Monthly Archives: June 2019

FIRST whole 26.2 miles

FIRST full marathon is done

The long gaze at Shiprock

The 2019 Navajo Yes, 36th Annual Shiprock Marathon was the one marathon to pick. At first it was sort of this casual, “Hey, you should run the Shiprock Marathon!” …hahah as we laughed jokingly in our minds, like yeah right, definitely not ready. Now with the proudest smile in world! WE finished a FULL 26.2 MILES! Which is pictured below BUT!! to read about each of our experiences, please read further. I will let Jen go first.


Jennifer’s Marathon Story

May the 4th be with you, as the saying goes from Star Wars, but today was the battle of 26.2 miles. The morning had come after 18 weeks of training, 18 weeks eating clean, 18 weeks of many many miles and 18 weeks of testing our endurance. As the weeks rolled on, I wasn’t sure how I would feel come race day physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. I wasn’t sure about all of these aspects because I had injured my quad muscle during week 8 of our marathon training. The toll of not being able to train at 100% took its toll on me, and at times I wonder if I could physically run the 26.2 miles come May.

Jennifer’s Marathon Gear

The support of my best friend and many of those who follow me on Instagram continued to support me through my injury and into my last 2 weeks of training. I simply kept stepping forward in faith that the training we endured would carry my body across that finish line. So as I counted down the days, and counted the miles I was able to log in. May 4th had arrived, gear laid out, and countdown began to get ourselves to Shiprock. The car ride over was quiet, as we mentally prepared ourselves for the long journey ahead of us. “Why am I doing this again?” I said to myself as my mind was racing and my heart pounding with suspense.

At 6:45 am we barely made the last van out to the starting line, only to realize we had barely just made the last van out to get us the 26.2 miles. As we made to the starting line, we were greeted by some of our Running Medicine family and Instagram friends we made through this incredible shared journey. As Sasha and I, high fived and congratulated each other on an amazing 18 week journey, it was time to parts ways. The announcement came, “RUNNERS, READY…SET…GO!” I had adjusted my music, I had everything I needed from a well planned evening the night before. My 26.2 marathon started, and I greeted every mile with a smile, a prayer, and had a long conversation with God. He had entered my life recently, and having him along these 26.2 miles I learned a little more about myself and the true meaning of perseverance. There were times I was listening to my favorite 80s song, “Footloose, You’re the Best Around and Sweet Dreams” and just creating the fun attitude that carried me through the first 20 miles.

This is where I put everything I had learned from my injury, from being humble, not quitting, crying if need be and putting one foot in front of the other. My shins started to cramp and I hadn’t anticipated the 6 mile decline to the finish line, which lead up to my legs seizing up. As I was going downhill I saw runners ahead of starting to slow down and even some calling it an end to their race. I was determined to finish, and 6hrs and 9 mins later I crossed the finish line to my 1st FULL MARATHON.

Successful Finish

I was greeted by my mom and my stepdad who had been a part of my journey beginning with my 1st half marathon in 2017. Then being greeted by my training partner, and my best friend, we had just completed our 26.2 mile journey. A journey that showed a little more about who we are and what we are really made of. Thank you for reading my story, this has been an amazing and humbling experience. I can’t wait to share more stories of transformation with you in the near future. So stay tuned!!!

Mission accomplished

Sasha’s Marathon Story

I was ready and nervous. From the moment I woke up – it was surreal. This day was it! MARATHON DAY!! I tried to take it all in, each moment, stay calm. I kept telling myself… hydrate, hydrate, hydrate… The moment we parked, gathered our stuff, headed for the buses. I heard someone shout, “Last call for marathoners!!” …was this us?!?! …wait that’s us!! AHHHH!!!! we are about to miss our ride to the starting line!!! I ran to the coordinator, “TOM!!” I yelled frantically, “We are running the full marathon!” Without hesitation, he led us onto the last cargo van and said, “Good luck kid!” then motioned the van to move! Off we went! 30 miles to the starting line. My thoughts crowded my feelings of anticipation …am I ready …am I ready – gazing at everyone in the van, I wondered what motivated them to run 26.2 miles? Evidently we were all at various fitness levels and ages, I slowed my thoughts and my breathing followed… I am ready.

We parked and there were a crowd of runners all surrounded by the Navajo Nation President, Nez. He was giving a speech and the part that I heard, he joked, “It’s against the law to run pass the Navajo Nation President.” I chuckled under my breath as I bee-lined for the outhouse (hahaha) On my way, over, I ran into HEATHER!! Oh my gosh, it was Heather!! – Heather is a sweet young lady, who we had met on Instagram after running the Canyon-X Half Marathon in LeChee, Arizona. She had reached out to us after shout-outs made on a popular running account, Native Women Running (founded by Verna Volker). SO WOW!! To finally meet a fellow follower from Instagram was a big deal but we literally only had seconds to celebrate our first meet, say good luck and goodbye all in one hug.

After that spike of excitement, I turned to Jennifer and said nervously, we got less than ten minutes and we need to do our warm-up! We found a spot in the crowd and began. I looked at her and thought, wow! we made it!! here we are, after 18 weeks of training!! Quickly, I tried to warm-up, trying not to panic… 5 minutes, the announcer said… without much more to say or do, I looked at Jennifer, I said, “You got this, we got this, we did the training… now let’s step in faith and run our own race.” Then, GOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!”

THE RACE started!! Focus… I said, focus… I listened to my breathing, like a horse out of the gate, I tried to control my stride. I was excited, my adrenaline rushed and carried me, I allowed myself to be free and JUST run. A mile quickly came and went, I clocked just over 8 minutes …wow, I thought, I am feeling good. I know my goal was to run the marathon under 4 hours but I reminded myself just to take it mile by mile; by mile 4, I logged a 7:50 minute mile. Needless to say, I felt like I was just cruising. Remembering words from the book, to keep my fuel tank topped off as much as I can. So sip, sip, sip is what I did from my Nathan pack, I used the Tailwind Endurance Fuel as my source to keep my electrolytes and calories in check.

Before long, I was about to stride through mile 18 which was around the time, I used the commode… lol. This stop was a double edged sword because it got me out of the rhythm I was in and also allowed my body to take a short breather. Honestly, I am not sure the stop was needed and with more experience, this stop would be null in void. After getting back into sync, I found my stride approaching mile 20 but like a brick wall, as I turned down the 3% decline, my body was so confused!!

This downhill should be easy, it should carry my body to run faster. BUT nope! The complete opposite happened, my pace slowed by 1-2 minutes easily… “Was this the dreaded WALL everyone speaks of when they talk or write about getting past the WALL?” – oh my legs did not know what to do or feel… mentally, I did not know strategically how to engage my fatigue muscles on a 6 mile descend. All I knew was, DO NOT STOP. JUST ONE STEP IN FRONT OF THE OTHER. And that was just what I did.

Not only was the last 6 miles confusing as heck!! The crowds increased, there were more vendors, water stations and TRAFFIC along the way. Simply put, I was not able to listen to my music the last 6 miles because of the sheer noise and chaos going on. PASSING through this with the increase in temperature was the perfect recipe for me or anyone to just STOP!

I kept running. I blocked the noise mentally. Physically I concentrated more on my breathing than my body screaming at me to stop. I know I was getting closer and the closer I got the tougher the mile. Alright, I told myself, this is it… give all you got! I dug deep and was able to speed up my last mile to FINISH!

50 meters out, I heard my name, “GO SASHA!!” and in a blink of an eye, I stepped across the finish line! I just accomplished 26.2 miles and it was AMAZING!

First Official Marathon Time 4:09


Happy ending right? Or at least you would think that should be it, a glorious victory! When in fact we have yet to bring home the trophy. You see while in commemoration of all the beautiful miles logged. We were also able to do a fundraiser.

While we started this blog, we also got to design a t-shirt through Bonfire.com and create fundraiser to give back to a strong community that has been the spark to our running journey. Dr. Anthony Fleg, Director of Running Medicine re-ignited a passion for health that we never really knew was there. Blinded by life issues and our failed marriages that led to divorce. Our journey has taken life and flight to new horizons.

We were successfully able to fund raise $200 dollars selling t-shirts while inspiring others through our shared journey. This is only the beginning of what we dream to accomplish and we thank each and every ONE of YOU reading this blog for your support. It is because of you our story carries the fuel to ignite your spirit to find WHOLE HEALTH.

Ahe’hee (Thank you)


A shared journey with Running Medicine

Training thoughts into action

The WHOLE idea of marathon training…

– Native on the Run
Marathon Gear

MENTAL

Sasha’s thoughts: Thinking of doing a marathon was the easy part. In fact, I have thought about it for 15 years and attempted to put my thoughts into action 3 times. This time it is different, I am determined and after saying it, I put the plans into motion… bought the book Hanson’s First Marathon from Barnes and Nobles then started figuring out a plan. Getting past the idea that as a full-time career mom, I did not have the time but since I was already hitting the gym early in the mornings, the timing was perfect.

Planning a successful marathon

Jennifer’s thoughts: Being a novice runner, the mental challenge of turning “I can’t” into “I can” has been the transformation I’m taking hold of. Being able to wake up at 4 am and tackle the day’s workout has become a part of my mental toughness. Staying motivated and consistent was the biggest challenge that I’ve manage to mentally overcome. As the weeks and miles passed, I ended up injuring myself. Not once, but twice with shin splints and a pulled quad muscle. With 5 weeks left of training I find myself excited to jump back on the treadmill or run that long Sunday run along the Rio Grande River. Mentally, I’ve been able to keep my motivation on the upside despite the physical set backs.


PHYSICAL

Stop hitting the snooze button and run east Photo of the New Mexico Sandia Mountain Sunrise

Sasha’s thoughts: Having the discipline to not hit the snooze button and get out of bed is a daily challenge. In February, I logged the most miles ever; 189 miles to be exact with my friend Jennifer. Realizing this, I self-evaluated my body… and honestly, I was tired, especially my legs. Just last week, I encountered the physical feeling of dehydration. After a couple of my runs, I was nauseous. This was a new feeling for me. After various articles on running and nausea, I learned a new method to hydrating my body. I was back to logging my miles within several days… but my body was still feeling a bit sluggish. This made me take logging my hours of sleep more seriously.

Jennifer’s thoughts: For 19 weeks, waking up at 4am has become the normal in my daily routine in the midst of being a mother of 4. My body has slowly adjusted to the longer miles and constant motion of moving my body every morning. As I stated before the two injures have sideline me for a short time, but my body has been able to recover. With this marathon training plan, I’m constantly reminded that I need to trust the process, and I have trusted it. Today March 30th, I ran for the 1st time again in 19 days and I’m excited to feel the earth under my feet again. The training plan that I have entrusted has shown me much discipline on top of mental toughness.

Running places Photo traveling to Page, Arizona

EMOTIONAL

Sasha’s thoughts: Yes, there are times in my training I cried… there were days I thought to be crazy for taking on such a big task to do a full marathon. Mostly because various parts of my life were in pieces, and having the doubt of whether I knew what I was doing played mind games with me every day. One of those scattered pieces in my life was losing a marriage. So instead of grieving over why me, I make the daily choice to get up and run… Running has turned my tears to sweat and my loss to wins!

Jennifer’s thoughts: As I pass that 3rd mile, I’m reminded that I am doing this training for myself.  For many years I chained myself to a very toxic marriage and relationship with myself. Breaking free of punishing myself for past mistake has given the new perspective that I am able to enjoy running for me. Not only do I feel accomplished but I feel happy before, during and after I run. This training program has helped me mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally. As a Navajo woman, these four elements of training have helped me become whole again. As of today I’m very proud to know that I can and will finished that 26.2 in May.

Like rivers and streams, the path we run is not always straight or narrow, aerial photo of Alaska

SPIRITUAL

Sasha’s thoughts: Though my life has its challenges, whether it is with my job, family or training… it’s eustress ‘GOOD stress’. I am learning and growing through this process. Numerous times I feel like I lose my footing but I get back up… just as my dad taught me to when I’d fallen from a horse. “I get back up!” As I move through my obstacles today, I have gained the spiritual knowledge to run with my life with God and not just during the times I feel lost. Looking past my failures, I am in constant prayer to fuel my spirit. Life gets tough but this journey is making me tougher from the inside out. I am stronger in my faith and it shows, one mile at a time.

Running is healing

Jennifer’s thoughts: Being able to run and patiently heal through this process I’ve included a lot of prayer with every run. When I’m in the zone after mile 3, I feel closer to my spiritual self as I’m passing every mile. Being able to have a conversation with God happens everyday, but he seems ever more present when I’m running. As I mature with my mental toughness and physical health, my spiritual self is being finessed as I get to run side by side with my spirit. This part of my training reminds me of my grandmothers, who were very spiritual by greeting the morning sun and ready to receive blessing for the day.


Hozho Naasha – Walk in Beauty Photo: Monument Valley

Thank you for taking time to read about our thoughts and following along our running journey. As we continue our training towards our first full marathon, we hope that in some way you will be inspired by a piece of our story of what we are sharing. More will continue to be shared, so stay posted!


Pray Strong Train Strong Finish Strong

– Native on the Run

Jennifer’s Gym Story 1 – Transformation

Moving forward without 45 pounds.

