7 Things I Learned from My Year of Training

“Let me start by saying I hated running, and I wasn’t good at it.”

I started out running a few 5K’s these last couple of years and they were fun, but I wanted to accomplish something more. Last year I was sitting on the couch feeling like crap due to a night of drinking and eating when I turned on the TV and started watching the Broad Street Run (one of the oldest & largest races in Philly). I was amazed by the energy and excitement of everyone out there, actually so amazed that I decided I was going to do it. Why not? 10 miles – no big deal. Actually I knew it WAS A BIG DEAL – for me.

There were a couple of reasons I signed up. First, I wanted to see the city – mindfully. I’ve traveled down Broad St many times, rushing to class at Temple, going out for dinner and drinks, or hanging at a friend’s place. But usually that was flying down this major artery into the city trying to make every green light all while bypassing neighborhoods and dismissing all of the historic richness and hidden treasures of the city. My second reason was to accomplish something great, running 10 miles with 40,000 people through the City of Brotherly Love. So I gave myself one year to train and here are some things I’ve learned along the way.

1. Give yourself time/Go at your own pace

I started out barely running a quarter mile before I was out of breath, taking my inhaler and walking for the next half minute. I knew I had time so I took it one day, one step at a time. At first it hurt, my breathing, my calves, my shins, it was painful some days but the pain passed quickly after the run. I read up on tips to see if it was normal and slowly pushed forward. Don’t compare!  Just go at your pace, you’ll get there and there’s plenty of advice out there if you need it.

2. You can push further than you think

For a while I was doing about a mile and a half and then would stop to walk, then run again. It seemed like I couldn’t push further than that mile, until one day I did. You can do it, you just have to push a little. BUT make sure sure it’s little by little. You can’t go from running 1 mile to 5 or you may get hurt, slowly increase distance. And remember it’s ok to walk too, but breaking the mental barrier is huge. And for me I noticed once I got past the first 2.5 miles it seemed a little easier, I settled into my pace. For me I know that the first 1.5 is harder than the 4th or 5th. Take notice each step of the way.

3. Cut down/out bad habits

About 6 months into my training, I hit a plateau and most of my issues were around breathing. I knew what I had to do! The day I signed up for the race I quit smoking. I was a one-a-day smoker but still a smoker. Quitting helped me add more distance onto my runs and after 1 week I noticed a huge difference in breathing and endurance. Another change I made was to drink more water. I was still having calf pain so I tried to be more conscious of water intake as well as less alcohol consumption when training for those long  weekend runs.

4. You will have cheerleaders but not everyone is team YOU

This one is interesting because I was feeling good about my progress and dedication, and some people are with you on that. But you’ll have others who mock it and they may be joking but there’s truth behind every joke. Some people would poke fun, make comments or snarky remarks, but I just brushed it off. There is always a green eye in the crowd just remember you’re doing it for you.

5. The pain DOES go away

It seemed like forever – months, but the shin and calf pain does go away. Just make sure you have rest days and keep it up.

6. You will feel better

For the longest time, I hated the run but loved the feeling after I ran, so much so that I felt bad on days I didn’t run. My initial goal was to complete the race not to lose weight but during training I lost a little. However losing weight or not overall I felt better and that’s what keeps me going – even now.

7. You gain freedom

This one came towards the end. It was like an epiphany. The last couple of weeks in training, I actually started to enjoy running and it was at this same time, and maybe had something to do with it, but I felt a sense of freedom. Working out or going for a run was my time. I stepped out the door, put my headphones in and it was just me, myself and I.


Children Do Not Define You – You Do

I recently saw a facebook post from someone I know that said, “before I was a mom, life had no meaning”. My first thought was “I feel sad for this person!”

Having children is amazing, but children do not define you as a person. It’s important to maintain a sense of self. Your life.

There is so much meaning in life, and sometimes finding meaning or happiness can be difficult, but if you say children are the only thing that gives you meaning, what happens when they grow up, create their own life and leave the nest?

Does that mean your life will have no meaning again? Does that mean people who choose not to have children have no meaning?

Now, I know this was a personal remark for the person that posted it. I’m not judging and I haven’t walked in her shoes.  Life can be really hard and maybe having children is where she found the most joy and stability. But I couldn’t help and feel sad because life has so much meaning, more than you know at times. You may not see it, or feel it, but the people you spend time with do. Think about it, when you go to a funeral everyone is sad, they talk about the impact this person had on their life, the memories, the good times, the meaning they brought to each individual.

I’ve always believed that people come into your life for a reason, whether it be for a short while or years of friendship, positive or negative, you learn from them, you grow, you change, you come into your own. We are always evolving. When you’re a teenager, you do the some of same things as your friends, you want everyone to like you, but then as you get a little older and know what you want and who you are, you stop giving a shit about what others think or what’s considered “in”. Your experiences cultivate your growth.

This comment really intrigued me, it made me think about my own life.

As a mother of two children, whom I love dearly and put most of my energy towards at this point in my life, I don’t believe they are what defines me as a total person. Yes they gave me new meaning, and yes life revolves around them now because they are young, but that will change. They are a part of me and bring me joy, laughter, pride, stress and a vision of being a kid again. But my life has other meaning too – being a wife, a daughter, a friend, a colleague, a listener, a teacher, an inspiration.

I make sure that I have time for me, to do what I love. My husband and I make sure we have time for us. I’d love to do mission work later in life when my kids are grown. Since I am not able to now, I’m a blood donor – that “means” something to me. Doing something good for mankind and for someone else that means life or death.  I enjoy thinking of the memories we built before our children and I believe that is what helps us teach them, and share with them some pretty amazing things. What you put into life, is what you get out.

Before kids, I went to college, traveled, hung out with friends, shopped – I did whatever I wanted when I wanted. After I had kids, I still do all those things I enjoy (but now shopping is food shopping) and maybe a little differently. I chose my path and that is what makes me – ME. I continue to grow and learn each day. The old things I did then are less important and new things are more important, and this cycle will continue through my whole life.

Life goes through a series of phases pretty much with each decade, according to the people I talk to (20’s, 30’s, 40’s, 50’s etc…) If you have kids they will be a big part of your life, but they will become independent individuals and begin their own journey. I recently heard someone give this advice “enjoy your spouse, make them happy, because that’s who you’re with when the kids are gone”.

If you don’t have a significant other, than it’s you. Love yourself, do what makes you happy. Children are a part of you, but they don’t define you, if anything, you have helped to define the beginning of their life.

Tofu and Veggie Couscous

IMG_20151110_174309290It had been a while since I made tofu so I bought some and then it sat in my fridge because I didn’t know what the hell to make with it. I looked at a few recipes for the sauce and then I dumbed it down because I usually don’t have all the ingredients. This recipe was fun because you can toss in any veggies you want! I used what I had on hand.



Tofu (Extra firm)

Chopped Broccoli (head)

Box of Israeli Couscous

Shredded Carrot (1)

Fresh Spinach (2-3 handfuls)



2tablespoons canola/veg oil

3 garlic cloves (1 thinly sliced, 2 minced)

3 teaspoons fish sauce or tamari

1/3cup soy sauce

4teaspoons dark brown sugar

3 teaspoons toasted sesame oil

Sriracha to add heat *optional


Cut tofu up into bite size pieces and saute in vegetable oil for about 15 min turning over until slightly brown and crispy (I made mine the night before)

Cook couscous according to box add the broccoli in the water during the last 4 min to slightly cook it.

Meanwhile combine the minced garlic,  fish and soy sauces, brown sugar, and sesame oil. Toss this in with the tofu and let it simmer for a minute. Add the couscous and broccoli and shredded carrots and sriracha and mix well. Then add the fresh spinach and toss until it becomes wilted.




Strawberry Avocado Salad

This path month I’ve been trying to eat different things for breakfast and lunch, and find new ways to incorporate certain foods. Like strawberries, I use them in my smoothies and maybe a spinach salad here and there but then they always seem to go bad in the frig or sit in the freezer.

Today I made a strawberry and avocado salad! It was so good and filling, the perfect amount of creamy/crunch mixed with a punch of sweet and salty.


4-5 large strawberries chopped

1/2 of an avocado chopped

1.5 oz of gorgonzola cheese

quarter of a small onion chopped (optional)

drizzle of balsamic vinaigrette


Grow Your Own Veggies – Cheat Sheet

If you are like me and don’t have a green thumb maybe this can help you! I am interested to try.

Garden cheat sheet (via anglianhome.co.uk/goodtobehome)

New Year New Things (To Try)

We’re a couple of weeks into the new year and I’m still compiling a list of what I would like to accomplish this year. I figure I will write them down here, and then next year look back and check off what I did do and what I can repeat for the following year. So here it is:

Photo Manipulation based on a quote of finding yourself vs. creating yourself

1. De-clutter / Organize (this is a repeat one and will be next year)

This goes from emails, clothes, kids toys, anything in the home that is collecting dust. I feel like this one is and should be ongoing because it not only takes time but you constantly have a shift of out with the old and in with the new!

2. Brew my own Hard Cider – I love cider and a case of it is pretty expensive, I want to try to brew my own and see how it measures up to the ones I buy. Just for fun and for spirit!

3. Drop those few extra pounds + gain more energy – This is a typical one and hopefully I will stick with it

4. Save Save Save – It’s hard to save and pay off bills but I started doing it last year and although it was a small amount, it really made me feel good. It’s nice to see that you have some money at the end of the month when you’re working day after day, week after week. This was one I struggled with before because I thought oh it should go towards the credit card or a bill etc…but in reality that little extra is not making a huge difference to those bills but after months of saving, it becomes a big chunk of change that can make a difference somewhere and improve your happiness (at least it did mine)

5. Run 2 5K’s – I’ve been running about one a yr so why not up it to two?!

6. Knit – Maybe a scarf of something, but just to learn it and try once! Maybe I’ll like it and develop a new hobby.

7. Become more fluent in Spanish

Ringing in the New Year with Good Intentions

Well it’s finally here!

2014 is coming to end.

This is the time we think back on the year, remembering our accomplishments, failures, happy moments and sad times. All of these things help us grow into the person we are or strive to be.

Then we start planning our resolutions for the new year. We think about what we want to do, or how to be better, healthier and happier in the new year – 2015. Each year feels like a new beginning, holding hopeful promise of better things and it’s a wonderful feeling. It’s the giddiness of Christmas morning you felt as a kid!

I wish everyone an Awesome New Year! And remember as you make your list of “resolutions” success doesn’t happen over night. If you strive to be a better you each day, that’s all you can ask of yourself.

“It’s better to fall short of a high mark than to reach a low one”

H.C. Payne

Cheers to a safe and Happy New Year!

DIY Holiday Decor

Cutout Canvas Decor

I came across this on Pintrest and thought it’s such a cool idea I had to share! Unfortunately when I clicked to the site, I could not find the project anywhere, but you get the idea! This would be cool for any art, not just holiday decor. Plus if you’re thinking of DIY presents, this would be a good one.

If you want to spice it up more you could even add a LED light to the back of it!

Pintrest (via littlehousebigheart)

Cool Gadgets and Gifts for the Holidays

DSCN5786It’s that time of the year again – crazy holiday shopping, last minute gifts, and the “what to get the person who has everything”.

I’ve done most of my shopping this year online. Forget the crazy lines, and the crowded parking lots, I like to take my time check reviews (which is huge for me), use my coupon code and then have the package magically appear within the week on my doorstep!

But this year it has been a bit overwhelming for me. My husband has a big family and my family all still buys presents for each other and including all the nieces and nephews, it’s a lot! Usually we split it, he shops for his family and I shop for mine, and before I know it we’re done. Well I’ve done all the shopping this year and as I tear open the boxes to go through everything, it seems like I still have so much more to do. It’s the most wonderful time of the year haha!

One thing I like unique, cool gadgets that you don’t necessarily need but they’re fun to look at and just know that they exist! So here’s a few

Nut Butter Maker (via Way Cool Gadgets)
Desk Daisy – Magnetic Paper Clip Holder (via coolgadgetsforsale)
Joseph Joseph Can-Do Reinvents The Can Opener (via coolthings)
Smash Coffee Cup Can (via coolthings)
DIY – Hot Pepper Oil or Any Spice (via abeautifulmess)
Wine Hoodie Tote (via coolstuffexpress)
DIY – Cool Snacks Cooler Basket (via giftsagogo)
Baby fortune cookie booties (via uncommongoods)

A place for daily inspiration

%d bloggers like this: