Tapering, Training, and Moving

by Melissa on March 27, 2015

Like whoa! This past month has flown by in the blink of an eye. Actually, it’s just been a whirlwind since the engagement :)

Almost minutes after we got engaged, Devin and I found out our rental application for a townhouse had been accepted. It felt a little surreal to be honest that not only were we going to get married, but we were also going to start living together very soon! This past weekend was our move in and it was complete chaos, as all moves are.


I put my FitBit on Devin and that guy racked up some major steps and stairs! Over 25,000 steps and over 50 stairs climbed in one day. Great job babe! I couldn’t believe what an incredible workout moving was even with us hiring movers. My body was beat up and I felt as though I had gotten my last long run in with that effort. My coach even recommended just focusing on a few more miles and letting my body get back to normal.


Oh yeah, about that, the Philly Love Run is on Sunday which has been my main goal race this winter! We’re going into the city this weekend to pick up my race bib, settle into the hotel, and obviously eat some carbs – necessary for runner and spectator alike. I almost feel lucky that the move was consuming most of my mental and physical energy the past couple weeks because tapering anxiety is real stuff. I just feel like I want to run this race and see what my body is capable of. While it will be a whopping 25 degrees at gun time, I actually don’t feel too bad about it. My longest runs have been in temperatures between 10 – 20 degrees alongside Colleen. Thanks girl for toughing it out with me this winter! We will see how it goes.


And if that weren’t enough for one month, I added in my RRCA Run Coach certification the 2nd weekend in March. This was a jam-packed information filled two days. The training was held locally and I had a great time meeting local runners and even a few who heard me speak about sports nutrition at local events. Not only was it great networking, but I really learned a lot. Most runners who have been training for awhile have picked up quite a lot of information and knowledge, but this really broke it down and allowed you to understand some of the science and logic behind typical recommendations. Also, the certification course allowed me to become even more confident in the training I’ve been doing this past winter for the half this weekend. Not a bad way to spend your time 2 weeks before race day!

Hope everyone has had an enjoyable and fun March! Tell me what you’ve been up to and how you’ve been reaching your goals!


As a dietitian, I’ve worked with many clients towards weight loss and weight management goals.  To get there, we typically start with a change in their nutrition or fitness routine.  Simple, right? Weight management is easy… eat less and move more.  But, less than what?  And more than what? And let’s be honest, weight management really isn’t THAT easy.

After working with hundreds of clients who are struggling to see weight loss, those who see the most success are those who make changes to what really needs to be changed. 

Let’s take a look at what the word “change” really means.  The Merriam-Webster dictionary states that “change is to become different or transform”.  Inherently we should know that in order to become different, we have to know what we are doing rig ht now.  Example:  if you want to change your wall color, you need to know that it’s currently white and that you want to paint it blue.

What am I trying to say?  Many times when we set health goals with an intended outcome of weight management, we don’t set them in reference to where we are, but rather in reference to what we think will get us there.  We see recommendations that tell us to walk 10,000 steps per day, but if you’re already getting 10,000 steps and start tracking it, you won’t see change because you haven’t changed anything.  You’re exactly where you were!

In order to see meaningful change, your first action should be to figure out where you are starting.

This is why I recommend to many clients the use of apps such as MyFitnessPal for nutrition tracking, MapMyFitness for fitness tracking, or a fitness/activity tracker.

This is also why I use a Fitbit and track other health actions such as water intake.


If your 2015 New Year’s goal was to lose weight and you’re reading this today and you haven’t seen much change, take a moment to evaluate what you are currently doing.  Track your eating habits for a week without making a change.  Track your exercise, your activity, and your water intake.  Then sit and look at your current health habits – these are the things that are keeping you right where you are!  You’ll see them more clearly with real data. 

Then after you have a solid baseline and understanding of what you are doing, pinpoint one to two things to change.  [Yes, just one to two!]

