Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Sharing Sports (Or Not)

There once was a little girl who wanted to play softball. She wanted to try it out. See if it would become her thing. One softball season later, that little girl learned to run to first base without her bat, to catch balls in the outfield, to cover home plate when she played catcher, to throwing a good pitch, to successfully stealing bases, to hitting the ball farther and farther each week. She played with 10 other sweet, fun girls who have all become friends. These girls worked well together, won their mid-season tournament and then their end-of season tournament. On her way home from her last game of the season she announced to her dad that she would play softball in college. Her older sisters watched every game and saw how much fun she had. Their mom told them, they could try softball too, if they wanted. Their softball playing little sister was quick to say, "No, their sport is basketball."

These girls share just about everything. Maybe it's OK if they don't want to share sports, too.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Golden Girl Fitness Mentor

A while ago I went to one of my favorite yoga classes and found there would be a substitute teacher. As usually happens when I walk into a class with a sub, I start wondering if this teacher will give me what I need or at least what I have come to expect from the usual teacher.

We always get what we need, don't we?

As she made introductions and we sat for the invocation I felt the presence of a great woman. I was charmed by her Texas accent (go figure), her silver pixie haircut, and especially her complete lack of attempt to appear younger. She was a "senior citizen," and she owned it.

Add to that she was a competent yoga instructor with a capable, athletic body. She was mesmerizing, I tell you. I left that class fulfilled by her teaching and getting something I didn't expect: another fitness mentor.

Some four years ago I wrote about the importance of having a "fit mom mentor," and with each passing year I find I'm looking out for the those women who are pursuing active lives when their contemporaries are choosing to move less, not more. (One happens to be my own mother who comes today for a week-long active visit.)

Becoming a certified yoga instructor has been on my bucket list for some time, but I never seem to get around to it.  With this yoga teacher's inspiration I know that life goal can remain on my list for as long as it needs to be.

Have you got a "Golden Girl" fitness mentor? If you need some inspiration, check out this movie trailer about Mary Stroebe, who competed in the Life Time Fitness Triathlon in her 90s.

Mary and Bill Trailer from Andrew Napier on Vimeo.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Shock and Awe

After four days of walking and running with my dog, canoeing with my daughters, swatting mosquitos, soaking up sun, morning tai chi on the deck courtesy of my sister-in-law, tubing and water skiing courtesy of my brother-in-law, fireworks, Boggle, good food, good drink, enjoying the company of family, I'm too worn out to do anything more than post my favorite photo from the weekend. Hope your Fourth of July weekend was equally awe-inspiring.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Hitting the Town with Go! Go! Sports Girls

I just spent a fun weekend promoting the Go! Go! Sports Girls Read & Play sets in the Chicago area and can't help but share a few of the highlights.

First we kicked off the weekend at WGN Radio in Chicago where we were on the Steve Cochran Show. It was the radio station's 90th anniversary so it was an honor to be there that day. Want to listen? Here's the 5-minute clip.

Next we hit four Walmart stores in fast succession: Villa Park, Hodgkins, Batavia and Bloomingdale. When I say we, I include, Go! Go! Sports Girl creator, Jodi Norgaard (seated middle), the illustrator of the Go! Go! Sports Girls books, Pam Seatter (in red), and our life size Soccer Girl Cassie (standing left).

Cassie gets lots of attention when you're carting her around town. She's a fun girl to have along.

On Saturday morning we visited one more Walmart in Naperville, then we had the pleasure of a Saturday Story Time Reading and book signing at the Anderson's Bookshop in Naperville.

Finally, we made it to our last stop, the adorable Book Store in Glen Ellyn. Nothing like walking along, and seeing a sign like this on the sidewalk. What a thrill!

We visited with lots of little girls and boys (yes, the boys bought books too!) and handed out stickers and temporary tattoos. We signed books and encouraged kids to "Dream Big and Go For It!"

