Archives for October 2015

Running and the Family Vacation

Hello! I am sadly home from Disney, but I am headed out today again for the weekend to speak at Refresh Summit in Tennessee! I will be back Sunday night and blogging will resume next week! In the meantime, please enjoy this guest post from Michelle.

A few times a year, when my school is on a break week, I pile my kids in the car and head from South Carolina to Florida so my parents and in-laws can see their grand-children. These trips are usually viewed as somewhat of a vacation for me, as we are out of the usual routine and structure that generally runs our life. I’ve discovered, though, that intentional planning must be done in order to maintain my running schedule while out of my routine. It’s actually much more difficult to be as disciplined as I need to be about my running with the eating out, impromptu outings with friends, chats with family and friends that run past my bedtime, etc. These things add up and can easily take a toll on my performance.

While I love that running is something that I can do anywhere, I can’t deny that it has added a wrinkle or two when I travel.

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Here a few tips that I have found to keep my training on track while I’m away:

-Enlist the help of a buddy, even in a different locale.

Since I’m returning to my hometown, I’m lucky that I have a couple of friends who are willing to lace up and go out with me. Was it a little strange to send a Facebook message to someone I haven’t physically seen or talked to in 20 years? Yes. Was it completely worth it to have this person run 8 miles with me and share childhood memories? You bet. I’m so glad I reached out.

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-Plan your running times, just as you would at home.

I try to run on the same schedule as I do at home. I’m very intentional about it. I can’t view it as something that I’ll do “if I have time”. I MAKE the time and plan other things around it.

-Get enough rest.

On my last trip, I nonchalantly believed that staying out late and getting only 3 hours of sleep wouldn’t be that big of a deal the night before a long run day. Boy, did my body have a different story for me the next morning. It was a painful 4 miles, instead of the nice 7 I had planned to do. Lesson learned.

-Stay hydrated.

This is good advice all the time, but I think it’s even harder when we’re out of our normal surroundings. In my case, my hometown’s water is AWFUL to drink. Because my parents usually eat most meals out when we visit, I find myself drinking more soda than I should, but the tap water just isn’t good. So I have to consciously remember to make up for it and drink lots of the bottled water that we keep at my folk’s house.

-Allow yourself an indulgence or two, but watch your eating.

There are several meals that I look forward to when I visit my folks. But I’m finding that my body performs better when it gets better food. So when we want a meal of fried shrimp, sweet potato fries coleslaw and hushpuppies (don’t judge!), I try to make sure we go on the same day that I’ve run, and then make sure that my other meals are more balanced. I run better and I feel better.

-Pack your gear. Whatever you use at home, plan to have with you.

It’s a little strange to me that my running gear now needs a bag all by itself. Hydration backpack, good socks, blister protection, Glide, KTape…..Do I really need to carry ALL of my gear across three states to have a good run? Well, it’s certainly easier if I do. Fortunately I’m driving, and I have a big trunk.

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That’s how I keep myself on track while I travel. What other tips do you have?

4 Things That Running Has Taught Me

This is a guest post from Lesley of Greater Fitness. She is the blogger behind my runDisney tutu creations. Be sure to check out her blog!

I am not a natural runner. I started running as a way to lose weight. Sure, shiny medals and new shoes are fun, but my running focus was all about dropping pounds in the beginning of my running journey. As the pounds came off, I started to truly enjoy running, and I began to see so many other benefits from it, besides the weight loss that I was experiencing. Now, I no longer run to lose weight. I run because I can’t quit it. I’ve learned so much through my running experience that I think other runners can relate to as well. If you are new to running, just starting or if you are a seasoned runner I think we can all learn a thing or two from running. Here are just a few of the important things that running has taught me over the past 3 years (in no particular order):

1. To Appreciate the Importance of Solitude

I am a talker. I don’t spend a lot of my time alone. I enjoy the company of my family and friends, and I like to meet new people. Before I started running, my “alone time” consisted of me cleaning, reading a book, or watching a show on television. When I started running it was really weird for me to not talk for 30 minutes or more. “This is boring.” I would say to myself. Gradually, I started to see why so many runners liked the alone time they had. Runs became a way for me to “shakeout” my head and come back home refreshed. I enjoy going on a run with other people from time to time, but now my favorite runs are solo. I look forward to that time so I can literally only focus on putting one foot in front of the other when my mind is focusing on a million other things the rest of the day.

