Why Chattanooga with a Toddler is the place you want to be!?!

Early on in Jon and Is marriage he surprised me with a birthday trip to Chattanooga and it’s been a love affair ever since. The walkability, the intimate but enough feeling, the ease of location. It’s become an annual tradition for us to head up there for a few days, but with a toddler it might become more frequent. And here’s why:

  1. Traffic.
    There isn’t much. Unlike Atlanta we felt extremely safe having Elijah follow us along the sidewalks. It gave us some relief from feeling like he was having to be in his stroller constantly, and he got ALL of his energy out.
  2. Walkability.
    From the aquarium, to the pedestrian bridge over the Tennessee River, to the playground along the riverwalk everything is accessible by foot. Taking away the hassle of being in and out of a carseat while you move locations. The only thing we did that we moved our car for was our hike at Lookout Mountain.
  3. Kid Oriented Activities.
    While they aren’t necessarily cheap, if we were to come up more than twice a year it’d be worth an annual pass. Here’s what you have:
    a. The Tennessee Aquarium – maybe an unpopular opinion, but it is way better than the Georgia Aquarium for a toddler. It is a small walkway that guides you through the exhibit, there are multiple floors and buildings but it keeps you from feeling overwhelmed as you are only seeing one or two things at a time. This was truly Elijah’s favorite part. Check out what they have to offer here: Tennessee Aquarium Site
    b. The Creative Discovery Museum – this was partly under renovation when we went, but between the water features, the creative stations, and the giant play/slide structures Elijah could have easily spent all day in here if he wasn’t already exhausted (we spent about 2 hours). Want more info? Click here.
    c. The Riverwalk water feature – this is a true gem. We stumbled upon it walking around one day but is a gently flowing water feature that ends with a shallow pool overlooking the river. You can find it underneath the pedestrian bridge and check out my Instagram Post for a look here.
  4. Ease of travel.
    Getting somewhere that can give us a change of pace and fresh perspective within 2 hours of Atlanta is optimal. Two hours is about Elijah’s limit before he starts getting antsy. The only traffic you regularly is at the I-24 split (I am not sure why on Earth they created it that way especially when there is clearly more space for more lanes but what do I know), but after you get past it you are 10 minutes out from downtown!
  5. Best of both (all three?) worlds.
    You get a little city, mixed with a little outdoor adventure, mixed with a little small town feel. It makes for such a great opportunity for learning and engaging in a variety of sights, sounds, and activities. Plus almost every restaurant has the color sheets for kids which is also key for tired babes who just want to eat and have some quiet time.

One other tad-bit: DoubleTree Downtown Chattanooga has the BEST FREE cookies when you check in and it’s a good bribery piece for a toddler. Alright, so are you convinced enough? Have any questions/thoughts? Let me know!

Until next time Chattanooga,
Jordan

Running Through the Unknown and Three Reasons Why ANYONE Can Do the Peachtree Road Race

After the 2018 Peachtree Road Race I was on cloud 9. The goals I had set for myself had been crushed and I knew I wasn’t even at peak fitness. BUT with that much excitement came that much more pressure. After a short break I told myself I was ready to go, trying to prove that I still had more to give. But things never go according to plan: injuries, lack of motivation, and some health issues have plagued me for the past year.

Last July I had no idea the battle I was in for, it’s been a fight every step of the way, anxiety has been a roller coaster, and I am slower than I’ve been in three years. BUT! There is SO much I have learned and I have to be thankful for and every day that I can move my body is a gift that I am taking far more seriously these days. So why don’t we all set a new goal! It doesn’t mean it’s been easy, and it means that this year I had to walk, yes you read that right, the competitive athlete W-A-L-K-E-D part of the Peachtree Road Race because of the heat. I thought I would be devastated, but I wasn’t. It was OKAY. I got out there and did it. I moved my body, I was surrounded by an amazing community, and the encouragement from every direction can’t be taken lightly.

