Hitting the Road

Today my wife and I are striking out on our first long road trip adventure. We regularly travel to Boston to visit her family, but this will be our first long road trip that will include places neither one of us have been.

A friend of ours is getting married in Chicago (a town neither of us has been to and a state a wife has never been to) and then we are going to make a side trip to Wisconsin (a state neither of us has been to). I’m excited to once again set out on a road trip, it’s been six years since my epic cross country adventure. I’m most looking forward to having a co-pilot and a partner in adventuring.

Even with all the wedding festivities and traveling, I am planning on getting some running in on this adventure. I have packed all my necessary running accoutrements and while I haven’t mapped out any running routes I have repeatedly told myself and others that I will be getting a few miles in each day. Most importantly though, my official marathon training starts this weekend. I’m a little nervous not to start my regimen in my usual manner but at the same time I’m excited to start my new plan out in a new and different way.

I think it will be a great adventure to set out on a run in a new city. What better way to explore than to go for a run?! Not to mention after sitting in a car of many hours I’m going to want to get up and move.

Off we go on our adventure!

Happy Running!

 

 

Asking Runners For Directions

I have  a rather lengthy list of driver-centric pet peeves (yesterdays post being one of the many) that I will probably share throughout the course of my blogging career. Their reveal will be in no particular order, as their level of irritation is directly correlated to my mood when the incident occurred.

Asking a runner for directions is incredibly frustrating and definitely in the top three, I have been the recipient of these queries quite a number of times. Running is a sport, just like football or tennis, and requires a focused training regimen. Training runs help us to improve endurance but also to see how well we have improved in terms of time and speed. The biggest reason that it bothers me, is that stopping for anywhere for 30 seconds to upwards of several minutes always throws off my focus and stride. You wouldn’t drive up to a tennis court, jump out, dash up to the server and ask where Maple Street is, would you? The frustration is intensified when what they are asking for, is literally right around the corner if their attention span was longer than the lifespan of a gnat. In this age of GPS and iPhones with on demand directions, stopping to ask an obvious occupied runner is annoying.

The unprepared and misplaced motorist can be handled in a few different ways:

  1. I could say I don’t speak English. I have a limited proficiency in several different languages, tourist proficiently I would like to call it. Enough that I could act as if one of my many languages is in fact NOT English. But this poses the issue of the driver actually being a fluent speaker of the language I replied in. Or I end up running into them later at another event where I speak near perfect English, leading to some serious awkwardness. (Frederick is a medium sized city but has that small town feel, where everyone knows everyone so seeing the driver again is rather distinct possibility)
  2. I could pretend I’m deaf and didn’t hear them. I find this to be incredibly rude and dishonest, more so than trying to skirt the issue with my limited foreign language vocabulary. Also, since I more than likely have headphones in playing deaf would not be very plausible or believable.
  3. Just ignoring the driver is probably the most feasible solution, however considering most of my runs are done in the street; ignoring a hurtling piece of metal on round rubber wheels is probably about as easy to do as fluently speaking a language while acting deaf.

While I rail in my head at the thoughtlessness of the driver who can’t see that I am obviously focused, sweating and Olympic bound as the fastest woman in the history of the universe (if only in my mind)….I am southern to a fault and always take the couple minutes to give directions to the person. More often then not they have gotten confused at the one way nature of the streets coming off Market Street. They really, really wanted to go left on Church Street only to learn that it is a one way street coming towards them.

Also, when I’m stopped mid run I can often sound like a babbling fool. My focus is usually on the route that I’m taking, my breathing or counting the number of steps to the next tree so when I have to switch gears and have to attempt to remember how to get from where we are to some place I have been a million times before, I can sound like a fool.

Add to that, when I’m running I’m in runners directional mode…so me saying drive up to the next block and take the path next to  Mrs. Smith’s side yard but avoid her begonias before going down the alley, may not actually be the best route for a car. Because as we all know, runners find the most direct non traffic laden route to run; which may not be the same route for a car.

Finally, I will admit that a small portion of my frustration is a safety concern. Someone slowing down in a vehicle, headed towards you, often on a quiet residential street does cause concern. Especially as a woman running solo, there is an added unsettled feeling for a few seconds. A few safety suggestions to consider, if your southern nature does not allow you to exercise any of the above suggestions:

  1. Never stand next to the car window or lean into the car to look at a map. Make sure that you leave some space between you and the car. Just envision how much space the door needs to open and add a few inches to that.
  2.  Never give information about your running route. I have had a few interestingly strange characters ask where I’m running from or running to. Be very vague. Try to limit your conversation with the person, no matter how nice they are. Not only is this a safety factor but this will also lessen the impact on your training run.
  3. Never run to the address they are looking for so they can follow you, even if they ask.
  4. If you don’t feel safe, do what we all do best RUN. Specifically run to a populated area or somewhere you know is safe and not motor vehicle accessible. (Like Mrs. Smith’s side yard…but still be mindful of her begonias) If you feel that others might be at risk, call the police.

