About Jannine Myers

This is a blog for women who love to run (in general, but especially on trails), eat healthy and delicious food, and succeed in life! Also follow me on Instagram @https://www.instagram.com/guiltlesseats/ and on my Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/pg/womenstrailrunning/about/?ref=page_internal

Don’t Say It’s Genetic

Let me preface this post by saying that it is not a bragging post! It’s a post intended to inspire fitness goals by encouraging what I believe is the key component to any successful training plan, and that is, consistency!

I got to thinking about the idea of this post several weeks ago, when my work colleagues and I had gathered together for a lunchtime meeting (for those of you who don’t know, I work at a fitness centre that specializes in Supervised High Intensity Strength Training). Our employer, who led the meeting, was about to point out that some individuals – and he looked in the direction of one of our team members – are blessed when it comes to body composition and how they respond to resistance training. But before he could get the words out, my colleague – the one who had been singled out – was quick to interrupt with the following words, “DON”T say it’s genetic!”

This co-worker of mine is undeniably shredded; he looks amazing, and is in way better shape than most other guys. He was quick to respond because he objected to what he assumed was about to be insinuated. And I can hardly blame him. As a woman who is unusually lean and toned – when compared to other Gen-X’ers – I am frequently told how genetically lucky I am to be able to skate through my mid-life years without gaining too much fat or losing too much muscle mass.

Here’s the thing; while it’s most probable that some individuals are ‘hyper-responders” who tend to see their exercise efforts pay off a little quicker than others, the end result  ultimately goes back to hard work and consistency. Someone I know – whose training disciplines I really admire – sometimes challenges me when he knows I’m physically holding back; he’ll jokingly say, “Those muscles aren’t painted on!” While said in jest, he also means it quite literally. He knows my lifestyle, and the daily habits that I rarely deviate from. My co-worker too, is solid in his everyday commitment to living his life in a way that produces specific and intentional outcomes.

So whether you’re a hyper-responder or not is completely irrelevant, because anyone is capable of getting rid of fat and improving muscle tone…… regardless of age, size, or genetic ability. Granted it may take a little longer for some, but change is inevitable when CONSISTENCY is the core driving factor behind any training and nutrition plan!

Early morning PT session with my favourite instructor, Sarah Colebrook

Learning To Celebrate The Small Wins

Note: originally posted in 2012

A couple of situations arose last week which inspired me to write this post. The first one was the unfortunate high temperature last Monday, which forced hundreds of Boston marathon runners to exit the race prematurely. The second had to do with yesterday’s Kourijima half marathon here in Okinawa, which due to humid and rainy weather conditions, also turned out to be a tough race for those who attempted to run it.

Perhaps because I had a personal interest in these races (my coaching partner and good friend Anna Boom was a participant in the Boston marathon, and one of my running clients was a participant in the Kourijima half marathon), was I moved to share my thoughts and convey a message that race results are not the “be all and end all!”

Setting PB’s (personal bests) and achieving podium-status awards should not directly equate to success or failure. On the contrary, race results should be treated as part of the overall prize package – with the prize package comprising of all the intrinsic rewards that are earned throughout the entire training process. There is much to be celebrated along the way. Greater endurance and speed for example, or perhaps a better body composition or greater confidence and self-discipline; these are all smaller “wins” that are worth reflecting upon and using as measures of overall performance.

My client, who recently ran the Kourijma Half Marathon, spent the past two months training incredibly hard. Her commitment to consistently follow a progressively structured training plan without taking any short cuts has led to faster run times and significantly improved endurance. Furthermore, she has gone from being a relatively inexperienced runner with uncertain expectations, to being a stronger, more informed runner with a whole new level of confidence that is spilling over into other areas of her life.

Would it make sense then to box up all of these positive outcomes and shelve them as obsolete because her race day goals were not met? I suspect that under better race day conditions, and on an easier course, my client would have done exceedingly well. I also have no doubt that my good friend Anna, who instead of reaching the Boston Marathon finish line almost collapsed in a first aid tent, would also have experienced a great race if not for the severe weather conditions. Understandably both ladies were disappointed, despite the obvious challenges they each faced.

However, while it’s normal to feel defeated and discouraged when hopes and goals are not realised, we should allow for only a brief time of permissible despair. You’ll be a far better person and athlete if you can quickly move on and reflect upon the entire race experience as a whole. In doing that you’ll be reminded of all the progress made since day one of training, and hopefully be more mindful of seeing future races as opportunities to celebrate the smaller but everyday gains and wins. And if race day goals are also achieved, then BAM! – that’s the icing on the cake.

