Holidaze

It’s only December 1st, but I already feel like I’m falling behind on the the holiday planning. I didn’t do any Black Friday or Cyber Monday shopping, heck I haven’t started any Christmas shopping at all!  I haven’t even made … Continue reading

Sometimes

This image popped up today on Elephant Journal’s Facebook page (one of my favorite websites) and I just knew I had to share it. I have to share it and believe it, because it’s the only way I can somehow make … Continue reading

10 Years: An Ode to Friendship and Running

It was 10 years ago this month, in October 2005, that I ran my very first road race. It was the Lowell Sun Half-Marathon and a lot of people thought 13.1 was a crazy distance to start with. Since then I’ve done many, many races of all different distances, from 5ks to full marathons, but the halfs always hold a special place in my heart. It’s long enough that you know you need to prepare and train, but it’s not SO long that  you feel broken and completely exhausted after and you can really enjoy the experience and sense of accomplishment (and the post-race food and drinks, of course).

I didn’t just wake up one day and decide to run a half-marathon on my own though, I was fortunate to make a very good friend who turned out to also become a mentor/coach. At this point Jen had been in the fitness business for about a decade herself as an instructor and Personal Trainer.  She was my age now, and honestly looking back I have no idea how she put up with my 21-year old antics that included missing training runs due to crazy Saturday nights, or showing up for the run, late and hung-over AF. Luckily she did though! We finished our first half-marathon and just kept running from there… right into our first Boston Marathon together in 2006 (See pics below. Note that this is before there were smartphones, so the only images are the blurry ones I stole from the race photo site. This is also before the race photo companies got smart and put ‘Proof’ on the images on the site before you purchase them. Damn you MarathonFoto!)

BostonCollage

Running has changed my life- no doubt about it. I’ve met many of my close friends through running in some way, I even met my husband at a 24 hour relay race! I’ve had a job that took me around the world traveling and running marathons and meeting some of the coolest people ever. I have Jen to thank for a lot of this though, if it wasn’t for her constant motivation, friendship and advice I don’t know if I ever would have started or kept up with running.

The racing is actually a very small part of the running experience, at least for me.  A lot of the real magic happens during the training runs; where you and running partner talk about everything from relationships, world views, politics, gossip, drama, jokes, your deepest darkest secrets and biggest craziest dreams and most importantly, what/where you will be eating your post-run meal. Even the miles you log by yourself early in the morning or late at night, alone with your thoughts and the sound of your favorite music can be pretty magical (or if you’re like me, the sound of your breath and feet hitting the ground. I’m not so much a music girl when running, though check out my giant old-school headphones around my neck in the photos above. How old AM I? And how was I able to run like that without choking??)

I happen to LOVE running, but know it’s not for everyone. It’s made me more confident, healthier, more in tune with my body and those endorphins sure don’t suck. If you hate it, don’t do it. If you’re running just to lose weight, don’t waste your time. Sure distance running burns a lot of calories, but there are a lot more efficient ways to lose weight (cleaning up your diet, HIIT, and weight lifting are high contenders).  If you’re running to win… well good luck. For the majority of us distance runners we start a race knowing that we will never win it. In fact I’m usually not even half way through the course when the winner are finishing. It’s a humbling sport in that way. In my 10 years I’ve won first place in my age group once, in a very small 5k.

We didn’t run  fast today, usually our goal is just to finish and live to tell about it so we accomplished that! Although it wasn’t my best race time-wise I enjoyed it thoroughly and there is still no other way I would have rather spent this chilly Sunday morning than out on the roads of Newburyport with Jen, properly celebrating our 10 year run-iversary! It was also great getting to see some of my other runner friends out there. The running community and people are just amazing. This has been one of my longest life commitments yet, and I’m looking forward to celebrating many more years of friendship and running!

NBPTCollage

Healthy Living When You’re Sick

Fall is one of my favorite times of the year; The crisp cool air, the colors, the pumpkins, the flannel and hot beverages. I love it all! The one downside? The start of cold/flu season. I got hit pretty hard with a cold this weekend (I blame my 10 mile run around the Charles River in 30 degree weather Sunday morning. 30 degrees is winter weather, not fall).

Despite trying to get lots of sleep and rest and drinking a lot of fluids, I’m still feeling a lot like this:

Smashed

Healthy living turns out to be a bigger challenge when you’re not healthy to start!

For one thing, my workouts have gone out (the freezing cold) window. I basically finished my 10 mile run on Sunday and have been sitting on my butt ever since.

