Fast Five Friday!

Hey friends!

I’m so glad that it is Friday!  Did anyone else feel like this week took forever?  …I think I feel that way every week…haha.

It’s been a busy week, and I have a busy day today – class at 9, meeting with a professor, class at 12, and lab from 1 to 5 – but then it’s the weekend!  Weather permitting, I’m planning to do some adventuring in the city this weekend…I have a list of places I’ve been wanting to visit, but this is the first weekend in I-don’t-know-how-long that I’ll actually be able to take some time away from studying to do that.  So I’m excited!  Also, our housing selection is Saturday – we get our lottery number tomorrow, so fingers crossed for a good one!

Now that I’ve filled you in on my [very open] plans for this weekend, here’s what I have been up to this week, “Fast Five”-style!

1. Eating ALL the veggies.  I don’t know what it is, but some weeks I just want can’t get enough vegetables!  I actually texted multiple friends…and my mom…raving about my salad last night and the veggies and chicken I had Wednesday night.  I guess there are worse things to go crazy over…? 😀

Roasted chicken + every vegetable I could find on Wednesday night.

Roasted chicken + every vegetable I could find on Wednesday night.

Yesterday's KILLER salad from Sweetgreen: wild rice + kale + chicken + caramelized onions + roasted mushrooms + cherry tomatoes + carrots + hummus + lemon squeeze.

Yesterday’s KILLER salad from Sweetgreen: wild rice + kale + chicken + caramelized onions + roasted mushrooms + cherry tomatoes + carrots + hummus + lemon squeeze.

2. Surviving midterms.  No, I did not fail my Orgo exam.  HALLELUJAH.  I swear, Organic Chemistry does this thing where it takes my heart and puts it in a blender and turns me into emotional soup.  Usually I don’t let classes get under my skin like that, especially because I usually end up doing okay on the exams, but there’s something about Orgo…

3. Walking.  Soooooooo many walks.  And I love it.  Yesterday, it was SEVENTY-FOUR degrees outside.  Maybe it’s actually spring…?  (Oh wait, tomorrow’s high temp is only 45.  Nope, just kidding…not spring.)  But hey, this week was pretty nice overall, and yesterday was awesome, so I can’t complain too much. 🙂  And what could be better than jamming out to music, exploring this beautiful city, and getting in some exercise all at the same time?

4. Morning quiet time.  I used to get my exercise in before breakfast-time, but there were two problems with that: 1.) I was sacrificing some sleep to do so, and 2.) my morning hunger is a raging beast from basically the moment I wake up (seriously, ask my family…don’t get between me and my breakfast when I’m hangry!).  So I’ve been waking up a little bit later for the past few months – albeit way earlier than most college students – and having breakfast while reading my daily devotional, enjoying my coffee, and easing into the day.  Let me tell ya, it is nice. 🙂  And it really helped me stay grounded this past week and a half in the midst of midterm stress!

My favorite message from this past week's devotionals (I use SheReadsTruth).  Exactly what I needed to hear!

My favorite message from this past week’s devotionals (I use SheReadsTruth). Exactly what I needed to hear this week!

5. Not wearing real pants.  Yep, you read that correctly…no jeans for this girl!  I managed to go through the whole week without wearing anything besides leggings, crops, or sweats.  Reason #258712398425741 why I’m single…

So there ya have it!  That’s the quick-and-dirty on what I’ve been up to this week.  Make sure to drop by on Monday to hear about my weekend shenanigans! 🙂

Have an awesome weekend!

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What are you doing this weekend?  

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When Life Gets Crazy.

This past week and a half has been a whirlwind of stress, craziness, and emotions.

While I enjoyed my spring break at home with my family, during which I did things like…

…find oddly shaped sweet potatoes…

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…eat colorful veggies…

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…and team up with my mom to WIN at the breakfast game…

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…I also had this big heavy cloud of anxiety hanging over me because of all of the assignments and midterms I knew were coming in the week and a half right after returning from break.  A history paper due last Tuesday, a Neuro midterm on Wednesday, a Psych midterm on Thursday, and an Orgo lab report due Friday…then an Orgo exam on Monday night…it was like a nightmare.

Usually, I manage my stress fairly well – not well, but good enough – but that is because I rely heavily on running to be my stress relief tool.  However, because I am currently not running, I discovered just how stressed I am capable of getting…and it was pretty ugly.  One of the many things I’m working to improve! 😀

Although being stressed sucks, it is forcing me to find ways other than running to get some of that negative energy out, which is a good thing.  Taking walks through the city while listening to music, yoga (sun salutations are my jam!), and writing seem to be helping.  I also have been making a conscious effort to hang out more with my friends and really open up to them this semester, because I tend to pull away when I’m feeling stressed or upset.  And I’m loving it!  I’ve made some good memories this semester, strengthened some existing friendships, and made new friends – which, let me tell you, is way harder as an adult than it is when you’re a kid!  Haha.

Life gets crazy.  It’s inevitable, and we can’t keep our cool all the time…and that’s okay.  It all works out in the end! 🙂

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What are some of your favorite ways to relieve stress?

Where I’ve Been and Where I’m Going

Wow, it’s been a while.

Six months – almost to the day – to be exact.  I fell off the blogging wagon, for many reasons: school ramped up, I was running a lot more, and my free time usually ended up being used for eating or sleeping.  The life of a college student, right?  Sadly, that meant that Muffins here got put on the backburner, which I truly regret.  I forgot how much I love writing, and I wish I had made more of an effort to fit blogging into my schedule.

So what have I been up to for the last half a year?  Well…a lot.  To name just a few things I did…

– I survived my first semester of Organic Chemistry.

– I explored and discovered new things in D.C.

– I hung out with school friends and friends from home.

– I spent a lot of time with my mom, because she’s awesome.  (Love you, Mom!)

– I released my inner music nerd, and (not-so-secretly) loved it.

– I reconnected with my faith, on a level that I haven’t allowed myself to be on for a long time.

– I spent quiet mornings on the waterfront, just soaking up the beauty of life.

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– I laughed, and cried some too.

– I learned the healing power of long walks, and that yoga is good for the soul.

– I ran…a LOT.  Like, half marathon a lot.

IMG_0416IMG_0361– …I stopped running.

I’ll be writing a lot more about many of these things in the coming weeks, but that is just a quick snapshot of my life since September.  I’ve had a lot of fun, made a lot of memories, and also made some pretty big decisions.  I ran a half marathon and was on top of the world, and more recently, I made the decision to stop running for a while.  I feel like where I am, at this moment in my life, is a critical place for me with so much potential.  Which begs the question…

Where do I go from here?

Long story short, I don’t really know.  My biggest goal is to make more time for myself, and to find the self-confidence and self-love that I seem to have lost somewhere along the way in these past six months.  There may not be a lot of running talk on here for a while, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be a lot of good talk.  (And food.  Always food!)

I hope you guys will stick around and enjoy whatever adventures I get myself into!  And Muffins is officially back; I have lots of exciting things in store – changes, upgrades, you name it – for this little blog over the next few months.

Thanks for reading, everyone. 🙂

Back to School and New Running Routes

Hey hey hey friends!  How’s life?

After the whirlwind craziness of the last few days – moving back in at school, buying books, catching up with friends, getting to know my new roomie – I finally feel like I’ve settled in and am ready for classes to start.  Is it lame that I’m excited to have schoolwork to do again?  I just like being busy and feeling productive!  Nerd life. 😀

As far as dorm rooms go, I have a pretty sweet one!  In terms of usable space, I would say that my room is about twice as large as my room was last year.  What a nice surprise!

My room (before I unpacked all of my stuff).  And yes, my bed is as high as it looks!

My room (before I unpacked all of my stuff). And yes, my bed is as high as it looks!

My new roommate is a runner too, which is AWESOME.  We just understand each other!  And we get along really well.  I get the feeling it is going to be a fantastic year! 🙂

Speaking of running, I hit the towpath this morning for an easy 3.6 miles.  It was so nice and quiet along the canal; the only thing that I’m not used to is all of the bikers.  But, as usual, I kept my iPod volume really low and kept to the right and didn’t have any problems! 🙂  There was definitely a lot less traffic on the gravel path, but I was concerned about running three to four miles on an unstable surface like that.  Gotta make the best decisions to keep my ankle happy and healthy!

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My view for, well, pretty much my whole run.

Typical blurry running shot.  I promise the Potomac looked a lot prettier than this makes it seem.  You'll just have to trust me on this one. :)

Typical blurry running shot. I promise the Potomac looked a lot prettier than this makes it seem. You’ll just have to trust me on this one. 🙂

I felt like I was in a movie before my run because I had to venture through this creepy, dim, wet, graffiti-ed tunnel to get over to the towpath.

