NP Anniversary

Today is a big day. It’s my 1 year anniversary with November Project. It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of the grassroots workout group. I am so glad I (skeptically) gave it a shot after hearing about it from Jon on twitter last winter.

First NP workout last January

First NP workout last January

As much as I love the concept of NP and have friends in all of the cities, it’s the Baltimore tribe that completely changed my life. I joined the group when it was still very small. As someone who can be pretty introverted, I was definitely intimidated by such outgoing people and I vividly remember running up the steps with a bunch of random people cheering my first day. I timidly accepted their hugs and didn’t say much, but I kept going back for more week after week.

10175985_704429562954218_7543205001516826589_nSlowly as the weather warmed up, the tribe continued to grow. I started making friends and seeing familiar faces and was no longer afraid to welcome the ‘newbies’ with big hugs. I was tweeting and instagramming up a storm and started going to bed excited every Tuesday night, ready for Wednesday morning atop Federal Hill with my new friends.

1890977_672252462838595_1064411419_nAs the tribe grew larger, we moved down to Rash Field so we could spread out. The workouts changed but anyone who is a part of November project knows that it is never about the workout. It’s about the friendships. The community. Some of my closest friends in Baltimore (and beyond) are from November Project. It’s such a great feeling to know I have friends to run with in Boston when I’m home, or other cities when I’m traveling.

10592791_777321245665049_6963725954591589814_nEventually, November Project Baltimore started expanding past the Wednesday morning workouts. One Sunday night in April we all met at a bar to make “recruiting coasters” to hand out around the city. I sat with Lauren and her boyfriend, and ended up sitting across from a random guy that I chatted up a storm with while coloring with crayons.

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we’re in the back

Those Wednesday mornings turned into Sunday night gatherings, a Friday night run club at Lululemon, Baltimore Bike Parties, happy hours, run dates, and race buddies. In other words, November Project became my social life.

1904046_532410253560416_3532786075843838804_nWhen I moved back home to New England last summer, I had a really hard time accepting the fact that I was leaving behind an entire life. One that I had grown to really, truly love. I hadn’t felt that way since my high school swimming days and I hated the idea of starting over. I knew I would eventually feel comfortable with the Boston tribe, but it was hard to accept that I would never be back in Baltimore again for more than a visit. On my last day, they granted me the old positivity stick to take home with me so I would always be a part of Baltimore.

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Two favorite things about Baltimore: my part-time job at Charm City Run and November Project

Well, I didn’t end up getting a job in Boston and I missed my Baltimore life like crazy so 3 months later I was back and greeted with open arms by all of my friends the morning that I started my first real-person job. It was probably one of the best mornings I’d had since before I moved away. I don’t think the smile left my face for the rest of the day.

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Front and center. Clearly my comfort level grew

Right after I moved back, we finally added a second day to our workouts, and began meeting at Patterson Park on Friday mornings. I haven’t made it to that location as much due to being injured the past few months, but I go when I can and enjoy seeing a different crowd. It’s a more running-focused workout so obviously I love it. You can’t beat #hillsforbreakfast.

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Front and center…again. And really excited.

And the guy that I met at the bar back in April while we were coloring? We started dating about a week after I moved back. And somehow he’s still sticking around 6 months later.

Screen Shot 2014-12-15 at 8.33.27 PMIn December, one of the core tribe members who started around the time I did announced she was moving. I could have held onto the positivity stick, but it was time to pay it forward and give it to someone else who needs it more than me now. The tribe has grown and I have a huge “framily” to look forward to seeing every single week. On November 3rd, more than 3014 tribe members worked out together across all 17 cities. Baltimore grew to 174, shattering our goal.

174 strong.

174 strong.

In case you were wondering, at some point I lost all that shyness nonsense I had going on a year ago. That was completely gone after the first two months. And it spread into my everyday life too. I’m so much more social than I’ve ever been and a lot of my introverted tendencies are gone.

10414425_834134879983685_1429096476624162689_nNow that I’ve been back for 6 months (today!!!), I can’t imagine my life without it. These people brought me out of my shell, helped me branch out to try new things, and made Baltimore really feel like home.

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That’s Kristine. She’s pretty much my NP BFF. We always coordinate so we can do the workout together.

So today I’m celebrating. Unfortunately today isn’t an NP day but don’t worry- I celebrated yesterday and I’m celebrating tomorrow.

10338305_723824051014769_2256799511385948441_nThank you, November Project. And more importantly, thank you November Project Baltimore. You changed my life in ways I didn’t even know possible.

Food Fear: Eating Disorder Recovery

I haven’t linked up with WIAW in awhile but this is a post that seems fitting to me. I’ve been meaning to write it for awhile, and I finally sat down and got it done last weekend.

Starting at a young age, I feared food. My parents would make me lunches to take to my babysitter’s house every day and she would fight me tooth and nail trying to get me to eat whatever was packed for me. I’ve been a picky eater since I was 2 or 3 years old. I don’t know why I had aversions to yogurt, peanut butter, and other common foods kids ate, but I did.

As I got older, my parents continued trying to make me eat things I “didn’t like” without much success. I would eat whatever they did at dinner each night and cry my way through the meal whenever we had seafood, chicken, pork, broccoli, rice…- pretty much anything besides pasta and hamburgers. Miserable for all parties, clearly.

