Transformation/Throwback Tuesday

I was searching my old-old blog tonight, trying to find old pics of me running to see how long I’ve had my running shorts, haha! (Turns out the oldest picture I can find with them is only 4 years old, but it feels like I’ve had them for longer! But I guess thank goodness I haven’t). But I ended up finding something FAR better.

On October 9, 2009 I wrote the following intentions:

For the past several months, I have had intentions building in my mind.
These are two of the ones that have stuck around.

  • Become a certified yoga instructor. Look for chances to offer the blessings of this practice to those who normally would not be able to afford going to an expensive studio.
  • Run a 10k, half marathon, or a relay race. Any of those will do. I just really like running.

So, basically, I’m thinking that if I publicly announce these things on this blog, I’ll actually get them done. And by the time I save up enough money to enroll in a yoga instructor training course, I’ll be about ready to do that! 🙂

crow pose, probably held for .2 seconds, october 2009. header photo, crow pose 2017.

I don’t remember writing these. I remember having thoughts that I’d like to become a yoga instructor someday, but at that time I only casually practiced, and mostly at home. I remember thinking it’d be cool to do a half marathon someday, but at that time, I only casually ran/walked some 5k races, probably just casually run/walking a couple miles some evenings to be ready to just finish that distance come race day.

You guys.

In 2014 I ran my first 10k, and then my first relay.

In 2016 I completed my 200-hour yoga teaching certification.

In 2017 I ran my first half marathon, then my second.

(Uh, also, p.s. Thank you to my parents for funding my yoga teacher training. That whole bit about “saving up enough money to enroll” didn’t actually come to pass. Whoops. Gratefully, practicing better money management is already an intention I’ve set and am actively working on, haha!)

You guys, I did these things. These dreams and intentions that seemed so far off, so unlikely, especially considering how little I was working toward them at the time. It makes me think, what other someday-thoughts have I had in my life (I can already think of some), and what would happen if I focused even a little bit more on working toward them? Writing them down? Being more intentional about my time and efforts in those particular areas of life?

Same questions for you. What intentions can you set today? What are those quiet someday-thoughts you’ve had? Then start making them happen.

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Header photo by Tiffani Berthold at The Station Fitness Studio in Orem, Utah!

Five of my FAVORITE ways to self-care + treat myself

I mentioned this briefly in some of my posts about my last race, but I truly, truly believe that focusing on self care and healing my body over the last couple of months helped me get my personal records for that race, AND race strong and not deal with my usual issues (shoulder pain, dehydration). I’m STILL taking the time to care for my body and spirit, and dial all of those little issues in, but gosh, I just can’t say enough about it.

This has been a game changer for me.

Self-care can be different for each person, and it has been different for me at different times in my life, but right now, these are the things that help me feel my absolute best. They help me relax—body and mind—and my theory is that when we practice being in that relaxed state, we can better access it throughout our day—whether that be at work, exercising, interacting with others, etc.

I’ve chosen 5 different self-care practices to share with you today, all at different price ranges so you have options of new things to try, regardless of your budget!

– Meditation Apps (FREE!) — I’ve used a number of different meditation apps over the last couple of years, but lately I’m really loving Insight Timer! It is free, and also has a social component to it (I have only like, one friend on there, but it’s fun to see what meditations she’s doing, and I’ll click over to those to try them out sometime). There are hundreds of free guided meditations, calming music tracks, speeches, and more on the app, in a lot of different categories. I’ve really been loving it.

– Lemon Water ($0.50-$1) — Lemon helps to detox the body, and the flavor also lifts my mood! Sometimes I drink it cold, and sometimes I warm it up and add a little bit of apple cider vinegar for more detoxification and digestion benefits. I’ve even bought a really beautiful ceramic mug to drink my lemon water in, to make it an occasion. Don’t have fresh lemon? Consider buying a bottle of lemon essential oil (I recommend doterra, as I firmly trust their quality of oils, and they are safe to ingest for most people. Lemon costs $10 and will last you a while)—the taste of lemon essential oil is a bit different than fresh lemon juice, as you are consuming the cold pressed lemon RIND instead of the juice, but it still holds benefits, and is delicious in its own way!

– Yoga ($15-35) — You already know I love yoga, but I’ve been trying to do more of it lately, even just in my own tiny bedroom. While there are many different yoga programs out there (from free on YouTube, to sometimes close to $100/month at certain yoga studios), I’m just going to direct you over to my own offerings in this area 😉 – While I have some videos up on my tiny YouTube channel (more coming soon!), I offer quite a few more videos and materials on my Udemy course (get it for only $15 with code INSTA40), and will be teaching local classes again in Orem, Utah (pre-register for sessions here)! I love teaching yoga, and I love sharing that with you!

– Infrared Sauna ($15-30) — I have fallen in LOVE with the infrared sauna! I first heard about it when writer Sarah Wilson shared about its benefits for anxiety specifically (here and here), but when my body was having a hard time recovering from some workouts last December, I finally decided to give it a try (because it’s great to help the body detox and heal as well). This is one of the simplest ways for me to relax—like, completely relax! I just step into that warmth and my whole body calms down. It’s a very meditative time for me and I value that so much. For more info on infrared saunas, see my past Instagram post here. Local Utah friends, I recommend Seven Serenity in Orem for their infrared sauna!

– Massage + Cupping ($40-100) — Shoutout to my beloved friend Kathryn Kelly—beautiful goddess and my spirit animal—for gifting me a massage for my birthday this year. I decided to try a new thing and added cupping to the session, and let me tell you, I can’t remember a time I felt THAT relaxed. The sensation of cupping was definitely new, but I wouldn’t say painful. And the massage? So good. (I’ve had massages in the past, but I don’t think I was as in tune with my body or confident enough to speak up and say what I needed. This time, I was totally fine recognizing and communicating those needs). Afterward I was practically floating on a cloud, and the parts of me that usually hold the most stress (shoulders especially) felt so loose and incredible. I kept costs low by going to a local massage school that received amazing reviews online, but I know a lot of people who are willing to invest good money for the right massage therapist who can help them with their specific needs. Do what works for you. I love my gal, so I’m going to stick with her, but I’m also going to keep her to myself for now, haha! Speaking of… time to book my next appointment! 🙂

Let me know if you try any of these things! Have any other favorite self-care tips? DM me on Instagram! I’d love to hear about them!

Strong + Gentle Podcast Show Notes: Episode 3: Allie Vincent (Schults)

Episode 3 is with the wonderful Allie Vincent! I first met Allie about 6 years ago when we were missionaries for our church in the Southern United States. At the time, Allie was allergic to gluten, wheat, corn, and dairy, and was often too nice to say no when people offered her food that she was even allergic to. Ha! I remember one night having to drive us home from a dinner appointment down the backroads and Allie opening the door every couple minutes (while I was driving) and dry heaving. We were frantically trying to get her home and safe in bed.

Allie returned home from her missionary service so, so sick. She’d have good days and bad days, but a lot of restrictions nevertheless. Over the last few years she has opened up more to family and friends about childhood trauma. She has worked hard to recover emotionally from the trauma and simultaneously, as she did the emotional healing work, her body began to recover as well. It’s been incredible to see how far she’s come both physically and emotionally.

It was so interesting talking to Allie about this healing journey of hers. While Allie has always been bubbly and full of light, it seems that her peace has increased as well. She is healthy and strong. She is loving and balanced. The beautiful qualities she has always held are more pronounced now. It is just a joy having Allie in my life. I’m so grateful that I get to share her with you on this podcast episode, and I hope you feel her light.

Strong + Gentle Podcast Show Notes: Episode 2: Sam Monsivais

Sam Monsivais. Episode 2. Sam is legit. He’s not only a stellar runner, he’s also one of the kindest people I know, always willing to help out. I didn’t know him too well until last fall when I invited him to be on a Red Rock Relay team with me, and spending a whole day in a van with 5 other people just tends to bring people together. That led to “New Girl Nights” with me, Sam, and his roommate Dane (who we also mention in the podcast). And THAT led to a 6-mile run together down a canyon on a dark, rainy November night (which, at the time, was a long run for me) at the end of a really crummy day for me (or rather, in the middle of a really crummy SEASON for me). Earlier this year when I decided to really focus on running, he was there, assigning me training runs, talking nutrition and hydration, and offering encouragement. What a guy. I’m lucky to have him as a friend.

Thanks for letting me gush. Now onto the podcast: Sam has accomplished so much as a runner in just a few short years, and it was really fun to sit down and get the facts on how he went from carrying extra weight and losing his breath playing soccer with friends, to running ultra marathons. Sam also talks a lot about injury prevention and recovery, as he was hit with an overuse injury early on in his running endeavors and had to take a break for a few months (focusing on yoga instead!).

Our conversation was pretty long, so this was edited down. Purchase the whole Strong + Gentle program to get the full conversation.

Hydration supplements we we talk about: Skratch Labs, Nuun

Strong + Gentle Podcast Show Notes: Episode 1: Chantel Stucki

In the first ever Strong + Gentle podcast episode, I talk to Chantel Stucki about her journey through emotional trauma, and how she responded to it first by running (a LOT), then finding healing through meditation, and then how she learned to love yoga. She talks about how her body and spirit have needed different things at different times, and what she is doing nowadays in her workouts, especially having just had her first baby (you’ll hear a bit from her babe in the podcast 😉 So dang cute).

Chantel and I found each other in 2014, and she has been a light in my life ever since. She is one of the most resilient, wise, strong, AND GENTLE (see what I did there?) women I know. I’ve gone through some difficult things myself over the last couple years, and I’m so grateful for Chantel for being there to comfort me, guide me, and share her insights with me from her own similar experiences. I leave every conversation with her feeling edified and ready to conquer. It’s just who she is: she loves so fully, and you can’t help but feel it even just by talking about something completely unrelated.