I’m sure you heard this saying from your parents or grandparents – “Those who don’t know history are bound to repeat it.”?  The same goes for your health.  If you don’t know where you’re coming from, it’s hard to make any change going forward!

Track away friends :)


Love…on the run

by Melissa on February 24, 2015

With a little over a week to absorb all that has happened (read here – changed), I am finally able to write about it!

Random thought (still pertinent to the story): One of my favorite songs right now is “Thinking Out Loud” by Ed Sheehan.  Specifically for the lyric: “We found love right where we are”.  To me it perfectly explains our journey the past year and where we find ourselves right now. (We being Devin and I :) )

The first place to start is really my mental state the past four years.  After those (internally) tumultuous years of trying to find my place after college, I landed in DC.  And laughably enough, I wasn’t completely sold on the place.  As much as I tried to find a way out (country girl not meant for the big city), there was obviously some force holding me here. 

Last spring, I found out why.   

I ran into him during an event set up for work.  We chatted about DC, our love of coffee, and how we should grab drinks sometime.  Drinks led to dinner (which he cooked).  That led to many fun DC dates including monuments, sushi, and of course great falls.

We found that even though we’re both home-bodies, we love to go out and have a good time (good music and good beer required).

He learned to accept my love of running – and he hopped right in.  I accepted his love of the gym and found myself joining in more than I expected (and loving it).

Life turned into a journey  I enjoyed that much more because I had someone to share these things with – the daily monotony and the fun exciting moments.

As we grew into each other’s lives, we also grew together.

Last weekend was one of those times.   We decided to enjoy the long weekend (President’s Day) away from DC, back in PA at my family’s ski condo. The week leading up to it couldn’t have made us more excited to leave the city behind.  I was so stressed that I didn’t even notice Devin’s obvious anxiety and chattiness with my mom and his family.

The morning after we arrived at the ski condo, we decided to try and get a run in.  It was Valentine’s day and honestly a run is something I want to do no matter what day of the year it is.  It was 15 degrees outside, snowing, and a perfect brisk winter morning.  With an impending snow storm, it was the opportune (and only) time to get out!

The route we took on our run led us along a road that we had spent a few beautiful summer days near early on in our relationship.  The contrast was impossible to appreciate. 

After 3 slick miles, we returned, snowflakes in our eyes and frozen faces.  I turned the corner and amongst the kitchen decor were 8 dozen roses and candles.  It took me a moment to realize what was happening.  Cue the excited shakes and frozen tears.

Dev turned me towards him and made everything come full circle.  He got down on one knee and there was no doubt in my mind how I was going to respond.  Absolutely, 100%, YES.

My parents and aunt and uncle helped him set it all up. While we were running, they brought in the roses, candles, and champagne.

The run was an essential part of the story, as I’ve always felt it has been with the rest of my life.

After an amazing weekend of celebrations, we came back to DC ready to start this next chapter of our story.  Like the lyric says “we found love right where we are”. 

The different paths life takes us down end up making sense in the end.  Don’t doubt it.  Roll with it. And if all else fails, go for a run.  You’ll find all you ever wanted, right where you are.  <3



Take a Rest Day.

by Melissa on February 11, 2015

Yesterday sucked.

And by sucked, I mean I was in the middle of a huge war between going full steam ahead and calling it a day and lying down on the floor at my office.

You have days like that – days that seem like they won’t end, and if one more person pulls you into any form of drama, you’re just going to scream. 

The great thing about those days is that they end and hopefully you can wake up and feel just a tiny bit better than you did the day before.  And right now this is proving to be true.

It’s amazing how many of the lessons I learn in life also apply to training.

The Philly Love Run is on my agenda for a PR (fingers crossed).  Therefore, each week I’m planning out workouts, long runs, and paces to hit.  On certain runs, I feel like I can run with the wind.  Other days, I’d prefer to turn around and run home. 

