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The Payoff for Perseverance

Why You Should Never Give Up – Especially When Things get Tough!
By: Angela Joy

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After a recent incredibly discouraging situation in my life I learned a valuable lesson that I hope I never forget (and you won’t either).

For me, it was integral that I took the time needed to be angry, upset, and stressed. I tried everything in my power to try and ‘fix’ the situation (I think we all fall guilty to this). In return, my efforts left me discouraged, empty, angry and bitter. I wanted to give up. In fact many times I did give up.

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I took this valuable time to consider what my options were. My situation involved a career decision. I could go an alternate route, pursue other licensure, go back to my previous academic degree field of study, or keep going!

If I wanted to get to where I dreamt, hoped, prayed and desired to go – then I needed to do what was required to get there. Yes – I have come a long way. Yes – I thought I would be there by now. Yes – this would cost more money. Yes – this will cost more time. Yes – this would be incredibly difficult. Yes, yes, yes. Regardless – this is my option. And if I am one hundred percent dedicated to achieving my goal – then this is the option I am going to pursue.

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Most people around me don’t understand. My parents think my decision is ridiculous. I am sure if explained many would question, critique and criticize. But in the end, does what other people think about your life and your decisions ultimately matter? No. No, it does not.

They are not the ones waking up every day and living your life … you are! Therefore, you owe it to yourself to give your goals your ALL (regardless of what others may say). And, even if that means doing more, working extra, spending more money, dedicating more time, and going the extra mile. Even if you think you can’t, you likely CAN!

Things worth having, are things worth working for. Don’t forget that.

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One thing God has made clear to me, I will 110% appreciate the things that I work harder for over the things that have just fell into my life.

The things that are handed to me seem to be easily forgotten, less appreciated and less important.

However, the things I worked hard for, those are the things that I never forget! These are the things I greatly value and hold close to my heart. These are the things that define you.

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BUT it’s going to be so hard! Well, yes it is. Isn’t that why we need God? (For that and many other reasons of course) This is why we call on Him. We need Him for the things that are too difficult for us to handle. The things that seem impossible. Because in fact, they are impossible – in our own strength. That is why we give it to Him. When we put our life in His hands – He will take care of everything.

He places us into positions where we are unqualified, the work appears to be too difficult, the bills are too high, the expectations are too high – ultimately the circumstances are without our control. And – just when you think you can’t go any longer – He shows up. He swoops in and does His work. In His perfect timing.

In summary, I urge you not to give up when things get hard in this life. Hard work and difficult situations are inevitable!!!! We were made for difficult. We should expect difficult. No matter what you do in life there are going to be difficulties. There is even a scripture in the Bible to prove it!

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart, I have overcome the world.” ~John 16:33

So, do the work, trust in God, ask Him for help, and have faith! It will ALL work out – for His good, His purpose

And all of that hard work, long hours, lost brain cells, and lost hours of sleep – will all pay off!!!!! 😉  J

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What Really Matters in Life: What will You Talk About When You are 90-years-old?

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By: Angela Joy

Today I was working with a client of mine who is 90-years-old.

He is a fantastic man who is able to do many exercises that people half of his age cannot do.

Each time we work together he amazes me.

He said something today that struck me.

While he was walking on the treadmill he shared a story from his past. He expressed how happy he was to be married to his wife and how lucky he was to have her by his side. This was not something new that he had shared. We have worked together for about a year now. He happens to have dementia and does not always remember the things that he has told me.

Nevertheless, as he expressed his appreciation for his beloved wife he began to reflect on one of his memories. “Right after we were married and she and I went on a trip. We went a trip around the world,” he said with a smile.

He had told me this story several times before. Today, however, I realized something. This story must have been a significant experience in life. Each time we talk about his past he tends to bring it up. This one seemingly unimportant event to some must be one of his favorite memories from his life.

Amidst everything else over the course of his entire 90 years of life he recalls this trip.

I thought to myself as he continued on with his story, “What will I talk about when I am 90? What memories from my life will be carried with me throughout the course of my life? What will be so significant to me that if I happen to lose my memory I will be able to look back and smile?”

For me personally, I am not sure. Maybe I will remember my study abroad trip to Europe during college. Or maybe a favorite race that I ran. Or maybe, and most likely, my memory will be one that I have yet experienced, which I hope!

One thing that I do know for sure was that my memory most likely will not be from the jobs that I have worked, the degrees that I achieved, or the awards that I received.

These accomplishments are all wonderful. However, they do not stand a chance to a trip around the world with your newly married spouse, or the birth of your first child, what it feels like to fall is love, the love that you receive from your parents, or the relationship that you have with a grandparents.

