Early on in Jon and Is marriage he surprised me with a birthday trip to Chattanooga and it’s been a love affair ever since. The walkability, the intimate but enough feeling, the ease of location. It’s become an annual tradition for us to head up there for a few days, but with a toddler it might become more frequent. And here’s why:
There isn’t much. Unlike Atlanta we felt extremely safe having Elijah follow us along the sidewalks. It gave us some relief from feeling like he was having to be in his stroller constantly, and he got ALL of his energy out.
From the aquarium, to the pedestrian bridge over the Tennessee River, to the playground along the riverwalk everything is accessible by foot. Taking away the hassle of being in and out of a carseat while you move locations. The only thing we did that we moved our car for was our hike at Lookout Mountain.
- Kid Oriented Activities.
While they aren’t necessarily cheap, if we were to come up more than twice a year it’d be worth an annual pass. Here’s what you have:
a. The Tennessee Aquarium – maybe an unpopular opinion, but it is way better than the Georgia Aquarium for a toddler. It is a small walkway that guides you through the exhibit, there are multiple floors and buildings but it keeps you from feeling overwhelmed as you are only seeing one or two things at a time. This was truly Elijah’s favorite part. Check out what they have to offer here: Tennessee Aquarium Site
b. The Creative Discovery Museum – this was partly under renovation when we went, but between the water features, the creative stations, and the giant play/slide structures Elijah could have easily spent all day in here if he wasn’t already exhausted (we spent about 2 hours). Want more info? Click here.
c. The Riverwalk water feature – this is a true gem. We stumbled upon it walking around one day but is a gently flowing water feature that ends with a shallow pool overlooking the river. You can find it underneath the pedestrian bridge and check out my Instagram Post for a look here.
- Ease of travel.
Getting somewhere that can give us a change of pace and fresh perspective within 2 hours of Atlanta is optimal. Two hours is about Elijah’s limit before he starts getting antsy. The only traffic you regularly is at the I-24 split (I am not sure why on Earth they created it that way especially when there is clearly more space for more lanes but what do I know), but after you get past it you are 10 minutes out from downtown!
- Best of both (all three?) worlds.
You get a little city, mixed with a little outdoor adventure, mixed with a little small town feel. It makes for such a great opportunity for learning and engaging in a variety of sights, sounds, and activities. Plus almost every restaurant has the color sheets for kids which is also key for tired babes who just want to eat and have some quiet time.
One other tad-bit: DoubleTree Downtown Chattanooga has the BEST FREE cookies when you check in and it’s a good bribery piece for a toddler. Alright, so are you convinced enough? Have any questions/thoughts? Let me know!
Until next time Chattanooga,
Originally this weekend was supposed to take place at the beginning of January. Time away, solo, enjoying some sunny Florida weather as a way to refresh and refuel. Lately, I’ve learned how to rent DVC points and grab a cheaper option for a nicer resort. Two years ago we were able to experience Saratoga Springs for the first time and this time I decided to grab an Old Key West reservation. I was excited to check out another DVC exclusive resort and eat at my favorite breakfast on property: Olivia’s.
I stayed with some friends on Thursday night in Gainesville and then headed down to Disney after breakfast Friday. The first night I was there I stayed in one of the good neighbor hotels near Disney Springs; I love close proximity to Disney Springs. It’s so nice to have it as an option just to lounge, shop, get some Disney magic, and get incredible eats.
So after a quick nap in my room I headed towards Disney Springs to check out all the new merch, with a few stops at my familiar comforts! I picked up a new pin from Pin Traders (for Disney Visa Holders) and new ring from Pandora, and the regular grub from the Polite Pig, a barbecue joint with some incredible vegetarian options as well! I checked out a few new toys for Elijah and the latest styles and called it a day!
After settling in for a mostly restful night sleep I woke up and hopped out the door for a walk/light jog, definitely humid, but I couldn’t complain about sunny and not freezing. I made it back just in time to shower, checkout and head to my breakfast reservation at Olivia’s Cafe. There isn’t anything crazy special on the menu but if you want a family feel with cozy eats this is your place. Its located near the main lobby of Old Key West and sits on the water. I made sure to grab some mickey waffles, a LOT of coffee and I headed to Epcot for my one park day. The buses are a little crazy at Old Key West, they do not come through often like they do at a resort like the All Stars and the stops before you actually leave are plentiful. That was lesson #1! When we finally made it to Epcot the excitement was contagious. Typically when I’m at Epcot its during a festival so I am after festival food, unique designs and visuals, but this time it was the week in-between Arts and Flower & Garden so I took advantage of rides and character meets that I usually don’t! It was wonderful. Staying on property also has its advantages here since you can get in early – I was on and off Test Track and in the queue for Ratatouille before the park even opened to the general public.
Ratatouille was a one and done for me, but it’s definitely worth doing! By the time I was out of that line I was starting to get hungry so I went over to Regal Eagle Smokehouse. I was going to try the barbecue, we never have and as someone who lives in a place with fantastic barbecue I was skeptical. Rightfully so, if you live in a place that has access to great barbecue this is a no-go, however, if you don’t then you might find this perfectly acceptable. But it was nothing that a good Joffrey’s cold brew and donut couldn’t make up for! So I sipped as I walked the rest of the show case and stopped for photo-ops, all in all a great day.
After several hours taking it all on I took a lap on the monorail as a break. I had no agenda except to enjoy the ride, I stopped at Magic Kingdom to say hi and then hopped on a bus there to get over to All Star Movies where my sister in law was staying. The afternoon was just as relaxing as can be, we chilled at the pool for awhile, got ready in their room and then hopped over to Hollywood Studios for our first time at the Brown Derby. It’s considered signature dining, and the food was good, but I am not sure quite good enough for the price tag, this was lesson #2.
What happened next was extremely unfortunate and continued to paint Old Key West in a less than positive light. While my sister in law and her friend headed off to rides, I was ready to hit the hay. I walked over to catch a bus to the resort and after 30 minutes I was still waiting for a bus to the resort, it continued to paint the picture that the transportation at OKW is less than ideal. An hour later I finally did get back to the resort, moved my car over the room I was staying in (SHOUT OUT TO MOBILE CHECK IN), grabbed my two backpacks and headed up the stairs to my room, EXCEPT my digital key on my phone wouldn’t open my door. So I rustled through my bags to see if I had any of my magic bands with no luck. Thankfully, when you do mobile check in you’ll get an email that gives a number that goes straight to the front desk of your resort, clutch. So after two calls to them I finally was able to get someone to come let me in, but the process was anything but smooth. Lesson #3 : in person is always better. I should’ve just walked to the front desk myself it would have solved all my issues in a matter of minutes instead of the night and next morning ordeal it became. Who knew you could learn so much after so many times at Disney?
I was slightly disappointed in the rooms at OKW, they seemed more bare bones than the rooms at Saratoga Springs, and there is no access to walk to any parks or Disney Springs. I did NOT like the Boardwalk but the ability to walk to Epcot or Hollywood Studios was clutch. Likewise, at Saratoga Springs the ability to walk to Disney Springs puts it above Old Key West for me.
But again, the food at Old Key West is top notch, and that might be reason enough for some people to still stay there, just probably not me. The next morning I went to their quick service place right on the water called Goods to Go. The harvest breakfast sandwich was hands down one of my favorite sandwiches on property. So while some of the logistics weren’t ideal, the eats were 10/10. Pick your poison.
Leaving is always sad for me, other than on major holidays when I can’t wait to get out of there its just such a fun place to dream, relax, try new things, you can really pick your own vacation! And as you saw above, you’ll learn a few things each time you go!
Enjoy the magic!
The Chicago Marathon 2021. It’s been a bucket list race for so many years, and three weeks ago I finally was able to toe the line. It was warmer than they anticipated, about 15 degrees warmer – yikes, 75 degrees start was not what I was hoping for. Still, I felt confident. I knew my fitness was there despite nagging injuries, I had run plenty of miles, and my Chiro and PT had helped me through it all. So my wave started around 7:45am and I felt great, I had to really hold myself back from going out too hard, the crowd was energetic and loud. The course just barely rolling – what a thrill.
10K in and I was in a stride still holding myself back trying to stay between the 3:25 and 3:20 pacers, for now. I knew I could keep this pace up no problem, the only hard moments were when the wind decided to gust in your face – it knocks your breathing off rhythm but I didn’t think too much about it. 10 miles in and while my legs still felt fresh as ever, something didn’t feel quite right, it was hard to place it. Was it my back, my leg that had given me trouble, was it the high temp and humidity forcing my lungs to work too hard? It was truly hard to pinpoint. The freshness of my legs, wanted me to keep going, my mind said I shouldn’t. So at 12.5 I dropped to a walk, called Jon on the phone and told him something wasn’t right. I was sad and confused, because I could have kept the pace up the whole way… but something had gone awry and I had to chose what happened next.
I walked 1 minute and then ran 2 minutes trying to loosen up my body, I was done by now no chance at coming back, but the decision to finish or walk off the course was another question entirely. Mindset is everything, I could live in the disappointment, but I could also embrace the atmosphere and the 11 or so miles I had left at this point. I did a body check to make sure I wasn’t actually causing damage to my hips or legs and pressed on. Smiling, chatting, breathing it all in. My legs were still fresh so as long as I circulated in a walk break to make sure I didn’t lock up I could run half miles at a time. Slowly (respectively – I realize it is still a nice clip to most) the miles ticked by. Jon was a rock, catching me at the points I needed it most.
I had fun the last 6 miles, when most people are just toasted my legs could still carry me with my steady clip. So down the last straight away we went and finally the finish line! I walked through feeling fine, until the 80 degrees suddenly caught up to my stomach, embarrassing! I sat down for a moment in the finish shoot (pretty far down, I wasn’t in the way) and quickly got told that I had to keep moving. That sounded dicey. So I breathed slow and steady to keep my stomach from actually taking me out and I made it over to Jon! In hindsight I probably shouldn’t have chugged the whole water bottle at the finish line.
We slowly made our way to the hotel and Jon stopped in for donuts that was just a block down. I didn’t feel like eating anything yet the donuts seemed like a great idea. Jon was so sweet to get a six count variety pack and I took small bites of each so we could try them all. It did not disappoint (shout out to Stan’s Donuts). We didn’t have as much time as we had hoped for since I finished about 45 minutes later than expected, so I quickly showered and headed to our last stop before flying out – Chicago deep dish.
OK, so I’m not a pizza person, however, when I traveled to Chicago in 2013 for a girls weekend we hit one of the iconic Chicago pizza places and I ate it up! This was not that. I am glad I had it, I still love true Chicago deep dish, but do NOT try to force it on your stomach a couple hours after a full marathon. It is not worth it.
The next couple hours were a blur, we made our way to the “L” and on to the airport. I talked to a nice older man from Maryland who had just finished the race as well. These young guns who had no idea what they were doing were sitting near us and asked us for running and fueling advice. Our flight was a few minutes delayed despite the flight attendant’s best efforts to make people board efficiently. I got upgraded at the last minute to Delta Comfort, which made Jon sad but my legs happy. Watched a fascinating documentary about the week after Princess Diana’s death, yes I am one of those people. Had a smooth drive through the city home; night time against the Atlanta Skyline is my favorite. My parents were there to greet us with pumpkin muffins and a sound asleep little boy. That adventure that really was 6 months in the making over, life moves on.
I would recommend Chicago to everyone. It’s an experience. A good one. I will forever look back and be glad I did it despite the result. But Monday started, I had a smiling boy that was so happy and surprised to see me, my work team didn’t care how I did, they are just forever impressed that I run marathons, I had so much support from my community. That’s a really beautiful thing about being a runner, you don’t have expectations added on from outside forces, it just gets to be you, and then when its over life is moving and people are with you through it all. A few days later I was in my kitchen eating ice cream and donuts with my friends and just happy to be there, thankful for the life God has given me.
If God is calling you – you can hold both, and they might have tension. You can set goals, step into the “yes’s” God is asking you too, but regardless if you hit a home run or strikeout, you did something and the people around you will spur you on for better or for worse.
Despite the pandemic, we managed to safely travel several times in Elijah’s first 16 months of life. Lake Hartwell to see my grandmother, across the southeast and even the southwest parts of the US, and most recently up to Maryland to see family. Traveling with Elijah as an infant was far from easy, but we hoped to get him used to it early on. I mentioned in an earlier blog post how great it was to be able to rent baby equipment! Although Elijah is far from accommodating on an airplane, he does fairly well once you get him to where he is going. He loves a good hiking backpack and has always seem to sleep well in different places. However, after so many trips it was time to branch out on a mom and dad only trip! When we first got married I had dreamed of saving up enough to go to Hawaii for our five-year anniversary, although for obvious reasons we didn’t hit that mark we were in a place we could do it for our 6th year. Jon is really blessed to have his whole office shut down for a full week every year. The church takes a Sabbath break to rest and remember all the Lord has done. This has typically fallen right around our anniversary so the timing is always perfect. August had been full this year, and we were ready to take some deep breaths and slow it down. I knew I would miss Elijah, the emotions came heavy with 36 hours to go, but the stay at home working mom life wears you down at moments, and on top of marathon training this mom needed a reset.
I am thankful for all of the moments I get in this life. God has blessed us immensely! I love what I do; I have a great running community, and I get to be home with Elijah while growing in my career. It doesn’t get much better, but that doesn’t mean we don’t get exhausted and whether big or small need to find ways to have our cup refilled. Hawaii was a dream trip of ours, once in a lifetime. And as much as we wanted some beautiful views, we also wanted to make sure we were quiet enough to really hear from the Lord.
So here’s several Hawaii tips when you are going on a couples trip sans kiddos:
- DO NOT try to do Hawaii on a budget, you won’t enjoy it nearly as much. It’s expensive and if you are stressing pinching pennies, it’s not the time. We saved up 6 years for these moments and it was worth every penny!
- Our view was phenomenal, I did the one tier upgrade so that we could have a garden view (and we ended up with garden, ocean and hills). We stayed outside of Honolulu/Wakiki because, especially during COVID, we wanted to have the space to walk around and breath in some of the more low key areas. These cost a little bit of a premium (although it didn’t not seem like an outrageous jump). Ko Olina was perfect for us! It has upper tier resorts, but the village is to die for, and you are in a little bit more of a secluded area, and you aren’t far away from anything. If you head that way try Island Vintage Coffee – I think we went there every day!
- Bring snacks for the time difference! Especially quick breakfasts. Atlanta is a 6 hour time difference from Hawaii so the earliest we could eat Hawaii time was 12pm our time. So we grabbed a thing of bagels and peanut butter, and a few protein bars to tide us over when we woke up early and didn’t want to get hangry!
- Take on the excursions that you couldn’t do with littles! The two that stand out to us were a couples surfing lesson on Oahu (no matter how scared you are – DO IT), we had a great experience with Surf N Sea ! The one thing I wish we had was someone to take a few snaps of us. The other experience is the Koko Crater Railway Trail. It’s a steep steep railroad track that takes you straight up and has the best views, but Jon couldn’t have done it with Elijah on his back.
- Island hop! It’s easy to think that Oahu has all you need, and honestly it’s pretty close. BUT our trip to the big island was phenomenal. At Honolulu International there is a single terminal for cross island flights. We were parked and through security in 15 minutes if not less, the flight was 50 minutes, and the car rental experience in Hilo was outstanding. I think all in we were 2 hours from parking at HNL to pulling out of the Hilo rental car lot. Spend the $20 on the Jeep upgrade and enjoy whatever the other island has to offer. We chose the Big Island for Volcanoes National Park, but from all I hear Maui and Kauai are stunning.
- Take your time eating. Meal times for us in this season are hectic. Elijah can have a great lunch and then be the pickiest ever for dinner, so getting a break from those toddler conversations and freak outs was so refreshing. We spent so much time on our balcony in the word with coffee and treats in hand.
- Read every word at the Pearl Harbor Museum. There was a mom with a little boy while we were there, he had the nosiest shoes ever, but also just wanted to keep moving. Totally normal, but we got to actually sit in the weight of what happened over the course of Pearl Harbor’s history, and it’s worth sitting in.
- Grab a photographer and get some shots together. Thankfully we were at Disney’s Aulani, where Photopass photographers are everywhere, and unlike Disneyworld where you pay $160 regardless of length of stay. You pay $70 at Aulani for a full 7 days. We were able to grab a photographer at sunset on the water, and just add it to our package.
- Be ready to squeeze your littles so tight when you get back. We got back right after sunrise Sunday morning, and he was SO confused when we got there. We had purposely not talked to him during the week so he didn’t start to get uneasy and upset, but he was less than thrilled after realizing our betrayal. A few hours later he napping on my chest like he was a newborn. The transition back can be tricky, but it was worth it for both him and us.
- Put the memories in a book… and do it quickly! I love memory books and so does my family and Elijah. However, the further you get from the trip or experience the less likely you are to get it done. So less than 48 hours after our trip I had all our pictures downloaded and compiled and added them to a Shutterfly photobook.
We realize how fortunate we are to experience these things at this stage in life. It’s not lost on us our situation, but regardless of where or how far you can go. Time away is good. Not to just do nothing, but to actually hone in on the gratitude and magnitude of God, who He is, and what He has done. Aloha for now friends.
This past Friday rolled around and the pre race day moment I usually encounter hit: “Do I really want to toe the line tomorrow?”. Simply put, the way to get better at racing is to practice racing, but when you’ve ground your body down during training making it to the start line can be challenging. A 4 miler is nothing to gawk at, but it’s also not like asking my body to run a half or full marathon. I needed 12 miles on the day, and instead of pushing and potentially hurting my worn out body I decided to use the 4 miler as a marathon pace effort. It was the best of both worlds, I could get in practice with race morning, start waves, racing smart without pushing my body to the max and still getting in the work I needed.
And honestly those moments should be approached that way every time. Run by feel. Push yourself, but don’t get hurt. Race days are a dime a dozen and you can adapt your plan to what is healthiest for YOU on any given day. For some of us more competitive folk it’s hard not to try to rage out the starting gate, but that is when you have to focus on the long range goal. Sure I could risk injury now and aim high, but my actual goal is to be able to complete “so and so distance on this date”, so what is the wisest choice for now? Navigating iterative goals in the midst of a much larger goal poses challenges, but isn’t that kind of how life goals in general?
In my case, I am looking towards October 10th at the Chicago Marathon, everything else is just a build up to that moment. Decatur is hilly, very hilly and Chicago is very flat, so pushing myself up and down hills at max effort is only going to add so much value. Injuring myself up them sure won’t help. So if you’ve set a run, cycle, yoga goal make sure you are moving and pushing your body in ways that will benefit the end game!
Also to note, if your body truly feels like its been drug through the mud, give yourself the rest day! There is no shame in adding an extra one to your plan or even taking one to begin with! If you still want to make sure to move your body take a easy stroll around the neighborhood or do a gentle yoga session – your body will thank you either way!
Today, my body just said no. So I did some light stretching on the Nike Training App and took a short walk first thing in the morning. You can also Epsom salt bath, ice, use compression, foam roll, etc anything that relaxes and lets your body recover! Other than making sure Elijah is taken care of my legs are thrown up on the couch to keep them elevated! There are so many natural recovery tools that we have access to.
Wake up your body and then move it in the best way for you today!
Happy Tuesday Friends!
My body knows how to wake up right at 5am, it’s been conditioned to do so since my collegiate swimming days, if not before when our first bell in high school chimed at 7:25am. Jon jokes that he always thought he’d be the early riser, but God had other ideas. At this point it hardly matters even though most people think it sounds horrid. One hour is on the clock, I down a glass of water first thing, grab a banana and start the coffee. Maybe this already sounds way to structured for a morning to some, but this is me and this is the gifting and personality I’ve been given! And for the most part its propelled me.
