Heart-to-Heart with Lisa Catton

 It’s time for another SGMG Heart-to-Heart! This time, I’m excited to introduce you to my beautiful friend Lisa.


SGMG: Thank you so much for joining me for a Heart-to-Heart! I have been following your running journey for a little while and have especially loved getting to know you and to see a bit of your story unfold in Philadelphia (my hometown!). Please introduce yourself to our readers. 🙂

LC: My name is Lisa and I grew up in the Greater Philadelphia area of Pennsylvania. I have pretty much lived here my entire life. I grew up playing soccer, field hockey, and a sprinter for the track team. I attended college at Eastern University and played field hockey there fore 4 years. My husband Brian and I have almost been married 2 years and we have a Portuguese Water Dog pup named Lola. We just bought a house this winter and currently live in the Main Line area of Philadelphia (near Villanova University). 

I am obsessed with the TV show Law & Order SVU. My husband and I would watch it every Saturday after our long runs during fall marathon training and I got hooked. But all time favorite TV Show is Gilmore Girls. I can watch that anytime anywhere and sometimes I wish I could be cloned to be Rory but just athletic (because she is not!). 

I absolutely, LOVE coffee! I could drink it 24/7 but I need to keep my intake down for health reasons. 

Isn’t Lola the CUTEST?

How long have you been running and what made you want to get started?

My first half marathon was the Philadelphia Half Marathon in 2012 so I guess I started running the summer of 2012. I honestly signed up for the race because just going to the gym to work out wasn’t really working anymore. I would constantly make excuses on why I didn’t need to go. So I decided to give myself a goal, a physical challenge that would allow me to be consistant, committed, and challenged. Then after running my first half marathon, which I have to say was at the time one of the hardest things I had ever done, once I crossed that finish line I was hooked!

I love reading your race recaps! What’s been your favorite race of all time, and why?

Right now, my races are very limited to the Philadelphia area because I am just starting my goal of running a half marathon in all 50 states, so I ran the Delaware Half Marathon in mid-May. 

But as of right now, I love what I would call the original Philadelphia Half Marathon, the one in November, for some reason people think the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon in Philadelphia is the annual half marathon, it is not and the course is not fun (in my opinion). The original used to run through the entire city and if you were a tourist you would get a nice run through the heart of the city down South Street, through University City, and Fairmount Park. Now, the race takes you through a portion but not enough, you stick to more the Fairmount Park and Strawberry Mansion area, which is not as much fun because most spectators can’t get there to cheer because of all the closed roads. Where for the original on South Street and in University City there were people everywhere cheering! It was electric. 


What do you love about running in the Philadelphia area? Do you have any favorite loops/routes/spots to run that you could recommend to tourists?

I absolutely recommend doing any type of long run on the Schykull River Trail. I usually prefer to start at Lloyd Hall at Boathouse Row. You can run as far as you want heading toward Valley Forge and the new Schykull Banks Trail if you want to run in towards the city is great! I am pretty sure they are working on expanding it.  

Other than there, I live on the Main Line and love to run along the Valley Forge National Park 5 mile loop, which is great for a good hill work out. I also frequent the Chester Valley Trail which runs along Route 202 south of King of Prussia and goes up toward Exton. Lastly, the Radnor Trail in Wayne is a 5 mile straight trail that has a good incline and decline. 

What are your favorite ways to rest, recover, and treat yourself after a big race?

My favorite way to rest and recover is honestly, actually resting! My life can be so busy sometimes being in full-time ministry that I forget to sit down and chill out. So sometimes sitting on the couch bingeing on a TV show or reading a book are good way for me to rest and recover. Stretching and rolling really help as well! 


My favorite treat is easy! I love Pizza Hut Pan Cheese Pizza, that has been my post race all day meal since my first race in 2012. It is a tradition that I have made my husband continue with me since we got married. Thankfully there is still a Pizza Hut close to us in Bryn Mawr because the one near my old apartment went out of business. 

What would be your encouragement to someone who wants to become a runner?

I can’t lie and tell you it won’t be hard because it will be but when you accomplish what you set out to do whether it was a 5k, a half marathon, marathon, or even just a healthier lifestyle you won’t regret it. I have never met someone who started running and regretted it. 