So where are you? How does your body feel when you get out there? Right now I have more bad days than good, but every day of proving I can still move is worth the bad days, and it’s the exact same for you! So here’s three reasons why even the furthest person from running 6.2 can participate in the Peachtree:

  1. Our bodies are resilient and they can do far more than we give them credit for when we start moving a little bit every single day. Yes, it’s a struggle to push START and yes the bad days might outweigh the good ones at first. Maybe you think there’s no way because the progress is too slow. It’s like with anything the more consistent you become the progress will start to speed up! Just be patient and start to discipline, your body will adapt and blow your mind.
  2. Don’t underestimate the power of community and encouragement. Some people relate the Peachtree Road Race to a giant parade, and it totally is from your most competitive to the people who are reaching for this goal for the very first time. There are people in ALL stages ALL around you and that’s just those on the course. Don’t forget the hundreds of volunteers and the thousands lining the streets cheering and providing water/food/etc to everyone who passes. You might think it can’t be that helpful, but I assure you, you get swept up in it and it helps carry you through.
  3. Running is optional. YEP, walking is totally acceptable. Thousands start down the street at a brisk walk, and that is completely okay. You are doing it right? Walking is a great stepping stone in seeing just all that you can do. So why not try it, you have nothing to lose and you might even surprise yourself.

So here’s to you and whatever obstacle you are facing, whether it’s health, discipline, a schedule that doesn’t seem possible. Set that small goals, in order to get to a bigger goal, see yourself reaching it, and start moving forward.

In it with you friends,

Jordan

The Fear in Goal-Setting & the Hotlanta Half

Sometimes it’s hard to talk about goals, it breeds vulnerability and accountability. Fear can come into the frame in terms of not meeting expectations therefore disappointing yourself and those around you. This can happen in relationships, careers, your health, and pretty much every other aspect of your life as well, but fear isn’t a good state to live in. I would rather fight ‘til the end and have people around me, then play it safe alone. So, I thought maybe we could start there today.
Most of you know I ran the Hotlanta Half on Sunday. It was my first half since the beginning of April, and I haven’t been near that distance since then. With my recovery from my procedure mid-April and the events that followed I was iffy leading into the weekend, but I have big dreams. My hope is that I can break into the elite realm while still maintaining this everyday person lifestyle, I hope it inspires people along the way. The idea that you can be active, wherever you are, see the world, and enjoy it to the fullest training yourself for the road ahead is something I am passionate about and all this is scary to say out loud. It’s important though and can’t be dismissed as fantasy. I can go into a whole long post about why the ins and outs of all this important, but I will save it for a later time.
Now going back to Sunday, I stepped up to the line with the idea that I would play it safe, but I had no idea what that would look like. Would I be able to run the whole thing? Would I even be able to stay under 2 hours? It scared me but I was ready to find out. While the weather had looked dicey several days leading up to the event the rain held off and the clouds hung overhead the whole time I was on the course. The humidity absolutely played a factor as to my ability to move forward, but I made it. Running those 13.1 miles in the hills and humidity of Atlanta reminded me why I loved it, but it also reminded me of the fact that each day and each season brings unique challenges. Yes, I did run the whole thing and my time was much better than anticipated, however over two days later and my body is still reeling, soreness after a half is something I haven’t known in several years.
Things look different now, my body has changed, my season has changed, but my goals remain the same. I can say in confidence that this next season will bring even more beauty, and that this past season has taught me SO much that I will use to fuel me.
Whatever season you are walking through the soreness won’t last forever, and there is a reason you have it there. You have grown, stretched, and possibly feel as though you’ve gotten trampled on, but you are still here, and you still have the opportunity to move forward. The Hotlanta Half has been one of my favorite events over the past several years and while this year looked different, I love it more than I ever have. That’s the funny thing about pain sometimes, you look back and realize you would do it all over again if it allowed you to learn, grow and step into where you are now. Even in a setback kind of way this weekend helped me get further towards those lofty goals I set a year or so ago.
What goals do you have? What sticky season have you had to walk through to help push them forward? Have you had the “Ah-ha” moment when it made sense on exactly why you walked through what you did?
I want to know! Send em my way via email or in the comments!
On to the Peachtree Road Race!!

Smiles All Around and Running Lately….

July 4, 2018. I didn’t feel fast, after mile four I actually felt like throwing in the towel. My breathing shallowed, my quads were on fire, and the finish felt so far away. Never imagining what lie on the other side of that finish line. A top 30 finish in the largest 10K in the country, less than one minute away from being considered “elite”, and the impending weight of massive expectation.

