On Identity

Hey hey, friends! How are you? I hope you are doing SO good. I have missed you!

The past 3 months I have struggled and obviously avoided my little piece of the web. The feelings I have felt towards what this blog is supposed to be about have caused me to do some good digging into why I have been so afraid to come here lately. Long story short: I have felt disconnected from my identity as a blogger. As I get super vulnerable about this source of shame in the next 1100 words, I hope that you will walk away with at least one nugget of encouragement or useful information.

I often avoid vulnerability at all costs but as one of my favorite authors Brene Brown says:

“When we deny our stories they define us. When we own our stories, we get to write the ending.”

So buckle up, folks, here we go…

I started blogging in January of 2014. I had just finished school and was excited to have some time to start this thing I had been wanting to take on for a while. Now I look back and cringe while reading some of those first posts, not because of the content particularly but because they bring me back to an identity I held on to as if my life depended on it.  IMG_8192

I named this blog “Healthy Regards, Hayley” because I was overly obsessed with the idea of “health”. What I ate, how I looked and nailing every obsessive workout and training session ruled my thoughts. In January of 2014 I was underweight, injured because of my obsession around food and exercise and unable to really enjoy, engage in or even handle life. I look back now and know that I actually wasn’t all that healthy. The 2 years following the inception of this blog brought so many unexpected changes, challenges and heartbreak. Things I never expected to happen, happened.

When I started this blog 2 years and 4 months ago my entire being was tied to sport, “health” and fitness. Those three things were everything to me. 

While looking and playing the part of athlete and health and fitness guru brought me satisfaction and some of my most cherished moments, it also brought me a false sense of what made me Hayley. I honestly believed that doing well in sport meant more happiness and more love from others. On the flip side, the idea at “failing” or underperforming in sport or not living up to this outward appearance of health haunted me. I literally had nightmares about racing poorly and gaining weight. The extreme anxiety I experienced before races was due to the belief that if I didn’t do well, people including my family would think less of me. I was so scared of disappointing the most important people in my life. I was terrified of what others would think of me if I wasn’t always performing at the highest level. The amount of satisfaction I found in a number on the scale, how I looked and generally what I portrayed on the outside is a place I never want to be again. 

And then I got injured, I found out I had a whole host of health issues and I watched everything I had placed my identity in being ripped away from me. It was a tough time to say the least. I avoided seeing people I loved because I feared what they would think of me. I felt shame and I then I felt more shame for feeling shame!  I was lost and hurting. I tried to fill my void with other athletic, health and fitness type things but nothing made me feel like myself so instead I spent a lot of time alone because I was so convinced that I was “less than” without my sport. 

Don’t get me wrong, sport is an amazing thing. It has given me SO much. Some of my best friendships, greatest moments and even some of my key personality traits have come from being an athlete. But when being an athlete became everything I was, disappointment was inevitable. I placed my whole identity in athlete Hayley for so long that I literally felt like I had nothing else. 

I never thought I would think of my injuries as a blessing but now I know that it was the only way to get my stubborn self to see, after 2 years, that I am so much more than how fast I can run and how clean I can eat. Placing all of your identity in something like sports, an appearance, a job or a relationship will never get you where you want to be.

With aaaaalllll of that said, there is such a fine line between chasing your dreams and resting your identity in those aspirations. We all know that success in any area takes sacrifice, hard work, focus and dedication to name just a few, but how do we make sure to separate those things from becoming all we are? While I have found so much more clarity in this area over the past year, I am still a work in progress and this is still an area I struggle with. I don’t have a good answer. I can say with certainty however that if I made it to the top step of the most important podium and had sacrificed deep relationships and certain “life moments” along the way, it might feel good for a moment or even a week but eventually it would wear off and if after that I was left with the life I had 2 years and 4 months ago, it wouldn’t be worth it. 

So slowly but surely I moved away from the identity that started this blog. I realized that the people who loved me, were going to love me even during my stupidest, most desperate times. I learned that nothing worth placing my identity in had to be earned. I got comfortable with the truth that although I am so not perfect I have a perfect Creator that loves me and is for me, no matter what. And so after 3 months of avoiding my blog because I didn’t want to post about food or training, I decided to pour my heart out instead.

 

Healthy Regards,

Hayley 

 

 

ohhhh and incase you are wondering… when I am ready, mentally and physically, you can bet you’ll see me toeing the line with a new confidence and appreciation for sport. 

 

Training Recap + what I am training for

I have been posting training recaps since the beginning of this blog so it has sorta just become habit. Each week I post what my training looked like that past week. What I haven’t done in a long time though is talk about racing. While I have a few cycling, running and triathlon races in my mind as ones I would like to do this year, I don’t have anything set in stone. 

