Can I just raise my hands in a praise for a second? I have found a fitness clothing line that is worth the money and it will not break the bank! I found Senita Athletics on Facebook through one of their ads that kept popping up on my feed. I kept eyeing their shorts and finally clicked on the link one day. I was pleasantly surprised to see all the variety that they had and they did not cost a fortune.
I purchased a pair of shorts at first, the Burnt Red Prize Shorts. I ordered a small and they fit TTS(true to size). I loved them so much. I wore them for the next race I had. After a couple weeks I noticed the shorts were on sale, so I bought two more pair, each different, and I love both as well! Below are photos and links to each short and the pants I own.
(Side note: I do not get paid to advertise this clothing. I just really like this brand)
Stretching is a word that is thrown around a lot in the fitness and running industry. There is so much out there on how, why and what kind of stretching should be done for certain types of exercise. Because this is a blog all about running, let's focus on the details of stretching for running.
First, let's start by defining what stretching is and what it does. Stretching is the action of increasing the length of the muscle as a unit. This means the muscle is stretching from its origin point to the insertion point. Below is a photo that shows the origin and insertion points for some of the thigh muscles.
She sews the most beautiful vintage inspired clothing, she chases a little boy around and she has defeated what most people could not with running.
MEET JENNA LEWIS
I met Jenna on a group trail run for our local running club. She wore a funky pair or spandex shorts, a black Will Ferrell shirt, tall compression socks, and had killer tattoos on her thigh and arm. I knew right away I wanted to get to know her. We ran the trail run together and chatted the whole time. I kept calling her Brenda for some reason and like a gem, she sweetly reminded me her name was Jenna. She did not tell me her story of how she got into running that day, but I was curious. Someone that neat had to have a good store. Jenna deserves this limelight and I am so happy to share it with you!
The Topo athletic shoes have only been on the running scene since 2013, but they are making a big impact. These shoes are the perfect blend of natural and comfort. They were founded by Tony Post, a D1 college athlete of Tulsa, Oklahoma. He created this shoe to bring about the natural feel for any runner, yet he kept all the same benefits of traditional running shoes!
Below is a personal review of my thoughts on the shoe!
If you have tried these, or run in them now, I would love to hear your thoughts!!
Shown above, from left to right are BeachBody's Turbo Fire, Dr. Jordan Metzel's Iron Strength for runners, Beachbody's P90X and PiYO.
Is there a fitness program that works the best? Is there an exercise plan that actually works and gives good results? The answer is yes, to all of them. Every exercise program that you have seen, heard or attempted works. You want to know why? CONSISTENCY, CONSISTENCY, oh and CONSISTENCY! The reason why most people do not see results like they want, is because they do not give the exercise plan they are using time to show results. We live in such a fast pace, I want it now world that we completely forget that TIME and PATIENCE are huge when it comes to fitness and changing our bodies. In a side note: the food we eat also plays an equally big part in fitness results as consistency does. It takes a good four to six week for our bodies to adjust to a new stimulus. A stimulus can be anything that we are introducing our bodies to that it does not already know. Examples: running, lifting weights, walking, biking etc... It takes time for your body to change, so let it!
What exercise program is best for you? Pick one, any one! When looking for a program, choose one that looks fun. Look for one that fits your lifestyle and every day activities. Do not bite off more than you can chew with this. Once you choose one, stick with it! I bet you will see a good change in a couple weeks!
Here are a few helpful tips on staying consistent:
1. Write it down!!!! It does not matter if you walked 5 minutes or 45 minutes, write it down. Do it every day. The more you see a trend, the more you want to keep seeing it. It is hard to see a calendar with a consistent streak and then all of sudden there is a break. Get a special notebook or calendar that you really like or think is super cute (This is what I do, I am a sucker for cute planners). Designate that planner for only fitness. Use that thing every single day. Write down rest days, write down stretch, just write it all down. (Hobby Lobby sells adorable ones. Erin Condren always has fun ones.
I guess it all depends on when you run, but safety needs to be priority! Most of my runs are early mornings before the sun rises. It is so hard to be seen in the dark, even with bright clothes on. If those bright clothes do not have reflective strips or patches of some kind, then they are pretty much ineffective.
I want to be seen! I do not want drivers to have to guess if they see something or not. I want to light up like a Christmas tree.
Here is my gear that I wear almost every single morning.
Most of the time, during my runs, my mind drifts to my life worries and concerns. I would like to say that most of my thoughts are on happy things, exciting things and the best day ever things, but let's be honest, life seems to come at us from different views. As humans we seem to put our problems at the forefront of our life and dwell there till it makes us literally sick or forces us to make decisions that can alter our lives and the lives of our children.
