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Friday, May 24, 2013

Couch to 5K Spotlight: Tiffiny Rossi

When Cassie Walling mentioned doing a Couch to 5K project to me, I agreed because it's a great idea! Little did I know how many of you were Couch to 5K professionals, or even marathon runners! The response has been astounding, and this week, for our member spotlight, we chose Tiffiny Rossi, who not only runs marathons, but just had a baby! She's kicking off her Couch to 5K with us, and here's what she had to say!


With two marathons and a half marathon, plus years of running for fun behind me, it should be relatively easy to pick up and start running again. The problem with a six-week-old baby and two other kids is that I can't seem to find enough time to get out there.
I feel a bit doughy 'round the middle from the weight I gained during pregnancy, which partly explains my itch to hit the trails again. But what's eating at me more than a few extra kilos is that my lungs feel out of shape. Likewise, my heart races when I climb the stairs in my home. I feel sluggish – like a ball of lead being tossed around inside a duffle bag full of mud. So when I saw that Darlena ( was putting together a couch-to-5K/running event, I figured this was a good time to get my arse in gear again. I'd hope to just make some time to do some 5 K runs at this point, but even better if I could get back under a 30-minute 5 K.

Anyway, Darlena sent over a few questions for me about my experiences with running. So here's what I've got:

1) What does running mean to you / what is your relationship with running?

Running is more than just an exercise I do to stay in shape. It's a journey inside my head, bringing me to experiences I've had before, experiences I'll have in the future, and experiences that may only play out as fantasies. Running is my time to visit old memories, plan my future, practice real life scenarios and confrontations, or to cook up stories I may later write or just act out as I run. Sometimes my thoughts drift toward lofty and aspirational, like the prospect of running two marathons at age 40. Other times I focus on the mundane – the little details like what decorations and food we'll have at my son's naming ceremony. Sure, I can contemplate these things without running. But when I'm out letting my feet fly, the endorphins produced by my body give me a boost of clarity and an extremely positive outlook on life.

2) What has been your typical training experience?

I've put myself through various training scenarios depending on my goal, for example: 30 minutes straight without walking, 5K, marathon, half-marathon, running in minimal shoes, and running a 5K under 30 minutes, to name a few. My experiences have been overwhelmingly positive and I've always been able to achieve my goal whenever I put my mind to it. And that's the important part. Once I've convinced myself, "I can do this," the physical training part is quite easy. That's not to say I haven't seen challenges along the way. When I do, I rely upon running communities on the internet and inspirational books about running to see me through.

3) Any tips or words of wisdom for those wanting to try this out?

  • If you're just starting out, try setting a time goal rather than a distance goal. For example, set a 20-30 minutes goal at first, and...
  • Alternate short spurts of running with periods of walking until you make your full time goal. In your first week, try to run for 30-60 seconds straight, then walk until you catch your breath again, then do another 30-60 second burst of running, and continue on until you make your 20-30 minute time goal.
  • Build your running burst up slowly each week. After several weeks, you'll be running the whole 20-30 minute block.
  • Take any negative thoughts during your run, acknowledge them, and turn them into something more aspirational. Don't block the feelings out, just invite them to come with you on the run. You'll notice the challenges will bother you a whole let less. For example, if you hate hills, say to yourself, "Hello hill, come run with me." If you feel a side cramp, say "Hello pain, come run with me."
  • When you feel like things are going tough in any training program you're following, here's a good tip I learned. Tell yourself to TRY EASIER. That's right, don't buckle down and tell yourself what a wimp you are and try harder – lighten up on yourself a bit and relax instead. If you don't feel like taking a run one day, tell yourself it's ok and that you'll skip this one today, but be back on track the following day. Or mix things up a bit. Say you don't feel up to running one day, but you feel like maybe a walk or a swim or some work out in the garden would be acceptable. Do the "easier" or other activity you want to do instead of your run, and again, remember to tell yourself you'll be on track the next day.
  • Read this book, even if you never want to run a marathon: The Non-Runner's Marathon Trainer. It has so many great tips and inspirational stories that just might want to make you run a marathon in the end.
Best of luck to you whatever your running goals are!

Thanks Tiffiny! Check out her blog, The copyverse!

If you want to run with your little ones in tow, make sure you check out these options!

If you are doing the Couch to 5K and would be interested in being highlighted, leave a comment here or on our Facebook page and we'll check you out, too!


Thursday, May 23, 2013

Life Is All About the Trends - Guest Post

Kimberly Wright, owner of a new and awesome blog, No Progress without Pain, has written a great post for me about how to keep on keeping on.


