2018 – Cultivating Joy

Almost a month into 2018 and I’m just loving this year already despite the fact chocolate has been absent for the past two weeks. So here’s a quick update on where we’ve been: *if you want to go straight to the fitness/nutrition skip to the bottom I’ve got recipes, products and races on the horizon!

Christmas was incredible, having the whole family together with a new family member included just made my heart overflow! Speaking of new family members, Jon and I added another furry friend to the Woodson clan. Kali is a one year old complete mutt, while her and Kada already love each other their temperaments couldn’t be more opposite. A nice change for my heart, since Kada is slightly higher strung –

The new year also brought another Passion Conference, the space where 18-25 year olds gather to sit under worship and teaching to help ignite the revival of the Church. It’s always beautiful and Jon and I both took away so much both from serving and the wisdom that was being shared. The New Year also brought the journey of the Dawgs and their trip to the national championship game, and through a very generous friend Jon and his mom were able to go enjoy and cheer on their respective teams in Atlanta.

We’ve already been on two adventures this year. A 3 day stint at the lake and a 36 hr sting in Disney World for the Epcot International Festival of the Arts. The lake is such a peaceful place for us, it allowed us to unwind and reflect on the days of conference and listen for how the Lord wanted to use that for the upcoming year. Then my husband full of grace and love took me down to Disney for the day for the arts festival. Art has been one of the biggest therapy’s for me; while sketching has been on the fun side of that, writing is something the passion is deep for. My hope is that this year the writing will overflow but in ways the readers truly enjoy and connect with. So this festival, plus the adventure with Jon (including a first trip to the Animal Kingdom Lodge and Boma Breakfast – second best breakfast I’ve had on property) just helped inspire for this year.

SO NOW, hello fitness. 

Nutrition: A few days before New Years the nutritionist and I had a follow up chat and she was so encouraged. Feeling so much better, stronger, happier, energized and making huge strides heading into the new year we both left eager for what’s to come. The days can still be a roller coaster but just remembering what one year ago looked like and comparing it to now, grateful is an understatement. Still doing what I love, healthier and happier. God is faithful.

Running: this year the races are sparse so far, really taking it stride by stride to see what races excite me and currently not pushing myself in mileage so I truly keep enjoying this sport. So what is on the calendar??

Extra Yard 5K – Jan 7th – this was on a whim before Jon knew he could get tickets to the game and I tried to win them. No PR, but was still not far from breaking 20:00 so with a little more speed work I’m excited to see what this year holds for sprinting!

Hot Chocolate 15K/Fastbreak 5K – these are over the next two weekends and still deciding (ok it’s slightly weather based) what to choose.

Princess Weekend FairyTale Challenge – GIRLS WEEKEND. Headed to sunny Orlando with my sister and oldest friend to run the 10K/Half Marathon challenge – all princess themed. My costume: princess sidekicks Meeko and Mushu

Peachtree Road Race – Always a must with the sister and mom.

Chicago Marathon – I’ll step up for a marathon for the first time in a year and a half this October. My first World Major and my whole family will be there. Already excited about what’s to come – also praise hands for training in the warmth!

New Recipes: Sweet potato and black bean bowl. Sauté/Roasted squared sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and bell peppers in olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile let black bean and corn simmer on the stove just letting it warm. Last, dice up onions and tomatoes to add to the sauté after the 10 minutes and lower heat. Leave on the stove another 3-4 minutes, drain the corn/beans and mix together in a bowl – ENJOY!

Products I Love: 

Nike Swift Running pants – not bulky but still breathable and warm – I wear these everywhere!

Mizuno Waver Rider 21 – I always get wary of new versions of my favorite models but the wave rider 21 is amazing. I like a firm ride, but this extra bit of cushion in the 21 feels amazing under my feet, still getting the ride I want with a little more plush!

New Balance ZanteV4 – I was so excited to try the new Zante for a lightweight trainer and racing shoe. The fresh foam still makes my feet feel great and supported, but the lighter weight of the shoe makes me soar.

If you want any other suggestions for really, anything, just let me know!