What scares me the most and what seems to always be creeping in my thoughts during my mornings runs? Parenting/Christianity.
I think parenting is such a big deal to me because growing up my mother raised 7 kids. I would watch her and think, I could never do what you do. I am not patient and I am selfish. How in the world can I be a parent and my kids be respectable adults? In high school and in college, I never thought about being a mother. My dreams included becoming a country singer, or going to New York to study fashion and make my way in the clothing world. (by the way, I am SO THANKFUL none of those turned out) I also did not think I would be getting married in college. I thought I would be a single, thriving, living life to the fullest woman. (Funny, God's plans for you are some times complete opposite of what you want. ) Not until after I met my husband, and we married while we were both still in school, did I ever think about becoming a mother and putting all my ideas of dreams on the back burner.
After I became a mother in 2011, I realized I had new dreams and new hopes for the future. No longer did I want to be a famous country singer, I wanted to be a singer for my baby girl. I let go of the desire to design clothes and dress models, and I started looking at how to dress my chubby 6 month old. And I was so happy! I look back now and laugh at how completely different my life is now then what I had planned.
But, what comes with a new hopes and dream are new worries and concerns. Which leads me to this season in my life. I have three beautiful daughters that God has some how seen fit that I should raise. I also have a husband that literally, only God know where/who I would be without him. I have an amazing life! I have nothing to complain about at all, but yet my human finds things to worry about.
One of the biggest scares for me right now is, am I being the best christian parent I can be to my daughters? My girls are changing right now. And they all three are doing it at the same time. My oldest is finding her independent, I know everything self, (she is my mini me), my middle red head is finding her crazy temper and mean streak, and my third is finding her hilarious, I am going to find all of my sister's buttons and push them self. This scares the crap out of me to be frank!!!! I am always questioning whether I reacted to my girls situations properly? Did I handle the way a sane mother would do? Do my girls see God in me? The list goes on and on. Some days I feel like I am a great mother who knows exactly how to handle a situation and other days I feel like I have been handed a bomb and been told to diffuse it or the world blows up! (This is usually when I tell my husband I am going for run and I will not be back to I have sweated out the crazy)
I recently watched a video in our Sunday morning class on the Book of Judges in the Old Testament. (which, if you have not read, I highly recommend). The speaker in the video said something that has stuck with me. He said, "It is funny how most Christians can trust God with their future of eternity, yet we can't trust him with our earthly worries" OUCH OUCH OUCH!! That is so me! I believe that I have read the Bible and I know what God's word says about getting to heaven with him one day and I trust that. But for some reason I stress, cry and fret over the situations here on earth that seem to be huge problems.
I am making it a point to try and trust God more with my parenting and the future of my girls Faith in God. It scares me so much, like my chest gets heavy, thinking that one day my girls could not have a strong faith in God. I want them, more than anything, to love God and want to follow his word when they get older. I also know that me fretting over it will not make that outcome a reality. What will? Putting my trust in God, reading his word, following what the bible says and praying that my girls see Christ in me. The biggest way kids learn things is by watching, observing and doing. If I show them how to be a christian, if I show them how to read and study the bible, if I teach them to help others and to treat others they way they want to be treated, then that will hopefully lay the ground work for a strong christian faith when they are adults.
This is a running blog, how does this post relate to running. Well, it has everything to do with running, for me. Most mornings when I start my run it is dark. The days has not started yet and it makes me feel like it is just me and God. It is like my own personal one on one time with God. During those runs I do A LOT of praying. I pray for others, and what is going on at present, but mostly I pray and think about my parenting and christian walk. Running has given me time I need with God. I am not good and making time to sit down during the day. But, I can run a long time, and that is time that God wants from me. So, while I run, I give him my time, thoughts, tears, worries, concerns, happiness etc. I give him everything. So by the time I get home, I can greet my sleepy eyed girls who are waking up for school, with an attitude of trust in God, a reassurance that today is new day, and that maybe, just maybe I am not screwing up there lives lol!!
I am not really writing this a blog post, but more of a note to my self in a season of my life and a note/prayer to God that I am TRYING my hardest to be the parent and christian I need to be for my girls and husband. I hope to one day look back at this moment note and say, "you silly fool, why didn't you trust God with your worries!" I am reminded of Romans 8:28 " And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose." This reminds me how important it is to follow God and his word in order that my life and my daughter's life right now and their future may be according His will.
