What Healthy Means…

Today’s Happy Note: Today was just a really happy, full-but-not-too-full Sunday; a perfect day to close out the summer.  I ran, talked with friends, had a blog meetup, unpacked, decorated, talked on the phone with mom and then with USB (Union Square Boy), rested, cleaned, ate delicious food.  Productivity+Relaxation=Good Sunday.

Taking care of me=healthy.

Marathon Training: Yesterday began with 5 easy miles and an hour long vinyasa yoga class.  The run felt sluggish, but whatever, it was only five miles so I didn’t really get that worked up about it.  I spent the rest of the day moving, which is always a workout in itself.

Today began bright and early (kidding — I had to drag myself out of bed at 9:30) with a long run!  I was feeling anxious about the 15 miler I had planned.  Not so anxious that I couldn’t get out the door, but anxious enough that I felt physically “tight.”  That went away after the first mile or two and I ended up feeling wonderful!  My legs and lungs felt strong and I maintained a 10:00-11:00 minute per mile pace.  I think there were times (especially towards the end, oddly enough) where I was between 9:00-10:00 minutes per mile.  I conserved energy in the beginning, which was definitely a wise choice.  There ended up being some construction along my planned route — I remapped it once I finished and discovered I had actually covered 16 miles. Go me.

Long Run=Healthy (for me).

I have a tiny but nagging pain in the back of my right hip — almost under my butt.  It’s hard to describe.  It feels like a simple overuse injury that can probably be cured with sufficient ice, rest, and stretching.  I’ll be careful, I promise!

After the run, a shower, and a giant brunch, it was time to head off for a blog meetup with Meghann.   Some of my best blogging buddies were there as well — Gabriela, Ada, Ashley.  Love these girls!

We met at Stogo, a vegan ice cream place in the East Village.  The East Village never fails to impress me — there is something new and unique and exciting around every corner.  We all spent a good ten minutes staring at the options and sampling and, of course, photographing before deciding.  I got a scoop of key lime (coconut base) and a scoop of peanut butter fudge (soy base).  Both were excellent and surprisingly creamy!

Socializing=healthy.

We match!  Left to right: Ada, Ashley, Me, Gabriela.  I had a lovely time, as I always do with blog friends.  I truly love blogging, and making (and meeting) new friends is one of the best parts about it.

We had a wonderful, refreshing conversation about ways of eating.  We basically agreed that food and eating and healthy living are such individualized things. We all take care of our bodies in different ways — and this is okay.  It sounds silly, but it is important to remember that no two bodies have identical nutritional or activity needs.  Some individuals might need to eat more than me, some less.  Some people run more, some less.  Some people don’t run at all.  Some people walk.  Some people eat more vegetables.  Some people eat more fats.  Some people have not struggled with mental/emotional health in the exact ways I have.  All of this is okay — I love the healthy living blogging community for exactly those reasons — we are each unique and exciting.  For example, I love the way Kath lovingly prepares delicious, home-cooked dinners so often.  But I also love my own, easy, student-friendly dinners, which often consist of combining just a few things.   And I also love  Mama Pea’s awesome family-friendly vegan creations.  Or Sophia’s hearty, meaty dishes.  Or Gena’s inspired, fresh raw cuisine.

My point here is that being healthy is a journey.  A delicious, fun, active journey that is unique to each person.  So thank you, ladies, for reminding me of that this afternoon! 🙂

Stimulating conversation=healthy.

A lot of my things arrived from storage today.  I had to unpack and set up my whole room (I slept in my sleeping bag last night).  I don’t have the best sense for design, but  I think I did a decent job.

For newer readers/anyone who is curious: I am about to start my senior year of college!  I study history and human rights and creative writing.  I live in NYC. 🙂

But before the unpacking could begin, I had to set up my fridge, of course.  I didn’t have time to do a full grocery run today, so I just picked up the essentials (pictured above).  Priorities, people: peaches and apples from the farmer’s market, spinach, yogurt, a muffin, and dark chocolate.

I could have done worse. 🙂

Good (nutritious and delicious) food=healthy.

The room before, strewn with suitcases (notice the sleeping bag on the bed!):

And after (left side, then right side):

Much better.  It feels homey already.  I don’t have quite enough shelf space for all my books, but I think I did pretty well.  I get so comforted by the sight of books. I have them organized into sections: poetry/prose, fiction/novels, history, writing/academic instruction, Middle East, human rights, and cooking/baking.

The kitchen space, so far:

There are approximately 25 people on my floor.  There are seven cupboards in the kitchen.  I have usurped two of them.  BUT I don’t feel that guilty because no one at my school cooks.  Literally no one.  Last year I think I saw three other people in the kitchen the whole year.

It’s way too small.  Le sigh:

So that is the living situation right now.  I am glad to be settled in, to have a roof over my head, and to live in a consistent space that is mine and mine only.  I am very grateful — many, many people in my own city (not to mention the world over) do not have such nice accommodations.  It may seem small to me, but it is clean, warm, and safe.  I have lovely clothes, books, a bathroom, a kitchen, and a soft bed.   I am grateful.

