After 16 half marathons, 2 full marathons, 1 10K, and countless 5K races, it was time to tackle the 15K...and not only that, but let's give trail running a go! Why not, right?
The spring season of 2017 has been slated to be my first season of ultra marathon training. There is definitely a power that comes from running friends. They talk you into the craziest things. My friend, Cassie, and I had talked about tackling an ultra marathon for summer of 2017, as it is the around the time of her 30th birthday and something she wanted to accomplish by then. For me, I said, "Hey, what's 5 more miles over a marathon? Sure! I'm in!" Along the way, we talked another friend, Jennifer, into running a 50K with us in May 2017. Enter: training season.
Somewhere around the holidays, I start to plan out my racing calendar for the following year. My husband and I have agreed that I can run 8 total "big" races (meaning more than 10K) per year. Since our family is young and training takes up every Saturday morning as it is, it is a fair agreement. So, let's fill up that calendar, right? Since I have several races planned that I have never run before, I am excited to blog about each of them here. First up, Fallen Timbers 15K.
I need to be clear: I had no idea what I was getting into with this race. I had never run a trail race, and am honestly fairly inexperienced in trail running all together. I had also never ran the 15K distance before. So, what does that mean? Automatic PR, of course! A couple of key factors caused me to give into peer pressure on this one: The cost when I signed up was $15. And it was only about 40 minutes from my house. Oh, AND the prize at the end was a mug. Coffee lovers unite!! Let's just say, it doesn't take a whole lot to make me happy. Friends, running, and the promise of good food and coffee at the end!
So, let's get on with race day, shall we?
My friends and I carpooled and arrived at about 8:00 a.m. for the 9:00 a.m. start. Parking was at a church across the street from the property in Wayne County, West Virginia. There were porta-potties at the starting area, so we opted for the restroom inside the local grocery store near where we parked. A shuttle took us to the starting area with no problems. The volunteers were friendly and there was a campfire set up to keep us warm as we waited. Registration/bib pick up was simple and no frills. We were encouraged to leave a drop bag in a large white van, which would meet us at the finish line. After an explanation of the route (basically it was a butterfly shape over a mountain), our eyes glazed over and we just nodded, "okay." Follow the orange markings. Got it.
The irony of this race was that a tree had fallen right over the main road shortly before the start. One of my friends was in that stopped traffic, trying to get to the race. We were told several people were still trying to make it in and they would allow them to have a late start and complete the course. For a race called "Fallen Timbers," it sure does live up to its name! As far as we were told, no one was seriously hurt in the accident, but one car did become a convertible in the process!
Everyone lined up on the dirt road and the verbal countdown and gunshot went off. A friend who ran this course before warned me not to use all my energy up front. She was right. Jennifer took off and I knew I wouldn't keep up. I was running in old running shoes because I never invested in trail shoes (newbie, remember?), and it was okay.
Mud was plentiful, as it had rained quite a bit for about two weeks prior, but the cold chill and 30-degree temps allowed the ground to harden just enough to help in some areas, though not all. It didn't take long to start an ascent up the mountain. The small crowd thinned even more with each step. Cassie and I ended up running together for just about the entire course, which made it super fun to experience it together with a friend. As we FINALLY got to the top of the first mountain, there was a friendly aid station waiting with cups of water and probably other things. All I wanted was a sip of water and to keep going. We hadn't even hit the first mile yet.
The next few miles were a series of ups and downs, but many areas were wide enough for at least two runners. We kept our eyes open for the little orange flags and markings and other runners up ahead. Winding down another side of the mountain, a few black cows were chilling out randomly. I had to stop and take a picture, and Cassie humored me. A younger kid passed us with ease, like he runs this property every day. The path wound around to a little open pond area and a tv van for the local news station. Cassie joked that I would get on the news because I was the only crazy runner out there in a skirt! After that little reprieve, it was back up the mountain we went.
