Faith and Fitness with Marsha Apsley

Empowering Women to be Fit & Free

Ready or Not, Summer Is Here!

Memorial Day signals the beginning of Summer!  It’s time for cookouts, vacations, and pool parties.  Did you say “pool parties”?  Does that mean I have to wear a swimsuit?  But I’m not ready!


You’ve seen the quote.  You “like” it.  You share it on all your social media, because it’s freeing!

Ready or not, summer is here. #runmyrace Click To Tweet
Easier said than done!

How do you get a bikini body?  Put a bikini on it.  Woo-hoo!  And so we do….. Or do we?  


You want to.  You wish you could do it.  It sounds great.  You wish you truly believed it, but….  

I’m not ready yet.  Maybe next summer.  I still have work to do.  

That’s okay for her.  It’s not okay for me.  I mean, she just has a small roll, I have three small rolls.  I have cellulite.  I’ve had 3 kids.  I don’t look like her!  

I love summer…..but I hate summer.   I like the safety and security my winter clothes give me.   

I love to sit by the pool and visit with my girlfriends, but I hate the voices in my head.  The voices that distract me and get me comparing myself to everyone else.  In the winter, we can sit in Starbucks and drink our coffee to our heart’s content and visit all day.  I don’t worry about what I look like in a sweatshirt.  

Sometimes it’s easier when I go on vacation.  At least nobody knows me there.  I’ll never see those people again.  

But here?  With my neighbors?  My friends?  I can’t put on a bathing suit.  Not this summer.   

They’ll judge me.  


Will they?  


And so the battle rages.  


How to get a bikini body:  Put on a bikini.  We like it.  We share it.  We applaud the woman who does it.  But that’s okay for her, not me.  

How to get a bikini body: put on a bikini. Easier said than done. #notreadyforsummer Click To Tweet

How can we break out of this mindset?  How can we quiet the voices and stop the comparison?  

  • It starts with keeping our eyes on our own paper.  We have to commit to doing US.  Doing ME.  The only thing I can control is what I do with what I’ve been given.  
  • We have to acknowledge that all girls have her own struggles.  Comparing myself to someone else benefits no one.  You don’t know what she’s going through.


How do we get ready for summer when we have no more time to get ready?  

  • We own our journey.  We own where we are in this process right now.
  • We put on our swimsuit, whether it be one-piece or two.  
  • We play with our kids.  (You don’t get that time back.)
  • We celebrate summer with our friends and family.  It’s the relationships that matter.  Not how we look doing life with the ones we love….and who love us….just the way we are.  


If you need help overcoming these feelings, and if you’re ready to lay a foundation of health and fitness that will take you through this summer and beyond, reach out to me.  I’d love to help you become fit and free.  


Tell me….

Do you prefer the beach or the pool?  Give me the sounds of the ocean any day

What is your favorite summer drink?  I’ll take ice water, please


Race Recap: Michelob Ultra Chicago Spring 13.1

It’s time for my race recap!  If you’ve been reading my blog or following social media, you know that this race was a bit different than the dozens of half marathons I’ve previously run.  This time I was running for those who can’t.  I was running with Team Momentum which raises funds and awareness for muscle disease.  (You can read my story of why I signed up here.)

chicago half

My friend Elaine and I did this race together.  I was glad to have a local friend who was very familiar with the Chicago area to go to the big city with!  We left Shelbyville on a rainy Saturday to head to sunny Chicago.  Not far from home, Elaine mentions that she may have forgotten her running shoes?!?!   For most people this would have been a big deal, but for Elaine who was long overdue for new running shoes, this may have been a blessing!   (She got new shoes at packet pick up, and they served her well on race day!)

2016-05-22 06.16.15


We stopped about halfway there at Fair Oaks Farm for restroom break and ice cream!  Yum!!

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Have I ever told you how much I love ice cream??

We made it to Chicago and went straight to Fleet Feet for packet pick up.  It was busy time in the city.  Elaine knew exactly where we were going and how to parallel park (that in and of itself was why I had to bring her along!  lol!).   


We stayed in the host hotel and loved it.  Very nice location, not only the view from the window, but all the race activities were right outside the door.  

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Not a bad view to wake up to!

Saturday evening we finally got to meet up with Team Momentum for dinner.  It was a wonderful evening where we got to meet other team members and hear their stories of why they were doing this event.  We had a delicious Maggiano’s dinner.  

The dinner location was about a mile from the hotel, so Elaine and I opted to walk each way.  It was a nice way to see a bit more of the city.  But we were ready to crash when we returned to the hotel.  

Michelob Ultra Spring Chicago Half with Team Momentum. #MDATeam #131Chi Click To Tweet

Race Recap

We had beautiful weather for race day.  Team Momentum had a tent in the start/finish area.  It was great to have our own bag check and port-a-pot!  We hung out with everyone prior to the race and took pictures.  What an amazing group!  


