An ‘Ironman’ Type of Community

Usually I post a recap of The Healthy Giraffe Road Trip but Saturday included an Ironman like day full of spectacular events so I will review them all. When I reflect on the day it made me think of the four areas to optimize your life Dr. Dean Ornish wrote in his book, Undo It!: How Simple Lifestyle Changes Can Reverse Most Chronic Diseases.

The four areas he addresses include:

  • Eat Well
  • Move More
  • Stress Less
  • Love More

It’s a fantastic book addressing overall health and the control we each have on how we can live a healthy lifestyle. Saturday checked all the boxes starting with a group run in the morning, a brunch at Cider Press Cafe mid-day and finished with a celebration party at de Bine Brewing Company

Group Run

What a motivating way to start a Saturday. The group met at our Dunedin Causeway location on this morning. I facilitated a discussion on the power of endorphins, triggering a positive feeling in the body, when we simply exercise. Endorphins also have a profound effect when we are in pain by enabling us to push harder and endure longer. What better example to discuss than with what Jenn, Chris and Dave experienced at Ironman Chattanooga two weeks prior.

Jenn and Chris joined the group on this morning, shared inspiring accounts from the race and how these endorphins played a role during and after the race. The excitement in their faces and voices as they reflected back on the day was inspiring. The work they put into this race over the last year was remarkable and it showed. Jenn and Chris finished 12th and 10th respectively in their age groups. In a race that large and the athletes competing those results are simply a phenomenal! #crazyfast

I think we could have stayed there a couple hours just listening to them recount the experience but we did have to run. We stretched, I shared blueberry energy balls I made for the group and off we went on our run.

Brunch at Cider Press Cafe

The first repeat Healthy Giraffe Road Trip was to Cider Press Cafe in St. Petersburg. Here we able to hear Dave’s run down of the race. One thing really stuck out and speaks to what Dave, Jenn and Chris accomplished. My sister, Jamie, not fully aware what the Ironman consisted of asked countless questions in amazement of what they endured.

When Jamie asked Dave, “what were you thinking during the race” as he shared close to 25% of the field did not finish the race, he said he knew Heather, his wife, would be at the finish line and he wasn’t going to let her down. He shared vivid memories of the day and the accomplishment of crossing the finish line. Heather and Gail were at the brunch as well and were part of a cheer team that went to Chattanooga in support. Friends and family all there to share in an amazing day.

The cheer team also deserves a lot of credit as they woke up early, spent the entire day in extreme heat and then celebrated early into the following morning. Now that is friendship and love!

Donna and Cindy also joined the brunch, their first time at Cider Press Cafe, enjoying the community, salad, and Cuban sandwich. If you are looking for a plant-based Cuban sandwich, I highly recommend this one and the offering at Golden Dinosaurs Vegan Deli in Gulfport, FL. The brunch served on weekends at Cider Press Cafe offers many tasty and healthy options. It’s one restaurant I frequent that I order something different each time I go. I love their variety, quality and healthy options.

“A Party in Your Honor”

Saturday evening was official celebration time. The description in the event read – “Please attend the Thank You party being thrown in your honor! Without YOU, our journey to becoming an Ironman would not have been such a success.”

The party hosted by Jenn and Chris was very thoughtful of this power couple. It was held at de Bine Brewing Company in Palm Harbor, FL. They secured a room for us, had plenty of options including plant-based food, drinks and more. What was amazing is they gave each of the guests what looked to be a medal that you wrap around your neck after finishing a race but instead of the medal they attached a summary of what that person meant to them for the race.

As Jenn described, “I knew we could not get all the right words out to each person individually in a short chat at the gathering AND wanted everyone there to see how amazing each and every person there was to us when we needed it. I also knew each of you would downplay anything you did toward our success and not ‘brag’ about yourselves to one another. So having it there in black and white for all to see was important to us. It was sort of your personalized ‘medal’ we put on you for your part in our Ironman journey.”

Honestly I teared up and wasn’t the only one. It was heartfelt, shows what kind of people they are and the community they have around them. The night continued on with storytelling and discussion about what was next… Oh the variety of events for everyone in the group and future stories to tell.

I think on this day our community checked all the boxes on Dr. Dean Ornish’s list to live healthy – we ate well, moved more, stressed less, and loved more.

– Add Health to Your Life

Spectacular morning for a run…well, relative to July mornings…ha!
Nice afternoon outside at Cider Press Cafe
My Cuban Sandwich, Mac & Cheeze, and Breakfast Scramble
The Ironman Athletes – Dave, Jenn, and Chris – and me…
The early commits – Don, myself and Dave – to USAT Duathlon Nationals (Sprint & Olympic Distance) next May in Alabama…who is going to join us?

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