Seasons Change

Seasons change, the weather changes, the leaves change colors and fall. What does not change is the date of our marathon, December 2nd!

fall bundle

No matter what changes are going on in the weather, in the seasons, or even our personal lives, the fact that we still have to run stays the same. The race is not going anywhere therefore we still have to train no matter what changes are going on.

fall leaves 2

Change! That’s a loaded word. With change can come frustration, anxiety, and chaos, but it can also bring joy, excitement, and new beginnings. For myself, I am slightly OCD. Slightly meaning I like things to be a certain way. I like things to have their own place and for it stay there. I like to do things a certain way and to not deviate from that way. Thus I do not like change that much. Change stresses me out and gives me anxiety. I really think it is a control thing. I’d rather be in control of the outcomes of my life. Funny right? Because we all know that will never be the case. Change is constant. It will forever interrupt our lives. So we can either get used to it or forever fight it.

fall path 2

Running continues to teach me every day about life and about myself.  And as the seasons change, running teaches me that change is okay. You have to adapt. As the weather gets colder, I have to now learn how to run with more layers of clothing. I have to figure out the right amount of layers and what is most comfortable as well. I have to get use to running in the cold. I hate the cold! I also have to adjust my running schedule due to the sun rising later and setting earlier. Because of this I have had to do a few afternoon runs in between my am and pm jobs. I am thankful for the time change though. I can hopefully be able to get in more early morning runs now. 

fall leaves 4

Running teaches me that no matter how life changes we still have to keep running. I have worked hard training for this marathon and I’m not going to let any changes stop my progress. Through running I have learned that I can adapt. I am strong and change does not have to be difficult or scary.

fall kayla                    fall sarah2

Without change you are comfortable and complacent. Without change you don’t progress, you don’t grow. Change forces you to fight, to push. Change forces you to change something about yourself which then forces you to grow and become a stronger and better person. So when changes happen, embrace them. Yes it will probably be difficult and uncomfortable but it will also push you to grow into the strong person you are meant to be and the badass unicorn you truly are!! 

-Forever Adapting, Sarah

How Unicorns Run Far

We have made it to November, meaning one month until we toe that start line and put all of our training to the test! Now that we are up to 17, 18, 20!!! mile runs, we thought we would share our long run routines. We thought it would be interesting to share the differences between our routines. If you didn’t know, not all runners are the same. We’d also love to hear about your long run routines! So leave us a comment when you’re done reading.

Okay, so this first part is how Kayla preps for a long run. I thought about referring to myself in third person but I think that would be weird.

I usually wake up an hour before sunrise to give myself time to get ready. So the first thing for me is COFFEE! I take about 15 minutes to drink my coffee and scroll through the social world. Then I make myself something to eat while I finish up my coffee.

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This is my absolute favorite pre-long run breakfast. When I don’t have this, I like to have a toasted peanut butter and jelly. It’s important for me to get enough on my stomach to give me some energy but not too much where I am feeling full.

Next, I make sure to Glide Up! Is it too much information to talk about the chaffing of running? Probably, but it’s reality. This training cycle I found out I can chaff under my arms where it rubs against my shirt. So weird! Just thought my thunder thighs were the issue!

 

Another reason, I have to wake up before the sun is so that I can take my water bottles out to my running route and drop them off. I live in a pretty rural part of Tennessee and do not live around any running trails. (I am pretty jealous of Sarah’s convenient Green Line! Even though I get some great nature shots!) Anyways, I take two water bottles out, one to the halfway mark and one to the two mile mark.

I also carry my handheld water bottle with the strap with me. When I get to my other water bottles, I refill with some nice ice cold water. They make for pretty good rest stops!

Last but not least, I take my first nutritional gel. I used to use Gu Energy Gel but recently I have switched to Huma Plus Energy Gels. They are more natural, lighter on my stomach and seem to give me more of an extra boost. I take my gels at the top of every hour. I have also learned that I need some type of electrolyte drink during the really long runs. So I try to have Gatorade mixed in my waters at the pit stops. This nutritional routine is what has worked best for me. But like I said, everyone is different!

And then finally! I am ready to run! I would love to hear about other’s long run routines. Leave us a comment!

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Kayla and I are perfect examples of how runners can be completely different.

Here’s my long run preparation check list:

The day before a long run:

  • Drink plenty of water throughout the day
  • Stretch
  • No alcohol at all
  • Eat a carb loaded dinner- now that I am eating gluten free this meal usually contains rice, or potatoes.
  • Charge my wireless headphones!!! – I Always forget to charge my headphones the night before so I usually wake up in the middle of the night and remember to charge them or plug them in as soon as I wake up.
  • Get a good night’s sleep

The morning of a long run:

  • I wake up about an hour before I want to start my run
  • stretch
  • make sure headphones are charging lol because I probably forgot to plug them in the night before
  • Eat a granola bar- the best for me is the Kind brand.kind bar
  • Go to the bathroom – a definite must!!
  • Apply Glide to chaffing prone areas
  • I can not drink much of anything before my run – helps me avoid having to go pee during the run
  • Eat an Energy Gel on the way to my run- I am currently still trying to find the best Energy gel for me. I have tried Gu, Huma, and now Hammer. All pretty good. Huma and Hammer contain more natural ingredients and are lighter on my stomach.
  • I make sure I bring enough Energy gels with me on my run- I consume an Energy gel about every 5 miles.
  • I bring my handheld water bottle with the strap with me on my runs. I refill my water bottle with the water fountain at the beginning of Shelby Farms Green Line and at the Tap Routes along the green line.
  • tap route2  tap route

After the long run:

  • stretch
  • refuel immediately- meaning lots of water, Gatorade, and FOOD!
  • post results on Social Media because I am proud that I am I runner!greenline

-Sarah

How do you prepare for your long runs? Leave us a comment!

Waves

 

ocean sunset

Kayla and I recently took a trip down to the beach to celebrate our birthdays. It was amazing. I can still feel the ocean breeze and hear the waves crashing on the shore. I absolutely love the ocean. 

ocean sakay laying

ocean sakay

ocean sakay lay smile

Of course we had to run on the beach! ocean run

As I stand in the ocean, water all around me, waves crashing into me, I am at peace. The constant breeze, sound of waves crashing onto the shore, smell of salt water in the air and the sun on my skin. You look out on the horizon and see nothing but sea and sky. There is just something about the ocean that refuels my soul. As I reflect back on our ocean trip, I am reminded of all that the ocean has taught me. 

ocean 2

As Kayla and I venture out into the sea, we are constantly hit with waves. Just as in life, waves, trouble, stress, chaos, hurt, pain can constantly keep hitting you. It can and will knock you down, especially if you are not looking forward, paying attention, and keeping focus on what is ahead. And if you get knocked down, the waves don’t stop, they keep coming. So you have to get up and prepare yourself for the next wave. If you keep walking further out into the sea, walking and pushing through the crashing waves, you will get to a place of calm. The waves are still there but are more calm and manageable. You look back and look at the chaotic waves crashing on the shore and see all that you pushed through and got through. Yet you realize can’t stay out at sea forever, you have to return to the shore. Your time of peace will not last forever. So you’ll have to venture back through the waves, but this time you are prepared, you know what to expect, and you are stronger. You push through the waves again and make it to the shore. The ocean, life, is less intimidating now that you’ve made it through the waves and back again. Now that you are stronger and wiser, you know you can make it through the waves again if you had to. 

ocean poem

Refueled and Renewed,

Sarah Burns

Running is Always There for Us

A couple of weeks ago I was listening to Kelly Roberts’ podcast  where she had Coach John Honerkamp as a guest. I have been tuning in to the ones he has been a part of because those episodes are specific to marathon training. Really good stuff, I highly recommend it if you are in a training process for a race.

On Episode 74 they specifically talk about when life gets in the way. He said something along the lines of “When you’re having that bad day or bad week, it’s okay to be selfish and take time for yourself. Running is always there for you.”

And damn! That just washed over me. Running is always there for you. It can be great therapy. It can be a way to refocus on a number of things in your life. When I have that quiet morning while the sun rises, it allows me to be grateful for the good in my life.

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I think it is time I just get it out there. Some people close to me know what I am going through right now, but most people don’t. I am currently in the process of getting a divorce. From my high school sweetheart. Although it is somewhat mutual and we both know this is for the best, it’s still really hard and sad to end an 11 year relationship.

So talk about life getting in the way… Sometimes I feel guilty taking the time to train while I know I need to finish painting my house, make sure the roofers show up, the lawn gets mowed and the weeds get pulled so we can get it on the market. But I need to run. I have to run. I think we have to figure out ways to balance training and life. Running isn’t easy and life definitely isn’t easy.

For example, this morning, I woke up to my pool completely drained therefore flooding my back yard. I just stood there, in the dark, like “Well, what the fuck now?!” Still have to go to work. Still have to get a run in. So I thought back to what Coach Honerkamp said and told myself, “Just run. Run through this.”

So that’s what I did. I pushed through a five mile run with too many thoughts spinning in my head. By the last mile, I broke down in tears. But I kept running. I cried on that last mile. It wasn’t pretty. But it helped cleanse my soul. A wise woman told me this morning that crying can heal us as long as we don’t linger there too long and let it render us helpless.

It also helped when Beyonce’s “Freedom” started playing during this break down. I mean, “I’m telling these tears, Go and fall away, fall away May the last one burn into flames.” “I break chains all by myself Won’t let my freedom rot in hell I’ma keep running cause a winner don’t quit on themselves.” YASSS Queen. Listen below. Seriously, listen to this song!

During this time, I think one of the things I am most grateful for (besides my amazing family) is running. There have been mornings where I am so angry at the whole situation I knock out a 6 mile tempo run and know that this divorce isn’t going to kill me. There are mornings when I am so sad, that I slowly meander through a 5 mile run and even though it’s slow, I kept moving. It helps me know that this divorce isn’t going to drown me. There’s mornings where I have to run 10 plus miles and then immediately work on a house in order to sell and I know that this divorce will only make me stronger.

So I encourage the reader to find something to throw yourself into if you are going through a hard time. It can be running, painting, gardening, poetry, woodworking, or hell even sword fighting! Just find something that challenges you but also brings you peace. Find something that brings you joy even if it makes your heart want to explode! We are stronger than we think and our brains give up long before our bodies have to.

So I will leave you with a poem from a poet my heart connected with immediately, Rupi Kaur. Because this is not a pity me post. This is a soul cleansing one to show that I will get through this. I will get through this with running. I will get through this with my friends, my family and even the random readers of this blog by my side. Because I am strong.

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With determination and courage,

Kayla

I Was… I Am… I Will…

I was…

lost, used, beaten, insecure, weak, gullible, sad, abused, far from God, naïve, empty, taken advantage of, unhealthy, mistreated, broken.

I am…

strong, fierce, confident, determined, beautiful, brave, motivated, baptized, closer to God, learning, growing, forgiving, independent, fit, happy, healthy, free, hopeful, a fighter, a runner, a blogger, an entrepreneur, a badass unicorn.

I will…

motivate, inspire, guide others, walk in my purpose, succeed, lead, disciple, achieve, thrive, prosper, encourage others, overcome, live life to the fullest, become all I am intended to be.

I was. I am. I will. was a very challenging and eye opening experience. To write down who I was, was sad and hurtful but then I saw all that I am and will be. I am who I am today because of what I’ve been through and I am so proud of the strong woman I have become. I challenge you to write your own I was. I am. I will. Keep it for yourself or share it with us and others. So many people can relate, learn, and be inspired by your story. This challenge was inspire by youniquefoundation.org

youniquefoundation

-Sarah

Running in Life Pushing to Progress

 

Kayla sent me this text.

 kayla text

And this got me thinking. Same time last year we were training for our half marathon and we were running 11 minutes or less per mile. Right now we are running 12 minutes or more. What happened? Yes it’s been hot and we know the heat slows down our pace but we both were not satisfied with our time. 

Kayla’s text motivated me to push myself. (That’s what good running partners do) This week I was determined to improve my pace. As I pushed myself to this goal, it reminded me of how the process of running is the same as our journeys in life.

Running in Life Pushing to Progress

You have to push yourself to progress. You can’t run at the same pace and expect to get any better. Kayla and I got complacent with our pace. Yes we motivated ourselves to run every day but we weren’t really challenging or pushing ourselves.

Even when you have challenges and obstacles stacked against you, you have to continue to push yourself. Prepare yourself for the obstacles. One day it was really hot and I wanted to achieve a new goal of under 11 minutes per mile. I went to bed earlier the night before and drank plenty of water before and during my run. I made sure I was prepared.

It is okay if you stumble, fall, or fail. On my under 11 minute goal, I had one mile over 11 minutes but I also have 4 miles under 11 minutes. This didn’t deter me. My overall average was 10: 30 mpm. I was very proud of myself.

Keep going. Achieve one small goal then another, go one more mile, then another. Keep going and pushing yourself till your main goal is achieved. 

Sometimes in life and running you just have to take your shirt off  (#sportsbrasquad). Have confidence, be free, and don’t care what other people think. It’s your goal, push yourself to be better. In the end you will be more proud of yourself because you pushed yourself without relying on anybody else. One of your biggest motivators will be yourself and your past accomplishments. My greatest motivations are the goals I’ve already achieved. I know can do better because of all the things that I have already accomplished. I did it before, I can do it again. 

Throughout the week I continued to push myself. I was determined. I had to push myself with each step. When I could feel myself starting to run slower I would push myself to keep running at a faster pace. You have to listen to your body, your gut. When making decisions use both logic and intuition. I use logic to not push myself into an injury and I use my gut to push myself to accomplish my goal. 

You can take breaks. But know that even when you are taking a break you can’t completely quit working or pushing. I still walk in between my miles. But I know I can’t walk very slow nor very long or it would ruin my pace. 

On my 11 mpm (minutes per mile) goal, it got really tough on mile 4 and 5, and I really wanted to give up and just run at a slower pace, but I didn’t. You will face your biggest struggles and obstacles when you are close to accomplishing your goal. Keep pushing through till you cross that finish line. 

If you have a major goal or dream, then everything you do must contribute to that. I cannot eat unhealthy and drink a lot of alcohol the night before a big run because I know it will negatively impact my run. Same as your dreams or goals will suffer, I know my run will suffer because of the unhealthy decisions I made.  

Look at my progression over the past few weeks. I am so proud of my progress and all that I’ve accomplished just because I pushed and I was determined.

6 mile 12.558 mile 11.085 mile 10.356 mile 10.44

12 mile 10.12

August 25th: Today’s mantra was Step with Purpose. Push with every step. I just kept repeating that in my head. I kept pushing. I made sure every single step was purposeful. This was my best run yet! Not only did I run 12 miles, but every single mile was under 10:33 mpm. (Blows my mind just typing that) My overall average for all 12 miles was 10:12 mpm. Wow! This just proves to me that I can do anything I set my mind to.

It is hard. It is a struggle. But because of my struggle I grow stronger. Running has changed my life not because it’s easy, but because it’s hard. If it were easy, I would be the same person I was years ago. But because it is hard, I have grown into someone I am proud to be. I am strong. I am confident. I am a badass unicorn!

-Sarah

100 Miles Later

I’ve been in the trenches of marathon training for a month now. I’ve ran 103.78 miles. I’m sore. I’m tired. I’m hungry. All. The. Damn. Time.

I don’t know if I mentally blocked what training for a half marathon was like but this seems different. I am not even up to the super long distances. Next week I will be hitting 12 miles. Of course, 13 is the longest Sarah and I have ran so we are getting close to new territory. The level of hunger at 25 miles a week is literally ravishing. I can’t imagine what it will be like in another month. I want to eat all the foods!

Other than the never ending need to consume something delicious, the training is going pretty well. I have only skipped one run and one cross training session. I think it was from the sheer fact that training is exhausting. I don’t remember being this tired last time I trained. It may have to do with the fact I get up at 4:30 in the morning. But it comes with some beautiful sunrises, so it works out.

If you are ever thinking about running a marathon, just know, you will be tired and hungry. Very hungry. And sore. I have come to realize how important stretching is. If I do not stretch after a run, I will pay for it by the end of the week. I get horrible lower back pain. So I have been making sure to take the 15 minutes after a run to stretch it all out.

So far, this training has been a good way for me to focus on a goal. It’s been a good way to let my mind wander. I have been able to center my thoughts and focus on a path moving forward. A positive path that will allow me to move on. Training is hard and so is life. But I’ll get through it. And after I cross the finish line, I’ll eat and eat. And eat and eat and eat.

 

Don’t forget, all this training is for a great cause! The children of St. Jude! Donate today!

 

With love,

Kayla