Category Archives: Inspirational

You are not hallucinating

In 2014 my “One Word” resolution is alignment. That means that as long as nothing is out of place, I’m free to be me, random blogging and all. I’ve searched for schedule and structure in my writing and blogging, but it’s not my season for that I guess. It’s hard to actually live a life worthy of blogging about and then actually chronicle it while balancing work, purpose, passion, family, and adventure. I will embrace the roller coaster and hang on for the ride though. I just can’t get the idea and call of blogging out of my system. That being said, you are stuck with me. I am not a unicorn. I do exist and I do continue to run, eat, tweet, lead, seed, and repeat. I am still on my #runstreak (working on year number 3 Polar Vortex and all), and I am still juggling my simultaneous desires for cheeseburgers and veganism. Some may call it schizophrenic eating, I prefer the more scientific terminology of “Flexitarianism”.  I will be chronicling all of these thoughts and more for your pleasure, for my pleasure, or more realistically for an audience of around 1.3 fans. Watch out for words flying from my fingers at random!

Lose Weight Fast

The discomfort of giving your best is less than the regret of holding back.

A lot has been going on in my life lately. My weekend started off with one of those days of sorrow topped with joy. We spent the day in Toledo Ohio at the Memorial Service of my 90 year old Great Aunt Dorothy. It is very sad to see her pass and know that her chuckle and ability to include everyone in everything and make you feel genuinely liked will never be felt again, but  celebration of a life well lived. To live to 90 years old and have spent 89 of those years living independently is a great story. She only gave up her independence 9 months before her passing due to some health issues. I am keeping my fingers crossed that I got that side of the families genetics instead of my Bentley side of the family, but so far I’m pretty much striking out since almost all of me is pure Bentley. If I keep running and living well though, hopefully that DNA will kick in and I will last well into my 90’s like so many of the Whitmore’s have.

20130612-114440.jpgThe boys at the memorial service behaving like champs and brightening the mood.

20130612-114424.jpgA small portion of the dessert table that I had to try. It was National Doughnut Day Friday, so I replaced the biblical mandate of eating Donuts on that holiday with a mandate to eat all chocolate products in sight. I had gotten out of bed at 5 AM that morning to get a 6 mile run in before we left for out of town, so I definitely had banked the calories for this.

On Saturday I woke up early again to hit all the Little League Games and get my house in acceptable condition for our friend who was coming to spend the weekend with us and minister at our church. I got my 8 mile run in and felt fantastic. Our rule at the Buckland home is that when friends come in from out of town we have to eat copious amounts of food in our quest to be hospitable, and all of the food must be delicious. By the time our friend arrived, I was more than ready for dinner, but something felt off. I decided to order a salad instead of the burger I usually order at Fat Head’s (the restaurant my husband thinks is necessary for each of his friends to eat at. He thinks eating here is as important as baptism, so you can’t argue with that). I ate my salad and just felt inordinately full.

I didn’t want ice cream after dinner, which should’ve been my first clue something was awry, but since we were going to Mitchell’s (another Cleveland staple and MUST eat), I couldn’t say no. Another glaring clue something was wrong should’ve been the fact I ordered a single scoop cone instead of my usual Sundae the size of a small toddler.

I woke up Sunday feeling lethargic, but since I had slept all of 3 hours the previous night, didn’t think much of it. I did my Sunday #runstreak 2 mile run, had a great church service, then went to another horrible for your body meal. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, you have to eat at MELT when you visit Cleveland. It was Jonathan’s duty of brotherly kindness to expose our friend to this place. I didn’t feel great at this point, but ate my meal and half of everybody else’s meal anyway because it’s just what you do at MELT and I thought I was just tired.

That evening I ate nothing at all. I even said “No” to ice cream when the guys tried to peer pressure me into partaking again. I just felt chilled, tired, stuffed, and not too great. I honestly thought it was from eating too much. I almost always gain like 67 pounds when our friends come to visit and I know how unhealthy eating destroys my body and my system, so I thought I am officially too old to indulge occasionally and it’s time to marry my new lifestyle 100% of the time instead of following my usual 80/20 plan.

Thankfully, or horrifically depending on your perspective, I have learned over the course of the last few days that it wasn’t what I was eating that is the problem, but in fact, my body decided to go on the WORSE DIET EVER. I got up Monday and almost passed out walking to my kitchen to start coffee.  This is obviously not normal behavior. I can run a marathon but I can’t walk to the kitchen, funny stuff. I felt so hot and so cold at the same time that I thought I was going to burst. I crawled back up to my room and just layed like a kid in bed. When I can’t make or drink coffee, it’s time to call the coroner. I was down for the count.

Because Jonathan had appointments that day, I pulled myself up, threw clothes on and took Gentry to safety town. I had already promised Reese that we would go to the YMCA for me to work out and him to have kids club, so despite my husbands plea’s, I took off.

20130612-114416.jpgG-Man Representing Safety Town

After 576 Days on the RunStreak I’m committed to the streak. I eeked out my 5K on the treadmill feeling like I was going to die and then skipped weight training. At that point, there was no arguing, something bad was happening. I will not tell you the other evidence of the stomach flu in my life at that moment, but let’s just say I had a very unpleasant day. I went home, showered, and didn’t move all day. At this point I had not eaten one thing since Sunday at lunch and was not only not hungry, but terrified of what would happen if I ate. I finally force fed myself a banana and some Sprite, but I had a fever of 101 and couldn’t budge.

So, if you want to lose weight fast, find someone with the stomach flu and get it really good. It is Wednesday and I’m still not recovered. My fever has broken thankfully, and I’ve eaten some chicken noodle soup and toast, but i have no appetite and my energy is nill. I am down 5 pounds from Sunday morning. I hate being sick, but if I can keep it off when I feel better and start eating again, that will be nice.

I have kept the #runstreak alive against all common sense and logic, but I have had to replace my 10 mile run this week and my 8 mile run with 2 mile slow runs and I pretty much have read that you shouldn’t resume any mileage until you can eat normally and feel strong. For now, I guess the only speed work that will be happening is a trip to the bathroom.