We were about halfway up the next crest when a deer came out of nowhere and had caught himself on a wire fence. White tail fur showered down as he ran in the opposite direction. It was sad and funny and caught us by surprise all at once! One more giant mountain to climb and then descend before the unofficial halfway point. Going down that second mountain was tricky in some areas. The path was extremely narrow and a few places had rope, of which I took advantage so I wouldn't fall. We finally made it back down and through a lot more mud and could see the starting area again. There was another water station set up there with some food as well, but again, just water for me, please. Then, back up the mountain through another path. My watch said we were at 4.25 miles at this point. Funny how trail miles seem infinitely longer than road!
This next mountain was on the other end of the property. Twists, turns, and narrower paths kept it interesting, to say the least. The steepest part of the mountain came as we climbed up to the tower. There was a rope to help us literally CLIMB to the top. The view was pretty nice for cold and gray January, but we realized it was only Mile 5. We had a ways to go. Another aid station was around the corner with water and candy and some other things, and I looked at my watch and realized we had been running for over an hour at that point. So, I took my GU gel that I had on hand and water and it tasted like heaven! Then, off we went again!
Mile 6 is where it got confusing. There was an orange string right in front of the trail path, but with orange flags continuing past the barrier, and then, to the left we could see more little orange markings up a hill. There were a few other runners with us by then, so we all figured we would go up the hill a bit and see if the path would continue. It did, so we went.
And then we saw other runners....approaching US.
Yup, we had gone the wrong way. By then, we REALLY did not want to back-track, especially since we figured out that it was a loop in the course. So, Cassie and I and a few others, continued around the loop in the OPPOSITE direction of the course. Oh man, I wish I would have worn a Go-Pro to capture the faces of the people we ran into! As we approached other runners, you could see all emotions, but mostly confusion and fear that THEY were going the wrong way! I constantly assured them, "Don't mind us! We are wrong, YOU are right. Keep going!!"
When all was said and done, the loop in the course was about a mile long and we came back upon the orange line that caused the confusion, passed under it, and got back on the trail where the loop would have taken us, if we had followed it correctly the first time. No harm, no foul.
Mile 7 was winding around and narrow paths again. Mile 8 widened a bit, back to enough space that we could run side-by-side and talk. That certainly passed the time, since we were tired by then and knew there was only a mile or so to go. All along the muddy trail, I had been able to keep my feet pretty dry. I dodged most of the thick muddy areas and while I could feel the mud caked on my shoes, it wasn't water getting INTO my shoes...until a little past Mile 8. Cassie and I were talking and time was passing quickly and all of a sudden we were running through a giant mud pit! I couldn't help but laugh! There was no way around it and I couldn't stop running, so the mud caked up and water finally got into my shoes. It was just too funny that it took THAT long and we were ALMOST done and THAT'S when my feet got wet!
We kept talking and the trail widened into a grassy area and my watch said we were a bit over 9 miles now. The woods gave way to a paved driveway and we figured out that just over this last hill of the road was the finish line! We crossed the finish together and were greeted by Jennifer and the other runners.
Our finisher mugs are AWESOME and they had water available right away. After retrieving our gear checked bags out of a white van, we went down to the basement of the big house for freshly made crockpots of soup, homemade bread, desserts spread across a bar, and hot drinks and water. While the electricity was out because of the fallen tree hours before, I didn't even notice. The food was hot and there was a giant fireplace keeping us toasty. Everyone was just hanging out like it was a runner party! What a great atmosphere!!
Jennifer had won 3rd female overall, and so she was given a gift certificate to a local cupcake shop. She was sweet enough (see what I did there?) to share with our carload of friends! Thanks, Fallen Timbers!
It's funny how a trail race can make even the most "in-shape" person feel inadequate! I consider myself to be in pretty good physical shape right now, but since I admittedly haven't been running trails in a long time, it is certainly a challenge!
