Thinking Out Loud

Today, I am linking up with Amanda at Running with Spoons for my first ever Thinking Out Loud Thursday.

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As a new blogger trying to figure out what I like to write about, this is perfect. I love reading these posts from other bloggers (Becky at Olives n Wine usually jumps in, and sometimes Morganne at Nut Butter Runner and Amy at The Little Honey Bee do, too), and this will give me a chance to try out a bunch of random ideas and see what flows the best.

So, the things I’m thinking (in no particular order);

  • Country music is really working for me right now. I used to hate it, but ever since spending a summer in Tulsa a couple of years ago, I’ve gotten more and more into it. I eased myself in with some pop country, like Lady Antebellum and Taylor Swift, but it wasn’t until Luke Bryan that I truly considered myself a country fan. “Drunk on You” will always bring me back to those fun nights in Tulsa with a group of random college kids from around the country. Currently jamming to “Play It Again” basically all the time. It also doesn’t hurt that he’s gorgeous.
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  • But I don’t like listening to country  music while I run. Maybe it’s all the talk about drinking, which, as I hope you know, don’t mix very well.
  • Songza has been saving my butt recently on my runs. If you haven’t checked out Songza yet, you need to. It’s a free app on the iPhone, and they have the best playlists. I’m super lame and prefer most of the Today’s Pop stations (ranging from Today’s Teen Pop to Today’s Soft Pop to Today’s Happy Pop), but if you have a more eclectic taste, they’ve got some crazy stuff for you, too.
  • Songza powered me through a pretty decent treadmill run today. I got in 6 miles, 2 at goal marathon pace, and the Drop a Beat workout helped it go a little bit faster.
  • I didn’t feel great on my run, mostly because I ate way too much sugar at our weekly PD meeting. So many treats! In the moment, it’s easy to say “Wednesdays don’t count” (since that’s when our weekly snack sessions are), but I know that everything “counts.” I’m starting to seriously consider some sort of sugar craving detox. I know Laura at Mommy Run Fast hosts one, but I just can’t get myself to commit to going without chocolate, even though I know I eat waaaayyy too much of it.
  • So many books turned into movies happening this year. The Fault in Our Stars trailer came out today and OH MY GOD, WAS IT PERFECT 
  • (side thought: I re read a couple of my posts and realized that I overuse all caps and exclamation points. I’m trying to calm down because I’m not an overly peppy person. But TFIOS deserves all the caps all the time. Please watch the trailer, and if you haven’t read the book, do nothing else until you have. John Green is a god.)
  • Speaking of John Green being a God, he is one of my favorite quote masters. I love quotes. I have a bunch of them tacked up on my bulletin board from books. Some of them I like for obvious reasons. Some of them I don’t really understand, but for whatever reason, I keep going back to them. Always looking to collect some good quotes.
  • Here’s a great one from John Green: “True love will triumph in the end, which may or may not be true. But if it’s a lie, it’s the most beautiful lie we have.”
  • And what better way to end than that? I mean, seriously, I can’t beat it. Hopefully, I was able to reel in my abuse of exclamation points and all caps. Thanks for reading!

What are you thinking this Thursday?

Recent Reads – January

I LOVE to read. I’ve been on Goodreads for 4 years (be my friend!!), and I only wish I had had it as a kid so I could see what kinds of things I liked to read back in the day. Since 2012, I’ve set a goal for how many books I want to read in a year.

This year, my goal is 80 books. My plan is to do a recap of all the books I’ve read at the end of every month. Some reviews will be short, some longer, and sometimes I might love a book so much that I have to post about it before the end of the month. But for now, that’s the plan.

I’m a very eclectic reader. I love YA fiction (the Sloppy Firsts series by Meg McCafferty will always be my favorite), but I also really enjoy reading nonfiction, memoirs, and books about education.

Here are the first books I read in 2014:

Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend by Matthew Dicks

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I had high hopes for this one. It was told from the perspective of an imaginary friend, who are real and alive as long as their child friend still believes in them. The narrator was an “old” imaginary friend. His child friend is on the autism spectrum, so he had trouble making human friends. The premise was so adorable, but I think the plot line got a little too weird at the end. I think it would have been better done as a simple, poignant narrative. I think the author tried too hard to make it like Room by Emma Donahue (great book). So not my favorite, but not bad.

