Tuesday, December 27, 2011

It's Time for a Makeover!

No, not for me.  I'm not even going to go there with this blog.  It's not about hair or clothes or makeup.  It's about healthy living, which comes in all different packages.  Whether you choose to wear makeup and buy the latest fashions, or whether you go au naturel and still wear the same shirts that you bought five years ago at Target (OK, I'll admit it...I'm talking about myself here), you do these things because they make you feel good, and I'm not about to diminish what works for you through my random blog posts.  So, if you have come to this blog for fashion advice or the latest makeup tips, you should probably look elsewhere.  But, if you are interested in healthy living, in all its forms, then stay and enjoy the reading.  There's something for everyone in these posts.

So, who's getting a makeover then?  The blog!  I have been writing this little blog for six months, and it's time to take it to the next level.  I'm not ready to play in the big leagues, but I am ready to put more energy and effort into making this blog both aesthetically and intellectually stimulating.  So, over the next few weeks, I will be changing the design, adding more photos and writing more.  I plan to cover a variety of topics related to healthy living, and I'm really excited.  I have about 2 dozen blog posts swirling around in my head, and more are being added each day.  What can I say, it's what I think about when I'm running.  So, that's what's in store for this blog.  Stay tuned!

Friday, December 23, 2011

That's my girl!

Amelia has been taking karate since the end of the summer, and she LOVES it!  I love that she loves it because I think it is a great activity for her to be involved in.  It teaches her self-confidence, self-control, respect, and compassion.  Plus, it gives her the skills to protect herself if she is ever faced with a situation that requires such skills.  Today, she took her test to advance to the next level, and she passed!  She's now a yellow belt.  I'm so proud of her.  She is determined to make it to black belt some day, and I'm confident that she will.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Be Here Now

In the chaos of the holiday season, it's easy to get stressed and rushed and feel like everything is a hassle.  There are facebook and blog posts complaining about how hectic everything is, and how much still needs to be done to get ready for the holidays.  In the stores, people are trying to buy last minute gifts and everyone seems rushed and on edge.  I get it.  I feel the pressure of the holidays as well, and I have been known to fixate on how much needs to be done in the weeks leading up to Christmas (the holiday my family celebrates) to the point that I just feel stressed and anxious.  In the past, I worried so much about everything being perfect that I failed to see the beauty of the season.  I think that's a problem many of us have.

This year, I have been conscious of my stress levels and vowed to relax and let the season unfold as it will.  I remind myself each day that it's the whole season, not just one day that makes it so wonderful.  It's the random Sunday afternoons watching Christmas movies with my kids, camped out on the living room floor with big bowls of popcorn (with Bragg's amino acids and nutritional yeast...try's amazing!).  It's the pleasure of finding gifts for friends and family members that are meaningful.  It's the fun chaos of a house full of kids decorating Christmas cookies.  It's buying gifts for families in need and watching as my children begin to understand the value of giving back to our community.  It's eating too much sugar and chocolate and drinking too much wine, knowing that January will start with a Clean Food Challenge.  It's everything about the season.  Unfortunately, so many people get so caught up in the chaos that they move through the weeks without noticing the small things.  They don't take time to breathe in the moments that make the holidays what they are.  They are so focused on the end result that they are unable to enjoy the individual moments and events.  I'm making sure I stay in the moment this year, and it's making all the difference.  After all, I get to actually enjoy moments like this:

Every year, the Holiday Train travels through different towns.  At each stop, Santa passes out candy canes and a band plays Christmas songs.

This is the bird's nest she found in the branches of the Christmas tree we cut down.  There were actually two for each kid. 


Monday, December 19, 2011

Thinking Ahead...

Last week, one of my favorite bloggers, Emilie, wrote a fabulous post about being brave.  She encouraged us to consciously choose to do things that we are scared to do.  For her, this means tackling a Half Ironman (I know you'll do great, Emilie!).  Her post really resonated with me, as the past two years have really been about this for me.  Two years ago, I was too comfortable in my life. After some careful consideration, I realized that I kept making excuses for not doing things that I really wanted to do (run a half marathon) because deep down inside, I was afraid.  I vowed to work hard at becoming more confident and brave, and it has worked.  I started running and completed my first half marathon last April, even though the thought of doing it terrified me the entire time I was training for it. I will never forget the way I felt as I crossed that finish line.  When I replied to Emilie's post, this is what I wrote:

This is a great post that came at just the right time. After two half marathons and some random 5k's, I'm ready to move to the next level. I have a friend who is training for her first half marathon and I am so envious of her. That excitement and nervousness that accompanies the weeks of preparation. The giddiness of knowing that you are about to do something bigger than you have ever done before. I want that again. So, I'm in the process of firming up my big, scary plans for 2012. It looks like it will be the year of the marathon for me. I'm scared and excited all at once. I haven't decided on the exact marathon right now, but I have it narrowed down to a few in NY, VT, and ME. I'm going to make a final decision this week and commit. The second scary thing I'm going to do is complete a triathlon through our local YMCA. It's a small one (1/2 mile swim, 18 mile bike and 4 mile run), but it still scares me which is exactly why I want to do it. I am so intrigued by triathlons, and I know I need to do one. It's not the individual activities that scare's the transitions in between. So, thank you for this reminder to be brave and confident. I'm working on doing it in other, non-athletic areas of my life as well. Here's hoping that 2012 is a wonderful year of accomplishments and growth for all of us!

So, that's where I am now.  I'm planning for 2012 as 2011 comes to a close.   I was looking at a lot of different marathons in NY, VT and ME, but I have decided that if I am going to do it, it's going to be the Vermont City Marathon.  I have been checking the site for the Vermont Marathon every day and it fills me with that nervous, sick, excited feeling, which means that it is exactly what I am ready for. And then, after the marathon is over, I will begin preparing to face my other fear...the triathlon.  I guess I better start swimming.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

My Soundtrack

Many runners are adamently opposed to listening to music while running.  I get it.  I understand the need and desire to run with nothing but the soundtrack of the outside world.  It helps you stay focused on your breathing and it keeps your mind uncluttered.  I completely respect runners who are music-free.  However, I really enjoy listening to music while I run.  It helps me power through the tough parts of a run and it keeps me motivated.  I purposely choose songs that have a solid beat and lyrics that speak to me.  I try to change my playlist every few weeks so that I don't get bored with the same songs, and I regularly have three or four running playlists that I alternate between based on the distance of my run and my overall mood.  One thing I struggle with is finding new music to add to my playlist, and I find running blogs to be a great source of inspiration.  I found so many new songs based on recommendations from other runners in cyberspace.  So, to help pay it forward, I'm posting my new running playlist.  Hopefully, it can provide some new ideas for those of you struggling through the same old playlist that you have been running to for weeks.

Time to Move On            
Tom Petty
Have You Ever
Brandi Carlile
Rolling In The Deep
The Lazy Song   
Bruno Mars
Peace, Love and Happiness
G. Love & Special Sauce
Mr. Jones
Counting Crows
Basket Case       
Green Day
The Edge Of Glory
Lady Gaga
What You Want               
Lose Yourself
The Warrior's Code        
Dropkick Murphys
Break Stuff        
Limp Bizkit
Chop Suey!        
System Of A Down
In Too Deep
Sum 41
Fuck You
Cee Lo Green
Hey Ya!
Who's Laughing Now
Jessie J
Billionaire (feat. Bruno Mars)
Travie McCoy
Kid Rock
Within a Mile of Home  
Flogging Molly

Friday, December 9, 2011

No Regrets

During the week, I usually run during my lunch hour.  It's not my ideal time to run (I'm a morning runner), but it's really the only time I can get in a run on workdays.  I would love to run early in the morning, but it is difficult to do with a 2.5 year old and a 7 year old who have to get up and out of the house for school/daycare. I know that an evening run is out of the question because a) that's my family time and b) I have completely lost my desire and motivation to do anything physical after 8 hours of work.  So, I use my lunch hour to get my weekday runs in.  It's often difficult to make myself stop what I'm doing, get up from my desk and walk over to the gym. Yes, I have a "gym" where I work.  Since I work at a community college, we have fitness facilities on site...with an indoor track. 

The track is the part above the basketball court.  When I run, I overlook the court.

I know...I have no excuse for not running, do I?  I try to get in at least three days of running each week.  Some weeks, I only run 1 - 2 days due to meetings and teaching, but other weeks I make it over almost every day.  What I have learned is that I just have to make myself get up and walk there.  Even when I'm tired and in the middle of something, and it's so tempting to just sit at my desk and spend my lunch hour reading blogs (Oh, come on, I know you do it too), I know that what I really need to do is go running.  No matter what, I always feel good after I do, and I never, ever regret it.