Everyone who was at the race was friendly and encouraging. We never heard even one person complain. When I signed up, it was $15 to register, and it was absolutely worth every penny! The race directors did a fabulous job of keeping everything organized, low-key, fun, and friendly. I would recommend this race to anyone. There was also a 5K race distance and a guided hike option. Just being out in nature is a blessing. Challenging the body to accomplish something new: priceless.
As an online health/fitness coach, I have the sheer JOY of helping my challengers through monthly groups. These groups can range in theme from Summer Fitness Solution to Holiday Survival to program-specific groups, like Core De Force VIP Test Group. I LOVE helping my challengers get results by providing proven resources, meal plans, and daily guidance in the group setting.
Every once in awhile, a special theme comes up that really hits a nerve, in a good way. "Made to Crave" was one where we utilized the book by the same title (by Lysa Terkeurst), and "Present Over Perfect" was another (by Shauna Niequist). These groups dug DEEP into WHY we are living a healthier lifestyle, and what does this mean in our Christian life?
I run my groups along with my team of coaches. These ladies are COMMITTED to the mission of our team: to provide HOPE through health and fitness, and to spread the love of God through what we do. I am HONORED to have them co-lead these groups with me! As we were brainstorming our upcoming group, that foundation of "Made to Crave" was discussed once again. This book is transformational. We feel that once you REALLY learn to ACTIVELY give over those cravings for food to GOD, you finally start to make REAL progress in your own health. Let's face it, 80% of weight loss and health has to do with nutrition. I know we want to exercise it to death, but what you EAT MATTERS. So, let's learn how to tackle that giant through what God says in His Word. If you have never read this book, you can order it here. Or, you can receive a copy for FREE... just bear with me and keep reading!
In addition to the idea of bringing back a "Made to Crave" theme, God was knocking on the door of my heart during church one Sunday. This is a clip from the message at Life Point Church from January, 22, 2017:
(To listen to the entire sermon, click here.)
Wow! Isn't that powerful? You know, ever since I listened to this, I CANNOT stop thinking about it. Here's the thing, strongholds, while they trap us in fear, it's not REALITY. We are NOT powerless when we have Christ in us. HE gives us AUTHORITY to demolish those strongholds.
What is it for YOU? What are you holding onto? What are you AFRAID to break?
For me, it was sugar addiction. Maybe for others it's porn, or drugs, or alcohol, or anorexia, or gambling, or lust, or anger. Maybe my addiction doesn't sound as strong as those others, but I tell you the truth: it IS. Sugar is more addictive than cocaine. It can and WILL kill you. I have family history of diabetes on both sides, pancreatic cancer, gallstones, kidney stones, you name it. Unhealthy living WILL kill you. It's just a slow death.
I felt it. I felt that GRIP on me, but I couldn't define it. I WANTED to break free, but didn't know how. I have been a believer since I was 7 years old, but I still STRUGGLED. On the outside, everything was fine. But, that sugar....I needed it. I CRAVED it. I would give in till I was sick. It had a STRONGHOLD on me.
As we talked as a team of coaches, we agreed that this needs to be addressed. We want to offer HOPE. Not because any of us is perfect, but because we ALL understand STRUGGLE. We get it. We are just moving through it with the POWER of CHRIST. We are working TOGETHER to build healthy habits for ourselves and our families.
We've decided we are going to DO something about this. We want to HELP. If you are feeling HOPELESS...you don't have to. February 6th, we are bringing a NEW SUPPORT GROUP, focused on health and nutrition and exercise as HEALING.
What is a challenge group?
The Unbound Challenge Group will be a place of daily support, encouragement, and motivation. If you started the year with great intentions and saw them wane, you are NOT alone. In fact, most have given up on their resolutions by February, but not YOU. You are reading this because you KNOW it's time to make REAL change. It starts NOW. The accountability takes place on a FREE My Challenge Tracker app for your phone. It is super easy to navigate and log workouts and Shakeology daily. Tips and recipes will be posted by the coaches and other challengers to help you in your journey. We are in this TOGETHER. You also receive 1:1 coaching and support from me as your personal coach.
