These little bites of heaven are easy to make, but hard to resist! Clean, Paleo, and only 5 ingredients! Make sure you double the batch and hide them from your family or they will be gone in no time!
Since starting Paleo, I have REALLY had to think about dinners without grains. It was easy to make meatballs or meatloaf "clean," by simply using oats to hold it together. No oats with Paleo, so I had to find a new recipe. Here is one I have doubled and made over and over again! SO simple, so delicious, and you can eat them plain as a snack, add to zoodles and sauce, or add them to your favorite soup, like my veggie minestrone!
During my elimination plan, or what I call, "Paleo + Portions," I was looking for amazing recipes that would serve as perfect substitutes for family favorites. It was my job to provide the sweet potatoes or yams for Thanksgiving dinner. I was NOT going to disappoint!! I set out to find a winner that would not compromise my dairy-free, grain-free lifestyle. But, do not worry, this is not just for holidays, but the PERFECT casserole year-round! You won't believe it's healthy because it tastes like DESSERT!
BONUS TIP: You can easily make this dish ahead of time in one of two ways: 1) Bake the dish completely, let cool and store, loosely covered in plastic wrap, in the fridge. Then reheat at 300 degrees until warmed through. 2) Make the sweet potato mixture and do not add toppings. Place it in your baking dish tightly covered in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve. Then add topping and bake according to the instructions.
It's the holiday season. Time for parties and goodies, and shopping and hustle. Somehow in all of that craziness, we can tend to lose the JOY. Has that ever happened to you? I know it has for me. I get stressed out with Black Friday expectations, too many activities, and trying to keep up with the Joneses. I don't know about you, but I want to SLOW DOWN and focus on the JOY of this holiday, not the hustle. And I want to go through this season FEELING GOOD about myself and having the ENERGY I need to be my best self. Does that sound good?
Before I committed to helping others as a health and fitness coach, I would really get overwhelmed with all of the things I thought I SHOULD be doing. Now, I have learned how to take care of myself first, so that I can ENJOY the season, not DREAD it. I want to share my secrets to holiday success with you, too.
I've learned that JOY and health go hand in hand. When we FEEL good, we are more attentive to the moments that matter. Gratitude is a huge part of this, as well. So, that is why I have decided to open up my "Cup of Joy Challenge."
This online accountability group will give you so much:
Since this is the Christmas season, the focus of this group is to provide resources for long-term healthy living, while allowing for your favorite treats (and giving you healthy treats to try, too). You will learn how support of others will make all the difference in keeping you on track. This is NOT about perfection. This group is about making progress and ENJOYING the holiday season WITHOUT the guilt come January 1.
But it starts with YOU choosing JOY!
So, I definitely need help focusing on JOY and having the energy to be my best self during the holidays... But, what exactly IS a "challenge group?" A challenge group is a place for like-minded people to work together to achieve their health and fitness goals. These private groups are run on an EXCLUSIVE app for iPhone and Android, and have a ton of SUPPORT, ENCOURAGEMENT, and all kinds of things to help you live the healthiest holiday yet! Recipes, daily tips and motivation, and a place to log your progress every single day, will keep you on track.
What is the time commitment for this group? The group will run for 4 weeks, with the first week set up as "prep week" to get you ready for the challenge, and we begin on Monday, November 27, 2017 and finish on December 24th. (Just FYI, it takes about one week to receive your materials for this group). You will learn what clean eating is, how to make a meal plan, grocery lists, and how to take "before" pictures and measurements so you can track your progress. There are no embarrassing weigh-ins and you can choose to send your "before" pictures just to me as your coach (to hold you accountable), or just keep them for yourself. The workouts vary in length (based on which program we will choose together, but most are only 30 minutes long).
What do I need? In order to participate in the Cup of Joy Challenge group, you will need to purchase a challenge pack. The All Access Beachbody On Demand Challenge Pack is by far the most popular option. It consists of 12-months of streaming EVERY fitness program in the Beachbody library (think Insanity, P90X, 21-Day Fix, PiYo, Core De Force, Shift Shop), portion control containers, shaker cup, AND your first month's supply of nutrient-dense Shakeology. Can you imagine getting a FULL YEAR of a gym membership, personal trainer, month of meals, meal plan, and personal coach? That would cost over $500 for sure! This All Access challenge pack is ON SALE right now, for $160! Want to take it up a notch and cut the holiday bloat after Thanksgiving? You can add on the 3-Day sugar detox Refresh program and lose 3-5lbs in those 3 days AND cut the cravings for the rest of the challenge! This Kickstart Pack is $205 and worth every penny! (I highly recommend this as the perfect way to start any challenge).
What is Shakeology? Shakeology will be the healthiest meal of your day, packed with over 70 superfoods and absolutely NO artificial ingredients or fillers. There are even vegan options available! If you crave sweets, need energy, would like to have a ton of vitamins in a milkshake form, and FEEL GOOD about what you are putting into your body, this is it! I can't tell you how much EASIER my life has become with making a shake in minutes after a workout, to help me recover, or for an on-the-go breakfast. With three kids, who has time to eat a giant breakfast? I don't, but I get all the nutrition I need FAST with my Shakeo in hand! For more info click here. (If you already have Shakeology, you can get All Access with the Beachbody Performance line instead, and REALLY be able to crush those workouts! Ask me for more details!)