In my house we have some motivational sayings. Some are less eloquent than others. We have a daughter with special circumstances and we have a rule never to let her say she can’t do something. We have taken an even harder approach to our own endeavors. Though some of those ‘motivational sayings’ aren’t really parenting blog appropriate.

We all get down, it’s human nature to get down about things, but I feel like sometimes my family falls into ruts harder than others. I know I personally do and I need to remind myself multiple times a day that it’s not about each up and down it’s about the overall trend.

For the last 6 months I’ve been training and following a very strict diet that my doctor placed me on due to some out of control blood work. I fall into a rut because I want all the results of these workouts and diets immediately. It is the American way after all. That’s obviously not the way it works, it’s a painfully slow hard process of changing my lifestyle and recognizing what makes me feel better and what makes me feel like a walking talking mombie (mom-zombie).

If you just look at one week it might look bad. I can “gain” 8-10 pounds seemingly overnight, but it’s not really a gain. If I look at the trends though since last fall it’s a nice sloping downward hill line showing how much all my hard work is paying off and becoming hard-earned progress.

I forget almost daily to focus on the trends and not on the day-to-day good or bad.

It’s an excellent rule to remember not only for weight loss and health but also for all aspects of life. Is today just unrealistically horrible? Did your kid cut the back of her jeans and then sit on the corner screaming for a new mother (true freaking story). That’s ok, because there will be a good days that will even out that trend and make you forget (ok maybe not forget, maybe jut accept) that bad day.


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

How to Unmask an MRA in Ten Easy Steps

In this new online world where voices of marginalized groups finally get somewhat of a chance to make themselves heard, the viewpoints that go against the dominant ideology challenge and make uncomfortable those sitting in a place of privilege. And oftentimes turn them into right assholes...or rather unveil them for what they really are. Getting the all the "buts" out of the way (I'm not racist, but; I believe in equality for women, but) is easier than ever before, and feminism seems to have the uncanny ability to strip bare these shallow repetitions of the status quo as never seen before.

I have for you an example of a men's rights activist and general ahole lurking around in regular person's clothing, who was taken to task and soon revealed his true trollish colors. It happened on my Facebook feed just a few days ago, and it's not alone. I see these exchanges almost every day in one form or another.

Without further ado, let's talk about how to unmask a jerk in just ten steps.

1) Post an article about something reasonable that forwards the perception of a marginalized group fighting for equal rights. In this case it was this Jezebel article entitled "If Your Boyfriend Thinks Your Vagina Is Repulsive, Break Up With Him."

2) Field some supportive comments from people who agree with the viewpoint. This forms "a base" against which some will invariably feel they need to take a stand. (Names are taken out because while this is reposted with the original poster's permission, it was friends only.)

  • SUPPORTER1 I have been fascinated by the many different vaginas I have seen and experienced
    May 17 at 6:26pm · Like · 1
  • SUPPORTER 2 Why would guys act like they are disgusting and then want to use them? I think guys can be sad sad little creatures some times!
    May 17 at 6:46pm · Like · 2
  • SUPPORTER 3 If they're grossed out by vaginas, don't have sex!!  ok, in all seriousness, this is very immature of guys. I don't get grossed out by uncircumcised penises. And I especially get angry when guys ask stuff like " does your vagina stink? If so I won't go down there." I always respond with. " no, you dipshit. There's this great invention called a shower, and clearly I use it. And that's fine if you already want to carry negative thoughts about my vagina because you're not going anywhere near it." oh, how they back paddle as if they were in a canoe back paddling race and it's an Olympic sport. Too late! You failed the maturity litmus test!
    May 17 at 8:51pm via mobile · Like · 4

2) Allow a dissenter to take up arms and do not engage right away, instead stand your ground. Watch misandry turn into "mis-kevin-dry."

  • DISSENTER What the actual fuck!!?? 
    This is getting out of hand
    May 17 at 8:52pm via mobile · Like
  • ORIGINAL POSTER So look at someone else's facebook?
    May 17 at 8:59pm via mobile · Like · 1
  • DISSENTER Well it all keeps coming up on my feed. You're a good friend, but I don't want to keep reading how much of a fucking horrible person I am just because I'm a guy.
    May 17 at 9:06pm via mobile · Like
  • ORIGINAL POSTER If you think this article or anything else that I'm posting is bashing on men simply because they're men, then you clearly aren't putting that much effort into reading them. I'm a feminist, not a man hater. If you dislike it you can always hide my posts, but I'm not going to censor what I share based on whether or not you want to see it.
    May 17 at 9:08pm via mobile · Like · 3
  • DISSENTER I don't expect you too. But I would expect you to be objective
    May 17 at 10:17pm via mobile · Like

3) Watch in awe as the dissenter posts links, quotes, articles or other "information" backing up his or her stance to prove you wrong about yourself. In this particular case, he happened to have a notebook full of wondrous out-of-context nonsense.

