Little River Canyon Half Marathon

I love this race. If I can slog through 13.1 miles, I will always run slog through this race.

I’m really not into running at the moment. Can’t say why, just not. It was my jam for years. But lifting weights, teaching P90X, running challenge groups are all bringing me better results and more joy at the moment. Honestly, I feel a little guilty about it. But I know I shouldn’t. Life is about seasons. I’m sure there will be another running season soon.

But this race was enough to convince me to train. Well, to train enough to finish at least. I was not sufficiently trained to run it like I usually do. It hurt. Half marathons used to be fairly easy. This one was NOT. But this is a beautiful race in one of my fave places ever.

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Lookout Mountain at the corner of Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee. The Little River cuts through the canyons of Alabama’s Appalachians. The cliffs and rock formations are amazing. I went to camp and worked up here at Camp Skyline Ranch for much of my adolescent and early adult summers. This place made me who I am. I don’t say that lightly. Dead truth.

Interesting fact: this is Alabama’s own earthquake fault line. No joke. There have been earthquakes, and recent ones at that, coming from the Canyon.

The race starts at the Little River Canyon Center, which is run by Jacksonville State University. The proceeds from the race go to support the Center and all the activities they have. It’s a cheap race in comparison with a lot of others, only $50. So I’m great with forking my cash over for a good cause and great views.

It winds around the rim of the Canyon for a good 7 miles. This is where most of my detours occur. I leap off the road and race over to the edge of the cliff to get a decent view of the overlooks. I do this several times, racing to try to catch up after each, which I never really do. It’s okay. That’s not the point.

Then you get into the farmland on top of the mountain. Randy Owen, member of the band Alabama, has a large piece of this, along with several family members. He opens his farm to the runners, sets out a water stop with cookies and gels, and even rents the one and only porta-potty for the race. It’s a super nice, clean one, with tons of toilet paper. These things matter for runners. Trust me.

We do a large loop through his family farmland, then cut back through some other homesteads on the mountain to end up back at the Canyon Center.

Yes, there are lots of hills. It’s not a PR kind of course. Again, not the point.

THIS is the point.

Trust the Process

What happens when your calling seems to fall apart?

Moses was clearly called to speak for the Hebrew people, but his efforts only seemed to make things worse for them at first. He could have given up, refused to follow God’s calling for his life, declared it too hard. But he didn’t. He trusted God’s process. It had to get worse for the Hebrew people before it got better.

This can and will happen to us. This world is not perfect. It is full of struggle, strife, and other imperfect humans. Sometimes, for a situation to reach the end that God intends, it must get ‘worse’ first.

My fourth wedding anniversary is coming up in a couple of weeks. I can’t help but remember the months leading up to my wedding this time of year. While I had a lot of fun planning my wedding and spending time with my bridesmaids, there were some significantly difficult struggles in trying to bring our families together as one. To put it plainly, it was painful. It made me wonder if I was pushing something that wasn’t meant to be. Wasn’t love supposed to be easy? But as soon as I would raise that thought, a deep knowing would come over me, deep in my bones. I knew this man was for ME. God made us as a pair.

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Four years later, our marriage is stronger because we had to fight for it before it even began. It didn’t fall into place. We had to choose each other when that choice wasn’t made easy. Our path will never be perfect. There are going to be countless struggles as the years come. I’m glad to have started my marriage with the conscious choice to push through, to trust God’s process.

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If your path gets dark and tangled, pause and pray. (I envy Moses for his clear messages and direct conversations with God.) If you have prayed about it, and know that the path is correct, don’t quit! God’s process is divine and intentional. Only He can see the big picture and know how it all fits together. Our struggle is part of the process. Trust the process.

Imposter Syndrome and Moses

Since the beginning of the summer, I’ve been slowly reading my way through the Bible. I got a new bible, one of the journaling ones where you are actually encouraged to write and draw in it. I’ve got a few of those cute little quote drawings, but I mostly just wanted something I was allowed to underline and scribble on without fear of being struck down by the Bible police or something.

I found a ‘Bible-in-a-year’ reading plan, and have been going at it for a few months now. The plan I chose has you skipping around a little. Each day usually consists of a chapter or two in the Old Testament, starting from Genesis, and then a chapter or two from Psalms or the New Testament. This plan suited me because, …well, because the Old Testament is boring.

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Free October Fitness Challenge Group!

It’s rare, like the harvest moon. But we’ve opened the October Challenge group for anyone and everyone to take part. It is a 21 day fitness and nutrition challenge, based on the 21 day fix and 21 day fix extreme programs. Click HERE to join!


Usually, our groups are reserved for our customers. We provide individualized coaching, are available for support and questions, give out recipes and encouragement, and just generally keep each other accountable as we progress through our challenge. This one is special. We are opening the October challenge group, even if you are not a customer of ours yet. This is your chance to see the inside of a challenge group first hand. 

