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 Monday Inspiration: Dent the Universe

By Toni Carey
(@toni_carey/@blackgirlsrun)

I am not a morning person. Never have been. Trust me, I've tried, but my attempts to take advantage of the pre-dawn hours (whether to run or get in some quiet time), have usually resulted in me being a chronic snooze button pusher. I tried.....and I more often than not, failed.

This morning I was scrolling through Instagram and I came across a post by Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson." 

Seems crazy but the only "quiet time" I have to get my work done before I go workout and then go to work is between 3-5am daily. Like most of us, once I start my day and walk out my door, life becomes extremely busy and loud. 3-5am quiet work time is one of my anchors. You may have to step out of your comfort zone to find your anchor like this, but it becomes a powerful tool once you do. Plus, it also helps us make focused smart decisions and helps us block out the noise we all deal with on a daily basis. It's crazy, but remember the crazy ones often dent the universe;). Let our denting commence. #FindYourAnchor⚓️ (luv coming downstairs at this hour and our Frenchie, Hobbs looks at me like "what in theeeee f*ck is wrong with you)

A post shared by therock (@therock) on

 

First of all, I'm totally feeling his Frenchie's, Hobbs, reaction. 3 a.m.??? What, the what??

But after letting his words of wisdom sink in, there's a few things I walked away with:

You may have to step out of your comfort zone to find your anchor
Running has always been my anchor and it most certainly took me out of my comfort zone in the beginning. Wait, what am I saying?? It CONTINUES to take me out of my comfort zone. 

But, it was the thing that helped me sort through break-ups, disappointments, losing jobs and general life changes. I could ALWAYS go back to running to give me the peace and space to reflect, re-group and catch a second wind to jump back on the proverbial horse.  What is your anchor?? What can you ALWAYS come back to?

You Need to Create Space to Block Out the Noise
These days there is SO MUCH NOISE. From social media, to the news, heck, even our circle of family and friends creates noise. It's hard to be in tune with that little voice inside you (your intuition) or to think clearly when there's literally so much chaos going on around you. Unfortunately, we can't just pack up our stuff and head to the mountains to leave it all behind, but we can give ourselves the space to find quiet, whether that be during a run or with meditation. As the rock says, " [space[ helps us make focused smart decisions and helps us block out the noise we all deal with on a daily basis.

 

Dent the Universe
Ya'll know I'm rebel so I was all over this "dent the universe" quote. I was like "YASSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!

"Without getting too deep, the only way to improve this world is by going against the grain. I mean, this is so true and relevant for SO many things! But, specifically, when it comes to health and wellness in the black community, it takes all of our collective actions......many, many dents in the universe..... for us to see generational change in our communities' health AND the way we think and approach health and wellness. By you just reading this blog post, starting and/or continuing your running journey....YOU ARE DENTING THE UNIVERSE. You are literally telling the universe, "Hey! I see you. I hear you. But, I'm deciding that I want a different outcome for my future and for future generations!" How powerful is that!! 

There's a reason why The Rock is so successful. He's busy denting the universe! And guess what. I want to be successful too. Instead of continuing to tell myself I'm not a morning person, I'm going to continue to live outside of my comfort zone and find ways to dent the universe too! It may look/sound crazy and even if I fail.....multiple times, it's worth the effort. Each attempt just makes the dent bigger and bigger. 

Running Around the Caribbean with Black Girls RUN!

By Toni Carey (@toni_carey/@blackgirlsrun)

It's only February and we just came back to work from a huge reset. Our annual BGR! Cruise with Run For Fun Cruise Tours.

Now, you may think there's no way that a running cruise could possibly be relaxing or the ideal way of resetting, but we beg to differ. In fact, I think it's the perfect blend of keeping up my fitness, while scoring some ultimate "me time".

But, before I dive into why this particular trip was so awesome for me personally, let me share a little bit of background for those of you who have been sleeping on the BGR! Cruise.