Keep putting one foot in front of the other. Pace doesn’t matter (unless you want to reach a certain goal), I believe the most important thing about running is having fun! When I started running I did it so I could stay in shape and challenge myself. I learned a long the way that my competitive nature can get the best of me, I want to work hard and achieve goals but not at the expense of me getting stressed out or anxiety over something like I would prior to running. Enjoy the privilege you have to run, smile, high five, and make friends a long the way. 

Do you have any favorite Bible verses, quotes, or running mantras that help you through tough training? Or life in general?

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When I played my senior year college field hockey season on a torn ACL this quote was a great reminder that I can still work harder than my opponent and beat them despite my injury… “If I can’t beat you with skill and athleticism, I’ll beat you with passion and I will surely outwork you.” 

“For I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13

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This verse helps me so much in races because I have to admit doubt as to whether I can finish the race goes through my mind often even after 11 half marathons and 2 full marathons, but it helps me remember that my ultimate source of strength is from the Lord not myself so it helps me switch my focus to the Lord. 

This verse is what my blog is centered around, 1 Corinthians 9:26-27, “So I run with purpose in every step. I am not shadowboxing. I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to other I myself might be disqualified.” 


Just for fun, what are three non-running things that you’re loving right now?

  1. I love the Lenny & Larry’s Cookies, my favorite flavor is the Birthday Cake one. They are packed with protein and at least for me really help fill my belly when my I am on the go instead of eat random unhealthy food.
  2. My Hidrate Spark 2.0 Water Bottle – it is a bottle that tracks your water intake through an app. The bottle will light up when you are behind in your daily hydration. It is an expense water bottle I have to admit but it has helped me so much with my hydration game. 
  3. Devon Donuts! If you ever come visit the Main Line area of Philadelphia you need to come check out Devon Donuts! I never was really that into donuts but ever since they opened up two of these stores on the Main Line, I have been hooked. I haven’t had Duck Donuts before, but they are opening one up in King of Prussia apparently, I would say they are comparable to them. I really like food, which I think is ok as long as you have all the unhealthily yummy stuff in moderation!


 Thanks for sharing your story + love for running, Lisa! To connect with Lisa, follow her on Instagram (@lisa_catton) and read her blog.



Weekend Recap: East Coast Edition

Happy Tuesday, friends! I hope that you had a lovely Memorial Day and long weekend. Did you get in a long run? Rest and barbecue? Head to the beach? We were so fortunate to be able to travel home to the East Coast/Philadelphia area to celebrate my dad’s 50th birthday and for some much needed family time for the holiday.

We managed to squeeze a lot of fun in in just 55 hours! Here are some quick photos and favorite memories from our weekend back East:


We flew out of San Diego on Friday evening after a day at work. Such pretty views of our city from the window seat! We can “see” our house from here. 🙂


On Saturday morning, we landed at midnight and got a few hours of sleep before heading off for a quick hike and catch-up session with my sweet mom. She took me to a new trail I had never seen before.


After the hike, Chad and I stopped at our beloved WAWA for lunch. If you know, you know. 🙂






Later that afternoon, we drove up to South Philadelphia (one of my favorite places in the world!) to meet my dad’s side of the family and celebrate his 50th birthday at a Phillies game — this was the main purpose for the trip!

On Sunday morning, we had so much fun that I forgot to take pictures. I met up with my friends Abby and Taylor (and their sweet baby boys) for a very early morning coffee date. Kaleb is brand new and adorable and I can’t believe how fast Luka is growing and how full of personality he is. It is really beautiful to watch your friends become mamas. Thanks so much for meeting me, ladies – let’s start planning that September race!

A cup of coffee shared with a friend is happiness tasted and time well spent.:

Later that morning, we met up with two of the greatest friends we could ask for, Matt and Gwen. We got to visit the new church that they’ve found and caught up over amazing lunch and ice cream. We could talk to them forever and it was so hard to say goodbye. Until next time, guys!


We lucked out that my cousin Brendan was having his graduation party the same weekend that we would be home for my dad’s birthday — it meant that we got to see everyone on both sides of my family! It is always hard to say goodbye.

Chad’s parents woke up bright and early to take us back to the airport on Sunday morning. I was bummed that we didn’t get to spend more time with them but the 2-hour drive to and from the airport allowed for plenty of time to catch up!


