MS Blues Take 2

This past weekend I participated in the MS Blues Take 2. After 4 months of training and over 250 miles logged all in preparation for the big event, the MS Blues half marathon was canceled due to weather. A flash freeze turned much of Jackson into a skating rink. For the safety of all involved the race had to be canceled for the first time in 10 years. I was devastated. I don’t run for fun. I run for the bling (and because J loves to sign me up for races). For the beautiful beautiful medals. What was a girl to do? And just when hope was all but lost, a glimmer of hope appeared. A small group of runners organized the MS Blues Take 2. They plotted out a course, donated snacks, and handmade finisher’s medals.

The first few miles are the hardest for me. I begin questioning why I’m out there and thinking that it’s not too late to turn around and go home. Around mile 3 or 4, I got into my groove. Averaging around a 10 minute mile. Just chugging along like the little engine that could. Then around mile 8, I started slowing down. But then a sweet angel appeared. She asked if I had fuel, which I did. However, the Gatorade on my belt wasn’t doing me any good if I didn’t consume it. I was depleted and needed to be replenished. My sweet angel explained how she has the same problem of trying to push through on her own, but you have to supply your body with energy. 

She ran with me until I was back at my original pace. I managed to keep a steady pace until mile 12. Then I started walking. Another runner came along and had me run with her until we hit 13.2 miles.

Runners are an amazing group of people. They are so encouraging and uplifting to one another. They are like the Holy Spirit. Telling you when you need to refuel (read the Bible). Running with you when you think you can’t go any farther. Giving you an encouraging word when you are at your lowest. If ever you are feeling down, just sign up for a race. If all else fails at least you’ll get some bling. 

~ A


Weight Loss/Fitness Goals

Too often weight loss/fitness goals are vague ideas and it’s easy to lose focus.  Weight loss is hard and having unfocused, overwhelming goals does very little to keep you motivated.  Having those huge overarching goals is nice, but it is important to make step by step goals to get you there.  If you’re anything like me checking off something on your list makes you feel super accomplished.  So it helps to make small, achievable goals and build on them as time goes on.  Additionally,  it’s important to know your weight loss goals are actually about making you healthier and stronger, not just smaller.  It’s easy to get caught up in the pounds on the scale or the size of your clothes but neither of those things are the point.  The most important thing is being healthy.  Losing weight could mean you’re losing muscle and not fat which isn’t helping your heart or fitness levels out much.  You may gain weight but lose inches.  Sometimes you may even gain inches as your muscles develop.  It’s important to look at yourself as a whole and not as a breakdown of numbers.  One way to set goals I’ve seen again and again is S.M.A.R.T. goals: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time.


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When it comes to weight loss and fitness I would also recommend consulting with a doctor or research to ensure your goals are healthy. Also, when just starting out I like to make goals that are achievable within 2-6 weeks.  This way I can see myself achieving them, stay motivated, and set new goals long and short term.

My current fitness goals are:

  • By the end of March be able to do 10 consecutive push-ups.
  • Lose 1 percent of body fat per month.
  • Eat less than 30g of sugar per day.
  • Exercise for 30 minutes or more at least 3 times a week.

Without SMART goals my goals would be more along the lines of

  • Increase upper body strength
  • Lose weight
  • Eat better
  • Exercise regularly

Although none of my SMART goals explicitly say these things if I do what’s necessary to achieve my SMART goals those none specific goals will happen as well.



Bike Riding

My mom had been wanting a bicycle for awhile and had done lots of research to find the perfect one for herself. She had her heart set on an old school style bicycle. After weeks of searching, she sent me a picture of a7-speed Schwinn in mint green and it looked so darling. Earlier in the year, J had started throwing the word triathlon around, which had me thinking I better start looking for a bicycle. I quickly learned that the bicycle you need for a triathlon is quite expensive, especially if you are not absolutely sure that you will be participating in a triathlon. (J had stopped talking about participating in one.) Even though the idea of participating in a triathlon was quickly fading, I still wanted a bicycle. And the one my mom had found was so cute.

So, last year my mother and I got matching bicycles for our birthdays. Getting matching bicycles wasn’t enough for us, we wanted to go riding together. Easier said then done considering that we live in different states. Where there is a will, there is a way. I loaded up my Schwinn in the back of my little SUV and headed to my mom’s house one Friday morning. (Gotta love a 3-day weekend.) We got up Saturday morning, put on all the layers we could, and went riding. I started off a little wobbly, trying to get the hang of changing gears but it turns out the age old saying is true – you never forget how to ride a bike.



P.S. – The triathlon dream has not died, just briefly on hold. If you’ve done one I’d love to hear your advice!!!!- J

Losing Weight

I gained more than the ‘Freshman 15’.

In high school I played basketball and as a result I was still in pretty good shape.  I was 175 pounds, but ate any and everything.  When I went to college I stopped playing sports and didn’t start exercising.  No longer living in my parents house meant my diet promptly became even worse.   I ate a lot of ramen noodles, crackers, and any sweets I wanted.  Occasionally I would recognize I had gained some weight and begin to workout and my weight seesawed a lot.  My junior year I was 210 pounds but at 5’11 I was able to camouflage and ignore it.

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A few years later and I had reached 254 pounds.  My clothing size just kept increasing and I was almost wearing a size 18.  I was aware of all of the health risks of being overweight.  Twenty year olds were having heart attacks and the incidence of type 2 diabetes in children continuously rose.  Obesity is a risk factor for a multitude of diseases.  This was the first reason I wanted to lose weight.

The second is recognizing the culture of obesity and being overweight in churches and families in the south.  I want to help change it.  I want to see a change in this culture.  I want to lead by example at my church.

I’m currently working with a personal trainer and following some dietary guidelines she suggested.  It’s hard, but fun and I’m really excited.


Weight loss is hard.  It’s difficult and requires a mindset change.  I hope I can encourage you and you’ll do the same for me.  Let me know what you’ve done and what you’re doing.  If you have any tips please leave them in the comments below.




P.S.  If you’re interested in getting a trainer I highly recommend Cardiolistics.

Castaway Cay 5K

For my birthday last year A and I went on a cruise to the Bahamas.  Whenever I go on vacation I always do background research on my trip and I make lists.  It’s sort of my thing.  I discovered all Disney cruises that stop at Castaway Cay have a 5K cruisers can participate in.  I saw many bloggers write about participating in this RunDisney event and all of them talked about the Mickey medal you receive at the end.  With the Mickey medal in mind A and I signed up for the 5K.

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This will probably come to no surprise to most of you, but doing a 5K in the Bahamas in June is not the wisest idea.  It’s hot and the sun is beating down on you.  Before the 5K even began we had to walk about half a mile from  the boat to the starting line.  We started walking a little after 8 and as you can see it was hot and I was unenthused while A still kept a smile.


Hot is an understatement.  I was miserable.  However, I think I may have completed it faster than I usually do.  Part of the course was shaded and my strategy was to run in the sun and walk in the shade.  Also, the finish line was the sweetest thing I’ve ever seen.  The medal however was not a Mickey medal.  There was no Mickey anywhere on this medal.  A and I were disappointed as you can see.


But afterwards we got to relax on Serenity Beach, had a delicious lunch, swam with the stingrays, and took a mixology class, more on that later.



Have you ever run a RunDisney race?  We’re very interested in doing an official one and would love to hear your stories.



Zumba Certification


Zumba certification training was an awesome, fun, thrilling day.  Training started with a short introduction and then a Zumba class taught by our instructor Jenna Bostic.  I had never taken a Zumba class before and was a bundle of nerves, but almost immediately I began to feel better because following along was so easy.  There was a break and an introduction to the precepts of Zumba.  The rest of the day was filled with small mini lectures but mostly dancing.  It was so much fun  and I left super pumped to teach Zumba at my church.


If you’re interested in Zumba training go to and click instructor trainings.  I’m  really busy right now so I still teach only once a week at church, but I’ll be through with my Master’s degree in March and plan to begin looking for more places to teach.


If you’re already registered or plan to register here’s a few things I recommend.

  • Bring snacks, snacks, and more snacks.  Nuts, sunflower seeds, cheese and crackers.  It’s a long day of dancing and you’re going to need to refuel.
  • Pack a lunch.  Even if there’s a café of some sort on site it’s so much easier to bring your own food.  You only get about 30 minutes so don’t waste time waiting on food to be prepared.
  • Bring a change of clothes, body wipes, and deodorant. I was dripping sweat by lunch and was very glad I could clean up a little at lunch.
  • If you’re driving more than 45 minutes to an hour away and can afford it definitely rent a room for two nights.  Arrive the night before and check out the day after.  Training is fun, awesome, and exhausting.  After it was over all I wanted was a shower, dinner, and sleep.  Driving over an hour back home wasn’t an option.
  • If you are going to make a profit over $35 every month spring for ZIN.  It’s so helpful especially when you’re starting out.


I love teaching Zumba and I’m so glad I did the training.  Do you teach Zumba?  What were your experiences like?  In the comments  let me know any tips you have for training and teaching.




Magnolia Meltdown

One of my life goals is to complete a marathon.  In January 2014 I gave it a shot at the MS Blues Marathon.  I was woefully unprepared and the morning of my body protested vehemently.  Having dragged multiple people into doing either the relay or half-marathon I went and attempted it anyway.  I finished a little over half of the marathon but got a medal anyway for being a leg in the relay team. Finishing a marathon is still on my list and I’m committed to conquering the Blues marathon but I decided to take smaller steps first.



My family will tell you I’m full of bright ideas.  It’s how I convinced many of them to do the Blues marathon and how I convinced A, our Aunt and our Dad to do the Magnolia Meltdown with me in May 2015.  We all did the 10K.  My training was sporadic and unfocused but I showed up the morning of feeling good.  My only goal was to complete the entire 10K.  A had to be at work so she wanted to finish as quickly as she could.


A finished in 1 hour 9 minutes.


Dad finished in 1 hour 18 minutes.

I finished in 1 hour 33 minutes.


As you can tell I’m the least serious runner of the three of us.  I walked most of the 10K, but I was really excited I finished.  Especially since it started to rain minutes after I crossed the finish line.

I’m excited about my journey into becoming a runner, but a body at rest tends to stay at rest so I often have to ‘trick’ myself into getting started.  One way I do this is putting on my running clothes.  I’m much more likely to go and do SOMETHING if I already have on my workout clothes.  Also, any aerobic workout helps out my running life by improving my stamina.  The second is once I put on the clothes I prefer to run/walk on a trail instead of a track.  When I get to  a point where I would like to give up on a track I can very easily turn around and get in my car.  A trail, or the street, forces me to go at least double the distance I’ve already gone in order to get back to my car.  By the time I get back to my car I’m always glad I was able to do the extra.  Bonus, the Natchez Trace is beautiful.

Magnolia Meltdown we’ll be back in May.  St. Paddy’s 5K we’ll see you in March.

Let us know about races you’ve participated in and what’s your favorite part of running!