Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Workout Wednesday: Building Back Up!

On Monday, my PT gave me the green light to run the Turkey Trot Half Marathon on November 23rd. He even asked me what my plans were for training and suggested that I don't taper and just ramp it up until race day (minus any speed work). This is pretty much the best news I've heard in WEEKS!

So of course I immediately pulled out my go to half marathon training plan, and began to edit and shift things around to accommodate my "ramp up" needs. It also just so happens that apparently November is "Pile on the Miles" month according to Monica at Run, Eat, Repeat. For this challenge, the goal is to run or walk a whole heck of a lot of miles to avoid the oh so dread holiday weight gain. So essentially, this means you pledge to run or walk as much as you can so that you can eat even more, right? I am so in!

Source

I haven't quite decided on the total miles I want to pledge because I want to include both running and walking. I really love taking long walks. It's a great way to escape and clear my mind for an hour or so. Plus, its really good for you, see?!

But with regards to the half marathon training, this is what I've got so far. (Note: Some runs may be replaced with cardio sessions at the gym, either spinning or the ARC trainer, depending on how my hip flexor holds up).


I will also continue to incorporate as much leg, arms and core strengthening as I can. During my marathon training, I became really bad about strength training. It probably was a large factor in my recent injury, as strength training is one of the best ways to AVOID injury. So from now on, I promise to be good and do my squats and crunches!

I can't wait to be on a training plan again and to have some structure to my running and life in general!

How do you feel about walks?

Tell me something good that has happened in your life this week!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Treat Yourself Tuesday: New Clothes, Books and Good Friends


I am back linking up with Becky for another Treat Yourself Tuesday post. If you're interested in linking up, check out the genius idea here.

New Clothes: So over the last couple of months, I seem to have lost a bit of weight, to the point where most of my clothes just look ridiculous. It's hard to dress semi-professionally when your clothes are 1-2 sizes too big. So I took myself to Gap this weekend to get a few things to get me through this possibly temporary weight loss. (I don't want to jinx it by going crazy buying a new wardrobe).

After multiple trips in and out of the dressing room for different sizes (shopping without my shopping partner a.k.a my momma is not so fun), I walked out with these crops and a sweater.


Gap was having a sale online so I purchased a few more things online after figuring out my new sizes. I am loving their slim cropped pants and now have them in like 4 different prints/colors. Perfect for the fall weather in California!

Books: I have been trying to get myself to do some more reading for fun lately. I recently finished "Chicken Soup for the Runners Soul." I highly recommend it to any runner, or anyone looking for a great motivator to get active, or just anyone in general! It is full of 101 stories of people of all shapes and sizes persevering to push their bodies beyond what they ever thought was possible. Its also very humbling to read about so many different people triumphing over so many adversities.


Good Friends: Yesterday after our stats class, my friend Megan and I went out to dinner at a super yummy local italian place. We had dinner (obvi, cause that's what you do when you go out to dinner), but we also talked for a really really long time. Then of course, we proceeded to get froyo :) We both admitted that the only reason we went to class that day was because of our dinner plans. This may be necessary to repeat every Monday in order to get myself to go to class every week. It was so nice to talk to, vent to and gossip with someone who truly understands me and vice versa. Plus she is also one of the sweetest people I've ever met, and an awesome blogger. (Insert shameless plug for a friend's blog - no seriously, go check her out!)

Have you read any good books lately?

Splurged on any new clothes? Or non-clothes splurges?

Monday, October 28, 2013

Ok, Pity Party Over


                                           

I'm back!

It's been one week since I had to miss the nike Womens Marathon due to a hip flexor injury and 10 days since my last post. I have been taking this injury really really hard. I'm still able to cross train and run a couple of times a week, but it's just not the same. I had this great plan to build up speed and more endurance before jumping into my next marathon training in what is now 5 weeks. I don't deal with change well, so my plans getting thrown off has sent me into a tail spin. 

Not running and coping with an injury has also brought out some other emotions that I was ignoring and suppressing by just running a lot. But now they have no place to hide so I'm having to face them head on. And let's just say it hasn't been easy. My motivation to blog, to read blogs or do much of anything has been very very low. I've been doing the minimum to get by, but that's about it. It has been a bit refreshing and probably beneficial because it hasn't allowed for suppression of all of the emotions I've been fighting back. It's made me face a lot of difficulties and learn to work through them.


