Mouth-Breathing is So Unattractive: Listening To Your Body & Fighting the Mental Battle

Mouth breathing is so unattractive, seriously the combination of Darth Vader and exasperated sighs about does a girl in.

Mike could tell right off the bat that I wasn’t myself as we grouped up before the start of Big Peach’s half marathon training run Saturday morning. Mike is my newest running friend, having recognized him from previous events he decided to join the pace group I was leading during this training season. He’s from Philly, having only been in Atlanta for 3 years, and grandfather of two; his drive and encouragement make the miles go faster, however this morning would be particularly tough. My body wasn’t 100% and my normal chipper self felt stuck inside my own head.

Fast-forward to Monday and the mental game started waging – my body still craving rest, but in that state of weakness and vulnerability the enemies lies against wellness were all too loud. Jon joined me for a walk that morning around the park that is now our front porch view and the food game began to start. “You aren’t well enough to run, but that means you can’t eat either” STOP. But my attempt at drowning it out doesn’t last long “you can’t run, you can’t eat, you won’t be able to race well in October so forget racing elite again, you ate unforgiving things yesterday you are just letting sit in your body” FAILURE.

No. The narrative HAS to change. No. I am not going to run when my body says no. Yes. I will trust that my body is going to work the way it was created and tell me what and when it needs to be nourished. No. This doesn’t ruin everything or anything. And it’s all so much easier said than done, but it’s something that is constantly being reinforced in this season.

Getting sick isn’t a norm for me (thankfully), but when it hits it’s just hard, plain and simple. Rest and I don’t have a super close relationship, and forcing myself to go down is like trying to tie up a calf at a rodeo, kicks a-firing, add in the mental health aspect and it’s a full on show.

So what did a series of days with no exercise look like? It looked like continuing to learn to listen to my body and not my head. It looked like choosing Jesus instead of giving way to the lies of the enemy. It meant enjoying a GF Mexican Sandwich w/ bowl of black beans and rice with a kick to help nourish my body last night (and completely and grossly drain my sinuses). I always come back to Run Fast. Cook Fast. Eat Slow. (check it out here) because these recipes are life giving and consider well-rounded health. It’s writing down all the feelings and voices you are hearing to help work through it instead of letting it compound inside.

BUT it also means utilizing the technology we have available to check in with yourself when you might not quite understand it. My Garmin Forerunner 35 (learn more here) has helped me track my heart rate and understand how my body is adapting to certain things since I’m under the weather.

It’s everything about continuing this journey.

If anything envelopes these thoughts above it’s that we are created so beautifully and intricately that even though our bodies can sometimes fail us, they are also INCREDIBLE machines that give us signals and cues to what and when our bodies need certain things, food, rest, exercise, and HELP. Don’t get wrapped up inside your own head and forget to listen to everything else that’s going on.

You are stronger than you think, more capable than you think, and completely enabled by your Creator!

 

Getting to Healthy & the Hands that Help

You are not alone. Maybe you need to read that 100 times to even start believing it, and if thats what it takes the rest of this blog post can wait, it’s on the internet it’s here forever.

Jon and I were sitting out on the porch outside our apartment when my phone rang, it was my mom. Answering it as usual since this wasn’t uncommon, her voice sounded more serious than normal. Her and my dad were on the other side as the four of us sat on the speaker about to dive in to a conversation that helped redirect my unhealthy course of taking “health” too far.  Starting to talk through the things that could help me come back to healthy was at times hard and uncomfortable but completely necessary.

You have to start by being okay having those conversations with those that love you.

HONESTY TIME: Around the time we got married three years ago I was heavier than I would have liked to be post swimming career and just getting into the running scene. When I got our wedding album back and realized just how far it had gotten everything changed, except this change was far too drastic. March of 2017 the weight had come off two-fold. When I came to the realization of how far I had let myself dive in to this lifestyle – it was devastating. Tearful and angry at myself and incredibly strong willed. why couldn’t I just flip a switch and it would fine? In my mind (which was skewed at the time) I believed it wouldn’t be that hard, but a few months passed with very little progress, and I realized this wasn’t something I could do alone.

So maybe you should stop right here… maybe the conversations have started but you are still trying to face it headfirst, on your own and you’re exhausted with little change; maybe you need to realize that the burden you are carrying is just too heavy, and that you were so sure of your independence that you forgot you have a Heavenly Father who wants you to be dependent on Him. And part of that is allowing your community and/or finding a community to come alongside you. 

So stepped in my parents who helped me build a strong community with a fountain of knowledge on all things fitness, nutrition, and all around mental & physical health. There were things I could have NEVER known for myself, and that’s likely true in whatever health or any type of challenge YOU may be facing!

My team was top. I honestly could never thank them enough. The people who called the darkness into light and helped get me on the train towards healthy were a rock. Even in the ugly conversations God used them to help reshape my future, and maybe more importantly – to give me one. Emotional, Mental, and Physical Health isn’t something to be taken lightly, it’s what allows us to walk out our purpose and calling and be the version of us He created and desires for us to be!

INVITE THEM IN. YOU AREN’T A BURDEN. YOU ARE LOVED CHILD OF GOD.

Now let’s talk about YOUR people, your community, your team, and if you are those people I want to encourage you also:

It’s okay to ask, it’s ok to speak up and let them know you are worried, and it’s okay to not have words to say and you just have to be. One of my close friends ended a conversation about where I was with the comment, “I didn’t know if I could ask or say something”. This was close to a year ago, but the comment has resonated with me. The person you love might not be ready to hear or deal with it, but it is ALWAYS ok to say something and ask questions for the sake of the ones you love. It also might be exactly what they needed to hear.

This stuff is messy. And it’s ok to be scared and it’s ok to be loud whoever you are – in the midst of battle or supporting and fighting alongside them. Community is important and YOU MATTER!

Wherever you fall or if you just want to tuck some of this away for anything in the future – here are a few resources:

  1. National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA) – this is a GREAT place to start if you have questions or concerns or are reaching out for help. Even if you don’t have the exact symptoms there are some great resources!
  2. Ilana Katz – Dietician – if you want to start getting some step by step coaching (in Atlanta)
  3. Run Fast Eat Slow – I’ve linked this before, but it is a great resource for healthy and mindful cooking, as well as how to think about food with a healthy lens!

**Also note I am writing this from the perspective of fitness, nutrition, and mental health, but it can be applied in so many ways**

I hope this encourages you to take steps on one side or the other if you find yourself in a similar situation.

We are all in this thing called life together, let’s encourage and love the best we can.

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