A New Approach to Setting New Year’s Resolutions

Happy New Year, friends! It’s been a really long time since I’ve blogged and I plan to change that for 2018!  To get us started, I’m excited to share my dear friend Joanna’s new blog post about setting holistic resolutions.  If you’re like most of the population, you probably started the year with only the best of intentions and now that it’s January 8 you might be thinking, “oh great, I’ve already let life get in the way of meeting my goals!” Don’t worry, you are not alone.  That fresh, clean slate feeling you had on January 1 can stick with you throughout the year, but it requires a bit of reframing.

In today’s guest post, Joanna walks us through how to set holistic goals through the lens of a Christian faith perspective.  You’ll be challenged to identify how your resolutions overlap multiple areas of your life and how to tackle them in a more intentional way, rather than simply another to-do checklist.  I’d love to hear what you are striving towards in 2018 and what resonated with you in this post.  Leave a comment below!

Guest Blogger: Joanna E.

How to Make Holistic New Year’s Resolutions

As I hung my new calendar on the wall, I got excited about all the new things that would happen to fill those months. I really want this year to be better than the last, but know it won’t happen without planning and intentionality. So, as I make my own goals, I will pass on some of the things I’ve learned over the years that have helped me craft better New Year’s resolutions and actually accomplish them.

For starters, consider being holistic in creating your resolutions. Sometimes I made goals in one area of life and let other areas languish. Then I learned we as people have interconnected physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional needs. When one area is off, it impacts the others.  When we are stressed at work and mentally frustrated, it can come out in physical pain. When we’re emotionally upset and distressed, it can impact our spiritual lives if we focus on our circumstances instead of God’s character.

God’s Word highlights we are to love the Lord with all four of these areas of our lives. Jesus said in Mark 12:30And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. This is the first commandment.” Find ways to use your resolutions to help you love God more in all of these dimensions.

Once you’ve resolved to be holistic, PRAY before making any goals.  Ask God what He wants you to do in the upcoming year.  You may be surprised. Proverbs 16:9 says, “A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.” We can make all the plans we want, but if they aren’t what God has for us, they won’t happen.  Don’t spend the year striving to do something without seeing if it is what God wants.  When you seek Him, even if you face obstacles, God will enable you to accomplish His desires. Philippians 1:6 reads, “being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.”

All that said, here’s some insight based on what I’ve learned, and ideas for goals in each arena.

Physical Goals
These seem to be the easiest goals to make.  And then break a month later.…  If you are a believer in Christ, your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19). We shouldn’t worship our bodies, but treat them well because of who we host. Personally, I only floss because it glorifies God. One thing that helped me keep my physical goals was by connecting them to other areas. I never went to the gym until I started reading spiritual books while doing cardio. This gave me the added incentive of having time to think without distractions at home and let me do something fun to override the mundane of a treadmill.

Examples of physical goals include:

  • Prayer walking your neighborhood to work out your faith and your legs.
  • Picking three new super foods to try and feeling like a super human.
  • Running a 5K for a cause you love.
  • Riding a bike. Many cities are paving bike paths – go try one.

Mental Goals
Ours minds are muscles that need to be exercised to stay fit.  Mental goals should challenge our minds. Last year, I took a writing class through my county, which really helped me better understand the nuances of fiction writing.

Examples of mental goals include:

  • Learning a foreign language. Buy language learning software or register for a class through your county’s adult education program.
  • Completing a Soduku or Crossword Puzzle daily to keep your mind sharp.
  • Reading at least one new book every month.

Emotional Goals
Perhaps this sounds a bit fluffy.  Emotional goals – what are those?  When we don’t admit we have emotions – regardless of whether or not we show them – we miss out on key areas of our lives. I have learned when I try to repress how I feel in one area, it often comes out in frustration in another area.  When I examine what I feel and why, I can work through it and grow as a person in the process.

Examples of emotional goals include:

  • Journaling at least weekly about how you feel about life.
  • Starting a gratefulness journal where you write down things every day you are thankful for.
  • Writing a letter to someone you care about to tell them how important they are to you and why.
  • Choosing to forgive a person who hurt you, knowing it still takes time to feel better.

Spiritual Goals
We need spiritual goals to grow in our relationships with Christ and find ways to share His love with those around us. Recognizing that we will never be fully mature here on earth, we need to keep knowing and pursuing the knowledge of the Lord (Hosea 6:3). Remember, each person’s goals will look different because each person is unique.  Find something to expand your view of God and know Him better.

