Guest Post: You Are Full of Power

Several months ago now, I ran a half marathon, and Kyle asked if I would be interested in writing something about my training process. I would sit down and type a little bit, only to feel dissatisfied with what I had written, and ultimately, I never responded to her request. I don’t know what prompted this realization, but this weekend I figured out why I was hiding from expressing my thoughts and feelings.Despite training for and completing the half marathon, over the past year I’ve regained 45 pounds of an 80-pound weight loss, and I have felt like a failure. I have been letting a setback eclipse a huge success. I don’t want to do that anymore. I want to celebrate my victories, and allow them to motivate me to rise up from my setbacks. From a lot of reflection this past weekend about the mental and emotional aspects of health and fitness, here are a few thoughts I want to hold onto, and want to share with others on the journey:

Every person on a health and fitness journey is qualified to be an encourager. My feelings of unworthiness to speak into someone else’s journey are based on a lie – that I have to “get there” before I can be a true encouragement to someone else. There are people who I find inspirational, who I look to for where I want to be, and then there are people who are or have been where I am now. Those people are just as important – they “get it”. They understand the frustration of having to redefine a relationship with food because it can’t be completely cut out. They understand the mental tightrope of eating to fuel your body vs. forcing yourself to exercise more than necessary so you can eat things in excess. We’re all walking this road together, and the people walking with you are just as qualified to speak into your journey as the people who go before you.

You are full of power. A friend told me this weekend that I engage in really negative self-talk, and that I should be kind to myself more often. Her son, a teenage boy in our church, had just been talking to me about my progress in my quest to learn how to play hockey, and he said to me, “Mrs. Katie…your body looks like you are full of power.” Sometimes I place so much importance on being honest about where I am and what I struggle with that I forget to repeat to myself the positive things that are true: I AM full of power. I am capable of reaching my goals. Fit your mantra to your season – my new season of self-improvement and self-empowerment, each lift and sprint and hockey drill, will be marked with a mantra of kindness to myself; the true and life-giving reminder that I am full of power.  

There are success factors in your life already. Give thanks for them, even as you struggle. I tend to get mentally trapped in the rut of what I can’t do and what I wish I could change. I think about how I’m not athletically inclined, not a person who loves yogurt and vegetables and healthy things, etc. But another realization I had this weekend is that in certain and really significant ways, I am set up for success. My husband will eat whatever Skinnytaste recipe I decide to make for dinner without complaining; he never pressures me to cheat on my meal plan; he will agree to make room in our budget for any and all fitness activities that I enjoy and think will help me progress. He never asks me to lose weight and only encourages me to do so for myself, so that I will feel better. He ran some really slow miles on his days off to help me get in my long runs during half marathon training. Whatever is against you – body type, health issues, busyness – remember that there are things that are working FOR you, and to give thanks for them. Gratefulness can combat the feeling of deprivation when you choose not to eat that thing that everyone else is eating. With regard to my half marathon – I ran the Savin Rock Half Marathon and despite the weight gain I’ve seen over the last year, I was able to finish and meet my two goals for the race in the process: to run/jog it all without stopping to walk and to do so in under 3 hours. I finished in 2 hours, 50 minutes and jogged every last insanely steep hill in the fierce spring winds of the Long Island Sound. One mental hurtle cleared, and now…I’m ready to crush my next goal, stick on the ice, head in the game, to be the first woman on my husband’s hockey team of Air Force bros. And I’m GOING to crush it, because I am full of power.

Kyle is a Four Athletics Ambassador!

I don’t know about you, but if I could wear workout clothes every day, I would. I think I bring this up at least once a week at work, lamenting the fact that our dress code doesn’t include athleisure wear.

Consequently, I’m pretty sure I own more workout clothes than normal human clothes, primarily because my time spent away from work is either at the gym or doing something active outside. Also because I really just like wearing leggings and short shorts on the regular. They’re so much more comfortable than jeans or jorts. And they can look just as cute.

Unfortunately, my habit gets expensive – why does sweat-wicking spandex have to be so pricey?! It’s just unfair that Run Times shorts and Wunder Unders (yes, Lulu, I’m looking at you) have to cost more than a week’s groceries. (Side-eyeing so hard right now.)

I need to save myself from myself.

www.fourathletics.com

Wouldn’t you know that one of my favorite podcasts had a solution for me. The ladies at Girls Gone WOD Podcast, Joy and Claire, always talk about Four Athletics – one of their favorite apparel companies. I’ve been listening to these ladies for a while and not only are they super hilarious and smart, they also take their conversation beyond just working out… and when they endorse something, it’s because they use it, and genuinely believe in its quality.So, when they mentioned Four Athletics, I was immediately interested. Primarily because I love workout clothes, which we’ve established. When they added that Four Athletics had started an ambassador program, I was really interested. I said to myself, “self, get thee some of these clothes and figure out if you want to ambassador them.”

As fate would have it, I LOVED what I received. I grabbed a pair of running shorts (that are JUST like Lulus and even better in my opinion), and a tank. The shorts are exactly what I wanted – and significantly more affordable. The tank is soft and comfortable and good for all types of workouts and even when worn as a shirt to work. Ahem. Oops.

This tank is THE BEST. And these shorts are too. I wear them All.The.Time.

Four Athletics has an incredible brand statement that I am 100% behind:

We knew there had to be a better way. Premium active wear was becoming increasingly overpriced and the affordable options were not holding up to our rigorous lifestyles. To top it all off, we found almost no options that were made in the USA. We decided to do something about it.
Four uses crowdfunding to match up supply and demand, ensuring that costs the product is high quality while costs stay low. Economics was hard in high school, but this equation is one I actually get – and it’s cool!
We only make what is wanted, eliminate waste, cut out the middleman, and deliver a premium quality product at a fraction of the retail price. It’s more efficient, more responsible, and USA made. It’s a better way.
It should come as no surprise that I joined the ambassador program, so that I could reap the benefits of spreading the word about Four Athletics and get all my peeps on board, too.

I ordered these beauties and now I’m just waiting for them to get here. I can’t WAIT.

In addition to their core collection, they’ve just released printed and colored leggings. Dude. These are too fun and I need them in my life… and my gym. Stat. So do you! Go check out Four Athletics today, and feed your need for comfortable, affordable, stylish, American Made workout gear.
If you use my ambassador code: kpjennings15, you’ll receive 15% off your purchase.

Made (and Remembered) With Love

On Tuesday, I found out that a good friend of mine – someone I’d known since middle school, who I’d skiied with, gone to school with, laughed with, learned with – was killed by a predatory bear while doing field work in Alaska.

Every day, I open Facebook and another one of Erin’s many friends or family members has written something beautiful about her. They’ve shared happy memories, amazing pictures of her adventures… and it’s at once so sad and so comforting to know that she was so well-loved.

She brightened so many lives and it’s just effing awful that she’s gone because the world is missing out on the incredible person she was and had yet to become.

Erin was always cooler than all of us.

Tuesday evening, I needed to do something with my hands so I could think about something else for just a little while. Tuesdays in the summer are also traditionally pancake nights in our house, so I pulled out my sourdough starter and got to work.

This starter is special to me for a couple of reasons. One, it was a gift from my mom for my wedding. Two, it’s starter she made in Alaska and feels like home. I needed a little bit of home this week. 

Along with the starter, my mom gave me a few of her sourdough recipes: brownies (omg), biscuits (below), and pancakes. The biscuits might be my favorites, but they’re all delicious. 
The sourdough pancake recipe as become my go-to this summer, though. One batch makes a huge stack of the most delicious ‘cakes ever. Clay likes his with chocolate chips, I take mine plain, and lately, my mom has tried making them with slices of apple baked in. As is the case with most pancakes, the possibilities are nearly endless.

My mom’s pancake recipe is as follows, for anyone interested in trying for themselves. If you want to try your hand at making sourdough (if you don’t have some already), it’s actually pretty simple. King Arthur Flour has a great post about how to do it.

I usually add a little flour (around 1/4 cup, maybe less) to the batter, because I like my pancakes a little thicker, but the recipe as-written is generally perfect. Seriously. Look at these.

Mom’s pancakes this week became comfort food – and I’m okay with that. They reminded me of home and home is where I want to be right now, to be close to the community I grew up in, and to give hugs to those who need them.

Erin was a little spark of magic on earth.

This weekend, Clay and I are going to go climb some mountains I think – feels like an appropriate way to honor Erin and remember her adventurous spirit. <3

 

Here Comes the Sun, Little Darling

Two weeks ago, I was counting down the days until my wedding. Today, I’m sitting back, slowly reclaiming my apartment from the piles of stuff, and enjoying a week of being one half of an old married couple.

In the days leading up to the wedding, I baked and baked and fretted about the weather and baked some more. I had my whole family here, and some of my best friends, and with their help, we were able to put together all the treats, make all the favors, assemble all the supplies, and construct all the bouquets. It was a whirlwind, exhausting week, with a few stressful moments, but by the time Saturday rolled around and our music started, the sun came out and everything was alright.

I won’t bore you with too many details, but I wanted to share some pictures from the day, captured by some of my friends and family. It really was the most perfect.

Photo courtesy Sara Thom Photography

Photo courtesy Sara Thom Photography

I made dat cake. It was yum.

Clay’s face in this is just my favorite.

It’s the Final Countdown

Well, folks. It’s nearly here.

Wedding Week.

Photo courtesy Sara Thom Photography

This time next week, I’ll have had a rehearsal dinner, a bachelorette party, made bouquets, baked and decorated a wedding cake, and probably overthought literally all the things. Only one thing will be left: the actual getting married.

It’s hard to believe that it’s already here – but at the same time, I feel like… “damn, it took FOREVER to get here.” Mostly because I’m impatient and excited. I’m also really ready to just enjoy all of the things we’ve spent the past few months poring over and thinking about.

I’ve spent the last month or so eating Whole30 (the last week has been a little bit less strict, since I finished my 30 days last Wednesday), trying to run everyday (I’ve had a couple days, two exactly, where my body said “hey dummy, you need to rest,” so I did.) I feel healthy and strong and not too stressed – the workouts really help with that – and I’m hoping that feeling can carry me through the next week.

My house, on the other hand, is kind of a disaster – the wedding is taking over any free space we had. The closet? Cram-jam full of favors and decor and a dress and shoes and little extras. The laundry room? Currently housing half of our alcohol supply. The living room? Holding the other half. It’s almost comical – but every time I see these things, I get excited about finally being able to put all the pieces together.

I know that the next week will feel a little crazy and I’m probably going to forget something important (or not important), but at the end of the day Saturday, it won’t matter. I get to celebrate with my guy and my friends and my family and that’s the most important part.

So now, I just have to make it through a weekend of work, and it will be full steam ahead to party time!

Cheers!

My make up trial went really well – I’m lucky to have friends that know what they’re doing with that stuff… considering I wear mascara. And that’s it.

Heels at an outdoor wedding seemed dangerous to me, so I opted for sparkly sneaks. I think I made the right choice.

Just this little sneak peek for now… but stay tuned for more after next week! Eeeeek!

I’ve baked more cake in the last six months… but I think I’ve perfected my recipe and I’m excited to do it for real next week!

It’s the Final Countdown

 

The countdown is on folks. We are officially less than a month away from our wedding and the lists are many. Fortunately, a lot of the things on the lists are getting crossed off.

Because I’m such a list fiend, I’m actually feeling pretty good about where we are in terms of being ready for the big day. I mean, there are still a lot of little details to take care of, but the beauty of having a small wedding is that there are fewer moving parts and consequently there is less to worry about.

(I’m also a pretty chill person, so getting worked up about a big party just isn’t my style.)

One of the things left on my list is my dress alterations. I actually go in today for my last fitting and I’d be lying through my teeth if I told you I wasn’t a little nervous about how it’s going to fit. I probably shouldn’t be, but I am, because that’s how I roll.

In order to allay my concerns about my dress fitting today (and in another month), Clay and I have been doing Whole30 – and really it’ll end up being a Whole48 – and I’ve committed to run at least one mile every day until the wedding. I know that I need cardio in my life to feel my best, and I’ve been away from running regularly for a while.

Inspired by one of my good friends who is in the middle of her own run streak (something like 100 days, now!), I figured that in addition to my normal gym routine, if I can get myself moving for even just one mile everyday, I will feel good. And I’ll have more peace of mind. And I’ll be running again. FINALLY.

Posting about this streak here will help keep me accountable – so feel free to bug me on social media and make sure I’m getting out and getting my miles in. Every. Damn. Day. Find me on insta and twitter @kylepjennings.

Here we go!

A Case of the Mondays

I don’t know about you all, but March has felt like a million years long and I’m pretty sure I just need a nap.

Between winter finally deciding to show its face and my man being gone for the first half of the month, March has felt really dreary and blah and basically made me want to escape. Which I did last week – my mom, my sisters, and my sister’s friend met up in Arizona for spring break. It was fantastic. 80-degree temperatures, laying by the pool, reading, shopping, visiting with friends… I would like to go back now please and thank you.

I was supposed to write about vacation workouts today. But you know what? I just didn’t work out on vacation. I was gone for a week and maybe truly exercised one day: we went for a short hike/walk and I did an ab circuit. But other than that? I just relaxed. Because it was vacation.

I struggle with this mindset though, I’ll admit. I get it in my head that I need to make time to work out, no matter what I’m doing. I need to stay on top of my workout regimen and my diet so that when I get home I’m not playing catch-up.

All that thinking does, more often than not, is ruin my vacation, because I get a little obsessed with what I’m eating and how much I’m moving, and I forget to relax and just enjoy myself.  I had one morning while in Arizona that I focused on exercise… and then realized that I was there to chill out. And all I really wanted to do was be in the sun, read my book, work on wedding-related things with my mom and sisters, eat good food and drink margaritas. So I did. And you know what? I got home, and felt a little unfit, but a lot more relaxed and even though I’m super tired and not ready for Monday, I do feel a lot more prepared for what we’ve got coming down the pike. A new workout schedule, the Whole30, a wedding.

So, no, I don’t have a post about “Six Super Easy Vacation Workouts!”, but I do have some words of affirmation: You are enough – so enough that you deserve a break. Enjoy it.

Happy Monday.