London Funsies Part 1

This trip was so packed full that today's blog will be part 1 of 2 which is the first two days that we were there and how we approached our travel! :) Please excuse all grammar errors in this stream of consciousness blog post.

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We did so much this trip and I feel like I don't have enough photos to showcase it all, so let's get started. I honestly was very confused on how to approach this city which meant that we did alot of research and still ended up planning like nothing. We thought that we would take each day by sections of the city but that just doesn't always work out well so we just would wing it each day (per the usual on trips that we take tbh it always works out so whatever). Because we knew that we wouldn't always have signal, Tanner had starred all of the different recommendations that others had given us for places to eat and stop and saved that, so if we were in that area and hungry we would pull that up. It was super useful, so I recommend that. 

There are a ZILLION restaurants in London..more than anywhere I've ever been and all of them have amazing, delicious foods. There is a pub on literally every corner, but then also all kinds of other options as well. They had stop in shops to get food literally everywhere so food was definitely never a problem. We only ate out in a big way 4 times and other nights would grab something quick like before the plays that we saw. The first night, we actually were able to go to a pub, get a bottle of wine to share, and two entrees for 35 pound which is around $50 which is a KILLER deal for London, so we would look around and look for 2 $$ typically when looking for a place to eat. We aren't picky on food, and actually prefer American bar food. Lol. Hashtag Shelby. I also don't eat much and Tanner eats like a linebacker, so it always works out that he just eats the remainder of what I don't finish. 

DAY 1

We started off the food with a placed called The Breakfast Club. I actually accidently got the full English breakfast without even realizing it which is sausage (they offered veggie sausage which is what I got), eggs, beans, potatoes, and bloomer bread (just white fluffier bread classic in London), and Tanner got freaking gravy french fries (for breakfast-yes-he's crazy haha). He also lost 5lbs on this trip from all the walking and "not enough food"... #men

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On the first day, we decided (per a recommendation from a client) to get on a double decker bus to see the city in that way and then decide where we wanted to spend more time after sight seeing from above. Tanner was pretty adamant that we would just get stuck in traffic taking a lot of time out of our day. That is essentially what happened so after 45 minutes of stand still type traffic on a double decker, we got off at Trafalgar Square and started exploring. We walked over to a Christmas market that was nearby and we knew the TKTS ticket booth would be there and we wanted to snag some theater tickets right off the bat. 

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I'm a HUGE theater buff. I'm obsessed and Shelby just announced they may reopen the theater here, and I'm so pumped and will be getting season tickets. I saw Harry Potter was on the list, and freaked, asked if they had tickets and he laughed at me in the first British accent I had really heard for the first time and said "no. Those are sold out for two years. You can try the ticket booth for cancellations but don't count on it." We decided that since we were there, and I REALLY wanted to see at least one show and preferably Christmas we would book "A Christmas Carol"...so cliche but always so good. It was SO SO GOOD! I don't know if it's because their accents were so genuine, or if because they did it up huge in this particular show, but man it was one of the best shows I've EVER seen (that was of course before I saw HP). 

We kept walking all around that area, and hit up The National Gallery. This is a huge art gallery that goes through various artists and the stories behind their paintings. I guess I was just ALL IN this trip, but I just love to go into museums and actually enjoy them and not just be lame and walk around. So, I envision myself in the time frame that these artists lived, and their lives, and what it must have been like to be in their shoes and it really helps me to enjoy the art so I was in love with the National Gallery.

I just really liked this painting because I love snowy cold weather :) 

I just really liked this painting because I love snowy cold weather :) 

We decided that we had a few minutes so we would walk over to the HP box office and just see if they had any tickets. The guy asked us how long we had, and we said all week until Friday night. He said that he had tickets on Thursday and Friday night. I almost fell out, and then I got ready for him to tell me how much they would be. dun dun dun. Y'all...it honestly was a freaking deal, and the second he said the price Tanner says WE WILL TAKE THEM! They ended up being in the stalls (aka the front sitting area). We could see perfectly and were on the floor. I won't go into all details just yet, but I literally cried tears of joy during the first show, it was so unreal. 

We had booked a Harry Potter walking tour at 330pm that day, honestly not knowing that our entire trip was going to be very HP based, so we wanted to get lunch and start heading that way. Turns out in London, when it's 40 degrees, that's actually REALLY FREAKING COLD. I don't know what it is, but we FROZE the entire trip. One day I wore 5 layers on top, and was still getting cold..ridiculous. We ended up only making it 1.5 hours into the tour, gave him a tip and then darted off to find a coffee shop to warm up! LOL! We learned all kinds of fun behind the scenes type information about the different buildings in London that were used during filming such as Gringotts. He kept saying that the ONLY production that could ever shut down parts of London for the day would be Warner Brothers and Harry Potter. haha! He also mentioned that one thing movies if they are ever based in London is ALWAYS ALWAYS show London in the best light and try to really show the best parts of London because it's such a touristy city that they want more people to come to build the economy. I'm sure the same thing goes for NYC which is why it always looks so glamorous even when it's sometimes so not glamorous. haha! 

This was actually when we popped over to Times Square district before the London trip and saw the Rockefeller tree and had coffee at the Boathouse in Central Park! YAY!

This was actually when we popped over to Times Square district before the London trip and saw the Rockefeller tree and had coffee at the Boathouse in Central Park! YAY!

At the coffee shop, we started researching some things we wanted to do the next day and where to get dinner. We were starved. We decided to really take the night easy as we had been doing so much travel, enjoy the bottle of wine together, and we ended up having a blast getting a littttle (alot) tipsy (sorry mom) and laughing with all the British men in these pubs that were much more drunk that us. We had bangers and bash and this classic Henry's BBQ chicken thing. This one man legit was going down some stairs and he was around 65, and we all thought he would face plant. Like legit 100% certain he was going to and then somehow he caught his footing. Alcohol is ABUNDANT in London. People drink from the time that they wake up until they go to bed, and they really don't care how old you are. It was crazy, and honestly by the end, the drunk people were getting on my nerves. Let's be real, they were on my nerves on night 1 but I still love London ;) hahaha! 

This is the super famous "Oxford street" and it was normally SO crowded but we hit this night at a good time, and it was SO gorgeous. I couldn't get enough.

This is the super famous "Oxford street" and it was normally SO crowded but we hit this night at a good time, and it was SO gorgeous. I couldn't get enough.

We went back to our cozy airbnb (ha-not), and snuggled up to go to bed and knew we would go run the next morning. 

DAY 2

We woke up around 630 not realizing the sun doesn't come up until 730, ate breakfast at the place as we had went to the grocery store the night before and headed out to run The tower bridge, the London bridge, the Millenium bridge, through Borough Market (that wasn't up and running yet), and through the Christmas on the River shops. We both got on a super duper high during this run just thinking about what we were getting to experience and how blessed and fortunate we felt. It was such a beautiful run, and we ran back up through the area that we were staying (Whitechapel) to our place, showered, then headed out for the day. Of course, we stopped for breakfast #2 at that point. 

Tanner was so annoyed by me trying to take photos on a run! HAHAHA! If he only knew how many times I've done that in my life that I was like "bro this is so normal-what is your issue?" hehehe.

After our run, we had a 1030 walking tour scheduled for the City of London, and our tour guide was Margaret who is actually from California with a degree in British history. She was literally so good at what she does, I cannot recommend her enough and it was through freewalkingtours.com. You could tell she just had a rhythm that she follows on her tours, and has her stuff known like the back of her hand so she spoke quickly and you were able to learn soo so much about the city of London in 2 hours and 3 miles of walking. London is so massive, but the actual city of London is only 1 sq mile and that didn't expand until the 1600's (I think) so we got to see some of the oldest parts of the city during that tour. We learned about the Monument, so right after we left the tour, we decided to go conquer it. 

Far left: Samuel Johnson's famous cat who only ate oysters. Samuel has a lot of history but most notably, he wrote the first English dictionary.

Middle: the church that was the design for the first wedding cake and why wedding cakes are tiered in this way 

Far right: MARGARET! Oh I just could have been BFF's with her! 

The Monument is 311 steps to the top and was actually not caged until 1842 but people kept committing suicide (so sad) so they enclosed it, but I'm so thankful for that because otherwise it would have been terrifying. I say it wasn't that hard to climb 311 steps .. like at all...but I also run marathons and I don't even mean that to sound presumptuous although I'm sure it does, but just that YOU CAN DO IT! When we got to the bottom, they give out certificates so I did my best Grinch "soooo, I hear there's a check" but replaced check with certificate. Tanner laughed, they didn't understand, but I got my certificate! hahaha! 

This picture makes me laugh SO hard. This is me with my certificate under the monument! WOOHOO!

This picture makes me laugh SO hard. This is me with my certificate under the monument! WOOHOO!

I wanted to see the Platform 9 3/4 that we had learned about on our Harry Potter tour, so we headed to King's Cross station at this point. Funny story is that this platform that JK Rowling describes in the book, she was actually confused on the London location so there is no platform between 9 and 10 at King's Cross, and so they put the makeshift one between 8 and 9 and just hope people don't notice. They don't. We waited in a long long line just to take these silly photos, but it was SO WORTH IT! ;) 

A Christmas Carol was the play that was scheduled for our second night, so before we did that, we headed to check out Topshop and TKMaxx (their equivalent to the obvious TJ Maxx) to see how they compared. They were essentially the same, but a little more expensive just due to the money conversion. Tanner had never been in a Topshop so he really liked the men's shoes and ended up needing a pair because the ones he brought really hurt his feet. 

From here, we grabbed a quick bite to eat before the pub and headed to the theater. This theater was small which was so nice because basically everyone had incredible seats. The man who played Scrooge was phenomenal, and they gave us free mince pies when we arrived. At the end, when Scrooge has the big meal for everyone, they started passing food from the back of the theater down the aisles to the stage which was this really cute twist that everyone excited and laughing, and then they poured fake snow on us. I've never had such fun during a play and not sure if that's normal for London or maybe even normal in NYC, but it was unique and really made the experience. 

I just wanted to show how the theater allowed everyone to see really well by the shape of the theater which was so nice!

I just wanted to show how the theater allowed everyone to see really well by the shape of the theater which was so nice!

Up next -- > Days 3-5! This includes the Royal Run through Buckingham and Kensington Palace, Hyde Park, Winter Wonderland, and then all the changing of the guards, more food, more tours, and more plays! HIP HIP HORRAY! 

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London Travel Details/Big Mistakes

What.A.Whirlwind.

I know that I haven’t been blogging as much but I actually had full intentions on doing so while I was in London so that I could let others (aka my mom) keep up with what I was doing along the way, but if you’ve been to London then you know that if you want to do everything, you basically can’t even shower you are on the go so much. This first blog might sound a little complain-y at first. I hope you’ll join me in the spirit of just being honest about what happened and come along for the ride. Buckle up. I will also preface this by saying that although we had some interesting experiences, London is one of my all time favorite cities I've ever been in my life. I am obsessed and want to know all the history of that amazing, beautiful city. You know that I have talked about my love of NYC for years and years, and dare I say that I might like London more. EEK! I won't ever cheat on NYC, but man yall, it's amazing.

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Our Airbnb Mishap

On the shower note, I also didn’t shower much because a) there were no plug ins in this (gross – will explain momentarily) bathroom b) the towel I was provided had gross stuff on it as if it hadn’t even been washed (y’all-LOL) and c) my adapter wouldn’t fit the prongs for my hair dryer. So, I was like YOLO, gonna pretend I’m camping this week. That’s how T told me to deal with what we came into on Sunday night at 2am. We always go cheap, as I’m sure you all know, but we always check reviews and minute details to make sure it will be okay. We had a place, and then the girl contacted us last minute and said that it was too late that we were arriving so the week of the trip, we had to pick a new place. That was stressful and we ended up not doing enough research.

It was like a 600sq ft apartment that 4 mid 20’s Italian and French guys were staying in. The toilet was downstairs and the shower was upstairs (which was where our room was). In London, the ground floor is what we call the first floor, and the first floor to them is our second, so he told us to go in to the first floor. At 2am, we are greeted by this guy coming in from drinking asking us what we are doing in his room. The guys on the ground floor (who ended up being so nice) were from Italy, and the guys upstairs (whom we rented from) are from France. So he like was about to fight Tanner.at2am.in a country we have never been and I wish you could see the outside of this place. HAHAHA. JOY TO THE WORLD.

We walk upstairs to our room and the sheets literally look like they haven’t been washed literally ever, and the comforter and bed just have like dirt all around, there’s McDonald’s in the trash can and the room is only big enough for the bed. When I laid in the bed, I might as well have been just laying on springs even with how tiny I am, so I had to like sleep on my big puffy scarf to try and ease that. We found this clean looking towel and wrapped it around the pillows. OMG Y’all! I’m cracking up writing what we had to do. My chest got tight. I was like OMG WHAT IS GOING ON?! Oh, and our phones didn’t work and we didn’t now the wifi at this point. I was trying not to panic. Deep breaths. WOOOSA.

I couldn’t sleep that first night and our plan was to find a new place that next morning. When we woke up, we decided to go get breakfast and over breakfast we discussed that due to having to pay cancellation fees which we had already had to do with our first place (yea yea we could have fought it through Airbnb but that’s not guaranteed and SUCH a hassle) and the fact that we only planned to sleep there, we would just tough it out. YUCK. Whatever. Now that that story is out of the way, let’s get to London.

I try to be really upfront on my blogs so that people can get the full experience and not just the fluff howeverrrr this BREEDS people thinking I’m asking for their opinions. Hahaha! I know, I know. We should a) spend a little more and get more value b) could have switched and complained c) could have spent more time finding a place d) the list goes on and on. Lesson learned. We get it 

I really don’t want this blog to be 10 pages long, so I’m going to tell the traveling details and mishaps and mistakes today then I’ll move into the fun and to do’s that we did tomorrow. I always like to give useful info if you’re taking the time to read my blog <3

coffee on the River thames! We did this multiple times and it was so so lovely <3 

coffee on the River thames! We did this multiple times and it was so so lovely <3 

Flights/Travel/Money

Months ago, I was on Norwegian air as I do sometimes, and found flights to London in December one way for 190£. At the time, I was not familiar with pounds, but I knew the dollar amount was “close”. Looking back, our deal was not worth what we had to do as you plan your own. We discussed at large yesterday how if you are getting a deal, you are “paying” for it in some way, and while we ended up spending more than $3200 on this trip (I like to give REAL figures so people know if they want to do it), it was uncomfortable and if we plan a trip this large in the future, we just know that we need to invest, save, and do it the mature, adult way.

