Running for What?

by Melissa on September 1, 2015

I ran my first race in the fall of 2008.  I had my number pinned to my back.  Lots of lessons learned, miles run, and over 20 races – it’s late 2015 and I have no race on the horizon.

Not one.

Typically, I am one that needs the carrot, and sometimes, the stick, to get me up and out the door.  Usually I have half marathon or 10K in my future and my runs are a means to completing a certain distance or hitting a goal time.  Now my runs are a means to….what exactly?

Let’s start first with why I don’t have a race on the calendar.  It’s not that I wouldn’t love to train for another half right now, it’s that I’m learning what I can fit on my plate and what may need to take a back seat.  Currently I have a full workload, side business, and I’m planning a wedding.  I have more travel on my schedule in the next 6 months than I have had in the last two years.  While I am thankful for all of these things, they do limit my ability to add in a solid training plan.  In essence, I’m learning to say “no”. 

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If you’re anything like me, you also like the idea of being super woman/man.  Doing it all and kicking butt while doing so!  Well, turns out, I’m human – and I’ll take a wild stab at it that you are too.  I’m learning to be ok with that. 

So, if there’s not a race on the calendar, what am I running for?  There’s only one thing on that list and it’s “me”.  Selfish huh? ;)

As you’ve probably read over the years on this blog, running is my safe haven.  Whether I’m clocking faster times or taking walk breaks, the steps help me decompress, let off some steam, re-evaluate, and reboot.

So what have I learned about motivation since deciding not to have pick a race anytime soon?

HOW TO STAY MOTIVATED WITHOUT RUNNING A RACE

1. I need a plan!  Sorry, but it’s true.  There have been weeks where I have no idea what my ultimate goal is and guess what?  The runs don’t happen.  You can still set goals without a race.  Do you want to focus on distance?  I’ve read that running 8 to 10 miles every other week will allow you to keep a solid base of distance while not training for a race.  Do you want to focus on speed?  Write out a few interval workouts and place them on the calendar.

2. Workout buddies rock.  I still love working out with Devin in the morning, and I miss my running buddy Colleen, but I’m on the hunt for a group that will at least guarantee some weekly mileage.  It’s hard to go ghost on multiple people than it is with yourself. 

3.  Shake it up.  New clothes, new shoes, a new running route, or a completely new set of scenery.  Recently, Devin and I went to Chicago.  The Lakefront path was enough to get me out the door for a quick trot with the rest of the city.  We loved it. 

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4.  Remind yourself of the long term goal.  Even with a race, the long term goal wasn’t the finish line.  It was health.  Huffing and puffing for a few minutes each day gives us a good foundation for the energy needed to live a full and vibrant life. 

How do you feel about not running a race in the near future?  Has there ever been a time you’ve taken a break from the race scene?

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#TechFreeTuesday

by Melissa on July 21, 2015

Just as much as the next person, I love instagram.  There’s something kind of soothing about scrolling through pretty pictures at the end of your day.  But there’s also something sad when the next thing you know, it’s 9pm and you’ve barely said anything to your significant other.  Tech can be addicting.  Computers, smartphones, tablets, and tvs, we’re surrounded by a constant barrage of media and entertainment.  While we’re probably staying more informed than any generation before, we’re also becoming more detached.

While I’m sure there are many of us that can’t fathom the thought of cutting the cord for any extended period of time (BUT WORK!!), I’m just wondering how people got any work done 20 years ago when email wasn’t attached to their hands 24/7.  Also a while back, we didn’t have a tv in every room of the house, nor computers or tablets.  So what did we do?

Well, Devin and I decided to find out.  We were painfully aware of our connection to our phones, tv, and tablets, so we set our sights, not on the screen, but on turning it off.  For one night a week, Tuesdays, we would shut down and reconnect, the old fashioned way.

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For the past month, we’ve been enjoying time without the distinct ring of a text or incoming email.  Our evenings start by focusing on each other – and dinner (FOOD).  It’s as though we have more time to cook and enjoy the process than evenings when we’re tapping away on a screen.  We talk, real conversations, but there have also been times of silence, which is also just as nice, especially at the end of a long day.

We’ve also been blessed with beautiful evenings, albeit, humid.  So like the 90 year old couple that we are, we’ve started taking walks.  It’s as though these walks have reminded us how much we love where we live.  It wasn’t too long ago (4 months), that we couldn’t wait to get out of our apartments and move into our new townhouse.

