What I’m Learning About My Body

   Monday to Saturday!

This week I bumped up my training quite a bit. I did double workouts on three days. I took one rest day. Work was also busier than usual this week, and so by the time I finished teaching yoga on Saturday morning, I was SPENT. I got some gluten/dairy/soy free donut holes from Sprouts, grabbed a Diet Hansen’s Cola, and turned on Netflix. And now I’m here, and feeling pretty pleased with my day so far. Haha!

So, how did I survive (and feel pretty dang good and just a bit tired) this week?

  1. On my second double-workout day, I went straight to Seven Serenity in Orem to use their bemer mat and infrared sauna. You’ve heard me talk about using the infrared sauna before (still love it!), but I’ve started using the bemer mat occasionally as well. According to the bemer website, “BEMER applications boost the blood flow, thus benefiting the body’s cardiac system, regenerative abilities and even mental acuity.”

  2. doTERRA Deep Blue Polyphenol Complex®. I’ve always ignored this because it’s pretty expensive, but I had to add more to my doTERRA order last month and I decided to throw it in my order out of curiosity. AND I LOVE IT. I don’t use it every day, but I’ve been using it after particularly hard workouts (or the next morning) and I really think it’s helped in my recovery. Truly. It’s the one thing I’ve changed/added to my recovery tools, and I’m really so surprised that I’m doing so well this week.

    I haven’t done a ton of research on what this softgel does, so I’m just going to paste exactly what the doTERRA website says about it: “Deep Blue Polyphenol Complex delivers polyphenol extracts of frankincense, turmeric, green tea, ginger, pomegranate, and grape seed, and is designed to provide soothing support to aching muscles and to other occasional discomfort. Frankincense extract shown to help support muscle and joint comfort and function. Includes proprietary, standardized extracts of ginger, curcumin, resveratrol, and other polyphenols to soothe occasional aches and discomfort. Contains the doTERRA Tummy Tamer blend of Peppermint, Ginger, and Caraway Seed.” (And then their standard disclaimer: “*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.”)

    At the wholesale cost, it’s about $1/softgel. But dang. Since I’m not using it every day (and since I technically got it for free this month), I’m converted and it’s something I’m going to keep using for a while.

And now, what I’m learning about my body through all of this.

  1. I’m adapting my training plans/goals to fit what feels right for me. It’s a pretty cool process. Even the disappointing workouts (like the run that I wasn’t able to finish this morning) are helping me learn what I PERSONALLY want to do, and how I want to train. It’s helping me learn my limits, and where I can push a little harder. I’m loving this process!

  2. I’m really enjoying moving in different ways by doing more cross training. This includes adding cycling to my running training. This allows me to work different muscles on different days (and letting muscles rest when needed).

  3. Hydrating and fueling is so important. Which I knew, but it’s still fun to continue to fine tune all of that according to my own individual body. Most importantly, I know I feel best when I avoid things that I’m sensitive to (duh, hello).

Above all—work (play?) hard, rest hard!

Finally, some words of inspiration for you:




(All from Instagram. Last one from Runners World!)


Race Recap: BYU’s Rex Lee Run 5k

I had an expected goal pace for this race, and I had a hopeful goal pace for this race—as I usually do. And then I got a little stressed the morning-of, scrapped all of that, and simply remembered that I was running for my Grandma Judy, who had died of pancreatic cancer in 2016. I decided I simply wanted to race smart and remember her.

And then two miles into the race, I scrapped all of that again and thought, “My legs are heavy, it’s really sunny, and I wish I hadn’t worn pants.”

All in all, this race felt like a crappy training run more than a wisely run race. Ha! Darn it. It happens, for various reasons. That said, as I’ve been processing the race today, there are some really positive things to note about it:


  1. The race itself, the Rex Lee Run. All of the money from entry fees goes directly to cancer research, which I am SO in favor of. Like I said, this disease took my grandma, and took her quickly. I saw the state she was in when she passed—she was one tough lady, but this took so much out of her. Anything in this area of research, I am very much in support of, which is why I’ve run with my grandma’s name on my bib in 4 races now (two Temple to Temple 5k’s in 2016 and 2017, the AF Canyon Half Marathon to benefit local cancer patients in 2017, and now this race).
    The race was well organized. Also, all of the staff, volunteers (including LDS missionaries, which I LOVE!), and participants were so happy and excited to be there. The energy at this race was one of my favorites, and I can see why people keep doing it year after year.
    And, the shirts are cozy. Haha! I was one of the few who didn’t wear their shirt during the actual run because I wanted to come home afterward and cozy up in it.
  2. The race starts with a hill. I had a goal to run it at about a 9 min/mile pace. I ended up with an 8:55 min/mile pace, and I felt pretty good running the hill at that pace.
  3. After that hill, the second mile of downhill sure felt nice!
  4. One of my FAVORITE parts of the race was seeing Sam and my cousin Mikey at the end. They came to cheer me on. It meant so much to me.
  5. While I didn’t hit my race goals (any of them, really—time goals or racing wisely goals), I did do a very similar race route for the BYU Women’s Services Voices of Courage 5k in October 2016 where my time was 31:46 (so a 9:59 min/mile average pace). Part of that was surely because the race started in a more congested area so I was forced to start slow. But also, I’ve improved a LOT since then. It was an almost identical route, and this time I finished in 28:43 (9:05 min/mile pace). So while this wasn’t my best 5k, it wasn’t my worst, and I could see an immediate improvement on the course itself (at least with the numbers—I definitely think going slower in that 2016 race FELT a lot better than today did as a whole, haha).

Things I could have done better on:

  1. That starting hill was great, but the second mile, which was downhill, I did it at an 8:53 min/mile pace, which felt great. But also, should my easy downhill pace be the same as my difficult uphill pace? Hmm…
  2. I swear I checked the temperature in Provo last night and it said it would be in the 40’s (it was), and partly cloudy (it wasn’t). I debated between capris and long pants this morning, and ultimately decided on the pants (partly cloudy could also mean chilly), and oh man, did I regret that pretty quickly. I’m just grateful that I left my running gloves in my car. By mile 3 I was so hot, and even rolling up my sleeves just to get some more air on my body.
  3. I stopped briefly multiple times in that 3rd mile. Whereas my first two miles were about an 8:55 min/mile pace, my third was 9:33 min/mile. I’m glad that I listened to my body to pause and walk (I guess I raced smart in that regard), but also, poop. That was not my plan. On a similar note, there were some photographers along the course, and the first couple I could smile and feel pretty good. By the last photographer, I tried putting on a smile and distinctly remember thinking, “smiling is taking up a LOT of energy right now.”

So, this wasn’t my best 5k race, and it wasn’t my worst. I ran it, and I’m glad I did. The money —and awareness—went toward a great cause, and this race will help my body grow stronger as I work toward my upcoming goals.

Thank you to my dad and Bridget for texting me good luck the night before! Thank you to my roommate Katie for taping my shoulder this morning! And thank you so much to Sam and Mikey for coming out to hug my sweaty self at the finish line. Your support means so much to me!

Another 5k in the books, friends. Onto the next thing!

Why I Run!

I have a 5k coming up in just a few days and, as it often goes, my training plan didn’t quite turn out how I had intended it to. For example, my body was just naturally exhausted last Friday and Saturday, and I had been hoping to get a key run in one of those days. I tried, and it just didn’t happen. I’ve been taking this week easy and focusing on things like nutrition and getting proper rest instead.

I never viewed this race as THE RACE—I have another 5k later in the year that I have big goals for—but I wanted to do the best I could on this one, and I do have perhaps a small goal for it in mind. But last night as I was (for like, the third night in a row) imagining race day, I decided that I simply wanted to focus on:

I want to do this.

Because sometimes it’s hard to remember that when I’m tired, or when my body (or mind) is not performing as I’d like it to. Sometimes it’s hard to remember that when lounging and eating snacks and watching Netflix seems nice. Sometimes it’s hard to remember when it’s too cold or too hot, or in that pre-run moment when you choose to go without a jacket because you know you’ll warm up within a half mile, but you’ve still got that 15 minutes before the race starts + that half mile before the goosebumps on your arms go away.