We flew back on Sunday, picked up our dog (missed him!), and went out to lunch before catching up on laundry and groceries to get ready for the week.


AMAZING vegan (tofu) pad thai and leftovers for dinner – yay for not needing to cook on a travel day!


Chad has fallen in love with the local vegan restaurant’s oatmeal cream pie. We had to stop by after lunch and split one.


I ran some errands, got groceries, meal prepped and picked up these goodies for the week ahead. While I’m sad that our mini-vacation is over, I’m jumping for joy because this week is RACE WEEK! Rock N’ Roll San Diego is on Sunday and I am going for a sub-2 PR.

Are you racing this weekend?

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Have a wonderful 4-day work week and good luck adjusting back to reality after the long weekend!

Nothing messes up your Friday like finding out its only Tuesday:



Weekend Recap

It’s Monday! I hope this is the start of an excellent week for all of us. 🙂

Shake off the Monday blues!:

This weekend flew by! Partially due to the fact that I worked for about 9 hours on Saturday…so it didn’t really feel like a complete weekend. But it was well worth it! We held a large fundraiser (to serve kiddos living in foster care) at a beautiful home overlooking the ocean. Our events team did such an amazing job! It was really wonderful to see so many people come together and be outrageously generous to help children who have been abused and neglected.

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I came home after the event to find a treat of voodoo fries and kombucha from plant power which totally hit the spot after the long day in the sun. Love my thoughtful husband!

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Yep, they’re vegan!

And then we vegged out for the rest of the night with Parks & Rec. We’re obsessed and nothing beats binge-watching Netflix together when you’re too tired to move. Anyone else love this show?

Parks and Recreation Season Four Episode 3: Born and Raised. "I wonder who else was born in Eagleton...Voldemort probably.":

Sunday the alarm clock went off at 6 a.m. to squeeze in a run before church, chores, and the beach!


A few things about this run…

  • I was SO happy to get this mileage and time, because two days ago I was so hurt that I debated pulling out of the upcoming Rock N’ Roll San Diego Half. I had doubts about even being able to finish this distance.
  • I thought I had plantar fascitis, but it turned out that it was just a pulled muscle. Nothing that a couple of days and rest and ice couldn’t fix!
  • I felt really strong on this run and am going into the taper period confident, healthy, and hopeful for a PR in two weeks!
  • Nothing beats an early morning run in a quiet beach town. The streets were so quiet and everything was peaceful. Grateful for the best long run in a long time – it was good for my soul.

After church, I walked down to the beach to watch Chad’s volleyball team play! They are a great group and it was a beautiful day for it.


Dipped my toes in between games. The Pacific feels like an ice bath — good recovery!


Some other, not-pictured moments from the weekend: snuggling babies in the church nursery, cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping, reading a good memoir. Oh, and Hawaii planning! We are headed to Maui in November. If you’ve been, please, please, please send me your recommendations for anywhere to see, eat, and explore! I’d love to hear about your experiences.

And that’s a wrap on a pretty typical, but still very simple, sweet, and good weekend. Remember the quote that started off this post…be a rebel and have a great Monday. 🙂

Quotes to Remind You to Never Miss a Monday!:



Share your comments!

Did you run this weekend? Are you training for anything, or just running for fun?

Do you watch Parks & Rec? Any other Netflix shows that you’d recommend?

What are you looking forward to about the week ahead? 

Friday Five: Naming the Good Stuff

It seems that lately God has been teaching me so much about the topic of contentment – and how I desperately need more of it in my heart. Whether in my job, marriage, friendships, material possessions, or even fitness + running, I can clearly see the ways that He’s been teaching me to have gratitude and contentment for the life that I have — and not to covet what others have. Gosh, with social media, that can be so hard, right?

So for this round of Friday Five, I’m naming the good stuff and counting off five things in my life that I’m grateful for – that I so appreciate, that I wouldn’t change, that I’m recognizing for the gifts that they are.

When we name the good stuff in our own lives, it ends the comparison game and helps us to love our own lives more. We won’t have room to wonder “what if my life looked more like hers?” when we’re deeply grateful for the life that He’s given us.