Examples of spiritual goals include:

  • Reading through the Bible in a year. If you read four chapters a day, you finish in a year. I’ve now read the Bible over 20 times, primarily using this method.  It never gets old, and I learn something new every time.
  • Praying for the world in a year.  “Operation World” covers every country in the world and provides specific ways to pray.
  • Adopting an unreached people group and praying for it. A great resource to learn about unreached peoples is the Joshua Project.

Based on what I shared, here are my holistic resolutions for 2018. I recommend having at least one goal in each of the four areas, but no more than two so it is not overwhelming.  In each goal, I seek to tie it to how I can know and grow in Christ.

My Holistic Resolutions for 2018

Physical – Workout at the gym or exercise regularly. Bring spiritual books to read at the gym to think about deeper spiritual things and know God better.

Mental – Go to a writer’s conference to learn more about writing. Publish a short story by the end of 2018.  Pray diligently before, after, and between writing so that it honors God and blesses the readers.

Spiritual – Have daily time in the Word and weekly time in deep Bible study and meditation so I can understand God’s character better and deepen my relationship with Him. Jealously guard this time with the Lord so it is not lost in the busyness of life that can be all consuming.

Emotional – Journal so I can gauge where I’m at emotionally and review it with God so I can draw closer to Him in the process.

Next week I will post about how to make SMART resolutions to help strengthen my goals.

Now it’s your turn to set your holistic goals. 

  • What are ways you can add these concepts into your plans?
  • How do you think holistic goal setting is different than how you set previous resolutions?
  • How do you think this can enhance what you’ve done before?


Reposted with permission. Follow Joanna’s work online at Words from the Honeycomb.

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A New Way To Find The Runner’s High

My friend Margaret returns as a guest blogger to share a new twist on reaching the “runner’s high” feeling.  What’s her secret?  Adult summer camp!  Read below to learn about her magical adventure and how you can get involved too!

Guest Blogger: Margaret Chapman

Do you remember running through the trees, feeling the complete joy and freedom of summer camp knowing that you had zero responsibilities and your only task was to stay awake long enough to make s’mores at the campfire? As adults, we don’t get that opportunity very often.  For me, I feel it some with running.  When I’m out on the trails for 1-3 hours, it’s like a little vacation from reality.  It’s my meditation and I definitely feel like a kid sometimes – picture the Friends episode where Phoebe is running in Central Park with her arms and legs flailing.  I do that, sometimes, just for fun.

What if you could get that childlike feeling again (but with the benefit of no real rules and curfews)? Guess what? You can!  I have! This year was my third time attending adult summer camp.  And not just any “adult retreat” where there are no under-18s around.  This one takes your phone, your Fitbit, your name and your title. You pick a new name (I’m Polly Wanna Cracker).  You don’t worry about time or status or making work connections.  CEOs sit next to recent grads and they both learn the careful art of friendship bracelet making. The most important part of your day?  Deciding whether to spend your morning participating in water sports or making sun carvings. Do I take a nap or go join that Frisbee game that just got started?  It’s one of the most remarkable experiences I’ve ever had.

I know Sallyann’s blog is focused on running – and you can do that there, too. There are trails and fields, plus a bunch of other sporty activities to choose from. But for me, this seemed relevant because it’s one of the few times where I have found the thing that normally only running endurance events gives me – a true high on life.  You know that feeling when you hit something around mile 4-5 of a half marathon? It’s the time where I’m over the “why did I decide to do this again” mindset and entering the “omg this is incredible, I feel invincible” one. Imagine having that for three days!  I’ll admit – the first little bit of camp for me still falls into that “why did I decide to do this again” place.  I’m not a fan of dirt; I don’t like sharing showers and bathrooms.  But then, by the first night I’m at mile 5 again and I’m singing along to campfire songs while toasting marshmallows.  This year, in a true moment of “vulnerageousness” (a camp term for being vulnerable and courageous), I participated in the camp play.  We literally wrote it one afternoon and performed (mostly as improv) later that night. The amazing part of that whole experience was the feeling of unconditional support from all my fellow campers.  So what I forgot a line or made up some stupid accent?  They loved that we did it and put ourselves out there and were ready to give us a standing ovation no matter what.

Rock paper scissors

Epic rock, paper, scissors battle.

