Mental Toughness

Whether you’re a runner, a triathlete, or CrossFitter you understand the importance of training. Every day you have a routine of training for your sport. You know exactly what you need to do to complete your event. One common tool that is often overlooked is our mind. While you’re doing your training sessions you can be training your mind too. It sounds simple, but for most of us it is something that we really need to work at.

If you think you don’t need to work on this, then think about this. Have you found yourself cutting your workout short? Have you found yourself stopping to walk when you still have the energy to run? There are areas daily where you could be training your mind. While you’re out on your 6 mile run, you can push yourself to do intervals, or run at a faster pace than you normally would. The extra effort may cause you to want to slow down or stop. Simply, by continuing to push yourself when you want to stop you’re working on your mental toughness. In the gym, when you want to drop the bar during the workout push it to complete a certain number or finish the repetitions you’re on. Swap your long bike ride for the week for sprints, where you need to push hard for specific distances at a faster than normal pace. These short burst workouts will help you dig deep during a race when you are struggling to make it to a mile marker or finishing the race.

Here are some tips that I have done:

  • I say to myself verbally during a workout to push, never quit, and let’s go.
  • If I have a specific number of repetitions to complete I won’t let myself drop the bar or I will have some type of penalty. Ex. 21 Push Presses at 95lbs, if I drop the bar I owe 100 double unders at the end.
  • Doing long distance training without music.
  • Simulate race day as much as possible.

Mental Toughness is something that I take very personal. I started Endurance racing after returning from my second deployment to Iraq .This deployment was an extremely hard deployment to come back from.  We suffered many casualties, some Marines lost their lives, and other came back facing mental challenges from combat related stress. So returning I knew I needed to step it up a notch to prove to all the guys I served with we all could push through anything life has to offer us. That’s why I stick to the tough races like the World’s Toughest Mudder, Ironman Triathlons , and Ultramarathons. My mental toughness comes directly from knowing that someone else is probably suffering from something far greater. So I should push hard and NEVER QUIT!

-Chase Ford

“Never Quit!”





Space Coast Marathon: Week 3

I know, I JUST recapped week 2…and it’s only Friday.

Running in the Bahamas isn’t going to happen unless they’ve upgraded their gym. Last year they had a treadmill that didn’t work, along with a stationary bike, that also didn’t work. I do intend to try and get a few strength training sessions in, but that also depends on what weights they have in the “gym.” I’m bringing a resistance band with a little set of cards that has some exercises on it.. I know I’ll be swimming/snorkeling/diving every day, so that’ll be a workout, but I have a feeling I’m going to need more than that. These days I’m really craving the good feelings I feel after a good run, or tough WOD.

Speaking of, check out this gun:


I’ve NEVER had muscle definition before. ever. This blows my mind.. I’ve always just had scrawny little arms..not to say that they are big now, they are still scrawny, but c’mon, you can see that muscle starting to pop out!!! Yippee! That’s motivation to keep working hard!

So I’m just going to recap what I’ve done this week..none of that planned vs. actual. That’s to much work, and I’m running short on time..

Monday: 4 miles easy + CFE WOD
Tuesday: 6 miles intervals (7:30, 7:15, 7:15) + WOD
Wednesday: 30 min bike in the morning + WOD in the evening
Thursday: most ridiculous 6 mile run on the TM
Friday: 4 mile run + 45 minute bike ride

I’m feeling pretty good about this week. I really wanted to try and get a long run in today, but after yesterday’s horrible 6 miler on the treadmill, I knew I wasn’t up to the challenge. I settled for a brick-like workout and it was fantastic!

Yesterday I read that ZOOMA announced that their new race location is in Amelia Island?! AND the race is in January! January is PERFECT racing weather around here…unless your me, and you plan to run a race on January 30th and the high is like 90 that day.. yeah ,that happened last year at the Clearwater Half. … Anyways, the ZOOMA! Half is on Jan 19th.. I’ve got my eye on it.

After Space Coast I don’t have a whole lot going on.. Well, that’s not exactly true. I’m running the Holiday Halfathon in Madeira Beach on December 9th and then St.Pete RnR (which I said I wouldn’t run again yet I find myself registered) on Feb 10th.