Friday Five: Naming the Good Stuff

1. Speed Work and Good Friends

Runners are always stronger together, right? This week, I was so thankful to have two friends join me for the SDTC workout – 6x800s. If it were not for them, I surely would not have been running at a 7:50/mi pace! I’m thankful for the ways that friends and fellow runners push us to be better and faster. 

2. My Dad 

Look at his watch selfie — how cute is he?! He’d be a great #instarunner. My dad is a 10-time marathoner (and a big reason why I fell in love with running in the first place!), but he has fallen away from running over the past 6 or 7 years as life got a bit crazier for him. He just turned 50 and is now committed to running  and being fit again. He’s building back up slowly but strongly and I am so thankful for his rediscovered determination! 

3. Trails Close to Home 

These are my favorite trails, with oceanfront views, and I am so grateful that I can easily run to them from my front door! Sometimes I take for granted living at the beach, as everyday life sets in, but man oh man, every time I’m on these trails I’m reminded how much we are spoiled. 

4. Doing Everyday Life With These Cute Boys

No explanation necessary. 🙂 they make me so happy. 

5. Vegan Fast Food!

Sometimes a girl’s just gotta indulge with a burger now and then. Can you believe this beauty is 100% entirely vegan? So good! 

Thanks for reading along! 

What are five things that you’re grateful for today? 

Any fun running plans for the weekend? Are you racing?



Lately: May


Good morning! I’ve always loved the lately series but it’s been a while since I followed these prompts. I thought today would be a great time to slow down + catch up on what May has looked like lately. I’d love to hear your responses to the following prompts, too!

Cherry Blossom Tree

Lately: May

Lately, I’ve been…

Reading… The Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie Omartian. This book is a classic and I’ve read it three times since we were married almost two years ago. Just a few minutes in this book each day really reminds me of the purpose and beauty of marriage and I think it’ll be a staple in my life for many years to come. If you’re a wife…I highly, highly recommend picking up this book! It always points my heart back to what matters.

Playing… bananagrams. Bought it at REI a few months ago and constantly make Chad/anyone who comes over play it with me. It reminds me of my senior year of college — my roommates and I played it all the time!

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Watching… The Making of a Champion: Mat Fraser series. Because when you’re married to a crossfitter…(jk, I love games season just as much. Can’t deny how impressive and dedicated these athletes are!)

Trying…to incorporate more yoga + bodypump into my weekly routine. So far, it’s been pretty consistent! Must. Stay. Injury. Free. this training cycle!


Cooking… Loaded sweet potatoes with beans, rice, avocado, and nutritional yeast for my dinners this week. Hawaiian BBQ chicken + rice for Chad. Easy peasy, but so much flavor!

Drinking… Kona coffee. Can you tell I’m on a Hawaiian kick lately? We just booked a trip for this fall and I am so looking forward to it!



Vegan Key Lime Pie bites — made these a few weeks ago and they were SO GOOD.

10 Hikes in Los Angeles

and this dreamy picture from Catalina. Can we go back?

catalina island:

Going… to sleep reaaallly early lately because that 9-5 has me TIRED.  Plus lots of training makes me a grandma.

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Listening (to)… Alive in You. Such an encouragement to me in both good + challenging moments over the past few weeks.

“You are God, You’re the Great “I Am”
Breath of life I breathe You in
Even in the fire, I’m alive in You
You are strong in my brokenness
Sovereign over every step
Even in the fire, I’m alive
I’m alive in You”

Thanking… God for bringing us good friends and strong community here in San Diego. A long-awaited answered prayer.

Hoping… for a PR at the San Diego Rock N’ Roll Half-Marathon in a few weeks! This is my second attempt at sub-2 and I really need to stay focused and disciplined (no more trips to the office candy bowl) over the next few weeks to give myself a good shot.

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Starting… a new project for Stay Great My Girl. It’s launching in early June so be sure to subscribe to my e-mail list and stay tuned! I can’t wait to share it with you.

 Hope May has been wonderful to you so far!

7 Ways to Stay Healthy on a Budget

Recently, some girlfriends and I were talking about while fitness, running, and eating well is SO important to us…it can be pretty darn expensive! Gym membership prices are sky-high, organic produce is double (sometimes, triple!) the cost of the GMO and chemical-loaded stuff, and finding a marathon that costs less than $100 for registration alone is like finding a unicorn. It seems impossible to prioritize our health without making some serious financial sacrifices, right?

