Support TEAM 413

What is TEAM 413? If you have done a lot of races, you’ve likely seen their booth at the expo. Team 413 Gracerunner Ministries was founded by Chris Gillespie and is the world’s largest ministry for endurance athletes. The mission of Team 413 is to share Christ with everyone along the journey. The team exists to share the love of Christ in the athletic world through words and actions; to minister to runners in road races throughout the country as we run “side by side.”

Team 413

The ministries operates on a very small budget, so each year they reach out for help. Donations aid Team 413 in expo booth rental at major marathons as well as financial aid to assist runners who have significant personal needs. It is because of funds donated by supporters of Team 413 that the ministries can continue to share the love of Christ throughout the endurance running community.

If you can help out with a donation of any amount, please go here. If you are not able to donate at this time, but would still like to help, please take a moment and share the donation page on facebook and/or twitter (there are share buttons on the donation page).

Can do all things through Christ

Living with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis

Living with Hashimoto&'s

You’ve heard me talk about it in previous blog posts. Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is a an autoimmune condition that is the most common thyroid disease in the country. It’s a malfunction in the immune system where the body attacks normal thyroid cells as foreign tissue and produces antibodies that instead destroy the cells rather than protect them (which is what it is designed to do when it works right). Symptoms may not arise from Hashimoto’s thyroiditis for many years. It tends to take abnormal blood tests and/or an enlarged thyroid gland to be discovered before someone is aware they have the disease.

Symptoms include: fatigue, drowsiness, forgetfulness, weight gain, dry/itchy skin, dry/brittle hair and nails as well as hair loss, sore muscles, sensitivity to cold, nausea, depression and difficulty concentrating. Most people diagnosed with Hashimoto’s are put on treatment with the medication levothyroxine. The medication is taken daily and labs are monitored on a regular basis in order to regulate the dosing correctly.

Hashimoto's symptoms

I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s in September of 2012. When I heard the term, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis from my doctor, it was a new one for sure. Almost four years into having this disease, it’s an up and down cycle. I’ve learned that some days are good, while others not so much. The problem is, despite being on medication for it, you still may not feel well. It’s one of those conditions that doesn’t always show up on labs as being out of whack. It’s a frustrating thing when your doctor is telling you that your labs look good and they are going to stay on the current dosing, yet you feel like crud.

Sounds great, doesn’t it? Honestly, I’ve learned to live with a lot of the fun things that go along with being a Hashi sufferer. The biggest thing I struggle with is the exhaustion. That really is the worst problem for me the majority of the time. I find myself struggling some days to stay awake just doing simple things like work. Yeah, it’s not so good when you are finding yourself falling asleep at your desk.

What I’ve discovered is that Hashimoto’s thyroiditis patients and their doctors tend to have a hard time when it comes to treatment. When our labs come back within “normal” ranges, we are told we are healthy and good-to-go. Yet, we walk out of the office still feeling all of the symptoms we had before. We remain sick and tired yet the doctor just can’t seem to figure out the reason why. Not to mention once you are diagnosed with one autoimmune disease, you are at a higher risk of developing other autoimmune diseases. Hashimoto’s is unfortunately an overlooked disease in mainstream medicine.

thyroid lab cartoon

I continue to educate myself about this disease and what I can do to overcome the symptoms. For example, it’s frequently mentioned that Hashimoto sufferers should go gluten-free. While I have tried to do this a few times and still go for gluten-free foods when I can, as a vegan it is a bit harder to always go that route. It’s also debated that it’s truly an answer.