I open up my laptop and send my first messages to my team, since they are ~11 hours ahead time is of the essence in making sure tasks are moving forward and bugs are taken care of. About 20 minutes later with coffee in hand I grab my Bible study and let everything fade around me. We just came back from Maryland, I didn’t take my study because of the nature of our trip and the fact my current study book is giant! Over the past year and a half Bible study discipline is one of the core areas I have worked on, it’s been challenging and beautiful. Now, I miss 5 days of study and I feel similar to not getting water after summer runs in Atlanta. The unquenchable thirst. In both cases if that weren’t the case I would be worried. Like a rain gauge that has been sitting dry for far too long in both running and spiritual growth hydration is the key.
After I wrap up study time (for anyone interested I do the She Reads Truth Monthly Study Plan) I usually have several messages highlighting my notifications bar. If I have a few spare minutes I’ll go ahead and try to resolve whatever is lighting up, but if Elijah is ready to get up then it waits a few minutes. It’s 6am Elijah is typically stirring, I let the dogs out, wake up Jon and we are off to the races. And for me that means semi-literally. It sounds intense, however, my gaze has been set for the day, not on the never ending to do list and work crises but above on the things that matter, therefore I feel sturdy and ready for the day.
I rock Elijah for a few minutes, and then he’s ready to move. He knows mommy goes out the door soon so quickly asks if he can go “side”. I fix him breakfast as Jon makes his way to the living room and by 6:45am, at the latest, I am out the door. I get in 6-8 miles depending on the day, some days depending on work load I’ll break my miles into a morning and afternoon run, but I always get them in. Not every run is easy, especially in Georgia summers, but they are worth it. Usually I’ll go half and half throughout the week between listening to Worship music or a podcast, and there is always one run that I go completely silent. It’s rhythmic, and my soul needs quiet and worship as much, and even more than my brain wants to know “all the things”. I’m not slow by any means, but I also have a long way to go to reach some lofty goals and so there is always the question….
But wait, why? You aren’t at Olympic Trials, you aren’t that caliber of runner (yet), why work that hard? And it’s something I battle with regularly. One, because I’ve been gifted with athleticism, and I’ve tasted that level in another sport. My mom told me when I thought about hanging up my cap and goggles after my sophomore year at GT that God gives you a gift and he gets to tell you when it’s over. That “over” was very clear after my senior year ACC Championships, but I still left a lot of potential on the table and this is just a continuation of something that started when I was 8 years old. Second, it allows me to build community all over Atlanta. People I love and a lot of people I would love to meet Jesus. So I want to keep showing up and putting what I’ve been given on the floor every day. And last, like anyone feels the mental release when you workout – thanks dopamine – it helps you breathe out and relax when it’s over!
So I warm down at by 730-745am, walk inside grab a shower, get Jon off to work and Elijah and I start our day together. It’s not easy friends, I am incredibly blessed I can work from home with flexibility. There were a few months that were really hard, now he’s able to have a little bit more structure around his day and it has made all the difference. In August he will go back to his Mom’s Day Out program two days a week, and that will be exciting as I get into the heaviest part of marathon training to be able to use some of that time for training. However, the grounded and peaceful feeling I feel isn’t because I have it all figured out, but because I know who does.
The days go on, most of the time they fly by. I pray we stay anchored in truth and love, that God brings clarity to the sport I love and have built such a community around, and that our top priorities remain our top priorities. Mama & Marathoning isn’t easy, but there is a whole lot of beauty God is bringing through it.
For now friends!
As a way to finish off my birthday celebrations this past month, I got away for two days by myself to enjoy the Flower and Garden festival at Walt Disney World. It was the first time I had been away from Elijah for longer than a quick overnight. It felt quiet, uncomfortable, and it honestly took me a while to let myself breathe. I don’t mind traveling by myself, some people find it odd, but I’m safety conscious and I’m not a bar/club goer nor do enjoy late nights so I weed out some of the riskiest behaviors, so I enjoy removing distractions and going.
And it was nice. I flew out, landed, got my workout in, explored Epcot and its Flower and Garden Festival whimsy, and then I laid around in my room for two hours breathing and letting my body melt into a layer of myself that I do not frequently visit in these days. BUT I should. I should work to let myself breathe, relax my shoulders for more than just my time block for yoga every few days.
Regardless of whether you travel to do it or not, quietness has to be routine. And true quietness of body, mind, and soul – the kind of quiet soul where you are just an access point away from reaching into the heavenly – takes time to get too. And in this life we miss it. We might give ourselves a lunch for peace and quiet, or our husbands let us go get a massage or mani-pedi. But it’s different when you give yourself the freedom of space.
God wants that for us. He went away to Gethsemane to pray for quite awhile, he went to be still in a boat away from people and distraction. He went away, maybe not far away, but away to be completely quiet. It’s not an hour time block that needs to be added to the calendar, and it doesn’t mean it’s always easy to come by. I have a 14/15 month old at home and most days it seems like every minute of time is accounted for and includes my quiet time each day, but that’s not fluid and free space for me to breathe and just sit in quietness with myself and Him for an extended period of time.
Unfortunately for us in these days it does typically means having to schedule that time in advance, but do it unapologetically. Especially if you have kids, they say “it takes a village”: utilize them! They won’t mind helping carry the load for 24-48 hours whoever that is. Then, give yourself time to breathe, give it time to melt, give it time to hit the quietness that is truly supernatural. Let Him speak and move and just give you the rest He so longs to give you.
Give it time, and then give that time forward.
That’s where we are. 33% of 2021 is complete. This number feels significant. You are far enough for urgency, but not far enough to be “too far gone”! And while we could get into a conversation about “feelings” that’s not what this is about. It’s about the number that compels us to move, there’s still enough time but not too much time.
So let’s do a quick recap of where we, personally, are as a family and somethings we have our site on. It’s easier to look forward if you can take inventory and start at a place of gratitude for what might lie before:
January: We leaped into the world of a half day program twice a week for Elijah. He’s loving it and we are very thankful for place we found for him. We were very blessed to not have any family get super sick with COVID after the post holiday surge.
February: I ran my fourth full marathon (only half of it was good) and a disappointing 5K, but it fueled the fire for bigger dreams and goals and purpose in this journey called running.
March: Elijah turned ONE (and what a celebration we had), Jon started playing more at church, I ran my best postpartum race (10K), I drove to Florida for the day to celebrate and see two friends, I got my first vaccine, and we started gravitating towards some normal life things – A LOT felt like it changed this month
April: We both got fully vaccinated, Jon turned 33! We did a weeklong trip out west (Nevada, Utah, and a glimpse of AZ), got back into a church groove somewhat, Elijah busted up his mouth and then had surgery to fix it, and we simply enjoyed spring time!!
And now its May….
And that’s where we are, sitting in the moments. Not wanting to forget but also not wanting the next 67% to race by. It’s a chance to still do something without feeling like you are too far gone. Travel, change jobs, shift relationships, get healthier, start a new bible study, start a new routine, learn self defense, learn sign language, nothing is too far out of reach when you are 33%. BUT it should create some urgency.
So what do you feel compelled and called to do, to start, to finish?! Where can you still set your gaze and go after it?
For me, the Chicago marathon is less than 5 months away, I’m dialing into training I never have before and its exciting and challenging. LOVE ATLANTA is in June which is another big “project” I get the opportunity to be involved with. We have a few trips on the horizon to see family and one to a place we have never been before. Jon is hiring and training people as he continues to grow in his new role, and his hopes to be able to shift focus back to music and create some demos! And of course, growing in our ability to parent Elijah is always at the forefront. I could go on and on about the ways we want to utilize the rest of 2021, but however it is for me or for you we are in this together.
And I am cheering you on!
Here’s the back story. In June of 2019 I was coming off a hard recovery from a procedure in April, my bloodwork was a mess: I was starting B12 shots, intense chiropractic care and I felt done. I ran the Peachtree Road Race on July 4th, the year before I had toed the line right behind the contenders for the 10,000M National championship and had come in 43rd place (for women), but this year: I ran TERRIBLE – 6 minutes slower than the glorious year before. That’s a lot for a 10K. It was all too much, something had to change, and I had felt this urging in my soul.
Over the course of a few weeks I sat resolved to do what had been on my heart for years, run across the world… Sounds crazy, but let me explain. The best way to see God’s creation is on your own two feet – staring it head on, moving slow enough to actually be in awe. When we are moving through our day to day seeing the inside of office buildings and Starbucks it’s hard to get grasped in the awe of His majesty. So I wanted to document it. Everywhere I go I run, most of the time it leads me on the most beautiful of adventures, but occasionally my adventurous spirit gets me in a pickle (you’ll hear more about that below).
So in the middle of July 2019 I put in my two weeks notice to my family’s business I had been at for 7 years (but also my whole life because that’s how family business’s work), and geared up for what was next. Who knew, other than God, a week later I would find out I was pregnant and eight months later the world would shut down.
In the fall of 2019 we did it all, even with the morning sickness staying with me for the long haul. Maine, Boston, SoCal, two different parts of Florida. Running and documenting everywhere we went and loving it, but then 2020 hit. I had to stop running at 31 weeks, which was fine, we went to Florida at the beginning of February unknowing it would be the last time we travelled “normally” for the foreseeable future, and Elijah came into the world the same week we locked it all down in March.
What happened? Why did I feel called to leave a nice cushy job when this was on the horizon? Thankfully, the company I have LONG contracted for always has the door open for me and I continue to grow in skill and leadership there, but it sure looks different then what I envisioned. So what was/is God doing? How do you continue to move towards one thing you feel God has put on your heart, while being pulled in two other directions?
So in 2020, we set to do small, COVID safe trips in the Southeast and Elijah did great. Chattanooga, TN, Highlands, NC, Miramar Beach, FL, Disney, Lake Hartwell (several times), we learned each time but they weren’t terribly stressful. He was still tiny and immobile. Fast-forward to April 2021, we were all mostly vaccinated (everyone had at least 1 shot) and we decided to hop a cross country plane ride for a week long hiking excursion. It was time to get back on the road, but a squirmy very mobile 13 month old meant things had to change not only on our itinerary, but in my heart.
Heading west would mean the adventure of the year, but equally as much stretching. I furiously researched traveling with a toddler and came upon a few main themes: it’s hard, it’s worth it, be patient. And that is what I hung. my hat on. Along the way, though, I found one key piece of practical advice: rent baby equipment. One of the things I was least looking forward to was trying to remember and then lug all of his stuff through the airport. So I found this website called BabyQuip (https://www.babyquip.com) and other than the stroller to move E from place to place I rented his crib, toys, highchair, and hiking backpack. It costs a pretty penny, but for the ease it as 100% worth it. I would recommend it to everyone that is flying to their destination.
Patience. It was the theme that keeps me on a endless roller-coaster, I am not it, but God always finds ways to push me to the brink (in the best ways of course). So we got there, after a tumultuous first plane ride with Elijah, got unpacked, got the rentals situated and with the help of my family E had the BEST time. He was exhausted, and he loved it. Through Red Rock Canyon, Hoover Dam, Bryce Canyon, two days of Zion he took everything in, loved exploring and was happy to be on daddy’s back at eye level with everyone else. We used the Osprey pack to carry him in and it’s top of the line and rightfully so. 10/10 would recommend for active parents with littles. It also meant shorter hikes then we would have normally done both for Elijah and for the sake of Jon’s back (hello 98% percentile in weight). We wouldn’t have traded it, but we didn’t come back rested.
As for me, my family gave me moments to take off the mom hat – I got out for 30 minutes of high altitude running every day (we can go into why that’s important in training in another blog post), and as I mentioned earlier the 8 mile trail run that almost ended in disaster. Quick story: My dad, sister, BIL and I wanted to at least get one trail run in while we were there, so I found a trail down the street from our cabin that connected into the trail mom wanted to go see later that day. The Virgin River Rim is a 27 mile trail that is a literal rim of a canyon and we were only hitting a section of it. It’s BEAUTIFUL and on the rim was warm and perfect, however over the 7 miles we had to hop a snow mound or two when we went inward from the rim. At 7.2 we lost the trail, mom had just called to tell us the road to the trail she wanted to do was closed, the snow was 2 feet high and we were starting to get too cold, and our phone batteries were dipping fast. So those .8 miles became 2 miles searching for the nearest big trail and sliding down snow to get their – it was a sight and an emotional toll. Jon and I had one of those moments when we finally made it up to the road where we both ran at each other and embraced. It was cute. The views were worth it, but it’s best to stay off those trails until later in May after all the snow has melted.
All this to say, I think there are two big takeaways : Patience (oh have I mentioned that before) take the stretching as a joyful moment as much as you can, it means God is working and who doesn’t want that? And the other takeaway, we won’t stop traveling with him, but we will always have a getaway for just us two lined up. We are blessed with close family and for all the times I want to get him used to travel and the outdoors, but I want Jon and I to have a few moments where we aren’t coordinating nap time and meal times and how to control the fussy spell. I think holding both is important.
So where are we off to next? Actually all three of us will be in different places in May. I will take off for a solo birthday trip to Disney, Jon heads to Oklahoma for a work conference, and Elijah is getting some special time with Gigi and Papa. Here’s to some individual time and then back together for a trip to the mid-Atlantic in June.
So cheers to new rhythms and new lessons learned, and more writing about it all!
- Time is fast and slow
In a year of COVID we were together way more than we would have anticipated. Not say we planned on being absent, but date nights with a babysitter would have been more common, kids ministry would have been more prevalent. This was just not the case, and we are better for it!
- God will let you know what you’re supposed to know when you’re supposed to know it.
There is so much, and honestly too much emphasis and rhetoric around new parents proclaiming they have no idea what they are doing. It really isn’t the case. Yes it’s hard, yes you are learning, but God didn’t just abandon ship for new parents. He give you the insight you need to make the next best choice, yes it’s great to have a support system around and it’s useful, but you will never ever be left in the “I do not know what I am doing” space.
- There is never a regret from spending a lot of time together
In a world where we take pride in busyness of schedule and how many trips we can take. Yes your marriage comes first, but I am not going to be saying yes to as many things as possible to prove I can be both parent and super woman. That’s not how life truly works. Instead I am working on saying “yes” to the things that really matter and trusting that people understand if I have to say “no”. Likewise, I am setting time to just sit with E EVERY SINGLE DAY where he gets the best and most engaged version of me.
- Adventuring with a babe is hard but 💯 worth it
I know a few people who just stopped when they had kids. They stopped going places whether local or beyond, but that is not how we are choosing to raise Elijah. While Jon and I fully plan to have some trips just the two of us, we also plan (and already have) invited Elijah into all the adventures we take. Yes it takes planning and a whole lot of patience. You have to learn how to do car rides and days have to look less structured. However, between Disney, beaches, hikes and everything in between we have NEVER regretted inviting him into those memories.
- I always said I wouldn’t be the mom that threw some big 1st birthday bash, but we aren’t guaranteed tomorrow so celebrate however you want aka I’m so glad I did!
In all honesty it sounded silly, why does a one year old care about a birthday party. Well, they don’t BUT in a year where I mourned and grieved all the firsts I thought would be I decided to invite people into a moment that overcame all of that. Even though we hadn’t seen so many of those that came but a handful of times (when normally we would seem them AT LEAST once a week), it rallied our loved ones – safely outside and masked – to just celebrate the fact that no matter how much we seemingly missed in a year, the enemy doesn’t get to win. God is still victorious sitting on His throne and if it meant a one year olds birthday party to remind us that then it’s well worth the craziness of putting it together.
So cheers to Elijah being one and every precious memory it holds.
I found myself typing this out in the last few hours of 2020, the week had been a whirlwind. For all the hard moments of the past year there have also been the best, as a new mom of a now 9 month old and learning how to navigate this sweeter yet harder version of life. Now we are here at the beginning of 2021 and things seem different, but they don’t, you know what I mean? We see hope, but there is hesitancy. We have dreams, alongside drinking a nice long sip of reality. One of my favorite parts of entering a new year is resolutions, as in I don’t take myself too seriously but I love chasing a new goal or setting a number of books I hope to read, if it doesn’t happen I am not crushed but it is a fun way to track through the year. I also love the wellness arena (you probably already guessed that) and so this year I thought one of those goals could be to simply focus a few more of my blogs in that space, maybe just maybe. So here’s a little intro into what could focus more specifically on through the next 365 days.
Food. More specifically: breakfast.
Maybe I should put a trigger warning right there. We are just coming out of the holiday season when, for people of all shapes and sizes and wellness, we think about food just a little extra. For me, someone who has dealt with eating disorders (you can go back and read a little bit of my journey with Over-exercise and Orthorexia in previous blog posts), it already makes you feel the slightest tinge of discomfort. That’s okay. If you can keep reading I hope this encourages you, if you aren’t there yet let me say this: just keep doing the work. Surrender to the Lord, find a nutritionist and therapist, have a great support team around you. You are beautiful, made intricately unique and perfectly you, keep going.
So here we are in a new year, some people are creating both inwardly and outwardly goals towards health and some are just trying to get back “on track” from the reality of the holiday season and the copious amounts of sugar available to us. Let’s think about this though: maybe we all do need a reset? I am a firm believer of taking periodic accounts of the present and taking moments to reset. Absolutely not in an exercise 5 hours a day and restrict calories or food groups kind of way, that is never going to be the answer, but if you need to lose or gain weight there is more than just a calorie surplus or deficit, and for people that just want to detox it’s more than just two days of vegetable juice. So how can we all take a moment to reset and keep in normal rhythms?
So this brings us to breakfast! It’s the way we start the day, it’s the way we give our body the energy and nutrition to live life on purpose, and it helps kick start our metabolism to keep our bodily systems healthy. I could break out each of those three into separate blog posts, but that’s for another day (if you do want specific coaching I am a certified nutrition coach so feel free to reach out via my contact form). Breakfast doesn’t have to be boring if you want to healthy, but sometimes it does need to be quick. For many of you it is probably a combination of both. So here are three suggestions for ways to fuel your day, that are not only healthy but compatible to whatever lifestyle you have!
- Grab a cookbook and challenge yourself to create a new breakfast once a week or once a month.
- The Runners Kitchen by Emma Coburn – this was just released at the end of 2020. Emma is a professional runner in Colorado who has long done food stories and posts on the side. She has come up with some healthy and colorful dishes!
- Run Fast. Cook Fast. Eat Slow. by Elyse Kopecky and Shalane Flanagan – this cookbook was the sequel to their first Run Fast. Eat Slow. these recipes are all delicious full of Whole Foods that can fit any nutrition plan. They are flexible not overly time consuming and well-balanced.
- Search the Internet for what you might be looking for specifically. Remember a consistent effort to include all food groups with whole foods is what you are aiming for.
2. You can never go wrong with the basics. Here is a general look at what a well rounded plate has to offer:
- A carbohydrate – whether it’s a piece of whole grain toast w/ your favorite jam, half a bagel w/ a nut butter, or granola for a nutritious yogurt parfait your body needs carbohydrates for energy. Don’t leave these guys out!
- A protein – breakfast has so many options here but eggs are probably the fan favorite! Try an egg scramble and throw in a few veggies (spinach, pepper, etc) for an extra kick of nutrition – OR – a healthy serving of greek yogurt added to the granola above. If you want to skip the hearty bacon, turkey bacon, chicken sausage or Canadian bacon are all other ways to get some protein into your morning. Vegan/Vegetarian? Chickpeas, quinoa, and chia are all great sources of protein.
- Fruits – fruits aren’t always what they appear. Try to make sure you have different fruit options around the house. While we love bananas, snacking on them throughout the day isn’t a great idea so we keep some berries on hand as well. Add them to your parfait, slice up a banana for your nut butter toast, or just make a quick fruit mix in a bowl.
