Category Archives: Running

Step by Step

Dear friend, I hope all is well with you and that you are as healthy in body as you are strong in spirit. (3 John 1:2 NLT)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA picture I stumbled across yesterday of myself with my cousin Paul 2 weeks before I started my mind, body, spirit transformational journey.
 

iPhone Fall 2012 to Fall 2013 Jess 607

Versus a picture of me this past summer (2013) with my beautiful aunt (You caught me looking at family photos yesterday!)

Today I had a reminder of how powerful habit is in our life. Besides celebrating Day 807 of my runstreak (which means for that length of time I’ve run everyday with no breaks), I had an interesting conversation with my husband. I don’t like to talk about our fasting a lot on the blog because I feel like that is a personal decision that we make to honor God in our lives, however, I feel that in the interest of exposing how I achieve my mind, body, spirit balance and how I am going about my “one word” for 2014, alignment, I thought I could let you in a little bit.

We begin each year with a 21 day Daniel Fast. I have spoken about it before in previous blogs, but you can also google it if you are unfamiliar with what it entails. We also fast at least one day a week, and in addition, kick off each month by fasting 3 days at the start of said month. The purpose of our fast is multi faceted, but one of the benefits of it is increased health and vitality.  It is not a magical spiritual, mental, or physical bullet, but step by step you grow in every area of your life and start to see God’s blessing increase with each new season of fasting and prayer.

Physically, there is no doubt that when you eliminate grains and animal products, your body isn’t using as much energy in the food/digestion area which releases it to execute more exciting uses of energy. I will be dabbling more into different food choices and detox strategies later this year that I will write about and keep you informed on, but for now, I just want to encourage you on the power of habit. The Daniel Fast is much more spiritual for us than it is physical, but you can’t separate the two. Some of my food detox journeys and research undertakings have little spiritual focus. They are just me pursuing the best physical and mental me I can be, but without a doubt, every time I’m my best physically and mentally, I’m also my best spiritually. It is a circle.

We ended our 21 days at the end of last week, and yet when faced with what to eat for lunch today, my mind only gave me the options that were “Daniel” approved. It was like I had forgotten that my typical egg sandwich was even an option or that pretzels weren’t “forbidden” foods. Am I cured from my cravings? I doubt it. When my mileage amps up the closer to the marathon we get, you better believe I’ll be elbow deep in all natural ice cream and other treats, but for now my new and reset habit system will allow me to further my health goals with little to no effort on my part.

Because I’ve been making good choices, good choices have become automatic. One decision for a cheeseburger won’t derail my life, because my habits are set. One busy day will not keep me from a life of bible reading and devotions because my  habits are set. There will be occasional steps out of the healthy habit train and that is fine with me. I’m in this for life. I’m not an ethical vegan or vegetarian and I have no known food allergies, therefore I have no real deep and meaningful reason to “deprive” myself.

The cool thing about habits is that once the correct ones are cemented, you don’t feel deprived, ever. Habit makes the automatic wise choice for you 96% of the time and that makes it possible to be “bad” the other times. See, there is no black and white. Gray is where the party is at, but your brain and body won’t let you “party” too much because it will desire to return to its setpoint or habit structure.

God created us for far more than we give ourselves credit for. We are generally so busy fighting our human nature with its impulses and temptations that we forget to lean into the momentum that God has stored up for us. God created our brains and bodies to embrace habit and instead of utilizing this amazing computer program he downloaded into us, we are constantly trying to uninstall the very thing that could take us to the next level.  We stop celebrating how far we’ve come and start seeing how far we have to go.

We label segments of our life into categories:

  • Black and white. Good and bad. Wrong and right. Cold and hot. Pessimism and optimism.

Could it be that many things we weigh ourselves down with mentally, physically, and spiritually were never meant to be categorized? Could it be that we have never embraced gray areas?

We stunt ourselves by not embracing the gray areas. There really is no good or bad. Something is better than nothing. Take it step by step. The reason this lifestyle change has stuck is because I approached it with the lens of legacy and the long journey.

