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


Running into the Holidays & Cold: A Guide for Runners & Gift Ideas

My alarm went off at 5:28 am this morning and after doing a quick glimpse at the freezing temp and windy conditions the bed beckoned me back to sleep until 6:15 am. It’s not me giving up my speed work, it’s simply delaying it until the conditions are slightly more favorable. Unfortunately today, favorable doesn’t seem to be in the vocabulary, and despite the fact that after tomorrow we get a slight reprieve from freezing and windy it’s time to face the music: COLD IS COMING, RUNNERS PREPARE.

Now some people love to run in the cold and that is all well and good, you go do your thing. I however, need everything in a streamlined order to tackle the harsher miles. Proper pre-run fueling, correct layers, and warm recovery techniques, so without further ado my favorite cold weather gear & products:

Cochran Mill group

1. Pre-Run Fuel: Cinnamon spice oatmeal. There is nothing like some hearty oatmeal to get your whole food carbs before  you hit the outdoor conditions. You have to plan ahead, but like with anything it’s worth it to get the whole nutrients this gives. Here’s a quick recipe:

Homemade Cinnamon Apple Oatmeal 

1/2 cup steel cut, gluten free oats (I like Vitacost brand)

1/2 organic Gala or Honey-crisp apple 

pinch of salt and cinnamon 

On low-med heat add a dab of butter to a fry pan and let it coat the base. Once melted down add you diced up apples, cinnamon, and salt (sometimes I add some pumpkin spice as well). Mix apples until coated with spice and let simmer on stove for 10 minutes. In the last five minutes add your 1/2 cup of oats with 1 cup of water and let it cook on low-medium heat until water is removed. Add in your spice covered apples and let it simmer on low heat for two minutes. Enjoy! 

2. Layer Up: Nike and The North Face have the best base layers in my opinion, but you also need to accessorize. Here’s all my favorite gear I ran in during the Atlanta Thanksgiving Day Half Marathon which was a crisp 36 degrees, no windchill.

3. Carrying on those longer runs: 

  • Hot Hands – usually despite gloves the wind still whips through, these long-lasting hand warmers will keep your fingers from going numb.
  • Nathan Handheld – when it get’s cold it’s hard to motivated to hydrate, but it’s important nonetheless. The 12oz is my favorite, but you can range from 10-18oz
  • Foxelli Headlamp – we obviously know it’s darker for longer through the winter and while my husband doesn’t love when I go it alone solo there are opportunities for group night/morning running and that means headlamp. This one is basic, but comfortable and does the trick!
  • Nuun Hydration – This is one of the biggest ways to help get you those electrolytes without having to fumble around for salt sticks, or different fluids. Just drop a tab into your handheld and keep going.

4. Recovery:

  • Nourishing Food – I’m going to bring it back up again, but Run Fast. Eat Slow will fit the bill for this every single time.
  • Foam Roller or R-8 Roller – you might be familiar with a foam roller, and can get a basic one off Amazon here. The R-8 Roller is a more advanced system that you can move to those hard to reach areas while on the go for a more active recovery. They are pricey, but the work wonders in recovery.
  • Yoga Classes – Corepower is probably my favorite with a broad range of hot-yoga offerings, but I’ve heard great things about YogaWorks (formerly Infinity Yoga) as well. Wherever you may be geographically (there are lists everywhere of great yoga studios), I have found that a consistent yoga practice keeps your muscles healthy, your core strong, and your stress down. Gift a membership to really anyone – we probably should all yoga more.

 

Do you feel more prepared already? Does this help with gift ideas? Do you have any different suggestions? Let me know!

Jordan

 

 

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

 

 

 

Jumping In.

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

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

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

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

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

Bring it on!

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

All for now,

Jordan

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

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

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

Defeat. Lies. Pain.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you for always reading!
Jordan

 

Fall Trail Running and Why It’s Breathtaking in More Than One Way

Half a mile down the paved trail the split comes and the dirt path displays on the right; the sun pierces through the holes in the canopy above, creating shadows of beauty in every direction. Crunch, crunch as my shoes stride deeper into the Chattahoochee National Forest. To my right is the faint sound of the river a hundred yards away, and all around is the whispering of the leaves talking to each other and the squirrels scurrying to bury their nuts as the cold weather will eventually encompass the beauty that surrounds you with each step.

It is so poetic, but it is also hard. The ground is uneven and hills will eventually meet you, spiders make their homes across the path as they’ve swung their webs from branch to branch. The colder and darker it gets, the harder it is to push go, and the miles you stretch are as much mental as they are physical, but the end is incredible. The moments of taking in Creation around you, of pushing yourself to new heights and depths, of gaining fresh perspective and a new sense of wonder.

The end is worth it.

However, you have to prepare, so here are a few tips of getting ready for trail running this fall:

  1. Map it out! Know where you are going and study the route – one of the last trail runs I was on the planned 5 miles suddenly became 9 miles because of getting lost in an attempt to just figure it out as we went.
    • Need a place to start – check out All Trails (web and app) for a great list of trails both near and far, hard and easy.
  2. Find your tribe. Safety, safety, safety. It’s best to find some people to hit the trails with you, however if you do decide to take it solo make sure to let at least 2 people know where you are going, how long you expect to be gone for, and always go to a populated area during
  3. Pack appropriately. Other than layering appropriately as it gets cooler – depending on where you go, trails can take a good bit longer and be a good bit harder than just hitting road miles, so your best bet is to buy a small pack that can house hydration, fuel, and a few essentials like band-aids, alcohol wipes, and pepper spray.
    • Nathan has some great options for belts and hydration vests.
  4. Don’t forget about footwear. While you might not want to spend a huge chunk on trail specific shoes, you do want shoes that will support you enough that when a root or rock tries to interfere you won’t go down. Go to a local running or outdoor store like Big Peach Running Co and talk to someone about the best options for you!
  5. Take time to stop and enjoy! As someone who just likes to go, trails bring out a different side of me, they slow me down and help me focus on the incredible details of creation around me. Snapping a few keepsake shots is one of favorite things to keep remembering my why!

Of course if you are competitive like me you might also want have a goal if you really desire to get better at trail running. If it suites your fancy check out Dirty Spokes and XTERRA trail series along with my friends at Peak Racing for races of every distance.

Overall just enjoy it, enjoy the leaves as they change color and slowly float to the ground, enjoy the crisp air as you breath with each glide across the ground, and snap some shots of your favorite moments and places.

Happy Fall Ya’ll!

Jordan