Wedding Planning + A New Week

For once, I’m thrilled it’s Monday, if only because it means the week from hell – last week – is over. Any bit of patience I have (and I don’t have much to begin with) went out the door last Monday and left me to fend for myself. Since (at this point) I have nothing crazy on my calendar this week, I THINK my patience is slowly tiptoeing back.

In a nutshell: Work was super annoying, wedding planning has given me the crazies (more on that in a hot second) and to top it all off, my “9 mile run” on Saturday turned into a cold, windy, stomach-achy 5 miler. It was crazy hilly and I ended up averaging over a minute per mile slower than my easy pace. Although, the views weren’t so bad.

It looks warm...but looks can be deceiving. Very decieving.

It looks warm…but looks can be deceiving. Very decieving.

This is probably the most perfect little spot on all of Long Island.

This is probably the most perfect little spot on all of Long Island.

WAIT…that reminds me. I did have a pretty great speed workout on Tuesday. Runner’s World’s free SmartCoach (that’s what I’m using, too broke for a real live human coach) had 4 miles with 2×1600 in 8:35 with 800m jogs in between. I was on a treadmill and was almost positive I couldn’t hold down any 8:35s (it wasn’t me doubting myself, it was me knowing what I could actually sustain for 2 miles – I mean, I didn’t want to waste the whole workout because I was too overzealous) so I set the speed for about 8:40. Here’s how it went down:

 ½ mile warmup

1 mile in 8:38

(Jog 800m…after a very brief walk)

1 mile in 8:48

½ mile cooldown

I was huffing and puffing and it was humbling for me, but somehow I’ve overcome my speedwork mentality (“I can’t keep this up”) and didn’t give up. Obviously I did slow down a little bit toward the end of the second mile, but for the most part I hung in there. I was so proud of myself for not quitting. I think I owe a lot to the treadmill on this one. If I was running outside, I know I would have subconsciously slowed down. But when the speeding belt isn’t giving in, you just gotta keep the legs moving. Or risk severe embarrassment and likely some kind of injury. I knew that as long as I didn’t reach up and punch the speed down, I’d finish the mile right on time. (Well, close enough.) Knowing I had 800 meters to rest in between the miles helped, too.

On Wednesday I actually rode my bike on the trainer. Penelope missed me (yep, she told me) and I have to say, it was kind of fun to ride the bike again. I watched Long Island Medium and decided that I need to make an appointment with Theresa. It just needs to happen. Anyway, the best part about exercising from home is the proximity to dinner. All I had to do was go upstairs for pizza made by Chef Brendan, my favorite chef. (Lucky me, I get to marry him and get homemade pizzas FOREVER!) We found some garlic pizza dough at Trader Joe’s (it’s become a staple in our house) so he’s been making me fancy pizza concoctions. Perfect refueling method!

Okay, so this wasn't pizza night. But Brendan's cooking, so this picture works.

Okay, so this wasn’t pizza night. But Brendan’s cooking, so this picture works. Right? Right.

I had a few other easy runs (okay, ONE) and then the end of the week plucked me out of my neat little world and dragged me through the muddiest mud pit it could find. Hence no workouts on Thursday, Friday, and Sunday. Whoops.

Okay, so about the wedding stuff. We got engaged in October. We’ve been blissfully living engagement life (it’s fantastic!) and finally found the time to begin the actual wedding planning journey. So Brendan, myself, and his parents went to Long Island this weekend to look at wedding venues. (My Mom and Dad were stuck in Iowa…I MISSED YOU GUYS SO MUCH!) We found two absolutely perfect locations and a caterer we love. Problem is, we have huge families. And when you add up the costs of everything ELSE, it’s absolutely freaking ridiculous. It’s hard to imagine spending that much money, no matter how important this day is. We could go on, like, 10 week-long tropical vacations. That’s 70 perfect days instead of one.

Before you scold me and say “you only get one wedding day” and “it’s the most important day of your life”…trust me, I get that. But for me, it’s about the marriage. I’m marrying the best guy in the entire world and as much as I want to celebrate (***CHEESEBALL ALERT***) I have him and that’s all I need. I feel extremely lucky. Besides, him and I can both agree that it’s unnecessary to spend the amount of money it would cost for the venue + tent + food + silverware (who knew you had to pay for THAT too?!) + alcohol + DJ + photographer + transportation + dress + invitations + decorations + whatever else the wedding magazines are trying to convince us to purchase. I’m happy with putting on a gorgeous dress (okay, so that’s the one thing I do want) walking down an aisle, and then picnicking on the church lawn. (Really want an outdoor event. And dancing. But I can deal without that.) Still, then you need a tent in case it rains. UGH. See? No matter what you do, there’s always something more. #negativenancy

Everyone is extremely supportive in regard to doing what Brendan and I want, and even if they weren’t, I’m totally okay with saying THIS IS WHAT WE’RE DOING AND EVERYONE WILL LOVE IT. But truthfully, I do want to spend the day with all of our families (which are large) and friends at a beautiful venue, but damn you people, we have to feed you and give you drinks. (I kid I kid. I love everyone.) For now, we’re working on cutting down our list. It started at 228 and is now down to about 180. Sheesh.

Anywhoodles, that’s where we’re at now. Is “wedding thoughts” an emotion? Because they should be in a class all their own.  I’m just thankful that my parents and Brendan’s parents keep saying those magical words: “it’s up to you – we just want you to be happy”.

Okay, last wedding thing…I just had to share some photos because really, how beautiful are these locations?

Vineyard courtyard.

Vineyard courtyard. Love the wine barrels!

long island marina

Marina that his uncle owns. It’s still under construction though, so that’s the only potential issue.

But, good news! (Have you been waiting for something positive? Here it is.) I had an interview for an ongoing writing job last week (I despise interviewing, adding to last week’s annoyance) and I was invited to move on to the second part of the process – a writing sample! I submitted it last night so now I’m just waiting and sending lots of happy thoughts out into the universe. I’ve loved writing since I was a child. After college, I figured it was out of the picture…seeing as my degree in Sports Management is pretty much the opposite of a degree in journalism. And then, amidst jobs and friends and life, I kind of forgot how much I loved it. But this blog has rekindled that love and I’ve been slowly trying to do more and more freelance work. (Thank YOU for being here to help me in that journey. You’ll never know how grateful I am that you’re reading this.) I’m learning that you DON’T have to limit yourself to whatever your college degree is in, as long as you’re willing to put in the extra work. I now have this incredible opportunity, writing for a company I LOVE and think I can contribute a lot to…so here’s hoping. If you need me, I’ll be staring at my inbox waiting for my acceptance or denial.  

At the risk of pushing my luck, I would also like to request some happy thoughts about me getting into the New York City Marathon lottery, which is being announced on Wednesday. Fingers are crossed.

How was your weekend? Are you married? Tips please! 

Brooklyn Half Marathon Training Week 1 + SPRING?!

Is it Monday already?! I want more weekend! I guess it doesn’t help that we lost an hour. Although, I am THRILLED we’ll be getting so much more sunlight in the evenings. The sun boosts my mood so much, meaning I won’t be as BLAHHH anymore. You can thank the farmers for that.  OMG I went to find a link to explain that comment but instead, my mind was blown. I always thought DST was to help farmers. I was proven WRONG! See # 5: Daylight saving time in the United States was not intended to benefit farmers, as many people think

Anyway, I finally feel like we’re beginning to come out of the horrible, never-ending depths of winter.