2. Who My True Friends Are

This is one of the most important things that running has taught me. I am so thankful that I am surrounded by a supportive group of friends. I’ve run in several races with many of my friends, and the experiences have been eye-opening. I ran a few races in which “friends” were highly competitive with me, and it was hurtful. However, I’ve been lucky to have experiences that are the exact opposite. The friends that I race with now are in a competition with themselves, just as I am. I’ve learned to appreciate my friendships so much more through running. Running has allowed me to see different sides of my friends that I never witnessed before. I’ve seen friends crush their finish time goals, overcome injuries, cry at a finish line, struggle with a training plan, etc. Likewise, a group of my friends waited for me to walk across a finish line with an injury many minutes after they finished, they text me to see how my training is going, and they motivate me to be a better runner because they have faith in me. We’ve accomplished many goals together, and we applaud each other’s individual efforts.


3. A New Attitude is Just a Run Away

When I’m in a bad mood I tend to immediately crave a run. Sure, I’ll stuff my face with gelato if I’m sad about something, but 9 times out of 10 I will lace up my shoes and just walk away from whatever stress has caused my attitude to head south. Running has truly become a much cheaper form of therapy for me. Most of my best running times have been when I started a run while I was angry or upset. I get tunnel vision when I’m pounding the pavement, and I’m not controlling my emotions the way I should. Somehow, running magically adjusts my mood, and I’m much more able to cope with whatever has contributed to my bad mood.

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4. To Not Be Afraid

I was a big ball of nerves the first time I ran a race. But, as I completed each new race my confidence soared. I have learned that I can truly accomplish the goals that I have set for myself if I work for them. Each race has pushed me to do better at the next, to strive for new PRs and train harder. I’m not afraid to be the last in the pack, I’m not afraid I’ll fail. Running taught me my strengths and weaknesses as an athlete. More than anything, running is always teaching me to be a better person. To not be afraid of the skin I’m in and to be satisfied with my accomplishments.

If you are a runner I am sure that running has taught you things that have truly changed your life. If you are not a runner then maybe this list will motivate you to give it a try!

QOTD: What has running taught you about life?

Awesome Total-Body AMRAP

Awesome total-body AMRAP workout (& thoughts on high intensity exercise) - #fitfluential #fitness #AMRAP #workout

Hi fitness lovers! My name is Sarah Jane, ACSM certified personal trainer and group fitness instructor and blogger at The Fit Cookie. I teach different group fitness formats (I even taught Zumba for 5 years!), and one of the group fitness classes I teach is an AMRAP class. I created this workout for one of those classes tried it out on my guinea pigs students. It’s a tough one, but fun!

This workout is a high-intensity weights and cardio workout performed AMRAP-style (As Many Reps As Possible). Everyone spends the same amount of time working out but the number of rounds you complete is up to you. If you are slower, you might get through 3 rounds, if you’re fast, maybe 5 or 6 rounds. Push your pace but take time to sip water and maintain good form for every exercise. If your form suffers, reduce your weights or slow down.

Awesome total-body AMRAP workout (& thoughts on high intensity exercise) - #fitfluential #fitness #AMRAP #workout

For this workout you will need a set of dumbbells (I like starting heavy then dropping the weight as I get tired), a jump rope, and enough space to do reverse lunges and burpees.

Beginners do 10 minutes and work up from there. My class did this for 25 minutes – I was in the middle of my 5th set when the timer went off. 25 minutes seems short, but you need to make sure you are doing an adequate warm-up before the workout (preferably with some dynamic stretching) and a good cool down at the end. With those added in, you are looking at 40 minutes from warm-up to cool-down – definitely doable!

Try doing this workout one or 2 times a week for a little variety in your fitness routine. This one is high intensity, so I wouldn’t do more than 3 or 4 of these workouts a week. 25 minutes of this is plenty! Intensity and duration are related: the more intense your workouts, the shorter they need to be, and vise versa.

