Tired Legs, Sloppy Trails


I ran today for the first time in a week. Last week I came down with a cold and decided to skip 2 runs and rest. With the end of the semester, a full-time job, and a move this week, I had plenty of other responsibilities to sap my energy! But I’m on the tail-end of the sickness now and I really wanted to get back to training. So tonight was a short warmup run and I’m hoping to do a long run tomorrow and jump back up to my target mileage.

[Sidebar: I’m really close to hitting 50 miles for the month. If I’d stuck with my training program, I’d have passed that mark easily, but now I’m scheming how to get a run in on moving day. That’s a shocking and encouraging number to me, so I’d really like to experience that milestone.]

So after work tonight I loaded the dog up and headed out to my favorite local park. It’s a great place with a dog park and miles of trails. We’ve had a few days of rain, so I knew the trails would be pretty messy and they were! My legs are covered in dirt and mud splashes. I had a nasty side stitch partway through and I had to stop a few times–to deal with dog or observe wildlife or whatever–but it felt great to get back out.

[Sidebar again: speaking of wildlife, check out these photos and video from the park! Continue reading

Layering Experiences to Achieve Peak Happiness


“What you do every day matters more than what you do once in a while.”

–Gretchen Rubin

I agree with most of Gretchen Rubin’s happiness and habits advice, but not this particular concept. Maybe that’s just because I’m bad at doing things every day. As a hard-core Rebel, I find routines and daily responsibilities stifling and unhappy-making. But I enjoy certain amounts of consistency and routine in my life. Obviously, routine and novelty conflict, so I’ve spent some time thinking through the right balance. Here’s the framework that works for me.

But first, a caveat: Gretchen’s advice works very well for certain types of habits. Something relatively mundane, like flossing, you can likely add into your daily routine with relatively little psychological backlash. My issue is more with lifestyle changes meant to create more happiness.

Layered Experiences

At the base of Gretchen’s advice is the idea that you need certain actions to become automatic in order to form a habit. That’s true, and it’s good advice (especially in an area like exercise), but we can extract a major benefit without having to do the same things every day. For me, the benefit of repeating certain actions comes in the layering of the experience, not the streak of daily accomplishment.

What is layering experience?

For me (and perhaps you? perhaps everyone?), Continue reading

Tired Legs, Peaceful Mind (part 2)


(ICYMI: Tired Legs, Peaceful Mind (part 1))

My Run Affecting My Mind

I’ll be honest, this part is a little harder to nail down, but I’ve noticed a few general changes.

Full Range of Emotions

For me, a balance of variety and stability in life is vital to functioning well. Too much variety and I’m out of sorts. Too much stability and I become Continue reading

Tired Legs, Peaceful Mind


(ICYMI: The introduction to my running journey: Tired Legs, Happy Heart.)

My 10k training program* has dramatically improved my fitness already, but I’m starting to notice mental benefits too. Elite athletes care a lot about the mental aspects of their sports, but the rest of us focus more on the physical gains we can make. My mind comes into the running game in 2 ways:

  1. my mind affecting my run
  2. my running affecting my mind in the rest of life

I was going to address both in this post, but this is already 1000 words long and I decided that you’re very nice to read my posts and I shouldn’t push my luck. So today we’ll just hit Part 1: My Mind Affecting My Run. Part 2 coming later this week.

*very informal, loosely based on a free program available from Hal Higdon.

My Mind Affecting My Run

All sports are mental, certainly, but running has some unique challenges. For one, it’s not a team sport and your practice times aren’t scheduled (unless you work with a partner). So you have to motivate yourself to run, no help from your team. Then, there are no external Continue reading

Tired Legs, Happy Heart


I have always been a runner.

I was a runner when I played soccer. I was a runner when crazy waves of restlessness hit. I was a runner when I was so angry my body felt like it was flying to pieces.

I was a runner when the air was warm. I was a runner when I had a dog. I was a runner when everyone else was safe at home.

But I was never a consistent runner. Months could go between runs. I never ran very far. I ran a 5k race three years in a row, but never trained.

Last year I ran 3 5ks as part of my New Year’s resolution/goal. But I didn’t train much for those either.

This year I decided to train. I’m running a 10k in April. 6+ miles is farther than I can get up and run without some prep. At least, farther than I can run without embarrassing myself.

So I looked up a training program, read a few books, and started. Continue reading

Book Review: The Craving Brain


Title: The Craving Brain: Science, Spirituality and the Road to Recovery
Authors: Dr. W. Anderson Spickard, Jr., James B., Barbara Thompson
Nonfiction
Review copy obtained through NetGalley

Can addiction be overcome?

The Craving Brain is an informative and hopeful response to the hopelessness that surrounds addiction. Co-authored by a doctor (and recognized addiction expert) and a recovered addict, it weaves science and stories to create a full picture of the addiction journey.  Continue reading

How to Make New Year’s Resolutions: A Guide for People Who Hate Resolutions


8tjbrqgkfyu-david-marcuI have, for the first time ever, kept the New Year’s resolution I made. You can too.

If you’re one of those mythical unicorns who makes resolutions every year and keeps them, just stop reading. This isn’t for you. [But email me, ok? Because I’ve never met anyone like you.]

But if you’re like pre-2016 me and make resolutions you never keep or quit making them altogether because you know you won’t keep them, then I’m talking to you.

The Problem with Most Resolutions

Most resolutions fall into one of two categories.

  1. The Habit.
  2. The Virtue.

And resolutions in these two categories do not work for me and probably not for you, if you’re still reading. So let’s break down why. Continue reading