A Year of Surprises, Trials, and the Unexpected

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October 7, 2015

 

I got engaged. Me of all people got engaged to a man I am eternally grateful for.

Somehow, I have to catch you all somewhat up to speed with me. I wouldn’t know where to begin since I made this blog centered on fitness and health and have not spoken much about Luke!

Luke in a nutshell:

  • Loyal
  • Good listener
  • Caring (treats me like a princess…literally, it’s crazy)
  • Christ-centered
  • Athletic
  • Smart
  • Hard worker
  • Obnoxious (the things he does…men have funny ways of expressing love)
  • Funny
  • Soon-to-be Army Chaplain
That’s right. That last bullet…not only will I be a PW (pastor’s wife), I am also going to be an Army Wife! You all have no idea how far that was from who I thought I would end up with. I never wanted anything to do with the army, because I was scared. Terrified. I would say: “I’d never be strong enough for that. I just know that one day, an officer would show up at my house to tell me my husband would not be coming home.” Now here I am. Giving myself to a relationship that I never thought would be possible.

How did I make this change?

How did I go from: “I’ll never marry. I’ll never get involved with the Army. I’ll be single for the rest of my life, and I LIKE it that way.”
Let’s start with God. Like it or not, take it or leave it: God is the reason.
As I may have mentioned way back in a previous entry, I was a very pessimistic person after many relationships gone wrong. I chose then to simply have fun, not suffer any repercussions, and not get too close ever again. With that kind of attitude, I was nowhere near ready for Luke–my future husband.
After a while, I got fed up.
I was done feeling meaningless to the guys I devoted time to. I was done feeling like I was getting nowhere fast and that no matter how many hearts I stole, I was never going to feel fulfilled. There was a hole (which is still not entirely filled, but I’m getting there) and no amount of meaningless familiarities and sentiments would gratify me.

God is the answer.

And so I turned to Him. Lent season 2014, I told God I was done: “From here on out, it’s just you and me, God. No one else. I only want you.” For all of Lent season, from February to April, I worked on my heart and on restoring my relationship with God.

Luke messaged me that June while he was in Lithuania for an ROTC trip.

That summer, I knew for a fact I was done with heartless relationships. However, I didn’t think or know for a fact that Luke was going to treat me better than all the rest. I was prepared full-heartedly for the downfall.

Well, we started dating October 31st 2014, and 11 months and seven days later, Luke proved that he was not like anyone else I’ve ever met. In that time span from June of 2014 to now in December of 2015, my heart has changed radically for the better. This is all such a crash course of what God has been doing in my life, but let me tell you all that had I not stepped out of my old ways and directed my whole heart and life to Him, I would NOT have been ready for Luke, the Army life, and the future God has had planned for me.

I am praying for you all, that this Christmas season, you will not wait so long like I did. That you will not dwell on bitter memories and hold tight to them to protect you. I promise you that God will protect you.

Thank you for reading, xoxo

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Wedding Date: June 17, 2016

What I’ve Been Up To

Work, Work-outs, and Homework

That’s where I’ve been! Hey guys! It’s been a while, and thanks to whoever just started following me recently when I haven’t even been posting at all hahaha. It’s just been CRAZY busy. But I cut out a few other social media distractions so I now can dedicate more time to my blog!! Yes.

So as of a little over a month ago, beginning of February, I took a job at Starbucks as a Starbucks barista! (Also I am posting this off my Ipad and it won’t let me post pics as I go so I guess they’ll all just be at the end lol) And so you would never imagine how hard, draining, and exhausting that job is. Unbelievable. Like it’s as demanding as me taking care of a bunch of ten and eleven year olds at summer camp last summer. And then I get questions like “Do a bunch of hipsters come in all the time?” And I’m like, “try senior citizens for black coffee, soccer moms, and junior high kids for frappucinos.” And let me tell you, their orders range from “Chai tea, extra hot, no foam, 7 pumps chai, nonfat, no water” to “orange mango, strawberry, and raspberry to the first line, lemonade to the second line, with ice and shaken.” So WEIRD, SO excessive, and many times I want to yell at them and say: “Look. If I don’t know how to ring it up or if I find your drink to be too obnoxious, then forget it. Go home and make lemonade.” It also goes so beyond coffee. Like we have to start our closing tasks way in advance if we want to leave on time at the end of the night AND so we’re not working our butts off to get everything done and stepping on each other’s toes. I could go on and on, but I think we’ll have time for stories later…

