A Runner Again? Training for the Sarasota Music Half Marathon

Yep, I did it. I took the plunge.

I’m officially registered for another half marathon. Eek!

I haven’t run a half marathon since right before I got pregnant with Little Miss. She is going to be two in November. No, I can’t believe it either. Time is flying by!

The only other distance race I’ve done since then is the disastrous Gasparilla 15k I did this spring. I learned there that you cannot undertrain for a long distance race. You will be miserable. So that isn’t an option for this half marathon. Time for dedication.

I’m loving doing PiYo and I have no plans to stop that. Our 30 Day Challenge officially ended yesterday, and a new one is starting next Monday. I plan to do that exclusively for another month, then start easing into training for the half marathon in October, still complementing my training with PiYo. I think the strength and flexibility parts of it will be really good for me when I’m out there pounding the pavement on a regular basis.

So which half marathon am I doing?

You might be able to see it on my training shirt – the Sarasota Music Half Marathon!

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Never heard of it? Neither had I. :)

It’s actually an inaugural race and will be in Sarasota, FL on February 8. I’m excited about the timing. There is a pretty small window here in Florida where any kind of distance training is somewhat pleasant. I think that date sets it up about as good as it gets.

I really need to find some local running buddies since I know that accountability is key in running and in so many other things in life. When the time gets closer, I’m going to be creating a Running/PiYo Training Plan and I’m excited about that.

I’m thinking I’ll have to do some of my training runs up in Sarasota, especially to get used to the bridge we’ll be running over. I know some of you run hills all the time, but bridges are about as hilly as we get!

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For now, I’ll be keeping to our weekly 5k run as a family – actually heading out to do that soon. I’m excited to start building a base of running over the next few months and am looking forward to crossing that finish line in February!

Are you training for a race right now? If so, which one?

I am excited to be a blogger for this event, chronicling my training and my experience at the race itself. I’m also really excited that the race organizers agreed to comp my entry in exchange for blogging – but I promise I’ll be keeping it real! :)

 

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New Challenges

Happy Labor Day!

After birthing two children, this day always reminds me of a different type of labor. :) It might be Labor Day, but it’s also the start of a new month and the end of summer. Well, for some of you – summer hangs around here in Florida much, MUCH longer.

September is going to be a busy month for me, but I can already tell it’s going to be a good one. I cannot BELIEVE that I only have one week left of the Back to School PiYo Challenge – time is flying by! I’ve been amazed at the results I’ve seen. I can’t wait to do a full “before/after” post, but my body feels completely different than when I started this Challenge. And you’ve already seen these results – I think things might have gotten even better since I took these photos. :)

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One spot that is still often a struggle for me and for some in my Challenge Group is healthy eating habits. Some of you who read this blog are AMAZING on this whole nutrition thing. Me? Not so much. I’m often falling into bad habits, especially when life gets busy.

Starting September 8, I’m going to be leading a FREE 5-Day Clean Eating Challenge.

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It is my hope that these 5 days will help us hit the “reset” button and focus on eating healthy. Everyone who signs up will be added to a private Facebook group where we will be checking in w/ what we eat and encouraging each other by sharing ideas about clean foods we have found and what is working for each of us. I think we often get stuck in bad habits because it feels too complicated to change. Hopefully this will help all of us start finding a “new normal.” 

What we focus on might be kinda basic for some of you, but sometimes it’s important to get back to the basics. And to hold each other accountable. And for some in the group? This whole “clean eating” thing is entirely NEW. I’m excited to see some people I really care about start making some positive changes in their lives.

Want in or know someone who might be interested? Email me at calliecowan@gmail.com with the subject line: CLEAN EATING.

Some folks have also asked me about whether or not I’m doing another PiYo Challenge. The answer is YES!

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The next PiYo Challenge will start September 15. If you’re ready to make a change to your workout routine (or maybe start one), and jump start your nutrition at the same time – all in the context of the support of a community of people doing the same thing you are – then I would love for you to be part of it. If you want info about the PiYo Challenge, email me at calliecowan@gmail.com and put PIYO CHALLENGE in the subject line.

Oh and guess what – if you’re feeling really ambitious, you can do both. :)

What does the term “Clean Eating” mean to you?

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The Importance of Having a Hobby

I recently took two solid weeks off from work and it was one of the best things I could have done. I hadn’t taken more than one or two days off at a time since Little Miss was born almost two years ago. I love my job and I didn’t think I “needed” a vacation. I was wrong. My Board of Directors knew it too (I’m the executive director of a non-profit so they are basically my “bosses”). They gave me no choice and told me I needed time away.

Okay, twist my arm.

Still, it was hard for me to schedule it in. No time seemed convenient. Thankfully, early August seemed like a slow time so I checked out for two weeks. I mean, I checked out. And somehow during that time, I found myself again.

You see, I have a job that I love and that I’m very passionate about – but it also has the tendency to consume me. Maybe that’s more my personality than the job, and maybe some of you can relate. I remember crying to my husband this summer, feeling like I had lost all sense of “me”. I felt very two-dimensional. The only things I ever talked about were my family and my job. That’s it. I didn’t feel like I had anything that was about “me”.

During the two weeks I had for vacation, I started throwing myself back into fitness and healthy living type activities. I did PiYo every day. I cooked healthy meals. I ate well. I worked out with friends.

Most of you know me for some type of fitness-related thing, but the people in my “real” life? Not really. Especially not since we moved to our new town about two years ago. I felt like it was part of me that had been lost. I’m so glad it’s back.

I came back to work and a co-worker said, “It’s like you’re a whole different person!” I said, “No, I just feel like ME again.” Her response, “It’s nice to meet YOU.” :)

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I have to say, it’s nice to see ME again too. We can be involved in a lot of things, a lot of really GOOD things, but we all need a hobby. We all need something that is “ours”. As a working mom, I need more than just my family and my job to talk about – stay at home moms can probably relate too!

We all need some “fluff” in our lives. That’s what I keep calling it. Yes, fitness/healthy living is VERY important. But compared to some of the serious things I deal with at work, it is “fluff”. It’s the fun stuff I enjoy doing – not an obligation. That includes blogging. That includes the Beachbody coaching I’ve started doing. It’s my fun “fluff” – a welcome balance in my life.

I have a friend who is also the Executive Director of a non-profit – she runs a maternity home that is open 24/7. She has a hard time with this balance too, as you can imagine. She recently started taking ballet classes as her “fluff”. She is loving it – when she is there, she is focused on the movements, not on the stresses of her job.

Other hobbies might be crafting, writing, traveling – something outside of the rigors and pressures of your daily life. Something that is fun. Something that is a release. Because you know what? Once you find that, you’ll also find that you’re more productive at work. You’re more present with your family. You’re more fulfilled – and that not only benefits YOU, it benefits those around you.

SO…what is your hobby? If you don’t already have one, start brainstorming – and let me know what you decide to do! 

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Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup (With a Kick)

Confession: I’ve never made homemade soup before this weekend.

We were never really soup people growing up. My grandma made an awesome hamburger soup that my mom used to make too, but other than that? Not much soup. Unless we were sick – and then it usually came out of a can with a Campbell’s label.

I have been feeling a little under the weather and chicken noodle soup just sounded good. I realized that I had just about everything on hand to make it from scratch so I figured, why not?

Here’s what I used:

2 boneless chicken breast
1 quart chicken stock
1 quart water
Half box of pasta (I used the Trio Italiano by Ronzoni Garden Delight – good choice for this recipe!)
2 carrots, chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
1 yellow onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
black pepper (1/4 tsp)
kosher salt (1/2 tsp)
And here’s what gives it the kick – cumin (1/2 tsp)!

Pour the chicken stock and water into a big pot and add the uncooked chicken breast. Bring it to a boil until the chicken is cooked through. Remove the cooked chicken – it will be added back in later.

Use this time to chop up your veggies for your soup.

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Add the carrots, celery, onion, garlic, pasta, black pepper, kosher salt and cumin to the chicken stock. Bring to a boil for about 5 minutes.

While that is cooking, cut the cooked chicken into bite-sized pieces. Add it back into your soup.

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Voila! Dinner!

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The cumin adds a bit of a kick to it that REALLY helps clear the sinuses. Exactly what I needed on this sick day! Add a little more or a little less water depending on your preference. Some people like their soup more like a stew while some people like a lot of liquid. I’m somewhere in between.

Total time to make? About 15 minutes. That’s my kind of meal! It’s cheap and healthy too. Give it a try next time you’re feeling under the weather and let me know how it turns out!

What’s your favorite comfort food when you’re not feeling so great?

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What You Don’t See

It’s easy to follow people on various social media channels and think that what you see fully represents the lives of the people who are posting.

If you are following me, this is the reality you wouldn’t have seen today:

A wife who has been cranky toward her husband all day.

A mom whose kids have pushed every last button.

A woman who needs grace more than you can possibly imagine.

I am not perfect. My life is not perfect. 

But I am thankful to know that I am loved despite my imperfections.

That tomorrow is a new day.

That His grace is enough.

And I am especially thankful that I had a bottle of wine stashed away from my last trip to Trader Joe’s for a day just like this one. :)

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You’ve probably heard it before – don’t compare your reality to someone else’s highlight reel. Life is hard. We make mistakes. We have bad days.

Let it go. Tomorrow is a new day. One of my favorite verses says, “His mercies are new every morning.” (Lamentations 3:23)

Aren’t you glad? I sure am. Especially after a day like today. :)

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Try Something New

It was one month ago today that I tried something new. I walked into my first PiYo class, figuring I would leave an hour later maybe a little sweaty but relatively unchanged. I was wrong.

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Something clicked. I loved the sore feeling I felt as I walked to my car and then later that night. I loved the feel of the class. The flow of the class. The challenge of the class.

I couldn’t wait to go back.

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I started eating healthier. Then I started drinking Shakeology. Then I became a Beachbody Coach, ordered the PiYo DVDs and started a Challenge Group of people who are doing PiYo too.

I fit into my size 6 shorts now. I have lost 3 inches. I am down 4 pounds.

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But it’s even bigger than that. I’ve found motivation. I’ve found balance. I’ve found forward motion again in my healthy living journey. I feel happier. More “me” than I have in a long time. Yes, part of that is because I have been on a two week “staycation” from work – oh how I needed that! But my healthy journey? It has finally started moving again after MONTHS of stagnation. After months of frustration. After months of feeling anything BUT an athlete…even a wannabe one.

That’s different now. I’m at a good place. I’m excited about the changes I’m seeing, the changes I’m feeling, and the changes that are happening on the inside.

All because I was willing to try something new.

When is the last time you tried something new?

That’s my challenge for you today. It doesn’t have to be PiYo. But find something new and give it a try. Maybe it’s the Zumba class your friend keeps inviting you to go to. Or maybe it’s checking out your local CrossFit box. Or maybe it’s registering for your first 5k.

Maybe it’s signing up for a triathlon. Or joining a soccer rec league. Or taking a ballet class.

The possibilities are endless.

But try something NEW. Because remember this…

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So…tell me. What is something new that YOU are going to try?

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What One Month of PiYo Can Do

It wasn’t even a month ago that I walked into my first live PiYo class.

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I really wasn’t sure what to expect, but I had heard a lot of people talking about it. And as you know, I instantly fell in love.

I’ve been going to the live classes at my local YMCA twice a week, and for the past two weeks I’ve been doing the at home DVD program almost daily. I’ve cleaned up my diet, and started drinking Shakeology every day. I decided to take some progress photos today, and quite frankly – the results surprised me.

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Does that booty look different to you? It sure looks different to me.

I know that I FEEL different, and I know my old clothes are fitting better, but I didn’t expect to SEE these kinds of results.

I did have a BIG non-scale victory last week. I posted this on Instagram…

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Yes, those are size SIX shorts that I put on the shelf in my closet a few months ago because there was NO way they were fitting anymore. I was so happy to be able to pull them back on!

I neeeded this. I have been trying for so long to jumpstart my healthy living journey. Things had been…stagnant. I’m feeling more like ME than I have in a long time. 

We are a week and a half into the 30 Day PiYo Challenge so it’s a little late to join this one, but I”m thinking about doing another one in September when this one ends. I love the accountability and encouragement in the Facebook group – it has been motivating me to do the workouts even when I’m not so sure I want to. Are you interested?

If you’ve been thinking about getting a jump start or a reboot on your health/fitness journey, send me an email at calliecowan (at) gmail.com and I’ll get you the info about the next challenge group. Don’t find yourself in a few months squeezing into your winter clothes, wishing you had made the change NOW. You can do this. We will do this together. 

