Running Fears

Saturday mornings I wake up at 4:30am and prepare for my long run that I usually do with a couple friends. This morning I woke and was flooded with anxiety and doubt.

I began noticing every tiny ache or pain and thinking of how I could use it as an excuse to cut my run short. I had every intention of only running 4 miles today, blaming a pain in my ankle. It was 4:30 in the morning, I was tired, I ate pizza yesterday which is COMPLETELY out of my healthy eating plan, and last week I really struggled with the route that I would again be running today because it is full of steep hills. I was allowing myself to be beaten down by the enemy.

I got around, hydrated, ate a small pre-run meal and put on my running clothes. I grabbed my socks and shoes and started to lace them up and thought “just suck it up and do it. You have no real excuse. You’re not injured, you’re intimidated.” So I got in the car to drive to the starting point of my route and began to pray. I asked for the strength, the endurance, and the confidence to be able to complete this run.

“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31

Christ gives us strength, He knows what it means to endure. A run is nothing compared to the pain He endured while on earth. But He promised to give us strength, and in that moment I decided to rely on Him to get me through this.

I think many will agree that the biggest challenge in running is the mental aspect of it. We often have the physical strength to actually run, but mentally we are weak. It takes an incredible amount of mental discipline to run a marathon; to tell yourself that you’ll be OK, to just keep going even though it hurts. This is why running brings me closer to God. I don’t have the discipline, the focus, the confidence or the mental strength to run on my own. But every time I call on Him, God provides.

After a moment of quiet prayer in the car I was at peace and I was ready. I pulled up to our starting point, said hello to my friends and we were on our way. As I said, this route is tough for me because it is full of steep hills, and I typically don’t run hills very often. Every other Saturday I have fallen behind my group and had to stop and walk to try and get the cramps out of my side after hauling up those hills.

Today was different. My body felt strong, even comfortable, the entire time. Even the largest hill that I dread the entire way didn’t slow me a bit. I ran up it without even being winded. “Wow!” I thought, “Are we running slower than last week?” No, our pace was actually 20 seconds faster than last week’s. And this time I didn’t get left behind.

So why was I struggling with so much fear? Because today my fullest potential was going to be unlocked, and the devil didn’t want to see that happen. My friend Hannah shared this last night and it couldn’t be more perfect:

“Keep your head up. Don’t look back. The pain is momentary. The finish is worth it. We run because our God is good.”

A Brutally Honest Post

Sometimes you just need to get something off your chest. Beware of grammatical errors. I’m just typing my thoughts as quickly as I can.

It’s been a while since I’ve posted. I’d normally tell you that life got really busy and I simply haven’t had time to write, but in all honesty I fell off the bandwagon. I completed 30 days of a completely plant based diet with no oils or processed foods and felt great, but I also seriously struggled with my addiction to processed foods and sugar during that time. Since finishing the 30 days I really have had no desire for red meat at all, and have eaten small amounts of chicken and fish, but where I’ve really messed up is with all the junk food. I felt like I had deprived my body of it and suddenly went on a binge. It’s not fun writing that, but it’s true…and I believe honesty is the best policy.

A few weeks ago my sister called and told me that she felt like she was really being convicted for not eating healthy. Obviously, I was feeling the same way. We vowed to create a family support group and put God at the center of it. I struggle with an unhealthy addiction to food, and I’m asking my Savior to help me with it. Some people might not understand that, but if I give every other area of my life to God, but am hiding my binge-eating behavior from Him, what good am I doing myself?

 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” 1 Corinthians 6:19

When we fall down, we can’t stay there. Staying down is the reason I’ve gained weight and gotten myself into a pit that I haven’t been able to climb out of. So here I am, standing back up and taking baby steps forward. This is a long process. It’s not an easy process. But it’s worth it. It’s worth it because I want to honor God in all that I do. It’s worth it because I want to run my next marathon under 5.5 hours. It’s worth it because I have a family who needs me to be at my best.

