Category Archives: Just for Fun

Tangent Tuesday

Hello!

While this is a running blog, and the majority of what I blubber on about is primarily about running, there are other miscellaneous things in my life that I like to share. The problem is they never really fit in anywhere—which is why I’m bringing you Tanget Tuesday: A random collection of the tid-bits going on in my life.

We now have a pet.

Here’s lookin’ at you, fish.

Meet Gregory. Now, he may just look like an ordinary $3.00 beta, and in many ways he is—but the way BF and I act around this guy, you would think he was a million dollar fish who spoke and pooped out money.

We LOVE Gregory. Unfortunately we can’t get a dog or a cat right now, which is a big bummer because we’re both crazy animal people (see paragraph above). So, essentially we’re channelling all our pet-fawning energy onto Greg the fish.

 

I met a celebrity.

Some of you may not recognize this handsome man—but let me tell you, any 7th Heaven fan would dream of this situation. He’s George Stultz, and he played Kevin Kinkirk who was married to Lucy(Beverly Mitchell). He was at my mom’s Film Festival this past weekend, and I tried as hard as I could to act cool while still getting a picture with him. Spoiler alert for anyone who ever attempts this with famous people: it DOESN’T work. He saw right through it.

 

BF and I are going on a real vacation.

I am so stupid excited about this I can barely contain myself. When I hit “purchase” and our tickets were officially booked, I yelped a lot and immediately started Google imagining photos of Maui. The trip isn’t until March, but I love having something to look forward to. We’ve never gone on a vacation together just for the sake of going on a vacation, so this will be a treat. Now to get bikini that isn’t 5 years old. And abs.

PS: My flight was only $15 less than the flight I booked for Thanksgiving in California. Non-peak season rates FTW.

 

I ran this morning, and it sucked.

This photo is a LIE. I was not smiling at all this morning. And in fact, it’s legitimately a lie because this photo was from a different run. But it’s relevant because I am sweaty in it and I was sweaty this morning. Booyah.

Yes— this tangent is about running, but it’s a tangent that admits that not all running is a happy dance. I went out with the intention of running at least 5 miles with a sub-8:00 pace and to knock out some hills afterward.

In the end, I think I had maybe 3 sub-8:00 miles, and they felt like sub-7:00 miles. Oh, and they were mostly DOWNHILL. I only did one of the two massive hills I had planned on and called it a day a mile short of what I was aiming for.

Frankly, I felt like crap, and no matter how much I willed my legs to turn faster—they just didn’t want to. Which obviously is discouraging, because a 7:50ish pace has been getting easier and easier for me recently. But, the reality is—not every run is awesome, and in fact it’s the shitty ones that make the awesome ones even better. Djd I mention how pumped I am to continue these types of runs during the Robyn Gets Faster Fest of 2012? Bleh.

No pain no gain though…I’m realizing this whole “speed” thing is going to take some time.

That’s all for now! Perhaps I’ll pop in more often for tangent posts—personally I think they’re always sometimes  more fun to read than the picture-less humdrum I tend to post (ahem, yesterday’s post).

Happy Tuesday!

Now, tell me something random about you and YOUR life!

Running Quiz!

Holy Monday Batman, today kind of stinks. Cold, rain, tired, cranky, blech.

Not really fair to say before 10 am? I agree. But let’s just say that getting out of bed this morning was about as pleasant as watching The Ring by myself in the dark.

So, since I’m sure I’m not the only person in need of something a little fun this morning, let’s do a little running quiz!

One of my absolute favorite runner bloggers Janae posted this quiz a few weeks ago, and I figured I’d partake. I’ll repost all the questions again at the end, and you should answer them too!

Here goes!

1. FUEL: Shot Bloks, GU, Energy Chews, Candy or Other?

Honey Stingers! Or, I suppose anything that sounds good in the moment. At Chicago, I had a few orange slices that were being handed out by kind spectators.

2. Race Length: 5k, 10k, 1/2 Marathon, Marathon, Ultra or Other?

Marathon, but recently I’m really digging shorter races.

3. Workout Bottoms: Skirts, Running Shorts, Capris, Pants or Other?

Almost always shorts, sometimes capris.

4. Sports Drink: Gatorade, Powerade, Cytomax, you stick to water when you run or Other?

Almost always just water—or Nuun! Sometimes Gatorade at races.

5. Running Temperatures: HEAT or COLD?

COLD!!!!

6. Running Shoe Brands: Saucony, Mizuno, Nike, Brookes, Asics or Other?

Brooks baby.

7. Pre-race meal: Oatmeal, Bagel, Banana, Eggs, Cereal or Other?

Banana and a handful of cereal.

8. Rest Days: 1x per week, 2x per week, never ever ever or Other?

1 per week.

9. Music: Have to have it or go without it?

Either. I used to be all music all the time, but recently it’s back and forth.

10. #1 reason for running: stress-relief, endorphins, you love to race, so you can eat all the cupcakes you want, weight-loss, love running for social reasons or Other?

Hmm, narrowing it down to one reason…that’s tough. I would have to say my number one reason is because when I run, I feel the most like myself. When I run, I am genuinely and completely 100% me…and I don’t think there are many things in life that can bring out that kind of pure self-recognition.

*****

Now it’s your turn! Answer some or all of the questions in your own blog, or in the comments below!

1. FUEL: Shot Bloks, GU, Energy Chews, Candy or Other?

2. Race Length: 5k, 10k, 1/2 Marathon, Marathon, Ultra or Other?

3. Workout Bottoms: Skirts, Running Shorts, Capris, Pants or Other?

4. Sports Drink: Gatorade, Powerade, Cytomax, you stick to water when you run or Other?

5. Running Temperatures: HEAT or COLD?

6. Running Shoe Brands: Saucony, Mizuno, Nike, Brookes, Asics or Other?

7. Pre-race meal: Oatmeal, Bagel, Banana, Eggs, Cereal or Other?

8. Rest Days: 1x per week, 2x per week, never ever ever or Other?

9. Music: Have to have it or go without it?

10. #1 reason for running: stress-relief, endorphins, you love to race, so you can eat all the cupcakes you want, weight-loss, love running for social reasons or Other?

Chicago, the rest of it.

It was a whirlwind trip to Chicago, and before we were even halfway through it—I told BF that I wished we had an extra day.

I don’t know if it’s that I didn’t know enough about Chicago, or I was simply distracted by the whole marathon thing, but I truly underestimated the magnitude of this city.

Hello Chicago!

It is HUGE. Next to New York, I don’t think I’ve ever been so amazed by the size of a city. The juxtaposition with the crystal blue Lake Michigan was such a sight to be seen as well, and I fell pretty hard for this city. (I know, I know…the city-by-the-water thing shouldn’t get me so giddy any more, but I still can’t get enough.)

unrelated Friday night airport bar photo..

We arrived LATE Friday night, and after a little sleeping in, a 2.5 mile treadmill run, and a trip to the complimentary breakfast, we were off on the Blue line of the “L” headed toward downtown.

Ever since I studied abroad in Europe, I have a very deep affection for efficient and accessible public transportation—and Chicago was definitely not lacking in this regard. It was so easy to navigate our way around, and I can imagine you wouldn’t even need a car if you lived in the city.

Once in the city, we dropped our bags off at a friend’s apartment, and we jetted to the expo. I’m not going to do this expo justice in words or photos, but just take my word for it when I say that it was enormous. They held it in the convention center, and they used up every last space available. Hundreds (yes, hundreds) of booths were set amongst the packet pick-up areas, and you definitely needed a map to quickly find anything.

Other than a few samples we grabbed along the way, there were only two booths I wanted to visit: Runner’s World and Girls on the Run. And look who I found at the RW booth…

Hal Higdon! This meant so very little to most people I tell, but most runners I know have at least heard this guy’s name. He was much friendlier than he appears in the photo as well.

They also had food everywhere, music, shoe testing, etc. It was a party. Although it would have been fun to hang out more, I wasn’t really in the business of staying on my feet for too long—plus we had more of Chicago to see!

With not a ton of time left between the expo and dinner, we decided to head up the Hancock Center. The building has 94 floors, and unlike the Sears tower—it’s free! The views at the top were unreal, and it helped us get a sense of just how huge Chicago really is.

View from floor 94.

Looking out at Lake Michigan.

As I said in the last post, BF made me dinner as opposed to going out. It was simpler, cheaper, and given the amount of carb-hungry runners flooding Chicago restaurants that night—I’m glad we avoided the crowds.

On Sunday, I decided to jog around the city to explore a bit. After 26.2 miles, I figured I ought to include BF in all my sight-seeing, and we went to the infamous Chicago Cloud Gate. I actually knew it was “the bean thing,” but I guess that’s not accurate.

This was the only tourist attraction I actually knew about before coming to Chicago, and I have to say it was pretty dang cool. I was also riding a marathon high and chowing on donut holes, so that helped with the “omg so impressive!” factor.

Where’s Waldo (RB/BF)?

Reflection photo! I told BF he wore the least obvious marathon spectating outfit in the word. He agreed. He also didn’t take up my offer of an enormous pink shirt. Rude.

BF told me I smelled, so I decided to shower before we ventured out to see more things. We had a bit of a time crunch before we had to get back on the train to head to the airport, so we narrowed our exploration down to two things: the Navy Pier and pizza. I really wanted to go on the architectural boat tour, but there wasn’t time—and admittedly I cared more about cheese and crust than pretty buildings.

The Navy Pier was definitely cool, and I loved being close to the lake and seeing all the different boats. Because the pier juts out so far into the lake, we were able to see a lot of the skyline.

Stop your showing off Chicago, you’re making everywhere else look bad.

 

Now comes to only disappointment from the trip…

So, we had just enough time to get to our chosen deep dish joint, eat, go back and get our things, and head to the airport. As we sat down at the restaurant (Ginos East of Chicago), and we ordered our delicious deep dish selection…our waitress informed us that the deep dish took SEVENTY-FIVE minutes to make, so we might want an appetizer. We didn’t have 75 minutes, and so we mournfully opted for the regular thin crust instead.

boring

I realize to a normal human this is a very first world problem…but for two people who were intent on Chicago pizza (one of whom just ran a marathon), this was equivalent to a small pet dying. Sure, thin crust was fine…but this was definitely a disappointment. Don’t worry, I still ate more than half.

Delicious 312 beer helped *a little*.

However, the good thing about missing things while visiting a popular destination is that it gives you a reason to go back. Chicago is definitely a city I’d love to see more of, and I’m very keen on visiting again.

By the time we got to the airport and were waiting for our flight…I was beyond spent. Two nights of little sleep in a row, plus a marathon, plus lots of travelling= a very, very sleepy bird. I can’t sleep on planes too well either, so needless to say after a FOUR hour plane flight home, I was ready for some horizontal time.

Note to self: when travelling for a marathon, don’t be a hero and take the next day off work.

The travel exhaustion, however, was insignificant compared to how great the rest of the trip was.

You put on a good show Windy City, thanks for being awesome.

In a non-related but kind-of-related sidenote, I am almost  pain and soreness free today from the race on Sunday. It’s kind of a miracle, and I credit it to all the walking necessary afterward. That—and all the rest I allowed/am allowing myself before and after the marathon. I also have zero blisters, very little chafing, and all my toenails in tact. Little victories…I accept them all.

However, the combination of little sleep and the marathon has resulted in a fairly heavy cold I’m currently sporting. But, I’ll take a sore throat and headache  if it means I get a race like Sunday’s any day. Does that make sense? I’m sick, don’t judge.

I might try running today, maybe tomorrow, maybe next week…who knows. Right now, I’m soaking in some bonafied laziness right now. On Monday, instead of a “shake out swim” or “shake out walk” I decided a “shake out grilled cheese and chocolate” was a much better idea. That theme continues through today…and I could care less.

Have you been to Chicago? What did you love most about it? Would you have been as sad about the pizza as we were? Do you think I overreacted? Mom, you don’t get to answer the last question…

100 Posts

Hello!

Thanks to my good friends at WordPress and their stellar programming math skillz, it has come to my attention that I have reached 100 blog posts.

Woo! Big numbers!

I realize in the blog and internet scheme of things, 100 is minuscule. However, it’s all relative…and for someone like me who really just figured out how Twitter and Facebook work,  100 is big.

In honor of 100 posts, I’ve decided to talk a bit about the things I’ve learned through being a part of this cyber blogging and running world. Some good, some bad, some ugly (see: missing toenails), but overall…I’ve gained a whole lot more than I ever thought possible from being a part of you people, and I’m happy for it.

Let’s hope to it then.

I’ve learned that I’m really not that crazy.

Well, okay, yes I’m that crazy.

However, for a while I thought I was alone. I thought that preferring to run many miles on a Saturday morning over a Friday late night bar crawl made me somewhat of a freak. And sure, maybe it does. But there are other freaks out there! Hooray for unity over hydrating and carbo-loading!

Occasionally, I do love a night out, a day off, and generally just being lazy. But, for the most part, I consider my love of consistently being active and ready to run very unusual, and before having a blog…I barely talked about it with my friends and people I knew. I wasn’t embarrassed, necessarily, but I didn’t want to feel like I was “showing off” or trying to get attention. Because that’s never been what my running’s about. Honestly, I would actually downplay my answers when people asked me how many miles I ran every week or how often I worked out, because I didn’t really feel like explaining myself away to people who just weren’t going to get it.

Not that there’s anything wrong with not getting it. But I was happy letting other people do their thing, while I did mine.

I was kind of a secret runner, I suppose you could say, and with this came a tendency to think of myself as a bit of an outsider.

Joining a community of running addicts like myself has really helped me to realize that I’m not all that strange at all, and in fact—marathon training and hard workouts can be something to be proud of. Sure, I do tend to feel gloaty sometimes and I still tend to shy away from discussing my training with other people…but reading about the running other women my age are doing really makes me feel like I’m part of something other than just my own seclusive habits.

I’ve learned that I really, really love to write.

In reference to the above “lesson” I’ve learned, you might be wondering…if I shy away from talking about training, why would I have a blog where all I talk about is miles and cookies and sweating?

Good question.

I actually started my blog primarily because I love to write. My love of writing has existed for much longer than my love of running, and it’s actually the catalyst for why I started my blog.

I began reading lots of books and articles all about running. I didn’t really realize that this literature on running was out there, and all at once it seemed it was all coming at me like wild fire. I loved it, I couldn’t get enough of it, and it made me want to run and train even more.

It was actually a book about running that really jolted me to run my first marathon. Not to sound like every other American recreational runner-turned-marathoner, but it was Dean Karnazes’ book “Ultramarathon Man” that made me think, “Wait a minute, I can do that!”

Not long after I did my first marathon, I somehow stumbled upon some running blogs. In all honesty, I never used to read blogs, and I kind of thought they were a place where people were more honest about their lives than they were in the real world or on Facebook…which, unfortunately, some people think of as “the real world.”

In a nutshell, I thought blogs were for internet shut-ins who would rather spend time in the virtual world than with their friends or family.

I was wrong.

I started finding blogs of girls who were runners, and they were exactly like me. I felt like I was reading my own writing with some of these blogs, and I found myself coming back to them every day. The more I read…the more I admitted the truth to myself: I wanted to start my own. Because if there’s one thing I love more than writing and running, it’s writing about running.

As you can probably tell at this point, I can get a little metaphysical and deep when it comes to talking about running, I will totally own it.

But it’s who I am…and it’s been through writing that I’ve realized that running is so much more important to me than just calorie burning and leg toning. In fact, when it comes down to it, those things are in last place on the list of reasons why I love running. Having a blog has helped me realize that…and it’s through all the writing and reflections that I’ve done about this sport that I’ve really broken down the true essence of why I love to run.

Additionally, I am convinced that having this blog has helped my professional writing as well. For those of you who don’t already know, I’m a magazine editor by day, meaning a lot of my job requires writing in all different shapes and forms. Articles, reviews, interviews, press releases, newsletters…you name it, I’ve written it. And I’m finding that the writing is coming easier to me than it used to, and I think that has a lot to do with the more fun, quirky ranting I do here.

Practice makes perfect no matter what it is you’re practicing, and writing definitely qualifies in that regard.

I’ve learned that it’s important to step away from our computers.

It’s not that I didn’t really know this before, but I’ve realized recently that while it’s fun and exciting to check in on our blogging friends via Twitter, new posts, Facebook, etc. whenever they have something new to share…it’s also really important to get away from it all as well.

It’s really easy to get super caught up in the on-goings of the virtual world. And why not? We start to feel like we know the people that we follow, and that follow us, so it’s easy to spend our time procrastinating looking for what everyone is up to. This is all fine and well, however I know I can warp myself into a little black hole sometimes by spending too much time staring at my screen’s reality as opposed to living in my own.

I catch myself when I’m out away from my computer and I find myself thinking about something or someone that I only know of because of my internet relationship. This, I am sure, is normal in this day and age, but frankly I don’t like that it takes me away from whatsoever I’m doing, you know, in my real life. I love my internet peeps, don’t get me wrong…but there’s something to be said for getting away from our alternate reality and just being.

It’s the same reason, on a lesser scale, that I like to run without music. Or, how BF and I don’t check our phones when we’re on dates.

Thanks to technology ruling both our working and social lives in the modern world, it is inevitable that we will spend countless hours engrossed in the happenings on a small screen.

This is not how we, as social beings, were meant to live, though.

So be proactive and take some time outs. Everything will be there when you get back, and I promise your Twitter feed is highly more enjoyable when you check it after a weekend as opposed to a couple of minutes.

I have learned that we’re really not alone.

When something good or bad happens, it’s easy to feel we are in a category all our own.

We run our first half marathon faster than we expected? Huzzah! We must be Superwoman.

We get hurt and can’t run for a few weeks? The universe obviously hates us and we were never supposed to be a runner in the first place.

(WTF tense was that? I don’t know. Leaving it. Lazy.)

Here’s the fact of the matter:

If you run your first half, full, or whatever distance faster than you thought…that really is super awesome, and you should consider yourself a Super(wo)man.

If you are hurt and can’t run, that really does suck, and I’m sorry.

But, reality check…there have been and will be many, many, many more people in the same scenario as you. It doesn’t make your accomplishments any less great, or your hardships any less easy, but the fact of the matter is you are far from the first to experience (fill in the blank____), and that’s okay.

Take some comfort in the fact that others can relate to you.

Injured and not sure what to do? The wonderful thing about the internet (and the blogging world) is that there are positively more injured people out there that would love to commiserate with you. They may even be able to help or offer some advice.*

*Take all injury research and advice via the internet with a grain of salt, as you may wind up self-diagnosing leg cancer when you actually have shin splints.

The same idea goes for accomplishments. We should  absolutely feel proud of the things we do that we worked hard for and ultimately achieved. Celebrate. Tell everyone. Go nuts.

But, don’t be disappointed when you read ten other stories just like yours. They don’t take anything away from you, and they don’t make what you did any less spectacular…they are simply a reflection that other people want to do cool things too. Instead, you should celebrate with those people. A party is much more fun when there’s lots of folks involved, so just as other people root for you and encourage you in your training endeavors…pay it forward, and join in on the virtual cheer-leading brigade.

On that same note. Let other people inspire you! I know that while I might be envious of girls my age who have already run Boston-qualifying times or competed in Ironman races, I can turn my jealousy into fuel. These stories inspire me to reach further, dig deeper, and I love getting new ideas for races or training plans from the bloggers I admire and who inspire me.

I’ve learned that following the training and racing of other people can be just as fun as doing it yourself.

I never, ever, thought I would be someone who regularly followed blogs or commented on the ramblings of other people. The extent of my internet exploration ended with Facebook and Gmail, and everything else was for people who were much more tech-savvy and social media smart.

Now, I’m still not tech savvy, nor too skilled at hash-tagging or making YouTube videos, however…I know that something I look forward to each day is reading up on the trials, tribulations, and sweat of the lady runners I follow. (Really wanted that list to be alliterative, dang.) I think it’s really exciting to watch someone’s progression from a 5k runner to a marathoner, or a marathoner to an ultra-marathoner.

No matter the level, I love to read about people who run. Running is the underlying thread that unites us all, and despite the different locations, interests, and ages, I love that the running blogging community is held together through the pure love of putting one foot in front of the other.

My favorite thing about running is the simplicity of it. It’s primal, it’s natural, and it’s the way we were meant to get around. People who write about running get this, and I love connecting, if even just through a comment box, with others who understand the need to run.

So there you have it. Some things I’ve learned through writing about running and a bit of my blogging story thrown in there as well.

After 100 posts, countless miles, injuries, races, comments, tweets, meet-ups, emails, etc. I want to say THANK YOU to every single one of my readers. Your words and feedback make this space so enjoyable and fun for me, and I appreciate all the advice, laughs, and random tidbits you share with me. I’m looking forward to much more writing, running, and reading with you—all with a heaping spoonful of cookie dough and a Nuun-filled water bottle on the side.

Happy Monday!!

24 Facts for 24 Years

Welcome to May! I adore this month, and I adore this day, and not just because it’s my birthday—which it happens to be 🙂

May means celebrations, the perfect combination of spring and summer, and a general joie de vie in the air. I feel fortunate to have May Day as my birthday,  and I am confident that this transition from 23 to 24 is going to be a good one.

Birthday festivities from Saturday night

24 feels like a really high number, and I keep thinking I’m turning 23 instead. I’m not too afraid of “getting older” as so many people are, however this age makes me realize how long ago certain things (high school, college, my 21st birthday) actually were. I really feel like I was just turning 21…and admittedly I still get a little anxious when someone checks my ID. Weird, because I never even had a fake ID. My mother did, but I didn’t. Busted Ma.

Anyways, in honor of my 24th year of life, I’ve decided to share with you 24 random things about me—most of which I don’t think most people know. Some will be very understandable, some may make you cock your head to the side, questioning why you’re spending time reading the blog of a mega weirdo, but either way….enjoy:

1) I am absolutely petrified of sharks and any deep water that could contain a shark. I think sharks are just about the most horrifying things on earth, and even in the deep end of swimming pools I get nervous about being dragged under by a huge great white. I’m not kidding, and I personally believe that the world we be a much more pleasant place without these dinosaur-era creatures lurking in our oceans.

2) I danced in college. Not all that well, mind you. However, for three out of four years of school I participated in our school’s Repertory Dance Group doing lyrical, musical theater, modern, and hip hop. I loved it, and a big part of me wishes I had danced longer in life.

A High School Musical dance montage. I was Gabriella, which obviously involves being spun high in the air to "Breaking Free."

3) I always prefer blueberry-flavored things. Bagels (you may know this), muffins, scones, Luna Bars…if it’s blueberry, I’m on board. I don’t know where this comes from, but I’ve been this way since I was a baby bird.

4) My porn-star name is Victoria Spencer, and I’m proud of it. For those of you that don’t know, you figure out your porn-star name by taking the first street you lived on and adding it to the first pet you had. It’s a silly game, but it yields some humorous results in a group of people.

5) I am very uncomfortable running an odd-number amount of miles. This is a weird quirk, however I really really have a strong aversion to not having a round, even number of miles completed after a run. With the exception of 13.1, I really dislike odd distances, and I will almost always round up or down mileage if it means avoiding an odd number. Ironic…because I realize just how odd this is.

6) I used to play softball, volleyball, basketball, and run track. I may have mentioned this before, but the majority of my younger years, up until I went to college and traded athletics for beer pong, were spent either on the practice field or game field. I was a huge tomboy for a good number of years, and competing was my favorite thing to do. I eventually grew out of crying when I lost a game, however to this very day I absolutely love sports and will jump on any park-and-rec, intramural, or pick-up-game that you throw at me.

Can you find me? Hint: pigtails and "short person" group placement spot.

7) I’ve never had a cavity. I consider this luck, to be honest…and the fact that I am missing normal molars and my teeth are a bit spacey. Still, my dentists are always impressed.

8) I have crooked pinkies. Some call it hereditary, I believe it’s a birth defect, but either way I have two very, very crooked pinkies, and they frighten people when I show them for the first time. BF thinks it’s really funny to look at them when we’re holding hands and shudder/shake his hand away in disgust. It’s hilarious, really, and NO you don’t get a photo…yet. Maybe someday.

9) 9 is my favorite number in the whole world. I have mentioned this before, and I’m not particularly sure how it first started (aside perhaps from when Mia Hamm wore this number for the US women’s team). I think good things started happening in relation to the number 9, and I professed my undying love for it. Also, if you remember from Sesame Street when they had a “number of the day,” 9 was always so elegant and pretty…unlike stupid 7. Sorry 7, you’re alright…but 9 is where it is at.

10) I will always put my favorite song on a mix CD as the number 9 track. See above for reasoning. If you ever get a CD from me, you can be sure that whatever song I’ve selected in the 9 slot is a bonafied RBB fave.

11) I have a weight-lifting record at my high school. Okay, so it’s shared with 4 other people, but to this day my name is still on the record board for my weight-class in incline bench press. I used to be embarrassed about this, but the fact that it’s still there is seriously hysterical to me—and I’m proud. Apparently there aren’t any burly 115 pound teenage girls walking around my high school anymore.

12) I absolutely hate Swiss cheese. There are very, very few foods that I dislike. It is safe to say that no matter where I go, no matter what there is, I will be able to find something I like. But not Swiss cheese. Unless it’s in fondue form, in which I’ll tolerate it, I wince at anything that is even close to touching Swiss cheese.

13) I have broken 3 bones, all on 3rd base. No, not that third base you dirty minded people. But wouldn’t that be funny, too? Anyways, I have broken my nose and both the bones in my arm while in close proximity to the 3rd base plate in softball. My arm was broken while sliding into 3rd; the chick playing third decided to push me over mid-slide, and instead of falling I tried to catch myself using my left radius and ulna. Double break, I think the bones actually switched spots as well. My nose was broken when I was tagging a girl while was playing third. The bill of her helmet went into my nose, and it felt really really spectacular.

For the record, I was safe when I broke my arm. Obviously making it worth it.

14) My favorite animal is the killer whale. This is a very deep, intense love. I still have orca figurines that I collected as a child back at home, and to this day I squeal in delight whenever I see a photo, movie, commercial, or billboard with a killer whale on it. And yes I know they are “killers” or whatever, but I like to remain in my fantasy of swimming joyfully with them in a beautiful forest-lined cove.

See?

And surprisingly, I was not a Lisa Frank kid. Bonus fact!

15) I end every long race to Defying Gravity from Wicked. If you’ve heard this song, you have to understand the undeniable energy, determination, and epic-ness of it. It’s my happy song, it makes me feel untouchable, and I love the feeling of crossing the finish line with Elphaba crooning about how no one can bring her down.

16) The nickname “Birdie” came from freshman year basketball. I don’t actually remember who exactly bestowed this name upon me, but from then on it was my title in just about every sport I played. And if you have yet to figure out why I am associated with a Bird, my name is Robyn. If you still don’t get it, then I recommend a nap or maybe some caffeine.

17) I have a fairly impressive ability of guessing people’s birth months. I know this might seem strange, and it is, but for some reason over the past few years I’ve realized that I have a real knack for guessing the month people I meet were born in. I don’t know how it works, I don’t know how I can do it, but for some reason I get a feeling from people about when they were born—and it’s normally right. I typically need to be with them, in person, and normally I need to have spent more than 5 or so minutes with them. It works best with people I’ve known longer…and if you don’t believe me, next time we’re together I’ll try and guess your’s…and you’ll realize why I should be working a booth at 6 Flags.

18) My favorite book of all time is Les Miserables. Again, I’ve mentioned Les Mis one too many times on a blog that is supposed to be about sweating and running. I don’t really think the poor and desperate people of 19th century France fit in much, but I can’t help it. I find the story beautifully tragic, and the writing is so classic and poetic. Also, I will talk to you for hours about the show if you ever bring it up, so be warned. AND THEY ARE MAKING A MOVIE.

19) I only like purple and red Skittles. They should make packs of these two flavors only, like how Swedish Fish has “red only” packs.

20) Belle is the best Disney princess of them all. No, I am not stating this as an opinion, because it’s fact. She reads, she’s independent, she doesn’t need a prince to wake her from a coma, and she sees past outer appearances in favor of what’s on the inside.

Belle dressed as me for Halloween. With her cop friend, he wasn't included in the movie.

21) My favorite flowers are white lilies. Lilies smell phenomenal and look like something that lines the walls of heaven. I adore lilies and I will get my nose covered in their messy pollen just to inhale their fabulous scent.

22) I have two tattoos. That’s all…

23) I want to do an Ironman someday. I’m not sure when, I’m not sure if it’s possible (first I need to do that whole get-a-real-competition-bike thing), but I do know that I want to do an Ironman. I’ve looked at training schedules, and they’re horrifying, but I know that there will be a point in time where I want to give all I have into doing the bad-boy of all tris. I have declared 2013 the year of the triathlon…so we’ll start there.

24) I studied abroad in Prague, and it was the best time of my life. I was fortunate enough to spend the spring semester of my junior year in the Czech Republic, and it was the quintessential essence of a perfect abroad experience. I traveled all around Europe, I had no cell phone, I ate everything in sight, I walked everywhere I went, and perhaps most importantly, I learned how to make myself happy. I miss it every day, and I can guarantee I will go back someday, if you would like to come you’re welcome to join…I will show you all over and make you eat all the fried cheese and beer Praha has to offer.

The writing on the wall...be happy 🙂

There you have it! 24 facts for 24 years. I hope you enjoyed learning more about me, or at least I made you feel a bit more normal.

Tell me what your porn star name is! And, if you feel like sharing, tell me some facts about you that either compliment or contrast my facts above. Unless you’re a shark affectionato, and in that case we can no longer speak. 

Nuun HTC Relay Team Application

Hello Run Birdie Run readers!

So, I’m really excited to share with you my hugely successful 20 miler done this past weekend on the marathon course, as well as some splendidly sugar-filled Easter highlights. However that is going to have to wait until tomorrow…

Today, I so excited to present you with my video application for the Nuun Hood to Coast Relay Team! Nuun is putting together THREE teams of TWELVE women, all bloggers, to compete in the exclusive and infamous Hood to Coast relay race that takes place in August. To apply, you needed to submit footage (picture, video, etc.) of yourself so they can get to know you better and learn why you’d be a great addition to the team.

I am SO excited at the thought of this opportunity. Running 200 miles, relay style, while using a van as a caravan sounds like my definition of fun—smelly clothes, war paint, and all—and I know I would been so incredibly amped and enthusiastic the whole time. Sleep, even in every day life, isn’t really necessary for my ability to function, therefore the minimal sleep and maximum running and energy needed is the least of my worries.

Also, as I’ve mentioned in a previous post, Nuun is one of my new favorite running friends. It doesn’t upset my stomach like every other fueling source in the world does, and it gets me all bubbly and happy inside. The fact that Nuun wants to support female bloggers is so admirable to me, and I would be so excited to represent them in Hood to Coast.

So, with that said, below is my video. I have two things to admit: The first, I am completely technology deficient. There are a lot of spectacular videos out there that other bloggers have made, and while I wish I could have hired someone to help with the application process, I had to work with what I had…so bear with me.The second thing I need to admit is that yes, today is the final day to apply, and no…I actually didn’t procrastinate submitting this. Sure, I wanted to fine tune the details…but the real reason I waited until today was because it’s the 9th and 9 has been my lucky number since Mia Hamm wore it for the U.S. Women’s soccer team. So obviously I wanted to get the universe on my side 🙂

You can also help me with this endeavor! If you feel so inclined, in the comments section below this post write why you think I should be on the team…even if it’s only, “She can survive solely on peanut butter alone,” or, “She already goes a day…or more…without showering.” It’s not necessary, but it would be much appreciated!

Pick me, Nuun! I promise to be the perfect symbiosis of cheerleader and runner. Also, I make some mean chocolate cookies, and I do van art like it’s my job.

Friday Favorites: Nuun and ‘Nsync

Good Morning and welcome to Friday!

I’m currently posting from my bed, which feels both awesome and ironic for a running blog. I got to sleep in until the very late hour of 7 am, so that was a treat. My hammies are hating me for the hills yesterday, but they better shape up their attitude because tomorrow is scheduled with a big scary 20 miler. I’m considering scooting down to Tacoma to do some of the marathon course, which while I think will be helpful I also feel like it might play some mental games. We’ll see.

However, that is not what today is about. Today is about Favorite Things and resting. If you’re new to this blog, every Friday I pay homage to some of my favorite things in life…of which there are many, which is a good thing or else this whole game would have died a long time ago.

Just when I think I’m running out of the little things in life to be appreciative for, something new pops its head around the corner and adds even more joy to the sometimes mundane nature of regular routines. And let’s face it…for someone who gets a major kick out of things like Safeway Club Card deals and little children dressed in cute outfits, it’s not hard to conglomerate a weekly list.

So let’s move onto this week’s Friday Favorites!

Cherry Blossom Trees

These bountiful beauties are in full bloom here in Seattle—and throughout the entire country it seems like. They can make even the most homely, industrial, sketchball-filled neighborhood (Read: Tacoma, Washington) seem like an A-Okay place to be. They bring a smile to my face whenever I drive by them, and I always want to pull over and sit underneath their lovely branches and sing songs about what a wonderful world we live in. But I’m already weird enough, so instead I just take trying-to-be-artistic photos of them.

These blooms don’t last too long, which I suppose is one of the reasons they are so gosh darn lovely.

Nuun

So, because this is a blog about running and sweating and all that (at least most of the time) I think it’s appropriate to mention some exercise-related favorite things, right?

That said, let me introduce you to my newest addiction/fascination, Nuun. If you’re a seasoned runner or endurance athlete, you have undoubtedly heard of this new electrolyte-replenishment supplement—as they’ve been at tons of race expos and running stores all over the country. Now, as I’ve mentioned before, I’m not a huge fan of Gels, Gatorade, Gus, etc., etc. Basically, most of this stuff kind of hurts my stomach and I naively just rely on water and sometimes Sport Beans.

In comes Nuun, and I’m a convert.

I’ve only been using this magical little caplet in my water in the afternoons after morning runs, not mid-run, but I’m completely hooked. You know the commercials for 5 Hour Energy? How they turn the “2 pm slump” into a hugely productive and happy-go-lucky party? Well, that is exactly what Nuun in the afternuun does for me. {What I did there…you saw it didn’t you?} It’s sort of like when you drink a cup of coffee after not having caffeine for three weeks—lots of giggling and tingly goodness. I don’t know if it’s a placebo effect or not, but I can actually feel my low electrolyte levels getting filled, and my entire body feels refreshed and ready to go swim the English Channel.

Needless to say, PSYCHED to try this crack fuel mid-run.

13 Simple Steps to Get You Through a Rough Day

Sorry, I’m going to redirect you to this link, but trust me…it will be worth your while. Click it!

 

Done? Okay great.

I find this article HILARIOUS, and I’ve laughed, literally L-O-L, every time I’ve read it. My favorite section is Step 8, “Be happy you are not one of these people”—particularly the baby with the scary self-portrait taking mom and the Chris Kirkpatrick reference. Poor Chris, Justin got all the girls and the long career, JC got Justin’s leftovers and a dance show judging gig, Joey got to be in My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Lance got all the Outer Space and coming-out-of-the-closet attention, and what did you get? Well, I don’t even know…which I suppose is the point. Sorry buddy, I still love your very-backup vocals.

And for the record, ‘Nsync was, is, and will always be better than BSB. Don’t agree? Please go away. No, you can stay, but I propose a street fight to the tune of “It’s Gonna Be Me” and “Tearin’ Up My Heart.” Cough Leanne cough.

Drive By, Train

I have always and will always love Train. Somehow, I’ve actually seen them twice in concert, and they put on a great show and are super personable and funny. I think they’re underrated in the pop-music industry, especially since so many of their songs go viral and no one seems to give them much credit after everyone’s moved onto the next Katy Perry or Pitbull song. Love you Katy, but I gotta give this one to the boys.

This song is so catchy, and it’s been on repeat one too many times in the past few weeks. Overplaying songs? Who me? I only do this with EVERY song I start to love, but after a break of two or so days I can jump right back into them. This song is just so happy and has all the right uplifting chords. Good job Train…download now if you’re interested. Or, you know, just listen to the YouTube video over and over again if you’re like me.

This Kitty

He's in there I promise...right by the steps to the porch.

Okay, I realize this picture isn’t entirely ideal, but because this isn’t my kitty the only way to photograph him is by luck and quick phone camera skills. BF took this, by the way, because he knows how I adore this little cat. And that is reason 34566 why I love him.

This little Kitty, which we’ve learned is named Socks (c’mon, how cute is that?), roams around our street and frequently sits atop the hood of cars for warmth. He greets me very frequently when I arrive home, and I think he would agree that we are BFF at this point.

Anyways, I would generally consider myself a dog person—which you could have probably guessed based on my frequent ranting about golden doodles and puppies—but I do have a place in my heart for cats. Yea yea I know…tons of people hate cats, which is justifiable, but I so happen to have owned THE best cat, named Jack, for the majority of my childhood, therefore cats are good in my book. Poor Jackie went to kitty heaven last year, and although I miss him a lot, I like to think that Socks is his reincarnation; they look SO much alike, same coloring and everything, and they have the same “I am way too cool for school but I’ll still let you adore me” attitude about them.

Maybe someday he’ll “forget” to go to his real home and decide to run inside and snuggle with me forever. That’s okay, right BF? Your allergies are probably gone by now, I’m sure.

_______

I hope you have a great weekend!

What are some of your favorite things right now? What are your plans for the weekend? Are you going to go YouTube every ‘Nsync song you can possibly remember for the rest of the workday just like I am as soon as I’m done writing this post? If you do, let’s compare memories/favorite songs.

Habits I’m Never Going to Stop, and I’m Okay With It

It feels like we are constantly bombarded with messages of self help. Everywhere I look recently, I see a new way to improve upon the way I live my life—how to work out better, how to eat better, how to cook better, how to be more sustainable, how to be more organized, how to save the whales, on and on and on. This stuff overwhelms me, and while I like to think I take it all with a grain of salt, every so often it gets in my head a little.

I start questioning my daily practices, and when I try to compare my lifestyle with all the mantras of “the right way to do such-and-such,” I get intimidated. Because frankly, it feels like I’m doing just about everything wrong.

Sure, I know that these are mostly just marketing schemes, and I can dismiss a great deal of them, however I’ve been realizing lately that there are certain “you should do”s that are constantly lingering in the back of my head. And once these ideas of “changes I should be making but haven’t yet” get planted in my brain, I have a really hard time letting myself off the hook.

I beat myself up over the fact that I “know” I should make a certain change, but never do. Some of these things are small, some are bigger; some are personal habits, and some are driven by the All Powerful Voice of Society. And the fact of the matter is—some of these are changes that actually should be made, I will fully admit that. That’s not what this post is about though.

No. This post is about accepting the fact that there are habits I will never change, and I’m going to forgive myself for it.

The thing is, a lot of the things I shame myself for are completely harmless and distinguishable only to me. They aren’t necessarily right or wrong, they are just small habits that I’ve decided to spend way too much energy stressing over. And why?

I’ve decided to let myself off the hook and focus my attention on more important matters—like the changes I can make that would actually make an impact. I’m finding it incredibly self-centered to spend so much time trying to tweak the way I live my life so it fits in this perfect little mold that our culture deems “worthy,” when in fact that mold is going to change again next week when there’s another way to organize our desks or eat our cereal or lift weights.

I’m thinking that maybe if I break up with these nagging notions of bettering myself, I’ll be able to exit the confines of my head a bit and focus on more important matters.

So, with that said, I give you Habits I’m Never Going to Stop, and I’m Okay With It.

Consuming Dairy

Oh ice cream, I will never forsake you. Don't worry, this relationship is fo life.

I have heard every single argument about why humans shouldn’t eat dairy, and to be honest I agree with some of them. And way back when during injury days, when I needed something to focus on besides being depressed about not running, I did a 3-week cleanse where I gave up a whole lot of stuff—dairy included. Truthfully, I felt great. But is this for life? No.

I don’t have very much dairy—I drink soy milk in my coffee and use almond milk in my cereal—but the fact of the matter is I love yogurt, ice cream, and cheese, and I’m not going to give them up.

I am always hard on myself with this one, especially since there have been points in time when I’m surrounded by “OMG why would you poison your body with…cheese?!?!” people. No offense vegan friends, but I consider myself a healthy enough eater to keep dairy on my plate. So I will enjoy my fro-yo and my grilled cheese sandwiches, and I will not feel any guilt about it.

Eating dinner in front of the TV

Alex, you're kind of an asshole, and you definitely fake bake, but I love the way you narrate trivia to me nightly.

I know every single study and their mom screams at everyone that “You eat 500% more when you eat in front of the TV.” Blah, blah, blah…I understand. However, the time I spend having dinner and watching Jeopardy with BF is one of my favorite parts of the day—and considering we don’t have a family of people to catch up with and together spend plenty of time conversing during other parts of the day, this one is gonna slide.

Sure, this might come to a stop someday, but for now I will shout out answers to Alex Trebek’s questions with a mouth full of food.

Not wearing real clothes every day

Best friends who prefer shorts and fleeces together, stay together.

My definition of real clothes means something outside of yoga pants, half-zips, and running shoes. This is, as you can probably tell, the combination of attire I put together quite frequently, and I always get so down-and-out about it. But hey—guess what—I work from home, and this is probably the last point in time in my life that I will be able to work in whatever I feel like. I need to give this one up and accept that Starbucks doesn’t care if I’m not completely put together every day of the week.

Taking samples out of the bulk bins at grocery stores.

Andddd there goes my self-control... and my law abiding actions.

You can judge me for this one, it’s okay. Except that we’ve all done it, and yes—as a 23-year-old adult I still do it. And I’m not going to stop. There’s something so fun about a mini snack while grocery shopping.

And on that note…

Choosing grocery stores because I know there will be samples

Strawberry shortcake sample. Tell me how this could not make your day?

As I’ve mentioned probably many times before, I love samples, and I fully believe that all grocery stores would benefit from providing a few samples throughout the day. With that said, I always think I’m a mooch/fat kid for going to grocery stores because I know there will be a sample available. However, after discussing this with a few people, I’m learning I’m not the only one who does this—and in fact,everyoneloves samples.

The sample-motivated grocery shopping stays.

Shopping at BP in Nordstrom

For those of you who don’t know, BP is the junior’s section of Nordy’s, and I feel embarrassed every time I go in there. I’m at that weird age where the junior’s clothes can look too young, the women’s clothes can look too old, and I’m armed with a credit card that is really only looking for things on sale.

Now, I will fully admit that my wardrobe can grow up a bit. However, I believe that I can still spend my shopping hours in the BP department, so long as I make non-high-school clothing decisions. I can afford BP, and I like to think I can make it look older than the girls who shop their with their mommies.

So until I can hire a personal shopper, I’ll stick with what I know—and oh, do I know BP.

– Not buying expensive jeans or shoes

See? I can even ride a bike in my non-designer-yet-still-acceptable jeans!

I’ve heard it over and over and over again. “Expensive jeans will change your life,” and “You’re ruining your feet with cheap shoes.” I know, I know…and I actually think I’m in the minority for not owning any Sevens or Pages or whatever those $200 denim wizards call them. I’m not buying jeans from Forever 21, but I don’t think I need to shell out a ton of money for a decent pair of pants. I’ve had the same two pairs of jeans for almost two years now, they are in great shape, and they were each under $100.

As for shoes, this does not apply to running shoes. Give me a comfy and dependable pair of sneaks and I’ll hand you all the money in my wallet. But as for heels, flats, boots, etc…no, sorry, I just can’t do it. I’m not a total cheapskake with shoes, but I cannot justify spending the amount of money some people do for shoes. I’ve tried—and all that happens is I think of all the races I could register for, the cookies I can buy, and the money I could put toward all my loans, and I just can’t do it.

And it’s okay. I’m forgiving myself for not shelling out for “the good stuff,” no matter what all you fashionistas say about it.

Reading celebrity gossip magazines

Oh Britney, you've come so far. I will always "Help" you, never fear.

As an English major and lover of books, I always scoff at myself for reading and (gasp!) buying gossip magazines. I always think, “You should be reading a book, listening to a news podcast, writing in your journal” instead. This is chronic; whether I’m reading an US Weekly on a plane, or flipping through an In Touch at the gym, I am so incredibly self-aware and embarrassed.

But guess what? I love these magazines, no matter how shameful I feel. And when I go to the airport, I look forward to a trip into Hudson News and selecting the most enticing publication featuring rich content such as Kim Kardashian’s Workout Secrets, The Truth Behind Justin’s Proposal to Jessica, and The Oscar’s Best Dressed. I love that shit, and I’m not going to stop.

I love nonfiction, fiction, biographies, plays, and the gossip of Hollywood’s rich and famous. It’s who I am, and I’m going to hold my head high.
_______________

After beginning to compile this list, I was frightened at just how many things there are in my life that I stress over. I’m realizing more and more just how much our marketing culture capitalizes on the fact that humans are so frickin’ self-serving, and as soon as we hear a message directed toward “us” we immediately become consumed with egotistical thoughts.

I know it’s human nature, and we’re all 100% guilty of it, but I think if we start to question the “what to do” and “what not to dos” a bit more, and forgive ourselves for the small nuances that don’t really alter our character, we can focus our energy more outward.

It’s a lot easier to appreciate the people, places, and general joie de vie around us when we’re less stressed about the things we so often get hung up on. Forgive yourself for the habits you have that you obsess over. Chances are, they add to the things that make you you.

 

What is a habit you aren’t going to change and be okay with? What are you going to forgive yourself for?

 

My Running Report Card

Hello, friends!

Okay, so I might have gotten a little overly critical in yesterday’s post in regards to the commercialization of running. The running industry has contributed so much information and research toward the improvement and accessibility of running, and many of the “rules” they’ve come up with are indeed very credible. My point was simply that you shouldn’t presume every new fact, product, and tip that comes out about running directly applies to you. Running is very individualistic (one of the reasons it’s great) and don’t immediately presume that you’re doing something wrong if “groundbreaking” research tells you so.

With that said, there are particular “running rules” that seem to apply to at least the majority of runners. For example, hydration and carbohydrates are two things that I think all runners can agree are must-haves. I’m constantly kind of laughing at myself and shaming myself for the things I think I do very right and very, very wrong in regards to these running “basics.” Truly, there are some things I don’t do stereotypically “right” that I believe has no impact on my progression as a runner. However, there is definitely room for improvement, which is why I’ve decided to do a little analysis of my good and bad habits, in conjunction with the “rules” of being a good runner. The grades I’ve awarded myself are what I believe the whole of the running industry would give me.

 

Rule #1 Thou Shalt Hydrate

Grade: B

I always have the best intentions when it comes to hydrating properly. I carry a Camelback water bottle with me constantly, and I awkwardly ask public places to fill it as often as I can. However, I would say I don’t hydrate as often as should given my activity level. I think I’m hydration-proficient when it comes to the Average Person, however given the excess amounts of sweat I create during the day, I should probably be drinking more water—especially later in the day.

However, I really only ever drink water (and one cup of coffee in the morning), so at least my hydration is coming from the purest source.

Changes Necessary? Yes. I firmly believe that runners should pay a lot of attention to how hydrated they are. I know that above all other factors, if I’m dehydrated on a run it makes the most noticeable difference.

 

Rule #2:Thou Shalt Stretch

Grade: B+

If the “importance of stretching” were limited to pre and post run, I would probably get more of a C in this category. Admittedly, I’m not stellar at stretching immediately after a run, and I hardly ever stretch beforehand. However, I’m a dedicated yogi, and I credit the 2-3 hours I spend a week on my mat toward my stretching grade. This is actually a debatable topic for runners; while many argue for the value of stretching, there are many intense distance runners who claim to never stretch (Dean Karnazes for example…although his “human” credibility is questionable). The science behind the importance of stretching is variable as well, so this is definitely an area where I’d argue to do what works best for you.

Changes Necessary? Not really, BUT that is very dependent on continuing to do things such as yoga and foam rolling. Additionally, BF and I take turns torturing rolling each others’ calves with The Stick (remember that Friday “Favorite”?), which I think helps with our muscle relief. So, I would say my habits are working for me, but the measures I do take to remain stretched and loose must be maintained.

 

Rule #3 Thou Shalt Cross-Train

Grade: A

I have to say I’m proud of myself for this one. I never, ever used to think that anything other than running was a viable workout. I thought a sweat was wasted if it wasn’t spent on a run, so it definitely took me a while to really learn to appreciate (and love!) a cross-training routine. And truthfully, I was kind of forced to—when I got hurt almost a year ago (due to excessive running) cross training was my only exercise option for a solid three months. And I’m actually grateful for it, because now I not only enjoy other activities other than running, I definitely think they make me a stronger and smarter runner. I 100% believe spinning has helped my speed, swimming has helped my recovery and cardio strength, and yoga has helped quicken my muscle repair.

This is actually another debatable point in terms of “proper” running training. Many people vouch for it, however there is a large number of people who think the only way to be a better runner is to run, and that’s all. I definitely see both sides, and while there are days I’d much rather run than anything else—I know my body really thrives most when there’s variety in my workout routine.

Changes Necessary? Not right now. If there is a time when I’m really looking to amp up my training (either for increased speed or increased race length) then maybe I’ll need to tone down the cross-training, but for now I think that as long as I’m getting my marathon-prep miles in, there’s no reason to cut out the cross training.

 

Rule #4Thou Shalt Fuel

Grade(s):

Pre-run: B, Mid-run: D, Post-run: A

So, I’ll leave the debate of what to fuel with for another discussion, but in general I would say that the grades above are pretty much how the running industry would rate my fueling abilities. If I have a long run in the morning, I’m better about pre-run fueling for sure, but for just an every-day run I normally only have a handful of cereal and a few sips of water. It could be better for sure, but it does work for me and I have a persnickety digestive system to begin with, so I don’t really care to experiment.

As I mentioned in Monday’s post, I’m really bad at fueling during my runs. Honestly, I’ve tried the whole gummies/gels/etc gunk, and all it does is make my stomach hurt. I wish they worked, and I think I might be able to condition myself to stomach them a bit better, but I really prefer a sports drink instead. That said, I only actually bring fuel on a run if it’s a really long run—another reason for my D grade.

As for post run re-fueling, I think I’m pretty good about the whole “carb-to-protien” ratio or whatever it is we’re supposed to do. I almost always eat within an hour of running, and I make sure that it’s something at least marginally substantial. I can really only credit my voracious appetite to my skills in this category, in that it only takes about 20 minutes after a run to set my appetite a-flame.

Oh, and in terms of calorie replacement after a long run—I have no issues there. See: My addiction to cookies.

Changes Necessary? Some. I would like to be a better mid-run fueler, and I think that as my marathon training increases, I’m not going to have a choice but to get used to the gummy energy thingers—unless I want to feel like total crap by the end. Also, I’ve started to get hungry during my runs more frequently, so I’m thinking I’m going to try adding something a little more substantial beforehand.

 

Rule #5 Thou Shalt Take Rest Days

Grade: C-

I am really, really trying to get better at this—and I think I am, but as I’ve said it’s not in my nature to intentionally take rest days. I know I justify my lack of rest days with cross-training… as in: well, I’m not running—therefore it’s okay. And actually, there are days where I’ll only do yoga or a light swim, but overall I would say I must be more programmed to completely let my body regroup and relax.

Changes Necessary? Yes, and it’s a work in progress—I promise!

 

So there you have it. Five very basic rules that I would say the majority of the running world agrees upon. I didn’t even get into shoe replacement, speed work, and proper training plans, because there’s way too much variety and—again—I don’t think there’s one right answer. I actually don’t believe there’s necessarily a “right” answer for the rules I’ve stated.

However, my goal is to show you that sure, there are some guidelines to this whole running thing, and as an active distance runner, I’m both sub par and exceptional for different ones. The point is that while I’ve acknowledged the areas I could improve upon, there are certain nuances that I don’t abide by and it’s no big deal. Not that my running career is scientific proof of anything (English major folks, and a liberal arts school one at that), BUT I hope that I’ve shown the importance of analyzing what works best for you.

So listen to the experts, read the studies, and buy the books, but remember that the most credible source of information is your own body. It knows better than anyone else what does and doesn’t work for you as a runner—and in the end that’s who you should be abiding by.

 

NOW YOU! What grades would you give yourself for these running “rules”?

 

 

 

An {Exercise} Affair to Remember

Happy Valentine’s Day!

I hope you have spent the day doting on a loved one, or simply doting on yourself. I personally see nothing wrong with showering yourself with love on Valentine’s Day, because—after all—shouldn’t we show ourselves the same kind of affection we show others? I think so.

If you’ve read this blog for more than 9 seconds, you know that I have a mild obsession for activities that make me sweat. Running is my numero uno {Read: The title of this blog.}, but as you know there are other physical activities that get me all giddy inside as well.

That being said, I’m realizing that my feelings for each of these activities is very parallel to stereotypical romantic relationships. Say what? you ask. Well, allow me to explain it to you in my Valentine’s Day Tribute to the Three Lovers in my exercise life.

SPINNING

Oh spinning, you dirty little Casanova.

Spinning is the essence of a steamy, infatuous, lustful relationship. You all know the kind. It’s gets you all hot and bothered (yes, literally) and you find yourself somewhat addicted after just a few meetings.

Just think of the kind of music that plays in spin. Fast, upbeat, invigorating, Britney…you get the point. It’s not true-love-let’s-have-babies music, it’s “You’re hot and I’m interested for tonight” music.

And the sweat. Oh, the sweat. Spinning can get your pores going more than any other cardio workout there is. I can run for 18 miles and never sweat the way spinning for an hour does. It’s not that running doesn’t know what it’s doing, and in fact—I do sweat a lot—but there’s really nothing quite like a good drenching from a spin class.

{Sex joke inserted here}

In the end, it’s not going to work out. The gym isn’t always open, classes and instructors come and go, but you never forget the jolt you get from spending an hour atop that bike.

I realize I’m walking right into these, but I’m not sorry?

 

YOGA

You know that best guy{or girl} friend you had all through those rubbish relationships? (Yep, Adele reference right there). The friend that had your back no matter what, and even if you didn’t talk for a few weeks, they were right there to pick you up.

That’s yoga.

Reliable, dependable, and ready to pick up your pieces when I’ve been spit out by my other lovers.

You see the other lovers, despite being debonaire and flirtatious, have a way of breaking me down. That’s the problem with intensely deep relationships—they can hurt just as easily as they can make me feel invincible. Luckily, yoga is there—ready to swoop in and cradle me in its loving, non-judgmental arms.

Yoga brings me back to life when things get rough, and many would argue that it should be yoga that I end up with when all is said and done. The problem is, though, there isn’t any passion with yoga. Sure, it brightens my spirits and is fun to hang out with, however it doesn’t quite have the ability to get me going the same way my other lovers can.

Think Johnny and Marissa from the OC, Gustav the farm boy from Ever After, or Dan Humprey in this season of Gossip Girl.

All of them are {this} close to nabbing the leading lady, but at the end of the day, they are cast into the “we’ll always be friends” role.

By the way, if you didn’t understand any of those references, I’m slightly judging you.

Kidding, but for real you should watch Ever After. Or, hit up Netflix and let Gossip Girl ruin take over your “I’m way too old to watch this show but I can’t stop” adult life.

Running

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you the leading man in the production of my Exercise Love Life.

Running is the sappy love songs you pretend to hate in public but secretly belt in your car.

It’s the yin to my yang, the Noah to my Allie, the Mickey to my Minnie.

Okay, maybe that didn’t totally translate, but you get the point: Running is the love of my life, and no matter who else tickles my fancy, there will never be anything quite like running.

Running does all the things that a perfect mate should: It knows when I need it most, it challenges me to do my best, it helps make my days better no matter what, and—most of all—it’s unconditional. Running will always be there to rejuvenate my love for life and for myself. Sure, it can be tough on me, and sometimes I may even think I’ll give up on it. But even if my back is turned, running is still right there, ready to guide me when I need a hand to hold.

Being a runner is one of the titles I pride myself most on, not because I think it’s impressive or somehow gives me leverage, but I love the feeling of encompassing myself with an activity that is so simply happy.

Because in the end, all we want from our relationships is to make us happy. And although spinning and yoga can liven my mood, there is nothing quite like the overwhelming joy of a good run.

 

So there you have it. I’ve learned a lot from each of these relationships, just as we learn a lot from our relationships in our real lives. Certainly, the complexities of romance are far less simplistic than “How do I want to work out today?,” and I know it’s a lot harder to typecast actual people quite so stereotypically. However, when we strip relationships in our lives to their bare bones, both with people and the things we partake in, we can see the ways in which they build us up, knock us down, and how they have shaped our experiences.

And to those of you who know my history a bit, I must add this side note: BF might have held the best friend role in high school, but he has also been all three of these aforementioned relationships at one point or another, which together has given us a wonderfully dynamic, passionate, and all-around wonderful romance that I’m so grateful for everyday.

Hey, it’s V-Day. I had to give at least one sappy shout out.

 

Now, go eat your weight in truffles, and know that no matter who you may or may not be celebrating with, the most important kind of love is the kind you have for yourself. Because if there’s one thing I’ve learned over my 23 years, it’s that the ability to make ourselves happy is the most valuable Hallmark card of them all.

 

And yes, I do still watch Gossip Girl and have no intention of stopping.

 

NOW YOU! Tell me some of the loves in your life! Running, Ryan Gosling, Chipotle burritos, Harry Potter, anything!