Kourijima Half Marathon – rain and wind didn’t steal this couple’s joy; they finished and that’s worth celebrating!

I’m A Runner – But Not Defined By Running

Jannine Myers

I remember reading an article back in 2015, before Rodale ceased publication of it’s Running Times Magazine. The article, which featured New Zealand ultrarunner Anna Frost, touched not on her status as an elite athlete, but on the severe depression she experienced when injury forced her to take a break from running.

© www.annafrosty.blogspot.com

© www.annafrosty.blogspot.com

Anna’s story isn’t uncommon; depression during times of forced rest and recovery is something many runners struggle with; it’s so common in fact that it’s often the topic of discussion on various running forums and websites. While most recognize that depression occurs because there is a huge loss of emotional and physical fulfillment, the idea that a sense of identity is also lost is not so perceptible.

In Anna’s case, that’s exactly what happened; she faced the possibility of never running again and found herself asking the question “Who am I, then, if I’m not Anna the runner?” She wondered how she would spend her time, and worried too about peoples’ reactions, especially those who knew her as Frosty, one of the world’s leading female ultrarunners.

Even at the non-elite level, everyday runners can experience a similar host of emotions. Regardless of achievements and status, a runner is a runner is a runner…… so if running is no longer an option, it’s easy to see how feelings of a lost identity might evolve. Most runners for example, wake up each day and anticipate their morning, afternoon, or evening run, and others even, who schedule life around their runs (versus fitting in a run only if time permits).

For someone like Anna, who filled much of her time with training and racing, thoughts and priorities were heavily focused on things related to her running goals. To suddenly find herself in a position where all running had to be ceased, it’s not surprising that a period of depression ensued. Fortunately she was able to recover by training her mind to accept only positive and empowering thoughts, and as her emotional health improved so too did her physical health.

Anna eventually went on to run and win more events, but her return to training and racing was accompanied by a much healthier mindset. These days Anna balances her life by also making time to swim, make jewelry for her online business, and enjoy quality time with friends and family.

Running may be the “thing” we most love to do, but it doesn’t define who we are. Anna’s story teaches us to seek out other enjoyable activities, so that we don’t box ourselves into a life that can only be enjoyed if running is at the heart of it.

Kids Have MUCH More To Gain From A Healthy Diet Than Just Weight Control

I heard a news report recently that cited several reasons for the staggering increase in childhood obesity: biological factors, unregulated marketing of unhealthy foods and beverages, a decline in physical activity, and inadequate access to healthier food options.

With regards to nutrition, I think conventional approaches to influencing changes are simply not working. Both government and private health groups constantly disseminate information in attempts to encourage better dietary choices, and yet the number of kids being categorized as overweight or obese continues to rise. 

Not wanting to get into a debate on what might or might not make a difference (there’s enough of that going on right now with the sugar-tax proposal), I’m going to share instead a “happy story,” one that tells of the surprising transformation that took place when a friend took small but progressive steps to change her 10 year old son’s eating habits.

Jet is twelve years old; at the age of just ten he ran and finished a half marathon. Two weeks later he also completed a very challenging 10k mud run. While it’s not uncommon to see young kids of Jet’s age participating in running events, it is unusual to see them completing the more difficult adult distances and courses.

Two years prior, health reasons prompted Jet’s mother to change his diet. Haruna, Jet’s mother, says, “Jet always loved to eat lots of meat, and very few veggies. He loved to eat chocolate or anything sweet; he’d eat just sugar if he could!”

To start with, Haruna stopped buying processed snacks. She used to keep an ample supply in the house but knew that that had to stop. Her greatest challenge was saying no to Jet and his sister when they accompanied her to the supermarket, but by compromising and allowing them to each choose just one “treat,” she was met with far less resistance.

The next step Haruna took was to cut back on Jet’s meat servings, another huge challenge since he was used to eating meat-heavy meals every day of the week. The change was initially too drastic, so reducing Jet’s portions (and eventually meals), had to be a gradual process that involved simultaneously introducing a greater variety of salad vegetables and dressings. 

Haruna says it was around eight months later that she began to observe some very noticeable differences in Jet’s body; he looked leaner and more muscularly toned. But in addition to the changes in appearance, he seemed to have much more energy and soon expressed a desire to start joining his mother on some of her weekly runs.