3. Some healthy grab and go options!
- Rx AM Oats – I’ve always been a big oatmeal fan and RxBar has long been a staple for training because of their dense bars with whole ingredients. The Oats are no different, they give you protein, healthy fats, and a nice portion of carbohydrates all with clean ingredients to jump start your day! Chocolate and Maple are my favorite flavors but you can pick from four. Just add the suggested amount of hot water, let it sit for 2 minutes and you are on our way.
- Premake some breakfast muffins – while I don’t recommend an extra large double chocolate muffin to start your every day, popping some muffins that have a great mix of clean carbs, fruits, and even some hidden vegetables are great way to get you out the door. Try this recipe.
- Here is another idea that takes a little bit of prep but allows you to quickly get out the door in the morning. Egg muffins are higher in protein and low in carbs so be careful to make this your sole breakfast depending on your own health goals. You can pretty much add whatever ingredients you please, but they are best with some bacon or sausage, cheese, and chopped veggies.
So welcome to 2021, welcome to fresh starts. I hope this helps you wake up well in the morning and get an energizing start to your day! If you have any other ideas or thoughts on the suggestions above I’d love to hear them in the comments 🙂
At the end of pregnancy and the beginning of Elijah’s life I can honestly say I couldn’t envision the day he had been alive longer than I was pregnant. Yet, here we are, just a few days shy of him being 9 months old. Ever since I was little there were some moments in life I could + wanted to envision, and some that just seemed blurry (even though God usually changes even our best laid plans + dreams), but I’m learning to love stepping into the unknown to find what lies ahead. Now, the following might be a little detailed for some and if that’s you, no hard feelings if you stop after this next sentence. Moments can be simple and moments can be hard and a lot of times it’s a combo that makes something beautiful. This is true whether you are 8 or 80, and remembering the faithfulness of God in your life makes the hills and valley so worth it.
Right now this is where I, we are at. We made it 8 months of breastfeeding, and I still have a supply of frozen milk he gets supplemented with a couple times a week, and I am so grateful for that season. My original goal was 6 months, and then he wasn’t ready and honestly neither was I. Then, we crossed the 7.5 month mark and as simply as I am typing it he decided it was time and so did my body. It felt worn out and in every milestone thus far he has firmly told me when he was ready, it’s so reassuring to me as a mom. It’s also reassuring to me as a person, when we talk about God’s faithfulness so much and a lot of times choices and viewpoints are clear as mud, so when you do get the opportunity to have 100% clarity – TAKE IT.
So, has there been mom guilt for stopping? Absolutely. There are so many voices in my ear that tell me I should have / could have gone longer, my body would have adapted. It’s a struggle when I let those opinions have too much weight, and then I look at that thriving boy and the way I am able to show up for him so much better than I was the last few weeks of nursing and it’s a God-whisper it was all in His timing and His plan. Can anyone relate, in general life?
Now a few days shy of 9 months this little boy is doing everything. Talking NONSTOP, so playful, curious, now has 3.5 teeth (all on the bottom), and thinks he can stand/walk without falling. It makes the helmet that much more of a safety net. And speaking of the helmet we are on the home stretch. In full disclosure this feels similar to breastfeeding, he’s always fidgeting, his scalp is itchy, it’s uncomfortable to sleep in, we have to clean it and his head every day, and it was EXPENSIVE. However, every uncomfortable for him, emotional for me moment has been worth it even though I’m exhausted and I can only imagine he is as well. The noticeable difference we have been able to see, the confidence that if he has to wear glasses or a sports helmet one day the level of comfortability he will have, and hopefully a decrease in opportunities for bullying makes the hardest of moments worth it. But hooray for tests passed and a change of season!
There are further chapters that are about to close, the end of this remarkable, and markable year 2020 – the best and hardest year. Other than the end of a 3 month helmet journey and breastfeeding, we now have the addition of a school day. A day away from me, a breath of independence for both of us. It’s scary putting him with people I do not know yet especially in COVID season, but I am also excited for him to get to experience new things and Jon and I both felt this was the right timing and the right place to try some separation + new stimulation/learning. Work from home has been rewarding, but there are also times for milestones and this step is right for us. I’ve gotten comfortable in our 2020 bubble, we have wonderful neighbors, a great neighborhood, we’ve been able to refresh our house a little and since my parents both 100% work from home we can see them easily and it’s nice and cozy, but 2021is a time for renewal and I want to step into that with eyes, heart open walking in obedience to what God has for me and us.
Now, so far we’ve mostly talked about Elijah and of course he is the star of the show, but this past month has also showed me what my body can do and how healthy rhythms help me show up better as a mom + wife. When it comes to running I not only love and am passionate about it, but they wake me up, help me focus, and give me energy. I get to walk in afterwards to the cutest toothy grin smiling at me and as the breastfeeding weight shed my body felt lighter. I was enjoying it more and started hitting my target paces again, I am competitive so it gives me a lot more energy then it does exhaustion to go out and crush a workout (if you aren’t that way it’s okay too). And because of the pregnancy journey I have been able to have a healthier relationship with food because I need it for me and him. That doesn’t mean I have it all figured out and I still have plenty of hard days, but there is a motivation on multiple levels as well as the training I have spurring me on to healthy training. God always knows what you need when you need it and like my back injury in college helped gut punch my pride issues the same goes with a timely pregnancy to truly show me the value of food in healthy ways.
And there are days I feel guilty for going out for a long run, but I remember the gift I have been given and the flexibility of time I have in so many other ways to care for my family, and it makes me a better mom/wife/coworker/etc. Don’t feel guilty for taking the time for you, I do not know if I am fully on the – do whatever you need to for you – train but I do think taking care of ourselves is Biblical and important so we can serve and give towards others, it’s what we are called to.
So what is next in racing and in life? I wish I could tell you, my races continually get cancelled or moved to virtual and it’s starting to wear on me. I want to be able to test my fitness, but for right now I will train in the shadows until next time – summer 2021?!? I will keep working in the job I am doing which I feel has purpose until I have a new opportunity that is God-called, and I will hopefully keep jotting down some words here and there to encourage moms, friends, and athletes alike.
Elijah doesn’t define who I am, I don’t put my identity in my child or marriage, but rather what God says about me and who I am as a child of God. And THROUGH trusting in those truths it calls me up to more in taking care of Elijah, Kada, Kali… Jon. And if there is one thing I have learned in this season, I have said it over and over, it’s that God gives you exactly what you need for the day. I usually don’t have any or much extra but God is faithful to help me step into ANY situation with enough energy, patience, compassion, etc as I need. Whether it motherhood, dog motherhood because those days are still very much a thing – see Kada’s great escape of October 2020, wife, teammate, and even daughter, sibling, running partner and so on and so on.
There are so many words I could say about being 9 months in, Elijah and my independence and our togetherness, six months now of working form home with a babe, how I am gearing up to run competitively again, but simply it is this: God gives you what you need. His trustworthiness is steadfast in EVERY season.
I love being a mom and wife, I love being a teammate in my career, I love being an athlete, but the exhaustion is real and sometimes I truly wonder if anyone out there can relate. Especially in this season when my insomnia is running fierce. It seems like those nights that E sleeps 11 hours are the worst. I know you guys are out there, but sometimes I feel a lone. So here is a typical day the timeline, the frustrated, the fun, and the way Jesus is in every single moment of every single day.
2am: The insomnia rears its ugly head, Jon and babe are still asleep and I’m staring into the silence and I pop a melatonin to see if it will help my drift quickly. Sometimes it does, sometimes it does’t and sometimes I feel like crying because I know the morning comes all too soon and I can feel my body still craving sleep.
5am: I start to stir, babe starts to stir. I hop up to grab a sweatshirt, flip on the coffee, and open up my computer to see what our team has been up to as their day is halfway through and my attention is needed. Diapers changed, bottle out and a few morning cuddles begin the day. Then I answer the morning updates, try to get in 20 minutes of quiet time, and watch little play.
6:30am: Jon get’s up, let’s me take off for a run and/or get my workout in. It’s quiet, my neighborhood is safe but sleepy and its therapeutic around every turn.
7:30am: I’m home and showered hopping in to make breakfast for the boys, and get back to problem solving with my team. and a second cup of coffee.
8-12pm: Meetings, work grind, and hopeful little man get’s at least an hour nap somewhere in there.
12pm: Lunch for all 3 of us, a family walk around our park, and a decompression for the day that has already been. It starts to hit me that I’m tired, but you force it down and don’t give in to that afternoon cup calling your name, rather settling for decaf or tea.
2pm: I’m regularly wrapped up with any lingering issues that have come from our US team. Ready for a nap, but usually trying to get anything house wise taken care of while little man attempts to take a second nap (this does not always happen)
4pm: It’s time for babe’s dinner, the girls dinner, and for me to start prepping ours, I usually turn on jams at this part of the day to get me hype – sometimes works, sometimes not.
5pm: Night time routine begins, we eat dinner, talk down our days, go for an evening walk usually stopping to chat with 1 or 2 neighbors who are out and about as well. In this season we are cleaning the helmet, washing and brushing hair to keep everything Kosher every single night, cleaning baby toys, cleaning baby’s and enjoying some family moments before bed.
7pm: Bed time bottle and off to dreamland.
8:30pm: I’m usually asleep but not always, sometimes there is just life, work that didn’t get finished, house work that needs attention, or my mind is simply spinning to fast to get me there. But I know the insomnia is only hours away so I take deep breaths and settle into my sheets and just hope sleep embraces me tonight.
If you struggle like me, there is almost a fear associated with insomnia. It can be unpredictable, medication is hit or miss and the dread of the day after a long night can easily creep in. And I don’t have a ton of wisdom or experience, but I do know that God sees you in those quiet, hard and lonely moments and likewise He is faithful to give you exactly what you need for the day that follows I have learned that time and time again in this season. I also know that most of the time it is seasonal and you will come out of the valley and head towards the hillside. Take heart my friend, have faith, walk with confidence that God will always lead you through.
Rest well friends,
We celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary with what originally was planned to be a two week Hawaiian adventure, became a Pacific Northwest excursion with the surprise addition of E, which then settled to be a beach trip with the surprise addition of COVID. Then, Florida & Georgia couldn’t get their act together so we cancelled that beach trip. The week drew near and I felt disappointed, and then I felt guilty I was disappointed. There’s that cycle again. So the weekend before we made the decision to rebook a long weekend at the beach, we would spend a few hours just the two of us in the morning and then pick up E and head down to the gulf. I felt like a lot of the memories I so desperately wanted had to be thrown out the window, but his first beach trip before he got too big was something I wasn’t willing to sacrifice.
I was nervous about the car ride, E had done several 2 hour car rides but five and a half hours was a whole different animal. Jon and I hiked up in North Georgia that morning and then packed up the car, got E and were on our way. For two hours this babe was great, mainly he slept and I drove, then, we hit Alabama and the tides turned. He didn’t want to sit anymore so I headed to the back with him and coaxed him to calm down with applesauce, and some playtime. We got another 2 hours out of him and then it broke loose, we were crossing into Florida, it was way past his bedtime and I was VERY uncomfortable squished between his carseat and everything we had packed. Probably my least favorite 1.5 hours of his very short life.
But then – we made it and this child immediately passed out.
The next morning I couldn’t wait to get in some Florida flat miles. Unfortunately, the humidity coming from the storms headed in from the tropics was gruesome and while great for endurance training didn’t make for the most comfortable of runs. I settled for a 3.5ish point to point which thankfully ended at the Donut Hole, our family’s very favorite gulf coast breakfast spot.
After the running and the donut that followed we put the babe in his little big boy suit and headed to the sand and waves. It was as magical as my mind had dreamt it up, he put his little feet in the water with uncertainty and then a BIG smile, the sand was fun to kick up, and watching his face scan the horizon at all the new scenery was the childish wonder that I love.
The next day I tried to get out for a “long run” which was the first workout PP I ended up failing. It was a moment of disappointment but also hope. The run was humid and my body felt trashed from time changes and different food, but in that twisted way was an encouragement that I was at the point I was failing workouts again. Now, I don’t like to make a habit of it, but in the world of competitive running it happens.
We spent more beach time as we watched the outer bands of the tropical storm that was making its way towards the gulf started to churn the water and provide a shady covering, and then Jon let me do one of my favorite things. As he watched from our balcony I headed down towards the water as the waves were some of the biggest I had seen in the gulf. Also side note if you are not a strong swimmer I would not have made this choice, but I knew I could get some nice body surfing in – so for the next 30 minutes the waves battered me and threw me into the sand, and it was some of the best moments in this season. If you think that’s weird its okay.
On our last morning I took off with little man for a short one before packing up, we got donut hole to go with plenty of donuts and sat back for the mostly peaceful drive home. While it isn’t the most convenient to travel with a baby we are so glad we did. It gave us a breath, helped me change up training, and it’s helping teach Elijah what it is to adventure and see all this amazing creation around us.
Some of the things that made this trip great:
- A large play mat – I bought a twin size comforter off amazon and he’s off to the races rolling around and interacting with his toys
- A baby beach tent – https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07SYP4CF4/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
- Multifaceted toys that have chewers, sounds, and multiple colors
- Baby applesauce for car rides HA!
Until next time!
We’ve talked meal and fitness plans and other healthy strategies. So, here’s a few things I’m loving lately:
Let’s start with workouts. Right now all I can manage is 30 minutes (usually a little bit longer over the weekend), but between work, taking care of & feeding E, and taking care of our home, this is the timeframe I give myself daily.
Session #1: Full Cardio
- 10 Minutes : Moderate Jog
- 15 Minutes : Quarter Mile Intervals, 0.25 at 50% , 0.25 at 80-90%
- 5 Minutes: Cool down
Session #2: Cardio + Strength
- 15 Minutes: Moderate Jog
- 3x 10 dumbbell flys, 10 dumbbell arm raises, 10 tricep lifts, 10 weighted squats
- 5 Minutes: Active stretching
If you don’t have weights, use cans of food or just do them with your own body weight. Another GREAT option is to head to november-project.com and look up your city and join them for a (zoom) workout you will get a mix of EVERYTHING and the people are pretty awesome also.
If you are better with pre-loaded video’s Peloton’s App has a free month trial of their workouts, Nike has their standard and premium Training Club App workouts for free currently, and Popsugar Fitness has an awesome YouTube channel that
Now for the foodie side of things, here are a few of my day-to-day go to’s:
Pre-workout: Piece of fruit + protein bar/cookie
Breakfast: Half bagel w/ Half avocado, fried egg, everything but the bagel seasoning
Snack #1: Berries + almonds
Lunch: Grilled Sandwich + salad
Snack #2: Whole Foods bar (like Rxbar) or peanut butter + pretzels (sometimes both, ha!)
Dinner: Quinoa w/ roasted veggies, and avocado
And then always a little something sweet after our evening walk.
But here’s the thing: any well-rounded recipe plan isn’t always easy, it’s not a golden rule to eat the perfect proportions of fats, carbs, fruits, veggies, and dairy. Life is fun: eat well, but have fun. Create new recipes, bake some brownies occassionally, order Mexican food, and then drink your water and stay active.
A few other helpful things in this season is a daily quiet time and a good book. The App “Calm” is great for a few minutes of quiet time, also a good sit in a dark room, or a slow walk in nature. And on the book side here are a few that I am loving: The Impossible First by Colin O’Brady and The Ride of a Lifetime by Robert Iger.
Do you have any go-to recipes or relaxation exercises in this season? Let me know in the comments.
For now friends,
So To the Black Lives that All Matter:
Thank you for being you. Thank you for being here even when the world treats you like a criminal or less that human. Thank you for being light even when I can only imagine the air is thick and anger rises. Thank you for fighting for change when it seems like you are on your own. Thank you for making our country a better place just by being in it, not to mention the thousands of ways you enrich it. If you hear nothing but this THANK YOU FOR STAYING.
You’ve heard “I’m so sorry” a thousand times, and I am so so sorry, and I wish those words were enough to hold change. I wish those simple moments breathed peace and rest into your lives, but they don’t. It’s a simple (and honestly too easy of a) place to start but it doesn’t insight change. I desperately wish that Thanos could come snap his finger in the best way and set everything to how it “should be”. You feeling free to walk down the street, or simply get pulled over for running that four way stop without fearing for your life. Especially for the women that have to fear for their husbands every day, I wish I could dissolve that fear for you. I wish Police Departments would take louder and louder stands to not only state that they are with you, but they are so diligently and actively snuffing out anyone who tries to smother your freedom, voice, and life. I wish that black leadership would inundate our nation so that voices were balanced and that they system would not only change, but be reborn. I wish people would simply give you the chance to be. Be the light, be free, be tone setters in our culture.
I hope white people work towards education and boldness to stand firm and fight well. That you don’t have to carry responsibility or burdens for us to try to “get it”, I hope this inspires white people to take the initiative and personal responsibility to not only seek justice but to simply do what is right. I pray the excuses away, as I cannot actively take a 10 week old on in this heat + humidity yet to stand that doesn’t give anyone a pass regardless of circumstance to simple do nothing or “wait”. This isn’t something that we can just wait on, it will be another dead man (or woman) on the street.
I pray that love grows in this season, that you feel loved and valuable more and more every single day. Because you are. You are so valuable, you are beautiful, you are such a stunning example of God himself. You deserve a voice, freedom, and leadership that you actually feel like protects you. I am SO sorry that our leaders look quite the opposite. I hope that white peoples eyes are opened to the true colors of the current leadership and vote in different and better ways. I pray that we don’t fizzle out because we get busy, distracted, or state we are “too tired”, I am trying to be diligent to realize that you all do not get that luxury and I don’t want to get caught in the trap of the enemy when my brothers and sisters lives are at stake.
I love you, I don’t always get it right, but every day I will try to stand and love better and better.
I read a quote yesterday that said, “if your life in any way connects to others, you are an influencer”. It means we all have a voice and it means no one has an excuse to not stand beside our black brothers and sisters, AND some of this starts with actually using your area to create a conversation to bring about awareness to simply start the process.
We were created for connection, in simple terms as individual connected to our Creator in which we were created in imago Dei. I will never understand the feeling of being scared on the streets every day, when I simply feel unsafe to run I simply don’t have to and can remove myself from any given situation. Likewise, the idea that I could simply turn a blind eye and ignore these moments in our nation are a privilege that as white people we should be wary of and do our best to push past. But what could I do? I have a diverse friend group, live in a diverse neighborhood, I have been to conversations and talk about racial tensions and reconciliation in Atlanta and the country as a whole, and try to ask questions and listen, but its not enough I still see the passivity growing in me even though I say I love all the people in my life.
So maybe it doesn’t have to be so complicated to take a stand. I have a blog site it has created a following and a voice and if I failed to use it that would be a disaster, and maybe it’s just one action a day that keeps the momentum high and a disciplined move towards fighting for justice. A book, a documentary, and IGTV conversation with church leaders and black leaders across the country, maybe its just something every single day that keeps you moving forward.
These seem like enough words for now, because words are only words. Maybe I will have more later, but before there can be more words there must be standing and educating.
Until then friends.
Hey new mama I see you there. Huddled back in the corner alone and scared. Something you once longed for turned to labor pains you dread. Hey new mama I see you there. On the hospital bed after this new baby you fed. The nurses hustle along eerie hallways and no one is coming. Hey new mama I see you there. At 3 am exhausted, with tired's red glare. You try to stay strong as the weeks go by but nowhere to turn. Hey new mama I see you there. I chose the road you're walking to watch Me draw near. Even when all else fades my image you bear. Through the days and the nights you have nothing to fear. On the loneliest nights I'm closer than ever. I love you new mama, now and forever.