So what changes am I making? I’ve hired a trainer who is holding me accountable to my exercise routines. I signed up for a half marathon that I’ll be running in November and will be training REALLY hard for. I’ve realized that there is a big connection, at least for me, with organization in the home and a healthy diet. If my house is out of order (I am horrible at organizing) my life starts to fall out of order. This effects my diet, which in turn effects my mood, my energy, my self-discipline, and my relationship with Christ. I don’t know if anyone can follow that, but I’ve seen it happen time and time again in my life. SO. I am on a “purge,” so to speak. Every day I’ve been going through closets, dresser drawers, cabinets and getting rid of things I haven’t used in the last year. Even if it’s something I like, but haven’t used in the past year…it gets donated. There are people who would enjoy using the things I have simply have sitting at the top of a closet shelf collecting dust, so it’s time to get rid of stuff. It feels great! Getting rid of excess things helps me simplify my life. I try to ask myself, if I were to live aboard a small sailboat (a dream I’ve always had) what would I take with me? And those are the things I keep.

And with that, I’ll end this very scatterbrained post.

Until next time, stay classy.

 

Plant Based Diet, Days 4-8 Recap

Wow! I can’t believe it’s been 8 full days on a plant based diet with no added oils. I am pretty proud of myself!

The Physical

So far I’ve lost 3 pounds and have seen major improvements in my skin. My energy levels are extremely high; I especially notice how energetic I am when I’m running. 3 weeks ago I completed a full marathon and have been doing small recovery runs since (2-3 miles). At the beginning of this diet I felt that my body was really still recovering from the marathon. I wasn’t sore any more but I was still pretty fatigued. However, the last few days I’ve been out running and just wanted to keep going! I know I owe that to the diet. I also noticed some mild plantar fasciitis starting after the marathon and now it’s completely gone. Thank you, plants!

My husband and I both were chatting yesterday about how our desire for meat and cheese it pretty much gone. In the first couple days we were really struggling with an addiction to it, but now the only thing I miss is olive oil. I love to cook Italian food and am used to using quite a bit of olive oil, mostly to bring out the flavor in things. On my plant based expedition, though, I am not using any oil…or salt. I didn’t realize how much I rely on those two things for flavoring. Needless to say, this diet is teaching me to get pretty creative with spices.

The Spiritual

My mental alertness has to be one of the biggest benefits I’ve noticed. I love reading my bible, but in the past have struggled with truly devoting 100% of my focus to what I’m reading. My mind wanders to things that are on my to-do list when I should be sitting and spending time with God. I pulled out my bible and began reading the book of John the other night, and for the first time in a long time I felt that God was speaking directly to me. He had my full attention. I can’t help but think that by taking better care of my body, I’m being a better servant to the Lord. I know that the Bible says that our bodies are temples to the Lord, but I never really thought about what that meant. I usually just thought it meant to not sin…but no! In my Christian faith I believe that the Holy Spirit lives in me. The best way I can explain the Holy Spirit is that it’s our direct connection to God. If I’m about to turn down a wrong road that could lead to a major accident, the Holy Spirit is the voice inside that softly says, “Nope. Don’t go that way today, take another route.” Anyways, if the Holy Spirit is LIVING in me, shouldn’t I be taking pretty darn good care of my body? Hello!

Another thought that came to mind was doing my part. As an athlete I pray that God will protect my body from injury. I pray that He will help me train hard so that I can win races. I pray that He will protect me from sickness so that I can be at my fullest potential. If I’m down here feeding my body junk that’s going to make me sick, but praying that God will protect me from sickness, I’m not entirely doing my part. Sure, God still has the power to protect me from sickness and injury even if I’m eating junk, but that just doesn’t seem like the right thing for me to do. Of course, God loves me no matter what. He’d love me even if I ate McDonalds every day, but I want to do all that I can to take good care of the body that He gave me.

And that’s what I’m doing…right here, right now. Day 8 of plant based eating. The best is yet to come.