My very smart mother once told me, "Work like all depends on you and pray like it all depends on God." How true this is. We can pray all we want to God that He will help us and our children in life, but we cannot just sit back and do nothing. Our role in this is to BE THE EXAMPLE and to SHOW our kids what christian life looks like. Do not rely on others to give me the morals and guidelines for life, it needs to come from you! This steps on my toes, but what a good reminder. My plan? I am going to work at being the parent and christian I need to be for my girls and pray so hard that God picks up the slack where I fail.
Run for your life, pray for your life and Trust God with your life
Who is that running with the ugly cry face? Well, that would have been me this morning. Running can make you feel the best. But sometimes, in order to get to that feeling you have to work out the kinks first.
There seems to be a pattern in my training for the past three years. I start training and get to a point that I finally feel like I am getting some where and then BAM life hits and every thing goes to pot. When I was at my fastest (in my 20's) I was really wanting to train for the Boston Marathon, I knew I could hit the time. I ended up pregnant right at my peak paces. After that pregnancy it took me forever, it seemed like, to get my baby weight off and to get back to my normal self. Once I felt like I could compete again I became injured and that was six months of no running, rehab and getting back into shape. There have been more times like that in between, but the most recent was these past few weeks. I have been making strides in getting over plantar fasciitis and was finally hitting times I was happy with and then my husband and I left for our anniversary trip. We were gone for 8 days and there was little time for running and no eating healthy. It took a toll big time on my body and training. We got back last Thursday and I now feel like I am back at square one . This morning my scheduled workout was a tempo run. 1.5 mile warm up, 4 miles at faster pace, 1.5 cool down. As soon as I got out of bed this morning I knew that was not going to happen. I sat in my car at 5:15 am not wanting to run because I knew it would hurt. I feel like I am getting back in shape all over again. (Which is not true, my body is just in shock from bad food and little sleep). I finally got out of my car and started running at 5:30. I did not do my tempo run, I just ran easy miles....and cried. I am not one to let tears flow easily, but when something you want does not seem to be going your way, it hurts.
This is a good reminder that LIFE HAPPENS. No one is perfect even though it might be portrayed on social media. Running hurts, running is hard, running sucks, and running will make you cry, But in the end, running frees you, it gets rid of all the junk that is held up. Don't look at someone and think that running or fitness comes easy to them, because it doesn't. There are a lot of rough moments that equal success. This is true for everything not just running. Look at any successful business man/woman and ask them if their road was easy. They will probably tell you NO! They failed multiple times, but they learned from that and started again.
Do not let life's little road bumps completely derail you. Move over if you have to for the bump, but get back on the road. I promise, it will be so worth it!!
** Run your heart out
(I know Mr. Kendell Synder all of about 1 hour. I met Kendall between miles 9-10 of the marathon. I say met, we ended up running with each other for a good ways and I decided I needed to know his name if we were going to run together. I introduced myself and so did he. The first thing I noticed about Kendell was his amazing encouragement. Every single runner that we passed or that we would meet coming towards us, he would say "Good job", or "way to go". He always had something positive to say. After awhile his encouragement for others got my mind off of myself and onto other runners. After a few minutes, I sped up a bit and passed him. Probably about a mile later, I heard Kendall coming. I could hear is water bottle sloshing and I knew it was him. He caught up with me and asked how things were going. I told him good but that is was getting warm. He laughed and said,"yeah, it is getting pretty warm. I don't think I am going to make my goal time, but oh well!"
Kendell and I played tag through the miles. He would pass me and then I would pass him and then we would run together for a bit. Near the end of the race I had passed him and I was riding the struggle bus for sure! At one point I remember thinking, I wish Kendell would get up here, I could use someone to push me. I did not see him and until after the race was over and there he was giving out encouragement despite the fact that we both had bombed the race lol)
I asked Kendell a series a questions to get to know him more. Here is his interview:
1. When did you first start running? Did you take a break and then start back?
"I originally started in 1979 as a 17 year old when I joined the Marines. I ran as part of the Corps physical fitness program until I got out in 1982. After I got out, I ran some but not consistently. I became a firefighter in 1987, and began running again in order to stay in shape. During that period, I ran a couple times a week, very inconsistently, also competed in a few 5k's and 10k's. I also competed as part of the Fire Departments Combat Challenge team, a firefighter based competition. Running was a way to maintain cardio, however, never a "thing" unto itself. I didn't hate running, but never really loved it either. By the late 90's I had been promoted to Battalion Chief, which meant I spent a lot more time in the office behind a desk,I pretty much quit running then. I started again in June of 2014, just to see if I could run, I could not, at least not very well! But, I worked at it a little while and found a new passion."
