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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An Ode to 27.

Today I turn 28, and literally every year of my adult twenties, I just get giddy to turn another number. I know that's so odd, but I just feel as if my whole life I've been goofy and I've looked really young, and I'm finally just coming into my womanhood and my truth. (going to sprinkle in photos as I go from this weekend)

The title of this one could not be more of a FAREWELL SEE YA NEVER YEAR 27. hahaa! I would venture to say that it was legit one of the hardest years of my life, but I have come out on the other side stronger, more thankful, more confident, and more open to what can happen. I've learned a lot about social justice in many spheres this year, and my prejudices that I didn't know I had within that. I've learned that extremes don't work in any sense of the imagination which I should have figured out a long time ago, but I like to beat my head with a stick before I learn these simple rules of the road. I have learned that less friends is more life, that validation of others is worthless if you don't validate yourself, and that we all are a little bit too sensitive, and need to take what people say, put it in our back pockets as possible self evaluation and otherwise, KISS MY TOOTY BOOTY.

I'm clearly super good at yoga LOL!

I'm clearly super good at yoga LOL!

Do you see men talking about people meaning rude to them on the internet or feeling not confident or respecting themselves? I mean MAYBE you'll find the rare one here and there, but that is because we have conditioned ourselves for this craziness that we are meant to be just a little more meek, and that this makes us more beautiful, desired, wanted. We are taught over and over to be smaller in every sense of the word, and I am just not a "small" person in spirit. I've always been transparent and open to a fault, divulging intimate details about my life to people that shouldn't be trusted, and so in year 27, I have learned when to close up but I've also learned that a thick skin in today's world is one of the best things you can form and if I want to share these details and wear my heart on my sleeve, then SO BE IT. IT'S WHO I AM. 

I just recently got back some bad lab work, and I thought to myself "This is like the final straw to ring out 27 and bring on 28." It was the final straw to say "Girl, what are you doing? And for what reasons?" We all goof up, so I have no shame in admitting that. I guess I have the classic case of "overtraining" but I also hate that term because I feel it's so relative and non quantifiable but we throw it around like candy or Ibuprofen. ha. But regardless, I had to take that high mileage plan and basically throw it out the window. I had to recognize that the things that I was feeling were due to high cortisol, low b12, and anemia vs just mentally being out of it. I had to see that my creatinine kinase was 12x what it was 12 weeks ago to see that my recovery is CRAP because I was just running miles on end. 

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I know that most of you know that I have a history of disordered eating from a decade ago, but I've always had a healthy relationship with exercise. I've never done exercise for calorie burn, or felt guilty if I take days off. It just literally wasn't a thing for me. I always just loved the challenge of pushing myself further and further to get to new goals, but like at what point is enough enough? When I started running marathons, I ran 3-4 days per week and didn't think about what other people were doing, but somehow I got sucked into the instagram rabbit hole of destruction in thinking that in order to be my best, I needed to give more..and more..and more.. and it took my labs to be a slap of reality. 

I wasn't trying to be disordered or ridiculous or overtrain. Truly. I just thought that I was doing my personal best to get to a big goal of mine, and we all make those mistakes, and have to step back, reassess our personal situations and make changes moving forward. I'm not other people on instagram. I don't have their lives, or their stressors, or their body frames, or their families, or their anxiety levels, or their sleep schedule. (And I say this light heartedly because I wasn't actually comparing myself to runners on instagram. I got over that a LONGGGG time ago haha-this was all subconscious). It all is going to play a role in this, and it will play a role in your training as well. If you have a coach, then you need to be open and honest with them if you are feeling burn out because it could easily be something more and even if it's not proven by labs, that still doesn't mean that you should keep pushing. 

It's kind of ironic how I made a blog post about how to push when you feel mentally and physically tired, and here I am having to eat those words. haahahahaaaaaaa. whomp. And it's like if you can't pick on yourself, then who can right!? Like, I truly believe in working hard for your goals. 100%. And if we don't try hard when things are tough then honestly, it's hard to get much of anywhere in life or anything that's worth having. Marathon training is not easy. period. And I don't want easy. I love the challenge. But, I guess I've learned there is a limit. 

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I think that what happens naturally when someone gets in a situation like this is that they shame running, they shame plant based diets, they shame this, that or the other without self evaluating and saying "You know what? Maybe I could have taken a b12 supplement if I was going to go mostly plant based, and maybe it's okay to add some of those things back in but not just go wild on ham, turkey, and beef. Maybe I could scale back my milage to what feels appropriate, and let go of my PR but still train normal." Don't get me wrong. I need to rest. I truly don't struggle much with resting anymore. I rest a lottttt. I sleep a lot, and I chill at my house ALOT. I still feel like I'm running through mud and sand, and it kind of sucks, and I know it'll take weeks before my iron stores are back up to normal, but I also know that it doesn't mean I have to eat fast food and sit on my couch for the next 3 months either. In all the things, I just need to be reasonable. LOL! 

I've said it once. I'll say it again. Sometimes I wonder how I got such AMAZING women as my best friends! Like HOW HAVE THEY STUCK IT OUT WITH MY CRAZY SELF?! Lol!!! I love them so!!!! 

Lastly, on this topic, I think that also when I ever struggle with this kind of thing, I feel like I have to keep it to myself until I get it figured out because I'm a coach so therefore I should have it all figured out right? And if I mess up with myself, why would anyone want me to coach them right? UGH. How silly! A coach is supposed to be perfect?? Absolutely not. We are all human and make mistakes and learn from them. So enough on that..

...back to my birthday... hehe...which is today. 

Birthdays always give me a new focus and a new sense of purpose. It makes me want to set new intentions and new goals for the year moving forward, so I did just that. Here are some of those (written to myself):

  • Start a yoga practice
  • Continue blogging more frequently because sharing life is fun! 
  • Revamp tons of things with the blog and continue coaching/start growing your business again because it gives you true joy to do so 
  • Aim to read at least 10 books per month (audio/paperback/ebook combined) 
  • Intentionally create space for time with family 
  • Continue being an introvert-you prefer it katie, I promise 
  • Focus on your career as a pharmacist (continuing education on my own, looking for areas of improvement that aren't readily noticed but always striving to do my best) 
  • Continue reducing the amount of things that you have 
  • Be more open to spending money on things you enjoy and travel. You can't die with money so you don't know what you're saving for. (I have 6 months in savings, and I just keep on saving.)
  • Max out your 401K and look to other investment potentials.
  • Stop making yourself feel pressure for not wanting a child yet, Katie. Just breathe. You'll know when you're ready to be a mom and you might be 34 and that's okay. 
  • Continue weekly date nights. 
  • Quit being scared to get the tattoo. Just get the tattoo. 
  • Continue learning about areas of life that are different than the spaces that you grew up surrounded by
  • Continue the never ending journey to self actualization but rest in the amazingly beautiful progress you've made into becoming who you were created to be. 
  • Start a youtube channel for creativity purposes 
  • Continue learning photography 
  • Continue being completely transparent because YOLO and it's what you enjoy doing 
  • Create joy in spaces where it's not. Live with an outlook of abundance and not lack 
  • Only put energy in people and situations that deserve energy. Let the rest go.
  • Gain some weight and get the booty back *LOL*
  • Be freely you, Katie because you're worth it

Okay, that's all I got. 

my grandmother turned 90 on Monday and she is such a beautiful person inside and out - if i could be a little bit more like her every day i would be a happy girl and love that we share birthday weeks <3 (grandmother-Sept4, nephew-Sept5, me-Sept6, brother-Sept7 ha)

my grandmother turned 90 on Monday and she is such a beautiful person inside and out - if i could be a little bit more like her every day i would be a happy girl and love that we share birthday weeks <3 (grandmother-Sept4, nephew-Sept5, me-Sept6, brother-Sept7 ha)

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Quick Guide to Free Books

I had a couple of questions yesterday about those that were wanting to read more, but actually found it to be an expensive hobby and I would agree with that, but of course I've found hacks to this so I wanted to share about Overdrive, what it is, how to use it, and where else I get books. 

So, first off, I love paperback fresh books from Barnes & Noble or fresh in the mail from Amazon like nobody's business. Like there is just nothing like the joy of that fresh new book feel. But this can add up if you are reading a book every few days. 

The first place I look if I'm wanting truly a good paperback is the used bookstore in my town. That's always hit or miss of course, but in a huge used bookstore, you are still bound to find something that is somewhere on your list even if it's not your top choice and they are $5 there. I have realized that popular books come through just like TV shows, so if a book is being hyped up right now then it's going to obviously be harder to find, but I'll just wait on for that (kinda like how I wait for all movies to just come out on Redbox or Netflix before I'll watch them lol). 

Another place I go for books and not to search for specific books but just to get deals is goodwill. They always have a pretty good selection and paperbacks are only $0.50. 

The place you can truly find what you're looking for is Overdrive. It's a free app that is connected to your library card. Take the time to go to your local library, get a card, and then when you sign up, you enter in your library card information and it pulls your library's books. I do have some friends that live in Charlotte, so I also plan to get the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library system using their card info so that I can have a bigger resource to pull from, but even if you don't have a big library, they normally will have a system of libraries that they can pull from to get the book for you if you request it. 

E-iNC is the Cleveland County Library.

E-iNC is the Cleveland County Library.

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So last little bit about this is that if you have a book that you feel you must read this second, then you might not be able to get it on overdrive. I know my best friend Brandy would do horrible with Overdrive because if she wants something, she wants it that second and she would just always end up paying for the book on Amazon haha! I had to wait about 3 weeks to be able to read Small Great Things, and I was in the middle of another book when it arrived but I didn't care because I just stopped that one for a bit to read Small Great Things. If you don't get through the book in the 14 day period then it will put it back on the waiting list (I think you at least get bumped up in the line but typically I just try to finish them if I've been patiently waiting on that one).

The same thing goes for audiobooks. If they are popular, then most likely they are going to have a waiting list, so just know that ahead of time, and that sometimes it might be that you have 4 on a waiting list and they all come available at the same time and it's super annoying and you can either binge read/listen (by the way I hate that term but it gets the point across), or you can just let some of them go back on the waiting list and get them another time. It's worth it for how much books can end up costing if you buy them straight out! :) 

I hope this helps save you some pennies! 

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September Mini Habit Challenge

Y'all are about to laugh at this one, but I hope that all my type A girls will be on board with this shenanigans. So, I've mentioned how I've formulated some bad habits over the past year. They are dumb, and silly but I've really struggled to stop them. Up until a week ago, if I was ever at the house working or doing anything, I had a jar of peanut butter and a fork with me and I'd eat peanut butter all day. I know this sounds really ridiculous, and it is but I could.not.stop. It made me not hungry for meals, yadda yadda, and on and on I went never breaking this cycle.

I also started chewing tons of gum again, I've gotten really bad about wasting tons of time scrolling social media and genuinely like not caring what I was looking but hours would go by and I'm just on some random cat page. Like COME ON KATIE!!! I also post my every thought on a facebook status, and facebook has literally become a war zone. I can write a blog with tons of opinions and not get much push back, but if I write that I'm sneezing a lot today, someone has some theory of why that's wrong and offensive. Like, I can't deal. Buttttt, unfortunately I continue to have this habit of posting statuses. Like why? WHY KATIE? JUST.STOP.POSTING. GAH. 

So, I started doing some research on breaking habits. I wanted it to be realistic, but I had work to do. One of the things that was stated is how we all create this little neural pathways within our brain and then once those get really deep, we will crave those things that are gone, but that we can recreate the circuits with time and discomfort. It IS possible, but you first have to know that it's going to be uncomfortable and for the past week, it has been. One tip I saw on a youtube video is to give yourself a challenge, so I've taken this a step further and hope you'll join me as I do think that accountability and togetherness helps anything. There needs to be no official start date. It can be today or tomorrow or whenever you choose. But, I would love to do a monthly challenge on either breaking a bad mini habit, or adding in a positive mini habit. So, I have both of those for the kick off. 

He recommended that you text a friend that you will commit to this and if you don't, you'll pay them $100. So, I told Tanner that, but that doesn't help me much because we share the same money so like...it's all ours anyway. haha! But, I told him that if I made it, I would buy myself something special that was no less than $50 and that I was going to create a spreadsheet that tracked the habits day by day checking off the ones that I did and didn't do. 

Here are a few notes before I show you my spreadsheet. 1- I believe in completely eliminating the thing that you are habitual with. That doesn't mean that you can't bring it back when the neural circuit is changed, but first it needs to be completely removed. The second note on mine is that I just added on the facebook one where I'm not going to post status posts (I know so ridiculous right? #embarrassingtoadmit). If at any time during this make shift challenge you want to pop another mini habit on there, you are at full liberty to do so and that doesn't count towards your reward at the end! ;) Lastly, you'll see 3 positive things on mine.

There have been studies to show that if you take the time to write out 3 positive things that happen to you every night for 2 weeks that it can be as powerful as antidepressants and this is because you start to form the habit of looking for positive things within your day vs our natural inclinations as humans to look for the bad! 

So, here is is, super simple:

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You'll see on there, the reading portion. I have committed to reading 100 pages per day which for me is almost 2 hours of reading at the speed at which I read. I read approximately 350 words per minute which is fairly more "speedy" than average. I know that sounds insane to read that much, but I read while I'm on the treadmill and that's at least an hour, and then I read 30 minutes while drinking coffee and 30 minutes before bed so that's how I've been reading so much lately. If I miss this positive mini habit but I still do something, then I count that as a win (like day 3). 

