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From Resolution to ROAR: The Running Life podcast rings in the new year!

Updated: Jan 9, 2020

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On the fifth day of Romjul, my coach gave to me, a live show with Dalia n’ Jummy!!!!


tiger, resolution, romjul, roar, new year

If you are here, and awake and have been checking email or following us on Facebook or Instagram, you know we are in the thick of ROMJUL! For everyone else: Romjul is a Norwegian word that describes the last week of the year, i.e. the period between Christmas and New Year. I appropriated the hell out of this concept because that country is rich, seriously it has oil money out the wazoo, so those bitches can SHARE.

NOW, the reason I did this: I hate New Year’s Resolutions. The world doesn’t need a new you, especially if that by definition brings us LESS of you. We deserve MOAR. After reading a particularly powerful piece by Nadia Bolz-Weber about “the soul feeling its worth”, I was struck by the cruelty of our tradition of pivoting to pick ourselves apart to make New Year’s Resolutions, a tradition that makes me at least feel totally worthless. Worst of all- not having resolutions are like your two front teeth- not having them is AWKWARD, so I used to make things up to keep conversation going; this was not the time to speak my mind.

Now, no one can make me shut up. Social media has made it possible for me to enter your eyes and ears with my subversive message of ‘refusing to perform’ penance of any sort- you are fantastic just as you are. The only thing that needs to shift is your perspective. That is where the Romjul Roar comes in. In this special LIVE episode, we are helping our clients convert their resolutions into ROARS so we can run screaming into 2020 with pride.

Since most New Year’s Resolutions involve fitness and nutrition and weight loss and attitude adjustments, we called in The Big Guns: Dalia Kinsey is The School Nutrition Dietitian, and Jummy Olawale is a Gottman Method therapist. For those of you who have no idea what’s going on right now, my name is Coach MK Fleming. I’m a run coach who knows that we’re never really talking about the running; at a coaching clinic someone called me The Patron Saint of Hobbyjoggers. He thought it was an insult. Bless his heart.

He wasn’t necessarily wrong though. My mission in life is to put the back of the pack front and CENTER and make sure good advice rooted in the latest science is delivered to the masses via conscientious coaching cues rather than click-baitey headlines. Which is a fancy way of saying, imma actually COACH you. I’m invested in your journey. “Try harder!” is neither encouragement nor an effective coaching cue. It’s judgey and lazy commentary from someone who doesn’t know what to say. It isn’t coaching. I see you. I see how hard you work. I’m here to make sure you are #coachedandloved and remind you that you are #winningatlife, because you deserve nothing less than All The Big Guns, all the time.

In the bonus materials for this episode, you’ll find a Fitness Protection Permission Slip, which I want you to print and fill out with all the things you are going to give yourself MOAR of this year. Put it in a prominent place, somewhere you’ll see it every day. Let it remind you that you have permission from ME to seek, pursue, and make space for the things that bring you joy in this life.

And on THAT NOTE, let’s ROAR!

20:18: Last year had a lot of ups and downs. To be honest, a lot of downs. (Marriage stuff, work stuff, kid stuff, parent stuff, everything really.) I’m taking the time now every day to take care of myself just to get by. Next year, I hope that the roller coaster of life levels out a bit, but in case it doesn’t, any help with a roar to help me be kinder to myself all the time, not just when life really sucks?

24:34: I am trying hard to ditch diet culture. But it is hard. I know i need a better relationship with food. I know the messages I receive are problematic. But as Coach MK says, “love yourself” isn’t instruction or a helpful coaching cue. I don’t know if there is a roar in here, but I am trying. Just not sure what I”m trying to do or how to take credit for something when I don’t know what success looks like. Will I ever not care?

34:12: I have tried to run 1000 miles in a year for five years now, and haven’t done it- every year has had different things come up that kept me from running. But I’ve grown stronger and I am running often more than I thought I could. Rather than a number- based goal, what can I focus on?

44:13: If I were to identify a Resolution for 2020, I would essentially be banging out some form of Taming the Monkey Mind. I would say something like: I am too scattered, I over commit, and constantly feel frantic about meeting commitments to others, at work, in my family, in my volunteering. Because I overcommit, I am frequently late or not meeting my intended commitments at all, which makes me feel like I am under-performing and I worry that I am letting others down. I need to be more strategic, follow-thru on my commitments, simplify, triage, and dedicate time to my relationships, my running, my creative endeavors, and the most important things. How do I turn this mess into a ROAR??? Help me! (“I’m not enough”) “pressure to be productive”

53:24: I want to lose weight this year. I’ve gained this year, although I’m not sure how much because I’m afraid to step on the scale. It’s starting to affect my ability to do some things, and I’m just tired and feel sluggish (and just between us, it’s affecting my relationship with my husband because I don’t want him to see my stomach, to be clear this is a me hang up, he makes zero comments about my weight). In the past, I have set weight loss goals complete with rewards for getting to certain numbers. While that works initially, I ultimately get frustrated and the wheels fall off. I finally decided to stop punishing myself and will be spending NYE working on the medal hanger I’ve wanted to make myself for years but hadn’t because I hadn’t hit that magical number. I’ve worked extremely hard for those medals and deserve to display them regardless of the number on the scale. I want to spend 2020 nourishing my body with veggies and fruit and protein and healthy fats. I know that if I do that the weight will drop off, I will have more energy, and will just feel better all around, I’ve done it before! I want to commit myself to meal planning, cooking delicious, healthy meals at home, and maintaining. If I can do that, I think the weight loss will come. Please help me translate this to a roar, I want to start 2020 strong and abandon resolutions!