Work-outs. 🙂

So since it was my spring break this past week, (I worked essentially full time last week) I literally did work, work-outs, and homework. That was my break. But I ran every day except for Sunday last week, and on top of that, spring actually came!! The week before, we were still getting snow. But I ran in cropped tights and a t-shirt! What?! It was amazing. I’m still nowhere near satisfied with my times. I had to do so much cross-training after the stress fracture and I still didn’t get to run as much as I wanted because we had such a horrible winter. BUT, my season has arrived. And from March- October, I’m gonna kill it 🙂 Hoping for longer, but we’ll see how long I stay injury-free! haha

And there was homework. Ugh, life of a college student junior year. Enough stated.

So I’ve been really busy! And I’m actually writing this post in class….whoopsie 😉 And I have so much more to say, but I suppose those will go in separate posts. I hope you all have been enjoying your spring weather!

xoxo

Starbucks barista life.
Starbucks barista life.
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Scout and Meeko 🙂 Going for a walk!
Work hard, play hard. I've also been implementing a lot more lifting into my routine! I am actually doing specific body part lifts: back, legs, calves, shoulders, chest, etc.
Work hard, play hard. I’ve also been implementing a lot more lifting into my routine! I am actually doing specific body part lifts: back, legs, calves, shoulders, chest, etc.

Runner Girl’s Ground Chicken Burgers

Well it has been way too long since I have posted! And I had to post today because I am not sure how the weekend will go as I am nearly 8 hours from home in the Upper Peninsula!! I am here to ski with my family. My parents’ friends have this incredible lodge up here and I might be posting some pics of it so you all can see how beautiful it is! I told my mom that I want a lodge just like this…in like Missouri. Not in the frozen upper tundra of America! 😉

My view from the study nook
My view from the study nook

But I made this amazing thing the other day that Luke just loved with his whole heart. And I mean that! He wanted it again the next day!! I honestly don’t care for burgers but I love grilled chicken. And so I tried out this ground chicken avocado thing, and it’s a keeper! This one is here to stay!

Runner Girl’s Ground Chicken Burgers

  • 1 lb. ground chicken
  • Any seasoning
  • Pepper and salt for taste
  • Veggies!!- diced tomato, corn, onion, green pepper, red pepper, kale
  • Jalopenos
  • 1 avocado chopped into bits
  • Optional queso to go on top
  • Multi grain buns/ sandwich thins

Essentially, you just add all of the veggies you want and the diced avocado into your ground chicken! Form patties and cook! I cooked mine on the stove-top in a frying pan because it is very much winter right now haha. It was also my idea to add queso instead of cheese because unless you get fat-free cheese, cheese can just ruin the whole thing. But Tostitos salsa queso is very decent, and I think it tastes way better!!

Stay warm everyone! I hope to continue to keep you updated!!

xoxo

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My boyfriend's chicken burger...he really got into the queso ;) Also topped with diced avocado cooked in the pan!
My boyfriend’s chicken burger…he really got into the queso 😉 Also topped with diced avocado cooked in the pan!

Being Mirrors

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Love is a difficult topic. In this world, it’s hard to find acts of ramdom kindness and expressions of love. Though perhaps we are also at fault for not looking hard enough for the positivity and beauty. Nevertheless, God calls us out to be His chosen disciples. Because the world is so lost, He chooses us to be His mirrors. When people look at us and interact with us, they should notice something different. I hope that in my interactions, people can see Jesus living in me. What does that look like exactly? Well, I certainly will be spending my whole life trying to figure that out, but the first step is to love. “Love thy neighbor as yourself.” Mark 12:31.

Here we may run into another problem with love…What if you don’t really love yourself? I’ve struggled with this my whole life, so I know how you feel if you are a victim of insecurity and perhaps self-loathing. I pray that God can free you of this. He designed you; do not scorn yourself or you scorn his very Creation as not being good enough. I know, this sort of attitude does not change overnight, believe me. But with God all things are possible and all things are made new. Pray for a clean heart; pray today for freedom from any thoughts of negativity. These thoughts are destructive to you and will keep you from furthering God’s kingdom. When we are trapped in self-pity, anxiety, depression…we are only consumed on theses thoughts. These are thoughts from the devil, not from God! I pray that today, you will just get a little farther from harmful thoughts and closer to God’s plan for you 🙂 It is only then when we can love ourselves that we can truly give love and share of His grace to others.

