Category Archives: Running

Hello. It’s me again.

 

On May 7, 2017 I ran my 10th full marathon in the Steel City of Pittsburgh. It was the most difficult course I have ever run, and my third best marathon finish time. I feel the need to let the world know my chip finish time of 4:18 included  a pit stop, but I’m assuming approximately .67% of you even care about that. The few who would care are also most likely runners and understand how every second/minute on your chip time is a self imposed reflection on your self worth and perceived success. The rest of the world is thinking the very fact that I have run 10 Full Marathons (26.2 miles) since September of 2012 puts me in a league of my own. Yes indeed, you read that correctly. The Akron Full Marathon (another challenging, but simply amazing course) in 2012 was my first foray into full marathons and by May of 2017, only 4 and 1/2 years later, I crossed the finish line of my 10th.

Let me encourage you by reiterating a part of my story that now seems so distant. In January of 2010 I was 60 pounds heavier than I am now and couldn’t run 1 straight mile. I was knocking on the door of turning 30 and making a decision for who I wanted to be when “I grew up.” Embracing a theology of the body, meaning the revelation that God cares about how my physical human body feels, runs, and looks not because it matters in eternity but because it determines how I live and feel on this earth and the ability to which I’m able to discover and live out my purpose, was one of the single greatest things that has ever happened to me. I’ve also run  6 half marathons and countless 5K, 8K, and 5 mile charity races.

I am currently signed up to do Full marathon #11 in November and then reassess my situation. I’d like to do an ultra marathon, perhaps a 50K before or during the year of my 40th birthday. I’d like to ride my bike and participate in  a “century” (100 miles) event. I’d like to get fitter and stronger than I ever thought was possible. I’d like to actually develop my writing voice and consistently blog. I’d like to scratch as much off my bucket list as possible. But for now, for this sacred space between 10th marathon’s finish and 11th marathon’s training plan, I do what my body wants me to do.

Week 1 Post Marathon: More walking and elliptical time than running, although I did run 6 whole miles that week. My lowest mileage week since I started the run streak I was on from 2011-2014.

Week 2 Post marathon: Running 16 miles, including the Cleveland Marathon 8K with my work charity fundraising team. Cycling 20 miles. Lots of walking. Some stair mastering. Strength training/weights.

Week 3 Post Marathon: Running 21 miles. Cycling 30 miles. Lots of walking. No stair mastering. Strength training/weights.

Week 4 Post Marathon: Here we are! So far (Wednesday) I’ve run 13 miles with plans for 12 more and I have plans for a 25-30 mile bike ride.

I just wanted to check in and let you know I’m alive. I have many things germinating in my mind and heart to write about and feel like I needed a blog that was a soft launch back into all things Jessica, Jesus, Family, World Changing, and running.

Remember, the world will tell you you’re “TOO MUCH”. Don’t believe me, try running as much as I do. They will tell you they don’t have time and therefore you shouldn’t have time. Don’t believe them. These same people are not the ones getting up at 5 AM to prioritize the one body God gave them. IN prioritizing physical self care, you also end up with excellent spirit and mind care as well. Try communing with nature on a run, walk, or bike every day and then tell me if you feel closer to God, more tuned into yourself, more awakened to wonder. This might not work if you stay confined to a stuffy gym. You need to breath in the perfection of creation around you.

This same world will then turn the narrative on you and tell you that you are “NEVER ENOUGH”. You still haven’t gotten that Sub-4 marathon finish. You don’t grow your own Kale in your background organic garden.  You ate ice cream. You didn’t widdle your own furniture from a pocket knife.

Have no worries though fellow travelers. You can walk wildly into what God created you to be. We aren’t free just for freedoms sake alone, but we are free to sing this song of hope over the world, just as God sings it over us. Go on. Be brave. Put one foot in front of the other and start checking off those bucket list items. I know I did. Marathon #10, bucket dumped. The end.

