Plant Based VS Veganism

So, every once in awhile, I like to revisit why in January of 2015, I started to pursue a life of less meat. And this week was one of those weeks. It's always an earth shattering, eye opening, rock my world kind of days when I decide to do it, revitalizing the beliefs I have on this topic as well as the passion within it. This is not meant to be a self righteous or judgmental decision and not one that I impose or even talk about with anyone (except on my blog). EVERY single person has their individual convictions and this is just one of mine.

I think I know what you expect me to say, and that is that I'm plant based, and that's not true. I'm neither vegan nor plant based because I'm not good at either one, but I also know that the rules are not concrete nor do they have to be perfect therefore I have grace within that knowing that every decision that I make as a conscious one is better for my health, the environment, world hunger, and animals. But what's the difference? Plant based eaters are those that chose to do so for their health. It's really trendy and it doesn't carry as much "negative connotation" with it. 

Vegans notoriously have a bad name. They are envisioned as the door to door knockers of how to live your life all up in your face, self righteously screaming at you about 'free the nipple' with dreadlocks and female arm pit hair (which all are fine- you do you boo boo). I think that veganism has gained a little traction in places like LA where it's a bit more trendy, as the world is becoming more accepting and more "woke" or awakened if you will. There's big time famous people and seemingly "cool" people that are becoming vegans and they aren't shoving it down people's throats. But veganism is more than plant based. It's a connection to the lifestyle of choosing options that evade animal products in every use (products in your home and clothes that you wear). 

For the longest time, I've openly said I'm working on becoming more plant based, but I always made sure to use that word. I never wanted to say I'm vegan and openly even told people I was not vegan, but lately I am a bit turned off by myself. I was thinking today... What does the word vegan even mean? The only phrases that came to my mind were "ethical, compassionate, and empathy." You hear the phrase "ethical vegan" a lot in the health world and that means that they choose to do so because of animals, and this immediately gives you a certain feeling about them and most of them never cheat, ever. Like. Ever. When they decide, their entire world shifts into this, and therefore I think that they are seen as extreme, and casting their views upon others and I do think that some have done that in the past, but I'm hopeful that this will start to change. 

Ethical vegans are vegans because they care. They care about what is going on in the world, they care about animals, the environment, and world hunger. It's compassion. That's all. They sometimes get overwhelmed because this is not how the world operates, and I think that sometimes they feel as if they are going to bust from the seams from the information that they know that everyone else seems to ignore. Most of them were not born into ethical veganism therefore they went through a transformation where they made the connection and the realization that it doesn't make sense that we love dogs as much as we do but yet we allow ungodly things happen to pigs and cows for our meals, and how we are appalled when someone leaves a dog on the side of the road but put a big dead turkey on the middle of the table every year for Thanksgiving, and it BOTHERS them. They feel as if as they see you post a juicy hamburger that you are mauling a dog in front of them, and they feel as if they have to tell you what they know. But you aren't in the mindset and you aren't ready to hear it, just as I wasn't for a very very long time and most of my life. 

I have struggled with being plant based/vegan for the past month for various reasons, but when I think about the heart of those around me that are vegan, my heart has shifted and I hope that through reading this that you'll maybe see them in a new light. 

Why is it that people full of compassion are seen as self righteous? Why is that people full of empathy are seen as weird and over the top? Don't get me wrong. There is a little bit of a personality that comes along with vegans just like there's a personality that comes along with women who become pharmacists (typically Type A, super organized, detail oriented women lol). It just comes with the package so you might have experienced a judgmental vegan, but all of that is shifting as culture begins to shift. My hope is that it will allow people to change the way they do everything not just the way that they eat because they aren't afraid to say, "You know what? I love animals and THAT'S why." 

I texted Tanner my thoughts about this and how it's weird that the world sees empathy as such a meek or "non manly" thing, and I could have just hugged him when he said "Oh that's not me. I can't stand the thought of harm done to animals. It bothers me so much no matter the animal." YES!!! THAT'S MY MAN! And my hope is that people will continue to see that this does not make someone less 'manly' just because they aren't BBQing or grilling up a juicy steak, but just someone who cares, and that's okay. 

Again, I must emphasize, I needed this week because I had slipped right back into eating meat for the past month (yepppp sure did after I was for sure I wouldn't EVER again) and I also always value my money over the cost of vegan household items which is a shame to me. My hope is that you'll know that this is not a blog of judging you but just knowing that I'm in the boat with you, riding it out, trying to do the best I can for this world and the people and the animals that inhabit it and that there is nothing that feels more right to my soul then to be a compassionate vegan, and that each step that we take together is a great one. There is nothing wrong or weird or "too much/extreme" about veganism. It's a decision of recognizing the things of this world that you won't put your dollar towards, and every attempt and every dollar you put elsewhere is more than enough. DO NOT be consumed with doing everything that you do nothing.

<3 this is one of my favorite quotes about it <3

<3 this is one of my favorite quotes about it <3

Some fun facts and people/podcasts to follow to wrap this up: 

It takes 1000 gallons of water to make 1 gallon of milk

There is enough food to feed 10 billion people, and the world only inhabits 7 billion, but because we are giving food to agriculture, there are 800 million people (so almost 1 billion) that are going hungry, even though we have enough food and grain to feed 3 billion more than what inhabits the earth. 

Animal agriculture is responsible for 91% of Amazon deforestation. 

There are 4.6 BILLION animals slaughtered yearly for our enjoyment. That literally brings tears to my eyes. 

Humans eat 45 billion pounds of food per day. Cows eat 130 billion. (The problem with this is not that I mind feeding cows but that cows are being bred just to be slaughtered)

Male chicks born in factory farms are literally just put into a grinder because they serve no purpose. The females beaks are almost always cut off immediately. 

Newborn calves are immediately taken from their mothers (and I witnessed first hand the EXTREME instinct of Zoey when she had her puppies and how INTENSE her love of her puppies were-it's INTENSE how much animals love their babies). 

Favorite youtuber: Ellen Fisher (I legit think I love this woman and she has no idea I exist) 

Favorite Food blogger: Oh She Glows

Favorite Podcast: Earth to Us (Ellen Fisher's sister lol) 

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The Evolution of Five Years of Marriage

Today is five years of marriage with my husband. If you can't tell from my obsessive posts about him, I'm crazy about him. blah blah blah. ha. However, I haven't always been this crazy about him. He and I both know that this year, more than ever before, we have fallen crazy in love with one another and it's just the best thing ever. 

We were both in pharmacy school and fresh to living with someone of the opposite sex. He had some really anal qualities like unplugging everything I owned before bed to save the batteries and never throwing away mail unless it was shredded and being CRAZY clean but somehow leaving his dirty socks in weird places, like the kitchen table. It was like this attempt to not forget to take them to the dirty clothes. We fixed that one quick ! ;) I lost my keys and everything else I own at least 5000 times. It drove him crazy so instead of yelling at me, he provided systems for me to keep up with them specifying where I would leave things so I would know. I decided to slowly over time let go of the fact that my iphone can't charge overnight. Homeboy will unplug my junk to "save my battery life in the long run." 

Somewhere in all these years, the qualities that drove me nuts, I started to love about him. His attention to detail no longer annoyed me but showed me how much he truly cared about me, about our dogs, about our life. 

The truth is, Tanner and I have never really fought. Sure, we would go through a two week period where I'm like "Yo what's up? You're getting on my nerves alot more" and he's like "yea you're annoying me too" but nothing serious. We have had a pretty stable and happy marriage, but it wasn't the kind of good that you dream about in the beginning. It was pretend good at times I believe. It was "Ignore this because I am in pharmacy school and residency and who even cares to fight about this because I'm working on my life goals" kind of thing. 

We said we didn't really do PDA (which we don't-no problem if you do-just not our thing). We didn't necessarily disagree on much but we also hadn't gone through 2016 when everyone discussed everything to learn together and grow together to be on almost 100% on every topic on the same page.

The point of the above is to say that our marriage has not been rocky but our marriage was not as good as it could be. There were things that investment and commitment and communication formed that you can't form in any other place. The age that I see in Tanner's face just a little bit from when we first meet makes my heart sing. I've been HERE, RIGHT HERE IN HIS LIFE, through all of it. I've grown up. He's grown up. We've grown up together through baby 20's to almost 30's, and the investment in the relationship is what has made it so pure. That's something that at 20 years married, I'll know even more and I can't wait to grow old with him.

Through a lot of stress and anxiety over trivial things and the beginning stages of wrinkles in our faces, we have navigated this thing called marriage that we lept into and made it the best thing in both of our lives.

We have talked a lot recently about how our marriage became as good as it is. I don't say that to brag at all, I promise, but just like "how did we fall so much for one another and keep it this way?" and we don't know. One thing we do is that we talk all the time. All.The.Time. Literally if I can't text him, I write down essentially my almost every thought on a pad to talk to him about later. Every single thought that passes through my mind-that kid knows, and it has made us make rash decisions because we don't PAUSE before talking sometimes but it also has made us really close. 

In our 3rd and 4th year, we talked a lot about natural touching of one another like at home and in public. I know that sounds weird, but just like natural flow of loving one another, and we didn't do it well. So, we started to force it and try. It was even more awkward and lame and forced. So, one or the other would stop. This continued. We would talk. Try again. Same thing. And then just like that, after so many discussions and forced efforts, it was like one day it just all fell into place and now it's not forced. We touch when it's natural, and sometimes I come home and I walk in and say "yo." and some days I walk in like today and he says "I MISSED YOU TODAY!" and grabs me and gives me a kiss. It's just the natural flow of life and it's wonderful to not have to try so hard for it anymore, but knowing that we walked through the mud puddles to get it here. 

Commitment and investment and time - it's a beautiful thing

Five years and as many as God will grace us on this Earth together to go <3 <3

He still wads up kitchen towels and leaves them dirty on the counter and I still lose my keys ;)

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Psychosocial Behaviors of Chronic Disease

This is a really hard topic to discuss but I think that it's worth discussing and to have dialogue on how we can help people to live their best lives based on the way that we approach the way that they eat. This is more about the psycho social pressures vs anything to do with the actual consumption of food and the guilt and shame that patients feel in relation to these events which in turn just make it harder for them to eat well.

As I've switched from being solely an online coach into a full time pharmacy health coach with nutrition coaching on the side , but doing a lot of the same type coaching in person, I've noticed some key differences. I think that it is of note that patients are referred to me due to their risk factors or current presence of chronic disease states such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and sometimes anxiety and depression.

1) Many of the patients that come to see me don't necessarily WANT to be there. Some most definitely do, but some just want to get the incentive debit card and know that they have to do these appointments to do so. If someone comes to me for nutrition coaching, they pay me because they WANT to be doing the work. 

2) There's a huge element of mistrust in the beginning. When patients are coming to see me, they are literally talking to me for the first time and most of the time, I'm younger than they are. I'm this tiny little chick sitting behind a big office desk, and it's intimidating. Then, I'm all like "let's get vulnerable and talk about your health problems that are mostly related to diet." Yea, no. It doesn't work well. (I think they think I'm going to tell them to start eating kale shakes but I know they don't know me yet haha). With my coaching online, the internet and email provided a space for women to be free to be vulnerable with me. They had got to know me through my blog and in turn trusted me with their deepest secrets.

I have noticed that most of the time (and it's only human nature), the blame game starts. Everyone is embarrassed to tell me their height and weight, and then go into the reasons of why they weigh what they do. I am literally not mocking this. This is just literally what everyone does. Sometimes I preface the question with the disclaimer that no matter what they say, I will not be judging them and that I just need it for data purposes. It's almost like when the photographer tells you to just act natural. You make a goofy face anyway. haha! It's just what people do. 

But, what I've noticed is pain and suffering in their eyes when they tell me about their weight gain. I won't say MOST but a large percentage of the people that I'm going to be working with need to lose a pretty significant amount of weight and it's to the point that it's caused disease. I have a dietician on staff that I can refer them to, but many times patients aren't even interested in this service. I can remember three instances of women telling me about their 50-100pound weight gain, and I can almost SEE visible tears in their eyes, but when I say that I want to help them to make big changes, the first thing they say is: 

"My mom is overweight." "It's hereditary." "This medicine caused it." "My metabolism has been slow since I was a child" 

... and on and on and on.

The problem with this, as a culture, patients have begun to believe this 100%. They are not just saying these things to me just to feed me a line or they wouldn't be looking at me with tears in their eyes. They truly believe that the weight that they have gained is from things that are outside of their control, and in many circumstances, there are things that ARE outside of their control therefore not trying at all seems to be the most viable and reasonable option. But there is unfortunately a victim mentality (again please hear my HEART and finding ways to help NOT judge but that is the truth).

I begin to ask if there is any anxiety or depression present and patients start to open up. This isn't always the case, but then slowly it might come out that there is some emotional eating going on that they can't get a handle on. Being from the deep south, everything is deep fried here and if it's not, then people think it's healthy. Yall, my family just discovered how much they love guacamole and I love them, but I have lovingly laughed at them that I KNOW the reason that they "haven't liked guac" is because something such as avocado in Shelby is considered healthy and is then considered gross (quinoa & hummus are other examples of such foods that "sound healthy therefore = gross lol). All of that to say, intuitive eating for most everyone here is not one of true balance that has any form of good nutrition. Most patients tell me they eat oatmeal, grilled chicken and veggies and same for dinner and of course, that just doesn't add up. I don't want to say they lie to me, but it's funny how everyone says this.

As a health coach, I think there needs to be more dialogue about all of this. Where does self acceptance/hatred end and health begin? There has to be the balance, and I think that we are a culture of self acceptance and body love and if you are feeding your body CORRECTLY to prevent disease then that's wonderful, but we all want to live happy and healthy lives with the ones that we love so how do we do both and not believe all the lies that society feeds us to make us feel better about all the things that we are doing to ourselves? In the exact opposite, there are people that hate themselves so much that they see no point in the things that they KNOW they should be doing or they have disease states (PCOS, Hashimotos) and it becomes very VERY difficult and meticulously watching their diet is not the way they want to live their life.

I would love to foster better relationships with food in this town, but I know that's also a big dream. I would love for people to know that it doesn't have to be all diet or nothing. They hear that, but I'd love for the concept of intuitive eating to really sink in. A patient yesterday was explaining that any time she eats McDonalds, she feels disgusted with herself, she orders 2 cheeseburgers and fries when she doesn't even have the desire to eat that much but it's "off the diet" so she almost feels she "has to" eat more. It's this never ending cycle, and an unhealthy relationship with food is what is causing our obesity epidemic. We have magazines with decadent cakes but also diet plans on the same page. They preach balance, but what does that even really mean? Why do my patients think that they have to drink shakes and wrap themselves in aluminum foil to get their blood glucose and high blood pressure down.

I believe that as I continue to foster relationships with these individuals, I will hopefully allow a space of trust and for them to open up to me and allow me to hopefully help them, but until they want to, of course as we know, there will be no change which is a shame. They deserve more. They deserve to know that sometimes just "accepting" genetics and disease states is not something they have to do. They CAN feel better, but they have stopped trying because they don't believe in a system of success and stopped believing in themselves to be able to get there.

After listening to the book that I referenced in my last blog post, there was a large section about how individuals will do better time and again when they believe that they are going to be successful. They do better when they have an audience watching (i.e. social media) and they will do better in communities. I'm hoping that I can build a community that lifts one another up to say I KNOW THAT THIS IS HARD BUT I KNOW THAT YOU DESERVE THIS. 

