Mama and Marathoner and Keeping God First

My body knows how to wake up right at 5am, it’s been conditioned to do so since my collegiate swimming days, if not before when our first bell in high school chimed at 7:25am. Jon jokes that he always thought he’d be the early riser, but God had other ideas. At this point it hardly matters even though most people think it sounds horrid. One hour is on the clock, I down a glass of water first thing, grab a banana and start the coffee. Maybe this already sounds way to structured for a morning to some, but this is me and this is the gifting and personality I’ve been given! And for the most part its propelled me.

I open up my laptop and send my first messages to my team, since they are ~11 hours ahead time is of the essence in making sure tasks are moving forward and bugs are taken care of. About 20 minutes later with coffee in hand I grab my Bible study and let everything fade around me. We just came back from Maryland, I didn’t take my study because of the nature of our trip and the fact my current study book is giant! Over the past year and a half Bible study discipline is one of the core areas I have worked on, it’s been challenging and beautiful. Now, I miss 5 days of study and I feel similar to not getting water after summer runs in Atlanta. The unquenchable thirst. In both cases if that weren’t the case I would be worried. Like a rain gauge that has been sitting dry for far too long in both running and spiritual growth hydration is the key.

After I wrap up study time (for anyone interested I do the She Reads Truth Monthly Study Plan) I usually have several messages highlighting my notifications bar. If I have a few spare minutes I’ll go ahead and try to resolve whatever is lighting up, but if Elijah is ready to get up then it waits a few minutes. It’s 6am Elijah is typically stirring, I let the dogs out, wake up Jon and we are off to the races. And for me that means semi-literally. It sounds intense, however, my gaze has been set for the day, not on the never ending to do list and work crises but above on the things that matter, therefore I feel sturdy and ready for the day.

I rock Elijah for a few minutes, and then he’s ready to move. He knows mommy goes out the door soon so quickly asks if he can go “side”. I fix him breakfast as Jon makes his way to the living room and by 6:45am, at the latest, I am out the door. I get in 6-8 miles depending on the day, some days depending on work load I’ll break my miles into a morning and afternoon run, but I always get them in. Not every run is easy, especially in Georgia summers, but they are worth it. Usually I’ll go half and half throughout the week between listening to Worship music or a podcast, and there is always one run that I go completely silent. It’s rhythmic, and my soul needs quiet and worship as much, and even more than my brain wants to know “all the things”. I’m not slow by any means, but I also have a long way to go to reach some lofty goals and so there is always the question….

But wait, why? You aren’t at Olympic Trials, you aren’t that caliber of runner (yet), why work that hard? And it’s something I battle with regularly. One, because I’ve been gifted with athleticism, and I’ve tasted that level in another sport. My mom told me when I thought about hanging up my cap and goggles after my sophomore year at GT that God gives you a gift and he gets to tell you when it’s over. That “over” was very clear after my senior year ACC Championships, but I still left a lot of potential on the table and this is just a continuation of something that started when I was 8 years old. Second, it allows me to build community all over Atlanta. People I love and a lot of people I would love to meet Jesus. So I want to keep showing up and putting what I’ve been given on the floor every day. And last, like anyone feels the mental release when you workout – thanks dopamine – it helps you breathe out and relax when it’s over!

So I warm down at by 730-745am, walk inside grab a shower, get Jon off to work and Elijah and I start our day together. It’s not easy friends, I am incredibly blessed I can work from home with flexibility. There were a few months that were really hard, now he’s able to have a little bit more structure around his day and it has made all the difference. In August he will go back to his Mom’s Day Out program two days a week, and that will be exciting as I get into the heaviest part of marathon training to be able to use some of that time for training. However, the grounded and peaceful feeling I feel isn’t because I have it all figured out, but because I know who does.

The days go on, most of the time they fly by. I pray we stay anchored in truth and love, that God brings clarity to the sport I love and have built such a community around, and that our top priorities remain our top priorities. Mama & Marathoning isn’t easy, but there is a whole lot of beauty God is bringing through it.

For now friends!

