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What I Learned By Eating Cupcakes For Breakfast

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The tone of the writing on this site has always been a timely reflection of my tone. My mood. My feelings. My daily intention. It started as a place to document my journey through half marathon training nearly five years ago. Since then, this space has allowed for much more. Just like my time pounding the pavement, this site is a true extension of me. This season of life has been about learning. Digging deep and figuring out what I’m actually digging for. Fighting for. I am learning to go back to the basics.

Earlier this summer I made a list of goals as I do at the turn of each training season. As it is in life…the more we plan…the more God laughs and life takes over. Initially, an early fall half marathon was placed in the top 5 for the short list. Fast forward to present day and bam! Opportunity everywhere other than the road has been knocking and I keep opening  the door. This means that my well crafted race day intentions got thrown out the window. Life isn’t allowing it. This has left me puzzled, surely I could fit it all in. No matter what the cost to my health or my relationships.

Luckily for me, and intentionally, I surround myself with people who are wiser and smarter than I am. One of those people…Kristy… reminded me gently and yet so matter of factly that running should compliment my life. It should be a piece of it. She also  sent me the below quote this morning.

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Running isn’t my purpose here on this lovely planet, or even my talent. I just happen to love it. But lately it has not been fun and the reason it hasn’t been fun is because I have not been making it fun. The pressure I put on myself of trying to fit in training for time was breaking my heart.  I was totally missing the point.

This past week I found myself begging for a timeout. Morning coffee and cupcakes for breakfast seemed to somehow guide me towards a healthy reckless abandonment of ideals.

Running 5 miles today with a group of fellow road warriors made it all click. We stopped a couple times for numerous reasons on what would normally be a routine run. The lightbulb went off as I drove home.

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The pauses on the route were reminders to STOP or I just might miss it. If I would have kept running I would have missed some good conversations with women I love. I would have missed the selfie on the overpass with teammates. I would have missed connecting and furthering authentic friendships with people who could care less about how big my ass is or my mile pace. They are friends. They are family. Equally fighting battles of their own, we all are soaking up the moments and abandoning other influencers ideals of what our running should be. Today we won. It isn’t my season to chase the time on the clock. It is the season to chase more time with my tribe.

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Photo Credit: Don Babcock

It is a process, and it may always be…but today I found myself on the right path with the right people, right where I belong.

Finally.  What I have been searching for these past few months…Today I found.

 

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Necessity In The Rest

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It was nearing the end of summer and I could feel the change of season coming in my soul just as it would soon turn to fall. I promised myself I’d sleep until I woke naturally. Rest had become necessary. The planet would stir my spirit when it was ready for me. Nearing 6:00 am that Sunday morning, I awoke. This was the latest I had slept during that week, so I lingered. I lingered in the covers, on the pillow, and in a blissful state.  In a sort of natural pull, I felt the desire to be in nature. Sunday mornings are usually spent on the trails, but not today. There would be a change of plans. In an almost instinctive way my feet hit the ground, I made coffee, and I carelessly threw on some clothes…I would later discover my t-shirt was on backwards. I walked with my coffee the 1/4 mile walkway down to the beach access. There in all of its glory waiting for me was the infinite water and sky. My place. The reason I live by the bay. Morning is my favorite time of day and starting it in a place I can witness the world wake up is a gift. It’s a place of solace, of meditation, of quiet, of peace. It’s a place without judgement. A place of power.

That day I was early. I knew I could snag a spot in the abandoned beach chairs I’ve admired all summer. I’m not sure who they belong to, but I know they possess love by the carved out initials and hearts in the head rest. For that, I thank them for sharing their sweet spot by the shore with me. I felt safe there taking in the surrounding sites and sounds.

The sun began to come up over the pier and in the same fashion, a new spirit sprouted within me.  Lately I’ve been doubting and I’ve been doubted. In that, I’ve been hurt. I’ve felt exhausted from the inside out. I’ve felt insulted. I have felt let down. I’ve felt alone in part these past couple of weeks, leaving me to retreat to my cave only to rest my weary body and lick my wounds. As it so naturally does, time heals.

The universe seems to always know what we need and when we need it. When it talks, we must listen. That day I followed the calling… out to the line where the salt meets the sand. As I reflected I felt gratitude. Thankful for good friends. Their patience and presence through friendship are teaching me. From them I am learning and I am sharing my new knowledge with you. I learned it is ok to not feel perfect all the time. It is ok to acknowledge that. To accept it. It is ok to forgive yourself as you forgive others. Forge ahead with purpose. Make time for regular retreats in your safe space. You will find it most necessary.

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The time I took for myself to rest proved most beneficial. I spent some time this past weekend creating a safe, peaceful space within my home. A cozy nook of sorts filled with a favorite candle, a familiar blanket, a peaceful playlist and books filled with inspiration from yoga teachers, Saints, coaches, and God. Here I will be vulnerable. I will reserve the right to rest my soul. I write part of this post from the nook, nestled in and quiet. My hope for you is that while I normally encourage you to move, today I encourage you to rest. Find your sweet spot. Retreat. Make room and make time for this.

As I went to share this post with you, a link came my way that seemed fitting to share. I connected with some wonderful leaders during my time at the Wanderlust Retreat earlier this year. One of them was yoga instructor Jessie Kates. I have followed her online since my return and subscribe to her YouTube channel. Perfect for those days I want to hit my mat in private or need a meditation break on the go. As you find solace in your space, check out this teaching on letting go.

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Marketing Monday: 4 Tips To Get Your Business More Social

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No one knows your business/brand/cause better than you. You talk about it at parties, at the dinner table, and at events. But there is still one place you may not be talking about it…and it is time to start! If you believe that just because you don’t use social media regularly,  it’s not important for your business…think again. According to research published in June 2016 by Zephoria Digital Marketing, there are over 1.71 billion active monthly Facebook users. Of that, 1.13 billion active users log in and out of the social media giant daily. Usage is up 17% from the year before, proving that the online audience is bigger than ever.  You should not need any other statistics to know that your clients and competition are likely among the masses. Don’t get complacent. Get social! Here are 4 tips to get your business more social on Facebook today.

Tip 1. Create a business FB page. You may already have a personal FB page, now is the time to set up your business page. Check out this article for step by step instructions.

Tip 2. Personalize your page. Add descriptions about your page. Upload your business logo as the profile pic on your business page.  This will help current or prospective clients recognize your business while they are using Facebook. Make sure the descriptions match the information you have on your website and printed material. Consistency is key. Update hours of operation and contact information including your business website, email address, phone number, and location. If you have a home based business, you may consider leaving off location.

Tip 3. Share your biz page with the world. An easy way to do this is to share it on your personal page first. Tell family and friends to follow, like, and share your business page. Watch the “like” count grow and see your page take the web by storm!

Tip 4. Begin posting on behalf of your company. When considering what to post, start with basic information. Share business updates, new product launches, awards, and industry specific information on this platform. When posting, use the rule of the 3 p’s. Ask yourself if what you post is powerful, provoking, and positive? Talk just as you would to your clients.

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Feel like you need more social media coaching? Contact me thefitpetite@gmail.com  to schedule an appointment.

 

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My Brand: The Desire To Keep Building

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Recently I shared a dinner table with a pretty powerful group of fellow female tribe members. As I looked around the table, I could see a deep talent pool, all accomplished in their own right. Different gifts and talents combined at one table, that represented well enough to probably run a small country.

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 As dinner conversation commenced, I remarked on this out loud. Many of us would never have guessed we would be boss babes of our own little worlds. I would venture to say that Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg had the thought at five years old, she would be a leader in business. I equally doubt that Martha Stewart knew she would hold the keys to an empire.

When I set out on this entrepreneur journey a handful of years ago, it played out very differently in my mind that it has gone down. While many aspects went as planned, just as many or more went without warning or preparedness. The dream has stayed the same, but some of the goals have evolved and the ways I’ve gone about them have changed. TheFitPetite.com is nearing five years old, and one thing has remained rooted and constant. I still strive to find a style of life that is mine, something I have built and created, something I can control on my terms, something that fosters my creative ability, autonomy and passion.

When first entertaining this kind of career freedom in my mind, I thought it would be a way to create a life that I would be able to share with someone. It was a way to make room for the idea of a mate and possibly a family. This could be a way to balance a personal and professional life, something of my own…independent of a partner. Little did I know how true that would become. Personal relationships have come and gone, some I believe were lost in part due to this crazy ride I am on. So many do not seem to understand this kind of life.  The public visibility at times, the vulnerability of it, the non stop desire for more, the desire to keep building can be a lot for someone to support.

Like Sheryl and Martha, many of us didn’t grow up thinking we would be brand builders. Women, especially, are not taught this growing up. It’s not that we were discouraged from it or even taught against this, it’s simply the fact that we were never given the option to entertain the idea. We were taught to play with dolls. Going to college was something I was encouraged to do, but I am not really sure that my parents ever thought I really would use my degree to fully financially support myself. Girls were given an idea that we would grow up be a wife, be a mother and that alone would feed our spirit. That’s not the case for many of the women I know, especially many of the women who I recently shared that dinner table with. I still have faith I will share this crazy ride with someone one day, but that opportunity hasn’t happened yet…which fuels my fire to succeed even more.

Many people tell me “You are doing too much” or “You don’t have to do everything” and my reply simply is “Yes, I do.” If you are a single woman, you know what I mean. There’s no back up plan. There’s no dual income. There’s no one else to pay the bills. There’s no one else to take out the trash…metaphorically speaking. My desire to keep building my brand will continue. There’s no one else to do it.. nor would I want there to be.  I could’ve stayed in a corporate job and been more financially sound. But my spirit would be left starved and searching. I could have settled for a loveless marriage by now and that would leave me feeling empty.

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Some say it is strange or flaky for woman to abandon ideals like that and want more. My tribe thinks it is brave. It is a true sign of faith for anyone to follow their gut and know there is more. For me,  it’s what I had to do from deep down within my bones. I have several girlfriends who own their own companies, lead their own charge, and take their own risks. We need to empower and teach this possibility to our youth and especially to our girls. One local school district is getting it right! Kempsville HighSchool is the home of the Entrepreneurship and Business Academy for Virginia Beach Public Schools. With Norfolk being a hub for entrepreneurship in the region, the chance of creating the American Dream is more likely.

There are days where I feel exhausted and beat down. But I keep pushing and I think many business owners, men and women,  do the same. We are a special breed. Our minds don’t stop. Our desires don’t stop.  We are constantly scheming and hustling and developing more strategies for what we determine and define as success. There are not always dollar signs associated with that. My goals right now are simple.

1. To be happy

2. To be healthy

3. To be kind

4. To give back

5. To be financially secure.

I’ve mastered none. But continue pushing forward on all.

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Many Women Run To Challenge Themselves, Not Chase The Clock

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You have those friends that you know so well…which means they know you so well in return. That is what makes the friendship great, and what makes it stand the test of time. My oldest memory with my friend Braden is somewhere in middle school at church youth group. We were laughing about who knows what and we are still laughing to this day. My friend Braden is one of my longest tribe members and one of the strongest. We have seen each other through breakups (mostly mine) and babies (all hers) with lots of ups and downs in between. The latest episode in our story is a tale of 13.1 miles.

Braden decided a few months ago to run the Rock n Roll Half Marathon taking place this weekend in Virginia Beach. She has run several half marathons before, but this would be the first attempt since having her two children over the past few years. I was honored when she reached out to me for my coaching advice and support. I have had the privilege of helping her with her training the past 12 weeks. While I may have written the workouts, she did all the work. I mean all the work.

Like many runners, Braden was in pursuit of healthier living. Also like many runners, she isn’t in it to chase the clock, but rather to chase herself. She has always been a gym buff, so she wasn’t necessarily looking to lose weight, but more of a way to push her own limits. The desire to accomplish a goal through a strategy all on her own. Not only did she fit in 4 days a week of running, she also knocked out 2-3 cross training workouts per week. Like many modern day moms, Braden runs a successful business as a Traveling Vineyard representative while maintaining her household of four, including two beautiful children and her husband. She is rooted in faith and puts positive energy into all her friendships. Like many runners who chase the pavement, she was on a quest to challenge herself. She needed to prove to herself that she still could tackle the 13.1 mile distance.

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Braden pre-run with Sam and Hannah

On Tuesday morning Braden and I met for coffee to review her race day strategy and recap what the past several weeks have actually meant. “The half isn’t a new distance. But when you are challenged and tested by life, running is something you can control to a degree…the intensity…the duration.”  Like many, she used running as her stress release. “As a mom you are busy giving, the time spent running and working out is my time. Years ago running use to be about exercise. Now running is literally therapeutic. I get it. A whole new realm. Being fit isn’t just about what we eat, but more about the why.” As a trainer all I ever want is for my clients to feel happy. I want to help them find their fire and feel somehow better than they have ever felt before. I want them to see possibility in what at one time seemed impossible.  It is embracing those special triumphs that we can’t actually see with the naked eye. As her friend, it has been a privilege to witness her growth in not only running, but in herself. I have witnessed her build strength both physically and emotionally. She has embraced running for all it has to offer and she has made it her own, for her lifestyle.

My reporter/writer friend Lee Tolliver and I had a recent conversation about running and the Rock n Roll Half earlier this week. In talking, I shared Braden’s success story with him. Like me, he knew her story would resonate well with others, especially mothers. The desire to train, the challenge to fit it all in, the juggling act between family and fitness are all things most adult athletes can relate to. He spent some time talking with her this week. You can read more on that article here.

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