I know that a lot of you might be gearing up you training for fall races. It’s my personal opinion that PiYo is a GREAT supplement to your training. The workout focuses on building strength and improving flexibility – two things runners often lack. Don’t let your training keep you from doing this – I think the two things will really complement each other. In fact, I’m toying with the idea of training for a half marathon in February, and working PiYo into my training. I’ll keep you posted on that idea too. :)

Thanks for being on this journey with me. Exciting things are happening. :)

 

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5th Anniversary Adventure – Trampoline Jumping and a Brewery Tour

Up until earlier this week, we had no idea what we were going to do for our anniversary. We had thrown around ides about taking a trip somewhere, but never really got planned out. We finally decided to just go up to St Petersburg, spend the day at the Don Cesar lounging on the beach, and then meeting up with some friends for dinner. It all sounded great until…we woke up Friday to a gloomy, stormy day. Not exactly a good day to spend at the beach! So…we punted.

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First, we headed to our favorite St. Petersburg restaurant – Harvey’s 4th Street Grill. When we lived up that way, we went there EVERY Sunday for brunch. We got to know some of the wait staff – especially Marianne, our server EVERY Sunday. She has become a close family friend! But we also got to know the manager Jim who comped our meal on Friday as a gift for our anniversary. So sweet!

I had the absolutely delicious Florida Gold – a toasted sandwich with avocado, cheese, alfalfa sprouts and thousand island dressing.

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We left Harvey’s and headed over to our spur of the moment adventure for our rainy day…

Airheads Trampoline Arena!

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Yes, I took my husband to a trampoline park for our wedding anniversary. He was like a little kid jumping around in there!

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I might have been too…

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It wasn’t long before he started getting recruited by little kids for their dodgeball teams. Hilarious.

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After our trampoline adventure, we met up with some old friends – Jim and KellyAnn! Jim and I were in law school together – we actually met during Orientation. It’s hard to believe that was 9 years ago! His wife KellyAnn started law school the following year and we have been friends ever since. They are both super active people – she recently completed her first Ironman!

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We met up at one of their favorite places – Pair O’ Dice Brewing Company in Clearwater. It seems like there are a lot of these little craft breweries popping up lately – and most are located in the most random places, often in some industrial park. I tried their Oaked Cherry Chocolate Stout  - delicious!

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When we left Pair O’ Dice, we headed over to Rapp Brewing Company in Seminole – I couldn’t resist trying their Chocolate Peanut Butter Stout. Doesn’t that sound amazing?

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Like dessert in a glass.

We called it a night and headed back to Jim and KellyAnn’s to sleep. We had a date planned for the next morning…and it looked something like this.

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Yes, we tried Crossfit for the first time. We got our game face on before the WOD began.

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A few burpees, tire flips and thrusters later…we were all smiles. And more than a little bit sweaty. Oh and a little dirty too thanks to those tires.

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I’m thinking about writing a post about our first Cross Fit experience – any questions? I was pretty clueless walking in the door!

We got cleaned up, and headed out to the next step on our brewery tour – t.he Dunedin Brewery (which is actually Florida’s Oldest Craft Brewery!)

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They definitely know what they are doing. The food options are fabulous – I had some delicious blackened chicken tacos and my husband couldn’t stop raving about their chicken wings. And then I tried this beer which ended up being my favorite of the weekend – their Apricot Peach.

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I’m not usually into “fruity” beers, but this one didn’t taste overly sweet. It finished so smooth and tasted so refreshing. I enjoyed it so much, in fact, that I decided I had to get some to take home.

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We left Dunedin Brewery and walked over to our final spot – 7venth Sun Brewery.

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I tried the Graffiti Orange-Creamsicle Wheat. Yes, it was as amazing as it sounds. Could you tell I’ve really been in a “dessert” mood lately? I just realized that all of my beer choices for the weekend fell into the “sweets” category!

Speaking of “sweets”…

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I loved spending the weekend with this sweet guy. Here’s to the next 50 years! :)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Five Years His Bride

Five years ago, I vowed my love and my life to my husband. Some of you were there on that day. Some of you have read about it on my blog before. It ranks up there as one of the absolute best days of my life.

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But a marriage really isn’t about the wedding day. It’s not about one day of being a bride – it’s about seeing yourself as his bride every day for the rest of your life.