It's not about weight because I don't think that weight is causation for the disease at all. I don't think that the actual adipose tissue is what leads to the diabetes or the hyperlipidemia or hypertension. The unhealthy eating habits of course, but it's this unbalanced eating habit of all or nothing with the fluctuations, which have been shown in clinical trial to lead to MORE weight and early death. As I tell my patients, I'm not concerned that they have a 120/80 blood pressure because who cares about that number. What I care about is that a patient doesn't end up with a heart attack or stroke so that they can love on their people for a full long and happy life!!! 

Regardless, I feel as if this is going to be something that I enjoy SO much. I have so many ideas to implement into this county (if they will let me lol) and I think the first step is helping others to see that it's just me empowering them to do the things that they could always do on their own. As one patient said yesterday, "All fat people know how to lose weight. We need YOU to encourage, motivate, and cheer us on." GIRL, I GOT CHU.

I would love dialogue in the comments about how we can bridge this gap and any ideas that anyone has on how to better serve a community of people who genuinely do not believe that they are even capable of pressing START. (I LOVED the comments on my last post and getting to chat with everyone so feel free to comment if you have thoughts)

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How Bad Do You Want It & Training Updates

I posted this to facebook last night but I've been on a reading/audible kick and made a goal for the remainder of this year to really start reading at least 15 minutes every day. It truly is NOT hard and just need to get off my phone for that amount of time scrolling mindless social media and then you rock and roll through books and it's so awesome. 

I also am really good at skipping all the "extra" words while I'm reading so I can read pretty fast. I might miss a few details but not enough to worry. he said, she said dialogue words I just don't even read. My mind jumps right over them. BATTLE OF THE BOOKS QUICK TIP NERD ALERT! ;  ) 

Motivation is something that I have had in abundance since I was a little girl. I have made lists since the age of 5 with goals and dreams. I've always been obsessed with the ideas of goals. When I found out there was a book about getting to the deeper parts of my brain to be able to do better in endurance sports-I WAS ALL IN! SIGN ME UP! I listened to the audio book 8 hours in one day. lol. 

"How bad do you want it" is a sports psychology book written by the infamous Matt Fitzgerald. It details the science behind the phenomenon that your mind controls more than your muscles in endurance training and racing and that we can push far more than we ever imagined by tapping into this potential. 

While I'm not blogging full time, I had about 40 people tell me they were going to get this book on amazon when I thought "Hey! Why not throw up an affiliate link because why not?" LOL! So, if you use the link above..."NANKS" as my nephew Jackson would say.

Each chapter outlines an accomplished endurance athlete and the mental triumphs that they made or did not make to get them where they are today. I feel like my mouth is just gaping open sometimes when he explains about the science behind some of the things that our body's can do when we just simply can tap into the mental. It's not just a matter of mind over muscle, but actual brain images showing changes that can benefit you more than even illegal doping.

It outlines how many endurance athletes have been through trauma and that trauma, as long as it's not intense trauma in life's hardships can lead to the potential to be able to push yourself further. It allows you to be able to handle lay offs and deaths easier. If life is just peachy all the time, then these athletes have a harder time pushing themselves at the end of a marathon because they have not exercised their brain muscle tissue. I can first hand say that I feel that hard things in my life have been able to be used directly in endurance training and race days.

As you continue in training over the years, your perception of effort changes with the amount of miles that you are doing. I have seen this first hand. Each and every training cycle, I do more and more miles and it just doesn't feel like a big deal. Eight miles to me now is literally nothing when that used to be such a huge deal. Everything that we do is relative, so if we can convince ourselves that what we are doing is not as big of a deal then it becomes easier to handle. 

This may seem obvious but it's really important to athletes especially on race days. 

Another really incredible thing that our minds do is that we "choke under pressure" if we think about the race TOO much. There's a healthy level of obsession about your race day, but chilling out about it can prove benefit time and again. The same mindset goes along with weight loss. If you are fantasizing and thinking about it constantly then research shows over and over again that you will have a much harder time actually doing what your goal is. It's the art of being able to execute what needs to be done without obsession. 

Siri Lindley is one of the examples in the book and a really well known triathlete. Listening to her story alone made me want to jump right back into ironman, I was so inspired. She simply had a voice in her head that told her that she had a burning desire to be a really good triathlete and so she literally dedicated her entire life to it when she didn't even know how to really swim. I know that's not realistic, but Tanner and I talk frequently how people don't understand that all of these pro athletes that we see and get to experience their greatness-we wouldn't get to do that if people weren't extreme. If people weren't willing to run 125 miles in one week or train for 30+ hours while working full time jobs then we wouldn't get to experience the world records they shatter. It's because of their mental aggressiveness that allows it. So, yes, they are extreme, and I freakin love it! 

I hope this inspires you to 1) read this book because it'll change your outlook on some things I really believe and 2) KICK BOOTY AND WORK YOUR BUTT OFF!! No one can take that away from you! 

Now for my training!! I just want to say that even though I know I haven't talked much about it online, I am having the best training cycle of my entire endurance career. It's unbelievable really. The reasons that I have come up with for this are: 

1) I haven't been traveling as much which I think put way more stress on my body than I realized with all the constant change in routine, having to find weird times to get hard workouts in

2) nervous system adaptation over the years just getting used to things 

3) slow base miles even if it's lots of them 

4) running lots more and I know that sounds weird but I truly feel like because my body feels almost as if it's always moving, it's always loose. Before, I would skip days at a time due to travel then pop out and just run 8 miles and then of course I was getting injured. 

So how many miles are we talking? 55-70 miles/week build up for my first 4 mesocycle. I am slowly cycling up, peaked out at 70 miles last week then did 48 this week. 

For the next 4 weeks, I will do another mesocycle topping out at 70 miles/week then have a deload week. These two mesocycles are focused SOLELY on volume and not intensity. Many many miles are done at 9min/mile. I have thrown in 2 speed workouts of just 400 x 4 (so literally 2 miles of speed work) and that's it. 

For the following 4 weeks after that (July), I will top off at 80 miles/week adding in one tempo workout per week. The efforts per week will still be very minimal with most miles being slow & easy or conversation paced. 

August will also be 80 miles/week but this is when I will start adding in anaerobic work in the form of more speed workouts and also faster, longer tempos. 

September is the final month before Chicago where I will top off at 90 miles/week before the taper which will be a slow gradual taper over 3 weeks. 

The structure of training for a 70 mile that I'm following is: 

Monday- 8 miles AM , 5 miles PM 

Tuesday - 8 miles AM, 6 miles PM 

Wednesday - 8 miles AM, 6 miles PM 

Thursday- 8 miles 

Friday - 8 miles 

Saturday-Long Run (14-16 miles) 

Sunday - Full rest day 

I PREFER doubles. I would much rather do doubles ANY day than do the mileage all at once. I'm also aware that this is A LOT and it may not work. I've done a lot of research and I know I'm not a pro. I'm not even close, but I want to see what I'm capable of and if a sub 3 is something that I can do. So, I have structured the entire cycles over these months strategically and if I end up doing too much which is possible, then I just live and learn and know better for the next time! :) 

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Renewing Our Vows

When we decided to renew our vows, we decided it wasn't going to be a big production. We just wanted to write new vows to one another, walk on to the beach, 5 minutes and done. We would do it at sunrise when no one was there, just us. I asked if my mom could come to take one picture of us, and Tanner said that was fine, and then it turned into sunset and my immediate family there which was perfect. I wanted to simply just deposit some pictures on my blog if you're interested to scroll through so that I can keep them for the long term.

We also didn't renew our vows because anything has ever been wrong. Our relationship has just deepened and we have fallen more in love so we wanted to celebrate that for our five year anniversary that is next weekend! :) 

I said mine. I cried. Tanner said his. I cried. Then Tanner surprised me and this may be the best and biggest surprise Tanner has ever done for me even our proposal and got me a real sapphire ring. It's something that I mentioned a year ago that I have wanted all of my life (I'm a september baby) but I knew that it would be a long time before I was "adult" enough to make a purchase like that for myself. He has apparently been searching for the perfect one since January and I adore it. 

Jackson looking at us with me wiping tears after he gave me the ring! I LOVE THIS PICTURE!!! Shortly after, he wanted to run to us! 

Jackson looking at us with me wiping tears after he gave me the ring! I LOVE THIS PICTURE!!! Shortly after, he wanted to run to us! 

You know, the water works! LOL-Tanner is just really good to me, more than people even know and I'm thankful for that

You know, the water works! LOL-Tanner is just really good to me, more than people even know and I'm thankful for that

One of the few pictures I feel my brother and I look alike! LOL! He's a complete NUT if you know him! haha! 

One of the few pictures I feel my brother and I look alike! LOL! He's a complete NUT if you know him! haha! 

Happy and blessed beyond belief! I feel like it put us back in honeymoon stage love again! haha! I can't wait to spend the rest of my life making memories with this guy! Cheers to the next five years of more adventures and hopefully entering the crazy world of parenting during that time! <3 

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Validating the people you love

My wise friend once told me that sometimes when people are venting or complaining, they just simply want their feelings validated. I can't stop thinking about it for weeks now and I wanted to share this. I feel it explains so much and helps me to understand my friends better and be better friends to them. This friend of mine is seriously, maybe, my most favorite human I've ever known. At such a young age, she just has so much knowledge of life and people and she's such a good listener. She's also moving an hour away (instead of 5 minutes) and I'm kinda (really) sad about it while simultaneously being really proud and excited for her future.

On social media, it has become quite the annoying trait that if someone shares something hard that has happened in their life, we give the sentiments that we think are going to make them feel better. "You got this girl!" "You're so strong, and you can make it through this!" "Fight hard!" "Don't let that get you down!" "Stay positive" or my favorites "God would never put you through something you can't handle" or "God has a reason in everything." 

We legit do not allow our friends to be weak. If someone were to share these things in person, we might be a little more forgiving, but people don't do that. When you ask them how their day was, they just tell you fine and that they are good. Social media and computers create this little electronic barrier that allows people to be more vulnerable. I've experienced it in coaching so much and it's such a magical thing that allows me to form really deep relationships with women that I've never even met because they are free to be themselves, and the one thing that I've learned over the years is this one simple truth I didn't even know that I had been doing all this time: 

Validate the ones you love. 

I don't mean in a sense of like validating them in silly ways. We all know when someone is over the top and just wanting attention and that's not the kind of thing that I mean. 

Sometimes someone wants to vent something without you telling them that it will be okay. You know what? Maybe to them in that moment it really isn't going to be okay for a good long while. When someone is crying to you because someone is mean to them, and you are wanting to play devils advocate of why you think that the other person had valid reason for the hurtful things that they said, just hold your freaking tongue. When you feel that there is a solution to a problem that your friend just wants to vent about, KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT. It's not that you are not being honest with this person. It's that you are doing what they need from you in those moments. 

The one person that I recognized that I was NOT doing this with is my mom, and that's because I'm the most comfortable with her. The person that I've noticed that I needed to tell to do this more for me is Tanner because he is most comfortable with me. If I was upset about something, he always wanted a solution. I just simply wanted him to listen. When my mom was venting about someone to me, I ALWAYS was playing devils advocate and telling my mom not to be so sensitive or not to get so offended so quickly (yall, the apple didn't fall far LOL). What my mom really needs from me in those moments is to validate the things that she is feeling. 

Think about a time when you have told someone something and been vulnerable with them, and they have come back with "Well, maybe it was just that this person was saying it because of XYZ." In my old age of 27 (ha), I have literally started closing up on those people. It creates distrust and the inability to truly be me. My circle is tighter than it's ever been, and I've actually started struggling with being vulnerable because in the last season of my life when things got tough, I realized that people were awesome when the going was great, but when the tough got going, there were only a few that truly cared and knew what I needed (for example: the particular friend above- her name is Rachel-she's a beautiful human). 

Obviously, there are some people that don't realize that they are saying the wrong things at the wrong time, but when someone makes you feel silly for feeling the way that you do or that you need to be tougher, all it does is create even deeper insecurities within ourselves. Not only are we upset about the thing that we were originally upset about but now we are upset that we feel ridiculous and stupid for being upset in the first place and like that we are pushing away friends because of our original issues. DOUBLE WHAMMIES. Throw a period in the middle of that, and you've got yourself a hormonal shit storm...not that this has ever happened to me or anything! ;) 

When a runner friend of yours tells you that they are upset about a time that they got in their half marathon or marathon or 5K and you come back with some sentiment about how they are better than a lot of other people and should be happy and thankful for that.....

When you have a friend who broke up with a long term ex-boyfriend and then he starts dating someone else and you're jealous and want to rant about it... 

There are certain times when you want to be lovingly honest with your friends and maybe if your girlfriend were upset for the 5th time about the ex boyfriend and dating someone new herself that you say "ya know...maybe it's time to move past it" but when it's the first time, she just wants you to say "I COMPLETELY UNDERSTAND BUT...WELL... YOU'RE PRETTIER THAN HER! ;)" I'm obviously being trite and petty with that one, but the point of all of this is: 

We need space to vent and get our emotions out, and unless we all sign up for a counselor (which honestly isn't a bad idea) then we need people that we can trust with our emotions that aren't going to tell us all the ways that we should be feeling or the things that we could do to make it better. We just want someone to love us and validate the emotions that we are feeling. 

Love your people. Love them fiercely, and even ridiculously when they need that from you. 

P.S. There's maybe 100 grammatical and spelling errors in this blog, but I'm gonna publish without editing. I hope you'll love me through it! ;) 

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Self Confidence is More Important Than Weight Loss (At ANY weight)

So, that's quite the lengthy caption but I felt it necessary to explain what this blog post was going to be about. Can I admit something? I don't necessarily miss instagramming but I miss blogging. I really think that I just love to write, and I'm not sure how regular this blog will be, but man I miss connecting with you guys in this space, so here I am. I'm not sure if you had the chance to catch my podcast that I did with Radiant Collective, but it was all about the reasons behind why I stopped the instagramming, and about World Hunger Project, so if you are interested, check that out HERE. 

So, I have had an upswing in people wanting to work with me over the past week which is actually really ironic considering I'm getting into the full swing of my full time job as well. To be honest, it was time for some structure and purpose. I was feeling a bit .... lacking in purpose if you will. But, every single time I've noticed that women come to me for weight loss, and while I think that it is a valuable tool to learn all the ropes of weight loss and nutrition, I think it's equally if not MOST important to learn how to love yourself in that first. 

I know what you're thinking... WE GET IT. SELF LOVE BLAH BLAH. Believe me, I feel that on a spiritual level, and this is not about that. Really. I am a firm believer even when people won't agree with me that it's OKAYYYYY to go on a weight loss journey and it's OKAYYY to have goals. That does not mean that you hate yourself or that you loathe the journey. It just simply means that you have goals or it might even mean that you need to for your disease states that are present. That's actually what my job is now-just more in person coaching essentially with those with chronic disease states. 

This client wrote this to me: 

"Today's picture I am healthy and whole in body, mind and spirit. Food is no longer the enemy. There is freedom in today's picture. Freedom found through your careful and loving guidance.
I was a woman who struggled every single day that was DRAWN to u by your passionate love for Christ and genuine love for your dear husband. It was that and that alone that gave me the courage to reach out to u for help.
Thank u my friend. I am forever grateful."

I think that intuitive eating gets bigger and bigger and I think that it's wonderful if you are set up with all the tools to be able to do this appropriately, and you spend some time working on your metabolism to be able to handle it. My mom is a great example of someone who has a great body image, doesn't struggle with food or anything, but is simply almost always in either a gaining or a losing season. When she intuitively eats, she gains weight. And she's not an overeater. She is from the south where everything is deep fried, and bad for you. I think intuitive eating requires an element of CONSCIOUS eating, where most of the time you are eating things that nourish your body and are good for you. My mom could care less about that. I mean I'm not throwing her under the bus, but simply saying that intuitive eating isn't for everyone or at least has to be taught to some. 

But self confidence in your journey most definitely is. 

I'm sure that there is research on this, but in all of my work with hundreds of women with weight loss goals, if there is obsession, there is less results..in all areas. Mental, physical, spiritual. If there is obsession and self loathing then no matter how much weight is lost, or how much results are gained, there is still dissatisfaction. You will hear over and over again from girls that compete that they are their happiest when they have MORE body fat on them, when their heads are more clear because when they are having to diet down to get lean then they start obsessing over food which makes them obsess over their body's. 

I truly believe that living in a state of mental happiness is much more important than even disease states from weight management, because when you are mentally able to work things out, you begin to physically work them out as well. If you are overeating, undereating, or have any sort of relationship with food, there is most likely something underlying that you are dealing with. This could be issues that range across the board to something simple that you could talk through or some deep seeded self esteem issues or family problems. We all handle these emotions differently and many take this out on food in one way or the other. If you are one of these people then going on a weight loss plan is the last thing that you need to do. 

You need to fix what is going on mentally FIRST and then you can focus on the other. What if you just lived at peace with yourself for ONE week? What if you allowed yourself that? That's the problem. When women become obsessive about food, it never ends. 

Food addiction in whatever respect that it is is all encompassing, because food doesn't go away. Alcohol addiction-you remove the alcohol. Cigarettes-you remove the cigarettes. You don't go around these things and you completely remove them from your life. With food, this is not allowed. If you are someone with a previous problem or relationship with food then you MUST figure out a way to navigate those issues because this is something that you will be dealing with every single day for the rest of your life. 

Food is not the enemy. Our minds are. 

When I say self confidence, I don't necessarily mean self love. I think that these go hand in hand, but I think that self confidence means that deep down, you know who you are, and you're okay with it. Self love is more like "Oh I'm rocking it in this bathing suit no matter what I weigh" and that's wonderful as well, but self love won't come if you don't have self confidence. This is something that I've learned over the years, and this year I was gripped with the reality of my lack of self confidence. I had worked so hard on self love, but I had forgotten that other piece. 

So whether you have 5lbs to lose or you have 100lbs that you might need to lose, you first are going to have to search yourself and find who you are and be okay with that person. Once that trust is there, then you are able to move forward and know that what you're doing for yourself is out of love because you know that the journey is healthy and good for you and NOT one that is destructive and out of self hatred. 

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How Living Life to the Fullest Wasn't Ideal

So typically, if you are from the Shelby area, you have one of two opinions. 

"Aw there's so much love and growth for this city." 

"Get me out of here." 

I think the "get me out of here" has become less frequent but sometimes people think they are too cool for school for Shelby. I get it. I do. But I want to tell our story that I believe resonates not just in Shelby, but just simply about the happiness that you are able to exude in your life, and GENUINELY in your heart. 

Many times throughout my blogging "career", I spoke fully about living life to the fullest. I even have a hashtag that I use a lot and a Garmin watch face that says "Life without Limits" which I FULLY believe in. I believe that we place limitations on our hearts and our minds of what we are capable of and if we just expand those thoughts for just a second, we open ourselves up to a world that we have never seen before. I believe that so deeply in who I am, and love to shed all of the passion that I have within my heart.

I spoke with a friend at the YMCA yesterday about how I loved that she was starting to explore trail running. Her and another mom went for an 18 mile day adventure through the woods. People don't just do that in Shelby. They think they can't. How awesome that she believed she could so she did! 

When I graduated college and pharmacy school, I felt like the world was at my fingertips. It was. I convinced my husband that we should find jobs in New York City, and off we went to the big apple. For years on end, we had fun exuding from every angle as well as the hustle and grind of making it in the real world and paying off massive student debt (yikes). When I decided a few months back to leave the blogging world full time, which was a wonderful decision for me (even though I really do miss connecting with others really deeply), it's been interesting all the things that I've discovered about myself.

In blogging, your life is out there for all to see all the time. You need content. You search for things to do and directions to follow. You plan out meals and dinners sometimes almost subconsciously knowing that you could get a good picture at this brunch spot, etc etc. Every blogger knows it, so it's not like a crime. It's just what you do. 

There is communication with companies, and landing gigs. There is opportunity everywhere, and enough to go around the table for all bloggers. It's exciting literally every day almost. The world of social media is exploding, and we feel as if even if we are watching TV for two seconds, we are missing out on those special moments that the latest instagrammer is talking about. So we hustle hustle hustle. 

I went to lunch with my mom last week and we were discussing this topic. She said she feels as if people in my generation just will never be satisfied and not that we are "greedy" but that felt the only appropriate term to describe it. We always want the next big opportunity, and I told her it's because we see it in our faces every single day. We see what so and so is doing across the US when that used to not be a thing. We used to relax without that pressure.

Traveling is fantastic. Adventure is fantastic. Making money is great, and running marathons and ultras are great, but if we are really honest with ourselves, we have to admit that part of the reason that we feel that we must do these things is so that we aren't left behind. 

I spoke with an old client once who told me that she follows tons of fitness bloggers and youtubers, and she became really discontent at her job feeling like she needed to leave the 9-5 because that was lame and join the hustle and that you weren't really living a fulfilling life if you weren't being an entrepreneur on the internet. Wow. That hit me hard because I guarantee there are so many that feel the same way. She then came to the realization that "Wait, I really love my job" and living life to the fullest doesn't look the same to every person and I don't need to quit my job and can do the standard path of life and still be doing so! YES GIRL YES.

We see all of these people that are jet setting. We see people saying that they are leaving their corporate jobs because you only get one life and that you gotta live it to the fullest. We see people completing ridiculous feats and on and on it goes. We see RIDICULOUS videos going around just so that people can be the next big thing. 

We are told day in and day out how we can't let a second go by without us grabbing it by the horns and doing something with it, and so it leaves us discontent. Last September, I talked with Tanner and had decided that I wanted to move back to New York City. I missed it. I didn't think that we gave it enough of a shot (I still do feel these things), and so we actively pursued moving back. Tanner was flown up for a job interview that would have been an amazing opportunity and I was absolutely thrilled. It fell through. 

But we were full on living life to the fullest, and Shelby just wasn't that, so we started pursuing other places. Did we want to move to Colorado (eh a little too far from family) or even coastal? Wilmington? Maybe somewhere close but just more city so Charlotte? Greenville SC? We actively searched for jobs in these locations, and wrote out different pros and cons of moving. Shelby was just not gonna cut it. But why? 

Because we have to live life to the fullest right?

There is absolutely nothing wrong with us wanting to move, but where did that lead us? Discontentment with our current situation. We started pulling away from church community and friendships unintentionally so then the situation almost felt that it escalated and with less community in a tiny town, I was ready to move right along. 

But it was me, not the town. It was my desire to always think that the grass is greener, the search never ends, and subconsciously seeing all of my favorite bloggers in big cities doing the most fun things and feeling as if I was missing out. 

Last year, I traveled so much, and I look back now and tell Tanner that sometimes I would be in the location of my dreams, dreaming about the next place that I was going to travel because it was just never enough and I didn't even see it at the time.

I would plan out my schedule of events for my races, and jam in as much as I could because subconsciously, I can look back now and see that I felt that if I wasn't doing marathons and ultras and triathlons and ironman and coming up with all these different huge goals that I was missing out on these prime years of peak athleticism and that was just not going to cut it. Again, don't mistake this for saying that huge goals are not okay because they most certainly are, and I'm so glad that my heart overflows with them, but when do we say enough is enough? 

We won't. And that's the problem. When I truly let go of needing to always be excited by something, my happiness in every day life drastically changed. Let me tell you, it was a process not a snap of the fingers. It felt lonely and weird and odd and quiet and lots of FOMO (fear of missing out). I didn't plan big vacations this year. I didn't plan grand adventures, and just focused on running only. I didn't sell my house just to continually be making moves in the world. 

Instead, we built a deck for hosting events to build community. Instead, I reached out to Radiant Magazine about starting up a community event in Shelby to bring young Christian woman in this city together to make friendships. Instead, I went to my cousin's soccer and t-ball games and genuinely felt my heart would burst with love for them. Instead, I asked my sister in law to bring my nephew over one morning per week so that I could build a deeper relationship with him because I honestly NEVER keep him. I'm too busy. I'm "living life to the fullest right?" 

Instead of coming up with all the long term travels that I want to do, I wrote out all of the things that I want to do in THIS community and surrounding areas. I have been journaling a lot and I wrote down all the get togethers that I want to have at my house. I have started trying to go to lunch with my mom once weekly. I went from actively wanting to move for 6-9 months to now being absolutely thrilled that we didn't and wanting to invest back into this community long term. 

There will always be travels and adventure and life to be lived to the fullest, but this town might seem like it doesn't have much going on, but if you knew the heart and the vision and the love of close family, it changes everything. Five deaths this year I've been through. Five deaths of people close to me. It changes you, and the change was tough and hard, but man is it beautiful on this side loving on my people and my community. 

And that's my new version of living life to the fullest. 

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To the mommas who aren't yet Mommas

I could write this about being a dog mom. i could write this about the societal pressures of being a woman and feeling that you need to become a mom by a certain time, but that's not what this is about. This is about waking up on Mother's day and thinking for the first time, "Man I wish I was a mom." 

Let me go ahead and clear the air. Tanner and I have not TRIED to become parents. I know that there are many that are eagerly trying and waiting for that moment when God decides to bless them with another member of their family, or unfortunately some that might not get to experience that, and for whatever reason, I always have that fear in the back of my mind. "If you don't get started early, you don't know what will happen, Katie." But every time we thought about it we would say "just a little bit longer." 

I think about becoming a mom, I would venture to say, 99% of all days. I dream about it. I read articles about it. I ask people questions about it. I pinterest about it. I think about what kind of mom I'll be, what kind of parents we will be, and the many flaws that I have.

I have prayed and prayed for these babies whether here on Earth already and will be mine one day and then those that Tanner and I will have together. I have seen their faces coming out of bedrooms. I have imagined soccer games, and dance recitals, and projects for homework. I have looked at pregnant best friends with the most adoration pining for the day when that's my cute baby bump, and I want to fall into a puddle of emotions when I see adoptions finalized from all over the world and locally.

I have read the good and the bad. I have watched people with good and bad parenting. I have watched kids scream and throw fits thinking THANK YA JESUS I'VE WAITED. I have been SO GRATEFUL that for once in my gosh durn life, I have been patient and have been able to spend sweet sweet years with my husband getting to know him better, getting to know myself better, and getting to know how we work well together best (and worst lol). While I have daydreamed, I have been TERRIFIED. I have seen what parenting looks like...the #reallife. It's not a joke or for the weak at heart. It's a full time job, and one that I want to be ready for. 

It's something that I feel is important to really think through, financially and spiritually prepare for, and then dive in KNOWING that things are going to be tough but also that things are going to be beautiful. I have cried literal tears to Tanner about children that I don't have because I'm afraid to even be the mom that I want to be for them. I feel I'm such an imperfect human, but trying to trust in God's timeliness of living through Him to make us the parents he wants us to be. Yall, I'm crazy. LOL. I think part of the reason that I've waited so patiently is that I so desperately want to be the mother that they deserve. I have wanted to prepare myself in every way, and then I look to some of the most beautiful mothers and the truth is there is no prep at all. It's just simply winging it day by day loving the most that you can and hoping that you raise them the best that you know how. 

It can be hard sometimes for us mommas who aren't yet mommas because we see all the really ugly. We know it's all in good fun, but I'm sure you read my day dreaming motherhood above and rolled your eyes because it's NOT real life. And you post about the real life on facebook, on instagram, etc. I see it and quite frankly, sometimes I want to run. I had to search my heart of whether or not it was even something that I wanted to put myself through. I have not felt in my heart that God felt us ready to be parents yet and so therefore, we wait patiently.

But not idol.  

I think sometimes that there is this notion that if you are married and getting close to 30 and not having children that you must just not want them. That could not be further from the truth. I don't feel pressure to have children, nor do I feel pressure to wait to have children. I just simply have not felt it was time, and it's so crazy because if you would have told me at 21 when I got engaged that I would be motherless at 28, I would have told you that you were INSANE. It wouldn't happen. But in 3 months when I turn 28, it will be who I am. Someone who is going to continue to pray for those babies-biologic, adopted or fostered-and is going to prepare. 

Right now I'm preparing by learning to love my husband the best I know how, and true story, I asked my mom and aunt advice today on how to make sure that there were meals on the table for dinner each night. Anyone else find that hard? But kids have to be fed unlike my husband that I can tell to make his own for the umpteenth time! ;) 

We are all in this together, but I just wanted to be a voice for a party I don't see often. I don't hate kids. I absolutely love them. I don't have kids, but I don't not want them. I don't feel pressure from any side, but I'm just waiting. 

I'm preparing. Praying. 

But I want to be a mom. Really something terrible. And when that time comes when I will remember all the times I said I wouldn't do XYZ in all these years of prep! ;) 

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You're allowed to change

And it's something that happens so frequently (at least to me) and yet I never fully embraced this until recently. 

I saw that one of my best friends, Steph, wrote a blog post on this and I promised myself that I wouldn't read it until I wrote this because I didn't want to steal her thoughts (lol). But I wanted to write this now so that I could read Steph's! ;) Here is the link to hers!

I always write things on the OTHER side of the struggle because it's always hard to see exactly what you're even experiencing when you're in the middle of it. You think that you are living out life the way that it's intended and then you look back and are enlightened. One of the biggest things that I never allowed myself grace in was the fact that I change. I change frequently. And I beat myself up about it a lot. I told myself that it was immature, that I didn't know who I was, and that people would think that I'm silly. And this isn't just about blogging or what not, but all things in between. 

The very core of who I am never changes, but I convince myself that from the outside, that looks different. 

You're allowed to go back to school at age 30 and completely change your career. You're allowed to leave friendships and relationships that aren't treating you well. You're allowed to leave the job that doesn't fulfill you if it's appropriate at the time. You're allowed to enjoy one hobby and move on to the next. 

The one moment this hit me was while I was watching a video by Kalel, who is a vegan youtuber, and she just recently changed like her "style" if you will. She does this often. She had long bleach blonde hair and recently went more natural and cut her hair short. She isn't wearing as much make up and she seems to be wearing slightly different clothes. You might think she is trying to make a statement to her 2 million youtube fans, but no, she just changes a lot, and she fully came into her next identity with grace. I saw a comment that someone put how they loved her new change, and she said "While it seems that everyone hates me for it, I will never be ashamed or hold back the changes that occur in who I am. I will continue to evolve and grow and change." 

It was in that moment that it CLICKED! Light bulb. That's it. That's what I've been so scared of, and feeling so silly about. I have felt as if change meant shame, and seriously, I'm not kidding, in that moment of reading the response she gave back, it was like all this confidence came swirling into me. I think it's that reassurance also of like "Yes, I'm not alone here!!" 

When you are a personality on the internet such as Kalel or anyone for that matter, the world doesn't like to see you change. They follow you for a specific reason, for that singular purpose and if you make drastic change, it's like "Wait what? Who is this person?" BUMP.THAT. 