Winter is only fun for like, 2 days. After the first snowfall I'm DONE.

Don’t let that smile fool you. Winter is only fun for like, 2 days. After the first snowfall I’m D-O-N-E.

New Jersey’s weather on Saturday was absolutely gorgeous. 54 degrees? Hello! Considering the recent trend of snow and freezing temperatures, 54 felt downright tropical. Everyone was outside enjoying the weather and I swear, the enthusiasm was contagious. Runners, cyclists…so many puppies! Absolutely fantastic. Random runners were actually waving at me, which usually only happens when I’m in the company of my fellow midwesterners back at home.

Yep, that’s right. I went running again. (Insert photo of me patting myself on the back.) Knowing warm temps were in the forecast, I planned my first official long run of Brooklyn Half training for Saturday morning. I know, 10 weeks before the race is probably less than ideal. But whatevs. Just please don’t yell at me for only running outside when it’s convenient, and I promise I won’t complain if I suck on raceday. I’ve already accepted that this was the Official Winter of Laziness.

This is more my style.

This is more my style.

After sleeping in and cooking breakfast with Brendan, I downloaded a few new songs for my running playlist and headed out the door. It’s a nice change from summertime Saturdays when I’m rushing to beat the heat, or when Brendan is gone for work before I even wake up. I’m trying to soak up the extra time together as much as I can! (Yes, we’re still getting married, in case you were wondering. We just haven’t planned a thing. But we’re actually going to look at venues in two weeks! Finalllyyyyy.)

Anywhooooo, I had every intention of running 6 or 7 miles and calling it a day. Per my usual, I ran toward a local trail. At the last minute, I decided I wanted a change of scenery. Instead of turning left, I headed straight toward some quiet back roads.

on the road again

You make me wanna take the back roaaaddds…make me wanna take the long way hooooome. (Any country fans out there? Bueller?)

It was sunny and warm and I felt so carefree that I caught myself singing aloud a couple times. (I promptly looked back to see if anyone was around. Thankfully just me and the birdies.) As I came around a corner to a piece of land I have deemed “fake Iowa” (it’s a horse farm and reminds me of home) I planned to hook back onto the trail and take a shortcut home. Literally, over a river and through the woods. Like the song. How splendid, dontchathink? But, surprise! This portion of the trail hadn’t been cleared off yet; it was still covered in snow. Layers upon layers of irritatingly crunchy, cold snow. STOP TRYING TO RUIN MY SPRING, SNOW. I ended up going back through town. Up a huge hill. (That’s my excuse for my random mile 5 split below.) Even though I knew my change of course would tack on more mileage than I originally set out for, I was feeling spectacular and was thrilled to spend a little more time outside. Plus I had no other option.

I know I shouldn’t run this long…but I’m going to.

I continued along on my running high the rest of the way home and ended with 8.5 miles total, a number I was very happy to see (especially since my body never once yelled at me).

I have that “register for every race NOW” itch again. I feel much more like myself. (This just proves I need to move somewhere tropical. Stat.)

Then, after watching some basketball (Rock Chalk!) and running some errands (Trader Joe’s and Starbucks, my favorite Saturday activities), Brendan’s brother came to visit from NY. We made the most of the gorgeous weather by walking up into town to grab a beer, and later continued along to a cute little mexican restaurant that we love. We walked back home to end the night with a board game, a tasty chocolatevanillacarmel ice cream that I want to eat all the time for the rest of my days, and some Modern Family-watching on the couch. Could it get much better? I THINK NOT. (Umm…wait. Does this make me sound old? DOES IT?!)

Sunday was a lazy day, complete with a delicious diner breakfast, visiting with friends, and Brendan’s homemade pizza (soooo goooddd!). And a new puppy! Not mine, dang it. Our friend’s. But I’m peer-pressuring Brendan every day to get one. He’s showing no signs of caving in. I need a new plan. Help.

"Get off me lady, I just wanna play."

“Get off me lady.”

OH and FYI I beat Brendan and his brother in Settlers of Catan. I didn’t want to play, and they made me, and, well…THAT’S WHAT YOU GET, BOYS! (In actuality, I’ve played this with them like 9 times and this is the first time I’ve won. But I’m still going to brag for the next month.)

Here they are being jealous of my board game skillz.

Here they are being jealous of my board game skillz.

Question of the day: What’s your favorite Saturday afternoon activity? 

23 Rules To Live By


I’ve been thinking about my “best life” lately. I keep hearing that term, and I love it because, to me, it insinuates a well-balanced life of healthiness and happiness. It’s a life that’s imperfectly perfect.

Pure happiness!

Pure happiness.

When it comes to my best life:

I like to feel healthy. I like to sweat. I also like to have a beer and nachos and spend a day on the couch every once in awhile. I’m happiest when I’m working toward a goal. When I feel fulfilled, challenged, and am able to enjoy the little things in life. When I’m true to myself. When I’m surrounded by loved ones.

Sometimes this all feels overwhelming. To help myself stay focused, I’ve written out 23 of my favorite tips/guidelines for living a healthy, happy, fit life.

Disclaimer: I don’t follow all of these every single day. Balance is key. The end.

healthy eating

Sundays are for cooking. (And football.) An ounce of preparation (cooking) is worth a pound of prevention (avoiding crap at the deli next door to my office). Or whatever that saying is. Some of my favorite Sunday-preparations:

  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • Trail mix (well, that’s a generous term. I just mix almonds and dried fruit and create four different portions for post-workout commuting)
  • Hummus and carrots in individual portions
  • Lunch for at least 2 days + double check I have ingredients for lunch for the rest of the week

         which brings me to…

Always keep glass storage containers on hand. Because I work away from home, I portion out my lunch in advance. (Leftovers from dinner immediately get put into separate containers!) Plus you can avoid all those toxic chemicals found in plastic.

Eat leafy greens with every meal. Marissa taught me this. Now, I feel like a meal isn’t complete if i don’t include something leafy and green. (I know, I know. Who am I?! She sucked me into her wild ideas!) The boys brought home pizza the other night so I threw some kale on top, making my meal feel a teensy bit more balanced.

Avoid the center of the grocery store. I will typically* only venture in there for spices, frozen veggies, and/or tortilla chips. But that’s about it.


Keep big salad bowls on hand. I got this idea from Corrie Anne. I realized I subconsciously avoided salads at home because my bowls were small and I could fit, like, 2 tomato slices in there with the greens. When I tried to mix it, everything would fall out and make a mess. Now that I have my fancy new stainless steel bowl (with a lid!) I can throw a million veggies in there, shake it up with some olive oil, and viola. Gourmet salad, folks.

Drink hot water with lemon every morning. I always keep fresh lemons on hand so I can wake up with a nice little toasty drink during part one of my commuting triathlon (the drive – the train – the walk). It just FEELS cleansing and lovely and is a nice way to ease into the day.

Sit down for dinner. I try to enjoy my meals at an ACTUAL kitchen table. What a novel idea, I know!

happy life

Carry a water bottle. I bring it everywhere.

Consistently clean out closets. Or drawers. Any space that is clutter-filled. Once a month, I take inventory and ask myself: do I really need this? I’ll donate or toss, as they say in yoga, “what no longer serves me”.