I’ve come far while dealing with Hashimoto’s like running five marathons, so it’s definitely not stopping me from doing the things that I love. I know that with God, all things are possible, and I will continue to run and do all the things that I love even if it means I struggle some days. There are other people out there, fellow runners that are dealing with much worse, and if they can hit the road, I sure as heck can. 🙂

The Weekly Pursuit #7

It’s been a long day, my thyroid exhaustion has really tested me today. Didn’t help that I didn’t get a good night’s sleep either with the I-4 Ultimate Project construction overnight. Nothing seemed to work today to keep me feeling awake or alert. Coffee and Red Bull (yes, it’s an option I do use I admit, sugar-free though) seemed to do little to help. I yearned for my bed all workday long. When it hit 5pm, I logged off of my work computer and crawled into bed. A nap helped thankfully, but I still feel draggy tonight. Some days are just tougher than others.

thyroid productivity

This past weekend, I ran my longest run in about three or four months. I did just over 10 miles with my group. One of the girls is training for the NYC Marathon and I was right with her for most of her 14 mile training run. She grew up and lived in Brooklyn for years, so NYC means a lot to her, and I’m excited for her. Being a group leader is so rewarding, I love being able to help get my group through their training. This was the longest she had ever run before, as this will be her first marathon.

Saturday group run

During our Saturday long run.

The rest of Saturday was mostly spent relaxing and watching Law & Order: SVU (I love me some Stabler!). My back was a bit sore after the long run, so I took it easy and let it recover. I’m grateful for every run and I know I need to listen to my body when it needs the rest, especially when it comes to my back. And, let’s be honest, laying around watching a favorite television show is always a nice way to spend a few hours. 🙂

My back felt better on Sunday, so I hit the gym for a bike workout. Then got a few errands done in the afternoon. I finally got to the local Sports Authority and boy was it a mess. I didn’t find much, but I did get a cool towel for my hot summer runs for a good deal. They are closing in just over a week, so I didn’t think they would have a lot left since it’s the final days.

Weekly Pursuit

Onto my goals for last week…

1. Listen to my body. I did well with that, especially after Saturday’s long run when I knew my body needed some rest. It helped because I felt a lot better on Sunday.

2. Blog posts. I got up three posts last week, one of them was a product review that was on my to-do list.

3. Trust in God. I’m working on my relationship with Him continually, and it’s always going to be a work-in-progress. I finally applied for something that had been on my heart for a few weeks.

4. Logging my food. Did a lot better with this last week, logged everyday which is a win.

5. Hydration. I did great with my water intake as evidenced by how many times I had to go to the bathroom each day last week. LOL.

This week’s goals…

1. Trusting in God. Keeping this one as a priority.

2. Logging my food. This one also stays on the list.

3. Planking. Been doing them after every run, want to do them daily.

4. Rest. Not sleeping well, which doesn’t help me in the slightest, so need to work on that.

blessed is she

What are your goals for the week?
How was your weekend? Anyone race or run long?

The desires of your heart

For the last year, I have been searching for something. Searching for the next direction of my journey. When I was re-directed from working with the 26.2 with Donna, I knew something would be coming. I just didn’t know what. I fully believe that if you listen to God, He will direct your path.

Delight yourself in the Lord

It’s taken me until recently to figure out where I believe He is directing me to go. I’ve seen this organization as important, a group that I knew would be amazing to work with. In recent months, I’ve begun to feel closer to it, as if I’m being nudged forward toward the cause. I’ve been praying, listening to what God is telling me and I believe within my heart I am meant to be a part of their organization and mission.

Today, I submitted my application for consideration. This will go through an approval process with a committee. So, of course, I don’t know if I will be accepted as an ambassador. But, I fully believe that if it’s meant to be, if it’s a part of God’s plan for me, I will be. I trust in Him to lead me.

It’s important to pray and trust your heart. Sometimes, God answers our prayers in obvious ways, other times, He puts something deep in your heart. He never ignores us, He ALWAYS answers our prayers. Maybe not in the way we would like, but God is always there listening. He wants to give us the desires of our heart. All we have to do is talk to Him and then listen to Him. He puts dreams and passions within us and wants us to have them if we commit to Him.

I yearn to work for God in this way. Now, I continue to pray and leave it in His hands. I have faith that if this is mean to be for me, I’ll know very soon.

Commit your work to the Lord

Product Review: Vega Clean Protein

Note: I was provided a free tub of Vega Clean Protein and a container of Clean Energy in exchange for a review. No further compensation has been received. All opinions and thoughts in this blog post are my own.