Never stop celebrating how far you’ve come. Always build an altar of memories poised for praise (photos in this blog are to jog my memory and celebrate the journey). Sure there is still a long way to go. Sure there are still mental, emotional, spiritual and physical demons to slay, but what if instead of worrying about the unseen, we just baby step our way to the legacy we want to leave.

One day at a time your habits will change to match your dreams and decisions that once stressed you out will become automatic no brain choices. How would it feel to  use your willpower for greater things than survival mode? What if instead of fighting food cravings and a lack of desire to exercise you could use your energy and will power to fight for social justice? Seem like a leap? It isn’t. You can do it. I did it.

My brain and my body were created for more than considering what to eat and what to wear. God put greatness in me and I’m going to live a long healthy life pursuing his promises, living out my purpose, and declaring hope.

When negative thoughts bombard your mind, say, “I am strong. I am well able. I have what it takes. I can do this.”-Joel Osteen

Endurance: A 4 letter word.

Through endurance ……. we might have hope. May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another… that together you may with one voice glorify ……Jesus Christ.  (Romans 15:4-7 ESV)

Endurance is a dirty word. Endurance conjures up images that we don’t want to see and emotions that we would rather not feel. We get images, or perhaps flashbacks of personal experiences and traumatic events. Pictures of the sweat soaked, dehydrated athlete, the parents of a newborn child who enjoys frequent 2 AM parties, the years of loneliness and betrayal at the hands of an abuser, or the sleepless nights finishing up a PhD dissertation fill our mind when that cursed word is uttered.  Everyone wants a gold medal, but few want it bad enough to sell out for it.

This week we paused to remember and honor the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I have had the privilege and simultaneous horror to visit many stops in Alabama that played an epic role in the civil rights struggle of this nation. The truth is, anything worth fighting for is going to leave with it a long trail of tears. Whether the tears are  temper tantrums (because we don’t want to push ourselves, make difficult choices, and get our hands dirty) or legitimate gut wrenching productions doesn’t matter. Ultimately the key to enduring anything is to exercise your “No” muscle (self-denial) and to experience frequent paradigm shifts (perception and thoughts). Dr. King’s dream fueled his passion and was greater to him than momentary discomfort.His bend was to focus on the greater long-term cause than the immediate injustices.

Most people who achieve greatness have done so not in spite of adversity, but because of it. Take the marathon for example. Perhaps if you were in great shape, ate totally clean, had all the stars aligned for you, and were 21 years old you could wake up one day and decide to run a marathon and finish it. You, in fact, would not be able to move the next day, but it would be possible to finish under such circumstances, especially if you didn’t care how long it took you. For the rest of us though, it is the daily discipline of fighting through struggle that prepares us mentally and physically to get the starting line and then subsequently to finish strong.

This is why I love running. It is the ultimate metaphor for life. As a student of the Holy Bible I find so many spiritual and philosophical parallels to life on this earth and physical fitness. Building physical endurance makes mental, emotional, and spiritual endurance easier.

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If I can run 9 miles in -4 degrees outside (which I did yesterday), then certainly I can let someones snide comments roll off my back. Running helps teach you when and how to react. Your stride matters.

I love how the Bible links endurance and encouragement. The fact of the matter is that if you learn to stretch yourself and push beyond, the encouragement that fills you will be overwhelming and it doesn’t require anybody else. I encourage myself. If you congratulate and encourage me, great and awesome and I love you and I need it. However, if you don’t, it doesn’t ultimately matter because I have proven to myself that I can do anything if I learn to endure.

Perhaps it seems simplistic to link running with the civil rights movement or to great spiritual accomplishments, but the physiology and the psychology are the same.  Endurance brings success which brings encouragement which builds more endurance and that generous helping of encouragement and endurance fuel hope. It’s hard to feel hopeless or stay down for the count when you know that greatness lies within you and the only way to be assured of greatness is to have proven to yourself that you CAN and you WILL. I’ve changed my mind. Endurance is not a dirty word, but it is in fact a 4 letter word: HOPE.

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A Big Deal

Exercise in the morning before your brain figures out what you’re doing.