Unsubscribe. When I get an email that I want to auto-delete, I take seven seconds to opt-out.

Find one tiny thing to do every morning that you look forward to. I’m a ritualistic coffee drinker. I don’t drink coffee on my commute…no, no, no. I like to relish it. Once I get to the office and am seated comfortably at my desk, coffee it is. I look forward to that moment.

Always have reading material. “Never trust anyone who has not brought a book with them.” 
― Lemony Snicket, Horseradish: Bitter Truths You Can’t Avoid

Set a “get ready for bed” time. I don’t have to get immediately into bed, but I try to start the process at a specific time every night.

Hug a loved one. Self-explanatory.

Set aside 20 minutes each day for personal/professional development. Or simply “me time”. I’ll do some research on a topic I’m interested in. Read blogs. Reflect on a weakness and focus on improving it. Think about my career and strategic goals.

Spend at least 20 minutes outside. It’s hard in the winter, but I count my time walking to and from the train. Fresh air, people. It works wonders.

Keep all my ducks in a row. I’m obsessed with organization. I rely heavily on my smart phone to aid in productivity.


A few of my million lists.

  • I keep track of noteworthy articles on Pocket.
  • I’ll listen to Coffitivity if I’m having trouble concentrating.

fit lifestyle

Take the stairs. I refuse to ever wait in line for the escalator like people do in NYC (when there are stairs right next to them).

Plan workouts in advance. Schedule them. Follow through. Great for accountability.

Take my pulse every morning before getting out of bed. I keep tabs on the average. If it’s elevated more than 7 beats per second, I’ll take my workout easy (or rest!) that day.

Have an arsenal of at-home workouts…just in case. I love the Sworkit app for those days I can’t get to the gym, or when I need a super-quick sweat sesh.

Keep a goal in mind. Train for something. A new sport. A PR. Challenge a friend to a burpee contest. Find something, anything to work toward and be excited about.

Connect with a workout buddy I can count on. I try to surround myself with people who have similar goals. We motivate each other, especially on those inevitable down days.

We gotta take control our our health. If we take control, no one can stop us.

Everyone is different. What does your best life look like? What are some of your “rules”?

Super Bowl Festivities + 4 Mile Race Recap

If you know me, you know I love sports. All things sports. All day long. My favorite season isn’t summer or spring. It’s football. So with Super Bowl XLVIII being in NEW JERSEY (no, not New York…they’re always trying to steal our thunder!) I was just beside myself with glee this past week. What could be better? Nothing, that’s what. So, I took advantage of everything the Super Bowl had to offer. I’m not trying to brag, but, well…maybe I am. I never do anything this exciting! I got to do some amazing, amazing things this past week. All thanks to Brendan for choosing me to be his +1. (I just hope he forgives me for snapping on Saturday night when I was at the peak of my exhaustion. Sorrrryyyy.) After all this, I think I’m set with social events for the rest of the year. #introvert

I went to a Jets Super Bowl party.

In case you can't tell due to the lack of running clothes, I'm on the right. This is my friend Katherine, who I think is the only real-life friend who reads this. HI KATHERINE!

In case you can’t tell due to the lack of ponytail and running clothes, I’m on the right. This is my friend/Brendan’s bro’s GF (got that?) Katherine, who I think is one of my only real-life friend who reads this. HI KATHERINE!

I went to another Super Bowl party where I saw Zac Brown Band and Foo Fighters. (As a sidenote…why is it so hard to just stand all night? My feet still hurt. My ears are still ringing. Wah I’m old.)

Is this real life?

Is this real life?

Zac Brown Band

Zac Brown Band

Foo Fighters

Foo Fighters

I went to Ashley’s baby shower to celebrate Baby Bun’s pending arrival.

Me and all my internet stranger turned real-life friends. Normal.

Me and all my internet-stranger-turned-real-life-running friends. Love them!

And then, I saw FREAKING BILLY JOEL at Madison Square Garden and it was one of the most fantastic concerts ever. (Unrelated to Super Bowl, but amazing nonetheless.)

I love when you can hear the crowd sing. It’s so powerful. I originally just took this video to send to my parents (Hi Mom & Dad!), but I’m so glad I’ll have it forever.

Now before you X out of this window…I actually did something fitness-related. I ran a 4 mile race.

Mini Race Recap: Pre-Game 4 Miler

It was at 11:30AM on Sunday, which, my friends…is the best thing ever. I know I say that about a lot of things, but it really is. After my late night, I would definitely not have gone if it was any earlier. The starting line was less than a mile from my house, so I ran there (the temperature was a PERFECT 50 degrees!) and back. It was one of those small town races where everyone knows eachother. (Except me, of course.) Still, it was pretty packed.

Gorgeous course, though!

Gorgeous course, though!

I finished in 36:20 which = 9:05/mile. Considering that’s about the pace I’ll have to run to go sub-2 in my May half marathon (Brooklyn Half), well…things are not looking promising, my friends. The pace felt challenging – was it because of the hills and my sheer exhaustion? I SURE HOPE SO. (They said the course had one hill. That was a huge lie. There were lots. And the one hill was massive. I questioned whether I was even moving.) For a hot second I wanted to PR ( pace would have to be 8:42/mile) and my first mile was around 8:40…but it all went downhill from there. (Well, downhill figuratively; uphill literally.) Anyway, I’m super proud that I never gave up. I kept pushing even though I felt gross and out of running shape after eating/drinking crappy stuff all weekend. I was totally uncomfortable and I embraced it! Finally.

So that’s my weekend. Phew. Tell me what you did! Did you watch the Super Bowl? Or were you just in it for the commercials?


Healthy Eating for Dummies

A couple weeks ago, I had my second session with my wellness coach, Marissa Vicario. (See my first post here.) She’s been teaching me how to make positive changes to live a healthier lifestyle – in my case, we’ve been focusing on nutrition and cooking. Until I met her, I literally knew nothing about preparing vegetables. If it wasn’t a head of lettuce or an onion, I probably had no idea what to do with it. If I saw something while shopping and didn’t know what it was, I’d ignore it. If I found a recipe but didn’t know where to find one of the ingredients in the grocery store, I’d skip over it. Hence the name of this post, “Healthy Eating for Dummies”. I’m the dummy.

I had been logging everything I was eating in my food journal and was super nervous to show someone else every little thing I had consumed over the two week timespan. Thankfully, after sharing that I was embarrassed, Marissa put me at ease by reminding me that a) she’s seen it all and b) she didn’t have me do this so she could sit and judge me; but so we could look for patterns together and see where exactly I need to make changes.

So, I handed it over. A few specific things I learned based on my food journal and my personal goals (which we discussed together):

  • I’m a snacker. Instead of eating full meals, I just snack all day long. Whoops. She explained how my body just needs more. When it thinks it’s getting a meal but constantly just gets snacks, that can be damaging. Especially for an athlete! I’m such a tease.
  • I was drinking a “Naked Juice Green Machine” (a bottled smoothie) at least once a week. She told me that this brand is pasteurized and if I want a juice, I need to make sure I find one that’s “raw”…aka NOT pasteurized. Plus, even though it’s called “Green Machine”, this version still has more fruit than vegetables. I already eat a lot of fruit and need to focus on green vegetables, and this really doesn’t help. She gave me a recipe for a homemade green juice to try instead. I need a new blender, because the only thing I didn’t like was the chunky-ish texture.
  • I need to avoid eating bagels. Sad. But true. (It’s just so easy to go downstairs when I’m at work and grab a bacon, egg, and cheese bagel!)
  • I avoid vegetables that I don’t know how to prepare. Kale? Butternut squash? What’s a shallot, anyway? RUN AWAY FROM THE SCARY VEGGIES!