It can be so easy to get caught up in life – our goals, our jobs, our studies –we tend to lose focus on the things that are truly important in our lives. We forget the value of the moments that we hold in our memory and never forget. The refreshing smiles, the warm hugs, the contagious laughter – these are the moments we want to remember. These are the moment we want to value, appreciate and take notice of. These are the moments in our lives that we will want to reflect on when we reach 70, 80 and 90-years-old.

Therefore, I urge you to stop, take a moment, and appreciate these moments. Don’t wait until you grow old to appreciate and value all that you have today. The degrees, grades, awards, and belongings, they likely will hold little value to love that you shared, the friendships that you made, and experiences that you created.

 

Take a few moment and ask yourself;
What will you remember from your life when you are 90-years-old??

Reflect on the Past to Prepare for the Future

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By: Angela Joy

As the year comes to as close and we prepare for 2018 to begin, why not take a moment and reflect on all that you have learned, achieved, and overcome – before choosing your New Year goals and resolutions.

Each year when the clock strikes twelve and the New Year begins we are quick to shift our focus on the things we are not satisfied with in our lives, the things we don’t like, the things we want to change.

Meanwhile, all of the positive, happy and satisfying achievements, events, and accomplishments that occurred over the course of the year are unfortunately overlooked.

This New Year, why not take a few moments and examine all that has occurred over the past year; the good, the bad, and everything in between. Assess what went well, what areas may need improvement, and what areas may need to be eliminated.

How can you really know where you are going if you do not know where you have been? This New Year, take a few moments to consciously reflect on where you have been; what has gone well, what has not, what have you learned, what you have gained, etc.

To assist you in preparing for the New Year, author and leadership/life coach Eileen Chadnick creates yearly reflection questions for her clients to ask as they review the year that has passed and prepare for the year to come.

Chadnick believes that due to the “busy” lives that people often find themselves immersed in, it can be difficult to find time to “pause, reflect and get our bearings.” Therefore, each year asks her clients these six questions.

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  1. What went well?

“Noticing the good – especially in tough times – is a crucial skill for resilience, success and well-being. Since our brains are not wired to hold on to the good (evolution has taught us to be wary),” Chadnick stated in an article published in “The Globe and Mail.” “We need to make the effort to bring the good back into our focus for a more balanced perspective.”

  1. Where in your life did you experience change and disruption, and how did you deal with this?

Chadnick explain that change is a constant factor in our lives, it can be beneficial to understand how we deal with change, if we can handle change more effectively in the future, and evaluate what ways did we handled things well.

  1. What did 2017 teach you?

The tough times in our lives can often times pave the way for “the greatest potential for learning and growth,” Chadnick explains. “Take stock of what 2017 taught you, and especially of how any of your challenges this past year stretched you for the better.”

  1. What needs to go?

As with all things in life there are seasons of coming and seasons of going. Some areas in our lives may no longer serve us. Chadnick advises her clients to evaluate the difficult situations, bad habits, out-dated approached, clutter in the house, and any other areas of your life, that may need to be let go and left in 2017.

  1. What made this year unique in some way?

Each year is different. With a little extra time and consideration we can recognize the events, situations and experiences that stood out and how these may have impacted us, according to Chadnick.

  1. Give your year a theme.

Chadnick recommends giving your year a theme or mantra. Now that the year has come to a close sum it all up into a theme; transformative, altering, rewarding, restorative, motivating, whatever may suit your year.

The above list is just the tip to the iceberg. Reflections are an important and ongoing part of our lives. Experiences should not just pass us by. They are a part of our lives whether we like it or not. It is our decision to choose how we respond to our experiences. One can either learn from experiences, or try to ignore them and act as if they never happened.

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How will you start off your 2018?

 

Tips for a First Half Marathon

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By: Angela Joy

The half marathon race is a running race made up of 13.1 miles, or one half of the full marathon distance of 26.2.

The half marathon distance is an appealing race. The event is long enough to serve as a challenge while not as intimidating as the full marathon.

In 2014 the half marathon race was recognized as the “fastest growing standard” race distance in the United States with a “12.5 percent annual finisher growth rate” from 2006 to 2012, according to RunningUSA, a not-for-profit organization that conducts annual studies on race registration, involvement and results.

In 2014 a total of 2,046,600 participants completed a half marathon race, an increase from 724,000 in 2006, according to a 2014 RunningUSA report.

What makes the half marathon so attractive? Red Bank resident and runner Donna Rubin feels that the half marathon is “very challenging, but attainable.”

She explains that once runners have completed the 5k or 10k they are ready for the “next step.”