Fueling for the New Year and Beyond

I found myself typing this out in the last few hours of 2020, the week had been a whirlwind. For all the hard moments of the past year there have also been the best, as a new mom of a now 9 month old and learning how to navigate this sweeter yet harder version of life. Now we are here at the beginning of 2021 and things seem different, but they don’t, you know what I mean? We see hope, but there is hesitancy. We have dreams, alongside drinking a nice long sip of reality. One of my favorite parts of entering a new year is resolutions, as in I don’t take myself too seriously but I love chasing a new goal or setting a number of books I hope to read, if it doesn’t happen I am not crushed but it is a fun way to track through the year. I also love the wellness arena (you probably already guessed that) and so this year I thought one of those goals could be to simply focus a few more of my blogs in that space, maybe just maybe. So here’s a little intro into what could focus more specifically on through the next 365 days.

Food. More specifically: breakfast.

Maybe I should put a trigger warning right there. We are just coming out of the holiday season when, for people of all shapes and sizes and wellness, we think about food just a little extra. For me, someone who has dealt with eating disorders (you can go back and read a little bit of my journey with Over-exercise and Orthorexia in previous blog posts), it already makes you feel the slightest tinge of discomfort. That’s okay. If you can keep reading I hope this encourages you, if you aren’t there yet let me say this: just keep doing the work. Surrender to the Lord, find a nutritionist and therapist, have a great support team around you. You are beautiful, made intricately unique and perfectly you, keep going.

So here we are in a new year, some people are creating both inwardly and outwardly goals towards health and some are just trying to get back “on track” from the reality of the holiday season and the copious amounts of sugar available to us. Let’s think about this though: maybe we all do need a reset? I am a firm believer of taking periodic accounts of the present and taking moments to reset. Absolutely not in an exercise 5 hours a day and restrict calories or food groups kind of way, that is never going to be the answer, but if you need to lose or gain weight there is more than just a calorie surplus or deficit, and for people that just want to detox it’s more than just two days of vegetable juice. So how can we all take a moment to reset and keep in normal rhythms?

So this brings us to breakfast! It’s the way we start the day, it’s the way we give our body the energy and nutrition to live life on purpose, and it helps kick start our metabolism to keep our bodily systems healthy. I could break out each of those three into separate blog posts, but that’s for another day (if you do want specific coaching I am a certified nutrition coach so feel free to reach out via my contact form). Breakfast doesn’t have to be boring if you want to healthy, but sometimes it does need to be quick. For many of you it is probably a combination of both. So here are three suggestions for ways to fuel your day, that are not only healthy but compatible to whatever lifestyle you have!

  1. Grab a cookbook and challenge yourself to create a new breakfast once a week or once a month.
  • The Runners Kitchen by Emma Coburn – this was just released at the end of 2020. Emma is a professional runner in Colorado who has long done food stories and posts on the side. She has come up with some healthy and colorful dishes!
  • Run Fast. Cook Fast. Eat Slow. by Elyse Kopecky and Shalane Flanagan – this cookbook was the sequel to their first Run Fast. Eat Slow. these recipes are all delicious full of Whole Foods that can fit any nutrition plan. They are flexible not overly time consuming and well-balanced.
  • Search the Internet for what you might be looking for specifically. Remember a consistent effort to include all food groups with whole foods is what you are aiming for.

2. You can never go wrong with the basics. Here is a general look at what a well rounded plate has to offer:

  • A carbohydrate – whether it’s a piece of whole grain toast w/ your favorite jam, half a bagel w/ a nut butter, or granola for a nutritious yogurt parfait your body needs carbohydrates for energy. Don’t leave these guys out!
  • A protein – breakfast has so many options here but eggs are probably the fan favorite! Try an egg scramble and throw in a few veggies (spinach, pepper, etc) for an extra kick of nutrition – OR – a healthy serving of greek yogurt added to the granola above. If you want to skip the hearty bacon, turkey bacon, chicken sausage or Canadian bacon are all other ways to get some protein into your morning. Vegan/Vegetarian? Chickpeas, quinoa, and chia are all great sources of protein.
  • Fruits – fruits aren’t always what they appear. Try to make sure you have different fruit options around the house. While we love bananas, snacking on them throughout the day isn’t a great idea so we keep some berries on hand as well. Add them to your parfait, slice up a banana for your nut butter toast, or just make a quick fruit mix in a bowl.