Ashley and I love to travel. In fact, besides running, it's one of the things we do best. Particularly, if that said travel has anything to do with warm weather and sunshine.  A few years ago, we began to wonder if there was any way to merge the two things we loved most....travel and running....and give our members an opportunity to run in some of the most beautiful and exotic places in the world. It wasn't long before we found Run For Fun Cruise Tours (or rather they found us), and they made our running dreams come true.

Last year we went on our first BGR! Cruise with Run For Fun Cruise Tours and we had an amazing time. It was very clear to us that this was something we wanted to continue to do. Fast forward to our most recent BGR! Cruise aboard the Norwegian Getaway, and we're already looking forward to 2018.  

It's hard to say what the best part of cruising with BGR! and the Run For Fun Cruise Tours is. I'm not just saying that because, I'm the co-founder of BGR!, but truly this trip is something special. 

Here's a few things that stand out:

Run For Fun Cruise Tours Treats You Like Family

PROS: Like, literally that's their tagline. "Let Our Family Take Care of Your Family". I remember when the owner of the company said that to me and I definitely gave him a eye roll over the phone. I remember hanging up thinking, "This sounds like such a gimmick. I'm not sure what we're getting ourselves into." 

But let me tell you, it's true. From booking the trip to the last day on the ship, there's a personal touch that is so nostalgic that it DOES seem a little hokey, but the RFFC team is SO genuine and sincere.

When you book the trip, Craig & Kim (Craig's wife), literally adopt you as family. I never had any questions or any worries about the trip. And every day that I saw the duo on the ship, they checked in and made sure everything was okay. Even as I'm writing this, it's hard to explain and I'm really not giving it justice. Just think of when you were younger and your parents did all the work of planning an amazing trip and each day left you sleeping with a happy grin on your face....this is what it feels like.

CONS: For the most part booking a cruise is way different than booking a resort, hotel and/or flights. The good news is that Kim takes care of it all for you. The bad news? You actually have to pick up the phone to talk to her. For someone like me that's used to making things happen with a click of a button (and who also hates to plan travel), it can be kind of annoying to have to pick up the phone and discuss cabin and pricing options. Not the worst thing, but it does feel a little....different.  

 

 You Can Run As Much or As Little As You Like

PROS: If you decide to run each day or once during the week, it's totally up to you. There's no group think pressure to complete each run, which really takes the pressure out of things. Also, YOU CAN WALK!!!! Runs range from a few miles to a 5K, so we're not talking about anything too intense. Just want to relax on the beach all day or explore the port? You're free to do that as well! 

CONS: Time is of the essence. Because the group needs to be some of the first passengers off of the boat to take advantage of the entire day, call times can be pretty early (according to typical vacation standards), and there can be a lot of hurry up and waiting. (Keep in mind there are literally thousands of people trying to get off of the boat at the same time, so patience is absolutely necessary). Most days we met at 7 a.m. for a daily briefing with time to grab breakfast and slather on sunscreen before we actually got off the boat. 

 

 You Will Experience Runs Like None Other

PROS: From running through the streets of Jamaica to trail running through the jungles of Honduras, one thing is guaranteed, you'll never experience any type of running event like this anywhere else. I'll put money on that.

One of my favorite runs from this year's cruise was a 3 mile trail/adventure run in Roaton, Honduras through the jungle. There were obstacles along the way (mud pits, climbing wall, tires, etc.) with two difficulty level options. One, the extreme (which I did) was a 1/2 mile trail that you had to ascend using ropes. The other, not so extreme route was a very, very tall hill. 

Challenging? Most certainly. Rewarding? Absolutely. 

 

 

CONS: Although Craig and his team prep you as much as possible for what lay ahead before you sail, you still never know what you're in for. However, each run is totally accessible to all fitness levels. Keep in mind these are FUN RUNS. There's no official timing or race cut off times. On the extreme route I chose in Honduras, a BGR! member and I stayed together until we made it to the summit of the hill (which had a beautiful vista of the island). She is 61 years old. So....you can totally do it.

Also, remember when I mentioned the whole "hurry up and wait" to get off the ship. That paired with transportation, might mean you are running in some pretty hot temps. However, hydration is never a problem and water was always available/accessible.

It's Family & Non-Runner Friendly

PROS: For hubster and I, it's one of our big trips of the year, but for next year we've invited our parents and Ashley is considering bringing her daughter Olivia next year.

If you're worried about riding solo, consider bringing your friends, family and/or sidepiece along. If they want to run, awesome! If not, Craig and his team provide helpful information to ensure they have a great time too! We're even hoping they offer a friends and family package next year to make it even easier for the non-runners to tag along on the running adventure (obviously without the running).

CONS:  No cons here. This trip is great for all ages and fitness abilities. 

There is SO much more that I could talk about, that I think I will write part 2 later this week. 

Ashley & I have already booked our trips for next year and would love to have you join us! 

2018 BGR! Cruise x Run For Fun Cruise Tours

Departure Date/Location:
Saturday, February 24, 2018
San Juan, Puerto Rico

Return Date/Location:
Saturday, March 3, 2018
San Juan, Puerto Rico

PORTS
St. Maarten
St. Kitts
St. Lucia
Antigua
Barbados
via Royal Caribbean's Adventure of the Seas 
If you would like to reserve your cabin early, you can call Kim Newton toll free at the office 1-866-431-0130 on Tuesdays and Thursdays or from the home office at 1-905-387-3665...She can also be reached at knewton@runforfuncruise.com
You can also send in a request through the Pricing Info tab and they'll get back to you ASAP! (http://www.runforfuncruise.com/pricing-info.html)

YOU MUST TALK TO A REPRESENTATIVE TO GET SPECIFIC PRICING INFORMATION.

It's only $250 to reserve your room. Deposits are fully refundable through October.
Please note that the run package must be purchased separately.
Listen Now:

Who knows pushing boundaries better than Black Girls RUN! co-founders Toni Carey & Ashley Hicks-Rocha? They transformed the running industry and the state of black women’s health, now they’re sharing what they’ve learned to help all women take back their health and their lives in a candid (and comical) bi-weekly podcast called Pick Up the Pace. This engaging, relatable (and sometimes unpredictable) podcast will help women from all walks transform their lives from the inside out featuring weekly guests that will have everyone picking up the pace….or maybe even slowing it down.

The two chat about Toni's latest blog post, Be Authentically You, and the quote , "To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment."

 Resources mentioned in the podcast:

You can find Black Girls Run online at:

website: www.blackgirlsrun.com
instagram: www.instagram.com/officialblackgirlsrun
twitter: www.twitter.com/blackgirlsrun

You can find the hosts online at: 

Toni Carey
instagram: www.instagram.com/toni_carey
twitter: www.twitter.com/toni_carey

Ashley Hicks-Rocha
instagram: www.instagram.com/amhicks01
twitter: www.twitter.com/amhicks01

If you have questions or would like to suggest a show topic or guest, email us at info@blackgirlsrun.com.  

MONDAY INSPIRATION: 
BE IN CONTROL OF YOUR FUTURE

By Toni Carey
(@toni_carey/@blackgirlsrun)

By now, you know that we are huge fans of being intentional. We believe there's real power in our thoughts and words. But, we like to up the ante even more and write goals, desires, etc. down. Ashley is notorious for writing her goals down daily! EVERY DAY.

Sure, we can let greatness happen by chance, but let's face it. That's typically not the case. Some people are born with gifts or circumstances that do indeed make accomplishing certain goals easier than others, but for normal people like Ashley and me, it takes more than that. 

What I love about writing down your dreams and goals is that it lets the universe know that you are serious. Not writing it down only makes it a wish. How is it ever supposed to become tangible and achievable if it just stays a whisper in your soul? It's the equivalent of saying, "I think, I'm kinda serious about this goal." Now who could really take that seriously??

Even if you have no idea how to make it happen, or the odds seem a little bit against you, I would challenge you to write them down. Put it out there! 