Monday, June 23, 2014

Trade Offs (and More Store Locations)

On Friday I had a break through fit mom moment. I decided to take my children for a bike ride and so I mustered up the Teflon coating required to allow any griping and complaining I expected from the ride to slide off me. Turns out I didn't need Teflon at all, just more sunscreen. No complaining on the ride. We rode to a park about 30 minutes away, had a picnic snack, then played "American Ninja Warrior" on the playground (participants are timed end-to-end; excellent playground workout). We all had a grand time.

For the rest of the weekend I marveled at arriving at this happy place; yet another stage in parenting. Then, while I was doing the laundry (the topic of laundry comes up so often on my blog I might have to devote an entire chapter to it in the eBook) I realized that with each parenting milestone typically comes some new challenge. You know, baby learns to roll over, but baby stops sleeping through the night. Or, baby learns to walk, but you have to scramble to add a new level of safety proofing. The new paradigm will shift to make life easier in some ways as well as illuminate the next challenge.

As I was spraying stain remover onto my daughter's softball jersey after an all-day tournament I saw, in my hands, where the next challenge was coming: massive amounts of sweaty workout clothes. It's already bad between my husband and I. Once these kids hit puberty and really start sweating I better have a plan. The tipping point will be when The Boy starts sweating. I will have massive amounts of stinky laundry. Laundry overwhelms me now, so the projections are paralyzing.

Then I remember my happy, sweaty kids after that ride and I know it's a good trade off.

In other news I'd like to share upcoming promotions I'll be attending for the Go! Go! Sports Girls.

I'll be in Chicago this Friday and Saturday. First stop is WGN Radio (720 AM) on Friday morning. Jodi Norgaard and I will be on the Steve Cochran Show at 9:40. Then we'll travel around town for book signings.

10:45-11:45 am
Walmart|900 S. Route 83, Villa Park

12:30-1:30 pm
Walmart| 9450 Joliet Road, Hodgkins

2:30-3:30 pm
Walmart| 801 N. Randall Road, Batavia

4:30-5:30 pm
Walmart| 314 West Army Trail Road, Bloomingdale

Then on Saturday:

9:00-10:00 am
Walmart| 2000 Orchard Road, Montgomery

11:00 am - 1:00 pm
Anderson's Bookshop Naperville | 123 W. Jefferson Ave., Naperville
The Bookstore in Glen Ellyn | 475 N. Main St., Glen Ellyn

If you're in the area please come see us!

Also, I've learned of more stores who are selling the Go! Go! Sports Girls books and Read & Plays. There's a chain called Hastings Books, Music and Video that has put them in a number of stores. Here's the list:

Conway, AR

Benton, AR

Jonesboro, AR

Russellville, AR

Searcy AR,

Mountain Home, AR

Lake Havasu City, AZ

Sierra Vista, AZ

Prescott, AZ

Moscow, ID

Meridian, ID

Boise, ID

Twin Falls ID

Nampa ID

Richmond IN

Dodge City, KS

Hays, KS

Richmond, KY

Popular Bluff, MO

Billings, MT

Missoula, MT

Helena, MT

Grand Islands, NE

Kearny, NE

Carlsbad, NM

Farmington, NM

Alamogordo, NM

Sante Fe, NM

Las Cruces, NM

Los Lunas, NM

Lawton, OK

Ada, OK

Ponca City, OK

Stillwater, OK

Enid, OK

Ardmore, OK

Norman, OK

Yukon, OK

Murfreesboro, TN

Clarksville, TN

San Angelo, TX

Abilene, TX

Midland, TX

Wichita Falls, TX

Pampa, TX

Kerrville, TX

Sherman, TX

Lubbock, TX (2)

Amarillo, TX

Stephenville, TX

Waxahachie, TX

New Braunfels, TX

Spokane WA (2)

Monday, June 16, 2014

Go! Go! Sports Girl Books Are Out!

