Saturday, October 31, 2015

Out of Sorts by Sarah Bessey

Out of Sorts: Making Peace with an Evolving FaithIn Out of Sorts, Sarah Bessey—award-winning blogger and author of Jesus Feminist, which was hailed as “lucid, compelling, and beautifully written” (Frank Viola, author of God’s Favorite Place on Earth)—helps us grapple with core Christian issues using a mixture of beautiful storytelling and biblical teaching, a style well described as “narrative theology.”

As she candidly shares her wrestlings with core issues—such as who Jesus is, what place the Church has in our lives, how to disagree yet remain within a community, and how to love the Bible for what it is rather than what we want it to be—she teaches us how to walk courageously through our own tough questions.

In the process of gently helping us sort things out, Bessey teaches us how to be as comfortable with uncertainty as we are with solid answers. And as we learn to hold questions in one hand and answers in the other, we discover new depths of faith that will remain secure even through the storms of life.

My Review:
 I can sum up this book in about one sentence. Faith is messy and with time, we grow, things change and our viewpoint looks completely different. This book did not argue a view point. It did not have one tangible thing that I loved, it just was a book about how we go through change. we can either make peace with it or we can stay stuck. Sarah was extremely vulnerable, honest and thought provoking in the questions she was asking and the thoughts she provided the reader. I found this book to be interesting, but for the season of life I am in, this book did not resonate with me. Has my faith evolved ? Yes! Have I evolved? Yes. Things change, views change, and I won't take easy answers, but dig further looking for something deeper. Sarah is a deep thinker who looks for deep answers as well. I enjoyed this book, but I wasn't wowed by it! I give this 3/5 stars. It might be the current season of life I am, or it may just not have spoke to me, but I always recommend you checking into a book further because this book might be exactly what you need for the season in your life. 
Thank you to Howard Press for allowing me to review this book for a complimentary copy. 

Friday, October 30, 2015

My Solutions for Common Runner Gut Issues

Good Afternoon! You made it! It's Friday! The weekend is upon us and I'm sure many of you have plans this weekend for Halloween.. I hope some of you are running some cool races this weekend or enjoying quality family time. Whatever you're doing, have a BLAST! 

In the month of November, I will be kicking off #purplestrong, which if you're not sure what that is, come back next week and we'll be talking about that on my blog. It affects a lot of aspects of my life, including my long runs, which hit my gut. 

Gut issues have been something I have dealt with a great deal this past training cycle. It has SUCKED. No better way to say it then that. If you're like most runners, you experience mid-run stomach troubles that may cause you to stop running or like me, force you to sideline running for a bit. I've had to do a lot of research in this area because I couldn't figure this business out. I talked to the guy at the running store, which helped me out a lot, but our bodies are so unique. Here are some truths I've learned.

1) Mid-run Vomiting 
I experienced this during my 25k in May. Running on a full stomach can lead to this issue. I didn't run on a full stomach at all, but I wonder if I ate something that made me sick hard to say..
3-4 hours to digest food pre-run. Experiment to find your ideal eating time. Practice, practice and practice a fuel plan in order to avoid this on race day. 

2) Side Stitches 
Do you ever get that pain on the side above your stomach area? It's awful! It gets you at the wrong time. Sometimes if I start out to fast or my pace gets faster than it should be, I get them..
 I've experienced with breathing techniques and the one I find to be most helpful is to match my breathing to my strides. I exhale 2 strides and inhale to strides. Whatever my strides are, I match that with my breathing, which helps those side stitches go away. 
A secondary solution I've learned is sticking with a small pre-run meal. I find a half cliff bar is my friend. 

3) Diarrhea
Race day is the worst because my stomach is a mess for nerves. I have to constantly tell my brain, it's just a training run with thousands of other runners. My brain always knows better, but I am a nervous WRECK! I think my anxiety takes years off my life. Did you know anxiety gets that stomach and bowel moving..  GROSS right? 
 Stay away large pre-run meals. Your body doesn't have enough time to digest them.
Avoid Caffeine, and I know people love CAFFEINE GU, but that WRECKS my gut.. Oh, I've had some miserable races.. It gives me the energy, but I can't do it..
Stay away from high fiber foods 2-3 days before your race.. That's my own personal rule. NO Salads! 

