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running

I can’t believe I haven’t written about my race yet, but I guess two weeks late will have to do! You guys, I RAN A HALF MARATHON. Ha! It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, but always seemed out of reach. Or something I’d do LATER, you know? But earlier this year when parts of my personal life crumbled around me, I realized: I can do anything. I can do whatever the heck I want. (And maybe it was a little bit of, I’ve already lived through this sucky crappy thing and I survived, so of course I can do this other really hard thing, BY CHOICE!)


My friend Sam Monsivais coached me, and I will forever be grateful for that. Having a training schedule helped me work toward something when I was climbing out of that broken place. It was a huge part of my healing. My friend Haley and I trained together, running just about all of our long runs together, and running the entire race together. She has been such a blessing to me this whole time. We balance each other out very nicely when we run, as you will soon see an example of!


I should note: The night before the race I got 26 text messages from Haley in a row—mostly nervous emoticons and gifs. Ha! Haley is the best. But also, while she was nervous, I was surprisingly calm. I think I had gone through my nervousness a couple weeks earlier, and I figured, this is just another training run, and we’ll go on this adventure and just keep running and enjoying it. And I knew I was bringing just-in-case stuff in my running belt, and there were aid stations + bathrooms every 3-4 miles, so I knew we’d be okay. And, I just wasn’t nervous— I was EXCITED!


I got about 4 hours of sleep, Haley got like, none. Ha! We drove up to American Fork, boarded a bus, and got to the start line at Tibble Fork Reservoir with plenty of time.



One of the first things that anyone would probably ever tell you about this race is that it is SO WELL ORGANIZED. Like, I felt I had very little to worry about, as I mentioned earlier. We got to the start, wrapped up in our space blankets that the race provided (which worked SO well to help keep us warm), then when the time got closer, put our stuff in our drop bags (which the race also provided at packet pickup the day before), threw it in the back of a truck, and got ready to run.

Then, we started running!


We went in the first wave of runners, which was anyone with a 9:30 pace or faster. (Spoiler alert: we came in with an average page of 9:29 haha!) I was in charge of keeping our pace. I was surprised how many people were barrelling past us the first mile or so. I knew we had to conserve energy and take it easy starting out, so we just kept doing what we were doing! (We maintained about an 8:30-9 minute/mile pace through the canyon). Walked at water stations. One bathroom break around mile 8. And just kept going!


*One very, very heartwarming thing about this race for me is that all of the money from entrance fees goes to local cancer patients, and they were able to raise over $380,000 for that purpose. Holy moly. I get teary eyed thinking about that. Many people—myself included—wore the names of loved ones who had battled cancer on their backs. I ran for my grandma Judy Williamson who passed away from pancreatic cancer last year. As I ran down the canyon my thoughts went to my grandma, and also to a friend’s mother who had passed away from cancer a few years ago. I never met my friend’s mother, but there was a moment when I felt she was with me (as odd as I still feel like that sounds, ha! yikes). I got teary eyed thinking about these women, and also seeing the many names of loved ones along the course. This is a very special race.


Back to the running itself: Haley was super out of it as she really didn’t sleep well the night before, and so the first 10 miles or so was me giving a lot of words of affirmation, singing the few words I knew of Moana, and pushing her with pace every so often when I felt us lagging. She was amazing. She handled that lack of sleep WAY better than I would have.


We ran out of the canyon and onto a paved trail through a really beautiful golf course. Some rolling hills but it was still great. Then onto a trail through some shaded neighborhoods.


Again, so many amazing volunteers and so many resources for the runners. It was such a good experience.


We then hit mile 10 (the furthest either of us had run up to that point). And THEN, the Murdock Canal Trail. Haley and I ran parts of the Murdock Canal Trail during training, but it’s always a bit rough. Very little shade, and just flat. The last 2-3 miles of this race were on that trail, and yes, there was NO SHADE and it was just flat. The sun was luckily at our backs, but it was still really hot, and I don’t do well with sunshine while running. This is where our roles changed: Haley had to pull me along those last 2-3 miles. She was feeling much better at this point and I’m so glad, because I needed her here. (See? We really do balance each other out as runners. I love being her running buddy!)


We ran, ran, ran, and finally, the finish line.


Two hours and 4 minutes. Average pace of 9:29 min/mile


We saw Sam there waiting for us (he rocked it, by the way, and I think was 11th overall? Maybe? His Strava says he finished in 1:20 with an average pace of 6:07), and our other friend Mikala who also rocked her race! Haley’s mom and brother were there waiting for us as well, which I loved. (Basically my fake family lately 🙂


Fact: Sam had anticipated that we’d finish closer to 2:30. Was proving him wrong a motivator for me? Yes. Absolutely yes. Ha!


I finished the race and went straight to the giant bucket of ice cold water bottles, and squatted, holding the edge of the bucket. Haha! I FELT AWFUL. I THEN got water, and got my medal (totally passed them before). We hung around in the sun chatting with Haley’s family and Sam for a bit and I casually was like “hey, can we go to the shade?” and finally I just walked away to find that shade, and luckily everyone followed! Ha! This is me after a race: feisty and demanding, apparently.


We picked up our drop bags and again, as everything else was, the process was simple and the race volunteers were SO on top of it. We got our card with our official times, took a group picture, then Haley went to get the free Kneaders french toast and I left. (Because I was pretty sure that post-race stomach + rich french toast = vomit, so, no thank you).


I was drowsy all day, and sore for 2 days. The worst day was probably Monday morning, waking up still sore, knowing I had to teach yoga at 8am. Ha! But I taught yoga and Erin came, who also ran the half on Saturday. Yay, friendship! So we had a good chat while we practiced yoga together. I think yoga is exactly what I needed, because by that evening my muscles/body felt much better.


It’s crazy that this was just two weeks ago. I still haven’t decided exactly what race I’m doing next, but I’ve kind of decided on a training plan to keep doing all the things. Ha!

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running, wellness

The thing about trauma is, it can connect to so many things. For a lot of people, and for me, holidays are tough. Really tough. Even minor holidays like my town’s Summerfest. For me, it was a mix of association and anxiety at the thought of bumping into certain people. But the thing I’ve learned about holidays and other difficult occasions/places/things: they can be reframed. You can go to that place and make a new memory there; you can make new traditions; you can sort things out with a friend or therapist or coach; you can take the broken pieces and make something magical.

 

The night of Summerfest I passed on an opportunity to watch fireworks with friends and decided instead to go on a run, timed perfectly with the fireworks. I ran down the main street and watched the fireworks go off in the distance, breeze blowing through my hair, warm sweat on my skin, and it just felt so good to be alive—and alone, though I was surrounded by families watching the fireworks on the grass along the sidewalk. And just like that—magical.

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wellness

It’s been a tough week physically— last Saturday I ran 10 miles with Haley, Sunday was off, Monday was 6 downhill miles (tried to take it slower, but didn’t go too slow/as slow as I maybe should have), then Tuesday was a speed workout. I couldn’t even do the last interval at sprint speed– I just made it a cool down lap. It was brutal. My body just wasn’t recovering. I’m sure part of that is the heat (trying to do a speed workout outside at lunchtime in 80 something degree full sun was a crummy idea), but I think another part of it was emotional.

 

I think I’ve been more social in the past two weeks (a lot of dates, a lot of group hangouts) than I have in a really long time, and there are a lot of emotions attached to that: a lot of stimulation even by texting a bunch of people or being in large groups of friends, triggers from past trauma, seemingly constant acceptance and/or rejection from other people… it’s exhausting. (I wonder what it would look like to compare the quality of my runs on Strava to my social calendar, haha!)

 

Don’t get me wrong: I’ve been enjoying dating and meeting new people, and I LOVE my friend groups right now from my neighborhood. It’s just a lot for a woman who sometimes just turns the light off and watches Netflix mid-day to decompress, or who once chose to hike in a mild snow storm JUST TO BE ALONE. Hahaha

 

I’ve been thinking about how hard it was for me to recover physically this week, and also some comments from friends about their own physical ailments/heaviness this week. When I am being particularly mindful about how I am feeling physically, I can usually connect it to something emotionally, and if I’m not quite sure what that is, I reference Louise Hay’s You Can Heal Your Life, where she includes a reference chart of physical ailments and their emotional counterparts.

 

Here are some common ailments and their emotional counterparts:

 

-Throat problems: “The inability to speak up for one’s self. Swallowed anger. Stifled creativity. Refusal to change.”

 

-Shoulder aches: “[Shoulders] Represent our ability to carry out experiences in life joyously. We make life a burden by our attitude.”

 

-Stomach problems: “Dread. Fear of the new. Inability to assimilate the new.”

 

Note: Sometimes the connecting emotion doesn’t resonate with me, but recognizing that helps me be more aware of how I AM feeling emotionally, if that makes sense. It gives me a starting point for exploring the emotions I am feeling and how they could be connecting to how I’m physically feeling. So, check out the book because it’s SO good.

 

This awareness has allowed me to be more intentional about my interactions with others, better recognize and meet my wants/needs, and to try to find a bit more joy in my week/running 🙂

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running

This morning Haley and I set out for our longest run yet: 10 miles. Last week we did 7 and it was HARD. The week before that we did 8 and it felt really hard. Both weeks we also had guests join us for our runs, which was just not our norm and may have messed with our minds a bit (even though we love them so). We decided to invite NO ONE on our run today (stay away, friends who love us! Haha!) because, we work well together! Haley and I have a similar pace. We push each other I think in different ways– she’s told me I push her in pace (today, for example, I started rapping Push It by Salt N Peppa at the last mile, and was friendly-shouting at her to spring the last quarter mile), and I know she pushes me in endurance– I would NOT have stuck to any of our long runs if I weren’t with her.

 

I was aware of our 10 mile run all week, obviously, and was a bit nervous for it, but I’m grateful for encouraging friends, particularly a new friend who is a runner himself, and took particular care in making sure I knew his confidence in my ability to do this run, and texting me the night before with additional encouragement. I knew he also happened to be running 10 miles this morning, just elsewhere (and according to Strava, we actually started our runs within 2 minutes of each other, which I just think is really fun. But he would have smoked me in a second! Haha!)

 

I woke up less worried, though. My normal pre-workout nervous stomach (which I’ve had lately, whether it’s going on even a short run or trying a new spin class, I just feel sick beforehand)– it wasn’t there. Or at least not ANYWHERE near how it usually is. And here’s why I think that is:

 

  1. I knew that this was only 2 miles longer than what we’ve already done, and that felt do-able. I also mentally divided the route up into basically three 5k’s. I know the trail pretty well so it felt good to even finish the first portion and know we were ⅓ of the way done, etc.
  2. I knew we could pause anytime, and we did. We paused at about 1 mile for Haley to re-tie her shoes so they fit better; just after mile 3 when my feet started to cramp, and I just took my shoes off and rubbed them out for a couple minutes; probably around mile 5 when Haley’s knee was feeling funky so we paused again to stretch; then briefly at around mile 6.5/7 to use the restroom but it was closed so we just stretched for a moment, ate a couple of Honey Stinger chews, and kept running. (According to my Garmin, our total running time was 1:35, and elapsed time was 1:42, so our pauses were maybe just a couple minutes each, if that).
  3. I know what I wanted to have with me for the half I’m training for, so I took this as a practice run for that: I wore my running belt (which I usually hate, but barely noticed it on this 10 miler vs. shorter runs) and had my cell phone and Honey Stinger chews in it, and also carried a handheld little water bottle with Nuun in it to stay well hydrated (usually I just use water but I really loved having Nuun on the run, and felt it helped me stay hydrated and feeling better than just water alone). I had the things I needed, if I needed them, and there’s some comfort in that for me.
  4. Likewise, I knew there was at least 1 water fountain right on the trail, and others in nearby parks. I knew there were multiple bathrooms along the route, which I didn’t use but still calmed a lot of (poop) fears. Haha!
  5. Haley. I just really enjoy our runs together. We talked most of the time, but had some moments of silence, and that was just fine too. Also, girl chat is real nice. And being able to be a gross runner and have it not matter (we each have our gross habits and it’s pretty hilarious).
  6. I think it was just so long that I was able to stay in the moment more than looking forward to the end of the run (which I sometimes do with shorter distances that are my usual training runs). I REALLY enjoyed running 10 miles, which is so surprising to me, but it just felt like a journey more than my usual run. And I stayed in that moment.
  7. And, like I said, encouragement from friends. So, so beneficial to know I had people who believe in me and were cheering me on.

