Race Recap: Hoosier Half

Hoosier Race Recap

First of all, I have to say Thanks to Hoosier Half for the free race entry.  In exchange for the entry, I agreed to mention the event on my social media platforms  and write about my race experience on this blog.  

This was my second time running the Bloomington, Indiana event.  (Any IU fans or alums out there??)  Back in 2013 I set out to run 13 half marathons (13.1!) in 2013.  The Hoosier Half was one of the events I did that year.  So having done it before, I knew there would be hills.  I was a little anxious with this hilly event being my first half marathon of the year.  I just haven’t been performing at the half marathon distance like I like to (I’ve been a sub-2:00 half marathoner for several years until a couple halfs last fall when I went into the 2:05~2:10 finish time).  Given that, the hills, and some injury and allergy/asthma issues earlier this year, I didn’t really know what to expect on Saturday.  So much so that I told my husband and son, who had gone to Bloomington with me (we stayed overnight even though it’s easily drivable for us!) not to meet me at the finish line.  I just didn’t want the pressure that they were waiting for me if I decided to walk halfway through (and walk I did!)!  Plus, it was unseasonably cold!!!  31  at the start, feeling like 22.  Yikes!  

We went down Friday evening and stopped at Chicago’s Pizza on the way.  I’m not a typical pasta girl the night before an event.  (I don’t really get into the “carb-loading” thing.)  I usually like to have grilled chicken and will add bread or a baked potato, but that’s the extent of differing from my normal eating.  The grilled chicken sandwich with a little buffalo sauce on the side worked just fine.  IU1

We arrived in Bloomington in time to pick up my packet and then stay at the Hampton, the host hotel.  They said it was “within walking distance”, but it was about a mile away, and given the cold temps my husband was nice enough to plan to get up early and drive me to the start line.  

 

After a less than stellar night’s rest (oh well, that happens sometimes!), I got up early enough for my pre-race routine (my normal morning routine actually) to stretch, read my devotions, and have my Energize.  

IU3

Like I said, it was cold at the start, and there was some wind to deal with, but the sun was nice, and with a couple of layers on top, I decided I dressed correctly for the race.  

IU2IU6

I ran with the 2:00 pace group for the first 3 miles, but all the memories of hills were coming back to me, and I decided around mile 5 that I was just going to #runmyrace.  This has been my theme this year, and I decided it was time to live by it.  I started walking the hills.  I walked them briskly but also recovered a bit and then ran the downhills and flats.  This worked for the entire rest of the race.  It finished uphill, and I finished in 2:15:43.  It was my slowest half marathon since 1999, but that’s okay.  

 

I was kinda kicking myself for having told my husband and son not to meet me at the finish line, because I had to walk back to the hotel (you know that mile I mentioned?  AND it had a hill to climb AND it was chilly!).  

 

I got a hot shower then we went downtown Bloomington to eat and explore the campus.  My husband graduated from law school there, and my counseling degree is from IU, so we always enjoy the opportunity to visit campus.  Kent likes to show Ethan around.  (I think he secretly hopes he’ll go to IU!)  IU9

 

 

It was a nice weekend, and at the end of it all, I’m reminded how grateful I am for a supportive family, the opportunity to run, and to be a Hoosier.

croppedIU

 

Tell me…

Did you race this weekend? How was it?

Favorite college campus? 

 

Mindfulness: No More “Why Did I Just…” Moments

mindfulness

Please tell me I’m not the only person who has eaten half bag of trail mix or half dozen (or more!) mini Reese’s cups and then stop and say “Why did I just do that???”  Can anybody relate??  It’s like I lose my mind for a minute only to realize (too late!) that I just made a poor choice!

 

Mindfulness.

 

Let’s start with a dictionary.com definition:  “a technique in which one focuses one’s full attention only on the present, experiencing thoughts, feelings, and sensations but not judging them.”  

So first of all, WHEN do we have time to focus full attention only on the present???  Aren’t we usually doing 3 things or more at once?  

AND, what’s this “not judging” business?  I’m bad or a cheater if I eat half bag of M&Ms right??  I need to punish myself.  I need to verbally beat myself up.  

I’d like to propose that we can begin to take some steps towards mindfulness to reduce (and eventually rid ourselves of) “Why did I just….” moments!

I find that I have these out-of-control, mindless  moments most often when I’m tired, stressed, overwhelmed.  I’ve had it.  I’m over it.  I have no willpower or self-control left.  My tank is empty, and I think my tummy is too!  So I go on a spree before I realize what I’ve done.  

 

Mindfulness.