(Thought in my head every time I run in pitch black darkness. Do I love a 5 AM alarm? No. Is it magical to run when the rest of society is asleep and you can still see the moon? Absolutely. Is being done with your run before you even take a sip of coffee rewarding? For some strange reason, yes!)  Full Disclosure: I prefer about 7 pots of coffee before my run and an additional 2-3 after my run, but you can’t always have it how you want it. 🙂

Basically I’m kind of a big deal. The evidence is below. Some of you may already be aware of this, but for those of you that aren’t, brace yourselves. I, Jessica Buckland, was a supermodel for the Akron Marathon race guide in 2013 (bottom left photo). I’m a little late in reporting this news to you because, frankly, I forgot about it, but I didn’t want one additional moment to pass without informing the world that Andy Warhol knew what he was talking about. I’m living my “15” minutes and I’m capitalizing on it, taking my existing celebrity and turning up the volume. (All jokes aside Jonathan and I were interviewed on race day for the Akron Marathon commercial. Be on the lookout. He said we were so good that he thought we worked for the Chamber of Commerce.)

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In 2014 my “word” is alignment. For peak performance in body, soul, and spirit, I am instituting more frequent tune ups in my life. Alignment is a game changer, although its quest can include pain. If you have ever been to a massage therapist for deep tissue work or a chiropractor to get cracked, you understand that small things can be hindering an otherwise healthy person from achieving their personal best.

In my quest for “self actualization/living God’s absolute best for this one life I have”, I have hit up many friends, mentors, and confidants to speak into my life. This week, two such people said some things about areas of my life that could have been difficult to receive, but instead left me inspired to do more, try harder, and go all in. It is a blessing, not a curse, to surround yourself with people committed to seeing you succeed. Success is conceived in the “dark room” before it ever born for everyone to admire.

About 24 hours after one of the conversations, I saw this tweet from Donald Miller that resonated with me. I don’t know about you, but at the end of my life I don’t want saddled with regret. I want to have lived out my purpose.

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If you really want to be a big deal, surround yourself with encourager’s, yes. However, and most importantly, surround yourself with people who can talk about the tough stuff with you and make you leave believing that you are a big deal and that you are worth the effort and valiance of honesty.

It is imperative to know which people have your ideal destiny in mind rather than their own motives, distorted philosophies, and intentions. If the truths being spoken over you aren’t wrapped in love and pom poms, run from such people.

Not everyone has your best interests at heart. Some people aren’t healthy enough to have a front row seat in your story. Know which seat at the table of your life to put everyone in, and then just pursue your vision of an ideal future knowing that God has already gone before you and that goodness and mercy are chasing behind you. Everyone has an opinion, but not every opinion counts. You are a BIG DEAL, now just surround yourself with people that believe that with you and will help you maximize your potential.

It’s fun to go exploring!

“A pioneer extends the boundaries of the possible and violates the laws of the impossible.”-  Brian Houston

“Every expedition requires a first step.”- Me

This week is the  first official week of my 18 week Cleveland Marathon Training Plan. I am once again following Hal Higdon’s plans, with some slight modifications made to accommodate my runstreak and my current schedule. You don’t have to run the designated miles exactly on the designated days. Like anything in life that you will stick to, you take the plan as a template and then become flexible to actually make it happen. I’ve learned that to successfully be a Marathon runner you must embrace the entire training season as an organic organism that needs proper attention, nourishment, and dedication, but that also needs to find a way to exist in the reality of my world.

My personal modifications, as of now,  are to run a 5K warm up for strength training on the cross training day (I may even up my bicycling this summer because running high mileage weeks at the peak of marathon training takes its toll on my hips and just do 1 mile run/_____mile bike ride on cross training day just to satisfy the streak.), and I run 2 miles every Sunday at 5AM on my “off” running day.

Running is a way for me to explore not just nature, but the depths of my brain and the heart of God. I think many of us just get stuck in ruts because life is hectic, we get very little fresh air, and we are always dreaming and never doing. Running is the marriage of dreams and actions and endorphins.