I know it sounds crazy – and maybe we all are for going back year after year. But, I had to share this experience with everyone I could.  It’s meant so much to me to learn, grow, and push myself way outside my comfort zone.  If you ever get the chance, I highly recommend trying an adult summer camp. You’ll make friends for life, learn things you never knew you wanted to know, and understand yourself a little better.

Want to join me next time? There’s another one coming up in August just a few hours from DC in Massachusetts. Three suns, two moons and countless stars await you at Camp Wonderful. Come run through the fields and jump on the trampoline with me!

Join me at: www.campwonderful.com.


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Overseas Adventures–Races in Stockholm and Oslo

In December, my readers heard from my friend Laurel as she shared her first marathon experience in Helsinki, Finland.  Today she continues Part II of her story with two more running adventures!  After reading these, I can understand why people get the bug to sign up for overseas/destination races.  Leave a comment below to tell us about your favorite overseas race experience or even better…message me to share your story as my next guest blogger!

Guest Blogger: Laurel Wemhoff

Part II:

Stockholm Ultra Marathon

stockholm ultra.png

In my previous post I talked about my first half marathon and how it inspired me to sign up for my first full marathon. This post will be about two other marathons I have completed: the Stockholm Ultra and Oslo Marathons.

Now many of you might not believe this, but after I finished my first marathon I felt so great, I said to myself, “I think I could have kept running!” Crazy, I know.

I decided to register for the Stockholm Ultra Marathon, taking place August 9, 2014.  There were two distance options: 50k and 100k.  I chose to do the 50k.

My parents were still living abroad at this time, so they agreed to meet me in Stockholm and my older sister and best friend also flew over from the States. I’m telling you-having a cheering squad makes all the difference. After running the Helsinki City Marathon the previous year in August, I realized that summer in Scandinavia was a great time to run.  I remember when I was training for this race in June and July, it was incredibly humid in D.C.  I figured it would give me an advantage to train in the extreme heat and humidity, since Stockholm would be a bit cooler and less humid. To my surprise, and to everyone in Sweden, August of that year was one of the warmest on record for them.  It was in the 90’s, humid, and very sunny.  It turned out that my training paid off. J

map-and-finish-line_stockholmThe course for the 50k had more gravel and trails than pavement. It took place on an island, right outside of Stockholm, and consisted of six, 5 mile loops.  There were not many runners in both the 50 and 100k races.  When I was at the start line, I met another American girl, from California, who was studying abroad in Denmark.  She told me that she had to buy all new running gear because the airline lost her luggage–including her shoes, shorts, and other clothes.  Lesson learned: If you’re traveling by plane for a race, be sure to keep your gear in your carry-on bag.  I always make sure I carry my shoes on the plan, because those are what I have been training in and what my feet are used to.  Running a marathon in brand new shoes should be avoided at all costs.

laurel-blog-stockholmBecause this was a smaller race, with not a lot of runners, the course itself was very pleasant to run. There were aid stations and food every 3 miles or so, where they had coke, pickles, chocolate, granola bars, Gatorade, water, and mixed nuts. Right by the start/finish line they had tents set up for runners to stop and get a massage, either during or after the race.  With about 2 more laps to go I had to stop and have the therapists massage my calves and hamstrings.  They were throbbing like I have never experienced before.  If I wouldn’t have stopped for that 20 minute massage, my time would have been better, but who knows if my muscles would have been able to continue without it!

Oslo Marathon

oslo-marathonMy most recent marathon took place in September of 2016 in Oslo, Norway. This was the third race I had done in Scandinavia.  As like previous marathons, I wanted to run a race on or around my birthday, and combine it with a mini vacation.  My sister, who lives in Barcelona, decided to sign up to run the half marathon.  We both flew into Oslo and explored for a couple of days, to adjust from the jet lag and orient ourselves with the city.

oslo-maraton_me-and-libsThe marathon consisted of two 13.1 mile loops throughout Oslo. I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day to run a race; t was in the 70’s and sunny with a few clouds.  I was so fortunate to have my sister there with me.  Her half-marathon didn’t start until 2pm that afternoon, whereas the marathon started at 9am.  She was able to see me at a few different points along the route.  I know I’ve said this before, but having people, or even just someone, cheer you on makes a huge difference.  It gives you that extra kick of endorphins to keep going and stay positive.


Halfway there!


