I talk a lot about finding balance here on my blog. I’m always striving to find the right work/life balance, the perfect balance between running and yoga, spending enough time pursuing my passions and hobbies but also staying present in my relationships and friendships and that balance between being a type A but striving to be more type B. It’s not always easy to find that balance but it’s always worth it as I like to say.
Lately I feel like I’ve really found just the right balance in my life. It feels so good and as a result I feel less stressed and overwhelmed than I have in the past. So what I have been doing to find that balance? Letting go, taking the pressure off and just being. For me that means being flexible with workouts, using the weekends as a chance to relax and have fun rather than worrying about cleaning our house and all the “to-dos”, getting plenty of rest, and focusing on relationships and the people who matter most and blogging a bit less.
I think for me the most noticeable part of this balance I’m feeling is all the things it DOES NOT include. It does not include my crazy type A personality and to-do lists just to do. I’ve always struggled to accept the “art of living” in our house. All of shoes by the door, the pile of mail on the table, the open gym bag on the floor, or the laundry basket filled with clean folded clothes…all the things that make a house feel like a home have always driven me crazy. I’ve always had to put them away and deal with them before I felt I could relax. Now I’m not saying I’ve completely given up on picking things up but I’ve learned to not let it stress me out when I want to relax or take a few minutes for myself. In fact, I’m kind of loving the flip-flops by the door and the life and meaning of our things.
As a result of letting go I’m finding myself feeling like I have more time. I feel like I have more time to run, to read, to hit the yoga mat, to soak in the summer sun and to just be. It feels good to find a slower, more manageable pace in my life and to feel like I’m nourishing my body and mind with it what it needs. It feels like the right balance of work, fun and relaxation right now and I’m just rolling with it. Life is full of ebbs and flows and before I know I’ll be busy and trying to find balance once again.
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How are you working to find balance in your life? What do you need to let go to find space and time in your life?
Today marks phase 2 of my fall half-marathon training plan. Back in June I committed to running the Maine Half- Marathon on October 6th. I’m hoping, and planning, to run the BAA half-marathon the following week and I’m *this* close to committing to run a third on November 16th. I’m hesitant about the third because we have a pretty full fall and I’m not sure I want another commitment but I could be convinced and am heavily leaning towards running it. We’ll see.
Once I signed up for Maine I knew I needed to get down to business and that meant building a base. I pretty much only ran 3 or 4 miles at a time over the winter with a couple 6 milers in March and April. My plan was to tackle 5 and 6 mile runs. I wanted to feel strong and comfortable with the distance before I started my full training plan. Pace wasn’t important to me but I knew if I was running enough miles it should naturally drop down.
A strict training plan never works for me. Life is too busy and too unpredictable for me to commit to a certain number of runs or miles per week. Instead I always have goals in mind and find ways to realistically meet them. Here’s what my workouts for June and July looked like…
My training definitely wasn’t the perfect plan but it worked for me. One of the biggest challenges was adapting to not only the high mileage but also the heat and humidity. I managed to get a 5.5 or 6 mile run in each week with the exception of the 4th of July week when I got in a 6 mile walk/hike. The final week was the best, with two 5 mile runs and a 7.5 mile run to round out the base building cycle.
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I knew I managed to build a strong base when 5 mile runs started to feel quick and easy. I love when I can get in 5 miles by 6:15am and it feels effortless. My longest training run of 7.5 miles was one of the best. I felt great and my run felt effortless. The best part was the over the last few weeks my pace started dropping. On Friday my last two miles of the run were my fastest this summer. I LOVE that! It was the perfect way to end my base building cycle.
Moving forward I’ll stick with 3 to 4 runs per week. One day will be an easy 5 or 6 miles, there will be a speed day made up of a combination of hills, fartleks, tempo runs and track workouts, and long runs. The 4th day will be an optional recovery day of about 3 miles. Each week will have 2 yoga sessions. As always there may be a few extra cross training workouts like golf, walks or more yoga or a couple of rest days. I’m excited to start increasing my long run distance and have a few 13 and 14 mile runs in my plan. I’m also looking forward to getting back to tempo runs, even though I hate them while I’m doing them!