I love lists – I’m one of the most task oriented people you’ll ever meet. I love taking administrative or logistical challenges by the horns and knocking them out one by one. Not only for tasks sake, but for goal setting in general. I look at lists as goals: usually smaller goals setting up a larger one. I’m not the creative mind that comes up with the plan, but I’ll be the person that grinds through the 50 action items to move that plan forward. So heading into the next decade of life I really couldn’t help myself but look back and forward and see what values I wanted to work on instilling as I reached for this new milestone. So some of these are fun, some of these are serious but I hope you enjoy my 30 before 30 list!
- Read 30 books. This one was lofty and I didn’t get to where I wanted to, however it still pushed me so much further than I would have gotten without it. My list of titles are below:
- 26 Marathons by Meb Keflezighi
- Strong by Kara Goucher
- Coddling of the American Mind by Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt
- Chasing Vines by Beth Moore
- Shaken by Tim Tebow
- The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry by John Mark Comer
- Crucial Conversations by Al Switzler, Joseph Grenny, and Ron McMillan
- Measure What Matters by John Doerr
- Get Out of Your Own Way by Dave Hollis
- Becoming by Michelle Obama
- Fueling Her Forward by Myself
- You Are the Girl for the Job by Jess Connolly
- There are actually a few titles not included only because I mixed up what was read when… oops.
- 30 Acts of Kindness. The reason behind this one was to open my eyes and pay attention the world and people around me a little better – while I didn’t document every single one I was able to more fully invest in relationships by simple acts like bringing coffee to the office, supporting friends adoptions, or just picking up trash around our park.
- Memorize 30 Verses of Scripture. Of course working on spiritual discipline had to play a major role in continuing to grow in different ways so that looked like the following:
- Matthew 6:19-34
- Psalm 23
- Psalm 1
- Donate 30 Items of Clothing. This one was probably a little too easy considering I fancy the decluttered lifestyle. However 30 items can be substantial when you are used to the seasonal clean. I’m currently bagging up pregnancy clothes for my next drop.
- Brunch 30 Times. If you know me you know brunch is a lifestyle, we dined well over 30 times but I’ll include a few of my favorite spots from around the country.
- Great Maine Breakfast – Bar Harbor, ME
- La Gallette Creperie – San Clemente, CA
- Cape May Cafe – Beach Club Resort – Orlando, FL
- True Food Kitchen – Atlanta, GA
- Beehive – Boston, MA
- Catch 30 Sunrises. If you follow me on Instagram or have read one of my posts before you probably have heard me say how much my prayer life is amplified when I’m outside in nature. I can undeniably say I caught 30 sunrises whether it was from the top of Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park or in flow with the sea breeze on the shores of Florida.
- Watch the Marvel Movies in Release Order. There aren’t 30 of these movies (yet), but it still had to be on the list, and while I have a few that I could do without (Captain Marvel anyone?) I was still happy Jon and I got to go on the journey again – this time together. My only wish was that Black Widow (my hero) could have made her solo debut before my birthday, see you in November.
When I first wrote these out there were more on the list, but only these 7 stuck around. The ones that pinpointed the areas I either really wanted to grow or was passionate about landed in the past year. It’s just another point that this can actually be a valuable exercise in more ways than one. It can cancel out the business and noise and help you bring into focus the specific makeup of who you are.
So here’s to 30!
Not too long ago someone we know quoted the great Charles Dickens, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times”. People across the planet probably feel this all too deeply, but having had a baby on a week where governments were scrambling to shut down economies, and hospitals were gearing up and creating boundaries for anyone that came in and out – it was a whole different dynamic.
Here I stand typing this, yes standing because a fussy one month old bodes for constant movement, and my mind starts to swirl from the moments of just Jon and I in the hospital for 3 days to being at home sans doctors appointments every day since. And it’s the most beautiful, wonderful hard season, that just takes some perspective alongside the moments of emotion!
|It was the best of times…||It was the worst of times…|
|Quiet & still hospital moments just the 3 of us.||The broken expectation of our families meeting him in the hospital for the first time|
|Individualized care in the hospital||The eeriness of an empty and on guard hospital|
|The beauty of technology unveiled in FaceTime and Zoom||Grandparents, Aunts & Uncles not getting to hold their grandchild/niece/nephew right away|
|Completely still moments at home||Friends & family having to stay away from your home|
|Obligation is out the window||You miss your routine, the beauty in which you get to serve & live|
|Taking in the beauty of your neighborhood & community||The feeling of missing out on your first adventures elsewhere|
|The sun shining almost every day||Missing the sun shining in other places|
|Getting to be the most intentional with your babe||Missing those “scheduled” firsts in church and leaving him for date nights|
|You don’t miss any of their developments||You wish you could experience him reacting to other spaces & faces|
|You look out at the indefinite period of time with hope and belief||You look out at the indefinite period of time with broken expectations|
For all the things I feel like I’m “missing” there are 1000 reasons why this season is beautiful, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t hard. And it’s okay to feel all the emotions that come with it. You do have broken expectations, but you also have an incredible gift. As long as you let the good and beautiful outweigh the sadness and overwhelm – you are doing great!
I wasn’t expecting it, I had been going to therapy, talking through everything I had swirling in my mind and it still punched me in the gut, hard.
Anxiety wasn’t unfamiliar, but unexpected in this new season, especially past the first trimester. I kept my pregnancy completely under wraps through the first trimester, two years ago I could barely keep myself alive so I highly doubted I could keep another human alive.
But the first trimester came and went and everything looked great, but the anxiety never left the scene. Into my 16th week, with all positive doctors reports and I still felt like I was walking on eggshells. Every time I got too hot, the car breaks slammed too hard, or I felt off I would panic. I could think logically, but it never clicked. Most of the time I combatted it with keeping myself busy with anything that I felt would keep me safe.
Why couldn’t I let go? Why couldn’t I just enjoy this season? It was defeating and isolating. BUT I knew freedom was possible despite what the enemy wanted to keep me trapped in.
So everyday I started in quiet instead of letting the days agenda start raging. Digging up all the lies and worry taking up space in my mind, taking those thoughts captive and replacing them with gratitude and hope in the future. Slowly, slowly the narrative is beginning to change. It’s only been 10 days since I started working so specifically on these moments, but every day is a little bit calmer, a little less stressful, and nothing seems quite as overwhelming.
I believe it’s the same for all of us. How often do we truly start the day in complete silence? Phones still away, no one else communicating with you yet, not attempting to conquer a workout, or be inspired by a podcast or new playlist? In today’s culture is it really possible?
Yes, and it’s necessary. AND it’s possible because God is bigger.
Put the phone down, keep the kids (or dogs) in bed for just a few minutes longer, create the boundary around that space. And work intentionally on turning every fear, lie, and overwhelming thought into something glorifying to the Lord.
Because of Him we can have hope in the future. Because of Him we can be free.
It starts with Day 1 and it may never fully feel like it goes away, but just keep pushing friend. We are in this together, and He has got you!
I’ve been hinting around my book for almost a year now, and ya’ll it’s within a week of being READY! So, what does that mean exactly? Well I first want to do a little Q/A about the 180 pages of words, so that all of you who have asked now can hop on board!
- Why has it taken another 6 months since your first author copy?!
- In April I posted a picture with my author copy, but there was still something unsettled in my heart about it. Literally yesterday it felt like after a couple edits I felt the Lord saying: “NOW”
- What is it about?
- It’s about how isolated and unaddressed lies led to body image issues I felt like I couldn’t escape from. About how my image + identity was found in my sport & in how others (specifically men) viewed me and it led to a lot of frustration and hurt. It’s about how Jesus has a plan to use it and to heal it all!
- Are there any hard topics?
- YES! On the same note I believe an older teenage girl could handle it. We talk about Body Dysmorphia, Eating Disorders, the Female Athlete Triad, how mental health plays a role in it all, seeking professional help, and about how when we let men speak too loudly it starts drowning out the only voice that really matters.
- Is it completely based on a true story?
- While I take examples from other people’s stories, it is completely non-fiction.
- Is this book about Jesus?
- 1000% yes. While, it conquers hard lies and schemes of the enemy Jesus is what this is centered around and is the core of why this book was written. I felt that this reality of mental health and Eating Disorders in today’s culture didn’t provide the hope of Jesus in many settings.
- Are you going through a traditional publisher?
- I did a lot of research on this, but I found that for first time authors who do not already have a “platform” it is easier to go the self-publishing route. So, I’m using Lulu, it allows me support as needed and a safe place to work.
- Why now?
- I knew this book was supposed to be released before the end of this year, but was waiting for when the Lord finally gave me the peace and confidence to move forward.
- Are you scared?
- This may sound like a silly question, but yes! I don’t feel equipped, knowledgeable enough, or like the best writer. BUT do I feel like the Lord gave me these words? Yes, and with that I will be obedient.
This was the hardest thing I’ve done (because patience isn’t a strong suit of mine), but something I am so thankful for and excited to see how God uses it. Thank YOU for coming on board with me. Do you have any questions? I would love to answer any you might have at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Until next time friends,
Kristen is one of the friends you just want to have. She’s the most loyal and thoughtful friend and she also lives in a great spot in California. When I hopped off the plane in LAX Thursday night, we had only roughly talked about our weekend plans. She’s lived out there over seven years and we’ve been able to do all the landmarks during some of those trips (Santa Monica Pier, Beverly Hills, Disneyland) so there was nothing that I was overly drawn to do.
To my surprise Kristen and Zack had this whole thing planned out. We stopped for a quick bite in Irvine with Zack and headed to San Clemente. She had booked us a cute little Airbnb right on the coast. San Clemente is the southernmost beach town in Orange County. We crashed pretty quickly Thursday night but were excited to enjoy this spot come Friday morning.
Local Coffee Shop
We headed to this cute little coffee shop just a short walk from our place called High Tide Coffee. Incredibly instagrammable except that pretty much every spot in this beach town is in this category. While the coffee was great, I really loved this spot because they let you pick you mug, and they had a nice assortment of pastries including gluten-free, dairy-free donuts. That is the mothership in my opinion! Plus, it was pumpkin flavored and even SoCal was a cool down from Atlanta, so it felt so much more like fall.
After we chilled for a bit that morning, we decided it was time for a true brunch/lunch. I am always trying to add brunch spots to my 30 before 30 bucket list items, and I was able to add quite a few places to that list this weekend. Our Friday spot was called Pierside, it didn’t sit directly on the water, but it had an ocean view, and was super reasonably priced. We helped ourselves to a shrimp and guac appetizer as well as some incredible avocado bruschetta. Our main dishes looked more like breakfast with a delicious egg scramble and the BEST (no exaggeration) fingerling potatoes.
After a great beach day, we headed back on their great beach trail (a 2.2-mile one-way route that hugs the beach the whole way) to rest and get cleaned up. For dinner we headed to their downtown strip area, slightly off the water. There is no lack of options but we wanted some simple so we headed to a spot called The Local, I was feeling a little full since my body thought it was closer to 10pm and just grabbed a Thai Salad and some Brussel sprouts to share, who knew these would be the perfect example of a well done Brussel sprout. Blistered to perfection with a balsamic glaze was a fun way to stay simple, but tasty. Kristen got a monster burger which she said was delicious.
If you want to know something about Kristen, she has a hankering for ice cream and as beach towns across the country do have no shortage of ice cream shops. We found this spot on Del Mar called South Swell Hand Dipped that had all natural, no additives selections of gelato. While at that point I was stuffed, we both tried several flavors and were blown away!
Saturday morning, we went for a nice run out and back of the beach trail and had our hearts set on this crepery called La Galette. Located right next to Pierside we loved having a water view while we enjoyed our French breakfast. We split a sweet (berries and cream) and savory (chicken sausage, potatoes, and cheese) and thought both were 8/10. We walked around for a bit and decided it was time to make our way back towards Irvine for a special spa day that Zack had surprised us with.
If you are a runner you’ll love the North Beach Trail that overlooks the water. It’s a 4.5 mile out and back and flat as a board, the ocean air providing a really nice breeze as the sweat starts to glisten.
10/10 would recommend San Clemente and we would go back again in a heartbeat.
Have you ever been? Any other spots you love?
I can’t go into this without thanking everyone who has walked through any period of these years with us, and to everyone who has supported us through it all.
There really aren’t words to truly put this season and past two years into words. It’s definitely not the way I expected life to go when Jon and I said “I Do” just a little over four years ago. If you have known me for any period of time over the past two years you know that my body has been through a roller coaster of marathon training, exercise and eating disorder, recovery, balance, stress, job shifts, and lots of unknown. I’ve suffered through the Female Athlete Triad (I have a blog post about this back in 2017), and it’s taken my body (in every way) a long time to readjust even after the weight came back on and I was able to gain control of exercise.
This all came to a climax when my doctor suggested surgery back in early March. After never having been under anesthesia, there was a slight fear of what they might find but we proceeded knowing it might be the only way we could keep moving forward. So, in the middle of April that surgery happened, and after a recovery that went sideways with infection and the discovery of dangerously low iron, I felt hopeless. While my iron levels improved, there was another deficiency that was wreaking havoc on my body, all the while my body still wasn’t cooperating the way it should in other areas.
In June, I was having bunch of sensory issues along with a sinus infection that just seemed annoying. I was tired of fighting, I went in for another round of blood work not actually expecting them to find anything, assuming it would be more of the same just getting through the days. God wasn’t scared of this challenge though, and much to my surprise the test results DID show something. While my iron had improved and maintained, there was another vitamin at play in the realm of anemia – vitamin B. Specifically for me: Vitamin B12, completely explaining the sensory issue since this vitamin plays to the health of your neurological system. So, we started on Vitamin B12 shots and a regular supplement. They also started me on an antibiotic for the pesky sinus infection, and then another, and then another. At this point I was pretty sure I just needed to go under surgery again and just get my sinuses flushed, but something was just still off in general.
When I went to pick up my third prescription, they asked me point blank: “are you pregnant? You can’t take this if you are” I told them it was near impossible, but that I would grab a test and make sure before I started the medicine, that sounded good enough for them, I guess. So, I went home took the test: negative. Pretty much what I expected knowing what my body had been through (and not been through). 13 days later I had finished my prescription, my sinus infection wasn’t going away, and my constant body changes left me depleted and I lost it. Puddle on the floor. In that moment, something told me to just take the second test that came with the one I had taken two weeks before. Positive. I freaked, no one thought this was possible and I DEFINITELY couldn’t believe it was real. So, I went out and grabbed two more tests: both clearly positive. Unfortunately, I was headed out of town for four days and couldn’t get a next day appointment with my doctor to confirm. We ended up having to wait a week and change to see my doctor, despite the fact I have had to be there WAY too much they know me and my story and were thrilled to see that we might be expecting, and even more so when it was confirmed.
You might be thinking at this point: well how far along were you. That’s a good question. We don’t actually know for sure. Through blood work and ultrasounds, we suspect I’m right at 14 weeks, with an anticipated deliver somewhere between mid to late March of 2020. Honestly, I was so in shock and so SICK it has been hard for me to get excited, but I am finally almost there! Having my hormones go from one extreme to the other over a period of weeks has also been REALLY challenging on me mentally and emotionally. Jon has been one incredible man through it all and of course he got excited right off the bat, naturally, which has helped me through some of the toughest days!
At 11-12 weeks we were excited to hear a strong heartbeat and can’t wait for this next phase of finding out the gender. While we could have found out these past couple weeks, with our travel schedules (Los Angeles, Orlando, South Carolina in consecutive weeks), and a huge event I’m helping plan on October 5th I just decided to wait until our 16-week appointment (yes I, because Jon would have been there two weeks ago).
So, I tell that story also to say this: God is in the business of displaying his perfect and God sized plan and he literally will do whatever he wants whenever he wants no matter what the circumstances might look like. Oh, you also might be wondering about our adoption plan!! We still plan to, our timeline just looks different now, because God is orchestrating our steps in a slightly different way. Our hearts aren’t any less towards adopting one day SOON! In all honesty, it’s pulled at my heart strings even more so.
You also may be wondering about running. Every day I can be out there running I am so grateful. Right now, it’s a good bit slower and shorter, but if I can get 3-5 miles in, I am a happy camper. I’m hoping to increase the mileage slightly as the weather cools down in Atlanta, with a goal of doing a 10K each month leading up to delivery. I am of course expecting the Lord to change some of that thinking, but I would love to maintain my running for as long as possible. I will absolutely do some consistent blog posts about it during these next six months so give me a follow if you want to be notified about those!
If you want to know any more about our story these two years, I would be happy to talk with you via email (Jordan@fuelingherforward) or face to face!
For now, cheers to a new season, and thank you Jesus for your unfailing love and sovereignty
Until next week friends (when I finish recapping LA and hit Food & Wine at Disney),
Let me first start by saying that in Bar Harbor you aren’t going to eat for less than $50 for two for anything other than breakfast (and even that’s iffy) so budget well. HOWEVER, it is all together WORTH IT.
But before we get all the way to Bar Harbor let me first mention a tiny, unsuspecting BBQ joint just slightly west of Portland, ME. Jon’s is a big-time BBQ connoisseur so whenever and wherever we travel I research some of the top spots. So we headed to this spot called Noble Barbecue. It was undeniably both of our absolutely favorite thing we ate on our entire trip, so much so that we stopped on the way there and back. Their menu is small, but the way the have regular and vegan options and added little touches that make it a unique and flavorful experience.
As we got into Bar Harbor on Thursday and had adventured outside for a bit, I was just searching for anything seafood related. So I was super excited to happen upon the Bar Harbor Lobster Co. I went plane and simple fried pickles to start, some lightly battered fish, and roasted brussel sprouts. Jon tried his first EVER lobster roll and had very mixed feelings, but needless to say I was proud of him for venturing out. It’s a very standard seaside spot, but if you just want casual – worth checking out.
Friday was our big day. The next morning, post 5 hour hike, we went to Great Maine Breakfast, right in the heart of Bar Harbor. After hearing so much about the blueberry situation in Maine we tried to go for their popular Blueberry Pancakes. They had regular and Gluten Free/Dairy Free. We both thoroughly enjoyed our own versions and yes we resisted this spot Saturday morning as well – ha!
After hike #2 for the day we decided it was time for lunch. Irish pubs are a thing all over the place in the northeast so we headed to a spot with a coastal view: Paddy’s Irish Pub. We craved something unique, but on the lighter side. So we stuck with earth bowls and the best part: Crab Cake. This was probably the best crab cake I have had to this date, and I am picky. If you ever go here – just say yes!
The one thing that we were missing so far that is something that is a must at any beachside spot was fried calamari. Some people thing eww, but I am all about it. Since we weren’t looking for anything special we found a walk-in spot called Geddy’s that had all the American seafood eats, and perfectly crafted calamari. But we couldn’t be finished without a spot a classic beach town ice cream shop. We picked a random one called CJs Big Dipper, it was really great ice cream. Nothing mind blowing, but the perfect treat!
Truth me told we went straight back to Great Maine Breakfast Saturday morning after our run at Jordan Pond. No shame, it’s that good, and doesn’t break the bank, ha!
If you have any other recs for the next time we head that way let me know, we love to explore everything!
Later this week will be a post on San Clemente, CA and I cannot wait to share this surprise trip beach town with you.
Happy Monday friends!
I’m only assuming here but when you think of National Parks I’m assuming your mind goes to the “biggies”: Yellowstone, Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Zion. Acadia wasn’t even on our radar several years ago, but after my family shifted to wanting to do more outdoor adventure trips we quickly made a list of national parks that we wanted to see. So while my family was planning an out west adventure (the only one of those I’ve seen is the Grand Canyon), Jon and I were looking for something a little closer to home for our anniversary.
By now you’ve probably read, or at least seen, the posts about our time in Boston, but Maine was special. Before I dive into Acadia specifically, I’ll give you a little overview. We flew in and out of Boston because it was WAY cheaper than flying into Portland or Bangor, however it’s a near five hour drive north especially if you take regular breaks. If/when we go back I would spend the extra money flying into Bangor so you have extra time to spend in Maine/Acadia.