DISSENTER “I feel that ‘man-hating’ is an honourable and viable political act, that the oppressed have a right to class-hatred against the class that is oppressing them.” – Robin Morgan, Ms. Magazine Editor

“To call a man an animal is to flatter him; he’s a machine, a walking dildo.” -– Valerie Solanas

“I want to see a man beaten to a bloody pulp with a high-heel shoved in his mouth, like an apple in the mouth of a pig.” — Andrea Dworkin

“Rape is nothing more or less than a conscious process of intimidation by which all men keep all women in a state of fear” — Susan Brownmiller

“The more famous and powerful I get the more power I have to hurt men.” — Sharon Stone

“In a patriarchal society, all heterosexual intercourse is rape because women, as a group, are not strong enough to give meaningful consent.” — Catherine MacKinnon

“The proportion of men must be reduced to and maintained at approximately 10% of the human race.” — Sally Miller Gearhart

“Men who are unjustly accused of rape can sometimes gain from the experience.” – Catherine Comins
“All men are rapists and that’s all they are” — Marilyn French

“Probably the only place where a man can feel really secure is in a maximum security prison, except for the imminent threat of release.” — Germaine Greer.

I give you feminism at its finest. Not to mention the cases of feminists beating male children at daycare centres simply because they are male. Or the one that smeared a babies dirty nappy all over its face simply because it was a boy. 
What a wonderful group of people, huh?

Impressive, no?

4) Gently (or not so gently) correct this strawman, and bring the dissenter back to the point he was originally trying to make (in this case that feminists hate him personally, apparently). Show him again the point and where he's missing it.

  • SUPPORTER 2 I don't see anything about this article bashing men simply because they are men. It's addressing a very real issue present in dating, relationships, and marriage that some men view female genitals as gross, yet expect sex and expect women to pleasure them. It has way more to do with maturity issues and irony. There's nothing about this article saying ALL men are like this, nothing. There are some, absolutely. And I think it's perfectly fair to say if a guy is grossed out by a woman's vagina then she has every right to leave the relationship. I mean, c'mon. I would be an asshole if I told a guy to get a circumcision because his foreskin grossed me out..... are you assuming here that all feminists smear poop in boys' faces? C'mon, seriously dude. You're asking her to not bash all men. But aren't you kinda calling the kettle black by making statements such as "what a wonderful group of people, huh?"
    May 17 at 10:30pm · Edited · Unlike · 7
  • SUPPORTER 4 Um, what is happening.
    May 17 at 10:31pm · Like · 2
  • SUPPORTER 5 where do i even start with this incredible tomfuckery. its like beautiful gem of tomfuckery
    May 17 at 10:31pm · Like · 4
  • SUPPORTER 5 i said tomfuckery twice, thats how speechless i am at this BoH (TM)
    May 17 at 10:31pm · Like · 6
  • Darlena Mariani Cunha Unless you've personally called a vagina that belongs to a woman you're seeing repulsive, I'm not sure how this is directed at you...
    May 17 at 10:32pm · Like · 5
Darlena Mariani Cunha Also, you're kind of being a little silly here when you list out a half dozen quotes and bring up two individual eight people total...and then call all feminists that. What a lovely group of people, you say. But isn't that what your original point was about? How people (feminists in particular) shouldn't say you personally are a bad person because you're a man? Well, I'm not a poop-smearing-on-a-baby ahole just because I'm a feminist, so it'd be rad if you took me out of that grouping. tyfyt

5) Allow a bit of a dogpile because we just went from vaginas aren't repulsive, to feminists hate men, to feminists smear feces on male babies in .2 seconds. (Or whatever large gaps in logic are taking place in your particular argument.)

  • SUPPORTER 5 like what even is this bullshit, apparently its "anti men" to not want to be in a relationship with some douche who finds your genitalia repulsive? if some guy told me my cunt looked repulsive, the muffin shop would be closed SO FAST.
    May 17 at 10:39pm · Like · 6
  • SUPPORTER 2 exactly!!!!! How the hell did this even become an anti men issue????
    May 17 at 10:41pm · Like · 4
  • SUPPORTER 5 because feces in the face
    or something
    May 17 at 10:42pm · Unlike · 6
  • SUPPORTER 2 Oh yeah, that's like my regular Saturday activity. Thanks for reminding me to go collect dirty diapers from the Wal-Mart dumpster for my Saturday slinging. *rolls eyes.*
    May 17 at 10:43pm · Like · 3
  • SUPPORTER 2 Because obviously if I expect basic and mutual respect in a relationship and to be treated like a human being I MUST be a child abusing, poop smearing, feminist devil. ARE YOU SERIOUS, DUDE?!?!?!!?
    May 17 at 10:45pm · Like · 3
  • SUPPORTER 5 EQUAL RIGHTS AND EQUAL PAY = poop smearing child beaters. trufax
    May 17 at 10:45pm · Like · 4

6) At this point, the dissenter will most likely bring up another specific example that has nothing to do with the actual point and try to apply it where it doesn't belong.