3. Some healthy grab and go options!

  • Rx AM Oats – I’ve always been a big oatmeal fan and RxBar has long been a staple for training because of their dense bars with whole ingredients. The Oats are no different, they give you protein, healthy fats, and a nice portion of carbohydrates all with clean ingredients to jump start your day! Chocolate and Maple are my favorite flavors but you can pick from four. Just add the suggested amount of hot water, let it sit for 2 minutes and you are on our way.
  • Premake some breakfast muffins – while I don’t recommend an extra large double chocolate muffin to start your every day, popping some muffins that have a great mix of clean carbs, fruits, and even some hidden vegetables are great way to get you out the door. Try this recipe.
  • Here is another idea that takes a little bit of prep but allows you to quickly get out the door in the morning. Egg muffins are higher in protein and low in carbs so be careful to make this your sole breakfast depending on your own health goals. You can pretty much add whatever ingredients you please, but they are best with some bacon or sausage, cheese, and chopped veggies.

So welcome to 2021, welcome to fresh starts. I hope this helps you wake up well in the morning and get an energizing start to your day! If you have any other ideas or thoughts on the suggestions above I’d love to hear them in the comments 🙂

Jordan

9 Months Postpartum

At the end of pregnancy and the beginning of Elijah’s life I can honestly say I couldn’t envision the day he had been alive longer than I was pregnant. Yet, here we are, just a few days shy of him being 9 months old. Ever since I was little there were some moments in life I could + wanted to envision, and some that just seemed blurry (even though God usually changes even our best laid plans + dreams), but I’m learning to love stepping into the unknown to find what lies ahead. Now, the following might be a little detailed for some and if that’s you, no hard feelings if you stop after this next sentence. Moments can be simple and moments can be hard and a lot of times it’s a combo that makes something beautiful. This is true whether you are 8 or 80, and remembering the faithfulness of God in your life makes the hills and valley so worth it.

Right now this is where I, we are at. We made it 8 months of breastfeeding, and I still have a supply of frozen milk he gets supplemented with a couple times a week, and I am so grateful for that season. My original goal was 6 months, and then he wasn’t ready and honestly neither was I. Then, we crossed the 7.5 month mark and as simply as I am typing it he decided it was time and so did my body. It felt worn out and in every milestone thus far he has firmly told me when he was ready, it’s so reassuring to me as a mom. It’s also reassuring to me as a person, when we talk about God’s faithfulness so much and a lot of times choices and viewpoints are clear as mud, so when you do get the opportunity to have 100% clarity – TAKE IT.

So, has there been mom guilt for stopping? Absolutely. There are so many voices in my ear that tell me I should have / could have gone longer, my body would have adapted. It’s a struggle when I let those opinions have too much weight, and then I look at that thriving boy and the way I am able to show up for him so much better than I was the last few weeks of nursing and it’s a God-whisper it was all in His timing and His plan. Can anyone relate, in general life?

Now a few days shy of 9 months this little boy is doing everything. Talking NONSTOP, so playful, curious, now has 3.5 teeth (all on the bottom), and thinks he can stand/walk without falling. It makes the helmet that much more of a safety net. And speaking of the helmet we are on the home stretch. In full disclosure this feels similar to breastfeeding, he’s always fidgeting, his scalp is itchy, it’s uncomfortable to sleep in, we have to clean it and his head every day, and it was EXPENSIVE. However, every uncomfortable for him, emotional for me moment has been worth it even though I’m exhausted and I can only imagine he is as well. The noticeable difference we have been able to see, the confidence that if he has to wear glasses or a sports helmet one day the level of comfortability he will have, and hopefully a decrease in opportunities for bullying makes the hardest of moments worth it. But hooray for tests passed and a change of season!

There are further chapters that are about to close, the end of this remarkable, and markable year 2020 – the best and hardest year. Other than the end of a 3 month helmet journey and breastfeeding, we now have the addition of a school day. A day away from me, a breath of independence for both of us. It’s scary putting him with people I do not know yet especially in COVID season, but I am also excited for him to get to experience new things and Jon and I both felt this was the right timing and the right place to try some separation + new stimulation/learning. Work from home has been rewarding, but there are also times for milestones and this step is right for us. I’ve gotten comfortable in our 2020 bubble, we have wonderful neighbors, a great neighborhood, we’ve been able to refresh our house a little and since my parents both 100% work from home we can see them easily and it’s nice and cozy, but 2021is a time for renewal and I want to step into that with eyes, heart open walking in obedience to what God has for me and us.

Now, so far we’ve mostly talked about Elijah and of course he is the star of the show, but this past month has also showed me what my body can do and how healthy rhythms help me show up better as a mom + wife. When it comes to running I not only love and am passionate about it, but they wake me up, help me focus, and give me energy. I get to walk in afterwards to the cutest toothy grin smiling at me and as the breastfeeding weight shed my body felt lighter. I was enjoying it more and started hitting my target paces again, I am competitive so it gives me a lot more energy then it does exhaustion to go out and crush a workout (if you aren’t that way it’s okay too). And because of the pregnancy journey I have been able to have a healthier relationship with food because I need it for me and him. That doesn’t mean I have it all figured out and I still have plenty of hard days, but there is a motivation on multiple levels as well as the training I have spurring me on to healthy training. God always knows what you need when you need it and like my back injury in college helped gut punch my pride issues the same goes with a timely pregnancy to truly show me the value of food in healthy ways.

And there are days I feel guilty for going out for a long run, but I remember the gift I have been given and the flexibility of time I have in so many other ways to care for my family, and it makes me a better mom/wife/coworker/etc. Don’t feel guilty for taking the time for you, I do not know if I am fully on the – do whatever you need to for you – train but I do think taking care of ourselves is Biblical and important so we can serve and give towards others, it’s what we are called to.

So what is next in racing and in life? I wish I could tell you, my races continually get cancelled or moved to virtual and it’s starting to wear on me. I want to be able to test my fitness, but for right now I will train in the shadows until next time – summer 2021?!? I will keep working in the job I am doing which I feel has purpose until I have a new opportunity that is God-called, and I will hopefully keep jotting down some words here and there to encourage moms, friends, and athletes alike.

Elijah doesn’t define who I am, I don’t put my identity in my child or marriage, but rather what God says about me and who I am as a child of God. And THROUGH trusting in those truths it calls me up to more in taking care of Elijah, Kada, Kali… Jon. And if there is one thing I have learned in this season, I have said it over and over, it’s that God gives you exactly what you need for the day. I usually don’t have any or much extra but God is faithful to help me step into ANY situation with enough energy, patience, compassion, etc as I need. Whether it motherhood, dog motherhood because those days are still very much a thing – see Kada’s great escape of October 2020, wife, teammate, and even daughter, sibling, running partner and so on and so on.

There are so many words I could say about being 9 months in, Elijah and my independence and our togetherness, six months now of working form home with a babe, how I am gearing up to run competitively again, but simply it is this: God gives you what you need. His trustworthiness is steadfast in EVERY season.

It’s FINALLY Time

I’ve been hinting around my book for almost a year now, and ya’ll it’s within a week of being READY! So, what does that mean exactly? Well I first want to do a little Q/A about the 180 pages of words, so that all of you who have asked now can hop on board!

  1. Why has it taken another 6 months since your first author copy?!
    • In April I posted a picture with my author copy, but there was still something unsettled in my heart about it. Literally yesterday it felt like after a couple edits I felt the Lord saying: “NOW”
  2. What is it about?
    • It’s about how isolated and unaddressed lies led to body image issues I felt like I couldn’t escape from. About how my image + identity was found in my sport & in how others (specifically men) viewed me and it led to a lot of frustration and hurt. It’s about how Jesus has a plan to use it and to heal it all!
  3. Are there any hard topics?
    • YES! On the same note I believe an older teenage girl could handle it. We talk about Body Dysmorphia, Eating Disorders, the Female Athlete Triad, how mental health plays a role in it all, seeking professional help, and about how when we let men speak too loudly it starts drowning out the only voice that really matters.
  4. Is it completely based on a true story?
    • While I take examples from other people’s stories, it is completely non-fiction.
  5. Is this book about Jesus?
    • 1000% yes. While, it conquers hard lies and schemes of the enemy Jesus is what this is centered around and is the core of why this book was written. I felt that this reality of mental health and Eating Disorders in today’s culture didn’t provide the hope of Jesus in many settings.
  6. Are you going through a traditional publisher?
    • I did a lot of research on this, but I found that for first time authors who do not already have a “platform” it is easier to go the self-publishing route. So, I’m using Lulu, it allows me support as needed and a safe place to work.
  7. Why now?
    • I knew this book was supposed to be released before the end of this year, but was waiting for when the Lord finally gave me the peace and confidence to move forward.
  8. Are you scared?
    • This may sound like a silly question, but yes! I don’t feel equipped, knowledgeable enough, or like the best writer. BUT do I feel like the Lord gave me these words? Yes, and with that I will be obedient.