What are your lose weight quick tips?

When was the last time you were bed ridden? (The last time I was this sick was before my eldest son was born and he is 8 now, so I have a great track record for health and wellness overall.)

Did you celebrate National Donut Day?

“THAT” Girl

Look in the mirror, that’s your competition.

Today marathon Jessica was officially back. After taking the month of May to not think about training schedules and to focus on falling in love with running again, running and I moved our courtship back to engagement levels today. I ran my first 10 miler since May 4 (the day I ran the Capital City 13.1). I’m not going to lie, being engaged again feels nice and mother nature smiled on me hugely with some amazing running weather. My marathon training plan for June is to run one 10 miler, one 8 miler, one 6 miler, three 5K’s, and my 2 mile “rest” day every week. For me, this is a reasonable way to stay in medium to long distance shape without the risk of overuse or injury. My official training plan is 16 weeks long, but it is much much easier to train for a Marathon with a super solid base than it is to jump from 4-5 mile days to 18-20 mile days too quickly. Therefore, these first 3-4 weeks are just going to be base building beast mode. Wish me luck!

This lady is my competition. (Pic from 2011)

This lady is my competition. (Pic from 2011)

I’m starting to become “THAT” girl. Recently I noticed a phenomena of all of my random neighbors, which includes people who live up to 6 miles away from me because I frequently run past their homes, to start commenting to me and staring at me. I think this is funny because my husband runs nearly (notice I say nearly because clearly my mileage this year is blowing his out of the water. I’m several hundred miles further than him this year) as much as I do and nobody ever looks at or says anything to him. A couple of weeks ago a neighbor commented that I make him dizzy and tired because he sees me out all the time at random and nocturnal hours of the morning just running in circles. He said just watching me makes him feel exhausted. I wasn’t sure how to respond to that except to say to myself that he needs to up his fitness routine. In addition to that exchange, people will ask how many miles I’m going today or say they see me all over town and it blows their mind because I’m so far from home. My neighbors landscaper told me that I “get around”. Thankfully there was good context for a comment like that :)

Anyway, today a man I have never seen stopped me on the sidewalk and just asked me why in the world I’m always running. He said, “You must really want to be in shape. I just saw you an hour ago running and here you are still going.” I explained to him I was on my long run (I guess the super stylish fanny pack like fuel belt and hair saturated in sweat didn’t give me away) and that I enjoy training for and running marathons for the stress relief, the solitude, and the mental health benefits I feel. He was pleased with the answer, which is good because if he wasn’t I think he might have broken my legs to get me to quit running.

So, my question for the blog is, do random strangers ever comment on your running?

I can’t believe I’ve become “THAT” girl. What I mean by that is there was man where we used to live that everyone in the town talked about all the town because he would speed walk for hours on end, miles and miles everyday. People speculated that he must have HIV/AIDS or some other horrible ailment and that he was trying to stave it off with fitness. People would regularly refer to the man in conversation, even though nobody had even met him. He seemed to have endless energy. I used to giggle when I would see him zooming by. He was a MEGA fitness walker. He was probably speed walking as fast as a lot of people run miles. I think of him when people comment on my running and take it as a compliment. Hopefully I’m inspiring people in my community, but if not, at least I’m meeting a lot of people and having an open door of conversation to let them into my life. Jesus modeled relationships and neighboring, and although he didn’t use running as his method, I’m sure he’d be glad I exchanged dusty sandals for springy Brooks tennis shoes and bring people together.

20130604-142623.jpg

Speaking of relationships, the sounds of my boys using their imaginations, creating, playing, and jumping outside with neighborhood kids makes my heart glad. I’m thankful that they are living childhood the way it should be, and not in front of a TV screen, a computer, or a video game. Don’t get me wrong, they spend plenty of time on iPhone apps and in the company of angry birds, but as adventurous boys, the call of the wild is strong for them and I am more than happy to appease that drive to get dirty, loud, and sweaty and let them be kids. I am so thankful for the nicer weather. In the winter sometimes you have to resort to Wii Sports games for any semblance of exercise for your kids, but when it’s nice out, forget all these expensive childhood obesity campaigns and just help encourage people to get their kids outside. Imaginations don’t cost money and they teach everything from fitness to team work to what it truly takes to succeed in life.

20130604-142501.jpgVolunteering at Reese’s school for field day. Keeping that giant ball up in the air and chasing it down for several hours and getting several hundred students to do team work games was both fun and exhausting. I probably added at least a couple miles to my run total for yesterday at this event.

20130604-142515.jpgField Day Potato Sack Races

Come back later and we will talk about food and other equally exciting things like how people like to tell you running will cause arthritis or that with all the running you do you should be skinnier or that they just can’t fathom how you have so much time to train for a marathon. ( Preview: Everyone has the SAME 24 hours in a day, some just choose to set a ridiculously insane alarm, or stay up when every else is snoozing so they can fit all of the work, dreams, and desires into their life. Also, most marathon runners I know are the busiest people I know. Presidents have run marathons. Medical Students have run marathons. CEO’s, actors, lawyers, and moms with full-time jobs plus a husband and 4 kids. The secret is simple, remove obstacles and excuses.)

Stray Saturday

Train — like an athlete. Eat — like a nutritionist. Sleep — like a baby. WIN — like a champion.

I like the above quote, however, those of us that have raised babies realize that this is not realistic for an adult. Babies snooze a lot and snooze deeply, but they sleep according to their own whims and at their own discretion. I may feel like crying from 2 AM-4:30 AM as an adult like a baby would, but it doesn’t work out too well for my schedule.

  • (I have totally felt like crying all night long lately as my allergies have been out of control and keeping me awake. I have even gleefully plotted the methods I could use to remove my eyeballs from their sockets.  I am taking Claritin daily, but it is struggling to keep up with the reality that my neighborhood looks like a winter wonderland, and no, it’s not from snow but from extreme pollen.)