IMG_20150208_095217 [^running like the wind :)]

Good days and bad days apply to our workouts and training just as much as they do to our daily lives.  But it’s how you frame your thoughts towards those tougher days that help you through it.  In regards to training, this week was going great, until yesterday (yeah, let’s tack on training meltdown to yesterdays list of awful stuff).  Last week I soared through a speed workout, got in some slower middle distance, ran a long run on Sunday hitting HMP miles, and then taught a 60 minute body sculpt class to start the week. 

Then Tuesday morning happened.  I woke up feeling like I got hit by a train.

My schedule was calling for some middle-distance easy miles.  Taking one step out of bed made me realize it wasn’t going to happen.  Every part of my body ached.  At first I had no idea what was going on, until I took a step back. 

My body needed a rest day.

No, my training plan didn’t call for one, and I mentally wanted to workout and get in those easy miles, but I knew what I needed to do.  I needed to call it.

IMG_20150201_195715 [stretching, foam rolling, resting….]

Instead of beating myself up and feeling like I was failing my plan, I decided to look at it as “I’m going to come back stronger – I’m going to eat well today, stretch, and get a lot of sleep tonight”  I also knew that if there was any workout that I could miss on my plan, it was the easy mileage that I had planned.

To be quite honest, I’m usually really easy on myself when it comes to workouts.  I listen to my body and regularly schedule in rest days.  But, with this PR in mind and not wanting to look back and think “oh, if only I had done that workout, I would have….”, I’m realizing that my usual mentality of moderation still applies.  I will succeed from both the workouts and from the rest. 

Time to time, even with our best intentions, plans falter.  We have to go to plan B or just call it.  However, reframing those moments into a learning or growth opportunity is what really makes us strong. 

In today’s society, we tend to think harder is better and more is more when it comes to working out.  However, research shows that it’s at rest and during sleep that our strength and training gains really happen.  It’s the balance between pushing your body and allowing for proper recovery that make the strongest athletes.

Now that I’m (re)learning that lesson in reference to training, I’m also going to take note to apply it to my daily life and take a step back when needed.  It’s ok to need a little extra rest and say “no”. 

Have a great day!


Tuscan White Bean and Crispy Kale Soup

January 29, 2015

This was meant to be a vegetarian recipe. I had full intentions on only adding white beans. Then I tasted it. Ok, it tasted just fine…. But, my little culinary lightbulb went off in my head and said “hey!  you know what would make this taste even better???  Sausage!” hmmmmm…… I had sausage in the […]

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Clearwater Halfathon Race Review

January 26, 2015

Last weekend, I spent a few days in beautiful Tampa Bay visiting my best friend!  We had the trip planned for a few months and initially she asked me to run the Clearwater halfathon while I was in town.  Knowing I was just getting off the MCM training and the subsequent let down to letting […]

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Enchilada Stuffed Peppers {Veg Recipe}

January 14, 2015

As part of our Tofu Tuesday {see Meatless Mondays} resolution, cooking homemade meals seems to make more sense.  Most vegetarian staple foods such as beans, rice, legumes, whole grains, and lentils are extremely affordable and easy to buy in bulk to have on hand.  Even before this resolution, I usually had brown rice, beans, and […]

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Goals Set, Progress Made

January 12, 2015

Welcome to the second full week of 2015.  Even if you don’t consider yourself a new year’s resolution type person, I’m going to take a guess that you still take a moment to think about how 2015 will compare with 2014.  I know I do! Last year started as one of the worst years and […]

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Enjoy Your Holiday, Don’t Survive Them

December 18, 2014

“32 Science Backed Ways to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain” “Beat the Holiday Bulge” “Survive the Holidays without Gaining Weight” Do these sound familiar?  If you live in the US, have looked at a blog or magazine, or have just talked with someone about the upcoming holidays, then I’m going to bet all my money, you […]

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Her Holiday Wish List

December 16, 2014

I wish I could write this from the viewpoint of a guy, but I can’t.  I could even try to pull from what I think Devin likes, but even then I’d be taking a guess.  Instead, I’m offering up some last minute gift ideas for the active lady on your list.  She may not be […]

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