By high school, my parents pretty much gave up trying to get me to eat like a normal person. I slightly expanded my palate to include chicken and pork, but there were some foods that were still completely off-limits and they accepted that (seafood being the main one). They began making extras whenever we had a meal I liked so I could have leftovers whenever they were making something I wouldn’t eat.

My favorite homecooked meal

My favorite homecooked meal

The thing is, while I tried a lot of foods growing up, I also declared that I “hated” a lot of things even if I’d never had them before. I was afraid of trying new things.

My food fears quickly grew from a general distaste to fearing food in general. By the time I graduated from high school, I was deep into my eating disorder. I convinced myself I no longer liked my favorite foods- pizza, goldfish, even healthy foods like grapes and carrots because they were too high in calories. I wouldn’t try anything new (unless I heard it was really healthy and low-calorie), and I wouldn’t eat anything I didn’t consider safe. I was literally terrified of food.

Recovering from the eating disorder was kind of fun at first. Suddenly my doctors were telling me all the foods I was afraid of were okay and good for me to eat. Milkshakes, pizza, hamburgers, and cheezits became huge parts of my life. My RD’s only goal was to get me to stop being afraid of foods I used to love, and to get me to branch out and try new foods at my own pace. For me, that meant letting myself go out for pizza, or having a milkshake for the first time. Sometimes it was picking a different brand of tortellini at the grocery store, or trying a new kind of granola bar.

Learning to order dessert at restaurants and not freak out was huge

Learning to order dessert at restaurants and not freak out was huge

I was still afraid of food, but I was slowly expanding my palate. It was during the early stages of recovery that I discovered a love of zbars, sesame sticks, and sunflower seeds. I still didn’t eat the foods I didn’t like prior to the ED, but I made huge progress.

The cashier at Trader Joe's said "These bars are really good... but I guess you already know that"

The cashier at Trader Joe’s said “These bars are really good… but I guess you already know that”

Then came the next (and for me the hardest and longest) stage of recovery: extreme hunger. My RD  said once I started allowing myself to eat normal amounts of food again, I would likely lose control. I laughed it off and said that would never happen to me because I have more self-control than anyone. I had no idea. The binge-like tendencies are a direct result of fearing hunger. After restricting for so long, feeling the slightest bit hungry can send the body into panic mode and makes you crave everything that you never let yourself eat. It’s something nobody talks about because it’s embarrassing, but I went through it like so many others recovering from an eating disorder.

Finally, I reached the point I was at pre-eating disorder sometime last winter. I was no longer afraid of eating food or feeling hungry, but I still had the fear of trying new foods. That’s where I was at until a few months ago. I was in my safe little bubble where I’d eat the same thing every day and didn’t want anything to disrupt my perfect routine. I knew what I’d eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner about 5 days a week and would “wing it” about twice a week at dinnertime. I was perfectly content with the way I was living. To me, it felt normal.

This is still my dinner several nights a week, but I'm flexible

This is still my dinner several nights a week, but I’m flexible

Until now. I still eat the same things for the most part. I love bagels and hot chocolate, pumpkin bread, apples, carrots, ice cream, grilled chicken salad, tortellini, and pizza. But I’m also learning to be flexible. When I’m with KBT and we don’t have dinner plans, we’ll go out and I order a burger. When he makes dinner, I’m not going to say “no, I don’t like that” just because I’ve never had it before. And guess what? I found out I actually like turkey burgers (despite hating turkey), I love pesto on pasta, pirogis aren’t bad (even though I don’t like mashed potatoes), and I’ll eat salad without picking out the tomatoes. I still don’t love meatballs but I’m trying. I’ll eat french toast instead of bagels on the weekends, but KIND Bars? Still can’t get on board with those. I’m no longer AS afraid of trying new foods. I’ve finally reached that final “stage” where I’m just living. It’s really freeing.

Dinner this weekend was pasta with sauce- I used to HATE sauce. And wine. I'm still trying to like that.

Dinner this weekend was pasta with sauce- I used to HATE sauce. And wine. I’m still trying to like that.

I’m still picky, but I won’t say I don’t like something if I haven’t eaten it before. For anyone who has ever struggled with an eating disorder or picky eating, there’s hope. My parents never thought they’d see the day where I’d order something without making substitutions, let alone try a turkey burger. My friends are shocked that I’m not “all about desserts” anymore (I still love all things sugar, but they aren’t the omg.best.thing.I’ve.ever.eaten).

Blueberry cake. Never would have tried this a few months ago but it was delicious.

Blueberry cake. Never would have tried this a few months ago but it was delicious.

I may never be a “normal” eater but for me, I’m more normal than I’ve ever been. And I love it.

Have you ever gone through “stages” with your eating? Do you tend to eat the same things every day?

In this moment…

I have a different post planned for Thursday so I figured I’d do my randoms in a different format since I’ll be missing Thinking out Loud!

In this moment… I’m loving my new hours at work. I used to work 10-7 because we have a lot of west coast clients but I recently was asked to work 9-6 instead so that we are more efficient launching northeast campaigns in the mornings. I jumped at the opportunity- as someone who sleeps in until 7:30 at the latest, I would sit on the couch twiddling my thumbs until it was time to go to work. This works much better for me personally. Plus, I have the opportunity to learn a lot more about the Ops department because I now attend a daily morning roundup meeting with some of the higher-ups in the company.