I have a lot of stray and random thoughts today, so while I desire to change your life,  motivate you, and elevate you holistically, I’ve been taught a mind is a terrible thing to waste. Therefore, I decided to just let the stray mental bullets fly.  Mind, Body, and Spirit are all at work today. Hopefully you’ll catch something!

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From the rosebush on the side of my house. I’m pretty proud of the fact we didn’t kill them all, just most of them 🙂 What I looked like after a hot 8 mile run the other day vs. What I imagined I looked and smelled like. We won’t have a visual for what I actually smelled like.
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What I looked like after my 8 mile run this morning, and proof that I completed it despite the mental gymnastics. My pace was not great  because I did not get up and run at 5 AM before the sun came out with guns blazing.Don’t be jealous of how gorgeous I am here.

I completed day 565 of my #Runstreak today.

  • (You can join a temporary #runstreak by aligning with Runner’s World and their Summer Streak. Check out #rwrunstreak. One of their holiday challenges is how I got started on my streak and I had so much fun streaking that I have just never stopped!)

My question is how did 8 miles feel like 3 miles just a couple of weeks ago but feel like an ultra marathon today? Thankfully I’ve been in the running game long enough to know that the weather, sleep patterns, stress levels, eating habits, and numerous other factors all go together to decide if a run is going to be easy mentally and physically, or if it is going to be a struggle in one of those areas. The good news is that no matter how bad a run is mentally or physically, the endorphins produced do not discriminate and flow footloose and fancy free through your mind, body, and spirit and make you very happy that you did what you did and that you are accomplishing your goals one step/one run at a time.

We have been having a heat wave (I’m actually loving it. I’ve been so ready for this long winter to end), so this week between the heat wave, the high winds, the humidity, and all of the thunderstorms, topped off by my tight hamstrings, I have really been working hard at running smart. I am thrilled to report that my sever hamstring issues were obviously from the weed pulling (my theory was correct), and are not some super long term running injury. I have run three 5K distances, a 6 mile run, and two 8 mile runs this week that will be capped off by my weekly short “rest day” run of only 2 pre-dawn miles early on Sunday morning, which could be a soaker because there is a 90% chance of storms, but I don’t have treadmill at home and it builds character and the mental prowess you need to complete marathon training and actually finishing races. (If you would like to purchase me a treadmill,I will be your new best friend.)

20130601-135323.jpgProof that the meteorological reports in Cleveland are inaccurate a majority of the time. Left shows the forecast (0% chance of precipitation) and right shows the reality out my windshield (monsoon).

20130530-215335.jpgI’m not sure how healthy this snack is exactly in terms of pure/clean eating, but it has been a go to favorite of mine lately when I want “junk” food. It’s not junky at all in reality, and it is sweet. There is quite a bit of fiber in each serving, as well as protein and it is decently low calorie. If you want a sweet crunch, check these out. They are a little on the pricey side, but too horrific. They cost about the same as a pack of Oreos, and if you eat the whole bag  it will  cost you much less calorically than a binge eating episode of cookies.

20130527-143501.jpgI’ve been spending a good majority of my life in Costco lately. I am seriously considering a move into the store. Our church is in a huge Summer Serve Initiative and I have been feeding just about everyone and their brother on the west side of Cleveland. I figure that a majority of Jesus’ ministry was spent around a table in fellowship with others, building common ground, and even showed us that the greatest thing we can do to honor is death on the cross is have communion, which involves the breaking of bread, I can model this and show my community appreciation with all of the goodness Costco has to offer. This is where we fed all of the teachers breakfast at the school we are holding our services at for no reason other than to show them kindness and let them know we are praying for them. I am loving our summer serve and can’t wait for all of the awesome things that will come of it.

20130601-135337.jpgMy husband getting ready to do an adopt a business summer serve project. With a pastor this hot, I don’t know why the entire population of Cleveland isn’t already a member of the Bridge Church.

20130527-143525.jpg20130527-143512.jpg20130527-143506.jpgLiving the mom life, raising intellectual super heroes poised for world domination. Here we are at an early morning school assembly to cheer Reese on and watch him get an award for Academic All Star.

20130530-215342.jpg20130601-135420.jpgIf moving to Costco doesn’t work out for me, I have pitching a tent at ball fields as a great alternative living arrangement. I have been spending numerous hours running all around creation at various baseball practices and games. Of course the boys would be on two different teams and in two separate age groups. That’s what being a boy in summer is all about though.

20130530-215350.jpgThings have been moving at warp speed lately, so thankfully, my work and church life piggy back with my mom life (Not that you can ever separate yourself into categories. You have to be all things at all times, but you get the point). I’m doing summer serves while earning mom points. The Bridge Church tee-ball team.

Where are you spending most of your time lately?

Any hot weather running tips to share? I will be sharing some of my tips this week as well as what I like to pack in my fuel belt. Liquids are a must for me in these temperatures as I sweat like a 765 pound couch potato. I guess I just have an efficient internal cooling system.

Cleveland Marathon Special

“When I get honest, I admit I am a bundle of paradoxes”- Brennan Manning

Happy Tuesday, otherwise known as the new “Meatless Monday”. Yes my friends, yesterday was Memorial Day and it would have been a crime to let it pass without putting grill marks on a dead animal and ingesting said beast. I did buy the 93% lean ground beef, which literally had like no fat on it at all so I justified eating the 1/2 pound burger that my husband had handcrafted for me. I’m glad my husband appreciates a girl that can throw down a good burger.

Side Bar: That is one advantage to being married to a runner, you understand the bizarre running appetite and you will give each other frequent non romantic massages. Most men will not do this, however, since I’m willing to rub his semi repulsive running feet, he reciprocates by doing the same. If you are a runner and not married to another runner I feel sorry for you. We wear our knotted up leg muscles and gnarled feet like a badge of honor at the Buckland house. There is no shame or need to hide.