Are you ready to choose JOY this holiday season?
Do you want 1:1 help and guidance to making healthier choices this year and eliminating the guilt? Then, you are in the right place, my friend! THIS is the community of support that you need. It's time to give YOURSELF the GIFT of JOY and health this Christmas.
Join me before November 23, 2017 and receive a FREE GIFT!
I can't wait to help you have the BEST holiday season EVER!
Fill out the form below to get started today!
Thank you for your interest in this group! I will contact you within 24 hours of your application to get you started!
I think it's fitting that my 20th half marathon, and last race of 2017, was "monumental."
There are a few reasons why this race had been on my radar for a while:
1. It's a flat course. Come on, who DOESN'T want to race a flat course and attempt a PR?
2. It's close to friends. Our dear friends live 20 minutes from the starting line, and it gave a great excuse to visit them for a weekend.
3. The medal. Each year, I had seen the Monumental medals and knew that they were some quality bling. What runner doesn't want some nice bling, right?
While it had been on my list, the biggest deterrent from running Monumental was that it is four hours from home, and another race, Marshall University Marathon/Half Marathon, is only 20 minutes away from my house, and run on the same weekend each year. So, local won. But, after four years of running Marshall, and continually missing my sub-2 goal there (even though it is also a flat course), I was ready for a change.
(Side note: The first weekend in November reminds me of two things, which cause me to wear purple at my race: My Daddy's birthday is November 1st, and November is also Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month, so I go purple for Dad.)
I signed up for this race, knowing that my goal for Fall 2017 was the Chicago Marathon, and not a half marathon personal record. Indy was going to be my "fun race." I told myself I was just going to run for me, and not train for any particular time. It's very difficult to train for a half and full in the same training season, simply because your pace is very different. To train for Chicago, I was looking to hold a 10-minute pace for 26.2 miles. To sub-2 a half, you must hold 9:09 or under for 13.1. So, for this training, I chose distance over speed, and planned to just enjoy a new course at Monumental.
Since our family was all going on this trip, we waited until the boys were just about out of school on Friday, and made the 4-hour trip to Indianapolis. We headed straight to the convention center downtown for the expo, and then on to our friends' house for the night.
My son, Camden, was my sidekick as we quickly went through to get my bib and then back to the car where the others were waiting. I honestly don't LOVE expos. I think it's the introvert in me. Crowds unnerve me and it's really difficult to be in those kinds of settings for too long. The Monumental expo was about half the size of Pittsburgh or Chicago, but still had plenty of vendors and a nice set up. It was a bit confusing to know where to go (and again, crowds make me nervous), so I would have appreciated some large signs or someone to tell you that the packet pick-up was in the back. Thankfully, the shirts were given with the packet, rather than going to another station, like other big races do. Camden was thrilled to get a couple free posters and small candy canes for his brother and sister, and then we headed back to the car. All in all, the expo was fine, just a little confined for my liking, and definitely not a family-friendly event like Pittsburgh's.
Race day was set to be PERFECT weather...and it was! Part of the reason I had a tough time at my other two races this fall (Air Force Half and Chicago), was the heat. The prediction for Indy was 40s and cloudy. Basically, a runner's dream.
I left the house at about 6:20 a.m. and parked in a reserved lot about .40 miles from the start. I hadn't looked at the map of the start/finish, so I just found other runners and walked over with them. We eventually found the corrals, but it did take a while. I was nervous about getting to the porta potties BEFORE the race (since I ran out of time before Chicago), so as soon as I found some near my corral, I hopped in line.
The starting area was right beside the capitol building, and even in the darkness of the morning, it was BEAUTIFUL! Everyone I spoke to before the race was so kind, and I really enjoyed making small talk with several strangers. I also had the opportunity to meet up with one of my challengers, Bill. We have been in running groups online, and now we work together in an accountability group, so it was really cool to meet in person and wish each other well before the race.
As I mentioned, weather was PERFECT. I don't prefer to gear check, so while the morning was cold, and I wore a long-sleeve hoodie and gloves before the start, as it got closer to the gun, I started questioning my attire choice. The great thing is that my skirts that I wear have tons of pockets, so I just slid my gloves in one of those. Unfortunately, the elites were already starting just one wave before us, and my bib was pinned to the long-sleeve shirt. With the crowd pressed around me, I was getting warmer and knew I had to get that layer off and move my bib to my tank top, so as we walked to the starting line, I was a hot mess!!! I was trying to get my bib moved, tie my shirt around me (because it's one of my favs and I didn't want to toss it), AND my satellites hadn't loaded yet because of all the tall buildings! Regardless, that starting line got closer, and it was time to go. With my watch still loading, we crossed the line and I just prayed it would catch up! My guess is about 0.10 or so, it finally started!