Vega Clean Protein & Energy

I love my Vega. I’ve been a fan of their products now for about four years. So, when I found out they had a new line of products, you know I wanted to try them! Clean Protein and Clean Energy are made for active folks, so they are just what runners need before and after a hard workout.

Vega Clean Protein is premium protein that has a very comparable amino acid profile to whey protein. The positive is that Vega doesn’t include anything you don’t want in your protein powder. It’s a Non-GMO Project verfied, plant-based protein that contains no artificial flavors, colors, or sweeteners. Also, because it’s not a dairy-based product, you don’t have to worry about growth hormones or antibiotics. It is made from a blend of pea, hemp, alfalfa and pumpkin seed protein. Each serving is 130 calories, 25 grams of protein, and 4 grams of BCAAs.

Vega Clean Protein

I have been using the Clean Protein now for about a month after my runs, and it tastes great. I mix it with 12oz of cold water in my shaker bottle. It has a smooth taste, and for me, no weird aftertaste. I will say that it does contain stevia, so if you are sensitive to that, you may notice that, but since I love stevia, it works out well. If you do notice the stevia, Vega recommends adding a squirt of lemon juice to it.

The Vega Clean Energy is just what you need before or during a workout to give you a boost. It’s a pre-workout supplement that is completely clean and plant-based. Clean Energy is comprised of 80mg of caffeine naturally occurring from green and black tea, electrolytes and 25 grams of carbohydrates. Again, a bit of stevia is in Clean Energy, as well as organic coconut palm nectar, sprouted whole grain brown syrup and tapioca starch.

Vega Clean Energy

As a fan of the Vega Sport Pre-Workout Energizer, I was interested to see the differences between it and Clean Energy. I received the Berry Infusion flavor, and overall I like it. I use it before my long runs on Saturdays. I notice a difference in my energy if i drink it en-route to my run (takes about 20 minutes to take full effect), so by the time we are halfway into the first mile, I feel a boost of energy. I haven’t hit more than 8 miles on my long runs thus far this season, but if I was running longer, I would likely want to use Clean Energy again, if that was what I was relying on for on the run energy. Because a serving of one scoop is 100 calories, I don’t use it for short runs under 6 miles as a personal preference. I think this is a definite pre-workout option to have along side of the Vega Sport Pre-Workout Energizer.

Overall, I like the Vega Clean line a lot. I love how natural and basic the ingredients are, which means you know you aren’t putting crud into your system. It doesn’t give me stomach issues, which is important when you already have a sensitive gut. You don’t have to be vegan or vegetarian to appreciate the Clean line, just someone who wants high quality supplements they can trust.

The Weekly Pursuit #6

I skipped doing this post last week for a couple of reasons, but it’s back and I’ve been getting myself on track. Once I realized some of my issues (see this post), it cleared up some things for me. Now, that doesn’t mean it will be easy, because I know it definitely won’t be, but if life was easy all of the time, how boring would that be? We have to have some ups and down thrown in there.

Lord is in control

My thyroid and depression have been a bit of a struggle on some days. I suppose it will be something I have to deal with for the rest of my life. That said, I know I can push through with the strength I have through God. The biggest issue I have is lack of energy. Or, lack of it during the day when I need to be awake and working or what have you. I also don’t tend to sleep well on some nights, as evidenced by my Garmin VivoFit which told me how bad my sleep was last week. I also dream a lot, so guess my brain doesn’t comprehend the whole go-to-sleep thing.

Last week, my mom also had a surgical procedure done. It was an outpatient procedure, so she was in and out within a few hours. It went well, and I went to spend time with her the following day. Was nice spending time with her, we even fell asleep on the couch together (or, I fell asleep, I don’t remember LOL). Anyway, my mom and I are close and I was glad to see that she was okay and to be able to spend time with her after her stressful surgery.

group after the long run

My running group after our hot 6-miler on Saturday morning.