Awesome total-body AMRAP workout (& thoughts on high intensity exercise) - #fitfluential #fitness #AMRAP #workout

On a related side note, I have been reading about the 80/20 rule for workouts and fitness. Men’s Journal had a great article about this and I’m also reading about this in my RunFit study manuals. Here’s the idea: 80% of your workouts should be moderate paced, and 20% should be higher intensity (HIIT, AMRAP, sprint intervals, etc.). So if you’re working out 5 days a week, 1 of those days would be high intensity and the other 4 should be moderate/low intensity.

This concept seems to go against everything we are hearing these days! It’s all about push-push-push till you puke, but I can personally say that I have had burnout going 110% all the time! Not even elite athletes perform at their max for every training workout. It’s just not feasible for long-term performance.

What does that mean for you? Plan your workouts ahead of time and include this one as a high-intensity workout in your week, but don’t do this one every day and don’t feel like you have to keep up with other people at the gym to meet your goals. In fact, going 110% every day can make you a slower runner too, and hamper your fitness progress. Your workouts should be at varying intensities through the week, so high-intensity workouts are just a piece of the bigger fitness picture.

Awesome total-body AMRAP workout (& thoughts on high intensity exercise) - #fitfluential #fitness #AMRAP #workout


QOTD: What is your favorite type of workout?

You ARE Enough

I first met Tasha when I visited Under Armour headquarters a couple of years ago, and we were ambassadors together and roommates. She has become a wonderful and inspirational friend who is very dear to me, and I am honored to have her guest post today. She has an amazing story of overcoming shame, guilt, and anorexia that she is sharing here today. I hope you will read it, it’s worth it!

Shame, as defined by, is “a painful emotion resulting from an awareness of inadequacy or guilt.” In my life, it defined an entire period of my life, a darkness, a private hell that I lived in and out of for far too long. With my daughter just turning twelve last week, memories of how my life came crashing idem, all over my weight, shortly after her birth came flooding back. I decided, now, more than ever as she enters a very delicate period in her own development, to really acknowledge how I got there, how I can deal with any remnants of what was and make to decision about walking in freedom about my body and my weight and being a worthy example for her to follow.


Six months before I became pregnant with my daughter, I had just successfully lost a little over forty pounds. I had been dating a man for a little over a year and had gotten “comfortable” and had ended up getting very close to two hundred pounds again, something I promised myself I would not do. I had gotten a membership at the local YMCA, cleaned up my diet and was really really proud about being under 160 pounds, a weight I had not seen since my first year of college. Within a month of reaching a healthy weight, my boyfriend proposed and we were married three months later. I became pregnant three months after that. All of the quick changes (not just getting married but losing my job, going through a custody battle over my oldest child and moving to a different city) made gaining fifteen pounds SUPER easy. I felt “happy” but out of control. So many people were inspired by the changes I had made and I was now feeling as if I was letting them down. That guilt on top of the guilt of being put on a diet by my doctor for gaining too much weight (as a pregnant woman) on top of no longer having a job on top of feeling bad for being “vain” about my body when I was supposed to be taking care of myself to bring another life into the world. The weight of it all was super heavy on my shoulders.


When I gave birth, I became obsessed with losing the weight. I wouldn’t go visit family and friends because I was ashamed of what I had become, or in my mind, become “again.” On top of severe post partum depression (which I’m sure was affected by the way I felt about myself), I exercised excessively. I battled my second round of anorexia. I rarely slept. I almost killed myself. I felt trapped, again, all because of a number on a scale. It’s amazing how trying to be what we think is acceptable to others will destroy us.


I have battled the same thing since entering the fitness profession some eleven years ago. Shame is what led me to a binge eating disorder. I was a yoga teacher. How does a yoga teacher explain to her students that her emotions are our of control and she is ashamed of her body when she is telling them to breathe and love themselves? I shoved brownies down my throat before class in the corner of the parking lot where no one could see, cried for ten minutes and then went to play the role. That’s what shame does to us. We play roles to feel “accepted” and hide from who we really are. When I came to terms with who I really was and that it was o.k. that I was super small or that I didn’t dress a certain way or that I wasn’t a runner and that who I was indeed was ENOUGH, my battle with shame became less and less and less and while I still struggled (honestly, struggle) with body image from time to time, I no longer hide from people or the issue. When I feel that way, I get to the root of the issue and not just accept it as before. I have not only had to change my thinking but there are times I had to change environments, friends, who I was following on social media, where I was shopping and what I watching on television. If it made me second guess myself, it had to go.