The first few miles are always crowded with a race this big, and especially so when the half and full marathoners start at the same time. I was expecting Mile 1 to be slower, but it was 8:37. Good. That's a little fast, but I'll take it. Something happened, and Mile 2 clicked at 9:34. Enter freak out. Way off. I told myself that the satellites were still off from the buildings and that couldn't be right, but I bumped up my pace just in case I really was moving that speed. (See, in my head, I really DID want redemption from Air Force and Chicago. I really DID want to set a new personal record for the half. And I knew I had to stay at 8:58 or under to make that happen). Well, that must have scared me straight, because I never hit over 9:00 again after that! Mile 3 was 8:20 and it fluctuated, usually hitting in the 8:40s and 8:50s.
Since I was running solo, I didn't have to worry about talking or smiling or anything at all but running. I felt really good, and I knew if I stayed focused and in the zone, I could pull this out. I just couldn't QUIT that pace I was doing. And that meant water stops, too. I have had many races where I walk through the water stops and allow myself those few seconds of slowing down. I also remember how my stomach felt when I chugged tons of water at my other (very hot) races this fall. Not good. I decided that I would not stop, which would also only allow me to take a small sip, not chug. (Plus, with the cooler weather, I honestly didn't need much water). My strategy was to go to the end of the water tables, by-passing those walking through at the front of the tables, and grab a cup, take 1-2 sips without slowing, and toss the rest. And so I did. And it worked.
The course itself is flat, as advertised, and the crowd support was probably comparable to Marshall or Air Force, or something like that. Not very many people cheering, but that was okay by me. I was laser-focused. Mile 8 had some gels, and I took one from the volunteer, but since I didn't really need it, I just shoved it in my skirt pocket. Otherwise, the course offered water and gatorade at about every mile or mile and a half. The stations seemed to come at the perfect times for me, and I only skipped one or two.
There were clocks at each mile, and by Mile 6 and the halfway timing mat, I knew I was on pace to PR. The question was... could I hold it? I am historically slower in my second half of any race. I have tried to build up a buffer in most races to account for this, even though that is not a recommended race strategy. So, after Mile 6, 7, 8, I just kept worrying that I would fall behind my pace, so that fear drove me to stay steady. With every 8-something mile click, my confidence boosted a bit--enough to keep pushing.
I knew from the last time I PRed a half marathon (December 2016 at Country Music Highway Half), I needed to make sure I hit Mile 10 at or under 1:30:00. That became my focus. And I hit it at 1:28--something. Perfect! I knew that even if something happened and my last 3 miles slowed to 10 minutes, I would STILL be under a 2-hour half, but a 9:00 pace would get me in at 1:56-1:57ish. My PR stood at 1:57:54.
One thing I noticed during this race, and especially on the back half, was how many people I had passed. This is not the norm for me. Usually, I get defeated by how many people are passing me, or how I try to keep up with someone who catches my eye, but they drift out of view. This time, I happened to have entered my starting corral at the back of it, by the 2:00 pacer. I just wanted to keep in front of her, but I never saw her after the start, since I was ahead. It was a strange, but really good feeling. There was one girl I kept leapfrogging, who looked strong and I was guessing might go for a sub-2. I kept her in sights for a while. Then, the last 5-6 miles, I saw a guy and a girl running together, and it looked like he was coaching her. I was just behind them for a really long time, and they finished only a few steps ahead of me. I don't normally find motivation in "chasing people," but it was comforting to see that I was passing some and staying consistent with my pacing this time around. (I caught up to the strong-looking girl at the finish area and I told her that she kept me going. She ended up finishing after me, but this was her first race post-baby, so it was so cool to encourage her and see her do well!)
The last 3 miles of the half are always the hardest. And then it's the last two. Well, at 1.5 miles till the end, my stomach started tightening up. It felt like a really bad cramp across my mid-section, right underneath my ribcage. I told myself it was nothing. I was NOT going to let that get the best of me. I only had a mile and a half to go. PUSH THROUGH. So, I did. I kept seeing a PR in my head, visualizing crossing that finish line. I wondered if I could even make a 1:55, like my running partner, Cassie, had done a year ago at Marshall. Just keep going.
I saw photographers closer to the end of the course, and I knew I had on my game face. I didn't even care. Half of the race I wasn't even looking around. I was at work. Maybe that doesn't sound "fun" to most people, but MAN, hitting a goal takes work, and I'm not afraid of that. When I saw I had a really great opportunity, with awesome conditions surrounding me, I had to GO FOR IT. And that meant, getting down to business. So... my pictures definitely reflect some of that!
I don't usually study course maps, I just kinda go for the surprise. But, I DID remember that the finish came after a few short turns. The last three miles were long and straight back into the downtown area, and when we turned a few times, I knew the finish was close. And that is exactly what happened. When I saw the finish line, I gave it all I had, and I knew it should be a PR, but I wasn't sure if I would break 1:57:00.