Another barrier to my blogging is that without running I didn't know what to talk about (but I also didn't want subject my small group of readers to constant negativity). To be honest, I don't think I ever really found my voice or place in the blogging world. I wanted to create a running blog that also includes my adventures in the kitchen. However, I haven't been running a lot (due to marathon taper and the post-marathon injury), or even cooking much since I started. Its kind of hard to blog about things you aren't doing. 

But I don't want to let that to stand in my way anymore. I still hope to make the majority of my blog about running and baking and cooking, but instead of feeling sorry for myself and shutting down, I want to use this time as an opportunity to explore more about myself and share that on the blog.


So, here's to fighting back, overcoming emotional funks/ruts, and self discovery! 



Thursday, October 17, 2013

Coping with an Injury


When you begin to realize that something isn't quite right while you're running, what do you do?

At first you deny, deny, deny! Or at least, that's what I do. "That's just a normal twinge, it'll go away as soon as I loosen up some more." "Everything hurts at some point, no need to be concerned yet." "So I have to modify my stride a little bit, that never killed anyone." "Once I get to mile 3 this sharp pain will start to dull, I just have to push through until it gives in to my will power." These are all thoughts that crossed through my mind last week as I pushed through a strange pain in my upper left quad.

Eventually, I couldn't even walk without pain and entered a state of acceptance that something was actually wrong. I began to frantically google what it could possibly be and what to do about it, and also what cross-training was acceptable (after of course looking into how bad it would actually be to continue to run. Maybe acceptance isn't the right term, desperation seems more appropriate). I eliminated a femoral stress fracture and limited to some sort of hip flexor strain. But how bad the damage was, only a doctor could tell me. So I continued to run - definitely not acceptance. It wasn't until after seeing a PT did I begin to accept it and stop running.

In the mean time, I was flooded with a series of emotions and thoughts. I'm not sure that I can even separate them all into distinct episodes. It has been a mix of despair, anxiety, depression, panic and anger all rolled into one hot mess. The most distinct is anxiety and depression. These feelings seems to not be limited to running related thoughts. My entire life seems to be out of control. And while I have moved on to the next stages, the anxiety hasn't seemed to lessen in intensity.

Source
Anyways, why has it seemed like my whole life had come crashing down? I mean it's just running. But its more than just running, it's a huge part of who I am, a part that I really love. Yes there is more to me and my life than just running, like grad student, friend, daughter, girlfriend, etc. And for most people, this is true and enough to get them through an injury. But for me, I am beginning to realize that I am a runner who is also a grad student, a friend, a daughter and a girlfriend. Being an athlete has always been a central component of my identity and despite what some people think, there is nothing wrong with admitting that something like running can hold such a central place in one's life.

Source

Once I navigated this identity crisis, I began to fight back. I tapped my inner athlete to focus on my physical therapy exercises, strengthening my core and arms, as well as any sort of cardio cross training my leg can handle.  My new found determination has me hopeful that I will be back to new in no time. Maybe by Sunday for Nike Women's? (The decision on this will come tomorrow, when I need to cancel the hotel if we are going to get out of the reservation penalty free).

Google "coping with a running injury," and you'll get various different versions of the mental coping stages one goes through. For me, it has been:

  1. Denial 
  2. Desperation
  3. Acceptance
  4. Depression/Anxiety
  5. Identity Crisis
  6. Fighting back/Determination

What sort of mental process do you go through when faced with adversity? 



Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Workout Wednesday: Overcoming a Hip Flexor Strain Day 1

As I mentioned yesterday, I am currently dealing with a hip flexor injury. This means no running for right now (but maybe Sunday for Nike Women's. I paid $150 for that race, I'm going to do everything I can to make it to finish to get that necklace!). It does mean lots of cross-training and light stretching and strengthening.

Yesterday morning I went to the gym to see what I could do that wouldn't hurt my hip. The conclusion was definitely biking was not painful and maybe the ARC trainer. I should mention that I am under the supervision of a physical therapist, so I'm not just flying in the dark here.

I intended on trying out sunrise cycle this morning, but woke up a bit stiff and wasn't confident that my hip could handle all of the fancy maneuvers involved with cycle classes. I'm guessing that if running on roads is off limits, then "running" on a spin bike is probably frowned upon as well.

