I love running. I love training for races. But I hate the week leading up to the race. I start to get so nervous and wonder why I even signed up and put this additional stress on myself. Ever since I was in track in high school, I would get this way. It was even more stressful then because I had a race every week, lol! I would actually get an eye twitch from my anxiety....every single week :/ I know I get like this yet I still sign up for races....and why? Because once I am actively running the race, I am loving it. I know I will get there and everything will be okay and I will enjoy the run and feel amazing after. I just have to push through that week before to get to that place.
I started trail running on 1/1/18. I wanted to mix up my road running a bit and I instantly fell in love! It is hard and challenging, but in a different way than road running. My friend Mary had me come with her to Marcella Vivrette Smith Park (in Brentwood, TN) and then I discovered the Westhaven Trails (in Franklin, TN) and we kept running them more and more! A few months ago we decided to plan on racing in the Defeated Creek Trail Half Marathon in Carthage, TN on October 21, 2018. We were running twice a week at Smith Park (Westhaven had too many spider webs during the summer, lol) and then added in an additional long run at Smith or the Warner Parks in Nashville, TN. We kept up our road running as well and alternated with road and trail for our long runs. For the last year I have been averaging around 25 miles a week between road and trails and I didn't really switch it up too much for this race. Instead I started focusing on hills more and just being more efficient with my runs and strength training.
Anyways, that all leads up to the race. I was nervous the week before, focused on eating healthy foods that wouldn't upset my stomach, and listened to a great podcast on mindset for races which helped loosen me up a bit. I went to a wedding the night before the race and accidentally stayed up too late (at least I got a good night's sleep the night before) and then woke up at 5am the morning of the race. I had my water pack and everything ready to go, I ate my peanut butter and banana oatmeal, Mary met me at my house and we were on our way. It took about an hour and a half to get there. The drive out there was beautiful!
During our training it was super hot the entire time and then the week before the race it cooled down a lot, so that morning it was 36 degrees. I had been a little nervous when trying to figure out what to wear since it had been so hot previously during the long runs. I decided on my Saucony Peregrine trail shoes (obviously), capris and a long sleeve shirt with a short sleeve one over it. It was the perfect choice. We stayed in the car and got ready to go (as did everyone else) since it was pretty cold out. The race wasn't big, I think about 40 people in all were signed up.
When it was time to begin, we all walked a little ways to the starting line. Then we were off! The first little bit of the race was around the park on the sidewalk before entering the trail. It was a little rough in the beginning because even though 40 people isn't a lot for a race, it was a lot to start on a single-track trail together. It was hard to get by others (Mary and I ended up losing sight of each other) and get into my own rhythm probably for at least 1-2 miles. The start of the trail was a pretty big climb too and then was followed by a steep decline. Once I got through that and the trail opened up a bit, I was able to get around others and settle into my own pace. For the most part, I ran alone and had no idea how many people were in front of or behind me because I literally couldn't see anyone. Every once in awhile I would catch up with someone and talk for a bit and then go on my way. The course was rough with around a 2600+ ft elevation gain but I liked that part of the challenge the most! Because I had been training on hills, I felt like they were my strong point. It was during the hill climbs that I could catch up to or pass people. I was a lot slower on the downhills though because they were quite steep and I was trying to be careful not to fall.
It was an out and back course to the Lookout Tower and back to the campground. I tried to take a sip from my water pack about every 20 minutes or so just to make sure I was staying hydrated even though I wasn't that thirsty since it wasn't super hot. I also brought 4 of my GoGo squeeZ Gimme Five applesauce on the go pouches with me but only ended up eating 3 of them. They were just what I needed to provide me with energy throughout the race. As I approached the Lookout Tower I was told that I was the first place female so I was excited because I had no idea! I started running with someone for a mile or so on the way back down but they weren't quite at the pace I wanted so I kept going by myself. The rest of the time I started catching up with some other runners and would chat every once in awhile. I felt really good throughout the entire race and was actually disappointed when I realized it was less than 13.1 miles (I think it was around 12 but I accidentally stopped my watch at one point for 10 minutes so I don't know the exact distance). The course was marked well for the most part but I did get off track 3 times but not for too long. I know a lot of the other runners got off track as well. It is hard to follow blue dots on trees when you are looking at the ground, lol! The course was beautiful and you could look over the edge and see the water. It was a beautiful day, great views, challenging course...I just loved it! As I was running I made sure to thoroughly enjoy every moment of being out there. I ended up coming in at 2:42 as the 1st female finisher out of 12 and then 12th out of all 40 runners.