2. What was it that started you running?
"In 2011, the kids were out of the house, gone on to their lives; I retired from the Fire Department after 25 years, taking a job with the State. I was looking for stress reduction and a chance to focus on something other than kids and work. Rhonda had also changed jobs, trading a very high stress, demanding job in the airline industry for a much less demanding job with a local nonprofit. We spent the next couple of years learning to live without kids and stress, and found out we liked it! (We do miss the kids!) Mentally, we were in a really good place, but we both knew we needed to make some physical changes.
During the 2013 holidays we made some changes to our eating and started walking daily and by June of 2014 I had lost about 40lbs. I was out of town on a business trip and just wanted to see if I could still run. Made it about a quarter mile and thought I was going to die!! LOL! After I returned home, I started going out early mornings about 4-5 times a week, started using C25K (Couch to 5K) app on my phone and gradually worked up to running 3 miles nonstop. I did my first 5k in September of 2014, I think around 31 minutes. Somewhere during that time I fell in love with the run. Pushing myself, seeing improvements, doing things I couldn’t believe I was doing! Now, running is a very healing, introspective time for me. It has become a way for me to take care of me.
Running has also become a way for me to grow socially. I have always been a bit of a loner. As I started running in local races and getting out to the local running areas, I gradually assimilated into the local running community, and found a wonderful group of people that I didn’t know existed! Most of the folks I met were extremely encouraging and supportive. Nobody cares what you do for a living, how much money you make, it is all about the running! Everybody is at their own place in the running journey; however we all have shared experiences, defeats and victories!! It is very cool to have people you don’t know encouraging you, and even cooler to be able to encourage and support others. I have learned so much from running folks, and not just about running, lots of good life lessons out there! Rhonda has also started running within the last 18 months, so although we are at very different paces and don’t often run “together” it is an activity we share."
3. Me: What is your occupation and how do you fit running into your schedule?
" I work for the State of Arkansas as the State Fire Service Coordinator, basically an office job, 7:00 to 3:30. I normally run at 4:00 am - 4:30 am in the morning on weekdays. Normal weekday run (Monday, Wed., Thurs.) is 5-6 miles on neighborhood streets. I love to run in the early morning dark or right at sunrise. We are fortunate to have a high school about a half mile from the house, so on Tuesday mornings I run to the track and do a track workout (in the dark), for an hour or so. I do long runs on Saturday mornings, very early, so that Rhonda and I have most of the day together. Sundays we go to the gym and I row for 45 minutes to an hour, along with some weight work. As part of my job, I travel occasionally and spend the night out of town several nights a year. I love early morning runs in a new city. Hot Springs and Fayetteville are two of my favorites in Arkansas."
4. Me: Do you eat a certain way because you run? What is your daily diet?
"Cooking and eating is something that Rhonda and I do together, we love food, and love to cook together. However we have come to recognize that food is fuel and it is important to know what you are eating. As part of our weight loss lifestyle change, we never really cut out any particular food items; we did realize that some things (cake, candy, chips, etc.) didn’t really contribute a lot nutritionally, so they needed to be limited. We are not particularly “clean” eaters, but we do try to follow the five servings of fruits and veggies daily rule and limit processed junk. We are a lot pickier about the restaurants we eat at, no fast food. Our restaurants of choice are mostly local places that serve real food and reasonable portions.
When I was first learning about caloric content, and figuring out what I had been eating, I was amazed to learn how many calories I had been drinking! Milk, cokes, juice, etc all added up!! The result of that is that I rarely drink calories, the exception being Recoverite after long runs. My other favorite post long run snack is a banana and PB on Ritz crackers. Post race meals involve cheeseburgers or Pizza!!
Breakfast on weekdays (after my run) is two eggs, bacon and rye toast. On long runs or race days, I eat 1 piece of rye bread, peanut butter and jelly about an hour before I run. I usually carry leftovers to work for lunch, about 500-600 calories, including two veggies and some sort of fruit (usually a banana!)
In the summer we grill most of the time. For supper, pork chops, various cuts of beef and chicken or fish once a week or so, again along with a baked sweet potato and other veggies. In the winter, we tend to eat a lot of soup, often with cornbread or buttered toasted bread of some sort. Chili, beef and barley soup, vegetable beef soup and split pea soup are some of the favorites. We also are fond of lasagna, pizza and Mexican food and eat those occasionally; homemade of course, we get to control what’s in it! Not your traditional diet foods, but things we enjoy and can live with, in moderation.
My favorite night before, pre race, pre long run meal is some sort of grilled protein and a baked sweet potato. During runs, I like Huma gels and Honey Stinger waffles. I use Nuun in my water bottle for electrolyte replacement. For snacks I like cottage cheese and fruit, most often blueberries and strawberries, I also like canned peaches or applesauce. I almost always eat popcorn as an evening snack.
Since Christmas 2013, I have lost about 100 lbs, and have maintained the same weight (167, high was 26 something) since March of 2015. During my weight loss period, a lot of folks said things like “you run so much, that’s why you lost weight” I always like to point out, I lost half the weight before I ever began to run, weight is all about the food! Eating should be enjoyable, but we need to know what we are eating. I think folks should know, it only takes awareness and a few changes to make a big difference."
5. Me: What is your choice running shoe?
" Although I usually keep a couple of different shoes in rotation, Adidas Glide has been my go to shoe. I am growing quite fond of the Nike Vomero here lately. The Altra Lone Peak is my trail shoe of choice."
6. Me: What is your most memorable run?
"Probably the first time I ran over 15 miles. At the time, I had been strictly running alone; I didn’t really know what I was doing as far as in-run nutrition, hydration, etc. I had done some reading and some internet browsing but was having a hard time putting it all together, had been really struggling to get much into the double digits. One Saturday morning early I was out doing my long run, no particular mileage goal other than over 10, and as the miles ticked off, I just felt better and better. I had brought some run nutrition (gel and a granola bar) I was feeling good, went by the 10 mile turnaround point, then 12, then 14! I ended up doing almost 16 miles and it just felt amazing!! I ran the last couple of miles grinning like an idiot just thinking “I just ran 15 miles” truly awesome!! To steal someone else’s words (I can’t remember who), “there is magic in the misery!!” I still occasionally think about that run, and still grin like a fool!
Another very memorable run was Spa City 5k last year, I ran it with Rhonda, and her goal was to run the entire race, no walk breaks. It was also the first race I stayed with her the whole race, it was very cool to see her push hard, overcome the pain and then meet her goals and cross the finish line."
7. Me: What is it about running that keeps you motivated to keep going?
"That’s a tough question! I think it is knowing how many years I wasted not being active and taking care of myself. I am very committed to my marriage and my wife, and I don’t want her to spend some number of years taking care of me in bad health. Together, we have made it through a lot of challenges over the past 30 years, I want us both to be able to enjoy all of the years we have left!
Through running, I also meet people who have many more obstacles than me who keep running and trying, I feel like it would be a shame for me not to keep going. During 3B26 this year, while running with you, I saw a man who had obviously suffered a stroke at some point; he was wearing gray sweats and a race bib, and walking with purpose (and some difficulty)! I later saw him near the finish line, although I didn’t get to see him cross. It was very inspirational. There is no telling the pain he went through to train and then walk the 26.2, I have no excuse.
I also truly love the run, particularly long, solitary runs. I have done a lot of trail running the past year, and love being out in the woods, alone. What a wonderful world we live in, not everybody gets to do what we do!"
8. Me: Anything else you want to share?
"Just that whether it is running, fitness classes or sports, keep moving! For runners specifically, don’t focus on time or pace. A lot of slower runners will apologize for being slow, I feel that pace is fairly unimportant, it is effort that counts. If you are working hard and giving your best on any given day, that’s all you can do, be proud! I will never run a 6 minute mile, I will, however, run many more miles at 100%,( I hope) you can’t do more than that! Pre said “to give less than your best is to sacrifice the gift” when I start slacking, I try to remember that."
9. Me: What is your fastest mile, 5k, 10, half marathon and marathon?
Mile: 6:24-last summer during a timed two mile
5k: 21:18 --Firecracker 5k 2016, Little Rock, AR
10K: 45:36 Capital City 10K Classic 2016
Half-marathon: 1:40:34-13.1 Little Rock, AR 2015
Marathon: 3:54:08-3 Bridges Marathon in Little Rock, AR
Worst Marathon: 4:23:39-3 Bridges Marathon in Little Rock, AR 2016
How can you not be inspired and motivated to be better after reading Kendell's journey?
You have given me a whole new outlook on running. An outlook that I always knew, just never put into practice like I should. The outlook that running is so much more than just about yourself. It is about others and how your motivate others while running. I recently raced a 15k and I told myself to be more like "Kendell". I wanted to take myself out of the race mentally and focus it on the other runners and I did! Every runner that I passed I would make a positive comment or cheer them on. I smiled the whole time, and the race was so much better and enjoyable than I could have imagined! Thank you Kendell for being the great example and inspiration you are to others! Keep running and keep motivating!!