2.14.2018

Going Silent for Lent


Today is Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. Lent is a time to honor the sacrifice of Christ, to reflect on the passion of the cross, and to prepare our minds, hearts, and spirits to truly celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. It lasts 40 days, not including Sundays. It is a period of fasting and hopefully prayer. It is more of a solemn time and this Lent I am giving up social media.

Why?

Because it truly does tug at my limited time and can lead to the increase of more sinful feelings of jealousy, envy, or pride at times. Those likes and the pull of comparison can tug on everyone in various degrees. Some days I can be more resilient but other days, not so much.

I stay connected primarily due to family and my wonderful Catholic connections but I do want to wean myself of this and to spend the next 40+ days in prayer. Prayer for my family. Prayer for my friends. Prayer for myself.

This is a tough season for me. Not because of Lent but February is my "hard month". My Dad's birthday is February 22 and March 31 marks the 8th anniversary of his death after a heartbreaking battle with cancer. Leukemia to be exact. On top of that, a wonderful man that I truly loved as a second dad and mentor just died this February 10 after battling brain cancer. Fortunately February 10 is also my daughter's birthday - she turned 10! - so I can see joy in the suffering. It seems there is a lot God has for me to focus and reflect on this Lent.

But I do have a slight concern. Traditionally I post in remembrance of my Dad on February 22 and March 31. I have prayed and prayed on this and how it impacts my Lenten fast. I did get a sense that a post on those two days would be acceptable, if, and only if, I could resist all temptation to read other posts, notifications, or get distracted and engage. I am not too sure I can do that. Seriously, do you think you could log onto facebook, drop a post, and not scroll? Yeah, me neither.

I want to honor my Dad and remember him so perhaps I can just do so with this blog post, which was written and scheduled prior to the beginning of Lent.

My Dad was an amazing man. My hero. A really cool and fun dude!

The last 2 photos are from the last times I saw him.
I wish I had some magical and inspirational words to say that can erase the suffering of grief but all I can say is I am thankful my Dad, and my friend, are no longer suffering the pains of cancer on Earth. The cancer robbed them of so much of their zeal for life. The essence of who they were still remained but you could see the toll of the devastating illness on them. That is something I would wish on no one. 

Great men seem to be few and far between. Perhaps it is because I have been hurt by so many, lied to by too many, scarred by some, belittled and insulted by others, or just used for their own personal desires or gain. At times it makes me wonder if good men still exist today. Men who will stand up to honor and protect women. Open the door for them. Build them up with encouraging words of support and accept them for who they are. Are not threatened by women and what women can offer to the world.

And then I realize, two such men existed in my life and count myself abundantly blessed. Two men who never said a hurtful, unkind word to me and seemed to genuinely accept me for who I am and encourage me to grow how I was supposed to grow. Thank you God for placing these men in my life.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for my daughter and her shining bright light during this time of sorrow.

Daily Bible Verse: For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. ~ Romans 8:18

2.05.2018

January 2018 Training Report

I am pretty happy to say I worked out a total of 26 hours in January. I know, at first glance that does not seem much but that is close to an hour a day so I am happy when I consider where I am coming from --- a very rough fourth quarter in 2017. I also logged 85 miles and 7 new workouts!

If I keep at this pace throughout the remainder of 2018, I will log 1,020 miles and 84 new workouts. My 2018 goal is to break 10,000 streak miles which means I need to log 1,170 miles in 2018 and that means....run more! And I am not afraid of that as I am getting my running mojo back. I can do this!

My other 2018 goal was to log 70 new workouts and I am completely on par for achieving that. Yay me!

Seriously, this is worth celebrating big time as I was in the toughest and longest rut in my running life but thanks be to God, I am finally feeling like me....even if the past couple of days I have felt unmotivated and overwhelmed but even that is my typical me this time of year as work is overwhelming and crazy. Seriously, directing a race is hard. Be kind to race directors. It is tiring answering the same question a zillion times of day and you would not believe the gripes and complaints I hear about everything and race day isn't even here yet. Hopefully this torrential downpour of rain that I have experienced three times in the past 24 hours will be something of the past come Saturday.

And a blatant, begging ask...if you are on Maui please contact me regarding volunteering at the race. I need at least 15 more course marshals. It will be really, really fun.

