Oh the Long Run: Prayers for the Miles

Happy Tuesday! It’s dreary here but nothing a little caffeine, summery music, and bright flowers can’t fix!

flowers

Last week I met up with a few sweet friends, Haley and Krista, for dinner at a local Mediterranean restaurant called Taziki’s. This was my third time eating at this spot, and if you want fresh vegetables, this is absolutely your place. I’ve had the Mediterranean Salad once and the Grilled Veggie Plate twice, and I cannot rave enough about either one. The menu is inexpensive, the portions are plenty, and both dishes that I’ve tried have been so flavorful. It’s a great place for a girls’ dinner, and I can’t wait to branch out and try a few different menu options.

While we were eating and catching up about life, the conversation turned to running and exercise. Krista and I have been running together for the past few months to get ready for the Chick fil A half marathon that’s coming oh so quickly (THIS SATURDAY–prayers please)!!! One thing I’ve realized leading up to the race is that running with a partner changes everything. During our runs, Krista and I talk the whole time, and I haven’t listened to music once during a run. This is so different from previous running on my own, and it makes the miles pass by so much more quickly.

As we were telling Haley about the race, Krista mentioned an article she’d seen in Fitness magazine about how to make a long run pass by faster, so of course we were all ears. The article suggested dedicating each mile to a different person. I was so intrigued by the idea, and as we talked about how cool and effective it seemed, we realized that we could choose 13 different people, places, or events and turn each mile into a prayer for that thing. Not only will this give us encouraging thoughts for each mile, Krista and I can share what makes each one special to us. On that note, here are my 13 prayers for the Chick fil A half marathon!

1 // For the blessing of a body that is physically and mentally capable of running!

2 // For the cross. For salvation. For grace upon grace.

3 // For UGA and the city of Athens. For salvation, restoration, and light in the darkness.

4 // For Mema and Papa. For health and love and the legacy they’ve built for our family.

5 // For Krista. For the many miles and conversations we’ve had over the past few months. For the way the Lord  used a cooking lab and running to create a friendship that means so much to me.

6 // For my boys aka Chelsea and Sam. For your support, for each of us being completely different, and of course, for endless laughs.

7 // For graduation, graduating friends, and new seasons of life. For assurance in who holds our futures and where our hope is secure.

8 // For persecuted believers. For perseverance, encouragement, and eternal glory.

9 // For missionaries around the world. For safety, open hearts, and a full harvest.

10 // For the ones who aren’t able to run. For a passion that makes you feel empowered and an outlet that reduces your stress.

11 // For Cole. For getting me to the gym to do weights instead of just running. For showing me how to loosen up, not stress out, and enjoy life.

12 // For my dad. For his support, laughs all the time, and for always inspiring me to chase dreams.

13 // For my mom. For all the miles together, for starting my running journey, for her daily encouragement, her love, and her listening ears.

Each of these people and groups have a special place in my heart, and I am honored to run a little part for them! Seeya Saturday, 13.1!

Banana Soft Serve: Satisfy the Sweet Tooth

The Valentine’s day sugar high may have already worn off, but don’t worry! I’ve got the simplest recipe to satisfy your sweet tooth, and it’s loaded with fruit and even a little kick of probiotics for an easy boost to your digestive system.

First, here are a few other eats from the weekend! My friend and running buddy, Krista, and I spent Valentine’s day running and eating. Two of my favorite things. We pounded out a little over 6 miles on Saturday morning, and goodness, I’m so glad we did. The extra chilly weather almost caused us to postpone our run and stay in pjs, but  we spent the hour chatting away about life and marveling the beautiful sunshine. Totally worth the freezing hands!

21515b

After the run, we made plans to spend the evening relaxing and putting together a tasty dinner. I gathered recipe ideas from pinterest and instagram, but needless to say, we ended up with a “kitchen sink salad.” There were just too many options to choose from, so we basically picked our favorite toppings from each and ended up with our own delicious creation.

21515[chopped romaine lettuce, grilled chicken, apples, avocado, red onion, granola, feta, caesar dressing]

Side note: I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the weekend of love rekindled my love for avocados. Bought a whole bag at the grocery store yesterday. Yippee!

Now here’s what you’ve been waiting for: Creamy Banana Soft Serve!