 

I believe that when we slow down, even a little, and take care of a few areas of our lives, we become more mindful.  It’s what we do in the other 23 hours and 55 minutes of our day that will save us from ourselves in those 5 minutes of losing our minds.  And it boils down to taking care of ourselves.  

Earlier this week I posted a picture of me getting a mani/pedi while reading a book and said that this is something that helps me stay mindful.  Now, how is that?  Those things (even though that mani/pedi was the first one I’d had in 2 months) provide some relaxation.  I took about an hour out of my day for some self-care.  I have a half marathon on Saturday.  I had PMS.  I was starting to feel a little overwhelmed with a few things.  I needed to take care of me.

Girls, it’s okay to take care of yourself.  You are better for everyone when you take a little time for you.  Because this is how it goes otherwise…..back to our scenario of “Why did I just do that?”  If one of those moments happen, then it leads to feeling bad about yourself, the negative chatter in your mind, and it all spirals out of control.  

So a key thing to help you stay mindful is self care.  It could be in the form of mani/pedi, a massage, bubble bath.  Whatever says “pamper me” to you.  

As I mentioned, when I’m tired it’s easier for me to have those out-of-control moments.  I think I need “fuel” and not in the form of lean protein or my superfood shake.  It’s usually in the form of chocolate!

When we’re well-rested and feeding our bodies proper fuel, it’s easier for us to practice mindfulness.  We have energy.  We’re not dragging in the mid-afternoon grabbing for a quick pick-me-up.  

Here’s the thing, when we have more energy and mental focus, we can Experience the signals we’re getting from our bodies and then properly Assess them as to whether to Take action.  

We’ll call it the EAT strategy😉 When we begin to condition ourselves to slow down in other areas….taking the 5 minutes for quiet time, a bubble bath after the kids go to bed, a 10 minute walk before everyone else wakes up, scheduling an hour once a month for a mani/pedi….we can slow down in response to our hunger and craving signals and begin to assess what, if any, action we need to take to satisfy that urge.  

It’s a practice.  I still have moments.  In fact, a common phrase I use is “I need a moment”.  My son knows it’s like a “mom time out”.  I need to get my head right and my attitude right before I respond to anything or anyone.  

If you want more on mindfulness and exclusive content, sign up for my weekly email here.

Additionally, I have a free group starting on Monday April 11.  We’ll be talking about mindfulness and a whole lot more as it relates to your faith and fitness journey.  If you need some support and encouragement, reach out to me.  I’d love to have you in the group!  

 

I wanna hear from you….

When do you feel most out of control?  

Do you have a key word or phrase that lets your family know you “need a moment”?

How do you stay mindful?

Why You Should Trust the Process

trust the process

This Saturday I’ll be running the first of 3 spring half marathons.  Saturday is the Hoosier Half in Bloomington.  The next one will be the Indy Mini (If you’re an Indiana resident and a runner, you’re sorta obligated to this one, right??), and I’ll wrap up my spring with the Michelob Ultra half marathon in Chicago.  (I’m running this one with Team Momentum, first time I’ve done a fundraiser run. More on this in an upcoming post!)

 

Today I want to take some time and talk about trusting the process.  I’m sure you’ve heard the quote.  Sometimes it can be a cop out, “well it’ll take time; just keep on keeping on”.  But you want results, right???  How long is this “process” going to take??  What do I do in the ‘waiting’?

You can’t trust a process you don’t even know.  You still need to identify your goals and how you’re going to get there.  It may be a training plan for a 5K or half marathon.  It could be some changes to your eating habits to lose weight or have more energy.  It could be a schedule change.  You may need a mindset shift.  Maybe you need to find a Bible study to follow.  

 

Just as the saying goes “April showers bring May flowers” so we have to do the work and spend the time to get the results.  

If you want to run a race, whatever distance it may be, you can’t just one day get up and go do it without having done at least a little training.  I’ve run over 50 half marathons and more than a dozen marathons, but every time I start a new training plan and am running 7 or 8 miles, I think “how am I going to be ready to run 13 or 26?!?!”  Well, I’m not ready on day 1 of training but by the 10th, 12th week, I’ve built up my mileage, and I’m ready to go.  

When you decide it’s time to make some changes in your nutrition, the first day you cut out your daily Coke or iced tea, you won’t lose 5 pounds.  But over time and replacing that coke with water every day for a week, two, or three, you will begin to notice a change in your body.  

The first day you set your alarm to get up early to read your devotions, you may want to hit the snooze and put off this new routine until tomorrow.  But once you get up Monday and then again on Tuesday and again on Wednesday and spend 10 minutes of quiet time, you’ll realize that these few extra minutes get you focused for the day.  You’ll face the day with peace and confidence.  