So, 190 pounds is about $250. But in order to do that, we had to go through JFK. We thought that was great as we would just see friends, but turns out like basically all of our friends have now moved from New York City so we had to a) get an Airbnb b) didn’t have enough time there to do anything anyway. It was only one full day.

We flew out of New York on Friday night. There were two massive wrecks on I-85 going to Charlotte, and based on the time frame, we knew there was no way we would get to our flight so Tanner literally drove on the shoulder and in the grass on the side of the interstate to get around this situation. We literally only did that for maybe two miles and it cut off 30 minutes. Crazy how that works in stand still traffic. We arrived in NYC at 10pm, but the place we ended up getting was in the upper west way far out (because again #WENEEDTOJUSTPAYMOREMONEY), it took 1.5 hours on the subway and we ended up at that place at 2am.

We woke up on Saturday morning and explored NYC at Christmas. It was absolute perfection as New York always is but also an absolute madhouse. I visited during Christmas for the first time 7 years ago and it was fun to think about that, and also how much has changed around the city and one of those changes is with the advent of the internet and easier access to travel, there’s more and more people in the Times Square area so we didn’t spend much time there. We walked a lot through Central Park and just chatted and had coffee at the Boathouse. We ended up having a big dinner that night due to us both starving which is always fun to go all out.

We woke up on Sunday morning and immediately went to the airport even though our flight didn’t leave until 11am because we know how NYC is with getting around and doing international travel. I’d rather be 4 hours early to an airport vs stressing out over not making it.

The flight was stated to be 11am to 11pm but it was actually only about 6.5 hours but you travel 5 hours ahead in time. Norwegian Air is honestly wonderful. It’s very “new age-y” so they play like mainstream music and young people on board, it has lots of space, and we got lucky and got the exit rows. The key on Norwegian is that you need to pack super light to avoid extra baggage fees (check their rules), and remember that if you don’t order their food, then you need to bring food on the flight .. which we did. Everything went smoothly on the flight!! When we landed, we noticed everyone was running and we were confused. We later found out it’s because the rail service shuts down and we literally made it on to the rail 1 minute before it left or we would have just been hanging out all night. Yikes. This isn’t due to lack of trying to plan ahead. We tried so hard to figure out all details. It’s just hard and complicated to know what to expect when going into a foreign country at 11pm. We also flew into Gatwick which is through Norwegian air, but that is not the closest airport so people questioned that. Most would fly out of Manchester. If you don’t live out of a hub that Norwegian flies, then I honestly wouldn’t bother with all the hassle it entails. We literally saved like $30 by doing the entire hassle of going in and out of NYC…so we won’t do that again. Live and learn.

Their “tube” or subway station was shut down once we got into London proper, so we ended up having to get a cab the rest of the way. The tube isn’t like the subway in New York. It’s much cleaner, and some areas shut down at night which honestly is great so they can work on the dang things. London is much older than NYC so I was very impressed. We got the unlimited travel card. If you look online, they always recommend getting the Oyster card that you can put just continual money on. We used ours SOOO much that I can’t even imagine what that would have added up to. So, if you are there for a week then I definitely recommend unlimited. It was around 50 pounds each for Zones 1,2,and3 but we should have only done Zones 1&2. We didn’t know though, and that would save about 10 pounds each.

We also had heard that exchanging money at the airport was the cheapest, so we did like an ATM debit to get some pounds or quid as the slang is. Quid is like saying “bucks” in USD. I have an American Airlines citi card which I use for mileage and free baggage, and it also has the perk of no international exchange fees so we could have gotten away with mostly card, but it was nice to have cash especially for the walking tours. We didn’t get charged commission on the amount we got out so that was nice. The exchange rate is 1 pound = 1.1 USD which adds up quicker than you realize.

One little tip though is that if you have an American card, they make you sign and check your ID at EVERY location, so imagine an NYC environment and you’re at a coffee shop and so with the crazy amount of people, it’s best to take cash. Another little thing we LOVED is that you can get little sandwiches and quick cheap lunches literally EVERYWHERE. They were healthy, tasty, and cheap. We didn’t want to spend a blue million dollars eating at a nice restaurant for every meal and we got so so hungry the entire time walking around so much, so this was SO useful. They even had macros listed on everything, and every single pop in was healthy food. I.LOVED.THAT. NYC is all about decadence with food. London isn’t like that. They are all about that alcohol and pubs though! LOL!

I like to go in order of the trip but since we are discussing flights, I want to go back to the flight home that we also had to purchase because that deal I found was a one way JFKà London. From London to JFK, it was around $300-350 each. I can’t remember so let’s go with $325, plus the $250 going so $575 for flights. I know you’re thinking WHAT A STEAL. We did too. Then we started adding up flights to NYC, airbnb’s in NYC, ubers and subway costs in NYC and that’s how I came up with the calculation that it was around $30 to go through here.

We flew out yesterday from London at 5pm, and our flight is 8 hours returning with the 5 hour time difference so we got into JFK at 8pm. We got an uber to a place near the airport where we had got another Airbnb, which was SO nice. THANK YOU JESUS. She was a wonderful host. This morning we got up at 4am to get to the airport for our 630am flight back to charlotte, and due to snow and something being wrong with the plane, the flight didn’t take off until 830am. Soooo, if you factor in the Friday night traffic adventure, the treck 1.5 hours on the subway, the London Airbnb experience, the Gatwick area being 1.5 hours out of London proper, and the delays this morning, you can imagine that we won’t be traveling for quite a long time on a plane! 

However, I did look up direct flights to London from Charlotte, and they are literally cheaper than what we paid to do all the crazy that we did, sooooo now I want to go back once I've recooperated for a bit. Sheesh, international travel is exhausting.

Up tomorrow, the fun stuff! <3 

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Fighting Holiday Diet Talk

Last week, I posted a small video on my insta story about diet culture and fighting all the negative and self deprecating talk that happens this time of year, and I said that I wanted to do a blog to collect my thoughts. I have so many swirling thoughts on this manner that I could probably do quite a few posts, but I want to portray what I'm trying to say as efficiently as possible. 

I noticed this Thanksgiving it wasn't as bad as it was at Halloween. Maybe the candy is what did it and people truthfully did enjoy time with their families at Thanksgiving. I hope so, but the diet talk still continues as we make our way into the Christmas season. 

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You don't need to know my story to get an adequate picture, but I think that it helps to give a timeline. When I was 18, I started my first diet which led to heavy restrictive eating and massive amounts of weight loss. I wiggled my way out of that into a binge/restrict phase of disorder. I soon found bodybuilding and competing, and that allowed me structure for the first time (that I called "healing"-ha but at the time it felt like it). From there, I moved into counting macros. From macros, I moved into intuitive eating and then intuitively eating plant based with some macro counting. Now, I'm finally in a phase that I will happily say I'll never place another label on what I'm doing ever at any time nor have any kind of food restrictions/rules. That doesn't mean I don't eat mindfully and healthily or that I don't count macros some days. It's just...normal life and where I hope many can land. 

At the end of the day, different things work for different people and also those same people have different things that work for them in different seasons of their life. And when i say "work for them", I don't mean a specific diet but rather just something that is in place that is how they eat during that season of life. 

I think that when I hear diet talk around the holidays, it reminds me of awful times of binging and restricting. I want so desperately for people to not go through what I did but we live in a world that literally promotes it around the holidays. Binge all during the holidays then restrict come January 1st. But, I say with sincerity that if you are there, I've been there. You are not going to figure out this food thing on the first go around. If you see my story above, you can see that it has taken me a lot of time and journey's to get where I am. 

There have been so many things pop up about what to do during the holidays, and it's so hard to put into words how I feel without it still ringing with many as with an air of dieting. However, I just can't wrap my head around the binge culture. We set ourselves up to be on a cycle in America where we have no choice but to start a new diet in the new year where if we had just listened to our body's natural cues throughout the months, then we wouldn't have to do so. I know that these cues are hard to listen to and it takes a little bit of introspective awareness and knowledge of nutrition to be able to do so. And when I mention cues, I mean also the cues that tell you that you do in fact want to eat something past the point of perfect fullness because that mentally feels good. There is no diet that needs to follow. It's just you enjoying your food and the experience .. like a child again.

To be able to silence the voices in your head that tell you that this food is only going to be here for ONE day of the year is very important. That's not to say that you shouldn't look to your grandmother's pie as a special occasion and have a slice. I think that this is most definitely what you should do, however that doesn't mean that you leave somewhere feeling sick because "it's the holidays, YOLO." The art of YOLO in dieting is giving in to diet culture because inevitably you know you can "correct" what you did through a diet. If you don't go on that diet (which most don't and the research shows that almost 0 people can long term stick to diets), then you will have the weight from the holidays there now too. Over the years, this builds and builds and simply by the rejection of dieting during the holidays and the inability to diet come new year leads us to a really unhealthy society at large. 

And it's all because at the end of the day, we are obsessed with dieting. If we weren't so obsessed with dieting, then we wouldn't be so obsessed with the food. I know that this sounds really odd and backwards but in our brains, we give ourselves a "pass" at the holidays because whether mentally or physically, we are always telling ourselves that we can't have those foods during the year if we are "being good." You hear terms like "I fell off the wagon" when I don't even know what this proverbial wagon is. Like, I get it. Of course I get it. But, sometimes I just wonder at what point or what age does this become irrelevant and we just eat with our family's whatever we want, in any amount that we want, with knowledge of what makes our body's function and feel their best and not talk about it. Does that happen? Do we get to 80-90 years old and diet culture still runs through our brains? 

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I actually think that it does if we don't learn to fight it, and I think that because of the internet, girls are seeing it younger and younger without the maturity to know how to handle it other than to give in to what they are told, or the older generation just thinks that it's normal. And maybe it is. I don't think that people are sitting around during the holidays thinking about diet culture and weight stigma and intuitively eating. We just go about with what we are taught, but what if we fought back. 

What if we just enjoyed the holidays without a plan for the future? What if we ate at every meal without thoughts of the previous or future ones? 

What if we took the foods that we know make us feel good and leave it at simply that and eat them in abundance because we know we will function mentally and physically at our best and not reject them because we are "not dieting during the holidays" and add those in with the pumpkin pie? 

What if we recognized that we can in fact make pumpkin pie ANY day of the week if we so choose and that we can make every single casserole that we see at an event and that we don't have to go balls to the wall with it right in front of us? 

When I started macro counting, it was my desire that it led women to a place of peace that they understood that all foods have a macronutrient component to them that is made up of fat, carb and protein and that when they ate those foods in a certain ratio, this would produce results without hardship. This could extend into the holidays not so that they could count but so that they could use these tools to knowledgeably make decisions on what would make them feel good. Naturally, I've seen over time, that with many, this becomes a literal obsession. They get confused asking questions if they should count on Thanksgiving, if they should count the day after, should they make up for this meal in the following day, should they track at the beginning of the day or eat less to account for the meal at the end of the day. 

It's intriguing to be how we create problems in our head when our body's were naturally designed to be able to function by themselves giving us internal and external cues of how and when and how much to eat. 

I want to say also that if you are someone that isn't to a healthy place but you do wish to be mentally or physically, then just know that you aren't alone sister. There are so many out there that are navigating these waters and unsure day to day especially with every different blog post coming out of which diet to choose, and then watching documentaries on Netflix that leave you thinking that unless you drink water and eat lettuce, then there's a carcinogen and you.will.die. Be gentle with yourself during the holidays. Don't allow yourself to fall into the guilt and rejection cycle. This is the guilt that follows after a day of rejecting the diet culture. Lean into NOT rejecting diets, but rather just listening to what you want. Sit in that. Quiet your voice and listen to what you want. 

And don't let anyone pressure you into thinking that all of this diet culture is normal. There is no need to binge, talk about macros, talk about making up, talk about starting fresh in January. The only need is that you enjoy time with your family and allow your brain to escape for a bit just relaxing into what makes you FEEL your best. If that is copious amounts of pumpkin pie, then BY GOLLY eat it in abundance. Don't say "SCREW THE DIET. GIVE ME PUMPKIN PIE!" No. Just eat it. Because it's food, and enjoyable, and meant to be enjoyed without the pressures around us telling us that there needs to be some sort of rule that is placed that it's only allowed at certain times and in a certain manner because we will "make up for it later." 

I hope this is portrayed in the manner that I wish it to be, and know that many times it can almost just be even more confusing. I just simply want women and men to be able to eat ... in peace. That's all <3 

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Life & Training Updates

OH MY GOODNESS HI! lol! 

So for the first time, something really crazy/cool happened. I was trucking along, doing life, and one of my dearest friends/blog followers emailed me and said "Are you okay? I haven't seen blog posts? How are you?" And I thought "oh wow, I can't remember the last time that I've blogged." I had some weird emotions about that. WOW! My life is so full right now that I didn't even realize that I hadn't posted. And then a touch of sadness because I've had this blog for so long and I don't want to quit trucking along now. I want to keep this blog for memories for myself and Tanner as well as I know there are a lot of people that still follow my journey and I'm not trying to drop off the map. I just have been really loving life and enjoying it in the moment. 

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I went to an event in Shelby last night that was for one of our local runners to tell her story of how she qualified for Boston after taking 18 years off running marathons, and it was just the most fun. One of the local crossfitters came up to me afterwards and said she really enjoyed following my journey on my blog, and I was just so shocked that she even did and it was so sweet she took the time to tell me. I told Tanner when I got home that I think I kinda forget that that used to be a big part of who I am, that people "followed me" and I just feel so normal and such a dork that I sometimes wonder why anyone is still here, but THANKS YALL! ;) 

If you follow me enough you know that I truly try to be present where I am, so if I'm with Tanner, I try to reduce phone time (or with friends and family) and if I'm at work, I try to be all there, so with working a full time job as I'm sure many of you do, you know how fast the days (and your life) can fly by. Luckily, I feel so blessed that I've truly fallen in love with my career path. I feel so lucky almost daily. I just absolutely love working out, working, then coming home and making dinner and watching Grey's Anatomy, curling up with a book before bed, wash, rinse, REPEAT! Man y'all. I haven't known this kind of life.. ever. Like...literally ever. It's so nice and new and fresh for me, and I don't want to ever stop it haha! Maybe I'll get bored, but I doubt it. We are always doing fun stuff on the weekends and the week nights, and I just love the stability and my small town life. 