Gratitude=healthy.

What are you grateful for right now?

Anyone else out there about to head back to school, or just moved in?  Tell me about it!

Risk Taking Anxiety/Vulnerability

Today’s Happy Note: Piers.  Who thought these up?  Seriously.  A long platform extending out over the water affording better views and a nice breeze?  I’m all over it.  I love the piers that extend out over the Hudson all along Manhattan’s West Side.

Sorry for disappearing on you last night!  I genuinely wanted to blog (which is why I am apologizing) but didn’t get home until 1:00 AM!  This is veeeerrrrryyyyy late for me for a weeknight when I have work/school the next day.  I pretty much collapsed into bed and had to supplement with a nap after work. 🙂

Mental Health Note: I am really glad I went out.  I am NOT a bar/club/crazy party girl at all but I do deserve to have a little bit of fun (whatever that might entail) once in a while.  I saw a movie, then went to a restaurant/dancing.  It was the best evening I have had in a long time and I am so very happy I went for it.  This may sound like a typical weekend night for most of you, but my anxiety does not often allow me to do that sort of thing.  It’s days like this when I know how much therapy with L has affected me.  It is really exciting to watch (and feel) myself growing emotionally and socially.  Letting myself have fun and letting people into my life has been such a rewarding experience thus far.  I am looking forward to a lot more of that in the next few years.  So, going out last night was a “risk” of sorts for me — I made myself vulnerable — but it turned out beautifully.  Sometimes you have to take a leap of faith with something or someone and sometimes you have to hold your heart in your hands and let someone else touch it and sometimes it pays off.

That’s all I’m saying for now.

What “risk” have you taken lately? I don’t care if you think it sounds silly!  Everyone’s experiences are different — people have varied anxieties and likes and hurts and dreams and fears.

Marathon Training: I did indeed get my 12 miles in bright and early yesterday morning!  I felt surprisingly good, although I was a little bored.  I love the way running makes me feel, but even the most dedicated, passionate runner will admit that once in a while, it gets boring.  I tend not to get bored on trails, but doing laps around CP is, well…not the most scenic thing in the world.  I never listen to music while running — just a personal preference.  I like that it gives me time to think though.  I did 4 miles with 5×100 strides thrown in tonight plus 40 minutes full body strength training.

Today’s Eats (I think this is everything, minus two spoonfuls of Mighty Maple PB and a few more cashews than are pictured):

That’s oatmeal with vanilla soymilk, a wee bit of vanilla protein powder, and sunbutter in the first picture.  Skinny vanilla latte in the second.

TJ’s cashew/dried hibiscus trail mix.  LOVE, by the way.

I ate a little over half of this smoothie and froze the rest.  Score one for intuitive eating!

I went in and added chocolate PB and honey to the yogurt to make it a little more filling/dessert-like.

Another day of deliciously healthy eats.  I typically find that I have several days in any given week where I am unintentionally vegetarian/vegan.  I am fine with that.  I like my meat and my dairy just fine and have no intention of giving them up.  But I also enjoy non-animal protein sources too.  A lot of times I am just plain old too lazy to cook meat.  I want to get some deli turkey, although I am afraid that might be ethically questionable….

I feel like tomorrow shall be a good day!

And just realized school starts in two weeks.  Crap.  I don’t want to go to class.

Any other students about to start?  Looking forward to it?  If so, why, might I ask?

Carbs, Carbs, Yoga, Macrobiotic

Today’s Happy Note: Going to a restaurant!  Sounds silly, but I hardly ever eat out and tried a most wonderful place with my cousin this evening.

Well hello there friends!  I hope you all had fabulous Friday’s and are ready for the weekend.  Mine wasn’t stellar; too much walking.  I hope my legs aren’t too tired for my ultramarathon tomorrow!  I haven’t mentioned it too much because I wasn’t positive I would do it, but I’m definitely going to try!  Lots of ibuprofen…and carbs.

Speaking of carbs, there have been plenty of them today!

Started the day with some yummy pb and j oats!  Forgot to bring my camera to work so no picture of lunch, but it was two pieces of pizza, a huge cookie, and an apple the size of my head.  Carbs, people.  Carbs.

I hardly ever crave “junk” foods, but today I absolutely had to have some pizza.  I was at an event with free food, but there were only mozzarella sticks and pigs in a blanket.  If I’m going to have an unhealthy treat, it’s going to be one that I really want!  And that pizza had some protein and healthy fats anyways.  And yumminess, of course.  I smeared the giant cookie with almond butter, duh:

The cheese-fest kept me full for over five hours!  Snacked on some trail mix afterwards, then yoga with my cousin at yoga vida.  It was great today.  I walked at least three or four miles throughout the day and the yoga was the perfect ending.  The teacher was fun and creative; we did stuff like tree pose with block’s on our heads and dancer’s standing on blocks, and lots of cool handstand prep.  I LOVE when yoga teacher’s don’t go exactly by the book.  What do you like in a yoga teacher/coach/instructor?

After yoga we went to Souen, a neat macrobiotic restaurant that I have seen many times on someone’s blog, but I don’t know whose!

I had one of the tastiest, simplest meals I’ve had in quite some time.  It was a platter with brown rice, great northern beans, squash, kale, steamed veggies (turnip, carrot) and seaweed (very tasty).

I have a few thoughts about this meal!  First of all, everything worked so well together!  I had it all with a creamy miso-tahini dressing and I was in vegan-food heaven.  I mixed most of it together and it was like a little melting pot of joy.  Secondly, normally I hate rice and kale, but I love them here.  Weird.  I think I am going to give them a try more often.  Oh, and I got to eat it with chopsticks which was super fun!

My cousin had the salmon, above.

I love the macrobiotic concept, although I think many vegans just eat this way in general, so in that sense it’s not “special”.  I would come back to this restaurant in a heartbeat — and I’ll bring friends too!

I have been muncing on dark chocolate and drinking hot cocoa since I got back.  I might still be hungry.

I’m definitely nervous about tomorrow, but knowing that I’ve done it once before helps.  I can do this!  Wish me luck, and see you with the (painful but awesome) details tomorrow evening!

Never Too Tired For Chocolatey Goodness

Today’s Mini Goal: Do something with my hair!  I never know what to do, but there is a whole lot of it and it’s just begging to be played with.  I’m actually really good at doing complicated hair styles on myself and others because when I was a gymnast, my mom didn’t know how to do anything with my hair, and we would have to wear our hair in all sorts of fancy styles, so I taught myself.  But I don’t know what to do with it on regular school and work days.  Suggestions?

I have been beyond exhausted this week; I’m not just sleepy, but my body physically feels really low on energy.  I took a four hour nap yesterday evening.  Yes, four hours.  I feel like I just got back from a climb of Mt. Everest.  Hormones don’t usually seem to hit me this hard, but I’m trying to just get extra sleep and eat a bit more (having an excuse to eat plain spoonfuls of peanut butter makes me oh so happy!).  This blog is about all kinds of health, and I hope this isn’t some sort of other issue creeping up on me.  I’m always really paranoid about my thyroid because every woman in my mom’s family has a thyroid problem.  I’m kind of a hypochondriac though — when I was a kid, I was convinced I had everything from E. Bola to malaria and botulism.  I kind of had an overactive imagination.

Physical health:

I just couldn’t drag myself out the door for a run yesterday, but I did squeeze in fifteen minutes of ab work.  My favorite ab exercise just might be slow bicycles — I can practically feel my tummy getting stronger while I’m doing them.

Today I did ten miles; probably my longest pre-9 -AM-class run ever.  I knew I wasn’t going to want to do it when I got home around four though, so I dragged myself out the door at 6:15.  It was pretty uneventful, but it definitely felt good to get my legs moving again after three days of not running.  The Reservoir Loop in CP is currently covered in snow pack and it’s really fun to run on.  You have to be careful, but it really works your legs and will make you feel so much more gung-ho.  It also reminds of being at home in Michigan and plowing my way through snow-covered trails.

Abbot Park by Justin J Rumao.Source

Bliss.  I’m a trail runner at heart, which makes living in NYC a bit saddening at times.  I love exploring the city on my feet and have probably run on almost every street/path/park/sidewalk in Manhattan, plus a few in The Bronx and Brooklyn.  But I crave the solidarity that comes with a beautiful,unpredictable trail.  There’s just something special about it.

If you’re a runner, what kind of area do you like running in?  City streets?  Parks?  The wilderness?  A treadmill?

What I’ve been munching on lately:

Salad with tons of chicken.   Sometimes I just want a lot of meat, and this meal satisfied that want very well.

The Siggis yogurt was just alright.  I loved how thick and creamy it was, but it was a tad dry and not sweet enough (never thought I’d say that about a yogurt).

Cereal/fruit/yogurt messes: how I love thee.  Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?  The cereal here is the Kashi Toasted Berry Crumble and it is addictive.  A bit too sweet, but so yummy.  Nom nom nom.

Oats In A Jar, cooked with my new chia seeds.  I really like how they gel up and make the whole concoction thicker.  They have an interesting taste — sort of nutty, but also sort of sweet.  I think I like them.

Averie’s vegan chocolate snowballs!  So so so so so delicious.  I used sweetened coconut so I threw in some plain oats to take an edge of the sweetness and add a little bulk.  They were wonderful — they kind of melt on your tongue.  I didn’t even bother portioning them into individual “cookies”; I’ve just been digging my way through the bowl with a spoon.  No shame.  These actually taste better than most cookies, and I’m all for vegan treats sometimes.  If you’re looking for a vegan and/or raw dessert, this is the way to go!  In fact, none of Averie’s recipes have disappointed me yet…Thanks Averie!

Mental Health:

I’ve felt really down the last few days, but I’m blaming it on an icky combination of mood swings and anniversary fears.  I am a different person this year with scary, sad parts.  But also strong parts.  And I will not relapse.  I believe in me!

Off to go make some salmon and watch Grey’s Anatomy!

You all have an assignment: do something nice for yourself today or tomorrow and report back! I plan on buying the new Oprah magazine, but we’ll see…