One of my favorite quotes in Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist is, “And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” 

And let me tell you, it's true.

As our first national Walk Before You Run training kicks off this week, I'm challenging each of the participants to write down their goals and continue to visit them throughout the training. And I want to challenge you to do the same.

If it's running a 5K.....write it down.

If it's losing weight......write it down.

If it's running a marathon.....write it down.

WRITE. IT DOWN.

 

 

MONDAY INSPIRATION: 
BE AUTHENTICALLY YOU

By Toni Carey
(@toni_carey/@blackgirlsrun)

I wish someone had told me at the age of 33, I'd re-discovering myself. Perhaps this is something that happens with every turn of the decade after the age of 10, but being yourself is hard. Discovering who you really are is even harder.

You may be thinking, what does this have to do with running. How does being myself or being authentic relate to running a 5K or a marathon?

It, my friend, has everything to do with it. 

The further I travel down the road to self-discovery I keep coming back to these key questions:

  • Does [xyz] make me happy?
  • Does [xyz] encourage self-development and personal growth?
  • Does [xyz] in alignment with where I see myself in the future.

[xyz] can be anything, especially when it comes to running.

I see it time and time again, especially with my own running journey. Oftentimes, the races and the miles aren't necessarily for my health or well being, it's to prove something. Whether it's proving something to myself ("if I can run this distance then it means I'm worthy" or to others "if I run this distance, people will think I'm more valuable"), we often set goals based on other people's expectations, whether it be your friends and family or the world.

Recently I've been grappling with how I show up in the world. As a black woman, it's tough and I found for many years, I was just playing out the role that people (and the world) would expect me to play. I'd shrink in the background, or conveniently change my opinion or disapproval of a subject because it was easier that way. 

But one day, I woke up and began asking why.....OF EVERYTHING! One of the most important why's I asked was, "Why do I run?" Before we began Black Girls RUN!, running was a source of therapy and solitude. It was a place I could retreat while honoring my body. But with the increase of popularity in BGR! it quickly became my duty....a chore. I was putting in miles and miles because frankly it's what people expected of me. 

It's no surprise that I lost my love of running, and subsequently lost my why.

With social media and the globalization of the word, it's become harder than ever to be yourself. It's challenging to scroll through Instagram and not compare yourself to your friends or random strangers who appear to have it all together.

But if there's one thing that you should know, it is that the world needs you....it needs your authentic self. And while it may be tempting to compare your running journey to others, realize that this is YOUR journey. You can go as fast (or slow) as you want.....as long as it's what YOU want.

So, whether it is running or something else, I encourage you to come back to these three questions:

  • Does it make me happy?
  • Does it encourage self-development and personal growth?
  • Does is align with where I see myself in the future.

It's the consistent compass that will keep you on the path to being yourself. 

 

I am a BGR - a black girl who runs, who ran who walks and who struggled with infertility.  After years of practicing on our own to conceive ;-) and years of frustration- my husband and I started seeing a fertility doctor.  We went through 5 years of fertility treatment (6 rounds of IVF, hundreds of negative fertility tests, more needles than I can or care to remember) and more tears than I am able to count. 


At that point- our doctor sat us down with the news we feared: things weren't working and we needed to change course.  We were young and healthy but weren't getting pregnant.  We were also broke- and were relying on relatives and equity lines to pay for our treatment.  I left the clinic that day heartbroken and called my momma to share my sorrows.  She asked if she- a 54 year old post menopausal woman -could carry a baby for me.  I thanked her politely- declined her offer and went on feeling heartbroken.  She and my dad then spoke with their doctors who said it was risky but possible. 

They circled back and shared with the hubby (aka my handsome incredible supportive Morehouse Man and husband Jason) and I -that it was in fact possible for my mom to carry our babies.  After a lot of prayer and conversation we moved forward and on December 28, 2004- she delivered my triplets!  Jason and I were so grateful at the selfless love and generosity that my mom and daddy showed us that we started a charity to raise money to give one infertility family $10,000 to pursue parenthood. That initial goal has grown multifold and I now run the Tinina Q Cade Foundation (named after my mommy) and have funded 70 families with up to $10,000 each for fertility treatment or adoption. 

