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.

Capture21 Workouts 11/17 11/23Tues- 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 n Workouts 11/17 11/23Thurs- 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 loud Let it Go1) 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.

Capture3 Let it Go2) 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 Let it Go4) 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 n Let it Go7) 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 n Let it Go9) 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.

Capture21 Let it Go10) 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!

 Let it GoWhat are you doing to celebrate for Thanksgiving?

Do you have a hard time letting things go?

The Athlete Mindset

This time of year is known for tons of challenges, especially in the blog world. They’re used to get you motivated for the holidays, keep you on track with healthy eating and exercise, and act as a support group when you want to give in to the holiday treats. I get it. For some people, they’re great; for others, not so much. I’m part of the “not so much” group.

I posted a few weeks ago about the Rev 30 Day Challenge at my spin studio. I already had my unlimited membership and when I heard that I could win spin shoes, a lululemon outfit, or the grand prize, 3 months unlimited membership to Rev Cycle. I was in it to win it. And I probably could have, if I hadn’t realized what I was doing to myself. It would have taken about 14 spin classes a week for the entire month to do it, but I could have done it.

The first week I started out strong, going to double classes several days, tweeting up a storm, and trying to go to the challenge rides to get as many points as possible. I was convinced I had it in the bag. My inner athlete wasn’t going to back down. The owner and Nick (NP leader) were joking about how competitive I can be. I was going to be the quiet one that sneakily racked up the most points in order to win the challenge and the other people in the running would have no idea I was participating. When it comes to competitions, I’m relentless, and if I hadn’t realized what was going on, I would have been in it until I collapsed.

After the first few days I felt myself falling into a trap. I wanted to cancel plans so I could go to another spin class. I even almost skipped November Project so I could fit in another double on Wednesdays (I know, crazy). My calf was acting up more than it had in weeks because I was exercising so much but I went anyways. I was determined to win, no matter what. My obsessive tendencies started coming back to bite me because I am so competitive, I needed to win.

I realized this innocent contest was bringing me back to an unhealthy mindset pretty quickly and I needed to back off. I reminded myself that I was out of the running for the grand prize anyways because I’ll be home for the entire week of Thanksgiving. And I was actually upset about missing a week because I’d be with my family in New Hampshire. That is ridiculous.

I am still going to several classes a week (I’m averaging 6-7 right now over 5ish days) but I mentally took myself out of the challenge. I’m the type of person that doesn’t need a challenge to motivate myself to stay active, or eat my fruits and vegetables throughout the holiday season. The inner athlete in me takes those challenges to an unhealthy extreme.

As I said before, I think the challenges are great… for some people. Some people need that extra motivation to get them out the door in the morning, or to consider getting some nutrients in before eating the cookies. For me, it’s second nature to me to exercise regularly, eat ample amounts of fruits and vegetables daily, and keep the “junk food” to a minimum. I’m still working on the whole sweet tooth thing, but I’m not really putting any effort into keeping that at bay. I truly believe there’s a place for daily hot chocolate and weekly rainbow cake in my life.

Right now I’m at a point where I honestly forget I struggled with an eating disorder. Obviously I remember it’s a huge part of my past, but it doesn’t affect me at all day to day anymore. I forget what I have for lunch when deciding what to do for dinner, I make last minute plans regularly, and I am completely in tune with my hunger cues. The transformation is unbelievable. My eating habits are 100% normal (for me) and my exercise is closely monitored. Little changes like competitions may still be enough to push me over the edge, but I’m healthy and can recognize those potential triggers and that’s what matters.

So I will not be participating in any challenges this season, or any season for that matter. No healthy eating, no exercise challenges, just continuing on with my everyday life. I have an inner athlete that does not back down after spending 15 years competitively swimming, and that competitive nature easily becomes obsessive for me. For most people, I see how the challenges can keep you on track. For myself (and others, I’m sure), they knock me off. So I wish those of you participating in the holiday challenges the best of luck. I’ll be cheering from the sidelines for all of you.