“Half marathons are popular because they appeal to a wide range of runners,” Rubin, who completed the Philadelphia Love Run Half Marathon in March, stated. “The races often have fun themes, offer great ‘swag,’ and market themselves as destination races.”

She went on to explain that the half marathon races “seem like a fun event for friends to do together, while offering a nice reward for the investment in training.”

The state of New Jersey hosts an average of 30 to 40 half marathon races each year, according to the ‘Running in the USA’ race calendar.

The events are held particularly in the spring and fall, with the exception of a few races offered in the winter and summer months.

For those preparing for a summer or fall half marathon race, check out these 10 tips to prepare for your first half marathon this 2017.

  1. Decide why you are running the half marathon

Be clear with yourself about why you have chosen this race distance. Why it is important to you? Whether the race is symbolic, a challenge you would like to achieve, or is a stepping stone to another goal, decide this early on.

Remembering your purpose will motivation you on days when you want to skip training, sleep in, or better yet – quit.

  1. Establish your base

Local running coach and race director Bob Both confirms, “The half marathon distance is a popular one.” Both is the race director for the Asbury Park RunAPalooza race in April. He is also the RunCollege training group coach.

“(The half marathon) is a doable distance for any runner who already feels comfortable with running a 5k (3.1 miles) or five-mile race,” Both said.

New runners should not choose a half marathon as their first race. New runners should take time to build up to a race of 13.1 miles through proper training.

“For most who plan to do their first half it is endurance which is most critical,” Both said. “It is important to gradually build up your mileage.”

In an effort to avoid injury, Both suggests building up to a half marathon gradually. “Your body needs time to adapt and doing too much too fast can set you back.”

How much of a base should you build before taking on your first half? Both suggests running about 15 miles per week with a long run of about 5 miles.

Over a span of between 12 to 16 weeks the runner should gradually build up their long run from 5 miles to 10 or 12 miles.

Both offers training plans to his RunCollege training participants preparing for a half marathon. Training plans can be found on his website, https://sites.google.com/site/runcollege/.

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  1. Choose your race

When selecting your race keep in mind the weather you will face when training, the possible weather on race day, the amount of time you have leading up to the race, and any prior commitments you have that may impact your training.

Check out www.runningintheusa.com to view New Jersey half marathons this year.

  1. Follow a Plan

Similar to the training plan that running coach Both offers through RunCollege, there are a number of half marathon training plans available online. Not all plans available online are credible, however it is important to follow a plan week-to-week in order to build up to running 13.1 miles comfortably and safely.

Other ways to find a reliable training plan include hiring a running coach or purchasing a training plan.

There are a number of experienced running coaches in the state of New Jersey.

Additionally there are a number of training plans available for purchase. Some website that offer paid training plans include the running magazine website, www.RunnersWorld.com, the Olympic runner and running coach Jeff Galloway website, www.jeffgalloway.com, or the online training application featuring coaches from all over the world,www.trainingpeaks.com.

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  1. Get the gear

New runners may not be familiar with running shirts, shorts or proper shoes. These run-specific items are not just for show, they are created to avoid chafing and injury while offering comfort during the run.

Locally running gear can be purchased in any athletic store. Additionally, there are a number of running shoe stores in Monmouth and Ocean counties which will offer a full gait analysis. The employees will assist customers in selecting a proper shoe, socks, and additional gear, as needed.

  1. Join friends and local running groups

Registering for your goal race with a friend or family member can be very motivating.

However, if this is not possible consider joining a local running group or get in touch with friends who also run.

The Jersey Shore Running Club is one group that welcomes new members to participate in several group runs during the week and on the weekend. Joining a training group like RunCollege is another outlet.

There a number of formal and informal groups in the area. Spread the word that you are preparing for your first half marathon race and ask friends to link you with local groups. Research local groups online. Find out how to join or where to meet, and get started!

Joining a group is very motivational. The group members are indispensible during times where you are “too busy” to complete your long run or you want to “give up.”

  1. Learn your course and train accordingly

When selecting your race, view the race course. Look for the elevation of the race, the amount of curves or turns, if the race loops and where you can meet up with friends and family.

If you find that your race has a number of hills, complete a number of training runs on a hill surface. You don’t want to be surprised on race day when you find yourself running up a steep hill that you did not train for.

If your race offers it, you may be able to complete a training run on the race course. This will familiarize you with the course and prepare you for any potential hiccups that may occur along the way.

  1. Fuel the run

When preparing for a half marathon race it is highly likely that participants will be running the longest distance they may ever have completed.

When the body is participating in exercise for long periods of time it is important to properly refuel with carbohydrates in order to avoid feeling ill and tired.

Any bout of exercise longer than 90 minutes should include carbohydrate intake, either in the form of liquid, gel or food.

Registered Sports Dietitian and author Nancy Clark recommends taking in carbohydrates 30 to 60 minutes into a run. When choosing a food or drink, choose a food or drink that has between 25 to 60 grams of carbohydrates and ingest this item in small doses every hour.

It is also important to eat food before running a half marathon and after a half marathon.

Food beforehand offers energy during the run. Food after the run restores lost glycogen in the muscles, creating energy in the body for the next run.

For more information on proper fueling strategies, look to Nancy Clark, M.S., R.D., www.nancyclarkrd.com.

  1. Don’t overdo it

A taper is when the training plan hits a mileage highpoint and then begins to decrease leading up to the race.

The taper period allows the body to fully rest in preparation for the race.

Both suggests running a long run of between 10 to 12 miles about 2 to 3 weeks prior to the race. Every training plan will be different, but not by much.

Once the runner has reached their longest run of the training period the taper period will begin.

The shortest amount of runs and lowest weekly mileage is found during the final week leading up to the race.

“In the final week you need to taper and cut back your mileage so your body, joints, muscles and mind are well rested,” Both stated.

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  1. Have fun

The night before and the morning of the race can be stressful. Participants have worked so hard for this moment and now it has finally arrived. There are a million things that can go wrong; there are also a million things that can go right.

The night before, eat a normal amount of dinner and relax. Stretch, drink water, rest your legs and visualize yourself running in the race. Many sports psychologists recommend visualizing the start of the race, how you will feel during the race, how you will react when you feel tired, and how you will finish the race.

Use these strategies to calm you down and try to get a good night of rest.

Race morning, focus on enjoying yourself. Take in the loud cheers, lining up in your corral, the beautiful sights, and your fellow runners.

The race is meant to be fun, so have a good time! You’ve earned it.

 

Transform Your Dreams Into Reality – One Step At a Time

New Year’s Resolutions – they are so cliche, aren’t they?

Or, are they actually a great idea! There are so many things in our lives that we wan’t to achieve, but we are often faced with unexpected commitments, tasks and obligations.

Goals become dreams, and dreams become distant memories in our minds. Why is this? Because we are TOO busy? If we are TOO busy, what are we doing with our time?

Watching a movie, taking a nap, going shopping – sounds very busy! If something is your goal, you will make time for it.

Therefore, this 2017 New Year I am challenging you to make your New Year’s Resolutions something worth making time for.

Transform your thoughts into dreams, and from dreams to wishes, and from wishes – to goals.

Let us take this opportunity of a new beginning to make things happen in our life. To stop and say, “This is not how I want this story to end.” Take charge of your life. Dump that excuse, “too busy.” Recognize that you do have the power to make whatever it is that you truly want to achieve – possible.

My New Year’s Resolution? I didn’t create a resolution per se, I created a list of 2017 goals ranging from; personal, career, financial, fitness, spiritual, and more. My favorite goal is to finish the USAT National Age Group Triathlon in a specific time. ❤

This will involve a lot of work – hard work. Therefore, there will be no time for, “I am too busy.”

What is your New Year’s Resolution?

I would love to hear the wonderful resolutions you have in mind! Share below!
Have a happy, healthy and safe New Year ❤

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❤ Wishing you love, joy and blessings,

<Angela Joy

 

Running From Recovery

And they’re off! The clock is ticking and the runners are making their way through the 5k route towards the finish line.

I make my way through the crowds of people, running one step at a time, trying my best to keep up, however I can’t help but feel—well terrible.

My legs are sore, my throat was throbbing, even my bones felt pain—I was tired.

I had been racing and training hard all summer with little to no recovery periods, and I was feeling the effect.

Continuous exercise, day after day, with little to no rest or recovery can be detrimental to performance as well as health.

Negative effects can occur in muscular strength, mental strength, and physical health.

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The Effects of Too Much Exercise

According to an article published in the U.S. News & World Report titled, “Ten Signs You are Exercising Too Much,” over-exercising without allowing your body adequate rest can lead to “diminished strength and increased body fat.”

The article, written by contributing writer Chelsea Bush, further explains when recovery is not available the body will begin to store fat opposed to burning it.

During exercise the body will transform into survival mode causing it to do what it needs to in order to ensure energy is available at all times. As a result, fat can be stored to avoid the chance of low energy levels.

Ms.  Bush stated in the article that the best way to recover from a difficult workout, such as a fast-paced or long run, is to rest one to two days.