July 14, 2018. A last minute 5K in support of an incredible organization: Back on My Feet. At 2.8 Kada collapsed on the ground, unable to move her legs, the pleading of help in her brown eyes. The fear sinking deep to the pit of my stomach that I might lose my pup (I didn’t).

Recovery.

Not a word that is unfamiliar, but one that has been largely tied to the physical aspects of running, but in this past season there was a different type of recovery that had to be done. Mental. The Peachtree Road Race left me numb and unmotivated because the pressure that I allowed to mount was unbearable for someone who was still on the tail end of the greatest mental, physical, and emotional battle of my life to date.

So the races stopped, the high mileage felt far too daunting, and it scared me to feel stuck  in the unknown. There were a few races that I was able to help pace and push-assist and support over this season, but I was never myself, and the community helped keep me going in whatever form that took. My friends and training buddies were with me in whatever way they needed to be and it really was key in keeping me in the game. So I looked at 2019 with open eyes, not really knowing where I was headed, but knowing that I still loved this sport I had found a home and community in.

Now in the remaining few days of January, new wind has blown in my sails, and that smile has crept back onto my face. During December I had to learn to let myself back off without guilt, something I resisted for the first 5 months of this journey. Guilt of letting people down, and even more pressing, letting myself down and not stewarding the gift I had been given had begun to become a banner, and it just couldn’t. So I picked up more cross and weight training and stuck to under 5 miles not sure if that would actually help where I was other than maintaining a base layer of fitness, but I finally learned to be okay with sitting there for whatever amount of time it took. I also found that my people cheered me on regardless. AND THEN in the past two weeks that spark has started to reignite, the excitement for runs has increased, the training runs with my people no matter the weather seem more enjoyable than feeling like a job. However, it’s listening taking the time to listen to where I am mentally and physically every single day that sets the tone.

So, now as I get excited for what’s in store here is a little bit of my training schedule and where I am headed the first part of this year with a smile on my face:

Mon – Cross-training/3 mile shakeout

Tues – 10K: 10 minute warm up, 5 minute progression, 30 minute intervals

Wed – Mobility and Yoga

Thurs – 5-7 mile tempo run

Fri – Mobility, light body-weight circuit, shake out (sometimes just an easy run, sometime striders).

Sat – 10-14 miles steady pace.

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And this week we get the bonus of having back to back 5Ks in the mix! Feel free to hop in!

Fri – Super Bowl VII 5K – medium-quick tempo

Sat – Hearts & Soles 5K – quick-sprint tempo

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On The Horizon:

Well besides the two aforementioned 5Ks to work on speed, here are a few things that are slated for 2019:

  • Road to Gold Test Event (March) – 8.2 miles on the Olympic Marathon Trial Qualifying course
  • Publix Half Marathon (March) – Pacing with my girl A @ 1:45
  • Star Wars Rival Run Half Marathon (April) – This will be my first trained for half in over a year!
  • Peachtree Road Race (July) – The 50th anniversary and excited to see what I can do this year, without feeling the weight of expectation

More TBD!

If you have any questions, or want some race or training recommendations please let me know at jordan@fuelingherforward.com ! I would also love to put my nutrition certification to work so please don’t hesitate to reach out.

Thanks for reading friends,

Jordan

 

On How Fueling During Conference Week Changed the Game of Trust.

Before we dive in let me disclaim that this is currently being written on the morning after conference, my head is throbbing from dehydration and there is a current reality of standing forever (slight exaggeration) because my hip is so inflamed, but there is something really beautiful inside some of my thoughts swirling around that I believe God wants to use.

There are some moments that thrust into trusting when we have absolutely no control and it’s in those moments that are shaping 2019 as we speak. The past two conferences have been incredibly different: in 2017 I had the ability to cut off my hunger as my body continued to lose weight, and in 2018 my body was fighting to restore itself and so eating whatever I want made those days easier. Here we sit in 2019 and the my body has reached a state of healthy, not underweight and not overweight, but my head still longs to play the head games, the enemy nipping to get some leverage into how, when, and what the four/five days in conference mode will be fueled by and with. So walking into Monday fear… the anxiety was deafening as grabbed breakfast and headed towards the arena, but this day, on that drive I still had a very real grip on the control I loved. I could still see the outline of the day and could grip onto the control of food until God turned the day on its head, and boldly proclaimed “no, we are going to learn a real lesson in trust”.

