protein diet we have more energy than we have ever had in the past even while running! We have made many new choices for food consumption together. David now substitutes carrots for wheat thins (wondering if he will be able to give up his eye glasses..haha). We both no longer eat bread with our meals. If we have a hamburger or turkey burger we either have it on a lettuce wrap or without a bun. We have breakfast together every morning (something we have not done in the past) consisting of eggs, sausage or bacon. We no longer crave or need toast (even to dip in our egg yolk- boy I never thought I would see this day!). We still drink the bone broth soup. I have modified it into a chili type soup now by incorporating fire roasted tomatoes and tomato paste into the broth. This will probably remain a consistent part of our diet as we move forward as it brings many benefits to help eliminate inflammation throughout the body.

The beauty of all of this is that we have changed together. Yes, we both lost weight. David lost 18 pounds and I lost 9. A week after the diet our weight remains consistent while our muscle mass continues to increase as we burn fat as opposed to carbohydrate. It is so amazing to look at each other and see the transformation we have made together in body, mind and soul. It truly puts a smile on my face.

Individually making this lifestyle change would have been difficult if not next to impossible at best. Doing this together, supporting each other throughout the change, made it not only doable but also enjoyable. Now that we are sharing the same eating habits and exercise habits there is a higher likelihood that we will continue to embrace this new lifestyle together throughout the coming years. We truly had fun embarking on this journey together!

Life is so much better sharing every moment with someone you love.