Tag Archives: healthy-living

A quick check-in.

I just got back from a weekend up in Cleveland visiting Ben. Even though he is only two hours away, a short weekend feels so rushed and exhausting. I’d hoped to get some running done up there in some new-to-me metro parks, but we ended up being too busy for that. Between the rain and the hot weather, it just seemed like a better idea to go to the movies or nap. More on that tomorrow.

Workout Check-in

Sun – 6 miles (treadmill – 1m walk, 4 m run, 1 m walk)
Mon – Off
Tues – 4 miles (morning run)
Wed – Off
Thurs – 6 miles (afternoon)
Fri – Off
Sat – Off

Total: 16 miles

I’m really pleased that I ran more miles this week than last! But still, only running 3 out of 7 days just doesn’t cut it for me. Next week’s goal is to, once again, run more miles than this week and to run at least four days out of the seven. I was too tired to run today after the drive back, so I have to fit four runs into six days. Shouldn’t be too hard, really, but life always seems to get in the way. I really need to pick out my half marathon training plan and start on that. Structured plans seems to keep me more accountable, plus, October isn’t all that far away…

Oh, and this totally cracked me up last week. I love when brands let their social media managers have some fun.

Lululemon being funny on twitter

How was your weekend?
What’s your favorite corporate twitter account?

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Filed under Living the Dream, Running

Good news & long runs.

I have two bits of good news today! First, I’m already way over my total miles from last week! In fact, my run yesterday almost totaled last week in miles run.

4thrun

splits

I made the mistake of trying to run around the park and completely forgot about 4th of July celebrations. I was dodging people left and right! So I made my way down to the trail I usually take for longer runs. I had no idea how long this run was going to be when I started out but once I hit the trail, I was already 2 miles in and I figured, why not just keep going? I ran about a mile and half on the trail, and it started to rain, so I turned around and started back, eventually totaling just over a 10k.

runningtrail2

I love this trail–long and quiet–it’s really peaceful. But it really freaks me out when the cyclists blow past me without warning.

runningtrail3

And it follows a river!

By the time I finished, it was raining pretty hard and my phone was so wet that I couldn’t get the touch screen to work in order to end my run! Maybe I shouldn’t take my phone with me next time it looks overcast… It was a great run though – my longest in a while. It felt good to hit a stride again and not feel like I was dying the whole time. I still had to take a few breaks because my knee was starting to hurt — the post ACL surgery one — bleh. But there is definitely a difference for me between morning runs and afternoon runs, and I think I might just have to accept that.

My second bit of good news is that I just got a new part-time freelance gig! I’ll be starting soon with the Arundel Voice newspaper picking up a few stories on the side. I’m really excited about this opportunity. I haven’t worked in journalism for just about two years and I was starting to miss it.

arundel voice

The best part about the Arundel Voice is that they don’t cover “hard” news, things like political scandals or crime reports. They focus mainly on positive stories in the community — something I’m really pleased about because positive news is really fun to write about.

There were times when I was covering stories during my very first reporting internship when it was hard to sit through interviews because the stories were just so sad or uncomfortable. My very first assignment was covering jury selection for a murder trial for a 16-year-old. That was not so fun…

So my time with the Arundel Voice should be much more positive! Seriously, I am SO excited.

Do you run in the rain?
What are you excited about this week?

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Filed under Working Girl

Rest Days.

If you follow this blog at all, you know that I am very into both running and writing, and I am especially thrilled when the two overlap (See: What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami). So when I found this quote on one of the writing blogs I follow, it really jumped out at me.

“There are days when I don’t write at all, but they are more like rest days.
There are days when I write a few thousand words and none of it goes into
the book, but those are like practice days, and they definitely happen to
everyone.” — Joanna Penn (in an interview with The Write Practice)

Just like running, you have to exercise your writing muscles. Back when I was working on my thesis for grad school I had no problem just sitting down and pounding out a few thousand words, but it was because I had been practicing for two years. And in the last year, as I’ve taken time to sort of detox from grad school, I’ve found myself having trouble even getting started. It’s sort of like how the hardest part of your run is the very first step (and the next few if you’ve taken some time off recently like I have…)

a professional writer is an amateur who didn't quit

You have good days and bad days in both running and writing. The key is getting yourself to start and then not letting yourself give up because of a bad day. Just take some time, rest, and start again tomorrow.

What does your writing/running schedule look like?

Do you plan your rest days? Or take them when you know you need them?


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Filed under Running, Writing

Festive shorts & morning workouts.

Exciting News!