Have a great Friday!! Thanks for reading 🙂 xoxo

Runner Girl’s Strawberry Banana Protein Smoothie

Strawberries and bananas. While they create an incredibly delectable combination of flavors, they are also both packed with amazing nutrients to consume after a hard work-out/run! Both help to aid in the recovery process and bananas are a great source of good carbs and replenish the electrolytes that we lose when we perspire. For more on bananas, check this page:

http://site.runtex.com/index.php/2013/03/beginners-corner-bananas-are-the-perfect-runners-food/

Strawberries and berries in general have a ton of antioxidants. Strawberries even support the immune system and do some crazy other things for you like preventing wrinkles and cancer. For more on strawberries:

http://www.besthealthmag.ca/best-eats/healthy-eating/10-health-benefits-of-strawberries?slide=2

So when I came home, I knew I wanted a smoothie and this is what I made 🙂

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Runner Girl’s Strawberry Banana Protein Smoothie

  • 1 cup whole frozen strawberries
  • 1/2 large banana sliced
  • 1/2 scoop vanilla soy protein isolate
  • Splash of Water, 2-3 tbsp.
  • Splash of 1% milk, 2-3 tbsp.

Combine all and blend. I have a Magic Bullet blender and love it very much! This is about 210 calories, give or take with your milk. So thick, creamy, and sweet; it’s a very satisfying treat to have after your work-out 🙂

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Runners and Carbs: Let Us Eat Bread!

My notorious banana bread :) A favorite among runners and athletes alike.
My notorious banana bread 🙂 A favorite among runners and athletes alike.

Long-distance runners are known to carb-load. This is a fact; runners need the carbs in order to perform, plain and simple. But exactly how much do we need? And how much protein is needed for the muscles to recover? You’re in luck if you were wondering since that is exactly what we’re covering in today’s post 🙂

Check the research

Research states that ” if you regularly participate in heavy endurance training at high intensities, you require 0.7 to 0.9 gram of protein per pound of body weight each day” (Coleman). Coleman further states that runners require “2.3 to 3.2 grams of carbs per pound for light to moderate training that last less than one hour, 3.2 to 4.5 grams per pound for heavy training at high intensity,” and these statistics are based off The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. If I am only running 4 miles on a given day, I might want to take 2.6 grams of carbs per pound. Me weighing 113-114, we’re talking 296 grams of carbs! I’ve always been a huge advocate of cereal and energy bars, and one cup of Honey Nut Cheerios gets you nearly 30 grams of carbs already! Even then. This is a very difficult number to achieve and it seems like a lot. What does a healthy, satisfying day look like with around 300 grams of carbs?

Based off the assumption that I ran at 6 AM, without eating prior to run.

Post Run Breakfast- Oiko’s Vanilla Greek yogurt w/ package of Belvita crackers (36 g.) Banana later in morning (27 g.)

Lunch- Turkey sandwich with whole wheat Sara Lee bread (25 g.), medium banana (27 g.) OR tomato soup (16-20 g.), pita chips (20 g.)

Snack- Large honeycrisp apple (30 g.) with Cup of cantolope (13 g.)OR smoothie made w/ banana (30 g.)

Dinner- Grilled chicken w/ cup of brown rice; steamed veggies (45 g.)

2nd Dinner- 1 and a half cups of cereal (45 g.)

This brings me at about 250-270 grams of carbs depending on what I choose out of these options. I only counted carbs for grains/fruits/soup. I did not calculate for meat. As you can see, we might need to eat an extra energy bar at our afternoon snack! Or serve up a larger platter of fruit. I love fruit 🙂 Some people snack more; I really don’t. The only time I snack is on long run day when I’ve done my run that morning. I am starved all day and snack on a lot of fruit and definitely grab that extra energy bar. Because as you can see, the example given above is for a light to moderate running day. My runs that go than an hour, you better believe the day will look slightly different! At least a bigger breakfast or lunch.