Because of that drive I routed us a few times to lighthouses and restaurants that allowed us to experience more of Maine as a whole, which was stunning!
We stayed in a wonderful little motel a little north of Bar Harbor (the town next to Acadia), called Belle Isle. Although the room was small, it gave us just what we needed, and the grounds were gorgeous and super well maintained. It’s just a couple miles in when you cross onto Mt Desert Island and a little less expensive then staying in the heart of Bar Harbor.
We quickly headed over to Bar Harbor for dinner and our first views of the incredible Maine coastline. It was really stunning. Something I’m so used to being a regular to the Florida Atlantic area is that when you look out into the ocean you just see vastness. It’s just ocean forever. But here, it’s little islands everywhere; some with mountains, some big, some tiny, the sunrises and sunsets hitting them all in a completely different way. It just makes you pause and take all of these mental pictures you never want to lose.
While that first evening we didn’t go into Acadia, Bar Harbor has a great coastline trail that you could literally walk forever with its views and cool breeze.
Friday was definitely the most epic. After researching the best sunrise hikes in Acadia, Cadillac Mountain was on our radar. Then that was 100% confirmed by one of Jon’s co-workers. The catch with Cadillac Mountain is that it’s the first spot in the US to see the sunrise, which also means it’s the earliest. About an hour and change earlier then Atlanta, so if you want to hike it you are out the door by 3:30am in route to park at the base. But it was absolutely worth it in EVERY WAY. Pictures do not do it justice, but hiking it up and down (we took two different paths to get different perspectives) was one of the most incredible experiences, but also one of the most rewarding. Side note: you can drive to the top, you still want to go early to get the entirety of the sunrise, and the parking is limited. Poor Jon looked at me like I was nutty, but when you are married to a an 8, 3, 1 on the enneagram there was NOTHING that was going to make me drive to the top verses having the fulfillment of hiking it.
I wish I could go ahead and tell you what kind of feast we had to celebrate, but that’s for next blog post.
After a satisfying breakfast we took time to relax on a bench overlooking the harbor. The boats starting their days and the sun starting to dance higher and higher. Jon took time to nap after such an early wake up call, while I read further into what it means to feel like it’s okay to not be enough because Jesus is enough and we get to be utterly and completely FREE in that. Heavy reading for vacation, but a truth that needs to be hammered in. And then before we knew it, it was TIME.
Time for what? For only three hours a day the tide lowers to open up a walkway of a sandbar to Bar Harbor Island. Technically part of Acadia national park, roughly between 9am-12pm you walk across onto this island and an easy two mile hike up to the hillside overlooking all of Bar Harbor and the northern side of Acadia National Park. It was a lot after such a hike that morning but 100% worth it, this “trail” is steady with people so stay aware, but not full enough that you risk being trampled.
We got back to Bar Harbor around 11 or so and headed to lunch. Again for next blog post and then back to the motel for a much needed and well deserved nap.
We took the evening easy, walking the coastline trail again, shopping, and eating great food.
Saturday morning was Jon’s favorite part! I wanted to get in a trail run and Jon had a spot he really wanted to check out that ended up serving as the perfect spot for an easy run. Jordan Pond. It sits in the middle of the park surrounded by beautiful rolling hills and an epic sunrise. It’s right at 3.25 miles around and flat the whole way. While easy for 85% of it, there is a little bit of rock climbing at two points so be careful!
After we left Jordan Pond we drove around the Southside of the island, taking in the south part of Acadia and its incredible views. We had one last breakfast in Bar Harbor before we packed up to head to Boston. We were sad to have to end this part of our trip, but as I said before when (not if) we are to do it again we will fly into Bangor and spend more time in this beautiful place.
Let me know what you think? Have you been? Anything you loved that I didn’t mention?
Until foodie time,
Along with it’s rich cultural history, Boston is rich in food-ism as well. Although we were a little over seafood after Bar Harbor, like I ever thought that was possible, Boston’s seafoods scene is alive and well. But we wanted more than just great seafood, we wanted a little bit of everything. In all the genre’s we never knew were possible.
Boston has so many neighborhoods and the eats inside them all range from healthy to down and dirty fried fish and chips. So here is just a small taste into the food scene.
First and Foremost, at least for Jon is Dunkin Donuts (kidding kind sorta). Birthed in Massachusetts there is a Dunkin on practically every corner, and with Pumpkin Spice flavors bursting on the scene we indulged in the classic you can find just about anywhere.
Now for the real eats:
Rich History : Union Oyster House
Our first night in Boston was a hustle, but we also were excited to arrive to meet up with our friends for a fun first meal in the historic way. And what better spot than America’s oldest restaurant. It’s not a cheap place to eat, but their menu but seafood and American is substantial and it comes with an epic piece of delicious cornbread that tastes more like cake.
Grab and Go : Boston Public Market
After our dinner our friends took us over to Boston Public Market, similar to Atlanta’s Krog Street, Boston Public Market is a large open space with small stalls for individual vendors. Bagels, donuts, ice cream, noodles, floral shops, nuts, and our favorite: the apple cider booth. We grabbed some mini apple cider donuts for a fun after dinner snack!
Healthy Helping : Sweetgreen
A local chain, think Upbeet in Atlanta, that has bowls of any combination you could dream up. Jon and I got a little over our rich meals and settled for a healthier and lighter lunch choice one day for Atlanta. Nothing super special, but you can find them in several spots and they are quick and easy!
Perfect Vibe : Beehive
In the South End neighborhood, nestled into an unsuspecting building, lies Beehive. On this particular Sunday morning brunch there was jazz on a stage we overlooked. It made for a really great experience, and while not substantial options there was something for everyone and it was perfection.
Burger Joints: Boston Burger Co.
I googled this one, being the burger connoisseur’s that Jon and I think we are. And there were several great options that stood out but why not hit for the most local sounding. This spot is near Fenway Park and there is no shortage of burger options. I stuck with a very traditional mushroom and Swiss turkey burger, while Jon far ventured out with something involving peanut butter, bacon, and everything in between. Good experience, good vibe, excellent fried pickles.
All things Italian : Bricco
Something similar to Manhattan’s Little Italy neighborhood you can find anything and everything Italian right in the middle of the city. From family style Italian, to brick oven pizza, from cannoli’s, to gelato you can literally hit any spot on these couple streets and be completely satisfied.
Brunchin : Tatte Bakery
I am a sucker for brunch so not only did we hit Beehive with its vibe, we hit a local favorite, Tatte. While the coffee wasn’t our favorite, both of our breakfast sandwiches (slightly different) were INCREDIBLE. This is a poppin’ place and the light and open feeling makes you feel completely ready to take on the day.
Sweet Treat : Pressed Juicery
This one is ALL thanks to Courtney, who casually mentioned this place to me. It’s found in the Northeast, and the particular one we went to was in Harvard Square. The have plant based sweet treats, in addition to their pressed juices that you would never suspect weren’t the “real” deal. Their soft serve is made with fruits, nuts, and vegetables and is 100% dairy-free and 110% delicious. PLUS you can mix in whatever you want.
There were several more places we would have LOVED to hit. Including the newer seaport district, but of course there is no way to try everything. We definitely plan to be back when I finally qualify for the Boston Marathon (crossing my fingers for 2021).
Do you have any favorites? Any opinions on the places above? Let me know at email@example.com
Until Acadia friends,
I didn’t grow up with Harvard paraphernalia all over my walls (read: I’ve watched Gilmore Girls one too many times), but I understand it’s grandeur. There’s also harsh reality of some of our nations history that holds so much weight in Boston. To be upfront Boston was the first trip EVER that I didn’t plan out to a T. Usually every minute, every meal, every adventure has a time and date locked in, but this time it felt different. The three days previous in Acadia I were fairly planned, but now it was time to take in the rich history of this place in our country’s history. And while there were a few things we would have done differently here are 5 Adventures in Boston that hit the top of our list.
- Blue Bikes – the city biking system. There is an app that you can pick a trip or a 24-hour pass, grab a code, and bike from point to point. The app is great because it shows you where the stations are, gives you directions, and tells you how full or empty the docks are. The bike lanes are also pretty well done around the city so you feel pretty safe. Needless to say biking gives you a much bigger sense of the city and all it has to offer.
- Freedom Trail – Start in Boston Common and take a trip through the city and our nations rich history. You see sites such as the new and old state house, site of the Boston Massacre, meeting sites of our nations forefathers, and Paul Revere’s house. For the most part these places are close together. You can see them on your own or get in with a tour group, just take some extra cash as a few of these places cost a couple dollars to get into!
- Cambridge/Harvard University – I dreamt of doing the scene where Rory and Lorelei step up to the front gates of Harvard on their mother/daughter road trip and excitedly step onto it’s hallowed grounds. It wasn’t quite like that, but it was still breathtaking stepping through history, while all around you there is bustle of students getting to start their semester. Take bikes from Boston to Cambridge it’s walkable for some, but a bit of a haul.
- Boylston Street – I know Boylston street from my running: the famous and most prestigious finish line for marathoners. However, it also serves as the hub for shopping. Neither Jon and I are much into the luxurious shopping, but each of these streets boasts a unique flavor whether Rodeo Dr in LA, Michigan Ave in Chicago, or 5th St in NYC it’s worth checking out!
- Little Italy – Our first night there we stumbled across this festival on a small side street, little did we know it was a 100th anniversary feast of an Italian tradition. This small but robust neighborhood is lined with family owned pizza shops, gelato and cannoli parlors, and family’s and friends eating together on every corner. You feel a sense of pride, unity, and excitement just walking through these flavorful, yet busy streets.
There is so much more that I could say on our explorations. The South End neighborhood, Seaport, the riverside walk, and the area around Fenway are all memorable, but if you want must do’s these are mine.
Foodie post to follow on some of our favorite eats both nice and cheap around the city! Stay tuned friends.
From snorkeling off the shores of St. Lucia to getting lost in the Great Smokies closer to home, whenever Jon and I plan our trips we create an itinerary that appeals to both our adventurous side and chill side. As we head up to the northeast in a couple short days, this time is no different. We will adventure to catch the sunrise before 6am and then mosey over to a coffee shop for an hour or two to relax. Some people are GO GO GO, and some people are like “please don’t make me move”, but packing for trips a combination of the two can be tricky. Having to be prepared for everything can sound like a chore, but trust me: it’s easier than you think.
- Set an itinerary – I am all for spontaneity, but there is some good that can come from having some set activities especially if you are having a mix type of vacation.
- Use packing cubes – back your undergarments in one, and your sports attire in one, then you can rightly figure out how much non active, nicer items you need and that will fit! My go to: @Amazon
- Wear your sunnies – regardless of what you might think sunglasses can be just the right accessory to make you presentable even after an active morning or afternoon along with a fresh shirt. My go to: @Goodr (in all the colors)
- Bring your snacks – this sounds oddly placed, but if you make sure you have substantial food along the way you won’t feel like you will barely make it to the meal you have planned for after. My go to: @rxbar
- Have a durable, yet light and sleek backpack – something to carry your water, snacks, the item below and a shirt change.
- Bring your toilettees – yes having a refreshing cloth with you is not only great for sweaty activity, but it takes up basically no space so you can transition quickly. My go to: @goodwipes
- Portable chargers – these are life-giving, at least to your phone. And you won’t have to rush back to charge your phone, but can head out for lunch or for coffee and you can post that sunrise photo no problem. My go to: @anker
- Shoes – one of the biggest things struggles when packing. Simply: pick three pairs of shoes that will go with anything you pack. (1) Outdoor pair for hiking, running, etc. (1) Casual around town pair, and (1) sandal or heel for fancy occasion.
Nothing on this list weights a lot, takes up a lot of space, or is incredibly expensive. Take the time to set aside your transitional gear so you can seamlessly go from sweaty to savory in a moments notice.
So where are we headed? Acadia National Park with moments off the coast of Maine with our books and coffee and a lovely 60 degrees. I will bringing my professional camera so I’ll be excited to share some of the views, tips and surprises along the way.
I recently stayed at the newly opened Gran Destino Tower at Coronado Springs Resort on the Walt Disney World property. It was majestic and the details intricate and stunning but it wasn’t my first time staying on this property – we stayed in one of the regular rooms as a family back in 2012, and had such a wonderful time. It really has everything you need at your fingertips, and for a reasonable price, want to know why? Here ya go:
- Customizing Your Vacay – You can customize however you want and for the price you want. A suite by the pool? A water view from the top of Gran Destino? How $200s/night, high $400s/night (at club level)? Now that Coronado has expanded it really has something for everyone! A great place for a family vacay on a budget or a romantic honeymoon for the happy couple with an incredible view you can choose from an array of options to fit your style and budget.
- Foodies Unite – you literally have every option here from top of the new tower to the middle of the lake, the restaurants are plentiful and flavorful. Do you want quick service? Check out Cafe Rix or El Mercado for Mexican inspired and traditional American cuisine. Want a nice restaurant surrounded by the water? Check out Three Bridges that sits in the middle of the lake. Want some incredible views from up high? Check out Toleda for Tapas, or Dahlia lounge for drinks. If you desire something more themed check out Maya Grill. And you can keep going. There truly is something for everyone in the foodie world.
- Spa and Fitness – Not every resort has a spa and fitness option but this one gives you everything you need inside the budget you are on. We all know how hot and humid the Florida days can get so this is a great option for keeping in shape while staying cool before you hit the parks for the day.
- The perfect running spot – But if you do prefer to keep it outdoors for your cardio this resort is perfectly located and side-walked for a 1-5 mile run. You can get around a mile just running around the waterfront, and if you want to expand the side walk road right out front of the resort gives you a direct and flat route over to the All-Stars and back.
- Pools that are top notch – This is one of my favorite pools mostly because of the incredible slide that waves you in and out of the rainforest and pyramids, but I also love the smaller pools that you can find outside some of the individual resort spaces. Besides the pool itself, Coronado has volleyball course and hammocks on the beach area right near Gran Destino Tower.
Obviously I love Coronado for so many reasons, but it’s a really great place to include everything you want on a vacation into one spot and on a budget. Let me know if you have ANY questions: firstname.lastname@example.org
It seems like every day there is a new protein, health, or real food bar hitting the market, and honestly it can seem overwhelming. I walked into my local grocery store the other day and saw three new brands I had never heard of. Now, most bars have a particular purpose: snack, protein, energy, but how do we organize those and what’s best for our individual day-to-days? To be honest I haven’t quite figured it out yet, but I hope this helps just a bit!
My biggest rule of thumb is, and we all know it, whole foods first! But what does that even mean in a culture of 50 bars to choose from all with claims on their label of being this or that? Hopefully this little break down will help you clarify just a bit!
- RxBar – this one is my favorite because the sugar isn’t off the charts and its all natural, and there are so few ingredients – which are all listed on the front of the label. This bar gives you a well rounded option when you’re hungry in the middle of the day or on-the-go! This can ALSO fit into an adequate protein bar so win-win.
- Larabar – the sugar here is a little bit more substantial but again the ingredients are all whole foods that are pronounceable and generally good for you. Personally I’m a little fuller when I eat Larabars, they are richer on my stomach even though the calorie counts of RxBar and Larabar are similar, but Jon LOVES them and I know he’s eating a decent snack instead one of the super processed and sugared granola bars or Reeses Peanut Butter Cups.
- CLIF Whole Lotta – we all know this brand and the multiple lines of bars they make, however depending on which bar you are consuming the ingredient list can be a little lengthy and the sugar count high. HOWEVER, this option is short on ingredients and gives you just what you need to curb hunger, and from a reputable brand.
Biggest bar to avoid: standard CLIF. In my view CLIF stands in a unique place. If you are an endurance athlete and need a boost during long training sessions then a CLIF product is NO problem, however, for their standard bars their ingredient list is long and sugar high. So, if you need a boost of energy it’s so much better to find some whole foods that can give you something more well-rounded and nutritious.
- Quest – Quest came into my life a little over a year ago when I was still trying to put on weight. While they don’t have the simplest of ingredient lists they do supply a healthy dose of fats, protein, and fiber and very little sugar. They keep me full and balanced on long days of work and training. **NOTE: not every flavor is the same so check the ingredients before you indulge
- Epic – while they don’t have an ample amount of protein I love these pars because they are whole animal, low ingredient, and low sugar, all while being filling and delicious.
- Health Warrior Protein Bar – plant based, real food, low sugar bar that I have come to really enjoy for a boost.
Biggest bar to avoid: ThinkThin. I actually used to love these as one of the first bars to burst on the scene of the bar-pandamonium , but their sodium and sugar alcohols are through the roof, and their list of ingredients is just not worth it!
- Picky Bars – Lauren Fleischman and Jesse Thomas are the brains behind this brand and being endurance athletes themselves I was intrigued by what they were creating. While the added sugars aren’t my favorite in the case of endurance athletics and a pronounceable ingredient list these bars are perfect and definitely rise to the top! Just make sure you are using them in the correct setting!
- ProBar – These can also be used as meal replacement so be careful of consuming too much. However, they have pronounceable and clean ingredients and can be a GREAT source of well rounded nutrition in a bind or after a long workout!
- Kind Protein – these are substantial, and while they don’t have a super fighting power sugar content they are well rounded with almost anything that your body requires when you are grinding through the week or pounding the pavement.
Biggest bar to avoid: PowerBar. One of the originals. But the first ingredient is cane invert syrup and Maltodextrin follows closely behind it, just not the whole food, well rounded nutrition that’s best.
*Goodness Knows – Snack
*Jimmy Bars – Protein
*Bonk Breaker – Energy
I hope this guide helps you breakdown some of this bar craze, and that it helps you find the best products for your activity level and overall health! Enjoy!
After the 2018 Peachtree Road Race I was on cloud 9. The goals I had set for myself had been crushed and I knew I wasn’t even at peak fitness. BUT with that much excitement came that much more pressure. After a short break I told myself I was ready to go, trying to prove that I still had more to give. But things never go according to plan: injuries, lack of motivation, and some health issues have plagued me for the past year.
Last July I had no idea the battle I was in for, it’s been a fight every step of the way, anxiety has been a roller coaster, and I am slower than I’ve been in three years. BUT! There is SO much I have learned and I have to be thankful for and every day that I can move my body is a gift that I am taking far more seriously these days. So why don’t we all set a new goal! It doesn’t mean it’s been easy, and it means that this year I had to walk, yes you read that right, the competitive athlete W-A-L-K-E-D part of the Peachtree Road Race because of the heat. I thought I would be devastated, but I wasn’t. It was OKAY. I got out there and did it. I moved my body, I was surrounded by an amazing community, and the encouragement from every direction can’t be taken lightly.
So where are you? How does your body feel when you get out there? Right now I have more bad days than good, but every day of proving I can still move is worth the bad days, and it’s the exact same for you! So here’s three reasons why even the furthest person from running 6.2 can participate in the Peachtree:
- Our bodies are resilient and they can do far more than we give them credit for when we start moving a little bit every single day. Yes, it’s a struggle to push START and yes the bad days might outweigh the good ones at first. Maybe you think there’s no way because the progress is too slow. It’s like with anything the more consistent you become the progress will start to speed up! Just be patient and start to discipline, your body will adapt and blow your mind.
- Don’t underestimate the power of community and encouragement. Some people relate the Peachtree Road Race to a giant parade, and it totally is from your most competitive to the people who are reaching for this goal for the very first time. There are people in ALL stages ALL around you and that’s just those on the course. Don’t forget the hundreds of volunteers and the thousands lining the streets cheering and providing water/food/etc to everyone who passes. You might think it can’t be that helpful, but I assure you, you get swept up in it and it helps carry you through.
- Running is optional. YEP, walking is totally acceptable. Thousands start down the street at a brisk walk, and that is completely okay. You are doing it right? Walking is a great stepping stone in seeing just all that you can do. So why not try it, you have nothing to lose and you might even surprise yourself.