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It’s looking like a pretty slow week, what with the holiday coming up and all. What is this day off work on a Thursday nonsense?  At least it breaks up the week a little, and I’ll probably just work from home on Friday since I would otherwise be the only person in the office. Most people will probably take a vacation day, but me? I don’t have any real plans so for the 4th so I don’t mind getting some work done from the couch.

american flag running shorts

I’m actually a little bummed that I didn’t sign up for any races on the 4th. I think I saw one nearby where if you signed up early enough you got a pair of very patriotic running shorts. But I’m so out of shape that it wouldn’t be worth it to sign up now. Maybe next year. Besides, I’m kind of excited to get to sleep in a bit.

workoutsummary

My run this morning was tough, but manageable. And it’s one of the farther runs I’ve done in a while, but I still had to take 3-4 breaks. Sad, I know, but my legs were killing me! It’s really the lack of fuel when I head out in the morning that keeps me from working any harder. I had half a banana this morning, but it just didn’t cut it. I think I’m going to have to start getting up earlier to make sure I get some food in me a little bit before I head out.

running time splits

My average pace is usually around 8:30/mi so this run wasn’t to far off (except for that first mile – yikes!). I was out for probably 45 minutes, but only actually running for 35 of that. Now I’ll go hide in shame.

selfie

I actually wore my hair down at work today! Usually I just throw it up in a ponytail or a bun, but it was so warm out that I didn’t mind just letting my hair air dry after showering. I really need a haircut to get some of my layers back. More layers = more curls!

neil gaiman poets and writers

My amazing boss, Jen, gave me her recent copy of Poets & Writer’s because she knows of my love for Neil Gaiman. This issue included a great interview – seven questions about his writing and his new book, The Ocean at the End of the Lane. I suggest picking up a copy if you’re a fan. And even if you’re not, he has some great advice about using social media as a writer.

How are you planning on celebrating the 4th?

Looks like it is going to rain here on Thursday. Guess I’ll just have to stay inside and light sparklers!

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Filed under Living the Dream, Running

My favorite fitness apps

The day I got my smartphone was the day my workouts completely changed. Originally I had an android, but after an unsatisfying two years, I finally upgraded to an iPhone and I couldn’t be happier.

Below is a list of the apps I use, with the reasons why I love them. There are so many options out there and choosing the app that works best for you is important.

nike-plus-gps-icon

Nike +

There are a number of running apps out there, but after trying out a bunch, I settled on Nike+. Why? For one reason: I am extremely competitive. Nike+ has this awesome feature where it ranks all of your friends on a scoreboard on the opening screen of the app to let you know who has been running the most miles that month, and personally, I like to be at the top of that list. Sometimes, I will plan my run distances based on how many miles I need to bump myself up to first place.

Another reason I like this app is because it integrates with SmashRun, the online tracking site I use to record my runs.

iPhone-app-icon

Zombies, Run!

I am usually all about the free apps, but sometimes an app is worth the money, and this app is one of those. This is an audio story about the aftermath of the zombie apocalypse played out as you run. Each mission is about 30 minutes long (but can be lengthened to an hour), interspersing your music with the story. I’d tell you more, but I don’t want to spoil what happens!

You also collect items as you run, which you can then use to build your own base on your phone or online. The longer your run, the more items you pick up and the more you can build. And, if you need that extra boost, you can turn on Zombie hoards which chase you at random times during your run. Personally, I find them exceptionally difficult to outrun, which probably means I need to run even more.

interval

IntervalTimer

I love this app because it is so simple. It doesn’t have anything more than you need. You can save multiple interval workouts, set the times and number of sets, and even pick the specific sounds you want to signal your change of pace. No more, no less. Great for internal workouts and tempo runs!

Fitocracy_icon

Fitocracy

This is actually a new app for me. I joined up back when the website was first in beta testing, forgot about it for a couple years, and then rediscovered it recently only to find that it was significantly improved and actually quite awesome. They have a great community and the app is super easy to use. Complete quests, acquire experience points for various exercises, and level up to become your most awesome self.

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Filed under Running

What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami

What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki MurakamiHow it was possible for me to get this far in life without realizing there was a book out there that combined my two loves: running and writing, is beyond me. This book, of course, is What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami

This book is only 180 pages. Short and poignant, it is a collection of short essays written by Murakami while training for yet another marathon. He describes his many experiences as a runner, including training, running races, and how all of it can be related to his writing.

To be honest, I can’t imagine anyone who doesn’t run enjoying this book. A writer may pick up this memoir to glean some wisdom about writing–which there is some–but I don’t think there is enough to satisfy someone with no interest in physical fitness.

