Tuesday Pick-Me-Up #1

Taking a quick break from drowning in paperwork to write this (aka on break at work) – I’m going to try and start a new type of post every Tuesday. I hate Tuesdays, they’re usually my biggest slump day of the week. Maybe that’s just me, but, Tuesdays are my “in desperate need of something to cheer me up” days. They also happen to be my biggest retail therapy day. Keep me away from Ann Taylor and TJ Maxx on Tuesdays. And the internet in general.

So, I want to try and compile a list of things that perk me up each Tuesday – whether they be something cute I saw online (buyable or no), an article that I read and really enjoyed, something nice that happened, or just an inspirational quote I ripped from my Pinterest board. Whatever. Probably better to show than tell:

Tuesday Pick-Me-Up #1

3 Simple Tricks to Improve Running Form (And Have the Best Run Ever)
3 Quick and Dirty Tips to Prevent Running Injuries for Good

Finding out what shin splints really are...

Finding out what shin splints really are…

These article, from Greatist, were short and to the point but the tips were great and better yet, information I didn’t already know. I’ve complained about it before I’m sure but I have a tendency to struggle with shin splints whenever I’m running a lot – I’ve learned they’re mostly from my stride and overworking myself. Luckily, though I had some pretty severe shin pain after running Friday, I was way more mindful yesterday and today and it’s completely gone (phew!). I genuinely love running and I hate when I have to cut back because my muscles are pulling away from the bone. Btw, yeah, that’s what shin splints do. And stress fractures, for those curious, are when the muscle pulls part of the bone away with it and – yeah. I’m grossed out too. So, I don’t want that. And the author of these short articles (seriously, check them out, even if running isn’t your favorite thing), Jason Fitzgerald, is a certified track coach so if he doesn’t know what’s up with running, we’re all screwed.

Mod Cloth’s Extra Soar-age Shower Caddy

CaddyI do not need this but it is easily the one of the cutest effing things in the whole entire world. My next place may (read: most definitely) have a woodland creatures-type theme. It’s okay, just call me Snow White. Can be found for purchase here: Extra Soar-age Shower Caddy. ModCloth’s home decor section in general is awesome – though a little price-y for a lot of cute but silly knick knacks. Don’t get me wrong, I troll their page endlessly and suggest everyone go check it out.

 

Fitness Blender

Not my photo, obviously.

My friend Meara first told me about this website and I finally checked it out. And it is AWESOME. You can search for workouts by the amount of minutes you are willing to scrounge together, the amount of calories you’re willing to let go of, even the part of the body you would most like to improve. FYI, there is no such thing as “spot reducing” so if you looking to lose fat from your abs specifically, it’s not going to happen. You’ll just lose weight in general. But if you want to actually strengthen your core, you know what kind of exercises to look up. I felt the need to throw that info in there. I’m just a wealth of knowledge today, aren’t I? So this website is created by a married couple that look like they make all of their friends on social media jealous and it’s pretty awesome. So far, it looks free too so it sounds like an all around win to me. I spend a lot of money on a gym but you really have a lot of options when it comes to home workouts.

Lastly and on a completely unrelated note, I’m a huge horror/thriller/suspense movie fan. I love ’em; love being scared, adrenaline-racing, edge of my seat, holy shit holy shit holy shit scared. So on Halloween, Beau and I rented a horror movie called Dark Skies to watch, then ended up falling asleep because we’re really exciting people. I still wanted to see it so I watched it alone the next night and you guys it’s about aliens. I love ghost movies, and it was from the producers of Paranormal Activity and Insidious so I thought, “Oooh scary ghostie movie!” I was so wrong. They showed the aliens. They had the long thin appendages and big heads and big eyes and seriously it was the most incredibly wrong turn a movie that showed promise could make. Aliens. Aliens. STOP IT.

– a.

