Encouragement 

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”(‭1 Thessalonians‬ ‭5‬:‭11‬)

I know I’ve been super naughty and neglected my blogging the last two weeks except for my Skechers performance blog on Sunday. For that I am sorry, I am not gone!

Honestly I’ve had a lot on my mind but just haven’t given myself the time to put it on paper or blog if you will..

The thing is, that’s still a bad excuse. 
After a tiring day of work and training today, I decided to go get a new charger for my phone that was really annoying me not working for the past week. 

I ended up running in to a friend of mine who was about to grab dinner so we decided to go together and catch up.

Let me just say how incredibly blessed our conversation was and how grateful I am for friends who are focused on their own goals and chasing their dreams too. We may not all have it figured out completely but it’s so great to be able to share a meal, relax from the daily schedule and just encourage each other and talk about anything going on.
Driving home, I realized that no dreams are TOO BIG and that doubts will always be there no matter what your going after. But you can’t give up. That’s true in your attitude and actually doing things along the way that set you up to reach your ultimate goals. 
I’m going to start writing everything down now. After my friends listening and talking to me I felt so encouraged to write and share everything. The good and the bad too. 
So, it looks like I have a LOT of writing to do, some you may not like some posts as much as other writings I do but maybe some of it will speak to you or relate to you. 
Please give me feedback as I start to let out a lot more blogging and more frequent. 
For now, I’ll gather my thoughts and continue to dream big.  
One last thing my friend told me tonight,(who happens to be an engineering major) so this made sense to him: 

“If you aim for 100 you’re going to at least reach 80, but if you aim lower..maybe 80 you’ll only get 60 or less. Aim big.” 

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GO Like Never Before.

 

  

A Detailed product review and all you need to know about Skechers Performance’s distance running shoe line from Fall 2015- Spring 2016! From the perspective of a current post collegiate distance runner training in all of these shoes.

Since around August 2015, I have been training in Skechers Performance distance running shoes. Currently, I am running 60-70 miles a week and racing 5k/10k for NOW!

Of course, two of my most favorite professional distance athletes- Kara Goucher and Meb Keflezighi are sponsored by Skechers Performance.

So it wasn’t hard for me to decide to try some Skechers out when the pros I look up to and strive to run like one day train in Skechers Performance for their vigorous training schedules too.

Like many of you, I will admit as a distance runner, I can be a bit of a snob about the shoes I pick (and rightfully so! we train so hard, we need good shoes to keep us going to perform at our best every day).


During college when I ran cross country and track at UAB, our team got Nike gear. That was pretty awesome obviously. But I never really liked their trainers. Only a few of them suited me and I was always a true fan of the Brooks Launch as my favorite daily mileage trainer. I never thought I would be in a trainer as great as those.

I got the opportunity to try out a pair of the Skechers GOrun Ultra Road shoes in the summer after meeting some of the reps at the Peachtree road race when I was at home in Georgia. I also tried a pair of the Skechers Strada too.

After training the duration of my summer mileage in Skechers Performance and base building some pretty high mileage, my runner snobbery quickly faded. I became a true ambassador for this brand and my feet cannot thank me enough today.

I will now get into the nitty gritty details below of each shoe I have received and train in weekly for my running/training schedule. To preface this, I have the following shoes and will talk about each below: Gorun Ultra Road, Gorun Strada, Gorun Forza, Gorun 4, Gorun Ride 5, Gomeb Speed 3.

Gorun Ultra Road

  

This shoe is perfect if you run higher mileage and need some extra cushion. I mainly use this shoe for my long runs though- once a week. Or I alternate weeks sometimes between these and a pair of my Stradas when I am running 70 mile weeks and my feet need a bit more padding. So, I recommend this shoe for your long runs/ and or a daily trainer.

The Gorun Ultra Road has a unique water drainage outsole system as well. If you look on the bottom sides of the shoe, you’ll see tiny holes. If you have a wet run one day, this helps a LOT!

