How has your week been? Let’s catch up!
One of my struggles with blogging is striking the balance between providing valuable information while also putting a face (my face) to my brand. I will always be an introvert, so it’s easy for me to hide behind words and research; it’s not always easy for me to show glimpses into my own life.
As I mentioned on Tuesday, I’m reading Matt Fitzgerald’sHow Bad Do You Want It?: Mastering the Psychology of Mind over Muscle. Fitzgerald is one of my favorite running authors (his The New Rules of Marathon and Half Marathon Nutrition is my go-to resource on sports nutrition), and so far I’m enjoying reading about his book. Since it’s tricky to do scientific studies on how the human brain responds to the suffering of racing, most of the book focuses around narrative lessons from some of the most mentally resilient runners of our time.
Ryan and I fascinated with all things English history after our trip to London, which prompted our purchase of two books:The English and Their History by Robert Tombs and The Plantagenets: The Warrior Kings and Queens Who Made England. I’m unapologetically a history nerd (my master’s degree concentrated on medieval history).
Ginger beer. Alcoholic ginger beer has become trendy in the beer world recently, so Ryan and I have been eagerly purchasing Crabbie’s Ginger Beer and Not Your Father’s Ginger Beer now that we can find them in stores. That’s a ginger beer hiding the corner of the photo above. Ginger beer reminds me as almost a hybrid between champagne (which makes sense, since it uses champagne yeast) and an easy IPA: light, fragrant, refreshing, and with just a hint of spice.
I love the smell of Aveda products, the lasting haircuts, and the luxury treatment Aveda salons and finally decided it was time to indulge in a nice hair cut. The salon offered a deal for a deep conditioning treatment, cut, and style, which I couldn’t resist for the price.
Currently nerding out over:
In addition to English history, SEO. If you’re not already reading the Nectar Collective, you should start by reading her post on 13 Ways to Drive Traffic to Old Posts. At the end of last year, I began to go back and re-SEO some of my older posts (particularly my Are You a Long Distance or Short Distance Runner? and Half Marathon Recovery posts) with more pinnable images, better keywords, and more links and headings.
Ryan and I purchased Kahtoola MICROspikes for winter hiking after his Yaktraks broke (Yaktraks are great for running, not for mountain hikes). The tiny little spikes scare me a bit, but they are so effective for hiking through the snow. They have amazing traction but I barely feel them on my feet! We tested them out on our short hike to Franklin Falls.
I also bought a new raincoat, after my 8 year old North Face reached the end of its life and left my down vest drenched on our hike last weekend. We found a Marmot Women’s Precip Jacket on sale at REI, and I was sold after how comfortable it was, the cute colors, and reviews that raved about its protection against rain and how well it works for running as well as hiking.
What to give up for Lent. Giving something up for Lent is hard, but that’s the whole purpose of it. I suggested to Ryan that we give up weeknight TV shows and spend that time being more productive. Then I read an article that recommended using Lent to switch your shopping habits to purchase fair trade chocolate and coffee, rather than giving up one of those. The sacrifice is that you spend extra money, which is a challenge for a frugal person like myself, but then you are helping support people and economies in poorer areas of the world as well. Maybe we’ll do both!
I could never give up coffee, because, to draw inspiration from this sign Ryan snapped a photo of in London, coffee is a warm, delicious alternative to being crabby all day long.
Butter chicken (Suzy, you’ll love this!), with homemade whole wheat naan if I’m feeling extra carby. I’ve made this recipe twice since we arrived home from London, and substituting in coconut milk for the cream and adding fenugreek along with the garam masala. It’s so freaking good that you all should go make it right now (it works great as a vegetarian dish with chickpeas!).
As I write this (Wednesday), I just completed one of the hardest workouts of my half marathon training yet. After a 2 mile warm up, I ran 4 miles at goal marathon pace, recovered for one half of a mile, ran 4 miles at goal half marathon, and cooled down to reach 11 miles. This workout was challenging, and the last 4 miles felt similar to the last 4 miles of a half marathon, but I hit my paces and really enjoyed this workout. I have a few progressions of this workout (no recovery time next week, followed by 2 x 4 miles at half marathon pace the week after that) coming up to sharpen me and instill race pace before the Lake Sammamish Half.
The Olympic Marathon Trials. I may have completely gotten the date wrong for the Superbowl in last week’s black bean acorn squash chili post (you don’t come to this blog to read about football, and if you do, you’re probably reading the wrong blog), but I have the trials marked on my calendar: February 13. I just need to figure out how to watch it now!
About another snowy, serene, and scenic winter hike. Is it Saturday yet?
I sent in a pitch to a big magazine/website earlier this week, and on a confidence buzz stumbled upon the contributor guidelines for one of my favorite magazines/websites right now, The Atlantic. I’m a dreamer when I set goals (four years ago: I want to do grad work at Notre Dame! Now: I want to run a BQ marathon!), so you can naturally guess what long-term goal I now have.
Current state of mind:
Gratitude. The comments on yesterday’s post and all of the link love that several of you share on your own blogs just overwhelm me with an astounding sense of both accomplishment and gratitude. Providing value for others matters more to me that any other aspect of a career, and to know that I may actually be doing that both humbles and inspires me.
Current link love:
The Curse of Being a Beginner Freelance Writer: some of you mentioned an interested in starting to freelance write in the comments on my January goals post, and this article will help you navigate the scary world of freelance writing without settling for low pay, content mills, and compromising of your style and integrity.
Finding Balance Between Our Diets and Workouts: Meredith and I did a Q&A on her blog (first in a series) on what runners, especially female runners, should know about making sure they eat enough to support their running and overall health.
Do You Focus on the Details or the Big Picture? I’m a both-and. Details are important, but obsessing over minutia can get in the way of the bigger goal.
Disclaimer: This post contains Amazon affiliate links.
So tell me: what are you up to currently?
What’s your current favorite meal?
What books are you reading right now?
What are you nerding out over?