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

 

 

 

The Art of Recovery

*trigger warning*

Yesterday was not one of my finer days, it was actually incredibly messy, but it taught me in so many ways. On typical Sundays Jon plays at least during our morning gatherings at church so the importance of riding to church together means getting up several hours before the sun and making our way down to 515 Garson Drive to sound check. On these days I stash my laptop in my backpack to knock out some work during the two hours before breakfast. Sundays are my recovery days, very rarely (with the exceptions of races that fall on Sundays) do you catch me pounding the pavement, however my days are still relatively active. Yesterday was no different and the morning started out as such.

Let me preface this play by play by saying I’ve been on medicine recently that has made me feel out of sorts in every single way so that was just an added bonus.

Sunday. We rolled up around 615am and per usual I headed toward the kitchen to grab my coffee in one hand and water bottle in the other. Except I got stopped up, because normally you groggily open the door that early in the morning to white counter-tops at the bar and only the Keurigs awake and ready to greet you, but today was different. The brilliant white had massive glass jars on them and the contents of these jars had one of my biggest food loves on this planet: caramel popcorn. So while I try to not eat before our breakfast together on Sundays, I used the scoop to indulge my palate with a few pieces of this sugary popped goodness. It’s recovery day, so why not, and when 830am rolled around I headed towards the Green Room to meet up with Jon before he hit the stage for the day.

The breakfast spread stays relatively routine in this space on Sundays, so I grab my bowl and my packet of Cinnamon Spice Oatmeal, add water, pop it in the microwave then grab my boiled egg and apple. Simple breakfast that satisfies many of the food groups and gives me fuel for the morning. After the first gathering ends, you can find me serving alongside our women’s ministry team sorting donated clothes that we turnaround for a ladies event at the beginning of the year. The band starts playing for gathering number two and I hit the kitchen for lunch. I grab a turkey and veggie half sub (that I turned into a salad) with fruit and some of that popcorn that was still standing stout and chatted with one of my friends while we ate. Things are smooth sailings it seems. However, this is when the rails start to come off and the spiral branches around for the first time. I got caught in a conversation with one of my friends and started popping the chips on the counter left and right. SALT. I headed back for another round of popcorn, two and a half more rounds to be exact. SALT & SUGAR. The cookies looked good so I had one of those also. My mind starts spinning in ugly ways.

As the gathering started to wrap up I slipped back into the green room to wait for Jon so we could head home to let the dogs out before having to be back to play for the 5pm gathering. The mini brownies looked enticing so I had a few. I wasn’t hungry, my body was telling me to hold off, but I wasn’t listening. The combination of my craving of sugar and salt with the anxiety that was starting to grip my mind was a huge gust of resistance.

After the trip home to let the dogs out, give them a bath, and clean their towels (we have an extra dog with us right now – so three dogs grows dirt at an infinite rate so you find time where you can) we headed back to the church, I had started to beat myself up while knowing it wasn’t the end of the world. The anxiety was just too high so I sat down with one of my friends to grab the quinoa salad, pita with tzatiki, and a chicken skewer with roasted veggies. And to that you might say “but that’s healthy”. Correct. The two jumbo cookies that happened after that – not so much. At this point I’m getting jittery and my body is screaming at me, my mind is a jumbled mess and I’m downing water like I just ran a full marathon to try to hush the pandemic that is happening inside my body.

Cue the after party. I thought we could escape it, I really did. Our church is so wonderful to do seasonal after party’s after our last gathering on Sundays so this one was themed fall which in turn required every pumpkin spice pastry to be present. I thought I was strong enough, but I had been fighting this war inside my mind and body all day ALONE, when I should have realized it was just TOO much. So more caramel popcorn, pumpkin spice coated pretzels, and two Krispy Kreme Doughnuts.

The spiral was and is devastating even as I sit here typing the next day, water bottle in hand to flush the toxins out, because the progress is a beautiful story. I am in a healthy weight range, and even with this medicine causing some side effects there had been balance. Crushed, Disappointed. Isolated. So then God and I usually have some form of communication at this point – and this time it was that of defeat and the question of why?

So what’s the point of writing all of this out? Because through the mental anguish, being sick to my stomach for the past 12 hours, and the feeling of absolute failure I’m learning so much. He’s faithful to do it, always faithful. My excessively independent personality still needs help, and I have to be reminded that I have to ask for that help BEFORE I crash. I’m learning that recovery is not a poof moment. I thought when I got to my goal weight that things would just magically even out and we would move on, that hasn’t been the case and I’m thankful for those that are consistently moving through the steps whether backwards, forwards or twirling around. I’m also always reminded that my body doesn’t do well with gluten, that ones for free ya’ll.