Our annual Race for the Family- hosted by Shady Grove Fertility- is an important event that raises much of the money we give for our grants. I am really excited about partnering with the BGR! organization this year and am hopeful that I will see many of you ladies out on the race course. 

Until then- see you out there on the streets and pathways beating that pavement! 

PICK UP THE PACE WITH TONI & ASHLEY WITH GUEST SHIONTA PUMPHREY, FOUNDER OF SHADES OF HEALTH

 

 

 

 

Listen Now:

Who knows pushing boundaries better than Black Girls RUN! co-founders Toni Carey & Ashley Hicks-Rocha? They transformed the running industry and the state of black women’s health, now they’re sharing what they’ve learned to help all women take back their health and their lives in a candid (and comical) bi-weekly podcast called Pick Up the Pace. This engaging, relatable (and sometimes unpredictable) podcast will help women from all walks transform their lives from the inside out featuring weekly guests that will have everyone picking up the pace….or maybe even slowing it down.

The two chat with Shionta Pumphrey, yoga instructor and founder of Shades of Health

Shionta Pumphrey, founder of Shades of Health, is a Hematology-Oncology nurse and certified yoga teacher from Southern Maryland with a desire to inspire. She received her Bachelors of Science degree from Hampton University in 2008 and started her career at the world renowned Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, MD. Attempting to find balance with work and her personal life, Shionta made a transition to Orlando, FL where she was introduced to yoga. It was here she found a love and deep connection with Vinyasa Yoga sequences. Her daily practice kept her grounded mentally, physically and spiritually. 

 Resources mentioned in the podcast:

You can find Shionta Pumphrey and Shades of Health online at:

website: http://shadesofhealth.life/
instagram: www.instagram.com/shades_of_health
facebook: www.facebook.com/ShadesOfHealth

You can find Black Girls Run online at:

website: www.blackgirlsrun.com
instagram: www.instagram.com/officialblackgirlsrun
twitter: www.twitter.com/blackgirlsrun

You can find the hosts online at: 

Toni Carey
instagram: www.instagram.com/toni_carey
twitter: www.twitter.com/toni_carey

Ashley Hicks-Rocha
instagram: www.instagram.com/amhicks01
twitter: www.twitter.com/amhicks01

If you have questions or would like to suggest a show topic or guest, email us at info@blackgirlsrun.com.  

 

MONDAY INSPIRATION: RISE ABOVE YOUR CIRCUMSTANCES

By Toni Carey (@toni_carey/@officialblackgirlsrun)
In our attempts to reach our goals, and generally be great human beings (because, I believe that's what we're all here to do/be), we are often distracted by our (perceived) circumstances and outside influences. This could be macro (the government, the social class we were born into, etc.) or micro (not having a college degree, not having enough financial resources, etc.). 
But, I think there's a lot of truth that lies in Ralph Waldo Emerson's quote. 
"Nothing external, to you has any power over you."
How much personal power do we give away (literally and figuratively) to our circumstances or people?  Instead, why not use that power to discover solutions or be the change you want to see in yourself and/or others.
Last night the cast of Hidden Figures accepted their award for Cast in a Motion Picture during the 23rd Screen Actors Guild Awards. 
Taraji P. Henson hits the nail on the head. 

 

Carry this quote with you throughout the week. If there is anything that presents itself as a stumbling block or challenge, ask yourself, "am I allowing this to have power over me?"

xo,

 Toni 

 

BGR! Co-Founder Toni Carey gives an overview of how she's resetting in 2017 and the tools helping her do it!
Product Features:
Contact Toni Carey on Twitter or Instagram

 What’s Your Snacking Personality?