But all these changes don’t just happen.  The results don’t magically come as soon as you do something.  It takes time.  Time to figure out what changes YOU need to make (not what your best friend is doing).  Time for your body and lifestyle and mindset to respond.  

But just as these April showers bring forth beautiful May flowers, those changes you start making today will have results if you stick with it and trust the process.  

 

Tell me….

Are you having to trust the process in some area of your life?  If so, what is it?  

Do you have any tips on how to trust the process?   

8 Excuses Busted: Make One Change Today

no excuses

No More Excuses!  Easier said than done, right?  I mean, I don’t always make excuses, I just don’t  or can’t or won’t.  Anybody with me?

 

But there are definitely times when our excuses feel very real.  And honestly, they don’t feel like excuses.  They are facts of our lives.  They are real to us, and it’s hard to see a work around or another option.  Healthy eating?  I only have so much in my grocery budget.  Work out?  I only have so much time in a day.  Rest?  Have you seen my schedule???  Quiet time?  I pray when I’m falling asleep at night.  

 

Today I’m going to take on a few excuses, or maybe even facts of life, and bust them with some practical tips to a fit and healthy lifestyle.  

1.  Not enough time

  • As it relates to working out – For some reason we think that we must work out 30, 60, 90 minutes for it to “count”.  But that just isn’t the case.  Whether we do 10 minutes when we get up and 10 minutes at lunch or a 15-20 minute workout, something is better than nothing.  And those 20 minute workouts can give you some amazing results.  I recently reviewed some YouTube workouts that were only 10 minutes long, and they left me sore and sweaty.  Check them out here!
  • As it relates to preparing healthy food – Do you have a crock pot?  Do you have some time on the weekend or maybe one evening a week when you can bake ahead some chicken and put it in the refrigerator?  How about put snacks in a baggie or small container?  You can freeze a variety of dishes and pull them out to fix for dinner.  The key is to plan and prepare ahead of time.  

2.  Not athletic, can’t run, hate cardio – First of all, running isn’t the only exercise.  While some people (me included!) love it, others hate it, and that’s okay.  You don’t have to become a runner.  You didn’t have to be an athlete in high school to be able to exercise now.  There are so many workouts these days, I’m confident you can find something you’d like to do.  Do you like to dance?  What about Zumba or Cize?  Do you like hardcore bootcamps?  What about a kickboxing class or the new Hard Corps 22 workout?  Bike.  Walk.  Lift weights.  Yoga.  I can help you find a workout that’s right for you!  

3.  Weather – My husband has been known to be a “seasonal” exerciser.  I tease him about hibernating in the winter.  Lol!  I often say it’s not the weather it’s the clothes.  With the right clothes, you can get out in any type of weather (for the most part.  I know issues like asthma do make extreme conditions difficult.  Listen to your body!).

4. Too expensive

  • As it relates to working out – It doesn’t cost anything to put shoes on and go out the door for a walk.  But even if you want/need shoes and workout clothes, they can be found on sale all the time.  You can purchase one DVD with several workouts for a small amount of money.  There are several workouts on YouTube and Pinterest that are legitimate and easy to follow…and free!
  • As it relates to eating healthy – Places like Wal-Mart, Kroger, and Target know that people are interested in organic, gluten-free, and just all around healthy foods these days.  You can often find store brand for cheaper than name brand items.  Places like Amazon and Drugstore.com offer great deals on healthier versions of items.  Frozen produce or seasonal fresh produce are usually priced right.  

5.  My family doesn’t support me – This is often where it comes in handy to define your Why.  (read more here!)  Get your family involved.  Set the example.  If you have to, when they’re eating chicken nuggets and fries for dinner, have a salad.  Eat the protein and veggies while they go ahead and eat the starch.  Just choose smaller portions of whatever you have fixed for the whole family.  Take the kids to the playground and walk laps while they swing and slide.

6.  Healthy food doesn’t taste good – There are so many healthy Pinterest boards to follow with easy recipes.  One of my favorite websites is www.hungry-girl.com.  She has some great ideas on how to make your favorite recipes healthy without losing the yummy taste.  Seasonings are your friend.  Be willing to experiment.  Check out some ideas here.  

7.  I’m tired all the time – I know it seems backwards, but getting fresh air and movement will help your energy level and get those endorphins moving in your body.  Even if it means getting up 10 minutes early to go for a walk.  When you begin to replace sugary and starchy foods with fruits and vegetables and lean protein, you will notice improvement in your energy level.  

8.    God knows what’s in my heart – Yes, He does.  But He still wants time with you.  “Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10) Just take a minute to really notice His presence in your life.  Write down 3 things for which  you are grateful.  Be purposeful in this time.  It will provide mental clarity.  

