A Wife Loved Like The Church

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While I originally only planned for my series to be three parts, I thought you’d all like to know how my half marathon went last weekend. In a nut shell it was awesome.

Before arriving, I was so incredibly nervous I thought for sure I was going to loose my breakfast. I was snapping at Jonathan while he was driving and was just getting overly annoyed and anxious. Everything was going completely opposite of how I’d planned {and specifically how we’d prayed the night before}. However, as soon as I stepped out of the car {with plenty of time to spare thanks to my wonderful husband} I felt a flood of relief. Just like a switch, my nervousness was gone and I felt total peace {thanks God!}.


Half Marathon Training {The Finish}


1. Prepare to be overwhelmed – The most amount of people I’ve ever run with was 30. Sunday I ran with 20,000. Yeah, that’s a lot of folks. And at times it was a bit overwhelming to keep my eye out for people passing me and me passing people. Not to mention the bum rush to water stations and bathrooms.

2. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate – When I ran my half last spring I didn’t hydrate well enough. And I paid dearly for it by the end. This time around, I’ve trained with hydration breaks and made sure to stop at every water station I came to. At one point I was tempted to pass the last few by {because of the crowd} but then I remembered “HYDRATE!”.

3. Don’t give up – Somewhere around the 8 mile marker, I was done. My feet were hurting, my time was off and I was ready to lay in the grass and wait for the “dropped runner” cart to pick me up. I started using every metal trick in my book. I made up games. I gave myself a pep talk. I counted how many people I saw in certain colored shirts. Whatever it took to keep me focused {and running} I did it. Running a half marathon is tough, but don’t give up. You can do this. You can do this.

4. Enjoy your victory – My time was off what I expected and half way through I was really beating myself up for it. But once I crossed that finish line I thought “I don’t want time to steal my victory”. And so I didn’t. And I won’t. I ran my race, I did it well, and I succeeded.

Standing outside P.Terry's waiting for my burger and chocolate shake

5. Reward yourself – As a little extra motivation, promise yourself a reward once you complete your run. Maybe a nice night out. Maybe a massage. Or maybe those running shoes you’ve been eyeing for the last year:

*happy sigh*

For Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 of this series, click here {Part 1 – The Physical and Part 2 – The Mental and Part 3 – The Emotional}.

*Disclaimer: All tactics/tips are my own personal opinions and not medically backed. Please seek medical advice before starting any running program.

I cried when I finished my half marathon last April. Well, I suppose I didn’t technically cry, since I was borderline dehydrated. But I did cry out. The last mile of my run was overwhelmingly emotional. A mixture of victory and defeat {I walked mile 11 when I wanted to run the entire race}. A relief at being done. A sense of accomplishment, mingled with a desire to do more.

Running is every bit emotional as it is physical and mental. Yet we tend to gloss of the emotions. But I’m here to tell you: It’s your party, cry if you want to.

Half Marathon Training {The Emotional}


1. Finding your center – Wow, if that didn’t sound New Age-y, I don’t know what will. But honestly, running can really help you focus, sort through your emotions, and recenter yourself. Just channeling your efforts into exercise can help clear your mind of “emotional baggage”. I attribute it to all the time aloneyet another reason I don’t listen to music while I run.

2. It’s a BIG deal – Whether you’re completing your goal of a 5K or a marathon, finishing is a big deal. You’ve likely spent weeks training – time away from your family, friends, work {and truthfully favorite t.v. shows}. And coming from a former non-runner, crossing that finish line means so much more than time and speed. It means accomplishing something great. Sometimes accomplishing something great is celebrated with tears.

3. You’re a BIG deal – Once you’ve transformed from non-runner to runner, something about you changes. You understand you can rise to the occasion. You can conquer. You can do something you never thought possible. Whispering in the mirror, “Sarah, you’re a runner” in the wee hours of the morning before I go running gives me the emotional {and mental} confidence to succeed. Despite the stretch marks. Despite the abs that will just never be the same. Despite whatever I’m feeling, I know I can do this. And you can to.

How do you feel after a run? Have you ever cried?

My half marathon is this Sunday. I’m going a little crazy this week with “Am I ready, am I not?”. But come Monday, it will all be done. And it will have so been worth it to wake up and say “I am a runner.

For Part 1 and Part 2 of this three part series, click here {Part 1 – The Physical and Part 2 – The Mental}.

*Disclaimer: All tactics/tips are my own personal opinions and not medically backed. Please seek medical advice before starting any running program.

When I started running long distances {5+ miles}, I was shocked at how the run was as mental as it was physical. I read in Runner’s World {which I think is perhaps the runner’s bible} that your body can keep running further than your mind. In other words, if your head’s not in the game, your body won’t be either. Over the last year, I’ve picked up some technics for staying trained mentally.