I clicked off my Garmin at the timing mat and it said,
1:56:20 total time
I did it. (Unofficial time, but I knew I had set a PR).
Crossing the finish line solo is an experience. I have run with friends and I have done races by myself, with people cheering me on. I've done some solo, with no one to greet me at the finish. This race was the latter. No one was there to congratulate me when I crossed that line, but, I was strangely okay with that. Remember that introverted thing? Well, running a race without the support of family or friends at the finish, is like dining alone. Not everyone is okay with that, but it was okay for me. I had time to compose myself, walk through the shoot and get my water and medal, and decompress a bit.
After asking a stranger to take my pic, I headed over to the Results tent to see the official time. I was told it wasn't ready yet, and the Massage tent caught my eye. Perfect! I will get a massage and get the results after that. My stomach was a bit upset, as usual, so I only drank my bottle of water and held onto the other things offered as snacks. I talked with another nice runner in line for the massages, and it was TOTALLY worth the wait. I don't know if I've gotten a massage after a race before or not (usually the lines are way too long), but it was free and I would highly recommend!
Back to the Results tent and I was pleased to see that I definitely got in the 1:56s!
New official personal record!
AND... my last half of the race was faster than the first! I don't think that has ever happened!
GOD IS GOOD!
As soon as I gathered myself together, I realized that I was finally cold again, so I put on my long-sleeve shirt, new beanie, and space blanket and contacted my friend, Margaret, who had run the 5K. She met me in the pizza tent (and man, I was so happy for Papa John's). It was great to catch up for a few minutes before heading back to our friends' house. It's such a cool experience to meet running friends in person, after getting to know them through Facebook groups!
So, Indy Monumental... You were very good to me.
I would definitely recommend this race. The only complaint that comes to mind is that the t-shirt is not my fave, but that's ok, the beanie is cute! If you are looking for a good fall race in the mid-west, Monumental lives up to its reputation.
#20 in the books!
Looking for a fun way to spend more time with the people in your life? Like a healthy activity designed with families in mind… something that doesn't include being glued to your TV or smartphone? Well, now you and a partner can team up for Beachbody and Tony Horton's latest collaboration-Double Time!
I know what it's like to feel like you are losing precious time with your children to screens. We need a way to CONNECT and have FUN together, no matter the weather! This program is designed to do all of that! The focus is on creating healthy habits, rather than losing a ton of weight. It's about accomplishing something together (30 days of 30-minute workouts). And it's about learning better nutrition that still tastes great and your kids will LOVE.
What is Double Time?
Double Time is Tony Horton's first fitness program that makes living a healthier lifestyle something you can do with another person. You and your spouse, a friend, or your child will take on daily partner workouts and healthy eating for 30 days. Just having that person around is going to give you both motivation to complete the entire program and help you build stronger bonds along the way! This is a 30-day program with total-body workouts (all 32 minutes or less) that feel more like play and less like work!
Who's it for?
Any partner pair you can think of! This program is great to do with any family member, such as your spouse, parent, kid (recommended age is 8 and older), or a friend. Great for all fitness levels.
Take a look at Double Time:
Studies show that you’re more likely to succeed with a fitness routine when you work out with another person. You’ll encourage each other to show up. You’ll cheer each other on. And they’ll make it way more fun, too! Using the Beachbody Buddy Ball, you and your Double Time partner will communicate and rely on each other to complete every single move. You’ll be so focused on laughing and working together that you won’t be looking at the clock — so imagine how much easier it will be for you to stick with your new healthier habits!
How Do I Purchase Double Time?
You can stream Double Time on Beachbody On Demand, or purchase the DVD program, or BOTH with a Double Time All Access Challenge Pack.
We know that combining healthy nutrition, convenient workouts and personal support can dramatically improve your results. The Double Time Challenge Pack delivers all three with a “daily dose of dense nutrition” in Shakeology, a full year of unlimited workouts on Beachbody On Demand — which includes Double Time, and an exclusive online accountability group who can help support and motivate you to stay on track. And most of all, you have me as your personal coach every step of the way. Set yourself up for success!
What comes with the Challenge Pack?
Ready to get started?
Ready to create healthy habits and really CONNECT again?
I can't wait to work with your family and have you in this accountability group!
We begin Monday, November 13, 2017.
Fill out the form below to get started:
I don't even remember when it started, but I made a mental "bucket list" of races that I wanted to accomplish some day. Some people want to run New York, or maybe L.A., but I wanted to run Chicago. Why? I honestly don't know. Out of the big marathons, I wanted to see this city that I had heard so much about, but had never experienced for myself (unless you count a layover in O'Hare Airport).
In November 2016, the Chicago Marathon lottery opened. One night, I decided that I might as well apply and see what happened. I told my husband (since he would need to be on board if I got in), and waited until the emails were released in December. (It was also an option to run for charity, but knowing that we had just adopted my daughter and asked for financial assistance for that, I did not feel led to sign up for a charity fundraiser so that I could run a marathon.) The day came, and I received my acceptance email...and directions to send money and complete my registration. I was all signed up to run the Chicago Marathon!