Monday was bad when it came to my mental state and my relationship food, like I could not have possibly ended 2018 on a worse note and Jon could vouch for that, the enemy loved it, and early afternoon tomorrow I somehow had to shape up.

Me, in my own strength; I was putting the pressure, the anxiety, the burden of my mental health on my own shoulders and just trying to figure it out. I didn’t think God wanted to fool with me when He was about to do something so much bigger in tens of thousands of 18-25 year olds across the world.

Tuesday morning I woke up still weary from what had gone down around midnight and stepped outside to a mostly Sunny and comfortable morning on New Years, I had a choice to make and it wasn’t in my own strength at that moment that the story could shift so I threw on shorts and a t-shirt, grabbed my headphones and jogged out the door to the only thing that could shift everything – worship. So what started out as a morning where I attempted to fight for control, slowly began to shift as I let the words of praise and trust flow out of my mouth down the road. At 10 Jon and I headed for brunch at True Food Kitchen for their New Years brunch specials and then the games began. Towards the end of our meal the message rang out that something was needed at the venue Jon and I were serving at that was at the other Atlanta venue, we weren’t far away so we hopped down there grabbed what was needed, and the rest of the week would never be the same.

Our timelines are never accurate. Even in our most surrendered days we cannot see what’s coming next, not exactly. So my schedule and my food control started to slip away as we went further and further into Tuesday, dropped the girls at doggy camp, checked into our hotel and then skipped over to the venue to finish set up. I never know the menus, the snacks, or have the ability to plan out snacks to bring because you never know where you’ll be or when you’ll be there. So in those few intimate moments of Tuesday where I was scribbling thoughts and prayers for the year ahead, there was the fact that in order to get through this week without getting so into my head that I lost vision or started binging I was going to have to let go.

Wednesday through Friday are a blur, there are moments that stand out, like getting to watch my friends lead in worship so humbly and passionately, Matt Chandler bringing a life changing truth about bringing the hard, the hurts, and the history to light so that God can start molding it into something new, and watching my team work at 150% despite how they felt and in surrender of how God would carry them through. Some fun facts that you might already know just from thumbing through any social media: Passion 2019 Album released THURSDAY! The 40,000 students gathered across the country raised almost $450K for the Deaf Bible Society. And the End it Movement comes on the sunrise of the Super Bowl hosted in Atlanta this year so that we can raise a voice during one of the most sex trafficked weekend of the year.

However, there is one intro video that hits me right where I am, or was. During this series of intro videos before each session they peaked into different hurts that we give control: assault, addiction, and eating disorders. These videos close with “I know there is more for me…” but that more can feel like a mountain you can never summit, but that video on eating disorders and the fiery word of Christine Caine forced me and anyone in those arenas with a story similar to mine to look at Jesus and our circumstance with a different perspective.

It shifted something in me as I thought about these days and how throughout constant shifts and the complete inability to control my food it brought so much freedom and He, and Him alone sustained me and allowed me to leave these days feeling better than I had in quite some time. Yes, I was tired and sore and depleted, but I also felt refreshed in a deeper way physically and mentally, because these days forced complete control. It was scary and it was supernatural. The force of surrender was 100% necessary and freeing, and there was a confidence that overwhelmed my soul as we trekked through the days feeling exhausted, but strong and free. Maybe you don’t have to get all the way to a force of control point, but maybe you do and my friend no matter – IT IS WORTH IT. Just let Him work in and through you. See what happens.

The days since then have been way more hands off, the control still comes in waves, but the confidence of the Provider has lowered my stress level in exponential ways. Now, here I sit a week later and feeling energized and fueled, and ready for whatever! As we are also on our Whole30 journey it’s been fun to feel a freedom to explore in ways I have yet to feel in this point of recovery. One such example is this quick and haphazardly delicious recipe.