I’ll be back with another update at the end of the month of you can see how my first couple weeks of half-marathon training went! For now I’m off for an easy 5 miler! Happy Running Friends!
Where are you at with your fall half-marathon training plans? What races are you training for?
I’ve always been a fan of Whole Foods but lately my love and affection for the store and brand itself is growing. Maybe it’s because I’m more interested in trying different health foods or that the store has more variety of the items I like but I’m loving it more and more.
Lately I’ve been loving Whole Foods for the fish and meat they sell. It’s just so fresh and tastes so good! The variety of diary products they have is so exciting. I absolutely love the fresh ground almond and peanut butter. It always tastes so flavorful. And being able to fill a brown bag with quinoa is pretty awesome.
I recently learned 3 things about Whole Foods that make me love it more…
1. TWO NEW Whole Foods are coming soon! We live in the ‘burbs and while I have no complaints I will say that the Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s are a complete pain to get to. Lucky for me they are opening two new stores! Both are in neighboring towns so if we go south or north we will have easy access to a Whole Foods. One is opening in Melrose, MA and the other in Lynnfield, MA! The Lynnfield store looks like it will be huge!
2. They’ll replace your reusable grocery bag. We religiously use our Whole Foods grocery bags for our weekly shopping trips. Some of them we have had for ages and they are reaching the end of their life. In fact, this past weekend I went to lift a bag out of the trunk and it ripped. If you take your bag back to Whole Foods they’ll recycle it to make new bags and give you a brand new reusable grocery bag in return. I know the bags aren’t expensive but I like knowing that I’m not sending one to sit in the dump. I mean, that’s kind of the point of reusable bags isn’t it?!
New Grocery Bag!
3. They have an awesome return policy. I’ve never actually returned anything to Whole Foods but I recently found out they will take almost anything back, even if it’s been opened and partially eaten. They have a great “customer is always right” policy. Personally, it’s more incentive to me to try something that I may be skeptical of, especially with some of the prices at Whole Foods. And the reality is, I’ll probably like what I try because let’s face it, there isn’t much I don’t like and even if I don’t like it I probably wouldn’t bother to return it. It’s just nice to know I can. And it makes me like Whole Foods that much more.
With each trip to the store I love it more and more and this just added to that!
Do you love Whole Foods? Have you ever returned something to Whole Foods?
10 days. That’s right, I spent the last 10 days free of to-do lists, meetings, deadlines and stress. I love summer for the downtime, sunny days, the beach and vacation. This year for the first time in my adult life I had a “staycation”. We decided not to go away on a true vacation because we have some long weekends and other things in our future and we just couldn’t do it all. We weren’t exactly thrilled with our staycation plans since we had such an incredible time in Maine last summer but we were determined to make the best of it.
To be honest with you, I really kind of loved the staycation and it certainly felt like a vacation. It was so nice not to have to pack up and a feel guilty leaving B behind. Sleeping in my own bed every night was awesome, lounging in our sunroom and being home just felt good. Maybe part of it was because I vowed to myself not to clean, or get into any projects…just relax. And we planned some fun day trips too. Let me fill you in…
World’s End Reserve in Hingham, Ma
We spent the afternoon walking through the reserve dipping our toes in the water and checking out the bird sanctuary. We had kind of wanted to do a beach day but were in the mood to get some exercise so this was a perfect compromise and we even saw a horseshoe crab! Post walk we drove through Cohasset to scope out all the gorgeous homes, stopped for my first ever trip to Del’s Lemonade, got some coffee from one of the best coffee shops on the south shore Marylou’s and finished the day with dinner on the patio at Cafe Tosca in Hingham. It was perfect.
Running, and Yoga
I used my days to continue to build my base for half-marathon training. It was hot and humid so it was my motivation to get up and out and make the most of my days. I took the time to get to yoga. Yes, yoga classes for myself and they were amazing. Over the weekend Michael and I got out of walks almost everyday and even spent a good 3 hours and 6 miles walking the Cliff Walk and Newport, RI on Friday. It was a perfect combination of running, yoga and relaxing exercise. I even got inspired post yoga class to make a new mala bracelet.
A New Mala Bracelet!
Beach Days, Beach Days and More Beach Days
You know it’s a good vacation when you get to the beach 4 days in a row, finish all your magazines, make a good dent in your book and get a great tan. I love getting to the beach for some quiet time, swims in the ocean and frisbee games with Michael. We loved going mid-day after a lazy morning and staying until the early evening…it was just perfect…
It was just nice to spend time relaxing, being in the moment and enjoying the little things in life-like watching the morning news, the beautiful hydrangea’s on the table, fireworks on the 4th and so much more. Yesterday we spent some time cleaning, organizing and getting ready to head back to work. I’m sad my time off is over but I certainly enjoyed every minute…
How did you spend your 4th of July Week? What are your favorite parts of summer? Have you enjoyed a staycation before?
People often ask me a variety of health living questions. I get questions about running, yoga, dieting, food, working out, and more. I’d say the most frequent question I get is, “How do you do it?”. People always want to know how I maintain a healthy diet, continually workout on a regular basis and fit it all in with this blog, career and my relationships.
Well, I can tell you it’s not always easy but it’s always worth it. I pride myself on living a healthy life and I’ve made a commitment to myself to continually do that. To understand what that really means, you first need to understand what I consider a healthy life.
To me a healthy life is a balanced combination of eating wholesome and natural foods, regular workouts, lots of rest and a bit of indulgence. I’ve lived this life for years because I avoid extremes (in fact I don’t believe in them) and I give my body what it needs and I never feel guilty for enjoying life. Most of all, it’s about creating and maintaining balance.
In my day-to-day I regularly eat fruits and vegetables and natural proteins. I focus on portion control and drink plenty of water. I also go out to dinner each week with Michael, I love frozen yogurt and sweets and I enjoy a good cocktail from time to time. If I know I’m going to dinner with Michael and plan to have a cocktail I’ll make sure my breakfast and lunch are filled with fruits and veggies and on the leaner side. If I have frozen yogurt mid-afternoon I won’t indulge in sweets after dinner. I plan ahead and remain conscious of what my body needs.
Each week I plan out my workouts. I always have a certain amount of cardio I’d like to get in and some yoga sessions. I don’t confine myself to a set plan but rather let it remain fluid throughout the week. That means that if I’m tired on Wednesday morning but had planned to run 4 miles, I’ll sleep in and get the rest I need. That evening I might go for a walk instead of a run if I’m tired or I’ll let it be a rest day and run on the weekend instead. At this point in my life running 3 days a week and practicing yoga 2 or 3 times a week is realistic for me. It’s manageable and attainable. I know that eventually this won’t meet the needs of my life. Maybe I’ll be training for a marathon and need to run more, yoga less. Or maybe I’ll be a mom and leaving to go for a run will be a challenge but practicing yoga for an hour while the baby naps is completely possible. My workouts are always changing with the changes in my life.
The real secret is creating and maintaining that balance. I’ve already created the balance; I love fruits and veggies just as much as sweets and chocolates. I love running and yoga as much as I love sleeping in and relaxing with a good book. Find your balance. Then maintain it. Maintaining it is really about rolling with the punches and reflecting on yourself. When my sweet tooth starts raging I have to stop and ask myself why I am craving sweets…is it because I’m stressed out? Because I want to feel better? Because my mind just wants a sweet but my body doesn’t need it? I always try to understand what I am feeling and needing. This applies with working out too. If I’m not in the mood to run, is it because I’m tired? Is it because my mind is saying no but as soon as I get out there I’ll love it? Is it because yoga or a walk would be better for me? Reflecting on my feelings and emotions can help me to put down the frozen yoga or get off the couch and out for a run. Dealing with my emotions and feelings is what helps me to stay on track and maintain the balance I know my body likes. It’s the key to my balanced, healthy life.
What helps you to maintain a healthy, balanced life?