Alcohol & Running

That glass of wine or cup of beer --- is it adding value to your life and more importantly, is it negatively impacting your life?

Alcohol can be a touchy subject and trust me, this gal delights in a glass of wine but my heart and soul keeps going back to these questions:
Is it good for me?
Is it harming me?

Even the Bible can disagree.

Go, eat your food with gladness, and drink your wine with a joyful heart, for God has already approved what you do. 
~ Ecclesiastes 9:7

Do not get drunk on wine, which lead to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. 
~ Ephesians 5:18

Stop drinking only water, and use a little wine because of your stomach and your frequent illnesses. 
~ 1 Timothy 5:23

Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler; whoever is led astry by them is not wise. 
~ Proverbs 20:1

And this brings me to today’s daily reading from the New Testament.

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 
~ Galatians 5:16-24

But being a woman of faith and science (yes, that is possible), I decided it was time to buckle up, sit down, and do some research biology-wise.

How alcohol is metabolized:
The liver is responsible for metabolizing 95% of the ingested alcohol. The rest is excreted via breath, urine, sweat, feces, milk, and saliva. All ethyl alcohol is first converted to acetaldehyde and then into acetate/acetic acid before it is broken down into water and carbon dioxide for simpler excretion. Acetaldehyde is a highly toxic substance and known carcinogen. Not something I really want in me, right?

Alcohol is broken down in the liver with the help of the enzymes ADH (alcohol dehydrogenase) and ALDH (aldehyde dehydrogenase). Rates of metabolism by the liver can vary but in general, the liver process one ounce of liquor (or one standard drink) in one hour. In other words, one ounce of alcohol will produce a 0.015 blood-alcohol concentration and a person will this concentration will rid their body of essentially all alcohol in 10 hours. Again, not a situation I really want to be in.
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I won’t go into details but the health consequences of alcohol include:
Alcohol metabolism and cancer
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD)
Alcoholic Liver Disease
Alcoholic Pancreatitis

And more importantly, the runner in me has been asking, how does alcohol intake impact running performance?

Perhaps there is a bit of an ego or pride involved here (I know, not good Christian qualities) but the question has been in the back of my mind on whether or not that glass of wine could be negatively impacting my running performance. I do feel it is negatively impacting me through headaches and poorer sleep quality but could it be impacting my running and resting heart rate?

Alcohol is a powerful diuretic and dehydration and running do not mix. This could result in muscle cramps, muscle pulls, muscle strains, general fatigue, etc which are all related to being dehydrated. Alcohol adds non-nutritional calories to your diet and inhibits the metabolism of essential vitamins and minerals such as inhibiting the conversion of B vitamins to generate energy from carbs, protein, and fat. So far this does not sound good to the runner body.

Yes, there are some reported benefits of alcohol on heart health but too much alcohol can increase your risk of heart disease by raising your blood pressure and blood lipids. Alcohol can negatively impact recovery due to its dehydrating nature and may interfere with glycogen synthesis. Since alcohol is a blood vessel dilator, alcohol may impair healing from muscle soreness and more acute injuries.

And what about resting heart rate? Alcohol does indeed impact. At first sip your heart rate begins to increase and even though reports say it then does come back down, the fitbit community has repeatedly chimed in a 2-3 beat increase in RHR the day after drinking alcohol. And for those science minds, the increase is due to alcohol being a vasodilator and dilated blood vessels means more blood flow and that means more heart beats.

There is so much more to this story and it is hard to sum up all the impacts on alcohol in one article but in a nutshell, I think I have unveiled why the Bible seems to contradict itself.

Alcohol does have some good to it, but is also has some bad. I think it is a “drug” easily overlooked in the potential damage it can do. It has become the social norm to go out and grab a drink and I have seen many runners race to a bottle of beer after crossing the marathon line to celebrate their success. And yes, I always thought that was ridiculously crazy - the grabbing a beer, not running a marathon. That is wonderfully crazy!

I also feel I have unveiled enough reasons to support my underlying nagging feeling that alcohol just isn’t for me. Yes, I do like that glass of wine and I do love to sip on one when cooking but I also love my life and want to give 100% to all I do and maybe, just maybe, foregoing that glass of wine will help me grow into a better wife, mom, runner, follower of Christ.


Product Review: The Little Catholic Box

Aloha y'all!

I am excited to share a gem that I found with you. My faith is important to me and hey, I love getting stuff in the mail and surprising others with stuff in the mail. While waiting for darling daughter at horse the other day I started browsing through faith-based, and more specifically, Catholic-based, subscription boxes. I was delighted to stumble upon The Little Catholic Box.

To be honest, a nice website page design and soothing colors help me stay on a page a wee bit longer and this page had colors that soothed my soul and the design was easy to browse even via an iPhone. I was also delighted that they offered a way to get just one box with NO auto-renewal to cancel later if you want to cancel. I love the idea of being able to just try a box and see if I like it without worrying about coming back later to cancel an ongoing subscription. So subscription box peeps, if you offer a box think seriously about a one box offer with no strings attached. People will like it as I can't believe I am the only one who digs this idea.

I was also intrigued to see that not only could I get their October or November box (September was already sold out) but that they had boxes geared towards kiddo's. I was immediately sucked into the idea to get one for darling daughter to celebrate her stepping up into ministry service as an altar server. This was not an easy road for her and she had doubts but she is a shining light for so many and it all started with her saying "Yes" to God.

I also splurged and got myself the October box, to be shipped later, to celebrate my consecration to Mary -- a process I am undergoing and will conclude on October 7th, my birthday AND the day to honor Our Lady of the Rosary. Win-Win!

Since my order had two boxes in one and there was no way to say, send this one here and that one there, I added an order note asking if they could ship darling's box in her name and provided a gift message. I work in order fulfillment and understood this means that note would need to be read by a human and take a little extra work to make it happen but I had faith. Or hope. I had hope.

It paid off well. Since her box was not tied to a month it shipped immediately and was here in a blink of an eye and that says A LOT since we are on Maui and everything takes a year and a day to get here. Okay, slight exaggeration but you get the point.

The box was beautiful! And yes, addressed to her name. Some kind soul took the time to use a white out pen to take off my auto-filled name on the address label and wrote in her name. How cool is that?

When darling opened the box she was impressed by the presentation and touched each part with care...starting with the personalized gift message that I included in the order for her. It was delightfully printed out in a beautiful text and size and taped right on top of the tissue paper that she delicately pulled back to reveal the contents.

I also want to say that they included a piece of paper attached to the box lid that detailed what was included in the box and where it came from or could be sourced if you want more. Darling referred back to this with each item to learn more about them.

The box contained perfect things to make any girl feel special. And yes, this box is geared for girls but this Momma loves it equally. They also have a box geared for boys. Just saying...

She received some lotion and lip balm that if I remember right was created by nuns! She also has some prayer stickers, a tiny saint zipper pull, a beautiful glicee that can be set on her desk or hang on the wall, a journal, a bookmark, and pens to journal with. She LOVED each item and I have to say again, I am impressed by the quality of the contents and the lovely presentation. What a perfect gift!

And I just want to say, I was not paid to write this post. I received nothing free. I am writing this because I really want to share the word about this awesome company that impressed me with their beautiful product and lovely customer service.

But if you want to support me and receive a great deal, you can receive 10% off of Bondi Band with my code, EGFITNESS. As a Bondi Band Ambassador I will receive a small commission through any purchase you make through my link or with my coupon code (not valid on any of their AMAZING sales that go beyond my 10% off). Feel free to spread the news and share my link/code. Thanks, y'all!

P.S. I just checked the links and saw that there Fall Collection and Halloween gear is up and ready to be purchased. Oh nelly!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for my life, for my child, and for my faith.

Daily Bible Verse: Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one's youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate. 
~ Psalm 127:3-5


Flying Free

There is something magical when you find yourself on the right path in life. It may not always feel easy or seem right but at the end of a hot and grueling 4 hours and you walk away feeling that was time well spent, you know you are on the right path.

You have seen me flounder a bit lately with finding my purpose and meaning in life as I struggle between what the secular world says I should be versus what my inner being wants to be, which the more I learn, is closely tied to who God created me to be.

I want to be a stay at home mom. I want to knead bread and make fresh bread, homemade dinner, handmade crafts, cook, clean, pickle, can, and play galore. I do. By golly, even the idea of home schooling intrigues me. Baking cookies, gardening, sweating and working my butt off at home.

But that is not where I can be in life. My income is needed to help support my family and dear hubby and I are doing a pretty good job of ensuring darling daughter is with us when she is not in school. And I may be pushing my limits as I craft and garden away with darling, toy with homemade pickles, homemade cleaning supplies, homemade dinners (as often as I can), and homemade bread via the bread machine.

This leaves me feeling tired and over extended at times and I got to confess, I get grouchy. Overwhelmed, unappreciated, what is the purpose grouchy.

And then after 4 hours at the stables watching darling daughter struggle to get it all in check and lovingly care for her horse it hit me. Life is a struggle and this is where I am supposed to be. Yes, there is a part of me that wanted to run that marathon on October 15th and I dreamed of running it with dear hubby but in all reality, he really won't want to run my "slow" pace and I don't really want to run by him feeling "slow" and I don't want to run. I mean, I do but I don't want to train. Training has taken over my life. For 8 years I have been officially in training mode for the next big race not feeling good enough for hitting my plan and getting tired and grouchy. I have had enough.

I want to fly free in life and stop worrying about x miles, what I am eating, how much I weigh, or if I am good enough. What is good enough anyhow? And who can tell me if I am good enough? Not me. I have been lying to myself for years saying I am not good enough and I have had enough.

It is time to fly free.

To be me. The me God wants me to be. The me who can sit and sip on a glass of white wine while darling daughter crafts, we watch Heartland, and I blog because I want to. I am having enough of worrying about tomorrow. I have had enough of worrying, stressing, planning, being serious. I am done. And in my mind right now I am singing, "I don't want to grow up, I'm a Toys R'Us Kid" and I want to be young and fly free. Worry free. Stress free. Heaviness free. Guilt free. Free to be me. The me God created me to be. The me free of daily headaches and achy shoulders. Free.

I would like to say that makes it all easy, peasy, lemon, squeezy but it isn't. I have not one inkling who God wants me to be besides a wife, mom, and a crazy Catholic loving woman. But what else am I supposed to be doing?

I don't know but I will fly free following him and learning day by day what I am to do and I am going to do the best to ground each day on my faith and continue to turn to fitness to keep me going strong in more ways than one.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for the beautiful scenery at the stables.

Daily Bible Verse: Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. ~ Matthew 6:34


Internal Struggles: Finding your path

Your mind is a powerful tool that can work for your benefit or against you at times. I have been struggling with mine recently. Struggling with staying positive and not so hard on myself. Struggling to stay joyful and confident that I did make the best choice to ween off meds and am fully capable of standing firm on living a life with episodes of depression, anxiety, etc. and not letting those moments rule my life.

It isn't always easy and my struggle now is that my life is changing but part of me is clinging to the patterns of old. My security blanket.

For so long I identified myself as a runner and the miles I logged each week defined me. It was easy to get into that mindset as I moved from a casual runner to running my first marathon in 2011. In that training, mileage increases became natural tendencies to validate myself and my worth.

But life changes.

And change is good.

But when that change is so different from how you have defined yourself for so long it can lead to an internal struggle that I am currently trying to work my way through. You see, running is not bringing me the joy it used to so I am choosing to run less and cross train more. Cross training brings me joy and I honestly believe was a gift from God to help me through this period of transition in life.

But at the end of the week with many 1 miles days resulting in low mileage weeks I feel like a failure for only running x miles versus x miles. You can fill in those x's however you want but a part of me is having a hard time swallowing less than 20 miles a week, and sometimes barely more than 10, when I was running 30-40 a week and my husband is out running like crazy with everyone telling me how awesome he is. It makes me wonder if I am doing enough but deep down, I know I am. I am doing more.

I have been getting up around 3:30 am, reading my daily bible readings, reading my consecration to Mary daily reading, running at least a mile, and cross training before heading out to work at 5:30 am. That is a lot and a huge accomplishment that I am starting my day with so many successes but yet I feel like I am flopping because of that silly number thing. It drives me nuts as I move through this inner struggle.

It is like being stuck on a bridge looking back to the island of your past and wanting that so badly but looking forward to the island of your growth and wanting that so badly and being torn. Which way to go? Which way to go? Which way to go?

And I hear myself as I tell my daughter in her internal struggles, just make a choice and go. Move forward and grow. Trust. Have faith.

And I am afraid. Afraid I am failing or making excuses for not working hard enough, running long enough, giving enough but yearning ever so deeply to just curl up at the feet of God and say, show me the way. And yet, I think He is. He is saying let go. Why don't you trust me? Move forward. Have faith. Numbers do not define you. Those are worldly things. Grow. Grow. Give more. Grow!

So in a nutshell I am lost. I want to move forward and grow but I do not know what that means. I see the comforts of my past, my definition of me of the past, my safety net, and I want to cling to that out of fear but know I need to move forward in faith.

I had dreams of running more marathons, a relay, and an ultra one day and right now, I am not sure if that will ever happen. I feel weak letting go of dreams but wonder if those dreams are really my dreams today or just dreams I grew comfortable with. Just secular dreams when I have greater spiritual dreams yearning to be exposed and realized.

I am lost and floundering a bit and that makes it hard to blog and share. But perhaps sharing my struggles and lost feeling is what I am meant to do today. Together, we can encourage one another to have faith, to trust more deeply, and to move forward in life even when it means letting go of old dreams to realize new and bigger dreams....even if you are clueless about what those dreams are.

And at the end of the day, I will be happy I choose to run to God and let go of self doubt and negative thoughts. Perhaps this is what it means to lose your self to follow God. If only I could be so lucky!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for my daughter's unconditional love.

Daily Bible Verse: Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him. And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.” So he told them this parable: “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. ~ Luke 15:1-5


A New Month, A Fresh Start

Aloha y'all,

It is September! How did that happen?! I have not a clue how time can fly by so quickly and am pressed for time but wanted to sit with you for a minute and bring you up to speed.

Hurricane Harvey hit my home town. It has torn me about emotionally but thanks be to God, my family is safe....for the most part. Unfortunately while the storm was raging and flood waters rising, my brother-in-law was rushed to the ER and then life flighted to another hospital in Houston and has undergone brain surgery. Please pray for his healing and that my sister remains strong and feels the power and grace of God.

This all made me take another good hard look at my life and what matters most. Family. Friends. People.

My daughter is growing like a weed and is becoming more involved with horse lessons and competitions are in her future. This comes at a cost both in time and money. This too is making me refocus on what matters in life.

With all this in mind, I have stepped back as a Beachbody coach. I still love their programs and products and I will still be keeping my BOD All Access Pass up and running because trust me, this momma needs those workouts, but I am stepping back and redirecting those financial funds to horse related items and things. It is just what is best right now for me and my family. Plus, for awhile I have been uncomfortable with the advice for coaches to message, message, message, ask, ask, ask for people to join in. I do not like hard-pressure salespeople and that just is not my style.

I am still active as a certified running coach and am more than willing to help you with your running training plans. You can email me for details. In addition, darling daughter and I are ramping up our crafting products so stay tuned for an online showing of those.

I will still share my fitness journey and hope you will stay along for the ride.