Admittedly, I’m not always the best at it. It is easy to fall into routines. To take each other for granted. To get too…comfortable. After a while, it’s easy to start to see each other’s flaws. The things that once attracted you to that person start to annoy you. It’s easy to grow apart.

And that’s when it is so important to come back to the reasons why you stood in front of each other and in front of God and pledged your lives to each other. It’s about choosing love. Choosing commitment. Choosing each other.

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It’s remembering the feeling that overwhelmed you as you walked down the aisle toward your groom. The way you felt in each others arms during your first dance. The smile that felt like it would break your face in half because you couldn’t stop grinning on the day you wore your wedding dress.

Today, my husband and I are celebrating five years of marriage. Five years – could it really be that long? And when I say “celebrate”, I mean it. Marriage isn’t always easy. As I’ve said before, marriage shouldn’t work. But marriage is something to be celebrated. To be honored. To be appreciated each and every day. Marriage is a journey – and it’s been the most amazing journey I’ve ever been lucky enough to experience.

I’ve shared our Pastor’s “script” from our wedding before, and I just might make it a tradition of sharing it every year. It’s THAT good. Read it. Enjoy it. Live it.

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In the beginning, God created…. That’s what He does, He creates. The Bible says the Earth was formless and void, and the Holy Spirit hovered or brooded over the face the deep. It reads like the Holy Spirit was getting things ready for God’s creative word to be spoken. And in the creation account you’ll find it repeatedly stated… God said, let there be…… and it was. It’s God’s nature, it’s a part of His essence… He is THE CREATOR. So God’s first action was creation, and indeed today God’s first and foremost action in this formation of a new family… is creation. In Genesis He created out of nothing; but today He will take two people (the height of all His creation) He will take a man and a woman and create ONE. He does have two excellent parts of His creation to work, but today is no less miraculous that Day one of creation. The power of God, as the Holy Spirit is hovering over this gathering, is here to supernaturally created ONE out of two. And those two, recreated into ONE will together have a higher proclivity to bringing God glory together than they ever could apart. God’s first part in this wedding today is CREATION.

After God created, he gave man his assignment and it was centered around choice. The first man and woman had the privilege of choice. The could choose to follow God, honor God and fulfilled God’s plan for their lives together, or they could choose otherwise. Today, your part in the wedding is CHOICE. People in this room today will wipe away tears, they will laugh and they will experience a gamut of feelings and emotion… but your part today is not feeling or emotion… your first part to play in this wedding today is neither emotion nor feeling… it’s choice. In front of God and in front of this congregation of friends and family you will take solemn vows and make lifelong promises, and not one of those promises is built upon a feeling or an emotion… it’s about choice. No doubt feelings have been a big part of this relationship to date. You saw her and your feelings said… she looks good. You saw him and your feelings said.. that’s a handsome man. You talked with each other and your feelings were stirred as you laughed and your emotions were stoked as you spent time together. Both feeling and emotion are there, but the far more important part of both this wedding and this marriage is your CHOICE. When you chose God individually, it was powerful. As you choose God together there is strength and grandeur you never dreamed. 

Callie I know you have a passion to help people and a passion to make your life count. I remember conversations where you spoke with me about missionary causes that were close to your heart. I look forward to seeing that passion multiply into changed lives as you and your husband dream together and reach into a great future.

Nathan, I have watched you grow from a very small child, not even old enough to get into children’s church. And from the beginning you have had a reckless abandon about life that was a joy to watch. As a little boy, you were like a chiahuaua looking for a pit bull to tangle with. When everyone was learning to snow ski properly, as a little fellow you just squatted down on the skis and barreled down the mountain at break-neck speeds and God help the person who was in your way. You knew how to go fast, but you didn’t spend much time learning to turn or stop. 

I dare you both to do something dangerous and passionate with your marriage that leaves a mark on society that says “a family sold out to God traveled this way” and left a legacy of life and hope behind.

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CHOOSE GOD, CHOOSE EACH OTHER. That’s what you’ll do today, and that’s what I pray you do for the rest of your lives. God’s first part is CREATION, your first part is CHOICE, but there is a second part that both you and God must play…. That part is commitment. 