Most importantly though, through the last 24-36 hours I’m learning that brokenness and struggles aren’t the enemy, it’s giving into the lies of handling them in an unhealthy state that is. The enemy wants to isolate, scheme, and do anything he can to derail you. So while he was able to gain a small victory over my mind yesterday (and admitting that is scary and hard), the confidence that he absolutely WILL NOT win the war is just that much stronger.

Let a hard day be fuel in your fire to move towards better, towards healthy, towards Jesus.

Always here to talk!

Jordan

 

Jumping In.

A few weeks ago a writing job that had been presented to me during the summer had fallen through. Since initially saying yes it had been on my mind even though it wasn’t scheduled to start until Q4. As the weeks had passed the pull to stay clear of “putting all my eggs in that basket” had been pressing, and thankfully I listened.

Now a few weeks past the disappointment, and post the realities of big transitions, the cloudiness of life is starting to clear and fresh breath is becoming the lead story. Of course this really is the best place to be heading into the holidays, but what does that really mean? As I continue on in a season of uncertainty, the feelings of being bogged down by this that and the other have been replaced with new opportunities and are bringing excitement with the added capacity to be able to jump in.

Right now: it means staying in my part time project management/administrator role, but as always, the Lord has been gracious to breathe new life into the familiar. On a new, new front it looks like starting my studies for getting a nutrition certification After the past couple years of a physical and mental health battle in the realm of nutrition, the passion is burning to dive into the opportunity to learn and provide a safe space for people to learn and grow towards the best versions of them! If you have any questions please feel free to comment or email me : jordan@fuelingherforward.com .

While I’m studying, and during the holidays I will be posting some of my favorite holiday healthies (yes they exist) along with some of the most fun ways to stay active and enjoy during the coming season + a mental health perspective on it all. Per usual I’ll be referencing Run Fast. Eat Slow regularly!

And then you probably ask about running. Next Saturday is the Cochran Mill Trail Race and then my calendar is clear as in zero, zilch, nada, although I will be volunteering for the Atlanta Thanksgiving Day Half Marathon. There is something beautiful about endless opportunities, but a peace about zero expectation. For five years I have pushed hard to be the best runner, teammate, and woman that I can be in order to be able to continue to step into the immeasurably more and glorify Him through all of it. He get’s ALL the praise for allowing me to reach so many of the goals that have been set, and recover from the hard and low points. So the future is exciting even though uncertain.

Bring it on!

What do you have coming up? Is there anything you are excited about? A goal you are aiming to reach before the end of the year?

All for now,

Jordan

Trusting and Taking Care of Your Body In the Midst of Messy

Can you say stretched? Stretched into tears, stretched into more. The more is challenging, but the more is beautiful.

Saturday night was plain hard. Lying on my bed staring at the ceiling wondering “why?”. Why was the physical pain mounting as if the mental recovery and training wasn’t enough? After my box jumping injury from a few weeks ago and a strained tendon in my good leg, the resistance band to the eye was my breaking point.

Defeat. Lies. Pain.

It was a season of anything but stepping into the beauty He created me for, despite the work He still did. The good news: Autumn is here, and my top prayer is for a refresh. Refreshing in mind, spirit, and body, and confidence in my Savior and Creator. And He’s already on the move!

Our bodies are incredible, seriously think about all the intricate details that make up YOU, and how every single day they keep pumping, keep moving forward, make adjustments, heal, jump, celebrate, mourn, it’s a wonder. Our minds are that much more; the potential they hold that we most likely will never tap into is at our fingertips. However, whether you believe it or not, it’s there, and what if we all made the choice to reach towards our potential? We stopped focusing on what other people are doing and how they are succeeding or failing, and focused on how we can make this world better and more like Him, what if? But as someone who is coming out of a season messy, trusting that beauty lies ahead and putting mental pain and the grip of eating disorders at the feet of Jesus seems overwhelming. So it starts with trust.

Practically, in this season, it means giving my body the boost it needs and learning to trust it again, more importantly trusting God that He made me exactly the way He wanted me. It sounds a little daunting when the waters seem to rise, but like I mentioned above our bodies are a phenomenon, because our bodies were designed by the maker of EVERYTHING. So maybe we can jump into the more, trusting that He’s got us and has created us for remarkable things if we just put a few things disciplines in place to usher us forward.