Children don’t have the rut problem. They are full of life, zest, zeal, energy, and all of the confidence in the world.  However, at a certain point, around 2nd grade they start believing the scripts that other people try to write for them. They start thinking that maybe their dreams are too great or that they are too fat or that they are too slow. They start asking questions about money and worrying about how they line up with their peers. Essentially, they learn to start living in safety and using others a gauge for their happiness and success instead of exploring every whimsy that comes along. Each year brings a new opportunity to encounter a negative word from a bully and the inevitable experience of a crushing life circumstance starts reinforcing to them that the world is perhaps not the personal oyster that they thought it was.

Fear starts to take  over.

Average starts to set in.

The call of mediocrity and the siren song of “fitting in” beckons.

The child that use to peek under the public bathroom stall out of simple curiosity of what is on the other side, becomes a citizen of polite society.  What starts as good parenting (obviously you don’t want your 12-year-old watching people use public bathrooms. That will get them arrested.) and protective guidance, can quickly turn a pioneer into a cog in life’s machine. Parents inadvertently choke out their child’s inner Christopher Columbus.

If you have felt the call of the wild. If you have felt the urge to do something beyond what you think is in the realm of possibility for you, just do it. It only takes one step. One small decision today will snowball into an action tomorrow that will catapult you into becoming the person you always dreamed you could be but that life had convinced you was no longer possible.

Maybe I am just crazy, but I believe that you can reinvent yourself continuously. Pursuing passions and dreams and finding yourself again through exploration will put you in the driver’s seat of your life and reduce that feeling of being a victim in your personal storyline. You are the author. You decide your trajectory.

If you can find a way to forge into the unknown and bring others along with you, you will find contentment. Safe is boring. If you don’t explore your dreams, feelings, and goals because of a fear of failure, your life in 9 years will look exactly as it does today, perhaps even less adjusted. A lack of exploration and a lack of trying new things will keep you exactly how you are right now or send you into decline with unrequited ambition.

So, today, revert back to toddler hood, peek under the bathroom stall (not literally……….please) and see what new people there are to meet and what new adventures there are to be had. You won’t regret it!

Good luck using this. Our buddy Hal has some beginners plans too that are free.
Good luck using this. Our buddy Hal has some beginners plans too that are free.

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.

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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.

How to have endurance

Never hold your head down, never say you can’t, never limit yourself, and never stop believing.

myway_m
I was the inspiration for a children’s book illustrated by a great friend of mine Carol Dixon. She used pictures of me from when I was 8 to base the illustrations off of.

Today was one of those days where you spend almost the entire day thinking it is a different day of the week than it actually is. I’m pretty sure this has to do with the fact that Monday was a holiday, but a good solid majority of my day today I kept trying to follow the Tuesday agenda on my calendar and kept forgetting that I had numerous meetings and baseball practices today. Thankfully my Type A kicked in and I made all of my meetings on time and was able to complete my Wednesday projects. (I also spent quite a bit of time thinking of catchy titles to this blog with the word Tuesday in them. It’s a good thing I couldn’t come up with any.)

None of this is really too embarrassing considering my other forays off of earth onto planet Jessica are usually more tragic. For example, on Sunday I held up our worship team practice internally stewing because our sound guy had not yet plugged in my microphone. Finally, after a pretty substantial lull of me standing away from the microphone singing into the air and watching/listening to the band tune up, I came to the stunning realization that we use cordless microphones. It was an epic blonde moment. It would’ve continued unnoticed by anyone other than myself, except for the fact that my self esteem is high enough to be the center of a wonderfully hilarious punchline and moments like that really should be put out there for pleasure and enjoyment. In my defense, I was thrown off by a random cord laying on the floor unused. In our sound guys defense, we have had cordless microphones for a fairly lengthy period of time, so I should’ve put two and two together. I plead the 5th amendment and make my case for a hands free microphone.

20130427-151146.jpgCan you rely on God too much? Is religion really a crutch?

Running injuries are a favorite topic around the Buckland household. Jonathan has some sort of issue with his feet and calves that flares up when he increases pace and mileage and I have been dealing with crazy feet my whole life, even before I became a runner. I have extremely flat feet and I walk and run like a duck essentially. I have decided this is a badge of honor. Not many women can pull off a waddle with such gracious ease.

