Getting Ready for The Peachtree – from a competitive but not elite runner.

60,000 people will toe the line outside Lenox Mall. After the flyover, and underneath the massive flag that waves on as you bear down the streets of Buckhead, Midtown, and eventually to Piedmont Park on our countries Independence Day you’ll feel every emotion. But as many people have written before Atlanta is smokin’ hot this time of year. One formula doesn’t fit every single person, but there are some overall guidelines that anyone can apply to keep your body functioning at it’s best.

I am SO excited to be running for the 5th time, which I know isn’t many to avid and older runners, but this run is particularly special to me! So here are few things I’ve learned over the past 5 years that I hope you find super helpful:

  1. It’s not only water, it’s ELECTROLYTES.

Water is step #1, but when you are in the kind of heat and humidity that the Peachtree Road Race entails the combo of the following is crucial:

  • Sodium (Na+)
  • Chloride (Cl-)
  • Potassium (K+)
  • Magnesium (Mg++)
  • Calcium (Ca++)
  • Phosphate (HPO4–)
  • Bicarbonate (HCO3-)

Usually you can grab any sports drink and get your share, but if you don’t want all      the sugar check out Nuun tabs, Propel, or SmartWater

    2. Tech Shirts are worth it.

Every time I’ve bought my husband, Jon, a tech shirt it’s  immediately headed to the bottom of his shirt pile, since he’s not huge on cardio they just aren’t his go-to. And that is OK, but for this race you want as cool of a shirt as possible. So put in a few extra dollars and get something that is going to wick away moisture, breath and keep you as cool as you can be. If you are heading to the expo Big Peach has some great and patriotic options.

    3. It’s not just a 10K.

6.2 might be the goal, but remember by the time you get to the start, warm up, run/walk, and then move around Piedmont Park back to your destination you’ve racked up lots more miles and hours. Fuel. Trying to wait to eat or drink until afterwards could be costly. Eat something like a banana and have a full glass of water, at minimum, before heading out

   4. Give yourself grace, and truly experience it!

It’s hot, there are people everywhere, but it’s one of the most amazing experiences. Some people won’t run because they are trying to PR and don’t want to run at that time of year with that many people, and that is okay, but if you are there don’t miss the experience. There is so much beauty in the cheering, the community, the camaraderie among spectators and runners alike to get all 60,000 of us through to the finish line, and celebrate the fact we have the freedom to do every aspect of it! Nerves are normal, but don’t let anxiety ambush everything around you – have fun!

Happy Independence Day friends, hopefully I will see many of you along the way. We are headed to a cookout with friends after we get cleaned up so it should be a wonderful day. Catch ya on the flip side!

Jordan

Summer Fueling + Fitness

Ya’ll we went for 40 to 90 degrees in a matter of days literally like 2 weeks and that two week period was rainy as mess. But here we are, I always remember the first few super hot and muggy runs of the season leave me feeling drained with head pounding as I adjust to the climate and my intake of electrolytes + water. So tidbit #1: this is okay for a day or two, but if the headaches continue you either need to adjust your fluids or hold back a bit. Heat exhaustion is a real thing yo.

But most importantly you can do more than you think you can, because you were created by the one who does immeasurably more always. Keep moving, stay healthy, you have so much purpose & potential

So a few of you wanted to know my favorite fueling products and nutrition habits, and also some fun summer activities (that are mostly free/low-cost). So here we go!

Favorite products for pre & mid-training and/or racing:

Nuun – I bet you could’ve guessed that one. I’m on year #2 of being an ambassador for #teamnuun and still wholeheartedly believe in the product.

Honey Stinger – This is year #1 as part of the #hshive and is always my go to pre race fuel! They have gluten free options and they sit lightly on your stomach. They also have gummy options if you are carrying while racing.

Favorite products for recovery:

Quest – A few years ago I tried their cereal bars and while they were good they didn’t beat out my go-to’s. However, at the Hotlanta Half Marathon (which is always amazing) they gave out ample amounts of free product and their Protein Bar with only 1g of Sugar was a huge hit for me. And yes it’s gluten-free !

Apple + PB Fit – And now you might be thinking what is with the powdered peanut butter? And isn’t it a pain? It’s a slight inconvenience, but all of us need a little bit more inconvenience in our life but for a good taste and super high protein with out feeling weighed down it’s a great option for being on the go!

Van’s Ancient Grains GF Waffles – Really I can actually sit and eat a whole box of these easily, but they are delicious and nutritious – it’s cliche but real. Add some PBFit on there and it’s quality recovery on the go

Disclaimer: None of these replaces an actual meal, and water is always the number one workout + recovery fuel! 