Taking Chances by Molly McAdams

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Ugh, I HATED this book. I don’t know why I made myself finish it. It was super on sale as a nook book, and it sounded like a typical YA book, so I decided to check it out. My $2.99 would have been better spent elsewhere. Not only was the story totally absurd (it involved the weirdest love triangle), but there were typos. Like, comma splice typos. Yuck.

Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg

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I think almost everyone has heard of this book. I felt like I needed to read it as a feminist and a working woman (even though I work in a female-dominated field). I thought it was OK. I think it would have probably been eye-opening for someone who hadn’t done a lot of research or work with feminism. I also think I might relate to it more later on in my career, especially when/if I try to balance a family with work.

The Realm of Possibility by David Levithan

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LOVED this one. It’s written in poem/vignette form, and oh my god was it beautiful. It’s told from a bunch of different perspectives, which makes the plot kind of confusing. But honestly, the plot is totally irrelevant. I just love reading about high schoolers falling in love. It reminds me of being 17; emotional, confused, optimistic, and hopeful. And David Levithan is just one of the best writers out there. This is one I’ll definitely be going back to. I bought it as an eBook, but I wish I had it in hard copy. I would do some serious underlining.

This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith

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Jennifer E. Smith wrote one of my favorite YA books of recent memory (The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight), so I was pumped to read her new book. While it wasn’t as good as Statistical Probability, it was still a cute, lovely, easy read. I liked the two main characters a lot, and I was really invested in their relationship. She’s another one with a knack for writing teenagers super realistically.

Tangled by Emma Chase

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Blech. Another one on sale for Nooks (note to self: when nook books are seriously discounted, there’s probably a reason). Also, I guess I should have known from the cover. I had never really read any adult romance books, so I thought I’d give one a try. Can’t say I’ll be heading back to that genre any time soon. This one was told from the perspective of the guy, and it just felt really stereotypical and forced. Not my thing.

Reign of Error by Diane Ravitch

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This book was great. If you are at all interested in public education or education reform, you have to check this out. Ravitch does a great job of summarizing all of the arguments for and against different reform efforts. While some of it was hard for me to read (Ravitch slams most charter schools, and I happen to work for a charter), I think she did a great job of being balanced, honest, and fact-based. This is one I will go back to again and again, for sure.

Happier at Home by Gretchen Rubin

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I read Rubin’s The Happiness Project for book club in January. I enjoyed the suggestions for resolutions, and I really loved the idea that we are in control of our own happiness (outside of things like depression). Happier at Home had some more great suggestions. I feel motivated to come up with different resolutions every month. Resolutions are fun! There’s no reason they should only be made or used in January.

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simon

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Super cute. The plot line of this book was only so-so, but the narrator was awesome. He has Asperger’s or some form of autism which is never directly alluded to, but it was so cool to read through the eyes of someone who thinks so differently than I do. I would definitely recommend this one to people.

Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt

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I started this one on Monday, so I probably won’t actually finish it by the end of January. One of my professors gave me McCourt’s Teacher Man as a graduation gift, so I’ve been looking to read more of him ever since. This is his memoir, which won the Pulitzer Prize, and I can see why so far. It’s beautifully written, so so sad, but also very thoughtful.

What have you been reading? Any recommendations?

 

Race Plans (and dreams!)

I’ve never really planned out races for the year before. Last year was my first full calendar year running completely on my own. Up until then, most of my races were on my high school or college cross-country and track schedule.

It’s fun to plan on my own! It’s also more expensive, of course, which is why some of these might be dreams for the year. But hey, if they’re on my radar, maybe they’ll happen!

March 9 – Ocean’s Run Half in South Kingstown, RI

This one would be perfect timing! I have 13 miles on my schedule for marathon training that week, and it would be great to see if I’m on track to hit my 3:45 marathon goal at that point in my training. I’m holding off on registering, but I’m really hoping to do this one.

