Muscle TLC - My top 4 go to's for aching muscles

Between running and cross training, and everyday life, I can end up with some sore and achy muscles on more days than I would like. This can range from sore legs to aching shoulders as I tend to carry all the weight in the world in my shoulders. Ladies, I bet you do the same.

Fortunately, I do have a few go to's that help ease the pain away.

#1 - Oils

I adore essential oils not only because they smell so good, and that in itself is relaxing, but because they work so well in my life. I have some amazing muscle blends that I can mix with an almond oil or coconut oil carrier base and apply to super sore muscles and it helps. I tend to do this right before climbing into bed and sleep my aches away....more or less. I won't lie, it won't keep DOMS away.

#2 - Weighted Blanket

Bondi Band has added weighted blankets to their product line-up and you can find them HERE under the FEATURED header. And yes, this is an affiliate link. The blankets are currently on sale so I can't promise it will work but feel free to try my friends and family code EGFITNESS to get an additional 10% off. Never hurts to try! I have also found that sleeping under this blanket not only helps aching muscles feel better but also eases my anxiety and helps me sleep more peacefully and good sleep also aids in muscle recovery. Win-Win!!!

#3 - Drink Water

I know this may seem ridiculously simple but I also feel many of us are walking around dehydrated and not even realize it. I have taught my daughter at the first sign of a headache think....am I thirsty? Have I had enough water? And to sip on some water. It also helps flush out toxins in your body and I truly believe it aids in my muscle recovery. On a side note, it also seems to help my own headaches and tummy bloating issues. Just saying....

#4 - BATHS!

There is nothing better than a good soak in a tub to ease worries and pains away and I can say with 100% confidence on my part, when I am doing a good job of taking regular baths, my body aches less. When I let them fall to the wayside because I am "too busy" soreness lingers longer in my body. And I love bath bombs! Bath salts! Anything to make my baths more delightful and yes, darling daughter has also learned the bath trick to relaxing and easing her aches from riding horses at least three times a week. We indulged in a bath pillow and bath tray and it also serves as a wonderful way for her to get in some of her reading homework. Now that is one smart girl! Why didn't I think of that when I was her age????

We get our bath products HERE and yes, this is another affiliate link. Just be warned, if you get the black bath bombs, they smell AMAZING but will leave your tub dirty.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for natural ways to ease my aches and pains.

Daily Bible Verse: Anxiety in a man's heart weighs him down but a good word makes him glad. ~ Proverbs 12:25


Cross Training Success

Cross training matters. For runners, it is a way to add strength and flexibility to muscles that regular running works. It can also prevent overuse injuries from developing and improve running form. And ladies, as you get older those cross training workouts become more important.

In the past year and a half I have added two essential elements to my workout routine to target flexibility, which it seems I am losing over time, and strength. Weight training is a good thing and can help decrease bone loss too. And trust me, it won't bulk you up monster style but will give you the added strength to do your day-to-day activities.

My goal in 2017 was to do 52 new cross training workouts to keep my workouts fresh and exciting PLUS changing things up tricks your body and works your body better. I crushed my goal with 62 new workouts and for giggles, I am listing them here as maybe one or two may sound fun to you.

I am excited to move into 2018 with the goal of 70 new workouts and I better get started cranking some of them out. I will need to "steal" the TV from darling daughter while I cross train because in the past couple of weeks I have been streaming over my phone and listening to the instructions of a program I LOVE - Core de Force.

And since I am no longer a Beachbody Coach, I get nothing from telling you about these programs but if you want to support me in other endeavors....

I am a Bondi Band Ambassador and you can receive 10% off of most purchases with my code EGFITNESS and I am am a Elk River Soaps affiliate and darling daughter and I love their bath bombs. So much so that we invested in a bath pillow and tray to make the most out of that soaking time....and that is really good muscle recovery for a runner/cross trainer and horseback rider.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for those who have supported me through mu affiliate links and more.

Daily Bible Verse: Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. ~ 1 Corinthians 13:4-7


2017 in numbers

It's 2018. Can you believe it? Are you as excited as I am?

Before I go into what I planned to blog about I want to take moment to thank God for all that He has done for me in 2017 (and all my life for that matter). Many of you know that 2017 was a brutally tough year for me as I struggled with depression and anxiety at levels I had never experienced before. My mileage dropped as just running one mile was a battle of wills with every step feeling like I was carrying a ton of bricks...or ten tons! Rest mile days made no difference. Changed nutrition made no difference. Blood tests confirmed I was healthy and good to go. Nothing made a difference....except God.

I spent December in prayer with a Christmas novena (okay, 2 novenas!) and on December 26th I felt those chains on my body and legs begin to crumble and break away. And I am beyond grateful to be feeling some joy again in my workouts and that is encouraging as my power word for 2018 is JOY.

Each year is a year of growth and in 2017 I did grow in fortitude (2017's power word) and even those small growth rings matter. Those baby steps still carried me to my 6 year streakiversary on December 30.
video recorded on December 30, 2017

For those who are wondering about this, I started my running streak on December 30, 2011 and have run at least one mile every day since.

I have been tracking yearly running miles since 2011 and here is how that wraps up:
  • 2011 - 986 miles
  • 2012 - 1,460 miles
  • 2013 - 1,786 miles
  • 2014 - 1,767 miles
  • 2015 - 1,545 miles
  • 2016 - 1,220 miles
  • 2017 - 1,071 miles
I refuse to get discouraged by the downward trend since 2013 because life happens, my daughter is getting more active and I am spending more time with her and her activities plus crafting PLUS in 2016 I started cross training like a champ. 

And I mean champ.

My goal in 2017 was to do 52 new cross training workouts. I did 62. As of December 31, 2011, I have logged 8,830 streak miles. That makes me happy and sets me up for challenges in 2018. 70 new cross training workouts AND to break 10,000 streak miles so I need a 1,170 mile year. That is totally doable. 

For New Years Resolutions - I am not really making any. I prefer challenges and goals which I continually address and improve upon throughout the years. However, on December 30 I tossed out my crazy idea to dear hubby to go alcohol free in streak year 7 to see how that impacts my overall health and performance. Pray that he joins me in this challenge. And I am taking on my 2017 goal again to read the bible in its entirety and darling daughter got a chuckle that I am going to do it again. It is a great way to start the day and has become a part of my day I cherish as much as cuddling with my gem, watching her ride, running and working out (on the good days), and just striving to be the best me that I can be. 

I resigned from my Silent No More Regional Coordinator role in 2017 as I felt I was not achieving what I was meant to achieve even though the cause is still near and dear to my heart and I won't be silent. But I will devote my time and energy to the Healing Prayer Ministry that has started at my parish and I am loving being part of the lead team along with darling daughter. I feel at home with this and believe that the weekly meetings and prayers also contributed to my return to joy. I do not feel I am all the way there but trust I will be and that each struggle I face is meant to teach me something. 

I can't change the world but I can change how I see the world and everyone in it. I choose to focus on the good and to retrain my thought process to not get stuck in should's, hold up's, doubts, and negativity. I am done hurting myself and am here for you.

God bless and happy New Year!!!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for my dark journey in 2017 because it makes the light more beautiful to see.

Daily Bible Verse: Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; be not frightened, neither be dismayed; for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. ~ Joshua 1:9


My Christmas Wish

Christmas is just around the corner and I have been spending the Advent season trying to prepare...at least spiritually. In terms of baking cookies, etc. I feel I have flopped. There just isn't enough hours in the day to do all I want, or need, to do. And I know this struggle is not unique to me but at times I wonder if I am letting darling daughter down.

I can't help but spend some time reflecting on Christmas of the past. When I was a child. Setting up the tree with my family, my Dad putting up Christmas lights, baking cookies with my mom and sisters, or just eating the baking my mom worked hard to do on her own. The house smelled and looked like Christmas and I loved lying by the Christmas tree looking up at the lights and moving the figurines around in the manger. I wish I could go back there right now as that is not the Christmas of today.

But happy memories don't end there. Sometimes we went to my grandparents', sometimes we surprised them, and sometimes I got to see a white Christmas of Michigan versus the green Christmas of Texas. But regardless of where we were, the house always seemed full of family, laughter, fun...and yes, we bickered at times. When you get kids together they can bicker. Okay, the same is true of adults but it was good times. And those good times are not the Christmas of today.

Christmas Eve mass was our thing and we came home looking for Rudolph's shiny red nose, often spotted it, and my Dad bravely would go inside to ensure we didn't surprise Santa. Christmas Eve was a late night as we opened gifts and eventually fell asleep to play and enjoy our gifts more the following morning.

Later I got two Christmas celebrations as Christmas Eve was with some family and Christmas Day with others. I got two different feasts and two amazing days to cherish family and celebrate Jesus' birth. This is really cool when you look back on it but yet, that is not the Christmas of today.

Things these days are very different. The house is not full of family. There are no bickering kids but maybe a bickering hubby and daughter. And as much as I try to get the sights and smells of Christmas, sometimes I wonder if I am doing enough. A family of 3 separated from family by a huge vast ocean is not the same as a family of 5 where road trips were possible and airfare more affordable.

Since 1998, Christmas just hasn't been the same and I miss my extended family holidays. I miss my Dad and I know I will never be able to spend another Christmas with him but I would be over the top ecstatic to spend the holidays with family even if it included bickering. It isn't that I don't love my family of 3 but my heart yearns for more.

I know I can't make that happen in a few days but I am not giving up on my Christmas wish, my Christmas prayer, for a more joy-filled house that has less bickering, arguing, judging and more loving, accepting, listening. A more joy-filled heart for myself and that the burden of depression, anxiety, and financial stress and worry is lessened...or I am better armored to manage them. I want the true beauty of Christmas to radiate as much as that newborn babe radiated and the star shone so bright guiding the wise men. I want to feel a strong embrace of God's love and let go of the worries of this world. I want my faith to explode in growth and to just be at peace accepting God's love and not be drawn down by the secular world, unkind words, and unkind actions. I want the strength to not let those things hurt me and negatively impact me. I need God's strength and I believe in the magic of Christmas and that my prayers will come true.

Merry Christmas and if you are with extended family today, please give them an extra hug or kiss.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for happy Christmas memories.

Daily Bible Verse: We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you. ~ 2 Corinthians 4:8-12