January is over and February going to go by quicker than we realize. I’m certain that many of you created New Year’s Resolutions--or maybe rejuvenated a bucket list with items that we carried over from the previous years. But get this--80 percent of New Year’s resolutions are broken by February 1st. That’s probably a heavy statistic to hear but here’s another one: It takes 21 days to form a habit. What does this mean for you? Well, today may be the day that you want to pick up that goal that you left on the wayside and pick it back up; after all, the year just started.
I’m partnering up with Tampax Pearl Active to help you create that habit and reach your goals. Consider me your online accountability buddy. Yes, I know talking about menstruals might be an unusual topic but let’s take this opportunity to address some stigmas like avoiding the gym because of a fear of leaking while on your periods. The average menstrual cycle takes 21 - 28 days, coincidentally aligning up with the amount of days in takes to form a habit and the month of February. If we push through our periods and create a consistent fitness routine, we can reach our fitness goals faster.
I want you to take on this challenge with me to #GetInMotion, working out 28 days straight and try different types of routines until you find the one that works best for you. But what about rest days, right? Being active can be as simple as parking your car a bit farther from home, encouraging you to walk a bit more--if you’re like me, perhaps you’ll run a few laps around someone else’s car. Don’t overthink this process too much. You can even take your children, nieces or nephews on a hike, create an adventure in the park or simply liven up your routine with a different dance move. On days that I need to take it down a notch, I’ll be incorporating a good stretch into my workouts and placing my feet on the mat to do some necessary yoga. What about the days you’re on your period?
Let me guess: You’re ______ doesn’t permit you to dedicate a hour of your time. Truly, I can relate to this sentiment. As some of you may know, I have a lively ten year old son with a chronic condition, a busy freelancer that’s always on the go and with my own battles with sciatica and endometriosis, I never know how my day will go. I don’t want to just tell you to move your body for 28 days, I want to join you on this journey. Twenty minutes of your day will not only keep you motivated but liven your spirits just a bit.
Here’s the deal: I am giving away a YEAR supply of Tampax Pearl Active. Tag me @iamlshauntay and @Tampax using the hashtag #GetInMotion in your sweat selfies for a chance to win! Why Tampax Pearl Active? Tampax Pearl Active provides up to 100 percent leak free workouts and as much as this may seem personal, my endometriosis condition used to make me want to stray away from doing intense workouts. Their MotionFit Protection moves with you and I feel extra protected when doing power moves like box jumps or mule kicks at the gym. With a sense of security during those days of the month means I can hit my bigger goals sooner--like learning how to swim for my upcoming triathlon or being in condition for my trail ultra marathon. Let’s make some progress in a huge way by being consistent in our regimens without fear of our periods.
Disclosure: This blog post is in sponsorship with Tampax Pearl Active
Once in a blue, I'm fortunate enough to review some really dope items that piques my interest. Back in December, Koala Clip's founder Kristina Powell reached out to me after reading my brief craptacular experience during the New York City Marathon. Around this time, I must have been contacted by every company under the sun but here's what made me instantly love her and want to test her product:
My viral infection is desperately trying to abandon ship and I am determined to keep my ass motivated to make it through my first trail ultra marathon. Sure, it's a 50K-equivalent to 31.06 miles- and I've completed a 60K (37.28 miles) before but not on a trail. I was fortunate enough to test my insanity on pavement both times; trails are a different type of hell. If I didn't learn this during the North Face Endurance Challenge in Massachusetts last year, then I must be a goddamn fool. In turn, I will be getting my redemption at their Washington, DC location aiming to knock that shit out like the boss bitch that I am.
When I'm recovered, I know that my loved ones and the Internet is great for keeping me honest about my journey. Hard to lie to myself or the masses when there's a digital imprint reminding you to be on top of your game.
Over the last couple of months, I've been introduced to a new audience thanks to my first contributing piece to The Root about being heckled during the New York City Marathon--and MOST of the feedback has been amazing. Nevertheless, I find myself here once again, trading in conspicuous hecklers for upgradable concerned trolls who follow my articles; some are bold enough to surface into my inbox.
Again, I question my own credentials -thanks to trolling- of what message am I sending to myself and to an unsolicited audience about being a plus-size athlete. A few weeks ago, I started receiving concerned e-mails from various people on my platforms, questioning if I have a 'resume' showcasing my fitness and running accolades. One person has gone as far as to write me a six paragraph bittersweet love letter praising my 'little medal from the NYC Marathon' but wanted to give me an opportunity to be transparent with a growing audience if I purchased any or all of my prized possessions from E-Bay.
Remain humble--even when the world is showering you with opportunities to be overbearing. Life is an arrogant teacher awaiting to tame her students with pop quizzes. This random but not so random thought surfaced as I talked with one of my close long distance friends about the changes occurring in my life.
In my head, I'm normal as fuck--I wake up, shower, juggle a ridiculous schedule and try to balance out my social life with a chaotic but sedentary freelance assignments. To others, I'm supernatural and much more entertaining than what my brain tells me. Realistically, I haven't been this inactive in five years and it's starting to piss me the fuck off.
I've been toggling back and forth on this one screen for 1 hour and 39 minutes as I develop my tentative race calendar for 2018. For the last four years, I conquered fears in the most extreme ways. Perhaps you think I'm being melodramatic; I wish I was telling a lie. Just to give you an idea of my history of shenanigans, I will start from the beginning of my fucktardism and then it'll make sense on why I'm babysitting the screen that I'm on right now:
2017 had a series of highs and lows.
Listen, I didn't think it was possible to be in anyone's newspaper or magazine unless I was choking someone out in the street. As a New Yorker, I keep in mind that I'm one subway ride away from a night in jail. Somehow, I've been in a laundry list of places last year and it's all from being myself. If only my ten year old son understood this logic, perhaps he wouldn't feel so awkward some days about being a self professed weirdo.
Before y'all pull out the razor blades and mace on me, I'mma need y'all to understand that I didn't run away from my blog. Nothing makes my booty mentally twerk like sharing with you guys--for the record, unless it's a pole, I can't dance worth shit.
In a matter of a month, my life changed on an insane level. So, you guys remember me briefly blurbing about the jack ass on the NYC Marathon course, right? Somehow I managed to ovary up and write a detailed personal narrative for The Root's newest platform: The Glow Up.
And you know what? The shit was a hit.
Like mega hit. Like over 60K viewers hit. Do you hear me bih?! In a matter of hours, my personal narrative changed my life tremendously.
Some of you are probably screw facing the shit out of me and asking what the fuck is a 60K. Sure let me entertain you:
A marathon's distance is 26.2 miles or equivalent to 42.2 kilometers. If you get your rocks off on torture, go for an ultra marathon and essentially that is what this was. 60K is equivalent to 37.28 miles.
If you're like most of my Facebook page, the next question was probably followed up with: Why the FUCK would you want to do that? So glad that you asked.
I wasn't prepared this year.
Like at all.
Quite frankly, I thought that this year would be my year.
Like many, I had a plan to be diligent, would commit to my 4 - 5 days a week of consistent running, eat healthy and keep my mind clear. Instead, I learned how to eat my own words while grieving, talking to a therapist and questioning if I even wanted to bother. Despite it all, I became bib number 68301: Third time TCS NYC Marathon finisher.
If you are reading this, it means that I am a holder of the 40th Bank of America Chicago Marathon finisher medal. Perhaps you are a first time reader on my blog and might be asking if this is my first marathon ever or even if this is my first time doing a marathon in Chicago. The answer is safely no. Others who may have been following my journey for at least two months know that this summer/fall has been exceptionally cruel to my mental and physical. In turn, I am just as shocked that I can write this blog with joy and elaborate on the wonderful (and not so glamorous) elements of doing this particular marathon.
Start your eye rolling or be intrigued right now. As I'm writing this, I am picking at brunch that I made two hours ago because I wasn't sure of how to start this post. I'm sure that at some point of each of our lives, we looked at someone (or maybe felt up somebody if we're Stevie Wonder blind) and said to ourselves, "Shit, they're kinda big (or really slender)." I'll give you a few minutes to lie to me or yourselves to say that you're always PC and would NEVER have such a thought come to mind. Pardon me as I cough up a sleuth of profanity, you lying bitch. I hope you know that I said this with love. Nevertheless, this very serious Instagram direct message came in last night and I asked if I could respond to her via blog. Simply because I don't feel like she's trolling, let's call her Noli* for blog's sake.
Noli*: Hi Shauntay (or Latoya). I'm not sure which one you prefer. Your page is really inspiring. I shared your info with my friend Danielle* a few weeks ago. As you can tell, I'm a relatively thin white woman. I'm not that sporty but your blogs are so poignant. If I may, can I ask you how to approach something. Please please don't curse me out. I'm not a troll. I swear.
Me: Good morning Noli* and either name is fine. It's just a first and middle name but people go by both. Thank you for the kind words dear and for passing on my page to your friend. Hopefully I'm not too off the wall for her, LOL. I'm an open book, as long as it's coming from a genuine place. Be blunt and ask. I don't bite too much.
Noli*: Thank you. I had to put it out there. I follow your site a lot and while I laugh, I wouldn't want to "piss in your cornflakes" hahahahaha! My friend Danielle* is a beautiful woman. I like her a lot, like attracted to her but I'm concerned about her weight. Is there a nice way to tell her that she's fat? You are very tactful with your way of talking to people through honesty, humor and detail. I don't feel right saying to her that she should lose a few pounds. Plus, I don't even know how to tell her I'm attracted to her. You obviously feel comfortable with the word "fat". I whisper words like that. It's offensive to a lot of people. How do I start a conversation?
Mom: "I never asked you why you dropped out of high school, Toya? You really hurt me when you did that. I thought you did it to cut school with Eric (my husband). This is why I couldn't sign you out."
Me: "Being in love didn't make me drop out 'Mah; there was too much going on around me. If I stayed in there one more year, I wouldn't have made it. I would be in jail if I stayed in high school. Dad knew parts of my reasoning and this is why he did it."
My mother and I never had a civilized conversation about the topic until this week about the subject. As a parent to a ten year old, I know that children can hurt you in the worst ways and most times, it's not intentional. Constantly, parents and children are going through this battle of being misunderstood and I remind myself of this aspect every chance I get.
In high school, I was the intelligent class clown when I would show up. I made jokes, wasn't popular nor hidden but this was when I actually showed up to class. Tenth grade year changed many areas of my life and while I secretly loved learning, I hated being looked at oddly for my intelligence. I danced on this thin line of being just smart enough but holding onto the hood Bible testament of "Thou shalt not fucks with Tay or her friends." In turn, lunch time in the cafeteria and the gym became the battlefield. There were days that I grew tired of fighting or defending friends who would do dumb shit, simply because my ego told me to be the protector and cutting school, smoking on Gates Avenue or Monroe Street in the Stuy was my salvation, as long as I was able to connect with others to give me the coursework. I always came home with notes that were lent to by friends or someone that owed me a favor for 'snuffing' someone in the face for being a bully to them. I learned each subject, complete assignments and submit them via people but I couldn't do this tactic with gym class. In turn, I dropped out because of 7 gym credits, despite having the opportunity to graduate with a Regents diploma and practically an offer to go to my dream college at the time: Hampton University. So why did I drop out: Gym Class. Ironic huh considering I love the gym and running, right? Not really though.
Considering that I haven't been running consistently as I desired, I am not as ecstatic about tapering off next week as I thought I would be. This morning, I would prefer to cuddle with my freshly made chocolate chip cookies and half bottle of Nahe but I'm very rigid and discipline with my schedule. There's only enough wiggle room for me to workout later but rarely ever to push off until another day.
Although the week isn't done, I cannot help but reflect on my 20 mile run from Wednesday. Empowered is a great word to use to describe that run, especially since I finished the 18 Miler over the weekend. Originally, I planned to hit four bridges: Pulaski, Queensboro then cruise to Manhattan Bridge, Brooklyn Bridge and if I needed more mileage, to the Williamsburg Bridge. Instead, I opted to battle the lethargic and view struck Brooklyn Bridge crowd during some of the worst times of the day. Parts of me wanted to strangle each and every tourist that stopped within mid stride to take a picture on my way there. I knew the views of the Hudson River running path would calm my nerves once I made it over.
New York Road Runners' Eighteen Mile training run was this Sunday. I was exceptionally nervous to be quite honest. September 17th stood strong in my mind for a number of reasons:
I constantly remind myself to trust my training but eating your own advice when running frantic and late isn't always the best feeling. During the train ride, I attempted to unwind in the middle seat, in which I despise since being the "big girl", by listening to my music while preserving some of my battery life through my portable charger. Once there, I followed a small crowd of frantic runners who were anxiously attempting to make to their respective corrals. Thanks to procrastination and a busy schedule, I darted to race central to pick up my bib and tee shirt. Obviously, I had the same idea as many because I was in line for at least ten minutes. It's been a while since I saw the line this long on race day. Once collecting my items, I checked off my items to baggage and heard the announcement for the staggered start. Guess being a back of the pack girl wasn't such a bad thing after all.