My ode to fitness as a lifestyle:

Running. Fitness. Meditation. Contemplation. “I don’t have time for that.” I won’t prioritize soul care. Self care. Personal health care. I’ll sleep when I die. Your mind. Your body. Your spirit are on a budget. You can’t spend what you don’t have. Stay in the red and you’re lethargic anxious sick, and worse, nearly dead. Without a strategic investment, physical, emotional, and spiritual bankruptcy will soon follow. Start small. Start doable. Find scalable, sustainable. Prioritize your family and career by filling your proverbial cup so you have something to pour out. An empty well never hydrated anyone.

My Facebook Reflection from that day:

10 full marathons completed! There are moments in life that change you. These moments are rarely found in your comfort zone. A constant stream of “nothing is given, everything is earned”, “you put in the work, the results are yours to own” and “train your mind…your body will follow” flooded through my mind, pulsates through my veins. Pittsburgh, your marathon was amazing. The hospitality of your city, the vibrant crowd support, and the scenic route were what make it amazing. Your course was grueling and the most challenging, life changing, epic marathon I’ve ever done. I wouldn’t have wanted number 10 to have been any other way. I felt like I was equal parts mountain climbing and running. It never let up. There was no reprieve, but I ran strong. I had my 3rd fastest finish ever and even out ran my husband. I waited for him at the finish. Sweet sweet victory!!! #crossover #runnergirl #runnerofsteel #gameonpgh

 

 

 

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It’s worth it

Most people have experienced betrayal at some point in their lives. Betrayal can blind side you, or you can see it coming from a mile away. It takes on many forms and blows in multiple directions, but the effects remain the same. Disappointment, hurt, bitterness, questioning, analyzing, denying, and anger are just a few of the emotions that betrayal can gift us with. 

Even the most gifted, disciplined athletes and staunch followers of nutritional guidelines will discover that at some point, the body will betray you.

Even the most loyal friend will discover that not everyone puts the same premium on loyalty and honor.

Even the most diligent of employees will eventually run across a self centered, self promoting co-worker, stealing credit for work you performed.

Even the most loving parent will encounter a grumpy teenager, an incorrigible child, or possibly a wayward prodigal.

The point is, if we live, if we love, if we work, if we are in community, if we try to do anything or be anything, we will be hurt. 

Anticipating this will help you to: 

1) Realize you are not alone 2) There is nothing inherently wrong or unloveable about you 3) Have perspective 4) Accept that to truly live involves risk and living is a risk worth taking

A family member recently told me to quit running so much. “Don’t you realize that even if you run all these marathons you will still eventually get old, sick, and/or die?”. 

What this person was saying is, your body will betray you. Your days on this planet are limited so why try? You can’t control every health and wellness scenario, so give up.

That is the equivalent of saying you should retreat in seclusion if you have ever been lied to, gossiped about, maligned or misunderstood. We all have a choice in life to merely exist, or to truly live. 

Perhaps I should never have a friend or reach out to another human being again, because God knows, I’ve been gossiped about, maligned, misrepresented, and abandoned by some of the very people I have invested in and loved the most on multiple occasions. 

True, if you’re attempting to be someone, do something, love someone, or go somewhere:

You will do work you never get credit for.

You will exercise your buns off, just to gain a little weight from age related metabolic slow down anyway.

You might have a heart attack running a marathon, while an obese sedentary person may never have one.

You will be gossiped about, perhaps even lied about.

You will love and lose.

You will encounter betrayal.

However,

You will experience abundance, chance encounters, adventure, and deep relationships.

To truly live, tough calls have to be made, but the choice of life is worth the rough patches.

Be loyal. Outdo your friends, family, and co-workers in displaying and showing honor. Work your body in life giving ways until you discover its limits. Never say never. Live open. 

Invite the inevitable betrayals that may happen on the journey because when you can accept that every blessing has a burden, you can also know every burden has a blessing.

Cupid Q & A

February is typically known as “Love Month”. Of course this celebration of love and romance hits its peak on February 14, Valentine’s Day, the day you are supposed to feel all the feelings, gift all the gifts, and eat yourself into a state of bliss and oblivion, which, if not done correctly, could destroy a night of good romance.