Are you motivated by challenges?

The Color Run

As I mentioned last week, I ran the color run on Saturday. I signed up back in July and I’ve been wanting to do it for awhile, I could just never make it work with my schedule. When my roommate asked me if I wanted to do it with her and her friends/family before we even met, I jumped at the chance. So no, I was not compensated for this post in any way and I paid for the entry myself.

I should probably give you a little back story on this run. On Friday night I didn’t get home from work until almost 11. So I had done zero planning in terms of running a race the next morning. All I knew was that it was going to be frigid and that we were planning on walking most of it.

I didn’t buy any cheap white clothing to wear. I didn’t have any cool outfits planned. I literally grabbed one of my older white Nike quarter zips, my favorite mizuno tights, and a pair of old mizunos and called it a day. I wore regular socks instead of my pro compression socks just in case they got ruined and I realized all of my good warm weather earbands and gloves were still at home in NH. Long story short, I was very unprepared for this “race.”

We woke up at 7:15 and called an uber to pick us up at 7:45 so we could make it to the start around 8. The Color Run wrapped around Camden Yards and the Ravens Stadium which I didn’t know going in. If this were an actual race, I wouldn’t have enjoyed the course very much because it was basically looping around parking lots the entire time but for the Color Run it was perfect.

15819 10203119251677450 470785867928603943 n The Color Run

We didn’t pick up our packets ahead of time so we ended up waiting for at least 45 minutes in the line to grab our bibs/shirts/etc. This is probably my only complaint about the race (minus the temperature, but you can’t control that). I have never had any problems before with any packet pickups the day of the race, and our line wasn’t moving. We finally got our bibs about 10 minutes before the run was supposed to start. We all put on the t-shirts over our warmer layers and attempted to put our bibs on. My hands were so cold I couldn’t do it, so my boyfriend (who was working the event as one of the sponsors) did it for me. I left my “swag bag” with him which was literally just a bag with nothing in it but the cheerios I was too cold to eat beforehand, and we headed off to join the masses at the start.

The first wave went off at 9am but we probably didn’t make it across the start until closer to 9:20. We were highly entertained by people running around in spandex onesies and dancing to T-Swift to stay warm so it went by pretty quickly. We agreed while we were waiting that we would run through the color stops and the finish line but walk the rest.

It turned out there were too many people in front of us to run anyways (except when we were in the shade, then I was running so I didn’t get hypothermia). Because we were walking the entire time, we had plenty of time to figure out how to maximize our color. We ran through one station on the left side and then the next on the right so the powder was evenly distributed. I kept my eyes and mouth closed when I went through them so I didn’t end up with any in my teeth. I’m glad I wore sunglasses or I would have gotten a lot in my eyes.

10005964 10203119256037559 7624834854423952862 o 1024x1024 The Color RunThe race went by fast despite how windy the course was. It took us mostly through various parking lots around both stadiums but it didn’t feel boring. We were able to run through Camden Yards which was really cool and the color stations were evenly distributed so it wasn’t like there was a ton of time between them. I think that kept things interesting. I spent most of the run walk trying to regain feeling in my fingers but that didn’t happen until the end.

10548825 10203119260997683 4832608565452964487 o 768x1024 The Color RunI finished the race sufficiently colored and was not allowed within 10 feet of a certain someone just in case it rubbed off on him. We took tons of pictures at the end, including ones inside of this mirrored “room” and in front of the official sign. The pictures haven’t come out yet but we weren’t really taking the run seriously so we have plenty of our own.

10468035 10203119255917556 937310500389159713 o 1024x768 The Color RunUnfortunately, we couldn’t get an uber home (poor planning on our part) so we walked the 2 1/2 miles back to our apartment. That was fine by me except that I was in a rush to shower and change so I could drop off hot chocolate back at the race and get to work on time.