21615

  • Bananas (unpeeled, sliced, frozen; I used 2)
  • Kefir, Milk, or Almond Milk (I used strawberry kefir for a probiotic punch)
  • Dash of unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Fresh cut strawberries (for topping)

Add frozen banana slices and about 1/4 cup of your liquid of choice to your high powered blender or food processor. Blend until smooth stopping regularly to scrape down the sides. When the mixture has reached a smooth consistency, add cocoa powder and continue blending until creamy. Spoon the soft serve into a bowl and top with fresh fruit!

Sweet tooth solved with no processed sugar! Hope you enjoy!

Weekend Recap: Mountains + Asheville

Happy Sunday! I hope your weekend was fantastic and included some sort of fun moving, eating, and relaxing! Saturday included a super spontaneous adventure for me, and it was a much needed break from school thoughts plus helped fulfill some of my restless desires for something out of the ordinary.

But first, let’s rewind to Friday! The whole day was freezing and rainy, so I was mostly just craving a cozy, restful night somewhere warm. After class, I enjoyed a pajama afternoon and got some job hunting business taken care of before dozing off for a quick nap. When I woke up, I was a little more energized, so a few friends and I ventured out to a local coffee shop to share drinks and catch up after a busy week. It was a much needed rest day after a whirlwind of a week.

Now for Saturday! It began with a 4 mile run with one of my favorite running and nutrition loving friends, Krista. We decided on a 9:00am morning run knowing full well that saying 9:00 meant at least 9:15.  Around 9:45, we set out for our run. It was perfect weather (40 degrees and sunny), and it’s always so nice to get a run in before most of the world is out and about.

NC

After our run, I ended up making unexpected plans to drive north to the mountains for a little day trip and hike at Tallulah Gorge. We hopped in the car around noon, picked up warm drinks, and hit the road. We climbed the thousands of stairs to see the falls, and man, it gave me the typical “I love the mountains. I want to live here.” feelings. After our little hiking break, we ended up continuing our drive north to venture through downtown Clayton, Georgia. Such a cute downtown with lots of antiques!

NC 2

On up we drove, until we saw the 16 miles to North Carolina sign and thought, “Why not?” We drove into North Carolina with intentions to try the best barbecue around, but when we realized Asheville was just another hour, we again asked, “Why not?” This is why I love my friends! It’s so much better to ask the question why not on days like this rather than why!

NC 3

We ended up in Asheville around 6:00, and strolled through downtown while we shivered uncontrollably. After asking the cashier at a local shop for her dinner recommendation, we made our way to Asheville Brewing Company. Chelsea and I were feeling pizza all the way, so we went with the Biltmore. It was loaded with peppers, onions, spinach, pepperoni, hamburger, and ham, and it is a frontrunner for the best pizza I’ve ever had. If you’re in Asheville, you MUST try this place. Not to mention, the spinach artichoke dip with carrots, celery, pita chips, and tortilla chips was to die for and plenty for our hungry group of 4.

NC 4

Though we didn’t get to explore too much in Asheville, the random day trip was totally worth it. We spent lots of time in the car playing different games and chatting about life, and I just know these are the things I’ll remember about college. By the end of the day, we were all exhausted but so satisfied with how we spent our day. Of course, I could’ve done schoolwork or cleaned my house, but those are the things that can wait.

NC 1

What did you do this weekend? Is there anywhere you’re dying to go for the day? (I’ll go!)    

Fitness Gadgets: Worth the Purchase?

Hiya friends! For a quick life recap since the last time I chatted with you, I’m in my last semester as a Marketing student at UGA. Still running, reading lots of blogs, trying new recipes, and getting back into a little routine at the beginning of this new, hectic final semester as an undergraduate. It’s definitely a crazy time in life with big life decisions ahead, but I’m super excited about it all. It’s pretty fun to be in a stage of life where I have the ability to look for jobs and move pretty much anywhere. Cheers to that!

While sending out resumes, tutoring some pretty great people, and working on all 18 hours of classes, I’m still trying to gear myself up to train for a race. I’ve already decided to focus much more on speed for the next one, so I’m not registering until I know I can commit to doing my best. In the meantime, I’ve jumped on the gadget trend to keep me motivated to always be moving during the day and to keep an eye on my sleep trends. After researching all the options (FitBit, Jawbone, Nike Fuel, Garmin VivoFit, etc.), I went with the Jawbone UP24.