I got in five days of workouts last week, and planked after each run. It’s become a part of our post-run routine and now I kinda look forward to it, as crazy as that sounds. It’s so good for your core strength, and I’m beginning to notice it working. It’s easier to get it done with friends keeping you accountable. Track workouts are going well, by that I mean I’m doing them every Thursday. We sort of “lost” our access to the school track we use, as the city doesn’t open the new gate until an hour after we need it the last couple of weeks. This has caused us to utilize a loop nearby which is .48 around, which is close to two laps around the track. While it’s nice that we have something to use while things are getting worked out about getting the track access back, it’s also very different from a track. It makes some of the workouts harder to do, and we’ve had to change things up for the time-being. I’m hoping we get our 5am access back soon.

the weekly pursuit

Since I didn’t post a “Weekly Pursuit” last week, I’m going to jump right into the goals for this week. I’m having to keep pushing myself to stay on track at times, so listing my goals out does help.

1. Listen to my body. Knowing when to take some extra rest time and when to pull back is important. Today, I had planned to hit up the gym, but due to a bad headache, I ended up taking a nap after work. While it disappointed me that I couldn’t get my sweat on, I knew I wasn’t feeling well and the best thing for me was to rest.

2. Blog posts. I’ve got a couple of reviews to get up between this week and next, as well as some posts I need to finalize. I want to get at least 3 blog posts up this week if not 4.

3. Trust in God. Work on talking to/listening to God more when it comes to my life’s journey. He will never lead me down the wrong path, and if I listen to Him, everything works out. There’s been some things on my heart and I need to hear God about what to do/where to go with them.

4. Logging my food. I’ve been doing a lot better on this. I feel I did great last week in this area, and I know with another 2-3 weeks of keeping myself in check will help my eating become better again.

5. Hydration. Done well with this one the last week as well. I have noticed how much better I feel when I’m hydrating properly. Got to keep it up.

God knows your journey

What are your goals for the week?

Why is it so hard?

Why is it so hard? So hard to take a compliment and love myself? This very question came to me after I responded to compliments on a photo I posted on instagram last night. I responded with a thanks for the kind words, but how I disliked my muffin top in said photo.

compliment ecard

Why? Why can’t I just take the kind words, the compliments people give and leave it with my appreciation? Why do I find myself adding a negative to such positive words from my fellow running and fitness friends? I sit back and think to myself, “I’ve come a long way with my body image and loving myself,” yet then I take a step backwards like I did with that photo.

As women, we struggle so much with body image and accepting how beautiful we are. Comparing ourselves with others doesn’t do anything but cause anxiety. God made each of us different and beautiful in our own way. It would be so boring if we all looked the same, and had the same body type. It’s because we each have our own shape and size that we are unique.

no negative talk

I suppose it’s something I need to continue to work on. Not automatically looking for a flaw or negative aspect when someone pays me a compliment. I’m never going to be completely happy with myself, but trying to see myself as others do when they are offering kind words is something I need to learn how to do.

Do you struggle with your body image and loving you for you?
How do you keep the negative thoughts out, do you have a method you use?

Reigniting a Dream

never stop dreaming

Have you ever felt lost, as if something was missing in your life? I’ve been feeling just that way for the last few weeks or more, and it finally truly hit me more clearly with the why. I am missing a dream, that passion that ignites you to more forward, onward toward a big goal. While we all have goals that we are shooting for in our lives, there’s always one or two dreams that you are oh so passionate about. That just make your life feel so exciting and well, ALIVE!

In this case, for me what I’m talking about is New York. I dreamed of running the NYC Marathon for at least three years and it finally was a dream come true last year. 2015 was my year, the year of the dream. I talked about so much as I trained last year, and when the dream came true, when it was finally over, I was left empty. Well, I mean I have all of those awesome memories and the awesome emotions and all within me, but the dream came true. It was so so amazing, one of the best times of my life.

Running NYC Marathon last year

During the 2015 NYC Marathon.

