Sunday, October 19, 2014


When is it that you re-start your blog?  Is it August 1st like I originally intended?  Or Maybe September 1st?  Or wait, October 1st?  Or the start of Fall?  Or maybe just go and publish all the drafts that are waiting in the ole blogger window....'eh how bout October 19th.  That sounds like a good day.  Although I don't know where to start.  The last time I posted was in February and to be honest that about sums up our year in the McLendon household.  We knew it would be by Gods grace that we survived 2014 and after this past week, all back together under the same roof, we can see the light at the end of the tunnel.  Maybe I'll be able to process this past year one day.  But for one thing I know it's Jesus that I held onto ever so tightly.  Knuckles are a little whiter that's for sure.  Faithful is who He is.  Jesus.

Cheers to actually hitting publish on this blog post.  Cheers to my theme song of 2014.  Thank you Jesus for being my source.  Thank you for being faithful and being the One that remains.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Yvonne is Running This Year!

Happy Friday Friends!  Excited to share another #RunThisYear Runner's Profile with you today!!  Don't you just love this community?!  

Today I have the privilege of introducing you to Yvonne!  Praying you each are encouraged as we share her story today!!!

Hi Yvonne!  I believe one of the best ways to be encouraged is to hear one another's "stories".  So let's start out by hearing YOUR Story!  Tell us your "Running Story!!"
Growing up, I was a tall-uncoordinated girl.  I was never, NEVER, picked to be a part of a team.  I tried out for everything – volleyball, basketball {hello .. I did say tall}, softball and cheerleading (not even sure what I was thinking there-remember “tall-uncoordinated”) and wasn’t selected for a single one.  The only thing I could join was band {tallest trombone player in the marching line-up}, ha, because I couldn’t be turned down!  In my head – I am not an athlete!
I sit here now, a “twenty-year wife”, mother of two crazy teens and a 4-legged pup.   I am a vegetarian, part-time vegan foodie, and a dedicated running road and trail {race} fan.  Some may even say now an athlete.  Somewhere in my later 3rd decade, I decided to really run full force and haven’t stopped, only sped up!
Are y'all encouraged yet?!  I am! :)  

Is this your first year participating in #RunThisYear?  What is your goal for this year?
This is the first year for RTY for me.  I watched from afar last year and was mad I didn’t join in.  So this year I was ready with my goals:  an Ultra and 2400k or 1200 miles for 2014. 

Having a schedule and a race to prepare for helps me stay on track.  This year (running wise) so far will be my biggest race accomplishment.  The goal is to cross the finish line feeling strong and happy...then there may be a second Ultra shortly after!!

Tell us about your favorite race to run and if you follow a training plan to meet that goal!
I did my first "race" almost 11 years ago and it was a full marathon -- it wasn't graceful, fast or love at first run either (up until this last California International Marathon 2013, I disliked full marathons).  Yes,  I learned the hard way TRAIN PROPERLY and you succeed. It was after my first not so fun marathon when I fell in love with the half marathon distance, my first one in 2007.  Since then, I have ran approximately 17 half marathons, as well as 4 full marathons, three 200-mile relay races (Ragnar Relay) and several road and trail distances in between.  None of my races have been "easy" but I have found that if I stick to a schedule and stay consistent I finish successfully (as mentioned above this too was learned several races into my journey) -- and I am always ready to sign up for my next!

Right now, I am now just a few weeks out from my first Ultra 50k (on March 8th!).  I started running the trails about 3 years ago and  I love it! I am currently following a plan from Tiffany (Running Hutch) and one from a local running store.  I've also recently added strength training into the mix.  I really do think it's added to my successful long training runs that have varied from anywhere from 13-24 miles, with my longest trail run to date coming up tomorrow...26 miles!!!!

To close us out, do you have any tips to encourage us with?
One of my biggest tips or lessons that I've learned is to stay consistent with a training schedule.  It is okay that some days are good run days and some not so good.  It is the act of continuing to move forward that makes success. For me I feel so lucky and blessed with my running friends who motivate, inspire and cheer me on every mile along the way! Seriously some days you don't feel like running, but once I get out there it is like therapy, and it turns every day into a better day! 

I also finally feel that I have learned how to properly fuel my body for endurance training.  In several races and during training in the past, I found myself crashing towards the end or immediately after.  This too is something that I finally took seriously and stuck to.  It has made a huge difference in the way I feel during and after long runs. 