One huge thing that I realized I was subconsciously doing through all of my journey through life is comparing my life to others online because we ALL do it even when we don't mean to and seeing all the cool places that everyone lives and thinking that my life would somehow be better if I could obtain the geographical location that they were. I looked at my present and ALWAYS ALWAYS no matter what felt grass is greener. When we were in NYC, I thought small town life was such a dream (in the middle of my #1 dream) and then when I got to Shelby, all I wanted to do was go back. LOL! We are always searching for our purpose and our perfect life. Are we missing out if we don't do XYZ? Where should we live? What should our job be? Man, I just gave it up and coincidentally, it gave me the most joy yet. I realized that the situation that I'm in in Shelby is honestly freakin amazing.

Now, when I say that Shelby is amazing, you might be in some big city and thinking how exhausting it is, or you might think Shelby looks cute from the way that I have portrayed it (or maybe not lol) and then that gives you a case of FOMO. I was listening to a podcast today about the social constructs and the happiness that we lack BECAUSE of social media. These were highly educated people studying this, and it's so true. YOUR present is your eutopia if you allow it. Don't read my blog and compare your life. Go out and live yours!!! I mean that so deeply!

((Interesting side note: The studies show that there is a direct correlation that the more that you post, the more obsessed with you are with your image online, and the more unhappiness that it creates. The study showed that even though we are presently acutely aware that people only post their highlight reel, we don't post for them, but rather the more that we post, the more that we feel the need to post more of our own highlights to convince OURSELVES over and over again the validity of our own lives in comparison to the posts that we are seeing of others. We know the unwritten social rules that you only post the good and we don't post our insecurities or credit card debt or bad relationships because that's weird and not allowed and we all play the game perpetuating the cycle.)) --> I think we all know this now but dang...how crazy! Go out and live your life folks! Shut off those phones! We have to ACUTELY fight this social media obsession. It's important!!! 

I mean some of this change has even been very recent. I was making a come back as a creative project on Youtube. I didn't care who followed along, but y'all, I can't keep up. I can't do it all, and I just don't want to anymore. My job kicked up like the week right after I made that announcement and I'm SO thrilled about that so I'm not sad in the slightest! I'd rather make dinner not just one night a week but every night with my husband. I'd rather be present and organized doing things right the first time vs frazzled and busy. I have decluttered my closet and realized how fruitful that made me feel and then realized I needed to do it to my life. To be frank, I quit some volunteer work I was doing as well because sometimes you just gotta free up your schedule to be you and none of us should have to feel the need to apologize for that. BUT I AM DONE RANTING! ;) 

We have been so busy on the weekends as well as the weeks traveling to see friends, have dinners as often as we can and coffee dates whenever we can catch them. I have went to Raleigh twice since my best friend has moved back from NYC, and we were just there last weekend to go on the trolley where you pedal around and stop at bars. Let me just tell you..it was a blast! We went to see some friends in Greenville SC and had dinner with them one night. We went to Charlotte last night to have dinner with my best friend from Shelby that moved away that I miss so dearly. We went to Bristol TN which is where Tanner is from to see his family one weekend and going there again on Thursday. My family is going to Chapel Hill this weekend to visit my cousin Celeste who is in dental school and also to do our girls family shopping trip. Tanner and I leave for London in two weeks. I went to New Jersey for a work trip then spent the weekend in NYC, and that has all been since October when I went to Chicago for the marathon. SHEESSHHHH! When I write it all out, no wonder it's felt like a blur! ;) 

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Soooo, am I still running? WHY YES YES I AM! ;) 

So I took an entire month off after Chicago. I ran when I felt like it which wasn't much. I did random long runs, but then would do like 3 miles one other day those weeks. lol! I was contemplating Myrtle Beach before Chicago, but then once my life slowed down and got more organized and honestly more happy, my labs were back to normal, I decided that I am in fact in LOVE with marathons...as you all know! ;) 

My goal literally is just to do the best that I can. OBVIOUSLY, we all know deep down what I want, but I don't even want to speak it out loud because I don't want it to be this thing that I feel pressure to do. I don't want to complete the marathon and people to feel like "oh katie didn't hit her goal." The goal is to complete my training to the best of my ability, try to not skip workouts (lol) and give my all the day of. THAT IS THE A GOAL AND THE ONLY GOAL. 

November 12th marked 16 weeks out, and I decided to kick up mileage this week. I have written out a program for myself on google docs just of mileage and what days I'll do intervals/tempos/long runs, and then I'm using the Believe Training Journal to write more specifics. I am utilizing the Garmin 730XT for all of my faster training runs and checking heart rate to see how I'm progressing, and then I use my 920XT on easy run days because I just love that watch and want to use it sometimes lol! It doesn't have heart rate on the wrist though! 

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I need a million different sources of writing this down and planning it out or I just end up running miles without programming and that is just silly. I have a completely different mindset this time around, and I just want to really do this right..finally. I am doing my first official long run tomorrow and I'm so excited for it. I'm excited to complete my week strong! I do plan to work up to 80 miles as my peak which I have done before, but I was 80 miles/week wayyyyy too early before Chicago and wasn't eating enough specific micronutrients to keep my health with that level of mileage. 

To give you what I did this week, I will write out my schedule for you: 

Monday - 8 miles @ Conversation Pace : 7:30 

Tuesday - 800m intervals for an asessment (800m x 8 @ 2:55 with 400m rest between) 

Wednesday - 8 miles super easy (130HR goal) : 8:10 

Thursday - 6 miles at conversation pace (140HR goal) - 7:22

Friday (today) - 16 miles - 1 mile warm up and cool down with splits from 7:05-7:10 between for 14 miles - I know that sounds like a super intense workout but I just genuinely have realized I was holding myself back from my potential. I mean it felt hard and my body feels it right now but I was honestly fine. I didn't have to stop or catch my breath or anything like that, so it felt really solid. As Desi Linden says "Let the faster runs flow out of you" and that's what I'm trying to focus on - lengthening my stride and keeping my breathing consistent 

Saturday - COMPLETE REST! Family day in Chapel Hill 

Sunday - 8 mile tempo (730 warm up, 6 miles @ 6:45, 1 mile cool down) - I'm not sure if I'll do this outside at my cousins apartment in Chapel Hill because I wake up before everything or when I return home. 

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I just want to make a note that I'm so focused, and in just a different way than ever before. Planning out my runs with specific paces gives me something to look forward to, it keeps the workouts interesting so that they are more fun to complete, and honestly just makes the time go by faster. It makes me feel accomplished like that I'm doing really good work vs just farting around and doing nothing with my time. 

I'm still reading! I love to read...so much. With work being so busy and training, it is a little harder. I'm trying to do more runs outside vs the treadmill and I used to read a lot on the treadmill, but I'm still doing it as much as I can. We wake up every morning around 4:30am (we love mornings so much that we keep inching this earlier but I think this is the threshold lol). The other morning I was chatting too much and Tanner said "this is my sacred time to read. I love you, but hush." hahahah! We always read for like an hour with coffee before we even start our day. It's absolute bliss, and I just love our little routine. If I have a workout to knock out some mornings then I'll do that though, so it all depends on my schedule for the day. With us deciding to invest where we are, we also are setting up a guest bedroom and fixing up our bedroom to be different and I'm LOVINGGGG some home decor fun! 

I think that is all. This is so disorganized and just my stream of consciousness, but I hope everyone is doing well. I love you all. 

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Life Lately - So much joy!

So, if you are interested in my self love experiment, this is the blog for you. In just a few short weeks, I feel drastically different, and honestly you can probably even tell that from my social media. I’m not one of those people who can fake her happiness, but also not someone who keeps it to herself when she’s feeling high on life. Sometimes I’ll post on facebook then I’m like “Katie, why did you post that? No one cares!” but then I think “Yolo, if I want to post it, Imma do me. Screw social standards of only allowing certain amounts of facebook activity before you’re the weirdo who overshares.” Lol. We all know that’s me, but I digress.

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So as I was preparing for Chicago marathon, I developed the anemia and lots of other health issues that kind of sidelined me for a bit. I felt the anemia fog for a long time, and then it was almost like one day the veil just lifted. For anyone that may have gone through this, or going through it, I noticed that there were good days and bad days, but the bad days got more and more spaced out and then just kind of disappeared until I was like “wait I haven’t felt that in a long time now.”

I’m going for follow up labs in 2 weeks to make sure that everything is square and I’m good. Regardless, after Chicago, I promised that I was going to go through a season of the self-love experiment from October to the end of the year. The gist of this is just to chill out and live life and whatever happens, happens. I also was just going to train whatever I felt like every day, not really pay attention to nutrition which I thought was going to be impossible (will explain this in a moment), and I also was going to spend my money a little more liberally. If you don’t know, I’m very frugal (aka ridiculously cheap to a fault). If you follow this blog though, I’m sure you do know that.

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I was talking with my friend this weekend who is actually 10 years older than me, and she explained that like me it took her a long time to settle in to “being an adult and spending like an adult.” It’s like I get so fearful that I’m not going to have a job tomorrow or something, but then you realize that you do and you will and it makes it easier to actually buy the $19.99 H&M sweater you want without telling yourself that’s too expensive (not kidding that’s how I am).

So, let’s start with training:

It’s been such a joy. With the lift of the anemia fog, I have literally ONLY ran for joy and started lifting again. I’ve done 2 leg days and they’ve left me with that hurt all day and next day hunger and I just love it and have missed those heavy leg days, and by heavy I mean, I’ve lost a lot of strength and have work to do but considering I haven’t lifted legs in like a year, I’ll take it. I kinda always continued arm work, but I’m back to the “everyone’s staring because I look like a crazy person when I’m lifting because I like to do it interval intensity style more like crossfit but I’m in a quiet gym where it’s only men doing one arm rows while they stare at their delts in the side mirror.”

Eight miles is my sweet spot favorite distance, so I do that distance a lot. I did that on the treadmill while catching up on This is Us while at the hotel last week, I did 8 while running through a park by my hotel, I ran 8 through cute little Sunnyside Queens where I stayed, and then I ran 16 on my epic Manhattan adventure run day. I never planned on doing 16 miles, and I never planned on any of those 8 milers. I didn’t scope out locations, or plan runs. Each day, I just thought “hm a run would be nice” so I went. There were two days I didn’t do a thing because well, I didn’t feel like it and that’s the whole point of this. On Friday, I was walking around Manhattan alone and thought “I wish I wasn’t in cute clothes and could just run this. It would make this sight seeing so much easier.” And that’s when the idea came for Saturday. I would wake up, do some work, then head out for the day in running clothes vs cute clothes.

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It was so epic. I’m so glad I did that. If you didn’t see on facebook I ran over the Queensboro bridge, one loop through central park, down to Columbus circle and Lincoln Center, down to Times Square, over to Chelsea piers and the water, cut back into Greenwich village for lunch, walked over the highline and walked through Chelsea market, continued running down the Hudson to Battery Park, to the statue of liberty, over through the 911 memorial to Brooklyn bridge, ran/walked over Brooklyn Bridge and cut back to come back to Manhattan on the Manhattan bridge up through China town/Little Italy to the canal street subway and went back up to Sunnyside Queens at that point which is where I was staying.

With all of this free flowing through training for a few weeks now, it of course makes me crave training. I’m holding off on anything official until November 12th and that is the week I’ll begin slowly ramping up training for Myrtle Beach. For Chicago, I attempted high mileage, and clearly that didn’t work out well as I started way too far out, so I’m going to do a shorter prep, start miles moderate and then ramp them up right before my peak weeks and just see what happens. I honestly don’t want to set any big goals for MBM. I just want to go and do my best! <3 I find that to be best for me personally!

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Nutrition:

Honestly, for whatever reason, I truly have entered a season of intuitive eating, and in the past I’ve felt like intuitive eating meant aiming towards healthier foods and then eating too little, but just with so much tracking I’m very aware of how much food my body needs now, so I just free flow through life. Last night, my friend in NYC made an amazing Whole 30 recipe, but the night before I had ice cream and fries ya know? Lol. Tonight, I’m making a French Onion Soup with French bread for Tanner and I that I’m pumped about. I realized I really love trying new recipes, and tracking can be exhausting with that, so now that I know that I’m getting enough I’ve let up on that.

Purchasing things:

Well, I still stink at this. I have been traveling so basically that’s expensive regardless so I don’t really justify anything else. Plus, we really NEED a new bedroom suit so we are in the process of purchasing that, as well as patio furniture is on sale and we need that for our deck so that people actually want to hang out on it. I’ve realized with a deck if you don’t have furniture on it people think you’re still working on it! Hahaha! So, we gotta get that moving for next summer for hang outs! We want to do a screen on the wall attached to the house as a movie theater type situation. EEK! We are also wanting to put in a fire pit. Soooo, all the funds are going to things we “need” but also these are really exciting things!!! Yay! But like I went to H&M and legit put back a sweater as I mentioned earlier. Lol! I just always convince myself I don’t need it…because I don’t. So, there’s that.

Well this is what I want - Tanner says he needs to think about it longer because he thinks it's too fancy for the style he wanted buttttt I'm gonna push for this one ;) 

Well this is what I want - Tanner says he needs to think about it longer because he thinks it's too fancy for the style he wanted buttttt I'm gonna push for this one ;) 

Joy Caliber:

Okay, that’s a dumb thing to call it but you know how life is all about seasons…well this is a really great one. Tanner finished his board exam, but then he was thinking about doing a second year residency. He has discussed this with his work, so I’m not telling secrets at this point. Well, that would have meant selling our house and moving. And I fully wanted that. One morning, at 6am, I was like “babe why are we always chasing. Our life is so great. Why don’t we just live it?” And he was just like … wow that is so true. We have been chasing this grass is greener for literally our entire lives so I think it’s just natural for us, but then we were like “wait, isn’t this what we have been working for? Why would we CONTINUE it with more schooling? We both have great jobs that we absolutely love? Why would we leave this house? We have built a mudroom, a deck, bought all the furniture for this specific house and put so much work into home décor and a gallery wall. WHO CARES if we don’t fit in it right now? Why don’t we set up our freaking guest bedroom and have friends stay with us? Why don’t we Airbnb our house if we want to? Why don’t we allow ourselves to grow into a house? YA FEEL ME?! I know I’ve been so back and forth on this for so long, so I’ll like put our house on Zillow then take it off. HAHAHA! So as I type this, my house is currently on Zillow (rolls eyes into the back of my brain at how annoying I am LOL).

All it took was a simple shift in perspective. I started recognizing that I wasn’t putting love into my present, but looking for some perfection when honestly I feel like it’s pretty darn near perfect. TBH people were just annoying me during the election so I was like GET ME OUT OF HERE but that’s so so silly. There’s so many people here that love. There’s so many girls here that I want to foster relationships with. With that said, I need friends. LOL! My best friend in Shelby moved to Charlotte and I wish she was here every day butttttt she’s not. Haha!

I started up a group on Facebook for women in cleveland county to connect. I had dropped the ball on this when I thought we were potentially moving (great example of how you pull from your present when you look to your perceived better future). I told my friends this weekend how I was doing a wine and cheese night for this group of girls this Thursday and she was like “OMG YOU HAVE TO READ THIS BOOK!” It’s called “MWF searching BFF” and it stands for Married White Female searching for BFF, but this book applies to literally everyone so I wanted to share an excerpt from it. If you read this book, you will LOVE this woman and she will make you feel not so crazy for being a late 20’s girl with no friends. Haha!

“When you tell someone ‘I’m looking for new friends’ what they hear is “I have no friends.” They’re drastically different statements, but in today’s world, you don’t go seeking new best friends unless you have none. Why would someone waste their time?  Talking about loneliness in America is deeply stigmatized. We see ourselves as self reliant people who do not need to whine about neediness. If a person going to complain, far better to complain about what someone has done to him (abuse, coercion, rejection) or what diagnoses and addictions he is saddled with; to wistfully describe how lonely he feels is not socially acceptable. Popular culture has made it okay to yell I WANT A MAN from the rooftops, so why are we embarrassed to say “I want friends.”

So, it’s time that I go make me some friends and I’m going to be locally friend dating! 😉 Send me your resumes ! jk jk!

Another thing I’m really excited about is trying new recipes and learning about different kinds of wine! Tanner and I have decided to explore this, go to vineyards together, try different whites and reds and learn about all of the complexities of wine. Clearly, I know nothing but that’s the fun! 😊 I’m going to start my meal planning again for every night of the week that I don’t have something going on so we can have a fancy dinner every night! It’s one of my favorite parts of every day! Some fun recipes I’m looking forward to:

-Tonight’s French onion soup

- Chili lentil soup

- Homemade chicken fingers and fries (ha sometimes I like being a kid)

-Lasagna (I might do Zuchinni but eh that’s lame so maybe not lol)

-Whole 30 Coconut milk Creamy Bacon Chicken Thigh (the one my friend made last night-wowza so good)

-Spicy Shrimp with mashed potatoes and garlic kale

-Bacon Avocado Chicken paninis with chipotle mayo on ciabatta

-Shrimp Risotto in a romesco sauce with a fried egg

YES WE ARE GETTING CRAY UP IN HERE! Obviously, not plant based and that was a really REALLY healthy decision for me mentally and physically, but that’s also not to say that I don’t think it’s a beautiful lifestyle that I always wished I could do better at.

Ever feel like there’s so much joy and so many fun things in life that you just want to do but don’t have time for? I will spare you all the details of all the fun books I’m reading, but becoming a reader daily is one of the best things I’ve done as a gift to myself. I just love it.

Okay, that’s enough on my life! Hope you’re having an amazing Monday! <3

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Jersey - What am I doing here?

So, I legit have had like 10 people ask me what I’m doing in Jersey for work, and then I know that means there’s like 100 more who would love to know but just won’t ask! Haaa!

So, lemme tell you about it! 😊

Also, I still have my Chicago recap (not the marathon but the actual city) because I absolutely love that city and can’t wait to share all the fun when I get a chance!

So, if you aren’t familiar with my company and what I do now full time, I’d love to share about it because I absolutely love it. My official title is pharmacist case manager of Cleveland County and I manage 150 patients with chronic disease states (diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, anxiety, depression, asthma). I schedule to meet with them one on one face to face every month and we review their medications and their lifestyle choices to help them get off their medications, reduce their medications, but mostly just to make sure that they are managed appropriately and in good health even if it’s with medication. This is called PPCN (Piedmont Pharmacy Care Network).

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I also am starting their website and social media so we are currently in the process of getting that off the ground along with a blog I’m starting for the patients on various health and wellness topics and this will all be evidence based type articles and more professional than the way this blog is formatted. We also do clinical trials on different disease states and we are hoping to get an account in the area so I would be managing that account in my area. I’m also creating the social media and website for that as well, which they are two separate entities at this time under one company umbrella of Medication Management, LLC.

So, my company is always looking to expand, all across the country. We currently have an account in East Orange, New Jersey. Each account typically always has a health fair where we go and promote and get employees to enroll that qualify based on biometric data (blood pressure, blood glucose, A1C, lipid panel, waist circumference, weight, etc). So, I’m here enrolling and promoting and I can work remotely on all of the other information. Typically, I have a lot of clients during the week so I shifted and moved my clients to other weeks, and have the flexibility to do that which is wonderful.

Our company has a unique model, and of course I’m personally bias, but it’s wonderful. It’s one of those things that I feel like if I could get in contact with every country financial committee, they would be on board to add it to their programming, so if you are one of those people or have contacts of someone who knows someone wherever you live, then let a sista know! 😉

We contract with these counties and have a pricing structure, and we have data to show that while it “costs”, it ends up ALWAYS saving the county and city governments in the end based on the health of the employees. It’s about outcomes data and we compile analytics to show that. More patients take less medications, more patients aren’t having events like heart attacks and strokes, and in turn, this cost less money because most of the time, their insurance providers are covering a major percentage not the actual patient.

The patients are motivated because 1) the program is free 2) they get information from trained professionals on disease state management, medication therapy management, and lifestyle and diet changes 3) it’s monthly accountability to keep the motivated 4) there are incentives involved if they continue the program and hit their goals! Each incentive is determined by their individual county/city government but it’s typically cash/debit card of some kind! 😉

Ever have a job that you know you want to be with for the rest of your life? I honestly feel that I’ve never heard any of my friends say that and not that they don’t feel it, but I think that it’s just not something we really think about. Well, that’s how I feel, and I’m so thankful. It also helps that all of the people that I report to are incredibly kind.

Truthfully, this company is always growing and expanding and I can’t wait to see where it leads them in the future! <3

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Update on the Mini Habit Challenge

So I'm not sure if you are familiar, but in September, I made a mini habit challenge for myself and for others. First off, I would like to say that it was at the beginning of September and when I went looking for this blog I was fully convinced it was only a few weeks ago. Wow, time seriously flies (but I think it's true that it flies only when you're in a really great season which I am). 

This challenge was just to say that there are little mini habits that I do that I would really like to break, and then there are habits that I would like to add in to my life that if I make conscious efforts, I would like to add in. Some of my list included: 

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  • Reading 100 pages per day 
  • Not mindlessly eating peanut butter out of the jar with a fork (it was a silly issue)
  • Stop chewing gum (it makes me bloated but yet I do it all day every day after meals-yuck)
  • Stop drinking AS MUCH diet sundrop (lolz) 
  • No facebook 
  • Write down 3 positive things each day 

YALL I DIDN'T DO ONE! LOL!!!!!! This is hilarious when I type it out. I had no idea how much I sucked at my challenge, butttttt there is good news in this. I sound like I have so many issues and I'm hopeful maybe y'all don't create little bad habits like I do! ;) There are things that I write blogs about that I feel I'm knowledgeable on (science-y stuff, marriage, running, nutrition, medication management, pharmacy) and then there are things where I'm just full on honest that I'm in the struggle bus land, and that is HABIT FORMATION! 

I told Tanner last night that I've done it in a stair stepping manner. First of all, I'm sincerely really happy every day. I went through a rough season (as I've mentioned a million times) and I remember the date- August 10th that I decided to let go. And seriously, when I just decided to flip my mindset, everything changed. And now that I see how that worked out, it makes me confident in the future that it won't happen again because it was totally just me in my head. So it's been 10 weeks of just pure joy around here. 

Here's what I have done. I have been reading at every moment that I can, but just not 100 pages per day because even though all of these readers say they read that much, that's a lot and hard to keep up with once my job started kicking up more than usual. I don't do the peanut butter thing in a negative way like I was doing, not even close. I do it sometimes, but it was like all day every day working from home, and now it's very little. 

I quit chewing gum, and then I started back again, so last night I mentally committed to another 30 days because when I started back it was a lot less frequent and I figure if I do it a few times then eventually it will actually completely be a kicked habit. Ha! I have not completely stopped drinking diet soda, but I am drinking much less. I honestly don't think there is THAT much harm in it, for a lot of reasons that I won't go into on this blog because I just refuse to eliminate things out of my diet/life now because I feel it causes the restrictive behavior feeling, however diet soda does not make me feel good (I get headaches pretty bad) and yet I still keep drinking it. That's just silly. I have made valiant efforts to find drinks that I enjoy just as much. The drinks that I have found I like (I'm a very picky drinker) are Coconut Bai (OMG YOU MUST TRY), Diet Green Tea with Citrus, and Propel Berry. I have significantly reduced the amount that I'm drinking and it feels wonderful. 

No facebook - okay I still use facebook and I still post on it, but the change that I have done is that I don't participate or contribute in the little arguments. I don't post some big status about the issue at hand of the week that always inevitably comes up which is just some big "oh let me tell you how I feel about this" kind of thing. It's actually quite funny how much I used to do that. Now I just share pictures of when I do fun things. I don't have it on my phone anymore, so the only time that I do get on is when I'm on the computer. This has DRASTICALLY changed my quality of life. I know that's so dumb but when you are constantly immersed in the drama of facebook, it gets to you more than you realize. I don't scroll through instagram anymore either. I visit my few friends that I have to see if they have posted, and then I get off. I don't play the comparison game of any kind anymore. Lord, that's so liberating. 

Three positive things per day is not something that I can even pretend like I did. I totally forgot I even made that a thing, but I do want to start doing that. I think that naturally I started seeing the positive in life when I made this change of mindset a few months back, but I think it's even more useful to write out specifics of what you're thankful for. 

One thing that I did not put in that challenge that I feel I have made drastic change, and that is to think of others and not myself. I realized that even in all of the efforts of breaking habits, it's just this focus on ME ME ME and if I really am able to flip my energies towards my friends, it creates such happiness. I have made really huge efforts in getting my friends small gifts and texting them more and catching up with those that I had lost touch with. I just want those that I love to know that I really do love them so much even in the midst of a busy life.

I hope that you had maybe a slightly more successful mini habit challenge, and here's to next month where I'm going to keep on truckin. On Nov 20th, I hope to report to you that I successfully broke all the things for 30 days. I'm feeling fiesty this morning, so let's see how long this lasts! ;) 

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The Joy in living

You know how they say that you can't have a perfect life? I have realized, at least for this week, I think that's false. haha! That's not to say that my life is perfect or that I'm aiming for some picture perfect life, but I think that no matter your situation and no matter where you're at, your life can be perfect, in this very moment. I have been doing so much reading and research on the neural connections that we make since we are children and the surrendering of our internal thoughts to look at the positive side of life. 

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I don't want this blog to seem like one of those annoyingly fake social media posts. I fully recognize the reality that is life, and that things suck sometimes and that we can't always be a positive patty but I have truly realized the value of not letting stuff get to you. It's an amazing, liberating feeling, and so I like to share those processes with you guys and books to read to help you get there. 

Books:

  • The Power of Now 
  • The Joy of Living: Unlocking the Secret and Science of Happiness
  • The Four Agreements
  • Untethered Soul
  • The Book of Joy
  • Pebbles of Perception

These are all just the books that I have personally read, and yes, I know that it's hard to read this many books but just add them to your list and slowly work through them. The one thing that I've realized is that when you find books that you truly enjoy, then you will read them faster than you ever thought you could. And I believe this topic to be so useful. 

This isn't just something that I'm making up but it's a process of 

1) recognizing that you have a subconscious mind and that your personal thoughts might not be those of your subconscious brain 

2) separating from those thoughts and pulling away from them (ESPECIALLY if they are negative) 

3) recognizing that we create neural connections and connections through action potentials during our life, but just like bad habits, we can break through because our neurons have neural plasticity 

One good example of this is when a child sees a dog when they are little and it is vicious or even bites them. They will create a neuron firing that means "dog equals scary and dangerous" therefore they will be really scared of dogs from that point forward even if that's irrational. It will take breaking this neuron firing as they age to break it, but it CAN be done and is done by many. 

The dog example can apply to so many and especially in the health and fitness sphere as everyone teeters in their own element of obsession! ;) I'm well aware of my addictive personality and so I try my best to channel that into good things to be obsessive about - family, marriage, faith, work, running - but inevitably there are the sneaky and prevalent bad habits that come into my life. My husband sometimes is like DANG GIRL! You gotta stay vigilant or junk can become a problem QUICK. It's ridiculous and my brother is the same way and so is my dad. It's learned behavior most likely. 

But regardless of habits that can be broken by changing those neurons firing, this can also be practiced with an attitude of gratitude in everything that I do instead of looking for the negative. I had fallen into a spell of looking for the bad, not purposefully but it just happened. I got cynical real fast, hated humans (not really but ya know), wanted no social interaction, etc etc. LOL! I realized that I do love being an introvert, but I also realized this was just a product of my negativity and looking for the bad and not the good. 