March 30 – Eastern States 20 miler starting in Portsmouth, NH and ending in Salisbury, MA

Another perfectly timed race for my marathon training! I think I have 22 miles on the docket for that Sunday, but I could easily do a 2-mile warm up before starting this race. I just found out about this one, and I REALLY want to register, but cost might be a factor.

April 27 – Spring Classic 5K in Cambridge, MA

This one actually isn’t great timing, but it’s on my birthday, and my whole family might do it together! How fun would that be?? I would probably do my last long run before my marathon on Saturday and use this Sunday as just an easy shake out day.

May 4 – Cox Providence Marathon in Providence, RI

This is my goal race for the spring! It’s the only thing I’m already registered for. My A goal: under 3:45. B goal: under 3:50. C goal: under 4 hours. I’ve only run one marathon before, and while I’ll have to PR by a lot to hit my goals, this course is pretty flat. The course I ran last year was basically through the mountains of Vermont. I’m also following a more structured training plan. I’m super psyched for this!

May 25 – Boston’s Run to Remember Half marathon in Boston, MA

This is a great half! I’ve done it once before. I wasn’t planning on doing this one. This will be my mom’s first half marathon, and my sister was supposed to run it, but we realized right after she registered that it’s the day after her graduation. Needless to say, she will not be in any state to run 13.1 miles on Sunday morning 🙂 So I’ll take her number and run with my mom! There won’t be any time pressure on me, which is good because I’ll just be coming out of marathon recovery.

June 8th – The Heartbreak Hill Half in Newton, MA

This one probably won’t happen, but how cool!! It’s right near my apartment, it’s hosted by Runner’s World, and it’s probably just going to be an awesome weekend. I wouldn’t be able to go for a PR (too close to marathon training), but it’s still on my wish list!

October 5th – Leaf Peepers Half in Waterbury, VT

A fall foliage half!! How cool! I think this would be a fun target fall race.

November – Philadelphia Marathon in Philadelphia, PA

Maybe an F&M reunion?? Who knows! If my spring marathon goes well and travel works out, this might be the race where I go for a Boston qualifying time. Dream big, right?

Thanksgiving – The Gobble Wobble in Southboro, MA

This race will always have a very special place in my heart. Love running it every Thanksgiving with my family! This past year, I ran my fastest 5K time in a while. If I end up running the Philly full, I have a feeling I’d be hobbling through the 5K this year, but I know I would still love it.

So that’s obviously A LOT of races. I know I won’t be able to do all of them, but hopefully lots of them will fall into place. And I’ll probably add something in the summer, but I don’t want to worry about running a longer race in super humid yuckiness. Maybe I’ll look into an 8K or a 10K since I don’t have any of those on my wishlist.

What races are you signed up for? Will I see you at any of these? Anything I should consider adding to my list?

Weekly Eats and Workouts

Happy Sunday, friends! I hope you are enjoying the last of your weekend.

My day yesterday was relatively relaxed. After lunch, I walked to the library to pick up some new books (Great ExpectationsThis LullabySaturday, and Angela’s Ashes if you were wondering!), and then I went with my siblings and my dad to the BU hockey game. We had bought my dad the tickets for Christmas, and after waffling a little bit about whether or not we should go, we decided to head in. So glad we did! The rink was so small compared to TD Garden, so we could really see the game. We also had quite a few beers between the 4 of us, which is always a good time. Here’s a lovely selfie of the sibs that we snapped at the game.Image

I was EXHAUSTED after the game. I hadn’t slept well the night before, and all I wanted to do was crash. After finishing of some ice cream, of course 🙂 Thanks Em!!

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Today was my day to prep for the week. I got in my 12 mile long run, but I wimped out and did it on the treadmill. I just couldn’t get myself bundled up, knowing that I would be in the sub-zero temperatures for close to 2 hours. So I did 12 on the treadmill in 1:47, a little bit under 9 minute pace. 

Then I made a quick lunch with some leftovers: half a sweet potato, corn, red onion, kale, salsa, a hard-boiled egg, and some avocado. I love having a stove to make lunch on the weekends!

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I then made the trek to Trader Joe’s on Boylston Street in Boston. Not having a car was actually good for my budget! I knew I couldn’t buy more than I could carry, so I had to be more careful. Always good!

Then it was time for Sunday food prep! I’m always inspired by Lindsay’s posts, but mine are a little less intense. Here’s what I made:

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Gabby’s 2-ingredient sweet potato bites

Amanda’s soft and chewy protein granola bars

Green beans

Quinoa

Black beans

2 weeks ago, I made Jenna’s lentil and sweet potato soup and froze half, so I have that for dinners. I also have some frozen soup I made in the crock pot using Ashley’s 10 easy crock pot steps. Hooray!

Meal plan for the week:

Breakfast

Oatmeal, with some combination of banana, raisins, peanut butter, and shredded carrots as toppings

Green smoothies

Lunch

Quinoa, black bean, veggie combo

Egg white scrambles with lots of veggies

Dinner

Leftover soup with avocado and cheese added in

Snacks

Sweet potato bites

Yogurt

Granola bars

Baby carrots with hummus

Workouts:

Monday – 5 mile run

Tuesday – 3 mile run

Wednesday – 6 mile run with 2 miles at goal marathon pace

Thursday – 3 miles easy

Friday – rest (maybe squeeze in a Runner’s World Yoga video when I get home)

Saturday – 5 miles easy; bodyweight strength training

Sunday – 14 miles LSD

 

That’s the plan! Tomorrow, I’m going to meet with the mechanic to start the process of dealing with my car. I honestly don’t really know what I’m hoping for. I’ll just have to see how it goes! 

Hope you all have a great week!

Running + Pancakes = Best Stress Relief

I did not sleep well last night after being a little stressed from my accident, so I was up and at em at 5:30. A little delusional, but totally awake. 

I had a 5 mile easy run on the schedule for Marathon #2 training, and since today was supposed to be “warm” (real feel of 4 degrees! That’s above 0, wahoo!!) I ran outside. Here are the layers I wore on top. Clearly, I have no brand loyalty when it comes to cold weather gear. Sporting some Brooks, Asics, Nike, and Under Armor. (and who could forget my Target brand socks poking out at the bottom)

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Confession: these are ALL the cold weather running tops I have. I have a 12 mile run on the schedule tomorrow, and our washing machine is broken. I may have hung these over a chair in my room. I didn’t sweat THAT much…

 

On a less disgusting and slightly more sophisticated note, I’ve been loving listening to podcasts on my outdoor runs lately. The reflective Brooks jacket has been my go-to since I’ve been doing a lot of pre 5 AM dark runs, and it has a pocket right on the front of the chest (which kind of gives my square boob, but life could be worse). I’ve been cranking the volume on my iPhone, slipping it in that pocket, and listening to This American Life and TED Radio Hour (both from NPR). They’re great because I feel like I learn something, but I can also zone in and out as my brain decides. I think they’d both be great shows for walking to and from class or work or for bus rides (which, lets be real, might become my new thing since the Yaris is on life support). 

I was STARVING when I got back, so I whipped up a slightly modified batch of Julie’s Egg White and Oatmeal Pancakes. I don’t add any Stevia or sweetener to the mix, mostly because I don’t have any. I wish I could say it was because I’m trying to be healthier, but I think the addition of syrup to the finished product may have negated that a little bit 🙂 Seriously, though, these pancakes are amazing. Pancakes are one of my favorite things, but eating the real kind always makes me feel so gross for the rest of the day. These have protein to keep me full, and they make the perfect serving for one person! They’re my go-to weekend breakfast, especially after a run. I top mine with peanut butter and syrup (because what pancakes without syrup??? Blasphemy, that’s what.)

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I also had 2 GIANT mugs of green tea. It’s chilly out there!

The rest of my Saturday will be spent doing some blogging research, trying to figure out how I’ll get to and from work next week, and drinking lots and lots of tea! 

What are your plans for Saturday?

Any resources to recommend for new-to-blogging people like me?

Do you struggle with brand loyalty when it comes to cold weather gear?

Any fun songs or cute clips to keep the stress levels at bay?

When the car gets smooshed…

And by gets smooshed, I mean when I rear end someone and do the smooshing. Whoops. Not quite the way I wanted to end my week.

The good news is everyone involved is OK (unless you can’t my frozen toes which almost fell off as I stood on the median on the Mass Pike waiting for the cops, but alas). Everyone’s got to have their first accident at some point, right? Cross your fingers for me that the Yaris comes out alive. It didn’t look good when it slunk away on the tow truck.

In an effort to be optimistic: the cop was super nice. We bonded over our depression that the Patriots are no longer in the playoffs. The tow truck guy was also pretty chill. I managed to get home all by myself from the mechanic shop! And I only slightly binged on chocolate in an effort to bring down my anxiety level. 

I did cry a little bit, but not until I got home, which is a HUGE accomplishment for me. And I feel like I can partially blame it on the sob-fest that was Parenthood this week. (Side note: not coming back until February 27? What is it with all of my TV shows?? How am I supposed to make it through February???)

My family was also so so nice. No one said “I told you so” or “you should be more careful.” It was all “accidents happen” and “you’ll be OK.” I’m super cranky with myself, but I do know it could have been a lot worse, and I’m lucky that the only damage was to my car. Things will work out. 

Hope everyone else had a slightly more relaxing Friday night! I’m excited to get out tomorrow morning for a run before calling the mechanic. Here’s to hoping the car makes it out alive!! 

Treadmill Tell-All!

I saw this fun – or lame, depending on who you ask 😉 – survey on Run With Jess’s blog today

I’ve actually never really been a treadmill hater, which I think is kind of shocking to most runners. But I think I suffered so much in high school and college when the treadmill was NEVER AN OPTION, regardless of weather, that it seems like a nice littler perk to me now! So here are my thoughts on the treadmill. Since obviously you were wondering.

1. What’s your favorite workout to do on a treadmill?

Ummm, just running? Sometimes I do a 3-2 workout, so 3 minutes faster/up tempo and 2 minutes a little slower. It helps break up the time, but I’m also pretty good at just zoning out and cruising for a while.

 

2. How many miles, on average, do you run on the mill each week? 

Right now, about half of them. I’m just starting the training plan for my second marathon, and I’m right around 30 miles a week. I’d say 15-18 of those are on the treadmill. I really don’t have many other options. I leave for school at 6:15am and don’t leave the building until 6:15 pm, so I have no daylight, and with temperatures sub-zero even with the sun, running in the cold is not appealing. So I hit the treadmill right after school most days of the week.

 

 3. What was the most mileage you’ve ever completed on the mill in one workout? When? Why?

I did 12 once during my last marathon training cycle. It was raining, I was a wimp, and I was watching Live with Regis and Kelly (you know, in the days before Michael).

 

4. Do you mill at home, the gym or both?

Just at the gym. I’d love to have one at home someday!

 

5. What distractions or entertainment (if any) do you use to help pass the time?

Music! I don’t listen to music when I run outside. My dad has me convinced that I’ll get hit by a car, kidnapped, and break my eardrums all at the same time if I run outside with headphones. But on the treadmill, I love it! The drop a beat workout on Spotify is my go-to. And if the treadmill has a TV, I usually put SportsCenter on just to have something to look at.

 

6. If you have a treadmill at home, what kind is it? How old is it? 

I don’t!

 

7. Do you fuel any differently for a treadmill workout than an outside one? 

Nope. I don’t like to eat or drink while running unless I’m well over 10 miles, and I rarely do that on the treadmill anyway.

 

8. Any treadmill mishaps to report? 

No! (Although now I feel the need to knock on wood.)

 

9. Do you mill at incline to compensate for not being outside? 

NO! This is actually one of my biggest pet peeves. I actually think it’s way harder to run on the treadmill! I’ve never understood why everyone says it’s easier. My paces are way faster outside without trying. Inclines just make me feel bad about myself. 

 

10. Describe your perfect (if there is such an animal) treadmill conditions: 

I would love to have a BIG GIANT TV right in front of it with all my favorite shows on demand. And movies. I’ve seen people post about movie room at their gyms, and I just think that is the coolest! I gotta find me one of those. 

 

On a non-running related note, here is the clip of JUST MINDY AND DANNY MAKING OUT. Sorry if you haven’t seen it yet, but seriously, it’s Thursday. Get it together. This is what I’ll be watching daily until April 1. Sighhhhh.