Shame is hard. Suffering is hard. Silence is hard. It secretly kills. If you are in a shame cycle,may I encourage you with these words: you ARE enough. Shame attacks us when we feel inadequate. You are more than capable and more than worthy. When we believe in our own worth and power, shame dissolves. When shame dissolves, we can see who we really are and go from there. There is nothing wrong with self improvement. We just can’t become undone trying to undo who we truly are. Be encouraged. There is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Thank you Tasha for sharing such a personal story! If you are not already, please be sure to follow this amazing lady on her social channels, here are a few: Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook

QOTD: Can you relate to Tasha at a time in your life? How did you overcome these feelings?

Five Things Friday VI

1.) I’M GOING TO DISNEY WORLD! We begin our drive today and will arrive at the house of the mouse tomorrow morning for my mom’s one wish for her 60th birthday. Can’t wait for this fun girls trip with mom and her friend!


2.) We had a retake of some of Emma Kate’s one year old pictures on Wednesday. When we took them at the beginning of October, she had an ear infection we didn’t know about and she was NOT a happy camper and wouldn’t smile, so we were able to try again and hopefully they come out cute.  I can’t wait to see them!

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3.) I just started a ladies Bible study on Thursday nights, and am really enjoying it so far. This one is called Seamless, and it’s about how all the books of the Bible fit together as one, so it’s very interesting! You can find the book here.

4.) I got these chips from the brand ips in a runner box, and was a bit skeptical but they taste SO GOOD, and have protein in them to boot. Try them out! I had never heard of the brand before but I love me some white cheddar and was pleasantly surprised.

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5.) In case you missed my blog post yesterday, when you purchase specialty marked accelerate hope items from ASCIS in the month of October, ASICS is giving back money to help women get breast cancer screenings. A great cause, way to go ASICS!

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QOTD: What do you have going on this weekend? What kind of chips are your favorite?

Run In Pink

As I’m you all know, October is breast cancer awareness month. With so much pink everywhere, it can be easy to forget the real meaning behind it.

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I love how so many companies have teamed together for awareness, but what is even more impressive is when a company not only raises awareness, but gives back as well. ASICS has teamed up with Christina Applegate’s Right Action for Women, a charitable program to help provide screening assistance to women who are at an increased risk for breast cancer, and may not be able to afford the proper medical care.

For the whole month of October, ASICS is giving back when you purchase specially marked products from ASICS. They will give back $10 for each pair of shoes sold, $2 for each apparel item, and $1 for each accessory. They have pledged a guaranteed minimum donation of $100,000!

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I know there is only a little over a week left in October, but I hope you will consider purchasing something from ASICS to not only raise awareness, but to help ASICS give back to those in need.

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ASICS is also holding a contest to help raise awareness. Show ASICS how you will run in Pink by taking a picture of yourself in your pink apparel, and use the hashtag #RunInPink when you post your photo to Instagram or Twitter. Be sure to follow @ASICSamerica, and you may see your photo pop up! Every Friday in October, ASICS will give a lucky winner who posted a photo with the hashtag a pair of shoes from the Accelerate Hope collection, benefitting Right Action for Women. Visit ASICS’s post for details.


QOTD: Do you run in pink? What is your favorite way you have seen a brand give back this October?

My View of Success

Let’s sit down and chat. Have a cup of coffee perhaps? I have some heavy stuff on my mind I want to get out.

Fabletics fall

Success. It’s a funny business. Some people want it so badly, they will do anything for it. Some aren’t sure how to define it, and some  search after the happiness that “success” brings. Other people get nervous when you talk about success, maybe because they have failed a lot, or maybe they are jealous. Some people may even feel “behind” when others around them have success after success, but not a lot of people want to bring it up.

I am a very competitive person, which served me very well in school. I made good grades, was captain of different sports teams, and luckily never really had to feel unsuccessful or unhappy with the way things were going aside from your regular high school drama. It was all well and good for 17 year old Heather, but adult world is way harsher and harder than high school sports and school world, and I quickly found myself feeling behind in life.