We have a choice every day. We can either be happy or we can't. This is non-conditional. There are no "but if this happens during my day then I'm annoyed or mad." It is a decision that you make, and it is done. Now granted, this takes practice and it takes time, but just to give you a few examples in my life that I could have seen as negative:

  • I said that I was coming back to blogging and youtube and at that same exact time, my life and full time job got EXTREMELY busy and then I genuinely couldn't unless I just didn't want to sleep or see my husband which neither was going to happen lol --- but flipped -- how WONDERFUL that my full time job is busy now, I absolutely LOVE what I'm getting to do and I love pouring myself more and more into the job and the community of Shelby-it literally makes me so happy
  • My Chicago training literally fell apart --- uhhhh I got to be with Bethany to the finish - that's all I need
  • We went to Bristol this weekend and got stuck in traffic for 2 hours - my husband was having a full on angry session - I lectured him on staying positive which I'm sure annoyed him more (lol) and then I turned on Taylor Swift and had a dance party and within a few minutes, we were having a party in stand still traffic instead of sulking 
  • I thought I was going to be late for the health fair this morning due to other things I was having to complete and normally would have been freaking out but I thought "I'm very dedicated to this job and have prepared - if I'm a few minutes late, the party will go forward" - I wasn't late. I was perfectly fine. The drama in my mind was saved 
  • I hit the front end of my 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee and will need a new expensive chrome front bumper - normally I would FREAK.OUT. I mean freakkkkk out. I literally laughed as if it was almost a test and just got back in my car, didn't get it fixed, and I'm cruising thru my happy life with a little dent and will fix it if I feel like it one day and it's all just paper anyway

This was NOT easy for me to start doing. I'm a worrier, and it's a process in the beginning. The first step is starting to recognize your thoughts that are NOT you. Listen for them tomorrow. The chatter that your brain does. That's not truly you. That's your anxiety. We all have it. I feel I need a name for mine. It just carries on without me all day long. But when you separate from this and relax into the background, you truly reach a new level of happiness. 

They are just cute and who doesn't love puppies haha!

They are just cute and who doesn't love puppies haha!

I think I've bored you with it enough for now but I hope you'll start to recognize yours and work towards flipping those subconscious thoughts to a attitude of gratitude for all the beautiful moments of life that are RIGHT in front of you and if you live truly IN that moment, it's never as bad as you think it is. :) It's actually quite a great moment if you let it. So, while I know that perfection doesn't exist, I feel as if I'm living my perfect life in all this happiness! :) 

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Chicago Marathon Race Recap

It feels like forever since I’ve wrote a race report, and it honestly feels good to be writing one here again. I feel like so much is different in my life this time, and the way that I felt about this race, so it’s kinda cool to evolve through the years while maintaining this blog and be able to reflect on that. Chicago Marathon is a marathon that I hope everyone can do at some point. It's so well organized and such a PR course, and the city is amazing. Gosh, I just was so present in the moment this weekend and had such a great time. 

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As stated in the post before this one, I had no goals for Chicago. Honestly, I flew out on Thursday and wasn’t even sure I was going to run it. I know that might make some like roll their eyes, but I just didn’t run a long run in so long, I questioned my capability. But I wanted to experience the race day and the energy so I wanted to show up to the start line no matter what. I didn't run for two days as I was traveling, and then did a shake out run with Tanner.

This is the first time he has run in a very long time due to high hamstring tendonopathy, so this was really hard but great for him.

This is the first time he has run in a very long time due to high hamstring tendonopathy, so this was really hard but great for him.

If you’re reading this blog, I hope we are close because I’ll get personal here right quick. I thought I had an impacted bowel on Wednesday night before we flew out. I took very serious measures to produce a movement and got NOTHING, and I contemplated going to the ER in Chicago. Finally, through the second night I was there, things happened AND IT WAS GLORIOUS. That’s all the details you need. HAHAA! 

But with that said, marathon was like “okay it’s done. Just time to enjoy Chicago.” So, we did. I didn’t walk excessively, but did the touristy thing (I'm going to do a full blog on Chicago). On Friday, I started feeling WORLDS better, I haven’t felt the anemia feeling in probably 2+ weeks, and as it got to be Saturday, I thought “well heck, maybe I can run a few miles. I’d run miles at home so might as well do them on the course right?” Right, Katie. 

I was staying with my client and very best friends, Annabelle, and we went to the expo together, and she cooked for us the night before the race. I honestly think I'll always do a home cooked meal after how great I felt. It was a garlic basil shrimp linguine with basil and crushed tomatoes, and yes, it was as good as it sounds. haha! She made us hot tea later that night to just relax and we hung out and watched New girl with the boys. I stayed with her last year and now this year, and I'm just so dang thankful for my friendship with Annabelle. She inspires me in so many ways to be a kinder, more giving, more thoughtful person and so glad we have gotten close.

On the morning of, we rode the train in to Bethany’s hotel to meet her and Mel. It was Annabelle’s first marathon, which she did so wonderful, so I was talking to her about how she felt, and just chatting. I cannot believe I didn’t take one of just her, but we got a photo together right before she went into her gate. Beth, Mel and I headed to our gate and corral which was all the same.

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I showed up to the start with every intention of just finishing. Everyone was talking goals, and I just didn’t have any which I was in NO WAY upset about, and it felt good to have zero pressure. I never felt nerves the entire time. 

I told Beth and Mel to just go ahead from the start and I planned to run around 8min/mile. I didn’t start my watch. The GPS signal on the Chicago course is horrible anyway so I just thought it was useless to turn it on and only wore it because it completed my running outfit. Just being honest. LOL

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I started the race and everyone in the corral was flying by me. I was in the first corral and wave, so it was people shooting for sub 3’s and early 3 hour marathons and I thought maybe I’d pull out at 3:30-3:45. I figured I was going about 8min/mile and it felt super easy. I got to mile 2 and felt like I was going so so slow, like walking, and the clock said 16:02, so I thought “okay good, 8 min/mile-this is smart and safe.” I got to mile 3, and it was a touch under 8, and as I progressed through the next 5 miles, I knew I was progressing into like 7:45 average but thought it felt the same exertion after my warm up so why not?

At mile 8, I saw Tanner and Ross. Ross is Annabelle’s finance who let Tanner borrow a bike and he got to see me FOUR TIMES on the course. COURSE RECORD FOR US! And we are so thankful to them…for their friendship, for their hospitality, for just freakin everything, I love them so much. HA! So Ross hugs me, and I was just annoyed to be running slow TBH and said “Tanner, don’t let me sign up anymore. I’m just bored today. I’m physically fine, but I’m in a funk.” I realized later that it was because I was not going at a pace that is natural for me, and that doesn’t feel good. It just feels like BLAH. 

After mile 8, I asked myself if I was going to finish and I told myself that I would finish. You kind of have to make those mental decisions. So, I told myself that it was useless for me to decide to run the race and be such a drama queen. I love running. Snap out of it Katie. Enjoy the race. So, I did. I stopped thinking about my pace and going slower, but just trying to keep my same pace while looking around at the crowd and thinking about other things.

this is my selfie at like mile 5 hahahah! I'm a dork

this is my selfie at like mile 5 hahahah! I'm a dork

I started thinking about my clients and how they were doing, and about the other girls I knew were running and how I hoped they had a great race day. I thought about Tanner and how good he is to me, and how sweet he was when I saw him. He lights up when he sees me on the course. It’s adorable. I thought about my to do list, because who doesn’t do that right? I thought about how I wanted to work harder in other areas of my life that I’ve been a little less present in, and how I wanted to be more like Annabelle because she inspired me so much with the things she did for me this weekend even though she was letting me stay in her apartment (she bought fresh flowers, my favorite gus, my favorite cliff bars, made me dinners, paid for things constantly during the weekend, had recommendations for everything prepared, made sure to have our favorite foods to prepare, coffee, TV, and music-literally I can’t explain how much she did lol). 

By that time, it was the half. Tanner had said he would be at the half, and he wasn’t, but I was in such a better mood that I didn’t care. I thought how I was going to apologize to him for my attitude at mile 8 and that I was totally fine and loving the race and the energy of the crowds. He said that he had stayed with Ross to see Annabelle, but with her being in so many corrals behind me, the gap between us became too wide that they had to separate and he actually went to mile 16 instead. At mile 13, I thought that there was a half marathon left, and I felt fantastic with so much energy. I had hit a 1:37ish split? That might be wrong, but somewhere around there, and thought “well if I do this split again I’ll get under 3:20, so why not shoot for better than that right?” 

I picked it up. At mile 15, I wondered if my GPS would work on my watch so I tried it out. “GPS connected” SCORE. I started running by what I felt was more natural at this point. That mile was a 7:13 and I thought “hmmm… maybe I’ll do a negative split! That would be fun!” 

Mile 16-18, I continued to go by feel. I didn’t see Tanner, but he said that he saw me very closely behind Bethany and Mel and thought “Lord, what is she doing?” HA! Ooops, sorryyyy honey! ;) At mile 16.5ish, I saw Mel. She looked strong, and I passed her and asked if she was okay. She said she was going 7:30’s at the time, and honestly, I’m a jerk for even asking that. I felt really bad at the finish for saying that because she was like “uh yea I’m fine.” WHOMP, KATIE YOU SUCK. She asked what I was doing, and I just told her that I felt really great and that I was going to just go by feel. 

Mile 16-18 were 6:30-6:45 splits for 3 miles. I know, I know. I was shocked too, but I felt fantastic and felt I could stay at that pace. I knew at mile 18-20, I planned to pull back as those paces might not last me to the finish. Who knows? 

At mile 18, I saw Bethany. I was honestly really nervous to catch her. HONEST ALLIGATOR HERE: She trains really really hard. She never misses a day. Rain, sleet, snow, sunshine, 99 freakin degrees doing 800m sprints, she never waivers, and I do. I complain to her, I skip workouts, I contemplate even doing the race, etc etc. I felt really stupid, and I felt like it was truly unfair for me to catch up to her. I felt I didn’t train to run the race with her. She deserved to run HER race, but I tapped her on the shoulder. She looked like she was struggling. I said “hey girl, are you okay?” I think she wouldn’t hate me that she said “WHAT THE F ARE YOU DOING HERE?” HAHAHAH! I’m pretty sure I apologized, and then she said “Will you help me get through this thing?” 

So, that’s what I did. I wanted to help her get the 3:10 that she trained for, and that she CAN do. Bethany sweats a lot, and excretes twice as much sodium as most, and her stomach was a bit upset. Each mile, I would ask her how she was, and she would update me. I asked her how much she wanted me to encourage her because there’s a fine line in encouragement and annoyance. She said “No.” She told me later she thought I asked if she wanted to WALK. LOL!! And she was like WTF NO. 

At mile 20, she said she wanted to do a fast mile and then a slow mile, so we did 7:45 then 7:30 then scaled back to 7:45 again. I told her at mile 23 that if she could hold 7:30’s to the finish that she would get her PR, and she said “I’m truly happy to just get close to my PR” and she held true to that, and I’m so so glad. She freakin fought so hard in moments I probably wouldn’t have. We kept quiet and just ran. When she would have spurts, I’d run with that, and when I could tell it would get to her, we would scale back. I just followed her rhythm and flow.

At mile 24, we start picking it up. I couldn’t believe how these miles I was able to be an active participant in because I was so lucid. I was there, in the moment, in the screaming crowds 100%. I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face. I felt cheesy and thought “Katie, stop smiling. You look silly” 

At mile 25, we started going around 7:20ish again. I hear someone say “GO KATIE. GO BETHANY!” And I get chills and tears typing it. I look over, and there is Gregg Bard (formally @nycsweat now @g__n__b) and he has this hat on and he was just SO enthusiastically cheering for us, just so genuinely had this look of proudness and friendship on his face. I can’t describe it. I got chills. I hear “KATIEEEEE!!!” I look to my left, and Tanner is on the freakin course with both hands over his mouth yelling my name. I couldn’t believe it. Mile 25?! Again, he’s here. I LOVE MARATHONS SO DAMN MUCH YALL. GOSH. 

We see the marker of 1 mile to go and we kick it into a higher gear. We fist pump and then fist bump one another. Hahaha! Yep, we sure did. No words needed. We held hands as we went through photo areas, and then it said 800m to go. Bethany points to it almost like a signal of “let’s do the mother freakin thang” and we just went. We kicked it into that 800m speed work gear and freakin got it. I’ll never forget it. They have signs that say 400m, 300m, 200m. You turn and you go up the hill. The crowd isn’t there, but it was just us. We sprinted to the finish and held up our hands and just like that, we cross another finish line!!! 

YES! SO MUCH JOY. NO PAIN. NO FATIGUE. JUST ABSOLUTELY BLISSFUL JOY. 3:16:05! 

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We walked a little way and then we hugged, started crying, and said how much we loved each other. Hahahaha! Such a post marathon thing to do, but dang, it’s just so emotional. There’s nothing like it. I live for that feeling. That is my bliss, my safe haven, and the reminder of why I do this. I went and found Tanner after, and he said he was more proud of me than he has ever been and the rest of our trip could be amazing due to me staying smart and just having a good time. YAY! 

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I was disgusting haha!

I was disgusting haha!

The feeling I felt after this marathon was different than others. It was a feeling of feeling like I have an extra gear I didn’t know I had. It was a feeling of feeling like a drama queen and that this entire cycle was just another example of the drama I cause myself, and how I’m truly honestly disappointed in myself because of that. It was a feeling of pure joy for getting to finish it and pace a friend to the end, and not worrying about my time as I had planned. At mile 18, I was getting all super crazy in my head like I was about to run a huge negative split for a 3:05 and that was unnecessary. I didn’t train for that, and the way things happened made me so happy I can’t even express. I can’t believe I felt so incredible with a 3:16 when 1.5 years ago, I fought with everything in me for a 3:15.

I’m definitely not done (#duh). I hope this doesn’t come off as putting myself down, but I’m just honestly disappointed in myself at the end of the day and really tired of showing up to races unprepared. I don’t think I’ve come to one marathon, ultra, or ironman having completed the training plan as written or intended. I always think that I’ll just wing it, and I do, but it just leaves you with this pit in your gut like “Man, Katie, why can’t you just do it right like everyone else?” I know I had some health issues, but I caused them with an almost arrogant attitude of "oh it won't happen to me."

I’m tired of exhausting my real life friends with my melodrama and swearing that I’m done, or that I’m not gonna run this or that, and that I’m serious and fully meaning it when I say it, only to turn around and tell them I want to try for a sub 3. I know marathoners get it. We have those moments, but my real life friends aren’t marathoners, and that’s unfair in our friendship for them to be there for me only for me to hop right back in and then circle back through the melodramatic emotions again as I kick up training. My two best girlfriends, Brandy and Rachel, have been there for me a lot the past few months, and I'm so thankful for their friendship.

