Things that Make Races Truly Exceptional

Tuesday, March 21

What are the reasons you sign up for and run a race - big or small. Here are some of my reasons for running a race. I personally think certain races have different qualities that make them each exceptional.

I came up with 5 things that make races truly exceptional:

1. The Scenery
Is there someplace cool you've always wanted to go? Well, sign up for a race and go there! Or if you're already going there on a trip then plan a race around that. I think that would make it more meaningful to me. Most of the races that I have done have been in Utah. I've done the Vegas Ragnar, The Dopey Challenge, and Disneyland Half Marathon. Aside from that, nothing too exciting. I have ran in other places; Leicester, England; San Diego, Ca; Las Vegas, NV; Pawley's Island, SC; Anchorage, AK; Orlando, FL; Anaheim, CA; and of course all around Utah. I think the scenery completely makes up a race and that's why I've put it in the #1 spot.
Anchorage, AK

Huntsville, UT - first Marathon
Epcot - Disneyworld

 2. The Swag
The coolest thing I have ever gotten from a race was arm sleeves (though I think I may have worn them once). I've gotten coupons with my bib for all sorts of different things. I know it depends on who sponsors the race, and what companies the race directors were able to reach. When I ran Vegas Ragnar we got playing cards and decals for our car windows. For the Haunted Half I got gloves, which was helpful since the race was in October.

3. The Shirt
Who doesn't run for the shirt? I know I have decided on whether to run a race or not based on the shirts they've given out. I've had good shirts and bad shirts. I have worn most, if not all of my race shirts to work. Because I worked in a warehouse, I liked not getting my nice shirts dirty and stained. I have had several people tell me I run a lot of races because they see me in a different race shirt every day. Wearing them makes for a good stories, and I, for the most part remember if the race was good or bad based on the shirt. I remember what race I got my first PR when I see my shirts.

4. Running for a Purpose
There are lots of reasons we run races. It could be based on the course, or if that particular race is donating to a foundation you support. I know my races have been both running for a purpose as well as the course. Or just because friends were doing it - like the Dirty Dash.

5. The Medal
The first real medal I ever got from a race was when I did The Top of Zion Relay down in Southern Utah. It was the hottest, most horrific race ever! I ran in 109 temps. I didn't train properly for this relay and when I got that finishers medal it was SO worth it! That medal is massive, and is one of the biggest medals I have in my collection. I think it was that race that I decided I liked getting finisher medals.

Those are my 5 things that make races truly exceptional.

Did I miss anything? 

What would you say makes a race truly exceptional?

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Five Reasons I'm Scared to be A Parent

Tuesday, March 14

Isn't everyone scared to be a parent at some point in time? Or is it just me? I hope I'm not alone in my thoughts and feelings. Honestly, I felt, and still sometimes feel like I am going to be a worse parent than others. I'm a firm believer that if I say or write down why I'm scared that I can study up and practice ways to better prepare myself. Knowing that these are some of my fears will help me to be a better parent.

My 5 reasons I'm scared to be a parent:

1. I'm scared that I'm going to be angry at our kids all the time

2. I'm scared I'm going to parent wrong and have them end up becoming "entitled"

3. I'm scared I'm not going to know how to take care of a baby

4. I'm scared that I'm going to not be able to do the things I enjoy

5. I'm scared that mine and Chase's relationship will get neglected and fail due to having children

Over the course of 10 years I've been scared on and off on whether I wanted to be a parent or not. I got the most scared and overwhelmed in 2015 right before we started doing our IUI's with our clinic. I'm not sure why but I felt like Chase couldn't help me, that he couldn't talk me out of my fears. So I went to an outside source - my Bishop. I sat down and told him that I was scared that I was going to be a horrible parent and that I didn't feel I was ready to be a parent. After nearly 10 years of marriage you would think I would be ready, but parenting a child was something that I didn't think about on a daily basis. He understood my concern, and knew exactly where this "fear" was coming from. He directed me to read a talk called "Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ," as well as starting a daily study of the Book of Mormon. I can't say that I immediately started to feel better. But, after the course of a few weeks, I slowly learned that being scared and overwhelmed was Satan's way at getting me to doubt what God had intended for me to become, a wonderful, confident, mother.

Since that discussion with my bishop, I have learned that God never intends for us to become fearful. He intends for us to be confident and be able to overcome all. God intends for us to succeed and to overcome Satan. Remember Peter wanting to walk out to Christ on the Sea of Galilee? He was confident at first looking out towards Christ. The minute he saw the seas tossing and turning, he let his fear overcome his faith, and started to sink, and cry for help. Did you know, we only need as much faith as a grain of mustard seed? The size of a grain of mustard seed isn't that big. Yet, we still fear, and sometimes let our fears and worries consume us.

