Medium Debut!

Medium Debut!

Check this out, you guys! I’ve been invited to write on Medium.com–a shared blogging social media site. Ironically, words don’t do it justice, go check it out for yourselves. While you’re there be sure to look for all kinds of musings from yours truly! ūüôā¬†

 

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“And you can love your body while still wanting it to look differently”

I don’t often reblog or repost other people’s words here. I like to treat my blog as a space for my own thoughts; however, this occasion proves differently because, in a sense, I do feel these words are my own. Formulated by a perfect stranger, one of¬†Girls Gone Strong‘s co-founders,¬†Molly Galbraith, puts to words what many women can’t when it comes to the intricate complexities of body image and self esteem.

This struggle does not indicate weakness, in fact, I’m willing to bet it often plagues more women who pride themselves on their strength. Whether we’re mentally tough, physically tough, an active part of the fitness industry, or a bystander, we’ve all been through it and we’ll all go through it again. And again. And again. I intend to save this post to remind myself of my highs, but more importantly of my lows, to keep perspective for future fluctuations. Just because we’re not having our best day, week, month, year, etc., doesn’t mean we will never again find the inherent strength inside us.

For the full post, click here: It’s Hard Out There For A Fit Chick

molly g blog

 

PR’s, Paint, and Race Fees

Today I PR’d in the 5k. Hell. Yes.

I didn’t intend to, in fact, I went to run happily with friends in fitness, Megan Hetzel and Hannah McGoldrick (you may know them better as megrunnergirl and fithappygirl) to pay tribute to the bombings at the Boston Marathon and contribute to The One Fund Boston. As for everyone involved, Boston means something special in our circle, both Megan and Hannah having been there–me, watching nervously on TV back at Rodale HQ in Pennsylvania–so I was thrilled to be helping out concretely and symbolically.¬†5k1

It was a BEAUTIFUL morning for a 5k as the three of us parked our car on a side street in nearby Hellertown, PA and walked to the start/finish line. With about 80 to 100 others milling about, checking in, stretching, and heading out for warmup runs it was quite a small race. We collected our bibs, which were glorified pieces of paper with numbers on them. But considering most of the money we spent on the entry fee (a whopping $30) was going to charity, no one seemed to mind the informal timing system and the homely race setting.

Not really realizing all that was absent from this experience until mulling it over just now, it was really a spartan race–and no, I’m not talking about this kind of Spartan. The simple, out and back race took place on a gravel trail. There was no music, no police barricades, no hordes of race personell in matching tshirts, just a few happy volunteers in neon vests at the turnaround–just enough guidance to help our small mass to govern itself. I didn’t miss the fanfare. It was simple. It was fun. And we got down to it! Megan and Hannah¬†blew out of the start line, dodging 5k3running strollers, dog leashes, and all other kinds of unholy race day obstacles, with simplicity and ease–not hemmed in by barricades and sinage or bogged down by corrales–and bound off into the distance. I, on the other hand, began to run at a comfortable pace only to realize a few tenths in that I could still see Megan’s neon-blonde hair up ahead; was I keeping up? I decided then and there that I would try to do as best I could, after all, I could do anything for just a half hour!

The race was great! Megan and Hannah breezed in just under 25 minutes, and I trailed shortly behind at 25:50–way faster than I thought I could run! Now, I’m no stranger to races (tri’s, 5k’s, 8k’s, 10k’s, etc.) but I had never felt the thrill I felt today. The feeling of “I’m doing it! I’m really doing it!” kept me going through tight legs and burning lungs and pulled me happily to the finish line–where I promptly guzzled water ¬†to the detriment of onlookers… sorry, guys. While I was running and trying to beat my own nay-saying brain with other thoughts, I came to think about my most recent race prior to this morning: The Color Me Rad 5k.

We’ve all seen promotion for Color Me Rad. It.looks.so.fun. For $40 you can run, untimed, to the heartbeat altering tune of the latest hits, all while getting doused with paint and having a GREAT.TIME. I fell for it. When a friend approached asking if I wanted to run Color Me Rad BETHLEHEM (what whaaat) I was all in! All in, only to be let down on race day. Let me put it this way….

Here’s what it’s supposed to look like… ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†Aaaannnnd here’s me.

Whomp.

Don’t get me wrong, I saw PLENTY of people having a great time at Color Me Rad, but the fanfare did not live up to its hype–and when it’s fanfare that you’re paying for, you expect a little umph to your average start-to-finish experience. That being said, there are many external factors that pushed on my paint experience from all directions: rainy weather, a small race wave, the rumblings of what ultimately sent me to the ER 4 days later (see previous post), etc.; however, I still couldn’t help but feel like the experience was very blase. Blase, for a race like the small 5k in Hellertown, is ok (though I thought it was excellent), but blase for a race built on the foundation of color, fun, and radicalness is, well, a failure.