While you will not have the same workout or nutrition tools, I will provide some general clean eating meal plans and links to various free workouts. No gimmicks, no strings, no hidden agendas. We are providing you with a free month long challenge group, with valued workout and nutrition advice, with yummy recipes, and with encouragement and support. 

My hope is that you like what you see and want to stick around as a customer in the future. But you are more than welcome to simply hang out for October, soak up the good info, and then go on your own way. No hard feelings. This isn’t about me, or my business. It’s about you, and providing you with valuable information to help you along your health journey. I’ve had plenty of people help me for free, and I’m simply paying back the favor.
So head over to the group and add yourself!

High Impact Sports Bras for Larger Chests

I’ve lost weight in my chest since the beginning but I still can’t rely on those flimsy colorful sports bras or any silly built-in running tank. Having a good sports bra can make the difference between a great workout or a miserable experience. Ever chafed under your bra during a long distance race? Yeah. It’s awful. 


So here are my tried and true suggestions. You should note that they ALL are sized with cup and band (like 34D) rather than just a general small/medium/large type size. Fit is key. When in doubt, go to the experts and get measured. Your shorts and shirts can be cheap. But spend the money on shoes and bras. 

My favorite sports bras for any workout (from bottom left going clockwise): 
1. @moving_comfort Juno – This is a beast. It’s gonna hold you and hold you tight. I like it because of the higher coverage and the adjustable padded straps. It has an adjustable band in the back as well to customize your fit. Fits true to size. You can get fitted and buy MC at @fleet_feet_birmingham .

2. Underarmour UA Armour Bra – This is the best bra since sliced bread and @underarmourwomen discontinued it. But you can still find it on eBay and Amazon! It’s so comfortable and never chafes. I wear this for every half marathon I run. Go down a cup size as it runs a little big. 

3. Moving Comfort Rebound Racer – This one is lighter weight that the Juno, but it still provides excellent hold and coverage. Again, it has adjustable straps and band. True to size. 

4. @champion Show Off – I had a couple of these until one melted in the dryer. Sad day. It’s not quite as good as my others, but it’s also significantly cheaper. Great buy for the price, especially if you workout every day and need multiple to avoid having to do laundry excessively. I don’t use it for long distance running but it provides good coverage and hold for other activities like weight lifting, yoga, and #jiujitsu . 

Motivated Morning 5 Day Challenge

Having a morning routine has become a key element of having a productive day for me. I’m not alone in this. There are LOTS of people who use the morning as their time to get ahead. It’s the perfect time to get in a workout, do some reading, or work on a side business before the day gets in the way. It’s also quiet, before anyone else gets up.

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I used to be a snooze button person, like multiple times. And, to be honest, I still hit it every once in a while. But I feel like I’m missing something when I do, and I feel scattered and rushed.

I think the world would be a better place if more people had the tools to make their own “motivated morning” routine. So I’m giving them to you!

I’ve created a worksheet guide with fill-in questions to walk you through setting up your own perfect morning routine. It contains a BUNCH of resources that I use all the time. Completely free, just throw your email in below and it will come to you.

Note: My automated email can get caught in your spam filter or junk box, even though you are asking for the email. So if you don’t receive it within a few minutes, check there first. 

Day 14: 21 Day Fix Extreme Yoga

Fourth of July holiday weekend in full swing. It’s nice to do Yoga on Sunday morning when you don’t have that work pressure of Monday morning looming. Taking my workouts outside was the best idea I’ve had. Love my own Alabama version of “hot yoga.”

Lovely evening with friends later too in which I managed to stay on plan…okay, like 95%. When someone makes homemade apple dumplings, it’s only polite to take a bite in appreciation.

So grateful for these ladies.

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Day 12: 21 DFX Cardio

Cardio is rough, but it’s even rougher when you do it outside. But our AC had mysteriously quit the night before. I didn’t want to add my heat to the house, so I took my sweat session outside.

And, if you’re curious. The AC got fixed shortly after this thanks to an awesome local heat and air guy.

I celebrated with bacon and eggs for breakfast. A few dots of sriracha for fun.

 

I also made a yummy veggie dip, reminiscent of a french onion, with my DAKS and some Greek yogurt. Great way to get your veggies and protein in.

Day 11: Leg Day & Shakeology Coconut Oil Chocolate

Leg Day!!! Yeah, pretty much every day in this program is leg day. But this is for real leg day.

Eva, my little Shepherd mix, is really keeping me company in my workouts these days. Though she seems more concerned than encouraging…

I made some eggs for breakfast this morning. Some days, your eggs break and are just ugly. It’s one of those days.

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