I’m entering a season of that 3 month self love experiment, and a period of time of just less drama in my life. Of course after a marathon like this, I immediately am like WHENS THE NEXT RACE?! WHERE CAN I GET THAT SUB3? But I think it’s a bit misplaced, and I need to allow myself the excitement while also being mature in the way that I felt PRE-race and allowing the excitement to fade to see if that’s really what I want. There will ALWAYS be other races. There will always be more time to reach goals. I’m very young, and still in my “prime” of running.

So, when I return to this sport to “compete”, I want to be serious. I want to say I’m going to do something, and follow through with it. I want to show up on that day, execute and be proud of the effort that I put in to get there all the way to race day. But for now, I’m going to enjoy the extreme fluctuations in emotions that is so typical post marathon. The excitement for all of the time that you will have to do other things. The excitement of organizing your life from all the things that you have put off, and working hard on new goals, but also the post marathon blues that after all the build up, the fun is over… until we meet again <3

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Plan for Chicago / Mistakes I made

So, you know that I'll always be upfront about things, and I wanted to share the plan going into Chicago, and the things that I could have done differently. 

First, and foremost, I would like to say that it's hard to convey through a blog of words the tone of voice that I'm using. I'm in a great mood, feeling very positive about the future of my training, races to come and fun to be had in Chicago. But now we get into the #reallife below ;) 

I feel like that after I got my labs back, and realized that I had stuff going on, I mentally checked out. In marathon training, if you are mentally there, then it's just going to be a crap shoot, and it has been. I have debated so many things like not even going to Chicago TBH or not running the race and going to see a broadway show to feeling stupid that I would even have that thought to feeling stupid that I would even try to run the race with how unprepared I feel. It goes back and forth every day and of course the thoughts of myself also are mingled in with the embarrassing "what would people think if I did this? or that?" 

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I've also felt a sense of "Why is it always something Katie? GET IT TOGETHER!" lol!

I told Tanner how I felt so stupid going from 80 miles per week at the most I've ever done to somehow ending up flat lining and being completely unprepared, and how dumb that makes me look and immature. And he was like 'Girl, you could have run all 100 mile weeks, and then the night before the marathon said to yourself that you didn't want to run it, and not run it, and THATS YOUR CHOICE. It's all 100% your choices with what you do and if you show up that morning and don't want to run it then you don't." And I was like YES BROTHER PREACH! I call him brother when he's saying these types of things to me, and he thinks that's weird. HA! 

The mistakes that I made in this training cycle that I have learned for the future of my running is that I was excited and started too early. I wanted to build a really huge base which I did, but my "base" was my normal peaking mileage amount and I just wasn't used to that, so I got really burnt out. But the truth is that if I want to try for a PR in the future, I would still want to do more higher mileage due to knowing what it is like now, but I just would start out not as many weeks out (this time was 22 weeks). 

I've learned myself, and I can't really last well past 16 weeks, so I think that will be the longest that I do a training program in the future. 20 weeks for me is just too much and I'm OVER IT by the end. I also am not someone who is over it, but still does my runs. I just don't go, I skip runs, and then I get to this point and I haven't done a long run in what I believe to be 6-7 weeks? Who knows, but it's a hot mess yall. HAHAH!

So, then it comes to my plan for Chicago. What will happen come race morning? Well, I'm truly very hopeful that I will not feel off or bad, but with the anemia that I have, it goes back and forth on what days feel good, so I'm hoping for a good one. I'm slowly coming out of the woods on that, but I've realized that I do have bad days within it, and so my hope is that it'll be a GREAT morning! 

My plan is to not have a plan...at all. I'm going to show up that morning carbed up and just start running. My hope of course is just for a medal, but I refuse to let this be another Boston Marathon saga story. I truly want no drama. I don't want a big story. I want a clean race that I may or may not finish depending on weather and my body. I'm not afraid to pull from this course, and I will if I need to. It's not worth being in a med tent to me, and it's not worth my health right now. I've finished 8 marathons and have nothing to prove here, and of course it would suck to not finish, but I need to go in with this frame of mind. It's not really a "be positive" kind of thing, but more of a "don't be an idiot" thing haha!

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As is very obvious, I need a little endurance break. I'm super excited to wrap up this marathon, start lifting again, hiking with Tanner on the weekends instead of long runs or whatever else we feel like doing, and running whenever I feel like it! :) 

I also am THRILLED about going to Chicago because I love the windy city and showing Tanner the city and how similar it is to NYC (just cleaner lol). I'm thrilled about seeing friends and making new ones and dinner dates and touristy fun! 

Sorry for the lack of running inspiration this morning. My hope is that you're inspired that WE ALL GO THROUGH THIS and if you've felt it, you aren't alone. That's what this beautiful journey of life is all about...the highs, the lows, and the "don't give a dangs" on occasion! ;) 

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Our first "season" together

This weekend, if you follow my social channels, you know, is the weekend that Tanner finally completed the oncology board exam. I know that not everyone would study as hard as he did for it, but he really didn't want to take any chances on not passing (there is a 40% passage rate among pharmacists apparently) so he wanted to try as hard as he possibly could. The exam is also $600 sooooo, we don't wanna pay that twice. LOL. 

 The fun thing is that during it he fell more and more in love with oncology and he loves being able to go into work now and be more clinically minded when giving recommendations due to everything that he has learned during this process. It's a good feeling to work so hard, and see results come from it. I know that feeling well, and I'm sure many of you do too. It feels FANTASTIC to work for something and see it come to fruition. 

With that said, we took the weekend for us. And it was lovely. He said that he almost didn't know what to do and felt like he was idly walking around just because his days have been so structured for so long, and I definitely have been in that space of realizing that you are coming into a season where you will have a lot of extra time. 

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I know that the title of this is confusing, so I wanted to explain. When Tanner and I got married, we were in pharmacy school. My final year of school, he was in residency meaning endless hours of work. When I graduated, we moved to NYC and I had a really long journey of passing boards and I studied non stop while starting a business for a year. It was all I thought about, and my days were very structured. When we moved home, I poured into my business, and training 100%. I was busy every hour of every day, so even though Tanner was in a season of "normal", I wasn't. And I did choose that, I know. I signed up for an ironman, and was even more busy. When I decided to scale back personally, Tanner was studying for this board exam. YALL, COULD WE EVER GET IT TOGETHER? For six years, we have always ALWAYS had something. 

We are so so so (SO SO SO-is that enough) thrilled to spend this holiday season together, being "normal" and not fighting for some goal or focused on something that has to be done like every second of every day. Like I totally know that everyone is busy, so I'm sure that you all feel this on a spiritual level (ha), but honestly, being together 6 years and never even having a few months like this has just been maddening almost. 

So, I have already started Christmas shopping just because I'm all jacked up. I invited my family over this weekend to carve pumpkins and we laughed that this is the earliest this has ever happened because normally, we don't carve a pumpkin until it's like November. Ha! We have plans to go Chicago for the marathon, and then we are going to see his family the following weekend, and while we are in these places, neither one of us will be thinking about how we are stressed that we "should be" working on something else...we can just BE with one another and family. Happy happy joy joy! 

This weekend, while he was taking the exam, I went for my final "long run" before Chicago. I'm going to share the plans for Chicago/what's going on later this week.

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We celebrated right after his exam by going to a rooftop bar in Charlotte with friends, and it was such a beautiful afternoon and then after that, we headed to a diner in Charlotte. Tanner loves gravy fries (literally just crinkle fries with gravy on them LOL) and so that was his request and we made it happen! hahaha! We were so exhausted by the time we got home partially I think just from the stress of that day looming over us (I felt like I just took an exam also), so I slept for 10 hours. Sweet baby jesus it was so lovely.

On Sunday at lunch, we got to go to lunch with two of our best friends that live in Greenville SC, and their sweet baby boy. You know those friends where you both connect with the spouses (that's hard to find where both husbands and wives adore each other haha) but they are one of those couples of us, and so we really enjoy catching up, and the time always seems to fly by so fast and it will be like three hours later we are still at the restaurant. haha!

We came back to watch the panthers game, and I made homemade "fried" (baked) pickles with ranch dip, and they were AH-MAZING! I'm going to share that recipe tomorrow. With my cousin and nephew at the house, I wanted to keep them occupied and engaged, so I said to bring a pumpkin that we could carve, so the women worked on that with the kiddos while the men watched the game. The panthers game was so good, and of course as a fan, we were super excited that they won. I mean, I'm not that emotionally invested in their wins, but like it when it happens. hahah! 

We had the rest of the evening for us last night, and Tanner decided he wanted to play video games. I won't deny the kid I guess ;) hehe! I got organized for an extremely busy week ahead with us leaving on Thursday morning for Chicago. This week is totally packed, but we can't wait to be in the windy city with friends, and I'm really thrilled to show Tanner this city because I totally fell in love with it last year. 

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Hope your weekend was restful as well! 

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Pumpkin Protein Cheesecake

Hey loveeees! I'm super excited for today's recipe that I threw together last night. It's been something that I've had in my brain for a while, but I hadn't put it in the oven yet. As you'll see from the meal prep video that I will be releasing soon, I don't really have much that I plan with cooking. I just kind of throw things together in a blender, put it in the oven for a period of time, taste the batter, and if it's good then I go with it. The batter of this wasn't so good and it was tart, and I thought "this might get better in the oven but it might not" and guess what yall? IT DID. 

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If you look to my recipes, I will be honest and say "maybeeee add some butter to yours because this was dry and gross" haha! So, I promise it's good. I did use all purpose flour in mine instead of protein powder, but I honestly think it would be better with some vanilla protein powder. The substitution that is recommended for that switch is that when you see 1 cup of flour used in my recipe, you would sub in 1/3 cup of your protein powder. 

So here's what we got going on. It's very similar to the recipe I used for my cookies and cream cheesecake, and these are my two favorite flavors, so I rotate them between fall/winter and spring/summer! :) 

At the end, put it in the fridge for a few hours so that things settle in and become truly cheesecake, and then enjoy with a nice cup of coffee and maybe drizzle some extra cinnamon on top! YUM!! With the all purpose flour, I will give you the macros for that, and then I'm going to change it to include protein powder and the macros that it would be for that! :) 

As to be expected, the protein powder one has less carbs and more protein so just up to you! :) Sometimes we can overkill it on some weird protein hacks (lol) but then again sometimes,if you have trouble hitting your protein macros, then cheesecake can certainly help ;) 

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Creating Energy

Yesterday I woke up as you know with the biggest smile on my face, and I realized how much energy that created for me throughout the entire day. I was able to carry it forward into my job and then into my workout, and I realized that it's something that if this is something that I could emulate everyday then it would be really useful. I will say that I'm a huge believer in drawing from certain places for energy. If you are someone who is not naturally energized, then that's hard. I actually had someone message me and ask me how I have so much energy to do all of my the things that I do, and I thought 'that's so funny because I feel I don't naturally have energy nor did I used to have energy to do these things in the past.'

I wanted to think of good tips to give her to be able to implement some energy type practices into her own life, but it took me a really long time to think about it. The one thing that I do believe is that it's creatable (is that a word?). The other thing that I believe is that if you can see a quality in someone that you like, then that means that you can become that way over time. It will take practice to break down the habits that you have formed in your own life, but eventually if you keep looking to do those things, it will become more natural for you. 

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Becoming a runner was always something that I wanted to become. When I was in college and pharmacy school, I didn't really become a runner. I just was obsessed with body image so I forced myself to run here and there. It wasn't until later that I formed a healthy relationship with running, saw it as my sport, and became one. This requires energy of course, but I think that it also required letting it become "who I was" if that makes sense. If we feeling we are living in a false pretense, then we aren't going to give ourselves the energy to do the thing because it's like "What's the point? I'll never be good enough anyway." 

Creating energy also requires that you let go of pain and hurt in your life or any sort of negativity. I know that we all have very real problems, and some are more relevant, or some are more present than others, but we have to choose to let those things go and live our life in a positive manner. There is energy that can be given towards positive things or energy that can be given to negative things, and if you give your space and energy to the negative things, then you don't have space for the parts of life that you want to become. The only moment that you have is the one that is staring you in the face. The anxiety looking forward and the time frame that is behind you have nothing to do with this very moment, so if you are able to let go of those negative spaces then you can focus RIGHT in this moment and that gives you energy. 

If you want to go do something but you aren't feeling the energy for it, force yourself to get out of your seat and jump up and down a few times. I don't mean this in a way that you should force yourself to go run. I'm not talking specifically about running, but rather just creating energy in general. There's also a fine line between creating energy and self care. Listen to yourself. If it's genuinely a space and time in your life where there is a lot of negatives and that is taking all of your energy, then by all means, listen to that, but if it's something that you just genuinely want to create positive and useable energy then just dance around the room, look up a youtube that makes you laugh, and act like a kid again and see how much energy you then have. 

Last, but certainly not least is sleep. Sleep is obviously the place that we get rest for those energy stores, and if we don't get good rest then OBVIOUSLY we don't have energy, however it is deeper than that. Sleep is where we recover from everything. There have been studies to show that sleep is also the place that we deal with a lot of mental hormonal and chemical shifts that cause bad moods in our brains, so that's why you can be really upset about something, go to bed, and wake up refreshed. You actually genuinely worked through those problems in your sleep. Those that aren't able to sleep or are forced to stay away from jobs suffer from depression, obesity, and thyroid disorders, and definitely struggle to create their own energy, so sleep sleep sleep!

So to bring it back, the things that I have found useful in becoming a more energetic person are: 

  • Letting go of all of the stress and negativity (If I'm stressed, I literally find I can't run well-I feel very "heavy" and like I can't lift my feet) 
  • Sleeping adequately
  • Constructing my own by having my own dance party
  • Fabricating the person that I want to be in my brain and not accepting that it's not who I am and then slowly over time, I became her

Now time for coffee and reading! 

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Active Participant in Life

When I was doing blogging full time, I would wake up every morning and whatever was on my heart, I would share that. I'm not promising that it will come daily, but that is what I wanted to get back to. That means that some of the time, it's unrelated to fitness at all. 