In the past few months, I've read like 40-50 books, and I have written them all down but I've started to realize that I know in the future as I continue this that I'm going to forget things that I read, and I want to be intentional about what I read. If I just naturally go with the flow of life, I'm going to read all the Nicholas Sparks books and classic American fiction. I want to challenge myself to read psychology, science, philosophy, and classics so that I'm actually getting smarter if I'm spending time on this, and I've found that I find those books absolutely fascinating vs just a "beach read." The book that I'm reading currently in the science realm is called "The Gene" which is about the history of the genome and that sounds incredibly boring, but it's so so good. I recommend it to anyone. 

I have decided to create a spreadsheet with this as well to track the books that I'm reading so that I know how I felt about them, and can really give good recommendations in the future if people ask me in certain topics what are some good books. You know you hear people say "He/She is a prolific reader"? I want to be that guy! ;) 

Can you tell that when I find a habit, I'm crazy. Yea well, I accept it so let's move on from that annoying human flaw of mine and enjoy the spreadsheetin I'm going to show you! LOL! I had created my own but then googled how others track their books and they gave me such great insight of columns to add such as how many pages, the nationality of the author, the format you read it in, etc. So, here is a combo of what I am doing and what I found for this BOMB READING LOG! 

Can you see this? I hope so! haha! 

Can you see this? I hope so! haha! 

So, you'll see that I haven't really completed it yet, but that's okay. It's a work in progress, but I'm so so excited about it! I will say that I've thought about narrowing it down to sections where I put things in genre categories so that I have better recommendations within that, but I'm not that good at organization and can't think of a good method without it looking junky. This looks more clean. The other sheet on this is a list of books that I would like to read based on their genre, so here is that screenshot. 

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Some might not be in their appropriate category but you get the point. 

The last thing on this is that I think that there are some books that I really have important take aways from. Some of those books are Grit and Untethered Soul, and I want to remember notes from those books. I have been writing out notes in just the notes on my phone, but I really don't like that method, and I know that there are tons of other ways to do it but I'd like to have it all within this spreadsheet and so maybe a sheet after this would be with book notes. I WILL NOT write down a note if I don't find it super valid because like who reads over their notes? No one. haha! 

Lastly, if you think my spreadsheet game is not good enough yet (jk jk I know I'm looking so crazy but it's so fun), I made a spreadsheet for my hometown and fun things to do in the area, and also a spreadsheet for fun things to do in New York City (which actually was started by a friend and I've expanded on it). I would totally recommend doing one of these for your hometown as I think we get really stagnant when there is so much fun to be had in our immediate area that we don't even realize. 

Look to the bottom and you can see the different categories that I made for Shelby, and then here is the one for NYC just showing you two different categories there as well. 

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I can't believe I've never told my blog about my crazy spreadsheets until today, but here they are in all their glory. I hope you have fun wasting tons of hours creating your own as well! ;) hahahaha IT'S THE BEST DO IT!!! 

The last part of this is that each month I think that I'm going to start a mini habit series, where I just say "hey try this new habit for this month that is positive and might could help you lead a fuller, happier life." This month's challenge is to start writing down 3 things each night that brought you joy that day and we can transform together by looking at the world as positively as possible! 

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Creating Safety through dieting

This blog title is something that I think that if we look to our lives, every single solitary thing that we do every single is in efforts to create safety of fears that we have by default of societal norms, and I wanted to share some areas in health and fitness that I think that you might find this helpful. I have realized that I think a lot-constant-like this never ending stream of thoughts floating through my head and I know that we all do it so I don't think I'm alone on that, but really have dove deep lately into the reasons that we (aka myself) do things, and how we can change in certain areas that are not beneficial to us and really asking hard questions to be able to improve. 

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I think one of those is in the area of diet culture, and why we go after the goals that we have in terms of diet. There is a term that is thrown around "fat phobic" in the intuitive eating spectrum of health that I completely align with in that essentially there is this billion dollar industry (including much of what I coach) due to the fact that people are fat phobic. When you really look to the reason why we diet, it is essentially because we have been told that we are to fear fat, and therefore we must diet to create safety and control within that sphere. 

Binge eating is seen as this terrible thing that certainly does not create safety for us but when we really break this down further, that is because of the outcome that comes from the actual food that is ingested, and the reason that this creates fear is because that could possibly mean weight gain and we need to create safety from that. In order to do that after a binge eating cycle (which I believe to be something that is uncontrollable in those specific moments), intake is restricted the next day. As stated in parentheses, binge eating is uncontrollable because it comes from a state of deprivation. It is our body's natural response to not being fed, and whereas we may think and may fully convince ourselves that we are eating enough within our days, the binge is a response saying that we are in fact not. 

Overeating and binge eating are literally only a thing because diet culture and creating safety from fear of fat is a thing. I talk about my best friend a lot who has pretty much the most healthy relationship with food than anyone I know and then my husband who does as well, and neither one of them really ever overeats...like ever in their lives. The one and only sole time that my friend Brandy has ever had a compulsive over eating phase was when she lived with me, saw how healthy I ate, felt pressure within that (we have discussed this) so she decided to go on her first diet. When she decided to limit her intake, her body's natural response was to overeat. THANK YOU JESUS-she recognized that this is not even close to something she wanted in her life, and she ditched the diet and just lives her life. Overshooting hunger and compulsive overeating are not the same thing as we all have fluctuations where we take a few extra bites and say "oh oops", but even within the very statement of "oh I messed up" that passes through our brains, it's because we have created an atmosphere that needs to be within our bubbles of safety and control. 

If we truly sit down and admit it to ourselves, the only reason that anyone cares about overeating or dieting is because they feel fat phobic...duh. But then someone becomes a compulsive overeater and then it becomes a health issue, but the health issue is not the primary issue even if we want to skirt around the truth and say that this is the issue. The panic that ensues when someone overeats really comes back to control and diet culture. 

When you start to really think about the things that you eat in your life, do you do them in a state of control and why do you feel that you need to be in control? I was listening to a podcast about the origin of the desire for the six pack and how it dates back really far, which is kinda funny, but when you think about abs, I'm sure you think how it would be nice to have abs, but when you truly think about life as a whole, what in the crap do bumps on your stomach have to do with anything? Literally, people see our stomachs like 0% of the time (unless it's summer time for a few hours at the beach), but truly we have created this societal norm to work towards a flat stomach or abs and it's an area of the body that NO ONE EVER SEES. How bizarre? Like what if we all thought that our feet should have little ab ripples on them. That would be so weird right? That's because we have culturally been conditioned to think that this certain shape is the ideal shape.