Thanks Yvonne for encouraging us today!  
Yvonne has her eyes set on her BIG RUN--Ultra50k just around the corner and her longest trail run TOMORROW!  Let's jump in and encourage her today!!!

FaceBook: Y Now an Athlete
Instagram: @ynowanathlete
Twitter: @ynowanathlete

Monday, February 17, 2014

Tara Jane Is Running This Year!

One of the really fun things I get to do as a #RunThisYear Ambassador is introduce you to fun people within the community!  I am excited today to introduce you today to Tara Jane! 
Tara is new to the Run This Year community this year--but signed up this year eager to do it!  With her church and work commitments, she knew she probably wouldn't be able to do the full 2014km--so she got creative (which is why I'm so excited for you all to get to know her--and be encouraged by her!!).   Her goal for the year is to run 201.4km twice.  Once she has achieved this, she will then try to do it a third time!

One of the things I am most eager to learn from other runners is what a typical week looks like for them.  We all have different things on our plate--so I am fascinated the most by this from other runners!  For Tara, she let us know that in a typical week she runs about 10k, 5km on a Saturday and 5km on a Sunday.  She occasionally throws in a weekday lunch run.  (Who else out there runs on their lunch breaks?!).

Tara is a social runner--so as long as she has a friend or two to run with, she's out there!  If she finds that she is alone for her run she will usually head to the gym for a class.  This is still a great way to get a work out in--but she does confess it is not helping towards clocking those km's! 

I asked Tara to share a little bit about her running story.  She shared it so well, I thought I'd share it here with her own words....

"Until a year ago I thought running shoes were reserved for Dads in jeans and gym fanatics, two groups of people I never wanted to be anything like.

My running story starts January 2013, in a sweaty tent. I had been married for ten months and working full time for twelve. My life had shifted from single, on-the-go university student, on my feet all day serving coffees, to days on end of sitting and dinner every evening. After a year of living like that, I felt overweight. I felt slow and sluggish all the time. I didn’t like it. And so during my summer camping trip, I made the decision to sign up for the Michelle Bridges 12 Week Body Transformation (12WBT) - a fitness and food program I had heard about.

I met Rachel’s Runners through the 12WBT community. They ran on Saturdays and anyone could join. I was just getting used to the idea of exercise, and I love socialising, so I thought “Sure, I’ll give it a go!” I started by doing a Learn to Run program, and within 10 weeks I had run my first 5k fun run!

Since then, I’ve run in a few fun runs organized by the group, three 5km runs and a 10km run, and I’m working my way slowly up to a half marathon. I love the Rachel’s Runners fun runs the most because I get to run with the girls who push me to work harder, run faster and get better every week.

If my weekend is normal, I join Rachel’s Runners and participate in Learn to Run training with the new runners, plus half marathon training, and then a distance run of anything between 5km to 15km. Aside from this, I have no regimented training plan.

Running for me is not about strict training and achieving goals. I’ve still got goals, and I still train, and these are great things. Running for me is about exercising in community. It’s about sharing life with each other, and running while we’re at it!"
To close us out, I asked Tara if she had any tips she'd like to share with us!  Here are her awesome words of wisdom:

  • Get a running buddy - if you’re social like me, a running buddy will make you lace up and get out there.
  • Find a local running group - Facebook is super helpful for finding these.
  • Start slow, but work on improving
  • As the girls at Rachel’s Runners say: Don’t stop!

I am excited about us connecting with one another and encouraging each other on as we #RunThisYear!!!  Let's start by connecting with Tara!

Instagram:  @eatinghappy_

Twitter:   @thisistarajane

Saturday, February 15, 2014

January Check-In, #RunLove & Happy Valentines Day

Hi friends!  Are we already hallway through February?  Back to back to back conferences or retreats and hello two snow storms in GEORGIA--that is how we got to mid February!  I had big plans to hop on here and tell you all of my big goals for 2014---I even started a post at one point---and well you see how far that got!  I did just want to hop on here tonight to check in for my #RUNTHISYEAR community!  How is everyone?  How did January go?  How is February going?

Here is my honest check-in.  I am no where near my 2014 miles in 2014 goal BUT I ran ZERO miles in December due to sickness.  The fact that I jumped back into running in January and logged 31 miles makes my heart very happy.  So--I am going to take it for a win and keep on keepin on....following January's #RunThisYear theme #rundetermined !!!  I felt very determined in January!  How about you?!

