Facing Fear and Achieving A Dream

One year ago – October 2016 – I decided I wanted to achieve a dream of mine…

I wanted to run a half marathon.

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I don’t know when I fell in love with running- but I can remember falling in love with fitness around the age of 18, and running just became a part of that.

Normally, that was only a 1 mile run on the treadmill before a workout in the gym. I preferred running over the elliptical because it just felt more ‘free’ to my body.

However, I never did more that 1 mile for awhile… for years actually… until I got a bit older and began outdoor running. I fell in love with outdoor running and started doing 2-3 miles.

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Me and Kutta stretching together (several years ago) after I had completed my morning 2 mile run.

 

I remember there were times I would verbally say “I wish I was a runner- but I just don’t have the body type for it.” I believed I was too ‘curvy’ to run long distances, which I know now is a lie. I just had to train my body- like all things in life that we do – we train, we grow, we achieve.

As I grew in my outdoor runs, I remember at the age of 23-25 being able to run 3 miles, then 3.5- and then finally I got to 4 miles. I was so proud of these runs! They were a huge milestone for me, and became a way for me to de-stress or have some alone time when I lived with roommates.

One year for Christmas, all I wanted was a treadmill- which I got and put in my garage with a huge fan (bc Charleston is sometimes just too hot for me to run in without getting a massive headache). I would set up my laptop in front of the treadmill and watch a 45 minute tv show as I ran… I saw my running time improve so much over those months.

There were periods of my life where I just lacked the time to run- or just wanted to change up my workouts. But I always came back to running. It was what I enjoyed most.

My only problem with running was my knees. When I did more than 3 miles, my knees would kill me the rest of the day- and sometimes I felt like I could barely walk up the stairs. However- I have changed my diet drastically the last few years.

I found my body reacts to gluten, corn, and dairy. Gluten is a big no-go for me, because the reaction is so severe but corn and diary definitely make it hard on my body after I eat them. I didn’t know this back then because they were a constant part of my diet, and I think I lived in a constant state of inflammation in my joints and body- getting sick often and aching all the time. But I just thought it was genetics. However, after altering my diet, I found a lot of healing for my body in those areas.

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Last October I decided I wanted to run a half marathon. Simply because it was one of those things I thought I could never do- and I suddenly believed in myself. So I started training.
The funny thing was, I had no half marathon to train for!

So I made a training plan and wanted to run a half marathon on Thanksgiving Day… by myself.

Well… I trained, and found it really intense on my body. I couldn’t follow the training plan exactly- but I did learn how to listen to my body through it. I went through injury and recovery, along with finding what foods fueled my running and what foods hindered it.  I also suffer with scoliosis – so I learned how to take care of my back after a run by always stretching and doing yoga. I also learned the importance of rest, and how much a busy and active life takes it out on my body. Stress also interfered a lot.

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I learned a lot in those months last year- and it lasted from October-January, where I got up to 11 mile runs… but I couldn’t keep up with the time it took to do these long runs, and with no real half marathon to run- I decided to go back to my shorter weekly runs of 3-6 miles. I also started having a few health issues, and I thought it could be due to running too much.

However, as 2017 went on, I found my health issues were not due to running. I had a friend message me, and I don’t know what she said exactly, but it encouraged me to start running and training again- and believing in that dream.
I found a half marathon in October this year, and decided I would start training. If I felt I could get to 10 miles before the date, I would do it.

When I was at 8 mile runs, I signed up… all of a sudden it became real.

With 4 weeks to go before the race, I began to get nervous. Thoughts ran through my mind “What if I can’t do it?”

My right knee suddenly began to hurt after runs, and even give out. I got sick for a bit, but recovered quite fast, however my knee would continue to give out. I looked up supplements and started taking fish oil, glucosamine, eating lots of avocados, and upping my protein with more fish and adding hemp protein powder to my diet. I did find this helped dramatically, along with not wearing heels throughout the week. My knee soon got better- but now the race was just around the corner.

I was able to do 2 ten mile runs before the race; and my last 10 miler was less that two weeks before. It was suppose to be an 11 miler, but I just couldn’t run anymore after 10.4 miles. Because of this I began to get even more nervous about the race- feeling like I just couldn’t do it.

I am so fortunate to have had two girls running the race with me- we didn’t train together, but we encouraged each other a lot. They were always telling me I could do it, and with them fully believing in me, it helped me conquer my doubt.

The week of the race, I could feel the fear rising up in me. I chose not to dwell on the negative ‘what-if’s’ and just knew I would go out there and do my best. I created a new run playlist and watched my diet that week- no alcohol, lots of protein, good fats, and good carbs- no processed food and especially no gluten, corn or dairy (not that everyone should avoid those food- they just don’t do so well for my body). But to be honest, I was terrified inside.

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The days before, I had some unexpected changes to my schedule and became very busy and tired- and I was talking to a friend, expressing how I felt so many things were coming against me in this dream of mine- (my knees giving out, my change in schedule, tiredness and just being a bit afraid)… when my friend then replied “Just don’t do it- you don’t have to you know…” and something inside me just laughed as I responded “No- I do have to! This is my fear that I must conquer- because fulfilling this dream will be worth it!” And it’s as if my response to my friend was actually my spirit rising up inside of me, speaking truth and giving me that final push of – You got this. Go for it.