We chatted about how even though being active and staying healthy can be costly, we’re willing to pay for it because it’s important to us. And I LOVE that. I believe that our bank statements should be able to tell a story about who we are and what we value. But, what if we can still pursue optimal health without breaking the bank and living paycheck to paycheck? I believe that we can (and should!) have both abundance in health and abundance in savings.

I haven’t always gotten this right. I have wasted money on the cutest $150 yoga pants that I just HAD to have (and downward-dogged my way into a hole in them anyway) and I bought $9 pretty, cold-pressed juices when it wasn’t in the budget, more times than I’d like to admit. But in my journey to become more financially savvy over the past few years, I’ve learned a few tips, tricks, and principles to keep my health a priority — without draining my bank account. I’d love to share them with you!

7 Tips for Staying Healthy On a Budget

  1. Workout at home. Thanks to the magical internet, you can conquer killer workouts for free without ever stepping foot in a gym. Working out at home offers great flexibility if you’ve got a crazy schedule, too…you can squeeze in a workout while dinner is in the oven, while your baby is napping, and while laundry is running — all at the same time! When I’m on a time crunch and have to workout at home, Nourish Move Love, Tone It Up, and Pop Sugar Fitness  are some of my go-to videos and for most workouts, you don’t even need equipment!

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2. But if you do want to workout with equipment at home…buy used! Did you know that the average new treadmill costs $1,500? Those are some expensive miles! But with the convenience of sites like Craigslist, OfferUp, and LetGo, you can browse tons of quality workout equipment for sale in your area without paying full price. I hate to say it, but a lot of people get excited about the latest piece of workout equipment on the market, spend a fortune, and then let it collect dust in the corner. That sad, unused treadmill will be much happier helping you with speed workouts in your home, won’t it? And with a quick wipe down, it’s as good as new for you (and half the price).

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3. Know the Clean 15. This list from EatingWell highlights the 15 foods that are lowest in pesticides and don’t need to be purchased organic. Bringing this list along on your next grocery trip and save BIG!

Eggs Avocado Mushroom Basil and Onion Springs on Wooden Chopping Board

4. It’s fun (and inexpensive) to stay at the YMCA. If you’re more of a gym girl and can’t always find the motivation to workout at home (I totally get it!), know that you don’t have to sign up for a gym membership that costs upwards of $100/month. There are plenty of beautiful, boutique gyms and Crossfit boxes out there that offer great workouts – and if there’s room for that in your monthly budget, awesome! – but if you’re looking to save, take the time to shop around for the best-priced gyms in your area. In San Diego, the YMCA, 24 Hour Fitness, and Planet Fitness offer access to great machines and classes that are affordable for everyone. Do your research and compare prices with local gyms around town…and remember that you can treat yourself to that fancy barre class every now and then! 🙂

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5. Juice Yo’ Self! I get it – I love me some cold-pressed kale and cucumber as much as the next girl. And those juice bars are SO CUTE. You know the ones I’m talking about, right? As I mentioned before, I could easily spend a fortune on juices…but I’ve learned to save those treats for special occasions or for dates with friends. On a regular day, I save money by making my juice and smoothies at home. You don’t have to have a Vitamix — any decent blender will work! You’ll be amazed at how much you save by buying your own produce and blending it up yourself – and it’s just as nutritious, and maybe even a bit more delicious, when you know that you’re saving.

Carrots Juice

6. Join a running club. You don’t need to buy an expensive training plan or hire a coach to help you achieve a new PR at your next marathon — just join a local running club! Running with friends will help keep you accountable to show up for your workouts, and they will most likely make you faster and push you outside of your comfort zone. When you’re running with friends, you’re less likely to walk the hill or take the shortcut home. Check out MeetUp.com and find a free running club in your area for new friends and great workouts.

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7. Buy in bulk. If you don’t already belong to Costco or BJ’s Wholesale – why not?! I know it seems silly to pay for a membership to shop and spend more money, but it really pays off – even by the end of your first trip. Chad and I are always keeping our pantry stocked with plenty of protein powder and bars (vegan for me, Muscle Milk for him). If we were to buy our protein in smaller batches at the grocery store, we’d pay almost double the unit price that we pay at Costco. No wholesale store nearby? No worries! VitaCost and Amazon can hook you up with all of your bulk needs, too. It pays to plan ahead and stock up!

