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

The Weekly Blurb

Christmas is just TWO weeks away! After a week full of Christmas Parties and MLS Cup victories the beginning of this week was a game of catch up.

Quick shout out to my sister at Hevesi.co for snagging some pictures from one of the first major gatherings at our home, we love getting to share the season and celebrate our first home with some special people.

I hope you are getting to spend the holidays celebrating even through the hard things that I know so many of you are facing. Even if it’s just getting out for a bit, embrace the best parts of the season.

Workouts

So where are we now? On the workout front it’s been tough a few recents from life in a rainy season around Georgia:

Saturday – 20 minute blaster thanks to Nike Training App, plus 20-30 minute core-work.

Sunday – recovery/walk

Monday – 15 minute warm up, 30 minute easy on the treadmill

Tuesday – 60 minutes on the treadmill (this is the longest I have gone since the half on Thanksgiving so I took it easy just getting my legs back under me)

Wednesday – 40 minutes of bodyweight circuits with the November Project

Speaking of, I was excited and honored to be asked to write for the November Project blog last week, the post dropped Monday if you want to check it out here.

So while workouts have been consistent the racing plan is still up in the air. Over the next few weeks I am taking a breather to reprioritize some things in 2019 and what that looks like competitively I am just not sure yet. One thing that has been added to the calendar as of yesterday is pacing the Georgia Publix Half Marathon in March. Getting to pace is such a special opportunity so thank you Atlanta Track Club!

Recipe 

This week also sparked some creativity in the kitchen. Red-Roasted Pepper-Chicken Bake over zucchini noodles (check out the recipe here) and mixed in homemade skinny Alfredo sauce (check out the recipe here). While I didn’t get the texture of the noodles 100% for my picky texture husband we both thoroughly enjoyed the taste and would absolutely recommend.

The end of this week is going to be full of celebrations of all kinds from Christmas, to birthdays, to graduations and project finishings. Hope to dive more into this next week. Until then friends!

Jordan

Hello Holidays, Hello Physical & Mental Health

Hello Monday!

We had a great weekend with the Grinch remake on Friday night (we would recommend), the Atlantic Station Christmas Parade and Tree Lighting Saturday, and the live recording of the Passion 2019 album Sunday, but now Thanksgiving week is here and it’s going to be good. This blog post has things from workouts to best mental health practices through the week.

As I’ve mentioned before Dave and Rachel Hollis do a #last90days challenge and even though pushing the restart button is the norm it’s great to have some clear goals to end the year with, and this week is easy to get lax on those. One of those goals is working out 30 minutes every day, which heading into Thanksgiving & Black Friday shopping can sound overwhelming, but you find time for what’s important for you. Maybe you are responsible for the Turkey so you can’t hit the gym, so here are a few at home 20-30 minute options that will get you moving.

  1. The Peanut Butter Runner – I found her through a box subscription a couple years ago and have loved keeping up with her workouts + recipes. This link takes you to her workout page where you literally kind find ANYTHING.
  2. Nike+ Training App –  When the sky is just too dark to hit the pavement before work I can click on a 15-30 minute workout via the app to get moving for the day! They have fun celebratory workouts to mix it up, yoga routines, and HIIT workouts. Just download it, you won’t be sorry.
  3. And you won’t ever be sorry to grab a friend or family member for a walk around the block or neighborhood.

Speaking of workouts, Thursday will be my 20TH Half Marathon. In 2013, with an 18 degree windchill, no thank you, I crossed the finish line of the Atlanta Thanksgiving Day Half Marathon with a time of 2:06. My ultra competitive and slightly impatient self would have loved to break two hours for my first half, however, that would come a year and a half later. Now exactly five years later and I’m still nervous to run a distance I’ve done more times than I can possibly count if you include training runs and full marathons, and I kind of love that about it!

When you run, the first mile is ALWAYS hard. Yes always, no matter how long you’ve been doing this, but there is also ALWAYS something new to experience, something to see, something to gain – courage, strength, relationships – and it makes it ALL worth it.

Now for the harder part. This week is meant to be full of joy, but sometimes this week feels the exact opposite. There are several friends that are struggling in this season with broken families, or losing a loved one, but there are also circumstances like mine where eat til you drop is a cause of major anxiety. So here are a few ways to keep the spirit of gratitude and enjoy the moments we’ve been given even when it can be hard.

  1. Allow yourself to have space to feel. Maybe it’s your first holiday without your mom or dad and the idea might be to stay busy and distracted, but it’s okay to feel. It’s part of the process of grieving and healing. For a situation like mine (and probably so many others) its the space to walk out for a moment if I get too overwhelmed by any given situation.

 

Experienced But Not Easy – Cochran Mill Half Marathon

This weekend made 19 half marathons, 3 full marathons, a handful of 10 milers and 15Ks, 9 10Ks, and more 5Ks than I can count, and as much “experience” as I’ve had running, Saturday was the hardest day of competition that I can remember.