Half Marathon Training {The Mental} 

{photo credit}

1. Prepare for the worse – Understand that running 3 miles is not easy. Running 13.1 miles is even harder. I don’t want to scare or discourage you, but it’s true. However, for me, if I start the run knowing it’s not easy but can be done, then I feel prepared. It’s like walking into a final exam – I know it will be tough, but I’ve studied hard for the test and plan to succeed.

2. Find a cheerleader – When I feel like I can’t accomplish something, I need someone to encourage me. My someone is Jonathan. Time and time again he tells me how amazed he is that I’ve completed a long run, or gives me a pep talk before I leave for a run. Even if he is rarely my running buddy, Jonathan’s always in my head cheering me on, telling me I can go that extra mile.

3. Talk yourself through the run – I don’t listen to music when I run. Some of you may think that is crazy, but it’s true. Now before you think I’m some running purest, it has nothing to do with not wanting to listen to music, but simply that my iPod broke 1.5 years ago and I’ve never replaced it. Since then, I started talking myself through my runs. I try to run familiar routes and set visual goals {park is 1 mile, crossroad is 2.5 miles, etc}. Talking myself through my runs looks like: a) encouraging myself as I pass my visual goals, b) sorting through personal issues, and, c) praying/mediating. As you talk yourself through your run, you’ll find that you don’t actually need music to run, and it brings the {good} intensity of running to a whole new level.

4. Make some compromises – This last weekend I was suppose to run 8 miles. I woke up and loathed the idea of running 8 miles. I wanted nothing more than to lay in bed with my family and then s-l-o-w-l-y start the day. I knew I couldn’t miss a training day, so I compromised: do 3 mile hill training, followed by 5 mile bike training. In the end, I cut my training time in half so I could get back to my family {but thanks to those brutal hills – I was much more sore!}.

5. Cut yourself some slack – Not every run will be great. You’ll cut a run short. You’ll walk away feeling defeated. It is okay. I’ve walked away from a 3 mile run in tears with how poorly it went. And I’ve walked away from a 7 mile run feeling amazing. Just like having bad days, you’re gonna have bad runs. Understand that one run doesn’t determine your life as a runner – it’s getting back on the road that does.

Just keep your head in the game {even if it’s insane}.

For Part 1 of this three part series, click here {Part 1 – The Physical}.

*Disclaimer: All tactics/tips are my own personal opinions and not medically backed. Please seek medical advice before starting any running program.

Last January, on an impulse, I started training for a half marathon. I know that might seem strange, what about a 13.1 mile race is impulsive. But it was {as are so many things in my life}. After 12+ weeks of training, I ran my race in April. Sweet victory. I’m currently training for the Austin Half Marathon on February 20th. After getting some questions from friends about my training, I thought I’d spend the next three weeks doing a series.

{photo credit}

Half Marathon Training {The Physical}

I’ve thought it cliche to say “If I can do it, you can do it”, but I honestly believe it. I’ve never been a runner. And before I set my mind to running/training, the furthest I’d ever run was 2 miles. In high school. One of my favorite quotes about running {from Runner’s World} said “Running is hard. If it wasn’t everyone would do it”.  I can’t tell you how incredibly true that is. Running is hard. Some days I hate it. But I do it anyway because deep down I really love it. Here are my tactics for training:

1. Run – Obvious enough, but something we can all put off. It’s too cold. It’s too hot. It’s too rainy. It’s too sunny. You name it, I’ve used it as an excuse {including “It’s too windy and will mess with my running time”}. You can’t train if you don’t run.

2. Schedule – Just google “half marathon training schedule” and you will get countless training schedules ranging from beginners to advanced. Pick one that you can tailor to your needs and stick with it. Here’s mine: Basic Half. It worked wonders for helping me stay on track with my first half last year. This year I’ve tailored it a bit more, since I’m training in half the time.

3. Food is fuel – I’ll be the first to admit I’m not always great about seeing food as fuel {as I lick brownie crumbs off my plate and type…}. But if running has taught me one thing it’s: bad food makes for a bad run. End of story. The more junk I eat, the harder the run. I feel bloated and nasty. Not something you want to feel when you’re staring down an 8-mile run.

4. Water is essential, but so are electrolytes – Perhaps I’m part fish, but I need water. Literally crave it. And aside from my much needed coffee {and occasional wine/beer} I steer away from all other drinks. Unless I’m running. Throughout the day I drink tons of water, but on a long run day {anything over 6 miles} I make sure to have a Gatorade on hand. I typically won’t drink it during my run {just water}, but Gatorade is my saving grace for post run hydrating.