On a happier note, January (or very early February as all my days are a blur right now) brought some really exciting news. I can now offer you, yes you!, 20% off of your SOS Rehydrate purchases when you use my coupon code EGFITNESS. Yes, this is an affiliate link as I am an SOS Ambassador and LOVE their hydration -- mango and coconut are quite delicious.

You can also get 10% off of your Bondi Band purchases and they have more than headbands. They have Bondi Wear now too! Awesome outfits to feel amazing in your workouts. Guys, this is a great gift for the active gals in your life. Just use EGFITNESS (yes, same coupon code, different company, different ambassadorship).

But back to January and goals. I am also doing better at getting up and working out dark and early again. It takes some real determination and let me tell you, it is hard to get that determination at 4 am in the morning. If you have any tips, please let me know. I would love them! The lure of coffee and bible time helps but it is still hard to pull myself out of the warm bed when it is so dark....let alone thundering like crazy. I flopped this morning convincing my lazy self that running on the treadmill in thunder and lightning was indeed not a good idea. Ummmmm.....once I got to work I realized how much better I would have felt emotionally if I just did it. I will remind myself of that come tomorrow morning when my alarm starts chiming at 3:30 am. Wish me luck!

How did your January go?

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for the 85 miles I logged this month.

Daily Bible Verse: 
Psalm 127 --->
Unless the Lord builds the house,
    those who build it labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city,
    the watchman stays awake in vain.
It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest,
eating the bread of anxious toil;
    for he gives to his beloved sleep.
Lo, sons are a heritage from the Lord,
    the fruit of the womb a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
    are the sons of one’s youth.
Happy is the man who has
    his quiver full of them!
He shall not be put to shame
    when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.

1.25.2018

Benefits of working out

One of my primary lessons in 2017 was....depression and anxiety really sucks. If you have never experienced this, you may not be able to fully understand the crazy mental game and the overwhelming impact it has on your body, mind, and soul. I feel bad for my family who had to carry this cross with me if only by having to live under the same roof and not really be able to do much. But there are things you can do to help those with depression and of most importance is to be kind and not judgmental. 

But for those battling depression and anxiety, can I talk to you about exercise? Trust me. I know! You feel like crap and don't want to move. Every step is pure torture. You just want to climb into bed and hide. I know. I do understand as when my depression starts rearing its ugly head, I lose all interest in working out. All motivation is gone. ZAP! And the end of 2017 was pure torture as every step I did take while running felt like dragging a zillion pounds. I wasn't seeing the happy results I wanted to see but don't give up. It will pass. It will. And it did for me and to be completely honest, my faith carried me and God's grace gave me a break from symptoms. Thank you!

With that said, I still do not want to undermine the value of working out for depression, anxiety, and more. Exercise has many healthy benefits for all of us, yes, even us without depression or anxiety. Check them out!
  • Decreases depression symptoms - establishing and sticking to a schedule helps you reap the most benefits and when you are exercising, your mind may get a break from depressive thoughts
  • Alleviates anxiety - the repetitive movements and thoughts of exercise can ease the anxious thoughts especially when you can focus on the wind on your face, etc. while you work out
  • Reduces stress - stress makes you tense and regular exercise can flush out the tension and get your blood flowing…and happier thoughts flowing
  • Reduces ADHD symptoms - physical activity boosts dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin levels and this affects focus and attention - things that can reduce ADHD symptoms as well as depression, anxiety, and stress
  • Helps get you "unstuck" from PTSD and trauma - especially true for exercises that include cross body movements where you totally engage your mind in what it is doing and how your body is feeling
  • Helps heal brain from substance abuse - exercise can provide another avenue to deal with what may lead you to substance abuse or an outlet to do something different 
  • Improves learning ability - with a more alert mind, you are able to retain what you are reading better so why not try to read something while logging some miles on the treadmill
  • Boosts self esteem - nothing is more fulfilling than the sense the satisfaction you get after nailing a good workout or getting up early to workout 
  • Improves mood - this goes hand in hand with self esteem but it can also be the boost in mood to get out of grouchies after a long day and personally, it helps me be a better, more calm mom
  • Increases energy - yes, working out can increase your energy levels even when you feel too tired to work out 
  • Improves sleep - as long as you don't do a huge energy boosting workout right before bed time, the added physical activity in your life will help make you sleep more peacefully through the night
  • Reduces weight - as long as you don't follow each workout with calorie dense foods, you can stay a little slimmer with a regular workout program but be sure to vary your workouts as your body is pretty amazing at learning and adapting to allow it to work more easily
  • Improves your health - doctors say get moving for a good reason and who wouldn't want to decrease their cholesterol or improve their cardiovascular health
Y'all, it works!