Not long after he took up running with his mother, Jet decided he wanted to train for his first half marathon. Haruna believes that Jet’s change in diet made it possible for him to achieve that goal; the change in body composition (loss of fat and increase in lean muscle), undoubtedly gave him the physical strength he needed, but Haruna says the real surprise came with the changes she observed in Jet’s mental clarity and behavior. 

According to Haruna, Jet somehow seemed calmer, more positive, and better able to focus and concentrate. Most athletes will agree that these qualities are invaluable in the realm of endurance sports, especially if the end goal is to “successfully” complete an event (and imagine how these qualities would improve a young person’s life, in general).

For Jet, success would have been defined by simply finishing, and had Jet remained on the diet he had enjoyed for so long, it’s highly likely that running and finishing a half marathon at age 10 would never have happened.

jet

Jet, trying to stay cool in the hot and humid conditions, and still smiling!

At just 10 years old, Jet completed a half marathon and proudly earned his finisher's certificate!

At just 10 years old, Jet completed a half marathon and proudly earned his finisher’s certificate!

Jet and his mom Haruna on right - at the Famous Hansen 10k Mud Run April 24th 2016

Jet and his mom Haruna on right – at the Famous Hansen 10k Mud Run April 24th 2016

The take-away from sharing Haruna and Jet’s story:

  • Most parents are exposed to enough nutritional data to know what they probably should – or should not – feed their kids, but even when it’s obvious that health and weight concerns are indicative of a poor diet, they continue to make decisions based on convenience and/or taste. It’s my hope that in sharing Jet’s story, and illustrating the immense and beneficial impact of a nutrition-rich diet, that some parents reading this might be inspired to take the kind of proactive steps that Jet’s mother did.

Don’t Let Life’s Road Bumps Keep You From Moving Forward

The past couple of weeks have been a bit trying and honestly, I am not too sad to see the back of them. A minor car accident, getting off a night shift only to discover that the loaner car I had driven to work in had been towed, further car and towing issues for my older daughter, stomach virus for my younger daughter, a burst water main, and finally a power outage that somehow affected only our street.

In the midst of these setbacks however, I found it kind of amusing to see and hear things that seemed to hint towards a message of persevering; I’ll share just a couple:

The first came by way of a podcast I listened to while working out; the host played a snippet of the forthcoming talk, and in that snippet I heard the following quote:

“DON’T WISH IT WERE EASIER; WISH YOU WERE STRONGER!”

It’s funny how, of all the words I heard, those ones in particular seemed volumes louder. It’s not as if they were new and enlightening, but they were a great reminder to not despair but to keep pressing forward. It’s easy to feel sorry for one’s self when things go wrong, yet finding the strength to persevere is, I believe, the far better option. Why, for example, set up camp in a dry and arid dessert if just over the horizon lies a beautiful coastline with pristine beaches. Sure, it might take some effort to get there but it beats camping out in the land of misery.

The second observation made was when I was out running one morning. About 7km into my run, I encountered a fallen tree that was completely obstructing my path. It wasn’t really a challenge as such, since I could easily climb over, but I thought of it as a metaphor for the obstacles I had earlier faced. It made me think that we only have two choices in such situations: we either quit and give up, or we contemplate how to get around or over them. I chose the latter because the former would have guaranteed two things:

1/ an unaccomplished goal – since I had set out with a predetermined route and distance

AND

2/ a learned behavior that would have wired my brain to turn back or give up whenever something blocks my path – and that’s unacceptable.

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lifebumps

Book Review: The Boys In The Boat

The Boys In The Boat is an account of the US rowing team’s victory at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin; nothing to do with running, but certainly an inspirational story for any athlete, regardless of sports background.

TheBoysintheBoat

One of those “hard-to-put-down” reads, this book effortlessly captures the reader, provoking an instant sense of connection with both the characters and the setting. Much like Laura Hillenbrand did in her books, Seabiscuit and UnbrokenDaniel James Brown also delivers a triumphant story of hope against all odds, only this time the odds are overcome by a team of boys, who once introduced, you can’t help but root for.

Interspersed throughout the story are background snippets of a dark and grim reality going on behind the scenes, in Berlin, Germany. Brown provides just enough details to paint a clear picture of the level of grand deception orchestrated by Hitler, and his close associate Joseph Goebells (Reich Minister of Propaganda in Nazi Germany from 1933 to 1945). While the boys (from Washington State) were busy working hard to earn the coveted privilege of representing the United States at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, Hitler and Goebbels were also hard at work – attempting to conceal all traces of evidence that might later expose their persecution of the Jews.