If I'm going to be the best parent I can be to this little boy that is coming to our family, then I need to have more faith in Christ. He is the rock and our redeemer. I can do that by acknowledging my fears, and then coming up with ways to have more faith. I can do that by having Christ be the center of our home. I can do that by studying the scriptures and striving to have the Spirit in our home, and I can create affirmations to overcome those fears that I have listed.

-Do you have fears associated with being a parent or becoming a parent?
-What has helped you to overcome fears?

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My Take on the Keto/Low Carb Diet

Tuesday, March 7

So here's what I know about the Keto Diet. I haven't researched a whole ton about it, but this is what I do know so far.

Back in January I went to a free seminar on "Why American's are Sick and Fat." Here are some of the key points they talked about:
• Following the Keto Diet; high fat, low carb. It will help us lose weight, and not rely on medications.
• How eating carbs can cause insulin resistance because we have too much insulin in our bodies. Some examples of our bodies being insulin resistant: diabetes, PCOS, migraines, to name a few.
• How fat doesn't cause an insulin spike, while protein causes a little spike, carbs cause a huge spike in insulin.
• Often you are more hungry when you eat carbs as opposed to fat, which fills you up. Over the past few months, I have done my own research on myself and have found that eating fat really does help me to stay full longer.

When Chase and I went on a low carb diet in 2015, I noticed that I felt better, I was a lot healthier and had more energy (I was also in the midst of marathon training).

I have a whole Pinterest board dedicated to low carb meals. So that's where I pulled most of the dinner meals from. Click on the link above to go to the board.

Here's what our menus sort of looked like:

• 1/2 serving of oatmeal, brown sugar and a tablespoon of Peanut Butter. I have noticed that oatmeal actually makes me hungrier instead of keeping me full. A guy at work recommended I try adding in a teaspoon of coconut oil, and it helped for a few days, but I still was hungry 2 hours after eating breakfast.
• Egg omelet with ham, and green peppers (or any other veggie/meat we have on hand). With salsa, sour cream/lots of cheese on top.
Kodiak Cakes with sugar free syrup, and for me PB on top. This isn't really low carb, but the cakes do have a lot of protein in them.
• "Naked" Breakfast Burritos with eggs, sausage, some hash browns. Topped with sour cream, an avocado, and salsa. These are my favorite and we've been making them since we first got married. We call them naked, because we don't use a tortilla. Obviously they still have carbs in them, but I try to keep them minimal with this recipe.
• Egg White French Toast - Chase always adds a bit of brown sugar and cinnamon and you can't taste that it is without the yolk. Again, not completely low carb, but it's different.

• Leftovers are always a great option (plus it saves you money too).
• Thick deli turkey (we get ours from Costco that comes in a 3-pack), string cheese, and a pickle.
• Cottage cheese and a serving of carrots.

Dinner for a typical week:
• Monday - Polish Sausage, Bacon & Broccoli - I used butter, garlic salt.
• Tuesday - Grilled Chicken Bacon Avocado Salad - like Chicken Salad Sandwich but we wrap ours in lettuce.
• Wednesday - Kielbasa and Cabbage, or Brussel Sprouts (when my sister was living with us).
• Thursday - Skinny Mexican Pizza using low carb tortillas.
• Friday - Pizza Bites - thick ham rounds, with sauce and pepperoni.
• Saturday - Leftovers
• Sunday - Burgers and Veggies (usually zucchini and squash from our garden) on the grill.

• Pretzels - which we don't eat now.
• Celery with sour cream and ranch or PB.
• Pepperoni Chips (my new favorite).
• Fat bombs (to help curve your sweet tooth). The first ones I made were cheesecake flavored.
• String Cheese
• Carrots

We used to use My Fitness Pal for tracking our calories and entering our food, but now with us using the keto diet we don't track our calories, we just try and stay full on fat and protein. I still try hard to eat my fruit and veggies. I know that they have carbs in them, but I know how important it is to get those essential nutrients. I try and only focus on my fat, protein and fiber intake, because those are essentially what really matter for my body.

When we first started back in 2015 and getting back into it now, the first couple weeks were hard for us. I think it's an adjustment that you just have to keep with. It does get easier I promise! But we kept at it and even had "screw it days" (cheat day/suck it day), and there were a few of them. We knew if we tried to be super strict with our change, we would just fail miserably and get back into our old ways. We never felt like we were starving because we always had healthy snacks that we could munch on if we felt hungry. I really enjoy the term "Keep it Simple Stupid" when planning meals and snacks for 2 weeks.

What has helped us stay on track is meal planning. Yes, it takes about an hour every 2 weeks, but it has helped us since we were first married. We use the Envelope System, and I pull out money for groceries every 2 weeks and meal plan based on when we get paid.

If you have any questions I would love to chat - shoot me an email. I am in no wise an expert when it comes to the keto/low carb diet, and I ALWAYS try and listen to what my body needs, and focus on that.