CaptureIn this moment… I’m excited to announce my ambassadorship with Pro Compression has been renewed for another year! This company is one that I really do love. I wore the sleeves for my long run Sunday, I’m wearing the marathon socks at work today. Not to mention I literally live in the leggings. They’re a great company and I love them, so I’m proud to be wearing their products for another year.

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In this moment… I’m counting down the days until the weekend. Last weekend was great- lots of sitting on the couch watching House of Cards, eating pancakes for breakfast two days in a row, a perfect long run, and a fun afternoon at Charm City Run. This weekend will hopefully be a lot of the same with a few parties thrown in for the Superbowl and someone’s birthday. I needed a quiet weekend after a few crazy weeks in a row.

Saturday night dinner-->perfection

Friday night dinner–>#ididntmakethis

In this moment… I’m wishing for summer. I am really glad I’m not still in New England this week (it was -5 on Monday morning at home), but I think I’d rather have it be cold all the time than 50* one day and 15* the next. Plus, they say we’re going to get 6 inches of snow and instead we get nothing. Over it.

Dreaming of boatlife and warmer times

Dreaming of boatlife and warmer times

In this moment… I’m counting down the days until my next “vacation.” KBT and I are going to NYC in a few weeks for the weekend. The last time I was there was with Kaitlin and Carrie so I’m pretty excited. It’s always nice to get away, even if it’s only for a couple days. Added bonus: I have the following Monday off (President’s Day) so I can recover from the weekend and get ready for the week.

Miss. This.

Miss. This.

In this moment…  I’m browsing bikes online. We get bonuses at work next week and I’ve been thinking about getting a bike that has brakes and gears that actually work (go figure). I don’t bike a ton right now but I do have a lot of friends that do and I’d like to be able to go with them. Plus, bike party would be a lot more enjoyable if my bike worked the way it’s supposed to. I’m taking any and all suggestions!

biking in barcelona

biking in barcelona

In this moment… I’m riding the high from Sunday’s long run. I woke up Sunday with some calf tightness and decided to wait and see how I felt later in the day. After a big pancake breakfast and some lounging on the couch, I was feeling ready for a run. I didn’t know how my calf would feel so I told myself I’d turn around whenever I started to feel pain, but it never came. The entire run felt awesome and I ended up running 10 miles- the furthest I’ve run since September. The weather was perfect (50 degrees and sunny), and I felt really good. I wanted to keep going.

I kind of love this place

I kind of love this place

In this moment… I’m drooling over Shake Shack coming to Baltimore! Lauren posted on facebook last week that Shake Shack is coming….so I had to check it out for myself! And she’s right! I ran by where it’s going to be on Sunday and I promise you I’ll be first in line for one of their frozen custards. So good.

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In this moment… I’m remembering I have to get my car emissions test done today. I’ve been putting it off for the past 3 months so I probably should do it before the deadline… which is tomorrow. Oops.

In this moment… I’m realizing Baltimore is starting to feel more and more like home every day. The song “Rather Be” is pretty much my go-to on the way to work in the mornings. There really is no place I’d rather be right now. Life. Is. Good.

Where is your head at “in this moment”?

Sometimes I run

Sun- 7 miles along the water in Chatham. I took Saturday off for Yoga with my aunt at Power Yoga of Cape Cod but didn’t want to leave town without getting at least one waterfront run in. I ran during sunrise and it was absolutely gorgeous. I stopped 40 minutes into my run to walk another mile or two with my parents and then finished my hour after they were done. So I guess I technically did 8-9 miles, but about 7 of it was running.

10929011_10203743972262896_8103104922257011683_nMon-Walking around DC. It actually was more exhausting than a run day. We added up the amount of walking we did and it was close to 10 miles. My legs and feet were so sore at the end of the day. That song “these boots are made for walking” clearly don’t understand how painful it is to walk in them for 8 hours.

Capture3Tues- 7 miles with Tin Roof Runners. Once again, I’m the only person who showed up besides the two guys that started it. Well, that’s not entirely true- one guy came 5 minutes after we left so he joined us afterwards to watch karaoke. We did about 4-4.5 miles at a pretty fast clip, plus my 3 miles there and back.

Capture2Wed- 6 miles with November Project. We probably did less than a mile of running at NP (and that running included stairs and things), but I got a total body workout with the squats, lunges, burpees, box jumps, etc. It was the telephone workout where each number corresponded to an exercise but I didn’t feel like doing it alone so I decided to use the number Lauren picked so we could chat. I took the short way to get there- about 2-2.5 miles, and the long way home- 3 miles.

CaptureThurs- OFF. Walked to Target but otherwise it was definitely a rest day.

Fri- 8-9ish miles with November Project. 4 miles to/from Patterson park and 4 miles of hill repeats with my friends. Doesn’t get any better.

It's a good thing I'm looking at the camera while doing a sorority squat...

It’s a good thing I’m looking at the camera while doing a sorority squat…

Sat- OFF. Slept in and had a relaxing morning before heading to work at the store.

Total- 28 miles

This is where I’m comfortable right now. I don’t feel the need to push my mileage any higher as I don’t have any long races coming up for several months. Keeping my mileage lower is preventing me from mentally and physically burning out too quickly. My calves have been pretty tight this week so I made an appointment for another massage in the coming weeks. Otherwise, everything has been feeling good and I’m finally at that point where I’m starting to feel like I’m “in shape” again. That makes me pretty happy because for awhile there, I was rudely reminded of how hard running is.

I like to ramble.

One of the things I missed most about blogging these past couple months is the ability to just ramble about everything and nothing. Thanks to Amanda’s Thinking Out Loud linkup, it’s completely acceptable in the blog world.

thinking-out-loud1. Sometimes I can be extremely introverted, other times it’s difficult to get me to shut up. It just depends on my mood and my comfort level. I’m perfectly happy laying on the couch by myself reading, but I also do enjoy being social in the right environments. If I’m not in the mood to converse, it can feel like talking to a wall, or so I’ve been told. I’m working on it. I can be a real ham in front of the camera though.

Capture42. My sugar consumption lately has been off. the. charts. My mom made brownies while I was home, I had a cupcake from Baked and Wired in DC, and my boyfriend decided to make chocolate chip cookies before I got home so we could mash them up with Ben & Jerry’s caramel CORE ice cream. Genius idea, in case you were wondering. And no, I did not take a picture. I was too busy trying not to lick the bowl.

this cupcake was anything but "just vanilla"

this cupcake was anything but “just vanilla”

3.When I landed on Monday morning, I went straight to DC to spend the day with one of my friends that I haven’t seen since last April. We walked everywhere around the city- Dupont circle, Georgetown, the Foggy Bottom, the Mall, Adams Morgan, and finally ended our day at the National Zoo. Unfortunately, none of the animals were in their exhibits so we walked all the way there for nothing. We think we walked about 10 miles over the course of the day. I was still sore when I woke up Tuesday morning, so instead of getting up to run like I usually do, I waited until after work.

Capture34. I made her go to my favorite salad place for lunch- Chop’t. I miss eating it every week (I used to when I was working in DC last fall) and I was in desperate need of some veggies after eating pizza for 4/6 meals while I was home- not even joking.

Screen-Shot-2013-11-20-at-8.12.09-PM5. NOVEMBER PROJECT. Get used to me talking about this multiple days a week again now that I’m going twice a week again. For awhile, I skipped Friday workouts because of my calf problems, but now that I can comfortably run 8 miles again, I’ll be attending regularly. It’s about 2 miles from my apartment so I get a nice warmup before I get to Patterson Park and then we do 4 miles of hill repeats. It’s a killer. Running the 2 miles home is always more of a shuffle. Yesterday we did the telephone workout where we picked phone numbers out of a hat and did workouts for each number. I did more lunges than I can count. My butt is going to be sore today. Good thing it’s a rest day for me.

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6. I’ve also started going to another running club- Tin Roof Runners- on Tuesday nights. My boyfriend’s friends started the run group at a bar in Power Plant and I usually can’t go because of my work schedule. They meet at 6:45 and I technically am on the clock until 7 but we’ve been getting out early these past few weeks so I’ve made it. For whatever the reason, the weeks I decide to make it, I’m the only one there. It’s almost like all the people know I’m coming so they decide to make that their day off. Either way, I always have a good time running with the two guys that started it and we get back to Tin Roof afterwards ready to watch some pretty terrible karaoke.

Capture27. Speaking of boyfriend, from here on out we’re referring to him as “KBT” because that’s what my roommates call him. It’s a long story and I don’t think he knows that’s actually what we/they refer to him as (well, now he does after reading this…), but I hate being one of those girls that is all “my boyfriend this” and “my boyfriend that.” So I’m done with that.

8. PRO COMPRESSION SOCKS. I LOVE THEM. You already know this since I’ve been wearing them for 2 1/2+ years now and I’ve been an ambassador for about a year. They keep coming up with the coolest sock of the month and if I didn’t already have 15 pairs (not exaggerating…), I’d be buying these ones too. I really like stripes, so these ones are pretty awesome. 40% off right now with the code JAN (along with all other black socks).  Shipping is free if you live in the United States!

Screen-Shot-2015-01-20-at-7.55.18-PM9. I have zero plans this weekend besides working at the store on Saturday afternoon. Hallelujah. The past few weeks have been busy with traveling so I’m ready for a few days at home to relax and catch up on sleep.

10. Speaking of sleep, I need like 9 hours these days. Any less and I’m a zombie. I’m really lucky with my work schedule (10-7) so I don’t have to get up early to run; I just wake up whenever (usually around 7). By 8pm, I’m ready for bed. I never used to need so much sleep but sometimes even after 8-9 hours I’m still tired. I don’t know what’s wrong with me.

What’s going on in your life? Do you have weekend plans?

Running Lately.

So as I alluded to the other day, running has been going reasonably well. I didn’t log any consistent mileage until I got back to Baltimore after Christmas, but I have slowly built back up a base to about 25-30 miles a week. Ideally, I’ll eventually be running 35ish miles a week with 3 rest days a week.

I’ve gotten a few massages since Thanksgiving which started getting expensive now that I’m on my own, but they’re the only thing that seems to manage the calf pain/knots I get every few months. After talking with my massage therapist, I finally made an appointment to get some tests done. I’ve been dealing with these calf problems for about 2 years and my cousin had surgery for compartment syndrome, which we feared I had based on our similar symptoms.