So I hopped on a stationary bike and set out to do 60 minutes of rolling hills. Unfortunately, after 43 minutes, I accidentally (maybe) hit the stop button and lost the entire workout. If I'm being honest I was so thrilled. My runner bum was so SORE from the bike seat. Yes, I'm a wimp. So I "cooled down" for 7 minutes and then hopped on the ARC trainer. Because I was experiencing no sharp pain while pedaling (?) away on the ARC trainer, I clocked a solid 30 minutes and then called it a day. Pedaling around on cardio machines like a lab rat is an awful replacement for running outside, but I suppose its better than nothing.

Source
I was also given some stretching and strengthening exercises to do from my PT. Fortunately, squats and lunges don't hurt and I was given the green light to do as many as I want! This is great news because these are my favorite (and really efficient) running related (and in general) leg strengthening exercises. So I did 3 sets of 20 squats and 3 sets of 20 lunges per leg.

The other exercises prescribed by my PT include:

  • Single knee to chest stretches - laying on your back pull your knee in towards your chest, assisted by your hands
  • Standing hip flexor stretch on a chair - Standing in front of a chair, put on foot on the seat of a chair and lean in until your knee makes a 90 degree angle. You should feel a stretch in the hip flexor of the leg still on the ground.
    Source - Yep, just like this.
Or more practical, I suppose.
  • Hip External Rotation with Bent Knee in Supine - Basically a butterfly stretch but you're laying on your back instead of sitting on your bottom. 


  • Jane Fonda Leg Lifts!

Source
Each stretch is held for a couple of seconds, released and repeated for a total of 20 reps.

I'm hoping that these stretches will help improve my range of motion. I will definitely continue to do these once I get back to running. This injury has really taught me the importance of focusing on stretching all of the muscles in my legs, and not just stretching my quads and calves. ALL of the leg muscles are important! So love your legs everyone!

What are some of your favorite stretches?

Anyone else love PT as much as I do (not sarcasm)?

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Treat yourself Tuesday #4: A trip to Target


Once again, I am linking up with Becky at Olives 'n Wine for a Treat Yourself Tuesday post. Want to join in? Read her original TYT post to find out more about it and how to link up!

The last few days have been very tough, attempting to process and cope with an injury that has sidelined me from running. You can read more here if you're interested.

So after having my first PT appointment this morning and racing off to lab afterwards, I decided to take it easy this afternoon. 

I started by watching the Red Sox game while answering a bunch of emails and surfing the internet. Thankfully the Red Sox won, otherwise watching the game may have been a counter productive way of cheering myself up.


Source
I really wanted to indulge in some retail therapy, but rush hour was upon me, so heading over to the mall may have been more frustrating than beneficial.

I decided to head to target and wander around for a while. Very dangerous! But it definitely satisfied my itch to shop. Maybe. Not really. I have an addiction.
Source
I found this super cute half zip workout top (which unfortunately I will have to exchange because its a little too big - darn I have to go back to Target).



I also got this super cute, mint colored sweater (I promise it is mint). It's a bit longer, which is great for me because I have a longer-ish torso, so a lot of tops tend to be a bit too short. I think it'll be perfect for the crazy fall weather we have around here. It can be 45 degrees when you leave for work and 80 when you come home (Not exaggerating. I'm a runner, so tracking weather is second nature to me - gotta know what i'll be facing outside the door!) 



My bath towels have been looking a little pathetic lately and they were on sale this week! So of course I bought new set to replace the make-up stained set I have now - ick! There is nothing better than a brand new, soft, snuggly towel.

And finally, what's a trip to Target without new nail polish?!?! This Essie "bahama mama" polish looks so fun but sophisticated. I can't wait to try it out - my post marathon toes are in need of some serious painting. Don't worry, I didn't loose any and none of them turned black (thats a major marathon win) but they are pretty darn chipped. Not cute. 



This is the first TYT that didn't involve food, that must be an accomplishment in itself? 

Love yourself everyone :)

How have you treated yourself recently? How were you nice to yourself today?



Dx: Severe Hip Flexor Strain

Hello there! And hello hip flexor strain...