Out of the three marathons that I’ve done, I have to say that the Helsinki City Marathon was by far the best. I think that because it was my first marathon, it will always hold a special place in my heart. Oslo takes second place, due to the beauty of the city and the race course.  The Stockholm Ultra stands out for the simple reason it was a 31 mile race instead of 26.2.


Olympic glory!

Denmark and Iceland are the two Scandinavian countries I haven’t yet run…so stay tuned!

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Are You Getting Enough Sleep?

Sleep, energy and weight loss are three of the most talked about health challenges of which we all desire to have more. If only we could just snap our fingers and get what we want. Advertising inundates us with magic bullets to help us get there.  Many of us wouldn’t be reaching for so many quick fixes if we all just had more and better sleep on a consistent basis.

As I’ve gotten older I’ve learned to never underestimate the value of a good night’s sleep.  Even at 35 years young, my body does not bounce back as quickly after a race or tough workout. Sleep can be the maker or breaker of our outlook on life.  It gives us the stamina to get through stress and long days, and to perform at our peak, mentally and physically.

Thankfully, I’ve been blessed that I have never had to experience any major sleep issues.  I’ve never battled with insomnia, sleep apnea or night tremors. And I know people who do and can’t even begin to know what they experience day in and day out. I fall asleep easily and typically aim for 7-8 hours BUT what I have trouble with is getting RESTFUL sleep!  Have you thought about the last time you’ve dreamed?  Many of us just don’t dream anymore and I’m not talking in the literal sense (although that isn’t happening enough for people either these days). I am referring to the dreams we have at night, when our bodies are so at rest in deep REM sleep, otherwise known as dream sleep when our brain is active. This is healthy becomes it happens right after the restorative sleep period that we ABSOLUTELY need to function the next morning.

Sleep is such a huge issue for so many.  This is a great infographic from IDLife, a health and wellness movement that I support and appreciate for the value its brought to my health.  We try to find solutions–through things like prescription sleep medications–that simply aren’t sustainable for the long-term. So let me ask you, are you getting enough sleep? Wsleephether you are someone who has serious battles with bedtime, can’t remember the last time you dreamed, or struggles with feeling rested the next day, we can all strive for better sleep!

I’ve culled together some tips that can help you perform at your best.  So whether you are an athlete, a busy parent, a working professional, an all-nighter college student, or someone approaching or already in those more senior years of life there are simple sleep tips that we can all benefit from as part of a daily routine. Many of these will sound familiar but my guess is that most of you haven’t done the follow-through.  Try one a week and continue to build with an additional one into the following week.  Soon you’ll be setting some new habits and sleeping like a baby!

  • Set a bedtime routine: 
    • Two hours before bed time stop eating (and at least thirty minutes stop drinking water).
    • Thirty minutes to an hour before bed  time turn off all electronic devices. I also do things like read for 10 minutes before bed or listen to a 10-minute bed time meditation exercise (HeadSpace is the app I use).  These activities are all helpful for slowing down the body and mind and preparing for sleep.
    • Go to bed and wake up around the same time each day.
    • Look into supplements like melatonin (did you know that as you age your levels decline, especially after the age of 40) that can help with sleep. I recommend trying IDLife’s sleep strips–a minty strip that melts on your tongue and includes L-Theanine, 5HTP, and Melatonin to offer a tri-phasic approach to help you fall asleep, stay asleep and achieve a restful, restorative deep sleep. I guarantee you’ll start dreaming again!
  • Exercise: Incorporate an exercise routine that you find enjoyable. Your body will appreciate rest all the more when you worked your muscles!casper_athelete_sleep_x2_v08
  • Eat balanced: I could go into a whole other blog post about foods we choose to put into our mouths.  My simple tip here is to listen to your body and your cravings, but do so in a way that doesn’t compromise your exercise habits.  Everything is connected so if we are eating poorly (and late at night before bed) our body may not process those foods as easily which could in turn lead to a lot of tossing and turning and running to the bathroom when we should be sleeping.

As you begin setting healthy habits you’ll find that your body will love you so much more.  Your energy and weight loss/maintenance goals will start to improve and you may find your stress levels melt away!

In addition to my quick tips, my friends at Casper Mattress (your source to learn more about sleep technology and research) developed this great guide that includes sleep tips for athletes, benefits of each sleep cycle for recovery and other interesting statistics.

Remember sleep is there for a reason.  We need it to help us become the best version of ourselves!  So get to it…sleep like a champion tonight and wake up ready for your best workout (and day) of your life!