 

What’s next?  I know it’s not easy to bust these excuses on your own.  Accountability is key.  Support is critical, especially if you feel like you’re the only one in the house who wants to get healthy.  I have an answer!  Join my “Fight the Good Fight!” Facebook group.  This will be 3 weeks of check ins, encouragement, support, and accountability.  It’s free!  All I need from you is a desire for and a commitment to living fit and free!  It’s not always easy, but together we can “Fight the Good Fight!”  To get your special invite to this private Facebook group, please email me to let me know you want in AND what excuse you’re ready to bust!

 

Tell me….

Did I miss any excuses?

What other tips do you have to bust the excuses?

 

How to Make Time for a Time Out

relax

“What do you do to relax?”

I once asked this to a group of women and got the reply, “Relax.  What’s that?”  

 

In this “hurry up” society when everything is at our fingertips, and Starbucks will now have our coffee ready when we arrive, we don’t know how to relax.  Stress relieving activities.  What are those?  And if we knew them, why would we do them?  We don’t have time!!  

Given that it’s Spring Break around here, I thought I’d spend a day on this topic of taking a time out.  We’re not going anywhere this week, but that doesn’t mean we can’t find time in our day to relax, decompress, or take a time out.  

These days people think they have to take a vacation, go to the beach, or camp out to relax.  But even then, they’re tied to their iphones, ipads, electronics, etc.  

 

So how, in our everyday lives, do we build in time to relax, decompress, take a time out?  In this day and age driven by stress, HOW can we build in some relief?  

 

  1. Breathe – No really, just BREATHE.  Take a minute, seriously, just one minute, and focus on your breath.  Feel and hear the inhale.  Feel and hear the exhale.  It can be calming.  It can help you focus and get you centered.  Eventually the minute will extend to two minutes then five minutes.  Then maybe you can think of doing this upon waking and before going to bed and anytime through the day when you realize you need to focus or need a time out.  
  2. Read – Find a book of five minute devotions or scripture readings.  You may enjoy poetry or even a few pages of a novel.  
  3. Get outside – Take a leisure walk.  Maybe take your lunch outside.  Open your blinds or windows if you can’t get outside.  Let the sun shine in!
  4. Gratitude – Take note of things for which you are grateful.  Keep a journal.  When you lay down at night or wake up in the morning, write down 3-5 things that you are thankful for.
  5. Self-Care – Soak in a warm bath.  Schedule a manicure or pedicure.  Or just take 15 minutes to do your own nails.  Massage.

 

Now when are you going to do this?  

You can start with five minutes.

  • It may mean getting up five minutes early.  
  • It may mean catching yourself when you’re scrolling social media and instead close your eyes and breathe for a couple of minutes.  
  • It may mean that when you are out doing errands, just park a little bit farther away and walk to your destination.  Feel the warm sun or the breeze as you go.  

So whether you’re on a beach this week or working 9-5, do yourself a favor and take a time out.  I dare you!

 

Do you find it difficult to relax?

How do you work in daily time outs?  

I know my list isn’t complete.  What are some other ways to sneak in some stress relief?

Boring Menu: Ways to “Healthify” Your Favorite Recipes

healthify

Do you feel like a healthy diet consists of a daily grilled chicken salad?  Rabbit food anyone? Carrots?   

I remember my son asking me one evening “What’s for dinner?”  And my husband sarcastically replied, “Chicken, chicken, or chicken?”   

Ok, so I could get by with eating the same thing everyday.  I don’t mind that my daily meals are pretty much the same, but my family wants a little variety.  So how do you keep some variety and stick with healthy choices?  

 

Protein and Dairy Options

Besides chicken, you have turkey, pork, and lean cuts of beef.  Starkist tuna has so many different flavors of tuna in their ready-to-go packets.  I love the new buffalo flavor, and the sweet and spicy has been a longtime favorite of mine as well.  My husband and son deer hunt, and we enjoy venison.  Bacon, anyone?  You haven’t had bacon until you’ve had deer bacon…just sayin!  We get most of it ground, so I use that in meatloaf, chili (well, my husband makes chili, not me!), tacos, spaghetti, hamburgers.  

Low fat cottage cheese is a good source of protein as well as nonfat plain greek yogurt.  In a recipe calling for cream cheese, you can use lowfat or nonfat cream cheese or greek yogurt.  In a recipe calling for sour cream, you can use plain greek yogurt.  

When it comes to milk, you can gradually switch from whole to 2% to 1% to maybe even skim eventually.  And now there are several alternatives.  I use unsweetened almond milk in cooking a lot.  Again, big reduction in calories and the lactose in regular milk can have negative effects on some tummies.