What is required to join?
You can join this private group for FREE with the All Access Beachbody On Demand Challenge Pack. This is a bundled option that gives you access to EVERY Beachbody fitness program ever made for 12 months! If you have Netflix, you can stream this! Imagine working through multiple programs over the year and NEVER getting bored! AND--this is about long-term solutions, so you never have to buy another program ever again! For 12 months, you can stream everything from Insanity and P90X to 21-Day Fix and the brand new Core De Force, PLUS all new programs released in the next 12 months! It is truly the best deal in fitness!
In addition to the proven workouts, you will have access to each program's specific nutrition guide, workout calendar, and bonus workouts. You will also receive the portion fix container system, shaker cup, and FIXATE cooking show to give you all the latest recipes.
And last but not least, with the All Access Beachbody On Demand Challenge Pack, you ALSO receive your first month of Shakeology! This is our secret weapon to nutrition. Remember, I said nutrition is 80% of the equation, right? So, why not give you the EASIEST form of 70 superfoods to cut your cravings, help your muscles recover, and keep you on track every single day? Yup! We include that, too!
What is the cost?
This challenge pack will cost $199 for a limited time (guaranteed through February 28, 2017). This includes your 12-month access to every program, portion containers and shaker cup, nutrition guide, first month of Shakeology, personal coaching, and daily accountability group! You don't want to miss out!
As a challenger, you will ALWAYS have access to ongoing coach support, and the group support as you commit to drinking Shakeology and continuing the programs. You will have early enrollment options as a returning challenger each month so you always have a spot in the next group. You will also have the opportunity to join as a coach and help others during your own journey.
You are NEVER alone. If you want the support, you've got it. If you are ready for a REAL solution to staying on track, this is it!
Fill out the form below to get started today! Those who join by Sunday, February 5, 2017, will receive a FREE copy of "Made to Crave" to help from the inside out.
Think about joining us.
Pray about it.
You don't have to do this alone.
Thank you for your application. I will contact you within 24 hours to get started!
If this message has stirred your heart, please SHARE it with others. They need to know there is HOPE, too.
Round 2 was very different from Round 1. I had traveling, 2 birthdays in our family (mine and my husband's), 3 Christmas celebrations, New Year's Day, a tendon strain in my foot, and a flair up of tendinitis in my knees. Shew! So...to say this round had some obstacles would be correct.
BUT-- if you know me, I do not give up!
Week 1: This week I started off with modifying movements as I gained strength in my left foot. I had a tendon strain when I rolled it during a record-breaking 10K run, so I had to do some physical therapy exercises and get used to icing after every workout (and I already ice my knees regularly). After having an athletic trainer look at it, I was able to continue with the workouts, and just listen to my body. My running was limited to weekends, which is fine since training season was not starting yet.
Week 2: During the second week, my family and I began celebrating birthdays and Christmas. My birthday fell on Day 38, and my husband's was on Day 42, which was also our Christmas with our children. We went out to dinner to celebrate our birthdays, and I have never felt more confident in a dress than that night! I was SO pleased to not have to wear control-top panty-hose or spanx! I enjoyed every bite of my birthday cheesecake that night, with no regrets!
The idea of healthy eating and portion control is that you can eat well 80% of the time, so that 20% of the time you can splurge on something like cheesecake (or our Christmas tradition of homemade cinnamon rolls), and it won't ruin all of your progress. I teach my challengers MODERATION and how to BREAK FREE of the grip of sugar that is so strong. Falling back can become a slippery slope, and this season, I felt a bit of that, unfortunately.
Week 3: Christmas Day fell right before the start of Week 3. The difficulty in this week was to get the workouts completed while being away from home, out of routine, and not having the availability of time that I would have liked. Week 3 begins "double workouts" with a 35-45 minute workout, followed by a 5 or 15-minute core-focused workout. This means, that some mornings I had to wake up at 5:15 a.m. at my in-laws' house so that I could get my hour workout done before the kiddos woke up and our day began. It wasn't easy, but again, I'm not a quitter. When your reason is big enough, you can make the sacrifices necessary to get it done.