I’d love to hear from YOU!  Share your sleep tips in the comment box below.  What have you struggled with and how have you improved sleep?

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Reflections of 2016

Happy New Year! It’s hard to believe that we are almost a full month into the new year. If you are anything like me you approach January with anticipation and hope of all that is in store. There is nothing better than the pages of an empty calendar waiting to be filled with new dreams, get-togethers with friends, vacations and weekend getaways. It’s also the perfect time to reflect on the year passing…to celebrate the wins and to grow from the challenges. There will always be a bit of both, that’s just life, but I believe that as long as we remember that God is in control of our path we can have a lot more peace each day.

Overall, the last year was a pretty good one for me. Professionally, I worked tirelessly on a huge research project and learned so much along the way. In November, I started my journey to become a health coach (super pumped about that and the path it will take me on). Personally, I’ve had some fun adventures to different parts of the country. The highlight was seeing God’s glory come alive during a hike in Joshua Tree National Park this last October with my mom. Amazing! My greatest personal accomplishment in 2016 would have to be tackling the ultra-marathon–I completed my first one in Prince William Forest Park (Virginia). So that was fun! And I logged many more miles this fall and winter, including my first Thanksgiving Turkey Trot in Delaware with my awesome dad and other fun runs with friends (a 10-mile trail run at Fountainhead Regional Park, a half-marathon in Baltimore, and a New Year’s Eve Run in Fairfax, VA). Perhaps all that running was to my detriment as I am managing a back issue at the moment and banned from running (but we won’t dwell on the negative). I’m grateful for the new friends I have made this year and for the quality time with old friends and family—beach trips to the Jersey shore, Virginia winery outings, two weddings, and other various travel excursions to Arizona, Texas, North Carolina, and California to name a few. Sweet laughter with nieces and nephews and growing deeper with my group of Bible study ladies are moments I’m grateful for. I am blessed by every person I had the opportunity to spend time with this year—you have each taught me something to carry forth into the New Year. And if we didn’t get to see each other in 2016, let’s change that for this year!


And yet, as good as most of the year was, on December 16 my dear, sweet grandmother passed from this earthly world to the heavenly one. Sara “Sally” Frances Dunn Funk was my maternal grandmother—90 years young. I was beyond blessed to have known her these last 35 years. As her namesake, I have big shoes to fill! While I’ll never be a renowned artist like her (even though I may have wanted to as a kid, especially when I painted over an art piece she was working on), I like to think that I inherited her caring and loyal disposition. She was a single mother who raised my mom and two uncles during a time when I know that couldn’t have been easy. My grandfather, the love of her life and college sweetheart, came back in to her life when they were in their 40’s, married her and moved the entire family from Oklahoma to New Jersey. He loved her so much!


A Duke love story

It was a love story like no other and she would recount their story to me many times (along with my grandfather adding his pieces to when they first met in the library of Duke’s East Campus….his roommate by his side with a baseball bat to keep the ladies at bay). He always was the practical jokester, but maybe it was true! He was a handsome devil after all.


Late 1960’s/early 1970’s




The Art



Of The Selfie (summer 2016)


Needless to say, my grandmother, or “Mom Mom” as I called her, and I had a very special bond. There are too many words to describe her. She was smart, brave, kind, strong, loving, funny, and beautiful. I think my stepdad said it best: “I will miss her gentle presence in our family’s life.” I’ve been wearing the beautiful cross necklace that she gave me over Thanksgiving when I visited with her for a few days in the hospital. It is a wonderful reminder of the love that she had for all she knew….a perfect example of Christ’s love for us. My grandfather passed during the wee early hours of Easter Sunday 2015 and I know she missed him terribly this last year and a half. While I mourn the loss of them both, I know that neither of them is in pain anymore. They lived amazing full and beautiful lives. My guardian angel, Mom Mom will always be in my heart and I know that I will see her again someday, for God has paved a way for us through Christ to all be together in eternity. I thank her for having such an indelible imprint on my life.


Celebrating the 2011 marathon with my grandmother and mom

As 2016 has come to a close, it’s time to keep the special memories close in our hearts and make new ones with the people who mean the most to us. To wake up every day with a heart of gratitude and to love and lift one another as Christ would have us do. I plan to live more in the moment this year, to do my best not to stress about what is not in my control and to give God the glory. May you all be blessed in this year ahead.