First off, I apologize for my absence this weekend. I've been coping with a running injury that has really put me in a funk, and not the 1970's funky-town funk. Second, I started this post with the intention of writing a "Mental Health Monday" post on Tuesday (yes I am behind, again). But as I was typing, I decided to make this post the back story and I will dedicate the rest of this week to discussing how to cope with injuries, specifically a running injury (but the principles can be applied to most walks of life).

This story....


Once upon a time, two weeks ago, I ran my first marathon. I didn't have any bad pain during or immediately after. Just your run of the mill "I just ran 26.2 miles" soreness. I did lots of walking and light jogging to help my muscles recover during the week after. Then last week, I picked things up a little bit, still not pushing it too much, to maintain my fitness for the Nike Women's (Half) Marathon. But something wasn't right.

I started feeling a bad pain in my left hip flexor. At first I thought it was just tight because as the day went on, it felt better. I iced and stretched and took lots of ibuprofen. But by the end of the week, the pain had progressed into something I couldn't ignore anymore nor chalk up to pure post-marathon ordinary soreness (is there such thing?).

I was suppose to run a local "Oktobrewfest" 10k on Saturday evening, but after a day of debating, I decided to sit it out. It pretty much killed me.

Source
I decided to go to the doctor yesterday morning, and while he doesn't think I tore anything (at least not to a major degree), he does think I might have really strained the bejeezus out of my hip flexor and sent me to PT. I had my first appointment this morning, and really impressed the physical therapist with the amount of inflammation in my hip joint and my lack of range of motion. Running the half marathon this weekend is still up in the air.

Source - If we want to get technical, I injured the Iliopsoas muscle.
The last few days have been VERY tough, not running and possibly having to face missing the Nike Half Marathon. I don't feel like myself and the rest of my life just seems to be more out of control than usual. Its amazing how drastic an impact something as simple as not being able to run can have on day to day life.

Today was a better day. I am so grateful to have an amazing support system in the form of great friends and family. They have really helped me to pull myself together, at least enough to put on makeup and do something with my hair other than throw it up in a bun. In the words of my genius boyfriend "just be nice to yourself." - so much easier said than done, but i'm trying.

He's so loving :)
I am trying to remember to be nice to myself, be patient and remember that this actually isn't the end of the world, even though it certainly feels like it. What can I say, I'm a dramatic person.

Source
So here's the game plan:

  • Treat yourself Tuesday -  How I am trying to be nice to myself
  • Workout Wednesday - Cross training and rehab
  • Thursday - The mental aspects of coping with an injury
Stay tuned!!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Foodie Friday (On Sunday): Spaghetti Squash Casserole with Spinach, Mushrooms and Ricotta

I will admit that I haven't been motivated to work on the blog over the last couple of days. I've been pretty busy but also dealing with some difficult running decisions (more to come) which has left me avoiding my computer. But I need to stop hiding and face the blogging world and the best way to do this is to talk about food, of course.

So I bring you the "Foodie Friday" post that I intended to do two days ago, on Friday, oops! Better late than never, I suppose.

On Thursday night, I actually made a real dinner. Most of the time I make my standard dinner salad or  my "Greek Power Salad" as I will refer to it from this moment on. But I wanted to shake things up a bit, which if you know me, is a HUGE deal. Referring to me as a creature of habit would be the understatement of the century.

I wanted to make something that I could enjoy for a few days. I mean, if I'm going to go through all of the effort of actually chopping veggies and cooking something, I want it to last more than just one night. This plus the fact that its fall resulted in a Spaghetti Squash Casserole.



You can honestly make this with whatever "mixins" you want, but I went with spinach and mushrooms. It's so easy to make. Just sauté some veggies, microwave the spaghetti squash, mix all the ingredients together and bake!
Look at those "spaghetti" strings!
 I definitely added more Ricotta than was necessary. It didn't taste bad, because lets be honest, adding too much cheese never makes anything taste worse. But in the future, I will dial it down. The recipe below includes the adjusted amount of ricotta. Enjoy!

Spaghetti Squash Casserole!








Thursday, October 10, 2013

My Name is Stephanie and I'm a Runaholic

I don't know what it is about Thursdays, but I always feel so exhausted and not motivated to do much of anything. My brain must think that Friday actually starts Thursday evenings when I get home.

Today I tricked my brain into actually doing something productive on a Thursday and made a real dinner from scratch, a spaghetti squash casserole (recipe coming tomorrow).

But then it was a matter of what to post about. I spent an hour earlier looking at races coming up in the next couple of months. I tried to convince myself multiple times that running a half marathon every weekend, traveling up to 4 hours away and paying $100+ entry fees was totally reasonable. After all, I would get to run in new places and acquire more race bling (aka finishers medals).

Eventually I gave up, motivated mostly by the thought that my boyfriend would probably strangle me if I asked him to travel with me for yet another race, and read a bit of Chicken Soup for the Runners Soul.

I stumbled upon a story of a busy mother who had to sneak out of her house to get a couple runs in during the week. To her, these brief moments were key to her sanity.

"My runs always remind me of what life is: always putting one foot in front of the other, even when I'm exhausted. It's about running up the hill, however daunting, and congratulating myself for not stopping. Life, like running, is about getting up and pushing on ahead, even if I've tripped on a pothole. It's about keeping the rhythm and setting a pace...Running is like life; it is a glorious, albeit sometimes painful, act of always moving forward." - Luci L. Creery


Her sentiments really resonated with me. Rest days are the most difficult days of the week for me, even if the week includes a 20+ mile run. I feel so out of it and don't know what to do with myself. If I don't start my day with a run, I'm not entirely sure how to get my day going. There have been many Sunday rest days that I have sat on the couch all day just trying to figure out how to be a person. Is this a symptom of withdrawal?


Jamie often jokes states very seriously that I am addicted. I don't know how to not run and I would do a race (i.e. a half marathon) every weekend if I could.

So yes, my name is Stephanie and I am a runaholic. I am addicted to running. But its not the act of running itself that I am addicted to. Its the feeling I get after. It doesn't matter if the run goes well or absolutely horribly, I still feel better afterwards. I feel like a real person and am able to function and be a productive member of society.


So if there ever comes a day when I can't run, I might as well just stop trying to be a productive person. A little dramatic? Maybe, but that's what happens when you're an addict, right?

Is there something you do that makes you feel amazing?

What do you do that makes you feel alive?

*All pictures are from RUN Like a Girl.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Muffins Recipe



Whole Wheat Pumpkin Muffins


As I mentioned in a post a couple of weeks ago, I made some delicious whole wheat pumpkin muffins with a spiced glaze to bring to a Mary Kay party that a good friend was hosting. The muffin recipe was adapted from Mihow and the glaze recipe was adapted from Brown -Eyed Baker. The glaze isn't super healthy, but the muffins themselves are more so on the healthy side. Plus they are delicious!

Ingredients:

For the Muffins:

  • 1 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 3/4 cup fat free milk
  • 2 Tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
For the Glaze:
  • 1 cup plus 3 Tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons milk
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 pinch ground ginger
  • 1 pinch ground cloves

How to make them!

  1. Preheat oven the 375 degrees
  2. Lightly oil and flour muffin tins, or line with muffin/cupcake liners
  3. Add flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices to your mixer
  4. Mix up milk, beaten egg and melted butter and pumpkin in a separate bowl.
  5. Add the milk/pumpkin mixture to the mixer
  6. Fill muffin tins about 3/4 full (mine made 10 muffins)
  7. Bake for 15-18 minutes.
  8. Once cooled, mix up the glaze ingredients in a bowl and dip the tops of the muffins into the glaze. 
  9. ENJOY!!

Workout Wednesday: Marathon #2 Training Plan

Last week I announced that I will be doing my second marathon in Modesto, CA in March. It wont be the most interesting race ever, but it should be relatively flat and what i'm used to.

After registering, I looked at my calendar and counted how many weeks out it is. This week is 24 weeks until the marathon. This works out perfectly for 8 weeks of getting stronger and than a 16 week marathon specific training program.

For my first marathon, I followed Cool Running's marathon training program. I something of a hybrid between the beginner and intermediate training plans. I also seriously neglected the speed workouts, because, well, they really are my favorite thing ever. I think I was born with a very small supply of fast twitch muscles. Even in swimming, I wasn't allowed anywhere near a sprint race. But, alas, speed work makes you faster and I want faster, so I suppose I need to accept speed work.

