Slush and Mud

In case you didn’t know, St Louis got quite a lot of snow this past Sunday! I’ve been told the official measurement at the airport was 13 inches, although some areas got as many as 16!  Regardless of the exact amount, snow on the ground turns running into a whole new ball game.

I’m not one of those maniacs hard-core runners who sees that a blizzard is coming in and decides it’s the perfect time to tie on the running shoes and head outside. No. When I hear there’s snow coming – be it 3 inches or 13 – I start to plan what kind of delicious foods I will enjoy on my warm couch while watching a movie…in my warm house. (cue popcorn and chocolate)

The day the snow arrives, and usually the day after, I take to the treadmill to knock out my miles. I’m not particularly fond of treadmills (except for speedwork) because I get incredibly bored after .3 miles, but it’s better than twisting my ankle on a patch of ice or face-planting in front my neighbor’s house. Desperate times call for desperate measures – and for me that means the treadmill.

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Sunny Day at Forest Park

Monday morning, with somewhere between 10-13 inches of snow outside, I headed to the basement and completed 4 miles of HIIT.

Tuesday morning, I woke up to sunshine and seemingly warmer temperatures. I debated about whether or not the snow would have melted off my favorite running paths by now, and decided to chance it. I was heading to Clayton for a meeting that morning so I threw my running clothes in the backseat and headed over to Forest Park when I was done.

Although I did encounter some pond-sized puddles at several points, most of the 6-mile outer loop was clear – at least from snow and ice. The sun was shining and it was a beautiful day for a run. I listened to a couple podcasts as I made my way around the park, and debated a short stop at the zoo as I passed it. I wish I lived just a little closer to Forest Park because I would definitely run there more often!

Gorgeous View at Queeny Park
Gorgeous View at Queeny Park

Wednesday, I decided to venture to yet another park and test my luck on its more “primitive” path. Sure enough, it was clear of most of the snow, but lots of slush and mud remained. My favorite. 😉 As I made my way around the loop, and noticed my shoes getting more and more soaked, I realized that running in mud and slush can actually be quite enjoyable. Or, maybe not enjoyable, as much as adventurous.

Something about hopping over puddles and strategically trying to avoid large patches of slush makes me feel like I could conquer the world. For a moment, I forget I’m 5 minutes from my house, at a small park in the middle of the suburbs, and instead I’m just out in nature, trying to survive keep my shoes as dry as possible.

There’s something satisfying about finishing a run, panting and sweating, and looking down to see mud caked all over your shins and shoes. Usually this is accompanied by soaked socks – which can be annoyingly chilling – but then I remember that I’m just a few minutes from home…complete with hot tea, dry socks, and a warm shower.

Happy Running!

Footprints in the snow

Courage and Vulnerability

Last year I was introduced to an amazing author, speaker and researcher by the name of Brené Brown. A friend recommended I read her book “The Gifts of Imperfection” because of some self-worth and perfectionism issues I was digging into in my life. The book was a HUGE help to me and if it hadn’t been a copy from the library, I would have had notes and highlights on every page. So many “ah-ha!” moments in each chapter!

Here is the description of the book from Brene’s website:

“Each day we face a barrage of images and messages from society and the media telling us who, what, and how we should be. We are led to believe that if we could only look perfect and lead perfect lives, we’d no longer feel inadequate. So most of us perform, please, and perfect, all the while thinking,

What if I can’t keep all of these balls in the air?
Why isn’t everyone else working harder and living up to my expectations?
What will people think if I fail or give up?
When can I stop proving myself?

In The Gifts of Imperfection, Brené Brown, Ph.D., a leading expert on authenticity, shame, and courage shares what she’s learned from a decade of research on the power of Wholehearted Living.

She writes, ‘Wholehearted living is about engaging in our lives from a place of worthiness. It means cultivating the courage, compassion, and connection to wake up in the morning and think, No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough. It’s going to bed at night thinking, Yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable and sometimes afraid, but that doesn’t change the truth that I am also brave and worthy of love and belonging.'”

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Realizing that I am worth of love and belonging even though I am (quite) imperfect has really changed the way I go through life. Instead of feeling like I’m always trying to PROVE myself worthy or valuable to others, I (try to) live each day believing that I already AM. It’s definitely a work in progress and some days are better than others, but this book has truly started changing the way I think.

Brené’s most recent book – a #1 New York Times Best Seller – is called Daring Greatly and reaches even more deeply into the topics of vulnerability and courage.

From the website:

“Vulnerability is not weakness, and the uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure we face every day are not optional. Our only choice is a question of engagement.
Our willingness to own and engage with our vulnerability determines the depth of our courage and the clarity of our purpose.”

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I have yet to read this book, but it’s definitely on my list!

Oprah recently hosted Brene on her “Super Soul Sunday” show, and this morning I watched the interview online while eating my breakfast. It’s a great 35 minute segment and there’s a part 2 that will air this Sunday. Here’s the link where you can watch part 1!

Food for Thought:

  • What keeps you from being vulnerable?
  • Do you tend to put up walls in your life, and if so, why?
  • How do your walls help you? How do they hinder you?

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Baking Adventures…and Other Highlights of the Past 2 Months

As I type this, I’m sitting at a window table at a Starbucks in Springfield, MO, sipping a passion fruit iced tea and wondering how in the world it’s been so long since I blogged!

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Initially, I decided to take a couple weeks off this little blog to focus on school because things were getting kinda crazy as graduation approached and I didn’t want to fall behind. Those “couple weeks off” quickly turned into almost 2 months away, but I’m finally back today with plans to be more consistent with my writing.

This blog is primarily just a personal creative outlet for me and a way to express (in writing, at least) the thoughts flying around in my brain. 🙂 I don’t claim to be any kind of exceptional writer or attempt to impress anyone with my fitness or healthy living. I just love to write and journal and share the random musings that come to mind. And it’s fun to have a place to do that!

The past couple months have been a blur…as of March 1st, I am officially a graduate of IIN (the Institute for Integrative Nutrition) and I’m now a Certified Holistic Health Coach! I’m so excited to be officially graduated, but it also means I really need to kick it into gear with my marketing and business development! I started coaching my first client a couple months ago, while still finishing up school, and that has been going well!

I have lots of ideas about how I want to develop my coaching business and the demographics I hope to work with…now it’s all about translating those ideas into ACTION and making it happen! 🙂 I’m excited! …and a little nervous. 😛

In my free time, I’ve been running a lot (for me), spending lots of time with my family, and eating a lot of dark chocolate. Especially the chocolate part. 😉

I’ve also made some really fun desserts that have garnered good reviews from my guinea pigs family.

Most notable were the Superbowl-themed desserts I made for a party at my sister’s house. I’ve never done much intense decorating of baked goods so the fact that these turned out was a huge win in my book!

Yard-line chocolate cupcakes:
This is a great step-by-step recipe, which is exactly what I need when special icing decorating is involved. 😉 Those little “footballs” on top are chocolate covered almonds!!

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Football brownies:
(I used this recipe, but made my own from-scratch brownies instead of using the mix)

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Also of note were the cinnamon crescent rolls I whipped up one night which were highly reviewed by my 19 year old brother. After eating 3 of them, he mumbled with his mouth full, “dude, these are legit!” …These wonderful cinnamon pastries are not really what most people would consider “healthy” but hey, everything in moderation! We had a tube of crescent rolls in our fridge that were going to waste so this was the perfect way to put them to good use.

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This post has already gotten annoyingly long, I know, but I’ve saved the best recipe (in my mind) for last… homemade chocolate peanut butter cups!! This is truly the most simple and easy recipe imaginable and only requires two ingredients, but the idea is ingenious! I found the recipe on this blog and went to work. I made simple chocolate peanut butter cups (I did add a little sea salt on the top of mine) but she offers all sorts of delicious toppings suggestions if you want to get a little creative.

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I brought these to a family dinner one evening and they were definitely a hit! (as if it’s possible for ANY combination of chocolate and peanut butter to not taste amazing…)

I promise I haven’t ONLY been baking and eating delicious desserts for the past 2 months. But yes, that’s been a huge part of my life of late. 😛

I’m in Springfield for a quick day trip with my brother and a friend of his who came in town to visit a university here. While they sat through a few seminars and informational sessions on campus, I donned my running shorts and did a little exploring of downtown Springfield on foot. It’s a warm, gorgeous day today and I had a great 4 mile tempo run in the sunshine. I’m hoping spring has finally come to stay for awhile!

Enjoy your weekend! 🙂