At the core of the story, is Joe Rantz, one of the members of the 1936 US Olympic rowing team. His strong resolve and humble demeanor make him a true hero. But as the story evolves, it becomes clear that his teammates are equally heroic, each possessing similarly unique attributes and an extraordinary will to overcome extreme odds.

The story cleverly climaxes, with Brown recounting the dramatic events leading up to the final race and then describing in vivid detail the race itself. It really is a remarkable story, backed by extensive research that makes it well worth the read; I encourage you to check it out and read it for yourself!

A few key points however (without giving the story away), include what I feel are valuable lessons for those of us who strive daily to succeed in both physical training and life pursuits:

1. The boys trained through the harshest of weather conditions, understanding that extreme discomfort was at times necessary if there was to be any hope at all of making it to the Olympics. A missed day of training meant an extra day of training for a competing team.

“They rowed six days a week, rain or shine. It rained, and they rowed. They rowed through cutting wind, bitter sleet, and occasional snow, well into the dark of night every evening.”

2. Some of the boys came from particularly challenging backgrounds, yet they approached life – in general – with optimism and hope. Joe Rantz, for example, had an uncanny knack for finding four-leaf clovers (it’s much easier to find the more common three-leaf clover). He told his girlfriend, 

“The only time you don’t find a four-leaf clover, is when you stop looking for one.” 

That attitude carried over to the training obstacles they faced, and equipped them with the mental tenacity required to endure many months of grueling workouts.

3. George Pocock, designer and builder of racing shells, played a pivotal role in leading the team to victory. He taught the boys many things, but paramount to their success was his insistence that once they entered their racing shell, they were to leave everything else behind. These boys were taught how to be fully in the moment during races; able to keep their minds one hundred percent focused on the task at hand.

“…..from the time an oarsman steps into a racing shell until the moment that the boat crosses the finish line, he must keep his mind focused on what is happening inside the boat. His whole world must shrink down to the small space within the gunwales.” 

4. The boys followed strict rules imposed upon them by their coach, Al Ulbrickson. They were tempted at times to break those rules, and on a few occasions they did, but for the most part they respected the necessary disciplines required of them.

“You will eat no fried meats, “ he began abruptly. “You will eat no pastries, but you will eat plenty of vegetables. You will eat good, substantial, wholesome food…..You will go to bed at 10 o’clock and arise punctually at seven o’clock. You will not smoke or drink or chew. And you will follow this regimen all year round, for as long as you row for me. A man cannot abuse his body for six months and then expect to row the other six months. He must be a total abstainer all year.” 

5. Finally, in the days leading up to the biggest race of their careers, the boys were understandably nervous and on some level, all dealing with fear and self-doubt. They each had their own coping strategies however, and intentionally implemented these in an effort to align their mental strength with that of their physical strength. 

The take-away lessons:

  • Train consistently, and train when you don’t feel like training (getting outside your comfort zone regularly is necessary for growth).
  • Replace negative thoughts with positive thoughts, and train yourself to respond to adversity in ways that help you to favorably interpret situations.
  • When the starter gun goes, it’s time to narrow your focus! Get your eyes, thoughts, and expectations off your competitors, and focus instead on executing your “ideal” performance (one that you know is supported by weeks and months of carefully planned and progressive training).
  • Optimal performance requires optimal nutrition, sleep, and lifestyle habits – not just some of the time, but all of the time.
  • Tapering is a necessary part of pre-race preparation – and while the body is purposely rested – the mind on the other hand should be vigorously exercised and fed with generous doses of positive self-talk and affirmations.

You Might Be More Susceptible To OverTraining Than You Think

Most runners are familiar with the term overtraining, but few probably realize that they may be more susceptible to it than they think.

Because overtraining refers to a decline in performance due to excessive stress on certain parts of the musculoskeletal system, we tend to associate it more with competitive runners who endure higher volumes and intensities of training. But Dr. Inigo San Millan, PhD., says that blood biomarkers showing up in recreational runners are increasingly revealing signs of overtraining.

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Dr. Millan believes that the reason these biomarkers are being seen more and more in recreational runners, is because – unlike professional runners – recreational runners don’t have an entourage of training and recovery specialists facilitating everything they do on a day-to-day basis.