February's theme for #RunThisYear is #RunLove.  I love this theme.  Thinking through all the reasons why we love to run.  Just a few to throw out there off the top of my head---it is a mental release for me.  It is where I can encounter Jesus.  It is where I can pray, think, clear my head.  It is where I can take a deep breath of fresh air.  It is where I can worship.  I have found that my body craves a run.  It's a stress reliever.  This may sound weird, but it is for "me."  I have 30 minutes (minimum) by myself. :)  I love the challenge.  I love having the goal.  I love completing one goal and then immediately going after another one.  You cross one finish line and you are ready for the next one!  I have now entered into the realm of pushing my body a little bit harder to be a little bit better--to go a little bit harder...and totally fascinated by other runners who push the limits.  The best part I have found of being a runner?  The community that you become a part of when you become a runner!

So tell me!  What do you love about running?  What gets you to go out there when it is so, so cold outside?  What makes you run ridiculous miles over and over again on a treadmill?  Tell me and share it using the hashtag:

Speaking of LOVE...Happy Valentines Day my friends!  I hope you each had a great day!  Ours was filled with beautiful family time and the things that are okay to bend the "rules" for a day (donuts, take out, picnics, cuddles, & movies on the living room floor!).  

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Run This Year 2014

Some may have seen the crazy thing I posted earlier this week on Facebook.... "Run 2014 miles in 2014.  Who's with me?"  (You may have also noticed it's the only thing I've posted this week----I deleted Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter off my phone this week to be more intentional with my boys.  My apologies if you've tried to get ahold of me--I'll be back next week....).

So really...who's with me?  Am I really going to reach 2014 miles in 2014?  It seems like such a lofty goal.  But to be honest with you since finishing my third half marathon for 2013 in November and not being signed up for another race..I've been floundering.  I'm apparently a person that needs goals in their life.  So why not sign up for a big one.  So I'm in.  Not only am I in...I signed up with the big dogs.  I'm joining TEAM #RunThisYear as one of the Ambassadors.  What does that mean?  Basically you'll get to hear from me a lot on this subject and hopefully encourage you along the way!!   I plan on checking in later on this week with my own personal goals for 2014--running & not running--but for now, here are the details for RUN THIS YEAR!!!

Run This Year is an amazing community (FREE!) that encourages and motivates runners to keep on running all year long...and see how many miles you can log in one year!

There are THREE ways to participate!


CHALLENGE 1: Run the year in miles: 2,014 miles in 2014.

Download a sample running calendar to see how it can be done: PDF or XLS.
Breaks down to 5.5 miles every day or 39 miles per week.

CHALLENGE 2: Run the year in kilometers: 2,014 kilometers = 1251.4 miles.

Roughly 3.5 miles every day or 24 miles per week.


Get Your Own Goal! If you join later in the year or are new to running, that’s okay! Participate by selecting a challenging mileage total for yourself and get after it!

This is what I love about this community!  There is a challenge for everyone--no matter your fitness level!

There is a fun place to tell us you are participating--SO CLICK HERE TO JOIN THE COMMUNITY!

And another fun spot to log your miles every week!  Use this form to log 'em!

I will also start using the Daily Mile website again to start logging and my favorite running app is Strava.  So follow along!

Who's excited for 2014 and all that it holds?!?!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Christmas Cards. A Blubbering Mess. Adoption.

I am a mail junkie.  There you go.  Confession just from the very beginning let's get it out there.  It's the first thing I do upon arriving home every afternoon.  If I am home when the mail lady comes--I go straight out to check it.  Some (like the hubs) may call it an addiction.  I say it's like getting a mini gift each day.  You just never know what you are going to get.  I love good mail days.

I love December which makes mail days that much more exciting.  It may be the fact that I grew up an Air Force Brat which meant I grew up in a family that mailed Christmas cards and letters each year and we received letters and cards from around the world with updates from friends that my family made from those 18+ years in the service.  I still love visiting my parents house at Christmas time and seeing those familiar faces that were a part of my childhood.  It's a beautiful thing.

On Monday I opened up our first Christmas card & letter and came completely undone.  To be honest I've never had those emotions before over a Christmas card or letter, but inside this letter contained pictures of kids I have grown to love and have a deep place in my heart for.  You want to see me come undone---send me a letter from Costa Rica with 16 beautiful faces smiling back at me. Undone, sobbing, blubbering mess.