I will admit that I did enjoy myself in the food department on Sunday and Monday. There is something about holidays that puts me in the mood to eat things that I otherwise try to stay away from. If you know me or  have read my blog long enough, you understand the paradox I live in. My revelations about clean/healthy eating are balanced by my indulgences in the darker, shadowy sides of carb and meat cravings.

20130528-111950.jpg God bless America!20130528-112024.jpg Public Service Announcement: Be sure to not eat so much on holidays that you have to hug the nearest potty.

Indulging in a few treats, like ice cream and potato chips, will not make all of your hard work fly out the window or put you on a path to terminal illness if done correctly and by correctly I mean don’t be lazy.I put in a misty/rainy 6 mile run/1 mile walk on Monday morning even though I felt more like reading magazines and drinking coffee.

This run actually messed with my head. I literally thought at one point that it was actually Thanksgiving. The weather this weekend was cooler and more drab than it was on Thanksgiving week this year and while on my run, a pack of wild turkeys came out from an empty lot and proceeded to march across a major thoroughfare. I also saw numerous deer and very few people hanging around outside. Although I’m sure the turkeys were glad it was memorial day and not Thanksgiving, all of those hoping to have a major outdoor party yesterday were terribly disappointed in Northeast Ohio.

Finally-The Point:  I want you to know that if you register for the Cleveland Marathon  by May 31, it is only $50. This is a STEAL for a full marathon. Why would you not sign up for it immediately. I am so excited to run this next year. I have wanted to run in my city for a couple of years now but was unable to due to scheduling conflicts and other things going on. Please stop what you are doing and shell out hard earned money to torture yourself for 26.2 miles at the mercy of the bizarre weather patterns the lake brings to us. It could be 89 degrees or 40 the day of the race. How will you know unless you sign up and just do it? The culmination of my mother’s day gift and Jonathan’s father’s day gift was we bought each other race entries to this marathon. I can’t hardly wait.  Until then, I will focus on training for the Akron marathon in September that I’m already signed up for.

Side Bar: It should be ILLEGAL for runners to have to pull weeds. I pulled weeds in the rain yesterday (I know how to party on holidays) and today my hamstrings are tight as a drum and seizing up from bending, squatting, and stooping. I took my 5K run this morning slower, and ran by feel, then lightened up on some of my leg work at the gym because I’m not going to let my stone cut patio that requires digging and pulling weeds for days on end steal my marathon go. I urge you to reconsider a stone cut patio unless you can afford a landscaper or groundskeeper. It looked so pretty and enticing when we bought the house, then the reality of digging moss and weeds out of every little crevice and orifice semi annually set in. Round up only does so much. Consider yourself warned! I will be foam rolling today.

20130527-143454.jpgThe weather didn’t stop me from being crazy enough to bring a van load of 5 and 8 year old boys putt putt golfing Friday night. It was cold and they were all wild. I definitely earn the parenting gold star for coolest mom for that.

How did you spend your holiday?

What races are you signed up for? Sign up for one now. It is a constant motivational reminder that everyday is not a holiday. You need to get out and work for your goal and step away from the chips and ice cream this summer. (Except the 4th of July of course. I have that to look forward to next)

Motivational Reminder

It WILL hurt. It WILL take time. It WILL require dedication and sacrifice. But it WILL be worth it.

20130523-090458.jpg#tbt Throwback Thursday

2009 versus 2013

Struggling to squeeze into a size 16 versus wearing a size 4 or 6

(Those silly clothing manufacturers and their sizing. Do any two brands ever fit the same?)

Perpetual Yo-Yo dieter wanting so badly to enjoy good food and fun without guilt and a constant 20 pounds up and down battle fighting genetics and creepy voices in her head…..versus….marathoner who enjoys good food, maintains a steady weight within 2-3 pounds of itself, who has told genetics they can go hide somewhere while she wins the war, and only has voices of determination telling her to go on.

Reminders are great motivation. In fact, experts will tell you that it behooves us not to look at how far we still have to go, but how far we’ve come. (Not true at mile 3 of a marathon. Being only 3 miles in is equally as depressing as assessing that you have a total of 26.2 miles to go). I will admit that looking back at pictures of the old Jessica is oftentimes humiliating. I just can’t believe I looked like that. I am one of the rare people that can say I look better in my thirties than I did in my teens and 20’s. With the exception of a small bout with teenaged induced anorexia where I wanted to test myself and my parents and get lots of attention, I have been chubby and struggled with body image my whole life. I keep “fat” pictures on my phone so that I can look at them periodically to fuel my resolve and intensify my motivation.

I come from a long line of sick people. I am pretty much a genetic land mine, a walking disaster. Because my dad’s side of the family is made up of amazon people, I pretty much had come to accepting and being okay with the fact that I would be big my whole life. Being thin was not in the cards for me. We are all tall and big boned.

Fact: You can’t alter your bone structure or shrink your ribcage. Whew, glad I was able to release that pressure for you.

I am to a place now where I am not striving to be a size 0 or a size 2. The numbers on a scale do not rule my life. I count calories, but they do not consume my thoughts, motives, or intentions, nor do they deter me from celebrations and fun. They are just a gauge of where I should be 80% of the time to function at my highest capacity. My bones weigh more than a cousin of mine soaking wet on my mom’s side who I could run circles around fitness wise and that is OK. Sometimes out of shape people will be skinnier and prettier than me. I am not trying to be them. I am trying to be the best version of ME. I want to be well rounded in mind, body, and Spirit.

Skinny does not equal fit.

Strong equals fit. Healthy equals fit. Determined equals fit. Motivated equals fit.

You can read my full saga here that I posted a couple of years ago. I am light years ahead of even this blog, originally written in 2011 and reprised in 2012. I will post an even further updated and more accurate “Fat to Fit” on myself, but for now, get some of the back story and the Cliff’s notes. (https://jessicabuckland.com/2012/01/18/repost-from-fat-to-fit/)

Because diabetes, heart disease, kidney failure, and cancer all run rampant, foot loose and fancy free in my family, digging deep for motivation isn’t really that difficult. What is difficult though is knowing what to do with the fact you are a ticking time bomb and the fact you know that change is necessary. I have read so many books on the subject that I should have an honorary degree in nutrition, however, unfortunately, knowledge doesn’t translate into results or actions. Only my hand to plow can make things materialize.

Motivation comes from asking yourself the right questions and then subsequently answering those questions correctly:

Who– Me

What– Health. Wellness. Fitness. Strength. Good Looks. Positive Attitude. Energy. Strong Spirit.

When– Right now and for the rest of my life

Where– Wherever I am at in this moment. Start where you are and grow from there. Your destination is not nearly as important as your direction. Be constantly moving in the correct direction no matter what pace you are going or plan you are following.

Why– Life and death depend on it. I have a calling of God on my life I need to fulfill. My husband, sons, friends, and family need me. I need myself to feel energized, favored, attractive, healthy, and strong so that I can accomplish everything possible in this life. I need to live out my dreams. I need to LIVE not EXIST.

How-Research. Research. Research. Just get off the sidelines and START. Do it without fads, gimmicks, and quick schemes. Live the way the cavemen, Jesus, Adam and Eve, and every other random human did before processed plants and food additions came along. If it has a mother or came from the ground, you should probably eat it. If you can’t pronounce it or it’s full of things manufactured in a science lab, run far away from it.

(This means Ice Cream is a 10000000% go, otherwise I quit 🙂 Just be sure to eat REAL stuff, not low-fat, no fat crap that is loaded down with sugar to make you think you’re doing something good.)

20130522-142006.jpgI just finished “Sugar Nation” by Jeff O’Connell. You can follow them on twitter @sugar_nation. This book was especially intriguing to me because my main motivation for this journey was my family history of illness and watching people all around me struggle with diabetes and obesity. The fact that the author himself was relatively in shape when he was diagnosed pre-diabetic, has me on a renewed quest to be even more healthy and take even a greater role in managing my diet. I am more determined than ever to run, run, run, and try to educate people about the truth of what they are consuming. I highly recommend that you read this book, especially if there is any increased risk of you getting diabetes. If you listen to the government for all of your eating advice and rely on them to tell you what is good and give you pretty little pyramids and take care of you, then you are just an uninformed citizen. Get the facts on everything from food to social issues. Don’t believe hype. These books provide some strong facts and arguments about health, wellness,and food that you aren’t hearing in the anti-obesity campaigns. As a former fat person and now a marathon runner focused on wellness with a deep, long family history of diabetes and fear of being fat again or living an exhausted, unhealthy existence instead of enjoy the abundant life God has for me, I loved this book.

20130522-163826.jpgGentry eating a snack in mom’s office surrounded by the mountains of work and projects that I have going on. This is a busy season for me work wise. I am SO thankful my kids are in on every aspect of my life. (Notice the running medal display rack?)

20130523-090505.jpgReese burning calories and helping to coach the 5 year old team.

20130523-090511.jpgA delicious side dish of veggies and Mrs. Dash. (Mrs. Dash deserves a nobel peace prize for coming up with a salt free, delicious seasoning)

What is your fitness story?

What motivates you to get up and work out when everyone else is lounging?

Stuff Happens

Ingredients for success – attitude, discipline, self-control, belief in yourself, willpower, be teachable, set your plan and no excuses, ever.

Today I ran 3.1 miles, just a little 5K, to keep the Run Streak alive and get my muscles ready for my strength training routine. I know that a lot of runners struggle with fitting strength training into their weeks, but I seem to be a little injury prone and strength training has greatly reduced my pain in running. Since I have been hitting the weights hard and consistently, I have had very little trouble with my Achilles, and muscle cramping on long runs has gone away (this also has to do with the fact that I have learned the art of fueling and hydrating). Most runners suffer from overcompensation injuries created by weak muscles. There are some muscles that you don’t use much when running, but are needed to be strong to support the muscles that you do use. The moral of the story is, some strength training will do you massive amounts of good. You do not have to be aspiring to Ms. Universe, and you definitely don’t want to bulk up if running is your goal and not your side note.

I have noticed a great change in the way my body looks too in the year and a half I have consistently worked out at the gym to supplement and grow my running. I actually have abs now, which is a miracle. How many women do you know that look better after giving birth to kids than they ever did at any point in their life before they had kids? Yep, I’m one of the few. I just wish that I would’ve done this when I was younger so I would’ve reaped double benefits. I do have one recurring nagging running related pain/injury that I will discuss on a blog, but for now I want to address the very sad issue of……….

Runner’s Tan: A condition experienced by those that run outside. Runner’s tan includes a very distinguishable sock line, a glaring block on your arm where your sleeve once was, and a bizarre space right above your knee where your bottoms hit. In summary, I am tan from a blocked off space right above my knee, to a blocked off space right around my ankle. This is a very fashionable look when I am wearing a summer skirt and sandals.

Runner’s Face: A condition experienced by runners where your face is aging light years ahead of your body. I am fighting Runner’s Face tooth and nail. They actually addressed it in an issue of Runner’s World once. Because running reduces your body fat, your face tends to be thin and lean when you are a runner and you lose face fat the older you get anyway, which is why wrinkles and lines become more noticeable. What happens to runners is that their face becomes super thin and mixes with the sun damage from running outside creating a phenomena where they have the body of a 25 year old from all the exercising and the face of a 78 year old from the constant face jumping and thumping that happens when your feet pound pavement and the sun is scorching you. Last year I just made sure to wear sun screen, but this year I have a running hat. I hate wearing it. In fact, I have only worn it once, but I will start being faithful to it. It will keep the sun off my face and hopefully preserve my skin. I don’t want to have to choose between being fat with plush skin or fit with the face of a leather boot. This is a tough conundrum because I look better with a little sun kissed color, but I guess being cancer free and looking young is a higher trade off.

