Klipsch and Working Out to T-25

oldspeakerLately I have been adding some other workouts to my daily plan than just running.  I LOVE to run and will continue to run weekly but I know if I am going to tone up my legs, I will need to do some Cross Training.  I have read that when you cross train and add some strength training, it will help you as a runner.  Hopefully it will!

Beachbody 1Beachbody 4

I LOVE my wonderful husband.  Since we are in our late 30’s, he has finally realized that you must start to eat healthier and do some sort of workouts in order to stay in shape and not turn into a shape.  A few weeks ago I started to drink Shakeology and LOVE how it tasted and learned that it has a ton on nutritional benefits.  Then I decided to order the T-25 program because it was a workout that you can do in just 25 minutes a day.  Finally, I convinced my husband to just try it out with me.  What do you have to lose if you never try something out.  All we have to benefit is a healthier, leaner self.

Beachbody 3


Well he wasn’t going to do this workout just on my laptop.  See I really have never been into sound, just like my husband has never been into eating healthy and exercise.  Well thanks to Klipsch and the Beachbody program, this couple is working out togther!

I would never know the difference- but as a wife of a dedicated Klipsch collector I know a lot about speakers.   Working out to the Klipsch speakers is very motivating.  The music is loud and I feel like the traininer is talking to me directly.  I would never think of hooking up my workout DVD to a pair of Bose speakers.  I find it funny that most people know what Bose are but don’t know of Klipsch.  I just tell poeple that Klipsch speakers are the best because my husband is a perfectionist and can tell you why down to the scientific equation.


The crazy thing is that my husband has about 3-4 Klipsch set up in our house.  He is addicted to speakers like I am to running!  The deal was that we were only going to have speakers in our theater room but then he bought another pair.  So now we have a pair in our son’s room.  Last year I was wanting new furniture so I bribed him with a deal.  If I got new furniture, then he can have speakers in our living room.  We don’t even have a TV in there but can listen to some nice music to workout in.   Now that I am into these video workouts, I just may have to buy a flat screen!

What I love about the T-25 program is that it is portable.  So when I go on vacation, my husband and I will still workout!  What we do is hook up the laptop to the speakers so that we can have the nice quality sound.  The program is a 10 week program.  You do the easier cycle for 5 days a week for 25 minutes a day, for 5 weeks.  Each day is a different workout focus.  I never sweat, but I do with this program.  Then after teh 5 weeks you start the harder cycle for 5 weeks, 25 minutes a day.  So far Mike and I are on week 2.  I am hoping by the end we will be firm and toned.  We shall see!

Another thing I have decided to do is to become a Beachbody coach.  Since I LOVE the programs, the workouts, and the shake, I might as well get a discount.  One day it would be great to work from home and help other people with fitness and nutrition and earn a living.  Since this is something I am passionate about, I might as well give it a try.  If anyone is interested you can email me or visit my page at www.teambeachbody.com/jessicastevens112


Lemon Water

I am so excited that there are only 14 more school days left!  It seems that the end of the school year is so busy for me and my family.  I’m trying to get all the end of the year school stuff done, dance recitals to prepare for, graduations, and so much more!  I keep track of all my exercise and running in a little booklet and have noticed that I often run less in May.  This week I only got 3 real runs in.  But I did start the T25 program and that is going amazing.  My husband is is also completing the program with me.  It’s basically only 25 minutes a day of a workout.  One day I will post more about this!  But we are LOVING it.  I am so proud of my husband for doing the T25 workout with me.  Even my daughters try to do it!

If you love to run, I think it helps to sign up for a race so that you are motivated to run.  I was training so hard to get a sub 2 hour half marathon in April that I think this month I just needed a break.  I’m going to get back on track soon so that my pace doesn’t slow down too much.  I still haven’t reached my sub 2 hour 1/2 marathon goal yet so I need to work a tad bit harder in August.  I missed it by less than 2 minutes!  It also helps to have someone to run with so that you are held accountable.  When I run alone, I just go by how I feel instead of pushing myself.