After college, things didn’t go as planned for us career wise, and I will be the first to admit it was hard seeing those around me succeed in that area. I was of course happy for THEM, but unhappy that I wasn’t there WITH them if that makes sense. Bobby and I had to deal with several struggles as young married folk that you don’t typically see, and I would like to think that looking back it has made us stronger, but I am also ashamed at how I have reacted in certain situations dealing with “success”.

The funny part is, that everyone thinks the grass is always greener on the other side, but what they don’t know Is that the other person has struggles of their own that they just haven’t shared. I could look at all of my friends and name success that they have had that they probably wouldn’t even consider a success, because it was something that may have come easy to them, or wasn’t something that they struggled with. unnamed (37)

I live in a very nice town. I love it, but the problem with it is that it’s like an episode of Keeping up with the Kardashians. Fancy cars everywhere, huge homes, stuff, stuff, stuff, everywhere. Little kids wearing designer things, everyone with a boat, a country club membership, and first class airplane tickets. Let’s be clear: Is there anything wrong with those things in themselves? NO. However, the Bible is clear on this subject in Matthew chapter 6 verse 20-21:

20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

What do you consider your treasure? It will show evidence of where your heart is. Is your treasure a fancy house or the most luxurious car? Is it having the smartest kid in school? Is it having the fastest race time in your running group? Maxing out the highest weight at CrossFit?

Again, none of these things are bad, it’s awesome to set and reach goals, but if this, this is ALL there is, if it is something you OBSESS over and let it BECOME your life instead of part OF your life, then that is the problem. If your success lies in things, if it lies in awards, or pats on the back, or people telling you that you have it all together, then you are missing out on the treasure my friends. Have you ever been to a funeral, and in the casket there were items placed inside that the person who passed away would want to take with them? But…they are still sitting there, in the casket. You cannot take your stuff out of this world. That doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy things while you are hear, but let’s all think about taking time to invest in other things as well, right?


I am including myself in this as well. As a highly competitive person I have fallen victim to many of these things time and time again. Why is she so successful, I try hard, too? Why do they seem to have it easy, what are they doing right that we aren’t? Maybe you are asking the wrong questions. What about, people, relationships, quality time, happy, healthy kids, a mission minded church family, an answer to a long awaited prayer, helping someone through a rough spot.

I think we could all benefit from taking a step back and thinking about society’s definition of success, and God’s definition of success. At the end of this life, it won’t matter how much stuff I have accumulated, or how many trophies I have, but the way I treated my neighbors, how I sacrificed my time to help a stranger, and the way I chose to love others will indeed matter. I’m going to work on storing up the right kind of treasures, and being a success in the eyes of the one who really matters.

QOTD: What is your definition of success? Do you ever fall into the “stuff” or “awards” trap?

Fall Fun

Happy Monday! We had a fun filled weekend with amazing weather down here in Mississippi, and I’m so sad it’s all over. I wish the temperature would stay like this forever! On Saturday morning, my dad drove up here early to hang out with us. There is an annual car show here in Madison, and we decided to sell Orange Leaf frozen yogurt from a booth this year. Bobby left early to set up, and my dad and I arrived later with Emma Kate. (My dad came up for this same car show last year so it was fun to do it again!)

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This was only our second time at the car show, but apparently this was it’s 12th year. There were a lot more cars that had awesome access systems than last year, so apparently it just keeps getting bigger and bigger!

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Yes, this is an old blue truck with a corvette engine in it.

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Emma Kate decided to practice her walking skills.

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Dad and I walked down to McAlisters for lunch with Emma Kate just like last year. It was so fun to do the same things as last time but this year Emma Kate is walking!

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Below is a picture from this same weekend last year. Crazy how big she has gotten!


After lunch we headed to the store to get grilling supplies for our BBQ that evening. We had a great time relaxing on the back patio grilling and eating and Emma Kate was such a trooper the whole day and didn’t get fussy until just before bedtime.

Sunday morning, dad left right before Bobby and I headed to church.

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After church we hung out at the house before attending our church’s annual Fun fest. It’s like a big carnival with jump jumps of all kinds, games the kids can play and win candy, food trucks, puppet show, photo booth, a clown, etc. It’s free to the public, they just ask that you bring some canned goods for their canned food drive.

All the kids dress up in their costumes, and it’s just a really fun family time.

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We watched the puppet show, then let Emma Kate practice her walking skills and she thought she was hot stuff walking around the festival. It was so cute.

