Friday, June 28, 2013

More musings on emotional well-being...

I have nothing fabulous to say. On the workout front, I finished up my 12 week boot camp with the marines and then did a 6 week summer one to keep me in the swing of things. Ever since that ended I've been trying to maintain my muscle tone and keep the running fresh for when things ramp up really really soon. :-) I am both excited and nervous to start building the mileage again. It's such a fun journey but you never know what you're going to get out of it. I mainly just yearn for those crazy long runs, I never really had so much solace in my life than during those times. I'm craving my time with the Charleston heat...I say this now and will regret it later, haha.

Anyways, just a lot on my mind lately. There is always a transition period when people leave your life and unexpectedly, new people file in.  I think a lot about circumstance and chance. I wish I could talk more about it on here but even though I had a crazy childhood, I don't think I've lived any more difficult a life than most. Although, when I'm around a lot of people who had plenty more opportunities than I did growing up, it makes me think. I wonder, would I ever change any of it? Well yes, some aspects I absolutely would but in other aspects, no, not at all. I can't help but think that every experience in life gives you a perspective and insight into an area of life you've never had before. Our lives are so parallel and more often than not, we're just looking to be accepted and appreciated for who we are and what we've done.

I find that in any given day, the people I encounter just want someone to listen to them and hear their story. I am so grateful to have been able to cultivate my listening skills at an early age and be that person for many wandering souls. On the flip side, I have wonderful friends who are my listeners. I have learned to grow a voice from them in a trusting environment and not hide behind my fears and doubts. In so many aspects my friends help me to "pay it forward". They listen to me so that I can in turn listen to others. I get frustrated that I'm not a better listener for my friends sometimes. I'm a little biased, but my close friends are truly like family members to me. We may grow apart physically and sometimes not speak for weeks, but when we finally have a conversation it's like we never missed a beat. I thank the powers-that-be (circumstance? chance? fate?) for these people every day.

Which brings me to my closing paragraph, because I don't want to get much more serious today, just want to get some thoughts out in this space. It's funny how those "powers-that-be" somehow bring me back full circle, right back to the very beginning. It's almost like I am being allowed the chance to change some things about my past. To take a situation that I didn't deal so well with before and deal with it again, but with different people and places. Almost like a "do-over" but 10 times better because I have perspective, wonderful friends, and a new found self awareness. I wish I could tell you how scared I am but I'm also really excited about building a parallel universe at a time.

Cheers to Friday!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Emotional Health Is Important Too

Things are so different lately. 

Yes, working out is still a priority. Eating healthy is still a priority. The healthy living side of my life is still a priority. 

So what's different?

This feeling that I've been having. This feeling, that as my life gets busier,  I might actually love it. Well, yes, I love my life. I have a pretty awesome thing going on right now, but that's not what I meant. I love being busy. Insane, right? Would anyone actually love being ridiculously busy all the time? Right now, I actually do. So maybe one day I might not say that and maybe one day (like in 3 weeks or so) I'll want to slow way down. But right now, as long as I maintain the healthy living side of my life, the busy side just augments the positives in my life. I'm too busy to worry about the things that used to bother me about myself. I know that I've traveled a long journey with my soul and that for the most part I have to accept myself for who I am. I know that not everyone will see you for who you are, but you should continue to be the person you are despite how others view you.

It's so easy to get bogged down in everything. It also amazes me when something is truly important to me, I'll place those thoughts above any others in my head, no matter how much I shouldn't be thinking about them. The brain is such a powerful and intriguing tool to me. I have so much empathy for everyone that I meet that sometimes I have difficulty knowing when to walk away from the troubles that they have that I want to take on as my own. Have you read this paragraph? It's not making much sense but hang on a second and I think it will come together. 

What I'm trying to say, and not so eloquently, is that this blog is changing. I've never been good with blog themes. I prefer to just be real, off the cuff, and say what I need to say when I need to say it. You never know when someone is reading what you wrote and thinking that they are just so happy to know that they're not "alone" in their feelings. 

So for now, I'll just say that this is where I stand. 

There are plans for a fall half marathon in the works, where I plan to race my little heart out and sub 2 the half. However, realistically speaking, I'll really just be running to keep myself sane during the fall. This girl, right here, always needs a plan for something to keep moving forward. Plans are just plans - they get you somewhere but it doesn't always end up being where you intended or even thought you would ever be. That's this crazy thing called "life" for you! :-)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Marine Corp Marathon-er

Life = so amazingly busy. I both love it and hate it at the same time.