So the above is what a typical day may may look like for me, however, as of lately, I upped my may protein intake. So I had been eating, due to all my pancake posts, more protein pancakes and more protein shakes! You have to tread carefully with upsetting the balance. Seriously use the ratios given above with grams/pound, and stick to only around those numbers. If you’re looking to build more muscle…focus on strength then for a week or two and ease back into your regular diet routine. Runners do not adjust well when they are eating MORE protein than carbs. If you truly are running long distances of at least 20 miles per week, then you must be consuming more carbs than protein. Or if your volume of cardio is greater than weights, then yes you need more carbs! Not only will we not have enough energy to run for long distances, the extra protein could block up your system. This is a very high possibility if you’re trying a high-protein diet while trying to run. not only that, but too much protein is horrible for your kidney’s health. And you don’t want that. You could even have the Gatorade after a hard run, and you can still have your protein shake/bar after your strength training. That is certainly advised 🙂

I wish you the best of luck in your nutrition and training 🙂 Ask me any more questions you have on this, and have a great FRIDAY!

Reference

R.D. Coleman, Erin.”How much Protein and Carbs Do Runners Need?” Healthy Eating. http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/

Lacing Up and Hittin’ the Ground Running

Runner’s Strengthening Guide

This is a convenient and extremely helpful guide for anyone looking to: ease into running if you’re a beginner, return to running post-injury, build mileage, OR if you just want to keep running and prevent injury! Basically, in short, this guide is for ALL runners. No runner or jogger is exempt from this guide, and it is advised that you consult mine if you want to continue on the path to lifetime running 🙂

Family Medical History

Consult the family history. It is just a good pre-cautionary method for all beginning athletes and runners to know their family’s medical history. Make sure you know of any histories with joint issues, asthma, heart problems, etc. This is just good to clear the air with. Certainly if there are health concerns in the family, be sure to get all this straightened out and cleared with the doctor.

Personal Athletic History

Okay, now that we’ve moved on from that, you’re going to have to examine your own! Besides medical needs, I am talking about your own past injuries, weaknesses, vitamin/health deficiencies such as iron or calcium, nutrition overall, progression of activities, current state of activity, and weekly mileage. These are all areas that need to be examined. So now, I get to break these down a bit.

Past Injuries

Your past injuries are VERY important! From a trainer/coach’s point-of-view, we have to evaluate why the athlete became injured in the first place. Was it caused by poor nutrition? Not even strength training? Or was it too much strength training in the wrong areas? Did he or she only run on hard surfaces including concrete and sidewalks? Is the runner involved in outside activites that caused the injury? Overtrain?

YEAH. Identifying the injury is not simple. This is not a one-time trip to the trainer’s office, they diagnose you, and you go home knowing exactly what it is and how to cure it. No way! There can be so many problems, and that’s why it’s extremely important that you make sure to be monitoring any signs of abnormal weaknesses, pains and to examine what you eat and how often you hydrate. More details on this later.

So keep a record of your injuries. Do they all seem similar? Repeated injuries? Probably. And the areas affected may be closely related like hips and knees. Keep records of what the diagnosis was AND the treatment given. Typically, once runners get injured, that injury is likely to happen again if the runner does not keep with the exercises continually, even when you are healthy!

Weaknesses and the Three R’s

This goes with injuries, because you typically become injured if joints/muscles have grown weak or tired. As mentioned earlier, examine your treatment given. If you run on your own and are not choosing to make a doctor’s appointment (which unless it’s a severe case, you really don’t need a doctor’s appointment.) then you just need to rest, re-evaluate, and research. 

  • Rest- Clearly, your body needs to take some time off to allow itself to heal. If you are finding pain within just the first mile of the run, or worse when you simply walk everyday, then it’s time to hunker down for a bit and not do that same activity over and over.
  • Re-evaluate- Something went wrong under your radar, and we can’t all go injury-free no matter what. When it happens, examine where it hurts. This when you have to ask yourself a lot of questions: what surfaces were you running on, what does your nutrition look like, did you up your mileage too fast…basically the questions above in the Past Injuries section. Evaluate, and then evaluate a different option.
  • Research- Once you have come to a more definite conclusion of what your injury looks like (IT-band syndrome, patellafemoral pain syndrome, shin splints, stress fracture, etc.) Research it! Find exercises you can do to strengthen the affected areas. I will also spend more time explaining some research-backed exercises later on. If you can cross-train, then cross-train. Biking and swimming are usually the most recommended activities to do while injured.

