Facing Anxiety in New Seasons

I wasn’t expecting it, I had been going to therapy, talking through everything I had swirling in my mind and it still punched me in the gut, hard.

Anxiety wasn’t unfamiliar, but unexpected in this new season, especially past the first trimester. I kept my pregnancy completely under wraps through the first trimester, two years ago I could barely keep myself alive so I highly doubted I could keep another human alive.

But the first trimester came and went and everything looked great, but the anxiety never left the scene. Into my 16th week, with all positive doctors reports and I still felt like I was walking on eggshells. Every time I got too hot, the car breaks slammed too hard, or I felt off I would panic. I could think logically, but it never clicked. Most of the time I combatted it with keeping myself busy with anything that I felt would keep me safe.

Why couldn’t I let go? Why couldn’t I just enjoy this season? It was defeating and isolating. BUT I knew freedom was possible despite what the enemy wanted to keep me trapped in.

So everyday I started in quiet instead of letting the days agenda start raging. Digging up all the lies and worry taking up space in my mind, taking those thoughts captive and replacing them with gratitude and hope in the future. Slowly, slowly the narrative is beginning to change. It’s only been 10 days since I started working so specifically on these moments, but every day is a little bit calmer, a little less stressful, and nothing seems quite as overwhelming.

I believe it’s the same for all of us. How often do we truly start the day in complete silence? Phones still away, no one else communicating with you yet, not attempting to conquer a workout, or be inspired by a podcast or new playlist? In today’s culture is it really possible?

Yes, and it’s necessary. AND it’s possible because God is bigger.

Put the phone down, keep the kids (or dogs) in bed for just a few minutes longer, create the boundary around that space. And work intentionally on turning every fear, lie, and overwhelming thought into something glorifying to the Lord.

Because of Him we can have hope in the future. Because of Him we can be free.

It starts with Day 1 and it may never fully feel like it goes away, but just keep pushing friend. We are in this together, and He has got you!

For a Moment I Thought…

Hustling is the cure. But assumptions are often wrong, and so are expectations. When my doctor told me there would be a recovery period of 3-5 days after surgery I took him at his word. Little did I know that 3-5 days was just the beginning, and I allowed it to crush my spirit. After five days when my energy still loomed low and infection had rendered me useless I started to get anxious. I wanted to get back into my normal groove, I was used to being able to machine through and come out on the other side quickly. Shifting expectations and realities can be really challenging, and as I get older I am starting to realize my body won’t bounce back the way it once did.

From Eating Disorders and Anemia, to a schedule that all but nixed rest, I needed a reset. And while I hated the slow rolling of this recovery, it has helped me see my need for slowing down. If it had been three days and I was back to running 10 miles I might have missed it, and the consequences could have been much more severe. However, that doesn’t mean that as I walk in these days 10 weeks later everything is great. It isn’t. My body is still struggling, I am now on B12 shots in a symptom of the Anemia we had tried to treat with Iron alone, my B12 was unable to maintain levels, thus dropping to a critical level. Explaining

You see I am learning more and more about the way that dominoes fall. Most of the time it’s not a one size fits all recovery. There are steps and those steps lead to this or that which leads to more of this or more of that, and if at any moment you don’t listen to your body it might take you down a different set of tracks all together. Life isn’t always fixed easily or conveniently. The Lord loves us enough to give us to allow these circumstances and choices to wave in front of us so that we learn more about our dependence on Him and how He sustains and strengthens us in the valley.

So I am writing this and I don’t feel great, but I know who has given me this day so instead of trying to scramble my way to something better I am going to sit in the fact that the Great Sustainer is giving me exactly what I need and drawing me closer to Himself if I just surrender my desperate desire of control over these circumstances.

A new season is beginning for me this week and the choices I make in the days to come will dictate a lot of how that looks, but for now I am taking the moments a little slower and a little more analytical. The Hustle has it’s place, but there can also be rest in hard work and the slowing down.

Choose wisely friends!

Jordan

Smiles All Around and Running Lately….

July 4, 2018. I didn’t feel fast, after mile four I actually felt like throwing in the towel. My breathing shallowed, my quads were on fire, and the finish felt so far away. Never imagining what lie on the other side of that finish line. A top 30 finish in the largest 10K in the country, less than one minute away from being considered “elite”, and the impending weight of massive expectation.

July 14, 2018. A last minute 5K in support of an incredible organization: Back on My Feet. At 2.8 Kada collapsed on the ground, unable to move her legs, the pleading of help in her brown eyes. The fear sinking deep to the pit of my stomach that I might lose my pup (I didn’t).

Recovery.

Not a word that is unfamiliar, but one that has been largely tied to the physical aspects of running, but in this past season there was a different type of recovery that had to be done. Mental. The Peachtree Road Race left me numb and unmotivated because the pressure that I allowed to mount was unbearable for someone who was still on the tail end of the greatest mental, physical, and emotional battle of my life to date.

So the races stopped, the high mileage felt far too daunting, and it scared me to feel stuck  in the unknown. There were a few races that I was able to help pace and push-assist and support over this season, but I was never myself, and the community helped keep me going in whatever form that took. My friends and training buddies were with me in whatever way they needed to be and it really was key in keeping me in the game. So I looked at 2019 with open eyes, not really knowing where I was headed, but knowing that I still loved this sport I had found a home and community in.

Now in the remaining few days of January, new wind has blown in my sails, and that smile has crept back onto my face. During December I had to learn to let myself back off without guilt, something I resisted for the first 5 months of this journey. Guilt of letting people down, and even more pressing, letting myself down and not stewarding the gift I had been given had begun to become a banner, and it just couldn’t. So I picked up more cross and weight training and stuck to under 5 miles not sure if that would actually help where I was other than maintaining a base layer of fitness, but I finally learned to be okay with sitting there for whatever amount of time it took. I also found that my people cheered me on regardless. AND THEN in the past two weeks that spark has started to reignite, the excitement for runs has increased, the training runs with my people no matter the weather seem more enjoyable than feeling like a job. However, it’s listening taking the time to listen to where I am mentally and physically every single day that sets the tone.

So, now as I get excited for what’s in store here is a little bit of my training schedule and where I am headed the first part of this year with a smile on my face:

Mon – Cross-training/3 mile shakeout

Tues – 10K: 10 minute warm up, 5 minute progression, 30 minute intervals

Wed – Mobility and Yoga

Thurs – 5-7 mile tempo run

Fri – Mobility, light body-weight circuit, shake out (sometimes just an easy run, sometime striders).

Sat – 10-14 miles steady pace.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

And this week we get the bonus of having back to back 5Ks in the mix! Feel free to hop in!

Fri – Super Bowl VII 5K – medium-quick tempo

Sat – Hearts & Soles 5K – quick-sprint tempo

____________________________________________________________________________________________

On The Horizon:

Well besides the two aforementioned 5Ks to work on speed, here are a few things that are slated for 2019:

  • Road to Gold Test Event (March) – 8.2 miles on the Olympic Marathon Trial Qualifying course
  • Publix Half Marathon (March) – Pacing with my girl A @ 1:45
  • Star Wars Rival Run Half Marathon (April) – This will be my first trained for half in over a year!
  • Peachtree Road Race (July) – The 50th anniversary and excited to see what I can do this year, without feeling the weight of expectation

More TBD!

If you have any questions, or want some race or training recommendations please let me know at jordan@fuelingherforward.com ! I would also love to put my nutrition certification to work so please don’t hesitate to reach out.

Thanks for reading friends,

Jordan

 

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

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