Overall, I had a really good time and I’m glad I did it. I usually have a policy where I refuse to pay more than $10/mile for a race (and this one was $45) so it was expensive but I think it’s worth it to do it once and I see how it can be really motivating to new runners looking for a fun race! Would I do it again? Probably not, only because of the price, but it was a fun experience and I highly recommend it to everyone. I loved seeing all of the little girls getting excited about wearing fun costumes. It’s a great introduction to running.

Have you ever done a theme run like a Color Run?

Workouts 11/10-11/16

I’m *almost* ready to label this training again. Almost. I have a few races on the horizon (possibly a run on New Years Day and maybe the Shamrock half in March if I’m feeling good). I’ll also probably start running more of the Charm City Run races next spring but for now, I’m holding off on signing up for anything until I know I’m well on my way to being fully recovered. I still have lingering calf pains every so often so I am continuing to take the journey back into running very slow. Hopefully my doctors appointment next week will give me some answers.

Mon- Run 3 miles!

I haven’t been wearing my garmin (it’s broken) but I’m estimating that I’m running approximately 8:30-9 minute miles right now and I ran for about 27 minutes. I wore my Hokas again and I’m still loving how bouncy they feel. It’s a huge difference from my mizuno wave riders which are really firm but they’re both really comfortable. I felt 100% during the run and only had a little bit of tightness after, so I’m proceeding with caution.

Tues- Spin x2 + 15 minutes core

I was half asleep for the first class and just got through the second. These 6am classes are taking a toll on me and I’m starting to look forward to my membership ending. I love the instructors but I can’t keep getting up at 5:20. I don’t know some of you do it every day! I’m usually asleep by 9 and I’m STILL a zombie in the morning.

Wed- November Project!

We went back to our roots on the fed hill stairs. I was really happy about that since they are my favorite workout. I biked there and back but I’m really looking forward to being able to run to the workouts again once my mileage picks back up.

10505405 820705034660003 8466439705966632519 n Workouts 11/10 11/16Thurs- Spin

This class kicked my butt. It always does. I love it. This week she challenged us to not drink any water for the entire class because we often use it as a distraction. At first I thought she was crazy and didn’t want to attempt it but there’s something about Esther that makes me want to challenge myself in different ways. So after I survived the first half of the class without water, I decided to throw my water bottle off the bike completely and go for it. She promised us we would be more in tune with our bodies, and we were. Biking dehydrated isn’t something I’d recommend necessarily, but it is not going to kill you for a 45 minute class. I definitely more than made up for the lack of water later.

Fri- OFF/30 min walk

A much needed break for my legs.

Sat- Color Run

My roommate asked me if I wanted to do the color run with her before we even met! So of course I signed up. We formed a team with some of her friends/family and walked most of it. I wouldn’t call it a “race” but we had such a good time. And one of my favorite people was waiting at the end… I’m not sure this deserves a recap but I might do one anyways… we’ll see how much time I have this week. Afterwards we walked the 2 1/2 miles home and then I walked/ran another mile or two trying to find a dunkin donuts near Camden Yards to bring hot chocolate to the KIND team because they had been at The Color Run in the freezing cold since 6am. Exhausting day.

Sun- Spin, 5k with lululemon, post-run yoga.

The Sunday morning spin classes are my favorites of the week. The 9am class is called “Church of EC” because the owner of the studio leads a very mind-body focused workout. I’m usually exhausted by the end of it but I have been staying for the 2nd class with one of the November Project leaders which is always a good time. He had a sub this week so I’m giving my body a break and sticking with one class. Then, this afternoon I’m going to a 5k at lululemon followed by yoga. Solid day.

Hoka One Clifton

I talked about Hokas a few weeks ago when I mentioned new-to-me products I’ve been loving. I hadn’t tried running in them yet but I had found that they were the only shoes I could wear when I was working at the store that didn’t hurt my calves. For me, that’s huge. I knew that as soon as I was running again I wanted to add them to my rotation.