Jessica’s PRO TIP  for “Love Month” and any other ecstasy filled holidays: Even if it’s a supposed aphrodisiac (IE chocolate), especially if you’re in a long term relationship where all guards and barriers surrounding your holiday eating habits have long since been removed,  kiss all your kisses and get cozy before you eat so you can embrace the comforts of long term love and sweat pants for the rest of the day/evening without fear of physical side effects.

In honor of this love holiday, I want to tell you a little about my relationship in case you were curious. If you are not curious, that is OK. At least this post will jog my memory when I’m 118 and I forget details about the man laying next to me.

  1. Who’s oldest?Me by 18 months. I was a cougar before I knew what one was.
  2. How did you meet? We met in college when Jonathan was on a spring break drama tour for his college that came through my town for a performance. His thespian skills riveted me and I’ve been in his audience ever since.
  3. Who was interested first?Technically he was putting the moves on me first the night we met and was chatting me up, however, I was the first to AOL Instant Message him a day or 2 later.  It was the infancy of such technology and my dial up didn’t know what was about to hit it.
  4. Same high school? I’m a public school casualty and he was a homeschooling hermit on the other side of the world.
  5. Most sensitive? This is difficult. Depends on how you define sensitive. While Jonathan is very empathetic, I would say that I tend to get emotionally involved in things at a greater rate than he does.
  6. Worst temper? Unfortunately, me. I have grown enormously in this area though and the fruits of the spirit are ripening. If Jonathan is having an impatient day or moment though, he can get highly annoyed very quickly and be sure to let those closest to him aware of his annoyances.
  7. More social? I am definitely more classically social. I don’t know a stranger and I love to network. I’m a sucker for gabbing. We both have very social occupations and callings though, so you will find us with people and groups all the time. In our personal and friendship lives,  we enjoy spending time with the right people.
  8. Hardest working?Again, another tough one. I would like to say that we both bat 1,000 in this area. We are both highly driven and goal oriented in our professional world, marathon runners as a hobby, and extremely present, hands on parents.
  9. More sarcastic?Definitely me. I’m the joker with a sassy comeback for most anything.
  10. Who makes the most mess? Jonathan It’s not like he “makes a mess”, but I’m definitely the one always picking things up and putting them back where they belong. I don’t have too many complaints in this area though as he is way more cognizant of the trails he leaves behind than 99.9% of men.
  11. Wakes up first?Me most mornings, but only by necessity. I have to get up at Dark O’ Clock to get in my workouts before the day begins. He is, however, the naturally inclined morning person of the two of us and wakes up early even if it’s a day off and even if we are on a vacation. Therefore, I am a hostage to mornings. Even if I want to sleep in, either my schedule won’t let me or I’m awakened inadvertently, or sometimes overtly, by Jonathan.
  12. Bigger family?We both have exactly 1 brother and both of them have 1 wife and 2 sons. We are tied. However, my father is already deceased, so he has one living father up on me.
  13. Who cooks the most? No meals would occur without my planning, shopping, prep, and litany of instructions. He does do spaghetti and eggs, as well as put meat on the grill in the summer if I’ve prepped it all and planned in advance for it. He forgets the planning, shopping, and shelf stocking part and I hate to send him to the store anyway as he always pays way more for everything than needed. My brain is a calculator at the store after years of practice.
  14. Who cries the most?Neither of us. We both are dry as a bone most of the time. I think we need to work through our issues so we can stinking cry.
  15. Better singer?While he can harmonize and sing on key, I’m the singer of the pair.
  16. Hogs the remote?Our kids.
  17. Better driver? He’d say it’s him.

Most patient? We are both tied as works in progress on this, although, he is a faithful, diligent plodder and extremely sweet, kind and caring to me and our sons so I really have no complaints. We are pretty patient with people and circumstances. We have experienced a lot of life, both really good and tragically bad, so the patience virtue has been slammed into us and I’m thankful for it.

Life is a journey and people are work’s in progress. The sooner those tenants are embraced, the happier your life will be.

So that’s that for now. Happy Valentine’s Week all!

funny-akron-marathon-2016This is a tragically bad and yet terrifically accurate photo of our marriage. I look like I’ve gone to the nut farm. Here  I am, tired, sweaty, worn out, and yet still crazy , acting funny, and ready to party. Jonathan, looking ever so neat and polished like a politician, by my side, ignoring my insanity, intensely focused, and keeping his eye on the goal. This was captured at the Akron Marathon September 2016 at the finish line.