I also understand that the girl with abs is talking to you about body image and dieting thoughts, so it's understandable if that also creates a hard image for you. That's why I really do stray away from this topic but it frustrates me that I'm not allowed to talk about body image just because of that, but I also truly think that it can be so hard in the sphere of body positivity that many times the images that are being shared even of plus sized women are of a body shape that we have grown to love in the opposite direction and how it all comes back to fear of XYZ and creating safety within that based on what you eat. #runonsentence Curves are in right now (like they really are) and so even within the body positivity scene, they are STILL showing you their culturally accepted body's and we praise that. We see more curves and say "yes queen. you look better NOW." 

We have this image of what's perfect and what is the most beautiful and those are the people that are going to have the most successful instagram pages, but if we break it down to the thought process behind it all, we are all working towards this ideal of creating safety from the fears whether that be with fat phobia or beauty phobia and fitting ourselves into these boxes of societal acceptance. 

I know what you're thinking, "but katie you literally coach on dieting" and I know this. haha! I have said many times that I think that there is a spectrum and there are all personality types. I think that it's okay to reach for goals if you have a healthy mindset, but I think that it's vital that you work towards creating healthy eating behaviors. THAT is the end goal and that is what I tell from the start with all of my clients, but I think that sometimes it does take a process and those that haven't been through the process may be wouldn't see it that way but from my personal experience, I just simply do.  

There is literally NO WAY that I could have jumped from my scene 1 act 1 of my dieting journey to the things that I believe now today. It just wasn't possible, and part of what I believe in is the process of learning nutrition to break down that fear and creating safety within seeing "hey this really is okay" and then from there, you can move forward with the remainder of your journey but I think that it's so vital that you also look to yourself to know if that is something that you can handle. We are all different, and all have a path that we need to take but I think that the path outside of the walls of our self created control for fear of whatever it may be is vitally important for lifetime happiness and success in health and wellness. 

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life, thoughts, and training updates

I was thinking how I haven't done an update recently, and I feel I have lots I'd love to chat with you guys about, and it's topics that are all over the place (welcome to my brain) but I thought I'd write about it all in little segments of thoughts and go into how my training for chicago is going.

So, life is great, but also messy. I've been dealing with some mental stuff for a good long while and ignoring and ignoring, but that thing keeps rearing it's ugly head so i decided yesterday to step down from some commitments that i have and focus on healing inclusive of the therapy i joked about the other day. That's so vague i know, but we would be here all day so basically short version - mental health is important and I'm working on mine continuously, in waves of true blissful moments because my life is so beautiful, but then these other moments I'm not sure how to interpret.

I've turned into a bit of an introvert, but I'm truly realizing that I've always been this way and I've always had this emotion since I was a child of "Something is really wrong and I need out of this space..now." It's always been something that I kept to myself, and when upon talking it out with Tanner I've realized that these were blips of anxiety and now that I'm able to see that, I have realized that also part of me always doing social things were to be able to fit in, and the vast number of friends that I have had was just my blanket of security that people liked me. I've been stripping all of that away and breathing free in the presence of who I am. It's been a really beautiful (albeit painful) process to which I've talked in a good amount of detail but it all plays into one of the next things which is READING! I've gotten really into reading and I absolutely love it.

READING

I have so many books that I want to recommend to you guys but I'm going to save all of those for another blog, but just wanted to talk about reading in general. We all have more time than we realize to read and once I made the effort with just keeping kindle on my phone and opening that app instead of instagram and facebook, I realized it was so easy. I also read on the treadmill which I know many can't do. I have an audiobook going, a paperback and a kindle all at the same time and yes, I believe we all have the capacity to switch story lines in our heads. I read the paperback/hardback in the mornings and evenings about 30 min each (I know not reasonable for some with families), the kindle on the treadmill and then audiobook on outdoor runs and in my car (along with informational podcasts - i'll share some of those too soon).

I have realized the benefit of being a lifelong learner. I wish I could re-do school honestly with the maturity now of how amazing college really is and getting my money's worth from really LEARNING information. Like, what a blessing to be able to do. I also have become a touch picky about the books that I'm picking up in that I am learning. I'm veering away from silly romance novels because books are inclusive of everything that a person has learned and researched and put into something concise for you to get through, and you have that opportunity and how cool is that to get their brain power in a few hundred pages! I don't want to waste that on what I call "the celery" of books-you know the books that should NEVER BE CONSUMED JUST LIKE CELERY ;) (I hate celery hehe).

but this one...you MUST read. I'm going to literally read this every year for the rest of my life I think haha!

but this one...you MUST read. I'm going to literally read this every year for the rest of my life I think haha!

FALL AND FOOTBALL

I know y'all feel it like I feel it. The time where everyone becomes annoying about pumpkin and the air just tastes different. I genuinely am quite literally obsessed with fall. Like seasonal depression in summer maybe (??) and hoping I reawaken in the fall. O-M-G I CANNOT WAIT. Tanner also takes his board exam in exactly one month and we will have the entire fall and holiday season together. It's been a long time coming. He's been studying for like almost a year on and off and very ON for about 6 months. We are going to a pre season Panthers game on Thursday with two of our best friends and I'm SO PUMPED.

COOKING / MEAL PLANNING

So, this is something that we have been enjoying so much together and more than ever before. Tanner basically never has preferences...on anything. lol. He's truly so chill, but he basically one day was like "okay i really want to start making meals and having dinner together." We had got into a habit of just doing our own thing like under the same roof because we eat so differently. He eats more than most humans on the planet (ha) and it's mostly very carb heavy whole foods plant based. When I went more towards plant based eating, I do try to get protein in some form and not just pasta every night but that's what he does, so I have just decided to start eating that way too. But, we have been making all kinds of things- pasta dishes, tacos (with beef crumbles and tofurky and cauliflower beef), homemade veggie pizzas, portabella paninins (aka sandwiches that we grill lol). We have been getting very gourmet every night and it's something we both really look forward to.

With planning for this, I typically pick our dinners every night at the beginning of the week and I have a meal planning little notebook. I write out what is needed for the recipe with crossing off or checking what we already have before I go to the store. I make sure to use up what is from the week before. I am REALLY HUGE on leftovers and using sauces/spices we have. I'm cheap and I'm not going to be wasting money throwing away junk. Luckily, my husband is obsessed with leftovers and it's a good thing with his appetite! ;)

our marriage is so so good right now. we truly are so in love and daily just chat chat chat and have fun haha!

our marriage is so so good right now. we truly are so in love and daily just chat chat chat and have fun haha!

BIRTHDAY

I turn 28 in 8 days but WHO IS COUNTING? I am!!! hehe! I actually love my birthday. I just look forward to it so much and there's nothing really that happens, but I just enjoy feeling really special for the day inside my own little head. haha!

I don't know what I want and I asked for recommendations on my insta story and got so many fun ideas so I'm going to think on that. Most likely it will be experience focused, but I truly do want a new tattoo and have wanted one for quite some time.

The issue with that tattoo for me is not that I'm afraid to get one, but that the phrase that I want won't be perfect. I've thought about a million different phrases, and I know you'll tell me that I'll know when I choose it but I think I do know and then the next day I change my mind. Right now, I'm considering "still, I rise" in cursive down my forearm. Yes, I'm aware that it will be a visual tattoo and I'm a health care professional. I think the world is changing, so Imma go with that! ;) I want the tattoo to represent this season of change and hardship within myself that I've went through, so of course there's a million things. I kind of want it to be free spirited-ish as that's more of the life I've been moving towards (I know I don't encompass this-I'm workin LOL)

YOUTUBE

I've been wanting to start a youtube channel and be serious about it for quite some time. This has nothing to do with garnering income from it, because the structure of youtube has actually changed a lot, and many of the advertisers have pulled out, but just to be able to provide quality scientific content about nutrition and health in a useful easy to understand format that is well researched, well done, and provides a really fun creative outlet for me as well because I truly enjoy that sort of thing. I just want to do it right so I'm teaching myself lots of things currently and will continue to work towards this long term goal.

On the note of people using this as their sole income-yikes-there is so much changing and Tanner and I were discussing how Youtube has no formal contracts with any of these full time youtubers, and at any point, they can decide to pull the advertising piece. They probably won't but it's a possibility so I genuinely hope everyone has at least a semi back up plan. Times will change things. That we know. haha!

MINIMAILISM

Tanner and I have always dreamed of being minimalist (like extreme lol) but we just never could seem to make it work. We know that the point is not to get rid of everything but rather to just have items that you love, but we didn't love all of our items and still weren't getting rid of them. haha! We had a talk about how we just needed to continue going through things over and over and each time, we find new things to sell and to give away and have started a large yard sale pile.

I read the book "The life changing magic of Tidying Up" and it really is life changing when everything has a specific purpose and spot in your home. Tanner is a very tidy man, to which I am IMMENSELY thankful, and so even down to our socks, every single one has a place now. Y'all...we are so crazy I know! LOL! But, it's so lovely. We don't ball our socks up anymore and force them into drawers. We stack them, fold them over once and place them vertically on their ends in our drawer. If a drawer becomes full, that means that we need nothing more and if it starts to pile, we make decisions to sell the others/give away.

This is the photo I sent to my mom and said "one day we will have nothing left and it will be wonderful." and she sent back "*inserts eye roll*". My mom keeps EVERYTHING. I keep nothing and tell her she made me clutter phobic, so we balance each other out ;)

This is the photo I sent to my mom and said "one day we will have nothing left and it will be wonderful." and she sent back "*inserts eye roll*". My mom keeps EVERYTHING. I keep nothing and tell her she made me clutter phobic, so we balance each other out ;)

NEW PURCHASES

There's been a lot of talk about how minimalism is consumerism at the end of the day because it's all about having these perfect items and having the money to be able to throw out the rest. I would have to kind of agree even though I'm participating, but we spend money on like literally nothing ever, so I'm okay with this. We want each item that we own to make us really happy, and when we get those items, we take really good care of them. For example, I bought my car over a year ago and I still take it to the drive through car wash and vacuum it out and wipe down everything with leather wipes every single week. My car looks brand new and that's how we treat everything we own. The things that I purchase are very thought out.

I decided that the old lunch tote I was using just was not big enough. I needed something that could carry a lot of different meals, so I got a new one. It was $9.99 at Marshalls, but the point of this is: I got rid of the old IMMEDIATELY. I don't need two. I need one that is of use that I will value and take care of and has a location.

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We watch way too many documentaries, so therefore I also have made the conscious decision that my money is worth putting in cruelty free products. The amount of harm that is done to precious innocently sweet animals just so that we can have laundry detergent literally baffles me and makes me so sad so I will spend more there.

Tanner is reading more as well, and I have a kindle but he does not, so we will research, plan out accordingly for probably black friday and purchase him one. If you have any tips in that area, or think that an ipad might be more useful then I'd love your thoughts there. He will be using it for reading mostly (which includes work and journals).

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I didn't purchase these, but y'all this new company sent me their bars, and didn't ask me to do a post at all. I literally only mention things people send me if I think it's good and am upfront with companies that send me things that I may never post about it. I want to always be honest, but these bars really are great, and have no preservatives so you keep them in the fridge. I popped them in the microwave for 8 seconds and OMGGGG! That banana chocolate YUM! 

ORGANIZATION

This all ties in together, but just an update on organization. Remember how I wanted to become more organized? Well, I truly think it's just habit now. It doesn't take thought, and if anything it's gotten more and more intense. HA! (The story of my life I know).

I don't get stressed out if things don't stay organized, but well, everything always just is now. haha! It was a long time dream of mine, and someone how I made it happen slowly over time. I write out everything in my calendar. I'm very detailed about it. I have spreadsheets on google sheets for just about everything. I am very detailed oriented with my clients now. I'm very focused when I'm at my full time job as well and organized as I have 140 patients to keep track of and chart and treat. I've really leaned into the value of taking time vs just getting stuff done and it's been super fruitful. I love it. I just recently reorganized my pantry and fridge because it just needed a revamp. I try to utilize little boxes and such I have vs buying new containers just to have more stuff.

Our closet is organized by short sleeve, long sleeve, jackets, etc and moves from the color scheme of dark colors to light colors.

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but on to the next topic!

TRAVEL

Tanner and I are going to London in December, and I am getting so excited. I have been doing a lot of research on the area and whether or not we want to do a day trip to Paris (as we feel that there is plenty to do in London and it would take up 2 of the 6 full days we have breaking up the trip maybe too much?) Thoughts? Favorites in London? I'm going to hopefully get some books from the library about the best things to do while we are there.

We also are saving to be able to do things like London and maybe another European trip next year as obviously those are expensive and we have been really budgeting with working towards getting our 401K situation maxed out and in place. We have been looking into investing for a long time and just not knowing how all of that works or how to begin, and we realized that the most simple start is just with our 401K's and so that is where we are. And the amount of compounded interest from age 27 to 65 is truly unbelieveable. 

CANCER / NEW DRUGS

A new drug came out this week that is most utilized in heart disease, however it serendipidiously (is that a word?) could be really useful in lung cancer as well. It's actually a huge break through in science with heart attack risk patients, and an exciting time. I'm a huge fan of "food being thy medicine", but the truth is most people just are simply not interested in the dietary changes that can change their life and if we have life changing meds on the horizon then that's incredible. It's called Canakinumab and I was super excited to see it mentioned even on theSkimm yesterday morning

ROUTINE

Routine has become my best friend. I thrive in routine, and haven't had one for quite some time. I actually think that this is what caused many of my issues is that I have a job that has flexible hours and my online work is flexible hours and so then I'd work out at odd times and I was just all over the place. I have found that working out the same time every day and having the same routine with work even if it is flexible really helps me to stay focused on everything that is life. I love routines. 