If you have been reading this blog for sometime now you know that I have dealt with injury after injury after injury after injury since January 2014. As pessimistic as that may seem, I have literally been dealing with an injury for about 20 months of the past 24. Last year my goal was to just get to the start line of a triathlon after a year away. Well, I didn’t race one triathlon last year. Luckily, I found and fell in love with bike racing. I still longed for running but my body was not ready.  I truly enjoyed cycling but missed the variety that came with swim, bike, run. So again, this year I am determined to get to the start line of a triathlon. But I am also at peace about it all. I feel really good about my everyday training and know that staying the course is going to benefit me whether I race this year or not. 

My goal first triathlon however is St. George 70.3 (half ironman) on May 7th. If on March 7th (2 months out) I am healthy, pain-free and my training is progressing as it should be, I will sign up. IMG_1593

Some other races I am thinking about are: 

  • San Dimas Stage Race, April 1-3 – I actually wouldn’t consider this race but I signed up and got sick before it last year so I have a free entry for this year. It is also close enough to my parents house that I could stay with them/make it a visit home. But if fo r some reason I couldn’t get the time off from work, I wouldn’t be too upset about it. ‘
  • A handful of local cycling races. I got very burnt out from cycling races last year. There is one pretty much every weekend in California from January-August so while I definitely want to do a few races this year, I will be more selective. 
  • BolderBoulder, May 30 – A fun 10k I have wanted to do for a while. If I run consistently until then it should also be a good way to see what I can do again. 
  • Boulder Peak Triathlon, July 10 – A local olympic distance triathlon. 
  • Tempe (October 16th) OR Austin 70.3 (October 30th) – If I do St. George, I can honestly say I will go into it simply wanting to see what I can do. It will be almost 3 years since my last triathlon so I can’t have too many expectations. I will also be so overwhelming grateful to just be there that I plan on soaking in every second of that. After St. George I will be able to make some solid season goals and plans for one of these late season goal races. I would hope to have a solid 4 months of training (and 10 months injury free) and be in good shape for an October race. 

That is about it! I plan on getting back to racing this year but it is not what this year will be about. I would rather train well and consistently, stay healthy and have a handful of great race experiences


So now to that training… 

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Monday: Swim 1 hour 20 minutes, Ride with intervals 2 hours 15 minutes 

Tuesday: Run 30 minutes, Swim 25 minutes, Water running 25 minutes, Strength 1 hour

Wednesday: Bike efforts 1 hour 30 minutes, Swim 1 hour 30 minutes

Thursday: Easy trainer spin 1 hour, Run 30 minutes, hip + core 30 minutes 

Friday: Bike 1 hour 30 minutes, Swim 1 hour 15 minutes

Saturday: Bike 3 hours 30 minutes 

Sunday: Run 30 minutes, hip + core 20 minutes 

Totals

  • Swim: 4 hours 10 minutes
  • Bike: 9 hours 45 minutes
  • Run: 1 hour 50 minutes 
  • Strength: 2 hours

17 hours and 40 minutes total 


 

And that’s a wrap! 

 

Healthy Regards, 

Hayley 

 

Do you have any races on your calendar? How is your training going?

Do you find it hard to keep training when you don’t have something on the calendar or your racing schedule is unknown? 

 

 

 

Eat more vegetables!! and 10 EASY veggie filled recipes

Friday, yippee! Food, yay! Vegetables, woo hoo! 

As we near the end of the first month of 2016 it is a good time to do a self check on how your nutrition has been over the past few weeks. Did you have any diet related resolutions? How are they going? 

Even though I generally eat pretty good, I have been focusing on filling my plate with lots of vegetables this month.

It is no secret that eating vegetables are part of a healthy diet and life. Even without trying to change anything else, adding more vegetables to your everyday diet can help you lose weight, recover well, sleep tight and eat less of those things you could be trying to avoid.  Vegetables are full of nutrients and light on calories. Adding vegetables to meals can increase the volume and overall satisfaction without needing to worry about calories. Throw out your portion size ideas, you can eat ALL the veggies. 

I also know that easy, quick and tasty are important selling points to this vegetable thing. While I could eat raw carrots with every meal, I know that isn’t the case for everyone. The good news is: there are a million and one ways to prepare vegetables. Trying new recipes, cooking techniques and even completely new vegetables can be a fun way to figure out which ones you love.   vegetable recipes

Here are 10 EASY vegetable recipes for you to try right now (or over the next month): 

You can’t really beat a slow cooker vegetable soup right now. I love this easy one over at Damn Delicious. 