On a semi related side note, my husband Jonathan told me that someone introduced him to their boyfriend as having the most gorgeous wife they had ever seen. I about fell out when he told me that. Apparently they  haven’t been around very much. This lady said that I was 33 but looked 23 and was filled with an enormous amount of spunk and energy. I think I’m pulling off the charade 🙂

Does anyone else have issues with gym etiquette? Since I have addressed my strength training in this post, I will take a moment to say that I get super annoyed when people camp out on the nautilus type machines and take naps, read the newspaper, and have gossip parties. All of these things happen on a frequent basis where I go. In fact, today I had to skip an entire machine because it never came open. The guy sitting there on it wasn’t even moving or working out. He was chit chatting with three other people who were surrounding him. YES! The men in my gym are far more of a problem than the women.  I have overcome this astounding lack of good gym etiquette by learning more free weight and kettle bell work outs, which, in the long run, are more intense and better for you anyway. I also enjoy them more because you have more control over how you position yourself. I have seen increased results from moving some of my muscle groups to free weights instead of circuit machines. Regardless though, there are a few that I like that seem to be confused with lazy boy chairs or a chaise lounger because that is what happens when these guys beat me to the circuit. (In full disclosure I will tell you they are old and retired so that is why I don’t say much to them about their lack of movement. I do believe in honoring those that are my elder, allowing them to burn their 7 calories an hour,  and I am sure they need the socialization.)

20130521-212057.jpgSometimes stuff just happens. Sometimes you are trying to cook a good healthy meal and the little plants your kids have put together for you fall off the window ledge into your sink creating a fun mixture of dirt, water, and dishes for you to clean up. Sometimes when these things happen, the little boy who potted the plants for you starts crying and feels hurt and dejected. Yep, life can throw you dirt, but it should not throw you off. Just expect the unexpected.

20130521-212110.jpgHere I am practicing before church with some people from our worship band. The running keeps me fit to jump all around singing like a maniac without getting breathless and missing notes. Mind-Body-Spirit Our lives can be limitless if we could just grasp this concept of everything about ourselves and others being intertwined without end or beginning with Mind-Body-Spirt. Don’t focus on just one to the detriment of the others of you can’t and won’t grow to your full capacity.

Any advice on runner’s tan besides running in booty shorts and a sports bra?

What is your greatest advice for avoiding premature aging due to sun exposure?

Does anyone at your gym annoy you?

 

My first 5K

An attitude of “whatever is convenient” won’t accomplish very much. An attitude of “whatever it takes” is impossible to stop.-@women_sports

Yesterday was a first. I accidentally published a blog that I had not yet written and tweeted it out to the whole world. If you are one of the lucky ones that got to it before I changed it back to draft mode, you can celebrate my incompetence with me.

It has been a couple of days since I’ve posted because I have been busy living “La Vida Loca”. Life is so much more interesting to live and write about when you are actually living. I made a determination when I turned 30 three years ago that I would not be a passive spectator in life’s journey, but that I would make things happen. This does not mean that all of my expectations and dreams become reality, but it does mean that I have raised the expectation of my life to a new level and it has been a game changer. Being aware of mortality in your 30’s is a blessing, but the death of my dad when I was 24 is what has made me hyper aware. Every blessing has a curse, but I have allowed myself to learn through the struggle and I’m grateful that tragedy didn’t defeat me, but advanced me. The Bible tells us to learn to number our days and make them count. Too many people think they are invincible until they hit about 50 and then a major  mid-life crisis creeps in and they totally spaz out and ruin a lot of what they have taken decades to establish.

I am averting my crisis by living large, having fun, being filled with joy, and speaking faith and favor into every circumstance. Words are death or they are life.

20130520-200820.jpgAt the Cleveland Marathon Expo practicing stretches.

 

Because of the power of words, I try not to alter my life based on the weather forecast or curse my weather channel app. I have zero control over weather, but 98.45% control over my reaction. It does in fact get HOT in Cleveland though (not complaining at all. In fact, I am rejoicing. It was a LONG winter.). Because of the stifling humidity and heat, I was out the door at 5 to beat the heat/smash an 8 mile run for day 554 of the #runstreak

I ate a banana before the run, which I hate to do so early in the morning, and brought a Gatorade with me. I have to be far more cognizant of hydrating and fueling properly in the heat than I am in the winter. I have run 10 plus miles with no breakfast or drinks with me when it’s 20 degrees out, but I deplete instantly when I’m melting. Of course, I refueled again with a blueberry Chobani after my shower. No good workout is complete without a good dose of protein infused goodness afterwards.

20130520-200804.jpgIn the stands amongst our fans after the CLE 5K

My running had a super fun insertion into it this past weekend. I have never run a 5K in my life in an official capacity. I often cover the 3.1 mile distance by my lonesome, but I have never paid a fee, got a t-shirt and gathered with thousands of my closest friends to do one. I was the weirdo that jumped from not being able to run 1 mile into running numerous Half-Marathons and then the Marathon. My friend came into town with her husband, who ran the Cleveland Full Marathon, and was inspired to do her first 5K. I found out later that she snuck in a 5 K a couple of weeks ago thereby taking away my joy of stealing her 5K virginity, but I will still be her friend. She PR’d by 4 minutes and RAN the whole thing. To my knowledge she had never covered the full distance running the whole time before. I discovered that the 5 K was a lot of fun, but since I have no hope of winning one (5K elites are speedy little demons), and since it still costs money and requires great effort, that I would just save my sheckles for the long distance runs unless it is a charity event or something to inspire my kiddos. I like to do charity runs in my area to meet people, network, and give back to the community.

We had an epic run through the streets of downtown Cleveland and finished in Cleveland Browns Stadium with our finish on the jumbotron. I’m seriously considering a career in the NFL now. I’m not going to lie. It was amazing to get a taste of the glory those guys get every Sunday. It was pretty cool running beneath the building, past the locker rooms, and out onto the field. My boys, ages 8 and 5, were so jazzed by the 5K that they are running the Cleveland event with me next year. We got a pretty cool T-shirt out of it, although I was it was a technical shirt and not cotton.

20130520-200810.jpgChillaxin with the gals at the start line

 

 

20130520-200757.jpgLiving the high life. We helped our friend (the husband whose wife did the 5K) Carbo Load for the CLE Marathon at a Mexican Restaurant. I ate at this same place the night before the Akron Marathon, so I knew it would work like magic.

 

20130521-092726.jpgNo more Pre-School this year for this boy. He’s getting his vacation on while mom works in the office. We are praying for Oklahoma and realizing once again the vapor of life & how very little possessions mean. This sweetie may be catered to a little more today as I hug him close and feel the grief of parents whose children lost their lives in the Tornado. The most important investment we can make in life is people/relationships/God’s purpose.

Do you run 5K’s? What is your favorite distance to race/run and why?

Celebration Thursday

Running is a funeral for your fat. Let sweat and tears flow freely!

Today is Thursday and there has been a lot of celebrating going on. Thursday is an oft underrated day of the week.

First, last night was a milestone. I had ice cream for the first time since Mother’s Day. My  3 whole days of strength and will power are to be commemorated.

Secondly, we tried a brand new pizza place specializing in “healthy” pizza and it was amazing. It is called Pizza BOGO and their whole business model is around hormone free, antibiotic free, and organic ingredients. They have a flax seed miracle crust and were running a special for as many large unlimited topping pizzas you want just $5. I was in vegetarian, clean eating heaven. Anytime you tell me pizza is healthy, I’m going to make you proud with the vast amounts I consume. I will definitely be revisiting Pizza BOGO frequently.

The third and final celebration related directly to me is that I ran 6 hot miles thinking I was going slow, but realized I was going quite fast and had an epic run, seemingly without effort. Day 549 of the runstreak was completed well. I also had an epiphany regarding self-image during this run. I realized I don’t care what people who look at me and watch me run think. I used to only run in the metro park because you rarely encountered cars or people. I thought others were judging my pace, sweat, or stride. Today I’ll gladly galavant anywhere soaked in sweat and salt crystals. I earned my stride. I’ve fought for my pace. I’ve also realized that most people just stare because they are truly amazed you would run so much with no one chasing you. I smell admiration off them. (On a side note I passed a PTA mom on my run with her hair perfectly coiffed, fully made up, and a cute yoga outfit on doing a little perfume scented jog in the neighborhood. I did not let that deter my salt infused, hair soaking wet, BO scented self-esteem from running proud.)

20130516-175604.jpg Gentry celebrated yet another trip to the grocery store with mom. He gets free cookies when we go to Giant Eagle and gets to drive the car. We were also celebrating my very healthy choice to take advantage of the 4 (12 packs) for $11 coke zero sale. In all honesty, my soda consumption is significantly lower than it was a year ago. I’m baby stepping away from drinking it all together. I’m not even drinking a can a day, however I do dream of it often so that is why I write about it so much.

20130516-175611.jpgToday we are celebrating Reese’s amazing participation in our LifeGroup Bible Study last night. Of his own volition, he took out a notebook and pencil and wrote down scriptures, memory verses, and took notes on the lesson. He also participated like a champ. That boy is hiding God’s word in His heart.

20130516-175623.jpgWe are celebrating Reese running faster than any other kid at the Forest Elementary School Family Fitness night.

20130516-175631.jpgWe are celebrating how much fun we had at Gentry’s end of the year picnic at his pre-school with all of his friends and the fact that I ate no desserts at the potluck and stuck with fresh fruit and salad. I really am better behaved than I let on, but it’s not as much fun to share all of my good choices. Bad choices are more intriguing.

20130516-175648.jpgAnd the biggest celebration of the week is that Gentry graduated from Pre-K like a champ. He is now a certificate holding finisher of John Knox Presbyterian pre-K and armed with all the knowledge he needs to take Kindergarten by storm.

20130516-175700.jpgCelebrating family: Mimi with her boys at Gentry’s graduation

20130516-175716.jpgCelebrating Gentry’s stellar performance skills. This kid has no fear of public speaking, singing, dancing, and poem reciting. Be on the look out for him on the front page of your favorite news website someday. This beats his former no fear of removing his pants in public. Thankfully he grew out of that stage so you aren’t reading about him for less than savory reasons.

What is worth celebrating in your life this week?– I am celebrating that tree pollen seems to be climaxing. I see the light at the end of the tunnel. (As I look through watery, red, itchy eyes glazed over by springs finest torture makers)

What is one of your favorite new “healthy” food discoveries? Seriously check out Pizza BOGO

Necessary Tension

As a warning to those of you that follow me mainly for my life changing running stories and saliva inducing food pictures, this blog is going to be more along the lines of SEEDING and LEADING. Running, Eating, and Repeating will definitely take front and center stage again next.

20130512-153650.jpgAs you may or may not know, I am planting a church with my husband and basically I run the whole show. I do, however, allow him to show up on Sundays looking snazzy and allow him to take credit for all of my hard behind the scenes work……..:) In any worthy endeavor in life there is going to be an element of tension. Whether you are training for a marathon, fighting off a craving for a 3rd consecutive gallon of ice cream, or trying to keep your kids from running in front of on coming traffic. This blog speaks to the tension of the great commission (going into the world, preaching the gospel, teaching people, and baptizing people in Jesus name). I hope you enjoy it and if you are not a Christian or not in leadership at your church or another charitable non-profit, you will still get some great information from this. Entrepreneurs, business people, leaders in the marketplace, and even the neighborhood Mom PTA president all have to deal with tension.

