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

 

 

 

Turning Point Power & Finding What’s Best for YOU!

Here is your disclaimer right off the bat: you know your body better than anyone else, you know what makes it come alive and what doesn’t (He has made you with specific passions), and if you are having trouble figuring any of that out or mental struggling with who YOU are message me jordan@creativekitchenrunner.blog I would love to chat! But here is a little bit about finding on-the-go snacks that helped change the conversation and fueled my body with what it needed:

5 weeks ago it finally clicked.

As a fighter of Mental Health when it comes to fitness & nutrition as well as a competitive athlete I couldn’t pull myself over the hump. After several months of trying this that and the other on the journey of getting back to healthy, gaining a good bit, and starting to shift my head to healthier thinking, I was in a rut. I knew I could physically continue by adding loads of carbs and sugar, but as a competitive athlete with low body fat that isn’t what I wanted to do to my body and knew it wasn’t the healthiest thing for my head. I wanted well rounded nutrition including fats and protein in unison with the carbohydrates that allowed me to feel confident and excited, not forced and exasperated.

Intro: Quest Nutrition., and lot’s of prayer…

I had heard about Quest before, and my General Manager at Big Peach Running Co, raved about them, but with an unhealthy mindset at the time I didn’t want another high calorie bar shoved in my face. HOWEVER, at the Hotlanta Half (go check it out – it’s one of my favorites) I decided to give it a shot after getting free samples at their tent. FIVE weeks later I’ve been able to put on more weight, and am competing at my best after two weeks ago breaking 20min in the first 5K of the Peachtree road race, and just being shy of breaking 40 minutes in the entirety of the race and placing better than I could have ever imagined.

BUT it’s not just the physical results that are encouraging and motivating, it’s the mental game that I no longer get anxious about eating protein bars, or that I’m going to feel terrible afterwards. The language is shifting in my story from anxious to confident, because of 1. Jesus first and 2. Brands that help you reach your specific goals towards getting back to healthy! It’s both a physical and mental journey that take time to relearn fueling yourself in order to make the most of the things that fill you with joy and passion – the uniqueness that He has made you so beautifully in! 

And I so want that for YOU. It’s not easy, it’s an every single day, but like I said in my last post find the people that will come alongside you and take that baby step TODAY!

SO how can YOU find the right fit? Here are 3 ways to start:

  1. Find out what your body needs and what makes it feel best! That means some experimenting.
    • We all know the diet trends > gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, vegetarian, paleo, Whole30, but EVERY BODY IS DIFFERENT, and there will never be a one size fits all. Maybe you do have celiacs and gluten is a big NO, maybe you are lactose intolerant or don’t eat meat, maybe you just want to try a few things to see if it makes you feel worse or better – DO THAT. Try things and take notes on how your body reacts
    • NEVER stop being a student of yourself.
  2. Write down your goals.
    • Maybe you eat cheese 6x a day and you want to cut back on dairy – check out supplements that accommodate that, but have healthy carbohydrates and protein. RXBar is a great example of this! Or maybe you just want all around more protein to help with muscle building – you can check out Quest or RxBar.
  3. Research!
    • While there is no one size fits all, there are several companies that I love because of the clean ingredients that they use. Larabar, Kind Snacks, and RxBar are great ideas for clean eating, but they also have sugar from the fruits and berries they use. So, just look around see what might be a good fit there are so many options for on-the-go snacks will give you what you specifically need.
    • Of course not ever replacing the nutrition of raw foods, keep those first and foremost.

So what do I love:

Question Nutrition of course! And there is still time to save during Prime Day here.

Nuun Hydration! This might be for hydration but I can never NOT talk about them for their clean ingredients and the way I always feel refreshed.

RxBar: my go to snacker on the run – mostly because you can find me at Sbux and they stock them there – snag the Prime Day goods here

I hope this is helpful to you! Take your time and let things come as they may. Take notes, and always always remember the truths about who the Father says you are!

Jordan

 

 

 

 

 

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

The “D” Word… Discipline

Discipline.

It can be the ugliest of words, because you know the potential of beauty it holds, but the painful steps it takes to get there. People don’t necessarily like discipline, they like routine. And if you can adjust routine just a bit then change will happen. Those two words can often get confused or used to mean the same thing. My argument – routine is just part of discipline and yes changing some things about it can influence discipline in different (and important) areas of life, it isn’t everything.

It’s a complicated equation that adds up to discipline and that’s usually why in the busyness of today’s culture we miss developing it  – usually there is a quicker solution to  patch the problem. No longevity, no consistency, no chance to see the real beauty that it holds.  So let’s dig into the ugly and talk through some real life ways to trudge through to the beauty that discipline holds, specifically in the areas of fitness and nutrition.

Disclaimer: Discipline does not mean obsessive. I have fallen into this category in the past, and am still learning just as much as everyone else, and if you find yourself there – talk to someone! Message me, reach out to someone! 

Fitness:

  1. You aren’t the only one. Yes you, text that friend, research groups or gyms in your area, invite someone. In most of the community around me people are constantly looking for people and places to help them get started. But it takes that two or three google searches or texting those two or three friends to actually press START.
  2. Goal set – seriously get a pen and paper with this person or persons above and write it down, put it where you can see it. What you want to accomplish, but also how!
  3. Try things out – try one thing a week, put a calendar reminder on your phone on a certain time every week to try something out until it clicks !
  4. Then write it down some more. Log your workouts and your progress, and check in with your counterparts.
  5. Set a reasonable alarm, or actually work on making space. Maybe you don’t go from 8am wake up calls to 4am, but if you started by twice a week waking up at 6:30a or even 7a to do a quick walk or small body weight circuit then that is step, and ANY step is a great step

Nutrition:

  1. Make it colorful and nutritious: berries, and greens, and sweet potatoes, and avocado on everything! Mix in some almonds, and carrots, and throw in some protein whether thats beans – vegan style – or chicken / fish. If you breakfast is grabbing a bar, wake up 10 minutes earlier to scramble an egg, grab a piece of fruit, and pop that piece of bread in the toaster. I promise it’s worth it, you’ll enjoy your food more and it will leave you feeling fuller!
  2. Just because you have a coupon doesn’t mean you should use it. Just because Chick Fil a is giving a free large waffle fry with mobile order doesn’t mean you cash in – on occasion of course, not if you’ve had Chick Fil a 3 days in a row. Just say no.
  3. Don’t leave food out on the counter for extended periods of time. I know it’s totally our culture to have all the food everywhere, but that’s a sure fire way to not watch what you eat.
  4. If you know you have a particular food you struggle with don’t keep it in the house. One of my biggest struggles is peanut butter, I love the gooey goodness but I’ve set parameters around only buying it so often so if I run out before my next pick up then I am out of luck. No your limits and no that that treats are actually treats and should NOT be staples in our week (like cupcakes).
  5. COOK: you never truly know what all goes into your food if someone else makes it. The good, the bad, the ugly.. so get into a habit of cooking the majority of the time. Try recipes, invite people over to cook together, experiment with colors, flavors, and actually attempt those 300 Pinterest recipes you pinned 5 years ago.
  6. Or… go to Whole Foods – I mean, because it’s Whole Foods.
  7. Portion Control – while I, admittedly, read food labels too much, they do suggest serving sizes on the back for a reason. Don’t get obsessive but don’t hesitate to do a little look just to see if you are in line with them.

It’s a journey that lasts a lifetime so put in the work to develop those disciplines now. There is no convenient or quick fix. It takes time and effort, but we are all doing this thing called being human together, and even from behind screens we all have things in common and can relate to one another. Be bold, and leverage relationships!

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