1:11:52: I'm struggling with my roar for 2020. I had big goals but some family challenges has taken all of my focus. I don't think 2020 is going to be my year for big goals, and it's been discouraging. I was now thinking maybe a goal of running 80 miles per month? Or something to maintain my consistency. Can you help to reframe my perspective?

1:22:17: This has to do with my husband and his health. He has chronic cardiac conditions (both electrical and plumbing - a fib/flutter that still plagues him and triple bypass 10 years ago at 36 years old). He does not consistently take good care of his health now and that causes me a lot of anxiety. I’m afraid of what his lack of care for his body now will mean for his future...and mine. But despite trying gentle and not so gentle ways of influencing him in a healthy direction, he’s had no consistent efforts that way. My resolution is to let go of trying to get him to do healthy things he has to want to do himself and the fear that I have for what it means that he’s not. I want to do more to enjoy the moments now and stop worrying about what isn’t mine to control (him). But even typing this is so scary so any help you can give me to frame this more positively would be wonderful!! Thanks...for this and for everything you guys do all year long. I truly feel coached and loved!!

1:33:27: I am struggling with turning these thoughts into a roar. It’s difficult some days to be an aging runner. I want to run like I did when I was in my mid 40’s. I know I’m doing some great things and I am blessed to be injury free and I’m grateful every day I can run. But it’s still hard....but at the same Time I feel so damn lucky. I know I am probably not making sense which is probably why I was hoping you could help. The comparison trap is hard too...anyhow....Thanks.

1:37:39: Last year during Romjul I dug down and found that I needed to be brave. I needed to speak truth and hold fast to my convictions. It was hard AF. I can’t go into too much detail -I was constantly challenged- disbelieved- even disrespected at times. It frankly sucked. In the end though, I was right. I won. I won BIG, in multiple ways. But you know how it is, in some contexts, even when you win, you lose. Even after the wins, I was still disbelieved before I was able to produce the result a second time. As you can guess it was really soul sucking at times. I wouldn’t have changed the way I did things, but it was a hard year. This year I want to continue to be brave to speak up when my convictions are strong- but I feel a bit rudderless as to what this next year is supposed to be. I certainly didn’t plan my goal of bravery to play out how it did. I want this year to be about reaching for more- not a specific goal or outcome- but more happiness, more love, more fun, more of all of it. (Maybe less shit and a little more recognition for doing the hard stuff-but I know it doesn’t always work that way). More time with people I love, more giving of myself to those who need help. So how do I make that into a ROAR for the year?

1:50:35: If I were to come up with resolutions for 2020, they would be:

lose those pesky 15-20 lbs that really like to stick around, but I don't really need

run 1,000 miles in 2020 (700-800 is much more realistic, because #life, but 20-25 miles per week is my sweet spot)

Practice centering prayer at least 2-3 mornings and 2-3 evenings per week

Schedule monthly date nights

Focus on adult relationships and quality time with hubby

(Okay, that's enough, I could totally keep going…) What I will really do is run consistently as much as I can, nourish my body in sensible ways, nourish my heart and soul even more, indulge within reason, snuggle my kids as much as they'll let me, love more, smile more and remember daily that I am blessed and I am enough!

2:08:30: In Romjul Roar 2019, I proclaimed I was ditching diet culture, saying fuck off to all the diet crap in my life and focusing on what my body and soul needed. It took the full year to feel comfortable ignoring all the diet messages that flood in daily but I have succeeded so well. I'm also super proud I finally found the mental and physical energy to seek and secure therapy to help me develop and use coping strategies for stress. I've never been taught how to cope with any kind of stress and the past year of my husband's medical issues have taught me I must gain some skills. The process to find a therapist got so difficult I was assigned a case worker through my medical insurance who finally helped me crack the system. Having a professional help me with some strategies and talk through the shit-show I've been handed is invaluable. I just started seeing the therapist in December and have been twice so far and I'm planning on monthly visits in 2020 since my insurance covers the visits with a minor copay. Well, there they are - my two big things from 2019. For me they are HUGE. Thank you for all you do, Coach MK and Coach Sarah. You have both lifted me from a dark and lonely place and given me a running community again.

And THAT'S A WRAP! Let's ROAR into 2020 with love and pride. You are coached, you are loved, and you are winning at life

Special thanks to THE BIG GUNS for appearing on this special live episode! Dalia Kinsey is The School Nutrition Dietitian utilizing a background in public health and school nutrition in preventative health care.  Jummy Olawale is a Gottman Method Therapist; she helps couples rebuild healthy, shame-free relationships by re-framing difficult conversations. I’m hoping that today’s roundtable discussion can help us recognize the messages we are REALLY sending our kids so we can lead the way in helping them develop healthy relationships with food...and with us.

MK Fleming is the founder of Fitness Protection, LLC and Sarah Axelrod leads Fitness Protection's #CoachedandLoved Community. Try our accessible, affordable monthly running plans at!

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