Most of life is navigating tension. Not all tension is bad. Tension is good. Tension is what helps a rubber band stretch and as a result of that stretch, it hold things together. The tension reveals its purpose. Tension is what causes your muscles to function and grow within a healthy body. The thing about tension is that without it, nothing grows or is held together, but with too much, things snap. As a church whose mission is to reach those far from God and those that have never known God, we must learn to navigate the tension of seeing people come to Christ and experience new life, while letting God do his work in His time. We want people to come as they are, no perfect people allowed, but we trust that God won’t leave them in the same condition that they came. The tension in this is that as human beings, we feel a need to change people and situations too quickly. It is hard for us to relinquish the control of life change to God. We know that if people will just lay aside every weight and sin and surrender to God that they can run the race with greater ease and efficiency, but they don’t know that yet. Habits, hurts, and hang ups plague people and only the Spirit of God can lead to transformation and break through. We cannot speed up that process. Because of this, we will see many people stumble and fall along the way if we are truly reaching un-churched and de-churched people. In fact, even the most seasoned among us will trip from time to time.

Navigating church life with a vision beyond ourselves, a vision into our community, and a vision focused on those outside of our “religious” community will require moments that we have to sink into and embrace tension. It is like raising a child. You, as a parent, provide a loving and nurturing home and show your kids how to function, but you can’t ultimately decide what path they will choose. As a parent, you can’t force your child into the next developmental stage prematurely or you can cause harm. For example, I fully intended that at some point Reese will have a job and pay his own bills, however, it would not be wisdom of me to expect this right now. He is still growing, developing, and maturing. He still says things about me that aren’t true like “you never let me have any fun all you want me to do is work on homework”. My responsibility to nurture and guide him is not removed by the fact that he is choosing to create tension and spread falsehoods throughout the house rather than just surrender to what is best for him developmentally in that moment.

I thought Reese would never potty train. It was getting down right ridiculous at one point. I was frustrated. We were in a power struggle, and, there was at least one occasion that he looked right at me and pooped on the floor of our living room instead of heeding my call to the toilet. If he had Facebook he probably would’ve posted something like “I showed my mom who was boss. I don’t have to listen to this.” He has no recollection of this now because he is growing into maturity. He is slowly learning that what mom and dad say is for his own good. The power struggles haven’t even really begun, but I’m geared up for the rebellious years because I’m praying for my children and I also know that conflict and tension are not always bad. They are what make us grow and move onto new developmental stages.

As leaders and children of God, our job is obedience. Our job is a faithful heart. Our job is action. Our job is to move forward with what God has called us to do, and not get distracted along the way when the rubber band gets pulled tightly.

In a 21st century setting, we will be dealing with a lot of insecurities and attention seeking behaviors from some people using social media to become the center of the world. We will see this from the “churched” “de-churched” and apathetic toward church.

My advice to such people is straight from the word of God:
1 Timothy 4:12, “Be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.”

     We can’t control decisions made and words spoken by other people, but we can control ourselves. This scripture was advice from Paul to Timothy. Remember Timothy was a preacher of the gospel and was still getting attacked from people in and outside of the church. Paul’s reaction to Timothy was not to go publicly defend yourself, but to allow his life, fruits, and actions speak for themselves. If Timothy had Facebook, he wouldn’t have gone to Facebook to garner commentary and “likes” for his plight or to prove something about his character. He would’ve continued to use his Facebook to edify, build up, encourage, or just to keep in touch with people like it was intended.

The bottom line is that tall trees catch the most wind. When you are flowing with the wind of the Spirit and you are moving in a God given direction, there will be windbags and people with hot air to take the wind out of your sails. There will be storms that come and go, but I know that the identity of the Bridge Church and my personal identity come from Christ, not what other people say or do. I’m not IN-secure because I don’t look IN-side myself or to others for affirmation. I am in Christ, so therefore I am SECURE.

There will be people who say and do things along the way that shock us or hurt our feelings. This is actually GOOD news. A growing church, a growing body of believers, and people united in UNITY are a target for the enemy. If you aren’t being criticized it is because nothing is happening.

Stagnant ponds don’t attract surfers. There are no waves to ride on. Only oceans that bring in the tide and are moving with the WIND create waves.

Let’s be honest… sometimes, the church is the LEAST safest place for a human being, but this is NOT going to be said of the Bridge Church. We will rise with respect and honor and integrity for all people.

Speaking of Jesus, the book of Isaiah says, “He was despised and rejected–a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way. He was despised.” It looks like false accusations and pain are sometimes part and parcel of pursuing Jesus.

Some people will USE the church at some point for whatever they can get from it and are not truly desiring life change from God. Whether it be money, attention, affection, or a whole host of other things they are seeking we shouldn’t be surprised. We can only pray that while their motives and intentions are not pure, that God can move on them and change their hearts. Only God can. We can’t. All we can do is create a space that allows people to grow. A space that allows people to throw tantrums during spiritual potty training (some people drop their CRAP everywhere they go because it is all they have ever known). We will teach them to go to leadership and talk things out. We will teach people who have been around God for a long time to have grace in dealing with people that are just learning to breathe. We will hold our tongues and not let our IN-securities as leaders make us jump to defend things that don’t need defended. We will hold our peace and let the Lord fight our battles.

Proverbs tells us that too many words stir up strife and the tongue of the wicked is the tongue wagging the loudest and brashest. The Pastor will deal with wolves that are trying to prowl on baby sheep and devour them, but know that sometimes baby sheep are learning to walk and learning to breathe and they will trip and fall on themselves over and over again. Sometimes there is no wolf and it is self sabotaging that is going on. Sometimes people just don’t want to take responsibility for their own behavior. They may break legs in the process. They may get cut. However, ultimately as a hospital and nursery, the church has to be a place of grace and healing and mercy.

Let God steer the ship and provide the correct amount of tension for our sails. Tension is necessary and forces us to grow and advance forward. Tension makes us stronger and wiser. We trust that tension in our lives means that God is working.

I Peter 4 Speaks to this tension far more perfectly than anything I could come up with.
12 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. Do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.
18 And,“If it is hard for the righteous to be saved,
what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?”

Let’s make the Church the safest place for the most broken of souls.
Let’s be the most accepting to the most unacceptable.
Let’s extend radical grace in ways that are foreign to all but Christ.
Let’s BE the Church.

The tension of the springs on a trampoline keep it together for maximum FUN! What other things in life are more fun with a little tension? (Hint: FULL BODY MASSAGE)