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Another perfect winter dish chock full of veggies are these Roasted Root Vegetable with Tomatoes and Kale.  roasted-root-vegetables-tomatoes-kale-vertical-a2-1200

You can’t really go wrong with recreating a burrito bowl. Add more veggies to yours with this Mexican Vegetable Saute mexicansaute-1024x791

Have you spiralized yet?! I bought myself this spiralizer for Christmas. I have tried fancier ones but this one is WAY easier, cheaper and perfect. I encourage you to get creative with your spiralizing but here is a simple Stir Fry Zucchini Noodles recipe.  Stir-Fry-Zucchini-and-Onions

What about a green smoothie? Friends, you can’t even taste the vegetables when you mix them with fruits, almond milk, some spices and maybe yogurt or a protein powder. It is basically magic! If you are hesitant, start with this simple Green Monster Smoothie http://www.skinnymom.com/green-monster-smoothie/

If you are feeling a bit more adventurous, this Ginger and Spinach Green Smoothie is still a good way to ease into the green smoothie trend.  ginger-green-smoothie2

You can have your pizza and eat veggies too (and I am not even making you make some fancy cauliflower crust to do so). Making pizza at home is fun and you may be able trick some others into jumping onto the vegetable train too. Here is a good base recipe but really all you need to do is get some dough, pizza sauce, cheese and vegetables of your choosing, pile it all together and put it into the oven until your desired doneness. Pro tip: Trader Joes, Whole Foods and Sprouts sell good pre-made pizza dough.  veggie_pizza_6

If you want super-duper easy, look no further! You really have no excuses with these Portobello Fajitas from the Garden Grazer.  portobello-fajitas

If you haven’t tried spaghetti squash, resolve to right now. It is even better with this Pumpkin Kale Pesto.   Pumpkin Kale Pesto

You could make these Thai Veggie Quinoa Bowls ahead of time for a work lunch or quick dinner. 

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And there you have it veggie loving and soon to be veggie loving, friends! 

I hope you all have a great weekend!

 

Healthy Regards,

Hayley

 

What is your favorite way to eat veggies? I am absolutely obsessed with roasted veggies! 

Any good weekend plans? It is supposed to be in the upper 50’s here on Saturday! I plan on enjoying the weather via bicycle. I also am babysitting twice this weekend so that pretty much covers it!

 

3 ways to cope with stress… from a stress case

Hello, friends! 

I know I have been m.i.a. since the beginning of this year but honestly blogging has been the last thing on my mind. The start to this year has been streeeessssssfull.

I should preface this whole post by saying that I tend to stress a wee bit more than some people. I wish I could tell you why or where that stems from but I honestly think it is just a genetic disposition. I love control, consistency, security and basically just knowing all things. Sooooo when I start to think that these things that bring me comfort are missing from my life, I get a little stressed. 

Being on vacation for 10 days over the holidays allowed me a ton of time to think. I started to think about all the above things and sure enough that led to a full-blown crisis once I returned to the real world. 

I definitely doubt the path that I am on more often than I would like to. My career path has not been normal and my everyday looks much different from your typical 9-5 job. My days are all over the place which allows me to do some other awesome things but it also tends to stress me out sometimes. I definitely crave more in many areas of my life but I also lack certainty on what exactly that “more” is. This unknowing drives me crazy. Pair that with stress about finances, relationships and health to name a few, and I can get real weird (a.k.a super stressed, awake all night, a few an embarrassing amount of episodes that involved tears and really, just crazy). 

Buuuuuut without getting into too much detail about my own issues lets chat about a few ways to productively deal with your own stress. 

Whether it is finances, work, relationships or health, here are a three tips for coping with stress: 

1. Trust that this path is leading you somewhere better than you could ever imagine. 

I have been reading and constantly reminding myself of Romans 5:3-5 over the past few weeks. I am a control freak and while I can say all day that I trust that there is a greater plan for my life, that God is doing something in the midst of my suffering, I still worry and stress A LOT, and stress = not trusting. This verse however has given me a few well needed moments of peace.  coping with stress

Take rest in the fact that these dark moments will not only will pass but that on the other side of your pain, hurt and suffering, is always a better person

2. Use your stress to fuel you. 

If you are stressing about something it means you care about it which is a good sign in itself, right? And if you care so much about something that you are stressing about it, it is the perfect time to get busy making a change. Use this stress to catapult you to your next great thing, away from a bad situation, to a new level of health, out of debt or into a great relationship.

What can you do to make the desolate places in your life brighter? Make a plan and stick to it until you achieve what you set out to.  

3. Keep doing the things that bring you happiness. 

While I have been stressing about getting my life together, it has been easy to feel bad about taking time to run, ride my bike, go swim or just relaxing and hanging out friends. I have even been lacking my usual desire to do any of those things. When I am stressed all I want to do is put all my energy into getting out of whichever stressful situation I am in. In reality however, if I were to actually push aside all the usual activities that bring me happiness, I would be more stressed and less productive.

  dealing-with-stress-3 dealing-with-stress-2 Dealing with stress

Finding time to relax, exercise and do those activities that bring you joy, even if right now it feels forced, is crucial during stressful times. 


Last but certainly not least, try to remember that this is just a moment in your life and that everyone deals with different stressors. Trust, keep pushing forward, get scrappy and don’t forget to keep doing the fun things that fuel you to do all that other life stuff. 

Guys, I already feel 10x less stressed after writing this! It could also be all the coffee I have consumed this morning, either way, I hope these things help you through your own stressful times! 

 

Healthy Regards,

Hayley

 

What are some ways that you actively cope with stress?

Is your life on the path that you expected? If not, does it stress you out? Do you doubt the path that you are on?