Running isn’t just physical, but mental and emotional. In the next two weeks, I’m going to be sharing my tips for how to mentally and emotionally train.

*Disclaimer: All tactics/tips are my own personal opinions and not medically backed. Please seek medical advice before starting any running program.

Christmas is right around the corner. Have you started on your Christmas shopping? If you’re like me, you’ve still got a few people left and aren’t sure where to find the perfect gift.

Splish splash in the bath! {photo credit}

Want a gift that is unique? Want a gift that is earth friendly? Want a gift that smells really, really good? You’ve come to the right place! I am super excited to be hosting another Eco Natural Soap giveaway! They will be giving one lucky person two soap bars and a lip balm to give as a Christmas gift!

I can’t tell you how much I love Eco Natural Soap. I’ve been using their shampoo, body soap and shave bar since August and have already gotten some of their products as Christmas gifts for family. One of their newest, seasonal products is a pumpkin spice bath & body bar. It is divine. It acts like an moisture rich exfoliating bar – not too harsh, but leaves your body feeling smooth and refreshed. Not to mention it makes your bathroom smell like wonderful spiced pumpkin. *sigh*

One lucky winner will receive two bars of soap {of their choice} and a lip balm {of their choice}.

How to enter:

Mandatory entry: Visit Eco Natural Soap and leave me a comment telling me what you’d like and who you’d gift it to.

Additional entries {leave me a comment for each}

– Follow me on Twitter {@sadiewindham}

– Tweet/Facebook this giveaway

– Visit Eco Natural Soap’s new blog: Eco Friendly Homemaking

You have until Tuesday, November 16th at 11:59 PM CST to enter!

*Disclaimer: While I was provided with products to try from Eco Natural Soap, all opinions are mine!

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I really, really love sugar and coffee. But I’m wondering if my two loves could be the root of my long term headaches. While I haven’t been drinking coffee as long as I’ve been eating sweets, I do tend to drink a lot of coffee. {Depending on what you consider a lot. Maybe 2-4 cups a day – usually closer to 4.} Oddly, I don’t put sugar in my coffee, which might be a plus for what is about to happen:

I’m giving up sugar for the month of October.

{photo credit}

Now there are a couple of ground rules:

1. I will continue eating yeast breads that contain sugar {i.e. yeast rolls, sandwich breads, etc}.

2. I will stop eating sweet breads, cookies, cakes, etc.

3. I will continue eating natural sugars – honey, agave, peanut butter {without added sugar}, fruits.

4. I will in addition cut back my coffee to once a week, drinking one cup at house church on Sundays.

I’m giving myself two weeks to see how my body handles the changes. If I don’t see much improvement in my headaches, I’m going one step further and eliminating all sugar {basically cutting out sugar from my yeast breads}.

I’ve already cut out the coffee this week. It’s not been as hard as I expected, but I do miss it something fierce. I’m not as concerned about eliminating coffee from my diet as much as I am cutting it back and being mindful the timing of when I drink {better before 9/10 am}.

I’m a little nervous about this new “diet” adventure. I’m imagining having night sweats when I just have to have something sweet and can’t. Hopefully my imagination is just a little overactive. I’m keeping a date journal to see how things go, chart my improvements {fingers crossed} and if there is anything more that might trigger my headaches.

*Please keep in mind that I am not a medical professional and my crazy no-sugar diet is my personal exploration for headache remedy and not medical advice.

Visit Alicia at Alicia’s Homemaking for more Try New Adventures Thursday.

Top Ten {Tuesday} I’m hosting a natural soap giveaway, ending tonight {Tuesday, August 31}. I thought I’d share with you the top ten reasons to use all natural shampoo.

1. Methylisothiazoline, or MIT – Never heard of it? Well, it’s a chemical used in many shampoos that have been linked to neurological damage. Neurological damage. From a shampoo. Crazy.

2. Sodium lauryl sulfate, or SLS – The second ingredient in PANTENE Pro-V shampoo is SLS. SLS just so happens to be a proven skin irritant. That we put in shampoo. Then put on our heads.

3. Hydroxypropyl methylcellulose – A semisynthetic used as a lubricant in shampoo. Oh, and as a thickening agent. In food. Yum.

4. Mineral Oil – Mineral oil clogs your hair follicles, making the natural release of oils from your head stick to your roots, thus giving you that “oily hair” look {when in fact, your hair isn’t dirty}.

5. Fragrances – I do like me some good smelly stuff, but there is no real FDA regulation of what chemicals make up the fragrances in our shampoo. I don’t like smelly stuff more than my health, that I can tell you.