Then, the chocolate-covered pretzel fiasco happened. I had eaten a good part of a BOX of amazingly delicious local chocolate pretzels one night, after everyone had gone to bed. This was a prime example of how strong the sugar can take hold of me, if I let it. I knew better, and I did it anyway. The biggest issue with this was that it woke me up to how much I have to FOCUS so I don't get side-tracked and let my eating get out of control, like it had been for so long in my past. It was definitely a lesson.
Week 4: We had returned back home, and I was determined to buckle down, do the work, and get some kind of visible results after a total of 60 days of hard work. I love this program, and I didn't want some holiday treats to totally derail my progress. I ate according to my meal plan (back to 5-6 small meals each day, comprising of a variety of whole foods, including Shakeology). We had one more weekend of travel, but I got up early to get the workouts in and get it done, and allowed for one cheat meal with no regrets.
And here are my results:
I'm pretty proud of the fact that I continued to see progress, even with my nutrition not always at the 80/20 level that I try to maintain. The fact is, this program WORKS!
You don't have to beat yourself up when you slip. Give yourself GRACE and be KIND. If you are looking for something different, something you can do right from HOME, and no weights needed, THIS IS IT!
AND NOW---You can have this full program and over 40 others from Beachbody for an ENTIRE YEAR for less than the cost of Netflix! How cool is that? So, you CAN do multiple rounds of Core De Force, and I believe you will want to when you start to see the progress you can get, OR you can move to another program without having to buy anything again this year!
Talk to me TODAY about getting started in my next challenge group. You will receive:
APPLY HERE NOW:
Thank you for your application! You will hear from me within 24 hours so we can get started!
Resolutions. We all make them. We mostly break them...some before the first week is over!
What is the key to long-term success with New Year’s goals?
-A measureable goal with a specific deadline.
-A plan on HOW to reach that goal.
-A support system of people to keep you on track.
-The right tools to help you achieve that goal.
When it comes to health and fitness, I was the QUEEN of setting that “Lose 10-15 pounds and keep it off” resolution. I was never immensely overweight, but I never felt comfortable in my own skin (and by the time I finally DID make a change, I had more like 30 to lose, thanks to babies, grad school, and well...life). I had a terrible addiction to sugar and would only binge and then diet, and then I would go back to binge eating again. I tried every diet out there (well, a lot of them).
That was the first problem: “DIETS.” Ugh, no one WANTS to be restricted in what they do or don’t eat. Everyone HATES diets, but for some reason, our brains have been programmed to believe that this is the only way to achieve the results you want. No carb, no sugar, no fun, no long-term results. Been there, and let me tell you, grapefruit juice and salads aren’t what they are cracked up to be! We all know the drill...What happens when you go “off” of your “diet?” Well, you gain it all back! Sometimes even more! Enter the yo-yo effect.
You know when you go to a new restaurant and you have an amazing experience--delicious food, perfect service, relaxing atmosphere--don’t you just want to tell everyone about it? This is how I feel about what I have found as a health and fitness coach: I have the ANSWER to the most common resolution, so I HAVE to share it!
I know you are going to be shocked….
Wait for it….
Whole foods, portion control, regular exercise, daily coaching, and a community of support.
That’s it! That’s the answer!
Not exciting? Well, actually, it IS! Let me explain…
I became a health and fitness coach because I TRULY believe that this system works, and I have my own transformation to prove it. I had never had all the pieces to the puzzle before, but now that I do...I HAVE to share...so, I invite people to join me on this journey and run monthly challenge groups through a special My Challenge Tracker App, specifically designed for Beachbody Challenge Groups! This is where most of my daily coaching and the community of support can be found. I also offer 1:1 mentoring for all of my challengers. You are NEVER alone!