For whatever reason, my body woke me up at 4:30am this morning and my throat was hurting, but also feeling like ON TOP OF THE WORLD. I feel very insane this morning in a happy LETSSSSS GO kind of way for life. I'm reading the book "The Power of Now" and it's all about letting go of time, the past, the future, and living RIGHT NOW. Literally, the only moment that we have is this very moment that we are sitting in. My moment is the moment I'm writing this, and your moment will be when you read it, and the ONLY sure thing we know is this moment, so why not be the happiest we can and be PRESENT.

My husband was asleep and I heard the coffee pot start to make it's noise that Tanner had programmed to come on at 5:45am when he wakes up because we always read for about 30 minutes over coffee in the mornings before work. I wanted to run into his room and yell I LOVE YOU SO MUCH but I thought he might think "okay yep, she's lost it" hahahaha! He knows I get really excited about life sometimes though so maybe not! ;) 

Every moment can be similar to this moment if we allow ourselves <3

Every moment can be similar to this moment if we allow ourselves <3

I went outside to take the dogs out and the air feels like fall, and I look to my right in my front yard and there stands probably about 15 deer. My littlest Peyton LOVES other animals, and he almost lost his mind in happiness. haha! They scampered off when they saw us, and the grace at which they bounded through the woods just took my breath away. They are so powerful, so fast, but yet so quiet. Deer are beautiful. And I was captivated in that moment. 

I came back inside with sweet T coming down the stairs and I jumped over to the coffee pot to just pour his coffee. I know he likes it with just a small splash of half and half, so I got that out too. He was like "well you're excited. what time did you wake up?" I said "an hour ago and I couldn't wait for you to wake up because I was so excited to see you!" He said "AW thanks babe" in groggy morning voice. 

The reason I'm giving you a play by play is because in these moments this morning, I was completely present. 100%. I was allowing myself to be an active participant in the moments as they happened this morning and the joy of each moment. I was thinking about how too often I get sucked into the downfall of life and the day to day and I'm not even meaning to be brought down by it, but that's inevitably what happens. When I think about THIS moment with no regret of the past, or fear of the future, then it all becomes clear. 

I know that it's because I'm reading this book that I'm fully immersed in this topic, but it's a topic that gives me such joy. The reason that we do things like running races, or people who do extreme sports is because we love being present in the MOMENT. There is nothing like crossing the finish line of a big race and I can't wait to do so and it's because it's this accumulation of all of these moments that you get to put together for one huge moment. It's truly amazing, but what if we could create those kind of moments every single day? 

Obviously, there aren't finish lines and medals after work (hey! now that's an idea hehe), but if we can sink into each individual moment, then we can find beauty because most of the time the things that we are worried about are yesterdays and tomorrows. There are of course days where the here and now is tough, but most of the time it's the comparisons and the past failures and the future unknowns that make us second guess ourselves. 

I hope today that you are an active participant in your life, in the here and now, and that you become your best self today putting your blinders on to the rest of the world, doing your absolute best, living out your dream. If you have not reached your dream, it doesn't matter because if it's truly your dream, then these moments right now are the moments that matter to get you there, and being fully present in them will allow you to be better in the future! Have an amazing day y'all! 

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What am I eating? Giving up plant based?

So, I had someone say that they would be so curious to see what I eat in a day, and I don't know why I've never done more of those. I know that's more of a youtube thing, but I can do that on the blog, or I also could do it on youtube, but I just wanted to share some of the things that I am eating or that Tanner is eating, and I will do a "what I eat in a day?" soon. 

I know that many of you know that about 1.5 years ago, we made a switch(ish) to plant based eating. It took a long time for me to learn the principles of this lifestyle and I would have seasons where I was off and on with it. As of about 6 weeks ago, I wanted to "come forward" (ha) and say that we have stepped away from pushing that lifestyle on ourselves as much. I found myself formulating a bad relationship with food, and not allowing me to enjoy time with friends and family due to feeling guilty in my head that I was eating something that wasn't plant based. 

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I have said since the very beginning that I wanted to be balanced about it, but the more and more that I got into it, the more and more I wasn't balanced, craved meat, which is like the opposite of how I should feel. I also know that this is partly due to needing iron, and there are also other sources of iron but I clearly wasn't doing a good job of eating those either. I find that when I have all of these dietary "rules" swirling in my head, it just gets complicated and not fun. I enjoy counting macros and always have. I don't find that restrictive, but I do find plant based restrictive, and that's most likely because of where I live, and the things that we do, but those things aren't going to change, so I have to realistic about it. 

I don't like restriction of foods. It makes me super uncomfortable because of my background.  I also want to say that this is nothing against plant based. I personally think it's like the perfection of perfection diets, but let me just tell you how imperfectly perfect I am! ;) I think that if we all were to live a plant based lifestyle with all these fun home cooked meals, then that would be a beautiful thing, but the reality is that my brother is going to grill out at his house every weekend and there's only so many times that I want to be difficult and bring my own food and have everyone ask questions that is new to the party. Blah. I would try to discuss the reasons that we did, but inevitably the person ends up thinking that you think that you're better than them, when that's not your intention at all. 

I know the ends and outs of how this lifestyle works, and I have implemented them slowly and surely and I will keep those. I eat many more veggies, but I think that if I'm craving chicken, then I should have chicken versus telling myself over and over that I can't have chicken. At the end of the day, when I look at the literature from a health perspective, I know that the people who are studied are not people like me who eating lean chicken, egg whites, and fish, but rather people who are eating tons of heavy saturated fat laden beef and yes that comes with health consequences, and I don't want to be "afraid" to eat grilled chicken because that's just a reductionistic outlook in dieting and that's not good health mentally in my opinion. 

Health encompasses many things with mental and social health being on the top of the list, and I found over time that I personally was eating less due to not being able to eat certain things, and it just was all sorts of triggering to my past. NO THANK YOU! 

However, in no way do I want this to look bad on the plant based lifestyle as a whole. From a health, environmental, animal cruelty, and world hunger perspective, I truly think that it is absolutely wonderful. So so wonderful. But there's just so much more to it than the science behind it. 

Lastly, good ole Tanner, the mr "switch my diet on a whim" guy. He was like "I'm fine with you going back to eating meat, but I'm going to stick with my tofu" and I was like "k cool" and then we started having meals together and I was having separate meat products than him, and then it was this conversation of me feeling like a jerk for giving it up and him not wanting me to feel that way about food and why are we talking so much about food now and blah blah and on it goes. Again, it just got COMPLICATED when food should not be complicated. It should be as simplified as possible, as enjoyable as possible as well, so he decided that if I was going to be making something like tacos, he wasn't going to do tofu, but just rather have the chicken tacos with me. 

With the amount of calories that Tanner has to intake, he also was eating heavy heavy amounts of carb like upwards of 600-700g and when he got his A1C back, which is an average of blood glucose levels across 3 months, he saw that his A1C was like minimally elevated (still within normal limits) and we talked about how the only way that he could do plant based without driving up his A1C is if he was 100%%%% plant based without any veganism because there is a difference. He was eating a lot of pasta, and breads and those are obviously not plant based, and he just couldn't imagine restricting even more.

Last but not least, we found that our guts adjusted to the lifestyle which they will do. Your microbiome becomes accustomed to the diet that you are eating, and this is seen as a good thing for those that are trying to make the healthy lifestyle switch because maybe one day they won't hate their diet. There's a lot of flaws within that, and one of those is that both Tanner and I both couldn't enjoy a meal outside of our homes without feeling really sick. If we decided that we were going to get a fried chicken sandwich or an ice cream cone, then we felt TERRIBLEEE. I have to admit that two of my favorite foods from the time that I have been a child is not something that I want to give up. I also don't want to feel terrible after I eat them. 

I know that this sounds like a justification blog, but I wanted to explain in full that we gave it our hardest attempt but have decided to continue with many of the principles that we learned, but not push it anymore and will be returning to eating meat. I'm going to be doing a meal prep type blog/youtube soon, and I am prepping some chicken in the crockpot so I thought it might be good to go over this before I dropped that bomb. HAHA! 

Everyone is different, so whatever healthy lifestyle works for you, then that is a beautiful thing. I'm so glad we gave this a chance, and it was a beautiful journey. 

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Gossip

Sometime that has been weighing on my heart recently is gossip. I just seriously hate gossip, but I do it, and I wish I didn't, and I always have guilt but then I also feel like sometimes I just gotta get things off my chest, and I hope you can relate and don't think I'm horrible. I read somewhere once that we can so easily admit the addictions that we have in terms of food or alcohol or whatever it might be AFTER the fact knowing that these are huge "allowed" sins, but if we lie or steal or gossip then it's almost as if we are scared to say we struggle in those areas because it's like "ew you do that?" 

Welp, hopefully I'm not the only one that gossips time to time or I guess I'm incriminating myself here up on my blog! haha! 

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One person that I used to gossip to all the time because it was safe is Tanner.  Tanner is an interesting dude and for anyone that knows him personally, he is like mr trivia man and knows random facts about a lot of different things, and will bring up random little tidbits in conversation and people are like "we were just trying to chit chat and now we are talking about the science of this insect." I actually used to be embarrassed by this when we first met people (hahahaha) but I told him the other day that I've grown to love it because I've realized it's actually just that Tanner doesn't gossip and he talks about more interesting things, but MOST of the time in typical conversation people aren't interested in those topics.

When I realized this and we started shifting our conversations towards more "intellectual topics" if you will, I just love it. We have always bonded over documentaries, but now we are bonding over podcasts while we are in the car instead of music we could never agree on because we can both learn something interesting from podcasts. We are really enjoying "The Knowledge Project" by Shane Parris, and are listening to the audiobook "A Short history of nearly everything" or NPR.

As we continue to learn and fill our minds with this type of information, I feel myself pulling further and further away from gossip and my mind just doesn't even go there when talking with him, but then of course I have my close girlfriends and half the planet will annoy me one day and I find myself knee deep and taking a deep sigh of relief thinking "Man that felt good." Isn't that awful that it feels good to say it sometimes? I wish I didn't feel that way but I do, and sometimes if I text a girlfriend or my mom about someone and they play devils advocate, I instantly feel like the biggest idiot and get so ashamed inside like I'm the biggest jerk. I actually try to never play devils advocate if a friend texts me because I truly do think that sometimes we just need to get it off our chest to someone we trust and then it's done. I don't think we should always have to bottle it up inside, but then sometimes we have to recognize things as habits and make conscious efforts towards stopping those behaviors. 

I'm writing this blog because I feel it's something we all do from time to time, not because I'm some heavy gossiper but that I just feel that it's always good to check yourself and improve in these areas. 

First, gossip is totally false connections for friendships. When we allow ourselves to think about it, that's what we do when we are chit chatting with our girlfriends. We think that we are connecting with them when we agree on the hateraid of someone else. But it's not real connection because we aren't connecting on a true level but rather a false pretense. 

The history of gossip is where this thought process all began because I was reading in the book "Sapiens" and it was discussing how humans were able to survive by the act of gossiping. Gossiping in literature and science was seen as a "survival of the fittest" type tactic in that the other homo sapiens had to let the other ones know which people were dangerous, and the only way to do this was through language. This book also discusses how institutes and businesses are able to self regulate and self govern as long as there aren't more than 150 people in the business due to "gossip" in a sense because there is this checks and balances type system among everyone keeping the others accountable.

If the group gets larger than this however, this is where it becomes reasonable to need CEO's and presidents to be able to manage the group because the gossip culture becomes too much. Obviously, we don't want a gossip culture anywhere, but unfortunately this is one way that since the beginning of time, humans have communicated. This has been proven in clinical trials that "group rules" are set because of a gossip culture and also avoid situations or people that are "harmful" due to others letting them know about the social deviants. Ha.

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Gossip is also known to be mostly false information that is just to ostracize someone and help to form human false connections, and this article above is stating that the group structure within an established business can be beneficial in keeping the checks and balances of this, so that the information that is passed along about the individuals is true. 

This is all so interesting to me. They have found that behavior that deviates from social norms, when gossiped about, builds social bonds. This references what I talked about above which is the bond between people with gossiping.

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There are also those people that are able to take in the information about someone in a business type format, formulate their opinions, but also not think of them in a negative light as a human. This is something that I think just is independent to the character of the individual. And I want to not use science to explain why I am "okay to gossip" but rather having character enough that even in a situation of work or personal gossip, I can separate and know not to look at these people in a negative light. 

In the book, The Four Agreements, one of the agreements is to never make assumptions about others. This just leads to more heartache on your end due to the gossip that we do because of assumptions that we make in a certain setting. For example, you might get a text from a significant other that says "Hey! Can we chat after work today at the coffee shop?" and immediately we think OMG OMG THEY ARE BREAKING UP WITH ME! But that is an assumption and causes you unneeded stress throughout the entire day due to the assumption that you made, and then you get to the coffee shop and they say "I'd love for us to discuss moving forward with our relationship whether that means moving in together, etc etc." There are so many different variants of this particular thing, but the truth is that we gossip all the time based on the assumptions that we make about others and what they were thinking, what they meant, and how we unrighteously accuse them of what they intended in their text message to us. 

Gossip is also just a habit. It's something that our parents did, their parents did, and so on and so on and it's up to the individual person to break this habit. You might have come from a family that didn't gossip as much which is a beautiful thing, and you should be thankful that this is not the things that they talk about or the way that they communicate because just like anything that is engrained in us from a very young age, it's a very hard habit to break and it's something that as the studies support, feels good. Oxytocin is actually increased in patients drastically when they participate in gossip. We are basically getting a high off of it. 

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So, as one of my mini habits to break during the month of October, I'm adding reducing the amount of gossip and talking about more intellectual topics or just more interesting topics than other humans and the things that I'm assuming that they said, or meant, or the way that I feel they are deviating from social norms, because at the end of the day, we are all different and deviate from social norms in one way or the other. 

I personally know that I've deviated from social norms in many ways, and I think if we sit back and think maybe instead about the gossip that has probably been had about us then it's a wake up call. I know there have been two times in my life that I've heard other people gossiping about me, or they accidentally sent me a text they meant to send to their husband with gossip about me (yep, that happened and we are still great friends hahahaha). Both of those times, it wrecked me. I mean, I was so distraught, and then when I sat back and thought I asked myself "well have I ever gossiped about her to Tanner?" and the answer was "YEP I SURE HAVE!" We had frustrated each other and in that moment of that accident, we were able to discuss it and work through the issue so I guess it was a blessing in disguise. 