Right before Christmas I saw a sports doctor at my mom’s office (she runs a local health center) and explained my situation. He did some general tests and didn’t find anything particularly alarming but did send me to get an ultrasound that afternoon to make sure I didn’t have any blood clots or small tears in my soleus. He said assuming there was nothing major that showed up in the ultrasound (which there wasn’t), the best answer he could give me was to “do something that isn’t going to hurt me as much.”

City Glow

City Glow

Clearly that wasn’t the answer I was looking for. But as I thought more about it, I realized that some of my best races in college came from when I was still running 35 miles a week, not 55-60. He told me to manage the calf pain with massages (which my insurance actually covers, win!) and physical therapy when it flares up.

As soon as I got back to Baltimore, I made an appointment for a massage with my massage therapist to get rid of the last knot. She goes to town on my legs whenever I see her. She uses graston techniques, suction cups, and magnesium oil to get as deep as she can. I’m always gripping the table in pain. I was bruised and couldn’t walk very well for a few days, but when I went out for a run later that week, I felt 100% normal and pain-free for the first time in 4 months.

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From Thanksgiving to New Years, I was running 1-3 days a week for 2-4 miles at a time. I still went to November Project, and while I was home I went to zumba and pure power and other classes at the gym in addition to walking with my mom. Running just wasn’t a priority for me.

Since New Years, I’ve been slowly building my base. It took a few weeks to get up to 20 miles/week and now I’m running about 25-30 miles a week. For whatever the reason, my body doesn’t do well with high mileage. As soon as my coach bumped me up while I was running track/xc, I got injured. As soon as I started running more than 40 miles when I moved back to Baltimore this summer, I got injured. 35 miles is my sweet spot and that’s what I’m shooting for again.

Running in Cape Cod this weekend

Running in Cape Cod this weekend

I’ve also found that running higher mileage fewer days a week seems to work better for me. I like running far, but more importantly, my body likes having days of rest between runs. I used to be a 7-days-a-week exerciser. Now, it’s more like 4 days, sometimes 5. If I’m not running, I’m not cross-training either. It’s total rest. Eventually I might add an occasional spin or yoga class in, but I’m pretty happy with my current schedule. I’m running 6-9 miles at a time 4 days a week and I feel better than I have since July.

I also walk back and forth to work so I cover about 4 miles a day in addition to my mileage so I factor that in when thinking about my week of exercise. I might not notice the extra activity, but my body does and it doesn’t like it.

So running this month has been awesome despite the cold temperatures. I’m running with November Project on Wednesdays and Fridays, and I run with Tin Roof Runners sometimes on Tuesday nights. I missed running with all of my friends. I usually do a longer run (8-9 miles) on Sundays but it depends on what I’m doing that day.

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Once I finalize my racing schedule, I’ll talk more about it, but I plan on running my first full marathon in October. For me, a 6-month long training cycle won’t work. I’ll get injured and be overtrained for the race. I’m going to be much better off training for 3-4 months and keeping my mileage low (probably 40-50 miles).

I don’t stress about running at all anymore. If it happens, it happens. If I can’t run, it isn’t the end of the world. I kind of like running less days a week. I’m sleeping better, I’m eating better because I’m not constantly starving all the time, and I’m less obsessive. This is the first winter in 2 years that I haven’t been injured and I’m trying not to let it happen again. It has taken me 2+ years of injuries to figure it out, but I think I’m finally seeing a pattern. As long as my mileage stays low and I don’t go crazy trying to keep up with the boys, I’ll be happily running for years. And to me, that’s worth it.

Have you learned things about yourself as a runner? Do you see patterns in your body?

How many days a week do you run? Do you exercise when you’re not running?

Oh Hey.

There’s not really a great way to start off a post after taking a 2 month blog break. “Oh Hey” will have to suffice.

I’ve been keeping up with the blogs in my reader so I haven’t missed a whole lot. And if you follow me on social media, you probably are pretty much up to date with my life. But if you haven’t been following along, here’s what you missed.

-I spent a lot of time with family over the holidays. Even too much time, which may sound crazy coming from the girl who didn’t want to stay in Baltimore because of being away from home. I was home for 8 days at Thanksgiving, 10 days at Christmas, and I’m flying back from a 4-day weekend on the Cape this morning. It was likely the last time I’ll ever stay in my childhood home (“we’re” moving to RI), so I tried to make the most of it.

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Christmas in NH

-Like last year, I did not run a turkey trot on Thanksgiving. Why? Because my uncle died during a road race on Thanksgiving 10 years ago and for a long time I swore I would never put my mom through that. Instead we enjoyed a long hike in the woods. Because it was the 10-year anniversary of his death, we had a reunion this weekend with 100 of his closest friends and family in his favorite place- Cape Cod. We rented out the Chatham Squire (his old stomping grounds) Saturday night and had a huge party in his honor- exactly what he would have wanted. I haven’t seen some of these people since the funeral so it was great seeing so many people I love in one place. I spent most of the night with the grandparents. I fit right in.

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As soon as I got home I started looking at flights to Florida to see this woman.

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Just the family, friends weren’t included in the picture

 

– I spent New Years with my boyfriend at a party with some of the best views for fireworks in Baltimore. It was a low key night but still way better than the family parties we used to have up at the ski house. It was also the first time I’ve made it to midnight in years, so that’s a win.