I was planning on buying myself a pair once I started running again when I received an opportunity to try a pair in exchange for a review. I’ll admit that I didn’t want to “drink the koolaid” when they first started becoming popular because I thought they were like the other fads (think vibrams, zero drop, etc). I heard we would be carrying them at the store and I didn’t think I would be pushing them on people. I didn’t know enough about them. They weren’t a shoe I was familiar with and I’m the person that will bring out mizunos before anything else, so to go from a very firm shoe to extreme cushion is a big jump. But the minute I put them on I understood why people like them. I literally sold the pair I had on my feet 10 minutes after trying them on because i couldn’t stop raving about them.

Capture11 Hoka One Clifton

Yes, they kind of look like moon shoes (someone said he wouldn’t run with me if I’m wearing them- which made me want to buy them even more). They look somewhat clunky. But they aren’t at all. They are probably the lightest pair of shoes I have in my closet right now, and that’s not an exaggeration. Your foot doesn’t actually sit as high up as it looks like it does. In reality, it is probably resting about halfway down the white portion of the sole.

IMG 5279 Hoka One Clifton

a fresh coating of mud post-november project

Whenever we’re selling the shoes at Charm City Run, we tell people that the Hokas are so great because they essentially form a “bucket seat” for your foot. It’s true. I mildly overpronate (although realizing that I need a neutral shoe with an insert) and while this shoe is technically “neutral” it can work for someone who needs a small amount of stability because of the way the foot sits inside of it. I used to be the girl that sold “all the mizunos” and now whenever a customer comes in looking for information about Hokas, my coworkers send them to me. I told a few people that they are “life changing” (Just ask Jill- I sold her a pair). I truly believe they have made a huge difference in my calf recovery.

IMG 5282 Hoka One Clifton

So now that you know the whole backstory about how I’m obsessed with Hokas, I was sent a pair of the Clifton model which is what we carry at Charm City Run. I couldn’t run in them right away because I was still having calf problems, but since I started running again, I have done all but one of my runs in them. And every single run has felt amazing.

The Hokas are known for their extreme cushion which is why you get that “moon shoe” look and feel. There is 2.5x more cushioning in these than a standard running shoe. I can tell the difference immediately, even when walking around. They feel like you’re walking on marshmallows. Running in them has a similar effect- I can tell the cushioning is compressing with each step taken.

IMG 5277 Hoka One Clifton

I also noticed a change in my form. The Hokas are designed in such a way that they force you forward. They call it a “meta rocker” so you naturally roll forward immediately after striking the ground. I personally feel like it has a lot to do with the 5mm heel to toe drop because I noticed the same thing happening in the purecadence. Either way, this is good for me since I’m a chronic heel-striker.

So the short version of this post is that 1) I love the Hoka and firmly believe in the shoes (if you come visit me at Charm City Run you will notice Hokas are now tied for the top spot with Mizuno for me which says a lot) 2) They really do have the most cushioning of just about any shoe- it’s like running on marshmallows and 3) They are extremely light and do not feel clunky at all. I trip over myself more in my other sneakers than these.

IMG 5280 Hoka One Clifton

As for the look, it actually grew on me. But that’s because I like bright colors and these practically light up at night. They’re unique and fun and the idea of wearing a pair of space shoes is oddly appealing. And at the end of the day, I’d rather wear the most comfortable shoe in the world over anything else.

Disclosure: I was sent a pair of Hokas for review but received no compensation for this post. All opinions are my own and I was planning on buying a pair anyways.

Have you tried Hokas yet?

One of those weeks

Oops. Totally didn’t mean to go MIA this week. It’s been “one of those weeks” if you know what I mean. Thank goodness it’s Thursday. Not as good as Friday, but we’re getting closer. I actually don’t dislike Thursdays. Tuesdays, yes, I hate those. But Thursdays are okay. I get to go to my favorite 6am spin class, it’s only one more day until the weekend, there’s a lululemon event tonight (may not make it depending on work), andddd I get to see a certain someone for the first time in like a week. All good things. The only downside is the whole working part of the day, but that’s only 9/24 hours, right?