I drink a lot of water and put lemons in it.  People ask all the time what are the benefits of drinking lemon water.  Honestly I just figured it was healthy and has vitamin C.  I read some articles and discovered that there are a ton of health benefits to drinking lemon water.  You can read this article if you would like.    http://www.livestrong.com/article/111175-benefits-lemon-water/

1.  Lemon water boosts the immune system because it is high in vitamin C.

2.  It also can help with weight loss!  It is high in pectin fiber!  Who would have known?

3.  Lemon Water helps with digestion!

4.  It is a natural diuretic.

5.  When you drink the water it is good for your skin!  I read that it helps clear it.-

Also, if you have a scar you can rub some of the lemon right on the scar.

There are many more but I am glad I have been doing it but never knew the specific benefits!  All I do is cut a whole lemon and place it in my Tervis cup with ice and water.  I just keep refilling the bottle all day long and use the same lemon for the day.

Summer will be here soon!  Yeah!!!!!! It will be hot, so drink plenty of water because 75% of your body is made up of water.  It can be easy to dehydrate while running or working out.  Plan ahead and make sure you have lots of water.  When I go for a long run, I drop my water bottle in a bush so that I have some water during my run.  I just find a hiding spot before I start so that I don’t have to run with a bottle.

Mothers Day Weekend

I had a great Mother’s Day weekend with my kids, friends, and family.  Being a mother is one of life’s greatest blessings.  I remember when I first got married, I miscarried two times.  I would cry myself to sleep for almost a year.  To make matters worse, everyone around me was getting pregnant and I wanted to have a baby so bad.  Even though that was a dark time for me in my life, it also allowed me to grow deeper in my faith.  I spent so much time digging into God’s Word looking for answers and hope.  I remember praying and just wondering when God would answer.  God has a 100% track record.  He always hears the cries of His children and He blessed us with four beautiful children.  Last night all of us were watching old videos and I can’t believe how time has flown.  I enjoyed spending time with my husband and four kids last night.

Even though the weekend was busy, I managed to sneak some running time in.  Right now I am not really training for any thing so I am just enjoying the run when I get a chance.  I just place the headphones in and run until I’m ready to head back home.  I am thinking of doing the Watermelon Series in Lakeland again this summer.  This time I won’t focus on me, I will focus on getting my mom’s time up.  The one thing I like about the Watermelon series is that it keeps you still running during the hot summer.  There are about four races during the summer.  I tend to slack off when I am not signed up for something.  I think that is why I am enjoying my runs because I have no goals in mind.  I am guessing that in life, if you don’t have goals, then you really don’t go anywhere.  Goals are great things to have.  My goal for this summer is to get my mom running an 11 minute mile. We are going to have to train hard for her to do it, but I know she can do it.

Working out is always more fun with a group or just another person to have to motivate you.  I have always enjoyed eating healthy and working out.  It’s just a part of my life.  So what did I do recently?  I signed up to be a Beachbody Coach!  Too funny because I don’t have a beach body at all but when I signed up, it got a discount on my Shakeolgy that I drink anyways.  Then I got a challenge pack!  My husband and I are going to start it tonight!  It’s called T25.  It’s a 25 minute workout that you do for 5 days a week.  Once I start, I will post more.  I am just excited that my husband is willing to do this challenge with me.

Orange Theory Fitness

I am always up to try a new challenge.  The other day I was talking to a Co-worker who has been going to this Orange Theory fitness place for a couple of weeks and she was telling me about the workout and I just had to try it out.  This program is considered to be a heart rate monitored high intensity interval workout.  There are 3 parts to the workout.  It doesn’t matter the order it just depends where you chose to start.  The 3 sections are Treadmill training, Indoor rowing, and weight training blocks. 

Once you arrive, they will attach a heart rate monitor band to your chest.  Your name will be on a screen so that you can monitor your heart rate zones.  The goal is to reach into the orange zone which will allow for maximum fat burning!  I started on the treadmill and noticed that my heart rate was way higher than the others so I panicked and slowed down.  They have a trainer there guiding you through the whole time.  You have periods where you sprint, run hills, etc…needless to say I was exhausted but did hit the zone on the treadmill!