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-I also dragged him along to various November Project events in the pouring rain and freezing cold. I’ll never live it down. At least one of us was excited…

Screen Shot 2014-12-15 at 8.33.27 PM-I ran a race on New Years Day that didn’t go as well as I’d hoped, but it’s a start (first race post injury). I haven’t been running enough to justify a PR or anything remotely close to one. My time was 22:15 which is the slowest I’ve run in years. It gave me the motivation I needed to start taking running more seriously again. Aka running more than once or twice a week.

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-I didn’t make it skiing while I was home over the breaks, but I did spend a lot of time in Boston. Even though I’ve been home in New England almost as much as I’ve been in Baltimore these past 2 months, I was working pretty much every day. Luckily we have a headquarters in Boston so it makes it easy to work “from home” and I got to pretend I lived in my favorite city.

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-Not much running happened. Walking in the woods with my family will always win. Always.

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-I managed a trip down to Jamestown to see my island friends. I loved my summers on the boat and will never forget them, but I would not give up my life now to go back to them. Rhode Island will always be home, no matter how short of a visit. I’ll be back for 2-3 weeks this summer (thank goodness for unlimited vacation days at work!).

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-I was asked to help lead a run for Under Armour alongside one of their pro athletes for the Army-Navy football game last month to represent UA Women and the Baltimore running community. That was a really cool experience. Be on the lookout for their new Speedform Gemini!

10847842_10203464723201844_148904559137007549_n-I got some answers about my calf issues. Not the ones I wanted, but still answers. Running is going relatively well but we are concerned that there are still issues going on. It sounds like massages and maybe the (re)introduction of physical therapy will continue to be a regular occurrence in my life. I’ll talk more about this in a few days.

Still getting bruised and taped like crazy

Still getting bruised and taped like crazy

-My race calendar is starting to look pretty legit. I’m running the St. Patrick’s Day 5k on my birthday, maybe the Philly Hot Chocolate 15k, a 5k at the Zoo in NYC, Sole of the City 10k, Baltimore 10 miler, Maryland Half, Charles Street 12 Miler, and probably a few others scattered throughout the spring and summer. I also made the executive decision to sign up for a marathon. I always said the Newport Marathon would be my first full. It’s my favorite course in my favorite place in the entire world. I was an intern for the company last summer and I fully support their race series. It’s ranked as one of the best New England fall races and I can drop down to the half if I have calf problems while training. Plus, it’s my mom’s birthday, so I’ll be home to celebrate.

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Newport Half 2013

-I’m still working weekend at Charm City Run on the weekends. I love the store and will continue to blow up their social media feeds. I haven’t been there much in the past few months due to traveling, but I am always able to jump right in when I’m there and it’s like I never left. Even when I’m exhausted and don’t feel like working on a Saturday, I end up enjoying myself.

I love it when we're busy

I love it when we’re busy

-I made this guy go see the lights on 34th St in Hampden right before I went home for Christmas. Sometimes I wonder how he puts up with me.

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-And in case you were worried, November Project is still a thing. My attendance has been sporadic due to holiday travel, but I’m still #verbaling and hugging random strangers on an (almost) weekly basis. It’s pretty much a party every Wednesday and Friday morning now that I can run hills again. These are my people.

City Glow

City Glow

It feels good to be back. I missed writing out random thoughts and there were a few times I opened up wordpress out of habit, but it was nice to not feel pressured to write posts several days a week. For now, I’m going to do my best to write when I feel like it. Maybe it will be 5 days a week, maybe it will be none. We’ll see how it goes. I’m starting to figure out this thing called work-life balance (depending on who you ask- my boss tells me I work too much) and I kind of like it.

Fill me in! How were your holidays?

What races are you doing this year?

Catch you later.

Last month I posted about my 2 year blogiversary. Today I’m saying goodbye for now. I need a little break, something I’ve never done before. Some people knew this was coming, others may be surprised. Longtime readers probably suspected this day would come eventually as I went from posting 7 days a week to 3-4 days and my commenting began to taper off. I’d like to say my reasoning is complicated, but it’s not.

I’m burnt out.

As I said last month, blogging completely changed my life and I don’t regret any of it. When I first started blogging, I needed it. I was lost at school, didn’t feel like I fit in with the college social life, struggling with an eating disorder, and forming an identity outside of swimming. Blogging gave me an outlet, it gave me friends that understood, and it gave me happiness. I found my niche and I loved coming up with posts to write every day. I loved reading comments, writing my own, and interacting with other bloggers. It was a full time job with virtually no benefits, but it was addicting and I loved it. I still love it.

Obviously blogging has its negatives too, but it never made me question whether or not it was worth it. The occasional judgement stung and there are certainly triggering bloggers out there, but for every negative comment or “recovered” blogger, there were hundreds of other positive, truly inspirational people online willing to offer their advice and support. At first I was absolutely sucked into the comparison trap and feeling like I was never doing “enough.” I think a lot of people are. That being said, the positives to blogging far outweigh the negatives. I truly believe it helped me in more ways than one. 

I don’t know what changed but I think spending my summers on the boat helped me unplug and pull away from the blog world. I stopped living my life through social media. Obviously I was still very much “plugged in” but I also spent a lot more time offline. And I enjoyed life so much more.

I began toying with the idea of stepping away from the blog world over the summer when I realized I was happier spending less time online. I didn’t want to sit in the library writing posts when I could be hanging out with the dockboys. I didn’t want to take pictures of every little thing I did just so I could talk about it later. I just wanted to live my life in the present.

Once I moved back to Baltimore, I was busy. We didn’t have internet for the first week we moved into our apartment so I obviously couldn’t blog much. Then when we did get internet, I was used to living without so my computer sat untouched. I spend 9 hours a day on the computer at work, the last thing I want to do is open my laptop when I get home. So I don’t.

I’ve done some pretty cool things since I moved back here- attended a sponsored wedding, went to a Orioles/Yankees game, took the water taxi, saw a concert at PowerPlant, spent the day being touristy in DC, had dinner at the Four Seasons with an old friend, visited with my aunt, and saw Iggy Azalea, to name a few. But when it was time to write my weekend recaps, I didn’t know what to say. I could talk about each one in detail (I was there, after all), but I didn’t want to. I wanted to keep those things to myself and the people I was with. I don’t have a ton of pictures to show for these events because I was there living in the moment, not trying to document as much as I could so I could write about it later.

As much as I love blogging, I don’t need it the same way I once did. I needed to write out my frustrations, my struggles, and my uncertainties. I needed those connections I had made. I needed the reassurance and I needed people to tell me they understood. Writing posts felt like a therapy of sorts. Then suddenly I was happy with my life and I didn’t need it anymore. And that happiness is coming from my real life, not from my life on the internet.

Today I’m flying home for a week to be with my family. I don’t want to worry about scheduling posts or replying to comments while I’m away. I haven’t been in New Hampshire since mid-July. I want to enjoy my week offline. And when I get back, I’m going to want to spend time with my roommates, friends, and boyfriend for a few weeks before I head home for another 2 weeks at Christmas. This is the perfect time for me to say goodbye see you later to this world I’ve been a part of for several years.

I’ve had some pretty amazing experiences as a result of blogging, but I’m ready to go back to being a silent reader for awhile. This is not goodbye forever, but it’s a goodbye for now. I’m not taking the blog down and I’m not disappearing from social media (still on twitter and instagram with a new name), I just need a break. A vacation of sorts. I’m ready to live my life 100% for me without worrying about how to turn it into good blog content.

When I’m back, there will likely be some changes coming. Less talk about the personal stuff and “what I did this weekend” and more about races, events in and around Baltimore, reviews, and November Project (they should hire me as their full time promoter). Of course I can’t get rid of all personal touches- I get really bored reading (and writing) posts without daily life woven in. But I also don’t want my entire life documented online anymore. It’s weird when my online friends know more about what’s going with me than my own mother.

It’s been an amazing two years, but it’s time to spend the next little while offline. I don’t know how long I’ll be gone for but my guess is I’ll be back after the holiday season. So thank you, blog world, for helping me find that happiness. Because without Picky Runner, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

Happy holidays and see you in 2015!!

Workouts 11/17-11/23

Some more weekly workouts. Still not much running, still a ton of spinning. Last week of spin workouts for awhile and while I’ll miss them, I’m ready for a break.

I have a few races I’m eying right now for 2015 (Resolution Run 5k might not be around for New Years anymore, Shamrock Half Marathon, Sole of the City, Charles Street 12, and possibly Newport Marathon in October) so these crazy spin schedules are coming to an end in order to allow for enough rest and to make sure I’m getting to the starting line healthy for every race. I haven’t raced a half marathon healthy since my first one 2 1/2 years ago, so I’m excited to see what I can do if I can get through a training cycle.

Mon- Run 3.5-4 miles

I woke up unsure if I really wanted to run. It was cold and raining and I’m not about that right now. I don’t need to run if I’m not feeling it. So I took out my iPad and started catching up on some blogs until I got the urge to get out there. I’m really glad I did because it ended up being a great run. I’m not wearing a garmin or anything but I ran for 32 minutes along the docks and probably covered about 3.75 miles.

Capture2Tues- Spin x2 + 15 minutes core

Last week of double spin classes. I can’t say I’ll miss them. I like the Tuesday instructors although they aren’t my favorite classes of the week. I pretty much just go to get a workout in and leave. Getting up at 5:20 when it’s 20 degrees outside isn’t the easiest but I was happy to be inside of a warm spin studio instead of running outside.

Wed- November Project

Always a favorite. 6 miles total biking to and from the workout. The workout itself was 35-40 minutes of lightpole suicides, stairs, and burpees/squats. It was freezing outside but worth it and I was sweating by the end. I will never complain about working out in the cold with November Project. Ever. Even when I can’t feel my fingers and my face is frozen. It feels really good to be able to actually participate in the workouts again. I forgot how much I missed that.

10734101_824292694301237_5824303487507710742_nThurs- OFF

I really wanted to go to spinning after work but I restrained myself. I do not need to be on a bike twice in less than 10 hours.

Fri- Spin w/ weights, 15 minutes core

My favorite 6am class. 45 minutes spinning, 15 minutes spinning with weights, and 15 minutes of core at the end. It is such a good strength workout and I’ll probably keep this in my weekly rotation even after I drop my membership (when I’m not at November Project).

Sat- Spin w/ weights, 15 min core

See above.

Sun- Spin

I’ll miss having the monthly membership but I’m ready to start getting my life back and not feeling like I *need* to get as many classes in as possible.