Marathon Musings

This week began week 7 of the above 18 week Full Marathon Hal Higdon Training Plan. 564 miles of running are virtuously mapped out in this handy and easy to follow guide.

Said mileage is not counting the final 26.2 mile parade/death march/symposium on masochism, in celebration of the hard work, early mornings, chaffing, blisters, endless loads of laundry, and buckets of sweat and tears.  I have been following Hal’s plan for every single 26.2 mile event in which I have ever towed the line and definitely recommend it.

Hal’s stuff is precise, easy to follow, and doesn’t have all kinds of weird pace and tempo calculations thrown in the mix. My brain is always processing, running is my mediation and time away from precision. Essentially, Hal could’ve written “Running for Dummies.” In fact, he may have. (Someone look into this and let me know)

This week, Valentine’s week, week 7 of the Intermediate Level Training Plan is very significant for me. Now that I’m training for marathon #10, my training doesn’t really kick into gear until week 7. My “off” season running patterns consist of 25-30 miles a week with cross and strength training in the mix, so until I jump above that mileage threshold, my training is more mental prep and anticipation than anything.

I am often asked about my routines, practices, and mileage, so I hope to give the inquiring minds a glimpse into what a very average, middle aged, slow long distance runner does to maintain her mediocre paces as the weeks progress.  (That sentence needs read with all the sarcasm in which I wrote it. I actually kick my tail, own my nutrition, and strive for my best, and yet still come up as a solid mid packer. I guess not every long term love story exists in the land of non stop bliss and progress. Sometimes love is grand. Sometimes it’s mediocre. Sometimes people are oddly inspired by normal. I’m banking on this. I want you to read my angry running rants, sappy running love stories, runs that were inspired into sonnets by nature and birds and joy, and those runs which end with my hip cursing me out.)

I had anticipated telling you about the struggles running and I have been having lately with our relationship, but since it’s Valentine’s Day, I want to honor running for the goodness it has done for me and save the honesty, authenticity and bad mouthing for some upcoming posts. While we are never “on again/off again” (There is no off. Maybe that’s my problem. Maybe I’m worn out.), running and I definitely vacillate between engaging in a great sordid love affair, and me playing bitter, angry, and jealous because running seems to dole out the awards and gains I know it has stashed somewhere to other less dedicated people at high rates than it does to me.

Maybe I’m just tired today. Maybe I’m still upset that my husband kept up with me on our pace run Saturday even though he was suffering from some bird flu deal and I, a perfectly healthy specimen, couldn’t even leave him in my dust no matter how hard I tried. Why does he get to snot, cough, and pant his way to a fast finish while I dug deep and pushed hard, only to find him still at my heels? I did have a minor emotional melt down when we hit stop on our Garmin watches, but then I recovered. I can’t break up with running just yet. Passion is a 2 edged sword and you can’t have endorphin highs to the moon without dealing with some demons that creep in and try to convince you to call it quits on occasion.

The true, unadulterated psychotic hold that running has on me exists, in part, because of how hard I work at it sometimes. Can we ever appreciate fully what we don’t have to pour our heart and soul into?

Perhaps, yes, I should revisit what training plans and approaches I use as I endeavor at some point to run the all elusive sub 4 Hour Full marathon, but for now,  the hectic pace of life, work, family, and marathon seasons past is telling me to run for fun in Pittsburgh in may and remember, I don’t have to do this, I get to do this.

A Glance at my Running Week:

Mondays I do the run scheduled for Tuesdays plus strength training/core work
Tuesdays I do the runs scheduled for Wednesdays (medium length)
Wednesdays I cross train plus
strength training/core work
Thursdays and Saturdays I do the 2nd medium length run (which is when I squeeze th pace run) and the other day I do the long, slow run and sometimes do a fast finish or mimic race pace towards th end to get used to keeping it up while tired. It depends no my work and life schedule on which I do on which day. Flexibility is the only way to get it done. The training plan is not a legal document, just an excellent guide. Get it in when and how you can.
Fridays  I do the run scheduled for Thursdays plus strength training/core work
Saturday, see Thursday
Sundays are my “Rest” from fitness day.  I go for a walk before church by myself to pray and prepare, and then often go for another walk in the evening with the dog.