Greeting 2016, I thought I would be okay with now being a NYC Marathoner, and no longer having that goal in front of me. I thought I would be fine with not having a marathon to train for this year. It’s the first season since beginning Galloway training that I DIDN’T have a marathon on the schedule. I have to admit, it feels weird. I feel as though I’m not working toward something big like I had been doing with the five marathons I have run since 2013. I’m sure that’s not something a lot of non-runners can understand, actually WANTING to be training to run 26.2 miles, but for me, it’s become my life. It may be a love/hate relationship with those long miles, but it sure feel so great to cross that marathon finish line.

So, while running may not be something I do for a living, it’s something I really truly love doing. It’s become such a big part of my life and I have found that I almost yearn for those long runs, those hard runs that I have to push myself through. It’s a challenge that makes me feel alive I suppose, it’s a feeling that’s difficult to describe to someone who isn’t an endurance athlete. But dang is it an awesome feeling. Maybe it’s an endorphin high, I don’t know, but there’s truly nothing like running.

New York born again

I’ve felt kind of “lost,” lacking any real passion, so things have begun to slip. I’m up 8lbs weight-wise, I haven’t been drinking enough water, my blogging hasn’t been as frequent as it needs to be, and I’ve become so indecisive in so many things, a feeling of being on the fence. This all changes now. No more feeling low, unmotivated and lacking that dream or passion. I have decided on a plan and excitement, that passionate feeling is slowly but surely coming back.

Just what is that, you ask? I’ve decided that my dream of running NYC isn’t over. I am going back. 2017 is going to be the year of my return to the Big Apple. I want to take on those five boroughs again. I want to again run on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. The 2015 marathon was amazing, but I want to go back and do even better. I want to not only improve my time, but I want that feeling of running through the streets of NYC again. This time, I plan on being even better trained (I was prepared, but as a Florida runner, there was still more I could have done), and hear Frank Sinatra playing as I stand there on Staten Island, this time without a crummy headache. Can I reignite a dream like running the NYC Marathon? Heck yes, I can! And, I’m so much in love with New York and that crazy city that never sleeps that it has yet to leave my mind. Maybe it’s because I was born in New York that has me so attached, I don’t know. No matter what, a part of me is still in New York.

trio at race expo

With Terrie and Christine at the JG 13.1 expo in 2014.

Meanwhile, my goal for this year is a little closer to home, at least distance-wise. I am going to run Jeff Galloway’s 13.1 in Atlanta on December 11th. I ran the inaugural half marathon back in 2014, and then did the virtual last year, so I’m looking forward to going back and running it in person again. My friend Terrie and I had a blast there in 2014, and I know 2016 will be just as much fun, or more. I’ll be training for those Atlanta hills, as well as for the Space Coast Half Marathon in hopes of another P.R. this year. It’s a great race to P.R. at, heck I did it after running NYC last year. 🙂

I believe in dreams and my faith to make them come true. God is great and I believe that if something is strong within your heart, it’s something you are meant to do. The passion is strong for more adventures in New York, so I know it’s just a matter of time!

faith to dream

Happy Independence Day!

Happy Independence Day, aka 4th of July! I hope you are having a wonderful holiday with family and/or friends for America’s birthday. I started out my day with a gym workout, then picked up some fresh watermelon from the nearby Publix to bring back to my parents house. I’ve been here since Saturday afternoon, and it’s been a nice time with my family. Thank you to all the soldiers who have served this great country to give us our independence. I know I’m proud to be an American!

God Bless you and yours! Have fun with family and friends, but stay safe if you are shooting off fireworks later. I’ll be watching the city’s firework show as well as some on television. 🙂

Happy 4th of July

The Weekly Pursuit #5

Pulse memorial sign

Sign at one of the Pulse memorials.

Just where does the time go? One minute it’s Friday night and the weekend stands in front of me, the next minute it’s Sunday night and time to get back to work again the next day. I had a pretty good weekend overall. Saturday morning started things off with my usual run. It was a short mileage weekend, so we ran 6 miles. I was definitely thankful for that because the weather was so so humid. It felt like we were running in the swamp or something. Less for the icky sticky weather, it was a good run.