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If there’s one takeaway from this post, know that you don’t have to go broke to get healthy. These are just a few of the many ways to get creative to save on your health/fitness expenses.

Do you have any tips for saving money while staying fit? Please share in the comments!


Happy Trails,

Weekend, Workouts, and an announcement!

Happy Monday! I hope your week is off to a wonderful start. I just wanted to check in and share a few snapshots from our slow and refreshing (so needed!) weekend.

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Friday – I worked a full day in the office but celebrated the start of the weekend with fellow GOTR coach, Ali, and some Movin’ Shoes friends. We met up after work for a 5k on the trails. If you’re ever in the San Diego area, check out MS events! They always have something planned for the local running community and they are so much fun. The rest of the group went out to Happy Hour afterwards, but I was looking forward to a much-anticipated date night with Chad and headed out early. We caught up over Cuban food at our favorite local restaurant (we are trying to become ‘regulars’ there…you know, like the kind where they know your order right when you walk in? I think they’re starting to recognize us and we’re getting close!)

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Saturday: YOGA! For the first time in a long time. This was a day off from running and it felt so good to stretch and relax. I always forget how wonderful I feel after a yoga class and made a mental note to work this into my weekly routine! Let’s hope I stick with it. 🙂


I hunted downtown for some apartments for my friend, Kim. She is moving back to San Diego in May and I could not be more excited to have her back! Afterwards, I enjoyed some time to read and write at Starbucks. Is there anything more idyllic on a lazy Saturday? I’ve been working on some new projects for Stay Great My Girl and I cannot wait to share them with you in the next month!


Saturday night, we talked ourselves into deserving another date night out (#praisehands) and tried a new  restaurant. We loved our dinner and the chef even gave us free Italian cookies! Win.




Sunday: My training plan called for 10 miles on Sunday, but I knew that with all of our plans for the day (and the fact that I slept in too long…whoops), I wasn’t realistically going to be able to carve out the time for a consistent 10 at any point during the day. So, I ran 3 miles at the beach in the morning and 7 on the treadmill in the late afternoon. Do you ever split up your long runs? I really really try not to, but in a pinch I will. If this were someone’s first half-marathon or first time covering the distance, I wouldn’t recommend it…but I’m not sure it makes much of a difference for me at this point, as long as I get the distance in. Thoughts for your own running?


The rest of Sunday was spent at church, catching up on chores, meal-prepping, and relaxing for the week ahead. Chad played beach volleyball with some friends and I went back downtown for more apartment hunting for Kim and her family – this was so fun to do, actually, and I think we finally found a winner for them! I love their potential new place, so Kim, please have lots of rooftop pool parties this summer! 🙂 🙂 🙂

Weekly Workouts: 4/24/17-4/30/17

Monday: BodyPump

Tuesday: 800m warm-up, 7×800 @ race pace w/ 400m recovery. = 5.75 miles

Wednesday: 3 miles @ 9:13 pace

Thursday: 4 mile progression run (9:13, 8:28, 8:18, 7:56)

Friday: 3.1 mile trail run

Saturday: Yoga + rest

Sunday: 10 mile run @ 9:03 average

Goals for this week: take a full rest day, go to two BodyPump classes, take one yoga class, and do ab circuit after each run

And, last but not least, I did mention that I have a little announcement! (No, we’re no pregnant. No, we’re not moving again.)

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I am registered for my 2nd marathon! This is particularly exciting for me because I always thought I would be a “one-and-done” bucket list marathoner. But over the past year, I’ve fallen back in love with running and know that I want endurance running to be a lifestyle instead of a short-term goal. I have 3 halfs on the calendar this year, but am so excited to tackle 26.2 again and hopefully get a PR after becoming more serious about running, speedwork, and strength training. I’ll be running REVEL Canyon City this November. Have you done this race before? Will I see you there this year? I have heard wonderful things from friends who’ve run it in past years and I can’t wait to be a part of it! I also can’t wait to have a weekend away/mini-vacation with Chad. Woohoo!

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That’s all for now – have a beautiful week! XO