God is the quintessential example of commitment. He’s kept His commitment to His people when they refused to even acknowledge Him, much less remain committed to Him. You can be sure that God will be faithful to you in total and complete commitment. But God’s commitment is just part of it, your commitment is equally vital. Commitment not only to God, but to one another. Choose to love, honor and be faithful to one another…. Regardless of emotion or feeling. 

God will create, You will make choices, and together in commitment a marriage and family will begin a journey full of love, surprises, as well as heights and depths you never dreamed. But you can walk knowing that God is committed to you and guiding your lives and He will cause all things to work together for good, no matter what the situation. 

Family, and friends, your presence here today is also very vital. You will witness their vows and you will witness the commitments they make, but you will also be endowed with a responsibility. You must pray, and help protect this new marriage. Husbands and wives, your life should be an encouragement to them. Should circumstances ever tempt these two to make a decision that is not honoring to the covenant they will enter into today…. Tell them to turn around, tell them they will get through this, tell them you’re praying and God will see them through. 

God will create, Nathan and Callie will choose, commitments will be made and a covenant will be formed that is eternal.

Happy Anniversary, sweet husband. I love you more with each passing year.

Love, Your Bride

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How I Became a “Shake Person” – Even Though I Swore I Never Would Be

I really appreciate all of your sweet comments on my post yesterday. THANK YOU. It means so much to me to hear that it’s okay to just be real.

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve probably noticed that I’ve started drinking Shakeology. I’ve mentioned it here too I think. Please know that this post is NOT intended to be a sales pitch. Seriously. This is just me keeping it real. Just me sharing my life with you. And this is now part of my life.

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I’ve been around people who drink Shakeology for a long time. My co-worker drinks it every morning, other friends drink it and have offered me samples to try. My response? “No thanks. I’m not a shake person.” And I meant it.

Well…then I saw someone post something about Shakeology helping with stomach issues. How it can help keep you regular. And here’s the TMI, keeping it real part of this post. I have been dealing with some crazy stomach issues lately. I’m talking sharp pains that interrupt my life. I’ve seen multiple doctors. I’ve had multiple tests done. Turns out there is a sharp turn in your colon where things can get “stuck” – and that can cause pain. It seemed like no matter how much fiber I ate, it didn’t help. I didn’t want to start taking medicine, but I was at the point I was willing to try anything. Then I saw the post about the shakes.

I figured…why not give it a try? A friend offered to let me have some of hers and I loved it. And I couldn’t believe how much BETTER it made me feel. After just a few days, my digestive track seemed to be working so much better. I had energy in the morning – so much so that my bad habit of stopping at Starbucks went away.

Is it a little expensive? Sure it is – about $4 per shake. But when I look at my Starbucks receipts, I realized I was spending at least that much on my skinny iced mocha most mornings. Why does it never seem like that much money when we’re in that magical place called Starbucks??

I decided to go all in. I’d give the shakes a try for a few months. They were having a deal that you could basically get the PiYo dvds for $10 more than what the Shakeology costs for a month. Perfect timing.

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It gets better. I posted about Shakeology on IG one day and wondered how I could afford to pay for it. Madeline commented on the post, “Get it for free by becoming a Coach! That’s what I did!” Free? Hmm. I like the sound of that.

I started emailing back and forth with her to get the whole scoop on what it means to be a Beachbody coach. Again, something I never EVER thought I would do. EVER. I love my job. I’m not interested in doing “sales”. But over the past two weeks, I’ve realized it’s not like that at all. I’ll do another post sometime about being a Beachbody Coach, but she was right – I’ve been able to get my shakes (and PiYo dvds) for free this month, and already covered next month with some extra money left over.

If you’ve ever thought about trying Shakeology but the cost scared you, email me. I get it. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

If you’ve never thought about trying Shakeology, but maybe you’ve dealt with some of the stomach issues I did, or maybe you’re like me and have a hard time grabbing a healthy breakfast in the morning while running out the door on your way to work – you owe it to yourself to give it a try. The nice thing about it is that if you order it, and don’t like it? You can send the bag back (even if it’s empty) and get your money back. Seriously.

I know it’s not for everyone. I’m not going to try to talk you into it. But I’m glad someone told me about it and I thought some of you might be too.

And so…I’ve become a “shake person” – even though I swore I never would be.

Have you ever done something you thought you never would? 

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