Here are some things I’m loving thus far:

  • It’s pretty stylish (or at least as stylish as a black band can be). It looks sporty, and it’s not too big. Also, the charging portal is easy to use, and UP24 is comfy enough to sleep in.
  • It’s easy to check the app on my phone to see how close I am to reaching my 10,000 steps goal, and I’ve gotten an idea of what a typical day on campus looks like with regards to my activity level apart from a scheduled workout time.

up24 1

  • UP24 has further reminded me that I don’t get enough sleep, and in turn, it has given me an idea of the ideal bedtime to get a decent amount of rest and feel my best the next day. This is huge for me right now because I’m trying to cut back on the coffee drinking and go for only green tea. Green tea is great and all, but despite comparative amounts of caffeine, it doesn’t give me the morning boost that coffee does. A good night’s sleep is a must!

Up24

  • The app is well designed and connects with other apps like MyFitnessPal for food tracking and RunKeeper for gps and running stats. Though I’m not a huge fan of counting calories on MyFitnessPal, it’s great to set goals and get an idea of where your falling short (too few fruits or veggies, not enough protein, etc), so the ability to look at everything in the UP app is very convenient.

What I have to be careful of:

  • The accessibility of the app can be consuming. The first few days I was constantly checking my steps to see if I had met my goal. The extra motivation is all fine and good, but if it causes you to feel shame or worry when you don’t reach the goal or take a rest day, the good motivation quickly turns to bad obsession.
  • Steps aren’t the best way to calculate overall fitness, so if I don’t go on a long walk or run but go to the gym and bike plus lift weights, my body is happy but UP24 isn’t. This is worth being aware of if you do a variety of fitness activities that don’t always involve taking lots of steps. Enjoy the movement you love. Don’t let a band tell you you aren’t moving enough.

As I journey into a new to me field of Social Media Marketing, I’ll be writing blog posts more regularly and taking a chance to examine how aspects of sociology and social media play a role in how we eat and how we approach fitness. Jawbone approaches social media and connectivity in a range of ways. The devices offer a Team option that allows you to connect, compete, and motivate people you know.

Jawbone is active across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. Each platform uses consistent pictures, and they have also used the platforms for sharing other information in the fitness and health industry. As we become more immersed in the era of the Internet of Things (check out the link for Jawbone’s take on this phenomenon), activity trackers will become more and more intricate, and we will have even more capability to control and connect with our environment.

How do you feel about being connected through more and more devices? Is the smartphone enough for you, or are you jumping for the chance to buy a Nest thermostat, the newest activity tracker, and Google glass?

Cheers to the Weekend

If you were wondering, here’s what went down in Athens this weekend! The weekend (or Thursday night) began with a 3 mile run that ended on the train trestle. Just look at this sunset!

photo 1

What should have been a productive afternoon of cleaning for our weekend guest turned into adventures all around Athens to take cool pictures and enjoy the weather. Nothing like a cup of afternoon coffee to make you want to do everything but clean. Amen! Oh yeah, I’m like a hippie now too.

photo 1 (1)

After carb-loading for the big race at Olive Garden, I met friends at Menchie’s for frozen yogurt. Needless to say, our laughs and race nerves kept me up all night….I actually don’t think I got any sleep.

photo 2

So much joy to see the finish line for the Chick fil A Half Marathon in Athens! A race recap will be coming soon, but this was probably the hardest race I’ve run because of the mountains that are everywhere in Athens. Also, after this race, I’ve set a new goal for my next half to be sub 2:00—unless it’s one where I need to slow down to enjoy the sights like a Disney or Rock n’ Roll race. (Leslie (in the purple leggings) and I ran together, but we didn’t know the guy in the cow outfit. We must’ve all been feeling about the same way though.)

photo 4 (1)

Despite the hills, this was one of my favorite races because of the people in the background of this shot. Seriously, it was so awesome to be in Athens and have friends at the finish line. They’re the greatest, and I am thankful!

photo 5 (1)

BEST. PICTURE. EVER. Our favorite Dillon Panther, Tim Riggins, met us at the finish line! Clear eyes, full heart, can’t lose was our race day mantra, so to have Tim there was the best surprise! 😉

photo 3 (1)

After a restful afternoon, we ended the day with Judah and the Lion and Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors at the historic Georgia Theatre in downtown Athens. It was a great night with friends, and I’m so glad Whitney (on the left) could spend the weekend in Athens with us!

georgia theatre

Overall, it was a crazy, exhausting, fun, and productive weekend! Now to get back into the school, internship, study swing. Do you have any fun concerts or events coming up? What is your favorite concert you’ve ever been to?