Speedwork was (painfully) the most important thing I was looking for in training plan. I searched through many different possibilities, Runners World, Hal Higdon, Jeff Galloway, and even weighing the idea of getting a personal coach. I finally stumbled upon the Boston Athletic Associations marathon training plan. Its meant for "the newer marathoner who is seeking a more competitive performance" (that's me!!) gearing up for the Boston Marathon (that's not me), but since I am trying to qualify for boston 2015, why not use the plan meant for training for the race I want to qualify for to train for the race in which I want to qualify? Did you follow that logic...I swear it makes sense in my head ;).

I chose this plan for a few reasons:

  • The range for daily miles makes it easy to adjust based on how you're feeling that day, instead of being locked in to a certain distance, regardless of weather, life and body conditions.
  • It includes speed work geared towards marathon racing - intervals and tempos. 
  • The long runs include portions of "at marathon pace." This is really important to me because I have yet to wrap my head around the logic of running long runs 60-90 sec slower than race pace then expecting your body to do the same thing, but faster on race day.
  • Rest days actually allow you to run a couple of easy easy miles if you want. This is SO important to me because running is key to maintaining some sort of mental sanity. I get so antsy on rest days, so having an option to do something a little active is such a relief!
So now that I have a training plan, its time to focus on how I am going to get stronger over the next 8 weeks before the formal marathon plan kicks in. This includes running workouts, strength training workouts and my diet.


I found this adorable journal at Target yesterday and decide to get it for planning and tracking my workouts, meal plans and blog posts (considering this last one is sort of a little dependent on the first two, might as well saves some trees and organize it all together?). Once I get around to planning the rest of my additional life, I will share. Sharing is caring :)

Do you have any favorite workouts or training plans (running or not)?

Are you a digital note taker or old school pen and paper?

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Treat Yourself Tuesday #3: Apple Hill



Once again, I am linking up with Becky at Olives 'n Wine for a Treat Yourself Tuesday post. Want to join in? Read her original TYT post to find out more about it and how to link up!

As I mentioned yesterday, Jamie and I spent Saturday together treating ourselves and exploring Apple Hill. This is pretty much the perfect place to go if you want to do anything fall-like. Its basically a large area with a lot of different orchards and vineyards that people like to frequent in October because most of the orchards have apple and pumpkin picking, as well as many family friend activities. Its pretty much apple heaven!

The landscape in the Apple Hill area was so GORGEOUS!
We first stopped at Boa Vista Orchards on a recommendation from his grandma. This is definitely one of the bigger family friendly orchards. They even had a train to take you through the orchard. They also had tons (literally) of apples, pears, appley baked goods, apple cider, apple wine and a big pumpkin patch. We ate lunch here briefly, bought some apple wine and moved on to find a place that was a little less crowded.

We stumbled upon a cute little orchard bakery that was selling GIANT slices of apple pie. Jamie got the blackberry apple pie and I got the classic apple and of course we split them. They were both SO delicious!

                       




From there we went to The Wofford Acres Winery. They were doing tastings and tours of the barrel rood and we actually got to taste some of the wine straight out of the barrel. It was so interesting to taste the drastic differences between the wines from year to year. Its amazing how things like weather and type of barrel influence the flavor of the wine so much.

Next was a stop at another small orchard for some apple picking. It makes me a little sad how many apples fall of the trees and are wasted. But it was so much fun and a nice reminder of home (there is a huge apple orchard in my home town in CT that we used to go apple picking at all of the time when I was growing up).


Our last stop was at the Jack Russell Brewery, where we had some hard ciders on the porch, while people watching and talking about tons of random things for a while.


It was such a fun and relaxing day. Sometimes you just need to ignore the hustle and bustle of real life and escape with the person you love, even if its just for one day.

How did you treat yourself this weekend?

Have you ever been apple or pumpkin picking?

Any other wine lovers out there?



Monday, October 7, 2013

Mental Health Monday: Sunshine Award

First of all, I apologize for my neglecting of the blog over the last few days. I was busy with some work for lab, spending time eating apples off of trees, and having such a long to-do list that I spent an entire day watching Parenthood on netflix. But now it's time to get my act together. 



For this week's Mental Healthy Monday, I thought it would be perfect to answer some questions posed to me by one of my favorite bloggers, Sara, over at Loving on the Run. She shared the Sunshine Award with me, and what better way to promote positive mental health than a little bit of sunshine and connecting with amazing bloggers.