Personally, I stick with NUUN... My stomach can only handle that stuff. 

4) Chills, Shivers
Do you suffer from chills, shivers or shaking near the finishes of your races or even post race? {Raises Hand} I am a silent suffer too. I could never figure out why my body was doing this. One race I got to the point where I wasn't sweating, I was getting cold, but the weather was warm. It was an odd sensation. I started to get a bit dizzy.. I figured out immediately what was going on. I was dehydrated and had lost electrolytes. How did that happen? I was monitoring my fluids. My medication requires high fluid intake and then compound running, I get a double WHAMMY! 
HYDRATE, HYDRATE AND HYDRATE. Do this before, mid-run and after.
Find the stuff that will work for you. I drink NUUN.

5) The Gas we pass
If ya'll tell me that you don't have gas, I'll just unfriend you right now.. I'm so joking! For real, I run with you people and I catch wind of it. So, let's get it out in the open and publicly declare, runners FART! There, I said it. If you're not farting, you're burping. I've done both on a race. This blog is straight up honest. How are we suppose to learn from one another right?  
First, pass the gas and also burp. Don't hold it. I remember feeling so EMBARRASSED to pass gas.. That day has come and gone. Avoid foods that make your stomach to have gas, but also calm your nerves before a race. Maybe some meditation or progressive relaxation sound tracks on your ipod is exactly what you need to calm your nerves. Also, reduce swallowing air, which makes THIS problems worse. Trust me....     

Any wisdom out there on the stomach troubles out there? 

Congrats to Melanie!! She is the winner of my Zen Coloring Book! 

If you're looking for some book reviews, come stop by with a cup of coffee.. I will be dishing up some great books :) 

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Healthy Holiday Habits Start Now!

A month from today, we will be celebrating Thanksgiving! Can you believe it? You know what that means, healthy eating habits start now. I know around the Holidays, eating gets out of control, my discipline goes out the window and I'm much more likely to throw my routines to the wind. I'm already seeing it now. I'm also seeing the numbers on the scale increase slightly. 

Starting today, why not kick into some healthy habits before the holidays to help! They say it takes twenty one days to make a habit and ninety days to create change. So, lets start new habits and by Christmas you'll have some awesome change!! Doesn't that sound awesome? I'm in this with you! 

Habit #1 
Pass the veggies please! 
Maybe you eat vegetables on a regular basis, but why not kick it up a notch and try some new vegetables into your palate? Maybe pull a new recipe from a cookbook or ask you friends how they get their three servings of vegetables in a day? Ask for their recipes or invite them over for dinner? 

Habit #2 
Say NO!
Is your office crawling with cakes, cookies, candies and sweets galore? Just say "no." The first few times it will be difficult, but soon you won't crave the sweets anymore and then you will be able to walk by the candy dish or the sweets feeling  victorious. Instead, if you're craving something sweet make sure you pack Greek Yogurt ahead of time with a half cup of blue berries. Sometimes I'll throw in strawberries or banana's. Find a fruit that you love and usually I find that will distract me. If I absolutely need something sweet, I will throw a piece of gum in my mouth and that will do it. 
Remember we are trying to create healthy habits for the holidays, I'm not throwing out treats completely. Knowing Thanksgiving and Christmas are around the corner makes me know SUGAR is near. With all the Halloween candy, I have already struggled and I need to get back to some structure, so I can enjoy Christmas cookies and pies, but also have the discipline to say "NO" when it becomes mindless and too much..  I hope this makes sense. As a person who has struggled with weight, I am trying to be mindful about what I put in my mouth, yet enjoy it.

Habit #3 
Stay Motivated
I know as the weather changes, especially here in Michigan, it's tempting to put off that run or exercise for the next day, but do SOMETHING. Get out there and exercise even if it's 15 minutes. Once you're outside or at the gym, you'll feel better and find yourself exercising longer. If you're struggling to find motivation, look for a spring race and register for it. Pick a goal that will get you out the door and get you moving. It's so dark here at night. I've been struggling with this, but once I get out the door, I feel a ton better. I personally registered for a SPRING race. I needed the ACCOUNTABILITY. 

Image result for habit quotes

Habit #4
Are you catching enough sleep?
Are you catching enough sleep? Or too much sleep? Most Americans don't get enough sleep or quality sleep because we are interrupted by our phones, ipads or tvs. Turn off the devices and increase the sleep time. Sleep reduces stress, increases your bodies ability to fight ward off infections, colds and any other crummy things that come after it. The Holidays always take a toll on our physical and emotional health. Maybe it's a family member or the stress of physically going somewhere. Get the rest now, so your body can be ready to endure the Holidays and also to be well enough to run. I need more sleep. I either sleep not enough or way to much. I need to get on a better sleep schedule. Mine is thrown off. Get the recommended 6-8 hours. 

Habit #5
Drink H20
Are you drinking enough H2o? I naturally drink lots of water, but in the winter I find myself drawn to more caffeine beverages like coffee because I'm always cold. As soon as August comes, I start drinking coffee and I usually give it up by January for the rest of the year. It's a social beverage of choice and it keeps me warm. Some people drink wine, soda, beer, etc.  However, after experimenting with some huge GI issues during some long runs, I found out I was dehydrated. I had not been drinking enough water before, during and after. Thanks COFFEE addiction!  I thought I was fine, but I wasn't. The amount of water every person needs is different dependent on their height, weight, age, medication, exercise regmine, etc.  Personally, I need to drink more water, so I am going with the whole divide your body weight in half and that = fluid oz of water to drink daily. It's a lot, but I'm starting slowly. 
With that said, talk to your physician about the best approach for your body. 

Habit #6
Grab your planner right now and schedule 1 hour this week for yourself. I don't care where it is in your planner, go do it. When are you going to spend time taking care of yourself? This isn't exercise time, this is time where you unwind, read a book, introduce yourself back to an old hobby, meet a friend for coffee or whatever will energize you for the following week.. Then, I want you to look ahead for the month of November and do that for the entire month. Holidays get stressful. Schedule a pedicure, manicure, or go see that movie you've been wanting to see. Put it on the calendar, MAKE it happen! 

Q: Any habits you recommend or do to prepare for Thanksgiving and Christmas to hold yourself accountable to your running goals or ward of the holiday pounds? 

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Running Solo Solutions

Many runners join groups when training for races, some run with a buddy, others train solo. If I'm not running with my husband, I run solo. Whether on a treadmill or outside, I prefer to hit the pavement alone. Running is a solo sport for me, but the question then becomes how do you get better? Faster? How do you push yourself?

It can be comfortable to fall into the same pace, routine and even route, week after week. In order to set goals of losing weight, burning extra calories, getting faster and changing my body up, I've been stuck in a running rut running solo, so here are some of my solutions.. 

Change Routine:
-Pick a new course for your long runs.
-Look for more hill work
-Find a place that has interesting people that can distract you.
-Hit the treadmill once or twice a week.
-Make a day weekly for speed workouts.

Find an accountability Partner: 
-Check in with a friend via text after each run.
-Join a running social group through the internet.
-Talk with other runners in a group in your area at your local running store.
-Run to a friends house for coffee and breakfast for a long run and have them drive you home.

Set Goals:
Set Goals other than PR goals. (I have a PR goal for each race category)
Formulate a weight loss goal for the week.
Make speed workout goals and drills part of your weekly training schedule.
Create healthy eating plans. I've fallen the wagon a bit and paid so badly :(

Make you Number One! 

Solo runs are about you, your schedule, your pace and your body. If you're recovering from an injury, this is the best place to take care of YOU and not over do it! As a person who just can not get rid of a nagging injury, I won't let it sideline me, but I have to make me the number one priority and really listen to my body. This prevents me from over doing it and it keeps me moving forward, which is all I really want to do.

Q: Do you prefer to run solo or in a group? Do you run social? Are you part of online groups?  

Don't forget to enter my contest that ends tomorrow. Enter HERE!! 

Monday, October 26, 2015

Detroit Free Press International Half Marathon

Happy Monday! I hope you had a great weekend!  The weather in Michigan is turning beautiful. We are seeing the fall colors and it's starting to get cooler here.
I've been sitting on this post for a week. Sometimes, the hardest part after a race is composing your emotions, your thoughts and processing the event. For me, this race had a fair share of emotions. This month has a significant meaning for us. If you're been following this blog long enough, you know the reason for #purplestrong and if not, keeping reading this blog. More to come. 

We woke up early around 3:30 in the morning to head down to Detroit from where we were staying. We were staying with another set of my "parents." They were a blast! It was a 45 minute drive from their house to the race, so we decided we should get there early and parked. 

The race started at 7:00 am, but we knew if we left by 4:00am, got there by 5:00am, we were safe. You just never know with Detroit traffic. We arrived at the Cobo Center, which had a parking garage underneath and suprisingly was not listed on any guide. All of the parking garages were all closed off that we had marked off on our maps because the streets were closed. 

However, I spent an hour in the Cobo center staying warm, stretching and using beautiful bathrooms. I highly recommending parking here and staying warm here! PARK at the COBO CENTER! 

After being at the Cobo Center, around 6:30, I started making my way to the start line. I made my way to my correct Corral and I was shaking because it was so cold. I had to gloves, my ears were covered, two shirts, pants and all the rest of the running a gear a cold gear could wear. Meanwhile, people were in shorts! WOAH?  WHAT!!!

 Then just as my corral was staring to move, it started to snow.. Immediately, I found my husband because we always experience the first snow of the season together and I kissed him. The first snow is magical. It was like the heavens were sending kisses my way! Cheesy? MAYBE! At that point, I would take anything :) 

Then we were off. The first mile and half was fairly boring and dark. We were running through the streets of Detroit. I was freezing. My breathing was awesome and my pace was on par. I was pretty happy. My Garmin was registering an awesome pace on Mile 1 and even as I was halfway through mile 2. Then we started to enter Border-patrol and Canada was not to far away. This girl was starting to get SUPER excited.  The anticipation was building as I knew I was running towards the Ambassador Bridge! 

Yes, there were cars! Half of the bridge was open. The traffic was awesome in cheering runners on by beeping, playing music and yelling out their windows. It was pretty cool and made the long hike to the bridge go a little easier. Honestly, it felt like forever to the Ambassador Bridge and just getting to the Bridge had me at a 5k. 

I wanted a selfie with the bridge behind me! 

Once I got to the beautiful Ambassador Bridge, it was walking room only. The bridge was pretty clogged as they had only one side of the bridge shut down for runners because they still needed to keep it open for traffic. It got tight at times. For safety, I walked with others and to be honest, the hills were pretty rough on the knees, so it did save me some energy. Not ideal or what I had planned, but injury would not be apart of my plan either, so I always stick with safety on the courses. You can't always train for these things. Follow the crowd is my mantra during these kinds of situations. Going against the grain can sometimes work in your favor... Other-times, not!  

I stayed back a little ways and therunners thinned out, which gave me some distance between the walkers and allowed me back to running. It also stopped the clogging, but I caught back up with that group later in the tunnel. 

The view from the Bridge was incredible. Pictures don't do the view justice of the city. It was beautiful! 

We ran by the beautiful Riverside Park and had lovely Canadian Spectators! They were a hoot with their signs! Some of them were just hilarious, but I was really trying to watch my time and I knew I was about Mile 7 or so I thought, however I was really at Mile 6.. ( Need to run tighter curves)

We then entered the Detroit Windsor Tunnel, which was I believe a good two miles, but I'm not sure because my Garmin lost signal. Talk about frustrating!! I think the whole tunnel from the turn of Border Patrol into into the dark tunnel was around 2 miles. This was very tight and also unsafe at times. People were taking selfies while not running. They stopped in the middle of the tunnel because there is a cool spot where you are in the middle of the United State and and Canada, but it had runners at a dead stop, others were walking. People were falling, again not safe. I walked a good half mile during this tunnel. I made good head way at the first part, but the second half mile, I couldn't make any distance. It was clogging. 