  • (As a side note, the Sperry Topsider shoes are a gift from heaven. They are like wearing a tennis shoe in terms of comfort and form and are in fashion this season for some reason. Anytime a shoe is comfortable and in the remote ball park of fashion I am all over it. Usually I have to pass on shoe fads and just fill with coveteousness and envy towards ladies with dainty girl feet)

I will not go into too much depth with you on my foot problems because I don’t want you to have nightmares, but I will say that, as I mentioned yesterday, my hamstrings are super tight and this is putting pressure on my Achilles tendons as well as the tendons that run along the side of your leg and is making my calves tight. Add to that my flat feet, extra bones, and bruised toenails and you have the recipe for someone who will never attract a stalker with a foot fetish.

I know that I am not in injury mode yet, but I want to ensure that I get these muscle knots loosened up ASAP. Next week I start my pre-marathon training mode and I need to be in top shape for it. Since the Captial City Half marathon, I have been running about 30 miles a week to give myself an “off” season for a couple of weeks and to allow myself to “date” running again. Starting next month running and I will be engaged again jumping to about 36-38 miles a week, and then in July we get to work our way to marriage as I build towards 50 miles and beyond a week until the Akron Marathon.

Because of all of this, I used the pretty little head God gave me and actually chose to run on the treadmill. I needed a way to force myself to go slow and when I run outside my speed creeps up way to easily. I set the treadmill on the pace I wanted to go and just kept a steady rhythm for a 3.1 mile run and then went to a 1 mile walk. I pretty much always do a 5K on the days that I lift weights. (Until peak marathon training season where I run like 876 miles a day regardless of what is on the workout agenda or life calendar. It really is fun. You shoudl try it.) I also focused on arms and abs today and nixed the kettlebells and squats. You gotta know when to hold em and when to fold em. I will be foam rolling again tonight like a good girl while claiming this scripture:

May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, (Colossians 1:11 ESV) (The bible has some of the best scriptures for use while running. Why would I run on my own power and strength when the Holy Spirit can give me a boost? Why would you sit on a couch and not become a runner when clearly we are called to push beyond our limits into his possibilities?)

20130529-125106.jpgThese are the vitamins that I am currently taking. I have low iron counts (and therefore eat about a 78 pound bag of ice everyday. I will probably have no teeth by the age of 40.) and no matter how hard I try or how clean I eat, I do know that there are probably a few vitamin areas I am deficient in. These Costco brand performance vitamins are some of the first vitamans I have taken that haven’t made me sick to my stomach and have legitimately made a difference in my functioning and energy levels. I love them. The other vitamins are from a huge free pack of things I was given to try and I really like them so far. I am going to be purchasing some Glucosamine and Condrotin like a 95 year old lady to help my joints and ease the mild discomforts associated with being a human gazelle and some Vitaman D. Dr. Mercola states that even if you exercise outdoors and spend time outside, if you wear any SPF it blocks the absorption of Vitiman D, add to that the fact I live where we see the sun 3 minutes a year, and I don’t want to risk the negative side effects of low Vitaman D. I haven’t had any issues so far, but know lots of people who have had serious health problems they found out later were a simple vitaman deficiency. I would also rather not look like the “Tanorexic” mom you see on tabloid magazine covers, so some SPF is definitely going on my face.

20130529-202544.jpgJust a few of my favorite people from my LifeGroup tonight. I teach a lifegroup at Dunkin Donuts and still haven’t eaten a single donut at any of my groups yet. I deserve a medal of valor.

20130529-202720.jpgA glimpse into the Foundations 101 afternoon group we had today. I pretty much spend my day hanging with amazing people and talking about Jesus. I also spend it surrounded by carbs and testing my will power. I had no goodies at Panera Bread this afternoon either. I’m upgrading from the medal of valor to the purple heart.

I apologize that I haven’t been posting pictures of the food I’m consuming. I know it has been a struggle for you, but this too shall pass. What is the best thing you have eaten this week? I had a Chipotle Chicken Bowl for dinner tonight with brown rice, black beans, tons of salsa and hot sauce and very light cheese/sour cream. I can’t do away totally with the cheese/sour cream, but I stress very very light to the person making my bowl. Chipotle is always the highlight of any week that it finds itself in.

What is your most annoying ache or pain?

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?