I’m pretty sure ZOOMA! would make a great race in between! NOW, if I could only convince Chris of this magnificent plan!? I still have some time!

Have you ever run a ZOOMA! race? They’ve never been in Florida before, but they have a few other locations.

I registered to be an Ambassador for ZOOMA! We’ll see.

(this post was not required. I was just genuinely excited to see a new race come to Florida…one that hasn’t taken over the world, and one that’s geared towards Women. PLUS, it’s at the beach. COME ON, who doesn’t love a good race at the beach?)


Have a great week!

Where to start: Clean Eating

eat clean. I frequent a healthy living message board, and i’ve often seen those two words thrown together in various discussions. I thought, ” I don’t need to eat clean. I don’t have any digestive issues. I don’t have any medical problems. Eating clean is for people with medical conditions that have to avoid certain foods.”

Ya’ll. I am an IDIOT.

I don’t even know WHY I thought that.

eating clean has nothing to do with medical conditions. I’m such a dope sometimes. I’ve been  ignoring this way of eating because I thought It wasn’t for me.

I’m not suggesting that we ate all crap all the time; but there was a lot of spaghetti sauce, and a lot of pasta (not whole grain) and a lot of bread and a lot of other STUFF, prior to actually researching what “eating clean” really meant.

It seemed really scary. Like, was this going to be a huge burden? Would I be able to get Chris on board. Would he complain about the meal changes? Would I be able to stick to it? Would I get bogged down by the meal prep? How much would this cost every week?

Cost was a big factor on my mind – Let me tell you that I’ve spent less this month on groceries than I have in the 2 months prior. This has to do with planning.
I half-ass planned meals prior to making the decision to really change the way I was eating. I felt like with clean eating, it was all or nothing. No easing myself into it.

I was going to make a plan for the week, and in the plan would be breakfast/lunch/snacks & dinner.  Prior to changing the way we eat, I would go to the grocery store at least 4x/week to pick up random things. I’ve noticed that my trips to the grocery store have reduced drastically. Really, they have.

The biggest question: How the heck do I know what’s clean and what’s not?

In plain language, base your diet on garden vegetables, especially greens, lean meats, nuts and seeds, little starch, and no sugar. That’s about as simple as we can get. Many have observed that keeping your grocery cart to the perimeter of the grocery store while avoiding the aisles is a great way to protect your health. Food is perishable. The stuff with long shelf life is all suspect. If you follow these simple guidelines you will benefit from nearly all that can be achieved through nutrition. –Chase Ford Endurance

You just cannot get healthy without eating healthy. You can exercise from the time the rooster crows until the cows come home, but if you make a run through your local drive-through afterwards, you just are not going to get anywhere fast.The Gracious Pantry

When you’re just starting out with clean eating, it can be tough to know where to start at the grocery store. You can follow the old mantra, “shop the perimeter”, but if you’re not used to doing that, it’s still a bit overwhelming. – The Gracious Pantry


I really took those words to heart. Of course there are still things I need to get from the inside aisles (coffee, whole grain pasta, whole grain bread, tomato sauce) but for the most part, my cart has been consisting of fruits/veggies & meat. For things I’m not sure about I check out the labels.. half the time I don’t even know what I’m looking at, but if it has a billion ingredients, most of which I can’t pronounce, I put it back.

Here is a great shopping list, created by Gracious Pantry,  to help you get started.

 I’m no expert by any means; I’ve only been eating this way about 2.5 weeks – this post is just a simple explanation of HOW I GOT STARTED.

– Work hard every day

Space Coast Marathon: Week 2

So I’m a little behind on updating my week 2 of marathon training. Blame it on the blog transfer.. that took way more work than I was anticipating, but doesn’t it always?

Week 2 didn’t go exactly as planned, but I’m content with the way it went down:

Monday: planned 4 miles easy
Actual: ran 4 easy miles on the treadmill 36:33, 9:08avg, then did Chase’s WOD.

Tuesday: planned: 6 miles intervals.
actual: just a regular 6 mile run on the treadmill 53:49

Wednesday: 30 minutes on the stationary bike 7.2 miles + WOD
actual: 30 min on bike + WOD

Thursday:  planned: 6 mile temp
actual: rest day. Wyatt was sick, and I didn’t want to leave him for an extended amount of time.


Saturday: planned, 12 miles @ 7:55pace
actual: 12 miles @ 8:16

Sunday: REST DAY

I know it’s already Tuesday/Wednesday (depending on when you read this). But, here is the plan for WEEK 3.

Monday: 4 miles easy + WOD
Tuesday: 6 miles intervals + WOD
Wednesday: 45 min on bike + WOD
Thursday: 6 mile temp + WOD
Friday: I’m going to try like heck to get an 8 mile run in before we leave for vacay..
Saturday: vacay. will be on a boat all day. probably won’t do anything
Sunday: fishing/diving, possibly some kind of cardio.

That’s it for tonight.


Like Lifeisbeachykeen on facebook if you already haven’t!
You can also follow me on Instagram (@RunnJRun)!! COME ON! IT WILL BE FUN!!! 
Follow @ChaseFordEndurance on Instagram! You can also register on Chase’s site to check out his WOD’s! Do it! You won’t regret it!

Time out

Okay everyone, 

I moved the blog. again. I never know how this is going to work, so you might need to update your google reader and/or your e-mail subscription. 

The new blog is  — The old posts aren’t currently loaded into the new blog.. Godaddy is not the easiest host to work with, but I’m getting there (i hope!) 


Do you hate me yet?

I know I keep changing the blog around. I just can’t figure out what I want to do, and where I want to go.. Hopefully this is the last time I move it for a while.

I’m still working on uploading the content from the old blog. When it’s uploaded your google reader might overflow..sorry for that. I don’t know how to avoid that scenario.

For now, you can check out Chase’s latest post on Cherry Picking… No, not the actual task of picking cherries.. skipping work outs because they are tough..

I am 100% guilty of cherry picking workouts.. Interval runs? No. To hard, i’d rather just run 6 miles. Tempo run? No, I don’t want to run multiple miles that fast, i’ll just run 6 miles instead… I’m definitely guilty.

Are you? Let Chase know.

motivation:where does it come from?

Motivate: to give incentive to
Inspire: to influence or impel


This is the blog that made me realize, I CAN DO THIS.
I’ve wanted to make a change for a long time, but I would always cut myself short before I even got started.

I would tell myself that I could never look like that because “I don’t have that kind of body.” Well No, you don’t. Neither did she, until she did.
Once I figured out I was being an idiot and realized that I could have a lean physique, I got to work.

I started looking for blogs that promoted real healthy eating. I also started to realize that running wasn’t going to get me where I needed to be, so I started looking for blogs that posted about strength training.

On eating clean:
The Gracious Pantry
The Eat Clean Diet

On being a bad ass
Petite Athleat
She Rocks Fitness
Power House Fit Foodie
Chase Ford Endurance

There is a huge community on Instagram. It’s more addicting than facebook!

On Instagram

I follow a whole lot of people on Instagram, but I’ll just leave it at that for now.

These blogs, and instagram users keep me motivated, and are a constant reminder to stay on track; to eat clean, and work hard.
That a lean physique is possible.
That it will take time, and dedication.
but that it is possible.

What keeps you motivated?


one day at a time blog

rough conditions

Rarely in life do things go exactly the way we plan, at least for me. If you’ve figured out how to make things go exactly like you plan, every time, please tell me your secret!


Waking my Pops up so he could move his truck was not in my plans for Saturday morning, and I can assure you getting woken up that early wasn’t in his plans either.

This last week I paid extra attention to how much water I was drinking(win!). I tried to eat enough (I didn’t) and tried to get all my workouts in (I didn’t).