Other notables:

I like all the clean ingredients so a few other favorites are RxBar & Larabar – these are a little heavier and higher in sugar, but they are a great option for a quality snack.

Nutrition: What I’ve learned:

Over this past year nutrition has been a primary focus of mine. And one thing that always got me was how to add the fat + carbs without all the sugar. Now, I enjoy a cupcake, donut, or muffin just as much as the next person, but these should be an exception not a rule so here are a few ideas:

Limit your protein or snack bar intake: these are great for once a day or once every other day, but they are *typically* full of sugar and they don’t replace a meal.

Eat high protein: Jon and I go through eggs like it’s our job, but we also like to keep things like beans, nut butters, and regular nuts and seeds around that we have besides the familiar animal protein.

Healthy fats are friends: Not only do things like almonds contain protein and healthy fats, they are also great for keeping you satisfied, reducing cravings, and helping you sleep. Snacking on almonds and adding avocado/guac to everything are a great way to keep your fat level normal and healthy!

So let’s look at a normal day:

Breakfast –

a. Two egg scramble with veggies (tomatoes, green peppers, onions, and yes sometimes brussels b/c I love them), apple + nut butter, Vans Gluten-Free Ancient Grains waffle

b. Western Omelette with corn, black beans and salsa. Mixed fruit bowl w/ berries, honey, and lemon juice, and piece of toast.

Morning snack – 

a. Apple + Pb Fit and Low Sodium organic popcorn

c. Almonds + Carrots w/ hummus

Lunch –

a. Turkey Sandwich w/ Udi’s gluten free bread, tomato, mustard, and lettuce add some berries and/or dipping veggies for a complete meal!

b. Summer Salad – Lettuce, Pumpkin seeds, berries, grilled chicken, with a lemon vinigarette. Add some homemade Texas Toast, or a handful of chips and guac to get your carbohydrates covered. Just remember portions!

Afternoon snack – 

a. Any of the morning snacks

b. Snack bar with clean ingredients – see above for ideas!

Dinner – 

a. Tacos w/ shredded chicken spiced with red chili powder, garlic, salt, and pepper with roasted veggies, black beans and corn, and salsa on top! Don’t forget the chips and guac!

b. Chicken & Veggie Stir Fry with roasted chicken, veggies over brown rice

d. Burgers topped with all the fixings (go easy on the cheese if you please) and a summer salad (minus the chicken) and easy on the dressing.

Dessert/Snack – 

a. Trail Mix – My forever go to of almonds, popcorn, dried cranberries (low sugar), and chocolate

b. Anything dark chocolate – just take it easy 😉

If you want any of my specific recipe feel free to comment or reach out to me via social media! 

So now we play: Check Em Out this summer:

November Project Atlanta – FREE – Various workouts Wednesday & Fridays around Midtown – check out: https://www.facebook.com/novemberprojectatlanta/

Corepower Yoga on the Roof Series at Ponce City Market – $10 : https://www.facebook.com/events/2103039469985272/

Big Peach Running Co – Group Runs (all around the city) – FREE – https://www.bigpeachrunningco.com/group-runs/

Dekalb 4-miler (7/14) and The 680 The fan Tailage 5K (8/4) – FREE for ATC members and $10 for Non-members : https://www.atlantatrackclub.org/

Can’t wait to see you all out there this summer – if you have any questions let me know!

Jordan

“What’s Your Motivation” ~ Newsboys

For as long as I can remember the song “Shine” by the Newsboys has been around, and while I never remember much about the song my dad had a particular way of *trying* to sing the lyrics “What’s Your Motivation” in the closest Australian accent he could make out. However, my dad not being the most advanced vocalist has stamped that lyric in my head, forever and ever… even hearing the word motivation brings back those memories. So here we are.

The past two weeks recovering from Thailand and working on being present in the now and not always planning for the future has got me thinking about just that: What IS my motivation? Prior to Thailand it appeared to have been lost, the grind of running was wearing me down, I found myself reverting back to my headphones and treadmill and stopping any encouragement in conversation or on media totally losing what God had pressed upon my heart for the past several years: to encourage women to be the best vessel they can be to maximize the way God wants to use them.

So as the lyrics to this song go on:

Shine
Make ’em wonder what you’ve got
Make ’em wish that they were not
On the outside looking bored
Shine
Let it shine before all men
Let’em see good works, and then
Let ’em glorify the Lord

While running fast can be a great way to “shine” it became too much of a focus of getting as fast as I could, and believing only THEN I could really encourage women. Forgetting to stay in my lane until one of close and wisest friends was asking me about healthy habits and we were praying for each other as she starts forming habits to live a healthier lifestyle and I still work on gaining weight back and I remembered, the beautiful relationships that God has given me and the ability to help pray for and encourage them first.

What does it all mean? God has a funny sense of humor. Upon a conviction to stop running competitively and truly do it for fun, I woke up Saturday morning and got my first overall female 1st place in the 5Queso 5K. But the call was still clear, put down my hunger for achievement and start back at the basics. God can create a lot in the simplicity of home base and starting over. Change or redirection can be incredibly hard, but God will honor your obedience and it will be so rich and rewarding because you know you are walking in accordance with His will let him define your motivation and purpose. He wants to use you – so when it gets uncomfortable keep moving towards Him.

He will SHINE through you in ways you won’t believe.

So here’s to a new season and a new age. 28 you’re gonna be good!

Jordan

Running Partners:

Honey Stinger

Oiselle

Nuun Hydration

Top 5 – Beginner Races in Atlanta

Having several friends starting to run, somewhat intimidated by what training and doing a 5k looks like, I thought I would throw together some amazing 5Ks that Atlanta offers for those just pushing the START button; these are chalk full of amazing organizations, great vendors, and the incredible running community that I have come to love in our city.

  1. Shamrock N Roll 5K/10K – hosted by the Junior League of Atlanta, and sponsored by the some of the best including the Fresh Market, California Pizza Kitchen, Kind Bar (ok you guys I really focus on the food here – guilty). Yes, it always falls around St. Patricks Day and the past two years rain has threatened and miraculously disappeared during race hours.
  2. Atlanta Mission 5K – hosted by the Atlanta Mission. Do you really want a way to make your miles matter as you conquer a race for the first time. Comes with a dance pre-race party, and so many goodies afterwards this one is surefire fun and in the heart of Atlanta.
  3. Dogwood Festival Mimosa 5K – Piedmont Park. Every year we LOVE hitting up the Dogwood Festival at Piedmont Park as we head into spring, and now you can begin your day with a 5K around the park to get ready for a day of Festival Food and Fun.
  4. Rise Up and Run / Back to Football 5K – Sponsored by the Atlanta Falcons/Atlanta United & hosted at Mercedes Benz Stadium – for all the sports lovers this one is too much fun, ending on the 50 Yard Line of the field.
  5. Atlanta Women’s 5K – Hosted by the Atlanta Track Club – Another wonderful even the Atlanta Track Club puts on just for women! Celebrating the beauty that we were all designed in, comes with a great encouraging community, a medal, and a rose to boot.

Bonus: Publix Atlanta Marathon, Half Marathon, and 5K  – so you might not be ready to conquer those longer distances, but regardless of distance Publix & the Atlanta Track Club do a great job bringing the running community and city of all levels together for this event in the heart of the city. Start in Centennial Park and watch the sunrise over the skyline with this city supported event!

If you ever need training or nutrition advice don’t hesitate to follow up!

Jordan

Publix Half Marathon Recap

The Hills don’t lie. Knowing that a colder winter and more treadmill miles could make this race interesting helped me process when the burn started halfway through. The first two miles of this race are relatively easy, straight or just slightly rolling makes it a great way to get warm and let your legs loosen up, especially when the weather is fair. It wasn’t my best half marathon, but it was so amazing in so many other ways.

Typically after waking up on race day and brushing my teeth, the inhaler comes out, when you typically race in Georgia and Florida that humidity can do a number on weaker lungs. This morning though, for whatever reason it didn’t happen. After pulling up to park at the Georgia Aquarium Deck the realization hit me, and the medium sized panic button was pushed; not because I haven’t run without it before, but because the air was slightly stuffy and in 4.5 years of racing, the inhaler had never been forgotten for longer races.

After doing a mile or so warm up, with some shakeout intervals, going ahead into the corral made the most sense. Disney races change your views of corrals, you get in them early and you learn to adjust to warming up in confined spaces. Feeling right at home and simply hanging out until race time the nerves hit me. But why? This was a city that I had conquered more times than could be counted, and yet toeing the line of another half marathon completely caused the butterflies to invade.

The horn went off, my legs got in their groove, and away we went passing through downtown Atlanta and the surrounding neighborhoods. 7am start times are my favorite, because the sun hasn’t quite come up yet, which means you are in prime racing form by the time the sun peaks in all it’s beauty over the buildings and trees. And apart from running around my own city and enjoying everything it has to offer in the form of views, running with the sunrise is one of my favorite things. So combine the two and there is nothing better when the Lord is trying to grab your attention, and in this race He was.

The nerves were there, my legs weren’t quite all the way there and realizing that it might be better to just let myself go on this one helped shape my perspective for this run. “SEE PEOPLE”. See the push assist partners running down the street, see the officers standing in the chilly early morning making sure you stay safe, see the volunteers who have been setting up since 4am to keep you fueled, see the dad who brought his kids out to the course to cheer on every runner new, experienced, old, and young, and show them what it’s like to engage with a community. And see the community with which you are surrounding yourself with.