So let’s start Thinking Out Loud now that I’ve rambled on for awhile about how Thursdays aren’t the worst.

1) Monday was a pretty epic day at the office. We just switched buildings (same parking lot, so we didn’t go far) and the new office is gorgeous. State of the art everything and the kitchen(s) are to die for. So Monday was one big party at work to celebrate the move. Hot breakfast was served, we had a live DJ, then lunch was catered by Sabatino’s (where I went to dinner after graduation), and a company-wide happy hour starting at 3:30 that lasted until close to 6. No wonder we didn’t get out until 7.

IMG 5265 1 e1415801479252 One of those weeks

Can we please talk about our new kitchen? And we have two of these!

2) I booked my flight home for a week and a half at Christmas AND for a long weekend in January. I think my favorite part about my job thus far is that I can go home literally whenever I want. We have a second headquarters in Boston and I can work from there which makes weekend trips much easier. For whatever the reason, this has been an especially tough week so knowing I’m going home so much over the next 2 months is really helpful.

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Favorites.

3) I’ve spent 3 of the last 6 nights at Charm City Run. I love the store. Whenever the owner asks me how my new job is, I always tell him “I like it, but it will never be Charm City.” That place makes me happy. This week we’ve had a ton of meetings to talk about new apparel, welcome new employees, etc. so I’ve gotten to spend more time there. I forgot how much I missed being there 4-5 days a week like I was last year at school. It was great catching up with all of my old coworkers that I rarely see anymore even if it was way past my bedtime.

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4) The color run is this weekend! I don’t really look at these types of events as “races” because they’re not, but I’m looking forward to walking/running it with my roommate and her friends. We formed a team back in July before we even met. Crazy. Even if it is supposed to be 40 degrees as the high for the day. If you happen to live in Baltimore and want to come to Charm City Run Saturday afternoon, there is a slight chance I’ll still be covered in paint. #sorrynotsorry

5) I’ve eaten cereal and green beans for dinner more times than I’d like to admit this week. The problem with evening work meetings is that you don’t get home until late and you have no desire to cook (like I cook anyways, let’s be real). So cheerios it was. Instead of showing you a picture of that, I’ll show you a picture of the pesto chicken and pasta we had last Friday night. So good. I can’t take credit for it- I’m not allowed near the kitchen. This was probably the last “real” homemade meal I ate if you don’t count my salads. Whoops.

IMG 5267 e1415801757790 One of those weeks6) Sometimes you just need to watch the OC in bed. Especially when you’re just not having a great week. That’s what I did several nights this week…when I wasn’t catching up on Are You The One? My roommate got me hooked on that show. I haven’t watched anything on MTV in a really long time but it’s addicting. So is Seth Cohen…

anigif enhanced buzz 3098 1379608642 2 One of those weeks7) Why wasn’t I having a great week? I don’t know. I think it’s the anticipation of going home so soon, a stressful week month at work (#advertisingproblems), and just feeling behind on sleep.

8) Even if the rest of the week was rough, November Project makes everything better. Literally. I woke up in pea soup fog, biked over to Fed Hill, and was greeted with close to 100 smiles. We were back on the hill instead of Rash Field like we usually are which was a nice change. I miss the days where the hill was home base. The workout was extra sweaty due to the humidity (and burpees, suicides, and stairs probably had something to do with it as well) and I left in an infinitely better mood than when I got there. Mission accomplished.

10500495 820705354659971 8648185745936592965 n One of those weeks9) In case you didn’t know, I really like stairs. A lot. They make me ridiculously happy for some weird reason. Just go with it.

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10) I’m reallyyyyy trying to get this Hoka review up tomorrow. I haven’t been home/on my laptop much but the cliff notes version is that I love them. A whole lot. They’ve been my running shoe of choice all week.

What are your plans this weekend?

What TV shows are you watching right now?

Have you ever done a color run (or some variation of it)?

Workouts 11/3-11/9

Another week, another workout recap. This week was not exactly what I expected but I’m pretty happy with it. I mean, I officially have running back on the recaps, so I can’t really complain about anything. My calf was feeling somewhat iffy on Thursday night but it felt better Friday morning so I’m still doing okay. The second I feel pain, I’m taking another week off. I have a massage scheduled in a few weeks which will hopefully help a bit as well. Those will become a monthly occurrence to replace the spin membership next month.

Mon- 1.5 miles running

I ran for 14 minutes and would guess my pace was around 9:30/mile so the distance is not completely accurate. I’m usually able to estimate how fast I’m running so I’m pretty sure it was around 1.5 miles.

Tues- Spin x2

Still going strong on this contest. I realized I’m not going to win (you get points for classes you go to and other tasks you complete over the course of 30 days) because I’m not willing to give up November Project, my job makes it difficult to make it to evening classes,  and I’m going to be home for Thanksgiving for the entire last week of classes. But it’s fun to pretend I’m competition for some of the other die-hards.  Either way, I paid for the membership, so I might as well use it.

Wed- NOVEMBER PROJECT

WE HIT OUR GOAL. 125 178 people for the birthday celebration (3 year anniversary in Boston). So much love for the tribe.

10421221 816669508396889 5981589038763149589 n Workouts 11/3 11/9As for the workout itself, I biked 6ish miles to/from Rash Field, then we did a mix of stairs, running between sets of squats/lunges/burpees/jumping jacks/box jumps, and of course, straight cheesin’. Always.

10405537 10203219603434003 2165391065189918702 n Workouts 11/3 11/9Thurs- OFF

I didn’t make it to my usual 6am class for a very good reason but I desperately wanted to go to the mizuno run at Charm City Run. Unfortunately, I got out of work just a few minutes too late. I made up for it by eating pizza and rainbow cake on the couch. #priorities

In all seriousness, it was for the best considering my calf was bothering me by the end of the day (most likely from walking around in boots at work) and it was my only true rest day of the week.

Fri- 60 min spin w/ weights, 15 minutes core

This is quickly becoming a new favorite class. I hate strength training so this allows me to get some strength training in while I’m still doing cardio. Best of both worlds. I also went to bed at 8:45 Thursday night so I was well rested for this one.

Sat- Walking the dogs/Run 2 1/2 miles.

We took the dogs for a long-ish walk in the morning. They’re crazy. We probably for about a half hour. I didn’t make it to spinning before work so I decided to go for a short run instead after. I love being back out on the roads (docks?) even when it’s pitch black outside. I’m wear-testing the Hoka Cliftons right now and loving them (review coming soon). They’re the perfect complement to my wave riders and I feel like I’m floating.

Sun- Spin x2

Favorite day of the week by far. I love the Sunday morning “Church of EC” class and I love Nick’s new class. I refuse to miss either.

10485841 10153263390505410 5865095562921973405 n Workouts 11/3 11/9Workouts felt a little lighter this week due to missing spin a bunch of days. I would feel bad about it because I’m paying an arm and a leg for the membership but there are some weeks that I make it to 8+ classes so I already broke even for the month. Because I’m starting to run again, I have to remind myself to keep the workouts lighter to make sure I’m recovering enough. Would I have liked to run or spin Thursday? Absolutely. But I also needed a day off so it worked out perfectly.

My leg is still feeling pretty good. There is definitely a knot there but it hasn’t been too painful. I have to remember that just because I’m “only” running 1-3 miles right now, I’m still running. This is what I need to do to come back healthy. Deciding to go out and do a second workout because a short run isn’t “enough” won’t help me in the long run, so taking it easy for the next few weeks is what I’ll continue to do.