Once you know your weaknesses, you HAVE to keep strengthening the areas that are likely to get worn down quickest. For example, my weak areas are my hips and glutes. I am constantly doing mobility and strength routines targeted for those each day.

My hip/glutes routine in the gym. I use ankle weights and a theraband every time. Details to come.
My hip/glutes routine in the gym. I use ankle weights and a theraband every time. Details to come.

Vitamin/Health

I won’t go into all nutrition here because that’s for separate posts and would take too long. Eat healthy. 😉 But in regards to your actual health needs, any deficiency you may have could pose a problem. And it could not! Honestly, the main vitamins and minerals you need to be concerned with are: Iron, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Calcium, and Omega 3 is a fatty acid, but it is strongly advised to have this supplement taken around 3-4 times a week for optimal health as well. There are plenty of other supplements that you may need to be taking for joints or other needs. I would suggest going to a doctor if you have more questions with this. However, it’s also okay to discover as you go as I did 🙂

Here is what I highly recommend to all long-distance runners and especially female runners with high mileage: Get your ferritin levels checked. In other words, get a blood test to check and see how much iron you have in your body. You obviously do not want your levels to be too high as too much iron is not okay. So please get this checked before you begin your taking iron regularly. You want your level to be around 30-50, and one of the guys on my cross country team had his at a 100 and apparently, that was just fine for his case at 80 miles/week. Again, please talk to your doctor if you think you are at risk of being anemic as low iron has very negative effects on performance and causes fatigue.

I am anemic to begin with, so I have to take my iron! I recommend taking it in liquid form and with Vitamin C. Vitamin C helps quicken the absorption rate.
I am anemic to begin with, so I have to take my iron! I recommend taking it in liquid form and with Vitamin C. Vitamin C helps quicken the absorption rate.
My favorite One-A-Day multi-vitamin! This supplement is amazing, all-natural, highly recommend.  Perfect for athletes.
My favorite One-A-Day multi-vitamin! This supplement is amazing, all-natural, highly recommend. Perfect for athletes.

Current State of Activity and Mileage

This is where the road diverts a bit. If you a beginner, you will want to ease into your first race through a run-walk or a jog program. And how active have you been normally? How much activity do you typically do? And even if you are a beginning runner, did you play a different sport like tennis or soccer? There are lots of elements to consider as you start to create a plan. Your plan might be having you run 3 days a week whereas another person may be walk/jogging the first few weeks. You have to be realistic with your goals and know your body. Know what jumps you can take and what progressions seem reasonable. Remember: progress is still progress.

If you are intermediate/advanced, creating plans shouldn’t be too difficult at this point. But as always, evaluate each race accordingly. A half-marathon will go for more tempo runs and mile repeats. A 5k will call for 400 repeats, 1000 repeats; shorter distances sprinted/exerted with vigorous effort and with a proper warm-up and cool-down.

Mileage is huge. I mean all of this is huge, but mileage you need to be cautious with. DO NOT MAKE DRASTIC JUMPS. Don’t run 20 miles the last week and 32 the next. That’s too big of a jump. Increase your mileage by 10% each week. If you did 20, go 22 next week. If you did 50, then 55 the next week. Slow and steady wins the race. And keeps you at less risk of getting hurt from over-training 🙂 Watch your other activities as well if you’re very involved. I’m talking even about the occasional soccer intramural game or basketball at the neighbor’s house. All I’m saying is, be careful. Because I have heard one too many horror stories of runners missing out on races because they got hurt in other activities! Not even in running! So…save the hardcore athleticism for the track and not in sand volleyball 😉 Your next race will thank you.

So that is my bit of a crash-course to getting the best out of running, plenty more details to follow. These are all things you should be evaluating your whole running career. We don’t just lace up and run, we have about a billion other things to tend to but it’s what separates us from the less dedicated.

You know you’re a runner/jogger when you have read this whole list and still nod and say yes to the miles ahead 🙂

Have a fantastic night and have a great run tomorrow! xoxo