I was able to pull myself back together knowing that I will see them again come late May.  I'm so thankful that my very first mission trip almost 12 years ago sent me to the beautiful country of Costa Rica and now for three years in a row I just keep getting to go back to these beautiful faces.  To love on them and hug them.  Who knows one day God may open the door for one (or two or three...) to become permanent fixtures in our family, but for now I'll take what I can get and that is a yearly trip to Costa Rica.

So there you go--there's my mail addiction.  There's my heart for 16 beautiful Costa Rican children.  And here is what is on my heart today that I want to share with you and what I personally would like to do something about.  A family that I have come to know and love dearly in our church is raising funds to finalize their adoption of their sweet Elijah.  You can read their complete and beautiful story by clicking here...really go read it.  Please.
So what would I like to do about it?  I wish I had $7000, but I don't.  But I do have an etsy shop.  I open it from time to time and God uses it to provide for mission trips to Scotland for the hubs and to Costa Rica for me...and/or wherever else in the world Jesus calls us to from year to year.  He uses it to provide when my little fam of three just needs a little bit of extra finances (like Christmas time!) and I'm so thankful for the way He has just used it and blessed it.  I've opened it up again this year for the holidays and I would like to use it to bless the Koeppen family.  A minimum of 20% of all proceeds from my Etsy Shop this season will go towards their fundraising efforts.

I know you are presented with lots of things to give to during this season--but I would like to ask that you would pray about giving towards this sweet family.  What a sweet Christmas present this would be to officially make Elijah a Koeppen.  Whether you choose to do so through my Etsy Shop or give directly to them--either way is beautiful.  Read their story, pray for them.

Adoption.  It's a beautiful thing isn't it?
Only 174 days till I can wrap my arms around those 16 babies that have my heart....

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

December and a few things on my heart...


December 3rd at that.

Last time I wrote a blog post was June 21.  Not sure how that happened.  Actually well I do.  In the life as a Youth Pastor--Summer is well Mission Trips, SUMMER SCHEDULE, Summer Camp, then Fall...trying to catch your breath.  This Fall didn't exactly present that for me this year--but all for good reasons and all things I feel thankful to be called to---but here we are---December.  We've had the Christmas tree in our house now for twelve days.  It was finally graced with beautiful white lights 48 hours ago.  Progress People.  Tonight Aunt Mia will come over for dinner and the tree will finally get it's proper dressing.

A few things I've been pondering as we enter this Christmas Season....

I want to be Present.  I want to put my phone down when I'm in the presence of my husband and son and I want to be present in our conversations.  Jude is full of sentences these days and I want to make full eye contact with him.  This month I'm making a concentrated effort to put the phone down.

An off season.  This was an ongoing debate in our house that started two months ago when I started googling "gobble jogs" around where my in-laws live.  I couldn't handle the thought of not running on Thanksgiving Day (my reasoning---Fall 2012 I trained for my first race the Gobble Jog 5k Thanksgiving Day that then led to three half marathons for 2013.  Kind of a big mile marker in my "running career"  (in my opinion) and I just wanted to run on Thanksgiving Day.  I digress...)  The hubs asked me to not run on Thanksgiving Day and spend the day with family.  I'm being completely honest in this post to tell you I really, really struggled with this.  Which put a whole nother spin on things I had to deal with in my heart:  priorities, etc.  I submitted and did not sign up for a race.  (Every one say, good girl :)  Day before Thanksgiving 2013 I found myself in the doctors office being diagnosed with a sinus infection and bronchitis.  So there you go.  A forced off-season.  I'm dreaming big and praying through what God has for me in 2014....but for right now....I'm going to take a step back and breathe deep of all that this down season has for me.  And at the same time make sure my priorities are always where they should be.

Jesus.  Christmas.  Jude.  Little man is 2.8 this year. ...and a whole lot of fun.  Every morning he comes downstairs, sees the Christmas tree (the bare one with nothing on it), and asks if Santa has come yet.  He is for the first year grasping this whole Christmas thing and with that I feel like there is a whole lot of pressure as a parent.  I so want him to get it.  I trust Jesus that he will.  Experienced parents out there---what do you do to make sure your kids don't miss it????

Those are just a few things I'm pondering at the moment.  Goals, Dreams, 2014....there's a lot more going on in this heart.  What about you?  What are you pondering on today?  For me it's on a rainy Tuesday afternoon in a coffee shop.  Praying for you that your heart is full (even if it is pondering!) wherever you may be.