What’s with all the Shenanigoats?!

It always seems the best stories stem from a change in our original plans.

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Jamie and Max own the “it” thing to do in Nashville right now. With yoga studios all over the city, you’d think there wouldn’t be any room for another. Thankfully these two were able to find their place and breathe life into Shenanigoats Yoga.

What started as a team of two goats with the plan to keep Jamie and Max's 47 acre farm free from overgrowth and brush turned into a sizable herd of Pygmy and Nigerian Dwarf goat yogis. Max believed that others would love to have the benefit of goat landscaping on their own properties but Jamie waved that idea off as silly. This past April, much to Jamie’s surprise, a request was posted in the Nextdoor app asking for goats for a brush clearing job. Turns out Max was onto something the whole time in believing that this was a need that others had. 

One thing led to the next and friends and strangers requested that they make goat yoga happen here in Nashville.  And I’m so glad they took that chance.

 

Here, Megan loves on a sweet goat during one of the classes in support of St. Jude. Photo provided by: @NashvilleMeg

Here, Megan loves on a sweet goat during one of the classes in support of St. Jude. Photo provided by: @NashvilleMeg

For the past three years I have ran with the local country radio station’s team, Team BIG 98 for St. Jude for the Nashville Rock 'n' Roll Half and Full Marathons. Every year the team tries to find more ways to raise money for children fighting cancer at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Last year our team gained a new member, Megan Hogue, who this year became a co-captain of Team BIG 98. And fortunately for us, that meant we would get the chance to benefit from goat yoga for more than just the obvious good feelings that come from playing with goats. 

With a friend coming into town, Megan signed up for Shenanigoats Yoga for something fun to do. Thinking that there was an opportunity for Team BIG 98 to pull in more money for the kids at St. Jude, Megan reached out to see if Jamie wanted to set something up if possible. Within minutes Jamie was eager to find out what she could do to help the cause. The end result was a double header of yoga classes on September 30th with $10 from each ticket being donated to St. Jude.

I had been interested in trying Shenanigoats Yoga since I saw a posting about it on Facebook in June. When my team was holding classes as a fundraiser, I just couldn’t pass it up any longer. My experience was as follows:

I tossed and turned the night before with incessant dreams of goat yoga. I dreamt I showed up to class, unrolled my mat among other yogis, and quickly realized I was at the YMCA when I knew the class was actually being held at the green space near the local café Bongo East. I had accidentally ended up at a non-goat based yoga class and was running late to get across town for Shenanigoats. I’m so glad this was just a dream contrived by my mind that was obviously very excited about goats and yoga.

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I showed up to the noon class on the morning of the 30th and set my mat beside other women I had never met before. We all made friends with one another, and soon I met other girls who were also a part of the Team BIG 98 family.  After some time snuggling goats, the class began.

Our instructor for the class was Brianne Burgoon. She works at TriStar Centennial Medical Center where she is an art therapist. With her Master’s in Art Therapy and Counseling she helps groups through art therapy, yoga, and mindfulness. She also has her RYT-200 through Sanctuary for Yoga. I have taken a handful of yoga classes in the past few years, always feeling that Restorative Yoga best helped me, and following the goat yoga class with Brianne I felt her instruction was fantastic for all levels of yogis. She was an incredible instructor, especially when considering the added and unpredictable element of goats. Our class ranged from young children to middle aged folks, all trying to just find their zen with the perfect combination of the sweet goats and Brianne’s calm and helpful instruction.

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Initially seeing the pictures online, I figured goat yoga would be fun and adorable, but I didn’t realize the intense happiness that it would bring me throughout the class and into the rest of my day as I continued to tell friends and coworkers what I had done that morning. Having a small goat jump onto your back, or lazily sit on your feet extended into the air is a feeling that really can’t be conveyed through anything else but experience. 

Megan gifted this bag to Jamie who saw the perfect use in scooping up one of the little ones. A goat in a tote! Photo provided by: @NashvilleMeg

Megan gifted this bag to Jamie who saw the perfect use in scooping up one of the little ones. A goat in a tote! Photo provided by: @NashvilleMeg

Before I left the class I stopped to thank Jamie for putting together such an incredible event, and for helping Team BIG 98 and the kids at St. Jude. That was when she pointed out her friend since fourth grade, Sasha. Sasha is a two time cancer survivor and when she heard about the fundraiser for St. Jude she decided to fly into Nashville from Denver to see it in person. Sitting in the pen doing yoga poses or just loving on the goats, people tend to walk by and take pictures and video or just stand around to watch for a little while. I just assumed Sasha was another person doing just that, when in fact she was so much more. Having never seen the goat yoga sessions in person, it all finally made sense to her to hear the laughter the goats brought to those attending the class. Overall, the classes promote happiness. In the restorative yoga classes I have taken, I always walk away feeling a sense of peace. Following my class with Shenanigoats however, I felt peace and complete bliss for the first time in a while.

Jamie and Sasha showing the peace, love, and happiness that is produced at Shenanigoats. Photo provided by: @NashvilleMeg

Jamie and Sasha showing the peace, love, and happiness that is produced at Shenanigoats. Photo provided by: @NashvilleMeg

Celebrity guests at Shenanigoats have included country singer Maren Morris, Dan Smyers from Dan and Shay, and the Long Island Medium, Theresa Caputo. Shenanigoats has received recognition as the #1 Thing to do in Nashville by the Tennessean, they have been featured on StyleBlueprint Nashville, and were the first Music City Must on Fox5.

Currently in the works is a book based on the greatness brought by Shenanigoats through Turner Publishing titled “Goat Yoga: the Light in Me Honors the Goat in You.”  Pre-orders are now open on Amazon and Barnes and Noble for an October 31st release. If you can’t make the trip to Nashville to experience the fun, bring the fun home to you to enjoy all the wonderful pictures of goats happily doing yoga among their human counterparts.

Some members of Team BIG 98. Photo provided by: @NashvilleMeg

Some members of Team BIG 98. Photo provided by: @NashvilleMeg

The classes on September 30th ended up raising $500 for the kids at St. Jude and promoted happiness while doing so. For that I am so grateful to Jamie and Max for taking that chance to branch out their business into such a fun and positive thing. Come hang out with their kids (goat pun intended) sometime and experience your own shenanigans at Shenanigoats Yoga. 

 

 

 

If you'd like to join Team BIG 98 in raising money for St. Jude or join our team for the 2018 race series, check out our team page here or contact me with any questions. :)

Down but not out...

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Right around June 24th my worst runner nightmare became reality - I suffered an injury.  There was no herolike story to accompany my limp, just that I had walked 6.5 miles at work in shoes that were far too worn out. I had completed a round of P90X plyometrics attempting to get ready to start training for the Chicago Marathon. I stood up from the couch one evening while watching tv and felt a sharp pain in my foot. I thought I needed to stretch but as the next few days unfolded I came to find that my pain was increasing the more time I spent on my foot.

I wanted to list some words of wisdom in hindsight for anyone who wants to continue being injury free, or for those who are going through a first time injury experience (like I was) to give some guidance on what worked and didn't work for me.

 

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1. Always wear supportive shoes, for whatever you may be doing on your feet.

These were the shoes I continued to wear for far too long. I kept waiting to make a little bit more money at work before investing in a new pair. Instead of just paying up for a good pair of new shoes, I had to buy new shoes AND pay a $75 copay at the doctors visit I eventually had to go to (not to mention the days of work I missed from not being able to be on my feet). Also, heels are not a friend of feet. Be wary of too much time in them, and find ones that put as little pressure on your feet as possible.

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I swear by Altras for running, so I committed to them for my new work shoes as well. The support they give is incredible.  I'm waiting for the day they design a high heel that is runner approved. And yes, I will absolutely buy them when they do.

 

2. Go to the doctor as soon as possible. 

I kept telling myself that my injury probably wasn't that serious, I figured I had just strained a muscle or had a case of tendinitis. It got to the point when I couldn't walk or stand without excruciating pain. I made an appointment to see a physical therapist through my local running store. That visit ended with a false diagnosis of tendon strain and being told a second metatarsal stress fracture is extremely rare. PSA: second metatarsal stress fractures cover about half of all diagnosed stress fractures in runners. I wasn't able to get to a doctors office for another two weeks because of plans to visit family in New Jersey the following week.

 

3. Listen to your body. 

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I finally made it to the walk in clinic on August 28th, more than a month after the occurrence. I waited to hear back from the radiologist who said there was nothing on the x-ray and I was clear. Sadly, this was also a false diagnosis. Because a stress fracture is not a full fracture, noticing one on an X-ray is nearly impossible within the first few weeks. However, I was on week five at this point. On the point of pain which was felt on the top of my foot, you can see a periosteal reaction on the X-ray, which often means a place where bone has healed from some type of injury. I find it too coincidental to say that this was not the exact pain I was feeling. I think doctors are fantastic resources for helping us runners get back on our feet, but if you are unable to afford an orthopedic surgeon visit or podiatrist visit like me, I think it's best to use your head and notice the pain you feel and what those symptoms may suggest.

 

4. Do not try to "run through it." There's no such thing. 

Running through a stress fracture just means aiming to have a full on fracture. Give your body the time to heal and miss a few weeks or try to run on it and miss a few months. I'm not really sure how anyone could run through the pain my foot was causing me, but just don't do it. Let your body heal and come back stronger than ever. After all, bone repairs thicker than it originally was so giving it time to heal just means you'll be a stronger person. I know it's sad to have to defer a race you really wanted to run or forfeit the money you spent on training, but it's even sadder to have to be out of the game for much longer because you decided that you just couldn't refrain from that race. 

 

5. Find what exercise works for you in injured condition. 

I was fortunate for a few weeks and had access to my apartment pool. Sadly, I moved from my apartment a few weeks into my recovery and I didn't continue to carry out swim workouts, but I swear they were making me stronger. Swimming is very different from running and it's challenging in its own way. Maybe your injury allows you to do yoga, or cycling. Find what works for you but don't put too much stress on yourself or your injury.  

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6. Don't be hard on yourself.

