Race Recaps and Rest Days

This past Friday rolled around and the pre race day moment I usually encounter hit: “Do I really want to toe the line tomorrow?”. Simply put, the way to get better at racing is to practice racing, but when you’ve ground your body down during training making it to the start line can be challenging. A 4 miler is nothing to gawk at, but it’s also not like asking my body to run a half or full marathon. I needed 12 miles on the day, and instead of pushing and potentially hurting my worn out body I decided to use the 4 miler as a marathon pace effort. It was the best of both worlds, I could get in practice with race morning, start waves, racing smart without pushing my body to the max and still getting in the work I needed.

And honestly those moments should be approached that way every time. Run by feel. Push yourself, but don’t get hurt. Race days are a dime a dozen and you can adapt your plan to what is healthiest for YOU on any given day. For some of us more competitive folk it’s hard not to try to rage out the starting gate, but that is when you have to focus on the long range goal. Sure I could risk injury now and aim high, but my actual goal is to be able to complete “so and so distance on this date”, so what is the wisest choice for now? Navigating iterative goals in the midst of a much larger goal poses challenges, but isn’t that kind of how life goals in general?

In my case, I am looking towards October 10th at the Chicago Marathon, everything else is just a build up to that moment. Decatur is hilly, very hilly and Chicago is very flat, so pushing myself up and down hills at max effort is only going to add so much value. Injuring myself up them sure won’t help. So if you’ve set a run, cycle, yoga goal make sure you are moving and pushing your body in ways that will benefit the end game!

Also to note, if your body truly feels like its been drug through the mud, give yourself the rest day! There is no shame in adding an extra one to your plan or even taking one to begin with! If you still want to make sure to move your body take a easy stroll around the neighborhood or do a gentle yoga session – your body will thank you either way!

Today, my body just said no. So I did some light stretching on the Nike Training App and took a short walk first thing in the morning. You can also Epsom salt bath, ice, use compression, foam roll, etc anything that relaxes and lets your body recover! Other than making sure Elijah is taken care of my legs are thrown up on the couch to keep them elevated! There are so many natural recovery tools that we have access to.

Wake up your body and then move it in the best way for you today!

Happy Tuesday Friends!

Jordan

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