Taylor Swift has grown up before our eyes, and as she goes through all the awkward stages, dating phases, and even things that she might do wrong, we see EVERY moment of it. If you are a fan of Taylor at all, you know that she has gone into hiding. No one knows where she is or what she is doing, and I don't think it's a publicity stunt. I think she literally had had enough. Because the world doesn't allow change and growth. No one is perfect, even Taylor Swift! ;) (Carrie Underwood is pretty close though LOL)

I know many people who have competed in bodybuilding shows that no longer do it at all anymore. I've known people that are marathon runners that just stopped doing it one day (a pro just recently did this actually). There's vegans who become non vegan, there's non vegans that become 100% vegan for life, there's sedentary people that become ultra runners, there's crack addicts that become pastors, there's teachers that become lawyers, and lawyers that become famous on social media and do it fulltime. And when someone moves into something that we think is okay, we are okay, but if someone moves into another area of their life that we aren't as familiar with or think is silly, we judge. I know it's just natural human nature, but for the love... 

We know that the judgement is there and so in our own lives, we are scared to be creative and explore who we are. We have to do what's safe, and we don't even speak it. We just do it deep down because it's what is ingrained in us. Quitting that job is SCARY so we don't. We stay for YEARS miserable. We say it's to put food on the table, but we also don't actively look for anything else. 

I have experienced WAY too much death this year. My mom's best friend passed away suddenly two nights ago. She had dinner with her just the other night. They have been best friends for 25 years, and had dinner every single month and gone on a trip EVERY SINGLE YEAR for 25 years. And now she's gone. It's actually a group of 4 (my mom and three others). Do you know how much change has been there over the past 25 years?! Can you imagine? There have been 2 divorces, 8 children born, weight loss and gain, hobbies come and gone, houses bought, built, and sold and on and on it goes. IT'S OKAY. IT'S EXPECTED. True love and friendship is meeting them in the middle and saying "I don't care. I love you anyway." Now, they have the biggest change ahead of them. Now there's only three, and it feels too much. But, they will love and cry and hug and pray like they always do through the change. 

See, they even loved each other through style changes! ;) How precious are these four?

The only one consistent in life is change. 

With her passing, it got me thinking about change however. Change that is inevitable and change that we don't allow ourselves to make because of fear of so many different things. We are guided and live by fear of change. BUT WHY? I'm not trying to be cliche here, but LIFE IS SHORT!! You have a few years and you're not guaranteed ANY of them, but yet we sit in the background afraid to be who we are for fear of change. You are FREE to be who you are, and you are FREE to walk around in the muddiness of it all as you figure out who that is. 

I know I'm going to change a million times over, as I've already done through the years, and I'm finally able to be at peace with this. Peace. It's a beautiful thing. 

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Quest for Breaking 3 + Life Update

Tomorrow begins my journey of a 5 month, 2 week training cycle of attempting to break 3 hours in the marathon which is an average of 6:51minutes/mile. Five years ago, I would have said this was impossible. One year ago, I would have told you it would take me many more years to get there, but after my time was 3:05:59 during Myrtle Beach this year (and surprisingly felt really easy at the end), I figured that this was an amazing year to make that attempt and give it my all. 

PR's can just "happen" but most of the time they don't. They need to be well planned and thought out and prepared for. That honestly makes them better in the end because you know you put in the work to get there. Personal Records are also something that are very individual and some people don't like to share them at all for fear of jinxing it or just simply not being able to live up to it. I actually enjoy sharing these sort of goals in hopes that it will motivate me and challenge me now that it's spoken / typed out loud. 

The past few months have been different, and not in a bad way but ever since I began endurance training 3 years ago, I've always had a large number of people cheering me on, and that's not to say that I don't have an amazing support system, but it's something that I'm not really documenting every step of the way. I just probably will give little updates here and there about it. It's interesting because in the past, you don't realize how much that encourages you and so for those that are posting your workouts online, you go girl, keep at it! It helps encourage those around you and it helps to motivate you because you know that you are going to post about it. Does that make sense? The new found motivation that I've found is something deeper than all of that, and something that is innate within myself. I've taken a lot of time over the past few months to discover who I truly am, and the one love that never fades is endurance. It is my "me time", my enlightenment, and my snippet of joy every day. It's not something that I find to be a chore but something that I just simply love. 

I have rested over the past few weeks however since Boston, and I mean REALLY REALLY rested. Like 6 hours on my couch, "Katie are you okay? You haven't moved in hours!" and "Na, I'm good. Just chillin" kind of rest! LOLLL! I have skipped a lot of runs I thought I might do, and haven't really cared. I only ran and only lifted when I felt like it, and don't really know any sort of mileage that I've hit. 

Tomorrow, I start fresh which is exciting. The rest has been just what I needed to hop back in strong, and I have written out a plan moving forward for the next 2 months. I'm going to be running around 40-60 miles/week in the following 2 months and slowly dialing that up to build a significant base. There won't be any speed workouts or tempo runs probably much at all. This is just simply going to be a large base of miles. I've realized my body thrives on that. High high mileage with no "efforts" in them. The third month, I'm going to throw in one tempo run per week, and in the final 2 months (or 8 weeks), I'm going to start 2-3 efforts per week with speed workouts, tempo runs, and variations within those two. My plan right now is to hit 90 miles in my peak week (I know-insane so we will see if my body allows but talked with a few people and think it will be really cool to see how I do lol) and taper from there, which I've done 2 week tapers in the past, but because of going with such high mileage this time, I will most likely peak at 4 weeks then taper to what would typically be my "peak" for the next two then a true taper in the final 2. 

I'm going to be cross training a lot in the next two months and I have been a lot in the past few weeks to build back the muscle that I lost in the past year, and it's been cool to watch it already start to happen. 

Some shots of the end of Boston which is quite comical looking back-shewwww what a struggle bus-third times the charm next year! ;) 

Some shots of the end of Boston which is quite comical looking back-shewwww what a struggle bus-third times the charm next year! ;) 

I actually really miss tri, but I vowed to myself to only run this year, and so I probably will just add in some swims and bike rides here and there just for fun and cross training. However, I did NOT officially get that 140.6 due to the course being cut short for the hurricane, therefore I will be doing an ironman in 2018. I have already talked with Tanner a lot about it, and it's my final year in the 25-29 year old age group, and I'm going to really train hard to do well in it. I don't want to just go to go. I want to go to do well this time as I know what the training is about. 

I also am aware of what ironman takes now and I'm in a MUCH different headspace than dramatic me last time. I am fully aware of the commitment that it takes, and by signing up, I will be doing so with knowledge of that and expect it, embracing it, and loving it. I'm also going to train with people hopefully a lot more too so that I don't get so lonely! ;) We have a good little endurance crew in Shelby these days! <3 

In my personal life, because that does extend into all of this, I have a full time pharmacy position that 20 hours will be work from home, and 20 hours will be in person with patients. I honestly could not be happier or more thrilled with this position, and feel very lucky to be brought on to this team of pharmacists. I feel that this really clears space for me to be able to train appropriately both in the quest to break 3 and in the ironman of 2018. I also plan to do Myrtle Beach Marathon, Boston, and NYC next year, so it will be a full year. I am also still run coaching and nutrition coaching but understand that my absence from social media will not allow for people to "find me" necessarily but I'm hopeful that I can keep the loyal clients that I do have, and that some along the way will find me and love me even with the small presence that I do have here. 

While I do things for time, like I will be focusing on for the next 5 months, I also do it because of sheer enjoyment therefore I know that the number of races effects that and to each his own! :) Some people like more races, some like less with more PR's! :)

I'm still doing World Hunger Project (www.worldhungerproject.com), but it's just something that is on the side, and I'm giving and helping as much as I can there. It's been a slow start, which is PERFECTLY normal and totally fine! :) I'm so thankful to be able to give in the small way that we are trying to do, and the relationships formed through that. However, I also don't like to be a used car salesman on Facebook or anything of that nature, so I'm just letting the natural progression of things be as they are and letting God's grace meet me in that medium. I know His plans and timing is always perfect. 

Otherwise, I'm doing really really well. I'm happy and excited for all of these goals. My faith feels stronger than it has in a really long time, my marriage is as happy as ever (celebrating 5 years of marriage soon whoop whoop) and planning some fun travels for us! We are settling into making our house a home (decided not to sell it and just be content where we are instead of constant grass is greener) and we are building a deck! I'm spending more time with family, and loving on those around me! 

I've also been learning a lot of photography. I'm finding SO much joy in this new outlet. It's so so fun! I have so much learning to do but that's why it's also fun. 

My precious baby right now! <3 Love his sweet heart and his love for his squirrel! hehe! 

My precious baby right now! <3 Love his sweet heart and his love for his squirrel! hehe! 

When will the Ringley's ever have babies? ;) We will and we are thrilled, but just still going to hold out for a few more years and really enjoy this time together! I'm still working on Tanner to have two of our own, adopt two and foster, but you know, he might need a little more time to come around to that idea! LOLOL!!! ;) 

Life is so simple, so blissful, and the decision that I made a few months ago still stands as one of the best things that I could have done for myself. There's no hustle, no competition, only joy and happiness and excitement for the future. 

I sure do miss you guys though. Love you dearly. 

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Hope in Marriage

In two weeks, six years ago, I went to dinner with my boyfriend in New York City ( this is where I did my summer internship during pharmacy school), and who would have known but the boy got down on his knee that night and asked me to marry him. This was a boy that I had only known period that he existed for 7 months, and only dated for 5 months and we laugh about how we totally thought we had it allllll figured out at age 21/22 when we got engaged. LOLOLOLLLLLLL #youngandinloveandclueless 

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We started down the path towards that wedding crossing off the X's and O's that we all do, that we really don't HAVE to do, but we do anyway. We include things we don't always want, and we take unsolicited advice from strangers. Over and over and over again I heard how hard marriage is. I heard how much marriage sucks. I heard "Do you really want to do this?" as they smirk and laugh. Hehehe. "Men suck. It's not worth it." Y'all, I'm not kidding or making this up. I couldn't believe how negative people were, so I blissfully continued my engagement into my wedding day. 

The comments flooded in EVEN at my reception. Of course, there were those that told me congrats, but I would almost venture to say NO ONE told me "Marriage is awesome! You are going to love it." Think about someone saying that phrase to you. It's almost awkward. They told us congrats of course, and all that fun stuff. 

So, this blog is not one to say that I want to tell you how to do it. I actually have realized that I think I got really lucky with my husband, and there's no tips for that. I can't tell you to "wait out for that perfect one" because let's be real, I was 21 and didn't exactly wait. 

I can tell you however that we were both completely different humans then. Both of us, and we have grown together and not apart. I can tell you that it's possible to grow together without fighting as well. I can tell you that marriage is the most beautiful union that God has ever created. And I tell you that because I feel those are the things that people don't say. 

Five couples that I know got married yesterday. Praise be to God. How wonderful. I'm not saying everyone needs to get married, and I'm not saying that it's going to be perfect because we all know that it won't be, but I am saying that through Christ, there is hope in marriage, there is redemption in marriage, and there is growth in marriage. And it doesn't HAVE to be awful or hard (that's not to say that it's not though of course). 

It's possible to not bicker all the time. It's possible to truly adore and love the other person even six years later even when you hang out all the time. Maybe that's not long enough to have a say but I think it holds at least a little value. 

You get to travel with your best friend, hang out with them every day. You get to laugh together, and cry together. You get to be an absolute BASKET CASE and somehow that person still wipes your tears and tells you that you're beautiful. You get a #1 fan. You get to have slumber parties every night, and Netflix with your dogs on the couch at the end of a Sunday. You get hugs at the end of marathons, and you get someone to cry with you when family members pass. You get to be independent but also completely as one.

I know that we know that it's not always a beautiful union, and that truly makes me so sad. I just don't want to set couples up from the very start of their beautiful life together that they shouldn't be afraid. They shouldn't be ready and on guard for this awful thing that people make marriage out to be. 

If you are married and your marriage is NOT wonderful because THAT is a VERY REAL reality that is also perfectly normal to fall into, I truly pray that your relationship is restored in a beautiful way.

There are "those" relationships that aren't some Nicholas Sparks movie, but they do truly love one another, and YOU are worth finding someone that completes you in that way. 

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Into the quiet

Have you ever had those moments where you know without a shadow of a doubt that something is meant to be in your path for your purpose and for the direction of the way that your life should go. There are few things like that, but there are those moments where you just KNOW. 

That's how I felt about stepping away from Katiesfitscript instagram/facebook page/only blogging when I feel led (which of course led me to today). I have never felt more strongly the calling of God to step into the unknown. 

Spirit, lead me where my trust is without borders. 

You know when you step into the unknown, and it's exciting. You are like YES I AM WOMAN HEAR ME ROAR, and you feel it to the core of who you are. But after a few weeks, things are silent, things are different, and the change has set in. 

The path of purpose is so evident when you are spewing your name all over the world. "Look at me. Look what I'm doing. Look how much I love Jesus, and my husband, and I run and I lift weights. Horray." It's so evident when a career is unfolding before me without even trying, and there are people that I am able to directly impact their life and cause positive change. OF COURSE THAT'S SPIRIT LED RIGHT? OF COURSE THAT'S GODS DIRECTION.

But what about the silence? Can I trust and can I believe that the purpose is still there when NOTHING is happening? 

I don't need my name in lights. I'm famous in my Father's eyes. Make no mistake. He knows my name. 

One of the very reasons that I stepped away was because of the intense desire of CONSTANTLY pleasing others and unfortunately never (EVER) reaching any possible place of satisfaction of who I felt others thought me to be. As time wore on, the only words I thought about myself were: 

inadequate, embarrassing (to be constantly be posting selfies at the age of 27), narcissistic (for it being all about my life), not enough (for companies and collaborations and clients to choose me as their coach)

Did I know how ridiculous this was? ABSOLUTELY. Did I think it was stupid and want it to stop? Every.single.day. But when the tears flowed down my face for the 500th time because of something someone said, a client who left me for another coach, and a company who went with someone else, the number of likes on my freakin picture were not enough, I was tired of ignoring it. Every word feels sensitive in this blog like I'm not allowed to say these things. No one...NO ONE is allowed to say these things because "Be confident. Be you. Who cares about these things?" I GET IT. BELIEVE ME I GET IT. 

Please do not mistake this for being the way that everyone feels. That is absolutely NOT the case. For two solid years, I never felt these things at all, but when I started to feel them, I fought it for as long as I could, but eventually it got to be ridiculous. 

I literally would go to other runner pages and look at the number of likes on their pictures, then look at the number of people that followed them, and would tell myself that people were literally scrolling past my picture, rolling their eyes at how much they hated me, because how else did I have X amount of followers with such low engagement on my photos? 

You can roll your eyes at me, or you can sit in the truth that unfortunately, this is our culture, and as a 27 year old female who is actually pretty dang confident in who she is, I was not able to fight these emotions and therefore I worry about the generation of teenagers who are so immersed in a culture of likes and followers. I know you've heard it so many times before this blog, so I know it's nothing new, but I want to be a direct voice of someone that it MATTERED. LIKES AND FOLLOWERS EQUAL ACCEPTANCE RIGHT? 

NO. 

I had to walk away. Who was this person who saw my friends and felt resentment in my heart because they were getting opportunities that I craved? Who was this person that cried because she felt she was giving her all to a culture who could literally care less about her? Who is this person that is straight up TERRIFIED to share her faith after 2016 and the elections because of how Christians were portrayed and who honestly, brutally honestly, started to question how she felt about her faith at all.

So, I walked into the silence into the arms of a God that I knew found every single hair on my head to be special. And then it got quieter...and quieter...and quieter. 

Don't get me wrong, I'm still on social media and I've never claimed to be off the grid. I just had to walk away from it being my only job and my focus. (I'll be working full time pharmacy for those curious actually with 2 part times soon so that's exciting.) I also am not trying to blog about not blogging or something weird. hahaha! I just felt like blogging soooo here I am.

I love to blog. I love to write. It's literally a place of solitude for me, and like that I can connect with others through it. It's always been that way, so I thought that as I felt led, I would continue to share the different points of why I made the decision that I did. Who even knows if this blog will be about fitness at all unless I want the topic of the day to be about that, but at this point, I just want nothing to be calculated because of the way things "should be done" on social media. I just want to be me again. And I know you'll tell me that's been enough all along, and I want to believe you. But for the past year, I was trudged through the muddy waters that no matter how desperately I wanted that to be good enough, it never was. 

My husband just saw me writing in this little blog box, and he said "Are you sure you want to do that? I get protective because with two words, people can make a judgement about you when I know the real you. Just be careful." I'm so thankful for such a sweet husband (it's his birthday-I love him so lol). But how sad that I feel I have to be so careful? Just as I'm hopeful that the only people that followed me over to my @_katieamelia Instagram will be the people that love me, therefore I'm hopeful that the only people that continue to read this blog will be those that love me as well (ha - good joke I know LOLOL). 

I am in the quietest season that I've ever been...the least busy...the least exciting. And I have never felt more present to who I truly am and who I'm designed to be. I have had to blindly trust that when I was called into this season, the season to give up this thing that I had worked years to create, that it was for my good. 

And we all know that in all things, God works for the good of those that love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

I haven't ran since Boston yet, but man I'm so excited to get back out there, but just trying to be mindful and mature about recovery of course.

I hope you see my heart in this, and not my crazy. I love you all. 

 

 

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Boston Marathon 2017

Hey Guys! Long time no talk! Maybe one day I’ll get around to explaining my absence when I can put it into words better, but for now, let’s get to this post! It's hilarious reading this post in comparison to the marathon post before this one when things went the exact opposite direction!

So, THE BOSTON MARATHON!! It’s currently 4am and I always have the biggest trouble sleeping the day after a marathon for whatever reason. I’m going to talk about everything, but if you want just the race recap, you’ll see where I begin talking about Mile 1 forward! :) 

Last year, I shared all about the Boston experience so I’m going to link that up here, so that you are able to read all about what goes down as all of that was the same this year. I knew going into this race that I had just had my PR therefore I was treating this like a long run and just going to enjoy the day like I wasn’t able to do last year. If you are someone that already knows half of this story, I actually DID enjoy the day much more than last year crazy enough and I’m SO glad that I ran Boston this year. It gave me a new appreciation for Boston that I didn’t have before, and actually stepping out of the blogger/running world also gave me perspective for it. Some people at the gym in my hometown came up to tell me congrats before I left and said “We can’t lie that we aren’t envious but so excited for someone from Shelby to be going.” That hit home for me. Boston is a big BIG deal, and I’m going to go when I can!! Next year, I’ll have a red bib and be in the first corral because of my finishing time at Myrtle Beach so there’s no way I will miss that! :) Tanner will also be coming which he wasn’t able to this year, and I missed him so much. He also was DYING to be here but sometimes life happens! :) 

I had planned to stay with a friend/client who lives in Boston (who I will be staying with tonight) but last minute she decided to go home for Easter before she moves states. I texted Bethany and of course she immediately was like “Um come stay with me!” She’s the best. Seriously. So, I ended up having a slumber party for the past 3 nights with my best friend so that was freakin awesome, and I loved how it all worked out for the absolute best. 

You see how well that went! lololol! 

You see how well that went! lololol! 

We also are in the same hotel (Sheraton near the finish line) with another best friend of ours, Sarah. Fun story: Sarah found me through another blogger who she is real life friends with (powercakes) like 3 years ago. She liked all of my posts so I looked her up and we became friends. A year later I got close to Bethany. A year after that, I realized that Bethany and Sarah live in the same town and introduced them. Nowwww, Sarah and Bethany are best friends in Pittsburgh and run together all the time. Haha! I love how small the world can be. We met up with her yesterday morning to walk to the buses for the ride to Hopkinton. That ride takes approximately an hour. It’s 30 miles that they are driving you out and a bunch of yellow school buses so it takes forever, which is one of the reasons the start time is so late always and we have to run in the heat of the day. 

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We got to Athlete’s Village, which is a few acres of grass that they set up tents, music, food, etc while we all wait until we walk to the start line. We had about 45 minutes until start at that point, so we all just rested and ate cliff bars and bagels. 

Walking to the start line is about another mile, so our start time was 10:25 but they had us begin walking at 9:45 just because it takes a while for 30,000 people to walk in the same direction and then they have a final stop for the porta-potty. If you’re thinking it’s a huge mission to even begin this race, you’d be right! ;) I walked 4.1 miles before the start! (which if we are all honest makes it extremely difficult to do well in this race which is why it will never be an A goal PR course for me-I think we know that from my previous two attempts haaa). 

My time yesterday was 4:05:30 which is almost exactly ONE HOUR from my PR 6 weeks earlier. That doesn’t happen. That’s a RIDICULOUS gap in times, but I am SO SO LUCKY I even finished this race and I literally walked the final 2 miles with run/walking the last 5. It was a hot mess express the second half, but I still loved what I could and I was pulling deep inside to do just that. 

There were 5 of us that started together (me, Sarah, Bethany, Mel and then Michelle who I didn't know until the start ) and it was seriously such a powerful run squad. We all talked about how we are so lucky that we have found close friends in the marathoning world as we used to all do this alone. 

Miles 1-4: 

The race is downhill at the start so this always feels pretty good for the most part. It’s always super difficult because you are trying to weave in and out of people and it’s a MAD HOUSE but we were keeping a really great pace and feeling strong through it. I always tell Tanner that I know the course of my day by the first 5K but yesterday was not that. I genuinely thought I’d keep the 7:35-7:45 for the entire race and be TOTALLY fine and was thinking how easy the pace felt with having done 7:10 for an entire marathon six weeks ago. I was excited to get around a 3:23ish time and had that as this semi time goal in my head. 

Miles 5-8: 

We were still running 4 deep with our run squad and we all commented on how that never happens and how it was helping us all so much to keep the pace nice and easy and we all agreed that we felt great!! No issues! The heat was there, the pavement was hot, the humidity was HIGH, we were sweating like crazy but at every single water aid station I took water (which I never do lets be real) and I would grab a second and pour it all over me. So every time I’d pour a cup of water all over me and would cool off.

Miles 9-10: 

I thought to myself “Eh I probably won’t make it with the run squad all day but it’s all good. I’ll let them do 7:45s and I’ll do 8’s. I also thought to myself for the first time, “I don’t think I handle heat well.” Ha! I run in the heat at home sometimes and I don’t feel awful. I ran awful last year at Boston but thought it was just a fluke, but this year kind of confirmed that I need to be careful in the heat. It’s also INSANE to me that 7:45’s can begin to feel hard as that’s not a hard pace for me to hold ever. Heat is a crazy thing. 

Miles 10-14: 

We all continued to stay together. It truly was amazing how well we all were doing running together. We weren’t chatting. We all were in our zones and running our races with the quiet reassurance that the other one was right beside us. I absolutely loved it. So much. 

From the start until the finish, there are ALWAYS people lining the sides of Boston. It’s simply unreal. There’s never anything else like it, and people are screaming for you the entire way.

At mile 13, I dropped back a little but eventually caught back up to the girls. I felt a wave of nausea but it subsided. Up to this point, I’m still honestly pretty good. 

Miles 14-16:

At mile 14, I decided to officially leave the run squad. Mel went out ahead and then Bethany and Sarah continued to run together while I dropped back. It pretty much went down SUPER fast from there. 

I want to interject here that I knowwwww that sometimes these stories can look like excuses and just plain annoying. I want to just simply share my story and not some big conjured up story of why my time was not my best. I’m NOT NOT NOT a time/PR focused girl. It’s always freakin amazing when it happens, but we all know there are good days and bad days, so I’m just sharing one of my bad days so that you have a mixture of this sprinkled in. I’ve actually had loving people in my life tell me to just not share stories like this because people judge. Can I just say HOW SILLY?! So, then all we see are the PR’s and then when people don’t PR, they are terrified to even tell the story so then it is the constant comparison trap of thinking everything is perfect in everyone else’s lives. And it’s not and we all need to not be ridiculous and know that THAT’S OKAY TOO. 

At mile 14ish, from what I’m remembering, there is the screaming “Kiss me” girls section in which girls make these signs that say things like “Kiss me. I won’t tell your wife.” Or “Kiss me. I’m lesbian.” Or just simply “Kiss Me” and there are people that legit go over there and kiss them. I know this sounds hella awkward and I don’t partake (ha) but it’s tradition and we can’t break that! ;)

I pulled back to an 8:10 minute pace which quickly dropped to an 8:40-9 pace going into mile 16. Miles 15-16 is when all of the hills began and I just wanted to be able to go by effort and not even look at my watch, so that’s what I did and when I would look down, the pace that felt REALLY hard was 8:40 and then 9:30’s started to feel labored. OH.BOY. I always know that when I’m struggling to hit an 8minute pace then something is seriously wrong with me. But I didn’t think too much of it and just readjusted my goal to go 9’s for the rest of the marathon and still get like a 3:35.

Nope. 

Miles 17-20: 

I don’t really remember mile 17 and then at mile 18, I had to pull to the side and started dry heaving. I had been taking water and energy/electrolyte chews, but I knew if I was dry heaving then I didn’t have anything in me, so I asked someone for water and chugged. Mistake. Haha! 

Right when I started back up, which I basically like dry heaved then quickly started back, I knew that water wasn’t going to stay down. I can’t remember exactly but I want to say I threw up 5-6 times on the course. Fantastic I know. Haha! I kept trying to get in Gatorade and water, but it wasn’t happening. I knew I had to keep trying though.

At mile 19, the cramping began. It started like in my quads (left to be exact), which I’ve never had a Charlie horse in my quad. Supppppper weird feeling. It makes your leg straighten out completely, so I was trying to run with a straight leg. I had to pull over. I worked out the soreness and began on my way again (at like the slowest that I could be considered running at this point).

At mile 20, the cramping began to fully be the biggest issue. Both of my quads seized up and I was trying to run with two straight legs. I just wanted to keep moving forward. I would be danged if I was going to walk 6 freakin miles. Yuck. I would stretch them, ask for Gatorade, throw up Gatorade, try to walk with straight legs, try to jog with straight legs, new cramp. This was on repeat for the next 6 miles. I actually would take Gatorade at the aid stations but then ask the people cheering if they had anything and this one girl handed me a Snickers. HA!! I was like BARF no thanks! 

Miles 21-24: 

Mile 21 was probably my longest mile although not sure of the split. My splits are crazy. I could not stop the cramping. It moved into my back (yes my back which was bizarre and unexpected) so I would have to stop, calm the muscle spasms down in my back and quads, and try to shuffle step forward. I realized at this point of course that any time goals were absolutely 100% out the window and I wasn’t sure I would finish. Every time I’d throw up, they’d ask me to go to the med tent, but like seriously I have a “few” miles left, and I didn’t go through this sufferfest to stop now before I get my medal. 

At mile 23, I had a missed call from Bethany so I called her back and she asked where I was thinking that I was finished. I was crying and blubbering hearing her voice and explained I was not doing well and just going to have to walk/hobble the rest of the way. So, that’s what I continued to do for what felt like forever. I also was truly not being reckless out there. Like, I was walking. It's not like I was trying to push pace or do anything crazy. I just wanted my medal. ha! 

Miles 24-26: 

This is when the crowd gets insane. My head was throbbing and the screams were deafening, but it was just what I needed to get me through. My body would go into cramping (calves, back, quads) and when I would slowly work them out and continue forward, the people would go nuts for me. Then I’m like crying as they cheer. 

At mile 25, you see the Citgo sign, and I knew I was almost there. I remembered on last year when Tanner and my mom and best friend Brandy were sitting at the top of the bridge and I was able to see them. I envisioned them waving and I was pretty delusional at this point so the hallucination was pretty real and gave me strength. Hahaha! 

At mile 25.5, Bethany calls me again to see if I’m okay. I thought she had seen me doing the death straight leg march so I answered. I don’t just like take calls on the course normally FYI. Haha! She was like “YOU ARE NOT OKAY! MED TENT!” and I was of course, through slurred speech, telling her that she was crazy if she thought I wasn’t going to walk the rest of it. She said later she knew she would have done the same exact thing, so she of course understood. 

I could finally see the right on Hereford and thought AND THEN JUST A LEFT ON BOYLSTON AND I’M THERE! So, that’s what I did. I was able to straight leg run (my legs just would NOT bend). Right about at the finish line, the full out cramping happened again and I wanted to yell “SON OF A BISCUIT JUST LET ME GO TWO MORE STEPS BODY!! GOODNESS GRACIOUS!!!!” 

I look in front of me and I see the ex marine carrying the American flag and with a prosthetic from stepping on an IED in Afghanistan. I start crying. I thought if he can do it, I can do it. I put my hand on his shoulder just like runner lingo of YOU INSPIRE ME SO MUCH!!!

This is literally seconds after my finish 

This is literally seconds after my finish 

 

Of course, I began again and the crowd went crazyy. This made me super emotional, and a lady came up and did what you see on those viral videos. She put her hand on me and I told her to run her race and she refused. She helped me hobble to the finish which of course then I start crying. 

POST RACE DRAMA DIVA FESTIVAL 2017

I lean down (head between legs) because I felt dizzy and when I stood back up my chest started hurting really bad. I zombie stiff leg walked forward, and they watch for you so a guy immediately grabs my arm and says “Maam are you okay?” I didn’t speak and then I felt my chest and couldn’t breathe. I started hyperventilating. They asked if I had asthma as I’m gasping for air. Two people grab me and start coaching me “IN THROUGH YOUR NOSE OUT THROUGH YOUR MOUTH” and I was able to calm down. They put me in a wheelchair (but I couldn’t bend my legs so they had to hold them as I went into the med tent.)

They took vitals (super high heart rate but I had just got done hyperventilating post marathon so it was 200) and my BP was like 90/60 at this point. They asked me questions and I laid down for a bit. I couldn’t take Gatorade as I knew I’d throw it up but a banana sounded good so I ate one and a bag of chips. I started to feel better and they let me walk/hobble. After I got a little way, I started feeling super light headed, nauseous and asked for a banana. I laid down like on the floor while they got me back on the bed because I knew if not I was going to pass out. That’s when my BP dropped to 80/60 but my HR had come down at that point. They let me lay there some more (still confused why everyone around me is getting IV’s and I’m like “uh I’m fairly certain I qualify but whatevs.” After a bit, I was okay/not okay but wanted to leave. I felt awful because I knew everyone was waiting on me. I was alone at this point. 

I had to walk maybe like 0.5 mile to them and it felt so awful. I don’t know how to explain it, but just everything was off. I knew I wasn’t okay, but I thought it was carbs, so I ate another banana. I couldn’t find Starbucks then I finally do. I walk inside, they aren’t there, and things are getting really blurry. I called Bethany, then went outside to find them. I ask to sit down. 