BLOOD WORK

I just recently had some blood work done (again through Inside Tracker) and I'm waiting on those results. This is a follow up from my December results, and I'll be curious to see if there are any changes. You can find my blog about that HERE. Also, ironically, Tanner had a physical and labs done at the same time. His cholesterol was INSANELY fantastic most likely due to our semi plant based lifestyle and not eating any dietary cholesterol. However, his A1C was 5.3. That is completely normal, but at his age and the fact that he has no family predisposition and our perfectionism on health (ha), he has realized that with the amount of food that he eats, he was just pounding some pasta to get in calories, and so we are taking a step back and re-evaluating how he is eating. He can make changes to his diet literally over night without any emotional ties, so I'm sure that'll be below 5 in no time. haha!

I also wonder if I have something off just based on the way that I've been feeling with training. It's been rough y'all. I was holding strong for so long (around 14 weeks of high volume training) and I literally just have fallen off. Let me continue below in the appropriate subheader. ;) 

DIET/TRAINING

I know what you're thinking - "Katie overtrained" and of course I have wondered that myself, but then I think to the realities of "over training" and what that even means. I slowly escalated up to this amount of volume over years and I trained for an ironman so it's not as if I haven't done this amount of training before, but I just feel that I've been hit by a mental and physical truck. I simply do not care right now, and I'm working on all the cares that I have to bundle together to make the next 5 weeks happen, but I've basically let go of the sub 3. And when I say basically, I mean it's not happening. haha!

I know what you're thinking- "YOU STILL HAVE TIME. HANG IN THERE KATIE. IT'S ALMOST THE END." But I don't think that you guys know how many weeks I've been forcing this and struggling with it and just slowly feeling like I'm going to literally go insane, and this weekend when I woke up at 4am to do my 20 mile run, I was like "I can't. I literally just can't." I felt as if I picked up my foot to run one step, I might die. LOL. That's so dramatic, but with all of the mental issues that I've been struggling with, the amount of fatigue that I feel I've been experiencing mentally has went over into the physical aspect of not having the energy to train. So I didn't run for 4 straight days.

So, where am I at? I know that I was up to about 80 miles per week so of course like any normal human, I thought "I'll just dial it back to normal mileage for a marathon to still work towards a decent time. You are not a pro athlete Katie. Don't be extreme." and then that started slipping. Essentially, it takes a lot for me to run mileage at all. For example yesterday I got in 8 miles, and felt literally horrible the entire run and threw up afterwards. So, needless to say, I'm almost hoping that the blood work shows something, but I know the reality is that it probably won't and I just gotta figure out what's going on with my health. (I've also unintentionally lost weight I didn't intend to lose while eating the same amount that I would normally for this amount of volume and it's pretty significant enough that my clothes don't fit).

I'm a VERY VERY self aware, self critical person so if you are thinking all these things that you think I should be doing, I can promise you that I've probably thought of them myself. haha! I genuinely know that the level at which I was training is unnecessary but I had a goal and I was trying to be diligent in the short term, but WELP. HERE WE ARE. I also know that no one cares about my marathons but me, and honestly that gives me peace. Like, y'all want to be inspired and are cheering me on to my goals, but at the end of the day, you're living your life and I'm just living mine. haha! I have the rest of my life to work towards PR goals, and right now I'm just working towards getting to the race. 

The one update on that is that there is no doubt that I'll get to the race and start and finish. I just literally have zero time goals. I know that is very foreign to a lot of people but I'm just wired differently, and I'd rather run races my entire life never once thinking about time again and still love running then to literally run myself into the ground with the sport. 

I know that after Chicago I'm going to take a long break. I'm probably only going to do New York next year, but that's not final. I just want to focus on helping others train, keeping my health in a reasonable, normal fashion that includes strength training, and working towards some career goals that I have. 

I know I seemingly change with each blog post that I write, but I always like to be upfront and honest about where I'm at currently <3 

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Self Actualization

Lately, the topic of self actualization has, I admit, been an obsession of mine. I absolutely love and crave the topic of coming into myself, the conscious and the subconscious, who I am, who I'm meant to be, who I'm called to be, who my alter ego is, and everything that encompasses this self actualization for every single person individually. We are going to go deep, but I hope you'll stick around to the end so that you find it useful for you and not that Katie has lost it. ;) 

Do we need to "know who we are?" Is this something that humans are ever going to come into? Why is there always the phrasing that you can't do this while you are also in relationships as if I can't find myself while simultaneously being in a monogamous relationship with my husband? I'm as independent as they come, so his presence and love in my life has no bearing on me finding myself, and finding myself has actually been a matter of settling into who I am, and who I've realized I've been programmed for quite some time to believe that I am. 

Note/Edit: This is going to sound like a bunch of hyper spiritual transcendence/awakening type talk, so please excuse me while I escape into philosophical matters. 

(I KNOW I SHOULDNT HAVE BEEN ON A TRAIN TRACK AND IVE LEARNED MY LESSON)

(I KNOW I SHOULDNT HAVE BEEN ON A TRAIN TRACK AND IVE LEARNED MY LESSON)

I also think that this gets tricky with the topic of Christianity, and I would like to express frustration at the notion that you almost aren't allowed the path of self discovery and enlightenment because if you truly felt the presence of God and allowed Him into you, then you wouldn't need to go looking. I believe that when we are able to relax into who we believe ourselves to be then we confidently move forward and allow Christ into those spaces that we otherwise might not have been able to do from this wall that was formed. Every psychologist will say that the path to spirituality is in the awakening. 

I hope that through this blog you'll be able to see my heart that I have deeply sought for months now, and that this isn't things that I haven't poured myself over and into. I've actually wrote a lot of personal poetry during this time which is something that I used to do and had let fall to the side. I always thought I'd be a writer but then science and medicine were such a more "stable" career so I went the route of the person I probably never was but have come to grow and love. 

We all have a trajectory in life that naturally flows. Some of us might take longer to decide what that path looks like, but as you are going through elementary, middle, high and then most of the time college, your life is just flowing. There is no thought process much behind it, and once you come into adulthood, you reach the consistent level of complacency and you have to decide whether you want to rest there, reach for more, and then sometimes you are like "wait, this was the end? What do I do now?" 

Many times, we involve ourselves in side projects, side hustles, and then we start having children and again, there flows the natural trajectory, and we feed into the cycle of life. We have found our identity and "ourselves" without conscious thought. It's just the flow. We say a lot of programmed things that we have learned based on our individual experiences and our upbringings, and geographical locations. Did you know that in Iceland it is completely the social norm to have a sexual interaction BEFORE emotional? They believe in not wasting their emotions before they know if they connect sexually so they do like casual hook ups after drunken bar visits all the time, and it's normal. When you hear that, like me, you think "OMG WHAT? EW. So much questions. So much confusion." But isn't that because I was raised to believe this is wrong, but they were not. They were raised completely differently. We would say they are brain washed. They would say we were. 

