Running For Recovery: What I Learned About Myself and My Social Media Usage

My husband, family, and tribe know what I’ve been up to and how I’ve been doing. After weeks of voluntary absentee-ism, I’m ready to share a bit about that on this platform.
I’m nearly 10 years into this blog gig, but frankly I’ve been bored with social media, starting with myself first. It seems everyone is an expert at something. Posts aren’t reserved for those special moments anymore. Everything seems to be worth celebrating from workouts to weddings and EVERYTHING in between. Not everything can possibly be a victory or shareable can it?
However… I am a HUGE proponent of story sharing. But instead of sharing, I have spent the past several weeks listening. Sharing has always been a part of my duty, passion, and purpose. I am learning to spend equal if not more time listening to the stories of others. The later is a large part of my job. I listen to my clients on the regular. In person, on the phone, and even when reading their social media. Also, I have spend a good amount of time listening to some fantastic podcasts (list of a few at the bottom). I love the portability, purpose, and passion of these snack sized perspectives from icons and leaders who have already faced the traumas we are all working through.  I have been doing a lot of internal listening too. Scrolling had become an escape for me, mindless minutes “interacting” became a crutch. I was spending too much time outward. But inward is where I’ve needed to be.
Running helps facilitate my internal relationship. During the past couple weeks my walking has progressed back to a run. I’ve been able to recognize quite a bit about myself, especially in regards to this particular season of life. Today’s 8 mile run pushed many things into focus and more became clear.
Selfie that I sent to my husband at my halfway point. Sept 18, 2019 – 8 miles
1. I don’t have to be strong during ALL THE TIME. That is what God’s for. Let him take it off your hands. Pray hard, never surrender your faith and in the aftermath, your strength will resurface.
2.Traumas aren’t one per person, per lifetime. They come in many forms and levels. We better be prepared and have a personal system in place for when the next one comes. Specifically, how will you cope? It is up to us to pull ourselves up from the hit and keep going.
3. It takes a village. I’m so thankful for my friends and family who not only let me share my story but honored it, validated it and acknowledged it. Regular check ins, texts, cards, lunch outings, coffee dates and finding a friendly note on my car (better than any race medal) after a long run all filled my heart with joy.

 

nothing better than an unexpected card from a friend on my windshield
4. There’s so much more to a run than what the watch measures. The conversations we have with ourselves, the peaks and valleys of emotions, the weather, and the way we push our ability from time to time alternate playing the lead role.
5. I’m a trainer that wants to get you well and give you some tools to take your best self into the world. A lot of trainers and fitness people want to get you ripped or thin. I can do that. I can also train you for a race or help you recover from injury. But my main goal is to educate you and equip you with sustainable habits that are doable and applicable in daily life.
Not pigeon holding yourself to expectation or limits. Not age, illness, status. Just simply
Yourself. Getting in nature. Getting spiritually nourished.
6. I may have lost my pregnancy, but I’ll never give up my tough girl mentality. I’ve written about my struggles here for years. I’ve recovered from injury, from heartbreak, and now I recover-ish from grief. I don’t feel the need for race to do it. I’m not pigeon held by a plan, an expectation, or even a limit.
 7. After my run today, I think my personal relationship with social media is easier to identify. I simply don’t need it the same way anymore. Not for my business, not for my personal brand, and not as a communication tool. I am not logging off, just learning to utilize it differently.
I am enjoying my time running alone. And while I run for me, I am fueled by my friends who have faced this similar struggle. I cherish their shared stories. The challenge I lay down for myself and for all reading is this: don’t depend on others to inspire you, learn to inspire yourself and use what others do as fuel!
*Recommended Podcasts

No Bake Peanut Butter Nuggets

I am on a little kitchen kick. I’m back to recipe makeovers, focusing on making healthier versions of our favorite recipes. We enjoy meals and snacks with quality ingredients. I care more about that these days than calories. Real, whole foods are key for us to feel our best and power our adventures.

Luckily for me there is a plethora of other bloggers who love and value the same. Sunday I spent some time scrolling through Pinterest…per usual! I came across this recipe for 3 ingredient peanut butter balls. I immediately went to our kitchen and began prepping. But in true form, my brain swirled on how to amp these up a bit. The 3 ingredient version was plenty and a great staple. Tonight I used that recipe as a base. I added vanilla, shredded coconut, and chocolate for a more decadent version! Simply mix the nugget base ingredients together, roll into small bite size chunks. Add toppings and chill in fridge! Good anytime, but ideal as a post workout protein pack!

NUGGET BASE INGREDIENTS

1 cup unsalted, organic peanut butter

3 heaping tbsp honey, agave, or maple syrup

3 heaping tbsp coconut flour or protein powder

1 tsp vanilla

*optional toppings 

shredded coconut flakes

melted chocolate/cacao

chopped nuts

 

How To Grieve

I left the hospital with not only a broken heart but with the big question of how to grieve this.

My job is to make others strong. Each day I get the opportunity to work with women from the inside out. Most of my time is spent teaching how to incorporate healthy habits into an ever changing crazy life for any given client. Rolls have reversed. I’ve become my biggest project.
This next round of strength building for me has nothing to do with performance or physical appearance, instead it will be emotional heavy lifting. Fitness will no doubt find a place on this journey.
We’ve all faced a setback in our fitness or wellness journey at some point. Your circumstances change and you’re left pivoting from your original plan or goal to make room for the activities you now can do.
Last week may have been my greatest pivot to date. Thursday we found out we had lost our 8+ week pregnancy. Friday, just 24 hours later, I found myself in a hospital bed preparing myself for an unexpected surgical procedure. It was happening so fast and at times it felt like an out of body experience. Not only did I feel sad, I was very much afraid.
The surgery went well. Better than expected is what my doctor told Jason. Days later and I’m still sore. The sadness lingers and has left me feeling extremely weak and unmotivated. I’m caught in the space of wanting to A)sleep all day or B)run as hard as I can for as far as I can. Neither of these are options. I’m on light activity for 3 weeks. That has me focusing my attention to what I can do. I’ve broken it down into 3 categories because making a plan is a little thing I can control.
Emotional Well-Being: I listed this first because I believe it’s the most important. Minutes after our ultrasound I sat under the bright medical lights and began praying to God.
We started by asking for strength, then for healing, and now for bold blessings to come once again. This dialogue is constant. We still have plenty of gratitude to include during this time of pain. I’m filling my feed and screen with uplifting stories, mantras, music, and messages from spiritual leaders and influencers who I find impactful. I’ve made an appointment to get my hair done and also painted my nails a bold red as a way to feel fierce and powerful.
Nutritional Intake: Saturday Jason stocked our kitchen with fresh fruits and veggie. He made fresh juice and cooked a plant based dinner for us. So many nutrients and benefits for healing and nourishing the body. He also snagged me a couple of donuts that I enjoyed Sunday afternoon. Because treats sometime are the answer and we don’t need to think twice about it! I’m eating intuitively and making choices on a day to day basis. Cooking for me is physically exhausting but helps me feel normal. Following a recipe allows my mind to focus on a process. It’s a way I’m able to show love to my husband and fill our bodies with feel good fuel.
Carnitas Street tacos, recipe HERE
Physical Activity: This season comes with it’s own set of limitations. No running, no water workouts, no core for 3 weeks. I plan to put in the miles through some therapeutic walking this weekend. Immersing myself in nature and peaceful surroundings. Light weight work is allowed and I imagine will become more enticing as the days go on. Meditation and yoga have a place here as well.
I’m so glad we decided to start sharing our blessing before last week. It gave us a chance to truly know joy for the little miracle it was. For that, we will forever have gratitude.
A God of exceeding exceptions is present. He manifests in the form of Facebook comments and DM’s. Sunday I settled in with coffee and mindfully read the 130+ comments on my previous blog. When I decide to write a post, I do so intentionally. There’s always a purpose behind it. I don’t take my sharing lightly but I don’t take it too seriously either. Often I’m surprised and delighted that people still take the time to read my entries. Back to those comments…each set of words was a thoughtful gift. I received heartfelt messages from women who faced this same struggle. Sorority-sisters, family members, and friends who had never talked about it before. Dozens of similar stories, too many to count. Wow! Maybe our personal struggle was a vessel for us all to converse and in turn start to heal. I’m ok with that thought.
You may wonder how strong my faith will be now that I’m faced with something so sad. I feel held by God. There’s no other choice for Jason and I. This is how we push forward when a challenge is on us.

Carnitas Street Tacos

We love tacos, we eat them once a week (atleast)! We served them at our wedding as one of our food stations and love taste testing tacos around Virginia Beach. We have an informal rating system! We have yet to find one we don’t like, but we do have some favorites. Lately we have been on a pork kick which inspired me to craft up our own recipe at home. These were a hit, and barely any were leftover. Easy for entertaining or for meal prep in your Instant Pot. I hope you’ll enjoy them as much as we did!

Ingredients, 4 servings

  • 2 lb boneless pork tenderloin
  • 1 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 tablespoon cloves
  • 1/4 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 tablespoon cumin
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 cup pineapple juice
  • 1 pineapple, chopped
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • 2 tablespoon agave
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
Directions. Chop pork into bite size pieces. Combine all other ingredients to make marinate. Pour over pork and leave in fridge for 2-6 hours.
Cook in Instant Pot for 1 hour on meat setting, pressure cook low. Transfer to sheet pan. Crisp up in broiler. Serve in soft taco shells. I suggest adding red onion, jalapeños, cilantro, and queso fresco.

Benefits of Faith During Loss 

There was so much love at our wedding, between us and from our guests. We carried that love with us right into our honeymoon. It was the most amazing week. A week of a lifetime. There was so much love, that we came home with the biggest blessing. A pregnancy! We were equal parts shocked and excited when we confirmed the news! After our first doctor appointment, we shared the news with our closest friends and families. This weekend, we had decided to publicly share following our first ultra sound appointment which was August 8. Unfortunately seconds into the scan revealed no heartbeat. Two ultrasounds confirmed this to be true. We are heart broken and devastated. We could not have been prepared for this option. We both found it strange as we looked at the screen. After 8+ weeks, it was over. 

Being a little older, the possibility of motherhood was something I had pushed out of my heart until finding Jason.  I wouldn’t allow myself to give it much thought. Self preservation. I had just wrapped my head around the loving idea of motherhood. 

I’ve been struggling with writing lately because I knew I had wonderful news to post. This past week I began sharing my workouts again and some little details about wellness.  I knew context around it all was coming soon in a big announcement. I had drafted out several blog entries to share with you. Topics included: favorite prenatal products, safe workouts, even what I’ve been eating. 

Before our wedding, I started pre natal vitamins and began reading pregnancy books. I’m a researcher and a learner and I wanted to do all the right steps to prepare my body physically for the changes that would come. Once I became pregnant, I upped my wellness game. I cleared out toxins in my make up, hair care, and body products. I obviously stopped drinking my skinny margaritas and I cut down my caffeine intake to a bare minimum. I bought a heart rate monitor. I prayed. I started a Pinterest board. I enjoyed plenty of rest. Everything I could do I did. 

That’s what I need to remember. I did everything I could do. That gives me peace. The doctor also explained it this way. The 80% of women and couples who go though this ache need to hear that statement and really feel it. I believe it to be true. I believe nature new better in this case. I also believe I’ve never been more heart broken. I don’t think I’ve ever been just sad before. I’ve been sad and angry or sad and alone but never just sad. 