So here’s to you and whatever obstacle you are facing, whether it’s health, discipline, a schedule that doesn’t seem possible. Set that small goals, in order to get to a bigger goal, see yourself reaching it, and start moving forward.
In it with you friends,
There have been 12308203 posts about good morning routines that help get your day off to a great start. BUT so often I hear the excuse that there isn’t enough drive to pull yourself out of bed early enough to set yourself up for success. I dare to say that it’s not so much about forming habits as it is finding the underlying foundation of why mornings can be so tumultuous. Maybe you’ve let the people around us convince you and I that in today’s “busyness” sleeping in and not worrying about the way you start your day is more acceptable than actually enjoying mornings. I hear so many people skipping out on breakfast or drinking 4 cups of coffee before they can even function. But is that really how we were created to live? Is that really thriving? Or have we let the cultural norm become too loud.
Several months ago I dug deep about how I was spending my mornings and why I still felt stressed even though I had exercised. Case in point it had an awful lot to do with cramming as much as possible in as little time as possible so you start the day and using food and coffee as the plug to keep me going. So I did a reset and here are a few things I have found in re-grounding your mornings:
- Find something that excites you in a morning routine. One of the things I have found that I enjoy about my mornings is a fresh cup of coffee and a really great book. So instead of snoozing my alarm and dreading putting my feet on the cold floor, I’m excited to dive into the next page of adventure without being to quick paced quite yet.
- Then set your alarm earlier. Instead of feeling like I am rushing to get everything crammed in before work I set my alarm 15 minutes earlier so that I can take it slow without being stressed before I ever step out the door.
- Get to sleep 1/2 hour earlier. When Jon and I first got married he did not understand why I preferred to be in bed between 8-9. While that doesn’t always happen, when it can I let it because it sets me up to achieve whatever goals I have for the next day or week.
- Fuel yourself well. Don’t get up and cram a bunch of white sugar in your face. It might give you a momentary high, but it will make you drag later in the day. Rather grab a piece of fruit, some nut butter and maybe one piece of toast (hold the jam), or if you have time scramble up some eggs. How you fuel yourself before and after you workout matters!
- Set goals! Goal setting is part of who I am, but I realize it’s not intuitive for everyone. However, having something to look forward to isn’t going to hurt you becoming consistent. I have long term and short term goals. Long term I having the next full marathon after almost three months. Short term I have an ideal weight I want to be which is why I am incorporating Whole30 in this season
All this to say I love the really practical steps that many other blogs provide. Drink a glass of water, practice gratitude, etc. They are all so helpful and I incorporate these little details almost every day, however, the first step is getting to the foundation of why you feel unmotivated or find it hard to roll out of bed before you can put in place structure. In the past several months most of my mornings are a lot more peaceful and enjoyable because I have reset what they are all about and first and foremost remembering WHO they are all about.
I hope this helps you do just that.
Hustling is the cure. But assumptions are often wrong, and so are expectations. When my doctor told me there would be a recovery period of 3-5 days after surgery I took him at his word. Little did I know that 3-5 days was just the beginning, and I allowed it to crush my spirit. After five days when my energy still loomed low and infection had rendered me useless I started to get anxious. I wanted to get back into my normal groove, I was used to being able to machine through and come out on the other side quickly. Shifting expectations and realities can be really challenging, and as I get older I am starting to realize my body won’t bounce back the way it once did.
From Eating Disorders and Anemia, to a schedule that all but nixed rest, I needed a reset. And while I hated the slow rolling of this recovery, it has helped me see my need for slowing down. If it had been three days and I was back to running 10 miles I might have missed it, and the consequences could have been much more severe. However, that doesn’t mean that as I walk in these days 10 weeks later everything is great. It isn’t. My body is still struggling, I am now on B12 shots in a symptom of the Anemia we had tried to treat with Iron alone, my B12 was unable to maintain levels, thus dropping to a critical level. Explaining
You see I am learning more and more about the way that dominoes fall. Most of the time it’s not a one size fits all recovery. There are steps and those steps lead to this or that which leads to more of this or more of that, and if at any moment you don’t listen to your body it might take you down a different set of tracks all together. Life isn’t always fixed easily or conveniently. The Lord loves us enough to give us to allow these circumstances and choices to wave in front of us so that we learn more about our dependence on Him and how He sustains and strengthens us in the valley.
So I am writing this and I don’t feel great, but I know who has given me this day so instead of trying to scramble my way to something better I am going to sit in the fact that the Great Sustainer is giving me exactly what I need and drawing me closer to Himself if I just surrender my desperate desire of control over these circumstances.
A new season is beginning for me this week and the choices I make in the days to come will dictate a lot of how that looks, but for now I am taking the moments a little slower and a little more analytical. The Hustle has it’s place, but there can also be rest in hard work and the slowing down.
Choose wisely friends!
Sometimes it’s hard to talk about goals, it breeds vulnerability and accountability. Fear can come into the frame in terms of not meeting expectations therefore disappointing yourself and those around you. This can happen in relationships, careers, your health, and pretty much every other aspect of your life as well, but fear isn’t a good state to live in. I would rather fight ‘til the end and have people around me, then play it safe alone. So, I thought maybe we could start there today.
Most of you know I ran the Hotlanta Half on Sunday. It was my first half since the beginning of April, and I haven’t been near that distance since then. With my recovery from my procedure mid-April and the events that followed I was iffy leading into the weekend, but I have big dreams. My hope is that I can break into the elite realm while still maintaining this everyday person lifestyle, I hope it inspires people along the way. The idea that you can be active, wherever you are, see the world, and enjoy it to the fullest training yourself for the road ahead is something I am passionate about and all this is scary to say out loud. It’s important though and can’t be dismissed as fantasy. I can go into a whole long post about why the ins and outs of all this important, but I will save it for a later time.
Now going back to Sunday, I stepped up to the line with the idea that I would play it safe, but I had no idea what that would look like. Would I be able to run the whole thing? Would I even be able to stay under 2 hours? It scared me but I was ready to find out. While the weather had looked dicey several days leading up to the event the rain held off and the clouds hung overhead the whole time I was on the course. The humidity absolutely played a factor as to my ability to move forward, but I made it. Running those 13.1 miles in the hills and humidity of Atlanta reminded me why I loved it, but it also reminded me of the fact that each day and each season brings unique challenges. Yes, I did run the whole thing and my time was much better than anticipated, however over two days later and my body is still reeling, soreness after a half is something I haven’t known in several years.
Things look different now, my body has changed, my season has changed, but my goals remain the same. I can say in confidence that this next season will bring even more beauty, and that this past season has taught me SO much that I will use to fuel me.
Whatever season you are walking through the soreness won’t last forever, and there is a reason you have it there. You have grown, stretched, and possibly feel as though you’ve gotten trampled on, but you are still here, and you still have the opportunity to move forward. The Hotlanta Half has been one of my favorite events over the past several years and while this year looked different, I love it more than I ever have. That’s the funny thing about pain sometimes, you look back and realize you would do it all over again if it allowed you to learn, grow and step into where you are now. Even in a setback kind of way this weekend helped me get further towards those lofty goals I set a year or so ago.
What goals do you have? What sticky season have you had to walk through to help push them forward? Have you had the “Ah-ha” moment when it made sense on exactly why you walked through what you did?
I want to know! Send em my way via email or in the comments!
On to the Peachtree Road Race!!
A couple weeks ago I had a small procedure that went completely fine, but what it led to finding has let me on in some crucial info about my body in the past couple weeks. I’ve heard the word “Anemia” since before I can remember, as an endurance athlete both in the swimming realm and running realm vitamin and mineral deficiencies were something we were made aware of young. However, the research has only gotten deeper and more involved the older I get and the more technology plays such a major role.
At my post-op appointment two days later I was weak, like really weak, and really pale – it was not my best look. My doc went ahead and took my blood work again. It was ugly. Not only was I below normal for both Hemoglobin and Hematocrit I was VERY low. I felt like I didn’t know myself, everything felt foreign. I had lost some blood in surgery, but this went deeper than surgery there was more at play.
The last time I had my Iron checked was in the fall of 2018, not so long ago. My training had decreased and I was just pressing through at the minimum through the end of the year. At that point my levels were in the normal range, maybe a little low for a woman of my age and physical health, but normal. SO what changed in 6-7 months??? And how do I get myself back to healthy???
PAYING ATTENTION TO THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN TRAINING + NUTRITION
At the beginning of 2019 I found my zeal for running again, while January and February were slow on the race calendar the craziness that March would bring led me to pick up intensity fast. Simultaneously, I was staying really lean in the animal protein department – I was eating almost NO red meat, even though poultry was still a regular part of my diet, the foods that I ate to make up for it were not rich in that vital nutrient.
So my training increased so my need increased but level of intake stayed the same leading to a negative outcome, and that outcome was huge when it came to my recovery after this procedure.
But, I’m also really glad it came to light, it’s helped me change somethings in my diet and be more in tune to my body in general. And I don’t think I’m alone in the endurance athlete realm who is growing in this awareness and knowledge every day!
As someone who has a Nutrition Certification I am a firm believer in a well-rounded diet. We need protein, fats, and carbohydrates to keep our body functioning at our best. I know some people don’t eat animal protein, but you HAVE to find other ways to get those nutrients. Likewise, people who believe a low-carb diet is best, please make sure to give yourself at least an adequate amount of carbs – regardless of what anyone says you need them in moderation.
All that to say here are a few things I have implemented in my diet to help increase my iron and overall health in general as well as one of my favorite new recipes below!
*Disclaimer: moderation is always key, and these are not long term solutions, but temporary changes to get the most effective results
- Limit dairy + calcium rich foods. While you need calcium for strong bones it’s also a big iron inhibitor
- Limit corn. I am popcorn’s #1 fan, but I also love some corn tortilla chips & guac, not the best idea to go hard when you are wanting optimum iron absorption.
- Stay clear of gluten. While this normal for me research emphasis staying clear of sugary starches and eat those natural carbohydrates like brown rice and potatoes.
- No Caffeine! Gosh I was already feeling terrible, but the compounding caffeine headache for three days was not my best life.
- Eat animal protein including red meat. Right now I’m keeping mixed between red meat and poultry, but making sure that at least one meal has this as well as at least one meal has eggs (yes the yolks).
- If you are a vegetarian eat all the beans!
- Get those dark leafy greens. From salads, to sautéing it up with some of protein and carbs, to throwing it in a smoothie it’s essential to get these in your diet.
- Flax seed + Chia Seed + Hemp Seeds. The nutritional benefits of these have been researched time and time again, but they are also great for getting those micronutrients you need. I throw the mix in smoothies, peanut butter w/ fruit, and pretty much anything else.
If you are an endurance athlete, make sure to get your Iron levels tested regularly so you don’t fall prey to the same thing I did. As always ask the doc before taking any actual supplements, too much Iron can be a bad thing.
Knowing that I needed extra nutrients and was struggling for creativity I found a way to mix it altogether in a delicious way that helps fuel my body with everything it needs.
Jordan’s Iron Absorption Smoothie
-1/2 cup of OJ (vitamin C for iron absorption)
-1/2 cup of unsweetened coconut milk (for texture and flavor)
-1 cup of frozen berries
-2 handfuls of spinach + Kale mix (iron rich)
-1 heaping TBSP of hemp seed + flax seed + chia seed mixture (all the micronutrients)
Blend it altogether and enjoy!
urger, but because of the cholesterol and fat I had limited it pretty severely. So right now I am
I love getting to type up a race recap, especially with the hope it encourages you to set a fitness goal and go for it! runDisney provides more affordable options too by opening up virtual runs that come with a good bit of swag themselves. This year’s theme is Marvel and registration is open now over at runDisney.com. However, this post is about Star Wars weekend and if you are a Star Wars fanatic this is one to put on the books for the future.
Jon and I flew in Thursday night after a day of work and were so excited to finally crash in our upgraded room at All-Star Movies. We are always so focused on being out and about that we choose the most affordable resort more often than not; if we are not doing park days then we spend a little bit more. We’ve stayed at Art of Animation, Caribbean Beach, and Port Orleans French Quarter which are in the moderate resort category for our lower key trips, all of which we recommend!
While we wanted to get an early start Friday morning for the opening of Hollywood Studios, it was still nice to sleep until 7am instead of our usual 5am week day wake up call. We headed to the quick service restaurant in the All-Star Movies Hall and grabbed a simple breakfast before heading out. We made it to Hollywood Studios about 25 minutes before opening, right as the rain was backing off, and were pretty close to the front of the line that would soon be making a mad-dash for Toy Story Land. One of the most interesting things we learned here was the way they crowd control the line of people – ALL THE WAY TO THE RIDE. It made it painless and easy to file into the line for Slinky Dog and with a simple wait time of 15 minutes the experience was great. We give the ride 7/10 for fun wishing it was just a little bit faster. We then headed over to the Alien Swirling Saucers with a 5-minute wait time and enjoyed that more than we thought we would. As the crowds started to descend post rain we grabbed one of the already infamous pop tarts at Woody’s Lunchbox and went to explore the other part of the park. We give the pop tart 9 out 10 because who knew premium pop tarts were a thing and that they could be so incredibly delicious. Super fresh, not too much filling, and cooked just past brown for a nice crunch – YES.
The Incredibles Alley was our next stop where we walked up to Edna Mode and snapped a quick pic. No lines – what was this? The same thing happened with BB-8 in the Star Wars Launch Bay and Pluto in the Disney Junior Area (don’t judge I love my Disney pups). Unfortunately, right about that time the skies opened back up with a little sprinkle, so we headed to our Fastpass at Rockin’ Roller Coaster. Then things took another turn as we walked up to a closed sign due to technical difficulties, sad, but nice for a readjustment that sent us to go ahead and run by the race Expo before heading to the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival for lunch. The expo was easy, I really think they make the flow better every time, but I also know it’s a smaller race weekend than some of the others, regardless it was painless.
As we made our way to Epcot for the festival and lunch the clouds started to part and made way for a beautiful day. We started towards the World Showcase and I stopped first at the Honey Bee pop up for a honey roasted rice and cauliflower dish – the portion was a little smaller than I would have liked but the taste was 10/10. As we made our way around we stopped at the Poutine pop up for Jon to get some Coffee-roasted, Smoked pork poutine for lunch. His portion was HUGE and while I only took a few bites it was so full of great flavor. We explored everything the World Showcase had to offer and toyed with stopping at so many places, but it was getting warm, so we decided on something cold and refreshing. We headed to the pineapple pop-up and both grabbed a pineapple soft serve. The portion was HUGE, and even though it was a little bit too sweet we both downed ours and I would give it 8/10 stars.
While at this point we were refreshed I realized I was doing a bad job hydrating and I simply wasn’t feeling my best. I have never been more excited to sit down when we finally made our way to the monorail to hop over to Magic Kingdom. The monorail is simply the best way to travel if you are switching from Epcot to Magic Kingdom or vice versa – OR – doing anything in the resorts around Magic Kingdom.
Magic Kingdom greeted us in the best way as the Festival of Fantasy parade was about to begin which meant no line for the special Celebration Mickey & Minnie meet and great. I waited about 10-15 minutes and snapped a pic with them in their party clothes. Then we made our way out right as the parade was coming down the street.
Ya’ll I cried. There was enough room on the train platform to be able to watch the parade from there and as Beauty and the Beast came around with the music playing tears streamed down my face. Which was bad because I was already dehydrated. The parade was amazing, and the new additions were really excellent, but then it was time for water and coffee. So, we swigged a full bottle of water and walked towards Storybook Circus to see some of the new Dumbo features, and then to Gaston’s for coffee.
This trip was much more leisurely than we are used to, but it made it incredibly nice.
I was exhausted at this point and needed to watch my hydration, so we were back at the resort by 630p for dinner. I grabbed a chicken sandwich and lounged around the resort shop and then went on to bed. Saturday morning, we woke up around 7am again but I went out for a short shakeout run before breakfast. Three hot and humid miles reminded me that missing hydration today was NOT an option. We ate a leisurely breakfast at the resort and headed to Disney Springs around 10am. First stop was Vera Bradley because they have an adorable new Disney collection out NOW, while it was just window shopping I gave some hints to Jon for my birthday next month. We hit all the shops and then grabbed up the free chocolate at Ghirardelli and it was almost time for lunch with some of Jon’s family he hadn’t seen in awhile, but had helped make this trip possible. Paradiso 37 is one of our favorite restaurants and it never disappoints. We talked and ate, and a good time was had by all. We always give Paradiso 9/10 stars – they even sat our large group early.
After our time at Disney Springs and LOTS of water, I was feeling great. I asked Jon if we could check out the Boardwalk since the only time I had seen it was running by early in the morning. He happily obliged and we had one of our memorable experiences here. Jon was really wanting water at this point – it was pretty warm. So, we stopped in the General store and asked for water. Cups of water are FREE at Disney (not bottled but paper cups), but they happened to be out. Instead of sending us on our way they asked if we wanted slushies free of charge. When Disney offers you something for free you do NOT decline, and they were the best slushies. 10/10 for the slushies and the cast member who gave them to us.
The only let down was the part where I was hoping Ample Hills had a dairy free ice cream and they do not, but from everything I hear it is worth going!
When we got back to the resort we decided to eat somewhere a little bit cleaner at the All-Star Music resort next door, where they had some basic dinners that would fuel me better for the coming mornings race. It was an early night in bed watching Iron Man and drinking more water – ha.
Sunday morning race alarms are not my favorite because 2:40am is not any time to be awake, but I was up and on the bus at 3:02am and on my way to the Magic Kingdom parking lot where it all began. It didn’t feel terrible as I was walking around but I knew that would soon change. I finished off my water, stood in line for a couple character photos, and downed my Rxbar about an hour and a half before the start. Once the corrals opened I warmed up and jogged over to A where I met up with my new Atlanta, runDisney friend, Michael, and a few other of his friends who I met that morning. Having people to chat with and enjoy before the start made time go by so much quicker – it was such a nice change of pace.
As the start fireworks went off we headed out for the first of 13 miles, and an unusual but not unknown issue arose: I was cramping, and early. The heat and humidity weren’t terrible, but this early in the season I was completely unadjusted to the conditions, so I slowed up, way up after blazing through the first four miles. I grabbed both Powerade and water at all but one of the hydration stops (something that is very unusual for me), but I wasn’t the only one and the comradery around the conditions made it that much easier to keep fighting for the finish line. That and the fact that running through Pandora at night is incredible and turning down the main street in Hollywood Studios is stunning, every mile really is magic.
Finally, the 13-mile mark, and then I turned the corner and the finish line lay right ahead. I didn’t finish with a great time, but a few fun moments of getting jumped at by a storm trooper right at the line and then meeting up with my friends for character photos at the end help the recovery efforts 10-fold. I still managed to finish 7th overall and 1st in my age group so it’s exciting to add a new plaque for the shelf! Another perk was the ALL GLUTEN FREE snack box. FINALLY!
One of my favorite moments of the whole trip came during the post-race brunch. I always try to book a new restaurant on each of our trips and preferably at a new resort. So, I booked Olivia’s Café at Old Key West. Old Key West is a DVC resort so it’s a little quieter and serene. We sat a small table next to the window overlooking the lake as we dreamt about this trip and those to come, Jon over Banana French Toast and me over an omelette w/ gluten free toast. These moments are my favorite as we quiet back down before we head home to the crazy of life. Olivia’s is much like the Grand Floridian in price point, variety, and taste and I always lean towards the Grand. However, it’s a little less intimate so it depends on what environment you are looking for. And then we were headed to the resort to pack up and head out.
Also shout out the Orlando International Airport for some incredible upgrades all-around.
Another great weekend in the books, which means another trip to be planned. Until next time.
I hope this gives you a little insight into race weekends, how we maneuver all the things, and some of the best foodie finds on property!