And I am a work in progress and not every day is a 5 star amazing day. Tuesday was a tough day. I ran just a mile before work and at work I found out a dear friend's cancer moved into his bones. It broke my heart. It made me a bit angry about all those impacted my cancer in my life. Way too many. By the time I picked up darling daughter I was a grumpy momma and that workout I planned to do after work, I did not want to do. I wanted to take a bath, put on my pj's, and climb into bed for the rest of the night. My inner child was pouting and stomping her feet but....

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I ran another mile on the treadmill and did a new cross training workout that kicked my booty in more ways than one and when I was done....

I felt better. I couldn't change the bad news but I was more at peace in my life and honestly, pretty darn proud of myself for working out. I even commented to darling daughter post workout that maybe I shouldn't talk to anyone before working out. She laughed. I apologized for being a very grumpy mom. She forgave me. And in all of that there is a very important lesson that exercise does improve your mood. 

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for great workouts available at my fingertips that benefit my mind, body, and soul.

Daily Bible Verse: But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of stress. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, inhuman, implacable, slanderers, profligates, fierce, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding the form of religion but denying the power of it. Avoid such people. For among them are those who make their way into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and swayed by various impulses, who will listen to anybody and can never arrive at a knowledge of the truth. As Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men of corrupt mind and counterfeit faith; but they will not get very far, for their folly will be plain to all, as was that of those two men. ~ 2 Timothy 3

1.17.2018

Muscle TLC - My top 4 go to's for aching muscles

Between running and cross training, and everyday life, I can end up with some sore and achy muscles on more days than I would like. This can range from sore legs to aching shoulders as I tend to carry all the weight in the world in my shoulders. Ladies, I bet you do the same.

Fortunately, I do have a few go to's that help ease the pain away.

#1 - Oils

I adore essential oils not only because they smell so good, and that in itself is relaxing, but because they work so well in my life. I have some amazing muscle blends that I can mix with an almond oil or coconut oil carrier base and apply to super sore muscles and it helps. I tend to do this right before climbing into bed and sleep my aches away....more or less. I won't lie, it won't keep DOMS away.

#2 - Weighted Blanket

Bondi Band has added weighted blankets to their product line-up and you can find them HERE under the FEATURED header. And yes, this is an affiliate link. The blankets are currently on sale so I can't promise it will work but feel free to try my friends and family code EGFITNESS to get an additional 10% off. Never hurts to try! I have also found that sleeping under this blanket not only helps aching muscles feel better but also eases my anxiety and helps me sleep more peacefully and good sleep also aids in muscle recovery. Win-Win!!!

#3 - Drink Water

I know this may seem ridiculously simple but I also feel many of us are walking around dehydrated and not even realize it. I have taught my daughter at the first sign of a headache think....am I thirsty? Have I had enough water? And to sip on some water. It also helps flush out toxins in your body and I truly believe it aids in my muscle recovery. On a side note, it also seems to help my own headaches and tummy bloating issues. Just saying....

#4 - BATHS!

There is nothing better than a good soak in a tub to ease worries and pains away and I can say with 100% confidence on my part, when I am doing a good job of taking regular baths, my body aches less. When I let them fall to the wayside because I am "too busy" soreness lingers longer in my body. And I love bath bombs! Bath salts! Anything to make my baths more delightful and yes, darling daughter has also learned the bath trick to relaxing and easing her aches from riding horses at least three times a week. We indulged in a bath pillow and bath tray and it also serves as a wonderful way for her to get in some of her reading homework. Now that is one smart girl! Why didn't I think of that when I was her age????

We get our bath products HERE and yes, this is another affiliate link. Just be warned, if you get the black bath bombs, they smell AMAZING but will leave your tub dirty.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for natural ways to ease my aches and pains.

Daily Bible Verse: Anxiety in a man's heart weighs him down but a good word makes him glad. ~ Proverbs 12:25