We came out of the tunnel, I remember Border Patrol checking for bibs, we made a turn and all the sudden I was in the United States again! It was a huge party. People were cheering for us everywhere.  In my head, I had no idea where I was mileage. My Garmin was not picking up satellite yet.. I texted my husband to start tracking me again. At this point, I was really hoping I was near 10 miles.. WRONG! 

Little did I know, I had another 5.1 miles to go! UGH! I kept texting my husband to find out where I was at the course because I wasn't sure if my Garmin was right anymore or if I was just completely out of it.. He told me 2 miles later that I still had 3.1 miles to go.. I kept telling myself a 5k. 

One of my knocks against this race, I didn't see signs on this course anywhere about where I was in terms of mileage. Normally, this would be fine because my Garmin does a decent job, however losing it in the tunnels and it was registering more miles then it should have was interesting looking back.... 

As I came near the finish line, I could feel tears on the brink. My husband and I were supposed to run this race together. I knew if I saw him at the finish line, I would probably lose it. This race was hard emotionally, it had its moments physically, but it was a more emotional race. 
I couldn't find him anywhere because he was on the other side waiting to cheer me on in a different spot, but then he saw I was already past that point, I was too speedy and he high tailed it to the finish line, but as soon as he tracked it, he found out I had already finished. Sometimes, technology fails in tracking because it didn't register I was that far already, but I'm so thankful he was willing to suffer the cold and wait for me, even though he missed my finish

*The only International race that runs into a different country from the United States.
* An awesome course.
* So many things to see and a beautiful course.
* Tech shirt and a beautiful medal.
* Running with 30,000 other runners.
*Great Sponsors

* Mileage signs not posted.
*Garmin will not register in the Tunnel
* More Bathrooms and water aid stations
* Narrow spaces may require walking for safety.

Would I run this course again? YES, absolutely! I loved it! You can't pay a price on how beautiful the scenery was! I would love to go visit some other International countries and race! 

What International race is on your bucket race? 

Don't forget to enter my giveaway here! 

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Money Making Mom by Crystal Paine

Entrepreneur, author, and popular blogger Crystal Paine shares the secrets of building income at home, using real life examples to from her own journey in becoming a money-making mom as well as the stories of other women from all walks of life. The nuts and bolts of how to make more money from home are revealed in clear steps that can be immediately and easily put into practice.
But more than just a how-to book for earning extra income, The Money-Making Mom is a challenge to dream big and create a pathway for life. Paine offers examples and insights about what "finding your purpose" can look like in family, career, and service to others. Readers will find inspiration and hope for a life that’s more than “just getting by,” one driven by vision and the freedom to bless others generously.

My Review: 
Crystal is the real deal. She is busy mom that provides a road map for a woman or mom who is looking to start their own successful business. She is realistic, timely and offers the reader plenty of tips on how to start their own journey. This book isn't full of crap. It actually is a book that every woman out there should read who even dreams of starting a business or is looking to make money on the side. She specifically makes this book purpose driven, but focused, while allowing the reader to look at her unique gifts to figure out exactly the calling and knowledge to dream big. This book isn't full of schemes, but encouragement and will help you work towards your goals. Whether your trying to help support your family, pay down debt, build a bigger savings account or live more generously, this book has clear cut answers on how to do that. I loved this book. It has all kinds of highlighting and pages marked because of the great advice that Crystal offers. This book offers so much knowledge and insight. I know you will love it too!
Thank you to Thomas Nelson for providing me a complimentary copy for review purposes.  

Thursday, October 22, 2015

GIVEAWAY: Color Me Calm Zen Coloring Book

Do you ever need a moment to stop and just relax? Take a deep breath and become mindful. Our lives have become so busy with each passing day that we forget how to just be. I am begining the art of just being. Our obligations of family, work, stress, distractions and crazy demands of life leave us burned out, stressed and completely distant from the present moment. 

I have the privledge of giving away one lucky reader this National Bestseller Zen Coloring Book filled with 100 coloring templates for relaxations. It is filled with Mandalas, Water Scenes, Geometric Patters, Wooded Scenes, Flora and beautiful Natural patters. You can use pencil or crayons to this book.

This is the perfect way to step back from a stressful day, turn on some music and discover your inner child as you release the stresses from the day.

These are so fun! I love them and I know tons of other adults who are coloring all the time! It is a blast! You have a change to win one! 
Enter below!!! 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Detroit Free Press Expo and International Tips

Imagine being part of the 38th annual Detroit Free Press Talmer Bank Marathon events! Full of rich history, I highly recommend you participate in the Detroit Free Press events at some point in your running future if you haven't already. 

My experience at the expo was awesome. It was held at the Cobo Conference and Exhibition Center, which is an excellent place to buy any last minute running gear, purchase that one of a kind shirt or simply register for another race. {GUILTY}

Of course this is also the place where you pick up your packet, get the runners nerves and start to take lots of crazy, fun runner pictures. Let's talk about race packet pick-ups because this is a huge MUST KNOW for the particular race I ran for the #DetroitFreepress.

First, when I was looking to run the Detroit Free Press, I assumed, the Marathon is the race that you got you into Canada. WRONG. 
The Marathon does not get you near or into Canada! 

Second, if you want to run into Canada, which I highly recommend because the race is a blast, which I will tell you the reasons why in a blog post coming later this week, you have to run the INTERNATIONAL HALF MARATHON. Now, the reason I say this is because the Detroit Free Press does have a US only HALF MARATHON. 3 Races, but only one gets you into CANADA.

The Expo: Why is that so important for the international runner? 

If you are going to run the international race, you must be present to pick up your race packet. You have to present you ID, which can either be you Enhanced Drivers Licensed or a Passport. They will not let you pick up your packet without this and they will no let you pick up someone else's packet.


This may sound simple, but it isn't and many people easily forget their passport, try to pick someone else's packet up. It's things we try to do for one another like any other race without thinking.. So, just wanted to give that information in case you were thinking about this one and I think after you see all my pictures in a feature blog post, you'll see why this made as one of my favorite races! 

Race Tips for Crossing the U.S./Canadian Border:

1) Bib needs to be affixed to the front of your shirt because border officers are looking for it.
2) Your Bib should be visible at all times when crossing the Bridge or coming through the tunnel.
3) Carry the proper identification with you during the race such as an enhanced drivers license, passport, etc. I also carried a credit card and my insurance card for any medical emergencies.
4) Runners are discouraged from bringing liquid with them through the Ambassador Bridge or Windsor Tunnel. You risk being stopped by border patrol and or asked to remove the item.
5) Runners are prohibited from carrying backpacks through the bridge and tunnel. If something even resembles a backpack, you will be stopped by a border patrol personnel. 

These people were serious business, but a lot of fun! They were trying to keep runners safe, but going into this kind of race, it is important to know this information. I would rather capture my race on my next post, then post all this information, but I think it is EXTREMELY important to know this! 

We got a very long sheet in our packet information. I picked the most important things that I wanted to know and figured you would too! 

This expo was super fun. The photo stops were a blast, huge vendors every where willing to give out prizes. We walked away with tons of goodies,  discounts to other races, cow-bells, stickers, shirts, magnets, hats, sunglasses etc. I was highly impressed with the amount of different organizations represented, but underwhelmed by the amount of merchandise to purchase. While they had a lot of suppliers, I did not buy a single thing! NOT ONE! Instead, I purchased another race registration! I'm super excited to tell you about that race next week!  

Q: What do you think about think about the international tips? Would you consider this race?