I would’ve never considered myself a racing purist, but perhaps I am. I’d much rather pay $30 for a glorified group jog through the park, enjoying the sport and supporting a cause than fork over an extra $10 to line someone’s pockets as they deliver more of a party-like atmosphere than an athletic event. That being said, there are plenty of races that mix entertainment and athletics well, for example my old internship alma-mater, The New York City Triathlon, any Disney race (of course), and the Runner’s World Half and Festival¬†{shameless RODALE plug}. It can be done, but it takes time, thought, and finesse, not just a haphazard pop-up method that is quickly becoming the norm. While there might be fewer bells and whistles, there is something a local race brings to the table that these larger “corporate” races have not yet been able to tap into, and that is not to be ignored. To paraphrase recent food trends: support your local races.

Carbs Don’t Matter… No Really, They Don’t.

Let me explain…

Recently I was blessed with a bug bite that turned into the dreaded bulls-eye shape… uh oh. Lyme. Yikes. Acting quickly I went to the doctor, got some antibiotics, and taking them diligently. That was until I woke up a week ago with searing pain in my chest–the antibiotics had burnt my esophagus and stomach, making it impossible to eat and excruciating to even drink water.

A few days and a quick trip to the ER later…

Me in all my lady-like glory

Me in all my lady-like glory

I was able to begin to put down some dry toast and a McDonald’s milkshake. Hold on, WHAT? Under what circumstances would I ever be caught dead eating either of those (never mind BOTH at the same time) you ask? Well, these circumstances, I suppose. Not being able to eat much and having to eat whatever hurt the least–which turned out to be ice cream in teeny tiny spoonfuls–turned my nutritional worldview on its head. Suddenly, keeping track of grams of carbs, protein, and sugars seemed painstakingly silly.

Now that I’m back to nearly full health and I can eat without pain, I’ll resume the strictness of my regular diet, but guess what… I didn’t melt like a witch in the rain. I’m ok! I hope to take with me the lesson I learned that the motherly platitude “everything in moderation” also applies to eating healthy. Health and nutrition is not just about how much lettuce you can eat and how much protein powder you down; instead, it extends far beyond getting lost in grams of this and that to encompass a larger¬†holistic¬†concept, which I hope to carry with me as I head back to the gym.

On Opportunity, Surprises, and Other Fine Points of Life

My colleagues and I at Rodale, Inc., are so fortunate to work in a culture that allows for experimentation and learning by providing an environment of opportunity. For National Health Week that occurred during this past M-F grind, we got checked out for skin cancer, biked to work with Bicycling Magazine editors, learned about Omega-3’s from a cutting edge nutritionist and today, one of the Runner’s World gurus is leading a course in trail running! WHAT?

We’re so damn spoiled it’s not even funny.

These opportunities lead to learning, new friends, and new experiences–why wouldn’t someone participate? I tried to do EVERYTHING, but unfortunately, some of the events were sparsely attended, which caused me to think a lot about seizing the moment and not letting a good chance slip by. What would motivate someone to ignore the outreach of an organization looking to help its employees live a fulfilling life–fear. Maybe a lot of my colleagues were uncertain of their proficiency on a bike. In that regard, riding to work with editors of Bicycling Magazine could be intimidating. Maybe folks were just worried about all of the spandex that is somehow inextricably tied to cycling. I have one piece of advice for you…

                                          Love the spandex. LIVE the spandex.

If Not Now

Perhaps people were nervous about what the dermatologists would tell them at the skin cancer screening, or find out that¬†their favorite foods were hurting them in the nutrition lecture. Whatever the reasons, be they based in fear, business, or something entirely different, it motivated me to take advantage of all that I could. Why be chained to a desk when you can be out doing and learning–you often surprise yourself with your abilities.

Having not been on a bike for more than a hot minute since tri season wrapped up last summer, I was a bit nervous. What if I was the ONLY non-bicycling editor making the two wheeled ¬†commute… I was. It was intimidating, and even with my die-hard affection for spandex, I felt all wrong and out of place. BUT after some introductions and chatter I started to feel more at ease, realizing that I was learning directly from the experts! What?! Whose Friday morning started by learning better pedaling tempo and gear shifting? Oh, that’s right, mine did.

Perhaps I’m a little strange to get as excited as I do about these little things, but really, there are so many forces out there telling you and I how to live our lives better–of which Rodale publications are the hub {grand irony}–but we never will unless we DO. Get out there and DO.IT. You WILL surprise yourself.

 

Ready.Set.TRAIN.

Oh yes. I did it. I bit the bullet and signed up for my first 1/2 marathon!

Feeling the tingles of the nice weather and a need for more excitement in my training schedule, I got a little ambitious… well, a lot ambitious and not only did I commit to a 1/2 marathon in 4 months, but I also signed up for the Men’s Health NYC Urbanathlon AND the Runner’s World 1/2 Marathon and Festival. Uh oh.