Robby comes over and asks how I’m doing. And that’s when my entire body went into full out cramping like I’ve never felt in my entire life. I can’t even explain my calf on the right that moved into my groin. I tensed up so much as they are yelling to get me a wheelchair. They tried to grab my legs/bend them to put them in the chair and I screamed DO NOT TOUCH MY LEGS!!! I can’t explain groin cramping. It’s unreal. Everything went black. I told them “I’m going to pass out” and I don’t remember the ride to the med tent. They said they were yelling clearing people, and asking me questions that I did in fact answer. I came to more once in the med tent, and I honestly don’t remember getting on the bed, but I was in it. My back cramps so I’m like in this weird contorted position. 

Not even gonna lie folks, and I’m totally not dogging the volunteer care but they basically did nothing but give me a bed to lie on. They called PT over to massage my legs and just had me lay there. They asked me if I wanted liquids..NOPE. But they got me water to sip through a straw that Bethany held there for me. I kept it down for maybe 15 minutes then threw it all up with the bananas. Still no one is concerned or asking me questions or saying anything. Sarah is a nurse and was finally like “Um, what does she need to do for an IV? She clearly needs one.” 

The doctor comes over and like asks me if I want an IV. It was super awkward. I was like “Well if it will make me feel better???” I’m still so confused how they determine the need because blacking out, low BP, full out body cramps, and throwing up seems to be enough cause, and so finally Sarah was my mediator and was like YES YES SHE DOES PLEASE.

They took vitals and did the IV and within 10 minutes of the IV, I started feeling better. It was like I could feel the cold liquid going into me and I immediately came out of this fog. I could speak normal again, my cramping was there but manageable and all was okay again. I finished up the bag of fluids (like could we not have done that an hour before and saved the drama, I mean really?). We were on our way!!! 

We get outside and of course my calf is still cramping so Sarah and Bethany were like SCREW THIS PIGGY BACK RIDE TO THE HOTEL AND ROOM SERVICE. So they switch and carry me. That gets hard because it was a mile back so then they both like double carry me. Eventually, I’m finally able to walk on my own. 

Wow. What a day!!!! It will be a memory that I never forget, but one that I’m taking very seriously. I’m going to really look into what happened, and avoid it all costs because I wasn’t reckless. I took plenty of fluids before, early on in the race and ate well (probably my best ever pre race food) and so I don’t know what happened. I know you can’t help the heat, but if my body does that bad then I will have to reconsider summer marathons. I have decided that a marathon that I was going to do in July just for fun with Shelby people, I’m going to simply cheer for them. I can’t be doing this again in the heat. This is the kind of day that makes you question running marathons in general, but that won’t happen for me. I’ll continue, but just smarter. My next marathon will be Chicago in October. I’m taking two weeks (maybe more depending on how I feel) completely 100% off. There’s no reason at all that I need to be running anytime soon. But for today, I’m going to try to enjoy it the best that I can with friends that are still in the city (which I'm not posting this a day later and I did have a wonderful day in Boston yesterday with friends)

I’m so thankful for the Boston experience once again, and for the memories that I’ll hold dear in my heart forever. 

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Myrtle Beach Marathon 2017

ISN'T LIFE SURREAL Y'ALL!? Man oh man. I kind of can't believe that I have sat down to write this post. I genuinely just keep asking Tanner if that was me and my body that crossed the finish line in 3 hours and 5 minutes and 59 seconds, and while we are talking about this time, can we discuss something? When someone asks me what my PR is, WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO SAY? I mean CLEARLY my PR is a 3:06 now, but it's in that 3:05 window and who likes to round up??! 

HAHAHA! 

Okay, I know I know it's 3:06! ;) Also, who asks people what their PR's are? That's right. No one. MOVING ON! 

I will say, if you're prepared for all the antics that Katiesfitscript normally brings on race day, you might be disappointed. There's one detail that's typical me, but I think I'm finally maturing in this racing business, and not acting like an idiot. After yesterday, in all seriousness, I'm feeling very motivated for my eventual goal that I've shared of a sub 3 and ready to really take things to the next level with training and documentation. I skip too many runs, I don't track data enough, I know y'all will think I'm lying but I eat SO SO bad sometimes that I then feel really crappy on runs, and I literally didn't do any speed work for this training cycle, and that's embarrassing but I was scared with my hamstring issue.

So, I am hoping and praying and praying some more that I can keep miles steady, slow, and build up a heavy heavy base (using Boston as simply a slow easy long run) to go into Chicago this year and going to push higher mileage than I've ever done before with MOSTLY slow easy miles and then to add in those tempos and speed work. I DO NOT want to be one of "those people" that doesn't do the training and then gets the times on race day. I want to do the work. There are 3 take aways from yesterday. 

1 - YOU ARE CAPABLE OF FAR MORE THAN YOU COULD EVER IMAGINE 

2- MAYBE A SUB 3 IS ACTUALLY POSSIBLE

3- I QUALIFIED FOR NYC MARATHON AND THAT MEANT THE WORLD TO ME!!!! 

If you've followed my journey, you know that qualifying for NYC was my A goal and has been for a long time, and I love New York City with my entire full heart, so being able to qualify for the race is just one of my biggest dreams, and if I'm being honest, probably more than Boston. EEK, I said that out loud. I feel that's blasphemous. 

Let's get to this recap before things get too long!!! :) 

This is for good measure to show what this PR really looked like HAHA! 

This is for good measure to show what this PR really looked like HAHA! 

Okay, so if y'all will remember last Thursday, there was the tornado-ish thing that happened in North Carolina, and it cooled the air from all the heat we have been having #byewinter #iloveyou #seeyounext year. The start of Myrtle Beach Marathon (which I will now abbreviate as MBM for the rest of this blog) was supposed to be 35 degrees. Y'all know I love cold, but I absolutely HATE freezing while I'm standing in a starting line corral pondering life like "Why do I do this to myself again?" hahaha! So, I wasn't thrilled about the change, but as usual, it was a good thing and I take it back and I'm thankful it happened. 

The start time was 6:30am but I don't like to wake up and immediately run, so I woke up at 4am to make sure that I was WIDE awake by start. I ate my typical bowl of oatmeal with peanut butter, and I was still hungry so I made a peanut butter sandwich and then had some chocolate. I realized I had no gloves or a head wrap and just knew I was going to freeze. I am SO thankful for what we did next. We left the house at 5am and stopped at Walmart. I went in and looked all around finding NO winter stuff. SHOOT. I asked the workers and they said they had just put the gloves up and handed me a pair of kids gloves that were on sale for 25 cents and I'm so so thankful I had them. My hands FROZE even with them on. I don't generate heat well, and so I stayed cold the entire marathon to be honest, but I run well in cold so it's okay. 

I got to the start super early so we got a parking spot close, and just sat in the car (and ate a cliff bar). When I see Facebook groups and people talk about what they eat on race morning, I am shocked at the answers people say. I eat A LOT on race mornings, much more than normal, but everyone finds what works for them. I took 4 Gus with me, only used 2 and savagely ate a banana on the course. I'll explain later why I only took two. 

I like to get out of the car RIGHT before start, but I judged that wrong, so I ended up in the corral about 15 minutes early. I had asked a friend (Brad Mckee) the Thursday before to run with me, and we live 4.5 hours away from MBM so I didn't expect him. I did know there were tons of runners from Shelby there, and I looked EVERYWHERE for them, and could not find one single runner. I know my friend George will read this (Hi George) and I knew he was running the half. I wanted to run with him, but just couldn't find him, so I just accepted that I'd be doing this one solo. Right about that moment, Brad walks up and I gave him a big hug like THANK GOODNESS someone to pace me. I told him my plan which was to do 7:30 for the first two miles then settle into 7:15 pace. Yeaaaaa, I basically never did either one of those paces. Oopsies. 

Miles 1-6

There's was a 3:10 pacer, and I thought I'd keep my sites on her, but race how I felt. I took off and felt great and kept looking down at my watch and kept slowing myself down. My first mile was 7:05. I honestly was mad at myself like KATIE SERIOUSLY DO NOT DO THE STUPID RUN TOO FAST THING! But I majorly believe in going by feel. So I kept running by feel. At about mile 2, Brad was like "Do you want me to slow you down because I can?" And I said yes. And then we hit 6:59 for the second mile (again totally my fault as I roll my eyes at myself lol). I really thought I would never be able to hold that. Brad was chatting, and I caught a cramp. Yes, at mile 2-3, I had a side stitch and thought how I could have probably done without the PB sandwich. So, I just ran by feel and started taking deep breaths. 

Let me stop right there for a second. I talk about PR's, and I go for them. I show up on race day with my mind focused. HOWEVER, I really really am not emotionally invested, and never have been with PR's. If I had not got the time that I had, I would NOT have cared, and I mean that. I love to run. Period. Stressing over PR's DOES NOT AND WILL NEVER wake me up in the morning to run. Stressing over PR's will never get me to the finish line. Enjoying running and pushing myself to the best that I CAN BE in those moments is what does it. Bottom line. I seriously mean that or I wouldn't say it. That also doesn't mean that PR's can't motivate you, but I've realized that having that pressure on me actually makes me dislike it, so I try to really not focus on it.

When I got the cramp, I told Brad that I was just going to do whatever and that if I have a cramp that early, it would probably be a bad day. He told me to hush (in a nicer way hehe), to breathe in through my nose and out of my mouth and that it would go away. He kept talking, and the side stitch was there until about mile 5-6. I was so focused on my cramp and breathing that I just didn't look at my watch and kept running. At the end of mile 6, I took my first gu (salted caramel is my one and only choice of gu). My splits for Mile 3-6 were: 

3- 7:04:55                  4-7:07:33                    5-7:10:29                     6-7:07:89

Miles 7-11

At mile 7-8, Brad and I were still talking and I told him that I thought that I should probably just go into quiet mode to focus. I really wanted to see what I was capable of without playing around. I told him that I wanted to hold the 7:10 pace and that I felt perfectly content there. Right about this time, we ran into a pack of guys who said that their goal was 3:05-3:10. I was EASILY hanging with them, so I thought to myself that I would hang until I couldn't and then I'd let them trail out ahead. {Spoiler: we finished within one minute of one another}

Brad talked to them. I just stayed behind them and let them chat while I listened to their conversation and just kept my breathing. I never focus on breathing. Details are not my forte, but I was scared of another cramp. I started chatting with this guy beside me and YEP INSTANT CRAMP AGAIN. UH. 

At mile 8, I stopped talking pretty much for good. 

Let me remind you guys of my previous PR (3:15 at Thunder Road which was 1.5 years ago) where I was being a ham the entire race shouting things like I LOVE RUNNING while dancing. Don't get me wrong. In my mind, I felt these things on Saturday but I just felt much more in a zone of solitude if you will. 

At mile 11, I spotted people from Shelby on the side walk. The reason I saw them is because they had made signs of a sweet lady in our town named Lisa who was doing her first marathon, and put her face on the sign. hahaha!! They had SO many made, and it just made my day to see this sign and be able to laugh and they cheered for me, so that gave me a boost. I knew Tanner was in between miles 12-13 so I was excited to see him! 

My splits were: 

7- 7:09:06          8-6:58:69             9-7:10:50        10-7:11:92           11-7:04:97

You can see after mile 8, I got mad at myself and told myself to stop being reckless and slowed down. HAHA! 

Miles 12- 18

At mile 12.5, we passed someone that said "Wow, you go girls" and it's always an indicator of like "Wow, how are you up here with all of these guys?" haha! The girl behind me that ended up in 3rd place ended up being a friend of a friend of mine and went to the same church as me from NYC so that was a CRAZY CRAZY small world.

Right about that time, I spot Tanner, and he has the camera out. I smiled of course, but for whatever reason, again, this race I just felt laser focused, I asked him to stop taking pictures. LOL! Not rudely but just asked him not to. He said he was shocked when I said that. HAHA! Clearly, I always want the camera apparently! ;) He asked how I was, offered me Starbucks (haaa) and ran with me for a hot second, then we were on our way. Brad said "relationship goals" which he doesn't know made my day brighter, but it did. haha!! 

This is when I saw Tanner! ha!

This is when I saw Tanner! ha!

At the half marathon mark, it said 1:31, and I was just in complete shock. My half PR is a 1:32!! The guys with me talked about how we were on track for a 3:05 and I thought to myself how that was a cute plan for them, but that I would never make it that far. I knew that 20 mile wall would hit me like it always does...like it has EVERY single marathon before except one. I anticipated it. I was prepared for the mental and physical pain of it (which is something I had never done before-prep for the pain). [I took my second gu at this point. I had two Gus in each pocket of my vest. I realized that it was a little difficult to get into my right hand pocket and my hands were cold so whatever I got out of the left.]

I told myself to keep breathing like I was, keep focused, and just keep doing by effort the pace that I could. I know the exact feeling of my body's movement just from so much running where I know I'm right at the brink of a heart rate that I can sustain for long periods of time and I wanted to hang there. 

This was also where the head wind was of about 20mph. We knew that if we could just get to the turn around point then we would be fine, but it was a good 10 miles I want to say of just straight wind. I don't want to say it was brutal. Everyone kept mentioning it but I legit just kept thinking how I didn't think it was slowing my 7:05 average pace, so I was fine with it. 

At mile 15, Brad had decided that was where he would split off. He had planned a 15 mile long run, so that was perfect for him. At this point, two of the guys with us had dropped back, and it was just me and this guy who Brad had been talking to who was shooting for 3:05 and ended up with 3:04. YAY! I never even got his name, but we chatted for a little bit.

At mile 16, I started approaching the second place female which ended up being my sweet dear friend Rhea!!! (Let me just plug in here that Rhea's plan was 100000% what she planned and what she did but she's TOTALLY one BEAST of a runner and her PR is a 2:53. She's incredible, and wayyyyyy better runner than me. She has been coming back from injury as well.) When I was approaching her, the guy I was with said "I think second place female is slowing up" and I said "No! I don't want that! She's my friend!!!" And he was like "oh oops sorry!" LOL! Don't mess with my friends HAAA! I actually had never MET Rhea in person until that moment when I saw her side profile and was like "Is that her? I can't tell." And then she recognized me, and we did the whole OMG OMG HIII (But also it's mile 16 and we are running fast paces so let's talk later) kind of thing. HA! 

But at that point, I went into 2nd place. The third place girl was right behind me still. Reminder everyone that I actually KNOW the girl behind me. I just don't know that I know her, and she doesn't know that she knows me. HAHA!

RHEAAAA! FINISH LINE HUGS!

RHEAAAA! FINISH LINE HUGS!

At mile 18, the guy that I was with says "GIRL YOU ARE GONNA GET THAT 3:05. EIGHT MILES LEFT?!" And I literally said out loud, "Heck Yes. Let's do this!" 

I reach down to get a third gu from the right hand pocket and my hands were warmed up by this point. I come to realize (and this is the only hilarious OMG moment of the race) that when I had put the bib on, I had put the safety pin through the zipper of my vest so I had literally locked my Gus into my pocket and could not get to them. I start panicking a little, and start trying to un-do my bib. My hands were warm-ish but not warm enough to do that. I try to take off my glove, and still couldn't get it (all while I'm trying to run 7min/miles here). I just said "Forget it. I'll start taking Gatoraid at aid stations, not water and it'll have to do."