I normally get pretty cold after I finish running so I changed, had my after race snacks (half of a PBJ and pea milk mixed with tart cherry juice), stretched a bit and headed home. I felt pretty good the rest of the day except for a headache, eventually I gave in and took some Ibuprofen, and then I was perfectly fine. I even took my dogs on a walk once I got home. My celebratory dinner was steak and veggie nachos from Nachos and it was delicious. Monday and Tuesday were pretty rough on my legs. Everything was good except if I had to use my quads, lol! Walking down stairs was horrible because of all the downhill running/climbing. I went on a walk on Monday and Tuesday to help shake it out. I ran a slow 3 miles on Wednesday and then did strength training. I am feeling almost back to normal today (Thursday), but still a tad sore. I just take it as I should have practiced a bit more on the downhills, but now I know for next time!
Overall, a wonderful, challenging race and now I have the trail bug and want to keep doing more intense races. Thanks Nashville Running Company for putting on the race and for the $50 gift card! I can't wait to use it on something to help with my future runs!
Did you know it's okay to enjoy some treats, not just on Halloween, but all throughout the year? Remember, it is okay to have some candy! If you find yourself feeling out of control around Halloween or other candy-centered holidays (or just when you are around a bunch of candy in general), ask yourself if you are restricting yourself too much the rest of the year. If you allow yourself some candy and sweets throughout the year in moderation, it won't be so tempting during these holidays since it's not "off-limits" the rest of the year. If you need help with this, please reach out to me for help at email@example.com.
If you do enjoy some treats all year round but still struggle around the holidays, here are some tricks to get you through this Halloween without eating ALL of the candy!
Some tips for controlling sugar cravings are:
1. Avoid buying a bunch of Halloween candy until the day of Halloween so you aren't tempted all month to snack on the extra candy hidden in your cabinet.
2. Enjoy some of your favorite pieces but make sure to pair it with some sort of protein to help level out your blood sugar levels. Example: Eat a piece of candy with your lunch or dinner or if you are having it as a snack, have some m&ms with a small apple and 1 Tbsp peanut butter.
3. Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole-grains, legumes and other complex carbs to satisfy your cravings and keep serotonin levels high.
4. Eat about every 3 hours throughout the day so your blood sugar levels don't drop. This helps you remain in control of your hunger and cravings.
5. Get your activity in (aim for at least 30 minutes of activity each day). Going on a family walk is usually a good and fun option!
Instead of candy this year, maybe you could hand out all-natural fruit chews, gum, snack-sized packs of pretzels, popcorn, rice crispy treats, apple chips, trail mix, seeds, dried fruits, mini toys or allergy-free candy/snacks for kids who can't enjoy regular candy. If you want to have or hand out candy, opt for plain dark chocolate pieces, Unreal peanut butter cups, Wholesome or Yumearth jelly beans, gummies or lollipops if you want slightly healthier options. Again, it is okay to go with the flow of Halloween and just have regular candy too.
If you find yourself (or your kids) with an extraordinary amount of leftover candy, pick your favorites to keep and then donate the rest to the troops (most dentist offices will have some kind of program available by you).
Here are some fun Halloween night dinner recipes for Zombie Brains, Bloody Eyeballs and Dirt Cups. They are all gluten-free, dairy-free and will keep you in the Halloween spirit.
Spaghetti Squash Pizza (Zombie Brains)
Prep/Total Time: 1 hour 20 min
Meatballs (Bloody Eyeballs)
Prep/Total Time: 35 min
Chocolate Pudding (Dirt Cups)
Prep/Total Time: 5 min
Are you already planning to go on a diet and start working out in January for your New Year's resolution...even though it is only October? Wouldn't it be nice to not gain weight (like you are assuming will happen) through the holidays? Instead of blowing off the next three months and caving under the pressure, stress, busyness and tempting food of the season, why don't you start making healthy choices NOW instead of waiting until January? What if I told you that even while you make these healthy choices, you could still indulge in some of your favorite holiday pastimes and foods? What if I also told you that because you started early, you won't have to diet and give up all your favorite foods and drinks come January 1?