This was the hardest thing I’ve done (because patience isn’t a strong suit of mine), but something I am so thankful for and excited to see how God uses it. Thank YOU for coming on board with me. Do you have any questions? I would love to answer any you might have at jordan@fuelingherforward.com .

Until next time friends,

Jordan

Acadia: Eats, Ice Cream, and slightly Expensive.

Let me first start by saying that in Bar Harbor you aren’t going to eat for less than $50 for two for anything other than breakfast (and even that’s iffy) so budget well. HOWEVER, it is all together WORTH IT.

But before we get all the way to Bar Harbor let me first mention a tiny, unsuspecting BBQ joint just slightly west of Portland, ME. Jon’s is a big-time BBQ connoisseur so whenever and wherever we travel I research some of the top spots. So we headed to this spot called Noble Barbecue. It was undeniably both of our absolutely favorite thing we ate on our entire trip, so much so that we stopped on the way there and back. Their menu is small, but the way the have regular and vegan options and added little touches that make it a unique and flavorful experience.

As we got into Bar Harbor on Thursday and had adventured outside for a bit, I was just searching for anything seafood related. So I was super excited to happen upon the Bar Harbor Lobster Co. I went plane and simple fried pickles to start, some lightly battered fish, and roasted brussel sprouts. Jon tried his first EVER lobster roll and had very mixed feelings, but needless to say I was proud of him for venturing out. It’s a very standard seaside spot, but if you just want casual – worth checking out.

Friday was our big day. The next morning, post 5 hour hike, we went to Great Maine Breakfast, right in the heart of Bar Harbor. After hearing so much about the blueberry situation in Maine we tried to go for their popular Blueberry Pancakes. They had regular and Gluten Free/Dairy Free. We both thoroughly enjoyed our own versions and yes we resisted this spot Saturday morning as well – ha!

After hike #2 for the day we decided it was time for lunch. Irish pubs are a thing all over the place in the northeast so we headed to a spot with a coastal view: Paddy’s Irish Pub. We craved something unique, but on the lighter side. So we stuck with earth bowls and the best part: Crab Cake. This was probably the best crab cake I have had to this date, and I am picky. If you ever go here – just say yes!

The one thing that we were missing so far that is something that is a must at any beachside spot was fried calamari. Some people thing eww, but I am all about it. Since we weren’t looking for anything special we found a walk-in spot called Geddy’s that had all the American seafood eats, and perfectly crafted calamari. But we couldn’t be finished without a spot a classic beach town ice cream shop. We picked a random one called CJs Big Dipper, it was really great ice cream. Nothing mind blowing, but the perfect treat!

Truth me told we went straight back to Great Maine Breakfast Saturday morning after our run at Jordan Pond. No shame, it’s that good, and doesn’t break the bank, ha!

If you have any other recs for the next time we head that way let me know, we love to explore everything!

Later this week will be a post on San Clemente, CA and I cannot wait to share this surprise trip beach town with you.

Happy Monday friends!

Jordan

The Awe of Acadia

I’m only assuming here but when you think of National Parks I’m assuming your mind goes to the “biggies”: Yellowstone, Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Zion. Acadia wasn’t even on our radar several years ago, but after my family shifted to wanting to do more outdoor adventure trips we quickly made a list of national parks that we wanted to see. So while my family was planning an out west adventure (the only one of those I’ve seen is the Grand Canyon), Jon and I were looking for something a little closer to home for our anniversary.

By now you’ve probably read, or at least seen, the posts about our time in Boston, but Maine was special. Before I dive into Acadia specifically, I’ll give you a little overview. We flew in and out of Boston because it was WAY cheaper than flying into Portland or Bangor, however it’s a near five hour drive north especially if you take regular breaks. If/when we go back I would spend the extra money flying into Bangor so you have extra time to spend in Maine/Acadia.

Because of that drive I routed us a few times to lighthouses and restaurants that allowed us to experience more of Maine as a whole, which was stunning!

Nubble Lighthouse

We stayed in a wonderful little motel a little north of Bar Harbor (the town next to Acadia), called Belle Isle. Although the room was small, it gave us just what we needed, and the grounds were gorgeous and super well maintained. It’s just a couple miles in when you cross onto Mt Desert Island and a little less expensive then staying in the heart of Bar Harbor.

We quickly headed over to Bar Harbor for dinner and our first views of the incredible Maine coastline. It was really stunning. Something I’m so used to being a regular to the Florida Atlantic area is that when you look out into the ocean you just see vastness. It’s just ocean forever. But here, it’s little islands everywhere; some with mountains, some big, some tiny, the sunrises and sunsets hitting them all in a completely different way. It just makes you pause and take all of these mental pictures you never want to lose.

While that first evening we didn’t go into Acadia, Bar Harbor has a great coastline trail that you could literally walk forever with its views and cool breeze.

Friday was definitely the most epic. After researching the best sunrise hikes in Acadia, Cadillac Mountain was on our radar. Then that was 100% confirmed by one of Jon’s co-workers. The catch with Cadillac Mountain is that it’s the first spot in the US to see the sunrise, which also means it’s the earliest. About an hour and change earlier then Atlanta, so if you want to hike it you are out the door by 3:30am in route to park at the base. But it was absolutely worth it in EVERY WAY. Pictures do not do it justice, but hiking it up and down (we took two different paths to get different perspectives) was one of the most incredible experiences, but also one of the most rewarding. Side note: you can drive to the top, you still want to go early to get the entirety of the sunrise, and the parking is limited. Poor Jon looked at me like I was nutty, but when you are married to a an 8, 3, 1 on the enneagram there was NOTHING that was going to make me drive to the top verses having the fulfillment of hiking it. 

I wish I could go ahead and tell you what kind of feast we had to celebrate, but that’s for next blog post. 

After a satisfying breakfast we took time to relax on a bench overlooking the harbor. The boats starting their days and the sun starting to dance higher and higher. Jon took time to nap after such an early wake up call, while I read further into what it means to feel like it’s okay to not be enough because Jesus is enough and we get to be utterly and completely FREE in that. Heavy reading for vacation, but a truth that needs to be hammered in. And then before we knew it, it was TIME. 

Time for what? For only three hours a day the tide lowers to open up a walkway of a sandbar to Bar Harbor Island. Technically part of Acadia national park, roughly between 9am-12pm you walk across onto this island and an easy two mile hike up to the hillside overlooking all of Bar Harbor and the northern side of Acadia National Park. It was a lot after such a hike that morning but 100% worth it, this “trail” is steady with people so stay aware, but not full enough that you risk being trampled.

We got back to Bar Harbor around 11 or so and headed to lunch. Again for next blog post and then back to the motel for a much needed and well deserved nap. 

We took the evening easy, walking the coastline trail again, shopping, and eating great food.

Saturday morning was Jon’s favorite part! I wanted to get in a trail run and Jon had a spot he really wanted to check out that ended up serving as the perfect spot for an easy run. Jordan Pond. It sits in the middle of the park surrounded by beautiful rolling hills and an epic sunrise. It’s right at 3.25 miles around and flat the whole way. While easy for 85% of it, there is a little bit of rock climbing at two points so be careful! 

After we left Jordan Pond we drove around the Southside of the island, taking in the south part of Acadia and its incredible views. We had one last breakfast in Bar Harbor before we packed up to head to Boston. We were sad to have to end this part of our trip, but as I said before when (not if) we are to do it again we will fly into Bangor and spend more time in this beautiful place.

Let me know what you think? Have you been? Anything you loved that I didn’t mention?

Until foodie time,

Jordan