Boston Virtual Run

Hi folks, I’m sure most of you have heard/read/watched the tragedy in Boston yesterday. So many words can come bubbling up in me, of anger, of disgust, of dissolution. But they’re not worth saying. What happened was horrendous, heart breaking, and devastating. A marathon, for me, is a far-reaching goal I hope to one day accomplish, not an event for pain and suffering.

But, rather than focus on the negatives of this, I have to comment upon the awe-inspiring response from others. We could sit and mumble and mutter and curse and create political epithets but rather than that, I personally am doing what is the exact opposite of what any terrorist or like person could want: I’m focusing on the positive. A quote from Patton Oswalt has gone viral but I’d like to share it anyway because it hit very deep for me:

“I remember, when 9/11 went down, my reaction was, “Well, I’ve had it with humanity.”

But I was wrong. I don’t know what’s going to be revealed to be behind all of this mayhem. One human insect or a poisonous mass of broken sociopaths.

But here’s what I DO know. If it’s one person or a HUNDRED people, that number is not even a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a percent of the population on this planet. You watch the videos of the carnage and there are people running TOWARDS the destruction to help out. (Thanks FAKE Gallery founder and owner Paul Kozlowski for pointing this out to me). This is a giant planet and we’re lucky to live on it but there are prices and penalties incurred for the daily miracle of existence. One of them is, every once in awhile, the wiring of a tiny sliver of the species gets snarled and they’re pointed towards darkness.

But the vast majority stands against that darkness and, like white blood cells attacking a virus, they dilute and weaken and eventually wash away the evil doers and, more importantly, the damage they wreak. This is beyond religion or creed or nation. We would not be here if humanity were inherently evil. We’d have eaten ourselves alive long ago.

So when you spot violence, or bigotry, or intolerance or fear or just garden-variety misogyny, hatred or ignorance, just look it in the eye and think, “The good outnumber you, and we always will.”

(source)

I agree inherently. I am inspired, amazed, and downright in love with the response from so many even immediately afterward. As humans, we jumped to helping where we could and how we could. You know those ‘faith restored in humanity’ articles?

13 Examples Of People Being Awesome After The Attack On The Boston Marathon

Hospitals nearby literally were sending people away because they had THAT many people offering to donate blood. Sure, there were some sick individuals yesterday, some truly evil people. But the amount of love, support, and help offered but thousands overwhelms that. And it will every single time.

I’m horrified, devastated, and so angry, but I’m also respectful, awe-inspired, and truly grateful for humanity today.

For those interested in helping out physically or even just showing support and love:

Boston Marathon Help: Relief Groups Aid Victims (How To Help)

Run Junkees: Runners United To Remember

Boston Marathon Explosions: How You Can Help

We could start a political agenda. We could blame any number of countries, political and religious groups, or terrorist cells. We could argue, fight, and be afraid.

Or we can help. We can support one another. We can offer help and love.

Guess which one I chose?

-a.

Sick, sunburnt, and sore but I still ran close to 2 miles and managed my fastest mile.

Sick, sunburnt, and sore but I still ran close to 2 miles and managed my fastest mile.

And on a side note: seriously, why would you ever mess with Boston? Have you not seen the Boondock Saints?

Late Night Hunger Pangs

As much as I am not a fan of it, I work second shift at my job about 90 percent of the time. This means, with my hour commute, I’m not home until 11:30pm-midnight five nights a week. While I was one of those kids that stayed up until 2-3am in college (and high school…whoops), my sleep schedule has somehow regularized itself over the past almost year since graduation. When it hits 11pm, I start yawning. I’m usually out by 12:30-1am and awake by 9-9:30am. The only problem? Sometimes I don’t even get off of work until 11pm. Frustrating? Extremely. I think it’s the hour commute that makes it the hardest. And I’m talking a no traffic hour commute, as in close to 60 miles. One of my main sticking points when looking for jobs now is, at least for the most part, regular hours. I have no problem going in early or staying late or working weird hours on occasion but I’m 23 and since picking up a job at 16, have yet to have any form of regular schedule, let alone weekends.

But that’s not why I decided to put down my book and write this post. What I noticed in the past probably couple months is that when I get home from work, no matter how much I ate or how well I spaced my meals out, I am hungry when I get home. Or even if I’m not that hungry, I automatically go to the fridge and open it. I’m fabulous at grazing the fridge and pantry as it is (boredom eater…I know), but it’s started to get pretty bad. I don’t understand why my body gets hungry at midnight, or wants me to eat at midnight. I’ve gotten good at meals being at 11am, 3:30-5pm (sometimes a snack, then a meal at 5), and again at 8. I don’t like eating at the whacked out times but I have to sit with 60 patients for a half hour at 5pm for their dinner and it’s really hard to not eat with them.

breakfastegg Generally, my meals are healthy throughout the day, though the past week I’ve noticed myself eating significantly more. For example, I made myself a hearty breakfast of egg, chicken, leftover jalapeno pesto, and swiss cheese atop toast (homemade bread, too!) and only two hours later I had made myself a smoothie of frozen fruit and broccoli, strawberry protein powder (wouldn’t do that again…chocolate instead), yogurt, a few chocolate pieces, and milk. Both were great healthy options but I didn’t need both and not within a two hour time span. I was stuffed for HOURS. I ate again later at work, nothing heavy, but still came home at midnight and managed to annihilate leftovers.

What I used to do in PA was mix frozen fruit with a few super dark chocolate chips and that satisfied me. Maybe it’s being home at my parents’ house that makes me want to eat more, even though overall they have less of a selection than I did. I think I had more fresh produce, weirdly enough. My parents are better at meal planning than I am, however. I just go to the store and see all the produce and think, “I could cook that? I could cook that!” I should start a cooking show and have that as my trademark.

So that’s what I did last night when I started wanting something in my belly. I think it’s kind of like my latenightsnackaddiction to smoking – I just want the familiarity and comfort of putting something in my mouth. All jokes aside, because I did just say “THAT IS WHAT SHE SAID” aloud too, I don’t like my nocturnal eating. I’ve done it since I was a kid, I used to sneak snack cakes (sorry Mom) and other like things. I don’t know where or why the habit came from but by now, I’m sick of it. So I think I’m going to do what I did with smoking – cut it short, then cut it out. I’m going back to the frozen fruit plan where I have a bowl of frozen fruit when I get home with my tea for a week or two, then I’m not letting myself eat when I get home anymore. I have to remind myself that I’m not actually hungry, if I were, I could’ve eaten at work where I have a stockpile of healthy frozen meals and dishes in the freezer. Last night I mixed frozen fruit, probably a cup, a 100 calorie packet of cocoa roasted almonds (favorite), and a small handful of M&Ms, because I’m out of my super dark chocolate. The M&Ms are my dad’s, I think. I am assuming these blossoming chocolate cravings are coming from his side of the family.

To complete my motivation fail out, I haven’t been to the gym in a week and a half. Okay, so some of you are probably rolling your eyes. For me, trying to get into shape, that’s a big deal. But, I do have plans to go Saturday as part of a girl’s day. Which I will be regaling to you in UTMOST DETAIL after Saturday. Man-thing and Taylor’s other roommate are out of town visiting family for the weekend so we are taking advantage of this rare momentous Saturday off! Well, it’s rare and momentous for me, not so much for her. Speaking of Man-thing, I had this weird moment the other night where I admitted that was uncomfortable with my body and didn’t like it very much and it made me shy sometimes and shameful. He, being a proper Man-thing, told me I had nothing to be ashamed of at all.

yogaclassI just need to get back into the swing of things and stop moping over my crap schedule. Yes, it sucks and yes for some reason I’m the only long term full-time staff member without a regular schedule now but I can roll with the punches and still go to classes. I’ve been a little freaked out about going to the yoga class on Thursday mornings though, because I felt like a total moron last time I went. I’m not sure why, it was Yoga 2, but I struggled with some of the moves and felt like I was in positions wrong. It was bizarre.manthing

Last bit – I went against the grain and dyed my hair dark for spring! I’m a brunette again! It’s actually darker than I intended, but, I still like it. Man-thing does too, I think. He had been trying to convince me to go dark red! By the way, I added the hyphen because every time I typed “Manthing”, I pictured a furry beast in a top hat.

Planning posts for the week as I type, because I’m finally out of my funk and back, baby!

-a.

So, I joined a gym.

I am 23 years old and I have never had a gym membership. Up until last week, you could hear me yowling up and down the streets of Frederick/Middletown/Shippensburg/Chambersburg/Prague…probably that gyms were useless money sucks and that anyone with the motivation to get off their ass to drive to the gym definitely had the motivation to get out and go for a run. This was, of course, before soul-splitting shin splints kicked in and I quite possibly gave myself a stress fracture trying to ignore the pain. 

So, I girded my loins and cried a little bit on the inside and tried out a few different gyms. I tried SoldierFit (a Maryland thing…for now), which was a fantastic workout with a great sense of camaraderie but was also about 60 dollars a month. When I have 60 dollars a month lying around, I will bathe with it. Or, as my friend Paul put it so delicately last night, “roll it up and smoke it.”

So I tried again. I’ve done the Planet Fitness shindig before with my friend Christine (who also, interestingly, brought me along to SoldierFit) and while it was a lovely plethora of metal creatures all lined up and waiting for me kill myself on, there wasn’t much structure. No pool, no classes, and a terrifying stand up tanning booth that I physically took about six steps out of my way to avoid. Sure, ten bucks a month is actually pretty doable for me, but, again, there wasn’t much there I would have trouble getting a hold of elsewhere. I justified it like this: I have a yoga mat, medicine ball, and rather heavy books, what else do I need?

That justification didn’t last too long when I went almost two months and GAINED THREE POUNDS. Sure, a combination of drinking with friends, eating pad thai on purpose, and lazy mornings also affected that as well, but, I wasn’t getting out as much. It was starting to get too cold out to go running at night (shut up, I know). I rarely had time in the mornings and insert about four other excuses here. I was losing motivation…fast. 

So, my friends Liane and Meara brought me out to Fitness First, a gym with a few locations in Frederick. They still didn’t have a pool, which stinks, but they have so many different classes and when you sign up you get a fitness assessment, which really helps to gauge where you are in relation to fitness. I took a kickboxing class, a few total body conditioning classes, and just had my fitness assessment today and I’m actually pretty happy with my decision to join. Staff are more than friendly and helpful, the classes have kicked my ass, and I’ve had yet to wait in lines (which I had to at Planet Fitness a few times).

Though I’m fighting my inner conspiracy theorist (damn the man and all that), I know I needed to join a gym to actually keep working out in winter. I’m like a bear; I eat EVERYTHING in the fall and wrap myself in a snuggie and don’t leave the couch until April. And that’s, you know, bad in some cultures.

I did have an interesting experience today in the ladies locker room (woah guys, calm down. no, really. calm down.), when I saw roughly five separate middle aged women wandering through the locker room with their nonsense hanging out all abundantly. I was appalled! And then, I was appalled that I was appalled. Why would something like the human body ever freak me out? Especially a human body that has all the same parts as mine? I shout from the rooftops appreciating others and appreciating ourselves and getting past taboos but then there was one staring me right in the face. When did it become so taboo to be naked around others? It wasn’t even the body that bothered me; I have to see naked women at work for strip searches (…love my job) all the time, it was the lack of care. I was almost jealous that a woman could feel so comfortable in her own body. And these ladies weren’t all yogalates-toned fit nazis, they were middle-aged women of average statures. 

Has my generation become more uncomfortable with their body? Is it just an “age” thing that I’ll understand when I’m older? Do I still have too many hormones raging around my body?

Hm, a lot of questions. Maybe I’ll ponder them over my cappuccino, which yes, I did buy from a local small business. I have to damn the man some way!

More later,

-A.