“Life passes us by quicker than we ever imagine. To miss even a single moment of it is something we will later regret. Be present in the world.” -Headspace

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Running Smart: Tips for Everyday and Travel Adventures

I am sharing my running safety tips with Vegas.com to keep the conversation going.  And while it’s a topic I do think about at times,  I also know that I could be a lot smarter on my adventures. When I think of runner’s safety my mind immediately jumps to the worst case scenario–“What would I do if a crazy person decided they wanted to hurt me on the trail?!” But there is so much more than ill-willed people to consider when we lace up. On the roads we have to think about cars; on the trails it’s bicyclists or in some cases even wild animals (or snakes!). And then there is that whole listening to your body thing. I don’t know about you, but personally I like to think I’m invisible! Running is my happy place, where I’m free, and when I’m my most assured and confident self…until something goes wrong. Luckily I have never experienced any major snafus BUT that certainly doesn’t mean I’m immune from disaster.

One could easily write an entire book on safety tips but here are some thoughts that initially came to mind:

Long Distance and Everyday Running

I remember when I first ventured into long distance running just thinking about what I needed to take with me was a learning process. Carrying water on the run was something I had never bothered with before, but now it was essential. Marathon training also required snacks on the go because the body has to stay fueled to continue pushing through the miles. And probably most importantly of all I recognized the need to make  sure at least one person knew where I was going and the general route I was taking. I had a friend who I did most of those long training runs with–not only was training with a buddy so much more enjoyable, it was also a wise safety move.

My weekly exercise routine today involves working out with a boot camp fitness group. Again safety in numbers.

And one other tip (for any distance run) is to have identification on you. I have RoadID on my shoelaces so that should something ever happen there is a contact and number that can be reached (mom and dad in my case).


Traveling to me is the perfect excuse to rise early, lace up the sneakers and go. Whether I’m traveling for a business trip or pleasure, I love getting a sneak preview of a new destination by way of my own two feet. Las Vegas, for example, is host to many awesome marathons and trail races (some to add to my growing list). Coming up is the Trail of Glory Marathon on December 17! Whether you are traveling to Vegas, or any other city, it is important to keep a few things in mind. A new place can be a little intimidating when you don’t know the lay of the land, though, so I first always check with the hotel concierge for recommendations.  I ask where is a good close place to run that will allow me to see the sights and that, as a female, I will feel (and be) safe. I haven’t been let down yet and have been able to explore some pretty cool trails and city runs over the years. If you are traveling with coworkers or friends ascertain who the runners are in the group so that you don’t have to go it alone. If you are exploring  a city like Vegas you don’t want to miss a beat, whether it be the city life, the outdoor trails, or the busy foot traffic (and with that great people watching!).  Make sure to be smart with your time if you are traveling alone on any adventure. I always make sure it’s light out (which isn’t a problem in Vegas!) and that there are other people out and about. And the bonus to this jump start for your day is that you will feel so much energized for long meetings and sitting, and ensure you can take full advantage of all the deals that a new destination like Vegas has to offer.

To wrap things up, I sought the advice of some friends to share their top runner’s safety tips! You’ll see some similar themes.

Someone should always know where you are. Even if you’re not running alone. Especially important off the grid. Let someone know where you’re running and when you should be done. Be specific. Pro tip…let them know when you get back too. –Rob P.

I’m not a good safety person as up until about a week ago I would run with no phone, nothing just my watch. I realized that is completely ridiculous in hindsight. I now have a very small waist pack that I can fit my phone, keys and some other small things. I do not run with music for the safety aspect so no headphones. I like to be aware of my surroundings at all times. I do always tell my husband when I’m leaving, my planned route and approximately when to expect me back. Other than that I don’t have advice but I probably need some! -Lesley R.

Ditto to all of that! I never run with headphones in. And always carry keys and phone in a Spi-belt. And tell someone what route I’m planning to run! -Brittany B.

1) If you feel nervous on your run, trust your gut and turn back. 2) Don’t run with headphones; 3) Pause at stoplights, intersections, etc. and make sure drivers see you before crossing. -Nicole T.

I don’t have much to add regarding safety (wear bright clothing at night, carry your phone if possible, etc). I would add that if you’re running an extra long distance (i.e., more than 15 miles) and/or it’s hot out, is to listen to your body. Run much slower than you normally would and at the first sign of fatigue (i.e., really low on energy, legs are starting to burn from lactic acid, or feel nauseated) to immediately change the run into a search for water and rest. By the time your legs start to cramp up it’ll be too late and you’ll likely become immobile and unable to even walk to a nearby water fountain. -Isaac Y.