I don’t want running to start taking over spinning until December when my membership expires but it is already happening. As soon as I’m running enough miles again, I’ll be back at November Project on Friday mornings as well as Wednesdays, so I’ll probably only be spinning Thursday and Sunday mornings. Balance.

Tribe Love

Words can’t begin to describe Wednesday at November Project.

If you haven’t seen me (and thousands of other people) blowing up your social media feeds every week with ridiculously awesome workout pictures, you’re not following the right people.

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My last workout before I moved home “for good”

A few months ago, the leaders of November Project in all 17 cities met in Wisconsin for a leadership summit. Word on the street is that they had a ton of fun but there was some business mixed in there too (or so I’ve been told). One topic on the agenda was the growth of November Project.

They settled on 3014 people by the end of the year. Why 3014? I still don’t totally understand it. According to a recent blog post, “3,014 is an insane number that has never been a goal for any humans in the history of the planet. Plus, we’d like to think that in the year 3014 that they’ll still be talking about NP.”

3014 sign 768x661 Tribe Love3014 seemed like an insane number but with 17 different tribes, it was absolutely attainable. My tribe in Baltimore set a goal for 125 people. When I moved back here in August, we had never had more than 75 people at one workout. By mid September, we reached 109. I wasn’t sure if it was going to be possible to get 125 people all in one place, but I knew if anyone could do it, it would be November Project.

I literally couldn’t sleep the night before, I was so excited. I woke up 3 times before my 5:50am alarm Wednesday morning in fear that I overslept. Because I’m not about to miss out on the most epic Wednesday of the year, nor did I want to be featured on one of the “We Missed You” posts.

I got to Rash Field as the 5:30am group was finishing up. I was floored by the number of people. I saw Sydney (one of the co-leaders) and we started bouncing up and down with excitement. 50 people made it to the 5:30 workout. That’s about double the usual number. At that point I knew we were going to hit our goal of 125 without a problem.

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starting the bounce

More and more people started showing up and I grew more and more excited. I took my yearbook photo (captain hat and all, because #boatlife.) and chatted with newbies and veterans, and let the excitement build. The energy was contagious. Not that I needed any more.

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I don’t know why I’m holding a cow hat. Just go with it.

The workout itself was pretty standard but for me it was extra special. I was running again. Finally. Without pain. I didn’t let myself sprint or do anything too crazy but I didn’t have to sit out for any of it for the first time in months. My comeback couldn’t have happened on a better day. We did a circuit workout- 10 minutes of stairs, 10 minutes of picking workouts out of a hat (ranging from tickling 3 random peoples’ chins to reciting the pledge of allegiance to box jumps to jumping jacks), and 10 minutes of pushups, squats, and “sprints.” It wasn’t anything out of the ordinary from a typical Wednesday workout, but it was the crowd that made it so special.

I got to work out with 178 of my closest friends Wednesday morning. 178. If I’m doing my math correctly, that’s a lot more than our goal of 125.

10421221 816669508396889 5981589038763149589 n Tribe LoveAnd the final tally for all 17 cities?

3,934 crazy fitness freaks. That’s a lot of people. I can’t wait to see what’s next for November Project as it expands in the coming years.

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Boston had almost 1500 people show up. Incredible.

Nothing could have ruined my mood on Wednesday. Absolutely nothing. I saw so many tweets, facebook statuses, instagram posts, and more with people from all of the tribes saying the same things:

“My heart is full.”

“I love my tribe.”

“I’m so thankful for these people.”

“I’m so happy to be a part of such an incredible movement.”

I agree with every single one of those people. I think it’s safe to say most of us feel the same way.

So with all that said, I’m pretty freaking proud of November Project, but especially November Project Baltimore. They are my people. That’s all there is to it. November Project changes lives. Ask just about anyone. As I said to Carrie yesterday, “the only people who don’t like November Project are people who either haven’t tried it or haven’t given it a chance.” I’m so happy I decided to rejoin my tribe. Without it, I would have never considered moving back here.