This is why it's so important when looking at someone's political view that you can genuinely believe what you believe, but you MUST look through their political stance through their vision. We all are little parrots just saying what those in our surroundings say and do. I watch it constantly having lived in multiple locations and in all of those places, people having different cultural norms. It's so interesting to step back honestly. 

We believe that the choices that we make are either right or wrong, and this all plays into who we believe ourselves to be and coming into ourselves. But all of this is based on emotion and feeling and perception of reality. (Yall, we're going deep here lol)

The point of finding yourself is actually being able to separate from yourself. In the book, Untethered Soul, he discusses the notion of stepping away from your conscious thinking. The voices that you hear in your head are not your own. Many women with eating disorders discuss this voice, and in the documentary "To the bone", there is a scene where they are saying "f you" to their voices. But the thing is, we all have that. Every single thought that passes through your head is that voice. It's not actually you. When you are able to make this separation, you are able to relax, you are able to fully experience life in the way that we all want to.

Think of a white picket fence, red square, and a black triangle. Focus on the black triangle and then let it go. Relax from it, think only of the white fence and the red square and let the black triangle go. That's you being able to make that separation from oneself. The thoughts that pass through every single second, grasp them, notice them, and then relax away from them. That's the separation. You'll slowly start to notice throughout the day that the voice speaks, but the voice is almost always not you. 

The day you decide that you are more interested in being aware of your thoughts than you are in the thoughts themselves—that is the day you will find your way out.
— Michael Singer, Untethered Soul

The voice has been so influenced my society. Let's revisit the fact that I always wanted to be a writer, but that wasn't stable enough. Does that mean that I'm not happy where I am? Absolutely not. I haven't even thought about my 10 year old dreams in years. But it's a point that I'm making that self actualization has so many components. Is happiness the goal? The pursuit of happiness can most definitely create unhappiness, so if you ever want to feel unhappy...search for happiness! ;) It's so easy with human nature to fall into the lack versus the abundance. 

When we naturally go through the flow of life, we stay busy therefore we never really even reach for actualization. Many of those that become "awakened" because that's the only word I have for it are normally like monks or someone who does some deep meditative practice for years, or someone who is just a really cool hippy. You are constantly changing anyway, and I mean for me, I am CONSTANTLY changing, so do we ever even rest in who we actually are? Like what would it truly look like to let every single black triangle flow right between yourself and your conscious and never stick? It just happens in your life, and flows right on through. The black, nasty, ugly triangle--it just keeps flowing through. 

That is where this quote comes in: 

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There can be NO conditional statements-no matter the circumstance-you can let it go and open yourself to the freedom of just being okay. 

I've realized that many times I tell people I have two lives that I could live and that I have an alter ego. I think we all have this person somewhat within us, but when I really sat back and thought about it, I thought how that person is really somewhat who I want to be but I'm afraid to be because that's not socially acceptable in this person that I have created myself to be. I also cannot be those character traits of my alter ego because that's just not who I am. My brain neurons do not fire that way, and I cannot become her. That's just what I have told myself however, and if I can relax into myself, I can become whoever I desire to be. At any point. Any day. 

I know what you're thinking-Katie you have too much time on your hands to think- and I would have to agree. I think that if I had had children like was my plan all along at this stage in my life, I would have never reached for self discovery or had the thought space to do so, but here I am and it's liberating to come into yourself, so I'm glad I've had this time. It allows you to be fully confident in every single motion forward that you make. 

As you all know, one of my big black triangles was the desire to be loved, desired, understood, and not thought wrongly of. With self actualization, it literally does not matter. It's not even the matter of the matter. Like it's just not even a thought. I just am. I am separate. I am raw. I am transparent. I am so very flawed, and so when you speak of my flaws you are speaking nothing more into me that I haven't spoke worse into myself at some point, but I believe that was all part of the process of getting to the now. I can never really write much in the processes, but afterwards, it feels so good to express it all to you guys. This has been such a process of letting go of all the hurt and the pain that I myself have caused and has allowed me to experience the really awful feelings of life to build character and resolve. 

"Katie, you need a therapist" ... I know I'm getting one ;) 

But don't we all? I happen to think so. lol. 

The biggest thing however is this separation. It's allowing yourself to rest knowing that you CAN be happy if you just allow yourself to be open to it letting your black triangle pass through you because it's not OF you to begin with. You also are allowed the space to find yourself whether you're in a relationship or not and whether you are super busy or not, because I do feel that it's worth the time and it's super important. 

the journey to finding oneself is ugly but has been 100% worth it.

the journey to finding oneself is ugly but has been 100% worth it.

I could literally write a book on this topic, so I'm going to end with this today written by one of my favorite instagrammers, @plantifulsoul. This poem below is literally what I feel sometimes when I'm running. It has absolutely blown me away today on this topic. Relax and enjoy it.

as you let go, you become.

reawaken. 

softly stir your soul from its slumber. 

tame this lucid lullaby. 

your body does not belong to you.

this vessel is a holy temple through which eternity 

temporarily seeks refuge.

effortlessly evolving.

our foundation is fluditity. 

perhabs this is why we feel so empty. 

we abandon scattered pieces of ourselves in the grasp of a temporal illusion,

in driting currents, 

and withered roots,

when our purest nature is infinite.

nothing stays the same. 

and this somehow, 

makes everything more beautiful.

the fragile impermanence of it all. 

we tear at the earth beneath us,

starving for the taste of our own flesh. 

like a fish lost at sea, 

searching for water. 

sisters and brothers.

it is not always easy to remember, 

that we are everything

in a place that has taught us that we are nothing. 

you have thought as the world thinks for so long..

that you no longer know 

who or what 

you even are. 

learn to forget. 

listen to the screams of stillness.

drift back into your own embrace.

crumble.

collapse.

surrender.

and carry yourself home. 

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CLIENT TESTIMONIAL/HIGHLIGHT RACHEL BRENKE

To say that I love this girl is an understatement - we just hit it off really well on a lot of different things. She inspires me every day to be the best version of myself, and boy, does she live it out. Just hold on because you're about to super inspired by this chick I call my friend. The way Rachel and I met was in a women's triathlon group when she posted last year that she was going to be doing Ironman North Carolina, and was a momma of 5 and wanted advice on whether to defer to another race due to the shortening of the bike course. 

My first thought was "okay, that one sentence is all I need-she's my hero!" haha! As I learned more about Rachel, I realized that was just the tip of the iceberg. She is a world renowned speaker with her expertise being in small business and online business legalities. As a lawyer and MBA, she is currently helping entrepreneurs all over the world initiate, strategize and implement strategic business and marketing plans through various mediums of consulting resources and legal direction. She also makes all of this work while still having weekly date nights with her husband, being a loving, present, sweet momma, and THIS WEEK her priority is that she is headed to World Championship to represent Team USA. Rachel will compete in the Aquathlon at the Penticton 2017 ITU Multisport World Championships Festival.

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Through our friendship, Rachel decided to hire me for her nutrition, and I was honestly truly honored, and this is what she had to say about her coaching experience:

Katie revolutionized my eating. I tried to out run a diet with IRONMAN. Or didn't work. At all. Katie worked with me to get the right numbers. She offered grace and kindness when I faltered but helped me pick right back up. Thanks to her I'm faster, stronger and happier.

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The best part about Rachel and her transformation is that she has nothing insane or extreme to make these changes. She has taken GOOD care of her body, and her metabolism is strong. She executed exactly the plans that we had and if anything ever came up that didn't feel right, she let me know immediately and we made changes, and I'm so incredibly excited to see her in action this week at worlds.

Thankful for her friendship and her dedication to her job that inspires me every day! We are doing a podcast soon together, and can't wait to share that with you guys! 

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MAXIMIZING YOUR MENSTRUAL CYCLE

So, the topic of periods in every aspect is a hot topic at this time in the fitness industry. These topics range from:

  • How to keep your period
  • How to get your period back
  • How prevalent amenorrhea is among athletes and how that needs to change
  • Why it's important for health to have your period
  • Why birth control is not the answer to the lack of a period

The topic that I want to cover today is how to maximize your cycle to your potential, and what to know about it to help ease your mind in times where you might not be feeling as good, and to relax into that. I wrote an article about periods back in 2015 and if you want to check that out, you can find that HERE. It's about how important it is to have a period, but also why I think it's important to look at your situation individually, try not to panic and work through it with a reasonable outlook to get your period back and be a healthy vibrant kick butt woman! There was a study done in 2010 on endurance female athletes about the presence of low bone mineral density and osteoporosis and the appearance in over 30% of the patients. That makes it apparent that this is something we NEED to be talking more about, but again, the regaining of your period is not today's topic. A really useful book for this topic is: No Period, now What?

One last word on that topic is that you do NOT have to give up everything to be able to get your period back. Yes, that is the simplest way most likely because the amount of stress on your body is clearly too much, but you can do things in a way to continue doing the sports that you love and staying healthy, BUT I DIGRESS...

In my previous blog post, I did not go over the entire cycle and how much things change throughout the month and what to be aware of. It's important to recognize that even if you are not having a period, your body is still going through these cycles most likely, and most of the time this is in a 28 day window (weeks 1 - 4). This can vary and if you want to make goals in conjunction with your cycle then you can chart your temperature and your cycle to have a better idea of when you are going into the individual stages of hormone variation and performance.

There are two types of women who will read this blog:

  • "Oh, this will be fun! Let me track this and see if I can see a difference in my training!"
  • "Oh god..something else to worry about and track and IT'S JUST TOO MUCH!!!"

If you are #2-just don't read the blog-seriously-it's not worth it to worry yourself with something else, but it's interesting if you're interested! ;)

I'm going to keep this short, sweet, and TO THE POINT. Y'all, this is so exciting and interesting. Buckle up!

So I wanted this to be super simple, and think that it will help you to keep referencing this chart as you read along with the recommendations for each week of your cycle and what your hormones are doing during those respective weeks.

So I wanted this to be super simple, and think that it will help you to keep referencing this chart as you read along with the recommendations for each week of your cycle and what your hormones are doing during those respective weeks.

The first two weeks of your cycle is your follicular phase. The first week of your cycle is your actual period. This is when your hormones are both at the lowest coming right after your PMS week and once your menstration occurs, you should start to feel much better, less water retention.

  • Week 1 Training:

Give yourself grace in that you're bleeding and that's no fun but know that this is a week to start to capitalize on the exertion that you are able to give while your estrogen and progesterone are lower. Aim for maybe some slower tempo runs or solid strength building blocks during this time.

  • Week 1 Nutrition: 

                 **higher insulin sensitivity but lower metabolic rate (lowest at the end of week 2 going into ovulation)

                  **Increase carb intake but keeping calories moderate - your body will utilize the carbs for the increase amount of endurance during this first week than your PMS week prior   

  • Week 2 Training:

This should really be the best week of your entire cycle in terms of training. If you are someone who knows your cycle well, then you should let your coach know this in order to push your heaviest weights or your hardest speed drills / tempo workouts during this week.

  • Week 2 Nutrition:

This is when the egg is going to drop going into ovulation and when you are the most fertile. There will start to be an incline in estrogen and follicle stimulating hormone and is a great time! You should feel your best during this second week nutritionally as well as your metabolism starts to speed up (your core temperature is higher), and you are still insulin sensitive so aim for higher carbs.

OVULATION-

Wouldn't it be aperfect world if we could aim for a PR on these days when we are at our peak of wonder womanhood? Be careful though-injury risk is very high during this time ! (Hint: click that link if you wanna see the abstract from the study)

The second two weeks of your cycle is the luteal phase, with the final week of this cycle being your "PMS" week.

  • Week 3 Training:

Things are not going to feel as good as they did. You probably can even notice that workouts the week prior that seemed easy now seem hard, and the efforts of your workouts should decrease due to potential for injury with your estrogen decreasing and your progesterone increasing. Every article on this topic will tell you to do yoga during this time, but if you aren't a yogi and you're a runner or a strength athlete, it's just important to know that these two weeks are when you should be relaxing more, just getting in base mileage

  • Week 3 Nutrition:

Core temperature starts to rise (higher metabolism) but with reduced insulin sensitivity and more insulin resistance. You'll be able to eat more, and burn more calories, but you'll be better off if those calories come from fat and protein and reduce your carb intake during this time. If you are doing less stringent endurance type efforts, then this actually can be a really great time to lose fat (specifically this third week).

  • Week 4 Training:

It's just going to suck and that's okay. haha! Your heart rate is going to be higher during your workouts, your breathing is going to be more labored. You will benefit most from easy runs, low impact strength training and preparing your body to be able to utilize the following 2 weeks.

  • Week 4 Nutrition:

The trickiest part of this week in terms of nutrition is that your serotonin is going to lower, therefore your cravings for carbs will be higher. Your mood swings are cray cray, and you are holding water like a mother trucker. It's important during this phase to at least try to aim towards higher calorie foods that are mostly higher in fat. You should always have carbs, so don't mistake this for saying to go keto, but simply just to recognize what is going on in your body and moderate your carb intake with the increase in cravings.

I could say so much more on this topic and it's so so interesting. Women have it ROUGH is all I have to say about that, but you CAN do things to benefit from this cycle. So, I know that the hot topic has been GETTING that period, but once you get it, let's make it to our advantage! #GIRLPOWER

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