And just as with anything in life don’t live your life in fear. If I feared for my safety every time I put on my sneakers I’d probably never have experienced as much of the joy that has come from this sport or a lot of the friends I have made along the way. My mantra for running (and life):

Prepare and always listen to your inner compass but don’t ever stop exploring! Push the boundaries in a healthy way and be willing to take some leaps of faith in accomplishing your dreams!

I’d love to hear from you!  Leave a comment below to share your top runner’s safety tip (and favorite travel destination for running). See you out there!


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Getting to 26.2 after 13.1

I am thrilled that today’s guest spotlight hails from my workout buddy and friend, Laurel!  We recently ran a 10-mile trail race together and in recent years she has ventured into the marathon and ultra-marathon world. This is the first of a two-part series, so stay tuned for what’s next.  Her story is both inspiring and heartfelt. I hope that it encourages you today.

Guest Blogger: Laurel Wemhoff

Part I:

I never considered myself a “runner” but played a bunch of sports growing up, but long distance running was never something I did.

That all changed about 4 years ago, when a friend of mine asked me to run a Disney half marathon with her.  In a moment of weakness my sister and I signed up and slowly but surely, I began my training.  It was the Wine and Dine Half Marathon, which takes place in the evening, after the park is closed.We ran through Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, etc.  The reason why this race is the one that started my running career, is because a month before the scheduled race, I had a pretty horrible life experience that rocked my world and threw everything off course.  I stopped training, and went into the race just hoping to finish.  After the first mile I felt ok, then came 3, then 5, then 8, and I was hurting.  I wanted to stop so badly, and walk the rest of the way, but thinking about where I was a month before, the hurt, the struggle, the injustice, I kept on going.  I told myself that I am stronger than I think and that I could finish this race by running the whole thing.  Crossing that finish line was the proudest moment of my life. I never thought I could run 13.1 miles without stopping.  I did it.  And I was ready for the next challenge…

Helsinki, Finland:

I loved the endorphins I had after 13.1, so why not go for 26.2?  🙂 My birthday is in August and usually every summer I like to take a week long or so vacation, preferably overseas.  For my 25th birthday, in 2013, my parents and brother were living abroad and I wanted an excuse to go overseas and see them.  I looked up international marathons that were taking place in August and saw one in Helsinki, Finland.  It seemed like a cool and fun place to visit and convenient for the family, so I decided to sign up for my first ever marathon.  I created a four month training schedule that increased my mileage every week and then tapered down as it came closer to race day.  img_2550The weather in Helsinki in August that year was perfect.  It was warm during the day, but not humid and miserable.  On the actual day of the race, it was about 65 degrees, overcast and a bit rainy, which turned out to be very refreshing.  I ran with a poncho for about 3 miles of the race, and then ditched it, because I was starting to warm up and the rain dissipated.  My parents and brother flew in, as well as my sister and very best friend.  I was so nervous before the start…”What was I thinking?  What did I get myself into?  An international marathon?  Can I do this?”  My mom teared up before she said good bye to me, as I headed for the start line.  She was more nervous than I was. I put my iTunes playlist on, started thinking positive thoughts, and crossed the start line. I have to say that I was in a zone, in a mental space, that I had never experienced before. I felt focused, determined, and nothing negative was getting into my head. Mile after mile, song after song, I felt better and stronger.img_2549 I kept looking around me, taking in the scenery, realizing how lucky I was. To be running in Finland, to be able to physically run a marathon, and to have my family there cheering me on…my heart was so full. At mile 22 I started to get some pain in my heels, but pushed on through. The one thing that got me through the race was picturing myself finishing strong and proving all those that didn’t think I could do it, wrong. Also, seeing my family at so many different points throughout the race gave me that extra motivation and adrenaline to keep on moving. The finish line was in the old Olympic stadium, on the outskirts of Helsinki. I was almost there, and was losing steam. But the moment I saw the stadium, all those cheering people, I started to tear up and run faster. As I entered the stadium, I saw my family in the stands and felt so proud. I sped up even more and crossed the finish line. That euphoric feeling was more than what I ever imagined. I soaked up the pride and the moment, and started thinking about what race would be next…img_2548



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