The race was an out and back course along the water.  What a beautiful course.  Couldn’t complain about the weather.  A bit sunny and warm at times, but the breeze off the water came at just the right times.  Plenty of water and aid stations along the way as well as people cheering us on.   

I took a gel at 4 miles, and it was all downhill from there.  My stomach got a bit upset.  My legs were heavy.  I just wasn’t feeling it.  I tried to convince myself that I could push through and run this thing.  My last few half marathons have been sub-par according to my standards.  Times have plummeted over the last few months, and I’m not quite sure why.  I soon realized I wasn’t going to redeem those times at this race.  So I ran.  I walked.  I did whatever I needed to do to finish the race.  

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I wore this pin to remind me of a local young man and his family who were on my heart that morning.

There were smiling faces along the way.  My Team Momentum coach was there.  I saw others in Team Momentum shirts, and we encouraged one another as we passed.  This race wasn’t about me.  It wasn’t about my finish time.  These kids, these families didn’t care what the clock said when I finished.  They loved me for who I was and for what I was doing for this cause….for my efforts to raise money and awareness so that one day we could kick this disease in the butt!  

I ran. I walked. This race wasn't about me. It was for those who can't. #MDATeam Click To Tweet
2016-05-22 06.17.24
How about this Bondi Band headband? Perfect for this event!

I hate to compare, because my recent race struggles are nothing, absolutely nothing, compared to what those with muscle disease face on a daily basis.  However, I’m learning to be grateful.  I’m learning that the things I complain about would be things that others would do anything to have.  I saw young children using walkers or already confined to wheelchairs because this disease has stolen their ability to walk…..I was maybe walking in a race that I would’ve preferred to run, but I was walking.  They can’t.  



I ran…  

I walked…  

For them…  

For those who can’t.

This will serve as my reminder.

Tell me….

Have you ever run a charity event?  Tell me about it.

Do you want more information on Team Momentum or how you can contribute to this fight?  Click here.  

What are you grateful for today?  

3 Reasons to do Fitness Together

A key to sticking to a fitness plan and getting fit is to do fitness together.  Having an accountability partner has been shown to be a key to overall sustained health and fitness.


We were never meant to do life on our own.  Back at Creation in Genesis,  God said it wasn’t good that man should be alone.  When God ordered Noah to build the ark, He told him to take TWO of every kind of animal along for the ride 🙂  I believe our fitness journey is no different.  We need a friend, a community to do this fit life with.  We are better if we do fitness together.  

We are better if we do fitness together. Click To Tweet

I have been blessed to be a part of some great groups of people who have supported and encouraged me along the way.  

3 main reasons to do fitness together

  1. Accountability – Especially if you’re just beginning on your fitness journey, it’s good to have someone to check in with.  Our running group has 3 meeting times each week, and we even take attendance.  That keeps us accountable.  Or you may have a training partner that’s expecting you at the gym at 5:30AM.  You’re not going to want to leave them standing!  Accountability helps you stick with it and make it a habit.  It keeps you honest!
  2. Support and Encouragement – When things get tough, it’s easier to keep going when someone is cheering us along.  It’s nice to have friends along the course when we’re running a big race or texts from someone saying “Good luck” or “Great job”.   
  3. Stretch and Grow – When you’re with other people, you just work harder.  You go farther or faster than you would on your own.  When you’re checking in with an online group about your daily food intake, you’re more apt to follow your plan knowing others are doing the same.  You’re just able to do more than you ever thought you could, because you have the courage to do it.  
3 reasons to do fitness together #fitfam #fitlife Click To Tweet

I always thought I was just fine on my own when it came to my running and to my weight management.  I liked my solo runs, and I’ve counted calories and thought I knew everything I needed to know about nutrition.  But I was so wrong.  When I finally stepped out of my comfort zone and joined Shelby Roadrunners over 10 years ago, I realized how neat it was to have a “fitness family”.  They held me accountable.  They wanted to know where I was when I didn’t show up.  When I first started running, I felt like I was just chasing them.  But as time went on, I got stronger and faster.  I’ve run times and distances I never would have had I not joined the group.  

When I decided to sign up with a coach and an online community of women who wanted to focus on faith and fitness, I realized I still had a lot to learn about my motivations and priorities.  I grew stronger in my faith and learned about proper nutrition.  I became vulnerable about my struggles, and I found acceptance and encouragement.  

I Thessalonians 5:11 tells us to “comfort each other and edify one another”.  And Hebrews 10:24-25 encourages us to “stir up love and good works….assemble together….and exhort one another.”  

We were created for community.  We need each other.  My running community and my online girls and my “Fit & Free” friends are really family to me.  I can’t imagine doing life without them.  


I’d like to know….

Do you have a fitness family?  

How does accountability help you?  

If you don’t have a fitness family, I’d love for you to join this tribe.  Sign up for my weekly email where you will get tips and insights as well as special invitation to closed Facebook groups where we check in and offer support and accountability.  Email me if you have questions!  I’d love to hear from you.