Category Archives: About Me

Changing my stride: A post dedicated to Boston

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I’m sitting here pouring sweat after running my own personal 5k as I write this. Well, I actually wrote this in my head while I was running and I just had to get it all down.

I decided before I even put my running shoes on that this was going to be a bad run because of the way I was eating this week. I wasn’t even off my block before the thought of just walking entered my head. My stomach’s too full, my underwear is riding up, and why did I wear these crappy socks?

I concentrated on my stride to get those thoughts out of my head. I’m desperately flat footed, you see, and running that way has been torture on my knees. By changing my stride, running is no longer miserable for me. I’m a WIP and my calves are certainly feeling the change, but I am able to run faster, longer, and softer.

I hate that I have to work so hard to just run. I’m just not a runner. The thoughts started rushing back in my head. My foot stride is not the only thing that needs changing….

I hit a landmark in my run and I remembered how last time I took a different turn and cut my run down by a mile. But that’s quitting, I reminded myself. I had set out on a run and dammit, I was going to run!

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My bro and I at the race.

I couldn’t help but think back to Boston. Even miles away my community was shaken by the tragedy. Nowhere seems safe anymore…exercise has been my refuge, my escape, for so long but now the comfort and safety I used to find in it is threatened. The Boston Marathoners didn’t get a choice—to speed up or slow down—their race was taken from them. Oh, how easy it would be for this experience to stop them from running, to stop Boston from hosting the marathon, to make them stop in their tracks at the next 21st mile marker they hit. But I know they won’t.

They were my motivation to finish what I had set out to do.

I realized then that I needed to change my stride figuratively as well. Saying that I am not a runner is keeping me from being a runner! I just ran a race on Saturday, I AM a runner. I may not be a fast one or distance runner, and sure I may feel every step, but I am a runner just the same.

palace saloon race shot

My first crazy-lookin’ race photo! I feel like it is a rite of passage. This shot was taken right before I went into gazelle-mode sprinting towards the finish line!

So, I kept on going through my hilly neighborhood, passing up several short cuts. Every step made me feel even more like a runner and I was reminded of the deep sense of connection I felt with the runners and fellow volunteers from the Badass Army who came out to the 5.2 at 5 for Boston on Sunday in my town. Read more about the event that raised over $13,000 for the Boston Red Cross and united runners and supporters of the cause from all over here and here.

This experience has taught me that life is too short for all this negativity.  If there is something that you want to accomplish, just get out there and do it before it is too late! Experiences are only as good as what we make of it and attitude is everything. Runners across the country have proved in the last week that we will not be stopped and the joy of the finish line will not be taken from us!

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It’s not just about me anymore.

In the last post, I told you a little bit about myself and why focusing on fitness is a big deal in my life. But, what I did not mention is why it is so important to me to share my experiences with others.

I love to talk. I love to talk about anything and everything. I especially love to tell people about what I am doing. And, if what I am doing is making a HUGE impact on my life…I want YOU to do it too. Those that know me have probably noticed a recent change in the theme of my FB status updates (sorry)…but this stems out of my desire to motivate people by sharing with them what I love to do.

Since I have started telling people about working out and eating cleaner, I have seen so many comments and heard so many tell me things like, “Yeah, I want to start doing that, too.” or “I’m going to try that when I get home.” Then I ask, did you try it? Usually, not. But that’s okay…I’ve been there. If only there were someone to motivate me when I first thought about changing the way I take care of my body maybe I would have started earlier.

I did not start getting serious about the gym (food came a little later) until I went back to FSU for grad school. It first started because it was free and I needed to kill some time…then I fell in love with it! It was like a switch went off and I realized that just because I have never been very athletic, doesn’t mean I can’t start now. Learning how to weight train from my husband and brother had a huge advantage–they didn’t baby me. They didn’t put me on the circuit, they stuck me right in there with the muscle heads and prison bods and taught me that my body is capable of doing things I never though possible! All this time, all I needed was for someone to believe in me and push me! Since then, I have become self-reliant at the gym and I am like a sponge soaking up new information about working out.

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I love it when I get the opportunity to take a good friend to the gym, or to show them a workout at home. It is so much easier to stick with a routine when you have someone counting on you to show up at the gym. But, with hectic schedules, it is hard to find a regular gym buddy sometimes. That’s why my fitness group, Badass Fitness, is so important to me. The Badass mantra keeps me motivated and pushing myself even when I am working out alone.

So, that’s why I say that it is not just about me anymore. I want to use this blog as a way to keep my friends and family (and any other readers) motivated to push themselves beyond what they think they are capable of and to stick to their fitness and health goals. I believe that with a little bit of accountability and the right resources, everyone can make fitness a priority in their life!

A new blog-inning…

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Another blog.

I read ’em, I love ’em, they are my go-to source for all kinds of information and inspiration…but I never thought I would become a blogger myself.

So, why did I?

Those of you who know me personally, probably know that I have made some pretty major changes in my life recently. As a kid, I was pretty cautious…some might even say I had some anxious tendencies…

Oh don’t get me wrong, I loved going on adventures with my brother (and have the scars to prove it). But, too often I let my fears get the best of me and as hard as I tried to hang in there with the boys my “what ifs” usually forced me to go back inside where its safe and warm 🙂 My apprehension held me back.

But luckily, something started to change in me. Actually, someone started to change me. For the better. My husband pushed me to find my “limits” and crush them (in a good way). He taught me the importance of taking risks, challenging myself, and setting goals. My best friends pushed me even further…dragging me, reluctantly at first, into crazy sports I’d never thought I would ever do. Whether he knows it or not, my brother raised the bar, too…since I still have a desire to out-do him on something someday. Childhood friends recognized the changes taking place in me and offered encouraging words. And then, a friend introduced me to a BADASS family of fellow fitness lovers that, through bootcamp classes and an online community, remind me to push myself further and further each day.

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And so I got the idea to blog about it. The idea was born and that is how it got its name. HappilyEverStronger. This is my new beginning. This healthy lifestyle is my happily ever after. Only I’m not just happier, I’m STRONGER! Not only physically stronger, but these changes have made me mentally stronger, too. More courageous, more disciplined. Some would argue beast mode. The best part is, I know I can only get better! My hope for this blog is to share the knowledge I have gained over the last few years about how to live a happier, stronger life by feeding and strengthening the mind, body, and soul. A bit cheeseball, I know, but just go with it. My hope is to motivate you just like my friends and family have motivated me through my posts about eating well, fitness, and keeping a healthy (and sane) mind.