I knew I had a hard run coming up on Saturday, and I wanted to be properly hydrated & fueled. Usually I eat 2 english muffins for breakfast before long runs, but this time I wanted to try out oatmeal to see if it would stick longer.
answer: nope. I was hungry by time I got to the gates at Starkey Park.
Haven’t figured out how to fix this problem yet.
I also drank a bottle of water with breakfast, and drank about 8oz of gatorade/water mix on my drive to the park.

long run time: It didn’t feel AS hot on Saturday morning, but I  knew as soon as the sun came up it was get hot quick, and it did.
The first 4 miles were okay, but I was struggling.
The goal was 12 miles at 7:55avg.

Obviously we didn’t meet our goal.
But I’m not upset about it.
I had a good run. I gave it everything I had. I held nothing back.
I checked when I got back to my car.
It said current temp was 82, but felt like 90.
so, an 8:16avg in 90 degree heat. yah. I’ll take it.
but is it winter yet?


There was a lot of self-talk going on doing that run. I kept telling myself that I could do this. I was in shape to run this pace. Keep the negative thoughts out, positive thoughts only. Never quit. mental toughness.
IT was rough out there.

I ran with a fuel belt and drank 10oz water/gatorade mix. an unknown amount of water. 2 powerbar green apple gels.
also poured an unknown amount of water over my head.
I was soaked by time we made it back to the parking lot.

By mile 9 my calves were feeling crampy. I woke up early saturday morning with a Charley horse in my left calf – so that was awesome  sucked.
Probably need to invest in some salt tabs.


It’s really hard to avoid self doubt during a tough run like that. Really hard.
It’s really hard to not second guess my decision to run a full marathon.

The good thing about these tough runs: they help me build up mental toughness.
they will also help me run faster when the weather cools down.


never quit image

blog sig



The dictionary defines self esteem as: a realistic respect for or favorable impression of oneself;self-respect.

I’ve never thought badly of myself as a person. I’m a pretty decent person; I’m compassionate, and strive to help others. But, when it comes to body image. Forget it. No self-esteem what-so-ever.

Sure, I’ve had days when I felt like I “looked good” (whatever that may mean), but more days when I wanted to stay home, in my pj’s because that was infinitely more comfortable than whatever outfit I had to wear that day.

I’m not telling you this so you’ll be all, “Awww, poor Jena. You look great.” or “You skinny bitch. what is your problem.” I’m just stating the honest truth.

Sometimes I would change 4, 5, 6 times before we could ever leave, and then I was constantly complaining about my clothes once we finally left. Often times Chris would make me leave the closet and get in the car before I could change clothes again. I just had to go however I was.

It didn’t matter if Chris said I looked good.
What matters is what I saw.

I sometimes see people in clothes that I’d never wear, and I’m jealous of them; Jealous that they had the self-confidence to wear a certain outfit. Why don’t I have that self confidence?

I constantly complained to Chris about how unhappy I was with my body.
His response, “well then do something about it, but you can’t eat skittles, and junk and then complain about your body. It doesn’t work that way.”
“if you want to work out, then work out, and then you can complain. but sitting around doing nothing and complaining isn’t working.” “Do something.”

Chris has always been 100% behind me. He supports me, so don’t take those statements as him being a jerk.

He was right. HOW could I sit on the couch and eat skittles & drink Dr. pepper and then complain that I felt bloated.
duh. of course you do.

and then something just clicked in my head. I’ve had enough. I will make a change.

and I did.

I can truthfully say that I’m feeling great.
I feel more confident in my own skin than I have felt in a long time.
I have hidden behind loose t-shirts for years.
Only in the last 2-3 years have I started to buy fitted t-shirts.
and I would only wear those on a really, really, really good day.
On a day when I wasn’t bloated & feeling bad.
that spaghetti strap tank in the top picture? Wear that? No. Never.. only to bed.

I have a ways to go before I have the body I want, but it’s getting there.
I may not be able to physically see much change, but I FEEL better.
I took control, and that feels so good.


I hope this post doesn’t sound to braggy. It’s not meant to be braggy. It took me a long time to get to this place. I’ve had many conversation with Chris, my Sister, and Jenny about wanting to make a change; wanting to be more comfortable in my body, but not knowing HOW to do that.

HOW do you just stop losing control, and start being in control
The answer:
one day at a time.