6. Artificial (Synthetic) Colors – Have allergies to food dyes? Did you know your shampoo has dye in it too? And most of these dyes are made up of coal tar, a known carcinogen.

7. It’s hard to go ‘poo free – Summer of 2008 I stopped using shampoo. {I just heard a collective “WHAT?!“} While it took my hair a while to get use to the change, I loved it. I stopped when I got pregnant with Hannah, because my hair went totally crazy and started falling out. I haven’t gone back to ‘poo free, just switched to all natural shampoos.

8. It’s nice to know what’s on your skin – Just like people want to trace their food from the farm, I like to know who and how my skin care products are made. Eco Natural Soap does a great job of showing you.

9. It’s affordable – A bar of shampoo from Eco Natural Soap is only $3, and when you follow their recommended storing method a bar will outlast a large bottle of chemical shampoo. For $3!

10. You have a chance to win 2 bars of soap and a body balm Want to try out all natural shampoo and soap? Well, here’s your chance to win 2 bars of soap and a body balm from Eco Natural Soap.

You only have until 11:59 CST TONIGHT {Tuesday, August 31} to sign up for your chance to win!

Visit Oh Amanda for more Top Ten Tuesday.

I was approached by Alicia Hicks, owner of Eco Natural Soap. She asked if I would be interested in trying out some of their products. Of course I said yes and was beyond excited! I requested a soap bar and a shampoo bar. And a few days later, I received my package. To my surprise and delight, Alicia had given me a second bar of soap, a shave bar and lip balm {on top of my original request}! Just how awesome is that?!?

The first night I tried the shampoo, Lavender soap and shaving bar. I was pretty intrigued as to how a bar would work for shampoo {would it lather, would it clean, would I even like it??}. Seriously, it worked amazingly. I wet my hair, rubbed it all over and it just lathered right up. As for the shave bar – it made my legs feel silky smooth. Actually, my thought at the time was that they felt like butter {in a soft non-gross sort of way}. Here are a few family comments:

– “Wow, the peppermint soap makes my skin feel tingly and awake.”

– “A bar shampoo? Whoa, this stuff really works.”

– “That smells good, mama {about the lavender soap}.”

Our family has loved our Eco Natural Soap products. I’ve gone through a slew of natural shampoos and not found one I like as much as this one. Beside the niceness of the product, I love being able to know what ingredients are put in each item {they are listed on the back of the wrappers}. I love  supporting a new company and especially one based out of my hometown! And finally, they have great prices making it worth buying all natural over any other brand!

And here’s the best part:

Eco Natural Soap has agreed to sponsor a giveaway on my blog!

The winner will receive two {yes 2!} bars of soap and a balm of their choice!

Here’s how to win:

1. Leave a comment telling me which Eco Natural Soap bars and balm you like.

2. Facebook and/or Tweet it and leave a comment telling me you did.

3. Blog it and link back to this post and to Eco Natural Soap.

4. Refer a friend and have them mention you sent them over.

You have until Tuesday, August 31st at 11:59 PM, CST to enter!

For more Things I Love Thursday, visit Jill at Diaper Diaries. And for more Try New Adventures, visit Alicia at Alicia’s Homemaking.

*Disclaimer: While I was provided with products to try from Eco Natural Soap, all opinions are mine!

There are times that I really do think our family {read: me} might just be a tad bit crazy. But I wonder, is crazy really all that bad?

Saturday we went toilet shopping. Yep, pretty much the best way ever to spend your Saturday morning. Eat pancakes, drink coffee, toilet shop. Seriously, we aren’t always this cool. Anyways, we came across these waterless toilets. Our interest was peeked {because, you know, we’re crazy}. I did a quick Google search and discovered composting toilets by BioLet.

I’ve not done a ton of research on the subject, but it seems harmless enough and something I would consider doing. And the more I thought about a composting toilet the more I thought about family cloth. What is family cloth you ask? Well, think about cloth diapers. Only for your entire family. Just let that sit for a minute. Ok, you’ve got it. Essentially, family cloth is a replacement for toilet paper.

I heard about family cloth about 2 years ago. It’s a pretty outlandish idea. At first I really thought “Are you kidding me?“, but slowly the idea has grown on me. I mean, we are using cloth diapers. And I am using cloth pads. So doesn’t the next logical step seem like cloth toilet paper?

What are your thoughts? Ever heard of family cloth? And just how crazy do you have to be to use family cloth?


Amy, I sent you an email, so please check your inbox. As always, thank you to everyone for entering the contest! I greatly appreciate your support and enthusiasm!

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