By Toni Carey (@toni_carey/@blackgirlsrun)

*SPONSORED POST*

My husband and I were in the grocery store last week meandering through the produce section when he stopped near a massive display of apples.

"I need to pick up some night, night apples."

"Huh??," I said. “What??”

He said, “I need some apples. My night, night apples.”

He went on to explain, that each night before he goes to bed, he has an apple, to you know, hit the spot before dozing off into dreamland.

Clearly, it was something that I hadn’t noticed (not sure how), but it made me think about my own snacking habits.

For me, before bed I usually want something a little sweet to eat, so I’ll grab a handful of dates or coconut date rolls if I’m feeling froggy. During the day, I try my hardest not to snack and if I do, it’s either on an apples or carrots and celery (which I’ve been obsessed with lately.). But here’s the caveat. This is all if I’m having a good week.

But, if it’s a terribly stressful week, I’m PMS’ing, or just not being intentional about my eating, I’m inclined to grab sesame seed crackers and nut cheese, tortilla chips, or gluten and dairy free chocolate chip cookies. OMG. THEY ARE MY JAM.

And it’s not to say that snacking is bad. There are many nutrition philosophies that actually encourage snacking throughout the day to prevent blood sugar dips, which is the primary cause of hangriness. And trust, besides world peace, my goal in life is to prevent the savageness and destruction caused by the world being hangry.

So, if snacking isn’t bad, then why do the bells and alarms in my head go off in a flurry of panic at the thought of snacking might actually being okay.

As mentioned previously, 9 times out of 10, snacking goes wrong. Most times I’m NOT reaching for carrot or celery sticks. Most times, I’m not all like, “Hey, I’m so stressed right now, let me eat an apple,” or “I’m binge watching Drunk History, why not veg out with some seeds and nuts.”

While I SO want to be that person, stress-induced snacking more often than not makes me want to grab the closest, unhealthiest indulgence. Just ask my husband. There’s been several times when he’s settling in to watch a little television with a hankering for some sweet & salty popcorn, only to find that I have devoured the entire bag. And let me just say, that is NOT the way to a blissful marriage.

So, how are we possibly supposed to navigate whether to snack or not to snack? And what does “proper” snacking actually look like?

Glad you asked!

Meta Appetite Control partnered with registered dietitian nutritionist Jessica Fishman Levinson MS, RDN, CDN, to create six Snack ID profiles and to provide healthy snacking tips, customized for each profile.

To bring these Snack IDs to life, Meta Appetite Control partnered with POPSUGAR to turn these Snack ID profiles and tips into an interactive, online quiz.

And let me just say, the quiz nailed my snacking personality. I mean, SPOT ON.

I am the “Mindless Muncher”. After smashing any given bag of anything (healthy or not), I often realize, “Shoot, I wasn’t really hungry. I’m thirsty.” or “OMG. I literally just ate an entire bag of chips. Whooops!”

Their recommendation? Basically, mindfulness, which Ashley and I discuss in our latest podcast. But, if I find that just can’t kick the cravings, adding Meta Appetite Control to my juice or smoothie is a great alternative to help me feel less hungry between meals.* If you’re interested in trying  Meta Appetite Control yourself, we’re sharing a few coupons to save you some money. Just click here.

I always say that knowing is half the battle and if you’re like me, once I’m aware of something, the more inclined I am to make the changes I need to accomplish my goals.

So, if you’re wondering what type of snacker you are, and how you can manage your snacking tendencies, take the Pop Sugar Snack ID quiz to help you continue to reset with us in 2017. Don’t forget to let us know what type of snacker you are by using #BGRReset and #MetaSnackID.

*This statements has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
 

I'm a sponsored Meta Influencer, but all opinions are my own. Meta partnered with bloggers, such as me, to get the word out about its great product benefits. As part of this program, I received compensation for my time. Meta believes that consumers and bloggers are free to form their own opinions and share them in their own words. Meta’s policies align with WOMMA Ethics Code, Federal Trade Commission (FTC) guidelines and social media engagement recommendations.

 

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