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The morning of the race, I was actually excited- knowing that there was no turning back.

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7:45AM – RACE DAY

Like so many times in the past-
I chose bravery over fear, because I could feel the calling within my Spirit to be Free. I don’t want fear to set the limits of my own life. I want to live limitless, because that’s what I believe God created us to be.

I caught the tram with my running girls, and we headed to the race. There was a glorious sky just seconds before the race started- reminding me that this was a new day. A day to achieve dreams.

The race was hard. I’m not going to lie. It was fun at the start, but after about three miles in- I could feel it in my body. My stomach started to cramp and it was unusually hot for England. I began getting a headache and was constantly pouring water over my head to cool myself.

Then there was that glorious sight of the finish line- and just before I reached it, I spotted my love there- cheering me on with his camera. In that moment, I felt like a million dollars. I was so happy.

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I’m not the fastest- but I’m faster than SpiderMan!

I crossed the finish line, and slowed to a walk- suddenly realizing- I could barely walk! My legs felt stiff and like Jelly at the same time. But as I looked around I saw all the runners walking in this same funny way- so I knew I was okay.

After I was out of the way I collapsed on the pavement to catch my breath and wrap up with the space blanket they gave me in my winner bag.

I was so happy with my run time as well! I thought I would be a lot slower.

After a brief rest I met up with Shanen and my team, and we headed home. I was on a nice high, even though my body felt like it would crash at any second (which is kinda what I did when I arrived home). But nothing could take away from that feeling of achieving something in my life that was once impossible.

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Scotland- The Cobbler

This past weekend, Shanen and I rented a car and drove up to Scotland for two nights to celebrate our one year anniversary!
Before I write about it, I just need to share this pic of KuttaBear when I told him he was coming with us.
He is so photogenic. 🙂

So Saturday morning, we packed up the car and hit the road!

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Family Vacation!

We drove nearly 6 hours to our little airbnb trailer on one of the lochs, arriving just before sunset so we were able to take in this gorgeous view!

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After enjoying the view, we took Kutta on a little walk.
on the route we found a beautiful forest, and I couldn’t help myself- I had to go explore!

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The entrance into the forest

It was quite muddy, and I completely ruined my slip-on fabric shoes.
I ended up sliding in the mud, and ripping both of them
(they already had big holes in them- they were well loved).

But, it was worth it because within the forest I found a really cool old abandoned house!

I was kinda creeped out, so I waited for Shanen to catch up
before I was brave enough to go in.

Inside it was quite dark- but it would have made an awesome clubhouse!

We spent the evening enjoying leftover curry that we brought (that I had cooked the night before) and watching one of the DVD’s at the airbnb.
My favorite kind of night!

The next morning I had one of my favorite simple breakfast’s of baked sweet potato with 2 TBSP of peanut butter (my peanut butter also has sunflower and pumpkin seeds!)
So simple, so delicious, and so filling!

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I had already eaten half when I took this photo! 😉

 Then we packed our lunches and snacks and drove another hour or so until we got to the mountain we wanted to hike – The Cobbler!

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On the way to our hike!
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Beautiful view from the parking lot

This was our second time trying to hike this mountain.
We came up here in January, but got a late start on the hike.
A few hours into the hike we were about halfway up and it was already sunset!
(The sun sets early in the UK during the winter- like 4pm! I still find this mind-blowing)

This time we planned to start early- but we actually ended up starting around the same time. At least this time it was summer, and the sun sets a lot later!

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Here we go!

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Can you find the hidden heart in this picture?
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“Come on, Mom! Keep up!” – KuttaBear

We stopped a little over halfway for a snack break, and enjoyed
fresh mountain water from a stream…

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Look at that handsome mountain man!
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I love Aldi’s Chocolate Hike bars, paired with a banana! Great fuel to keep me going!
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Water straight from the Earth!

Again, we didn’t make it to the top.
For several reasons, including time, the drive back, getting dinner, and not pushing KuttaBear too much- (the last hour is a steep climb!).
But we made it much further than last time!

We were okay with not making it all the way up- because there is always next time!
I was kinda sad though, because I had carried a big rock with me from the bottom of the mountain, and I was planning on putting it on top of the Cobbler to say “I did it!”
(Like Moana in the Disney film does with her rock)
🙂

But we hiked back down and were very happy we did it!

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We did it!
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Exhausted KuttaBear

After the hike, we picked up a takeaway on the route home, and ate it at the airbnb.
We were so hungry!

The next day we were well- rested, and started the journey home.
It was a short trip, but sometimes that’s all you need to take a break from the routine of life, and have a weekend to be with each other, and be thankful for the time together, and with nature.

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He’s a proper traveling dog now

x

A Journey to Wales

Last weekend I took a trip to Wales with some friends from church. This trip was planned for another friend who was getting married in South Wales at the Celtic Manor. Sadly my husband couldn’t take off work, so I had to say goodbye to him and Kuttabear for 3 days while I took the little road trip south.