The holiday season doesn't just challenge your nutrition and workouts. By the time the new year comes along, you have been pushed to your limits. Between the food, busyness, planning, stress, finances and more, you are normally ready for a reset after it is all over. But...it doesn't have to be this way! Can you imagine it? This holiday season you can actually ENJOY this time of the year! Join me in my Healthy Holidays program where I will help you navigate the holidays like a wellness pro!
Parties with friends, family gatherings and work potlucks will have nothing on you! Not only will you be bringing a delicious and healthy dish or treat to share (or maybe even making the entire meal), you will have more energy, less stress and you will feel and look your best - even while still enjoying some of your favorite holiday meals, treats and drinks! Follow my weekly menus to stay on track, use the workout guide to keep you active (and sane), make the special holiday recipes provided so you don't have to spend hours on Pinterest trying to plan everything and use my tips and tricks to manage your stress and finances. Need help with anything else? Join my online private Facebook community and contact me (or the group) to ask any and all questions! I am here to help you every step of the way. Get ready to start living life balanced!
My Healthy Holidays program consists of:
*6 weeks of menu plans (breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks)
*6 week workout guide (one with weights and one without)
*Special holiday recipes (for every occasion)
*Stress relief tips (focusing on common holiday stress)
*Financial tricks (for handling or avoiding holiday expenses)
*Access to my private Healthy Holidays Facebook group where you can connect with me and fellow participants.
All designed to fit quickly and easily into your life this busy season!
Sign-up and join the wait list today to get the special pre-sale price of $129!
Need more help than this? Contact me for one-on-one health coaching, menu planning, workout guides, cooking lessons and more!
I hear a lot of you claim that you are not good cooks. I do not believe that is true! You just might need a little help! :) There are several things you can do to become a better cook, even if you are super busy and have no experience in the kitchen! Stop wasting money and calories by going out to eat every night, eating at home is normally the healthiest/cheapest option…you just might need to learn a few new tricks to pull it off!
For the super busy person who doesn’t have time to meal plan or buy groceries, there are always meal kit delivery services (like Blue Apron, Purple Carrot, Chef’d, Hello Fresh, Sun Basket, Plated, Terra’s Kitchen, Green Chef, Home Chef and more). These provide the ingredients delivered to your door and step-by-step directions on how to cook your meal. The only downsides are that they are normally more expensive than buying and cooking your own ingredients at home, plus some meals can actually be pretty high in calories. BUT, they are very helpful especially for a beginner cook.
For the average Joe who just wants to be able to prepare a simple, healthy, delicious meal at home (pain-free), you can follow the steps below. But first, to prepare your meals, obviously you will need the ingredients. You can either: shop at your favorite store and buy your own ingredients or if you want to save some time but spend a little extra money, you can opt for ordering your groceries online and either picking them up from the store or having them delivered to your house.
Need more help than this? Contact me! I offer menu planning, recipe creating, grocery list making and grocery ordering services….customized just for you!
*For the person who just doesn’t have the time to cook but wants healthy food, there are options that provide freshly prepared meal delivery services (like the Good Kitchen, Freshly, Prepped, Munchery, Fresh n' Lean, etc.), local pre-made meal pick-ups/deliveries or you can hire a personal chef ;)
I love dips. The problem is, they are normally so creamy or cheesy that I just can't eat them (or I do and then feel sick). I always like to bring healthy dips to a party so I know there is something I can eat. This has been one of my favorite dips for years. I love it because it is made out of ALL healthy ingredients and basically contains all the veggies and is easy to prepare ahead of time. To keep the healthy theme going, I usually bring Baked Tostitos Scoops to serve along with this dip.
Prep/Total Time: 40 min
I am a food loving, activity seeking health coach who resides in Franklin, TN with my husband and two sweet dogs (Lola & Penny).
I believe everyone should eat balanced and not cut food groups if you don't medically need to. All foods can fit in a healthy diet. Unfortunately, I have to avoid gluten and also limit myself with dairy, so my goal is to provide healthy, gluten-free/dairy-free recipes so EVERYONE can enjoy all foods, even if you do have to cut out certain food groups. My recipes are encouraged for everyone to eat, not just for those with sensitivities/allergies! Most of my recipes can be easily converted by using real dairy and whole-wheat in place of my allergy-free substitutes.
Looking for something specific? Everything can be found by category under the "Life" and "Recipes" sections on my website or you can search below.