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So that’s this morning’s run for ya!  I’m looking forward to mixing up my running routes and running through the city as well, since I can actually run this school year!  I’m also loving having access to a gym again because it makes cross-training and lifting so much easier.  (Plus, I forgot my free weights, kettlebells, and foam roller at home…oops.)

Classes start tomorrow, so today is going to be mainly hunting down classrooms, picking up textbooks, and squeezing in last-minute time with friends before schoolwork ramps up.  Should be a busy (but fun!) day. 🙂

Happy Tuesday!

Where did you run today?

For all the students/teachers/parents: back-to-school time – love it or hate it?

The Bad Runs Make the Good Runs a Thousand Times Better.

Tuesday’s run sucked.  Seriously.  I was so mad about it (ask everyone…I raged).

You see, I was dog- and house-sitting for some family friends from Monday until yesterday, and they live in a gorgeous (albeit a little bit hilly) development that I was looking forward to running in.  However, I didn’t realize that I was going to have job training (it was a seriously last minute thing) Tuesday and Wednesday morning from eight to noon.  Forty-five minutes away from where I was staying.  I was going to need to get out of the house by seven to allow for possible traffic.

Enter: the awful, no-good run from you-know-where.  

I had to hit the pavement at five in order to be able to get in my run, have breakfast (luckily I was smart enough to make my oatmeal the night before and just have to stick it in the microwave), walk and feed the pooches, shower, grab a cup of coffee, and throw a granola bar in my bag for the car ride home after shift (because I knew I would be stahhhving) by seven.

I drove around the development Monday evening so that I could get my bearings before running on Tuesday, since I knew it would be dark at five a.m.  That was a smart idea, but I couldn’t take into account the lack of functioning streetlights on certain streets I had planned to run because that’s not something I could see during daylight hours.  Thus, I ended up running the same several streets the whole time to avoid the dark streets and, because I also didn’t want to run with my iPod so that I could be aware of my surroundings, I was struggling.  Hard.  I ended up deciding to run hill repeats for the last 15 minutes on the SUPERhill on one of the streets (sprint up – about 0.35 miles – and jog back down).  It all sucked.  The whole thing.  There was a lot of stopping and turning around when I hit a really dark area, impromptu direction changes, and confusion.  And HILLS.  At least I kind of turned it into a valuable training opportunity with the hill repeats…?  😛

This is what that crappy run looked like:

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I was running more than a minute slower per mile than my usual pace.  And on top of that, I couldn’t find a good cadence/stride, felt out of breath, and got soaked from the pre-rain humidity.  Some runs just suck!

And that’s okay.  

Because for every sucky run, there are a billion good ones.  Those are the runs that I love – but the awful runs are important too: they make the good runs feel 5364789212521024501 times better, happier, and more fulfilling.

Like today’s run, during which I felt like I was just kicking some serious butt.

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(I am still a good little patient and doing my PT-mandated walking time, which fell during mile 2.  So basically, my actual RUNNING pace was more like 8:35ish per mile.  Yay!)

(I am still a good little patient and do my PT-mandated walking time, which happened during mile 2. So basically, my actual RUNNING pace was more like 8:35ish per mile. Yay!)

I felt like a rock star this morning, but I’m sure I wouldn’t have felt that good about it – because it was pretty much a typical run for me – if Tuesday’s run hadn’t sucked so much.

So thank you, awful, horrible, terrible, SUCKY runs…for making every single other run feel amazing.  

THIS is why I run.

FIRST POST-OP RUN!!!

Oh hey everyone.  Happy Tuesday!  Today is a super happy day for me because, first of all, tomorrow is my birthday (!!!!) and second of all (and most importantly), I RAN YESTERDAY!!!

Yes, you read that correctly.  My first post-op run is in the books, and it felt FANTASTIC.  No ankle pain, minimal soreness today (and actually just in my hips/upper quad area), and no problems to report!  I decided not to take my phone with me during my run and ran without music so that I could really listen and pay attention to my body.  The running program that my PT has me on is a walk/run interval progression program so it was not all running, but it was running nonetheless!

Sweaty, frizzy, tired, HAPPY post-run selfie.

Sweaty, frizzy, tired, HAPPY post-run selfie.

The beautiful park where I run.  It was very overcast yesterday morning (but I'm not complaining) so it doesn't look as pretty as usual...but still nice!

The beautiful park where I run. It was very overcast yesterday morning (but I’m not complaining) so it doesn’t look as pretty as usual…but still nice!

During my run, I noticed several things:

1. My ankle felt really strong.  I am so glad that I took my time getting to this point and followed my PT’s directions carefully, doing my exercises frequently and with the correct form, because my ankle felt awesome.  And today, I don’t have ANY soreness whatsoever in my ankle or calf!

2. I am in excellent cardiovascular shape.  Thaaaaank youuuu, cross-training.  As much as I hate to admit it, the elliptical/spin bike were helpful.  Bah.

3. Increasing my strength training during recovery was the greatest idea ever.  Remember how I said that I have minimal soreness today?  Yeah, I attribute that to lifting and strength training.  I felt stronger than I ever (EVER) have while running, even stronger than soccer season during high school.  I was never really coached on the importance of strength training until the past few years, and I did not know what I was missing.  Stronger legs and body = better running form = less fatigue = stronger, faster running.

4. Nothing feels better than the first run after time off for injury.  I almost cried in the car after my run, it felt that good (and I am not a crier).

My next scheduled run is tomorrow morning.  Can you say BEST BIRTHDAY PRESENT EVER?!  Oh and perks of being a Starbucks addict (a.k.a. Gold card member): free drink on my birthday.  Birthday + morning run + post-run Starbucks trip = PERFECTION.  I’m beyond excited!

I hope everyone has a fantastic Tuesday! 🙂

When was your last run?  Yesterday.  (I’m so excited to be able to say that!)

Favorite drink at Starbucks?  Peppermint mocha in the winter and vanilla latte basically the rest of the year.

Oh Hi. Remember Me? (And Some BIG NEWS!!!!)

Oops…

Obviously, I have taken a little blogging hiatus for the past two weeks.  Things got busy, and I’m at a point of transition right now.  All good things, don’t worry. 🙂  And I have some BIG NEWS for you at the end of this post, so if you’re in a rush, just scoot your boot to the bottom of the page and check it out!  But first, here’s what I’ve been up to while I was away.

There has been a lot of baking, cooking, and eating…

Trying out Vega protein powder to go in my smoothie bowls on strength training days.  Full review to come, but spoiler alert: I like it a lot!

Trying out Vega protein powder to go in my post-workout smoothie bowls on strength training days. Full review to come, but spoiler alert: I like it a lot!

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Sandwiches.  All the sandwiches.

Sandwiches. All the sandwiches.

I BAKED CHOCOLATE-ALMOND BISCOTTI AND IT IS WONDERFUL AND DELICIOUS.  That is all.

I BAKED CHOCOLATE-ALMOND BISCOTTI AND IT IS WONDERFUL AND DELICIOUS. That is all.

…camping…

What would I do without my best friend?  Love that girl (and we're just precious).

What would I do without my best friend? Love that girl (and we’re just precious).

…and lots of workouts.  I was inspired by Megan‘s post a few weeks ago and have been incorporating a deck of cards workout once a week.  Absolutely loving them! 🙂

And now on to the BIG NEWS…

I HAVE BEEN CLEARED BY MY PHYSICAL THERAPIST TO START A RUNNING PROGRAM!!!!!!!!  Of course, it starts slow and the progression is going to be slow.  I have not been able to run for a long time and my ankle is basically brand new, so I have to be careful.  But as of Monday, I AM OFFICIALLY BACK IN THE RUNNING GAME!!!!

Words cannot describe how excited I am.  I’ve already been planning where I’m going to go Monday morning to do my workout, what I’m going to wear, and what I need to take with me.  Can you tell I’m ecstatic?!?  It’s been a long road to get to this point and I am so glad that I was patient and gave myself the time to get healthy and focused on my recovery.  Muffins is about to enter a whole new phase!

I will be taking a complete (NOT active) rest day on Sunday to make sure my legs are prepped for Monday’s workout.  I rarely do full rest days (because I’m antsy and I hate sitting around) but I think it will be the best thing for my body to prepare for my running program.

Speaking of Muffins‘ new phase, you will probably see some changes around here over the next few days/week.  I’m working on getting a banner in place, updating/adding pages, and changing some formatting.  I welcome your feedback and I hope you like the updates!

Have a wonderful Thursday (heyoo, best day of the week), everyone! 🙂