I remember the first week I was running in these, it started POURING during an 8 mile run. The shoes definitely rose to the occasion and I felt like I was in a commercial or something. They got the job done and didn’t slow me down.

Here are some fun facts about the GorunUltra Road:

  • made with Fitknit technology for a breathable and flexible fit
  • durable, decoupled rubber outsole pattern for abrasion resistance
  • dual-density resalyte midsole provides max cushioning & added response
  • inner support strap for stable and secure fit
  • reflective for night runs!
  • Men’s-9.7 0z(size 9) Women- 7.7 oz(size 7)
  • Offset is 4mm

Overall, the Gorun Ultra Road is a great trainer if you like/ need more support or cushioning and longer runs. Even though these shoes may have more weight and padding than a typical trainer or lighter shoe, they still give you a nice “pop” off the ground when you run. They hug your feet snug too and give you breathing room on a long sweaty run. I like the bouncy fluid feeling running in them. It’s like running on clouds for my feet for my 16 mile runs. This is a more neutral shoe but more stability than the Strada.

Gorun Strada

  

Okay, so I really wanted to save the best for last here, but ahh okay here we go. My Stradas(what I like to refer to them as), are my FAVORITE!!! I love these so much, I am currently rotating between three pairs for my training schedule. I use these as trainers or for my easy runs and daily mileage.

I am running in the Strada anywhere from 4-5 times a week and sometimes for my warm up and cool down on speed/workout days.

I recommend these for basic maintenance runs and getting the mileage in. It depends on how many miles a week you run, but they can last you anywhere from 3-4 months or longer if you run lower mileage.

Remember when I said I would never find a trainer I liked as much as the launch? Well…the Strada has won my heart forever. AND…GET READY, there may or may not be a Strada 2 coming soon!!! If I could horde all the Stradas in the world in my size in every color, believe me I WOULD. That’s how amazing they are for my feet getting all the necessary miles in. This is a neutral trainer shoe:

  • Durable resa-grip outsole for traction and stability
  • mid-foot strike zone promotes stride efficiency
  • layered and supportive upper for secure fit
  • reflective of course!
  • Men’s-10 0z(size 9) Women- 8 oz(size 7)
  • 8 mm offset

Gorun Forza

  

Can you say STABILITY?  This shoe is on the furthest end of the spectrum for stability and security. I recently got this shoe and I have only ran in it a few runs so far. I have had a reoccurring issue with my right arch and this shoe has been supporting that problem for me.

I’ve always ran in a neutral shoe, but I decided to dabble in the staility side with the Forza. So far, they are definitely the most structured shoe in the Skechers Performance line but they are comfortable. That’s pretty hard to find with structure shoes!

They feel a lot higher up running than the other Skechers I train in but the offset is 8mm! And they are a bit heavier, so I would recommend these as a daily trainer/and or a long run shoe for you. The Forza really do offer great support and provide a smooth seamless run.

Another important nugget- if you peek at the inner right side of the shoe(right where my arch issue is) you’ll notice a firm resalyte posting. That’s an incredible feature if you need support there like I do.

  • Two-part midsole with firm Resalyte medial posting, to promote a smooth heel to toe transition
  • Next generation resalyte with lightweight cushioning and added response
  • molded heel counter and inner support strap gives stable/ secure fit
  • seamless, minimal upper gives breathable comfortability
  • reflective!
  • Men’s-10.8 0z(size 9) Women- 8.8 oz(size 7)

Gorun 4

  

These are my Go to racing flats, tempo run flats, and track workout shoes. I like to use the Gorun 4 for any fast runs I have from any distance of 200 meters all the way to a 6 mile tempo or repeats. They are perfect for giving you a little pop while still supporting your feet with enough padding.

I will even use these for a second run sometimes if I have an easy 4 miles in the afternoon because they are light-weight and supportive enough for mileage. These are also a neural shoe. So if you don’t run a lot of mileage you can probably get away with using the Gorun 4 as your primary daily trainer.