I believe that nutrition is the key to long-term health. 80% of your results will come by what you choose to eat or not eat. The GOOD news is, God completely designed food to be fuel, not something genetically modified so companies could sell more. So, there are TONS of great options out there! In this challenge group, you will learn about clean eating, meal planning, prepping for success, and what whole food nutrition looks like.
Part of that plan is Shakeology, which is comprised of over 70 superfoods from around the world! No fillers, no artificial colors/flavors, and no soy. The nutrition packed in one of these shakes is incredible. I no longer need a multivitamin, my cravings are kept at bay, digestion is better, hair and nails are stronger, and let’s just be honest, it’s the EASIEST meal of my day (and I eat 5-6 meals/day, so easy and fast is right up this mom’s alley)! What better way to get protein, fruits, vegetables, and all the nutrition your body needs? Plus, there are tons of flavors and even vegan options!
The fitness side seems to be where everyone goes for the New Year. I mean, have you ever BEEN to the gym on January 1? It’s CRAZY TOWN! But--how much are you PAYING for that gym membership? How long will you keep up the commute, the fees, the childcare arrangements, the waiting for machines? Here is the great news: the options I have now can be done right in my own living room!
Beachbody has created TONS of proven workout programs for all levels of fitness, from beginner to advanced. All of them can be done in a limited amount of space, and many require zero equipment. How much do you get when you hire a personal trainer? Well, what if a professional was right in your home every day? I have to say, I have NEVER had better results in a gym. I have never stayed more motivated than with these programs, and that’s because when you follow them, they WORK! And keeping connected with the challenge group will help you stay on track!
Let’s get down to the details: Joining a challenge group requires the purchase of a challenge pack. This is a special bundled promotion that used to include only ONE fitness program on DVD, the nutrition guide, portion containers, shaker cup, and one month of Shakeology. This has always been an awesome deal, versus buying the program and Shakeology separately.
You can access the ENTIRE Beachbody library of workout programs for a FULL 12 MONTHS through the new All Access Beachbody On Demand Challenge Pack! This deal gives you everything above (nutrition guide, portion containers, shaker cup, and one month of Shakeology), but instead of one (1) program on DVD, you will have access to over 40 programs for an entire year!!!
Let me break this down for you…
Insanity. Remember the Insanity infomercials? I do! That Shaun T is CRAZY! Well, that 60-day program has sold over 10 million copies, so I guess you could say it’s pretty good! That challenge pack STILL retails for $205. That’s one (1) program + one (1) month of Shakeology. It’s a totally awesome package deal, but it’s still only one program.
Now, with the All Access Beachbody On Demand Challenge Pack, challengers have access to Insanity, PLUS every other workout in the Beachbody library (oh, like 21-Day Fix, Focus T25, P90X, 22-Minute Hard Corps, Country Heat, the BRAND NEW Core De Force, and dozens more). Instead of one (1) program, how about access to ALL of them for $199? Yes! AND--this still includes the nutrition guide, portion containers, shaker cup, and month of Shakeology! How cool is that?
And the risk of being bored? GONE!
Don’t know where to start? That’s where I come in as your coach!
Can it be renewed after one year? Absolutely!
($99 will cover your club membership for each year after your initial purchase, so you can continue your health and fitness journey for only $8.25/month! That’s cheaper than Netflix!)
It’s time to turn those resolutions into results!!
No more wishing for it. Let’s work together for it!
Skip the diets this year, and learn a LIFESTYLE you can keep forever.
If you have always wanted a personal cheerleader, I’m your girl!
I am not perfect, just a recovering sugar addict, but I am determined to never let it take hold of my life again. If you are tired of always losing to the sugar monster, it’s time to join me.
But, I can’t do anything FOR you.
How about I give you the tools, and you bring your A game? Deal?
Ready to jump in?
Complete the form below to get started!
Thank you for your application! You will be contacted within 24 hours to get started!
Wife. Mother. Runner. Coach. Adoption Advocate. I strive to share HOPE through my journey and help others reach their goals.