The following points highlight how and why a recreational runner might find him/herself in an overtrained state:

  • Runners, in general, tend to be A-Type personalities; they are by nature hard workers and goal-achievers. While it’s clear that recreational runners don’t train at the same level and intensities as professional runners, many – especially A-types – still train with as much purpose and determination; the problem is that they are often just as zealous in other areas of their lives, and therefore, unintentionally negligent when it comes to ensuring optimal recovery conditions.
  • A “zealous” and busy recreational runner for example, might have a lifestyle outside of training that keeps her (or him) from getting adequate sleep. When she wakes up consistently feeling tired, she might be inclined to tell herself that fatigue is a normal part of training and should simply be tolerated; she’ll therefore continue to stick to her training plan and make no modifications. A professional runner on the other hand (or her coach, at least), is more likely to recognize early signs of overtraining and accordingly reduce the training workload and/or intensity.
  • Diet might also play a role in the occurrence of overtraining symptoms. The average recreational runner might know a lot about training, but a little about nutrition. A professional runner makes it her job to know how to properly fuel both during and outside of training. Interestingly, a too-low carbohydrate intake appears to be a common factor among recreational runners who suffer from overtraining.
  • Recreational runners are more likely than professional runners to try and “make up” for missed runs by overcompensating with extra intensity and/or miles. Additionally, recreational runners often run too fast, believing that the harder they run, the faster they’ll run. Professional runners understand however, that slow, easy runs are an important part of training as they help to heal minor damage from previous runs by pushing oxygen-rich blood through the legs.

With all of the above in mind, take care when training for your next event, especially if you’re someone who holds yourself to high standards in everything you do.

Here’s a few quick tips:

  1. Try to get at least 7 hours of sleep a night.
  2. Consult with a nutritionist if you’re not sure that your diet is supporting your training efforts.
  3. Remember to slow down and take it easy on recovery days, and make sure that you actually rest on days that you should be resting.
  4. Minimize your stress levels, to the best of your ability.
  5. Schedule regular massage visits once you begin to approach a peak in your training workload, and use your foam roller if you have one.

Happy and safe running!

Not Sure Which Running Shoes To Choose?

Getting a gait analysis done can be quite insightful, and certainly beneficial if you have no idea of what kind of shoes will give you the most comfort while running.

Running – as we all know – is a high-impact sport. With every foot strike forcing an impact of up to 3 x a person’s body weight, there is a greater risk of damage to joints, tendons, and ligaments. If, in addition to the impact, one or both feet pronate (rotate) inward or outward, the extra pressure can lead to progressive misalignment of the body and eventually to more serious problems. Poorly fitted shoes may aggravate the problem/s even further.

It’s been years since I last had a gait analysis done myself, so I was a bit surprised when the Physical Therapist I’ve been seeing suggested I go and do one. She thought that in addition to the actual therapy side of things, that I’d benefit from running in shoes that might help to stabilize my feet and ankles.

Now before I go any further, let me state that this post isn’t an attempt to convince you that the type of shoe you run in will improve your odds of staying injury-free. There are plenty of arguments that you can search online yourself that will help you form your own opinion about that. What I will say however, is that regardless of the science either for or against, if you believe that the shoes recommended for you are the most supportive, and if they feel the most comfortable, then they are probably the best shoes for you.

Since it’s been months now that I have been able to run consistently without pain, I heeded the advice of my PT and went and saw Niel Boshoff at ShoeScience in Mt Eden. I sent a couple of people to him last year and was super impressed by his knowledge and expertise!

The first thing Niel did was put my feet in the type of running socks I would typically wear, and with socks on my feet he then measured each foot. I already knew from previous PT and chiro visits, that I have one foot and leg slightly longer than the other, which by the way is not uncommon.

Once my feet had been measured, Niel had me jog up and down an in-store running mat that was electronically connected to a recording device. When the video was replayed, we were able to view it in slow motion and get a close look at how each foot struck the ground. It was clear to see that there was some inward pronation going on with my right foot.

Based on the video analysis, Niel then chose a few pairs of shoes for me to try on (keep in mind that other factors, such as foot and arch type, length and width of the shoe, frequency and distances of weekly runs, and type of running surface), are also considered. I tried each of the different shoe brands selected, and settled on a pair of Saucony “stability” shoes, a huge change for me given that I have always opted for lighter-weight performance shoes.

Before I left the store, Niel had me run in the new shoes on a treadmill. While running at a comfortable pace, Niel observed my gait from various angles and once again took a video recording. It’s not obvious when you watch the video below, but when carefully viewed in slower motion, we could see that my right knee collapsed inwards with every right foot strike.