Battling Addiction, Plant Based Diet Day 3 Recap

Today is the end of my third full day on a plant based diet. I think I could get used to this! My energy levels are still very high, as is my mental alertness. However, this diet definitely requires some mental discipline because (at least for me) it involves battling addiction.

Addiction to unhealthy foods, that is. I mentioned in yesterday’s post that my husband and my’s regular diet up to this point contained a lot of meat, dairy and oil. We are now eating veggies, fruits, whole grains and legumes and cut out added oils (even virgin olive oil). They don’t call it a “vegan challenge” for nothing. Having eaten meat, dairy and oil for most of my life and suddenly giving it up is a big transition. But, my husband and I decided to go into this together to lose weight and better our health and it’s working!

Luckily we both find each other pretty humorous and were able to laugh about it today. He really wanted some meat for dinner.

This was his, “I really want a steak but I’m trying to be thrilled with this vegetable soup” face…

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This was probably the day that I realized that we are truly addicted to meat. Ethics aside, I know there are varying views on whether or not grass fed meats are healthy for us, but for me being addicted to anything is not good. So we’re battling it.

The good news is that we both are fully aware of this and are glad to be creating new, healthy eating habits. And we’ve both lost weight already! That’s a plus.

Until next time,

Stay classy, eat grassy. 🙂

“Vegan Challenge” Day 2 Recap

veggies

Today is the end of our second full day following a completely plant based diet. In case you missed the challenge that I’ve decided to take on, you can read about it here. I wanted to do a quick recap each day of how I’m feeling, mostly for myself, but also for anyone who’s interested in the effects of a plant based diet.

So far I am very full of energy! I also have felt very “light,” if that makes sense. I didn’t realize how much my regular foods were making me feel weighted down and sluggish. Yesterday both my husband and I were so excited to just be starting the diet, we hardly cared what the food we were eating tasted like. Today he mentioned that he was craving steak for dinner so I opted for a mushroom dish that we both loved (mushrooms are a great meat replacement!) This diet is completely different from what we normally eat, but this is a challenge that we decided to take to better our health. Our regular diet consists of lots of meat, dairy and oil. As you can imagine, neither of us have felt great. This diet is challenging us to eat more fruits, veggies and whole grains and teaching us to make them delicious!

While we’re only two days deep, we can feel the difference! It’s very obvious that we are feeding our bodies foods that they have been craving. It’s currently my bed time and while I would normally be exhausted, I have energy left to burn. That’s something I haven’t had in quite a while.

It’s much too early to start monitoring different aches and pains I deal with from running, but I’m sure I will have updates on those soon. In the mean time, stay tuned for more vegan recipes and some recent race recaps! 

Be blessed! 🙂

 

You’re Going What?

Vegan.

There I said it. Yes, starting today my husband and I decided to take a 30 day “vegan challenge.” Or maybe we should just call it a 30 day plant based diet. Anyhow, going vegan is always something I wanted to try, but there is one book in particular that made me take the plunge. Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease by Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn; a wonderful book that showcases Dr. Esselstyn’s research that has proven a plant based diet can literally reverse heart disease. He also provides evidence of the many diseases that can be prevented by eating a plant based diet, including diabetes and cancer. On this diet you eat from four food groups:

1. Vegetables

2. Fruits

3. Grains

4. Legumes

My husband is doing it specifically to lose weight, as am I, but I also wanted to do this as an experiment. Every day I’m keeping a journal of how I feel. I will be monitoring different aches and pains and seeing how the diet affects them, as well as my energy levels and overall mood.

To sum it up, my husband and I decided to take on this challenge for health reasons. We both need to lose weight and I personally need to learn how to eat more plant based foods. This is a wonderful way for me to get creative with my foods and learn how to make plants yummy. Every day during this 30 day challenge I will include a short report on how I felt that day. I hope this encourages people to get creative with food and learn new ways to eat more fruits and veggies!