But, I want to do this, and here’s why.

In the summer of 2008 I moved to Utah and started running on some warm summer nights—which is still one of my favorite times to run. In the solitude of darkness, meditating and praying, or simply being with my breath and rhythm as I roam my neighborhood.

In the winter of 2014, with a heart healing from a deep depression, I found relief from the heaviness even for just those few moments on the elliptical, treadmill, or on the road. And the feeling of incredible accomplishment when I finished my first 10k race that June (and two weeks later, my first Ragnar relay). I had “run” 5k’s for years, just for fun, but these two races, to me, mark the point where I really began pushing myself as a runner.

In the winter of 2017, healing from betrayal and grief, I asked a friend of mine to be my running coach. For the first time, I completed specific workouts catered toward my goals (and committed to a larger-than-ever goal of completing my first half marathon). Running went hand-in-hand with my healing and betrayal trauma recovery, and I experienced many moments of elation as I found sincere joy and fulfillment in sprint workouts, and accomplishment in reaching new PR’s and new distances. I consider this the first time I started truly “training” as a runner.

Running has played different roles at different times of my life, and I have a feeling that this will continue to evolve especially over the next few months and this whole year.

But at this very moment, this is why I run:

I can let go of any bad day, stressful moment, heavy thought within 2 minutes of getting out on the road (okay, 5 minutes, tops). That’s all it takes to lift the heaviness.

It reminds me how far I’ve come, and also reminds me to be compassionate with myself when I still have a ways to go to reach my goals. If we didn’t have room for improvement, then what’s the point? I’m in no rush; I am learning.

I want to build up my speed and technique to go faster! I want to see what my mind and body can do.

And bonus: It IS a bit nice to be able to eat more when I’m training hard 😉

…but that’s not what I’m thinking of when I’m training or racing. Just the little bonus, haha!

So on Saturday, I want to enjoy every moment of that race. I want to bask in every step up that hill at the beginning, and I want to feel the breeze in my hair as I let go and fly down the hill. I want to savor every heavy step in the last stretch there—I know where I’ll be going, and I’m going to get there.

I run because I love it. I race because I love it. I want to do all of it, and I’m going to keep doing it, and enjoy every moment.

Power Packed Green Smoothies (that aren’t always green!!)

Last time I went to donate blood, the guy testing my blood beforehand AUDIBLY gasped when he saw my iron levels. “I know,” I said. “I eat a LOT of spinach.” And this, my friends, is how!

Green smoothies. Every day.

Before we get into the nitty gritty, just know that I don’t measure anything. My taste buds are more used to greens, so I add a ton in, but I built up to that point. I also used to just add milk in (I currently use flaxseed milk just because other milks tend to irritate my stomach), but I’ve started adding bone broth in (good for the gut), but just a bit. Sometimes I add chia seeds (which are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, fiber, iron, and calcium; Nutiva Organic, non-GMO, Raw, Premium Black Chia Seeds, 32 Ounce is a good option!), sometimes I don’t. Over the last couple months I’ve started adding collagen peptides in (which strengthens bones, joints, skin, nails, etc.), but that doesn’t change the taste of the smoothies (I use Pure Hydrolyzed Collagen Peptides, Dietary Supplement, Grass Fed, 16 OZ). And I find that the vanilla protein powder, in addition to providing some protein, also adds a nice taste to the smoothies! (I’m currently using PlantFusion Complete Plant-Based Protein Powder, Vanilla Bean, 2 Lb Tub, 30 Servings, 1 Count, but I like the Sprouts Vegan Protein Powder a lot as well). To make the smoothie have a chocolate flavor, I simply add cocoa powder (instead of buying a whole new container of protein powder).

Frozen cauliflower adds a creaminess similar to adding banana, but bananas are full of sugar (and I have a sensitivity to them so I avoid them). *Target has bags of frozen cauliflower for 89 cents, and I stock up. To make the vegetables (carrots, beets, cauliflower) easier on your digestive system, you should steam them first, then lay them out on a cookie sheet, freeze them, then store them in a bag in the freezer. Confession though, I just buy the cauliflower frozen and use it as is! I’ve felt just fine.

P.S. I make my own bone broth and that saves me a lot of money! I have the tutorial on my Instagram stories right now, so definitely check that out.

Long story short: adjust levels as needed. Maybe start with fewer greens and more milk, protein powder, and frozen cauliflower. If the smoothie is too thin, add a couple ice cubes. If it’s too thick, add more milk or cold water. It won’t take long for you to get your thang down.

Here are some of my go-to combinations. Try them out and see if they satisfy your cravings. Soon your own Red Cross representative will be gasping at your iron levels 😉

Green Power Smoothie! — The base to a lot of these smoothies!

2 ½ cups spinach
½ cup bone broth
½+ cup flaxseed milk
½ cup frozen cauliflower
1 scoop vanilla protein powder
1 scoop collagen peptides
A couple shakes of cinnamon

Go-To Chocolate Smoothie — Er’y day, basically.

2 cups spinach
1+ cup flaxseed milk
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1 scoop collagen peptides
1 scoop vanilla protein powder
½ cup frozen cauliflower
2 tablespoons cocoa powder


Carrot Spice Cake Smoothie — It’s really good, trust me!

1 cup steamed (then cooled) carrots
1+ cup flaxseed milk
½ cup frozen cauliflower
1 scoop vanilla protein powder
2 shakes cinnamon
2 shakes nutmeg


Fact: this tastes just like a vanilla shake, but it’s mostly CAULIFLOWER!— and flaxseed milk! (Or whatever type of milk you like to use!). This is my new favorite late night treat. Give it a try and let me know what you think!

1 – 1 ½ cups frozen cauliflower
1 cup milk
1 scoop vanilla protein powder.

Blend, and add more milk or water until it reaches a smooth consistency!


Blueberry Beet Smoothie
…because when my body asks for beets, she gets beets! Mmm…

½ cup spinach
1 cup flaxseed milk
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1 cup steamed beets (I used leftover spiralized beets that I got from Sprouts)
½ cup frozen cauliflower
¼ cup frozen blueberries
1 scoop vanilla protein powder
1 scoop collagen peptides
2 shakes cinnamon

I blended the spinach and milk first, then sprinkled in the chia seeds and swirled them about so they could start getting jelly while I added everything else in. Then I blended it all up! You’ll be surprised how sweet this smoothie is, even though it’s beets.

Let me know if you try any of these smoothies! Do you add anything in your smoothies to add in more nutrients, or help them keep you fuller longer? DM me! I’d love to try some new things!

After the Sugar Detox…

I admit, I wrote this in a moment of feeling pretty dang low. The feelings of sadness, inadequacy, and frustration were pretty high. I thought about not publishing it, or erasing it and sharing a more optimistic, hopeful draft, but I think that this view may be beneficial to someone. Or at least sharing this will let me honestly convey the low points of the last few weeks as I try to find some peace and balance in my body again.


I can’t remember the last time I’ve felt this low about my body and food.

Backing up—

I ended my 3-week sugar detox on February 6. I am grateful for the sugar detox because it helped me understand what it felt like to be fueled by slow carbs (vegetables instead of breads), I can now see a stark contrast between the sugar highs and sugar crashes (I’m SO aware of it now, and it’s INSANE), and for the first time in my life, I realize that I experienced VERY FEW cramps when I was on my period IF I had very little sugar in my body (I didn’t even take any painkillers last month, which is unheard of for me. If I’m cramping, it is intense, and I have to layer on the painkillers to even go to work or get out of the house).

BUT, while there were those good points about the sugar detox, I rarely felt satisfied. And in all honesty, the only one time I remember thinking how satisfied I finally felt was after eating a bison burger for dinner one night.

I can’t remember the last time I was this in-my-head and shame-filled about foods and their relationship to my body. It’s getting better, but that shame crept in early in the detox, and continued after it ended.

I intended to add in foods gradually after the detox ended, but as soon as I let a little in, the floodgates opened. I really struggled with bingeing during at least the last week of the detox and the two weeks following the detox. I’d binge on “healthy” foods. I’d crave nuts, I’d start eating, and I couldn’t stop. One day about a week after the detox ended, I needed a snack after work so I bought a bag of nuts at the store and ate the whole thing. All 1700 calories. I still didn’t feel full. Something was missing—something had been missing for weeks—and I still can’t pinpoint what it was.

One thing I should note about the detox—it was very strict, and prohibited most forms of sweetness. Even sweet potatoes and quinoa were off the list, and I felt guilt when I was told that even the 1g of sugar in my protein powder was too much sweetness. While I usually steer toward intuitive eating, I spent 3 weeks being told that nearly every modification I was making to try to feel better on this detox was detrimental (sweet potato, quinoa, protein powder, etc). And then, the guilt set in. And then, the floodgates.

About a week and a half after the sugar detox ended, I was miserable. Absolutely miserable. I finally got to a point where I could consciously practice releasing that guilt associated with food.

On February 18 I wrote: “I’m letting myself release the emotional/mental guilt tied to what/how/when/how much I am eating, and practicing just eating what I want to. I’m grateful that I had only been experiencing the feelings/behaviors for probably 2-3 weeks (maybe a bit more) before deciding to make that shift, because it really was just a couple days of having to be very mindful about allowing myself to eat what felt good, instead of denying it for myself, or feeling shame for eating it.”

That was a positive shift, but I’ve still really struggled through the past few weeks. I’ve been gradually remembering how to eat to feel good. Before the sugar detox, I was simply not eating things that I know I have intolerances to, like dairy and soy, and my body was responding really well to that! But, as silly as it sounds, I’ve had a hard time remembering the specific foods I ate, even just two months ago.

I still haven’t felt great. It’s been a really crappy experience trying to help my body feel good and satisfied again.

I made the mistake of stepping on the scale this morning (which I rarely do, as I’d rather eat to feel good and not worry about a silly number), and promptly went into my room and cried. The scale read 8 lbs higher than it did a month ago. I knew I hadn’t been feeling as great as I wanted to, but seeing a number describe to me a reason WHY I didn’t feel good? That felt crappy. (And I know, logically, a number on a scale doesn’t really mean much. I haven’t been taking physical measurements with a measuring tape, which I should have been. Plus, I did just run a race two weeks ago and PR, so my body is still functioning fine enough. And my period should be starting any day now, so there’s also that water retention and fluctuation. But still. You know? Sometimes the emotion comes through far more than the logic.) (Update: The next morning, after a normal day of eating, I decided to get on the scale again and I was down 2 lbs. Obviously, water weight. That just shows, the scale is not the best indication of our fitness or wellness levels at all! Now, back to the emotions, haha!)

It’s been an emotional day. I’m having a hard time understanding how I physically feel, or how to mentally feel about my body. I’ve had emotionally lighter moments today when I remember how good my new jeans feel on my body, or when I simply enjoy the foods I’m eating. But there are also times like right now, when I’m feeling the emotions attached to writing all of this out.

Why am I telling you this, you ask? I think I just needed to get it out, to be open and let you know that I’ve really been struggling in this area over the past month. That while I’m usually a huge proponent of intuitive eating, of loving your body exactly as it is in this very moment, and eating when you’re hungry and not eating when you’re not hungry… I understand now more than ever that sometimes those things are easier said than done. That sometimes there’s a huge mental/physical/emotional disconnect, and that can throw your body into a degree of chaos.

Sugar detoxes may be for some people, but they are not for me. I think that’s a blog post for another time, though.

Things that have helped me feel more peaceful about all of these things:

Lee From America — My Bingeing Story

Nutrition Redefined — Instagram + Podcast

Katiesfitscript — Quit Freaking Out Over Weight Gain

All of these things have helped me feel less alone, and reminded me of the things I know, but haven’t been able to remember/connect with for a few weeks.