Hold on, pause that thought for one second.

It's been almost 3 1/2 weeks since I posted last and I just have to say it (or type it?)....

I AM A MARATHONER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Please excuse my crazy hair and gigantic yellow was cold!
*clears throat* Ok, just had to get that out of my system. I read so many runner blogs and I love all of their race recaps. It is honestly one of my goals to one day be able to write one so eloquently but I seriously don't know how they remember so much from races! I have some key highlights from the marathon but overall it feels like this amazing dream, so surreal. I RAN a marathon, let me repeat that. I. Ran. A. Marathon. So ridiculous. Like, it doesn't even feel real. Well, the day after, when every muscle in my body was revolting, it felt very real. But now? I'm so glad they gave me that medal because otherwise I wouldn't even believe it. I worked really hard to get a 4:58 finish time...passing the 5 hour pace group was seriously what I needed at mile 24 so badly. The best part from what I can tell is that every marathon after this just gets better...I'm totally addicted.
The Medal :-)

Every now and then I get chills basking in my post marathon glow. The best part is that it is no one else's satisfaction but my own. I earned it and I worked my butt off for it. If you see me flashing a goofy smile for no apparent reason, it's probably because I'm thinking about being a marathoner.

Ok, I'm sure you're tired of reading about me being a marathoner by now. So what's next on the chopping block? Not really sure. I'm doing the Holiday Booty Buster Challenge for the next few weeks. I did it last year after my half was over and it really keeps me motivated to keep working out even when I don't have a training plan. This year they have a pretty sweet Face book group set up where everyone can post the work out they did that day and give everyone encouragement. It's pretty awesome. If you're interested check out the link over there on the side of my blog. It's not too late to sign up and keep the motivation going through the holidays. I read something the other day that said the average American gains 5-10lbs from Thanksgiving through New Years. Yikes, don't be a statistic! Keep moving!

This week I have earned points for my first post marathon run, for cooking, cleaning and getting my full 7 servings of fruits and veggies. I love tallying up the points. I'm such a visual person so it really keeps me going to add more points to my log. So, I'm totally giving away all my neurosis in this post. Don't judge. :-)

I hope you all enjoy your Turkey (or tofurkey to my veggie friends) tomorrow and remember to give your friends and family hugs!


Side note:
I won this shirt by Reebok from Anne before I left for the marathon and it is now my new life motto and most favorite gym shirt. Thanks Anne!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Before I take my first step

Let's just pretend that I'm not the world's worst blogger for a second and go back to that whole training for a marathon part. Yep, training is now trained! I am running my first marathon in less than 48 fours! I have been so crazy mad busy with non stop 12 hour days with school, work and committee meetings. Taper was actually really easy and so very much enjoyed. I had no problems with running lower mileage. At. All. I actually didn't run this past week. I think my shoes are shot and I started developing a pain oddly familiar to a shin splint. In order to save my leg and save the last bit of miles in my shoes, I opted to skip the few short runs on my plan. I'm better off with a pain free leg not nagging me the whole, long, arduous 26.2 miles right? Just say "yes".

I wish I could explain my emotions right now but I can't seem to put them into words. All the blogs and twitter messages about the marathon have me so pumped. I know there will be pain, there has to be pain, but I know I can do this. I know I can get through it. How do I know? Because in the past two months I have all ready fought for this marathon over and over again. Now, all I have to do is get there and put one foot in front of the other until I get to the finish.

All you non runners, why is this so powerful for me you ask? Because even just a year ago I never wanted to run a marathon. I was just where so many of you are now. Oh I could never do that, can you imagine? 13.1 miles is long enough, I can't imagine doing 13.1 more! Why run 26.2 when you can drive that distance in 30 min? I'm good, thanks.

Oh, but sometimes when you dare to do what you think you will never do, you learn so so so much more about yourself than you could ever imagine. I'll admit, you might not like some of the things that you learn along the way. But you learn how to make your strong points stronger and your weaknesses less weak.

I have watched myself grow over these past few months. I have made decisions and stood by them. The same way I signed up for this marathon, so full of doubt and yet, ready to see what I could do. I have realized that I am fiercely independent and would rather do things on my own schedule than rely on someone else's schedule. Hence the reason I signed up and even paid a small fee to join a training group and only went to one run when their schedule just didn't work for mine. Ha. Oops.