And we read.  YES – READ.  A book, a magazine, whatever.  The point is that we’re engaging in something that holds our attention for more than 60 seconds.  This is why many advocate for going tech-free certain times during the week.  Compared to reading, social media and other apps encourage us to make a habit of multitasking our relationships (a quick like on Instagram, and a brief “Happy Birthday” on facebook).  Phone calls and talking in person hold our attention and allow us to more truly connect with someone.  Even though we often think that social media allows us to stay in contact more easily.

But, studies have shown that spending too much time online can actually harm relationships than help.  Why?  Call it the comparison trap.  Seeing a friends recent trip to the Dominican or a cousin’s new car purchase can make our own lives feel inadequate.  And guess what, seeing the pictures or checkins from a friend’s birthday party doesn’t give us the same satisfaction as actually attending. 

So….When is tech ok (based on our rules)?  When work is so chaotic, we allow ourselves to check email as needed, however we’re less likely to get caught up in checking it every 5 minutes.  Also, if we’re calling family or friends.  Phone calls are awesome. 

Let’s be honest, it’s not easy.  Sometimes it’s hard to put down the phone or turn off the TV (Game of Thrones calling your name).  But if you’re up for calling it quits a few times per week, where do you start?  Here are a few ideas:

  • Start a family phone basket policy.  During dinner, everyone has to put their phones in the basket and the basket is put into another room.  Once dinner is cleaned, everyone can have their tech back. 
  • Pick one evening a week where no tech is turned on (like us!).  Stick to it, like Meatless Monday.  You’ll be surprised how you can’t wait for it next week!
  • Create a tech curfew: choose a time each night where you turn tech off.  Maybe it’s 6pm, maybe it’s 8pm.
  • Buy a book.  Give yourself a deadline for when you’re going to finish it.  For me, the more immersed I am in a good book, the less I want to stay glued to my phone.
  • Write a list of all the things that you do each day: eat dinner, drive home, go for run, sit on the couch, spend time with family, then examine which of those things would be better without your tech.  Maybe spending time with family playing a game or going for a walk?

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If you want to learn more about going tech free, I really enjoyed this article from Greatist

Have you decided to unplug?  If so, how? 

Now, go log off Winking smile

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Weekend Wrap Up + Around the Web

by Melissa on July 20, 2015

Whoa weekend.  Have you ever had a weekend that you’re not quite sure what happened to it, let alone what you really did?  I had one of those.  Let’s just say smoke detectors and late nights on a ladder do not make the ideal weekend.

But, I try to be the eternal optimist and see the light through the cracks (well, at least I’m trying…), so here are the things that I was grateful for this weekend, and yes, most are food related…surprise:

Lounging by the pool on the HOTTEST day of the year

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Salads (yes salads) made with the most delicious salad dressing.  I could probably drink this stuff.  Does this mean I’m becoming a Marylander?

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National Ice Cream Day the La Dolce Vita way (aka, we ate gelato)

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And fresh pasta from the farmer’s market, this kind happened to be chipotle lime, so delicious!  Just add veggies.

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While the weekend wasn’t much to write home about, I did enjoy a quiet evening catching up on my favorite show Revenge.  Don’t tell me what happened, I’m still a little behind.  Yes, not the biggest TV person, but I have my addictions like everyone else (can you say Real Housewives of wherever?).

I’ve also been stockpiling some great health and wellness reads that I wanted to share with you.  Between tweets, LinkedIn articles, and great publications sent to me by my colleagues, I have the privilege of staying in the know – so I’d like to help you do the same :)

WELLNESS ROUND UP

  • If you’re up for a bit of a lengthy read, Slate’s “Are GMO’s Safe?” will help you get the info on what it really means for something to be genetically modified.  Spoiler:  It’s not all bad.
  • Trying to find the holy grail of work-life balance?  PBS is giving us the lowdown on what they’ve figured out.  My favorite take-away?  Maybe it’s not about adding something else, but rather focusing on what is already there.
  • Michael Pollan and Oprah chatted.  They talked food, gardening, and beliefs.  This snippet from the episode on Super Soul Sunday was my favorite.  “What you choose to put in your mouth and what you choose NOT to put in your mouth say a lot about what you believe.”  Vote with your fork.

What have you read or listened to lately about health and wellness that stuck with you? 

 

COMING UP:  Our new favorite tradition- #TECHFREETUESDAY

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Summer Things

by Melissa on July 1, 2015

Where did June go?

Seriously…

We’ve been so busy around here enjoying our summer, traveling, and wedding planning.

Early in May, we had our engagement photos taken by the lovely Kelci of Kelci Alane Photography.  It was such a special experience and if you’re not sure if you want engagement photos, I highly recommend them!  They’re also coming in super handy for things like save-the-dates!

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[so artsy!]

Speaking of wedding things, Devin and I took a trip down south to finally see our venue, visit family, and for me to do my dress shopping!