On Sunday, I was meal prepping and it had taken a little longer than I had intended so with that came my last meal which was lunch and a ‘very quickly throw it together and be done’ mentality, but this one actually worked out so here you go:

Morning-Mole Salad

1 : Hard-boiled egg

1-2 slices : cooked bacon of your choice

1/4 cup : guacamole – I make a simple version myself (1 medium avocado, 2 tbsp diced onions + tomatoes, 1 tsp lemon juice, dash of salt and pepper – whip it together)

1/4 cup : diced green peppers

1/4 cup: pumpkin seed, dried cranberry (NS added) mix

1 Tbsp : lemon juice

 

So here you go 2019 – you are off to a great start and I am fully believing FOR YOU that the best is yet to come.

Jordan

 

 

 

2018 Best Nine

Instagram blows up more than normal this time of year between holiday pictures and what has popped up in recent years as the “Best Nine”. In short it’s a processor that gathers your nine most engaged with posts and turns them into a collage. So I thought we could do a blog post on the Best Nine of 2018 through words instead of pictures.

9. Books on books – From Leaders Eat Last to Creativity, Inc. to Girl Wash Your Face there were some incredible and powerful books I got to dive into this year. Next Year the stakes get higher with even more books on the agenda, here are links to just a few:

Leaders Eat Last – Simon Sinek

Creativity Inc – Ed Catmull

Girl Wash Your Face – Rachel Hollis

Come Matter Here – Hannah Brencher

8. Kyle Pease Foundation

On Labor Day this year I had the opportunity to push-assist for the Kyle Pease Foundation at the Big Peach Sizzler 10K alongside an old friend of mine, Tori. This was truly one of the best memories and opportunities of the year that taught me so much about the power behind the sport of running and the community that surrounds it.

7. Peachtree Road Race PR

This was one of my biggest racing surprises of the year, just barely missing the 40 minute barrier at the AJC Peachtree Road Race on the Fourth of July. While other goals this year were missed this one was absolutely a defining racing moment for me!

6. Kali-girl

Just days after Passion Conference 2018 we headed to the shelter to gain a new family member. Originally named Patricia, Kali has taught me SO much especially in the moments I wanted to send her back (which would actually never have happened, but these were trying times), but shes one of the biggest blessings to us.

5. First Time Homeowners

With the addition of our newest four-legged girl we were a little cramped in our apartment so it was time to explore other options. After about six months of searching and looking at our priorities and must-haves we found this cute 3/1.5 1950’s home inside the Atlanta perimeter with a fenced in backyard for the dogs. While there are some updates we cannot wait to tackle, we are loving our little piece of the city and so are our girls.

4. November Project Atlanta

At the end of March Facebook notified me of an event a friend of mine was attending on Wednesday morning at 6:27a on the Beltline that was a free workout, so I thought why on Earth not? So now, 9 months later it has become a staple in my routine and in my community. It’s free fitness, with the most consistent and encouraging community you could ask for. In 49 cities across the WORLD you should really check it out here.

3. Thailand

In 2015 Jon was the student Worship Leader for a church outside the city so during their annual spring break mission trip we had the opportunity to serve both the people of the Dominican Republic and the students of this church in varying ways although we were not married at this time. In 2016, I had the opportunity to head to Uganda with my families church to serve, and while I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything it was hard without Jon. So at the beginning of this year when one of my friends mentioned serving in Thailand I knew it was a knees down in prayer type situation because it was both Jon and I or neither of us. The Lord opened every door to get to serve inside this amazing country. It was trans formative to say the least and we cannot wait for the next opportunity to serve together.

2. Finishing my first book

Yep, you are reading that right! Just a few weeks ago I put the final period on the first book that I have finished. Right now it’s being reviewed and edited by a team close to me and I am so excited to share the finished product with you all sometime in the next several months – stay tuned!

Number 1: God’s sovereignty over my health and regaining it back!

It is no secret at this point that my health has been on a roller coaster for the last two years, and this year was a fight to get back to a healthy state, and I’m so thankful to say that the Lord has been working even when it’s so much slower (and harder) than I would like. There is no doubt in the work he has done in my body, mind and soul during this year when it comes to my mental and physical health, and I believe this is just the first step in the next season of how He is going to move. Nothing is too big for Him, it just takes a complete surrender.

So yeah, what a year! Thank you Lord for everything you have done and what you are continuing to do through our lives and the city and community around us. Passion 2019 is this week and we are so excited. See you next year

Happy New Year Everyone!

Jordan