You didn't want this, you didn't purposefully cause this, and beating yourself up will only make recovery worse. Be wary of your mood and note that you may lose those endorphins without proper exercise. It's sad enough to not be able to exercise the way you want, but it's a whole other level to then have to deal with the mental downfall. Take time to do the things that do make you happy. Talk to a friend, bake cookies, listen to good music, drink a good cup of coffee. Take the time to treat yourself and give yourself the self love you need. It matters now more than ever.

 

7. Come back slowly and again, don't be hard on yourself. 

I ran 7 miles in my first week back starting last week following nine weeks of rest aside from the swimming and some cycling. I was slow. I am still slow a week later. I am running on the grass to help alleviate too much stress right off the bat. But I am pain free. To me, I know that I should be running a 20 miler this Saturday. But instead of dwelling on what I can't do I am choosing to find the victory in the things I can do. I have created a new game plan of trying the Galloway Method for the Chicago marathon in less than a month and I will earn my medal being proud of whatever I can accomplish with such a crapshoot of a training season. 

 

 

Life is hrd, and running injuries make it harder.  Be nice to yourself, get angry, then get over it and come up with a game plan for your comeback. Taylor has surely been helping pump me up for my comeback. What do you think about her new music?? Newly added to the playlist, ...ready for it? And Look What You Made Me Do. Boom.

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Surviving Rock 'N' Roll Nashville Marathon & Half

It's no secret that the Rock 'N' Roll Nashville Marathon and Half is a challenge. The weather always seems to be some kind of crazy, Nashville is hilly, and the course is packed with people up until the split for the full and half at mile 11. I've survived two halfs and two fulls on this course over the last four years and here's how...

 

1. Run with friends.

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2015 I ran RnR Nashville as my second full marathon. I trained better than I ever had by joining our local Fleet Feet spring marathon training group. This provided me with weekly advice, a training plan, specials to local products, but best of all, run friends. Some of the most important people in my life I met through this crazy, terrible, wonderful sport. Running with friends during a race like Nashville can take your mind off the struggles (*Bonus if you find friends as hilarious as my friend Rebecca running beside me in the picture above). Make a game plan and know if you want to stick together the whole time, or feel comfortable going your own paces when the need arises. It's understandable if you'd rather race alone, but friends have 100% helped me get through the tough race in Nashville. 

2. Don't go out too fast.  

This advice is often shared for every race everywhere. But Nashville is a  huge  race with 30,000+ runners. Check out this picture I took of the start line in 2014.  

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From one side of Broadway to the other, there is no room for deep breaths because every square inch is taken up by runners.  

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Start out too fast in Nashville, trying to weave in and around runners while enduring the hills and you will for sure take on the various postures of this runner evolution before the end of your race. Give yourself a pre-race pep talk and think about the cadence of your feet to keep you from sprinting the first downtown to Music Row section.

3. Read the signs when you're struggling.  

I've always felt that spectators are my best medicine when things get hard. If I can at least get a small chuckle out of reading a funny sign I'm sure to have a mental turn around. 

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Nashville's course is great in that it maneuvers through many neighborhoods where lots of people can stake out to cheer, spray their garden hoses on runners on hot race days, and remind you that while you're running 13.1 or 26.2 miles, they're drinking all the beer at the finish line. My favorite neighborhood during this race is the 12 South neighborhood. This is where the hills are the most prevalent as you take on multiple in a row, but the crowd is also the best at making you forget it for a minute or two. Shoutout to the folks from Hillcenter Lululemon who cheered us on with a selfie station in 12 South back in 2015.

4. Consider becoming a St. Jude Hero.

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Perhaps the greatest thing I ever did with my running was dedicating all of the time and effort to the kids a St. Jude. At St. Jude no parent ever pays a penny for their child's treatment, not for travel, housing, food, or medical expense. And St. Jude has promised to continue to work this way until no child dies from cancer. If you choose to run as a Hero and raise $100 you earn your race singlet, which means that when you hit a hard spot in your race other Heroes will note you are one of them and cheer you on. I remember the first time I heard a fellow Hero shout to me "way to go Hero!" In a moment of struggle I found the strength I needed to fight through it. However, I get really teary-eyed and feel a lump in my throat whenever a spectator thanks me for what I'm doing in helping these kids. It's a balance. :)

5. Enjoy all the moments. 

Nashville will challenge you. It will reward you. It will frighten you and it will make you feel like a warrior when you cross that finish line. If you can take on the Nashville Half or Full, I believe you can take on any other race (*Barkley Marathons still under consideration for this statement).  Remember to enjoy your surroundings, listen to the music as you run by the stages (who knows, you could be hearing the next Garth Brooks!), thank every volunteer for making the race possible, and wear that shiny medal with pride. Drink plenty of fluids and trust in your training! 

Today's shake out run with Coach Kevin Leathers. Ready to see these same streets packed tomorrow! 

Today's shake out run with Coach Kevin Leathers. Ready to see these same streets packed tomorrow! 

With the expected heat tomorrow in Nashville, be wary of your fluids as well as how your body responds. Slow the pace down and know that just finishing this race is a huge feat. By showing up you're already a success story, and bonus points to you if you raised money for the kids at St. Jude in the process. Enjoy Nashville!