Gym newbies

Looking back on the transformation that took place within the last 19 months, I am confident to say that my life has turned into a story of not only forgiveness but finding what it means to be whole again. August 2017, I weighed in at 210 pounds, I was carrying the sadness and depression that kept me chained to the couch for over 12 years. Physically my body was shutting down, piece by piece, my kidneys were constantly inflamed, my liver ached, my thyroid stop producing necessary hormones, my skin was constantly red, my hair was falling out, my hands were going numb, anything and everything ached. My diet was nonexistent and soon to be my marriage. I had no drive to better myself, physically, emotionally, spiritually or mentally, I completely checked out. On August 6, 2017 my best friend Sasha and I told ourselves, “No excuses!! We are going to the gym tomorrow at 4:00am in the morning to sign up for our gym membership!” In that moment, I took a step forward in the right direction and felt my motivation kick start.

So 4:30am, Monday thru Friday I was able to hit the gym. Turning my heartache, frustration and sadness into sweat. As the days rolled on, my weight started melting away and I was excited to feel my confidence once again. I was able to hold my head up and talk to people. I was able to hold myself accountable and make the necessary changes to help me further my physical goals. After completing various self-guided training plans (…really, they are Sasha’s ideas, more to share on this another time), I noticed that I needed more fitted clothing because my once size 18 and XXL shirts were starting to fall off.

Fast forward to just a few days ago, March 11, 2019, I celebrated my 37th birthday! I am here to share, I am 45 pounds lighter, I am stronger, I am faster and above all… happier!! The work put into my transformation for 19 months has been both rewarding and grueling. Now looking at the scale seeing 165 pounds, I can confidently look in the mirror and I see a beautiful woman… who is a bada$$! The journey to being a more physically sound women took a lot of balance, not only with the gym, but with my kids, my home life and my nutrition. I was literally eating myself to death 2 years ago. But through self-guided reading and practice, I have developed a new skill, I am a master meal prepper!! (…stay connected with us, to learn what our go-to ‘re-fuel’ meals are)!! So I’m happy to end this story on an inspirational note, “Don’t give up on yourself!” Once you plant that seed in your mind, let it flourish, with love, with kindness and with patience towards a healthier version of yourself.

Thank you, now into a size 12!

My WHY Celery Juice

Acne, weight gain, constipation, mood struggles, migraines and bloating….

Why not?

In late 2017, I ordered the books authored by Anthony Williams, Medical Medium, Life Changing Foods and Thyroid Healing through my Amazon Kindle. In the first few pages of my reading, I found myself speechless with a feeling of “ah-ha” moments. This book was an instant page turner, engulfed in every word, I found myself repeating words like, “healing”, “power” and “knowledge”.

It only took several pages that I learned how my liver’s hardest job is to process fat. Not only that but a sluggish liver will lead to clogging then to weight gain. Page after page, I started to feel helpless because I wanted to help my liver flush toxins and digest the food I ate.

Anthony Williams, repeatedly mentions how, “Celery is one of the most powerful anti-inflammatory foods, because it starves unproductive bacteria.” Down to a cellular level, celery juice is hydrating, cleansing and repairs intestinal linings. Celery helps good bacteria thrive!

The Powers of Celery Juice, article found in Well Being Journal Vol. 27 No. 6

After the few weeks of reading, I decided to go about his plan in cleansing my liver. I felt this was the healing I was looking for because I felt weighed down by the amount of inflammation my body was displaying (more inflammation in a future post). Clearly my body was screaming for some healing.

I had acne, I was overweight (160 pounds to be exact), I had tummy aches hence, “constipation” and “bloating”. Plus add in my mood swings, blah! This was it! Way too many signs that my body was revealing, my gut wasn’t happy! And I did not want to ignore it. I went to the grocery store and bought six bunches of celery. Returned home, found my old juicer from several years ago that I did not use, ha! Perhaps God knew I was going to use it at some point. Anyhow, I dusted that sucker off, washed it and made my first cup of celery juice for tasting purposes. Well as you can see now, I enjoy it!!! 365 days later of non-stop celery juice!

My complexion is radiant! My weight gain has led to weight loss and muscle gainz… more to share in what I meal prep! My bloating and constipation gone…in fact, my abs muscles are coming in!

I greet my followers with my 16oz cup of celery juice in my IG stories every day to hold me accountable and it initiates a conversation. Also, it allows me to share a smiling face and kindly wish them a good day. In hopes it will start their day on a positive note by sharing a “Ya’at’teeh (Hello).”

CHEERS to Celery Juice and 365 days of it!!