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[the oaks of Jekyll]

When it comes to fashion, I’m not super picky, so dress shopping lasted less than an hour.  I guess it helps if you have a pretty clear vision of what you want as well.  This gave the girls plenty of time for cocktails and lunch (priorities).

The trip down to Florida/Georgia seemed too quick, but before I knew it, I had myself packed up for a 2nd trip, this time to New Orleans!

I had never been to NOLA prior and when I saw that I could attain my Certificate in Weight Management (RD thangs), I jumped on it.  And then immediately invited my Mom along for the trip (sorry Devin :/). 

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Well let’s just say that unless you’re in New Orleans for a raucous weekend, NOLA might not be the place for you.  It’s ironic that the certifying body for dietetics chose the corner of Bourbon Street to have their venue for the weight management training.

But, Mom and I made the most of it by exploring the French Quarter, getting our 10,000 in everyday, and trying our best to scope out the delicious food.  To give NOLA the credit it deserves, it was a foodie heaven. 

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Even as an RD, I recommend trying the beignets (I loved Café Beignet so much more than Café DuMonde…).  It would be like going to Italy and avoiding pasta!  I did try to sneak in a (non-fried) fruits or vegetables when possible.

RD SPECIFICS:  If you’re thinking of taking the Certificate in Weight Management, I highly recommend it.  I felt like it was one of the best continuing education courses I’ve taken so far and it gave me a variety of tools for working with clients. 

Upon arriving home, I got incredibly ill – again another sign I was not long for the land of Mardi Gras.  Ever since, it’s been a bit of a struggle getting back into the workout routine.  Devin eventually got whatever plague has been going around, so the two of us have been in recovery mode for a few weeks.

Speaking of workouts!  What HAVE I been doing?

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Well, more lifting lately.  I’ve been enjoying morning workouts with Devin at our new gym.  While I’m not a heavy weight lifter, my favorites include kettlebells and the TRX. 

(PLYO FOR BETTER RUNNING & TRX FOR RUNNERS)

Also, I just completed a training program with my run coaches, Julie and Lisa.  It was a 7 week program that we spent each Sunday morning on the track.  I have always had track and speed-work phobia (blame high school track),  But these past few weeks have been great for pushing myself.  I’ve also seen record times that I’m not sure I could’ve reached by just completing the workouts myself.  I highly recommend joining a run group or training program with others.  It’s motivating and you get to meet so many wonderful runners!

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Julie and Lisa also invited me to demo a few key core exercises for runners and discuss nutrition and race fueling.  Key points from the Q&A:

  • - Tracking or keeping a journal of what you eat or how much you exercise keeps you honest
  • - Make sure to always take Calcium with Vitamin D
  • - For workouts lasting over an hour, be sure to take in hydration and fuel every 30 to 45 minutes

(have more questions about nutrition for sports or racing, reach out to me, I’d love to chat!)

So that’s pretty much been my June.  No big deal….  Ok yeah, a lot has been going on.  I’m glad to finally have a little down time in the evenings to write and get back to this blog I love.

Talk soon!

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Twenty Seven

May 15, 2015

  Sunrise miles with my guy. Love & flowers from coworkers and my love.   Eats specially made for a perfect day to grill. Alfresco dining. Memories of many the miles from mama.  One birthday filled with so much love.  “Let us never know what old age is. Let us know the happiness time brings, […]

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The Weekend Wrap Up – May 11

May 11, 2015

What an absolutely beautiful spring weekend.  The weather was perfect each day and we were lucky enough to have time to get out and enjoy it.  The past few months have been so busy for us that even our weekends were a rat race.  Luckily, things are calming down a little and allowing us to […]

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Keys to a Successful Morning Workout Routine

May 8, 2015

Who doesn’t wish they could be one of those people logging the miles and sweating it out before most of the world even realizes it’s morning? I would definitely classify myself as a morning person.  My best work is usually done before lunch.  However, morning workouts are usually tough for me.  I like to think […]

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My Summer of Speed and Strength

May 1, 2015

Since 2008, I have been running long distance and racing distances between the half and full marathon.  Last summer however, I raced two 10Ks and a 5K and realized how much I have been overlooking the value of short races (Lauren Fleshman sums it up here…).  The training for it is a little less time […]

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The Perfectly Imperfect Race

April 22, 2015

But for real, I miss blogging and sharing all that is happening with you! The past month has been another whirlwind of packing, moving, racing, and hosting.  Although all fun, between the chaos of our personal life, my work life has also been way crazy too.  I’m ready for a weekend of no plans. The […]

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Tapering, Training, and Moving

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 […]

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