Posted on April 4, 2017
Several months ago I was prepping for a 200 mile running relay from Virginia Beach to DC. If you follow this blog regularly, you may remember me talking a little bit about it Chairing the event occupied a lot…all… of my free time. A cause I felt emotionally passionate about, but physically it had taken a lot out of me. I hadn’t even noticed just how much….until just two days before. I was running out to grab lunch and a tackle a few errands before the 36 hour event commenced. It was then, that I reached for what was normally a baggy pair of jeans and just like that, I busted a massive hole in the seat. With a busy weekend ahead, I didn’t have time for the true meltdown I deserved. This would turn out to be one of the biggest learning experiences of my health|fitness|professional journey.
With all the “prepping” I had been doing for the run, I had neglected to prep myself. I barely trained in the running department, and you can go ahead and forget about nutrition. By the grace of God I successfully conquered my legs of the 200 mile relay (I stopped counting after 20 miles). The relay was a tremendous success financially, and physically rewarding. One of my most proud running moments, not because of the distance or the time…but because of the why. More on that here.
The week after I was completely depleted. Physically exhausted and emotionally empty. The unhealthy behavior continued on through the holidays. Eating and drinking everything with abandonment. I was rebelling. Celebrating everything, everyone, any holiday get together turned into a full blown PAAAARTY!
I was embarking on new goals professionally and took the idea on any fitness goals off the table. I emotionally wasn’t ready. By January, I slowly began to wrap my head around the idea of racing. With Shamrock training in full swing, I opted to rock the hell out of the 8k. I knew with the new business goals I had in front of me, spending hours every week running were not appropriate and would only bring me added stress and pressure. A shorter race sounded attractive and achievable and quite frankly I needed a personal win. After meeting with my coach, he agreed and we set a plan in play. And just like that, as I decided to race the 8k, I found out I was Albuquerque bound.
My spring coaching and 8k plan could not have suited me better. Short trail runs and time on the track in New Mexico set this little soul on fire. The immersion among the Beasts staff, the pros, and other fitness bloggers sent me back to VA more in love with the sport, more confident in my ability to win…against myself, and determined to always run happy! I returned to the beach just as Spring started to take off. Warm weather brings new running routes to explore, Spring races, outdoor workouts, and soon swims! I bought myself a medicine ball, cleaned up my nutrition, and eased myself into a new 8 week training program…because I wanted to!
Physically I feel more like myself than I have felt in months. My skin feels comfortable and familiar. So comfortable I went full #SportsBraSquad for my Tuesday track work. I have re-discovered healthy habits that are realistic and make sense. While it may always be a struggle, I am handling stress better. I am handling the idea defining goals better. Something I never would have learned had I not busted a whole in my jeans that day. Feeling the results of dropping myself to the bottom of the list last fall gave me empathy and understanding for what everyone else already knew. Life is busy. Obstacles get thrown at us daily. We bob and weave and do our best to make it without any collateral damage. Busting a whole in my jeans taught me to be easier on myself. It taught me to keep realistic expectations of myself, both professionally and personally. I know what I am capable of taking on and what I should leave. I know what my limit is.
I needed to flounder. I needed to travel through the mess of the Fall to get to the beauty of the Spring. It is now a new season. I am enjoying cocktails, pasta, and ice cream as needed. I am enjoying the feeling of a sweatfilled, salt covered workout on my beach. Meditation, exercising, time with girlfriends, and even sleep: I do one thing daily to further my health, my spirit.
Allow your jeans to be tight sometimes. Allow the mess. Opt for one healthy decision everyday. One decision turns into two, and so on, and so on.Leave a Comment
Posted on March 31, 2017
In case you didn’t catch my spring product review video live on Facebook, be sure view it here and learn why I am loving this list! Find all the links below for your ordering convenience. I hope you enjoy these products as you design the sweatfilled life you deserve!
If you have a product you would love to see reviewed, or want to inquire about having your product featured….email email@example.comLeave a Comment
Posted on March 28, 2017
I started the day with a solid sweat session. One that included both cardio and strength. It was one that filled me spiritually. One of those workouts that leaves you feeling strong. Soon after, I was headed off to my favorite type of work day: client coaching sessions packed with marketing strategy, social media, and even a new company launch. Three different business owners who trusted me to help guide them on their journey. Even after a day that packed a power punch of positivity… how is it that there were still moments of doubt?
On Monday my body felt tired. Weeks of grinding in both work and play. I found myself napping and Netflixing the day away. It was much needed and something I often encourage many of my fitness followers to do. Take a day of rest! It is imperative for overall health and wellness, not to mention performance. I opted out of my workout and even turned down two invitations for gym time. I knew that rest was more important than time spent sweating, yet…I felt somehow guilty or less than. I struggled. I doubted myself. Was I lazy? Would I hit that spring fitness goal? How will I ever kick that nagging sugar habit? That same afternoon, I learned I was picked over for a social media project I was hoping to work on. The doubt came in like a flood, stronger than before. Am I not as good at this as I thought? Are my rates too high? Could I be better? I can’t seem to get this question out of my head. Where do I draw the line between acceptance and wanting more?
Doubt can be damaging. 100% self destructive! I do not think doubt is as much the problem as is the way we handle it. I think we need to look at it differently. We might not be able to take doubt away, but we might be able to minimize the damage it causes.
Once again, running has taught me an invaluable lesson…
Visualization and the power of positive thinking play BIG in the running world. We can manifest a race outcome simply but what we believe about it. When we enter a race feeling confidant in our ability, we are more likely to look at the outcome of that race as a win no matter what the clock may tell us. When we enter the race paralyzed with self doubt, we have already lost.
During my recent trip to Albuquerque, I heard a story of doubt and was reminded of the power of faith. Faith is stronger than doubt. Danny Mackey, Head Coach of the Brooks Beasts Track Club faced his own number of challenges before landing in his current role. Even working in product development for another popular shoe company left him completely unfulfilled. He wanted to coach. He had been faithfully applying to coaching jobs (200+), only to repeatedly get turned down. It was a matter of his own faith that kept him in steady pursuit of coaching. Doubt was strong, but his conviction and faith for his calling was stronger. This March was his 5th season at coaching at altitude with The Beasts. He has now successfully coached some of the fastest talent on the track including: Olympians and World Record Champions.
Doubt is another word for fear. We may be afraid. Being afraid is acceptable. Fear is intense and not something we can control. Fear is strong, remember…faith is stronger. You can’t take the doubt away, but you can minimize it’s damage on your spirit. Here are a few tips I am using to tackle my fear today and the next time it creeps in.
1. Acknowledge it. Do NOT try and stuff it deep inside. Do NOT deny the feeling. Doubt is normal. When you identify your fear, you can plan your attack against it.
You can be a little afraid and a lot faithful!
2. Tell|Share|Pray. Releasing the fear gives faith a greater chance of catching it.
3. Do the thing that makes you afraid anyway.
Posted on March 21, 2017
Three days spent at 5,300+ feet ironically had me breathing easier and feeling lighter than ever before. In early January, I learned I would be participating in an once and a lifetime experience by attending Altitude Camp with the Brooks Beasts Track Club. The Beasts are an elite group of pro athletes ranging in speed and distances, but united by a philosophy to #RunHappy.
Each Spring, the Beasts head to altitude for training. The philosophy basically being that if you can run at altitude, you can run anywhere. Scientifically, there is significantly less oxygen the higher you climb. To compensate for the lack of oxygen, the body in turn produces more red blood cells. These cells aid in oxygen delivery to the muscles. To make things even more interesting, the Beasts live above the line of where they train. The process allows their body to sleep/recovery in a more extreme climate than work takes place. They spend several weeks nestled in about 6,700 feet up in the Sandia Mountains. Training just below that on the track and trails in Albuquerque.
All of this sounds like a near death mission for any average runner. For recreational runners attempting to pace chase in altitude, you need to either spend 10-14 days of adjustment period acclimating or….do like we did. Get in and get out! The first 48 hours at altitude for me showed nearly unrecognizable differences. Not knowing how I would respond, I made a promise to myself to ease into each workout and running experience. I had been invited there for my ability to love and share running with the world, not my ability to round the track.
Day 1| 80 degrees, no clouds, picturesque landscape and we were headed to a track upwards of 5,100 feet. After a chance meeting of the Men’s Beasts team in the elevator, I was amped to get my Virginia feet on that New Mexico track!
As Coach Mackey took time to explain the workout, I had no idea what to expect. “EFFORT BASED” were words he used to describe the intervals. SCORE!!! As I would come to find out more as the weekend went on, Mackey who is in his mid thirties, is a believer of effort based training. He also subscribes to the school of less can be more, meaning that grinding high mileage and high intensity into the ground doesn’t necessarily yield better results. He believes athletes should spend time off the track in play and with family as well. This was refreshing as I come from a coach who shares this same philosophy. We know that when life is good, running will follow.
Soon after wrapping my head around the workout, equals part relief and excitement started to set in, especially when he shortened the set from 5 to 3 due to altitude! Having full faith in my training for short, speed all winter I knew I was in good shape with this one.
We were divided into smaller groups led by members of the Beasts TC. Each interval began with our group. We lined up and would start together after a countdown. I eased in, taking each interval one at a time. As we rounded the curves, our Beasts coaches were there cheering and giving clock updates. “2:58|2:59| 3:00- Rest!” I made it 600 meters give|take for each 3:00 minute interval I ran. The team support and encouragement made me feel like I was at home running with my team.
I proudly held a 7:35 pace average for the set. More impressive was my ability to consciously set my intention to relax, stay steady, and run happy! Being physically prepared for the workout was one thing, but choosing to enjoy it and leave the pressure in the stands is what lead to my success that day. My attitude truly had determined my altitude! I felt completely at home on that track and felt an unmistakeable fire arise for more workouts like this coming Spring 2017!
Mentionable and Functional Gear
SHOES | Special Edition Brooks Launch 4, size 7.5
BRA | Vixen C
SHORTS | Women’s Chaser 5″
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Posted on March 16, 2017
Having over 20 years combined: runner|coach trainer, I’ve picked up a few characteristics as to what makes one successful in the sport. These habits keep athletes healthy, happy, and successful enough to enjoy longevity in their craft.
1. They know when to rest. Regular rest days are built into their program. As much as they love pavement pounding, they acknowledge and appreciate the need to not do it. Some days they strength train, cross train, practice yoga, or binge Netflix with their feet up. All necessary elements of a successful running program.
2. The don’t diet. Their nutrition is based on realistic lifestyle philosophies. Carbs are essential in supporting a runner’s habits. Nothing is off limits, but they may limit what and when they enjoy certain foods including sugar and alcohol.
3. Their tribe is large and in charge. They have a network of other athletes they work out with regularly. They pick fun workouts and races to participate in. They even enjoy non running activities and down time together.
4. They have a desire to goal dig, both on and off the track. They don’t mind being uncomfortable. Being a runner requires discipline, dedication, and commitment. They learn from their mistakes and keep going. These traits carry over into their personal and professional lives, yielding success all around.
5. No matter if they are an elite, a novice, or even an injured runner, they celebrate each other. They cheer for each other. Runners often attend races they aren’t even running, just to watch or cheer for others. They appreciate the grit and training that is individually intense and honor it in each other.
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