After registering, I put everything about the race on the back burner. I was dedicating my spring training cycle to getting prepared for my first ultra marathon: a 50K trail race in Ohio. I also had the Pittsburgh Marathon slated before that, as a "training run." So, not much time to think about Chicago. I completed the spring races and thoroughly enjoyed the accomplishments there, but a spring and summer full of travel delayed my training for a while. I kept thinking I had time to start training, and then all of a sudden, it was July, and I had to get back on the ball!
I started officially marathon training in August 2017. 8 weeks from race day. No, I would not suggest this kind of plan. Since I am an avid runner and cross-trainer, most people said I was in good enough shape to adapt to a shorter training cycle, but I knew I would not have the kind of results I wanted because of the tight schedule. Nevertheless, I dedicated my weekdays and Saturdays (and some back-to-back runs) to getting my mileage up. By the end of August, I ran my 18-mile training run, and then did 20 miles the day of Air Force Half Marathon, though the miles were split up a bit because of that race. And one, broken 20 was not the same as multiple 20+ mile runs I had done for spring ultra training. And I felt it.
Aside from the short training, I still did the best that I could with the time I had. Coming into race day, I was definitely more nervous, but I was trying to give myself grace for the season it was. I had some traveling surrounding this race, as well, and even a last-minute change to my marathon weekend plans. Originally, my husband and children were going to make the 6.5 hour drive with me to the Windy City on Friday, sightseeing scheduled for Saturday, and then the race on Sunday, with hubby helping to drive me home. Due to sickness, my family could not go up with me, and I ended up rooming with friends and going solo.
I left Saturday morning at 5am EST and arrived at 10:30am CST, with plenty of time to go to the expo. I easily got my bib and through the expo center and went to my hotel. My plan was to meet up with a few people I know through Facebook running groups, and run with one friend I had met online, Dana. She messaged me and said that I could change corrals with my proof of time from Pittsburgh, giving us a 30-minute head start from our original corral. With the heat forecasted, that seemed like a good idea, so I tried not to get too lost in finding the shuttle back to the expo, and switching my bib.
The expo was large, but definitely comparable in size to Pittsburgh. The Abbott World Marathon Major Series was the showcase of the entire event. I never really thought about running Chicago because it is one of the world majors, I just wanted to see the city and I knew it was supposed to be one of the best race experiences! The lines were long to get pictures in front of different areas in the expo, and since I was going alone, I had a few pictures taken with the help of strangers, but that was about it. They did have a fantastic video of the course, sped up to show each mile and it was awesome to watch. Everything was high-quality for sure. I was surprised that there were very few interactive booths or samples, mostly just "store" set ups, so you were urged to buy more. Definitely not an expo my family would have enjoyed, so it's a good thing I could just get in and get out!
There was no rest for the weary on Saturday, with going to the expo twice, and then trying to meet up with Dana and her friend, Jennifer that afternoon. We had a little time together before heading to eat dinner, and then I made my way back to my hotel for the night. Thankfully, I was able to get to bed by 9pm and the hotel was very close to the starting corrals!
Dana and I met up at the hotel and walked to the starting area. Security was high, especially due to recent events in Las Vegas, and it took a while to be individually scanned before entering the next area. Our start time was 8:00am and it was already warm. We thought about waiting for a porta-potty near the entrance, but decided to head closer to the huge area of porta-potties, thinking the lines would move faster. Well, they didn't, and 10 minutes before our corral closed, we gave up.
Throughout our training (Dana having 18 weeks and a run coach, and me having 8 weeks and well....me), we had watched each other get faster and we were running similar times. So, it wasn't long before we realized we had the same goal for this race, and it would be fun to run together as long as we could. The great thing about runners is that we get it. We are not offended if we don't stick together. We bless and release if someone needs to go faster or slower. So... our plan was to just run, enjoy, and see what happened.
The first few miles were far less crowded than I anticipated. In Pittsburgh, the half, full, and relay runners are all starting together, making it very difficult to run pace, just because you are afraid to step on someone. In Chicago, it was only the full marathon, and the crowd of runners was more manageable, even though there were more runners all together. I think they just had more corrals and spaced it well. We talked the first few miles and already felt the heat. I LOVED the tour of the city and staying in the downtown area allowed us to be shaded and have a slight breeze for quite a while. I am very grateful we moved up and started when we did. By Mile 5 we were running happy, even on pace for what Dana had wanted. Pace is a funny thing in Chicago because the buildings don't allow for accurate satellite reception, and our Garmins were off the entire time, but she seemed happy, so I just stuck with her.
I hate to keep comparing it to Pittsburgh, but I had trained really well for that race last spring, and I set a hilly PR I was hoping to break at a flat course in Chicago. My game plan for Pittsburgh was a sub-2-hour half marathon (9:09 pace), and then taking the second half at 10-11 min/mile pace, knowing I naturally slow down on the back end. (My plan worked pretty well and I had a PR of 4:22 in my hometown.) Dana trained to hit 10s the whole way, even speeding up her second half. So, different strategies, but I just went with the flow, knowing that a sub-2 half wasn't going to be in the cards for this race.