To move forward, we chatted more about my lifestyle. Marissa came up with some basic action-items for me to focus on this month:

goals for healthy eating

As an example, she recommended I try adding swiss chard to one of my favorite dishes, spaghetti squash. I couldn’t find swiss chard in the store the last time I went, but I’ll keep looking!

So, how have I been doing since our very first meeting? It really is a lifestyle change, which takes some time. But so far, so good! A few things I’m loving:

  • Steam basket: I’ve been using my new steam basket to steam EVERYTHING. Veggies, shrimp…I’m hoping to try salmon soon but dang, it’s expensive!
  • Squash: I’ve always stuck with spaghetti squash, but I branched out and bought a butternut squash and some zucchini squash. I’ve been looking through cookbooks and online for recipes. There are millions of options! Side note: isn’t squash a funny word?
  • Kale: I finally bought kale. I tried it raw, steamed, and stir-fried. Loving it. It sounds weird, but I steamed some kale and some shaved brussels sprouts, and threw in some onions, tomatoes, salt, and olive oil…and it’s a delish little salad! Look at me, getting “creative”. Who would have thought.
  • Overall convenience: I always thought cooking took a lot of time and effort; no matter what. But I’m learning it doesn’t have to be like that. For example: Marissa mentioned shaved brussels sprouts, and I figured I’d have to chop them all up myself. In my head that sounds like TOO MUCH WORK. But low and behold, she recommended I go to Trader Joe’s to find them. I did, and I found some in a bag and ready to go! Fab. I’ve been adding them to salads and stir-fries.
  • Frozen vegetables: Speaking of convenience…SO EASY.
  • Cooking in bulk: Marissa’s veggie chili is AWESOME, and a big pot will last few days (which means leftovers for lunch)! This is the only photo I took while cooking it, oops.
Look how colorful!

Look how colorful!

Not only did Marissa leave me with a few printouts on the benefits of greens and different methods for cooking vegetables to make them tastier, but she emailed me a bunch of recipes for snacks like black bean dip and a delicious sauce to pour over the top of vegetables. She also sent me a video on how to handle kale. (Check out all her videos here!)

Overall, I’m feeling really, really good. To be honest, this is easier than I thought it would be. (Having someone to hold you accountable truly helps.) Now, I know what you’re probably thinking…the same thing my always-supportive fiancé Brendan jokingly said when he came home the other night and looked in the refrigerator: “Are you a rabbit now?”.

It may look that way, but as Marissa told me, we’re not supposed to eat perfectly. An 80% “good” and 20% “not-so-good” diet is perfectly fine. I don’t want to deprive myself and go crazy, but I also need to pay more attention to what I put in my body. I mean, come on. I’m still going to eat and drink the things I love, but I also want to take care of myself. I honestly can tell a difference in my energy levels and my recovery time post-workout when I focus on incorporating more green vegetables into my everyday diet.

What vegetables are “staples” in your kitchen? And what’s in your 20%?! (For me, the 20% = ice cream and tortilla chips! Not together. Well, maybe. Depends on how crazy I feel that day.)

Working With A Health Coach

Last week, I finally did something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time.

I met with a health coach.

I met Marissa Vicario, Certified Holistic Health and Wellness Coach and owner of Marissa’s Well-Being and Health, earlier this year Fitness Magazine’s FitBlog NYC event, and I’ve been following her on social media ever since. (Read her story here!) I love her approach to wellness and have always enjoyed reading her tips for a well-balanced lifestyle; mainly that there’s more to nutrition than “what to eat” and “what not to eat”. Wellness truly is a lifestyle!

After I wrote a post about my struggles with fueling while training for endurance events and my goal to focus more on “real” foods, Marissa reached out to me and said something that really resonated with me..that even though I already know what I should be eating, she could help hold me accountable give me tips for making it work with my life. This hit close to home because I’ve been feeling like I really need to make a change, but I simply haven’t been trying hard enough or putting in much of an effort to make that change. I don’t know a lot about cooking and I have a really tight budget, so I kept using those two reasons (among others) to justify why I haven’t been eating so well.

Marissa let me know she would be willing to work with me for a few months in exchange for blogging about my experience, which I’m extremely excited about!

So, we finally set up an appointment to meet in person. Before I arrived I filled out a form detailing my concerns, goals, the types of foods I typically eat now, the types of foods I ate as a kid (that was a tough one!), and a few other health-related questions.

During my first appointment, we discussed my day-to-day activities and what I want to achieve over the next few months. Being totally, completely honest, here are a few things I want to work on:

  • Cooking….using the actual STOVE and OVEN. (Gasp!) Learn new recipes that are quick and and inexpensive.
  • Eat proper meals while still being respectful of my budget.
  • Avoid processed foods. Put more of a focus on incorporating whole, “real” foods. Make healthy eating feel more natural (and sustainable).
  • Lose weight. I just don’t feel like an athlete right now. I know “you can’t out train a bad diet”, and I feel like that’s my problem right now. I exercise often, but I need to fuel my body properly. There’s a fine line when it comes to fueling yourself throughout marathon training while still maintaining or losing weight. How can I expect my body to perform the way I’d like it to when I don’t treat it like I should?

Marissa gave me this adorable little notebook to use as a food log for a couple weeks:

MWAH journal

She’s already won my heart…I LOVE writing in notebooks. I’m that person who still uses a paper calendar. I don’t think I’ll ever use my iPhone’s calendar for scheduling.

All I have to do is write what I eat…I don’t need to change anything or aim for a certain number of calories, I just need to track everything that goes into my mouth. With that being said, I did get a few homework assignments based on our discussion about cooking and making it work with my long commute, workout schedule, and workday away from home:

  • Get a steaming basket. When I get home late and want the easiest option available, steam some vegetables or salmon. All you have to do is throw everything in the basket for a few minutes – can’t get much simpler!
  • Experiment with making lunch my “big meal”.  I’m an evening exerciser, so by the time I get home it’s almost bedtime. Try swapping the traditional big dinner with a bigger lunch and a smaller dinner.
  • Try a green smoothie. Since I have a 45 minute to an hour car ride (BEFORE I get to the train, ugh), I’m going to try making a type of homemade green juice that I can drink in the car. The recipe she gave me includes vegetables and fruits, and should give me a good boost to start my day. (Bonus: it can be made at night, so I can still get those precious extra minutes of sleep in the morning!)
  • Prepare breakfast at night. Along with the juice, she gave me a recipe for a hot breakfast cereal that uses steel cut oats, quinoa, dried fruit, and some spices. It’s meant to be made at night and then reheated the next morning. It sounds so delicious and I can’t wait to try it!
  • Take a simple ingredient like quinoa and try creating simple meals on your own.

It’s been about a week and so far I’ve experimented with adding different vegetables and spices to quinoa, per Marissa’s suggestion. Frozen veggies have become a staple in my freezer – boiling the quinoa and then letting them thaw in the pot is super simple and doesn’t take long at all!

What I’ve learned so far:

  • Holy crap do I eat a lot of sugar! Now, this week has been a little unique because we’ve been doing a bit of celebrating. Celebrating that has involved champagne (which I otherwise never drink) and sweets. I’m so thankful for my generous friends who have come to celebrate Brendan and my engagement and I have no problem indulging a little bit (who can say no to oreo ice cream cake?). But I have noticed that I’ve generally been eating way more sugary foods than I thought. No bueno.
  • Going off that last bullet point…I don’t eat what I think I eat. When I wrote out my list of typical foods, I included salads and chicken and fruit and other healthy-sounding items…which wasn’t a lie…but I’m noticing that I snack on less-than-healthy items more often than not. It’s usually when other people bring those items into my reach. For example, someone brought donuts to our office last week. I haven’t had a donut in years! But I didn’t bring breakfast that morning and I didn’t really have the money to spend on a NYC breakfast, so I had one. At a staff meeting, we had mini-cupcakes to celebrate a birthday.  When I don’t bring food from home or don’t have the money for snacks, I eat stuff like that…which is fine every once in awhile…just not this much! This food journal is really showing me that I’m reaching for the sweets way too often. And most of them aren’t even worth it!
  • I don’t eat on a proper schedule. Sometimes I wait way too long in between meals. Somedays I skip meals and just snack consistently.
  • I always thought I was fairly healthy but when I see it all on paper, I’m just not. Yikes! Very eye-opening.

I can already say that the few suggestions Marissa gave me in our first meeting have been immensely helpful! I’m truly looking forward to working with her over the next few months.

Have you ever worked with a health coach? What’s your favorite easy recipe?

Let’s All Just Be Happy

Recently, I just stumbled upon this eye-opening article:

Millenials and Gen X are the “most stressed-out generations in America

Since moving to the NYC area, I’ve noticed that many companies are asking so much of employees – TOO much. So many of my friends are overworked; working late hours, over the weekend, and are expected to essentially dedicate their lives to their job…and are completely underpaid for it. And it’s expected.

After reading that, I decided I need to spread some happiness. Here we go!

10 Happiest States in America

Is yours a happy state? I was extremely excited to see my home state of Iowa ranked as the 9th happiest state, for reasons like “feeling safe walking alone at night” and “access to clean water”. Iowans also report feeling like they can afford food and shelter. “Iowans are also among the happiest with their work environments, generally feeling that they are satisfied by their jobs, treated well by their bosses, and using their strengths.” Great to see after that last article!

View from my parent's back porch. How can you not be happy here?

Sunrise from my parent’s back porch. How can you not be happy here?

De-Stressing Through Laughter

Perfect article to follow that last one, right?

What Social Media Would Look Like Without the Internet

What could life be like without social media? Take a look!

Life Interrupted: Putting a Positive Spin on Cancer

I’ve been following this column in the New York Times for a few months now; it’s written from the viewpoint of a 20-something’s experiences with leukemia. Sidenote: there’s something you can do to help. Visit (operated by the National Marrow Donor Program) and request a swab kit. If you meet the basic guidelines, you’ll receive a kit in the mail to swab your cheek cells. You send it back and they add you to the registry. If anyone ever needs a bone marrow transplant and you’re a match, you’ll receive a call. Even if you receive a call, you aren’t required to donate. It’s always voluntary.  

Be The Match

Crazy Running Girl: How My Diet Has Changed

I love Lora’s post about how her nutritionist has helped her increase her energy and improve her workouts. Hint: eating new foods and MORE calories has her feeling happier!

And now for another hysterical “goats screaming like humans” video (can’t get enough):

What’s your favorite funny online video? How do you de-stress? Is your state “happy”? Fill me in! Make me laugh!

Cheers to a happy weekend!

Farm House Glam

There’s nothing like a day off. Breakfast cooking on the stove, a hot cup of coffee in your hand, watching your favorite movie. And blogging. And Pinterest-ing. All I need is a Christmas tree in the corner and I’d be feeling extra EXTRA warm and fuzzy.

I took the day off today and am soaking up every little bit of the dreary, cozy morning that I can. At first I was a little bummed that the forecast called for rain on my day out of the office, but I’m loving it right now. I love curling up on the couch and strictly relaxing.

Tried to make steel cut oats with apples and cinnamon. I just ate all the apples.

Relaxing is okay with me today – tomorrow’s schedule involve a 20 mile run with my friend Lauren…my last before Philly!

I met Lauren in TNT while training for my first half marathon in Disney World. (She was doing the Goofy challenge (half on day 1, full on day 2!). We’ve been buddies ever since!

I’m trying to push out my negative thoughts about the long run and how I might feel, so running is just a little bit in the back of my head today. Actually, I’ve been excitedly searching the wonderful world wide web for other blogs. THERE ARE SO MANY OUT THERE! I’ve been immersed in my little fitness/running/wellness world and have been following all sorts of related blogs for over a year now. I’m only now diving into new blogs about different topics – topics that maybe I’m not as obsessed with as I am about running, but that I simply enjoy and want to learn more about.

Excuse me for a moment while I talk about absolutely nothing related to running.

I love reading The Small Things Blog, a creative style blog that really matches my personal style. Not that I have any style…but I’ve found that by reading blogs like this, I’m learning a lot of makeup, hair, clothing, and even decorating tricks! All normal girls things I’m pretty much horrible at. I mean, my style is yoga pants and whatever old clothes I have laying around that look good enough wear to work. I’m too broke these days for real style.

Ironically, although her blog is style-related, the writer just completed a sprint triathlon! I love it when my interests coincide. I had to double check the name of the blog I was reading when I saw the title “Why You Should Try a Tri”. I LOVE IT!

Tri season, come back!

So, in my searching, I also found this amazingly addicting site from HomeGoods called Stylescope. You pick five pictures that “speak to you” from a group of photos. Using your choices, the site picks your home decoration style. It was one of those things I didn’t know until they told me…I had no idea I was “Farm House Glam” but it sounds PERFECT for me!

With a touch of New Country, of course! Whatever that means. 

Midwestern girl meets the city…this is my life story. Farm House Glam. Yes. Now I need to scrounge up the money to make my home as cute and Farm House Glam as I want it to be.

The site then suggests blogs to read that relate to your style. Hooray for more blogs! I even found “A Farm Girl’s Dabbles” and her mouth-watering recipe for Layered Pumpkin Pie in a Jar. I don’t know what it is about reading about other people’s lives, but I love it. It’s probably the same reason as to why I didn’t want to read any Ironman books about professional athletes when I was deciding if I wanted to actually take the plunge and do one myself – I prefer to read about people similar to me; people I can relate to and understand on my level.

If I can read about you in a textbook, I probably can’t relate to you very well…

And no, I promise no one paid me or asked me to write about this!

I’ll probably spend way too much time on Pinterest, looking for fun style items, home decorating ideas, and new running gear. I’m also loving adding to my #FFTech Board, because why wouldn’t I need more technology for running?!

But I’m okay with that today.

Tell me…what are your favorite non-fitness blogs? 

Some of my favorites:

The Small Things

From My Grey Desk

Miss Mustard Seed

Everything Etsy


The Hopeful Demise of the Business Meeting Model

I want to start a movement to shift a specific trend.

A long-standing tradition that forces participants to do one thing I really despise.


You’ve all heard of the “business meeting”, right?

A group of people sitting, sometimes for hours at a time, discussing an event, brainstorming, planning, whatever members of the corporate world do to figuratively increase productivity. Myself included.

Why can’t we shift the trend from lunch meetings to workout meetings instead? Yoga classes. Spinning.  A walk through the park. You can walk and talk right? This is my dream…a sweat-sesh with potential clients instead of an eating-and-sitting-sesh. We aren’t made to sit for long stretches of time. Why do we default to that?

A sweaty tempo run is SO much better, right?

I’ve had about enough of the “sit on a stability ball” and “do calf raises while you’re on the phone” suggestions. While better than nothing, they don’t get to the root of the problem.

Our society is becoming dependent on the computer and the desk. Sitting all day has become the norm. As a girl from Iowa, farming is normal to me. It can be a ROUGH life, let me tell you…but an active one. As a sports management major, sports and exercise are normal to me. Movement has always been my “normal”. My biggest struggle in the corporate world is all the sitting.

First job. See me in the background?! Outdoors, all summer. LOVED this job. Watching Brett sign autographs wasn’t so bad either :)

My second internship. Lots of events. Lots of movement. SO MUCH FUN!

But, I’ve been so lucky thus far.

My new job allows me to go to group practices and races. On Sunday, I’ll be cheering on participants at a Spartan Race – a 5K with obstacles. But for a while, I was turning down any job that involved long periods of time that lacked movement. But why should I have to decline an opportunity to work for a company I love just because I don’t want to sit all day?

Back to my soapbox…

What if we start asking our coworkers or clients to meet for a walk instead of coffee? (I love coffee just as much as the next person. But I love sunshine and getting my blood flowing more.)

Hey, bring it with you if you want!

I would love even more if I could start a FlyWheel corporate spinning session (HOW DO I MAKE THIS HAPPEN) but I’d be happy with a brisk group walk. I’d like to think that the FlyWheel experience would help facilitate bonding between coworkers, even if you don’t get as much talking in. It’s like when you go to happy hour with your work friends…you learn waaay more than you ever would in the office! (Right?!)

Maybe it’s not feasible to do for every meeting – I get that. You can’t collaborate and discuss as well when you’re chatarunga-ing. But I know for certain that some of the meetings on my Outlook calendar can definitely take place in a location other than the conference room.

THE GREAT OUTDOORS!! Okay, maybe you can’t exactly find this in New York City. Central Park is probably your best bet.

The point of my rant is this: we need to focus on the root of the problem. EDUCATION from an early age. Encouraging employees to reap the benefits of a healthy lifestyle. Tradition. “How-things-have-always-been-done.” One thing I hate is when people aren’t susceptive to change because things have been done a certain way “forever”.

You probably can’t change the “Balanced Rock” in North Salem, NY, though. It’s been this way for like, a million years.

Let’s change the way we see things. Create opportunities to add movement into our lives. There are tons of incentive programs out there to encourage exercise, but why don’t we encourage people to want to do it for themselves? Lora’s (Crazy Running Girl) blog today made me think of this: Your body and mind are the most precious things you can own, why wouldn’t you take some extra time to ensure you’re doing what’s best for yourself…and others, for that matter? What’s harder: making fitness a priority in your busy lifestyle – treating it as a non-negotiable activity, like Corrie always says – or living through a string of sickness and disease?

Choose your hard.

I challenge you: suggest a walk meeting instead of a conference room meeting this month. See how it goes. Can you logistically make that change happen? If so, go for it. (Just don’t get fired, please!)Who doesn’t love a little extra sunshine? Besides, how many times have you walked to lunch with coworkers and ended up talking business the whole time anyway? Tell me if it works! 

What’s the Real Problem?

I’ve had enough!

This is my “I’ve had enough” face. I still make it to this day.

I have seen one too many diet pill commercials. One too many 5-Hour Energy commercials and AeroShot “breathable caffeine shot” commercials where the person simply can’t function without their caffeine shot – they need one before work, during that mid-day slump, after work, to get to the gym, to deal with the kids, etc. Why should anyone have to turn to a cocktail of artificial flavors to get them moving? Is it really necessary to inhale caffeine every day? If you want to lose weight, why not try the old-fashioned method of diet and exercise?

Please allow me to extensively explain my personal , non-professional opinion on nutrition, fitness, and PREVENTABLE diseases. I am speaking to no one in particular, just “society” as I’ve been seeing it lately.

The AeroShot website shows pictures of people partying with their little caffeine inhalers and promises to keep you awake after “devouring a bacon double cheeseburger at lunch”. Maybe don’t eat the bacon double cheeseburger at lunch? Just a suggestion. Now, I haven’t been doing any secret scientific studies about the effects of caffeine inhalation, nor do I have any sort of professional experience in the matter. But common sense tells me that there are better ways to treat your body. Even when your job is demanding, the kids are demanding, school is demanding…life is demanding. Take a deep (caffeine free) breath and try and prioritize. Consider what you’re depending upon day in and day out to keep you awake.

Enough with treating the symptom and not the problem!

I get it. I’ve had so many of those days in my life.From boardrooms to business dinners, I’ve spent my fair share of time at the office. There were countless days that I worked past midnight and was back in the office by 7am. With my last job, I had long days outside under the hot sun, long nights enduring freezing cold temperatures, and spent lots of quality time with my desk and computer. I spent precious college summers flying halfway across the country for highly coveted internships. I worked my way up and dove straight into a full-time job following my much anticipated graduation. Even though I’m only “20-something” I am no stranger to that “overworked” feeling. That’s life. Even through the exhaustion I found a part of me that felt smart and motivated.

My point is, I know how much easier (and cheaper) it is to grab some kind of processed snack or heat up a microwavable meal. I know what it feels like to want caffeine to wake up. Companies plan their marketing schemes around people who work, work, work and need a quick and easy solution for whatever they or their family need. But come on, enough already with the quick fixes. Learning (and teaching others) how to live a healthy lifestyle is key.

When you stop taking care of yourself, you’re putting your body at risk. This study discusses how the risk for certain diseases increases when sound nutritional principles are lacking in your diet. This doctor, in a speech titled “Developmental Origins of Chronic Disease” believes that chronic diseases are preventable with a balanced diet, beginning in the womb. This researchers in this study are currently reviewing the health benefits of apples. (They keep the doctor away, right?)

This article about artificial sweeteners even goes so far as to say that artificial sweeteners in “waste water” can interfere with our filtered drinking water, as well as organisms’ feeding habits, affecting the entire food chain. They are worried it will affect the ENTIRE FOOD CHAIN! How scary is that. Let’s save the Earth together, shall we?

And I’ll take my tap water unsweetened, thank you.

Like I said, why don’t we focus on the root of the problem, not the symptom? Runners know; it’s the same thing with an injury – icing and foam rolling and taking NSAIDs all day will help in the short term, but if you have IT band problems, you’re probably gonna have to work on strengthening your glute muscles. Knee problems? Try strengthening those hips! This extends to everyone: if you’re tired, try to get more sleep. Focus on eating nutritious meals. Don’t just drink energy drinks. Exercise. Make the time. Maybe try and involve the crazy kids who are the cause of your sleep deprivation. You know what to do. Take a page from Nike’s book and “Just Do It”. (Sorry I’m not sorry for that cliche.)

The researchers who wrote this paper even concluded that “exercise and physical activity have beneficial effects on depression symptoms that are comparable to those of antidepressant treatments”. But you already know exercise is good for you. Yay exercise. Let’s all be happy.

Wyatt is always happy. And also, I thought you might be bored with all the words, so here is a picture. You’re welcome.

The majority of people reading this already understand the components of a healthy, balanced lifestyle and are way more knowledgeable than I am. It’s just that some of the messages in commercials these days make me want to punch something. Sadly, a lot of people don’t know what’s good and what’s bad when it comes to diet and exercise. They are misinformed about what a solid workout is or just aren’t motivated to follow an exercise program. They think it’s totally normal to inhale caffeine. Again, I’m no scientist, but really?! If you find yourself depending on a caffeine shot every day, I think there’s a problem.

Personally, disease terrifies me; I realize certain problems CAN happen to me if I’m not cognizant, and I’m not “too young to worry about it”.

Perhaps the misinformation is due to conflicting info like this: $29 Billion Reasons to Lie About Cholesterol. (The cholesterol debate is also discussed in a book I recently read called “Real Food” by Nina Planck.) I’ve even heard people call 100-calorie packs of cookies “healthy” just because they are “low-calorie” or “low-fat”. Obviously a low calorie count isn’t synonymous with health, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this statement. “It only has 100 calories, so it’s healthy”. Better than that bacon double cheeseburger, yes, but I’m sorry to say that bag of fat-free potato chips probably isn’t filled with nutrients.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a nutritionist, and my diet isn’t perfectly balanced. I like love candy and I’ll certainly go out for frozen yogurt or eat popcorn at the movies. I don’t even want to tell you what I used to buy for lunch in junior high (pizza and an Oreo brownie, haha). But I take note of what I eat and consciously strive to pick the best option when I can. Maybe I don’t get popcorn AND frozen yogurt in the same week. I can practice self-control (usually). Hooray for moderation!

All in all, it can be hard to know what to believe these days, but being proactive and doing your own research are two ways to get in-the-know. It scares me that people are consuming items they don’t even know to be harmful.

Let’s review. Is it worth the extra effort to find nutritious foods? To make time in your day for exercise? To find more time for sleep?

Is it worth it to spend time fighting a disease that could have possibly been prevented? To worry about your health and spend money on doctor’s visits? Some people have problems they can’t do much about. If you CAN take action to prevent something, wouldn’t you want to?

Consider your priorities.

Don’t eat crap every day. Exercise. Get as much sleep as you can. Everything in moderation. Do your research. Smile, laugh, spend time with family and friends. Be happy. Be healthy.

Running Confessions

I have a confession to make.

It’s Saturday morning. Saturday morning during training season when thousands of runners are up before the sun, pounding the pavement in their Brooks or Asics or Nikes, eating miles for breakfast. And then going out for actual breakfast in still-sweaty running clothes, if you’re like my friends and I.

(That’s not the confession – almost there…)

There’s nothing like a Saturday long run, in my opinion. Waking up, already in your running clothes (umm does anyone else do that?) and heading out the door.  Whether you go solo toward your favorite path, meet up with other run-obsessed friends, run while your Dad rides alongside on his bike (Hi Dad!) or however you may choose to get your sweat on, it’s a fabulous feeling to be out there on a mission, reveling in the idea that by the time you’re done with your 16, 18, 20 miles, the majority of people will be sleepily rolling out of bed.

Here’s my confession:

I’m totally fine with the fact that I’m not out there right now.

I know, I know.  I’m Ms. “I’m so sad I’m injured I want to run I want to run I want to run all the time blah bah blah”.

But I was feeling pretty content to stay warm in bed and watch the snow fall when I woke up this morning. Don’t judge.

Today, I’m content sitting here with my cup of coffee. Today, I’m okay with being cozy inside as the snow is falling outside, even though it’s an easy option and I’m not typically satisfied with taking the easy route. I may not be able to run, but the gym is waiting for me and I’m excited to pay it a visit.

I know that sometimes the hardest part is actually getting out there. I know that if I was running right now, even if it was one of those days where my legs felt like lead and I could barely summon the motivation to keep moving, I would still be thankful to be out there.

Today, I’m remembering that “long run” feeling fondly; similar to when I think of my faraway friends that I just can’t afford to visit quite yet – but know I will get there eventually…or another analogy that sounds better. You get the idea.

Don’t think I’ll be content in this situation forever, though. Today I am, because I know my body still needs time to recover from an injury. I’m confident that I’ll be out there training on my favorite trails and sidewalks soon enough.

I’ll be at another expo soon enough.

I’ll be at another starting line soon enough.

I’ll be at another finish line soon enough.

Don’t get me wrong; if you’ve visited my blog more than once, you know I’m antsy about getting back to running.  Staying content is only okay for so long  – I  know that I need to get out of my comfort zone and push myself to be a better, stronger runner.

It’s taking all my willpower to not automatically sign up for every Spring/Summer race that NYRR opens registration for on Monday. But I’m liking the time I’m able to spend getting stronger and trying out new ways to get sweaty, which in turn will hopefully prevent future injuries that sideline me from running.

I can’t wait for that day. But for now, I’m surprisingly content.

Because it’s snowing, I will leave you with a picture of Wyatt the Dog in the snow. (From 3 years ago – we barely have any right now).

Wyatt is happy. He loves snow.

How are you workin’ on your fitness this weekend? Did you get up and crush the streets or are you heading to the gym like me?

Have a great weekend, friends! Cheers!

Tell Me a Little About Yourself!

In case you missed it (in which case, please tell me how you blocked out the entire world for the last 24 hours), the Giants won the Super Bowl yesterday. I wore my Jets jersey for the duration of the game.

Alright, so this picture isn't even from last night. But I wanted to show off my lovely Shonn Greene jersey. My fav.

Every time I walked outside I was heckled for wearing the wrong colors, but I was okay with that. I’ve deemed it acceptable to show support for a non-affiliated team if you simply don’t like either contender in the big game. But, congrats are still in order for the Giants. Great game!

So today, I was sitting in my post-Super Bowl daze/food coma, feeling too lazy to attempt to think of something to write about, when one of my favorite bloggers, Abby, “tagged” me with some fun questions to answer. Viola, a topic! Plus, I love “filling out forms” (if a list of questions counts as a form. I say yes).

The first thing on the agenda is write a list of 11 random facts about me. Next, I’ll answer the 11 questions from Abby. Lastly, I need to tag 11 other bloggers to answer some questions I’ve chosen for them.

The Rules:

  1. Post these rules.
  2. You must post 11 random things about yourself.
  3. Answer the questions set for you in their post.
  4. Create 11 new questions for the people you tag to answer.
  5. Go to their blog and tell them you’ve tagged them.
  6. No stuff in the tagging section like “you are tagged if you are reading this”. You (the blogger) legitimately have to tag 11 (or so) people.

11 Random Things About Me:

1. I’ve resided in 7 different states. The year I graduated from college I lived in 5 different states because of jobs and internships. (Taxes were not fun that year.) I moved to New York alone, without knowing a single person.

2.  My favorite holiday is the 4th of July.

3. I enjoy cleaning. I clean for fun. Yes, I’m serious.

4. I’ve worked with two professional football teams; the Kansas City Chiefs and the New York Jets.

5. I have a 14 year old niece.

6. Too much coffee makes me tired.

7. I eat an apple with peanut butter pretty much every single day.

8. I love reading – I read everything from fiction novels to  anatomy and physiology books – I’m extremely interested in the human body and the mechanics of exercise!

9. I joined the track and field team in junior high and have been consistently running ever since. (I also tried the long jump for one season but that didn’t work out so well.)

10. My friends out here on the East Coast  created a nickname for me: “Weige”.  Although the proper name for those of us who hail from Iowa is “Iowan”, they think Iowegian (like Norwegian) is funnier. And so, “Weige” was created. It makes me laugh every time.

11. I listen to the Elvis Duran Show on the radio every single morning. I seriously can’t get enough of them. Hysterical.

11 Questions from Abby:

  1. What was your best race (for whatever reason)? The Rutgers Half-Marathon in 2010; I PRed by 23 minutes and it was the first long race where I really pushed myself out of my comfort zone.
  2. What is your favorite place to go for retail therapy? Nordstrom – you can get anything there!
  3. What is your favorite color? Blue
  4. If you could go anywhere for a vacation, where would you go? Greece
  5. Best piece of advice you ever received? Well, he didn’t actually call me up and tell me this, but the wise Zac Brown once sang, “save your strength for things that you can change, forgive the ones you can’t, you gotta let ’em go“. I love that.
  6. What would your friends say is your most redeeming quality? One of my closest friends recently told me she thinks I’m brave and kind. I thought that was one of the nicest things to say.
  7. How did you start blogging? For my first marathon, I just wanted to finish. When I started to train for my second, I wanted to get faster. I started incorporating variety into my training. I used the internet as a resource and was amazed by all the motivational running/healthy living blogs. I love following other runners and their stories, so I began blogging myself to become more involved in the network  and to seek advice and support from the running community. It also helps me track my progress. I’m so thankful to have found something that I look forward to doing each day!
  8. Twitter or Facebook? Twitter for blogging purposes, Facebook for keeping up with family and friends (there is such an abundance of social media! I’m just now learning about Pinterest.)
  9. What is your pre-race ritual? I always make sure to lay out my clothes and pin my bib# on the night before. I can’t think of anything unusual I do the morning of a race...
  10. Woody Allen movies: Yay or Nay? I’m embarrassed to admit I had to Google him just now – I’ve heard the name but wasn’t exactly sure who he is. I’m still not sure. Therefore, I don’t really have an opinion!
  11. Favorite book you’ve read in the last few years. This one is hard. I read a lot. The book Firefly Lane by Kristen Hannah is the last one I remember reading and being totally consumed by. I also love A Race Like No Other by Liz Robbins. I would say it’s a must-read for anyone running the NYC Marathon.

11 questions for my fellow bloggers:

1. What is your favorite fitness-related piece of advice?

2. Favorite musical artist?

3. What’s the most challenging race you’ve ever run (could be the actual course, the mental aspect of it, etc…any reason at all)?

4. Best vacation you’ve ever taken?

5. What’s your go-to dinner recipe?

6. Name a non-fitness related hobby (or two!).

7. Favorite fitness accessory?

8. What’s your dream race? What event would you sign up for if money/ability/travel/time etc weren’t factors?

9. Who motivates and inspires you most?

10. Name a goal you have for 2012.

11. Favorite funny YouTube clip: Go!

Your turn! I wanna get to know ya’.  Leave an answer (or two or three) in the comments section and feel free to tag your favorite bloggers as well.

Why Running Isn’t Bad For You

Today’s daily news email from Runner’s World  discusses a topic I hear mentioned a lot.

The subject: Does Running Cause ‘Irreparable Damage’?

Anyone who runs has probably heard these sentiments from well-meaning friends countless times:

“Running is bad for your knees”

“Running is hard on your joints”

“You won’t be able to walk when you’re old”

“You shouldn’t run so much, it’s not healthy”

“You shouldn’t run so far, it’s not healthy”

“You’re obviously injured because running is bad for you, not because you weren’t smart about it

Basically, the Sports Doc states what most runners already know…there is no solid research to support that running causes damage to knees.

Running isn’t bad for you. It’s how you participate that determines whether you hurt yourself.

If you don’t take care of yourself  (“pre-hab” is my favorite term!), you might get injured. If you don’t take care of an injury, you might have problems down the road. If you don’t pay attention to body signals, don’t warm-up, don’t rest, don’t strengthen, you might get hurt. IF YOU DON’T do these things…you might have problems.

Like any sport: this article in the New York Times discusses “How Yoga Can Wreck Your Body”.

It basically says that if you do it wrong, you can hurt yourself. But, again, that’s relevant to any sport, running included. If you try to do something (especially exercise related) and you don’t have proper guidance, form, strength, etc…yes, it’s risky.

It’s easy for someone, even a doctor, to tell you to stop running. Oftentimes it’s the first thing you’re told to stop doing if you have any sort of issue. Yes, rest is good. Rehab is good. Doctors are ridiculously smart. But when someone goes so far as to automatically say “stop running FOREVER” without looking deeper into the situation, I don’t like that.

Just because I want to run in rain or in snow, early in the morning or late at night, long distances, on a Saturday morning, on vacation, when I don’t really “want” to but do because I’m training,  in cold weather, or during happy hour (not at all the same time, ha!) doesn’t mean I’m crazy, insane, “addicted to exercise” or mentally unstable.  I’m just passionate. I know when to rest and when to push myself.

Just because we make people take pictures of us fake running doesn't mean we're crazy...right?

Try reading this article regarding research that’s been done on this very topic. Dr. Chang thinks running can help make cartilage stronger:

“Jonathan Chang, an orthopedic surgeon in Alhambra, Calif., says that exercise appears to stimulate cartilage to repair to minor damage. It could be that the impact of body weight when the foot hits the ground increases production of certain proteins in the cartilage that make it stronger, he says. This is similar to the way exercise, in particular weight-bearing exercise like jogging, increases bone and muscle mass.”

Or, for another bloggers opinion, I love this post from The Runner’s Kitchen.

I will leave you with these lovely YouTube clips:

What Runners Say

I’m a Runner

I am a runner. It is fun.


Has anyone told you to stop running? Do people comment on your running habits? Have your knees fallen off yet? Tell me!

No Finish Line

I found this online the message!

LOVE this message – exercise and health should be a lifestyle; something you can maintain and something that makes you happy. I personally strive to gain knowledge about nutrition, fitness, and physiology and use that to better myself.

So many people try to attain “health” in ways they simply can’t keep up forever; in ways that negativly effect the body. 

Aim to reach a healthy lifestyle.

All things in moderation.

It’s okay to “indulge” sometimes, just not all the time. Don’t deprive yourself of things you REALLY want.

I’ve learned not to overexert myself by alternating exercising to exhaustion and not staying active at all/getting injured. Stay healthy, active, and work toward a lifestyle that you can maintain. Time will pass regardless…make the most of your time by doing it right!