So yes,  I’m dropping the monthly membership. They lowered the price so it’s actually reasonable (99/month) but I want to start running again and I started to feel like I had to go every day as I mentioned earlier this week with the Rev 30 Day challenge. I’m ready to start building my mileage back up and I can’t do that more than once a week with my spinning schedule. I’m planning on buying a class pass instead which will cost me about 80/month for 10 classes. I want to continue spinning a few days a week so this is the best compromise I could come up with. It will keep my mileage in check and I really enjoy the classes.

Obviously I’m going home tomorrow so I’ll be using my class pass I have leftover from last spring at my gym while I’m home and going to November Project in Boston, but I’m also planning on taking the week off to enjoy walks with my mom and rest. There is plenty of time to run, spin, etc. when I get back to Baltimore. I’m not home very often anymore and I want to take full advantage of that. Plus, this is one of the last times I’ll ever be at my childhood home since my parents are planning on selling it this spring. I might as well enjoy these last moments in my neighborhood and on my couch because whether I want to admit it or not, I’ll miss it when it’s gone.

Let it Go

Happy Thinking Out Loud! At this point I don’t think we need any introductions. Most people in blogland know what it’s about.

thinking-out-loud1) Another crazy week. There are a lot of changes at work with people leaving, new managers taking over, taking on new responsibilities within my department, training the newbies, and preparing for the chaos that is Thanksgiving week. I’m bracing myself for the worst. Usually we’re out by 6:30 (our hours are 10-7) so I’m planning to be done work closer to 9 most days next week. It’s a good thing I like what I do. It doesn’t hurt that there’s always really good food.

Capture32) These days I seem to have a problem staying up past 9:30 or 10. As in, I can’t stay up later if I try. My head gets heavy and I start to feel slightly nauseous. I guess that’s why I’m super lame and am usually in bed before my roommates even go out on the weekends. I don’t know how they put up with me. I’m basically a 90 year old trapped in a 22 year old body.

3) I finally made it to yoga. I’m good friends with the manager of the Harbor East store and he always sends me the invites to events that are happening. This week was a Sweat Stretch and Refuel class. Basically it was supposed to be a 3 mile run followed by yoga and dinner catered by Mission BBQ. Unfortunately the run was cancelled due to the rain and I ate dinner at 4:45 that night (grandma status, I wasn’t kidding) so I wasn’t hungry for the BBQ. But the yoga was great and a reminder that I need to get on the mat more often. Especially since I paid an arm and a leg for it and I’ve used it about 3 times since I bought it last May.

Capture4) I. Am. Going. Home. In. Four. Days. I’ll repeat. I’m going home in FOUR DAYS. I haven’t been home to New Hampshire since July 23 (thank you Instagram for reminding me of that very important date). I can’t wait to sleep in my tiny twin bed, eat lots of my mom’s homecooked food, shop at Vineyard Vines (the only place I actually like shopping at) and sit on the couch watching cooking shows until my heart’s content. For an entire WEEK.

5) Oh, and I can’t wait to get a haircut. It looks like a rat’s nest. I haven’t gotten one in 8 months. I need to find a hairdresser down here so I don’t have to wait until I go home every time. Especially since this is one of the last times I’ll ever be going home to New Hampshire where my salon is (my parents are putting the house on the market).

6) We’re going to Rhode Island next weekend! My yacht club is hosting a Christmas boat parade where people decorate their boats with Christmas lights and sail around the bay. I’m mostly just excited to see all of my friends. Unfortunately, that doesn’t include the dockboys since the marina is closed but my best friends will all be around. Lifeguard reunion. It’s happening. 10522160_10202463399089367_1495535209_n7) I have a really hard time letting things go. My mom used to constantly tell me to relax or “let it go.” I’m still not good at it. Recently I was going through my phone to make more space and came across some old text messages and pictures. Seeing them was hard (and deleting them was necessary) but it was an important reminder that the past is the past and it’s time to let it go. I got a long pep talk from one of my best friends after about how it is time to move past everything and continue to build back that trust that I lost with new people. Super vague, I know, but it was an important realization for me to have.

8) November Project is the best. End of story. I can’t wait until I’m running enough to get back to Friday mornings. I’m up to 3.5-4 miles now. As soon as I can comfortably run 5 again, I’ll rejoin the hill workouts. This week was another good one, albeit cold. We didn’t stop moving and did about 3-4 miles of stairs, sprints, and burpees/squats. My phone was so cold afterwards that it wouldn’t turn on but I felt great. I’m super excited to be heading to the Boston workout next week though. It happens to be PR day so it’s guaranteed to be a good workout. 10734101_824292694301237_5824303487507710742_n9) I have another massage tomorrow morning. I can’t wait to walk out bruised and feeling fresh again. These knots in my calves don’t know what they’re in for. Running is still going well and I feel 100% when I’m actually out there, but afterwards I can feel the knots and I want to get rid of them completely before I start running more than 1-2 days a week. I’m planning on getting at least one a month from here on out.

Capture210) I was nominated for the Top 10 running blogs by Runner’s Blog Network. It was a total surprise especially since I haven’t exactly been doing much running lately, but I’m so honored! Check out some of the other blogs- they’re all great!

What are you doing to celebrate for Thanksgiving?

Do you have a hard time letting things go?