I'm a fighter, I don't give up, even when I hit the wall at mile 12 of an 18 miler after being on campus for 12 hours and a brutal exam. I felt a little insane at that point but I also am a rule follower and I had to get in that long run. I just had to.

So many times I kept thinking I can't do this, I don't know how I'll finish. But somewhere deep down I knew that even if I had to crawl across the finish line, I would be doing it. And I will. On Sunday. With 30,000 other crazy people just like me, these are my people. The dreamers. The people who set goals and make them happen. The doers. The movers. The shakers. The runners!!!

The next time we meet again, you know, I'll be a marathoner. No big deal. *brushes off shoulder*

Ok. Kinddddd of a big deal. To me!

Go dream, y'all!!!

Friday, September 7, 2012

I'm still training for my first marathon

About that training update...hmmm. More than halfway done! Wow, that happened fast right? Wrong. :-)

I'm baaaaack in Charleston, SC and oh how sweet the south is, especially the people. After being in Charleston for a little over 7 years now, a 3.5 month break from Charleston was just what I needed to bring back some perspective on this area called the Lowcountry. Look it up, it's a real word.

Being back in Charleston can only mean one other thing and that is the beginning of pharmacy school, year 2. All ready in full swing, I have two exams on tap for next week. Aaaaand if that's not enough, I'm involved in a countless number of groups and committees and NOW, I have a jobby job. Yeah, I'm just a little bit insane. I also may have over-committed. Oh well, must make it through October (without going insane and without ruining too many of my relationships).

Last weekend was my longest run to date, 16 miles. Eek, it was tough. But I felt really really bad ass afterwards. I mean, 16 miles? That's just crazy. I can only imagine what 26.2 is going to feel like afterwards (cause lets face it, during it's just going to feel a-wwwful). This week set me back, I haven't run since Monday mainly because things have just been super hectic and I'm still trying to settle into a schedule that makes running a priority.

Marathon goals? I had some high hopes back in June when I had so much "time" on my hands to ponder these things. However, as I see my time quickly slipping away and my days planned out until November, I know that just getting through my long runs will be quite the struggle. With that said, my marathon goal is strictly just to finish. Which, baring something major happening during the race, I absolutely know I can finish. So, with that said, I'll be happy with anything under 5 and 1/2 hours, and I'll be so pleasantly, pleasantly surprised with anything under 5 hours! I know this sounds even more crazier but I'm all ready thinking about post marathon plans...I don't have time to train for another, but when? And what to do in the meantime? I'm thinking swim lessons, folks. Lofty goal planner, I am.

I'll leave you with some pics from my first 15 miler a few weeks ago. I ran from downtown Charleston over the cooper river bridge to Old Village in Mt Pleasant, SC. Then ran back over the bridge to run the last 4 (SLOW) miles with my friend Jen. Dear Charleston humidity, you are NO joke and I have NOT missed you. Love, Holly. :-)

At the old bridge in Old Village, Mt. Pleasant, SC. The old bridge is long gone and has been made into a scenic park with lots of palm trees and benches. 

If you look realllll close you can see the cooper river bridge in the mid right of this pic...yeah, I ran  from there, to here. Puts it in perspective, right?!

Happy September!!! (Maybe cooler temps soon?!)

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Navigating the salad bar at Whole Foods!

As a follow up to my last post, I thought I would weigh in and share my tips on how I maneuver the salad bar at whole foods. I am not always so fortunate with my purchase and sometimes I cringe when I accidentally spend $8 on a lunch salad (my bad?). But hey, nobody is perfect and hopefully you can learn from some of my mistakes!

First and foremost; choose your salad container wisely. If you're not going to get a runny salad with lots of dressings and what not, opt for the folded paper containers usually located at the hot bar for housing your salad. The paper containers are much lighter than the cardboard like containers, which means less $$.

Second, if you like toppings then skimp on the lettuce. The lettuce is washed and although it feels light it actually holds a lot of water. I usually just barely cover the bottom of the container with lettuce, esp. if I'm eyeing up some heavy veggies.

I get carried away with individual veggies and usually add too many so I look for mixed prepared "salads" as toppings for my lettuce. For instance, yesterday I chose 2 tablespoons of chickpeas (a little goes a long way with these as they are very filling!), one scoop of a corn and red onion salad, followed by one scoop of a mediterranean salad (think couscous, kale and cherry tomatoes). The best thing about these toppings is they are pre-mixed with oils that can act as a dressing for the salad. Which leads me to my next tip...

Skip the dressing! Again, most dressings are heavy and can really add some weight to your salad. If you really need a dressing, try not to go over 1-2 tablespoons and opt for a vinagrette or water based dressing over a creamy dressing. Not only is it lighter in weight but it's also healthier!

Lastly, if you are adding a protein source like chicken, tofu or beef; stick to the 4oz rule. Four ounces is usually one serving size and all you need for your salad. Think 4 strips of grilled chicken/beef or one scoop of tofu and that should be plenty for your salad.

I wish I had taken a picture of my $5.75 salad from yesterday! It was super filling. I must admit, I was pretty proud of myself. *pats self on back*

Do you have any tips for saving money on salads at the salad bar? I'm always looking for advice in this area!

I was also lucky enough to get my hands on a very large bag of cherries from Whole Foods during a sale! I took the chance to learn how to pitt cherries (not so easy and very messy) and also made some yummy treats! Thanks Whole Foods!

Just a few pics below!

Cherry tart I made with Whole Foods cherries and Whole Foods organic filo dough (unnecessary? totally, but oh so worth it).

Cherry muffins made with the gigantic bunch of Whole Foods cherries I had!

Be on the lookout for a marathon training update soon!!!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

My current obsession with Whole Foods

I know, I know, It's been over a month. I can at least say I warned you, right? Right.

Funny story, I used to never go to Whole Foods. I was extremely intimidated by the organic eating and whole foods craze. I mean, what did I know about these things? I generally try to eat healthy. My idea of healthy involves a balanced representation of food groups on my plate. If anything is unbalanced then that means there are more veggies than anything else! Also, while I used to be an avid vegetarian, I now have added chicken to get some extra lean protein. That combined with my little (I mean, huge?) sugar addiction and my newly self diagnosed gluten sensitivity and that's about all I know about my diet. So, growing up super thrifty means I try to incorporate my diet into a sustainable way of life. Usually this means avoiding pricey supermarkets like Whole Foods. This avoidance tactic has worked out well for me where I live in Charleston because the one and only Whole Foods is in no way convenient or accessible to me. However, back in the intimidation day, I used to work right across the street from the Whole Foods. I would venture in occassionally for a healthy lunch wrap and gawk at the tasty treats in the bakery section.

Well folks, things have changed a bit this summer. For 2/3 of my summer internship, I have been frequenting the Whole Foods in Old Town, Alexandria. I have walked up and down every single aisle and read a lot of labels. I'm not going to lie, things are still pricey but I am committed to "checking in" at least 10 times so that I can win a $5 gift card from foursquare (such a sucker for these things!). By the time I get that 10th check in (which I've all ready been there more than 10 times, I've just forgotten to "check in" - doh), I will have spent well over $100. I have the convenience to afford these lunch perusings with a 1 hour lunch break and a healthy summer stipend, but there are some things I will miss the most when I return to Charleston and end my sabbatical with Whole Foods.

1. The vast array of gluten free products. They have got to have the biggest selection of any place I've seen. My favorite snack that I have snatched for a whopping deal of $1.79 this week is a bag of Popcorners in White Chedder!

PopCorners! So yummy!

2. Stocking up on Odwalla smoothies and juices. Whole Foods has the best assortment of Odwalla drinks to date. Believe it or not, I have found that Whole Foods actually sells their Odwalla juices 10 cents cheaper than the local Harris Teeter. Score!

3. Being able to find all my favorite specialty products in one place. Justin's Almond Nut Butter? check. Vega nutrition products? check. Any and every kind of granola energy bar? check. Chicken hot dogs? check. Annie's Homegrown products? check. The list goes on.

The only place I have found individual packets of Vega smoothies!

A great snack option

4. Last but not least - the Whole Foods salad bar and hot foods bar. This section of the store is by far the biggest and most popular area. The thing I have enjoyed the most about the Old Town location is that even though it's busy, navigating through this area isn't nearly as intimidating as it used to be in Charleston! At $7.99/lb, you have to be savy when choosing your ingredients. I have managed to master the salad bar and most of my lunch salads average around $6, today's salad was $5.75!

I'll be sure to let you in on my tricks of the trade on my next post!

What are some of your Whole Foods favorites? I'd love to have some new things to try before I leave my internship!