I like to run… if you are reading this you most likely know that already.
After my competitive swimming career was over in 2012 and I had recovered from 13 years of my body being subject to incredibly intense training, I missed the competition, I missed the goals, I missed seeing how far my body could go. But I wanted to live my life on purpose no matter what I chose as my sport or physical activity of choice.
During college cross-training had involved a good bit of a running, I could naturally hold my own so I thought I would give running a shot. It started with running ONE mile around the front of my parents neighborhood – it’s a convenient one mile loop – and then TWO miles around the bottom loop at Little Mulberry Park, just a few miles from where my parents live. It felt good, I was running farther and faster, so I signed up for a 5K. It was a disaster. To this day, it still haunts me. That was in November of 2012. It would be a full eight months later before I would try my hand at an actual race. The Peachtree Road Race in 2013 was that moment and while it was grueling, rainy, and exhausting it sparked something new in me. Half Marathon #1 was then placed on the calendar. At this point it wasn’t so much a passion as it was a physical outlet for work days.
Thanksgiving Day of 2013 was long, painful, and really really cold. My first half marathon ever was a crisp 18 degrees, and that 13.1 was happening after recovering from knee pain due to lack of stretching and appropriate recovery. Thankfully, I finished and then hopped on a plane two hours later for a three and a half hour flight to Denver. That is never a good game plan. Yes, my dad half carried me through airport and down the sidewalks of this new and short adventure.
I loved the feeling of finishing, but I needed a do-over. You might not love the first races you ever do, you might think it’s not worth it, you might think you’ll come to love it. And maybe that’s true, but I challenge you to give it one more shot. So I signed up for the Nike Women’s Half in DC slated for April 2014. After spending several weeks fully recovering I hopped back into running slow and steady.
Mom took me up to DC and we explored the city where her and my dad fell in love and explored the way Nike took over and made it an unforgettable experience (it’s also where I found Nuun Hydration). I toed the line against the backdrop of the sun rising above the Capitol and off we went. Words don’t fully embody and describe what happened to me mentally, emotionally, and spiritually during those two hours. It wasn’t any faster than Thanksgiving, but it was completely different in the best way. Something clicked.
I say spiritually and it could raise eyebrows, but here’s what I mean: I have always loved the athletic industry, but as I named our athletic association “the devils playground”, it’s a dark world that can leave you dry and stale when your complete identity is wrapped up in the sport you do and the publicity and acknowledgment you get. The Lord sparked something in my mind that made me wonder how I could enter in to that space and help change that perspective. That we are far more valuable and purposeful than an athletic endeavor.
Unfortunately, the road was more winding and roller coaster-esque than I would have preferred. I am rather shy at first and can be independent to a fault and that caused issues as I tried to get more involved in the running community, but still maintaining the one-man show bit. There had to be more.
My times got faster which helped build confidence, and after I moved back to the city and Jon and I got married with community around us I had very little reason to not show up for the community and start building those relationships that the Lord was pressing me to step into. I started showing up for a group run, but at this time running became more of an obsession. I was taking it too far and still trying to figure it out on my own. Enter over-exercise, disordered eating and everything spiraled be down to the pit.
Passions aren’t meant to be paramount. Jesus is our purpose, and the passions are that which we are used to point to him. I lost that in this season, and it took so many months and even years to work through mud and create, what I hope to be, a beautiful story that shines light into darkness.
Enter book right, during this season of recovery and refocusing my passion and purpose it brought lies and darkness that I didn’t even realize was there due to events that had occurred many years ago. In every way this season has been incredibly hard, but it’s also been incredibly restorative and refreshing to weed out some of the yuck and let the Lord start to light it up and give it beauty. And now I sit here smoothing out some of the final edits in my first book centered around all of this and I am so excited to share it with you in the coming months.
Let your passion shine His light, and remember where your focus should truly lie. Identity’s don’t come from earthly things, they come from your Creator.
For now friends,
July 4, 2018. I didn’t feel fast, after mile four I actually felt like throwing in the towel. My breathing shallowed, my quads were on fire, and the finish felt so far away. Never imagining what lie on the other side of that finish line. A top 30 finish in the largest 10K in the country, less than one minute away from being considered “elite”, and the impending weight of massive expectation.
July 14, 2018. A last minute 5K in support of an incredible organization: Back on My Feet. At 2.8 Kada collapsed on the ground, unable to move her legs, the pleading of help in her brown eyes. The fear sinking deep to the pit of my stomach that I might lose my pup (I didn’t).
Not a word that is unfamiliar, but one that has been largely tied to the physical aspects of running, but in this past season there was a different type of recovery that had to be done. Mental. The Peachtree Road Race left me numb and unmotivated because the pressure that I allowed to mount was unbearable for someone who was still on the tail end of the greatest mental, physical, and emotional battle of my life to date.
So the races stopped, the high mileage felt far too daunting, and it scared me to feel stuck in the unknown. There were a few races that I was able to help pace and push-assist and support over this season, but I was never myself, and the community helped keep me going in whatever form that took. My friends and training buddies were with me in whatever way they needed to be and it really was key in keeping me in the game. So I looked at 2019 with open eyes, not really knowing where I was headed, but knowing that I still loved this sport I had found a home and community in.
Now in the remaining few days of January, new wind has blown in my sails, and that smile has crept back onto my face. During December I had to learn to let myself back off without guilt, something I resisted for the first 5 months of this journey. Guilt of letting people down, and even more pressing, letting myself down and not stewarding the gift I had been given had begun to become a banner, and it just couldn’t. So I picked up more cross and weight training and stuck to under 5 miles not sure if that would actually help where I was other than maintaining a base layer of fitness, but I finally learned to be okay with sitting there for whatever amount of time it took. I also found that my people cheered me on regardless. AND THEN in the past two weeks that spark has started to reignite, the excitement for runs has increased, the training runs with my people no matter the weather seem more enjoyable than feeling like a job. However, it’s listening taking the time to listen to where I am mentally and physically every single day that sets the tone.
So, now as I get excited for what’s in store here is a little bit of my training schedule and where I am headed the first part of this year with a smile on my face:
Mon – Cross-training/3 mile shakeout
Tues – 10K: 10 minute warm up, 5 minute progression, 30 minute intervals
Wed – Mobility and Yoga
Thurs – 5-7 mile tempo run
Fri – Mobility, light body-weight circuit, shake out (sometimes just an easy run, sometime striders).
Sat – 10-14 miles steady pace.
And this week we get the bonus of having back to back 5Ks in the mix! Feel free to hop in!
Fri – Super Bowl VII 5K – medium-quick tempo
Sat – Hearts & Soles 5K – quick-sprint tempo
On The Horizon:
Well besides the two aforementioned 5Ks to work on speed, here are a few things that are slated for 2019:
- Road to Gold Test Event (March) – 8.2 miles on the Olympic Marathon Trial Qualifying course
- Publix Half Marathon (March) – Pacing with my girl A @ 1:45
- Star Wars Rival Run Half Marathon (April) – This will be my first trained for half in over a year!
- Peachtree Road Race (July) – The 50th anniversary and excited to see what I can do this year, without feeling the weight of expectation
If you have any questions, or want some race or training recommendations please let me know at email@example.com ! I would also love to put my nutrition certification to work so please don’t hesitate to reach out.
Thanks for reading friends,
Before we dive in let me disclaim that this is currently being written on the morning after conference, my head is throbbing from dehydration and there is a current reality of standing forever (slight exaggeration) because my hip is so inflamed, but there is something really beautiful inside some of my thoughts swirling around that I believe God wants to use.
There are some moments that thrust into trusting when we have absolutely no control and it’s in those moments that are shaping 2019 as we speak. The past two conferences have been incredibly different: in 2017 I had the ability to cut off my hunger as my body continued to lose weight, and in 2018 my body was fighting to restore itself and so eating whatever I want made those days easier. Here we sit in 2019 and the my body has reached a state of healthy, not underweight and not overweight, but my head still longs to play the head games, the enemy nipping to get some leverage into how, when, and what the four/five days in conference mode will be fueled by and with. So walking into Monday fear… the anxiety was deafening as grabbed breakfast and headed towards the arena, but this day, on that drive I still had a very real grip on the control I loved. I could still see the outline of the day and could grip onto the control of food until God turned the day on its head, and boldly proclaimed “no, we are going to learn a real lesson in trust”.
Monday was bad when it came to my mental state and my relationship food, like I could not have possibly ended 2018 on a worse note and Jon could vouch for that, the enemy loved it, and early afternoon tomorrow I somehow had to shape up.
Me, in my own strength; I was putting the pressure, the anxiety, the burden of my mental health on my own shoulders and just trying to figure it out. I didn’t think God wanted to fool with me when He was about to do something so much bigger in tens of thousands of 18-25 year olds across the world.
Tuesday morning I woke up still weary from what had gone down around midnight and stepped outside to a mostly Sunny and comfortable morning on New Years, I had a choice to make and it wasn’t in my own strength at that moment that the story could shift so I threw on shorts and a t-shirt, grabbed my headphones and jogged out the door to the only thing that could shift everything – worship. So what started out as a morning where I attempted to fight for control, slowly began to shift as I let the words of praise and trust flow out of my mouth down the road. At 10 Jon and I headed for brunch at True Food Kitchen for their New Years brunch specials and then the games began. Towards the end of our meal the message rang out that something was needed at the venue Jon and I were serving at that was at the other Atlanta venue, we weren’t far away so we hopped down there grabbed what was needed, and the rest of the week would never be the same.
Our timelines are never accurate. Even in our most surrendered days we cannot see what’s coming next, not exactly. So my schedule and my food control started to slip away as we went further and further into Tuesday, dropped the girls at doggy camp, checked into our hotel and then skipped over to the venue to finish set up. I never know the menus, the snacks, or have the ability to plan out snacks to bring because you never know where you’ll be or when you’ll be there. So in those few intimate moments of Tuesday where I was scribbling thoughts and prayers for the year ahead, there was the fact that in order to get through this week without getting so into my head that I lost vision or started binging I was going to have to let go.
Wednesday through Friday are a blur, there are moments that stand out, like getting to watch my friends lead in worship so humbly and passionately, Matt Chandler bringing a life changing truth about bringing the hard, the hurts, and the history to light so that God can start molding it into something new, and watching my team work at 150% despite how they felt and in surrender of how God would carry them through. Some fun facts that you might already know just from thumbing through any social media: Passion 2019 Album released THURSDAY! The 40,000 students gathered across the country raised almost $450K for the Deaf Bible Society. And the End it Movement comes on the sunrise of the Super Bowl hosted in Atlanta this year so that we can raise a voice during one of the most sex trafficked weekend of the year.
However, there is one intro video that hits me right where I am, or was. During this series of intro videos before each session they peaked into different hurts that we give control: assault, addiction, and eating disorders. These videos close with “I know there is more for me…” but that more can feel like a mountain you can never summit, but that video on eating disorders and the fiery word of Christine Caine forced me and anyone in those arenas with a story similar to mine to look at Jesus and our circumstance with a different perspective.
It shifted something in me as I thought about these days and how throughout constant shifts and the complete inability to control my food it brought so much freedom and He, and Him alone sustained me and allowed me to leave these days feeling better than I had in quite some time. Yes, I was tired and sore and depleted, but I also felt refreshed in a deeper way physically and mentally, because these days forced complete control. It was scary and it was supernatural. The force of surrender was 100% necessary and freeing, and there was a confidence that overwhelmed my soul as we trekked through the days feeling exhausted, but strong and free. Maybe you don’t have to get all the way to a force of control point, but maybe you do and my friend no matter – IT IS WORTH IT. Just let Him work in and through you. See what happens.
The days since then have been way more hands off, the control still comes in waves, but the confidence of the Provider has lowered my stress level in exponential ways. Now, here I sit a week later and feeling energized and fueled, and ready for whatever! As we are also on our Whole30 journey it’s been fun to feel a freedom to explore in ways I have yet to feel in this point of recovery. One such example is this quick and haphazardly delicious recipe.
On Sunday, I was meal prepping and it had taken a little longer than I had intended so with that came my last meal which was lunch and a ‘very quickly throw it together and be done’ mentality, but this one actually worked out so here you go:
1 : Hard-boiled egg
1-2 slices : cooked bacon of your choice
1/4 cup : guacamole – I make a simple version myself (1 medium avocado, 2 tbsp diced onions + tomatoes, 1 tsp lemon juice, dash of salt and pepper – whip it together)
1/4 cup : diced green peppers
1/4 cup: pumpkin seed, dried cranberry (NS added) mix
1 Tbsp : lemon juice
So here you go 2019 – you are off to a great start and I am fully believing FOR YOU that the best is yet to come.
Instagram blows up more than normal this time of year between holiday pictures and what has popped up in recent years as the “Best Nine”. In short it’s a processor that gathers your nine most engaged with posts and turns them into a collage. So I thought we could do a blog post on the Best Nine of 2018 through words instead of pictures.
9. Books on books – From Leaders Eat Last to Creativity, Inc. to Girl Wash Your Face there were some incredible and powerful books I got to dive into this year. Next Year the stakes get higher with even more books on the agenda, here are links to just a few:
Leaders Eat Last – Simon Sinek
Creativity Inc – Ed Catmull
Girl Wash Your Face – Rachel Hollis
Come Matter Here – Hannah Brencher
On Labor Day this year I had the opportunity to push-assist for the Kyle Pease Foundation at the Big Peach Sizzler 10K alongside an old friend of mine, Tori. This was truly one of the best memories and opportunities of the year that taught me so much about the power behind the sport of running and the community that surrounds it.
7. Peachtree Road Race PR
This was one of my biggest racing surprises of the year, just barely missing the 40 minute barrier at the AJC Peachtree Road Race on the Fourth of July. While other goals this year were missed this one was absolutely a defining racing moment for me!
Just days after Passion Conference 2018 we headed to the shelter to gain a new family member. Originally named Patricia, Kali has taught me SO much especially in the moments I wanted to send her back (which would actually never have happened, but these were trying times), but shes one of the biggest blessings to us.
5. First Time Homeowners
With the addition of our newest four-legged girl we were a little cramped in our apartment so it was time to explore other options. After about six months of searching and looking at our priorities and must-haves we found this cute 3/1.5 1950’s home inside the Atlanta perimeter with a fenced in backyard for the dogs. While there are some updates we cannot wait to tackle, we are loving our little piece of the city and so are our girls.
4. November Project Atlanta
At the end of March Facebook notified me of an event a friend of mine was attending on Wednesday morning at 6:27a on the Beltline that was a free workout, so I thought why on Earth not? So now, 9 months later it has become a staple in my routine and in my community. It’s free fitness, with the most consistent and encouraging community you could ask for. In 49 cities across the WORLD you should really check it out here.
In 2015 Jon was the student Worship Leader for a church outside the city so during their annual spring break mission trip we had the opportunity to serve both the people of the Dominican Republic and the students of this church in varying ways although we were not married at this time. In 2016, I had the opportunity to head to Uganda with my families church to serve, and while I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything it was hard without Jon. So at the beginning of this year when one of my friends mentioned serving in Thailand I knew it was a knees down in prayer type situation because it was both Jon and I or neither of us. The Lord opened every door to get to serve inside this amazing country. It was trans formative to say the least and we cannot wait for the next opportunity to serve together.
2. Finishing my first book
Yep, you are reading that right! Just a few weeks ago I put the final period on the first book that I have finished. Right now it’s being reviewed and edited by a team close to me and I am so excited to share the finished product with you all sometime in the next several months – stay tuned!
Number 1: God’s sovereignty over my health and regaining it back!
It is no secret at this point that my health has been on a roller coaster for the last two years, and this year was a fight to get back to a healthy state, and I’m so thankful to say that the Lord has been working even when it’s so much slower (and harder) than I would like. There is no doubt in the work he has done in my body, mind and soul during this year when it comes to my mental and physical health, and I believe this is just the first step in the next season of how He is going to move. Nothing is too big for Him, it just takes a complete surrender.
So yeah, what a year! Thank you Lord for everything you have done and what you are continuing to do through our lives and the city and community around us. Passion 2019 is this week and we are so excited. See you next year
Happy New Year Everyone!
My alarm went off at 5:28 am this morning and after doing a quick glimpse at the freezing temp and windy conditions the bed beckoned me back to sleep until 6:15 am. It’s not me giving up my speed work, it’s simply delaying it until the conditions are slightly more favorable. Unfortunately today, favorable doesn’t seem to be in the vocabulary, and despite the fact that after tomorrow we get a slight reprieve from freezing and windy it’s time to face the music: COLD IS COMING, RUNNERS PREPARE.
Now some people love to run in the cold and that is all well and good, you go do your thing. I however, need everything in a streamlined order to tackle the harsher miles. Proper pre-run fueling, correct layers, and warm recovery techniques, so without further ado my favorite cold weather gear & products:
1. Pre-Run Fuel: Cinnamon spice oatmeal. There is nothing like some hearty oatmeal to get your whole food carbs before you hit the outdoor conditions. You have to plan ahead, but like with anything it’s worth it to get the whole nutrients this gives. Here’s a quick recipe:
Homemade Cinnamon Apple Oatmeal
1/2 cup steel cut, gluten free oats (I like Vitacost brand)
1/2 organic Gala or Honey-crisp apple
pinch of salt and cinnamon
On low-med heat add a dab of butter to a fry pan and let it coat the base. Once melted down add you diced up apples, cinnamon, and salt (sometimes I add some pumpkin spice as well). Mix apples until coated with spice and let simmer on stove for 10 minutes. In the last five minutes add your 1/2 cup of oats with 1 cup of water and let it cook on low-medium heat until water is removed. Add in your spice covered apples and let it simmer on low heat for two minutes. Enjoy!
2. Layer Up: Nike and The North Face have the best base layers in my opinion, but you also need to accessorize. Here’s all my favorite gear I ran in during the Atlanta Thanksgiving Day Half Marathon which was a crisp 36 degrees, no windchill.
- Top: Warm Long Sleeve Baselayer from The North Face
- Bottoms: Nike Pro HyperWarm Leggings from Nike
- Gloves: Ulti-Mitt from Saucony
- Socks: Two layers of Balega Silver or Enduro
- Jacket: Once it get’s really cold you’ll definitely need that extra layer – check out the Women’s Shelbe Raschel Hoodie
3. Carrying on those longer runs:
- Hot Hands – usually despite gloves the wind still whips through, these long-lasting hand warmers will keep your fingers from going numb.
- Nathan Handheld – when it get’s cold it’s hard to motivated to hydrate, but it’s important nonetheless. The 12oz is my favorite, but you can range from 10-18oz
- Foxelli Headlamp – we obviously know it’s darker for longer through the winter and while my husband doesn’t love when I go it alone solo there are opportunities for group night/morning running and that means headlamp. This one is basic, but comfortable and does the trick!
- Nuun Hydration – This is one of the biggest ways to help get you those electrolytes without having to fumble around for salt sticks, or different fluids. Just drop a tab into your handheld and keep going.
- Nourishing Food – I’m going to bring it back up again, but Run Fast. Eat Slow will fit the bill for this every single time.
- Foam Roller or R-8 Roller – you might be familiar with a foam roller, and can get a basic one off Amazon here. The R-8 Roller is a more advanced system that you can move to those hard to reach areas while on the go for a more active recovery. They are pricey, but the work wonders in recovery.
- Yoga Classes – Corepower is probably my favorite with a broad range of hot-yoga offerings, but I’ve heard great things about YogaWorks (formerly Infinity Yoga) as well. Wherever you may be geographically (there are lists everywhere of great yoga studios), I have found that a consistent yoga practice keeps your muscles healthy, your core strong, and your stress down. Gift a membership to really anyone – we probably should all yoga more.
Do you feel more prepared already? Does this help with gift ideas? Do you have any different suggestions? Let me know!