We made the best of the journey, taking the side roads through the country side, enjoying the beautiful views and stopping at two small villages along the way…

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In one of the villages was this beautiful church (pictured above). I just love old churches, and being able to go inside. The stillness and peace within there was incredible- and the architecture was breathtaking.

After arriving to the hotel, I quickly freshened up and went out to dinner with some friends from church. They had found this lovely Italian restaurant called Yew Tree,  about 20 minutes from where we were staying.

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YEW TREE Italian restaurant pictured on right, across from a beautiful old church

It was so delightful to find they did gluten free options! I ordered salmon (I just love fish) and it was an amazing meal. They even changed the crust on top to a gluten free crust.

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the view from our table at Yew Tree

I don’t sleep very well in the summertime here in England. Being and American, and use to cool air conditioned air in the summer nights, my body finds it hard to cope as it’s slowly getting use to sleeping without it. Also, the sun rises at 4:30 in the morning so the light tends to wake me up, even with my dark sleep mask. All that to say- I hadn’t been getting enough sleep lately…

But that night, I got back to the hotel, turned the AC on as cool as it would go, got out my sleep mask and lavender oil,  and settled in for a much needed good nights sleep.

It was heavenly.

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I bring my own food a lot when I travel – to save money, but also so I can feed my body well. So I brought Quinoa, seeds, and a banana with me to make breakfast in my hotel room.

How did I make Quinoa without a stove? This little trick was amazing…

Using the in room kettle, I boiled water, and poured 1 parts dry quinoa with 2 parts boiling water into my thermos. Left it for 30 minutes while I had my coffee and got ready…
and 30 minutes later, voila- you have cooked quinoa! I then topped it with the sliced banana, and my blend of pumpkin/sunflower seeds.

I finished getting ready, wearing my new dress that I found (literally last minute) at a charity shop (thrift store).

I ran in, 10 minutes before they closed on the day before this trip, needed a dress for the wedding. There was this little dark red dress (one of my fav colors to wear) hanging right near the entrance, original tags still attached (so never even worn)- and only £4!

I dressed it up with black tights and a waist belt I already had at home. I just love it when I find amazing bargains!

The wedding was so beautiful. The church, the people, the food… it was one of my favorite weddings I’ve experienced by far.
What made this wedding so unique, is the families and friends. The groom was Egyptian, the Bride was Bulgarian, and their friends were from all around the world.

There was so much culture and love there.

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delicious, gluten free bread
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Starter of Smoked Salmon

I didn’t get to take photos of the rest of the food, because I ate it all as soon at it came out. There was a 3 course meal at 5, and another buffet meal at 9, followed by dancing all through the night! It was quite an incredible day!

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Bulgarian wedding tradition of bread, salt, and honey

Despite the weather being a bit gloomy, it was actually a very beautiful day temperature wise- which I know blessed the couple very much!

x

A Fresh Start

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Being Camille

I’ve been an active blogger for over 10 years now, blogging about my journey in life- my thoughts, paintings, dreams, and adventures. All of these things being rooted around my belief in God; for his spirit is my source in all I do.

The past 10 years has brought me many places. Born in Charleston, South Carolina, I grew up extremely close to my family and friends there. But my God given heart for adventure has lead me on many travels, and I currently live in Manchester, England with the love of my life, my husband Shanen.

Because of these travels, I have formed deep relationships around the world- my deepest long distance relationships being my family and best friends. My heart misses them so, and as life leads me on across the sea from them, I have found myself extremely busy with my job as an artist and yoga teacher- as well as writing my first book. This has left me little time to blog.

I know my blog inspires many, as I am sent emails and messages on how much they bless the reader- and I am very passionate about blogging. But I realized as this season in my life is bringing many changes, it is time for a change in how and why I blog as well.

This blog has a very simple goal… to keep up with family and friends all over the world.

I realized the need for this when I was emailing my grandparents this past weekend, at the same time I was trying to find the space in my diary to fit in a Skype call with a friend from Germany. While there is nothing like quality one-on-one talks and emails, I really want to spend that precious time finding out how the person is doing and connecting with them personally, and not updating them the whole time on what is new in my life.

So this blog is to simply share my journey. I have many friends who keep up with me via Instagram- I love Instagram and it is by far the best way for me to keep up with what is going on in my friends lives and also for them to be able to see into mine. But I have many friends and (especially) family members who do not have or use Instagram as often as I do. Therefore, this blog of ‘being Camille’ has been born.

I still very much love emailing and connecting with ALL my friends; so please don’t think this blog is a substitute for that. I beg you, keep in touch! I miss every single friend and family member in ways I cannot describe.

This blog is very simply- a place to see and read (in photos and short stories) what is going on in my life, and what me and Shanen are doing in our little life in England.  It is not to replace other connections at all- but in fact, I am hoping it enhances the time I do get to connect everyone via phone, messages, comments, and Skype.

Much love from the land of England,
Sarah Camille x

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The sky from our kitchen window last night