Every half marathon is memorable for one reason or the other. In 2014 I got to toe the line in front of our nations capital building watching the sunrise, in 2016 my first taste of runDisney magic at the Princess Half Marathon, in 2017 Rock N Roll Nashville supposedly my fourth full marathon became somewhere in the line of my half marathons because of the severe heat, and just this past May the torrential downpour unlike any other that swept across the coast of the Carolinas made for a sopping girl for all 13.1. They all have stories, but when it comes to strength and fatigue I think of the physical highs and lows. Saturday was different, Saturday was mental.

Trail running is something I regularly enjoy, maybe because the opportunity doesn’t present itself enough for me to get tired of it, but 5-6 miles has always been my max. Dirty Spokes is a GREAT trail race series around North Georgia and most of my trail experience is thanks to them. Of course, I thought with the trail experience I had coupled with my half marathon experience a trail half marathon would just make sense. I was wrong.

Let me preface this all by saying this was 100% worth it. Tony and Lisa at Peak Racing have been friends of mine for several years now and I love getting to support their races, they do a terrific job. But Saturday was hard, it was mentally grueling in every way.

The start was cold – like mid 30s cold – something we aren’t quite used to here in the south. My sweet husband was there at the start so I could throw off my layers at the last minute before we took off, and then it started. Taking off with the group towards the tree line was the easy part, and then leaves and trees everywhere you looked. The sun peaking in through the canopy as we winded through the woods, over hills, and through creeks (literally through them, adds about 10 lbs in weight with wet shoes), no mile markers, very few people: just you and the trail ahead.

When I say I roller-coastered through every emotion I am not joking in the slightest bit. The first mile or two were tough, but nothing I wasn’t used to. As I got into my stride and thinned out from the racers around me, the regular uncomfortable stretching happened, but then I found my legs and the pleasure of being out in the woods with very little distraction took hold and the smile danced on my face.  After 45 minutes I was mostly alone, scanning the vast opening in front of me to try to keep the trail in check with the two guys that were just a bit ahead, bad idea. Fall #1 happened somewhere around mile 6-7; at this point I was already feeling slightly drained. I was frustrated to say the least, no I was angry – I could tell my body was starting to fade, but my will power to keep at my current pace over took. Trip, slip, tumble, lose the trail: my pattern for the next 30-45 minutes and I was over it.

As much as I’ve raced and as tired as I’ve gotten, quitting has never been in my vocabulary. This was the first time I wanted to raise the flag in surrender and be rescued by helicopter and taken to the snacks at the end. Then I realized that I wasn’t getting out of this and it was a chance to challenge and strengthen myself mentally in a brand new way. So after taking a breath and a moment to refocus, I found my rhythm again and found the joy in the sport I’m so fond of. For the next 40 minutes I focused on my own steps, not those of the people ahead of me or behind me, but those right where I was. Taking steps slower if I needed to and allowing myself the freedom to push just as long as I could be safe and stay upright, and then I used the space to think of EVERYTHING I had to be thankful for. It made all the difference.

After 2 hours I was exhausted physically and mentally but I could hear the finish in the distance as people were cheering and music was blaring. I was “home free”, and at the end after hugging my friends and husbands necks – gratitude.

A few things I learned over those few hours:

  1. You have to stop focusing on where other people are, or you might face plant in the place you are.
  2. Just because you’ve done training in one way, doesn’t mean you can easily adapt to any circumstance. You have to train your mind, body, and soul in whatever goals you hope to achieve.
  3. I should run trails more often and always carry a handheld water bottle!

Thank you to Peak Racing Events (Tony & Lisa), Big Peach Running Co, Pure Kneads (can I get a whoop, whoop for gluten free peanut butter sandwiches at the end), Quest Nutrition, Nuun Hydration, Allison Lerer, Wade Coleman, Chris Dillon, and Jennifer Butz for everything you brought to the table as sponsors, hosts, and teammates!

And to my #1, my crew chief, and partner thanks for helping me through the highs and lows and letting our dogs have some fun in the process!

Trails taught me a lot, and I will be back!

Be thankful today friends.

Jordan

 

 

 

Fall Trail Running and Why It’s Breathtaking in More Than One Way

Half a mile down the paved trail the split comes and the dirt path displays on the right; the sun pierces through the holes in the canopy above, creating shadows of beauty in every direction. Crunch, crunch as my shoes stride deeper into the Chattahoochee National Forest. To my right is the faint sound of the river a hundred yards away, and all around is the whispering of the leaves talking to each other and the squirrels scurrying to bury their nuts as the cold weather will eventually encompass the beauty that surrounds you with each step.

It is so poetic, but it is also hard. The ground is uneven and hills will eventually meet you, spiders make their homes across the path as they’ve swung their webs from branch to branch. The colder and darker it gets, the harder it is to push go, and the miles you stretch are as much mental as they are physical, but the end is incredible. The moments of taking in Creation around you, of pushing yourself to new heights and depths, of gaining fresh perspective and a new sense of wonder.

The end is worth it.