Saturday run

Saturday’s run including a Kevin sighting (the peacock).

That afternoon, I went to lunch with a friend. We went to the Garden Cafe here in Orlando, which sadly was closing at the end of the day. The family that runs the Chinese restaurant has been running it for years, but their rent was going to be doubled, something they couldn’t afford. This leaves the Orlando area lacking vegan Chinese food, and I mean GOOD vegan Chinese food. It was like no other. They will be missed for sure. I was glad to be able to enjoy a last lunch meal there with a friend. I enjoyed my favorite Pepper Steak (they used mock meat which was amazingly close in taste) and a spring roll.

Pulse memorial

After lunch, we decided to visit a couple of the memorials for the Pulse victims. First we went to ORMC hospital where 49 crosses were brought to represent each life lost. It was an emotional experience seeing all the love that each person was receiving on their designated cross. Chaplains from a church in Ft. Myers were on-site to talk to anyone who might need someone, as well as offering ice cold water and Gatorade to those coming out in the 95+ degree heat. We then drove down the street to the Pulse nightclub itself which has become a memorial once the police re-opened the street. It is still fenced in directly around the club, but a large memorial has grown all week in front of the location.

Pulse memorial crosses

The Pulse club memorial itself felt more emotional for me. I think because I was on the actual site of the shooting. I found myself just looking at the club behind the fence and then again at the photos displayed of the victims lost that tragic night. All I could do was pray for the families and those close to them and hope that they feel the love and comfort surrounding them from the city of Orlando as well as all over the country. The love from everyone and prayer will get them through this difficult time.

Pulse memorial

On Sunday, I tried to sleep in. I say “tried,” because I didn’t exactly accomplish that. I woke up once at about 5am, then again sometime around 7:30am, and then finally gave up when I awoke at just after 9am. So much for a lazy Sunday morning of sleeping in. However, despite being upright, I wasn’t really feeling motivated enough to do much just yet. It took me a couple of hours to finally get my butt moving and out the door to the gym. Once I got there though, I got in 7 miles on the bike. I then had a smoothie for breakfast and got in my shopping at Whole Foods.

Once I was back home, I showered then put on the movie I had rented from Redbox the day before. It was 90 Days in Heaven, I had read the book, so figured I would check out the movie. Sadly, I was not impressed at all with it. It was barely like the book at all. The experience the author had in heaven was at the forefront of the book, but that’s not how the movie portrayed it. While it might have been a good movie on it’s own merit, it definitely wasn’t the book. If you have read the book, just know it’s nothing like it.

Bike workout

Sunday’s workout at the gym.

As far as this week goes, I am ready for it to be Friday already and it’s only Monday. Ha! That’s what happens when it’s a 3-day holiday weekend. I have a long run of 10-miles on Saturday, then I’ll be heading over to my parents for the weekend with my bird babies in tow. Still deciding on what to do on the 4th of July, but there will definitely be fireworks!

Weekly Pursuit

Looking at last week’s goals…

1. Orlando Galloway website. Finally got this done, yay! Took me til the weekend, but the updates are completed.

2. Hydration. I did a lot better on this last week. Felt better on my hot runs, so I know my efforts are working. Keeping it up!

3. Listening to my body. I did good on this goal as well. I didn’t overdo it and I felt better for it.

4. Logging my food. Didn’t do as good on this goal though. Logging was not happening like it should have been.

This week’s goals…

1. Hydration. With a 10 mile run on Saturday, this is important. Getting in at least 64oz of water a day is the number I want to hit.

2. Logging my food. This is the area I’m struggling in, my food. Need to log everything again, as it keeps me more accountable and successful.

3. Planking. Time to get back into planks! We were just talking about doing a plank after each run with our Galloway group, so while I want to do it daily, definitely want to shoot for doing it after runs for at least one minute.

4. Clean up my car. It needs to be cleaned up inside before I go on Saturday, so I need to get that done by Thursday or Friday at the latest.

What are your goal(s) for the week?
Any plans for July 4th?