Remember the Go! Go! Sports Girls? Remember how I've spent the last few years writing books to bring the dolls to life in books? Well... they're out! Beginning this week there are six books in the Go! Go! Sports Girls series available for sale individually and packaged with a doll in a Read & Play set.

Walmart is testing the Read & Play sets in 50 stores throughout Illinois (listed below). In order for WalMart to expand sales of Go! Go! Sports Girls throughout the U.S., this test run must sell and sell fast! We have one month to prove ourselves, so please spread the word!

If you aren’t in Illinois, the books and Read & Plays are available online through a number of retailers, including Target.com. If online sales go well, we hope Target will sell the dolls and books in their stores, too.

The 32-page illustrated books explore social-emotional growth through sport in engaging stories that empower children to "Dream Big and Go For It!" 

This project has been a passion for me as I raise three young athletic daughters, but also because I’m part of a movement to give girls better choices. Girls need more than the stereotypical options packaged in pink, as well as options other than over-sexualized toys such as Bratz, Monster High, and their ilk.

Go! Go! Sports Girls are age-appropriate, proportioned to a real girl’s body, project a positive image, and deliver a healthy message. The Go! Go! Sports Girls better reflect our family’s lifestyle and values. Girls play sports and so should their dolls. My daughters have grown up playing with Go! Go! Sports Girls, and still do. I might add that The Boy, who has no concept that his mom is the author, is a fan of the books as well.
My daughters' room after a recent GGSG play session.
But it’s not only our family who thinks highly of the product. The Go! Go! Sports Girls have been recognized as a top toy by the Oppenheim Toy Award, Dr. Toy Award and Parents magazine. All six Go! Go! Sports Girls Read & Play sets recently won the highest award in the toy industry, the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio's Platinum Award.

If you will, please support this fledgling company and their very worthwhile products. As you buy for birthdays and holidays I hope you’ll consider the Go! Go! Sports Girl books or Read & Play sets for gifts.

For those of you who partake in social media, I'd be grateful if you'd help spread the word. Here are some sample posts/tweets, but of course feel free to write your own.
Girls play sports. So should their dolls. New books from @gogosportsgirls encourage creative play through sports. http://bit.ly/1kthNfp 
Show girls there are options besides pink tutus & tiaras with books & dolls from @GoGoSportsGirls. http://bit.ly/1kthNfp 
Have a sporty girl in your life? Check out the new childrens’ books and Read & Play sets from @gogosportsgirls. http://bit.ly/1kthNfp
As the author I’m hoping there is enough demand that I get the opportunity to write more books for the Go! Go! Sports Girls. It is my heart's desire. And besides, with my daughters exploring so many sports I have more material to work with!

Thanks for your continued support!

Walmart Stores in Illinois that will carry the Go! Go! Sports Girls Read & Play sets are:

Algonquin - 1410 S. Randall Rd.

Batavia - 801 Randall Rd.

Bedford Park - 7050 S. Cicero Ave.

Belvidere - 2101 Gateway Center Dr.

Bloomingdale - 314 W. Army Trail Rd.

Bloomington - 2225 W. Market St.

Bolingbrook - 200 S. Bolingbrook Dr.

Bourbonnais - 2080 No. St. Route 5

Chicago - 10900 S. Doty St.

Country Club Hills - 4005 167th St.

Crystal Lake - 1205 S. IL Rt. 31

Danville - 4101 N. Vermilion St.

Decatur - (2) 4224 N. Prospect St. and 4685 E. Maryland St.

DeKalb - 2300 Sycamore Rd.

Dixon - 1640 S. Galena Ave.

Forest Park - 1300 Des Plaines Ave.

Freeport - 2545 IL Rt. 26S

Hodgkins - 9450 Joliet Rd

Joliet - 2424 Jefferson St.

Lincoln - 825 Malerich Dr.

Lockport - 16241 S. Farrell Rd.

Mattoon - 101 Dettro Dr.