 

Salads

You can do so much with a salad.  After your lettuce, you can toss in all kinds of cut up veggies, maybe even some fruit (grapes, strawberries, or oranges), low fat cheese, lean protein, a few nuts (slivered almonds or walnuts).  

 

Baking Options

I love baking with oat flour these days.  There’s also almond flour and coconut flour as well as whole wheat flour.  (Be sure to read about measuring adjustments if you use a different type of flour.)  For sweeteners there’s stevia.  Honey and pure maple syrup can be used in some recipes.  Coconut oil is very popular these days in both solid or liquid form to replace oils or butter in a recipe.  Protein powder is also an option to add a little flavor (vanilla or chocolate) in the place of the sugar and/or flour.  

These are just a few quick ideas to get you thinking about how to make small changes to recipes to either add nutrition or lessen the fat, calories, and processed stuff.  

 

Here’s one I make often….it’s a healthy alternative to rice krispy treats.  My son often eats them for breakfast.ricekrispy

1 cup nut butter (I use natural PB (Kroger brand is great!), but you can use nut butter of choice)
1 cup honey
Melt on stove over low heat
Add crisp rice cereal (or cheerios or maybe even a Kashi cereal) 4-6 cups depending on the cereal you choose.  Stir together to coat.  
Press into 9×13 pan.  Let set.  

This week in my closed Facebook group, I’ve been sharing some recipe ideas like this one with the girls.  If you’d like one of those recipes, sign up here to be added to my weekly email list, and I’ll send you one (or two!) of the recipe ideas.  

 

What is one of your favorite recipes that you’d like to healthify?
What is one of your favorite healthy recipes?
Let’s share some ideas and help each other with some new ideas!  

Dealing with Discouragement: How to Break Free From the Funk

discouragement

 

We’re entering Easter week.  Palm Sunday seemed like the day of celebration but we know the dark days that followed, AND we also know the end of the story.  Nevertheless, there were dark days.  There were days of sadness and despair.  There was quiet.  We know the end of the story, but on that first Good Friday, they didn’t know the end of the story.  They knew the prophecies, but were they true?  

 

We have those days, those times in our lives. We think it’s all good, then……  We seem to hit the lowest of lows.  Everything is dark.  There is quiet.  This wasn’t how we imagined life.  Nothing is as it should be….or so we think.  

 

How do we deal with the down days?  The dark periods in our marriage?  The seasons when we think our children have turned their backs on everything we’ve raised them to know and be?  The days when we look in the mirror and we’re disgusted with what we see on the outside not to mention the secrets we hold on the inside?   

 

This being primarily a fitness blog, how can we relate Easter, the despair of Good Friday, and the dark days in the tomb, to our battles in this area of our lives?

 

Girls, our struggles with weight and body image can bury us.  I know the feelings.  I’ve been there.  These struggles can leave us feeling completely and utterly hopeless and discouraged.  We beat ourselves up for bad choices or workouts missed.  We convince ourselves that we’ll never be able to change,  and thus we resign ourselves to a life lived in a “funk”, stuck, no way out.  We resolve that we’ll never feel comfortable in our own skin.  We’ll never look in the mirror and believe that He was really talking about us when He said you are “fearfully and wonderfully made”.

 

Do you know what I’m talking about?  Have you been there?  Are you there now?  Living in that state of discouragement?  In a funk?  Maybe feeling like the grave will never open and the chains will never break?

 

Freedom?  What’s that?  Oh how I long for it, but I’ll never experience it in this area of my life.  

 

But I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to live in discouragement.  You don’t have to feel stuck in this funk.  You don’t have to stay bound by the idea that nothing will change and that you’ll never be good enough.  You can change.  There is hope.  No, it’s not found is some special diet or supplement.  It’s not found in a specific exercise routine.  It’s not in a product or even an idea.  

 

The freedom comes when we get our minds right.  When we figure out why we’re doing this.  It comes when we stop listening to the clamoring voices telling us about quick fixes or how we’ll never win this battle.  Freedom comes when we start listening to the truth about who we are and find our unique fit.   

 

So back to Easter.  I don’t know your story.  I don’t know if you’re experiencing your darkest day or if you’re in the waiting, but I do know the end of the story.  It ends with victory.  It ends with new life.  It ends with freedom.  Are you ready to open that chapter and start living it?  Maybe you say “YES!” but you’re not sure how to move past this moment.  Contact me.  Together we can find your fit, and you can start living free!

 

Tell me….

What are your plans for Easter?

Is it Spring Break for you?  Going anywhere?