If a full day of rest is simply not possible it is acceptable to participate in a very light bout of recovery exercise.

Additional resting requirements suggested by Ms. Bush include a minimum of eight hours of sleep per night, proper nutrition, and proper hydration.

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How To Properly Recover

Providing the body with adequate recovery is just as important as completing workouts.

In order for the benefits of a hard work out to be experienced the muscles must repair and rebuild so they can strengthen, which will only occur through rest periods.

An article published in the online healthy living website, Very Well, exercise physiologist and fitness consultant Elizabeth Quinn explains why rest and recovery are essential after exercise. “Rest is physically necessary so that the muscles can repair, rebuild, and strengthen,” Ms. Quinn explains. “In the worst-case scenario, too few rest and recovery days can lead to overtraining system—a difficult condition to recover from.”

During recovery the body will adapt to the stress placed on it through exercise. It will also replenish energy stores lost through the energy needed to exercise as well as repair tissue, Ms. Quinn explained.

Without periods of recovery the body will continue to breakdown and symptoms of overtraining will occur.

Symptoms of overtraining can range from a general overall tiredness, depression, decreased sports performance, increased risk of energy, lack of interest in training, lack of sleep, along with other symptoms, Ms. Quinn stated.

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How To Properly Recover

When recovering from a hard workout or a race there are several recovery measures that should be taken immediately after.

In an article titled, “How to Recover From a Race,” published by Runner’s World Magazine, recovery should be taken in stages from the moment the race or workout ends, to the days and weeks that will follow.

Within the first 24 hours after the workout the body should consume carbohydrates and protein to adequately restore the energy lost during the event.

Within those same 24 hours relaxation of the muscles along with light foam rolling can assist in recovery and blood flow throughout the body.

Once nightfall comes, the athlete should sleep a minimum of eight hours to allow the body and mind adequate restoration.

Runner’s World contributor Brad Stulberg writes, “When you do finally feel drowsy, don’t cut yourself short. Sleep is vital to recovery, so don’t be afraid to hit the snooze button.”

Throughout the next two to three days the athlete can resume exercise, however light exercise is recommended.

“Active recovery expedites the body’s natural repair process by delivering more oxygen and nutrients to the muscles,” Mr. Stulberg stated. “Just keep it easy—go for a walk.”

Physiologist and doctoral candidate at the University of Utah’s Vascular Research Lab Corey Hart stated in the Runner’s World article that the athlete should listen to their body.

It is common for athletes to reach for ibuprofen to fight pain after a race or workout, however Hart recommends against it.

“The inflammatory response is signaling recovery,” Hart stated, “and that is not something we want to mask.”

Once three to seven days have passed athletes should check in on how they feel to determine the next steps of the recovery process.

Hart stated that athletes who complete longer distances can experience extended periods of fatigue, known a central system fatigue.

“While training, you are constantly suppressing fatigue or downright ignoring it, which can throw your hormonal profile out of whack,” Hart added.

Those who are still experiencing feelings of fatigue should take precaution and allow time for lengthened rest in an effort to avoid a weakened immune system or injury.

Hart said, “Do not fight this fatigue,” instead he recommends light active recovery.

After even seven to 21 days the body may still be undergoing recovery, depending on the type of workout or race that the athlete endured.

Therefore, the athlete should be cognizant of how their bodies feel.

Physiologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, New York Michael Joyner stated in the Runner’s World article that throughout the seven to 21 days after the race athletes can begin to incorporate “some” intensity workouts, depending on how their body has recovered.

“The main thing to remember is that you can’t train if you are injured,” Joyner stated, “focus on reading your body and backing off if soreness and fatigue don’t improve.”

In sum, recovery is a very important aspect of training that should not be ignored or discounted.

Athletes who work out hard will recover just as hard, therefore regardless of the type of activity completed all athletes should make recovery a priority.

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Appreciate Who You Are Today

Appreciate who you are today, and what it took for you to get here. 

As I crossed the finish line of my second triathlon the first thoughts that crossed my mind were, “What was my time?” “Whats place did I finish in?” “Did I beat my time?”

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This in unfortunate because I had such a great race and I was not taking the time to appreciate my experience, recognize how fortunate I was to even participate in the race, or express my gratefulness for the training the I had done over the past several months.

Instead I was ready to put myself down, sabotage my results, and only focus on the negative aspects of the race.

Yes, if you are trying to improve it is important to recognize your weaknesses and work to improve them. However, it is not healthy or beneficial to dwell over the negatives without giving recognition and value to the positives.

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Though I did not finish at the time that I had anticipated or the rank I was hoping for, I did pretty awesome.

My greatest strength of the race was the run, the second was the bike and the third was my transitions.

My greatest weakness was the swim.

Now that I have recognized my strengths and weaknesses I will examine the how and why?

The Swim: 1/2 mile – time 25:06 – 203rd place
– I finished it!
– The water was clear and beautiful
– I became very anxious
– I was not prepared to swim for that long of a distance (1/2 mile)
– I was not prepared to swim that fast
– I was not prepared to run in the water and then swim

Therefore, I learned that:
– I need to practice a racing start
– I need to learn to swim well with others around
– I need to practice sighting the booeys
– I need to swim longer with periods of speed
– I need to swim more often (3 times per week)
– Most importantly, I need to become comfortable swimming in the water

The Bike: 11.5 miles – time 40:44 – about 16 mph – 48th place
– I made up for the (significant) lost time in the swim
– I passed at least 50 people
– I loved the downhills, they were a lot of fun!
– The views were very scenic and beautiful!
– The women racing were all very kind and encouraging
– Picking people in front of you and then making it a goal to pass them is very helpful

I learned I need to:
– Learn how to effectively change gears (how, why and when)
– Cycle faster and more efficiently
– Learn how to effectively pass in a race (proper bike etiquette)
– How to properly fuel and hydrate on the bike
– Get a good racing bike (for sure)
– Preparing my mind for the run
– Save my legs for the run

The Run: 3.1 miles – time 23:09 – 6th place
– I did fantastic! I ran 3.1 miles in 23 minutes, which is not my best time, but I am happy with it after having swam and biked
– I passed another 50 or so women
– I felt awesome running! I ran strong and effortlessly.
– I had fun and got into a comfortable racing rhythm
– I did not get hurt, which was great because we ran through trails

I learned I need to:
– Practice running after biking (pre-planned brick workouts)
– Improve my speed and running economy
– Prepare for the run mentally
– Give some more time to cycling and swimming while maintaining my running ability 🙂

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Overall, I am appreciative that I was able to participate in my second spring triathlon race.

Though I did not finish where I would have liked to, there is a great deal of room for improvement.

I learned that I need to take the strengths that I have, recognized the weaknesses, and most importantly appreciate where I am.

Six months ago I knew nothing about triathlons and was intimidated to get into the water. Today, I have completed two sprint triathlon races, one of which included a half mile open water swim (something I never thought I could do) and I ended up finishing 41st in the race and 5th in my age group.

Yes, I do want to improve. Yes, I want to be faster. Yes, I want to become a better, faster and stronger athlete.

All of these goals take time. They must be recognized as goals.

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The only way to achieve a goal is to recognize where you are right now (your starting point), create a plan, and finally begin taking steps to achieve your goal.

Anything worth having is worth waiting for. You will appreciate something much more if you spend time working hard to achieve it. You are worthy of greatness, you just need to allow yourself time to get there.

Nobody become a pro-athlete overnight. Everything in life takes time.

Appreciate where you are RIGHT NOW, then take steps to move towards where you want to be. You will get there – at the right time, the right place, and with the right people.

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❤ Wishing you love, joy and blessings,

Take some time and appreciate yourself for where you are right now.

-Angela Joy

From Runner to Triathlete

By: Angela Joy

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The triathlon; a swim, followed by cycling, and ending with a run. To some this may sound absurd, to others this may sound like a Friday morning workout.

For me, however, it appeared as a difficult to obtain goal.

Running several days a week was one thing – but cycling and swimming, there was no way.

First of all, I did not know how to swim. I had taken a few swim lessons as a child.

I swam in friend’s pools, the ocean and the river every now and then. But overall I did not know the first thing about freestyle swimming, goggles, one piece swimsuits, swim caps – or anything else related to swimming.

Secondly, I would need the proper bike – a beach cruiser likely will not cut it.

And last but not least – how would I transition between all three? What would I wear? How would I train?

These questions and fears ran through my mind along with many others.

It wasn’t until I overcame the barriers preventing me from beginning my triathlon training that I took the first steps towards accomplishing my goal – which you, too can do.

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Australian S12 swimmer Jeff Hardy swims freestyle at the 1996 Atlanta Paralympic Games

Step 1: Overcome your barriers preventing you from completing your first triathlon.

The barriers preventing me from participating in my first triathlon included learning to properly and confidently swim in a race and a road bike to train with and use during the race.

In an effort to overcome these barriers and begin my training I first purchased a used road bike.

The bike is not great by any means – however it is a good first road bike that served as a wonderful learning tool for a first race.

Secondly, I signed up for swimming lessons at a local YMCA.