Next was the indoor rowing.  Our goal was to reach some number of 150, but I have no clue yet what that meant.  I only made it to 90!  I did notice my heart rate was getting lower during this time.  I am thinking that maybe mentally I was giving myself a break.

The final part was the strength training.  We did all this crazy hard stuff!  We even used the bands that were attached to the walls.  (TRX)  I was dying on the inside because I was probably the weakest one there.

The workout lasted an hour.  Once you finished, you go to a screen and it tells you how many calories you burned and your heart rate during the session.

I am glad that I went.  The place is in South Tampa so I am sure I won’t be driving there much to go but it was a nice change and a killer workout.  I did some searching and discovered that Brandon will soon have a location!  So maybe I can go a tad bit soon.

If your into working out and like to try new things, this one is a must.  I would recommend bringing a towel because you will sweat.  I never sweat but I did here.  This program is also beneficial to runners because the treadmill workout is like a speed workout.  I need that!

There are only 25 more school days left so I am looking forward to getting into better fitness and healthy living this summer!  It is always more fun working out with someone!  Set a date and a time and get started!  It seems that when you have something scheduled with someone, your more likely to reach your goal.  The bible talks about encouraging one another and building each other up.  Working out with others does just that!

Here is a link to the place if you would like to check it out!



Diets and Healthy Living

It seems that lately I have been asked by several of people about what diet I am on.  People are often surprised when they learn that I have 4 children and am still at a healthy weight for my age.  I am excited that many people are wanting to live a healthier lifestyle.  Maybe America is finally sick of Mc Donald’s and fast food.  Our country has a high level of overweight people and I am sure its due to our busy lifestyle.  Many mothers now work full time so instead of of cooking a healthy meal, they go by the fast food place and grab something quick.  Trust me, I have done that plenty of times with my kids.  I work a long day and I know that I have church, basketball practice, or a dance class that I got to take a child to.  It just is easier.  I have learned that if you take the time to plan your meals, then it is easier to make the healthy choice.

I try to eat as clean as I can.  What that means, is eating natural foods.  There is a great book called “Eat Clean” that I read and it really helped me learn to make better choices with my daily diet.  There is a lot of great information online as well.

For breakfast each day I make a smoothie.  It has a banana, strawberries, blueberries, almond milk, flax seeds, and 1 scoop of protein powder.  When I have a long run scheduled I will scramble some eggs and eat them.  Lately I have been adding a little bit of salsa to the eggs and it tastes great.  Since I get up at 4:30 to run, I don’t eat until after I get back.  I have heard that it will help you burn more fat exercising before you eat.  You have to figure what works for you.  I seem to function OK if I wait until I finish to eat breakfast.  If I have a long run scheduled, I eat a banana and just omit the banana when I get back from my smoothie.

Here is a great article on the Advantages of Eating on an Empty Stomach.



Since I work full time and often don’t have time to go and get a healthy lunch, I pack mine and my husband’s lunch.  It saves a ton of money.  Everyday I make us a salad.  I like to use baby spinach, and a variety of vegetables, I also add some nuts, and fruit to the salad.  Because salad dressing has a ton of sugar in it, I eat mine without dressing.  It sounds crazy but it tastes great!  My husband used to think I was crazy but now he eats them the way I do and likes it.

My husband tried my eating plan and lost about 20 pounds!  He looks so much more healthier.  He didn’t have to spend hours at the gym.  He ran a couple days a week.( 2-3 miles)  He also went to 1-2 Bodypump classes a week. I am very proud that he has changed his eating habits into more healthier choices.


So what happens when your tempted to eat something that isn’t that great for you?  We all have temptations when it comes to food!  If I splurge one day, then the next day I just make sure I really watch what I eat.  As long as your mostly eating clean and healthy, a treat once in a while won’t hurt.

One day I will write more.  🙂  Hopefully you will be encouraged to eat more healthy.




Gasparilla, Iron Girl and Catching Up!