The hills made it challenging, but the engagement made it fun! Striking up conversations (until the last mile and a half, because breathing became really hard ya’ll), and cheering each other on to more had to become a standard. It’s one of the reasons this community is so pressing on my heart.

Crossing the finish line was just another line, with another time, but the memories on course is what really stuck. Thanks to the Atlanta Track Club and Publix for putting on another great event; and to the brands that keep me going – thank you for continuing to make products that keep people in the game and around the people and sport they love!

The Lord is good!

What fuels me:

Nuun Hydration, Honey Stinger, Balega Socks, Mizuno Wave Rider

The Hotlanta Half is on deck next, but if I can add another half marathon in there before that – I will be looking to travel for one! This week I will get in a 10-miler in the morning, I will ramp to 13 the week after and 15 the week after that before we head off to Thailand for 10 days.

Happy Weekend!

Jordan

Top 5 Favorite Running Spots in Atlanta + A Summer Half Marathon

So one of my girls suggested a blog post about some of my favorite spots in Atlanta to run and as the weather warms up and we start getting a little more active outdoors it’s a great time to explore some new spots. So after I’m finished with my list, I would love to hear yours!

  1. The Belt Line/Piedmont Park – one of the perks of running here is the clean, paved roads that are mostly FLAT, a rare find in Atlanta. The Beltline goes by all the new and flourishing neighborhoods as art displays line the pavement. As you go into Piedmont Park you can usually catch a festival or sporting event in one of the many fields. And weather you trying to loop together a 5K or just some loops around the active oval the ever present skyline will be a beautiful sight. And if you are finishing your run along any section you are set on refueling from Park Tavern, to Ponce City Market, to Krog Street Market – take your pic on food, cuisine, and price. The downside: if you are planning on getting in some serious miles / training make sure to hit this at non peak times, between walkers, bikers, runners, and dogs the trails can get pretty crowded.
  2. Peachtree Street – This is especially useful if the Peachtree Road Race is in your future as it hits a good portion of the run, and a nice workout up Cardiac Hill. Since I live a little north of Atlanta my route runs from Brookhaven through Buckhead and down right until you hit Midtown. While I love the Peachtree Road Race, it’s not why I love running here: mainly there are enough runners to feel a camaraderie, but not enough that you feel like you are being pushed off the sidewalk. Plus, the Buckhead skyline at sunrise is really stunning! The downside: the stoplights, this can really slow you up so if you are working on speed and consistency, it might not be the best option.
  3. Cochran Shoals – For me water just soothes the soul, and running alongside the Chattahoochee River is no exception. Head up just northwest of the city for an easy 3 miles on graveled trail next to the river, or even longer by adventuring onto some of their paved trails just off the river. Crowds aren’t ever too much and you its a scenic and peaceful route with a few cool photo spots. The downside: Parking can get a little tricky, and you definitely have to drive there.
  4. Little Mulberry Park – Ok so you have to head up northeast of the city for a bit to hit this park, but the reason I love it is it’s versatility. With two different paved trails, that remain relatively flat and miles of unpaved trails that take you through grassy fields to waterfalls, from valleys to mountain tops, you get views, miles, and a great workout wherever you are in this park.
  5. Cochran Mill – not to be confused with Cochran Shoals, you can find this on the southwest side of the city. The traffic is light out here in Palmetto, GA, and my friends at Peak Racing put on wonderful events and group runs. The trails are scenic and serene, but be careful not to go out here by yourself – definitely a group activity! The downside: The drive, it’s pretty far away from everything but if you are just looking for you and your partner some long quiet trail miles this is the place for you!

BONUS PICK: Stone Mountain Park – so fun fact I’ve never run around the whole mountain, I’ve hiked it more times than I can count, and have run part of the way. It’s five miles around the mountain, or hmmm rock, and very hilly so you will sure to be in for a good workout, and the fact you have scenic views being next to one of the most notable landmarks in Georgia. Definitely an add to

Want something a little closer, less crowded, and shorter distance? Try these: Morningside Nature Preserve, Kennesaw Mountain (if you are in that area), or Brookhaven Run Park for your furry friends!

****ALSO – If you are looking for a summer half marathon that has great city views, great community and a lot of support check out the Hotlanta Half Marathon, now being run by my friends over at Peak Racing (they also got me into the Cochran Mill Trails)

So go ahead, where do you love to get outside? I’d love to check out some new spaces.

Enjoy the spring and the outdoors!

Jordan