 

 PSA: Dressing in the dark for a 5:30 AM Run and Strength Training Session could result in a deadly mix of color palettes (Although, navy and white on black and purple could be the new trend. Who knows?) . Thankfully, the “lunks” at Planet Fitness are also in a semi sleep deprived state and most likely don’t notice. Also, I don’t want anyone looking at me when I work out. Also, don’t talk to me because the suns not even stinking out yet. Also, I smell. Please breathe my sweaty air and let it keep you away from engaging me in an overly giddy pre-dawn chat session. I’ve come to get the job done so my productivity can kick off, not to make new BFF’s 🙂

 

Why Monday Matters

Monday has long been the bane of human existence. If you follow the generally accepted calendar, Monday is day one of the “work week”, and thus the perceived dreaded bearer of bad news. Those who are more optimistic try to convince themselves that Monday has magical fairy powers to motivate the otherwise immobile sacks of human flesh that we all have felt like at some point.

From the Garfield comic strips, which tell a tale of Monday woe, to the the ever present social media memes declaring Monday to be anything from the day for Motivation and fresh starts to the 24 hour time period in which we should all retreat into an apocalyptic style shelter and pray for survival.

Whether you cheer and “rah, rah, rah” on Mondays because this is your week, your time, your chance, your moment to shine, or rather choose to pull your blankets over your head in anxiety ridden sorrow, Monday seems to carry with it a certain mystique.

For better or worse, Monday is not going anywhere anytime soon, and the call to responsibility and action has been sounded from deep within its cavernous expanse. Monday matters because to manage Monday means to manage yourself. To prioritize your time, tasks, and energy on day 1 of the week, means to produce and move forward with the behaviors that become accomplished actions, which in turn result in accomplishment and accolades.

I will be the first to admit that this Monday, February 6, 2017, tried to kick my tail. This Monday truly played its role as the playground bully quite well. You see, this isn’t just any ol’ Monday, it is the Monday after the Super Bowl. When my alarm went off at 5:45 AM, which is actually later than the optimal for me 5:15 AM needed to squeeze things in, I forgot that it was Monday. I actually thought it was Sunday. Once I realized that “Groundhog Day” had already passed (ancient movie reference which makes me seem old, but wise), I was faced with a choice.

  • I could get up, dress up, show up, and never give up, or
  • I could reenter my carb, fat, and sugar induced coma that I justified due to it being Super Bowl Sunday. The good news is that I do not drink alcohol. The bad news is, studies have proven that unhealthy eating, habits, and patterns can knock you for a loop and produce a legitimate state of “hangover”.

I am happy to report that I chose the former. I got my sorry tail out of bed and went about my usual running and strength training routine. I then caffeinated myself, put on business clothes, and went to live out my calling and purpose ( I said I don’t drink alcohol. I never once mentioned my drug habit. If it’s from a bean (coffee) or a leaf (tea) and produces hyper focus and productivity, I’m all about it.)

The moral of this story is that Monday Matters.

  • Monday provides us with 24 hours to make progress on our goals.
  • Monday offers up the balance that need to in order to discover and live out purpose.A drum that plays at random and with no rhythm is a cacophony of noise, not the beat maker and dance director that it was created to be.
  • Monday reminds us that we can’t eat like a 897 pound gorilla and expect to jump out of bed with pep in our step.
  • Monday mentors us into making choices that benefit our future selves, verses always living in the sweet siren call of present self.
  • Monday means we are alive to live another glorious day on this planet.
  • Mondays that require an alarm mean we are either gainfully employed, or have people in our lives that are counting on us to provide diligent care. It reminds us that we are not alone.

So, on this Monday, remember that self-care means living in a way today that will help you thrive tomorrow. If you cast off restraint on the weekends, know that Monday is your personal trainer, chef, guide, assistant, and friend to make sure the entirety of your life doesn’t go off the rails.