Just keep in mind what we were taught as children when approached by strangers. I don’t want to be an alarmist, but some degree of caution should always be exercised when approached by a stranger in a car. More times than not, everything is above board and it is someone who truly is turned around; especially if you live in a town with numbered east and west streets that has the occasional one way street thrown in for good measure.

While stopping me to ask for directions while I run is definitely in the top three driver-centric pet peeves, being a  jerk makes you (and all runners by extension) the number one pet-peeve of drivers. Think of it as being an ambassador for runners. If you find that you are being stopped frequently on a particular part of your training route, perhaps you should slightly alter your route away from that section of road….or carry a handful of city maps to give to drivers that try to stop you, the choice is yours.

Have you had any humorous or less than humorous interactions with direction seeking drivers? Or maybe some ideas on how to handle the misplaced motorist?

Happy Running!

 

 

 

Don’t Honk If You Love A Runner…Or Even Just Like Them…Better Still Just Don’t Honk

Honking your car horn is a rather interesting, and somewhat antiquated, form of communication. For those in the city, it’s a way of loudly swearing with your vehicle. For those in a small town, it’s a way to say hello to a friend you pass. For any one regardless of metropolis size, it’s a way to vent frustration at traffic or those who take more than 2 seconds to remove their foot from the brake when the light turns green. For runners, a car horn is DESPISED.

I have had quite a few runs ruined by well meaning friends that have honked as they have passed me. The result is not only a break in concentration but a feeling of utter terror that something is wrong….you are about to be hit by said vehicle, there is a pack of zombies running behind you, there is a giant wheel of cheese rolling down the street in your general direction or some other equally frightening scenario that you had drowned out in your focused state.

I will admit, I have been guilty of honking at friends and then cheerfully yelling “HELLO” out of my open window. Another equally startling behavior. After having been jarred out of your focus by a cacophony of noise you are now being shouted at; if you happen to be wearing headphones you can’t quite make out what is being shouted at you. Perhaps it’s verbal warning to watch out for the zombies that are pursuing you. Or be mindful of the cheese. One can never quite tell over the noise of motivating marathon music pulsing through ones ears.

Also, by the time you figure out that you are being honked at and greeted by a friend not chased by a rabid pack of zombies who are screaming at you in some undistinguishable language, the friend has driven past and disappeared around the bend or next street. Honestly, unless you can memorize the license plates, make and model of every car belonging to every person you have met… you spend the rest of your run trying to figure out who the hell just scared the crap out of you.

The simple solution is, don’t honk at runners unless they are truly in danger. Instead, send them a more modern (and quieter) mode of communication to say you saw them on their run and they looked fabulous. A more public method of communication would be best for compliments like that so others can see how awesome said runner is…if we weren’t looking quite so great or you happen to catch us in a moment or two of walking…text us so that our reputation as the next Olympic gold medalist will not be tarnished.

Please share this  blog with a friend that continues to startle the Olympic runner in all of us. If you have a moment, comment below and share your most startling honking incident.

Happy Running!

 

 

 

 

 

What does it say about the gays?

This post steps away from my typical topic of running and books and steps a bit more into the personal aspect of my life away from the geekyness that is me.

I am largely a quiet person about my thoughts regarding politics, world events and in general my life as a lesbian woman. However, with the recent world events in Orlando I have been sharing snippets of others thoughts other social media platforms; a little nervous to delve into the abyss of the topic that has turned from a tragedy to equal parts gun debate and religious rhetoric. The loss of 50 people, 50 gay people, the true focus of the story was infuriatingly getting lost in the media ratings chaos. But after a conversation with a friend, I felt compelled to delve deeper into my thoughts and the topic in general.

A friend asked a genuine question about Pride, and the often outrageous antics and outfits one can find there. Most major cities have the events geared more towards family and the community outreach during the day, followed by the block party in the evening. For example, in Baltimore they shut down the traffic flow to a section of town affectionately known as the “Gayborhood.” The giant block party is filled with fun, frivolity, outrageously dressed people of all genders and for many mass consummation of alcohol ensues. As to be expected, when large amounts of alcohol are consumed, bawdy and outlandish behavior increases. Though not all of the behavior stems as a result of intoxication from alcohol, but is equally the result of intoxication on the freedom they now have to express themselves in a way that properly reflects their being.

My friends concern was related to how others would view the gay community if all they took away were the images of debauchery that is often on full display at block parties.

“What does that say about the gay community?” she asked.

It was a genuine inquiry, not one of judgment or condemnation or impertinence, but one asked out of a true desire to understand. A desire that stems from what I can only assume was a need to understand her new community. A need to understand her place in the gay community when she herself is a more quiet and reserved person not prone to outrageous dress or behavior. All she was truly seeking was an understanding of where she fit.

As usual, I couldn’t properly articulate my thoughts into words at that moment; I said some sales spiel sounding line about Pride is about community and being oneself. And while she said she understood that, she was still trying to wrap her brain about what that says about “us” as a community. Being the internal ruminator that I am, I had to spend the evening thinking about it….and the morning….and while I was driving to work. And then I realized it’s a fairly simple, straight forward reply.

While each of us that attend Pride (or gay bars and clubs) have our own unique reasons, the over arching reason that we go is truly to be with community. It is to be with those that are considered outcasts for breaking societal norms. It is to be with people who share a love of wearing size 13 high heels with their beautifully sequined dress or bow ties and combat boots as the outer expression of their inner self. I will admit that there are some pretty outrageous ensembles and behavior that occur at Pride, but the same can be said for any event you attend whether it is a concert, picnic, church or school. Any event that includes large groups of people is going to have a small percentage of that population marching to the beat of their own drummer; this is not something that is specific to sexual orientation, gender, religion or geographical location. It is a standard aspect of being human.

As someone who has always felt more comfortable on the masculine end of the spectrum in regards to dress, demeanor and hobbies it wasn’t until I stepped into gay bars and clubs and attended Pride that I realized I had found a circle that I could finally outwardly express my inner feelings.

I consider myself worldly and pretty far from being a prude, but I will admit there are often sights at Pride that have made me do a double take or shake my head or blush…and on occasion all three. I will also admit that I that some of my behavior has probably resulted in the same reaction by others.

Sadly, I will admit that I am guilty of passing judgment on my fellow Pride goers. I remember catching myself judging a particular gentleman I saw my first year at Pride. I was doing to this creatively dressed individual what had been done to me through the years. I was doing what my Grandy called, “taking inventory” and projecting my own judgments on his outfit. Which I still think was pretty outrageous…assless chaps and a red solo cup. But so what? Who cares if it was outrageous…he was being himself. Just as I was being myself in my baggy cargo shorts, black beater, butch cut hair, and wallet chain.

In the eyes of many members of society, our outfits were really no different. For both of us we were dressed outrageously based on the societal expectations of our regular Monday-Friday nine to five lives. But for one month a year, and really only a few hours out of that month, we are able to come together and openly be our true ourselves…whether it be high heeled shoes, lipstick, assless chaps or wallet chains.

And yes, there are those that will judge us as we party and revel in our freedom. But the reality and true honesty of the situation is those people are judging us anyway. If they are going to judge us, we might as well be judged for who we truly are not who we try to be to fit in to the narrow minded views of others.

I guess my reply to my friend’s question about what does it say about the gay community-it says that we are who we are and we are fun, creative and loving….and boy do we look good in assless chaps.

 

Meal Prep Recipes To Get You Started

Yesterday I wrote about the various reasons that meal prep isn’t just for bodybuilders. As runners our nutrition is always important to maintain. Below I have a few recipes that I have found that keep my macros on point while also being incredibly tasty and most importantly budget friendly! This is in no way an inclusive list of our meals, but these are most recent round of recipes. I will add more recipes as we come across them. The biggest thing is to experiment and try new things.

Each link has the recipe along with all the macros needed to make sure you are staying on point (whatever your point might be)

Breakfast:

Egg White Cups

Red Eye Protein Shake

Lunch/Dinner:

Spring Veggie Stir Fry Couscous with Ground Turkey

Zoodle “Lasagna” Style Bake

Frittata

If you have a favorite recipe or hack, please share in the comments section below!

Happy Running…and cooking!

Meal Prep Isn’t Just For Bodybuilders

I first learned about the concept of weekly meal prep from my bodybuilding friends. They would post pictures of their stacks of Tupperware and their eating schedules. They would laude the benefits of the every few hour eating with their little containers of perfectly portioned out food. I thought that was a bit over the top, a bit too retentive.

Then I began to realize that it was actually the perfect solution to my nutritional needs. So, I jumped on the #mealprepsunday bandwagon and started spending a few hours on Sunday preparing my breakfasts, lunches and dinners for the week.

The first time Jesi and I spent our Sunday preparing our food, it was just short of a kitchen disaster. It took us WAY longer than all the sites we studied said. We used EVERY SINGLE pot, pan, dish and cutlery item we had. It took us equal time of cleaning afterwards. At first I thought, NOPE this is a disaster and bodybuilders are nuts. But by midweek we realized how much time we saved AND that we were staying on track nutritionally.