I have done several 5Ks in these shoes and I love them. They hug my heel and provide a nice bounce to give me an extra kick at the end. They are so flexible and light too, a very fun shoe to get some fast miles in! You don’t even need to wear socks with these shoes unless you want to. I don’t race with socks in the GoRun4 typically.

  • Resalyte power pillars in the midfoot strike zone
  • comfortable, breathable fit with a sock-like Goknit upper technology
  • Resalyte cushioning on the midsole for protection and responsiveness
  • inner support strap for a stable and secure- fit
  • reflective( also available in GLOW IN THE DARK- NITE OWL style!!)
  • Men’s-7.80z(size 9) Women- 6.0 oz(size 7)
  • Offset 4mm

Gorun Ride 5

  

The Gorun Ride five are my second favorite speed shoe to the Gorun4. They feel and look a little lighter than the Run 4, but just as sexy and fast!!  And surprisingly, they are a tad heavier. Not much, but they offer more support but feel faster!

I use these for my tempo runs, repeats on the track and 200/400 workouts. Anything that requires speed, a nice pop and return with light weight support, the Gorun 5 is your shoe.

  • Increased resalyte midsole for additional impact protection and response
  • midfoot strike zone to promote fluid transition and stride efficiency
  • inner support strap in the upper for stable and secure fit
  • reflective
  • max comfort with minimal upper breathability
  • Men’s-8.4 0z(size 9) Women- 6.7 oz(size 7)
  • 4mm offset

Skechers GoMeb Speed 3

  

Wow. These are probably the sexiest shoes I wear besides my stilettos. Are you surprised with a name like that? These are on the complete opposite stability, weight and cushioned shoe from the Forza. These are a legit RACING SHOE!!

These are literally made for SPEED. I like to use these for faster, shorter reps on the track. I have not raced in them yet, but I am thinking about racing some of my upcoming indoor track races for the mile and 3K in them.

They provide a crazy pop and help your turnover quicken with each step with the sleek light weight frame. I would recommend them for any short, fast workout or race. I wouldn’t go above a 5K in them personally because I like a bit more cushioning and support. But I’m sure they would help you shave seconds off a good 5K PR!

If you want to fly for your next race, this is your racing shoe.

  • high performance, sleek fitting racing flat
  • Dupont Derlin speed plate for quick response with structure/stability in midfoot
  • Unique Goknit technology for upper breathable, comfortable support
  • Hotmelt upper detail to keep foot stable and secure
  • Men’s-7.2 0z(size 9) Women- 5.3 oz(size 7)
  • 4mm offset

 I hope my brief product review of each of these Skechers Performance Division shoes has helped you shake off any preconceived thoughts about Skechers. These are all unique in what they offer to you as a distance runner.

I am very picky about my training, as any elite runner should be who wants to reach the next level. I would not advocate or suggest anything to any other runner that I would not try myself! So, me being an ambassador for Skechers Performance is not the goal of why I am writing this for you.

I just wanted to share my opinions on each shoe after training in them all for a few months and let everyone know how they have benefited my training. One thing I really appreciate about Skechers Performance’s shoes is that I literally have all my training needs covered:

I have a shoe for my long run- the Ultra Roads/and Forza, I have a go to easy run shoe- the Strada, I have three different workout/speed/racing shoes- the GoRun4, Go run Ride 5, and the GoMeb Speed 3! They all work beautifully alternating in training throughout the week for me. I encourage you to pick up a pair soon, start with the Strada like I did for an easy run. Then Go from there!

Skechers Performance has many exciting products coming in 2016 and I cannot WAIT to see the brand blow up and take off! Don’t miss out on this, part of training is trying new things and finding your best fit with what works for you.  Skechers Performance could be the training asset you need to give your hard workouts an edge with the right shoe.

GO Like Never Before this year!

 

It’s 2016, now what?

 

Now that the glitter and excitement entering the new year have settled, what’s next?

I want to talk a little about the first week of 2016 and what I’ve learned and been really digesting this week.

First, I want to admit that I have had to have a little attitude adjustment with myself.

I confess that I’ve let my emotions get the best of me this week at times and I’ve focused on how frustrated I have been instead of the positive blessings I have this year.

I’m not normally a negative person unless something is really bothering me.

I’m just as passionate about expressing something bothering me as I am about going after what I want. That can be a bad thing for me though because I tend to internalize my stress and don’t like to talk about it.

BUT if I’m overwhelmed within my own thoughts, that can come out in my attitude at times of high stress, which I hate!!

I only want to spread love and light and this week I’ve really been struggling with that because I’ve lost focus on it.

I haven’t lost focus on what I want or forgotten the goals I’ve set for myself.

I have just been more consumed with the frustrating emotions when things haven’t gone exactly my way this week and on where I’m at now; forgetting that every day is a step to where I will be.

Ah, just saying that feels a lot better! 

Taking a step back from the week, the biggest lesson I’ve learned so far in 2016 is this:

You have to actually ACT and do it yourself. Nothing is just going to happen and no one is going to do it for you.

If you want to change what you’re doing or where you are or whatever you want to be doing different in your life, don’t feel sorry for yourself. Just go do it!

That you have to act and make plans for the goals you’ve set out and then…DO IT!

 

It’s scary to make the first step into something new(I know, I’m with you!) But there’s no point in not doing anything and being unsettled about something.

Now that’s a hard pill to swallow if your used to things going your way and getting what you want. 

 

I knew that “adulting” wouldn’t be a cake walk by any means but so far 2016 has been a blunt reality check for me.

Not that things just fall into my lap all of the time, but I’ve never felt so tested and challenged in many areas of my life as I do now.

I work extremely hard in all that I do and I guess this week I sort of felt down because I was waiting for the pressure to ease up a bit after working relentlessly the past few months.

But I know that God is just getting started and building me.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

(‭Jeremiah‬ ‭29‬:‭11‬ NIV)

And I totally trust him in that, but I’m human too and I get frustrated because I’m so impatient!! 
That’s okay to feel that way, but don’t let that own you and distract you from carrying on and being a champ every day.

 

Look, I’m not so arrogant to say that I don’t believe in prayer or that Gods plan isn’t the ultimate plan and that I don’t trust him, but I’m saying this in full agreement with that.

 

There have been a few times this week where I’ve gotten so frustrated with my current circumstance in a few areas of my life that I just didn’t know what I wanted to do.

So I sat and cried and then I prayed about it. I’ve been reflecting all week about my goals for 2016 and this incredible passion flooded my mind and my heart.

 
I realized that I needed to use that passion not to create rage of where I’m at now or negative emotions to just spread around, but that I need to use this passion to propel me into action each day to reach my goals.
I know that nothing I really want to achieve will happen overnight and that greatness in any endeavor won’t be easy at all.
But I’m telling you like I told myself this week, trust the process of where you’re at now while knowing that you WILL get there.
You need to keep focus and maybe even re-focus (like I did this week) on your ultimate goals.
Make sure that each day counts to its fullest and as long as you’re doing something positive to take a step forward each day, you’re doing everything you can do right now.
Be content with that and don’t feel overwhelmed.
I’m going to take some time this weekend to actually sit myself down, and write down my goals(the old fashioned way) and post them places where I know I’ll see them every day.

Then, I’m going to make a list of some steps I need to be taking to achieve them, and omg…I’m going to start acting on those steps!!!

I’m ashamed of the way I let myself focus on the negative emotions this week. It hasn’t stopped me from doing what I need to in order to go after what I want but it has definitely distracted my spirit.

If you’ve felt like I have this week, to take a moment for yourself to sit and be still and write it down and breathe! 

I hope all of your goals are achieved in 2016 too but it starts with your attitude!! That can be the biggest hinderance or the biggest blessing to what you want to accomplish!

So don’t give up if you’re feeling discouraged or bogged down.

Get back up, keep moving and focus on what you need to do.

 

One of my college track coaches always told us this on really tough workout days or races when the pain started to set in and panic would soon come-

Don’t let how you feel determine what you’re capable of.”

He would tell us to focus on the splits we were to hit and to only try to run the times for each lap, not focusing on the pain.

That wouldn’t just make the pain go away or make us forget how uncomfortable we were, but it made it manageable.

It taught us that the goal was more important than the distraction of how we were feeling.

Our journey in life is a lot like that too.

If we can just focus on what we’re going after with each step to get there instead of the distractions, we can reach so much more.

I encourage you all to take a moment and reflect on your first week of 2016 now that the after glow of the party has settled and reality is here.

Are you happy where you are? What are your goals? What are you doing to get there?

Re-focus and go get it!

2016- Becoming the Wolf, the year for me.

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Before I get a little too far ahead of myself, I want to take a moment to recall some highlights of my 2015- the achievements and the lessons I’ve learned.

What I accomplished in 2015: 

I graduated college and got my degree!!! I graduated from The University of Alabama at Birmingham in April with a broadcast communications degree and sports marketing minor in four years.
I completed 4 full years of being a cross country and track student athlete at Division one schools(transferred to UAB in middle of sophomore year)
I made the deans list with one high B 
at the end of my last semester
I had two very successful internships- one with WBRC Fox 6 News where I learned more about sports broadcasting than ever and had many amazing opportunities to learn & make connections, and one at WJOX 94.5FM to finish out the semester as “skittles  tafoya” a personality given to me as my own.
I got my first “big girl job”- landed my first full time job here in Birmingham shortly after graduation and track ended in the spring.
I somehow managed to start “adulting” by myself- paying bills, buying my own gas and providing for myself for the first time and staying afloat for the last six and a half months!
I began the dream of continuing my passion to improve in my running and found a new post collegiate coach. I’ve been working with resolute running since August after my first post collegiate 5k and have been steadily improving in races.
I became an ambassador for Skechers performance and get to race in their gear and awesome shoes!(check out my Instagram for all of their latest distance shoes)
Things I learned-
I learned to rely on myself and God when things get tough, and in every thing I do.
I learned the importance of never sacrificing my own happiness,wellness, spirit for another person
I learned to let go of toxic people and accept that anything negative in my life won’t allow me to follow the plans God has for me.
I learned that I can forgive but I can’t dumb down my spirit for someone who sucks the life and light out of it.
I learned that being by myself sometimes isn’t all that bad. That it’s actually needed.
I learned that God really really loves me. Even when I make the same irresponsible mistake or decision again and again.
I learned that choosing kindness and love isn’t always the easiest choice, but it’s the most important choice(not just for you).
I learned that in order to be fully awakened in myself and to know myself, that I needed this time alone with just God. Listening to him and being patient while he builds me.
I learned that no matter how many times I fall down and mess up, at least I’m trying. And I get back up and keep trying my best because I know God is always on my side and he’s proud of me even when no one else is.
I learned that when I mess up or let people or things or emotions distract me, I feel upset not only for my heart but because I love Jesus and I know that it upsets him for me.
That hurts me to know I’ve hurt someone who loves me more than I can fathom.
With all of the high points, incredible blessings, horrible heart aches, and constant struggles of 2015 I move on toward a new era-2016.
Not just because it’s a “New Year” and all but I am actually in a pretty BIG transition going into 2016.

This is the first year I’m by myself as an adult, working, paying my own bills for the first time, training my butt off every day, fully “adulting”, not a student anymore, in a different state than my home, with hopes and dreams, and a lot of uncertainty in the future.
I’m transitioning into a “wolf” if you will. A fearless, bold, primal beast in the spirit! 2016 is the year of Me.
2016 brings a new year for me to do anything I want to do and go anywhere I want to go.
 To fearlessly chase down my dreams for my running career and fitness without limits. 
To follow Christ wholeheartedly and to surrender wherever he leads me.
And I don’t mean this in a selfish way at all. I’m talking about being fully alive and awakened in my spirit and aligned that nothing could possibly distract me from the greatness that’s ahead.
 That’s not selfish to chase that and to want it and to get it. That’s what we are supposed to do!!

Let me just share a few of my goals for 2016(no I don’t call them “resolutions” because to me these are all realistic, attainable goals in which I will accomplish):

Financial stability
I’m pretty good with my money and don’t spend outside of my means at all but there are always improvements to be made.
I will save more money for my future in my savings account and cut down on my coffee spending!!(this will be a challenge for real)
I need to establish my credit(so far I have virtually none coming off of college where I was a student athlete and didn’t need a credit card, at least I’m not in debt!!)
I want to move into a new apartment!!(I hate mine now and I want a nicer, quieter place for myself
I will establish my home in AL for good(for now)
Tithing- I’ve been taught to give 10% of my earnings to Christ, I firmly believe that but I haven’t been living that. And faith without action is dead so I will start living by faith in my finances too.
Relationships 
I will never let anyone distract me to the point of sacrificing who I am and the light that I am.
And please excuse the language here but for lack of a better term- I will no longer associate/date/ or aquire a relationship with any Fuckboys ever again.
There is no point to those relationships and it leads to unfulfilled sorrow. 
You’re better than that too, I encourage you to better yourself and leave those in the past.
I will think about what I am doing before I chose to hurt or accept hurt and negativity
I will intentionally be more thoughtful and kind to everyone I encounter(One Matters)
I will be better at reaching out and keeping communication between friends and family open!!(I’m a horrible texter and often forget to communicate during the business of life) but that’s no excuse and you all matter so much to me.
I will talk to God and listen to him more, and actually act when called to.(when he tests me or blesses me) I will trust him.
I will be better at my quiet time and prayer consistency
I won’t treat relationships as “what can I get out of this” but only in a giving and loving way.
With that said, I’m not going to continue any relationship if it distracts me in a negative way or brings my spirit down.
You can still show light and love without sacrificing your light.
Running and Fitness
I want to keep building a solid foundation
and be able to run comfortably 60-70 mile weeks
I want to break 17 minutes in the 5K finally!
I want to
I want to PR in my 10K- 35 minutes??
I want to start racing more competitive races to win $$?
I want to start flirting with the idea of getting an actual real contracted sponsorship at the end of the year.
I want to focus on mainly the 5k and 10k for now! 😉
For other fitness endeavors..some of you close to me know what I’ve been up to lately but something big is coming in 2016 that I can’t wait to announce when I start but being patient for now and I can’t wait to share with you in that!
 
Nutrition and Hydration
Let’s face it- I eat pretty freaking healthy already and I don’t drink “soda” or pop or coke what have you. BUT I have been so bad at keeping myself hydrated in the winter lately.
So I want to be better at staying hydrated with water and juices through the day
I want to start drinking more chia juice!
I want to get juicer too, and be better about my smoothies meal prep for breakfast(been slacking)
I need to increase my protein intake, especially on workout days & stay with one protein powder regularly
Stay consistent in vitamins and supplements I take

Overall, 2016 is going to be a very exciting, challenging, blessed, and an uncertain year for me.

 

As I stated, I’m in a critical transition as a young woman growing and adjusting to figuring out my life. I have a lot of goals and a lot I’ve learned in the last year. I’ve grown up a lot but still have a lot to grow into.
But I have the biggest and best companion anyone could ask for, even when I feel alone and overwhelmed-Jesus.
Whoever you are, wherever you are, whatever you’re dreaming of being or chasing, know that God loves you.
Now go, be a Wolf with me 😉
Wolves are pack animals, they hunt together and travel together.
Like them, surround yourself with the wolves this year, not sheep.
You’re too talented, too loved, and have too much to do in this life than to waste your energy and light surrounded by negativity and people who are not going to build you up and move forward with you.

Make 2016 a year for you to be great in all you do!!