If you can dish it out, then you need to accept that it can happen about you too and I think it's a more useful tactic to sit back and self assess about the character flaws that you can work on such as NOT gossiping rather than to gossip about what others are doing. Let me be the first to say that I suck at this at times, and formulate social bonds with girls through gossiping about others, but I have started recognizing it more and more and when we become more aware, we are able to break through those habits and stop them. 

With that, hopefully we can all work together to make this a goal! YAY for the weekend! 

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The Comeback

I'm not sure if you saw this coming or if you didn't, but either way, the time that I had away was amazing, but I'm diving back into things full force. I hope you'll follow along on my youtube, and I promise to make it worth your time jam pack full of info to be able to utilize in your confidence, health, fitness and overall wellness of life journey! <3 I have so so much that I'm kind of bursting at the seems to share with you all! 

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Three months of the Self Love Experiment

So, as you all know, I've been a reading machine, and I saw a recent book titled "The Self Love Experiment" and I read the back and immediately added it to my list to read. This is my cup of tea kind of book. I actually am currently finishing up Anna Karenina, The Gene, and The Well Built Triathlete, and want to start The Brave Athlete, so I need to finish those up before I begin this one. 

While I will absolutely be reading that book, I felt that the next three months is the most perfect time to begin my own self love experiment, so I wanted to share what it's all about. It's basically putting a time frame to chilling out. HA! But, when you give yourself this time frame it's almost as if to say "If my entire life falls apart then I can fix it at the end of three months." But, I think that we all know what actually happens. You learn that life doesn't actually fall apart and therefore it allows you to naturally sink into that being the natural way that you live your life. 

I just recently finished the audiobook 'The Gratitude Diaries' and it's a super quick read/audio that I highly recommend because it really just gives you perspective on so many different topics about life and how if we switch our mindset to one of gratitude the we are able to look for the positives in basically everything. One are that she questioned that this would be appropriate is in the job sector because if you aren't striving forward, then are you staying stagnant and she found that to not be the case. She found that as she was able to relax and be grateful for her current position, she was able to work harder within that, and I loved that.

So, there are going to be certain areas that we all can identify as our personal anxiety struggles that we can let go of. The beautiful thing about our minds is that I personally know that while I tend to overthink things, I know that I can do this 3 months because I have the timeline. I'm also excited that it's during the holidays, and my husband has committed to trying this out with me as well. 

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In his journey towards becoming board certified in oncology, he has lost a lot of muscle and strength just from having to study a lot. This is an ongoing trend of his through the years where he will gain a bunch of weight in muscle, and then life happens and he will lose it all. He realized that his body just naturally lends itself towards being more thin, and that he is going to stop forcing this big bodybuilder macho guy because in his own self actualization, he realized that's not what he naturally is, and he wants to rest within that. How awesome! GO TANNER! lol! The cool thing about something like this is that it doesn't mean that he just gives up fitness-of course not- but just recognizing that he loves staying in shape without forcing big muscles with supplements and tons of food and lifting 6 days per week, and he just wants to be more well rounded fit for life. 

That's my goal for the next three months as well. We spoke also about how in fitness, there are cycles of different training periods, and how it's okay to change your interests as well. Last year I was focused on triathlon. This year I was focused on marathons, and next year I'm going to return to triathlon, but from October to December, I'm going to focus on just whatever whenever and not pushing towards any goals. We are just going to BE. He will complete his exam on September 30th and I will finish up the Chicago Marathon on Oct 8, so what better timing for us to do this together. 

I mentioned that I had been tracking macros to make sure that I'm eating enough, but after the marathon, I will be returning to intuitive eating, but also not aiming towards plant based. That doesn't mean that I won't eat plant based, but rather just relaxing because plant based for me is very hard and I have to focus to be able to make it happen, and I just don't want to have to focus. I just want to be grateful for where I am and who I am. 

Another area that I have identified for my self love experiment is money. This is an area that I've realized I'm quite obsessive in an unhealthy manner. My family knows this, but I'm terrified to spend money. I literally allow myself to believe that if I buy one thing, the funds are going to dry up and I'm never going to be able to afford my bills. I mean, in actuality, I don't think those things, but I won't spend..ever...on anything, except travel but only if I can find the cheapest deals on the traveling. For example, we are going to London because I found a flight for $300, but I would never say "I want to go to london" and pay XYZ cost for it. The locations we choose are based on cost. I know you're thinking that this can be a good thing, but anything that can be good can be taken to another level. 

I check our bank account after we like buy groceries, and tally up everything. I calculate the amount of money needed to pay our bills every single month. THE NUMBER STAYS THE SAME KATIE. OCD MUCH? And I legit never recognized this as a problem until like literally a month ago. The moment I walked into Target and bought a pair of shoes that I needed for the full price sticker, I felt like I had taken heroin. hahaha! It felt so wrong, and so indulgent, but also so good and made me feel so free. AND IT WAS TARGET YALL. I see people spending money on certain things and I think "WHAT? HOW DO YOU ALLOW YOURSELF?" I envy that behavior. I've been practicing spending more in the past few months and for the final 3 months of 2017, I've decided that if I want something, I'm going to buy it. If we get to the end of 2017 and are broke, I'll let y'all know. HAHA! 

We have shifted our funds to max out our 401K, our HSA, looking towards other investments, and we pay our bills without worry each month but yet I feel I have to save every single other penny that comes into my account. For what? Am I going to die with my little nest egg?

Money is such an interesting thing. Money only exists because we believe and trust in the value of a coin. The person next to us also values that coin or dollar therefore we are able to make exchanges for that. We all have to play by these rules or the world wouldn't continue to go around, but it makes me think about how the money in my bank account is really just invisible cyber space money because if everyone was to cash in their money at the bank, they wouldn't be able to afford it. And we all just put trust in this system. It's interesting, truly. 

Lastly, on the topic of money, what is it that we all see when we want more money? Why is it that we want more. For me, it's not greed. I know it may come across that way, but it's truly not. It's the fear of security of being able to pay my bills, which is irrational. I listened to a podcast that said that we all make money out to be a bad thing, but that's all a social construct. It shouldn't be a bad thing, and it should be able to be discussed without people getting weird, but also why aren't we EVER content with the amount that we have? Even the most rich just aim for more, so why can't we all just relax? The challenge of the podcast was to write down 3 things that give you joy that cost money. Going to a coffee shop? Trying on clothes and purchasing them at Lululemon once monthly? Going out to dinner once weekly with your spouse or friends? Going to a concert or football game once during the summer? An uptown city apartment? What are your top three? Write those down. Can you afford them? If you can, then why are we so concerned about making more money? It's silly and gratitude goes a long way. 

This money topic was brought to you COMPLETELY by #firstworldproblems because I fully recognize that when you are in lack of money and the security of being able to pay your bills, it's a super real issue and it's a very VERY real issue that I've grown up surrounded by, for literally my entire life, and I think that's where my fear originates. There are some that don't have food security or job security and if that is the case, then obviously, that's an entirely different topic. 

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BACK TO THE EXPERIMENTTTTT (wow I got off track there lol) ... 

There are many things that we all have a hard time relaxing in, and I actually have quite a few more that I'm going to keep to myself for once, but the next three months is about 100% in every single way, letting it all go and just living. Just living does NOT mean that you just sit on your couch, stop going to work, and stop working out. It's actually more about fully leaning into who you are, being grateful for what you have worked hard for, and not allowing any of the subconscious ranting to even have a place. You have to pull back from the voice in your head that keeps chattering on and on about how you need to fix this or change that. You have to recognize that voice that honestly may not even be your true self, and allow yourself to relax into who you were truly meant to be. 

I'm combining the lessons from these books: 

  • Untethered soul (Have I mentioned it enough to make you buy it yet? hehe) 
  • The Surrender Experiment
  • The subtle art of not giving a f*** (I honestly am such a prude that I hate this title, but it's a good book nevertheless hahaha) 
  • The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up
  • The Self Love Experiment (that I haven't even read LOL) 
  • The Gratitude Diaries 

HERE GOES NOTHING Y'ALL! <3 Let me know if you've read the book. I would be so interested to see what you think! Maybe I should start a monthly online book club as I see some of these bloggers do! ;)

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Training / Nutrition / Health Updates

So I know that I talked about my training a bit in some other blogs, but I thought I'd do an official "what is she doing to make this better?" post, and how I'm training for the remainder of the weeks leading into Chicago. 

I am very very happy to say that with a pretty drastic increase in calories, yoga daily, and reduction of mileage by more than half, I have felt better every single day. I know that I just wasn't recovering properly enough and I have to admit that part of me (a big part) feels really stupid and should have known better. It was almost as if I just thought I'd be able to handle it, and I always just shake things off like "eh I'll be fine." My husband is constantly like "Did you hydrate? Did you take this vitamin? Did you do this and this and this?" and I'm like DUDEEEE LEAVE ME ALONE. 

I'm careless to a fault, lazy in areas I shouldn't be, and for the first time in my years of training, it came back to bite me in the kisser so I guess he can give me the resounding I TOLD YA SO! ;) I mentioned anemia, but it wasn't the only thing that I was concerned about. It was my red blood cell and neutrophil count, my testosterone to cortisol levels and their ratio and then my creatinine kinase that just let me know that I truly had overdone it without proper fueling I suppose (and I say that because I've been at this level of training before plus more with the ironman but I was more meticulous about food at that time and getting it in).

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When I realized that I wasn't just being a drama queen and that my mental state of being so out of it during training was warranted, I gave into that. I didn't force it. For the past two weeks, I have laced up my shoes daily and hit the road for what I could do. There were a few days that I've only made it two miles (one day I set out for 16 and made it 2-ha). I mean it when I say that I genuinely felt no guilt though. I'm the type that once it's done, it's done. I just accept and move on and know I'll always be back to try again the next day. As the days have gone on, I've felt myself coming more and more back to life. This week I've been able to do eight miles on Sunday, seven miles on Monday, eight on Wednesday with actually a 10 mile bike ride as well today and I'm hopeful that I'll get in a long run this weekend. I'm not going to force that however, and if it happens then that's great. 

For food, I have went back to counting macros because I need to make sure that I'm getting enough calories. I'm eating high calorie foods to get myself there without feeling overstuffed which has been fun to be honest. I truly have enjoyed it so much. haha!!! I had lost weight, so I have weight to gain! 

My plan moving forward for Chicago is to hopefully get in a long run (I might even try for a long run tomorrow-aka thursday) and then one more long run hopefully before tapering while doing mid distances during the week with alternating easy days with tempo runs and speed workouts. I was semi forced to taper anyway, which is no big deal, but I am still training as hard as I can. I don't have any expectations for the race, and just truly am there for a good time. I can't wait. I was dreaming about it today during my workout, and just was giddy at the opportunity to be able to do endurance and race. 

Over the past week, I have been thinking a lot about what it means to me to be an athlete, and how thankful I am for the ability to be able to run marathons, and do all of these events. I plan to take a break after Chicago as much as I know that Chicago will revive me and make me want to do another race immediately. I know myself well enough at this point that the break will be good for me and will have me coming back on fire and full of life like never before. That's what the journey is all about. If you don't have the breaks, then you'll never make it in the long term. I'm excited to spend weekend mornings with my husband over coffee and not thinking about the long run. 

Rode the bike for the first time since IMNC and it was the most blissful ride of my life-felt so good to be back in the saddle! :) <3

Rode the bike for the first time since IMNC and it was the most blissful ride of my life-felt so good to be back in the saddle! :) <3

We go to London in December, and I'm excited to just run in London just for fun without having to do any formal training. Starting in January, I'll probably do a quick 8 week training prep into Myrtle Beach Marathon. I'm already registered, and I LOVE LOVE LOVE that marathon so that'll be what is next. I'm always thinking forward of course, but also completely reasonable on this next one. I've been at this HARDCORE for 3 years now, and so I just needed to take my foot off the gas for a bit. This week, I've felt myself coming back to life and also coming back to wanting to go all in. I want to sign up for so many races next year, and honestly at the end of this year, but I kind of promised myself that I wouldn't, so I'm going to firmly stand by that. I love racing, so it's tough for me to say no, but I know I'll be back so it's all good. 

I did decide not to do Boston this upcoming year. This was a VERY VERY hard decision for me. I have the time to be allowed into the "red bib" area, which is a huge accomplishment, and something that I'm so proud of. I could have registered first day which has always been a dream, but I also have now done Boston two years in a row, spent thousands of dollars, and completely flopped both times, and with all that happened leading into Chicago, I just need some good and not stressful racing in my life. I know I will be back in Boston eventually, but this was just not my year for that. I have so many races I want to do across the US and so I didn't want to keep spending thousands on the same race. That's just me though and I understand many people that will do Boston every single year, and I completely get that perspective as well. It is Boston after all. 

Life's such a fun journey. There's so many fun things to take advantage of, and right now I'm going to transition into normal life type exercising, lifting more again after Chicago, coaching all of my lovely clients and move back into long distance triathlon and marathoning in 2018! CAN Y'ALL BELIEVE IT'S THE MIDDLE OF SEPTEMBER?! BRING OUT THE PUMPKINS!?

I'm thinking of putting together a spreadsheet of 2018 training plans because we all know I'm obsessed with spreadsheets!!!!! :) hehe! 

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Pumpkin Cheesecake Loaf

I had some extra time this weekend and this new crisp air just has me all pumpkin and fall crazy like the rest of the world, and while Tanner continues to slave away studying for this board exam (only 20 more days-thank ya jesus), I decided to get to baking and surprise him! He said it was one of my best yet! :) I always kinda pinterest around until I find something that looks interesting that I know I can take some ingredients I already have and make a little something, so that's what happened here. 

So, I know that most food bloggers will write a book before they get to the main event, but I'm not a food blogger and I run my mouth too much as it is, so let's just get to it. ha! 

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MMMmmmmm smells so good too while it's baking! 

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perfecto sunday afternoon 

perfecto sunday afternoon 

Here is the macro breakdown! :) 

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Hope you enjoy this one as much as I did <3

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