The splits for this segment were:

Mile 12- 7:05: 73     13-6:58:40.     14: 6:59:84    15-7:05:02 16-7:00:29    17-7:00:84   18-7:02:88

Miles 19-23

I think that my friend I had made on the course had his plan for mile 19, and that was for him to take off his top shirt, throw it into the bushes, and then take off. And that is exactly what he did. For a split second, I thought I had slowed up without realizing it, as the girl behind me took second and I went into third. I was like "Shoot! Am I slowing up because that SUCKS! I always hit this stupid wall!" And then I looked at my clock and for miles 19 and 20, I clocked in at 6:53 and 6:54! No no no. I was NOT slowing up. They had sped up, which was AWESOME for them, but I knew better for me. I slowed back down to what felt comfortable. That was when I texted Tanner at mile 20, "Send En" which the phone autocorrected to exactly what I wanted which was "Send Encouragement". YES I TEXTED WHILE RUNNING. CUE EVERYONE FREAKING OUT THAT I SHOULDN'T DO THAT! lol!! This is the result and my husband officially is the cutest ever. 

It was EXACTLY what I needed. He just kept blowing up my phone to the point where I was like "okay dude love ya but enough encouragement. My phone is gonna vibrate off my hand" but it distracted me with sweet texts while I kept running. I also got a text from Bethany "I know you have your phone"... she knows me so well and then she started sending encouragement too. It.Was.Great.

Yes, the dog saving one is the best! Glad you think so too! :P 

I could NOT believe my paces were still consistent going into mile 21-22. I stopped looking at my watch mid miles, and just would run at what I felt to be even consistent pacing with heart rates I could handle, and each time I would look down and it would STILL be on target. I was freaking out with excitement. It was right around mile 22, when we were running through this park, and we hit 22 and my watch read that I had done a 7:10:80 that I just knew. I knew I had a huge PR and I was so giddy inside. I had had this intuition that I rounded the corner and the clock read 3:09 and I sprinted to get under the 3:10 mark. I thought in that moment how awesome that would be (so clearly STILL completelyyyyy not expecting what I ended up with and happy as a clam regardless). 

Splits were: 

19-6:53:57          20-6:54:59              21-7:05:50           22-7:10:80

Miles 23-26.2

At mile 23, we went through this really fun aid station. I decided I wanted to dance with the volunteers as I couldn't believe how great I felt so late in the game. They, of course loved it and danced with me. I was able to grab a banana and I just sunk my teeth into the entire half (hard to explain in a blog) and ate it in one swift bite. YAY CARBS AND THE LOCKED IN VEST POCKET! 

I started to be able to see the second place female. Placing is really fun and cool, but me racing for me personally is all I care about. I've had so many people ask me about like sprinting down the girl to get second vs third and that is literally not what happened at all. I just kept running the same consistent pace I had been running, and it just happened. 100% truth right there. Also, the girl who got third is about the sweetest chick on the planet, who got the BIGGEST PR and I am so so excited for how awesome her day was as well. But either way, at mile 23-24, I went back into second place. 

At mile 24, I just was in shock and awe at how well my body felt and then my calf like grabbed. I joked with my family after that I like yelled at my calves like 'DON'T YOU EVEN THINK FOR ONE SECOND YOU WILL FAIL ME NOW. YOU BETTER HANG TIGHT!' and they did!!! YAY thanks calf muscles!!! However, I kept that pacing started to fall. I started looking at my clock every two seconds and it was falling into the 7:30 range. I thought to myself at that point how I had been keeping the 7:10-7:15 range and 3:05 was SO SO CLOSE, I just couldn't let it slip through my finger tips. I could do anything for 2 miles. So, I prepared my mind and went into that over drive, fight or flight mode. 

I went into the deepest place I had and started cranking my arms. Volunteers were yelling and holding out water and I was to the point where I can't smile at them. I can't tell them 'thank you' like I always do at every aid station. I just had to ignore them, and focus. I hit the brick wall...straight to the face. That's always how it comes but it wasn't awful like usual. It was just semi awful. I hit the end of mile 24 at 2:50:00. I thought to myself, "Could I make under 3?" Clearly, brain wasn't functioning at that moment because DUH, NO. LOL! But I COULD DO 3:05! I hit the end of mile 25 at 7:24. 

KEEP. MOVING. KATIE. PUMP ARMS AND KEEP MOVING. 

I was alone. I didn't have George yelling at me like my last PR. There were minimal people at this point on the sidelines as we went through this park. And my minimal, I mean literally zero. It was me. That was it. My clock hits 3:00 in the middle of my last full mile, and I almost start crying that moment. It was so surreal, and I'll never forget that moment. I'm in my FINAL mile and I just NOW hit 3 hours. How? How did I run this fast? OH.MY.GOSH.KATIE.

I gave it everything I had, and ended up finishing mile 26 at 7:23 as we rounded the corner into the crowd for the final 0.2 where everyone was yelling. 

I could see the clock. It read 3:05:20 (I think-my vision was blurry). I HAD TO MAKE UNDER 3:05. I started sprinting with everything in me. I could hear people who must have known me screaming on the sidelines. I heard Tanner's voice. I heard my mom's voice in the distance going absolutely insane yelling "GO KATIE GO!!!!" I hit the time chip at 3:05:59, and I went off to the side and did my usual "crying while I catch my breath and all volunteers ask if I need a med tent moment." 

I look over and can see my mom and Tanner and I start yelling and they have their arms in the air yelling "WOOOO!!!! YEAAA!!!" and I run/hobble over to them and give them the biggest hug. I knew Rhea would be coming through soon though so I told them I was going to stay in the corral for her to finish and give her a hug! She finished shortly after me and I got a cute video of her crossing the finish line and got to give her a big hug!!! YAY!! 

Splits were: 

23- 7:10:40            24-7:14:64         25-7:24:34             26-7:23:66     26.2 (sprint to finish)-6:15

This is what walking looks like post marathon HA! 

This is what walking looks like post marathon HA! 

WHAT A RACE. WHAT A MOMENT!

It has given me SO much confidence in myself, and as I tell Tanner I don't mean that arrogantly but objectively. As they say, we are our own worst critic and this just opened my eyes to what could happen if I could get all of the pieces to fall into place. I cannot WAIT to see what happens in the next year with running!

I love this sport.

Sometimes I wonder what the world would be like if everyone ran! <3 

Maybe like this? ;) 

Maybe like this? ;) 

Here's some data for those interested, and obviously this marathon was FLAT AS CAN BE...JUST LIKE I LIKE IT!!! lol!

Avg heart rate: 172 Max Speed @ finish line: 5:22min/mile 

And this for good measure because who doesn't LOVE adorable teacup yorkies falling asleep on the ride home from exhaustion from mommy's marathon? Peyton, I'd sprint to that finish line to save you (context: Read texts from Tanner above). HEHE! ;) 

 

 

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The World Hunger Project

I launched on facebook and instagram on Saturday night, but I haven't officially announced tomy blog nor shared lots of details of what to expect and what's to come. And maybe you only follow my blog so this will be the first time that you are hearing about this.

If so, watch this video:

Video shot and edited by Market Street Studios, Concord NC

www.worldhungerproject.com

I have been hinting at and wanting to share about this for months now, but just wanted to make sure that everything was right before I did so. We have worked our little butts off to make it come together. We started getting passionate about this about a year ago, and it's only grown since as we looked more into it and started educating ourselves more. We have laughed at ourselves tremendously about how awkward we feel we were in the video and joked with friends and family about how you always hate hearing your own voice, but we are working on it! ;) Tanner's actually super private so I'm proud of him for doing this! <3

So what does this mean and what are we doing? Just to give a recap of the way the structure of things will work-

a) Anyone who buys anything will be given a choice at check out to which country that they choose to give their proceeds towards. You can read about the different organizations on the website under "Outreach".

b) At the end of each month, I will take all of those and give them out to their respective locations.

We currently are working with 4 different locations and hoping to add more in the future, but wanting to become stable with these right now and make sure that we could give to them sufficiently before adding more.

If you subscribe to our newsletter (which these will be very infrequent) then you will get 10% off your first purchase on www.worldhungerproject.com.

The different things that you can do to get involved is to hold a pop up shop which is where you make money as well as get to give the gift of food by letting me know when you'd like to have it and where, I come to your location, and we have a party and tell about the mission. If you have a fundraiser to do at your school, this is another way that will be modeled in the same way. Lastly, if you have a local retailer in your area, then we would send you apparel and goods to have in store! :) We plan to organize trips to the locations, but all of this is just going to take time so bear with me as Tanner works full time and I'm a one man show most of the time but want to do this really well and grow to help as much as we can.

The need is so huge but I feel that we can make an impact. I know that you have heard that by just giving money, you aren't actually helping the communities with hunger but rather just putting a band aid on the problem, and I want you to know that we are moving towards growth in that area. The organizations that we have partnered with are orphanages therefore they are children with no means to work so we are working with schools because this is the best way for the children to become educated so that they can provide for themselves in the future. Sometimes, also, the schools may be the only place that they receive food. However, sometimes school is not an option right now and these children are just on the streets and there HAS to be funding in those areas as well within those orphanages to get these children food. We feel that's what we have been called to as of right now, and so we will do what we can knowing that as the future unfolds, we will see how we can help with sustaining these children in the long term to be able to provide for themselves.

When looking for places to sponsor, we searched far and wide to find organizations that were actual people that needed actual funding, and that we weren't just giving our money to random charities that we didn't know where the money was given. These organization leaders of the homes aren't just sitting on their smart phones in Kenya, so communication was and is going to be difficult and slower than our generation is used to, but every email I get is SO meaningful and exciting. The people who have started these are also putting themselves on the line and dedicating their lives to the bettering of the lives of these children in their homes.

When discussing ways to bridge this gap, it immediately became apparent to us that we wanted to do it as an outdoor brand. We felt that this made us feel connected with the world more than anything and that's kind of where that came from. We are going to be rolling out new things as often as we can to provide many different designs. We also don't want to just stay with t shirts. We hope to have vests, coats, scarves, and even jewelry. All of our designs have been done by my friend, Blair at blairhenderson.org.

I've had a lot of people ask me how they can help. The things that help are obviously anything monetary that you feel led whether that be through donation or through buying something, or if you'd like to hold a pop-up shop! The other things that we would love is if you were share either our video, Facebook page or Instagram page and follow them yourselves for updates! :)

Our bags are on pre sale for the next 2 weeks and listed under the Shop tab on our website www.worldhungerproject.com

Our bags are on pre sale for the next 2 weeks and listed under the Shop tab on our website www.worldhungerproject.com

Here is the link for the social channels: 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/worldhungerproject/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/theworldhungerproject/

Lastly, we just ask for your prayers. It's challenging, rewarding, scary, exciting and crazy the vision that we have and the ways that we want to give and we know that it's made possible with help from everyone! As my church says, we are less without you but more because of you. 

 

 

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A Journey of Self Discovery

I feel like this is one of those blogs that I'm hopeful that many of you can relate to. 

Ever feel like you are in a constant search for who you are, what your purpose is, and how are you going to fulfill that? I want this blog to come across in the type of language that I want it to be so I'm going to say upfront that this is NOT meant to be negative. It's meant to let you know that it's a journey and I sometimes wonder if there is ever a landing spot, and that it can either be a fun discovery or a destructive one, whichever path you choose.

We think that if we can land at a certain point in time that we will be happy and we will have it all figured out. It's so funny how we truly believe that when we graduate from college and the dust finally settles from the 18-25 years of beating that we have had from school our entire lives, we are going to have it all figured out. Like, suddenly, poof! Sorry to break it to the college girls, but it doesn't work like that! ;) I know that a big part of me has an identity that is wrapped up in when I will have children and that THAT will finally complete me as a human, but I know that's not true either. 

I know that many that follow my blog know this about me, but also might not share this with me, and that's totally fine, but I personally believe that's because my hole is not being filled up with the only one that can totally give me purpose and that's Jesus. For the longest time, I kept striving and striving for this ultimate place of self discovery but it doesn't come. When is the "enough" button ever clicked? 

We get excited to make goals. We get excited to become better humans, make more money, become more successful, and the chase quite literally never ends. We wonder if we are doing what God has called us to do, and we struggle if we feel we aren't living that out. We become happy in those moments when we say "Okay this is it" but then it quickly fades the next day when someone has it better. 

I know for me, I'm super self aware of people, but in a way that I love to evaluate the things about them that make them awesome and try to pull from those things. I had dinner with two of my favorite girls in the whole world last night and they both are so inspirational on so many levels. I want to be more confident and genuinely happy in who I am like Valerie and I want to be more witty and hilarious like Molly, and we can take those pieces and be inspired by them to make the world a better place, but then at the end of the day, what are we resting in? Are we resting in that we weren't good enough or that we are aspiring to be better? Because there's a big difference. 

As someone who has grown up in her 20's sharing most of it online (started at age 23 and now I'm 27), I have felt self conscious in the change up of who I was not on a fundamental level but just small things, and that all changed a few months prior. I'm not sure when it finally became okay, but I also know that that's why I can share it now. Isn't that always how it works? When we are struggling, it's a bit hard to let others know about it, but when we kind of get through those rough patches, we hope to share them in hopes that maybe someone else is in the midst. And I think we are all in the midst of that self discovery but just being confident in the natural change that will occur in your early to late twenties. Heck, maybe it's something that continues our entire lives, but I can't speak on that because I'm not there yet personally! ;) 

I think about Taylor Swift and how many mistakes that she has made growing up, but she's growing up right in front of our eyes. Can't we give her some space of self discovery? I think about people who make mistakes and then change. I think that we need to allow others the same grace that we wish to be extended to us in our change. And most of all, I think that we need to rest in the fact that we are GOING to change. 

The thing that has helped me the most in all of my seasons of change and that I've honed in like crazy recently is the element of accepting the change as a good thing, and not a piece of yourself dying. For the past like 6 months, I've just felt that I didn't know what was happening. I was going through a midlife crisis when I'm way too young for that, but couldn't even place a finger on the reasons for what I was feeling. Then, of course, you convince yourself you have anxiety based on every article you read online, and I think that part of it is just growing up, and that we all have some kind of baseline anxiety.  It's just natural. (I know there is ACTUAL clinical anxiety that some people have). So, what can you do? 

Side Note: This guy below says that he learns more about women daily from being married to me (ha) but he is the epitome of grace in a husband. He loves me so so well.

Every day doesn't have to be a decision on your future, and every day doesn't have to be about all of those thoughts that fill our brains (as women I think most of the time lol). If we can just sit, rest, and let the change happen knowing that we are good people and that all of the other stuff is just details, then you know that you're okay. (Also therapists are cool too and I still think would be beneficial in my own life because who doesn't need an unbiased ear to listen to our junk, right?)

What if I woke up tomorrow and never wanted to run again? Well, we all know THAT won't happen but what if it did? Or what if (God forbid) something happened and I couldn't run anymore. Who am I at the root of my being? Am I a good person? Do I try to live a life that Christ would have me live striving for it the best that I can? Do I love my husband with all of me and am I a good sister/daughter/and friend? Am I loving sacrificially and wholly to those around me and giving thought to the pre conceived bias/prejudice/ or malice that might systematically be in place from a society that has taught those things? 

When you sit down and look at your root, are you a good person? I think that most of you reading this are very good people. I think that we all, by the nature of humans, want to be kind and loving, but all of those other "purpose" pieces can't seem to fall into place, but I don't think that they are meant to. I think that we are supposed to give those up. I think that when we are following the natural nature of just being kind and loving and good that the purpose will naturally shift and come into place. 

I think we think too much, but I think it's important to work through these emotions of self discovery to get to the other side where you can rest. Let your sweet mind rest, girlfriend. Because the other side is beautiful. It's a place that you can look at the woman that you are and you can say, you know what, she still has some learning and pruning to do and that's exciting, but she wants so much good. She desires it with her whole heart, and she wants to give it out like candy. 

I want to be a woman who when you look at me, you see the eyes of Jesus that is nothing of my own doing but simply him pouring out of me, but I could not (and cannot) become that with the self inflicted narcissism that our society tells us to have where we are always concerned for our next jump up the ladder. The ladder doesn't need to be climbed. We just need to rest on that first step knowing that at our core, if we are good, then that's all that matters. 

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Weekend Fun and Marathon Goals

So, this weekend was quite the relaxing one, and I'm not complaining one bit. We are having a launch party with our closest family and friends in Shelby on Saturday night, and so I spent time really cleaning the house and preparing for that. I'm super thankful for how supportive my friends are, and I woke up this morning with such a happy feeling in my heart. I think that it's partly because you can hear the birds chirping outside, and there is just nothing that can compare to the feelings of spring coming. I'm so thankful for being in a part of the US that we have season change. I have realized I love change. It brings about a new awakening and just a feeling of thankfulness for life. 

Saturday, I got to hang out with my mom some (who took this photo hehe) and went to dinner with our favorite couple where I also received the final edits to our promo video for our launch! EEK! Sunday, we went to church and then I did my long run! 

Thank Ya' Jesus is appropriate for heading into the taper! hahaha! @clothinginlove on Insta is where this is from!

Thank Ya' Jesus is appropriate for heading into the taper! hahaha! @clothinginlove on Insta is where this is from!

Last week, I had a moment where someone was mean to me online, and this has actually mean happening a lot more recently, and I ranted about it on my personal Facebook. I actually had had a glass of wine or that would have NEVER happened. Lord, help. haha!! I just know that it's all part of this game of blogging, and there is no reason that I should let it get to me so much. I started this because I wanted to share my journey, and that's what I continue to do. I'm a spaz and we all know that by this point, and no one is everyone's cup of tea and I really truly am fine with that. Referencing what I was saying above, I have the most supportive and loving people IN MY LIFE...like my REAL life...the one that has nothing to do with what people say when they are clearly showing a reflection of things that are wrong in theirs. That doesn't mean that I'm not human, but I can say with confidence that it has truly made me search the depths of who I am and whether I am okay with that person, and if I am, then there is no reason that things others say should touch me because I'm confident in that woman. I will always try to be self aware to take things that others say, take the parts of it that are truly constructive, and toss the rest. BUT I AM SO THANKFUL FOR THE GOOD ... THE ABUNDANT OVER FLOWING GOOD! And it's so silly to focus on the negative. I will NOT continue that. Attitude is everything, and these faces on these photos bring me so much joy. Last photo teaser before Sunday! haha! 

I got sick last week, and so on Saturday when I had planned for my long run, it just didn't happen. I planned on getting up early on Saturday morning and going with my running group, but I had to cancel, and I was really bummed. I knew I needed to get it in as this marathon training has been FAR from perfect, and so I tried again on Sunday. The second I made the first step, I thought "This is gonna be a good one!" and it most certainly totally was. I couldn't have asked for a better final long run going into Myrtle Beach in two weeks. I was so thankful. I hit 7:17 for 16 miles! :) These are uncharted times for me on long runs just being honest. I typically am in the 7:45-8min/mile range so I can finally feel the cumulative effects of years of training. It's been 2.5 years now since I began this journey and I wondered if it truly was possible for someone to get faster and I'm watching it happen in my own life. KEEP AT IT YALL!! 

So, moving into marathon goals. I do want to speak them out loud. This is considered taboo in me and Bethany's world (if you're new here-that's my best friend lol). We think that we will jinx ourselves, but for me this time, I'll admit that I'm playing with fire, and I almost need to speak it out loud to keep myself accountable. 

  • Goal 1: Qualify for NYC! 

The goal for my age group is either a 1:32 half (which if I don't get this qualification at this marathon then I'm going to schedule a half to try for that later in the year) OR 3:12:50 full marathon time. I thought that it might be best to aim for a time that was a weeeeee bit faster than that, so that I give myself some space to fizzle out at the end because that is alwaysssss going to happen, so my goal time is 3:11. EEEEK. 

This goal would mean that I had to do that 7:17 average for 26.2 miles. It's also my 7th marathon or above distance (this including my ironman and ultra) in 2017 so I felt it only appropriate to keep the lucky #7 going! I know now after this weekends long run that I can do 7:17 for 16 miles, so just 10 more miles right after a nice taper! 

I'm going to start out going slower than that of course to warm up. It's a flat course, so I haven't planned out variations in pace based on the course. I'm just simply going to try to stay consistent around 7:15. My PR as of right now, according to my data, I did an average of 7:15 for 27.2 miles, but I went too wide on the tangents, so therefore my official time was 3:15 (which is an average of 7:30). I KNOW RIGHT? ISN'T THAT ANNOYING!? If I had done the correct tangents, then my time technically should be 3:10. OH WELL. We all deal with that, so I'm not alone there.

I'm really focusing on nutrition. I finally feel like I've got myself figured out. I tend to eat CRAP the night before a marathon just because it's a good excuse to do so, and that annoys me at myself. There is no reason for it. I'm going to eat a large carb heavy plant based meal at lunch the day before so that it has time to digest, and then continue eating only carbs the rest of the evening. On the morning of, I plan to have 100g carb before the race starts (with long digesting carbs when I wake up) and then either a banana/bagel or gu at the start dependent on how hungry I feel for actual food (if I'm not hungry I'll do a gu). I'm going to use a gu every 5 miles starting at mile 5, and I'm going to FORCE MYSELF to not stop taking them at mile 18ish which is where I always start getting sick and stop!! lol! Okay moving on to goal 2! 

  • Goal 2: Qualify for Boston

I know that this training cycle didn't go as I planned, and just like I knew in the first steps of yesterday's long run that it was going to be a good run, I'll know the second I start at Myrtle Beach. I'll know if it's going to be a good day and forcing a 7:15 pace is NOT going to happen if I don't feel good, so I'm not going to cause myself that much pain and I'll probably just back down and make it an easy long run at the 8min/mile pacing to train for Boston 2017, but I still need qualification for 2018. I don't think that I'm actually going to run it in 2018, but I always say those things, so I want to at least have it. haha! 

  • Goal 3: Just finish 

The truth about marathons is that you just NEVER EVER know what can happen. You can train all you want and expect XYZ, but at the end of the day, you have to go in with just the expectation that things can happen and finishing is just as great of an accomplishment. I have been reading a lot about advanced marathon training, and how race day can be "playing with fire" with trying push yourself and possibly going into heart rate zones that you don't mean to venture into, completely bonking and then the whole train falls a part. It CAN happen, so I just always like to aware for these things. 

With all of that said, I also wanted to say that I'm super duper proud of my client Ashley. She CRUSHED her half marathon and got a 23 minute PR which is FREAKIN AMAZING! 

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Runner's Block

Like writer's block...but not. 

Ever had a period in time when you are just like NOPE NOPE NOPE. 

That was me this week. And I legit listened to that voice. For a hot second, after 2 weeks at 60 miles I was like "Maybe I just won't even run this marathon." HAHAHA! 

Like what is wrong with me? It was so out of the ordinary and there was literally no reason for me feeling this way. I just simply didn't feel like it. I texted Tanner yesterday and said "I think I have runner's block." 

This isn't actually a thing, but it got me thinking a lot because it was one of those things that even hopping into the "one foot in front of the other" on the road or the treadmill sounded like literally the worst thing that I would want to do. The weather has been perfect, I have no injuries, and yet I'm having a moment and this is a moment I've never had so it was shocking.

I sat down and wrote out my goals which is what I always tell my clients to do if they get into a rut (is that how you spell rut? lol). My small goals are: 

1. Run Myrtle Beach Marathon

  • Plan A-PR with 3:12:50 at least to qualify for NYC next year
  • Plan B-qualify for Boston 2018 as I don't have a qualification for that yet   

2. Run Boston Marathon 2017 

I don't plan on PRing this at all, but just hope to beat my course PR from last year which won't be hard to do considering I completely came unglued from heat exhaustion. 

That's all of my short term goals. Then, I listed my long term goals :

  • Continue working towards a sub 3 one day 
  • Get enough miles on my feet so that I can comfortably add speed work without my body doing something ridiculous to me ;) 
  • Do another ironman so that I can get the official 140.6 for my car ! It's 100% all about the decal-jk jk! 
  • Become a hybrid athlete again and get my muscle back 
  • Do another ultra 

Here's the method that I always use when looking at my short and long term goals to get over my runner's block. I think about how the task at hand for my short term is something that I'm very familiar with. I know about the ups and downs of marathon training. I know about what it takes to run a marathon, and I know that I'll run the race the day of no big deal because I've seen that territory before. I know it well. I also know that because I've honored myself in the past taking breaks when needed that my body bounces back SO quickly. I've had enough niggles along the way and small injuries to know that the body WILL bounce right back, so no reason to get all worked up about it. 

When I look at my long term goals, I think about how they are never going to happen if I don't continue forward with my short term goals, and that helps to motivate me for the long term gratification. 

I also take a second to rationalize why it is that I'm feeling this way. Did I run TOO many miles and get myself burnt out for those two weeks? It was a sharp increase so that answer is most likely yes. Do I have other things going on? Well yes. We are launching in T minus 10 days. So, that could be what it is that my mind is just in other places. I am one of those that if emotional, I cannot work out. Like literally, I feel as if my limbs don't work. haha!! That's not the case this time, but I'm not one that takes out all of my worries in the gym. That's not my style. I'd rather sit on the couch watching Grey's anatomy with a bag of Cheetos. 

So, what did I do instead of running the past couple of days? I wifed it up. It just so happens that it was Valentine's week, but that wasn't why. I just decided that was how I was going to spend the time that I would normally have been going to the gym. I cleaned the entire house top to bottom. I organized things within my business as well as my life, and I made essentially every meal home made for Tanner along with his coffee each morning. I literally just didn't go for 3 days of running that I had scheduled, and I should probably care more, but good news is I don't. LOL!!! 

Here's the thing. We all do this for fun, and I just refuse to ever be someone who forces myself to do something that's not fun for me. I know that this probably set me back on my PR (who even knows) and I know that most serious marathoners would have forced themselves especially this close to the race, and I kinda wish I had that kind of motivation that I know some of my friends do (like @babfitrunlife if you follow her on Insta who has literally not missed one run in 3 years). However, I have to honor myself PERSONALLY and that meant honoring my runner's block the past few days. 

I went to sleep in my clean house just thinking AH YES! I think it's gone. And just like that, I felt motivated again and I often wonder that if I had not taken the break, would I have hated every step or would I have been proud to have finished what I said I would do? I'm not sure. This marathon training cycle wasn't pretty or perfect, but that's life and I'll take it just to be able to be involved in endurance. We are 2 weeks out now!! YAY! :) I'm going to do a long run tomorrow then go into the taper! :) 

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Things to Know as a Beginner Runner

I was thinking the other day while I was on a run how there are so many things that when you come into the sport of running that you might not know. I think that people think it's super simple and it is to an extent, but there are so many things that I wish I had known from the get go that would have made the process of "becoming a runner" much easier. I would say that when I was in college, I didn't research enough therefore I was just running miles and knew very little. There is science to just about everything in life, and there's a lot of things that you should be doing as a runner. So, let's get to that list. 

1. Make sure that you buy the right shoes

The last thing that you want to do is buy neutral shoes that are for a pronating foot. You will end up getting yourself injured, so you want to make sure that whatever shoes that you chose are designed to fit the way that you run. You can go to any running store, and get assessed, but here is a blog that I wrote on that topic.  The rule of thumb is 300-500 miles on each shoe, but I'm horrible and getting my shoes switched out is about how I am with my oil change. I always wait too long. Oops. 

2. Educate yourself about the sport

What is a tempo run? Fartlek? Easy Run? What paces should you be going for all of those? See THIS link ! Buy books that educate you about the science behind it all and how you can be better. This might not be something that you like, but learn about pro runners within the sport. Follow their social medias because they will absolutely motivate you to want to be better. There are different methods to training, so you could go on amazon and search for books and read up on all of the different methods and why those coaches believe that to work best. There's the Daniel method, Hanson method, Galloway,  or 80/20 by Matt Fitzgerald. There are MANY different viewpoints and finding what will work best for you with your scheduling, life circumstances, and everything in between is SO important. 

This is the first training cycle where I think I'm finally coming into what works for me. I've tried many different methods, but it seems that my body is handling moderately high mileage but at slower paces without blasting speed work because speed work always ends up in some form of injury for me, but I had to test MANY routes over the past 2.5 years to figure that out. Of course, I'm not going to want to run this high of mileage all the time though so I'll have to figure out how I want to do training in the future! 

3. Find friends that want to do it with you

There have been studies that prove that having a friend with you in any sort of journey is always going to make you more successful. As humans, we are made to be social beings, and even though I'm a very introverted runner, I feel really energized when I go on group runs and I feel like people understand me within my friends that are actually runners. You don't want to annoy your friends that don't enjoy running with talking about it, and you want someone who can share in that passion with you. That also does NOT mean that you need only running friends. Duh. Most of mine aren't actually, but I just think it's important to have a few! :) 

4. Eat well

You want to eat enough but not too much. You really want to find that happy balance of what really fuels you but doesn't leave you feeling gross, gaining weight, and lethargic (unless of course you need to gain weight and then that's not who I'm talking about lol). You want to eat the majority of your foods as whole, plant based sources and I don't say that from the standpoint of my switch to plant based eating but rather, we all know that whole naturally based foods are going to make us feel better. The other basic rule is that you want to make sure that you have enough carbs to support what you are doing. You don't want to get out on your runs and to feel like your legs are lead because you didn't eat enough the night before the long run. You'll learn over time as you experience these things.

I personally believe that tracking your intake when you become a runner is SO SO valuable, and I know I've preached it into the ground, but it's not meant to be an obsessive thing but rather something that lets you know EXACTLY what you are doing and whether you need to make adjustments for your training. I feel like it's just another discipline just like stretching. 

5. NOT EVERY RUN IS A GOOD RUN!!! 

This is so so important. I've talked about my first 16 mile run a lot, but it was so awful. I don't think that I had eaten enough the night before or something, and I thought that's how runs had to be. I thought that's just what it felt like when you got that high in mileage and wondered how I would ever make it to a marathon. That's absolutely NOT what it should have felt like and I'm thankful I hung in there to figure that out. You need to know that there are going to be many bad days, and there will even be bad weeks. I've felt pretty awful this week even though last week was great. I also think I have a cold coming on, but I digress. The point is that you can't give running a solid chance if you don't do this. 

Last, but not least... 

6. Staying in the correct heart rate zone for your runs

This isn't technical like it sounds. I just simply mean that if you are going to be a runner, then you can't go out for a 10 mile run and do it in zone 4 heart rate (super fast for you). You will absolutely hate running and think how you don't understand why anyone would do it. You can't go sprint a 5K and wonder how anyone does a marathon. That's because you run those at ENTIRELY different speeds. You sprint a 5K. You settle into a marathon. If you are going outside of your zone 2 heart rate then you will never make it to the finish line, but if you do settle into an easy heart rate then you'll see what it's like to really fall in love with running. You'll understand how people are able to continue forward. This might be super slow at first, and you can improve that over time, so don't give up if you feel like you are just too slow. If you choose a friend to run with that's faster than you and you guys are running 9-10min/miles and you feel like you're dying and don't understand why your friend is not, that's because they have either the endurance or the natural speed and their heart rate is lower than yours currently was, and you just need to slow down. 

I really just hope to spread awareness about how great of a sport that it can be!!! <3 

 

 

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