But for me, it was the perfect mix. I have always said I would never run a full marathon, but having just run a half marathon and  now, having just read this book, I am starting to think a full marathon might be a reality for me sometime in the future. This book was inspiring in so many ways. As soon as I finished, I laced up and ran the fastest, most enjoyable four miles I’ve run probably ever.

One might consider this book a bit self-indulgent, which is exactly what Murakami said he feared in his introduction. It felt like he was working through his own thoughts, never really drawing helpful conclusions so much as, raising questions about life. At times I found this a bit frustrating, like reading someone’s diary, but at other times, I found it really human, and I appreciated knowing that this amazingly accomplished writer and runner has the same fears and concerns that I have, and works through them with the same uncertainty as I do.

As a runner, I really appreciated the discussion of his training and race experiences. He describes a grueling experience running the original marathon race in Athens, and his seemingly unbearable trial of human strength running an ultra-marathon. The details he gives of the pain he felt, physical and mental, remind me of many of the thoughts and feelings I have experienced as well. (And also solidified my resolve to never run an ultra-marathon because it does not in any way, shape, or form, sound fun.)

Below, I have excerpted some of my favorite passages from the book:

“When I’m training for a race, I have to show my muscles who’s boss. I have to make it clear to them what’s expected.” Page 72.

“Even if there were two of me, I still couldn’t do all that has to be done. No matter what, though, I keep up my running. Running every day is kind of a lifeline to me, so I’m not going to lay off or quit just because I’m busy. If I used being busy as an excuse not to run, I’d never run again. I have only a few reasons to keep running, and a truckload of them to quit. All I can do is keep those few reasons nicely polished.” Page 73.

“What’s needed for a writer of fiction — at least one who hopes to write a novel — is the energy to focus every day for half a year, or a year, two years. You can compare it to breathing. If concentration if the process of just holding your breath, endurance is the art of slowly, quietly breathing at the same time you’re storing air in your lungs…Continue to breathe while you hold your breath.” Page 78.

“Exerting yourself to the fullest within your individual limits: that’s the essence of running, and a metaphor for life–and for me, for writing as well.” Page 83.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I appreciated it both for the wisdom is imparted, and  for inspiration of a shared human experience. It made me feel like I could pour my love into both writing and running, and that I didn’t have to choose one or the other to place my focus. Most of all, it made me feel like things I have been unable to even comprehend attempting are possible and achievable.

I’ll no doubt come back to this book for a pick-me-up every so often. It only took me a few hours to read, and it provided just the push I needed to get myself off the couch, out the door, and back putting one foot in front of the other.

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Filed under Books, Running, Writing

I really needed that nap.

Pillow ProfessorSometimes I get up in the morning and all I can think about is how happy I’ll be to go to sleep that night.

I try to maintain a fairly regular sleep schedule to avoid days like these, almost never staying up past midnight anymore. Instead, I try to get in bed by 10 pm, read for an hour, and be asleep a little after 11 pm.

Then, I set my alarm for 7 am and usually hit the snooze button a few times. I lay in bed catching up on social media on my phone for a bit and eventually, around 8 am, actually remove myself from under the covers and start getting ready for the day.

That’s a solid 8-9 hours of sleep a day.

So why did I feel the need to come home and immediately nap today? Maybe this was exactly what my body needed and I just had to listen to it.

This is a lesson I feel like I keep having to re-learn. While I was training for the Cap City Half Marathon, all I wanted to do was sleep. I was always exhausted because I was running so much. My body desperately needed the time to heal and recover.

And last week, when I took more rest days than usual, I wasn’t sleeping very well at all. It was as though my body didn’t know how to react to my not feeling completely exhausted from constant workouts, so it caused me to wake up at weird hours and never feel fully rested.

Last week finally caught up with me today and I just had to nap it off.

It’s important to listen to your body, especially when it comes to sleep.

Do you remember those online quizes you could take that would tell you if you were sleep deprived? I took one back in high school and answered “yes” to almost every single question. I don’t know how I even functioned back then! I wish I’d had the time to take naps during those years (a luxury I later took advantage of in college) because I think I would have done much better at everything I was doing (which was a lot.) Yet, somehow I made it through, and  looking back, I can’t believe I accomplished anything with how little sleep I was getting.

Now that I am an adult, I try much harder to get the sleep I need, and I think I am 100x healthier for it.

Don’t take sleep for granted! There may be more you have to get done in a day than there are hours for, but you only have one body, and it needs sleep to recover from everything you’re doing–not just physically, but mentally as well.

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Filed under Living the Dream