The second week went a little smoother than first. We have now done meal prep for almost two years, and it has been a huge saver of time and budget. And we have also learned to be super creative in the kitchen have experimented with fresh items we never thought we would eat. Also, we have learned through proper portioning of our meals we have a better sense of proper portion sizes in restaurant food.

To break it down a little bit further, some of the major benefits of meal prep include:

Keeps you from cheating!

We have found this to be the case because when we plan out our meals, that is exactly what we buy at the grocery store. Nothing extra and no sweets, as a result we don’t have things to snack and munch on. Also by having meals planned out and prepared we don’t come home from work or the gym famished and too tired to prepare something healthful. Meal prep truly takes the thinking out of our daily meals.

Saves money!

This may not be true for everyone, and it certainly wasn’t true in the beginning when we had to purchase things we didn’t have in the pantry or while we experimented with different recipes. But by planning out meals we don’t need to run out to the grocery store multiple times a week. We are also not eating out in restaurants as much because we know the food is already ready for us, we just need to heat it up.

The biggest saver though is that we aren’t throwing away unused groceries. Everything we buy has a specific purpose.

Ginomous Time Saver!

Not only do we stay on track nutritionally, but taking a few hours on Sunday means an exponential amount of time saved during the week. This time saved can be time better spent at the gym, studying or doing domestic stuff that always manages to get in the way of healthy eating. Or as we like to say, just plain old adulting gets in the way of the fun stuff in life.

Most importantly, we aren’t eating dinner super duper late at night because food is already prepared for us when we get home. I know personally, eating a meal super late causes all kinds of stomach issues and results in me waking up the next morning feeling blah.

Helps to maintain fitness goals!

We all know that nutrition is the key component to successfully reaching our fitness goals; whether it be completing a marathon, getting a PR in the weight room or reaching a goal weight. By simultaneously planning your meals and your fitness plan for the week you will ensure that all your nutritional needs are met whether it be a rest day or a gym day. If you track your calories in either MyFitnessPal or OnTheRegimen you will notice that you are consistently hitting your necessary macros of the day. This consistency will let to massive goal gains while reducing your weight gain.

Also it helps ensure that you are eating your largest, most calorically dense meal in the middle of the day. Which goes hand in hand with the time saver aspect, not only are you not eating super late at night you also aren’t eating a super heavy meal a couple hours before you go to bed.

Meal Prepping Gives You Variety!

This may seem contrary to what you think….how can there be variety when I am planning out every meal down to the weighted ounce? But you will be surprised! We have some basic go to items for breakfast but we rotate through our options for lunch and dinner on a pretty regular basis. Also, using seasonal fruits and veggies helps to spice things up a bit. Truth be told, I am the child of a man that literally ate two peanut butter and strawberry sandwiches on white bread for lunch everyday for 40 years so I’m ok with monotony. However, my wife on the other hand is a little bit more adventurous.

Pinterest has been incredibly helpful in finding recipes that can be made in large batches and that stay fresh through the week….while delicious the avocado egg salad looks DISGUSTING after about two days in the fridge. For the most part anything made in a Crock Pot is a winner!

It’s A Great Way To Make Fitness And Nutrition A Family Event!

Jesi and I have found that creating our weekly meal plan together makes it even more fun! We take turns picking out recipes and then prepare them together. If you have a family, its also a great way to get the kids involve in picking out healthy recipes that appeal to them. Additionally, it will teach them skills on budgeting, cooking and preparing food.

Taking part in the online trend of #mealprepsunday may not result in gaining Arnold size muscles, but the gains in your fitness goals will be comparable. Check back tomorrow where I will share some of our favorite recipes and more tips on making your #mealprepsunday smoother!

Happy Running!

Running With Friends

Spring seems to have completely skipped Maryland this year. Last nights run, while much cooler than Wednesday’s was still in the upper 80’s and sunny. But Thursday runs are always super fun because I get to run with my training partners Becky and Regina.
Our banter and general yammering makes the four miles fly by and makes the heat seem bearable. Also, there isn’t a whole lot of thinking that goes into running with Regina because she maps out the route and leads the way; all I have to do is put one foot in front of the other in rapid succession.

For some reason shoe size came up which causes us to stop about a quarter mile in, slip off one shoe and compare feet. Of the three of us I have the largest feet at size 10. We also learned that the length of your forearm from wrist to elbow is the same length as your foot….a factoid that caused us to once again stop running and try it out. Apparently it is fairly accurate.

While the effort wasn’t my fastest…between our foot factoid exploration and Becky’s need to stop and pet all the dogs which slows us down a smudge. Despite the lack of speed, I always feel rejuvenated after time with running friends.

Do you have running friends that help make the run more enjoyable? Or are you strictly a solo runner. Comment below and let me know!

Happy Running!