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I had a delicious hot dog from a food truck, and capped off the night with a cheesecake caramel apple. I don’t know about you, but the fact that they will slice it for you at no extra cost is amazing. I haven’t had a caramel apple in years because they are just so gosh darn messy, but this, this I could deal with!

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The festival was over at 7:00 so we left a few minutes before since Emma Kate’s bedtime is 7:00 and she was fading fast. She had a very full weekend but was such a trooper. We are loving this new stage!

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QOTD: Do you go to any fall festivals? Are you dressing up for Halloween?

Five Things Friday V

Happy almost weekend everyone! I’m excited for this one because my dad is coming into town tomorrow, and Sunday evening is our fall festival at church. Going to be a fun one. Here are 5 things for you today.

1.) Poor Emma Kate has ANOTHER ear infection. I took her yesterday, and the doctor said the dreaded “T” words. Looks like we will be getting a consult at the end of the month for when she will have surgery.

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2.) Refresh Summit is just TWO weeks away! I will be in Franklin, TN for the weekend with some amazing women recharging and meeting new people. I can’t wait to share with them some things that have been on my heart lately in my session.

3.) We received marketing material yesterday at the store for CHRISTMAS! OMG. Yall, I LOVE Christmas, but it’s not even Halloween and I am still just getting in the groove for fall. Not to mention, it was 92 degrees yesterday! I kid you not. 92. what?


4.) I am dragging my suitcase out of the attic to pack for Disney to. Going to Florida at this time of year presents a packing challenge. It could be 95 degrees, and at night it could be in the 50’s. Layers it is I guess! (and I may throw in a swimsuit or two!)


This picture is from a trip in November. Florida weather, yall.

5.) We tried to take Emma Kate’s one year old pictures but it just so happened to be the first day she got sick, and so we could not get her to smile AT ALL, it was pathetic. Thankfully our awesome photographer is going to let us have a redo next week (hopefully after we get over this ear infection!) You should have seen me jumping up and down behind the photographer making noises etc. trying to get the poor girl to smile. I’m sure it was quite amusing to everyone driving by.

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Disney’ Saratoga Springs Resort

I am dubbing today travel Thursday! I leave for Disney for my mom’s 60th birthday extravaganza in EIGHT DAYS. We won’t technically be in Disney for nine days, but I’m still totally excited.

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So today I wanted to share about one of Disney’s Vacation Club resorts, Saratoga Springs. A lot of people get confused and think that you can only stay here if you are a member of the Disney Vacation Club. Not true! Anyone can stay here!


There are several reasons we love this resort, but I am just going to name a few.


First of all, it’s really pretty. It is centered amongst a golf course, and has some great views from the rooms. It is also next to Disney Springs (formally Downtown Disney), and a lucky few will get a room with a view of the Disney Springs skyline.


When I was able to stay in this resort with my family, we had a two bedroom villa, and I was really impressed with just how spacious it was. It had a master bedroom and bathroom,





Dining area,


living room,


second bedroom,


second bathroom,





and a peaceful view.


I love the concept of the villa, especially for a family with a young child. After having Emma Kate, I totally see the major pluses for being able to put her to bed at night and still be able to go into another room to hang out without having to be super quiet or go to bed yourself at 7:00.

Our room also had a washer and dryer which really came in handy. There are several pools at this property, as well as a playground and a place to grill. We brought some of our own food and BBQ’ed one night which was a lot of fun!



We also really enjoyed sitting in the rocking chairs in the evening overlooking Disney Springs.



The walk to Disney Springs is peaceful and picturesque. One night we walked over just for some ice cream. I loved the proximity!


Another great thing about Saratoga Springs is they have a SPA! Senses spa to be exact. I got to tour it right before they opened a couple of years ago, and it was really nice.


It is a very large resort, so there are multiple bus stops which takes a little more time, which is why we drove when we stayed here. However, the largeness of the resort makes for a great spot to run! You can wind your way all along this place, to Disney Springs and back, and put in a good bit of mileage.

I hope I get the chance to stay at this property again, I really enjoyed it!

RELATED: Sign up for my FREE My Disney Experience and Magic Bands E-Course

QOTD: What is your favorite DVC resort? Do you ever BBQ on vacation?