DISSENTER Feminists never seem to condone the wrongful actions of women and always seem to defend then. The best example of this was Andrea Yates – who drowned her 5 children in a bathtub. In 2001 the NOW president Patricia Ireland exclaimed that Yates had “Revealed America as a patriarchal society" where "women are imprisoned at home with their children.”,

7) Show him what these things he is saying look like in real life.

  • SUPPORTER 6 You know what guyz, fuck it I hate men cause a man said I do! He mansplained my ass!
    May 17 at 11:00pm · Unlike · 4
  • SUPPORTER 7 Tell me more, please. I can't think for myself because I have a gross baginer.
    May 17 at 11:00pm · Like · 6
  • SUPPORTER 2 My baginer throws poop at babies apparently.
    May 17 at 11:01pm · Unlike · 7
  • SUPPORTER 2 And drowns children......
    May 17 at 11:02pm · Unlike · 6
  • SUPPORTER 7 Penises = My disgust even tho I'm hetero! I just can't look at them!!!
    May 17 at 11:02pm · Like · 2

8) Finally come around to engaging in this little argument aside from the point because the other person is just so wrong.

  • SUPPORTER 2  look up what happens to baby girls in India and all over the world, and how many girls are abandoned to die of exposure simply because they are girls.
    May 17 at 11:18pm · Like · 4
  • SUPPORTER 6 Like women. EVERYDAY. 
    "In the US 91% of rape victims are female and 9% are male, and 99% of rapists are male."
    Almost all rape is committed by men.
    May 17 at 11:18pm · Like · 2
  • SUPPORTER 6 MRA's, go join them, embrace them, they are your people. Neckbeard 4 LYFE.
    May 17 at 11:19pm · Like · 2
  • SUPPORTER 7 Or how many women are raped, assaulted, killed all over the world...Domestic abuse is always a fun topic, too, because, you know, men endure it just as much as women!
    May 17 at 11:20pm · Like · 1

9) And at this point, you've usually got him.

DISSENTER You guys should be focusing less on your daddy issues and more on becoming a good cook for your future husband (I'd say chef, but we know that's a male thing ;)). 
I mean god, one day you might have sons and they're going to grow up to be the bread-win
ners for yet another housewife. How are they going to ever do that if they think women are some kind of equal? 

Here's my advice; Tell your daddy's/uncles/grandfathers that you forgive them. Treat yourself, go to a spa, get your underarms shaved, put some deodorant on and a dress and go and let a nice man pay for your dinner. You'll feel much better, I promise.

10) Now, you may think he's just being facetious, so allow the discourse to continue, just to make sure.

  • SUPPORTER 6 Well, if telling women their vaginas are gross works for you? You go on with your wormy little self.
    May 17 at 11:26pm · Like · 1
  • SUPPORTER 6 BBL, lerning 2 cook for my future hubsand.
    May 17 at 11:27pm · Like · 1
  • DISSENTER I love vaginas! It's just feminist ones are a little hard to see through all the hair and shame.
    May 17 at 11:28pm via mobile · Like · 1

  • DISSENTER Relax girls. Lol. By the way, is it daddy or the boyfriend paying for your internets?
    May 17 at 11:34pm via mobile · Like · 1
  • SUPPORTER 7 Yes, all girls have men pay for their utilities. That makes perfect sense. NO!
    May 17 at 11:35pm · Like · 1
  • DISSENTER Actually in regards to the violence against women, the statistics say that 30% of women killed are murdered by their boyfriends/husbands. 
    So... 30% of women should have just shut the fuck up?
    May 17 at 11:38pm via mobile · Like

Conclusion? End friendship.

ORIGINAL POSTER Wow. You know, I think I gave you too much credit. Way too much. I weep for your daughter. Thanks for showing me who the fuck you actually are, so I didn't spend any extra time agonizing with the decision to remove you from my friends list. Seriously, I don't know what the fuck made me think we were friends when all you ever do anymore is talk shit on my posts and stir up drama. Way to be a total and absolute tool. You give men a bad name.

And there you have it. How to out a complete jerk in ten easy steps. Look out for them on your own list.



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