It has been such a crazy year so far.  Life can be so busy juggling work, ministry, 4 kids, and a love for running.  Sometimes it seems so impossible to fit it all in.  The Lord is so good to somehow give me the strength to make it each day.  I would LOVE to write down my thoughts more but hey, I can’t have it all! 

This week has been such a busy week.  Besides juggling the kids activities in the afternoon, I had conference night last Tuesday.  Then on Wednesday, Mike had surgery.  It was way more of a deal than what we thought.  Today is Sunday and he still has pain.  His stint will get removed tomorrow.  Please pray it goes well.  Friday was Relay for Life.  Then Saturday we worked all day at church getting ready for the youth dinner theater.  Today was just a crazy!

This year it seems that the kids have a lot of activities in the afternoon so I have been waking up at 4:30 in the morning just to get my run in before work.  I do love the peace and the time to reflect and talk to the LORD.  I don’t know how people make it this day without the LORD.  He is what keeps me going.

In February, my mother and I was able to make it to the Gasparilla 15K.  I am loving running shorter distances! A 15K is only 9.3 miles.  It was a hot day out and I had a goal of finishing in under 1:30 and I was able to make it at 1:26!  The great thing about running is that you can set your own personal goals.  Mine is to just be a tad bit faster than before.  I am not a fast runner, and average about a 9:00 pace for any miles past 6.  Once day maybe I will be a sub 9 pace in my future for a longer distance!  Gasparilla is a fun local race.  If you haven’t tried it, I highly recommend it because you get LOTS of FREE goodies at the expo.  I LOVE my free stuff.  I like to use them in my prize bag for my students.  If I am going to spend money on a race, I might as well get the most from it!  

Today, I got up early again to head out to IRON GIRL at Clearwater Beach!  My mother Nancy, friend Crystal, and Kathy were all up to run 13.1 miles of craziness.  My mother has been out of running since Gasparilla due to her father passing away.  I was real worried how she would do today since she hasn’t trained.  But the LORD knows our future because He took care of her.  My mom had only registered for the 5K anyways!  The LORD must have known and she was able to do the 5K in a great time!  We will get her back into training.  Losing a loved one is hard and she still needs prayer because my Nana is now alone and will be moving into an assistant living facility in Virginia.

It was great to have Crystal and Kathy give up their fast normal running pace to run way slower with me!  I could not have completed the 13.1 miles in 2:01 without the encouragement.  I can maintain a nice pace for 6 miles, but after that, it’s still a struggle for me.  The bible talks about encouraging others and building them up and it meant a lot that she stayed with me when she could have placed for her age group.  I am now motivated to encourage my mother for the Watermelon series during the summer.  I am going to stay by her side and not worry about my pace and help her reach her goal.  I was ready to give up especially since the last bridge is at the LAST mile!  My legs were so sore, I just wanted to slow down and walk it.

It seems that if I run longer, my IT bands really start to hurt.  I am hoping one day, I can figure out what the real problem is.

I also had another motivation to finish the race fast.  All four of my children were involved in our Palm Sunday service at Shiloh Baptist Church.  I knew I needed to be back before 10:30.  Praise God again because my mom and I ran into the church, changed in the bathroom and made it just in time!  I looked a hot mess because I didn’t shower, but being in the LORD’s house watching my children sing praises to the LORD is awesome.  My prayer is that my children will LOVE the Lord with all their heart, soul, and mind.  We have such a short life on this earth.  There is nothing that we can take with us when we leave.  I never saw a U-HAUL truck at a grave site.  What we leave behind is what we do for the LORD and others.

Strawberry Distance Challenge 2014

We had such an amazing time at the Strawberry Run yesterday.  I was getting a little worried about the weather but the Lord is so good He answers prayers and held the rain off.  This year my daughter and Rachel decided to run the 8K together.  An 8K is 5 miles and my daughter has never ran that far before.  Rachel is very athletic and competitive.  She plays basketball and runs on the track team.  I told her that since I was used to running longer distances I think I could beat her in the 8K!  We decided to make a friendly mother and daughter competition out of it.  was so convinced that she could maintain a faster pace than me with no training.  We both started together and stayed together until mile 3.  I think that is when she lost her stamina.  She is such a determined girl because she finished less than a minute after me!  Our pace was 8:41 per mile.  I am impressed with Rachel’s ability to go out an run that fast with no training.  I see a lot of potential in her.  It is a blessing to be able to run with my girls.

My other daughter Naomi ran the 5K and did it in about 37 minutes.  She ran with some other girls in the the youth group.  The one thing I love about this race is the director allows student groups to use it as a fundraiser.  Naomi raised about $100 to go towards her summer camp.  Students can sign up to run and get people to sponsor them and that money goes towards their summer camp.  We had some of our students at Shiloh run the event.  They all did an excellent job!

This race is a small local race in Plant City but I must admit it is so much fun!  It was nice to see the pretty Strawberry Queen and the court there cheering the runners on.  Everyone is so friendly.  I often run into people I haven’t seen in a while.  It’s a great time to catch up and talk.  I even met runners that drove a distance to run!  They gave everyone a red ribbon just for finishing the race.  So everyone is a winner.  No matter how fast or slow you go, it only matters if you cross that finish line.  That is why I love running so much.  You can enjoy it at your own pace.

This year I was able to place 2nd for my age group!  It’s pretty funny because I am really not that fast.  Since this is a smaller race, there isn’t as many runners so lucky me.  It may be the only time I ever place!  Maybe if I train harder, next year I could try for 1st!

It was sad not to have my mom there with me this year.  It was her and my aunt that got me into this running addiction a few years ago.  She is in Tampa right now taking care of my grandparents.  Besides taking care of them her father isn’t doing well and he lives in Virginia.  My prayers are peace for the family during this time and I know the LORD will give my mom what she needs.  Hopefully she will be back to running as soon as the grandparents get better.

There are not enough words that can describe how faithful God is.  It is because He gives us good health that I am able to run with my family.  It was a blessing to have my husband out there taking pictures, he is such a great encourager.  His mom came out and entertained us!  Overall, everyone had a sweet time.  We even celebrated by going out to eat at IHOP.  One day I am going to buy a shirt that says “Will Run for Pancakes!” 


A New Year and New Goals

I can’t believe that it has been almost a year since I have last written an entry in my journal.  It was nice starting this blog so that I can have a record of my journey while I was training for my first full marathon.  It was nice for my mom and I to look back at the blog and see what we have done.  So now I decided I would start up again so I can keep a record of my journey here.

2013 was filled with many races and adventures.  The LORD has been so good to me.  I was getting scared during my marathon training that I would have to quit running due to my IT band injury.  There are times when it flares up and I have to start my physical therapy exercises and use the bands and foam roller.  I am thankful to God that He has allowed me to continue to run and exercise.  It is something that I love.  I have to constantly remind myself to not focus so much on running and exercise because I do not want that to become an idol in my life.  I often like to pray or praise God while I am out.   I do have days where I am focusing on my time.

A year ago I was running about a 9 minute pace and right now my pace is at about 9:30-10:00 pace per mile.  My goal for this year is to get a 1.2 marathon in under 2 hours.  I’ve been waking up each morning at 4:30 just to get a quick 3 miles in before the start of my busy day teaching and taking the four kids to all their after school activities.

I am also working on strength training.  Hopefully I will build up more muscle this year.

The girls and I will be running the Strawberry Distance 5k in a few weeks.  I am excited about that race and I would love to be able to run it with my daughter Rachel.  She is way faster than me but I am going to try to keep up with her.

Speaking of setting new goals this year, I have also been cooking more!  I am a terrible cook and have been making new dishes each night for the family.  Hopefully this year I will learn more and be a better cook!





Iron Girl 2013

This year mom, Kimmy, and I decided that it would be a great idea to do just the 5K for the Iron Girl event.  I really struggled with getting up at 4:00 in the morning just to run 3.1 miles.  My IT band syndrome is still acting up on me so I need to swallow my pride and focus on shorter distances rather than long distances right now.  I have been able to run comfortably 6-8 miles on the weekend but don’t know if my legs were ready to handle another 13.1 since we just did one last month.  It’s was so refreshing to be able to just run and be done in under 30 minutes!  Not so bad!