Who doesn’t love a list? Here are a few things on taking this next step into the new season:

  1. Listen. During my season of Orthorexia and Excessive Exercise I stopped listening to my body even though it told me what it needed and when it needed nutrients. Our bodies were designed to ebb and flow in different rhythms, and like they alert us when we are sick, they alert us when something in our nutrition is off. Don’t ignore it. If you need carbs eat carbs; if you are full, but there is still good food around walk to another room or grab a water bottle. (More in depth blog post on this later).
  2. Cook. As the cold weather and holidays approach food becomes an increasingly hot topic of conversation, and whether it’s eating out every night or hitting the tailgates with all-you-can-eat chili and wings every Saturday you have to make time to get your body the correct nutrients. Sometimes that means saying “no” to yet another outing or offering to cook for friends at your place. We will all have “those” weeks, and if you feel like you just cannot make it work, make sure to have a supplement on hand especially as the Flu starts to rear it’s ugly head. Don’t find yourself depleted before the festivities even start.
  3. Drink Water. Hello my name is guilty. As the temperatures drop I find it even harder to get the water my body needs. In the Last 90 days Challenge with Rachel and Dave Hollis they challenge you to drink half your body weight in ounces of water each day. This is a great rule of thumb. The warm drinks are great, but only when water coexists with them!
  4. Go Outside. As much as I really despise the cold there is no doubting the beauty that can be found as the seasons turn and people hang decorations, or corn mazes make their debuts or Christmas Tree Farms start popping up. Never stop exploring and standing in awe of what’s in your own neighborhood.
  5. Dress Up. I know I know I love yoga and sweat pants too, but sometimes that only hinders activity and taking care of yourself. It’s a lot easier to grab the cookies out of pantry and stick close to home when you are comfy in sweats, coffee in hand, and Hallmark movies playing in the background. Give yourself a fighting chance. Put yourself together even if it’s just to run to the store, or get your nails done. Plan a hike with friends. Meet up at the local coffee shop with your girls. Get ready and go out.
  6. Gratitude First. In the post “Today I Feel Insignificant…” gratitude is a major theme, and it’s worth reiterating. 10 different things every day. Write them down. Don’t forget.
    • Number #1 for me yesterday: getting a love of Marvel from my dad so that our Monday mornings can start by catching up on the latest buzz. Not many people get the kind of relationship with their dads so taking it for granted is something I avidly try to avoid.

Maybe you don’t love or even agree with everything on this list, but even if there is just ONE thing on this list you can implement this season it will be a step. A step into beauty and potential.

Thank you for always reading!
Jordan

 

Today I Feel Insignificant…

At 5:40 am like clockwork my feet hit the floor after one round of snooze, my watch goes on, my hair gets pulled back with no less than four bobby pins in place, I throw on my shorts and tank, grab my pre-run apple and head towards the track. Except not today. Today there was silence; the lies of yesterday hitting both mentally and physically.

Insignificance and shame you can leave.

It’s funny how one theme can be woven into so many facets of your week. From intimate conversations with friends, to suicide awareness panels, to speaking to a room full of middle and high school girls, to LG knocking one out of the park on Sunday SHAME has been that theme.

The combination of sadness and frustration strikes a chord every time. The burden heavy, the wrestling match that can never be won. But why? Why this week, why when the opportunities are beautiful, things are settling, and God is tangibly on the move are shame & insignificance rearing their ugly heads? Because it’s where I’ve sat, unknowingly.

As the pounds came back on, the mental anguish started to subside, and light started to shine into the dark spaces shame kept a stake in the ground. Still having the tendency to fight alone, the biggest trap I fell into was feeling like a burden to my family and those close to me. Jon had enough on his plate why bother him with more, my friends won’t bother to have me around anymore because I have too much “stuff”. Sound familiar?

In a season where things are in a constant state of flux, my running has been somewhat sidelined forcing me to give up Chicago this Sunday, and my Elite debut next Sunday; writer’s block has held me captive as I choke out words just trying to keep creativity onto a page, the career aim never seems to be quite clear, and things overall feel foggy as I navigate the day to day, it can be hard to silence the lies.

And all the enemy wants me or any of us to do is sit in this place.

But it’s a lie. It’s all a lie. If the enemy is trying to attack you in this place (as my husband gently reminded me) it means YOU ARE ANYTHING BUT INSIGNIFICANT. In fact it’s quite the opposite, you are incredibly valuable for the plans and purposes of God, and he’s already carried all the burden for you so you are NOT a burden to anyone.

In the words of Hillsong:

I am chosen
Not forsaken
I am who You say I am
You are for me
Not against me
I am who You say I am

So maybe you don’t know exactly what the future holds (but I mean does anyone), but you can stand on that promise above. You are significant. Want a practical way of stepping into this is gratitude, oh yes it’s that cliche, but I love what Rachel Hollis and The Chic Site are doing for the last 90 days of the year. One of their Five to Thrive methods is writing a list of 10 unique things (no blanket statements) to be grateful for each day. What a start?!

Today, I’m grateful for a journey that has allowed and pushed me towards bringing the hard things to light, and those that have followed it along the way.

For now friends,

Jordan