As far as eating, I know I should be fueling my compromised immune system with healthy foods and as many vitamins and minerals as I can- but I’m too tired to prep and cook the usual healthy food, and if I do kill myself to put in the effort it’s totally unappealing, yet the gallon of ice cream in my refrigerator? That is calling my name. Yup, it’s 30 degrees outside and I’m craving ice cream.

Sleep- I’ve been doing okay here and getting to bed pretty early, though it’s hard to get uninterrupted quality sleep when you can’t breath through one-side of your face.

Lastly, my attention span and patience at work and with friends and loved ones is seriously lacking. I can hardly sit and write this quick post.

Enjoy the healthier days, and carpe that diem when you have the energy and strength to do so-whether it’s tackling a big project at work or workout at the gym.I have a Half-Marathon coming up this weekend, so I know a few more days of R&R is necessary, and so is patience with myself.  Fingers crossed that I’m feeling more like a happy Jack-o-latern and less like a smashed pumpkin within the next few days!

An Avocado A Day

I love love love avocados. I don’t know why, but didn’t really start appreciating them until living in Costa Rica. Before that my avocado consumption was mostly guacamole related, but than I experienced avocado with gallo pinto for breakfast. Nothing better.

If you are also an avocado aficionado, you probably know some of the troubles with avocados:

#1. The price. Some restaurants charge $$ just to add a couple of slices or drops of guac to your salad/nachos/sandwiches. They usually aren’t cheap in the grocery store either (though Wholefoods is having a great sale this week, 5 for $5!)

#2. How fickle they can be! I’ve had plenty of heartbreak over buying them too unripe, only to have it go over-ripe and rotten on me very quickly!

Avocado What I’ve learned is to just buy them ripe, and use them over the course of a week (and not just save it for guacamole, although that is one good way to use them!!) This way you get your money’s worth and use them up before they go bad. They are so filling & nutritious (thank you, healthy fats) and also a lot more versatile than guacamole. I also eat them:

-For Breakfast. If you can’t find/ make gallo pinto, a few slices with your eggs, spread on toast, or on a breakfast burrito is life changing.

-For Smoothies. Avocados add a great thickness to smoothies, without the additional sweetness of bananas (my usual go-to smoothie thickener). Just throw half an avocado in the blender/processor and your good to go. This morning I added some orange slices, 1 banana, baby spinach leaves, frozen strawberries and water.

-For lunch/dinner: Add to sandwiches/salads/burgers or even on top of some soups (tortilla soup, gazpacho, chili)

-For snacks: Good ol’ gauc. I mix mine with some greek yogurt and squeeze lime into it and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Being gluten free, I’ve been enjoying my snack time guac over plantain chips vs. tortillas, but that’s just my preference!

-For dessert: To be honest I haven’t tried this yet, but I’ve seen (and pinned) a lot of avocado dessert recipes and I’m planning to make some Chocolate pudding with avocado this week (recipe HERE). I’ll let you know how it goes!

Also, it’s fun to see people’s reaction when you tell them avocado is your favorite fruit! (Sorry apples, but I’m allergic to you anyway!)

Be Kind

BeKind

My day started with someone (a complete stranger) saying something rude to me. It was just an offhand comment, not a big deal, but it really put a damper on my Monday morning (as if Monday mornings aren’t already damper-ed enough. Ha!) I know that I can be overly sensitive at times, and that this person probably was just having a bad morning, maybe a bad weekend, or dealing with their own issues at home or at work. There are a million ‘excuses’, but none of them make it okay. I shook it off and eventually got over it- but it made me think of how much we can effect people without even thinking about it. I highly doubt this person gave a second thought about the not-so-nice thing that they said, but I spent a good part of my morning feeling bad/sad about it. Bummer.

It was a good reminder to notice the kind things people do everyday- and appreciate them more. For this one rude comment, I got many other friendly greetings and smiles. I have a bad habit of remembering the insults and taking them to heart,  and conversely forgetting the compliments or disregarding them- I’m working on that.

It was also a good reminder  to be kind to others, as much and as often as possible. I do try my best and I think for the most part I’m a pretty nice person, but I know I can be more mindful about the words I use and what I say to and about others. Words are very powerful. I will try to not take things out on others that are usually just a reflection on how I’m feeling about myself. On that note, be kind to yourself too.

So, moral of the story, be kind because you never know when you’ll end up on one of the Mean Tweets sketches. And because Monday mornings are rough enough.