I’m feeling a bit wary. Perhaps I’ve bitten off more than I can chew. Then again, why not take advantage of these fantastic athletic opportunities presented to me? So what if I’ve never run a 1/2, or climbed over parked taxicabs and chain linked fences? Goal setting inspires action, action which many tend to follow with successful completion, and I intend to do just that.

Looking forward to training, using pre-race excitement to draw me in and the post-race glow to push me forward through the next challenge, and ultimately completing this tripple stacked-race-attack!

Philadelphia Rock N’ Roll 1/2 Marathon: September 15

Runner’s World Half and Festival: October 20

Men’s Health Urbanathlon NYC: October 26

Onyourmark.getset.go.

Oh God, the BURPEES!

So right before I left for a relaxing family vacation in beautiful Bermuda, my crazy little self committed to the “100 Days of Burpees” challenge. Sounds crazy… It will be. I’m to do 1 more burpee than done the day previous for 100 days (i.e., day 1 is 1 burpee, day 2, 2… you get it). Super excited about this new challenge and all the burpees–who doesn’t love burpees, really?–I FORGOT about it. That’s right, forgot.

Don’t worry, I ended up paying my dues, with interest I might add, but it made me wonder about how many challenges go unanswered and unfinished. To avoid stepping into this easy pitfall, I’m telling you lovely folks, and I’ve even made it easy. I started with1 burpee on May 1st, so I should do 7 today, etc…

7 burpees it is. Ask and ye shall receive. Can’t wait to say “I did it!”

Stay tuned for burpees in unconventional locations. Awww yea.

Skinny Doesn’t Taste as Good as Fit Feels

Last week I had the privilege of spending a few wonderful days in Bermuda with my family! It was fantastic–I got to relax, get some sun, and indulge my nerdiness with a lot of beach reading. Oh, and I ate a lot… a ton… Woops. #omnomnom

Having cut down to a very “clean eating” plan–check out Neghar Fonooni’s Lean and Lovely Recipe–prior to vacation, I certainly felt beach ready… for about the first day. After the first bite (in this case, sip) of indulgence I felt like I’d let myself down. What the hell, man? I’d trimmed down for the explicit purpose of giving myself an allowance to work with; however, that was just the problem. I worked so hard for so long to get in great shape, I wasn’t about to ruin it on just anything.

I'm not everyone, damnit!

I’m not everyone, damnit!

The war waged on in my mind (it’s a dangerous neighborhood) all week, but I still made it to the gym with prescribed “quick fix” tabata workouts that would allow me some intense metabolic boosts without cutting too much into family or beach time. And it wasn’t until my mom relayed an overheard conversation of two women outside the hotel gym in which one pointed to the room and said “oh, that’s just for the people who are¬†really hard core”¬†that I grounded myself with perspective, allowing myself some leeway.

The large takeaway from this experience (aside that I might be¬†certifiably¬†crazy… whatever) is that I don’t feel like ME without constantly trying to better myself, and as exhausting as that sounds, it’s more tiresome to NOT do it!¬†After years and years of looking forward to my days off or cheat days of indulgence, I actually find them to be more of a mental burden. The hotel gym may not be the top priority for many on their relaxing vacations, but for me, I cannot relax UNTIL I’ve been to the gym. As unrelatable my experience was to my family (we’ve all heard the “You look great, so what if you skip a day at the gym? Stop worrying about it.” from one loved one or another before) I now have a deeper understanding of myself as an athlete, and quite frankly, I’m proud of it. I don’t just want to LOOK good, I want to FEEL good. And that, my friends, is quite a rewarding realization.

Oh it's REAL crazy...

Oh it’s REAL crazy…

#fitblog

So after spending a few weeks envious of #runchat, what do I find? My community of like-minded lunatics… #fitblog! Can’t wait to get more involved to learn and pass on some tasty morsels of fitness knowledge! For now though, off for a 5 day hiatus with my family in BERMUDA, where I will begin my 100 days of burpees challenge.

Fantastic Fuel

Check.this.out.¬†from @LIVESTRONG.COM… Hell. Yes.

We work hard at the gym, right? Whatever the motivation may be: weightloss, a coveted 6 pack, athletic improvement, we bust @$$ and often ruin it with the wrong concoction of post workout fuel (or none at all… shame on you). OR maybe if you’re like me and you have a basic understanding of what to¬†nosh¬†on after killing it in the gym, but largely ignore it in favor of whatever you can sink your teeth into after a particularly grueling sweat sesh… this article was written just.for.you.

Some of these food items seem challenging to come by after a workout. Don’t worry, no one expects you to make a full dinner when you can’t lift your arms to get things out of the cabinets. {oh thank god}. Favor the simpler recipes, like the nomful looking pb and banana sandwich over gourmet chicken and quinoa, but when you find yourself–like I so often do–Googling “healthy, easy, dinner recipes,” or something totally useless like that, refer back for some tasty dinner ideas that will continue to help you keep stoking your afterburn.

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