 

A marathon is much more than 26.2 miles

If you ask a person how long a marathon is, you will get an extremely wide variety of answers. Of those answers, it is absolutely maddening to a full marathoner when someone tells you that they themselves have run a marathon, or their cousin has run a marathon, only to find out that they were referring to a random 5K that they did once. I don’t want to burst your bubble, but a 5K is only 3.1 miles. The “marathon” that these people supposedly ran can range anywhere from a friendly 1 mile charity run to an actual full marathon. I wish that when co-workers, family, friends, and strangers shared with me the tales of their tragedy and triumph, knee pain, and shin splints which resulted from their “marathon” that I could just smile and celebrate with them, but, in fact, I seethe inside. I arrogantly wonder how your 3 mile walk can compare to the 1700 miles I logged in the past 12 months, as if the marathon was my lover and you offended him.

You see, a true full marathon is 26.2 miles in distance, but it is, in fact, much more than that. The marathon is the story of a full season of dedication and preparation, discipline and dedication, fun and labor.

A marathon tells a deeply personal story.

I feel sorry for the people who have signed up for a marathon on a whim, and are just lucky enough to have youth on their side, so they finish this majestic event without giving it the proper training and respect that it deserves. Sure, if you are youthful and you haven’t let your muscles atrophy with disuse, you can stumble your way through this event. You might not be able to walk the next day, and you might curse the moment you were born, but you will receive a medal nonetheless.

To truly appreciate the marathon though, one should get a training plan, set a goal, and persevere through the entire season. The marathon won’t change you unless you fully invite it in. I would venture to assume finishing a marathon without embracing its essence is like the difference between a one night stand and a monogamous blissful marriage. They are incomparable.

As I train this season for my 10th full marathon, I am reminded to respect the distance, lean into process, and know that this journey to the finish line has very little to do with the actual event and everything to do with putting the work in day in and day out. This year, at least for the Pittsburgh Marathon, I am freeing myself from a time goal at the actual event and attempting  to run each training run with the respect that it deserves. My daily and weekly mileage exists for more than an arbitrarily set time by my ego and my comparisons of myself to others, it exists to make me stronger. I have no control over many of the conditions that I will face on race day, but I can determine the degree to which I allow myself to celebrate my trip to the starting line. Even a bad run for me is a good run because I am becoming the person I never dreamed I could be and yet always wanted to be.

I am alive. I am healthy. I am strong. I am fit. I am fierce. I am free.

The marathon, with all of its agony and beauty, has made me a better leader and person, but most importantly it gave birth to my identity as an athlete.

Marathon, you might be 26.2 miles on race day, but my journey has no finish line.

I get asked a lot about my training plans, nutrition, weight loss and maintenance, and running journey. I look forward to sharing with you about this and encouraging you on your path.

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Here is Jessica, with her amazing cousin Paul, before she and running hooked up. This photo was taken exactly 1 week before I began my nutrition and fitness journey, and about 4 months before I started run/walking to speed up my fitness journey. The rest is a beautiful love story because running spoke to my soul and no long was about weight.

Is February the new January?

I am noticing a new trend emerging on social media and throughout the internet where people are shouting from the rooftops the magic of February 1. Many of these people are declaring that their New Year’s resolutions are just now beginning, and their slates are wiped clean from this day forward. We are already on day number 32 of the new year, and it appears that a majority of people have just now shaken the carbohydrate induced coma of celebration.

Is February the new January, or are February 1, March 1, April 1, and beyond just the ameatuer happy hour? Are they the new excuses du jour?

Is February the new January, or have the “resistance” and monster of “self sabotage” just gotten dressed up as grandmother, and all of us Little Red Riding Hoods can’t even recognize that the wolf pack is in the corner laughing?

The truth is, professionals have a bias for action, and results eventually follow action. Success and progress are attracted to motion.

Amateurs, however, spend a lot of time planning, tweaking, dreaming, over analyzing, debating, lollygagging, justifying, and bellyaching, all while expecting results to find them. After all, they deserve results, “likes”, accolades, trophies, and cheers just because they intended to do something and talked about it for a while.