I’m not alone. I’m so thankful for my husband. My rock. My steady. My heart. He allows me to have fear but find my brave through it. He allows me to be sad and search for my strength. During this time of grief we pull from our tools like prayer, meditation, nutrition, and fitness to heal our spirits. Even after this core shaking moment, we still have so much.

I’m thankful for the doctors who had to share such sad news with us. I appreciate their compassion and calm. They were amazing. The perfect combination of empathy and information.

I’ll be on an emotional and physical journey for a bit. There will be a process to figure out how to treat the span of emotions and physical changes once again. There’s a different set of circumstances and limitations. I’ll be working on showing my body grace as it sheds a loss and prepares for whatever may come next. Writing helps. Talking with my husband helps. Praying helps. 

Jason said something in passing conversation the night before this happened about the benefits of faith.  I loved hearing that phrase. Little did we know it would become a mantra of sorts. How appropriate because how would one get through without it. I’m so grateful we don’t have to. We have love. We have faith. With that, I see we already have our little family. I believe one way or another it will grow. God has plans for us. Once again we trust. We will ask for guidance and we pray bold prayers. 

I’m in a club of many other women now. A sisterhood of warriors. It’s crazy what our little bodies have to do…and what they are capable of doing. Right now it’s in a weird shape with little stamina. But I’m choosing to think it’s what we can’t see that is really the gem. The inner faith muscles I’m being forced to exercise and balance on. 

The current fitness, wellness, health goal is to be easy on myself. To find joy and to not live in fear. Thank you for allowing me to share my story. Thank you for your prayers. 

My Wedding Experience and Vendor Recommendations

I’ve planned one wedding, It certainly doesn’t make me an expert wedding planner. However, I did learn a lot along the way. I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to interview, hire, and learn from the best. Just over a month since our big day, I’m compiling some helpful tips and sharing the details from our experience.

Our affair was a glammed up summer cocktail party with a mixed metal theme. Taking place with beachside views that spanned the Atlantic and overlooking the Virginia Beach boardwalk. We served our favorite foods like burger, crab cakes, and gelato in stations. Two bars were available and trays of passed signature spirits like margaritas and our take on a French 76 pleased our guests! Blush Champagne was served upon seating and a brass band was on hand for the ceremony through cocktail hour. Simple, yet careful details left lasting impressions and set the tone for a dance party that we didn’t want to end. We had a fabulous team of top professionals that are responsible for fulfilling our epic vision. 

I had no idea what type of wedding I wanted… until I got engaged. Soon after popping the question, Jason and I talked about the type of celebration we wanted. Along with my parents, we narrowed down a few places that may be able to showcase the overall vibe we thought would best express our wedding style. A benefit to being an older bride, was that I am extremely aware of my style and taste. I don’t mind taking my time to plan and can make decisions quickly. This proved to be worthwhile in our year long planning process. Pinterest was the best resource for me to stash pics of things that sparked joy. I spent many evenings showing Jason choices and gained his input. He was the perfect amount of involved. Chiming in on things that were important to him like cake flavors, menu options, music, and of course his wardrobe. He left the other decision making details to me. By the time we said I do and took our first look in the reception space, we were amazed at what came to fruition. Nearly speechless, we were pleased! 

Emily giving Jason and I our first look at the decor!

First things first, pick your venue and lock in your date. Once we decided on the Virginia Beach oceanfront, we began by setting appointments to visit 3 sites. Before booking the appointments, I visited the venues website to view past events, I viewed their menus, and checked their capacity. I even scrolled instagram and used hashtags to search for some of their recent weddings. No need looking if your desires, budget, and vibe isn’t something they can even carry out. Mom and I got our notebooks and took a day to check out each space. Hilton was the last place we visited and honestly I was feeling a little lack luster from the other two vendors. But as soon as we met Emily, we knew this was it. She as warm, professional, helpful, and accommodating. We toured the entire property and talked through many options to utilize the different features of the hotel. After the appointment with her wrapped up, Mom and I went downstairs to toast with champagne. This was it! Our correspondence with Emily was often and detailed. She was timely, helpful, and went above and beyond through the entire process. She took time to accompany me and our wedding planner for a linen meeting. The day of the wedding she escorted me through the venue for pictures while carefully guarding my margarita. How’s that for service? The Hilton was able to carefully craft each detail of our casual menu request and matching signature cocktail selection. A one of a kind menu with all of our favorites. When working with your venue, take time to enjoy those tastings, speak up, make thoughtful decisions that suit you and your fiancé. Our wedding food and bar was a HUGE hit! 

Carrie and I mid reception

Do you really need a wedding planner? I’ll leave the answer up to you. It’s different for every bride. For me, Mom and I didn’t want to do anything on my wedding day except show up, get pampered, and relax with my best gals. If this is what you’re looking for, let me tell you about Carrie and the Happy Hour Hostess Team. I can’t say enough about her as a person or as a professional. This entire post should be dedicated to her. I met Carrie a few years back when we both were working on a grand opening corporate event for a new business in Norfolk. I was able to see her in action during a high level event and I was impressed. As soon as I was engaged I knew she’d be one of the vendors I’d interview to handle our affair. From the time we signed our contract, she was all hands on deck. Over the course of 10 months, we met with her 4 times. My parents fell in love with her immediately. With so many moving pieces in our big day, we never worried about a thing. At each meeting she came over prepared with timelines and to-do lists. This completely eased my mind. She aided in correspondence with our vendor team throughout the entire process and attended and ran meetings with a few of them as well. My vision became hers, and she could somehow see it. She brought forward details I didn’t even know to think of and guided me through a process that kept our wedding vibe front and center without deviating. She’s a visionary! The day of the wedding I never batted an eye for any detail. She kept food on my table, drinks in my hand, and perfume on my wrist! After saying I do, I danced the night away and never even thought about what was happening behind the scenes. That’s the sign of a successful event when the client is carefree. The entire day came together better than I could have ever dreamed of. The epic wedding Jason and I dreamed up became reality and that was all Carrie.

On the way to say I Do!

I’m a fresh flower girl. Luckily so is my mom. Our spouses get it too because Dad and Jason each bring us flowers regularly. This was really the only decor I wanted. Being June, it was the season of my favorites. Hydrangeas, peony’s, garden roses…and NO GREENERY! Nothing rustic. Shannon at Palette of Petals blew us away from the initial meeting. Her sweet, kind enthusiasm matched our energy completely. Mom and I love Shannon! When we met with her, she wanted to know all about the overall vibe, the dress, the aesthetics. This helped her build a fabulous palette that complimented it all, including the bridesmaids gold gowns, and the guys gray suits and vans. It all worked! She was fantastic and nailed our mixed metal theme with centerpieces, votives, stands, and color palette. I wanted a homogenous look. Blushes and whites in metallic vessels. And in our last meeting I asked about the possibility of a boxwood panel photo opportunity. It was a show stopper! The flower choices and colors were mine, but the design work, talent, and lushness of it were all Shannon and her team.

The amazing Shannon

The dress! After an unsuccessful but fun trip to Richmond I was feeling a bit discouraged. On a random weekend afternoon I stumbled into Ava Clara. I shared my experience, frustration, and concerns for a gown. Being older, petite, and curvy it was difficult to find something tasteful that expressed my style. I wanted a little sexy, a little sweet, I wanted a low back and I am obsessed with tulle. Shortly after, Jamie produced this Waters Gown in a titanium shade that knocked my socks off. Whoa!!! The unicorn gown was a reality. Proof that the right consultant will listen to you and pull from their stacked inventory to fit your one of a kind request. She rocked my world with this dress. This tulle off color choice was one I didn’t want to take off.

Who knew linens were so important? Initially I had left this detail up to Carrie and Emily to sort out. But after some encouragement, they had me sitting in the Waterford Rentals office crushing on some pretty gorgeous textiles. They even attended the appointment with me. The gals at Waterford rock! Their eye is so good. You tell them your theme and your style and in turn they produce samples of linens that may work with your parameters. It was a blessing for me, the had just received a new mixed metal fabric that could not have been more perfect. The combo we opted for was stunning and nailed the glammed up…by not formal look I wanted! 

Let them eat cake. Other then knowing we needed it, I had no clue. I sent several emails to set up appointments and the only one to respond was Incredible Edibles. There’s a reason they’ve been #1 in this space. Jason and I set up a cake tasting. Whoa! We settled on 3 tiers with 3 flavors and found ourselves booking the custom gelato cart along with our sugar filled fantasy! Incredible Edibles was kind enough to host us for an additional tasting where my parents joined the fun and we picked our gelato flavors as well. I opted for a simple cake design with fresh flowers and gold fleck to compliment the theme. Cake flavors included strawberry, almond, and hummingbird. For gelato we choose tangerine, strawberry prosecco, oreo, and cherry crumble. 

Holly of Sirens Salon

An after thought for me was makeup. I knew my dear friend Holly with Sirens Salon would be on deck for hair, and thought they could manage makeup. After some consideration and kind of on a whim, I sent an email to the legendary Kim Wadsworth to see if she was even available. I couldn’t believe that she was! If you’ve read Vow or Distinction magazines, you’re familiar with Kim. Chances are, any major marketing shoot or spread happening here she’s on set. She offers years of experience from some pretty major arenas. This allows her to achieve your unique look. During the booking process, we chatted in detail on the phone. We set a trial for mid April and Mom and I loved every hospitable minute we spent in Kim’s home that morning. She nailed my request for minimal, natural glam. The soft colors let my dress speak for itself. The day of the wedding, Kim was kind enough to assist me into my dress and checked over details of my final look. Her calming, yet enthusiastic personality is what you want on your big day. My tribe looked beautiful and everyone was ecstatic with their look. The pictures speak for themselves. I believe we made a new friend with Kim and hope to work with her again soon.

DJ Rodney

When it came to music, Jason and I had a lengthy playlist and some interesting requests we hoped to incorporate. Music is a big thing for us and we have a love for tunes that span many genres. Could we mix our love for Frank Sinatra, Bob Marley, and Rage Against the Machine that our crowd would appreciate? We wanted the music to go all night! No breaks! I spent months working on our song choices. DJ Rodney was repeatedly recommended and the obvious choice. It was a no brainer to book him ASAP! As our day got closer we chatted about the out of the box entrance choice, father daughter dance off, and party tunes. He carried out the sound perfectly and when he went rouge later in the night, the glow sticks came out and the party went off! I literally was sore the next day from dancing.

 

Father Daughter Dance to Led Zep

Photography is my jam. As you know, I love posting pics. When we got engaged, I convinced my friend and fellow entrepreneur Heidi Calma to come out of wedding retirement for our engagement session and wedding day. She has captured my business photos, engagement, and now wedding! You need to feel comfortable with whoever you hire. The photographer is someone who is up close and personal with you that day and can witness some pretty intimate moments. After it’s all said and down, you hope you get a handful of keeper shots. She captured everything including these amazing wind blown portraits and some epic King Neptune shots.

In line with that was our videographer. Again an afterthought once planning was complete, but so glad we opted to have this. We eagerly await the work of Justin Gibby so we can relieve the entire night !

Venue: Hilton Virginia Beach

Wedding Planner: Happy Hour Hostess

Floral Design: Palette of Petals

Gown: Ava Clara

Linens: Waterford Rentals

Cake and Gelato: Incredible Edible

Hair: Sirens Salon

Makeup: Kim Wadsworth

DJ: Astro Entertainment, DJ Rodney

Photography: Heidi Calma

Videographer: Gibby Visuals

Wedding Wellness: The Fit Petite

Brass Ensemble: Members of the Virginia Symphony