 

After the half marathon in a few weeks, I don’t know if I’ll focus on shorter distances or longer distances. After some of our recent longer runs, sticking with speed work for 5k’s sounds nicer and more my thing. But after this run… I get it. I get longer distances now. I thought I could understand in theory why people liked longer (to me) runs, but after this run, I get it.

 

I think I’ll have a better idea of where I want to go with training a month from now 🙂

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wellness

Over the past few weeks I’ve shared some insights into my own emotional trauma recovery—focusing on the pathway to healing more than the trauma itself—with the hope of helping others recognize trauma and know how to heal from it. I’ve decided to put the things I have written here, all in one place. Questions? Contact me. I’m here!

 

Instagram:

 

Part 1, Identifying Emotional Trauma

Part 2, Healing from Trauma

 

Darlybird Blog:


Part 1, Prepare

Part 2, Let Go

 

Facebook Video:

 

Essential Oils for Emotional Trauma Recovery (with The Daily Essential Co.) *Note: There are SO many more primary tools for trauma recovery, but this is just how I incorporated essential oils/aromatherapy into my recovery.

 

Blog Posts on AllieBarnesYoga.com:

 

Core Beliefs + Affirmations

Book Review: You Can Heal Your Life

 

 

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running

This morning I ran the Race for Red 5k. This was an important race to me, but to explain its importance, we’ve got to do a couple flashbacks:


In June 2015 I ran the Young Living Run Through the Lavender 5k in 28:45, with an average pace of 9:15. In July 2016 I ran the Temple to Temple 5k in 28:43, again, with an average pace of 9:15. I wanted to try to get a better time last fall, but the one 5k I did was so congested for the first part of the race that I just decided to take it easy.


I signed up for the Race for Red 5k with the hope of breaking that 9 minute mile. That was the goal I told people. But as I began training, I quietly made a couple more goals: get an average 8:30 minute mile, and get in the top 10 women for the race. (After looking at past results, and considering my goal time, I felt this was a good goal).


Backing up—Training. In past years I would run and work to increase my mileage gradually, but I never followed a formal training program or did any speed workouts in there. This year I actually have a coach who has been training me both to PR in this 5k, and also for a longer distance race that I’m running later. So, I actually trained, under the supervision of someone who knows what he’s doing and is an accomplished runner himself, specifically for this race, and specifically with speed in mind.


And I did it. Unofficial result: 26:54.9 (8:39 min/mi). 7th place overall women’s. 2nd place Women ages 25-29.


…I DID IT!!!


My Garmin tracked it a little bit differently, and I did start running before I remembered to start my watch, so that’s my bad. But according to my Garmin I went 3.08 miles (like I said, whoops) in 26:51, at an 8:43 mile.


While I didn’t quite get that 8:30 I had hoped for, I got pretty darn close, especially considering my previous best 5k had an average of 9:15 min/mi. That’s a pretty solid jump there and I’m really proud of the work I did to get there.


I recognize some ways I could have raced SMARTER, and I’m excited to try again.


The race itself: I think Intermountain Healthcare organized a quality race! They were well organized, both in packet pickup and during the race itself. The course was well marked and they had people at every turn (and there were many in this course) cheerfully directing runners which way to go. They also had police officers stopping traffic both at small roads and a major road for runners to cross, and they did so in a timely manner so I didn’t even have to slow down. It was awesome. THEY were awesome. The course was relatively flat, which was nice. Running into the bright sun wasn’t that fun on the second half, but that’s just how loop courses work! We were greeted with a live band playing at the finish line and the energy was just great.

And now, the sentimental friend story portion of this blog post. I ran this race with my friends Sam (who is also my coach) and Dane. They are awesome. The three of us also have a tradition of watching Brooklyn 99 (formerly New Girl) every Thursday night, and thus I entitled our run this morning “99 Night Day Run.” 😛


I should also note, the three of us were on a Red Rock Relay team last October (which is when we decided to start the New Girl/99 Night, because being in a van all day with people will yield awesome ideas like that), and our Red Rock team was called “Saturday’s Warriors” (also the title of a Mormon musical from the 1980’s)—also named by me. SO. Just take note. My team naming skills are 2 for 2. 😉


But really, these guys are great. Sam offered to pace me initially, but I knew that HE could do awesome things in this race himself, so I made all 3 of us run separately to see what we could do. Sam, Dane and I all ended up placing in our age groups (medals!!) and Sam got 2nd overall man. WOOHOO! Then we celebrated with smoothies at GreenMe Smoothies in Orem. So good.


I loved this race this morning. I feel accomplished and strong, and eager to see what more I can do with the 5k distance.
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running

A couple months ago my awesome roommate Suzy sat down and listed off a bunch of races she had signed up for this season. At the time I was running, had some goals, had some races in mind, but hadn’t signed up for any yet (or maybe signed but but hadn’t told anyone yet, as I do. Ha!) Long story short, Suzy is awesome, I decided to make some solid running commitments for the season, and I decided to do Suzy’s first race of the season with her: the Payson Pay-It-Forward 5k.


Pros: Cost only $1! The race was created to encourage people to get out and run, and not let a race entry fee deter people from signing up. The race included a 1 mile run and a 5k, all sharing that first mile together. That first mile surrounded by families and more kids than I’ve ever seen at a race ever? So dang cute. This was a very family friendly event, and very accessible to anyone. They also had a nice folk band playing at the Start/Finish line. All the volunteers were super nice. It was just a happy place to be!


Cons: NO SHADE. MOSTLY HILLS. Especially the last two miles. Ha! We did not expect that. I took this run as more of a training run for another upcoming 5k, and I did hit my goal times for each of my mile splits. But dang. It was tough.


But, I think that made the ending even better—the park at the finish line is fully shaded, they provided water and fruit, and there was that nice folk band playing and plenty of seating.


And look at all we accomplished before 9:30am!


I definitely recommend this race if you want to get your family involved, if you want a quality race for a very low cost, or if you want a good hill training run.

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wellness
Leading up to the Trust Your Gut Daily Essential Co. Cleanse this month (starts May 15!), I’m trying to cut back on sugar so the cleanse won’t be a total shock to my body! Here are some of the substitutions and tools I’m using to make an easier transition:

Instead of cake, eat…

Some people can eat fruit for dessert and feel satisfied, and that’s great. But on days when I want to EAT EVERYTHING, a more filling substitution (for me) is ⅓ cup oatmeal cooked with ⅓ cup water and just under ⅓ cup flaxseed milk, with some cocoa powder (maybe a teaspoon or two, I just eye it), cook it according to the directions, then stir in some peanut butter. Mmm.


Instead of soda, drink…


Sparkling water is always my go-to when trying to cut back on soda (or rather, if I’m drinking soda daily, I go from caffeinated soda to caffeine free, and/or fewer days a week of drinking soda, then drink more sparkling water). I prefer unflavored sparkling water, and I just started adding in one or two drops of grapefruit or lemon essential oil to it. This is my new treat! It’s so refreshing to me.


According to Sara Wilson (of I Quit Sugar)…


Sara wrote a whole book about how to quit sugar in 6 weeks and I just think she’s a fantastic woman and is contributing to the world in very meaningful ways. One of the things she suggests for the first couple of weeks is increasing your protein as you’re decreasing your sugar intake. I try to do this and I think it helps keep me full and satisfied.


When you just want to eat everything…


doTERRA Slim & Sassy gum
. I love this stuff. Since initially trying it a couple months back, I always keep it with me to help ease those cravings, and also because I just think it tastes really good. It’s a flavor you likely haven’t tasted before (each piece of gum contains a drop of Slim & Sassy essential oil, which contains Grapefruit, Lemon, Peppermint, Ginger, and Cinnamon), which I’d think could help redirect some of those impulses we have around food (dessert right after meals, multiple afternoon snacks, even soda cravings, just by introducing a new flavor in to the mix with this blend).


And, maybe the most obviously…


Water. Drink so much water. Wake up and drink water first thing. Some people say lukewarm water, I say whatever water you want to drink. Drink it. You can even add in some apple cider vinegar and/or lemon juice (just a bit) to get your digestion going faster. Drinking water first thing in the morning (and throughout the day) will help you maintain proper hydration, feel full faster around mealtime (and helping you not overeat), and is just so vital to great physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing.


Want to do a little spring detox with me and my gal pals? Contact me! Let’s get this going!

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meditation, wellness

Years ago I did an exercise where I had two pieces of paper and on each one I drew three circles—a small core, then a bigger circle around that, then a bigger circle around that. One page was titled “Positive Core Beliefs,” the other titled “Negative Core Beliefs.” In the most centered circle, the Core, I wrote “I am…” then wrote the positive or negative beliefs I had about myself (example of positive: I am creative; example of negative: I am not worth the time). The next circle out from the core was for Emotions. In this circle, I wrote the emotions I felt when I was living in those negative or positive core beliefs (example of positive: fulfilled; example of negative: depressed). And finally, the outermost circle was for Behaviors. When I am experiencing these positive or negative emotions, what am I doing? How am I behaving?


I wrote out these core beliefs about three years ago, and they’re still the same. Maybe that means I haven’t worked through the junk, or maybe they are just ingrained in me and will be something I have to work through my entire life. Probably a mix of both. But I think the thing to focus on is:


What core am I living out of?


Make those charts (or make lists of Core Beliefs → Emotions → Behaviors, or whatever version of this activity resonates with you). Put the paper with your Positive Core Beliefs somewhere you can see it every day (pin it on your wall, tape it to your mirror, put it by your bed, etc.). Aim to live in these positive beliefs + emotions + behaviors a majority of the time. If you fall into negative beliefs, that’s totally fine. Be mindful, be aware, and come back to those positive core beliefs. Take it minute by minute, hour by hour, whatever you need to do. Aim to make those stretches of time in the positive beliefs longer, and the times in the negative beliefs shorter and less frequent.


This can be hard because at least for me, those negative beliefs are very real. They all have a basis and my mind can easily be triggered and fall into that place. But that’s where the next exercise comes in:


Affirmations.


Grab a new piece of paper, a pen or pencil, and reference your Negative Core Beliefs paper. On the new piece of paper, write statements that directly oppose each negative core belief. One by one. Let’s work off of that example I said earlier: “I am not worth the time”. So for this, I could write something like “I am worth the time.” Do this for each negative belief.


Seems simple enough, right? And maybe even so simple that you think, how could this make any difference in my life?



Now take that piece of paper, find a mirror, look at yourself, and say those counter-statements to yourself. “I am worth the time.” Say it 10 times. 20 times. 100 times. In my experience, it becomes a very powerful phrase.


So, to summarize: Reference your Positive Core Beliefs daily, and actively work to change your Negative Core Beliefs into Positive Core Beliefs by stating your counter-statements daily.


One of my favorite books about this is called You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay. I wrote about it here. This book is all about affirmations—which sounds so simple, but she goes into so much detail, with so many ideas and exercises to do. I highly recommend it. I think I borrowed it from my library, then got it in audiobook to listen to on a road trip, then came home from that road trip and immediately ordered the book from Amazon. It’s so good. There are many exercises in there that I have yet to practice, but I will begin to be more diligent about this, and look forward to sharing what I learn with you.


We can heal our lives, friends. I have faith in that.


*By the time this is published, I will have done an Instagram Live on this topic on Saturday morning at 9am MST. I hope both help explain this idea! Let me know if you have any questions and I can do a follow up!


*Photo by the amazing Alicia Fish.
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