The water stops were about every mile on the course. Thousands of volunteers made it really well-done. Gatorade and water lined the road on both sides. I had eaten my dried fruit before the race even started, so I didn't have much fuel on me, other than my little bottle of Sword hydration. I kept running through the stops until the end of the water line and would grab a cup of water each time (knowing how the Gatorade hurt my stomach at Air Force Half a few weeks before). Dana had a handheld bottle, she would have the volunteers fill up, so we would eventually catch each other somewhere after each stop. We did a kind of back-and-forth, look-for-each-other dance for quite a while.
Mile 10, 11, 12, 13...we made it half-way. It was HOT. No where near a sub-2, but still pretty close to 10-min/mile. I was trying to keep hydrated. I was getting hungry. I wondered why there were no GU gels or anything at Mile 6 like I envisioned there would be. Didn't they know I had no fuel on me? Somewhere after the half, the volunteers gave out Gatorade Endurance Energy Chews. I was so thankful, and a little nervous about trying something new, but I knew I needed some fuel. I took one and some water, and thanked God that I had pockets in my skirt to keep the rest for later. Around Mile 14 was the last time I saw Dana. We lost each other at a water stop and never found each other until the finish line. It was okay. My stomach was starting to hurt, and I needed to find a porta-potty.
I started praying for a porta-potty area, which it seemed were about every 2-3 miles. At Mile 15, I saw there were signs for some, and I stopped off and texted Dana that I likely wouldn't catch up at that point. I wish I could say that solved all my stomach issues, but they continued until about Mile 19. That's where I stopped AGAIN to use the bathroom! I couldn't believe it! And then, by this point, we were far from shade or breeze, so the sun was beating down. It was miserable. I knew my 4:20 goal was long gone. At one point I thought maybe 4:30...then 4:45 wouldn't be so bad...then, I was just calculating if I could even break 5 hours.
During marathons, things start to "hurt" but you aren't even sure if it's real. You distract your mind to think of something else. I had an issue with my right shoe around Mile 8 or so, and I kept trying to adjust the tongue, my sock, anything to make the rubbing go away (even though I had slathered on Glide before the race). Other times, I thought my hips were bugging me, or my tendonitis, and on and on. The shoe thing lasted a few miles, but I just kept telling myself it was all in my head and I was fine.
Miles 20-26 were tough. That's when you dig deep for sure. I questioned why I do this. Why do I run full marathons? Halfs are way more manageable. They don't hurt like this. The crowd support was totally amazing. I was wondering if I was going crazy, seeing the same signs again, but now I'm sure they were just family/friends moving around the course to cheer on their runner multiple times. But in the moment, I was like, "I saw that sign before...hmmmm..."
There were cheer squads all over the different neighborhoods. My personal favorite was earlier in the race. It was a mob of orange and white shirts for World Vision. They were all standing in a median in the street and I just LOVED their energy! Other favorites were the Mexicans, Japanese, and going through Chinatown. And yes, I have a favoritism towards Asians, since my daughter is Chinese. I can't explain it, but it was just comforting to see them there.
At some point, they started giving small cuts of bananas out around the water stops. At one of them, I saw orange peels on the side of the road and thought about how AMAZING an orange would be. Unfortunately, all the super fast people must have eaten them all, because only bananas were being given. I was CRAVING an orange then. And honestly PRAYING for an orange or watermelon (and I've had both on other courses before...heaven!). Eventually, we came up on the Korean cheer section, and I was pleasantly distracted by a guy dancing in the street to the music (he looked like he was probably a runner himself, but just cheering that day). He was super funny and awesome and it made me smile when I wanted to die a little inside. Out of nowhere, I saw a sweet Korean girl handing out half of a mandarin orange!!!! YES!!! I grabbed it from her and said, "GOD BLESS YOU!" and savored every bite! There was a lady who passed me and said, "You don't know how long I've been waiting for an orange!" and I replied, "Oh, I know! I've been PRAYING for one, too!" So, moral of the story...if you ever cheer a race....bring oranges. We will love you.
Usually by the later miles, I'm trying very poorly to calculate and do mental math. For this race, it was already 77 degrees and full sun, and I was trying to survive. I decided that to be mad about my time was useless. I was in CHICAGO! At a World Major! I was going to ENJOY it. I got the BEST tour of that beautiful city, and I was going to FINISH no matter what. The only thing making me upset was myself. No need for that. Disappointed? Yes, but mad at myself? No.
The crowds got thicker with the last few miles. Everyone seemed to be struggling around me. I asked many people I found hobbling if they were okay, and they all said yes, but didn't want to engage with me, so I kept going. There were medic areas around the course, and the later ones were definitely being used quite a bit. I was focused on finishing, but found out afterwards that there were so many who did not cross that line. I knew the last mile had an uphill and then it would be done. I was determined to muster up everything I had left and run that entire last mile. Even if my run was no faster than a power walk, I was running that last long mile. And I did.