Disclaimer: I am not a health professional (though I have taken lots of classes on nutrition/anatomy, etc.) and would suggest talking to your doctor to first to determine the proper way to go about losing weight. Please note: This post contains affiliate links. 
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Things that are Running with your Dog

Tuesday, February 28

In September of 2016 after I ran the Disneyland Half Marathon I was at work and happened to listen to Another Mother Runner Podcast on Advice with running with dogs. I got excited and nervous at the same time wanting to take Pepper out for a run. I thought it would be fun for her to get out and hopefully help with training her to be a better companion.

In the past we've taken Hurley out for walking and running. We took him with us when we ran our first Dirty Dash, and he just kept on pulling and running. I couldn't tell if he was just sick of the mud or if he actually enjoyed it. When he runs he is just go, go, go, wanting to sniff and pee on everything in sight.

So when I started trying to train Pepper to run with me, after listening to the podcast I knew I needed to focus on her and not on me. That was one thing that was clearly mentioned in the podcast. So I opted to not wear headphones and decided on a 2 mile course to start. We could walk and run depending on what she wanted to do (and how I physically felt).

Before leaving for our runs, I tried to remember the skills I had learned from Cesar Millan and how my body needed to be confident and show myself as a true pack leader. I was a little worried because ever since 2014 when Pepper ate a full bottle of Ibuprofen and was in with the pet hospital for 36 hours, she has gotten a little aggressive towards smaller dogs. Including an incident with Hurley last year when she bit his ear. So with that in the back of my mind I tried to stay positive and hope and pray that she would enjoy the run.

I started out walking at least .25 miles to get us a little warmed up and that she knew I was going to be taking her out. After that we started running and walking depending on if she had to go to the bathroom. Both our dogs seem to have to go (number 1 and number 2) within the first mile. So in preparation for that, I made sure to take a doggy bag with me, and knew the route I was taking had a few trash cans for quick disposal.

I tried going at her pace (which is a lot faster than mine unfortunately) but I couldn't last very long. So we kept switching off from running her pace and walking. We did run into a few dogs on our route. I tried to ignore them and keep running past them so she knew we were there to run not there to play with (or bark at) other dogs.

I'm sure with some practice her and I will be great running companions.

*I do want to note that once I found out I was pregnant I stopped running completely until I was further along. So Pepper and I only ran together twice.

***Disclaimer*** I am not an expert when it comes to running with dogs. So please don't take this post as how your dog will be while running. Also be aware of the weather and how your dog does on a leash and greeting other dogs.

Have you ever ran with your/other dogs?
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Yearly Goals Update: January 2017

Tuesday, February 21

I told myself that I was going to be more accountable on my goals this year. So to me that meant doing a monthly post about where I am in relation to what I could accomplish this year.

My goals for the year are in bold and the update is below starting with an asterisk:

-Read my Scriptures/Conference talks for at least 5 minutes a day.
       *I will be honest, I really enjoy reading scriptures/conference talks while I eat breakfast, and I just have not been getting up early enough to make 5 minutes work. Before church on Sunday I have been listening to conference talks. But overall I was not consistent everyday. 
-Attend the temple (with or without Chase) at least 10 times.
     *I didn't get to attending the temple this past month.
-Fulfill my Visiting Teaching each month (something I constantly struggle with).
     *I did visit 2 out of the 3 sisters I was supposed to visit. The other one my companion took care of due to our schedules conflicting.

-Sign up for 1-marathon, 1-half marathon, 1-10k and 1-5k to complete by the end of 2017.
     *I haven't signed up for any races yet, I need to talk to a few running buddies to figure out which ones to sign up for.
-Stick with strength training/Barre at least 3 times a week.
     *I will be honest I thought I would have enough energy to continue my exercising, but I have been SO tired. Working full-time on concrete floors all day really has an impact on me. So I was only able to do Barre a handful of times in January.
-Do some sort of cardio activity at least 3 times a week.
     *I went running once in January, and didn't do the elliptical or bike.

-Do an activity/Date night we both enjoy once a month.
     *We went to a lot of places together, but I don't think we set aside any time for just us.
-Being okay with asking for help from Chase (this is an ongoing one that I need to continue to do).
     *It's been better, but I still struggle with this.
-Have a better and more meaningful relationship with Chase (this is ongoing).
     *I strive for this each and every day, and can really tell when we haven't gotten to sit down and just talk one-on-one with each other.

-Read/Listen to 5 books.
     *I listened to "I Am Number 4" by Pitticus Lore - book #1 of a series called "The Lorien Legacies." I've listened to it before, but I wanted to continue and get farther with the series.
-Be in the present and stop focusing on the "what if's" and the future.
     *I think the deep relaxation that I've been practicing has been helping me not focus on the "what if's" with life. It has also helped me calm my mind.
-Write in my journal at least once per month.
     *I totally failed with actually writing in my journal, but I did write down what's been going on this pregnancy on my personal blog.

What are some goals you have set for yourself this year? Do you keep track of your goals monthly?
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