Friday, December 12, 2014

Elaine Doll-Dunn and the Leading Ladies' Marathon

Elaine Doll-Dunn has 7 children, 20 grandchildren, and 6 great-grandchildren.

She has completed 125 marathons since she started running at the age of 40... 37 years ago.


This gorgeous woman is 77 years old.

Post age 58 she's been busy...

  • climbing Mt Kilimanjaro
  • running from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean (60 miles across Panama in one day to celebrate her 60 birthday);
  • winning the title of Mrs South Dakota (at age 61 when the median age for of the contestants in the pageant was 30) 
  • writing four books
  • earning her  PhD of Philosophy... the list goes on.

She's also a mentor, motivational speaker, cancer survivor and one of the most witty, energetic, engaging and encouraging women I've encountered.

I met Dr. Elaine Dunn at the Baton Rouge Beach Marathon expo last week.  She is the event director of the Leading Ladies' Marathon - an all women, mostly down-hill USATF certified Boston qualifying course through the scenic Black Hills of Spearfish Canyon in South Dakota.

Img src: Gary Biggs - Western Gold and
I'm really excited about this event! The race tagline is "The Race, the Place, the Pace… For Women Who Dare", and the packet pickup/expo event the night before the event is defined as a time to Meet your sisters in soul and spirit.  Yes indeed!  An intention of this event is to connect, inspire and empower women.

I ran into a 50 States Marathon Club member at the expo who raved on and on about this event.  This woman has run several hundred marathons and she said Leading Ladies ranks in her top 3 due to the scenery, course and amazing people.  I've never raced out west and had something in Vegas on my radar -  but this race is calling my name.  Not just because of the negative hill factor, Thomas Kincade-like beauty and gorgeous weather - I'm looking forward to the vibe and inspiration from the positive and progressive women.

I also worked the expo last week for Tell It Tee and had a few opportunities that day to connect with Elaine.  Each conversation left me hootin', thinking and thanking God.
Hootin' because Elaine is plain out hilarious!  I imagine her speaking engagements are wonderful.
Thinking because Elaine openly shared from her interesting life and experiences. Her example and encouragement makes anyone with open ears/heart/mind question the possibility of assumed impossibilities in their life.  (Raising hand as that would be me...)
Thanking God for the confirmation of my priorities and a boost of energy and excitement to keep doing what I do. 

Want to be inspired?  Check out Dr Elaine Doll-Dunn's website at and the Leading Ladies' Marathon at

Perhaps I'll see you there.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Favorite fitness books

img src:
Christmas is almost here.  

If you have a fitness focused book lover on your gift list - these books are sure to please. I have read these books - multiple times. I have given copies as gifts and recommend them often. They have been tremendous tools in the informing and shaping of my faith based fitness perspective. All the books are priced well under $20 and via orders placed this week will make it to the recipient in time for Christmas.

Note: This post contains affiliate links. Retailer commissions help support this site.

 Look Great Feel Great 12 Keys to Enjoying a Healthy Life Now by Joyce Meyers

Look Great Feel Great 12 Keys to Enjoying a Healthy Life Now by Joyce Meyer

Publisher Overview:
Many people today find themselves enslaved to unhealthy living habits. These unhealthy habits are contributing to the deterioration of one of our greatest resources: our bodies. But God has a great future planned for you, and you need to be ready for it! You need to be looking great and feeling great, ready to do whatever God asks you to do.
In her bestselling book, Joyce provides you with a 12-key plan using God’s Word to restore mental, physical, emotional and spiritual wellness. With the guidance from this book, you can take this opportunity to achieve lifelong health for your body and soul.

 Daniel Plan

The Daniel Plan 40 Days to a Healthier Life by Rick Warren

Publisher Overview:
During an afternoon of baptizing over 800 people, Pastor Rick Warren realized it was time for change. He told his congregation he needed to lose weight and asked if anyone wanted to join him. He thought maybe 200 people would sign up, instead he witnessed a movement unfold as 15,000 people lost over 260,000 pounds in the first year. With assistance from medical and fitness experts, Pastor Rick and thousands of people began a journey to transform their lives.
Unlike the thousands of other books on the market, this book is not about a new diet, guilt-driven gym sessions, or shame-driven fasts. The Daniel Plan shows you how the powerful combination of faith, fitness, food, focus, and friends will change your health forever, transforming you in the most head-turning way imaginably—from the inside out.

Salt Sugar Fat How the Food Giants Hooked Us by Michael Moss

Publisher Overview:
The Atlantic • The Huffington Post • Men’s Journal • MSN (U.K.) • Kirkus Reviews • Publishers Weekly


Every year, the average American eats thirty-three pounds of cheese and seventy pounds of sugar. Every day, we ingest 8,500 milligrams of salt, double the recommended amount, almost none of which comes from the shakers on our table. It comes from processed food, an industry that hauls in $1 trillion in annual sales. In Salt Sugar Fat, Pulitzer Prize–winning investigative reporter Michael Moss shows how we ended up here. Featuring examples from Kraft, Coca-Cola, Lunchables, Frito-Lay, Nestlé, Oreos, Capri Sun, and many more, Moss’s explosive, empowering narrative is grounded in meticulous, eye-opening research. He takes us into labs where scientists calculate the “bliss point” of sugary beverages, unearths marketing techniques taken straight from tobacco company playbooks, and talks to concerned insiders who make startling confessions. Just as millions of “heavy users” are addicted to salt, sugar, and fat, so too are the companies that peddle them. You will never look at a nutrition label the same way again.

The Women's Health Big Book of Exercises: Four Weeks to a Leaner, Sexier, Healthier You by Adam Campbell

Publisher Overview:
The Women's Health Big Book of Exercises is the essential workout guide for anyone who wants a better body. As the most comprehensive collection of exercises ever created, this makeover manual is a body-shaping power tool for both beginners and longtime fitness buffs alike. From start to finish, this 480-page makeover manual bulges with hundreds of useful tips, the latest findings in exercise science, and cutting-edge workouts from the world's top trainers.

The Men's Health Big Book of Exercises: Four Weeks to a Leaner, Stronger, More Muscular you by Adam Campbell

Publisher Overview:
The Men’s Health Big Book of Exercises is the essential workout guide for anyone who wants a better body. As the most comprehensive collection of exercises ever created, you'll find 619 exercises expertly demonstrated with color photographs, with dozens of movements for every muscle in your body.  This book is a body-shaping power tool for both beginners and longtime lifters alike. 

The Women's Health Big Book of Pilates: The Essential Guide to Total Body Fitness by Brooke Siler 

Publisher Overview:
Celebrity trainer and Pilates guru Brooke Siler teams up with the editors of Women’s Health to offer a comprehensive, authoritative manual on this proven fitness philosophy. From moves targeting trouble zones to cardio circuits that blast fat all over, this go-to manual covers everything.

What fitness books top your favorite list?

Thursday, December 4, 2014

{Lessons along the journey} Strong mind strong body

Day 4
Yesterday, I was blessed to spend the morning exercising: Mall walking with my Silver Sneakers Flex group followed by an amazing Pilates class at the Manship YMCA.

Pilates block ball and mat
Seemingly innocuous Pilates tools of torture

That block of foam and little bouncy ball do not play. When Rachel tells the class to pull out the toys... I get scared. LOL. There's a difference between good pain and bad pain and the small focused moves of Pilates hurt so good. During the last moments of an exercise when muscle fatigue hits and the struggle to hold form becomes real,  Rachel urges"Mind over matter! Mind over matter!" That stuck with me. 

After Pilates, I knocked out my 4th short timed run of the week. Note to self: Pilates after run...not before.  This was hard. Mind over matter...

Both these activities were not over-the-top beast mode stuff. They were challenging but in a focused and highly purposeful way. I felt my mind working almost as much as my body. The intense focus on form, contracting, breath and pace was... intense.

Lesson/reminder for the day:
Don't under estimate the role of the brain in exercise performance. Strong mind can lead to a strong body.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

From size 22 to size 12 by mall walking

Angela Stewart knows and loves food.  As owner and operator of a restaurant and catering business, her thoughts and hands are on food almost constantly.  Good-old, down-home soul food is her specialty. Her establishment, The Café in Cortana Mall, serves up eats like seasoned mustard greens, sweet peas, candied yams, sweet buttered corn, homemade creamy potato salad, seafood gumbo, shrimp etouffee, jambalaya, fried chicken, fried shrimp, fried catfish…  {Pardon me… I needed a moment.}

These well-known and well-loved foods are not at of the top of the healthy food list. Now imagine being around these foods for 12+ hours a day almost everyday.  This is a sho-nuff challenge to healthful habits.  Angela Stewart rises to the challenge.

An insulin dependent diabetic, Angela didn't let her environment and crazy busy schedule keep her from making healthy moves.  Over the past year, she has gone from 237 lbs and a size 22 to a size 12 at 196. 

Fantastic!  Angela credits her steady, gradual loss of 41 pounds to moderation in eating saying “I don’t deny myself, I moderate my food choices.”  She also connects her reduced weight and high energy to consistent mall walking. I met Angela before the mall opened  as I headed in for my walking group.  Angela shared that she comes in early and cooks for about 3 hours, then takes a break and hits the mall route for 3.6 miles of power walking.  “It depends how you do it.”  Angela stated. “Each lap is 1.2 miles and you can walk it leisurely or power walk it.  I hit it.” 

3-5 times per week, Angela knocks out a 5k plus some. At her place of work. On top of an 10-12 hour workday.   Realizing exercise is a key component for the management of diabetes, she fits it in and gets it done.  Way to make things happen!

What aspect of your environment or schedule makes exercise a challenge for you?
How can you (or have you) overcome it?  
Share and shine like Angela. Your challenge/experience may help someone.

Check out The Café or Angela’s catering services at
Check out our indoor walking group at my SilverSneakersofferings blog post.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

{Lessons along the journey} Stay grateful

Day 3
I'm almost finished with Jodi Picout's Handle with Care, a book centered around a little girl born with osteogenesis imperfecta (OI), a genetic disorder that makes bones fragile to the point that a fall, a wrong turn - even a cough can cause a break.  The little girl in this story at the age of 6 has had over 50 bone breaks and other OI complications including curved bones, scoliosis, brittle teeth and stunted growth. The author skillfully details the extreme challenges this child and her family face managing her condition.

Via facebook, I received a request to send an ecard to a little boy who is going back and forth from ICU and whose main hope is getting well enough to be home for Christmas.

Via direct message, word came that a dear church member's father passed onto glory this morning and via text message, a client shared of the unexpected loss of a friend.

My mind, heart and prayers have been with these families and all who are affected by illness and bereavement. In lifting them up I was reminded:

  • No day is promised. 
  • No matter our challenge, someone/somewhere is dealing with something greater.  
  • These fearfully and wonderfully made bodies won't last always. 
  • Every day, every moment of health and strength is a gift - not to be taken for granted.
  • Regardless of what is going on God knows, God cares, God is in control and worthy of praise.

Today's workout schedule was leading an exercise session at my church followed by my 3rd short timed run of the week. I'm grateful for the ability to move and give God praise for every stretch, every step, every breath.


Other Lessons along the journey

Day 2 - Do it anyway
Day 1 - I'm best with a goal