However, you have to prepare, so here are a few tips of getting ready for trail running this fall:

  1. Map it out! Know where you are going and study the route – one of the last trail runs I was on the planned 5 miles suddenly became 9 miles because of getting lost in an attempt to just figure it out as we went.
    • Need a place to start – check out All Trails (web and app) for a great list of trails both near and far, hard and easy.
  2. Find your tribe. Safety, safety, safety. It’s best to find some people to hit the trails with you, however if you do decide to take it solo make sure to let at least 2 people know where you are going, how long you expect to be gone for, and always go to a populated area during
  3. Pack appropriately. Other than layering appropriately as it gets cooler – depending on where you go, trails can take a good bit longer and be a good bit harder than just hitting road miles, so your best bet is to buy a small pack that can house hydration, fuel, and a few essentials like band-aids, alcohol wipes, and pepper spray.
    • Nathan has some great options for belts and hydration vests.
  4. Don’t forget about footwear. While you might not want to spend a huge chunk on trail specific shoes, you do want shoes that will support you enough that when a root or rock tries to interfere you won’t go down. Go to a local running or outdoor store like Big Peach Running Co and talk to someone about the best options for you!
  5. Take time to stop and enjoy! As someone who just likes to go, trails bring out a different side of me, they slow me down and help me focus on the incredible details of creation around me. Snapping a few keepsake shots is one of favorite things to keep remembering my why!

Of course if you are competitive like me you might also want have a goal if you really desire to get better at trail running. If it suites your fancy check out Dirty Spokes and XTERRA trail series along with my friends at Peak Racing for races of every distance.

Overall just enjoy it, enjoy the leaves as they change color and slowly float to the ground, enjoy the crisp air as you breath with each glide across the ground, and snap some shots of your favorite moments and places.

Happy Fall Ya’ll!

Jordan

 

 

Gaining Mileage, How A+B Does Not Always Equal C, and the Importance of Recovery

Gaining mileage : Pain + Strength + Recovery

My background is not in running. Running half and full marathons wasn’t a norm for me, until I started working at Big Peach I didn’t even know there was such thing as a Cross Country Spike. It wasn’t until 5 years ago that I dove in and fell in love with my feet on the road.

15 miles. it was late summer/early fall and the first time I had ever conquered that many miles in one swoop. Making my way to the door I barely had the energy to turn the handle only to collapse on the floor and crawl towards the kitchen. It was a long time coming, physically and mentally drained I was anything but a pretty sight, however it changed everything. The ability to push through thresholds, to go further, to be stronger than I could have ever imagined.

In college, we would cross-train with running, agilities, or stadiums but the switch wasn’t immediate post-swimming. So how did I go from swimmer to marathoner? I walked 1 mile.

My parents have this very convenient loop around the front part of their neighborhood that so happens to equal one mile from driveway to driveway. So we walked it, together as a family most nights. But then as we started going longer and further I decided to set a goal: a 5K at a park nearby.

Sometimes all it takes is setting a goal.

So I started to run that mile, and do that several times a week. It is NOT a quick process. The rule of thumb is add 10% at any given time, a hard rule to follow I know, but it can save you from injury in the long run (ha, get it). Run 1 mile several times, consistently, then slowly work your way up. Please don’t decide to go from 4 to 9 miles at one time, but be ok pushing yourself, being in pain (the right kind of pain), because that’s your body getting stronger and breaking down barriers.

However, it’s not that once you get to 9 miles you just stay there, NOR do you just keep going up and up and up. When I’m training for a half or full my mileage stays between 4-7  – 2 days a week with track or cross-training sprinkled throughout, and then a long run Saturday which looks more like a roller coaster Here’s what I mean:

Week 1: 8 miles

Week 2: 9 miles

Week 3: 7 miles

Week 4: 10 miles

Week 5: 8 miles

and so on and so forth.

Why take yourself on a mileage roller coaster, and only run 3 days a week? One word: RECOVERY.

I learned my lesson the hard way, trying to run 6 days with no strength or stretching involved (a week that more looked like 3 miles, 6 miles, 4 miles, 6 miles, 3 miles, 10 miles, rest) and I paid the piper. Now stretching, yoga, and strength are staples in my week. If you need a good stretch or strength workout checkout these youtube vids here. They can be a little cheesy, however you can do them anywhere at any time.

So all this to say: you might have wanted a quick fix to start doing more and more miles, but it’s the three Rs of running:

Repetition – buid a base foundation and mileage and stay with short gains for a consistent period.

Resilience – as you go further and further push your body a little past your threshold each time, it will make you stronger, faster, and overall better physically, emotionally, and mentally.

Recovery – give your body rest that it needs, stretch, and refuel with the correct nutrition.  It’s ok to only do one long run a week and only gain mileage every other week, and Lord willing I will be able to speak into specific nutrition SOON (exciting news ahead) and you can always go to my resources page for Runner Cookbook Inspo: Runners Cookbooks

LAST, don’t forget to SET A GOAL it’s going to be much easier to push if you have a goal in sight!

I hope this helps, if you have something specific you want to ask email me at jordan@fuelingherforward.com

Happy Friday!

Jordan