Montgomery - 200 Orchard Rd

Morton - 155 E. Courtland

Naperville - 2442 W. 75th St.

New Lenox - 501 E. Lincoln Hwy

Niles (2) - 5630 W. Touhy and 8500 Golf Rd.

Normal - 300 Greenbriar Dr.

Northlake - 137 W. North Ave.

Orland Hills - 9245 159th St.

Ottawa - 4041 Veterans Dr.

Pekin - 3320 Veterans Dr.

Peoria - 8915 N. Allen Rd.

Peru - 5307 Rt. 251

Plano - 6800 W. US Hwy 34

Pontiac - 1706 W. Reynolds St.

Rockford (2) - 7219 Walton St and 3849 Northridge Dr.

Romeoville - 420 Weber Rd.

Savoy - 505 S. Dunlap Ave.

Shorewood - 1401 IL Rt. 59

Springfield - 2760 N. Dirksen Pkwy

Sterling - 4115 E. Lincolnway

Taylorville - 1530 W. Springfield Rd.

Villa Park - 900 S. Rt. 83

Washington - 1980 Freedom Pkwy.

Wheeling - 1455 E. Lake Cook Rd.

Woodstock - 1275 Lake Ave.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Fitbit Advice from Albert Einstein

First, a favor. I’m in the process of designing the cover for my eBook based on this blog, Mama Sweat. I need “testimonials” for the cover; those endorsements that convince a potential reader the book is worth reading. I’d love for these to come from the very people who read my blog. If you’d like to share a sentence or two about why you like Mama Sweat or how it’s been useful in your life as a fit mom, please email me at kara@karathom.com. Naturally, you’ll get a complimentary copy of my eBook, Finding Fitness in the Chaos of Motherhood, for your contribution. (And Mom, I know you enjoy my blog, but I can't include your endorsement.)

Now, let’s talk about fitness tracking devices. It’s no secret, I’m a little OCD about wearing my Fitbit. Nothing can can ruin my day like discovering my Fitbit battery is dead.

Being able to track my daily steps has been a nice void-filler since giving up running during my year on the exercise detox. But now I’ve started running a wee bit. A mile here, two miles there. I kept my Fitbit on, because if I’m going to walk around with my Fitbit while I brush my teeth so I can get 50 more steps, why would I take my tracker off for a run? I am a step hoarder.

Then my husband told me he doesn’t wear his Fitbit for workouts.

That made me stop walking for no reason and take pause. Yes, he had a point. Workouts are workouts. You know how far you’ve gone, so why do you need to track it?

This made a lot of sense and was equally annoying at the same time. (That happens often in our relationship.)

I remember what my exercise detox guru, Katy Bowman, said about the need to walk above and beyond our workouts (exercise dessert), because walking is necessary for our biology. “Movement is the vehicle for cellular feeding,” or something like that. Our cells, our lymph system, our joints, our organs need us to walk, even if we’ve already run 10 miles that day; maybe especially if we’ve run 10 miles that day, if only to say “hey!” to our hip flexors and glutes before the day is done.

In the past I was that endurance athlete who could go on a long training run then fight for the closest parking space at the grocery store. But now it’s sinking in: I needed to walk 10,000 steps in addition to whatever workout I do. The walking is the meal, the exercise is the dessert.

For back up I turned to the Hot (Sweaty) Mama Facebook Page (you’ve liked the page right?) and there is consensus: either people don’t wear their tracker when they workout OR they increase their daily step goal when they do. Nothing like having a bunch of women back up your husband.

OK, it’s coming off next time I run. 

And then, as I read in a fantastic article this morning: "The United States of Metrics," you can fall into two schools of thought about data tracking: "You can optimize everything, or you can do what the ancients did and say, 'Good enough.'" This means that at the end of the day when your Fitbit says 14,976, do not go downstairs one more time, just go to bed.

The article ends with a quote from Albert Einsein, who might have cared about fitness tracking devices not at all: "Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted."