adventuring out of nyc

Don’t get me wrong, I love the spending time in the big apple. From museums to restaurants to monuments, it’s literally impossible to be bored. But sometimes, I need a reprieve from the hustle and bustle of the city that never sleeps to spend time in nature. Thankfully, I have been able to do just that by swimming, hiking, and soaking up a healthy dose of Vitamin D. I call it my weekend exhales.

After all that swimming, a girl’s gotta eat. And a big appetite appetite can only mean one thing: farmers markets. Come late-summer, outdoor markets are in full swing, which means there is an abundance of local fruits and vegetables that haven’t traveled very far and are often fresher and more nutritious than anything I could buy at the grocery store. Plus, there’s nothing quite like meeting the farmer who planted the seeds and tended the soil so that the tomatoes could grow and eventually end up in my kitchen. Sounds like a win-win to me.  

Here are some snapshots of my favorite late-summer fruits and vegetables.

13.1 and DONE

After 4 months and 246 total miles of training (complete with blisters, chafing, sweat in places I didn’t know could sweat, and many sore muscles), race day finally arrived. So, after carb loading like there was no tomorrow, I somehow managed to run 13.1 miles in 2:08:21.

To be honest with you all, as I sit here writing this post, my legs currently feel like they are going to fall off and the very idea of squatting to pee or going down the stairs makes me cringe. There are also currently the BIGGEST blisters known to mankind on my toes right now that not even the best pedicure in the world could remedy, not to mention a rash in my underarm from chafing (sorry if those last two details were TMI).

However, for some reason, I’m LOVING it. Maybe it’s the endorphins, maybe it’s the satisfaction in knowing that I accomplished something I never, EVER thought I would do, or maybe it’s a combination of the two producing what just may be the best “runner’s high” ever. Whatever it is, it’s pretty darn amazing.

And if I’ve learned anything over these past few months, it’s that…

1. Anyone can do it. Trust me, I am the opposite of athletic. I played (if you could even call it that) tennis in high school, but that was pretty much the extent of my athleticism. Let’s just say being graceful is not one of my best qualities (case in point: when I sprained my ankle sophomore year after tripping down the stairs. NEVER READ WHILE YOU’RE WALKING, PEOPLE).
And if I don’t have you convinced, this definitely will.

2. Running partners are amazing.
Added Bonus: you can cross the finish line holding hands, which makes you feel that much cooler and bad-ass.

3. Always pee before the race. Trust me, I spent the first 6 miles having to pee and it wasn’t pleasurable.

4. Boston will forever have my heart.

5. I like to think that, through all the miles of training, I was (literally) chasing after something that could never be learned in a classroom or in a library, something that required me to stop analyzing the past, worrying about the future, or trying to plan and simply put on my sneakers and run. Because if I continue to move forward, to put one foot in front of the other, it stands to reason that I’ll get somewhere, right? And that “somewhere,” even with the pain of blisters, chafing, and soreness, may just be infinitely more beautiful than I ever could have imagined.

With Less Than a Month Until the Half-Marathon….

… the runs are getting longer, but I’m getting stronger, and it feels good. Really good.

Don’t get me wrong, though – it’s not all fun and games, especially when I have to get up at 6:45am to get in a good run before I become absorbed in my schoolwork, meetings, etc. It’s not fun when I can’t stay out as late as I would like with my friends on the weekend because I have to wake up and run 10+ miles the next morning (I mean, I guess I technically could if I really wanted to, but my body wouldn’t be so happy with me). And it’s especially not fun when I take off my shoes after a long run only to wince in pain at the sores, blisters, and bloody toenails (TMI?).

However, as my steps have turned into strides and my strides have turned into a mile, and my mile has turned into 8, 9, and even 10 miles, I have had ample time to think about this whole running a half marathon thing. Here are three things I’ve come to realize:

1. Anyone can do it. Trust me, I am the opposite of athletic. I played (if you could even call it that) tennis in high school, but that was pretty much the extent of my athleticism. Let’s just say being graceful is not one of my best qualities (case in point: when I sprained my ankle sophomore year after tripping down the stairs. NEVER READ WHILE YOU’RE WALKING, PEOPLE). But here I am, running more than I ever thought I could because it’s something that I want. And when you want something, you have to chase it. Sometimes figuratively. With a half-marathon, literally.

2.  Never underestimate the power of running partners. Even though my friends and I most definitely don’t talk while we’re running (except for occasionally swooning over a ridiculously cute dog we pass on the street), it’s so nice to run next to someone and to vent to someone afterwards about things that the majority of our other friends don’t really want to hear about… like chafing.

3. Although I always knew Boston was a great city, only after running through Beantown has its staggering beauty really struck me. I’ve run through Coolidge Corner, Fenway, BU, Kenmore, and the Boston Commons. I’ve run past hoards of Bostonians in Red Sox hats and Celtics jerseys, past more dogs and babies and taxis and cafés than I can count. I’ve run in the scorching heat and the brisk weather of fall. I’ve run early in the morning and later at night. I’ve run Boston – and I’m itching to keep going.

Stay tuned for more training updates!

Totin’ Around

Looking for the perfect bag that’s not only stylish and affordable but also versatile and big enough to carry your stuff without being too large? Look no further, friends, I’m here to save you from your tote troubles with a bag that will not only look good, but also do good: the Taaluma Tote.

Founded by two Virginia Tech students, Jack and Alley, Taaluma Totes are backpacks that #carryacountry. Here’s how it works:

1. Each tote is made from traditional fabric from whatever country you choose (Ghana, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Ivory Coast, Malia, Thailand, Vietnam).

2. 20% of the profits from each tote fund a microloan for a person in that tote’s country.

3. The totes are made in the USA by adults with disabilities alongside experienced seamstresses.

4. Once repaid, the loan is reinvested in that country’s traditional fabrics for the next tote!

“We really liked the idea of microloans because as one person pays it, you reinvest into that country,” explains Alley in an article on on sweetlemonmag.com. “It’s not a one-time donation. It continues. We think microloans are a really great way to give back to the country.”

My tote of choice? The Indonesia tote. It’s the perfect bag to take with me when hiking, traveling, or simply running errands around town. Check out Taaluma Totes on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to join the movement. Which country will you carry?

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Mount Major (Meredith, NH)

xo

eop

Homemade Hummus and Other Healthy Snacks

I’m always down to eat garbanzo beans in any form, whether they be roasted, tossed in salads, out of the can, or, my personal favorite, in hummus form. Because it pairs well with pretty much everything (carrots, crackers, sandwiches, celery, etc.) hummus has earned its prestigious spot as one of my go-to snacks. My favorite brand is the classic Sabra variety, but I thought I would switch it up a little and make some from scratch. If my food explorations this summer have taught me anything, it is that the simplicity of homemade foods is always better than anything you can buy at the store, so whenever I have the time, I always try and avoid the supermarket shelves and head to the kitchen instead. Get your taste buds ready, folks, this is a good one.

hummusAll you need is 1 can of drained and rinsed garbanzo beans, 6 tablespoons of lemon juice, 1 tablespoon of tahini, 1 clove of garlic, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 2.5 teaspoons of olive oil. If you’re not a tahini person, that’s okay! There are lots of recipes without tahini that are just as delicious.

Just whip up all the ingredients in the blender and voila! A perfect summer snack full of antioxidants, fiber, and protein.

I’ve also been taking full advantage of the vending machine on my floor conveniently situated about 10 seconds walking distance from my desk. Latest discoveries? Dry roasted edmamae, kale chips, and Vita Coco coconut water. Sometimes in that order.

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Whenever I eat soy products (which is not very often), I always choose brands, such as  Seapoint Farms, that use non-GMO (genetically modified organisms) soybeans. This way, the products retain their naturally-occurring levels of healthy lsoflavones.

kale chips

Kale is a superfood. Chia seeds are a superfood. Put them together and you get an extra super duper food. I’m into that. itskale chips use organic, gluten-free ingredients and are baked in extra virgin olive oil. There are only 7 real and easy-to-pronounce ingredients, 100 calories in the ENTIRE bag, and tons of flavor. You can’t get much better than that. #snackingheaven

vita coco

As I get further and further into my half-marathon training, I’m trying to be extra conscious about properly hydrating myself while avoiding the sugar, fake sweeteners, and dyes hiding in many popular energy drinks. Thank goodness for coconut water.

In a Rodale News article about the best coconut waters on the market, author Christine Olley quotes Jonny Forsyth, a global drinks analyst at Mintel (a global data-research-analysis firm based in London) who explains that “coconut water contains naturally high levels of electrolytes, including potassium, calcium, and magnesium, which have made it popular as a sports drink for natural-foods consumers.”

If you try out any of these scrumptious snacks, let me know! I love hearing what you guys think. I mean, who doesn’t love snacking? NO ONE.

 

Why Run the Boston Half Marathon?

Since I have started training for the Boston half-marathon, several people have asked me why I decided to sign up for a 13.1 mile race when the most I have ever run is three miles (no need to reiterate that running is not my forté). Am I doing it to get in shape? To tone my abs or strengthen my quads? To look better for senior year? To have something stand out on my resumé? To be able to say I successfully ran a half-marathon? The questions go on and on, but they don’t quite hit the spot.

I decided to pay the $75 dollar entrance fee and commit myself to this training program because I wanted to commit myself to something, to work towards a goal. To say that the thought of entering my senior year in college is a daunting one would be a gross understatement. So many transitions lie in the near future and that scares the hell out of me. I am so happy with where I am right now in my life – why would I want anything to change? But then again, if my experiences in college have taught me anything, it is that complacency is one of the worst traps to fall into. I have to keep moving forward. I have to keep putting one foot in front of the other.

So I guess you could say I’m doing this for myself as a personal project of sorts, and I would agree… with one hesitation.

picmonkey 13.1

I wouldn’t sign up for a race in any city. I’m running the race in Boston, the city that has wholeheartedly opened its arms to me. Boston has provided me with a home full of some of the most inspiring friends I could have ever asked for, friends that have helped me grow and become a better version of myself without asking me to hold anything back. So yes, I’m running for myself, but I’m also running for Boston, the city which has kept moving forward in the face of inexplicable horror during and after the 2013 marathon.

I have only spent a mere three years living in Boston, yet I feel as if the majority of my growth has happened there. So it only made sense that I would run the half-marathon there. Whatever happens next year, I know one thing is for sure. I’m going to move forward with good ol’ beantown by my side.

 

Tips for maintaining a healthy college lifestyle

Class. Homework. Study group. Club meeting. Gym (maybe) Social life. Dining hall. Sleep (maybe). Repeat.

Sound familiar?

College can be a busy time, to say the least. While I’m away at school up in good ol’ beantown, I often feel pulled in so many different directions, whether it be my academic life, personal life, and soon-to-be professional life (ugh). I mean, there’s only so many hours in a day, right? No one can do it all. But what I’ve always tried my hardest to make time for is exercising and eating right because, however difficult both may be at times, I know that sweating and putting real, quality food in my body will ultimately benefit me in every aspect of my life not only today but also when I’m old and gray and hopefully still hiking/cycling/dancing/etc (fingers crossed).

In fact, according to a recent study completed by public health physicians the University of Zurich, a healthy lifestyle (no smoking, healthy diet, physical activity, limited alcohol consumption) has the potential to add years to someone’s life.

“For the first time the consequences of an unhealthy lifestyle can be depicted in numbers,” explain researchers in the press release on July 8. “An individual who smokes, drinks a lot, is physically inactive and has an unhealthy diet has a 2.5 fold higher mortality risk in epidemiological terms than an individual who looks after his health. Or to put it positively: ‘A healthy lifestyle can help you stay ten years younger,’ comments the lead author Eva Martin-Diener.”

Here are some tips to help you maintain a healthy lifestyle while balancing the demands of college:

• Write it down. Don’t underestimate the power of to-do lists. Dig out your planner from underneath the depths of your desk and use it! You’ll be surprised how much more time you can save when you plan out your afternoons with a homework or study schedule. Who knows? You may just have time to visit the gym. Added bonus: you’ll probably be much less likely to forget about planned coffee dates or club meetings when you write them down. Aaaaand you’ll be able to enjoy the satisfaction of violently crossing out each bullet on your to-do list once you complete it.

• Bring your work out clothes with you. Take a few minutes to stuff a pair of shorts, sports bra, and T-shirt into your bag at night. That way, you’ll have NO excuse but to stop by the gym on your way back from class. Plus, let’s be honest, once you get to your bed in the middle of a polar vortex winter day, there’s a 0.00000000001 percent chance that you’re going to leave it to go exercise. Skip the extra step and save time by heading straight to the gym!

• Buy healthy food. If you’re lucky enough to have a dorm with a kitchen, buy loads of fruits and veggies. That way, if your stomach starts grumbling when you’re only at page two of a ten-page essay, you’ll snack on foods that won’t make you feel tired or upset your stomach (I’m talking to you, chips and dip). It’s simple: If you don’t have unhealthy food in your dorm, you won’t eat unhealthy food.

• Take exercise classes. I have always found myself more likely to head to the gym on a regular basis if I pick out which classes I am going to take each week (rather than simply going to the gym to run on the treadmill or exercise on the elliptical) and, again, write them in my agenda (I think you can probably tell how much I love my agenda). My favorites are spinning, kickboxing, and power pilates. You’ll be surprised how much better you feel and how much more productive you will be when you make time for yourself to sweat it out every once in a while.

xo

eop