I saw the finish line and it took everything in me not to bust into full-blown tears.
I did it. I ran the Chicago Marathon.
I had no one there to hug me. My time didn't matter. My Garmin said I had run 27 miles. The finishing area was huge and you just had to keep walking to get to the water, medals, pictures, and snack bags. I felt like I was delirious and in a daze to get my medal, but I found some other Sparkle Skirt-wearing ladies and decided to go to them to have my medal put on. Something about having that medal around your neck. Oh, man! It just reminds you that....YOU DID IT!
I texted Dana to find out where she was, and we found each other while in the finishing area. She had finished about 10 minutes before me, and then we found Jennifer, too. Pictures, fake smiles, real smiles, exhaustion, stretching. I had grabbed a couple bags of ice for my knees at the finish area (mostly because I always ice after runs), and carried those bad boys around while we made our way through the shoot. All of us had missed our goals...by a lot... but we all FINISHED. And no one can take that away.
After making our way back to the hotel, we said good-byes, I got slowly got my stuff together, got a shower, and headed out to leave the city. I got back to my car and realized I was finally hungry. I only wanted to do a couple things while in Chicago, one of which was to eat Chicago-style deep dish pizza. So, I called a place that looked closer to the interstate, and ordered myself a personal pie to go. By the time I arrived there and was able to leave the city, it was 4pm CST.
Through many many prayers, phone calls with anyone who would talk to me, and a personal Chicago-style pizza, venti Starbucks coffee, and Jesus, I finally made it home at 1am EST.
The Chicago Marathon is one I will never forget. I can see why it is so highly-rated, and honored. It is a tremendous race with amazing people and a beautiful city. While I think I can say this is a "one and done" race, I hope to return to the Windy City again soon. The midwest hospitality was wonderful, and....well...I'm pretty sure I need more of that pizza in my life.
Wouldn't it be awesome if we all naturally craved fruits and vegetables? In real life, though, eating healthy is hard. If it doesn't taste good, kids won't eat it. And if it's not healthy, you don't want them to have it.
That's why there is Daily Sunshine, the whole-food-based 3-in-1 smoothie formulated for kids’ nutritional needs. Now you and your kids have a quick, healthy alternative to junk-food snacks—that also tastes delicious.
You don't have to be a gourmet chef to prepare a healthy snack. Daily Sunshine is so convenient and delicious just mixed in water. With the perfect balance of a fruit and veggie blend, plant-based protein, fiber, and fat, it's ideal for kids' after-school snacks, your mid-afternoon pick-me-up, or the whole family's midnight cookie cravings.
Check it out:
Check out our label. These are real ingredients you can recognize. Simple, organic fruit and vegetable blend, plant-based protein, and healthy fats, plus a few other ingredients everyone needs to help support optimal nutrition.
Daily Sunshine is made with key whole-food-based ingredients. It starts with whole fruits and vegetables, which are carefully inspected and thoroughly washed. Then they're pureed, strained to remove any unwanted seeds and stems, dried, and ground to a powder. That's how we deliver whole-food-based ingredients in a healthy, delicious smoothie every day. And that is EXACTLY what this mom wants to hear!
But aren't you the one who drinks Shakeology? What makes Daily Sunshine different? Glad you asked!
Shakeology is a complex formula with botanicals, adaptogens, exotic superfoods, prebiotics, digestive enzymes and other important nutrients. Daily Sunshine was designed and formulated for kids - in addition to a kid-approved taste, it provides the building blocks of nutrition that kids need every day - a fruit and veggie blend, protein, and healthy fats. It's also a wholesome, healthy snack for adults!
Want more information on getting this great option for YOUR kids? I know you will love it, but if you don't, you even have a 30-day money-back guarantee! Fill out the form below for more information:
Losing weight is not complicated. We MAKE it complicated. All kinds of marketing companies tell us you need to do low-fat, low-carb, no carb, micros, micros, ....how on EARTH are we supposed to know what to do?
We've been told "eat right and exercise" for years. The problem has never been the WHAT, it's always been the HOW. Instead of making it complicated by counting points, calories, or anything else, there is a whole system that uses whole foods (foods closest to the earth) and portion control (clearly defined amounts) to make eating EASY again. "Exercise" no longer equals "gym." Now, you can work out at home, outside, at the gym...anywhere!
So, if clearly defined systems are available to make it EASY, why do SO MANY people still struggle with being overweight? Now, it's not the HOW, but the WHY.
Too many of us are afraid to DARE.
We hold back out of FEAR. We don't want to open up, be vulnerable about our struggles, or ASK for help.
I'm about to make that part easier for you, too.
I had been doing some soul searching about belonging and vulnerability. God had been laying it on my heart that far too many of us are struggling with many areas of life ALONE. I was struggling, too. To be honest, I still do with certain things. BUT---health and fitness? I have found the answer. I have found BELONGING. It's all about doing life in community.
I became a coach to help other people get healthy, but not just in a 1:1 setting. I KNOW that God created us for community, so that is why I place such high emphasis on my accountability groups, that we call "challenge groups." Here is where my clients find that community. This is a SAFE place for all to open up about struggles, fears, concerns, and celebrate wins, small and large. Challenge groups create the environment that FREES us to DARE GREATLY....TOGETHER.
“We must dare to show up and let ourselves be seen.”
“Wholehearted living is about engaging in our lives from a place of worthiness. It means cultivating the courage, compassion, and connection to wake up in the morning and thing, ’No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough’” (Brene Brown).
This is cultivated, not natural. People who feel this way have developed practices that enable them to hold onto this belief. Living a life defined by courage, compassion, and connection requires showing up and letting ourselves be seen. THIS is what can happen in an accountability group.
So, I definitely need support for my health and fitness journey. But, what exactly IS a "challenge group?" A challenge group is a place for like-minded people to work together to achieve their health and fitness goals. These private groups have a ton of SUPPORT, ENCOURAGEMENT, and all kinds of things to help you live the healthiest life possible! Recipes, daily tips and motivation, and a place to log your progress every single day, will keep you on track. This particular group will focus on DARING GREATLY TOGETHER and ways we can be more courageous. The group will be based on the "Daring Greatly" book by Brene Brown, but it is not required to participate. Be assured that you will also receive 1:1 coaching and support from ME every step of the way.
What is the time commitment for this group? The group will run for 5 weeks, with the first week set up as "prep week" to get you ready for the 4-week challenge, and we begin on Monday, October 23, 2017 (just FYI, it takes about one week to receive your materials for this group). You will learn what clean eating is, how to make a meal plan, grocery lists, and how to take "before" pictures and measurements so you can track your progress. There are no embarrassing weigh-ins and you can choose to send your "before" pictures just to me as your coach (to hold you accountable), or just keep them for yourself. The workouts vary in length (based on which program we will choose together, from 22-60 minutes, though most are around 30 minutes long).
What do I need? In order to participate in the challenge group, you will need to purchase a challenge pack. The All Access Beachbody On Demand Challenge Pack is by far the most popular option. It consists of 12-months of streaming EVERY fitness program in the Beachbody library (think Insanity, P90X, 21-Day Fix, PiYo, Core De Force, Shift Shop), portion control containers, shaker cup, AND your first month's supply of nutrient-dense Shakeology. Can you imagine getting a FULL YEAR of a gym membership, personal trainer, month of meals, meal plan, and personal coach? That would cost over $500 for sure! This All Access challenge pack is ON SALE right now, for $160! (While I mentioned the book, "Daring Greatly" at the beginning of this post, it is not required for this group. I do recommend it as a great read and helpful tool. Ask me about how you can get your copy FREE.)
What is Shakeology? Shakeology will be the healthiest meal of your day, packed with over 70 superfoods and absolutely NO artificial ingredients or fillers. There are even vegan options available! If you crave sweets, need energy, would like to have a ton of vitamins in a milkshake form, and FEEL GOOD about what you are putting into your body, this is it! I can't tell you how much EASIER my life has become with making a shake in minutes after a workout, to help me recover, or for an on-the-go breakfast. With three kids, who has time to eat a giant breakfast? I don't, but I get all the nutrition I need FAST with my Shakeo in hand! For more info click here.
(If you already have Shakeology, you can get All Access with the Beachbody Performance line instead, and REALLY be able to crush those workouts! Ask me for more details!)
“We need support. WE need folks who will let us try on new ways of being without judging us. We need a hand to pull us up off the ground when we get kicked down in the arena (and if we live a courageous life, that will happen).”
“I’m with you in the arena. And when we fail, we’ll fail together, while daring greatly.’ We simply can’t learn to be more vulnerable and courageous on our own. Sometimes our first and greatest dare is asking for support” (Brene Brown).
This message is for YOU...the one who needs a fresh start...the lonely...the one who wants to BELONG...the one who needs ENCOURAGEMENT and real support. This is for YOU, the one who doubts worthiness...the one who struggles with perfectionism...the one who has started and stopped and started over so many times you can't keep track. This is for YOU. Whoever you are...whatever struggles you are facing...the support and family is here to let you know...You. Are. Enough.
Now, let's DARE GREATLY, TOGETHER!
Thank you for your interest in this group. I will contact you within 24 hours of your application to get started!
My 1st Experience with 3-Day Refresh
How to do the 3-Day Refresh
My Husband's 3-Day Refresh Story
Popular Fitness Programs
21-Day Fix Extreme
22-Minute Hard Corps
Brazil Butt Lift
Core De ForceCountry Heat
P90X (P90X2, P90X3)
The Master's Hammer & Chisel
The Shift Shop
Wife. Mother. Runner. Coach. Adoption Advocate. I strive to share HOPE through my journey and help others reach their goals.