These swimming lessons were not easy by any means, in fact they were incredibly difficult and I still struggle to get myself into the pool to improve my swimming skills.

Not having the opportunity to be around a pool and swim laps as a child or teen made it difficult to learn the sport.

Nevertheless, I did not allow the frustration and sometimes embarrassment prevent me from accomplishing my goal.

Each Sunday morning I showed up, I remained positive, and put forth my best effort.

Learning how to do something new as an adult can be difficult, however there is no reason to give up just because the task is hard.

tri-plan
(This was not my training plan, this is just an example of a triathlon training plan)

Step 2: Follow the proper training plan to achieve your goal.

After researching numerous triathlon training websites, books, and plans I put together a training plan that would fit my goals, schedule and fitness level.

Throughout my training I swam one to two times per week, cycled two to three times per week and ran three to five times per week (running is obviously my favorite of the three).

Transitioning from one sport to all three was definitely a challenge.

One must determine where they are going to swim, where they will cycle (indoor, outdoor and if outdoor the location) and for how long.

(Some training plans recommend training less than I did. However, based on my current fitness level this amount seemed fitting.)

Following a triathlon training plan can be difficult and time consuming.

One should a lot about one hour per day for five to six days per week for triathlon training.

Some days you will feel tired. You will want to quit. And then, when you least expect it you will overcome these feelings and wake up at 5 a.m. for your workout, go to the gym right after work, swim when you want to sleep and skip a fun night out to complete a skipped workout. These things happen, they can be stressful however they are worth it.

tri-ace

Step 3: Choose your race.

The most common first triathlon race is the sprint triathlon.

The sprint triathlon distance is generally a half mile swim (or less), a 10-15 miles bike, and a 5k run.

This race is doable for first triathletes who are swimming, cycling and running throughout the week one to two times.

For women seeking their first triathlon there are many women-only races that serve as very welcoming.

I however, chose the Atlantic City Triathlon in August.

The race was the perfect size, location and distance for me.

Things to consider when choosing a race include;

  • The distance of each event in the race
  • The location of the race and each specific event.
  • The body of water the swim portion is located in
  • The standard temperature of the body of water the swim is in
  • The distance the race is from your home
  • The locations your family and friends can watch you from
  • The depth of the hills and amount of turns during the cycling course
  • The type of course and temperature of the running portion

I am sure there are other factors to consider, however these are a few to think about when deciding.

tri-suit

Step 4: Get the proper gear.

Being a triathlete can be expensive.

Gear for swimming, biking and running is required – in addition to the specifically made triathlon gear.

Some gear to consider would be purchasing a road or hybrid bike, a pair of triathlon shorts and a triathlon top which can be worn during all three events instead of putting shorts and a shirt over a bathing suit, spare tire tubes in case your tire goes flat, a helmet which is required to participate, and comfortable running shoes.

After stressing over what to wear I decided to purchase a pair of triathlon shorts in addition to receiving a triathlon top given to me by a friend.

Before, during and after the race I was very pleased with my decision and the lack of stress I experienced trying to change during transitions.

Step 5: Participating in the race and having a great time.

While people can choose to participate in a triathlon for many reasons (weight loss, challenge, competition, to prove a point) the overarching goal should be to have fun.

After stressing over getting to the race, checking in at the expo, properly preparing my bike, checking in to a hotel, training, the course and much more – I ended up having the most fun that I have had all year!

My first triathlon was definitely one of the best experiences of my life. I enjoyed every second of it and cannot wait to compete in my next race.

I ended up finishing the race with a great overall time, experiencing no issues, and receiving a medal for the second fastest finishing time in my age group. To put it lightly I was over the moon.

Now it was not a goal of mine to rank in my age group and I don’t recommend setting it as an expectation, but this does not mean that it is not possible. Shoot for the stars, you never know what you are capable of until you TRI.

I encourage you to go out and accomplish your goal, whatever it may be. Whether it is a triathlon, a 5k race, a marathon, losing an amount of weight, gaining more muscle, feeling healthy or feeling happy – start today.

❤ Wishing you love, joy and blessings,

Angela Joy

dream-it

One-Week Whole Foods Cleanse: Meal Planning

Blog Post # 5: Meal Planning – What to Eat

This post is part of a series of blog post articles that will/are being posted throughout the week in preparation of the cleanse which will occur next week. You are welcome to join and/or follow along! Please notify me if you are interested in joining. I will be happy to offer assistance and guidance along the way! 
Contact: angelajoyhealthfitness@gmail.com

Listed below I have created several options for daily meals plans that can be followed during the one-week of whole foods cleanse!

You can mix and match, or you can follow consistently.

Additionally, listed at the bottom are resources for additional whole foods recipes.

whole foodss

Meal Plan Examples:

Meal Plan – Provided by PCRM

Breakfast
3 oatmeal pancakes with applesauce topping, calcium-fortified orange juice, fresh fruitLunch
Black bean burritos

Dinner
Chinese stir-fry over brown rice: tofu chunks, broccoli, pea pods, water chestnuts, and Chinese cabbage (bok choy), cantaloupe chunks drizzled with fresh lime juice

Snack
Dried figs

Breakfast
1 cup oatmeal with cinnamon and raisins, 1/2 cup fortified soymilk, 1 slice toast with 1 tablespoon almond butter, 1/2 grapefruitLunch
Whole wheat pita stuffed with hummus, sliced tomatoes, and lettuce, carrot sticks

Dinner
1 cup baked beans, baked sweet potato, 1 cup steamed collard greens drizzled with lemon juice, baked apple

Snack
Banana soymilk shake

Meal Plan – Provided by Whole Foods

(Note: some recipes contain animal products) 

Breakfast

Lunch

Sunday

Hot Cereal; Fresh Fruit Roasted Veggie & Hummus Wraps; 100% Fruit Popsicles Carrot Cashew Spreadon Woven Wheats; Lentil Chili; Green Salad

Monday

Apple-Cinnamon Oat Squares; Fresh Fruit Lentil Chili; Salad with Peanut Orange Dressing Black Beans & Rice Extravaganza; Green Salad; Fresh Fruit

Tuesday

Green Smoothie; English Muffin with Nut Butter Green Pea GuacamoleWrap; Fresh Fruit Creamy Curried Cauliflower Soup; Roasted Veggie Couscous; Green Salad

Wednesday

Apple-Cinnamon Oat Squares; Fresh Fruit Garbanzo & Veggie-Stuffed Pitas; Fresh Fruit Romantic Rice Bowl (for a vegan option, substitute portobello mushrooms for the chicken); Fresh Fruit Platter

Thursday

Fruit Smoothie; English Muffin with Nut Butter Creamy Curried Cauliflower Soup; Romaine Salad Whole Grain Pasta with Greens & Beans; Green Salad; Fresh Fruit

Friday

Hot Cereal with Dried Fruit & Nuts Whole Grain Pasta with Greens & Beans; Veggies; Fruit Apple Cooked beans and Roasted Sweet Potatoes; Lemon Treats

Saturday

Loaded English Muffins; Fresh Fruit Salad Lentil Chili; Spinach Salad Layered Vegetable Enchiladas; Banana Nice Cream

Meal Recipe Ideas

Breakfast:

Lunch:

 

Dinner:

Snacks:

  • Apple slices with nut butter
  • Fresh fruits
  • Dried fruits, especially raisins
  • Applesauce or other fruit cups
  • Nuts, especially mixed with dried fruit
  • Soy yogurt
  • Individual boxes of soymilk, rice milk, or fruit juices
  • Breadsticks or pita chips with hummus
  • Pretzels or popcorn
  • Homemade muffins or cornbread
  • Ramen soup with added vegetables
  • Fresh soybeans (edamame)
  • Tofu hot dogs
  • Tortilla chips with bean dip
  • Cheerios, granola, or other cereal in a bag
  • Toasted whole-grain breads or crackers with fruit spread or nut butters
  • Graham crackers or gingersnaps dipped in applesauce
  • Mini rice cakes with peanut butter
  • Frozen bananas blended with a little non-dairy milk
  • Chopped raw vegetables and dip

Desserts:

 

Resources for Recipes and Information:

Oh She Glows

Happy Herbivore

Cookie & Kate

PCRM

Love & Lemons

Greatist.com

Whole Foods Cleanse

Will you join me in this special one-week cleanse?

  • Who: YOU are invited to participate?
  • What: One-Week Cleanse made up of primarily whole foods, no processed or packaged foods.
  • When: Monday, February 29 – Sunday, March 6
  • Additional information and instruction will be provided throughout the week.
  • Free guidance and support will be offered, by me, as needed 🙂
*Note: This cleanse does not include any animal products. If you choose to consume animal products during the cleanse that is up to you. However, I do suggest that you choose to refrain from consuming animal products during the cleanse and determine how your body feels upon completion of the cleanse* 

Please contact Angela Joy with any questions or concerns! If you are interested in participating, please contact Angela Joy at angelajoyhealthfitness@gmail.com

❤ Sending you love, joy, blessings and health,

Angela Joy xo

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