The hard thing about Iron Girl is running the bridge because of the incline.  It’s tougher and makes you go a tad bit slower.  I was hoping to finish in 26 minutes but my watch died so I didn’t know how to monitor my speed.  I wish I had it so I could have sped up at the end.  Once you run up and down the bridge  you had to turn around and do it again!  So I basically walked up the second time to catch my breath.  I was looking out for my mom and Kimmy but must have missed them.  Everyone looks the same when your running.

I was real proud of my mother’s time.  She ran a 12 minute mile and was the 1,000 finisher out of 2,400!  So she beat half the runners!  YEAH!  I think she is beginning to like the 5K races!  They are shorter and you can focus more on your time rather than distance.  Kimmy did amazing by finishing in 45 minutes.  This was her first 5K.  So now she has a baseline data to begin her running journey!  We are planning on running the Watermelon series in Lakeland this summer.

I didn’t set a PR this race but I was proud that I finished 98 out of 2,400 runners!  For my age group I placed 13th.  I will take that over a PR today!  I have decided that I am going to wear a heart monitor this week when I workout and run.  I never sweat or really get exhausted when I exercise.  I do feel like I get a nice workout but I am wondering if I am being too lazy and not working to my fullest potential.  It will be nice to see what my heart rate is so I can see where and how to improve.  I do know I need to do more strength training.  I am so weak because I have no muscle.

The post race breakfast was the best ever!  A full pancake bar with toppings!  I LOVE pancakes!  It reminds me of when I was training for my marathon and my husband would have pancakes ready for me when I return home.  I am more than blessed to have a wonderful husband that puts up with crazy me.


Florida Beach Halfathon

This was the first time ever that I got all dressed up for St. Patty’s Day!  A few months ago my mother and I decided that we were going to wear blue because this was a beach race.  I didn’t realized that the day of the race fell on St. Patrick’s Day.  We decided that we had to wear green.  It was fun to coordinate all the fun green stuff to wear.

The day before the race we talked our friend Kimmy into doing the half marathon with us.  She was going to do the 5K but we told her she would have more fun completing the half marathon.  Why not run 10 more miles verses just 3?  We must have lost our minds.

This run was a very difficult one for me.  I really struggle with wanting to improve my time with each race but I also wanted to stay with mom and Kimmy to help them finish it.  Once we started, they gave me the ok to go ahead.  So I dashed ahead and ran a great 3 miles at round a 9:15 minute pace.  After that my IT bands on both legs started to get so painful that I slowed down quite a bit.  I think it was the Lord teaching me a lesson because I talked Kimmy into doing a half marathon from her really not running at all.  I am a terrible friend!  I should have stayed with her.

So I figured I could power walk and then I would see them on the course.  At mile 8 for me I saw them and just decided that I would finish with them instead.  They were at mile 5 so I had to do a few more miles but that was fine with me.  I am glad I decided to stay with them.  We had so much fun talking and joking around.  I did notice that my mom loves to talk to just about everyone on the course.

We all finally made it to the finish line and mom ran ahead and crossed the line before me!  Way to go mom!  We kept joking the whole time that we were the last ones but I found out that there were a few more behind us!

Fort Desoto is such a beautiful place.  They have a nice trail for running and bike riding.  I want to take my family there to swim and ride bikes.

At the finish line they served us pasta and soda!  That made my day because I ran close to 16 miles with no food!  I was starving.  I loved how they personalized our race bibs.  My number was 1176.  That represented my birth month and birth year.

I think the Lord is telling me to take a break from all this long distance running until my IT band heals.  For the next few months, I will just focus on 5k’s.

I think Kimmy has the race addiction in her.  She messaged me and wants to do the Iron Girl!  The Iron Girl is on April and they will serve pancakes afterwards!  They have a 5k and a half marathon.  The Iron Girl is a fun race to do.