Don’t get me wrong, my life is a series of fresh starts, new mercies, and big vats of grace piled upon grace. I love nothing more than a fresh month, a clean slate, a new virgin monthly calendar just waiting to be devoured and discovered. Calendars and new days are my thing. I have a phone calendar, a wall calendar, a work calendar, and a personal 3 ring binder of calendars, to-do lists, and productivity hacks. All of these are linked together, and all of these track every member of my family, our whereabouts, and the plethora of things that need managed, juggled, and overseen to make our home, church, jobs,  little league sports leagues/extracurriculars, and marathon training plans stay on the rails and moving in the right direction.

The problem I’ve discovered with juggling all of these things is that it is easy to convince myself that the most important things can wait because the urgent is crying out. I am an expert of what I have identified as positive procrastination. It is not procrastination in the traditional sense of putting off work, but positive procrastination is its own animal. Positive procrastination is where you put off your purpose, your destiny, and the most important life changing tasks and habits in favor of something that brings a more immediate gratification or diversion in the short term, but actually robs you of the gains and growth of just diving into the hard stuff head first.

For example, how many of you have already faded out on your January fitness resolutions because you had laundry to do? When it’s cold outside, it’s easier to fold warm laundry, even if you hate it, then to go out into the cold and log some miles. Laundry keeps you in the comfortable confines of your home (if you are so blessed to own the machinery) and away from the cruel world. In the face of getting a college education, working out, going to the grocery store to buy healthy fresh ingredients so you don’t eat Little Caesars one more night,  laundry sounds like the equivilient of a carnival cruise. After all, those who keep up on laudnry are in the running for sainthood. It appears to be the crowning achievement of the working mother.

We relish in the “how does she do it?” narritive. She works from sun up to sun down and yet her family is robed in luxurious, soft, clean and fragrant linens ornately folded and stacked in color coded piles waiting with eager anticipation for their return to the dressers and closets.

Now, laundry, in and of itself is necessary, and of course evil, thus a necessary evil. Should you keep up on your laundry? By all means. I shudder to think of this household of 4 sweaty humans and all of their piles upon piles of clothes if I decided to abdicate that responsibility. In fact, I just had an argument with my 11-year-old who is now wearing up to 4 different outfits a day. If you thought having boys would preclude you from this nonsense, think again. The desire for swag is real!

However, laundry (or insert other appropriate form of positive procrastination that makes you feel angelic and accomplished and loved and worthy) is not the single most important part of your day.  Taking care of you is. Spending time in prayer and devotion is. Taking care of your loved ones is. Discovering and living out your purpose is. You must prioritize destiny over doldrums, your daydreams will become realities.

You are the missing link between the person you WANT to be and WISH you could be and the person that you are frustrated with right now. What would your future self want you to do today?

What do you want to have accomplished by February 28 so that on March 1 you don’t have to post cute meme’s and selfies of March 1 being when resolutions really start. March 1 is the new January, you’ll be tempted to say.

So, whatever you call them, intentions, resolutions, goals, one words, focus points, targets, etc (See, even the SEMANTICS of life change will distract some of us enough to keep us from actually doing anything. We will just argue in a comment section about why we do or do not set resolutions and why they do or do not work, all the while we are slipping further and further behind in the journey to become our highest and best selves.)

Whatever it is that you want to term them or define them as, just start moving towards destiny today. Make a month-long streak of something you want to do. Try to form a new habit to replace an old habit. Try to visualize yourself on February 28 celebrating whatever accomplishment you have set out for and don’t let month after month after month in 2017 slip by. (Hopefully said celebration will be done with clean clothes on because laundry, although a distraction when inappropriately prioritized, is at some point a necessity. You win some. You lose some.)

Create a vision. Make it plain. Write it down. Do something right this second to move on it. Ready….Set….Go!

Early morning date with myself, some amazing podcasts, the stair master, and my weight/strength training routine. Wednesdays are for cross training. The resolution crowds have dwindled too, giving me my pick of weight benches. When it comes to working out, sometimes the early bird doesn’t get the worm because there are swarms of others looking for their piece too.