According to Sara, here's how it works: 

                1. Include award logo in your blog post. 

                2. Link to the person who nominated you. 

                3. Answers 10 questions about yourself. 

                4. Nominate 10 bloggers to receive the award and ask them 10 questions.

Here are my answers to Sara's questions!

1. What is your favorite non-running form of exercise? 

A few years ago I probably would have said swimming. But ever since I got so burnt out that I quit, I would now say spin cycle. I've only gone to a couple of classes, but they were so much fun. I really need to go more often!

2. What made you decide you start blogging? 

I started reading blogs to learn more about running. I finally decided that I wanted a chance to connect with all of these amazing other runners I had been following. I also hoped to use it to document my journey to becoming a better runner, but also a more healthy person in general.

3. If you could move anywhere in the world, where would it be? 

Ireland!! I have never been, but I come from a huge Irish Catholic family and have seen so many pictures and heard so many wonderful things about it that I want to skip over visiting and go straight to moving there for a period of time. I think it would be such an amazing way to learn about my family's heritage. 

4. What is your favorite weekend activity? 

Right now it would have to be watching college football (Go Canes!). I also love spending time with Jamie. We don't get to see each other much during the week, so spending time together on the weekends is such a treat. This past weekend we went apple picking and wine tasting. It was great to get away and just spend time together, sans phones and distractions from the "real world."


We also ate some of the best apple pies ever!



5. What is a current goal you are working towards? 

Boston 2015! I know I have a lot of time to take off my marathon time to make this happen, but I know there are a lot of things I can work on and improve on to make this happen.

6. Where do you see yourself in 10 years? 

Hopefully married with kids! I might hold a faculty position at a research university, or maybe I am working with children with autism as a clinician. What comes after I finish my Ph.D. is still up the in the air, so I'm not entirely sure what I will be doing for a job in 10 years. As long as I am healthy and happy, that's all that will matter. 

7. What is one positive thing blogging has brought to your life? 

A sense of community. It gets pretty lonely in grad school, especially when there is no one else to share in your crazy passion for running miles and miles for hours and hours. It's so nice to read that the struggles I go through in my running journey that sometimes I feel ridiculous getting upset over are real. Other people actually experience the same struggles. But they also feel the same sense of accomplishment from completing an awesome run, creating an amazing froyo concoction or even a successful healthy creation in the kitchen. They understand that a life consumed by running and eating is normal.

8. What is your favorite blog to read? 

Well I obviously love reading Loving on the Run, and like many other runners, the hungry runner girl is top on my list. I also love reading Grad Student Needs Hobby, mostly because she is one of my closest friends. I never said i wasn't biased :)

9. What is your favorite workout song? 

As with many others right now, I would have to say Katy Perry's "Roar." 

10. What is your favorite holiday? 

I think I would have to say Christmas. I love the decorations, the food and the music. But it's the only holiday I get to spend at home in Connecticut with my family. 

Here are my questions for others:

1. What's your favorite healthy snack?
2. What's your favorite thing to indulge in?
3. What's your favorite way to workout?
4. If you could meet any person, dead or alive, who would it be?
5. What is your favorite season of the year?
6. Where is your favorite place to eat out?
7. Taking a page out of Sara's book, what made you decide to create a blog?
8. What's your "go to" coping mechanism to deal with stress? (I could use some tips on this one!)
9. If money wasn't an issue and you could do anything you wanted with your life and time, what would it be?
10. If you could have any animal as a pet, what would it be?

And my blogger tags:
1. Megan at Grad Student Needs Hobby
2. Natalie at Dear Blogosphere
3. Cori at Olive to Run
4. Morganne at Nut Butter Runner
5. Katie at Running 4 Cupcakes
6. Presley at Run Pretty
7. Alyssa at See this Girl Run
8. Sara at Fit Cupcaker
9. Elizabeth at My Neon Running Shoes
10. Becky at Olives n' Wine

It's getting late here on the West Coast, so I will figure out the next steps tomorrow. This is my first award and nomination process, so I am fighting yet another learning curve. Man, if I wasn't in a Ph.D. program, this whole blogging thing would make me feel so inept.