With all of the information gathered from both video recordings and questions asked, we agreed that of the three types of shoes that Niel had shown me, the Sauconys were most likely the best choice. They were the heaviest of the three (though not as heavy as some other stability shoes), but surprisingly the most comfortable.

It’s now been a few weeks since I visited Niel at ShoeScience, and I am still seeing my Physio Therapist, but one change that has come about since I started running in my new Sauconys is that I now run with a renewed sense of confidence. My shoes make me feel as if I’m gliding effortlessly, and that feeling alone has helped to rewire my thought patterns towards ones that are focused more on healing rather than fear of further injury.

[Go and see Niel at Shoe Science in Mt Eden if you would like an in-depth gait analysis, coupled with amazing customer service! Niel will even let you take the shoes home and return them if, after a few runs, you decide they don’t provide the comfort you expected].

 

 

 

Wimping Out Doesn’t Get The Training Done

The title of this post is actually a quote sent to me by a friend; it is what he has used in the past as one of his training mantras in preparation for a big event. Let me explain how it ended up in my inbox………

Late last year, our dog (named Lucky), was attacked by a neighbour’s dog. To this day, whenever we walk past the neighbour’s house, Lucky becomes a cowering mess and starts tugging at his leash. At first I was sympathetic, but after a while I found his scaredy-cat antics kind of annoying and now, in an effort to help him overcome his fear, I make him stop outside our neighbour’s house and I order him to sit down. Usually, within the confines of a safe environment, Lucky has no problem responding to the directive, “Sit Lucky!” But outside our neighbour’s house he feels threatened and is reluctant to obey. I figure that in time he’ll surely regain his confidence.

That brings me to the point of this post; I witnessed a terrible cycling accident a few weeks ago and have been anxious about riding ever since. I even let a friend down recently by cancelling riding plans at the very last minute, because as I set out to meet him it started to rain and I was afraid that the roads would be too slick. My dog may not be the best reference point for comparison, but admittedly, my fear of riding is no more justified than his fear of walking past our neighbour’s driveway.

 

So thank goodness for athlete friends like the one mentioned above, as he is also the same friend who knew exactly how to coerce me into getting back on the bike last weekend. And it wasn’t with kind words; it was more like, “You’re being a wimp!” He was just jesting of course, but he also inferred that there’s no point in being a hero if common sense isn’t used; in other words, it’s not wrong to ignore legitimate danger cues, but otherwise, be smart and cycle defensively to allow for a faster reaction time.

I’m obviously stoked to have gone out riding last weekend – and a fair distance at that – but I still need to find courage to ride by myself. I think however, that if I am forcing Lucky to confront his fear head-on, I should probably be doing the same 😉

In that vein, I guess the best way to get back on my bike, is to get back on my bike!

A Mother’s Tough Love

It’s Mother’s Day today and while most mothers are probably enjoying time with family – or without – one special lady I know is experiencing a completely different kind of Mother’s Day.  I’m featuring her in this post because she deserves, in my eyes, an “Exceptional-Mother-Of-The-Year” award.

A year ago to the day, this friend of mine received on Mother’s Day, news of her second eldest daughter falling 30 feet from an Arizona ridge top. Her daughter survived the fall but was paralyzed from the waist down. Over the past twelve months, I’ve had the privilege of being able to follow social media and video documentation of some of the victories and setbacks experienced by my friend and her daughter.

I’m not going to go into too much detail as their journey – despite being shared amongst friends and family – is private. But there is one aspect of this friend’s parenting that really “wowed” me; she dished out a hefty dose of tough love! Instead of falling at her daughter’s feet and catering to her every need, she nagged her in the same vain that a mother would nag a lazy teenager. In essence, she tossed her daughter’s prognosis out the window and ordered her to start walking!

One year later, my friend’s daughter is still not walking, but she continues to endure difficult rehabilitative sessions, and her progress, though slow, is impressive. Tomorrow marks the anniversary of her accident, and to celebrate (yes, I did say celebrate), they are opening their home up to host a party that they’ve called ——–’s d-day, unbirthday, or yahoo she didn’t die anniversary.

The following is the cover picture posted on the event page:

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Does that not speak volumes about the kind of mother my friend is!

That’s it; no message to pass on! I simply wanted to acknowledge the incredible strength, courage, and love of a friend whose Mother’s Day will never again be the same, and yet if you were to ask her how she feels about that, she’d only be able to tell you how amazing it is.