We had a great weekend with the Grinch remake on Friday night (we would recommend), the Atlantic Station Christmas Parade and Tree Lighting Saturday, and the live recording of the Passion 2019 album Sunday, but now Thanksgiving week is here and it’s going to be good. This blog post has things from workouts to best mental health practices through the week.
As I’ve mentioned before Dave and Rachel Hollis do a #last90days challenge and even though pushing the restart button is the norm it’s great to have some clear goals to end the year with, and this week is easy to get lax on those. One of those goals is working out 30 minutes every day, which heading into Thanksgiving & Black Friday shopping can sound overwhelming, but you find time for what’s important for you. Maybe you are responsible for the Turkey so you can’t hit the gym, so here are a few at home 20-30 minute options that will get you moving.
- The Peanut Butter Runner – I found her through a box subscription a couple years ago and have loved keeping up with her workouts + recipes. This link takes you to her workout page where you literally kind find ANYTHING.
- Nike+ Training App – When the sky is just too dark to hit the pavement before work I can click on a 15-30 minute workout via the app to get moving for the day! They have fun celebratory workouts to mix it up, yoga routines, and HIIT workouts. Just download it, you won’t be sorry.
- And you won’t ever be sorry to grab a friend or family member for a walk around the block or neighborhood.
Speaking of workouts, Thursday will be my 20TH Half Marathon. In 2013, with an 18 degree windchill, no thank you, I crossed the finish line of the Atlanta Thanksgiving Day Half Marathon with a time of 2:06. My ultra competitive and slightly impatient self would have loved to break two hours for my first half, however, that would come a year and a half later. Now exactly five years later and I’m still nervous to run a distance I’ve done more times than I can possibly count if you include training runs and full marathons, and I kind of love that about it!
When you run, the first mile is ALWAYS hard. Yes always, no matter how long you’ve been doing this, but there is also ALWAYS something new to experience, something to see, something to gain – courage, strength, relationships – and it makes it ALL worth it.
Now for the harder part. This week is meant to be full of joy, but sometimes this week feels the exact opposite. There are several friends that are struggling in this season with broken families, or losing a loved one, but there are also circumstances like mine where eat til you drop is a cause of major anxiety. So here are a few ways to keep the spirit of gratitude and enjoy the moments we’ve been given even when it can be hard.
- Allow yourself to have space to feel. Maybe it’s your first holiday without your mom or dad and the idea might be to stay busy and distracted, but it’s okay to feel. It’s part of the process of grieving and healing. For a situation like mine (and probably so many others) its the space to walk out for a moment if I get too overwhelmed by any given situation.
Can you say stretched? Stretched into tears, stretched into more. The more is challenging, but the more is beautiful.
Saturday night was plain hard. Lying on my bed staring at the ceiling wondering “why?”. Why was the physical pain mounting as if the mental recovery and training wasn’t enough? After my box jumping injury from a few weeks ago and a strained tendon in my good leg, the resistance band to the eye was my breaking point.
Defeat. Lies. Pain.
It was a season of anything but stepping into the beauty He created me for, despite the work He still did. The good news: Autumn is here, and my top prayer is for a refresh. Refreshing in mind, spirit, and body, and confidence in my Savior and Creator. And He’s already on the move!
Our bodies are incredible, seriously think about all the intricate details that make up YOU, and how every single day they keep pumping, keep moving forward, make adjustments, heal, jump, celebrate, mourn, it’s a wonder. Our minds are that much more; the potential they hold that we most likely will never tap into is at our fingertips. However, whether you believe it or not, it’s there, and what if we all made the choice to reach towards our potential? We stopped focusing on what other people are doing and how they are succeeding or failing, and focused on how we can make this world better and more like Him, what if? But as someone who is coming out of a season messy, trusting that beauty lies ahead and putting mental pain and the grip of eating disorders at the feet of Jesus seems overwhelming. So it starts with trust.
Practically, in this season, it means giving my body the boost it needs and learning to trust it again, more importantly trusting God that He made me exactly the way He wanted me. It sounds a little daunting when the waters seem to rise, but like I mentioned above our bodies are a phenomenon, because our bodies were designed by the maker of EVERYTHING. So maybe we can jump into the more, trusting that He’s got us and has created us for remarkable things if we just put a few things disciplines in place to usher us forward.
Who doesn’t love a list? Here are a few things on taking this next step into the new season:
- Listen. During my season of Orthorexia and Excessive Exercise I stopped listening to my body even though it told me what it needed and when it needed nutrients. Our bodies were designed to ebb and flow in different rhythms, and like they alert us when we are sick, they alert us when something in our nutrition is off. Don’t ignore it. If you need carbs eat carbs; if you are full, but there is still good food around walk to another room or grab a water bottle. (More in depth blog post on this later).
- Cook. As the cold weather and holidays approach food becomes an increasingly hot topic of conversation, and whether it’s eating out every night or hitting the tailgates with all-you-can-eat chili and wings every Saturday you have to make time to get your body the correct nutrients. Sometimes that means saying “no” to yet another outing or offering to cook for friends at your place. We will all have “those” weeks, and if you feel like you just cannot make it work, make sure to have a supplement on hand especially as the Flu starts to rear it’s ugly head. Don’t find yourself depleted before the festivities even start.
- Drink Water. Hello my name is guilty. As the temperatures drop I find it even harder to get the water my body needs. In the Last 90 days Challenge with Rachel and Dave Hollis they challenge you to drink half your body weight in ounces of water each day. This is a great rule of thumb. The warm drinks are great, but only when water coexists with them!
- Go Outside. As much as I really despise the cold there is no doubting the beauty that can be found as the seasons turn and people hang decorations, or corn mazes make their debuts or Christmas Tree Farms start popping up. Never stop exploring and standing in awe of what’s in your own neighborhood.
- Dress Up. I know I know I love yoga and sweat pants too, but sometimes that only hinders activity and taking care of yourself. It’s a lot easier to grab the cookies out of pantry and stick close to home when you are comfy in sweats, coffee in hand, and Hallmark movies playing in the background. Give yourself a fighting chance. Put yourself together even if it’s just to run to the store, or get your nails done. Plan a hike with friends. Meet up at the local coffee shop with your girls. Get ready and go out.
- Gratitude First. In the post “Today I Feel Insignificant…” gratitude is a major theme, and it’s worth reiterating. 10 different things every day. Write them down. Don’t forget.
- Number #1 for me yesterday: getting a love of Marvel from my dad so that our Monday mornings can start by catching up on the latest buzz. Not many people get the kind of relationship with their dads so taking it for granted is something I avidly try to avoid.
Maybe you don’t love or even agree with everything on this list, but even if there is just ONE thing on this list you can implement this season it will be a step. A step into beauty and potential.
Thank you for always reading!
At 5:40 am like clockwork my feet hit the floor after one round of snooze, my watch goes on, my hair gets pulled back with no less than four bobby pins in place, I throw on my shorts and tank, grab my pre-run apple and head towards the track. Except not today. Today there was silence; the lies of yesterday hitting both mentally and physically.
Insignificance and shame you can leave.
It’s funny how one theme can be woven into so many facets of your week. From intimate conversations with friends, to suicide awareness panels, to speaking to a room full of middle and high school girls, to LG knocking one out of the park on Sunday SHAME has been that theme.
The combination of sadness and frustration strikes a chord every time. The burden heavy, the wrestling match that can never be won. But why? Why this week, why when the opportunities are beautiful, things are settling, and God is tangibly on the move are shame & insignificance rearing their ugly heads? Because it’s where I’ve sat, unknowingly.
As the pounds came back on, the mental anguish started to subside, and light started to shine into the dark spaces shame kept a stake in the ground. Still having the tendency to fight alone, the biggest trap I fell into was feeling like a burden to my family and those close to me. Jon had enough on his plate why bother him with more, my friends won’t bother to have me around anymore because I have too much “stuff”. Sound familiar?
In a season where things are in a constant state of flux, my running has been somewhat sidelined forcing me to give up Chicago this Sunday, and my Elite debut next Sunday; writer’s block has held me captive as I choke out words just trying to keep creativity onto a page, the career aim never seems to be quite clear, and things overall feel foggy as I navigate the day to day, it can be hard to silence the lies.
And all the enemy wants me or any of us to do is sit in this place.
But it’s a lie. It’s all a lie. If the enemy is trying to attack you in this place (as my husband gently reminded me) it means YOU ARE ANYTHING BUT INSIGNIFICANT. In fact it’s quite the opposite, you are incredibly valuable for the plans and purposes of God, and he’s already carried all the burden for you so you are NOT a burden to anyone.
In the words of Hillsong:
I am chosen
I am who You say I am
You are for me
Not against me
I am who You say I am
So maybe you don’t know exactly what the future holds (but I mean does anyone), but you can stand on that promise above. You are significant. Want a practical way of stepping into this is gratitude, oh yes it’s that cliche, but I love what Rachel Hollis and The Chic Site are doing for the last 90 days of the year. One of their Five to Thrive methods is writing a list of 10 unique things (no blanket statements) to be grateful for each day. What a start?!
Today, I’m grateful for a journey that has allowed and pushed me towards bringing the hard things to light, and those that have followed it along the way.
For now friends,
Wellness is a blanket word, it totally is, but it’s still going to get used today. And maybe you are sitting there thinking – wellness is extremely overwhelming because it’s “all the things”, and that’s just the truth – and yes it totally can, but I think there can be freedom in looking at the small parts and then developing a sense of big picture.
Largely in part, thanks to our ways of thinking, we pigeon-hole wellness into meaning a good nutritional plan and fitness discipline, however that is so far from the whole story. Now, hopefully after reading a few of these blog posts you’ve begun to realize how mental health plays an impact into whole wellness as well, and as a big proponent of community that has rippled into the content, however, that still isn’t everything it encompasses.
So creativity, cleanliness, and risk-taking here we go!
As of today we are in the middle of a one-week wellness challenge that was put together over the course of the past month. It incorporates it ALL, but a few of the prompts look like this:
- Spend 15 minutes journaling or another activity in the creative space (drawing, photographing, etc)
- Write a letter to an old friend and actually mail it. Hello Snail Mail!
- Watch the sun rise or set with a new vantage point.
- Cook a new recipe that seems so complicated that there is no way, or spend some time organizing a space that you’ve been dreaming of.
So why are these things so important? In a culture were convenience + busyness rules the day, and other people’s creativity counts as your own, YOU have to create space to stretch yourself in uncomfortable ways. Whether it’s writing a long letter to say all the things you’ve wanted to say, or venturing to a trail you’ve always wanted to check out, or putting yourself out there and creating a new dish or space, we’ve got to be willing to stretch!
Broken down simply, creativity engages that God-given imagination that social media try to steal away. Cleanliness, my mom always says that cleanliness is next to godliness, I imagine very few people had anxiety from a clean and fresh space to think and be. Then take risk-taking and adventure to help gain perspective on this beautiful Earth we live on, and it doesn’t begin to look like you are juggling so many things, it’s far more about creating a lifestyle that we stop sitting behind the confines of our screens and what other people are doing and display freedom.
So yes, wellness is the compilation of fitness, nutrition, mental health, creativity, perspective, cleanliness, community, etc, but it’s not 7 different solo acts (and probably so many more), it’s a beautiful compilation of how God wanted us to use life to the fullest! Think past obligation and into fullness and purpose. It’s beautiful inside and out.
The ongoing battle; the beauty beyond the scratches and burns, the fact that it’s going to be okay, but okay might look different than you every imagined.
This post simplifies so much of some of my previous posts and hopefully opens up the conversation for people to dialogue about how all of this correlates together. And one thing in general you will notice is the power of WORDS. I believe we always underestimate just how powerful words can be and impact us on a deep level, especially when it comes from people that we love and trust! We are so thankful you are on this journey with us and encouraging us to keep fighting –
- Don’t just assume because we are thin we are at peace with where our body is. *Going to go out on a limb here and say that a good bit of the time this is NOT the case.
- Using the words “you are so thin” can be really dangerous – maybe we are, but that doesn’t mean that’s a good thing. Words are powerful!
- We want you to talk to us and ask questions! It might get a little frustrating, but it’s ALWAYS better to keep dialogue open with close friends and family.
- Sometimes talking about food and buffet lines cause anxiety, it’s a place of complete isolation and where we usually need the most company – change the topic and/or engage us in something completely different.
- Please don’t make comments like: just eat lots of cupcakes and donuts or you can basically eat whatever you want. It might sound like a joke, but it can be a manipulative mind-game.
Bonus content: Healthy eating does NOT always mean vegetarian/vegan as some people seem to think – it just means keep well-rounded nutrition at the forefront: plenty of fruits and veggies, an emphasis on whole foods, etc.
So let this be a conversation starter. Ask questions, get vulnerable, and take note on some of these ideas that haven’t even crossed your mind.
If you have any questions email me or find me on instagram firstname.lastname@example.org or fuelingherforward
Unfortunately, most of us don’t have super human immune systems so undoubtedly sickness will come around – and things must be remedied so here are a few recipes I LOVE from when I’m feeling sub-par, but continuing to stay active! #2 and 3 are taken from my favorite Run Fast. Cook Fast. Eat Slow
- Good Ole’ fashioned oatmeal w/ cinnamon – skip the pre-made ones that are high in sugar and spend some extra time with 1/2 cup of plain oats on the stove with a little salt and 1/3 tsp of cinnamon. Cut in apples, bananas, or blueberries if you want a little something extra.
- Smoothie Bowls because vitamins all day, erry-day:
- 1 cup of frozen berries
- 1 frozen banana
- 1 cup baby spinach (or kale)
- 1/2 ripe avocado
- 3.3 unsweetened almond milk
- Juice of 1 lime
- 1/2 cup GF oats
- toppings of choice: dates, nuts, coconut flakes, *my go-tos are: chia seeds, honey, or pumpkin seeds
- Power Bowls:
- 1/3 cup brown rice w/ 1 cup salad greens as your base
- 1 cup Roasted cauliflower, zucchini and onions or other veggies of your choice!
- Add protein – my go-tos? black beans, fried egg or sautéed fish
- Add some salsa (they have a great Smokey Summer Salsa recipe) or the lemon-garlic dressing (2 tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp lemon, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, dash of salt and pepper)
- Chicken & veggie soup – on the slow cooker put in two chicken breasts, 1 can of chicken broth, 1 can of diced tomatoes and sit on low for about 3 hours. Then combine sliced carrots, onions, peppers, mushrooms, celery (or other veggies of choice) with salt, pepper, and garlic. Keep on low for another 2 hours. Voila!
Bowl theme – I know its all the rage these days, but the fact you can get so many different nutrients mixed together to create amazing flavors is just fun, and it’s something you can experiment on your own!
So, feel better, keep these recipes safe and let me know if you think there is anything I should add!
Gaining mileage : Pain + Strength + Recovery
My background is not in running. Running half and full marathons wasn’t a norm for me, until I started working at Big Peach I didn’t even know there was such thing as a Cross Country Spike. It wasn’t until 5 years ago that I dove in and fell in love with my feet on the road.
15 miles. it was late summer/early fall and the first time I had ever conquered that many miles in one swoop. Making my way to the door I barely had the energy to turn the handle only to collapse on the floor and crawl towards the kitchen. It was a long time coming, physically and mentally drained I was anything but a pretty sight, however it changed everything. The ability to push through thresholds, to go further, to be stronger than I could have ever imagined.
In college, we would cross-train with running, agilities, or stadiums but the switch wasn’t immediate post-swimming. So how did I go from swimmer to marathoner? I walked 1 mile.
My parents have this very convenient loop around the front part of their neighborhood that so happens to equal one mile from driveway to driveway. So we walked it, together as a family most nights. But then as we started going longer and further I decided to set a goal: a 5K at a park nearby.
Sometimes all it takes is setting a goal.
So I started to run that mile, and do that several times a week. It is NOT a quick process. The rule of thumb is add 10% at any given time, a hard rule to follow I know, but it can save you from injury in the long run (ha, get it). Run 1 mile several times, consistently, then slowly work your way up. Please don’t decide to go from 4 to 9 miles at one time, but be ok pushing yourself, being in pain (the right kind of pain), because that’s your body getting stronger and breaking down barriers.
However, it’s not that once you get to 9 miles you just stay there, NOR do you just keep going up and up and up. When I’m training for a half or full my mileage stays between 4-7 – 2 days a week with track or cross-training sprinkled throughout, and then a long run Saturday which looks more like a roller coaster Here’s what I mean:
Week 1: 8 miles
Week 2: 9 miles
Week 3: 7 miles
Week 4: 10 miles
Week 5: 8 miles
and so on and so forth.
Why take yourself on a mileage roller coaster, and only run 3 days a week? One word: RECOVERY.
I learned my lesson the hard way, trying to run 6 days with no strength or stretching involved (a week that more looked like 3 miles, 6 miles, 4 miles, 6 miles, 3 miles, 10 miles, rest) and I paid the piper. Now stretching, yoga, and strength are staples in my week. If you need a good stretch or strength workout checkout these youtube vids here. They can be a little cheesy, however you can do them anywhere at any time.
So all this to say: you might have wanted a quick fix to start doing more and more miles, but it’s the three Rs of running:
Repetition – buid a base foundation and mileage and stay with short gains for a consistent period.
Resilience – as you go further and further push your body a little past your threshold each time, it will make you stronger, faster, and overall better physically, emotionally, and mentally.
Recovery – give your body rest that it needs, stretch, and refuel with the correct nutrition. It’s ok to only do one long run a week and only gain mileage every other week, and Lord willing I will be able to speak into specific nutrition SOON (exciting news ahead) and you can always go to my resources page for Runner Cookbook Inspo: Runners Cookbooks
LAST, don’t forget to SET A GOAL it’s going to be much easier to push if you have a goal in sight!
I hope this helps, if you have something specific you want to ask email me at email@example.com
The enemy lives there. He yearns for you to meet him there, to be anxious with your own thoughts, to fear the outside and the attacks it may bring. On the brink of training for my first pro race and a few speaking engagements he whispers those lies into my head that I’m better off alone… when the majority of our culture centers around food and meals it can seem easier to just stay home. When the “stability” of isolation can seemingly combat the anxiety that can come with meals or large arrangements of food, everyone suffers.
And I love coffee shop dates just as much as the next person, but I believe the world needs more parks…
Jon and I were driving home yesterday and the old Boys & Girls Club off North Druid Hills was completely flattened. While completely aware of the real estate demand in Atlanta, our undertone thought was “How great would it be if we had another park?”.
In a culture that battles not only excessive screen time but also the epidemic of Mental Health related illnesses, how great would it be to have more spaces to engage with people away from distraction or anxiety?
While there are moments that facing a fear head on are important and necessary, there are as many times where handling it means creating a new space where the light can shine. Gathering in community, basking in creation, and letting truth shine into the darkness, into the lies that isolation can bring.
And yes, parks are “everywhere”, but within walking distance, a place that you can truly be a neighbor? In Atlanta, usually not, and I argue even in NYC where everyone walks everywhere and there is a giant green space to explore people are still longing for close by intimate spaces. A place where activity and community meet on an intimate scale.
So maybe the resources aren’t there for me personally to create a new park, but that doesn’t mean opportunity isn’t there to help gather people. So that’s the hope: to create a park, but like a Church isn’t just the building, so the park is more than land, it’s a people coming together, sharing life, being active, and experiencing freedom together.
In September the desire is to create these parks for women to come together engage and keep taking steps forward, hence Fueling Her Forward began.
But before that happens I challenge you to get outside, get you some vitamin D, and ask the Lord to shine in the darkness. Break the chains of isolation and be free! The lies and anxiety DO NOT get the last word.
Any thoughts? Questions? Ideas? Email me firstname.lastname@example.org
For now friends, Happy Monday!